‘The Walking Dead’ and living in debt

A colleague of mine shared that she and her husband are avid fans of the TV blockbuster, “The Walking Dead.” I have never seen the show, so she described to me how the most fascinating part was the drama of seeing how people connect and process living in a post-apocalyptic world.

It was not, as some might think-the battle between humans and zombies, or gory killings seen each week. She further explained that one “turns” into a zombie if they are bitten.

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Fayette schools good, but challenges remain

Some findings from the Fayette Visioning Initiative Competitive Assessment:

“Stakeholders are fiercely proud of the local schools and recognize the importance of protecting and further nurturing such an asset.”

“The education system has been the jewel for the community and a beacon that has brought many families to the county.”

“There is little doubt that public schools in Fayette County are among the best in the state of Georgia.”

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The ‘fairness’ fraud

It seems as if, everywhere you turn these days, there are studies claiming to show that America has lost its upward mobility for people born in the lower socioeconomic levels.

But there is a sharp difference between upward “mobility,” defined as an opportunity to rise, and mobility defined as actually having risen.

That distinction is seldom even mentioned in most of the studies. It is as if everybody is chomping at the bit to get ahead, and the ones that don’t rise have been stopped by “barriers” created by “society.”

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Separation of state and news

After much criticism from conservative quarters, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided, at least for now, to withdraw plans for its proposed study of how media organizations gather and report news.

The expressed goal of the survey was to determine if the “critical information needs” of the public are being met.

In making the announcement on Friday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated the survey would be “revised” and that the government agency had “no intention” of regulating political speech of journalists or other broadcasters.

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L.A. Notices That Vaping Looks Like Smoking, So an E-Cigarette Ban Is Imminent

Los Angeles is poised to join Boston,
New York, and Chicago in treating vaping like smoking, meaning that
electronic cigarettes will be banned everywhere that conventional
cigarettes are. Yesterday a committee
approved
an ordinance that would extend the city’s restrictions
on smoking to vaping, and the full city council is expected to
follow suit next week. As in
New York
and
Chicago
, supporters of the ban, unable to cite any evidence
that vaping poses a biological threat to bystanders, focus instead
on the semiotic threat:

Lawmakers acted after Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los
Angeles County Department of Public Health, said e-cigarettes
threaten to make smoking socially acceptable after years of
advocacy to discourage the habit. Young people who get hooked on
the nicotine in e-cigarettes may then turn to tobacco use, he
said.

“We don’t want to risk e-cigarettes undermining a half century
of successful tobacco control,” he said….

“Even if it were determined later on that the emissions from
e-cigarettes aren’t dangerous to a bystander in an outside
environment, the existence of devices like this…in public places
does threaten to renormalize the behavior of smoking,” [City
Attorney Mike Feuer] said.

Fielding and Feuer worry that vaping, the whole point of which
is to avoid the nuisance and hazards of dirty, disgusting,
dangerous cigarettes. somehow will make smoking popular again.
Although there is
no evidence
to support that rather implausible fear, there is
evidence that vaping helps many smokers give up a habit that
otherwise would impair their health and threaten their lives, as
former Surgeon General Richard Carmona
pointed out
in the Los Angeles Daily News last
week:

Published research suggests that e-cigarettes can play a
significant role in tobacco harm reduction strategies, since they
avoid the toxic byproducts of combustion while providing smokers
with the nicotine they crave and the smoking rituals to which they
have grown accustomed. Financial analysts opine that, within a
decade, e-cigarette sales could overtake tobacco sales.

I recently joined the board of NJOY, the leading independent
e-cigarette company, because its ambitions are even higher—to make
obsolete the tobacco cigarette entirely.

A well-intentioned but scientifically unsupported effort like
the current proposal could greatly impede the effort to defeat
tobacco smoking. This regulation, if passed, would disincentivize
smokers from switching to e-cigarettes, since many initially switch
for reasons of convenience. It would also send the unintended
message to smokers that e-cigarettes are as dangerous as tobacco
smoking, with the result that many will simply continue to smoke
their current toxic products.

Fielding
acknowledges
that “some say [e-cigarettes] help them quit
smoking” but insists “the strength of scientific evidence to get
smokers to quit is not there.” Former smokers may think they’ve
switched to vaping, in other words, but but what do they know? They
probably have not even heard of the
precautionary principle
.

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China’s Corporate Debt Hits Record $12 Trillion

Remember these two charts?

From November 2012, The Chinese Credit Bubble – Full Frontal:

 

 

And from November 2013, “How China’s Stunning $15 Trillion In New Liquidity Blew Bernanke’s QE Out Of The Water

 

 

It seems people are starting to listen, and not a moment too soon: as of December 31, China’s corporate debt just hit a record $12 trillion. From Reuters:

China’s corporate debt has hit record levels and is likely to accelerate a wave of domestic restructuring and trigger more defaults, as credit repayment problems rise.

 

Chinese non-financial companies held total outstanding bank borrowing and bond debt of about $12 trillion at the end of last year – equal to over 120 percent of GDP – according to Standard & Poor’s estimates.

 

Growth in Chinese company debt has been unprecedented. A Thomson Reuters analysis of 945 listed medium and large non-financial firms showed total debt soared by more than 260 percent, from 1.82 trillion yuan ($298.4 billion) to 4.74 trillion yuan ($777.3 billion), between December 2008 and September 2013.

 

While a credit crisis isn’t expected anytime soon, analysts say companies in China’s most leveraged sectors, such as machinery, shipping, construction and steel, are selling assets and undertaking mergers to avoid defaulting on their borrowings.

 

More defaults are expected, said Christopher Lee, managing director for Greater China corporates at Standard and Poor’s Rating Services in Hong Kong. “Borrowing costs already are going up due to tightened liquidity,” he said. “There will be a greater differentiation and discrimination of risk and lending going forward.”

And then there was the worst capital misallocation in history:

Exacerbating China’s corporate troubles has been the questionable use of 4 trillion yuan in stimulus that Beijing pumped into the economy following the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, explained Lee of Standard & Poor’s.

 

“Many companies invested heavily into competitive and low-return projects because funding was readily available,” he said. “These investments aren’t doing well and are making little contribution to profitability.”

Of course, there is also this:

And this:

What happens next as the Chinese perfect debt storm is finally unleashed? Read this for the upcoming next steps: ‘”The Pig In The Python Is About To Be Expelled”: A Walk Thru Of China’s Hard Landing, And The Upcoming Global Harder Reset


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1kbnawa Tyler Durden

The truth behind the ‘staffing surge’ in Ga. public schools

Cuts to family budgets have been significant since the Great Recession began in late 2007. Likewise, cuts to public school budgets in Georgia and nationally have been significant as well. That said, the economic challenges facing public schools during the Great Recession need to be put in historical context.

A recent Georgia State University policy brief reported an 18.9 percent increase in the state’s public school teachers between 2001 and 2012, and a 28 percent increase in school-based administrators.

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A boy named Juan

Thousands of days, all those filled with clouds, rain, snow or sunshine, have passed since that time, yet the lesson sticks stubbornly to my heart.

For two years, I spent Tuesday afternoons volunteering as a mentor in an elementary school where every child was poor. An astounding 96 percent of them qualified for free or reduced price lunches. The vast majority of them had traveled with their families from a desperate country where, though it’s hard to imagine, they had been even poorer than the life they found in America.

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Chief: F’ville one of safest cities

According to a recent safety poll conducted by the national security firm SafeWise, the city of Fayetteville was named as one of the top 50 safest cities in the state of Georgia.

SafeWise compares data from the FBI Crime Reports and other in-house research of Georgia cities with a population of 5,000 or more to compile an annual list of the safest cities in Georgia.

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Climate change: 97% of scientists agree

There has been a heated battle for years between the backers of scientific climate change and the deniers.

A much cited peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11,944 climate abstracts from 1991 to 2011 matching the topics “global climate change” or “global warming” determined that among abstracts they expressed a position on, 97.1 percent endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.

Wow, I would think only the theory of gravity may have a higher consensus.

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