SeaViews: Insights from the Gray
(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News
Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for
being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating
the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for
-- C.A. Beard
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On last month's Fix;
the answer to last month's Fix,
""Is deregulation of power companies a bad thing?""
No. Fourteen states have deregulated their power grids,
and not all of them have California's problems. In
Calfornia, they deregulated the industry as far as allowing
the grid managers to buy power from other states, and mix
their fuel sources. But the state still maintained a cap on
what could be charged - and worse - did not license any new
production plants in over 15 years. This all worked becuase
CA enjoyed cheap WA hydro power - until this year when our
snowfall is 1/2 normal.
Bill Clinton effectively masked this by granting CA use
of the Strategic Patroleum reserve, but when Bush cut off
that valve, the magnitude of the problem was revealed.
Interestingly, CA has tried to roll out the use of
renewable energy, most notably wind power. But then
environmentalists noted that big, slow California Condors
(an endangered species - and one will soon see why) tended
to fly through the large propellers of the windmills, and
often emerged in more pieces then the way they entered. So
naturally, wind power has been deemed unsafe and the
windmills have been stalled.
So now there are 3 types of people in CA. The true tree
huggers who will be happy to live as physically in the dark
as they do mentally, the average schmo who leans tree hugger
until his Latte is cold, and the bigoted right-wing sexist
homophobes who naturally vote Republican and want 3 SUVs in
Take heart, the Latte stand is hosting a college Rep.
On the economy;
In the same manner as the CA energy crisis, the true
state of the economy is being revealed. For those, such as
your humble editor, who had the vision to see, the US
economy has been heading south since at least last March.
You can trace the market falls to the Justice Decisions on
Microsoft and Biiiig Tobacco. Since last fall, the biiiiig 3
automakers have been laying off. Of course, one of the most
telling bits of evidence was that if the economy was really
doing so great under Clinton/Gore, Gore should have shouted
from the rooftops that he and his boss were the sole hope
for continuing prosperity. But, did Algore paint himself as
a econ guru? No.
Of course, right up until after GW stold the election
with his supreme court coup, the press still largely buried
this stiff. Oh, there was the Wall Street Journal and
Investor's Business Daily - whise job it is to point this
stuff out. But your New York Times, Chicago Trib and Wash
Post did not get on board until mid-Decemeber, when it was
clear (and again your truly predicted) that it would be laid
at the feet of a guy who was not even sworn in yet.
Of course, the media had an answer for that one, "He's
not yet President, but his negative talk is hurting the
Sure, its possible that consumer confidence can be hurt
with doomsaying, but that doomsaying has to have a seed of
truth to succeed.
For 8 years we've had no energy policy, no effective
foreign policy, and we've gutted the military to pay for
social programs. That bill is going to come due.
April 7, 2001
Wage-Gap Equation Is Calculated On Spurious Assumptions
Gender feminists may as well go ahead and admit they're
communists. It'll make things so much easier if we
understand our terms. By "gender feminist," I mean those who
believe in equality regardless of obvious differences.
"They" want equal outcomes, period. The rest of us - Normal
Feminists and Other Great?Americans - want fairness but
understand that "gender" connotes differences and that equal
outcomes aren't possible without draconian (read:
communistic) government intervention.
In other words, "they" believe in equality even if it isn't
fair; "We" dirty rotten capitalists, who sometimes come in
female flavors, believe that a free market is fair. The
pay-equity jihad is a case in point.
Those of you who've been busy making a living and upgrading
your bomb shelters may have missed Equal Pay Day this past
Tuesday(APRIL 3). I know, you were still nursing hangovers
from celebrating Women's History Month and it slipped by.
Not to worry; April's foolish days are entrenched and
destined for sequeldom.
The now-annual Equal Pay Day was sponsored by the National
Committee on Pay Equity, which contends, despite contrary
research and common sense, that women still earn
significantly less than men do. The exact figure seems
flexible, but the latest is 28 cents less on the dollar.
Whatever the mythical amount, the wage-gap equation is
calculated on spurious assumptions. To support their thesis,
the equal-pay number-crunchers use the median wages of all
men and all women in the workforce, regardless of age,
educational level, occupation, experience or working hours.
Golly, you mean bosses earn more than assistants? And coal
miners earn more than typists? And Ph.D.s earn more than
high school dropouts?
Well, not in Cuba. And not here, if the NCPE is successful
in pressuring Congress to enact corrective legislation. Keep
an eye on Hillary "Hey, Love Your Flatware!" Rodham Clinton,
that champion of open-market principles.
The real deal on the wage gap is that women and men who work
comparable jobs generally earn comparable wages, plus or
minus a few cents. The actual gap is closer to three cents
on the dollar, according to independent and well-respected
A 1993 study by economist June O'Neill, using data from the
Department of Labor's huge database (National Longitudinal
Survey of Youth) and published in the Journal of Labor
Economics, for instance, found that childless women age
27-33 earned 98 percent as much as their male
This two-percent difference suggests that motherhood, not
gender, is a more likely explanation of wage differences.
Yet the NCPE contends that when women earn less, it's
because they're women. Ergo, discrimination.
Never mind that workplace discrimination has been outlawed
since the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Never mind, too, that a
gender-based wage gap makes no sense. If women are so much
cheaper to employ, why aren't companies dumping their male
employees in favor of females?
The fact is, women and men of equal qualifications,
experience and work hours are usually paid comparably. In
instances where women earn less, nondiscrimination
explanations often can be found. One that springs to mind:
Women get pregnant and have babies, which leads them to make
Women who trade higher pay for flexible working hours to
rear children aren't whining to
congresspersons about equal pay. They're hiding behind their
Wall Street Journals, hoping no one will notice they've
placed more value on rearing well-adjusted kids than on
shattering the alleged glass ceiling.
As economist Nancy Pfotenhauer, president of the Independent
Women's Forum, put it, "Women make decisions all the time
based on things other than salary - enjoyment of the job and
ability to have time with their families."
Meanwhile, women are entering traditionally male-dominated
fields at increasing rates and are being paid comparably,
according to a new analysis by the Employment Policy
Foundation. Whatever gap remains will adjust itself by the
laws of supply-and-demand. Unless the NCPE has its way, in
which case you can bid incentive - and the promise of the
American dream - a Fidelista farewell.
none this month
Quote(s) of the month:
"What's the big deal, I paid for it right?"
-- Bill Gates, asking a reporter why it was evil for him
to use so much more electricity in his home than other
Fix of the month:
"What should be done about the US crew members being
held hostage in China?"
1. Tacoma. April 2: After February's earthquake, life got
to be a bit boring, so the Govnr. decided that he'd
liven things up by promoting drastic measures for the
anticipated drought/power shortages that will be coming in
summer. [Since much of WA power is hydro, and we dumped
alot of water during Dec-Jan to help California, there will
likely be both water and power price hikes in August]
Citizen vigilante groups are now going around town and
overturning anyone's active hot tub.
2. Seattle, March 20: The Seattle Times (which for some
reason is considered a conservative paper despite sharing a
bilding and editorial staff with the Liberal Post
Intelligencer), ran a series of investigative reports. They
used the freedom of Info Act to locate the millionares
around the area and check their power usage during
Feb-March. Then reporters were sent to onsite interviews
with the evil miscrants that used over 20% above average.
While many of the targets bent over and took their medicine,
proclaiming their public shame, Bill Gates in a written
reply said, "WHat's the big deal? Didn't I pay for it?"
3. March 30, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station: By now,
most of the country is aware that one of our spy planes was
crippled in a midair collision with a Chinese Air Force
pilot. After the collision, pilot Wang Wei apparently
crashed and died, while the US crew of 24 were able to make
an emergency landing on China's soil with one bent prop and
stuck flaps. While the incident occurred in international
air space the landing in China has put the US crew on unsafe
Since Pres Bush has made eirlier statments that he is
considering selling arms to Taiwan, it is widely believed
here that the Chinese govt will not release the Crew until
they get concessions on that plan.
4. 8 April: Even though it was the Senate that tanked the
Kyoto Greenhouse Gas treaty a full year ago, as you might
expect Greenpeace is laying the mantle of AntiEarth Satan on
the current White HOuse occupent GW Bush. The Greeners
promise that, "There will be a world wide revolt and boycott
of US firms if Bush balks at the Kyoto accords."
1. April 2: While much of the country's attention is on
the drama of the falling economy and the fate of the US navy
air-crew in China, few have noticed that the 1'st Ammendment
to the Constitution is about to be shredded by the
McCain-Feingold bill that is about to go the the White House
for signing. MF, as its called, seeks to ban soft money and
other kinds of contributions for political candidates. While
there is not particular problem with banning certain types
of gifts, such as untraceable soft money, MF goes beyond
that and actually puts retraints on the amounts of cash that
a candidate can spend. Even if its their own money. Hence, a
millionarie would be prevented from spending their own cash
for TV adds beyond a certain amount.
This is tantamount to limiting free speech, and everyone
in the House and Senate knows it. And oddly, the people
voting for it don't want it to pass. The Dems don't want it
to pass becuase they know that soft money from Labor Unions
is their biggest source. The Reps don't want it to pass
becuase they now that a widely liberal media will give free
air time to liberal causes, and without $$ to buy time Reps
will be shut out. But neither side, up to and inlcuding
Bush, want it to be said that they were on teh wrong side of
the issue. So Bush will likely sign in into law, and
everyone hopes like Hell the Supreme court will strike
2. April 5: With an evenly split Senate, 3 Reps
(including Arlan Specter) broke ranks and shot down
Bush's attempt at a tax cut. It goes back to the House to
try to breath life into the proposal, but this cannot be
good news for a president in teh 1'st quarter of his term.
And oddly, even those who voted against it admit the nation
is sliding into recession, which they claim is why the
country cannot risk the loss of $1 trillion over the course
of 10 years and $23 trillion in spending.
Oddly, they seem to have forgotten that the tax cuts by
Ronald Reagen in the early 80's broke the Carter Stagflation
(15% interest rates and 9% inflation) and doubled the
national revenue by 1988 through growth stimulation.
1. Call it the machine that would not die. Many of
you, like me, purchased the Amazing Amiga in 1985. I still
have a A1000 with a serial number in the low 1000 range.
Since being rolled out by Commodore, the Amiga has been
passed from company to company who have all been inept at
marketing. But since the hardware technology is still
unmatched, and the only OS competition is Linux (or the free
BSD clones) the Amiga faithful have kept the machine going.
And now it has popped up in a new company that is in my
backyard at Snoqualmie Washington (www.amiga.com). The Amiga
application suite will also be available on a new PDA by
Sharp that runs Linux