The Fed says that “full employment . . . means every worker looking for a job can find one” Lies, damned lies, and statistics

From The Wall Street Journal:

‘Still a Question Mark’ Around Full Employment, Fed’s Brainard Says

Too soon to declare victory on labor market’s recovery from recession despite recent improvements, Fed Governor Brainard says

By David Harrison | Updated May 22, 2017 9:17 p.m. ET

Lael Brainard

Lael Brainard

It is too soon to declare victory on the labor market’s recovery from the recession despite recent improvements, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said Monday.

“For me I think there’s still a question mark around are we there yet,” she said.

Speaking at a conference organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Ms. Brainard said Fed researchers estimate the labor market is now strong enough to absorb new people looking for work. But that has not translated into accelerating inflation, suggesting there might be more room for improvement in employment, she said.

“We really aren’t seeing much progress on core inflation,” she said. “If anything the last few months we’ve seen some stalling out of core inflation.”

Core prices, which strip out volatile food and energy prices, fell in March from the prior months for the first time since 2010. Analysts blamed changes in cellphone plan pricing but the drop has raised worries that the economy might be slowing down.

Let’s see, first quarter gross domestic product growth was a paltry 0.7%, on an annualized basis,1 so yes, there could be concern that the economy is slowing.

Ms. Brainard didn’t discuss the prospect of another interest rate increase at the Fed’s June meeting. But her comments suggest she remains concerned about the health of the labor market.

Over the past few weeks, several Fed officials have said the labor market has returned to full employment, which means every worker looking for a job can find one. Ms. Brainard’s remarks indicate some skepticism that employment is back to full strength.

OK, who says that “full employment . . . means every worker looking for a job can find one”? We have a serious employment mismatch in this country, one in which employers are having difficulties finding employees with the appropriate skills and training for their open positions, and unemployed people cannot find jobs either within their area or education and skill levels.2 If there are any “Fed officials” who believe that “the labor market has returned to full employment,” using that definition of full employment, those “Fed officials” need to become former Fed officials, because they are too f(ornicating) stupid to work there.

If we were anywhere close to the point at which “every worker looking for a job can find one,” it wouldn’t have been President Trump submitting a detailed federal budget today; it would be [shudder!] President Hillary Clinton.3 Our government leaders, so isolated in Washington and other big cities, simply do not understand what is happening in our country. They look at statistics, and think that they are seeing reality.
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  1. The Commerce Department is scheduled to release its second estimate, based on more complete data, on Friday, May 26.
  2. And, sadly, their ability to pass a drug test.
  3. U-3 unemployment rate for October, 2016 = 4.8%; April 2017 = 4.4%; U-6 for October 2016 = 9.5%; April 2017 = 8.6%. While U-6 has shown significant improvement, U-3 is not so very different between just before election day, and today.

Ford replaces CEO Mark Fields

From The Wall Street Journal:

Ford Replaces CEO Mark Fields With Jim Hackett Amid Pressure on Profit

Move comes amid a significant decline in share-price value during CEO’s three-year tenure

By John D. Stoll, Christina Rogers and Joann S. Lubin | Updated May 22, 2017 9:32 a.m. ET

Looking to combat Silicon Valley’s abrupt push into the car business, Ford Motor Co. F +1.81% Chief Executive Mark Fields hired industry outsider Jim Hackett to help tackle the issue in early 2016. Now Mr. Hackett is taking over the corner office.

Ford named Mr. Hackett, a former head of Steelcase Inc. who has been chairing Ford’s “Smart Mobility” innovation unit, as its new CEO Monday morning. The shuffle ends Mr. Fields’s three-year tenure at the helm of the Dearborn, Mich., auto maker and caps a 28-year career at the company during which he developed a reputation as a hard-charging leader.

We have written about Mr Fields’ and Ford’s initial response to President Trump’s policies, also noting Mary Barra and General Motors doing the same thing.

The Journal reported just yesterday that Ford’s Board of Directors was considering management changes, part of it driven by the decline in the stock price for Ford; Ford is down around 40% during Mr Fields’ tenure.

We have said it before: the sole purpose of a corporation is to earn profits for its shareholders, and in that regard, Mr Fields’ reign has not been a success. The problem I have is that share prices so frequently have little relation to reality: Tesla’s market value pushed past Ford’s in early April, even though Ford was still showing a steady profit and paying dividends, while Tesla was losing money and paid no dividends.

But, the irrationality of the market notwithstanding, Mr Fields’ responsibility was for the value of the company to its shareholders. In that responsibility, he failed.

New manufacturing in the United States

From The Wall Street Journal:

The Mill That Right-to-Work Built

An entrepreneur is bringing manufacturing jobs back to Kentucky—without protectionism.

By Allysia Finley | May 19, 2017 7:01 p.m. ET

In April the CEO of Braidy Industries, Craig Bouchard, announced his company would build a $1.3 billion aluminum mill in Ashland, Ky., creating 550 jobs. Within the past few weeks, he has received 2,600 applications—many with heart-wrenching personal anecdotes.

Ashland, a small Appalachian town on the Ohio River, was once an industrial powerhouse. Fifty years ago, nearby coal mines churned out cheap energy and raw materials for steel production. But in recent decades the region has suffered a series of blows. In 1998 Ashland Oil relocated to the Cincinnati suburbs. Two years ago, AK Steel laid off 600 workers. Last year CSX Railroad cut 100 jobs due to reduced traffic from the coal mines. Unemployment in Greenup County stands at 8.9%.

This story caught my eye, because my wife, of 38 years and two days, is from Ashland. Her late father retired from what is now CSX Railroad. And while the article is correct that the unemployment rate for Greenup County was 8.9% in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ashland is not in Greenup County, but Boyd County, adjacent to Greenup’s southern border. The ‘official’ unemployment rate for Boyd County stands at 8.3% It is possible that the new plant will be built north of Ashland, in Greenup County, but the article did not specify that.

Last month President Trump —who won the county with 71% of the vote—ordered an investigation into whether aluminum imports were jeopardizing national security. It’s a step toward the tariffs that protectionists hope will revive America’s Rust Belt. But the best hope for towns like Ashland is innovation and investment by men like Mr. Bouchard.

He’s the kind of businessman who might appear on a union hit list. The CEO cut his chops in derivatives trading before buying the scraps of a bankrupt Chicago steel company in 2003 with his brother James. Within five years, the Bouchard brothers had built their company, Esmark, into the nation’s fourth-largest steel conglomerate.

They sold it for $1.2 billion to the Russian steelmaker Severstal in 2008, shortly before the stock market and steel industry crashed. Thousands of workers subsequently lost their jobs. Mr. Bouchard blames the United Steelworkers. He had first tried to sell a partnership stake in Esmark to the Indian company Essar Steel. But the United Steelworkers sought to force a sale to Severstal, which the union perceived as more labor-friendly. Had the Essar deal been consummated, Mr. Bouchard says, “every one of those people would have their jobs today” because all of the company’s debt would have been paid off.

The episode soured him on organized labor, and it’s one reason he was determined to build his new aluminum plant in a right-to-work state, where workers can’t be compelled to join a union. Before choosing Ashland, he drew up a list of 24 potential sites. The logistics favored Ashland, and Kentucky offered $10 million in tax incentives as well as low-cost electricity. But Mr. Bouchard says he was prepared to build elsewhere had Kentucky’s Republican governor, Matt Bevin, not signed right-to-work legislation in January.

Pay at the plant, which is expected to be up and running in 2020, will start at $50,000 a year and average $70,000—about twice the median household income in Ashland. Workers will also have access to health insurance, fitness facilities and a day-care center.

There’s more at the original, but one thing has to be remembered: while Kentucky is now a right-to-work state, the workers at Mr Bouchard’s plant will still have the right to unionize; it’s simply that if a union election is held, and the workers choose union representation, individual workers cannot be compelled to join the union or pay dues.

The logistics around Ashland are very favorable, with both a large railroad depot and well-used river traffic on the Ohio and Big Sandy Rivers.

Mr Bouchard stated that the only sensible way to get into these types of industries in the United States is to start from scratch; buying out existing companies also means buying into legacy pension plans, and the CEO is unwilling to do that. The pension decisions of decades in the past are still weighing down American manufacturers today. Those decisions cannot all be blamed on unions; management too frequently took decisions concerning pension plans and funding which worked fine for the individual managers in the fifties and sixties, but are unsustainable today. Defined benefit plans are being replaced by 401(k) plans, and the like, plans which do not depend upon the company’s future contributions to those plans. The defined benefit plan, if not properly funded as the company moves along, is, in effect, paying retired personnel a wage for no longer working.

This is the kind of thing that the United States will need for American manufacturing to see a revival. There is no reason we cannot manufacture the things we currently import, but we cannot do it by holding on to the policies of the past.

The unreality based community

From National Review:

Chelsea Manning and the Problem with Pronouns

By David French | May 19, 2017 | 3:26 PM EDT

Intolerance of disagreement in the debate over transgender issues begins to creep into law. Yesterday trans Twitter got very, very angry with me. I wrote a Corner post about Chelsea Manning’s release from prison, and the focus was squarely on Manning’s misconduct. Manning betrayed fellow soldiers, put their lives in danger, and did it simply because he wanted to stimulate debate. Trans twitter was angry not with my description of Manning’s actions (though some defended him) but with my description of Manning. I used male pronouns. I identified a man as a man.

Immediately I was deluged with passionate but reasonable tweets explaining to me exactly what was wrong with my pronoun usage. No, wait. That was in a parallel universe. Here in the real world, I received a series of tweets you can’t post on a family website. In the real world, I was called a transphobe, “America’s worst person,” and many other names simply because I wouldn’t identify Manning as a woman.

Sure, that’s just Twitter, but the furious sentiments of transgender activists are making their way into law. For example, in New York City the government will punish employers, landlords, businesses, and professionals who use the “wrong” pronoun. Here’s how the New York City Human Rights Commission describes a “violation” of its human-rights law:

Refusal to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun, or title because they do not conform to gender stereotypes. For example, calling a woman “Mr.” because her appearance is aligned with traditional gender-based stereotypes of masculinity.

There’s a good deal more at the original.

As I have stated previously, The First Street Journal recognizes that Mr Manning, by all objective standards, is male, not female. Mr French erred when he wrote that he “identified a man as a man.” Mr Manning is most certainly a male, but it is very clear that he was never a man.

Fast forward 10,000 years, and imagine that almost all of the records of the 21st century have been lost. Some anthropologist happens upon the remains of Bradley Manning or Bruce Jenner,1 the two most currently celebrated ‘transsexuals’ of our time. The soft tissue being long decayed away, all that the anthropologist can recover is the skeleton of the individual. Doing his work diligently, he produces his findings:

  1. Based upon the structure of the skeleton, primarily the pelvis, I conclude that the subject was male.
  2. Further, based upon the recoverable genetic material, I conclude that the subject was male.

Why? Because said future anthropologist is basing his findings upon objective data. Males and females are physically different, different enough that current anthropologists are able to take sex distinctions between the fossilized remains of individuals who died a million years ago.

It wasn’t that long ago that the left were describing themselves as the “reality based community,” described by, of all people, Karl Rove, as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” Mr Rove went further to denigrate such as those who wait and watch, while conservatives take action, leaving the left to wonder just what had happened. To be “reality based,” one would have to give credence to objective facts.

Which raises the obvious question: why do the left ignore the objective facts about people like Messrs Manning and Jenner, and call their subjective statements about themselves reality? We do not dispute that both of those famous gentlemen consider themselves to be female, but that would be no more objective truth than if I, a Star Trek fan, told you that I was really a Vulcan.

There is even a website The Reality-Based Community, which has as its blog tagline, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” The site is fairly liberal (though a quick perusal gave me the impression that they were not far-left whackos), but the tagline points out the error of the left: in the case of the ‘transgendered,’ they are attempting to claim their own ‘facts.’

Intelligent conservatives will not allow them to get away with this. Their idiocy must be challenged at all times, or their subjective biases will become ingrained on society in such a way as to perhaps not be undone.
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  1. I am aware that Messrs Manning and Jenner have changed their names legally, not just colloquially, but I choose to use their birth names, so as not to give any credence at all to the illusion that either is actually female.

Bradley Manning is released from prison

Naturally, the credentialed media continue to refer to Mr Manning1 as a female:

Chelsea Manning, Once Sentenced To 35 Years, Walks Free After 7 Years

May 17, 20177:22 AM ET | Bill Chappell | Doreen McCallister

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning has left a military prison in Kansas and returned to civilian life Wednesday, seven years after being taken into custody for what is seen as the largest leak of classified data in U.S. history.

“After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived,” Manning said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union. “I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me is far more important than the past. I’m figuring things out right now — which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me.”

Manning tweeted a photo of her sneaker-clad feet, taking her “first steps of freedom” Wednesday morning.

The 35-year prison term Manning received as punishment for leaking thousands of military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks in 2010 was described as unprecedented when it was handed down. Before he left office, President Barack Obama shortened the sentence to about seven years.

There’s more at the original.

The left are just sickeningly hypocritical: they are celebrating the release of Mr Manning, who deliberately sent classified information to WikiLeaks, yet believe that Donald Trump is just a sickening human being, who ought to be impeached and sent to prison, because he may have been connected to getting Hillary Clinton’s campaign e-mails to WikiLeaks!

President Obama stated, in his final news conference:

Well, first of all, let’s be clear, Chelsea Manning has served a tough prison sentence. So the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital, classified information would think that it goes unpunished I don’t think would get that impression from the sentence that Chelsea Manning has served.

Mr Manning did not receive a tough enough sentence — he got only 35 years — and while his sentence was “tough,” including a good deal of time in solitary confinement, it wasn’t tough enough. He attempted to commit suicide twice while in prison; the authorities should have simply stood by and let him succeed.

It has been my view that given she went to trial, that due process was carried out, that she took responsibility for her crime, that the sentence that she received was very disproportional — disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received, and that she had served a significant amount of time, that it made it sense to commute — and not pardon — her sentence.

The problem isn’t that Mr Manning’s sentence was disproportionately long; it is that so many others received sentences which were far too lenient.

And I feel very comfortable that justice has been served and that a message has still been sent that when it comes to our national security, that wherever possible, we need folks who may have legitimate concerns about the actions of government or their superiors or the agencies in which they work — that they try to work through the established channels and avail themselves of the whistleblower protections that had been put in place.

Justice has not been served, but it no surprise that it wasn’t served while Barack Hussein Obama was President.

One more paragraph from the NPR article infuriates me:

Manning’s court-martial conviction is under appeal; her current status is classified as a special type of active duty, The Associated Press reports, meaning that “she will be unpaid but will be legally entitled to military medical care,” the wire service says, citing an Army spokeswoman.

I would hope that the Trump Administration sees to it that Mr Manning’s “military medical care” includes only coverage for illnesses and injuries, and that the United States government does not pay for any sort of sex change procedures.
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  1. Legally, Mr Manning’s name is Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. He filed a lawsuit to get his name changed, and the federal government did not object. While The First Street Journal recognizes that Mr Manning’s name change was legal, the Editor chooses to refer to Mr Manning by his birth name; this website also recognizes that Mr Manning, by all objective standards, is male, not female.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III wastes the taxpayers’ dollars

The New York Times tweeted:

And the story:

U.S. Hate Crime Law Punishes Transgender Woman’s Killer, in a First

By Liam Stack | May 16, 2017

A Mississippi man was sentenced to 49 years in prison on Monday for killing his transgender former girlfriend, a case the Justice Department said was the first involving violence against a transgender person to be prosecuted under the federal Hate Crimes Act.

The man, Joshua Vallum, 29, killed Mercedes Williamson in May 2015, after the end of their relationship, because a friend learned that she was transgender, a fact Mr. Vallum kept hidden from friends and family while they dated. Local news reports said that Ms. Williamson was 17 at the time of her death.

Mr. Vallum is a member of the Latin Kings gang and decided to kill Ms. Williamson because he “believed he would be in danger” if other gang members learned that he had once dated a woman he knew to be transgender, the Justice Department said in a statement. He pleaded guilty to a state-level murder charge and was sentenced to life in prison last July.

In December, Mr. Vallum pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a federal hate crime statute signed into law in 2009.

And, further down:

But Rob Hill, the Mississippi state director for the Human Rights Campaign, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group, said the case showed how much more work needed to be done at the state level.

Mississippi is one of 20 states that do not have a hate crime law covering crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

“There is an epidemic of violence against transgender people, and particularly women of color, across the country,” Mr. Hill said. “And yet today is the first time a perpetrator will be sentenced under federal hate crimes charges for killing a transgender person because that crime crossed a state line.”

Uhhh, Mr Vallum was already in prison, already sentenced to life in prison. Why did the Justice Department waste the money to convict him of another crime when he was already going to spend the rest of his miserable life in prison?1 As of May 12, 2017, the National Debt stood at $19,846,183,719,855.51;2 why did the federal government waste whatever money it cost to prosecute Mr Vallum for another crime when he will never get out of prison in the first place?

The judge in the case, Louis Guirola, Jr, said, “The taking of a human life because a person has a particular gender identity is particularly heinous and cannot be tolerated in an enlightened society.” Really? Is Mr Williamson3 somehow more dead than another person killed because the murderer wanted to steal his wallet? Was Mr Williamson’s life somehow more valuable than that of someone who isn’t ‘transgender’?

Prosecuting this case was ridiculous; it was nothing other than a waste of taxpayer dollars.
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Cross-posted on RedState.
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  1. Oddly enough, neither the Times nor most of the other sources reporting on this story mentioned that Mr Vallum was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. It’s almost as though the media wanted readers to think that Mr Vallum might eventually get out of prison, thus necessitating the federal sentence add-on. At best, it is sloppy reporting.
  2. Which, after 112 days of the Trump Administration, is still lower than the $19,947,304,555,212.49 it was the day Mr Trump was inaugurated.
  3. The First Street Journal always refers to individuals by their correct sex. “Mercedes” Williamson was a male, regardless of what he chose to believe, and regardless of how the credentialed media refer to him. Interestingly enough, according to the Times story, Jenny Wilkins, Mr Williamson’s mother, referred to her son “using male pronouns.”

NIMBY! Everybody likes wind-generated power, as long as they don’t have to see the turbines themselves! That's true for the Editor as well, but at least I admit it

From National Review

Big Wind Gets Spanked in Michigan

Citizens in 20 localities rejected wind-power expansion

by Robert Bryce | May 12, 2017 4:00 AM | @pwrhungry

Big Wind’s lobbyists and promoters love to claim that their projects are being welcomed by rural communities everywhere. The reality is rather different. Last Tuesday, voters in 20 rural towns in Michigan went to the polls and rejected or restricted the expansion of wind energy.

Furthermore, those same Michigan voters soundly rejected two projects being promoted by the world’s largest producer of wind energy, NextEra Energy — which, as I discussed on this site last week, has been suing rural governments in multiple states (two of them in Michigan) while at the same time collecting billions of dollars in federal tax subsidies.

Big Wind’s worst drubbing occurred in Sand Beach Township, in Huron County, where voters approved modifications to a township ordinance that will effectively ban wind development. The vote tally: 413–80. In addition, Lincoln Township voters approved an initiative that will allow it to form its own planning commission, a move that will make it far more difficult for wind projects to be developed in the township. Sand Beach and Lincoln were among 18 townships in Huron County that gunned down Big Wind’s expansion plans. (Huron County is about 130 miles due north of Detroit.) Voters in the other 16 townships went to the polls as a group and rejected two projects, including a 60-turbine project proposed by NextEra and a 70-turbine project being pushed by DTE Energy. Both proposals lost by a margin of 63 to 37 percent.

Read more here.

Local to the editor of The First Street Journal, Atlantic Wind wants to build a 37-turbine wind farm off of Hatchery Road, in Carbon County, which locals are fighting.1

Backlash against big wind: Booing Sierra Clubbers in Pennsylvania

By Robert Bryce | Published July 14, 2016 | Fox News/Opinion

If you need another example of the growing backlash against the encroachment of the wind industry, consider this: residents of Penn Forest Township, Pennsylvania, are booing the Sierra Clubbers.

On June 23, residents of Penn Forest Township, which sits near the heart of the Pocono Mountains, turned out for a zoning hearing on a 37-turbine wind project proposed to be built on land owned by the Bethlehem Authority, the financial arm of the City of Bethlehem’s water system. The next day, Nicole Radzievich, a reporter for the Morning Call , (based in Allentown) published an article on the hearing, held at a local fire station, which she reported was “packed to capacity with mainly critics.”

Radzievich added that “nearly 300 opponents” of the proposed wind project “hurled boos” at Pennsylvania Sierra Club’s Donald Miles for supporting the wind project, “and applauded verbal jabs against the wind energy company, Iberdrola Renewables.”

Of course, the backlash in Penn Forest Township and dozens of other towns, counties, and villages against the encroachment of wind energy doesn’t fit the popular-media narrative. Wind energy, we are constantly told, is “green” or “clean.” That same narrative, which is endlessly pushed by the Green/Left claims that we’ll have to install forests of wind turbines all across the countryside (and we’ll have to put thousands of them offshore, too) if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Those may be the claims, but the opposition in Penn Forest Township provides a vivid example of how the land-grabbing subsidy-fueled energy sprawl of the wind industry is being met by a burgeoning backlash that can be seen from Maine to California and New York to Loch Ness. Over the past 18 months, according to published media stories, more than 100 governmental entities in about two dozen US states have moved to reject or restrict the development of wind-energy projects.

In 2015, more than 60 governmental entities in 22 states moved to reject or restrict wind-energy developments with a total capacity of some 3,100 megawatts. During the first six months of 2016, more than 40 governmental entities in 18 states have rejected or moved to restrict the installation of wind energy facilities having a total capacity of more than 2,400 megawatts.

There’s more at the original.

Now, who could possibly be opposed to a project which generates electricity without emissions, virtually without pollution? Well, the stories above are all from those wicked red states, states carried by the odious Donald Trump. Then again, it was the liberals in Massachusetts, led by the Kennedy family, who killed the Cape Wind project, because it would upset their precious seaside views; The Boston Globe tried to deflect that, blaming it all on the developers, rather than the wealthy libs.

One important truth here: wind turbine farms are entirely rural projects, and the rural areas were President Trump’s greatest area of strength. The urban areas, where the Democrats get the vast majority of their votes, are places where wind turbines simply cannot be built. When the left support the development of wind energy, they are supporting something which will not be built where they can see it. When such a thing was proposed where the liberals could see it, the Kennedy family jumped right in to oppose it. The Obama Administration tried to push for more wind power, with subsidies are regulations changes, things which could only cause residents of the areas in which such wind farms are built to be opposed.

The view from my farm in Kentucky; the Kentucky River is just beyond the treeline.

The view from my farm in Kentucky; the Kentucky River is just beyond the treeline. Photo by the Editor, August 12, 2014. Click to enlarge.

I admit it: I’d be wholly opposed to wind turbines fouling the view from our farm in the Bluegrass State! Obviously, I’d never sell or lease my land to wind power developers, but to the right of the ‘foreground’ trees in the photo is land we do not own, and I would fight such development on that land.2

That said, I would not be opposed to solar power generation, as long as it was reasonably screened from view. But solar panels are set close to ground level, and can be screened off, while wind turbines must extend high into the air.3 The local solar farm, off of Pennsylvania Route 54 west of Nesquehoning, is mostly hidden from the road by trees.

This is just another reason why Donald Trump is President of the United States. The voters outside of the urban areas recognize that the left, so heavily concentrated in the cities, want to impose laws and regulations which will affect other people more than themselves. When the left want to impose higher fuel taxes, the impact will be greater on people who have further to drive; when the left want to impose some form of carbon emission penalties, it will cost people living outside of cities more money.

Pennsylvania Solar Park.

Pennsylvania Solar Park.

NIMBY: Not in my back yard! The left don’t care about putting projects in other people’s way, as long as they are not bothered. It’s only when they are bothered — as were the Kennedys — that such becomes a problem for them.
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  1. The Editor does not oppose the wind farm development, but it would not be visible from my residence, and I will be moving to my farm in Kentucky this summer. I have no reason to care.
  2. Because our farm is river bottom land, surrounded by mountains and the Daniel Boone National Forest, it would not be well suited for wind turbines; the lay of the land stifles some of the breeze.
  3. My wife has suggested mounting solar panels on the south-facing roof of the garage. These would not be visible from the road, which is on the north side of the property. We have not taken a decision on that so far.

Karma is such a bitch! Hoist by his own petard

From Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT):

Yet, according to the Congressional Record, the Distinguished Gentleman from Vermont voted for the so-called ‘nuclear option,’ which prevented minority filibusters of all presidential appointees other than Supreme Court Justices.

I am amused.

The big story, drowned out by the firing of James Comey

From The Chicago Tribune:

Aetna says it won’t participate in any Obamacare exchanges

by Tom Murphy | Associated Press | May 11, 2017 | 7:53 AM

While Republicans rewrite the Affordable Care Act in Washington, the immediate future of the law has grown hazier with the nation’s third-largest health insurer saying that it will completely divorce itself from state-based insurance exchanges.

Aetna says it won’t sell individual coverage in Nebraska and Delaware next year after projecting a $200 million loss this year. The insurer had already pulled out of several states after losing about $450 million in 2016.

The exchanges are a pillar of the federal law because they allow millions of people to buy coverage with help from income-based tax credits. But insurers like Humana, and now Aetna, have been fleeing that market. Others like the Blue Cross-Blue Shield carrier Anthem say they are wary of returning without guarantees of at least one key financial support.

Every exchange had at least one insurer offering coverage for 2017, but a growing number were down to only one. Insurance experts expect holes to develop in 2018 with the coverage growing so thin. Customers may be able to find individual insurance coverage off the exchanges, but those marketplaces offer the only way for people to get tax credits to help pay the premium.

About 12 million people bought coverage through the exchanges for this year. Most used tax credits to help buy coverage.

Among the states in trouble for next year is Iowa. Aside from Aetna, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield also said it will leave that state’s individual market after only a year on it. Another insurer, Medica, said earlier this month that its “ability to stay in the Iowa insurance market in any capacity is in question at this point.”

There’s more at the original.

We have previously noted Humana’s decision to withdraw from the laughably-named Affordable Care Act’s exchanges in the sixteen counties around Knoxville, Tennessee, leaving that area with no insurers participating in the ACA exchanges there in 2018. Thanks to some arm-twisting, Blue Cross/Blue Shield stepped in, and stated that it would cover that area on the exchange, an action similar to what the company did in Pinal County, Arizona, after Aetna pulled out of that market.

We’ve said it before: the ACA simply does not work, because it can’t work. The left seem to believe that private corporations exist to provide goods and services, but no, they all exist for one simple purpose: to make money for the owners and shareholders. Providing goods and services is simply the means by which they make money, and if they don’t make money, they will not be interested in providing their products any longer. The ACA makes health insurance companies unprofitable, at least as far as the ACA policies sold on the exchanges.

The American Health Care Act, recently passed by the House of Representatives, attempts to address some of the problems with the ACA, but still shares many of the same problems. Health insurance under the AHCA may be less expensive, but it is probable that more Americans will be unable to obtain health insurance under it.

The ACA is failing, as conservatives always said it would. That the AHCA might be slightly less objectionable doesn’t make it any more workable.

Why Are Divorce Rates Dropping?

Why Are Divorce Rates Dropping?

According to census data statistics, divorce rates are dropping in the United States each year. Since 2000, divorce rates have dropped from four percent to just over three percent for every 1,000 marriages.

Studies show that various factors have contributed to a decline in divorces seen by a divorce lawyer Chesapeake VA. over the last 20 years. Major factors include the importance of marriage equality, adults getting married later in life, and adults choosing to remain unmarried.

Marriage Equality

During the 1940s and 1950s, the typical marriage included the wife staying home to take care of the house and the kids, while the husband went to work to financially support the family. In the 1970s and 1980s when more women began to enter the workforce, many of those 1940s and 1950s marriages ended in divorce. With more and more women entering the workforce every year, marriage dynamics have changed significantly over the last 25 years. Today, husbands and wives look for marriage equality. Statistics show that marriages with financial and personal equality are less likely to end in divorce.

Getting Married Later in Life

Since the 1980s, many young adults wait longer to get married. During the 1950s, the average age for first marriages was 20 for women and 23 for men. In 2010, the average age jumped to 26 for women and 28 for men. In the last five years, the average age for first-time marriages has increased even more, with many women and men waiting until they’re over 30. Why the marriage delay? Studies show that many young adults want to be settled in a stable job before they get married. Many couples choose to live together and postpone marriage until they’re financially stable enough. Fifty years ago, marriage was considered the first step in adulthood, but now it’s considered the capstone.

Choosing to Remain Unmarried

Today, many women are choosing to remain unmarried after a divorce. With better jobs and bigger paychecks, many divorced, working women are finding it easier to support themselves and their children without a husband, especially if they receive regular alimony or child support. Although statistics show that most people who divorce remarry after a few years, financial security and age can impact those statistics. Men and women who divorce later in life often choose to remain unmarried, especially when they are financially secure. Many seniors who divorce after age 55 choose to remain single and build relationships with friends rather than another spouse.