No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Day by Day cartoon

November 25, 2014

Here we go again – the EU picks a fight with Google

by @ 21:42. Filed under Da Tech Guy columns, Media, Politics, Technology.

Editor’s note – This originally appeared at Da Tech Guy Blog, where I write a weekly column on Saturdays

Stop me if you heard this one before – the European Union, flush with soverign political power but essentially bankrupt in the technology world, targets a dominant American technology company to force it to “de-couple” a major part of its business model from the rest of the company’s business model. This is actually the third time the EU has at least threatened this, and while the first two times, it successfully targeted Microsoft, this time, they’re targeting Google. The opening paragraph of Forbes contributor Tim Worstall’s piece:

Or at least that’s what is being suggested in the European Parliament, that search engines should be forced to be divorced from other business activities. It’s also true that they don’t directly mention Google but that’s obviously who it is aimed at. Fortunately, as a matter of public policy this isn’t going to go very far. Because the European Parliament doesn’t actually have the right to propose either actions or legislation. Only the European Commission can actually propose something and then the Parliament gets to say yea or nay to it.

Before you laugh this threat away like Worstall does, I am compelled to point out that the EU not only got Microsoft to unbundle Windows Media Player and, later, Internet Explorer from the various versions of Windows sold in Europe, but that the EU enriched itself by nearly $2 billion from Microsoft’s coffers.

The interesting bit of the EU’s latest attack on American technology companies comes later in Worstall’s column. It seems the German press got miffed that Google News was “stealing” their articles by, get this, excerpting the articles and linking to the full versions, with the net effect of driving traffic to the German press’ websites. Their attempt to use the German Bundestag to show Google what’s what failed spectacularly when Google simply stopped linking to them instead of paying the suddenly-legalized extortion. They then got the German members of the EU bureaucracy involved, and here we are.

I’m sure there’s a lesson for the “establishment” press here. On a related note, do read Worstall’s piece for the explanation of why decoupling Google’s search engine from the rest of its business is “insane”.

November 13, 2014

The Milwaukee/Madison stranglehold on the Democrat Party

by @ 18:30. Filed under Politics - Wisconsin.

Mark Belling pointed out something astonishing earlier this afternoon – every Demcorat nominee for governor since 1964 has run from either the city of Milwaukee or Dane County. It turns out the Milwaukee/Madison wings have had an even stronger stranglehold on the Democrat US Senator nominee. Since Francis Ryan Duffy (D-Fond du Lac) lost his re-election bid in 1938, every candidate has called Milwaukee, Madison or Madison’s suburbs home during their campaigns and, for the successful, their tenures:

1944 – Howard McMurray (D-Milwaukee), lost
1946 – McMurray, lost
1950 – Thomas Fairchild (D-Verona), lost
1952 – Fairchild, lost (and returned to his regular home of Milwaukee after the 1952 election)
1956 – Henry Maier (D-Milwaukee), lost
1957 – William Proxmire (D-Madison), won a special election
1962 – Gaylord Nelson (D-Madison), won (yes, he was originally from Clear Lake, but he called Madison his Wisconsin home throughout his tenure as Senator)
1964 – Proxmire, won
1968 – Nelson, won
1970 – Proxmire, won
1974 – Nelson, won
1976 – Proxmire, won
1980 – Nelson, lost
1982 – Proxmire, won
1986 – Ed Garvey (D-Madison), lost
1988 – Herb Kohl (D-Milwaukee), won
1992 – Russ Feingold (D-Middleton), won (yes, he was originally from Janesville, but he called Middleton his Wisconsin home throughout his tenure as Senator)
1994 – Kohl, won
1998 – Feingold, won
2000 – Kohl, won
2004 – Feingold, won
2006 – Kohl, won
2010 – Feingold, lost
2012 – Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison), won

What are the odds that the only person left on the DPW bench, state senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), or the one-time hope of the “moderate” Democrats, Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse), will be either the next Democrat gubernatorial candidate or the next Democrat US Senate candidate? Even though Shilling IS the DPW bench, would fit nicely in Round 3 of Teh War On Wymynz!!1!!!EleVeNTy!~!@ scheduled for 2016, and was deftly maneuvered to the Senate Dem leader position to give her “experience” by Chris “Puppet Master” Larson (D-Milwaukee), I’d bet against her if doing so wouldn’t disqualify me from voting. For similar reasons, plus the fact that he has turned down the chance at a “promotion” from the House of Representatives multiple times, I’d bet against Kind as well if doing so didn’t disqualify me from voting.

November 10, 2014

The mandatory Packers 55 Bears 14 post

by @ 12:13. Filed under Sports.

You know it, so sing along…

Duh Bears still suck.

November 5, 2014

The 2014 election – instant reactions

It’s been far too long since I posted here, but it’s high time to do so once again. As it’s 3 am, it will be stream-of-(semi)consciousness.

– The big winner is Republicans in general, and Scott Walker in particular. With nearly every precinct counted, but with some late-arriving absentee ballots still out, Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch won re-election (again), they beat the Democrat ticket of Mary Burke and John Lehman by a 52.3%-46.6% margin.

– The Republicans extended their majorities in the Legislature to 19-14 in the Senate and at least 61-38 in the Assembly, with 2 races with Republicans in the lead likely going to a recount. If the Republicans hold onto both of those leads, the 63-36 margin would be the largest Republican margin since Dwight Eisenhower was President.

– That 19-14 Senate margin, while equal to that coming out of the 2010 election, is a more-conservative margin with the departures of Dale Schultz and Mike Ellis. Current Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald might want to take note of what happened to each of his 4 immediate full-session predecessors in the majority office (including Democrat Russ Decker). The bad news – Fleebagging is still an option for the Dems.

– One would be tempted to call Mary Burke The Big Loser in Wisconsin, but that “honor” goes to Democrat Party of Wisconsin chair Mike “Ahab” Tate. After 4 years of raging, and after some false hope in 2012 with the recall “rental” of a couple of Senate seats, Barack Obama’s win, and Rob Zerban getting within 10 percentage points of Paul Ryan, all he and his fellow Dems have to show for it is a smaller minority in the Assembly and a 28-point pasting of Zerban by Tate’s White Whale. The question now is not whether he’s re-elected to his chair next June, but whether he’s pushed out before then.

– I guess running a soft-on-crime DA for attorney general is about as successful as running a career politician for attorney general. The hardest hit – Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm (D-Milwaukee), who is likely drowning his sorrows in John Doe III papers.

– Even with the Republican wave, there was one Democrat statewide survivor, Secretary of State Doug La Follette. Given his reluctance to do the one duty of SecState left to him, his 2018 SecState win will likely be a hollow one as his office is eliminated in that same election.

– The minor parties won’t like the pending elimination of the state treasurer’s and secretary of state’s office. While the Libertarian Party candidate also got 3% in the attorney general’s race, both the Green Party and Constitution Party had to dip into the tertiary statewide races to get the 1.0% of the vote in a statewide election necessary to have a state-run primary and automatic ballot access for the next 4 years.

– Nationally, it was a disaster for the Democrats. Once Mark Begich (D-Alaska) realizes the votes simply aren’t there, it will be an 8-seat pickup in the Senate, and it is likely that the Republicans will win the runoff in Louisiana. Once that happens, Angus King (I-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) may well bolt the Democrat caucus to make it a 12-seat Republican margin.

– The news isn’t any better in the House – the Republicans picked up at least 12 seats to extend their majority to at least 241 seats.

– The news isn’t much better for Democrat governors. While Sarah Palin successfully backstabbed her successor over his cutting of oil-financed welfare (negotiated by her), Republican pick-ups in places like Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts made up for it. I guess the Fleebaggers will have to run to Minnesota.

September 11, 2014

9/11 Hot Read – Allahpundit remembers 9/11

by @ 7:42. Filed under History.

Editor’s note: 5 years ago, Allahpundit tweeted out what happened 13 years ago. Back then, he lived in lower Manhattan, close to the World Trade Center, close enough that he heard the planes hit the twin towers. Once again, I’ll repost them because it still is as moving as when I saw them show up in my timeline (back when I was on Twitter) live.

Eight years ago, I remember opening my eyes at 8:46 a.m. in my downtown Manhattan apartment because…
…I thought a truck had crashed in the street outside
I remember pacing my apartment for the next 15 minutes thinking, stupidly, that a gas line might have been hit in the North Tower…
…and then I heard another explosion. I hope no one ever hears anything like it.
All I can say to describe it is: Imagine the sound of thousands of Americans screaming on a city street
It was unbelievable, almost literally
I remember being on the sidewalk and there was an FBI agent saying he was cordoning off the street…
…and then, the next day, when I went back for my cats, they told me I might see bodies lying in front of my apartment building (I didn’t)
We held a memorial service in October for my cousin’s husband, who was “missing” but not really…
He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. They found a piece of his ribcage in the rubble not too long afterwards.
This is the guy who conspired to murder him: http://is.gd/38h7y
Had a friend from the high school speech and debate team who disappeared from the 105th floor
Had another friend of a friend who worked on the 80th floor or so, married six weeks before the attack…
Speculation is that he was right in the plane’s path, and was killed instantly when it plowed through the building
Did a bit of legal work for a couple whose son worked in the upper floors. Was dating someone else up there at the time…
I was told that she managed to call her parents while they were trapped up there and that the call “was not good”
Never found out if it was cut off by the building collapsing or not
I remember opening my eyes at 8:46 a.m. thinking “I hope that was just a pothole.” Then I heard a guy outside my window say, “Oh shit”
Opened the window, looked to my left, saw huge smoke coming out of the WTC
Left at around 9:30, decided to walk uptown thinking that the buildings would never collapse and that…
…I’d be back in my apartment by the next night. I never went back. It was closed off until December.
I remember thinking when I was a few blocks away that the towers might collapse, and so I walked faster…
…although I sneered at myself later for thinking that might be true and for being a coward. Although not for long.
To this day, you can find photos of thousands of people congregated in the blocks surrounding the Towers, seemingly…
…waiting for them to fall that day
When I got to midtown, rumors were that Camp David and the Sears Tower had also been destroyed. I remember looking around…
…and thinking that we had to get out of Manhattan, as this might be some pretext to get us into the street and hit us with some germ
I callled my dad — and somehow miraculously got through — and told him I was alive, then headed for the 59th street bridge
To this day, the scariest memory is being on that bridge, looking at the Towers smoking in the distance,
and thinking maybe the plotters had wired the bridge too to explode beneath us while we were crossing it.
I remember talking to some guy on the bridge that we’d get revenge, but…
…you had to see the smoke coming from the Towers in the distance. It was like a volcano
I remember being down there two months later. There was a single piece of structure…
…maybe five stories tall of the lattice-work still standing. It looked like a limb of a corpse sticking up out of the ground.
They knocked it down soon after
At my office, which I had just joined, I was told that…
…some people had seen the jumpers diving out the windows to escape the flames that morning
There was a video online, posted maybe two years ago, shot from the hotel across the street,,,
…and it showed roughly 10-12 bodies flattened into panackes lying in the central plaza
Maybe it’s still online somewhere
You have to see it to understand, though. You get a sense of it from the Naudet brothers documentary hearing…
…the explosions as the bodies land in the plaza, but seeing it and hearing it are two different things
I remember after I got over the bridge into Queens, I heard a noise overheard…
…that I’d never heard before. It was an F-15, on patrol over New York. Very odd sound. A high-pitched wheeze.
I remember on Sept. 12, when I got on the train to go downtown and try to get my cats out of the apartment…
…the Village was utterly deserted. No one on the streets. Like “28 Days Later” if you’ve seen that
We made it to a checkpoint and the cop said go no further, until my mom intervened. Then he took pity…
…and agreed to let me downtown IF I agreed that any exposure to bodies lying in the streets was my own fault.
Didn’t see any bodies, but I did see soldiers, ATF, FBI, and so on. The ground was totally covered by white clay…
…which I knew was formed by WTC dust plus water from the FDNY. It look like a moonscape.
There was a firefighter at the intersection and I flagged him down and asked if I could borrow his flashlight, since…
…all buildings downtown had no power. He gave me a pen flashlight.
The doors to my building at Park Place were glass but had kicked in, presumably by the FDNY, to see if there were…
…survivors inside. When I got in there, all power was out. No elevators, no hall lights…
…I had to feel my way to the hall and make my way up to my apartment on the third floor by feeling my way there…
…When I got there, the cats were alive. There was WTC dust inside the apartment, but…
…for whatever reason, I had closed the windows before I left to walk uptown that day, so dust was minimal. I loaded them…
…into the carrier and took them back to Queens. That was the last I could get into the apartment until December 2001,…
…and then it was only to get in, take whatever belongings were salvageable (i.e. not computer), and get out. I lived…
in that apartment from 7/2001 to 9/2001, but given the diseases longtime residents have had…
…I’m lucky I decided to move
My only other significant memory is being in the lobby of the apartment building on 9/11…
…and trying to console some woman who lived there who said her father worked on the lower floors of the WTC. I assume…
…he made it out alive, but she was hysterical as of 9:30 that a.m. Who could blame her?
I do remember feeling embarrassed afterwards that…
…I initially thought the smoke coming out of the North Tower was due to a fire or something, but…
…it’s hard to explain the shock of realizing you’re living through a historical event while you’re living through it.
For months afterwards, I tried to tell people how I thought maybe the Towers…
…were going to be hit by six or seven or eight planes in succession. Which sounds nuts, but once you’re in the moment…
…and crazy shit is happening, you don’t know how crazy that script is about to get.
When I left at 9:30, I thought more planes were coming.
I left because I thought, “Well, if these planes hit the building the right way, it could fall and land on mine.”\
I remember getting to 57th Street and asking some dude, “What happened?”
And he said, “They collapsed” and I couldn’t believe both of them had gone down. Even after the planes hit…
…I remembered that the Empire State Building had taken a hit from a military plane during WWII and still stood tall
So it was never a serious possibility that the WTC would collapse. I assumed…
…that the FDNY would get up there, put out the fire, and the WTC would be upright but with gigantic holes in it
It took an hour for the first tower to go down, 90 minutes for the second.
Even now, despite the smoke, I’m convinced most of the people trapped at the top were alive…
…and waiting, somehow, for a rescue. The couple whose legal case I worked for told me that…
…their son and his GF contacted her father very shortly before the collapse. Which makes sense. As much smoke as there was…
…if you have a five-story hole in the wall to let air in to breathe, you’re going to linger on.
So for many people, the choice probably quickly became: Hang on, endure the smoke, or jump
If you listen to the 911 calls, which I advise you not to do, some of the chose “hang on”
Although needless to say, if you ever saw the Towers…
…you know how dire things must have been up there to make anyone think the better solution was “jump”
They were ENORMOUS.
Another weird memory: Shortly after I got my apartment in lower Manhattan, on Park Place…
…I remember taking my brother to see “The Others,” which had just opened.
And afterwards I remember taking him up to the rooftop of my building to admire the Towers. According to Wikipedia…
“The Others” opened on August 10, 2001, so this must have been within 10 days or so afterwards. Very eerie.
And I remember we also went to Morton’s and Borders right inside the WTC complex to celebrate my new job
That Borders was gutted, needless to say, on 9/11. You could see the frame of the building in the WTC lobby after the attack
I was reading magazines in there the week or two before
One of the weirdest feelings, which I’m sure everyone can share, is that I remember distinctly feeling…
…in the month or two before the attack that “important” news no longer existed. It was all inane bullshit about…
…shark attacks and Gary Condit and overaged pitchers in the Little League World Series. To this day…
…I try never to grumble about a slow news day because the alternative is horrifyingly worse
After the attack, maybe a month after, I remember going to see “Zoolander” in Times Square and…
…coming up out of the subway tunnel having the distinct fear that…
…the sky would light up and a mushroom cloud would appear instantly above my head in my lost moment of consciousness. No joke. In fact…
..I ended up going to bed around 6:30 p.m. for maybe three months after 9/11.
Even when I ended up working downtown for years after that, with a luxurious view of upper Manhattan from the top floors…
…I always feared looking out the window because I was paranoid that at that precise moment, the flash would go off…
…and that’d be the last thing I see. And in fact, for a moment in 2003 when the power went out city-wide,
…I did think that was what was happening. The wages of 9/11.
I leave you with this, my very favorite film about the WTC. If you’re a New Yorker, have a hanky handy. No. 3 is golden http://is.gd/38qsT
One more note: If you’ve never seen a photo of the smoke coming from the Trade Center after the collapse, find one.
Watching it from the 59th bridge, it looked like a volcano. There was so much smoke, it was indescribable. Just *erupting* from the wreckage

For the benefit of those who haven’t seen the photo AP was talking about, here’s one from the United States Coast Guard (hosted on Flickr):

May 13, 2014

Hiding liveblog behind the more tag

by @ 10:58. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Click the more to see the liveblog

Read the rest of this entry…

And another test

by @ 10:24. Filed under Miscellaneous.

The last didn’t quite work.

10:27 from steveegg

Stick this in the fusebox.

10:29 from Emergency Blogging System

Test contributor input.

10:55 from steveegg

One more time.

10:56 from steveegg

Two more times.

10:57 from steveegg

Something’s up.

11:00 from steveegg

Trying to post to a closed liveblog.

11:00 from steveegg

That was disappointing.

Editing works, deletion doesn’t until the page is refreshed.

Another test

by @ 7:31. Filed under Miscellaneous.

This is the Emergency Blogging System. It has been activated to test something else.

May 12, 2014

Testing a new liveblog feature

by @ 14:35. Filed under The Blog.

This is just a test

April 20, 2014

He Is Risen!

by @ 6:13. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Luke 24:1-12 (NIV84):

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Have a blessed Easter.

April 16, 2014

The Bucks have been sold for $550 million

by @ 16:10. Filed under Business, Politics - Milwaukee, Sports.

Today, Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to hedge-fund managers Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for $550 million pending NBA approval, with the proviso that the team stay in Milwaukee and not become, potentially, the next incarnation of the Seattle Sonics. The three also announced that they would kick in a total of $200 million toward a replacement for the BMO Harris Bradley Center; $100 million from the new owners and $100 million from the old owner.

On the sports end of the story, hopefully the new owners will put a competitve product out on the court more often than once every 6 years (which, not exactly coincidentally, was inevitably the year Kohl was up for re-election ot the Senate).

The word is that a new arena will cost somewhere north of $500 million. I know Wikipedia is less than fully-reliable, but I went through the entries for the 14 aremas built for existing franchises that opened since 1997, and only the newest arena, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, came in at over $500 million when it was built. That $1 billion cost shattered the previous record of $480 million for Orlando’s Amway Center, which was built in 2010, and $420 million for Dallas’ American Airlines Center, which was built in 2001.

Even when adjusting for inflation, only 4 modern arenas came in at over $500 million – the Barclays Center ($1.03 billion in 2014 dollars), the American Airlines Center ($559 million in 2014 dollars), Los Angeles’ Staples Center (opened in 1999 for $375 million, or $531 million in 2014 dollars), and the Amway Center ($514 million in 2014 dollars). The average inflation-adjusted cost of the modern NBA arena, including the Barclays Center, was just under $400 million, with that dropping to $351 million if one ignores the New York Bloat.

I have to wonder whether Milwaukee is ready to shell out for the second-most-expensive arena in the NBA. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, just interviewed on the Mark Belling Show, said that he had not heard any solid plans for financing a new arena. Given the most-likely sites of the former Park East freeway just north of the Bradley Center and the lakefront (which are the parts of downtown without any buildings) are county-owned land, one would expect Abele to be in the loop.

Belling is spitballing the idea that it would be privately owned. There’s a world’s worth of difference between $200 million and $500 million, or even $351 million if the historical average holds. Naming rights wouldn’t cover it – not even the record-setting purchase by Barclays for the Brooklyn arena would cover the $300 million spread. Worse, while other sports venues have worked aignificant money out of naming rights, the Bradley Center board hasn’t been nearly as successful. The entire Bradley Center corporate sponsorship package was revealed to be a mere $18 million over 6 years when BMO Harris bought the naming rights 2 years ago.

The $550 million, plus another $100 million committment toward a new arena, is an amazing price, considering Forbes valued the franchise at $405 million just three months ago. Even though there was reportedly a 9-group bidding war, that does not explain that much of a premium given the no-move proviso. Given all three principals are big-time Democrats (Kohl a Democrat as a Senator, Edens and Lasry as massive, active donors to Democrats), someone might want to keep an eye on Kohl’s still-active Senate campaign committee.

Revisions/extensions (5:18 pm 4/16/2014) - The total $650 million (including the $100 million new arena committment) sale price shatters the previous record sale price of an NBA team – the $513 million sale of the Sacramento Kings and their equally-ancient arena, the Sleep Train Arena, last year.

December 25, 2013

Have a blessed Christmas

by @ 8:06. Tags:
Filed under Religion.

From St. Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:1-12, NIV84)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Have a blessed Christmas.

December 15, 2013

Shut Rogers down and fire them all – or maybe not

by @ 16:51. Filed under Sports.

The Packers need a major miracle to make the playoffs as the tragic number is now 1, or at least it will be official in another half. 1 more loss or 1 Bears win (or, likely, 1 more Lions win after they win tomorrow night) means they’ll be watching the playoffs from the comfort of the couch. Why risk Aaron Rogers getting hurt the next 2 weeks when it’s impossible to either make the playoffs or (thanks to the tiebreaker) finish last in the NFC North.

If I were Mark Murphy, I would demand Wile E. Thompson’s, Mike McCan’thy’s, and Dumb Capers’ resignations at halftime today.

Revisions/extensions (6:44 pm 12/15/2013) - I’d like to take credit for that halftime speech. What a comeback! Thank you Cowgirls for piss-poor playcalling that led to a piss-poor performance in the 4th quarter.

December 14, 2013

Sorry about the dust

by @ 10:17. Filed under The Blog.

I had intended on doing posts here, but when a friend asks to help fill in at his much-larger blog while he attended to the affairs of his late sister-in-law, I help.

Ed will be back at full steam at Hot Air on Monday, so I’ll be back here trying to clear out the dust.

December 3, 2013

Cooking the unemployment numbers

by @ 20:24. Filed under Economy, Politics - National.

Note – a version of this originally appeared on DaTechGuy Blog as part of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven. Do make sure you head there daily from content from both Pete Da Tech Guy and the rest of the Magnificent Seven.

Two weeks ago, the New York Post‘s John Crudele broke the story that the Census Bureau, which conducts the Current Population Survey (CPS) that is the basis for the unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), has been falsifying the data since 2010. Curdele interviewed a person who was caught by the Census Bureau in 2010 simply making up data, with the employee claiming his superiors told him to do so because his region was not successfully interviewing enough people for the survey. According to an anonymous source, that effort intensified in the months leading up to the 2012 election, with September 2012’s data specifically falsified to President Barack Obama’s favor, and continues to the present time.

These allegations are currently being investigated by both the House Oversight Committee and the Inspector General of the Census Bureau, with the BLS also quite interested in them.

One place they can start is comparing what came out of the CPS to a measure of unemployment conducted by Gallup, started in January 2010. There are a couple of key differences between the CPS and Gallup which make a comparison a bit harder:

– While the CPS uses a reference week that includes the 12th of the month (5th of the month in November), Gallup uses a 30-day rolling average.
– The CPS surveys (or claims to survey) 60,000 people age 16 and over, while over the course of each 30-day rolling average, Gallup surveys 30,000 adults.

Fortunately, the BLS releases, as part of its dataset, the data from the portion of the CPS that covers adults, or about 57,500 surveyed out of approximately 153,000,000 considered part of the labor force. That allows an apples-to-apples comparison:

Gallup-CPS

For the most part, the CPS measure of adult unemployment is significantly lower than Gallup’s measure. How significant? Let’s take a look at Gallup’s measure on the day that puts the CPS reference day right in the middle of the rolling average, the 27th day of the month (20th for November and also December to avoid an artificial post-Christmas spike). The CPS unemployment was calculated by dividing the number of unemployed by the number considered to be in the workforce, so I could get much closer than to the nearest tenth of a percentage point reported. The raw data was not available for Gallup’s measure of unemployment, so I took the closest possible number to the CPS measure that still rounded to Gallup’s tenth of a percentage point reported.

Gallup-CPS divergence

Polls, which is what the CPS and Gallup measures really are, come with a margin of error, within which the true value can be expected either 90% or 95% of the time. For the CPS, the 90%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.20 percentage points and the 95%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.24 percentage points. For Gallup, the 90%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.28 percentage points and the 95%-confidence margin of error is +/-0.34 percentage points.

Two polls are considered to be in good agreement when their values are within each others’ margin of error. Meanwhile at least one poll has to be wildly incorrect when the difference between the two is more than the sums of their margin of error. Out of 46 months’ worth of data:

– 18 months saw Gallup’s and CPS’s measures of unemployment disagree by more than the combined 90%-confidence margin of error of 0.49 percentage points, with 17 months having Gallup’s measure higher.
– 8 months saw the measures of unemployment disagree by between 0.28 percentage points (Gallup’s 90%-confidence margin of error) and 0.49 percentage points, with another 3 months seeing a disagreement between 0.20 percentage points (CPS’s 90% confidence margin of error) and 0.28 percentage points.
– 17 months saw the measures of unemployment in “good agreement”, disagreeing by less than 0.20 percentage points.

When two polls wildly disagree more than they are in “good agreement”, one of them has to be wrong. Given the disagreement has been almost invariably in the administration’s favor, and there already was a proven round of fakery in the CPS, it sure looks like the official measure of unemployment has been cooked longer than a burnt turkey.

November 26, 2013

NBC News – Employers abandoning “Cadillac” plans due to PlaceboCare’s “Cadillac plan” tax…4 years early

by @ 9:07. Filed under PlaceboCare, Politics - National.

I wonder whether this counts against the 80 million-100 million of those with existing group health insurance plans expected to lose said insurance by the end of 2014:

For 75 million Americans who get their insurance through large companies, the Affordable Care Act is a mixed bag. Experts tell NBC News the new healthcare law is only slightly increasing premiums next year, but causing some companies with the most generous plans to reduce their employees’ benefits.

Aaron Baker, 36, his wife Billie and their two young children are covered under a generous health insurance plan offered by the private Midwestern university where he’s worked for 10 years. When they opened their benefits notice this year, they were pleased to see their $385 premium is only up by four dollars next year. However, they were shocked to discover that instead of covering the first dollar they spend with no deductible, the Baker’s plan now includes a $1,000 deductible and a $2,500 out of pocket maximum. They also will still have small co-pays for services.

According to the enrollment notice, the changes are “to relieve future health plan trend pressure and to put the university in a position to avoid the excise tax that becomes effective in 2018.” The 40 percent excise tax—often called the “Cadillac tax”— is part of Obamacare and is levied on the most generous health plans. It’s designed to bring down overall health costs by making companies and workers more cost-conscious. The thinking is that if consumers have to pay more expenses themselves, through higher deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, they’ll avoid unnecessary or overly costly procedures. And that is supposed to make care more affordable for everyone.

I have to quibble with NBC’s analysis of the PlaceboCare Cadillac plan tax – it’s designed not to drive down costs, but to ensure that, except for the favored nomenklatura, nobody gets high-quality care. I am frankly surprised that some entities, specifically the non-union shops that are the primary targets, are reacting 4 years early.

That will just make the eventual repeal at the behest of the unions, which by 2017 will be essentially the only places still offering group health insurance, that much more odious.

November 19, 2013

Congrats to Sen.-elect Jessie Rodriguez

by @ 22:31. Filed under Miscellaneous.

As usual, WisPolitics had the good news first. What surprised me was Rodriguez carried South Milwaukee.

No NRE Decision Desk tonight

by @ 17:57. Filed under Elections, Politics - Wisconsin.

I had hoped to bring you the results from the 21st Assembly special general election and the 82nd Assembly special primary election as they come in, but I will be otherwise occupied tonight. For those of you who want the results long before the rest of the media gets around to mentioning them, WisPolitics will have those results, as well as the results for the 69th Assembly special general election, on their election blog.

Election day in southern Milwaukee County – TODAY

by @ 6:51. Filed under Elections, Politics - Wisconsin.

There are two special elections for the State Assembly today:

– The 21st Assembly District, in Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, and the strip of Franklin between 27th and 35th, and between Drexel and Central. I wholeheartedly endorse Jessie Rodriguez, who is going up against carpetbagging Democrat Elizabeth Coppola.

– The 82nd Assembly District, in the rest of Franklin (except the northwest corner bounded by Woods, North Cape, Forest Home, and the city limits), Greendale, and the eastern part of Greenfield. That is a primary election, with 4 Republicans looking to advance to take on the sole Democrat in 4 weeks’ time. I didn’t follow that primary because I don’t live in that district, but Kevin Fischer has endorsed Shari Hanneman.

November 10, 2013

Expanding the empire – the Magnificent edition

by @ 21:37. Filed under The Blog.

I’ve known Peter “DaTechGuy” Ingemi for several years. One can always depend on him for great insight, both on his blog and on his Saturday radio show, and fedoras and cannoli at the conferences he attends. As reserved as I am, that’s how outgoing he is. He taught me that one of the best ways to get the pulse of a particular city is to talk to the cabbies.

He’s been hustling to make a living out of blogging and his radio show the last couple years, and he’s been moderately successful so far. As his next step, he offered 7 people, including me, a unique opportunity to post a weekly piece over at his blog, called The Magnificent Seven after the movie. I get to clean up the week in the role of Harry on Sauturday afternoons, with a repost here late Tuesdays. Sort of fits – like Harry, I left the scene for a while before coming back.

The rest of the crew:

Marathon Pundit on Sundays
Linda Szugyi of No One of any Import on Mondays
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng, aka Baldilocks on Tuesdays
Fausta Wertz on Wednesdays
AP Dillon of Lady Liberty 1885 on Thursdays
– Pastor George Kelly from Georgia on Fridays

Do make sure you hit DaTechGuy’s tip jar early and often, and read the rest of The Magnificent Seven, both at DaTechGuyBlog and at their sites. While you’re expanding your reading list, do pick up Juliette’s book.

November 8, 2013

$2.999

by @ 6:12. Filed under Economy, Energy.

That is the price for regular unleaded at one of the local gas stations. With Obama’s EPA still searching for any way to do to privately-owned land and state-owned land where fracking has been occuring what they have done to federal-owned/controlled land, namely stop fracking and new oil exploration, I never thought I would once again see the day I could walk into a gas station with a $20 bill and a $10 bill, pay for 10.000 gallons of gas, and get change back.

Of course, it is the winter blend of Algore/Whitman Memorial Reformulated Gas With 10% Corn-A-Hole, so it’s 10% less efficient than the summer version of that (and even less efficient than untainted gas). It’s also still too damn high.

November 7, 2013

It’s a long way to the top if you want to blog and roll

by @ 22:57. Filed under The Blog.

First, we need a bit of music to set the mood…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJwZhqU0QL4[/youtube]

No, the lack of posts here isn’t intentional. I’ve been putting in time over at Hot Air along with Bruce McQuain and Morgen Richmond to try to fill the shoes of Ed Morrissey while he’s on vacation. Even with all three of us, it’s not quite enough to fully duplicate just his daily writings – Jazz Shaw, who does weekends, has set up a couple of posts to start each weekday morning off. That doesn’t count The Ed Morrissey Show (Mondays-Thursdays at 3, Fridays at 2).

I never had a lot of comments here, but those who know me know I like to hang around in the comments sections of wherever I might find myself. That was one of the reasons why I didn’t promise Ed too many posts – I keep getting distracted from the next post by answering comments, and distractions don’t let one be regular with the multiple posts per day needed on a high-traffic blog. It’s also why, as much as I liked Twitter back in the day, I can’t go back (even if I hadn’t said I won’t be back) and still keep this place.

I’ve seen some people complain that people like Ed, Allah Pundit and Ace don’t have much of a presence in the comments. I knew on a theoretical level that it was because they have to keep providing fresh content, and I knew (and forgot) on the practical level the last time I helped fill in at HA that was the case, but, perhaps enhanced by the rust I still have, it’s really hit home this time.

No, this isn’t complaining; it’s just stream-of-consciousness (or at this time of night, semi-consciousness) thinking out loud so I have something posted here. I’ve seen several messages of “good job” from the rest of the HA commenting gang, and I just don’t have time to thank every one of them individually. I truly appreciate every one of them.

November 5, 2013

Expanding the empire – vacation edition

by @ 7:11. Filed under The Blog.

Don’t ask me how Ed Morrissey thinks this is a good idea, but he has handed me a spare key to Hot Air for the next 2 weeks while he and the First Mate enjoy a well-deserved vacation. Fortunately, I won’t be alone in trying to fill his shoes – he’s also lined up Bruce McQuain of Questions and Observations to pitch in. Bruce comes highly-recommended in my book.

I have another expansion coming soon, which I’ll let you know about on Sunday.

Wasn’t it just a month ago I dusted this place off?

November 3, 2013

Fall back

by @ 7:21. Filed under Miscellaneous.

This is the Emergency Blogging System. It has been activated because Steve forgot to tell you this last night. This is not a drill – drills go Husky-Husky-Husky-Husky.

For those of you in the US (and not in those parts that don’t observe Daylight Saving), Daylight Saving Time ended at 2 am local time. If you have a WordPress blog (whether it is on WordPress.com or it is a WordPress stand-alone blog), and you had the time changed for Daylight Savings, you need to change it back to Standard Time (Central UTC -6, Mountain UTC -7, Eastern UTC -5, Pacific UTC -8, and check your clock for other locales). To do so, go into your wp-admin panel, select “Settings”, and under the “General Settings” page that pops up, select the right time zone. Don’t forget to hit “save” when you’re done.

Again, this is not a test. Had this been a test, you wouldn’t have been given official news, instructions or information. This concludes this broadcast of the Emergency Blogging System.

October 31, 2013

Last call – How many wins will it take to win the NFC North this year

by @ 7:07. Filed under NRE Polls, Sports.

I quietly put this poll up at the beginning of the month, when the Packers were both stinking up the joint and having players carted off the field on a weekly basis. They fixed the latter immediately afterward, and finally stopped the physical bleeding to take sole possession (by a half-game and, at the moment, a tiebreaker) over Detroit.

As things stand now, the Packers are in first at 5-2 with one win each over the Vikings and Lions (a second game against each is upcoming), and the first of the two division games against Duh Bears coming up on Monday Night Football, the Lions are 5-3 with one win each over the Bears and Vikings and a loss against the Packers, the Bears are 4-3 with a win against the Vikings and a loss against the Lions, and the Vikings are 1-6 with a loss to each of the other NFC North teams (sorry, Shoe; maybe you could buy the team and really create a conflict of interest for the blog ;-)

I’m not asking how many wins the eventual winner of the NFC North will have, I’m asking how many wins it will take to take the division. You have about 11 hours from the posting of this to put your guesses in.

How many wins will it take to win the NFC North in 2013?

Up to 1 answer(s) was/were allowed

  • 10 (50%, 4 Vote(s))
  • 9 (25%, 2 Vote(s))
  • 7 (13%, 1 Vote(s))
  • 11 (13%, 1 Vote(s))
  • 13 (0%, 0 Vote(s))
  • 12 (0%, 0 Vote(s))
  • 5 (0%, 0 Vote(s))
  • 8 (0%, 0 Vote(s))
  • 6 (0%, 0 Vote(s))
  • 14 (0%, 0 Vote(s))

Total Voters: 8

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