Amazon Deals

New at Amazon

Saturday, May 14, 2011

TX to TSA: Hands Off My “Anus, Sexual Organ, Buttocks, or Breast”

You can’t get any more explicit than the language in a bill passed by the Texas House of Representatives late Thursday that spells out how far the Transportation and Security Administration can—and can’t—go in its airport security pat-downs.

The measure makes it a criminal offense for any public servant to conduct a search in which “the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person” are touched, including through clothing. The bill also wades into Fourth Amendment territory by prohibiting searches “that would be offensive to a reasonable person.” The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures.

HotAir's The Greenroom.

The Coming Postal Bailout

Congress wants taxpayers to save mail worker pensions. If this were a private business, the obvious response to these losses would be urgent cost-cutting to avoid insolvency. Instead, Postal Service management recently concluded negotiations offering the 205,000-member American Postal Workers Union a new four-and-a-half-year contract that will provide a 3.5% pay raise over three years, dole out automatic cost of living wage hikes after 2012, and expand no-layoff protections.

Postal officials say this is the best deal they could get and that, had they not agreed to it, an arbitrator would have been even more generous to the union. But given that 80% of postal costs are for wages and benefits, this contract is unhinged from all fiscal reality.

What If the U.S. Treasury Defaults? "When do you generally get action from governments? When their bond market blows up." But that isn't happening now, he says, because the Fed is "aiding and abetting" the politicians' "reckless behavior."

Social Security deficits now 'permanent'

Washington Times: Social Security will run a permanent yearly deficit when looking at the program’s tax revenues compared to what it must pay out in benefits.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Why Bill Gross sold all his Treasury bonds

The Atlantic:

Our national conversation about deficits is about politics—about ideology—not math. It’s a proxy war in our eternal battle over how much to tax and spend. Republicans care about deficits when spending is on the table, but as soon as they get a chance to pass some tax cuts, they forget they ever cared. Meanwhile, Democrats, who were outraged—outraged!—when the deficit averaged less than 3 percent of GDP under George W. Bush, are now silent about deficits that are running three times as high, and that are projected to stay above Bush’s even after Obama has left office. Very few true deficit hawks are left in America—only deficit vultures.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Housing tax credit cost more than it benefited — for homeowners

Hot Air: Thanks to the artificially higher home prices that the tax credits provided, buyers have lost almost twice as much in value as the credit itself, and in some cases 150% more

Poker is much more skill than luck


Poker is much more skill than luck.

As this related Freakonomics blog post notes:
Using data from the 2010 World Series of Poker, Levitt and Miles found that high-skilled players earned an average return on investment of over 30 percent, whereas all other players averaged a 15 percent loss. This finding has serious implications on the legality of online poker, as that debate is heavily dependent on whether the game is based on skill or luck.
Also noteworthy:
The differences are "far larger in magnitude than those observed in financial markets, where fees charged by the money managers viewed as being most talented can run as high as 3 percent of assets under management and 30 percent of annual returns."

Armed Walgreens worker foils robbery

But there was one thing two robbers didn't anticipate when they barged into a Benton Township Walgreens drug store early Sunday and tried to march the workers into the back room: A worker already in back carried a handgun and knew how to use it.

via Newsalert.

Union Defends Calif. Lifeguards Making Over $120,000

‘Very Fair & Very Reasonable’

Canadian kid cures cystic fibrosis?

The Register: Using supercomputing to model the effects of different compounds on the mutant proteins responsible for cystic fibrosis.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Debt Problem In One Word: Spending


"And the Bush tax cuts aren't to blame for the massive fiscal hole that opened up over the past three years. That was partly due to the unavoidable recession-caused drop in revenues. But the big driver was the massive increase in federal spending, which reached an astonishing 25% of GDP between 2009 and 2011."

Yucca Mountain Shutdown Put Politics Over Science

Jonah Goldberg on the DAO report.

Chinese Stealth Fighter Could Rival US's Best

ABC: "(Analysis) based on the little publicly available information concluded that the fighter "will be a high performance stealth aircraft, arguably capable of competing in most cardinal performance parameters... with the United States F-22A Raptor, and superior in most if not all cardinal performance parameters against the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.""

via HotAir.

Tuesday links

Sci-fi Ikea manuals.

What’s living in your bellybutton?

The mind-controlling brain fungus that makes ants always bite at noon.

Two-headed baby born in China.

Condensing all 3 Star Wars prequels into 2 minutes, in Lego.

Crossposted at The Corner.

Christopher Hitchens on his cancer-induced inability to speak

Vanity Fair: What do I hope for? If not a cure, then a remission. And what do I want back? In the most beautiful apposition of two of the simplest words in our language: the freedom of speech.

PIMCO raises bet against U.S. debt


Monday, May 9, 2011

Another Nail In the Keynesian Coffin


Spengler: The hunger to come in Egypt

Devalued dollar, Asian demand for grain, chaotic politics = starvation.

The currency will collapse; the government will print IOUs to tide things over; and the Egyptian street will reject the IOUs as the country reverts to barter.

It will look like the Latin American banana republics, but without the bananas. That is not meant in jest: few people actually starved to death in the Latin inflations. Egypt, which imports half its wheat and a great deal of the rest of its food, will actually starve.

Half of Egyptians live on $2 a day, and that $2 is about to collapse along with the national currency.