Undisputed Champ

New research proves it.  The revered Chairman Mao is the undisputed champ.

45 million in 4 years.

Next time you see some idiot wearing a Mao T-shirt, congratulate them for their superior intellect in wearing apparel emblazoned with a pic of the “greatest of all time”.

— uo

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Published in: on September 21, 2010 at 9:14 pm  Comments (1)  

GM: “Repayment of the Bailout, which we paid back in full, could take years”

What the hell does that mean?

In April, GM famously declared that they had paid back the bailout “in full”.  Here’s the lead paragraph that the GM CEO Big Ed Whitacre wrote in his own words:

Today, General Motors is announcing that it has made a payment of $5.8 billion to the U.S. Treasury and Export Development Canada. We’re paying back—in full, with interest, years ahead of schedule—loans made to help fund the new GM.

Good for them … or perhaps not.  Lots of people smelled a rat, and they were right.  Because it seems as if Ed left out a few important facts when he said “in full” just before he retired.  Here’s what GM said today:

It will take a couple of years for taxpayers to get back the billions they spent bailing out General Motors, but the company has a goal of returning the money, GM’s new CEO said Thursday.  CEO Daniel Akerson told reporters that the government won’t be repaid with the company’s initial public stock offering, which could happen later this year…”

It’s blatant lies about all the bailouts and the stimulus like this gem Whitacre blared in April that fuels movements like the tea party.

— uo

Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

How To Fire A Public Sector Employee

Teachers union official advocates praying for the death of NJ Governor.

No problem … Just a joke … move along.

NY Public Transit worker burns Koran as a form of protest.

YOU’RE FIRED.

— uo

Published in: on September 15, 2010 at 9:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Star Trek Unleashed

Yesterday it was this:  Scientists Invent a Tractor Beam.

Today, it’s phasers: Scientists examine possibility of a phonon laser, or ‘phaser’

I have officially been set to “stunned”.

— uo

Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 9:02 am  Leave a Comment  

IRONIC: Jesse Jackson’s Gas-Guzzling Cadillac Escalade SUV was hijacked and stripped while he was in Detroit promoting green jobs

Hypocrite!

— uo

Published in: on September 4, 2010 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Proof That Economists Are Well-Educated Idiots

From Business Insider:

As she prepares to leave The White House, outgoing economic advisor Christina Romer has delivered something of a valedictory speech to the National Press Club. The title: Not My Father’s Recession.

For Romer, her Father’s recession was the one in the early 80s, when unemployment surged above 10%, and Romer’s own father got laid off.

BI then quotes from Romer’s speech.  Don’t bother reading it, unless you feel you must, because it’s a lot of “it’s all somebody else’s fault because we didn’t know how bad things were” blame-shifting and excuse-making.

In a report that Jared Bernstein and I issued during the transition, we estimated that by the end of 2010, a stimulus package like the Recovery Act would raise real GDP by about 3 1⁄2 percent and employment by about 31⁄2 million jobs, relative to what otherwise would have occurred. As the Council of Economic Advisers has documented in a series of reports to Congress, there is widespread agreement that the Act is broadly on track to meet these milestones….

What the Act hasn’t done is prevent unemployment from going above 8 percent, something else that Jared and I projected it would do. The reason that prediction was so far off is implicit in much of what I have been saying this afternoon. An estimate of what the economy will look like if a policy is adopted contains two components: a forecast of what would happen in the absence of the policy, and an estimate of the effect of the policy. As I’ve described, our estimates of the impact of the Recovery Act have proven quite accurate. But we, like virtually every other forecaster, failed to anticipate just how violent the recession would be in the absence of policy, and the degree to which the usual relationship between GDP and unemployment would break down.

Every other forecaster failed to anticipate how violent the recession would be?  Are you kidding me?  Is she really that dim?  First off, her claims that the Act raised real GDP by about 3 1⁄2 percent and employment by about 31⁄2 million jobs, relative to what otherwise would have occurred, is unknowable, immeasurable and just as accurate as me claiming that my all powerful mind can create stars from nothing at the edge of the universe.  The proof of my claim will arrive when light from that star gets to Earth … in about 13 billion years!  The proof of her claims are just as illusory.

More illustrative is the claim that she didn’t know how violent the recession would be … that she thought this recession was just like the one that caused her dad to lose his job 30 years ago.
Are you kidding me?  Let’s look at what transpired before the President and his economic team took office:
  • Bear Stearns gone, Lehman gone, Wachovia gone, Merrill gone, WaMu gone.  Goldman, MS and the Hartford and other brokers and insurance companies converting to banks to get under the FDIC umbrella.  Yet Romer thought this was like the 1980s.
  • The implosion of the Reserve Primary fund and the half a trillion dollar “run” on the money market system.  The collapse of the commercial paper market, and money market funds on life support, surviving only because of federal guarantees, and she thought this was just your typical, garden variety economic slowdown.
  • With foreign financial firms like RBC, SoGen, ING and banks across the planet in the toilet, Christina Romer thought this was just like the inflation-busting recession “Tall Paul” gave us.
But hey, now … NOW she finally realizes the scope of the problem! Are you f-ing kidding me?  These people make idiots appear smart!

I’ll never stop believing this one fact. Economists in general, and especially the economists in the Obama administration think they are smarter than everybody else. But they’re not. They may be better educated. But good grades do not equate to intelligence.

— uo
Published in: on September 4, 2010 at 10:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Brilliant: Ranking Teachers Accurately

If you don’t read this article, I’m coming after you!

What constitutes a good teacher?  The folks at the LA Times — that’s right, the liberal media right in the middle of the most liberal area of the U.S. — decided to take a statistical approach to evaluating teachers in the LA Unified School District.  That this story got published in the first place would be a major milestone in and of itself.  But that doesn’t compare to the findings.

Measuring teacher effectiveness would seem to be a very difficult task because there are so many uncontrollable variables, such as culture and income.  But the LA Times took a unique approach that, instead of looking at the average test score for a class, looked at the change in test scores for each individual student year over year, and then associated those changes in test scores with the teacher the student had that year.  I’ll let the Times explain:

The Times used a statistical approach known as value-added analysis, which rates teachers based on their students’ progress on standardized tests from year to year. Each student’s performance is compared with his or her own in past years, which largely controls for outside influences often blamed for academic failure: poverty, prior learning and other factors.

That, dear readers, is what’s known as “brilliant”.  Finding a relatively easy way to get good information.  Now to the good part, the findings:

• Highly effective teachers routinely propel students from below grade level to advanced in a single year. There is a substantial gap at year’s end between students whose teachers were in the top 10% in effectiveness and the bottom 10%. The fortunate students ranked 17 percentile points higher in English and 25 points higher in math.

Some students landed in the classrooms of the poorest-performing instructors year after year — a potentially devastating setback that the district could have avoided. Over the period analyzed, more than 8,000 students got such a math or English teacher at least twice in a row.

• Contrary to popular belief, the best teachers were not concentrated in schools in the most affluent neighborhoods, nor were the weakest instructors bunched in poor areas. Rather, these teachers were scattered throughout the district. The quality of instruction typically varied far more within a school than between schools.

Although many parents fixate on picking the right school for their child, it matters far more which teacher the child gets. Teachers had three times as much influence on students’ academic development as the school they attend. Yet parents have no access to objective information about individual instructors, and they often have little say in which teacher their child gets.

• Many of the factors commonly assumed to be important to teachers’ effectiveness were not. Although teachers are paid more for experience, education and training, none of this had much bearing on whether they improved their students’ performance.

If this is accurate, and I think it probably is, it could turn the education business on its head.  That’s because it is so contrary to popular beliefs.  For instance, there is almost always a heavy focus on class size.  But class size doesn’t seem to be a factor here.

If you have kids in school, think about it.  There is always one teacher … one very special teacher … that gets more out of your child than anyone before or after.  The value-added method helps identify a way to measure what has been thus far immeasurable: finding those outstanding teachers in a school district as large as LA.

Naturally, the teacher union is calling for a boycott of the LA Times.  Figures.  Kill the messenger, right!

— uo

Published in: on September 4, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment