Friday, September 16, 2005

Backfield in Motion

This is really, it is. IBM is offering to give employees money to become math and science teachers.

You see, firms often want to become more productive so that they can make more money. A firm can become more productive because it acquires more capital or different, more efficient capital. A firm can also become more productive if it acquires more knowledgable and effective employees. This is often called improving human capital.

Firms often invest in capital to make themselves more productive. Firms have a more difficult time investing in human capital. An example of an investment in human capital is education. But firms dont' really want to invest in education because they don't get to capture all of the benefits. Let's say Microsoft opens up a school and pays to educate everyone, they may derive minimal benefits from this as none of the students may eventually choose to work for Microsoft. Another classic example is a company training its workers so that they learn new skills. These employees could then take these new skills with them when they leave the company (maybe even before they even use them for the employer that paid for them).

Because of the relative ease of capital investment and the relative difficulty of human capital investment, we (the United States) have a chronic under investment in human capital. We're not producing enough highly educated people who can perform in the workplace at a high level.

Galbraith talks about his in his classic "The Affluent Society."

IBM is making an investment!

The goal is to help fill shortfalls in the nation's teaching ranks, a problem expected to grow with the retirement of today's educators.

Math and science are of particular concern to companies in many U.S. industries that expect to need technical workers but see low test scores in those subjects and waning interest in science careers.

"Over a quarter-million math and science teachers are needed, and it's hard to tell where the pipeline is," said Stanley Litow, head of the IBM Foundation, the Armonk, N.Y.-based company's community service wing. "That is like a ticking time bomb not just for technology companies, but for business and the U.S. economy."

While many companies encourage their employees to tutor schoolchildren or do other things to get involved in education, IBM believes it is the first to guide workers toward switching into a teaching career.

Meanwhile...President Bush promises to cut spending to pay for the New Orleans recovery effort. That is, he does not want to raise taxes so that we can keep spending the same and yet also finance the recovery effort.

"You bet it will cost money, but I'm confident we can handle it," he said.

Bush spoke after his advisers warned that Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction costs will swell the national debt by $200 billion or beyond. "It's going to cost whatever it costs," he said. "We're going to be wise about the money we spend."

This comment comes from the philosophy that we already invest enough money in public works. That is, we are wasting money, it has a higher return elsewhere, let's cut government spending.

But what if we aren't investing enough in human capital? Furthermore, Bush focuses on output, asserting that we must keep output at high levels by keeping taxes low.

"I means we're going to have to make sure we cut unnecessary spending. It's going to mean that we maintain economic growth and we should not raise taxes," he said.

The output he's talking about comes from the private sector which overwhelmingly produces goods that do not lead to the accumulation of human capital.

If Mr. Bush takes his pledge to remedy inequality seriously, he should help improve the education of the children of New Orleans.

Some might argue that education spending might increase if output increases and more tax revenue is collected from this increased output. But the most effective way of increasing the lack of human capital would be to cut private investment and increase public invest. The return is obviously higher for public investment.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

On The Road Again

Damn it all to hell! It's always been somewhat of a struggle for me to be a gay conservative. Sometimes, but not always, the Republican party seems less than inviting . Yet I've managed to realize that although the Democratic party is midly more accepting, they are certainly not embracing enough to earn my vote. My libertarian beliefs just align myself more firmly with the more conservative element of our society. I certainly don't hate myself as some will suggest.

But, damn it all to hell. According to this article, it looks like we are going to have to move our office again!

Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for "evidence of homosexuality" and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching, according to a document prepared to guide the process.

I thought for awhile that my lack of success in the sexual arena might save our office but then I read this:

Edwin O'Brien, archbishop for the United States military, told The National Catholic Register that the restriction should apply even to those who have not been sexually active for a decade or more.

Meanwhile, the liberals are going all goofy because President Bush accepted responsibility. Well, that's one more difference between me and your average snot-nosed liberal: It takes more than responsibility to get me all hot and bothered.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Never Did Nothing

I wouldn't do again...

There's a story circulating about how listening to music with headphones damages a person's ears. These worries have increased because so many young people are listening to iPods like 24/7.

Increasingly, Novak says he's seeing too many young people with "older ears on younger bodies" — a trend that's been building since the portable Walkman made its debut a few decades back.


We weren't that worried about the increasing use of iPods among the young but then we saw this! Good Lord!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


So, Barbara Bush, the former first lady, what do you think about the hurricane victims that have come to Texas?

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," she said during a radio interview with the American Public Media program "Marketplace." "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."


What the hell was she thinking? Why didn't she just tell us how she really felt?
This reminds us of that old Hall and Oates song:

Shake it up is all that we know
Using the bodies up as we go
Waking up to fantasy
The shates all around aren't the colors we used to see
Broken ice still melts in the sun
And times that are broken can often be one again
We're soul alone
And soul really matters to me
Take a look around

You're out of touch
I'm out of time
But I'm out of my head when you're not around

Reaching out for something to hold
Looking for a love where the climate is cold
Manic moves and drowsy dreams
Or living in the middle between the two extremes
Smoking guns hot to the touch
Would cool down if we didn't use them so much
We're soul alone
And soul really matters to me
Too much

Ok, that's her grandaugther, but whatever.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Narrator Still Missing

It seems quite possible that our narrator has been missing because he (gasp!) has been forced to seek employment. His grandfather would not be pleased, but maybe if his grandfather had been smarter, the narrator's trust fund would have been of ample size. Of course, there is the death tax, but we actually don't mind the death tax, being the limited-redistribution friendly trust-fund liberals that we are.

Anyway, both Marcus (our new, rather conservative, de-facto leader) and the nameless narrator are absent right now. Marcus and a few others went down to Graceland and are on their way back as we speak.

Marcus's absence has allowed the remaining liberals to control the posting in between marcus's visits to Kinkos.

Here's more from the flood in New Orleans from the washington post:

To those who wonder why so many stayed behind when push came to water's mighty shove here, those who were trapped have a simple explanation: Their nickels and dimes and dollar bills simply didn't add up to stage a quick evacuation mission.
"I don't own a car. Me and my wife, we travel by bus, public transportation. The most money I ever have on me is $400. And that goes to pay the rent. And that $400 is between me and my wife." Her name is Dorth Dunbar; she was trying to get some rest after days of peril.

Dunbar estimated his annual income to be about $20,000, which comes from doing graphic design work when he can get it. Before the storm, when he and his wife estimated how much money they needed to flee the city, he was saddened by the reality that he could not come up with anywhere near the several thousand dollars he might need for a rental car and airfare.

"If I took my wife out to dinner, it was once a month," he said, sounding as if even those modest good times had come to an abrupt end. "We'd go to Piccadilly's. Never any movies. Really, it's a simple life. I go to work, come home, talk to my wife, go to bed, then back to work again. A basic existence."

Situations like the one above are a consequence of our economic system and our general priorities as a society. These priorities are reflected in our choice of a president, but the blame for this kind of poverty does not lie with President Bush anymore than it lies with Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan. Sure, poverty has increased under the new Bush but it would not have disappeared under president Gore, for example.

But certainly, our society has revealed that it does not believe that everyone should have the right to flee a natural disaster. It has revealed that this right, like many others, should be bestowed upon those with enough resources to marshal the market forces in the correct direction (that would be any direction that leads out of town in this case). Seeing people die in this flood reveals to the United States what its priorities are.

The basic fact is that given ample resources many of those who stayed and suffered or stayed and died could have been evacuated. Local and state officials pleaded for evacuation, but neither the state or the federal government offered help to those who could not afford to evacuate. Who should they have called if they didn't have enough money to rent a car or take the bus? What should the elderly have done if they had no relatives in the area and were unable to drive or travel alone?

Most states and localities have no answers to these types of questions? Why? It is because most of us have deemed this questions unworthy of being answered. It might take too much time and effort to ensure everyone's safety.

We're sure that Marcus might argue that we could make highways 100% safe if we wanted to. We could legislate a 20mph speed limit and patrol them like crazy to ensure that no one would every die on our highways. We don't do that, however, because it would be expensive and it would sacrifice travel speed. In that situation we have revealed that we have other priorities besides safety. We try to balance out a priority of safety with our other priorities.

So, maybe its possible we could have saved everyone in New Orleans but it would have been too expensive or it would have interferred too much with our other priorities. Now is the time we all need to revevaluate our priorities and decide what kind of society that we want to live in.

We, certainly don't want to live in this one. Love it or leave it? Nah, love it and change it? Well, we have other priorities besides changing our society. For example, we'd probably break our string of seeing every movie that comes to the local theater if we did political work. Or we might have to spend too much of our trust funds and end up getting actual jobs. Frankly, that is so beneath us. It is our place in live to direct the action from the sidelines. It is our purpose to broadcast our opinions and let the marketplace of ideas reject them if it so pleases.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

AP Photos

At the moment, Marcus is somwhere between here and Graceland. So we continue to post from the home office.

Note the captions of these photos.

check out:
click here!

I go to the bathroom and...

fucking chaos ensues. We thought we had this whiny liberals under control. But no...the conservatives in the office got out for a little celebratory lunch, which turns into more of a three day road trip to Graceland, and we get these shitty posts from our overeducated friends from the back of the office. Well, thank god for Kinkos internet access! Without Kinkos we could not be with you today.

Katrina, Katrina, let down your hair.

"This is what happens to poor people in America."

No, this is what happens to people in NATURAL disasters.

We'd tell the liberals to stop whining and get a job, but since we all have trust funds and no jobs, (well not all of us, but those of us that actually matter) we'll keep that one to ourselves.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Greed is a weapon of mass destruction?

One of our staff brings up the point that perhaps if Halliburton had not overstated expenses by billions of dollars we might have some additional monies available for aid to New Orleans.


We read this morning that some people could not evacuate because they could not afford enough gasoline for their automobiles. If the hurricane had only struck a week later they would have had their paychecks and been able to leave or buy a bus ticket. So much for perfect markets. We're sure that payday loan places were also not about to give out loans before the hurricane, possibly figuring that they may not get paid for awhile if the flooding was bad and disrupted the local economy.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

This is so Fucked

We'd like to say we can't believe this, but this is what happens in America when poor people are in trouble.

New Orleans (AP) [LINK}

"I'm not sure I'm going to get out of here alive," said Canadian tourist Larry Mitzel, who handed a reporter his business card in case he goes missing. "I'm scared of riots. I'm scared of the locals. We might get caught in the crossfire."

New Orleans' top emergency management official called that effort a "national disgrace" and questioned when reinforcements would actually reach the increasingly lawless city.

About 15,000 to 20,000 people who had taken shelter at New Orleans convention center grew increasingly hostile after waiting for buses for days amid the filth and the dead. Police Chief Eddie Compass said there was such a crush around a squad of 88 officers that they retreated when they went in to check out reports of assaults.

"We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten," Compass said. "Tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon."

"This is a desperate SOS," Nagin said in a statement. "Right now we are out of resources at the convention center and don't anticipate enough buses."

At least seven bodies were scattered outside the convention center, a makeshift staging area for those rescued from rooftops, attics and highways. The sidewalks were packed with people without food, water or medical care, and with no sign of law enforcement.

An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. Around the corner, an elderly woman lay dead in her wheelchair, covered up by a blanket, and another body lay beside her wrapped in a sheet.

"I don't treat my dog like that," 47-year-old Daniel Edwards said as he pointed at the woman in the wheelchair.

"You can do everything for other countries, but you can't do nothing for your own people," he added. "You can go overseas with the military, but you can't get them down here."


"This is just insanity," she said. "We have no food, no water ... all these trucks and buses go by and they do nothing but wave."


Some of those among the mostly poor crowd had been in the dome for four days without air conditioning, working toilets or a place to bathe. An ambulance service airlifting the sick and injured out of the Superdome suspended flights as too dangerous after it was reported that a bullet was fired at a military helicopter.


"This is not a FEMA operation. I haven't seen a single FEMA guy," he said. He added: "We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."

FEMA officials said some operations had to be suspended in areas where gunfire has broken out.

Displaced residents also expressed anger at government officials.

"All I want to say to Mayor Ray Nagin is thank you for helping us," Yolanda McZeal, 43, said calmly, sarcastically and bitterly. "Governor Blanco, thank you for helping us. President Bush, thank you for helping us."