Thursday, August 30, 2007
The Federal Election Commission has fined one of the last cycle’s biggest liberal political action committees $775,000 for using unregulated soft money to boost John Kerry and other Democratic candidates during the 2004 elections.
America Coming Together (ACT) raised $137 million for its get-out-the-vote effort in 2004, but the FEC found most of that cash came through contributions that violated federal limits.
The group’s big donors included George Soros, Progressive Corp. chairman Peter Lewis and the Service Employees International Union.
The settlement, which the FEC approved unanimously, is the third largest enforcement penalty in the commission’s 33-year history.
And we note that PRC is active, again, in financing Dem candidates.
HT: ClayCramer, Texas Hold'Em
More than 100 villagers turned out for a community meeting to gauge residents' preferences for reconstruction - whether to rebuild in place, surrounded by dikes or levees; move to higher ground; or a combination of the two.
Mike Pettit, who remembers the floods of 1978 and 1993, said a dike would have to be built around the village's business district or it would lose its tax base.
OK, so we have 1978, 1993, 2007...is that the 'three-strike' rule?
...residents at Wednesday's meeting didn't want to pack up. Albert Zegiel, a baker who has lived here since 1989, worried Gays Mills would lose its "small-town flavor" if that happened.
Added Gay St. resident Susan Jarrett: Moving Gays Mills "would kill the soul of this city."
Usually the soul has intelligence.
Regarding New Orleans, from the Confederate Yankee:
In September of 2005, I interviewed a geologist who was the former Dean of his southern university's Coastal and Marine Studies program. His closing, unsolicited recommendation was that New Orleans "should be largely abandoned as a city."
New Orleans is doomed city, a geographical mistake destined to fall to geologic and hydraulic forces beyond our control. It is sad they we are too arrogant to concede this failed city to the sea, and seem destined to waste the billions of dollars that could be spent moving the inhabitants to higher ground.
Instead we seem intent on enticing back the poor and the destitute with promises of rebuilding what should not be rebuilt, just to put their lives in danger once more.
Some ex-NO residents have caught on:
Two years after Hurricane Katrina forced hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents to take refuge in cities across the nation, the number of survivors still flowing into the Milwaukee area has continued, even as national disaster relief aid has ended.
There are large numbers of people from NO all around the country. They're not happy about leaving their home, either--but at least they're smart enough to occupy the high ground.
But he'd rather throw the 'high hard one' directly at medical providers' heads. Makes a better political show, you know.
A top official in Gov. Jim Doyle's administration Wednesday ordered state health officials to develop a strategy for reducing Medicaid spending until lawmakers end a budget stalemate and adopt a two-year spending package.
Michael Morgan said he instructed the Department of Health and Family Services to develop a plan for cutting spending in Medicaid by 20%. The state-federal health care program covers the poor, elderly and disabled
The Medicaid plan would likely mean lower reimbursements for health care providers.
Doctors, hospitals, nursing homes--all are now political footballs. Let's kick them around for the crowd in the grandstand.
What a bright idea, Darth!
Morgan suggested he could soon have to ask for similar contingency plans for other state agencies because of the lack of a state budget, but declined to provide specifics.
Won't be the Department of Revenue, nor DarthDoyle's personal cop-shop, the Capitol Police, though.
After the JS went through the PropagandaPoint presentation about the EEEEEEEEvil Republican Assembly, the article gets around to this:
If Medicaid funding is left at current levels, the state would not collect $363 million from the cigarette tax increase and the assessment on hospitals this fiscal year.
Which, of course, is the reality. It's not a question of running short of funds. It's a question of not getting his way.
So he stamps his foot and pouts.
That's a helluva way to govern, Darth.
But it ain't just a President. It's also a whole new Cabinet, including an Attorney General.
Here's a reminder of the civil liberties record, courtesy Ann Coulter:
Civilians killed by Ashcroft: 0
Civilians killed by Gonzales: 0
Civilians killed by Reno: 80
Innocent people put in prison by Ashcroft: 0
Innocent people put in prison by Gonzales: 0
Innocent people put in prison by Reno: At least 1 that I know of
Number of obvious civil rights violations ignored by Ashcroft: 0
Number of obvious civil rights violations ignored by Gonzales: 0
Number of obvious civil rights violations ignored by Reno: at least 1
You get the drift.
Recall the line from Jiminy Cricket's song: "...makes no difference who you are....Anyone the Dems want gone will dis-ap-pear!!!" (Well, maybe that's not the lyric, exactly)
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Early in my ministry, I served as a youth pastor in a Baptist church near an Air Force base in Mississippi. Like every other Evangelical youth minister, I received all the advertisements from youth ministry curricula-hawkers, telling me how I could be "relevant" to "today's teenagers." The advertisements promised me ways I could "connect" with teenagers through Bible studies based on MTV reality shows and the songs on the top-40 charts that month.
All I knew how to do, though, was preach the gospel. Yes, I knew what was happening on MTV, and I'd often contrast biblical reality with that, but I fit nobody's definition of cool -- including my own.
A group of teenagers, mostly fatherless boys, some of them gant members, started attending my Wednesday night Bible study. Some of them arrived at the church engulfed in a cloud of marijuana smoke.
I found they were't impressed with the "cool" supplemental video clips provided by my denomination's publisher. They laughed at Christian rap stars, in the same way I laughed at my high-school history teachers' effort to "have a groovy rap session with you youngsters."
But what riveted their attention was how weird we were. "So, like, you really believe this dead guy came back from the dead?" one 15-year-old boy asked me. "I do," I replied. "For real?" he responded. I said, "For real."
They were amused at the fact that my wife and I had dinner together, and that we didn't really want tobe smoewhere else. "Dude, this is like 'Nick at Nite,'" one said, referencing the black-and-white family sitcom reruns on television each night. "The mom and dad are here, 'how was your day,' and the whole deal. They couldn't believe that in our church, elderly people and teenagers talked to one another, that Latino military officers joked around with white enlisted men around a Sunday-school coffepot.
It seemd strange. And, just as at Mars Hill, this strangeness commanded attention. Some believed; some walked away. I was heard, and I was even loved, but I was rarely cool.
And he comments
Don't know about you, but I relate to this.
...It was only when I got caught up in the radical strangeness of Christianity, and saw that men like Kierkegaard, Dostoevesky, Merton, Percy and others I respected were also captivated by the story, that things changed for me. And then when at long last I began to take instruction in the faith, there was Father Frootloop and Sister Stretchpants, reducing the liberating weirdness of the faith to therapeutic banalities that they apparently thought we could accept. God bless crusty old Father Moloney, to whose rectory parlor I flew. He was not interested in watering anything down in an attempt to be "relevant." Which is why I listened to him, and followed the path he set out for me. He wanted me to follow, but he respected me, and the gospel, enough to tell me how otherworldly and countercultural this well-trodden path was.
When you stop to think about this "yout' ministry" stuff, it's a version of "helicopter parenting" which is adopted by surrogates who, whether they know it or not, are "disrespecting" both the children and the Faith.
The children have to grow up sometime, you know. And they have to use big words, and figure out how to use a screwdriver and pliers, not to mention read and understand 'real-world' documents.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
"I'd encourage your youngest one to abandon kindergarten altogether. Almost everything I learned was learned outside the classroom, and school itself interrupted my education.
Moreover, school locks you in with your peers. That is a mistake. One's social circle should never include one's equals. From my earliest years I found children uninteresting and always preferred the company of adults. This was an advantage, because I got to know lots of folks who are dead now whom I never would have known if I had waited until I was an adult. - So I have a collective memory - and oral tradition - that goes back to the eighteenth century, having spoken with people who knew people who knew people who knew people who lived then.
- The only real university is the universe and a city its microcosm. That is why an expression like "New York University" is foolish. New York City is the university….Instead of school, children should spend some hours each day in hotel lobbies talking to the guests. They should spend time in restaurant kitchens and shops and garages of all kinds, learning from people who actually make the world work….
One day spent roaming through a real classical church building would be the equivalent of one academic term in any of our schools, and a little time spent inconspicuously in a police station would be more informative than all the hours wasted on bogus social sciences.
Formal lessons would only be required for accuracy in spelling and proficiency in public speaking, for which the public speakers in our culture are not models, and in exchange for performing some menial services a child could learn the violin, harp, and piano from musicians in one of the better cocktail lounges, or from performers in the public subways….
So I urge you to keep your child out of kindergarten, because kindergarten will only lead to first grade and then the grim sequence of grade after grade begins and takes its inexorable toll on the mind born fertile but gradually numbed by the pedants who impose on the captive child the flotsam of their own infecundity."
Fr. G. Rutler, quoted by Gerald.
Meanwhile, the number of Americans without health insurance coverage rose from 44.8 million in 2005 to 47 million in 2006.
That's what reporter John Glauber wrote.
A few stories down, we find THIS:
The number of people in the United States without health insurance rose last year for the sixth straight year, to an estimated 47 million people
That's written by reporter Guy Boulton.
(Hint: both can be true; but one hints at "illegals" and the other excludes them. Boulton's is accurate.)
When Sam Smith, or his aunt Jane Smith, drop a couple pounds of fertilizer into their field and it washes into a river, DNR rips them to shreds.
When the Milwaukee Metro Sewage District drops 100 million gallons of fertilizer into Lake Michigan, the DNR says "So what?"
When Hollywood shows up to make a TV show or movie in Wisconsin, the State's Department of Revenue sends tax credits-gifts to the producers.
When longstanding Wisconsin taxpayers show up, the Wisconsin D of Revenue simply sends a large tax bill, and politely requests payment before they .....oh...take wages or something.
Some people are more equal than others.
And yes, I know it was Ted Kanavas (R) Brookfield who pumped the MovieStarCredit.
Doesn't make it good.
But since the "H-bomb" is going to be out there anyway, here's another one:
Sylvester Stallone, a Brady Campaign stalwart, who's said "until America, door to door, takes every handgun, this is what you're gonna have... It really is pathetic... We're livin' in the Dark Ages over there," turns out to have a CCW permit, issued by the celebrity-loving LA County Sheriff.
Oh, and listing four handguns that he will be packing.
One assumes that Sly likes the Dark Ages. It fits his "acting," anyway.
HT: Arms and the Man
Idaho constituent Clay Cramer thinks so, too.
Senator Craig should go ahead and resign, and let Governor Otter name a replacement who can serve out Craig's term with dignity and respect for the people of Idaho.
Cramer recalls a conversation which is significant:
A professor I had dinner with a few months back in New Jersey, in discussing the McGreevey scandal, pointed out that anyone with a normal family situation would probably not be willing to spend that much time away from home.
Remember the Great Kerfuffle when a Wisconsin Congressman kept a promise to come home and go hunting with his son?
You'll be pleased to know that Wisconsin requires licenses for 111 occupations, making the "Progress" State 9th-most-restrictive in the USA. (Natch, each license is accompanied by a Fee--payable to the State or one of its subsidiary Gummints.)
Today, over 1,000 occupations are regulated at the state level—and still more are regulated at the federal and municipal levels. Governments require licenses for everyone from doctors and lawyers to florists and fortune tellers...
The survey also indicates that occupational licensing laws are very arbitrary, as evidenced by the disparity in which occupations are licensed and how burdensome the licensing regulations are from one state to the next. For example, there were several cases in which neighboring states had significant differences in the number of licensed job categories: California (177) and Arizona (72), Arkansas (128) and both Missouri (41) and Mississippi (68), New Jersey (114) and Pennsylvania (62), North Carolina (107) and South Carolina (60), Tennessee (110) and Alabama (70), and Florida (104) and Alabama (70). If some places work just fine with minimal or no regulations, why must others be plagued with so many restrictive laws? Are things so drastically different just across state lines that this disparity could be justified?
Closer to home, while Wisconsin requires 111 licenses, Illinois only requires 93, and Minnesota requires 95. Obviously, Illinois and Minnesota residents are at great risk to life and limb. No WONDER we have higher taxes...we're safe!
The real motivation behind most occupational licensing regulations is one of special interests, not
the public interest. By banding together and convincing governments to impose new or stricter
licensing laws, existing practitioners (who typically are exempted from the new laws through
grandfather clauses) can raise the cost of doing business for potential competitors. These barriers to entry reduce competition, allowing the existing practitioners to keep prices and profits higher than they otherwise would be in a truly free market. Moreover, since they have less competition, licensed businesses have less incentive to innovate or invest in research and development to stay ahead of their rivals.
If not safe, we're expensive:
This imposes a great cost on the economy. By restricting competition, licensing decreases the rate of job growth by an average of 20 percent. The total cost of licensing regulations is estimated at between $34.8 billion and $41.7 billion per year.
It's inter-necine, as well. A Milwaukee charter-school uses teachers which are not "licensed" for an academic discipline, causing angst in WEA membership. I mean, would YOU let a college-grad Ed major teach 6th-grade math if they studied English? Or 8th-grade English if they studied math?
In a statement, Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco says, "On the one hand, you have an obviously distraught mother reacting to the news that her daughter was sexually assaulted. On the other, you have the fact that the nephew was stabbed after the child was safe, after he had been beaten by the mother's friend who discovered the act and after the mother had called police and had taken the knife away from her friend. This appears to be retaliation or revenge and is simply unacceptable under the law."
Something tells me that the topic of Jury Nullification may be hot in the near future.
Now Aaaaaahhhhhnold opines that 'marriage' could be terminated in California, to facilitate gay 'marriage.' On the face of it, Arnold's right. SCOCA is nuts, of course, so California could well simply terminate "marriage."
In legal briefs submitted to the California Supreme Court, which is considering whether to license "same-sex marriages" next year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown both stated that a future Legislature could abolish marriage and yank marriage rights from a married husband and wife.
...Schwarzenegger's brief states: ". . . except for the ability to choose and declare one's life partner in a reciprocal commitment of mutual support, any of the statutory rights and obligations that are afforded to married couples in California could be abrogated or eliminated by the Legislature or the electorate for any rational legislative purpose."
"Moonbeam" Brown's brief was similar.
The context is a lawsuit filed to allow same-sex marriage now before the California Supreme Court. The court is expected to rule in favor of 'same-sex marriage.'
Aaaaahhhhnold's declaration that the word "marriage" is not long for the world of California is important because:
Californians voted in 2000 on Proposition 22, which reads, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," approving it by a significant margin.
However, the Democrat-controlled Legislature gradually has created "same-sex marriage by another name" by legislatively granting the rights of marriage to same-sex duos.
Then in 2005, the California courts said Proposition 22 protected only the word "marriage" but not the rights of marriage. The decision said Proposition 22 did not specifically protect marriage rights, so lawmakers could award the rights of marriage to homosexual partners.
"Because the plain, unambiguous language of Proposition 22 is concerned only with who is entitled to obtain the status of marriage, and not with the rights and obligations associated with marriage, (state law) does not add to, or take away from, Proposition 22," the court said.
(Screechin'Shirley is undoubtedly taking notes here...)
So the voters amend the
Alice, ask the Queen of Hearts to call home.
*Edited with knowledgeable input from No Runny Eggs
Monday, August 27, 2007
In recent decades, demographers have documented a remarkable "retreat from marriage" in the United States. This retreat is evident in data showing that between 1970 and 1995 the percentage of Americans 15 or older who ever marry fell from 97% to 89% of women and 96% to 83% of men. [Some evidence indicates that the trend continued through 2003.] Scholars have understood for some time that "the retreat [from marriage] has been accompanied by increases in women's paid employment, declines in the male/female wage differential, greater income inequality among men, and the persistence of racial gaps in economic status."
OK. We kinda knew that. So?
The Penn State researchers base their investigation on data collected between 1989 and 1991 in Virginia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, noting that "the male and female percentages ever marrying in [these] three states are fairly similar to those in the United States as a whole." Though they see nothing in marriage data that distinguishes these three states from the rest of the country, they do see strong evidence that different social groups within these states are moving apart in their marital behavior.
The data indicate that-depending on the state examined-between 83 and 89 percent of white men and 88 and 92 percent of white women will marry during their lifetimes, compared to between 68 and 86 percent of black men and 60 and 82 percent of black women. "The percentages ever marrying for black men and black women," the researchers remark, "were substantially lower [than for white men and white women]. With mortality ignored, about 40% of black women in North Carolina and Wisconsin would never marry before age 50 under the rates observed during 1989-1991."
"Not marrying" does not mean "not having children," however.
Combining statistics for race and education, the researchers calculate that "the percentages ever marrying for blacks with fewer than 12 years of education range from 38% to 65%, whereas the comparable figures for whites with 16 or more years of education are 89%-96%"
Surveying the overall pattern, the authors of the new study plausibly conclude that "the retreat from marriage is being led by those with the least resources." Given the importance of wedlock in safeguarding social and cultural well-being, readers of this new study have good reason to worry that the social gaps dividing the haves from the have-nots are growing wider and wider in 21st-century America.
(Source: Robert Schoen and Yen-Hsin Alice Cheng, "Partner Choice and the Differential Retreat from Marriage," Journal of Marriage and Family 68 : 1-10) Family in America Newsletter 8/27/07
It's also well-known that women generally marry for security--that is, they marry someone whom they percieve as offering economic security for a (potential) family.
So the study's results are not too surprising, although they put a different spin on the usual facts.
Black women do not foresee economic stability (or security) in the men with whom they are acquainted--especially those men who have not graduated from high school, much less college. Thus, they don't marry them.
A ROK (Republic of Korea) commander, whose unit was fighting along with the Marines, called legendary Marine (at the time, Colonel) Lewis "Chesty" Puller to report a major Chinese attack in his sector. "How many Chinese are attacking you?" asked Puller. "Many, many Chinese!" replied the excited Korean officer. Puller asked for another count and got the same answer, "Many, many Chinese!"
"Damn it!" swore Puller, "Put my Marine Liaison Officer on the radio." In a minute, an American voice came over the air: "Yes sir?" "Lieutenant," growled Chesty, "exactly how many Chinese you got up there?" "Colonel, we got a whole shitload of Chinese up here!"
"Thank God," exclaimed Puller, "At least there's someone up there who knows how to count."
A little clarification always helps.
More "Chesty" Puller quotes at the link--and worth reading, by the way.
Soon after moving to Gilsum, N.H. (population 811), Rossey learned that he couldn't get broadband to support his Web programming business, TooCoolWebs. DSL wasn't available, and the local cable service provider wasn't interested in extending the cabling for its broadband service the three-tenths of a mile required to reach Rossey's house — even if he paid the full $7,000 cost.
Rossey ended up signing a two-year, $450-per-month contract for a T1 line that delivers 1.44Mbit/sec. of bandwidth. He pays 10 times more than the cable provider would have charged and receives one quarter of the bandwidth.
The story-line is that ISP's are eeeeeeeeevil capitalist pigs who will not provide broadband to East Noplace.
Somehow, using Mr. Rossey as the supporting cast doesn't help make the case.
[Brookfield] Residents could soon find they have less time to get their lawns mowed, under a proposal being considered by the Common Council's Legislative and Licensing Committee.
The committee postponed action on a request from Ald. Scott Berg for an ordinance that would prohibit lawn mowing late at night because of excessive noise. Aldermen wanted more information on whether the noise from lawn mowers was a widespread problem in the city.
Ald. Lisa Mellone said that some residents work from dawn until dusk, and with children and school activities, some of them have to cut their lawns at night. Mellone also said enforcing a restriction would be difficult. The city already has ordinances that restrict noise caused by air-conditioning equipment, store loading docks, construction and garbage collection. Ordinances limiting lawn mowing hours already exist in Elm Grove and Wauwatosa, city officials said.
Perhaps Alderman Berg would define "late at night." In Camelot, of course, that's when the rain must fall, which would interfere with mowing the lawn anyway.
The city [of Franklin] has sued to evict a registered sex offender in what appears to be the first civil action arising from one of several local ordinances passed in Wisconsin over the last year that restrict where sex offenders may live.
...[The sex offender] bought a home in the 8200 block of S. 77th St. in June, five months after Franklin adopted an ordinance restricting certain sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, day care centers and other places where children might congregate.
Yada, yada. The money quote:
"The real problem with many of these ordinances is they are often drawn so broadly that they include people who present no risk of offending the populations they purport to protect," said Jung, who heads Hastings' Center for State and Local Government Law. "They're so broad, they effectively banish people."
Wouldn't be the first time in History. Many of the people inhabiting the Old West were 'banished' from their home towns Back East.
And it's clear that a number of illegal aliens are here because they are not welcome where they came from.
We're not dealing with "thought crimes" here, nor parking tickets, nor burglars. We're dealing with sex-predators who pick on children. They're not in prison. So what's wrong with "banishment"?
China has hacked into the computers of Angela Merkel’s Chancellery and three other German ministries in an extraordinary economic espionage operation that threatens to blight the German leader’s already delicate trip to Beijing this week.
Der Spiegel, quoting senior officials from the German equivalent of Special Branch, said that the hacking operation was discovered in May. Computers in the Chancellery, the Foreign, Economics and Research ministries had been targeted. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) conducted a comprehensive search of government IT installations and prevented a further 160 giga-bytes of information being transferred to China. Commentators described it as “the biggest digital defence ever mounted by the German state”.
The information was being siphoned off almost daily by hackers in Lanzhou, northern China, in Canton province and in Beijing. The scale and the nature of the data being stolen suggest, the investigators say, that the operation must have been steered by the State and, in particular, the People’s Liberation Army.
Well, nice to know we aren't the Lone Ranger, eh?
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Man o man o man o mano....
Rock, like most music, is the result of a generation and/or culture seeking its own identity and expressing it through music. Many find it to be anti-authoritan due to the fact that those in authoriy do not like change, for it means the beginning of the end of there relevance
Once you've lost the big picture, it's not hard to wander into Absurdo-Land.
So I'm trying to help Capper:
Music has nature which is distinct from lyrics, albeit in well-ordered compositions, the music supports (or, better, illustrates/illuminates) the lyric.
It's the nature of the music itself, not the lyrics, which I discussed; that's what Plato warned about.
"Lyrical dissent" is not confined to rock'n'roll as a genre; you can find it in bluegrass, country, and even in classical (see Mahler's 2nd, which dissents from the dogma of Hell.)
But lower-ordered physical appeal is almost exclusive to rock. There are other disordered 'musical' forms: dodecaphonic (Schoenberg), Glass' directionless wanderings, but these are not lower-order appeals; rather, they are appeals to disordered intellect (or from them...)
By the way, that "expresses a culture" stuff is correct. The question is: WHICH culture?I saw precisely that argument, mutatis mutandis from some ACLU babe last night, as she defended the 'dropped pants syndrome' in Atlanta.Her argument is not 'convoluted'. It is insanity.
If we can save Just One Liberal...
First he reviews the money situation around the Western world:
The liquidity crunch is not yet over: the insolvency crunch has hardly begun.
...And yes, speculators have renewed their leveraged bets on the yen and Swiss franc carry trades, borrowing cheap in Tokyo and Zurich to play global assets. The core belief is that nothing has really changed, that the world economy is still in rude good health.
Be very careful. Interest rates in Europe and Asia are that much higher now, with delayed effects starting to bite hard. Japan’s economy has stalled to 0.1pc growth in Q2; the euro-zone has slowed to 0.3pc; and China’s refusal to import (by currency manipulation) makes it a drain on world demand. Above all, the credit bubble that perpetuated the rally of the last eighteen months beyond its natural life has definitively burst.
...Credit spreads on the iTraxx Crossover (a good barometer of corporate bonds) have ballooned 180 basis points since February. The cost of borrowing for most firms in Europe and North America has jumped from circa 6.5pc to 8.3pc, if they can get it
...Ben Bernanke is looking hawkish to me, given the shock of what happened on Monday when yields on 3-month US Treasury notes plunged at the fastest pace ever recorded, a panic flight to safety that no living trader had ever seen before.
Why? Because trust had collapsed to such a degree that players with a lot of cash no longer believed it safe to leave wealth in bank accounts, or the money market funds of brokerage companies - (exposed as they are to short-term commercial paper and subprime CDOs). This did not occur after 9/11, or in the heat of the October 1987 crash. Nor did was there such a banking panic in October 1929. (it hit in August 1931). If you think this is of no importance, or that this will pass swiftly, you have a strong nerve.
Maybe that explains the Fed's Friday letter to Citigroup and Bank of America, allowing extraordinary repo terms... That news should put perspective on the Congressional rush to "fix" the problem with Freddie/Fannie funds.
...The belief that Europe would somehow be insulated has been tested over the last two weeks. Two German banks have required bail-outs on subprime bets – Sachsen LB for Eu 17.3bn, IKB for Eu 8.1bn.
Hence the continued actions of the European Central Bank, which has quietly injected 85bn euros in extra liquidity so far this week, almost as much as it did on the first day of emergency stimulus in early August.
So the question: who's to blame for this?
In a warped sense, one has to admire the cool way that Americans – who save nothing, in aggregate – tapped into the vast savings pool of thrifty Germans to finance their speculative excesses, and then left the creditors holding a chunk of the subprime losses.
Ambrose-Pritchard quotes an anonymous US hedge-fund operator:
'Real money' (U.S. insurance companies, pension funds, etc.) accounts had stopped purchasing mezzanine tranches of U.S. subprime debt in late 2003 and [Wall Street] needed a mechanism that could enable them to 'mark up' these loans, package them opaquely, and EXPORT THE NEWLY PACKAGED RISK TO UNWITTING BUYERS IN ASIA AND CENTRAL EUROPE!!!!
"These CDOs were the only way to get rid of the riskiest tranches of subprime debt.
Interestingly enough, these buyers (mainland Chinese banks, the Chinese Government, Taiwanese banks, Korean banks, German banks, French banks, U.K. banks) possess the 'excess' pools of liquidity around the globe. These pools are basically derived from two sources: 1) massive trade surpluses with the U.S. in U.S. dollars, 2) petrodollar recyclers. These two pools of excess capital are U.S. dollar-denominated and have had a virtually insatiable demand for U.S. dollar-denominated debt . . . until now.
So, you see, the US hoodwinked all them furriners into purchasing junk bonds.
Ambrose-Pritchard forgot to mention that it is "all Bush's fault." But not to worry; if things get nasty here in the US, the only question is 'Which Dem candidate gets to the microphone first'.
HT: Calculated Risk
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has avoided millions of dollars in state taxes by paying rent on 87 Wisconsin properties in a way that the state Department of Revenue calls an "abuse and distortion of income."
DoR wants about $17.5 million through 2000.
The charges are unusually aggressive for the state's tax-collection agency, and the case is being closely watched by tax professionals.
That's polite business language for "WTF is the DoR DOING??"
Wal-Mart says it has not done anything wrong but is merely taking advantage of an overlap of state and federal tax laws: To reduce its taxes and costs, it sets up one subsidiary to run its stores and another subsidiary to own its real estate. The operating subsidiary pays rent to the real estate subsidiary and takes a tax deduction for the rent, even though that money eventually ends up in the corporation's own pocket.
Other companies use a similar technique, he said, although Wal-Mart is the only company fighting the state about it before the Tax Appeals Commission. In other states, companies including AutoZone Inc. of Memphis, Tenn., have fought similar cases.
LOTS of other companies use similar techniques. Many of them are "mom and pop" companies which are all over the State.
Even DarthDoyle (at least for publication) has his doubts about this:
Wal-Mart's use of the technique also is part of a larger Capitol debate over whether Wisconsin should modify its entire corporate income tax system by instituting "combined reporting." Under that system, all related companies file one income tax return. Now, all companies doing business in Wisconsin file their own returns, even if two or more of them are owned by a single parent company.
It is only because of this separate reporting status that the technique used by Wal-Mart works.
Decker and Senate Democrats have proposed combined reporting as part of the budget talks. But Gov. Jim Doyle, also a Democrat, opposes it, as does the Republican-dominated Assembly.
However, it's very, very, very hard to believe that DarthDoyle doesn't know about this lawsuit. A cynic (not me, of course) might think that Darth approved the action but retains "plausible deniability." Doyle appointed the Secretary of Revenue in January of this year. This is a high-profile large-dollar case with significant 'repercussion' effects.
Do you REALLY think ol' DarthDoyle was out of the loop on this one?
Here's how it works:
Wal-Mart sets up two subsidiaries - a company to run its stores, and another entity, called a real estate investment trust, to own the real estate they sit on.
The operating company pays rent to the REIT, taking the rent as a deduction and thus lowering its profits taxed by Wisconsin.
The REIT in turn pays the rent as part of a dividend to the parent company. The dividend is tax-free under state and federal law.
Another variation, more common, is for Mom and Pop to own the building and have the operating company, "Mom and Pop's Widget Factory" pay rent to Mom and Pop. If it's structured correctly, Mom and Pop's building depreciation, interest, and property-tax liabilities more than offset the rental income, minimizing Mom and Pop's income (thus, tax liability.)
Here's the payoff sentence:
States have usually lost their attacks on the REIT strategy elsewhere, said Michael Martens, a lawyer and certified public accountant. He is managing director of the UHY accounting firm in Boston and an expert in the cases.
Richard Pomp, a professor at the University of Connecticut Law School and an expert in state tax law, said he is surprised by Wisconsin's challenge of Wal-Mart over the REIT deduction. The solution, he said, is not a petition to the Tax Appeals Commission but rather legislation to require combined reporting.
"For a state to not have combined reporting, and then to complain about strategies that are facilitated by a lack of combined reporting, is somewhat disingenuous," he said.
(Another example of 'polite-speak.')
In other words, DoR is seeking judicial-activist review--a common Lefty technique. What you cannot get from the duly-elected legislative body you seek from a Court. How do you know that? Look at the way it's framed by a LeftyLeggie, Joe Decker:
"It's just a fairness issue," he said. "Go down on Main Street - these businesses are being economically disadvantaged to these big corporations."
Well, Joe, if you pull back the blankets, I think you'll find otherwise. Should this succeed, a lot of Moms and Pops will look harder at doing business here.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
For District 14, (near South Side of Milwaukee,) here are some numbers from 2002:
In 1988 there were 21 priests in the district. Now  there are 14 a decline of 34%.
In 1988 there were 9 deacons. Now there are 8 – a decline of 12%.
In 1988 total parish membership was 16,440; in 2003 it was 24,801 – an increase of 51%.
In 1988 Mass attendance was 11,509 (70%); in 2002 it was 10,916 (44%) – a decline of 26
percentage points [or over 1/3rd, measured another way].
In District 4 (eastern Waukesha county),
In 1988 there were 30 priests in the district. Now there are 24, a decline of 20%.
In 1988 there were 9 deacons. Now there are 17, an increase of 89%.
In 1988 total parish membership was 67,065; in 2003 it is 73,918 – an increase of
In 1988 Mass attendance was 36,703 (54.7%); in 2002 it was 27,888 (37.7%) – a
decline of 17 percentage points. [Again, another way to put it is a ~23% decline.]
One interesting possibility is that "membership" numbers are inflated because parishes do not 'clean and jerk' their database too often.
Another possibility, somewhat grim, is that the numbers are dead-on accurate.
...a poll conducted in the days after the Virginia Tech massacre found that the majority of Americans don't fully align themselves with either the pro- or anti-gun arguments.
The MSN-Zogby poll found that 59 percent of Americans do not believe stricter gun control policies would have prevented Cho Seung-Hui from killing 32 people and then himself in the worst shooting mass murder in America's history. The poll found that only 36 percent of those polled believe stronger gun control could have prevented the shootings.
This next graf has curious wording, to say the least:
Slightly more than half of those polled—54 percent—say that more guns would not stop killing sprees
....and it was used by the reporter to make the point that 'self-defense' gun purchases are not good, or something.
But the poll-evidence is overwhelming: DarthDoyle's head-in-sand (I'm polite today) anti-gun position is extreme, not mainstream.
August 2002: A new Zogby International poll showing that 75 percent of the American public believes the Second Amendment protects their individual right to keep and bear arms proves that gun ownership is a “mainstream value.”
April 2005: Asked whether they agreed or disagreed that banning guns would reduce the threat from terrorists, [they] disagreed by a margin of 75%.
Extreme Jim Doyle and his sidekick, Tommy Barrett, are simply out of mainstream thought patterns on the issue.
Wisconsin residents are being warned not to give out personal information to people who may be posing as court officials.
In recent weeks, residents in three Wisconsin counties reported being asked for personal information by telephone callers accusing them of missing jury duty, said A. John Voelker, director of state courts.
The scam sometimes works because callers are fearful they may be in legal trouble, said Glen Loyd, a consumer affairs specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
The best way to protect yourself from this scam is to remember that a legitimate request for jury-duty service will arrive by mail as a summons from the clerk of circuit court in the county in which you live, Voelker said.
Many counties allow jurors to respond to juror questionnaires online, and a legitimate questionnaire will include instructions on how to do so through the clerk of circuit court’s Web site. Clerks may also follow up with phone calls, but initial contact regarding jury duty will not be made by e-mail or telephone, Voelker said
You've been warned. End of PSA.
All because P-Mac suggested that "fleeing" the City of Milwaukee is an option for those who don't like the level of violence accompanied by the level of taxation. (Two highs make--what--a low?)
P-Mac is a gentle soul compared to Walter Williams.
The high victimization rate experienced by the overwhelmingly law-abiding black community is mostly the result of predators not having to pay a heavy enough price for their behavior. They benefit from all kinds of asinine excuses, such as poverty, racial discrimination and few employment opportunities.
...So here's the question: Should black people accept government's dereliction of its first basic function, that of providing protection? My answer is no. One of our basic rights is the right to defend oneself against predators. If the government can't or won't protect people, people have a right to protect themselves.
You say, "Hey, Williams, you're not talking about vigilantism, are you?" Yes, I am. Webster's Dictionary defines vigilantism as: a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate.
Example: A number of years ago, Black Muslims began to patrol Mayfair, a drug-infested, gang-ridden Washington, D.C., housing project. The gangs and drug lords left, probably because the Black Muslims didn't feel obliged to issue Miranda warnings. Black men should set up neighborhood patrols, armed if necessary, and if politicians and police don't like it, they should do their jobs. No one should have to live in daily fear for their lives and safety.
P-Mac's "flee" is not without a few caveats:
If you don't buy the premises - the taxes are well spent, proximity yields harmony, the do-gooders know what they're doing - then another course would make sense: Flee
This is why reducing crime comes first. All the other disputes hinge on it. It is the first public good, necessarily done in common
People do not leave an area merely for tax reasons, otherwise Wisconsin's population would have decreased significantly over the last 10+ years. But people WILL leave an area which offers both high personal or family risk of violence AND high taxes.
When both less crime AND less taxes are packaged neatly into one offering, it's not difficult to make the move.
Well, yah, maybe.
But in fact, stuffing Fannie and Freddie with "jumbo" (>$417K mortgages) is not just "bailing out the consumers." Forcing Fannie and Freddie to take on more than $700Bn in paper is not "bailing out the consumers."
In fact, migrating lousy paper into taxpayer-backed quasi-Gummint agencies is also ....
BAILING OUT BEAR STEARNS, LEHMANN BROTHERS, BANK of AMERICA, and all sorts of "investors" who purchased high-yield CDO bonds (we used to call high-yield bonds "junk," remember?).
Folks, this doesn't take a lot of intellectual firepower, and I've been saying this since the subprime mess first started ooozing out of Bear Stearns' closet. Dodd of CT. is a very well-connected major player in this. Watch what HE says and does, and for whom.
The propaganda will be ferocious--just don't forget who's going to pay. Need a hint?
Friday, August 24, 2007
The indefatigable researcher at the Province found the numbers, and they are not too good.
As a percentage of registered members, average Mass attendance:
St. Dominic's 38%; St John Vianney 33%; St Mary Elm Grove 33%; St Luke's, 41%.
St. Anthony 9th/Mitchell: 144%, which is likely some kinda glitch... St Josaphat, 52%, St Maximilian Kolbe 71% (but a small parish registration...)
There are other numbers available at the link to the Province...
But if he wants to, a wonderful lady from Boston has prepared one for him (and Abp. Vlazny of Oregon, too.)
Last Friday (August 17, 2007), the [newspaper] irresponsibly, stupidly, ignorantly, and—this ticked me off most of all, by the way—gushingly "reported" a story that is, was, and ever shall be a flat out lie.
Let's be clear, folks. [Wisconsin], or any other state, city, township, burg, village, country, continent, or even suburb does not have a "woman Roman Catholic priest." You got that? Good. Let's continue.
What I should've done was squelch this imbecilic idea as soon as it happened. I didn't. My lame excuse was something silly like "the respect for those involved in the ceremony" but now I realize that this is just plain old crapola. My job is to get people to Heaven...not to give a bleep about "feelings." Sheesh, I feel—and probably rightly so—like a jerk.
But so be it.
Get this, lambs o' mine, and get it straight:
No Catholic was involved in the ceremony at [wherever] on July 28. Did you get that? NO CATHOLIC WAS INVOLVED.
Why do I say this?
Because if a former Catholic went willingly into this charade, he or she willingly said "bye bye" to the Church by participating in it. Period.
Incidentally. While not opposed to "ecumenical relationships" between the True Church and our fallen away brethren (and if you think for one bleeping minute I'm going to add the word "sisthren" you can jolly well think again, sis) I'm frankly really ticked off at the... folk. You guys know what our dogma is and if you don't then you ought to.
By allowing this circus to take place on your turf, you deliberately and maliciously slapped the Roman Catholic Church in the face. Were I a less charitable man, I would pray that your next three-bean-salad-covered-dish event be assaulted by roaches. But I digress.
Folks, my spokesman (yeah, she's a woman, but I hate this bleeping PC crap) gave the [newspaper] a few rather limp reasons why we're not recognizing this heresy. One thing she forgot to mention was that it is a heresy. Couple of other points, in case you're interested and you'd damn well better be.
Christ is the bridegroom of the Church. Read your Bibles! For Heaven's sake (and I mean this literally) He must've compared the Church to a bride umpteen times. A priest acts ad persona Christi (and for those of you in my flock, that means "in the Person of Christ") and—well, duh!—guess what? A bridegroom is by definition a male and I don't give a bleep what they tell you in Massachusetts, do you get that? Good. Try to remember it, and if you can, tell your friends.
My main purpose in speaking up now is really simple: some people are trying to destroy the Church founded by Jesus Christ. They won't succeed, of course—again, check out your Bible—but they just well might prevent you folks from making it into Heaven. And I cannot stand still for that.
I'm sorry the lady and her lady supporters and her guy supporters have decided to leave the Church, and I pray they come back. Hell, I'll do anything to get them back...anything short compromising the Church.
Sorry, by the way, but I can't be John-nice-guy and prattle all about the mutual respect of all "Christian" communities, yada-yada-yada. I love ya, guys, but at this moment you folks at Zion United "Church" of Christ and you folks at the Episcopal "church" who are letting this lamb of mine "celebrate" her "Mass" are deserving of nothing less than my active contempt. Like I say, I love ya, but sometimes tough love is called for.And now hear this:You guys who aided and abetted this lady into leaving the Church of Jesus? And you, lady, you who think you've got so much support? Listen good. I'm after you all. I pledge to do my utmost to bring ALL of you back into the Roman Catholic Church, God willing.And I ask for the prayers of the people of the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, to join me in praying for this to come about.
Thank you, and may God bless you.
Wanna bet a $100 million fund-drive that you won't hear this in Milwaukee?
Starting on September 26th and for 40 days afterwards until November 4th, pro-lifers will be holding prayer vigils outside of abortion centers in over 80 communities throughout the country. Here in Wisconsin, we will be praying outside of all 5 abortion centers, 24 hours a day during these same 40 days. (Madison, Grand Chute, Green Bay, and both Milwaukee abortion centers).
Worth the time and effort. Here's the Wisconsin link.
Prisoner: Why am I here? I haven't done anything wrong!
Interrogator: Prisoner 226, surely you don't believe the German Democratic Republic would arrest anyone arbitrarily, without cause? ... Why, merely believing such a ridiculous thing would be grounds for your imprisonment.
Now let's talk about traffic-blockades for the purpose of, perhaps, finding one drunken driver.
There is no shortage of major state road projects on the horizon.
Among the largest scheduled is the expansion of U.S. Highway 41 in northeastern Wisconsin, where the Winnebago County section alone carries an estimated cost of $337.5 million. Further expansion of the road in Brown County will run an additional $379 million, while expanding the northern leg from Oconto to Peshtigo with two bypasses was last estimated at $132.6 million.
All combined, the Highway 41 expansion has a higher price tag than the $810 million Marquette Interchange project.
Anyone who's driven 41 north knows that the road is crawling with unmanageable traffic jams, falling apart at the seams. And we all know about the imminent 6,000% population increase for Northern Wisconsin, right?
Rowen correctly points a finger at former Assembly Speaker John Gard (a fellow whose ambition is truly Shakespearean), seconded by Tex--and Tex mentions the RoadBuilder Whore of the (20th) Century, Tommy Thompson.
Then Tex mentions a couple of Honorable Mention RoadBuilder Whores:
The driving force were two big-spending RINO’s in the pockets of the Road Builders, Rep. Mark Gottlieb and Sen. Dan Kapanke.
Where's that $800 million coming from?
That's for the Legislature to know and for you to find out.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the Chicago area is permitted to discharge 243,000 pounds a day; because that city reversed the flow of its namesake river more than 100 years ago, though, the stuff typically doesn't flow into Lake Michigan. The Chicago River ultimately flows into the Mississippi River, also a drinking water source for millions of people.
Draining Lake Michigan while pushing 120 tons/day of crap over to Missouri.
The City that Works!
Count up Illinois delegates to Congress and guess whether that will ever change. You get zero credit if you use any word OTHER than "never."
But you only get the "Tax Increase Coming" part way at the bottom.
The street and alley replacement figures are a new feature of Morics' fourth annual report comparing spending and taxes in Milwaukee to nine similar U.S. cities. But unlike the other sections of the report, the comptroller doesn't offer a comparison of how well the other cities are keeping up with their infrastructure demands. That's partly because the other cities don't have solid data on that score, and partly because differences in climate have a major impact on how long streets and alleys last, Morics said.
As in the past, the comparison report found that total city taxes, user fees and city spending are all lower per capita in Milwaukee than in most similar cities.
Although Milwaukee ranks fourth in property taxes, at $377 a person, it comes in last in total taxes, because every other city studied also levies sales, income, vehicle or utility taxes, the report notes. For example, Cincinnati ranks sixth in property taxes, at $205 a person, but first in total taxes, at $1,327 a person.
Somehow or other, the report doesn't mention State income taxes or State sales taxes.
In addition, the report doesn't mention the level of State taxpayer support given to the other cities in Morics' study. Perhaps Morics noted that--and perhaps not.
Can you spell "groundwork"?
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Fr. Reesman is running an informal catechetics session in a local tavern, which met the approval of most callers and of Belling. Nice of him.
None of the callers, nor Belling, got to the core of the issue, but Chesterton did.
Comradeship and serious joy are not interludes in our travel; but . . .rather our travels are interludes in comradeship and joy, which through God shall endure for ever. The inn does not point to the road; the road points to the inn. And all roads point at last to an ultimate inn, where we shall meet Dickens and all his characters; and when we drink again it shall be from the great flagons in the tavern at the end of the world.
GKC understood catechetics; more, he understood life.
Pro-Life Wisconsin is asking NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin (NARAL) and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin (PPAW) to retract and correct false and defamatory statements published and aired about the organization and its executive director, Peggy Hamill. The statements expressly name Pro-Life Wisconsin and Peggy Hamill as attendees and celebrants of a July 28 event in Milwaukee organized to commemorate Paul Hill’s 1994 murder of a Florida abortionist including a reenactment of the day of the murder and a memorial honoring Hill.
...“The statements that I was present or participated in the event as well as their interpretation that I or Pro-Life Wisconsin approve of or condone murder are totally false and defamatory,” said Hamill.
...Mrs. Hamill and her husband were near the abortion mill earlier in the day, their personal van parked around on a side street, praying the rosary on behalf of the babies, as is their custom every Saturday. They intentionally left the area well in advance, to avoid the re-enactment event, and by the time it was scheduled, 11:00 a.m. , they were miles away.
“PPAW even went so far as to shoot a video of me praying the rosary well before the reenactment event began and then splice it into their video of the event to make it appear as if I were a participant,” said Hamill. “Such action cannot be passed off as a mistake, but rather a calculated effort to smear my name and that of my organization. This shameful deceit deserves an apology.
Proving again that 'what you see ain't necessarily what actually happened.'
PP should "man up" and apologize for their action.
Here's what William Shawcross has to say (see asterisk, P. 57) quoted by Schoenfield:
"[T]hose of us who opposed the American
war in Indochina should be extremely humble
in the face of the appalling aftermath: a
form of genocide in Cambodia and horrific
tyranny in both Vietnam and Laos. Looking
back on my own coverage for the [London]
Sunday Times of the South Vietnamese war
effort of 1970-75, I think I concentrated too
easily on the corruption and incompetence
of the South Vietnamese and their American
allies, was too ignorant of the inhuman
Hanoi regime, and far too willing to believe
that a victory by the Communists would provide
a better future."
And in Schoenfield's analysis:
cannot be emphasized enough that,
as Kissinger acknowledges only in
passing in this volume, any chance
the United States had to ensure the
survival of Cambodia and South
Vietnam was destroyed by the Watergate
burglary and the subsequent
efforts to cover it up. Nixon's petty
decisions in the Watergate affair not
only lost him his own tenure in office
and divided our own country
but ended up costing the lives of
millions in faraway lands, men and
women like Sirik Matak whose only
mistake had been to take America at
Which is to say, it was Dick Nixon and/or the Congressional and popular reaction to his vain and petty actions.
To claim that the murderous regime of Pol Pot from 1975 to 1979 happened because the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam does not stand up to any scrutiny.
So I suppose that one can take the word of "Bert" or the opinion of Kissinger and Schoenfield.
So if you're talking about a city..., a densely populated area..., I think it's appropriate. You might have different laws other places, and maybe a lot of this gets resolved based on different states, different communities making decisions.
Yup. That was Rudy. Later, he used the only legitimate justification:
After all, we do have a federal system of government in which you have the ability to accomplish that.
Federalism, of course, is another way to phrase 'the Principle of subsidiarity.'
At some point in time, the limits of that principle have to be discussed in practical terms. As others have mentioned, a complete ban on "having a handgun" in the City of Milwaukee will have practical consequences; someone traveling from (say) Mequon to (say) Racine with an unloaded handgun in the trunk would be in violation of a "complete ban."
At some point, the right to self-defense must trump "local preferences."
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
But wouldn't you know it, the Louisiana Democratic Party is trying to stir up the Know-Nothings in north Louisiana, where a lot of fundamentalist Protestants live, against Jindal. A Baton Rouge reader even sent me a link to this website, where some of Jindal's writings a decade ago as a newish Catholic convert can be read -- with an eye toward freaking out conservative Protestants.
Jindal left his birth-faith of Hinduism for the Catholic faith in his 20's.
It is astounding that the Democrat Party itself is supporting and propagating this revolting tactic. But I'm not terribly surprised.
Also see the Catholic League's response here.
As prelude, recall that mortgage financing is becoming difficult to obtain, and that Kasriel's analysis indicates that households have been net sellers of equities over the past few years. Further, he postulates that corporations have been the buyers of those equities, by "retiring stock." (There are some "if" and "however" clauses in the newsletter which deserve attention.)
...the entities to which households have been primarily selling corporate equities – the corporations themselves and private-equity syndicates – have been relying on relatively cheap credit to finance these buybacks and buyouts. But as Chart 12 shows, corporate credit is getting more expensive as bond investors become more risk averse. If this bond-market risk aversion persists and/or increases, it could sharply curtail stock buybacks and corporation buyouts. This, in turn, would reduce a source of funding of household deficit spending – household net sales of corporate equities.
So we have the possibility that: 1) Mortgage-equity loans will be hard to get; and 2) selling equities will become difficult.
Where's the cash coming from?
Source: Econtrarian (click on August 13 issue.)
Planned Parenthood, your friendly local abortuary business, is SUING the State of Missouri so that their clinics will be exempt from a law requiring that they observe "basic health and safety standards" in operating their clinics.
So there's irony, of course. PP has never been concerned about the health and safety of unborn babies...
But what about the Moms?
Georgette Forney, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a national network of women and men harmed by abortion, says Planned Parenthood should be more concerned about the health of women.
"Planned Parenthood claims that if it had to meet basic safety requirements for outpatient clinics, two of its abortion centers would go out of business," she told LifeNews.com.
"That speaks volumes not only about the conditions of those clinics, but also Planned Parenthood's concern for the well being of the women it claims to serve," Forney added.
I happen to know that a couple of Leggies read this blogsite. Out of curiosity, does the State of Wisconsin require "basic health and safety" standards for Planned Parenthood clinics in this State?
Got ya there, eh?
[Iatrogenesis, with] 225,000 deaths per year constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States, after deaths from heart disease and cancer. Also, there is a wide margin between these numbers of deaths and the next leading cause of death (cerebrovascular disease).
The answer to the question: Socialized medicine WILL reduce iatrogenesis.
See the link to Wiki to figure out why, and a big HT to Arms and the Law.
As mortgage lenders tighten underwriting standards and home prices fall, Bank of America analysts estimated that 40% of home buyers who got a mortgage in 2006 probably wouldn't qualify for a home loan now.
That's a lot of houses, hey.
Lack of mortgage availability will mean demand for new homes could fall 35% in 2007, the analysts said. That's bigger than the 20% drop they were predicting earlier this year when subprime problems emerged. New-home sales could fall as low as 700,000 a year, down from 1.283 million in 2005, they said, noting that traffic at real estate agents is down sharply in August. ...
The dwindling supply of home loans will also crimp remodeling activity, Oppenheim and colleagues said. Remodeling could drop by 20%
So if you're heavy on Loew's and Home Depot, it's time to review the portfolio.
More at the link; Calculated Risk did the HT homework.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Credit where it's due: this part makes all the sense in the world:
Doyle wants to increase monitoring of individuals who have been civilly committed or prohibited by a court of law from using [a] firearm. The state currently coordinates with the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) to track individuals who are civilly committed and prohibited from obtaining or using a firearm in Wisconsin. Governor Doyle is taking the next step, proposing legislation to share that information with the federal government, contributing to a national database. This step prevents these individuals from traveling to a state where their background is not available to purchase a firearm, and then bringing it back to Wisconsin to commit a crime.
Bearing in mind that the devil is in the details, that proposal is a good one. In some States, there's a 5-year waiting time imposed after release from the commitment before purchasing a weapon is allowed again.
However, there are some problems with this proposal:
...the Governor is proposing a rollback of the preemption law to give cities like Milwaukee the flexibility they need maintain order and keep their citizens out of harms way.
I, too, have difficulties with State pre-emption. It can be called a violation of the Principle of Subsidiarity. In other words, let locals govern themselves...
Since at this time there is no "concealed carry" in the State, and since there are no licensed gun-dealers in the City of Milwaukee, there are few imaginable immediate effects, unless Milwaukee's Common Council & Mayor decide to prohibit all Milwaukee residents from owning any guns at all--not a likely occurence. Of course, if "concealed carry" DOES become law, and Milwaukee prohibits same, then there will be problems.
However, since ownership of weapons for "all lawful purposes" is protected by the State Constitution, and "all lawful purposes" includes self-defense (doh...) and since even Screechin'Shirley's Supremes cannot get around that Amendment, it will be very interesting to see what the City of Milwaukee decides to do without violating the Constitution, which DOES pre-empt all local ordinances.
Now here's one which will be a real problem:
Under current law, individuals who are not federally licensed firearm dealers can sell firearms without background checks at places like gun shows that are unregulated by state law – providing a loophole for guns to end up in the hands of criminals. To close that loophole, Governor Doyle is proposing prohibiting any individual in the state from selling or buying a firearm, transferring or obtaining ownership of a handgun unless two provisions are met: One person involved in the transaction must be a federally licensed firearms dealer; and the seller or transferor of the firearm must make the transaction through a licensed firearm dealer.
That means that your Uncle Joe cannot give you (or sell you) his S&W without running the transaction through an FFL-dealer. Nor can you buy a gun from Sam, nor Chris, nor Wendy without that dealer's assistance (which they will render for a fee, of course.) This is something that Badger Guns backs 100%, by the way.
(The text is not clear; that proposal COULD include rifles and shotguns, too.)
Here is a case of "Show, not Go" inanity:
To track guns being used in multiple crimes, Governor Doyle is proposing required ballistic fingerprinting, a technique that matches marks made by a bullet when fired from a gun with marks on the inside of the barrel of the gun, creating a trail for law enforcement to track down both guns and criminals. Under this legislation, the state would require all firearms sold in Wisconsin to provide fired cases for DOJ to keep a record of the firearm’s fingerprints, to access during criminal investigations. This step would allow the state to build up a comprehensive database of ballistic fingerprints, and more resources to track violent criminals.
We know that criminals, by and large, are idiots. But some are not complete idiots--meaning that they can apply a rat-tail file to the chamber and/or barrel of a gun to change the "fingerprint" at will--several times in one day, if they want to. (They can also purchase replacement barrels/receivers from any one of several dozen vendors.)
And, of course, that law will add a cost, whether to the manufacturer or dealer, which will be passed on to the buyers--not to mention the cost to the State for warehousing all those records.
A lot of silliness because it's easily and totally defeat-able with a lousy $6.00 file.
This next one may make sense (again bearing in mind that details count:)
Governor Doyle is proposing legislation that would prohibit the possession and purchase of a firearm for an individual who has been convicted of a misdemeanor that involved a firearm. Additionally, Governor Doyle is proposing to prohibit sales of handguns to individuals under the age of 21, to help keep guns out of the hands of the state’s young people.
Can't purchase a pistol, but you CAN use one to kill the enemy in a war...Can't purchase a pistol but you CAN vote...Hmmmmm. UPDATE: Currently, no one under 21 years of age may legally purchase a HANDGUN in Wisconsin. Doyle will prohibit sale of ALL GUNS to people under 21, including .22LR rifles, shotguns, etc. So forget about recreational or target-shooting (or varmint control) until you're over 21.
That provision is pure crap. There are far too many good target-shooter contestants (Olympics, anyone?) who begin their avocation's training regime at the age of 12 or so; and far too many rural youth who shoot trap, or control critters. This should not fly, and I doubt that it will.
As to the 'gun-involved' misdemeanors: who was in possession of the gun during the act? Seems to me that if there are differing indictments leveled against various parties who were part of a 'gang,' then this will be a nightmare for enforcement.
DarthDoyle's "fingerprint" scheme was used by the State of Maryland.
It was so effective that the Maryland State Police requested that the State abandon the program after only 5 years.
An Associated Press story from 2005 reported, "...a state police report says such 'fingerprinting' has not helped a single criminal investigation. The superintendent of Maryland State Police says, 'The system really is not doing anything."
But hey! Darth's going to raise taxes, so wasting several million dollars won't be a big deal.