Tuesday, January 16, 2018

First Night of the Spring Semester

Everything went well.  I did find to my surprise that a BBC video about human settlement of the New World did not hold their attention as well as my lecture.  Probably using shorter video segments would be a better strategy.  These are almost entirely students who work during the daytime although most are traditional age students, so I guess the welfare state student strategy of Obama has not worked as expected.  Only one student seemed in danger of falling asleep.  Perhaps  a long day.  I remember a 6:00 to 10:00 High Middle Ages class like that.

Never Has a Black Man With a Gun Been More Needed in a 7-11

Funny, But Perhaps More An Indicator of Blue State Madness Than a Real Economic Indicator

Like any savvy investor, I am always on the lookout for signs that the economy may be overheating, that things may be getting a bit frothy. Of particular concern are exotic businesses that pop up at the very end of economic booms, selling products or services that will be the first items struck off the shopping list once things go south. You know what I’m talking about. Fantasy Capo di Tutti Capi camps. Cribbage with the Stars. Falconry Schools for the Blind.
Recently, several enterprises matching this general description caught my eye. The Sirens of the Deep Mermaid Camp in Weeki Wachee Springs State Park down in Florida is a perfect example. Here, for $450, women can slip into a tight, taut body-sculpting spandex tail with matching fins and learn how to convincingly impersonate the mythical denizens of the deep. The two-day camp teaches aspiring mermaids how to perform a variety of sophisticated thalassa-balletic maneuvers, including the archetypal “mermaid crawl.
And he gives some other examples of too much money, not being properly invested:
Kidnap Solutions is another highly unusual business that seems to presage the end of an ebullient market cycle. The firm springs from the mind of one Raymond T. Moody, who describes himself as “a serial entrepreneur” based in Glendale, California. His “radical immersive” brand of theater offers just-plain-folks the opportunity to find out what it feels like to be abducted and held for ransom. 

Will the Last Native-Born Software Developer Turn Off the Lights?

This isn't copypasta, this actually happened over the past year at my company. Several other companies in the area are experiencing similar issues with their visas.
I'm an IT guy, a developer to be exact. I've been around the H1B issue for about 20 years and things have always gotten worse, never better. Despite Trump's fantastic rhetoric during the campaign, I didn't believe he'd make any real changes or fix anything. However, what I've seen over the past year demonstrates this is definitely not true.
My development team is probably 90 percent indian. The manager of our department is indian and the hiring managers are all indian and they have all stated pretty openly that they prefer hiring indians. Whenever there are layoffs, non-indians get cut. Whenever there is hiring, more indians get brought on board. They get paid about 40k a year less than I do, they work hard and they don't complain. I think they produce garbage quality work for the most part, but I don't think the managers care. It's slowly rotting away the quality of the software but again, they don't care.
Anyway, the typical scenario is that every year, a stack of visas goes in for renewal and about a week later they come back stamped [APPROVED]. Very easy. At the start of this year, instead of coming back approved, each application came back with a huge list of questions and requests for documentation about why the applicants were being paid so little. The lawyers were confused and assembled a huge pile of documentation for each applicant and sent it back. Every single application then came back with either more questions or a denial. EVERY SINGLE ONE is either in limbo or denied (you must go back!). I've heard this from multiple sources, including several who had their visas held up.
As a result of this, our company's HR department has quietly decided (I heard this through the grapevine talking to several department heads) to no longer hire employees that need sponsorship. I've talked with recruiters and with people I know in several other companies in the area and I've heard similar stories everywhere. Pretty much unless you're making 120k a year on a visa, you're going to get yanked. The guys like WIPRO and INFOSYS must be shitting their pants over this.
And salaries for developers are already rising as a result. Salaries have been stagnant for several years but in Q4 2017, they started going up noticeably in this area. Trump is truly making IT great again.

How Can You Tell Progressives Run Your State?

From 2013 to 2015, California had America’s 17th-highest poverty rate, 15 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Official Poverty Measure. That measure uses income levels to determine poverty, but does not consider differences in cost-of-living among states. It lists the official poverty threshold for a two-adult, two-child family at $24,036 in 2015.
During the same period, California had the highest poverty rate, 20.6 percent, according to the census’ Supplemental Poverty Measure. That study does account for cost-of-living, including taxes, housing and medical costs, and is considered by researchers a more accurate reflection of poverty. For a two-adult, two-child family in California, the poverty threshold was an average of $30,000, depending on the region in the state, according to a 2014 analysis by Public Policy Institute of California.
Looking at state poverty rates, the second highest is Florida’s 19 percent, followed by New York’s and Louisiana’s shared 17.9 percent rate. The national average is 15.1 percent using the supplemental measure.

You Know I Do Not Think Highly of Poverty Pimp Jesse Jackson