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Gidney N Cloyd

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Elk Grove Vil, IL
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 03:07 PM
Number of posts: 13,069

Journal Archives

Meet the real villain in the public pension crisis

http://theweek.com/articles/544576/meet-real-villain-public-pension-crisis

Meet the real villain in the public pension crisis
by Jeff Spross

Critics of the defined-benefit plans often assert this is necessary because governments use the more generous packages as cover for fiscally deceptive political games, promising workers future benefits while not properly funding the plans and instead spending the money in the here and now.

This argument is largely bogus. The National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA) recently looked at the management of 112 state-administered pension funds from 2001 to 2013. They found the plans received an average of 89 percent of their required annual contributions, and only six states — New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, North Dakota, Kansas, and Colorado — averaged less than 75 percent. Half the plans got 95 percent of the needed amount.

"There is a perception that many plans and states have failed, when in fact it's only a handful of states," Keith Brainard, NASRA’s research director, told Business Insurance. With the exception of a handful of outliers, "most states have made a reasonably good effort."

A 2011 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) came to the same conclusion. What went wrong, in a nutshell, was the 2008 financial crisis. The plans NASRA looked at were just beginning to close a modest gap opened up by the 2001 recession, plus some changes to benefits, when the latest crash expanded the combined shortfall of all the plans from $5.8 billion in 2008 to $17.8 billion in 2013. It hit a nadir at $19 billion in 2012.
Posted by Gidney N Cloyd | Tue Mar 24, 2015, 05:03 PM (2 replies)

Just watched the Gilmore Girls series finale and I'm crying like an idiot.

Home for a snow day and stumbled across this. I used to watch the series in first run and I taped (yes, taped) the finale, set it aside and never wanted to watch it cuz I knew this would happen.
“I just like to see you happy." Ahh, shit.

Now I have to go do something manly...

On edit...
I just realized I implied I watched this on the tape I recorded years ago. That's no longer around. While I was home on the snow day I was flipping channels and landed on ABCFAM or some such thing. They happened to be running the last episode. It was pretty much the first time in years I'd seen the series and the finale was about the only one I'd missed. Kismet.
Posted by Gidney N Cloyd | Mon Feb 2, 2015, 01:14 PM (4 replies)

Why do so many Americans believe torture works? Partly because TV & movies portray it that way.

From TVtropes.org: (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TortureAlwaysWorks)
In the magical world of fiction, if torture isn't being just used to prove that the Big Bad is indeed big and bad (or that the Anti-Hero is indeed anti), it works as an instant source of 100% reliable information. The information extracted under torture is always accurate and important, even if the interrogator himself starts with no information at all and so has no way to know if the prisoner is telling the truth or lying. The possibility of having the wrong person, who will say anything under torture whether they know anything or not, will be excluded. Often as not, the victim is then released with no consequences to them if they lied.

The only times when torture doesn't work is when the tortured is just too Badass to be broken, and doesn't say anything at all. When characters object to torture, they are often portrayed as weak liberal Strawmen who "don't have what it takes" or "don't realize what's at stake". They only make moral criticisms, and never bother to point out that it's unreliable, presumably because they too know that it Always Works. Even when it doesn't work, characters who should know better assume that it will.


Some of their many, many examples from film, TV, and literature:


In Dirty Harry, San Francisco Police Department Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan presses down on the Scorpio killer's badly wounded leg (he was just shot with a .44 revolver) until he tells him where to find a girl he had kidnapped and left to suffocate. Naturally, he finds out where she is, only to discover that she has already died. The killer promptly walks away from the law by crying "police brutality", much to Harry's disgust.

In The Dark Knight, Batman uses it on a mob boss by dropping him from two stories up (conventional Batman interrogation techniques involve dangling the perp from twenty or thirty stories up until he talks) and breaking his legs.

LOST: The flashbacks of the Ben/Sayid torture episode, One Of Them, saw Sayid successfully torture a former superior officer of his to get the location of US soldiers. He used pliers to great effect it seemed.

Used on Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Buffy's interrogation subjects are usually demons, whose loyalties are extremely weak. Once she has someone at her mercy, it rarely takes more than a minute for them to start talking.

Played with in an early episode of Angel. Angel is tortured, and doesn't reveal what the bad guy wants. However, it's revealed afterwards that he was THIS close to do it, but the gang saved him before that point.

In his James Bond novels, Ian Fleming (who had prior experience in British intelligence) refers now and then to agents being tortured, on the implicit assumption that, indeed, anyone — even a trained agent — will eventually give up what they know given enough time and pain.


How many times have comedies worked in a line like "Ve haf vays of makink you talk"? That wouldn't be funny if it hadn't been a cliche already.

It's no surprise then that Americans largely believe that torture works. The explanation of why it doesn't is rarely presented and even more rarely heard. We're not exactly a nation of critical thinkers, either, so until media begins to portray torture honestly, until we make a point of educating ourselves as a society somehow, we have no reason not to continue to side with our own baser instincts, nodding our heads when our leaders casually tell us torture was the only way to get the information they needed before the next bomb goes off.
Posted by Gidney N Cloyd | Thu Dec 11, 2014, 11:17 AM (14 replies)

RWNJs _K N O W_ they were wrong on Fergusen so they're using Staten Island for cover.

I honestly think a lot of them were shocked at the blowback they got when they naturally sided with Darren Wilson. Usually they can do that with impunity and it surprised them. So they doubled down, got louder, and generally looked like even bigger, less rational assholes than normal (see Joe Scarborough's rant as exhibit A: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/scarborough-rants-against-rams-dems-for-hands-up-gesture-you-know-its-a-lie/), going so far as to rail against the Rams players' rights to express an opposing view.

But Garner in Staten Island? Virtually to the last bloviating RW commentator they're saying it's a miscarriage of justice. They're bending over backward to look reasonable. This is not evidence of evolving sensitivity, this is making a deposit on cover for the next time they express their true opinion on the inevitable next cop-executes-black person event.

Posted by Gidney N Cloyd | Thu Dec 4, 2014, 11:07 AM (19 replies)

And another long lounge tradition: WKRP Turkey Drop Episode

Full episoded at http://www.hulu.com/watch/322 but first, here it is in 30 seconds:
Posted by Gidney N Cloyd | Thu Nov 27, 2014, 10:09 AM (1 replies)

Illinois pension reform law is unconstitutional, judge rules

http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/illinois-pension-reform-law-unconstitutional-judge-rules/fri-11212014-213pm
Thank goodness. There are so many equitable ways to resolve this crisis without cheating the people who earned their pensions and kept up their ends of the bargain.
Now on to the state supreme court which recently ruled 6-1 against diminishing promised health benefits to retirees.
Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Belz ruled Friday in favor of state employees and retirees who sued to block the state's landmark pension overhaul.

“The Act without question diminishes and impairs the benefits of membership in State retirement systems,” Belz wrote in the ruling. “Illinois Courts have consistently held over time that the Illinois Pension Clause’s protection against the diminishment or impairment of pension benefits is absolute and without exception….”Because the Act diminishes and impairs pension benefits and there is no legally cognizable affirmative defense, the Court must conclude that the Act violates the Pension Protection Clause of the Illinois Constitution.”
Posted by Gidney N Cloyd | Fri Nov 21, 2014, 04:51 PM (3 replies)

(SURPRISE!) Chicago Tribune endorses repub Rauner for governor

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-illinois-governor-quinn-rauner-endorse-edit-20141010-story.html#page=1

This is the lamest endorsement I've seen from the Trib since their classic Bush endorsement for reelection in 2004 (which essentially read like "Yeah, Bush is an idiot, he screwed up everything he touched, he hasn't accomplished anything positive and he's a general embarrassment to the country but... um... Democrats are boogerheads so we endorse Bush.")

Now with Rauner they again can't come up with a solid reason to vote *FOR* him, just a long, twisting essay that sheds no light on what Rauner will do to solve the state's problems (the reason of course being that Rauner hasn't himself put forth any firm plans, just vague 1%-er nonsense about how he'll magically grow us out of our problems).

And they can't say anything much against Gov Quinn except that he's had 6 years to fix every problem in the state and hasn't yet (in fact Quinn's done a respectable job of improving the state's fiscal affairs in an economy the repubs crashed). Toss in the usual repub blather about too-high taxes in Illinois (they're not that high and they're in dire need of a progressive makeover).

If you're interested in a study of how to write an endorsement of the un-endorse-able, how to support a man who's bankrupted 11 businesses while stuffing his own pockets, whose company is being sued for fraudulent practices running nursing homes, who has no experience in government leadership other than lending his name to a few boards, follow the link and enjoy.
Posted by Gidney N Cloyd | Sun Oct 12, 2014, 12:48 PM (4 replies)

(GOP IL Gov Candidate) Rauner is wrong: School funds rising under Quinn

Rauner is wrong: School funds rising under Quinn
Rich Miller, columnist, Crain's Chicago Business
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20141004/ISSUE01/310049971/rauner-is-wrong-school-funds-rising-under-quinn#

The most easily disprovable falsehood of this year's gubernatorial campaign also is one that the mainstream media has not bothered to correct, possibly because the purveyors of the tall tale push back so hard when somebody tries to write the facts.

The Associated Press in April uncritically reported a statement by Republican nominee Bruce Rauner, who “criticized Quinn for cutting funding to schools by some $600 million—cuts that led to teacher layoffs and larger class sizes.”

SNIP

A spokesman for Mr. Rauner sent me charts published by the Illinois Commission on Government and Fiscal Accountability, which, the spokesman claimed, showed that nonfederal state education funding “decreased by $551,936,800” from fiscal 2010 (Mr. Quinn's first budget) to the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

SNIP

But the numbers still were wrong, and I sent the spokesman a link to a budget document that showed $791 million in federal money was included in the commission's state money charts (see the PDF). The federal money was “stimulus” aid, a temporary boost intended to help the state through the Great Recession. Mr. Quinn didn't—and couldn't—”cut” federal aid. It expired on its own. You can't blame him for that.
His campaign is missing some important facts.

It turns out that the commission wasn't provided with complete information. It unknowingly mixed the federal stimulus money with state money in the chart that Mr. Rauner was using, according to Dan Long, director of the bipartisan governmental agency.

So a mistake was made. Instead of a cut, spending actually has risen slightly. I was ready to move along if the Raunerites were willing to admit they were wrong. Instead they tried to change the subject.

SNIP

Instead of a big cut, state education funding actually has risen roughly $440 million, to about $6.81 billion in 2015, from nearly $6.37 billion in 2010. Nothing to cheer about but not horrible when you consider that teacher pension spending has increased by about $2 billion during the same period.

“You're just wrong on this,” I emailed Mr. Rauner's spokesman.

“It is true and we will keep correcting you,” he wrote back.

At that point, I rose from my computer and banged my head against the wall.


I saw another Rauner commercial over the weekend that repeated this lie and I had to go find the facts-- and heeeere they are. Just for good measure, though, let me add that Rauner is a lying, thieving, sunovabitch surrounded by more of the same.
Posted by Gidney N Cloyd | Mon Oct 6, 2014, 12:04 PM (1 replies)

IL Gov candidate Bruce "Li'l Mitt" Rauner (R) avoids questions as nursing home trial starts

(cross-posting from Illinois group)

I don't know how much lower you can go. Take extraordinarily bad care of helpless nursing home residents while pocketing their Medicare funds then playing corporate shell games with the liability (which winds up in the lap of an unwitting elderly patsy).

http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/chi-rauner-avoids-nursing-home-questions-as-trial-starts-20140922,0,6104984.story
Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner on Monday avoided questions about his ties to a troubled nursing home chain, while a federal trial in Florida began hearing evidence on claims that Rauner’s old private equity firm participated in a scheme to avoid liability for patient deaths.

At the trial in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, plaintiff attorneys played videotaped deposition testimony from an elderly graphic artist with no nursing home experience who expressed bewilderment over how he came to be listed as the sole shareholder of a company that bought nursing home chain Trans Healthcare Inc. as it was in financial freefall in 2006.

-snip-

The testimony of Saacks is a key part of a complicated trial centered on claims that Rauner’s GTCR participated in a fraudulent scheme to avoid liability for a string of deaths at nursing homes run by Trans Healthcare. Lawyers representing estates in related wrongful death lawsuits cases contend Saacks was a pawn and that New York-based business associates of GTCR created a shell company that shielded both firms from judgments topping $1 billion. The plaintiff attorneys contend most of the valuable assets of Trans Healthcare were shifted to a separate holding company while the liabilities were shifted to yet another firm that Saacks came to own.

-snip-

Controversy over the nursing homes has hung for months over the campaign of Rauner, who has long insisted his involvement with the chain was minimal. In February, he told the Tribune that he hadn’t had much to do with Trans Healthcare after serving on its board for about a year when GTCR first launched the chain in 1998.
However, the Tribune reported in Monday that a court document in the bankruptcy case indicates Rauner still served on the Trans Healthcare board four years after the inception of the chain. What’s more, plaintiff’s attorneys allege that other documents filed under seal in the case demonstrate that the nursing home company was run right up until the transaction with Saacks by an investment committee of GTCR partners that included Rauner.
Posted by Gidney N Cloyd | Tue Sep 23, 2014, 02:13 PM (0 replies)

IL Gov candidate Bruce "Li'l Mitt" Rauner (R) avoids questions as nursing home trial starts

I don't know how much lower you can go. Take extraordinarily bad care of helpless nursing home residents while pocketing their Medicare funds then playing corporate shell games with the liability (which winds up in the lap of an unwitting elderly patsy).

http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/chi-rauner-avoids-nursing-home-questions-as-trial-starts-20140922,0,6104984.story
Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner on Monday avoided questions about his ties to a troubled nursing home chain, while a federal trial in Florida began hearing evidence on claims that Rauner’s old private equity firm participated in a scheme to avoid liability for patient deaths.

At the trial in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, plaintiff attorneys played videotaped deposition testimony from an elderly graphic artist with no nursing home experience who expressed bewilderment over how he came to be listed as the sole shareholder of a company that bought nursing home chain Trans Healthcare Inc. as it was in financial freefall in 2006.

-snip-

The testimony of Saacks is a key part of a complicated trial centered on claims that Rauner’s GTCR participated in a fraudulent scheme to avoid liability for a string of deaths at nursing homes run by Trans Healthcare. Lawyers representing estates in related wrongful death lawsuits cases contend Saacks was a pawn and that New York-based business associates of GTCR created a shell company that shielded both firms from judgments topping $1 billion. The plaintiff attorneys contend most of the valuable assets of Trans Healthcare were shifted to a separate holding company while the liabilities were shifted to yet another firm that Saacks came to own.

-snip-

Controversy over the nursing homes has hung for months over the campaign of Rauner, who has long insisted his involvement with the chain was minimal. In February, he told the Tribune that he hadn’t had much to do with Trans Healthcare after serving on its board for about a year when GTCR first launched the chain in 1998.
However, the Tribune reported in Monday that a court document in the bankruptcy case indicates Rauner still served on the Trans Healthcare board four years after the inception of the chain. What’s more, plaintiff’s attorneys allege that other documents filed under seal in the case demonstrate that the nursing home company was run right up until the transaction with Saacks by an investment committee of GTCR partners that included Rauner.
Posted by Gidney N Cloyd | Tue Sep 23, 2014, 01:52 PM (2 replies)
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