The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Social Issues]
2017-07-15 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Social Issues , 385 references
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Isn't it funny how when the government actually expects you to work for your handout, or at least be working toward being able to workthere are suddenly a lot fewer people who "need" help?

Alabama began 2017 by requiring able-bodied adults without children in 13 counties to either find a job or participate in work training as a condition for continuing to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. 

According to AL.com, the number of those recipients declined from 5,538 to 831 between Jan. 1 and the beginning of May – an 85 percent drop.

So 85% of the people who were getting SNAP (food stamps) didn't need them or weren't willing to either work or try to learn some useful skill in order to keep the benefits?

That would mean they didn't need them, by the way.

Think this is a one-off?  Nope.  Georgia saw a 58% reduction in one block of counties and a 62% in another block.

Let this sink in folks: Somewhere between half and more than 80% of the people getting SNAP either did so fraudulently in the first place because they didn't need it or they're unwilling to do anything productive to keep them.

Whatever you reward you get more of.

Reward people sitting on their ass..... and they will.

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2017-07-13 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Social Issues , 193 references
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No, not the sort of drugs you think of as "recreational" pharmaceuticals either.

Worse.

In a recent review paper, we found that people are using performance-enhancing drugs increasingly for common tasks, ranging from sitting examinations to giving presentations and conducting important negotiations. These “cognitive enhancers” – such as antidepressants, beta blockers (used to treat heart conditions or anxiety) or “smart drugs” – can boost energy and mood, helping us to perform better with less sleep. But is it safe for healthy individuals to take such drugs? And is it right?

Is it safe? No.

Hell, Ritalin isn't safe for kids with so-called ADHD!  That's an amphetamine derivative, is likely to be extremely addictive (as are all drugs in that class) and what's worse amphetamines are known to produce permanent changes in brain chemistry.

In other words even if you quit using them the "impact" remains -- and not for the better.

In my own laboratory, we have assessed the effects of both modafinil and methylphenidate. We saw improvements in a wide variety of cognitive functions, including sustained attention or concentration, memory, planning and problem solving. In addition, modafinil enhanced task-related pleasure or motivation.

Well duh.

I can use cocaine to stay awake for very long periods of time too, making possible doing such insane things as driving across the country non-stop.  But that doesn't make doing so, leaving legal issues aside, either wise or safe.  It is neither.

The rather milquetoast look at this issue in the article referenced is alarming.

That people take performance-enhancing drugs is not a surprise.  But there's a very good reason steroids, for example, are banned in professional and any reputable amateur sport: They're dangerous and produce long-lasting and severe negative effects.

There are the "Libertarians" among us who will argue my body, my choice in this regard.  But is it really your choice?  See, this is the why when it comes to banning such substances in sports contests: If you take them then everyone else has to as well or they lose.

There goes the so-called "choice."

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2017-07-01 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Social Issues , 505 references
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I've heard this comment, or some derivative of it, far too often lately: "We now live in a LGTBQ{whatever} world and it's just how it is."

Uh, sorry folks, but words mean things and science trumps feelings.

Let's break this down.

There are three sexual orientations:  Straight, Gay, and Bi.

If you have no attraction to members of the same sex, you're straight.
If you have no attraction to members of the opposite sex, you're gay.
If you have some attraction, some of the time, to members of both sexes, you're bi.

If you have any degree of attraction to someone of the same sex as you, then you're Bi.  You might be 1% Bi, you might choose to never act on your attraction (just as I choose not to sleep with a married woman) but that has exactly nothing to do with whether I find her attractive -- or whether you find someone of the same sex attractive in a sexual manner.  You either do or you don't on a categorical basis.

As to sexes there are exactly two: Male and Female.

There are, however, varying degrees of satisfaction with a person's draw in the genetic lottery.  Spare me the horsecrap about "androgenous" people; there are none.  You might be a ****ed-up male (e.g. XXY, Klinefelter's syndrome) but you're still a male genetically.  If you have no "Y" chromosome in your cells you're female.  You might be a ****ed-up female (e.g. single X, Turner's syndrome) but you're still female.

Bluntly, there is no such thing as "transgendered."

There is, however, among a fair number of people, the state of being unhappy with your draw in the DNA lottery.  Unhappiness is not "illness" (mental or otherwise), it's unhappiness.  We are all unhappy about this or that from time to time, and we have the right, as humans with a full range of emotions, to be unhappy about anything -- including our sex, for as long as we like.

I note that the Founding Fathers, wise men that they were, recognized this as they called out in the Declaration of Independence the fundamental human right to the pursuit of happiness.

Nowhere is attainment of happiness mentioned, nor can it be assured, and for good reason -- it's mostly in our heads!

If you're unhappy with your luck in the DNA lottery (over which you had exactly zero input, of course) you might choose to dress to please yourself (so what?) or you might choose to cut some things off and add others so as to alter your appearance on a more-permanent basis.

The risk with that, however, along with drugs taken to suppress various parts of your sex-chromosome expressed physical characteristics, is that hormones are not well-understood as to side effects and all of them have very significant risks associated with their use.  In addition, and far worse, most of the time one's unhappiness, when it expresses in this fashion, is either not limited to their draw in the DNA lottery or it is truly with that draw and not one's appearance, which is the only thing it is physically possible to alter no matter how drastic the actions you take.

How do I know this?  That's easy: A large percentage of people who go through "gender reassignment" commit suicide.

Nobody who is happy intentionally kills themselves and obviously, if they do so after such surgery then altering their physical appearance did not address their unhappiness.

That's likely, by the way, because you can't change your sex -- only your appearance.  I find it outrageous, in fact, when someone is misled to believe they can "become" that which they can't "if only they take this pill or have this cut off or that sewn on." Indeed, it is my considered opinion that anyone who misleads someone in such a fashion should be held criminally responsible should that person commit suicide in the future after "taking their advice."

You see, I'd be despondent too if I was led to believe that I could change my sex and then discovered it was a lie, especially when one considers that such a set of changes is irreversible and leaves a man who makes such an election a man who looks like a woman and a woman who makes such an election a woman who looks like a man!

For a societal perspective there's another problem, however, which is that if you pander to someone who claims to be something they're not in one area of life you're asking for that same refusal to accept scientific fact to show up in other places in their life, and quite possibly in places that would matter to you in your interaction with them.  If that's the standard you set why would you be surprised when they meet it?

That's a bad deal all the way around -- for both you and them.

We're well past the point where we need to cut the crap in this regard and be honest with people -- both about sexual preference and the physical, scientific realities when it comes to the two (and only two) sexes.

This crap has gone on long enough.

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