We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, March 23. 2020
The Legal Problem With Diversity Statements - Public universities can’t make hiring decisions based on political viewpoints
Amazon is hiring 100,000 workers, Walmart is hiring 150,000 — here are the sectors adding jobs amid coronavirus
The Crisis’s Impact on Budgets - Already strained by unfunded pension obligations, states now face a collapse in tax revenue.
Hey - time to raise state taxes!
NYC Mayor To Start Emptying Jails Over Virus Spread
New York Wouldn't Spend $500 Mil on Ventilators, Willing to Spend $500 Mil On Illegals
Starbucks Closes Access to Cafes, Switches to Drive-Thru, Delivery Only
Not Dunkin' because America runs on Dunkin'
A Pandemic of Political Correctness
Say thanks to ‘greedy pharmaceutical companies’ — they’re our best coronavirus hope
Illinois Governor Lists Gun Stores as ‘Essential,’ Exempts Them from Forced Shutdown
Chinese Ambassador Quotes Hillary Clinton’s Tweet Defending China and Attacking Trump
China Is Not the Hero of the Pandemic. You can criticize Trump without parroting Beijing’s propaganda.
Journalist who called President Trump’s tweet ‘ignorant snake oil drivel’ gets schooled by actual doctor
"President Trump has taken historic, aggressive measures to protect the health, wealth and safety of the American people — and did so, while the media and Democrats chose to only focus on the stupid politics of a sham illegitimate impeachment."
“I’ve Voted Democrat My Whole Life. It’s Getting Tougher.”
Are Dems Refusing to Support $2 Trillion Stim Bill Unless It Includes a Bailout for Planned Parenthood?
Senate Democrats Block Mammoth Chinese Coronavirus Stimulus Package
Democrats Decide Getting the Orange Man Is More Important than Saving Lives
Stop The Coronabailout From Raining Your Money On Corporate Lobbyists Instead Of Struggling Americans
Which Is Worse, The Virus Or The Responses To It?
U.S. coronavirus lockdown to last 10-12 weeks, top Trump official says
That is crazy talk.
Israeli drug company donating 6M doses of malaria drug to US to combat coronavirus
Iran leader refuses US help, citing virus conspiracy theory
Soros’ Anti-Israel Funding
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
U.S. coronavirus lockdown to last 10-12 weeks, top Trump official says
It may last that long in some limited forms but lot of states aren't in lock down, though. Beshear's response here in KY has been pretty measured, for example. I still suspect that the bug is going to respond the way most coronaviruses do to summer weather which means that places like Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee are probably being spared right now (when I was a kid in Iowa we called social distancing 'winter') but they may flare up as the weather starts to improve just enough to encourage people to move around without being warm enough to disrupt the bug.
I don't think we really know, do we? Wouldn't it depend on success of therapeutics trial? Expanding of testing to more Americans? Having a plan in place for how to deal with outbreaks that will continue?
We don't have immunity to this virus, so we aren't going to stamp it out in a couple of weeks. It will be an ongoing problem until we get a vaccine. Just when it dies back somewhere, it will return again. We will need to be vigilant for the next 12-18 months while a vaccine is in the works.
Not sure how this will be tackled, but for at least a year or so, we will not be back to 'normal.'
Stopped in to my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant yesterday for some barbacoa take-out. Only 3 folks working (two servers and the cook), but right behind the register was a big hand-lettered sign "Se solicita lavaplatos." Good times for Spanish-speaking dishwashers!
Anyone wanna bet whether Weinstein is one of the first to be released???
I read he's got the bug so, to use the now famous phrase, what difference does it make?
The "Diversity Statements" article is behind a paywall, but seems accessible to me if I search to find it via the Chronicle of Higher Educations Facebook post promoting it.
For reference, here is the scoring rubric used by Berkeley in their use of diversity statements to screen applicants:
Lets see if this works to link the article via facebook:
Took a quick look; didn't see anything about competence in the criteria for hire.
re Chinese Ambassador Quotes Hillary Clinton’s Tweet Defending China and Attacking Trump
The cynic in me wonders how much the Chinese are paying HRC to shill for them?
I would bet that somewhere in those deleted emails we would discover that Hillary was getting money from the Chinese for years.
re Are Dems Refusing to Support $2 Trillion Stim Bill Unless It Includes a Bailout for Planned Parenthood?
Probably a sound strategy. Repubs have a track record of caving to the Dems' long term agenda in times of crisis, particularly when a hostile media is there to pillory them.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Perhaps the calculus is that by delaying the stimulus bill and further damaging the economy, Trump and the repubs can be blamed for a flatlined economy in the fall?
I am extremely uneasy with dumping up to two trillion into the economy, and this may just be the first installment. If the economy is kept shut down for another 3-4 weeks, trillions more may be needed.
Looks like a Hobson's choice at this point. Either sit back and watch the self-inflicted damage to the economy cause an implosion of epic proportions, or risk runaway inflation to jump start it. At least the latter option keeps the cronies and the well connected, rich.
Which is worse the virus or the response to it?
There is a simple experiment that we could try. The state governors have the ultimate power in what they choose to do to respond to the virus. One or more states could choose business as usual; no shutdowns, no social spacing, no limits on walking into hospitals, etc. It could be true that the number of cases and the number of deaths would be similar to those states where the response is more strict. Any volunteers?
Are Dems Refusing to Support $2 Trillion
Stim Bill Unless It Includes a Bailout for
Planned Parenthood? I wouldn't put it past them.
Democrats Decide Getting the Orange Man Is More Important than Saving Lives: Why I hate the Dems, #3554895221555.
Re: Declining State Tax Revenues
There is no such thing as an "unfunded obligation". Can I buy a car, and then sign-up my next-door neighbor to make the payments? Of course not. The government is not authorized to create financial obligations for the taxpayer. Read this quote: These are just a few of the many ways that the closing down of large sections of the American economy, along with the plunge of stock markets, is likely to undermine state and local budgets, and force governments around the country to cut spending, even as they scramble to find extra funds to help battle the corona virus.
What the author has said is that lower taxes would "undermine" the government budgets. Well, you can only undermine a bad thing, so lower budgets would be a bad thing. And no sane government would ever reduce spending, after all, government employees have to take care of everyone. So they would only spend less if they were "forced" to do so by unreasonable circumstances. Therefore, the government will have to "scramble" to get more money. When you scramble, it's an emergency, so money can be taken from anyone without discussion. Emergency tax hikes might be needed. Remember: the government has to save all the corona virus patients, and also pay for those huge pensions.
Why? Because government pensions, and the corona virus, are both part of the same concept. Just don't ask for an explanation.
They will only raise taxes. They are unable to cut spending. All of them believe they are entitled to more of our money forever and ever.
"Unfunded" government pensions. How did this happen? Quite intentionally actually. Many/most of the state pension plans were implemented and/or legally changed to allow state and semi-public agencies defer THEIR contribution to the states retirement fund. Imagine the federal government allowing employers to defer contributing their SS 'tax'. It was an incredibly stupid thing to do but it was intentional. Every state agency, say the DMV, requested and received a budget that included their 5% or 6% to the state retirement fund. Every state agency collected a matching amount from the employees and sent the matching amount to the fund. BUT in spite of having budgeted that 5% of payroll the agency could defer that actual deposit and use that money for something else. One of the more popular uses was to go to conferences in Hawaii or Europe. The big wigs at DMV flew business class and stayed in 5 star hotels in exotic locations to learn about... well to have drinks and party really. THAT is what "unfunded" means. Now after having done this for about half a century or so the states are having to pony up not the 5% but because of the power of compound interest the bill might be closer to 18% or 36% or even 100% of wages. The politicians would have you believe that this is because the retirement plan was too generous. There are a couple of rules that the state legislatures put into place to give more generous benefits to a small select group but most state employees retire and collect benefits under what is referred to as "money match" rules.
Money match simply means that the investment would return x number of dollars and based on longevity tables and how much money the retiring employee has in the system that they can collect "X" amount of dollars each month for life. A fair system and not overly generous. In fact given the states fiduciary responsibility to the retiree it is the only appropriate system of determining the amount the retiree collects. But now imagine a system where half of what should have been invested over those 50 years was squandered. Between the failure to deposit the 5% and the growing value of the investments the state finds itself in a huge deficit to the retirement system they set up and abused. What to do???
Well, they're politicians so they do what every politician does and blames the public or in this case the part of the public that is eligible to retire. They are getting too much retirement benefits they say. The unions have demanded higher retirement benefits they say (this is a lie of course the benefit table was set up years and years ago by the legislature and cannot be changed).
They state, the politicians, the bureaucracy screwed themselves, their employees and the taxpayers and now they are searching for scapegoats.
re The Crisis’s Impact on Budgets - Already strained by unfunded pension obligations, states now face a collapse in tax revenue.
My guess is there will be intense pressure on Washington to bail the states out. Who knows how many 100s of billions THAT will take?
Oh well, once you are committed to throwing trillions at the economy what difference does another big chunk of printed money make?
How about free money for everyone?
Yeah. That ought to fix things but good.