I did the math!

From Facebook:

As in so many tests, extraneous information is given to confuse the test taker: the part about throwing the safety triangle out the window is unnecessary, as well as incomplete: we are not given the angle from horizontal at which the triangle was thrown from the car!

But the problem really does have an answer! We know, thanks to Charlie Daniels, that the value of one human soul is the price of a fiddle made of gold. A full sized violin weighs 14.25 ounces. If we assume that a standard fiddle is built with maple, maximum density 47 lb/ft³, that gives us 0.019494 ft³, or 32.745 in³ of material in the fiddle. Gold weighs 10.18 troy ounces per cubic inch, giving us the weight of a fiddle made of gold being 333.3441 troy ounces. With the current spot price of gold at $1,178.90 per troy ounce, a fiddle made of gold is valued at $392,979.35. Using the listed prices at Divine Cupcakes of $27.50 per dozen, of standard sized cupcakes, we come up with 14,290.158 dozen, or 171,481.89 cupcakes per human soul.

And what better excuse is there to post the video of the Charlie Daniels Band?

Rule 5 Blogging: American soldiers!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Katy Perry in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week: American soldiers protecting our county.

Lance Corporal Kristi Baker, 21, US Marine with the FET (Female Engagement Team) 1st Battalion 8th Marines, Regimental Combat team II patrols with other Marines on Nov. 20, 2010 in Musa Qala, Afghanistan. (Paula Bronstein/ Getty Images) Click to enlarge.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: American soldiers!’ »

Just in case you thought that raising taxes on cigarettes was designed to reduce smoking . . .

. . . we have this from The Los Angeles Times:

Health groups and other proponents said they need higher levies on each pack (of cigarettes) — or even e-cigarettes — to recoup more than $1 billion in revenues lost because fewer people smoke.

Hat tip to Donald Douglas!

That was only one line in along story cited by Dr Douglas on what he called an “orgy” of ballot initiatives to raise taxes in California. The last round of tax increases closed a $26 billion budget deficit, leaving the Pyrite State with a small surplus, but having balanced the budget is just not good enough; the Democrats who are running the state into the ground want more money to spend. Wallethub already ranked California as the second-worst state for average tax burden, with the average annual state and local tax bill of $9509 per year, 36% above the national average, and, as we have noted previously, the Census Bureau, using a methodology which takes into account both broader measures of income and the cost of living, says that the state has the highest poverty rate in the country. Of course, we have also previously noted that states that emphasize redistribution above growth have a wider gap between lower and higher incomes, and that California among other business unfriendly  states have  negative impacts on business, costing states jobs. People are emigrating from California, to places with lower costs of living, lower taxes, and more economic opportunity, and the people who are leaving are the ones who actually have the economic means to do so; the most desperately poor don’t leave because they can’t leave.

And now the left are admitting what we have been saying all along: that it’s all about having more money to spend, and not about trying to improve public health by discouraging smoking!   Since the discovery that smoking cigarettes is unhealthy, smoking has declined far more among the more affluent, and poor people are more likely to smoke than more economically successful ones.1 The Democrats who run California say that they want to tax the top producers in our economy, but what they really want to do is raise taxes on the poor as well.

The left are quite good at telling us just how much they want to help the poor, but their actual policies do nothing except hurt those at the lower end of the economic spectrum. By now, no one should be surprised.

At least there is some sort of karmic justice in all of this: the poorer people from whom the Democrats get so many of their votes are going to be the ones who are going to have to pay the increased taxes. Your Editor is smiling at that thought. He just hopes that Dr Douglas doesn’t smoke!2

  1. It’s not just California; Pennsylvania recently allowed the Philadelphia School District to add a $2.00 per pack tax on cigarettes sold in Philadelphia, not to discourage smoking but to help fund the city’s public schools. If people in Philly quit smoking, or, more probably, go outside the city limits to buy cigarettes, the School District will run short of money! This has no impact on your Editor, since neither he nor anyone in his family lives in Philadelphia, and none of us smoke.
  2. Actually, the Editor wishes that no one smoked: it’s a nasty, filthy and unhealthy habit. But I wouldn’t make it illegal, because it shouldn’t be any of the government’s business.

From Around the Blogroll

From Donald Douglas at American Power:

‘I got six kids to feed!’ — Trapped Driver Pushes #Ferguson Protester Off I-5 For Making Him Late For Work (Video)

More from the “tolerant,” “respectful” progressives on the collectivist left.

Via Gateway Pundit:

I have always thought that if you want to persuade someone to take your side on an issue, deliberately pissing them off isn’t one of the better ways to accomplish it. Yet the demonstrators angered by the decision of the grand jury not to indict Officer Darren Wilson on any charges for the death of Michael Brown have taken to blocking traffic to get their message across. Well, most people don’t like getting stuck in traffic, and when they discover that it is the supporters of the late Mr Brown doing it deliberately, the people stuck in traffic are not likely to look upon those demonstrators positively.

And now, on to the blogroll!

That’s it for this week! But if you are doing your holiday Christmas shopping online this year, if you choose to use the Amazon widget below, your host will receive a (very) small commission!

Is there any source of electric power generation that is environmentally acceptable?

From The Pirate’s Cove:

Hydro-electric Dams Now Deemed Bad For “Climate Change”
By William Teach November 28, 2014 – 7:48 am

Remember the good old days when Warmists said we should transition away from fossil fuels for energy and look towards solar, wind, geothermal and hydrothermal? Well, wind is known to have a negative impact on the environment. Solar power is not exactly great for the environment, either. Many environmental groups have protested the building of solar and wind projects because of the environmental damage.

Even cavemen sitting around a fire were putting deadly smoke into the air!

When it comes to dams, hydro-electric or otherwise, hardcore environmentalists have long had a bugaboo over them, and even want existing ones torn down. Now we find out that they are super bad for “climate change”

Dams Emerge as Key Climate Change Suspects

Efforts by many countries to reduce their carbon footprint by building hydroelectric dams could be misbegotten should these facilities also prove to be a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

While dams have long been believed to make a major contribution to reducing carbon emissions by enabling the generation of renewable energy in the form of hydropower, researchers now suspect they could be one of the world’s leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

The reservoirs created by dams generate copious amounts of methane as a result of the bacteria that thrive in their oxygen-deprived environments.

More at Mr Teach’s original. But the obvious question arises: if solar, wind and now hydroelectric power generation all have their own (supposed) environmental problems, is there anything short of relying on pixie dust — a substance which has not been confirmed to be both non-carcinogenic and non-greenhouse gas emitting! — which would please everybody?

Your Editor has watched a lot of Star Trek television shows and movies in his life, and he would absolutely love to see the obviously non-polluting, apparently almost free power sources from the 23rd century available today, but, alas! your Editor realizes that this isn’t the 23rd century, and that — shockingly enough — Star Trek is actually fiction! It would be great to see such eventually happen, and sometimes fiction presages fact, but it is also quite possible that such a future will never materialize. Even if it does, we still need electricity here, now, today.

The “Working Class” is deserting the Democrats

We have said it many times before: the Democrats cannot be both the party of the working man and the party of the nonworking man! From Gallup polls:

Obama Approval Drops Among Working-Class Whites
by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, N.J. — President Barack Obama’s job approval rating among white non-college graduates is at 27% so far in 2014, 14 percentage points lower than among white college graduates. This is the largest yearly gap between these two groups since Obama took office. These data underscore the magnitude of the Democratic Party’s problem with working-class whites, among whom Obama lost in the 2012 presidential election, and among whom Democratic House candidates lost in the 2014 U.S. House voting by 30 points.

Obama’s overall job approval rating has dropped throughout the first six years of his administration, and this downward trajectory is seen both among white Americans who are college graduates and those who are not. But the gap between his approval ratings among college-educated and non-college-educated whites has grown. It was six points in 2009, when Obama had the overall highest ratings of his administration, then expanded to 10 points in 2010 and to 12 points in 2013. The gap between these two groups is at its highest yet, at 14 points so far this year.

Whites in general constitute a political challenge for Democrats and the president given their Republican orientation, as evidenced by Obama’s job approval ratings so far this year of 84% among blacks, 64% among Asians, 53% among Hispanics and 32% among whites. About two-thirds of adult whites have not graduated from college, making working-class whites a particularly important group politically because of its sheer size.

Gender and Age

Democrats and the president do better among white women than among white men, and this gender gap is evident among those who are college graduates and those who are not. Obama’s approval rating ranges from a high of 45% among white female college graduates to a low of 25% among white male non-college graduates. The eight-point gender gap among white college graduates is twice that among white non-college graduates.

There’s more at the linked original, but I want to include this second graphic from Gallup polling, because it demonstrates the falsity of the cries of the left, that white disapproval of President Obama is due to racism. Note that, since the polling began, the President’s job approval ratings have dropped for all groups, in a fairly consistent manner. White female college graduates initially gave the President 59% job approval rating; they were, in effect, giving him a fair chance to see how well he would do the job. Working class white women1 initially gave the President a 51% job approval rating; their approval rates have had the greatest percentage decline of all. “Working class” white men were the least supportive of the President initially, but even they were giving the President an opportunity to win them over; the President’s race didn’t change in that time, but the success of his policies certainly did . . . for the worse.

The problem for the President specifically, and for Democrats in general, is simple: their policies have not helped the working class, and have actually been harmful. Despite the wholly misleading unemployment statistic, there are fewer full-time jobs than before the recession began. The Obama Administration’s and the Democrats’ moves to normalize the status of illegal immigrants, opposition to which the left see as racist, simply increases the supply of non-college educated workers vis a vis the demand for such workers, and working class people — white or not — can see that.

And, of course, there is the very obvious: the number of people on one form of welfare or another has increased dramatically under President Obama.  Working class people realize, seemingly better than the more highly educated, that all of those welfare benefits have to be paid for, somehow, and the only way to do that is to tax away the earnings of people who do work, to provide those benefits for those who do not.

Kentucky Senate race, by county, 1984

Kentucky Senate race, 1990, by county

Kentucky Senate race, 1996, by county

Kentucky Senate race, 2002, by county

Kentucky Senate race, 2008, by county

Kentucky Senate race, 2014, by county

I’d note here the 2014 Senate race in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was challenged by Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Other than in 2002, when Mr McConnell faced only token opposition in Lois Combs Weinberg2, the Democratic candidate normally carried a respectable number of counties. Even in the token opposition race, Senator McConnell never carried, not even once, Pike3 or Floyd or Knott or Breathitt counties in the eastern coal regions,4 but against the well-financed Secretary Grimes, he did. It was the white working class regions of the Bluegrass State, always solidly Democratic, that Mrs Grimes failed to carry, because the voters there have realized that the policies of the Democrats are harmful to them.

The Democrats have long counted on the endorsements of labor unions,5 and they will still get the support of the union leadership. But the union leadership are highly-paid, professionally secure men, who claim to represent the working class but are no longer truly part of it,6 and don’t really understand the problems of working class America, and the working class in this country has been slowly but surely deserting a party which no longer helps them.

  1. The Gallup article itself pushed the idea that not having been graduated from college makes one “working class,” an idea which is fairly common. Investopedia defines “working class” as “A socioeconomic term used to describe persons in a social class marked by jobs that provide low pay, require limited skill and/or physical labor, and have reduced education requirements.” It continues to state that “Unemployed persons or those supported by a social welfare program are often included in this group,” but The First Street Journal holds that there is a difference between working class and non-working class. Otherdefinitions can be found, but they are fairly unified on the concept that the working class are, primarily, those without higher education, who rely on manual labor to provide an income. Your Editor disagrees: he defines working class as those people who have to work for a living, and takes no distinction based upon the kind of work that they do, because he holds that all (legal) work is honorable and praiseworthy.
  2. Nevertheless, Mrs Weinberg is the daughter of former Governor Bert T Combs.
  3. Pike county is the larger county, the easternmost one in the state. Here is a county map of Kentucky.
  4. These counties have a significant number of unionized coal miners.
  5. In 2012, the United Mine Workers Union decided not to endorse any Presidential candidate. In 2008, the UMW had wholeheartedly endorsed Barack Obama.
  6. The Editor’s personal definition of working class, from footnote #1, notwithstanding.

Thanksgiving dinner at Fort Jackson

Basic Combat Training soldiers, 1st Battalion 61st Infantry Regiment “Roadrunners” at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, having Thanksgiving dinner. Note that the soldiers are carrying their weapons to dinner! Click to enlarge.

It’s a tradition at Fort Jackson: on Thanksgiving, the officers and senior staff don their Army Service Uniforms and serve the Basic Combat Training soldiers dinner. Click to enlarge.

Drill Sergeants serving their soldiers in training. I hope that the soldiers got more than the typical seven minutes to eat! Click to enlarge.

Pumpkin pie and an M-4 for dessert! Click to enlarge.

The First Street Journal wishes Justice Ginsburg a speedy recovery . . .

. . . and we hope that she continues to serve on the Supreme Court until after January 20, 2017!

I will not . . .

. . . go Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving day.

Our Thanksgiving dinner is postponed until Sunday, because that’s the next day that no one in the family has to work. It’s perfectly understandable that my wife has to work today: she’s a registered nurse, and hospitals can’t close down for the holidays. But when I see stores opening up this afternoon just to get an early start on Christmas shopping sales, and requiring their people to work, I know that the only reason they are doing so is because the management believe that they can make more money by doing so.

Well, the only way that retailers can make money by opening on Thanksgiving day is if people actually shop today. I would never try to use the power of government to force stores to remain closed on Thanksgiving, but I can, and do, urge people not to shop today. If people don’t shop on Thanksgiving day, retailers will quickly understand that there’s no profit to be made by opening next Thanksgiving.

Ferguson Open Thread

Supposedly, the grand jury’s decision is in, and the decision may be announced later today. This is an open thread for discussion.