My Blog List

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Difficult to Ignore

Theftocrats have pulled off some of the sleaziest stunts in history, but few seem to notice.  Apparently, people just expect little from them.  They are like the distant cousin who came to town in a bus with all of his belongings in a brown-paper grocery bag.  Everyone knows that he will always be a con artist grubbing for chump change and drinking cheap wine behind the local flophouse.  Alternatively, since journalism colleges are progressive propaganda factories, maybe there are just too few media types with enough integrity to scrutinize, expose, and excoriate them to into changing their ways.  Possibly, it is a bit of both.

Despite controlling both the White House and Congress, Corruptocrats could not get their WelfareHealthCare swindle passed.  The House received an amended version from the Senate, and rather than having an open vote that would have revealed who supported it, the thieves-in-charge merely proclaimed it into law.  In another instance, Lyndon Johnson could not get Congress to legalize affirmative action, so he weaseled it into place as an executive order.

House Democrats promised three different presidents spending cuts in return for tax increases, and each time, they welshed.  After voters outlawed affirmative welfare in Michigan, two juristraitors ruled that legislation to prevent race and gender discrimination constitutes race and gender discrimination.  Obama fabricated a heartbreaking story about his mother’s health insurance that proved a blatant lie.  The mainstream media’s reaction was, ho hum; did anyone notice?  As soon as the 24-hour news cycle is past, events seem never to have happened.

Corruptocrat causes amount to no more than mooching and stealing to stay in power. There is no Jack Kennedy, no Daniel Patrick Moynihan, no plain-talking Harry Truman, just Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Banal Barack.  As their policies continue failing miserably, they are desperate to avoid losing both Congress and the White House in 2012.  The key to that is for media to keep hiding and minimizing their ineptitude to keep the public from noticing.

Back when boys had flattop haircuts and girls wore crinolines under their skirts, junior high followed elementary school.  The seventh grade was the first time that students had to move from one classroom to another during the school day.  Kids arrived that first day skittish, uncertain, and terribly self-conscious.  Most wanted no more than to pass through the day unnoticed.

Walking downstairs between classes, I noticed two seventh grade girls immediately in front of me.  As a ninth grader, I recalled those First Day insecurities.  Halfway down the last flight, one of the girls tripped and fell head-over-heels.  She exploded into a tangle of books and papers, crinolines and panties, pencils and bobby pins.  The poor girl landed flat on her back, mortified.

Her friend helped her up, and they frantically recovered her belongings amid passing students.  They carefully rearranged her books, smoothed her hair, and brushed as much dust as possible from her clothing.  Struggling to regain her composure, the girl who fell turned to her friend and asked, “Do you think anyone noticed?”

Thus, we have the Theftocrats publicly making complete asses of themselves in the debt negotiations but primarily concerned with whether people are noticing.  Their long-running raid on the public’s wallet is ending, and they are panicking.  Theftocrat supporters are the best friends that money can buy.

May your gods be with you.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Education: Grouping Students by Ability

Children mature physically, emotionally, and intellectually at different rates.  Age grouped, one-size-fits-all classrooms are anachronistic failures.  Educators tried numerous plans to circumvent the problem.  They dumbed down the curriculum to the lowest achievement level, producing high school graduates best suited for work as Wal-Mart greeters.  The jig saw classroom performed no better.  Focusing on the top and bottom ten percent of achievers and warehousing the rest produced similar results.

Alaska abandoned the traditional time as the constant and learning the variable model; now, time is the variable and learning the constant.  Learning is cumulative.  Advancing students to their next grade level without mastering the first leaves them unable to meet demands at the higher level.

Alaska's experiment is successful.  The Chugach district – whose 250 students are scattered over 22,000 square miles – went from the lowest performing district in the state to Alaska's highest-performing quartile in five years in the 1990s, a shift the former superintendent, Richard DeLorenzo, attributes to the new philosophy.

Teachers cannot teach to multiple ability levels simultaneously; they have to ignore some students.  Teaching to one ability level includes everyone in a classroom.  Students learn at the most effective and comfortable pace for every individual.  Children strong in math and weak in reading can improve each discipline without penalty.  Eliminating marginally successful ESL classes is another benefit.

Colorado also groups students by ability rather than chronological age.  The plan is to have 10 multiage levels, rather than 12 grades, [with] students…in different levels depending on the subject [moving] up only as they demonstrate mastery of the material.  Advocates sometimes describe it as flipping the traditional system around so that time, rather than mastery of material, is the variable.

Clive Thompson’s article discusses flipping in California that, utilized with Alaska’s and Colorado’s versions, could revolutionize education.  In Palo Alto, CA, teacher Kami Thordarson, uses Kahn Academy.  Khan Academy is an educational website that, as its tagline puts it, aims to let anyone ‘learn almost anything—for free.’

Initially, Thordarson planned to use Kahn as a teaching aid, but soon, she flipped her entire classroom operation.  She replaced some lectures with Khan videos and had students watch at home.  In class, they work on problem sets. This is the flip: students hear lectures at home and do homework in class. 

Thordarson asserts that students need individual attention most when homework assignments make them struggle to comprehend subjects.  Khan provides teachers with a dashboard application that alerts them when students get stuck.  I’m able to give specific, pinpointed help when needed.

Kahn offers the personal instruction that Benjamin Bloom proved could improve students’ academic performance by two standard deviations, available online, on demand, and without individual tutors’ exorbitant costs.  From TED talks to iTunes U to Bill Hammack the Engineer Guy, new online educational tools are bringing the ethos of Silicon Valley to education. Contributions to the Kahn Academy include $1.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Google kicked in another $2 million.

As usual, some Luddite educrats feel threatened.  If adopted, these methods would require fewer education union members.  They know this too.  Some teachers who’ve seen Khan Academy presentations and loved the idea wondered whether they could modify it ‘to stop students from becoming this advanced.’  Open mouth and insert size 8 pump.

May your gods be with you.     

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hiding from History

Edmund Burke observed that “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”  This truth is so threatening to progressive historians that they have resorted to factually inaccurate historical revisionism to hide it.  Regardless, one can learn valuable lessons from the past.  Economic history shows that imprudent fiscal policies erode buying power, compound economic difficulties, and create poverty and dependence.  Post World War I Germany is an excellent example.

Saddled with crushing reparations for Germans' part in that war and unable to obtain market loans to finance its debt, the Weimar Republic began to print fiat currency.  As more marks were printed, they competed for the limited supply of goods and services, causing inflation.  More inflation required more marks, creating hyperinflation.  This resulted in redenomination of the currency.  By the time that the new money arrived, banks were selling the old money to used paper dealers.  So, what has this to do with today?

The US is repeating that failed experiment.  Quantitative Easing I and II both failed, and we are about to embark on QEIII.  The Monty Pelerin group argues that despite Democrats’ hopes, the six-month QEII period produced economic deterioration rather than growth.  QE3 or QE10 will not solve underlying economic problems.  Reductions in spending and regulatory uncertainty are necessary.  Companies will not hire or invest when they cannot determine future costs and taxes.

Congress must raise the US debt ceiling in order to authorize more borrowing; still, repaying low interest loans with valueless currency cannot continue indefinitely.  Depending upon the market's reception, three outcomes are possible: there will be enough buyers in traditional credit markets to absorb the debt at "reasonable" interest rates; the Fed will institute QE3; a combination of 1 and 2 will be necessary.

The third scenario is most likely, and the expanding portion of debt that Treasury purchases will drive lending nations to demand repayment in gold or other currencies.  Eventually, Theftocrats will resort to drastic measures to keep their permanent welfare constituencies on life support.  As Ireland is considering and Argentina did in 2008, Corruptocrats’ want to start incrementally confiscating private retirement funds.

Total market capitalization of the US stock market is about $16 trillion and 40% of that is estimated to reside in IRAs and 401Ks.  They are big, visible, vulnerable, and mostly immobile targets.  This $6 trillion, if it were grabbed in some fashion, would satisfy the next 4-6 years of government deficits.  That would just cover two terms under spendthrift O-buma.

Initially, the theft transfer would require each private retirement account—this is the national sacrifice swindle—to be partly invested in Treasury certificates.  The percentage would increase until it hit 100%.  The state will have stolen the interest bearing money in those accounts and replaced it with worthless paper, just like they did with the $2.67 trillion Social Security Trust Fund

Wholesale printing of worthless dollars to enable Treasury to borrow from the Federal Reserve will resume until the dollar is redenominated.  One new progressive dollar will be worth one hundred old dollars.  A dystopian America is in our not-too-distant future.  George Soros and company will have won.

May your gods be with you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

President Kingfish

The photo to the left is of Huey Long performing his Richard Nixon impersonation and sieg heiling Marxist doctrine. 

The National Review summed up the O-buma regime early on as a progressive redistributionist scheme.  The NRO article, “Obama, the Other Huey Long,” reveals resemblances between the President and the pettifogging Depression era demagogue from Louisiana, Huey “Kingfish” Long and his bid to redistribute the income and wealth of the nation’s top wage earners.

Long’s Share the Wealth plan was a scheme to confiscate the assets of more affluent people, to tax their incomes at confiscatory rates, and to trade the loot to constituents in return for votes.  Long felt that government should insure that everyone owned a home; that the state should cap personal wealth; that maximum income limits should be enforced; he even had his own early version of the Earned Income Credit.

In “Congress Reminds Obama He's President, Not King,” George Will observes that the White House’s current occupant's vanity and naiveté — a dangerous amalgam — are causing the modern presidency to buckle beneath the weight of its pretenses.  The One decreed last weekend that the debt-ceiling impasse must end before Asian markets opened Sunday evening Eastern Time, lest the heavens fall. 

The deadline passed without the sky falling.  Little Timmy Geithner invented that arbitrary deadline.  It was a cheap sales tactic, demanding an immediate answer before the deal was no longer available.  Fortunately for the nation, Speaker of the House John Boehner recognized the ploy and countered it by announcing that the "Congress will forge a responsible path forward."

The President can only propose a budget, and only Congress can allocate funds and authorize its spending.  O-buma claims to want the power of doing things on my own.  This claim is blatantly false.  When Republicans offered him the authority to raise the debt ceiling $2.5 trillion over the next year, he refused.  He is allergic to personal accountability.  Recall that he once boasted (June 3, 2008) that he could influence the oceans' rise. 

O-buma is too arrogant to accept the doctrine of coequal branches of government.  This doctrine impedes the progressives' goal of unleashing untrammeled government.  It has also prevented Theftocrats from diverting attention away from the onrushing debt tsunami.  They are desperate to sweep it under the carpet until after the 2012 presidential campaign.  Hence, we have Democrats’ reluctance to offer a written budget proposal.

George Will reminds us that House Republicans said yes to "cut, cap and balance." Senate Democrats, who have not produced a budget in more than 800 days, vowed to work all weekend debating this.  Unfortunately, all they did was to table the proposal, thereby weaseling out of a straightforward vote on the only debt-reduction plan on paper, the only plan debated, the only plan to receive Democratic votes.

It may be worthy of note that the Senate rejected O-buma’s last budget proposal by a vote of 97-0.

It is also worth noting that Obama's money gusher has driven federal spending from under 20% of GDP to almost 25%. Theftocrats feel that if they can just get past the inconvenient matter of funding their vote buying apparatus, the theft-welfare state, over a year before the presidential election, they can keep the White House.  George is right.  O-buma is a caricature of an earlier buffoon: he is Huey Long with a better tailor.

May your gods be with you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Requiem for the Welfare State

Today’s welfare state is an unaffordable luxury that belongs in a junkyard with other failed experiments.  It will not vanish completely, but responsible politicians—if the term is not oxymoronic—must take the heat and shrink it to a manageable size.  Multiple public pensions providing two or three times the nation’s median income must end.  The private sector cannot support the public sector.  Social Security and Medicare must be means tested.  Victor Davis Hanson writes that we must confront the reality of a welfare state that is predicated on flawed assumptions about everything from demography to human nature [because] a rendezvous with brutal reality is now upon us.

One way or another, the days of robbing our grandchildren will soon be over.  The author questions the practice of automatically increasing welfare payments for people who continue bringing children into the world that they cannot support.  Should Medicaid pay for sex change operations?  Why have  mortgage-interest deductions for people who are wealthy enough to own multiple homes?  Maybe we no longer need troops stationed in Germany and Japan.

Steve Doughty writes in the Mail Online that the welfare states of Europe…are now facing destruction because of the sovereign debt crisis…The troubles that began with the collapse of Greece and which now threaten the euro spell the end for excessive…welfare systems.  If left unchecked, the expanding American welfare state would soon mirror the one that is bankrupting Europe.

Although the average Greek retires at 53, their life expectancy is 80.2 years.  French state workers can retire at age 60 on one-half of their salaries; life expectancy there is 81.1 years.  Fired German workers can collect 60% of their last pretax paycheck amount from the government for a full year.  They cannot afford such largesse, and neither can the US.

The current Theftocrat created recession has put 44 million Americans on food stamps.  The American Thinker reports that there were roughly 20 million in that program in 2006 when President Bush was in office. Federal welfare spending is one of the primary reasons for our $1.5 trillion annual budget deficit.
  • 1.4 trillion for Medicare, Medicaid
  • The Department of Health and Human services gets 83.5 billion
  • Welfare housing costs 41 billion
  • The oxymoronic Earned Income Credit program takes 59 billion
Today O-bumites are trying to borrow trillions more dollars to enhance their vote buying theft-welfare state.  Opposing sides of the Congressional aisle are in a Mexican standoff over continuing this inter-generational theft.  In this article by Daniel Palazzolo, the author describes the national dilemma.

We are in this mess because we don’t want to pay for the programs we profess to need and both parties know it.  We say we want less government, but we don’t want to spare the programs that make government too big.  We say we want our leaders to compromise, or we want a “balanced approach,” but we don’t really want to pay more taxes from our pockets, or accept lower benefits from the programs we depend on.  Let someone else sacrifice.

While we fight about decreasing spending and increasing our debt, we are far along our descent into national bankruptcy.  We cannot pay our bills yet want to borrow more money.  We will soon be insufficiently creditworthy to justify borrowing at low rates.  Congress will be forced to match expenses to revenues because the only people who will loan to us will demand usurious interest rates.  There is a silver lining in our economic cloud after all.

May your gods be with you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's the IQ, Stupid!

Intelligence is the most reliable predictor of academic success.  Intelligence is the demonstrated ability to solve complex problems through abstract reasoning using stored and newly acquired information in constantly changing circumstances.  Abstract reasoning is a purely intellectual process. 

It is not one’s capacity to run, throw, jump, or catch.  Playing sports does not demonstrate intelligence because it is not abstract; sports require physical markers to measure effectiveness.  Terms such as emotional intelligence are oxymoronic.  To attach an adjective to intelligence is to change the phenomenon fundamentally into something other than intelligence. 

Intelligence is also heritable.  The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] through its Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) aptly demonstrates this fact.  It uses tests of school achievement for 15-year-olds in the 34 OECD countries, along with 31 other countries or regions.  Steve Sailer examined test results from 2003, 2006, and 2009 and found that when broken down by ethnicity, American students did reasonably well compared to the countries from which their ancestors came.

Testers censor information concerning American performance.  PISA and the U.S. government apparently conspire to keep the ethnic breakdowns of American scores a secret, except for whichever subject is the main theme of that year’s PISA.  Each year, reading, science, and mathematics are tested.  Scores for all subjects are released in mind-numbing detail cross-tabbed for every conceivable factor … except race.  Hiding these results is propaganda.

John Derbyshire argues that if we disaggregate USA students by race, we are up there near the top.  Asian-Americans beat Korea and Japan.  Whites were second only to Finland.  US Hispanics bested all Latin American PSIA countries. American black kids trounced Trinidad, the blackest nation on the PISA list.  This information suggests that we cannot close the academic performance gap between ethnicities.

Our schools are fine.  They are doing as much as can be done with the young people passing through them, with due allowance for race differences in educability.  Test scores are as good as they can be.  If there is a way to get students scoring significantly better on tests than America’s do, no nation on Earth has found that way.  However, we can change how we apply our resources.

Sailer makes the point that children should remain in school learning to be literate and studying civics and math until about 12 years old.  At that time, we should use each student’s academic performance to assess the likelihood of future success.  Vocational or technical training can provide alternative paths to self-sufficiency for those who fail academically, have low cognitive ability, or dislike school.  These schools should offer few, if any, extracurricular activities. 

Doing this would remove those who express dissatisfaction over school attendance by disrupting classes and robbing deserving students of educational opportunities.  It would also mean that to participate in after-school activities, students would have to become scholars first before being athletes. 

Why squander resources trying to educate the ineducable?  A lot of what high-school teachers do is just child-minding; for a lot of youngsters, high schools are just holding pens.  We cannot force education on people who simply cannot perform to standard, and we should stop lowering the academic bar to hide those inabilities.  Cognitive differences exist worldwide; money cannot change that.

May your gods be with you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Frankie's Back

The responsibility lies squarely on our own shoulders for allowing Sharia law to supplant our constitutionally based secular law.  We established the precedent by creating parallel sets of laws and methods of enforcement.  Despite the Constitution’s guaranties and prohibitions, habeas corpus, probable cause requirements, and due process went out the window with the Patriot Act.  The state can detain people for extended periods without filing charges against them. 

Police can take people into custody illegally, using contrived policies, by handcuffing them without lodging any formal complaint.  Michigan judges came up with the Orwellian ruling that a law prohibiting race and gender discrimination constitutes race and gender discrimination.  Legislative social engineers and their moral twins in black robes have manipulated us into an untenable position; we have no rational argument against Sharia law.

An expert in such matters, a New Jersey attorney, describes Sharia as a methodology through which a jurist engages the religious texts—the Quran and the Sunna—to ascertain divine will.  Therefore, each judge spontaneously invents each decision based upon subjective beliefs and interpretations, similar to Justice Sotomayor’s wise Latina hustle.  This Council on Foreign Relations article points out that fundamentalist Muslims use Sharia law to justify cruel punishments such as amputation and stoning as well as unequal treatment of women in inheritance, dress, and independence.  Sharia law also allows for family honor killings.

Australians are grappling with the inherent contradictions between their codified laws and Sharia practices.  Polygamy is illegal in Australia, as is marriage of underage women and children.  Nevertheless, Australia accepts valid Muslim polygamist marriages, lawfully entered into overseas,...with second and third wives and their children able to claim welfare and other benefits…Australia has allowed a parallel legal system—operating against its own statutes as a sort of illegal ‘shadow system’—to take hold.

Muslim men can take prepubescent girls as concubines, bring them into that country, and claim them as welfare recipients.  These circumstances are shockingly similar to practices found in the US.  Here, adult males impregnate girls too young to give legal consent, leave them in the lurch subsisting on food stamps, and abandon them to live in crime-ridden housing projects.  Government officials tacitly approve it and taxpayers are on the hook for it.  Who are we to condemn behavior that we facilitate and perpetrate?

In the US, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are lobbying for the sort of treatment that we accord everyone who qualifies for affirmative welfare.  They want the legal privilege of engaging in polygamy with multiple child brides, arranged marriages, subjugation of women, and the power to disallow legal gay marriages.  They want privileges and benefits that are not universally available and without having to bear commensurate responsibilities. 

CAIR and the MB rightly ask how, in our nation of demographically determined multiple legal systems, can we justify denying them the same legal entitlements that we accord to people for merely having melanin positive skin or having two X chromosomes?  We created and perpetrated the Frankenstein, so by what sort of justification can we cry foul now?

May your gods be with you.    

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Crony Communist at Commerce

Think of irony like this.  It is Monday and the snooze alarm malfunctioned, leaving no time for coffee, much less breakfast.  The hair dryer is dead, but hair will dry driving to the office.  After donning the only passably clean outfit available, a search of the closet reveals that the dog has chewed the one pair of acceptable shoes.  Brown shoes clash with navy.  Only a few minutes late; the day is salvageable, but the car has a flat.  Your response is "Great!"  What you mean is "#&!!@?}" the "%*!?$[!" bad luck!  The sentiments driving the statement are opposite its actual meaning.

President O-buma’s choice of John Bryson to head the federal Commerce Department is also ironic.  To say the least, radical environmentalists and industry are mostly incompatible.  So, how can one reconcile Bryson’s founding of the National Resources Defense Council with this recommendation?  Investor’s Business Daily describes NRDC as perhaps the most anti-energy, anti-growth progressive group on the planet.  Bryson, an environmental lawyer, has had his fingers in many pies.

The nominee has invested in and sits on the board of directors of Coda Automotive.  Coda has offices in California, but its cars and the batteries that power them—this reveals the true nature of O-buma’s sentiments toward US businesses—are manufactured by slave labor in China.  O-buma’s ideal choice of a Commerce Secretary is outsourcing desperately needed jobs to China.  This fact alone should disqualify him from being Commerce Secretary, but there is more.

Coda says that it wants to build cars in America.  However, PJM reports that Coda’s new CEO is Phil Murtaugh, former head of GM Shanghai and Shanghai Automotive Industries Corps: if Coda intends mainly to manufacture cars in the United States, analysts ask, why pick a new CEO whose experience is in car production in Asia?  It is inconsistent, since Coda has arranged for Chinese automaker Hafei Automotive to build the cars, and for Tianjin-based Lishen Battery to manufacture their batteries.  American jobs are an unlikely outcome.  

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bryson has served recently as chairman of BrightSource Energy, a startup specializing in solar-thermal power, a company [that] has posted a string of net losses, totaling $177 million.  Not to worry, BrightSource has a $1.6 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, one of the largest solar guarantees on record…federal provisions providing solar projects with a 30% investment tax credit through 2016, as well as accelerated depreciations of capital costs for solar entities, among other goodies.  This nomination smells like a quid pro quo exchange of government subsidies in return for partisan political activities later.

The Washington Examiner observes that President Obama's choice to lead the Commerce Department is a revolving-door former regulator who has spent his private-sector career earning millions from government-granted monopolies that depend on subsidies for their profits.  Perhaps GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt was unavailable when O-buma chose Bryson.

His ironic statement was this: In this new role, John [Bryson] will be able to draw on decades of business experience across a range of industries," Mr. Obama said.  "That's the expertise that will help us create new jobs and make America more competitive in the global economy."  What the President meant is that he wants to outsource jobs to China and India, redistribute American wealth to South America and Africa, to nationalize our industries through regulation and taxation, to bloat government bureaucracies and welfare rolls, and to turn the US into the new Greece.  That is irony.

May your gods be with you.          

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hail to the Thief

Hypocrisy is a form of lying in which we feign that we are not ourselves.  Sanctimony is hypocrisy combined with a holier-than-thou attitude.  The party-of-government must have invented these phenomena.  This article provides some insight.  Read what one senator had to say about the fiscal crisis and leadership.

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."  

The senator was Barack Obama.  It was in 2006 as he explained his opposition to raising the debt ceiling.  Today, the Kleptocrats want a raise in the debt ceiling that is already 60 percent higher than the one Barack Obama said was ‘a sign of leadership failure’ five years ago.  Ah, but when they do it, increasing the national debt is actually an investment

Speaking of investment, it is déjà vu all over again with O-buma.  He wants to ‘invest’ tax dollars in what he called a ‘partnership’ between the federal government and an initial group of 11 major corporations.  If the past augurs the future, Congress should prevent him and the other Corruptocrats from squandering more tax dollars.  Taxpayers lost $1.3 billion on the O-bumites’ investment in Chrysler.  This was after they stole the company from its stockholders and bondholders.

So far, O-buma’s version of investing has been little more than diverting scarce tax dollars toward public and private sector unions to maintain their political support.  In the above referenced article, his scheme is to put money into Caterpillar, Corning, Dow Chemical, Ford, Honeywell, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, Allegheny Technologies, Stryker and Proctor and Gamble.  Those companies’ stockholders should beware.  Intelligent people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from the mistakes of others.  They could learn from the bitter lessons that Congressional confiscators taught the nation’s bankers and Wall Street firms.  It is the Tony Soprano Rule.  The reason for the loan is to take over the business.

It is little wonder that the US is in such a mess.  Professional liars run the Senate and White House.  People who are philosophically opposed to profit making control vital industries.  When it comes to making sound business decisions, Congress and their regulators could not find their collective backside conducting a two-handed search.  Will Rodgers observed long ago that the budget is a mythical beanbag. Congress votes mythical beans in and then reaches in and tries to pull real beans out.  Businesses cannot operate that way for long.

May your gods be with you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Devil Did It!

In "Won't Get Schooled Again," Jim Goad discusses the recent Atlanta school cheating scandal.  Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued a report that reveals systemic failure in that state's government-run education.  Revealingly, fraud that educators perpetrated was so ineptly concealed, it suggests that many of the city’s teachers are too stupid to be school janitors. 

Perhaps if they are fired, they can find employment as auto detailers, pickpockets, or fast food workers.  Education hustlers have depicted the Atlanta school system as a shining national star that dared leave no child behind as dedicated educators and their eager-to-learn pupils joined hands, chanted slogans, marched together, chest-bumped and fist-pumped one-another’s self-esteem, established a clear vision, looked to the future, kept their eyes on the prize, and made countless other ultimately hollow gestures.

However, the data supporting these accolades seemed implausible.  After all, how could Atlantans do what people in similar metropolitan areas have failed to accomplish?  It was not the water; it was sleight of hand.  At one school, special education students scored higher than gifted students in math.

To create the illusion, teachers placed failing students near successful students to copy their answers.  In oral exams, teachers exaggerated their voices to highlight correct multiple-choice answers.  Others pointed to correct answers while some read them aloud.  Teachers changed answers after students handed in their exams.  Some held social gatherings to alter tests.

The report alleges that cheating teachers worked in an atmosphere of intimidation, fear, and retaliation.  That explains it; just like Flip Wilson’s Geraldine, the devil made them do it.  This time, the devil was the unattainable requirements of Georgia’s standardized competency exams.  It was difficult to circumvent those requirements system-wide, and it took leadership from the top.

At $400,000 a year, Atlanta School Superintendent Beverly Hall—2009 Superintendent of the Year—seemed to earn her keep.  That is, until the investigation began.  Then shortly after it started, she resigned her position and began a Hawaiian vacation the very day that the report went public. 

Although it seems that the system was rotten to the core, some claim they cheated to shield students’ self-esteem from the stigma of failure.  They also claim that poverty is the primary cause of low cognitive achievement and that we need to spend more money on education.  There are problems with this argument.

Author Goad chose Rabun County—this is where the movie Deliverance was filmed—for comparison.  It is far from Atlanta but with similar poverty levels, only Rabun’s schools are as white as Atlanta’s are black.  The author compares rural Rabun's circumstances to inner-city Atlanta.

The schools’ fifth-graders scored approximately equal in 2009; however, in Atlanta education cost $3,000 more per pupil annually than in rural Rabun, and 51.4% of Atlanta’s classrooms had high wrong-to-right testing irregularities. Additionally, the banjo pickers' tests showed zero cheating.  So in order to achieve testing parity with Rabun County's hicks, Atlanta’s  kids needed an extra $3,000 in funding and had to cheat their [gosh-darned backsides] off. 

Poverty does not cause academic failure; its cause is parental failure.  Nothing improves the likelihood of educational success more than two supportive, concerned, and proactively involved parents.  There is simply no replacement for effective parenting.

May your gods be with you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Barack's Limp Leadership

It gets curiouser and curiouser, the deafening silence of the mainstream lapdog media concerning the President's nonexistent economic policy.  Even when O-buma had overwhelmingly superior numbers in both houses of Congress, he and his quislings still failed to produce a written plan of economic leadership.  If the White House were to propose spending specific amounts of money on particular programs, projects, and policies, the public could hold them accountable, but fear of accountability gives the O-bumites performance anxiety.

Leadership IS accountability; unfortunately, no one has told the eunuch-in-chief.  This comes from the Weekly StandardIn response to a question about whether now would be a good time for the president to present his own debt ceiling budget plan, White House spokesman Jay Carney had this to say: "Leadership is not proposing a plan for the sake of having it voted up or down and likely voted down..."

To lead is to guide on a way especially by going in advance.  Boy Barack is no George S. Patton riding in his tank, proudly displaying Old Glory, and advancing into battle in the foremost position.  O-buma is more like David Suchet’s Hercule Poirot; he is too prissy to roll up his sleeves and grapple with the issues that plague this nation.  

The O-buma administration rules via surrogates—they are czars and regulators whom he appointed—they use deception, implication, innuendo, manipulation, and outright treachery to achieve their goals. Regulation is manipulation, and furtive manipulation defines the party of government.  This article describes some of it.

The Federal Register has grown 20 percent in just the last two years, and there are another 4,225 rules already written and winding their way through the system.  And this does not even include what Obamacare and Dodd-Frank are going to do.  Just policing the regulations already in place costs $55.4 billion a year.  But this pales in comparison to the $1.75 trillion hidden tax that regulations place on the economy every year.

Author Jim Lacey wonders whether it is prudent to allow a few bureaucrats in the departments of Interior and State along with the EPA to shut down oil exploration at a time when we feel it necessary to release oil from the country’s strategic reserve.  With Americans desperate for jobs and the nation needing economic expansion like O-buma needs intestinal fortitude, four thugs from the National Labor Relations Board eliminated 1000 jobs and stopped Boeing from opening a $1 billion plant in South Carolina in an attempt to extort the company's resources to pander to overpaid union goons.

If we are to recover economically, we need a government that can refrain from putting successful businesses into its cross-hairs.  Even after federal courts ruled that the Federal Communication Commission lacks the authority to regulate the Internet, that agency is still applying its Net Neutrality regulation doctrine — the term is Orwellian— to the Internet.

Laws passed by Congress should have sunset provisions requiring periodic reauthorization.  Regulatory changes should require Congressional approval; voters can remove legislators from office.  The economic effects of regulations and laws should be part of the legislative responsibility. 

Lawmaking by regulatory bureaucrats must come to an end.  The Constitution gave the power to make laws to Congress.  Congress needs to reclaim that power.  This is unlikely without a veto-proof Senate.  Perhaps in 2012 we can make O-buma a one term president and send him to an orthopedic specialist who can surgically implant a spine into his back.

May your gods be with you.      

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Destroying the Nation in Just Four Years

The graph to the left is from the National Taxpayers' Union.

Thomas Sowell has written another noteworthy article.  He exposed some of the rhetorical chicanery practiced by President O-buma and his ideological soul mates.  In particular, he cites their use of straw man argumentation, or as he describes it, arguing against a caricature instead of confronting the argument actually made.  One such example is mainstream media's bobble-headed reference to the so-called trickle-down theory.

No such theory has been found in even the most voluminous and learned histories of economic theories [nonetheless] this nonexistent theory has become the object of denunciations from the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post to the political arena, and has been repeated as far away as India.  Sowell’s credentials concerning economics are extensive and impressive; still, they refer to this nonexistent theory as though it were scripture.

Franklin Roosevelt was the father of modern US socialism.  His speechwriter Samuel Rosenman made an early straw man reference to the trickle downism that he alleged existed at that time.  He was referring to tax-rate reductions that Congress enacted during the 1920s.  Tax rates were so high that they had driven taxpayers into shelters.

Vast sums of money had been put into tax shelters such as tax-exempt municipal bonds instead of being invested in the private economy, where this money would create more output, incomes and jobs — thereby producing higher tax revenues for the federal government.  Almost invariably, the more we tax productivity, the less we get of it; conversely, the more we subsidize waste, the more we have of it.

The author points out that similar effects resulted from decreasing tax rates during the Kennedy, Reagan, and George W. Bush administrations.  Increased economic activity drove up employment; growing demand for labor increased incomes; higher incomes translated into increased tax revenues, despite lowered tax rates.

There were other consequences as well…people in higher-income brackets paid not only a larger total amount of taxes, but a higher percentage of all taxes, after what were called 'tax cuts for the rich.' It was not simply that their incomes rose, but that this was not taxable income, since the lower tax rates made it profitable to get higher returns outside of tax shelters.

Raising tax rates during the current recession is a recipe for disaster.  Regardless, the O-bumites are engaging in straw man rhetoric to drum up support for further dampening economic expansion by increasing tax rates.  They know full well what they are doing, and it is time that voters caught on to them.  They are simply pursuing the O-buma-George Soros-Steven Chu-Lisa Jackson, et al playbook for bankrupting the nation.

May your gods be with you. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Coming Storm

The cell-phone-orchestrated rioting last Memorial Day is likely just a small-scale harbinger of what is soon to come.  Those mobs were comprised almost exclusively of people blaming others for their own poor choices and believing that government should compensate for those choices by giving them other people’s resources.  The theft-welfare state is unsustainable.  The combined effects of inept fiscal policies, including direct payments, subsidies, redundant agencies and programs, illegal payouts, and pork barrel gifts to constituencies have crippled the US economy.

There are so many people riding in the government wagon that there are too few people left to pull it.

The Theftocrat-created welfare housing bubble benefited black people disproportionately.  The resulting crash is depleting their resources in the same proportion that they benefited.  This generosity is exacting a terrible cost.  It is readily apparent that Lyndon Johnson’s Great Welfare Society and similar programs have done little more than to create successive generations of lifelong welfare dependence. 

Events in England, Portugal, Italy, and Greece prove that slashing the public dole arouses the ire of members of the I’m Entitled communities.  Having never held gainful employment, they have plenty of time available for rioting.  The Memorial Day rioters had too much time on their hands, too few morals to constrain their predatory behavior, and far too little responsible adult supervision.  Poverty was not even a factor in those events since they could afford smart phones to organize their criminal activity.

This article reveals that the recent crash threatens not only freebie housing and food stamps but also employment in over-paid government union jobs.  It is perhaps revealing, this preference for, and over-representation in can’t-be-fired government jobs in agencies unconcerned with profit making. 

Because not only are African-Americans disproportionately the beneficiaries of federal programs, from the Earned Income Tax Credit to aid for education and student loans, they are even more over-represented in the federal workforce than they are on state payrolls. 

Though 10 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force, African-Americans are 18 percent of U.S. government workers.  They are 25 percent of the employees at Treasury and Veterans Affairs, 31 percent of the State Department, 37 percent of Department of Education employees and 38 percent of Housing and Urban Development.  They are 42 percent of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., 55 percent of the employees at the Government Printing Office and 82 percent at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency… 44 percent of Fannie [Mae] employees and 50 percent of Freddie[Mac]'s are persons of color.

The Corruptocrats’ scheme of buying their constituents’ votes with other people’s money is backfiring.  They created a theft-welfare state to keep large numbers of their voters trapped on the welfare plantation and coerced into voting Theftocrat in return for handouts.  The pie is now shrinking.  The gift of cushy and overly compensated lifetime government jobs is disappearing also. 

The porkulus money that invented and saved government jobs is running out, and the public sector is facing massive layoffs and firings that will further aggravate unemployment.  People who have no job skills and people whose job skills are irrelevant and unnecessary in the private sector face bleak realities in a future that is hurtling toward them. 

There will be armies of people in the inner cities with the opportunity, motivation, and ability to engage in large-scale riots.  This is coming soon to a neighborhood near yours.  Stay away from liquor stores and pawn shops because that is where riots usually start.

May your gods be with you.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ostracizing Sociopaths

It seems that Saudi Arabians are on to something.  This article describes how one pervert in that country got his comeuppance.  Government officials beheaded a man convicted of attacking a woman and snapping nude photos of her in order to blackmail her for sex.  Beheading may be a particularly effective deterrent against violent crime.  In Saudi Arabia, people convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery can be executed -- usually with a sword.

In 2010, Saudis executed 27 people, or about .0001 percent of their population of roughly 27,000,000.  For the same year, the US executed 46 prisoners out of 308,000,000, or .000015 percent of the total.  It seems as though there is a correlation between the number of executions and the per capita crime rates in the US and in Saudi Arabia.  According to this report, among the top 60 countries in the world, America stands eighth.  The Saudis are not even among the top 60.

One might conclude that the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime in general.  The United Kingdom has no capital punishment, and they stand at number five in per capita crime.  Actually, of the top 15 nations in crime, only the US and Dominica have the death penalty.  The correlation is significant.

Even if the effects of capital punishment on overall crime are difficult to establish, it is an effective deterrent against repeat offenders.  The rate of recidivism among those executed for crimes stands worldwide at 0%.  Perhaps if US inmates did not have an average stay on death row of over 10 years, capital punishment would be a better deterrent.  In Saudi Arabia, justice is swift and certain. 

Opponents of the death penalty argue that because people continue to commit murders, capital punishment does not work.  This is specious reasoning.  It is impossible to prove that an event never took place, or to prove the negative; therefore, it is also impossible to quantify the extent to which murders were not committed.  The fact is that execution permanently ostracizes offenders.

People have been casting wrongdoers out of their societies as long as there have been tribes.  We have every right to protect the weak from further harm at the hands of sociopaths.  Pedophiles represent one of the most valid arguments in favor of executions.  Mental health professionals agree almost unanimously that it is impossible to rehabilitate people who commit sexual assaults against children.  Having sex with a child who is too young to understand sexual consent is rape.

Protecting kids from predators is vital to any society, and it is imperative that we cull perpetrators from the herd.  However, incarceration is expensive.  According to Wikipedia, the US spent $68,747,203,000 on corrections in 2006.  States nationwide are releasing inmates because of overcrowding.  Since pedophiles cannot be rehabilitated, they can never safely be released from prison.  The logical answer is permanent ostracism.  Children are simply too important.

May your gods be with you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Johnny Weir White House

Congressional budget negotiations with the O-bumites have taken on the high drama of daytime television.  People in print and electronic media have begun to snicker about the President.  He could not get his way, and hand on hip, precious little Obama stomped his foot, tossed his head defiantly, and stormed out of the room.  Try to recall Johnny Weir encountering Charles Barkley on the Tonight show.  These days, Boy Barack is singing the Theftocrats’ version of the Crying Game.

The truth is that O-buma and his craven band of child exploiters are pitching hissy fits because the right side of the Congressional aisle is preventing them from shoveling the costs of their vote-buying welfare state onto future generations of Americans.  Also true is that Theftocrats are simply too spineless to bear being treated as they would like to treat others.

Enough is enough, said Obama.  I've reached my limit.  This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.  If Americans are lucky, it will bring down O-buma’s imperial presidency.  Not too long ago, a president said something like read my lips, and he paid dearly for it.  Why is it acceptable for Obama to be overtly uncompromising but express outrage that his GOP opposition is unyielding?  It's as if he's saying, How dare you be as intransigent as I'm being.  Obama also warned Cantor, Don't call my bluff.  Did anyone ever tell this narcissistic man "no" before he became president?

O-buma is starting to resemble the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind a little curtain pulling the levers and turning the knobs and dials.

This article suggests that Ozbuma inadvertently revealed more than he might have liked when he warned negotiators not to call his bluff.  The first rule in bluffing is to keep it a secret that you're bluffing.  So, technically speaking, that's like a con man saying, "Don't give any weight to the fact that I'm lying.  Still, Republicans have offered options.  Senator Mitch McConnell’s plan for the deadlocked budget talks would give the White House the authority to raise the debt ceiling up to three times over the next year, with a maximum of $2.5 trillion.

This plan would give Obama all of the responsibility for proposing specific spending cuts and for raising the debt ceiling three times up to $2.5 trillion over the next year.  Obama would get his way unless a supermajority of Congress objected, so the GOP could vote against Obama without stopping him.  As Shakespeare said, “there’s the rub.”  This would force O-buma and his cronies to propose specific spending cuts in order to justify increasing the federal debt. 

It is now clear what has O-buma’s panties in a bunch.  This would reveal exactly on what the Theftocrats would be squandering the borrowed money.  Fearless Leader has been posturing and blustering, trying to use his sound bite rhetoric to portray himself as an assertively hard charging leader with passion and vision.  However, when it comes to being personally accountable and responsible for his decisions and actions, he dashes off to the presidential powder room for a good cry.

May your gods be with you.