What I know about Mexicans, #2

Without the Mexicans in this country, we’d starve.

I don’t live in a border state, but a border state to a border state.The border of Mexico is a 700 mile drive from my house.  Yet, if I go into nearly any restaurant in this town, I will see Mexicans (and other Hispanics) as cooks, bus boys, and waiters.  Heck, even in Pei Wei, the majority of the cooks are Mexicans.  In the Braum’s by my office, it’s all Mexicans except for the the black woman manager and one white girl.  The McDonald’s by my house and the one near my office?  Mostly Mexicans.

So, you don’t go out to eat?  Who do you think picks the fruits and vegetables in your produce section.  It’s mostly Mexicans.  You like wine?  Who picks the grapes?  Mexicans.  You like juice?  Thank Mexicans.  I could go on.

Don’t believe me?  Listen to Anthony Bourdain.

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What I know about Mexicans #1

I married a Mexican woman in February of 2016.  When I say Lourdes, my wife, is Mexican, I mean she was born in Mexico and lived in Mexico until we were married. Not like the Indiana born judge that Trump called an unfair “Mexican”. Lourdes has a 17 year old daughter, Ingrid, and a 26 year old son, Guillermo.  Ingrid immigrated with Lourdes when she immigrated and Guillermo had to remain in Mexico.

Lourdes was middle class for a Mexican, but poor for an American.  She was a paralegal for the federal court in Nuevo Laredo and only had to take occasional side jobs to pay the bills.  Lourdes raised both of her children with no child support paid by her ex-husband.  She has a house (800 sq ft, one bathroom) that we are still making the mortgage payments on.  She was able to hustle and get Ingrid  a scholarship to a private school.  Ingrid who only attended Spanish speaking schools in Mexico is getting nearly all A’s here in the US–the exception, a high B in biology, but an A in English with regular old American kids.

Guillermo is attending university in Mexico for industrial engineering and has an internship with Kia in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.  Guillermo’s rent is 3800 pesos–$190 USD.  I don’t know what the internship pays.  I don’t think it is a lot and I did not ask.  Besides the internship he also Ubers.  I can’t imagine he can make much money at it since gasoline in Mexico is over $3.50 USD per gallon.  It used to be cheaper and they are now having riots and protests in Mexico over it.

Lourdes, Ingrid, and I travelled  to Mexico after Navidad (Christmas) for Nuevo Año (New Year’s).  I asked Guillermo how much employers pay at somewhere like McDonald’s in Mexico.  He said he has friends in Mexico who work there, and for 48 hours a week, they bring home something like 800-900 pesos…or $40-$45 USD.  If rent is 3800 peso, then a job at McDonald’s is not going to cut it.  It takes both people working generally and some with two jobs and not just one.  The other thing is that food is cheaper in Mexico, but not that cheap.  It’s half price on some things, maybe a little cheaper on local produce, but meat is not a great deal.  If you try to buy McDonald’s, it is going to be 60% of the US price–but the wages for the worker is a net of less than $1 per hour.

When I travel to Mexico, I see how blessed my life in the US is.

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Economic Progress Under Obama, #4

This is strictly anecdotal…

I have been an engineer for 30 years, and I have been writing software professionally for 20+ years.  When Bill Clinton was president, especially in his second term, I had headhunters bothering me like crazy.  They were constantly asking me if I wanted a new job.  Under Bush, it was rather anemic.  I did have one decent inquiry from Microsoft around 2006 or so, but other than that, there wasn’t much action.  I would say that it continued that way under Obama for the first 6 years of his term with only occasional inquiries.  Over the past two years it has picked up gradually and increasingly.  In the last 6 months, it has picked up quite a bit.  In the last two months, I have to shake them off with a stick.  Some of it may  be that I updated my Monster profile, IDK.  I just know that the economy is humming much better now than it did under the end of the Bush years.

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Economic Progress Under Obama, #3

Well, this isn’t really specifically about Obama.  It is about whether the economy does better under Democratic presidents rather than Republican presidents.  The answer is that the economy does do better under Democratic leadership rather than Republican leadership.  Why?  I don’t know.  I think there are many factors and sometimes the presidents get caught by a bad situation or get helped by a good one.  However, since they are in the office, they get the credit or blame.

Even Donald Trump said so on camera!!! (He does say he doesn’t know why.)

But if you don’t believe Trump, you can look at people who have collated the data:

From Forbes.com, Trump is right about one thing, the economy does better under Democrats.

From USNews.com, Which Presidents Have Been Best for the Economy?

From PoliticsThatWork.com, Which Party is Better for the Economy?

For some caveats or balance:

From Princeton University, Presidents and the US Economy: An Econometric Exploration

From Politifact, Does the economy always do better under Democratic presidents?

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Economic Progress Under Obama #2

This is the second in the series.  I made a comment to a friend that Obama has left the economy in better shape than Bush.  He was incredulous and said, “you’re smarter than that”–which is a roundabout way of saying I was being stupid.

In general, I don’t think I’m stupid.  I have reasons for what I think and they’re not just because Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity told me what to think.  In fact, for years I used to listen to those two, and then I had an online friend challenge me.  He used to say crazy shit like “the economy does better under Democratic presidents” and other things.  I challenged him on it, and he said to look it up.  Well, I did, and damn if he wasn’t right.

Next, let’s talk about jobs under Obama.  Everyone knows that Bush created a lot more jobs than Obama, right? How many times have the Republicans said it?  However, there is data on the subject at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  If you want to search for the particular data I acquired, search for “private sector jobs’.  It will give you the last 10 years.  Change the beginning search date from 2006 to 2001.  My search is for 2001 – 2016 which contains the Bush and Obama years.  The graph looks like this:

Private Sector Jobs from 2001 – 2016

The raw data I downloaded from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is here.

If you look at the raw data in January 2001 to January 2009, the number of people employed goes from 111,870,000 to 111,474,000, or a net loss of 396,000 jobs during Bush’s time in Office.  If you look at the data for Obama, the number of employed goes from 111,474,000 to 122,883,000 (estimated) in November 2016.  (These numbers are always preliminary until the final numbers come in.) For Obama’s two terms, the economy gained more than 11,000,000 jobs.  So, Bush lost approximately 400K jobs and Obama gained 11M jobs.  In the math I was taught, Obama’s numbers are way better than Bush’s numbers.  In fact, it isn’t even close.  If I ask someone, would you rather loose $400,000 or gain $11,000,000, most would choose the gain.

The final piece to look at in the graphs is the slope of the curve.  In 2009, the slope of the curve is negative which is to say the economy is losing jobs as Bush is handing the job off to Obama.  As we approach 2017, the slope is positive which is to say the economy is gaining jobs as Obama is handing the economy off to Trump.

So, when comparing jobs, it is a double win for Obama.  The economy gained jobs under Obama’s care AND the number of jobs is increasing rather than decreasing as he hands off the job to his successor.


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Martyred Bishop Romero and the Religious Right

In March 1980, Roman Catholic bishop of San Salvador Oscar Romero was serving mass and during the service he was assassinated. In 1997, John Paul II declared Romero a Servant of God. He was declared a martyr by Pope Francis in 2015 and was later beatified.

The assassination of bishop Romero was later attributed to Roberto D’Aubuison. D’Aubuisson was an extreme right wing politician.  He had the backing of people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.  On CBN, Robertson praised D’Aubuisson and the mass murderers of nearby Guatemala.

You can google D’Aubuisson together with Falwell and Robertson and get some interesting hits.

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Economic Progress Under Obama #1

I made an assertion to a friend that Obama has left Trump in better shape than Bush left to Obama, and my friend that I’ve known since college, and whom I had asked to be my best man in 1989, decided to unfollow me on Twitter.  I do not think it is controversial at all to say that Obama is leaving Trump in better shape than Bush left Obama.  I think it is simple numbers.

Economics is half math and half philosophy.  The philosophy part is where an economist tries to predict or explain.  The math part is purely measurements.  The economic progress or lack thereof under Obama should be able to be quantified–items like the stock market performance, employment, GDP, etc.  I am an engineer and don’t know hardly a damn thing about economics, but I know a few things.

For measuring the success of the stock market, people generally use the S&P 500 or the DJIA.  I did a simple google search for and found a page tracking the S&P 500.  The source of this data is from: http://www.cheatsheet.com/stocks/presidential-stock-market-scorecards-reagan-to-obama.html/?a=viewall

I will try to summarize from Reagan to Obama, the S&P 500 index performance under each (I’m eyeballing the graphs, the numbers are pretty close):

President          Start    End         Growth
Reagan              370      550          49%
Bush I                550     710           29%
Clinton              710      1800        154%
Bush II              1800   980          -46%
Obama               980    2259        131%  (graph ends in 2013, using actual value from 9 Dec 2016)

So, under Bush II, the S&P decreased by 46%, and under Obama the S&P increased by 131%.  Which is better a decrease of 46% or an increase of 131%?  I would say the latter.  I know my 401k is up about 170% or close to it. (I am not a savvy investor, I have made contributions to my 401k that has caused some of the growth.)

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Changed my vote at last minute

Not for Hillary or Trump–God no.  I decided to vote for Johnson.  I did not want to leave my vote for president blank and therefore be subject to simple tampering.  I also figured, what the hell, maybe if he gets enough votes the funding will help towards a third party–even though I think he is slightly nuts.  In the end, since my state will without a doubt go to Trump, my vote was probably worthless anyways.

I think there should be another selection that says “abstain” so that the ballot card cannot be tampered with.

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How to defeat paywalls

This probably is common knowledge especially since I figured it out on my own, but if you don’t know….

Certain online papers like the New York Times or Washington Post limit non-subscribers to 10 articles a month.  But, it can easily be bypassed. To get unlimited articles, when you see an article on an online newspaper or magazine, right click on the link and click “open in new private window”–or whatever it might be your browser.  That is the message for Chrome.

How it works is that the websites use cookies to track visits.  When you open in a private browser window, the browser does not track your visits.  The browser only keeps track of cookies for the life of that private browsing session. As soon as you close the window, the cookies are gone (and browsing history too).

So if you click on links this way, the website will always think it is your first visit to the website.

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Not Voting For President

I am not casting a vote for Trump, Hillary, Johnson, or Stein.  If there is a spot to write in a candidate, I will put in Bernie, but otherwise, I am not casting a vote for any of these unqualified people.

I do not live in a battleground state, so I can afford to take this stance.  My state will go to Trump.  Of that, I have no doubt. If I had to make a choice for Trump or Hillary, I might hold my nose and vote for Hillary. But, since my vote won’t effect the electoral college, it doesn’t matter.

Trump is not even remotely qualified.  He was able to tap into the anger of the Republican base and that’s why he’s their candidate. He is basically a confidence man and self promoter.  I think of him as an orange Kardashian.  His business success is mostly a myth.  Ask his investors if they would invest again…  I am married to a Mexican…as if I would even consider voting for him based on what he has said.  Trump is a total piece of shit.

Hillary could have been qualified, but she disqualified herself with her mistreatment of classified information.  I had jobs where I had to safeguard classified information.  If I had done what she had done, I would have at minimum lost my job and had my security clearance taken away forever.  More than likely I would face prison time and huge fine.  My career as a DoD employee would have been over.

Gary Johnson is a joke.  He’s qualified to be my weed dealer–if I smoked, which I don’t.  He seems to lack the knowledge of world events needed to be president.

Jill Stein is qualified to run for town council which is the only elected office she has held.

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