Cincinnati Metro Buses: Raise Inadequate Fares Before Asking to Increase City Earnings Tax

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Using reasoning that would make any Democrat proud,  the headline for the November 17, 2016 issue of The Kentucky Enquirer  read “Region’s Transit Agency Longingly Eyes Tax Levy.”  Cincinnati’s bus system has a “$109.1 million budget (which) came with a cry for help from the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), which cast its 2017 budget as a stripped-down, stop-gap effort that illustrates the need for a tax hike on next year’s ballot.”1  

The stop-gap budget to address next year’s projected shortfall of $1.3 million included the deferring of capital expenses for a bus fleet which has sixty-three vehicles past their 12-year useful life.

The article described SORTA’s plight coming as a result of “changes in where people live and work.”  Ridership has dropped along with fare revenue.  Therefore, they are suggesting that something must be done with the city’s earning tax even though that is where about half of the system’s revenue comes from?

Just a moment.  Only one-third of the budget comes from fares.  While the article did not mention it, it’s safe to assume that advertising provides the rest of SORTA’s revenue.

So, why is the city’s earning tax providing more for more of the transit budget than fares do?  Perhaps we could start with the fact that fares haven’t been raised in seven years!

But, could it be that fares are exorbitant?   Below is a chart of fares from SORTA’s site:

– $1.75 Within City of Cincinnati (Zone 1)
– $2.65 Hamilton County, outside City limits, plus Rt. 23X (Zone 2)
– $3.00 Harrison, Ohio (52X)
– $3.50 Butler County (Zone 4)
– $3.75 Clermont County (Rts. 28, 29X, 82X)
– $4.25 Warren County (Zone 5, Rts. 71X, 71)
– $0.50 cents Rt. 85 Riverfront parking shuttle
– $0.85 when using a TANK [Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky] monthly pass or transfer (boarding at Government Square only)

The answer is a resounding “no” to the possibility of exorbitant fares, especially in view of the 2016 IRS allowance for mileage is 54 cents for business mile, 19 cents for medical or moving purposes and 14 cents when deducting in the service of charitable organizations. For example, the distance between Cincinnati and Harrison is approximately twenty-three miles.2  At 54 cents per mile, a fare of $12.42 would be a break-even proposition for riders.

Raising fares would be a very reasonable starting point.  SORTA should curb its “longing look” at the unfair solution of a tax increase until it raises fares some to put more of the responsibilty on those who actually use the system.

 

1 – From the previously mentioned article by Jeremy Fugleberg.

2https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=distance+between+Cincinnati+and+Harrison%2C+Ohio

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If You Are Opposed to the Electoral College, Then You Must Also be Against Having the Senate

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Hillary Clinton’s supporters are pushing for the abolition of the electoral college after she became the fourth candidate to win the popular vote, but lose the electoral college.  (The other elections were in 1876, 1888 and 2000.1 ) They say it would be justice for a democracy.

First of all, the United States is not a pure democracy where all eligible voters would vote personally on all legislative matters.  We are a constitutional republic.  We elect people to represent us in the decisions at the federal, state and local levels.

Our founding fathers created an ingenious legislature consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives.  Why two sections of Congress?  Because they understood the need to respect each state and they didn’t want the largest states dominating the smallest ones. They wanted to limit the impact of inevitable factions within our nation.  Consequently, for a law to be enacted it must pass both houses:  one which is based on population (House) and one which gives each state two representatives regardless of its population (Senate).  When the states agreed to be connected into one nation, it was with the understanding that their autonomy would not disappear — something the Democrats who push for bigger and bigger federal government seem to have forgotten.

If the electoral college were to be abolished, presidential elections would be relegated to “ten pockets of population” as Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, described today on Fox News.  It would make those areas all-important and render the rest of the nation irrelevant when it came to campaigning.  Without the electoral college, we would have had twenty states deciding for the other thirty in this election.  Our founding fathers had a wise idea.

 

1 – “Presidents Winning Without Popular Vote,”  http://www.factcheck.org/2008/03/presidents-winning-without-popular-vote/

2 – “By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease.  Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires.  But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise.  As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.  As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves.  The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests.  The protection of these faculties is the first object of government.  From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.”

Part of Federalist paper #10, http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1786-1800/the-federalist-papers/the-federalist-10.php

The Weather Channel’s Misleading Spin on Trump’s Reference to Solyndra

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Politics is in the air….. and on the air everywhere.  Looking to check on the latest long range forecast today, I came across Carl Parker of the Weather Channel discussing the economics of the federal government promoting renewable energy.  This must have been in response to last night’s debate when Donald Trump replied to Hillary Clinton’s comments on how the federal government needs to continue its push for renewable energy.  Trump answered with the financial debacle of when our government gave funds to assist in a solar panel start-up.  While he did not mention Solyndra specifically, he reminded the audience of the $500 million the failed start-up cost taxpayers a few years ago.1

Mr. Parker countered that federal expenditures have amounted to $34.2 billion for all renewable energy sources.  He pointed out that defaults have amounted to a very low 2.28%.  He added that revenue from all of these projects has put the federal government in the black by $30 million.

The tone in which it was presented and the tendency of many viewers to hear data without scrutiny made it sound as though this has been a good thing for us citizens.

But is it really?  Earning $30 million on $34.2 billion over several years amounts to a total return of just under 0.9%…. How many civilian companies, not to mention financial firms, would have a chance of staying in business with that rate of return over just one year?  Perhaps as the Republicans have suggested for a long time:  when it comes to advancing new technologies, leave it to the entrepreneurs and don’t allow the government to try to pick winners.

 

1 – “Why the Solyndra mistake is still important to remember,”  by Katie Fehrenbacher, http://fortune.com/2015/08/27/remember-solyndra-mistake/, 8/27/2015.

Same-Sex “Marriage,” Civil Rights for African-Americans, Abortion and Slavery

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This title is a lead-in to discussing the “up is down and down is up” positions of U.S. liberals.  Given an opportunity to evaluate these, the Left would undoubtedly assert that three of the four are acceptable and desirable.

Yet in Judeo-Christian reality, the reverse is true. Three out of four are strongly unacceptable.

The first difficulty with the liberal position is the fallacy that “marriage equality” for the homosexual community is equivalent to racial civil rights.  Being African-American is not disordered behavior.  It is one of several genetic expressions of the human race — everyone of whom has inalienable rights.

The disordered condition of homosexuality1, whether innate or acquired2,3, requires the same compassion as due every other human situation.4  However, marriage is not an inalienable/ civil right and it cannot be viewed as equivalent to the racial civil rights cause.5  There is no justification that it be extended to everyone by civil jurisdictions who have no authority over the definition of this non-secular institution.6

At least most U.S. citizens agree that slavery is despicable.  For some reason, however, the evil of abortion is not as readily recognized as similarly heinous.  Perhaps it’s because the fallible Supreme Court erred seriously erred in deciding that the killing of the most vulnerable human beings was legal.  The era of convenience ushered in by the 1973 decision is so contrary to Judeo-Christian beliefs that it defies logic.7

Given the reversed vision of the Left, why should we trust them to issues like national security, honest elections, the federal debt, religious freedom and wages?

With their inclinations, they are likely to want unvetted immigration from terrorist hot spots, to declare that photo ID’s are more important for boarding a plane or buying alcohol than for voting, to think we can spend ourselves out of economic stagnation without slowing our economy further8, to prosecute those who believe marriage is between one man and one woman and believe that a federal minimum wage is appropriate even though the cost of living in the least expensive state is 38% less than in the most.9

Wouldn’t this be an insane world if the current generation of liberals had their way?

 

1 – “Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman.  In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion.  Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.”  Paragraph 2360 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition; Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 25th printing, November 2013.

2 – “Being homosexual is only partly due to gay gene, research finds,” by Sarah Knapton, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/10637532/Being-homosexual-is-only-partly-due-to-gay-gene-research-finds.html, 2/13/2014.

3 – “Homosexuality is learned behavior,” by Manin Brown, http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-755425, 2/29/2012.

 4 – “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible.  This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.  They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.  Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”  Paragraph 2358 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition; Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 25th printing, November 2013.

5 – “But to examine this question further – while a civil right is meant to guarantee equality in particular points of law, that is only one half of the picture.  There is an old saying that goes back to Plato – equality for equals, inequality for unequals. In other words, when a right is applied equally to everyone in a given class, it is because it presupposes there are no essential distinctions within that class that would preclude the right from being equally applied.  To take an example the same-sex crowd always brings up, this is why the old Jim Crow laws against interracial marriage were struck down as civil rights violations.  It was recognized that men were men, and women were women; race is not intrinsic to sexuality, therefore there is no compelling distinction between the races that would preclude them from freely entering into the married state.  Essentially, the overturning of the old prohibitions on interracial marriage supports traditional marriage because the law recognized that any man can marry any woman.  Therefore the racist Jim Crow marriage laws were true instances of civil inequality because they were proposing distinctions in the application of rights which were in fact irrelevant; any man is capable of entering into marriage with any woman, and the right for any man to enter into the married state with any woman could not be infringed…”

“… Any person can enter into the married state, but not under any circumstances they may choose. The question is not one of civil rights but of the definition of marriage, which is what homosexual activists contest. Since gender difference and sexual intercourse is intrinsic to understanding the institution of marriage, it is no discrimination of civil rights to say that the married state cannot be conferred on those whose relationships do not involve sexual intercourse.”  From “Homosexual Marriage is not a Civil Right,” http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/social-teaching/moral-issues/93-social-teaching/moral-issues/445-homosexual-marriage-is-not-a-civil-right.html

6 – “’The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage.’A  The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator.  Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes.  These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity,B some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures.  ‘The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.’”

A ,B– From the papal encyclical, “Gaudium at spes,” (“Joy and Hope”) section 48 paragraph 1 and section 47 paragraph 2 respectively, published 12/7/1965.

(Paragraph 1603 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition; Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 25th printing, November 2013.)

7 – “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.  From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life… Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion.  This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable… The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation…” Excerpts from Paragraphs 2270, 2271 and 2271, Ibid.

8https://cartaremi.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/jeremiah-was-criticized-for-speaking-truth-of-bad-state-of-affairs-trump-knows-how-he-felt/

9https://cartaremi.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/why-a-national-15-hour-minimum-wage-makes-no-sense/

Cruz Thinks He Has Vision for 2020, but He Has Become Short-SightedTed

Cruz  Being  Booed  at  RNC

(Photo from Fox Business News last night in their review of the evening’s events.)

Ted Cruz has always fancied himself as the second coming of Ronald Reagan.  After last night’s speech at the Republican convention, he should start hoping it wasn’t his Good Night in America speech instead.1

The bitter struggle which saw the Republicans narrow seventeen candidates down to one has a few who disregard the loyalty agreement of last year.  Even Ohio governor Kasich, who had thought Donald Trump’s loyalty was the one suspect from the beginning, disappointed his constituents by not appearing to greet his party on Day One.

While some voiced their dissatisfaction by not attending the convention, the senator from Texas did the best job of alienating party faithful by being present last night.

Many, except the most perceptive, didn’t see the bus wreck coming.  Cruz began his speech with a touching story of one of the children who lost her father in the Dallas police murders.  He skillfully wove a narrative tying our need and respect for law enforcement with the Constitutional rights which we cherish so much.

He contrasted these to the track record of Hillary Clinton and reiterated the differences between the Democratic Party and those values dear to the Revolutionary founders and to current Republicans.

But as his time at the podium began winding down, it became obvious that no attempt at extending a unifying olive branch was going to be given to Donald Trump that evening. The tide began turning with his request: “to those listening, please don’t stay home in November.”  It accelerated as Cruz exhorted the crowd “to vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket, who YOU trust to defend our freedom to be faithful to the Constitution.”

By then, chants of “We want Trump” became obvious and Cruz aggravated his situation by saying, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.”  He tried to play the crowd with a continuation of his family’s story of immigration to the U.S. and restating the image of the murdered policeman’s daughter.  Those with cowboy hats tried to offset the growing unhappiness in the rest of the audience with their approval.  The catcalls indicated Cruz had lost his credibility despite statesman-like: “We must make the most of our moment, to fight for freedom, to protect our God-given rights even of those with whom we don’t agree.”  “We want Trump” and other comments of disapproval were not going away.  Cruz’s “L” was cemented in the loss column as the boos strengthened.

Trump was shown watching and skillfully began to emerge from the side curtain with smiles, clapping with his followers and a reassuring thumb up as if to say “All is well, I’m still the candidate and definitely in charge.”  He Tweeted later that he had seen the Cruz speech two hours earlier, but he “let him speak anyway. No big deal!”

In the final analysis, Ted Cruz attempted to solidify his independent crusader-at-all-costs image.  For the time being, it cost him his image.

“trusTED” had tossed himself under the busTED.

 

1 – “’Prouder, Stronger, Better’, commonly referred to by the name ‘Morning in America’, is a 1984 political campaign television commercial, known for its opening line, “It’s morning again in America.” The ad was part of the U.S. presidential campaign of Republican Party candidate Ronald Reagan. It featured a montage of images of Americans going to work, and a calm, optimistic narration that suggested the improvements to the U.S. economy since his 1980 election were due to Reagan’s policies. It asked voters why they would want to return to the pre-Reagan policies of Democrats like his opponent Walter Mondale, who had served as the Vice President under Reagan’s immediate predecessor Jimmy Carter.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morning_in_America

 

Satan Likes to Control People (Strange, So Does Big Government!)

Evil’s dislike for Good is not restricted to the realm of the supernatural. The Earth has been a battleground since our most distant ancestors with consciences came into being.  For people of faith, these wars will continue until the Second Coming.  For skeptics, it could last until the sun becomes a red giant and overtakes the first three planets, including ours.  Either way, it will be a long struggle.

Many Good vs. Evil confrontations are obvious.  Organized crime, neighborhood gangs and Islamic jihadists are clear examples of those who attack innocent people.  However, the colliding political philosophies of small vs. big government are part of an overlooked venue.  Striving for big government unwittingly puts many on the side of the control freak who was bounced from Heaven; thus, creating Hell.

Respect  for  Human  Life  Creates  Two  Sides  of  the  Battle

A key principle around which sides are taken is respect for the dignity of human life.   Government intervention should be limited to doing for individuals what they have a right to do for themselves, but cannot.1  Assistance ought to be given where it is truly necessary.  Taxpayer funds should be available to provide the basics of life for those who are unable to provide for themselves.

But it must not also promote, unintentionally or otherwise, the breakup of the family as many of the War on Poverty programs have done over the last half-century.2

It also means that tax money should not arbitrarily fund some private startup industries just because they happen to be a favorite of someone in power (e.g. Solyndra).3   In addition, there are government intrusions which force communities to accept government subsidized housing.4

European  Union  Ruling  Class  is  Power  Happy

Overbearing control of government is seen in many ways.  Mandating that member nations take unreasonable security risks by the arbitrary and negligent opening of national borders was the main reason the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union in order to restore its rightful sovereignty.  The EU ruling elites also find ways to control the trivial as well as the big picture.  They determined which tea pots and toasters they considered environmentally acceptable and, therefore, permitted to be used in the home.

Trivializing  Human  Life  in  the  U.S.

The more massive the exercise of control, the more it aligns with Evil. (The word “evil” may have fallen out of favor with the self-proclaimed enlightened.  Nevertheless, that doesn’t make it cease to exist.)

In our country, the creeping vine of mega-government has long since crossed the line from Good to its hellish opposite.  Legalizing the killing of unborn babies under the ironic claim of “women’s health” has been more devastating to both mother and baby than the pro-death crowd is willing to admit.5

Trivializing human life has surreptitiously led to relegating its status to mere animal life in the lab. In vitro fertilization/ genetic modification and surrogate motherhood are just two examples of breeding human life to serve our wishes as we do thoroughbred horses or cattle.  Discarding unwanted human embryos used in stem cell experiments causes less anxiety for researchers than getting rid of weeds in their carefully manicured gardens.

Those of faith understand that we are to have humane dominion over animal life, but not dominion over human life. That belongs exclusively to the Author of Life Himself.

State  Elevating  Itself  Over  the  Church

The unwarranted intrusion of Big Government extends to trying to force religious orders and organizations to comply with the contraceptive/ abortifacient mandate of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).  For these in power, it’s not sufficient that our tax dollars are used for purposes which we have an inalienable right to object to.  Rather, the Obama Administration will not be satisfied unless we materially participate in the evil by giving our consent to a third party to carry out his control of human reproduction — which is not his to control in the first place. It’s the 21st century version of the Romans who threatened early Christians with severe consequences if they didn’t offer “just a little incense” to Roman idols in order to satisfy their political leaders.6

Broad  Range  of  Government  Dominance  Over  Citizens

Modern Big Government has reached new lows with a brazen insult to Natural Law. Citizens who understand the timeless irrevocable truth that a valid marriage can only exist between one man and one woman are being required to provide ceremonial items for same-sex “marriages.” While religious liberty must never be used to justify denying anyone the basics of life such as food, housing, medical care, employment, etc., it must not be dismissed in favor of the sham, known in politically correct circles as “tolerance” or “inclusiveness.”

These are only a few of the headlining points of concern. Requisite to the ultimate control (aka “possession”) of people involves intervention in the smaller details of daily life as well.  Mundane items such as kitchen utensils in the EU have already been mentioned.   It has also spread from the micro-managing of limiting the size of soft drinks in New York City to the insulting requiring of law-abiding citizens of Kentucky to have their urine tested annually – and at their expense – to ensure they are consuming specific prescriptions instead of selling them illegally.7

Where  Will  This  Lead?

The Prince of Darkness would be pleased with these displays of coercion.  The “religion” of secular humanism has set itself against the religion of eternal origins, mimicking the unsurpassed failure of the confrontation the Father of Lies had with the Creator before the universe existed.

God grants free will and proponents of small government defend it.  On the other hand, it drives Satan – and perpetrators of oppressing Big Government, crazy.  Being a control freak is an indication of a severe disorder.  Why would the Left want to have goals which parallel those of the infamous fallen angel?  Aiming for world domination now risks eternal disaster later.

 

1 – “In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, neither the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies.”  Paragraph 1894 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Twenty-fifth printing; November, 2013.

2 – “7 Ways the War on Poverty Destroyed Black Fatherhood,” by Nick Chiles, http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/12/24/ways-war-poverty-destroyed-black-fatherhood/, 12/24/2014.

3 – “Barack Obama Solyndra Scandal: 8 Facts About Green Energy Company Controversy,” by Alana Marie Burke, http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/Barack-Obama-Solyndra-Scandal-Green-Energy/2015/01/29/id/621537/, 1/29/2015.

4 – “Under the new plan, residents from low-income neighborhoods would be placed all around Baltimore County, essentially integrating the poor among wealthier families.”
“Studies indicate doing cluster in one area is not successful,” said Tony Fugett, president of the Baltimore County NAACP. “The hope is that the units would be dispersed throughout the county.”

From “Low-income housing ordered to be integrated in Baltimore neighborhoods,” by Leland Vittert, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/04/05/low-income-housing-ordered-to-be-integrated-in-baltimore-neighborhoods.html, 4/5/2016.

5 – “How Abortion Hurts Women:  The Hard Proof,” by Erika Bachiochi, http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/abortion/how-abortion-hurts-women-the-hard-proof.html

6 – From a homily given by Fr. Joshua Lange when he was an assistant pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cold Spring, KY several years ago.  He was reassigned to a parish of his own in the summer of June 2012, http://www.stjosephcoldspring.com/Portals/stjoeschool/Documents/News/June172012FC.pdf

7 – “Urine tests required by new drug law can cost patients hundreds of dollars,” http://www.kentucky.com/news/politics-government/article44379045.html, 9/27/2012.

 

The Next Federal Government Bailout Should Really Go To —

— the business owners in Ferguson, Missouri whose years of hard work were either stolen from them or went up in smoke literally as a result of the demonstrations following the grand jury’s decision in that city. While they usually have insurance, it will not cover all of their losses.

These entrepreneurs were innocent victims, unlike the banks whose grandiose financial mistakes were covered by our tax dollars in recent years. Not only would such federal aid be less expensive than the funds given to banks (who generally DID NOT make loans more accessible to small businesses as they were supposed to)1,2, but it would assist the very businesses from which much employment comes from in many smaller cities.

Here’s an opportunity for the federal government to help the little guy, the backbone of our nation, who certainly deserves the assistance.

1 – “Study: Bank bailout didn’t boost small business lending,” by Stephen Gandel, http://fortune.com/2012/11/14/study-bank-bailout-didnt-boost-small-business-lending/,  11/14/2012
2 – from “TARP: The bailout success story that wasn’t,” by David Weidner of MarketWatch, 2/12/2013