When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why the Debates Don't Matter

If you haven't heard, the first Presidential Election Debate is this Wednesday (October 3rd) between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The media have already started hyping it. Peggy Noonan (and apparently the Romney campaign) believe it offers a chance for Mitt Romney to turn around his incompetent, losing campaign. It won't. He's doneOf course we have to go through these last few weeks of the campaign with the pundits and media, and candidates, pretending it's not over. It's over. Barack Obama will win his second term as President on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. As soon as Obama is projected by any national, credible news organization, to be the winner of Florida and Ohio (and it's just a question of how early in the evening those projections will come), you can turn out the lights and go to bed, or go back to your intense video game, or whatever.

If Bill Clinton thinks Barack Obama is an amateur, then Mitt Romney is a "rank amateur." Peggy Noonan has said the Romney campaign is incompetent. It's that and worse. Recently referred to as the "stench," the Romney campaign looks, smells, and acts like an incompetent, inept loser, now desperate, but still living in denial of its own miserable incompetence and ineptness. Romney says he's going to cut everybody's taxes--really? Do you believe that? Does any living, thinking person on the planet believe that? I don't. I gave up on Mitt Romney shortly after his disastrous foreign trip, when I realized, after taking stock of all of Obama's negatives (and there are many, very many), Romney could actually be worse if elected. That's it in a nutshell. Obama will win because Romney could be worse if elected. And the majority of the American people aren't willing to take that chance.

So watch the debate if you're so inclined, but it doesn't really matter. I may even watch the first five minutes myself. President Obama will be his calm Presidential self, and Mitt?  He might make a fool of himself, or he might look like the desperate loser he has become, or he might even do a decent job. The problem is, under any scenario, he is not going to move the needle. He allowed himself to be defined by the Obama campaign back in the spring and early summer, and then he confirmed and even added to that negative definition again, and again (47% anyone?).

Update: Ryan told “Fox News Sunday” this morning that “it would take me too long to go through all the math” (on the Romney-Ryan plan to "cut everyone's taxes"). Problem is, the Romney-Ryan "math" doesn't "add up" and yet they expect people to vote for them. This is why voters don't "trust" Romney-Ryan.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rare Albino Whale Off Coast of Australia (video)

The return of a rare albino whale off the eastern coast of Australia – the only all-white humpback adult ever documented! Nicknamed “Migaloo,” he is the only white whale that has annually returned to waters off the Australian coast since 1991. According to CNN, the humpbacks are on their annual migration from their breeding grounds along the Great Barrier Reef back to feed in the Antarctic. Recent closeup pictures have shown Migaloo to have skin cancer and/or skin cysts as a result of his lack of protection from the sun.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Why South Korea Can Avoid a Financial Meltdown

Bloomberg's Mia Saini looks at the South Korean economy for today's `Global Outlook.'


Thursday, September 27, 2012

QE3's Biggest Winner? Take a Hard Look at Gold (video)

As the Fed introduces new measures to spur the economy, the pressure is now on the U.S. dollar. Could that benefit gold?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rare 2-Ton Blue Whale Spotted Off Aussie Coast (video)

Rare 2-Ton Blue Whale Spotted Off Aussie Coast--the largest living animal on the planet has made a visit to Sydney, Australia.

Blue whale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales (called Mysticeti). At 30 metres (98 ft) in length and 180 metric tons (200 short tons) or more in weight, it is the largest known animal to have ever existed"


Monday, September 24, 2012

Denial is a river . . . in the Romney Campaign

That's right Governor--keep denying it to the end--

Mitt Romney defends 'very effective campaign' amid Republican complaints | World news | guardian.co.uk: "Wisconsin governor Scott Walker joins GOP voices calling for candidate to kickstart campaign after a devastating week"

Romney: My campaign doesn't need a turnaround - CBS News: " . . . Scott Pelley: Governor, I appreciate your message very much. But that wasn't precisely the question. You're the CEO of this campaign. A lot of Republicans would like to know, a lot of your donors would like to know, how do you turn this thing around? You've got a little more than six weeks. What do you do?

Mitt Romney: Well, it doesn't need a turnaround. We've got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president to the United States.

Scott Pelley: Well-- as you know, a lot of people were concerned about the video of the fundraiser in which you talked about the 47 percent of the American people who don't pay taxes. Peggy Noonan, a very well-known conservative columnist, said that it was an example of this campaign being incompetent. . . "

The above must make Obama's people very, very happy!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Just how inept is the Obama administration?

Obama’s Shaky Libya Narrative - The Daily Beast: "“I think this is a case of an administration saying what they wished to be true before waiting for all the facts to come in,” says one senior retired CIA official."

Just when President Obama appeared to be in control and winning the Presidential race due to the incredibly ineffective and mistake-laden Romney campaign, along comes the attack in Libya and the Obama administration jumps to conclusions, and opines "facts"--which turn out to be incorrect--and everyone from President Obama to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on down (e.g. Susan Rice et al) is guilty of this gross incompetence--

Obama’s Shaky Libya Narrative - The Daily Beast: "In the days following the killing of the U.S. ambassador and two ex-Navy SEALs, President Obama and top State Department officials portrayed the attack as a spontaneous reaction to an Internet video depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad as a lascivious brute. The protests, White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week, were “in response to a video—a film—that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.” Now there is mounting evidence that the White House’s initial portrayal of the attacks as a mere outgrowth of protest was incorrect . . . The administration’s story itself has recently begun to shift, with Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, telling Congress on Wednesday that the attackers may have had links to al Qaeda and Carney characterizing the incident as a “terrorist attack.” (Hillary Clinton announced on Thursday that she was putting together a panel to look into the incident.) But other indications that the White House’s early narrative was faulty are also beginning to emerge. One current U.S. intelligence officer working on the investigation into the incident told The Daily Beast that the attackers had staked out and monitored the U.S. consulate in Benghazi before the attack, a move that suggests pre-planning. . . "

Paulson: Why Did The White House Take So Long To Admit Libya Attack Was Terrorism? « CBS DC: " . . . . Our leaders told the world that we are a nation led by either ignorance via doubt or by liars. Neither, of course, is an admirable trait to display when one claims to be “the” world leader. Beyond causing America to be embarrassed throughout the world, last week’s denial of what happened on 9/11/2012 makes us look incredibly weak. Even the thought of blaming the anti-Islamic, Mohammad-disgracing movie for the most recent 9/11 attack on innocent Americans was ignorant – and carrying the thought out through words from the nation’s capital via our top leaders was incredibly inappropriate, totally embarrassing, extremely America-weakening, and – most of all – an ignorant stunt to try to pass on to America and the world. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney finally telling reporters a week after the incident, “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” is too little – far too late."

Permanent Spin | The Weekly Standard: " . . . So we are left with this: Four Americans were killed in a premeditated terrorist attack on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, and for more than a week the Obama administration misled the country about what happened. This isn’t just a problem. It’s a scandal. If this were the first time top Obama officials had tried to sell a bogus narrative after an attack, perhaps they would deserve the benefit of the doubt. It’s not. On December 28, 2009, three days after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate explosives in his underwear aboard an airliner over Detroit, President Obama told the country that the incident was the work of “an isolated extremist.” It wasn’t. Abdulmutallab was trained, directed, and financed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a fact he shared with investigators early in his interrogation. . . ."

What's even worse, by making a "big deal" of an obscure YouTube video that most of the world was unaware of, the Obama administration inflamed Pakistan and other Muslim communities--places which were peaceful before "agitated" by the Obama administration's "narrative."

So I guess the election isn't over after all--it's becoming harder and harder to say who's more incompetent: Obama or Romney?

Tip to Obama administration: if you want win the Presidential election, then everyone in the Obama administration (from the President on down) should every morning stand in front of a mirror and repeat: "I am incredibly incompetent and inept. Just because I may think, feel, or want to believe something is true, doesn't make it so, and I need to keep my mouth shut and my mind open."

If practiced regularly, I promise it will change an arrogant, ignorant, and inept administration into an incredibly effective organization.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Canada for President?--if only we could

As Barack Obama campaigns to win a second term, and Republican Mitt Romney fights to stop that, two comedians are trying to convince Americans to choose a real outsider as the next US president. In their satirical book America, But Better, Brian Calvert and Chris Cannon are asking Americans to choose Canada - not a specific Canadian but rather the entire country. Brian Calvert, who plays the Face of Canada in a series of viral YouTube videos, and writer Chris Cannon argue that their homeland already leads the US when it comes to quality of health care and education. The BBC joined them during a campaign stop in New York City where they explained why they think the US has much to learn from its northern neighbour. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19594334

Canada for President? Why not, they have better health care, education, and never had the housing bubble and subsequent crash we did--they never had to bail out their banks or financial industry. If only we could elect Canada . . .


Friday, September 21, 2012

Whitney: Up to 100,000 Layoffs On the Way

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Meredith Whitney, analyst and founder of Meredith Whitney Advisory Group LLC, discusses expectations for more Wall Street layoffs and investing in financials. She speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg Surveillance."


Thursday, September 20, 2012

North Florida's rural economy: Tourism, Farming, Prisons

Tourism, farming, and prisons? What's wrong with this picture? Sad to say, it's not just Florida, most U.S. states have used "incarceration" as a "jobs program" in rural areas where good jobs are hard to come by--no wonder the U.S. today has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world. Shameful.

Tourism, farming, prisons power North Florida's rural economy | Gainesville.com: "Tourism is a big business in Florida, employing more than a million people, accounting for a fifth of state sales tax revenues and drawing $67.2 billion in tourist spending annually, according to Visit Florida. But agriculture is right behind with nearly a million jobs, $20 million in tax revenues and the creation of $67.3 billion in wages and benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The combination of tourism and agriculture — along with state prisons — is what powers North Florida." 

When you read that prisons "power" a region's economy--one thing for sure--you don't want to live there.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Primer: Brazil’s Rise to Global Player video

Primer: Brazil’s Rise to Global Player video
Simon Romero, the Rio de Janeiro bureau chief for The New York Times, discusses what led to Brazil’s growth, despite the economic downturn, and the challenges the country faces.


Romney Campaign Is a Slow-motion Train Wreck

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg's Matt Dowd talks with Bloomberg's Tom Keene about the latest from the 2012 presidential campaign, and likens Mitt Romney's relationship with the Republican party to that of an arranged marriage. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg Surveillance." 

If you had told me six months ago the state of the Romney campaign as it exists today, I would not have believed you. I mean, you really have to "work at it," to get a campaign in this state of disarray--most of which is self-inflicted by the candidate and his key campaign leadership. It's not just one thing, it's a culmination of things--and now the Obama campaign is capitalizing on all the Romney fumbles and bumbles by (mostly) "staying quiet" and acting "Presidential"--smart move.  If Obama can keep his campaign staff muzzled, and maintain his calm, Presidential demeanor through it all, my best guess today is he will be re-elected in spite of the terrible economy, unemployment rate, weak record, etc. My reading is Romney is "done"--he's (and/or his campaign) made too many mistakes, lost too much credibility, alienated too many voters. Remember his foreign trip? Insulted the British on the eve of the London Olympics, acted like Sheldon Adelson's lap dog in Israel, alienated the Palestinians and most of the Arab world, offended Putin; and apparently he wants to start a trade war with China. That's a full plate--covers everything from alienating our best ally to a war of mutual economic destruction with our biggest foreign creditor. Is this the way he ran Bain Capital?

You add to that the fact that he now appears to be trying to supplant Obama as the "Great Divider" (47% etc.), won't release tax returns, is a rich guy who was a rich kid and as a result, now appears to be tone-deaf and out-of-touch when it comes to average Americans--I could go on, but what's the point?


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney Campaign Self-destruction in Action

I wrote about Romney's "problem" a few days ago with little idea of the extent and depth of disarray about to surface. I'll write more on this in a later post, but for now, just to show how "clueless" Romney and his campaign are, consider the following:

Mitt Romney receives the vote support of about a third of those whose household incomes are less than $24,000 a year and of more than four in 10 seniors with low incomes -- all groups who are among the least likely to pay income taxes.
Read more at GALLUP.com.


How to shrink government

It's a problem--government "deficit spending"--which means the government spends more than it takes in (revenue=taxes + fees). Although nobody (or at least Obama) wants to fix the problem now (it could lead to layoffs and an increase in unemployment to make government more efficient, leaner, etc.), Gallup has uncovered in an opinion poll the path (together with tax reform) "forward:"

A majority of Americans (54%) believe the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, down from earlier this summer. About half say the government has too much powerRead more at GALLUP.com.

In other words, reduce the "tasks" and "power" of government--and then you don't need such a "big" and "expensive" government. Who knows, we might even get a government we can actually afford.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Federal Reserve Re-inflating the U.S. Housing Bubble

What the heck--the U.S. housing bubble led to the biggest recession since the Great Depression, and now the Federal Reserve under Ben Bernanke is trying to re-create the bubble all over again--except this time it is the Federal Reserve buying the mortgages, not Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or Wall Street:

US cannot continue the endless sugar rush - Telegraph: " . . . If “insanity” is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result, then it’s difficult to describe Bernanke’s latest initiative as anything other than insane. By focusing on MBS (mortgage  backed securities) purchases, the Fed is trying to re-inflate America’s real estate bubble, in the hope that rising prices will encourage home-owners to spend more by re-mortgaging and getting even deeper into debt. America has done this before, repeatedly, and it always ends in tears. . . . For all the market euphoria, QE3 will do far more harm than good. By undermining the dollar and fueling future inflation, it will discourage household spending by further debasing wages and pensions. By putting upward pressure on the cost of living, QE3 will eat further into real disposable incomes, forcing American consumers to retrench even more. Oil prices are up almost 30pc since mid-June, even though the global economic outlook has worsened, as speculation has grown about American and European QE. That’s because money-printing encourages shrewd investors to seek out tangible assets – not just gold, but commodities too – and that trend is now spreading into the mainstream. The Fed already has $1,600bn of Treasuries on its balance sheet, compared to a $1,100bn budget deficit. With foreigners, not least foreign governments, now owning more than half of America’s debt stock, Washington is wide open to justifiable charges of debt monetisation. That’s why QE could eventually spark a trade war or, more immediately, a lot more explicit reluctance in Beijing and elsewhere to keep lending the US money. Bernanke wasn’t facing a banking collapse or the prospect of “imminent deflation”. Last Thursday wasn’t a “Lehman moment”. To please his political masters and their friends in high finance, the Fed chairman administered another big dose of QE anyway. So money-printing has evolved from a drastic remedial action to a lifestyle choice, which strikes me as an addiction. . . ."


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Naval Power Massing in Gulf as Israel Prepares

Apparently while radical Muslims have been busy engaging in riots, murder, and mayhem throughout the Mideast directed at the US purportedly (I kid you not) over some YouTube video (which the US government has no connection with), Israel has quietly been watching the "crazies" and making its own plans for something "special"--and I am not referring to Israel possibly posting a video on YouTube--

Armada of British naval power massing in the Gulf as Israel prepares an Iran strike - Telegraph: " . . . The multi-national naval force in the Gulf (of Hormuz) includes three US Nimitz class carrier groups, each of which has more aircraft than the entire complement of the Iranian air force. . . Many within the Obama administration believe that Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities before the US presidential elections, . . . Both Downing Street and Washington hope that the show of force will demonstrate to Iran that Nato and the West will not allow President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, to develop a nuclear armoury or close Hormuz. Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, reportedly met the Israeli prime minister and Ehud Barak, his defence secretary, two weeks ago in an attempt to avert military action against Iran. . . ."

Read the "tea leaves"--and stay tuned.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Google stands up for Free Speech and rejects Obama's Censorship Request

Oath of Office for President of the United States - US Constitution, Article II, Section 1: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Barack Obama had better go back and read the oath of office he swore to almost 4 years ago. His job is to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States," and if he is unable to carry out the duties of his office, he needs to resign--immediately. It is not his (nor the U.S. government's) job to censor free speech (see First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)--

Google rejects White House request to pull Mohammad film clip | Reuters: "Google Inc rejected a request by the White House on Friday to reconsider its decision to keep online a controversial YouTube movie clip that has ignited anti-American protests in the Middle East. The Internet company said it was censoring the video in India and Indonesia after blocking it on Wednesday in Egypt and Libya, where U.S. embassies have been stormed by protestors enraged over depiction of the Prophet Mohammad as a fraud and philanderer. On Tuesday, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in a fiery siege on the embassy in Benghazi. Google said (it) was further restricting the clip to comply with local law rather than as a response to political pressure. "We've restricted access to it in countries where it is illegal such as India and Indonesia, as well as in Libya and Egypt, given the very sensitive situations in these two countries," the company said. "This approach is entirely consistent with principles we first laid out in 2007." White House officials had asked Google earlier on Friday to reconsider whether the video had violated YouTube's terms of service. The guidelines can be viewed here . Google said on Wednesday that the video was within its guidelines."

Who's preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of the United States--Obama or Google? Pretty clear it is Google. Also pretty sad when a private corporation has to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against attempts by the President and his administration to violate Constitutional freedoms.


What's Wrong With Romney?

"Pick your poison" was my last statement on the quandary the American electorate faces in this year's Presidential election. But despite Obama's vulnerability to defeat, the Republicans and Romney are doing their best to re-elect Obama. Want some specifics? Here are two sources--

David Brooks on Charlie Rose

Listen to David Brooks on Charlie Rose

Romney Re-Explains Why He Can’t Be Trusted on Health Care - Bloomberg: "For a conservative approach to fix at least part of the affordability problem, see this article from National Affairs by James Capretta and Tom Miller. Capretta and Miller propose to combine a Romney-style proposal on pre-existing conditions with significantly expanded funding for high-risk insurance pools, in hopes of covering up to 4 million uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions. But Capretta and Miller estimate that their plan would cost somewhere on the order of $200 billion over 10 years. Where is the indication that Romney plans to make such a significant financial commitment, let alone get one out of a Republican Congress? Romney's platform is full of expensive promises -- restore $700 billion in Medicare cuts, grow defense spending to 4 percent of GDP, cut tax rates. It funds these promises in part by drastically cutting spending on health care for the non-elderly. . . "

Insincerity, bumbling campaign management and worse--I wonder if Romney is trying to lose because he understands the dire fiscal situation of the United States and knows neither the Obama campaign nor his campaign are telling the American people the truth, and whoever wins the election is probably the "loser" because of the almost impossible task ahead.

Tip to the Obama campaign--just pick up on Bill Clinton's arithmetic theme for the Presidential debates ahead--Romney's math doesn't "add up" and the American people don't like being played for suckers.  Offense is the best defense for the Obama campaign since the President can't run on his record and of course he can't talk about the true reality of our fiscal mess and weak economy.

Tip to the Romney campaign--get honest, sincere, and competent real fast, or forget about ever winning the Presidential race.

Oh well, whoever wins, we'll muddle through--so go ahead, pick your poison.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Attack in Libya - Obama and Hilary need to explain this

Revealed: inside story of US envoy's assassination - World Politics - World - The Independent: "Exclusive: America 'was warned of embassy attack but did nothing'". . . "According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and "lockdown", under which movement is severely restricted."

OK who's in charge, Hilary or Obama, and what's their "story?" Inept, incompetent, sloppy, negligent . . . ?


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mitt Romney’s statement on the Libya ambassador attack

The Obama administration and Obama's media shills are giving us a lot of spin on what Romney said, when he said it, etc.--here's the transcript (via the Washington Post)--

Mitt Romney’s statement on the Libya ambassador attack - The Washington Post: Wednesday, September 12, 10:15 AM - The following is a transcript of presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s remarks to the press on the Libya and Cairo embassy attacks:

ROMNEY: "Good morning. Americans woke up this morning with -- with tragic news and felt heavy hearts as they considered that individuals who have served in our diplomatic corps were brutally murdered across the world.

"This attack on American individuals and embassies is outrageous, it’s disgusting, it -- it breaks the hearts of all of us who think of these people who have served during their lives the cause of freedom and justice and honor.

"We -- we mourn their loss and join together in prayer that the spirit of the Almighty might comfort the families of those who have been so brutally slain.

"Four diplomats lost their life, including the U.S. ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, in the attack on our embassy at Benghazi, Libya. And of course with these words I extend my condolences to the grieving loved ones who have left behind, as a result of these who have lost their lives in the service of our nation.

"And I know that the people across America are grateful for their service. And we mourn their sacrifice.

"America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. We’ll defend also our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion.

"We have confidence in our cause in America. We respect our Constitution. We stand for the principles our Constitution protects. We encourage other nations to understand and respect the principles of our Constitution, because we recognize that these principles are the ultimate source of freedom for individuals around the world.

"I also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions. It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values.

"The White House distanced itself last night from the statement, saying it wasn’t cleared by Washington. That reflects the mixed signals they’re sending to the world.

"The attacks in Libya and Egypt underscore that the world remains a dangerous place and that American leadership is still sorely needed. In the face of this violence, American cannot shrink from the responsibility to lead. American leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region don’t spin out of control. We cannot hesitate to use our influence in the region to support those who share our values and our interests.

"Over the last several years, we’ve stood witness to an Arab spring that presents an opportunity for a more peaceful and prosperous, but also poses the potential for peril if the forces of extremism and violence are allowed to control the course of events. We must strive to ensure that the Arab spring does not become an Arab winter."

Really, what's wrong with Romney's statement?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Living Amid Ruins in Haiti video

Living Amid Ruins in Haiti video - Many Haitians displaced by the 2010 earthquake left the tent camps and returned to severely damaged houses in danger of collapse.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chicago shows failing of Obama Democratic Party Policies

Chicago teachers are either the highest paid in the U.S.(according to Chicago Public Schools) or second-highest paid (according to the teachers union). In either event, the Chicago teachers strike is hard to justify when you look at the math--or what some call the "arithmetic"--

How Much Do Chicago Public School Teachers Make? « CBS Chicago: "Regardless of where Chicago teachers currently rank in salary, Civic Federation president Laurenence Msall said there’s one big roadblock to a big raise for teachers. “It’s math. It’s not really politics, as much as it gets caught up in politics. The financial situation of the Chicago Public Schools is dire. The situation of the State of Illinois – that provides significant funding to the Chicago Public Schools – is dire,” he said. “The property tax payers in Chicago are beleaguered. They’re seeing a drop in their property values, and to be asking them to pay increased property taxes, so we can fund increased salaries for employees is something that’s gonna be a very tough political sell.” Msall said there’ simply not enough money to support a significant pay hike for the teachers."

Bottom line--what you're seeing in Chicago is Obama Democratic Party politics come to full fruition. Suck the public treasury dry for public worker salaries and benefits. All those union donations to Democratic campaign coffers have driven Chicago and Illinois to the brink of bankruptcy--and it is still not enough!  Is this what you want for the rest of the country?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Why Commodities Are Beating Equities and Bonds (video)

Commodities beat equities, bonds and the dollar for a second consecutive month, the longest streak in more than a year, on mounting speculation policy makers will seek to rescue their economies.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

U.F.O. Home video

U.F.O. Home
Roberto Sanchez Rivera built his home in Puerto Rico to look like a spaceship, with lights and audio effects.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Are We Running Out of Spectrum? (video)

Are We Running Out of Spectrum? Wireless companies say that smartphones are threatening to overwhelm their networks, and are asking the government for help. But some experts maintain that technology already has the answers.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Saving Blue Whales

Saving Blue Whales
The marine biologist Asha de Vos wants to save a little-understood population of blue whales off the coast of Sri Lanka.


The "Economy Election" - no recovery "in sight"

It's the "Economy Election" right? This explains it all in one picture (source: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/ via Paul Krugman):

St. Lous Federal Reserve data of civilian employment-population ratio

Civilian Employment-Population Ratio (2007-2012). Sorry Mr. President -- no recovery "in sight."


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Apple and Amazon Security Led to Epic Hacking

The old adage, "be careful who you do business with" still holds true--

How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking | Gadget Lab | Wired.com: "As of Monday, both of these exploits used by the hackers were still functioning. Wired was able to duplicate them. Apple says its internal tech support processes weren’t followed, and this is how my account was compromised. However, this contradicts what AppleCare told me twice that weekend. If that is, in fact, the case — that I was the victim of Apple not following its own internal processes — then the problem is widespread."

It makes no difference how "careful" you are with your personal information and security, if those you've entrusted with that information release it to others without your consent.


Robert J. Samuelson: Grading Obama

Samuelson (Washington Post) grades Obama "C- or D" (poor) for all of his term excepting the "first six months"--

Robert J. Samuelson: Grading Obama’s economics - The Washington Post: " . . . For the first six months, I’d award him (Obama) an A-; for the rest, a C- or D. . . . The recovery is subpar. After the economy hit bottom in mid-2009, it has grown at a feeble 2.2 percent annual rate. By contrast, growth in the nine other recoveries since 1950 has averaged 4.2 percent for their first three years. During the slump, the economy lost 8.8 million jobs. Only 4 million, less than 50 percent, have returned. The grim job figures explain “why a great many people don’t believe there’s a recovery,” says economist Nariman Behravesh of IHS. Obama can’t escape some responsibility for this dismal performance. His mistake was assuming he could pursue his political agenda without compromising the recovery. Passing the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) weakened the economy. For starters, the complex law discourages job creation by forcing some firms to provide health insurance or pay a fine. If you make hiring harder and costlier, you will get less of it."


The Democrats, God and Jerusalem video

The above is courtesy C-SPAN


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

FTC v. Google

The FTC v. Don't Be Evil--I wrote about this months ago in another case of government abuse and waste of taxpayer funds--(the FTC loves to waste taxpayer funds persecuting Google)--

Federal Lawyer Crows After Imposing $22.5 Million Government Fine on Company | The Weekly Standard: "As the New York Times reports, "The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday fined Google $22.5 million to settle charges (it's actually a consent decree/settlement--see below) that it bypassed privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser to show advertisements, and violated an earlier privacy settlement with the agency.". . .  The (FTC's) lawyer, Megan Gray, who just started working for the FTC, was so pleased to beat back Google that she sent an email to friends and colleagues to brag about her performance. "I'm pleased to report that my new gig at the FTC has started with a bang," writes Gray.". . . Upon my arrival, I was made first-chair trial counsel in the case against Google for privacy violations under the comprehensive Consent Order that became effective last year.  With a fantastic team working with me, we were able to obtain a $22,500,000 million settlement . . . I will be continuing as lead enforcer on the Consent Order . . . " Gray concludes her email by giving friends and colleagues a personal email address to reach her, but, she says, "For sensitive work matters, phone is best." After all, one wouldn't want to leave a paper trail that the American public might otherwise find! . . ."

The Weekly Standard goes on to reprint Gray's and other FTC personnel's Facebook entries about the FTC/Google matter--which are hardly professional--"Google is paying with black eyes as well as greenbacks."

Also note, for the record, something the "brilliant" lawyers and staff of the FTC don't readily admit: Google's Privacy Settlement Denies Liability (Again): "The FTC order states that the defendant, Google, "denies any violation of the FTC Order, any and all liability for the claims set forth in the Complaint, and all material allegations of the Complaint save for those regarding jurisdiction and venue."" Apparently the "bang" was not quite the victory Gray would have everyone believe, in fact, Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch dissented--"I dissent from accepting this consent decree because it arguably cannot be concluded that the consent decree is in the public interest when it contains a denial of liability." He goes on to say, "$22.5 million represents a de minimis amount of Google’s profit or revenues."

In other words, it appears Google got rid of a nuisance complaint for chicken feed--but the FTC lawyer thinks she's done a "great job."  Heaven help us--boy do we need CHANGE in Washington.

Final note to Gray and the FTC: we're not impressed. (Apparently neither is anyone else--see the transcript of Megan Gray "chat" here.)


Obama and the Downward Spiral For America

Obama's Accelerating Downward Spiral For America - Forbes: "New income data from the Census Bureau reveal what a great job Barack Obama has done for the middle class as President.  During his entire tenure in the oval office, median household income has declined by 7.3%. In January, 2009, the month he entered office, median household income was $54,983.  By June, 2012, it had spiraled down to $50,964.  That’s a loss of $4,019 per family, the equivalent of losing a little less than one month’s income a year, every year.  And on our current course that is only going to get worse not better."

If it truly is the "economy election," Obama is doomed.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

U.S. Postal Service reports $5.2-billion loss

A lack of political will and good business judgment now leads us to this--

U.S. Postal Service reports $5.2-billion loss, warns it'll miss benefits payment | Nation/World | Detroit Free Press | freep.com: "The mail agency says it will miss the second $5.6-billion payment due Sept. 30, also for future retiree benefits. At a news briefing, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe made clear that day-to-day mail delivery will not be disrupted in any way despite the cash crunch. But Donahoe expressed frustration with Congress. . . .The Postal Service originally sought to close low-revenue post offices in rural areas, but after public opposition, it is now moving forward with a new plan to keep 13,000 open with shorter operating hours."

Public opposition?--what's wrong with these people? I don't understand why they don't close the low-revenue (money-losing) post offices and go to 2 or 3 times a week postal delivery. The postal service is a dinosaur--get over it!


So long summer 2012 (video)

For those living in the US, Labor day signals the end of summer. Above is a video from Thomas Pink to salute the season's passing.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Obama's "Culture Of Fraud" Campaign

Culture Of Fraud - NYTimes.com: Paul Krugman-- "So this is a campaign that’s all about faking it — fake claims about Obama, fake claims about policy, fake claims about Romney’s personal history."

Can't disagree with that--and I know it hurts Krugman, an Obama liberal, to have to admit the Obama Campaign is a fraud, constantly making fake claims about Romney.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Factory Grows in Haiti (video)

A Factory Grows in Haiti
The showcase project for Haiti’s earthquake reconstruction is being built far outside the disaster zone, in a location that could jeopardize the country’s key conservation effort.


Canes have an explosive "true freshman" running back

"True Freshman" Duke Johnson broke two long touchdown runs, rushing for 135 yards to lead Miami to a 41-32 victory over Boston College on Saturday.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Digg did something very stupid

Digg v1: Betaworks Flushes Seven Years of Internet History Down the Toilet - San Francisco News - The Snitch: "The end of San Francisco-based Digg has been nigh for over two years, ever since founder Kevin Rose helmed a disastrous redesign in August 2010 and many of the site's users fled to Reddit, but the news-sharing behemoth plodded along, not realizing it was supposed to be dead. That is, until yesterday, when new owner Betaworks put a bullet in its head. Here, take a look. At first glance, it looks a lot like Pinterest, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. But it only takes a couple clicks to realize all of the archives are gone. All of them. All of the Ron Paul idolatry. All of the ASCII facepalms. All of the linkbait. Gone. And this could have a profound effect on the rest of the Internet." 

So much for SEO!

The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects