Friday, January 6, 2012

NFL Playoffs: Go Steelers!; Jobs Surge: Real or Mirage? Teachers: Where Do Your Union Dues Go?; Obama Cutting Defense; Angelina Jolie's Directorial Debut; Congressional Crook Update

There continues to be some controversy surrounding the Iowa Caucus votes. About a half-hour ago, they found 8 more votes for Al Gore---Letterman

  • As many know, I'm a big Steeler fan. But I'd a tad worried about this game against Denver. For one, Tebow just might have God on his side (but we have him too---we won 6 Super Bowls for God's sake---no pun intended). The other concern I have is the team itself. Before the game begins, the Steelers will need to discharge half the team from the hospital. It's riddled with injuries (Ben's ankle is still in bad shape and most athletes rest an injury like that for at least 4 weeks. He's played on it most of that time). Finally, the altitude can play havoc on some athletes. Steeler Safety Ryan Clark is not even allowed to play because the last time he played in that altitude his Sickle Cell trait resulted in life threatening complications for him resulting in the removal of his spleen and gall bladder. But the Steelers defense should carry the day.

  • Those who follow my blog know I like to start with some type of humor, joke or story. I lean on The Onion a lot because I like that kind of humor. I also use a lot of late night jokes from Leno, Letterman, Kimmel and others. But the media bias is even prevalent with them. For example, Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs found that the late night comedians take three times as many shots at Republicans and conservatives as they did Democrats. And their survey for 2011 didn't even include the shots by Stewart and Colbert against Republicans. For example, Herman Cain was a target almost 200 times. Perry almost 190 and Bachmann about 130 (I thought she would be higher quite frankly). On the other hand, Letterman joked about Obama only 77 times and Leno about 170 (he always appeared more balanced to me). By the way, Romney was a target about 80 times (if you recall, he was nowhere to be seen for the previous 3 years. They probably just forgot about the guy).
  • So there appears to be good news with the unemployment rate dipping to 8.5%. It's always good to see that number go down. But is this real or a mirage? For example, Morgan Stanley reports that of the 200,000 jobs created, 42,000 are seasonal. Also, as Reuters points out, the "real" unemployment rate---called the "broad measure of unemployment"--- is much higher at 15.2%. Right now, almost 24 million Americans are either out of work or underemployed. So while we will see the enablers of the administration tout this as good news---and perhaps it is---it's too early to tell.
  • And as much of the media praises these numbers, keep in mind our debt is swiftly going to surpass $16 trillion.
  • Some teachers in NYC might be wondering where their union dues go. Well, we have an answer. The NY Post found the following:  Almost $4 million was spent on "political activities and lobbying." (code for: spending on Democrat candidates)  $400,000 was on NY Communities for Change or formally known as ACORN. And almost $400 grand was spent on such needed items as T-shirts, beanies, buttons, political-action chains and stuff with the UFT logo. These numbers did NOT include the campaign spending by the union's political arm.
  • If you go to Open and check out "heavy hitters," you will find the following: The National Education Association gave 82% or over $37 million to Democrats. The AFT or American Federation of Teachers gave 90% or almost $32 million (by the way, Republicans got a big fat Zero, nada, nothing, nic from the AFT).
  • One more thing. According to the Center for Public Integrity, those teacher union presidents make a real nice buck. For 2009-2010, the NEA president had a salary of just under $400k a year (this does not count free pencils). The AFT president made $428 grand a year.

  • Republicans are not happy with Pres. Obama's ordering the cutting of about a half-trillion dollars in defense funds. Quite frankly, I've not had a chance to review this as closely as I'd like. But, on the first go-around, I'm not too thrilled. As one observer said, the U.S. now has a four-legged stool and the president wants to cut off two legs (he plans on making major cuts in the Army and the Marines).
  • I sincerely believe the first real test for Republican candidates will not be New Hampshire, not even South Carolina. It will be in Florida. Florida is more diverse. Iowa and New Hampshire are mostly white and older. Those two state represent great Americans but not all Americans.

  • But there is some good news today. My girl, Angelina Jolie's movie and her directorial debut, received some good reviews. Her film, In the Land of Blood and Honey, opens today in theatres. It's a film about the Bosnian War in the 1990's. Dab-Nabit, I love when she looks at me like that.

  • Just a reminder, the guy above is still in Congress.
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