Thursday, May 31, 2012

Democrat changes to Republican

He’s not just any Democrat. This is a guy who gave a seconding speech for O’s nomination four years ago at the convention and was the southern regional co-chair for the DCCC. With those credentials, the PR value to the GOP of having him dump his old party to become a Republican would be huge under any circumstances. Factor in the symbolism of a young black Harvard-trained pol abandoning the Dems in the middle of Obama’s reelection campaign and you’ve got a GOP folk hero in the making. From his blog post announcing his party switch....

Story

Greece fail

Once in a great while an opportunity comes along to deliver justice to a people, giving them what they truly deserve. Greece’s time has come.

It must be dawning on all but the most obtuse member of the banking elite that they can’t possibly steal enough money from German taxpayers to save the Greek government from default. Put it off, maybe, but collapse is inevitable.

Once this happens, what is the purpose of casting Greece into some selective temporary financial purgatory where the irrelevant Greek economy can continue embarrassing anyone foolish enough to lend their dysfunctional government a dime? Why not go all the way and give the country what many of its people have been violently demanding for almost a century?

Let them have Communism.

Hard as it is for young people to believe, Communism was once a major historical force holding billions of people in thrall. Outside the halls of elite universities, who still takes it seriously? Sure we have Cuba, where the Castro deathwatch is the last thing standing between that benighted penal colony and an inevitable makeover by Club Med. Then there is Venezuela, though hope is fading that Hugo Chavez will carry the Bolivarian banner much longer now that he’s busy sucking down FOLFOX cocktails while checking for signs that his hair is falling out. And frankly, a psychopathic family dynasty ruling a nation of stunted zombies hardly makes North Korea a proper Communist exemplar.

What the world needs, lest we forget, is a contemporary example of Communism in action. What better candidate than Greece? They’ve been pining for it for years, exhibiting a level of anti-capitalist vitriol unmatched in any developed country. They are temperamentally attuned to it, having driven all hard working Greeks abroad in search of opportunity. They pose no military threat to their neighbors, unless you quake at the sight of soldiers marching around in white skirts. And they have all the trappings of a modern Western nation, making them an uncompromised test bed for Marxist theories. Just toss them out of the European Union, cut off the flow of free Euros, and hand them back the printing plates for their old drachmas. Then stand back for a generation and watch.

More here

Hope and Change, November 2012

South is rising again

New York State accounted for the biggest migration exodus of any state in the nation between 2000 and 2010, with 3.4 million residents leaving over that period, according to the Tax Foundation.

Over that decade the state gained 2.1 million, so net migration amounted to 1.3 million, representing a loss of $45.6 billion in income.

Where are they escaping to? The Tax Foundation found that more than 600,000 New York residents moved to Florida over the decade – opting perhaps for the Sunshine State’s more lenient tax system – taking nearly $20 billion in adjusted growth income with them.

Over that same time period, 208,794 Pennsylvanians moved to Florida, taking $8 billion in income.

"Many of these New York and Pennsylvania residents no doubt moved to Florida for the warm weather," says the foundation, a nonpartisan research group. "[B]ut many more may have moved there because the state does not have an individual income tax, an estate tax, nor an inheritance tax."

The Tax Foundation has created a "migration calculator" based on data from the Internal Revenue Service, tabulating the number of individuals moving between states each year, and income affected by the shifts.

The calculator shows that 612,520 people renounced their citizenship in New York State and moved to Florida in the 10-year period, taking with them $19.7 billion in adjusted growth income.

Between 2009 and 2010 alone, 40,195 New York residents moved to Florida, taking $1.3 billion in income.

More here

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

P.C.

Political correctness is a paralyzing cancer on a free and conscientious society. It forces adherents to default to positions that often uphold wrong over right, evil over good and behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success. One might ask: How can this be? Politically correct speech is merely an etiquette issue to avoid offending others, isn’t it? To which my response is an emphatic and enthusiastic "no!" It is a tool to enforce rigid homogeneity of thought, and it is not a recent phenomenon by any means.

Story

Snitch form

The Obama campaign's Attack Watch is back.

Obama Website Now Supplies Easy-to-Use Snitch Forms For Truth Team Members.

The Obama Campaign now has an easy to use snitch form for its Truth Team members to fill out in case any non-Obama approved propaganda is found anywhere on TV, radio, in print, or on the Internet.

More here

Ineptocracy

Let’s start with a quick quiz.

Which of the following major world cities and/or seaside resorts has NOT hosted United Nations climate change talks since the inaugural meeting way back in 1997?

Marrakech, Morocco; Bali, Indonesia; Lyon, France; Bonn, Germany; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cancun, Mexico; The Hague, the Netherlands; Vienna, Austria; Montreal, Canada; Bangkok, Thailand; Barcelona, Spain; Durban, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Milan, Italy; Kyoto, Japan and New Delhi, India.

Sorry, trick question. All have played host at some time to the 47 UN-funded get-togethers in the past 15 years.

I know, I know, it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.

Here is a supplementary question: How many binding treaties have been ratified by all parties in the name of defeating so-called anthropogenic global warming in that time?

Not abstracts of intent or noble purpose like the Kyoto protocols. We’re talking binding agreements with enforceable penalties, measurable aims and deliverable achievements signed by every single nation on the planet from the richest to the very poorest.

How many? None.

That’s right, a big fat zero. Nada. Zip. Nil. Zilch.

Still, the talking goes on in some of the most desirable locations on earth.

Three and sometimes four times a year the great and the good of the global warm-monger industry meet to chatter and wag their fingers at major industrialized nations like Canada.

These unelected and unaccountable members of the UN ineptocracy were at it again last week.

More here

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

War on Terror not over

A jury on Thursday convicted a U.S. soldier of attempting to build a bomb and use it to blow up a restaurant near the Fort Hood Army post in Texas to get revenge for the suffering of fellow Muslims in the Middle East at the hands of the military.

Private First Class Naser Jason Abdo, 22, was arrested last July after a tip from a gun store owner who became alarmed by Abdo's befuddled attempts to purchase smokeless gunpowder and weapons.

Abdo was also convicted of attempted murder of U.S. officers or employees, and four counts of possessing a weapon to commit a violent crime. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on July 20.

Abdo travelled from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to the army post in Fort Hood, where Major Nidal Hasan is charged with killing 13 people in a 2009 shooting spree.

Abdo had been granted conscientious objector status for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars because of his Muslim faith.

Witnesses testified that Abdo set out to build a bomb that he planned to detonate near the main gate of Fort Hood at a Chinese restaurant, which is known to be frequented by soldiers and their families.

Abdo planned to open fire on the victims fleeing the bombing and the first responders rushing to the scene. One investigator said he referred to civilians who would be killed as "collateral damage."

When he was arrested at a motel room in Killeen, Texas, Abdo had bomb making items in his backpack, and he also had an article allegedly taken from an al-Qaeda publication, entitled, "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

More here

Pension defaults

Last month, the territory of the Northern Mariana Islands became the first U.S. public pension fund to declare bankruptcy. Like many public pension plans across the country, the financial condition of the Northern Mariana's pension fund deteriorated significantly over the past five years. With $256 million of pension fund assets available to fund $1 billion of pension fund liabilities -- a "funded ratio" of just 25 percent -- the trustees of the Northern Mariana's pension fund have suggested that they may be able to pay out just 50 percent of the retirement benefits promised to public employees under the defined benefit pension plan.

There may be those who hope that because this tiny U.S. territory is way, way offshore -- situated as it is somewhere between Japan and Papua New Guinea -- events there cannot be a harbinger of things to come here on the mainland. But just two weeks later, much closer to home, Mayor Angel Taveras of Providence, R.I., approved a plan to sharply curtail pension benefits to current workers and retirees in an effort to keep that city out of bankruptcy. Faced with a pension fund that is 32 percent funded, Taveras' pension reforms ended cost of living increases for retiree benefits until the City pension system's funded ratio increases to 70 percent and capped the annual pension payable to any one individual at 150 percent of the median state household income.

Problems with public employee pension plans have been brewing for some time. These plans promise retirees a "defined benefit" that is generally calculated as a percentage of an employee's average compensation over the last few years on the job. The cost of the future benefits are supposed to be budgeted and funded each year by a combination of employer and employee contributions in an amount calculated by the system actuary to be sufficient to fund -- together with projected earnings rate on those contributions -- the future benefits earned in that year. That way, as long as these "normal costs" are budgeted and paid over to the pension trust fund each year, and the assumed earnings rate on the pension fund deposits are achieved, the pension system will be fully funded and future taxpayers will not be required to fund benefits earned by employees in prior years.

More here

Rotting corpses

Priorities

There’s a crisis in Los Angeles. Is it the city’s projected $250 million budget deficit? The city’s $10 billion shortfall in pension obligations? Its crumbling infrastructure? A public school dropout rate approaching 50 percent? No, the City of Angels is facing catastrophe in the form of grocery bags.

So great is the menace that the City Council is poised to impose on the good people of Los Angeles the country’s strictest grocery bag ban, prohibiting the distribution of both plastic and paper bags.

Proponents give three reasons for the bag ban. They claim it will reduce the amount of waste entering landfills, reduce litter on streets, and "help protect the environment."

But banning free grocery bags will not achieve those lofty goals.

First, banning free plastic grocery bags won’t reduce waste. California’s Statewide Waste Characterization Study shows that "Plastic Grocery and Other Merchandise Bags" consistently make up just 0.3 percent of the waste stream in the state. That’s three-tenths of 1 percent. In comparison, organic waste such as food and yard clippings makes up 32 percent while construction debris comprises about 30 percent. The effect of eliminating free grocery bags on the amount of waste generated in the city would be insignificant.

Second, despite misleading claims from environmental groups and the L.A. Bureau of Sanitation, banning free plastic grocery bags won’t do much to reduce litter in the public commons. Litter studies from across the country demonstrate that, on average, plastic retail bags make up about 1 percent to 2 percent of all litter.

More here

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fracking

Just two years ago Michigan was well on its way to becoming Pennsylvania West — following in that state's footsteps as the next hotbed of natural gas exploration and production.

Since that time, the plummeting price of natural gas and concerns over the technology used to extract it — hydraulic fracturing — have brought the expected boom to a standstill.

"There is so much gas that we already (know) can be produced cheaply that exploring new areas and trying to commercialize them has ground to a halt everywhere," industry analyst Amber McCullagh said.

Despite that lull in production, the debate over natural gas has never been more intense — a high-stakes battle that could dictate the future terms of gas production when prices rebound.

That fight is playing out in Michigan's Legislature as well as the courts. Lawmakers have a spate of bills to consider that put restrictions on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." One citizens' group based in Charlevoix is trying to give voters the option of banning the practice outright. A new lawsuit filed in Ingham County seeks to force Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality to apply regulations on the books for injection wells to hydraulic fracturing.

And the debate over how best to deal with fracking has caused a divide in the environmental community as well. Efforts to enact a ban on the process are considered unrealistic by some, while anything short of a ban is considered a sellout by others.

More here

Climate change

Over the last 18 months, policymakers in Canada, the U.S. and Japan have quietly abandoned the illusory goal of preventing global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, an alternative view has emerged regarding the most cost-effective way in which to deal with the undoubted hazards of climate change.

This view points toward setting a policy of preparation for, and adaptation to, climatic events and change as they occur, which is distinctly different from the former emphasis given by most Western parliaments to the mitigation of global warming by curbing carbon dioxide emissions.

Ultimately, the rationale for choosing between policies of mitigation or adaptation must lie with an analysis of the underlying scientific evidence about climate change. Yet the vigorous public debate over possibly dangerous human-caused global warming is bedevilled by two things.

First, an inadequacy of the historical temperature measurements that are used to reconstruct the average global temperature statistic.

And, second, fuelled by lobbyists and media interests, an unfortunate tribal emotionalism that has arisen between groups of persons who are depicted as either climate "alarmists" or climate "deniers."

In reality, the great majority of working scientists fit into neither category. All competent scientists accept, first, that global climate has always changed, and always will; second, that human activities (not just carbon dioxide emissions) definitely affect local climate, and have the potential, summed, to measurably affect global climate; and, third, that carbon dioxide is a mild greenhouse gas.

The true scientific debate, then, is about none of these issues, but rather about the sign and magnitude of any global human effect and its likely significance when considered in the context of natural climate change.

For many different reasons, which include various types of bias, error and unaccounted-for artifacts, the thermometer record provides only an indicative history of average global temperature over the last 150 years.

The 1979-2011 satellite MSU (Microwave Sounding Units) record is our only acceptably accurate estimate of average global temperature, yet being but 32 years in length it represents just one climate data point. The second most reliable estimate of global temperature, collected by radiosondes on weather balloons, extends back to 1958, and the portion that overlaps with the MSU record matches it well.

Taken together, these two temperature records indicate that no significant warming trend has occurred since 1958, though both exhibit a 0.2C step increase in average global temperature across the strong 1998 El Nino.

More here

Creation

"What really interests me is whether God had any choice in creating the world."
That’s how Albert Einstein, in his characteristically poetic way, asked whether our universe is the only possible universe.

The reference to God is easily misread, as Einstein’s question wasn’t theological. Instead, Einstein wanted to know whether the laws of physics necessarily yield a unique universe—ours—filled with galaxies, stars, and planets. Or instead, like each year’s assortment of new cars on the dealer’s lot, could the laws allow for universes with a wide range of different features? And if so, is the majestic reality we’ve come to know—through powerful telescopes and mammoth particle colliders—the product of some random process, a cosmic roll of the dice that selected our features from a menu of possibilities? Or is there a deeper explanation for why things are the way they are?

In Einstein’s day, the possibility that our universe could have turned out differently was a mind-bender that physicists might have bandied about long after the day’s more serious research was done. But recently, the question has shifted from the outskirts of physics to the mainstream. And rather than merely imagining that our universe might have had different properties, proponents of three independent developments now suggest that there are other universes, separate from ours, most made from different kinds of particles and governed by different forces, populating an astoundingly vast cosmos.

The multiverse, as this vast cosmos is called, is one of the most polarizing concepts to have emerged from physics in decades, inspiring heated arguments between those who propose that it is the next phase in our understanding of reality, and those who claim that it is utter nonsense, a travesty born of theoreticians letting their imaginations run wild.

So which is it? And why should we care? Grasping the answer requires that we first come to grips with the big bang.

More here

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blacks killing blacks

Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Using the 94 percent figure means that 262,621 were murdered by other blacks. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation's population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it's 22 times that of whites. Coupled with being most of the nation's homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery.

The magnitude of this tragic mayhem can be viewed in another light. According to a Tuskegee Institute study, between the years 1882 and 1968, 3,446 blacks were lynched at the hands of whites. Black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (8,197) come to 18,515, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home. It's a tragic commentary to be able to say that young black males have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.

A much larger issue is how might we interpret the deafening silence about the day-to-day murder in black communities compared with the national uproar over the killing of Trayvon Martin. Such a response by politicians, civil rights organizations and the mainstream news media could easily be interpreted as "blacks killing other blacks is of little concern, but it's unacceptable for a white to kill a black person."

More here

Malls

Green Street Advisors, which tracks real-estate investment trusts, has made an intriguing prediction this year that 10% of U.S. malls will be remade or bulldozed into something other than malls within the next decade.

Turns out, many mall industry executives think Green Street’s prediction of 10% attrition is too low.

Mall executives interviewed Monday at the International Council of Shopping Centers' annual leasing conference in Las Vegas noted that many factors are hastening the decline of struggling malls these days. The expansion of online shopping is sapping their tenant rosters and rent rolls. Retailers and shoppers are increasingly migrating toward the strongest malls at the expense of weaker properties.

There are more than 1,000 large, enclosed malls in the U.S., according to Green Street. Thus, the firm’s prediction means that roughly 100 of those properties will "de-mall" by 2022. Some likely will be razed to make way for apartments, offices and or mixed-use projects. Others will become home to more nonretailers like medical offices, gyms and community colleges.

Most mall executives queried Monday said more than 10% of U.S. malls will exit the industry. Others agreed with the theory but declined to forecast a number. None said that 10% was too high.

More here

Sealed

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Week that was

Europe seems to be heading towards bankruptcy, but don't feel sorry for them. Many of the citizens of countries along the Mediterranean have developed tax evasion to a high art form. Estimates of up to 30% of economic activity is off the books. Plus they have early retirements and generous pension funds. They don't deserve any sympathy. They do deserve a good smack up alongside the head however.

Former chancellor Ken Clarke has said Europe's banking system is "in tatters", warning the UK is "heavily exposed" to potential problems. Story


Saddest headline of the day...Mexico's Drug War: 50,000 Dead in 6 Years


The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows Mitt Romney earning 50% of the vote and President Obama attracting 42% support. Four percent (4%) would vote for a third party candidate, while another three percent (3%) are undecided. Source

According to a government report released in 2011, there were close to 500,000 road accidents in India during 2010, resulting in more than 130,000 deaths. The report said this translates to “one road accident every minute and one road accident death every four minutes.”


Surveys of federal oil and gas reserves keep soaring. At some point, some president is going to realize that by tapping such bounty all at once he can create new jobs, earn budget-deficit-reducing cash, stimulate the economy, cut down on the trade deficit, and marginalize the Middle East as a security issue. If Obama wishes to pass on that godsend, so be it: he can bequeath to his successor even greater riches that will only increase in value. Source

Governer Bobby Jindal on Obama..."He never ran a lemonade stand."


An article in the 1997 Fordham Law Review referred to Elizabeth Warren as "Harvard Law's first woman of color."


Australia cannot juggle its relationships with the United States and China indefinitely and must choose a ''godfather'' to protect it, according to a prominent Chinese defence strategist. The warning by Song Xiaojun, a former senior officer of the People's Liberation Army, comes after Foreign Minister Bob Carr was told by his Chinese counterpart that Australia's close military alliance with the US was a throwback to the Cold War era. Story


Here's a List of Average IQ of the world's countries.

Three years ago, President Obama cut a secret deal with pharmaceutical company lobbyists to secure the industry’s support for his national health care law. Despite Obama’s promises during his campaign to run a transparent administration, the deal has been shrouded in mystery ever since. But internal emails obtained by House Republicans now provide evidence that a deal was struck and GOP investigators are promising to release more details in the coming weeks. Story

Rush Limbaugh says the only War on Women that he can find evidence of is the treatment of conservative women, especially Sarah Palin.


Quote of the day..."The only way Biden could become president would be to kill Barry. And he better do it before November."


Comment of the day..."To put things in perspective, note that unemployment during the Great Depression was just over 20% and only briefly. For most of the Great Depression, it was below 15%. Now unemployment in Spain was a mere 7% in 2007. But it is now over 25% and climbing. It is on track to reach 30% in a year!. Only Greece can match it. But Spain is much bigger. Not even Germany can bail it out." Source


North Dakota has now passed Alaska as the number 2 oil producing state. Texas remains number 1 in producing oil.


A Tennessee man who has fathered 30 children is asking the courts for a break on child support. Desmond Hatchett, 33, of Knoxville has children with 11 different women, reports WREG-TV. The state already takes half his paycheck and divides it up, which doesn't amount to much when Hatchett is making only minimum wage. Some of the moms receive as little as $1.49 a month. The oldest child is 14 years old. Story


Rumford Meteor...NPR Having Trouble Collecting Corporate Underwriting To Fund Their Round-The-Clock Evil Corporation News Stories Story

Rush Limbaugh...When I think of organic food, I think of vegetarians. I think of militant vegetarians. Now, a liberal vegetarian is not content to just eat his vegetables. You have to, too. A conservative vegetarian will eat his vegetables and leave you alone. A liberal vegetarian will eat his and then demand that you only eat vegetables, too. And this is one of the big differences between liberals and conservatives....


According to National Field Marshal for the New Black Panthers King Samir Shabazz...“I love white-on white-crime, because that is the best crime.” “I hate the g*ddamn white man, woman, and child, grandma, aunt, uncle, Pappa Billy Bob, and whoever else.” “You should be thankful we’re not running around here hanging crackers by nooses and all that kind of stuff — yet, yet, yet” He has a “wet dream about killing the g*ddamn cracker.” “We don’t allow faggots and lesbians” in the New Black Panther Army. Envisions a world where every black person is “ready to bang on this cracker”.Wants to take over neighborhoods “block by block” so “crackers…or even the developer” would be scared to come into them.“We’re taught to send this cracker to the cemetery… so kiss ‘em goodbye” Story

Teachers

"A YouTube video uploaded on Monday afternoon apparently shows a schoolteacher from the Rowan-Salisbury school district in North Carolina informing a student that failing to be respectful of President Obama is a criminal offense. Breitbart News has uncovered that the student is a high school junior, and that the teacher is apparently one Tanya Dixon-Neely.

The video shows a classroom discussion about the Washington Post hit piece about Mitt Romney bullying a kid some five decades ago. One student says, "Didn’t Obama bully someone though?" The teacher says: "Not to my knowledge." The student then cites the fact that Obama, in Dreams from My Father, admits to shoving a little girl. "Stop, no, because there is no comparison," screams the teacher. Romney is "running for president. Obama is the president."

The student responds that both are "just men."

The teacher yells -- literally yells -- that Obama is "due the respect that every other president is due … Listen," she continues, "let me tell you something, you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom." She yells over the student repeatedly, and yells at him that it's disrespect for him to even debate about Romney and Obama.

The student says that he can say what he wants.

"Not about him, you won’t," says the teacher.

The teacher then tells the student – wrongly – that it is a criminal offense to say bad things about a president. "Do you realize that people were arrested for saying things bad about Bush? Do you realize you are not supposed to slander the president?"

The student says that it would violate First Amendment rights to jail someone for such sentiments. "You would have to say some pretty f’d up crap about him to be arrested," says the student. "They cannot take away your right to have your opinion … They can’t take that away unless you threaten the president."

Clearly, the student should be teaching the class, and the teacher should be reading the Constitution more often.

Story here

 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

EU fail

In a season of nightmare projections for Europe, this one could be the scariest: Greek leaves the euro currency union at the same time Spain’s banking system is collapsing.

In many ways, the market convulsion last week was a test run for those crises, as political deadlock in Greece and mounting fears over the health of Bankia, one of the largest consumer banks in Spain, converged. The credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the entire Spanish banking sector Thursday.

As investors gird for another challenging week, they will be hoping European leaders in Brussels, if not Frankfurt where the European Central Bank is based, can finally start to map out an action plan. It is not clear that policy makers have many good options.

The money available to Europe within its main bailout fund, about €780 billion, or $997 billion, would not be enough to handle the twin calamities of a Greek euro exit and a Spanish banking implosion.

And despite recent statements from Germany and from leaders of the Group of 8 industrialized nations meeting in the United States over the weekend to encourage economic growth in the euro zone, the European tax-paying public may have little desire to continue financing the debt disasters of other countries.

"When you have Greece and Spain happening at the same time, the problem becomes exponential and very, very dangerous," said Stephen Jen, a former economist at the International Monetary Fund who runs a hedge fund in London. "So far, the policy has been to buy time and build a firewall — but that just makes the cost bigger. There is just no good ending here."

The numbers do look dire.

More here

Water

How much of planet Earth is made of water? Very little, actually. Although oceans of water cover about 70 percent of Earth's surface, these oceans are shallow compared to the Earth's radius.

What would happen if all of the water on or near the surface of the Earth were bunched up into a ball? The radius of this ball would be only about 700 kilometers, less than half the radius of the Earth's Moon.

Illustration here

Banks

I drive each day by my local bank. It’s a Chase branch of J.P. Morgan. I don’t have much to save, but I count on my bank to invest my money. Not bet my hard earned dollars, but invest it. If I want to gamble for winnings, I’ll take my chances on the red and the black at a casino. I don’t need or want my bank to lay down a bet on some complicated credit default swap or other exotic roll of the financial dice. But that’s exactly what Chase has been doing with my money. They have taken a big hit. And I’m not happy.

J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. put a lady named Ina Drew in charge as chief investment officer. They paid her $14 million a year to grow my small investment. And she had a team of highly paid executives to follow her lead and see that my small savings continue to grow. But she bungled her responsibility to me and millions of other Chase savers, and now she’s been fired. Good riddance.

She apparently bears the bulk of the responsibility for a $2 billion investment loss that involved complex derivatives that were not adequately insured. There was a "make the big bucks" mentality rather than a focus on the quality of the loans that were being made.

Now don’t lecture me about taking chances and how any investment can lose money. I certainly understand, as do most of Chase’s investors, that a bank investment can go bad. Yes, there is the risk that the business will fail. However, any bank should go into an investment with the understanding that it is supplying funds to a borrower that will create value.

But a responsible bank will review the business plan, look for adequate collateral, and continue with due diligence throughout the life of the investment. If the investment is sound, then everybody wins. The bank makes a profit; the business is set on sound financial footing and my investment in J. P. Morgan Chase continues to grow. Value is created and, of course, that is good for the investors and for the economy as a whole.

But when J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. "bets" my money, there is a different end result. There are winners and there are losers. It’s called a zero sum game, and the whole point is to beat the odds and win the bet. No new value is created, and the whole transaction is simply shifting dollars from winner to loser. And that’s exactly what my bank was doing — betting my money instead of investing it.

More here

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thanks, Obama

"For the first time in history, the number of jobless workers age 25 and up who have attended some college now exceeds the ranks of those who settled for a high school diploma or less.

Out of 9 million unemployed in April, 4.7 million had gone to college or graduated and 4.3 million had not."

Story

Reduce HIV

What's the best way to reduce Zimbabwe's HIV infection rate?

Make women less attractive by forcing them to shave their heads and stop taking baths. Those are suggestions by Morgan Femai, a senator for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change representing Chikomo.

"The government should come up with a law that compels women to have their heads clean-shaven like what the Apostolic sects do," said Femai, speaking to a parliamentary HIV awareness workshop in Kadoma on Friday, according to Nehanda Radio.

"They should also not bathe because that is what has caused all these problems," said Femai. If women dressed in shabby clothes and were uglier, men would not be drawn to have sex with them, she said.

Femai also proposed Zimbabwean women be circumsized.

Zimbabwe's HIV prevalence is about 14 per cent of adults, down from more than 30 per cent over 10 years ago.

More here

Hope and change

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Green military

A new report shows we have spent $70 billion on climate change since 2008 while our strapped military is ordered to become energy-efficient. Imagine weapons that don't harm the environment.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, took to the Senate floor Thursday to decry the green agenda being imposed on the military by the Obama administration at the same time the defense budget is being sacrificed on the altar of runaway deficit spending.

Inhofe produced a Congressional Research Service report that showed that from fiscal years 2008 through 2012 the federal government spent $68.4 billion to combat climate change. During that time the Defense Department spent nearly $4 billion on energy efficiency and climate change activities.

We wonder if the environment is the uppermost thing on the minds of soldiers being shot at by the Taliban and avoiding being blown up by IEDs. But it does seem to be on the mind of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

"The area of climate change," he recently told the Environmental Defense Fund, "has a dramatic impact on national security."

Spending money on climate change reduces the amount of money that can be spent on defending the United States and its interests. We suspect Panetta will have to deal with a nuclear-armed Iran long before rising sea levels threaten the Pentagon.

More here

Elizabeth Warren's Little Big Horn

Go look at the side by side comparison that Katrina Trinko found. Or at least, I assume she found it; maybe it was passed along to her by someone who’s now aggressively looking into this stuff for the Brown campaign after the apparently plagiarized recipes came to light. The good news for Warren? She co-authored the book in question so she can blame it all on her partner if she wants. The bad news? Her partner on the book was … her own daughter. Good lord, this is turning into a rout on the order of Little Bighorn. Except, of course, in that case the Indians won. And they were real Indians.

Until now I’d been thinking that while the Fauxcahontas stuff was fun and the plagiarized recipes interesting, it’s probably all too small-ball to really hurt her in a state like Massachusetts. We’re talking about people here who elected Ted Kennedy to the Senate seven times after Chappaquiddick, never with less than 58 percent of the vote. Said Dan McLaughlin of Red State, "Homicide? Pederasty? Brother is state’s top mobster? Roommate’s running a brothel? MA Dems have been there, done that." Indeed. If Warren drove Scott Brown into a lake and left him for dead, she’d be a lead-pipe cinch in November. But … I don’t know. Massachusetts wasn’t supposed to elect a Republican to "the Kennedy seat" and yet they did. Maybe times have changed. Her problem is that she’s not just dealing with one fiasco anymore, she’s dealing with two, first her ancestry and now, more seriously, apparently lifting passages from other people’s work. That’s multiple data points for the proposition that she’s a phony and a cheat. Luckily for her, this is all starting to pop late on Friday afternoon such that it’ll be buried over the weekend. But if someone digs up more plagiarized passages from her work next week, she’s in real trouble. I wonder if Massachusetts Dems are already starting to huddle about possible replacements on the ballot.

More here

Ban football?

Should consenting adults be allowed to play football?

Prior to a debate on the subject at New York University earlier this month, 53 percent of the audience opposed a ban on college football (and just 16 percent supported). Following the debate, 53 percent of the audience supported a ban.

That dramatic opinion shift comes in the wake of several decleaters to the game's reputation.

In March, the NFL came down hard on the New Orleans Saints, whose bounty program offered financial incentives to defenders for injuring opposing players. More than 1,500 players have joined lawsuits against the league for not informing them of the dangers of the game. The suicide of Junior Seau, whose extremely long and violent NFL career unleashed not unreasonable speculation that so many jarring hits may have unmoored the beloved linebacker's mental circuits, has hurt the league worse in every way imaginable than the Saints or the suits.

"American football is dying," John Kass writes in theChicago Tribune. "It's about time." He thinks parents will forbid their children from playing, thus starving the NFL of fans and participants. For parents who shuttle their kids to Pop Warner practices, he advises: "So why not make it simple and just give the kids packs of cigarettes instead?"

There's strong evidence, not speculation, that cigarettes cause cancer. There's no evidence, just speculation, that football caused Junior Seau to kill himself. Writers making connections between the self-administered demises of two retired stars (Seau and Dave Duerson) and the gridiron might as well ponder the pitfalls of their own profession. Do the unhappy endings of Ernest Hemingway, Hunter Thompson, and Arthur Koestler demonstrate a link between scribbling and suicide?

More here

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dirty coal

Europe’s economic misery is having some unlikely consequences for its climate-change bulwark, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). European utilities are returning to coal—the dirty, high-emissions stuff that the cap-and-trade program was supposed to make less economically sensible for power companies.

So far this year, coal-fired power generation in Germany has grown to 68% from 53% as a share of nuclear and fossil-fuel generation, according to the Leipzig-based European Energy Exchange. Profits at coal-fired plants in Germany are up by 30%. The British government reports that U.K. coal plants are running at capacity, and that coal’s share in power generation has been rising from 2009 lows.

There are clear economic explanations for what’s going on here. Stagnating growth means less electricity generation, and less generation means less demand for carbon allowances, and lower prices on the ETS. With natural-gas prices high in Europe and nuclear power on a fast-track to nowhere in Germany, coal has become attractive again.

This was not the sort of market logic that the ETS’s architects had in mind, whatever the EU’s talk of trading and price signals might suggest. Once emissions were capped and carbon credits issued, prices were supposed to remain high, keeping emissions expensive and spurring research and investment in green alternatives.

Source

Agenda 21

So what's it all about?

The battle over Agenda 21 is raging across the nation. City and County Councils have become war zones as citizens question the origins of development plans and planners deny any international connections to the UN’s Agenda 21. What is the truth?

Killer quote..."No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world."

Story here

The future

Gold not so golden

The spot price for gold was flirting with a bear market at close to $1,544 an ounce, a 19.5pc drop from its September intraday high over $1,921.

The slide in the price has been driven by the escalation of the eurozone debt crisis, which is causing investors to liquidate their gold holdings.

Story

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Underwater

The percentage of American homeowners behind on their mortgage payments fell during the first quarter to the lowest level since the end of 2008. But the share of loans in foreclosure remains stubbornly high, according to a survey Wednesday.

At the end of March, 11.8% of all loans were at least 30 days past due or in foreclosure, the report from the Mortgage Bankers Association said. While that is still high by historical standards, it has improved steadily over the past two years, falling from 12.8% a year ago and 14.7% two years ago.

More here

English in Italy

From opera at La Scala to football at the San Siro stadium, from the catwalks of fashion week to the soaring architecture of the cathedral, Milan is crowded with Italian icons.

Which makes it even more of a cultural earthquake that one of Italy's leading universities - the Politecnico di Milano - is going to switch to the English language.

The university has announced that from 2014 most of its degree courses - including all its graduate courses - will be taught and assessed entirely in English rather than Italian.

The waters of globalisation are rising around higher education - and the university believes that if it remains Italian-speaking it risks isolation and will be unable to compete as an international institution.

"We strongly believe our classes should be international classes - and the only way to have international classes is to use the English language," says the university's rector, Giovanni Azzone.

Italy might have been the cradle of the last great global language - Latin - but now this university is planning to adopt English as the new common language.

More here

Fail, fail, fail

California never learns from its mistakes....

California's budget deficit has swelled to a projected $16 billion — much larger than had been predicted just months ago — and will force severe cuts to schools and public safety if voters fail to approve tax increases in November, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday. The Democratic governor said the shortfall grew from $9.2 billion in January in part because tax collections have not come in as high as expected and the economy isn't growing as fast as hoped for.

Story

Disliking the rich

France's new Socialist president owns three holiday homes in the glamorous Riviera resort of Cannes....

The 57-year-old who 'dislikes the rich' and wants to revolutionise his country with high taxes and an onslaught against bankers is in fact hugely wealthy himself. His assets were published today in the Official Journal, the gazette which contains verified information about France's government.

Story

Damn, those rich Leftists in France are just like the rich ones in America.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Censored hate crimes

When two white newspaper reporters for the Virginian-Pilot were driving through Norfolk, and were set upon and beaten by a mob of young blacks — beaten so badly that they had to take a week off from work — that might sound like news that should have been reported, at least by their own newspaper. But it wasn’t.

The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News Channel was the first major television program to report this incident. Yet this story is not just a Norfolk story, either in what happened or in how the media and the authorities have tried to sweep it under the rug.

Similar episodes of unprovoked violence by young black gangs against white people chosen at random on beaches, in shopping malls, or in other public places have occurred in Philadelphia, New York, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Los Angeles, and other places across the country. Both the authorities and the media tend to try to sweep these episodes under the rug.

In Milwaukee, for example, an attack on whites at a public park a few years ago left many of the victims battered to the ground and bloody. But when the police arrived on the scene, it became clear that the authorities wanted to keep this quiet.

One 22-year-old woman, who had been robbed of her cell phone and debit card, and had blood streaming down her face, said, "About 20 of us stayed to give statements and make sure everyone was accounted for. The police wouldn’t listen to us, they wouldn’t take our names or statements. They told us to leave. It was completely infuriating."

The police chief seemed determined to head off any suggestion that this was a racially motivated attack by saying that crime is color-blind. Officials elsewhere have said similar things.

A wave of such attacks in Chicago were reported, but not the race of the attackers or victims. Media outlets that do not report the race of people committing crimes nevertheless report racial disparities in imprisonment and write heated editorials blaming the criminal-justice system.

What the authorities and the media seem determined to suppress is that the hoodlum elements in many ghettoes launch coordinated attacks on whites in public places. If there is anything worse than a one-sided race war, it is a two-sided race war, especially when one of the races outnumbers the other several times over.

It may be understandable that some people want to head off such a catastrophe, either by not reporting the attacks in this race war, or by not identifying the race of those attacking, or by insisting that the attacks were not racially motivated — even when the attackers themselves voice anti-white invective as they laugh at their bleeding victims.

More here

Disabled workers and Food Stamps

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

$150,000

When sermons of Obama’s Chicago pastor, Jeremiah Wright, surfaced during the Iowa primaries, it threatened to derail Obama’s campaign. ABC aired one where Wright screamed, "Goddamn America!" Edward Klein interviewed Wright, who told him Obama’s team tried to buy his silence.

‘Man, the media ate me alive," Wright told me when we met in his office at Chicago’s Kwame Nkrumah Academy. "After the media went ballistic on me, I received an e-mail offering me money not to preach at all until the November presidential election."

"Who sent the e-mail?" I asked Wright.

"It was from one of Barack’s closest friends."

"He offered you money?"

"Not directly," Wright said. "He sent the offer to one of the members of the church, who sent it to me."

"How much money did he offer you?"

"One hundred and fifty thousand dollars," Wright said.

"Did Obama himself ever make an effort to see you?"

"Yes," Wright said. "Barack said he wanted to meet me in secret, in a secure place. And I said, ‘You’re used to coming to my home, you’ve been here countless times, so what’s wrong with coming to my home?’ So we met in the living room of the parsonage of Trinity United Church of Christ, at South Pleasant Avenue right off 95th Street, just Barack and me. I don’t know if he had a wire on him. His security was outside somewhere.

More here

Equality

Historically, support for equality was ultimately about trying to achieve the full human potential or what was often called the perfectibility of mankind. It meant advancing from a more backward society to a civilised one. In its most advanced forms it married a desire for social equality with support for economic progress.

In contrast, the discussion in recent years has shifted decisively against the idea of economic progress and towards a deep suspicion, even hatred, of humanity. It promotes initiatives to counter the dangers of social fragmentation in an unequal society. Indeed, this fear of a disintegrating society can be seen as the organising principle behind a wide range of measures to regulate supposedly dysfunctional behaviour. These range across all areas of personal life, including childrearing, drinking alcohol, eating, sex and smoking. Such initiatives assume that public behaviour must be subject to strict regulation or it could fragment an already broken society.

A distinct feature of the current discussion is that the rich are also seen as posing a threat to social cohesion. Their greed is viewed as generating unrealistic expectations among ordinary people. In this conception, inequality leads to status competition in which everyone competes for ever-more lavish consumer products. A culture of excess is seen to be undermining trust and a sense of community.

The contemporary consensus thus marries the fear of social fragmentation with anxiety about economic growth. It insists that the wealthy must learn to behave responsibly by maintaining a modest public face. It also follows that prosperity must be curbed. This is on top of fears about the damage that economic expansion is alleged to do to the environment.

This drive to curb inequality is informed by what could be called the outlook of the anxious middle. It is middle class in the literal sense of feeling itself being torn between the rich on one side and ordinary people on the other. Its aim is to curb what it regards as excesses at both the top and bottom of society. It sees itself as living in a nightmare world being ripped apart by greedy bankers at one extreme and ‘trailer trash’ at the other.

More here

Monday, May 14, 2012

Corruption on the border

From a small hill at a state park here, the border town of Palomas, Mexico, can be made out through the desert haze. It lies four miles to the south, but the corruption that roils Palomas and the rest of Northern Mexico may as well be a block away.

Last year, black sedans and hatchbacks loaded with federal agents poured into Columbus, a town of 2,000 people, arresting the mayor, the police chief, a city trustee and nine others. They have all pleaded guilty in a gun-smuggling operation that sold about 100 firearms, mostly assault rifles, to Mexican drug cartels.

"Unfortunately, the border is just one vast conspiracy," said Howard Anderson, the lawyer for former Mayor Eddie Espinoza.

In southern Texas over the last year and a half, nine lawmen have been charged with allowing guns or drugs to illegally cross the border between Laredo and Brownsville. In Sunland Park, N.M., authorities are investigating a dozen officials, and the mayor and city manager have left office. In the last eight years, 130 U.S. Border Patrol agents have been arrested and 600 more are under investigation.

"It all comes down to taking some of the lowest-paid public servants and putting them in a position" where salaries can be doubled, said James Phelps, an assistant professor at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. "The likelihood of getting caught is extremely low, and the reward can be very high."

More here

Living the good life

The only person I know who is better off today than he was four years ago is President Obama.

He's making more money, living in a bigger house and playing more golf. And when his wife goes on a shopping spree with her girlfriends, it's to Spain on the taxpayer's dime.

If you asked President Obama if he's better off today, he'd say, "Hell, yeah! And we don't want it to stop!"

Meanwhile, as the president skates through the Great Recession, his failure to get the economy back on track has turned a country known for its optimism and belief in a better future into a nation of pessimists.

According to a recent opinion poll by Scott Rasmussen's company, 63 percent of voters -- liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans -- do not think today's children will be better off than their parents.

That's unbelievable. But what's even more discouraging is that only 16 percent -- 1 in 6 - do think the next generation will be better off.

The percentage believing the next generation will live better than their parents is a record low. As Scott Rasmussen said, people think something is going terribly wrong in America. They're not sure what it is, he said, but they sure don't like it.

More here

Taking away power from sheriffs

Democrats in Delaware have resuscitated a legislation plan that would declare sheriffs in the state have no power to make arrests after a GOP proposal on the dispute was abruptly withdrawn by sponsors.

Unlike police chiefs, who are hired by government officials, sheriffs are elected by the people and historically have been recognized as a highest-ranking law enforcement officer in a county.

In Delaware, the office of sheriff is a constitutionally created position similar to the secretary of state or attorney general and demands, "The sheriffs shall be conservators of the peace within the counties . . . in which they reside."

The initial legislation, HB 290, was proposed at the behest of Sussex County officials who took issue with their sheriff, Jeff Christopher, who is attempting to restore the office to its constitutional role.

The bill stated "‘Police officer’ as used in this code shall not include sheriffs and sheriff deputies," and that it "is the intent of the General Assembly to specifically state the sheriffs and their deputies do not have any arrest authority."

The bill would have redefined the role of sheriffs to where they can serve papers and process administrative work but have no hand in actual law enforcement. Supporters of the legislation said law enforcement authority belongs in the hands of the state police and city police.

More here

Evolving

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thank God it's Saturday

This year's Senate races heavily favors the GOP, which will defend only 10 seats to Democrats' 23. Six Democratic incumbents have declined to run, and Democrats will have to defend seats in 11 competitive races, while Republicans will only defend in five.

So sorry...The Washington Post lost $22.6 million in the past quarter. Revenue was down 8% overall and 17% down for advertising. Sunday circulation has dropped over 5% and daily editions has dropped almost 10%.

Things are looking up for Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Story

Jack the Ripper was a woman? Story

Headline of the day...Democrats Mourn Lugar's Defeat

Rush Limbaugh points out..."When Barack Obama flip-flops, it's called evolving. When Mitt Romney evolves, it's called flip-flopping."

Deep-pocketed environmental groups are collecting millions of dollars from the federal agencies they regularly sue under a little-known federal law, and the government is not even keeping track of the payouts, according to two new studies. Story

Unemployment in South Africa has recently risen to over 25%.

So Obama rolls out a half-measure that he "personally" thinks gay marriage should be legal, but that it should be up to the states to decide … um, isn’t that how it is now? California decided, but the federal judiciary intervened. North Carolina decided, and as of this moment the Democrats still are having their national convention there. Over 30 states have decided against gay marriage, and a small number in favor (via the judiciary or legislature). That is the status quo gay marriage supporters detest, yet they are cheering Obama’s endorsement of the status quo as if it were a watershed moment. Don’t you get it by now? It’s all about him. Source

Ever hear of Olber's Paradox? Me neither.

Madison, Wisconsin...After refining the dataset created by Verify the Recall, a Wisconsin man began running it against other public records and discovered 571 tax delinquents signed Recall petitions. His findings? The total in back taxes owed by petitioners is more than $17 million. Story

An internal investigation at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has uncovered academic fraud involving the department of African and Afro-American Studies. The fraud extends to more than 50 different classes. It ranges from no-show professors to unauthorized grade changes for students. Story

More beheadings in Mexico...Police found 18 mutilated, headless bodies near a lake popular with tourists and American retirees just outside Guadalajara, Mexico, a massacre that authorities blamed on the Zetas drug cartel. Story

New Black Panther Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz discussed inciting racial tensions by picturing George Zimmerman with a noose around his neck on the cover of New Black Panther Newspaper in order to sell more papers in Florida. Story

A former top CIA covert officer who ran one of the spy agency's secret domestic networks says there are now more foreign spies on U.S. soil than at the peak of the Cold War. Story

Mark Steyn speaking about Geert Wilders..."He is under round-the-clock guard because of explicit threats to murder him by Muslim extremists. Yet he's the one who gets put on trial for incitement. In twenty-first century Amsterdam, you're free to smoke marijuana and pick out a half-naked sex partner from the front window of her shop. But you can be put on trial for holding the wrong opinion about a bloke who died in the seventh century. And, although Mr. Wilders was eventually acquitted by his kangaroo court, the determination to place him beyond the pale is unceasing."

Five years ago Alvaro Alvillar had the nerve to publicly have an opinion as a conservative, with the additional effrontery of being a conservative artist. This is simply not tolerated by any stretch of the imagination in New America, where the motto is "Liberty – except for you," with the poster’s arrow clearly pointing to the right. Story

Green Energy photo of the day.

For years, archaeologists have referred to an ancient set of texts known as the Maya codices to study that ancient civilization's relationship with astronomy and time. But now, a team of archaeologists has discovered a set of murals, hieroglyphs, and astronomical calendars deep in the rainforests of Guatemala, that predate those texts by hundreds of years. Oh, and check your 2012 conspiracies at the door. According to these newly discovered charts, the Maya were in it for the long-haul. Story

Being a US president on the primary ballot in a coal producing state and losing ten counties and 40 percent of the overall vote to a challenger who’s in a federal prison 1,200 miles away will prompt you to make some messaging tweaks. Story

After an impassioned speech by Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz demanding accountability from the Justice Dept, 142 House Democrats backed an amendment which prevents the Department of Justice from using taxpayer funds to lie to Congress. The vote reflects bipartisan frustration with Attorney General Eric Holder. Story

Obama's former doctor says the president lacks passion, feeling, and humanity. Story

 

Quote of the Day

"This is what I know. Mitt Romney was not at Chappaquiddick. Mitt Romney has not been accused of rape. Mitt Romney did not have an affair with a mob babe. He didn't have an affair with an actress who committed suicide later on. Mitt Romney did not father a child out of wedlock. Mitt Romney did not support the tapping of Martin Luther King's phone. Mitt Romney was never a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Mitt Romney did not lie about his law school grades."

Flip flopping

"I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." -- Barack Obama, February 1996

"What I believe is that marriage is between a man and a woman." -- Barack Obama, October 2004

"At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." -- Barack Obama, May 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Leftstream Media

The Leftstream Media has moved on past Sarah Palin's trash and is now digging into Mitt Romney's past.

Quote from Rush Limbaugh...

"The Washington Post can find out what Mitt Romney was doing 50 years ago in high school, but they still can't be bothered to find Barack Obama's transcripts at Columbia or at Harvard."

Paycheck Fairness Act

The Paycheck Fairness Act looks like common sense, but instead of helping women it will hurt all workers. The legislation, built on 30 years of spurious advocacy research, will impose unnecessary and onerous requirements on employers.

Groups like the National Organization for Women insist that women are being cheated out of 24 percent of their salary. The pay equity bill is driven by indignation at this supposed injustice. Yet no competent labor economist takes the NOW perspective seriously. An analysis of more than 50 peer-reviewed papers, commissioned by the Labor Department, found that the so-called wage gap is mostly, and perhaps entirely, an artifact of the different choices men and women make—different fields of study, different professions, different balances between home and work. Wage-gap activists argue that even when we control for relevant variables, women still earn less. But it always turns out that they have omitted one or two crucial variables. Congress should ignore the discredited claims of activist groups.

The misnamed Paycheck Fairness Act is a special-interest bill for litigators and aggrieved women's groups. A core provision would encourage class-action lawsuits and force defendants to settle under threat of uncapped punitive damages. Employers would be liable not only for intentional discrimination (banned long ago) but for the "lingering effects of past discrimination." What does that mean? Employers have no idea. Universities, for example, typically pay professors in the business school more than those in the school of social work. That's a fair outcome of market demand. But according to the gender theory permeating this bill, market forces are tainted by "past discrimination." Gender "experts" will testify that sexist attitudes led society to place a higher value on male-centered fields like business than female-centered fields like social work. Faced with multimillion-dollar lawsuits and attendant publicity, innocent employers will settle. They will soon be begging for the safe harbor of federally determined occupational wage scales.

More here

Free phones

What if you could get a free phone with a calling plan whose cost was paid by the federal government? What if you could have eight free cell phones? You can, and people do, Rep. Tim Griffin told The Daily Caller. The annual bill runs over $1 billion, and he’s trying to stop it.

The federal government started the Lifeline program to provide phones to low-income Americans. It originally provided only landlines, but cell phones were added several years ago.

"That’s when the program absolutely exploded and has become a nightmare," Griffin said in a phone interview with TheDC. Calling it "Uncle Sam’s unlimited plan," the Arkansas Republican has proposed a bill that would scale back the program to its original form: landlines only.

"People are not only getting [one free cell phone], they’re getting multiples. There are reports of people getting 10, 20, 30 — just routinely getting more than one, selling them, storing them up, whatever," Griffin said.

More here

Thursday, May 10, 2012

49 employees

Here’s a curious fact about the French economy: The country has 2.4 times as many companies with 49 employees as with 50. What difference does one employee make? Plenty, according to the French labor code. Once a company has at least 50 employees inside France, management must create three worker councils, introduce profit sharing, and submit restructuring plans to the councils if the company decides to fire workers for economic reasons.

French businesspeople often skirt these restraints by creating new companies rather than expanding existing ones. "I can’t tell you how many times when I was Minister I’d meet an entrepreneur who would tell me about his companies," Thierry Breton, chief executive officer of consulting firm Atos and Minister of Finance from 2005 to 2007, said at a Paris conference on April 4. "I’d ask, ‘Why companies?’ He’d say, ‘Oh, I have several so that I can keep [the workforce] under 50.’ We have to review our labor code."

While polls show job creation and the economic crisis are the top issues for voters in the May 5 second-round vote for president, neither President Nicolas Sarkozy nor Socialist challenger Fran├žois Hollande are focusing on Breton’s concern. Companies say the biggest obstacle to hiring is the 102-year-old Code du Travail, a 3,200-page rule book that dictates everything from job classifications to the ability to fire workers. Many of these rules kick in after a company’s French payroll creeps beyond 49.

More here

Fauxcahontas

Living with China

Machiavelli says somewhere that if you injure an enemy, you not do so unless you plan to inflict a severe injury, because men will avenge themselves for small injuries, but cannot avenge themselves for severe injuries. That suggests a two-part question: Is China an enemy? And do we want to injure China? If the answer to both these question is "yes" (although that would not be my answer), why should we administer pinpricks to the Chinese, as in the case of Chen Guangcheng?

Leave aside for the moment whether China is an enemy today. Russia was an enemy during the Cold War. The debate in America during the Cold War was not over reform in Russia, but over whether to strike a long-term deal with Russia, or to try to ruin Russia. Under the Reagan administration we set out to ruin Russia. As my old boss Norman A. Bailey, then special assistant to President Reagan for national security, explained the plan to me in 1982, we would run Russia into the ground by launching a massive military buildup which its weak economy couldn’t match. That was the centerpiece of American strategy to which we added intermediate-range missiles in Europe, guerrilla war in Afghanistan, counter-guerrilla war in Nicaragua and Angola, and other things.

Russia was in fact ruined. We ruined the country and we did it with malice aforethought. Communism collapsed. Male life expectancy fell from 64 years in 1985 to just 58 years in 2000. Alcoholism became the leading cause of death of Russian men, responsible for half the premature deaths of working-age Russians. Victory is not a pretty sight. In 1992, thousands of people gathered in Moscow in impromptu markets within earshot of the Kremlin to sell used clothing and other household items, to buy food. Pensioners with military medals begged in the streets. You know when a country is defeated when it sells its women, and the women of the former Soviet Union still sell themselves in huge numbers. If you want to know why the Russians are peevish towards the United States, it is because we set out to ruin them and succeeded. That’s war, and war is hell. If you don’t believe the Russians, ask people from the state of Georgia about General Sherman.

All right, class: Who wants to ruin China? If so, how do you propose to do it?

The silence speaks for itself. If we are not going to ruin China, we had better decide how we propose to live with China.

More here

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

News quickies

According to the Obama administration, the disparity in discipline is a "civil rights" issue of "equity." The Department of Education is threatening "disparate impact" inquiries on school districts that discipline blacks more than whites or Asians. School districts could only comply by failing to discipline poorly-behaving African-American students; disciplining well-behaving whites to get the numbers up will just result in lawsuits. The consequences would be disastrous. Poorly-behaving African-Americans are most likely to be attending majority-minority schools. The ultimate effect is a wealth transfer from well-behaved African-American students trying to learn to thugs interfering with that process, only adding to the dysfunction in public schools and the African-American community. Story

What could go wrong?...The Wall Street Journal reports...Here's a wake-up call for the world's two billion Web users, who take for granted the light regulation of the Internet: A group of 193 countries will meet in December to re-regulate the Internet. Every country, including China, Russia and Iran, gets a vote. Can a majority of countries be trusted to keep their hands off the Web?

Newly elected president of France, Francois Hollande, has said he "does not like the rich" and his enemy is the world of finance. He's proposed to tax the rich up to 75%. He and Obama must be soul mates. Isn't it strange that they elect a socialist in the middle of the financial implosion of several EU countries?

The Arizona legislature’s passage this week of a bill to prohibit the state and its subdivisions from participating in United Nations Agenda 21 has been dismissed as an act of paranoia, but the UN has shown an increasing interest in the nation’s domestic affairs. Story

The United States has for several years been secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan as part of negotiations with insurgent groups, a bold effort to quell violence but one that U.S. officials acknowledge poses substantial risks. Story  (What could go wrong?)

Italy's unemployment rate is so bad that young out-of-work people are volunteering to become shepherds. Some have decided they'd rather have a life on the land rather "than starving in an Armani suit."

The U.S. has now had 38 months of 8% plus unemployment. How's that for Hope and Change? Forward, Comrades!

Headline of the day..."Obama Lauches Election Campaign in Near Empty Arena"

Rush Limbaugh is predicting that the Left will try to ban football because of the recent stories on concussions and other player injuries.

The U.S. has been playing "catch and release" with illegal immigrants along the southern border for years. Now it seems they are doing the same with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. What could go wrong?

Cher has the tweet of the day..."If Romney gets elected I don't know if I can breathe the same air as Him & his Right Wing Racist Homophobic Women Hating Tea Bagger Masters"

The White House Visitors Office requires that an unborn child—still residing in utero—must be counted as a full human being when its parents register for a White House tour, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. Story

RINO Dick Lugar of Indiana is in the fight of his life. He's even encouraging Democrats to vote for him. Tea Party activists have targeted him and Senator Hatch of Utah for defeat. Story

A woman said she noticed her purse missing from her car just before 5 P.M. Sunday. The car was parked at her residence on Hornet Drive. The woman said the car had been locked, and the purse was in the back seat. The purse was valued at $400, her wallet was valued at $200, and she said there was $800 cash in the purse, according to the police report. Also missing were the woman’s food stamp cards. Story

John Travolta being sued for sexual battery, by male masseur. Story

The Elizabeth "Crockajawea" Warren story gets curiouser and curiouser...Ms. Warren’s great-great-great grandfather, was apparently a member of the Tennessee Militia who rounded up Cherokees from their family homes in the Southeastern United States and herded them into government-built stockades in what was then called Ross’s Landing (now Chattanooga), Tennessee—the point of origin for the horrific Trail of Tears, which began in January, 1837. Story

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, between 2007 and 2010, the percentage of people with a graduate degree who were on food stamps or were receiving another kind of federal aid more than doubled, reaching 360,000. In 2007, 9,776 people with PhD’s were receiving some kind of aid. In 2010, that number had more than tripled to 33,655. For people with master’s degrees, the number spiked from 101,683 to 293,029. Story

Today's weird fact...In China, 80% of the population uses wood or dung fuel for stoves.

Long stretches of desert highway seem perfect for speedy driving. Or they must have for one Emirati woman, who racked up 80 speeding tickets totaling 127,000 dirhams ($35,000) commuting back and forth between the United Arab Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Story

Filmmaker George Lucas is pushing forward with plans to build low-income housing at Marin County's picturesque Grady Ranch, a vow of his that was widely dismissed as an insincere attempt by the billionaire to thumb his nose at complaining neighbors. Story

Fat women

Four out of five black women are seriously overweight. One out of four middle-aged black women has diabetes. With $174 billion a year spent on diabetes-related illness in America and obesity quickly overtaking smoking as a cause of cancer deaths, it is past time to try something new.

What we need is a body-culture revolution in black America. Why? Because too many experts who are involved in the discussion of obesity don’t understand something crucial about black women and fat: many black women are fat because we want to be.

The black poet Lucille Clifton’s 1987 poem "Homage to My Hips" begins with the boast, "These hips are big hips." She establishes big black hips as something a woman would want to have and a man would desire. She wasn’t the first or the only one to reflect this community knowledge. Twenty years before, in 1967, Joe Tex, a black Texan, dominated the radio airwaves across black America with a song he wrote and recorded, "Skinny Legs and All." One of his lines haunts me to this day: "some man, somewhere who’ll take you baby, skinny legs and all." For me, it still seems almost an impossibility.

Chemically, in its ability to promote disease, black fat may be the same as white fat. Culturally it is not.

How many white girls in the ’60s grew up praying for fat thighs? I know I did. I asked God to give me big thighs like my dancing teacher, Diane. There was no way I wanted to look like Twiggy, the white model whose boy-like build was the dream of white girls. Not with Joe Tex ringing in my ears.

How many middle-aged white women fear their husbands will find them less attractive if their weight drops to less than 200 pounds? I have yet to meet one.

But I know many black women whose sane, handsome, successful husbands worry when their women start losing weight. My lawyer husband is one.

Another friend, a woman of color who is a tenured professor, told me that her husband, also a tenured professor and of color, begged her not to lose "the sugar down below" when she embarked on a weight-loss program

More here

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Quanah Parker

Most people don't know that one of the most fearsome Comanche warriors was half-white.......

Quanah Parker was the son of Comanche chief Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker, a European American, who had been kidnapped at the age of nine and assimilated into the tribe. Quanah Parker also led his people on the reservation, where he became a wealthy rancher and influential in Comanche and European American society. With seven wives and 25 children, Quanah had numerous descendants. Many people in Texas and Oklahoma claim him as an ancestor.

Quanah Parker's mother, Cynthia Ann Parker (born ca. 1827), was a member of the large Parker frontier family that settled in east Texas in the 1830s. She was captured in 1836 (at age nine) by Comanches during the raid of Fort Parker near present-day Groesbeck, Texas. Given the Indian name Nadua (Someone Found), she was adopted into the Nocona band of Comanches.

Assimilated into the Comanche, Cynthia Ann Parker later married the warrior Peta Nocona, (also known as Noconie, Tah-con-ne-ah-pe-ah, or Nocona). His father was the renowned chief Iron Jacket, famous among the Comanche for wearing a Spanish coat of mail. Nadua and Nocona's first child was Quanah (Fragrance), born in the Wichita Mountains. The exact birthplace is debated, but Quanah visited what he understood to be his birthplace at Laguna Sabinas (Cedar Lake) in Gaines County, Texas in his later years. They also had another son, Peanuts, and a daughter, Topsana (Prairie Flower). In December 1860, Nadua (Cynthia Ann) and Topsana were captured in the battle of Pease River, which actually took place along Mule Creek. American forces were led by Sgt. John Spangler, who commanded Company H of the U.S. 2nd Cavalry, and Texas Rangers under Lawrence Sullivan Ross. Quanah, his brother Peantus, and his father Peta Nocona were almost certainly not at Mule Creek. However, in an effort to further his political career, Sul Ross later fabricated a story wherein he claimed to have killed Peta Nocona at Pease River. Ross would later become a Texas state senator, and eventually governor.

Meanwhile, Nadua (Cynthia Ann) and her daughter Topsana were reunited with her white family, but after having made her life 24 years with the Comanche, she wanted to return to them and her sons. However, Topsana died of an illness in 1863. Cynthia Ann Parker passed away in 1870.

Source

State of the Internet

Akamai, one of the companies that can actually pull off a survey like this, has released its quarterly "The State of the Internet" report that outlines the relative speeds and penetrations of Internet connectivity in the U.S. and around the world.

It lists today's poor performers, which are actually stunningly fast by the standards of the Internet a decade ago when everyone was struggling. Many of us can recall the days of the fractional T-1. These megabit-per-second shared lines were considered the Rolls-Royce of connectivity.

The 600-page report delves into everything from IPv6 adoption to sources of Internet attack traffic. For anyone who follows the news, there are few revelations except for the fact that apparently Washington, D.C. has the worst Internet overall speeds of any place in the country. This also happens to be where the FCC lives and where Congressional hearings discuss topics like Internet speed and connectivity. It's all too hilarious.

After D.C., the worst states in the U.S., as far as overall Internet speed is concerned, are: Missouri, Georgia, Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, and Texas.

Korea leads the world with a 17.5 Mbps average. Japan and Hong Kong are next, with 9.1 Mbps. The U.S. is number 13 on the list after Holland, Latvia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Romania. We average 5.8 Mbps. The average connection speed globally is 2.3 Mbps. This is humiliating, but the U.S. has not even been in the top 10 for more than a decade.

Number one city in the world is Taegu, South Korea with an average connection speed of 21.8 Mbps. The top six cities were all in Korea and the next eight were in Japan. An American city, Boston, finally makes the list at number 51 with 8.4 Mbps followed by North Bergen, New Jersey at number 52. Jersey City, New Jersey comes in number 58.

More here

Back to Mexico

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Blues and Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Delta blues is as much legend as it is music. In the popular telling, blues articulated the hopelessness and poverty of an isolated, oppressed people through music that was disconnected from popular trends and technological advances. Delta blues giants like Robert Johnson were victims, buffeted by the winds of racism, singing out mostly for personal solace. The story is undoubtedly romantic, but it just isn’t true. "It angers me how scholars associate the blues strictly with tragedy," B.B. King complained in his 1999 autobiography Blues All Around Me."As a little kid, blues meant hope, excitement, pure emotion."

The tragic image of the blues that originated in the Mississippi Delta ignores the competitive and entrepreneurial spirit of the bluesman himself. While it is certainly true that the music was forged in part by the legacy of slavery and the insults of Jim Crow, the iconic image of the lone bluesman traveling the road with a guitar strapped to his back is also a story about innovators seizing on expanded opportunities brought about by the commercial and technological advances of the early 1900s. There was no Delta blues before there were cheap, readily available steel-string guitars. And those guitars, which transformed American culture, were brought to the boondocks by Sears, Roebuck & Co.

More here

Monday wash

Norman Rosenbaum has spoken out against MSNBC host Al Sharpton for his role in inciting the mob that murdered his brother, Jewish student Yankel Rosenbaum, in Crown Heights in 1991--and has criticized President Barack Obama for associating with Sharpton. Story

Some estimates of voter fraud indicate that Republicans must win by more than 3 percent to overcome the fraud.

Headline of the day...Media Ignores Michelle O's $2700 Sweater But Attacks Ann Romney for $900 Top

Runnerup headline of the day...Obama Officials Drafted Memo to Blame Military if OBL Mission Failed

The real story behind the movie Sugarland Express

Courtesy of our open borders policy...Gangland killers hanged nine people side-by-side from an overpass at a busy interchange in Nuevo Laredo on Friday, and stuffed 14 decapitated bodies into a minivan left in the heart of the busiest trade route on the U.S.-Mexico border. Story

Another story on the horror on the Texas border with video.

Graphic photos here of the violence on the Texas border.

Phil Collins of Genesis is a fan of all things Alamo.

Rush Limbaugh asks..."If Ward Churchill had a daughter, would she look like Elizabeth Warren?" Meanwhile, conservative wags are calling her "Princess Shits with Bull" and "Crockajawea".

According to Charles Fort, the writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena, we are merely characters in a bad novel.

This could be bad news for George Zimmerman...His MySpace account.

Charles Barkley says to Republicans..."We're Going to Beat You Like A Drum"

Lot's of information on breasts here. You're welcome.

Wisconsin

Remember the Greek-style protests in Madison, the union sit-ins, the lawmakers who fled to Illinois to avoid voting on Scott Walker's collective-bargaining law last year? Now that the recall election of Mr. Walker is in full swing, Big Labor must be wondering where the outrage went.

Since last summer, unions have been throwing millions at defeating the man who reformed collective bargaining for government workers and required union members to pay 5.8% of their paychecks toward pensions and 12.6% of their health insurance premiums, modest contributions compared to the average in private business. As the May 8 Democratic recall primary nears to determine who will run against Mr. Walker on June 5, this should be their rhetorical moment ne plus ultra.

So, let's see. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the front-runner, has focused his campaigns on jobs, education, the environment and "making communities safer." One of Mr. Barrett's ads singles out "Walker's War on Women," with nary a mention of collective bargaining. Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk is heavily supported by union groups, but even her issues list makes only passing reference to collective bargaining.

No wonder. Since Mr. Walker's reforms went into effect, the doom and gloom scenarios have failed to materialize. Property taxes in the state were down 0.4% in 2011, the first decline since 1998. According to Chief Executive magazine, Wisconsin moved up four more places this year to number 20 in an annual CEO survey of the best states to do business, after jumping 17 spots last year.

The Governor's office has estimated that altogether the reforms have saved Badger State taxpayers more than $1 billion, including $65 million in changes in health-care plans, and some $543 million in local savings documented by media reports. According to the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute, Mayor Barrett's city of Milwaukee saved $19 million on health-care costs as a direct result of Mr. Walker's reforms. Awkward turtle.

Some of the good news has been in the schools, because districts have been able to avoid teacher layoffs and make ends meet because of flexibility created by the changes. In the Brown Deer school district, savings created by pension and health-care contributions from employees allowed the school to prevent layoffs and save some $800,000 for taxpayers.

More here