Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Muth & Cegavske


To Chuck Muth - with whom I don’t agree on nearly everything but I find I really like him. I have the following addition to my tweet about Barbara Cegavske’s interview with Jon Ralston. Chuck asserts http://bit.ly/yncWPH that Cegavske was woefully unprepared for Jon Ralston’s questions on his interview of Cegaske, He suggests that Cegavske be prepared for the simple and obvious questions that Ralston asked. I disagree with Chuck’s understanding of cause and effect. The reason Cegavske was woefully unprepared was not because she failed to study the issues, her problem is that she is stupid and has no capacity to understand the issues.

TSA - The Poster Child For Government Waste

I was in one of the two lines going through the checkpoint at McCarran. When the line next to me grew shorter I asked one of the TSA employees why we couldn’t move some of our people over to the other line.  His response was that I should stay out of his business and if I didn’t I would be arrested.  If you have ever had a similar experience at McCarran or any airport, I would like to know about it.

If you examine the qualifications of a TSA agent, you will understand the level of talent and judgment of these people who last year were in a governmental agency that spent and cost 8 billion dollars.

TSA is the poster child for government waste.

WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?  JUST LOOK AT THE FALLOUT FROM HIS SPENDING NO MORE THAN $20,000 TO HIJACK THREE PLANES AND CRASH TWO OF THEM INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ON 9-11-01.

Monday, January 30, 2012

UNLV Has Been Shorted At Least $600 Million

I will feel successful if you remember these facts from my Tweets of next week and the week after.

Southern Nevada produces 75% of Nevada’s tax revenue and has 75% of higher education’s students.  Northern Nevada produces 25% of the State’s tax revenue and has 25% of higher education’s students.  But yet Southern Nevada gets only 50% of the State’s higher education funding while Northern Nevada gets 50%.
  
You don’t have to be a mathematician to understand this is not only grossly unfair, it is the ultimate insult to all Southern Nevada Higher Education students.  This outrageous, unfair distribution of higher ed funding must be fixed.  It is time for the Regents and the Legislators to stop shirking their duties to Southern Nevada Higher Ed students.  UNLV has been shorted at least $600 million and CSN nearly the same amount.

Please read the particulars of the financial shortchanging of Southern Nevada’s college students in my Twitters beginning February 6 through 17.

TSA Budget / Screener Qualifications

A breakdown of the $8.1 billion dollar budget of TSA for the fiscal year 2011 (that is $80 billion dollars over ten years):


Budget                                                                                    $ Millions         Share
Aviation Security                                                                        4,809               71%
Federal Air Marshals                                                                     767               11%
Transportation Security Support & Intelligence                     524                  8%
Aviation Security Capital Fund                                                    250                  4%
Checkpoint Screening Security Fund                                        250                  4%
Transportation Threat Assessment & Credentialing              164                   2%
Surface Transportation Security                                                   47                   1%
                                                         Total                                       6,814               100%

The average salary for a TSO who works at airport security is $25,518 to $38,277 per year.  Salaries of all TSA employees range from $17,083 to $155,500.  This does NOT include locality pay (contiguous 48 states) or cost of living allowance (COLA) in Hawaii and Alaska. A few airports even have a retention bonus up to 35%.  Employees can receive an annual uniform allowance and public transportation vouchers.  Benefits include medical, dental and vision along with a federal retirement and pension plan.

THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BECOME A SCREENER INDICATE AMERICANS DON’T GET MUCH BANG FOR THEIR BUCK.  Applicants must be a citizen of the United States or a U.S National, and have a high school diploma, GED or recognized equivalent. If an applicant does not have the education component, the applicant can qualify if he or she has at least one year experience as an X-ray technician, aviation screener or security officer.

Applicants are required to meet the following employment conditions:
•  Demonstrate physical fitness to work on a daily basis without the aid of
   medication.
•  Work irregular hours and shifts, including holidays and weekends.
•  Pass drug and alcohol screening tests.
•  Pass background, criminal and credit checks.

WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?  JUST LOOK AT THE FALLOUT FROM HIS SPENDING NO MORE THAN $20,000 TO HIJACK THREE PLANES AND CRASH TWO OF THEM INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ON 9-11-01.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Insulting Barbara Cegavske

@RGJRayHagar (Ray Hagar, Reno Gazette-Journal) makes a point of my insulting Barbara Cegavske. My insult of Cegavske is totally understated when you consider Cegavske’s insult to this state in running for any public office. The state is the one insulted not Cegavske.

“@RGJRayHagar: @JimRogersNevada Can he be more insulting about Barbara Cegavske? I remember him scolding her once in halls of #NVLeg."  bit.ly/wDAFfu

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cegavske on Ralston


I just finished watching Cegavske on Ralston. Whatever I have said about her in the past isn’t even a down payment on this clown’s stupidity. She has no knowledge and I mean no knowledge about anything. She’s so stupid she doesn’t even realize how stupid she is. She told my executive assistant this afternoon that she would be happy to appear on my show. I can’t wait. I won’t have to do anything except watch her self-destruct.

Part V - WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?

We have a station in Helena, Montana.  The airport is not one of the busiest in the U. S.  When passengers come to the airport you would think the TSA employees were guarding the president of the United States.

On one trip my wife was randomly picked for a body search.  That being finished, she proceeded about twenty feet only to find that because she was the tenth person in line she was to be searched again, this second search being performed by the same agents.  She protested and was threatened with arrest.  Wow.  Do people ever exercise judgment, assuming they have judgment, or do we simply look for absolute obedience to a rule regardless of how ignorant or irrelevant that rule may be to the issue at hand?

WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?  JUST LOOK AT THE FALLOUT FROM HIS SPENDING NO MORE THAN $20,000 TO HIJACK THREE PLANES AND CRASH TWO OF THEM INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ON 9-11-01.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fair and Balanced?

It would never occur to me to have our station, Channel 3, determine what you could and could not see that related to local or national political issues or political speeches.

I interviewed and gave Cain, Santorum and Paul thirty minutes of air time on all our stations. I offered to do the same for every other Republican seeking the Republican nomination for President.

And yet this morning, even with President Obama in Las Vegas and addressing the problems of Nevadans, and while Channel 3 , Channel 8, Channel 13 were covering the president’s speech, Channel 5 decided that its viewers should not see or hear that speech. I have no words adequate to describe my outrage and shock at Channel 5’s decision.

Who are they kidding when they say Fox news is fair and balanced?

Part IV - WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?

When I travel by plane, I go to the airport between 1 ½ and 2 hours before the flight because I never know how backed up the TSA lines will be.

It costs me at least one hour I would not have spent at the airport before 9/11.

An estimated 1.7 million people fly each day, or 620,500,000 people per year.

Assuming each of those people makes $40. per hour, and each loses one hour for each flight, the value of the lost time to this economy approaches $24,820,000,000.  THAT’S TWENTY FOUR BILLION.

The astronomical amount of money spent provides and produces nothing for the American economy.

If the Republicans want to cut government spending let them start on TSA.

WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?  JUST LOOK AT THE FALLOUT FROM HIS SPENDING NO MORE THAN $20,000 TO HIJACK THREE PLANES AND CRASH TWO OF THEM INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ON 9-11-01.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Part III - WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?

TSA oversees the security of highways, railroads, buses, mass transit systems, pipelines and ports.  THE BULK OF THE TSA’S EFFORTS ARE IN AVIATION SECURITY.

Transportation Security Officers:  TSA EMPLOYS NEARLY 60,000 TSOs who screen more than 1.7 million passengers a day at more than 450 airports nationwide. More than 1,000 firearms were detected during security screening this year.

Behavior Detections Officers:  BDOs are officers whose primary responsibility is to observe the behavior of passengers going through the security checkpoint. The TSA deploys approximately 2,800 of these officers at airports across the country, leading to more than 2,200 arrests to date.

Federal Air Marshals:  A FAM blends in with passengers to detect, deter, and defeat terrorists and other criminals targeting U.S. air carriers, airports, passengers, crews, and other transportation modes.  Thousands of federal Air Marshalls are deployed every day on domestic and international flights.

Transportation Security Inspectors:  Inspect, assess, and investigate passenger and cargo transportation systems. TSA employs roughly 1,000 aviation inspectors, 450 cargo inspectors, and 100 surface inspectors.

National Explosives Detection Canine Teams:  Trainers prepare dogs and handlers to serve as mobile teams that can quickly find dangerous materials. The TSA has trained and deployed approximately 800 of these teams to airports and mass transit systems nationwide.

Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams: VIPR teams started in 2005 and involves Federal Air Marshals and other TSA crews working outside of the airport environment, at train stations, ports, truck weigh stations, special events, and other places. As of 2011, VIPR team operations were being conducted at a rate of 8,000 per year.

Think of the billions of dollars spent to employ these people.  For the 2011 fiscal year, the TSA had a budget of roughly $8.1 billion. Now think of the extra billions spent for the support team of these on-line workers.

WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?  JUST LOOK AT THE FALLOUT FROM HIS SPENDING NO MORE THAN $20,000 TO HIJACK THREE PLANES AND CRASH TWO OF THEM INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ON 9-11-01.




Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Part II - WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?

RULES—even if they make no sense, we simply must follow them.

Did you ever go to a store, get there 15 minutes before it is scheduled to open, look in the window, see a salesperson look at you, and then be told by that salesperson that the door can’t be opened and will not be opened until the magic hour.

That makes me mad as hell.  If I owned that store, regardless of the stated opening hour, if a customer came to the door early and my salesperson did not immediately open the door, that salesperson would be down the road.

What happened to judgment?  Have we so little creativity, energy, imagination, and desire to do a good job that we insist on relying upon rules regardless of their logic?

ON THAT NOTE, HAVE YOU BEEN TO THE LAS VEGAS AIRPORT, BEEN IN AN EXTREMELY LONG LINE WHICH HAS MADE IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO MAKE YOUR PLANE ON TIME AND HAVE THOSE SOMEWHAT LESS THAN BRILLIANT TSA EMPLOYEES SHUT THE LINE DOWN BECAUSE THEY HAVE A RULE THAT REGARDLESS OF THE FACTS, SITUATIONS AND PROBLEMS, THEY ARE TO CLOSE THE LINE AT A SPECIFIC TIME?

THANK GOD THESE PEOPLE AREN’T FIREMEN PUTTING OUT A FIRE AT MY HOUSE.  I WOULD HATE TO HAVE THEM SHUT OFF THE WATER SO THEY COULD TAKE A COFFEE BREAK.


WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?  JUST LOOK AT THE FALLOUT FROM HIS SPENDING NO MORE THAN $20,000 TO HIJACK THREE PLANES AND CRASH TWO OF THEM INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ON 9-11-01.


Monday, January 23, 2012

WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?

WHO SAYS OSAMA BIN LADEN DIDN’T WIN THE WAR?  JUST LOOK AT THE FALLOUT FROM HIS SPENDING NO MORE THAN $20,000 TO HIJACK THREE PLANES AND CRASH TWO OF THEM INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER ON 9-11-01.

This week and next week I’ll give you some simple statistics on the financial costs of Osama bin Laden’s single attack on the U.S.  First let’s look at the TSA and what its mission is.

The Transportation Security Act (TSA, or those who drive you crazy at the airport) was created on November 19, 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks, when the Aviation and Transportation Security Act was passed by the 107th U.S. Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush.  It was given three major mandates:
•  responsibility for security for all modes of transportation;
•  recruit, assess, hire, train, and deploy Security Officers for 450 commercial
   airports from Guam to Alaska in 12 months; and,
•  provide 100 percent screening of all checked luggage for explosives by
   December 31, 2002.

BY THE END OF 2002, TSA HAD HIRED, TRAINED, AND DEPLOYED NEARLY 60,000 EMPLOYEES.  ITS OPERATING BUDGET for 2002 was $1.3 billion.  This included doctors, lawyers, business owners, veterans, recent graduates, retirees, and countless other groups of Americans who together assumed responsibility for security at over 400 of the nation’s airports. THIS EFFORT CONSTITUTED THE LARGEST MOBILIZATION OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SINCE WWII.

In March 2003, the TSA transferred from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security that was created on November 25, 2002 by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, unifying the nation's response to threats to the homeland.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Life Is A Series Of Compromises

Today is the last day I will be interviewing Jon Ralston for my noon segment.  When you’re watching all the back and forth and game playing in the election process, you tend to conclude that everything—every issue—moves toward the center.  Life is a series of compromises.  No matter how strident any group is to force its position down the throats of others, (the TEA Party is a perfect example of the inability of the excesses to have their way) average always prevails and average usually means very little progress will be made.

If you’re thinking this economy will wake up and charge ahead unfettered by negative influences, stop kidding yourself.  Average is always the answer and not a very good one at that.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Moving Forward

Changing the course of a nation is impossible regardless of the brilliant leadership of any one individual or group of individuals.

A country moves forward, or in some cases backward, because of its own momentum. 
And the same applies to local governments.  The State of Nevada is a monstrous combination of people that have failed to move this state forward for the last 60 years.

No one party is at fault.  No branch of government is at fault.  The people are at fault because they have not been able to see beyond the front of the mass and have not cared where the state was going.  Even if the people had been knowledgeable enough to know and understand the problems of this state, they could not have mobilized to do anything about it.

The future of Nevada is governed and controlled by its past.  Its direction and speed cannot be altered. 

When I became Chancellor of the NSHE, I was actually na├»ve enough to believe I could make some changes and improvements even if they were small.  Seven years after I became Chancellor, the System is exactly the same.

I have also come to the conclusion that nothing can help education in Nevada, not even if the public cared.  Nevadans have let the education component of the Nevada culture die and it cannot be revived.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

State of the Union with Tracy & Hepburn

If you get a chance, watch the 1948 movie, State of the Union, with Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.  Tracy is seeking the Republican nomination for President to run against Harry Truman.

As the movie develops, Tracy, a man of principle, learns that his principles won’t get him elected because he must get the support of the various factions of the party, that is labor, banking, agriculture and so on.

Slowly, you see Tracy, as painful as it is, sell out to every faction involved to get their support.

Soon, as you will discover, there is nothing left of Tracy’s values, talents and good intentions.

In the end he tells all the various lobbyists to go to hell because he can’t be President without principles.

Since it is a movie, Tracy stands up to all the factions, is loudly cheered by the voters and you assume that in the end the voters will prevail.

Note that the head of the party says that the voters don’t count because they are too lazy to vote and those who do vote can be bought or persuaded.

Sounds like every election I have ever witnessed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Things Never Really Change

If you remember Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, look at the 1948 movie, State of the Union, a story of Tracy running as the Republican candidate for President of the United States against Harry Truman.

In one scene, Hepburn asked the head of the Republican party, “What is the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats?”  He replied, “They are in and we are out.” 

If you watch the movie you will marvel at the fact that the issues then are the issues now.  Things never really change, even though we think they should and we think we can change them. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Regent Kevin Page

In the year I have written 260 twitters, I have tried to be accurate.  I have reread each and every one of these twitters and find I would change only one of them.

In my analysis of the 13 members of the Board of Regents, I graded each of them.  I stand by those grades except for Kevin Page who I gave a C-.  I was wrong.  I should have given him an “A” because I failed to fully understand all of the hard, productive, thoughtful work, total passion and sound thinking of this very smart public servant.  (The pay is less than fifty cents an hour.)

In the last several months, I have seen him assume a real leadership role in the Higher Education System.

He has learned the intricacies of how the eight institution system works and, with very limited financial support, how the system makes a valiant effort to improve the lives of all Nevadans.

Regent is a part-time job that requires full time effort, perseverance, dedication, thoughtful consideration, along with the ability and character to stand up for what is good for Nevada’s education.  Kevin has all of these attributes.

I apologize to Kevin for misjudging him.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Auto Title Loans

Auto Title Loans   When you drive by one of these lending institutions that will take the title to a car as collateral for a loan where the borrower may pay up to 300% interest, you’re happy you don’t have to borrow money under these terms.  Don’t kid yourself.  With the middle class disappearing as a formidable contributor to America’s economy, you had better take notice, start to understand the economic problems of this country and get off your butt or you may end up in the Title Loan arena.

The ads of the title loan companies seem to describe such an easy solution to the borrower’s problems, that is, without giving up possession of anything but the title to the borrower’s car, how can the borrower get hurt? 

Well, think again.  What happens if the borrower defaults?  The lender takes possession of the car.  The borrower can’t get to work, can’t take children to school and if sickness hits the borrower’s family, the family is out of luck.

You can understand the ramifications of this type of outrageously expensive loan as well as I can.  I tell you about these horrible life-destroying loan arrangements to let you know I feel that every one of these oppressive loans adversely affects each one of us.

These are some of the specific terms and conditions that a borrower faces when borrowing money from title loan companies:

1.       Title loans are designed for a person with bad credit or no credit to obtain a quick fix to a financial problem.  They are not intended to fix long-term problems.
2.       In exchange for the monies borrowed, the owner gives up free and clear title to the vehicle.  THE OWNER CAN DRIVE THE VEHICLE AS LONG AS THE PAYMENTS ARE CURRENT. 
3.       If the owner doesn’t have clear title but only owes a small amount, many lenders will pay off the loan and combine it with the other loan proceeds.
4.       MOST TITLE LOANS ARE FOR A PERIOD OF 30 DAYS AND CAN BE RENEWED SEVERAL TIMES.
5.       MOST LOANS CAN BE APPLIED FOR, OBTAINED AND COMPLETED IN LESS THAN 30 MINUTES WITHOUT A VERIFICATION OF CREDIT.  SOME LENDERS BOAST THEY CAN MAKE THE DEAL IN 15 MINUTES OR LESS.
6.       Some states have caps on the amounts that can be borrowed.  The amount borrowed is usually based upon 50% of the Kelly Blue Book resale value.
7.       ONLY ABOUT ONE THIRD OF THE STATES ALLOWS TITLE LOANS BUT WHERE STATES DO, THE PROFITS ARE OUTRAGEOUSLY HIGH.  MOST STATES HAVE NO CAPS ON INTEREST RATES. 
8.       When companies advertise low interest rates of 9.99% over the period of the loan, the actual yearly interest rate is over 120%.  The interest rate charged would make even a credit card company envious.

In Nevada, some of the lending rules are as follows:
 
1.       The lender must give the borrower a written and detailed loan agreement.
2.       NEVADA HAS NO CAP ON THE INTEREST RATE THAT IS CHARGED.  LENDERS  CAN CHARGE ANY AMOUNT THEY CHOOSE.
3.       Loans are for 30 days and can be renewed up to six times.
4.       In order to obtain the loan, the owner must  have free and clear title.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Payday Loans


Payday Loans.  What a terrible comment on America’s society when we develop a financial system where those who are struggling to pay 25% interest on their credit cards, and those who can’t afford to have a credit card, end up going to a payday loan company.

When I drive to work in the morning I see the payday loan offices open for business.  When I drive home at night the same payday loan offices are open.  Some stay open for 24 hours.  Each has a full staff on hand.  Their offices are spacious, orderly, clean and bright, first class places of business.  I will bet not one of their customers has anything that even approaches the cleanliness and spaciousness of these establishments.

I remember hearing spokespersons for these companies advising people not to borrow unless absolutely necessary.  I assume this was an effort to get the moral and ethical monkeys off their backs.  The spokesperson went on to advise customers to pay back the loans as soon as possible – good advice, impossible to follow.

The adage that if it is a legal business it must be ok to be in that business doesn’t work with me.  Not one of us knows what we would do when times get really tough and what we would do to put food on the family’s table.  But from the view that I now have, I cannot imagine what a set of dire financial problems would compel me to work in or own such a business.

Let me give you a short description of how these loans work.

The basic loan process is simple and typically takes less than 20 minutes.  There is little requirement to get a payday loan.  Some verification of employment or income is usually involved (via pay stub and bank statements), but some lenders may even omit this.  
LENDERS DO NOT CONDUCT A FULL CREDIT CHECK, NOR ASK QUESTIONS TO DETERMINE IF A BORROWER CAN AFFORD TO REPAY THE LOAN.

The lender provides a short-term unsecured loan to be repaid at the borrower’s next pay day via a postdated check or electronic access to the borrower’s bank account.  Borrowers write a personal check for the amount borrowed plus the finance charge and receive cash. In some cases, borrowers sign over electronic access to their bank accounts to receive and repay payday loans.

Lenders hold the checks until the next payday when loans and the finance charge must be paid in one lump sum. To pay a loan, borrowers can redeem the check by paying the loan with cash, allow the check to be deposited at the bank, or just pay the finance charge to roll the loan over for another pay period.  But be aware, the process called “rollover” could end up costing the borrower far in excess of the original terms.  

PAYDAY LOANS RANGE FROM $100 TO $1,000, DEPENDING ON STATE LEGAL MAXIMUMS. THE AVERAGE LOAN TERM IS TWO-WEEKS.  LOANS TYPICALLY COST 400% ANNUAL INTEREST (APR) OR MORE. THE FINANCE CHARGE RANGES FROM $15 TO $30 TO BORROW $100. FOR TWO-WEEK LOANS, THESE FINANCE CHARGES RESULT IN INTEREST RATES FROM 390 TO 780% APR.  SHORTER TERM LOANS HAVE EVEN HIGHER APRS.

Payday loans are extremely expensive compared to other cash loans. A $300 cash advance on the average credit card, repaid in one month, would cost $13.99, a finance charge at an annual interest rate of almost 57%.  By comparison, a payday loan costing $17.50 per $100 for the same $300 would cost $105 if renewed one time, or 426% annual interest.

Issuers of payday loans defend higher interest rates by claiming processing costs for payday loans do not differ much from other loans, including home mortgages.  They argue that conventional interest rates for lower dollar amounts and shorter terms would not be profitable.  For example, a $100 one-week loan at a 20% APR (compounded weekly) would generate only 38 cents of interest, which would fail to match loan processing costs. 

Critics say payday lenders’ processing costs are significantly lower than costs for mortgages and other traditional loans.  Payday lenders usually examine pay stubs, whereas larger loan lenders perform full credit checks and make a detailed analysis of the borrower’s ability to pay.