frankilin roosevelt

It's not about being liberal or conservative anymore y'all. That is a hype offered by the fascist whores who want to confuse the people with lies while they turn this country into an aristocratic police state. Some people will say anything to attain power and money. There is no such thing as the Liberal Media, but the Corporate media is very real.



Check out my old  Voice of the People page.


Gino Napoli
San Francisco, California
High School Math Teacher

jonsdarc@mindspring.com




Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.

a middle-aged
George Washington



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Wednesday, 26 October 2011 at 18h 50m 54s

Teachers work a lot of hours per year

A writer in an prior letter to the editor of the Pacifica Tribune made a very misguided statement concerning teachers still getting paid during the summer. The writer seemed to have an idea that teachers are getting something for nothing from the tax payers and should therefore be penalized.

This opinion is nonsense. Teachers work 36 to 40 weeks out of the year. For a 36 week year, about 30 of those weeks a teacher works 70 hours per week. The other 6 weeks average 50 hours a week. 30 times 70 plus 6 times 50 equals 2100 + 300 or 2400 work hours per year. A person who works 50 weeks at 40 hours per week only works 2000 hours per year. A teacher works 400 more hours per year than a 40 hour week worker does for 50 weeks out of the year. That would be another 8 weeks for the 50 week worker by the way.

Teachers get a salary for the important hard work of teaching children. This salary can be paid over 12 months, or it can be paid over 10 months. People who propose a negative opinion about teachers based upon the notion of 2 months of summer vacation need to consult the math before they speak.

Teachers do more for society than bankers and stock brokers but get paid less than a waiter at a 5 star restaurant. And not everyone has the makeup to become a successful teacher, no matter how many credentials they obtain -- whereas most people can be a good waiter. Not everyone can manage 160 or more raw emotional children over a 9 month period grading enormous amounts of papers and dealing with a lot of irrational issues and stressful situations each and every week.

The old saw that says "those who can, do; those who can't, teach" is absolutely, ridiculously false. Such opinions think people are coming to the profession in droves because they can't make it in the real world. However, the average duration of new teachers is 3 years. Very few bad teachers can make it longer than 5 years. Too many new teachers cannot manage the stress-load, and either quit the profession or move on to college or administration. The new blood comes but it doesn't remain. Most schools have 80% or more quality teachers, which is no different then any other real world business or any large bureaucracy of individuals.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011 at 19h 38m 18s

The Civilian Employment to Population Ratio


A 4 to 5 percentage drop in 2 years is incredible, given that the 2010 US Census was 308,745,538. One percent is 3.087 million, so 4 percent is 12.3 million people. And remember that a lot of people who went from full-time to part-time jobs are still considered employed. The population growth per year can be estimated from the rate of increase over the 10 years since 2000, which was 9.7 percent. Taking the 10th root (over 10 years) of the growth factor 1.097 obtains 1.009 or 0.9 percent growth per year. This is about 2.8 million per year.

So 12.3 million were classified as not-employed in 2 years and the population rose probably 5.6 million in those 2 years -- an estimate of new entrants into the work force since 16 years old are 18 years old in 2 year.

Notice the graph stays in between 59 and 58 percent since 2010, and is threatening to drop below 58 percent in the near future. A percentage is basically a fraction, and in this case the numerator is the number of employed, the denominator is the total population. The only way the value of a fraction ( or a per 100 number) stays the same when the denominator (total population) increases, is for the numerator (number of employed) to increase based upon the percentage of the increase. So at 58 percent, if the population increases by 2.8 million, the employed gains for the year between 2010 and 2011 would be 0.58 times 2.8 , or about 1.43 million, or about 115,000 per month.

115,000 per month is an average for the entire nation. If this is divided by 200 to represent the 200 major metropolitan-regional areas of the United States ( a collection of 1,000,000 people), then this becomes 575 new jobs per region per year. Divide the 2.8 million increase per year by 12 and then by 200, and you get 1,160 new persons entering the job market per month per region.

Notice the 1,160 is twice as large as 575. This means there are 2 people for every new job available per region per month.

And the percentage is looking to drop below 58% for the first time in the history of the this statistic.

Yikes.


Monday, 17 October 2011 at 17h 19m 9s

Sign at the Occupy Wall Street Protest


Thursday, 13 October 2011 at 21h 29m 7s

Wall Street Journal Stole from Advertisers through repurchasing scheme

Click here. Click here. Click here.

Click here for the London Guardian newspaper account that did the ground work of the story.

The skinny: they organized a scheme to funnel money through multiple European companies who distributed their newspaper in Europe for certain corporations to buy extra issues of the Wall Street Journal cheaply to increase (in some cases double) the circulation numbers so that they could get a higher rate to charge for advertisers.

In other words, they bought their own newspaper at a 50% or more discount so they could inflate the circulation numbers and charge their advertisers more money.

You have to read the story.

[SOURCE: London guardian | Nick Davies | 12 October 2011]


Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 17h 50m 48s

A cool quote

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves Orcs.”


-John Rogers


hat tip to barry ritholz.

After reading most of Ann Rand's other long novel, The Fountainhead -- I couldn't finish it -- I always wondered what the cult fascination with the other novel was. The same can be said of the main character in the Fountainhead, but Rand worships the callous stoicism and praises the dullness and single minded obsession for perfection and superiority. It creeped me out about 2/3 rds of the book and I never continued.


Saturday, 8 October 2011 at 13h 31m 34s

Saturday Morning at Simple Pleasures

This is a typical Saturday morning at simple Pleasures.




Sunday, 2 October 2011 at 14h 19m 28s

San Francisco Not Strictly Bluegrass Festival

Below is a video of The Human Condition playing at Spreckles Lake near 36th avenue and Fulton Avenue.



The link might take 2 or 3 minutes to load, because it is about 76 Megabytes. If you get impatient or don't want to wait, Click here

~ ~ ~ ~

Left to right: Mark Joseph (guitar), Nate Harris (bass), Dan Brennan (Mandolin), Gabriel Shepherd (guitar), and Carl (violin).

I've known Mark for about 3 years now. He's a crazy dude who is very engaging in conversation. But he's also a stand up guy, which is why I like him.


Thursday, 18 August 2011 at 19h 28m 25s

Why Term Limits Suck

First of all, you don't fix government by castrating it.

Term limits happened in California so there is a historical record of what happens. The term limits idea has castrated California governance. Legislators are more dependent upon lobbyists and non-governmental private firms because they are vulnerable to opposition from organized money when they have a term limit. They only have a small amount of time to build up a name brand and utilize that brand name to create an independent money raising organization. You don't get experienced legislators because the turnover of veterans and experienced personnel undermines the relationships of the institution. What happens is that staff members come from lobbyist organizations that persist longer than the terms of the legislators themselves, thus shifting the nexus of the power relation. The chief of staffs have been around longer than more than half the legislators, and are more connected.

Imagine a school that loses half of their staff every 6 years, and has completely different staff in 12 years. Imagine further that after 12 years the teachers can no longer be teachers and have to retire. The transitory nature of the profession would inhibit the effectiveness of the teaching profession. It takes ten years to really learn all of the millions of issues involving the complications of teaching, and then you have to retire.

This is what happened when term limits got applied in California. It creates more dys-functionalism. Just look at California over the last 10 years. Even mainstream Republican operatives in California have admitted that the "term limits" worsen governance in California. There was an article in the Sacramento Bee about this very matter a few months ago.

The real problem is that corporations are considered "persons" under the law, and thus are enabled to raise insane amounts of money to buy the legislators, because spending money is a free speech when the law categories large organization of money as a legal "person."

The amendment we should pass instead is one that says "corporations are not persons and should not be treated as such under any law or interpretation of any law made by any court or legislator or local governmental body."

The "term limits" movement is a hoax. Rabid anti-government zealots use it to further their agenda. The answer to bad government is not to blow the government up with bad laws. There are plenty of good legislators, but the power of money is too big for them to do anything about. It is very difficult for a new legislator to compete against the insidious viciousness that large sums of money use to manipulate the public ignorance. Term limits would transfer the powers further into the camp of the lobbyist organizations, because the power of money is the real problem AND TERM LIMITS DO NOTHING ABOUT THE POWER OF MONEY.

The answer is to understand the original source of the bad government, and that is that corporate aggregations of wealth have too much power because they get all the benefits of "personhood" but none of the responsibilities. When a person murders another person, they get a huge prison term or the death penalty. When a corporation kills 10,000 people, they pay a fine or put a few figureheads in jail, but the corporation lives on; there is no accountability.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011 at 18h 14m 48s

What Teacher's Make


Monday, 15 August 2011 at 6h 25m 1s

Why Business Uncertainty is not the reason for record excess cash reserves

Yves Smith writes a piece in Salon where he calls out the notion that Corporations are currently sitting on historic piles of cash because of "business uncertainty."

Click here for the long exposition. It's a really good read. Here's an exerpt just in case the link fails:

If you read the business and even the political press, you've doubtless encountered the claim that the economy is a mess because the threat to reregulate in the wake of a global-economy-wrecking financial crisis is creating "uncertainty." That is touted as the reason why corporations are sitting on their hands and not doing much in the way of hiring and investing.

This is propaganda that needs to be laughed out of the room....

Commerce is all about making decisions and committing resources with the hope of earning profit when the managers cannot know the future. "Uncertainty" is used casually by the media, but when trying to confront the vagaries of what might happen, analysts distinguish risk from "uncertainty", which for them has a very specific meaning. "Risk" is what Donald Rumsfeld characterized as a known unknown. You can still estimate the range of likely outcomes and make a good stab at estimating probabilities within that range. For instance, if you open an ice cream store in a resort area, you can make a very good estimate of what the fixed costs and the margins on sales will be. It is much harder to predict how much ice cream you will actually sell. That is turn depends largely on foot traffic which in turn is largely a function of the weather (and you can look at past weather patterns to get a rough idea) and how many people visit that town (which is likely a function of the economy and how that particular resort area does in a weak economy).

Uncertainty, by contrast, is unknown unknowns. It is the sort of risk you can't estimate in advance. So businesses also have to be good at adapting when Shit Happens. Sometimes that Shit Happening can be favorable, but they still need to be able to exploit opportunities (like an exceptionally hot summer producing off the charts demand for ice cream) or disaster (like the Fukushima meltdown disrupting global supply chains). That implies having some slack or extra resources at your disposal, or being able to get ready access to them at not too catastrophic a cost.

So why aren't businesses investing or hiring? "Uncertainty" as far as regulations are concerned is not a major driver. Surveys show that the "uncertainty" bandied about in the press really translates into "the economy stinks, I'm not in a business that benefits from a bad economy, and I'm not going to take a chance when I have no idea when things might turn around."

The "certainty" they are looking for is concrete evidence that prevailing conditions have really turned. But with so many people unemployed, growth flagging in advanced economies, China and other emerging economies putting on the brake as their inflation rates become too high, and a very real risk of another financial crisis kicking off in the Eurozone, there isn't any reason to hope for things to magically get better on their own any time soon. In fact, if you look at the discussion above, we actually have a very high degree of certainty, just of the wrong sort, namely that growth will low to negative for easily the next two years, and quite possibly for a Japan-style extended period....

The problem with the "blame the government" canard is that it does not stand up to scrutiny. The pattern businesses are trying to blame on the authorities, that they aren't hiring and investing due to intrusive interference, was in fact deeply entrenched before the crisis and was rampant during the corporate friendly Bush era. I wrote about it back in 2005 for the Conference Board's magazine.

In simple form, this pattern resulted from the toxic combination of short-termism among investors and an irrational focus on unaudited corporate quarterly earnings announcements and stock-price-related executive pay, which became a fixture in the early 1990s. I called the pattern "corporate dysmorphia", since like body builders preparing for contests, major corporations go to unnatural extremes to make themselves look good for their quarterly announcements....

Despite the cliché “employees are our most important asset,” many companies are doing everything in their power to live without them, and to pay the ones they have minimally. This practice may sound like prudent business, but in fact it is a reversal of the insight by Henry Ford that built the middle class and set the foundation for America’s prosperity in the twentieth century: that by paying workers well, companies created a virtuous circle, since better-paid staff would consume more goods, enabling companies to hire yet more worker/consumers.

Instead, the Wal-Mart logic increasingly prevails: Pay workers as little as they will accept, skimp on benefits, and wring as much production out of them as possible (sometimes illegally, such as having them clock out and work unpaid hours). The argument is that this pattern is good for the laboring classes, since Wal-Mart can sell goods at lower prices, providing savings to lower-income consumers like, for instance, its employees. The logic is specious: Wal-Mart’s workers spend most of their income on goods and services they can’t buy at Wal-Mart, such as housing, health care, transportation, and gas, so whatever gains they recoup from Wal-Mart’s low prices are more than offset by the rock-bottom pay.

Defenders may argue that in a global economy, Americans must accept competitive (read: lower) wages. But critics such as William Greider and Thomas Frank argue that America has become hostage to a free-trade ideology, while its trading partners have chosen to operate under systems of managed trade. There’s little question that other advanced economies do a better job of both protecting their labor markets and producing a better balance of trade—in most cases, a surplus.

The dangers of the U.S. approach are systemic. Real wages have been stagnant since the mid-1970s, but consumer spending keeps climbing. As of June, household savings were .02 percent of income (note the placement of the decimal point), and Americans are carrying historically high levels of debt. According to the Federal Reserve, consumer debt service is 13 percent of income. The Economist noted, “Household savings have dwindled to negligible levels as Americans have run down assets and taken on debt to keep the spending binge going.” As with their employers, consumers are keeping up the appearance of wealth while their personal financial health decays.

Part of the problem is that companies have not recycled the fruits of their growth back to their workers as they did in the past. In all previous postwar economic recoveries, the lion’s share of the increase in national income went to labor compensation (meaning increases in hiring, wages, and benefits) rather than corporate profits, according to the National Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the current upturn, not only is the proportion going to workers far lower than ever before—it is the first time that the share of GDP growth going to corporate coffers has exceeded the labor share.

And businesses weren't using their high profits to invest either:

Companies typically invest in times like these, when profits are high and interest rates low. Yet a recent JP Morgan report notes that, since 2002, American companies have incurred an average net financial surplus of 1.7 percent of GDP, which contrasts with an average deficit of 1.2 percent of GDP for the preceding forty years. While firms in aggregate have occasionally run a surplus, “. . . the recent level of saving by corporates is unprecedented. . . .It is important to stress that the present situation is in some sense unnatural. A more normal situation would be for the global corporate sector—in both the G6 and emerging economies—to be borrowing, and for households in the G6 economies to be saving more, ahead of the deterioration in demographics.”

The problem is that the "certainty" language reveals what the real game is, which is certainty in top executive pay at the expense of the health of the enterprise, and ultimately, the economy as a whole. Cutting costs is as easy way to produce profits, since the certainty of a good return on your "investment" is high. By contrast, doing what capitalists of legend are supposed to do, find ways to serve customer better by producing better or novel products, is much harder and involves taking real chances and dealing with very real odds of disappointing results. Even though we like to celebrate Apple, all too many companies have shunned that path of finding other easier ways to burnish their bottom lines. and it has become even more extreme. Companies have managed to achieve record profits in a verging-on-recession setting.

Indeed, the bigger problem they face is that they have played their cost-focused business paradigm out. You can't grow an economy on cost cutting unless you have offsetting factors in play, such as an export led growth strategy, or an ever rising fiscal deficit, or a falling household saving rate that has not yet reached zero, or some basis for an investment spending boom. But if you go down the list, and check off each item for the US, you will see they have exhausted the possibilities. The only one that could in theory operate is having consumers go back on a borrowing spree. But with unemployment as high as it is and many families desperately trying to recover from losses in the biggest item on their personal balance sheet, their home, that seems highly unlikely. Game over for the cost cutting strategy....

So this haranguing about certainty simply reveals how warped big commerce has become in the US. Top management of supposedly capitalist enterprises want a high degree of certainty in their own profits and pay. Rather than earn their returns the old fashioned way, by serving customers well, by innovating, by expanding into new markets, their 'certainty' amounts to being paid handsomely for doing things that carry no risk. But since risk and uncertainty are inherent to the human condition, what they instead have engaged in is a massive scheme of risk transfer, of increasing rewards to themselves to the long term detriment of their enterprises and ultimately society as a whole.


[SOURCE: Yves Smith | Salon.com |14 August 2011 ]




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