Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Women on The Tonight Show



Sometimes, the best bits of cultural relevancyend up appearing in places where you would never expect to find them:


There's an interesting point to which she refused to appear on the Johnny Carson show because of how women were portrayed on his show. Ride explained to NASA that she wasn't interested, then took off for California to lie low. She didn't explain herself; she just acted.


Women were treated horribly on the Tonight Show; if you were beautiful or old enough to be Johnny Carson's grandmother, you could expect to get on. And even when you did get on, there would be no chance for anything reasonable or enlightened to happen.

The fact that Sally Ride turned down Carson is significant because she was part of a very vocal minority that complained about how women were depicted and treated on the show.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Save Your Own Treasures





















None of this belongs to the West. And yet, you'd think it did:


ISIS' seizure of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra early Thursday intensified fears that the 2,000-year-old site's archaeological treasures would become the latest to face destruction at the hands of militants.


The extremists' wanton carnage has also reignited debate about whether precious relics are best housed in their country of origin or stored — and in some cases protected — in overseas museums.


Syria's antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim warned Wednesday that Palmyra looked likely to suffer the same fate as Nimrud in northern Iraq, the 3,000-year-old city which was bulldozed by insurgents in March as part of a campaign to eliminate relics that they consider heretical.


The destruction of history is tragic in and of itself, but the loss of life even more so. We lose sight of that fact when we bemoan the loss of a pile of ancient stones and ignore the slaughter of thousands. The misery of the Syrian people is more important than any historical site. And yet, as far as Iraq and Syria are concerned, these are matters of self pride and self-survival. If they truly want to stop the looting and the destruction, they're going to have to do it for themselves. We cannot send 25,000 troops and do it for them and we should get out of the nation building business.

If the Syrian and the Iraqi people, who number in the millions, can't figure out a way to solve their internal problems and protect their own cultural heritage, then there's nothing that can be done for them. This is the moment where they need to build their own nations on a foundation of not tolerating this way of life. They have to reject the ideology of ISIS and the creation of a civilization that would, effectively, take tens of millions of people back into the Middle Ages.

The U.S. interference in Iraq unleashed these forces, but their essential root was in the original Ba'ath party infrastructure left over from the Iraq War. These are the decision makers, using money from their backers, to drive the destruction of people, property and infrastructure. This is a clash of haves and have-nots--at no point have the people been allowed to profit from or have any pride in the treasures now being ground under the bulldozers. What connection would they have with sites that ended up in their laps because the borders of their countries were drawn by British diplomats?

The mistaken belief that deposing Saddam Hussein would lead to stabilization turned out to be wrong. But re-invading Iraq and then invading Syria would just compound the problem. These are Iraqi and Syrian problems, and they are driven by proxy interests in Iran and Saudi Ara bia.

Someone has made up their minds to tear the region apart and blame it on Israel and America. There is nothing in the Middle East worth the life of a single American service member, and there never was. The people have to save their treasures and I believe they can if they want it badly enough.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Spotted








Nope. 


I spotted the B-29 flying over Central Maryland yesterday. You cannot miss the shape and the dimensions of this aircraft. It is technology from another era, impossibly flying in the modern era. If you want to fly on it, it'll cost you upwards of $1,500.


I had a replica of the B-29, a model that I was not skilled enough to put together myself. Somewhere, there's a Polaroid of it that I now have to try and find...

Spotted


Nope. 
I spotted the B-29 flying over Central Maryland yesterday. You cannot miss the shape and the dimensions of this aircraft. It is technology from another era, impossibly flying in the modern era. If you want to fly on it, it'll cost you upwards of $1,500.
I had a replica of the B-29, a model that I was not skilled enough to put together myself. Somewhere, there's a Polaroid of it that I now have to try and find...

Ignoring the Debacle of the Iran Contra Affair





















I took notice of a small bit of intellectual dishonesty wedged into a review of a new hagiography of Ronald Reagan.


Similarly, Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker was a “gift” from his predecessor, Jimmy Carter. Volcker curbed inflation, leading to economic growth at “just the right time for Reagan.” Reagan’s overall economic policy and its ongoing impact merit more examination, as do the intricacies of the disastrous Iran-Contra affair.


Fewer than ten words for the single defining scandal of the Reagan era? Really? And how many words did Brands waste on Ollie North, he of the shredder and the office hottie? The fact that Oliver North still appears on television in anything but a prison jumpsuit is proof no one remembers what actually happened and that there has never been a real accountability moment for the Morning in America crowd.


This is quite relevant. In our modern political discourse, Reagan is accorded virtual sainthood and his conservative bonafides will be cited relentlessly in the 2016 election cycle.

What this amounts to is a virtual whitewashing of history. Reagan traded arms for hostages, and the arms went to the regime in Iran. He ignored the will of Congress. He was never held accountable for it, and President Bush pardoned nearly everyone who should have gone to jail.

Change Obama with Reagan, and he would have already been impeached. I laugh when they call Obama a tyrant because, brother, the real tyranny has been right under your nose for decades and no one has done a proper accounting for what went on.

This is an icon worth celebrating? Did any of these people actually live through the 1980s?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl is a Republican






You wouldn't know that John Diehl is a Republican because the news story doesn't include that piece of information. I'm curious about that, but not curious enough to try to find out. He's the Speaker of the House in Missouri. Why is he identified by that fact but not by his party affiliation? His own website proudly displays his party affiliation. 


This must be one of those times when it is assumed that everyone would know he's a Republican. If so, fine.


Reprehensible people in both political parties do things like this all the time. But if the Speaker of the House in the State of Missouri gets caught doing something, not mentioning his party affiliation anywhere in the story about him is strange.


Screenshots of the text messages between Diehl and the intern are punctuated throughout with emoticons and emojis — cartoonish faces that smile or wink. They paint a picture of playful sexual innuendo.


Her: “You better take care of me.”


Diehl: “Like how?”


Her: “I’ll bet you’ll figure it out.”


Diehl: “I dunno. You have always been disappointed;)”


Her: “I just have high expectations, I guess. Thus far, you’ve done pretty well (an emoji blows a kiss)”


Diehl: “:). I kinda want to hear what you are expecting”


Then, shortly after, he types: “You will be in good hands :)”


At one point Diehl texts her “God I want you right now,” to which she replies “I wish you could have me right now.”


In another exchange, she sends a picture of herself in a bikini and Diehl responds: “Damn girl …”


“Nice”


Shortly after he writes: “I want to see more” followed by a smiling emoji.


Another exchange centered on Diehl texting that he was “Laying in bed looking at your pic :)”


She responded: “Mmmmm why can’t I be there :)”


Diehl shared photos as well, including one apparently taken while he was on a trade mission to Europe with Gov. Jay Nixon. The picture shows the speaker standing next to a luxury car in Munich, Germany.


“Munich is a cool place,” he says.


“That suit and tie combo is sexy and you look great,” she responds. “I see a lot of work is happening.”


Diehl lives with his wife and three sons in Town and Country, Mo.


Emphasis there at the end, mine. You have to wade a long ways into the sexy talk to discover that Speaker Diehl has a wife somewhere. Whoops.


There is nothing criminal about sexy-talking with your interns, but if you're a member of one of the political parties that hates sexy-talk and loves to tell women what to do with their bodies, well, you'd think that one of the most powerful members of that party would be identified by his political party affiliation when he's been caught dead to rights carrying on with the sexy talk.


Is he one of those types of legislators who likes to tell women what to do with their bodies? Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl is a Republican


You wouldn't know that John Diehl is a Republican because the news story doesn't include that piece of information. I'm curious about that, but not curious enough to try to find out. He's the Speaker of the House in Missouri. Why is he identified by that fact but not by his party affiliation? His own website proudly displays his party affiliation. 
This must be one of those times when it is assumed that everyone would know he's a Republican. If so, fine.
Reprehensible people in both political parties do things like this all the time. But if the Speaker of the House in the State of Missouri gets caught doing something, not mentioning his party affiliation anywhere in the story about him is strange.
Screenshots of the text messages between Diehl and the intern are punctuated throughout with emoticons and emojis — cartoonish faces that smile or wink. They paint a picture of playful sexual innuendo.
Her: “You better take care of me.”
Diehl: “Like how?”
Her: “I’ll bet you’ll figure it out.”
Diehl: “I dunno. You have always been disappointed;)”
Her: “I just have high expectations, I guess. Thus far, you’ve done pretty well (an emoji blows a kiss)”
Diehl: “:). I kinda want to hear what you are expecting”
Then, shortly after, he types: “You will be in good hands :)”
At one point Diehl texts her “God I want you right now,” to which she replies “I wish you could have me right now.”
In another exchange, she sends a picture of herself in a bikini and Diehl responds: “Damn girl …”
“Nice”
Shortly after he writes: “I want to see more” followed by a smiling emoji.
Another exchange centered on Diehl texting that he was “Laying in bed looking at your pic :)”
She responded: “Mmmmm why can’t I be there :)”
Diehl shared photos as well, including one apparently taken while he was on a trade mission to Europe with Gov. Jay Nixon. The picture shows the speaker standing next to a luxury car in Munich, Germany.
“Munich is a cool place,” he says.
“That suit and tie combo is sexy and you look great,” she responds. “I see a lot of work is happening.”
Diehl lives with his wife and three sons in Town and Country, Mo.
Emphasis there at the end, mine. You have to wade a long ways into the sexy talk to discover that Speaker Diehl has a wife somewhere. Whoops.
There is nothing criminal about sexy-talking with your interns, but if you're a member of one of the political parties that hates sexy-talk and loves to tell women what to do with their bodies, well, you'd think that one of the most powerful members of that party would be identified by his political party affiliation when he's been caught dead to rights carrying on with the sexy talk.
Is he one of those types of legislators who likes to tell women what to do with their bodies? Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

Hughie Tweedy is Not For Sale





It doesn't get any weirder than this, and when it does, you can be rest assured that corruption, money, and sex are about to appear before your eyes.


I do think it is important to note that there are two sides to every story. Someone working for the oil company decided to get a little creative, and look at the results of their flight of ethical fancy. Do you blame the entire company or just the guy with the authority to sling women around like party favors?


What is the mindset of such people? Underage prostitutes? Really? Is this how things are still being done? Who is going to rescue the young woman being victimized here? Will they shame her in some way and make this about good ol' boys being good ol' boys? She's clearly not the individual with the ethical problem here. In fact, she might be more ethical than everyone else, save Hughie Tweedy.


If you can't buy Hughie Tweedy with the affections of a woman, what can you buy this man off with? Is he an environmentalist or does he want fair market value for the use of his property? Good for him, in any event.


Somewhere, there's a person who could be bought off in this manner, and I'm thinking they're lonely and living in North Dakota next to some fallow ground.








Hughie Tweedy is Not For Sale


It doesn't get any weirder than this, and when it does, you can be rest assured that corruption, money, and sex are about to appear before your eyes.
I do think it is important to note that there are two sides to every story. Someone working for the oil company decided to get a little creative, and look at the results of their flight of ethical fancy. Do you blame the entire company or just the guy with the authority to sling women around like party favors?
What is the mindset of such people? Underage prostitutes? Really? Is this how things are still being done? Who is going to rescue the young woman being victimized here? Will they shame her in some way and make this about good ol' boys being good ol' boys? She's clearly not the individual with the ethical problem here. In fact, she might be more ethical than everyone else, save Hughie Tweedy.
If you can't buy Hughie Tweedy with the affections of a woman, what can you buy this man off with? Is he an environmentalist or does he want fair market value for the use of his property? Good for him, in any event.
Somewhere, there's a person who could be bought off in this manner, and I'm thinking they're lonely and living in North Dakota next to some fallow ground.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

You Have to Save Everyone You Can







There's no good reason to hate Obamacare. But let's look at what happened to a South Carolina man who, in his desire to avoid taking care of his responsibilities,ended up needing what Obamacare would have given him:


That’s when he turned to the Affordable Care Act exchange. Lang learned two things: First, 2015 enrollment had closed earlier that month. And second, because his income has dried up, he earns too little to get a federal subsidy to buy a private policy.


[Luis] Lang, a Republican, says he knew the act required him to get coverage but he chose not to do so. But he thought help would be available in an emergency. He and his wife blame President Obama and Congressional Democrats for passing a complex and flawed bill.


“(My husband) should be at the front of the line because he doesn’t work and because he has medical issues,” Mary Lang said last week. “We call it the Not Fair Health Care Act.”


Anyone who’s remotely familiar with insurance knows there’s no system that lets people skip payments while they’re healthy and cash in when they get sick. Public systems tax everyone. Private ones rely on the premiums of the well to cover the costs of those who are ailing.


The easy answer is, of course someone should help save this man's eyesight. The unforgiving shitheadedness of saying "screw him" is best exemplified by the conservative mindset that has spend the better part of the last five years trying to destroy affordable health care coverage in this country. You can't expect everyone to support reform, but reform is for everyone once it is enacted and you don't get to cherry pick how you take care of people. 


I guess there is a wisdom in letting people suffer, but that's not what the law was about. The Affordable Care Act has eased the suffering of millions of Americans, regardless of who they vote for and where they live. The fact that South Carolina has policies in place that hurt Lang as badly as not being able to enroll in Obamacare escapes accountability, of course. And Lang, who doesn't appear to care at all for his own health [follow the link and look closely at his choices] because he had good times and no thought to acquire health insurance, deserves the compassion everyone else gets when their medical problems are cared for.


His house probably has granite countertops! OMG! Screw him and everyone in his distant blood line!


If you say "let the wingnut asshole go blind," you're giving into the mentality of the shitheads who have fought Obamacare without considering how to make healthcare affordable. The Republicans have no ideas of their own, only a trail of victims. That's why you have to save everyone you can.

You Have to Save Everyone You Can


There's no good reason to hate Obamacare. But let's look at what happened to a South Carolina man who, in his desire to avoid taking care of his responsibilities,ended up needing what Obamacare would have given him:
That’s when he turned to the Affordable Care Act exchange. Lang learned two things: First, 2015 enrollment had closed earlier that month. And second, because his income has dried up, he earns too little to get a federal subsidy to buy a private policy.
[Luis] Lang, a Republican, says he knew the act required him to get coverage but he chose not to do so. But he thought help would be available in an emergency. He and his wife blame President Obama and Congressional Democrats for passing a complex and flawed bill.
“(My husband) should be at the front of the line because he doesn’t work and because he has medical issues,” Mary Lang said last week. “We call it the Not Fair Health Care Act.”
Anyone who’s remotely familiar with insurance knows there’s no system that lets people skip payments while they’re healthy and cash in when they get sick. Public systems tax everyone. Private ones rely on the premiums of the well to cover the costs of those who are ailing.
The easy answer is, of course someone should help save this man's eyesight. The unforgiving shitheadedness of saying "screw him" is best exemplified by the conservative mindset that has spend the better part of the last five years trying to destroy affordable health care coverage in this country. You can't expect everyone to support reform, but reform is for everyone once it is enacted and you don't get to cherry pick how you take care of people. 
I guess there is a wisdom in letting people suffer, but that's not what the law was about. The Affordable Care Act has eased the suffering of millions of Americans, regardless of who they vote for and where they live. The fact that South Carolina has policies in place that hurt Lang as badly as not being able to enroll in Obamacare escapes accountability, of course. And Lang, who doesn't appear to care at all for his own health [follow the link and look closely at his choices] because he had good times and no thought to acquire health insurance, deserves the compassion everyone else gets when their medical problems are cared for.
His house probably has granite countertops! OMG! Screw him and everyone in his distant blood line!
If you say "let the wingnut asshole go blind," you're giving into the mentality of the shitheads who have fought Obamacare without considering how to make healthcare affordable. The Republicans have no ideas of their own, only a trail of victims. That's why you have to save everyone you can.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dodd Frank is Working





Don't look now, but deregulation is making a comeback, albeit a half-hearted one. You can hear the screaming from a long way off--government is too big! Too intrusive! Let's all be libertarians! So what if your bank folds or your house burns down? The private sector will save us all!


Paul Krugman reminds us why government regulation is a damned good thing to have now and then:


Dodd-Frank addressed this problem by letting regulators subject“systemically important” financial institutions to extra regulation, andseize control of such institutions at times of crisis, as opposed to simply bailing them out. And it required that financial institutions in general put up more capital, reducing both their incentive to take excessive risks and the chance that risk-taking would lead to bankruptcy.


All of this seems to be working: “Shadow banking,” which created bank-type risks while evading bank-type regulation, is in retreat. You can see this in cases like that of General Electric, a manufacturing firm that turned itself into a financial wheeler-dealer, but is now trying to return to its roots. You can also see it in the overall numbers, where conventional banking — which is to say, banking subject to relatively strong regulation — has made a comeback. Evading the rules, it seems, isn’t as appealing as it used to be.


As the economy improves, and as stronger regulations build a stronger banking sector, confidence in the economy should improve. Fewer people are being subjected to predatory lending practices--this means fewer foreclosures, less neighborhood blight, and an overall improvement in the economy. This is due in large part to Dodd-Frank, which is working and shouldn't be dismantled.


Yeah, it's slow going and it probably sucks to be a banker, but oh well.

Dodd Frank is Working


Don't look now, but deregulation is making a comeback, albeit a half-hearted one. You can hear the screaming from a long way off--government is too big! Too intrusive! Let's all be libertarians! So what if your bank folds or your house burns down? The private sector will save us all!
Paul Krugman reminds us why government regulation is a damned good thing to have now and then:
Dodd-Frank addressed this problem by letting regulators subject“systemically important” financial institutions to extra regulation, andseize control of such institutions at times of crisis, as opposed to simply bailing them out. And it required that financial institutions in general put up more capital, reducing both their incentive to take excessive risks and the chance that risk-taking would lead to bankruptcy.
All of this seems to be working: “Shadow banking,” which created bank-type risks while evading bank-type regulation, is in retreat. You can see this in cases like that of General Electric, a manufacturing firm that turned itself into a financial wheeler-dealer, but is now trying to return to its roots. You can also see it in the overall numbers, where conventional banking — which is to say, banking subject to relatively strong regulation — has made a comeback. Evading the rules, it seems, isn’t as appealing as it used to be.
As the economy improves, and as stronger regulations build a stronger banking sector, confidence in the economy should improve. Fewer people are being subjected to predatory lending practices--this means fewer foreclosures, less neighborhood blight, and an overall improvement in the economy. This is due in large part to Dodd-Frank, which is working and shouldn't be dismantled.
Yeah, it's slow going and it probably sucks to be a banker, but oh well.

Friday, May 8, 2015

For Profit Colleges Are a Scam





The thing that really bugs me about the collapse of Corinthian Colleges is that we've known there were problems with this method of education for years. Now, the wolf is at the door:


Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corporationsaid it would gradually shutter 15 of its 52 Art Institute campuses, which currently serve about 5,400 students. Students enrolled at the closing schools will be able to finish out their degrees, but the schools will stop enrolling new students. Schaumburg, Illinois-based Career Education Corporation also said it was undergoing a restructuring that would include selling all but two of its university holdings. It plans to close its 14 Sanford-Brown College and Institute campuses and online programs in the next 18 months and sell three of its other colleges. Altogether, those institutes enroll about 8,600 students. The company had already announced that it is selling its Le Cordon Bleu Colleges of Culinary Arts and shutting down its Harrington College of Design in Chicago.


The Obama Administration has been fighting the next debt bubble that will threaten the economy--student load debt. Thanks to these for-profit schools, real damage has been done to the economy. The taxpayers are out millions and the students are walking around with suspect degrees and a mountain of debt.


Given everything we've known since 2012 and earlier, which you can read here, there's no question that the enablers of the for-profit debacle have been wrong about everything and wrong like nothing you've ever seen before: 


In mid June, the Department of Education put for-profit Corinthian Colleges out of business. Citing the company’s failure to respond to claims it had fudged jobplacement data and falsified attendance records, the department placed a 21-day hold on any additional federal loan and grant money due the institution. Corinthian’s 107 colleges — serving 72,000 students under the Heald, Everest, and Wyotech brands — draw 83 percent of their revenue from federal sources, and the firm was already reeling from two years of declining enrollment and a dozen state-level investigations. Despite Corinthian’s $1.6 billion in revenues in 2013, the department’s hold left it without enough cash to pay the bills. In early July, the firm agreed to sell most of its campuses and close the rest. The announcement sent a shock through the for-profit sector. The Obama administration’s bloodlust for such schools had put the industry on its heels since 2009. But before June, none of them had been effectively forced out of business by the government. Education Department officials themselves must have realized that they had overstepped, and feigned ignorance that the hold would be the final nail in Corinthian’s coffin.


Many conservatives were understandably outraged by the administration’s coup de grâce. The Wall Street Journal editorial page called it an “extraordinary violation of due process . . . akin to a judge issuing the death penalty while a case is in discovery.” Economist Richard Vedder called it an “ideological victory at the expense of many poor younger Americans.” A longtime Wells Fargo analyst of the sector called it a “chilling and aggressive new level of oversight.” 


The first hint that there was something seriously wrong is buried in this piece of delusional nonsense--Corinthian Colleges was turning a billion dollars in profits in 2013 and it couldn't pay its bills? Hello? Is this thing on?


Well, it wasn't just Corinthian--it seems to be an industry-wide problem. As in, the whole thing was rotten to the core. And it has always been rotten. A for-profit school is a predatory aspect of modern society. There is no incentive to apply real standards to anything because money talks.


That last part stings a little bit because I attended Brown Institute in Minneapolis in the late 1980s.


Sanford-Brown Colleges (SBC) and Institutes (SBI) will no longer enroll new students in its programs and will begin what’s called a “teach-out.” A teach-out is a gradual discontinuation of operations that affords our students a reasonable opportunity to complete their programs of study before a campus ultimately closes. We’re entering these teach-outs -- instead of immediately closing the schools -- because we remain committed to the success of the students who have enrolled in our programs. We made the difficult decision to teach out all of our other Sanford-Brown campus locations after several years of declining enrollment and financial losses. 


So long, Brown. I paid way too much for a broadcasting certificate which, to this day, remains absolutely worthless in terms of the return on investment. I think I paid out thousands of dollars for which I got back about a solid year of working in the radio industry, which collapsed because the technology of automating radio stations improved to such an extent that it made no sense to employ people anymore. The most I ever made, in late 1980s dollars, was about $850 a month. A month. And even then, I said to hell with living and working in Atlantic, Iowa because why wouldn't you? Things were so tight then that if I had been able to make a little more than $900 a month I probably would have stayed in radio.


I cannot imagine the feeling of being ripped off like that in these modern times, where debt is permanent and unsustainable for people who can't find a job that will pay them enough to live on and then repay the insane amount of money that Corinthian Colleges and the like have been charging them over the years (and, in the case of people using their 21st Century GI Bill benefits, charging you, the taxpayer).


Everything is a grift nowadays, and the grift gets more and more complex. You might as well bet disaster capitalism if you want to get ahead.

For Profit Colleges Are a Scam


The thing that really bugs me about the collapse of Corinthian Colleges is that we've known there were problems with this method of education for years. Now, the wolf is at the door:
Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corporationsaid it would gradually shutter 15 of its 52 Art Institute campuses, which currently serve about 5,400 students. Students enrolled at the closing schools will be able to finish out their degrees, but the schools will stop enrolling new students. Schaumburg, Illinois-based Career Education Corporation also said it was undergoing a restructuring that would include selling all but two of its university holdings. It plans to close its 14 Sanford-Brown College and Institute campuses and online programs in the next 18 months and sell three of its other colleges. Altogether, those institutes enroll about 8,600 students. The company had already announced that it is selling its Le Cordon Bleu Colleges of Culinary Arts and shutting down its Harrington College of Design in Chicago.
The Obama Administration has been fighting the next debt bubble that will threaten the economy--student load debt. Thanks to these for-profit schools, real damage has been done to the economy. The taxpayers are out millions and the students are walking around with suspect degrees and a mountain of debt.
Given everything we've known since 2012 and earlier, which you can read here, there's no question that the enablers of the for-profit debacle have been wrong about everything and wrong like nothing you've ever seen before: 
In mid June, the Department of Education put for-profit Corinthian Colleges out of business. Citing the company’s failure to respond to claims it had fudged jobplacement data and falsified attendance records, the department placed a 21-day hold on any additional federal loan and grant money due the institution. Corinthian’s 107 colleges — serving 72,000 students under the Heald, Everest, and Wyotech brands — draw 83 percent of their revenue from federal sources, and the firm was already reeling from two years of declining enrollment and a dozen state-level investigations. Despite Corinthian’s $1.6 billion in revenues in 2013, the department’s hold left it without enough cash to pay the bills. In early July, the firm agreed to sell most of its campuses and close the rest. The announcement sent a shock through the for-profit sector. The Obama administration’s bloodlust for such schools had put the industry on its heels since 2009. But before June, none of them had been effectively forced out of business by the government. Education Department officials themselves must have realized that they had overstepped, and feigned ignorance that the hold would be the final nail in Corinthian’s coffin.
Many conservatives were understandably outraged by the administration’s coup de grâce. The Wall Street Journal editorial page called it an “extraordinary violation of due process . . . akin to a judge issuing the death penalty while a case is in discovery.” Economist Richard Vedder called it an “ideological victory at the expense of many poor younger Americans.” A longtime Wells Fargo analyst of the sector called it a “chilling and aggressive new level of oversight.” 
The first hint that there was something seriously wrong is buried in this piece of delusional nonsense--Corinthian Colleges was turning a billion dollars in profits in 2013 and it couldn't pay its bills? Hello? Is this thing on?
Well, it wasn't just Corinthian--it seems to be an industry-wide problem. As in, the whole thing was rotten to the core. And it has always been rotten. A for-profit school is a predatory aspect of modern society. There is no incentive to apply real standards to anything because money talks.
That last part stings a little bit because I attended Brown Institute in Minneapolis in the late 1980s.
Sanford-Brown Colleges (SBC) and Institutes (SBI) will no longer enroll new students in its programs and will begin what’s called a “teach-out.” A teach-out is a gradual discontinuation of operations that affords our students a reasonable opportunity to complete their programs of study before a campus ultimately closes. We’re entering these teach-outs -- instead of immediately closing the schools -- because we remain committed to the success of the students who have enrolled in our programs. We made the difficult decision to teach out all of our other Sanford-Brown campus locations after several years of declining enrollment and financial losses. 
So long, Brown. I paid way too much for a broadcasting certificate which, to this day, remains absolutely worthless in terms of the return on investment. I think I paid out thousands of dollars for which I got back about a solid year of working in the radio industry, which collapsed because the technology of automating radio stations improved to such an extent that it made no sense to employ people anymore. The most I ever made, in late 1980s dollars, was about $850 a month. A month. And even then, I said to hell with living and working in Atlantic, Iowa because why wouldn't you? Things were so tight then that if I had been able to make a little more than $900 a month I probably would have stayed in radio.
I cannot imagine the feeling of being ripped off like that in these modern times, where debt is permanent and unsustainable for people who can't find a job that will pay them enough to live on and then repay the insane amount of money that Corinthian Colleges and the like have been charging them over the years (and, in the case of people using their 21st Century GI Bill benefits, charging you, the taxpayer).
Everything is a grift nowadays, and the grift gets more and more complex. You might as well bet disaster capitalism if you want to get ahead.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Canada is Turning to the Left





I saw a similar version of this in Germany a few years ago:


A left-leaning party has won a surprise victory in Alberta, one of Canada's most conservative provinces.


The New Democratic Party (NDP) ended the Progressive Conservatives' (PC) 44-year rule of the province.


Political observers were stunned by the result, with one commentator saying: "Pigs do fly".


Alberta's Premier Jim Prentice, a former member of Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet, said he was stepping down from political life.


He only became premier in September, and called the snap election in April to seek a mandate after bringing in a tough tax-raising budget.


The NDP, which has never held more than 16 seats in the 87-seat legislature, looks set to win about 55 seats.


Granted, this is a regional Canadian development that has more to do with how that province has been governed, but there has always been a secessionist movement in Western Canada. The ultra-conservative mindset (think Idaho or Wyoming) of that region appears to be changing.


In Germany, the "greens" took over Baden-Württemberg and raised taxes after they closed a nuclear power plant outside of Heilbronn. There, people just shrugged and dealt with it. Democracy being what it is, I can't help but wonder what would happen if a bunch of Republicans were thrown out of office. The move to take away the legitimacy of their defeat would be played out in the media, no doubt.


As long as environmentalism remains a "liberal" concept, you could see the rise of politicians who are on the right side of those issues. Why there isn't a rabid environmental movement in Oklahoma or West Virginia right now is beyond comprehension. If there was ever a need for "green" politics, those are the states where it should flourish.

Canada is Turning to the Left


I saw a similar version of this in Germany a few years ago:
A left-leaning party has won a surprise victory in Alberta, one of Canada's most conservative provinces.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) ended the Progressive Conservatives' (PC) 44-year rule of the province.
Political observers were stunned by the result, with one commentator saying: "Pigs do fly".
Alberta's Premier Jim Prentice, a former member of Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet, said he was stepping down from political life.
He only became premier in September, and called the snap election in April to seek a mandate after bringing in a tough tax-raising budget.
The NDP, which has never held more than 16 seats in the 87-seat legislature, looks set to win about 55 seats.
Granted, this is a regional Canadian development that has more to do with how that province has been governed, but there has always been a secessionist movement in Western Canada. The ultra-conservative mindset (think Idaho or Wyoming) of that region appears to be changing.
In Germany, the "greens" took over Baden-Württemberg and raised taxes after they closed a nuclear power plant outside of Heilbronn. There, people just shrugged and dealt with it. Democracy being what it is, I can't help but wonder what would happen if a bunch of Republicans were thrown out of office. The move to take away the legitimacy of their defeat would be played out in the media, no doubt.
As long as environmentalism remains a "liberal" concept, you could see the rise of politicians who are on the right side of those issues. Why there isn't a rabid environmental movement in Oklahoma or West Virginia right now is beyond comprehension. If there was ever a need for "green" politics, those are the states where it should flourish.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

This is Why They Hate the Clintons






Which makes me wonder if the famed Clinton campaign skills aren't a little bit out of date.  The Clintons just don't seem prepared for the modern media world and its tendency to relentlessly pry away at the smallest details.  In the end, this may be a bigger problem for the Clinton campaign than whatever Schweizer's book reveals.


Seriously. "The Clintons Don't Get the Media." Never mind that the book is a discredited, biased attack carried out by a Republican smear merchant. The Clintons don't get the media, therefore they are guilty of doing what every politician has always done since politics were invented--they take money from people!


Wow.


We are then treated to a patronizing history lesson:


Too, the web during the Clinton administration was a set of static pages of relatively limited reach. Today every foundation tax return, every corporate giving report, every press release for every speech that Bill Clinton has made, is available to any random person who wants to put in a few moments at a computer. When the Drudge Report broke the "news" of Monica Lewinsky's dress, it was a David-and-Goliath story. But as Glenn Reynolds has written, the powerful now face an army of Davids -- or maybe the better analogy is a militia, that forms up any time something interesting stumbles into its territory. This is not just a difference in scale; it is a difference in kind.


It's funny that she should mention this, as if the Clinton Foundation existed behind a firewall or something similar to that.


It doesn't. The Clinton Foundation publishes the required reports here. Any idiot, including me, can go look at them. They're fairly comprehensive, but any organization of this scale can be nitpicked to pieces if enough howling monkeys show up. What strikes me as funny is this idea that McArdle seems to have written her article as if no one knows anything. The Clintons know the media and the modern internet--why else would they have websites that can handle the traffic and the scrutiny being directed at them?


This gets to why they hate the Clintons. Look at the work the Clinton Foundation is doing. Millions all over the world are being affected by an outpouring of charity and good will and sustainable projects. While the Bushes sit and do nothing, the Clinton Foundation has been trying to save people with AIDS in Africa. That's why they hate the Clintons--they actually do things with the money people give to them.


The reason why people are discovering what the Clinton Foundation does is because I was told by some dumbasses that they're crooks who are trying to hide where there money comes from. In point of fact, they're not but thanks for playing.


Bear in mind, we are not even a year away from the first primary, and look at the energy being exhausted staring at all of this when not one voter is even paying attention. If the media is shooting its bolt over this now, I'd say that the Clinton machine is being pretty savvy.

This is Why They Hate the Clintons


Which makes me wonder if the famed Clinton campaign skills aren't a little bit out of date.  The Clintons just don't seem prepared for the modern media world and its tendency to relentlessly pry away at the smallest details.  In the end, this may be a bigger problem for the Clinton campaign than whatever Schweizer's book reveals.
Seriously. "The Clintons Don't Get the Media." Never mind that the book is a discredited, biased attack carried out by a Republican smear merchant. The Clintons don't get the media, therefore they are guilty of doing what every politician has always done since politics were invented--they take money from people!
Wow.
We are then treated to a patronizing history lesson:
Too, the web during the Clinton administration was a set of static pages of relatively limited reach. Today every foundation tax return, every corporate giving report, every press release for every speech that Bill Clinton has made, is available to any random person who wants to put in a few moments at a computer. When the Drudge Report broke the "news" of Monica Lewinsky's dress, it was a David-and-Goliath story. But as Glenn Reynolds has written, the powerful now face an army of Davids -- or maybe the better analogy is a militia, that forms up any time something interesting stumbles into its territory. This is not just a difference in scale; it is a difference in kind.
It's funny that she should mention this, as if the Clinton Foundation existed behind a firewall or something similar to that.
It doesn't. The Clinton Foundation publishes the required reports here. Any idiot, including me, can go look at them. They're fairly comprehensive, but any organization of this scale can be nitpicked to pieces if enough howling monkeys show up. What strikes me as funny is this idea that McArdle seems to have written her article as if no one knows anything. The Clintons know the media and the modern internet--why else would they have websites that can handle the traffic and the scrutiny being directed at them?
This gets to why they hate the Clintons. Look at the work the Clinton Foundation is doing. Millions all over the world are being affected by an outpouring of charity and good will and sustainable projects. While the Bushes sit and do nothing, the Clinton Foundation has been trying to save people with AIDS in Africa. That's why they hate the Clintons--they actually do things with the money people give to them.
The reason why people are discovering what the Clinton Foundation does is because I was told by some dumbasses that they're crooks who are trying to hide where there money comes from. In point of fact, they're not but thanks for playing.
Bear in mind, we are not even a year away from the first primary, and look at the energy being exhausted staring at all of this when not one voter is even paying attention. If the media is shooting its bolt over this now, I'd say that the Clinton machine is being pretty savvy.