You are browsing the archive for LA Times.

Some more pedophile enablers who need to hear the clang of the cell door behind them

2:05 pm in Uncategorized by dakine01

About two and half weeks ago, I wrote a post titled “Just put the damn pedophile enablers in jail already.” Well, yesterday’s LA Times had this article on how the Boy Scouts helped alleged child molesters avoid prosecution:

Over two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public.

A Los Angeles Times review of 1,600 confidential files dating from 1970 to 1991 has found that Scouting officials frequently urged admitted offenders to quietly resign — and helped many cover their tracks.

Volunteers and employees suspected of abuse were allowed to leave citing bogus reasons such as business demands, “chronic brain dysfunction” and duties at a Shakespeare festival.

Please read the entire Times article.

I was a Boy Scout back in the day. I achieved the rank of “Star.” The troop was sponsored by the Methodist church right across the street from where I lived, classmates were in the troop as well as boys from my grandmother’s neighborhood. I was so proud the day I was old enough to join and the only reason I didn’t keep up with it was because I went away to military school for high school.

It saddens me to see what the Boy Scouts are doing to themselves. My memories of the Boy Scouts were of an inclusive organization but today’s Boy Scouts seem intent on being exclusive and consequently marginalizing themselves. One of my younger cousins has a young son who has expressed an interest in scouting and just last week she questioned how she could give him a scouting type of experience without actually having him be in the scouts.

The Times article states that of the 1,600 plus cases they reviewed, 500 of them were of cases where the scouting organization was informed by the boy, parents, staff members, or anonymous tips yet in 400 of these cases, did not make a report to authorities. Reading the article, it appears that at least some of the lack of reports were specifically to “protect the reputation of the Scouts and accused staff member.” And where have we heard of this happening before? Oh right. The Catholic Church. Penn State.

It amazes me to see groups like the Catholic Church and the Scouts refusing to report child molesters to authorities, preferring to let the alleged offender shuffle on off to do damage elsewhere. At the same time both the Church and the Boy Scouts seem to consistently equate being gay with being a pedophile no matter how many times reports and studies show this is wrong.

I won’t even get into someone like Mike Huckabee making the same claims but I keep hoping that someone in the Church and the Boy Scouts will enter the 21st Century. I’m not going to hold my breath but I will keep hoping that at some point they will recognize that pedophiles are not the same thing as two caring individuals who happen to be in love with a person of the same sex.

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor

Santorum steps in it

6:09 pm in Uncategorized by dakine01

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

As you may know, I read a lot of news articles. While I don’t often write about the participants in the GOP Clown Car, when I saw this article at the LA Times this afternoon, I was moved to respond:

In the nation’s past, he said, “Most presidents homeschooled their children in the White House.… Parents educated their children because it was their responsibility.” 

“Yes, the government can help,” he continued, “but the idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly much less that the state government should be running schools, is anachronistic.”

He said it is an artifact of the Industrial Revolution, “when people came off the farms where they did homeschool or had a little neighborhood school, and into these big factories … called public schools.”

Let me state for the record that my mother was an English teacher and a librarian. She taught in both public and private schools. Her sister was an elementary school teacher. My father’s sister taught math at the local high school in my hometown. I have numerous cousins on both sides of my family who were and are teachers. All of this is irrelevant to Little Ricky’s Revisionist history.

A quick check of der Google for “literacy rates in the US over time” brought these results with the very first item being a “National Assessment of Adult Literacy” report from the National Center for Education Statistics. This link goes to a section on Illiteracy from 1870 to 1979 including a table broken out at least partially by race.

The data in this table for the years 1870 to 1930 come from direct questions from the decennial censuses of 1870 to 1930, and are therefore self-reported results. The data for 1947, 1952, 1959, 1969, and 1979 were obtained from sample surveys; they exclude the Armed Forces and inmates of institutions. The statistics for the census years 1940 and 1950 were derived by estimating procedures. 

According to that table, in 1870, 20 percent of the overall population was illiterate (11.5 per cent of Whites and 79.9 percent of Blacks and other races). In 1952 (the year I was born) the figures were 2.5 percent overall with 1.8 percent of Whites and 10.2 percent of Blacks and other races. In 1979, those figures were .6 percent of the total population with .4 percent of Whites and 1.6 percent of Blacks and other races. It is directly because of public school education that those figures improved so dramatically over the years.

About a year ago, I wrote a post titled Teachers Are Not the Enemy. In reality, neither are public schools. But public schools are being used as scapegoats for the failings of politicians who refuse to raise taxes for any reasons and who try to force teachers to become miracle workers.

Oh and Ricky? If you dislike public education so very much, you might want to refund the school fees you scammed out of the public school district in Pennsylvania while you were “homeschooling” your children in Virginia.

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor

Prediction: June Economic and Jobs Numbers Won’t Be Appreciably Better Than May

11:07 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

I’m not an economist so this is a fairly easy prediction for me to make. I’m basing this prediction on how the weekly Initial Unemployment Claims have gone up this month (see here, here, and here plus tomorrow’s post when I write it). Or at least, the numbers have not dropped as much as anticipated. Either way, things are not improving.

Amazingly enough (economists claim to be surprised all the time, I get to claim actual surprise when something surprising really happens), there have been a few news articles from different outlets, pointing out some unpleasant economic truths. First up is this article from Monday’s (June 27) USA Today:

Whether the economic recovery in the U.S. can continue could depend on a single factor: consumer confidence. Confidence is important because consumers who are upbeat about prospects tend to spend more, driving corporate profits and job growth. Companies hire more employees, boosting spending, growth and confidence.

…snip…

According to a monthly survey released last week by Consumer Reports, households that earn less than $50,000 have been extremely downbeat on the economy every month since the survey’s April 2008 launch. Such households make up half of the U.S. population. Meantime, affluent households — those that pull down $100,000 or more a year — have been feeling on average positive about the economy since February 2010.

The primary factor behind the disparity: jobs. Affluent households have seen little impact on job prospects overall. Meanwhile, low-income households have seen a net decline in jobs for 23 out of the past 24 months, according to the survey.

Please do click through and read the whole article as it offers a number of reasons besides those I’ve extracted to show how the affluent have benefited in this “recovery” while the rest of us have struggled.
Read the rest of this entry →

Political Posturing Versus Reality

10:32 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

This morning (Wednesday, June 22) David Dayen at FDL News reports that the entire Senate Democratic leadership is getting behind a jobs/stimulus push:

The Senate Democratic leadership – all of them, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Patty Murray, Debbie Stabenow and Mark Begich – planned a morning press conference today where they will call for job creation measures, or stimulus, to be included in any debt limit deal.

This follows a report from Politico on Sunday:

Fearing the economy may be getting worse, Democrats plan to soon unveil what they’ll call a “Jobs First” agenda — and the stakes are high. A bleak economic outlook, like the May jobs report, could cost Democrats their thin Senate majority and even the White House if they can’t make a strong case to an anxious electorate that their policies will create jobs.

Senate Democrats are now grappling with ways to gain an edge in the economic debate dominated by budget talk. For instance, in an attempt to woo Republicans, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the White House are open to extending a payroll tax break to stimulate the economy, but that has spawned unease from Democratic senators such as Maryland’s Ben Cardin who worry that it would drive up the deficit and unnerve liberals such as Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, who are concerned it would deplete the Social Security trust fund.

While the Politico piece reinforces for me the idea of the Dems actions as just so much posturing, so does this, also from the Dayen piece:

There’s a sense that this is mainly rhetorical. Democrats have seen Republicans obstruct even the most piddling of jobs bills in the Senate. Yesterday the reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration, an old Great Society program, failed to break a filibuster.

This article from today’s Washington Post on Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad’s claim that $2 trillion in spending cuts is not enough tends to reinforce the believe that it is posturing:

The debt-reduction package emerging in talks between the White House and congressional leaders would not “fundamentally change” the alarming rate of growth in the national debt, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said Tuesday.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said the goal of slicing more than $2 trillion from the federal budget by 2021 falls far short of the savings needed to stabilize borrowing, reenergize the economy and avert the threat of a debt crisis.

As we all know, Conrad is one of the Gang of Six Five Thieves Deficit Hawks who doesn’t quite seem to comprehend that creating jobs would go a long way to addressing those long term deficit problems through increased tax revenues across all aspects of the economy. Even Wall St Journal and Bloomberg/Business Week columnists have come out this week and stated that jobs are the most serious issue of all today. Now, I don’t know of anyone who would perceive that the folks at either of these as being “card carrying members of the professional left” yet both are pointing out the fallacies of the current political discourse.
Read the rest of this entry →

Ripples of Budget Cuts

9:42 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

Over a lifetime of watching the political dances and games, there are a few things that can always be counted upon. The deficit hawks invariably claim that they are really, really, really only interested in “cutting out the fat honest.” Except that public sector budgets have been slashed so many times over these last few years, the politicians are not only slicing meat and bone, they are carving up the gourmet cuts, all in the name of some nebulous “greater good” and “sacrifices must be made by the courageous.” From Friday’s (June 17) NY Times:

Lawmakers and aides say the negotiators quickly gobbled up low-hanging fruit like trimming agriculture subsidies and selling more of the telecommunications spectrum to generate revenue. There is a general consensus that federal workers are going to have to contribute more to their pensions, though the details are still to be determined. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will collect higher fees from stable companies, and some idle federal property could be up for sale.

…snip…

To get there, negotiators are going to have to make some excruciating choices about federal health care and safety-net programs, as well as the tax structure. At the same time, they need to reach a deal that not only can be sold to a bipartisan majority in the House and Senate, but also is credible enough to assure investors worldwide that Washington is getting serious about taking care of its financial health.

…snip…

Republicans want to see Democrats embrace more changes in Medicare and Medicaid, the federal health programs for older Americans and the poor.

Read the rest of this entry →

Could the Cable Industry Have a Clue?

1:13 pm in Uncategorized by dakine01

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

The weekly report on Initial Unemployment Claims came out earlier today and while the numbers did fall a bit, they are still over the 400K threshold that seems to be the cut off for declaring that things are going to get better. From Reuters:

The Labor Department said on Thursday new jobless claims fell to 414,000 in the week ended June 11 from an upwardly revised 430,000 in the prior week.

Economists polled by Reuters had been looking for a smaller decline, to 420,000. Claims have been above 400,000 for two months, reflecting a rough patch in the recovery that has led to renewed weakness in an already anemic job market.

Just as they did last week, the reporter just brushes right on by how the figures for the week before had been revised upwards. Last week it was reported as 427K now revised up to 430K – the week before it had originally been reported as 422K but then revised up to 426K. I would not be surprised if next week’s report revised this week’s numbers upwards again, closer to the original figure from the economists of 420K.

There were a couple of articles in the past couple of days that suggested to me that there are a few folks in corporate boardrooms who might have finally gotten a small clue. Surprisingly enough to me, it is the cable television industry! It’s not as if the cable industry has not been noted for trying to squeeze people at each and every turn with annual rate increases while they take channels away from the “basic cable” and move to more expensive groupings on “digital tiers.” Got to rent those digital cable boxes doncha know. I think that is one lesson from the old Ma Bell that was adopted early on – rent equipment for as long and as high a rate as possible.

Reuters presents the cable industry concerns as:

For all the talk about competitive threats from the likes of Netflix Inc or Apple Inc, it is rising poverty among households that TV executives say is their biggest source of concern.
Read the rest of this entry →

Just How Many Speeches Did Ben Bernanke Give Yesterday?

6:46 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a speech yesterday (Tuesday, June 7) to the International Monetary Conference in Atlanta, GA. Only one speech. Yet looking around the Toobz at the various headlines at news sites on this speech, it must have been an all things to all people speech as I’ve found at least four different perspectives presented, some of them directly contradictory.

The most prevalent theme appears to be The Benbernank as cheerleader (links embedded in titles):

Then there are the deficit hawk headline writers:

AP via USA Today: Bernanke: We ‘urgently’ need to fix the debt problem (with the same AP article as MSNBC)

NY Times: Fed Wants Priority Put On Deficit

The almost cheerleader:

And finally, the seemingly contradictory:

So taken all together, it seems that things are bad but getting better except where they aren’t; everything is going to be just fine; we need a stimulus except where we don’t; and except for that pesky jobs thing, it’s all good.

Meanwhile, in today’s ‘water is wet’ articles, Jamie Dimon whines to the Benbernank about the new banking rules:

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon asked Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke whether regulators have gone too far by reining in the U.S. banking system and are slowing economic growth.
Read the rest of this entry →

May Economic/Jobs News Will Not Be Good

10:29 am in Economy, Financial Crisis, Government, Jobs, Media, Unemployment by dakine01

Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.

The economic reports are starting to come out for May and while there are those economists and Beltway Village Idiots Pundits who are making “gee, everything is just fine” predictions, the verifiable numbers easily refute this attitude.

First up is the monthly report from payroll processor ADP on the private sector jobs creation for May (via Reuters):

The ADP report showed private employers added a scant 38,000 jobs last month, falling from a downwardly revised 177,000 in April and well short of expectations for 175,000. It was the lowest level since September 2010.

The report boded poorly for the key U.S. non-farm payrolls report at the end of the week. Credit Suisse lowered its estimate for Friday’s employment number to 120,000 from its previous forecast of 185,000 and its private payroll estimate to 135,000 from 200,000.

ADP’s number has been weaker than the government’s private payrolls figure for 12 of the last 14 months, making Friday’s government numbers likely to come in above ADP’s report, Credit Suisse said.

Read the rest of this entry →

Life in an Alternative Universe

2:24 pm in Economy, Jobs, Unemployment by dakine01

I am becoming more and more convinced that there are multiple parallel universes occupying life on this one planet we call Earth. It is seemingly the only even remotely rational explanation for the disconnect between the views of most people in the United States (and the World) versus the views of the Beltway Villagers, Media Courtiers, and the excessively affluent.

Friday’s NY Times presented the results of a poll of the “Nation’s Mood”:

Americans are more pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama’s first two months in office, when the country was still officially ensnared in the Great Recession, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Amid rising gas prices, stubborn unemployment and a cacophonous debate in Washington over the federal government’s ability to meet its future obligations, the poll presents stark evidence that the slow, if unsteady, gains in public confidence earlier this year that a recovery was under way are now all but gone.

Capturing what appears to be an abrupt change in attitude, the survey shows that the number of Americans who think the economy is getting worse has jumped 13 percentage points in just one month. Though there have been encouraging signs of renewed growth since last fall, many economists are having second thoughts, warning that the pace of expansion might not be fast enough to create significant numbers of new jobs.

So what are the Media Courtiers reporting on? The Washington Post had this report on the “Biden deficit task force”:

A congressional task force launched by President Obama last week to help cut the federal deficit is off to a rocky start, with some members complaining that the agenda is destined to provide political theater, not a sweeping rewrite of spending and tax policy.

Set to begin discussions May 5, members already hit a dispute this week, disagreeing over how many people should have seats at the table. Some are asking what’s the point of meeting at all.

“I’m at a loss to understand what the purpose is,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Thursday in an interview. He said Obama had not set a timeline for any decisions, although lawmakers from both parties are calling for some agreement on deficit reduction before the government reaches a limit in the coming months on how much money it can borrow.

We have 14M to 15M unemployed, roughly 25M to 30M un and underemployed combined, millions more who are now “self-employed/independent contractors” or who have just given up and when they become eligible, are taking early Social Security and politicians are arguing over how many people will be “at the table?” This shit reminds me of nothing so much as the stories of the early negotiations on the Korean War where supposedly they had to vote on the size of the fucking table used for the negotiations before they could actually negotiate an end to the fighting.
Read the rest of this entry →

Giving Away The Future

10:47 am in Economy, Financial Crisis, Government, Jobs, Unemployment by dakine01

I struggle sometimes to keep coming up with fresh ways to describe what I see happening to the US economy. I try to stay on top of economics news and try to make some semblance of the conflicting reports presented, the PR spin and more spin.

Today’s (Thursday, April 21) Initial Unemployment Claims report for last week is out and once again, the economists have their rose colored glasses on:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — First-time filings for unemployment claims declined in the most recent week, but were above the key 400,000 level for the second straight week, according to a government report issued Thursday.

There were 403,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended April 16, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was down 13,000 from the previous week’s revised 416,000.

Please note that the 416K from last week was an upward revision from the initial report of 412K.

Even more troubling to me is the report of on-going claims (from the same CNN article):

The 4-week moving average of continuing claims fell 17,500 to 3,716,750, down from a revised 3,734,250 in the previous week.

The official Unemployment rate of 8.8% generally equates to 14M to 15M people. Think of how many millions are no longer collecting any unemployment compensation at all yet are still considered active members of the work force, trying desperately to find employment.

I found this at Slate the other day with a map of the nationwide unemployment from January 2008 through February 2011. (The scrolling through the months is a bit sluggish – I set it for a 1 second interval and auto-play). David Dayen at FDL News posted Tuesday about the Corporations shipping millions of jobs out of the US. While the jobs are shipped out, we see the AFL-CIO high-lighting the disparity between the CEO compensation and the average workers:

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — In 2010, chief executives at some of the nation’s largest companies earned an average of $11.4 million in total pay — 343 times more than a typical American worker, according to the AFL-CIO.

“Despite the collapse of the financial market at the hands of executives less than 3 years ago, the disparity between CEO and workers’ pay has continued to grow to levels that are simply stunning,” said Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president.

Read the rest of this entry →