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Monday, August 29, 2011

Green Greed and Voracious Consumption

The O-bumas’ greed and voraciousness are mindful of the king and queen in the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence.”  When not enjoying expensive vacations or collecting contributions to his re-election counting house, he hides on golf courses ignoring the burial of some of our most elite soldiers.  O-buma pleads; can't you see I'm on vacation?  The job of president is not merely outside his comfort zone, it's above Obama's pay grade. 

Mrs. Obama, the czaress of healthy eating, has been traversing the globe scarfing up high-dollar, high fat, high-calorie foods, the sort that she wants denied to commoners.  They are a perfect pair.  He is an arrogant, aloof, feckless caricature of an American leader.  She is an expensive, high-maintenance, tagalong for whom nothing is too good as long as taxpayers are paying for it.

Barack thinks that hobnobbing with progressive elites gave him a pedigree-by-association entitling him to trifle with vital national affairs that are well beyond his ken.  He boasted that he would create millions of green jobs; however, even his comrades at the New York Times recognize that his green jobs scheme is a pipe dream.

The Brookings Institution reports that in California, green jobs have actually been lost, not gained.  A year ago, Seattle, WA, received a $20 million grant to insulate homes.  The plan was to reduce energy consumption and to create entry-level jobs.  So far, they have insulated three homes and created 14 jobs, many of them administrative.  In Oak Park, Michigan, a government-funded hybrid bus company is out of business two years after being touted as part of Michigan’s green future.

Little wonder that the O-bumites' green stimulus failed miserably.  Eighty percent of the $2 billion set aside in the ‘stimulus’ package for green jobs is going overseas, mostly to China.  Much of the rest went to crony capitalists like GE.  We borrowed billions for O-buma to enjoy quixotically tilting at climate change windmills.

While the king is obtuse, the queen is obnoxiously wanton.  Shortly before heading to Martha’s Vineyard for a lavish vacation, Michelle and her daughter went off to Spain to enjoy some conspicuous consumerism.  Her I-dare-you-to-say-something excuse for [the $375,000] excursion was that it was a ‘private mother-daughter’ trip with 40 close friends and a taxpayer-funded security detail of 68 requiring 30 rooms in Spain's most exclusive hotel. 

Tossing around mother-daughter rhetoric as though her daughters were going to Spain to spend one-on-one time with mommy was tasteless.  Using her children as human shields to deflect criticism is déclassé, even for an Obama.  Apparently, Shelly and Barry feel that luxuriating at the expense of working people is some form of reparations.

He is an abject failure, having failed by his own standards.  The Obama administration…said if his stimulus package was passed unemployment would not exceed 8 percent…Obama who joked there weren’t as many “shovel-ready” jobs as he thought…[He] promised to cut the deficit in half.  Obama…promised us recovery and prosperity, hope and change.  One must wonder: is he that naive, or did he simply lie? 

O-buma is a self-absorbed despot who is bankrupting the country in order to bask in the glory of progressive media’s adoration.  Michelle is an avariciously unsophisticated glutton feasting with both hands on the fruits of others’ labors.  We need leaders; they are liabilities.

May your gods be with you. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Liberty is Freedom

Men have differed in opinion, and been divided into parties by these opinions, from the first origin of societies, and in all governments where they have been permitted freely to think and to speak.  The same political parties which now agitate the United States, have existed through all time.  Whether the power of the people or that of the aristoi should prevail, were questions which kept the States of Greece and Rome in eternal convulsions, as they now schismatize every people whose minds and mouths are not shut up by the gag of a despot.

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, June 27, 1813

Liberty is freedom from governmental interference in the lives of individuals. 
The extent to which we are free to assemble, to criticize public officials, to acquire wealth and own property, and to limit the power and scope of government is the extent to which we enjoy political liberty.   

Libertarians want as little government as possible.  Progressives want virtually all aspects of life to be micromanaged and controlled by agents of the state.  Libertarians prefer a laissez faire, or live-and-let-live approach to government. 

Progressives want totalitarian government that rations speech, regulates thought, and eliminates private ownership through taxation and regulation.  Libertarians want to choose for themselves.  Progressives want the nanny state to limit choices only to the alternatives sanctioned by government.

This video is an encounter between a young Michael Moore—yes that one—and Milton Friedman.  Moore claims that it was wrong on principle for Ford Motor Company to use a cost-benefit analysis to decide whether to redesign Pinto automobiles that had faulty gas tanks.  Friedman points out that Moore’s reasoning is flawed, as it is today, and that everyone should be able to choose for ourselves how much risk to accept.

Friedman argues that government should provide courts of law in which consumers can sue business owners who knowingly hide potentially lethal defects in their products.  This is one aspect of market forces.  He also argues that if the defects are public knowledge, consumers should have the right to accept the risk knowingly if they choose to buy flawed products because they are relatively inexpensive.  Freedom to choose is an essential element of liberty.

O-tolitarians would have us believe that by government decree, we can have fuel efficient, completely safe, non-polluting motor vehicles that are also relatively inexpensive.  See me for some hurricane-proof real estate in Florida.  William F. Buckley often asked at what cost should we do this?  Progressives like to answer at any cost.  We could avoid many traffic fatalities by eliminating individually owned transportation; however, the O-bumites are far too beholden to the UAW for that. So, the at any cost argument is disingenuous.

Progressives hide their selfish, greedy, and controlling intentions with incrementalism.  They begin with seemingly innocuous programs, benefits, or subsidies such as WelfareHealthCare.  Then, citing costs, the nanny state’s totalitarian control takes away our freedom and makes all of our personal choices.  It is the Tony Soprano Rule.  The reason for the generosity is to muscle in on the operation until there is no one left but Big Nanny.

May your gods be with you.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Enabling Parasites

Accountability gives Democrats performance anxiety.  The very thought of having their stated goals compared to the results of their actions makes them limp with dread.  Rather, Theftocrats prefer backdoor methods of entering taxpayers’ wallets, such as the rife with fraud Earned Income Tax Credit.  Their plan is to spread government dependence throughout the middle class so that most of the electorate participates in parasitism.    

Like the photo at left, Kleptocrats and their constituents are political strangler figs who feed on their hosts until they die.  “Kevorkian Economics” describes the bloated, self-serving political class as parasites feeding off the private sector of the economy.  The recent debt-ceiling debacle reveals that they are unwilling to curtail their appetite for the fruits of others’ labors.  Apparently, this group has made an implicit decision to kill its host.

The scheme is to extend and pretend.  It expands the bloodletting to support the parasites while feigning that efforts to relieve the object on which they feed are underway.  Tacitly, Corruptocrats’ position is this: the longer we can keep the host alive, the more we can plunder.  They are already committed to bankrupting the nation.  They just want to breed as many leeches as possible before the nation’s economic heart stops beating.  The progressive parasite richly deserves de-lousing.

Perhaps a good place to start the de-infestation would be with O-buma’s plans to add more welfare food programs to the already bloated national election collective.  John T. Bennett explains that the Community Eligibility Option is a plan to spread welfare dependency to all of the children in every school district in the nation, even those who are affluent or illegal aliens.  Part of the plan is to eliminate emotional consequences for the self-afflicted. 

A stated goal of the program is to eliminate the stigma of getting a free lunch; however, stigma separates dignified free people from wretched government dependents.  They plan to finish making schools one-stop welfare outlets with free breakfast, lunch, and snack programs for each student in every school which declares that 40% of their students are eligible for welfare.  The idea is to guide the children of self-sufficient achievers onto the welfare plantations.

O-buma wants to create a pervasive and permanent UK-type underclass of vicious, ungrateful, and shameless street thugs.  Largely, he and his lackeys have succeeded, as these hundred-plus recent incidents reveal.  What a shock that the pandering-to-panthers and facilitating-flash-mobs types would do this.  We are on the precipice of economic and societal collapse which the political class has chosen to accept so as to maximize their time in, and spoils from, office.           

When the party-of-theft has finished crashing and nationalizing the banking system, caused most Americans to be welfare dependent, made health care unaffordable, eliminated the second amendment to leave us defenseless, and established anarchy on the streets, urban looters will trigger nationwide riots that will finish the O-totalitarians’ plans for fundamentally changing America into a second-rate, third-world country.

May your gods be with you.      

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brief Hiatus

The illustration above is from the US National Weather Service.  It depicts the 2005 storm season, which was the worst in living memory.  Below, is the result of Katrina.  The time has come, the walrus said, to begin battening hatches, bringing in supplies, testing emergency equipment, and researching shelter and evacuation routes.  Please withhold comments about last-minute-lin.

For anyone who might take Irene lightly, please Google hurricanes Camile, Andrew, and Katrina.  A bit of preparation could have saved many lives and much property.  Lord willing and the creeks don't rise, the empress blogspot will return.  If not, the Elysian Fields are said to be lovely this time of year.

May your gods be with you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hah Gotcher Shared Sacrifice

Obama says that it is counterproductive to raise taxes during a recession because it would result in smaller paychecks and fewer jobs.  Nonetheless, he advocates for higher taxes with “fair share” boilerplate or “revenue increases” that require raising taxes.  This is the same failed experiment.  The left denounced the Bowles-Simpson deficit committee’s recommendations as draconian bloodletting.  Therefore, we have appointed another, even more partisan, committee to study the matter and make recommendations that will be rejected.     

Why we need committees to tell us the obvious is a mystery.  By now, sentient beings should recognize that recklessly spending borrowed money while hoping to pay for it with tax increases later has not solved our economic problems.  Rather, this misguided Keynesian scheme has greatly contributed to our woes.  We will spend over $250 billion paying interest on the national debt this year.  With a quarter trillion dollars here and a quarter trillion there, before long, we are into some real money.  

The Democratic Senate and House members who will serve on the deficit reduction super committee are one-trick-ponies.  House members Jim Clyburn, Chris Van Hollen and Xavier Becerra are on the 12-member panel.  These progressives are unconcerned about long-term US economic viability.  Becerra belongs to the Democratic Socialists of America organization.

The Senate group is similar.  They are Max Baucus of WelfareHealthCare infamy, John Kerry, an O-buma clone, and Patty Murray, a cultural Marxist and progressive.  They are expected to find ways to decrease government spending.  This is the equivalent of hiring pedophiles to work in daycare centers.  Their modus operandi is to use government hooligans to steal for them so they can purchase votes from permanent welfare constituencies.

Rather than enabling moochers, we need to get government off businesses' backs and let the private sector create jobs.  We desperately need them, but O-buma wants to borrow more money for pie-in-the-sky swindles.  He refers to his so-called jobs plan as an infrastructure bank, but it would actually be a shush fund operated by his appointees to benefit union interests and corporate welfare recipients.

Unveiled at the radical leftist Center for American Progress in January…it would leverage $10 billion in unidentified public funds into $640 billion in government loans and loan guarantees for union-exclusive construction and bogus green jobs projects.  This will replicate past presidential failures.

Walter Williams observes that O-buma’s regime is more like FDR’s than Jimmy Carter’s.  Under Roosevelt, federal debt skyrocketed by 73 percent.  Income taxes rose to 90%.  Just when the economy began to recover—factory employment and payrolls had increased by 23 and 35 percent, respectively—he convinced Congress to pass the National Recovery Act.  Sound familiar?

The NRA shortened work hours, raised wages arbitrarily, and imposed other new costs on businesses.  In the six months after the law took effect, industrial production dropped 25 percent.  Along with the NRA, came the National Labor Relations Act, a payoff to labor unions [that] went on a militant organizing frenzy [including] threats, boycotts, strikes, seizures of plants…violence and other acts that pushed productivity down sharply and unemployment up dramatically. 

The stock market crashed, losing almost half its value.  Unemployment was 20%.  FDR’s treasury secretary wrote that tax and spend policies were not working, and they fail today.  Unemployment remained stubbornly high, then as now.  All that debt went for naught, as has ours.  Roosevelt’s socialist schemes turned a three- or four-year sharp downturn into a 16-year affair.  This repeating failed experiments is not insanity; it is all part of the progressive plan.

May your gods be with you.       

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Federal Jobs are Mere Overhead

Federal bureaucrats argue that they deserve compensation packages double that of the people who pay their salaries because the government types are more educated.  Paying a PhD to conduct research and write reports is a waste of resources if someone else with a bachelor’s degree could perform the same function for fewer tax dollars.  Add to the equation that entering public service does not make anyone more effective, productive, or conscientious, and lack of competition makes them complacent.  If anything, many bureaucrats seem to be educated well beyond their intelligence levels, possessing abstruse information that has little, if any, practical value.

However, bloating bureaucracies with overly educated upper-crust twits seems to be the raison d'être of many in the current administration.  Federal regulatory agencies alone have more employees than McDonald's, Ford, Disney and Boeing combined.  While the overall US economy grew 5%, regulators’ budgets grew by 16%; their workforce increased by 13% while the number of private sector workers increased 5.6%.  O-buma stiffed taxpayers with over 281,000 new federal employees--almost all of them are reliable Corruptocrat supporters--since he took office.  Worse yet, we borrow forty cents of each dollar that he pays them from the Chinese.

Borrowing money to pay for the $1.75 trillion annual cost of regulation is only sound economic policy if evaluated with progressive math.  Team  O-buma has imposed 75 new major rules in its first 26 months, costing the private sector more than $40 billion.  Compounding matters is that the regulators and their regulations add no value to the goods and services that they regulate.  They create neither profits nor wealth.  More than anything, they are an albatross about the collective neck of taxpayers.

Much more is on the way.  The Federal Register notes that more than 4,200 regulations are in the pipeline.  That doesn't count impending clean air rules from the EPA, new derivative rules, or the FCC's net neutrality rule.  Nor does that include recently announced fuel economy mandates or eventual ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank regulations.  This is standard-issue Theftocrat incrementalism, nationalizing industries through confiscatory taxation and oppressive regulation.  While he is making businesses incapable of expansion and new job creation, O-buma is prancing across the nation in his pretty Canadian-built job bus bleating about the feds creating private sector jobs.

Other bobbleheads are on the same rhetorical page.  The simpleton whom O-buma appointed to squander money at the Department of Agriculture claims that redistributive welfare programs such as food stamps are actually stealth stimulus programs that create jobs outside government. 

It should be noted that both saving and investment are also economically productive activities contributing to credit availability and business growth respectively…taxpayers whose money is used to fund food stamp programs may have spent their money on other things, including food, thus also contributing to the economy without expensive interference from the federal government.

Jay Carney, the White House’s Charlie McCarthy-like spinmeister, echoed this sentiment.  He argues that unemployment programs that pay people not to work actually create new jobs with the money that is taken from taxpayers.

Speaking of squandered tax dollars, the ever-brilliant Jared Bernstein who, along with Susan Romer, predicted that O-buma’s Porkulus Plan would prevent unemployment from increasing beyond 8% is now predicting that through 2012 the most optimistic forecast would be for about eight-and-a-half percent.  If that is the case, there should be a Republican in the White House in January 2013.  Say Amen, sisters and brothers!

May your gods be with you.        

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sharpton's Illegitimate Son

Barack Obama believes that racism is insufficient pandering for people with melanin-positive skin.  Apparently, the Empty Suit cannot comprehend that he embarrasses himself by advertising his sub par reasoning skills.  Prudence dictates that he should first establish that they deserve pandering at all, then discuss its sufficiency.  Part of the pandering that O-buma gives them comes by way of Injustice’s Eric Bumholder. 

Herds of His People are slithering through our cities committing murder, assault, robbery, rioting, and arson.  However, there has been no federal investigation into their use of smart phones to conspire with their intellectual and moral soul mates and to organize large-scale riots.  It seems that Ericobrack believes that crime is merely another entitlement program.

Rodney King?  Throw out the Constitution and subject his attackers to double jeopardy; forget the rule of law.  New Black Panther Putzes intimidating voters?  Fuggedaboudit!  Stonewall any investigation of the matter.  They deserve to be welfared through life because they have melanin-positive skin.

Lloyd Marcus points out that O-buma is not an embarrassment to his race; rather, he is an embarrassment to his nation.  It is so unfortunate that American black youths' ultimate role model is a characterless, race-baiting political hack.  So, are the O-bumites fomenting racial tension for political leverage?  Does the self-anointed One feel that race riots are acceptable collateral damage?  Well, let's just say, unquestionably, that Obama's Chicago thug vibe resonates.

Maybe O-buma Holder knows something that most of us do not.  Perhaps their cohorts in crime simply cannot do any better.  Possibly these low-intelligence hooligans are like pedophiles and are beyond rehabilitation.  If no better can be expected of these dimwitted sociopaths, why should the rest of us be obligated to enable them?  Serial pedophiles are permanently confined; the legal precedent is set.  Hunt down rioters and ostracize them from society through permanent incarceration.

Incarceration makes prisoners invisible to the larger society.  While invisibility must be a nightmare for the mommy-look-at-me rioters, O-buma is desperately trying to keep his past invisible.  There could be reasons for it.  Since none of O-buma’s childhood friends, classmates, former girlfriends, or students who took classes from him have emerged with anecdotal tales about him, his past seems a closely guarded secret.  He is hiding things.  Is it possible that O-buma is actually Al Sharpton’s illegitimate son?

May your gods be with you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Terminology Trickery

When educrats use the term proficient in relation to academic achievement, it means meets minimum requirements; it does not mean well advanced.  This neologism is a misleading interpretation that directs public attention away from poor academic performance.  Sadly, what is currently deemed proficient was recognized as failure in 1960.  Today, low expectations are the norm.  Nearly one-quarter of high school graduates who take the US Army qualification examination fail it

People who are seeking employment in the Army are not future Rhodes Scholars.  For many, the Army is an employer of last resort that keeps them from working dead-end jobs in fast food chains, retail outlets, or as unskilled laborers.  However, scores on the tests required for graduation fail to reflect such a low level of competence. 

Test scores have stagnated in the last 35 years, and the gaps in performance by demographic category have remained constant and in direct proportion to intelligence levels.  In contrast, academic assessment has changed radically.  Putting imaginary clothes on the educational emperor requires great creativity.  Educational terminology reflects some of that creativity.  One such term is to differentiate.

One might believe that it means to recognize or give expression to a difference.  In academia, it means to segregate by demographic category.  To differentiate instruction means to provide a different learning experience for every individual student in the class.  This means that for Yan or Colin, earning an A grade—this begs the question as to whether grades are still earned—requires much greater effort than for Yashanda, Yolinda, or anyone else whom government classifies as Qualified Women and Minorities (QWAM's).

This academic welfare is the new inclusion, or equal pay for unequal work.  It is because Multicultural, anti-Western, and feminist ideologies take precedence over any substantive or useful ideas about how to teach.  One result is that an ESL student who has difficulty reading Dr. Seuss gets the same grade as someone who writes a concise and coherent explication of Waiting for Godot.

Ersatz education of this sort results from intellectually barren and ethically challenged education professors indoctrinating education students who, in turn, brainwash elementary school children.  It is little wonder that education majors in college score lowest of all disciplines on standardized tests.  Apparently, education colleges recruit people who are easily misled, yearn for approval, and are strongly inclined toward herd instincts.  Teaching to the lowest level of potential achievement requires little intellectual vigor.

What is required is the gullibility needed to embrace educational fads.  The different styles approach is but one example.  It is predicated on the propaganda that no one is any more or less intelligent, productive, or motivated, despite the self-evident falsity of that claim.  Students who will succeed in medical school or earn doctorates in astrophysics are forced into learning groups with lazy semi-literates, and all of the students receive the same grade, regardless of performance or productivity.

It is now unacceptable to simply teach a lesson to a class, and assess the students according to how well [each] demonstrates his knowledge of the content…providing 'differentiated instruction' to each of a teacher's 150 students is simply laughable.  In high schools around the country, teachers only teach 20% of students, the top and bottom ten percent of achievers.  The top ten are more gifted than many of the teachers, so their primary focus is to change D- students into C- students.  Jobs are going to India and China because there are too few qualified Americans to fill them.

May your gods be with you.        

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beat Whitey Olympics

Announcing 2011 Urban Olympics

In honor of Eric Holder’s Beat Whitey summer, special olympic-type games, designated as the Beat Whitey Olympics, will be held.  One urban area will be chosen from four finalists, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, or Milwaukee. Spectators from all demographic categories are welcome, but participation is limited to individuals who reside in urban zip codes and have no more than one parent of Northern European ancestry.  If neither a birth certificate nor a state-issued proof-of-birth form is available, verification by a minority parent will suffice.  Alternative methods of qualifying include SNAP card, TANF card, or mug shot.

A Hood Dog and Best Bitch will be chosen to preside over the ceremonies, during which leaders from each of the city’s gangs will be recognized.  This will be followed by a street dance.  Rather than a cash bar that might be robbed, liquor will be dispensed on a barter-only basis.  Gold, clothing, shoes, or electronic charges against food stamp accounts will be accepted.

Unlicensed pharmacists representing the city’s drug cartels will stroll through the venue offering their wares for devout Muslims and others who do not consume alcohol.  Food will also be available on a barter-only basis.  Caterers include Robbin' Raoul’s Ribs, Pamika’s Purloined Pork, and Sami’s Sauteed Camel Sphincters.  

The games will start the following evening.  The contests include:
·         Victim selection—making demographics work for you
·         Rock and bottle toss—choosing a deadly missile
·         Groveling for attention; mommy look at me!
·         Group beat down; finding the most vulnerable
·         Shoplifting with DDD bras and XXXX sweat pants
·         Hiding your nine; don’t leave home without it
·         Treasure hunt for credit cards, smart phones, and jewelry
·         Fleeing-and-eluding, know your hood
·         Flash mob organizing; the power of numbers
·         Identity concealment—hoodies, bandanas, and stocking caps
·         Shopping cart operation; the looters' little friend
·         Car boosting, a timed event
·         Creative pipe-making; smoke anywhere, any time
·         Team convenience store looting; it’s better with friends
·         Sucker-punching tourists; trashing the trusting

Prizes will be given to the top three competitors in each event.  Third prize is the drug of choice, meth, ice, heroin, or a combination of the three.  Second prize is a month’s supply of Triple Cheese Bacon Whompers with Industrial Size Fries.  First prize is a weekend fling of unprotected sex impregnating underage girls.  No doubt, the competition will be fierce.  At the conclusion of the ceremonies, spectators and participants will practice Fleeing-and-Eluding as though the National Guard had arrived.

May your gods be with you.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Community Organizer: Commie Rabble Rouser

They hail the black commie rabble-rouser as The One Who Will Bring Us Together and then do the three wise monkeys when the Second Coming leads to Beat-Whitey Fridays all over the land.  What was sold as our salvation has proved our undoing.

This article by Takuan Seiyo deserves to be read in its entirety at Taki’s Magazine.  It discusses the deeds of THEY, or as paranoids know them, the Dreaded League of Them and They.  The two statements above are from the article, and they provide clues as to THEIR identity.

Unhindered by inconvenient facts or ethics, the self-anointed ruling class elite has poisoned the wellspring of our future, education.  Teaching critical thinking skills now entails emotional education that indoctrinates children to accept paganism, perversion, and prevarication.  We produce semi-literate students with Whole Language programs and then try to compensate for their inability to comprehend word problems with fuzzy math.

Fuzzy math is an unqualified failure.  Former math teacher Matthew Clavel describes his classroom experiences trying to teach non-math thusly.  The curriculum’s failure was undeniable: not one of my students knew his or her times tables, and few had mastered even the most basic operations; knowledge of multiplication and division was abysmal.  Nothing about Fuzzy Math makes much sense from a teaching standpoint.

Part of the problem with non-math is its reliance on cooperative education.  The belief is that children possess innate wisdom and can teach each others while…the adult formerly known as a teacher flutters over them.  This harms students least in well-to-do prep schools; however, when applied to undisciplined inner-city kids from single-mother families who live in violence torn federal housing projects, classrooms quickly become riotous.

Not-math's desired outcome is for children to have the proper state-mandated values and beliefs.  They are not required to demonstrate that they can perform a calculation and come up with a right answer.  Teachers using fuzzy math do not teach math.  Learning basic math through practice provides the necessary tools to solve more complex problems.

Unfortunately, students in these programs cannot master the fundamentals of math because they are not required to practice them.  The hours of logically linked lessons that old-style math classes spent on practicing operations so that they became second nature to students just are not there.  Devaluing math skills degrades the curriculum to the lowest level of potential achievement.

Basic math skills are also superfluous in schools that teach social justice math.  In such classrooms, probability lessons are used to raise awareness of racial profiling by exploring the probability that a traffic stop should be (and is) a person of color.  Geometry lessons look at how many liquor stores...are within a 1-mile radius or within 5 blocks of your schools compared to other schools; other geometry lessons tackle ‘environmental racism’ by having students determine the density of toxic waste facilities, factories, dumps, etc. in the neighborhood.  The agenda is political, not academic.

Perhaps STEM programs offer our best and final hope of resurrecting the educational tradition of training students to become future generations of scientists, engineers, researchers, and physicists.  What this justice education hustle has produced is that only 40% of fourth graders and 32% of eighth graders in 2009 tested proficient or better in math.  We are destroying ourselves from within in the name of giving ersatz self-esteem to the least intellectually gifted among us.

A certain marsupial once observed that we have met the enemy, and he is us.  THEY are us.  May your gods be with you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Goliath Leans on David

The reason to engage in commerce is to make profits; as Milton Friedman put it, the “business of business is business.”  However, the primary business of government is confiscation.  At the federal level, officials accomplish this by employing a two-pronged attack against productive Americans, confiscatory taxation and oppressive regulation.  Some prudent business owners counter these intrusions with adaptation and innovation.  One small bank in Texas is escaping strangulating regulation by giving up its banking charter.

This WSJ article by Robin Sidel describes one result of progressive-style regulation.  Main Street Bank lends most of its money to small businesses and is earning decent profits.  But the Kingwood, Texas, bank is about to get out of the banking business.  Receiving an enforcement order from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation motivated Thomas Depping, Main Street’s chairman,to seek alternatives to the government’s tightening regulatory noose.

The bank’s business practices have been successful, making $11 million over the past year by lending primarily to small business owners.  At the same time, Main Street’s charge off rate was significantly lower than the national average.  Making money outside the tight constraints of federal regulators’ demands ruffles bureaucratic feathers; consequently, the FDIC slapped Main Street with a 25-page order to boost its capital, strengthen its controls and bring in a new top executive.

Under the Progressive President, the nanny state has taken over the Human Resources department of this relatively tiny bank.  The same hooligans who made Bank of America fire its CEO for complaining about being forced to accept an unwanted loan from the federal government perpetrated this travesty also.  They are the same dullards who caused mass bank failure by forcing lending institutions to give mortgages to unemployed welfare recipients.  Most federal banking regulators would starve if they were forced to work in private sector banks.

Main Street made credit decisions based on a combination of the borrower's personal-credit and business-credit histories, among other factors.  We felt that servicing small business is something the country needs and that we're really good at it.  I thought the model was working just fine, Mr. Depping says, apparently far too well for the current profit-averse administration.

The bank is becoming Ascentium Capital.  The new entity won't be regulated and won't be able to offer federal deposit insurance—but doesn't want to attract deposits.  These business people will continue making loans according to their own standards.  They are also thumbing their collective nose at regulators and avoiding La Mordida, the cut that the federal thugs demand for protection from their own regulators.  Hopefully, the new business can stay afloat until after the 2012 elections.

May your gods be with you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Effective Education

Identifying poverty—or any other government funded phenomenon—by its characteristics is problematic because progressive philosophies are firmly entrenched in both media and education.  A double-headed bureaucratic monster vigorously defends the fiefdom and the funding that keeps it expanding.  Thomas Sowell, a former economics professor, argues that what poverty means politically and in the media is whatever the people who collect statistics choose to define as poverty.  It is not mere semantics because the future of the welfare state depends on how poverty is defined.  "The poor" are the human shields behind whom advocates of ever bigger spending for ever bigger government advance toward their goal. 

Nowhere is bloated bureaucracy more evident than in education.  Journalism colleges are prolifically disgorging cultural Marxist clones to suppress inconvenient information and to gull a naïve body politic into believing their boilerplate.  With its propaganda machine in high gear, the academic types spin the tales told by the compliant and complicit media claiming that poverty causes students to fail.

They claim that underfunded war-on-poverty welfare programs create educational failure.  Bill Gates offered a different view in a speech that he gave to the Urban League.  He admits that poverty is a terrible obstacle.  But we can’t let it be an excuse…all students can succeed…you can have a good school in a poor neighborhood…let’s end the myth that we have to solve poverty before we improve education.  It’s the other way around.  Improving education is one of the best ways to solve poverty.

The key here is to determine how to make education effective enough to eliminate socially promoting students.  The Gates foundation studied how and why some poor children succeeded in school.  The researchers concluded that effective education is the product of effective teaching.  That this was not already self-evident to the national education collective reveals much.  Data now show that students with great teachers learn three times as much material in one year as students with ineffective teachers.

The studies also revealed that educators didn’t know what made teaching effective.  Gates is working with teachers to identify measures of effective teaching – and then develop ways to evaluate teachers that teachers themselves believe are fair.  That has been the rub.  To evaluate performance, one must have standards, and education unions react to standards like vampires splashed with holy water.

Whether it is standardized performance evaluations or standardized tests of students’ academic performance, education unions resist standards because they give administrators accurate tools to identify ineffective teachers who need to be culled from the herd.  As maximum class size laws attest, teachers’ unions are more interested in featherbedding their bureaucracies than getting rid of incompetent union members.

The article points out that ineffectiveness results because although all teachers are not equal, yet they are treated equally; and all students are not equal, yet they are treated equally.  This is is injustice.  Standardized performance appraisals for both teachers and students would go a long way toward proving which teaching techniques and methods are successful.  They would also provide clear indications as to which educators should be retained and rewarded and which ones need to find other employment opportunities.

May your gods be with you.