Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Administration Insults the UK Again!

Is there anyone in this administration with any brains?  For over 4 years now, we've continued to see the Obama maladministration throw our long-time allies under the bus only to rewrite history in favor of new "allies."

The latest example is the State Department giving a shameful response to a question about the overwhelming results of a recent referendum by the residents of the Falkland Islands on whether or not to remain a British Territory.  The vote was virtually unanimously in favor (over 99%) to remain a British Territory.  This doesn't seem to phase the silly tw*t at the microphone in all of her idiotic legalese.  Never has it been so obvious that education and degrees are no guarantee of common sense or any understanding of history.  Degrees and government employment is obviously not real-world experience. Usually it's Obama who's the most obvious "educated" idiot, but here it is Ms. Nuland, State Dept.spokesperson.  This press conference is a diplomatic disaster!  Here's the State Department spokesman video on March 12, 2013 (you just need to hear the first minute or two):

Now, Argentina suddenly has standing with this administration with regard to their position on the Falklands?  How absurd is that?    Here's a bit of a history lesson from Nile Gardiner at the The Telegraph (also a link from the Heritage Foundation):
Britain has in fact held sovereignty over the Islands since 1765, and has had a permanent settlement since 1833. Many of the Falklands’ British inhabitants have lived there for generations.  
Nuland, whose knowledge of Falklands history appears to be non-existent, flat out refuses to acknowledge that the Falkland Islanders have a right to self-determination, which amounts to a blatant policy of appeasement of the Kirchner regime in Buenos Aires. She completely ignores the fact that Argentina’s government has resorted to threats and intimidation against the Falkland Islanders, with foreign minister Hector Timerman even declaring that the Falkland Islanders do not exist”.
So, this administration is siding with the thieving, disingenuous and lying de Kirchner instead of the UK??  Is this for real?  It is for real and virtually insane. I guess we now admire and support socialist administrations who re-write history, steal pension money and foreign assets, ruin their economies and use false claims of sovereignty to divert popular attention from their own disastrous administrations???

This is how you create war:  make statements that our 'enemies' interpret as weakness which emboldens them.

Barack Obama has remained the most anti-British President in my lifetime

Barack Obama has remained the most anti-British President in my lifetime.  Nile Gardiner's agrees and the following is from his earlier Telegraph blog post on the Barack Obama's Top Ten Insults Against the UK.  It's a good read and includes the following points:

  1. Siding with Argentina regarding the Falklands
  2. Calling France the strongest historical ally (what a joke! Talk about revisionist history!!)
  3. Lecturing Britain on Federalist Europe and Undercutting UK Sovereignty
  4. Betraying Britain to appease Moscow 
  5. Airbrushing Britain from Europe
  6. Throwing Churchill out of the Oval Office
  7. Placing a boot on the throat of British Petroleum
  8. DVDs for the Prime Minister
  9. Insulting Words from the State Department
  10. Confusing England with Britain 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Euro-bank Leverage Is STILL a Systemic Risk

European bank leverage still remains very high---some have loans and investments that are valued at 50 times equity capital levels---which implies 2% capital "cushion" against declining values of assets (loans).  In other words, if their loan book declines in value more than 2%, then shareholders are 'wiped out' and depositors are put at risk. The total leverage ratio should greater than 5% or higher.

Many of the bank's assets (loans) are bonds of euro-periphery countries which trade from 30 cents on the dollar in the case of Greece to 80 or 90 cents on the dollar for other countries. But, every one of these bonds are being valued at 100 cents on the dollar on every bank balance sheet, ie., they are not marked to market.  Suffice it to say that these sovereign debt holdings have already wiped out the common equity at most banks in Europe and deposits are at risk.  See the chart below  All European banks are either underwater now, or soon will be, in another panic situation.  That would also explain the very low bank stock valuations.

The following chart shows how deficient Euro-bank equity capital remains:

Eurobank Total Leverage (Common Equity to Assets)

Businessweek has indicated recently that, to bring European Bank capital ratios up to OECD standards of about 5% tier 1 capital, the banks need $500 billion dollars of fresh investment capital.  That is some 4 to 5 percent of European GDP---a substantial sum---which is why it hasn't happened.  It's difficult for banks to sell equity now when they have been some of the worse investments in the world and when ALL equity is already "underwater."

With Leverage Still High, Please Don't Scare Away Depositors!!

From, is a chart of loans to deposits for many world banks.  Many European banks have a loan to deposit ratio (LTD) greater than 100% and some over 200%.  High loans to deposits, when greater than 100%, means that banks have had to first borrow money from other banks or entities to re-loan it.  This means that they've taken on additional risk and this risk is amplified when all the banks are loaning to each other.  High ratios means banks have taken on risk that may backfire when there is a panic.  Most US banks had a LTD ratio of less than 100% which is a good thing.

Since deposits are a source of capital funding, the last thing you'd want to do is to cause people to withdraw their deposits when you need more capital!  That's a risk created by the European officials in "scaring off" depositors by their recent actions in Cyprus.

Bank Loan to Deposit Ratios (click to enlarge)
From ZeroHedge,
The chart [above] explains why not only is Europe's several asset constrained, it is also running out of funding, in the form of depositor cash: the most critical bank liability. Remember: without incremental deposits, banks can not invest in new assets, unless they generate cash from operations, and thus grow shareholder equity. There is a problem: as the final chart below shows, Europe, and especially Scandinavia which has consistently remained off the radar, is literally off the charts when it comes to LTD ratios.
With banks such as Danske, SHB, Swebank, DnB, and Nordea literally at 200% Loan-to-Deposits, but most other European banks too, even the tiniest outflow in deposit cash (ala what is happening in the PIIGS) will send the system into yet another liquidity spasm.
Unless banks lower their leverage, by raising equity capital or deposits, as American banks have done, there are going to continue to be bailouts and financial fragility in Europe. Entire countries are at risk.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Slovenia: Next European Domino to Bail?

The ink is hardly dry on the Cypriot bail-out (and bail-in) where some 40% of deposits over $85,000 were seized. Banks are still not re-opened there and, when they do, expect withdrawal limits for a long time.

Then along comes news today that Slovenian banks are continuing to struggle and may require so much money from their government that the government itself may need a bail-out from the ECB (European Central Bank).  Already market for Slovenian government debt has taken a hit with the market souring after the Cyprus debacle.

Financial confidence is a delicate thing--something that the ham-handed European authorities may soon be reminded.

From Bloomberg Slovenia's New Cabinet Under Pressure to Avoid Cyprus Fate:
Slovenian and Hungarian banks are the most vulnerable in the region with non-performing loans at about 20 percent and growing, analysts at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, led by Paris-based Pierre Gautier, wrote yesterday in a research note.
Nova Ljubljanska, the nation’s biggest lender, reported a loss of 275 million euros in 2012, its fourth consecutive negative result. Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor, which had a 205 million-euro loss last year, fell to the lowest level since its 2007 listing after a debt-equity swap increased the government’s stake to 79 percent. The shares plunged more than 40 percent last week and were up 3.8 percent today at 82 euro cents in Ljubljana.
The government vowed to stick with a bank-recapitalization plan of as much as 4 billion euros, though with unspecified modifications, as surging bad loans fuel investor concern that the country may require a rescue.
Nova Ljubljanska needed 381 million euros last year.
Cyprus was the 5th European country requiring a bailout (out of 17 countries).  The 5th bail-out was supposed to be Spain.  At the end of last year, European authorities in Brussels were trying to force Spain into taking bailout money in the middle of a Spanish bond panic, but so far they've refused.  The immediate panic of last year has eased however.  ECB buying of distressed country bonds had the effect of calming down a financial panic in distressed bonds of Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Ireland and Hungary.

I wonder if the panic is about to resurface?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Subsidy-free Solar Projects in Spain?

In what could be big news, an article from Renewables Energy World entitled First Large-scale Solar Plants Without Subsidies Seen in Spain speculates that subsidy-free photovoltaic projects may be upcoming for Spain.  Costs of solar panels have dropped something like 65% this past year as solar panel maker SunTech in China declared bankruptcy.  So, we're seeing liquidation pricing for panels that may or may not be sustained.  Solar subsidies in most of Europe are being scaled back due to budget concerns.

The applications for projects are based somewhat on speculation that solar panels prices will drop further:
Solaria plans to build a 150-megawatt solar park near Toledo for less than 150 million euros and sell the electricity for 55 euros to 60 euros  a megawatt-hour [$0.06 to $0.07 per kiloWatt-Hour wholesale cost], according to Carrasco. Solarstrom seeks to develop a 165-megawatt project in Extremadura along with local partners. The regional governments of Extremadura and Murcia have announced their support for the solar projects in their areas.
“We can be the first to develop a project without subsidies,” David Carrasco, Solaria’s marketing and sales director, said in an interview in June. “We will build it in the second half of 2013 because we think the cost of photovoltaic will have dropped enough by then and, given the irradiation in Spain, will be totally competitive.”
There's another factor mentioned in the article.  Utility-sized solar projects may cause localized overcapacity in the electric grid due to low electricity demand caused by the economic depression in Spain.

Even if this news is somewhat speculative, it is indeed good news especially when I see these projects based on 6 or 7 cents per kilowatt-hour wholesale prices.  Even these speculative prices are up to TWICE the cost of conventional power in the US, but still competitive in markets where retail electricity prices are $0.12 to $0.15 per kilowatt-hour.

In a recent blog, I mention that Germany's Solar Projects Are a Bust due to the lack of sunshine in Germany.    Interestingly, Spain has basically double the sunshine per annum.  Average annual sunshine in Germany is something like 1450 hours whereas Spain has close to 3000 hours of recorded sunshine per year.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Liberal Media and the Myth of Obama's Competence

My previous blog Poll: Obama's Approval Rating down to 47%, showed that the CNN/ORC poll giving Obama only 31% approval rating when it came to Obama's handling of the economy.   Well, I'm glad that there are some realistic opinions in this country.  Overall his approval rating is down to 47%.

After the shameful smear campaign against Romney last year by the Obama camp and the liberal-dominated media, it is at least somewhat satisfying for people to see SOME truth. I mean, how bad does the economy have to get, and for how long, until people realize that Obama is wrong about EVERYTHING when it comes to the economy?

Meanwhile the liberal-dominated media and their TV-consuming, celebrity-obsessed population continues consuming whatever is being fed to them by the administration-friendly, crony-elites in charge of media companies.

MSNBC Not Really a News Network

Remember that last year's smear campaign witnessed last fall against Romney and Republicans was led by MSNBC?  The network is now shown to be a propaganda network for the Democratic party according to a Pew Study.  Only 15% of reported material on that network is factual news and the balance (85%) was commentary supporting guess who?   In fact, there was NEVER any negative coverage of Obama EVER.  ALL of their "news" was really just "pro-administration", "pro-liberal" and "Romney-smearing" propaganda.  See  the results graphically below:,

The Liberal Media Will Never Expose the Myth of Obama's Competence

In my blog Grad Schools: Lower Admissions Standards for Blacks and Less Results, I explain that it is a virtually certainty that Obama coasted into Harvard on a wave of affirmative action and not based on competitive admissions test scores and/or undergraduate GPA.  Because Obama immediately sealed any and all academic records tells me that he is hiding this fact, although he's said openly that he wasn't a great student.  I believe him!  He's still a terrible student!  He continues to show me that he's unable to learn much of anything that conflicts with his leftist ideology--which is nearly everything when it comes to the economy and jobs!!  His inability to learn is consistent with only average to maybe slightly above average intelligence.

Obama might have won a Nobel Peace Prize, but it's just more (liberal) lavishing of praise on a relatively bright black (more accurately a mixed race) guy who had a minimal record of success or accomplishment. The harsher reality, and documented in my blog Blacks Score Much Lower on All IQ and Academic Tests, shows that intellectually "gifted" blacks are quite rare and that 85 to about 90% of the black population is below the white average in intelligence (ie., 85 to 90% have less than 100 IQ).  Maybe Obama is brighter than I think, but in all probability, he's 'just' somewhat above-average intellectually.  But I give all due credit for being a very good "performance artist" (actor)!!

But the press and media desperately want to paint a picture that blacks are doing so well in America. Many are, thank God!  But the election and re-election of Obama is, to some extent, more media "hype" to perpetuate a myth of general black competence. The problem is that it's not really so true.  It's not true here and it's not true in Africa either!  The truth is that a majority of blacks are really struggling and many are barely making it in this country.  The ones that are struggling or aren't making it (the majority) are taught to blame white culture. Obama likes to blame "rich people." Obama is, in fact, not making it better for blacks.

All of this is not to denigrate black folks.  But the unfortunate fact is that intelligence (IQ or academic intelligence) is highly overrated in our current culture, the vast majority blacks aren't equal to whites and this gap appears to be quite persistent.

Meanwhile, Obama continues to do damage to the country with his consistent job-killing ideology and divisive rhetoric.  He's just not that competent!  Why would you expect any more?

MSNBC is Part of the Liberal Agenda Of Painting a False Picture Regarding Race in America

Back to MSNBC, remember, the liberal media will do (and did) anything to support their "man."  Worse, because Obama is (part-)black with "above average" intelligence, nothing can ever be said to criticize his actions or lack of actions.  The entire country must endure (apparently) the interminable effort to never expose the myth of Obama's competence.  Meanwhile, nearly every initiative made by this administration hurts the economy and job creation, fails at every foreign policy initiative, undermines the Constitution and borrows against the future as the nation careens to financial disaster.  But black leaders like Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, Jesse Jackson, Jesse Jackson Jr., Obama, and virtually all elected blacks parade around inflicting harm on the country with their wrong-headed and corrupted agendas.

To hell with political correctness!  OK, bring on the death threats. 

Poll: Obama's Approval Rating Down to 47%

A CNN/ORC poll showing Obama’s approval rating down 8 points and his disapproval rating up 7 points since the propaganda campaign in September.  Fifty percent of those polled disapproved of Obama’s efforts while only 47% approved.

There's that 47% number again! It also happens to be percentage of the people not paying any taxes or more likely, having NEGATIVE taxes. Yes, I know, many of these people are retirees on social security or veterans retired on military benefits. But there are plenty of 'gimme dats' and 'welfare queens' in that number too.

The poll showed that the Democratic party had a 48% 'unfavorable' rating whereas the Republicans had a 54% 'unfavorable' view.

Here are some other results of the poll:
"Americans still respond positively to the president's personal characteristics - it's his stands on the issues that they disagree with," says Holland. "Fewer than a third approve of how the president is handling the government's budget and fiscal policies, and the White House's 'charm offensive' has not registered with the American public."
Fifty-six percent say Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with the Republicans in Congress. Not great, but less than seven in ten who feel that the Republicans are not doing enough to cooperate with Obama.
Only 31% say they approve of how the president's handling the budget and fiscal policy. Again, nothing to brag about but higher than the 19% who give the Republicans in Congress a thumbs up on the issue. And Americans are divided on whether the White House or congressional Republicans has the better budget and fiscal policies.

To summarize, sheeple respondents said that they disagreed with basically all of Obama's policies and performance but like the guy personally.  But respondents gave Republicans WORSE scores than Obama!  Obviously, Republicans have an image problem when they get worse marks on the budget!!  The do-nothing, head-in-the-sand president  couldn't hold a candle to Paul Ryan (or anyone else for that matter) when it comes to understanding budgets.  Instead, he continues to say "what problem?" while the media continues to applaud "their man."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Euro MP Nigel Farage: "Get Your Money Out While You Can"

In the interview below with Britain's straight talking European MP Nigel Farage, saying that "even in my direst predictions in my career in parliament, never did I think they would resort to stealing money from people's savings accounts.  The simple fact is that they know they cannot let any country leave, no matter how small, for "once one country goes, the whole deck of cards will come tumbling down."  "They are propping up a Eurozone that, "in the end, will collapse in disastrous failure and they are prepared to do anything,  ANYTHING to keep the Euro afloat."

Cyprus is the 5th EU country out of 17 requiring a bailout!

There is now "clear irreconcilable differences" between the North and the South of Europe and now that they have done this in one country, "they are quite capable of doing it in Italy, Spain and anywhere." The message that sends to people is "get your money out while you can." As far as his British constituents, he strongly recommends George Osborne (UK Chancellor) urge ex-pats to remove all their money and do monthly transfers from home.

Forget for a moment that RT (Russia Television) is a propaganda arm of Putin's regime:

"Do Not Invest In The Euro-Zone," he concludes, "you have to be mad to do so - as it is now run by people who do not respect democracy, the rule of law, or the basic principles upon which Western civilization is based."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Germany's Solar Projects Are a Bust

In an earlier blog, Germany Abandons Nuclear Power, I explain that Germans pay some of the highest costs for electric power in the world. Part of that high cost is the "renewable surcharge" which is used to subsidize uneconomic alternative energy sources such as wind but mainly solar power. Wind power makes sense for the windy North Sea coast if you don't mind the visual pollution, but solar is probably not an economic concept for them.

Germany is ill-suited for solar energy as it is at 50 degrees North latitude and has extensive cloud cover and weak sunshine in the winter.  There are only 1550 hours of sunshine per year in most German cities which amounts to only 17% of the year (only a cloud-free desert at the equator would have 50% sunshine).  Refer to the graph below.  But even on a sunny day, only cloud-free sunshine after about 8 or 9 am until late afternoon will give full output of solar voltaic cells.  Early morning and late afternoon sunshine gives low photo-voltaic cell output.  Clouds are also a problem.  This means that solar panels really only function at full, rated power about 1/2 of the time WHEN THE SUN IS SHINING or something like 8 to 10% of the time in Germany!  Eight percent of rated capacity is essentially nothing compared to the installed cost!   Furthermore, you have to duplicate installed generating capacity (or capacity from imports) for the other 92% of the time!

Germany Climate Graph Shows Average days of Sunlight (Click to Enlarge)
You see from the above graph, in Germany, for about 4 months, there's only about 2.5 hours of sunshine per day and this light is so low in intensity and so low on the horizon that there is very little energy can be captured.   Even in summer, where there is 7 or 8 hours per day of official sunshine, but early morning and late afternoon sunshine is too low intensity to be useful for solar energy generation.

Installed solar panels might have a large "name plate" capacity at ideal conditions and full, direct sunshine, but actual captured energy is so small that it probably will never be economic to capture solar energy with photo-voltaics in Germany.

So, yes there is a costly surge of capacity addition of solar panels in Germany, but actual production of electricity is quite low and unreliable.  What's worse if that there has to be back-up sources of power generation when wind and solar power is unavailable.

This fact is echoed in a very good Der Spiegel article "Re-evaluating Germany's Blind Faith in the Sun" which says that Germany has already committed something like 100  billion (Euros) of Solar energy subsidies in the next 20 years and is getting very little for the money for the reasons above.  The consumer has to pay this via subsidies on their already high electric bills (or taxes).

Germany Set To Import Power to Offset Closures of Nuclear Plants

As I predicted in blog, Germany Abandons Nuclear Power, Germany is scrambling to provide sources of  "real" and reliable electric power.  On Dec. 4, the Norwegian and Dutch power grid operators, Statnett and TenneT, along with the German development bank, KfW, announced plans to build a high-voltage electricity connection between Norway and Germany that would run along the seabed. The governments of Germany and Norway, which would have equal stakes in the project, agreed in June to proceed with the plan, but the final decision on whether the 1,400 MW connection actually will be built is expected in 2014. The first electricity would flow by 2018. Germany already has similar connections to Sweden and to Denmark with a total capacity of nearly 3,000 MW. This project aimed at the electricity market is part of the ongoing trend of European energy infrastructure integration.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

US Becoming Venezuela; Obama is Chavez-lite

Is America becoming Venezuela?

After all, it's the underclass of  poor and uneducated people of Venezuela who elected then re-elected Chavez who was well on his way to ruining the country.  Worse, the future is bleak as the economy has been hollowed-out for current consumption (both literally and politically).   The same story goes for Socialist Argentina--on the verge of another foreign debt default and hyperinflation.

Venezuela has a large, poor underclass who were the staunch supporters of the socialist idiot.  But the people that cast their vote "got theirs."  Well, more correctly, they "got theirs" until inflation put them right back into poverty again.   Now, there's nothing to buy on grocery shelves because of government price controls and hyperactive mismanagement of the economy by Chavez.  Even though things have worsened for everybody, the underclass continues to support their man!

America also has a large and rising underclass who re-elected their slick-talking "man" despite their condition worsening.  It is a similar situation where the people who re-elected Obama are the ones who are receiving benefits from the government without paying anything.  Free money and "no-cost" benefits are the mantra of today's Democratic Party!  Worse, we have a Federal Reserve complicit in this "grand bargain" of providing unlimited free money!  Even worse, Bernanke wants more inflation!  Has hell frozen over??  America IS Venezuela!   

Eventually the costs, well-hidden today, will become clearer.

The Outcome of Socialism Is Stagnation and Collapse

The worst is yet to come in Venezuela (and Argentina) as laws of economics reassert themselves.  Inflation and currency devaluations have sent prices up and real wages down.  Chavez only survived for as long as he did because of sky-high world-wide oil prices which has had the effect of propping up his administration (along with a host of worthless and/or harmful regimes across the world including Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran.).  His regime was an oil-financed socialism.

Meantime, he stole every foreign asset that existed and put his cronies in charge.  Like a petulant, evil emperor he fired 40,000 Petro-Venezuela employees when they had the temerity to oppose his election.   Imagine it for a second.  He fired the 40,000 professionals who ran the state oil company ruining those people's lives and denying each and every one of them a right to make a living.  Predictably oil production, mismanaged and robbed of capital, fell for Chavez's entire term in office.

When you steal every productive asset that you can get your hands on and alienating every foreign investor, then you're basically hallowing out the basis for any future production capacity. It is said that Chavez imported some 70% of the bread that he distributed for "free."  He wasn't smart enough to promote domestic bread production.  Like Obama, Chavez wasn't nearly as smart as he thought he was.  Like a true socialist idiot he lambasted any profit-making company for making money. He ordered companies like Coca-Cola to cut prices or be seized.   Then there are the price controls. Then 5 devaluations. Anybody could see where all of this ends (anybody but Chavez)

If you think there are no parallels between the US and Venezuela, then you are mistaken.  America, with the re-election of Obama, may have reached a tipping point---perhaps a point of no return.   The top 10% pay 70 % of the taxes with roughly 50% of the people paying nothing.  But those 50% continue to have "Representation without Taxation."

From Ashish Advani at Moneynews
Yet most of the people who paid nothing voted in the last election and most voted for the Democrats.  You do not have to be a genius to figure out why.
The people have become addicted to free stuff and do not want to change the system. They want to continue to depend on the government, and in turn, the government wants to continue to exert higher influence on the lives of the people so that they can get larger and become “too big to fail.”

Democrats have fallen into this trap and cannot resist expanding their influence on the lives of the masses. They want the people to be dependent on them and that makes them irreplaceable.
In an environment like this, I am very concerned about the long-term health of the country, as we are raising a growing number of government-dependent addicts rather than a group of entrepreneurs who take the bull by the horns and make it not just for themselves but also spread employment and prosperity as they grow.
Buy gold and take advantage of recent dollar strength to get out of the dollar.  It will take a long time to ruin a great country like America, but it's happening before our very eyes as socialism and populism engulf our country

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Small Business Creates the Most Jobs and ObamaCare is Killing Them

Small businesses, defined as businesses with less than 500 employees, create nearly 70% of the jobs in this country.  Unless small business creation improves or existing small businesses expand, there will continue to be little job growth in this country.  And without job growth and increasing employment, government tax revenues will remain weak and $1 Trillion gov't deficits will persist.  Growth is the only answer to our budget predicament!

Many small businesses file as Subchapter S or LLC on their Federal tax returns and are therefore affected by highest individual marginal tax rate which was recently raised in January to satisfy Obama's fetish for higher tax on the "wealthy."

ObamaCare is Killing Small Business and Their Job Creation

But both ObamaCare and higher taxes hurt business by raising costs.  ObamaCare is essentially another giant tax on business hurting small businesses the worse.  Notice that small businesses didn't receive any of the 1000's of ObamaCare waivers that the "big boys" like McDonald's got to wiggle away of the law's costly mandates.  If you're not helping small businesses then you're not helping job creation in this country.  

Our "affirmative action" President  obviously doesn't understand this otherwise he wouldn't have been hell-bent on raising taxes on those who create jobs in January. The worse thing is that he doesn't seem to be aware how ObamaCare is killing small businesses.  How could he?  I don't think that Obama has ever had a private sector job much less any business experience!!  That Obama is ideologically blind, woefully inexperienced and/or stupid is a big series of problems for our country.  People that re-elected him are also part of the problem.

Bring Back Jobs From China and Asia and Help Small Business in This Country

ObamaCare is killing small business and jobs.  How likely is that Obama will have an epiphany about his job-killing legislation? Never!  We will never have a vibrant economy as long as Obama is President!! If Obama really cared (which he doesn't) or were smart (which he isn't) he would make small businesses exempt from the requirements of ObamaCare.  This would be the first thing to do.

Second, because high taxes are an expense to business, then it's important to lower the marginal corporate tax rate to something like 25% and include small business creators who file as LLC and Subchapter S. This helps small business.

But importantly, lower corporate tax rates will make the US top rate more competitive with international tax rates and reduce the incentive for big business to shift operations overseas.  Incentives work!  The problem is that there's been incentives for big businesses to shift operations overseas due to higher taxes in the US. This affects large companies the most, but they are the ones who have created millions of jobs overseas in response to our own disincentives.  Herein lies an opportunity to bring back large numbers of these jobs back to America!

Furthermore, China and Asian cost advantages have largely dissipated in recent years due to their own wage and cost inflation.  It's highly likely that a reduced top US corporate tax rate of 25% will bring back jobs to the US from China and Asia.   This is a nascent trend already.

Bring back jobs from Asia and help the real business creators to create more jobs at home!  This will create new jobs and increase tax revenue.  
1) Reduce corporate tax rates to include Subchapter S and LLC individuals and 
2) repeal or reduce the requirements of ObamaCare that hurt small businesses.

Get Rid of the Dept of Agriculture

If you can't rid of the Department of Agriculture, then you can't do anything!  (Unfortunately, Congress and the President will continue to prove that they can't do anything!)

For example, consider the Department of Agriculture. Why do we even have a Department of Agriculture? It doesn't produce food — farmers do. It is not mandated by the Constitution, and many of its activities might be unconstitutional. For fiscal 2013, it is estimated that the Agriculture Department will spend about $155 billion and make loans of another $22 billion and additional loan guarantees of $34 billion.

The biggest single item in the Agriculture budget is food stamps and other food subsidies ($110 billion). These are welfare payments. Shouldn't they be under the Department Health and Human Services?  SNAP is a good idea, but typically eligibility has crept up so that even middle class families can qualify now.  The program was originally intended for the very poor.

The next biggest items are the farm subsidies ($29 billion). Why are we subsidizing farmers? They have much higher than average incomes and much wealth in land and equipment, and most of our food is grown on large farms. Some 70% of the agricultural subsidies go to large corporate farms.

They used to say we need to preserve the small family farm. There are very few of these left — and many small farms are hobby farms owned by people who have other sources of income.

Why do we have a $5 billion subsidy for ethanol??  At the height of last summer's drought when food and corn prices were soaring, do you think the Dept. of Agriculture or the EPA would temporarily limit the use of corn during the crisis?  NO!!  They can't do anything!  There's no one with any common sense in Washington!  There's literally no one in charge!  There's not one ounce of management in Washington!!  

We have also been told farming is "risky" due to weather factors. Most businesses are risky. An unexpected disaster or innovation by a competitor has killed many businesses. Consider what digital photography did to Kodak or what cellphones did to phone booth manufacturers.

Farmers can get private crop insurance, so why is the government providing it? Farmers can hedge their crops on commodity exchanges. High-tech firms, airlines and many other businesses don't have that option.

The fact is the private sector could and probably should do most of the things the Agriculture Department is now doing, and this is true with most government agencies. Those few things that are purely government functions within the Agriculture Department could be funded largely with user fees.

There's quite a bit of low hanging fruit if we want to chip away at out-of-control government spending, but nobody in Congress is willing to do ANYTHING!

How Do-Gooders Will Ruin Everything

You've heard about the 7 year old "pop-tart" "terrorist" suspended from school?   A 7 year old little boy managed to make a nibbled shape of his pastry into something that vaguely looked like a gun, then he pointed it at someone and said "bang, bang!"  All hell broke loose and school officials made a "federal case" out of this sending the boy home with a note to his parents telling them to shape-up and to shape-up their son.

Notice that the phrase "federal case" means that someone has over-reacted to something minor.

Do-gooders who over-react to such silly things explain why they can't be allowed to do their damage at a national level.  They do enough damage at the local level.  Sending a little boy home for school for "inappropriate" behavior (defined by silly people of course) of playing with his food is a perfect example of silly and hysterical thinking of local school officials.  The very same silliness is found in immature and "do-gooder" congressmen who, if allowed, would over-react and inflict their silliness at a vast scale.  The only way to limit this is a strict interpretation of the constitution to roll back out-of-control government programs and agencies.  Legislation to limit budget insanity will also be required (after all, the States must balance their budgets).

Hello Kitty Bubble-blowing Gun Creates a Do-Gooder 'Federal Case'

Or how about the imbeciles who labeled a 5 year old girl a "terrorist threat" for pointing her bubble making "gun" at fellow students and generally having fun?  They sent her home and was ordered to undergo psychological counseling by other "do-gooders" no doubt.   Here's George Will's take from his recent article:
Nothing surprises after that 5-year-old Pennsylvania girl was labeled a “terroristic threat,” suspended from school and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation because she talked about shooting herself and others with her Hello Kitty gun that shoots bubbles. But looking on the bright side, perhaps we should welcome these multiplying episodes as tutorials about the nature of the regulatory state that swaddles us ever more snuggly with its caring. If so, give thanks for the four Minnesota state legislators whose bill would ban “bullying” at school.
Silly and hysterical over-reaction evident in the "gun control" debate. It is sickening to see the poor thinking of elected officials incorrectly identifying the root causes of gun violence.  If you can't correctly identify the cause of a problem then you will never fix it.  For example, the biggest cause of  gun violence in the US is a portion of black males and their decadent trash "culture" of crime, gangs and drug selling.  If you were able to get rid of all criminal black men, then gun violence and crime would drop 54% and prisons would suddenly and substantially empty!  Gun violence committed during a theft, robbery or drug crime dwarfs all of the incidents and deaths associated with "crazies" who get a hold of a gun.

One last comment.  How about "do-gooder" Michael Bloomberg who is trying to micromanage New Yorkers by banning 32 oz. sodas??   Doesn't he have bigger problems to worry about?  Yes, I know obesity is a big problem, but Mr. Bloomberg can't fix it. Fortunately a court ruled his actions unlawful.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sorry, The Employment Report Wasn't Good

The March employment report came out and supposedly it was great news.  CBS Nightly News led their program with laudatory praises for all of the good news.  Supposedly 236,000 jobs were created and the unemployment rate fell a big 0.2 to 7.7%.

The household survey (which is the basis of the unemployment rate) says that the economy added 170,000 jobs.  However, a whopping 446,000 were part-time workers. This means that the economy lost 276,000 full time jobs.  Yeah, great news.

ObamaCare Distortions Continue to Mount

Businesses continue to squirm to get away from ObamaCare's costly requirements by reducing hours of employees.  You see, a part-time worker, defined as less than 30 hours per week,  is excluded from mandatory coverage in the law.  The number of part-time workers in recent employment reports have been quite high.  The BLS isn't reporting this part-time surge as "voluntary" either--presumably because it helps to present a better unemployment rate.  We have a bunch of crafty people in government dedicated to feeding you disinformation and the lame-street media is either complicit or imbecilic.  I won't even get into the ridiculous birth/death adjustments that distort the report!

People Continue to Leave the Workforce

Worse, the number of people leaving the workforce entirely was some 296,000 in the month--wiping out any reported gains.   In the past year, 1,163,000 people left the workforce meaning they aren't actively looking for work. Those people are not counted as unemployed which again helps the administration by depressing the unemployment rate.  I bet they left the workforce because they gave up looking.

Does that sound like a healthy economy to you?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Grad Schools: Lower Admission Standards For Blacks and Less Results

You know that there are two different standards for black and white admissions for the professional schools of Medicine, Law and Management, right??  

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (JBHE), details in their article The Widening Racial Scoring Gap on Standardized Tests for Admission to Graduate School the extent of the racial gap in graduate/professional school admissions tests. Not only is there a significant gap, but the article is concerned that the gap is widening. This after 40 years of affirmative action programs. The article comments frankly that without affirmative action dual standards, "the numbers and percentages of blacks in our leading graduate and professional schools would drop to very low, nearly nonexistent  levels." This is not surprising, see my blog Blacks Score Lower On All Academic Tests.

The article mentions that "there would be very few black doctors without the affirmative action standards and that could lead to a severe shortage of doctors who would be willing to relocate to black neighborhoods." But is that really true?  Do black doctors really relocate to black ghettos? Or do they go for more affluent clientele?  

A lower pass rate for black graduates for the medical doctor licensing exams and bar exams expose that the racial differences do not go away however. Significant numbers of black students do not pass the Bar exam or the Medical Licensing exams after graduation. Although it's a good thing that many pass these exams, it leaves open the question of excluding the more qualified candidates--ones that would pass their professional license exams.  In the 2003 Grutter Supreme Court decision, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor stipulated a 25-year lifetime for the continuation of affirmative action in college and university admissions.  That's only 15 years away. What then?

Law School Admissions

In fact, without dual admissions standards, there'd be nearly no black students in Law Schools.  From the above article,
"In 2004, 10,370 blacks took the LSAT examination. Only 29 blacks, or 0.3 percent of all LSAT test takers, scored 170 or above. In contrast, more than 1,900 white test takers scored 170 or above on the LSAT. They made up 3.1 percent of all white test takers. Thus whites were more than 10 times as likely as blacks to score 170 or above on the LSAT. There were 66 times as many whites as blacks who scored 170 or above on the test.
Even if we drop the scoring level to 165, a level equal to the mean score of students enrolling  t law schools ranked in the top 10 nationwide but not at the very top, we still find very few blacks. There were 108 blacks scoring 165 or better on the LSAT in 2004. They made up 1 percent of all black test takers. For whites, there were 6,689 test takers who scored 165 or above. They made up 10.6 percent of all white students who took the LSAT examination.
The nation's top law schools could fill their classes exclusively with students who scored 165 or above on the LSAT. But if they were to do so, these law schools would have almost no black students."

Medical School Admissions

The same gap is evident for medical school admissions and examinations.  From the same article:

"In 2005 the mean combined score for black students who took the Medical College Admission Test was 21.2. (Each of the three sections of the MCAT test is scored on a scale of 1 to 15.) For whites, the mean score on the combined three portions of the MCAT test was 28.5. Therefore, the white score was about 18 percent higher than the mean score for blacks. The racial gap in MCAT scores has been virtually unchanged for the past decade.
The mean total college grade point average for black applicants to medical school in 2005 was 3.18. For whites, the average GPA was 3.54. If we examine grades in the all-important science courses, the mean black GPA was 2.99. For whites, the figure is 3.44."

Bar Exam And Medical License Pass Rates Significantly Lower For Blacks

The JBHE journal article The Widening Racial Scoring Gap on Standardized Tests for Admission to Graduate School proudly reports that nearly all of the admitted black students to Law and Medical schools graduate as evidence that the different admissions standards are justified. This is indeed good news, but when it comes to later and truly objective measures, the good news doesn't quite hold up.

Both the law and medical professions have exams to certify lawyers and doctors as competent: lawyers must pass the bar exam and doctors must pass the NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners) exam to obtain licenses to practice.

From the New York Law Journal in 1996,
The Law School Admission Council issued its report in 1998, finding that 92 percent of white law-school graduates passed the bar exam on the first attempt, as did 61 percent of black graduates. [This implies a black-white mean difference of 1.13 SD continuing the persistent racial difference as discussed in my blog Blacks Score Lower On Every Academic Exam.]
The Council also reported the results of repeated attempts at the bar exam. It found that eventually 97 percent of white and 78 percent of black law graduates passed, corresponding to a black-white mean difference of 1.11 SD.
Not only do the final licensing exams show a 1.1 standard deviation on the bar exam and NBME exam, the same differences as found in the MCAT and LSAT admissions tests.

From JAMA in 1994,
The most comprehensive study of NBME pass rates was published in 1994 by Beth Dawson et al (JAMA 1994 272:9 674-9). The authors examined the performance of every medical student in the US taking the June exam for the first time over the years 1986, 1987 and 1988. Dawson and her colleagues found that white medical students passed the NBME test at a rate of 87.7 percent and blacks at 48.9 percent. These pass rates equivalent to a black-white mean difference of 1.19 SD. Mean differences for the bar and NBME exams are conspicuously similar.
The students that ultimately fail to be professionally licensed displace students that could have been licensed and were better qualified to begin with. This is the problem with affirmative action and why the many States are ending preferential admissions standards based on race (for example, see Michigan's Civil Rights Initiative.

Blacks Score Much Lower on Academic Tests

No, blacks are not intellectually equal to whites or Asians. Their IQ, Standardized tests, LSAT, MCAT, TASS, MSPAP, SAT and GRE scores are much lower---all lower than white test takers by about the same margin of 1.2 standard deviations.  Nearly 90% of black persons have IQ levels below the white average of 100. (black population median IQ=85, standard deviation=13).

This is the most denied and explosive fact of our day.  In a way, it's the most obvious thing in the world.  Nevertheless, the media continues to bend over backwards to show that blacks in America are doing just fine--showing black experts on TV, hiring black newsreaders to give the appearance of accomplishment and even shielding the first black president from any criticism of his mistakes or his poor performance.

It is politically incorrect to write any of these words.  Meanwhile, every night on the local TV news I hear about horrible crimes committed mostly by black perpetrators night after night:  robberies, violence and gun crimes.  Black males make up 6% of the population but commit 54% of the gun crimes in the US. Correspondingly black incarceration rates are about 7 or 8 times that of whites. Black families are in collapse with some 72% of children born out-of-wedlock with no father to be found.  This is just a brief description of complete collapse of black "culture" and descent into pervasive criminality.  Worse, white youth and media types have exalted "gansta" behavior as something "cool."  Yeah, everything's fine.  Let's just keep pretending that we have nothing to talk about to improve the situation!

But with the prevailing political correctness so divorced  from reality, there can't even be any discussion of appropriate mitigating measures to help the situation.

It is a fact that, in every exam measuring academic aptitude or achievement, blacks scores are about 1.1 standard deviation lower than white (and even lower versus asians).  This is true even after 40 years of affirmative action and various programs to try to close the gap. This was discussed in the books "The Bell Curve" in 1994 and "The Black-White Test Score Gap" book in 1998.  It's true whether the test is the MCAT or LSAT, the SAT, the GRE or TASS or the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program.  Regarding IQ scores, the median of the black score distribution is 85 or about 1.1 standard deviations lower than the white average of 100.

You can't blame "culture" either as the 1.1 standard deviation holds up even when comparing scores of blacks and whites vs family income or family education.  (See Appendix B below).  Test scores go up for all groups with family income or education level--but still maintaining the 1.1 standard deviation gap.  Besides, cultural differences usually mean a difference in native language which is not the case in the US.

The most striking things about this situation follows:
  1. If your IQ is 85 or less, you would be expected to qualify for fairly menial jobs with low skills.  This group is half of the US black population.  Sure enough, half of all black high school students drop-out ensuring themselves of limited opportunities.  These people have been filled with false expectations by  the media and government and blame others for their predicament.  They have an idea that they are victims of whites which is a dangerous situation. Their predicament is not really anyone's fault, but their poverty, criminality and cultural collapse is a reality.  
  2. With the distribution above, perhaps 12% of blacks are technically "mentally retarded" or at least very limited.  What as a society should we do with these people?  Do we even know what happens with these people?  Do they end up in prison?  Should we guarantee a minimum income for these people who are arguably "disabled?"
  3. 85% of black Americans have IQs less than the average white American. This is pretty astonishing. Black people are led by their leadership to blame white people for this.  The reality is that it's not anyone's fault.
  4. On the top end of the black IQ distribution is an extremely few blacks with an IQ in the gifted (>130) range. In fact, with the 130 IQ cutoff at over 3.3 standard deviations, blacks are about 50 times fewer than whites in the gifted range (see Appendix A).  Without affirmative action programs there would very few blacks in any of the elite colleges, law or medical schools. This is confirmed by none other than the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.  It is almost a certainty that Obama would not have been admitted to Harvard without reduced affirmative action standards.  See my blog Grad School: Lower Admission Standards For Blacks and Less Results
  5. Not only would there very few blacks in professional schools without affirmative action programs, the gap between black and white is widening.  See my blog Grad School: Lower Admission Standards For Blacks and Less Results.   Meanwhile the Supreme Court has called for a phase-out of raced based admissions standards in 20 years.  Then what?

Solutions Not Being Discussed Due to Racial 'Political Correctness' Problem

  1. Where's the discussion about "vocational" high school for low IQ whites and blacks who are clearly not headed for college and may be headed for drop-out status??  Why not teach reading, writing and arithmetic along with vocational skills that would lead to such vocations as a) electrician, b) plumbing, c) secretarial skills, d) cooking, e) nursing assistants, etc??  
  2. How about year 'round high schools?  How about spending some money on qualified tutors to help high schoolers in need?  How about an army of volunteers to tutor students who are struggling?  Think Peace Corps for education.
  3. Lower skilled and lower IQ people may not be worth the minimum wage.  Naturally, higher minimum wages limit jobs.  So, when Obama calls for a $9 minimum wage, he's showing that he has no knowledge of economics and hurts the very people that he's supposedly trying to help.  He's essentially advocating higher unemployment for many people, both white and black.  The minimum wage should be abolished.  
  4. From my blog entitled Academic Disaster in Detroit where young black's academic test scores are perilously close to zero results. Do you think any of those kids are worth $9 per hour?  If minimum wage is a "training wage" shouldn't it be less, not more?  How about eliminating the minimum wage altogether?
  5. Are more welfare programs helping or hurting African Americans?  
  6. Lower corporate taxes to reduce the incentive for businesses to relocate overseas. Chinese inflation has eliminated their cost advantages now.  Bring back millions of jobs that relocated to Asia over the past 15 years!  This will help everyone!  Economic sluggishness hurts poor people and low skill people the worst.  Why can't anyone other than the Republicans see this problem??  And they call the Republicans the "stupid party??"  See my blog Blog Series #2 Solutions to Big Problems.
Yeah, everything's fine.  Let's just keep pretending that we have nothing to talk about to improve the situation!

Appendix A:  Typical Bell Curve Distributions Showing Standard Deviations

The following is a chart showing a typical bell curve distribution and standard deviations.

For IQs, white IQ scores have a median of 103 points with a standard deviation of about 15 points. From the chart above, whites with an IQ of 130 or above (greater than 2 standard deviations) is about 2.2% of the population.

For black populations in the USA, their IQ scores have a mean of 85 points with a standard deviation estimated at 13 points.  The number of blacks with an IQ greater than 130 is some 3.3 standard deviations or less than 0.1% of that population.  In fact there are 50 times fewer blacks with gifted IQs (>130) than whites statistically.

It's estimated that sub-Saharan populations have IQs less than 75, but there are 'cultural' and language differences for this group. I suspect that those IQ estimates of 75 would be way too high.

Appendix B  Typical Data Comparing Black and White Standardized Test Results

Math SAT Scores Vs Family Income

Verbal SAT Scores Vs Family Income
In the graphs above, note that the best black performance is still below that the lowest income white test-taker.
Verbal SAT Scores Vs Parental Education

Math SAT Scores Vs Parental Education

Friday, March 1, 2013

Top Republicans Support Same-Sex Marriage

In an article in USA Today, 80 top Republican leaders, including many from the G.W. Bush administration, came out in favor of gay marriage by urging the Supreme Court to support gay marriage rights in upcoming cases at the court.  The article says:
More than 80 prominent leaders will file a friend of the court brief this week in advance of the justices hearing oral arguments in two gay marriage cases. These Republicans are essentially saying gay couples have a constitutional right to marry and want the court to strike down California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage.
The signers currently include former governors Jon Huntsman of Utah, Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey and William Weld of Massachusetts; former White House chief of staff Ken Mehlman and former national security adviser Stephen Hadley; and retired members of Congress, such as Mary Bono Mack of California and Deborah Pryce of Ohio.   Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman is also on record as backing the legal brief, which is a change of her previous position.
Republicans should support same-sex marriage for the following reasons:
  • We should support any and all of our fellow citizens who want to INCREASE their personal responsibility and personal commitment to others, however they define them. This should be applauded not denied.  
  • Opposition to same-sex marriage has the effect of persecuting some our fellow citizens. This persecution does the worse possible damage during stressful times of debilitating illness or death by denying same-sex couples important legal rights that are granted to hetero couples.  Remember, in Christian ethics, to love is always right and failure to love is always wrong.  Persecution and denial of basic rights is a failure to love.
  • Denying same-sex partners the right to marriage, which has the effect of ostracizing and persecuting them, does nothing to change their orientation or behavior---it just makes their already difficult life more difficult.  And for what?   Gay opponents can't condemn same-sex partners for their frivolous lifestyle and lack of commitment AND then deny them the means to make lasting commitments!  They can't have it both ways.
  • There isn't the slightest shred of evidence that same-sex marriage does anything harmful to the existing institution of marriage.  Same-sex marriages will always be a small number in the general population, say less than 1% of total married couples, so there's no threat to the majority.  
  • Speaking of the majority, same-sex marriages should be protected by the Constitution to overcome the "tyranny of the majority."
Some readers might have a negative opinion of gay folks.  However, the reality is that you likely already love a gay person.  There's always a gay member of the family or gay friend of the family that is already loved or held in high esteem. You just don't know it because they are embarrassed to tell you due to excessive stigma in this culture.

Academic Disaster In Detroit

recent article on Detroit mentions that, on standardized academic assessments, the performance of the Detroit students in academic assessments were so bad that they were on par with students just chance guessing on the responses.

This is despite Detroit being the 8th most expensive school district out of 555 districts in Michigan.  This is no doubt due in part to public unions.  It's also the tendency of politicians to "throw more money at a problem."  The problem is obviously not money. The problem is African Americans themselves, their collapsed families and culture, the teacher's unions, and the Democratic Party.  It also shows the folly of "throwing" more money at a problem: it doesn't work!

Unless this disastrous decline can be reversed, there is nothing but misery and dependency for these people. Everyone knows that without sound education and skills, there are no opportunities in this lousy economy.

Powerful Unions and Incompetence
From Jarrett Skorup at Mackinac Center from February 2012, he explains the teachers unions avoided reform and opportunity at every turn.
 It is now conventional wisdom among the political class that higher pay for teachers and increased spending per student lead to improvements in teacher quality and student performance -— Detroit Public Schools strongly suggests that this theory must be rejected. It has chronically underperformed state averages, yet reforms are vehemently opposed by the system's powerful school employee union.
At the same time that union, the Detroit Federation of Teachers, has won rich salary and benefits packages for its members. Detroit spends one of the highests amounts of money per student nationwide and the district's spending per pupil is eighth highest out of Michigan's 551 school districts. For all that, by almost any measure Detroit schools have for decades failed their students: test scores, safety, drop out rates, etc. Detroit's public school students perform among the lowest in the state. On a 2009 test for urban districts from the U.S. Department of Education, DPS students performed "barely above what one would expect simply by chance, as if the kids simply guessed at the answers."
In the private sector such failure would result in mass firings for unsatisfactory performance. No doubt such a response would be condemned by the progressives who support the school employee unions that have made similar actions impossible in their institutions, and have opposed major transformation at every turn.
For example, in 2003 philanthropist Bob Thompson offered $200 million to build 15 charter public schools in the city in which he would guarantee a 90 percent graduation rate. In response, the DFT balked because charter schools are not unionized. The outcome was that the union jobs trumped better outcomes for children.
People vote with their feet, and all the above suggests why, over the past decade, DPS has lost about 10,000 students each year to charter, independent and suburban schools
Detroit Test Results
The national test was developed by the Governing Board, the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education and the Council of the Great City Schools.
There is no jurisdiction of any kind, at any level, at any time in the 30-year history of NAEP that has ever registered such low numbers,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council on Great City Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of urban school districts.

“They are barely above what one would expect simply by chance, as if the kids simply guessed at the answers,” he said.
Detroit's fourth graders received an overall score of 200 on a scale of 0-500, putting the city dead last among the other 17 large central U.S. cities grouped together in the NAEP test.

In the eighth-grade testing group, a full 77 percent of the 1,000 students tested fell into the below-basic category, while 18 percent performed at the basic level, 4 percent scored at the proficient level and, again, zero scored at the advanced level.
Ban public unions!  Ban teacher's unions!