Conservatives Are Negative, Liberals Positive

From BBC News:

Fear factor: The science behind America’s red/blue divide

January 30, 2012

Americans are as divided as ever between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. Is there a psychological foundation for the red/blue split?

Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are studying liberals’ and conservatives’ reactions to happy or pleasant photographs and scary or sad ones in an effort to learn more about the cognitive underpinnings of political preference.

The findings? Conservatives tend to concentrate more on images considered to be negative, while liberals’ eyes tend to linger on positive images, says political science professor John Hibbing.

We get it. Conservatives are stupid and afraid and bigoted. Can anyone blame us?

By the way, this study seems to have come out way back in October 2008.



NY Republicans Fear Gingrich Win In Florida

From the New York Post:

New York GOPers fearing a ‘disaster’ Gingrich victory

January 30, 2012

The fate of New York’s nervous GOP is riding on the outcome of tomorrow’s presidential primary in Florida, leading state Republicans told The Post.

They said the GOP’s ability to defeat incumbent Democratic US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and retain control of the state Senate later this year depends on Mitt Romney’s ability to decisively beat Newt Gingrich and end the controversial former House speaker’s chances to be their party’s nominee.

Some pro-Romney upstate county chairmen are so nervous that they’ve begun talking about sending an “uncommitted slate’’ of delegates to the GOP nominating convention if Gingrich wins Florida, in hope that a brokered convention would lead to the selection of a better candidate, a county chairman told The Post.



Congressional Dems Promise Class Warfare

From a cheering Los Angeles Times:

Democrats in Congress step up tax-the-rich efforts

They see it not only as a way to reduce the deficit, but also to lay down a populist line in the election battle for Congress and the White House.

By Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau
January 30, 2012

Little more than a year ago, Democrats in Congress were hesitant to raise taxes on the wealthy. In the Senate, they could not find enough support for boosting taxes on people making $1 million or more a year, much less on families making $250,000. The pre-2010 House, which had a Democratic majority, barely approved higher rates on investment income.

But after a year in which a tea-party-driven Republican Party proposed steep cuts to Medicare and other mainstays of the federal government, polls show that voters have reacted in part by taking a second look at the alternative: tapping corporations and non-earned income as a way to begin balancing the nation’s debt-ridden books.


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Flashback: Founding Fathers Dirty Campaign

This might be a good time to re-post this article CNN put out right after the end of the highly charged Democrat primary season in 2008:

Founding Fathers’ dirty campaign

By Kerwin Swint
August 22, 2008

Negative campaigning in America was sired by two lifelong friends, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Back in 1776, the dynamic duo combined powers to help claim America’s independence, and they had nothing but love and respect for one another. But by 1800, party politics had so distanced the pair that, for the first and last time in U.S. history, a president found himself running against his vice president.

Things got ugly fast. Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

In return, Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."

As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.



Tony Podesta Firm Stops Lobbying For Egypt

From a non-dot-connecting Politico:

Livingston, Moffett, Podesta Egyptian lobbying contact ended

By: John Bresnahan
January 27, 2012

Three top U.S. lobbyists have ended their lucrative contract representing the Egyptian government, the latest fallout from a Dec. 29 Egyptian raid on U.S and European-backed groups monitoring parliamentary elections there.

Former Reps. Bob Livingston (R-La.) and Toby Moffett (D-Conn.), as well as high-powered Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta, have terminated their lobbying contract with the Egyptian government.

The trio split a $90,000-plus per month lobbying contract to represent Egypt’s interests in Washington.

Notice the order in which the Politico puts these names. Even though Tony Podesta is by far the most influential lobbyist on the list.

Lest we forget, Podesta is the founder and head of the Center For American Progress, which is Obama’s ‘think tank’ and another branch of the Obama campaign.



Low IQ & Conservatism Linked to Prejudice

From the junk science specialists at Live Science:

From The Bell Curve, by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray

Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice

By Stephanie Pappas
Thu, Jan 26, 2012

There’s no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb, according to a new study that is bound to stir public controversy.

Or, at least that is what the people behind this ‘new study’ hope.

The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle, according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found.



Shocker: Money And Class Size Don’t Matter!

Something published by the Washington Post when they thought nobody would be looking:

Study: Class size doesn’t matter

By Suzy Khimm
January 28, 2012

Two Harvard researchers looked at the factors that actually improve student achievement and those that don’t. In a new paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Will Dobbie and Roland Freyer analyzed 35 charter schools, which generally have greater flexibility in terms of school structure and strategy.

We find that traditionally collected input measures — class size, per pupil expenditure, the fraction of teachers with no certification, and the fraction of teachers with an advanced degree — are not correlated with school effectiveness.

Notice how the Washington Post downplayed the most shocking finding here. That ‘throwing money at schools’ does not help.



Cops Arrest 400 ‘Occupy Oakland’ Protesters

From an outraged (at the police) Reuters:

Arrests in Oakland protests rise to more than 400

By Emmett Berg
January 30, 2012

OAKLAND, Calif (Reuters) – Crews cleaned up Oakland’s historic City Hall on Sunday from damage inflicted overnight during violent anti-Wall Street protests that resulted in about 400 arrests, marking one of the largest mass arrests since nationwide protests began last year.

Just like all those damn Tea Party rallies.

At a press conference on Sunday, Oakland police and city officials said they did not have a final tally of arrests. Earlier in the day, the city’s emergency operations office put the figure at around 400. The skirmishes injured three officers and at least one demonstrator.

Police said a group of protesters burned an American flag in front of City Hall, then entered the building and destroyed a vending machine, light fixtures and a historic scale model of the edifice.



2/3rds ‘Laid Off’ At Las Vegas Solar Plant

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Some 200 laid off at North Las Vegas Amonix solar plant

By Aida Ahmed
Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

Just seven months after California-based solar power company Amonix Inc. opened its largest manufacturing plant, in North Las Vegas, the company’s contractor has laid off nearly two-thirds of its workforce.

Flextronics Industrial, the Singapore solar panel manufacturer that partnered with Amonix to staff the new $18 million, 214,000-square-foot plant, laid off about 200 of its 300-plus employees Tuesday.

So they were partnered with a Singapore company?

Amonix’s director of manufacturing operations, Eric Culberson, said the layoffs are part of “retooling” the factory as the company prepares to roll out its next-generation product…

Culberson said the job cuts are temporary and expects to begin hiring more people in the second half of the year to meet demand.



Average Federal Pay Exceeds Microsoft’s

From the American Enterprise Institute:

(Click to enlarge)

Average federal pay matches Microsoft

By Andrew Biggs
January 27, 2012

The average federal government employee receives a salary of around $75,000 per year. With present and future fringe benefits equal to about 76 percent of salaries, that makes for total annual compensation of around $133,000. How does this match up to the private sector?

CNN Money has a nice survey of the 25 highest-paying companies in the country, outlining the average total compensation per employee in each one. According to CNN, the closest match to federal employment is Microsoft, whose average employee compensation is $132,023 per year, making it the 17th highest-paying company in the country.

When high federal pay is pointed out, public employee unions counter that federal employees are more productive than the average private sector worker, due to their greater education and experience.


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The Hive – Please Talk Among Yourselves

Here is our usual weekend discussion thread, where comments on the general topics of the day are welcome.

But please remember to post and comment on specific news items in the ‘News Selected By Our Correspondents’ thread below or via the link found in the sidebar.




Selected News For The Week Jan 28 – Feb 3

This thread is for the busy bees of S&L to post news articles that may not warrant their own thread.

Posting Guidelines

To make the articles as readable as possible, please:

  • Only post ‘hard news’ from establishment media outlets.
  • Avoid editorials and ‘thought pieces’ unless they are truly newsworthy.
  • Eschew major news items that most people will likely have seen elsewhere.
  • Post articles that fit under the topic of a recent thread as a comment there.
  • Always spell out the name of the source and post a link to it.
  • Always post less than one quarter of the original article.

Posts of articles that do not follow these guidelines may be edited or deleted.




US 2011 GDP 1.7%, Cuba’s 2010 GDP 2.1%

From an always compliant Reuters:

U.S. growth quickens in Q4, but speed-bumps ahead

By Lucia Mutikani
January 27, 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in 1-1/2 years in the fourth quarter of 2011, but a strong rebuilding of stocks by businesses and a slower pace of spending on capital goods hinted at softer growth early this year.

U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday, a sharp acceleration from the 1.8 percent clip of the prior three months and the quickest pace since the second quarter of 2010.


It was, however, a touch below economists’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 3 percent rate, and nearly 2 percentage points was due to the build-up in business inventories

The experts were overly optimistic?



German Enviro Minister: Cut Solar Subsidies

From Germany’s Der Spiegel:

Inflated Incentive: Environment Minister Retreats on Solar Subsidies


German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen has said he wants to cut subsidies on installing solar panels sooner than planned as the number of people taking advantage of the incentives continues to soar. As do costs to electricity customers.

Germany is set to cut incentives for installing solar panels faster than originally planned amid strong criticism of the current subsidy scheme. Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen has said he wants to bring forward the reductions by three months to April 1, with increasing numbers of Germans taking to solar energy.

Solar farm operators and homeowners with solar panels received more than €8 billion ($10.2 billion) in subsidies in 2011, but contributed only 3 percent of Germany’s total energy supply.



Pay Czar Gave TARP Execs $5M Plus Salaries

From the New York Daily News:

Treasury Department approves huge paydays for execs at firms who received TARP bailout money

Scathing audit: Government approved pay packages worth $5M or more for 49 executives

By Juan Gonzalez
Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Treasury Department approved pay packages worth $5 million or more for 49 executives at a handful of firms that received the biggest taxpayer bailouts between 2009 and 2011.

A scathing new audit this week by the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program blasted those payments, all of which occurred despite a $500,000 salary cap that President Obama and Congress established in 2009 at firms receiving “exceptional assistance” under TARP.

Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Bank of New York officials joined behind the scenes with the bailed-out firms to repeatedly pressure Kenneth Feinberg, the special federal master overseeing the compensation packages, to approve higher salaries, the audit found.


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