Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SAR #10013

It is not the world that needs to change.

Masked Man:  Bernanke's Fed has instructed asked an appellate court to prohibit the American public from finding out who got taxpayer money - $2 trillion - to stay afloat, for fear they won't stay afloat. Sounds like money well spent.

Lost in the Shouting:  Please note that while everyone is pointing with alarm at December's 85,000 decline in jobs according to the Establishment Survey, The Household Survey reported a 589,000 decline in employment.  So, which was it – 85,000 or 589,000?  Traditionally “the Household Survey measure of employment growth tends to be a leading indicator.”

Explain, Please:  The State Dept. claims that allegations that the US might be behind the bombing of an Iranian nuclear physicist are 'absurd'.  Why?

I've They've Got A Secret:  Make that secrets, plural. Last May the SEC secretly promised AIG it could keep secret the most controversial details of the AIG bailout, including passing billions on to Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Société Générale and Deutschebank.  They could keep these details secret from the American public, which owns 80% of AIG, until 2018.  Presumably beyond the statue of imitations for embezzlement, fraud and whatever it is Tim Geithner is covering up.

Foreshadowing:  As of December 1st, 13% of US homeowners were either delinquent or in foreclosure.  Only 1.5% of mortgages “improved” toward a current status while 5% fell into more severe levels of delinquency.  Two months delinquent is nearly as good as a foreclosure in hand.

Faking Sincerity:  The judge in the trial of Scott Roeder, the confessed murderer of Dr. George Tiller, has ruled that instead of facing murder charges, Roeder can argue he is only guilty of voluntary manslaughter because the murder was justified by his sincere belief that killing the doctor would save the lives of the unborn. Some of us still are in Kansas, Toto.

Suck It Up:  In this sentence: “Everybody agrees the recession is over,” please define 'everybody'.

Who Knows?  The individual investor – who owns 80% of US company stocks – has pulled about $850 billion out of the the stock and money market funds and stuck it into bond funds, and is not rushing back into the market.  Wall Street may be hyping the economy to sell more stock, or perhaps the government is propping up the market directly.

Travel Light: In concert with Hopeless Security's harassment of travelers, Delta has raised its baggage fees in an attempt to get more people to consider not flying.  Making more and more of your customers hostile seems a strange way to increase profits.

Trailer For Sale or Rent...  If Arizona cannot sell its capital and other government buildings by the end of the month, the state will be unable to make the February school payroll.  The state treasurer wants to put 45 kids in each classroom and fire about half the teachers.  Maybe they could rent out schoolrooms to the homeless...

Dark Matter:  Just as physicists deduced the existence of otherwise undetectable dark matter from its effect on the visible universe, TrimTabs CEO Biderman claims he sees the effect of government manipulation of financial markets because private demand “just isn't there.”

Big Duh:  Another academic has conducted a survey to discover that Wal-Mart does not create jobs when it comes to town, it closes small businesses and hires only some of their employees.  The Waltons only talk about “jobs created” and don't count the cost of “jobs destroyed.”  They do better on the P&L ledger.

Porn O'Graph: It's in stock.


lineside said...

Re "Trailer for Sale..."

Maybe there's a silver lining here. Based on the results we get, despite ever-smaller classes, probably about half of our teachers today should be fired. Oh wait, i forgot, the union would see to it that longevity, not proficiency, determines who stays and who goes.

Seriously, the idea that smaller class size somehow correlates to better learning is pure bullshit. The results are in: classes have gotten smaller, more and more money has been spent, but results have gotten worse not better. But smaller classes correlate very well with more teachers, and in turn with a more powerful NEA; and in turn again, with more money and votes via which the NEA can buy politicians to protect its agenda.

There are some smart, great teachers out there. I've been lucky enough to have been taught by some of them. But let's face it, pretty much anyone can become a teacher nowadays...being smart or being good at teaching are not prerequisite in the least. So we also have a lot of teachers out there that aren't fit to teach anybody anything. Sorry, but it's the truth.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

lineside - class size shmazh size. Blaming teachers for the dismal products of our education system is convenient, but silly. The real determinate in education is the home - the parents.

Here's the secret: smaller class sizes are needed because parents fail to civilize their children, so the teacher must spend most of the classroom hour trying to maintain control and keep the little monsters from hurting themselves or their classmates. Has nothing to do with education and less to do with learning...

Before launching a knee-jerk attack against class size, the school budget, teachers unions (which are as innefectual as all the other unions have become) go to your nearest public school and volunteer to spend just one day as a teacher's aide in a third grade classroom.

Then remember the point is not to educate, it is to get them to get a particular score on a meaningless test. So you will have to ignore the bright and the above average and the average - the ones who might actually learn someting - and devote all your effort on the dull, the uncooperative, the unmotivated, the ones who have never seen their parents read, the ADHD, the poorly behaved and the psychologically wounded - who have your continued employment in their grimy little hands.

Go spend that one day, then you are allowed to enter the discussion - which was about Arizona's really sad conclusion that selling the state capital buildings is a Good Idea.

lineside said...


"Parents failing to civilize their children" is certainly part of the school problem. But your kneejerk attack on my "kneejerk attack" causes me to wonder whether you are or were a union teacher...

P.S., my wife taught public school grammar school kids for 20 years (and entertained me with all the war stories, both good and bad), I have a child in public grammar school now, and I am on the board of a private I believe I have a reasonable sense of what goes on in the classroom.

I'll shut up now, leaving you the last word if you'd like to have it, since it's your blog.

Thanks & regards.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

lineside - Sorry to disappoint, but all my teaching was at the college and professional level. I did grow up in a union household, back in the dark ages when unions were essential and effective, but have never been a member.

ibilln said...

Great issue of SAR! Thanks!