Monday, March 31, 2014

Kobe Bryant Suffers "Blacklash"

In an interview with Ben McGrath for the March issue of The New Yorker, McGrath asked about Bryant’s reaction to the Miami Heat’s show of hoodied solidarity with Trayvon Martin last year, to which Kobe Bryant responded, "I won’t react to something just because I'm supposed to, because I'm an African-American," Bryant said. "That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we've progressed as a society? Well, if we've progressed as a society then don’t jump to somebody's defense just because they're African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”

That simple response that merely repudiated a mindless group-think, has brought the wrath of liberal blacks down upon Kobe Bryant.

Roland Martin the dopey newser whose tweet ("If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham's H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!") two years ago (February, 2012) got him suspended from CNN, responded to Bryant’s, statement with, Remember when @JimBrownNFL32 took heat for blasting @kobebryant? Jim knew what he was talking about. Kobe is clueless about #TrayvonMartin.”


“Let's just call it what it is: @kobebryant went to the Michael Jordan School of Don't Say Jack, Don't Do Jack. Just Cash Checks. Man, please”

A piece at The Urban Daily slammed Bryant for being a "jerk," adding, "Over the span of Kobe Bryant‘s career...we’ve seen him do and say some very smug, cavalier and even cornball things at times but the comments that he made regarding the Miami Heat’s support after Trayvon Martin was far takes the cake!"

The term "cornball" is often used to disparage blacks for "acting white."

Career criminal and freshly minted “activist” Najee Ali, director of the little known Project Islamic H.O.P.E., angrily called for a boycott of Bryant; "African American youth should no longer buy Bryant’s jerseys or shoes and should boycott all products he endorses."

Interesting enough, Kobe Bryant had already tweeted, “Travon Martin was wronged THATS my opinion and thats what I believe the FACTS showed. The system did not work #myopinion #tweetURthoughts”

It’s said, that you’re known by who your friends are, BUT who your enemies are says a lot about a person as well...and right now, Kobe Bryant’s enemies are making him look very good.

New York’s Loss Appears to be Alabama’s Gain

Just a month after Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) said “extreme conservatives” who are “right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay,” have “no place in the state of New York,” at least one entity is taking him at his word.

On February 17th, 2014 Remington, one of the world’s largest gun manufacturers, joined Gov. Robert Bentley (R) of Alabama to announce they’re bringing over 2,000 jobs to Alabama.

The company is viewing the move into Alabama as an expansion, but it will likely impact their Ilion, NY plant as well. The New York facility currently employees around 1,200 people. It is expected to stay open, but with a reduced workforce.

The company recently stated that, “The demand for Remington products has skyrocketed recently, for obvious reasons, so they need to increase their production capacity. They will be expanding their research capabilities with the Alabama plant, too.”

The initial estimated impact on Alabama’s economy will be roughly $87 million.

According to Remington’s website, the company designs, produces and sells sporting goods products for the hunting and shooting sports markets, as well as military, government and law enforcement markets. Founded in 1816 in upstate New York, the Company is one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating manufacturers. Remington is the only U.S. manufacturer of both firearms and ammunition products and one of the largest domestic producers of shotguns and rifles. The Company distributes its products throughout the U.S. and in over 55 foreign countries.

With so many other major gun manufacturers fleeing stricter gun control states, the fear in NY is that Remington and the thousands of much needed Upstate jobs it creates, could ultimately relocate entirely out of NY.

Elections and policies do have their consequences.

A Nation of Aging Civil Servants

I am an aging Civil Servant. I spent two decades fighting fires in the South Bronx...and it was fun. Business was good, especially during “the crack epidemic,” and the pay was decent and the benefits superior (unlimited non-line-of-duty medical leave, 3/4s of your pay for life for those who retire on “disability,” etc.). It wasn’t a bad life, all told.

Since those days, I’ve moved on to the Hazmat world where the compensation is even better and as I close in on “aging out,” I often wonder how long America can sustain the bad bets it’s made since FDR signed the 37 page Social Security in August of 1937.

Today, Medicaid IS insolvent and Medicare is slated for insolvency by 2026, and Social Security is generously scheduled for insolvency by 2033, although Rachel Greszler of Heritage makes the case for a much earlier demise for Social Security (

America’s public sector pensions are an iceberg looming over Titanic America. Many Municipalities large and small are now spending MORE tax revenues on retired public servants than they are on active police, teachers and firefighters. According to the Empire Center, New York’s total unfunded liability for public-sector retiree health insurance comes to nearly $250 billion...RIGHT NOW (!

Moreover, while private sector compensation packages for executives have long come under fire (and rightly so), excessive compensation for public officials tend to fly under the radar, probably due in large part to the incestuous connection between media and government.

Recently New York City’s brand new Public Advocate Letitia James asserted that the city’s top library officials are paid too much. That assessment probably came as a result of stories like this one about Queens Library head, Tom Gallante’s near $400,000/year take ( Brooklyn’s library head makes $333,000/year, while the New York Public Library head makes $711,000. (According to the New York Public Library’s tax filings for 2011, then-president Paul LeClerc’s base compensation was $334,914, and his total compensation reached $802,482.) In other cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, top library officials made $290,000 and $191,000 respectively, said James.

In the many small suburbs of Long Island and Upstate, School District Superintendents rake in up to half a MILLION dollars per year (

ALL of this is economically unsustainable absent a great surge in private sector growth that has so far eluded the USA along with its Western European counterparts.

The future, for America’s taxpayers looks bleak. According to economists Robert Novy-Marx and Josh Rauh, state and local taxes would have to increase by $1,385 per household immediately to make good the pension promises to state and local workers, including firefighters and cops. That's not going to happen given all the other demands on taxpayers. Default, in this case, is the proper word for cities and states using bankruptcy to repudiate their pension obligations.

A half decade ago, when the economy was humming, a common estimate held that federal taxes would have to rise 50% immediately to fully fund entitlement programs. Today, a 50% tax increase wouldn’t even meet the government's current, never mind future obligations.

In his first post-election (2012) press conference that he doesn't want any proposals that "sock it to the middle class." He must know better. A long-term socking, or SOAKING is exactly what's coming to the middle class, which must pay for the benefits it consumes.

With private sector defined benefits (traditional pensions) mostly gone, with Detroit and many smaller Municipalities simply defaulting on their pension obligations (and with Chicago considering the same) and even the Military’s vaunted pension benefits being scaled back retroactively, how can any public sector pensioners be optimistic?

We seem inevitably headed to an age of higher taxes, coupled with fewer services as a government that has over-promised for far too long ultimately has to make good on its fundamental obligations.

So, where is the “good news”? Given that, we all die in the end, there probably isn’t all that much good news. In fact, it seems that for Baby Boomers especially, it appears that the forecast is for more pain before the sun inevitably sets.
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