Saturday, June 12, 2010

Life in "Progress" State - New York edition

I know Ken Lay is dead but did Bernie Madoff get a job from the governor?

Gov. David A. Paterson and legislative leaders have tentatively agreed to allow the state and municipalities to borrow nearly $6 billion to help them make their required annual payments to the state pension fund.

And, in classic budgetary sleight-of-hand, they will borrow the money to make the payments to the pension fund — from the same pension fund.

As word of the plan spread, some denounced it as a shell game and a blatant effort by state leaders to avoid making difficult decisions, like cutting government spending or reducing pension benefits.

“It’s a classic Albany example of kicking the can down the road,” said Harry Wilson, the Republican candidate for comptroller, who holds an M.B.A. from Harvard.

Pension costs for the state and municipalities are soaring, a result of enhanced retirement benefits for public employees and the decline in the stock market over the past two years. And, given declines in tax revenue and larger budget shortfalls, the governments are struggling to come up with the money to make the contributions.

Under the plan, the state and municipalities would borrow the money to reduce their pension contributions for the next three years, in exchange for higher payments over the following decade. They would begin repaying what they borrowed, with interest, in 2013.

But Mr. Paterson and other state officials hope the stock market will have rebounded to such a degree by that time that the state’s overall pension contribution burden will have been reduced.

The maneuver would cost the state and local governments about $1.85 billion in interest payments, according to an estimate by the State Senate, though a number of factors could drive interest payments up or down.

Another oddity of the plan is that the pension fund, which assumes its assets will earn 8 percent a year, would accept interest payments from the state that would probably be 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent.

And here these guys would make fun of my father, who never graduated from high school, for saying, "if you can't write a deal out on a cocktail napkin, it's too complicated".

And these guys want to regulate derivatives when they throw this plan out there?

So when you can't borrow anymore from others just borrow against yourself?

Now that's "progressive"!


Obama: I Can't Plug the Hole... I Can't Suck It Up With a Straw

"Is there enough spending to be cut?" Bernanke: "Of course"

Life in "Progress" State - Illinois edition

From the land of Lincoln...........

Obamaland is crumbling. Democrats have firmly controlled Illinois, the president’s home state, for nearly a decade, turning it into what one Republican called “a deep blue state.” But this has changed almost overnight. In the midterm elections on November 2, Democrats stand to lose the governorship, Obama’s old Senate seat, two to four House seats, and any number of state legislative seats and down-ticket statewide offices.

Democrats have been hit by a perfect storm, mostly of their own making. Illinois rivals California and New York as a fiscal and economic basket case. Democratic misrule has reached epic proportions, with the school districts, vendors, and doctors who treat Medicaid patients going unpaid for months. Unfunded state liabilities are mounting. And on top of all that, the trial of impeached former governor Rod Blagojevich, already dominating the news, is expected to continue for months.

Creating fiscal and economic basket cases?

Now that's "Progressive"!


Obama keep your health care just pay less

Do you remember this line of BS the president tried to cram up our collective asses?

Now we know it never was true.............
Internal White House documents reveal that 51% of employers may have to relinquish their current health care coverage by 2013 due to ObamaCare. That numbers soars to 66% for small-business employers.

The documents — product of a joint project of the Labor Department, the Health and Human Services Department and the IRS — examine the effects new regulations would have on existing, or “grandfathered,” employer-based health care plans.

Draft copies of the documents were reportedly leaked to House Republicans earlier in the week. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., posted them on his Web site Friday afternoon. (View the full report here.)


Friday, June 11, 2010

Rep. Wasserman Schultz: Recovery Act Is Working

Sports wrap up


The world cup starts today. If you were to talk to Mrs. Gekko, she will tell you "I don't think there's a sport Gordon won't watch".

Well, soccer is one. During the year the US hosted the World Cup, I had a friend from Ethiopia who wouldn't shut up about soccer. After months of listening to him tell me I would like it if only I watched it with someone who knew the sport, I decided to watch the finals with him.

He talked me into coming over to his apartment where we proceeded to watch the most boring game in the history of sports; with Brazil winning a 0-0 snoozer and the game decided on penalty kicks.

I'm not one of those guys who has to watch all offense in my sports (heaven knows I wouldn't be a Bears fan if that were the case). But c'mon..... in that game, I think there was a 30 minute stretch with not one shot on goal. It would have been easier for me to score at a NOW convention.

Then an official had the audacity to call offsides. "Offsides"! Are you freakin' kidding me? You mean to tell me that one player attempted to cheat just to introduce offense to the game and you call him offside!

So you can call me one of those American elitist types who can't appreciate the nuance of soccer and I'll tell you that if guy who gets the nuance of baseball, curling and professional bowling can't get soccer, then it's impossible.

College football

It's nice for the Big Ten to admit Nebraska to their conference. It's a good fit. The Big Ten will continue it's tradition of having a bunch of big, fat, slow, farm boys on their football teams. Nebraska is also really good at loading up their record on a packs of non conference Twinkies; another good fit for a Big Ten school. No word yet on which of the MAC schools are willing to be sacrificed in Lincoln.

As an aside, we now have the Big Ten with 12 teams and the Big 12 with 10.

Now the Big Ten is after Texas and Texas A&M, but not Texas Tech, because apparently Texas Tech is not an AAU member. Pahhleeeeeez. Notre Dame is not an AAU member but the Big Ten would perform porn star acts on them to get them in the conference.

I find it so hilarious that the most socialist institutions in this country, American universities, are the biggest, greediest, money grabbing whores of any entity US institution(s).

They would sell anything and/or anybody for the ability to generate another buck and they couldn't care less about the poor little guy who could use the money more than they could. It's why the Big 12 fell apart. Basically, Texas got everything and the rest of the league got the table scraps leftover.

When this conference shakedown is done, if I were commissioner of the MAC, WAC or Mountain West conference, I would say that you can't play any of our member schools without a $5 million dollar pay out. Let's see how popular these power schools are when they can't pad their records on low lying fruit.


For the first time in ten years, we have a baseball team in Cincinnati worth rooting for. Scott Rolen and Arthur Rhodes are carrying this team right now. Rhodes hasn't allowed a run since April 10th. Rhodes, now 40, is a tribute to all of us oldies, baldies and fatties.

And to think Jamie Moyer, 47, is still getting it done.

The Royals are in town this weekend, so the Reds should be getting phat big time.

Now I think I'm going to leave early so I can watch a repeat of the NCAA Lacrosse national championship. Somehow I can find the nuance in that sport.

Obama calls Larry King "Wolf"

What if this were Bush?

Ken Salazar, idiot

If you ever wanted to witness incompetence, just watch the question Burr asks the Secretary at the 2:30 mark........

HT thetaxprof


I like to have some fun with Obama's amateurish approach to all things government. After all, it is his first real job where he ever had responsibility for anything.

But it's actually no longer funny, but getting down right scary.

Take the handling of this Oil Spill. It's taken almost two months and just now Obama sends a lackey out to summon the BP Chairman of the Board.......

BP's chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg has been summoned to a meeting with President Barack Obama next Wednesday to answer questions about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, an official letter said.

Svanberg, a Swede, was invited to the meeting on June 16 with other company officials, but the White House did not demand to see BP CEO Tony Hayward, who Obama has said he would fire, if he could, over flippant comments.

"The BP Deepwater Horizon spill is the largest environmental disaster in our nation's history," said the letter to Svanberg from Thad Allen, a Coast Guard admiral who is leading the US government's response to the crisis.

"The potential devastation to the Gulf Coast, its economy, and its people require relentless efforts to stop the leak and contain the damage," it said.

Allen pointed out that BP was financially responsible for all costs associated with the response to the disaster, including efforts to plug a ruptured undersea well and protecting the coastline from a massive oil slick.

"As part of our ongoing communication, I request that you and any appropriate officials from BP, meet with senior administration officials on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 to discuss these timely issues," the letter said.

First, "Timely". It's been two months and just now you're requesting these clowns to come next week? Seriously?

Second, chairmen of boards do not manage the day to day operations of any business. They hire Presidents and CEO's to run the day to day operations. Tony Hayward is the guy who needs his ass kicked. Why is Obama so hesitant/call/email the guy who actually has authority and responsibility for this?

The word on the street is that Obama doesn't want to be photographed with Haywood for fear of being tied to the spill. That's total BS. They could usher this guy in and make him exit the servant's quarter like they did Netanyahu. So what's the big deal?

Third, you send the Admiral to make the request? Why not make it straight from your office? Calls from presidents seem to have a lot more pull than Naval Admirals.

I don't expect a president to know everything and do everything. But he has people. People he's supposed to hire to know everything and do everything. But it's clear that the same dumb asses who thought an appropriate diplomatic gift to Gordon Brown was a pack of DVD's they bought at Walmart are the same morons who don't know appropriate corporate governance and time protocols.

Joe Biden was right. This guy would be tested and his grade to date is no B+.

Obama, here's another candidate for an ass kicking

In the vain of the Obama's ass kicking theme, I'm starting a new feature on the blog.

People who should get their ass kicked.

Here's the inaugural post..........

A 16-year-old US sailor who went missing while sailing solo around the world has been found safe and well.

Abby Sunderland's yacht was spotted by an aerial search team in the southern Indian Ocean, midway between Australia and Africa.

Three ships are on their way to pick her up - the first is expected to be with her in 24 hours.

The teenager's family lost contact with her for some 20 hours, after she said she was caught in 30ft (9m) high waves.

Shortly after contact was lost, at around 1300 GMT on Thursday, the yacht's emergency beacons were manually activated, more than 3,220km (2,000 miles) from the coasts of both Africa and Australia.

So we have the time and efforts of three ships who probably had nothing better to do than go out and save a 16 year old who had no business being out there in the middle of the ocean.

So Barack, I made my notes and when you're ready to start on all that ass kicking throw this babe's parents on the list.


A long weekend more important than helping the less fortunate

Remember all the bitching and moaning from the democratic leadership when Jim Bunning threatened to hold up unemployment benefits with a procedural move?

It was so important to the democratic leadership, they still haven't passed it because it might get in the way of a long weekend.............

Congress headed home Thursday for a four-day break, after failing again to extend jobless benefits for an estimated 325,000 people, fund summer jobs for at-risk youths or help newly laid-off people pay for health care.

"These are really pressing things, and we want Congress to stay, but it falls on deaf ears," said Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group.

Funding for extended unemployment benefits ran out June 2 while Congress was in the middle of a 10-day Memorial Day break. The House of Representatives had voted to continue the benefits until Nov. 30, but the Senate hadn't.

The Senate returned Monday night, debated the provisions Tuesday and Wednesday, found widespread disagreement and spent much of Thursday on an unrelated energy bill.

Senators agreed to resume voting next Tuesday. Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the break had been "long planned."

Yeah, we couldn't do things like help struggling families if it gets into a long planned weekend.

Are you serious?


Life in "Progress" State - New York edition

Apparently, New York is having some budgeting difficulties.........

Chaos and anarchy. That's what New York Gov. David Paterson is warning if he's forced to shut down the government in a few days.

The clowns in the state Legislature, now deadlocked for 71 days on the budget, are ready to take down the "big tent" and bring state government to a standstill. At least that's what Paterson thinks.

"No one knows the full ramifications of a government shutdown," said Paterson. "It would create unimaginable chaos around the state and the greater metropolitan areas."

Such chaos includes closing all state parks, motor vehicles offices, courts, and even the lottery. Public assistance payments would not be made and unemployment payments might also be held up.

Remember when The Billary and congress deadlocked on a budget and the feds closed for a couple of weeks? You probably don't because I don't know one person impacted by the government shut down.

But hey, if people are going to riot because they can't get welfare, it makes for a good time to have a job fair.

A government that looks an awful lot like Greece?

Now that's "Progressive"!

Life in "Progress" State - California edition

You demand, I supply (that makes me the neighbor meth dealer out here in Redville). A request for this link to the current state of affairs in California

Remember the good old days, when people on the coasts made fun the educational status of people in Mississippi? What is that they say about people in glass houses?

  • In 1970, California had the 7th most educated work force of the 50 states in terms of the share of its workers who had completed high school. By 2008 it ranked 50th, making it the least educated state. (Table 1a)

  • Education in California has declined relative to other states. The percentage of Californians who have completed high school has increased since 1970; however, all other states made much more progress in improving their education levels; as a result, California has fallen behind the rest of the country. (Table 1b)

  • The large relative decline in education in California is a direct result of immigration. Without immigrants, the share of California’s labor force that has completed high school would be above the national average.

  • There is no indication that California will soon close the educational gap. California ranks 35th in terms of the share of its 19-year-olds who have completed high school. Moreover, one-third (91,000) of the adult immigrants who arrived in the state in 2007 and 2008 had not completed high school.2

  • In 1970 California was right at the national average in terms of income inequality, ranking 25th in the nation. By 2008, it was the 6th most unequal state in the country based on the commonly used Gini coefficient, which measures how evenly income is distributed. (Tables 2a and 2b)

  • California’s income distribution in 2008 was more unequal than was Mississippi’s in 1970. (Tables 2a and 2b)

Creating illiteracy in one of the most resourceful states in the country?

Now that's "progressive"!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alvin Greene

Penn And Teller Get Hippies To Sign Water Banning Petition

Boxer: Greatest national security threat is carbon dioxide

Senator Boxer Accused of Race Politics

When governments run auto companies

Bye-bye, indeed, Miss American Pie. If General Motors has its way, you won’t be driving your Chevy to the levee ever again.

On Tuesday, G.M. sent a memo to Chevrolet employees at its Detroit headquarters, promoting the importance of “consistency” for the brand, which was the nation’s best-selling line of cars and trucks for more than half a century after World War II.

And one way to present a consistent brand message, the memo suggested, is to stop saying “Chevy,” though the word is one of the world’s best-known, longest-lived product nicknames.

“We’d ask that whether you’re talking to a dealer, reviewing dealer advertising, or speaking with friends and family, that you communicate our brand as Chevrolet moving forward,” said the memo, which was signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the G.M. division’s vice president for marketing.

“When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke or Apple for instance, one of the things they all focus on is the consistency of their branding,” the memo said. “Why is this consistency so important? The more consistent a brand becomes, the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer.”

You know what really helps your branding? Quit selling hunks of crap. That goes a long way in producing a good brand identification.


Congratulations Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup since 1961.

Frankly, I haven't been so interested in hockey since Dominick Hasek single handedly carried the Buffalo Sabre to the finals in 1999.

It helps that

1) The NHL actually had a season.
2) I now have a TV signal that gets most of the games.

If there were any Karmic justice in the world, William "Dollar Bill" Wirtz would be in heaven with a TV carrying 6008 channels but none carrying the finals because God thought it would have cheated the people who actually paid for tickets.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Feds operate a predatory loan business

aka Federal Guaranteed Student Loans.......

Here's a sob story about a recent grad who was forced into student loans she'll never be able to repay (thanks reader Jeremy for the link)

Like many middle-class families, Cortney Munna and her mother began the college selection process with a grim determination. They would do whatever they could to get Cortney into the best possible college, and they maintained a blind faith that the investment would be worth it.

Today, however, Ms. Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of New York University, has nearly $100,000 in student loan debt from her four years in college, and affording the full monthly payments would be a struggle. For much of the time since her 2005 graduation, she's been enrolled in night school, which allows her to defer loan payments.

The line you hear from the education establishment is that a college degree is worth on average a millions dollars more in lifetime earnings over those who don't get advanced degrees.

But that varies greatly depending on what your degree is in.

Take Ms. Munna. What did that $100,000 in educational investment yield her skills in?

Well, if you read the article, you'll never know........ oh...... wait........ There it is...... in the second to last paragraph.....

She recently received a raise and now makes $22 an hour working for a photographer. It's the highest salary she's earned since graduating with an interdisciplinary degree in religious and women's studies. After taxes, she takes home about $2,300 a month. Rent runs $750, and the full monthly payments on her student loans would be about $700 if they weren't being deferred, which would not leave a lot left over.

So she spent on $100 k on religious and women's studies? What, couldn't she get into the bowling and unemployment degree program?

But seriously, didn't anybody have the balls to tell this ding dong that unless you're willing to grow out your body hair and get a PhD in one of these disciplines, your degree isn't worth the photography paper you're currently working with?

Apparently, her parents never said anything.

The bank didn't bother because they get paid regardless of your use to society. Unlike a traditional loan where a lender makes a determination of your ability to repay based on a number of factors, they know they get paid by the feds.

Of course, the feds don't care because their deal is stronger than a loan shark. See a loan shark might take out a finger or break a leg but then you run move away and it's usually over with. But the feds will hunt you down till the day you die to get back their money. These loans can't be discharged through bankruptcy, they'll seize your tax refunds and they'll garnish your wages. You are certifiably screwed.

As a result, they really don't care if you major in Wild African Safari, they'll ultimately get their cash.

So we end up with a pack of trained Kinko's employees looking to make use of that women's studies degree.

And not one person in the process gave a thought to whether that was worth a $100K investment.

On the bright side, Nancy Pelosi says that at least your health care will be paid for while pursuing your passion in desktop publishing.

He should administer Social Security

Just add some zeros and we could call him senator........

Disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein, whose seemingly unlimited wealth bought palatial homes, exotic cars and mega-yachts, was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in prison for operating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme using faked legal settlements.

The sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn was below the 100-year maximum Rothstein faced for five felony convictions, including racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and wire fraud.

Rothstein, who turns 48 on Thursday, had hoped for a 30-year sentence because of his extensive cooperation with investigators—and prosecutors could later ask for up to one-third off his sentence because of continued assistance.

When do we get to throw 100 senators in the clink?


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The JA administration

If you ever needed proof that the Obama administration was staffed with a pack of Junior Achievement rejects just look at how a couple of staffers spend their free time.....

The last time we saw Jon Favreau, Barack Obama’s speechwriter extraordinaire and the White House’s designated fratstar, we caught him copping a feel of then-Senator Hillary Clinton at a party we weren’t invited to. Wait, that was a cardboard cutout, not Hillary in the flesh? Could have fooled us from the picture.

We hadn’t heard from Jon in the last year and a half, and we were worried he’d lost his groove. Maybe he sprouted some gray hairs and figured it was time to grow up. But no, clearly he still yearns for his college days. FamousDC found Jon enjoying the sun with White House spokesman Tommy Vietor at a Georgetown bar with a game of outdoor beer pong.

That’s the Jon Favreau we love. Sure, the White House is dealing with a humongous environmental disaster, the Romanoff and Sestak job offer scandals, and crisis management in the Middle East, but a weekend’s a weekend. No sense letting it go to waste, especially when the weather’s so great.

And lest you conclude that the White House’s message shop is having all the fun, check out the photos of the Veep’s Super Soaker fight with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Good to see that everyone’s hard at work.

Beer Pong?

That was fun for about the first five times I played as a college freshman. The next thing you know they're going to bust out a game of quarters or Pig mania.

Oh, and is too much to ask them to wear some shirts in a bar?


Kobe Obama

For years, I played basketball with a bunch of fatties/oldies/baldies at my local gym. One of the things you learn when you play these guys night in and night out is how their game usually mirrors their professional style and how you need to play them.

The more I witness the train wreck known as the Obama administration, the more I can't help but compare his management style to his basketball game; they're practically identical. Given that I've played against guys like O, let me lay out his game to you.

He plays no "D"

When Obama's on your team, this is what you'll learn early and often. He plays no defense. When his guy dribbles past him, his first instinct is to yell "help". After his guy scores, he's bitching at you for not picking up his guy.

He can't drive to the rack

Did you notice on the 60 Minute piece how he stood outside the three point line like it was some kind of Star Trek force field? Part of that is, being left handed, he can't drive on you because he can't go to his right (in more ways than one). So he stands out on the wing clapping his hands yelling "ball, ball".

His game is all about you getting him the ball so he can fire up a three. He never works to get himself open. No, it's up to you to get him his shot. Assist is not in his vocabulary at all. In fact, his next assist will probably be his first.

He cherry picks

One of the most annoying things about his nonexistent defensive game is the fact that he's always on the other end of the court cherry picking for a lay up after you do all the hard and hefty rebounding work on the other end.

In addition, he's the kind of guy you get fed up with because, while you're getting your ass down the court, he's firing up a three with no rebounding help. After a while, you just get fed up hustling because you know he's going to fire up a shot before his teammates get past half court.

His whole game is one dimensional

This is the guy I love to defend because he's so easy. All you have to do is place yourself between him and the passing lane and you've totally neutralized him and you get to take a blow on defense.

Since he's never actually had to work to get the ball, he can never understand why his teammates can't seem to make a twenty foot skip pass, over me, to him. So after the first four or five trips down the court and he hasn't touched the ball; he gets big time pissy.

This is when you start trash talking the shit out of him.

Then you tease a pass to him just because you know he's going to want to fire up one in your face. Usually, he'll miss because he's forcing a shot. That just makes him more determined. By the time the game is over, he's chucked enough bricks to build a cathedral.

He's a glory whore

During most games, there will be a time when a pretty wife or girlfriend walks into the gym to watch. This is when The O shines. He'll do anything to "face" another player so he looks good in front of the hottie. For the first time in the game, he'll actually work for a shot.

If you are defending him, you way over play his left, forcing him to go right. Because it's such an unnatural movement for him, it's going to result in another forced shot/brick.

He's most dangerous when he's in trouble

I remember a Bob Huggin's quote about good shots "90% of all good shots are preceded by a good pass".

When the O is on your team there's going to be that one trip down the court when he thinks he can drive for a game winner. Knowing what a ball hog he is, you set a screen for him. Because of his ego, he ignores your screen but then throws a 40 mph pass three feet from you when he gets trapped on the baseline. The pass goes whizzing by everyone out of bounds.

He'd be undefeated if it wasn't for his teammates

After you lose your third straight game and have to sit out, you get to listen to this guy bark incessantly about how the team would have won all those games if his teammates would have just gotten him the damn ball.

He somehow never seems to make the connection that the only common thread to all of his losses is him.

Now go and apply the Kobe Wanna Be metaphors to anything Obama and you'll see that I'm not running smack.

Thought of the day

It seems to me that if you are looking for "ass to kick" among the people who are responsible for the gulf oil spill, that you would at least have the balls to call the head of the company responsible.

article here

Life in "Progress" State - Michigan edition

So what has contributed to Michigan's decline.

Maybe a coincidence (but I doubt it), but it appears that once the electorate there started voting exclusively democratic, the cesspool started brewing.........

My home state of Michigan provides something of an acid test for the popularity of the policies of the Obama Democrats. For a brief time, Michigan voted almost exactly the same as the nation as a whole: 59%-40% for Ronald Reagan in 1984, 54%-46% for George H. W. Bush in 1988, 44%-38% for Bill Clinton in 1992, with 19% for Ross Perot. Then Michigan began voting 3% more Democratic than the national average: 52%-38% for Clinton in 1996, 51%-46% for Al Gore in 2000, 51%-48% for John Kerry. In 2008 Michigan was 4% more Democratic than the national average: 57%-41% for Barack Obama. This was very similar to the state’s 2006 margins for Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm (56%-42%) and Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow (57%-41%).Standard political analysis would suggest that Michigan should have moved even farther toward the Democrats since 2008.

In the deep recession Michigan has consistently been the nation’s number one unemployment state. And the federal government under the Obama administration bailed out General Motors and Chrysler, two of Michigan’s largest employers—although one might more accurately say that the Obama administration bailed out the United Auto Workers, Michigan’s largest private sector union.

Leading the nation in unemployment?

Now that's "Progressive"!

Monday, June 07, 2010

And "progressives" are supposed to be the smart ones

You've probably seen the studies showing liberals to be more educated than the average conservative.

Those studies have always struck me as ironic since your average liberal has no knowledge of things like the laws of supply and demand and diminishing marginal utility.

Now here's a study to actually prove that........

Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and I considered the 4,835 respondents' (all American adults) answers to eight survey questions about basic economics. We also asked the respondents about their political leanings: progressive/very liberal; liberal; moderate; conservative; very conservative; and libertarian.

Rather than focusing on whether respondents answered a question correctly, we instead looked at whether they answered incorrectly. A response was counted as incorrect only if it was flatly unenlightened.

Consider one of the economic propositions in the December 2008 poll: "Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable." People were asked if they: 1) strongly agree; 2) somewhat agree; 3) somewhat disagree; 4) strongly disagree; 5) are not sure.

Basic economics acknowledges that whatever redeeming features a restriction may have, it increases the cost of production and exchange, making goods and services less affordable. There may be exceptions to the general case, but they would be atypical.

Therefore, we counted as incorrect responses of "somewhat disagree" and "strongly disagree." This treatment gives leeway for those who think the question is ambiguous or half right and half wrong. They would likely answer "not sure," which we do not count as incorrect.

In this case, percentage of conservatives answering incorrectly was 22.3%, very conservatives 17.6% and libertarians 15.7%. But the percentage of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly was 67.6% and liberals 60.1%. The pattern was not an anomaly.


Life in "Progress" State - Illinois edition

From the Land of Lincoln...........

Illinois’ bond rating has been cut a notch by Moody’s Investors Service as a new report shows state revenues continue to slide and the pile of unpaid bills continues to grow.

Moody’s cut Illinois’ rating on general obligation bonds from Aa3 to A1, blaming state government’s failure to come up with a permanent solution to its financial problems. Instead, lawmakers relied on a series of one-time fixes to cobble together a spending plan.

“This failure underscores a chronic lack of political will that indicates further erosion of an already weak financial position,” Moody’s said in an opinion about the state’s credit rating.

The report said the state’s credit rating is further threatened by its growing debt burden, large unfunded liabilities for pensions and retiree health benefits, the disparity between spending and revenue and the decision to simply put off paying bills.

Downgraded debt obligations due to fiscal malfeasance?

Now that's "Progressive"!


Cafe owner explains why he booted a cop

The next bursting sub prime bubble........

Two article addressing the next sub prime credit meltdown...... student loans......

The first

It's a story of an industry that may sound familiar.

The buyers think what they're buying will appreciate in value, making them rich in the future. The product grows more and more elaborate, and more and more expensive, but the expense is offset by cheap credit provided by sellers eager to encourage buyers to buy.

Buyers see that everyone else is taking on mounds of debt, and so are more comfortable when they do so themselves; besides, for a generation, the value of what they're buying has gone up steadily. What could go wrong? Everything continues smoothly until, at some point, it doesn't.

Yes, this sounds like the housing bubble, but I'm afraid it's also sounding a lot like a still-inflating higher education bubble. And despite (or because of) the fact that my day job involves higher education, I think it's better for us to face up to what's going on before the bubble bursts messily.

College has gotten a lot more expensive. A recent Money magazine report notes: "After adjusting for financial aid, the amount families pay for college has skyrocketed 439 percent since 1982. ... Normal supply and demand can't begin to explain cost increases of this magnitude."

The second

Until recently, I thought that there would never again be an opportunity to be involved with an industry as socially destructive and morally bankrupt as the subprime mortgage industry. I was wrong. The for-profit education industry has proven equal to the task.

The for-profit industry has grown at an extreme and unusual rate, driven by easy access to government sponsored debt in the form of Title IV student loans, where the credit is guaranteed by the government. Thus, the government, the students and the taxpayer bear all the risk, and the for-profit industry reaps all the rewards. This is similar to the subprime mortgage sector in that the subprime originators bore far less risk than the investors in their mortgage paper.

In the past 10 years, the for-profit education industry has grown 5-10 times the historical rate of traditional post secondary education. As of 2009, the industry had almost 10% of enrolled students but claimed nearly 25% of the $89 billion of federal Title IV student loans and grant disbursements. At the current pace of growth, for-profit schools will draw 40% of all Title IV aid in 10 years.

How has this been allowed to happen?

The simple answer is that they’ve hired every lobbyist in Washington, DC. There has been a revolving door between the people who work for this industry and the halls of government. One example is Sally Stroup. In 2001-2002, she was the head lobbyist for the Apollo Group — the company behind the University of Phoenix and the largest for-profit educator. But from 2002-2006 she became assistant secretary of post-secondary education for the Department of Education under President Bush. In other words, she was directly in charge of regulating the industry she had previously lobbied for.

I can hear the barney Frank's in five years blaming the for profit college biz for this dilemma when all they were doing was chasing the money the feds have been throwing around for decades.

Life in "Progress" City - Baltimore edition

From the Charm City................

So now we know that Baltimore Police Officer Gahiji A. Tshamba, back in 2005, was intoxicated when he shot a man in the foot during a confrontation.

What we don't yet know -- and hopefully answers will come today -- is how Tshamba managed to retain his badge after the incident?

Tshamba, as we all know by now, is the off-duty officer who shot ex-Marine Tyrone Brown (left) six times in Mount Vernon early Saturday after Brown patted the officer's female companion on the buttocks. Brown was joking, his relatives say. Police say an argument grew into a physical altercation that led to the shooting. The victim's sister says there was no fight and that Brown apologized but was taunted by the officer.

Either way, police have been unusually blunt in calling this a troubling shooting and saying they are trying to determine whether Tshamba was intoxicated when he shot 13 tiimes. The officer has refused to make a statement and declined to submit to breath test. He has been put on administrative duties. A police spokesman said detectives have not found any reason to believe the officer's life was in danger.

So that brings us back to September 2005. Details remain sketchy but it appears that Tshamba had been confronted by a group of men who yelled racial slurs. Police said one threw a bottle at him, and another struck his car and then advanced toward him. Tshamba shot one of them in the foot.

Police and prosecutors ruled the shooting justified but disciplined him for being intoxicated on the job. I suppose you can be imparied by alcohol and still be justified in using your weapon -- escaping criminal liability -- but it's hard to imagine keeping a guy on the force under such circumstances.

Keeping bad cops on the force so they can pump 13 bullets into a marine?

Now that's "Progressive"!


Who did he vote for? #818

Meet Eric Wixcey. Why is Eric in the news?

A 22-year-old Bath man was charged with arson late Thursday after officers accused him of dropping a lit cigarette into the gas tank of a police car.Police said Eric Wixcey, of North Revere Road, was seen tampering with the gas cap of an Akron cruiser while officers were maintaining order in a large crowd in the 1200 block of Weathervane Lane, a popular entertainment district.When police approached, they realized that he had removed the gas cap and placed a lit cigarette in the opening. When they went to arrest Wixcey, he ran. He was caught after a brief chase. Wixcey was charged with arson, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct by an intoxicated person, and molesting police property. He was booked into the Summit County Jail.

So on November 4, 2008 when Eric here showed up to cast his ballot, did he vote for the Hope and Change candidate or the Four more Years of Bush candidate.

Thanks reader Kent.

America Rising: An Open Letter to Democrat Politicians

Life in "Progress" City - Cincinnati edition

From the Queen City...........

For the past two months, Keith Carpenter has been on paid medical leave for stress from his $50,000-a-year Metro job.

It's difficult to quibble over the stress, because the 51-year-old Springfield Township man is scheduled to go on trial July 19 on two counts of manslaughter that charge him with beating a man to death in a fight outside a bar.

Metro chief public affairs officer Sallie Hilvers said Carpenter initiated the leave via a doctor's request following a March 28 incident in which he is accused of killing Alan Cunningham, 50, of Mount Healthy, in the rear parking lot at Vince's Other Place, 7701 Hamilton Ave.

"As a salaried employee, it's something he's entitled to, as any other worker would be," Hilvers said.

For Carpenter, the medical leave has provided at least a portion of his salary during a period in which he could not work anyway - because he was under house arrest.

Paying people under house arrest for manslaughter?

Now that's "Progressive"!


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Life in "Progress" State - New York edition

Despite promises that the exams -- which determine whether students advance to the next grade -- would not be dumbed down this year, students got "partial credit" for wrong answers after failing to correctly add, subtract, multiply and divide. Some got credit for no answer at all.

"They were giving credit for blatantly wrong things," said an outraged Brooklyn teacher who was among those hired to score the fourth-grade test.

State education officials had vowed to "strengthen" and "increase the rigor" of both the questions and the scoring when about 1.2 million kids in grades 3 to 8 -- including 450,000 in New York City -- took English exams in April and math exams last month.

But scoring guides obtained by The Post reveal that kids get half-credit or more for showing fragments of work related to the problem -- even if they screw up the calculations or leave the answer blank.
Churning out illiterates to become future democrats?

Now that's "progressive"!


How to stimulate an economy

Or a massage school............

Massage and beauty schools, online universities and other for-profit colleges in Georgia and across the nation are cashing in on federal stimulus spending, collecting $2.2 billion in tuition grants for low-income students, public records show. That represents nearly a quarter of the stimulus money spent on these grants to date.

The taxpayer-funded grants are flowing to profit-making schools as the government is seeking to revise how those schools qualify for federal aid, partly because of concerns over how some saddle their students with substantial debt. The effort follows a federal report that cited abuses in the recruiting practices of some of the schools.

Georgia’s public colleges, meanwhile, are grappling with deep state budget cuts that are expected to increase tuition costs and class sizes. Some state officials would like to see more stimulus money come to those schools.


Life in "Progress" State - Connecticut edition

Connecticut is preparing to borrow $956 million to close a budget gap in the fiscal year beginning July 1, after borrowing money last year to cover a deficit of $947.6 million. Not good. Fitch has reduced the states credit rating from AA+ to AA.

“The downgrade reflects the state’s reduced financial flexibility, illustrated by its reliance on sizable debt issuances during the current biennium to close operating gaps in the context of already high liabilities,” Fitch said.

Connecticut is the wealthiest state on a per capita basis with personal income of $54,397 in 2009, according to Department of Commerce.

Downgraded bond ratings?

Now that's "progressive"!


Life in "Progress" City - Youngstown edition

The Gekko's spent the weekend in Youngstown/Warren for a family visit. You may remember Youngstown as the home of democrats and union leadership and subsequent home of rust, unemployment and Carmine the Bookie after said leadership.

My in law's are a perfect example of how people flee the confines of democratic leadership. The Lovely Mrs. Gekko is one of ten children. Of those ten children all of one of those kids still live in the area. All the rest moved to areas of the country where they could find things like good jobs.

I had planned to take some footage of the area but my camera ran out of juice during our family commitments. Let's just say the above photo encapsulates the area today.