Wednesday, 26 October 2011

By on October 26th, 2011 in government, politics

08:49 – Well, as expected, the crisis summit today has turned into a complete fustercluck. Not only is there zero chance of comprehensive actions to address the euro crisis, the participants can’t even agree about what to argue about. And, oh by the way, the Italian government is teetering on the brink of collapse, mainly because of German demands that Italy increase retirement age to 67, as Germany has done. Collapse of Italy’s fragile coalition was narrowly averted yesterday, but it looks like Berlusconi is on his way out, and sooner rather than later. If that happens, it could be months before Italy again has a functioning government.

The collapse of Italy’s government would eliminate even the slightest mathematical chance of saving the euro and the EU. Even with the ECB buying Italian bonds, yields on those bonds are now above 6%, the catastrophic level that convinced the ECB to intervene in the first place. And Italy has to rollover €250 billion worth of bonds over the coming year, just to stay even. Even with a functioning government, it’s extremely unlikely that Italy could sell €250 billion of bonds over the next year no matter how high the yields. If the government collapses, there’s no question that Italian bond sales will also collapse, leaving Italy with no way to pay off maturing bonds. In other words, Italy will default, joining Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. The EFSF bailout fund is insufficient even to cover expected losses on Greece, let alone Ireland and Portugal. If Italy joins the group of bankrupt nations, there is zero hope that it can be bailed out. And it’s looking likely that Italy will join that group in the next few months, if not the next few weeks.

12:31 – Barbara sent me a link to this forensics blog, which looks very interesting. The author, Tom Adair, is a retired forensics guy with 15 years of experience. Unlike most of the forensics sites I follow, which are intended for forensic scientists and technicians, this blog is targeted at fiction authors and readers. I’ve only looked at half a dozen random articles, but it appears that this guy knows what he’s talking about. If you have any interest at all in real crime-scene investigation and criminal forensics, check out this blog.

13 Comments and discussion on "Wednesday, 26 October 2011"

  1. dkreck says:

    If you weren’t convinced the patent system is broke try this

  2. Dave B. says:

    If you weren’t convinced the patent system is broke try this

    To make matters even worse, according to Slashdot, the Europeans rejected the patent because of prior art.

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Italian politicians involved in fistfights with each other? Who’d have believed it? Yes, it would be funny if things weren’t so desperate.

  4. Ray Thompson says:

    I think the patent system is so broken, administered by idiots, that I could patent a turd.

  5. dkreck says:

    Probably, but collecting the royalties might not be that pleasant.

  6. Chuck Waggoner says:

    I had lunch yesterday with a lifelong teacher, whose brother is 10 years younger than he, and still teaching. The brother is currently at a rural consolidated school system–a place you would think is removed from the inner-city unteachables.

    But that–he said–is exactly what he is dealing with. Kids who cannot read, thus cannot get the lessons. Kids who cannot pass tests that demonstrate even a basic knowledge of the subject (he teaches math and history). Of course, he is not free to fail the students.

    These kids will get a pass and ultimately a diploma. But what are the schools unleashing on the future?

  7. CowboySlim says:

    Sounds like the school where my daughter teaches, but hers is 99% ESL Hispanics of questionable documentation. One things teachers are overpaid, but does one know how creative they must be to justify social promotion to non-readers and non-etc.? And Obama’s Arne Duncan would have her and her coworkers fired as they progress about 4/10 of a school grade per calendar year based on standardized tests. They should all be at six figure salaries to get that 4/10 progress each year.

  8. OFD says:

    Italy HAD a functioning government? When was THAT? The reign of Hadrian?

    So more cheery nooz: the patent system is a mess and our public education system is the laughingstock of the solar system. This we knew. Yet the System grinds on…

  9. Chad says:

    These kids will get a pass and ultimately a diploma. But what are the schools unleashing on the future?

    Someone has to clean motel rooms, flip burgers, empty trash, etc. Not everyone gets to be an astronaut when they grow up.

  10. Miles_Teg says:

    Sure, but should they be given a high school diploma when they don’t learn anything?

  11. Dave B. says:

    Sure, but should they be given a high school diploma when they don’t learn anything?

    Well, no. My paternal grandfather dropped out of school because his dad died and he had to work to support the family. After he turned forty, he decided for some reason to get a GED. He passed the first time without studying.

    The kids today don’t deserve diplomas just for 12 years of attending school. That’s a big part of the problem. After giving kids diplomas for showing up, now you “need” a college degree for a decent job. And since we seem to think everyone needs a college degree, we’ve dumbed that down so everyone can get one.

    In our local school system, it’s too hard to fail a kid. They won’t fail any kid under any circumstances more than twice. They’ll have special ed kids in a normal classroom too much. For example, a kid who’s two grade levels behind in reading or math will be in regular science and social studies. There’s no way a kid two grade levels behind in reading can understand a social studies or science textbook that is two grade levels beyond his ability.

    We need to say at a minimum, if you can’t read and do math at a sixth grade level by the time you’re socially promoted to the eighth grade, then you don’t go beyond the eighth grade.

  12. OFD says:

    There it is. I would completely demolish and abolish the current public State education system and close 90% of the colleges and universities. Can’t read and write by 8th grade? See ya.

    And stringent, rigorous entrance exams for colleges, with vastly more preference given to science and engineering. English lit dilettantes like myself can be re-educated with some basic technologies and put to work accordingly, which is what I am doing now.

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