R or D?

I don’t mean Republican or Democrat. I mean Recession or Depression.

The bad economic news just keeps coming. The recession that ought to be winding down seems to be winding up. Today there was more bad news that drove the Dow below 10,000 for a time.

Durable goods dropped, excluding aircraft.  New home sales fell 12.4% in July, following yesterday’s report that sales of previously occupied housing fell 27% – a low not seen since the Johnson administration.  Last week the weekly jobless claims hit 500,000; we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Obama’s Homeowner Assistance program is failing, with half of the participants not able to make their house notes.

Summer of Recovery?

Maybe for Barack Obama’s golf game.

If you want to dip into the gloom, take a look at www.zerohedge.com. The writer Tyler Durden  has such titles as “JPM ‘Disastrous’ Durable Goods Number Sets Stage for sub 1% Q3 GDP,” “We’re All in a Race to the Bottom,” “Stock Market’s Slow, Painful Death Rattle.” At www.spectator.org James Gannon writes “Fed to Savers: Drop Dead,’ with Ross Kaminsky saying “Housing Stops.”

No one knows what is coming next. Tax hikes? Inflation? Deflation? Higher unemployment?

The only answer may lie in the question, R or D. Republican instead of Democrat control of Congress may just stop the slide.

‘Taj Mahal’ school amid layoffs (Video)

It has a ten acre park surrounding it and an Olympic quality swimming pool. You can eat in a dining room dubbed “better than most restaurants” or at a fast food court. Fine art murals hang on the walls with a glass and metal exterior of the finest quality. The auditorium is suitable for the Oscars presentations and was modeled after the famous Coconut Grove nightclub. If you prefer, you can go to the dance studio with its cushioned maple floors for instruction.

Lavish getaway hotel? Expensive spa?

Guess again. It’s the new public school in Los Angeles that cost $578 million dollars in a state that’s more or less bankrupt. L.A. residents … worldwide … are beginning to feel the pinch.

They call it the Taj Mahal and at that cost it could be. The kindergarten through 12th grade complex is named after Robert F. Kennedy and will open next month. Enrollment is 4,200 students and costs per student for its construction have been about $135,000 with an enormous overall cost of $250,000 per student.  It cost more than China’s Olympic stadium and more than Denver’s Invesco field.

This after the LA district laid off 3,000 teachers and in an area that has a dropout rate of 35% according to the AP and ABC News.

The money was obtained through voter approved bonds. But one wonders if taxpayers across the country will be bailing them out.  We probably already are. The recently passed $10 billion Edujobs bill that was passed allocates $1 billion for the LA school district as reported by The Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

We’ve come a long way from the one room schoolhouse. Years ago a co-worker told me of his experiences growing up in Alabama and attending a one room classroom. Somehow, even with teenagers mingling with the elementary aged children, and nothing but desks and hand me down textbooks, pupils managed to get a grasp of the basics that many probably do not have in our public schools today. He went on to become a millionaire and an informed citizen up into his 80s.

Home schoolers seem to do OK, also. The estimated $500 cost per pupil  home schooling entails lands those students higher test scores on things like the ACT than our money draining public schools can produce.

And how will the maintenance costs, benefits for employees and possible illegal immigrant school population keep costs down? As one writer put it, “Give me a state of the art teacher over a state of the art building any day.”

If you build a great, expensive school  they will come. But will they learn?

Republicans Fire First Shot in 2010 Campaign

This morning House Minority Leader John Boehner launched the opening attack of the 2010 election season.

The Republican from Ohio made a speech in which he asked for the resignation of the entire Obama economic team, including Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and White House economic advisor Larry Summers.

Boehner said what we all know; that the stimulus plan has been a failure and the economy is heading downwards.

The election is in ten weeks. Glad to see the Republicans on the offense.

You and the Electronic Precinct

2010 Take Back America“Politics is no longer a spectator sport.”

That’s the message for all of us who care about the country from Dick Morris and Eileen McGann in their new book,  “2010 Take Back America.”

“Those in the grandstands must leave their seats and come down on the playing field to help their side score,” they write.

“The Internet has made each of us the center of our own political campaign. We ARE the campaign. The days when the candidate and a small group of professionals ran things – and the rest of us chipped in money, showed up at rallies, and voted – are over. Now each of us must conduct our own campaign within our own circle of acquaintances, until the circle spreads to include thousands of voters.

“Too many of us still labor under the illusion that politics is a top-down game, driven by the manager and candidate whose initiatives filter down to the lowly campaign workers – the foot soldiers on the ground. We wait for our phones to ring or emails to arrive telling us what to do to help win the election.”

Why this is so is because “political advertising, like all advertising, is losing its effectiveness – for two key reasons.”

Number one is because the internet is replacing television. You can’t reach a great number of people at one time anymore, they argue, since you can access hundreds of channels, tape them, watch when you want and zip out the ads.

But, more importantly, they say is the second reason. “The conventional top-down media driven political campaign isn’t working anymore because we don’t believe what we hear from strangers.” Doubt it? Just think of Rathergate. Bloggers and other Americans suspected the letters about Bush getting  a pass on serving  in Vietnam were false documents and revealed them for the frauds they were.

It follows, then, that “the more we disbelieve those we don’t know, the more we DO believe and rely upon those we do know,” they claim.

And that’s where we come in.

“If you want to make a difference in 2010, now’s the time to start reaching out to all those people to spread the word. They are your constituents – your electronic precinct.” No longer are wards and precincts geographical areas to be canvassed, the electronic precinct consists of people you know: colleagues, neighbors, friends, family, acquaintances.

“Make a list of your ‘constituents’ and go talk to each of them by email, by Twitter, by YouTube, by Facebook, even by phone,” they suggest. “Remember to think of yourself as a publisher,” they say and send them articles, information on a good candidate, notice of meetings, shows to watch, etc.

“But canvassing your own electronic precinct is only part of your assignment. You must also get your friends to join you as precinct captains, bringing their own list of friends, family, colleagues and associates.

“One pebble cast into the water will generate its share of ripples. But only when many are thrown at once can  we build a wave.”

Let’s hope we build a tidal wave.

The geography of recession (Video)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 31 million people unemployed as of 8/5/2010 — that includes those involuntarily working part time and those who want a job, but have given up trying to find one. In the face of the worst economic upheaval since the Great Depression, millions of Americans are hurting. “The Decline: The Geography of a Recession,” as created by labor writer LaToya Egwuekwe, serves as a vivid representation of just how much. Watch the deteriorating transformation of the U.S. economy from January 2007 — approximately one year before the start of the recession — to the most recent unemployment data available.

The darker the color, the more unemployment there is in the mapped area. Bright red is the dividing line between less than 6 percent and more than 6 percent unemployed. The darkest color indicates greater than 10 percent unemployment.

Vote or Else!

Australians voted this weekend and it looks like it was such a tight race between the Liberal party (really their conservatives) and the ruling Labour party that it will take days to determine the final vote.

Most Americans, including me, do not know that voting is compulsory in Australia and has been since 1924. Can you imagine the difficulties that would cause here? Seems it would make fraud much easier and lead to an uninformed electorate whimsically determining the course of the nation. More details: here.

Zero for O’s Week

“Obama’s political career on life support” is how Clarice Feldman at http://www.americanthinker.com describes last week. Read “Clarice’s Pieces: Looking for Love in all the Wrong places” there for the best wrap up of all the connections and twists in the Ground Zero Mosque topic. She knits it all brilliantly and provides all the key issues in any discussion of Barack Obama and Ground Zero.

Hard to understand how New Yorkers have let 9 years slip by with the gaping hole still there. Sometimes it seems that we in the middle of the country get it much more than they do. That the Towers have not been rebuilt, or a new complex built there, screams American weakness and lack of resolve. You’d think passing by it daily would be an irritant for them, but apparently not.
More, also, in the article about Obama’s fall from grace.

Looking Towards November

Midtown Republicans
Clay Shelton talks with other Midtown Republicans Susan Ogle, left, and Cile Brooks.

Yesterday’s Lunch Hour Republican Club had it’s monthly meeting at Salsa and Midtowners were out in force. Five from our club were present, including our own Clay Shelton, who was the guest speaker.

Clay is running for the state House seat in District 89. He faces Jeanne Richardson, the incumbent. “The seat has been in Democrat hands for 35 years,” Clay said. “But now it’s competitive.” The district went for Luttrell in the August election, which is indicative of its ripeness for a Republican takeover.

“Why am I running against her?” Shelton asked. “I call her the Tennessee Pelosi because she has tried three times to get a state income tax passed. She has pushed for medical marijuana. She is out of touch but has been untouched so far because she hasn’t had an opponent.”

Shelton stressed that the makeup of the Tennessee House is important because the party in control will determine the redistricting and that will affect the next decade. “The state went for Bush twice and for McCain, however we have had more Democrat representatives and they gerrymander their districts to keep getting elected.” Shelton sees a historic opportunity for the party which until now had not been in control of the legislature since Reconstruction.

Clay also has called for Republicans to have a long range plan for the city and state as well as the nation.
“Democrats had a long range plan that included Hollywood, teachers and African Americans. We need to focus on young people and we can do that by focusing on the issues important to them that are also what we stand for: fewer taxes and more jobs.

“We need to publicly reach out to disaffected voters and we need to compete in every race every time.”

Clay will be needing help with funding and calling. A money-bomb is in the works to help him and Callfire will be used to reach his future constituents.

His website on facebook is Elect Clay Shelton so go take a look and give him a hand. He has a very good chance of winning.