January 27, 2007

Student Financial Ed Being Pushed by Ohio’s New State Treasurer (plus Shameless BizzyBlog Plug)

Filed under: Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:17 pm

Here’s the essence of the AP report (HT to Eric at Progress Ohio; different link used because original post with original link disappeared into the ether – ugh):

Instruction in personal finance is set to begin in 2010 but could start earlier if new state Treasurer Rich Cordray has his way.

When he was Franklin County treasurer, Cordray tallied the trail of home foreclosures, delinquent property taxes and other forms of financial ruin that affect thousands of Ohio families.

He decided one way to help was to get children savvy in the ways of money before life had a chance to do it for them.

….. Cordray worked the last four years with Columbus Public Schools to educate high-schoolers about credit, savings and budgeting. He wants those lessons to go statewide sooner than required.

Here’s my reax: First, there’s no doubt that it’s needed. Second, this is an area that all too often has received lip service and very little consistent tangible effort in the 15 years I have been trying to follow these efforts (with occasional direct involvement). Third, I hope and have reason to believe that Mr. Cordray will follow through and prove to be the exception. But fourth, in terms of impact, I’m concerned how effective any such efforts can be with students who have little to nothing in the way of basic math skills.

If people knew what they were doing with their finances, payday lending outfits would be rare to non-existent. Instead, there are more such outlets than there are McDonald’s stores. In fact, in Utah, “there are more payday loan stores in the Beehive State than there are 7-Eleven convenience stores, McDonald’s, Burger Kings and Subway restaurants combined.”

So positive results in improving (or in a lot of cases, even bringing into existence) primary and secondary basic financial education would be very welcome.

Mr. Cordray also has plans to reach adult Ohioans, concentrating on those who may be nearing financial distress. All others can learn how to get their house in order for a very nominal fee by purchasing access to the easy-to-use, easy-to-follow CYMnow.com:

CYMnow

Warren County (OH) Illegal Immigration Update: The Stories, Government Action, and Media Letdown (Part 1, Mason Council and Enrique Torres)

NOTE: I believe this post and the next one (going up tomorrow) have relevance outside of Southwest Ohio. Many local governments are considering illegal immigration laws, and I find it unlikely that metro Cincinnati is the only area where the city’s newspaper and other media outlets are failing to provide, or are misreporting, basic facts about illegal-immigrant cases.

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The City of Mason, northeast of Cincinnati, is looking at doing something about illegal immigration, i.e., Mason is considering doing the job the US Government won’t do (bolded words are part of a pattern of incomplete and inaccurate reporting discussed later; the time-stamp on the article appears to be incorrect, as the meeting reported on took place that evening):

Last Updated: 11:29 am | Monday, January 22, 2007
BY JESSICA BROWN

Mason studies its immigration policy

City Council here agreed Monday to let its safety committee investigate if the city can create local ordinances to crack down on illegal immigration.

….. The moves come about five months after Mason resident Kevin Barnhill, 27, was stabbed to death outside a Mason bar, allegedly at the hands of at least one illegal immigrant. It was the city’s first homicide since 2000. Barnhill’s father, William Barnhill, helped found Citizens for Legal Communities, a Warren County group seeking to strengthen local immigration enforcement.

The group’s primary concern is the increase in violent crime it says illegal immigrants bring to the community – and the lack of enforcement power for local authorities. Monday night, the group asked council to consider creating several immigration ordinances including:
- Making it illegal to harbor, rent or lease residential properties and hotel space for use as an accommodation for an illegal immigrant.
- Requiring employers to use a federal online system to verify that workers are eligible for public benefits.
- Requiring illegal immigrants who are criminally charged to repay court costs incurred for indigent defense or interpreters.
- The group also encouraged council members to petition state legislators for immigration reform. It wants local law enforcement to have authority to prosecute illegal immigrants.

The group will make the same suggestions to other Warren County communities.

Only a handful of towns across the country – and none so far in Ohio – have enacted or are considering local laws to deter immigrants from living or working there. The practice has spurred at least one lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Tentative kudos to Mason City Council for looking into passing such laws. Now get the laws written right, and get them on the books. Calling what Council is doing a “crackdown” is way over the top; Council is attempting to create enforceable local laws only because the people in charge of enforcing existing federal laws aren’t doing their jobs.

The fact is that while there is widespread support in Warren County for such measures, it is not very intense. It should be. If our local news outlets were doing their job in reporting crimes committed by illegals in Warren County, it would be.

Here is a perfect example supporting that contention — In a separate story (HT One Oar in the Water) before the meeting just mentioned, Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Jessica Brown previewed it and presented these “facts” to her readers:

(William) Barnhill, of Hamilton Township, formed the (Citizens for Legal Communities) group last year after his son, Kevin Barnhill, was stabbed to death outside of a Mason bar. The suspects, who are awaiting trial, are believed to be illegal immigrants, according to police.

Ms. Brown failed to name the suspects — a borderline call, since the story is about an upcoming meeting and not the murder. But there are two more serious errors:

  1. Readers of the above paragraph have every reason to believe that ALL of “the” suspects have been apprehended and are awaiting trial. That is NOT the case.
  2. Readers also would believe that the immigration status of the suspects awaiting trial is uncertain. That is FALSE.

I spoke with Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel earlier in the week about the Kevin Barnhill murder and the Jose Ocasio Nuñez situation, which will be covered in Part 2 tomorrow. Hutzel informed me of the following concerning the Barnhill case:

  • There are three people believed to be involved and who have been indicted for the murder. Two are in custody at the Warren County Jail: Humberto Mota and Jose Mota. The “allegedly at the hands of at least one illegal immigrant” description of the situation in the top story above by Ms. Brown is, very obviously, very misleading.
  • One of the three, Enrique Torres, is still at large.

Ms. Brown could have looked at the November 28 Enquirer story on the indictment of all three for murder, which also noted that Torres was on the loose. Oh, and this December 16, 2006 story, also in the Enquirer, indicates that Torres was still at large and that he might still be in the local area. The occasion for the December 16 article was Ms. Hutzel’s public call for help in finding Torres. (Torres is said to have a girlfriend and children in the area, leading Hutzel to believe that he may still be here).

  • Part of Ms. Hutzel’s public efforts have involved working with local Channel 12′s Crimestoppers program. Since December 5, there has been a “Special Alert” for Mr. Torres up at the Crimestoppers section of WKRC Channel 12′s web site. Here is his picture in case you see him (there is a reward for info leading to his apprehension):
Torres_Enrique
  • As to the immigration status of the three, Ms. Hutzel indicated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has “no doubt” that all are illegal immigrants.
  • Active attempts to find Torres have been in place throughout multiple law-enforcement jurisdictions, and they remain in place.
  • The trial of the two Motas was originally scheduled to begin in February, but has been moved to May because defense lawyers want their cases to be bifurcated into two separate trials, and that issue needs to be resolved first.

Here’s a question for the Cincinnati Enquirer: Why did most of my local-area readers need to learn this information here, and not in their local newspaper of record?

* * * * *

Then there is the case of Jose Ramon Ocasio Nuñez, who was involved in a frightening incident at a Hamilton Township construction site in the summer of 2006, that is covered in Part 2.

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UPDATE, Jan. 28: A clean-up point — Jessica Brown wrote that the William Barnhill-led Citizens for Legal Communities “says” that “illegal immigrants bring (an increase in violent crime) to the community,” as if the matter is somehow in dispute.

Follow me closely on this, Ms. Brown:

  • The last murder in Mason was in 2000, before the illegal immigrant population in Greater Cincinnati began to be significant. For 5 years, there were no murders. In 2006, there was one, by all accounts allegedly committed by illegal immigrants. So the first murder in six years is “an increase in violent crime,” and it was “brought to the community” (allegedly) by illegal immigrants.
  • In the 20-plus years I have lived in Warren County, and the 40-plus years I have lived in Greater Cincinnati, I have never heard of an incident even remotely resembling the Nuñez situation, where a fired employee brought back accomplices with intent to kill someone over being fired. So what Nuñez and his gang accomplices did also represents “an increase in violent crime brought” to Greater Cincinnati by at least one, and probably more, illegal immigrants.

William Barnhill’s group isn’t just “saying” it. It’s a fact — At least two forms of crime in Warren County have increased. Both of those increases can be traced to crimes (allegedly) committed by illegal immigrants. What is unclear about this?

Rush on a Roll: On the Old Media Depression

Maybe they deserve a teenie tiny bit of sympathy, because their business really stinks right now.

Nah — Because as Rush noted Friday (link won’t be available after Monday at about 6 PM), they’ve brought it on themselves. He even catches some of them fiddling while their flagships are burning (bolds are mine; links were in original):

CNN Brass Parties While Media Layoffs Surge

I think we actually are in a depression, not a recession, but a depression in at least one sector of the market and of the economy. Listen to this: “U.S. media job cuts surged 88 percent in 2006 from the previous year, a downsizing trend expected to continue this year, a survey said Thursday. The media industry slashed 17,809 jobs last year, a nearly two-fold increase from the 9,453 cuts in 2005, outplacement consultancy Challenger Gray & Christmas said. The figure was the industry’s largest annual job-cut total since 43,420 media job cuts accompanied the collapse of the technology bubble in 2001, the survey said…. Media companies, including the New York Times Co. and Time Inc., have already laid off 2,000 employees in 2007,” and we’re just barely into the first month here! ….. Do you think it might have something to do with the fact that they’re ignoring the needs of their audience? Do you think it might have anything to do with the fact that the Drive-By Media is the one business in America where you, the customer, are not only always wrong, you are a blithering idiot?

And every suggestion or complaint you make is met with, “You just don’t understand what we do.” So we get these job cuts at print institutions, newspapers, magazines, broadcast networks and so forth, layoffs left and right, audiences are down, advertising is down. They’re always complaining and whining and moaning about it. None of that’s happening here. We haven’t had a down year yet since we started. I’m talking about gross revenues. It has not happened. But it is happening in a lot of these other places. These places do not connect with their audience. They preach or condescend to them. There’s a whole bunch of factors.

Did you see this? CNN had a hundred executives go to the Bahamas, the exclusive Atlantis Resort. ….. and they said, “Well, the reason for this is that we exceeded our budget last year. We brought in more than we budgeted and we’re celebrating and we rewarded those people that did that,” but no pay raises for the serfs. No pay raises for the worker bees. No, just a trip over there to Atlantis for a hundred or so big-time executives. So next time you hear anybody at CNN start ripping and moaning into other CEOs’ pay and how they run their businesses, just remember: CNN does it, too.

I’d love to hear Lou Dobbs’ comment on the Bahamas trip. Heck, maybe he was there.

Positivity: 45 Accident-Free Years for UPS Driver

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:50 am

That would be over 3 million miles (link may require free registration):

Friday, January 26, 2007

WEST CARROLLTON — Ronald Sowder has been driving professionally nine years longer than Jeff Gordon has been alive. And Sowder hasn’t so much as a fender bender to show for it.

When his UPS colleagues say Sowder, 67, is a safe driver, they’re not kidding. As the Springboro resident stepped down from his tractor-trailer at the UPS West Carrollton facility Thursday evening, he marked 46 years of mishap-free driving, he said.

UPS puts Sowder’s number of years at 45. Either way, it’s a long haul. In UPS’ 100-year history, only one other driver has matched the milestone.

Sowder said the secret to his success is no secret: He makes sure he sees drivers around him, and that they see him.

“I think the main thing is space and visibility,” he said.

Every day, Sowder pulls a double-trailer of packages bound for air travel from West Carrollton to Louisville, Ky., a 152-mile one-way trip.

“Ron’s got our premium product,” said Tom Cecil, a UPS safety supervisor. “It’s in good hands.”

Charlie Halfen, UPS’ Atlanta-based corporate fleet safety manager, said his company has 90,000 U.S. drivers on the road daily and 102,000 across the globe. They are trained to focus on a chain of variables with the aim of driving defensively, Halfen said. They are taught to focus on intersections, pedestrians, speed, traffic lights and other motorists.

“You’re trying to create a way of life,” Halfen said. “You’re trying to create a habit.”

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By the numbers:

- 3+ million: Miles Ronald Sowder has driven — enough to make six roundtrips to the moon with miles left over.
- 46: Years Sowder has driven professionally. (UPS says 45.)
- 4,200+: Active UPS drivers who have avoided accidents for 25 years.
- 107: Drivers who have avoided accidents for 35 years.
- 6: Drivers who have avoided accidents for 40 years.
- 1: Driver who has matched Sowder?s milestone.
- 0: Accidents Sowder has had.