Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Amazing Collection of Circus Posters

Link

Cash only Health Care Gets Cheaper-NYT

The veil is slowly being lifted for people who pay for their own health care. This is extremely important since HSAs are growing like wildfire and more and more people will be negotiating their own prices. This has got to be good.
 
Link

The varying reimbursement schedules, negotiated between the nation's 850,000 providers and more than 6,000 health plans, have been kept all but secret. Consumers almost never get information on prices before treatment. Even insurers do not know what other health plans are paying.

Despite the complexity, the Internet has begun to open a window on this surreal world, allowing consumers to compare costs and, occasionally, to discover affordable alternatives.


Tennesseans WILL RAISE their own taxes

Link

In a light turnout, Coffee County residents over-whelmingly approved the three-quarter cent increase in the sales tax.

Overall, about 15 percent of the county's 28,534 registered voters — 4,426 — cast ballots either through early voting, absentee or at the polls yesterday. Slightly more than half the votes — 52 percent — were cast either by early voting or by absentee ballots.

The question was approved by a 3-to-1 margin in Manchester and the rural precincts and by a 2.5-to-1 margin in Tullahoma. Countywide, slightly more than seven out of 10 voters were in favor of the increase.

The increase was approved in every precinct and in only one — Tullahoma's Hands-On Science Center — was the vote close with the count 23-18 in favor.


Mall of America Wants $234 taxpayer millions

Let us hope the politicians in MN are not this stupid...what is the Mall of America going to do? MOVE!! In the name of all that is holy, we hope MN taxpayers don't get burdened with this humongous boondoggle of corporate welfare.

Link

This year, the megamall wants $181 million from state taxpayers to build an 8,000-space parking garage. That's the centerpiece of a package of state and local subsidies worth about $234 million, money the Mall of America says it needs for a $1.9 billion expansion that would double its size.

Last year, state legislators didn't vote on a measure that would have redirected more than $200 million of its future property tax bill toward construction. This time, the mall wants city and state taxpayers to share the burden.


First Photograph and First Christmas Card

World's First Commercial Christmas Card 1843

World's First Photograph 1839

Millions for Toyota, NADA for Food Tax Reduction


Bill Hobbs Nails it

Doggy diner bill moves forward In Wash State

Link

OLYMPIA -- Animal lovers in the state are one step closer to being able to dine out with their dogs. A bill that would allow people to bring their dogs to restaurants passed out of committee Tuesday, but health officials still have some concerns.

The bill would allow leashed dogs to sit with their owners in outdoor seating areas of restaurants, bars and cafes during a three-year trial period. For businesses to participate, the city they are located in would first have to pass an ordinance approving the practice.


27% Metro Nash Employees Live outside County

 
How many of us get hit pretty hard in our pocketbooks when the annual Metro property taxes are due?
 
Some of us do but not all.

Last year, there were 10,700 Metro employees.

But 27 percent of them, almost 3,000 of them, don't have to worry about paying Metro property taxes.

They don't live in Davidson County but draw their Metro employee paychecks and pension checks.

For instance, there are 1,100 and 84 Metro firefighters.

Almost 45 percent of those firefighters live in counties other than Davidson where they get to pay lower property taxes.

I guess it's no big deal.

Some of Mayor Bill Purcell's top directors don't have a Metro address, either.

MS gave away $148K per job to Toyota

Mississippi politicians gave away $148,000 of the taxpayers money to Toyota for each of the "expected" jobs created.

Link

Open Govt will follow Open Markets?

Looks like it in China.

Link

BEIJING, Feb. 27 -- The Communist Party cautioned China's increasingly impatient reformers and intellectuals Tuesday that political liberalization and democracy are still a long way off despite the rapid pace of economic change over the past two decades.

The warning, in an article attributed to Premier Wen Jiabao in the official People's Daily newspaper, constituted the party's first known response to a bubbling up of political debate as China prepares for an annual session of its legislature and an important Communist Party congress that is scheduled for this fall.




TDOT Chief of Staff Now a Lobbyist-Gas Tax Hike?

Phil Williams, as always, is looking out for taxpayers. Great REPORT. TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely's Chief of Staff became a lobbyist. Do you think you or I could get the same kind of access that she now has????? Of course not.

Does this make a Gas Tax Hike more likely? YEP

Link

But tax watchdog Drew Johnson of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research says it says something about how the state hands out tens of millions of dollars in consulting contracts.

"Obviously, this person is well-connected through their previous job -- and there's some value in that to this company," Johnson says.

Here's how it works:

When a contract becomes available, TDOT staff -- in this case, Jones' former colleagues -- evaluate and score the firms to see who might be best for the job.

Then, a consultant selection committee meets and comes up with a final list -- in most cases, a list of three -- to recommend to the commissioner. Jones sat as an ex-officio member of that committee when she was at TDOT.

Finally, the commissioner picks the winner, and he doesn't have to give anybody a reason.

Nicely: "I do have quite a bit of latitude, you're right."

Trust your own good common sense? YEP

Link


Medical Study Biases

Medical studies are seriously biased by interested funders and by tolerance for sloppy methods. Here are four examples.

1. A recent PLoS Medicine looked at 111 studies of soft drinks, juice, and milk that cited funding sources.

22% had all industry funding, 47% had no industry funding, and 32% had mixed funding. ... the proportion with unfavorable [to industry] conclusions was 0% for all industry funding versus 37% for no industry funding .

2. Last February the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that in 487 studies, those whose method left more room for fudging "found" higher accuracy of diagnostic tests:

The quality of reporting was poor in most of the studies. We found significantly higher estimates of diagnostic accuracy in studies with nonconsecutive inclusion of patients ... and retrospective data collection ... Studies that selected patients based on whether they had been referred for the index test, rather than on clinical symptoms, produced significantly lower estimates

3. In 1995, the Journal of American Medical Association reported that of 250 studies of treatments, those with easier fudging similarly "found" stronger effects:

Compared with trials in which authors reported adequately concealed treatment allocation, ... Odds ratios were exaggerated by 41% for inadequately concealed trials and by 30% for unclearly concealed trials ... Trials that were not double-blind also yielded ... odds ratios being exaggerated by 17%

4. In 2005, the Journal of American Medical Association found that of medical studies since 1990 cited 1000 times or more, 1/3 were contradicted by replications, and 1/4 had no replication attempts:

Of 49 highly cited original clinical research studies, 45 claimed that the intervention was effective. Of these, 7 (16%) were contradicted by subsequent studies, 7 others (16%) had found effects that were stronger than those of subsequent studies, 20 (44%) were replicated, and 11 (24%) remained largely unchallenged. Five of 6 highly-cited nonrandomized studies had been contradicted or had found stronger effects vs 9 of 39 randomized controlled trials (P = .008).

The obvious question is: how can we produce medical estimates that correct for such biases? And why don't we?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

100 File Suit Against Murfreesboro Annexation

These homeowners were not allowed to vote on the issue of annexation. Forced annexation is taxation without representation, plain and simple. We wish these homeowners the best in their legal fight against Mayor Bragg and the City of Murfreesboro. Kudos to John Emison and www.citizensforhomerule.com for helping these citizens and many others like them over the last 20 years.

Link

The homeowners filed the lawsuit last Thursday and pursued legal help from Knoxville-based Citizens for Home Rule, a group dedicated to helping fight unwanted annexation.

"The governing body of the city of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has no power to provide any services to the citizens and residents of Rutherford County," the lawsuit states.

Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg said he hopes the issue will eventually be resolved.

"We did not take the action lightly," Bragg said. "We as a city staff and as a council spent considerable time learning and educating. I believe all parties have been and will be heard."


Free File Hosting Site

Link

Monday, February 26, 2007

Poll: Oak Ridge Residents OPPOSE Corp Welfare

Link

OAK RIDGE — The majority of Oak Ridge residents surveyed are against the city providing $10.5 million for site preparations for a new shopping center.

That’s the key bottom-line figure in a city-funded survey to gauge sentiment on a proposal to help a Brentwood developer prepare the Pine Ridge site for a "power center" anchored by a SuperTarget.

"It’s going to be a tough sell to the community," said University of Tennessee political science professor John M. Scheb. "It’s pretty clear there’s a lot of opposition to it."

Scheb was paid $5,000 by the city to conduct a poll of residents, and 405 citizens responded to the 11-question phone survey, conducted Feb. 12-17.

The survey shows that 61 percent of the respondents don’t think the city should spend the money, and only 17 percent are in favor of it.

We clearly need to limit these CEOs earnings?

Link

Dems invade K Street

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A few "minor" exceptions to new ethics rules

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WASHINGTON — Lawmakers have continued to take trips paid for by outside groups since the House voted last month to restrict who can pay for such travel.

House travel records show that 19 members since Jan. 5 have accepted airfare, meals and lodging from special interests, including groups that employ lobbyists. The records were compiled by the non-partisan PoliticalMoneyLine.

The trips demonstrate that lawmakers "are trying to see what they are going to get away with," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the liberal-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

No name Pres Survey for 5 SE States

Link

A new Elon University survey (release, results) of 719 adults conducted 2/18 through 2/22 in six Southeastern states (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia) using an open ended question, which did not present respondents with candidate names, to measure presidential primary vote preference finds:

  • Among 302 respondents likely to support a Democratic candidate for president (MoE +/- 5.75), 30% volunteer support for Sen. Hillary Clinton, 14% for Sen. Barack Obama, 8% for former Sen. John Edwards, and 45% said they either don't know or it is "too early to tell."
  • Among 226 respondents likely to support a Republican candidate for president (MoE +/- 6.65) , 21% volunteer support for former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 16% for Sen. John McCain, and 56% said they either don't know or it is too early to tell.

Please note that while the *release* includes crosstabulations by individual states, but does not specify the size of each state subgroup. The total number of interviews among self-identified primary voters across all states sampled is already quite small (n=302 for Democrats and n=226 for Republican).

Detroit Schools paid $1.6 Mil for Art

Link

The purchases identified by the Free Press -- made through the same Detroit gallery since 2002 -- raise questions again about the cash-strapped district's spending decisions. Earlier this month, the Free Press reported that the district spent more than $1.3 million in the past year on travel, meeting and catering expenses even as it closed schools to cut costs.

139 count indictment for spending OPM

Link

It's a bizarre account of the adventures of a millionaire pol whose over-the-top greed makes recently convicted ex-congressmen Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney seem like penny-ante pikers. If this indictment is accurate, Vincent J. Fumo is a man driven by a compulsion to get somebody else to pay for everything his heart desires, including the aforementioned tiki torches, gourmet paint, vacuum cleaners and bobblehead dolls.


"Fumo stated to a close confidant his philosophy that a person is best advised to spend 'other people's money,' " the indictment states. "Fumo often referred to this goal by the acronym 'OPM.' "

But don't get the impression that Fumo was completely selfish. That would be wrong. The man had a big heart, and consequently he allegedly used $50,000 of other people's money to provide the good citizens of Bristol, Pa., with a statue of a heroic war dog.

By all accounts, Vincent J. Fumo is a man of wealth, taste and charm. A hotshot Philadelphia lawyer and director of a bank founded by his grandfather, he is the proprietor of four homes -- a 33-room mansion in Philadelphia, a 100-acre Pennsylvania farm, a beach house on the Jersey shore and what the indictment calls "a multi-million dollar oceanfront home" in Florida.

In 1978, Fumo, who is a Democrat, was elected to the state Senate. A skillful pol, he quickly rose to power, becoming head of the Senate Democratic Appropriations Committee, a post that put him in charge of dozens of Senate employees. According to the indictment, he worked them to the bone.

FBI probes $1.25 B in NJ "Christmas Tree" Grants

Link


As federal prosecutors try to dig deeper into the spending practices of New Jersey legislators, they might struggle to identify an elementary piece of any case -- the paper trail.

Senators and Assembly members added more than $1.25 billion in last-minute spending to the state budget in the past five years, agreeing to let taxpayers fund pet projects that typically escape public disclosure or debate.

The so-called "Christmas tree" grants, now the focus of an FBI investigation, dole out money for items ranging from road construction to ball fields to school programs.

But interviews with legislators and other officials and a review of hundreds of Treasury Department documents show the creation of the Christmas tree budget each year is a marvel of old-school politics -- a process that relies more than previously known on a handshake, a nod or a hallway conversation. There is no formal application, no protocol, no public record of where, when or how such grants become budget line items.

MLGW sitting on Mountain of Ratepayer Cash

Link

It comes as no surprise to any taxpayers in Memphis and Shelby County that the MLGW has given a special deal to Edmund Ford. This is serious and those responsible should resign. However this is a small amount of money compared to the mountain of cash and cash equivalents that the MLGW is sitting on and continues to pile up each year out of the pockets of ratepayers who do pay their bills.


Consider that the MLGW only publishes their financial statements nine to ten months after they close their financial year on December 31. Looking at the 2004 and 2005 statements, the unrestricted cash reserves have increased from $177 million to $230 million. They say that they like to keep on hand 30 days of expenses, which is about $94 million so why do they need the extra $136 million? Could it have anything to do with financing the new proposed football stadium that the Mayor proposes? Actually the current cash after more than 13 months from the last published financial statement is probably over $270 million as they continue to pile up cash at the expense of the rate payers.

City Contractors and Campaign Contributions

Link

In the last three months of 2006, construction company owner Ron Cornejo and several of his family members donated $500 each to three Wichita City Council members who are running for re-election.

In the same time frame, his company, Cornejo & Sons Construction Inc., won more than $5 million in competitively bid city projects.

We need more public SERVANTS like this

Link

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Georgia Senate is considering a plan that would prevent any buildings, roads or bridges from being named after the chamber's Democratic leader, Sen. Robert Brown.

The plan's sponsor? Sen. Robert Brown.

Brown, of Macon, said he had heard talk of plans to name something for him in his hometown and wanted to make it clear he has no interest in such an honor.

"It was honor enough for me to get elected and serve," said Brown, who has been a senator since 1992 and his party's leader for the past two years. "I don't see the need for anything else."

We need more public SERVANTS like this

Link

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Georgia Senate is considering a plan that would prevent any buildings, roads or bridges from being named after the chamber's Democratic leader, Sen. Robert Brown.

The plan's sponsor? Sen. Robert Brown.

Brown, of Macon, said he had heard talk of plans to name something for him in his hometown and wanted to make it clear he has no interest in such an honor.

"It was honor enough for me to get elected and serve," said Brown, who has been a senator since 1992 and his party's leader for the past two years. "I don't see the need for anything else."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Interesting Daughtrey Tennessean Op/Ed

Larry Daughtrey makes some good points, the best sales tax has the lowest possible rate and the broadest possible base. But talking about "tax reform" without talking about "spending reform" is pretty much useless. Politicians never want to hear the answer from citizens to the most important question about taxes: "How much government do you want?"

"Tax reform" for politicians means "how do we grow the size of government?"

"Tax Reform" for taxpayers means "how do we keep the tax burden low?"


Link


It's really a debate about iceberg tips. Tennessee is still in dire need of tax reform, which doesn't have to mean income tax.

Each year, more than $5 billion in sales tax revenue slips through the cracks of exemptions created by the legislature. That's because the state's tax policy has long been set on the basis of who has the best lobbyists, not fairness.

Basic truths often get lost in the budget shuffle. Tennessee remains a state where cows and horses eat tax-free food; babies don't.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ill Legislator wants to force student handwasing

Link
SPRINGFIELD (AP) - Rep. Mary Flowers wants to clean up Chicago schools - two germy, dirty hands at a time.

Fed up with what she sees as a health hazard for thousands of children, Flowers has introduced legislation that would require Chicago schools to make students wash their hands with antiseptic soap before eating.

"This is all about a way of life for our children," Flowers, D-Chicago, said in a recent interview. "It's a public safety issue that needs to be addressed."

IRS coming after eBay sellers

Link

As part of his proposed federal budget for 2008, President Bush made what many believe is the first step to more vigorously collect taxes on online sales. Although vaguely worded, the proposal would require "brokers," or middlemen, to collect taxpayer identification numbers from clients and report their sales of personal property to the IRS on a 1099 form if sales surpass 100 transactions or more than $5,000 annually.

Under current law, eBay and other auction sites aren't considered brokers. But definitions can be changed.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ted and Kay: Citizens Making TN Better

Ted posts the names and addresses of all the Hardin County Commissioners.

Kay lets us know that the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education is now posting their full agenda online in no small part because Kay pushed very hard for this public information to be made public.

Ted and Kay have both worked so very hard, Ted in Hardin County (Savannah) and Kay in Davidson County. They work without any compensation whatsoever and they have both had great difficulty getting basic information from THEIR government. We MUST have more citizens like Ted and Kay if we expect government to bow to the will of the people.

New Monthly Financial Security Index

Half rate their overall level of financial security as excellent or good.

Link

Detailed Tables

Losers at Ballot Box, Big Winners as Lobbyists

Link

The cozy relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists that embarrassed Congress and cost some lawmakers re-election haven't stopped the revolving door between Capitol Hill and the lobbying industry that seeks to influence legislation.

Five of the 39 ex-lawmakers rejected by voters three months ago landed jobs at firms that seek to influence Congress.

National Taxpayers Union 2006 Ratings

Link

Blackburn, M....... A ......... 81%
Cooper, J.............. D ......... 36%
Davis, L................ D ......... 32%
Duncan, J.............. A ......... 77%
Ford, H................. D ......... 29%
Gordon, B............. D ......... 27%
Jenkins, W............ B ........... 61%
Tanner, J............... D .......... 34%
Wamp, Z .............. C+.......... 56%
State Average.......................48%

Alexander, L......... B+........... 80%
Frist, W................. B+............80%
State Average........................80%

Original Rhapsody in Blue played by Gershwin

Through the magic of the internet, we are able to listen to the original recording with Gershwin and Paul Whiteman's Orchestra. It is completely different than the standard grandiose orchestral presentation. It is jazzy and fun.

Link

HERE is the MP3 file

More State Legislatures bar electronics on floor

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(Maine) acted after a representative observed lobbyists emailing legislators as they debated bills. Also this year, the Oregon Senate has barred "cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices that detract from the decorum" of their august body, copying a rule that was already in place in that state's House.

In recent years, the Colorado and North Carolina state senates also have banned electronic communications while they conduct official business.

"We're a deliberative body, and when you're in [the chamber] you're supposed to be listening," said North Carolina Sen. Tony Rand (D).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Photobloging Hip Street Fashion

Hamblen County "needs" to raise taxes

Wonder if taxpayers "need" to have their family budgets cut.

Link

Herbert Harville said he estimates a tax increase of about 25 cents on the current rate of $1.86 per $100 assessed valuation is needed.

Bartlett Mayor talks about "Fee Adjustments"

I'll be willing to bet a very substantial amount of money that if the Mayor was proposing cuts he would call them "cuts" instead of "adjustments."

Link

Taxpayers lose ground to Govt employees

Link

A typical full-time state or local government worker made $78,853 in wages and benefits in the third quarter of 2006, $25,771 more than a typical private-sector worker, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The difference was $7,604 in 2000. The compensation advantage holds true for all types of public workers, from teachers to laborers and managers. Better benefits for government workers is the biggest reason for the growing compensation gap.

Sweet...new Canon video camera card deck sized

Link

February 22, 2007 Canon has announced the latest state-of-the-art compact digital still and video camera - the 7.1 megapixel PowerShot TX1 offers 10x optical zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer and can shoot VGA (640 x 480 pixels) movies at 30 fps (in a traditional 4:3 aspect ratio) and can capture high-resolution still images while recording movies, helping to ensure that milestone memories are preserved for picture frames, photo albums and e-mail sharing as well as for video viewing. The TX1 features an enhanced Canon DiG!C III image processor with innovative technology including in-camera red-eye correction and improved Face Detection with Flash Exposure. The enhanced DiG!C III processor enables in-camera red-eye correction with the touch of a button. Available next month, the US$500 TX1 is the size of a deck of playing cards, making it ideal as a permanent companion.

Leaf Chronicle endorses Food Tax Reduction

Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle joins the City Paper in endorsing Food Tax Reduction.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Onion Parody: Child Safety Experts Warn

Link

WASHINGTON, DC—The Department of Health and Human Services issued a series of guidelines Monday designed to help parents curtail their children's boundless imaginations, which child-safety advocates say have the potential to rival motor vehicle accidents and congenital diseases as a leading cause of disability and death among youths ages 3 to 14.

[...]

Added McMillan: "Remember, if you see a single sparkle of excitement in their eyes, you haven't done enough."

Solar Power Ready for Prime Time?

Link


"We don't need subsidies, we just need governments to get out of the way and do no harm. They've spent $170bn subsidising nuclear power over the last thirty years," he said.

His ultra-light technology, based on a copper indium compound, can power mobile phones and laptop computers with a sliver of foil.

"You won't have to get down on your knees ever again to hunt for plug socket," he said

Michael Rogol, a solar expert at Credit Lyonnais, expects the solar industry to grow from $7bn in 2004 to nearer $40bn by 2010, with operating earnings of $3bn.

The sector is poised to outstrip wind power. It is a remarkable boom for a technology long dismissed by experts as hopelessly unviable.

Taxpayer funded Campaign advertising?

Is THIS taxpayer funded campaign advertising for Rita Clark? Clearly, it is not necessary to have her picture and name on this web page?

Is THIS taxpayer funded campaign advertising for Fred Sisk?

How many times should elected officials have their picture on the Home Page of the Govt web site: Once? Twice?

Should we, the citizens, specify some limits?

Brit Hospitals too efficient, minimum wait times implemented

Not kidding. When you put politicians in charge of health care...

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Mayor wants MLGW surplus for new stadium??

Memphis Watchdog says Mayor Herenton may have his eye on MLGW (Taxpayer owned utility Memphis Light, Gas, and Water) surplus to pay for new stadium:

Link

Year after year they keep piling up profit when they should be returning these profits to the ratepayers in lower rates. Why do the City Council and the media not investigate this surplus? Could it be that the Mayor has his eyes on this surplus to finance his new stadium as he did with the Water Division of the MLGW which is required to pay $2.5 million per year for the FedEx Arena for over $60 million total. Time will tell but not before the election.

2nd Nationwide Poll Shows Rudy and Hillary up

Link

A new Quinnipiac University national survey of 1536 registered voters (conducted 2/13 through 2/19) finds:

  • Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 38%) leads Sen. Barack Obama (23%) and Vice President Al Gore (11%) in a national primary. Former Sen. John Edwards trails at 6%.
  • Among Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 40%) leads Sen. John McCain (18%) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (10%) in a national primary.
  • General election match-ups show Giuliani leading Clinton (48% to 43%), Giuliani leading Obama (47% to 40%), and Giuliani leading Edwards (48% to 40%). Match-ups pitting McCain against Clinton (46% to 44%), McCain against Obama (43% to 43%) and McCain against Edwards (43% to 42%) are all within the margin of sampling error.

Commercial Appeal: Sin tax not a long term tax

Link

The governor says he can raise an estimated $219 million a year with the increase, even after the impact that the tax hike will undoubtedly have on sales. That may be true, at least in the short term. But it should not be counted on as a permanent fix for state budgetary shortcomings.

Gov ratchets the rhetoric, "vodoo" tax cut

Don't be surprised if the Repubs start reporting stinging sensations, like sharp needles.

Link

"This tax-cut proposal, it is voodoo," Bredesen said. "It is the worst kind of Washington, D.C., budgeting I have seen in my time as governor."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mayor, could I interest you in a bridge in Brooklyn?

Link

Mayor W.W. Herenton unveiled his plan for a new football stadium in the Fairgrounds area during a Memphis City Council meeting Tuesday. The mayor said that the money for a multimillion dollar stadium would not be raised through higher property taxes.

Gov says Repubs pushing an INCOME TAX??

This is going to be a really interesting General Assembly session! We may have to order extra meds for some of our elected officials.

Link Updated Link with Complete AP article

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Governor Bredesen says the state would have a fiscal crisis if the tax on groceries is phased out without a way to replace the lost revenue.

A measure co-sponsored by all 17 Republicans in the Senate and 20 Republicans in the House would drop the state's six percent food tax by half a percentage point each year until it is eliminated in the budget year beginning in 2018.Bredesen said in a speech today that it would knock a hole in the state budget.

He also said it could be a ploy to get support for an income tax as a replacement.


An income tax proposal spearheaded by then-Governor Don Sundquist, Bredesen's Republican predecessor, failed after years of emotional debate.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

US Citizens invest in record numbers and amounts

An Extraordinary read detailing the growth in 401(k)s and IRAs.

Link

Robertson Cnty Wheel/Sales Tax Delayed Again

Link

The proposed increases of the wheel and sales taxes have been delayed until the March meeting of the county commission due to legal restraints.

At least six months must pass before the sales tax can be placed on another referendum, Dennis Wade said in commission meeting on Monday. The sales tax was voted down when brought to referendum last November.

The wheel tax increase, which was deferred in the January commission meeting to be packaged with the sales tax, would add $30 to the cost of updating vehicle tags, bringing the annual cost to $109.25 per vehicle, County Clerk Susan Atchley said.

Rudy and Hillary in National Primary Poll

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A new Rasmussen Reports automated survey of likely primary voters nationwide (conducted 2/12 through 2/15) finds:

  • Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary Clinton (at 28%) runs slightly ahead of Sen. Barack Obama (24%), and former Sen. John Edwards (11%) and former Vice President Al Gore (10%) trail in a national primary.
  • Among Republicans, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (at 33%) leads Sen. John McCain (19%), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (13%), and former Gov. Mitt Romney (8%) in a national primary.

Gov Bredesen's Proposed Budget

Link

Mouseketeer Mao

Link

Politics is Priceless-Thomas Sowell

Link

The great allure of government programs in general for many people is that these programs allow decisions to be made without having to worry about the constraints of prices, which confront people at every turn in a free market.


They see prices as just obstacles or nuisances, instead of seeing them as messages conveying underlying realities that are there, whether or not prices are allowed to function. What prices are telling San Francisco is that municipal golf courses cost more than they are worth -- not in my opinion, but in the actions of people who are spending their own hard-earned money. But what politician wants to hear that? Politics is priceless.

Is Tennessee Turning Blue?

That is the question from the MTSU Survey Group's most recent survey?

Link

Detailed Tables

Europe’s Plan to Track Phone and Net Use

Link

PARIS, Feb. 19 — European governments are preparing legislation to require companies to keep detailed data about people's Internet and phone use that goes beyond what the countries will be required to do under a European Union directive.

In Germany, a proposal from the Ministry of Justice would essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account, making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal.

A draft law in the Netherlands would likewise go further than the European Union requires, in this case by requiring phone companies to save records of a caller's precise location during an entire mobile phone conversation.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Food sales TAX CUT close to revenue neutral?

Link

Stennis Institute researcher Judith Phillips says if the grocery tax is reduced, low-income people could be expected to use the tax savings to buy more groceries, and that would have little impact on state revenues.

She says middle- and upper-income people would be likely to spend the extra money on taxable items. That would generate about 18 (M) million dollars in new sales tax collections -- and part of the new money would go to cities.

HERE is a link to the Report

By a vote of 119 to 0 MS House passes tax holiday

Link

The bill passed (the Mississippi House) 119-0 and moves to the Senate.

Similar proposals have passed the Senate in years past, only to die in the House Ways and Means Committee.

This is an election year.

Former NC House Speaker pleads guilty

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Black flexed his muscle to prevent a ban on video poker from reaching the House floor for several years, until his legal troubles forced him to let the ban go through. He slipped a landmark provision into the 2005 state budget that made it much easier for chiropractors to gain patients by putting them on an even footing with family doctors. And he helped his fellow optometrists gain business with legislation that required all children to receive an eye exam before entering school. That legislation created such an outcry that it was later removed.

None of these cases would cause much of a stir on Jones Street if it weren't for the measures all three groups took to support Black. State Board of Elections probes found that video poker interests and optometrists provided the speaker with illegal campaign contributions, while three chiropractors slipped him $25,000 in cash and a $4,000 check that he pocketed. On Thursday, Black, 71, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, pleaded guilty to a federal felony corruption charge for accepting the chiropractors' money. He could face as much as 10 years in prison.

Ever hear of SAIC..No? YOU are paying for it.

Link

SAIC maintains its headquarters in San Diego, but its center of gravity is in Washington, D.C. With a workforce of 44,000, it is the size of a full-fledged government agency—in fact, it is larger than the departments of Labor, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development combined. Its anonymous glass-and-steel Washington office—a gleaming corporate box like any other—lies in northern Virginia, not far from the headquarters of the C.I.A., whose byways it knows quite well. (More than half of SAIC's employees have security clearances.) SAIC has been awarded more individual government contracts than any other private company in America. The contracts number not in the dozens or scores or hundreds but in the thousands: SAIC currently holds some 9,000 active federal contracts in all. More than a hundred of them are worth upwards of $10 million apiece. Two of them are worth more than $1 billion. The company's annual revenues, almost all of which come from the federal government, approached $8 billion in the 2006 fiscal year, and they are continuing to climb. SAIC's goal is to reach as much as $12 billion in revenues by 2008. As for the financial yardstick that really gets Wall Street's attention—profitability—SAIC beats the S&P 500 average. Last year ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, posted a return on revenue of 11 percent. For SAIC the figure was 11.9 percent. If "contract backlog" is any measure—that is, contracts negotiated and pending—the future seems assured. The backlog stands at $13.6 billion. That's one and a half times more than the backlog at KBR Inc., a subsidiary of the far better known government contractor once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, the Halliburton Company.

More State Property Tax Talk? fromJohn Morgan

Link

Comptroller John Morgan and Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta, say the best way to pay for K-12 schools in Tennessee would be to shift the obligation from local governments to the state.

It’s a big change that may not have support in the General Assembly, but Morgan and Curtiss say it wouldn’t require a tax increase and could be accomplished by redirecting some existing property taxes and sales taxes.

[...]

Fifteen years later and less than a year after a judge dismissed that suit, the BEP formula has urban counties grumbling louder.

"We ain’t a bit better off than we were 20 years ago," said Curtiss, who is chairman of the Joint Fiscal Review Committee. "We’ve got a system that ain’t working and we just want to tweak it a little."




TV News by Citizens only, all journalists fired

Going well beyond the VJ concept, a Santa Rosa TV station is depending entirely on citizen journalists. Will it be Wayne's World News?

Link

So the next step in Channel 50's evolution will be a nationally watched experiment in local television coverage. Over the next few months, the station's management plans to ask people in the community -- its independent filmmakers, its college students and professors, its civic leaders and others -- to provide programming for the station.

Will they be paid? That's being worked out. Who will cover the harder-edged stories? Some will be culled from local newspaper and TV online sites, Spendlove said, and "other sources" that are still being discussed.

"There will be a loss in local coverage, I'm not going to lie to you," he said. "But there are a lot of other places to get most of that information."

Sugar costs DOUBLE because of OUR GOVT

You and me and millions of other Americans are paying twice as much for sugar as we should because a very small group of lobbyists and campaign contributors have co-opted the power of OUR GOVERNMENT to enrich themselves. Thousands of people have lost jobs in the US because a very small group of lobbyists and campaign contributors have co-opted the power of OUR GOVERNMENT to enrich themselves.

Link
Americans pay about double the world market price for sugar, a hidden tax that hurts everyone with a sweet tooth. Many beverage and food makers catering to that sweet tooth have long used corn syrup instead of sugar because it's cheaper, but the price of corn syrup is beginning to rise. So now would be a good time for the U.S. government to revisit its destructive farm policies.

This is a classic case of a narrow, vocal lobby — sugar growers — benefiting at the expense of the larger economy. The latest victim of high-priced sweeteners is Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products, which announced last week that it would cut 3,500 jobs because of a $1.1-billion loss in 2006. Other soft-drink makers, confectioners and food companies also pay a steep price for the complex system of price supports and import quotas aimed at protecting U.S. sugar growers by insulating them from global market realities.

Prisoners of YouTUBE

Link

Marylynn Aminrazavi was happy. She was on vacation. Decked out in beach casual—oversized white T-shirt, colorful beach towel, hair in a bun—she leaned back in a chair by the Atlantic Ocean, put on her daughter's iPod, and closed her eyes. Lost in the music, she began to sing along. Loudly.

The song was Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You." Aminrazavi's thin, nasal warble—not to mention her physique (she looks like your mom)—was clearly never intended for mid-90s R&B sex-pop. The resulting scene was comic gold: A 46-year-old suburban mother of two, blissfully unaware, belting out "I'll make love to you / Like you want me to" to the dozens of beachgoers around her.

NEVER Pay Retail for College

Blogger and Econ Professor Martin Kennedy passes along this very interesting site about how to go to college on less than $11.00 per day (Be sure to watch the short video). Very useful information for anyone who doesn't want to spend the typical 40k-50k on college.

City Paper calls on Dept of Rev to CHANGE

The TN Dept of Revenue must change and they must let us KNOW they have changed. Kudos to the City Paper for pointing this out. I happen to agree with and support the agenda of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. Drew Johnson has done a remarkable job of promoting free market, low tax policy solutions. But the TN Dept of Revenue has FAR TOO MUCH POWER over out lives to be this arrogant towards ANY group, agree or disagree. Let us hope the TN Dept of Revenue will change and that Gov Bredesen will hold them accountable.

Link
Quite frankly, it should not really matter how far off the mainstream any group is when dealing with state government. Whether it is a blogger in their pajamas, a special interest group or just Joe Citizen, state government should crack open like a piƱata when asked for otherwise public information.

Commissioner Farr needs to get his department’s collective heart in the right place when it comes to dealing with the citizens of this state. It is not up to him or anyone else in state government to respond to Tennessee residents based on a perception about professionalism. They are public servants, and their first goal should be to serve the public regardless of what they think about the individual on the other end of the telephone or their politics.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tobacco Tax Revenues Decline Nationwide

Link

In 2005, tobacco taxes contributed $13 billion to state budgets. But cigarette tax collections that year were down in 15 states compared with the year or years before, according to a study backed by the tobacco industry. States such as New York, Massachusetts and Illinois are all forecasting a drop in revenue.

Similarly, the federal cigarette tax has been bringing in less money each year since 2002. The amount dropped from $8.1 billion in 2002 to $7.7 billion in 2005, according to the same study.

Good Historical Perspective on Bredesen's Plan

Link

NASHVILLE -- By proposing education reforms and the biggest increase in school funding of his tenure -- and a tax increase to pay for them -- Gov. Phil Bredesen is following a script written by his three two-term predecessors:

1. Spend your first four years getting the state's fiscal house in order and making incremental improvements in the services and programs delivered by state government, without a tax increase.

2. Win an easy re-election.

3. Launch your second term with a major new initiative, preferably sweeping education reforms, and work to win legislative approval for the tax increase needed to pay for it.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Govt said to paint the mountain green, so we did!

Link

Villagers in southwestern China are scratching their heads over the county government's decision to paint an entire barren mountainside green.

Workers who began spraying Laoshou mountain last August told villagers they were doing so on orders of the county government but were not told why, media reports said Wednesday.

Gossip + cellphone = good stuff

Link
Gossip is not a trivial pastime: it is essential to human social, psychological and even physical well-being. The mobile phone, by facilitating therapeutic gossip in an alienating and fragmented modern world, has become a vital 'social lifeline', helping us to re-create the more natural communication patterns of pre-industrial times.

What is the value of YOUR House?

Type in your address in www.zillow.com and a box will pop up with a "Zestimate." Click on Zestimate and you will get a history of the home value estimate. Great service, its free and not one politician can claim credit for it (although many will probably try to regulate it).

Watches face "unfair" competition?

Watches are quickly losing ground to cell phones, ipods and other electronics which tell time according to this article. Rest assured there is a lobbyist somewhere earning big bucks trying to get government to offer "relief" from the "unfair" competition.

Database of PDF Magazines on the Net

Nice site which catalogs PDF magazines on the net. Mostly art and graphic design. Not for children.

Link

Friday, February 16, 2007

Should Govt be allowed to be this arrogant to us?

The City Paper is reporting:

Dept. of Revenue says conservative think tank ‘not a legitimate group’

The TN Department of Revenue, like all Departments of State Government, has an extraordinary amount of power over our lives. When this extraordinary power is used with arrogance towards the citizens it creates an intolerable situation.

Could the Department of Revenue declare other groups or citizens to be illegitimate?

$58 million on lobbying in WI

Link

Madison (Wisconsin) - State Ethics Board officials said today that 755 organizations reported spending a record $58.1 millon lobbying legislators, other elected officials and state agencies in the 2005-'06 legislative session -- a 19% increase over the previous session.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state chamber of commerce, again reported spending the most -- $1.59 million -- trying to influence Capitol decisions and state agencies. That was a 14% increase over what WMC spent the previous session, said Ethics Board Executive Director Roth Judd.

WMC was one of three groups that spent more than $1.5 million on lobbying; the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state's largest teachers union, spent $1.53 million and Wisconsin Hospital Association, $1.5 million. Of all 755 groups that lobby, 10 reported spending more than $750,000 each; 322 groups reported spending less than $25,000 each.

All groups reported spending 440,000 hours trying to influence bills in the Legislature and state agency decisions, a jump of 18.9% from the previous session. State rules require lobbying groups to report salaries paid staff members who lobby, payments to lobbying consultants, fringe benefits and overhead administrative costs.

Time for a tax hike in Bartlett?

Bartlett (Shelby County) Mayor says

"In my personal view, people are not looking at us to cut services," Mayor Keith McDonald told members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at a work session Tuesday night.

I certainly hope the Mayor will allow the taxpayers to express their "personal view." These types of articles almost NEVER give the reader historical perspective and show how much tax revenue has grown over recent years. Has Revenue gown as fast as population plus inflation? If so, why can't the city manage to cover costs? Lots of questions need to be answered for taxpayers.

Link

New Federal Spending Info Site

This is the site that will eventually list all federal spending so taxpayers can search to find who is receiving our hard earned tax dollars. For now it is just for feedback but it does list several helpful sites that already list some federal spending.

Link

Holy Mackerel-Ark CUTS TAXES again!!

Link

LITTLE ROCK The Senate today approved a bill to increase the homestead tax credit from 300 dollars to 350 dollars.

The 26-point-nine (m) million-dollar annual tax break would provide relief for 538-thousand homeowners.

The bill passed 33-to-0 has already cleared the House. But the bill still has to return to the House to concur with an amendment before going to Beebe's desk.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sales Tax Collections down in Morristown

Will the world come to an end? Will famine and pestilence follow? Probably not. Taxpaying families have downturns all the time. If the city wants some advice on how to handle this downturn, probably be best to pick up the phone and call a few moms, they will be happy to advise.

Link

It strongly appears the sales-tax gravy train that has funded substantial annual increases in the city of Morristown's budget could jump the tracks this year.

If current collection trends continue, the city will collect approximately $550,000 less in sales tax this year than it did last year, Morristown City Administrator Jim Crumley said Tuesday.

"We counted on more money than we're going to get," Crumley said.


10% of Korean kids mobile phone addicts

Link

Sales Tax Collections down in Morristown

Will the world come to an end? Will famine and pestilence follow? Probably not. Taxpaying families have downturns all the time. If the city wants some advice on how to handle this downturn, probably be best to pick up the phone and call a few moms, they will be happy to advise.

Link

It strongly appears the sales-tax gravy train that has funded substantial annual increases in the city of Morristown's budget could jump the tracks this year.

If current collection trends continue, the city will collect approximately $550,000 less in sales tax this year than it did last year, Morristown City Administrator Jim Crumley said Tuesday.

"We counted on more money than we're going to get," Crumley said.


Images: Advertising in America: 1850-1920


Link

Browse Categories

Epidemic of Alarmism?

Interesting paper on how obesity and other health factors are over-reported in relation to their health risks HERE.

Also, from today's Wall Street Journal, the suicide rate among policemen was reported, in USAToday, to be high relative to the general population. However, when you factor in gender and consider that males have a much higher suicide rate and that 88% of policemen are male, the rate for policemen is only slightly above what you would expect.

Here is a quote from the Health article:

"We found that ... the news media's tendency to report more heavily on the most alarmist and individual-blaming scientific studies, and not simply how they frame individual stories, partly explains how the news dramatize and individualize science. ... These findings support the contention that scientists work as "parajournalists" writing their stories  and especially the abstract  with journalists in mind. They then frame their research via press releases and interviews with journalists. A reward structure in which, all things being equal, alarmist studies are more likely to be covered in the media may make scientists even more prone to presenting their findings in the most dramatic light possible."


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Coffee County Early Voting on Sales Tax


Link

The actual day of the referendum vote is Tuesday, Feb. 27.

County Mayor David Pennington said if the increase passes, the sales tax would go from 9 to 9.75 percent per dollar, bringing additional annual revenue of about $5.2 million for the county and two cities.

Of that, the City of Tullahoma would get $2.1 million, the rural portion of the county would get $1.8 million and the City of Manchester would receive $1.3 million.


Alert the press!! Call the Capitol!!

A new business actually expanded and jobs were created and no taxpayer "incentives" were used for a bribe.

Yes, Virginia, unlike what you have been lead to believe, jobs actually ARE created without politicians having their pictures taken nearby. It happens all the time.

In fact, most new TN jobs are created without politicians anywhere near to take "credit." George Bush doesn't create jobs, Nancy Pelosi doesn't create jobs, Phil Bredesen doesn't create jobs....they only take credit for them AFTER hard working Tennesseans create them.

Link

The 26-acre site, located next to the Roane Regional Business and Technology Park, was sold in a private land deal that took place without any publicly-funded incentive package.

Crete says tax collections from the site are expected to add about $42,000 a year to Roane County's tax rolls.

Dave Goetz responds to earlier post

Just got an email from Dave Goetz about this post and he was concerned that I didn't characterize his interview response correctly. Let me make an effort to clarify:

In the interview Dave did NOT say that NEW sources of revenue would be required if tobacco taxes and lottery proceeds declined in the future and were not enough to fund the education initiatives. He said that growth in existing revenue sources would be sufficient to offset these declines.

In the original post I said, "Dave Goetz, who is a straight shooter, sad NO, at some point in the future, other revenue sources will have to be found."

The point I was trying to make was that sources "other" than the lottery and tobacco tax would need to be used but Dave's point is well taken, I didn't make it clear that he was talking about existing revenue sources.

Giles County Citizen Records incident

Allen Barrett and Fred Winkles were arrested at a school board meeting last year when they attempted to make a public comment. They went through a long, very costly trial and were judged innocent by a jury of their peers.

Recently, in a letter supporting his reappointment as Superintendent of Education for Giles County, Tee Jackson stated he did not have the men arrested. Allen Barrett felt this statement was not true and came to the school board meeting to ask for a correction. During the meeting he had an encounter with the school board attorney. He  made a video of his encounter which he has posted on YouTube..

Columbia Herald Article

YouTube video

More Support for School Choice

Utah, New York, Rhode Island, and South Carolina move toward more parental choice.

Link

Dutch Peep Shows get a tax break


Link

An Amsterdam judge has ruled that peep shows – where sex workers performing strip shows and explicit acts can be watched from booths – are a form of theatre and club owners are entitled to a hefty tax break.

"Admitting customers to peep shows is equivalent to admitting them to a theatre performance," an Amsterdam Appeals Court judge wrote in a ruling published today. "The erotic character of the performance does not diminish that."

The national daily De Telegraaf reported that the owner of the peep show, who was not identified, will receive thousands of euros back from the tax service as a result of the ruling.


We have ringtones, why not HORNTONES


Link

The Horntones FX-550 system is the first mobile audio system that allows you to customize the sound of your vehicle's horn function using virtually any standard audio file.

Using the latest electronic device and communications technology, Horntones Audio products provide you with a unique capability to personalize your automobile experience with an unlimited variety of sound clips.

Botany Photo of the Day, Beautiful stuff

Link

Central Commission for Discipline Inspection

Tennessee Waltz, Chinese Style

Link

Nearly 100,000 members of the Communist Party of China were punished last year for corruption, but eradicating graft in the near future remains a huge challenge, a senior official said.

"Solving the problem of corruption in a short time is almost impossible," Gan Yisheng, a senior party discipline and oversight official, told a press conference in Beijing.

Of the 97,260 officials who had been disciplined, over 80 percent had failed to carry out duties, taken bribes or violated the party's financial rules, said Gan, vice secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. (Yikes, sounds scary)


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Ultimate Taxpayer Insult

Taxpayer money used to lobby for tax hike

Link

While Michigan law forbids the use of public funds by state or local government to advocate for candidates or specific ballot issues, it allows them to "provide information" to the public. And if that "information" is sufficiently scary, members of the public might be persuaded to part with more of their money.

Further, if local governments route public money through the Michigan Municipal League, according to a 2001 ruling by then-Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, it is transformed into private money, since the Municipal League is a nonprofit corporation, not a public body, and the league can take positions on ballot issues.

In this case, the public dollars have been sent through both the laundering and spin cycles, since they have gone from local governments to the Municipal League to the "Michigan Fiscal Responsibility Project."

And the taxpayers have been hung out to dry.


$85 million State Surplus thru 6 months


Link

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Tennessee collected one (b) billion dollars in taxes in January, about 35 (M) million dollars more than expected.

The increased tax collections were driven by nearly 14 (M) million dollars more in corporate franchise and excise taxes than expected.
The state collected 85 (M) million dollars more than expected in the first six months of the budget year that began July 1st.

TurboTax $25k Tax Rap Contest

HERE is the Contest Site and here is one the entries:

Its DONE-Ark Food TAX CUT largest ever


link

The Arkansas Senate has given final approval to the state's largest tax cut ever slashing the sales tax on groceries from six percent to three percent. The bill goes to Governor Beebe for his signature.

The tax cut will reduce Arkansas revenues by 252 (m) million dollars over the next two years. It was a centerpiece of Beebe's 2006 campaign for governor.
Senators voted 35-to-zero today to concur in a minor amendment from the House, which approved the tax cut 99-to-zero last week.

The Arkansas Policy Foundation says the typical Arkansas family would save 234 dollars annually on its grocery bills.

TN Private Career Colleges provide 34% of workers


Link

The findings show that private, for-profit career colleges supply nearly 34 percent of the career-level educated workers, about 7,280 students. They have an economic impact of $329.6 million in business revenue, $130.2 in labor income, $10.2 million in state and local taxes and provide 4,288 jobs.

Also of note in the study is the finding that an additional year of schooling in Tennessee at the career college level generates an average income increase of 11.4 percent, or about $2,848. The pay increase is greater in some fields: 17 percent in professional services, 15.4 percent for manufacturing 15.2 percent for utilities, 14.9 percent for health care and 14.8 percent for financial services.


$25,000 per student for what?


Link

District of Columbia public schools spend $25,000 per student. Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy wonders where the money is going. At a D.C. council meeting on school reform, students made requests.

Among the things that they wanted to see in every public school: "books when school starts," "heat in winter," "air conditioning in summer," "healthy meals," "water fountains that work," "music and art classes," "counselors who are able to help us" and "teachers who care about their students and can teach."


Ohioans Leaving Taxes Behind


Link

From 2003 through 2005, about 39,000 households left Ohio for states without income taxes, taking $2.1 billion in annual income with them, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Love Poem for Valentines

Benjamin Rush was a physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence. On the occasion of his 36th anniversary he wrote a poem for his wife. I have never read a more touching love poem. My love for my precious wife and partner for almost as many years, is surely as deep but I doubt that I could ever express it so eloquently. To all of you ladies who make our lives complete, a poem for you. Simply substitute your name and accept our eternal gratitude.

_____


To Mrs. Julia Rush from her husband Benjamin Rush, 36 years after their
marriage.

When tossed upon the bed of pain
And every healing art was vain,
Whose prayers brought back my life again?
My Julia's.

When shafts of scandal 'round me flew
And ancient friends no longer knew my humble name,
Whose heart was true?
My Julia's.

When falsehood aimed its poison dart
And treachery pierced my bleeding heart,
Whose friendship did a cure impart?
My Julia's.

When hope was weak and faith was dead
And every earthly joy was fled,
Whose hand sustained my drooping head?
My Julia's.

When worn by age and sunk in years,
My shadow at full length appears,
Who shall anticipate my cares?
My Julia.

When life's low wick shall feebly blaze
And weeping children on me gaze,
Who shall assist my prayers and praise?
My Julia.

And when my mortal parts shall lay,
Waiting in hope the final day,
Who shall mourn o'er my sleeping clay?
My Julia.

And when the stream of time shall end,
And the last trump my grave shall rend,
Who shall with me to heaven ascend?
My Julia.

Goetz: Revenue will have to be replaced

Dave Goetz appeared this weekend on Pat Nolan's NewsChannel5 show, Inside Politics. (an excellent show, by the way.....put it in your TIVO). Pat asked a very direct question about whether lottery and tobacco tax could be depended on to fund the Governor's education initiatives on a continuing basis. Dave Goetz, who is a straight shooter, sad NO, at some point in the future, other revenue sources will have to be found.

HERE is the mp3 audio file (1.5 mins) of Dave Goetz and Pat Nolan (thanks to Bill Hobbs for hosting)



Taxpayers pay lobbyist to take more of their money

This is surreal, every level of government sees every other level of government as a source of revenue but the real source, of course, is US.

It should be absolutely illegal for any of OUR governments to hire lobbyists, period.

State lobbyists see the Federal govt as a source of revenue
Local lobbyists see State govt as a source of revenue

Guess where  ALL that revenue comes from?  OUR BANK ACCOUNTS

Link

There appears to be a growing trend of local governments hiring extra muscle to meet funding goals, and one East Tennessee congressman questions whether that's really necessary.

Terry Frank: Party on Legislators!!

Terry links to the TN Ethics commission web page that shows lobbyist entertainment disclosure

Link


McCain Taps Cash he sought to limit


Link

Just about a year and a half ago, Sen. John McCain went to court to try to curtail the influence of a group to which A. Jerrold Perenchio gave $9 million, saying it was trying to "evade and violate" new campaign laws with voter ads ahead of the midterm elections.

As McCain launches his own presidential campaign, however, he is counting on Perenchio, the founder of the Univision Spanish-language media empire, to raise millions of dollars as co-chairman of the Arizona Republican's national finance committee.



Ultimate irony: Gov teaches US responsibility

The ultimate irony?
The ultimate insult?
A VERY bad joke?


Here is a taxpayer funded website that "
website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education."

Link

Utah Lawmakers get $1,100 fm Lobbyists


Link

Lobbyists gave Utah legislators an average of $1,113 each in personal gifts last year — free Utah Jazz tickets, college football tickets, dinner cruises, golf, nights at the theater, jewelry, trap shooting, meals at fine restaurants and such.

Lawmakers probably received even more, but due to loopholes in Utah law, gifts coming from groups not currently lobbying are not required to be disclosed. So, for example, the Taiwan government flies some legislative leaders to Asia every two years without public filings.

Even among gifts that are disclosed, exactly who accepts what is largely a mystery.

One Reason why power corrupts


Link

In follow-up experiments it was found that high-power subjects also tended to assume other people had the same information that they had (the "telepathic boss" problem - the boss assumes that everybody knows what he knows and want). They were also less accurate than low-power subjects at judging emotional expressions. There were also anticorrelations between reports of general feelings of being in power in one's life and tendency to take other's perspective. Overall high-power people seem to anchor too heavily on their own vantage point and this impairs their ability to consider what others see, think and feel.

Detecting Lies


Link

One way to avoid bias is to avoid believing lies.  Several blogs specialize in lies, such as Deception Blog and Truth, Lies, and Romance.   Here are ten good ways to detect lies:

  1. Look for inconsistencies
  2. Ask unexpected questions
  3. Compare to when they truth-tell
  4. Watch for fake smiles and emotions
  5. Listen to your gut reaction
  6. Watch for microexpressions
  7. Are words and gestures consistent
  8. Are they unusually uneasy
  9. Watch for too much detail
  10. Focus on the truths you find

I wish we had ways as good to detect self-deception.


State installs Talking Urinal Cakes


Link

New Mexico has taken its fight against drunken driving to men's restrooms around the state. The state has ordered 500 talking urinal cakes that will deliver a recorded anti-DWI message to bar and restaurant patrons who make one last pit stop before getting behind the wheel.

Summary of 2006 Political Money Flows - KNS

Very informative summary from Knoxville News Sentinel

Link

2006 campaign contributions and expenditures

Top 2006 contributors
(Most of these contributions were made to funds involved in state legislative races.) $379,441 -- from Republican State Leadership Committee to House and Senate Republican caucuses or spent directly on TV ads that attacked Democrats

  • $345,000 -- from Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, Washington, to Tennessee Democratic Party state account
  • $280,000 -- from Service Employees International Union PAC, Washington, to Tennessee Democratic Party state account ($29,500 returned after election)
  • $165,000 -- from Federal Express PAC, Memphis, to partisan caucus campaign accounts on both sides, including $85,000 to Democratic groups and $80,000 to Republican groups
  • $150,000 -- from Volunteer PAC, operated by former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, to state Republican Party's Legislative Campaign Committee
  • $130,000 -- from Speaker's Fund, a PAC operated by House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, to Tennessee Democratic Party's state account
  • $127,000 -- from Plumbers and Pipefitters Union PAC, Washington, including $87,000 to Tennessee Democratic Party state account and $40,000 to Senate Democratic Caucus
  • $100,000 -- from national Democratic Governors Association, Washington, to Tennessee Democratic Party state account
  • $100,000 -- from ATLA PAC, operated by the American Trial Lawyers Association, to the Tennessee Democratic Party state account
  • $67,000 -- from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC to Tennessee Democratic Party's state acount
  • $60,000 -- from RAAMPAC, a PAC operated by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, to state Republican Party's Legislative Campaign Committee
  • $55,000 -- from John Templeton of Bryn Mawr, Pa., to state Republican Party's Legislative Campaign Committee
  • $40,000 -- from national Republican Governors Association, to state Republican Party's Legislative Campaign Committee
  • $36,400 -- from Kelley Beaman, Nashville, to state Republican Party's Legislative Campaign Committee. Her husband, Lee Beaman, gave another $25,000.
  • $30,000 -- from AFL CIO, Washington, to Tennessee Democratic Party's state account
  • $30,000 -- from James Haslam, Pilot Oil Co. CEO, to state Republican Party's Legislative Campaign Committee

    Source: Tennessee Registry of Election Finance

    2006 expenditures by major Tennessee political party campaign organizations

  • $2,577,943 — Tennessee Democratic Party (state account)
  • $640,060 — Tennessee Legislative Campaign Committee (Republican Party, state account)
  • $5,167,066 — Tennessee Democratic Party (federal account)
  • $5,593,779 — Tennessee Republican Party (federal account)
  • $686,188 — House Democratic Caucus
  • $336,988 — House Republican Caucus
  • $538,383 — Senate Democratic Caucus
  • $219,322 — Senate Republican Caucus

  • Sunday, February 11, 2007

    Zillow Home Price Stats for Nashville Area

    Scroll down to Nashville

    Link

    County Q4 Zindex Q3 Zindex Q4 2005 Zindex QoQ Zindex Change YoY Zindex Change
    Cheatham $114,304 $113,186 $108,762 0.99% 5.10%
    Davidson $147,127 $146,315 $134,402 0.55% 9.47%
    Dickson $100,615 $97,327 $88,269 3.38% 13.99%
    Robertson $108,655 $106,477 $97,371 2.05% 11.59%
    Rutherford $138,165 $136,394 $131,668 1.30% 4.93%
    Sumner $143,131 $143,128 $124,015 0.00% 15.41%
    Williamson $310,852 $303,792 $266,486 2.32% 16.65%



    Income inequality among siblings

    Link

    There is significant income inequality of siblings with the exact same family background. One researcher found that the average annual earnings differential between brothers was about $28,000, compared with an earnings differential of $30,600 for men paired randomly.

    That is, after controlling for sex, socio-economic status, religion, education opportunities, race, parental status, etc. (assuming those factors are usually the same for 2 brothers in the same family), there is significant income inequality of $28,000 between siblings within families, which is almost as much as the income inequality in the general population of males ($30,600).

    And as Robin Hanson points out, there is also significant non-financial inequality, such as of popularity, respect, beauty, talent, ability, etc., and significant income inequality between the nations of a world, etc. that get very little attention, compared to the attention paid to income inequality among households in the U.S.