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And The Lawyers Get Dummer.

by coldwarrior ( 4 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Special Report at August 25th, 2015 - 12:29 am

We all saw this coming.


Are Lawyers Getting Dumber?

Yes, says the woman who runs the bar exam

Last August, the tens of thousands of answer sheets from the bar exam started to stream into the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The initial results were so glaringly bad that staffers raced to tell their boss, Erica Moeser. In most states, the exam spans two days: The first is devoted to six hours of writing, and the second day brings six hours of multiple-choice questions. The NCBE, a nonprofit in Madison, Wis., creates and scores the multiple-choice part of the test, administered in every state but Louisiana. Those two days of bubble-filling and essay-scribbling are extremely stressful. For people who just spent three years studying the intricacies of the law, with the expectation that their $120,000 in tuition would translate into a bright white-collar future, failure can wreak emotional carnage. It can cost more than $800 to take the exam, and bombing the first time can mean losing a law firm job.

When he saw the abysmal returns, Mark Albanese, director of testing and research at the NCBE, scrambled to check his staff’s work. Once he and Moeser were confident the test had been fairly scored, they began reporting the numbers to state officials, who released their results to the public over the course of several weeks.

In Idaho, bar pass rates dropped 15 percentage points, from 80 percent to 65 percent. In Delaware, Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas, scores dropped 9 percentage points or more. By the time all the states published their numbers, it was clear that the July exam had been a disaster everywhere. Scores on the multiple-choice part of the test registered their largest single-year drop in the four-decade history of the test.

“It was tremendously embarrassing,” says Matt Aksamit, a graduate of Creighton University School of Law, who failed Nebraska’s July bar exam last year. “I think a lot of people can relate to what it’s like to work hard for something and fall short of what you want.” (Aksamit took it again in February and passed.)

Panic swept the bottom half of American law schools, all of which are ranked partly on the basis of their ability to get their graduates into the profession. Moeser sent a letter to law school deans. She outlined future changes to the exam and how to prepare for them. Then she made a hard turn to the July exam. “The group that sat in July 2014 was less able than the group that sat in July 2013,” she wrote. It’s not us, Moeser was essentially saying. It’s you.

“Her response was the height of arrogance,” says Nick Allard, the dean of Brooklyn Law School. “That statement was so demonstrably false, so corrosive.” Allard wrote to Moeser in November, demanding that she apologize to law grads, calling her letter “offensive” and saying that the test and her views on the people who took it were “matters of national concern.” Two weeks later, a group of 79 deans, mostly from bottom-tier schools, sent a letter asking for an investigation to determine “the integrity and fairness of the July 2014 exam.”

Moeser wasn’t swayed. She responded in December, saying she regretted offending people by characterizing the students as “less able”—but maintained that they were relatively bad at taking the exam. In January, Stephen Ferruolo, the dean of the University of San Diego School of Law, asked Moeser to explain how the NCBE scored the test. Moeser rebuffed him, instead inviting Ferruolo to consider the decline in his students’ Law School Admission Test scores in recent years, which, she wrote, “mark the beginning of a slide that has continued.” The implication: Ferruolo and the rest of the people running law schools not named Stanford or Harvard should get used to higher fail rates.

“The response is to stonewall,” Ferruolo says. “Where’s the accountability? I’m not looking to find more information so I can attack the NCBE. I am looking for more information so I can do my job as a dean.”

This year’s results, which will start coming out in September, may be the most critical in the exam’s history. Lawyers and those who hope to join their ranks will soon know if last year was an aberration or a symptom of a worsening problem. Critics of the bar exam say the test is broken, while Moeser maintains the reason so many students are failing is that they are less prepared. “You can squawk loud and long about what’s happening,” Moeser says, “but you’ve got to look at who your student body is.”

Whether or not the profession is in crisis—a perennial lament—there’s no question that American legal education is in the midst of an unprecedented slump. In 2015 fewer people applied to law school than at any point in the last 30 years. Law schools are seeing enrollments plummet and have tried to keep their campuses alive by admitting students with worse credentials. That may force some law firms and consumers to rely on lawyers of a lower caliber, industry watchers say, but the fight will ultimately be most painful for the middling students, who are promised a shot at a legal career but in reality face long odds of becoming lawyers.

As the controversy raged on into this spring, Moeser’s detractors seized on an irony of her résumé. Wisconsin is the only state that doesn’t require its local graduates to take the bar exam in order to practice law. Moeser never sat for it. “The person who is the czarina, who determines more and more every year what Americans have to learn to pass the bar to become licensed lawyers … never took the bar,” Allard says. “Who is she to say what the standard is? Who is she?”

 “You can squawk loud and long about what’s happening, but you’ve got to look at who your student body is”
From a conference room in Madison, Moeser watches a thick layer of smoke on the horizon, traces of a fire raging in Canada. It’s early July, the start of her annual high season, when the NCBE sends the first copies of the bar exam to state officials across the country. After a moment her gaze shifts to her assembled employees, asking them how the day is going. She has more imminent threats to consider.

Moeser is warm and intimidating at the same time, speaking slowly and pausing to stare at the person she’s talking to, like a pitcher guarding against a stolen base. She’s wearing a denim shirt decorated with “NCBE” in gold stitching.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1975, Moeser took a job at the state bar, partly because she had just given birth to her first son, she says, and the organization promised flexibility for its first nonsecretarial female employee. For 17 years, she administered the Wisconsin bar exam for out-of-state grads. In 1994 she moved to the national level, taking over the NCBE. “It’s an irony that I got to do this and I personally have never taken the bar exam,” Moeser says.

Her eyes shift to the ceiling when considering the hits the test has taken over the past year. Those arguments are like clay pigeons, she says: “You shoot them and they splinter, but the fact is, they are going to get up there and get some attention.”

In a typical year, about 50,000 people take the exam, which is created by a team of academics, judges, and lawyers that the NCBE enlists as volunteers. The organization itself has about 85 employees, including a team of Ph.D.s who spent their time in graduate school on the unenviable mission of studying standardized tests.


What Exactly Has Donald Trump Tapped Into?

by Flyovercountry ( 27 Comments › )
Filed under Donald Trump, Special Report at August 8th, 2015 - 5:27 pm

Trump has definitely tapped into something. I personally don’t believe it to be healthy for the GOP, Americans in General, or the World specifically. But then again, I don’t rule the Universe. So for now anyhow, this anger will have to run its course. Here is the best Trump analysis of the several dozen I’ve read so far. I compared him to Obiwan, but maybe Emperor Trumpatine might be a better play on that pop culture reference.

Why Trump Is Resonating.

by coldwarrior ( 3 Comments › )
Filed under Politics, Special Report at July 29th, 2015 - 12:11 am

Can You Hear Us Now?

The Politico Nails It:


Trump Schools the Republican Establishment

GOP elites are only making The Donald stronger.

“Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably,” the great Homer Simpson once observed. “The lesson is: never try.”

That’s probably how the so-called “smart set” within the Republican Party feels these days. Ever since Mitt Romney’s 2012 defeat—a loss that caught everyone off guard except for people who followed public opinion polls or read a newspaper—we Republicans were promised a tough, new approach to the presidential primary process.

No longer would the “non-serious candidates”—a term the bigwigs applied to people like Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain—be permitted to dominate the news cycles. This time the GOP would be a well-oiled machine, with a handful of candidates who quickly and quietly made way for the coronation of King Bush the Third.

And yet here we are.

The first GOP debate, televised on August 6 on Fox News, is already a total backfire for the establishment. Based on the latest polls, it will likely include every single one of the candidates the Republican elite despises: Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz—and banish to the losers’ consolation round exactly the types of candidates the establishment presumably wants to showcase: a female business leader, an Indian-American son of immigrants and the consensus-building governor of the crucial electoral state of Ohio.

The controlled, somber and oh-so-civilized process that the GOP promised its donors is now the biggest free-for-all in American political history. The blame for this, of course, is all being thrown in one direction.

Channeling their best William Shatner, GOP leaders everywhere are clenching their fists, looking skyward, and bellowing, “Trummmmmmp!”

But, come on, the very idea that party leaders could “manage” the primary process, and bully people like Trump out, was hubris in the first place. Turns out, voters tend not to like it when their “betters” dictate who should and should not be deemed a serious contender for the highest office in the land.

That Trump is mocking and bewildering the reviled GOP hierarchy—who lead a party with plummeting approval ratings among Republicans—fills the GOP electorate with a not-so-secret glee.

And is it really The Donald’s fault that he’s so interesting? Anybody bother to take a look at his main competition in the polls right now?

One candidate, Jeb Bush, comes across as what might have happened to George W. had he decided to become a physics teacher. Another is Scott Walker, whose most interesting revelation in his recent “unfiltered” ABC News interview was that he still wears “jorts.” (Yikes.)

Then there is the newest entry into the GOP race, Ohio’s John Kasich, who articulated exactly the kind of vision that the DC establishment generally supports. Unfortunately, Kasich happened to enter the race the same day that Mr. Trump, deep into one of his now-hourly feuds, decided to broadcast Lindsey Graham’s cell phone number on live TV. Which undoubtedly led to the most calls the Graham presidential campaign has received since it started.

But there is a bigger issue at work. Donald Trump is, well, choose your metaphor: a bull in a China shop, a tempest in a teapot, Leslie Nielsen setting an apartment on fire,  Kramer trying to host the Merv Griffin show in his apartment, Cersei handing over Kings Landing to a bunch of religious wackos wearing smelly bathrobes and branding weird symbols on their heads. Trump is offensive, impulsive, unmanageable, unpredictable and—he is, by the way, exactly the candidate the DC establishment deserves.

To many voters, rightly or wrongly, Trump is the antidote to years of Washington’s cynical, manufactured outrages, the petty punishments of those who deviated from the party line, its broken promises, meaningless “show votes,” careful, poll-tested politician speak and a multitude of backroom deals that have solved exactly zero of our nation’s problems. How deliciously humiliating it must be for the political pros of DC. The guy who somberly handed out goofy busywork assignments to people like Stephen Baldwin and the star of Sharknado on “Celebrity Apprentice” has just wandered in, delivered a few speeches off the top of his head and totally taken over the presidential race without breaking a sweat.

Unlike the DC crowd, Trump knows something about building “brands”—and for now at least he has one that sells. The business guy who can’t be bought. The iconoclast who won’t be controlled. The unrepentant loudmouth who will tell the Boehners and Pelosis and Putins and Kim Jong Uns of the world to stuff it. The quip machine—or insult generator if you prefer—who stands in sharp contrast to the dry, safe, meaningless drivel that passes for most political discourse today.

Intentionally or not, Trump also lets people in on the little DC secrets that those inside the Beltway wouldn’t dare share with regular America. He’s exposed, for example, the fact that office seekers like Rick Perry sucked up to him for millions before he started attacking him. Or that politicians like Lindsey Graham have turned to him for help to get on various TV programs. Or pointing out that the wife of a well-respected political pundit on Fox News works for rival Scott Walker.

Because he is defiantly not a part of the political class, he is impervious to conventional political weaponry. In fact, the attitude of the DC class toward his candidacy—temper tantrums and bouts of monumental arrogance—is only making him stronger.

Donald Trump has had rough words for many of the GOP and the whole fracas over whether or not John McCain is a war hero (spoiler alert: he is) was foolish and indefensible. But let’s not be hypocritical here. The GOP has been equally hostile to Trump from the outset—and that hostility has only grown as Trump has gained traction with Republican voters. He’s been called a clown, a fraud, a pretender, a joke—implicitly insulting his supporters, which currently happen to be a not insignificant segment of the GOP electorate. A segment that could abandon the Republicans for a third party if Trump is ticked off enough to fund an independent campaign.

The fault for the Trump phenomenon lies not only with the GOP, however. In a first for a news organization, the Huffington Post announced that it was unilaterally relegating a legitimate frontrunner for a major political party’s nomination to the entertainment pages. This was the perfect manifestation of the arrogance and elitism Americans despise. The Huffington Post did not perform this “public service” with other presidential candidates whose chances were even more farcical than Trump’s, like Al Sharpton, the professional attention hog. Nor did they exile to their funny pages former Senator Mike Gravel—whose campaign seemed to exist only to publicize its weird “performance art” campaign ads.

Similarly, the Des Moines Register recently demanded that Trump exit the race, even as he scored at or near the top of opinion polls in Iowa, and long before the voters had any say in the matter. Trump replied in a pointed manner that few politicians could muster: “The Des Moines Register has lost much circulation, advertising and power over the last number of years. They will do anything for a headline, and this poorly written ‘non-endorsement’ got them some desperately needed ink.” He made the Register’s action look pompous and silly.

The Daily Beast‘s effort this week to use Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana, against him—a la Marianne Gingrich in 2012—also backfired spectacularly. Rather than labeling her former husband a “rapist,” the first Mrs. Trump warmly endorsed him for the White House.

Thanks to this sort of clumsy incompetence, Trump has been handed every Republican candidate’s dream: the chance to run against both the GOP leadership and the mainstream media.

Should Trump fall, as most people expect, it will likely be at his own hand, not by the geniuses in Washington who don’t want some outsider messing up their playground.

They—the political press, the pundit class, the professional politicians—all but asked for a candidate like Donald Trump. And now they’ve got him. Enjoy the ride while it lasts. I certainly will.

I for one hopes he makes it. Shades of TR? Maybe with some Silent Cal thrown in?

Trump Is Right

by coldwarrior ( 11 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Immigration, Special Report at July 10th, 2015 - 8:55 am

I can’t seem to find anything in error in Trump’s statement below.

All he left out is that the elites in Latin America love to see the poor leave for America, it prevents a revolution and provides dollars coming back into their countries as remittances.

When we control immigration, we pick who gets into America, when we don’t control immigration, other countries decide who gets into America. Wanna play a game with those rules? I get to pick your team.

And do note, because just about everyone else can’t seem to get it, he is making a distinction between legals and illegals. The main stream GOP is after him big now, he just threatened to take away their cheap labor for their buddies in the so called “Chamber of Commerce”, a once capitalist organization. The Democrats are after him because he is threatening to take away the immigration bat that they smack Republicans with.

I wonder what legal immigrants have to say about illegals? I’ll bet I can’t print it here. (I know that Mrs Coldwarrior despises illegal immigration as she had to go through all of the hoops to get here legally and become a productive citizen.)

Trump: I Have Lost a Lot, But I’m Right About Mexico

Image: Trump: I Have Lost a Lot, But I'm Right About Mexico (Reuters/Dominic Reuter)

By Donald J. Trump   |   Monday, 06 Jul 2015 06:09 PM

I don’t see how there is any room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the statement I made on June 16th during my Presidential announcement speech.Here is what I said, and yet this statement is deliberately distorted by the media:”When Mexico [meaning the Mexican government] sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you [pointing to the audience]. They’re not sending you [pointing again]. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people! But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”

What can be simpler or more accurately stated? The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.

This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government.

The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border.

The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans — many of them are working for and with me…and, just like our country, my organization is better for it.

The Mexican Government wants an open border as long as it’s a ONE WAY open border into the United States. Not only are they killing us at the border, but they are killing us on trade … and the country of Mexico is making billions of dollars in doing so.

I have great respect for Mexico and love their people and their peoples’ great spirit. The problem is, however, that their leaders are far smarter, more cunning, and better negotiators than ours.

To the citizens of the United States, who I will represent far better than anyone else as President, the Mexican government is not our friend…and why should they be when the relationship is totally one sided in their favor on both illegal immigration and trade. I have pointed this out during my speeches and it is something Mexico doesn’t want me to say. In actuality, it was only after my significant rise in the polls that Univision, previously my friend, went ballistic. I believe that my examples of bad trade deals for the United States was of even more concern to the Mexican government than my talk of border security.

I have lost a lot during this Presidential run defending the people of the United States. I have always heard that it is very hard for a successful person to run for President. Macy’s, NBC, Serta and NASCAR have all taken the weak and very sad position of being politically correct even though they are wrong in terms of what is good for our country. Univision, because 70% of their business comes from Mexico, in my opinion, is being dictated to by the Mexican Government. The last thing Mexico wants is Donald Trump as President in that I will make great trade deals for the United States and will have an impenetrable border — only legally approved people will come through easily.

Interestingly, Univision has just announced they are attempting to go public despite very poor and even negative earnings, which is not a good situation for a successful IPO or high stock price — not to mention that I am currently suing them for breach of contract. Remember, Univision is the one who began this charade in the first place, and they are owned by one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest backers.

After the speech was made, there were numerous compliments and indeed, many rave “reviews”— there was very little criticism. It wasn’t until a week after my announcement that people started to totally distort these very easy to understand words. If there was something stated incorrectly, it would have been brought up immediately and with great enthusiasm.

The issues I have addressed, and continue to address, are vital steps to Make America Great Again!

Additionally, I would be the best jobs President that God ever created.

Let’s get to work!


Rumsfeld: Democracy in Iraq was a mistake

by Husky Lover ( 7 Comments › )
Filed under George W. Bush, Iraq, Progressives, Special Report, Tranzis at June 10th, 2015 - 8:47 am

Although the Iraq War was justified as is any war against any Islamic entity is, the aftermath was just plain stupid. In a bout of Naivete the Bush administration led by Wilsonian Progressives actually believed that Iraqis wanted Democracy. As it turned out, the Shias wanted an Iranian puppet regime and the Sunnis eventually threw in with the Islamic State. Donald Rumsfeld admits trying to install democracy in Iraq was a mistake.

Washington (CNN)Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld insisted in an interview with CNN Tuesday that his recent comments about being skeptical about creating a democracy in Iraq did not contradict his previous positions about the Iraq War.

Rumsfeld also called the Times of London’s report over the weekend — which suggested his views were critical of his old boss, President George W. Bush — “ridiculous.”

“When we went in (to Iraq), my view — and I thought it was a broadly held view — was that the goal was to have Saddam Hussein not be there, and to have what replaced Saddam Hussein be a government that would not have weapons of mass destruction, that would not invade its neighbors, and that would be reasonably respectful of diverse ethnic groups — meaning the Sunni, the Shia, the Kurds,” Rumsfeld told CNN in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “And that was kind of the understanding I had and I thought everyone had.”

In a story titled “Bush was wrong on Iraq, says Rumsfeld,” Rumsfeld told The Times that “the idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic. I was concerned about it when I first heard those words … I’m not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories.”


Rumsfeld, who served as Bush’s defense secretary from 2001 to 2006, also told The Times that removing former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was a mistake because it destabilized the region.

Sadly many in both parties particularly the GOP think imposing Democracy should be done at all costs.

Mandy Nagy: “She misses the way it used to be.” [Updates]

by Bunk X ( 5 Comments › )
Filed under blog talk radio, Media, Special Report at April 8th, 2015 - 10:28 pm

Mandy Nagy

Mandy Nagy is recovering from a massive stroke she suffered 6 September 2014. [See previous posts here and here.]

Mandy’s personal friend Bill Jacobson has been posting updates periodically on Legal-Insurrection. Here are recent entries in sequential order:

Update 8:30 a.m. 12-30-2014 — Mandy’s mom conveys that Mandy can walk very short distances with help, a left walker and a leg brace. She needs help with everything else. Improvement in her speech has been slow. She understands much of what is said to her but not everything. She has lost some of her memory and she does not recognize some simple tasks, words, objects and people she once knew. She is starting to get interested in current events and watches the news.

(added) Mandy’s mother has posted an update tonight at the fundraising page:

This New Year’s Eve Mandy is home. Different therapists come to the home to provide rehab. She can walk short distances with my help and a left handed walker. She still has no use of her right arm but can feel some sensation. In addition to her IPad that has Apps on it, she is now using a speech recognition device which will help her to communicate. She understands most of what is said to her but cannot respond verbally. Surgery to re-attach her skull is scheduled for Jan. 8th. She is deeply touched and so very grateful to everyone who has donated, sent notes and gifts, prayers and good wishes. I believe 2015 is going to be a good year. Happy and healthy New Year to everyone.

Folks, this will be a long road for Mandy. Please consider donating to her fundraiser if you have not already, or a second donation if you have already donated. PLEASE CONTRIBUTE.

You can pay by credit card at the GoFundMe page:

You also can pay by check, payable to the “Mandy Nagy Supplemental Needs Trust” at the following address:

Mandy Nagy Supplemental Needs Trust
P.O. Box 33
Liberty Corner, NJ 07938

Update 9:25 a.m. 2-13-2015

Mandy’s Mom writes at the Fundraising Page:

Mandy’s surgery on Jan. 8, 2015 was good with no complications. Her skull is back and now she can grow her hair back. She was slower and weaker than usual after it, but now she is back on track.

For weeks, several different therapists came to our home for rehab. But now that has ended and she begins outpatient rehab next week.

She still cannot speak except for a few words, i.e., Yes, no, and Oh my God. She understands most of what is said to her, however, she cannot respond verbally. She has a speech generating device that helps somewhat with some of her needs. But back and forth conversation is frustrating for her.

She is in good spirits and still has her sense of humor. Our three King Charles Cavalier Spaniels are constant companions for her and she enjoys them very much. Good thing she likes animals.

Her walking has gotten better to the point I can let her walk on her own with a walker on her left side and without me holding on to her.

She has lost some of her memory. Hopefully someday she will get it back.

I show her the donations and good wishes everyone posts and sends. She is very grateful and touched by it.

Again, thank you everyone. Ginny Nagy

Mandy’s Mom further wrote to me: “Although I try often to get her interested in the internet, she still shows no interest.” At least she has her priorities straight!

Update 2:35 p.m. 4-4-2015

Mandy’s Mom writes at the Fundraising Page:

Thank you to everyone for all of your kind notes, prayers and donations. I apologize for not posting updates more often. Mandy sees each post and is very touched that there are so many people who care about her. I know she misses the way it used to be.

Mandy has gotten to the point where she can walk short distances around the house and outside with a walker or pronged cane without my holding on to her. She wears a brace on her right leg. She is very slowly doing more things on her own. She does not have use of her right arm.

Speaking is still very difficult for her because she knows what she wants to say but doesn’t know how to yet. She has a speech generating device that helps her to form words and learn language starting with the alphabet. Her neurologist has said that almost all of the cells on the left side of the brain have been destroyed. Those cells cannot come back, but the right side can compensate and learn to do some of the things the left side used to do. I see improvement but it can take months/years to come about. She goes to outpatient rehab almost every day for PT, OT and Speech Therapy. She is beginning to look like herself again since her hair is now growing back and she has started wearing her glasses. She can read a little but cannot write since she doesn’t know language yet.

At this point she still needs around the clock care. But slowly she will learn to do some of those things on her own. Our long term goal is to eventually get her in her own apartment with a live-in caregiver. I won’t always be here for her and I am not getting any younger.

I will need to find someone kind, capable and willing to replace me. She remains positive and in good spirits.

Ginny Nagy

Mandy, we miss you.

[Updated 2 August 2015]

Update 11:20 a.m. 7-20-2015 — Mandy’s Mom writes

She is making some improvement, but slowly. She has had to learn how to do everything from which utensil to use at a meal to how to blow her nose. She goes to outpatient rehab 2-3 times a week for physical and speech therapy. She can walk on her own using a 4-prong cane (as opposed to the larger walker she was using) but still needs the wheelchair. She has learned how to put her socks, brace and shoes on. That is a big deal since she doesn’t need to rely on me now to get up and do this every time she has to get out of bed. I still have to bath and dress her, prepare her meals and help her at the table.

She understands most of what we are saying to her but it sometimes takes a while before she processes what we said. She cannot talk yet except for a few words. I continue to try to encourage her to go on the internet, twitter, facebook, etc. but she shows no interest. She can only read a little.

She seems stronger and is up all day now. She used to go to her bed by noon. I will be looking for a caregiver for her soon. I am not young anymore. This job has been hard. And, I will someday be gone, so I need to set her up on her own with a live-in caregiver who will be content doing this kind of work.

You can Donate at the Fundraising Page.


The Changing Electorate, A must read

by coldwarrior ( 2 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Politics, Special Report at February 20th, 2015 - 6:24 pm

Please read the entire article before posting. Thank you


The Great Party Switch

From 1968 through 1992, Republicans tended to control the White House. Since then, they’ve more frequently controlled Congress, which has moved them even more to the right.

An excerpt:

In truth, Gingrich’s and Reagan’s contributions to the modern Republican Party are hard to separate. By repositioning the GOP on cultural issues such as abortion so as to appeal to white evangelicals, Reagan started the ideological realignment that Gingrich and his allies reinforced. Without Reagan, it is doubtful that Gingrich could have achieved as much as he did. Schaller’s argument is that by helping to shift the Republican Party even more sharply to the right, Gingrich succeeded in making the GOP once and for all the dominant party in the South. What the Gingrichites did not foresee, however, was that the growing conservatism of their party would alienate large numbers of moderate-to-liberal Republicans and independents in the Northeast, the industrial Midwest, and the Pacific Coast, contributing to a gradual realignment of many states in those regions. As a result of this realignment, every state in the Northeast and every state on the Pacific Coast except Alaska voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, and today the large majority of House members and senators from those states are Democrats…

There was something else that the Gingrich Republicans did not anticipate—the demographic transformation of the American electorate. Between the election of Clinton in 1992 and of Obama in 2008, the non-white share of the electorate doubled, going from 13 percent to 26 percent. It rose again, to 28 percent in 2012, and is expected to continue growing by about two percentage points every four years for the foreseeable future. Without this demographic transformation, Obama could never have won the presidency: His performance among whites and nonwhites in 2008 would have made him a decisive popular-vote loser if the demographic makeup of the electorate had been the same in 2008 as it had been in 1992.

By far the most important factor contributing to this demographic transformation has been the growing voting power of Latinos. This is the remarkable story that Matt Barreto and Gary Segura document in Latino America. Many of the book’s individual chapters were co-authored with graduate students or research associates at Latino Decisions; some were published earlier as stand-alone articles in political science journals. But this book is clearly intended for non-academic readers as well as scholars. It provides readers with a clear road map to understanding America’s rising Latino electorate—its size and composition, social and political beliefs, and electoral participation.

Barreto and Segura, along with their co-authors, take pains to knock down some common stereotypes about Latino voters—especially the belief that Latinos’ partisan orientations and voting behavior are strongly influenced by their religiosity and social conservatism. The authors clearly demonstrate that Latinos’ party attachments and voting choices are based overwhelmingly on their economic concerns and views of the role of government. They also demonstrate that Latinos are keenly aware of the positions of presidential candidates and other party leaders on the issue of immigration reform, especially the treatment of the 11 million–plus undocumented immigrants, mostly of Latino origin, currently in the United States.

Based on their socioeconomic characteristics and liberal views of government, the large majority of Latinos have traditionally supported the Democratic Party and its candidates. But that support has varied considerably from election to election. According to Barreto and Segura, a majority of Latinos have voted for a Republican candidate at least once, and as recently as 2004, George W. Bush won about 40 percent of Latino votes. Since then, however, Republicans have seen their share of the Latino vote fall steadily; in 2012, only 23 percent of Latinos voted for Mitt Romney.

A number of factors contributed to Romney’s poor showing among Latinos. His positions on economic issues, which became markedly more conservative during the Republican primaries, were out of step with the preferences of the large majority of Latinos. Romney’s call for “self-deportation,” that is, making life for undocumented immigrants so miserable that they would go back to their home countries on their own, undoubtedly also cost him Latino support. Barreto and Segura estimate that Obama’s popular-vote margin among Latinos in 2012 was greater than his overall popular-vote margin in the nation—the first time Latinos have ever provided the margin of victory to a presidential candidate.

Romney’s weak showing among Latinos was a clear warning sign to Republican leaders and strategists. Immediately following the election, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus created a task force to examine the causes of the GOP defeat and recommend changes in the party’s approach. One of the group’s key recommendations was that the GOP adopt a more moderate position on the issue of immigration reform, moving away from an emphasis on deportation to an acceptance of some form of legalization and perhaps eventual citizenship for a large portion of the undocumented population.

Again, as a courtesy, please read the entire article and then feel free to post.

Excellent, In Depth Article on ISIS

by coldwarrior ( 5 Comments › )
Filed under Islamic Supremacism, Islamic Terrorism, Koran, Special Report at February 16th, 2015 - 11:37 am

Please read it all here.


The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.


ISIS’ magazine DABIQ is available here

If the Lie is BIG Enough…

by coldwarrior ( 9 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Economy, Special Report, unemployment at January 26th, 2015 - 7:42 pm

I knew that this paper was in the works, it was just a matter of time before it hit.

Study: 2014’s Employment Boom Almost Entirely Due to the Expiration of Unemployment Benefits Obama Wanted to Renew

Those who’ve listened to President Obama’s speeches over the past couple months have heard him boast that 2014 has seen impressive improvements in the labor market — the best year in job creation since 1999, he points out, and he’s right. But there’s no obvious explanation for why 2014 has been, by a good margin, the best year of a weak jobs recovery. The president has naturally credited his policies (without any justification). But what if 2014’s jobs boom is mostly thanks to the expiration of a program that the Obama administration and Democrats fervently pushed to renew?

That’s the finding of a new NBER working paper from three economists — Marcus Hagedorn, Kurt Mitman, and Iourii Manovskii — who contend that the ending of federally extended unemployment benefits across the country at the end of 2013 explains much of the labor-market boom in 2014.

About 60 percent of the job creation in 2014, 1.8 million jobs, they find, can be attributed to the end of the extended-benefits program. That’s a huge amount, and suggests that long-term unemployment benefits, while there’s a good charitable case for them, could have played a big role in the ongoing lassitude of our labor market. (Indeed, an earlier working paper from a few of the same authors argued that extended benefits raised the unemployment rate during the Great Recession by three percentage points; see a summary of that paper here.)

So what was the program Democrats wanted to renew? States run their own unemployment-insurance programs, which provide around 26 weeks of benefits to people who’ve lost jobs and are looking for new ones. But during the recent recession, as they have in other downturns, Congress repeatedly authorized federal extensions that allowed people to draw benefits for much longer. At the end of 2013, the Senate narrowly passed a renewal of the program, but the House never took it up and the extensions, already much longer than any previous recession had seen, expired.

This created something of a “natural experiment.” States had unemployment-insurance programs of widely varying length — they ranged from 40 weeks up to 73, roughly — but after the end of the federal extensions at the start of 2014, the duration of benefits in almost all states went back to around 26 weeks.

The paper uses that shift to examine how expiring benefits might have affected the labor market, and they find that the expiration of extended benefits produced a big boost to job creation, labor-force participation, and hiring. It’s a dramatically different result than what the White House and Democrats were predicting at the end of 2013: The Obama administration was predicting that the drop-off in stimulative spending from the expiration would cost 240,000 jobs, while the NBER paper finds that it created 1.8 million jobs.

The authors don’t think this happened the way you think it might: It’s not so much that the cut-off drove individuals on benefits back to work, but more that less-generous benefits actually spurred job creation on a macro level, getting employers to hire and drawing into the labor force people who hadn’t been looking for a job. They don’t lay out how that worked, but in their October 2013 paper, argue that extended unemployment benefits artificially boosts wages — when they expire, employers then boost job openings and start hiring people.

Of course, the usual caveats apply: This is not a perfect experiment at all, and the paper, while very rigorous, can’t get past the fact that it’s just crunching numbers about macro trends. And there are some concerns with the authors’ county-level data, though they try to make up for that.

The simplest form of the analysis was just looking at states that had long benefit terms versus short ones. In 2013, job creation was worse in more generous states than the national average; in 2014, after those states dropped their much more generous programs, it was much better than the national average:

There’s a lot more analysis they did, which I won’t get into — but to untangle related effects, they look at neighboring counties in states with different unemployment regimes, etc.

Now, this is just one paper and it involves some fancy econometrics, but it answers an unresolved question — why 2014 saw the labor market perk up (there’s also a possible end-of-austerity explanation, but it’s the labor market, not the economy overall, that’s really improved noticeably).

It should prompt passionate supporters of the extended unemployment-insurance program to consider whether it made as much sense as they thought. Even conservative economists, such as Michael Strain, pushed for the extension of long-term benefits. The length and scale of benefits during the Great Recession was unprecedented, but advocates for the program argued that this was necessary so long as unemployment, and especially long-term unemployment, remained historically elevated. Besides the moral case for supporting the unemployed, the market-friendly case for extending benefits is that one has to be searching for a job to get them. Cut the benefits, and you’ll see the long-term unemployed drop out of the labor force for good, the argument went. (It’s extremely hard to tell what did happen with these people when benefits expired, and the NBER paper here doesn’t comment on that.)

Advocates for extended benefits also argued that it was just an effective form of stimulus for the economy, because recipients spend their benefits immediately. That was always a pretty lame case, since the program’s value to the economy in spending terms — in the Obama White House’s generous estimation, 240,000 jobs in 2014 – would probably be outweighed if either side’s arguments about the labor-market effects proved mostly true. Indeed, if the new NBER paper is right, letting benefits expire produced 7.5 times as many jobs as the White House said it would cost.

The general economic consensus has always been that unemployment insurance slightly boosts the unemployment rate. Even liberal economists accept this, although they lampoon the idea that people might prefer benefits to working (that isn’t the point, Paul — people act at the margin). But we still have unemployment insurance, of course, because we want a safety net for people in the event of job loss. That just has to be balanced against the costs that the program imposes on the labor market. The new NBER paper doesn’t find that those costs in general are much higher than economists generally assume; rather, it suggests that the benefits of reining in long-term programs can be quite substantial.

There was always good reason to think this is the case: One of the many differences between American and European labor markets is that most of the latter have unemployment benefits systems of effectively unlimited duration — and much higher levels of structural unemployment.

All of that is very nice, except they don’t take this into consideration:


As you can see from the graph linked in the above paragraph, Real Unemployment is at almost 24%. Those who no longer have benefits no longer count for the NBER or the White House. Once your benefits are exhausted, you cease to be counted. That is why the real number of unemployed goes up in reality while for the government it goes down. There is a 20% spread between reality and what the government claims to be.

Required Reading: Crony GOP

by coldwarrior ( 8 Comments › )
Filed under Special Report at January 1st, 2015 - 2:28 pm

This is the kind of stuff that I am talking about: The GOP is not interested in smaller govt and more freedom, nor is it interested in competition and capitalism. It loves being crony tho:


The Crony Capitalism Litmus Test

The Ex-Im Bank won’t survive 2015—if the GOP is serious about free market principles.

Rep. Eric Cantor didn’t just lose his Virginia Republican primary. He was demolished. Dave Brat-a mostly unknown economics professor from a local college-beat the powerful Republican incumbent by 11 percentage points.

Cantor on June 10, 2014, became the first sitting House majority leader in the history of the job to lose his own party’s primary. Nearly every pundit in America called Brat’s win a political earthquake, and it didn’t seem like much of an exaggeration.

One of the Cantorquake’s biggest aftershocks came on Wall Street, where the next morning shares of Boeing dropped 2.3 percent-the biggest decline of all companies on the Dow Jones Industrial average that day. The headline at Bloomberg News told the story: “Boeing Tumbles as Cantor Loss Clouds Ex-Im Bank’s Future.”

How could the loss of a single House seat so thoroughly rattle the stockholders of a giant, profitable, stable company like Boeing, let alone the supporters of an obscure Washington institution like the Export-Import Bank? Boeing, it turns out, is the largest beneficiary of the Ex-Im Bank’s loan guarantees, which are typically awarded to foreign companies and governments for the purposes of buying big-ticket items like U.S.-made jets.

And Cantor? He was the political point man tasked with holding down a grassroots insurrection against what many free market champions consider the embodiment of Beltway crony capitalism. His downfall signaled to activists on both sides of the Ex-Im fight that the Tea Party wave of 2010 might be on the verge of forcing the Republican Party to live up to its limited government principles.

In normal times, Congress re-authorizes the Ex-Im Bank every few years with minimal fuss, since both major parties share a broad enthusiasm for corporate welfare. But this time around, as the September 30 deadline for re-authorization approached, an epic battle erupted on the Republican side of the aisle, with free marketeers, libertarians, and Tea Partiers taking on the business lobby over a comparatively tiny but hugely symbolic federal agency.

As issues like war in Syria crowded out the September legislative calendar, the showdown was postponed when lawmakers agreed to a nine-month renewal of the agency, thus pushing the re-authorization battle to as late as June 2015 or as soon as December, should the lame-duck Congress decide to intervene on a longer-term deal. The bruised combatants on both sides are split over whether the postponement signals business as usual or the first real chance at lopping off this dispenser of political favors.

However it plays after the 2014 elections, the questions at stake remain the same: Do Republicans believe their free market talk? Or is it merely a cover for doing the bidding of business? And if Republicans can’t kill or seriously trim a New Deal program that subsidizes foreign governments-mostly to buy Boeing jets-will they ever get serious about fighting corporate welfare?

What Is Ex-Im?

Most people have never heard of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Ex-Im exists outside of any cabinet department. Due to special accounting methods, it resides almost entirely outside the federal budget. Even its building is nondescript-the agency is housed in the least impressive structure in the neighborhood immediately around the White House, and that’s saying something.

Franklin Roosevelt created Ex-Im in part as a way to subsidize Joseph Stalin. “Since the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia in 1917, the United States had refused to accept the legitimacy of the new Soviet regime,” Ex-Im’s official historians William Becker and William McClenahan explain in their 2003 history The Market, the State, and the Export-Import Bank of the United States. “Throughout the 1920s, Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover conditioned recognition on the USSR agreeing to accepted standards of international conduct. That is, they wanted the Soviet government to end its support of revolutionary activities in other countries, return confiscated property, and accept the international financial obligations of its predecessor government.”

But as Hitler’s threat grew, FDR’s foreign policy advisers and the business lobby pushed for normalized relations without conditions. To this end, FDR created the Export-Import Bank, initially capitalizing it with $10 million from the New Deal Reconstruction Finance Corporation. “Roosevelt’s executive order of February 2, 1934, authorized the new bank to finance American trade with the USSR,” Becker and McClenahan explain.

FDR steadily expanded the agency’s purpose beyond the initial goal of helping Stalin, as Cuba and then China became Ex-Im customers. In 1945, Congress passed the Export-Import Bank Act, codifying the agency. Soon, ironically, Eisenhower was sold on Ex-Im’s importance as a Cold War tool-the goal was to subsidize Third World countries to win them away from communism, as Becker and McClenahan tell it. Since then, the justification for it has constantly shifted: a foreign policy lever, an international development agency, a weapon in trade wars, and finally a job creator.

Ex-Im subsidizes U.S. exports through a few different financial products that all have one thing in common: they put the U.S. taxpayer on the hook if a foreign customer fails or refuses to pay back a loan. In Fiscal Year 2013, Ex-Im extended $27.3 billion in financing.

Ex-Im’s biggest product is the long-term loan guarantee. Over the past three fiscal years, such guarantees made up $52.6 billion of the agency’s $95.9 billion in financing. A fairly typical guarantee is the one that the Ex-Im’s board of directors approved on August 22: Virgin Australian International Airlines was buying a new batch of Boeing jets and Canadian TD Bank was providing the financing, in the form of a 20-year loan to the Aussie airline. This looks like a regular market transaction until the Ex-Im Bank steps in to guarantee the loan, meaning that if Virgin Australian fails to pay back the Canadian lender, U.S. taxpayers cover the bank’s loss.

The long-term loan guarantee program is mostly a subsidy program for Boeing. Of the agency’s $52.6 billion in loan guarantees over the past three years, more than half has covered Boeing sales. This isn’t a very diversified portfolio, but luckily for Ex-Im (and U.S. taxpayers), purchasers of jumbo jets have a tiny default rate so far.

Ex-Im also makes direct loans-$25 billion over the past three fiscal years. For instance, Ex-Im loaned $1.03 billion to Global Foundries, a semiconductor manufacturer owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The loan covered Global Foundries’ purchase of U.S.-made equipment to build a factory in Germany.


READ the rest before commenting please.

This is why I don’t buy the bullshit conservative words that come out of most GOPsters mouths. Wonder why the Tea (Taxed Enough Already) movement was destroyed so early by GOPsters and Dems? It was a threat to their wallets. Eric Cantor is just the tip of the iceberg.

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