A teacher’s union in Michigan is fighting to get a $10,000 severance package for a convicted child molester whose case that drew outrage earlier this year when his former school colleagues pleaded with a judge to sentence him lightly.
Do you need any reason beyond this to condemn teacher's unions and demand that they are all destroyed? No, you do not.
The facts are that this man pled guilty to raping a boy over the course of three years. Not a single incident, not once, but rather over three year's time and he wasn't found guilty, he pled guilty.
That is, he admitted it.
He also drew 15-30 in prison (not enough, if you ask me) over his and fellow teachers' pleas for lenience (thank God the Judge was having none of it.)
But after said teachers "supported" him the district saw what is reported to be an 87% decline in enrollment (!!)
Betcha the residents didn't get a nickel off their property taxes though. One has to wonder why they haven't taken their tax money back by force, given what happened here and the continuing lack of penitence by those very same "teachers" -- who apparently remain employed.
I know where West Branch is; it's a fairly-rural area about halfway between the 127 split off I-75 and Bay City. I am utterly stunned that a relatively small community's "teachers" would come to the defense of such crap. I'm less-stunned that the state teacher's union would do so, however, as this is exactly the sort of mental derangement I expect from public-employee unions in general.
This is pretty expensive....
A quick perusal of the options chain all the way out (as far as I can get it anyway) doesn't show anything on the other side that implies a spread of some sort, which means someone just took an all-on directional position - and a pretty damn big one too.
There's a buyer for every seller of course, but.....
In short, I need to get smarter and less childish about my retirement finances. Next year is The Year of the Adult and adult begins with withstanding some measure of loss in the stock market.
What if the loss is permanent?
Or close enough to it to be indistinguishable from permanent.
Can't happen, right? Never has happened before, right?
1929. It happened. And it was a hell of a long time -- for all intents and purposes among most people permanent -- before that loss was recovered.
But, you protest, that will not happen again in the United States and hasn't in the world since, certainly not among developed, first-world nations.
Japan. Nikkei 225 was right near 40,000 in 1989. It has never traded there since and today stands at about 15,000, a ~60% permanent loss.
In addition the Nasdaq 100 hit 4816.35 in 2000. It has never seen that value since; today it stands at 3470, a 28% permanent (so far) loss nearly 14 years later.
Corrections and Bear Markets are what we all hear from people like Tom Keene, and we're also told that it "always" comes back.
The latter may be true but the question is always over what timeframe?
See, once you get to retirement where you need the money your sands of time to wait for a recovery have run out. And while historically speaking it is relatively rare to have a market collapse and not recover over the space of a handful of years (single-digit years) there are multiple occasions where the "recovery" has occurred so far into the future that for your purposes it can be considered to be "never."
In order for us to calibrate the level of risk of such a thing happening we should probably look at how outrageously-stretched valuation metrics are compared against history. After all, that's a reasonable way to know whether one of those "outlier" events is likely -- right?
Equity valuations (blue line) compared against tangible assets less debt (purple line) stand at the highest level recorded in modern history in the United States. You in fact have not been able to buy stocks at either parity or a discount to that level since 1990! The only question since that time has been by how much have you been overpaying, and as we've seen the relative level of instability since then has risen dramatically as well with two massive, wealth-destroying crashes since.
If equity prices were to fall by 50% and the asset:liability picture were not to be damaged by that event (very unlikely!) we would only bring that relationship back to approximately where it was in 2005 -- a damn good year by most people's figuring and during the building of the last bubble. To get back to unencumbered asset levels of valuation equity prices would have to fall more than 80%.
In other words, simply on the numbers, the drawdown not only could be "permanent" for all intents and purposes it could be materially worse than 50% as well.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for November, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $432.3 billion, an increase of 0.7 percent (±0.5%) from the previous month, and 4.7 percent (±0.7%) above November 2012. Total sales for the September through November 2013 period were up 4.1 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The September to October 2013 percent change was revised from +0.4 percent (±0.5%)* to +0.6 percent (±0.3%).
This is an interesting report in the unadjusted numbers for a whole host of reasons.
First, one would expect material increases (unadjusted) virtually across-the-board, simply because "Black Friday" and the attendant weekend is in there.
So what do we got?
Well, we have material decreases among car dealers (but wait -- I thought they've been pumping those as "strong sales?!"); down about 4.3% on the month. Furniture, electronics and appliances, clothing, sporting goods and general merchandise, along with "non-store" retailers (internet) saw the expected increases.
Food services (bars and restaurants), however, saw a small gross decrease, which is a bit odd.
The rest looks normal -- building materials were down a bit (normal for this time of year) and gasoline was down as well (expected, given the recent fall in fuel prices.)
You gotta love those "seasonal adjustments"......
The usual cascade of "leaked" software has dried up of late for the BB10 devices. 10.2.1.1055 is the last we've seen, and while I'm running it there are some bugs that are annoying enough that I can't recommend it for "general use."
Intriguingly, however, a rumor surfaced in the last day or so that more-recent builds include Google Play integration.
Let me back up a bit -- there have been a number of people who have successfully hacked Google Play into things like the Kindle Fire. Because this is an "integral" part of the Android load in "stock" trim it's not available as a loadable application -- to "hack" it in you thus must root the device (to gain access to the system area) and then place the APK file in the system directory. This can't be done on BlackBerry 10 devices because their security actually works, and thus you can't gain access to the system directory necessary. In addition there has been a "stub" version of that framework present in the Android runtime, likely to prevent an attempt to load it via other means.
Anyway, the rumor appears to be that this restriction is dropped in later "test" builds that have allegedly been seen. If true then this means that using the actual Play Store, including purchased applications, will work on "carrier released" 10.2.1 BB10 firmware.
In other words you'll have a better Android than an Android, since you will have full dual-mode compatibility.
This change is slated to hit carriers, according to the same sources, right after the New Year.
The existing 10.2.1 "test" loads will run virtually anything Android, and as I've noted runs many of those apps better than an actual Android device. If this rumor turns out to be true then BlackBerry will have a fully compatible Android-capable handset, while not giving up anything in their native OS -- the vastly superior security, the ease of use in The Hub and more.
There are those who say none of this matters, that Android has already won and BlackBerry lost.
If this rumor proves up I believe you're going to be proved dead wrong and that, coupled with what appears to be an emerging story of success with BES10 (device management across platforms) has an extremely high probability of not only stabilizing the firm's revenue and operating picture but will likely lead to a decent-sized full-year 2014 operating profit.
Incidentally it's entirely possible that this announcement, if and when it comes, is not so much BlackBerry "wizardry" as it is some sort of formal business arrangement between Google and BlackBerry. If that turns out to be the case, well.....
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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