Staples Inc, the largest U.S. office supplies retailer, forecast a fall in current-quarter sales as it loses customers to mass market chains and e-retailers, and the company said it would close up to 225 stores in North America by 2015.
Staples’ shares fell 9 percent before the bell, after the company also posted lower-than-expected fourth-quarter results and forecast current-quarter profit below analysts’ estimates.
The company operates 1,515 stores in the United States and 331 stores in Canada.
Staples said it had initiated a multi-year cost reduction plan that was expected to generate annualized pretax cost savings of about $500 million by 2015.
Rival Office Depot Inc (ODP.N) said last week that it expected sales to continue falling in 2014, after reporting a surprise quarterly loss.
Staples and Office Depot have been struggling to keep shoppers from turning to mass merchants such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) and online retailers like Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).
Staples has been shifting its focus to new categories such as tablets, breakroom supplies and copy and print services from traditional office supplies such as paper and toner.
It has also increased the number of items it sells online.
Shouldn’t we be a little past the point of blaming Wal-Mart and Amazon every time a retailer struggles? It’s not as if we are in the first year or so of this crazy Internet phenomenon or Wal-Mart’s business model is sneaking up on anyone.
There is probably plenty of discussion to be had about the lack of adaptability and forethought exhibited by Staples upper management. Mentioning that you’re increasing the number of items you sell online in 2014 almost sounds like a quaint quote from the past, after all.
Maybe we should take a look at the fact that, despite whichever numbers might uptick for a month or two, this economy has been mired quicksand for a long, long time. There is also the overwhelmingly negative impact that Obamacare is having, and will continue to have, on small and medium sized business, or the kinds of customers who made companies like Staples huge in the first place.
As a self-employed, small business person who has shopped at places like Staples and Office Depot for years, as well as a frequent Amazon shopper, I can honestly say that all of the money I used to spend at Staples isn’t going to Amazon. It’s not going anywhere.
Because it doesn’t exist anymore.
If more were actually getting done in Washington, there probably would be much less attention focused on how few times President Obama and Speaker John Boehner have met face-to-face, and on their “relationship.”
But Congress is testing new lows in terms of legislative productivity, which leaves plenty of time for journalists to muse about the president-speaker relationship, such as it is, on the day of one of their rare meetings.
On Tuesday, the president and Boehner met one-on-one for the first time since December 2012. They’ve been part of group meetings and have talked by phone. But it was the first time in more than a year that they sat and talked with each other individually.
There are probably many of us who are perfectly fine with Congress doing as little as possible, given its penchant for spending whatever money we’re earning. Those who enjoy hemorrhaging cash to a group of alleged adults who have the self-restraint of criminals with stolen credit cards are probably the only people who want more activity on the Hill.
And I am not so sure that The Idiot King and Johnny Tan aren’t both working on ways to defeat the Republicans in November, however different their approaches might be (I had to get that dig in).
The reality is that Obama is imperious and aloof to the people who like him, it is probably impossible to develop a functional relationship with the guy if you’re one of his political enemies.
Last week, over 27,000 pages of private e-mails from one of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s convicted ex-staffers were released. As soon as the document dump hit the Web, Democrats began climbing over themselves to prove that the e-mails showed that during his time as Milwaukee county executive in 2010, Walker was part of a grand criminal conspiracy — despite the fact that prosecutors had the e-mails for nearly three years and found Walker had engaged in no criminal wrongdoing.
This is a lot like what happened with Sarah Palin a while back. Democrats think that a large number of emails are bound to reveal some criminal activity. Once they have access, they begin frothing and assuming they will unearth something criminal. This is probably because the same would be true if you were perusing thousands of the average Democrat’s emails.
What have they dug up on the good governor so far? Here’s one GAME CHANGER:
Perhaps the crown jewel of Walker attacks occurred on Monday, when Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post tried to argue that Walker has a history of breaking campaign rules because he — wait for it — violated a rule while running for Marquette University student body president in 1988, when he was 20 years old.
Walker probably causes more sweating among Democrat elites as far as 2016 is concerned than any other potential candidate among the popular GOP governors (I have a separate theory about Christie that I won’t go into here). All Walker does is make Democrats look bad. And beat their organized muscle, Big Labor. He is one of those politicians who accomplishes being remarkable by being unremarkable, which is odd in the hyper-media era. He just shows up at work and gets results for all of the people he governs, not only the ones who voted for him.
Who ever heard of such craziness?
How much will WhatsApp’s employees make in the deal?
We don’t know how that $3 billion will be divided.
We do know the $12 billion in stock and $4 billion in cash will be divided among Whatsapp owners.
Whatsapp employees own a piece of the company.
Forbes’ Parmy Olson reports: “Early employees are said to have comparatively large equity shares of close to 1%.”
Ready to have your mind blown?
1% of $16 billion is …
… $160 million.
This is the kind of thing that happens in America to people who aren’t constantly told that they’re stuck in one place. It is not, however, the kind of thing that happens to people who trained to only demand a few more dollars in what was always meant to be an entry level job by people who want to keep them politically beholden.
Doug Ross had this nice illustration of the juxtaposition of reality and tired lefty rhetoric.
God bless America.
And remember the thing about teaching your kids to code.
REPORT: Network News Ignoring Toxic Coal Ash Spill In North Carolina
Remember, these are the same idiots who blasted conservatives over the Gosnell coverage for:
demanding the disturbing local trial be treated as big national news
That boomerang hurts when it comes back and hits you in the head, doesn’t it, little Soros monkeys?
President Barack Obama will meet exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House on Friday in a show of concern about China’s human rights practices.
Obama’s midmorning session with the Dalai Lama may well draw a reprimand from China, which views him as a violent separatist because he seeks more autonomy for Tibet.
In what appeared to be a small concession to the Chinese, Obama will see the Dalai Lama in the White House Map Room, a historically important room but of less significance than the Oval Office, the president’s inner sanctum.
But the fact the meeting is taking place at all reflects U.S. concerns about a wide range of Chinese activities from human rights practices to territorial tensions in the East China Sea. Obama’s U.S. strategic pivot, or rebalancing, toward Asia is seen as a reaction to the growing clout of China.
This may be nitpicky but I’m sort of here for that. As the modern media wonks like to put it, the optics aren’t the greatest here. China’s human rights abuses have been a problem seemingly forever. Yes, it’s good that he’s getting around to at least some weak theater regarding them.
Sure, there were some comments and I get that the president has a schedule that is set way in advance but, for Heaven’s sake, the response to the Ukrainian and Venezuelan uprisings has been so tepid overall that Bob Menendez actually had to be the voice of reason.
An occasional adult presence would be nice.
I am sure it won’t come as a surprise to hear that in far too many states, implementation has been completely botched. Seven of ten teachers believe that implementation of the standards is going poorly in their schools. Worse yet, teachers report that there has been little to no attempt to allow educators to share what’s needed to get [Common Core State Standards] implementation right. In fact, two thirds of all teachers report that they have not even been asked how to implement these new standards in their classrooms.
That’s from a letter that President Dennis Van Roekel sent to the members of that National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers labor group.
As Lindsey Burke from Heritage notes:
This is what happens with one-size-fits-all bureaucratic initiatives.
In addition to the implementation of the standards being inefficiently handled, there is also the question of exactly what those standards are supposed to achieve.
Partisan ideology and ham-handed federal “efficiency”, coming soon to a first grade class near you!
Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says Republicans could be on the path to gaining the majority in the Senate in November, and he accuses the Koch brothers for heating up Senate races in key states.
“We’re faced with a grim reality that more money is being spent earlier in some of these hot races than we’ve ever seen,”
It’s precious that a senator from a state that hemorrhages Big Labor cash to Democrats complains about the amount of money being spent at any time. His Koch brothers statement seems to indicate that the MSM is giving talking points to Democrat politicians now and not vice-versa, as has historically been the case.
That should be the running “SQUIRREL!” to distract from the real reason Senate Democrats are vulnerable this year. It’s all about Obamacare, of course, but they’re going to run with this Koch nonsense. When they aren’t babbling about raising the minimum wage, that is.
I might consider donating to Republicans in these races if they agree to only talk about Obamacare.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a multibillion-dollar loan guarantee Wednesday for building nuclear reactors in Georgia, underscoring the White House’s plan for an “all of the above” energy strategy.
The two reactors will be the first built in this country in nearly three decades.
President Obama “sees nuclear energy as a part of his carbon-free portfolio” that also includes renewable energy sources, Moniz said during a speech at the National Press Club in Washington. “We are working across the board to push the technology forward into the marketplace for all of our energy sources.”
Moniz said he would finalize the loans on Thursday during a trip to Georgia.
The announcement brought quick criticism from some environmentalists.
While it is comforting to see U.S. energy policy being dragged into the late 20th century, this is the kind of thing that makes me wonder what kind of back room awfulness may have gone on to bring this about. Yes, there has been some lip service and this was promised back in 2010 but we know where this administration’s heart is when it comes to renewable energy. Thus far, that hasn’t been anything proven and profitable.
For now, let’s hope this isn’t a passing fancy.
This was happening while The Idiot King was talking about truck gas mileage in 2025, by the way.
A debate at Cal State L.A. over an ethnic studies requirement turned heated Tuesday as several students tried to shout down faculty members who responded by chanting “Let her speak, let her speak.”
Dozens of students crowded into a meeting of the Academic Senate, which was considering a motion that at least one of two required general education diversity classes be in Asian/Asian American studies, Chicano studies, Latin American studies or Pan-African studies, or in related courses in some other departments.
The 55-member senate had rejected a similar requirement last month but had been considering a new motion amid pleas by many students that mandated curriculum should include perspectives from all cultures.
Many ethnic studies instructors who support the requirement argue they have particular expertise in theories and instruction that can’t be replicated in other departments.
Opponents argued that although they valued the study of race and ethnicity, such studies should be integrated throughout the curriculum, allowing students a greater choice in classes.
The one scintilla of sanity in there is the news that some instructors would like students to have more choice. Look, if a student wants to take ethnic studies classes, let him/her. There is no sound educational reason for making them a requirement, however. It’s all just so much PC garbage.
Thankfully, the Los Angeles city council took time out from finding new ways to financially ruin the city and address this most important of issues.
Student and faculty supporters got a boost earlier in the day when the Los Angeles City Council approved by a vote of 14 to 0 a resolution supporting the ethnic studies requirement.
Councilman Gilbert Cedillo, who presented the resolution, said in an interview that greater education on race and ethnicity might help to ease conflict on wider issues facing the city.
“We live in one of the most diverse cities in the world, and people have to have sensitivity to each other and value each other; and ethnic studies contributes to that,” Cedillo said.
It’s true, this is an extremely diverse city. That point alone makes the requirement seem nonsensical. Cal State L.A. isn’t exactly known for its international student body; much of it is homegrown. If one grows up in this city and still lacks “sensitivity”, an Asian-American studies class isn’t going to bring about an epiphany.
Great story, especially with all of the violence in Kiev and Venezuela right now.
I was raised in Romania in the 1980s, under a Communist regime that, among countless repressions, reduced television to two hours a day of dull propaganda, traditional music, patriotic poems and censored films. One day when I was 6, my parents found a way to borrow a VCR. They invited their friends, and all night they watched grainy VHS tapes of Hollywood B-movies. I remember the films, but more so I remember how I felt when I stepped into the living room — like walking into a secret, magical and free world.
All the dialogue on these movies was dubbed into Romanian in a husky, high-pitched woman’s voice. Throughout my childhood, these films provided a glimpse into the forbidden West, resplendent with blue jeans, Coke and skyscrapers. As Hollywood movies became ubiquitous through the black market, this voice became one of the most recognizable in Romania. Yet no one knew who she was.
After the 1989 revolution I learned the true story, which I present here in this Op-Doc video. In 1985, Irina Margareta Nistor, a young translator at the national television station, met a mysterious entrepreneur. He was smuggling, copying and distributing movies on VHS tapes. This was the beginning of a working relationship that lasted more than a decade. In all, Ms. Nistor says she dubbed more than 3,000 different films. Thanks to her, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bruce Lee became popular heroes in Romania.
In a time when the Romanian state controlled every aspect of its citizens’ lives — including food, heat, transportation and information — people found a way to escape and resist the state’s far-reaching hand, through the power of movies.
There’s a more in-depth video at the link. All of it a good reminder of just how much we take for granted here.
The Department of Homeland Security wants a private company to provide a national license-plate tracking system that would give the agency access to vast amounts of information from commercial and law enforcement tag readers, according to a government proposal that does not specify what privacy safeguards would be put in place.
The national license-plate recognition database, which would draw data from readers that scan the tags of every vehicle crossing their paths, would help catch fugitive illegal immigrants, according to a DHS solicitation. But the database could easily contain more than 1 billion records and could be shared with other law enforcement agencies, raising concerns that the movements of ordinary citizens who are under no criminal suspicion could be scrutinized.
In this ever spiraling out of control world we live in we almost have to spend as much time keeping an eye on the good guys as we do the bad guys. Of the many liberty-choking ideas that have come about since the creation of this bureaucratic behemoth, this is easily in the Top Three worst. It is also the kind of thing the GOP could score points with a wide variety of people with if they vocally oppose this horrific idea.
Then again, it was big government Republicans who gave us DHS in the first place so…breath holding is not advised at this time.
OPEN THREAD: 10 Year Old Norwegian Kid Takes Parents’ Car, Gives Brilliant Excuse To Cops When Caught
Yeah, the kid needs a talking to but I want to hire him for something when he gets out of school.
Have a great weekend everyone!
(h/t Protein Wisdom)
The hits just keep on coming.
A new survey shows that 29% of U.S. adults under age 35 are living at home with their parents, while 51% of those between 18 and 23 are living at home.
In addition, 14% of Americans between the ages 24 and 34 — a time when most people are establishing their independence — are also still living at home with mom and dad.
The Gallup survey found that some of the most likely reasons for a person under 35 to still reside with his parents are being single, unemployed or underemployed, and not having graduated from college.
One of the questions I don’t hear asked about this situation is what the long term consequences on the parents will be? These can’t all be financially comfortable people. Many are most likely single parents. If this is just indicative of recent difficult economic times, it’s one thing. However, with no real end to this nightmare in sight (unless you’re still an Obama cheerleader and in The Land Of Make Believe) this can’t be a very tenable situation for many of these parents. And now we’re not even talking about the under 26 crowd but…UNDER 35?!?!?
There are many things happening here in the Hope and Change era that are becoming normal but shouldn’t be. This didn’t bother me as much at first but these occurrences seem to be taking on an avalanche quality now.
Americans are enthusiastic about the promise of science but lack basic knowledge of it, with one in four unaware that the Earth revolves around the Sun, said a poll out Friday.
The survey included more than 2,200 people in the United States and was conducted by the National Science Foundation.
Nine questions about physical and biological science were on the quiz, and the average score — 6.5 correct — was barely a passing grade.
Just 74 percent of respondents knew that the Earth revolved around the Sun, according to the results released at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.
It might not be a sign of the apocalypse…OK, it probably is.
The Internet is hard.
— Bill Murphy (@billmurphy) February 14, 2014
Punk Rock Icon Exene Cervenka: California Now ‘a Liberal Oppressive Police State’ of ‘Regulations and Taxes And Fees’
The other reason I’m moving, if the creek don’t rise, is that when I moved to California in 1976, Jerry Brown was governor. It was barefoot hippie girls, Hell’s Angels on the Sunset Strip, East L.A. lowriders, the ocean and nature. It was this fabulous incredible place about freedom. Now when I think about California, I think of a liberal oppressive police state and regulations and taxes and fees. I’d rather go someplace and have my own little place out on the edge of town. I’m a country girl at heart. It makes me happy when I see people in Texas open-carrying. It makes me feel safe. I’m not even a gun owner, but I’d like to see a gun rack in every pickup truck, like my boyfriend had when I was fifteen years old in Florida. An armed society is a polite society.
Cervenka’s old X guitarist Billy Zoom has been vocal about his conservatism for some time now (I once did an episode of Red Eye with him); maybe he has been rubbing off on her.
She quite simply and eloquently makes the point about how progressive policy is antithetical to the freedom-loving spirit that most creatives purport to be the ideal.
Hyper-regulated and hyper-taxed people aren’t really free. It is a rather succinct message that is easy to back up.
We should get on that soon.
Retail Reporter Shocked to Learn That Wal-Mart Is Significantly Cheaper Than Large Drug Store Chains
Walgreens and CVS charge roughly 40% more than Wal-Mart for the same basket of goods, according to a new report.
Sterne Agee analysts purchased 33 identical items at five retailers to compare prices for the report. Retailers included Wal-Mart, Dollar General, Family Dollar, CVS and Walgreens.
Given the low-price guarantees of the discount retailers included in the study, the analysts expected to find higher prices at the drug store chains.
But they weren’t expecting their mark-ups to be so extreme.
The baskets cost $95.42 at Wal-Mart. They were $40.96 more expensive at Walgreens and $36.83 more expensive at CVS.
This is what happens to “journalists” who gain the majority of their experience deep inside the DC/Manhattan media bubble-they’re taken aback realities for regular Americans that don’t fit their preconceived notions. Grab any twelve year old off the street in Middle America and ask him which store is a lot cheaper and nine out of ten of them will answer “Wal-Mart”.
The other one will kick you in the groin and run, because that’s what he was taught to do if a stranger grabbed him off the street.
Bill de Blasio’s education commie let this one slip when asked why they’re keeping schools open during the heavy winter storms. The last sentence of the paragraph is the money line (emphasis mine):
“If people can go to work, then kids can go to school,” she said. “Many of our kids don’t get a hot lunch and, in many cases breakfast, unless they go to school. So it’s still a parent’s decision whether they send their kids to school or not. My decision is where the kids are safest and the most taken care of, and the answer to that is in schools.”
There you have it. In the mind of a nanny state progressive, your kids are safer and better taken care of when they are in school. She didn’t qualify this statement much, and that’s because her ilk believe this to be the case for all children.
(I cover this both humorously and seriously in my ebook “Don’t Let The Hippies Shower”. It’s only $3.99 at Amazon and you don’t have to have a Kindle to read it. Just download one of the Kindle readers that are free for various platforms. Book plug over. Hey, it’s only the second one I’ve done here!)
This is why de Blasio and his wife won’t shut the hell up about taxing the hell out of hard working people to pay for pre-K for everyone. They want to remove you from the equation as much as possible when it comes to your kids because they need the time for indoctrination.
The progressives have been creeping up on many fronts for decades now. They are almost in a position for full-on assaults on all of them and we cannot underestimate what they are capable of.
Ralph Waite, a hard-working actor best known for his role as the father on CBS’ hit drama “The Waltons” during the 1970s but more recently seen in recurring roles on “NCIS” and “Days of Our Lives,” has died. He was 85.
Waite was nominated for two Emmys, one for his role as John Walton Sr. on “The Waltons” in 1978 and another for his role in the miniseries “Roots” the previous year.
The actor appeared on “The Waltons” during its entire run from 1972-81 as well as in a number of “Waltons” telepics that followed. He also directed 16 episodes of the series.
Waite also appeared in a number of feature films, including classics “Cool Hand Luke” in 1967 and “Five Easy Pieces” in 1970, as well as several in the early 1970s including “Chato’s Land,” “The Magnificent Seven Ride!” and “The Stone Killer” before settling in with “The Waltons.” More recently he appeared in Kevin Costner-Whitney Houston vehicle “The Bodyguard” in 1992, Sylvester Stallone vehicle “Cliffhanger” in 1993, “Sioux City” in 1994 and John Sayles’ “Sunshine State” in 2002 and “Silver City” in 2004.
I really didn’t watch a lot of television when I was a kid but this was one of the few shows I would see regularly. There’s an almost 1950s sort of innocence to it even though it was a hit two decades after that.
Rachel Maddow kicked off her show Wednesday evening with what seemed like a repudiation to what was said on her own network several hours earlier.
“It has been a big day today in the biggest political story in the country this year, and we’re going to be reporting that out tonight,” Maddow told viewers, previewing her program’s coverage of the George Washington Bridge scandal.
Maddow’s description of the scandal that’s been swirling around New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) contrasted sharply with how the day began on MSNBC.
On Wednesday’s edition of “Morning Joe,” former George W. Bush aide Nicolle Wallace criticized MSNBC for “covering every teeny, minuscule, breaking non-news event” related to the politically motivated lane closures on the bridge. When NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd refused to praise Christie’s performance at an event in Chicago, Wallace went off.
“Rachel’s not on ’till 9,” Wallace said mockingly to Todd.
Maddow devoted part of her broadcast Wednesday to defending MSNBC’s coverage of the scandal against criticism from New Jersey Republicans, whose attacks levied at the cable news channel sounded pretty similar to Wallace’s own critique.
“To all of the hundreds of thousands of people who were hurt here on purpose, the New Jersey Republican Party would like you to know that the real outrage here is that this tv network is reporting on what happened and trying to figure out the answers that the Christie administration still won’t provide,” Maddow said.
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS! Well, MILLIONS are getting screwed by the rollout of Obamacare, and that number is growing every day. Seriously, MSNBC hosts are contorting themselves so much to avoid talking about the nightmare that is Obamacare they’ll need a chiropractor in attendance at all times. And they will probably have to pay out of pocket for him after losing insurance coverage.
In other news, this marks the first time in almost a decade that Nicolle Wallace hasn’t been completely useless.
Paula Deen has been given the chance at a comeback after a private investment firm has awarded her up to $100million that will include a contract to sell her goods in Skymall magazines.
The disgraced celebrity chef announced that she has moved all of her business project under the purview of one parent company, and that company has just found a major investor.
The new company, called Paula Deen Ventures, announced Wednesday that private-equity firm Najafi Companies is investing
$75million to $100million to help Deen make a comeback.
Deen’s punishment far exceeded her decades-old “crime” and she did seem genuinely remorseful. This is probably a wise investment, as her fans who thought she was railroaded by the Food Network will more than likely line up to purchase her products.
At least two people have been shot dead during a student demonstration in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.
A pro-government activist and at least one student were killed in a shootout, officials said.
At least 23 people are said to have been injured in demonstrations across the country.
President Nicolas Maduro is facing rising criticism for the country’s economic woes and high levels of violence.
Someone might want to get on the phone to The Idiot King and explain to him that this is usually how these heavy-handed redistributionist fantasies end. Oil rich, but toilet paper poor, the state controlled media runs ad denouncing capitalism.
Sort of like MSNBC.
Masked protesters carrying torches and threatening organized violence protested outside the home of an executive at a major oil pipeline company last week.
Eight environmental activists gathered on the lawn of Mark Maki, a member of the Enbridge Energy Company’s board of directors and president of Enbridge Energy Management, to protest the arrests of three anti-pipeline activists last year.
The protesters, who brandished torches for a photo posted online, held a sign warning, “solidarity means attack” and “we will shut you down.”
Maki stepped out of his Houston, Texas, home to talk with the protesters, though he said he was not familiar with their grievances.
The eco-freaks feel morally justified in being violent to make a point. They are no different than the radical Islamists in that regard. Soon, they will all probably be just as violent too.
Most of them aren’t even clear about what they’re protesting. They’re a rabid pack of dogs trained to growl at the words “oil” or “fracking”.
Pity that the executive opted to chat them up rather than have them arrested.
You’ve probably never seen a biker gang quite like this. In photographer Hassan Hajjaj’s latest series, “Kesh Angels,” the lady motorcyclists of Marrakesh, Morocco wear polka-dot abaya and Nike-branded djellaba, posing on their bikes against brightly-painted walls. The juxtaposition of traditional Islamic dress with biker-tough posturing and Western branding upends stereotypes of Muslim women as anti-modern and ultra-conservative. They have a superhero quality on these motorcycles, mugging and posing like urban Power Rangers.
Two U.S. lawmakers on Monday rejected the National Football League’s claim that the Washington Redskins name was an honor to Native Americans and urged the sports league to recognize it as a racial slur and back changing the name.
In a letter to the National Football League, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state, and Republican U.S. Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma criticized the league for defending the name.
“The terminology used by the Washington football team has been determined to be a slur,” the lawmakers said.
Thank you, Word Police. This jihad being waged against the Redskins owner, fans and the NFL in the name of political correctness is wearisome. This is the kind of crap people to do feel good about themselves in lieu of getting off of their you-know-whats and actually doing something helpful.
These wars against select words and phrases will also eventually be the death of free speech in this country.
Forget all of that though, the fact that two members of Congress wasted any time to address this is laughable. This country is careening towards any number of precipices, none of which can be avoided by making sure we work on language sensitivity.
A good sign is that Assembly leaders now say they will take on the massive shortfall in the State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) that provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits for California’s 868,493 teachers and their families. Speaker John Perez says he wants to find a way to begin paying down the $80 billion unfunded liability for teacher pensions and the Assembly will hold hearing on the issue this month.
While CalPERS, the other major public employee pension system, is in a weak position, CalSTRS is close to falling into the abyss. However, neither of the systems is likely to ever go over the edge because taxpayers are obligated to maintain their solvency, no matter the cost. This means the sooner the unfunded liability is addressed, the less long-term cost to taxpayers.
Unfortunately, until now, Sacramento’s approach to these unfunded liabilities is probably why the phrase “kicking the can down the road” was coined. Even Governor Brown, who has espoused government frugality and responsibility — while increasing state spending — ignored the unfunded pension systems in his proposed state budget.
In fairness to Brown, two years ago, he proposed a fairly decent pension reform package. But by the time the Legislature got through with the governor’s plan, all that remained was some modest changes to address the worst of pension abuses including a few to prevent “pension spiking.”
As we all know, unfunded pension liabilities are the bane of every liberal-dominated state’s economic existence. It is an issue that has gotten some lip service in recent years where it is a problem but not a lot of action. It is also an issue that will eventually cripple the states plagued by it. A state can guarantee defined benefits and obligate the taxpayers to fund them but it can’t guarantee that there will be taxpayers.
It is with very cautious optimism that those of us who have been screaming for reform until we’ve got no scream left are receiving this news.
Like alcoholics attending their first AA meeting, Speaker Perez and his colleagues deserve credit for taking the first step by acknowledging the problem and making a commitment to address it. Of course the Speaker may have been nudged along after seeing poll results, including one by PPIC that shows that over 80 percent of adults believe that the money spent on pensions is a problem for state and local government budgets. The poll further reveals that more than 70 percent would favor a change from a defined benefit – a guaranteed monthly payout at retirement — to a defined contribution system, similar to a 401(k) plan.
Baby steps, for now. There is still a window of opportunity to fix this. They won’t be enough in another decade.
I’m seeing a lot of wrangling over the recent (15+ year) pause in global average warming…when did it start, is it a full pause, shouldn’t we be taking the longer view, etc.
These are all interesting exercises, but they miss the most important point: the climate models that governments base policy decisions on have failed miserably.
I’ve updated our comparison of 90 climate models versus observations for global average surface temperatures through 2013, and we still see that >95% of the models have over-forecast the warming trend since 1979, whether we use their own surface temperature dataset (HadCRUT4), or our satellite dataset of lower tropospheric temperatures (UAH)
This is obviously the work of some Right Wing Nutjob fringe conspiracy site, right, lefties? Oh wait…he’s a former NASA climatologist. And he is not the only prominent one who dares to speak the obvious.
When one argues with a devout member of the Climate Change Church, one hears about “SCIENCE!” ad nauseam. While computer modeling does play an important role, it isn’t “settled”, as a droning former vice-president is fond of saying. They’re speculative and, in this case, overwhelmingly wrong.
Unfortunately, the grant money is still going to the people who want to dislocate their shoulders trying to fit the square peg into the round hole so we’ll be hearing the “Settled!” chorus for quite some time to come.
Does your Obama sticker make you feel stupid yet? Lol pic.twitter.com/Lm1THr2hyr
— randy (@_MNmisfit) February 7, 2014
The U.S. Defense Department plans to ask Congress for $4.5 billion in extra missile defense funding over the next five years as part of the fiscal 2015 budget request, say congressional sources and an expert.
Nearly $1 billion of that sum will pay for a new homeland defense radar to be placed in Alaska, with an additional $560 million to fund work on a new interceptor after several failed flight tests, said Riki Ellison, founder of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, and two of the congressional sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.
The Pentagon’s request for added funding comes despite continued pressure on military spending and cuts in other arms programs, a sign of Washington’s growing concern about missile development efforts by North Korea and Iran, the sources said.
Wait, is this administration allowed to acknowledge that NoKo and the Iranians are kind of creepy?
Philip Klein expresses it perfectly over at the Washington Examiner:
In short, the CBO is portraying a future in which a smaller proportion of workers in a relatively weaker economy will be expected to subsidize an increasing number of government beneficiaries. And Obamacare is making matters even worse.
With one hand, according to the CBO, Obamacare will spend $2 trillion over the next decade on expanding Medicaid and subsidizing individuals to purchase health insurance. With the other hand, its subsidies will discourage the economic equivalent of 2.5 million individuals from working.
The rational response to the CBO report would be to look for policies that encourage workforce participation and decrease government obligations. Instead, Obamacare does the exact opposite.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when it could reasonably be expected that the emotional spin the Democrats in charge peddled to their constituents was understood to be just that. In other words, they had to give the masses something to soothe and/or deflect to make them feel better, especially if there were things like scary math and economics to deal with. But the elites knew better.
The problem with Team Lightbringer is that they have spent so much time bathing in the warm waters of the sycophant pool that they have begun to believe their own spin. This is a highly functional political machine that is fueled by nothing but emotion. This is scary enough when it’s a ploy;when it becomes the sole basis for policy, it will inevitably be catastrophic.
Because math isn’t swayed by emotion.
I had the pleasure of meeting this gentleman while shooting an episode of Tony Katz Tonight last fall. It is easy to see that the CNN talking points barker would prefer to try and turn the Rosa Parks tweet into a full-on endorsement of the Klan and nothing else. Phillips remains calm (he’s a better man than I) and continues to dismiss the nonsense.
The always clueless International Olympic Committee decided to award this year’s Winter Olympics to a barely above Third World toilet of a city instead of Salzburg, Austria. Thus far, it seems like an epic fail. A new Twitter account called “Sochi Problems” popped up to chronicle all of the fun journalists are encountering as they arrive. Here is a sampling.
— Sochi Problems (@SochiProblems) February 5, 2014
— Sochi Problems (@SochiProblems) February 4, 2014
— Sochi Problems (@SochiProblems) February 4, 2014
— Sochi Problems (@SochiProblems) February 6, 2014
“Doctor, it hurts when I do this.”
Residents of bankrupt San Bernardino, California on Tuesday voted to complete a rout of the city’s pro-union old guard, electing business-friendly pragmatists who have pledged to try to reduce pension costs and take on vested interests.
As San Bernardino enters into a fourth month of mediation with its creditors, the biggest of which is Calpers, California’s giant retirement system, voters on Tuesday elected Carey Davis as the crisis-hit city’s new mayor.
Davis, a businessman and political novice, ran in part on a campaign to reduce the city’s pension obligations.
When Big Labor is strangling the economy (at any level), electing officials who are in the pocket of the unions just tightens the grip on the throat. Seems simple enough to understand, doesn’t it?
Sad, voters in Detroit couldn’t make the connection. Perhaps the voters of California will before the unions achieve what once seemed utterly impossible: completely destroying California’s economy.
More than half of the municipal and county elected office-holders in the state are Republican, so there is at least a bench from which to draw. The California GOP (don’t get me started) needs to become semi-functional and figure out a way to get these people to the next level.