What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
Back to School: Some Surprising Education Numbers
by Lindsey Burke,
August 27, 2012
As children head back to the classrooms, let’s look at two important figures to consider this school year: 308,000 and $11,400.
308,000: Number of members lost by the National Education Association.
Education special interest groups, such as the teachers unions, are experiencing a decline in membership. As Stephen Sawchuck reports in Education Week, “by the end of its 2013–14 budget, NEA [the National Education Association] expects it will have lost 308,000 members and experienced a decline in revenue projected at some $65 million in all since 2010. (The figures are expressed in full-time equivalents, which means that the actual number of people affected is probably higher.)” While the decline in membership appears to have shocked the NEA, the remarks of one of the union’s top officials, treasurer Becky Pringle, are even more shocking:
We’re living with a recession that just won’t end, political attacks that have turned brutal, and societal changes that are impacting us—from stupid education “reform” to an explosion of technology—all coming together to impact us in ways that we had never anticipated.
Pringle is likely referring to the reforms that Governor Scott Walker (R–WI) put into place in his state last year, giving teachers the choice to join the union or not. And it’s no surprise that the unions [....]
Brain-dead politics assures chaos till 2016
Commentary: No matter who wins, irrationality will rule markets
by Paul B. Farrell,
August 28, 2012
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — “Liberals and conservatives do not just see things differently. They are different, in their personalities, even their unconscious reactions to the world around them,” warns senior editor Emily Laber-Warren in Scientific American Mind, one of the more fascinating reports on behavioral-science research on the political brain. Yes, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, you can tell them apart from their DNA, brain scans, behavioral patterns ... seriously, guys like Eastwood, Trump and Romney don’t just “see” the world differently than Spielberg, Soros and Obama ... they are very different human beings from the outset. Yes, they see different, but they also think, decide, behave, vote and invest different.
How different? Here’s a simple test: Do you cheer loudly when a tough guy like Dirty Harry points his .357 Magnum, challenging the bad guy to “go ahead, make my day.” And did you feel relieved when the frazzled Dreyfus character in Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of The Third Kind,” marches up to the UFO to gets the hell off your great Earth? In her “Calling a Truce in the Political Wars,” Laber-Warren elaborates on the differences between conservative and liberal thinking by paraphrasing humorist Dave Barry: “Republicans think of Democrats as godless, unpatriotic, Volvo-driving, France-loving, elitist latte guzzlers.” “Democrats dismiss Republicans as ignorant, Nascar-obsessed, gun-fondling religious fanatics.” That’s why “Congress is in a perpetual stalemate because of the two parties’ inability to find middle ground on practically anything.”
No compromise till 2016: Will your retirement portfolio lose too?
OK, so you ask, what’s all this really mean for my investing strategies, now and especially after the November elections? Yes it depends on who wins: Will conservatives get absolute control of Washington? What if liberals hold onto the presidency and the Senate? Or if the conservatives add the Senate to their control of the house, but Obama is still president? Remember the president has [....]
Marxist ’Third World Liberation Theology’
by Benny Johnson,
August 22, 2012
In an exclusive interview with the Blaze, author Dinesh D’souza (”Obama’s America: Unmaking The American Dream”) made some eye-opening comments on the president’s faith grounding. We asked D’souza, who’s also the driving force behind the move “2016: Obama’s America,” if he believes Obama is a Christian. D’souza, who has written extensively on the topic of faith and Christianity and is president of the Christian school The King’s College, answered that Obama is a disciple of the radical “Third World Liberation Theology.”
According to a global Christian definition site, this brand of Christianity openly subscribes to Marxist philosophy, their support for revolutionary movements, and their criticisms of traditional church institutions: “Marxism and liberation theology condemn religion for supporting the status quo and legitimating the power of the oppressor.” D’souza explained that Third World Liberation Theology ”sees Jesus as a guerrilla revolutionary. It sees the Romans as [....]
Five winners from Apple's billion-dollar win
by Nigam Arora,
August 27, 2012
Nine jurors in the Federal Court of the Northern District of Southern California handed Apple Inc. a big victory against Samsung Electronics Co. The jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages, found all seven of Apple's patents valid, found Samsung infringed six of Apple's patents, and found Apple to not infringe any of Samsung's five patents. There are five big winners from this verdict.
Apple is obviously the big winner. It is not the $1.05 billion damage award, but the ammunition that the verdict provides Apple to keep its competitors at bay. The verdict will help Apple /quotes/zigman/68270/quotes/nls/aapl AAPL +0.21% strengthen its brand, raise the cost for competitors, and make the moat around Apple products deeper and wider.
Microsoft Corp. /quotes/zigman/20493/quotes/nls/msft MSFT +1.65% is about to introduce Windows Phone 8 operating system. For details please see Microsoft and Nokia could pre-empt Apple .
Although Apple did not directly litigate against Google Inc. /quotes/zigman/93888/quotes/nls/goog GOOG +0.50% the real case was against Google Android. Now that it is clear that certain parts of Google Android infringe Apple's patents, phone manufacturers are likely to be more receptive to Microsoft Windows Phone 8 operating system.
Nokia Corp. /quotes/zigman/162154/quotes/nls/nok NOK +2.55% has tied its fortune to Microsoft Windows phone operating system. Nokia phones look and feel different than Apple iPhone. Nokia does not infringe Apple patents. The verdict gives Nokia a leg up on Android phones.
Research In Motion
Research In Motion /quotes/zigman/18534/quotes/nls/rimm RIMM -0.30% has been left for dead. Now that Android is damaged goods, it opens up two [....]
Another Prominent Liberal Endorses Romney-Ryan
by Bob Beauprez,
August 23, 2012
I hope you saw the August issue of A Line of Sight that published yesterday. I particularly wanted to draw your attention to the endorsement of Romney-Ryan by award winning radio host Craig Silverman.
Silverman's support of Romney is particularly notable as he publicly supported Barack Obama in 2008, has spent most of his life as a Democrat, is Jewish, a member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, and a self-identified "moderate." Silverman's endorsement is the lead article currently posted on the home page of our website. Here's a key excerpt: [....]
Obamacare Is Becoming a Racket for Overpaid Government Bureaucrats
by Daniel J. Mitchell,
August 20, 2012 I’ve certainly complained about Obamacare from a fiscal perspective, warning that it means higher taxes and more spending. And I’ve also warned that it will make our health care system less efficient and could lead to some of the horrifying examples of rationing and poor care that you find in the United Kingdom (scroll to the bottom of this post for some shocking examples). But if you need another reason to be upset, it turns out that Obamacare is going to be a very lucrative gig for a new crop of government bureaucrats.
Here are some very disturbing details from the Pueblo Chieftan in Colorado.
Eye-popping salaries proposed for employees of the health benefits exchange being formed in Colorado grabbed the attention of Republicans and Democrats alike on Thursday. A subcommittee of the board charged with establishing the exchange is considering a draft budget for its federal grant application that would create 24 positions and pay those employees a total of more than $3 million annually to manage the health care cooperative. The average annual salary of a health benefits exchange employee would exceed $125,000 under the plan. …“We have executive directors (of state departments) that are in charge of thousands of people here that make significantly less than that,” said Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs. …A Democrat on the committee overseeing enactment of health benefits exchange legislation in the state agreed that the figures are worthy of scrutiny. …Under the health care overhaul, states were required to establish exchanges. Colorado authorized its exchange this year in SB200.
Keep in mind that the $125,000 figure is an average, which means [....]
Deroy Murdock Explains How to Promote Paul Ryan’s Proposed Medicare Reform
by Daniel J. Mitchell,
August 27, 2012 When I give speeches about entitlement reform, I often make the point that there’s nothing radical about Paul Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare. Spending will go up, for instance, not down. And the reforms only affect people under age 55. This is evolutionary change, not revolutionary change. But my main example is that future seniors, for all intents and purposes, will have a health plan similar to what’s now available for Members of Congress. Not only the politicians, but also their staff and the entire federal bureaucracy. I’m not the only one to think this is a powerful point. Here are a couple of passages from Deroy Murdock’s National Review column on the topic.
The Medicare-reform proposal of presumptive GOP running-mate Paul Ryan is precisely as extreme as the health plan available today to every member of Congress. Ryan envisions average seniors’ being able to enjoy Capitol Hill–style medical options. This itself, however, would be a choice. Seniors who oppose choice in health coverage will be 100 percent welcome to remain within traditional Medicare. …Wyden-Ryan mirrors the way federal legislators buy health insurance. As FactCheck.org’s Brooks Jackson notes, “House and Senate members are allowed to purchase private health insurance offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which covers more than 8 million other federal employees, retirees and their families.” …As FactCheck.org, elaborates, “All plans cover hospital, surgical and physician services, and mental health services, prescription drugs and ‘catastrophic’ coverage against very large medical expenses . . . There are no exclusions for preexisting conditions.” Participants may change plans during annual “open season” periods. Also, the government pays 72 percent of the average worker’s premium, with a maximum of 75 percent. Democrats cannot explain why Medicare recipients need to become congressmen to enjoy such choices in health coverage. If Ryancare, in essence, is good enough for senior citizens like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, it’s good enough for any senior who wants it after 2022.
Deroy’s column shows how supporters of entitlement reform can [....]
Indiana's ED Voucher System Doubles, Public Schools Fight Back With Billboard Ad Campaign
by Mike Shedlock,
August 23, 2012 Indiana has the nation's largest school voucher system and it is about to double in size. In response, Indiana public schools wage unusual ad campaign.
Struggling Indiana public school districts are buying billboard space, airing radio ads and even sending principals door-to-door in an unusual marketing campaign aimed at persuading parents not to move their children to private schools as the nation's largest voucher program doubles in size.
Unlike voucher programs in other states that are limited to poor families and failing school districts, the Indiana subsidies are open to a much broader range of people, including parents with a household income up to nearly $64,000 for a family of four. The median income for an Indiana family of four was just over $67,000 in 2010, making many of the state's nearly 1 million public school students eligible for vouchers.
Last year, the effect of the new vouchers was [....]
Déjà Vroom: GM Seeks Bigger Credit Line To Shrink Pension Obligations
by Mike Shedlock,
August 27, 2012 Going into debt to fund pensions seems like a ridiculous thing to do, especially for a company had a chance to shed more of those pension obligations in bankruptcy.
General Motors Co. is in preliminary talks with banks to potentially double its $5 billion line of credit as the auto maker looks to strengthen its balance sheet and shrink pension obligations, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The world's largest auto maker by sales is in no danger of running short on cash. The Detroit company has very little debt and held about $33 billion in available cash at June 30. Analysts believe it needs roughly $20 billion to operate comfortably. It currently has an available line of credit of $5 billion.
But GM could have hefty cash needs ahead. Its European operations are racking up major losses, it is increasing capital spending on new vehicles, and it may want to repurchase shares held by the U.S. Treasury. GM also wants to reduce its U.S. pension obligations. Pensions for [....]
[As always, not a recommendation to invest!]
ALPINE WOODS CAPITAL INVESTORS, LLC. LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
July 12, 2012
Alpine Woods Capital Investors, LLC., investment advisor to the Alpine Funds has recently enhanced and streamlined its web properties. Information for both the open-end and closed-end fund product lines can now be found at www.alpinefunds.com. The new website provides visitors a cleaner look, easier navigation, more product information, manager perspectives and timely investment updates. This endeavor is part of a broader strategic plan that focuses on Alpine’s clients, products, portfolio management and infrastructure.
“We are very pleased with our new website, which we believe will provide our clients more information about Alpine Funds in a timely and user friendly manner. It is part of our ongoing effort to meet the needs of our clients and Financial Advisors. We have also enhanced our infrastructure to facilitate continued growth and to provide for the evolving needs of our Funds’ shareholders,”
said Sam Lieber, President and Chief Executive Officer at Alpine Woods Capital Investors.
Recently, Alpine has introduced a new share class to [....]
Is There Anyone Obama Won't Betray?
by John Ransom,
August 20, 2012
Bravo to the boys and girls in the military/intelligence community who have stood toe-to-to with Obama for jeopardizing the sources and methods that took out Osama bin Laden. While the liberal press tries to make hay out of the fact that the folks behind the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund Inc have…gotcha!...“Republican” ties, I’m thinking well thank God for Republicans in the military/intelligence community then. These are folks, well known to me, who have been at war since 2001, while the rest of America has been at the mall. And why aren’t heroes like, [cough, hack] John Kerry- largely a Gilbert and Sullivan sailor- who was so brave, that he spent four whole months in Vietnam; why aren’t they speaking out on behalf of service members? Oh, that’s right. Democrats lost their moral compass while experimenting with LSD in the late 1960s.
So we should just give them a pass.
The OPSEC group has a serious point, however: It’s bad enough that Democrats, like John Kerry, describe the Global War on Terror as a “bumper sticker.” But when the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States plays politics with intelligence and the lives of our combat troops, you wonder if its not just LSD flashbacks from the 1960s, but perhaps LSD flash-forwards.
Of course, Obama has no need of drugs per se. When you are the Chosen One, all you need is yourself. Obama’s self-love is much more powerful than LSD. For example, [....]
Another Victory for Voter ID
August 22, 2012
Last week, in a victory for election integrity, a Pennsylvania district court judge denied a preliminary injunction to stop Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law from going into effect. The law, passed in March 2012, minimally changes Pennsylvania’s election code to require citizens voting in person on Election Day to present photo identification. Acceptable forms of photo identification include IDs issued by the federal or state government, such as municipalities, accredited public or private schools, and care facilities. Citizens who cannot produce an approved form of ID may still cast a provisional ballot provided that the person delivers proof of identification within six days after the election. The law imposes a similar [....]
LIBOR Rigging Scandal: No New Laws Necessary by David John,
August 7, 2012
More As the evidence mounts about the scope of efforts to rig the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a significant financial index, the predictable calls for new laws and even a radical restructuring of major segments of the financial services industry are coming from both the U.S. and Europe. However, facts show that new laws are not needed. The system worked. It is true that some regulators on both sides of the Atlantic should have acted sooner and more aggressively, but new laws would not improve their performance.
How LIBOR Was Rigged and Why
LIBOR is a system of rates that acts as a benchmark for interest rates around the world, including some U.S. mortgages. It represents the estimated average interest rate that certain large international banks’ London offices would pay to borrow from another large bank for a list of 15 specific maturities (time periods) and 10 different currencies. Many other financial institutions base their own interest rates for a wide variety of financial products on the LIBOR rate, commonly adding a certain premium over LIBOR depending on the financial instrument in question and the credit quality of the borrower. At present, 18 large international banks, including three American banks, participate. At about 11 a.m. each U.K. business day, the British Bankers’ Association polls the 18 banks for that day’s estimated rates. The top and bottom four for each currency and maturity are dropped, and the mean of the middle 10 is used as that day’s LIBOR rate and reported about 11:30 a.m. U.K. time by Thomson Reuters. There were actually two LIBOR manipulations dating [....]
MBA Paths and Their Payoff
Many MBA students choose an area of concentration for their degree. With options like finance, business management, marketing and more, how do these outcome-oriented future tycoons decide which route to take? PayScale researched four common MBA majors and compared them by degree holders' pay, stress levels, job satisfaction and more. See the methodology for the infographic below. [....]
(Ongoing email notification) Operation Paperback is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Pennsylvania that collects gently used books nationwide and sends them to American troops deployed overseas. Since 1999, we have shipped over 1.7 million books to locations around the globe.
Our service members make sacrifices every day for our country. It takes so little to let them know that we appreciate what they are doing for us. When you donate to Operation Paperback, you will let our troops know that you support them, and you have not forgotten them. [....]
Blogger Note: "Come-ON, y'all!! Everyone has an old paperback or two layin' around!! This is a good place to 'put them.' This is where my 'previously enjoyed' books end up!!
by George Friedman,
August 28, 2012
Polish national strategy pivots around a single, existential issue: how to preserve its national identity and independence. Located on the oft-invaded North European Plain, Poland's existence is heavily susceptible to the moves of major Eurasian powers. Therefore, Polish history has been erratic, with Poland moving from independence -- even regional dominance -- to simply disappearing from the map, surviving only in language and memory before emerging once again.
For some countries, geopolitics is a marginal issue. Win or lose, life goes on. But for Poland, geopolitics is an existential issue; losing begets national catastrophe. Therefore, Poland's national strategy inevitably is designed with an underlying sense of fear and desperation. Nothing in Polish history would indicate that disaster is impossible. To begin thinking about Poland's strategy, we must consider that in the 17th century, Poland, aligned with Lithuania, was one of the major European powers. It stretched from the Baltic Sea almost to the Black Sea, from western Ukraine into the Germanic regions. By 1795, it had ceased to exist as an independent country, divided among three emerging powers: Prussia, Russia and Austria. It did not regain independence until after World War I -- it was created by the Treaty of Versailles (1919) -- after which it had to fight the Soviets for its existence. Poland again was [....]
The Bankrupt Leading the Bankrupt
by John Ransom,
August 27, 2012
If the world without a strong American economy struggles, so too does an America without a strong California economy. The Golden State, which once represented the promise of America, is mired in swampland of broken promises, graft, political stupidity and liberal fantasy. And if California represents the very best government that liberals can give us- and it likely does- then this country had better take a deep breath and step away from progressive math. Because, it just doesn’t add up.
California has a government that is structurally unable to support its’ addiction to runaway government spending- like DC; they have “balanced” their budget based on the fantasy that the federal government will bail them out with increased taxes- like DC; they have municipalities in thrall to public sector unions- governments choosing union benefits over investor rights- like DC did in the GM bankruptcy.
“Step right up, ladies and gentleman, and buy a bond. Don’t worry. It’s safe. If we can’t pay, we’ll just declare bankruptcy. And hit you for another loan.”
California is leading the new wave of city bankruptcies in a feat of fiscal irresponsibility never before matched in the history of our Republic.
And it could be spreading to other states.
If there is a crisis in confidence in the country, it starts in California.
The state’s leading export used to be escapist fantasy enabled by movie studios.
Today it’s escapist fantasy enabled by tax receipts, modern credit and bankruptcy laws.
“Beautiful credit! The foundation of modern society,”
wrote Mark Twain, who knew a little about [....]
Actor Compares Obama To Hugo Chavez
by Daniel Noe,
August 30, 2012
Actor Jon Voight says that Obama has taken over the media ‘in no less a way’ than Hugo Chavez has in Venezuela (these specific comments occur around the 4:30 mark). He also talks about his support for Mitt Romney for president. [....]
Why Women Should Not Vote For Obama
by John Careccia,
August 30, 2012
Unfortunately, there are women who can overlook any amount of ridicule because they are convinced by Liberal Progressive operatives that they want to elect a Democratic President. They tell women that they are victims and convince them that they should be more interested in getting birth control paid by the government than in being able to raise their children as they see fit, hold down a job, or start a business because of the same government bureaucracy. Ever since Teddy Kennedy abandoned Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick, the Democratic party has [....]
Billboard Controversy Comes To North Texas
by Jason Allen-Reporter,
August 20, 2012
GAINESVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) - A billboard that sparked a protest in Indiana because of its reference to the Navy Seals, and removing the President from office, has appeared along I-35 in North Texas. The ad in Gainesville depicts two men in camouflage holding weapons. The text next to the picture, in a military style font, says “The Seals removed one threat to America,” a reference to the killing of Osama bin Laden. It continues, “Remove the other in November.”
The bottom of the sign says it’s a political ad, paid for by TJ Schad, and has a Gainesville address.
At his home Monday, Tom Schad said he’s not acting for any political party, committee or candidate. He simply saw a similar picture in an email, with an accompanying note that said it should be on every billboard across the country.
“It just started out as something fun to do,” he said. “Let’s see if I could do it. I didn’t have a clue how to do it.”
Schad said he knew the owner of TerryCo., the company who leased him the billboard space through the November election. He had an artist at an advertising agency design the ad and it was up within a week.
"I think we were just trying to make a statement,” he said. “We felt we needed to change direction in the country, and that’s what we did.”
A similar ad in Elkhart, Indiana prompted a [....]
Wanna a Free Car? Be a Congressman
by John Ransom,
August 23, 2012 Maybe 15 terms in Congress is enough. In at least one case, we now have proof that it’s more than enough. California Rep. Darrell Issa finally confirmed today what has been generally known for a long while: Even as Democrats were promised to get to the bottom of the scandal surrounding sup-prime mortgage loans, a least one top Democrat was working hard to cover-up the names of Democrats who got favors from Countrywide Financial Corp. Countrywide was the biggest abuser of sub-prime mortgages and was one of the main culprits in the housing collapse that eventually infected the rest of the economy.
According to the Associated Press, Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y, “overrode his own subpoena three years ago in an investigation of former sub-prime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. to exclude records showing that he, other House members and congressional aides got VIP discounted loans from the company, documents show. The procedure to keep the names secret was devised by …Towns. In 2003, the 15-term congressman had two loans processed by Countrywide's VIP section, which was established to give discounts to favored borrowers.”
This comes as a big surprise. [....]
Why Are The Democrats Featuring Muslim Extremists At Their Convention?
by John Careccia,
August 29, 2012
What is going on in the Democratic Party? Have they abandoned all logic? It appears they will not deal with the issues that are facing this country at all costs. Any topic that clouds the issue is being explored as a topic at the Democratic Convention. The state of North Carolina defeated the “Same Sex Marriage” proposal, but the Democratic Party is including it in their agenda and is giving a lot of time to “free thinking” women. Obama has done such a miserable job with the economy that they have to stay away from anything economic.
The administration has preempted Congress on the issue of illegals, so the party now has to include that in their platform. Now they are going to couple that with the plight of women who cannot get birth control through healthcare. The Democratic Party is beginning to look more and more like the hippie movement in the 1960′s, with Free Love and Abortion on Demand coupled with [....]
How Obamacare Robs Medicare and Hurts Seniors
by Alyene Sanger,
August 28, 2012 The rhetorical Medicare wars have heated up this week, after President Obama declared in his Saturday radio address that his proposed reforms "won't touch your guaranteed Medicare benefits. Not by a single dime." This is incorrect. Obamacare cuts $716 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and uses these "savings" from Medicare to fund other entitlement expansions mandated by Obamacare. Medicare becomes a cash cow for Obamacare, and the Medicare "savings" from payment cuts are not put back into making Medicare solvent. Such massive payment cuts do impact Medicare benefits, as well as seniors' access to those benefits. Heritage's Alyene Senger explains how this hurts America's seniors:
The impact of these cuts will be detrimental to seniors' access to care. The Medicare trustees 2012 report concludes that these lower Medicare payment rates will cause an estimated 15 percent of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies to operate at a loss by 2019, 25 percent to operate at a loss in 2030, and 40 percent by 2050. Operating at a loss means these facilities are likely to cut back their services to Medicare patients or close their doors, making it more difficult for seniors to access these services.
The President also said [....]
Part #2 to follow....