Thursday, June 26, 2008

Young Women and Old Men

Most people would probably agree that it is disgusting for young women in their 20's to sleep with men in their 60's, and 70's, right? How about a man in his 80's? Before you continue, think about that. What kind of woman comes to mind? This morning I was listening to the radio where a 20 year-old model admits that she sleeps with an 82 year old. At this point, you are probably cringing from disgust.

But then I tell you that the 82 year old is hugh hefner (I deliberately put his name in lowercase so that it wouldn't stand out as you were reading). Suddenly your perception changed slightly, and the 82 year old man doesn't seem as disgusting. Why is that? Nothing has changed except that you've put a name and a face to the 82 year old. I find this to be a weird concept.

I don't buy into the media brainwashing, so I still think it's pretty foul, but obviously the general public doesn't think so. His and his bunnies lifestyle's are glamorized through TV shows, magazines and radio, and there are plenty of people who seem to enjoy the coverage.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Wage Gap

There is a common misconception in the media, politics and the general public. It is the concept of wage discrimination towards women. Unscrupulous politicians, like Obama, pay lip service to fixing "the problem" in order to garner more votes. It's a frequent sound-bite that captures attention because it uses the word "discrimination" and it sounds "unfair."

Yes, it is true that women on average earn approximately 77 percent of what men earn. The key phrase here is "on average." This means that when you take all the men's salaries and and take all the women's salaries and throw them into separate pots and divide by the total number in each pot, the average salary is the result. This is not the same as picking only a specific job function, like teachers, and comparing the averages. This is also not the same as knowing the difference in salary between your aunt Sally and cousin Frank.

As my above explanation demonstrates, much of what determines what one makes is what they do for a living. (Wow! What an insight, eh?). The point is that women on average choose lower paying careers, such as teachers and receptionists whereas men choose higher paying careers such as scientists and engineers. This by itself makes an important point: If there are more men than women in higher paying careers and fewer men than women in lower paying careers, then clearly, men are going to have a higher average salary. Holding other factors constant, the only way you will get the wages to equalize is if you have an equal number of men and women in every career.

But there are other reasons why women earn less than men. But I thought you said.... Yes, the key phrase was "holding other factors constant." Aren't you paying attention?

Some other factors are personal preferences and experience. Men are more willing than women to work long hours, undertake frequent business travel, work in dangerous (hazard pay) or labor intensive (construction) industries, and stay with a particular company for longer periods of time.

Also, on average, men have more work experience. This is narrowing though because women are holding off on starting a family until later in life or are skipping it altogether. And when they do start a family, they are more likely these days to re-enter the workforce and have shorter durations of maternity leave.

But there are potentially lots of unobserved factors that influence wages that cannot be measured. Perhaps men are better salary negotiators, for example. How do you measure that?

There are tons of reports that come out every year by feminist groups, such as the American Association of University Women, that highlight the news catchers (i.e. women earn less!), barely brush over the facts and reasons and then attribute any unknown to whatever point they are trying to make (i.e discrimination). Whenever you run any economic model, you're not going to be able to account for everything. So just lumping any residual effect together and labeling it as "discrimination" is misleading.

Still not convinced? You have to ask yourself one thing: If a company could pay women less for the same quality of work, why would it ever hire a man? To maximize profits, it would make sense to only hire women!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Flying Without ID

Up until June 23, it will be possible to fly without showing ID. I didn't know this and you probably didn't either because it isn't something well publicized and goes against all the signs at the airport informing fliers to show ID.

I would use a fake name if I could. Why? It doesn't mean I'm a terrorist, it just means I want privacy and don't want my name entering some government database that datamines for information. Or being tracked. I don't want anyone not in my circle to know where I am. Why? It's nobody's business, that's why.

And really, what real security is added by checking a name? I'm sure a well-funded terrorist could get some genuine looking falsified documents and book his or her flight under a pseudonym.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Obama on NAFTA

Obama is against NAFTA (paragraph 7).

Obama is for NAFTA.

It has been suggested he might be ::gasp:: "Political positioning."

Four years ago when John Kerry "flip flopped," the media drove his campaign into the ground. But this hasn't happened yet with B. Hussein Obama [sorry ;)]. If we compare the media on Hillary vs Obama, there's no surprise that it hasn't happened, and it's a safe bet to say that it won't happen.

I think Obama just wants to remove as many controversial issues as he can out of the equation involving him against whatever his current opponent happens to be. This way when voters go to the polls, voters will not be able to factor that particular issue into their voting decision. If it is a major issue, the risk of being on the wrong side of the fence is removed. Presto.

When he was competing against Hillary, her position was Anti-NAFTA, so he was as well. Now that she is out of the way and McCain is pro-NAFTA, Obama warms up to it.

Let's take the farm bill (which is another item I need to rant about). Originally before he or anyone else realized he even had a chance in the election (Dec 07) he was against the bloated 2008 Farm bill. But by May 2008 he was for it, naturally because Hillary had been supporting it the whole time. Read the outstanding USA Today article.

Isn't this neat? There are plenty of other Obama flip-flops for your reading pleasure, such as his war funding stance.

When competing against Hillary, he lined up his message with hers. Now competing against McCain, he is lining up his message with his.

By the time Obama is done, the voting decision will have come down to:
1. old guy
2. young guy

Monday, June 2, 2008

Delegate Divide

The final DNC decision is utter crap. It's like they are making the rules up as they go along to favor Obama in any scenario. Okay, not only is it crap that delegates only get half a vote (see my previous blog entry about this), but it is also crap that Obama was awarded ANY delegates from Michigan. Hillary was awarded 69 and Obama was awarded 59 (55 plus an additional 4 which would have been hers based on the percentage of the vote alone).

If you withdrawal your name from the ballot, why should you get any? Think about this scenario: What if Obama had low support in Michigan and people voted 'uncommitted' just because they didn't like any of the other candidates (e.g. Clinton). Then this exact same scenario pops up where Obama can complain that "[his] name wasn't even on the ballot." Suddenly he gets almost half. What a strategy don't you think?

MY name wasn't on any of the ballots, so can I complain and get half of the other candidate's?