Ferguson Open Thread

Supposedly, the grand jury’s decision is in, and the decision may be announced later today. This is an open thread for discussion.

Man of the Year

Kim Quade of the Victory Girls noted:

Time Magazine — in what has to be one of its most perplexing decisions — has announced that the “Ferguson Protestors” are in the running to be named as their annual “Person of the Year.” Considering that last year’s recipient was Pope Francis, I would say that Time’s standards have gone down a notch. Or several.

When I consider some of the people Time has selected before, I’d say that picking His Holiness last year was an upgrade and an aberration, rather than a consistent standard.

  • Adolf Hitler in 1938,
  • Josef Stalin in 1939 and 1942,
  • Mohammed Mossadegh in 1951,
  • Nikita Khrushchev in 1957,
  • Deng Xiaoping in 1978 and 1985,
  • Ayatollah Khoumeini in 1979,
  • Yuri Andropov in 1983,
  • Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 and 1989,
  • Vladimir Putin in 2007, and, worst of all,
  • Barack Hussein Obama in 2008 and 2012!

Maybe Time can double-down and include the Reverend Al Sharpton by name with the Ferguson protesters.

Rule 5 Blogging: Maybe if Benito Mussolini had these soldiers, his armies wouldn’t have been so thoroughly butt-kicked!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Isabella Rossellini in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week: Italian soldiers!

Note that the plane behind the pilot tells you that she's dangerous!  Click to enlarge.

Note that the plane behind the pilot tells you that she’s dangerous!

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Maybe if Benito Mussolini had these soldiers, his armies wouldn’t have been so thoroughly butt-kicked!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

What would happen if the incoming Congress passed a bill stating that only American citizens and legal permanent residents are eligible for any federal welfare programs, including medical care, and setting up criminal penalties, including serious prison time, for anyone, including social workers, who enabled people ineligible for such benefits due to illegal immigration status to receive benefits, and set up criminal penalties, including serious prison time for CEOs and subordinate corporate workers who enabled illegal immigrants to get jobs?

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

The left have been trying to tell us just what a great, great! job President Obama has been doing, and how underappreciated he is. One of their claims is that he’s pretty much whipped unemployment, with the official unemployment rate being down to 5.8%. From CNN Money:

The New American Dream
Exclusive: America’s part-time economy
By Patrick Gillespie @CNNMoney November 21, 2014: 6:52 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney): The West Coast isn’t a dreamy place for many workers. Millions of Americans are languishing there in part-time jobs with no other options.

In California alone, 1.2 million people are “underemployed.” That equals the entire population of San Francisco and Oakland.

Part-time workers are far more likely to live in poverty. They are paid less than other workers and often don’t receive benefits. It’s a bad sign when states have a high percentage of part-time employees in the labor force, especially those working part-time involuntarily because they can’t get a full-time job.

The worst state: In California, the nation’s largest state economy, 7.1% of the workforce consists of involuntary part-time workers. That’s well above the national average of 4.7% in October.

To look at it another way, California has over half a million more underemployed workers now than in 2007. That’s greater than the population of Sacramento.

Part-time work always increases in a recession, but the alarming sign is that it hasn’t gone down much during America’s recovery.

Eight states, including New York and New Jersey, still have double the number of involuntary part-time jobs since the recession began, according to the Labor Department. And involuntary part-time jobs are actually increasing in places like Florida and Texas.

More at the link.

I’m certain, certain! that the requirement of the wholly misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that says businesses employing fifty or more people must provide health insurance for full-time employees, with full-time being defined as thirty or more hours per week, has nothing to do with the increase in part-time employment, and inability of so many part-timers to gain full-time employment.

U-6 Unemployment Rate.  Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Click to enlarge.

U-6 Unemployment Rate. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Click to enlarge.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines the U-6 unemployment rate as “Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force,” and “Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work. Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.”

The recession started after December of 2007 — statistically speaking — and was over at the end of June of 2009. Today, 21 full quarters, 5¼ years after the recession statistically ended, the U-6 unemployment rate is 11.5%, 3.1 percentage points higher than November of 2007, and 2.7 percentage points higher than December of 2007. People have been finding jobs, but they haven’t been finding good jobs, haven’t been finding the work that they really need.

Perhaps this is why The Washington Post reported a poll indicating that 72% of Americans believe that we are still in a recession! The numbers say that we aren’t, but the people can still feel it in their bones. The left can cite an official statistic, but it still falls under the category of lies.

The Double Standard

The rape allegations against comedian Bill Cosby have been all over the news recently, and Mr Cosby has already had shows pulled. The claims are decades old, and beyond any possibility of proof, or disproof, but liberal sites like Think Progress are full of stories which don’t question the allegations. The Lost Kos was no different, and it’s not surprise at all that Amanda Marcotte would be assuming that he is guilty. Even some commenters on a site as sane as Patterico’s Pontifications believe he is probably guilty. Well, guilty or not, his reputation is trashed, ruined, by allegations which can never be proved.

But, I’ll bet that we hear nothing but defenses from the left concerning this story:

Portland gay rights leader arrested in sex case
Terrence Bean, 66, on the ground floor of the Human Rights Campaign
By KOIN 6 News Staff | Published: November 19, 2014, 2:09 pm Updated: November 20, 2014, 5:55 am

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A founder of the country’s leading gay rights organization was arrested Wednesday on charges related to an incident with a 15-year-old boy last year.

Portland LGBT activist Terry Bean, 66, poses with U.S. President Barrack Obama. (Flickr/ Terry Bean)

The Portland Police Bureau’s Sex Crimes Unit took Terrence Bean into custody at his home in Southwest Portland following a Lane County Grand Jury indictment.

Bean, 66, was on the ground floor of the Human Rights Campaign, according to terrybeanpolitics.com, and is listed as an HRC board member and Portland’s sole representation in the group’s leadership on hrc.org.

Bean’s lawyer, Kristen Winemiller, said in a statement Wednesday that it is Bean who has been victimized, and “look[s] forward to the opportunity to clear his name.”

“Over the course of several months in 2013-2014 Terry was the victim of an extortion ring led by several men known to law enforcement,” Winemiller said.

Winemiller said the arrest is connected to an ongoing investigation of a case Bean fully cooperated with. Still, sources familiar with the investigation told KOIN 6 News they believe there may be more victims in the case, part of an overarching investigation, and others may face charges.

“No allegations against Terry Bean should be taken at face value,” Winemiller said.

Amid the allegations, dozens of supporters took to social media defending Bean, including celebrated LGBT advocate and benefactor Bill Dickey.

More at the original. But remember the differences: there are allegations that Mr Cosby raped several women, years and years ago, while a Grand Jury in Lane County, in very liberal Oregon, looked at the evidence and actually indicted Mr Bean. He is facing real criminal charges, with real witnesses and real evidence.

My guess is that we’ll hear nothing but crickets chirping from the left over this one.

What would happen in a private business that operated like this?

From MSN Money:

Medicare Doles Out $45B in Improper Payments
The Fiscal Times | Brianna Ehley | November 20, 2014

It’s not news that the federal government has a serious issue with improper payments. During each of the last five years, agencies have doled out more than $100 billion in erroneous payments from various major benefit programs. Even knowing this, the problem only seems to be getting worse.

The latest program to be flagged by federal auditors is Medicare’s Fee for Service –which has seen a steady uptick of improper payments over the last five years.

This year, the program’s error rate jumped to 12.7 percent, from 10.1 percent last year, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General.

The auditors said that this year alone, Medicare’s Fee for Service program made about $45 billion in improper payments. That’s up significantly from $28.8 billion in 2011, when the error rate was 8.6 percent.

More at the link.

Not only has the problem been bad, for years — well before President Obama took office — but it’s now getting worse.

Supposedly, the feds are getting better are recouping some of the losses, about 88%, which is up from 79% in 2012, but recovery involves costs of its own. The simple and obvious question is: what would happen in a private corporation when the Chief Executive Officer discovered that so much was being paid out by mistake?

And the answer is simple and obvious, too: heads would roll! The company officials responsible for such payments would have been shown the door, and it’s quite possible that the whole department would be fired, and new people brought in to fix the problem, and fix it fast.

Too bad we can’t seem to do that in the federal government! One thing that the Republicans could do is to make it easier to dismiss civil servants who aren’t doing their jobs; there should be a real penalty for failure.

Beyond that, the government is still only paying what it is being billed, and the answer to that problem is to hold people and businesses filing inappropriate bills accountable. It could be argued that some of these are simple mistakes, and simple mistakes can be corrected without penalties . . . once. Subsequent inappropriate billing attempts should bring harsh scrutiny, including the real possibility of criminal charges.

In advance of the President’s speech

From The New York Times, via Donald Douglas:

Deportation Reprieve May Exclude Parents of Young Immigrants
By Julia Preston | November  19, 2014

WASHINGTON — Every time Berzabeth Valdez heads out to work from her mobile home on the outskirts of Houston, it crosses her mind that she might not come back.

Ms. Valdez, 48, is a Mexican immigrant who has been living in Texas for 11 years without legal papers, and so without a driver’s license. For her commute to her job as a restaurant manager, she keeps her taillights in working order and never speeds.

“We are terrified of the police,” Ms. Valdez said. “One traffic ticket could end in deportation. I could lose my whole life, everything I have gained for my family.”

One of Ms. Valdez’s daughters grew tired of living with those fears and joined an organization of young undocumented immigrants. The youths, who call themselves Dreamers, won protection from deportation from President Obama in 2012 and continued to press him to extend those measures to others in the country illegally.

More at the link. But let’s skip way down, to two more short paragraphs:

In October, Ms. Valdez recalled, her car was rammed in a rear fender while she was stopped at a red light. An apologetic American driver explained that she was wearing a new pair of high heels and had been unable to press the brake in time.

“Let’s just forget about it,” Ms. Valdez said, eyeing her crumpled fender, and she left to avoid calling the police…

This tells us a lot. Not only does Mrs Valdez not have a driver’s license, it has to be asked how she could have automobile insurance; if you don’t have a license, it is illegal for you to drive a car, and therefore any accident into which she gets is automatically her fault, since she shouldn’t have been on the road in the first place. Maybe a bumper thumper can be ignored, but what if she has an accident and someone’s car gets badly damaged, or someone is injured?

And there are other problems: if Mrs Valdez isn’t an American citizen or legal immigrant, how can she have a legitimate Social Security number and be paying her taxes? Is she being paid in cash, under the table? If so, it would seem to me that there’s a restaurant in the Houston area that is breaking the law. I am pleased that she is at least working, rather than being a welfare leech, but restaurant manager isn’t exactly the kind of job we think about when we consider the list of “jobs Americans won’t do.”

We have to realize something: when an illegal immigrant is living in the United States, the immigration laws aren’t the only laws being broken, and it’s unlikely that only the immigrants are the ones breaking the laws.

Well, I’ve got the answer!

A tweet from Donna Brazile:

The lovely Miss Brazile was the campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000, and is currently Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee; she is not a stupid1 or uneducated woman. When Jonathan Gruber was helping to set up the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in such away as to deceive people about the costs, when he and the entire Obama Administration believed that the American people would swallow it because they thought us stupid, conservatives said, forthrightly and plainly, that there was no way to add thirty or forty million people who couldn’t previously afford health insurance to the insurance rolls, end the cost-cutting measures which insurance companies had in place concerning non-coverage of pre-existing conditions, and maintain the same quality and access for health care to which the American people are accustomed, and not greatly increase the costs.

Well, now Miss Brazile, who is less than a month short of her 55th birthday, gets to pay more money for her health insurance so that she can have that mandated contraception coverage! Maybe Miss Brazile needs her insurance provider to explain the increase in her premium costs to her, but we already know the answer.

Miss Brazile, we told you so! It’s small consolation that conservatives get to gloat about the fact that we were right all along about Obaminablecare, but I’ll take whatever consolation I can get.

  1. Well, maybe she is.