Monday, April 20, 2015

Sorry... You Don't Understand Basic Economics.

I really try with people (not so much politicians) not to call them or their ideas idiotic.  Usually, I'll try a "maybe they meant this..." or a "well, at least this part is correct..."  However, in this case, I must say that this person is flat out, utterly wrong on so many levels that I cannot sit back and let this slide.

You may know that I've already written once about one of Prince Ea's "songs" (if that's what they are called) because it was so wrong, but I must do this again because another is spreading, and it simply does not stand up to economic scrutiny.

I'll let you take a look before I bite in.

Dear future generations, I'm sorry - sorry we left you with people who think they know everything without probably even haven taken a course on the subject.  Sorry these people think just because an idea makes sense in their head, that it must be a fact.

I'm sorry that you have to listen to this man who knows nothing about economics.  I'm sorry he doesn't understand the history of economies to know that though the worldwide tree population may be down, the United States's tree population has been growing.  In fact, the tree population in America is higher than it was 100 years ago because with the wealth we accumulated, we were able to change our preferences of demand for more scenery and more landscape.  And I'm sorry that he doesn't understand that as continents like Asia and Africa and South America catch up in the future decades, their preferences too will change.

I'm sorry he also doesn't understand the basic foundations of supply and demand.  We will not run out of trees.  Trees will be here, more likely to outlive the human race than become extinct among us.  That is because of supply and demand.  If what he is saying is true - that our demand for a product would run it into extinction - then explain after all these years how cows and chickens, in such high demand, are in no danger of extinction.  When consumers demand a product, there is an incentive for producers to continue producing that product.  I'm sorry he doesn't understand that trees aren't being destroyed for money, but are actually being saved as a species because of it.

I'm also sorry he doesn't understand technological changes.  I'm sorry he doesn't take into account the digital revolution that has taken over much of the world and will continue into the future, which I am sure are excluded from his calculation.  That is, if he performed any calculations at all before opening his mouth.  I doubt it.

I'm sorry this man doesn't understand how the dollar has helped improved people's lives.  Profit is not put above people.  Profits are due to the demand of the people.  Therefore, collecting a profit is, by design of the system, providing people with the goods and services they need and desire, and therefore the dollar is not destroying humanity, but improving it in so many more ways than groups of individuals and activists like him ever could.

I'm sorry this man thinks we will seriously "poison the oceans so much you can't even swim in them."  I'm sorry he doesn't understand the sheer value of the beach and beach front property not only in the US, but across the globe.  Additionally, someone may need to inform him of how vast the oceans are.  71% of all the Earth is covered in water.

I'm sorry this man doesn't see how this isn't destruction, but is progress.  The progress of human development that has made our lives so better off than they ever were.  Because if we seriously were to emulate the Native Americans, such as he did, and live like them, we would be underweight, large groups of the population would die off each winter or any time we came in contact with another tribe that had some disease we hadn't been exposed to, and live to an average life expectancy of about 40, if lucky.  I think we can call our history progress, not destruction.

 I'm sorry this man has it so wrong on "climate change."  Attack Fox News, the gloves are coming off now mister.  First off, though this is clearly not a scientific piece of work, you cannot equate faulty climate models as a causality for 5 million people who settled on land less than 10 meters above sea level that has always been prone to flooding during March to September when their snow melts, the rain starts pouring, and it becomes monsoon season.  There is no causal link because there have always been problems in Bangladesh.  Additionally, 95% of the global warming models from the 90's were proven wrong in 2014.  Additionally, Al Gore - you know the man who invented the Internet - predicted there would be no ice caps in 2014 for us to find that the ice caps had reached their all time highest ice covering in 2014 since 2006.  Moreover still, NASA declared 2014 was the warmest year on record, but it was discovered they used equipment highly prone to a larger margin or error because all the other measurements couldn't prove that fact.  Therefore, NASA was only 38% sure of something they deemed fact.  Just what I want my doctor to tell me - "I'm 38% sure you don't have cancer."  Um, you don't sound too confident doc.

We conservatives and Fox News viewers do not dismiss the idea of climate change.  However, we have serious doubts over the theories when the climate models do not stand up to scientific scrutiny.  Especially when there are extremely perverse incentives that drive climate scientist to scare the general public in order to receive government funding for their projects and live the high life on the American taxpayers' dimes when the funding could be going to better uses, such as finding cures to cancers or heart disease or paying down our own national debt.

Additionally, I'm sorry he also doesn't understand the economic concept of a discount rate, and that when taking this discount rate into effect, the foreseeable economic costs of global warming (assuming these faulty models are correct) will not even begin to have real effects until 400 year for now.  Applying the discount rate to these cost, the externality we create today reduces to $0 in today's dollars.  Therefore, there is no externality today of our actions.

Furthermore, I do not even want to get into the complications of actually reducing CO2 emissions and the economic complications and game theory applications that arise because he probably doesn't even understand up to this point, and the complications of reducing CO2 emissions is quite a complex problem that I don't even think I fully comprehend it yet.

However, in doing what he is advocating for, I must apologize to the future generations.  I must apologize that if we follow his methodology, you will not have as good of lives as you can have.  If we follow his ideas, we'd cut production, reduce investments, and thus slow economic growth.  We'd smother technological innovation, and therefore not provide you with the better lives you could and deserve to have.

I'm also sorry that this man took a cheap shot at Sarah Palin because he was running out of things to say.  First of all, Sarah Palin said she loved the smell of the emissions because she was at riding in a parade of motor cycles from the Pentagon the the Vietnam War Memorial, and who doesn't love the smell of gasoline?  However, to answer his unrelated point, it is good that children in China wear face masks walking to school.  At least they have face masks to wear, unlike American children during the Industrial Revolution.  I'm sorry he doesn't understand the history of how economies have developed into first world nations, and as I've previously addressed,  how people's preferences change once they have acquired wealth.

I'm also sorry that he equates ISIS to melting ice, which we have established is not actually melting but grew in size recently.  ISIS has plundered the Middle East, savagely killing men, women, and children, Christians, Muslims, and religious minorities.  The total deaths from melting ice don't even pale in comparison to ISIS.  Want to know what the biggest killer of all humanity has probably been?  Cold weather.  Yes, freezing water.  Either cold weather, or it takes a close second place behind communism.

I am sorry this generation has so little education in economics.  As a professor of mine once said, economics is the only subject where people never study it, but think they are experts on it.  I am not sorry for saying you are wrong, because when there is a false statement, it is up to the economic students of the world to correct it.  Do not let the bold ignorant destroy our well-being because they can shout the loudest.  When they shout, respond louder with facts.  No matter what you're fighting for, it won't matter if we're all equally poor.

Sorry.  No, I'm not really sorry.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Look So Far at the Presidential Contenders.

As I will have my full list of Republican presidential contenders out shortly, I think it is important to look back at the first four presidential contenders.

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz was the first to announce of anybody on either side of the political spectrum.  It's looking like he's going to have the money, but the support is likely not to be there.  The reason Ted Cruz announced at Liberty University was due to his plan to create a coalition of young voters.  If that is the game plan for Ted Cruz, he might as well just drop out now.  That is not his coalition.  Ted Cruz's coalition is much older, religious, and of the Tea Party type.

I am still under the impression that Ted Cruz is the fall guy for the Republican candidates.  My idea was to stick Sarah Palin in there as the one who would be attacked by the media, but I believe that baton as been passed to Ted Cruz.  He isn't well-liked, even on his own side of the aisle.  His reputation is too tarnished to even have any serious contention at the White House, and his polling in early states puts him close to the middle-bottom of the pack.

Additionally, his campaign got off to a rocky start (as we'll see is a trend).  It was discovered that the speech he gave at the University had forced attendance.  It wasn't that memorable of a speech, and he was trolled by Rand Paul supporters in the background of him in a lot of shots.

Polls can easily change, especially give the amount of time between the Iowa caucus, but Cruz is not looking very viable at this point.

Rand Paul

Rand Paul announced in his home state of Kentucky, and the speech was very well received along with his fairly humorous online store.  However, his campaign got off to a rocky start when he got into a spat with a reporter on Today.  Although analysts say at this point all candidates just want attentions, so it should not really hurt him in the long-term.

What I'm not understanding about Paul is where some of these commentators and analysts are pulling some of their predictions from.  For example, Nate Silver's seemed like it was in an anti-Paul mode all week, writing article after article trashing Paul's contention for the presidency, but most of them did not make any sense based on the current situations of polling.  For example, an article was written describing how Rand Paul was losing his father's base, but provide very misleading arguments to draw this faulty conclusion.  Then, another article was written about how many people have libertarian views, but that won't help Paul at all.

However, if you look at actual polling right now, Paul is in 3rd in both Iowa and New Hampshire.  Granted, there is still plenty of time to move up or down.  Even more so still, Paul is performing best on the GOP side when looking at the general election versus the likely contender, Hillary Clinton.  Paul is leading Clinton in swing states such as Iowa, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, and that poll came out before he announced his candidacy, so he didn't even receive his bump in numbers from the media attention.

If Paul stays on message, he has a good chance of winning the nomination, despite what others say.  Yet, I feel some want to write him off, or boost him up, to create this self-fulfilling prophecy, because they don't, or do, want Paul to receive the nomination.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton finally announced yesterday, and even she, who is set to raise $1 billion, cannot avoid a bad rollout of her campaign.  She's been criticized for not actually announcing in person.  Yet, I think it was smart because she is not a good public speaker.  She was also smart for choosing to put herself in as little of the video as possible because her track record shows that the more she speaks, the less people like her.

However, she ran into a few snags along the way.  First of all, what is with her campaign logo?  It seriously looks like some third grader got inspired by the UPS truck design and decided to make a drawing using Microsoft Word.  Who did she pay to do that?  I want that job.  Additionally, the logo's arrow is red and points to the right, which many have taken as a sign of the country going in the right, or Republican, direction.

Even more damaging though, since Hillary Clinton did not deliver an address, she put out a press release which contained the horrible typo, "she's fought children and families all her career."  I think the statement is more accurate than the actual message she was going for.  Although, I wouldn't ask me about that, I'd ask the girl who was raped at 12 years-old in 1975 and Clinton laughed about getting the rapist two months instead of life only after lying about the 12 year-old in court documents.
Yet, don't you know Hillary's a champion of women's rights?

The most damaging to Clinton may have been this SNL skit, which has been viewed more times than her own announcement video, about 10 times more.  For the first time in a long time, it might actually be easier for SNL to go after a Democrat than a Republican simply because Clinton has such a long record that they have a vast amount of material to work with.

Marco Rubio

He will announce today, and we'll see if he can be the first to successfully go snag free in announcing his candidacy.

The way I see it is that Rubio is a contender, but will most likely not receive the nomination.  He's currently polling in the middle of the pack, but he's a good public speaker, so we should expect his numbers to rise.  However, I just don't see conservatives voting for him after the gang of 8 immigration bill that he supported and then didn't support, but he wrote it.  I see this as a sign that he'll flip-flop.  We're not going to be sure which Rubio will show up.

Some see him as the most viable contender.  I just don't.

Overall Thoughts

-Rand Paul, by far, has the best website of any of the candidates.

-Hillary Clinton really needs a new logo.  I still can't believe her team thought that was a good idea.

-Don't expect Ted Cruz to be getting a nomination anytime soon.

-If trend continues, Marco Rubio will have a stumble after he announces.

-We need to stop saying Hillary is rusty.  If you have run as many campaigns as she has and you still cannot get a launch correct by this point, you aren't rusty; you're just a bad politician.

-SNL is going to be great this election cycle because we're finally going to get some political humor for the entire political spectrum.

*Update: Marco Rubio's stumble so far - his site has crashed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fear Not the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

There has been much controversy swirling around the Religious Freedom Restoration Act just signed by Governor Mike Pence in Indiana as well as another proposal in Arkansas.  At this point, all the arguments are speculative because no religious freedom act has ever been used to deny service before in court.  Therefore, we have no way of anticipating what could happen, as this legislation could set a new legal precedent if challenged in the courts.

But, let's entertain the thought that this could allow businesses to discriminate based on skin color, sexual orientation, religion, belonging to certain organizations, etc.  Would allowing discrimination result in such a terrible outcome for society?

Whether you want to believe it or not, it would not be very hard for certain professions to discriminate against individuals, even with anti-discrimination laws in place.  Take for example a wedding photographer.  If he or she really didn't want to perform the task for a certain couple because of whatever reason, it would be easy just to tell the couple he or she was double booked.

Others would be more difficult.  Take for example a restaurant.  If an individual really didn't want a certain group of people in his or her restaurant, he or she could make sure as to provide terrible service to those individuals to drive them away.

Therefore, whether simple or complex, discrimination can still occur in society fairly easily.

However, take a little economic background into the mix, and you will see it is very difficult to discriminate from a business perspective.  I'll spare the long explanation and instead continue with the examples.  What happens when a restaurant chooses to discriminate in such a way?  They get bad reviews.  They drive people away.  Additionally, they drive away the entire group they discriminate against, and then maybe some, into the arms of their competitors.  In the long run, this firm would run a negative economic profit and be forced to leave the industry.

Therefore, how could a business continue to operate while still discriminating?  Economics tells us the only possibility is that the consumers must demand it.  A common example used in economics textbooks is a firm that hires only blondes and no brunettes to work as waitresses.  This would be discrimination in the labor market.  But why would a restaurant do this?  The wages for blondes would therefore be higher than that of brunettes.  Wouldn't one restaurant just hire all brunettes at a lower wage and make larger profits?  That answer is no when the consumers have a preference for blonde servers.  Therefore, the only way for discrimination to exist is for the general public to have discriminatory preferences.

For all those arguing that Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act could allow discrimination, that argument is still up in the air.  Some scholars say yes and other say no.  However, the only way for discrimination to exist is for the consumers to have prejudices.

After the emancipation of all slaves, anti-discrimination legislation and action was necessary because you had large chunks of the country where blacks could not receive services, but times have changed. Although you may see the occasional story of some racist comment on the news, for the overwhelming majority of the population, we have agreed to a social contract that establishes discrimination as morally wrong.

Therefore, in believing that we are not prejudice ourselves, we should have no fear that discrimination can exist in a free and open society.

A perfect example is this BuzzFeed story.  Apparently, some pizzeria in Indiana is alleged to have stated they will deny service to gay couples, and the reviews that poured in are terrible for business.  There is almost no doubt that, if true, this shop will be out of business by the end of the year.  That's the power of the free market.

Wouldn't you rather companies outright state policy like that, instead of trying to beat the system to discriminate?  In that case, you would know exactly what the business stood for and decide whether you would want to eat, shop, etc. there.  Instead, you might not even know you were supporting such a business.

Additionally, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that discrimination is bad for business.  I don't take this argument as being against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but for it.  Since businesses know that discrimination will drive them out of the market, they cannot discriminate.  In my opinion, it should not be the government's responsibility to tell a business how it must operate.  Because, obviously, the government is so good at turning profits and being on the cutting edge of new innovation.

Even more so, if that is the objection these individuals have, why now get mad at Indiana?  There have been no laws on the books protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination before now.  So if this is such a major topic that he and others care about, why wasn't this outrage shown before a bill that essentially restates federal law signed by Bill Clinton and the laws of 19 other states was signed?

The actual outrage here over the new law in Indiana is nothing more than political theater, in which politicians shout over each other as to show who can be the most outraged.  What I am discussing is a theoretical economic argument that has stood up to experiments and empirical data, but what politician would listen to that?

*Update: Less than 24 hours after the pizzeria said it would refuse to serve gay couples, the restaurant is shut down for the time being, unsure if they will ever open their doors again.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Right-Wing Extremists" More Dangerous than ISIS According to the Obama Administration.

There comes a point where you say your government is utterly useless.  We reached that point long ago.  We've now reached the point where government is counterproductive by producing a false narrative for political reasons.

Political polarization in America has been growing for quite some time, but I don't think any American thought we would reach the day in which one political party would accuse the other of being domestic terrorists.  However, that seems to be the narrative Democrats have been playing since 2009, but has been growing in prevalence recently.

In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security released a piece in which they entailed what they thought were the dangers of "right-wing extremists" to the United States government.  The piece was immediately criticized by the Secretary of DHS, Janet Napolitano.  Then, DHS classified returning US Veterans as potential terrorist threats.

Joe Biden has likened Republicans to terrorists.  Nancy Pelosi has called us "legislative arsonists," and a political ad from a Democratic candidate in San Antonio this past election cycle called Tea Party Republicans "terrorists who want to take issues into their own hands, harming kids and families with violence, and firearms on the border."

Now, the Department of Homeland Security, which might I remind you falls under the Executive Branch, is trying to say once again that domestic "right-wing extremists" pose more of a threat to national security than ISIS. 

You may be asking on what premise they are basing these claims.  DHS thinks these "right-wing extremists" pose a significant threat to national security based on 24 attacks since 2010.  They classify the people as those who believe they can ignore laws because of individual rights infringements.  These usually happen at routine traffic stops where citizens would exchange gunfire with police.

Now, let me get this straight.  The Department of Homeland Security believes there is a significant national security threat because of 24 attacks on police since 2010?  That is less than 5 attacks per year.  Go to the south side of Chicago, and I could probably find you 5 people shooting at police every night.  Any sane person who can read and understand facts without injecting their political bias into the equation would know that this is an utterly false and misleading story line presented to us by our own government.

I still cannot wrap my head around this theory that less than 5 attacks per year possesses a significant risk to the entirety of the US Government.  If DHS really believes this, it reminds me of a quote from The Hunger Games in which Katniss tells President Snow, "It must be very fragile, if a handful of berries can bring it down."  Our government must be very fragile if 24 police shootings can bring it down.

Yet there is another ironic element here that may be missed by many.  Liberals love to argue that conservatives love the military and police.  Therefore, how can they also argue that conservatives would kill the police?  It is a hypocritical argument that cannot be ignored.  Based on the description of these people, they would not be considered right-wingers, but in fact anarchists.  It could be argued that anarchists fall in an extreme, almost non-existent faction of Libertarians, which usually fall under the Republican Party.  However, if you were to gauge this on a two-dimensional political scale, a right-wing conservative would be extremely far removed from an anarchist.  Therefore, either liberals are making a hypocritical argument, or these are not right-wingers.

Putting that aside though, how could DHS possibly make the argument that these 24 attacks are more of a threat to national security than ISIS or any other real terrorist organization?  It is important to remember that these encounters would have been categorized by the Department of Justice, headed by Eric Holder.  We all know how much Holder loves Republicans.  Additionally, we know the Department of Justice's classifications have just been spot on accurate, such as when they classified the Fort Hood shooting as "workplace violence."  Therefore, how am I to know that these 24 incidences were actual incidences, and not just Eric Holder's DOJ being Eric Holder's DOJ?

With that in mind, we know who ISIS is.  They are Islamic terrorist, raving the Middle East, slaughtering Christians, gruesomely beheading journalist, burning pilots alive, raping women, and marrying their "soldiers" to children.  Don't even try to make the argument that these 24 incidents nobody has ever heard of before hold any significant weight against these actual terrorists.  If so, you are a shameful, misleading, politically blinded liar.

Moreover, if this is the work they are doing at the Department of Homeland Security, it needs to be terminated immediately.  They aren't protecting us as Americans, but simply working as politically polarizing institution, ginning up a false narrative to aid their boss.  It isn't bad enough the government is already unconstitutionally spying on Americans and infringing on our rights as they take a shredder to the Constitution, but they waste our money in the process.  And on your way out, you can take the Department of Education, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Energy.  While we're doing that, we can also privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs so our veterans don't die on secret waiting lists and actually get the care they deserve.  Then, we can gut all the waste from the other departments.

This is absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable.  We won't attack the views of others in the world who threaten our democratic way of life, but our nation will consistently attack conservatives at every level possible.  It's completely asinine that my political views aren't accepted at not only a University level and not only a state level, but now also a federal level.  Get it together, and stop attacking your own people.  "Remember who the real enemy is."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Obama Prayed...Oh Wait, Just Kidding.

I've been stewing over this one for a while now.  Even though it was Obama, I am so utterly shocked a decent politician could possibly choose the words he did at the National Prayer Breakfast last week.  This was an event for the leaders of the three major religions - Christianity, Judaism, and Islam - to come together and show that we can all peacefully coexist in a diverse world.

Not Obama though.  Did he use his position as the leader of the free world to join us together?  Nope.  Instead, Obama did what he does best.  He drove a steak between any sense of unity by once again becoming an apologist, this time for an event over 500 years old, by viciously attacking a civilized religion in what seemed as a justification for the rise of radical Islam in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

His exact words were:
"Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."
This is exactly what happens to Christians (and Jews) all the time.  Before the Crusades, Muslims were attacking and plundering Europe left and right for hundreds of years.  So sorry Christians finally said enough is enough.  Even more important though, find me a passage anywhere in the Bible where it tells Christians to kill nonbelievers.  No, Jesus said, "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."  The point being, Christians, over 500 years ago might I continue to add for emphasis, killed others of another faith by going against the Church's teachings.  Yet, these Islamic extremists kill people of other faiths, and even their own faith, because the Quran tells them to.

A more modern example even more civil than the Crusades was seen in the Israel-Gaza conflict last year.  Like an annoying little pest, the radicals of Gaza created a tunnel system to get into Israel and then started launching rockets at them.  Israel did nothing but simply exist.  Yet, when Israel defended itself, all liberals went into a panic because Israel defended itself from a group of people who hated them for just simply existing by firing some rockets, not to harm civilians, but to destroy their tunnel systems and supplies.  Israel called the people in areas that were about to be hit because they were harboring these weapons before they fired rockets.  They dropped leaflets.  They even sent in aid.  There wasn't much more Israel could do to make this more civil.  Yet, because they were Jewish and the opposition was radical Islamists, the left chewed out Israel for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

With this in mind, why would Obama even say what he said?  I don't understand what he was trying to say.  To me, it came across as a justification for radical Islam.  It seemed to me like he was saying, "Well, Christians did it at one point, so why should we be so concerned that Islamists are still doing it today?" 

What could possibly compel him to say something like that?  There is relatively little known about Obama's previous life before becoming president.  What we do know is that he has ties to extremist leftist in America such as Bill Ayers, whose group, the Weather Underground, did racial things like bomb the Pentagon.  Additionally, Obama sat in this man's pew for 20 years.

Talk about corrupting religion.  I think Hillary Clinton put it best herself when she spoke about this saying, "You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend."  Although, if Obama told me he was never at that church anyway, I would believe him because he doesn't attend a service frankly ever as president, even having skipped Christmas mass.

Personally, I think he's an atheist, who knows that showing any signs of this is the most devastating feature to any politician's career.  Being an atheist is the most toxic feature to any politician according to Gallup polling, with only 54% of people saying they would vote for an atheist.  That's an automatic loss in any election.

Whether it is on abortion, or trying to force nuns to buy birth control through Obamacare, or referencing a 500 year old religious war at a prayer breakfast, Obama cannot contain himself from ridiculing a religion that has been peaceful for hundreds of years while simultaneously defending radical Islamic actions by refusing to say the words "Islamic extremists" or by declaring ISIS is not Islamic despite it being the first word of their acronym.  

Even news anchors at MSNBC couldn't understand why he said what he said.  And, if you've lost those radical "journalist," you must be so far off the deep end that even your own party and media lapdogs mock you.

At this point, does Obama even care?  Does he even care about the turmoil in the Middle East?  He seems more determined with tearing down Christianity for a 500-year-old sin, for which the Church has numerously apologized, than destroyed the greatest threat to our national security and our way of life.  It's almost as if through his remarks, Obama is justifying ISIS's killing of Americans and other citizens of the world, as if the loss o2,977 citizens on 9/11 wasn't already a great enough suffer for something we do not deserve.

Stop apologizing and start doing something productive.  And if you can't do that, just sit down and shut up for your last two years.  Haven't you done enough destruction already?

I think Judge Jeanine Pirro put it best in her opening statements this past Saturday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Vaccine Debate.

I have spent a lot of time these past few days debating myself on this topic.  I think it is important to mention that I am a slight germaphobe.  If you don't believe me, I suggest you check out my post where I freaked out about Ebola.  (And I am still freaked out about Ebola.)

With that being said, and with my economic knowledge of the positive externalities vaccination can provide, and with my wholehearted support of vaccination, and with my thinking of parents who do not vaccinate their children are fringe, idiotic, lunatic liberals, I just cannot convince myself that the government should force parents to vaccinate their children.

I understand that vaccinating your child provides a positive externality for all other children and therefore, support subsidization of vaccines that will bring the market quantity to the correct output.  If the government isn't already subsidizing these vaccines, they should be.  Quit giving money to failures like Solyndra and do something that could actually help, instead of hurt, the market.

I also understand completely that these far-left, hippie parents are idiotically following some study produced back in the 1998, which has been fully discredited by every doctor, medical personnel, and citizen with common sense.  Believe me, I want their children to have vaccines.

However, I run into a problem with this Big Brother solution that is not that much of a health risk. According to the CDC, approximately 92% of people in the US have had their measles vaccination.  Of that 92%, only 2% to 5% are not immune to the disease.  Therefore, at the worst, 87% of Americans are completely immune to the measles.  To be at optimum levels, also according to the CDC, 95% of people should be vaccinated.  Therefore, we're only 3% off.

Additionally, you need to be careful where you are getting these statistics on measles from.  There have been 102 cases of measles reported.  Therefore, it is important to know what year these statistics are being taken from.  When you read about death rates of measles, be sure it isn't like some of the articles I've been reading when they cite numbers from before the measles vaccine was even invented and don't bother to tell you that crucial bit of information.  Most of this is a scare story by major news outlets.

The most important reason I just cannot support this forced vaccination is because of parental rights and freedom.  The state does not own children, the parents do.  The state continuously is looking for new ways to cross the line over into this collective society that I cannot stand.  It is up to the parents to make the best decisions for their children.  Worldwide, measles may be deadly to areas of the world without proper care and vaccinations.  For the most part in America though, measles is just unpleasant.  Not many people are dying from the disease.

And what do you tell people who religiously object to vaccination?  Are you going to tell certain groups of citizens that they must violate their religions in order to comply with vaccinations mandated by the state?  It is not as if people are dying left and right from not being vaccinated.  The overwhelming majority of United States citizens are vaccinated, and if a new vaccination for some other virus came out tomorrow, we would be waiting in lines to be vaccinated like when the polio vaccination came out.

I don't understand how such sane people who are supposedly for individual liberty could possibly tell others that they must inject a substance into their child's arm.  If the government came out tomorrow and said that they had developed computer chips that are to go in the brain of every child so as to track them in case they were ever abducted, the American people would revolt.  If such the case was true, the chip would help locate missing children.  However, the government doesn't have the right to infringe on yours or your child's body no matter how noble the cause.

An even better example works the opposite direction.  Remember when Michael Bloomberg tried to ban all large pops in New York City?  The country threw a fit because it was our right to be able to consume what we want.  If the government said you had to by law eat a fixed amount of broccoli every night because it would benefit your health, you would throw the same fit, even if in every case it could improve health.

This actually is where the phrase, "My body.  My choice." comes in to play.  (Not with abortion because it is another human being's body due to differences in genetic makeup.)  It is my body, and no matter how much good the government may be doing, we as citizens have individual liberties protected by the Constitution.

One final thought though:  Why are we all the sudden getting such an outbreak of measles?  If parents have been doing this since 1998, why all the sudden are we getting so many cases?  I'll tell you why, and it's a reason nobody in the liberal news would dare say.  A majority of the cases have been happening in Southern California (where you'll find a lot of those hippie parents) and border states.  The illegal aliens are carrying infectious diseases across the border with them.  They are bringing diseases that have for the most part been eradicated in the United States back again.  If we would have actually built that fence guaranteed by the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (You can thank the Democrats for your measles, and mumps, and etc.), none of this would have been a problem because the disease would have never been here in the first place.  Democrats destroying America, every aspect at a time.

I will end by saying this.  If you child is not vaccinated against these extremely contagious diseases, I am asking you to please vaccinate your children.  Vaccines do not cause autism, and if you are worried about the effects of too many vaccines at one time, at least get one for now and continue spacing them out in the future.  And while I cannot force you or your child to get vaccinated, I can encourage you to because it is the right thing to do.  Protect your child.  Vaccinate.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Scott Sense: The Super Bowl.

This isn't going to be political (for obvious reasons).  However, there is almost nothing more patriotic than the Super Bowl.  As far as sports goes, only the Olympics can top it; and as far as days out of the year, the Fourth of July is the only more patriotic day that comes to mind.  What could be more American than sitting down on a Sunday night to watch America's favorite sport with your beer in one hand and your bean dip in the other, as you pack on the pounds while rooting for a team, watch the newest commercials, and see the biggest entertainment even of the year?  Capitalism at its finest.

Therefore, let's analyze Super Bowl XLIX aspect by aspect...

The Commercials

I was a little disappointed with this years commercials compared to last year's, but here are my favorites.

6) Loctite Glue

It was just so strange it was hysterical.  My question is: why does a glue company need to advertise during the Super Bowl?

5) Turbotax

I'm a sucker for a good parody, and though completely historically inaccurate (and that fact was even recognized in the ad), the advertisement was funny and effective.

4) Pitch Perfect 2

What?  What?!  A surprise Pitch Perfect 2 trailer?  Touchdown.  This movie is going to be hysterical like the first one, and I appreciate the trailers not giving away that many punchlines.

3) GrubHub

I missed this one on the air.  It must have been during pregame.  Nevertheless, it was hysterical.  It got me laughing, unlike most ads this year.

2) Snickers

As I said, I'm a sucker for a good parody.  Snickers has developed a great marketing strategy that "you're not you when you're hungry," and it shines again this Super Bowl.  Well done.

1) Budweiser

Ultimately though, you cannot be the Clydesdale/golden retriever puppy duo.  It's iconic, though it has nothing to do with beer.  It pulls on America's heartstrings, and it is wonderful once again.

The Game

Of course the game was lackluster some because America's favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, weren't in the Super Bowl.  With that being said...

Why?  Why?  Why?  That's really all I have to say.  You just had the most miraculous catch I've ever seen, and then you turn around on the one yard line with 30 seconds left to throw an interception?  You had multiple chances to punch that ball in across the goal line.  Not to mention you have one of the best running backs in the NFL.  The stupidity sometimes baffles me.  The game was yours.  It was yours to win, and then you turn around a pull a bonehead move like that.  I've always said, though, that I though the West Coast is full of nuts.  Seattle just proved that.

Overall, I still want that asterisk next to the Patriot's name.  Cheaters are still cheaters.  Though the NFL would like to brush Deflategate under the rug (which I want to change the name to Deflateghazi), everyone with even half a mind can put two and two together and know the Patriots were behind it.  I mean, their squeaky clean record proves it.

The Halftime

Halftime is much easier for me to discuss because it's marketing and pop music, which I have a very clear addiction to.

Choosing the halftime performer has never been an easy task for the NFL.  The goal is to choose someone who can bring in the young and female demographic, while also not isolating the male and older demographic.  On top of that, the NFL wants someone who is going to put on a spectacle people will be talking about for a while.  Easy task, right?

Actually, this year couldn't have been too hard for them.  Katy Perry seems to perfectly fit that description.  Besides Bruno Mars and Beyonce, who have already performed at halftime, there are only two other artists besides Perry who could have pulled off a spectacle of that caliber - Lady Gaga and Rihanna.  Whereas Lady Gaga and Rihanna can be polarizing, Katy Perry's lightheartedness pulls in both the young, female demographic while also keeping the male demographic, provided they still have fully functioning eyes.

That was awesome.  Probably the best halftime performance of my lifetime so far.  Although with competition like Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Paul McCartney singing songs nobody knew, Bruce Springsteen singing a few songs nobody knew, and Beyonce, the only real competition was last year's act, Bruno Mars.

There was so much that went right with this performance.  At the beginning Katy Perry rode in wearing a fire costume, which made for good comedy because her guest Lenny Kravitz played Cinna in The Hunger Games, who designed Katniss's fire outfit.

The stage was very ingenious.  The way they made the floor look like it was tilting and swirling during "Dark Horse" to the beach layout for "California Gurls" made it possible to quickly transition through the many stages of Katy Perry's career.

Then, Lenny Kravitz came out for "I Kissed a Girl," and the music was really what stole the show from here.  Although, I was disappointed Lenny Kravitz only got four lines to one of Katy Perry's song, while Missy Elliot got three of her own songs.  Regardless, the rocked out version of "I Kissed a Girl" improved on an already infectious track.

Then came the dancing sharks, and the Internet went crazy.  Who knew the creatures that gave people nightmares from all the Jaws movies could actually be made adorable?

From there, the music got better.  A difficult decision coming into this performance Katy Perry's team faced was how they were going to turn songs that people have heard over and over again into something exciting.  Therefore, it seems their strategy was to update some of her older songs in order to sound like her current material.  This was best showcased on "California Gurls," probably the most radio played track of Perry's career.  They added a louder beat, played with the background arrangement a little, got the crowd involved, and added some horns for some flare.  It was effective.

Then, Missy Elliot, the "surprise" guest, came on to perform.  While I agree that adding Missy Elliot the the performance did capture the age gap between Lenny Kravitz's and Katy Perry's target audiences as well as the rap crowd, she received way too much time for someone who has been out of the spotlight for about 10 years now.  Here's my suggestion for what should have happened:  Perry had about 30 seconds to spare on her performance to reach the 13 minute mark she was allotted.  She should have nixed one or two of the Missy Elliot songs and instead performed the remixed version of "Last Friday Night" she recorded with Missy Elliot.  It would have been more relevant, brought Katy Perry into the performance more, and made Missy Elliot more than just a throwback.

Lastly, their was "Firework," which was a wonderful way to end the performance.  Many people liked the fact that the star Perry rode around on reminded them of the Reading Rainbow star and her wrist strap on the microphone reminded them of a Wii remote.  Regardless, the performance was spot on.

Sadly, my favorite Katy Perry song "Wide Awake" didn't make the cut, but it wouldn't have fit the upbeat theme of the performance.  However, she could have added "Birthday."  I'm sure none of the guy at home would have minded "big balloons" as Perry promised in her teaser that nothing in her performance would be "deflated."  Overall though, it was a very family-friendly performance.  And though singing "I Kissed a Girl" was controversial in 2008 during its release, it seemed extremely mild and unphasing to me, especially since we went through that Miley Cyrus stage in 2013 and Nicki Minaj in 2014.

In the end, I was extremely pleased with the end of the performance.  Earlier in the day, Katy Perry had tweeted, "Today is the day the Lord has made!  I will rejoice and be glad in it!"  In closing her performance, Perry said, "Thank you!  God bless America!"  It's nice to have that in a performance during the days of political correctness.