The New Jim Crow – Racism or Class?

An interesting view from Author Robert D. Putnam on inequalities in American society and the economy. Putnam believes that racism isn’t the major impediment to economic mobility in the country anymore – class is. And as far as that goes he may be correct. However, in weighing whether racism is an issue – a lot depends on just what you define as “racism”. The conservative view of that is “we aren’t hanging you from trees and burning down your homes anymore – so there is no racism”. Of course to anyone else with an IQ above freezing water – racism is a lot more nuanced that just physical acts of depravity. I mean – just because you aren’t shooting me – doesn’t mean you aren’t trying to kill me with a knife.

Robert Putnam: Class Now Trumps Race as the Great Divide in America

Robert D. Putnam, author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, issued a strong warning to anti-poverty advocates at a forum on social connectedness at the Aspen Ideas Festival Saturday, urging the audience to get beyond talking about poverty and race and start thinking about social mobility and class instead.

“Those two conceptual moves, framing it as poverty and thinking about it as a matter of race, have a very deep history… and I think both politically and analytically that’s an almost fatally flawed framework,” said Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, in response to remarks from co-panelists Anne Mosle, vice president of policy at the Aspen Institute, and Mario Small, chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.

“You say poverty to most ordinary Americans, most ordinary voters, they think black ghettos,” he continued, whereas over the last couple of generations “class, not race is the dominant — and becoming more dominant — dimension of difficulty here.”

“Relatively speaking, racial differences controlling for class are decreasing while class differences controlling for race are increasing in America,” he said. “Non-white folks with a college education are looking more and more like white folks with a college education and white folks who haven’t gotten beyond high school are looking more and more like nonwhite folks who haven’t finished high school.” Continue reading

Entrepreneurship and Immigrants

Just the immigrants in California do more for the country than a whole Red State full of  Tea Bigots! Not the least because these immigrants aren’t trying to bring the whole country down because we have a black President like the treason sipping Tea Bigot Republicans are.

Indeed…Save America! Deport a Tea Bigot!

In any event – a salute to those entrepreneurs, who got nothing to do with Silicon Valley…

And everything to do with true American grit!

And often, investment from financial sources outside of the US, which do a far better job at “micro-financing” than the herd mentality, often self destructive American Venture Capital market. That is changing with some of the web based “Crowdfunding” investment models like Rock The Post designed around the needs of small businesses which often only need $10000-200,000 – and not generally millions. New legislation allows small individual investors to purchase up to $1 million in stock or equity, without being restricted by State Blue Sky laws.  Here is how it works.

Insofar as the large number of immigrants starting businesses because of the lack of employment opportunities – about 30% of US incorporations are done by black Americans for much the same reason.

California leads U.S. in immigrant entrepreneurship, study finds

Gloria Suen owns Li Hing of Hong Kong, one of California's many immigrant-owned small businessesImmigrants own 33% of California’s small businesses, the highest share in the U.S., and make up 27% of the state’s population.

When Gloria Suen opened a retail shop in Chinatown, she and her sister knew so little English they could barely decipher the rules and regulations that govern small businesses. But she asked advice from anyone who would listen and persevered.

“In those days, I had to work 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” she said. “I had to, little by little, learn.”

Today her family-owned small business, Li Hing of Hong Kong, sells ornate Chinese antiques and fine crafts to businesses and homes across the U.S.

Li Hing is part of a movement pushing California to the forefront of a national trend: The state leads the nation in the percentage of businesses owned by immigrants, a share that exceeds the demographic’s proportion of the general population.

One-third of small-business owners in the state are immigrants, according to a report published Thursday by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a New York-based think tank. About 27% of the state’s population was born in a foreign country, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Continue reading

Crime Doesn’t Pay – The Wasabi Zombie…And Other Stories

Things are getting weird out there!

This epicurean proto-Zombie decided to spice – up his girlfriend, perhaps in anticipation of the “main course”!

Using her jeans.

I mean… Dang! Most of us guys are pretty happy just getting our love interests, wives,  or girlfriends out of their jeans!

Man Arrested for Attacking Girlfriend With Wasabi

John McGuinness, 22, was arraigned Friday in Barnstable District Court on charges of domestic assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and intimidation of a witness after he allegedly attacked his girlfriend.

In the very early hours of Friday morning, Barnstable police responded to the intersection of Route 149 and Willimantic Drive for a report that a young woman had been assaulted, according to police reports.

At the scene, the victim told officers that she and McGuinness had been at the Fox Hole Bar in Osterville to watch the Boston Celtics game. On the way home, the victim received a text message from a male friend. This angered McGuinness and the couple argued until the victim dropped him off at his home, according to the report.

While she was driving home, the victim received a text message from McGuinness who said he was throwing a $200 pair of her jeans outside. The victim drove back to find McGuinness outside with her pants, which he had covered in wasabi sauce, according to the police report.

McGuinness then forced down the window of the victim’s car and took her cellphone, which spurred her to get out of the vehicle, according to the police report.

Once she was out, McGuinness hit the victim in the face with the jeans, getting wasabi sauce in her eyes.

Then, while the victim tried to clean her eyes and fled, he poured more sauce in her car, the report said.

Police arrested McGuinness at his home on Roseland Terrace.

In the “Crime Doesn’t Pay” category – there is the result of a recent study that Bank Robbery, in particular is a poor paying occupation, The average US Bank Robber only nets $4,330 – which, when you account fo an average 10 year jail stay if they are caught…

Is a measly $433/yr. I mean you can make that much or more – (a week!) Flipping Burgers for minimum wage. And not have to worry nights about the 6’4″ 350lb Bubba sharing a cell with you.

Robbing banks a bad idea for crooks from economic standpoint

Bonnie and Clyde

Infamous Bank Robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow didn’t make much money robbing banks

Crime doesn’t pay, at least not very well, when it comes to robbing banks, a new study finds. With unprecedented access to financial data from British banks, economists have shown that bank robbers don’t make a lot of money, certainly not enough to justify the risks involved in such an armed robbery. “The return on an average bank robbery is, frankly, rubbish,” the researchers wrote in the statistics journal Significance. “It is not unimaginable wealth.” It is so low, in fact, that it is not financially worthwhile for banks to install screens that could further reduce robberies.

Economist Neil Rickman of the University of Surrey and his colleagues were given unusual access to financial data from the British Bankers’ Assn. Such data about robberies are not normally disclosed to the public because it is commercially sensitive and could potentially encourage copycat robbers. Treating bank robbery as a business like any other, they used normal statistical measures to calculate profitability.

In 2007, there were 106 bank robberies or attempted robberies at the 10,500 bank branches, compared with 7,500 robberies of other businesses. (In the U.S. in 2006, there were about 12,000 bank robberies.) Although bank robberies in Southern California tend to occur in higher numbers at branches near freeway entrances, the British team found no link to branch size, branch location, or how busy a particular branch is. Of all those robbed, only 13 were targeted twice and only one three times. About a third of attempted robberies were unsuccessful, and about 20% of the successful robbers were ultimately caught and convicted.

The average take in a British bank robbery is a modest 12,706.60 euros (about $15,887) per person, compared with an average of $4,330 in U.S. bank robberies. Given that the average U.K.wage for fully employed people in Britain is about 26,000 euros, a bank robbery “will give him a modest lifestyle for no more than 6 months.” If he robs two, he will still have only a modest lifestyle. Four robberies, and the odds are excellent that he will land in jail. “As a profitable occupation, bank robbery leaves a lot to be desired,” the authors wrote. (A similar analysis of drug dealing in the book “Freakonomics” explains why most low-level dealers live with their mothers: The activity is so unprofitable that they cannot afford a place of their own.) That may be why bank robberies are declining in the U.K. and the U.S…

Bill Maher – Who is More Successful – Obama or Romney?

Interesting viewpoint…

 

 

Stupid Deal of the Decade? Magic Johnson Group Buys LA Dodgers for $2 billion…

There are good investments…and bad.  Paying out $2 billion for a Sports Franchise in a sport which is on the way down – is definitely one of those “bad” investment ideas. Seems to me $2 b could be better spent buying a NFL Franchise (Several of which are actually worth $2 B or more) or investing in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), which is about the fastest growing professional sport out there right now. The list of the Top 50 Professional Sports Franchises in the World looks like this.

So… Why but the Dodgers?

I hope Magic hasn’t lost his business “magic”!

Group Led by Magic Johnson Wins Auction to Buy Dodgers for $2.15 Billion

In a quick, dramatic end to the year-long financial crisis of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team’s owner, Frank McCourt, agreed to sell the team Tuesday night for $2.15 billion to a group headed by Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ Hall of Famer.

The Johnson group’s deal, financed largely by Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services firm, includes $2 billion for the team (minus $412 million in debt) and $150 million to create a joint venture with McCourt on the parking lots and land surrounding Dodger Stadium. The deal is valued at $2.3 billion.

If the all-cash deal is approved by the judge overseeing the Dodgers’ bankruptcy, the price will be the most ever paid for a professional sports team.

The most ever paid for a franchise is at least $1.4 billion for Manchester United. The Miami Dolphins were sold for $1.15 billion and the Chicago Cubs were acquired for $845 million. McCourt, who bought the team in 2004 for $421 million, had resisted selling the real estate, preferring to rent the lots for $14 million a year to the team’s new owner. But the Johnson group suggested the joint venture on the land, said a person briefed on the sale but not authorized to speak publicly.

The deal will let McCourt repay a $150 million loan made to the team last year by Major League Baseball and his $130 million divorce settlement to his ex-wife, Jamie.

The winning bid defeated one by Stan Kroenke, the billionaire owner of the St. Louis Rams, Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets, and a second from two other billionaires: Steven A. Cohen, the hedge-fund manager who recently bought a small share of the Mets, and Patrick Soon-Shiong, who made his money in pharmaceuticals.

The final steps in the process came rapidly. McCourt’s investment banker, Blackstone, asked each bidder to raise their offers Monday night.

Baseball owners approved all three bidders Tuesday afternoon and later in the evening McCourt selected on the Johnson group. An announcement was made shortly after 11 p.m. eastern.

In addition to Johnson and Guggenheim Partners, the winning group includes Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and Peter Guber, the film producer and head of Mandalay Entertainment.

The agreement to sell the Dodgers to Johnson’s group appears to end an extraordinary year for the team. It filed for bankruptcy last June after Selig blocked a new, long-term billion-dollar cable TV deal between the Dodgers and Fox Sports. Selig had sharply criticized McCourt’s management of the team — in particular his use of team money for his and his ex-wife’s personal use — and installed a monitor to oversee the team’s operations. McCourt called that a hostile takeover.

More Questions About Wyclef’s Yele Haiti Charity

Met Wyclef a few months ago, and was quite impressed with his planning knowledge around his charity. This was a stand around over some coffee informal chat – so to be honest it certainly wasn’t some sort of in-depth talk like an investigative reporter might do. He’s a bit on the shy side, and I was rather shocked when he walked up to me and introduced himself. I had seen him in the airport lounge a half dozen times, but he was always surrounded by security. I don’t approach celebrities when I see them, because I feel that is a violation of their privacy.

I see all the stuff Yele is doing in Haiti with local people while travelling from place to place. One of their ongoing campaigns is to keep the drains along the streets clear so that runoff doesn’t pool and form potential locations for cholera to fester. They also hire crews of locals to sweep the streets, collecting some of the millions of bottles and water containers which seem to cover Port au Prince. Their bright yellow shirts are likely to appear anywhere, but I don’t know enough about all they are working on to say whether there is any overall strategy to it – or what other things they may be working on.

I suspect that when they are down to picking on Wyclef’s charity, there is a bit of cover up on how badly some of the International and US Governmental AID organizations have effed up. Almost everywhere you turn, little of the money promised has come through. Even money supposedly committed winds up being diverted, sometimes for nefarious reasons. Worse, there continues to be a massive level of confusion as to how to prioritize projects – despite the needs being pretty straightforward. Lastly, there is apparent collusion between some of those very same “Aid” and “US Governmental” organizations and the criminal drug cartels. If the Cartels are big enough to buy whole governments – they certainly can buy their own AID agency to promote and assist with moving their merchandise.

There was supposed to be $12 billion in International and US AID money… How that never got spent could well make the boys at Enron blush with envy. They are picking on Wyclef’s $16 million… But what about the $3.2 billion donated to the Clinton/Bush fund? As far as I know, none of the Clinton/Bush money has been “disappeared”, but there certainly are other fruitful areas to audit.

Wyclef Jean Defends Yele Charity, Again

The Washington Post is reporting that musician and activist Wyclef Jean is responding to a recent report by the New York Post questioning the spending of Jean’s charitable organization, the Yele Haiti Foundation, again. The New York Post reported that the foundation collected $16 million in 2010, but less than a third of that went to emergency efforts. The Post also says that $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t appear to exist.

Jean says that he is proud of what the foundation has accomplished after the earthquake almost two years ago. He says his Yele Haiti Foundation rebuilt an orphanage and set up a system of outdoor toilet and shower facilities in one of the largest shanties in the Haitian capital.

The star told the Miami Herald:

“The Post [New York Post] conveniently fails to acknowledge that the decisions that Yele made were a response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters in modern history and required an immediate humanitarian response,” Jean said in a written statement. “We made decisions that enabled us to provide emergency assistance in the midst of chaos and we stand by those decisions.”

We find it interesting that media outlets are so focused on following Jean’s paper trail while ignoring others. What about countries that pledged to send aid to Haiti and still have yet to do so — including the United States, because of congressional shenanigans? The lesson here should be that people should actually donate money to organizations that are in the business of rebuilding after disaster relief, not just famous faces that are known for being musical geniuses. The two don’t translate, much like the numbers.

Read more at the Washington Post.

Another Connection Between Republicans and Foreign Terrorists

Now that the Republican Candidate Group of Dwarves has selected a new, new, new  blast-from-the-past leader in Neut Gingrich – it may be interesting to go back and see how some of these same Republicans of Neut’s era are connected to terrorists, dictators, and mass murderers. For instace Bob Barr, Neut’s “hit man” during the Clinton Impeachment scandal has been working for former Haitian Dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier. Indeed, most of the nonexistent WMDs Saddam Hussein was supposed to have had – were made in the USA under the Raygun Administration and given to him…

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that there are even more nefarious connections between Republicans and terrorists.

Renegade US Group Wanted to Help Gadhafi—for $10M

Terrorism expert Neil Livingstone hopes to be Montana’s Republican nominee for governor next year—but voters may be turned off by his involvement in a bizarre scheme to help Moammar Gadhafi get out of Libya. Livingstone and the rest of his team—a veteran CIA officer, a Republican political operative convicted of scamming a baseball PAC, a Kansas City lawyer, and a Belgian engineer—offered to find Gadhafi an escape route and a way to keep some of his billions in return for a fee of at least $10 million, the New York Times reports.

“The idea was to find them an Arabic-speaking sanctuary and let them keep some money, in return for getting out,” according to Livingstone, who says the plan was aborted after the team failed to receive US government permission to receive funds from Libya. After the fall of the Gadhafi regime, however, a letter was found from the Belgian to Gadhafi offering the team’s lobbying services to win US government support for the dictator. Livingstone—described in the letter as the “recognized best American anti-terrorism expert”—says he hadn’t seen the letter before this week, and it greatly distorts the team’s intentions.

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