Daily Archives: February 23, 2013

Sequestration couldn’t come at a better time

A couple more weeks of this and we'll be back in business, Jim

A couple more weeks of this and we’ll be back in business, Barry.

$37 billion being spent on LCSs – “Little Crappy Ships”, because Congress and some very large corporations “want to build them, damn it (!)

The 2010 decision guaranteed jobs in shipyards building the two designs and ensured political support from the communities and defense contractors that benefit. It also has added at least $400 million in taxpayer costs to support and maintain dual sets of ships over their lifespan, according to the Navy’s estimate.

As the Pentagon faces $500 billion in spending cuts over a decade that are set to begin March 1, the $37 billion program to design and build Littoral Combat Ships may become a target for reductions that would take business from Lockheed and Austal.

“The ships are costing too much,” Norman Polmar, a naval analyst and author, said in an interview. “The support costs are ridiculous with two different designs.”

The Littoral Combat Ship — derided by critics inside the Navy as the “Little Crappy Ship” — reflects the enduring influence of the “military-industrial complex” that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in his 1961 farewell address. It is an example of a troubled project that has sailed on with the support of a military seeking the most advanced war- fighting equipment possible, companies eager to build it and politicians hungry for the jobs created.

That’s not enough for you? Then consider the F-35 fighter jet which, by Lockheed’s spreading manufacturing around 45 states (and nine countries) has become “too big to kill” despite being seven years behind schedule seventy-percent over cost and plagued with cracks, bad engines and performance failures. $400 billion and still climbing.

What else is out there that shouldn’t be? Let’s turn our attention to Obama’s plan for universal nursery school – it won’t work, it’s never worked, according to this expert: 

So what should we make of all this? The take-away from the story of early childhood education is that the very best programs probably do a modest amount of good in the long run, while the early education program that can feasibly be deployed on a national scale, Head Start, has never proved long-term results in half a century of existence. In the most rigorous evaluation ever conducted, Head Start doesn’t show results that persist even until the third grade.

Let me rephrase this more starkly: As of 2013, no one knows how to use government programs to provide large numbers of small children who are not flourishing with what they need. It’s not a matter of money. We just don’t know how.

So when Obama says, as he did just last week, “Study after study shows that the earlier a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on — boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, reducing violent crime.”, he’s just flat-out lying to us. Nothing new for a politician, but if by some miracle Congress really does cut $53 billion from our spending this year and Obama Child Care doesn’t get out of the nursery, we’ll have lost nothing – certainly not the made-up “$7” future savings on our “investment”.

The point of this exercise is to point out that no one in Washington really wants to cut spending – if they did, they’d be tackling stuff like this, instead of whipping up fear and disrupting the country by laying off food inspectors. And when the country cries, “enough”, they’ll back off, restore all the school crossing guards and keep right on spending.


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Cognitive dissonance

Americans speak frugality with their lips but want more spending in their hearts. Poll after poll keeps showing the same thing: when it comes to actually receiving less from their beneficent government , Americans of both parties won’t have it. Of course, they will have it, when the money runs out in the long run, but in the long run we’ll all be dead, and it’s our kids who’ll be left with the tab. Lucky them.


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Flu vaccine for old folks: might as well go homeopathic, for all the good it will do

Beat the reaper

Beat the reaper!

This year’s batch didn’t work: only 9% of recipients were protected, and why not?

…[S]eniors are typically a tricky group to protect from any illness.

“Almost all vaccines are not as effective in older people,” Saul said.

Of course, once tasked with a job, bureaucrats are relentless in the face of futility.

“But the CDC report shouldn’t dissuade anyone from being vaccinated, said Dr. Zane Saul, chief of infectious diseases at Bridgeport Hospital. He said even in cases where the vaccine didn’t prevent someone from getting flu, it still might have made a difference. “You have to ask, what did (the vaccine) do?” Saul said. “Did it stop these people from dying? Did they get a milder case of flu than they might have gotten without it?”

Someone’s protecting  his  job.


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I don’t have the answer, but here’s the question

From Madoffwatch London:

Dear Christopher Fountain,

Every now and again you post a little something about these appalling villains who continue to escape any kind of scrutiny by the mainstream US media, despite, as far as I am aware, not having faked their own deaths (like Jeffry Picower.)

How do they manage it?  Is nobody interested any more? In the fall of last year I noticed that there had been a derisory “settlement” of $84 million or so …..in respect of the $7 billion or so ….of their investors’ funds that they had egregiously pissed away in the Madoff Ponzi scheme.

Picard sued them all over 2 years ago but I am not aware of any progress in that case – to some extent understandable while the Trustee is concentrating his fire on those with “deeper pockets”… such as the banks…etc.  I saw also that Picard was seeking seeking to block the settlement between FG & its investors.

But surely there must be some traceable assets representing some at least of the fees etc collected by FG for their celebrated “due diligence”. Hoping you have some information about the current state of play.


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And further channeling Obama …

North Korea warns US: prepare for “miserable destruction”.  I believe Obama said exactly the same thing yesterday.


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