Early this month, three convicted murderers escaped from a prison in Kingman, a small town along Route 66 in northwest Arizona. According to reports, the inmates had broken free from the facility by using a pair of wire cutters. They’d escaped from a medium-security facility operated by Utah-based Management & Training Corp, a private corrections company.
The incident set off a political furor, not over the fact that the three violent criminals were being held in a medium-security prison, but over the security of the facility itself, and, ultimately, over Arizona’s widespread use of private correctional facilities.
Arizona’s attorney general, Terry Goddard, a Democrat running for governor against incumbent Republican Janice Brewer, took the opportunity to indict the state’s infatuation with privatization.
"I believe a big part of our problem is that the very violent inmates, like the three that escaped, ended up getting reclassified [as a lower risk] quickly and sent to private prisons that were just not up to the job," Goddard told a local TV news station.
In recent years, the trend toward privatization, both among state governments and at the federal level has been part of an attempt to address serious budget troubles and crisis-level prison overcrowding by outsourcing more and more corrections operations to private companies.
The move has translated into big business for industry leaders like Corrections Corporation of America (CXW), The Geo Group (GEO) and Cornell Companies, Inc. (CRN) (just last week, The Geo Group and Cornell finalized a merger valued at $730 million).
According to research firm IBISWorld USA, private corrections is a $22.7 billion industry with an annual growth rate in the last half-decade of 4.7%. While growth slowed from 2009 to 2010, projections for the industry remain largely optimistic.
"The prison population continues to grow regardless of what the economic conditions are," says George Van Horn, senior analyst at IBISWorld.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of federal inmates housed in private facilities jumped nearly 14% between 2000 and 2007, and nearly 6% between 2007 and 2008.
Of course, there are ways government can deal with this problem. Make an…
Tonight, with much fanfare, Schwarzenegger released his proposal to fix California’s $19 billion budget deficit. It was a huge disappointment.
Schwarzenegger had a golden opportunity to propose radical changes like privatizing the prison system, privatizing work in general, sending illegal aliens home, or getting rid of defined benefit plans. Instead, Schwarzenegger wimped out on many key issues.
$3.3 billion in other measures, primarily through borrowing from other state funds.
Spending Cuts Breakdown
$1.1 billion through the elimination of CalWORKS, the state’s primary welfare program, which serves 1.4 million people, two-thirds of them children.
$750 million in unspecified cuts to the state’s in-home supportive services program for the disabled, achieved through reductions in wages and services.
Cuts $532 million from Medi-Cal, the state’s medical program for the poor, by reducing eligibility, limiting doctor’s visits to 10 per year, reducing funding for hearing aids and other medical equipment, and increasing copays.
$811 million reduction in prison health care expenses by making the system more efficient and reducing funding.
About $360 million in savings by shifting nonviolent offenders out of state prisons and into county jails and by reducing the juvenile prison population and closing the facilities that house them.
Payroll reductions of 5 percent across all state departments, except for constitutional offices, which already achieved 5 percent reductions. The administration says much of the payroll reduction can be achieved by departments not filling current vacancies.
A 5 percent pay cut for all state workers and a 5 percent increase in their pension contributions. The administration says this will save $1.6 billion.
Proposing a budget that would eliminate the state’s welfare-to-work program and most child care for the poor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday outlined a stark vision of a California that would sharply limit aid to some of its poorest and neediest citizens.
His $83.4-billion plan would also freeze funding for local schools, further cut state
“The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist,
but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts
on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions
and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.”
– Michael Lind, To Have and to Have Not
It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.
Yes, of course, we all have very strong differences of opinion on many issues. However, like our Founding Fathers before us, we must put aside our differences and unite to fight a common enemy.
April Employment vs. April Employment in Previous Years
click on chart for sharper image
Tim writes ... Hello Mish
Bernanke was touting the direction of employment using the familiar "7.5%" numbers and pointing to all the improvement. While granting that more people are working now than in 2010, we recognize tha...
UPDATE 1: Japanese stocks turned negative (NKY -600pts from highs, -1.5% on day; and TOPIX down over 4% from highs); Japanese banks -11% from yesterday highs; S&P futures down 10 points from after-hours highs...
UPDATE 2: *KURODA WANTS TO AVOID INCREASING VOLATILITY IN BOND MARKET (yeah thanks... as useful as saying "we all want to avoid syphilis")
UPDATE 3: Nikkei 225 Drops below 14,000 - TOPIX down 11% from highs
For the second day in a row, and in spite of comments from Abe and Kuroda on communicating with the market (as Kuroda says BoJ Monetary easing sufficient), Japanese capital markets are out of control...
Few stocks have attracted more news over the last six months than nutritional supplement maker Herbalife (NYSE: HLF).
Even casual market observers are aware of the circumstances surrounding the the initial bout of extreme volatility in the name back in December 2012. The shares went into free-fall at the end of the year after hedge fund manager Bill Ackman revealed in typical sanctimonious fashion that his firm Pershing Square Capital Management was short around $1 billion worth of the stock.
Amid much pomp and circumstance, Ackman laid out his short thesis at a New York investment conference and...
HD - Home Depot – Shares in the home improvement retailer are trading lower on Thursday, off the lowest levels of the session but still down 1.25% at $78.69 as of 11:50 a.m. ET, amid a down day for U.S. stocks. Trading traffic in newly issued weekly options on Home Depot suggests some traders are taking advantage of the dip today and positioning for shares in the name to resume hitting record highs next week. The stock yesterday rallied as much as 3.6% to touch an all-time high of $81.56 after the company reported better-than-expected first...
The pre-market anxieties were little changed by this morning's slightly better-than-expected unemployment claims. The eurozone indexes were all down 2% to 3% when the US markets opened. The S&P 500 promptly plunged to its -1.20 intraday low in the first nine minutes of trading. But the index trimmed its losses in an irregular trend to its afternoon intraday high at 2:50 PM, when the market was just a hundredth of a point from break even. This was in contrast to eurozone, where the STOXX 50 closed its session down 2.05%. The S&P 500 saw some selling in the final hour and finished the day at -0.29%, well off its morning low. Presumably the abated selling suggests generally reduced fears about the Fed tapering QE in the near term.
Futures down moderately after yesterday's outside day. The extreme overbought conditions on the weekly and monthly index charts are finally relenting some. Even uber bulls would prefer solid entry points on stocks rather than chasing constantly. The S&P 500 had not touched the 10 day moving average since May 2nd, until yesterday – a not common situation. In theory the S&P 500 could go all the way down to 1597 – which was its primary breakout level – and still be in decent condition, but surely dip buyers trai...
The market went through some gyrations on Wednesday in reaction to Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee. He first defended continued quant easing by warning, “A premature tightening of monetary policy could lead interest rates to rise temporarily but also would carry a substantial risk of slowing or ending the economic recovery.” Stocks dutifully rallied and all major indexes hit new intraday highs.
But alas, consensus is apparently not a given over the longer term. The minutes hinted that a tapering off could start sooner, “A number of participants expressed willingness to adjust the flow of purchases downward as early as the June meeting if the economic information received by that time showed evidence of sufficiently strong and sustained growth.” So …...
Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).
We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options.
Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.
To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here
Reminder: Craigzooka is available to chat with Members regarding his virtual portfolio performance, comments are found below each post.
I am going to share with you how I manage my IRA and the power of reducing your cost basis. My goal each year is a 20% return in my IRA. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't, but I believe that all of my success is due to reducing my cost basis. To illustrate the power of reducing your cost basis here are some trades we did last year. These trades are taken from an educational portfolio we ran in a paper-trading account for a little more than a year.
We bought RIG on 5/15/2012 for $44.13, sold it on 1/18/2013 for $46 but booked a profit of $1,154.
We bought MT on 1/4/2012 for $19.24, sold it on 12/21/2012 for $15 but booked a profit of $454.
We bought CHK on 1/27/2012 for $21.93, sold it on 10/19/2012 for $18 b...
Stock market posts another record setting week, but the big news came after Friday’s close.
Courtesy of NASA
The stock market put on another record setting show with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) closing at a record high 15,118 and the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) closing at 1633.70, another all time closing high.
For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) gained 1%, the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) climbed 1.2%, the Nasdaq Composite (NYSEARCA:...
Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
Well, well, well....it is good to know that there are others in the scientific arena who believed that YMI Bioscience's data (cough - Gilead) is a better drug than Incyte's Jakafi. Now, the definitive data are still unknown, but there was enough evidence from a Phase 2 trial to take a small risk for a huge reward. So, let's forget about Apple (AAPL), and do nothing but biotechs from now until Congress passes universal health care coverage for prescriptions....and drive the prices down so that research and development is no longer feasible to conduct in the US. Even Seattle Genetics (SGEN) has been on a tear as of late...
Note: The material presented in this commentary is provided for informational purposes only and is based upon information that is considered to be reliable. However, neither Philstockworld, LLC (PSW) nor its affiliates warrant its completeness, accuracy or adequacy and it should not be relied upon as such. Neither PSW nor its affiliates are responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of this information. Past performance, including the tracking of virtual trades and portfolios for educational purposes, is not necessarily indicative of future results. Neither Phil, Optrader, or anyone related to PSW is a registered financial adviser and they may hold positions in the stocks mentioned, which may change at any time without notice. Do not buy or sell based on anything that is written here, the risk of loss in trading is great.
This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument. Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in this material are not suitable for all investors. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only intended at the moment of their issue as conditions quickly change. The information contained herein does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before investing, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.