January 31, 2016

AP Acts As If Illinois’ Chronic Delinquency in Paying Its Bills Is a New Development

A Saturday report by Associated Press political writer John O’Connor acts as if the the sordid history of fiscal irresponsibility in the State of Illinois is a new development brought on by a stubborn Republican governor in just the past seven months.

What hogwash. The state has had a large backlog of delinquent unpaid bills for a decade, if not longer. Five years ago, a Democratic governor and a Democrat-dominated legislature enacted steep income and property tax increases, promising that the additional taxes raised would enable the state to whittle down the unpaid backlog, solve the state’s horrific unfunded pension liabilities problem, and generally right the fiscal ship. Naturally, they did no such thing. O’Connor also didn’t find any of the tax or bill-delinquency history worth recounting in his 800-word report. Instead, he relayed stories of the kinds of hardships caused by the State’s delinquency which, though genuinely gut-wrenching, could have and should been covered regularly by the national press during the past several years.

(more…)

WashPost Writer: Despite Venezuela’s Collapse, Govt. Giveaways Are ‘Good Idea in General’

In trying to explain the current situation in Venezuela, the Washington Post’s Matt O’Brien, in a post at the paper’s Wonkblog, also inadvertently identified two reasons why authoritarian socialist tyrants like Huge Chavez and Nicolas Maduro are able to achieve and retain power.

The formula is simple: When you first gain power, garner international and media goodwill by giving stuff away, like housing and gasoline. That wlll earn you props from the likes of O’Brien and liberals everywhere who have come to believe that doing so “is a good idea in general.” Meanwhile, you can work in the background to overturn whatever checks and balances your country’s political system might have. If the populace finally figures out what you’re really up to and rises up in opposition, they can’t stop you — even if your party gets blown out in elections and takes over what has become, thanks to you, an impotent legislature.

(more…)

No Ferguson Effect? St. Louis, Baltimore Now in World’s Top 20 For Murder Rates

Those in the press who have insisted that the “Ferguson effect” is an urban legend will have a hard time explaining why the two cities with the most potential to be affected by this supposedly mythical phenomenon now have murder rates among the top 20 in the entire world.

St. Louis, Missouri, next door to Ferguson, where a leftist-”inspired” campaign of “protests,” civil disorder and rioting began in August 2014, came in at Number 15, with a rate of 59 murders per 100,000 residents. The city’s 188 murders in 2015 were up from 159 in 2014 and 120 in 2013. Baltimore, Maryland, where Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake infamously admitted in April 2015, as public safety was deteriorating in her city, that “we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that,” was Number 19, with 344 murders (a rate of 55 per 100,000).

(more…)

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (013116)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: Hundreds of thousands attend ‘Family Day’ as Italy debates same-sex unions

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Rome:

Jan 30, 2016 / 12:24 pm

Rome’s Circus Maximus was the site of a massive rally against a proposed law which would allow same-sex unions across the country of Italy.

Hundreds of thousands are estimated to have gathered for ‘Family Day’ at the historic site in the capital city a week ahead of a vote which could allow same-sex couples to legally enter into civil unions.

If passed, the legislation would grant same-sex couples – as well as non-married couples of the opposite sex – the same legal rights as married couples of the opposite sex.

Among the legal allowances would be the adoption of a child by the same-sex partner of his or her parent.

To date, Italy offers no legal rights to same-sex couples.

“Italy is one of the few western countries that is still resisting this deviation,” said Family Day organizer Massimo Gandolfini in an interview with Sky Tg24. Most European countries allow for legalized same-sex unions in some form.

At a speech during the Family Day rally, Gandolfini told the crowds: “Without limits, our society will go mad!” the AP reports.

Speakers addressed the throngs of crowds peacefully demonstrating with banners and signs, many of which called for the protection of a child’s right to a mother and a father.

The proposed bill to give legal rights to same-sex partnerships was submitted to parliament Oct. 7, 2015. …

Go here for the rest of the story.