Tuesday, April 04, 2006

RIP Desmond T. Doss Sr.

Sometimes the exception proves the rule. Corporal Doss served as a corpsmen in WWII and in doing so won the Medal of Honor. He was also serving as a conscientious objector because of his religious faith. He is one of only two men in US history to win our highest military decoration as a conscientious objector. Such a man is surely in heaven where he belongs. Go read the whole story.
At the time, he was in the medical detachment of the 77th Infantry Division. A battalion of his comrades was fired on by the Japanese as its members scaled a 400-foot escarpment.

Refusing cover, Mr. Doss carried each of the 75 casualties one-by-one to the edge of the cliff and helped lower them by rope to safety.

He continued similar rescue missions over the following days, also tending to the wounded by administering plasma as mortar fire struck around him.

During a nighttime attack May 21 near Shuri, he received injuries from a grenade blast. Instead of risking the larger mission, he spent hours nursing his wounds. Seeing a soldier in worse condition nearby, he directed help to tend to that man first.

Still in range of enemy fire, he was hit and suffered a compound fracture in an arm.

"With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station," his Medal of Honor citation read.

Speed blogging

Teen Punished for U.S. flag flip. The silly kid in Whittier who put the American flag upside down under the American one has been "punished" by the school. They won't say exactly how which makes me very suspicious.

Ephedra is back. I highly advise staying far away from this stuff. Don't get me wrong, it should be legal but that doesn't mean it is healthy for you.

We have a lunatic in Oregon who thinks paper money isn't valid and is overpaying with gold coins for his fees in running for Governor. I love America.

If you are one of the 5 people in the US who hasn't heard the song "Bush was Right" yet, go here. (warning: it autoplays) Then go here and buy some music.

I am surprised anyone who has ever been to City Lights book store didn't know that they were lefty lunes who like banned books only if they were commie or socialist, but apparently I was wrong.

Another crazy Egyptian tells us why women must be mutilated as young girls. Serious "moderate" or "rational" Muslims need to get busy denouncing this type of thing more loudly before the masses begin to believe that you are all lunatics. I have already seen a proposal to change the Great Colorado prairie Dog Hunt into the first annual National Muslim hunt. Get in front of it my friends.

Gas prices are up 560% in Iraq....... to 33 cents/gallon.

All of Indiana has gone to Daylight Saving Time for the first time ever. Before this year, it was a mess. And an inspired teenager has a plan for making a business out of setting clocks on pesky VCRs.

Google execs refuse to take more than $1 salaries. Good for them. More execs should do this.

Couple leaves $1000 tip for pregnant waitress. Good for them too. A little crazy, but good crazy.

Perfect Wave breaks off Scotland. This is frightening. Really!

Could New York Mayor Bloomberg be more of an idiot? We all know he is a Democrat running on a Republican ticket, but he is also clearly insane. "You and I both play golf. Who takes care of the greens and the fairways in your golf course?" So we need the illegals so billionaires can play golf. Got it. I feel better now.

Rantingprofs has the most important question on the Jill Carroll story. And I agree with her analysis completely.

More proof that the whole TSA federalized guards in the airport plan was a bad one. Make the guards private (and ergo fireable) with government oversight. Roughing up Grandma for no reason must be answered. I am glad I wasn't there. I'd have wound up in jail. I'd have felt better, but I'd have been in jail.

Powerline asks a question about the Moussaoui verdict I haven't seen anywhere else. It is an interesting question. I am unsure of my answer.

Chinese bikini models.... you gotta go look at what Charles noticed that I wouldn't have. Very funny.

French immigrants from the "religion of peace" apparently feel free to throw stones at exchange students for wearing a skirt. Get ahead of it my friends.

I commented on this post at LGF about the Border's Books policies. Reminder to self: go check that thread.

Professor Bainbridge must have had one ear closed when he was listening to Hugh about immigration. As a regular listener and blog reader, I can assure you sir, you misunderstood.

Dry Bones tells the funny story happening after a cartoon poking fun at Time. If you haven't been there, you are a better person than I.

Frightening, absolutely frightening: Super Cavatating Torpedoes! (HT: Hugh)

Cool pic of the day

Got this via email yesterday.

Congrats to Florida

Florida 73, UCLA 57

Monday, April 03, 2006

How does the math work on "illegals"?

In the last few days I have heard a number of folks claim that we don't "need" any of these illegal aliens as workers. We should send them all home and build a million foot high fence around the whole country to keep them all out. We don't even need to alter our policies of today to allow more people, even different people, to enter legally and work. They argue that the unemployed or underemployed would do the jobs the illegals do if employers (and ultimately end consumers) would simply pay them more. They claim the people most hurt by the illegal immigrants is "unskilled" US citizens who are proportionally minority.

I agree that the people most hurt by the presence of millions of illegal aliens are the people who would possibly take those jobs if the illegal aliens weren't here. I don't agree with the first part and I can prove it.

There are currently almost 300 million people in America according to the last census. This number includes all aliens, legal and illegal.

My second assumption is that the figures generally thrown around about the illegal aliens are reasonably accurate. Specifically, that there are about 12 million of them here and about 8 million of them are gainfully employed more or less full time.

My third assumption set starts with the data here. There are 72 million people under 18 and 35 million over 65 for a total of 53 million in the "not employable" group. I suspect that number is low as I suspect there are more people retired under 65 than working after 65, but they didn't give me a 60 and over or a "retired" number that was handy. This also does not account for housewives or the disabled that have no current interest in being employed. But our total now is 235 million.

So, next we look at disabled. The census data I looked at didn't give me a distinction of disabled and unable to work. It also didn't give me a nationwide percentage but I hit the most populous states and they were all above 15% of the persons 21 to 64 who have a disability. So we need to take out some percentage of that 235 million who are too disabled to work. I am going to use 5% which may be too high or too low. Now we are at 223 million people "employable".

This leaves us with 235 million "employable" people that are here with a legal right to work. I don't want to force full time mothers (who have a means of support other than the government) to go to work, and they aren't included for unemployment statistics so I looked here for some help. They claim 41% of married women with children work full time. Therefore, about 60% of married women with children don't.

The census quickly tells me that women are a little over 50% of the population and 51% are married, so that is one quarter of our 235 million (or 58.75 million) of our "employables" who are married. I am going to assume half of them have children and take another 60% of that to get another 17 million people who are not "employable". Now we are at 218 million "employable".

I am going to randomly take out another 8 million for the women who don't have children but did and didn't go back to work and women who no longer work because their husband's income allows them not to at this point. So I will start with 210 million "employable" US citizens who want a job.

Current unemployment is around 5%. I believe this measure is high because I claim that it counts a lot of people not looking for work. In fairness, others would argue that it is low because it does not measure some US citizens who are. The real question is which group do you think is bigger. For now we will use 5%.

5% of 210 million being unemployed means that we have 10.5 million US citizens looking for a job. So, in the perfect world that those making the argument above believe we live in, these 10.5 million people would compete for the 8 million jobs that illegal aliens are doing today if the jobs just paid a little more.

That leaves us 2.5 million people who still need a job. So it is possible, right? WRONG! 2.5 million unemployed out of an employable population of 210 million is about 1.2% unemployment. In the real world that is not only unattainable but undesirable. Our productivity as a society would plummet because people would be spending all of their time looking for the next job that would pay them more and little time actually getting anything done. Inflation would zoom out of control. Not good, even if it was possible.

Economists argue about what real number for unemployment represents "full employment" but I haven't seen one in recent years argue that this number is below 3%. Most argue that it is higher. Therefore, at an absolute minimum, we need about half of the working illegal aliens presently here (or some replacement thereof) to sustain our present economy. And, by the way, that is before all the baby boomers retire on us dramatically reducing my 210 million number above.

The only way their argument works is if we fire millions of government paper pushers and staffers and force them to get jobs that produce something other than red tape and hot air. I am all for that, but I don't see it as realistic in the body politic.

Another Oldie from my notes

OK, so I am in a wierd mood today. From Richard Stallman, author of GNU Emacs, may God be with him, we have the following quote (where I believe he is talking about C-1 or B level security but I am not sure):
This does not mean I agree with the general belief that such security is actually a useful thing to have on your computer: as a practical matter , your system manager is more of a threat than outsiders, and security won't protect you from the system manager. It will, however, directly interfere with your work, and tempt the system manager to make himself indispensible by finding excuses not to let users do various things for themselves.

Are you a Unix Wizard?

I found the following while going through some old materials from a course I taught a decade ago. I thought it was funny enough to type in for your amuzement. For you non-techies who may some day be in a position to influence an IT hiring decision this is also useful. Hand a copy to the candidate and ask them to evaluate. If they don't laugh hysterically, don't hire them and suggest accounting as a more viable career. Younger potential candidates may not get all the jokes but should get a substantial portion. Have fun!

Unix Expertise Hierarchy

  • insecure with the concept of a terminal
  • has yet to learn the basics of vi
  • has not figured out how to get a directory listing
  • still has trouble with typing after each line of input
  • knows that ls will produce a directory listing
  • uses the editor, but calls it “vye”
  • has heard of “C” but never used it
  • has had a bad experience with rm
  • is wondering how to read mail
  • is wondering why the person next door seems to like Unix so very much
  • uses vi and nroff, but inexpertly
  • has heard of regular expressions but never seen one
  • has figured out that “-” precedes options
  • has attempted to write a C program but decided to stick with Pascal
  • is wondering how to move a directory
  • thinks that dbx is a brand of stereo equipment
  • knows how to read mail and is wondering how to read news
Knowledgeable User
  • uses nroff with no trouble, and is beginning to learn tbl and eqn
  • uses grep to search for fixed strings
  • has figured out that mv(1) will move directories
  • has learned that learn doesn't help
  • somebody has shown him how to write C programs
  • once used sed but checked the file afterward
  • watched somebody use dbx once
  • tried make but used spaces instead of tabs
  • uses sed when necessary
  • uses macros in vi, uses ex when necessary
  • posts news at every possible opportunity
  • is still wondering how to successfully reply to mail
  • writes csh scripts occasionally
  • writes C programs using vi and compiles with make
  • has figured out what “&&” and “||” are for
  • uses fgrep because somebody said it was faster
  • uses sed and awk with comfort
  • uses undocumented features of vi
  • writes C code with “cat >” and compiles with “!cc”
  • uses adb because he doesn't trust source debuggers
  • figured out how environment variables are propagated
  • writes his own nroff macros to supplement the standard ones
  • writes Bourne shell scripts
  • installs bug fixes from the net
  • uses egrep because he timed it
  • uses m4 and lex with comfort
  • writes assembler code with “cat >”
  • uses adb on the kernel while the system is loaded
  • customizes Unix utilities by patching the source
  • reads device driver source with breakfast
  • uses ed because ex is a Berkeleyism
  • can answer any unix question after a little thought
  • uses make for anything that requires two or more commands
  • has learned how to breach security but no longer needs to try
  • is putting James Woods/Henry Spencer egrep into his next Unix release
  • writes device drivers with “cat >”
  • fixes bugs by patching the binaries
  • posts his changes to Unix utilities to the net – and they work
  • can tell what question you are about to ask, and answer it
  • writes his own troff macro packages
  • is on a first-name basis with Dennis, Bill, and Ken