7000 Touch-screen kiosks: McDonald’s answer to high cost of doing business in Europe

McDonald’s replaces 7000 cashiers in restaurants across Europe with touch-screen kiosks:

The hiring picture doesn’t look quite so rosy for Europe, where the fast food chain is drafting 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to handle cashiering duties.

The move is designed to boost efficiency and make ordering more convenient for customers. In an interview with the Financial Times, McDonald’s Europe President Steve Easterbrook notes that the new system will also open up a goldmine of data. McDonald’s could potentially track every Big Mac, McNugget, and large shake you order.

Make it more expensive to do business (i.e. increase the minimum wage or corporate taxes) and it’s the lower skill workers who bear the brunt of the cutbacks.

h/t Insty…

Robin Hood Tax: Another bad European idea that will find its way here

obama hood

Does this remind you of a developing Democrat election campaign?

At its best, the financial services sector provides important services to people across the income spectrum. But in its current guise, it is failing to do so. In fact, it has become a powerful driver of inequality. The huge increase in speculation in the financial markets has pushed the volume of financial transactions to more than 70 times the size of the world economy. And we are all still suffering from the irresponsibility of this sector, which led to the global financial crash.

Lord Turner, former chair of the Financial Services Authority, described much of the financial services sector as “socially useless” and said it had grown too big. Calculating the difference between what people take out of the economy in terms of their pay, and what they put in in terms of the value to society of their work, the New Economics Foundation estimated that many people in the financial services sector were a burden on the rest of us.

If you really want to look at the difference in what people take out of the economy versus what they put in, look no further than the worlds third largest economy, the United States Federal Government.

**** h/t Timmy ****

Regional blackouts coming to an electrical outlet near you starting in 2015

Obama and his henchmen are working overtime turning the United States into a backwater third world country.

According to Master Resource, FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) Commissioner explains that due to EPA regulations shutting down nearly 25% of our nations coal power plants in 2015, creating the very real possibility of regional blackouts across the United States:

On Sunday morning’s Platts Energy Week with Bill Loveless, FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller gave a bombshell interview regarding the clear and present danger to electric reliability posed by the EPA.
An excerpted transcript is posted below:

FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller: “We’re closing an enormous amount of coal generation, through a variety of rules, and a good number of those plants are set to retire next April. But most people would say about 90% of that capacity was running and used and necessary during the polar vortex events. So the question is: Are we going to have mild weather for the next 2-3 years? If so, we can probably get through it. But if we have more extreme weather events, like we had this winter, and that power is no longer available, we could be in a real situation that’s not good for consumers.

Platts Energy Week: Are regional blackouts a possibility?

FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller: They are a possibility.

When Moeller refers to a wave of coal-fired power plants that are “set to retire next April,” he is talking about the consequences of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, also known as the Utility MACT, which will shutter up to a quarter of the nation’s coal power capacity starting in the spring of 2015, according to a recent EIA analysis.

In the interview, Moeller is warning that many of the coal plants in the northeast that are slated for retirement were called into service during the unusually cold winter of 2013-2014. Had they not been available, electricity and heating costs would have “skyrocketed,” to borrow from President Obama’s energy phrasebook. For more, see this recent New York Times article, whose headline says it all: “Coal to the Rescue, But Maybe Not Next Winter.”

How, exactly, is the EPA justifying this foolish (and potentially dangerous) regulation?

The EPA claims it is protecting a population of pregnant subsistence fisherwomen, who consume hundreds of pounds of fish from exclusively the most polluted inland bodies of fresh water.

No, really:

In addition to this looming threat to keeping the lights on, EPA’s Utility MACT will cost $10 billion annually. Both the agency and industry agree on this figure, which renders the regulation one of the most expensive ever.

And for what? Surely, there must have been some awesome threat to public health, in order to justify such staggering costs and dire ramifications, right? Wrong.

The actual justification for the Utility MACT, one of the most expensive and consequential regulations of all time, is to protect a supposed population of pregnant subsistence fisherwomen, who consume hundreds of pounds of self-caught fish from exclusively the most polluted inland bodies of fresh water.

I guess its time to pick up a natural gas-powered whole home generator.

Starving, freezing and dropping dead by 30 years old is not a recipe for physical fitness

Sure, you wouldn’t live past 30 years old, but according to a ‘scientist’ at Cambridge University, being a hunter – gatherer would make you would be a top-tier athlete:

Mo Farah would have had some tough competition from ancient farmers living 7,300 years ago.
Scientists claim if they were to cross paths, our ancestors would have been capable of outrunning some of the world’s most talented athletes.

That’s according to recent research by Cambridge University which reveals just how far our fitness has fallen in just a couple of millennia.

‘Even our most highly trained athletes pale in comparison to these ancestors of ours,’ Dr Colin Shaw told Outside Magazine. ‘We’re certainly weaker than we used to be.’

The study looked at skeletons dating back to around 5,300 BC with the most recent to 850 AD – a time span of 6,150 years.

Naturally, this ‘study’ ties into the whole “save the planet” and “population bomb” thinking by the radical environmentalist crowd. The idea of ditching modern convinces and returning to a hunter / gatherer existence to make everyone more physically fit is completely insane.

“Leading from behind” isn’t inspiring confidence among our European allies

“The Pope? How many divisions has he got?”

Joseph Stalin

Obama’s penchant of “leading from behind” on Crimea isn’t inspiring confidence among our European allies. Via BBC:

Another nuclear power, mightier than Russia, will be watching – China is very interested in how far the US will go in defence of its friends.

However, this speech also contained a stern warning to Mr Putin – “hands off the Baltics!”

Mr Obama made it clear that if a Nato country was attacked, article five – pledging a common military response – would be invoked.

That having been said, Mr Obama is asking Stalin’s question of Nato – how many divisions do they have?

Both in terms of political will and fighting forces.

The US has long wanted Europe to spend more and do more as it is doing less and spending less. Next week the US will announce it is sending more troops and naval forces to Europe – but it wants its allies to match that.

They won’t.

After the European Union’s display of unity of the lowest common denominator over sanctions, none of this is very encouraging for those who believe this is a key moment for the US and the West.

Yep, and we have a community organizer occupying the White House during this key moment.

Can’t say we weren’t warned.

MCT response to lib critic regarding Detroit Public Schools plan to construct urban farm

Seems like a liberal nerve was struck by a recent MCT post illustrating the insanity of the Detroit Public School district plan to create an urban farm at an abandoned school campus. Via MCT:

Detroit Public Schools officials plan Thursday to announce details of a project to turn the sprawling site at the corner of Van Dyke Road and I-94 into a 26.9-acre urban farm.

The announcement will come as part of a real estate developers conference on what to do with Detroit’s dozens of vacant former school buildings.

The school district plans to build eight hoop houses and start growing vegetables on the new Kettering Urban Agricultural Campus in 2014, with later phases to include food processing and distribution to students and the community, officials said Wednesday.

As pointed out here @ MCT this effort is a colossal waste of time and sure money loser for the school district. Given the district’s chronic academic under achievement and the fact Detroit Public Schools have their very own Emergency Financial Manager, you would think most people understand the school district needs to get the basics under control before embarking on an urban farming boondoggle. If you thought that, you would be wrong.

Via MCT Twitter Feed:

“Education should proceed snark.” Really?

How about financial responsibility to taxpayers before embarking on a “hip, green” boondoggle? Or, more importantly, how about teaching children in your district to read and perform basic math before wasting time growing carrots at an abandoned school?

In case you are unaware of the scope of the Detroit Public School district failure to its students, here are a couple of eye-opening statistics outlining 8th grade student performance in math:

  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level as 3 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (4 percent) and in 2009 (4 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level as 24 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (29 percent) and in 2009 (23 percent).

DPS student performance in reading is just as poor:

  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level was 9 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (7 percent) and in 2009 (7 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level was 46 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (43 percent) and in 2009 (40 percent).

Detroit Public Schools (complete with an Emergency Financial Manager in tow) should reconsider their ‘urban farm’ pipe dream. When only 9% of their 8th grade students are considered at a ‘proficient’ reading level and a staggering 3% are considered at a ‘proficient’ level in math, failing to focus all their time and resources on the children in their classrooms is shameful.

So, who precisely, is putting snark ahead of education?

It seems Vladimir Putin forgot that Obama has “restored America’s standing in the world”

Remember when Obama declared that he has “restored America’s standing in the world?”

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It seems Vladimir Putin has forgotten this little tidbit…

DRUDGE REPORT 2014 putin calls obama pranksterAnd before you say “there goes Matt Drudge again” here’s the pertinent quote from ABC News:

MOSCOW – Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.

I thought Obama & co. threatened “full-scale” sanctions. If these are “full-scale” what would regular sanctions would look like; billions of dollars in foreign aid subsidies?

MIT Tech Review finally catching up to MCT: Wealthy cities are more “green” than poor cites

MCT is ahead of the curve… Again…

Self loathing lib’s at MIT technology review are perplexed. They have discovered actual data contradicting their deep-seated belief that capitalism is bad for the environment:

That raises all kinds of questions about other aspects of city life. A particularly important one is whether big cities are greener than small ones, whether big cities emit more carbon dioxide per capita than small ones.

Today, we get an answer of sorts from Diego Rybski at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and a few pals. These guys give an interesting twist to the debate. They say that big cities in rich countries are greener than small ones but big cities in poor ones are the opposite. And the transition occurs when the GDP per capita climbs above $10,000 per head.

Our self loathing libs can’t seem to wrap their heads around this new data.

The results imply that large cities in rich countries are more efficient than those in poor countries. But just why this should be is something of a puzzle. One possibility is that cities in the developed world are more focused on producing services whereas in the developing world, cities have more industry and so produce more carbon dioxode.

Uh no, it’s not because developed countries focus on “providing services” rather than manufacturing things. It has to do with the fact, that only wealthy countries and, by extension, wealthy cities can afford to worry about the environment.

third world children

As pointed out nearly four years ago here at MCT:

The truth is, if these guys truly cared about the environment, they would be working to protect our economy. Because only wealthy nations can afford to care about the environment. Poor countries can’t.

And that’s a fact.

If the sanctimonious lib’s at MIT Technology Review would bother leaving their ivory tower in Massachusetts and travel to the poor areas of Mexico, Eastern Europe or Asia they would understand that people there are more interested in living day-to-day than how much CO2 their activities are emitting into the atmosphere.

If radical environmentalist truly care about the environment, they would be hard-core free market capitalists. Of course we all know there not. Because it is abundantly clear  that the green movement’s true end-game is implementing socialism.

Shock Poll: Only 47% of Americans Say Tax Cuts Help The Economy

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.

Mark Twain


Despite news that President Obama is proposing $55 billion in new government spending and higher taxes in 2015, slightly fewer voters expect their own personal taxes to up during the remainder of his presidency. Most continue to believe increased spending hurts the economy, but for the first time, fewer than half of voters believe tax cuts help the economy.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 37% of Likely U.S. Voters expect their own personal taxes to go up under the Obama administration. That’s down eight points from December and is the lowest level measured since November 2012. Still, just eight percent (8%) expect their taxes to go down under Obama, while 43% expect them to remain about the same. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

Milton has a nice perspective about how increased spending is, in reality, is a tax increase:.

Therefore, every year as government spending increases, our true taxes increase. Is it any wonder that as more and more money and productivity are siphoned off to fund government spending, our economic growth stagnates.

Milton Friedman must become required reading / viewing because this poll result is completely crazy.

Sounds a lot like overpromising: EV’s don’t need maintenance; they are basically a big battery

Uhhh… O.K.:

The ability to repair a car via software is especially important when the vehicle itself consists of so much new technology that traditional mechanics don’t know how to fix. The flip side is that without an internal combustion engine, there’s not as much to fix. I’ve written before that a Tesla without its outer shell looks like a cell phone on wheels. It’s basically just a big battery. That means no spark plugs, no air filters, no fuel pumps, no timing belts. In short, Teslas don’t have any of the parts that force you to take your car in for “regularly scheduled maintenance” — services that can cost dearly at the dealer. But it’s hard to charge for an oil change when there’s no oil to be changed.

Say’s the guy who obviously knows very little about cars.

According to cheerleaders like our wired writer EV’s don’t have things like wheel speed sensors and other control electronics that might fail or electric motors with their own inherent problems and that are subject to wear. Heck, listening to our Wired friend even the tires and brakes will never need replacement (although I wouldn’t go to a dealership for tires or brakes).

And if an electric vehicle is really a cell phone on wheels then do not,under any circumstance, drop, forget to charge, or get your electric vehicle wet.

If your EV is basically a cell phone on wheels, I wonder if there is an OtterBox for electric vehicles…

**** h/t Insty for the Wired link****