Category Archives: Boring But Important

Here’s What You Should Know

A good suggestion for news organizations from Jeff Jarvis:

So the opportunity: If I ran a news organization, I would start a regular feature called, Here’s what you should know about what you’re hearing elsewhere.

Last week, that would have included nuggets such as these:

* You may have heard on CNN that an arrest was made. But you should know that no official confirmation has been made so you should doubt that, even if the report is repeated by the likes of the Associated Press.

* You may have heard reports repeated from police scanners about, for example, the remaining suspect vowing not to be taken alive. But you should know that police scanners are just people with microphones; they do not constitute official or confirmed police reports. Indeed, it may be important for those using police radio to repeat rumor or speculation — even from fake Twitter accounts created an hour ago — for they are the ones who need to verify whether these reports are true. Better safe than sorry is their motto…

* You may have heard reports that there were more bombs. But you should know that we cannot track where these reports started and we have no official confirmation so you should not take those reports as credible. We are calling the police to find out whether they are true and we will let you know as soon as we know.


 

Virginia, We Have Liftoff

Who knew that the Commonwealth of Virginia was home to the newest entrant to the commercial space race?

"A privately owned rocket built in partnership with NASA to haul cargo to the International Space Station blasted off on Sunday for a debut test flight from a new commercial spaceport in Virginia. The 13-story Antares rocket, developed and flown by Orbital Sciences Corp, lifted off at 5 p.m. EDT from a Virginia-owned and operated launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island."

And where is Wallops Island?


So Many Bills, So Little Time

The bill filing deadline is fast approaching for the NC Legislature so our representatives have kicked into high gear. Here's the House Calendar for Thursday, April 11, 2013. You'll see that bills 676 through 846 were filed and as you can imagine they cover a wide variety of topics. Here are a few:

676

Harrison,
Moffitt and Fisher (Primary Sponsors) – ELIMINATE DIETETICS/NUTRITION
BOARD.

683

B.
Brown, Moffitt, Ramsey and Shepard (Primary Sponsors) – COMMONSENSE
CONSUMPTION ACT.

684

Elmore
and Stevens (Primary Sponsors) – INCREASE DRIVEWAY SAFETY ON CURVY
ROADS.

692

Szoka,
Hanes, Dockham and Samuelson (Primary Sponsors) – AMEND PREDATORY
LENDING LAW.

704

Brody,
Steinburg and Fulghum (Primary Sponsors) – STUDY AND ENCOURAGE USE OF
TELEMEDICINE.

723

Malone,
Avila, Fulghum and Davis (Primary Sponsors) – LEGAL NOTICES/REQUIRE
INTERNET PUBLICATION.

733

Pittman,
Blackwell, Bryan and Speciale (Primary Sponsors) – COMMON CORE STANDARDS
STUDY.

735

Jones,
Jordan, Arp and Riddell (Primary Sponsors) – PROTECT RELIGIOUS STUDENT
GROUPS.

749

Lambeth
and Hanes (Primary Sponsors) – LOCAL SCHOOL FLEXIBILITY.

750

Lambeth,
Glazier and Hanes (Primary Sponsors) – CHARTER SCHOOL FLEXIBILITY/PILOT.

760

Brandon,
Hardister and B. Brown (Primary Sponsors) – SUMMER READING CAMPS.

771

R.
Brawley – INFORM PATIENT/DRUG COST LESS THAN INSURANCE COPAY.

781

Harrison
– INCREASE SMALL BREWERY LIMITS.

782

Starnes,
Luebke, Jordan and Holley (Primary Sponsors) – FORTIFIED MALT BEVERAGES
ACT.

808

Boles
and Alexander (Primary Sponsors) – MERGE CEMETERY COMMISSION/FUNERAL
SERVICE BOARD.

809

Boles,
Moffitt and Murry (Primary Sponsors) – GAME NIGHTS/NONPROFIT
FUNDRAISERS.

815

Luebke,
Harrison, Adams and C. Graham (Primary Sponsors) – BAN USE OF CREDIT
HISTORY IN HIRING/FIRING.

822

Blust,
Jones, Holloway and Jordan (Primary Sponsors) – THREE-FIFTHS VOTE TO
LEVY TAXES.

829

McGrady,
Bryan, Moffitt and L. Hall (Primary Sponsors) – SALE OF GROWLERS BY
CERTAIN ABC PERMITTEES.

From the Boring But Important Files: Chained CPI

This post marks the launch of a new category for this blog called Boring But Important (BBI). Today's BBI story is about chained CPI and why it might be responsible for decreases in social security. The details from Atlantic Wire:

The budget that President Obama introduced today calls for "$230 billion in savings from using a chained measure of inflation for cost-of-living adjustments throughout the Budget." Because the measure of inflation is so important when it comes paying Social Security benefits and setting tax rates, a minor technical change could have a huge ripple effect on the economy…

CPI is the Consumer Price Index, which is the most basic measure of inflation. It's an official, government-approved number produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and all kinds of government and private programs rely on the CPI to make yearly adjustments for the cost of living.

Early in the last decade, economists began to argue that CPI is not the most accurate measure of inflation, because it merely aggregates prices and doesn't take into account how people spend their money in the real world. Specifically, it doesn't account for consumers' ability to substitute one product for another when prices change. (For example, if the price of butter goes up, people can switch to margarineand save money. Click here for more discussion of the "substitution effect.") So in 2002, the BLS createdthe Chained CPI, which many experts say is a better measure of the actual "cost of living." (For some people, anyway. We'll get back to that in a bit.) That's why it's also known as Superlative CPI.

Not only is the Chained CPI more accurate, it predicts that inflation grows at a slower rate than regular CPI. In any given year, the difference between the two numbers is minor—only about one-third of one percent—but over time, the effect on budgets can be massive. Because each year's CPI is based off the previous year's number, the effect compounds, meaning a small change now creates a huge difference in the final number 10 or 20 years down the road. Switching from regular to Chained (again, a 0.3-percent difference each year) would save more than $200 billion in inflation-mandated spending over the next decade.

Anyone who's been paying attention knows that we average Americans suck at math. Maybe that's what they're counting on.