Daily Archives: November 16, 2015
NAIROBI, Kenya—Rock stars helped convince the international community to write off more than $100 billion of African government borrowings a decade ago. Now the big debts are back, and it’s getting tougher for countries to pay them off.
Mozambique was one of the biggest beneficiaries of debt forgiveness, with its debt slashed from 86% of gross domestic product in 2005 to 9% the next year. The country has built it back up since then to 61% of GDP.
Ghana’s debt was 82% of GDP in 2005 just before the international community forgave about half of it. It’s now up to 73% of GDP and growing, according to the International Monetary Fund. In 2003 terms, its debt stood at $7.5 billion. The debt level, in today’s dollars, is now nearly $25 billion.
It’s a postscript to the apparent success story that began after a high-profile debt initiative championed by musicians such as Bono helped 35 countries escape crippling obligations to international lenders. Coupled with the commodities boom, the debt relief helped set off a wave of investment and growth that saw several African economies develop, reduce poverty and integrate with the global economy more than ever before.
But now debt loads are growing again in some countries, thanks to a borrowing spree in the capital markets that has collided with a collapse in local currencies and commodity prices. In Ghana, for example, the cost of servicing debt will consume nearly 40% of government revenue this year, according to an analysis by Fitch Ratings — twice what is considered sustainable under the rule of thumb used by the IMF and many analysts.
It’s been said that if you redistributed all the money in the world equally, it would be back in the original hands in less than five year. That may be too optimistic.
Calling Friday’s terror attacks in Paris a ‘terrible and sickening setback,’ Obama insisted his goal is to ‘reduce the flow of foreign fighters’ streaming into ISIS’s sphere of influence by addressing the root causes of the terror organization’s growth.
‘That’s what we did with al-Qaeda,’ he boasted.
But Obama dismissed the idea of a large-scale military strategy as misguided, saying Republicans who want to draw blood are not seeing the big picture.
‘We can retake territory, and as long as we leave our troops there we can hold it,’ he told reporters gathered in Turkey, ‘but that does not solve the underlying problem of eliminating the dynamics that are producing these violent extremist groups.’
Obama said he would continue to embrace that root-causes strategy ‘even though it does not offer the satisfaction, I guess, of a neat headline or an immediate resolution.’
Meanwhile, French President François Hollande announced at the same G20 summit that his nation will continue to pound ISIS positions in its home city of Raqqa, Syria.
Hollande invited the U.S. to ‘join our forces’ in battle.
But Obama is sticking to his unloaded guns, despite calling ISIS ‘the face of evil’ with ‘fantasies of glory.’
If Republicans back home ‘want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do,’ he challenged, they should ‘present a specific plan.’
Apparently no one has dared bring to the president’s attention the numerous plans, any one of which is better than doing nothing, already circulating from Republicans and former Democratic security experts alike.
And from the same news conference, there’s this from our leader:
“What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect the people in the region who are getting killed and to protect our allies and people like France,” Obama said. “I’m too busy for that.”
Articles are now being blocked until a 5 second period has passed, presumably so one can read an advertisement. The ad crashes the page and, worse for the advertisers paying for this annoyance, don’t load: a black screen appears. Great move.
Young mice practicing to become rats
In contrast to a growing number of his Republican counterparts, Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy won’t stand in the way of Syrian refugees coming to Connecticut in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
Malloy spokesman Devon Puglia said Monday that Connecticut will take its cue from the federal government on what is becoming an immigration policy litmus test for the nation’s governors and presidential candidates alike.
“Obviously in light of the tragedy in Paris, we have questions about the Department of Homeland’s screening measures for refugees entering our country,” Puglia said. “We are continuing to work with and await guidance from the appropriate federal agencies on screening measures that will be taken. With that said, if refugees – many who are children fleeing a horrific, war-torn country – seek and are granted asylum after a rigorous security process, we should and will welcome them in Connecticut.”
This is either pure hype: the DHS will never provide adequate screening, so the gov can simply wring his hands and claim, “we’d love to let them in, but we’re not sure it’s safe” for the rest of his term, or he can follow his leader Barrack’s lead and simply open the gates.
My money and my life are, unfortunately, on the second option.
306 Stanwich, $2.7 million. On Frye Pond, which is a very pretty setting, but I’m not sure exactly how much it was “renovated in 2015” – when I lost saw it, it had been rented out for years and been ridden hard and put away wet over that period, and the rooms today look pretty much the same. I hope the agent doesn’t think “fresh coat of paint” constitutes a renovation, but this is Realtorese™ we’re speaking, so ….
10 Wynn Lane (off Clapboard) is back on the market again, now asking $2.895, after failing to sell at $3.295 last year. The owners bought it in 2005 for $2.950 and seem to have spent a fair amount of money tacking on a “”Colonial” (for want of a
better term) addition that has absolutely nothing to do with the contemporary it’s attached to, expanding it from 6,196 sq. ft. to
7,397. The listing broker doesn’t pretend that anyone would want the resulting confusion, and instead touts it as a “waterfront building site”, but a rather swampy pond in the back yard will probably not meet most buyers’ expectations of “waterfront”. But hey, a little dreaming and a rowboat, and you’re on you way across the Atlantic.
26 Normandy Lane has cut its price from $2.6 million to $2.450 million. There’s a decent house on it, but 1969 was not the apogee of the builder’s craft here in town, and because the property is listed as both land and residence, I think they’re going for land value, with a free, obsolete house thrown in for free, if you want it.
Price seems about right, to me, but I haven’t seen the land – it can get swampy over there.
44 Cedar Cliff Road, $2.825. Owners bought it new for $612,500 in 1996. I still like that number, but the market has moved on, and doesn’t care what I like.
Eliminate voting for student council members and have the adults simply appoint them, with the first three appointments going to the threatened student leaders
The Senate’s Student Executive Committee is demanding that Student Body President Jessie Pringle, Student Body Vice President Zach George and Chief of Staff Adam Moon step down by Wednesday and that the full Senate to take up impeachment measures if they refuse to leave, the Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/1LfUc9v ) reported. The committee registered a 6-3 “no confidence” vote Friday for the three leaders. One member abstained from the vote.
The resignation demand comes after last week’s unrest at the University of Missouri and after a forum that University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little moderated on Wednesday, where a student group Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk presented diversity demands, which include hiring a director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs by Dec. 15, mandatory “inclusion and belonging” training for students and faculty and increased diversity in hiring.
Senate vice president Shegufta Huma, who is also member of the committee, told the newspaper that the vote was the result of months of inaction that culminated in the officers’ reluctance to support the diversity demands. Pringle and George were singled out, with the committee saying they did not “stand in solidarity with their black peers and proclaim that Black Lives Matter” at Wednesday’s forum.
“This is part of a larger pattern and some much bigger issues that (the) Senate has been dealing with in terms of our relationship with marginalized communities at KU,” Huma said.
The three leaders released a statement Saturday, saying they plan to continue serving and professing support for minority groups. “Black lives matter. Black lives matter at the University of Kansas,” they wrote.
The KC administration will not do anything so sensible as stand up to these goons and their made-up claims of discrimination; quite the contrary:
[President] Gray-Little, who is black, said in a message to campus Friday that her administration will begin sharing information “early next week” about how the school will move forward on the issue of racism.
If they (the modern academics) hadn’t brought this on themselves, it would be sad. As it is, I’m laughing my head off.
And I like this comment in the linked-to article:
And students should insist that all vendors doing business with University have the same inclusion and belonging trading. And obviously any companies recruiting should be so trained.
Hey, students banned ROTC, and military recruiters from their campuses back in the day, why not all of corporate America? The children can always find work in their school’s sociology and Black Studies departments.
The singer continued: ‘Another important point that I want to make is that, yes, there are people who have no respect for human life and there are people that do atrocious, degrading, and unforgivable things to other human beings, but we will never, ever, ever change this world we live in if we do not change ourselves.
‘The way we change the world is not to elect another president, not to kill a hundred more people – the way we change the world is we change the way we treat one another on a daily basis.
‘In the simplest of ways. We must start treating every human being with dignity and respect.
The star, who said her Rebel Heart tour embodied the idea of celebrating life and standing up for our rights, added: ‘Only love will change the world, but it’s very hard to love unconditionally, and it’s very hard to love that what we do not understand and that what is different to what we are, but we have to. Or this will go on and on forever.’
No one except a liberal looks for wisdom from pop stars, but what alarms me is that the singer is merely repeating the left’s mantra that dates back decades. in other words, there are millions of people that actually think this way.
Dollar Bill? Care to join the chorus?
The people we pay (why?) to run our schools are back with another great idea for attacking “inequality”, shrinking the class size in Julian Curtis and New Lebanon schools (Hamilton Avenue already has the benefit of restricted class sizes), at the expense of the others.
A year after the school district launched a package of major programs to reduce its achievement gap, yet another proposal to tackle the problem is sparking debate.
District administrators want to change class-size guidelines to lower the maximums in kindergarten and first-grade sections at Julian Curtiss and New Lebanon Schools from 21 to 15.While smaller classes are widely supported in Greenwich, this proposal is contentious. Some on the Board of Education have said the proposal would unfairly allocate more resources to Julian Curtiss and New Lebanon and deprive other elementaries. Others are concerned whether those schools have enough room to accommodate smaller classes.
For years, the district has set a maximum of 15 for students in kindergarten and first grade at Hamilton Avenue School, compared with the limit of 21 in the other 10 elementaries.
The smaller classes have acted as a way to attract students to Hamilton Avenue’s magnet program. [total attracted so far: zero – same for Western Middle – Ed] Julian Curtiss and New Lebanon are also magnet schools, but the latter’s severe overcrowding has hampered extending the Hamilton Avenue class parameters.
Now, administrators see a chance to make a change for the long term because school board and municipal officials have agreed to move ahead with plans for a new, larger building for New Lebanon. They have not released a cost estimate for the class-size proposal.
Superintendent of Schools William McKersie’s administration wants to extend the Hamilton Avenue K-1 guidelines to Julian Curtiss and New Lebanon because of their similarities. Those three routinely post the lowest scores among the elementaries on state standardized tests.
This year, Julian Curtiss’ and New Lebanon’s sections are already running within or close to the Hamilton Avenue guidelines. Julian Curtiss has averages of 16.3 in kindergarten and 15.5 in first grade; at New Lebanon, the average is 13.3 in kindergarten and 15 in first grade, according to the district’s latest enrollment report.
Parents at Julian Curtiss and New Lebanon have not been clamoring for changes to the guidelines.
BOE member Peter Sherr asks the obvious question:
“If it helps a kid in New Lebanon, why does it not help a kid in Old Greenwich?. That’s where I have a fundamental problem with these (achievement gap) proposals. I am really tired at the lack of fairness and the lack of equal opportunity in the system.”
Many kindergarten and first-grade classes at the other elementaries are much larger than they are at Julian Curtiss and New Lebanon. The kindergarten average is about 20 students at Riverside School, the highest in the district. In first-grade classes, The International School at Dundee has a district-high average of approximately 20.
If the two best-perfoming schools already have much larger classes than the worst, does class size really matter? And if it does, why aren’t we, as Sherr asks, doing something about it in those schools, to make them even better? My answer is one I suspect McKersie and his band of underlings know too: you can’t level up, only down, and they’re determined to do that.