Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

IT'S COME TO 1984:
Lewis & Clark’s Racial Inquisition
How good-natured joshing turned two college football teammates into pariahs.
12 August 2014
Has it really come to this? This spring, the estimable Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reported on a caseout of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, in which two friends and football teammates—one black, one white—were punished for joking about race during a game of beer pong at a private dorm party in November 2013. No one at the party was offended, but an informer in another room overheard the banter and turned them in.
The black student had jokingly named his beer pong team “Team Nigga” and would shout the name whenever the team scored. At some point, the white student—reprising a running joke on the football team, in which black students would greet white teammates with the phrase “White power!”—said, “Can I get a white power?” The black student replied, “White power!”
The noise from the party awakened a student in another room in the residence hall (no doubt, college football players of all races, creeds, and colors can be loud and rowdy while playing beer pong). She reported this exchange to the Campus Living office, and an inquisition began. Campus Living turned the matter over to the campus police, which launched an investigation into the “racial and biased comments” at the party. Learning of the comments’ origins on the football field—where not only did black players greet white players with “White power!”, but blacks and whites both used “What’s up nigga?” as a friendly greeting—the investigating officer spun into full Inspector Javert of the Left mode. As stated in his report, “I asked . . . which players . . .—naming them individually—commonly used the n-word” and “expressed hope that . . . [the black student] would shoulder the responsibility to speak up and shed some awareness to his teammates and friends about how those particularly racist comments, and other even less inflammatory biased comments, negatively affect community members of color—and the community as a whole.”
Justice was swift. Several days after the party, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the two students were charged with inflicting “Physical or Mental Harm” and “Discrimination or Harassment,” as well as with disorderly conduct. The complaint noted that the charges were based both on the banter at the party and on “suggest[ions] that similar language may have occurred at other times . . . in the Football team locker room, and around campus generally.” The students were told to submit the names of any defense witnesses by 9 a.m. on Monday morning following the break, and directed to appear at a hearing on Tuesday.
Within days after the hearing, the two were found guilty of all charges, placed on probation, and ordered on threat of suspension to undergo “Bias Reduction Training.” The ruling stated, without any support, that their “language ha[d] contributed to the creation of a hostile and discriminatory environment.” They were given five days to submit “full and complete appeals.” (By comparison, appellants in court have months to prepare their cases.) The appeals were rejected in less than two weeks.
Rarely does the modern Left’s humorlessness, authoritarianism, and subversion of its own goals come together as starkly as in this case. Today’s liberals not only threaten to create a 1984 culture, in which informers who overhear private conversations turn in the perpetrators for reeducation. More troublingly, in the name of “multiculturalism,” they also seek to ban the kind of affectionate ethnic teasing between friends that for years—long before our elite liberal betters came along to lecture us on “diversity”—has allowed people in this polyglot country to break down barriers between groups and bond with one another. The upshot is that the only intercultural relationships allowed will be the phony liberal ones at food coops and faculty lounges, in which no one ever talks except to mouth hackneyed dogma and platitudes, and, in the absence of honest and unstilted conversation, increasingly Orwellian efforts are employed to ferret out “unconscious bias” and “micro-aggressions.” It’s all done in the name of a false multiculturalism that increasingly drives people apart.
I don’t know if the “Bias Reduction” brainwashing worked on the Lewis & Clark teammates, or whether, to the gratification of the Investigating Officer, they emerged to lecture their friends on the evil of their former ways. But I’m sure that if it did work, it also created a wall between them, and that their new, exquisitely polite, politically correct relationship will never approach the closeness of their previous friendship. I hope, of course, that the reeducation efforts failed, and that, like Galileo in the dock, as the Bias Reduction Trainer droned on, they whispered to each other: “What’s up nigga?” “White power, bro!”

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


AN ETHNOGRAPHER WEIGHS IN:An ethnographer is one who weighs in on black crime.


MORE CONFUSING EMPLOYMENT DATA: Whee's the labor participation rate number?

Diminishing Marginal Utility: It's a Law

Mises Daily: Monday, November 03, 2008 by 
Why are diamonds, which are little more than decorative baubles, so much more valuable than water, without which we would die? The answer is that value is determined at the margin, meaning that we value not "diamonds" as a category compared to "water" as a category, but one more diamond compared to one more unit of water.
Water is super-abundant while diamonds are not; this is one reason why a diamond is so expensive while water is not. This also illustrates an important point about decision making. Instead of "setting priorities" and viewing things in terms of all-or-nothing decisions, we should look at trade-offs.
One of the most important principles of economics is that decisions are made at the margin, and one of the key problems in classical economics concerned the source of value. The law of diminishing marginal utility is a fundamental tenet of economics, and it is every bit as much a scientific law as the law of gravity (more so, perhaps, as it can be deduced from an axiom — man acts — that is self-evidently true). Marginal utility is not decreasing just because we assume it is. The law of marginal utility is an implication of the action axiom, not merely an ad hoc assumption.
The "utility" one derives from consuming a good or undertaking an activity is best understood as a set of wants that can be satisfied by employing means, not as the output of a function mapping from an agent's consumption set into the real number line. Following this definition, the "marginal utility" of employing another unit of a homogeneous supply of goods or services must be understood as the additional set of wants that can be satisfied by employing that marginal unit. From the fundamental axiom of praxeology — that "human action is the use of means to arrive at preferred ends"[1] — we can see that the marginal utility of employing unit n is preferred to the marginal utility of employing unit n+1; in the language of mainstream economics, marginal utility must be decreasing.
In his classic article "Toward a Reconstruction of Utility and Welfare Economics" and in his treatiseMan, Economy, and State, Murray Rothbard asks us to consider eggs as an example. (I alter the example slightly here.) Consider Joe, who has a wife, a daughter, a dog, and the following value scale:
  1. Feed his family with cake
  2. Feed his daughter with scrambled egg
  3. Feed his wife with scrambled egg
  4. Feed himself with scrambled egg
  5. Feed his dog with scrambled egg
Suppose he needs four eggs to bake a cake. With his first egg, he will feed his daughter because he prefers this to all other sets of wants he can satisfy with one egg. With his second egg, he will feed his wife, and with his third egg, he will feed himself.
Now, suppose Joe purchases a fourth egg. This leads us to a possible misconception: one might be tempted to look at the situation and exclaim, "Aha! With the fourth egg, Joe can feed his family with cake, which he clearly prefers to feeding them with scrambled eggs! Clearly, then, the marginal utility of the fourth egg is higher than the marginal utility of the third egg; therefore, marginal utility is increasing!"
This line of reasoning neglects a crucial point: the fourth egg can only be used to bake a cake in the presence of the first three eggs. Since "marginal utility" is a concept that can only be applied tohomogeneous units of a given supply, "one egg" is no longer the relevant unit of analysis. The homogeneity of units is determined by the set of wants that can be satisfied with a unit of a good; in this case, the relevant unit of analysis becomes "1 unit=a set of four eggs." Thus, Joe's value scale may now be
  1. Feed his family with cake
  2. Feed his family with scrambled eggs
He will clearly choose to feed his family with cake and, should he happen upon a second set of four eggs, scrambled eggs as well.
The astute reader will notice that the value scales listed above were listed according to the wants satisfied by the marginal unit of a given good, not by the good itself after the fashion of Rothbard in "Toward A Reconstruction." Our hero Joe didn't prefer the first egg to the second in and of itself; he preferred feeding his daughter to feeding his wife. If only one egg is available, he must choose between competing ends, and the end that satisfies him most is feeding his daughter.
It should be evident that the law of marginal utility should be accorded just that epistemological status: a law. As Rothbard explains (and as Carl Menger and others showed before him), this theorem, which can be deduced from the action axiom, is more than merely empirically demonstrable: it is irrefutably true.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014


President Obama rewrites history before another vacation

By Rolf Yungclas  August 11, 2014 | CommentsPrint friendly |

On July 13, 2007, President George W. Bush correctly predicted the results of a complete pull-out from Iraq when he said:
“To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we’re ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaida.
“It’d mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It’d mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It’d mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous. The fight in Iraq is part of a broader struggle that’s unfolding across the region.”
So, on Saturday, August 9, 2014, President Obama had to hold a press conference right before leaving for his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard in order to explain how he is dealing with the disastrous consequences of the complete US withdrawal from Iraq.
The final question that he answered was: “Do you have any second thoughts about pulling all the ground troops out of Iraq and does it give you pause as the US is doing the same thing in Afghanistan?”
Mr. Obama then began explaining that “under the previous administration we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected Iraqi government.”
But as late as October 21, 2011, Obama was still claiming the credit for the agreement that established the removal of all US forces from Iraq: “After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011.”
The agreement on removal of forces, signed November 17, 2007, during the GW Bush administration said: “All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011.”
Sad to say that this agreement was passed with President Bush having the above understanding of what would happen if such an agreement was made with the government of Iraq.
Ending his little history lesson at his press conference, Obama then said: “So that entire analysis is bogus and is wrong. But it gets frequently peddled around here by folks who are oftentimes trying to defend previous policies that they themselves made.”
But President Obama himself was one of those “peddling” the idea, at least until it became clear that Bush’s predictions of chaos in Iraq were coming true.
So while he now correctly gives credit to President Bush for the agreement that led to the withdrawal of all our forces from Iraq, we see in his October 21, 2011 speech that he also took credit in advance for a peaceful, prosperous Iraq after the withdrawal, something that we are now clearly seeing did not happen:
“With our diplomats and civilian advisors in the lead, we’ll help Iraqis strengthen institutions that are just, representative and accountable. We’ll build new ties of trade and of commerce, culture and education that unleash the potential of the Iraqi people. We’ll partner with an Iraq that contributes to regional security and peace, just as we insist that other nations respect Iraq’s sovereignty.”
Also during his press conference Saturday, incredibly so, the Commander-in-Chief, gave a huge put-down of the military he is commanding and denied the above-described positive effects the presence of a U.S.-led international military force actually had in Iraq when he said, “if…we had had troops there, the country wouldn’t be holding together either.”
President Obama then went on to describe another failure of his administration as he lied about “the excellent work of John Kerry” in Afghanistan.

AND THE THERE IS THIS EMBARRASSING EVIDENCE OF CUT AND RUN:Now he's bent on rewriting evidence and history which is par for the course.

AND THIS KINDA MAKES YOU WONDER ABOUT PUBLIC EDUCATION AT ANY LEVEL:Honestly, should public monies be going to political causes like this one?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

IT IS INCONCEIVABLE BUT TRUE, OUR FATE HAS BEEN IN THE HANDS OF A FOOL:Doubt the veracity of this analysis at your own peril. None of this needed to have happened.

THIS PIECE GETS THE SILLIEST OF THE MONTH AWARD:Truly this piece makes no sense.

WHY WE NEED VOTER ID:It's painfully obvious why Dems reject Voter ID.

Mistiming the Market

As a small addendum to our previous post on the market situation, here is a chart recently posted by the “Short Side of Long”. It shows the cash allocation reported by AAII, which surveys retail investors. Not surprisingly, retail investors tend to be completely wrong in their positioning at major lows and major highs, while generally not doing too badly in the middle portion of trends. That latter remark has to be qualified by the fact that they tend to lose their gains from this portion of a trend by being wrongly positioned at its end.

Retail investor cash allocation reported by AAII, via the shortsideoflong – click to enlarge.

As Short Side of Long comments on the chart:
According to the recent AAII Asset Allocation Survey by retail investors, cash levels in July dropped to the lowest level since 1999 at only 15.8%. Just as this was happening, European markets like DAX 30 have started a free fall of 10% in only a few weeks, while S&P 500 is also experiencing the strongest sell off in months. It seems to be that the same old theme of buying very high and later down the track, most likely panic selling into an upcoming low, will once again be occurring.”
Of course the fact that retail investor cash allocations have sunk to the lowest level since 1999 is quite an astonishing and newsworthy datum, but we have seen the same thing happening in Rydex money market fund asset levels for quite some time already.
It should be pointed out that such data are not very useful as short term timing indicators, they do however have medium to long term significance. Certainly they show in this case how the average retail investor has once again been led astray by monetary pumping.

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