Global Warming And Forest Fires

Forest Fire

Back to Philosophy in college.  If thing A causes thing B and we KNOW that thing A is true, then it follows that thing B must be true.

A=Global Warming
B=More Forest Fires

Doesn’t look good for Bambi and friends in our local forests:

<i>Forest experts generally agree that as climate change makes the world warmer and drier, wildfires will break out more often.</i>

But what if I told you that B=False:

Year Fires Acres Burned
2006         56,645.00          3,662,192.00
2007         45,907.00          1,842,596.00
2008         35,820.00          2,109,164.00
2009         47,466.00          1,891,224.00
2010         29,527.00          1,445,846.00
2011         35,722.00          4,728,327.00
2012         27,176.00          1,876,169.00
2013         21,729.00          1,351,576.00
2014         25,978.00              886,021.00
2015         27,590.00          2,048,899.00
2016         25,006.00          2,096,408.00

There is no increase in forest fires in the US.  The numbers above are Year to Date through 6/28.

2016 ranks 9th in the last 11 years in the number of fires and ranks 4th in acres burned – and it’s slowing down.

So, either Global Warming doesn’t cause more forest fires OR there is no Global Warming.

2-Years

books

I’ve bee at this for awhile now – started in January of 2009.

I often am wrong, surely have an over inflated sense of myself.  To be sure.

But I’ve learned a lot; about some important stuff.  And it’s been fun.

This represents a 2-year posting high for me.  Onward!

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings

I’m from Minnesota.  And my heritage is, in some part, Nordic.  And I love the Vikings.

I love watching them play, I love watching my son watching them play.  I love me throwing to Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Ahmad Rashad, Sydney Rice and Dirtball Darrin in my back yard.

I love watching him spike the ball when he gets both feet down in the corner to score 6 as time runs out in Green Bay.  Love it.

And I rarely consider what the image of the Viking means; or even what it means to BE a Viking.  Like, a real Viking back in the day.  I don’t consider how they waged war, or how they treated enemies conquered.  I don’t know if they perished by the sword, the disease or famine.  I don’t know much.

But when I do consider why the team decided to go with the name “Vikings” I suspect it’s because they realized that there was a history of Nordic nature in Minnesota.  Many people originate from Sweden or Norway or Denmark in Minnesota.  And – and this is important – they wanted to celebrate that condition of character that stood out as desirable in combat.  Or competition.

I find it … cool that my football team is named after a nation of gifted warriors who were courageous and feared in battle.

And it would seem as if I am among a 90% majority:

Nine in 10 Native Americans say they are not offended by the Washington Redskins name, according to a new Washington Post poll that shows how few ordinary Indians have been persuaded by a national movement to change the football team’s moniker.

As Dan Snyder pointed out:

The Washington Redskins team, our fans and community have always believed our name represents honor, respect and pride

 

 

When the Other is a Hater

Persecuted

Someone can disagree with you and simultaneously not be a hater, a bigot, fearful of anything or anyone or be a racist and love the sound of a baby’s laughter, raise honeybees and dedicate his life to increasing the general goodness around her.

The Social Contract

Social Contract

Last week I posted on the concept of the Social Contract.  Specifically on the fact that a contracts binds folks into reciprocal obligations – a quid pro quo if you will.  But rare is the liberal democrat that will agree with this simple obvious fact.

At its very core, the concept of a give and take is the argument the democrat makes; from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.  The idea that someone sits idly by while the rest of society labor for his largess SHOULD offend the liberal.

Alas, any debate that suggests those receiving ought to contribute as they can is met with labels of ‘hate’ and ‘bigot’.

As it stands, the US government spends north of $1 trillion annual on means tested welfare.  That’s a number even the most ardent Bernie supporter would find unbelievable – a massive transfer of wealth from those that have to those that have not.  In fact, if Bernie had been asked what his goal in such transfer programs were back in the 60’s, he would have been happy enough with that number to retire and call it a success.

Back to the contract.  What if we limited compliance of that contract not to those in need, caring for others and perhaps unable to care for themselves.  What if instead we went after those with no dependents and were fully capable of fending for themselves?

Poster BoyNotice: The poster child of this movement is neither female, a minority or destitute

Well, Maine did it – and it worked:

In response to the growth in food stamp dependence, Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, recently established work requirements on recipients who are without dependents and able-bodied. In Maine, all able-bodied adults without dependents in the food stamp program are now required to take a job, participate in training, or perform community service.

Job openings for lower-skill workers are abundant in Maine, and for those ABAWD recipients who cannot find immediate employment, Maine offers both training and community service slots. But despite vigorous outreach efforts by the government to encourage participation, most childless adult recipients in Maine refused to participate in training or even to perform community service for six hours per week. When ABAWD recipients refused to participate, their food stamp benefits ceased.

In the first three months after Maine’s work policy went into effect, its caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents plummeted by 80 percent, falling from 13,332 recipients in Dec. 2014 to 2,678 in March 2015.

Now THAT is a win!

Proof

Alison Krauss is not simply proof that God exists – she is proof that He loves us.

California – The Land Where They Hate Poor People

Job Line

It’s simple econ 101:

Put a ceiling on the price of a commodity, you get less supply of the commodity.

Put a floor on the price of the commodity, you get less demand for the commodity.

Rent control – a ceiling – results in fewer rental units.

Minimum wage – a floor – results in reduced demand for workers.

Politicians ignore this:

In December, The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco released a paper examining the current research on the impact of minimum wage increases. It stressed that the “most important” policy consideration was whether there would be “fewer jobs for the least skilled workers” because “they are the ones the minimum wage is intended to help.” It found that the “most credible” research showed minimum wage increases resulting in “job losses” for these workers and “with possibly larger adverse effects than earlier research suggested.”

Or worse, they acknowledge AND ignore:

In January of this year, Gov. Jerry Brown agreed, stating that raising “the minimum wage too much” would put “a lot of poor people out of work.” His conclusion: “There won’t be a lot of jobs.”

I’ll include the math, though it likely won’t help the average minimum wage earner supporting a family [they don’t speak math]:

Take a typical quick service restaurant employing 25 people with annual sales of $1.25 million. The National Restaurant Association’s annual Operations Report states that the average pre-tax profit margin for such a restaurant is 6.3 percent, or $78,750. While more experienced employees typically contribute more to a business’s bottom line, for this example let’s assume that each of these 25 employees contributed an equal amount to the business’s success of $3,150.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, restaurant sector employees work an average of 26 hours per week. Increasing California’s minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 for such an employee results in an annual cost increase of $6,760, or more than double what the employee contributed to the business’ success – resulting in a loss of $3,610 per employee per year.

I recently went to see “Captain America: Civil War” and had the pleasure of waiting in line for concessions.  Agonizing.  Lines forever, employees that couldn’t remember “a beer, medium buttered popcorn, duds and a water” and the idea of making change was foreign.  Not a whiff of customer service much less mastery of task at hand.

Fifteen an hour?  Hardly worth the job.

North Carolina Teacher Pay

Teacher

With all of the news out of North Carolina, it would be understandable if you hadn’t heard of this:

Raleigh, N.C. – New rankings of average teacher pay across all 50 states and the District of Columbia show that North Carolina teacher pay is increasing faster than any other state in the country.

Data from the National Education Association shows that North Carolina has moved up six spots in the rankings of average teacher salaries since the 2013-2014 school year, the single-biggest improvement of any state in the country. North Carolina has also seen the largest average gains in teacher pay in the country over that same time period, according to the data.

During the 2015-2016 school year, North Carolina’s average teacher salary of $47,985 ranked 41st in the nation. When the data is adjusted for cost-of-living, North Carolina ranks 33rd in the nation for teacher pay, according to preliminary analysis by the John Locke Foundation.

Shrinking Middle Class – Good News?

Share Middle Class Pew

Listen to Bernie and all you hear is that the Middle Class is taking it on the chin.

“One of the major reasons why the middle class is collapsing is because of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street.”

True?  Well, the data from Pew in the chart above seems to indicate so.

From 1971 through to 2015, the share of adults living in the Middle Class dropped from 61% to 50%.  That’s 11 points or 16%.

Horrible!

But where are they going?

Well, if you look at the lowest income tier their ratio grew from 16% to 20%.  That’s 4 points and 25%.

The lower tier also grew from 9 to … wait.  It didn’t grow.

So, the Middle Class shrank 11 points since 1971 and only 4 – FOUR – of those points moved to the lowest tier.  Where did the remaining 7 points go?

Well, the higher income tier grew from 10 to 12 points; 25%.   And the highest?  It grew from 4 to 9 points.  The highest tier grew by 5 points; 125%!

Yes – there is a ‘war’ on the Middle Class – but the winners are those folks in the Middle Class!

It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village

It’s true.  It DOES take a village to succeed in life.  You need family, friends, neighbors and networks to survive in the world – you can’t do it alone.

Yet I cringe when I hear the phrase.  That’s my issue.

Anywho – I’m surprised at the tone of The Atlantic:

How do single moms with few resources and little income survive?

“They trade, they bargain, they strategize, they give each other daycare help, they share housing and food—women learn to strategize their way through all of these resources,” Suzanne Morrissey, a professor at Whitman College who has studied these families, told me.

Research suggests that while two-parent families may be isolated islands of efficiency, single parents—even poor ones—rely on an ever-expanding social network to get by. That social network has become even more important in the wake of welfare reform, when women who couldn’t find work could no longer count on cash assistance, and had to depend on their families and friends.

“It was really piecing together help from family and friends, letting bills stay unpaid, and in some of the more dire situations, they doubled up with friends and other family members because housing is such a big cost,” said Kristin Seefeldt, a professor at the University of Michigan who recently released a study about the strategies used by low-income parents in the wake of welfare reform.

I remember being low income.  I had a roommate and often times roomMATES.  We shared many things; food, rent, cars, utilities and yes – money.

In fact, I vividly remember having conversations with my main man that should either of us find ourselves in the position of having a kid out of wedlock that we would BOTH work to support that child – whatever came our way.

Why is that a bad thing?

Also, and I can’t let this slip, especially after my post on ‘social contract‘, when does single mom become a choice as opposed to an unwanted aspect of life?

Syracuse resident Brandi Davis, a 35-year-old mother of five, has been on public assistance since she was 18 years old. She asks her parents and grandmother to watch her kids when she’s working her minimum-wage job at the grocery store, and sometimes her older children help out, too. The help is necessary, especially since the jobs available to Davis, who has a GED, mostly pay minimum wage.

Beginning at adulthood, young Ms. Davis has never cared for herself yet has brought 5 children into this world.

Five.

Does society’s obligation have limits?