THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Living In These Mad, Mad, Madoff Times: The Obama administration is throwing millions of dollars into federal programs that retrain laid-off workers for new jobs but the quality of many training is iffy and there are no jobs for those who complete them, reports The New York Times:
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have enrolled in federally financed training programs in recent years, only to remain out of work. That has intensified skepticism about training as a cure for unemployment.
Even before the recession created the bleakest job market in more than a quarter-century, job training was already producing disappointing results. A study conducted for the Labor Department tracking the experience of 160,000 laid-off workers in 12 states from mid-2003 to mid-2005 - a time of economic expansion - found that those who went through training wound up earning little more than those who did not, even three and four years later. “Over all, it appears possible that ultimate gains from participation are small or nonexistent,” the study concluded.
In the last 18 months, the Obama administration has embraced more promising approaches to training focused on faster-growing areas like renewable energy and health care. But most money has been directed at the same sorts of programs that in past years have largely failed to steer laid-off workers toward new careers, say experts, and now the number of job openings is vastly outnumbered by people out of work. …
Labor economists and work force development experts say the frustration that frequently results from job training reflects the dubious quality of many programs. Most last only a few months, providing general skills without conferring useful credentials in specialized fields. Programs rarely involve potential employers and are typically too modest to enable cast-off workers to begin new careers.
Ross Eisenbrey, with the Economic Policy Institute, tells The Times, “When you have five people unemployed for every vacancy, you can train all the people you want and unfortunately only one-fifth of the people will get hired. Training doesn’t create jobs.”
† Medics’ On Meal Break Allegedly Ignore Dying Woman: Jason Green, the NYC paramedic who was accused of withholding lifesaving medical assistance to a pregnant Au Bon Pain cashier who having a seizure because he was on a meal break, was fatally shot after an altercation outside a Manhattan nightclub over a parking space, reports The Associated Press:
New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said Monday that there was no evidence that the brutal slaying early Sunday in the SoHo neighborhood was payback for the death of the pregnant woman. He denied reports that investigators wanted to question her brother.
"There's no interest in any of her family members," he said.
Police, who were still seeking the shooter, were reviewing security videotape of the scene outside the club, Browne said.
† Updates To Previous Posts (third item, Is This Any Way To Run A Transition?): Major Gen. Jerry R. Curry (US Army Ret.) Ph.D. who served as a presidential appointee in the Carter, Reagan and Bush (41) administrations, speculates in this commentary for Human Events blog "Guns & Patriots" that General Stanley McChrystal knew exactly what he was doing when he made the intemperate remarks to Rolling Stone magazine reporter Michael Hastings that got him fired:
The beginning of the push to clear Afghanistan of Taliban influence was to have started weeks ago with the city of Marja. … [O]ne of General McChrystal’s final acts before the Rolling Stone article was published was to postpone the Marja operation until autumn. Some believe it was because the people of Marja were not quite ready for the offensive to begin. I’d like to suggest a different possibility, though.
What if the real reason the Marja operation was delayed was because General McChrystal had come to the conclusion that the war in Afghanistan was unwinable so long as Obama was Commander-in-Chief. What if McChrystal expected his forces to get mired down in Marja (and other places in Afghanistan) because he believed that President Obama did not have the guts to do what it takes to win the war? Perhaps he suspected that Obama would do his usual side step, blame, and scapegoat routine and ultimately try to wrap the Afghan loss around McChrystal’s own neck. Maybe McChrystal had no intention of seeing his military career end in disgrace and failure, of being known forever as the General who had lost the Afghan War.
So what if McChrystal had laid a trap for Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone Magazine, the Pentagon, and President Obama and they had stepped right into it?
At the press conference when President Barack Hussein Obama announced that Gen. David Petraeus would replace McChrystal, the first thing that went through The Stiletto’s head was, “Now he’s going to be left holding the bag.” Who knows, maybe in six months a blockbuster interview with TheSmokingJacket.com will get Petraeus fired. And then the job will go to Dennis Kucinich.
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† Updates To Previous Posts (second item, Multiculturalism: Jihad By Other Means): So many ticklish subjects for President Barack Hussein Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss – restitution for the BP oil spill, an investigation into the oily BP lobbying to get the Lockerbie bomber released from prison and repatriated to Libya, sanctions against BP for going “beyond petroleum” and abetting Iran’s nuclear program (oh wait, that shoe has not dropped yet). Here’s a topic The Stiletto bets did not come up during Cameron’s state visit: The continued ban on radio talk show host Michael Savage from entering the U.K. Here’s what Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner has to say about this capitulation to multi-culti political correctness:
Mr. Cameron is perpetuating the decision made by his leftist predecessor, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to place Mr. Savage on a "least wanted" list - one that prevents the fiery conservative from entering the United Kingdom. This enemies list also includes notorious Islamic extremists (including a Hamas terrorist), neo-Nazis, a former wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Russian skinheads who murdered more than 10 immigrants. According to British officials, Mr. Savage is on the list for one reason: inciting "hatred" and "inter-community violence." He is a public menace who must be kept away from Britain's shores.
The ban represents a fundamental assault on freedom of speech. In Britain's brave new world, the words of a talk-show host are akin to suicide bombers and gangsters. Ideas must be outlawed. Thought crimes suppressed. …
"Even before I was told the Conservatives in England would continue the ban against me, I knew this day was coming," Mr. Savage said in an interview. "Apparently, there's been nothing more than a change of department-store dummies in England."
Mr. Savage is right. Mr. Cameron is a phony conservative - a milquetoast leftist masquerading as a modernized Thatcherite. …
Freedom of speech and expression are the cornerstones of Western civilization. Unless they are defended, they will die a slow death - another casualty in the relentless march of Islamist conquest.
† Updates To Previous Posts (seventh item, Life Imitates “A Law Abiding Citizen”): Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL) signed a bill to create a database on the state Corrections Department's website, "Community Notification of Inmate Early Release," to give people more information on prisoners whose sentences are being significantly abbreviated under a controversial early release program. The information, which must be posted within 72 hours of a prisoner’s release, will include the inmate's name, birth date, physical characteristics, address and offense, reports The Associated Press.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, Depends Whose Ox Is Gored): Two research papers published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature suggest that adult stem cells that were manipulated into a pluripotent form, revert to the differentiated cells they were, reports The Washington Times:
Many in the medical community and among pro-lifers have hoped harvesting embryonic cells, which destroys the days-old human embryos and has provoked intense ethical and moral criticism, could be avoided if scientists could manipulate adult cells to act as if they were embryonic stem cells.
Called "induced pluripotent stem cells" (or iPS), the altered adult cells "forget" they were once cells naturally "programmed" to become liver cells, lung cells, skin cells, etc. This would make them, theoretically, as useful as embryonic cells for a variety of miracle cures, especially for degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
It turns out, the studies say, that they don't forget. …
The research did show, however, that while reprogrammed stem cells may not be as versatile as embryonic ones, they can still be quite useful.
Thousands of patients around the world have been treated with adult stem cells, but no humans as of yet have been given cells derived from embryos in an approved trial.
The article should have explained that autologous adult stem cells - which do not have to be "reprogrammed" since they already possess the characteristics of the organ they will be used to heal or regenerate - have already proven their real-world utility. The Stiletto remains unconvinced that we need to create embryos and kill them to harvest their stem cells in order to cure disease.
† Updates To Previous Posts (sixth item, Praise The Lord, And Pass The Ammunition): Another Catholic-Protestant split? A handful of Protestant ministers in states that do not bar carrying concealed firearms into church have welcomed the practice. But not the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Associated Press reports:
Concealed handguns won't be allowed in Roman Catholic churches, despite a new state law allowing them.
"We don't think it is appropriate to have guns in churches," Danny Loar, executive director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops - the church's public policy arm in Louisiana, said Monday.
The law allows concealed handguns in churches, synagogues or mosques for those with a valid permit and training. It also says those with authority over a church have the final say in their church. …
Whether and which churches in Louisiana plan to take advantage of the law is unclear.
Priests and ministers are supposed to notify the congregation in churches that allow concealed handguns.
† Updates To Previous Posts (sixth item, What It’s Like To Live In The Bronx): In this article about the restoration of the 23-mile long Bronx River, The New York Times gives a brief history of NYC's only freshwater river:
For much of the 20th century, of course, the Bronx River was used as a sewer and dumping ground, its banks and muddy bottom strewn with abandoned cars, washing machines and bald tires. A grass-roots effort to restore the river has brought it closer to its picturesque origins and produced regular sightings of returning wildlife like alewife herring and, even most recently, a beaver. …
The river acquired its name from a Swedish-born settler, Jonas Bronck, who established a farm on the western bank in 1639. (The borough was named after the river, according to Lloyd Ultan, the borough historian.)
Colonial farmers along its banks would take their produce to river docks and ship it down to markets in Lower Manhattan, then load their boats with supplies needed back on their farms. Sawmills and gristmills began appearing alongside waterfalls, run by families with historic New York names like Delancey and Lydig. In 1840, the Lorillard family established a mill to process Southern-grown tobacco into snuff, and that mill is still there, the city’s oldest factory, according to Mr. Ultan, and is used as a cafe by the Botanical Garden.
By the late 19th century, French refugees had established restaurants on houseboats anchored in the river in the Wakefield and Williamsbridge neighborhoods, and that era is recalled in the Bronx Park ball fields known as French Charlie, Mr. Ultan said. Heavy industry continued to settle along the river, exploiting its power or using it for waste water. As the scenic value of the river diminished, residents began scuttling their broken appliances and dead automobiles in the river. …
These days, canoeists plying the river see no more automobile carcasses, and instead spot long-necked egrets spearing fish, red-winged blackbirds gliding along the tree-lined banks, and flocks of nervous ducklings and burrowing muskrats.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, 10 Reasons Michelle Obama Should Be Proud – Really Proud – Of America): This latest installment in The Stiletto Blog’s ongoing series meant to help instill the necessary pride of country in Michelle Obama’s consciousness to enable her to serve as an unofficial ambassador focuses on Akron, OH mail carrier Keith McVey, 53, who has saved the lives of three people while completing his appointed rounds. The Associated Press reports:
Last week, he threw aside his bundle of mail to perform CPR on an unconscious man on the side of the road. Two years ago, he pulled a drowning girl from the lake. And nearly 20 years ago, when a teenager tried to take his life by jumping off a bridge on a snowy winter day, McVey, unable to stop him from jumping, covered the teen with blankets and helped keep him alive until an ambulance arrived.
McVey was embarrassed about displaying the many awards and newspaper clippings that showcase his acts of derring-do for fear of, as he put it, "tooting my own horn." …
The recent accolades make him feel a bit uncomfortable, but he understands the attention. After all, he's brought three lives back from the brink of death. Is it simply coincidence? Was he simply in the right place at the right time?
"I'm not sure, but after three times, I'm beginning to think there might be a little divine intervention of some sort," he says. "It is kind of eerie."