05 December 2013

Reaction to the College bubble

Which is proceeding as Dr Glenn Reynold's has forseen. Reynolds also notes that there are some college majors which are well worth the time; effort; and expense. Here's one: Engineering. Here's an alternative:
The Engineering Candidate Hawsepipe (TECH) program is a comprehensive training program for selected high school graduates who want to pursue careers as seagoing marine engineers.
Is this for me?
Candidates must meet the United States Coast Guard (USCG) medical requirements for a licensed engineer, and demonstrate high standards of academic achievement and engineering aptitude.  Recruiting for the inaugural class is now complete and the next class convening date will be announced in due course.  Interested personnel should complete the registration form (link below) and we will contact you when the next class is scheduled.
There is a shortage of marine engineers. Why? Because there's a shortage of engineers. Almost all engineers. Degreed engineers from the maritme academies, therefore, have LOTS of alternatives.
A group of companies and a couple of maritime unions to the rescue:
American Maritime Officers (AMO), the largest union of US licensed merchant marine officers and the Seafarers International Union (SIU), the largest union of unlicensed mariners are working together on this project with the purpose of providing selected candidates with the opportunity to proceed on a marine engineering career path and help fill the current shortage of marine engineers.  The program targets high performing recent high school graduates with an interest in the merchant marine and mentors them during intense training onboard ship and ashore.
Nope, it's not a college, it's technical education
The TECH program will take approximately 2.5 to 3 years to complete and has nine (9) phases. The phases can be viewed here.
Here's the best news: you actually get paid by this program, tuition, room and board are free
Fees, compensation and benefits while in the TECH program.
There are no tuition or room and board fees for this program and all transportation costs incurred in completing the program are covered, provided the individual agrees to complete the program successfully and sail as a licensed engineer for AMO upon completion.
There are, however, limited fees to be paid by the candidate for the following (financial assistance may be available if required):
  • Medical and dental examinations associated with the application process and USCG physicals
  • TSA and USCG fees to obtain TWIC and USCG MMC
  • Uniform fees for initial phases of the program
  • Transportation costs to STAR Center (Ft. Lauderdale) for initial program orientation
  • Union dues as a member of Seafarers International Union and applicant candidate of AMO upon transition
While in the program TECH candidates will receive a limited stipend during certain shoreside training portions and all apprentice engineering assignments onboard ship. In addition, individual medical benefit coverage will be provided to the TECH candidate through the SIU and AMO
You have to sail for three years after graduating from the program. Is that a catch? Well, 3rd Assistant Engineers start off at $60 - $80,000 per year.

26 November 2013


Comes now Mickey Kaus who's bemused that the press is (n.b. finally) tumbling to the fact that Obamacare takes from some and gives to others.  In a word, redistributive.

Also sprach der Noo Yawk Times:
The idea is basically that Obamacare is secretly (“shhh!” says Tim Noah) redistributive. Obama can’t use the term lest he scare the right, says Harwood. And if youre going to be redistributive, well, there have  to be losers

And here the good-deed-dooers run up against the hard rules of the USA: if you want to raise a bunch of money, you end up increasing taxes on people who don't consider themselves rich.  They really don't. 

Dr. Jonathan Gruber (health economist at MIT) claims opposition to this redistribution is just “a convenient tool for Republican opponents who would fight the law anyway.”

08 August 2013

Confederate flag will fly along I-95 - Richmond Times-Dispatch: City Of Richmond

I'm going to pick nits: what will fly, assuming the Times-Dispatch got the dimensions right, is the Confederate Naval Ensign.  The Confederate battle flag is square; further, the "Confederate Flag" -- the flag of the Confederate States of America -- looks nothing like either of the above.
IOW, these yahoos are trying to make trouble, not honor history; because I don't think they're big CSN fans.
Confederate flag will fly along I-95 - Richmond Times-Dispatch: City Of Richmond

19 July 2013

Yep, sailing permanently twists your mind.

Instapundit, a/k/a Professor Glenn Reynolds of the University of Tennessee's Law School, posted a link to cleaning advice published in Popular Mechanics (for which he also writes).  He also added a hint passed onto him by a maid -- t'is good advice, don't get me wrong -- but he ended the post with:
"She offered the trick in lieu of a fee, and it’s a great one."
Ahem.  what would you think?

17 June 2013

War; Speak Truth to Power (swiped from www.JerryPournelle.com)

Go back a few years. Imagine a CIA plot to get Iran which considers us the Great Satan and hates us, to declare war on al Qaeda and expend blood and treasure on exterminating al Qaeda – which long ago declared war on us, and which is the most easily defined enemy in our War of Terror. Imagine that al Qaeda might be induced to expend its resources fighting Hezbollah and Iran. Imagine that we could get our enemies to fight each other using whatever weapons they could muster, and expend their blood and treasure on exterminating each other, so that neither had very much to spend on killing Americans.
Come to the present, where that is happening. Israel after careful consideration has stayed out of the Syrian civil war on the grounds that the Assad Family has kept the peace with Israel for decades, while al Qaeda attacks Israelis. Imagine that somehow the trick has been made to work, and our enemies fight each other in a war in which the United States has no describable national interest.
Now imagine that having achieved that result we decide to enter the war.

05 June 2013

Defense reform: the unusual suspects sound off!

Signatories include Cato, Center for American Progress, American Enterprise Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Alert the media: it's a cold day in hell!

English's greatest word: dirigismean

DIRIGISME: economic planning and control by the state

08 May 2013

You're counseling women to submit?

Instapundit links to a report by Wired Magazine which found a brochure from Shaw AFB saying “it may be advisable to submit than to resist.”

Yes, the sentence's really structured that way.

Let me be clear*: a necessary although not, alas, sufficient condtion for any pretense of being a civilized society is the ability of women to say 'no.' 

If she says 'no' and her wishes aren't respected it then becomes the agressor's reponsibility to make sure she knows her life isn't in danger.  Nope, I've no flippin' idea how you'd do that.

Because, if she isn't sure her life is safe, she's surely justified doing anything she needs to do to stay alive.  Yep, that implies dead attackers.


*Look if this phrase's good enough for POTUS...

06 May 2013

Man, it's a good thing the maritime unions spent so much time & money on re-electing the Prez

otherwise the administration might screw 'em over!d
Oh, wait...
Note for the seminar: your texts don't do a very good job of pointing out why national party influence in a local campaign isn't always a good idea.  Chances are virtually 100% that *no one* in the DNC even dreamt that a tie-in to Nancy Pelosi would actually effect the race!

Ann Althouse on the Sanford/Colbert Busch campaign
Money quote: "

"At one recent campaign stop, Sanford debated a cardboard Pelosi cut-out..."

"... calling the California Democrat a stand-in for Colbert Busch. The theatrics drew widespread ridicule, but Sanford’s aides say the publicity it generated helped drive attention to the Republican’s message."
Ridicule is one form of publicity. Sanford's connection of Colbert Busch to Pelosi seems to have worked:
The new poll... found that the percentage of voters who view Colbert Busch unfavorably has grown 13 percent in the past two weeks — from 31 percent to 44 percent. Pelosi’s poll numbers in the district are miserable: Just 24 percent of voters approve of her performance and 61 percent disapprove.
From the comments:
What he (Sanford) did was more like an extended lunch hour for Teddy. Remember the waitress sandwiches with Chris Dodd?

02 May 2013

Deirdre McCloskey dissects Michael Sandel's "What Money Can't Buy."

Money quote comes from Virginia Postrel: "Deirdre McCloskey dissects Michael Sandel's "What Money Can't Buy."
I think Sandel's better described as a dirigismean although I think Dr. McCloskey'd say communitarianism's the same thing.
Here's the quote from Dr. McCloskey:

The Poverty of Communitarianism

A review of What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, by Michael J. Sandel

Posted November 27, 2012
Michael Sandel is well known for his writings on political philosophy, and about a thousand Harvard undergraduates annually crowd into his course titled "Justice." In contemporary terms he is a liberal, though of a decidedly "communitarian" bent. His new book, What Money Can't Buy, offers a good occasion to examine his communitarian moral convictions and his resulting distaste for the market.
One cannot disagree with him about the need to remoralize the study of markets. We should know why we believe, morally speaking, that bread should be allocated by a market but children should not. It's not enough to simply sneer at these propositions—even economists must perform their philosophical due diligence. "Markets are not mere mechanisms," he wisely observes, but "embody certain norms." He is right that "[m]arket reasoning is incomplete without moral reasoning."
But the book does not perform the work it calls for. Sandel knows moral and political theory, yet his book is strangely shallow. He does not provide, as he promises early on, "a philosophical framework for thinking...through" the "role and reach of markets." Instead, he mounts a tendentious assault, often veiled as mere reporting of what "some people" say, against "market triumphalism," which he understands to be an unsophisticated and unprecedented drive to price everything. He does battle with the more easily defeated utilitarian economists (Judge Richard Posner, for example), but ignores the best that has been thought and written about the merits of a commercial, innovative society. (John Tomasi's new Free Market Fairness is one book Sandel could have profited from, among others.) Playing to his audience's least examined dispositions about what's fair and what's reprehensible, Sandel doesn't try to elevate the philosophical game of the people he lectures.

30 April 2013

Armed Robber Has Shotgun Snatched by Unassuming Superhero

If you do this correctly, you end up with a disarmed robber wannabe.
However, if you do it wrong...
The question then becomes whether you'll be robbed *and* shot in which case you might as well go for it; because, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

23 April 2013

Game of Thrones

Shamelessly swiped from Uncle Tim Bolego's Revenge Dr Adams of CalPoly, Pomona
The Game Of Thrones Is A Game Of Coins
From: "Pamela C. Adams" <pcadams@csupomona.edu>
By Matt McCaffrey and Carmen Dorob | April 17 2013 11:31 AM
There has been a good deal of buzz in the past few weeks about the premiere of the third season of HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones.” But for those who have found the show to be too enthralling, never fear, the economists have arrived to ruin the entertainment by
turning it into a learning experience.
As it turns out, though, economic lessons are more often found in George R.R. Martin’s original novels than in the recent adaptations, so we need not spoil the story. What we hope is to give viewers a glimpse beneath the surface of the events that occur in the series.
One of the inevitable problems of adapting the novels into a television series is that some of the richness is lost. In the series, the game of thrones is usually played with more obvious weapons like swords and other more … human assets, and the battlefield is more likely to be a boudoir than a bank. However, Martin’s epic is nothing if not a study in the logic of government and the tools it uses to extend its sphere of influence.
But in addition to incorporating conventional methods of politics, Martin’s books also pay close attention to the economic problems of ruling the Seven Kingdoms.
What makes these elements of the story so fascinating is that, despite the fantasy setting, they describe traits of government that are universal and relevant in the world today. And Martin’s view of his subject is far from random, being supported through detailed historical
research that underlies his descriptions of the economic workings of government.
A deep understanding of history shines through particularly in the descriptions of public finance, one of the persistent difficulties in governing any kingdom, but especially one perpetually at war. It's conventional in economics to say government has three methods of
finance: taxation, borrowing, and inflation. And each of these methods is tried by the Lannisters in their efforts to retain power.
The chief financial mischief is carried out by Lord Petyr Baelish, also known as “Littlefinger,” who serves as the king’s master of coin. In addition to persistently hatching his own schemes, Littlefinger also proves himself a shrewd financier in his efforts to provide the crown with the gold it needs to survive the war.
One of Littlefinger’s first fiscal policies is a tax on refugees from the war who wish to enter the capital city, thus taking advantage of their desperation to fleece them of all they own. Yet, once safely inside the city walls, there's little way for the refugees to generate additional income for the crown.
Later in the story, to avoid their own potential “fiscal cliff,” more effective taxes must be tried. In an attempt to pay for King Joffrey’s wedding, Tywin Lannister even taxes brothels, disguising the tax as a way to “improve the morals of the city.”
The next clear option is borrowing, and this Littlefinger’s treasury does in large amounts. Its primary source of loans are foreign banks (especially the Iron Bank of Braavos), but as the war drags on, the Lannisters find it increasingly difficult to always pay their debts. The
master of coin becomes an artful dodger, and the lenders become aware that the terms of trade are not to their advantage.
Neither lending nor borrowing comes without a cost, and the balance of power is affected by both. While governments try to force the hand of their creditors, those who finance governments also seek to influence them in return. Sometimes, the bankers even threaten
to finance other frontrunners in the competition for the crown.
Eventually, power accrues to those who make themselves indispensable sources of spending. The financiers become “political entrepreneurs,” pulling strings behind the scenes. This is exactly what Tywin Lannister does; even before he becomes the Hand of
the King (technically, becomes Hand again) it's clear that his will governs the kingdom -- his will, and his purse strings.
Martin then adds a finishing touch on the debt problem by looking into the thoughts of Cersei Lannister. Frustrated by the crown’s obligation to repay its loans, Cersei concludes:
“We need our own bank … the Golden Bank of Lannisport.”
This is another brilliant illustration of the logic of public finance. Rulers throughout history have realized that the key to financing the state isn't to simply prey on the wealth of citizens, or rely on the goodwill of lenders, but to directly control the money supply through
a central bank.
This leads to the last and most devious method of finance: inflation. In the medieval world, inflation occurred through a simple form of currency debasement called “coin clipping.”
Martin makes occasional reference to the practice, and implicates Littlefinger in a coin clipping scheme. Littlefinger’s chosen method of finance is described as minting gold from goldenrod, implying that he's diluting the metallic content to produce low-value coins that can be passed off at face value. This practice provides ample funds for the crown, but at the expense of the rest of society.
Is it necessary to point out the familiarity of this story -- a heavily taxed population, a massive public debt, and a government rapidly inflating the money supply to sustain itself and its chosen elites through an endless series of wars?
A constant theme in Martin’s books, and human history, is that the game of thrones does not change. But those who desire a different outcome should take note of one point Martin’s epic makes abundantly clear: It does not matter who sits the throne, the problem
lies in the throne itself.
Matt McCaffrey is an Instructor of Economics at Auburn University, and editor of Libertarian Papers.
  • Carmen Dorob is a PhD candidate in economics at the University of Angers, and Instructor at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies

When seconds count, as Glenn Reynolds is wont to say, the police are only minutes away....

Money quote from Paula Bolyard:
I realized at that moment that the police cannot protect me from the Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs of the world.
The best they can do is tell me to lock myself in my home while they search for the bad guy. Though the residents of Watertown (and the surrounding greater-Boston area) were held in a state of near-martial law, the best most of them could do was huddle in their homes, hoping the police would take their 3 a.m. call and come running to rescue them before the terrorist killed them. . . . I realized right then that if I were holed up in my house while a cold-blooded terrorist roamed my neighborhood, I wouldn’t want to be a sitting duck with only a deadbolt lock between me and an armed intruder.
Neither, as Dr Reynolds said, would I.

18 March 2013

Government as Old-Age Home

"None of us wants to impose new burdens on vulnerable seniors," write economists Harry Holzer of Georgetown University and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution in The Washington Post. "[But] for how long will we continue to sacrifice investments in our nation's children and youth ... to spend more and more on the aged?"
Hypocritical conservatives are liberals' unspoken allies. Despite constant grumbling about entitlements, they lack the courage of their convictions.

Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/03/18/government_as_old-age_home_117479.html#ixzz2Nv6Kwgnr
Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter
Government as Old-Age Home

15 March 2013

Younger Generations Lag Parents in Wealth-Building

The grey lady gets even grayer.
Master of the Obvious quote:
Because wealth compounds over long periods of time — a dollar saved 10 years ago is worth much more than a dollar saved today — young adults probably face less secure futures for decades down the road, and even shakier retirements.
As you might expect, the Times doesn't note that younger generations are looking at -- by the Treasury's estimate -- $100 trillion they're supposed to try to pay.

14 March 2013

The Perils of Intellectual Apostasy

swiped from Richochet. Money quote:
Most of the New Deal liberals that I once knew have passed on. They have been replaced in positions of authority by a generation for whom everything is political. Its motto is "the personal is political and the political is personal." What this means in practice is that the members of this generation tend to regard those at odds with them not as merely wrong and perhaps intriguingly, interestingly wrong but as simply immoral. In the face of an argument or observation that does not sit comfortably with what they believe, they resort to denunciation. The dissenter is labeled a racist or a fascist or something worse, and he is read out of the human race
Nota bene: the all politics is personal crowd usually embraces fascism although they don't like hearing it put that way.  And given the structure of the recently deceased (I hope) Occupy movement a large part of 'em embrace a very nationalistic fascism.  Hmmm.

08 March 2013

Die unabhängige politische Partei-Chef befiehlt dir zu stoppen trägt diese Kondome!

On accounta 'cause you might be a prostitute.  80% of NYC high school grads can't read well enough for community college, but YOU might be a prostitute.

Wir mussen Ordnung haben!

28 February 2013

Administration to Dismantle U.S. Merchant Marine?

It would be, I suppose, in bad taste to point out that ALL of the unions endorsed POTUS 44.  I presume dues-paying members are satisfied that the campaign donations were worth it....

just saying.

Coasties publish an Interim rule to enforce MARPOL. but they still want comments

So a revision of the international agreement on marine pollution -- a/k/a/ MARPOL -- went into effect on 1 January 2013.  The Coasties either knew this was coming but couldn't get their act together to allow comments  before this shtuff became international law* or they figured that the industry would make their lives complicated if they knew what was coming (because the light-blue-suiters can be relied upon to make the standards tougher for the US industry than is required for the international industry.

Nonetheless, comments are invited. 

* Of  note, international law is legal in the US because we decide it is.  Vide: STCW.  The original convention was ratified by the Senate.  Since then (STCW 95 and STCW 2010) they've been an adjustment in code which is a subterfuge that allows USCG to enforce what are essentially new conventions without paying attention to that Pesky ConstitutionAnd, for good or for ill, the Senate hasn't the intestinal fortitude to tell them that decision isn't theirs. 

26 February 2013

Women & Children first

Sinking of the HMS Birkenhead - 26 February 1852 On February 26, 1852, the troopship HMS BIRKENHEAD grounded at Danger Point, near Cape Town, South Africa. It was carrying about 400 British soldiers to fight in the Kaffir War in South Africa. Also on board were about 200 civilians, mostly women and children. There were not sufficient lifeboats for everyone. The senior British Army officer onboard ordered the troops to stand fast as the women and children boarded the lifeboats. None of the soldiers broke ranks. The BIRKENHEAD sank soon afterwards. Only 193 of the approximately 643 people originally on board survived. From this event, the maritime tradition of "women and children first" is derived.

11 February 2013

The Coasties Regulatory kowtow to the ILO

Ach, RR, where are you now that we need you?
The US Coast Guard seeks comments on a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) that sets forth the Coast Guard’s policies and procedures regarding inspection of US vessels for voluntary compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006), which enters into force on 20 August 2013. Comments should be submitted by 13 March. 78 Fed. Reg. 9709 (February 11, 2013).