Friday, April 01, 2011

Friday Stuff

There was an April Fool’s joke making the rounds earlier today that Rachel Maddow had been fired by that asshat Phil Griffin of MSNBC – don’t laugh too hard because anything is possible (thank God we have her – she brings us a state-by-state wrapup of Repug-induced misery here from last night…more here, by the way…and I think Maddow’s next story was about the battle fought by the teabaggers against health exchanges in Montana as noted here, which, if they keep it up, will get punted over to the Feds anyway – idiots)…

…and here is exactly the right response…

…and speaking of those zany teabaggers, I think they should keep asking about President Obama’s birth certificate. I really do, right along with “The Donald.” I think they should keep making a fuss right up to the 2012 elections, and then let them live with the result; Obama will be re-elected in a landslide…

…and nothing like thoroughly unnecessary drama at 30,000 feet, I always say (here)…

…and oh yeah, kudos to Pete DeFazio – more like this…

…and I realize I was pretty mellow last night – so much for mellow.

Friday Mashup (4/1/11)

  • You can consider this to be my obligatory April Fools' reference (more here).

    (And by the way, “Pastor” Terry Jones is another fool – far worse actually; I didn’t even know that he actually went through with that stunt of burning a copy of the Koran after last year, but it seems that he did last March 20th, and the results are here…violence in any way, shape or form is wrong, but this idiot should have possessed the common sense of a garden slug, which he plainly doesn’t...Think Progress has more here.)

  • Next, I give you Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former adviser to Gramps McCain, here…
    The clearest line of demarcation in the recovery came with the November election. There the grade moved into passing territory as the presence of House conservatives instantly generated a new sense of certainty for small businesses and investors that did not exist when Democrats threatened tax hikes, rammed through Obamacare, forced financial regulations, and drove America’s debt to the brink of a financial crisis. The “certainty bump” brought by a new Congress has moved the growth dial into positive territory.
    Ah yes, it’s time for another lecture about “certainty,” or so it would seem. In response, I give you the following (here)…
    Fox has dutifully adopted claims by GOP Reps. John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy that failing to immediately vote to extend Bush-era tax cuts injects "uncertainty" into the economy that hinders hiring, a claim which both Boehner and McCarthy made on Fox News Sunday. However, economists agree that tax cuts -- especially those for the wealthiest Americans -- are poor stimulus.
    Indeed, Professor Krugman lamented as follows here today (with “certainty” advocates no doubt believing that the “confidence fairy” will stimulate private sector hiring…I wish this were also an April Fools’ joke, though in fact it is when you think about it)…
    Did I mention that in Britain, where the government that took power last May bought completely into the doctrine of expansionary austerity, the economy has stalled and business confidence has fallen to a two-year low? And even the government’s new, more pessimistic projections are based on the assumption that highly indebted British households will take on even more debt in the years ahead.

    But never mind the lessons of history, or events unfolding across the Atlantic: Republicans are now fully committed to the doctrine that we must destroy employment in order to save it.

    And Democrats are offering little pushback. The White House, in particular, has effectively surrendered in the war of ideas; it no longer even tries to make the case against sharp spending cuts in the face of high unemployment.

    So that’s the state of policy debate in the world’s greatest nation: one party has embraced 80-year-old economic fallacies, while the other has lost the will to fight. And American families will pay the price.
    Sad but true (and by the way, a very interesting take on how "certainty" is another Republican "dog whistle" is noted here).

    In a related story, as they say, it seems that Stephen Moore in the Murdoch Street Journal says “We’ve Become A Nation of Takers, Not Makers” here (his complaint, such as it is, is that there are more government workers than private sector workers, or so he tells us – typical for a well-coddled wingnut who doesn’t have to worry about where his next paycheck will come from).

    For a little context in the real world, Gallup tells us the following here from about a year ago…
    By almost a 2-to-1 margin, federal employees say their employer is hiring rather than firing, giving the federal government a relatively robust +18 Job Creation Index for April. (Federal workers make up about 5% of the sample of workers Gallup interviewed in April.) This contrasts with Index values of -28 among state and -26 among local government workers (about 7% and 5% of Gallup's workforce sample, respectively). The Job Creation Index among private-sector and other non-government workers is +9.

    Gallup's Job Creation Index clearly indicates that state and local governments are in the midst of significant downsizing, no doubt reflecting budgetary issues resulting from recessionary pressures on the tax (and other) revenue that funds these governments.

    Hiring at the federal level has apparently to date escaped these same fiscal pressures. Indeed, the federal government appears to be significantly outpacing the private sector in terms of the relative number of jobs created.

    How long this pattern will continue is difficult to project. The federal budget deficit is likely to become a prominent element of political debate in the months and years ahead, thus opening up the possibility of increased employment pressures at the federal level. At the moment, however, the federal government is one of the brightest spots in the nation's hiring picture.
    Moore also extols the virtues of privatizing functions of government, and I realize that it’s possible to achieve cost savings doing so. However, as noted here, it is hardly a panacea (and here is a case history of government privatization gone wrong from none other than Hosni Mubarak Walker himself).

    And even though the unemployment rate ticked down a fraction of a point to 8.8 percent, I still checked up on the home page of our Repug U.S. House Rep from PA-08, “Mikey The Beloved” Fitzpatrick to find out the latest developments in Mikey’s ongoing mission to bring JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS to our district.

    Well, I have a bit of good news (just a bit); it seems that since Mikey announced his small business roundtable, he’s also toured a glass factory and talked today about “certainty and confidence” in response to today’s employment numbers (what laser-like focus!).

    In response, I have only this to ask:

    Where are the jobs, congressman?

  • Continuing, I stumbled across the following yesterday (here – file this under Tom “Space Cadet” Corbett’s notions of what non-governance looks like)…
    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Approval of enforcement actions and punishments aimed at Marcellus Shale drilling operators must now go through top officials in the Department of Environmental Protection in a change that the agency said Wednesday is aimed at improving its consistency in handling the rapidly growing industry.

    A Cabot well is drilled in Susquehanna County in July 2010 as part of the company’s development of the Marcellus Shale. Stung by earlier pollution problems when area water became contaminated, officials say the company is taking a new tack as it taps into natural gas throughout the region.

    Acting Secretary Michael Krancer is changing the procedure after receiving complaints that agency staff in different regions of Pennsylvania were carrying out their responsibilities unevenly, a department spokeswoman said.

    The new policy covers a variety of enforcement actions that can require a company to pay a fine or correct a problem, spokeswoman Katy Gresh said. In some cases, those matters reach top officials. But the policy also covers notices of violation — which Krancer's predecessor, John Hanger, equated to a traffic ticket making its way up to the chief of police and said it represents an encroachment onto the professional independence of the agency's inspectors.

    "I can't think of anything more likely to erode public confidence in the inspection process than this," Hanger said. "I urge them to rethink and reconsider."

    Hanger said it oversteps the built-in checks and balances that give every company the ability to contest a notice of violation by responding in writing, asking for a meeting with regional staff to discuss it, appealing a decision to the Environmental Hearing Board and even going to court.

    If there are complaints about consistency, the best way to handle those complaints is to carry out a management-level review of consistency and then train staff, if necessary, Hanger said.

    "The idea that the secretary himself and the deputy secretary would presumably review, literally hundreds if not thousands of (notices of violation) before they were issued, when they were not on the site, they didn't do the inspection, is incredible," Hanger said. "It's a new full-time job for the secretary, is what's going to happen."
    But of course this is going to cripple enforcement of drilling violations, John. Remember how Corbett said that he wanted PA to be like Texas when it comes to drilling for natural gas, or something? This is just another step in that horrid process.

    One day, clean water in this state will be featured in a public TV show called “Things That Aren’t There Anymore, 2011 Version.” I’m sure samples will be on display in museums for elementary school field trips. It will be such a pleasant memory to think about what we used to drink while we’re being treated for unexplained tumors and all kinds of intestinal disorders that we, for some reason, cannot explain (typical for a political party also guilty of this).

    I know Dan Onorato didn’t exactly separate himself from Corbett on this issue the way he should have during the election last year, but I still have to say it anyway: heckuva job, PA voters!

  • Finally, it seems that it falls upon your humble narrator once more to defend a bachelor of arts degree conferred from a higher educational institution – someone named Ron Meyer at The Daily Tucker tells us the following here…
    A liberal arts education is a degree in B.S., and I’m not talking about a Bachelor of Science.

    Instead of teaching students how to approach problems from a multidisciplinary perspective, today’s U.S. higher education system is teaching students how to deceive people.

    Employers looking to hire hard-working, competent employees may want to think twice about the quality of a liberal arts education. According to a 2010 study from the Association of American College and Universities, employers desire workers with broad educations, but is this really what modern liberal arts programs are supplying?

    As someone who is about to graduate from a well-regarded liberal arts school, I can firmly say no.
    In response, please allow me to point out the following individuals who have acquired degrees in liberal arts (to combat Meyer’s claim that students are tuning out when it comes to learning about government, or something):
    Eric Holder – BA in American History, ’73 (Columbia)

    Rahm Emanuel – BA in Liberal Arts, ’81 (Sarah Lawrence)

    Hillary Clinton – BA in Political Science, ’69 (Wellesley)

    Valerie Jarrett – BA in Psychology, ’78 (Stanford)
    …and last but certainly not least…
    Barack Obama – BA in Political Science, ’83 (Columbia)
    Now I will grant you that it’s probably a good idea to pursue an advanced degree after acquiring a BA to further one’s job prospects, but you could say that about a Bachelor of Science degree as well.

    And by the way, is it too much for Meyer to tell us the type of degree he hopes to have conferred upon him upon graduation? If he feels like he’s gaming the system by obtaining a “BS” degree himself, why doesn’t he have the intellectual courage to practice what he preaches, enroll in another curriculum, and graduate with a degree that he thinks is more honorable?

    Oh, but that would deprive him of the opportunity to expound on another wingnut talking point..riiiiight.
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Thursday Stuff

    There are “rallies” (heh – awww, poor teabaggers got a little chilly and decided to take a “mulligan,” I guess)…

    …and then there are rallies (from you-know-where…the city named after our fourth president, where they're not scared off by bad weather)…

    …and oh yeah, Robert Reich and Ed Schultz remind us that it’s still the economy, stupid (so much common sense here – tragic that it’s in such a pitifully short supply)…

    …and here’s a timely meditation amidst the insanity.

    Thursday Mashup (3/31/11)

  • Gee, wingnuts, next time you try to be clever, try to do something original, OK (h/t Daily Kos).

  • Next, I give you a certain Willard Mitt Romney (here)…
    Even 7.5% unemployment means 11.5 million Americans without jobs. The human cost of that dry statistic can be detailed in a canvas of broken hopes and shattered lives. Workers at job fairs today are confronting an employment market in which there are almost five times as many job seekers as there are openings. Anyone who has visited such a fair or gone to a career center has seen the face of despair up close.

    President Obama didn't cause the recession, but he made it worse and caused it to last longer.
    Well, says you (and as noted here, at least Obama didn’t propose privatizing unemployment benefits).

  • In addition, I give you further evidence of how those zany teabaggers are morphing more and more into utter dupes of the corpocracy before our very eyes (here)…
    …a Tea Party group in the United States, the Institute for Liberty, has vigorously defended the freedom of a giant Indonesian paper company to sell its wares to Americans without paying tariffs. The institute set up Web sites, published reports and organized a petition drive attacking American businesses, unions and environmentalists critical of the company, Asia Pulp and Paper.

    Last fall, the institute’s president, Andrew Langer, had himself videotaped on Long Wharf in Boston holding a copy of the Declaration of Independence as he compared Washington’s proposed tariff on paper from Indonesia and China to Britain’s colonial trade policies in 1776.

    Tariff-free Asian paper may seem an unlikely cause for a nonprofit Tea Party group. But it is in keeping with a succession of pro-business campaigns — promoting commercial space flight, palm oil imports and genetically modified alfalfa — that have occupied the Institute for Liberty’s recent agenda.

    The Tea Party movement is as deeply skeptical of big business as it is of big government. Yet an examination of the Institute for Liberty shows how Washington’s influence industry has adapted itself to the Tea Party era. In a quietly arranged marriage of seemingly disparate interests, the institute and kindred groups are increasingly the bearers of corporate messages wrapped in populist Tea Party themes.
    The story also tells us the following…
    Mr. Langer can seem disarmingly candid when discussing his work. In a recent interview, he explained how the institute pitched its services to opponents of the Obama health care plan, resulting in a $1 million advertising blitz.

    “A donor gave us some money, and we went out on the ground in five states in the space of like six weeks,” he said.
    That sounds benign, of course (“gee, we just…you know…we found some money from a donor…yeah, that’s the ticket!...and gosh, we just had to do all we could to oppose ‘Obama-care’ with it…sure we did”). However, the reality is a little closer to this…
    The Institute For Liberty (IFL) is a Washington D.C. think tank that opposes health care reform and promotes keeping a free-market approach to maintaining the health care system in the U.S. Its Web site home page bears photos of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and other conservative leaders and says the organization aims to "[ensure] that America's health care system isn't destroyed by those who want to see it taken over by the state." IFL's overall goal is to "be the preeminent organization pushing back against the expansion of the state, putting a stop to policies" that the organizations perceives "will undermine that which has made this nation great." The IFL also opposes "open Internet" rules, describing them as the "left’s latest marketing language" for 'Net Neutrality." [1][2]

    The IFL was identified (as a) backer of The 912 Project March on Washington (Silver Sponsor),[1] and Tea Party Express[2] bus tour.
    So basically, the IFL is another one of those right-wing “octopus” outfits with its tentacles wrapped around a variety of conservative causes, if you will (in addition to Indonesian paper and trying to repeal health care reform), aside from just pimping the teabaggers.

    And if these people were actually honest, they would identify themselves as sponsors on some of those signs about our supposed Kenyan Marxist pre-zee-dint redistributing our wealth to AFSCME, the NEA, and Planned Parenthood, all at the behest of George Soros.

    If they were honest.

  • Further, it looks like that former “Democrat” Andy Warren is going to run for the Repug nomination for Bucks County Commissioner, as noted here (with perennial “independent” candidate Jay Russell actually shedding his past pretense of independence and seeking the Repug nomination also).

    For our side, Diane Marseglia is seeking another term along with newcomer Det Ansinn, as noted here.

  • Finally, I give you Repug U.S. House Rep Phil Gingrey of Georgia, who told us the following here…
    What if we lived in a country where private employees were forced to unionize, even if most hadn’t agreed to? Spoiler alert: We do — thanks to the recent decision of an unelected three-person panel.

    This new reality came about in 2010, when a voting rule enacted through the Railway Labor Act was stripped away by the National Mediation Board (NMB). This resulted in the potential for groups of railroad and airline workers to be unionized without the majority of them being in favor of it. Now, only a majority of those who choose to vote, as opposed to a majority of the total, are needed to unionize.
    When Gingrey says “a majority of the total,” he means the total of unionized employees who are eligible to vote, but do not. And according to the wingnut worldview, someone choosing not to vote would then be “forced” into joining a union, when in reality, if that person chooses not to vote and is forced to live with the consequences…well democracy is messy sometimes, you know (as we found out last November).

    In other words (explaining the wrong here that the National Mediation Board corrected, IMHO)…
    Nowhere in American democracy, other than during a union election in the airline and railroad industry, does an eligible voter wishing to sit out an election have his or her silence tabulated as a no vote.
    Yep, I think that says it (and this tells us about another incorrect "diagnosis" from Dr. Phil).
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Wednesday Stuff

    Yes, we know what happened 30 years ago (the clip was filmed five years ago), and I think it’s worth remembering that, as a result (eventually under Democratic President Bill Clinton), the Brady Bill was signed into law.

    Any chance of either this or this getting passed and signed into law as a result of the Tucson carnage last January? None whatsoever, which is the reason why I once wrote this post…

    …and it’s actually scary to yours truly that these words once uttered by Spencer Tracy are more timely every day, IMHO, based on this…

    …and speaking of movie stars, RIP Farley Granger…

    …and what the heck, I’ll put this up as long as he’s mentioned in this song.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Tuesday Stuff

    Heckuva job, Hosni Mubarak Walker (to help keep the ad on the air, click here)…

    …and Jon Stewart has more on Walker and his pals here (and by the way, Rick Snyder, I used to have a Gateway PC, and it utterly sucked)…

    …and hey, corporate media, pay a little more attention to these folks and not so much to the racist-sign-carrying-and-funny-hat-wearing crowd, OK (I can try anyway – sigh)…

    …and I know the “crescent city” has clawed its way back, to its credit, but I wonder how much still needs to be done?

    Tuesday Mashup (3/29/11) (updates)

  • I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with Kevin Ferris of The Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday, but I suppose I’d better get him out of the way (here, from Sunday)
    …"(The $61 billion in spending cuts proposed by the House GOP) are the first actual cuts in memory. Even Ronald Reagan was only able to slow the growth of welfare-state spending.”
    First, this tells us what we would be looking at in the tragic event that those $61 billion in cuts were signed into law (which isn’t going to happen anyway). Second, it’s funny to me that Ferris’s “memory” stretches back to The Sainted Ronnie R, but apparently not back to Bill Clinton, the last president to balance a budget, as noted here.

    So, Ferris’s column only appears about twice a month anymore, or so it seems. And even with a workload as light as that, he still can’t even find the time to use that Google thingie to make sure he knows what he’s talking about.

  • Next, that sleazy weasel (and House Majority Leader) Eric Cantor tells us here (of course) that the Dems would be to blame for the government shutdown that looks more and more likely (the logical consequence of Kevin Ferris’s previous cheerleading).

    I think it’s particularly hard to make that case given the right-wing bloviation as noted here.

  • Update 3/30/11: I don't call Cantor a sleazy weasel for nothing, people (here - and as always, thanks to those mind-numbingly stupid life forms in Virginia who keep sending him back to Congress every two years).

    Update 4/5/11: Oh yeah, a government shutdown would be the Dems' fault - sure (and nice costume - um, yeah...more here also).

  • In addition, “The Donald,” in a typically craven attempt to suck up to the Repug “base,” has recently gone all “birther” concerning our closet Kenyan Marxist pre-zee-dint.

    Well, as noted here, those who live by the bogus birth certificate right-wing talking point…

  • Further, Marc Thiessen is in full-on umbrage mode over President Obama’s speech on Libya, as noted here…
    No serious person is arguing that we should “repeat in Libya” what we did in Iraq. No serious person is arguing that we should send hundreds of thousands of ground troops to march on Tripoli and topple Moammar Gaddafi they way we marched on Baghdad and toppled Saddam Hussein.
    Actually, I think Thiessen is correct, but not in the way he realizes (as noted here – actually, I wouldn’t consider Austin Bay to be a “serious person” either…and as you can see here, Thiessen is merely regurgitating right-wing propaganda anyway).

    The Libyan rebels were well on their way to marching on Tripoli, until Obama’s dithering at the United Nations gave Gaddafi time to drive them back to the gates of Benghazi.
    Uh, no – as noted here…
    As Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces closed in on the rebel capital of Benghazi, Thursday, the Obama Administration not only came around to the idea of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, but sought -- and won -- U.N. Security Council authorization for ground attacks on regime forces threatening to storm the rebel "capital" of Benghazi. Western and at least two Arab air forces (believed to be Qatar and UAE) stood ready to launch attacks "within hours" of the vote, according to the Guardian quoting Western officials, in order to stop a regime advance on Benghazi.
    All of this is particularly stunning hypocrisy even from an ideologue as jaded as Thiessen, who signed a letter here along with his PNAC pals demanding “immediate” action on Libya.

    Continuing with his WaPo screed…
    (Obama) might also have mentioned the other mission that we have handed over to NATO — the mission in Afghanistan. Feel like responsibility for the war in Afghanistan has been handed over to our European allies? If so, you’ll love the transfer of responsibility for the war in Libya.
    Funny, but Thiessen told us the following about NATO here (when Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History occupied An Oval Office)…
    “And (Dubya) transformed NATO from a defensive alliance into an expeditionary alliance that is now leading the fight in Afghanistan.”
    Sooo, when it comes to Afghanistan, NATO is good, but when it comes to Libya, it stinks?

    Well, as noted here, this is typical for Thiessen – I guess he’s actually right on Opposite Day, or something.

  • Finally, with the devastation that has occurred in Japan due to the earthquake/tsunami and the ongoing threat posed by the reactor, I should note that I’ve seen a few posts where the authors are concerned about what kind of nuclear dangers we could face in the event of a similar natural disaster in this country.

    I think it’s wise to keep that in mind. My concern, though, is over what would happen to the natural gas extraction biz as opposed to the generation of nuclear power.

    This tells us that Luzerne County, PA has an emergency response plan, which is good, and Sullivan County in New York state has a hazardous mitigation plan which, as of March a year ago, didn’t contain any provisions for what to do in the event of an emergency while drilling for natural gas, as noted here (actually, what I found here was pretty typical for our country as a whole, which was that plans for natural gas drilling were kept from the public, a fact that became obvious after a pipeline explosion in San Bruno, CA). Also, this tells us more about the threat from “fracking” here in our beloved commonwealth.

    I do actually have something positive to say about this, and that is to note that the EPA’s site has a good bit of information on hydraulic fracturing here (though, sadly, a nation-wide mitigation plan in the event of a catastrophe appears to be nowhere in sight).
  • Monday, March 28, 2011

    Monday Mashup (3/28/11)

  • Time to journey “down the rabbit hole” again; Lurita Doan tells us the following here from…
    In February, Obama presented his 2012 budget to congress and stated that reducing the deficit was his priority. Clearly, Obama didn't remember that in February 2009, he said the same thing--just before signing the Recovery Act which ballooned the federal budget by almost a trillion dollars. Even now, Obama seems unable to understand that his failed, $787 Billion dollar stimulus has loaded the nation with a mind-bogglingly huge burden of additional debt. Instead, each time the Market dips or Americans protest the staggering $1,400,000,000,000.00 of national public debt, Obama promises a new kind of stimulus.
    I’ll admit that there’s a lot of old ground here in what Doan is saying (and all of it previously debunked), but I believe the following needs to be repeated in response (here)…
    According to a recent CNN/Time magazine poll the economy and jobs are by far the number one priority of Americans. In the poll 63% of Americans called the economy "extremely important" with another 32% calling it "very important." Second was unemployment, which 54% called "extremely important" and 34% "very important." The "federal budget deficit" actually came in fourth in the poll behind the economy, unemployment, and health care. Another poll from Gallup ranked unemployment as the number one issue for Americans with the budget deficit coming in fifth.
    The only people who care about the deficit are the teabaggers and the DC political-media-industrial complex as a whole. Everyone in the real world cares about JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS!!!!! And as long as I’m talking about Doan, I guess she’ll never face the proverbial music for this.

  • Update 3/29/11: More on the "do as I say, not as I do" Repugs here, particularly on jobs...

  • Next, Fix Noise tells us here that “Obama's decision to enter Libya in hopes of preventing a slaughter at the hands of Muammar al-Qaddafi could, despite its best intentions, accelerate a public-opinion shift in some quarters of the world away from the U.S. president.” That’s interesting, considering the following from here by Joe Klein…
    Just had dinner with a young Palestinian activist who told me that his friends were feeling more positive toward the US than they had in years because of the military action in Libya. "It's on Al-Jazeera all the time," he said, "Libyans dancing in the streets and saying, 'Merci Obama, Merci Sarkozy.' Everyone was furious after you vetoed the UN resolution on the Israeli settlements--but this has made people forget all about that...And the Gulf States hate Gaddafi so much, I'm sure they'll pay for all your military expenses."
    I’m just glad the “young Palestinian” didn’t say that it would be paid for in oil revenues; then, we’d know that something was up for sure.

  • Next, someone named Wayne Allyn Root whines as follows (here)…
    No wonder (small businesses) create 70% or more of America’s new jobs. Small business owners are a far more powerful economic force than Exxon, Microsoft, GE, or WalMart.
    Putting aside the fact that what constitutes a “small business” in this country is often nothing but a perversion of the tax code (here), the following should be noted here from Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution…
    …a study…conducted for the SBA found that “most, if not all, of the growth in employment comes from the 300,000 high-impact firms in the economy over any four-year period. Depending on the time period studied, this is about evenly split between firms with fewer than 500 employees (the SBA definition of small business) and firms with more than 500 employees. Therefore, it would appear that both small and large firms contribute about equally to employment growth.”(
    Continuing with Root…
    Worse is the provision (in the health care law) mandating (businesses) report annually to the IRS every vendor from whom we purchase more than $600 of goods and services during the year.
    As noted here, the House voted to repeal that requirement concerning the 1099 reporting (have to update your wingnut talking points, Root). Once more with Root (concerning “accredited Investors” in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law)…
    Last year, Democratic Senator Chris Dodd tried to pass a financial reform bill that included a provision increasing the amount of money one would have to earn to be considered an “accredited investor.” That would reduce the angel investor pool by an estimated 70% and require most private businesses to get permission from the SEC to raise money. Do you know what an SEC lawyer costs? Raising capital for a start-up would suddenly cost an extra $250,000 in legal fees…and take months, or years…
    Gosh, what thorough sourcing from Root here – not! And as noted here by Matt Bartus, a lawyer representing technology firms seeking financing and contemplating public offerings, “it’s hard to know currently what impact (the accredited investor rule change) will have in practice.” This is all perfectly in character (or lack thereof) for a guy (Root) who once said that the 2010 midterms might save Obama because he can’t be his usual “socialist self” here (looks like Root is as successful at punditry as he is at sports wagering, which apparently was his former occupation).

  • Finally, I give you the following from the WaPo here by someone named Eva Moskowitz...
    That class size should be small is revered like an article of faith in this country. Its adherents include parents, education groups, politicians and, of course, the unions whose ranks it swells. In many states it is even required by law, which has lead to millions of dollars in fines against schools in Florida and a lawsuit against New York City by its teachers union. Yet small class size is neither a guarantor nor a prerequisite of educational excellence. The worst public elementary school in Manhattan, 16 percent of whose students read at grade level, has an average class size of 21; PS 130, one of the city’s best, has an average class size of 30. Small class size is one factor in academic success. The question, then, is whether the educational benefits of class-size reduction justify the costs.
    In response, I give you the following (here)…
    Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez, who has done some seriously good work in the past, this week took his pistol-like investigative skills to the skull of charter school operator and eternal politician Eva Moskowitz — first in a story on the erosion of parent voices in the city schools, and then in a story on Moskowitz’s salary. Gonzalez challenges the salary, which he reports as $371,000 last year (Moskowitz says the real figure is $250,000 plus a $60,000 bonus), suggesting that she should give some of her pay back to her charter schools. This is hardly the first criticism that’s been thrown at Moskowitz, who previously served as the chair of the City Council’s education committee and ran for borough president of Manhattan, losing to Scott Stringer after the teachers union campaigned against her. As Gonzalez reports, her critics include “educators, parents, the teachers’ union and Harlem political leaders.”
    And as noted here (telling us the results of an NEA study)…
    The effect of smaller classes on student achievement extends far beyond the early grades. Follow-up studies of STAR students through grade 7 show higher achievement levels in reading, language, math, science, and social studies. Additionally, students in smaller classes showed more positive behaviors towards engagement and learning than did the students in larger classes.
    I am definitely not an educator or an expert in that field, so I do not have an expert point of view on this. An explanation that makes send to me about this, though, is that, while there are a number of variables involved in student performance, it would make sense that a class size of 20 or so students is more conducive to learning than a class size of 30 or more. And when it comes to education, who would know better than an educator (or a former one, in this case), who communicated as follows to me on this…
    As far as I can tell, Eva Moskowitz is a proponent of the "business model" school with her as a $300,000-a-year CEO. I smell a rat. Plus, her schools have very young kids who still may have respect for adults. She should try teaching 27-30 high school kids in a small room, complete with behavior problems and drugs.
    Makes sense to me.