Thursday, February 24, 2011

Planned Parenthood is a predator: If it looks like a duck…..

The House of Representatives voting to defund Planned Parenthood pointed out an irony that somehow has escaped the media. The action has been decried as a “defunding rampage” and that “Family Planning not a GOP Family value” and called “an over the top right wing Republican antic”. Those comments are mild compared to some of the more extreme members of the left. The irony is that these same commentators routinely excoriate high rate lenders as predatory, preying on low income and minority communities. They point out that compared to low rate lenders such as banks, the clientele of lenders in subprime mortgages, payday lenders and even small consumer lenders are disproportionately low income and minority. I have always thought that this is a curious criticism and instead of stating that these lenders are serving minorities and urging other lenders to offer products to these customers, instead they have condemned them. Indeed one often cited source says “the financial institutions that do exist in minority areas are likely to be predatory—for example, pawn shops, payday lenders, and check cashing services that charge high fees and usurious rates of interest—so that minority group members are accustomed to exploitation and frequently unaware that better services are available elsewhere.” Also predatory lenders are said to aggressively market in minority communities. Of course, this seems reasonable that if minority communities provide the base of business that this is where the businesses should be located and where the advertising should be concentrated. However, the mere concentration of locations and advertising are enough to confirm predatory behavior.
What is ironic is that using the same criteria, Planned Parenthood is predatory, preying on low income and minority communities. The website of points out that 78 percent of Planned Parenthoods clinics are in minority neighborhoods even though blacks make up only 12 percent of the US population. However, 35 percent of America’s abortions are on blacks. It seems reasonable to ask if Planned Parenthood is targeting black communities and poor women? Although the jaded may point out that targeting black women is consistent with Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger’s feeling that “Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated”. She also gave speeches to women’s auxiliaries of the Ku Klux Klan. Sanger talks about purifying the human race and established a birth control clinic in Harlem in 1930. One of her letters says "We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don't want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
Thus, the same groups that urge the shutting down of high rate lenders because they are seen as preying on low income and minorities should be applauding the US House for moving to shutting off the funding of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is obviously preying on poor black women and should be funded only by racists like Planned Parenthood’s founder.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Testosterone anyone?

Previously I have written that the reason why so many black boys look like girls (with the girlie hairdos and the earrings) is that since 70 percent of black youth are born into single parent homes, the black boys want to emulate someone that they look up to. And who is this? Their mother. Then I have written that we will face a social crisis with 70 percent of black undergraduate students being women and 60 percent of white college students being women. Since women typically marry men with equal or higher education, the question is who will these educated women marry? Absent going to polygamy, the answer may lie in the fact that marriage is now occurring at later and later ages and family size is falling. On top of these two observations comes the article in the Wall Street Journal, “Where have the good men gone?” by Kay Hymowitz from her book “Manning up: How the rise of women has turned men into boys.” It’s a great article talking about how the rise of technology – videogames, the internet and satellite tv – have given young men a vast array of toys that prolong their pre-adulthood. Hymowitz says that girls get transformed into women upon maturity whereas boys go through a rite of passage. Boys need to show maturity and “prove their competence as protectors and providers.” However, today men are not necessary to either protect or provide. Women are then less likely to rush to marry men who are insufficiently domesticated. All of us men go through this rite of passage and the joke has always been “what do you call a guy who never matures – a redneck.” Now as Hymowitz notes “single men have never been civilization’s most responsible actors” and continue to drink beer, act rowdy and treat women like disposable estrogen toys. Let me tell you what Hymowitz misses and tie her musings into mine. It is not the rise of women that has turned men into boys, rather it has been the relentless feminization of the American male. Masculinity has been turned by modern society into an obscenity. We have denuded the language. We are now chairpersons. Workmen are now workers. Actresses are now actors. Waitresses are now waitpersons. Men now are peppered with commercials touting them to smell like women using something called “body wash”, aftershave and various other scents. We all know that real men have no scents. A real man does not want to smell like a woman and uses unscented toiletries. Men get berated as less than manly by women (usually with ample chests) for ordering a particular light beer when in fact all light beer is girlie beer. Traditional roles have been blurred with women pilots, women in combat zones and women submariners. Women soldiers, cops and firefighters are held to lesser physical standards than men yet are supposed to be equal. Strong men are now brutes while the new ideal man is sensitive. It is no surprise that the number of men who hunt has been falling. Masculinity is now being derided and demeaned. We have witnessed the rise of the metrosexual whose feminine side is prominently displayed. Men are now driving wimping cars like Priuses because the big pickup and SUV have been put down as insensitive to the environment. Giving in to all this nonsense is going to result in a social upheaval in this country. You read it here first.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fat cats

Michelle Obama – ironically not the most svelte person herself – has made a personal crusade on diet, calorie consumption and obesity. Armed with data claiming that Americans are among the unhealthiest people on the planet with over 190 million Americans obese, she has advocated cutting down portions restaurants serve to kids, pressuring retailers to improve the nutritional quality of the food sold and pushing legislation enforcing higher standards for school lunches. Of course it is arguable whether being fat in America translates to being less healthy than a skinny malnourished person in some dismal country but that’s a story for another day. However, given all the attention paid to fat Americans in general and fat children in particular, the president has complemented his wife by railing at fat cats in corporate America. So it comes as some surprise that there is deafening silence from the White House on a report in the Wall Street Journal ( that over half of American pets are obese. Yet it is reasonable that if over half of America is fat, then half of America’s pets should be fat as well. I can see it now: the White House launching a campaign to push exercise for pets (another use for that treadmill), calorie labels displayed prominently on pet food, banning of pet snacks at Wal-Mart and Petsmart, Congressional legislation mandating healthy diets for Fido, and a national campaign against fat cats.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Are you outraged?

Where is the outrage over Obama’s political arm “Organizing for America” and the Democratic National Committee actively participating in the government union protests in Madison, Wisconsin? I would have thought that the outrage would be universal and force those organizations to exit the state. But no the criticism has been muted at best. I do not know of another instance in which a sitting president and his party have openly sought to interfere in the affairs of a state in a labor dispute. If George Bush had sent his PAC and the RNC to participate in an anti-abortion rally, the howls would be deafening. This is not akin to Dwight Eisenhower mobilizing troops to enforce court ordered desegregation. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is not violating federal statutes. Rather this is a state matter to address the state’s budget crisis. Having the state employees contribute to their pensions and more to their healthcare sounds reasonable to us outsiders. Even the so-called (by the president) union “busting” provisions on collective bargaining sounds reasonable with one wondering why it hasn’t been brought up before. Consider this: the unions bargain with the elected officials whose campaigns are often financed by the same unions. If this isn’t a conflict of interest, then what is? Consequently, an arrangement where the results of collective bargaining being subject to ratification by the voters makes sense to me, since the voters and not the politicians are paying the bills. One of the reasons why government employees typically have higher salaries and benefits than private sector workers is that government officials do not have a profit motive and have no skin in the game. They can give higher benefits and salaries than the market because they are no accountable and its not their money. I have always thought that the salaries and benefits of government workers should mimic the market. Think of them as an NFL player given the franchise tag, setting pay at the average of the top five salaries at that position. Why not set government salaries and benefits at the average of private sector workers in that MSA? This is certainly not perfect but it is infinitely better than what is the norm today.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy 50

Many universities in the deep south are celebrating 50 years of desegregation. My alma mater (Georgia) is one of them. I have been interviewed at least six times and have participated in the college of business' observance. I was Georgia's first black male freshman. What follows is an article published in the student newspaper.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A woman? Never mind

Further illustration of how out of it I am is that not only had I not heard of the woman who butchered the national anthem (Christina Aguilera), the next day the news was dominated by two earthshattering events: the protests in Egypt and A-Rod being fed popcorn at the Super Bowl by someone named Cameron Diaz. I thought the uproar was because this Diaz person was a man. But when it turned out that Diaz was a woman I wondered – in the words of Stevie Wonder – “what the fuss?” Maybe she hadn’t washed her hands and the state nanny police were upset.

Further evidence that I am out of it is that I do not have a Facebook profile (I don’t even know what Facebook is and am not curious enough to find out). I am not on Twitter and do not Twit. I later found out that a twit was actually a tweet, but real men don’t tweet. Personally I would rather not know of Aguilera and Diaz or Facebook and Twitter than on my first test, of the 49 students 15 could not identify Ben Bernanke and 23 could not identify Timothy Geithner. And these are seniors majoring in Finance! In fact, four students identified Geithner as a senator from Tennessee. What an insult to the state. As I told them, if it were up to me I would not allow them to graduate from the university, not because of their lack of knowledge of Finance but because of their lack of knowledge period. My students are less able with each new generation. This group does not know geography, politics, English, spelling or mathematics. I wonder what are they being taught before I see them? As I tell them, in thirty years when they come to power and run the world, I have the solace of knowing that I will be dead.

Say it ain't so Newt

I don’t know why Newt Gingrich thinks he is a viable candidate for president. Once I thought he would be a great president due to his intelligence and debt of knowledge. I have thoroughly enjoyed his series of books on the Civil War and World War II with William Forstchen (one of my favorite science fiction authors). However, a few years ago he proclaimed the era of Reagan was over and incurred the wrath of his fellow conservatives. Of course at the same time he also proclaimed that the era of George W. Bush was over but no one got a rise out of that. That did not bother me as much as his mismanagement of the Contract with America and subsequent downfall as speaker. More troubling to me is his lobbying for ethanol. This is absolutely stunning. Say it ain’t so Newt. How in the world can someone who proclaims himself as a conservative endorse a product that is subsidized by the government, mandated by the government and protected by the government that is bad for the environment, bad for engines, bad for food prices and bad for the economy? As the Wall Street Journal stated:

The Georgian has been campaigning in the tea party age as a fierce critic of spending and government, but his record on that score is, well, mixed…. Some pandering is inevitable in presidential politics, but befitting a college professor, Mr. Gingrich insists on portraying his low vote-buying as high “intellectual” policy. This doesn’t bode well for his judgment as president.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why the Fed trumps gold

I am writing a more detailed piece on the yearning by some for a gold standard and the problems inherent in such a move. Those who favor the gold standard are typically pathologically anti-Fed. Now it is true that central bankers cannot be trusted with the money supply but why all the anti-Fed rhetoric? The main argument I hear and read is that the government will always inflate the money supply in order to spend more. That's all well and good but there is a contradiction here. While the statement is true for most countries, it is not true for the United States. In most countries, the central bank is part of the government and those in power control the power to create money. This is not true here. The Fed is an independent agency - that is independent of the Congress and the administration. Although a creature of the Congress which created it and which can change it, as it is presently constructed, the Fed is about as independent an entity as can exist. Once confirmed by the Senate its members cannot be fired - only impeached. Neither the president nor the congress can command that the Fed follow a particular path. The Fed is free to pursue the course that it thinks fulfills its mission of full employment, economic growth without inflation. If the Fed pursues another course it is not a failure of the Fed but a failure of those in the Fed. If you look at the rates of inflation of the United States and the rest of the world, it should come as no surprise that the United States has much lower price inflation. The problem today is that the last two Fed chairmen have chosen to follow paths that support the policies of the administration. Alan Greenspan supported the fiscal policies of George Bush and Ben Bernanke has complemented the spending of Barack Obama. This need not be the case. A strong Fed could set monetary policy on a stable growth path and there would be no inflationary tendency in the economy. However, it is only human nature for the Fed to bend to the wishes of those in power. Research confirms this. While some call for the abolition of the Fed and a reversion to the gold standard, those people forget that gold can be manipulated. Central banks hold only a fraction of the total gold supplies and going to a gold standard could result in inflation or deflation and leave the country more vulnerable to foreign government manipulation (more on how later). The only certainty is that those who would most profit would be speculators like George Soros. So what can be done? The problems are rather easy to fix. First, the banks should not be able to create money. The creation of money should rest solely with the monetary authorities. Therefore, 100 percent reserve requirements should be imposed so that banks cannot create money out of excess reserves. Second, the Fed should be barred from buying securities directly from the Treasury. This monetizing the debt is purely inflationary. Third, the Fed should be allowed to conduct discretionary monetary policy only in cases of national emergencies. Otherwise, the Fed should be made to adopt the "monetary rule" and grow the money supply at a rate equal to the country's long term rate of growth. As the sainted Milton Friedman once said, this would insure stable economic growth without inflation.

Monday, February 7, 2011

More musings

Do they audition the singers of the national anthem at the Super Bowl? Apparently not. I had never heard of Christine Aguilera and now I wish I had never heard her period. Not only did she botch the National Anthem, she could not sing either. As to the halftime show, I have never paid any attention so it really doesn’t matter who performs.

The two Super Bowl teams are the only ones in the league without “cheerleaders”. Hallelujah! The quote marks are because college cheerleaders are most likely gymnasts built accordingly. The pro “cheerleaders” are only soft porn.

As I have written before, why is it that the “conservative” news network – Fox – is replete with Barbie doll broadcasters (pun intended) showing cleavage and thighs? Well it recently was reported that research shows that “TV networks try to boost ratings by hiring comely female anchors and dressing them and shooting them in ways to accentuate their visual assets, but a study finds it actually reduces the amount of information recalled by male viewers. The "sexier" the female anchors, the more attention men pay, but the less they remember of what the news was about.” So Fox want more but less informed viewers?

Don’t you get tired of commercials that tell you “what the (fill in the blank) do not want you to know?” Or how about commercials that tout “quantities are limited”. We know they are limited or else we would be suffocated underneath all that stuff if it were unlimited.
Isn’t it curious that the language police are purging “chairman” from the language and substituting the equally sexist “chairperson”? (What are the last three letters of “person”?)

The First Lady now wants restaurants to decrease the size of servings to kids in order to combat obesity. This seems to be going on anyway. My favorite restaurants appear to have decreased the size while either holding the price constant or increasing it. However, has anyone asked why Mrs. Obama who shares with her brother the basketball coach big genes wants the rest of us to be skinny. Nevertheless, the White House menu for the Super Bowl looked like the one at the Super Bowl party I attended. It was bratwurst, kielbasa, cheeseburgers, deep dish pizza, buffalo wings, German potato salad, Snyder's crisps and pretzels, twice-baked potatoes and ice-cream.
Beers on offer were from the home state of the Green Bay Packers – Wisconsin's Hinterland Pale Ale and Amber lager – and the Pittsburgh Steelers – Yuengling Traditional and Light Lager. Excuse me?