ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, May 06, 2005

ARC: Like Twinkies to Oliver Willis

Nice Try, indeed Mr. Willis (aka The Twinkie-meister). Oliver links to this NYTimes article and provides only the first paragraph. Here's Ollie's entire post.

Nice Try
Smell the desperation?
The Bush administration has warned the nation's biggest labor federation that union-run pension funds may be breaking the law in opposing President Bush's Social Security proposals.
So, the Bush administration has decided that union opposition to social security privatization and benefit cuts is somehow a violation of the law.
Had Ollie read the entire article, he might have understood why the Bush admin had a problem with the pension fund threatening to pull funds from investment purely for political reasons. He would've also seen that the AFL-CIO actually agreed that they probably wouldn't be able to withdraw funds from Ed Jones, Charles Schwab, etc b/c of those companies' support for SS reform.
The department did not cite any specific instances and it stopped short of any formal accusations. But the letter came after a well-orchestrated campaign by the A.F.L.-C.I.O. to criticize investment firms that appeared to be supporting Mr. Bush's proposal for private investment accounts. "A fiduciary may never increase a plan's expenses, sacrifice the security of promised benefits, or reduce the return on plan assets, in order to promote its views on Social Security or any other broad policy issue," the letter said.

Damon Silvers, associate general counsel for the A.F.L.-C.I.O., described the warning as mostly a matter of "tone" rather than substance, and said union officials agreed with the Labor Department's main principles about fiduciary responsibility.
The nation's labor unions run pension plans that hold hundreds of billions of dollars in assets, and those plans are tightly regulated by federal employee-retirement laws.
The key issue in the warning was whether union-backed pension funds were either spending money to protest Mr. Bush's proposal in communications with pension-fund participants or threatening to take business away from qualified investment firms that support the proposal.

Bill Patterson, head of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s campaign over investment companies, said the government's warning would have little impact on his efforts.

"We operate comfortably within the principles laid out by the Department of Labor, and we're going to keep on doing what we've been doing," he said.
Hey, Ollie... if you want the Union Pension funds to become political tools, let's remove the reigns of federal regulations... whatdya say? Just don't come complaining when their investments go south b/c they play politics like this instead of taking their fiduciary responsibilities seriously.

Ahh, union pension funds... always the model for efficiency and honest dealings.

***side issue***
Why do the reporters for the NYTimes insist on the inverted style for their stories? I mean, the main point of the article is the actions the union pension fund was contemplating (pulling business away from pro-SS Reform companies) and Bush Admin response. Why do I have to read the entire article and get to the 18th paragraph to get to what is the "key issue" (even according to the NYTimes)? (perhaps Ollie didn't make it down to the key issue or the sentence on how union pension funds are heavily regulated.

Also, how many single sentence paragraphs are acceptable at the Times? It seems like the more, the better.

***UPDATE - 10 secs later***
I should've read through the comments before posting... what idiocy. Folks, Union Pension Funds are not allowed to put their funds and their future payouts at risk (ie increased costs, decreased returns, etc, etc) for political purposes. Threatening to remove investment funds from specific brokerages for political reasons seems to approach that threshold, thus the letter - a friggin letter - reminding them of this responsibility, with which the Union reps agree.

They can take a position publicly... they just can't use their funds as a political tool. Those are the facts, oh great Twinkie-meister.

Your Co-Conspirator,.
ARC: St Wendeler

Roadmap of the Lefty Whackos

Ever wanted a roadmap of the Lefty Universe?
Here you go...

The Visual Map (Java) is the most interesting feature, but the bios/descriptions are extremely helpful.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Now Wait a Second

Michelle Malkin links to this story about a teacher being fired for reducing the grade of a student who was sleeping in class. I can't find any information related to whether the student was passing the class or not...

Teacher fired after lowering grade of sleeping athlete
The Associated Press - ATLANTA

A Gwinnett County teacher was fired early Friday after refusing to raise a student athlete's grade he lowered because the student appeared to be sleeping in class.

The Gwinnett County School Board voted 4-1 early Friday _ after a marathon Thursday night meeting _ to fire Dacula High School science teacher Larry Neace, said school system spokeswoman Sloan Roach.
Now, when I was in High School... there were occasions when I dozed off in class. I know, I know... given my rantings, some of you may find this surprising (or may think "ahh, that explains it!"). ;-) Sometimes I laid my head down and listened to the lecture, althought it may have LOOKED like I was sleeping. I would even raise my hand and (and my head) to contribute to the discussion. By the way, in the classes that I did this, I was getting A's. If the student athlete was performing poorly, but still being given good grades as part of some social promotion (aka "soft bigotry of low expectations") scheme, then this is an entirely different story.

I don't think the teacher should've been fired... I also don't think the student should've gotten a reduced grade JUST b/c he wasn't paying attention. If it was a problem and he needed a nap, he should've been given detention... not a reduction in his grade. Do students get a grade reduction when they get in a fight with other students? No, there are other disciplinary measures that can be applied.

Also, there seems to be an anti-student athlete bias in the blogosphere which is a little strange... Yes, we all know the stories about student athletes getting favorable treatment (although it certainly is more of a problem in college, since kids in H.S. are ALL treated with kid gloves in my opinion). But we have zero evidence as to whether this student-athlete was a good student as well or whether he was relying on his performance on the field for inflated grades in the classroom.

That's my two cents...

When I talk about the anti-athlete bias that seems to be part of this discussion, I'm referring to the lack of information about the student's academic performance in the source article and this post from Mad Mikey. Michelle Malkin and some of the other bloggers (Windfield Myers) out there probably couldn't be considered to be "anti-athlete," but they certainly aren't asking what I would consider to be pertinent questions and simply assuming that the teacher was courageous for docking the kid a letter grade. As I've said... there are disciplinary measures available for inappropriate behavior in the classroom and they don't involve lowering of a grade.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Sell Sell Sell

H/T to the Ueberblogger

DailyPundit has Google cornered on this one.... Here's a link to the article:

Google Accused of Liberal Bias After Refusing Conservative Ads

ATLANTA, May 4, 2005 ( - The world's most popular search engine just lost points with Political Conservatives by turning down ads placed by William Greene is founder of the firebrand conservative web site that dispatches millions of emails to its grassroots base. His organization has published full page ads in national newspapers supporting US conservative politicians Don Rumsfeldt, Tom DeLay and John Bolton.

But just as attempted to launch a new wave of ad buys with, much to their amazement, Google refused the paid ad. Greene took an existing anti-DeLay ad and changed the name "Tom DeLay" to "Nancy Pelosi" (a left-leaning Democrat) yet Google refused the anti-Pelosi ad and continues to run the anti-DeLay ads.
Here are the ads....

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

A Preview: If Handgun Control had their way

I saw this last night (or the night before?) on the ITV news.... Basically, schoolteacher's home is being vandalized over the course of several weeks and months. After the police fail to do anything about it and after the 15th time that her property was vandalized, she runs out to the front yard to confront some youths who are destroying her car. She has a BB-gun in her hand and fires 6 BBs into the ground. She's hauled off to jail for possession of a firearm and intent to cause fear of death or injury.

Just to prove I'm not full of it, here's the story from the Guardian (which is to the left of Stalin) in the UK:

Mrs Walker, a mother of three children, and her family had telephoned police on 15 occasions after seeing their garden shed burgled, their garden trashed, and damage caused to a car and security light. But they allegedly got no response.

At midnight on August 14 last year, she looked out of her window and saw her son's car in the drive covered in washing up liquid. The empty bottle had been placed on the bonnet. She took a gas-powered Walther CP88 pellet pistol, belonging to her partner, John Cavanagh, [huh?!?!] from a drawer and went outside to confront three youths. When they goaded her, shouting: "Come on then, are you going to shoot?", she fired up to six rounds at the ground.

Her counsel, Farrhat Arshad, argued that the jail term was wrong in principle. Although she accepted firearms offences were serious and usually punished by imprisonment, she argued that Walker's case was exceptional.

A pre-sentence report had recommended a community rehabilitation order. She had been of previous exemplary character, and "stressful circumstances had come to a head".

Walker had sought at the appeal to use fresh evidence from a milkman, David Matthews, that one of the youths had been seen on her property. However, the judges said the evidence did not relate to what happened on the day she confronted the youths.
She was just recently released, but the conviction still stands. They recognized that they went overboard on the sentencing, but not on the conviction. Apparently, in the UK, it's unlawful for you to protect your own property. Imagine what would've happened to her if she had hit one of the little buggers with a BB and it got buried under the skin?? The horror... the horror...

Holy Schneikes, that's messed up.... What's the message to the youths who've been vandalizing? Head on back to Mrs. Walker's home... she can't do jack to stop us!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Quote of the week...

If your choice is going night-night or not going night-night, why would anyone ever choosenot to go night-night?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

SouthPark Conservatives vs G-Rated Conservatives

Interesting debate going on over at Protein Wisdom, around the performance of Laura Bush at the WH Correspondent's Dinner. Jeff Goldstein is clearly in the SP Conservative camp and Michelle Malkin considers herself to be the G-Rated variety, as she explains in this Jewish World Review column.

Here's video of Laura Bush's performance...

I'd have to say that I'm somewhere on the SP side of the spectrum.... Although, with 2 children (3 and 6 weeks), I'm certainly for restrictions on what they're exposed to. But that doesn't mean that I don't flip on SP or Chappelle's Show after they're in bed.

And in all seriousness, it's much better to be either than to be an earnest, nannystate liberal (think granola, birkenstocks, and too much patouli - or our next President) or an earnest, filthy-mouthed liberal (think a leather-clad Margaret Cho).


Sorry... got queasy there.

Michelle Malkin uses this phrase to denigrate SP conservatives..

I’d rather be a G-rated conservative who can only make my kids giggle than a South Park/Desperate Housewives conservative whose goal is getting Richard Gere and Jane Fonda to snicker. Giving the Hollyweird Left the last laugh is not my idea of success.
I have to say... I don't picture Dicky Gere or Hanoi Jane chuckling over any SP episode.... heck, they probably don't laugh at Chappelle's Show, either.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Just make it up....

I see, courtesy of the NY Times, the College Board is using the "journalist" standard to grade its essay's ont he SAT. Dr. Les Perelman did a small study and found out that length is a key predictor in the grade on a given essay. The kicker though, is that you can cite facts, that don't have to be true!

An essay on the Civil War, given a perfect six, describes the nation being changed forever by the "firing of two shots at Fort Sumter in late 1862." (Actually, it was in early 1861, and, according to "Battle Cry of Freedom" by James M. McPherson, it was "33 hours of bombardment by 4,000 shot and shells.")
Dr. Perelman contacted the College Board and was surprised to learn that on the new SAT essay, students are not penalized for incorrect facts. The official guide for scorers explains: "Writers may make errors in facts or information that do not affect the quality of their essays. For example, a writer may state 'The American Revolution began in 1842' or ' "Anna Karenina," a play by the French author Joseph Conrad, was a very upbeat literary work.' " (Actually, that's 1775; a novel by the Russian Leo Tolstoy; and poor Anna hurls herself under a train.) No matter. "You are scoring the writing, and not the correctness of facts."
Dr. Perelman, being that he is from MIT, understands that just making stuff up, isn't the way it works in the real world (unless you work for a major newspaper or broadcast news network).
"It appeared to me that regardless of what a student wrote, the longer the essay, the higher the score," Dr. Perelman said. A man on the panel from the College Board disagreed. "He told me I was jumping to conclusions," Dr. Perelman said. "Because M.I.T. is a place where everything is backed by data, I went to my hotel room, counted the words in those essays and put them in an Excel spreadsheet on my laptop." (emphasis mine)
So if your about to take your SAT's, how to maximize your chances of a good score on the writing sample part?
"I would advise writing as long as possible," said Dr. Perelman, "and include lots of facts, even if they're made up." This, of course, is not what he teaches his M.I.T. students. "It's exactly what we don't want to teach our kids," he said.

SAT graders are told to read an essay just once and spend two to three minutes per essay, and Dr. Perelman is now adept at rapid-fire SAT grading. This reporter held up a sample essay far enough away so it could not be read, and he was still able to guess the correct grade by its bulk and shape. "That's a 4," he said. "It looks like a 4."

Write long senteces, us big words, make stuff up, it doesnt matter as long as you get a good style to your writing. Just imagine your writing for the NY Times....

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Blagoyavieclhadlfalfd... Ummm

Well, it looks like Rod Blagoya Blagojevich (thank God for copy/paste) isn't impressing the editorial board of the Post-Dispatch which on any given day has op-eds that could be pulled straight out of here. Ok, perhaps not that bad, but bad enough to keep me from subscribing.

Anyway, it looks like the P-D is shocked, just shocked, that Rod is giving contracts to people that contribute to Dem polticians.

IN 2002, Rod Blagojevich ran for governor of Illinois pledging to "end business as usual." Three years later, we have business as usual ad nauseam.

Contractors who give money to politicians land juicy state contracts. Cronies and kin of politicians land state jobs. Merrily they roll along, wasting taxpayers' money.

The latest example comes in a blistering report from longtime Illinois Auditor General William Holland, a Democrat and a man so press-shy that he has given only one press conference in a dozen years. That was last week, and it was a doozie.
According to the Chicago Tribune, "The management firm's leadership includes Richard Stein, a prominent developer who has donated more than $68,000 to politicians, including at least $3,000 to Blagojevich and nearly $9,000 to (state Attorney General Lisa) Madigan. A former Chicago purchasing director runs the firm, which subcontracts to a company run by the godson of Cook County Board President John Stroger."

Their company was the only bidder allowed to change its offer after bids were submitted. Other contracts were awarded to companies who helped write the state specifications for those very contracts. That's pushing cozy awfully close to corrupt.

A Post-Dispatch review of political donations found that five of the seven consulting firms named in the audit have made campaign donations to Blagojevich in the past few years totaling more than $90,000.

These revelations come on top of other instances in which big contributors landed big state contracts. For example: A $200 million prison health contract to a company that gave the governor's campaign $10,000. A $214,000 consulting contract was awarded to a firm that contributed $20,000 to a Blagojevich political fund.

There may be more to come. The auditor said he couldn't find proper documentation to support $550,000 in expenses charged to the state by seven different state contractors hired by the seven Central Management Services Department.

In other words, it's business as usual.
I'm sure the P-D wouldbe shocked, just shocked, to learn that dead people voted overwhelmingly for Kennedy back in 1960.

It'd be interesting to get Downy's take on this matter... Even though s/he is a big Lefty, I think Rod doesn't do it for Downy. Perhaps he's too conservative.

Hey, at least I can be proud of my Governor.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Push It

Go ahead... click the button

H/T Michelle Malkin & Itsapundit

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler


Panasonic DMC-FZ5

12x zoom and SLR-like performance.

Two drawbacks...

  1. doesn't allow other lenses to be attached.
  2. no hotshoe for higher powered flash
Although Panasonic's DMC-FZ20 from last year offers the hotshoe...

Panasonic has done well to partner up with Leica on the camera side.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

A view into the Liberal Mind on Abortion

This post on Democratic Underground provides the Left's perspective on abortion. Poster's sister dates a deadbeat criminal from 14-18 and ends up getting pregnant at 18, just prior to graduation and just after her boyfriend gets out of jail. She is distraught and decides to kill the baby by drinking heavily and taking narcotics (have a feeling that it's not the first time she's used, but info not provided). Mother of the girl finally decides to take her to abortion clinic for late term abortion. They get pissed b/c the abortion doc is providing them with medical information about the risks of abortion which he (as an abortion doctor) doesn't believe in (since it might hamper his business), but is required to disclose by the laws of the state of Texas.

Now... she's having sex with a deadbeat at 14... and the family just lets her continue to see this guy. They let her see the guy AFTER he's OUT OF JAIL...

My sister had been in an on-again-off-again relationship since she was 15 with a fellow whom none of us particularly cared for but nonetheless permitted her to see regularly. He was, to put it bluntly, the product of poverty and neglect. He lived with his mother on the other end of town, away from all the fineries of white suburbia. His mother worked pretty much from sun up to late at night to support him, but as a consequence, she was rarely home. He hung out until all hours of the night with some less than admirable individuals. It wasn't long before he went to jail for burglary. No one was terribly surprised.
It seems that the family is too interested in not rocking the boat to help their daughter make the right choices for her life... It seems like they just don't want to get involved.

She's taking drugs and the family allows that to continue.
She had been aware for a while that she was pregnant. That's why she stopped smoking. She had known for at least two months before she told my mother the week she graduated. She admitted that she was terribly frightened and did not know what to do. As wise as it seemed for her to stop smoking, she soon reversed course. She began not only to smoke, but to drink and abuse narcotics as well. She wasn't doing these things for fun, either. She had a plan.

But it was fruitless. Trying to poison the life inside her was doing nothing except possibly damaging the fetus. It wasn't killing it. By the time month four arrived, she was desperate. My mom knew something was up, and confronted her about it on the Wednesday before her big day. Seeing no other option, she admitted to it.
I think there are significant problems with the family which are "root causes" for the poor decisions by this girl. Perhaps it's best that she had an abortion, given the immaturity not only of the girl, but of the entire family. The poster provides personal grief that he experienced (directed at the experience that the daughter had to endure, not that of the child in her womb).

And the poster decries the fact that right-wing fundie conservatives would force her to have a baby that has defects, failing to recognize that if there was any defects, they were likely caused by the irresponsibility of her sister (and the family).

But, the DUers in their subsequent atta boys to each other miss the entire point of the conservative argument over abortion... Yes, we don't like abortion, but we especially don't like the fact that it's a "Constitutional Right" imposed by the courts. (What other Constitutional Rights should be "safe, legal, and rare"?) If the Left thinks that it has a compelling case for why abortion should be legal and available to all, they should persuade their fellow citizens and enact legislation to that effect in the State or Federal legislatures. But please don't insert your personal moral preferences into the Constitution.

Heck, as a conservative I'd support federal legislation providing abortion if it removed it from the Constitution. Abortion would then be a matter to be debated and discussed, instead of something which causes us all to have a food fight over. I think most Americans would agree with my position on the matter, that:
  1. Abortions should be safe, legal, and rare
  2. Minors should have parental notification (unless in the case of incest)
  3. Late-term/partial birth abortions should be illegal
  4. Consultation with a doctor about the nature of the procedure (perhaps including an ultrasound) should be the norm, as with any medical procedure
  5. back-alley abortion providers should be prosecuted and jailed
I would prefer that there would be zero abortions... but I think the best way to achieve that is through persuasion on an individual basis, not through the courts.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, May 02, 2005

DownLeft - I call 'em as I see 'em

Down With The Left DownLeft has this post, sobbing over the fact that May Day celebrations (!!!!) aren't popular here in the US.

Happy May Day!

May Day is one thing other nations do better.
There were at least two May Day marches in the US organized by people who are probably even more liberal than I am, which is not easy to do. Let's watch as they're ignored by the corporate media!

I noticed that all the May Day articles in the US media focus on rallies in Cuba, even though rallies in other nations were more newsworthy. I guess May Day is only for communist dictators. Although, it's still interesting to hear that Castro accused the US of harboring a known terrorist, since that was one of the justifications for the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's ironic that May Day is so completely ignored in the US since it became an international holiday as a result of the Haymarket Riots and a push for the eight hour work day right here in Illinois.

posted by DownLeft @ 2:40 PM
Hey, Downy.... that was 125 years ago... and I think we've got a happy balance between capitalism and social safety nets already, thank you very much. Anything more and we'll end up with unemployment and economic growth similar to Germany and France.

I put DownLeft on my Lefty Whacko blogroll weeks ago... and boy, was I right on that one.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Airport in Rockford, IL

*Trying to draw ARC: Brian in...*

Does Rockford, IL need an airport, Brian? I mean, as a pilot... what's your opinion?

*like pulling teeth, I tell you...*

Brian Responds: Well as a pilot I'm always in favor of an airport. But Rockford already has an airport. A pretty nice one at that. I'm not sure, but I don't think DownLeft is pissed about the airport, or even that they lobbied the Feds for money. I think he's more pissed that boobs were present during the travel to the lobbying.

Lobbying ok, boobies present during the lobbying, not ok.

Aren't you glad I decided to raise the level of discourse? Mmmm booobiiieeeessss......

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Draft Matt Blunt

It looks like one of our local bloggers (Brian J Noggle) has started a new blog called Draft Matt Blunt. I've mused to friends and families that he'd be great for President, but probably won't be ready by 2008 - he'll just be 37 (?) on election day and will only have 4 years as Governor under his belt. I predict he'll be a force in 2012, though. However, if the Dems can salivate over the junior Senator from Illinois who has little or no experience, I suppose we can promote our own Governor from the great state of Missouri!

Heck, he'd be a great VP candidate for '08.

Message to Mr. Noggle - ARC is behind you.... at least this Co-Conspirator. (I guess I shouldn't speak for Brian & Penelope, although that seems to be what I'm best at.)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Kudlow on the Economy

Larry Kudlow looks at some of the numbers regarding the most recent economic report... Turns out that growth is higher than is being reported.

What is it about the mainstream media and the American economy? Why are they always looking for slowdowns, soft patches, double dips or whatever? If anybody bothered to look under the headline 3.1 percent GDP report yesterday, they’d see that 1.5 percentage points were lopped off because of the $660 billion increase in real net imports. But that’s a sign of strength. Consumer and business activity is strong, that’s why they’re buying foreign goods.

If you put the import number back into GDP, you get a 4.5 percent quarterly gain.
The same thing happened in the first quarter. The first estimate was 3.1 percent. It was below the 3.5 percent consensus. And the headlines screamed slowdown. But the final number came in at 3.8 percent, a much better picture.

So, history is repeating itself.

If the mainstream media wants to pick on lousy economies, why don’t they go after Western Europe or Japan, where growth is less than 1 percent.

Core private growth in the U.S. is actually over 5 percent in the past year. Today’s personal income report shows another big gain. Year-on-year, wages and salaries are rising nearly 6 percent. Entrepreneurial proprietors’ income is up 9 percent. And the core inflation rate is only 1.7 percent. Meanwhile, profits are rising at 19 percent in the first quarter, compared to a consensus estimate of only 10 percent.

Profits drive business. And business drives the economy. Which, by the way, is strong, not weak, with historically low interest rates.

I don’t know what the media has against the American economic machine. But once again, I’m here to report that the state of our low tax, low inflation, deregulated, high productivity, and technology-streamlined economy is quite healthy. And is likely to remain so for a good long period ahead.
Larry, I'd answer your question about what's wrong with the media.... but I think you already know the answer.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Left is Serious about the War On Terror?

H/T to that all around super guy, Eric Blumrich

Think the Left is serious about the War On Terror? (I'll wait until you stop laughing.)

This film propaganda by John Pilger proves that we can't trust the Left with our safety. In the closing minutes of the film, Afghanistan and Iraq are described as "unprovoked wars of aggression" which require prosecution ala the Nuremberg Trials of the Nazi leadership after World War II.

Pilger interviews several high profile folks, such as Bill Kristol, John Bolton, Douglas Fife, etc, etc. He also has plenty of whackjob lefties in there, too. Oh, and evil background music when showing official government documents and conservatives.... Just masterful.

Charles Lewis of the Center For Public Integrity states that there is no war on terror... "we're not at war"

BTW, there's a good clip of Bolton challenging the reporter, John Pilger, on his political affiliation. It brings some light to where Pilger is coming from (I'm not sure why Pilger left it in).

Bolton: So, are you a member of the Labour Party (in the UK)?
Pilger: No, the Labour party is a bunch of conservatives...
Bolton: Oh, so you're a member of the communist party then...

Bolton certainly fits the image of a blunt speaking guy who won't let b.s. go unchallenged. I say we send him to the UN!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

More Sirota idiocy

I supposed having sat through 3 years of Journalism school would give someone the opinion that they're an economic genius, but Dave Sirota really is idiotic in this post. He decries the current return on Social Security (which I agree with him on), but recommends a solution that is widely different than something I would recommend. He wants to raise taxes... No, we don't need to utilize the averagg 10% per year return that investment provides in the long term, with the added benefit that the asset is owned by that individual and can be passed down to future generations to help with their retirement.


Just raise taxes on corporations and balance the budget!

This seems to be the same angle that Pelosi is pushing for, since she won't face reality that any changes to the program to address solvency will require either increase taxes (which she's for, but can't say so publicly) or decrease in benefits (which she's against, although won't admit that Personal Retirement Accounts are the best way to INCREASE benefits for future retirees). She repeated multiple times on This Week how balancing the budget is the way to fix soshsecurity....

(BTW, what happens when you raise taxes on corporations? Do they just take the brunt of the tax and send in the check? perhaps for the first year. But then they either increase their prices to consumers to cover the increased cost of doing business or reduce costs through layoffs... or they take legal actions which limit their liability under the US tax code.)

Anyway, Sirota argues that the middle class is being crushed by an increase in taxation thanks to Bush's "tax cuts." He points to the following disingenuous WaPo story for his evidence... either he didn't read the story or gets confused by all of those numbers. This chart is an illustration of what Sirota views as crushing the middle class:

So, the top 20% of Americans pay 64% (!!!!) of all federal government tax receipts. Bush's tax cuts increased the share of the federal taxes paid by the middle class by less than 1% and Sirota is having a cow.

Nevermind that in actual dollar values, EVERYONE got a tax cut - so their individual payments to the federal government went down. If you send in a check to me for $100 one year and your share of my total receipts is 10%, that means that I took in $1000, right? What if I tell you to only send in $95 dollars next year? Is this a cut? Yes. Do you benefit? Yes. But, let's assume that I tell EVERYONE that they can cut their contribution by varying amounts... I now take in a total amount of $900. Did you get still get a cut? Yes. Did your share of the total amount increase? Yes.

In this case, the WaPo graphic (and Sirota) fail to mention the number of people within each income group. That truly would demonstrate that a minority of Americans are paying the lion's share of federal income tax receipts.

Recommendation to Sirota - Instead of that creative writing class, take a class in economics and math... I know, I know... it's tough for you to get your head around all those concepts without Bernie Sanders telling you what to think, but I'm confident that you can hack it. Take the classes twice if you have to.

(BTW, this is one of the problems with the profession of journalism... they know more about how to talk about subjects than they do about the subjects themselves. If I ran a university, I'd probably have a journalism program that was only a year long and only accepted people AFTER they had taken courses or had serious experience in other subjects.)

CORRECTION: Unfortunately, when I wrote this post, I had David Sirota (guy who makes a living at being stupid) confused with Ezra Klein (UCLA Journalism Junior who aspires to make a living at being stupid). I apologize for my error.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler