Even a cursory review of the news turns up some interesting, if not downright startling, information. The stock market went up a bunch on Wednesday — one of the partial explanations was that the economy is actually not as good as it was thought to be. What?
One broadcaster said it was because the big boys realized they were “gonna get free money for six more weeks.” That turns out to translate into the fact that the Federal Reserve is not going to “taper” its acquisition of bonds after all. So we’re still stimulating the economy because it needs to be stimulated, evidently.
A report in the Associated Press notes that assaults on teachers are up significantly. Both verbal and physical, the report said plus some of both. About 37 percent of survey respondents said they had been assaulted by a parent in the past X time period. Verbal mainly but also physical. The teachers who were quoted in the article said the demographic of the most abusive parent(s) was a poor, young, single mother (obviously experiencing a good deal of stress). “Babies having babies” is how one big city educator put it.
A guy who was planning to eat some children was sentenced to 26 years in prison. The picture of him looked like a guy who might plan to eat children. I just couldn’t bring myself to read the rest of the story. Twenty-six years seems like a strange sort of sentence. The judge must have had to consider a range of odd offenses or other aspects of the case.
One wonders if there’s a statute or whatever in the law books that says, “The penalty for planning to eat some children shall be no less than 25 years and no more than 27 years.” The average person would probably round it up to 26,000 years which sounds mighty reasonable.
“Extra, extra read all about it! The government could be shut down on Oct. 1 if the president and Congress don’t reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling” (for what seems like the 54th time since two years ago). Texas Sen. Ted Cruz essentially said “let’s do it.” I suspect “wolf” has been cried 53 times too often for anyone to really get too upset about it. We look around and see that most things are pretty much the way they’ve been for quite a while. Shut it down or don’t shut it down — but please shut up, do something and quit talking about it.
That kind of bad news could send the stock market into a tailspin, or maybe a freefall or even an unbelievably robust surge. Stranger things are happening.
U.N. WMD inspectors are going back to Syria because Russia doesn’t believe their findings so far. They said their inspection led to a conclusion that the Assad regime used the chemical weapons against the Syrian rebels. Russia thinks that’s bogus and that the rebels actually used the WMDs. I suppose when the inspectors come back saying the rebels might have used the weapons, the U.S. will say that’s bogus and the inspectors will have to go back. Meanwhile, the government “could be shutdown” which leaves a lot up in the air when you think about it.
In Florida, a 10-foot long python killed a 90-pound Siberian Husky dog by squeezing it around the neck and chest. Not only is that hard to believe, I hate it when big cold-blooded creatures kill big warm-blooded creatures. I expect that’s some kind of holdover from my primitive brain. They say one of humankind’s greatest fears is to be killed and eaten by a beast. I can check the “yes” box on that questionnaire, and if there’s a choice between death and devourment by a cold- or warm-blooded beast, I think I’d prefer the warm-blooded one. I hope that doesn’t sound picky.
In Mississippi recently, a couple of rookie alligator hunters caught and killed a gator that tipped the scales at something like 750 pounds, a new state record apparently. There’s a picture of the beast in a sling on what is probably a livestock scale. If that doesn’t disturb your sleep, you probably have advanced farther along the brain development continuum.
Yesterday, comparisons of CEO pay versus typical worker pay showed that the typical CEO gets $12.9 million a year while the typical worker makes about $35,000. Regulations are being considered to make comparison data public in publicly traded companies. Supporting data noted that on average it takes approximately 350 workers’ salaries to balance out that of one CEO. And as we all know, doing well is not a prerequisite for high pay among CEOs. One example given showed that the CEO of J.C. Penney made $53 million in 2011 as the company floundered. The average employee made about $29,000 during the same period.
Obamacare begins for most people on Oct. 1. Studies show that about three out of 10 Americans have a fair grasp of the plan. “Fair grasp” is probably being optimistic. That’s troubling. On the other hand, just imagine what the authors of the original personal Income Tax legislation would think of today’s tax code. Just goes to show, us warm-blooded beasts can adapt to about anything.
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.