Liberty – Indiana – Discrimination

Freedom of Religion

There has been much ado over the recent bill signed into law in Indiana.  It would appear that the good state has legislated that a business may discriminate based on the owner’s religious bias.  The immediate thought comes to mind of the baker unwilling to create a wedding cake for a gay couple.

My immediate thought is that the law is silly.  There is no need to spell out and create a special exception for religious freedom.  After all, we are all free people and, as such, are free to associate with whomever we please.

But I must admit to the shock I am seeing from people over this bill.  As if it was news that we discriminate in our individual lives.

We discriminate on where we live, where we send our kids to school, who we hire as a babysitter.  Shit, we discriminate on who we date.  But when it comes to who we sell a cake too….back up!

We are a free people.  Free to do as we like with whom we like; as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.  And no person has a right to a wedding cake.


Destruction Of Individual Property Rights

Propert Rights

Who would have thought that we would see the day where it would be illegal to invite people into your own house:

— City officials on Tuesday ordered a Raleigh man to stop renting out a room in his Five Points home through the Airbnb website while the city studies the growing trend of using such online services.
I applaud the explosion of options offered by Uber and Airbnb.  What better way to open more and freer markets to provide greater opportunities for individuals?

What Is Poverty And Minimum Wage

Minimum WageI am going to borrow liberally from the Coyote and he gives a shout out to Carpe Diem.  The debate concerning isn’t about making the lives of those suffering in poverty better – rather it is the “do gooders” crowd trying to impose their version of “fair” on others:

Note the household income per earner for the lowest quintile.  It equates to something over $14 an hour, well above minimum wage almost everywhere in the US and nearly as high as the $15 national minimum wage proposed as an anti-poverty program.

The problem with most poor households is not wage rate, it is getting full time work.  The household income per earner is nearly as high as the average income of the second quintile.  The problem is that most poor households do not have full-time earners.   The key stat is that only 16% worked full-time and only 30% had any sort of job at all.

Pay attention!  The key metric is not that those in poverty are being paid low wages, it’s that they don’t have jobs.  And raising the minimum wage only makes finding jobs harder.

Characteristics of Income

What Makes The Middle Class

Middle Class

The Middle Class.

What is it?  Who is it?  How do you get there, stay there or even leave there?

What does it mean to be Middle Class?

Some might define it literally:

One helpful yardstick to judge whether you’re middle class: Median household income was $51,017 in 2012, according to the most recent U.S. census data. Robert Reich, a professor of Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor, has suggested the middle class be defined as households making 50 percent higher and lower than the median, which would mean the average middle class annual income is $25,500 to $76,500.

If you’re in the middle of the middle, however – not lower or upper-middle class – that would be an income range between $39,764 and $64,582, says Aaron Pacitti, an assistant professor of economics at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.

Another such literal definition:

Financial Samurai Definition Of Middle Class: If you make within +/- 50% of your city’s household income for your age, you are middle class. For example, the average household income in San Francisco is $80,000. A person making $40,000 – $120,000 can comfortably consider himself or herself middle class. The cost of living in Des Moines, Iowa is obviously much lower, and the incomes will adjust accordingly. Income is only one part of wealth.

And finally a more descriptive definition:

The Middle Classes
Next come the middle classes, which make up the vast majority of the American population, and at the top of the middle class is the upper middle class, also known as the top of the class. Members of this class tend to be well educated, hold post-secondary degrees and have high-paying, white-collar positions. This class is male-dominated, and has an income of $100,000 or more annually. That’s enough to stay at the top one-third of U.S. incomes.

In the middle of the middle classes is the lower middle class. This class usually has households with people who have a college education, but these people don’t have the degrees necessary to advance into higher-earning positions. This class contains lower-level, white-collar workers who generally earn between $32,500 and $60,000.

The lower middle class can be split into two different categories: the satisfied middle and the struggling middle. The satisfied middle can still find satisfaction and positivity in their lives, despite their modest incomes, and include a disproportionate amount of young and old, but no middle-aged adults. The struggling middle, however, contains households that actually earn “a lower median family income than Americans who put themselves on the lowest rungs of the social ladder,” and have a disproportionate amount of women and minorities, enabling them to have a lot in common with the lower class.

At the bottom of the middle classes is the working class, also known as the blue-collar class or as the anxious middle. This class is the most dissatisfied and downbeat of the middle classes, and don’t have as much education, meaning that they may have gone to college, but have more technical or vocational training. They are also usually paid by the hour, and have a variety of jobs, including: police officer, truck driver and factory worker. Salaries in this class fall between lower middle class and the poverty level, with a range of $23,050 to $32,500.

I suspect that 2015 and 2016 will bring about a large debate concerning the middle class.  Elizabeth Warren is going to talk a WHOLE lot about the destruction of the middle class with very little work on defining it.

I’m interested.  What IS the middle class?

Idiots On Parade

Stacey Dash

If you care to see true freakin’ idiocy – goo check out reaction to Ms. Dash on her Twitter account:


Musings On Ferguson

smut and sensibilityThe dominating theme for the past week has been and is Ferguson.

I think it’s fair to say that most rational minded Americans are trying to make sense out of the events that occurred this summer and then the recent Grand Jury’s decision this past week.

I was recently pointed to this post over at Smut and Sensibility as a response to that decision.  Below my response:

The only kind of bombs I fully support are truth-bombs, and that’s why I’ve come together with a group of POC and select White allies to write this post. We feel it’s critical to have conversations about social justice loudly, noticeably, personally as well as systemically, and eloquently*—in this case, specifically around Ferguson, #stoptheparade, #BlackLivesMatter, #IndictAmerica, and all the myriad things happening right now around police brutality and the devaluing of Black lives.

I’m immediately put off by the reference o=to POC and ‘select white allies’.  This smacks as dog whistle for that group of people who preaches tolerance save for positions other than their own.

That being said, I am fearful of an ever growing and tyrannical state.  A police force being part of that state I am ever watchful.

However, the goodwill generated in the very real condition of big government = bad [ i don’t believe the author actually thinks big government is bad, only big government that doesn’t fit her paradigm ] is lost with #BlackLivesMatter.  Not one single individual I know feels that black lives don’t matter.  Further, given that black lives matter – there seems to be lower hanging fruit that can be harvested rather than heap on this case.

American Racial Incident Bingo

This. Is. Insulting.

The author is treating the incident as a game.  More than that, the very real arguments that challenge her point  of view are being marginalized to that of a common parlor game.

But Mike Brown robbed a convenience store!

Yes.  He did.

No one thinks that the punishment for felony strong armed robbery is the death penalty.  No one is making that case.  Rather, the point is that Mr. Brown state of mind at the time of the encounter was that of a felon – not that of a child seeking the company of his granny.

Mike Brown was a giant demon who charged at Darren Wilson, who had no recourse but to fear for his life and use lethal force.

It has been established that Mr. Brown not only charged Mr.s Wilson but that he assaulted him in the cruiser and attempted to take Mr. Wilson’s gun.

I’m white.  Anglo Saxon.  Protestant.  Male.  Upper Class.  If I try to steal a cop’s gun and then charge said cop I get shot too.

And, more importantly, this is what I teach my son.

Mike Brown smoked pot regularly and/or was high during his interaction with Wilson.

Smoking pot should be legal.  Pot smokers are more calm than alcohol drinkers.  I resonate with the author on this point.

Mike Brown was reaching for a gun when killed.

Mr. Brown was unarmed – but I’ve not heard the defense that he was reaching for a gun.  He simply was presenting a threat to Mr. Wilson.

Mike Brown was a threat and could not be taken into custody alive.

She had me at ‘threat’.

Why are you making this about race?

Serious.  Please check the data that suggests cops kill white people too.

What did riots ever solve? Why are people getting violent?

Wait.  No one is saying not to protest injustices or wrongs committed by the government.  DO!  I’m just saying that evidence suggests justice was served here.

Why riot?

The rest of the post degenerates into mostly straw man arguments save for the interesting:

Do you think you know better than the grand jury? Did you study state law?

I am not an attorney – neither is the author.  I am compelled by the evidence that the Grand Jury was provided all relevant evidence.  I cannot get into an argument regarding the Grand Jury.

Personally I think that the DA reviewed the evidence and came to the conclusion there was no case.  However, because of the political nature surrounding the events, decided that he was going to go forward with a Grand Jury.

It should not be surprising that a group of reasonable and rational people came to that same conclusion.


The NHL and Goals Scored


I’m experiencing a resurgence in NHL hockey.  This can be attributed to 3 (4) things:

  1. The Wild made huge news with the signing of Parise and Suter last season – and then the season was shortened.
  2. The Wild signed Thomas Vanek – s favorite of mine when he won the National Championship with the Gophers.
  3. My brother is wild about hockey.
  4. I’m losing interest in the NFL

So, now that the Wild have those three studs, the younger skaters and a full season – I’m all in.  I’ve purchased the NHL package and am watching more hockey in these first few weeks than I’ve watched since the Stars fought the Hawks for playoff wins.

And I love stats.  So, here is the first shot:

How many goals does a team need to score in order to win more than 50% of their games?  Based on the 2013 season?  Four.

Winning Score Games Won Ratio Winning Ratio
1 34 2.8% 2.8%
2 183 14.9% 17.6%
3 342 27.8% 45.4%
4 339 27.6% 73.0%
5 214 17.4% 90.4%
6 86 7.0% 97.4%
7 27 2.2% 99.6%
8 3 0.2% 99.8%
9 2 0.2% 100.0%

Adrian Peterson – Should He Play

Minnesota Vikings

Adrian Peterson, a  running back for the Minnesota Vikings has been inactive and suspended for much of the season after reports surfaced that he ‘switched’ his child too the point of welts, open wounds and bruises.  Adrian lives in Texas where such discipline  is legal as long as the child is not in danger.  That being said, a grand jury indicted him on felony child abuse charges.

Today Peterson pleaded no-contest to misdemeanor charges which will let him off with no jail time and a minimal fine.   This result, while not surprising, is sure to upset a number of fans and child advocates.

My take- Adrian Peterson was disciplining his child in a way and manner consistent with a parent’s right.  That said, the parenting technique of switching or even spanking, is an old one with significant studies showing that such techniques are counter productive.  Peterson was raised in an environment where such disciplining techniques were, and remain, common.

Adrian Peterson is guilty of ignorance, not child abuse.

Now, what do the Vikings do?  My hope is that they partner with Peterson and local and national child advocate s and launch a parenting awareness campaign.  If they can use AP’s profile in the hopes of educating people on the proper use of discipline, the conditions surrounding the unfortunate events can be transformed into a positive.

Election Night

Election Night

With Arkansas now in, the republicans need 10 more wins and stand and need net +4 to win the senate.


Early results are following expectations.

Kentucky to McConnell and the republicans sweep South Carolina.  That’s 3.

As a side point – South Carolina just elected the first black senator from the South and just the 5th ever.  Further, they elected a Indian-American woman as governor.

Battle For the Senate -2014 Election Tracker

Republican vs Democrat

Tuesday is a big day – the control of the Senate will be decided as 36 Senate seats are up for election.  For fun I’ve been watching the polling and have been keeping track of the races.  My spreadsheet is below and shows the races not up for election and the ones I’ve called:


Contest Republican Democrat
Not 2014 Election 30 34
North Carolina
Colorado 1
Louisiana 1
New Hampshire 1
Arkansas 1
Minnesota 1
Kentucky 1
West Virginia 1
Michigan 1
Virginia 1
New Mexico 1
South Dakota 1
Mississippi 1
Illinois 1
Oregon 1
South Carolina 1
Maine 1
Tennessee 1
Deleware 1
Montana 1
South Carolina 1
New Jersey 1
Nebraska 1
Idaho 1
Massachhusetts 1
Hawaii 1
Rhode Island 1
Texas 1
Oklahoma 1
Oklahoma 1
Wyoming 1
Alabama 1
Total Seats 49 46

Going into the election I have Republicans needing 2 to win and Democrats needing 4.  The races in play are listed above.

Stay tuned for election night results.