Posted on 14th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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I simply don’t understand why Eagles fans have a bad reputation. Just because we booed Santa Claus, threw ice balls at Jimmy Johnson, regularly throw NY Giants fans down the steps at Lincoln Financial, and are generally drunk before entering the stadium, we are misunderstood. What’s this guy complaining about? This was just a harmless prank. So she stole his leg. At least she left it on the subway while making her escape. The best part is that people took pictures of her with the leg rather than stop her from stealing it. No one on the subway thought it unusual that a drunk woman with two real legs was carrying a prosthetic leg?

Now for the best part. This dude has previously been on the Jerry Springer Show for having his leg stolen. Only in America.

Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer

Sonny Forriest Jr. leaned back in his recliner, stretched out his prosthetic leg, and let out a booming laugh at the sight of his own face on the television.

He was running on just a few hours of sleep. His phone kept buzzing with calls. And he was still wearing the Eagles jersey he had sported Sunday night when, he says, a drunk woman fell into his lap at a tailgate party, grabbed his $2,000 prosthetic leg from the armrest of his motorized scooter, and ran off.

Despite his predicament, Forriest had sung, laughed, and hugged other tailgaters as he recounted the story to reporters – and captured national attention.

On Monday afternoon, after a SEPTA employee found his leg on a subway train and police returned it to him, he was feeling charitable.

“She don’t need to go to jail,” he said of the young woman who allegedly stole his leg. (No arrests have been made in the case.) Still, though: “They think it’s a joke,” he said, referring to the culprit, “but it was serious with me.”
Forriest, 57, is a fixture at Philadelphia sporting events, known for his signature blue scooter, equipped to hold a boom box, and his enthusiastic renditions of soul classics with lyrics modified to cheer the team to victory.

At his house in Ogontz, he has framed photos of himself at games and newspaper articles on his now-familiar presence in the tailgating lots outside Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field.

Forriest, whose given name is Elbert Giddings, grew up in Philadelphia and has lived in the city most of his life. He said he served in the Army from 1974 to 1982 and attained the rank of sergeant.

He lost his left leg due to an infection after being shot in 1995.

A soul singer and guitarist, Forriest says he played with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and the Intruders.

He started showing up at Phillies games in his scooter around 2008. He quickly became a fan favorite, even traveling to Clearwater, Fla., for a spring training game in 2011. (He ended up being cited by Clearwater police for singing too loudly.)

“I just enjoy it,” Forriest said, adding that he suffers from depression. “This keeps me going.”

Sunday’s incident is not the first time someone has stolen his prosthetic, he said. While on tour with the Intruders, he said, a tryst gone sour prompted another woman to steal the leg.

He later appeared on an episode of The Jerry Springer Show to tell that story, displaying the same buoyancy with which he faced Sunday’s theft.

Forriest said he was singing with a group of tailgaters in a Citizens Bank Park lot on Sunday when the young woman fell into his lap. The woman, who appeared to be intoxicated, apologized for breaking his microphone in her fall and offered to pay for it, he said. But seconds after she left, Forriest said, he realized his prosthetic leg was missing.

“It was on the armrest of my chair, and she jumped up and was gone with it,” he said. His first thought, he said, was an expletive.

His second thought: “Why would she do something like that?”

A SEPTA employee found the leg several hours later, on a subway train at the end of the Broad Street Line, and it was returned to Forriest late Sunday.

Though he was exhausted by the experience, he said, he was grateful for the support he had received from friends and fans alike. He had even come up with an alternative to jail time for the woman who made off with his leg.

“She should go to the Veterans Administration,” he said, “and help some disabled vets.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20141014_Female_Eagles_fan_steals_street_singer_s_prosthetic_leg.html#L2EG5Jgcw2M6TLKC.99



Posted on 10th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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This was the top story on my local news last night. I couldn’t help but crack up at the sheer idiocy of our country and the morons inhabiting it at this point in history. You have a moron on an airplane who sneezes and then makes a bad joke that he has ebola, stating “I have Ebola, you are all screwed.” We all know idiots like this guy who make inappropriate jokes at the wrong time and the wrong place. You shake your head and mentally note what a douchebag they are. The moron tells everyone he was joking. In a rational world where common sense takes precedence, everyone would go about their business, exit the plane and enjoy their vacation. No, we don’t live in a rational world. The authorities overreact and send goofballs in goofy looking blue hazmat suits onto the plane. The passengers are amused and rolling their eyes, as they know it is nothing but a farce.

They should have had Tommy from Goodfellas handle the situation. He’s a funny guy too.

SHOCKING moment men in Ebola protection suits board plane

This shocking moment occurred on US Airways Flight 850 when a man believed to have been in Africa and had Ebola was removed from the plane. Men in protection suits boarded the flight in what was later confirmed to be a Hazmat team rushed to meet US plane in Dominican Republic after passenger sneezed and yelled ‘I have Ebola!’

A US Airways flight from Philadelphia landed in the Dominican Republic and was immediately greeted by health officials after a passenger decided to make a stupid joke.

Four Hazmat officers rushed onto US Airways plane from Philadelphia.

He was detained and taken for testing, exclaiming: ‘I ain’t been to Africa’.

255 passengers forced to stay on board for two hours until he was cleared.

Punta Cana Airport bosses said he is ‘unbalanced’ and ‘did it for attention’.




Posted on 9th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Here we go again. After a two year Wall Street engineered fraudulent boost in home prices in the exact markets that led the bubble in 2003 through 2007, the delusional dolts are now acting like the increase in home equity is real. Do delusional idiots congregate in California, Nevada, Florida, Arizona and Ohio for a reason? The morons in these markets are ramping up new home equity lines of credit at a 60% to 90% pace over the prior year.

It’s as if the lesson of the previous bubble was completely forgotten in a couple years. Are these people really that dumb? The housing market started rolling over six months ago. Prices peaked, new single family home sales peaked, existing home sales peaked and the Wall Street investors are exiting stage left. Now the very same Wall Street hucksters want you to borrow against the artificially inflated value of your house and spend that money on more shit you don’t need, or to lease a brand new Escalade. It’s called the American Way. So it goes.

Via RealtyTrac

HELOC Share of Total Loans at Highest Level Since 2008

Biggest Jumps in Inland California, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Phoenix

RVINE, Calif. – Oct. 9, 2014 — RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the nation’s leading source for comprehensive housing data, today released its first-ever U.S. Home Equity Line of Credit Trends Report, which found that in the 12 months ending in June 2014 a total of 797,865 Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) were originated nationwide, up 20.6 percent from a year ago and the highest level since the 12 months ending in June 2009.

The report also shows HELOC originations accounted for 15.4 percent of all loan originations nationwide during the first eight months of 2014, the highest percentage since 2008.

“This recent rise in HELOC originations indicates that an increasing number of homeowners are gaining confidence in the strength of the housing recovery and, more importantly, have regained much of their home equity lost during the housing crisis,” said Daren Blomquist. “Nearly 10 million homeowners nationwide, representing 19 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage, now have at least 50 percent equity in their homes, according to RealtyTrac data. Meanwhile the percentage of homeowners with severe negative equity has decreased from 29 percent in the second quarter of 2012 to 17 percent in the second quarter of this year.

“The rise in HELOCs also reflects a natural evolution for a lending industry looking for products they can offer to homeowners who have already refinanced their first position loan into a low fixed rate,” Blomquist added. “A HELOC enables homeowners to leverage additional equity they may have gained since refinancing while still preserving the rock-bottom interest rate on their first position loan.”

Inland California, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Phoenix post biggest annual increases
Among the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas with HELOC data available, 49 posted year-over-year increases in HELOC originations in the 12 months ending in June 2014. The only metro area with a decrease was Rochester, N.Y., where HELOC originations decreased 1 percent.

Metro areas with the biggest year-over-year increase in HELOC originations were Riverside-San Bernardino in Southern California (87.7% increase), Las Vegas (85.1% increase), Cincinnati (81.0% increase), Sacramento (65.1% increase), and Phoenix (60.1% increase).

Major metros with the smallest increases in HELOC originations from a year ago were Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.2 percent increase), Louisville, Ky., (3.3 percent increase), Philadelphia (3.6 percent increase), Virginia Beach (4.3 percent increase), and St. Louis (5.6 percent increase).

U.S. HELOC originations 76 percent below 2005-2006 peaks
Despite the year-over-year increases, HELOC originations were well below their peaks from the previous housing boom. Nationwide, the 797,865 HELOC originations in the 12 months ending in June 2014 were 76 percent below the previous peak of 3,299,007 in the 12 months ending in June 2006. The 15.4 percent share of HELOCs year-to-date nationwide was also below the 24.7 percent share in 2005.

HELOC originations were below their previous peaks in 49 out of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas. The only exception was Pittsburgh, where HELOC originations reached a new peak in the 12 months ending in June 2014.

Major metro areas with the biggest decrease in HELOC originations in 2014 compared to their previous peaks were Riverside-San Bernardino (down 93 percent), Las Vegas (down 92.9 percent), Miami (down 92.5 percent), Tucson, Ariz., (down 92.4 percent), and Orlando (down 92.2 percent).

HELOCs biggest share of originations in Honolulu, Upstate NY, Cleveland, Milwaukee
Among the nation’s 50 largest metro areas, those with the highest share of HELOC originations as a percentage of all loan originations year-to-date in 2014 were Honolulu (43.5 percent), Rochester, N.Y., (38.7 percent), Buffalo, N.Y., (32.1 percent), Cleveland (28.5 percent), and Milwaukee (27.5 percent).

Major metro areas with the lowest share of HELOC originations as a share of all loan originations year-to-date in 2014 were Las Vegas (5.8 percent), Dallas (6.5 percent), Riverside-San Bernardino (7.7 percent), Houston (7.9 percent), and Tucson, Ariz. (8.0 percent).

Other markets where HELOC originations represented less than 10 percent of all loan originations year-to-date in 2014 were Atlanta (8.1 percent), San Antonio (8.6 percent), Oklahoma City (9.2 percent), and Austin (9.9 percent).

Report methodology
The RealtyTrac U.S. Home Equity Line of Credit Trends Report provides counts of HELOC loans originated and the HELOC share of total loans originated using mortgage and deed of trust records collected in more than 900 counties nationwide with a combined population of more than 240 million, representing 78 percent of the U.S. population. Home Equity Lines of Credit are non-purchase loans that are secured by the equity (the appraised market value of that property minus any other loans secured by that property) and can be used by homeowners to fund home improvement projects or other purchases.



Posted on 7th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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This might be the first rational action taken by the City of Philadelphia in the last 30 years. These idiots convinced the slimy politicians in Harrisburg to pass a $2 per pack cigarette tax a few weeks ago to supposedly raise $80 million per year to fund the bloated Phila School District budget. Now the government drones have admitted the tax won’t raise $80 million and they are still projecting a $7 million deficit for this year and a $71 million deficit for next year. The teachers’ union salary, benefits and pensions are gold plated and will surely bankrupt the City of Philadelphia.

It looks like someone grew some balls and out of the blue, the School District revoked the union contract and is now implementing reasonable sharing of healthcare costs to reduce annual expenditures by $44 million. It’s a great first step, but the pensions are where the real money is going. Someone at the state level has to grow a pair to fix the pension problem. And by fix I mean cut the gold plated benefits of all government workers.

The greedy corrupt unions should willingly work with the corrupt politicians to reduce their gold plated benefits now or face getting 20 cents on the dollar when these municipalities  declare bankruptcy within the next five years.

Instead the teachers’ union drones will strike, protest, and sue the city. The liberal rag newspapers will write stories about the poor children. Same shit, different day. It’s time to tell all government unions to fuck off.

SRC revokes teachers’ contract, changes health benefits, redirects $44 million to schools

by on Oct 06 2014
Photo: Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

School Reform Commission Chair Bill Green (left) and Superintendent William Hite speaking to the media after Monday’s meeting.


After 21 months of fruitless labor talks, the School District made a bold move Monday to unilaterally restructure teachers’ health benefits and send $44 million in savings directly back to schools.

At a special meeting that was barely publicized until hours before its 9:30 a.m. start, with no public testimony before acting, the School Reform Commission unanimously voted to cancel the contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers in order to rework its health-care provisions. The District also filed a legal action in Commonwealth Court to establish its right to rewrite the contract based on special powers granted to the SRC.

“This is our attempt to bring teacher contributions to health care in line with other local and national norms in a way that will allow us to remain able to serve students and avoid layoffs,” said Superintendent William Hite in an interview before the meeting. “If we don’t find additional savings, our children will continue to face inadequate resources. And there’s nothing else to cut from our central office or school budgets.”

On his wish list of what he hopes principals will restore, Hite included sufficient counseling services, enough personnel so teachers can meet and plan, more aides to monitor cafeterias and recess, teachers to offer more advanced classes in world languages, additional reading specialists for young children who have fallen behind, clerical help, and materials and supplies.             

PFT spokesperson George Jackson said this was a union-busting action, denouncing the stealth move to hold the meeting with virtually no publicity.

“The manner that they did it in is outrageous,” he said. “We’re going to fight this.” The union learned of the planned action this morning.

The meeting was sparsely attended. One speaker, retired teacher Lisa Haver, was allowed to give public comment after the SRC’s vote. She denounced the body for acting without publicizing the meeting.

The District will require teachers and other PFT members to pay up to 13 percent of the cost of their medical premiums and reduce their choice of plans, starting Dec. 15. Now, most PFT members pay nothing toward health premiums. The payments will amount to $27 to $71 per month for single coverage biweekly paycheck, according to the District. For family coverage, the cost is $77 to $200 per month.

The SRC will also stop underwriting the union’s Health and Welfare Fund, which provides prescription, dental, vision and other benefits to active members and retirees. The District, which now pays $4,352 per member per year to the fund as required by the PFT contract, plans to provide the coverage directly to current employees but end benefits for retirees.

District officials said these two actions will allow for the redirection of savings of $44 million — plus a possible $10 million in federal funds – that will be sent back to schools in a series of three installments starting this month. The first installment will be $15 million, Hite said.

The action will help give the District the funds it needs to operate next year, SRC Chair Bill Green said. Next year the anticipated savings from health care costs will be $49 million.

However, spokesperson Fernando Gallard cautioned that the District is now anticipating a deficit of $8 million this year, due to a reduced estimate of cigarette tax revenues, and $71 million deficit next year. The financial supplement to schools may need to be adjusted, officials said.

With this move to redirect funds to schools, the SRC is clearly trying to win back the perception that it, not the union, has the best interest of the students at heart. The PFT had been building sympathy in the two-year contract stalemate by emphasizing how teachers are coping with difficult conditions and dipping into their own pockets to buy supplies despite a pay freeze.

While teachers work very hard, Hite said, “This is the notion of sharing in the sacrifice as we’re trying to navigate tough fiscal times so we are able to provide children with the resources they need right now.”

Union leaders have repeatedly pointed out that Philadelphia teachers earn lower salaries on average than their suburban counterparts; one study put the figure at 19 percent less.

The District had for months called for a pay cut on top of the benefit changes, but recently backed off that demand.

Hite said that he and the SRC “wanted to do this through an agreement,” and that despite Monday’s action, “we are still committed to reaching a negotiated settlement” covering economic terms and work rules. He has no plans to impose changes to other “economic provisions” of the contract. The last PFT contract expired in August 2012 and was extended for a year.

The 217 District-run schools will get varying allocations according to a formula that takes into account size and need, said Gallard. On average, the amount comes to about $200,000 per school.

The SRC and Hite took the action in the midst of one of the worst budget crises in the District’s history, one that has had devastating effects on schools. The PFT negotiations have dragged on over two shaky starts to a school year and during a period when thousands of District jobs have been eliminated.

In both 2013 and 2014, Hite wasn’t sure until late summer that he could even open schools on time.

Class size has grown. Northeast High started off the year with a science class with 62 students and Central with an English class of 50. Students have had to raise money themselves to put on a play, print a newspaper, or run an afterschool club. Most schools have art or music instruction, but few have both. Parents donate copy paper. Restaurants invite patrons to add a few dollars to their bills to send to the District.

Throughout the crisis, the union has been willing to absorb thousands of layoffs rather than give up benefits won over decades of hard-nosed, often bitter bargaining. Since fiscal 2011, PFT membership has dropped 25 percent, or by more than 4,000 people, according to District figures, although not all due to layoffs.

PFT president Jerry Jordan has said publicly that the union offered changes in health-care benefits to save money that were rejected by the District.

Chief Financial Officer Matthew Stanski has said that the union proposals would net only about $2 million in savings.

And providing retiree benefits, he said, “was never the intent of the [Health and Welfare] fund, and something we don’t believe we can afford.”

The union has firmly resisted letting go of its Health and Welfare Fund, long under the management of union treasurer Jack Steinberg and then his son, Arthur. The fund lent money to the District several years ago during a prior crisis, and is now sitting on a $45 million balance, District officials said – money they are now pointedly trying to demonstrate is more urgently needed in classrooms.

After months of public criticism of union contract provisions by District officials, it was noteworthy that the District’s action on Monday was strategically targeted only at the health benefits.

In September, Jordan responded to District demands for concessions by saying that the union is the one defending children’s needs by insisting that the contract include class size limits and staffing requirements, including that every school have a counselor, nurse, and librarian.

SRC Chair Bill Green has said the District doesn’t want those guarantees to remain in the contract. “We can’t agree to that, because that’s not good for kids,” Jordan said after a general membership meeting at which American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten came to Philadelphia to bolster morale.

Weingarten told the teachers that “the path forward is to elect a new governor who believes in education and is willing to take responsibility” for the District instead of just “ideologically blaming” teachers for its fiscal troubles.

In the face of the crisis, other District unions, including principals and blue-collar workers, have agreed to historic concessions including pay cuts. But the PFT has stood firm in the position that teachers “are not a funding source.”

Jordan has said repeatedly that the state is at fault, having failed to live up to its constitutional mandate to provide all students with a “thorough and efficient” education.

Over the last two years, the District’s quest for long-term, stable funding from Harrisburg has not yielded enough to put it on firm financial footing. And in parrying the District’s effort to extract more money from the state, Gov. Corbett and Republican legislators openly cite the union as an impediment.

For instance, in an Oct. 1 debate, Corbett’s Democratic challenger, Tom Wolf, accused him of being “no friend to education. Corbett retorted, “I’m no friend to the unions.”

Philadelphia has borne the particular brunt of state policies and funding decisions under Corbett. Of a $1 billion reduction in state and federal aid sent to local districts in 2011, Philadelphia lost $250 million, triggering the current crisis.

And in answer to pleas for more recurring sources of funds, the Republican-controlled legislature has largely placed the burden on Philadelphia itself, through sales and cigarette taxes that it had to approve but that only apply to the city.

But Corbett is trailing Wolf in the polls with just a month left before the election, largely due to education policies that have left many districts, not just Philadelphia, short of cash. Across the state, hundreds of districts are cutting programs, raising property taxes, or both.

For the PFT, it is a case of holding out in hopes that better times are coming. The union has been working hard to elect Wolf, who has promised to tax natural gas extraction and increase the income tax rate on higher wage-earners to raise more money for education.

The union is also is fighting hard to abolish the SRC and return the District to local control.

But District officials believe that those hopes are misplaced – that the cost of running the District the way it is now, whoever is in charge, will continue to exceed reasonable projections for available funds in the future.

“We’ve been trying to convince the PFT of the need for structural change,” said one District source. “We’ve met with them hundreds of times, and given them thousands of pages of documents, different versions of the budget, scenario after scenario.”

By default, structural change has occurred, the source said, “but by reducing the head count,” instead of rethinking compensation and benefits.

Between the proliferation of mostly non-unionized charters, the closing of District schools, the conversion of others to private management, and layoffs caused by the budget crisis, the PFT’s active membership has shrunk from 16,408 in 2011 to 12,232 today, according to District data.

The layoffs have occurred according to seniority – “last in, first out” – and so affect the newest members, who are not the PFT’s core constituency. The District’s demand to change the layoff rules to include performance and give principals more leeway in deciding who goes has been another point of contention in the bargaining.

Whether the SRC actions will hold up in court is in question. The SRC was given special powers as part of the 2001 state takeover of the District – done, by the way, due to fiscal instability – but the parameters and extent of those powers are still uncertain. It tried earlier this year to get the state Supreme Court to clarify the issue, but the court declined to do so.

Still, the SRC has already ignored provisions of the expired contract. In summer 2013 it stopped paying teachers for so-called “step” and “lane” increases, which accrue automatically based on experience and advanced degrees earned. It also says it wants to move permanently to a “pay-for-performance” model that would be jointly worked out with the union.

It has already suspended other parts of the contract, including those on class-size limits, saying it doesn’t have the money. The union has filed individual grievances over many of these actions. But that is a time-consuming process that has yet to result in rulings with far-reaching impact.

Ebola – The Next Plague/Pandemic?


Posted on 4th October 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues



On Wednesday another American, NBC News reporter in Liberia Ashoka Mukpo was diagnosed with the deadly virus, the channel reported. He is being evacuated to the US for treatment. However, the appearance of Ebola in Europe has not been widely reported. On Friday, Germany confirmed its second case of Ebola, as a man flown from West Africa into Frankfurt University Hospital has been placed in an isolation ward.

According to the latest figures disclosed by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) there have been 7,178 confirmed cases since the first Ebola patient was treated early this year. The agency says there have been 3,338 deaths from Ebola based on information provided by the Ministries of Health of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Danse Macabre

We are looking at almost a 50% mortality rate. That is up there with the Black Plague of the 14th century. There was of course the 1916 Polio (poliomyelitis) epidemic that inflected 27,000 people and killed 7,000. Polio came back 1949-1952 infecting 99,801 people in USA killing 6,020 people with about 500,000 deaths worldwide. This disease has tended to infect city-dwellers and is known even in ancient times to have hit many people. There was the 1916-1926 Encephalitis lethargica or von Economo disease is an atypical form of encephalitis. Also known as “sleepy sickness” epidemic that killed 5 million people in Europe and North America alone. Then the 1918 Spanish Flue that killed an estimated 100 million worldwide. The 1980 AIDS epidemic infected 988,376 people killing 550,394 by December 2005.


The three greatest plagues were Antonine Plague, due to the name of the Roman emperor in power at the time, 165–180AD, which had a mortality rate of about 30% of population Europe, Western Asia, Northern Africa. The type of disease is not known, but the symptoms were similar to smallpox.

The second great plague was known as Plague of Justinian, due to the name of the Byzantine emperor in power at the time, 541–542AD, which killed about 40% of population Europe. This was the Bubonic plague.

Then there was the great one known as “Black Death”, which killed 30% to 70% of population in various countries within Europe between 1346–1350AD. This was the plague that came to Europe from Crimea in Ukraine/Russia.


The 1918 flu pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920) (pictured above) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. This was the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus. It infected 500 million people across the world, including remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and killed 50 to 100 million of them. The mortality rate is better known as a percentage of the world’s population being about 5% while the mortality rate among those infected was about 20% making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.

Plagues are important. My own family came to America prior to the American Revolution. The first Armstrong to arrive in American was named Martin. My family even fought in the American Revolution. However, there was a plague that hit Philadelphia/New York region during the mid-1800s. My ancestor Martin at that time saw his entire family die. The woman next door saw her children and husband die. The two eventually married and restarted a family. So I guess I am here today because of that plague.

We are trying to gauge the extent of infection as a percentage of population, the mortality rate among those infected, in order to see if this is going to be a big one or a blip that is not huge as a percentage of world population. Everything is cyclical. When you get flu shots, they are based upon cycles and which strain should appear and when. This is the annual flu season.

To be accurate, the study we are conducting has several layers to it. Plague is typically a bacteria whereas a virus is different. Both have become pandemics which is an epidemic that has spread through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic. Further, flu pandemics generally exclude recurrences of the seasonal flu. Throughout history there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and TB (tuberculosis). More recent pandemics include the AIDS (HIV) pandemic as well as the 1918 and 2009 H1N1 virus pandemics.

For the purposes of our study, we plot both separately and then combined. In the words of Hillary Clinton – “what difference does it make” if you are dead.

Marijuana Toxicity


Posted on 13th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Hat tip Gayle. Somebody wake SSS up from his nap.
Guest Post by Dr Sircus

I am a great proponent of medical marijuana as well as using it simply for relaxation, recreation, and de-stressing. However, that does not mean it is a perfect substance without any prejudicing effects. As a medicine, marijuana is without equal carrying less danger than aspirin or any other pharmaceutical on the market. The upside is far greater than the downside when it comes to its use as a medicine.

Many doctors who come out against the use of marijuana as a medicine have conflicts of interest motivating them meaning—they have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. We can understand why pharmaceutical companies get jealous and possessive about their turf. News sources report that a new study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal finds that states that have legalized medicinal marijuana have significantly fewer deaths from painkiller overdoses. States that had legalized medical pot experienced around 1,700 fewer painkiller overdose deaths in 2010 than what would have happened if those states didn’t make medical marijuana legal and available. “We found there was about a 25% lower rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths on average after implementation of a medical marijuana law,” said lead study author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber.[1]

“As Americans continue to embrace pot—as medicine and for recreational use—opponents are turning to a set of academic researchers to claim that policymakers should avoid relaxing restrictions around marijuana. It’s too dangerous, risky, and untested, they say. Just as drug company-funded research has become incredibly controversial in recent years, forcing major medical schools and journals to institute strict disclosure requirements, could there be a conflict of interest issue in the pot debate? VICE has found that many of the researchers who have advocated against legalizing pot have also been on the payroll of leading pharmaceutical firms with products that could be easily replaced by using marijuana. When these individuals have been quoted in the media, their drug-industry ties have not been revealed,” writes Lee Fang in a well-researched presentation for Vice News.

One can use marijuana safely for a long time and not suffer anything near the damage of using alcohol or most pharmaceuticals. Life is difficult enough on our planet and it is about to get even more difficult. Marijuana can help us endure but sometimes it does its job too well covering up stress that in reality needs to be dealt with. That is one good reason long-term users should take occasional breaks from using it. Such abstinence is a break against dependency and needing higher doses or consuming more than is healthy for an individual.

Ideally, we should seek a life of purity and health. Medicine can mimic this by using natural healing medicines, including marijuana, not dangerous synthetic chemicals. Marijuana does hold short-term danger for some people and long-term risks of addiction. However, when one sees that one can treat cancer with marijuana, using it as a form of natural chemotherapy, and compare the safety of using it instead of radiation and mainstream chemotherapy, then one can appreciate that there is no contest.

Regular chemotherapy helps very few and almost guarantees a nasty death and a life of suffering while it is being administered. In contrast, one should have no fear in using marijuana in concentrated forms to treat a broad range of diseases including cancer. Even when using a gram a day of a high grade hemp oil (50 percent THC, 45 percent CBD) the body gets used to it, if one takes the dosage up slowly. When people talk about addiction to marijuana it is more psychologically oriented in relationship to frequent daily trips to a slightly changed reality that for most is comforting and often creative. When one uses marijuana as a medicine, not as a tool to run away from reality there is little danger of physical addiction.

Marijuana has remarkably low toxicity and lethal doses in humans have not been described. This is in stark contrast to a number of commonly prescribed medications used for similar purposes, including opiates, anti-emetics, anti-depressants and muscle relaxants, not to mention legal substances used recreationally including tobacco and alcohol,” writes Dr. Gregory T. Carter, Clinical Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Notice Dr. Carter said low toxicity not no toxicity.

Cannabinoids are usually well tolerated, and do not produce the generalized toxic effects of conventional pharmaceuticals but that does not mean we do not have to be careful with its long-term use. At Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, where a great deal of National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded research takes place, researchers have found that abrupt marijuana withdrawal leads to symptoms similar to depression and nicotine withdrawal. Meaning that no matter how helpful marijuana is as a medicine it is not without its own toxicity and addictive properties. Marijuana is a complex substance affecting each person differently.

I am 55 and I have been smoking pot off and on for the last 30 years… I had no idea of the withdrawal I would experience. Two days in, I thought for sure I had some dreaded disease. One minute I would be freezing, the next sweating. The loss of appetite doesn’t bother me because pot always helped me keep on an extra 5-10 lbs. from the munchies and sweet tooth. Not sure how long it will take, but I do look forward to the day when this has all passed.

Long-term use or overuse of marijuana has been linked to adrenal fatigue, sexual dysfunctions and it has effects on the brain cells that cause short-term memory loss. Marijuana itself usually does not cause liver damage but most marijuana contains various impurities and other plant material that can be damaging to the liver. One way to tell if it is bothering your liver is if you start feeling dizzy and having trouble walking when high. Another way is if the liver itself and the area above it on the rib cage becomes sensitive to the touch.

Rising Potency

The amount of THC in marijuana samples confiscated by police has been increasing steadily over the past few decades. In 2012, THC concentrations in marijuana averaged close to 15 percent, compared to around 4 percent in the 1980s. For a new user, this may mean exposure to higher concentrations of THC, with a greater chance of an adverse or unpredictable reaction.

Increases in potency may account for the rise in emergency department visits involving marijuana use. For frequent users, it may mean a greater risk for addiction if they are exposing themselves to high doses on a regular basis. However, the full range of consequences associated with marijuana’s higher potency is not well understood.

Cadmium concentrates in tobacco and marijuana leaves and accumulates in the body when smoked over a long term leading to hypertension, kidney degeneration or disease, heart disease, depressed immune systems, cancers of the lungs and prostate; it also affects bones. In healthy people excess cadmium can be excreted in the urine if adequate levels of zinc are maintained in the body—15-30 mg daily in a supplement, will offer some protection against cadmium problems.

Marijuana has a large benefit curve that varies greatly depending not only on a person’s presenting condition but also on their character and inner strength. Marijuana usually gives more than it takes from the body, mind, and emotions when used as a medicine. Over time though, sometimes a great deal of time, this curve reverses, and it may begin to take more than it gives meaning side effects can creep up to disturb the body, mind and spirit. What can we expect from a substance that greatly affects our brain wave patterns? If a person keeps taking marijuana over years, he may become dependent, addicted and eventually may lose the ability to cope with its toxicity. This dependency varies widely from one person to another and for some never becomes a threat to their health or quality of life.

THC has many hidden medical uses. It can keep a person’s heart safe during a major coronary blockage. According to a study published in Biochemical Pharmacology, administering a tiny dose of tetrahydrocannabinol (a.k.a., THC) can help reduce damage done to your heart if you’re suffering from myocardial ischemia, which is what happens when your heart’s arteries are partially or completely blocked. [2]

Some people notice an increasing sense of restlessness when they get high. This is direct feedback from their bodies telling them that something’s wrong. Most people just go ahead ignoring the body’s feedback signals. This in and of itself creates a biological stress inside a person-creating trauma. The body has to cope; we give it no choice when we ignore negative symptoms. A price is taken out of the central nervous system creating what John Mini M.S.C.M./L.Ac. calls Marijuana Induced Stress Trauma.


Dr. Gabriel Cousens writes, “While marijuana may have many palliative qualities, the psychoactive species have some serious downsides. These are well outlined in the 800-page book titled Marijuana Syndromes by John Mini. His research validates what I have observed since the ‘60′s. As he points out, “Marijuana’s side effects increase over time” and are cumulative. He has clinically observed that “marijuana’s effects can have a drying and toxic quality. They tend to take a general progression from the lungs to the digestion and immune systems, then to the blood, heart and circulatory system, then on to the liver and nervous systems and finally to the sexual, endocrine systems and brain over time.”

Marijuana does not have to do physical damage to a person’s nervous system to affect the way it functions. The more a person denies their feelings and what their body is telling them to do, the deeper the traumatic split goes into the nervous system.

A large part of marijuana’s direct influence affects the stomach and pancreas. This is what gives people the munchies. Various digestive issues may enter into the picture along the way that can be equally difficult to treat if one continues abusing marijuana. The higher the THC content in smoked marijuana is, the greater is the effect of hunger (munchies)—this will exacerbate the problem of obesity and insulin resistance.

Yet a study published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2013 shows that “current marijuana use was associated with 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels . . . and 17 percent lower HOMA-IR (insulin resistance). We found significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences.”[3]

Murray Mittleman, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the study’s lead author, told Time magazine last year that “the most important finding is that current users of marijuana appeared to have better carbohydrate metabolism than nonusers. “Their fasting insulin levels were lower, and they appeared to be less resistant to the insulin produced by their body to maintain a normal blood-sugar level.”

Side Effects, Warnings & Contraindications

Unstable people can become unglued after smoking marijuana though the effects are normally temporary. Cannabinoids can exacerbate schizophrenic psychosis in persons predisposed to such. Cannabinoids impede cognitive and psychomotor performance, resulting in temporary impairment. Chronic use can lead to the development of tolerance.

Tachycardia and hypotension are frequently documented as adverse events in the cardiovascular system. A few cases of myocardial ischemia have been reported in young and previously healthy patients. Inhaling the smoke of cannabis cigarettes induces side effects on the respiratory system. Cannabinoids are contraindicated for patients with a history of cardiac ischemias.

That said a low risk profile is evident from the literature available. Serious complications are very rare and are not usually reported during the use of cannabinoids for medical indications.

Marijuana, depending on the growing, storage, and handling conditions, can contain fungal contaminants that can be problematic in already immune-compromised people. Most people who are healthy have immune systems that can deal with these fungi, but if your health is compromised, the ingestion of the fungi often found in marijuana leaves and buds can become a problem and even develop into an infection that can be dangerous.

Damp marijuana is the perfect breeding ground for aspergilla and many thousands of other molds (and bacteria). Aspergillosis is the most common fungal infection in marijuana smokers caused by aspergilla fumigates.

Appetite stimulation can be dangerous for diabetics, especially for those needing to lose weight. Currently research is attempting to find an effective CB1 (cannabinoid receptor antagonist) that will counter the effects of THC of increasing hunger in type-2 diabetics. Decreases in blood sugars (hypoglycemia) can go unrecognized due to the psychoactive effects of the THC. Untreated low blood sugar leads to the loss of consciousness and seizures.

If You Decide to Stop Using Marijuana

Things can appear to be fabulous when they’re not.
Things can appear to be scary and negative when they’re not.
John Mini M.S.C.M., L.Ac.

You may decide that the effects on your body are becoming more detrimental than continuing to use marijuana. There are many treatment options available and programs spring up all over the place with pharmaceutical drugs and numerous supplements to help people get off  marijuana. Many people will find it easier to enter these programs but you can also safely withdraw at home.

John Mini tells us that “you can tell if a person is physically addicted to marijuana if s/he hasn’t had marijuana for a while and s/he feels withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can come in the forms of depression, irritability, anxiety, trouble sleeping, emotional neediness or nausea.”

Margaret Hanley, PhD from Columbia University makes these recommendations if you decide you want to stop using marijuana:

“If one wants to detox on one’s own, it is good to go into it prepared to experience withdrawal symptoms, such as disrupted sleep, decreased food intake, irritable mood, decreased sociability, and marijuana craving. Most symptoms peak around 3-4 days without smoking, but symptoms can last for over a week.”

THC is stored in the fat tissues and can even remain there for over a month. To help to detoxify an adequate exercise program that burns fat and increase in water intake will help to flush out the THC by – products from your body. Drink as much good quality water as possible. This kind of natural remedy can dispense these by-products from your system in less than a week, but may take longer in long term heavy marijuana users.

Avoid any pharmaceutical medicines. Take a source of good natural whole food vitamins and minerals. Acupuncture will help as well as daily or even multiple magnesium massages each day during the worst periods of withdrawal.

Today many sources of hemp oil and other marijuana products are becoming available. CBD is legally available almost everywhere though needs to be ordered from a state where it can legally be produced. Many clinics are quietly recommending high-grade hemp oil to cancer patients. A full cancer treatment, three month sixty gram supply is recommended. Quietly is the watchword of the day because local health and medical boards are still jealously guarding their turf looking for any and all reasons to crucify places where natural medicine is practiced.

[1] Marcus Bachhuber, M.D., researcher, Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center; John Thomas, J.D., M.P.H., professor, Quinnipiac University School of Law, Hamden, Conn.; Bradley Flansbaum, D.O., M.P.H., hospitalist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Aug. 25, 2014, JAMA Internal Medicine

[2] An ultra-low dose of tetrahydrocannabinol provides cardioprotection.

Waldman M1 et al; Biochem Pharmacol.; 2013 Jun 1;85(11):1626-33. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2013.03.014. Epub 2013 Mar 26.; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23537701


[3] The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults; Elizabeth A. Penner, MD, MPH et al; The American Journal of Medicine; Volume 126, Issue 7, Pages 583–589, July 2013; http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(13)00200-3/abstract



Posted on 12th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Stinginess of the Day: Philadelphia Eagles Running Back LeSean McCoy Tips .03% on a $60 Tab

The owner of the restaurant offered a statement, via Business Insider:

I would like to address the LeSean McCoy tipping situation and our role in it.

For starters, I take total and complete responsibility for sharing this receipt. It was not our server’s decision, it was mine. I am to blame.

I decided to take action after some serious thought. And while I’d like to apologize to Mr McCoy, I cannot in good conscience do so. I stand by my actions one hundred percent.

Mr McCoy and his three companions came into my place on Monday afternoon, and immediately the whole staff was excited. Mr McCoy is a skilled athlete and is one of our beloved Philadelphia Eagles. A true Philly legend and a sports hero. Understandably my staff was really pumped, especially on the heels of they terrific win the day before. (Go Eagles!).

Mr McCoy and his friend sat inside at a booth next to my management and next to me. They were given excellent service. Impeccable service. If anything, our server was a little nervous as was our food runner, because they are big, big fans.

He and his group, from the moment they sat down, were verbally abusive to our staff in the most insulting ways. The derogatory statements about women and their sheer contempt for the staff serving them wasn’t the end, however. After Mr McCoy and his group left I looked over and saw their server, my friend, with his head bowed down and with a very confused look on his face. I took the receipt out of his hand and I couldn’t believe that anyone could be so callous. Mr McCoy had left a .03% tip for our staff. Our staff that was beyond excited to see him walk into our burger joint and was excited to serve him. That’s twenty cents on a tab of over $60. Twenty cents that our server has to split with the food runner and the bartender. Two dimes from an insulting multimillionaire.

I bet Mr McCoy is usually an awesome dude. And everyone has their bad days. But I’m from Philly and have had the pleasure of meeting many of our bad ass sports heroes. Ron Jaworski I met as a kid and I love. Iverson I loved. Mike Schmidt! You name ’em. I love all of our athletes past and present. Hometown heroes who treat those below them with some respect. And maybe Mr McCoy was having a “bad day” after his big victory all that, but the reports of him receiving “bad service” is a complete slanderous lie, and my crew here is better than that and deserves better than that.

At the end of the day, I did what I felt my heart told me to do. And I don’t want anything from Mr McCoy, but…maybe an apology to his server who gave him excellent service would be cool.

Again, I am the owner and I take full responsibility for my actions. Eagles fans, I feel ya. Id be pissed too. But a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do and stick up for his friends.

Hate mail should be directed to [email protected] I will respond to you right after I catch up on this mornings hate mail.

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Understanding the 3 Faces of Nationalism


Posted on 6th September 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues


Nationalism is not unique to any country, yet it is a very important aspect to analyze in the field of political-economy. There are different types of nationalism and these types do not always fit together comfortably.

The first type of nationalism emerges from expanding a nation in what I call the Conquest-Model like the growth of Rome. This brand of nationalism  was accomplished well by Rome only because it sought to create an economy building roads and expanding investment opportunity with a common language and monetary system. Others who have sought to create an empire, such as Spain, failed to view its possessions as equals and instead sought to exploit their resources as economic slaves. Britain expanded around the world but it too did not actually embrace the different cultures as did Rome. Rome permitted its conquered states to retain their own religion and customs, but created a single economy through language that the EU has failed to even understand. The USA expanded from East to West building a common language and economy in the same manner as Rome.

The second type is often considered the only type that is defined very broadly to include all of the people and religious groups that have traditionally lived in a given the territory creating the image of one country v another. This is truly perhaps the most common for it is typically the one furthered by the state and political leaders for it supports greater power in their hands. The key desire of these nationalists is often inspired by the state for the goal is to reintegrate the territory after a fall, or defend it against the world when the economy declines such as Germany post-WWI. These two flavors within the second type provide subcategories that are distinct. This second form nationalism is also one of pride where a lot of Russians ascribe to this seeing the old empire as a dream and respond that taking Ukraine is good because Russia is getting bigger once again. They do not see the economic impact.

1844 Phila Nativism Riot Againt Irish

A third type of nationalism is a much more exclusive and even racist in nature. We saw this emerge in Philadelphia during 1844 as people rise up against immigrants during an economic decline under the theory that the domestic natives cannot find work because of the immigrants. We see the USA embroiled in immigration reform but this is again directed at Mexicans for economic reasons.

Ethnic nationalism unfold during economic declines. Groups will also emerge as we saw in Germany against the Jews that become committed to a pure state along blood lines. In Russia, there are those who are opposed to expansion for they want a state that is free of “polluting” peoples of other ethnicities, or at least those who are not Slavic. The primary declaration of these types of nationalists is to prevent immigration of unwanted groups and, for some, to bring their “stranded” people abroad back into the state’s domain. This type of nationalism rises everywhere from Japan that will discriminate against Koreans working in Tokyo to Singapore where natives blame inflation on all the foreigners who live there.

RUSTRD-M 7-29-2014

What we must understand is that since the emerging markets declined from a 2007 high, we have both types of nationalism running around in Russia right now. Our economic models on Russia point lower into 2020 that will complete a 13 year bear market. We must strive to understand what is taking place for these two forms of nationalism have substantial support in Russia, yet paradoxically, they are in deep conflict with each other simultaneously. The nationalism of restoring the USSR attributed to Putin would mean bringing into Russia and its major cities many of the very people whom the ethnic nationalists want to kick out, especially Islamic non-Slavs from former Soviet countries like Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Furthermore, some of these ethnic nationalists would actually want to contract Russia creating a pure state of Russian blood. This group wants a Russia without the Islamic regions and to jettison the North Caucasus region—a vision once famously articulated by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.


Obviously, like ice cream, there is never just one flavor. Consequently, interpreting the current international situation as simply a new Cold War or to see Russia’s Vladimir Putin as a Russian Hitler bent on reconstituting the USSR at all costs is not entire a fair representation. Clearly, the Cold War was driven in substantial part by competing ideologies of world scope where the ideology of communism was to save the world with global dominance. Putin has no such ideology. Yet I can find no one who can articulate exactly why the USA and Russia are enemies. It appears to have devolved into just an old Hatfield–McCoy feud (1863–1891).

Commentators in the press simply often now refer to Putin as a “nationalist” leader. Without question, he is riding high on a surge of nationalist sentiment following the annexation of Crimea as he has tapped into that first form of nationalism. This is because the Russian economy is declining. The sanctions now allow Putin to separate himself from any blame domestically for the economic decline. The USA has handed him his external enemy on a gold patter. The worse the Russian economy declines, the great the hatred toward the West emboldening the people to wage war. The sanctions will have exact opposite impact from their intention and are creating the precise same mistake as the reparation payment imposed upon the German people after World War I that support the rise of Hitler that evolved eventually into the third type of nationalism.

Unfortunately, the West’s idea of a partnership with Russia was wrongly based on its absolute acquiescence with all Western policies anywhere in the world. There was no real consideration of the consequences for Russia surrendering everything. The West’s brain-dead strategists wanted the total reshaping of Russian society according to a Western model, without any consideration for Russia’s peculiarities, history, and culture. Putin’s view that the greatest crime of the 20th century was the collapse of the Soviet Union. But Russia did not make the full transition to a free economy. It merely moved from the state ownership and dominance to one of oligarchies.


Therefore, even if some in Moscow may dream of a new Soviet Union where the state takes care of them and they need not really compete for income, such dreams mean very little in practical terms outside of Russia in states such as Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, and Ukraine proper where these neighbors have no interest in giving up their political independence and have made the transition to a free economy unlike that in Russia. The Ukrainian Revolution was precisely against a president from the East who was introducing a Russian Oligarchy with his own family as the exploiter aided by the corrupt police. These regions have moved to a free society and have no interest in going back to a state that is merely controlled by corruption.



Posted on 28th August 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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It’s that time of year again – when the little juvenile delinquents, future prison inmates, and functionally illiterate junior members of the free shit army pick up their “free” backpacks and “free” school supplies they will never use and shuffle off to the decaying prison like schools in the City of Philadelphia to eat “free” breakfasts and “free” lunches, while being taught government sanctioned pablum by overpaid mediocre union teachers.

It’s a repeat of every year for the Phila school district. As the school year approaches they are shocked to report a massive deficit and beg the State of PA for more funding. The $12,000 per child simply isn’t enough, even though Parochial schools provide ten times the education for $9,000 per child. The district has a slight $80 million deficit this year. Last year they had a $100 million deficit and the mayor proposed a soda tax to fill the gap. It was defeated, so they raised property taxes instead. Mayor Nutter’s name is fitting. He is just another in a long line of Democratic mayors who have ruled Philadelphia since the 1950’s and whose policies of welfare handouts for their voting base paid for by taxing the producers, has resulted in a population decline from 2.1 million in 1950 to 1.5 million today. Doug Casey captures the essence of Philly with this definition:

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy): a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

The liberal solution to an ever decreasing tax base and an ever growing level of benefits for the free shit army and government union drones, is to increase taxes on the few remaining producers. They then flee the city, leaving fewer producers to tax. Rinse and repeat. Your neighborhoods then look like this.

2916 West Thompson Street, Philadelphia PA

The mayor, school district superintendent, and teacher’s union use the liberal mainstream media to sound the alarm about “devastating” budget cuts that will imperil the tremendous education the cherubs will receive. They warn that the school year will have to be delayed. They peddle mistruths about the governor cutting education funding in an attempt to influence public opinion. Their “solution” to the budget deficit this year is a doozy. I’ll get to that later. First I have to provide a mural update.

I drive past the Morton McMichael grade school in Mantua every day on my way to work. It sits across the street from the $27 million low income gated townhouse community called Mantua Square, paid for with your Obama stimulus funds in 2011. (Update: The 8 storefronts built into the project two years ago and touted as a way to revitalize commerce in Mantua still sit vacant – 100% NO OCCUPANCY. This follows the old liberal economic theorem of build it and they won’t come.) This school looks like it could be in a Dickens novel from the 1800’s. That’s fitting since Morton McMichael was a prominent citizen of Philadelphia during the 1800’s as founder of the Saturday Evening Post and Mayor of Philadelphia. That was back when a white man could get elected mayor of Philadelphia.

The building is decades old. It is dilapidated, run down and crumbling. The windows have never been replaced. Of course, you would have to remove the bars and cages to get to the windows. The neighborhood has a bit of a crime problem. An 8 year old boy was raped on the way to this school last year. There are a couple ancient air conditioners poking out of some windows. The parking lot/play area is crumbling blacktop with weeds, strewn with garbage for good measure. Graterford Prison is more inviting than this institution of learning. The parking lot was empty all summer. The Phila School district had no plans for any capital renovations at this school. No new windows. No new classrooms. No new technology. No central air conditioning.

Then about a month ago I noticed scaffolding going up in front of the school. Maybe they were going to actually do some renovations to improve this blight. Then I noticed they were just painting the bricks white. A few days later it became clear. Rather than making actual improvements to the decaying structure, it was another mural. Of course another white artist, not from the neighborhood, was getting paid to beautify the school to inspire the children on to great deeds. They chose an environmental theme rather than black people doing great things. It looks like graffiti to me.

Maf Is Hard

I’m sure this paint job, paid for with tax dollars, will really turn this school around. They have had four principals in the last three years. The discipline in this school is so bad that teachers fear assaults from students and parents alike. This is another classic example of liberals wasting money with shallow displays, while ignoring the true problems. This school has 408 students and 35 full-time union teachers. That is a ratio of 11.7 students per teacher. The ratio in Parochial schools is 17 to 1. When I went to school it was over 20 to 1. With an 11.7 students per teacher ratio, they should be getting a great education from these top notch educators. Check out the results:

Dark Blue – Morton McMichael; Light Blue – Phila Schools; Grey – PA schools

By 5th grade less than 30% can do math, less than 20% can read, and less than 10% can write at a proficient level. And you can bet that proficient level is not that high. The state results are bad enough, but the Philadelphia results are atrocious. In Philadelphia, only 33 – 13% of the district’s 250 schools met state standards, down from 41% in 2011. It was uncovered that they were cheating on the test scores in 2011. Liberals lie and cheat when it comes to getting funding. The Morton McMichael school has 35 full-time union teachers earning good money, with gold plated healthcare and pension plans. And this is the results they are producing? I came across a quote from William Arthur Ward today that applies:

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

Based on the results achieved in this school there doesn’t appear to be even a mediocre teacher in the bunch. You have a better chance of finding a woman with a wedding ring, a man with a job, or a kid with a book in his hand in Mantua (highly unlikely in all three cases) than ever finding a great teacher in a Philadelphia school. But at least they are well paid.

The Philadelphia school system educates (I use the term loosely as 50% dropout) 200,000 kids per year with a tiny budget of $2.4 billion. The district has been so poorly run and corrupt that a state commission now runs the schools. They insist that $2.4 billion isn’t enough to achieve SAT scores not much higher than you get for signing your name. How is it that a school district that spends more than the national average per student can’t manage to educate children properly? One look at its personnel costs and perks, including exploding pensions and legal services for union members, gives you an idea why.

The storyline from the liberal media, greedy teacher’s union, and captured Democratic politicians is that the evil Republican governor Corbett has gutted their funding. It’s a completely false storyline. The $800 billion Obama porkulus plan doled out payoffs to teacher unions around the country. The temporary stimulus funds expired. In the mind of an idiotic liberal, this is considered a spending cut. Temporary = permanent in the demented mind of a liberal. The truth is that Philadelphia union teachers are overpaid and under-worked. The PA government pension plan is a ticking time bomb that is destroying the budgets of every locality in the State. It’s just that Philadelphia is the worst run, most corrupt, and most union controlled in the State.

Philadelphia school district pensions costs alone are going from the equivalent of 16.9% of wages to 21.4% of wages in one year. In dollar terms that’s an increase of $3,230 per average teacher in just one year. Pensions alone will cost $159 million next year. Philly schools also pay for a number of other benefits, including the equivalent of 3.26% of salary for unused sick and vacation days that workers can cash in when they leave. In all, these variable benefit items  will add the equivalent of nearly 39% of salary to the cost of employing a worker.

The school’s budget also includes a range of  per capita benefit costs, so called because they are expressed in dollars per worker, not percent of salary. Medical insurance averages $13,829 per worker, up by $1,000. Then there are health and welfare benefits, which are additional health perks, such as prescription eye benefits. H&W, as it’s known, costs an average of $4,447 more per teacher. They even offer legal services to workers at a cost of $165 per worker.

For the average teacher earning $68,700 annually, benefit costs pile on an additional $44,100, meaning the average cost of employing a teacher in the system is $112,700. Benefit costs, in other words, amount to two-thirds of salaries. By contrast, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, the total cost of benefits in the private sector amounts to 30% of salaries.



So let me get this straight. The average Philadelphia teacher is receiving compensation and benefits of $112,700 and 50% of the students dropout, while of the remaining students only 45% can do math, 35% can read, and 30% can write. But at least they have some nice murals dotting the decaying schools.

Every new year will bring higher pension payment requirements. PA has $55 billion of unfunded pension benefits payable to government union workers and teachers. Annual pension contributions increased by 25% or more in the majority of education systems last year and that more than three-quarters of districts are anticipating a similar increase this year. By 2020, school officials in the state estimate, pensions will amount to more than 30% of payroll, up from just 4% in 2009. This is a crisis that grows larger by the day and is willfully ignored by politicians beholden to these government unions.

Last year, on average, workers with 35-39 years of service who retired in a school system had a final annual salary of $80,285 and a pension of $60,396, or about 75% of final salary. Not bad for turning out functionally illiterate morons. Rather than accept the fact that the government pension system is a disaster and needs a massive makeover, the feckless politicians choose higher taxes and annual gimmicks.

What Are They Smoking

Guess how Mayor Nutter, the School Superintendent, and the Democratic politicians want to fund the $80 million school district budget? A $2 per pack additional cigarette tax in the City of Philadelphia. Cigarette taxes are supposed to fund the detrimental societal healthcare costs of smoking. Instead they are being used to fund bloated teacher pensions. Local governments are incapable of imposing excise taxes, so the PA legislature must pass this law. So far they have not complied, but they will come September because it is the easy solution. Why tackle pension reform when you can just increase taxes on the poor to pay for bad teachers?

The multitude of things wrong with this idea is beyond comprehension. Why foist the cost onto a minority — and given the demographics of those who smoke, a poor minority? Although local governments try to tax cigarettes and even alcohol, there’s no money in taxing vices. It’s too easy to purchase cigarettes outside the city. Why would anyone buy cigarettes in Philly when they can go into the next County and pay 50% less? There is already a $1.60 PA state tax on every pack of cigarettes. Adding another $2 would put Philly just behind NYC and Chicago on the tax scale. The imposition of this tax will increase bootlegging, smuggling and other criminal activities. Just what Philly needs – more crime. They can then use that as a reason to hire more union cops. It’s the liberal circle of life.

The people who should be most angry about this “solution” are the very people who keep voting idiotic Democrats into office for decades – poor black people. Only 23% of Philadelphians have a college degree. Those without a degree are more than twice as likely to smoke. Cigarette taxes are a tax on the stupid.

There are 580,000 households in Philadelphia. The median household income is $34,000 and 26% of the population lives below the poverty line. Approximately 300,000 of the households make less than $36,000 and 400,000 make less than $60,000. The lower the household income the higher the percentage who smoke. So the master plan of the Democrats who run Philly is to deplete what little disposable income the poor have left in order to pay the bloated salaries and pensions of terrible teachers.

The average income of a worker in Philly is $22,000. 38% of these people smoke, versus 12% of those making over $90,000. This cigarette tax is built upon the same warped logic as government run casinos and lotteries. It’s a tax on the ignorant and least able to afford the tax.

The sheer idiocy of this plan to “save” the schools this year is lost on the brainless media twits mouthing the teacher’s union talking points. The $12,000 per year per child is more than enough to pay for a decent education. The $2.4 billion budget should be geared to improving facilities, providing books, and paying excellent teachers for excellent results. Tenure should be scrapped and lousy teachers should be fired. The government pension plan needs to be obliterated and replaced with a 401k plan like the rest of the world is stuck with. It will never happen. The democrats who have controlled Philly for the last 60 years will raise property taxes, raise sales taxes, and raise cigarette taxes until they drive every producer and business out of the city, while further impoverishing the very people they pretend to care about. Detroit here we come.

Remember, smoke a cigarette for the children. And remember to buy them in Philly for 50% more than you pay in the suburbs. It’s always for the children.

The Final Nail in the Coffin: The Death of Freedom in Our Schools


Posted on 26th August 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

Guest Post by John W. Whitehead

“Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.”D.H. Lawrence

No matter what your perspective on the showdown between locals and law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri, there can be no disputing the fact that “local” police should not be looking or acting like branches of the military.

Unfortunately, in the police state that is America today, we’re going to find ourselves revisiting Ferguson over and over again. Every time an unarmed citizen gets shot by a police officer who is armed to the hilt, or inclined to shoot first and ask questions later, or so concerned about their own safety, to the exclusion of all else, that everything becomes a potential threat, we’ll find ourselves back in Ferguson territory again.

Here’s the thing, though: whether or not it ever gets reported, whether it incites any protests or marches or showdowns of epic proportions, whether it elicits any outrage on the part of the citizenry, Ferguson is already happening over and over again, all around us.

It’s happening in small towns and big cities alike every time a citizen gets stopped and frisked for no better reason than they “look” suspicious. It’s happening on the nation’s highways and byways, where corporate greed disguised as road safety is making a hefty profit off of drivers who have the misfortune of passing a red light camera or a speed camera or a license plate reader. It’s happening in the privately run jails, which are teeming with prisoners doing time for nonviolent crimes that should have landed them with a slap on the wrist and a fine instead of hard time and forced labor.

It’s happening in our airports and train stations and shopping malls, where menacing squads of black-garbed, jack-booted, up-armored soldiers disguised as law enforcement officials are subjecting Americans to roving security checkpoints, allegedly in the pursuit of terrorists. And it’s happening in the schools, where the school-to-prison pipeline is fully operational and busy churning out newly minted citizens of the American police state who have been taught the hard way what it means to comply and march in lockstep with the government’s dictates.

Young Alex Stone didn’t even make it past the first week of school before he became a victim of the police state. Directed by his teacher to do a creative writing assignment involving a series of fictional Facebook statuses, Stone wrote, “I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur. I bought the gun to take care of the business.” Despite the fact that dinosaurs are extinct, the status fabricated, and the South Carolina student was merely following orders, his teacher reported him to school administrators, who in turn called the police.

What followed is par for the course in schools today: students were locked down in their classrooms while armed police searched the 16-year-old’s locker and bookbag, handcuffed him, charged him with disorderly conduct disturbing the school, arrested him, detained him, and then he was suspended from school. Stone’s mother was never alerted to the school’s concerns about her son’s creative writing assignment or his subsequent interrogation and arrest.

Keshana Wilson, a 14-year-old student at a Pennsylvania high school, was tasered in the groin by a police officer working as a school resource officer, allegedly because she resisted arrest for cursing, inciting a crowd of students, and walking on the highway. One might be hard pressed to find a teenager not guilty of one or the other at any given time. Nevertheless, the tasering came after the officer grabbed the teenager from behind and pushed her up against a car, without identifying himself as a police officer. “The teenager had to be taken to hospital to have the taser probes removed before she was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on the officer, simple assault, riot, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and walking on the highway,” noted one reporter.

Rounding out the lesson in compliance, police officers who patrol schools in Compton, Calif., are now authorized to buy semi-automatic AR-15 rifles and carry them in their patrol car trunks while on duty—a practice that is becoming increasingly common, according to Joe Grubbs, president of the California Association of School Resource Officers. A few states away, in Missouri, a new state law actually requires that all school districts participate in live-action school shooting drills, including realistic gunfire, students covered in fake blood, and bodies strewn throughout the hallways.

Now these incidents may seem light years away from the all-too-grim reality of the events that took place in Ferguson, Missouri, but they are, in fact, mere stops along the way to the American police state, and parents with kids returning to school would do well to consider these incidents fair warning, because today’s public schools have become microcosms of the world beyond the schoolhouse gates, and increasingly, it’s a world hostile to freedom.

As I show in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, within America’s public schools can be found almost every aspect of the American police state that plagues those of us on the “outside”: metal detectors, surveillance cameras, militarized police, drug-sniffing dogs, tasers, cyber-surveillance, random searches, senseless arrests, jail time, the list goes on.

Whether it takes the form of draconian zero tolerance policies, overreaching anti-bullying statutes, police officers charged with tasering and arresting so-called unruly children, standardized testing with its emphasis on rote answers, political correctness, or the extensive surveillance systems cropping up in schools all over the country, young people in America are first in line to be indoctrinated into compliant citizens of the new American police state.

Zero tolerance policies, which punish all offenses severely, no matter how minor, condition young people to steer clear of doing anything that might be considered out of line, whether it’s pointing their fingers like a gun, drawing on their desks, or chewing their gum too loudly.

Surveillance technologies, used by school officials, police, NSA agents, and corporate entities to track the everyday activities of students, accustom young people to life in an electronic concentration camp, with all of their movements monitored, their interactions assessed, and their activities recorded and archived. For example, the Department of Education (DOE) has created a system to track, archive and disseminate data on every single part of a child’s educational career with colleges and state agencies such as the Department of Labor and the offices of Technology and Children and Family Services.

Metal detectors at school entrances and police patrolling school hallways acclimatize young people to being viewed as suspects. Funded in part by federal grants, school districts across the country have “paid local police agencies to provide armed ‘school resource officers’ for high schools, middle schools and sometimes even elementary schools.” As the New York Times reports, “Hundreds of additional districts, including those in Houston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, have created police forces of their own, employing thousands of sworn officers.” The problem, of course, is that the very presence of these police officers in the schools results in greater numbers of students being arrested or charged with crimes for nonviolent, childish behavior. In Texas, for example, school police officers write more than 100,000 misdemeanor tickets a year, each ticket amounting to hundreds of dollars in court fines—a convenient financial windfall for the states. All too often, these incidents remain on students’ permanent records, impacting college and job applications.

Weapons of compliance, such as tasers which deliver electrical shocks lethal enough to kill, not only teach young people to fear the police, the face of our militarized government, but teach them that torture is an accepted means of controlling the population. It’s a problem that has grown exponentially as the schools have increasingly clamored for—and hired on—their own police forces. One high school student in Texas suffered severe brain damage and nearly died after being tasered. A 15-year-old disabled North Carolina student was tasered three times, resulting in punctured lungs. A New York student was similarly tasered for lying on the floor and crying.

Standardized testing and Common Core programs, which discourage students from thinking for themselves while rewarding them for regurgitating whatever the government, through its so-called educational standards, dictates they should be taught, will not only create a generation of test-takers capable of little else, but it will also constitute massive data collection on virtually every aspect of our children’s lives which will be accessed by government agents and their corporate allies.

Overt censorship, monitoring and political correctness, which manifest themselves in a variety of ways, from Internet filters on school computers to sexual harassment policies, habituate young people to a world in which nonconformist, divergent, politically incorrect ideas and speech are treated as unacceptable or dangerous. In such an environment, a science teacher criticizing evolution can get fired for insubordination, a 9-year-old boy remarking that his teacher is “cute” can be suspended for sexual harassment, students detected using their smart phones during class time can be reported for not paying attention in class, and those accused of engaging in “bullying, cyber-bullying, hate and shaming activities, depression, harm and self harm, self hate and suicide, crime, vandalism, substance abuse and truancy” on social media such as Twitter or Facebook, will have their posts and comments analyzed by an outside government contractor.

As problematic as all of these programs are, however, what’s really unnerving are the similarities between the American system of public education and that of totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany, with their overt campaigns of educational indoctrination. And while those who run America’s schools may not be deliberately attempting to raise up a generation of Hitler Youth, they are teaching young people to march in lockstep with the all-powerful government—which may be just as dangerous in the end.

You don’t have to take my word for it. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum provides some valuable insight into education in the Nazi state, which was responsible for winning “millions of German young people … over to Nazism in the classroom and through extracurricular activities.” The similarities are startling, ranging from the dismissal of teachers deemed to be “politically unreliable” to the introduction of classroom textbooks that taught students obedience to state authority and militarism. “Board games and toys for children served as another way to spread racial and political propaganda to German youth. Toys were also used as propaganda vehicles to indoctrinate children into militarism.” And then there was the Hitler Youth, a paramilitary youth group intended to train young people for future service in the armed forces and government.

Hitler himself recognized the value of indoctrinating young people. As he noted, “When an opponent declares, ‘I will not come over to your side, and you will not get me on your side,’ I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to me already. A people lives forever. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants however now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.’”

In the face of such a mechanized, bureaucratic school system that demands conformity, indoctrinating and enslaving their minds while punishing anyone who dares step out of line, American school children are indeed powerless. And they will remain helpless, powerless and in bondage to the police state unless “we the people” take the steps to set them free.



Posted on 26th August 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues


My morning commute was the feather in the cap for Allstate Insurance and their annual survey of worst drivers in the United States. I attempted to get on the Northeast Extension this morning at 6:30. KYW informed me there was an accident 5 miles south of me and both lanes were blocked. I made a U-turn at the toll booth and took back roads to Plymouth Meeting to get on the Blue Route. I then got on the Schuylkill, only to find that a car had crashed and gone up an embankment at Montgomery Avenue. When I finally got into the city (and needing to piss like a racehorse) pedestrians kept crossing against the light in front of my car. It was like God was purposely pushing my buttons. When I finally made it to my building, both mens rooms were closed for cleaning. I knew it was going to be one of those days.

As I sat in traffic for 1 hour and 25 minutes trying to get to work, the local radio show discussed Allstate’s report saying that Philadelphia drivers are the worst in the country. I have no evidence to contest that conclusion. Philadelphia drivers are assholes and dickheads. We evidently get into an accident every 6 years on average. I guess I’m really overdue. I’ve been driving for 35 years in Philly with no accidents yet. Many close calls. Much obscenity hurled at assholes endangering my life. And years knocked off my life expectancy due to stress. But no accidents.

I believe they hand out a special driver’s handbook to Philly drivers when they turn 16. I find assholes driving the most expensive cars tend to be the worst, most aggressive drivers. The Phillies are in last place. The 76ers are the worst team in basketball. The Flyers haven’t won a Stanley Cup in 40 years. The Eagles haven’t won a championship in 55 years. So we’ll take a first place finish any way we can get it.

Report Shows Philadelphia Drivers Are Among the Worst in the Country

Philadelphia Residents Among Worst Drivers in Nation: Allstate Report

Philadelphia drivers have been ranked as the worst among big cities with at least 1 million residents, according to an annual report from the Allstate Insurance Company.

The eighth annual “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report” is based on Allstate’s claims data. The report ranked America’s 200 largest cities in terms of car collision frequency to identify which cities have the safest drivers and least accidents.

Among the 200 cities in the report, the City of Brotherly Love was ranked 190th overall. The city’s drivers are 64.1 percent more likely to get into a collision compared to the national average. A driver in Philadelphia, on average, will experience an auto collision every 6.1 years.

Other major cities in the Northeast also fared poorly in the Allstate report. New York City was ranked 176th. The drivers in the Big Apple are 41.1 percent more likely to get into a collision compared to the U.S. average. A typical New York City driver could expect an auto collision every 7.1 years on average.

Northeastern cities that ranked even lower than Philadelphia in the Allstate report include Providence, R.I., (193th) Baltimore, Md., (194th) and Washington, D.C. (195th)

The full list of cities and their rankings can be found on Allstate’s website. Allstate analyzed internal property damage reported claims over a two-year period, from January 2009 to December 2010. Massachusetts cities are not included because Allstate did not write business in the state in those years.

The good drivers live here:

City & Overall Ranking Collision Likelihood Compared to
National Average
Average Years Between Collisions
1.  Sioux Falls, S.D. 27.6% less likely 13.8
2.  Boise, Idaho 27.3% less likely 13.8
3.  Fort Collins, Colo. 26.7% less likely 13.6
4.   Madison, Wisc. 23.0% less likely 13.0
5.  Lincoln, Neb. 19.3% less likely 12.4
6.  Huntsville, Ala. 19.1% less likely 12.4
7.  Chandler, Ariz. 18.9% less likely 12.3
8.  Reno, Nev. 18.4% less likely 12.3
9.  Knoxville, Tenn. 18.1% less likely 12.2
10. Springfield, Mo. 17.4% less likely 12.1



Posted on 24th August 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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On Thursday night we drove to Altoona, PA campus of Penn State. It took three and a half hours to get there. Virtually the entire trip was spent on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. On Friday we finished our orientation and made the one hour trip to the main Penn State campus at State College. The three hour trip home was mostly on Route 322 (a rather terrifying road with steep winding roads and lots of 18 wheelers in a hurry). Over two days, we drove approximately 450 miles. I only had to fill my 10 gallon Honda Insight gas tank once.

I’ve heard Pennsylvania described as Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other side and Kentucky in the middle. This is usually referring to the fact that these two urban areas are completely controlled by the Democratic party, while the rest of the state is rural and mainly Republican. While driving this route a number of observations come to mind:

  • This country has plenty of space. For hundreds of miles, there is nothing but an occassional farm or trailer park. Undeveloped land is plentiful.
  • It appeared to me the only commerce for a couple hundred miles consisted of gas stations, Cracker Barrels, antique shops, fireworks stores, car repair shops, a few farms, and seedy motels. I would describe the economic atmosphere as bleak.
  • The State of PA has 12.7 million residents. Phila has 1.5 million of these residents, with Pittsburgh 2nd at 305,000. The top 10 cities only house 2.5 million people. The other 10 million are scattered in the suburbs and rural areas of the state.
  • Seeing how little commerce there was in the center of the state, combined with the fact that millions of people live in these rural areas, begs the question – How do these people make a living? I think the answer is, they don’t. My guess is these are the people not paying Federal income tax. These people are scrapping buy on part-time convenience store jobs, selling crap on Ebay, SNAP payments, social security payments, and various other public welfare related transfer payments.
  • Altoona, except for the immediate Penn State campus, struck me as a duplicate of the 30 Blocks of Squalor,except 96% of the population is white. Its population has declined from 57,000 in 1980 to 46,000 today, a 19% decline.  It was a railroad town and its population topped out in 1930 at 82,000. The median household income is $36,700. A total of 17% of the population is living in poverty. How do families get by on $36,700 per year?
  • State College was the exact opposite of Altoona. It’s population has grown from 36,000 in 1980 to 42,000 today. It is a bustling college town with restaurants, shops, and businesses. There aren’t too many black people in the middle of the state. It is 83% white, 10% asian, and 4% black in State College. The median household income is $55,000. They also have a football stadium that holds 105,000 fans.

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But now to the main observation from our two day excursion. After spending two days driving, you realize this country is completely dependent upon 18 wheelers to deliver all the stuff we need to live our daily lives. The food grown in the breadbasket of the country, is trucked to our supermarkets. All of our mail and packages are delivered by US Mail, Fed Ex, and UPS trucks. The electronic gadgets, clothes, furniture, jewelry, etc that are shipped in from China arrive at our ports and are promptly loaded onto trucks and driven to our 1,100 malls and 45,000 shopping centers. Consumers can’t spend $10 trillion per year on stuff, unless the stuff can get to the stores. The average Joe knows that when they go to their local store the food and stuff will be there for them to purchase with that handy dandy credit card. What happens when the food can’t get there? We might find out in the next few years.

Bud Conrad, in his latest article for the Casey Report, details why he thinks oil will hit $150 per barrel in the next year. The chart below shows that despite China, India and the rest of the developing world increasing their consumption by more than 10% per year since 2005, world oil supply has been flat. New oil has been discovered, but existing oil fields are depleting at the same rate of discovery. That is why they call it peak oil.

China has doubled their oil imports since 2005. Their economy is growing in excess of 8% per year. Do you think they will be importing less oil in the next few years? In 2005 Mexico was supplying 2 million barrels per day to the US. With their Cantarell field in terminal decline, they are now supplying the US with 1 million barrels per day. In the next few years Mexico will become a net importer of oil. The law of supply and demand still applies.

Now for the bad news. The recent announcement of a 60 million barrel release from the SPR is an act of desperation by the IEA and Obama. The market has called their bluff. Oil has risen from $90 on the day of the announcement to $98 just three weeks later. The IEA projections show that oil inventories will continue to fall over the next year as demand continues to outstrip supply. Saudi Arabian promises of more supply are complete bullshit. There is no new supply. Libyan production will take years to comeback in the best case scenario. The Middle East is powderkeg. Disruption of the current supply is a distinct possibility. When oil prices exceed $150 a barrel, our just in time delivery American way of life is kaput.

We continue to blindly lurch forward toward our meeting with destiny. There is no doubt oil prices are headed much higher. How will our truck based economy function when the trucks stop running?