Monday, December 22, 2014

Viet-nam Opts for Capitalism, the US Not So Much


For John, BLUFOur economic vision is sometimes confused in this Great Nation  There is no magic, just hard work.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This item is almost two months old, a column in USA Today, but it is as current as today.  Law Professor and Blogger Glenn Harlan Reynolds 7:56 a.m. EDT October 27, 2014 gives us "How we 'won' in Vietnam, but are losing at home".  The subheadline is "Special interests weigh down America's economy, while Vietnam's young capitalism booms."

Here is the lede and subsequent paragraph:

So I guess we won that war after all.  According to the Pew Global Poll, 95% of people in Vietnam agree that most people are better off under capitalism, even if there is inequality.

By contrast, only 70% of Americans believe the same thing.  (America is out-performed by such other less developed countries as Nigeria, China, Turkey, Malaysia, the Philippines and India).  Maybe, quipped an Internet commenter, the Vietnamese should send us some advisers.

In his book, The Rise and Decline of Nations, economist Mancur Olson argues that established economies develop a web of special interests that gradually chokes off economic growth. Vietnam's advantage is that its own parasites haven't had a chance to start spinning much of a web yet.  Ours, on the other hand, have been at it for decades.
Food for thought.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Vulnerability to Sexual Assault


For John, BLUFTeaching both sons and daughters about proper sexual behavior is an important step in limiting sexual assault.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



My Middle Brother, Lance, and I have been batting back and forth the issue of rape on campus.  We both have daughters who went to College.  As is often the case, the lens we view things through often distorts reality.  The recent article in Rolling Stone, now discredited, on gang rape at UVA, and the California Assembly passing a "Yes means Yes" bill makes it look like Rape is a Collegiate issue.

This Opinion Piece in The International New York Times, by Ms Callie Marie Rennisondec, "Privilege, Among Rape Victims:  Who Suffers Most From Rape and Sexual Assault in America?" looks at some such assumptions.

LATELY, people have been bombarded with the notion that universities and colleges are hotbeds of sexual violence. Parents fear that sending their teenagers to school is equivalent to shipping them off to be sexually victimized.

But the truth is, young women who don’t go to college are more likely to be raped.  Lynn A. Addington at American University and I recently published a study based on the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey data from 1995 to 2011.  We found that the estimated rate of sexual assault and rape of female college students, ages 18 to 24, was 6.1 per 1,000 students.  This is nothing to be proud of, but it is significantly lower than the rate experienced by women that age who don’t attend college — eight per 1,000.  In other words, these women are victims of sexual violence at a rate around 30 percent greater than their more educated counterparts.

As an aside, as Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds frequently points out, it is not just the parents of young women who have concerns.  The parents of young men should be very concerned about the extrajudicial proceedings dealing with campus sexual assault.  Your son could be thrown out of college based on an accusation that was not ventilated by the standards of justice we would expect to be given to the lowest reprobate.

The statistics show a different picture.

Women in the lowest income bracket, with annual household incomes of less than $7,500, are sexually victimized at 3.7 times the rate of women with household incomes of $35,000 to $49,999, and at about six times the rate of women in the highest income bracket (households earning $75,000 or more annually).  Homeownership is another example of how economic advantage serves to protect women from sexual violence.  Woman living in rented properties are sexually victimized at 3.2 times the rate of women living in homes that they or a family member own.
Married women are less likely to be raped, and interestingly enough, women without children are less likely to be raped that those with children. Then there is education.  (Of course, education is correlated with family income, home ownership and other factors.)
Finally, we can look at educational attainment and the risk of sexual violence.  Women without a high school diploma are sexually victimized at a rate 53 percent greater than women with a high school diploma or some college, and more than 400 percent greater than those with a bachelor’s degree or more.
Like a lot of social issues, sexual assault is a complicated issue.

Regards  —  Cliff

Stopping Kinder Morgan


For John, BLUFI miss County Government.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



In Yesterday's "Column" in Th e[Lowell] Sun is a discussion of Wilmington's stance with regard to Kinder Morgan, which is trying to drive another pipeline through New England.  We have had months of inaction in Wilmington regarding Kinder Morgan's proposal for a natural-gas pipeline through Wilmington.  The Wilmington Selectmen have been pretty inactive.
At Monday night's selectmen's meeting, a small group of residents used the public comment period to call selectmen out for not taking a firm stance, or any stance, against the pipeline.  Meanwhile, other towns nearby have rallied against the plan, refusing the company permission to survey town-owned lands and adopting non-binding resolutions against the pipeline.  Several towns have now been re-routed out of the pipeline's path.
So, there you have it.  Towns united against the gas pipeline.  Mostly people are for the spread of natural gas, as long as it isn't in their neighborhood.  The term is NIMBY (NIM as in nimble and BE as in bee) (or Not in My Back Yard). Then there are those who would be a Samson in this world.  Willing to pull the whole structure down on top of herself to make her point.
"I really feel the board has to be a little bit more aggressive about this," said resident Suzanne Sullivan, a former selectman.

"I don't really care if there's a need (for natural gas in New England)," she added.  "Why should we be the sacrificial lambs for a need?"

There you go, rest of New England.  Wilmington doesn't care, or at least Ms Suzanne Sullivan doesn't care.

What happened to the Common in Commonwealth?

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Reverend Sharpton Sees the Light


For John, BLUFAnd Mayor deBlasio appears to be clueless.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases.
Per Rev Al Sharpton.

He got that right.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Boko Haram


For John, BLUFNigeria is the 8th largest petroleum exporting nation and a collapse would impact world oil prices negatively.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Here is a good question from The New Yorker, As the Year Ends, Where Are Nigeria’s Kidnapped Girls?.  The author is Ms Alexis Okeowo, who is a contributing writer for The New Yorker.  She is based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Most of them are still being held by the group Boko Haram, which is conducting a Stage I (Terrorism) Insurgency against the Government of Nigeria.

Every now and then, a girl might find an opportunity to run away, but Boko Haram has been kidnapping girls and young women for a long time; we know from those who have escaped (sometimes pregnant or with a small child) that they are often handed off to militants as sex slaves or forced to perform tasks for the terrorist group.
With an election for President of Nigeria in the offing, here is a summary of the situation:
The country’s northeast is a humanitarian disaster.  A million six hundred thousand people are homeless, waiting on handouts and unable to farm their land.  A famine is possible.  Refugee camps are overcrowded and woefully bare of services. The region has collapsed in on itself.  President Jonathan, who has presided over the conflict with a mixture of indifference and annoyance, is trying to convince Nigerians that he deserves another chance to bring prosperity to Nigeria, which will have to mean ending Boko Haram’s reign.  But his administration’s incompetency in the war may be the biggest selling point for his opponent, Muhammadu Buhari, who, despite having already ruled Nigeria as a military dictator in the nineteen-eighties, has somehow ended up as the man some Nigerians see as one of their country’s last hopes.
I would say this is a good point at which the magazine Rolling Stone can redeem itself after that atrocious effort regarding alleged gang rape at UVA.  With Boko Haram we have not only gang rape, but also mass kidnappings and the selling of women into slavery, including sexual slavery.  An ugly mix that will not be solved by suggesting to the overseers that "Yes means Yes".  And Hash Tags are not going to do it.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Translated into English, Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden", although the official name of the Insurgent Group is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Prophet's Teachings for Propagation and Jihad).  They, too, wish to set up a new Caliphate.

Another Kennedy Rejection of Ms Clinton?


For John, BLUFUncle Joe supported Senator Obama over Senator Clinton in 2008.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



The Boston Herald tells us that US Rep Joseph P Kennedy III (Mass 4th Congressional District) has indicated that he would support his old teacher at Harvard Law, Senator E Warren, if she decided to run.

Regards  —  Cliff

Flash Gordon Lives


For John, BLUFGreat Adventure stories for fathers and sons (and daughters).  Nothing to see here; just move along.



I always liked Flash Gordon, when it was serialized on TV in the late 1940s or early 1950s, and I was not surprised that in its own way it was an inspiration to Film Maker George Lucas and to his creation, Star Wars.  The story behind the story has been now told by Author Chris Taylor in the new history of the sci-fi franchise, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe,.

This, in turn was captured by The New Yorkers in an article by Mr Joshua Rothman, "The Crazy History of 'Star Wars'"

Taylor’s book doesn’t evoke the wonder of “Star Wars” so much as the strangeness of its vast success. At the movies’ core, of course, is familiarity: they’re exceptionally good reimaginings of nineteen-thirties sci-fi serials like “Flash Gordon.” As a child, Lucas was addicted to those shows; even in college, the world of military-space fantasy was so alive in his imagination that, according to one roommate, he preferred to “stay in his room and draw star troopers” instead of going out.
I found this paragraph interesting:
… the Emperor was based on President Nixon.  It’s hard for us to see it today.  The analogy I like to draw is to the nursery rhymes of the nineteenth century, which covered all these intricate political situations and were the satire of their day.  We don’t hear that now, we just hear charming children’s doggerel.
While I voted for Richard Nixon when he ran for his second term, it wasn't so much for Mr Nixon as it was against his opponent, Senator George McGovern.  I thought Senator McGovern would be a disaster and that President Nixon in his Second Term would be smart enough to not do anything stupid.  I was wrong.  That said, the Emperor seems a little bit much.  And who does Darth Vader represent?

Regards  —  Cliff