Friday, November 04, 2011
Here's how the Harvard Crimson covered the boycott.......
The Occupy movement has become known for its many, and often contradictory, faces. Now we can add a new group of faces to that list—Ec 10 students. Students in the popular introductory economics class walked out fifteen minutes into the class yesterday in a gesture of solidarity with the Occupy movement and to protest what the event organizers consider a class that promotes a “strongly conservative neoliberal ideology.” We find it troubling that students would protest a class because of its supposed ideological bent at an institution dedicated to academic integrity. Such an action sets a dangerous precedent of ideological discrimination against professors.
While it is true that Professor N. Gregory Mankiw, who was lecturing during the walkout, has conservative views and held a position in the Bush Administration, we take issue with the claim that his class is inherently biased because he is the professor and author of its textbook. The truth is that Ec 10, a requirement for economics concentrators, provides a necessary academic grounding for the study of economics as a social science. Professor Mankiw’s curriculum sticks to the basics of economic theory without straying into partisan debate. We struggle to believe that we must defend his textbook, much maligned by the protesters, which is both peer reviewed and widely used.
Furthermore, the students protesting the class who desire that he give more time to other, less accepted schools of economic thought—like Marxism—would do well to remember that such interrogation is the domain of social theory, not economic theory. Supply-and-demand economics is a popular idea of how society is organized, and Mankiw’s Ec 10 never presents itself as more than that. As such, including other theories would simply muddy the waters of what is intended; Ec 10 is an introductory class that lays the foundation for future, more nuanced, study
This reminds me of a lecture my Econ 101 professor gave the class after his students did so poorly on an exam. After about 15 minutes of listening to him complain about how the people who didn't show up to class did poorly, I got up in front of about 600 students and said "Dr. Berry, the people who you are complaining about aren't here and the one's who are don't need to hear it."
Given the total lack of aptitude of the OWS people and our president, it appears that many of them could have sat in on this lecture and learned something.
A blockbuster new book rips the lid off President Barack Obama’s darkest secrets – and could doom his bid to win a second term in the White House!
The explosive tell-all by take-no-prisoners blogger Mondo Frazier reveals the commander in chief is a “chain-smoking wreck” who could be hooked on prescription drugs, and claims he may have spied for the CIA in college.
“I’ve uncovered that President Obama has spent over $2 million in legal fees to keep the details of his past hidden,” Frazier told The ENQUIRER. “This new book will surely impact his re-election campaign.”
In “The Secret Life of Barack Hussein Obama,” published by Simon & Schuster’s Threshold Editions press, Frazier alleges President Obama could have been a “CIA double agent” when he was a student at Columbia University.
That may be the reason why Obama refuses to release his Columbia records, according to Frazier, who also discloses that former National Security Agency employee Wayne Madsen has discovered CIA files directly linked to this secret.
Because of that, I'm looking to help Joe Therrien get a job by throwing out his story on my blog.
Who is Joe? Well let's read this.........
A few years ago, Joe Therrien, a graduate of the NYC Teaching Fellows program, was working as a full-time drama teacher at a public elementary school in New York City. Frustrated by huge class sizes, sparse resources and a disorganized bureaucracy, he set off to the University of Connecticut to get an MFA in his passion—puppetry. Three years and $35,000 in student loans later, he emerged with degree in hand, and because puppeteers aren’t exactly in high demand, he went looking for work at his old school. The intervening years had been brutal to the city’s school budgets—down about 14 percent on average since 2007. A virtual hiring freeze has been in place since 2009 in most subject areas, arts included, and spending on art supplies in elementary schools crashed by 73 percent between 2006 and 2009. So even though Joe’s old principal was excited to have him back, she just couldn’t afford to hire a new full-time teacher. Instead, he’s working at his old school as a full-time “substitute”; he writes his own curriculum, holds regular classes and does everything a normal teacher does. “But sub pay is about 50 percent of a full-time salaried position,” he says, “so I’m working for half as much as I did four years ago, before grad school, and I don’t have health insurance…. It’s the best-paying job I could find.”
Like a lot of the young protesters who have flocked to Occupy Wall Street, Joe had thought that hard work and education would bring, if not class mobility, at least a measure of security (indeed, a master’s degree can boost a New York City teacher’s salary by $10,000 or more).
Now, I know what you are thinking. How does a master's degree in puppetry increase his class mobility?
You may even be wondering if the guy did a cost/benefit analysis to see if a $35,000 investment in puppetry would yield a return greater than that?
But hey, the guy pursued his passion in life.... puppetry. Certainly, everyone has done that and it's always yielded results.
I only wish I could have pursued my dream. It really bummed me out to apply to school after school only to find out none of them had a program in Elvis Pressley. (For the record, Mama Gekko can attest that I told a first grade teacher that's who I wanted to be when I grew up).
I'm sure that if there were such a degree, I would have received a master's in the course of study and it would have paid off big bucks if it weren't for those greedy ass corporate Wall Street Bankers like Jon Corzine to hold me down.
Instead, I was forced to pursue my second greatest passion in life...... "accounting".
None the less, I want to help this guy out. Surely there is a coffee shop out there looking for a puppetry guy who can do a puppet skit while simultaneously squirting foam on a double crappccino.
As the sun dips below the rooftops each evening, parts of this Detroit enclave turn to pitch black, the only illumination coming from a few streetlights at the end of the block or from glowing yellow yard globes.
It wasn't always this way. But when the debt-ridden community could no longer afford its monthly electric bill, elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out -- bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness.
"How can you darken any city?" asked Victoria Dowdell, standing in the halo of a light in her front yard. "I think that was a disgrace. She said the decision endangers everyone, especially people who have to walk around at night or catch the bus.
Hey, don't worry, in Detroit there are no buses to catch anyway.
People who catch the bus in Detroit may be waiting a while Friday morning. About 100 Detroit Department of Transportation bus drivers are at work, but are refusing to drive their buses.more.......
WWJ’s Scott Ryan spoke with Henry Gaffney, spokesman for the D-DOT bus drivers union AFL-CIO Local 26, who said this was not an organized maneuver by the union. Gaffney said it’s a matter of bus drivers fearing for their safety, citing an incident that happened Thursday afternoon.
“Our drivers are scared, they’re scared for their lives. This has been an ongoing situation about security. I think yesterday kind of just topped it off, when one of my drivers was beat up by some teenagers down in the middle of Rosa Parks and it took the police almost 30 minutes to get there, in downtown Detroit,” said Gaffney.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Since January 1985, the Batavia school board has paid 100 percent of its teachers’ contributions to their retirement.
Contracts approved by Cincinnati City Council include benefits that, among other things, permit many workers to draw 13 sick days a year, grant three weeks’ worth of compensatory time to public safety employees for holidays whether they work them or not, and entitle veteran police officers to nearly 10 weeks of various leaves annually.
In Butler County, sheriff’s deputies can earn a $200 per year physical fitness incentive based on how fast they can run a mile and how many pushups and sit ups they can do. There are different standards based on age and gender.
The public employee contracts in Cincinnati and the counties of Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Warren, their municipalities and the state are laced with lucrative provisions, all approved by our elected representatives – township trustees, county commissioners, city councils – but seldom found in the private sector.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
By 63.5% to 36.4%, voters on Tuesday routed an initiative that would have raised sales and income taxes for five years to provide $2.9 billion for schools and colleges. That's a resounding defeat. What makes it especially significant is the tax hike was intended for education — typically the last thing that voters want to see cut. Even sacred cows are being put on short rations these days.63% HATE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!
But the fact is that the banks — most of which were mere victims of the financial meltdown — have paid back almost all the money they got from taxpayers. The much-ballyhooed $700 billion TARP program will likely end up costing taxpayers as little as $19 billion when all is said and done.
The same cannot be said of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Not only where they at the epicenter of the housing bubble, but also the government had to take them over, pumping in cash to cover their huge losses on the mortgages they owned and guaranteed. And far from paying taxpayers back, the best-case scenario for Fannie and Freddie is that their bailout will cost over $120 billion.But that didn't stop the two agencies from giving their top 10 executives $12.8 million in bonuses for meeting what have been charitably described as "modest goals."
And the White House response to this genuine outrage? Crickets.
Next up was Randy Truckenbrodt of Randall Industries. Randy told us of a facility he purchased in the 1980s that had two small gasoline tanks buried on the property by previous owners. He wanted to dig up the old ones and replace them with one that would better serve his needs for his fleet of trucks.More......
Truckenbrodt contacted the government, secured permits, hired a contractor and dug up the two aging gasoline tanks. Then the nightmare began. The IEPA and other agencies began a long, drawn out game of questioning, demanding, and stalling Truckenbrodt’s work resulting in almost two decades of obstruction. A 50-some-foot hole was left open in the ground in the middle of his property for 17 years as government officials dallied on giving him permission to complete his construction. 17 years!
All during this time, Truckenbrodt’s property was in a purgatory unable to be sold, improved, or used easily by his company. Worse, all financial avenues were closed to him for the property. He could not refinance or get loans as the IEPA had the property on its trouble list.
Truckenbrodt noted that the environmental testing game is a major scam more often than not because the state encourages testing, and testing, and testing ’til the cows come home racking up costs the whole time. It’s so bad, Truckenbrodt said, that many contractors have told him they quietly urge clients to just go ahead and build their buildings, lay their driveways, or do other things without notifying the IEPA at all and cross fingers that the government will never find out about the work being done. The system, Truckenbrodt says, is so bad that it encourages people to break the law and cheat in order to avoid the jobs-killing regulatory nightmare that can sometimes take decades to get through.
But hey, you can move your business to Indonesia.....problem solved.
No one, it seems, is immune from the scourge of copper theft.
This weekend a Kansas City police radio tower was the target of thieves who made off with an estimated $12,000 worth of wiring and other metal items.
The theft in the 6800 block of Booth Avenue in the south-central part of the city was discovered Saturday morning. An officer checking the tower site discovered that a chain used to secure the gate had been cut and the gate was open.
Police discovered that a “large amount” of wiring and other items were missing.
The Spirit Lake tribe Tuesday sued the NCAA for blocking its attempt to let the University of North Dakota use the sports nickname Fighting Sioux.
Tribal attorney Reed Soderstrom said the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court challenges the NCAA's policy banning the use of Native American names and imagery by collegiate athletic teams.
He said the suit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association was brought on behalf of more than 1,004 members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe "in direct response to their attempt to take away and prevent the North Dakota Sioux Indians from giving their name forever to the University of North Dakota" despite a tribal vote in 2009 and a "sacred and religious spiritual ceremony" by tribal leaders in 1969 that granted "perpetual use" of the name to the school.
When colleagues called the work of Dutch psychologist Diederik Stapel too good to be true, they meant it as a compliment. But a preliminary investigative report (go.nature.com/tqmp5c) released on October 31 gives literal meaning to the phrase, detailing years of data manipulation and blatant fabrication by the prominent Tilburg University researcher.
"We have some 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals where we are actually sure that they are fake, and there are more to come," says Pim Levelt, chair of the committee that investigated Stapel's work at the university.
Stapel's eye-catching studies on aspects of social behaviour such as power and stereotyping garnered wide press coverage. For example, in a recent Science paper (which the investigation has not identified as fraudulent), Stapel reported that untidy environments encouraged discrimination ( Science 332, 251-253; 2011).
"Somebody used the word 'wunderkind'," says Miles Hewstone, a social psychologist at the University of Oxford, UK. "He was one of the bright thrusting young stars of Dutch social psychology -- highly published, highly cited, prize-winning, worked with lots of people, and very well thought of in the field."
I can attest to some shenanigans my ex wife went through with her Masters adviser who was hell bent on manipulating her data to prove that work place diversity increased productivity.
Why? Because they both knew that the more politically correct hypothesis your data can support, the easier it is to get published. Kind of like global warming.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Jon Corzine, the CEO of bankrupt broker-dealer MF Global, saw his reputation tossed from the frying pan right into the regulatory fire yesterday when investigators discovered as much as $700 million in customer funds missing from the firm.
Officials from two US regulators, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, were looking into whether the loot was diverted to support some of the firm’s own trades.
As if the allegedly missing funds, which happened on Corzine’s watch, are not bad enough, it was learned late yesterday that the $700 million was responsible for capsizing a potential deal between MF Global and rival Interactive Brokers Group that could have saved the firm and the jobs of the company’s 2,870 employees worldwide.
None the less, for all the clamoring about how Walmart is hostile to unions.... maybe someone should tell the workers.
Workers at a Wal-Mart in Gatineau, Que., are officially decertified from their union after just more than a year with their first collective agreement.More.....
Quebec's Labour Relations Commission removed the more than 150 workers, who are employed at a store on du Plateau Boulevard in the city's Hull sector, from their union.
The Wal-Mart workers first joined the union, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, in 2008. Then after two years of unsuccessful negotiations between the union and Wal-Mart, an arbitrator enforced a collective agreement in the summer of 2010.
"This follows an application made by our Hull associates earlier this year to decertify the union at their store," said Andrew Pelletier, Wal-Mart's vice president of corporate affairs and sustainability.
"Wal-Mart respects the decision of our Hull associates. They have made their views clear in this matter."
In the wake of Enquirer reports that Hamilton County's Job and Family Services agency is at the breaking point - with too many cases per worker and woefully out-of-date technology - two commissioners said Monday they want to help the agency.So someone please explain to me how it is that better technology will help people make a decision to move a kid back into an abusive household?
Commission President Greg Hartmann, a Republican, and Todd Portune, a Democrat, both suggested allowing the agency to dip in a $28 million reserve in the children's services levy. That money has been set aside for an expected penalty for bad bookkeeping decisions a decade ago.
The idea to give JFS a cash infusion comes up 48 hours before Hamilton County commissioners are set to vote on the county's 2012 budget. It's expected to come in at $208.8 million, about the same as this year.A technology upgrade could cost as much as $750,000 - but it all depends on what equipment is purchased and for how many social workers. Details are still being worked out, Hartmann said.
It will take two votes of the three-man board of commissioners to make the purchase.
Commissioners Chris Monzel was not at Monday's regular staff meeting due to a family medical emergency.
JFS Director Moira Weir, who oversees the children's services division, could not be reached for comment.
The Enquirer revealed the children's service's surplus last week. The agency is asking voters Nov. 8 to renew the levy that pays for the care of abused and neglected children in the county.
All eyes are on the agency right now after the Oct. 21 death of Damarcus Jackson, a 2-year-old who spent nearly his whole life in Hamilton County foster care. A Hamilton County Juvenile Court magistrate in August sent Damarcus to live with his biological parents.
Monday, October 31, 2011
(Reuters) - Beacon Power Corp filed for bankruptcy on Sunday just a year after the energy storage company received a $43 million loan guarantee from a controversial U.S. Department of Energy program.
The move comes about two months after solar panel maker Solyndra also filed for bankruptcy, setting off criticism of the government loan program.
The department guaranteed $535 million in loans to Solyndra, and Congress is investigating whether political influence played a role.