Monday, July 19, 2010

Andrew Klavan: Obama's Beach Blanket Recovery

PJTV's Andrew Klavan examines hard times under Dubya to the glorious times in America under Barry Hussein Obama.

PJTV: Obama's Beach Blanket Recovery: It's Happy, Snappy, and Incredibly Crappy

Country Club College Spending Out Of Control

The New York Times (yes, THAT New York Times) published a great piece last week on the exploding costs of higher education in America. Leftist-Statists keep telling us how we need to expand educational spending. Feckless Republicans usually acquiesce to this foolishness because "it's for the children." But, where does the money go? We are not supposed to ask because "it's for the children."

It seems that higher education is focusing on style over substance. Student centers and recreation facilities seem to be the biggest drains as the American university spends at a rate that outstrips inflation by a country mile.

Tuition, on average, increased more rapidly over the decade at public institutions than it did at private ones. Average tuition rose 45 percent at public research universities and 36 percent at community colleges from 1998 to 2008, compared with about 21 percent at private research universities.

But the trend toward increased spending on nonacademic areas prevailed across the higher education spectrum, with public and private, elite and community colleges increasing expenditures more for student services than for instruction, the report said.

The student services category can include spending on career counseling and financial aid offices, but also on intramural athletics and student centers.

“This is the country-clubization of the American university,” said Richard K. Vedder, a professor at Ohio University who studies the economics of higher education. “A lot of it is for great athletic centers and spectacular student union buildings. In the zeal to get students, they are going after them on the basis of recreational amenities.”

On average, spending on instruction increased 22 percent over the decade at private research universities, about the same as tuition, but 36 percent for student services and 36 percent for institutional support, a category that includes general administration, legal services and public relations, the study said.

At public research universities, spending for student services rose 20 percent over the decade, compared with 10 percent for instruction.

Even at community colleges, with their far smaller budgets, spending on students services increased 9.5 percent, compared with 3.4 percent for instruction.

My guess would be that if one digs into the increases in the instructional area there would be a mother lode of dubious majors and frivolous courses. Of course, one way to increase student enrollment (and keep them from failing) is to increase the amount of useless tripe that can be served up as education.

The study also said that the recession that began in the last months of 2008 had dramatically changed the economics of higher education, probably forever.

“The funding models we’ve created in higher ed are not sustainable,” Ms. Wellman said. “We ran up spending in the ’90s and early 2000s to levels we can’t maintain, and this is true not only in the elite privates, but in many of the public institutions, too.”

Now, with private-college endowments battered and state legislatures slashing university budgets coast to coast, “policy makers as well as university presidents and boards must learn to be better stewards of tuition and taxpayer dollars,” she said.

Let me translate. Now, these clowns might actually have to act like responsible adults and do their job! Why is that we have to be in an economic crisis before government agencies (and that is what most colleges and universities are) are expected to act responsibly? Could it be that their irresponsibility is a big part of WHY we have bloated budgets, out-of-control entitlements, and sentimental sacred cows that cannot be touched?

The Delta Project "Trends in College Spending, 1998-2008"

Financial Reform For Thee But Not For Congress

It was bad enough that the recent "financial reform" package passed by Congressional Democrats (with the aid of a three RINOs in the Senate) was written by the two men most responsible for banking and investment crash. While, Bahney Fwank and Christopher Dodd (who both should be bunking with Bernie Madoff), thumped their chests about the good and virtuous federal government having its boot on the throat of the financial industry it turns out one group is still unregulated. Go ahead, give it a guess. Robin Hanson's post at provides the answer: It's Congress!

While the US Congress has found time to “reform” finance by preventing movie futures, they have not found time to regulate insider trading by Congress.

Ordinary folks are banned from “insider trading.” For example, someone who noticed a factory fire via an airplane window was convicted of insider trading for trading on this info before it was publicly announced. But Garrett Jones tells me that US Congressional representatives, and all their staffers, have long been explicitly exempt from these rules – the SEC is not authorized to regulate Congress, and Congress has not chosen to regulate itself. So Congress-folk regularly profit by trading on inside info they gain from interactions with industry representatives. So much so that their average return on investment (ROI) is far larger than the public’s.

So, while innocent conversations or helpful information that is incidentally discovered can land a person in prison, the gang of reprobates in the Kremlin on the Potomac can craft legislation to build their personal portfolios and cannot be investigated much less punished. Congress can do much more to impact market forces through their abusive legislative hammer than any financial manager can do. The difference is a rogue investment banker or portfolio manager can pay a severe price for their evil doings. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd can crash the housing market and demand more power over the banking industry.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

George Steinbrenner Dead At 80

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away this morning at age 80. Growing up in the 1970s as a hybrid Baltimore Orioles/Oakland A's fan, I was an avid Yankees hater. Of course, when I was first old enough to follow baseball the Yankees were in the midst of a long franchise drought. Bobby Murcer was supposed to be the new Mickey Mantle (an impossible pinnacle for poor Murcer, though he was a very good player). As soon as Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973 it was clear the franchise of the Bambino, the Iron Horse, Joltin' Joe and the Mick had a new attitude and was poised for a return to prominence.

As a fan of two smaller-market teams, the dawn of free agency was a curse on the game. Steinbrenner was the most adept at using the new system to augment an improving team and make them contenders. Therefore, Steinbrenner became the symbol of the destruction of the old traditions that kept teams together for a longer time.

As I got older, I remained a Yankee hater. However, I came to appreciate George Steinbrenner. He was a winner. He had a responsibility to his fans and his organization to put his team in a position to win. He was successful beyond measure. Steinbrenner was one of the game's great characters. How many other current baseball owners are household names? Steinbrenner will someday be enshrined in Cooperstown. It will be a great day for both the Yankee fans and the Yankee haters.

Jesse Jackson: The Real Plantation Owner

Self-appointed spokesperson for Black America, Je$$e Jackson, has again fanned the flames of racism and intolerance with an ignorant diatribe against Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert in the wake of Gilbert's disparaging remarks toward his former employee LeBron James. Gilbert took some vicious swipes at LeBron after "King James" chose to take his game to South Beach to combine with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh for the Miami Heat. Gilbert was angry and it could be argued that he acted childishly and unprofessionally in his very personal comments toward James. Still, this is an owner of an NBA franchise who just lost the reigning two-time MVP who happened to be a native of the region.

Gilbert probably should have taken another day and given his comments more thought. However, the race hustler Je$$e Jackson has no such excuse for his comments directed toward Gilbert.

"He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers," the reverend said in a release from his Chicago-based civil rights group, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. "His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave. This is an owner employee relationship -- between business partners -- and LeBron honored his contract."

Well, there you have it. Gilbert was not angry because the face of his franchise left his team without a star and the city of Cleveland without the belief that an NBA title might be in their new future. Gilbert just likes to control young black men.

This is about basketball and business. Yet, to Je$$e Jackson everything is a race hustle. Every disagreement involving a white person and a black person is an opportunity to widen a racial divide that keeps people like himself relevant to a mass that can be convinced that a return to slavery is one election away.

The irony of Je$$e's jive talking is that it is HE (as well as Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, Maxine Waters, Tavis Smiley and others of that ilk) who are the modern-day plantation owners. They believe that their success as spiritual leaders, politicians or media figures sets them apart from the dumb masses. The rabble need not think for themselves. They are to be led by a race elite. Long ago, these "leaders" traded the interests of Black Americans for a seat at the Democrat party table. Make no mistake, the primary goal is to deliver Black votes to the Socialist-Statist party no matter how much their policies and principles have wreaked havoc on the Black family.

Evidence for this sick relationship can be seen in comments made by these and other Black "leaders" toward Black conservatives or any Black who expresses an opinion that deviates from the political and personal agenda of the Black Leftist elite. Clarence Thomas, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell (at least until they figured out he is also a Statist), J.C. Watts, Michael Steele, Judge Janice Rogers Brown and other Blacks who have rejected Leftist-Statist ideology are ridiculed as "Uncle Toms," "Mammies," and portrayed as ignorant puppets of whites.

Even Bill Cosby, who I would guess is largely a Democrat on most issues, was blasted by these self-appointed masters when he pointed out the negative impact of "hip-hop culture" on young Black men. Cosby spoke of personal responsibility, education, hard work, and presenting oneself in a positive way. He was blasted as a race traitor by the keepers of the keys.

Dan Gilbert's criticisms of LeBron James, fair or unfair, were born of the likelihood of professional and financial loss due to the free agent's departure. This was not a plantation owner seeking to keep the cotton picked. However, Je$$e Jackson's comments were just the latest barrage in his decades-old fight to keep Black Americans on the Democrat-Leftist-Socialist plantation. After all, if "King James" can be treated like a field hand all Blacks are in grave danger of similar treatment in their positions. It is time for Je$$e to heed his own words. Treat Blacks like men and women and allow them to think for themselves without muddying every issue with a racial fear mongering. Its time for Je$$e Jackson to realize he is not the slave master of Black America.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Donald Berwick: Barack Hussein Obama's Latest Radical Accomplice

Let's start with this truth. If you find yourself discussing politics with someone who STILL believes that Barry Hussein Obama is not the most radical President in American history, you should not waste your time. Your conversation partner is a half-wit and has no chance of comprehending your words anyway.

Michelle Oddis has a great piece on Human Events about Obama's "recess appointment" to head the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Donald Berwick. Remember when Statist/Leftists were whining about "dishonest" accusations from the Right concerning health care rationing? It was all lies, lies, lies! Now, Medicare and Medicaid are to be administered by one of America's foremost advocates of, you guessed it, health care rationing. That is just the tip of the iceberg:

Here are the TopTen things the Obama Administration didn’t want you to know about Berwick:

1. Donald Berwick, President Obama's nominee to administer Medicare and Medicare, has stated openly that he favors rationing healthcare “with our eyes open.” He wants the government to be able to decide how much healthcare you and your family are entitled to.

2. Berwick believes for that healthcare to be effective we must redistribute wealth. “Any healthcare funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent healthcare is by definition redistributional,” said Berwick.

3. Berwick is “in love” with Britain’s National Heath Service. He called the British system -- that many here in the U.S. refer to as “free for all, but worthless to many” -- a “seductress” about which he is “romantic.” In an op-ed published in the Washington Post in 1992 Berwick stated about Britain: “At last, a nation where healthcare is a right and carrying a semi-automatic machine gun is a privilege. Berwick also described a “utopian” future in which the government is in complete control of the healthcare system.

4. Berwick believes that ultrasounds in normal pregnancies and cesarean sections amount to an “assault” and wants to cut prenatal care programs. “As many as 80% of hysterectomies are scientifically unnecessary, so are more than a quarter of the drugs used for ear infections, most of the ultrasounds done in normal pregnancies, and half of cesarean sections in the United States. Isn’t this, with all do respect, some form of assault and battery, however unintended,” said Berwick

5. Berwick has repeatedly expressed his support for a single-payer healthcare system. Berwick has stated that if he could “wave a wand…* Healthcare is a common good – single payer, speaking and buying for the common good;* Healthcare is a human right – universality is a non-negotiable starting place;* Justice is a prerequisite to health –equity is a primary quality goal.”

6. Berwick will cut the number of cardiac centers, cancer-care centers, neonatal intensive-care units, and high-level trama centers.

7. Berwick doesn’t trust the free market. “Don't trust market forces,” instructs Berwick. Trust "leaders with plans."“When you rely on incentives, market forces, competition, and upward reporting for excellence you are playing with fire. I believe it is better to rely instead whenever possible on spirit, purpose, learning cooperation and joy in work.”

8. Berwick will cut preventative care in cases such as mammograms and ultrasounds. “One over demanding service is prevention; annual physicals, screening tests, and other measures that supposedly help catch disease early,” said Berwick in a 1998 Institute for Healthcare Improvement publication.

9. On “End of Life Care,” Berwick stated in a 1993 speech that “only a minority of patients, families, and clinicians support prolonged use of life-sustaining procedures and dramatic interventions in the terminal states of illness, yet substantial use of these procedures continue.”

10. Berwick, highlights race as a factor in healthcare reform. "It’s still true that race, minority race, especially being black in our country, is the strongest critique that we have about health,” said Berwick.

Yep, just your regular patriotic, liberty-loving American. In Obama's Amerika, the Donald Berwicks of the world exist to "transform" our lives, our values and our country. Yes, America, that is what Reverend Jeremiah Wright's protege' Barry Hussein Obama meant by "change." Had enough?

ABC Radio News Twists Roman Polanski Story

Today, Switzerland announced it will not extradite child rapist Roman Polanski to finally serve the prison term he plea-bargained for over 30 years ago. An ABC Radio news report on the subject stated that the Swiss decision was to prevent Polanski from facing charges in the child rape case. Sorry, ABC, that ship has sailed. Polanski raped a 13 year-old girl, faced overwhelming evidence and cut a deal that involved a prison term. The coward left the country rather complete the sentence to which he agreed.

The reporting of this story is baffling. It seems Big Media loves artistic creeps who rape children as long as they make anti-social films which attach life's mainstream. Polanski has made millions creating movies in Europe and that is considered a punishment. After all, its just child rape. It would be nice if the "compassionate Left" could muster the same anger for a violent pedophile that they do for law-abiding Americans who revere the Constitution.

No Match For Your Worker's W-2? No Problem!

This shocking story is relayed by Terry Jeffrey on

A single employer filed 37,375 W-2 forms in tax year 2005 on which the Social Security Number and the name did not match. These "no-match" W-2 forms often -- but not always -- represent an illegal-alien worker fraudulently using someone else's Social Security number or a fake number.

An employer who files 37,375 no-match W-2s in one year is almost certainly employing many thousands of illegal aliens -- and knows it.

Yet there is no indication our federal government has taken any action to stop this employer from continuing to employ mass numbers of illegal

The unemployment rate was 7.7 percent when President Barack Obama was inaugurated. It is now 9.5 percent.

The fact that a single employer filed 37,375 no-match W2s in 2005 was revealed in a virtually unnoticed Dec. 15, 2008, audit report from the inspector general of the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The purpose of this report was to examine the effectiveness of the so-called "Educational Correspondence" (EDCOR) that SSA sends out each year to all employers who file more than 10 no-match W-2s if those no-match W-2s also amount to at least one-half of one percent of the total number of W-2s filed by that employer.

These "no-match letters" list the Social Security numbers that were on the no-match W-2s the employer filed -- but only to a maximum of 500 Social Security numbers. Thus, if an employer files 37,375 bad W-2s, the letter it receives from SSA lists only the first 500 bad Social Security Numbers, not the other 36,875.

According to the inspector general, there were about 1,650 employers that filed more than 500 no-match W-2s in 2005. In fact, these 1,650 employers filed a total of about 2.6 million no-match W-2s in 2005, meaning they filed an average of 1,576 per employer.

The champion was the employer that filed 37,375.

To those unfamiliar with this issue, this might seem like an astounding number. If you care to double-check it, go to the Website of the inspector general of the Social Security Administration and look up the December 2008 audit report titled, "Effectiveness of Educational Correspondence to Employers." The number for the report is A-03-07-17105.

The acts described in this Social Security audit add up to felonies by both the employers and the workers who knowingly supply false information. Of course, we are told that illegal aliens (oops, I mean undocumented Democrats) are law-abiding citizens looking for an opportunity. This very act proves casts doubt on that rosy fallacy. However, the bigger question is why the federal leviathan that seeks to prevent border states from protecting their own citizens is unwilling to enforce its own laws? The criminality goes beyond the employers and employees. The government officials who possess this information and refuse to protect the interests of the American taxpayer are also guilty. I guess only suckers provide the feds with accurate information. The rest of Terry Jeffrey's column is here.

Obama's NASA Chief: NASA Faces Mecca

Once you have fallen down the rabbit hole that is Obamaworld, the word "absurd" loses some of its bite. However, this nugget from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden makes it clear that the parade of clowns that comprise Team Barack will keep the idiocy coming. For those who remember that the American space program began as a national security function in the Cold War, it is frightening to contemplate the new priorities of NASA.

FOXNews reports the following from an interview Charles Bolden granted Al Jazeera:

Though international diplomacy would seem well outside NASA's orbit, Bolden said in an interview with Al Jazeera that strengthening those ties was among the top tasks President Obama assigned him. He said better interaction with the Muslim world would ultimately advance space travel.

"When I became the NASA administrator -- or before I became the NASA administrator -- he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering," Bolden said in the interview.

There you have it. Our space program is not about national security or scientific advancement NASA will now be spending billions with eyes on the true prize: reminding the Arab world that they invented Algebra. Pathetic!