Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for January 2013

The man’s thinking camera

An accidental photo

An accidental photo

My camera took this photo by itself while I was putting it away and about to put the lens cap back on. I heard the shutter go off. Why did the camera do that? Did it have a mind of its own? But then I realized that the touch screen was set to automatically take a picture when touched. Mystery solved. So I turned off that feature to prevent this from happening again, and then I put the camera back in my pocket. I assumed there’d be a blurry picture of the sidewalk or something. But then, I looked through the photos, and surprise! What’s this?

So I learned some sort of lesson in creativity. As well as a retort to people who say that it’s not the gear that takes the pictures, it’s the person using it. Well actually, this photo is 100% the gear.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Posted in Photography

Guns, immigration, and Republicans

From a NY Times article dated yesterday:

Bruised by successive presidential defeats in which Hispanic voters played a significant role, Republicans are eager to join in producing legislation that would make it easier for people to immigrate to the United States or stay here in some cases if they entered illegally. The cause has been helped by years of a sputtering economy, which has reduced the flow of illegal immigrants, and thus the red hot anger directed at them, as well as increased border security.

But while Republicans are drawing back from their outspoken stance on immigration, as well as opposition to gay marriage and other social issues, they have found gun rights a secure policy to defend, often with the help of Democrats from conservative states, and are almost certain to oppose any agenda beyond changes to background checks for gun owners.

As much as you may think the NY Times is liberally biased, and certainly the Times is no friend of Republicans, I think this article correctly describes the mood of the Republican party.

Working class whites in states not bordering an ocean really love, love, love their guns. This cuts across party lines. There are working class whites who vote Democratic, but they also love guns. I think I may have underestimated that passion when I thought, a month ago, that the Newtown massacre would result in some sort of gun control legislation. It may still, but it’s no slam dunk.

But with respect to immigration, the people who love it are the elites. And of course the people who want to immigrate, or who have immigrated but want to bring in their families, also desire more immigration, but they don’t really have much control over the agenda of either party. I don’t see much evidence that the average white voter, or even the average black voter, is as pro-immigration as either party. Has any Republican ever lost a primary election because he was too hard on immigration?

The analysis about Hispanics is extremely shortsighted. If Hispanics voted Democratic, why would Republicans want to make it easy for more Hispanics to become American citizens and therefore voters? Oh wait, I know. Republicans think that Hispanics are heavily into Catholicism, therefore they are “natural Republicans” because they must be pro-life. I would tell Republicans, not that they are smart enough to listen to me, if Hispanics don’t care enough about abortion to vote Republican today, what’s going to change tomorrow? I think that the vast majority of Democratic-voting Hispanics don’t really care that much about other people having abortions, and they are not going to vote against their perceived direct interests because Republicans might make abortion illegal.

Do Republicans think Hispanics will be so grateful that they caved in on immigration? The Hispanics who really care about that issue are surely smart enough to know that it’s the Democrats who are really on the side of more immigration and not Republicans.

I predict that, in the future, we will not see Hispanics becoming Republican because of the abortion issue. Instead, I predict that we will start seeing anti-abortion Democrats winning primary elections because of support from Hispanics.

It should be pointed out that Romney lost Ohio, a key swing state with a low Hispanic population, because he couldn’t get enough working class whites to vote for him. And my reading of the exit polls is that working class whites thought that Republicans cared more about the rich. Could this possibly be because an issue that Republicans were most vocal about was to make sure that taxes don’t get raised for the rich?

The final conclusion here is that Republicans just aren’t very smart.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 30, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Politics

Not One57

A touristy shot of the tallest building in New York City. It only took 410 days to build. Too bad we’ve lost our capability of building tall buildings in less than 15 months.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 30, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Posted in Photography

Work, social class, and peak jobs

Reader “JayMan” pointed out to me an article at TechCrunch about peak jobs, meaning that technology is replacing jobs faster than it’s creating them, and this is a trend that’s not going to reverse. And even though, in theory, this should be a great thing for mankind that we can now live our lives without being burdened by the drudgery of work, because we are wedded to the idea that able-bodied people should have to work in order to deserve the bounty of our highly productive technological society, we are unable to deal with declining jobs in a fair and equitable manner.

This article is significant not because it says anything I haven’t already written about before, but because it indicates that the idea is starting to float around the internet.

And another topic I want to cover again is the social class implications of work. Here’s an analogy. Back when a suntan indicated you were a manual laborer, probably in agriculture, it was low class to have a suntan. But after industrialization moved jobs indoors to factories, and after the invention of air travel, a suntan came to mean the opposite, that you were rich enough to afford plane travel to a sunny vacation spot, and suntans became desirable again. Regarding suntans, I suspect we are moving in the opposite direction now. Tanning salons have led to the Jersey Shorification of suntans, and now bobos prefer more intellectually edifying travel than lying on the beach while absorbing skin-cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation, so suntans are becoming low class again.

Similarly, having to work used to mean you were low class because if you didn’t work you would die. People aspired to a life of leisure and not working. In the 1930s, we passed labor legislation that strongly encouraged a forty-hour workweek. Someone in the 1930s might have predicted that eighty years in the future people would work even less and there would be a thirty-hour workweek or even a twenty-hour workweek. Such a person would have been completely wrong. There have been no legal changes to the number of recommended hours in a workweek. And we see the strange phenomenon that the forty-hour workweek is a protection for only blue collar workers. More prestigious white collar workers, “exempt” from the wage and hour laws, get to work more than forty hours per week.

There has also been a large increase in labor force participation since the 1930s, in which mothers are now expected to go to work rather than stay at home and devote themselves to keeping house. Labor saving household appliance such as vacuums and clothes washers have freed women to work outside of the home rather than freeing them of the burden of working.

The creation of welfare and a “safety net” have significantly contributed to this change. As I wrote above, poor people had to work or starve to death. But today, public benefits ensure that no one starves to death even if they don’t work. In this new social milieu, working has become a desired privilege for the rich rather than a burden for the poor.

Because the elites now see work as desirable and self-actualizing rather than a burden, and it’s the elites who control the direction of society, they are not going move society in the direction of moving away from the idea of work.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 29, 2013 at 7:05 am

Posted in Labor Markets, Robots

One57 IV

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The view looking west on 57th Street. A wide angle lens is supposed to make distant objects appear smaller, but One57, the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere, still looks pretty big.

This photograph was taken the weekend before last, right before the weather got really cold.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 28, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Posted in Photography

HBO Girls, Season 2, Episode 3, Bad Friend

This episode was actually quite funny, although I wish that Hannah didn’t spend so much time wearing a mesh shirt. Although, as I pointed out in an earlier review, or maybe it was a comment in an earlier review, a major point of the show is that we have to see a lot of Hannah’s body and that real people aren’t always Hollywood perfect in that department, but they still get to have sex. But I was worried that she was gong to get arrested for indecent exposure.

Booth Jonathan, the short artist, is as weird as Adam, except he’s a cool alpha male and not a beta-male who read some “game” blogs on the internet.

The cool hip and urban Republican boyfriend, Sandy, is gone. Maybe he was a one episode gag? In any event, I like Hannah’s new love interest, Laird, better. I think he’s hilarious, and he looks like a character you might actually find in Greenpoint. I thought it was funny that he has a refrigerator full of that overpriced pomegranate juice. How does he afford it when he doesn’t have an obvious source of income?

And of course, there’s the interesting angle that Hannah looked down on Marine for taking a job as a hostess at some “club,” but Hannah thinks it’s OK to snort coke in order to appease the editor of some internet magazine called “jazzhate.com.”

I liked the location shot in front of the entrance to the Bedford Avenue L station. It’s always fun to see places I recognize on TV, and every episode Girls seems to have that.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 28, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Posted in Television

USA Today says there are too many college graduates

As reported at USA Today:

[Richard Vedder, an Ohio University economist], whose study is based on 2010 Labor Department data, says the problem is the stock of college graduates in the workforce (41.7 million) in 2010 was larger than the number of jobs requiring a college degree (28.6 million).

That, he says, helps explain why 15% of taxi drivers in 2010 had bachelor’s degrees vs. 1% in 1970. Among retail sales clerks, 25% had a bachelor’s degree in 2010. Less than 5% did in 1970.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 28, 2013 at 7:05 am

Immigration reform is coming

Immediately after Romney lost the election, I made the prediction that Republicans would take this as a sign to cave in on immigration.

The new “bipartisan” immigration bill being produced by the Senate, as described in today’s Wall Street Journal, will result in a massive increase in immigration. It will immediately allow immigrants here illegally to stay legally. Although they will have to go the “back of the line” to become citizens—unless brought here as children—the new bill is going to make the line move a lot faster, and it’s also going to allow new immigration.

Any company that can prove it can’t hire an American worker will automatically be able to hire a new immigrant, and the new immigrant will have a path to green card and citizenship. I should point out that it’s easy for a company to not be able to hire an American, all it has to do is offer a salary so low that no American would want the job at that salary.

There will also be automatic citizenship for anyone who gets a STEM doctorate degree from an American university. The easy prediction here is that immigrants will flood doctorate-granting diploma mills for the backdoor route to citizenship.

This is all happening at a time when the economy is not creating enough jobs for citizens, and I don’t think it ever will again because we are entering a new economic phase in which automation replaces jobs without creating new ones.

If this bill passes, there will be an immediate increase in the number of new citizens and new immigrants per year, and that will continue over a long period of time. Because new citizens are a lot more likely to vote Democratic than Republican, Republicans are signing their death warrant. Mitt Romney was probably the last Republican candidate who had a chance of winning the presidency.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 28, 2013 at 7:00 am

Posted in Immigration, Politics

Is AAPL a buy?

With the stock price at $439.98 the P/E ratio is less than 10. That’s an unheard of low P/E ratio for a company as dominant as Apple and that has a huge hoard of cash.

The price dropped last week because profits didn’t increase despite higher sales. But that’s just the normal cost of making sure that Apple maintains its dominance over Android. Once Android is crushed, Apple can raise prices.

What do you think?

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 27, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Posted in Investments

Three figure blogging

My links to Amazon.com generated $4.01 of profit during the last week, which will come out to $208.52/year if this trend continues.

If I had one hundred times as many readers, I could make a meager living from Amazon links if I moved to some low cost of living place like Oklahoma, but with my tiny readership it’s obviously not worth the effort to embed these links, so I’m going to give up that idea.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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