Saturday, February 20, 2010
Our Coach, Bob Hamm, was a driver's ed teacher who really wasn't a great tactician of the sport but he never failed to challenge us to be great. People are amazed when I tell them that our team meetings always ended with the Coach pulling his paddle out and doling out some discipline in front of the team. I think I was boarded three times in my years, once for a snowball fight and twice for false starts. Usually it was in good nature but you never wanted to skip a class during track season.
We nicknamed him The Ground Hog for his incredible likeness to the rodent. Ultimately, the name shortened to The Grounder. One of the assistant coaches actually shot a ground hog and had the taxidermist stuff it and put little fishing hat on it and a stop watch around it's neck. It was hilarious.
The Grounder died yesterday morning. I know he had been in poor health for a number of years. The last time I saw him was at a friend's 40th birthday party. Despite his health, he was every bit as cantankerous as he was in the day.
I'm a believer that your life is really a culmination of the lives who have touched you. When you travel in vans from track meet to track meet, your coaches become nearly as close to you as your parents. After three years with The Grounder, I can say that I would never have been the man I am today without those years.
Coach Hamm, you'll be missed but you live on in each of us.
See, she thought she was special, she thought he was the only woman he was whoring with. Oh, the humiliation. Apparently, not enough humiliation to go on camera and speak incessantly about it all.
By the way Tiger, you should have your balls kicked for rolling with this babe in the first place.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Meet Deanna Elsholz. Why is Deanna in the news?
Deanne Elsholz said her husband urinated on the bathroom floor.
David Elsholz just wanted to go back to sleep.
It was almost midnight Monday at their mobile home at 5951 Woodsman Drive in the Angus Valley community.
Deputies who arrived later said the place was cluttered with Natural Light beer cans, and both husband and wife appeared to be drunk.
"What are you doing?" Deanne, 44, asked David, 50, when she heard his urine spraying the floor, according to what she told authorities.
She said her husband then slapped her about the head with a towel and, in retaliation, she threw a glass from her nightstand at his face. It hit him in the nose, a report states, and blood poured down his chest and arms.
Then, Deanne "ran into the bathroom and slipped on David's pee," the report states.
She told deputies David kicked her in the ribs while she was on the ground, and she crawled to get her phone and called 911.
David's story was that he was sleeping and woke up to use the bathroom.
After urinating, he went back to bed but Deanne started yelling at him, the report states.
"David told her he didn't want to argue and he just wanted to sleep."
Then she hit him with the glass, he told authorities.
Deanne was deemed the aggressor in the brawl and arrested. She is charged with domestic battery — something David has been charged with twice in recent years, according to the Pasco Sheriff's Office.
Now in November, 2008 was Deanna here a supporter of The One or the Maverick?
If his goal is truly bipartisanship, President Obama should relax. On his major policy initiatives, he's achieved it. Democrats have successfully reached across the aisle to work with Republicans to oppose initiatives such as cap-and-trade, health care reform, and now the administration's handling of terror suspects' trials.
On health care, for example, 39 House Democrats -- or about fifteen percent of the total caucus -- voted against the reform bill (final vote: 220-215 for passage). According to a chart devised by the New York Times, 24 of these Democrats are classified as fiscally conservative "Blue Dogs." The Times points out that almost all the fourteen freshmen among this group hail from districts that were previously Republican, and thus they might feel vulnerable during the coming election cycle. This could suggest that these congressmen are acutely aware of their constituents' desires.
Read this and you'll wonder how a liberal makes it through the day without some form of anti depressant.....
For many, just being in the context where this discussion was happening in a face-to-face encounter with others, rather than an isolated individuals reading it on a computer monitor, seemed an important step toward re-empowerment. Many are suffering from post-traumatic Obama abandonment syndrome--an ailment that came from being severely traumatized by Obama's political moves in the past thirteen months. A palpable sadness, depression, anger and even despair carried by many who had worked for Obama and now felt betrayed by his choices in his first year in office was mixed with compassion and a strong determination to not allow the political Right to use our despair as their ticket to a political revival. The conference was conceived by Tikkun Magazine and its interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives (including secular humanists and atheists who consider themselves "spiritual but NOT religious") as a way to allow people who have been having these feelings privately to both receive the comfort of sharing those feelings with other liberals and progressives, and then to move beyond them to actually face the critical question: "What do we in the liberal and progressive world do now, if we face three, or hopefully seven, years of an Obama presidency?"
The first step toward answering that question was to grieve what we had lost, honestly acknowledging the painful, for many quite humiliating, fact that after having built so many walls of self-protection against allowing ourselves to get sucked into some new moment of idealism, we had allowed those walls to come down as we became energized about Obama, only to find that once again our hopes had been dashed. This was not a crew of hardened lefties who might say: "You were always foolish to hope in Obama--don't you know that the military-industrial-health-agricultural-banking-investment-energy complex controls the society." Most people in the room had already integrated that knowledge of corporate dominance, but rejected the notion that repeating its truth was a sufficient way to change it. Instead, they had imagined that Obama could play an important role in sustaining the powerful mobilization that had already occurred around his campaign, and direct it toward significant steps to challenge the corporate power in ways that might even excite and attract the tens of millions of Americans who don't even bother to vote.
What happened in Obama's first year is that most of those who had allowed themselves to hope began to appear to themselves and others as naïve fools, and the humiliation that they experienced will take some years and psychologically or spiritually sophisticated interventions, of which the conference in San Francisco was a first example, though Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives (in co-sponsorship with many other groups including The Nation magazine, Progressive Democrats of America, Yes! Magazine, Peace Action, The Institute for Policy Studies, the Shalom Center,and Code Pink) will be holding a 3 day conference of this sort in D.C. June11-14 and is seeking to encourage and support similar gatherings around the country in the next few months. More info at www.tikkun.org.
Are you serious?
Reason #7,009 why I'm a conservative. Because I'm mentally stable.
Read the whole thing and laugh out loud in front of your co workers.
You know that your city has to be miserable when it even compares to Detroit on any scale. that's what Cleveland achieved this week...........
The city of Cleveland has had a colorful history. The Cuyahoga River, which runs through the city, famously caught fire in 1969 thanks to rampant pollution, and it wasn't the first time. In 1978 it became the first U.S. city to default on its debts since the Great Depression. Cleveland sports fans have had to endure more anguish than those in any other city. The city has been dubbed with a less than endearing nickname: the Mistake by the Lake.
This year Cleveland takes the top spot in our third annual ranking of America's Most Miserable Cities. Cleveland secured the position thanks to its high unemployment, high taxes, lousy weather, corruption by public officials and crummy sports teams (Cavaliers of the NBA excepted).
Misery was on the rise around the country last year. Sure the stock market was up big, but so were unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcy filings. Meanwhile housing prices, the U.S. dollar and approval ratings for Congress continued their downward spiral.
The widely tracked Misery Index initiated by economist Arthur Okun, which combines unemployment and inflation rates started 2009 at 7.3 and rose to 12.7 by the end of the year thanks to soaring joblessness. That is the highest level since 1983.
Our Misery Measure takes into account unemployment, as well as eight other issues that cause people anguish. The metrics include taxes (both sales and income), commute times, violent crime and how its pro sports teams have fared over the past two years. We also factored in two indexes put together by Portland, Ore., researcher Bert Sperling that gauge weather and Superfund pollution sites. Lastly we considered corruption based on convictions of public officials in each area as tracked by the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Rounding out the top ten......
America's Top 10 Most Miserable Cities
1. Cleveland, Ohio
2. Stockton, Calif.
6. Miami, FL
7. St. Louis, MO
8. Buffalo, NY
9. Canton, OH
10. Chicago, IL
Coincidence that there hasn't been a conservative run these cities in decades, if ever? I don't think so.
It's also nice to see Ohio throw in five of the top twenty here. Governor Ted Taft is doing one whale of a job when you consider his overwhelming achievement is Ohio Lottery Keno.Thanks reader Becky for the tip.
Read the article here..........
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Need an example? How about a bankrupt public pension system that amounts to about 150 Enrons.............
The pension tsunami - aka the incessant need for liberal-run unions to force governments to make promises that cannot possibly be met - is on its way. Just this morning I wrote a post regarding the pension problem in Michigan (Michigan Pension System $50 Billion In The Hole, Healthcare Liablity Only 1.9% Funded. Detroit Free Press Finds Silver Lining: "On the bright side, it's worse elsewhere"). On the heels of that came this article about other states being in similar dire straits. From Reuters via memeorandum (based on results from a Pew research via Instapundit): U.S. state pension funds have $1 trillion shortfall: PewU.S. states face a total shortfall of at least $1 trillion in their funds for employees' pensions and retirement benefits, and their financial problems are quickly mounting, according to a report released by the Pew Center on the States on Thursday.Ouch!
Illinois is in the worst shape, with only 54 percent of its pension obligations funded, according to the report, which looked at fiscal year 2008.
Because the analysis did not encompass the final six months of calendar year 2008 -- most states' fiscal year's end during the summer -- it does not include the market downturn that devastated many funds' investment portfolios."The funding gap will likely increase when the more than 25 percent loss states took in calendar year 2008 is factored in," the report said.It's not the underfunding that was irresponsible, but rather the fact that such dinosaur programs such as pensions exist at all in this day and age. All public employees need to be on defined contribution plans like 401 (k)s which the private sector has switched over to.
Regardless of stock market fluctuations, pension funds were destined to fall down a budget hole, the non-profit research center found.
"Over the last 10 years, many states have shortchanged pension plans in good times and bad," said Susan Urahn, the center's managing director, who called the beginning of the century a "decade of irresponsibility."States did not save for the future and manage costs well, said Urahn. She also cautioned that the 8 percent return on investments most states typically expect may need to be lowered.Gee - ya think? How about don't make promises you cannot keep? These programs are inherently unsustainable. Promising people a salary when they no longer work for the taxpayers was always a disaster in the making.
If these people were in the private sector they'd be facing federal corruption and/or fraud charges. Because they work in government, we get to call them governors, representatives, senators, etc.
More at blogprof..........
This is an absolute must read by the San Francisco beat writer who quit his job and decided to detail all of the governing dysfunction in this piece.
Despite its good intentions, San Francisco is not leading the country in gay marriage. Despite its good intentions, it is not stopping wars. Despite its spending more money per capita on homelessness than any comparable city, its homeless problem is worse than any comparable city's. Despite its spending more money per capita, period, than almost any city in the nation, San Francisco has poorly managed, budget-busting capital projects, overlapping social programs no one is certain are working, and a transportation system where the only thing running ahead of schedule is the size of its deficit.
It's time to face facts: San Francisco is spectacularly mismanaged and arguably the worst-run big city in America. This year's city budget is an astonishing $6.6 billion — more than twice the budget for the entire state of Idaho — for roughly 800,000 residents. Yet despite that stratospheric amount, San Francisco can't point to progress on many of the social issues it spends liberally to tackle — and no one is made to answer when the city comes up short.
The city's ineptitude is no secret. "I have never heard anyone, even among liberals, say, 'If only [our city] could be run like San Francisco,'" says urbanologist Joel Kotkin. "Even other liberal places wouldn't put up with the degree of dysfunction they have in San Francisco. In Houston, the exact opposite of San Francisco, I assume you'd get shot."
Who is to blame for this city's wretched state of affairs? Yomi Agunbiade, that's who. Metaphorically, that is.
An engineer by trade, Agunbiade was appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom to head the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department in 2004. Even before Agunbiade's tenure, Rec and Park was the department other city departments pointed and laughed at — but under Agunbiade, it became Amy Poehler funny.
During his reign, an audit revealed, rec centers frequently didn't open, because staff simply didn't show up — and the department had no process to do anything about it. Good news: New rec centers were slated to open. Bad news: Agunbiade's department had no plan for how to staff them. But that wasn't enough to cost Agunbiade his job.
When the city controller's office made the common-sense recommendation that groundskeepers ought to be where they were assigned to be when they're supposed to be there, Agunbiade fought them on it for three years. Running a department where no one knows where anyone is — and no one even wants to know? Not a problem.
This should be a mandatory civics read.......
New Jersey’s leaders had a great idea for balancing the budget a few years back. Tap the state’s wealthy through hikes in income taxes, property taxes and even a “wealth tax”. So, how’s that working out? Not so well, reports the Newark Star-Ledger:
More than $70 billion in wealth left New Jersey between 2004 and 2008 as affluent residents moved elsewhere, according to a report released Wednesday that marks a swift reversal of fortune for a state once considered the nation’s wealthiest.
Conducted by the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, the report found wealthy households in New Jersey were leaving for other states — mainly Florida, Pennsylvania and New York — at a faster rate than they were being replaced.
The story notes that this is a reversal from the five years prior to 2004, when wealthy people were moving into the state. All of that stopped abruptly with the tax hikes. That’s a big problem for the Garden State because the top 1% of taxpayers pay about 40% of the state income tax. As one expert quoted in the story dryly notes, the loss of those residents may explain state budget shortfalls.
Performance, it seems is abysmal. The district’s high school graduation rate is said to be less than 50 percent, and things have been bad for a long time. Charged with turning things around, the superintendent asked teachers (who are making between $70,000 and $78,000 vs. the town’s median income of $22,000) to work an extra 25 minutes a day, provide tutoring on a rotating schedule, and have lunch with the kids once a week. The union said no. So superintendent Frances Gallo went reluctantly to plan B: she fired the school’s entire staff.
Union leaders seem to think that the old rules still apply. Maybe they do, for now. The union plans to challenge the firings and it remains to be seen if they’ll find a way to reverse them.
But America is reaching a tipping point after which the old rules will go out the window. Having more than doubled public school spending per pupil in real terms over the past 40 years and not seen a smidgen of improvement in outcomes at the end of high school in return, having become frustrated that we have choice in virtually every area of life except public education, Americans are starting to chafe. When an education system fails to deliver on its promises for generation after generation, Americans will ultimately throw it on the scrap heap of history, and find something that will fulfill their educational needs and ideals. Yes. We. Can.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Her - Gordon, I'm canceling my appointment this year.
Me - Mrs. Smith did you want to drop off or reschedule?
Her - No. I'm not doing a return this year.
Me - Mrs. Smith, you may not have to file depending on what your investments did last year. Wouldn't you like to know if you would owe any money?
Her - That's OK because I'm not going to file and I don't want to know if I owe because I'm not paying anyway.
Me - My only concern is that if you had a stock sale, I just want to make sure that your covered on any liability.
Her - I appreciate the offer but frankly I really don't want to know if I owe because I'm not paying the government anymore money. Frankly, if these a&*holes are willing to give that Geithner guy a job for evading taxes, I dare them to throw me in jail for mine....
Me - That's OK by me, call me if you need me.
I had no idea at the time that I was witness to the Geithner effect.
What is that you ask? From taxprof............
The IRS Oversight Board today released the results of its 2009 Taxpayer Attitude Survey of 1,000 respondents. This is the eighth year the board has conducted the survey.
Perhaps not surprisingly in light of the well publicized tax transgressions of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and other Obama Administration officials and nominees, this year's survey revealed:
- How much, if any, do you think is an acceptable amount to cheat on your income taxes? A little here and there, 9% (highest in 6 years)
- How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS does each of the following to ensure that all taxpayers honestly pay what they owe -- Ensures high-income taxpayers are reporting and paying their taxes honestly? Very important, 83% (all-time high)
- How important is it to you, as a taxpayer, that the IRS does each of the following to ensure that all taxpayers honestly pay what they owe -- Ensures small businesses are reporting and paying their taxes honestly? Very important, 76% (all-time high)
- How much influence does each of the following factors have on whether you report and pay your taxes honestly -- Fear of an audit? Great deal of influence, 39% (all-time high)
- How much influence does each of the following factors have on whether you report and pay your taxes honestly -- Belief that your neighbors are reporting and paying honestly? Great deal of influence, 17% (all-time low)
But lo and behold, apparently we still have the homeless and they're growing in numbers.........
Homelessness in rural and suburban America is straining shelters this winter as the economy founders and joblessness hovers near double digits — a "perfect storm of foreclosures, unemployment and a shortage of ," in one official's eyes.
"We are seeing many families that never before sought government help," said Greg Blass, commissioner of Social Services in Suffolk County on .
"We see a spiral in food stamps, heating assistance applications; Medicaid is skyrocketing," Blass added. "It is truly reaching a stage of being alarming."
The federal government is again counting the nation's homeless and, by many accounts, the suburban numbers continue to rise, especially for families, women, children, Latinos and men seeking help for the first time. Some have to be turned away.
"Yes, there has definitely been an increased number of turnaways this year," said Jennifer Hill, executive director of the Alliance to End Homelessness in suburban Cook County, Illinois. "We're seeing increases in shelter use along the lines of 30 percent or more."
The's annual survey last year found homelessness remained steady at about 1.6 million people, but the percentage of rural or suburban homelessness rose from 23 percent to 32 percent. The 2009 HUD report, which reflected the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2008, also found the number of sheltered homeless families grew from about 473,000 to 517,000.
Here's one of Olberman's rants on racism in this country.
That's kind of funny coming from the network where Dog the Bounty hunter can't find a black person on air.
Maybe Olberman would be willing to step aside to get some diversity on the air.
What's most hilarious is Olberman's defense of their lack of diversity. It sounds like one of those "I'm not prejudiced, I have a black friend"...
....and we get Clarence Page on whenever we can, and really we do as much astronomy as we do only because Derrick Pitts is so damn good, and somebody upthread mentioned Melissa Harris-Lacewell, and Paul Mooney used to come on for political comment. I’m not satisfied with this as the status quo, but I did want to balance the picture as much as it can be. And suddenly this got me thinking, I wonder if Derrick has ever thought about politics and tv…
Here's an idea Keith, consider cleaning up your own racial shortfalls before you start preaching to the rest of us "racists".
Who is the worst killer in the long, ugly history of war and extermination? Hitler? Stalin? Pol Pot? Not even close. A single book called Silent Spring killed far more people than all those fiends put together.
Published in 1962, Silent Spring used manipulated data and wildly exaggerated claims (sound familiar?) to push for a worldwide ban on the pesticide known as DDT – which is, to this day, the most effective weapon against malarial mosquitoes. The Environmental Protection Agency held extensive hearings after the uproar produced by this book… and these hearings concluded that DDT should not be banned. A few months after the hearings ended, EPA administrator William Ruckleshaus over-ruled his own agency and banned DDT anyway, in what he later admitted was a “political” decision. Threats to withhold American foreign aid swiftly spread the ban across the world.
The resulting explosion of mosquito-borne malaria in Africa has claimed over sixty million lives. This was not a gradual process – a surge of infection and death happened almost immediately. The use of DDT reduces the spread of mosquito-borne malaria by fifty to eighty percent, so its discontinuation quickly produced an explosion of crippling and fatal illness. The same environmental movement which has been falsifying data, suppressing dissent, and reading tea leaves to support the global-warming fraud has studiously ignored this blood-drenched “hockey stick” for decades.
The motivation behind Silent Spring, the suppression of nuclear power, the global-warming scam, and other outbreaks of environmentalist lunacy is the worship of centralized power and authority. The author, Rachel Carson, didn’t set out to kill sixty million people – she was a fanatical believer in the newly formed religion of radical environmentalism, whose body count comes from callousness, rather than blood thirst. The core belief of the environmental religion is the fundamental uncleanliness of human beings. All forms of human activity are bad for the environment… most especially including the activity of large private corporations. Deaths in faraway Africa barely registered on the radar screen of the growing Green movement, especially when measured against the exhilarating triumph of getting a sinful pesticide banned, at substantial cost to an evil corporation.
Read the rest......
Gateway Pundit has a great piece on how Branch Gorevidians are blaming fogless days in San Francisco on AGW when last year they blamed excessive fog on AGW.
Read it here....
By the way, we now have snow high enough to bury our mail box. I guess I can blame it on global warming even though there seems to be a high coincidence of a snow plow passing our house right before I notice it.
And these media types have the balls to criticize bloggers for not having "fact checking" staffs. What ever the hell those are.
A New York Times reporter accused of plagiarizing portions of several articles resigned from the newspaper on Tuesday, according to two people briefed on the matter.
The reporter, Zachery Kouwe, who had already been suspended, met late Tuesday afternoon with representatives of The Times, The New York Times Company and the Newspaper Guild of New York. The participants were to discuss possible disciplinary action, including dismissal, but instead Mr. Kouwe resigned.
Participants were told that the meeting had to remain confidential, but the events were described by the two people who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Last Friday, the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, Robert Thomson, sent a letter to editors of The Times saying that portions of an article written on Feb. 5 by Mr. Kouwe were identical or nearly identical to a Journal article published online hours before Mr. Kouwe’s. The Times editors investigated and found other examples.
The Times made the matter public on Monday, when it published an Editors’ Note stating that Mr. Kouwe had copied passages from Wall Street Journal and Reuters articles, and used them “in a number” of his articles and in blog posts, without attribution. It did not say how many times that had occurred.
So, is California's brittle Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer about to become the next Harry Reid? Which is to say, embattled at home.
As Reid worked the wallets of San Francisco on Presidents' Day to raise money for his endangered seat in Nevada, some stunning new Rasmussen Reports poll out today makes a compelling point:
For the second straight month the three-term senator is unable to break the 50% mark against any potential Republican opponents, the historical measuring mark of vulnerability for an incumbent nine months before an election.
For a Democrat in a Democrat state that gave Barack Obama 61% of its votes in 2008 (and still likes him more than many other places) to be mired in the mid-40's is a sign of real trouble. This is especially so given the fact that disgruntled voters gave Democrats control of the House, Senate and White House in 2008, expecting something to....
...happen beyond another congressional payraise. Voters appear to be looking at a the stubborn ineffectiveness of the much-vaunted economic stimulation bill, continued high unemployment and waning Obama approval. It's not like they don't know Boxer after all her years in the state's public life. To help with the warmth of money, Boxer has Al Gore's headline help fundraising.
Yes, sure, incumbents retain huge powers and money advantages over challengers and it's a long time until November, when the five-term ex-representative Boxer will turn 70. But nationally, indications are growing that 2010 could be a tidal wave election beyond the usual midterm swing with voters believing in a different kind of change to believe in.
Is it possible they could dump out a Democrat even in California?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Consider this from NRO............
I attended a luncheon at the Federal Reserve Branch in Houston where one of the speakers was the economist for the Federal Reserve – El Paso branch.
His presentation mainly concerned Houston and how the city was positioned given the current economic doldrums (thankfully he was optimistic that the city would emerge from recession earlier than the rest of the country); however a main portion of the presentation involved his expectations for a very depressed hiring market for the next 2-3 years, meaning unemployment would remain stubbornly high in the rest of the country.
During the Q&A session, I felt compelled to ask the obvious question: Did he believe that the healthcare reform and related tax proposals, the proposed cap and trade legislation and the consequent increase in energy costs, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the agitation for higher taxes on the wealthy, the proposal to increase corporate tax rates, the proposal to increase capital gains taxes, the trial floating of ideas such as a national VAT and removal of the earnings cap on FICA, the more robust regulatory bureaucracy…did he believe any of these uncertainties were depressing hiring?
He stated yes, without a doubt and proceeded to relay a conversation he had with a local chemical company regarding their 2010 capital expenditure budget. When asked what the company intended to invest in 2010, the response was ‘nothing,’ not due to a paucity of good opportunities, but because it was impossible for the company to calculate a rate of return given all the uncertainty over cost of labor, energy prices, regulatory mandates and the like.
It’s obvious to me that the Obama administration has no grasp on what their ‘flavor of the day’ tax and regulatory proposals do to business decision making, but perhaps I can summarize for them:
“No investment means no hiring and no new tax revenues. It’s the uncertainty, stupid.”
Now the Gekko's 1800 sq. ft. palatial estate has about a 120 foot driveway. I've threatened to buy a snow blower in the past because shoveling that is a bitch.
But I've resisted because 1) It's my way of saying I'm green 2) it's good exercise and 3) The Branch Gorevidians have convinced me that my Maineville abode will be beach front property in the next decade. So why invest in a snow blower unless I can convert it into a margarita machine?
Now, as I come in from yet another snow shoveling episode I get to hear that unusual snow is actually the result of global warming.
Are you kidding me?
So when it gets warm, it's because of global warming. When it gets cold it's a result of global warming? When we have lots of hurricanes; global warming. Not so many; global warming.
Have you ever noticed that Branch Gorvidian theory has predictive value (part of what makes a hypothesis moved up to theory) only after the fact. Meaning you won't find a Branch Gorevidian espousing heavy snowfall as a potential global warming effect until after we actually get a foot of snow in a day.
Nevermind that the temperature in February has failed to get above 30 degrees this month. That's AGW too!
Well, now that I can rely on Phil Jones and the rest of the Branch Gorevidian community to lie to the global populace, I'm getting my snow exercise tonight and it won't be from shoveling. It's going to be from driving our carbon spewing SUV all over town until I can find a Lowe's with the biggest, baddest carbon exhaling snow blower on the market. And if I happen to run into Al Gore in the process, I'm kicking him in the balls.
Fox News and the New York Times report that a joint U.S-Pakistani force has captured the Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in a raid in Karachi, a move that could cripple the Taliban's military operations in the short-term. Baradar is reportedly being questioned by Pakistani intelligence officials and CIA officers inside Pakistan.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is the most important Taliban figure to be caught since the war in Afghanistan began. He is close to the Islamic group's spiritual leader Mullah Muhammad Omar and to Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden.
[. . .]
The C.I.A. and Pentagon declined comment to Fox News about the capture, with the Pentagon saying the U.S. military was not involved.
Bruce O. Riedel, an ex-C.I.A. officer who led the Obama administration's Afghanistan and Pakistan policy review last spring told The New York Times Baradar's capture could cripple the Taliban's military operations — at least in the short term.
The Times reports that they first learned of the capture on Thursday, but delayed reporting on it by request of White House officials, who said the news would disrupt an ongoing intelligence-gathering effort.
Monday, February 15, 2010
America is awash in deficit spending. President Obama and his allies in Congress are flooding the economy with funny money, but the average American isn't seeing a dime.
In fact, the average American can barely hold on to his job. In the midst of an outpouring of federal dollars intended to spark job creation, unemployment remains stubbornly stuck at almost 10 percent, with underemployment much higher.
So where is this river of federal money going? The Obama administration's $787 billion "stimulus" dollars seem, in good measure, to have disappeared into a black hole.
But in the midst of our jobless misery, one group of workers is truly getting "stimulated."
That's government employees. The federal government has added almost 9,000 jobs a month, and the federal payroll has spiked a whopping 10.5 percent, since the current recession began in December 2007, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And guess what? Federal employees are also earning higher wages and benefits than private sector workers do. The average federal worker now earns $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector, according to an analysis by USA Today. "Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months," the paper reports -- and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.
And here I used to council young people to get the most technical degree they could. Now, I just need to council them to go get a tool booth job on the NJ turnpike.
Read the whole thing.....
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Fast-forward to the present day. Lobbyists, reports the Center for Responsive Politics, had a record 2009 in Barack Obama's Washington. Despite candidate Obama's promises to shun them, they raked in $3,470,000,000. Somewhere up there, Tommy Corcoran is chuckling.
Last week, amid Washington's blizzards, Obama was asked about the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and the $9 million bonus for Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
"I know both these guys; they are very savvy businessmen," he said. "I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth." So much for campaign-trail denunciations of "fat cat" bankers and bloated bonuses.
From what I know, Dimon and Blankfein are in fact first-rate CEOs, as able in their way as Henry J. Kaiser. Their banks soured on mortgage-backed securities before most of their competitors and started unloading them early or, in Goldman's case, getting them insured by AIG (and getting the government to pay 100 cents on the dollar for them, thanks to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, then head of the New York Fed). They paid their Troubled Asset Relief Program money back as fast as they could, with interest.
But the savviness that Obama handsomely acknowledged has been evident not only in their business judgment but in their politics. Goldman employee contributions to Democrats in 2008 ranked second only to those employed by the University of California. JPMorgan Chase's employees ranked No. 7. The stereotype of Wall Street being Republican is decades out of date.
Several years ago, a 74-year-old Dominguez Elementary School fourth-grade teacher was having trouble controlling her students as her abilities deteriorated amid signs of "burnout." Shirley Loftis was told by Los Angeles Unified School District administrators to retire or be fired, and she did retire, but hardly under the school district's terms.
The principal at Dominguez, Irene Hinojosa, recalls how she spent three years documenting Loftis' poor teaching skills and inability to control 10-year-olds. "From the minute I observed her, she basically didn't seem to have the knowledge of the standards and how to deliver them," Hinojosa tells L.A. Weekly. "I had her do lessons on the same standard over and over again, and children did not get it. On simple math concepts [such as determining perimeters and area] — over and over, she didn't know how to deliver."
Each September, a new crop of children quickly caught on to the fact that Loftis had lost control. Full-on classroom fights flared up. One child beat another with a backpack, and others threw objects — even a chair, Hinojosa says. Teachers at Dominguez Elementary began reporting incidents to Hinojosa, who moved Loftis' class from a bungalow to a room across from her office. That way, the principal reasoned, she could intervene in the chaos a bit faster.When parents in the Carson neighborhoods around Dominguez Park got wind of the troubles, some sought to transfer their children. A handful succeeded, but Hinojosa says every child "righteously deserved to be moved out. ... The kids totally disrespected [Loftis] by the end. It was a lost year for them.
What's so "progressive" about incompetent teachers?
What that means is that if you pay an employee $10.00 an hour you need to be able to quantify a return of $30 - $40 an hour either in increased sales or increased productivity/efficiency. The spread between three and four times is a result of either benefit packages and/or the capital intensity of the business.
Most lay people have no idea that just to cover the payroll itself is a 1.3 - 1.5 times the actual hard costs with payroll taxes and modest benefits. When you then lay on additional overhead, non productive time (ie NCAA Pools, sick days, training, vacations, etc), and pilferage/waste, you need to bring that number up.
What does this mean in the real world?
Take a minimum wage worker. Two years ago, that worker had to produce $16.35 - $21.80 in return for the business owner. In one swoop, those figures became $21.90 - $29.20.
If you don't think that companies do cost/benefit analysis of labor costs, think again. Remember the McDonald's coffee burn law suit? During the trial, it came out that the company did cost/benefit analysis of the temperature of their coffee v. sales and/or tort risk. If you don't think a company who does analysis of 1 degree of hot coffee doesn't compute the cost of $.10/ an hour on the cost of a Big Mac, you'd be wrong.
You also need look no further than the American tuna industry. America Samoa's exemption from the minimum wage was taken away and it took all of about six month before Chicken of the Sea closed their plant. (read the history here)
Can you still buy Chicken of the Sea tuna? In the words of Sarah Palin, You betcha!
But the jobs got moved to where the cost/benefit principle still works.
What seems most unbelievable to me is that the people most willing/gullible enough to believe in the "science" of global warming are the same people most likely to ignore proven economic theory and law.
So now we're looking at a long recession where the government is willing to give a credit to businesses for hiring at the same time they're looking to raise the cost of production by requiring mandatory health care, increased minimum wages, additional union protections.
The next time you eat tuna salad, remember that.
American socialism has long functioned under the principle that a strong central government, lavishly funded by the middle and upper classes, should influence the economy in the name of “social justice,” and provide benefits to the lower class. The power and cost of the government have steadily increased – surging under the previous two Presidents, and exploding under the current one. Its financing has shifted to deficit spending and direct control through mandates and regulation, since endless tax increases became politically painful.
I believe this system is very close to total collapse. If nothing else triggers it, the explosive bankruptcy of Social Security and Medicare will. The half-life of American socialism may now be measured in years, rather than decades. If we let it run its course and crash, its death throes will be unspeakably painful.
I don’t think our fate is sealed. Several quarters of weak economic performance have not erased the incredible potential of American industry. Technological development will bring new markets. The populace may seem lethargic now, but I think we’ll be surprised how fast the private sector leaps to its feet, once the government boot has been taken off its neck. What can we do, to begin turning things around?
Our challenge is not merely to win a few elections, or pass a bill here and there. We have to change the direction of a culture that has trended leftward, toward collectivism, through several generations. We have to move the center back to the center. This will require leadership, which we should seek out in the elections to come… but it also demands our involvement as individuals. A recent poll showed 36% of Americans, and 53% of Democrats, had a positive opinion of socialism. Our task is to understand why. This moment demands more than a critique of socialism, which is nothing less than a challenge to freedom, and requires an answer. Only by expressing the philosophy of conservatism, in powerful and memorable terms, can we win the popular support necessary to implement concrete proposals. This is a foundation to be laid in countless conversations, both online and around water coolers.
For the record, have you seen the mess in Greece? The Greeks are looking to the Germans to gurantee their debt which will probably require that the English guarantee German debt. Of course then the US will have to back their debt and Chinese ours.
It's looking more and more like a series of a million AIG's.
By now, Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) should require no introduction, so let’s get right to it. In a BBC Q&A and corresponding interview released Friday, the discredited
Climategateconspirator revealed a number of surprising insights into his true climate beliefs, the most shocking of which was that 20th-century global warmingmay not have been unprecedented. As the entire anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory is predicated on correlation with rising CO2 levels, this first-such confession from an IPCC senior scientist is nothing short of earth-shattering.Of course, much will be made of Jones’s claim that the refusal to share raw temperature data was partially based on the fact that it “was not well enough organized.” And rightly so, as the very idea that the major datasets CRU released for use in vital anomaly and temperature reconstructions were based on data not “organized” enough to be made public reeks of fraudulent behavior.Then there are the statements Jones made regarding relatively recent temperature trends which truly boggle the mind.Imagine a man who has spent the better part of the past 25 years toiling to convince the world of CO2-forced 20th-century warming now admitting that the difference in warming rates for the periods 1860-1880, 1910-40 and 1975-2009 is statistically insignificant. Jones even acceded that there has been no statistically-significant global warming since 1995; that in fact, global temperatures have been trending to the downside since January of 2002, although he denied the statistical significance of the -0.12C per decade decline.Yet as incredible as those concessions truly are, they pale in comparison to this response to a question about the significance of the Medieval Warm Period:There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia. For it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.Stop the tape.
Read the entire piece here.....
By the way, it was 11 in my car cruising into the office this morning. I could use some of that global warming today.