Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Feeling My Years

While we were moving our daughter into her dorm room yesterday, I spent a few moments in idle chit-chat with another father doing the same. Turns out he was a recently retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer.

My military experience is limited to one three year hitch in the Army, way back in the early 1970s. I am conditioned to think of senior NCOs and Warrant Officers as old guys - stern, aloof figures who are almost God-like.

So imagine how I felt when I learned that this guy was 42 years old - the same age as my oldest son. In other words, I'm old enough to be a Chieft Warrant Officer's father.

My God, I'm old...


Empty Nest Syndrome

Yesterday we moved our youngest child into her dorm room at Texas A&M. We are now officially Empty Nesters!


I'm okay with that. Sure, there's some sadness and melancholy as you watch your little girl spread her wings and leave the nest, but I view it as an inevitable step in her - and our - life's journey. Her mother, however, sees it much differently.
When mothers talk about the depression of the empty nest, they're not mourning the passing of all those wet towels on the floor, or the music that numbs your teeth, or even the bottle of capless shampoo dribbling down the shower drain. They're upset because they've gone from supervisor of a child's life to a spectator. It's like being the vice president of the United States.

  --  Erma Bombeck
It was interesting comparing our daughter's departure with her older brother's. When we moved him in last year we parked, made one trip with his things to his dorm room, dropped them on the floor, and were shooed out shortly thereafter. It was a different story with the girl.

First of all, it required three trips to lug all her possessions from the truck to the room. Second, her mother (and her roommates mother) stayed there for several hours helping the girls unpack and get settled. Finally, the good-bye hugs were longer and tighter, and there were many more tears from both mother and child.

As an aside, our son moved into an apartment this year. The first day he could move in was Aug. 15 at noon. He left our house at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 15 - the earliest he'd gotten up all summer. Our daughter delayed her move until the last possible moment (classes start next week, but this is Gig 'Em Week for Aggies).

As part of the 'spreading her wings' process, I had her drive from our home to College Station (home of the Fightin' Texas Aggies - Whoop!) by herself. We followed in the truck. I wanted to make sure she knew how to get from Point A to Point B on her own.

We live out in the country. College Station is also located out in the country. To get from here to there requires a 200 mile trip on back roads. When I drive it takes around three hours. She took four hours to cover the same distance. She steadily drove five MPH under the speed limit.

She's a very conscientious young lady. She takes after her mother, in that she believes rules are meant to be followed. That's all well and good, but this is rural Texas, where speed limits are considered at best suggestions, and at worst challenges. I am very glad (and relieved) that the worst thing I can say about her driving habits is that she obeys the law, but still ... the trip seemed endless.

Anyway, she's moved in, and we're back home. My wife is quiet, and every so often heaves a long, forlorn sigh, but we'll get through it. Both wife and daughter are tough and resilient.

As I type this, I am working on my third beer. Funny, but it seems to be making my vision a little blurry...

Monday, August 25, 2014

FOD 2014.08.25

Maybe obama is smarter than we give him credit for.

Obama Challenges Caliph of ISIS to Golf Game
Facing criticism for going right from his Foley statement back to his golf game, the White House announced today that what appeared to be a bored manchild taking endless vacations and hanging out with his pals at taxpayer expense was actually part of a cunning scheme to defeat ISIS.

“Next week, President Obama intends to challenge the Caliph of ISIS to 19 holes at the Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course in Hawaii,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “His entire administration, all his experiences, have been leading up to this point. Every time conservatives ridiculed him, he was actually training for the day when he will personally defeat ISIL. At golf.”

While some pundits have questioned whether the Caliph of the Islamic State would even agree to take part in a golf game and what beating him at golf would accomplish, MSNBC and CNN were quick to tout the advantages.

“President Obama is like Batman,” Dr. Marc Lamont Hill told CNN’s Don Lemon. “If Batman fought crime by playing golf. Instead of fighting fire with fire, Barack is going to fight fire with golf.”

However in an exclusive interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, Hillary Clinton suggested that challenging the Caliph to a golf game wasn’t much of a strategy.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” the former Secretary of State said. “Maybe challenge him to a game of ping pong in the tradition of the US rapprochement with China. Or to see who can best defend a 12-year-old girl’s rapist by calling her a mentally ill slut. I could do that one again in my sleep.”

Some questions have been raised about whether the Caliph should even be allowed in the United States, but then it was pointed out that these days anyone can cross the southern border.

While the Caliph of the Islamic State did not yet issue a formal response, an ISIS press release warned that “The Lions of Mosul, the Knights of Tikrit and the Warriors of that Pile of Rubble Near Baghdad would play golf with the heads of the Zionist Crusader infidels and their Freemason Monkey-Pig allies.”
It's all part of barry's master plan to keep the media and the public distracted from the rest of his miserable failures until after the 2014 elections...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Double Whammy

For the most part, I wouldn't care if The Big One hit out west and California fell into the Pacific Ocean. But there would be one downside.

The wine ... think of the wine!
A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Northern California early on Sunday morning, the strongest quake to hit the Bay Area since the World Series earthquake in 1989.

Social media on Sunday was dominated by on-the-ground reports from shaken Californians and much of that chatter was dedicated to one burning question—what happened to the wine?



FYI, Matthiasson and Silver Oak make some of the best wines around. They're out of my price range (by that I mean their cost is in the double digits - and sometimes even higher) so I usually only drink them when someone else is buying.

Couple the ongoing drought with the earthquake, and you have a compelling reason to fill your cellar now. Are you listening, preppers?

And you too, honey?

Sunday Funnies 2014.08.24

We're taking our youngest child off to her first year of college today. Tomorrow we will officially be Empty Nesters!


A priest, a minister, and a rabbi are debating the question, “When does life begin?” The priest says, “At conception, of course!” The minister says, “At birth!” The rabbi says, “When the last kid goes to college and the dog dies!


It’s not an empty nest until they get their stuff out of the attic.


How to know if you're suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome:
You have thrown out the better part of the last several one-gallon jugs of milk, but still can't bring yourself to buy the one-quart cartons.

You called the power company and asked them to check your meter, because the hot-water bill has been way too low.

You still cook enough to have seconds and thirds ... and fourths.





Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday Night Dinner

Bacon-wrapped venison backstrap...


... along with bacon-wrapped asparagus...


... accompanied by a very nice Malbec.


Life is good.

H2O P.S.

As OldNFO pointed out in the comments to my previous post about California's water problems, the San Francisco region is exempt from the water rationing imposed on the rest of the state.

Why, you ask?

Two words - Nancy Pelosi.

Or in other words, Double Standard.

Pelosi's District Exempt From Water Rationing
It’s axiomatic that leftist leadership is always in favor of sacrificing for the environment if someone else is doing the sacrificing. This double-standard hypocrisy is nowhere more evident than in California’s water problems.

I’ve written before about how the drought is affecting residents and agriculture; and also how the failure of California Democrats to prepare for drought conditions in a state that has always been semi-arid has resulted in devastating cutbacks to farming and the loss of business and people to other, better managed states like Texas.

The latest statistics put 90 percent of the state in the severe drought category. But that, like many other rules the little people must follow, does not apply to Nancy Pelosi and her constituents in San Francisco.

The Washington Times has discovered that while drought, combined with the Endangered Species Act, “has wreaked havoc for decades on rural communities,” San Francisco is exempt from the water rationing imposed elsewhere.

To make matters even worse, water from the Tuolumne River is diverted 167 miles to refresh the residents of Baghdad by the Bay. As the Times points out, “Without that diversion, about 15 percent more water would flow to the Sacramento Delta, which is critical habitat for threatened fish like the delta smelt, the green sturgeon, and several species of salmon.”

As a result of this drought disparity, Craig Manson, head of the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability (CESAR), has filed a lawsuit “aimed at addressing the double standard that forces farmers to give up water in the name of species conservation — without requiring Bay Area residents to do the same.”

Winning is not going to be easy. Even the environmental community is not falling into line to support the effort because winning would make a powerful enemy in Pelosi. She may not read the bills before one achieves passage, but she has a long memory.

The green lobby is willing to accept a bit of hypocrisy at home in return for her support for the iron fist of “environmental justice” in other sections of the state with less political influence.

Which brings us to the operational definition of shared sacrifice for the affluent environmentalist: we share the sacrifice with you, while we take all the credit for our environmental concern.
Once again, democrat leadership is all wet...

I'm Praying For Rain In California

A few interesting statistics concerning California:
California has more than 38 million residents. Despite net losses of millions of residents to other states, California continues to grow through immigration.  Latinos now equal the number of non-Hispanic whites in California.

California ... has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates.

...more than 30% of the nation’s welfare recipients are Californians – even though California has just 12% of the nation’s population.

...California is ranked number one in poverty.

The cause for those bad statistics is bad government policy.  California is the most regulated, highest-taxed, most in-debt state in America.

Beyond debt, Governor Brown recently signed a huge tax increase featuring a top rate of 13.3%.  Overall, California taxes are 42% higher than Texas.  California also has the most extreme/job-threatening global warming law in the world, which includes a 15-cent gas tax increase slated to take effect in 2015 – on top of the already record gas prices.
Which brings us to the present. California is suffering from a severe water shortage. Some of that is due to a multi-year severe drought. Some is due to crumbling infrastructure. Some is a result of absurd environmental policies.

And some of it is due to the presence of a large number of illegal immigrants.
Think about it. There are nearly 3 million illegal aliens living in California, and that doesn’t include the millions of “anchor babies” that also reside here. The number of anchor babies is hard to calculate, but the kindest of estimates puts one anchor baby per illegal immigrant, so let’s set the number at 3 million. That makes 6 million people, who shouldn’t even be in this country, living in California and using up our resources.

If the government would enforce the law, the water drought wouldn’t even be an issue. There would be plenty to go around. Instead, we have a massive group of illegal people literally draining our water reserves. Gov. Brown wants Californians to use 20% less water, which is approximately the percentage of the population that is illegal. Get rid of the undocumented and the problem is solved.

California, especially the Southern portion of the state, is not a place that is naturally equipped to support a population of 38 million. Southern California is a desert and relies too much on Mother Nature and an antiquated aqueduct system to deliver water to its people. When the rain stops falling and the population grows, the drought problem gets worse.
Speaking of Governor Moonbeam, he's part of the problem as well.
Brown recently killed a proposed water bond of $11.4 billion because he said it would “break the bank.” Apparently $68 billion (for a controversial high-speed rail project "for which there is no significant consumer demand and, like most every rail system, will likely require endless public subsidies and therefore add to the debt crisis") won’t break the bank, but $11.4 billion would.

... without a far-reaching effort such as building 60 desalination plants at the same cost as the high-speed rail project – plants that won’t need future subsidies - the California economy is on an economic collision course with immigration.
If you're like me, you really don't care too much about what happens in California. After all, they made their own bed, so let them sleep in it, right?

Unfortunately, California's bungled management of the drought could have far-reaching implications for the rest of the country's future.
That future could very well mean fewer people in the dry West and coastal areas of the East and South, and more people in the comparatively water-rich Midwest. And if you're looking for a historical analogy that could illustrate the change, look no further than the 1930s-era Dust Bowl.

California was perhaps the chief beneficiary of the migration generated by the Dust Bowl, as residents of the Great Plains saw their livelihoods disappear in the drought conditions. From PBS' The American Experience show on the Dust Bowl:
When the drought and dust storms showed no signs of letting up, many people abandoned their land. Others would have stayed but were forced out when they lost their land in bank foreclosures. In all, one-quarter of the population left, packing everything they owned into their cars and trucks, and headed west toward California...

The Dust Bowl exodus was the largest migration in American history...
So what does this mean for today's drought-stricken areas?

It could mean that agriculture in the West begins to shrink, and workers become displaced.

It could mean that other businesses that are dependent on a consistent and secure source of water for production may start to look for other locations. 

It could mean that stringent water conservation and water management practices may cause changes in water pricing, and higher prices, combined with greater scarcity, may cause people to look elsewhere. 

It could mean that the cities of the Rust Belt may become a viable relocation option with its abundant water resources.
Wouldn't that be ironic? Refugees abandoning one failed democrat stronghold and fleeing to others.

There's one other potential consequence of the drought - a very serious one that might affect me personally.

Why wine drinkers should worry about the California drought
As California suffers from its worst drought in a century, local grape farmers are warning wine could be the next big casualty.

The state is suffering from its third consecutive dry year and water levels are running critically low.

The problem is a big deal for vineyard owners now, and will soon be one for wine drinkers too with California the largest wine market in the world. It supplies 90 percent of all US wine and is the world’s fourth-leading wine producer, after France, Italy and Spain.

 Dry conditions are likely to reduce grape production at many vineyards by as much as 25 percent in the coming years.

The stress of a drought can also affect the quality of the fruit that is managing to grow, so consumers could soon start tasting the difference.
That means the price of my favorite box of wine could skyrocket, while the quality declines.

I'm praying for rain in California...

Friday, August 22, 2014

480 Seconds

Recent news story - condensed version:
  1. Savages behead American
  2. American president responds
  3. American president tees off
Here's the essence of Mr. Compassionate's response to the Foley atrocity.

Total Time it Took Obama to Tee Off After Making Foley Statement: 480 Seconds


Note the time stamps in the upper left hand corners.

I wonder if he wore golf shoes while standing at the podium.

A little more detail:
President Barack Obama teed off again on Thursday, just 24 hours after pictures of his wide grin on the golf course drew condemnation in the wake of the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley.

The president drew fire Wednesday after reacting to Foley's on-camera slaying for just five minutes, and then gripping his driver.

He had told a global audience minutes earlier that 'when people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.'

Then he was seen laughing with friends and fist-bumping them during a five-hour round at Farm Neck on Martha's Vineyard.

His high-fiving on Wednesday has brought a chorus of condemnation from TV commentators, journalists, conservative partisans and Twitter users.

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters could hardly contain his anger Wednesday night on the Fox News Channel as he discussed Obama's reactions to the ISIS terror network's beheading of Foley, an American who had been missing since 2012.

'There is no way the president should be stupid enough to go play golf' after such a somber speech, Peters said.

'Not only did he insult the Foley family; he sent a message to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (the leader of ISIS) and all of the other jihadi terrorist militants – now soldiers of a jihadi army – that he doesn't take it all seriously.'
Speaking of Ralph Peters, he had this further comment on the subject.
“The only way you deal with Islamic State — these bloodthirsty, blood-drunken terrorists — is to kill them, keep on killing them, until you kill the last one, then you kill his pet goat.”

(H/T Moonbattery)
It speaks volumes about what this country has become that obama sits in the Oval Office, and Ralph Peters is retired.



There's only one way to get obama to be tough on terrorism.


It also turns my stomach that the media is up in arms over the beheading of Foley. I don't mean to minimize his loss, but the same media that suddenly is outraged over the behavior of ISIS savages in this case has been disturbingly and consistently mute regarding the ongoing slaughter of Christians by islamists.
Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? ... The Middle East and parts of central Africa are losing entire Christian communities that have lived in peace for centuries. The terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped and killed hundreds of Christians this year — ravaging the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza, in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, two weeks ago. Half a million Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria during the three-plus years of civil war there. Christians have been persecuted and killed in countries from Lebanon to Sudan.

Historians may look back at this period and wonder if people had lost their bearings. Few reporters have traveled to Iraq to bear witness to the Nazi-like wave of terror that is rolling across that country. The United Nations has been mostly mum. World leaders seem to be consumed with other matters in this strange summer of 2014. There are no flotillas traveling to Syria or Iraq. And the beautiful celebrities and aging rock stars — why doesn’t the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?

The general indifference to ISIS, with its mass executions of Christians and its deadly preoccupation with Israel, isn’t just wrong; it’s obscene.
Maybe the media's indifference to the mass execution of Christians is due to its obsession with one-sided speculation over what happened in Ferguson...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Modest Proposal Regarding Ferguson

There's more than enough Ferguson-related stuff and nonsense floating around the Interweb. The last thing that's needed is another "I wasn't there but I know what happened" piece, or another in-depth and totally off base analysis of race relations in this country.

I will, however, offer my $.02 worth on what should be done to halt the violence in Ferguson.

Remove all the police.

That's right - get all the LEOs outta there. Let the protesters rioters run amok. Let them loot and burn all the stores in that area. Tough luck for the shop owners, but I'm sure they have some sort of insurance.


Once the cops are gone, the confrontations between them and the protestors lawless thugs will cease. The media vultures won't have anything to gloat over, and they'll soon get bored and go focus on whatever Justin Bieber is doing. When the cameras disappear, the race pimps like Rev. Al and Jesse the Adulterer will likewise vanish, followed shortly thereafter by the Crips and Bloods and all the rest.


If anyone is worried about a breakdown of law and order in the absence of the police, I'm sure the black panthers and other 'community organizers' can fill the void.

But seriously, here's the biggest casualty of events in that sad little town.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Everything You Need To Know About obama

 This should come as no surprise to anyone who hasn't spent the last six years in a medically induced coma, but barack obama once again reveals his lack of leadership and compassion.

After ISIS Beheading Video, UK’s Cameron Cancels Vacation, Obama Returns to His Vacation
Over there:

“U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer vacation to return to London and chair urgent meetings on the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, calling the video ‘shocking and depraved.’”

Over here:

President Obama went back to his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday evening following less than 48 hours in Washington, leaving people puzzled over why he came back in the first place.

The Flying Boondoggle

I have previously made known my less than favorable opinion of the F-35 joint strike fighter. The new plane is intended to replace several aging airframes in the U.S. arsenal. It's supporters argue that it can be both an air superiority fighter (goodbye F-15 and F-16) and a ground support platform (adios A-10 Warthog). It even has short take-off and vertical landing capability (so long, Harrier). I get the efficiencies gained by standardization. Training, maintenance, logistics, all those good things will be simplified and less costly. But I am firm in my conviction that one plane cannot perform three disparate functions as well as three specialized ones. When it comes to winning wars, penny wise is indeed pound foolish.

There are also concerns about the airworthiness of the F-35.

Pentagon’s big budget F-35 fighter ‘can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run’
The Pentagon has had to temporarily ground F-35s no fewer than 13 times since 2007, mostly due to problems with the plane’s Pratt & Whitney-made F135 engine, in particular, with the engines’ turbine blades. The stand-downs lasted at most a few weeks.

“The repeated problems with the same part of the engine may be indications of a serious design and structural problem with the F135 engine,” said Johan Boeder, a Dutch aerospace expert and editor of the online publication JSF News.

Pratt & Whitney has already totally redesigned the F135 in an attempt to end its history of frequent failures. But there’s only so much engineers can do. In a controversial move during the early stages of the F-35′s development, the Pentagon decided to fit the plane with one engine instead of two. Sticking with one motor can help keep down the price of a new plane. But in the F-35′s case, the decision proved self-defeating.

That’s because the F-35 is complex — the result of the Air Force, Marines and Navy all adding features to the basic design. In airplane design, such complexity equals weight. The F-35 is extraordinarily heavy for a single-engine plane, weighing as much as 35 tons with a full load of fuel.

By comparison, the older F-15 fighter weighs 40 tons. But it has two engines. To remain reasonably fast and maneuverable, the F-35′s sole F135 engine must generate no less than 20 tons of thrust — making it history’s most powerful fighter motor.

All that thrust results in extreme levels of stress on engine components. It’s no surprise, then, that the F-35 frequently suffers engine malfunctions. Even with that 20 tons of thrust, the new radar-dodging plane is still sluggish. The F-35 “is a dog … overweight and underpowered,” according to Winslow Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight in Washington.

In 2008, two analysts at the RAND Corporation, a California think-tank that works closely with the military, programmed a computer simulation to test out the F-35′s fighting ability in a hypothetical air war with China. The results were startling.

“The F-35 is double-inferior,” John Stillion and Harold Scott Perdue concluded in their written summary of the war game, later leaked to the press. The new plane “can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run,” they warned.
Then there's the F-35 program itself. It is over budget and behind schedule. That by itself doesn't mean  much in the world of defense contracting. But the overruns and delays are staggering.

Why Is The US Military Spending So Much Money On The F-35 Fighter Jet?
The Joint Strike Fighter has been touted as a technological wonder that will dominate the skies but it has suffered one setback after another, putting the project seven years behind schedule and $167 billion over budget.

As a one-size-fits-all plane, and with US allies invited to take part, the program originally was touted as a money-saving idea.

But the program's costs have snowballed, for an estimated 68 percent increase over its initial price tag. The Pentagon now plans to spend $391.2 billion on 2,443 aircraft, with each plane costing a staggering $160 million.

When taking into account the cost of flying and maintaining the F-35 over the course of its life, the program could surpass a trillion dollars, according to the Government Accountability Office.
So if it isn't airworthy, and if it costs an arm and a leg, why on God's Green Earth are we pushing forward with this boondoggle? Cost savings is the explanation trotted out by the politicians and God-level military brass. But, like so many other things today, the F-35 program is a form of corporate welfare and political kickbacks.

This Map Shows Why The F-35 Has Turned Into A Trillion-Dollar Fiasco
The Pentagon has stuck with the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter program despite dozens of technical problems and delays, strategic concerns, and massive cost overruns that have nearly doubled the initial cost estimate, raising the cost of building the planes to around $400 billion with a lifetime cost of up to $1.5 trillion.

One reason why the project has become such a boondoggle is that many states and countries are significantly invested in the plane, relying on its production for income and jobs.

Every U.S. state but Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Wyoming has economic ties to the F-35 ... Globally, another nine countries have major ties to the F-35.
Click to embiggen.

I can live with the cost overruns and the program delays. I'm not happy with them, but I can live with them. But my greatest fear is that we as a nation are putting all our air superiority eggs in one very shaky basket. Russia, China et al. aren't just sitting around twiddling their thumbs. They're busy at work upgrading their air power, while we pour dollars and days down a rat hole. America has ruled the skies since WWI. I hate to see us give up that crucial strategic advantage just to keep slimy politicians and sleazy defense contractors fat and happy.

For an in-depth analysis of the F-35 program go here.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More Bang For The Buck

Technology has changed many things in our lives. Here's an interesting example of how technology has impacted the world's oldest profession.

Prostitution and the internet
For those seeking commercial sex in Berlin, Peppr, a new app, makes life easy. Type in a location and up pops a list of the nearest prostitutes, along with pictures, prices and physical particulars. Results can be filtered, and users can arrange a session for a €5-10 ($6.50-13) booking fee.
Other apps allow prostitutes to create online profiles so customers can browse the listings, or post reviews of their experiences. Just like other sites that provide information on more traditional services (e.g., TripAdvsior), these sites collect and aggregate data for further analysis.
The wealth of data available online means it is now possible to analyse this larger and less examined part of the commercial-sex market: prostitution that happens indoors. It turns out to be surprisingly similar to other service industries. Prostitutes’ personal characteristics and the services they offer influence the prices they charge; niche services attract a premium; and the internet is making it easier to work flexible hours and to forgo a middleman.
The Economist has analyzed 190,000 online reviews of sex workers. The article goes into great detail regarding the data and its implications. If the subject matter doesn't offend you it's quite interesting. For example, prices have dropped since 2006. Some of that is attributed to the 2007-2008 economic downturn, but other factors that I never would have thought of affect prices. For example, population migration, especially in the EU (the movement of immigrants from poorer Eastern European countries to more prosperous nations such as England and Germany) has a downward influence. Not only are the immigrants generally willing to work for less (this is true in many industries, not just prostitution) but the newcomers are often inexperienced and tend to underprice themselves.

Technology itself has contributed to falling prices by facilitating the entry of a new cohort of sex workers, and enabling greater competition from amateurs.
The shift online has probably boosted supply by drawing more locals into the sex trade, too. More attractive and better-educated women, whose marital and job prospects are therefore better, are more likely to consider sex work if it is arranged online. Indoor sex work is safer than streetwalking, and the risk of arrest is lower. Rented flats or hotel rooms are more discreet than brothels, so family and friends are less likely to identify the new source of income. Anonymity becomes a possibility, which lessens the fear of stigma ... Free, no-strings-attached sex is far easier to find than in the past. Apps such as Tinder facilitate speedy hookups; websites such as Ashley Madison and Illicit Encounters, adulterous ones.
(Click to embiggen.)

A surprising finding was that in the sex industry, just like in the corporate world, a college degree pays off.
A degree appears to raise earnings in the sex industry just as it does in the wider labour market. A study by Scott Cunningham of Baylor University and Todd Kendall of Compass Lexecon, a consultancy, shows that among prostitutes who worked during a given week, graduates earned on average 31% more than non-graduates.
Drilling down deeper into the data, we find that gentlemen really do prefer blondes - particularly well-endowed ones with long hair.

(Click to embiggen.)

Given all the unrest currently taking place in Ferguson MO, I hesitate to post this next chart. You can draw your own conclusions from it.

(Click to embiggen.)

Technology also helps improve safety and 'working conditions' for sex workers.
Sex work exposes those who do it to serious risks: of rape and other violence, and of sexually transmitted infections. But in this industry, like many others, the internet is making life easier.

Online forums allow prostitutes to share tips about how to stay safe and avoid tangling with the law. Some sites let them vouch for clients they have seen, improving other women’s risk assessments. Others use services such as Roomservice 2000, another American site, where customers can pay for a background check to present to sex workers.

In Britain, Ugly Mugs runs an online database that prostitutes can use to check punters’ names and telephone numbers. In America the National Blacklist, a “deadbeat registry”, allows them to report men who are abusive or fail to pay. Other women can check potential clients by names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and online aliases. Though not specifically aimed at sex workers, apps such as Healthvana make it easy for buyer and seller to share verified results in sexual-health tests.
The article is lengthy, but intriguing. It offers an insightful examination into the ripple effect of innovation, and the interplay between economics and technology. Set aside a few minutes and give it a read. I think you'll find in interesting.

I'm sure this is what Al Gore had in mind when he invented the Internet...

Monday, August 18, 2014

FOD 2014.08.18

One of the nice things about being incommunicado while on vacation was the refreshing absence of the unceasing cascade of gloomy news and commentary. I don't know if it's a reflection of the times, or if it's always been that way, but it sure seems that positive stories rarely if ever get reported.

The following is one of the first things I saw upon my return to 'civilization.' It's a well-written, thorough, and damning indictment of barack hussein obama. Whether through malice, incompetence, or some unholy mixture of the two, that buffoon has damaged this country in a manner that will take decades, if not longer, to repair.

Read it and weep.

The Un-Midas Touch
Everything that Barack Obama touches seems to turn to dross. Think of it for a minute. He inherited a quiet Iraq (no American combat deaths at all in December 2009) ... But by pulling out all U.S. peacekeepers — mostly for a 2012 reelection talking point — Obama ensured an ISIS wasteland...

Remember those threats to Syria? After the U.S. threatened and backed off, the violence only escalated and spilled into Iraq.

Libya was no paradise under Gadhafi, but it is now Mogadishu on the Mediterranean. Not even the president’s supporters believe that he told the truth about Benghazi. Reset with Russia green-lighted Putin, as he sized up Barack Obama as a lamb waiting to be eaten. The Bowe Bergdahl-for-five-terrorists swap (likely illegal) is not headline news only because dozens of scandals since have eclipsed it, and the likely deserter is apparently still kept incommunicado, lest he speak in the fashion of his father at the earlier White House press conference. I don’t think Bergdahl is a model for future negotiations with the Taliban.

Israel? We never have been more estranged from the Jewish state. Open mic outbursts against Netanyahu define our true policies. The terrorist state run by Hamas is now a partner for peace – tunnels, missiles, syringes, handcuffs and all. Did outreach to Hamas lessen or spike violence?

The war on terror? Obama has derided most anti-terrorism protocols, even as he kept some Bush-Cheney policies — to the incoherent point that no one has any idea what the U.S. is doing. Jihad a personal odyssey? Muslim Brotherhood largely secular? Major Hasan’s murdering mere workplace violence? Outreach to Islam NASA’s primary mission? Remember overseas contingency operations and man-caused disasters? In the Obama war on terror, waterboarding three architects of 9/11 is our “folks” torturing their “folks”; but judge/jury/executioner drone strikes that blow up 2,000-plus suspected (not confessed) terrorists — and anyone in the general vicinity when the missile hits — are far more moral. Out of sight, out of mind.

Past cabinet heads? No one knows exactly the circumstances under which Lisa Jackson, Hilda Solis — and even David Petraeus — left their offices.

Iran and the bomb? Look to red lines in Syria for an example of how our Iranian threats will work out. One cannot distinguish parody from Obama’s Iranian policy. We worried more about sanctions hurting Iranians than forcing them to comply with non-proliferation promises.

The world sort of likes the new reduced profile of the U.S. This is especially true of Russia, China, and Iran, as they fill the regional voids. The weaker we become, the more likely Obama is popular overseas, and the more likely the Left applauds his new global likability.
(Emphasis added, because IMO this is the most worrisome aspect of the obama legacy.)
At home? Obama has wrecked our healthcare system. Every promise about the Affordable Care Act proved an outright lie. No one can define Obamacare or explain how it is supposed to work. In fact, no one really even tries any more.

The budget? Obama’s legacy is $8 trillion more in debt, chronic 6% to 7%-plus unemployment as the new norm, and the idea that trillion is the new billion, as a $600 billion annual deficit is proof of fiscal responsibility and sermons on “growing inequality” reflect Obama’s record of creating record inequality. Zero percent interest rates ensure Wall Street zillionaires, the impoverishment of the once thrifty middle class — and the idea that saving money is stupid, owing it and not paying it back smart.

Students and college? One trillion dollars in collective debt buys a politicized college education to put twenty-somethings in a job market where 60% of newly minted BAs find jobs. Student debt is the new housing bubble, but at least a roof is more valuable for a time than a sociology degree.

The Border Patrol? It no longer exists. No one believes crossing illegally into the U.S. is a crime, and so there is no need for a law enforcement agency. Everyone is a DREAM-er; doubt that and you are a racist. To the extent the Border Patrol is not a parody of itself, it is a social services agency designed to facilitate illegal entry into the U.S. La Raza and the Chamber of Commerce, not Congress, set immigration policies.

The IRS? It too is ruined. It has become a Third-World extension of a partisan regime that hounds out political enemies. Ditto EPA, which mostly finds ways to circumvent Congress to punish successful companies and to pursue green statutes that Congress has no desire to pass.

NASA? We beg our enemy Putin to ferry us into space, as the director brags that the chief mission of the agency is now Muslim “feel good” outreach. Eric Holder has so politicized the Justice Department that we nonchalantly assume that racial matters determine to what extent Holder decides to enforce or ignore a law. Holder’s legacy is that John Mitchell now looks moral in comparison.

And the law? In some sense, we are in French revolutionary times. The ACA, immigration statutes, environmental laws — they all simply no longer exist. The law is what the president deems the public wants or what he believes is socially useful.

Race? We have become so inured to Trayvon Martin as Obama’s might-have been son, the stereotyping police, the “typical white person,” “my people,” “a nation of cowards,” “punish our enemies,” etc., that such polarization from on high is normal. Divide and conquer is the new old politics. After Obama won a decisive victory in 2008 that transcended race, we were suddenly told the world of the old white guy was over — ad nauseam — and race became essential, not incidental, to those who had proclaimed a need to go beyond race. In truth, the race fixation was not about justice, but raw power, the pathway to obtaining it and the mechanism for keeping it.

The presidential style? We assume that every Obama speech is an exercise in the use of the first-person pronoun. Every tired emphatic (“let me be perfectly clear,” “make no mistake about it,” “in point of fact,” “I’m not kidding”…) is proof of just the opposite. Equivocation, not clarity, is the goal of an Obama speech. In lieu of candor, there is always a macho brag that proves empty; always a straw-man, Emmanuel Goldstein-style enemy whom we are supposed to hate collectively; always some clueless clinger, devious capitalist, old Tea Party guy, or carbon polluter who is the source of all our problems. We assume that when the president gets off the teleprompter his speech will be incoherent and laced with “uh uh uh” — as the press gushes that it is Lincolnesque.

The press? But there is no press. Long ago it became a ministry of information and decided that Obama was the rare gift to enact a so-called progressive agenda. If or when there is a non-liberal president, we will be told golf is aristocratic time-wasting, that mention of race is hatred, that tampering with the IRS, NSA,  or any other agency is an impeachable offense, that ignoring enforcement of the law is treasonous, that $300 billion deficits are ruinous, that junketing to resorts is frivolous, that bombing without the approval of Congress is amoral, and that the teleprompter is proof of vapidity.

Our culture? Cool is all that matters. Outsource, offshore, speculate, crony capitalism — just do it with Birkenstocks and shades. If you are hip, rules melt. Nerds like Al Gore are cool and so seek to dodge new capital gains taxes, profit from oil-rich dictatorships, and offer snake-oil nostrums to the crises they hype as they lecture us about our selfish carbon-spewing sins. The key to understanding a John Kerry, Al Gore, Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates is that they are cool, and thus seek to avoid the property, capital gains, or inheritance taxes that they urge be hiked on everyone else. The Obama cultural legacy is that it does not matter what you do, only how coolly you do or describe it. Appear hip, and greed is forgiven. Buy a ticket to a $35,000 Obama fundraiser, wear something hip, and sound cool, and you are a progressive egalitarian. Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Wall Street learned that con long ago.

The president enjoys a 40% popularity rate and thus has institutionalized a new facet of American political life: redistributionist policies such as Obama’s guarantee that 4 out of 10 Americans will always stay supportive and that abroad most will like what the U.S. is becoming. That is the real Obama legacy: there are no politics any more, just an endless class war between patriotic progressives and counter-revolutionary clingers.
Sigh ... Much as I love Texas, I'm thinking of moving to the Wyoming mountains permanently - and getting rid of my smart phone, satellite TV, and Internet connection.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Funnies 2014.08.17

Reducing the backlog...


An 80 year old man was requested by his doctor for a sperm count as part of his physical exam. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, 'Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow.'
 
The next day the 80 year old man reappeared at the doctor's office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day. The doctor asked what happened and the man explained, 'Well, doc, it's like this -- first I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing. 'Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, then with her left, still nothing. She tried with her mouth, first with the teeth in, then with her teeth out, still nothing.'

'We even called up Arleen, the lady next door and she tried too, first with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeezin' it between her knees, but still nothing.'

The doctor was shocked! 'You asked your neighbor?'

The old man replied, 'Yep, but none of us could get the jar open.'


A dedicated golfer needed an operation on his arm. Just before he was put under, the Surgeon dropped in to see him. "I have some good news and some bad news," says the Surgeon. "The bad news is that I have to remove your right arm !!"

"Oh God, no !!" cries the man. "My golfing is over !! Please Doc, what's the good news ?"

"The good news is I have another one to replace it with, but it's a woman's arm. I'll need your permission before I go ahead with the transplant."

"Go for it, Doc" says the man. "As long as I can play golf again."

The operation went well and, a year later, the man was out on the golf course when he bumped into the Surgeon. "Hi, how's the new arm ?" asks the Surgeon.

"Just great," says the businessman. "I'm playing the best golf of my life. My new arm has a much finer touch and my putting has really improved."

"Not only that," continued the golfer, "my handwriting has improved, I've learned how to sew my own clothes and I've even taken up painting landscapes in water colours."

"Unbelievable !!" said the Surgeon, "I'm so glad to hear the transplant was such a great success. Are you having any side effects ?"

"Well, just one problem," said the golfer. "Every time I get an erection, I also get a headache."


The pastor asked if anyone in the congregation would like to express praise for answered prayers. Suzie Smith stood and walked to the podium.

She said, "I have a praise. Two months ago, my husband, Phil, had a terrible bicycle wreck and his scrotum was completely crushed. The pain was excruciating and the doctors didn't know if they could help him."

You could hear a muffled gasp from the men in the congregation as they imagine the pain that poor Phil must have experienced.

"Phil was unable to hold me or the children," she went on, "and every move caused him terrible pain." We prayed as the doctors performed a delicate operation, and it turned out they were able to piece together the crushed remnants of Phil's scrotum, and wrap wire around it to hold it in place."

Again, the men in the congregation cringed and squirmed uncomfortably as they imagined the horrible surgery performed on Phil. "Now," she announced in a quivering voice, "thank the Lord, Phil is out of the hospital and the doctors say that with time, his scrotum should recover completely."

All the men sighed with unified relief. The pastor rose and tentatively asked if anyone else had something to say.

A man stood up and walked slowly to the podium. He said, "I'm Phil."

The entire congregation held its breath.

"I just want to tell my wife the word is sternum."








Simple Truth 1:

Lovers help each other undress before sex.
However after sex, they always dress on their own.
Simple Truth: In life, no one helps you once you're screwed.

Simple Truth 2:

When a lady is pregnant, all her friends touch her stomach and say, "Congrats".
But, none of them touch the man's penis and say, "Good job".
Simple Truth: Some members of a team are never appreciated.


We had a power outage at my place this morning and my PC, laptop, TV, DVD, iPad & my new surround sound music system were all shut down.

 Then I discovered that my iPhone battery was flat and to top it off it was raining outside, so I couldn't play golf.

 I went into the kitchen to make coffee and then I remembered that this also needs power, so I sat down and talked with my wife for a few hours.

 She seems like a nice person.