Why the French Want to Stop Working

If you want to understand why the French overwhelmingly oppose raising their official retirement age from 62 to 64, you could start by looking at last week’s enormous street protest in Paris.

Retirement before arthritis read one handwritten sign. Leave us time to live before we die said another. One elderly protester was dressed ironically as “a banker” with a black top hat, bow tie, and cigar—like the Mr. Monopoly mascot of the board game. “It’s the end of the beans!” he exclaimed to the crowd, using a popular expression to mean that pension reform is the last straw…

France is not alone with this problem. Rich countries everywhere are facing similar demographic challenges, and pushing up their retirement ages to cope. The advocates of reform in France should have more room to maneuver than most, because retirements here last an average of about 25 years, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That’s among the longest in Europe, where retirements even out at about 22 years, and well above the average retirement duration in the United States, where people now live for about 16 years after they stop working…

Well-written with reasonable explanation(s). Europeans will – I think – get it before many Americans. But, that ain’t the point either. Reflect upon the article’s conclusions – especially the direction presumed of a changing and growing economy.

Watch the skies!

In a quiet Thursday report dump, the Pentagon released declassified intelligence on hundreds more of what it now refers to as “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAPs for short.

The Director of National Intelligence’s report, which is the second since the Department of Defense opened its All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) earlier in Joe Biden’s presidency, lists a whopping 366 total new incidents the Pentagon admits to having knowledge of, though a majority of those did have non-extraterrestrial explanations.

In total, as Vice notes in its write-up of the report, 163 of the UAP sightings on radar seemed to be balloons of some sort, 26 were probably drones, and six others were categorized as miscellaneous clutter, defined by the Pentagon as “birds, weather events, or airborne debris like plastic bags.”

That leaves 171 unexplained events out of the 366 new UAP reports that remain “uncharacterized and unattributed.”…”Some of these uncharacterized UAP appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities,” the report continues, “and require further analysis.”

And a complete unwillingness to perform that further analysis, attribution, a touch of science.

 The Battle Between Religious Freedom and LGBTQ Rights Continues

This term, the clash between freedom of speech and LGBTQ rights continues as the Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis. The following question is before the Court: Whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

Lorie Smith is the owner and founder of 303 Creative LLC, a graphic design firm that offers graphic and website design services to the public. Smith wishes to expand her portfolio to include wedding-related services. However, Smith refuses to design websites for same-sex weddings on the ground that it violates her religious beliefs. She claims that offering wedding-related services to non-heterosexual couples “would compromise [her] Christian witness and tell a story about marriage that contradicts God’s true story of marriage – the very story He is calling [her] to promote.”

Smith wants to post a message on her business page explaining her wedding service policy, but the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (“CADA”) prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating on the basis of a protected characteristic, including sexual orientation. Further, CADA includes a Communications Clause that prohibits businesses from posting a notice that indicates that goods or services will be denied to an individual based on a protected characteristic. Smith brought this action to challenge CADA’s constitutionality.

Lots of tough questions asked of folks who feel they have a “God-given” right to discriminate against fellow citizens of the GOUSA.

New Mexico on the Movie Map

The film and TV tax credit that put New Mexico on the map is now nearly two decades old. Launched in 2003, it didn’t just transform the production landscape in the Land of Enchantment, along with a new tax credit in Louisiana, the state also kicked off a domestic incentives arms race that created vibrant industry hubs across the country and changed how projects are financed.

Today, New Mexico offers a base 25% refundable tax credit that can go as high as 35% when other uplifts are factored in. For instance, productions can earn an additional 5% by shooting in one of the state’s 15 qualified production facilities, an offer the state would’ve been unable to make in the early days of the incentive, when productions searching for soundstages usually had to settle for an abandoned warehouse or factory.

Direct production spend in New Mexico hit a record $855.4 million in fiscal year 2022, up 36% year-over-year from 2021. The state has also been benefiting from the trickle-down effects of film and TV tourism.

And, of course, reliable work for technical and creative staff enables folks to move here, live here…continue earning their living somewhere laid back and mellow.

Twitter thinks moon launch is “revenge porn”

Revenge porn is a horrible thing, and Twitter should definitely continue to ban anyone who attempts to post it on the app. That being said, a video of a rocket taking off — an actual rocket, you pervs — does not revenge porn make, and shouldn’t be flagged as such.

It seems like a silly thing to have to say, but such is the exact situation that spaceflight photographer John Kraus found himself in earlier this week. Kraus, who was on site to photograph the historic Artemis I launch, took to Twitter to post a mesmerizing video of the liftoff — only to find himself kicked off of the app shortly thereafter, due to the fact that his post, for whatever inexplicable reason, had been marked as revenge porn.

“I’d like to acknowledge that our good friend and rocket photography extraordinaire, [John Kraus], has been completely locked out of twitter since yesterday, for an arbitrary and silly reason, the day of the biggest launch of his career,” read an angry tweet from the Tim “Everyday Astronaut” Dodd. “Worst possible timing.”

The inmates of the insane asylum – otherwise known as the US Government – are trying to run machines beyond their comprehension.

Keep an eye on these bills in Congress!

I rarely use this blog time and space to press for bills walking their potential way through Congress. Today’s update newsletter from CFI notes a few bills making progress and I feel they’re worth supporting.

The Respect for Marriage Act (S. 4556) has already passed the House of Representatives and would be awaiting a similar result in the Senate. This Act codifies federal protections for same-sex marriage in the face of considerable religious opposition. That’s why OPP [Office of Consumer Protection from Pseudoscience] supported the bill and called on readers to take action by contacting their Senator earlier this fall.

The Ensuring Access to Abortion Act (H.R. 8297), prohibits state law-based interference with a person’s ability to access out-of-state abortion services. This too passed in the House in July, despite religion-based opposition to reproductive choice.

The Women’s Health Protection Act (H.R. 8296) similarly anchors the right to abortion care in federal law. It has passed in the House and awaits a Senate vote.

The Right to Contraception Act (H.R. 8373) codifies the right to access birth control free from religious or political interference. It passed in the House in July and is up for a Senate vote.

Folks at CFI and many more conscientious and thoughtful individuals of the Progressive persuasion are busy with continued support for these small steps. I hope you will consider doing the same.