Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for May 18th, 2014

Jobless men keep going…

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Matt O’Brien has an interesting column in the Washington Post:


Long-term unemployment is a terrifying trap that, even in the best of times, is difficult to escape. And it’s a trap that you can get stuck in for no reason other than bad luck.

Today, there are still almost 3.5 million people who have been out of work for six months or longer and are looking for work. There isn’t a more urgent crisis, and there are three things you should keep in mind about it.

1. As former CEA Chair Alan Krueger found, the long-term unemployed aren’t much different from the short-term unemployed. They’re a little older and more of them are African-Americans, but they’re just about as educated and work in the same industries as everyone else who’s trying to find a job.

2. The long-term unemployed have a hard time getting companies to even look at their job applications, let alone hire them. Rand Ghayad, a labor economist at Northeastern University, has tested this: he sent out thousands of fictitious resumés that were basically identical except for how long they said they’d been unemployed and what field they’d been in before. The results? Employers preferred people without any relevant experience but who’d been unemployed less than six months to people with experience who’d been unemployed longer than that. In other words, how long you’d been out of work trumped all else.

3.There’s never been this much long-term unemployment before, at least not since they started keeping records in 1948. Right now, 35 percent of all unemployed people have been out of work for at least six months. That’s actually down from the all-time high of 48 percent in 2010, but it’s still well above the pre-Great Recession one of 28 percent in 1983.

Long-term unemployment isn’t a story about lazy people choosing to live on the dole instead of getting a job. It’s a story about people who want a job not being able to find one, because there aren’t enough of them—and then falling to the back of the jobs line. That is, it’s a story about macroeconomic bad luck. Think about it this way. We know that companies discriminate against the long-term unemployed. That’s why their ranks have been so slow to come down. But we also know that the long-term unemployed are like the short-term unemployed in every way except for how long they’ve been out of work. So we don’t know why so many more short-term unemployed people are becoming long-term unemployed today than in the past—unless it’s the economy, stupid.

And it is the economy. , ,

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2014 at 3:51 pm

American exceptionalism

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We know quite a few offhand—greatest proportion of citizens in prison, for example—but this column has some new ones, ranking the US among other nations. And some surprises: the nation with the highest proportion of people who said that they felt “very” or “quite” secure in their neighborhoods, around 98%: Slovenia.

Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2014 at 2:51 pm

Posted in Daily life

Some in Congress are so stupid it makes my head hurt

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Read this article for yet another example. Why does the GOP hate energy from renewable sources? Do they even know?

Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2014 at 10:38 am

DEA goes far beyond their remit

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The DEA is supposed to fight intoxicating drugs, not industrial crops. But for whatever reason, the DEA has been implacably opposed to the growing of industrial hemp, which has no psychoactive powers at all and indeed is totally legal to import. It’s just that the DEA wants other countries to grow it—they think that the US should purchase all it supplies.

Now that the luster is coming off the war on drugs, people are waking up to how far the DEA overreaches in its mission, and how opposed it is to actual facts. Nicole Flatow reports at ThinkProgress:

Kentucky is suing the federal government over a shipment of hemp seeds that was seized at the request of the Drug Enforcement Administration, in one of the more unusual battles coming out of the federal-state battle on marijuana laws.

The stand-off derives from new state and federal law that allows some growth of hemp in the United States after 30 years of prohibition. Hemp, an industrial product that contains negligible amounts of the component in marijuana that causes a high, is used to make textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, and many other products. But its growth was nonetheless banned along with other strains of marijuana when the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970.

This year, with particular lobbying from members of Congress from Kentucky, where hemp was once a cash crop, Congress carved out an exception to that rule in the Farm Bill, which authorized some hemp growth and production through pilot research programs. To complement this law, Kentucky also passed its own law legalizing hemp growth, and set up eight research centers for growing the product.

Aiming to start its first harvest this spring, Kentucky imported a batch of seeds from Italy, where hemp production has long been a vibrant industry. But en route to Kentucky, the some 250 pounds of seeds were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, at the request of the DEA.

Kentucky asked that the seeds be released pursuant to new laws. But DEA officials have insisted that importation of the seeds is still restricted, and that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture will have to jump through unanticipated administrative hoops before it can get access to the seeds, including obtaining a Schedule I research permit.

The hold-up has prompted anger not just from state officials, but from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who told Politico, “It is an outrage that DEA is using finite taxpayer dollars to impound legal industrial hemp seeds.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who has sponsored federal marijuana reform bills, took his hostility a step farther, telling the Huffington Post, “I think I have a copy of the Congressional Record lying around my office that shows that Congress just debated this issue and voted overwhelmingly to allow research institutions to grow and study industrial hemp. I’d send it over to the DEA, but I’m worried they would classify it as rolling papers and seize it. With every move, the DEA is showing that they are incredibly out of touch with mainstream America. We need serious self-evaluation and shakeup over there if they ever want to be taken seriously.”

On Wednesday, Kentucky sued federal officials for immediate access to its hemp seeds, warning of irreparable harm if it loses an entire growing season on account of administrative delays. The complaint explains that hemp seeds should be planted no later than June 1, and that “every day that passes without the pilot programs being initiated is likely to reduce the probability of a viable industrial hemp crop being produced.”

Continue reading.

The DEA seems an awful lot like a stupid agency. Perhaps they don’t understand that growing hemp requires seeds?

It’s time to shut down the DEA. Legalize drugs and treat addiction as a medical rather than a criminal problem.

Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2014 at 10:35 am

Posted in Daily life

An instance of why the US is now viewed as an oligarchy

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The sentence in this case violates the state’s mandatory minimum, as described in the article at the link. I suppose the lesson is that rich people do not have to serve jail time. Jails are for those who fail to be rich.

Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2014 at 10:12 am

Posted in Daily life, Law

No longer obese, though still not svelte

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My BMI this morning is 29.9: thus I am overweight, not obese. Weight in pounds: 220.7.

BMI – Weight Status
Below 18.5  – Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 – Normal
25.0 – 29.9 – Overweight
30.0 & over – Obese

It took 7 weeks; that is why patience is useful.

Probably the two most useful discoveries: drink miso broth to satisfying hunger cravings between meals, and postpone meals to avoid evening snacking. (Since I am retired, I can readily put off breakfast until 10:00 or 11:00, putting lunch around 2:00 or 3:00 and dinner around 7:00.) Right now I’m enjoying a cup of miso broth (with instant dashi) as a morning treat, satisfying my appetite.


1.5 Tbsp miso
0.5 tsp instant dashi
about 2 cups hot water (I use a 16 oz mug)

Put miso and instant dashi in cup, add a little water, and use a small whisk to mix. Then fill cup with hot water, stir, and enjoy.

UPDATE: I will add that using Diet Controller ($5 in the App store for Macbook; equivalents everywhere:, etc.) scrupulously has really helped me learn to manage my diet. Indeed, this chart clearly shows learning takng place:

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 12.23.59 PMAn

And I admit that the various graphs and charts are no small part of the appeal—and usefulness.


Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2014 at 9:03 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness

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