Posted On: Wednesday - July 19th 2017 4:57PM MST
In Topics:   Music  Websites
I don't mean possibly we will work on the software - we will, but I mean possibly it'll be an upgrade ;-} Yes, the site is plain and homely, but that doesn't bother me nor hopefully the readers. However, the main bug of ending up in white space at the bottom of pages is not as simple as an anchor tag thing (would have been done long ago, in that case). It's something to be messed with using more knowledge of php, and that bug is TOP PRIORITY. However, once past that, it'll be time to add some features to make it easier to navigate to posts, and hopefully do some type of searches.
The reason for the hiatus - about 1 week - is not because the site will be down or (additionally) buggy. It won't. It's just that I want to spend the time on the software. I'll miss doing posts for a week, but this has got to be done. Again, the site will work same as now, but with nothing new to read. When the software is improved and tested, it'll go live, and hopefully no bugs will appear, but I'll post at that time.
Well, all stupidity aside for a week, everyone WangChung tonight!:
BTW, if you are one of those animated-.gif-induced epileptics, as I've heard about, you may want to skip this one - it's flashy and jumpy enough to induce a seizure in a comatose tax accountant.
Mid 1980's music from the band Wang Chung - the song is called "Everybody have Fun Tonight".
Music per reader request - Marlene by The Killer Whales
Posted On: Tuesday - July 18th 2017 6:39PM MST
In Topics:   Music
It's < a 1 in 10,000 chance the reader has heard of this great 3-piece rock band from Charleston, South Carolina, around mid 1980's:
"Marlene" by The Killer Whales, David Bethany - guitars and vocals, Jimmy Blakeslee - bass and vocals, and Murphy Pitts - Drums and vocals:
What a tight sound, but it's not any good if it's not LOUD
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When did the Feral Government get OUT OF CONTROL? (Part 2)
Posted On: Tuesday - July 18th 2017 6:15PM MST
In Topics:   History  Liberty/Libertarianism  US Feral Government
At the end of yesterday's post on the Feral Government, I had said there would be another part or more to go. That is correct, but I had forgotten that I had another thing to write that is still about the big Feral Beast we have let take over America.
We all know about the 3 branches and all - well people who like this website must be smart so they'd know; that's my pre-validated assumption ;-} Yesterday covered some history of 2 of them, the executive and the legislative, with respect to the 2 parties. Again, I don't see that there's much a difference at this point, but the history matters. This post is a quick one about the 3rd branch, the Supreme Court.
This post is not to be a rant about the out-of-control 9 old men and woman who are a part of that shit-show. It's not that the rant is not appropriate, it's just that all this government policy stuff can be read at a million other websites. Suffice it to say that, yeah, they should NOT be the last word on what's constitutional or not - the other 2 branches should have input and should use some power that the founders gave them.
Here's just the bit of history. Don't worry, there'll be no dates to remember or particular court cases to take notes (or screenshots on), as I don't know them. It's just this from memory - not many details but I'm sure of what has changed. Back in the first part of the years discussed in Part 1 and before, let's say through the 1980's, I recall from current events reading one major difference regarding this body of "august jurists". It was that the cases being tried then were disagreements not usually over whether this certain law or new program was constitutional or not, but which part of the US constitution applied most. That should be explained better - the cases seemed to be about laws passed or actions taken by the plaintiff or defendant that met caused a conflict between on Amendment or passage in the constitution and another.
An example, only one I can think of from the current era is: state laws that prohibit rules by a corporation over guns stored in cars in the company parking lot. On the one hand, the 2nd Amendment is pretty clearly on the side of laws that allow the employee to keep that gun there, but then the definition of private property (company parking lot) would lead one the other way, as private property can not be taken or infringed on by governments without due process. (OK, lets' not focus on what they've really been doing lately, just this concept of these conflicting rights.) Back in the 1970's it seemed that the rulings, at least those that became headlines, were all about these conflicts. This law is contrary to Amendment 1, but striking the law would seem to be against Amendment X, etc. There were usually discussions about these questions that would really make one respect the office of member of that court, as it was not an easy clear call.
It was not like we've seen recently, where the Supreme Court and the lower ones too, will just politically decide cases that anyone with a decent grasp of English could read were not at all constitutional, period. This is especially true for Amendment X. Here's the document, and Amendment X is short:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.There's nothing difficult about this stuff. It's VERY CLEAR, this limit on the powers of the Federal Gov't. These jerk-off-jurists have used this phrase though, from the Preamble (just the introduction, not the rules of the government!), here,
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.to subvert it all. It's just a general clause, explaining why the document was being written up, not part of the body, and it has no detail. The rest of it does.
Think about it, if a Federal law is passed, forcing every town in the country to have a swimming pool and spa for the "general welfare", is that what the Founders had in mind? Come on, that ends in ... well, what we have now... we're at the end.
It was possibly the late '80's, per Robert Bork's book, when the whole "penumbra" BS, just words meant to confuse, got started. That is when the cases started to be just obvious sign-offs on Big Government by that court. The Supreme Court is an institution that has been completely politicized to a state of zero integrity, and that was becoming apparent to this writer by the mid '90's. I never have used the term SCOTUS, as I hate those acronyms, and it really just sounds a bit too close to a male body part, but for the present body of jurists I can make an exception.
(This is one time I wish I were a constitutional lawyer like that great scholar Øb☭ma. It would be not only easier to explain my point in legal terms, but I would have examples in my head. That last was a joke, just like that
When did the Feral Government get OUT OF CONTROL?
Posted On: Monday - July 17th 2017 3:45PM MST
In Topics:   History  Liberty/Libertarianism  US Feral Government
Before I get too far, this post is really about when this writer REALIZED the Feral Gov't of the US was OUT OF CONTROL - but I couldn't get it short enough to be a title.
My answer is 1995. That was too short a post. Let's elaborate. That'll bring some history in here, and I'll tell you right now, I'm going off of top of my head (well, some from the middle and lower-right side too, if feels like). I just have a hard time writing when I have to look up many details, as, dammit Jim, I'm not a HISTORIAN, I'm just a country BLOGGER! Got some corrections - I'll be glad to correct anything wrong in here. However, the reader won't need exact dates here, but the big picture still may be new to younger readers.
If you were a conservative, libertarian, or constitutionalist sort back in 1981, you had to be ecstatic when Ronald Reagan won the presidential election against Jimmy Carter. Now hold on! I'm not saying everything worked out all constitution-abiding and that Reagan didn't let us down in a number of ways, especially by signing the 1st illegal alien amnesty bill, with later regrets about that. However, it was still a change for the much better, even with the thought that a Jimmy Carter today would be considered a HARD RIGHT Nazi (since he's retired he's just a hard-right house-building Nazi to the cntrl-left running the D-party).
Reagan had to
Note, I have the numbers through 1992, meaning through the G.H.W. Bush presidency also - 1994 is when things changed, which will lead shortly to the point about 1995. Just a BTW here, but the Democrats had had a majority since the year 1952! While clicking on wikepdia info. I found this and the 2 names of the House party leaders, Mr. Joseph Martin, R majority leader of Massachusetts (yes, you read that right, Massa-freakin-chusetts), and Mr. Sam Rayburn, D minority leader of Texas, were probably dead before most readers of Peak Stupidity were born.
This period was about the time in my life I was doing a lot else and not too concerned about politics, mostly due to the fact that I figured the nation was at least going in the right direction. I could quit thinking about it all. True any conservative policy proposal had to be run up against that pretty big majority of Democrats in the House - look at 1982 for example. The best years should have been the 1st 2, and the D-majority never came back near that level until 1994. However, the Democrat party was not the complete collection of fools and misfits that it is in the present day - it was nothing like that.
Then GHW Bush got elected (nope, didn't vote for him - voted Libertarian once I saw him give part of a speech in Spanish - yes 1988!), the Cold War had been won, and I figured conservatism was entrenched somewhat. Yes, I was too naive to see the whole New World Order business taking shape in American leaders, like the ex-CIA president.
You, the reader, may be caught up at this point, or bored senseless, but I'm almost there. 1992 brought Bill Clinton to the presidency, so the Exec. Branch and both Houses were in Democrat hands, now, as the Senate had flipped in 1990 (probably about the time Bush reneged on his "read my lips, no new taxes" promise. As the 1st lady had decided "she wouldn't just be baking cookies" (well would you eat a cake baked by another antiChrist runner-up? Can't exactly blame ya!), we heard that this non-elected wife had plans to have the US Feral Gov't take over health care. I'll tell ya - those Feral Gov't doings were starting to chap my hide back by 1994 or so.
Now along came 1994 and, I guess I was not the only one who was pissed, as the House, for the 1st time in 42 years was (+26) Republican majority, and the Senate was too (+6). We started to hear a lot from this man and this "Contract with American" dealy:
Things were looking up, at the Feral Gov't level, and state governments, other than in the Northeast hell-holes, were becoming conservative to boot.
It was an exciting time in American federal level politics. This "Contract" had about 10 points or so to bring back conservatism, led by Newt Gingrich, the man in the picture, who is, unfortunately, still on TV. I write this because, looking back, and here is the bottom line of this post,
I don't think many of these people, including Mr. Gingrich really cared a whole lot about conserving America. They had a chance to roll things back with their majorities and momentum. It never happened. By 1995 or so, things had just petered out, and it started to seem like these national politicians just wanted to stay in their offices in the Federal Shithole, bicker on TV, and do it again next terms. It was a big letdown at the time, but even for a few year, one could imagine things turning around with some decent people in Wash. FS, but, no, things never turned around.
All this post sounds like a big Red-team vs. Blue-team battle for the country, but, as the last paragraph indicates, it didn't seem to matter by the mid 1990's (maybe it hadn't for a while).
Additionally, this post was completely about the political situation at the federal level, and that's not all I wanted to write about. Therefore, this is officially Part 1 of a multipart post again, consisting of at least one more. Isn't that special?!
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Staring Straight into the Eyes of Deepest Darkest Stupidity
Posted On: Monday - July 17th 2017 10:55AM MST
In Topics:   TV, aka Gov't Media  Global Climate Stupidity  cntrl-left
... is a man named Tucker Carlson. He comes on regularly on youtube - well as far as Peak Stupidity is concerned, yes. I realize the clips are from Fox TV, where he has taken over from Bill O'Reilly, but I don't watch TV, so youtube is the channel I guess (or, really millions of channels - pretty nice deal, so far...). About this man, he does seem to really put up a good fight against the hard-core stupidity spewed by the people that he invites to his show.
Now, one could take the really cynical attitude, Zerohedge-commentator-style, that, oh, this guy is controlled opposition, he doesn't care, whatever. I'm sure Mr. Carlson has gotten himself more into the habit of taking on the "creme de la stupide", as the entertainment value pushes the ratings sky high (southern rock), or sky high (old pop tune). That'd be natural in that business. Maybe Tucker Carlson has common sense and is indeed outraged by the ridiculousness of it all (my opinion), but even if not, that doesn't really matter. It is nice to see some push-back on the stupid, even if it's only on the egregious
THREAT LEVEL RED! stuff.
I think of Fox news as still a part of the Lyin' Press, though they just leave out 1/2 the lies or so. I do wonder if the Peak Stupidity theory that the LP won't even care after a while about ratings as they will be propped up by the Feral Gov. one way or another will come to pass. Fox obviously still cares about ratings right now. That brings up the fact that many may just watch this guy as clips on youtube. That means the ads aren't seen by us, much less listened to (a whole 'nother story). I am sure they can look at youtube stats to know how popular this stuff is, but how does that get them money? I'm never going to be watching the ads. OK, not my problem.
With this entertainment, we could have a post nightly, I guess, but then, hell, our readers could just ditch us for youtube - please, please don't. They have (way!) more comments there too, sometime hilarious ones. So, maybe once a week will be good, and here is this weeks Tucker Carlson clip:
(Mr. Carlson interviews the mayor of Miami, Florida, who is worried about his city sinking below the waves - doesn't bother us a bit. Elevation, bitchez!)
It's just too much - watch, as I couldn't explain the stupidity of this man with words alone. Tucker tries to ask the simple question of why these cntrl-left GCDTM-adherents are mad about the US not getting involved in a non-binding treaty that exempts China and India. Really, if this mayor wasn't just spouting off the same 10 sentences of doom that are in his head, like some kind of 10-track tape, he could have a conversation with Tucker. The cntrl-left, if they really cared about the GCD TM BS, and had read ANYTHING about the Paris proposed agreement, should be against it. This is an occasion to call President Trump names, in addition to spouting off crazy stuff that I must show later (I hope you haven't seen it - look forward to Gov. Moonbeam of California. I have been watching for over an hour - better than "Seinfeld" or even "The Office" in entertainment value. I'll display it in small doses for your enjoyment.)
If the falsely-accused-antiChrist named Øb☭ma, had pulled out of this treaty, the cntrl-left would be touting how wise that was, due to exactly what Tucker Carlson was asking this idiot mayor.
Speaking of the mayor of Miami one more time, watch at 09:20 for a minute, as Mr. Carlson tries to get an answer for the 3rd or 4th time. The mayor starts in his playback about "everyone's in it to make the globe* a better place", and when Tucker asks him if he thinks there is "a single person watching this show stupid enough to be convinced by what you're saying", he's all "Absolutely..." Haha, then back to the tape or mp3. The mayor of Miami may not even be a human, but if he is a robot or android, the taxpayers of Miami should get a return label and UPS his stupid ass back to Shenzhen for a replacement. Somebody must not have been wearing his static wick at the plant. DO NOT LET THE HUMAN SPEAK! STICK WITH THE WAVE FILES AND THIS WILL WORK OUT FINE!
BTW, besides the first link of the post, Tucker Carlson clips have been featured and commented on before here, here, and here.
* Hey, we all want to make our globes a better place. I just wish our globe at home had a light inside it. I like those kinds of globes. Also, ours doesn't have bumps for the Rockies, Himalayas, Alps, and the Andes - cheap Wal-Mart crap!
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Modern Art destroyed by Camera-crazy hot Orientals
Posted On: Friday - July 14th 2017 7:16PM MST
In Topics:   General Stupidity  Humor
So sorry, no big .jpg here, though I wish. I know a reader would expect that from the title, but not my fault.
Anyway, a friend pointed out this 30 s video footage of a couple of Oriental (or it sure likes like it) ladies in a Los Angeles museum who accidentally knocked over a series of art pieces while trying to get a photo. There's plenty of humor to go around, like, funny-cause-it's-true stuff:
A) As pointed out in the 6th paragraph of this post about picture taking at the beach and every damn where, the Orientals, especially the young ladies. are nuts with the picture taking, another oddly-true stereotype. It is not so much picture-taking of tourist sights, but picture-taking of sights with the (usually, nowadays) Chinese tourist girl in front of tourist sights with the double peace signs. I can't see that well in this video, though well enough to see that the one in the black dress is a real hottie (hence our title), but well enough to figure that the light-dressed one wanted her picture taken with the art work. This is even funnier because of ...
B) The art work, per comments on youtube, the words of authority, is modern or post-modern art. These are not some beautiful hand-made Chinese vases from the early years of the Poontang Dynasty. No, these are just some modern pieces of crap that people are too status-conscious to admit are indeed pieces of crap. My friend said that as they get broken in the video, the artist is probably going "Yesssss!". as he may not have gotten a sale today without the invocation of the YOU-BREAK-IT-YOU-BUY-IT law, also known as the Little Tommy's-Temper-Tantrum Act - HB 2201 of the 91st Legislative Session (wrongly upheld by the Warren Supreme Court).
C) These pedestals holding the "ART" fall over like dominoes. It's hard to get even real dominoes to do this - a very frustrating game, I must add.
D) The girl in black is hot enough to probably deflect any fines or charges, as the museum curator will probably hit on her before he takes any legal action.
(Posting may be non-existent on the weekend. Thanks for your patronage and good evening.)
Short review of Ayn Rand
Posted On: Thursday - July 13th 2017 7:09PM MST
In Topics:   Music  Pundits  Liberty/Libertarianism
Peak Stupidity leans pretty heavily toward liberty, but at the same time very conservative. People think that's a contradiction, but that only seems to be the case in America right now on certain issues that the purported Libertarian Leaders (Reason, magazine/site, ugghhhh) are totally whacked-out stupid about (borders/immigration). On the other side, the conservatives, or at the purported Conservative Leaders and even alt-right, seem to have taken stupid pills when it comes to Feral Gov't control of Americans' health (also here) along with their ideas on foreign policy and the police state.
What's Ayn Rand got to do with it? Well, she is not only the poster child for many Libertarians but also the "Emmanuel Goldstein" (see Orwell's 1984) of the Conservatives that hate on the "Libertards". What conservatives don't like about her, from my reading of tons of blog comments, is that her philosophy of "Objectivism" is very cold and unforgiving. Yes, the Objectivism is kind of an uncaring type of philosophy, but if that means Big Gov. is not involved, we're all for it. Miss Rand wrote, from the one book I've read (more about this) almost solely about economic liberty/freedom more than any other facet of it, say, freedom to bear arms for defense from Government, or any other specific freedoms that the founders of this country laid out for defense by the US Constitution 228 years back. Hell, she was a Russian; what did she know about the US Constitution - people cheat on those immigration tests all the time.
Many of the conservatives, in my opinion, think that Ayn Rand's concepts, and depictions in her novels of, economic freedom is all there is to libertarianism. They miss the fact that, with economic freedom, people are freed up financially to be plenty kind in charity, and there is no reason the country (forget the whole world - lost cause there) must be all business. Libertarians understand that individuals and families will always make better decisions than any government bureaucrat, especially on anything regarding their money and other assets.
This was a much better country before the Federal Gov't turned into a Feral Beast. The Big Gov't support and welfare money that is spread about is not charity at all in fact, seeing as all money spent has been extracted from the rest of the population under threat of force. It comes with rules attached that are made by government bureaucrats. In a free economy charity can be done with intelligence and caring. Nobody will keep donating money to people or organizations that waste it. I have noticed that even if I give a bum a measly 2 bucks, I am still concerned if he is going to get good use out of it or if he's lying to me, and I have a vested interest in those 2 bucks doing good.
We need that free market economy and real charity. Those conservatives that knock Ayn Rand's views and libertarians as heartless are missing some imagination. We need to, and can mold a new reality, closer to the heart.
(from A Farewell to Kings, 1977)
"Philosophers and plowmen
each must know his part
to sow a new mentality
closer to the heart."
Wait now, this review is NOT OVER YET: I do have one problem I with Ayn Rand. It's maybe just a nitpick, but it's just that her writing sucks! Things just dragged and dragged in The Fountainhead, which I only finished because I was unemployed at the time! It takes 2 pages to read about something that should be 1 paragraph. Though I know that Atlas Shrugged is supposed to be a great book, I think I'll have to go get the movie from the library. More books about economic liberty are greatly welcomed by Peak Stupidity, but dammit, just shorten it up, will ya?
Keeping the narrative going - Yahoo caught my eyeballs
Posted On: Thursday - July 13th 2017 4:57PM MST
In Topics:   Immigration Stupidity  Media Stupidity
It's all about eyeballs, the way the internet media people put it. There is a Lyin' Press, f.k.a "Mainstream Media", section of the internet too, not even counting the websites for the TV stations and newspapers. The great thing is, that one can avoid this just as easily as one can with the newspapers (talk the salesman back off off the porch) and the TV (cut the cable and talk the salesman back off the porch).
You've gotta sign out of the email account, and usually I close the window/tab, or put in a new URL so quickly that I don't read anything on the Yahoo front page, but this flashed at me - time for print-screen and some commentary - hell no, I'm not gonna read their narrative for guidance in my thinking!
I saw through to the narrative right away without clicking anything but PrtSc, then |X| for close tab. They want me to be all broken up about this Iranian doctor who had to be sent home due to the Moslem visa control, a damn good general policy but not nearly far enough to do a whole lot of good. It's a start. It makes me think Trump may be on the side of Americans, but it's no sure thing (Also see here, here, and here).
Yahoo wants me to be against this policy, and they have probably more than this one sob story to prove it - I'm not sticking around for the rest. This doctor probably is a decent guy and an OK doctor, we don't know for sure, but:
A) There are lots of doctors around already; we don't need to import any.
B) This guy probably didn't have his paperwork straight. Do you think US Customs/Immigration is going to treat an American or any other Doc. very nicely if he doesn't have his paperwork right for entry? Nope, they are a surly bunch - it's the one area of the government where I don't even mind that too much.
C) Hard cases make bad law. I read that off some lawyer and didn't even get charged 0.5 hours. This means the extreme cases are not the ones that should be used to evaluate the legality of a law.
So, forgive me if I'm not "all broken up about that man's rights", mainly cause he's not an American:
No tears are coming out of this blogger, Yahoo narrative-writers. You'll be lucky if I get sucked into reading 2 more headlines the rest of the fiscal year, Lyin' Presstitutes.
Oh, but lookey there - Meryl Streep has got a new purse!
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Goats stealing public sector union jobs - tin cans and minorities hardest hit
Posted On: Wednesday - July 12th 2017 4:42PM MST
In Topics:   Humor
Yesterday, Zerohedge featured a Mike Shedlock (I believed Peak Stupidity has linked to him before) article Public Union Files Grievance Against Poison-Ivy-Eating Goats For Stealing Jobs
I am not as much anti-union as I used to be, but I see no reason there should be public sector unions at all. This is what having a public sector union is about: The taxpayers pay the salaries, but then their employees, workers in, say, the county government have a collective bargaining agreement with, no NOT the taxpayers, their employers, but with other employees, who are called the "County Council" or whomever. It is complete bullshit, as the employment, or collective bargaining, agreement is between one set of employees and another. It doesn't make sense. Oh, it makes sense WHY it happens, as the lower-level employees can make sure they get the voters out (many of who are government workers) in the small elections to vote for the higher-level employees that will make a very generous employment deal - one that the taxpayers HAVE NO SAY IN! Now, I would hate to tell them myself (no actually it might be fun!) that the money won't all be coming - no matter what great deals they made, you can't fight the math (more here).
These goats, well, they may know more math than some of these gov-union pukes, but they have no say in the matter:
A battle is brewing at Western Michigan University this summer between a group of hungry goats and a labor union.BOLDING is Peak Stupidity's due to heh, heh "goat crews"! I can't help it. Then, "analysis". Since when did common sense turn into "analysis". Was a big computer and/or Newton's laws involved? OK, it wasn't analysis.
The 400-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has filed a grievance contending that the work the goats are doing in a wooded lot is taking away jobs from laid-off union workers.
“AFSCME takes protecting the jobs of its members very seriously and we have an agreed-upon collective bargaining agreement with Western Michigan,” said Union President Dennis Moore. “We expect the contract to be followed, and in circumstances where we feel it’s needed, we file a grievance.”
The grievance alleges that the university did not notify the union that it was planning to use goat crews on campus, according to a chief steward report supplied to the Battle Creek Enquirer.
University spokeswoman Cheryl Roland said a small goat crew has been on campus this summer, but not to cut grass.
“For the second summer in a row, we’ve brought in a goat crew to clear undergrowth in a woodlot, much of it poison ivy and other vegetation that is a problem for humans to remove,” Roland said. “Not wanting to use chemicals, either, we chose the goat solution to stay environmentally friendly.
“The area is rife with poison ivy and other invasive species, and our analysis showed the goats to be a sustainable and cost-effective way of removing them,” she added.
I hope it doesn't come down to the violence this country has seen in previous labor - management disputes, in this case, Affirmative Action hires versus scab goats. You'll have goats being mysteriously poisoned with, well what exactly?? They're not gonna notice. Then you'll have the goats keying union-driven cars, which should be pretty easy for them, in fact maybe their forte, if you will. I'd put my money on the goats - "Look for the Union label, munch, munch."
"The scab goats are remaining mostly mum when interviewed by the KZOO news team. Their putative leader, that white/gray one over there, answered our reporter with simply 'Maaaa, no comment!'"
It only stands to reason that this story would happen at the Zoo, Kalama- Zoo, that is.
Update - Oh, Battle Creek - close enough for government-union work.
Neil Young, Union Man from Hawks and Doves:
"Every 4th Friday at 10 AM
there's a local meeting of the A F of M (usicians)
This meeting will now come to order.
Is there any new business?
Yeahhh, I think ..b.live mu... bum ...stickers sh... issued.
WHAT WAS THAT?!
LIVE MUSIC IS BETTER bumper stickers should be issued.
That gentleman said "LIVE MUSIC IS BETTER" bumper stickers should be issued.
All in favor of what he said, signify by saying aay.
If however you are opposed, signify by saying NO.
I'm proud to be a union man!
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More stupidity at the library - the big one
Posted On: Tuesday - July 11th 2017 4:40PM MST
In Topics:   Music  Curmudgeonry  Economics  Liberty/Libertarianism
A week ago in a post about 3 minor doses of stupidity the 1st paragraph was about the unnecessary complete remodeling of the local library branch. Yeah, We, well not me, but WE - the generous of us taxpayers - passed by vote a bond issue for $82,000,000 for the libraries. The money's got to be spent now. Voting was the easy part; spending the money takes more time and effort.
Since I had to go to the big new main library now, I remembered upon arriving that this one had just finished a year or more long renovation too. Now, I say "new" main library, as this building was only finished 20 years back to replace the older one that was all crowded with books and shit.
I didn't have a beef with the building of a new library, as the old one was definitely packed and cramped. It was truly made for books and I think the shelves went right up to the low ceilings, and I don't think more books would have fit in the place. This new one is a beautiful modern 1/2 block big glass building with 5 stories, escalators, and the works. Yeah, I get that it's not all about books anymore. Homeless people need a place to hang out, other people too need computers to log into (wait, even the homeless have got their iPhones - more computing power than a new-library-building full of IBM clones probably!).
At this point in the post, one could argue as a libertarian* with the whole damn idea of this library thing. After all, they are letting you borrow movies and music for free, which interferes with the market, meaning it screws the little guy. Going back to books, one could say the same thing. They do still have some books, and that interferes with any private market in both selling and lending. Hey, I really couldn't argue against this point. However, I know they've been around quite a while, whether they are really necessary at all anymore.
So, we've got the (to me) new place with big wide open areas - not too efficient, but hey, it's not their money, and high ceilings, with lots of volume to heat and cool. Great!:
Back to the short story, I walk in to this big new 20-year old library because the local branch is undergoing major renovations to its new brick building and nice interior. I noticed that this whole new main branch was completely rearranged and remembered that it had been a multi-year project with lots of inconvenience and moving around of books and computers. Nothing was in the same place. I asked one of the librarians
"Hey, I see they spent a lot of time and money here - tell me what's new."
"Everything's new." he said, pointing at the new walls and the lack of the old walls, I guess.
"No, I mean what's new that we didn't have before - some new things, I mean."
"All of it - see all the new stuff." He pointed to the walls again. "The video room is over there now. Things are all different."
"Yeah, I see the escalators are the only things in the same place. Why'd stuff just get moved around? Is this just a way to spend the 82 Million dollars that the idiot taxpayers voted for?"
"No, it was a bond.", the PBS-broadcaster-looking guy explained to me.
"Yeah, so it's 82 Million plus interest!"
The guy was getting pissed. I was getting pissed.
"A friend of mine was going to get a new truck, but the property tax was gonna be too high. He's gonna buy used just because of all this money you people are spending."
The guys and ladies (a lady was next to him listening and once in a while saying, in some odd accent, something about "this is all new.") who work in these local government jobs cannot relate this blowing of our tax dollars to anything bad. It's just government money. I had tried to explain, to no avail, and now I don't even want to see that guy again, but the local branch is closed.
Before the reader thinks "see, you use the library, so you should pay", I will say "the money is not spent wisely, that's my problem". The original new library was beautiful with plenty of space and should stay like that for 50 years. There were always plenty of people to help - they were not working their butts off as in a private industry job.
Now, why is it that all these public spending guys tend to look like Alex Keaton's dad in Family Ties, who is supposed to be manager of a Public TV station? This guy at the library was not smiling like Mr. Keaton, though, even from the beginning, but much less later on.
Great. Now, the pic has got my mind on Alex's (the conservative one's) kid sister Mallory. Boy, was she cute. However, the Mom, Elise Keaton (actually called Meridith Baxter Burney - don't know how in the hell I recalled that!) was fairly hot herself. This leads to our music for today - speaking of hot Moms - this one is "Stacy's Mom" by a band called Fountains of Wayne:
How'd I miss this one from back in ought-three? This was when these bands still put lots of effort into the videos, as it matches the song nicely! (Oh, yeah, we do know the intro. sounds like The Cars' "Just what I Needed")
* NOTE: I can't even imagine being a Libertarian Librarian. The cognitive dissonance going on would be enough to send one away for a while until a new mindset or a new job, or both, could be found.
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Good song out of nowhere. - Magic Bullets
Posted On: Monday - July 10th 2017 7:16PM MST
In Topics:   Music
I would have never heard or heard of this song had I not been setting preselects on a car radio, since I had to take off the battery cables. I liked the guitar riffs right away, kind of like an REM song, but with an even brighter sound (undistorted). The band is called Magic Bullets and this song is What took you so Long?
The song is so obscure that all I could get off the web is that this is from '11-'12, and the band is from San Francisco.
We don't have Kasey Kasem to tell us what music is up the charts anymore. On the other hand we can find anything that anyone in the world has been playing now, but finding the good stuff is like looking for a needle in a haystack. You can always go see the live music locally and find something good. "I think, 'Live music is better.' bumper stickers should be issued!" says Neil Young*.
* Speaking of obscure stuff, that is from Neil's "Union Man" off of the Hawks and Doves album that featured Coming Apart at every Nail.
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Chinese students at the American Universities
Posted On: Monday - July 10th 2017 5:24PM MST
In Topics:   University  China
The last post, the 2nd on housing bubble 2.0, presented the case that many Chinese people have been investing specifically in the university towns, for a number of reasons. I want to continue just a bit about housing, then lead into more about the whole idea of Chinese parents sending the kids over to school in America, so this is really 2 posts in 1.
The Chinese have a different culture, of course, and that means they like a different way of living than Americans. As mentioned in the last post, Americans have no problem living in the country and don't think of it as proof that we are poor, illiterate rubes. Of course, we have more land than the Chinese for each of us (some of this may be discussed in another post with the immigration stupidity topic key.) I will except the young adults, say age 18-30 from this point, as most would gravitate to the bright-lights/big-city thing just as about ALL Chinese. There are 20, maybe more, cities as big as New York City in China, and they love their bright lights! Anything smaller or more spread out than Seattle, Washington is podunkville to these people.
In addition, the Chinese are into the whole "feng shui" thing, literally "wind/water", but it means the environment of the house must be right. It is in direct opposition to my liking, for instance, of lots of shade trees. These people will cut them down like weeds to have the sunlight (which the ladies can't let hit them, though, hence the umbrellas), and they want a view of the water. I guess that can't suit everyone, but even a sewer plant could do in a pinch - that's some mighty rich feng shui ya' got there, Mister Li!
The summary here is that as parts of the big city gets gobbled up by the Chinese buyers, many place will look closer to China, and may not even be attractive to Americans, with our different culture.
Back to the university bit - I have seen that almost any university town draws many Chinese to study, stay, and buy housing, in various combinations of these. Though Peak Stupidity has 20 posts with the University topic key, one couldn't go wrong starting with: University Bubble 99 - Remedial Global Financial Stupidity at the U. We have explained the financial aspect of this University Bubble there, but this does not apply much directly to the Chinese students and other foreign students. In fact, the admission of so many of them is a minor contributor to the bubble, as colleges and the states that run many of them sell out for the foreign out-of-state/out-of-country tuition cash. (It's not really their purpose under the state charters that founded them, is it?)
No, the Chinese students as individuals are not causing this bubble, but I believe they are victims of it. That might not bother anyone, but this is just to explain the large influx. The Chinese have for many years looked up to American higher education as some of the best (sure, lots of great schools in Europe, but with our cheaper living costs, the US has probably always been the best bet). Why? At the universities in China, getting in is the hard part, while getting through is a piece of cake. The degree would not indicate anything more than this student was smart enough to get in, and took a bunch of classes. It has been different in American in the past - hard to get in and hard to get through (well in science/math/engineering). 20 years ago a degree from an American university, maybe any one of them, would be a great guarantee of good employment back in the
Well, if you have read our posts about the universities, you will have understood the ultra-extended finance part of the problems, but perhaps we have not covered the lowering of standards very much. This could be read elsewhere, of course, but the 2 aspects go together somewhat. As the universities have expanded due to the huge money they have been taking in from each, they want to multiply that by increasing the student count (the number of "seats") also. Standards have been lowered for that reason, and due to the always-decreasing availability of good jobs for the non-college-"educated" (people without that piece of paper), parents are sending any kid that the universities will take.
Back to the Chinese, for them them, of the American colleges is still high. The saying is that reputations are hard to gain but easy to lose. I don't agree. The reputation of American universities, especially for foreigners, is 20 years behind the reality. Once the truth reaches the high-spending parents in China, the situation may change here, and the foreign student count may go back down. In the meantime, it's not just engineering, science, and math that the Chinese are studying, from my observations. There are quite a few getting degrees in some of the areas we laughed at even back in the day:
It is just that American piece of paper they want. I feel sorry for the ones that got duped into spending much hard-earned money for it. Again, much of the money is just hard-bribed, so those ones can suck it. I hope this piece of paper gets you far - Central Pneumatic could really use a guy like you, Han Joel!
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Housing Bubble 2.0 - (Part 2) - Voila, an American Dream
Posted On: Saturday - July 8th 2017 8:04PM MST
In Topics:   University  China  Economics
In yesterday's post on Housing Bubble 2.0, graphs of median prices for cities in 5 regions of the country were presented. The conclusion was that the US West Coast is experiencing this much more than elsewhere due to the influx of foreign money, from China in particular.
Other evidence for this is the University towns/cities. This writer has been traveling quite a bit recently, and it is quite noticeable now how many Chinese travelers there are, on the airlines. When you notice where they are going to or coming from, it is almost always some city or town with a big university. They are everywhere education is, mostly in graduate schools (engineering/computers/stats are majority Chinese ALL AROUND THE COUNTRY.), but also many at the undergraduate level. What this has to do with housing is coming in a bit.
This is the time to mention the city of Boston though, alluded to as a special case in Part 1. Most big cities are bound to have a number of colleges of some sort, but they are not usually a big part of the economy. Boston is a big exception. Besides the goodly number of famous ones, MIT, Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, Brandeis, Cambridge, and Northeastern, there are hundreds of colleges there. There are in the neighborhood of 150,000 college students just at the big name schools. The college scene, cntrl-left and wacky as it may be these days, is still a great counterbalance to the rest of the population of that city, known as the Massholes, and that appellation was not lightly earned by the residents of that city. How they could be descendants of the early founders of our country is a mystery to the Peak Stupidity staff.
Anyway, the point of this post in relation to housing is that many of these Chinese people with their hard-earned, or (usually) hard-extorted, US dollars want to stay in the country. Even if they don't want to stay, there are many Chinese young people who are sent here for college based on the reputation of US Universities as being the best institutions of learning - this is the subject of a post coming Monday (we don't agree with this.) Others are sent by their rich corrupt gov't-official parents as a foothold to get their money out of China and at the same time to buy citizenship or gain it via their kid (usually just one.) It is not just the big West Coast cities seeing this foreign influence on the housing market. The Case/Shiller data shown in Part 1 was only computed for those 20 big cities. I have only anecdotes, but am sure that smaller University towns are experiencing some bidding-up of housing prices - maybe only in certain neighborhoods - due to the influence of Chinese money.
Hey, I get along pretty well with Chinese people, but people should just realize that this effect is far and wide. It may not be too long before things are changed as to be unrecognizable as traditional America for someone raised in the 1980's even. Many formerly middle-class people may be priced out of anywhere nice in the cities. Americans do like living out in the country, so there is that, in BIG CONTRAST to the Chinese who reckon that anyone not living in the big city is an illiterate piece of trash (which is their definition back home, in the
Is it still America in Augusta, Georgia, at least? "Voila, An American Dream ...
... where we can travel, girl, without any means"
That's the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and it's Linda Rondstadt singing harmony there! It was written by Rodney Crowell and released in 1979.
* What will that even mean anymore?
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Aja by Steely Dan
Posted On: Friday - July 7th 2017 5:50PM MST
In Topics:   Music  Political Correctness
I've been reading a couple of interesting posts by Steve Sailer, on the unz.com site today, and in this post, in which Mr. Sailer invokes his clever "First Law of Female Journalism", in this case the article is somwhat about a mixed relationship between a "South Asian" girl and white guy. You've got your "South Asian" and "East Asians". The South Asians are Indians (Dot, of course), and the East Asians are Orientals. I am sick of political correctness even from unz commenters! It's not worth telling them again that the term "Oriental" is much more descriptive, and, in fact, is NO kind of slur - the word means "Eastern" - as back when things were Euro-centered, these people lived FAR to the EAST.
Well, we already beat this horse in this post way back, saying:
After reading and discussing China today, the older, English names for countries and for the cities in China came up. PeakStupidity believes the English names were so much nicer and evoked images of the mysterious Orient. For example, would you rather date a girl if she were billed as “a beautiful Oriental lass from Canton, in Cathay in the Far East” or if she were “a good worker loyal party-following comrade from Guangzhou's Tein-hou district of the People’s Republic”?OK, enough, I guess. I only wanted to post some music tonight anyway. That old post featured Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells a Story, Don't It?".
Just thinking about Asia then, here is the great band Steely Dan with their song "Aja", title song of that album. It is more jazzy than what Peak Stupidity normally posts, but it has a great jam for 1/2 of the song. Steely Dan is mostly known as just 2 guys, Walter Becker and Donald Fagan, but they had lots of professional, session musicians play with them. We hope you enjoy this one. Good night.
Oh, Sailer's 1st Law of Female Journalism is: The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.
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Housing Bubble 2.0 - West coast, university towns, minorities, to be hardest hit!
Posted On: Friday - July 7th 2017 10:15AM MST
In Topics:   Immigration Stupidity  Websites  University  California  Global Financial Stupidity  Economics
(By "minorities", in this case we mean non-rich regular Americans, who will indeed soon be minorities in the parts of these areas that people want to live in.)
This is more information that could be gleaned from regular readings of Zerohedge and sites like that over the last few years. Peak Stupidity would like to give a shout-out, if you will ("shout-out", only phrase heard from Øb☭ma that I liked) to a site called Seattle Bubble that this writer first perused way back in 2005. By the name, this guy, called "The Tim" writes specifically about Seattle, Washington, but he covers the overall scene with housing prices in his graphs - more about them shortly.
I will say that The Tim did call out the ridiculous bid-up of housing in Seattle and the west coast before things went down the first time. His site clued me into the real state of financial things by leading me to the Calculated Risk blog (OK, I recall, but most of the commenters were flat-out Communists, Commo-commenters, if you will!), which led me later on to Zerohedge, one of our favorites, of course. I will first write a few things about the Seattle Bubble site, then a few things about the data to be displayed on changes in median housing prices.
SeattleBubble was interesting early on, but the posts were geared toward people living in Seattle, or King County, or surrounding counties of course. Besides discussing the ridiculousness of the prices (till 2007), the state of housing in the area during the big decline (2008 - 2013), and then the reasons for the new sharp rise again (2014-Present), the site is geared toward people into real estate as a business. Most of the commenters, in fact, would only be interesting to readers in Real Estate, one of the unproductive large areas of the American economy, as part of the FIRE sectors (see 5th paragraph and down). In addition, a majority of the commenters are fairly leftwing and clueless, which shows when any kind of politics come into discussion - that'd be expected, I guess. Nowaday, I look forward only to reading the monthly post with graphs from Case-Shiller data on housing prices for 20 metropolitan areas of the US. Granted, this data can be read elsewhere - from the 2 guys Case and Shiller, if nothing else. The Tim has some really well-presented graphs in his posts each month, that haven't changed format (which I like) and use software called Tableau that enables user control of the graph on-line - oh, that doesn't work on slightly older browsers, like a lot of stuff!
Now, about the data: There are a few things one must understand or his impression of the housing numbers from the Case/Shiller monthly numbers will be wrong. Here ya go:
1) All of the cities' housing prices are given as the median value, as opposed to the average, or mean. This really makes sense with this kind of data. Most buyers are buying ONE house out of thousands, and a few very high-dollar mansions being sold can skew an average. The median, for the statistically-declined, means the value at which 1/2 of the other numbers would be higher than it and 1/2 lower.
2) All of the city's median housing prices have been normalized to a value of 100 at the beginning of 2000, at a time when these guys considered housing bubble 1.0 to have started. This means that, though the median LA price and the median Charlotte, NC price were way different at that time, they both show 100 on the graph. The idea is to enable people to compare not actual prices between cities, but relative rises and falls based on that "initial" value, before any bubbling.
3) This last point is not particular to Case/Shiller data, but the housing market in general, for most parts of the country, gets better (more sales and higher prices) in Spring and Summer than in Fall/Winter. It may be a matter of more people getting out and around or something about jobs/schooling and moving. Who cares, but the yearly waves in most of the graphs are not noise, but real. It's the long-term trends that are more important.
With that being said, the point of this post is to point out the areas that are particularly seeing this 2nd housing bubble. The following graphs are just screenshots from the SeattleBubble site, so not interactive. In addition, they are more than 1 month old now. The new graphs, showing data through end-of-April, was presented in late June, and can be viewed and played with there. Remember, the indexes shown are not relative to other cities, just to the median price in that city back in 2000.
(Phoenix should not appear here also - I cannot correct this right now, sorry.)
None of these cities had a real, serious out-of-control bubble back the first time, circa 2007. Though Denver has gone quite a bit up lately, note that it's index of 190 means prices are up 90% since the year 2000. That would be an increase of just over 4% yearly compounded, which is not at all out of line with real (not US Government published) inflation numbers.
These two cities, in what Steve Sailer (of unz/Vdare) calls the "sand states", had a huge bubble last go around. It had to mostly just pure get-rich-quick speculation, and I personally know someone involved who lost mucho monero getting in the scheme at the wrong time - or, really, getting out at the wrong time. Though prices came out of their steep dive and trough in 2013, the increase in the last 3 years are not ridiculous. Have people learned not to speculate? I mean, you can get to the real casino pretty quickly from both these locales.
These 2 Southern big cities never had anything really unreasonable going on. The dip in Atlanta toward 2012 bring prices down to 80% of a dozen years earlier was the worst of it.
(Trust me, I didn't pick the colors - Washington, FS is the light blue-gray one with the higher-up indexes throughout the x-axis.)
NYC and Washington, FS are the big money cities. NYC as King of the Finance "industry, first of the FIRE methods of
AHA! WTF? These West Coast cities saw huge peaks in housing prices in 2007, as there was much speculation, but the down slides never got as low as Vegas and Phoenix, or even the Midwest/Mountain West, which got down to 2000 levels. The big thing to notice is that these cities are really undergoing bubble 2.0 with a vengeance. In fact prices in Seattle, Portland, and San Fran have all gone higher than the peaks of bubble 1.0. OK, it's nice out there, when the sun ever shines, but it's been that way. What's new and special about the West Coast? I'll tell you - it's closer and more familiar to the folks with the big bucks over in China. There is a whole lof of foreign-collected US Dollars being spent, as Peak stupidity has already discussed here.
Word on the
There are plenty of people in Real Estate who may love this sort of thing. People who are ready to get the hell out of these cities, for whatever reasons, may also be grateful for this influx of foreign cash. It is not good for an average American who just wants to stay and live a decent life. California has gone through this years ago, but know that, even though you're "locked in" with the price you paid, and can get nice big home equity loans or lines-of-credit for vacations and SUVs , your property tax will go up accordingly. This rent-from-the-State deal will not end. Can't come up with the money? See you, get the hell out of this city.
What about Boston, and what about the University towns per the post title? That'll be the the material in the next post on this, hopefully tomorrow.
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