Ohio showed strong concealed carry growth with 36,118 new licences in the first quarter of 2016 . The number of new licenses is is 77% higher than the fourth quarter of 2015. By my calculations the renewal rate dropped to 70% while the year over year growth of total licenses increased to 16%. Here is my updated table and graph. To see my last report and the explanation of how I calculate the total number of licenses, click here.
I am surprised that gun control advocates are not doing a better job convincing people like me to stop carrying a concealed weapon. The key for me is a common sense terrorism plan that prevents terrorist attacks like we saw in Orlando. Obviously Orlando is another botched terrorism prevention effort like we saw in Paris, San Bernadino, and Brussels. Even to a new concealed carry person like me when President Obama and Ms. Clinton talk about more gun controls as their way to fight terrorism, they sound like idiots. It sounds like the only tools they have to prevent “he who shall not be named” terrorism is gun controls. As I said back in January the President had a chance to make my wife and me feel safe and now we have moved on. Now it looks like the gays have moved on, too. It looks like the only common sense terrorist prevention plan is to #ShootBack.
West Hollywood ShootBack Photo from BearingArms.com
Yesterday I went to my first graduation in the rain. If I was aware that Wyoming High School has a tradition of outdoor graduations come rain or shine, I would have brought an umbrella. As one of the top public schools in Ohio I guess if you are tough enough to graduate from Wyoming you are not going to let a little rain get in the way of the celebration. For a lot of us there was not much of a view. Here is my view of the graduation.
My congratulations go out to all of the graduates. Here is what a newly minted Wyoming High School graduate looks like.
There is a saying that it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. When Virginia Tech’s administration dis-invited Mr. Riley it made them look like fools and set themselves up for alumni backlash. This unforced political correctness error affected me in several ways. The first thing I did was stop wearing clothes with Virginia Tech logos on it. I really did not want to defend Virginia Tech’s actions to strangers. The second thing was I started to worry about what I would say to prospective students. Twice a year I am a Virginia Tech volunteer at the local College Fair. I want to talk to the prospective students about our great engineering programs and possibly the best college food, not political correctness gone wild. If we talk about diversity I want to talk about how Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community applies to all people including a black journalist from the Wall Street Journal who has a different solution to our race problems. If you are a student or professor who has problems with Mr. Riley’s conclusions in his book, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, you can either ignore him or you can go to his talk and see if he can persuade you to change your mind. People who are truly open minded view this challenge as an educational opportunity.
More evidence is arising to show that the pilot of Flight 804 went suicide. He did some bizarre things. He converted the plane into a makeshift mosque, used the equipment to tell passengers the direction of Mecca. Had a last supper and said “farewell” as if ‘we who are about to die salute you’. He called his brother before take-off telling him to ‘pray for him’ as he was going for martyrdom. He had connections with one of the most radical preachers and terror supporters in Egypt.
We start off with testimony of Osama Abdel Basset, the captain in charge of the air hospitality in Egyptian Air says it all: “The Captain Mohammed Shakeer, the pilot of that fateful flight” had organized a “last supper” knowing he is “about to die” …
What if the crazy pilot on Germanwings Flight 9525 crash is the best explanation to means, motive, and opportunity?
After eight years of benign neglect I was hopeful that this would be the election cycle that the Democratic party would get a clue about middle class problems. When you go over to the Hillary Clinton For President site you see her “eight ways we can give American families a raise“.
Cut middle-class taxes.
Make college affordable.
Raise the minimum wage.
Rebuild our infrastructure.
Boost manufacturing jobs.
Invest in clean energy.
Lower child care costs.
Most of these suggestions will not help me at all. Two of these suggestions, rebuilding our infrastructure and boosting manufacturing jobs, might help me indirectly. This is such a meh group of ideas you have to wonder what drove them away from bread and butter issues for the middle class like the economy, government corruption, jobs, immigration, and the rising cost of health care. It just not me saying this. The most recent Gallup poll asked, What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? The top four issues listed were the economy in general, dissatisfaction with government, unemployment/jobs, and immigration. I hate to say it but the non-politician, Mr. Trump, seems to know the issues bothering the country and the professional politician, Ms. Clinton, does not!
Her next suggestion was to put Bill Clinton “in charge of revitalizing the economy“. The problem I have with Mr. Clinton’s economic record is that his success depended largely on the on the productivity gains from expanding the use of personal computers in the work place. By the time he left office there were no more places left where productivity would improve from using personal computers. If you look at recent year to year productivity gains, you can see that the decline in the personal computer business from 2000 to 2010 matches the decline in productivity gains. If you believe that productivity growth results in real economic growth for the middle class then you can understand why the lack of productivity gains coupled with a financialization bubble has made life miserable for the middle class. If we assume that the financialization bubble over the last 8 years is over then we are left with searching for productivity gains in an increasingly socialist economy. Something has got to give and sadly Ms. Clinton is clueless!
Here is an interesting life hack for those of you with YouTube subscriptions. The YouTube app on my smartphone not only reminds me when a new video is available but it is a perfectly fine way to watch some videos. Obviously some types of videos will not work on a small screen but as an example here is today’s clip from Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson. The clips are short and devoid of the visual details that would get lost on a small screen. I watched the Full Measure and the Prager University clip, What ISIS Wants, while eating my breakfast. 🙂
Although a Fabius Maximus post, The online bubble is bursting, makes a good argument that we are probably witnessing a tech bubble bursting, I think that has more to do with irrational company valuations and a subset of social media problems rather than online advertising problems. If Facebook or Twitter collapses do we stop buying goods from Amazon? Even if all of the companies described in the Kalkis Research paper, End Of The Online Advertising Bubble, collapse does that mean we stop buying goods from Amazon or stop using Google for comparison shopping? I don’t think so. Online advertising is dominated by Google and Amazon is making many forms of online advertising less valuable. When you think about the history of the Internet and online advertising, the problems are evolutionary. The biggest problem facing online advertising is the creative destruction forced on the online shopping market by Amazon. I work for a small online retailer. A couple of years ago the shopping experience consisted of a customer searching for a product and then following one or more of the ads or links on the search results page to an online retailer. In a world dominated by the Google search engine, it is not surprising that our largest and most cost effective source for orders was Google AdWords. Despite the occasional abuse and fraud from pay per click vendors and the weirdness of search engine optimization strategies, this was a pretty good business model for an online retailer to drive traffic to their site.
Today the largest and most cost effective source for orders is Amazon. Amazon has two things going for it, customers are increasingly going to Amazon for their shopping experience and Amazon has a viable alternative to the pay per click business model for online retailers. Many Amazon customers expect Amazon to have the lowest price. Our web site analytics say our customers have dramatically reduced the number of times they are using Google for comparison shopping. The most important change for online retailers is that Amazon’s unique business model says that Amazon gets paid only when they process an order. This solves several problems for retailers. Retailers do not worry about Amazon orders causing pay per click abuse, credit card fraud, or payment processing problems. Since the percentage Amazon charged us for an order was less than our pay per click advertising budget, it was an easy decision for us. To increase sales and profit we listed more products on Amazon and cut down on our online advertising. In a flat retail market our Amazon sales have gone up, our Google sales have gone down, and our profitability has gone up slightly. We live to fight another day.
A couple of weeks ago at church I told Paul I would go to a Perspectives class. He had been trying to get me to check out a class for several years but this time it was different. Something was stirring in my heart about the Perspectives class and I did not know why. He said that the next class was on Wednesday and the subject was Christian evangelism of Muslim people. Coincidentally later that day I read a Donald Sensing post, Who says there’s no good news about Islam? In that post he referenced an article he had recently seen, Islam is the FASTEST DYING RELIGION in the world, which said:
According to Shaykh Ahmed Katani, in Africa, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity every year:
Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa [a land of 1 billion] has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa…In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed. …
I must admit that I was surprised. I thought it was a fatal mistake for a Muslim to convert to another religion. I was intrigued. Why were Muslims in Africa converting to Christianity?
The answer was found early in the Perspectives class. Muslims can study the story of Jesus because it is part of the Qur’an and they seemed to have little problem with the Christian concept of the trinity, the Father(God), the Son(Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. I found out that as they learned about Jesus it was a remarkably easy transition from a Muslim curious about Jesus, to a practicing Muslim who believed in Jesus, and finally to a Christian. The farther they are away from Mecca and Wahhabism, the easier the transition. I think Muslims have always been open to a God that loved them and through Jesus they found the door.
The real interesting question is whether the violence associated with Islamic terrorists is working against Islam. It is one thing for Dr. Craig to make the philosophical argument that “Islam has a morally deficient concept of God” and quite another to see Muslims turn their back on Islam because religious violence is so much harder to control than cultural violence. There is no room for peace with religious violence. Islam needs a Jesus story to make the concept of a moderate Muslim and peaceful coexistence a reality. Jesus is the good news Islam was looking for.
I struggle to explain the current economy. Gone are the days of inventory-driven booms and busts. We hated the layoffs but at least the economic boom was robust and benefited everyone. It was the rising tide that lifted all boats. Now it seems that neither good or bad economic news affects the economy. We have several years of lousy retail sales growth that does not seem to matter. We are “experiencing the strongest streak of employment growth since the 1990’s” but that does not seem to matter. Almost all of our economic and job growth comes the health care sector but that does not matter. Even lower prices for gasoline do not matter. This is not my father’s economy. The doldrums we are experiencing seems to have more in common the crisis of confidence that President Carter spoke about in his “Malaise” speech but with one significant difference. Based on recent history it looks like the traditional correlation between jobs and economic growth is considerably weaker than in President Carter’s economy. I am not alone in my confusion. Lance Roberts voices similar concerns in his article, Is There A Problem With The BLS Employment Reports?
IF we were truly experiencing the strongest streak of employment growth since the 1990’s, should we not be witnessing:
Surging wage growth as a 4.9% unemployment rate gives employees pricing power?
Economic growth well above 3% as 4.9% unemployment leads to stronger consumption?
A rise in imports as rising consumption leads to demand for goods.
Falling inventories as sales outpace production.
Rising industrial production as demand for goods increases.
Obviously Mr. Roberts was expecting a much stronger correlation between job and economic growth than we are seeing. The more interesting question has to be, why are businesses hiring when it looks like that hiring more people does not translate into growing sales?
Charles Smith shows in this chart the growing disconnect between jobs and economic growth has been going on for a long time.
Over the last forty years we have chosen to become a country less dependent on labor. Part of this decline can be explained that global trade has encouraged countries like the United States to ship low wage jobs to countries with lower labor costs. A good portion of our textile business went over seas for this reason. Ironically this “land of opportunity” has less opportunities for low wage jobs than ever before and an even bigger problem with middle class jobs. Every developed country is desperately trying to hold on to its middle class jobs and, in some cases such as China, increase them. So if you believe financial engineering bubble is over then we are left with growing the economy in a way my father would be comfortable with, growing the middle class by encouraging product development at small and medium size businesses. The heavy hand of government regulations combined with increased cronyism seems to have been more advantageous to the firms that got most of their earnings from financial engineering rather than product development. The millennials and Hispanics need to start sifting through the policies that worked in the past and tweak them for this new generation. So if the health and wealth of America depends largely on the health and wealth of the middle class, what are the competitive advantages that will convince businesses to keep their middle class jobs in America?