Cash Strapped IG’s

The “no tax increases ever, for anything, shrink government” forces, epitomized by Grover Norquist of Americans For Tax Reform and its “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” are getting what they wished for — debilitated, declining government. Witness the inspector general function, where less money to investigate means more problems festering for anti-government types to decry.  Or cut the state motor vehicle registry to the bone, as I just saw first hand in Massachusetts, to produce three to four hour waits for the simplest transaction causing angry motorists to glare non-stop, mutter epithets and game the clerks who, in response to this perpetual onslaught, work even slower and deploy an arsenal of stock retorts and blank stares to fend off livid customers. This only provides more fodder for government critics, calls for more tax and budget cuts and a greater likelihood of a performance death spiral that further alienates the public and delegitimizes government. As a result, fewer care when bankruptcy comes to cities such as Detroit, major counties such as Jefferson in Alabama, with even states, such as Illinois, find themselves in the fiscal ICU, a trend nicely chronicled last year in the Daily Kos. Defund schools, demoralize teachers, diminish education. Go after public safety pensions so police who feel their pockets being picked compensate by backing off our protection. The tax scolds are happily sowing what they have reaped and, as doctrinaire true believers, don’t see the mess being created for everyone, including them.

Non-Profit Prince Perp-Walks

It’s a old story in non-profit organizations.  Charismatic leader reigns for decades largely unfettered by the volunteer board of directors duly impressed with the public monies rolling across the non-profit’s governmental interface that the CEO seems to be working so well.  Well, according to prosecutors in this case, much of what was greasing the wheels was illegal and many pockets, not the least of which was the CEO’s, were allegedly being stuffed with cash.

Pinstriped Wall Update–New Orleans

A few items ago I blogged about prosecutorial misconduct sinking convictions as angry judges freed, or ordered new trials for, the defendants involved.  Well, what’s been sunk so far are rowboats compared to this: In the Costa Concordia of reversals a federal judge has ordered new trials for the New Orleans cops implicated in covering up the police massacre of unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  The judge called the prosecutors conduct “grotesque,” much as the headline in the accompanying article characterizes the police shootings as “notorious.”  What a day for the criminal justice system.

What’s a Billion?

So JP Morgan Chase is ready to pony up just under a billion in fines to hopefully end regulatory action regarding trading losses of several additional billions that slipped under the radar earlier this year.  It makes sense that JPMC’s managers would like to get out from under.  The losses emanated in London, with New York top managers oblivious for a while which, in turn, kept the Board out of the loop, all of which tended to tarnish the bank’s reputation as a finely tuned enterprise steered by geniuses.

Women Get the Business at HBS

Well, what a surprise–gender inequity at the Harvard Business School is long-entrenched and, at least for female faculty, likely to continue (check out the neat 5 slide chart in the story).  In the classroom, school administrators are intent on engineering more rapid change in, and for, female students. Whether this works–the outcome seems uncertain given the tenor of this piece–the last paragraph underscores that HBS will continue to punch the tickets of  “born on third base” and/or legacy admits–George W. Bush was one; so was Mitt Romney–for their first class seats on the bullet train to the economic/political power centers of the U.S.

Sandy? Not By My House

Building dunes protects barrier beach communities as a whole but some homeowners don’t care, fighting to keep man-made dunes away from their houses.  This creates a ready breach for storm waters to rush through, flooding adjacent properties whether or not dunes front those houses to hold off the ocean or bay. The end of the story details the status of lawsuits by dune-resistant homeowners, on 5th Amendment grounds, to recover the value allegedly stripped from their homes by recently erected dunes.