THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† DA Sexts Domestic Abuse Defendant’s Girlfriend: At a press conference, Calumet County (WI) District Attorney Ken Kratz offered a "sincere and heartfelt apology" to Stephanie Van Groll, his soon-to-be-ex-wife and the public:
"This behavior showed a lack of respect, not only for my position but for the young woman that was involved," he said from the courthouse in Chilton in remarks carried live by Wisconsin television stations. "My behavior was inappropriate. I'm embarrassed and ashamed for the choices that I've made and the fault was mine alone."
But Kratz ruled out resigning, and since voters won’t get the chance to remove him from office until November 2012, victims’ advocacy groups are urging Gov. Jim Doyle (D) and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) to remove the pervy prosecutor, reports The Associated Press:
The board of the Wisconsin District Attorneys' Association on Friday called Kratz's behavior repugnant and "inconsistent with the standards of our profession." In a letter to Kratz, the group said such behavior would get anyone in their offices fired, and Kratz should reflect and take the appropriate action; otherwise, it will ask Doyle to consider removing him. …
Attorney Michael Fox [who] is representing the victim …said he is investigating whether she has a viable legal claim that Kratz's text messages violated her civil rights and has been surprised by Kratz's lack of remorse.
"You would have to have a lapse of brain function in order to believe this could in any way be construed as innocent behavior," he said. He added, "It doesn't take a lot to text 'I'm sorry'."
For his part, Kratztells AP that he received six months of psychotherapy and would continue treatment. He also discussed policy changes with his staff “to ensure this kind of thing won't reoccur” [sic]. Um, the only policy change needed is to ban him from using his Blackberry without proper supervision.
† Why We Need Gitmo (second item): The Obama administration has appealed U.S. District Judge James Robertson’s ruling that Mohamedou Ould Salahi - who (allegedly) helped recruit the September 11 hijackers - must be released from Gitmo, where he has been held without charge for eight years, because he confessed to his role in the terror plot only after “extensive and severe mistreatment” (AKA interrogation) from mid-June 2003 to September 2003:
“The government's case relies heavily on statements made by Salahi himself, but the reliability of those statements - most of them now retracted by Salahi - is open to question.”
Although the 9/11 commission report described Salahi as a significant al-Qaida operative and he did favors from time to time for friends and family who belonged to the terror group, Robertson said that the suspicion he could become a jihadi upon his release from Gitmo is not a compelling reason for him to be imprisoned indefinitely, reports The Associated Press.
† Living In These Mad, Mad, Madoff Times: From 2008 to 2009 the number of unemployed Americans seeking Social Security disability benefits zoomed up 21 percent, to 2.8 million - the sharpest in the 54-year history of the program – which has slowed the delivery of benefits and could deplete the Disability Insurance Trust Fund by 2018, reports The Washington Post:
Though policymakers anticipated the program's rolls growing with the aging of the baby-boom population, they suspect the current surge has less to do with any worsening in the health of the workforce than with the poor health of the economy.
About half of all applicants eventually make it onto the disability rolls - a percentage that has not changed appreciably with the recent spike in applications, Social Security officials say. The average age of new recipients is 49 - and less than 1 percent of them return to work, according to the Congressional Budget Office. …
In bad times, the disability rolls are swollen by "a lot of older workers who are very much on the margins. Often, they are the first people laid off," Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue said. "They can't find any new work and they are desperate. So they have every incentive to try and get in the program."
Applicants must endure a cumbersome process in which government claims examiners, administrative law judges and sometimes federal courts weigh whether they meet the program's standard of having a disability that prevents them from performing "substantial" work.
Traditionally, disability benefits were granted to workers with cancer or heart disease – for which diagnostic tests exist that can confirm diagnosis and severity - but now most applicants are claiming depression or other mental disability, back pain and other ailments for which there are no reliable, objective tests.
† The Right To Bear Arms Belongs To Us All: Part II: Jamie Lunsford, who was fired from her job at document-shredding company Iron Mountain Information Management for having a handgun in her car when she drove to a client’s premises, is suing because the company’s gun policy violates GA law, reports Fulton County Daily Report:
Lunsford's lawyer, North Georgia attorney Steven K. Leibel, said that on April 14, she drove to the Federal Reserve Bank in Midtown on business for her company, accompanied by a colleague. When she entered the parking garage at the Fed, security guards asked if she was carrying any firearms. She said, "Yes, I have a gun." They instructed her to leave and park elsewhere. She did. When she returned to work, she was suspended, then fired. …
Iron Mountain attorneys are quick to note that Lunsford has not asked to be reinstated to her job or for any damages, points they say question her standing to bring the case at all.
"From the company's point of view, it's purely a safety issue," said Jonathan J. Spitz of Jackson Lewis, the labor and employment firm, who represents Iron Mountain with associate Erin L. Payne.
Noting that another employee was in the car with Lunsford when she went to the Fed, Spitz said, "You've got two employees in a car in front of federal agents with machine guns. Do you really want to have a conversation about the gun in the trunk? Or do you want that gun being discharged for any reason?"
Leibel disagrees with Iron Mountain’s attorneys, who contend that GA law provides exceptions from gun privileges when employees are on company property or on company business, pointing to O.C.G.A. §16-11-135(b), which states that "no private or public employer, including the state and its political subdivisions, shall condition employment upon any agreement by a prospective employee that prohibits an employee from entering the parking lot and access thereto when the employee's privately owned motor vehicle contains a firearm that is locked out of sight within the trunk, glove box or other enclosed compartment."
Leibel says Lunsford is a single woman and mother who carries her licensed pistol in her car for protection.
† Updates To Previous Posts (fourth item, Never Mind Marxism. Will An Obama Administration Be Totalitarian?: Part II): President Barack Hussein Obama may think that alternative media is “distracting” voters, but the Pew Center for People and the Press found that Americans are spending more time accessing news – thanks to having multiple platforms - than they did a decade ago, and two-out-of-three Americans (67 percent) feel they are more informed today than they were 10 years ago, according to a new Rassmussen Reports telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted on September 15th and 16th:
Forty-four percent (44%) of all adults say the Internet is the best way to get news and information. Television comes in second, with 36% who still turn to the tube. Print newspapers are a distant third with just 11% who view them as the best source for news and information. Only nine percent (9%) still rely on radio. …
In July 2009, 46% considered network television news programs a more reliable source of news than the Internet, while 35% relied on online news more.
Moreover, people think the Internet is a credible source for news than newspapers (29 percent to 21 percent). A plurality (40 percent) think the TV is most reliable news source (the way the questions were asked – once referring to “television” and once to “broadcast news” it is difficult to determine whether respondents specifically meant “network” TV news, as opposed to cable TV news programs, when answering either or both questions).
† Updates To Previous Posts (third item, Sometimes, Nanny Knows Best): In his book, “Proofiness,” science writer and journalism professor Charles Seife “examines the many ways that people fudge with numbers, sometimes just to sell more moisturizer but also to ruin our economy, rig our elections, convict the innocent and undercount the needy,” reports The New York Times:
Although Seife never says so explicitly … [t]he numerical cousin of truthiness is proofiness: “the art of using bogus mathematical arguments to prove something that you know in your heart is true - even when it’s not.” …
Falsifying numbers is the crudest form of proofiness. Seife lays out a rogues’ gallery of more subtle deceptions. “Potemkin numbers” are phony statistics based on erroneous or nonexistent calculations. Justice Antonin Scalia’s assertion that only 0.027 percent of convicted felons are wrongly imprisoned was a Potemkin number derived from a prosecutor’s back-of-the-envelope estimate; more careful studies suggest the rate might be between 3 and 5 percent.
“Disestimation” involves ascribing too much meaning to a measurement, relative to the uncertainties and errors inherent in it. In the most provocative and detailed part of the book, Seife analyzes the recounting process in the astonishingly close 2008 Minnesota Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. The winner, he claims, should have been decided by a coin flip; anything else is disestimation, considering that the observed errors in counting the votes were always much larger than the number of votes (roughly 200 to 300) separating the two candidates. …
Seife is evenhanded about exposing the proofiness on both sides of the political aisle, though we all know who’s responsible for a vast majority of it: the other side. …
“Proofiness” reveals the truly corrosive effects on a society awash in numerical mendacity. This is more than a math book; it’s an eye-opening civics lesson.
Proofiness wouldn’t be as successful as it is if our unionized public schools were not intently – perhaps intentionally – turning out generation after generation of innumerate Americans. For this reason, The Stiletto is not all bent out of shape over President Barack Hussein Obama appointing Elizabeth Warren to create a new consumer protection agency mandated by the Wall Street overhaul bill that Obama signed into law in July - though his end run around the Senate confirmation process is as troubling as it is infuriating.
In a blog post on the White House Website, Warren promised the agency would “put a tough cop on the beat and provide real accountability and oversight of the consumer credit market”:
“The time for hiding tricks and traps in the fine print is over. This new bureau is based on the simple idea that if the playing field is level and families can see what's going on, they will have better tools to make better choices."
ABC News reports that when Warren led the Congressional Oversight Panel, a watchdog group to oversee the government's $700 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), she often butted heads with Treasury Secretary Tiny Tim Geithner - for instance, “[s]he blasted the agency's embattled foreclosure prevention program this summer as ‘behind the curve’” – and that Geithner reportedly had "concerns" about Warren, who will now be his special adviser on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It doesn’t get any better than this, folks. Geithner should take the hint and start quietly putting out feelers to his buddies on Wall Street for a private-sector job – he’ll be much more effective at creating one for himself than he has been in creating them for the rest of us.
Editorial Note: There is evidence that libs and Dems are more in need of someone to explain basic financial concepts to them than conservatives (second item).
† Updates To Previous Posts (fifth item, Garbage In, Garbage Out: Part II): As The Stiletto has observed - though in a different context- "children of Chinese immigrants do better because they have community support, parental support and are encouraged to concentrate on their studies - the classic formula for success generations of immigrants have used. More evidence this is so from this year’s SAT scores, reports The Wall Street Journal:
High school students' performance on the SAT college-entrance exam remained mostly unchanged from last year, except for notable gains by Asian-Americans, who continue to outperform all other test takers.
Overall, the average score for the graduating class of 2010 in reading remained at 501; climbed in math to 516 from 515; and dropped in writing to 492 from 493, according to scores released Monday.
The combined overall score of 1509 out of a possible 2400 matched last year's tally, which was the lowest since the writing exam was added to the SAT battery in 2006.
The sole bright spot was the performance of Asian-Americans. They posted a three-point gain in reading, a four-point jump in math, and a six-point gain in writing over their 2009 scores. …
The SAT results suggested that students who took a core curriculum in high school—defined as four years of English and three of math, science and history - scored, on average, 151 points higher than those who didn't take the curriculum.
College Board officials attributed the surge in Asian-American scores - up 20 points in reading and 26 in math since 2000 - to the students' choice of courses. More than two-thirds took at least four years of science in high school, versus 59% of all test-takers, and 48% of the Asian-Americans took calculus, versus only 28% of the rest of the pool.
Curiously, while NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein notes that “more black and Hispanic students are taking the SATs - a 35% increase among blacks during the past four years and a 54% increase for Hispanic students” – he ignores the fact that NYC’s scores would have outpaced the national average if the stellar success of Asian students hadn’t been undercut by the mediocre performance of black and Hispanic students:
In New York City, seniors across all ethnicities scored a combined 1335 out of a possible 2400 on the SAT, up from 1324 in 2009. Nationally, U.S. students scored 1509. The New York City results in 2010 are lower than the 1347 achieved in 2006. …
SAT scores show a widening gulf between Asian and white students' scores and those of blacks and Hispanics.
Asian students' scores went up to 1526 from 1500 the year before, while black students' scores retreated by two points to 1227. SAT scores for Hispanic city students rose six points to 1230, while they increased 10 points to 1551 for white students.
But then, it’s politically incorrect to note that Asian students are motivated to excel because their parents encourage them to study hard enough to exceed their teachers’ expectations and limitations, whereas black and Hispanic students must rely on the rare good fortune of having a public school teacher who is motivated to excel and who will encourage them to study hard enough to exceed their family’s expectations and limitations. The sad truth is that far too many black and Hispanic students lack that support at home and at school.
† Updates To Previous Posts (third item, WA Housewives Join Eco-Nazi Resistance: With WA leading the way in 2006, enough states passed laws forcing manufacturers to change the formulas of their cleaning products that the entire country has now unhappily found out how inferior “eco-friendly” cleaning products are, reports The New York Times:
Like every other major detergent for automatic dishwashers, Procter & Gamble’s Cascade line recently underwent a makeover. Responding to laws that went into effect in 17 states in July, the nation’s detergent makers reformulated their products to reduce what had been the crucial ingredient, phosphates, to just a trace. …
Yet now, with the content reduced, many consumers are finding the new formulas as appealing as low-flow showers, underscoring the tradeoffs that people often face today in a more
environmentally conscious marketplace. From hybrid cars to solar panels, environmentally friendly alternatives can cost more. They can be less convenient, like toting cloth sacks or canteens rather than plastic bags or bottled water. And they can prove less effective, like some of the new cleaning products. …
“Low-phosphate dish detergents are a waste of my money,” said Thena Reynolds, a 55-year-old homemaker from Van Zandt County, Tex., who said she ran her dishwasher twice a day for a family of five. Now she has to do a quick wash of the dishes before she puts them in the dishwasher to make sure they come out clean, she said. “If I’m using more water and detergent, is that saving anything?” Ms. Reynolds said. “There has to be a happy medium somewhere.” …
Jessica Fischburg, a commerce manager in Norwich, Conn., for CleaningProductsWorld.com, which sells janitorial supplies in bulk, said she was not surprised that many of her clients rejected products marketed as environmentally friendly.
“The reality of any green product is that they generally don’t work as well,” she said. “Our customers really don’t like them.”
The MSM gives eco-Nazis such a big megaphone that they can influence legislation and force marketers to tinker with tried-and-true brands customers like and trust - eroding decades of goodwill in the process - which is a lose-lose proposition for consumers and corporations alike.
† 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 PBS “NewsHour” producer Merril Schwerin who did a segment on prize-winning competitive dancer George Exantus, who lost his right leg below the knee after he being trapped under rubble for two days after the earthquake in Haiti. Determined to help get him on the dance floor again, Schwerin enlisted the help of Freedom Innovations, which donated a prosthetic limb, and the Hanger Sable Foundation, which helped fit Exantus.