Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Memphis and Chattanooga School Sanctions

Link

State education officials have levied the harshest level of sanctions under the federal No Child Left Behind education law on 20 underperforming schools, including 17 in Memphis.

The state has given Memphis City Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson directives on making changes in the failing schools, which includes mandatory administration changes in some cases.

It's the first time state officials have told the district they are required to make the changes.

The schools had been on notice for six years that stricter sanctions could be coming.

All of Johnson's nominations for shuffling principals, assistant principals and guidance counselors will have to be approved by the state this year.

Two Chattanooga schools and one Nashville school also received similar notifications as the ones in Memphis.

Gov decides to "stop short"

of taking over 17 failing schools in Memphis.

Link

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen stopped short of taking over 17 under-performing Memphis City Schools, but his patience is running thin. It's a story the FOX 13 I-Team has been investigating for two weeks.

The governor has ordered Memphis City Schools to restructure education plans at the 17 schools.

Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson said the district has already taken corrective actions like replacing some principals and assigning math and reading coaches.

"I do believe that the governor will expect greater accountability, greater oversight, greater reporting of these schools and we certainly plan to work in partnership with the accountability office," she said.

They found the Lefty Gene!!

Link

Dems TAX HIKE Wish list get longer and longer

Link

  1. At the beginning of Congress this year, Speaker Pelosi said that she would target those making more than $250,000 per year (presumably, married couples making this income) for tax hikes.
  2. Less than a month into their new majority, the Democrats passed (with some GOP help) the first tax increase since 1993. This tax increase (some provisions of which violate the Taxpayer Protection Pledge) was on energy companies. Guess whose bill that will come out of?
  3. I'll be charitable and put all of the private equity tax hike ideas in one basket. S. 1624 would tax publicly-traded investment partnerships as if they were corporations. H.R. 2834 would tax capital gains received by the investment manager (called "carried interest") at 35%, rather than 15%.
  4. John Edwards has come out for a top capital gains rate of 28%. Senator Ron Wyden has done him one better, saying that the top rate on capital gains and dividends (which are themselves actually double taxes) should be 35%.
  5. Just this past week, the Democrat House passed a bill that raises taxes on U.S. subsidiary corporations of foreign companies. This Pledge-violating vote was to pay for more food stamp money.
  6. In order to pay for nearly-full AMT repeal, the Democrats have come out with no shortage of ideas to raise taxes (why fixing an AMT mistake needs to be paid for is beyond me). Such ideas have included curtailing the state and local income and sales tax deduction, imposing a 4% AGI "surtax" on high income earners, taxing capital gains and dividends at AMT rates for those taxpayers, and probably a few others that I have forgotten.
  7. Rhetorically, Democrats have reserved a lot of their vitriol for international taxpayers. They want to repeal the 911 exclusion which allows Americans to shelter lots of earned income from double taxation, and they want to repeal many of the international corporate provisions of FSC-ETI.

ALL City employees want a property tax break

in Houston. Firefighters who live in the county are already receiving a $750 tax break BUT they were very disappointed that the IRS counts the tax break as income so now the firefighters union is asking that the tax break be restructured so it won't be taxed as income.....YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!!

Link

City employees are asking for a $750 refund of the property taxes they pay each year as part of their union's wish list of contract proposals.

That sounds like a long shot, like the union's request that the city pick up the full cost of employee medical insurance premiums.

What city would ever give city workers a break on their property taxes?

Well, Houston for one.

The city sets aside $1 million each year to offer firefighters with homes in Houston a $750 annual refund on their property taxes, according to the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association contract.



Did you expense those lap dancers?

Link (profanity)

Sales: "You want answers?"

Finance: "I think we are entitled to them!"

Sales: "You want answers?!"

Finance: "I want the truth!"

Sales: "You can't handle the truth!!! Son, we live in a world that requires net license revenue. And that revenue must be brought in by people with elite skills. Who's going to find it? You? You, Mr. Operations? We have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.

You scoff at the sales division and you curse our lucrative incentives.

You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know:

That while the cost of business results are excessive, it drives revenue. And my very existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, drives REVENUE! You don't want to know the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at staff meetings ... you want me on that call. You NEED me on that call!

We use words like upgrades, another round, top-shelf, medium-rare, on-the-rocks, cabernet, Cohiba and foursome. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent negotiating something. You use them as a punch line!

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to people who rise and sleep under the very blanket of revenue I provide and then question the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a phone and make some sales calls. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!"

Finance: "Did you expense the lap dancers?"

Sales: "I did the job I was hired to do."

Finance: "Did you expense the lap dancers?!"

Sales: "You're damn right I did!"

Phil for VP?

Link

Romero said he could "absolutely" see Bredesen as a vice presidential candidate next year. "Tennessee has been a good bellwether of how candidates come across to the rest of the nation. His leadership and popularity here, in a state that usually picks the winner in presidential elections, I think would lend to the credibility of him as a vice presidential candidate."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Rolling Stone: Ethanol is delusional bullsh*t.

Ok, when Rolling Stone comes out against ethanol, I think we can pretty much agree that the farm lobbyists and the politicians are the ONLY people who think ethanol is a good idea.

Link

This is not just hype -- it's dangerous, delusional bullsh*t. Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World. And the increasing acreage devoted to corn for ethanol means less land for other staple crops, giving farmers in South America an incentive to carve fields out of tropical forests that help to cool the planet and stave off global warming.

Mexico's Teacher's Union Rules

Very interesting profile, in the Economist, of the Teacher's Union in Mexico and its stranglehold on education policy. As in the US, public employee unions are simply vehicles to gain and hold political power, first, last and always.

Link

Ms Gordillo's political power comes mainly from the union's sheer size: with 1.4m members teaching in primary and secondary schools, it is the largest labour union in Latin America. From that political base, Ms Gordillo controls a significant block of deputies in the lower house of the federal Congress, as well as two senators. And while no state governor will say so openly, "none of them will go against her will," says Carlos Ornelas, an education specialist at Mexico City's Metropolitan Autonomous University.

So it is hard to ascribe poor educational performance to lack of money. The problem is how the system is organised. Teachers, including school heads, are accountable to union leaders, not to the education ministry or parents. Teacher evaluation exists in name but not in practice. A significant slice of education spending goes straight to the union. Some 30,000 union officials are on the payroll as teachers; they never set foot in a classroom although there is a teacher shortage in some schools. In 2006, an election year, 750m pesos ($70m) was transferred from the ministry to the union, a threefold rise over the 250m pesos in transfers in 2005, according to Aldo Muñoz, a political scientist at the Iberoamerican University.

House Dems have better party discipline

according to THIS Washington Post Vote analysis in the current session. Maybe this is always true for the majority party?

  • 92.7%
    Democratic
    (233 members)
  • 84.2%
    Republican
    (202 members)
  • 88.7%
    All Members
    (435 members)

Homebuilders paid NOT to build new homes

NOT really but if the homebuilders lobbyists were as effective as the big agriculture lobby you could have your own gravy train......so you home builders out there need to rev up the political contributions and hire some new lobbyists, YOU TOO might be able to pillage and plunder the taxpayers.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Youngest US Chess Grandmaster in History

Fabiano Caruana - 14

Health Care Tourism Saving BIG bucks for patients

HT: Prof Mark Perry

HUGE savings for patients willing to travel to exotic locations and be pampered like a VIP. I think you call it COMPETITION!! Look for the AMA to try to pass a law to LIMIT YOUR FREEDOM by prohibiting this kind of medical tourism just as many state medical associations are trying to pass laws to limit the spread of the very popular minute clinics.

Link

George Will on the attempt to end Farm subsidies

by a farm state Senator. Good luck to him in his attempt to end this farm lobby, politician-encouraged, taxpayer exploitation.

Link

Under the continuing New Deal approach, five commodities -- corn, soybeans, cotton, rice and wheat -- got about 90 percent of last year's $19 billion in subsidies. This is a perverse incentive for overproduction of the five, which depresses prices, which triggers federal supports.

Lugar, who proposes capping annual farm assistance at $30,000 per recipient, is attempting reform at a time when federal energy policy is making matters worse. By subsidizing corn-based ethanol, the government is making the "crop specific" approach to subsidies increasingly irrational: Ethanol enthusiasm has produced a one-year increase of 12 percent in acres planted in corn, the price of which has risen 20 percent in a year. So farmers are planting fewer acres in soybeans, which therefore also are being made more expensive by federal policy. Furthermore, U.S. agriculture subsidies, which have the World Trade Organization properly frowning, are becoming major impediments to further liberalization of global trade, and hence to the huge potential growth of U.S. farmers' incomes from exports.


TN Waltz is a minor offense compared to this

Pedro Gracia can't fire bad teachers so he is proposing to allow principals to shift them to another school...IF the principal agrees to accept bad teachers from other schools. WHAT??? How did we reach this level of government absurdity? How did we fail the parents and taxpayers to this extent? Answer: The political power of teacher's unions. And OUR elected representatives have watched calmly as this awful system has been put in place because they value the political power of the teacher's union more than they value the quality of education. This makes Tennessee Waltz look like a minor offense.

Link

Garcia says the maneuver is legal, and the district is making strides toward giving some teachers — who enjoy special protection under state tenure laws — a fresh start, reassigning them where they may be more successful.

"That's life," he said. "… I think sometimes a person has been in a place too long. Maybe you need a change in scenery."

No other Nashville-area districts employ a similar policy, and national education experts say the strategy is unconventional, to say the least.

Indianapolis 'Boston' Tea Party over Prop Taxes

Link

The latest version of the Boston Tea Party played out in the normally tranquil Northside neighborhood at Central Avenue and Westfield Boulevard. Motorists passing at least 500 protesters honked their horns in response to signs demanding that politicians fix the property tax bill mess.

The original Boston Tea Party in 1773 protested the way the American colonists were being treated by Great Britain.

Tax bills and Monday's decision by the City-County Council to increase the county income tax to 1.65 percent, to pay for Mayor Bart Peterson's $90 million crime-fighting plan, upset protesters Saturday.

The Rev. Mmoja Ajabu, representing the Light of the World Christian Church, asked the crowd whether an attorney might look into having the council vote set aside on a conflict-of-interest charge. Some council members, who are also police officers and firefighters, voted on the measure, he noted.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

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Federal Prison Inmate Locator

Inmate Search for Davidson and Shelby Counties

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All outstanding Warrants most with pictures.

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The tyranny of good intentions

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity (desire) may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

C.S. Lewis

"Events Center" crumbles in Clarksville

All together now....AAAAWWWWWWWW!! The developer just couldn't get enough taxpayer subsidies.

Clarksville taxpayers should remain vigilant however because even though the statement below seems pro-taxpayer, the definition of "subsidies" can be quite slippery.

Link

James Chavez, president and CEO of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council, said Global was aware when talks began two years ago that "if people didn't use (the events center), they shouldn't have to pay for it."

"(Global) knew the community was in transition," Chavez said.

Chavez told the City Council and County Commission the Sports Authority would not go forward with a financing plan that used subsidies from those not patronizing the events center.

Would Fred Thompson sign the FairTax Bill as Pres?

FairTax supporters in Houston asked Fred Thompson if he would sign the FairTax bill if he was President and the House and Senate Passed it. He said "YEA, absolutely." (Very) Short Cameo by Bob Davis.

Canadians reject tax on unhealthy foods

but not by much. The farm lobby, fresh from their victory over taxpayers yesterday, better re-direct their efforts.

Link

Polling Data

Earlier this month, researchers at Britain's Oxford University suggested the implementation of a higher value-added tax on foods deemed unhealthy in order to reduce both consumer demand and the number of heart attacks and strokes. Do you personally think charging higher taxes on unhealthy foods is a good idea or a bad idea?

A good idea

43%

A bad idea

50%

Not sure

7%

Source: Angus Reid Strategies
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,086 Canadian adults, conducted on Jul. 13 and Jul. 16, 2007. Margin of error is 3.0 per cent.

Kudos to Jim Cooper, again

Jim Cooper voted AGAINST a bloated Farm Bill which contained billions in corporate farm subsidies and a huge tax increase. He was joined by all four of the Republicans.

Nationwide WiMax from Sprint

by next year. Exciting stuff. All sorts of new applications and technology will result...IF a bunch of self-important Congresspersons don't strangle it with regulations. Brings to mind this T.S. Eliot quote:
"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."
Link

the WiMax technology, a wireless Internet connection for laptop computers and other portable devices that offers DSL-like speeds over a range of miles, as opposed to WiFi's range of several hundred feet.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Corporate welfare lawsuit in North Carolina

The State of North Carolina gave Google millions in taxpayer funded incentives. This is clearly unconstitutional on so many levels. Hopefully this new lawsuit will succeed where others have failed:

Link

1. No public purpose. Private economic benefits to GOOGLE, and private political benefits to North Carolina's elected officials. Nothing here for the businesses and taxpayers of NC. Government shouldn't be in this business. It violates our constitutional principles, and violates a long tradition of separation of business and political activities. GOOGLE is being used as free political advertising for politicians, and taxpayers are being used as unwilling subsidizers of GOOGLE's stock price.

2. Equal protection. You can't single out a business for bad treatment, and tax them extra to benefit everyone else. But then you can't tax everyone else just to benefit one business.

3. These programs don't work. It's a waste of money. Few jobs are created, at enormous cost. The cost to taxpayers will be double the "salary" of the "new" workers. And, more generally, businesses don't make location decisions based on these kinds of subsidies. It's just a pure political payoff.

Most OPPOSE Nashville Convention Center

Interesting Result in the City Paper sponsored SURVEYUSA Mayoral Poll:

51% Say Metro Should NOT build a new Convention Center

37% Say Metro Should build a Convention Center

Tax protest billboards in Chattanooga

After the property tax hike passed in Hamilton County, Rhonda Thurman, Tim Price, Roy Burrage and others formed www.HadEnoughTaxes.Com and raised money for five billboards, one for each of the county commissioners who voted to raise taxes. They will also put the billboards up when these five commissioners run for re-election. Congrats to these Hamilton County taxpayers for taking action. We MUST raise our voices if taxpayers are to be heard.

Press coverage:

Link

Link

Here Comes Santa Claude (Tax protest song)

After Hamilton (Chattanooga) County Mayor Claude Ramsey lead a successful effort to hike property taxes, Tim Price, who worked very hard in opposition, decided to immortalize what he felt was a VERY flawed and rigged process. A taxpayer and artistic triumph!!!

Tim has received great Press HERE, and HERE.

Massive voter fraud charges against Lefty ACORN

This is the latest in a long line of voter fraud problems charged and suspected by ACORN. This group is supported mainly by labor unions,

Link

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the worst case of voter-registration fraud in the history of the state of Washington. There has been nothing comparable to this," state Secretary of State Sam Reed said at a news conference with Satterberg, King County Executive Ron Sims and Acting U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan.

Canadian Doc: Don't Socialize medicine

Socialized medicine is a prescription for waiting lines and low quality. A Canadian Doc tries to warn us.

Link

I soon discovered that the problems went well beyond overcrowded ERs. Patients had to wait for practically any diagnostic test or procedure, such as the man with persistent pain from a hernia operation whom we referred to a pain clinic — with a three-year wait list; or the woman with breast cancer who needed to wait four months for radiation therapy, when the standard of care was four weeks

[...]

And now even Canadian governments are looking to the private sector to shrink the waiting lists. In British Columbia, private clinics perform roughly 80% of government-funded diagnostic testing.

This privatizing trend is reaching Europe, too. Britain's Labour Party — which originally created the National Health Service — now openly favors privatization. Sweden's government, after the completion of the latest round of privatizations, will be contracting out some 80% of Stockholm's primary care and 40% of its total health services.

Since the fall of communism, Slovakia has looked to liberalize its state-run system, introducing co-payments and privatizations. And modest market reforms have begun in Germany.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Whitehouseforsale.org contribution tracking website

Link

All sorts of info. For example, HERE is a list of "bundlers" they list for Fred Thompson


Name Sort in Ascending Order Sort in Descending Order State Sort in Ascending Order Sort in Descending Order Employer Sort in Ascending Order Sort in Descending Order Min. Amount Raised Sort in Ascending Order Sort in Descending Order Cycle Sort in Ascending Order Sort in Descending Order Candidate Sort in Ascending Order Sort in Descending Order
Chuck Ashman CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Pamela Ashman CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Michael Curb TN Curb Records Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Christen Ellis CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
David Ellis CA Ellis/Hart Associates Inc. Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Jay Grodin CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Arthur Kassel CA Eagle & Badge Foundation Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Rose Layton CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Tom Layton CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Deanne Lewis CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
John Lewis CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Shel Lytton CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Susan Lytton CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Phil Martin TN
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Mack Mattingly
former Georgia Senator Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Sarah Newman DC Cassidy and Associates Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Sam Pimm NH
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Ken Reitz DC 360 Advantage Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Candace Smith CA
Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Clifton S. Smith Jr. CA San Marino Tribune, Beverly Hills Courier and Design Magazine Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson
Zach Wamp TN U.S. Congressman Not Listed 2008 Fred Thompson

CIA and NSA say bloggers can get records

Spy agencies think bloggers are legit!! I thought ANY citizen could make FOIA requests???

Link

The CIA recently updated its policies on Freedom of Information Act requests to allow bloggers to qualify for special treatment once reserved for old-school reporters. And last August, the NSA issued a directive to its employees to report leaks of classified information to the media -- "including blogs," the order said.

Beautiful Medieval Animal Illustrations

Link

YEA!! We are #2....from the bottom

Thank goodness for Ameren-Illinois and their 523 points!

Link

Memphis Light, Gas & Water was at the bottom of J.D. Power and Associates ' list of medium-sized utilities for customer satisfaction.

It scored 534 points out of 1,000, which was also the second-lowest score in the country. Only Ameren-Illinois scored fewer points than MLGW -- 523.


Ohio trying to hock their Tobacco Settlement

The Tobacco Settlement never was about reducing smoking, it was always about a hidden tax on cigarettes. HERE is how it worked: Instead of simply raising state taxes on cigarettes, the states sued the tobacco companies and got a big settlement. Same effect as a tax of course, prices of cigarettes go up and politicians get more money to give away, SWEET!! The States pretended like they would use the money for "smoking reduction" but everybody knew that was a bunch of horse malarkey, they simply threw most (some went to the lawyers) of the money in the general fund and kept right on spending.

Now, Ohio pols wants to take their future payments from the "tobacco settlement" (wink, wink..tax) and hock them for a big cash settlement because those damn feds are messin up the game by threatening to raise federal cigarettes taxes...damn feds.

Plunder and pillage is such a complex bidness, especially when you are competing with the feds.

Link

Columbus- With a proposed increase in the national cigarette tax casting a long shadow, a panel of Ohio officials took the first step toward completing a plan to raise $5 billion for the state by selling off future payments from tobacco companies.

As Congress considers legislation adding 61 cents a pack to the cigarette tax to pay for children's health care expansion, the Buckeye Tobacco Settlement Financing Authority is racing to get the largest financial transaction in Ohio's history off the ground.

Timing is crucial for the three-member panel as it hurries to get the multibillion-dollar bond plan into financial markets by early November - before potential new taxes, court decisions or more-extensive smoking bans are rolled out.


Quick!! Somebody come up with a punchline


Link



"The Alliance for Tax Fairness" ?

You call your group "The Alliance for Tax Fairness" and its consists of three huge public employee unions and the League of Women Voters among others and you have a poll taken and voila what do you find? Taxpayers just LUV paying higher taxes. Sorta brings tears to your eyes.

Link

A majority of Marylanders want state leaders to raise enough new tax revenue to fix the state's budget shortfall and increase spending on education, health care and other priorities, a coalition of labor unions, environmental advocates and liberal groups said yesterday.

The Alliance for Tax Fairness released the results of a poll showing broad-based opposition to the idea of resolving Maryland's projected $1.5 billion budget shortfall by spending cuts alone. Respondents favored higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, the coalition said.

[...]

The Alliance for Tax Fairness includes the Maryland League of Conservation Voters; the Maryland State Teachers Association; the Service Employees International Union; the League of Women Voters; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, 1,000 Friends of Maryland; the Association of Nonprofit Organizations; and Progressive Maryland.

Kandu-the wonder dog (with video)

Link

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ethanol is an environmental Disaster

Link

The study, whose sponsors included the U.S. government and an environmental group, predicted that farmers in the bay watershed will plant 500,000 or more new acres of corn in the next five years. Because fields of corn generally produce more polluted runoff than those of other crops, that's a problem.

Obscene $260 million Oprah Profits

Oprah made $260 million last year. Congress must ACT immediately, clearly this woman is using the public airways, which are owned by everyone, for personal enrichment. We should pass a tax on Oprah. No one should earn this kind of money....NOT!!

More power to Oprah!! I hope she earns twice as much next year.

John Ford sentencing delayed

Link

Former state senator John Ford's sentencing date has been reset for August 27th, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Ford, who was convicted of bribery earlier this year, had been scheduled to be sentenced on July 31st. He was one of the premier defendants in the Tennessee Waltz political corruption investigation.

Ford has a status conference scheduled for August 3rd in Nashville in a separate federal case involving his consulting fees from Tenn-Care providers. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

In an interesting twist in the Nashville case, Edward Yarbrough has been nominated to become the new assistant United States Attorney for Middle Tennessee. Yarbrough represented Ford in his senate ethics hearing, meaning he would likely recuse himself from any dealings with Ford's criminal case. Yarbrough would replace Craig Morford, who has been promoted to a job with the U.S. Attorney General in Washington.

Pew Research Study: 13% of Hispanics vote

Link

The 5.6 million votes cast in 2006 midterms by Hispanics represented only 13 percent of the total Hispanic population compared to the 27 percent of all blacks who cast votes and 39 percent of all whites who voted -- a disappointing turnout attributed to a population too young to vote or ineligible because of citizenship status.

[...]

BY THE NUMBERS

• Whites accounted for 24% of the U.S. population growth between 2002 and 2006 and 47% of all eligible new voters.

• Latinos gained 1% more registered voters and voted 2% more in 2006 than in 2002.

• Whites gained 2% more registered voters and voted 1% more in 2006 than in 2002.

• Black-registered voters declined by 2% and voted 1% less in 2006 than in 2002.

In 2006:

• 13% of all Latinos voted, a 1% increase

• 39% of all whites voted, a 2% increase

• 27% of all blacks voted, no change

• More than 400,000 legal permanent residents are eligible for U.S. citizenship -- and the right to vote -- in Illinois.

• There are 55,000 registered Hispanic voters in Chicago -- about 13% of all registered to vote.


Nashville Police Union probe widens

Link

A TBI investigation involving feuding Metro police unions widened Tuesday as one union's headquarters were raided and officers in two other departments were questioned.

Agents hauled off computer hard drives and files from the Antioch Pike offices of the Teamsters, which took over as the Metro Nashville police union last year in a bitter department election.

A Teamsters representative is being investigated for allegedly concealing cameras at a youth camp run by the ousted Metro union, the Fraternal Order of Police.

Agents have begun questioning law enforcement officers in Memphis and at Nashville's police and sheriff's departments to learn the identities of others believed to be connected to the incident, TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said.

LicketyShip-Same day shipping in CA

The Postal service remains stuck in the 1950s while FedEX, UPS, etc and now LicketyShip offer real innovation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Young Pavarotti at his effortless, confident best

Supremely confident in his skill and art, Luciano, like Michael Jordan in the final seconds of the NBA playoff or Tiger Woods in the final putt of a playoff, wants that conductor to point to him and he will take care of the rest.

Very nice online image editor

Link

Study: More Radio play = less record sales

Link

The study, written by Stan Liebowitz, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, compared record sales and music radio listening in some 100 American cities from 1998 to 2003. It found that, very roughly, an hour's worth of radio listening per person per day, over the course of a year, corresponded with a 0.75 drop in the number of albums purchased per capita in a given city. Professor Liebowitz has proposed that people use radio listening as a substitute for buying music.

We are NOT doing ENOUGH about POVERTY!!

Why?, OH WHY!!!!

Because the solution was never in our hands to start with. Yes, it looks and sounds good to tap your quivering lips with the tips of your fingers and force a few tear drops from your red eyes and say, "Why don't more people, like ME, CARE about poverty?"

This is simply a narcissistic exercise that allows the ME to parade their presumed moral superiority. Simply expressing concern may make you feel better about yourself but it does nothing to help those living in poverty.

Donald Sensing points out that world wide poverty is plummeting.
And it has nothing to do with collective awareness raising. It has to do with free markets.

The people of the world do NOT need our pity or faux concern. They need a chance to prove they are as good or better than we are at producing goods and services in a free and open marketplace.

Washington Cnty Protesters-NO WHEEL TAX HIKE

Link

Unions believe in high wages ONLY

when receiving them...but not when paying them.

Link

Although their placards identify the picketers as being with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, they are not union members.

They're hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. Many were recruited from homeless shelters or transitional houses. Several have recently been released from prison. Others are between jobs.

"It's about the cash," said Tina Shaw, 44, who lives in a House of Ruth women's shelter and has walked the line at various sites. "We're against low wages, but I'm here for the cash."

Carpenters locals across the country are outsourcing their picket lines, hiring the homeless, students, retirees and day laborers to get their message across. Larry Hujo, a spokesman for the Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters, calls it a "shift in the paradigm" of picketing.

Political groups also are tapping into local homeless shelters for temps.

Throwing money down the Homeland Security Hole

From USAToday, an article about how ineffectively Homeland Security grants are spent at the state and local levels.

This is so bloody typical...money is ineffectively spent for one purpose. BUT, rather than hold the bureaucracy accountable for the original goal, the money is simply absorbed and "repurposed" and the bureaucracy has an excuse to ask for even more money in next year's budget.  Spending is the problem!!

Link

Homeland Security has given states $380 million to set up the high-tech intelligence centers to help law enforcement officials do what they were not able to do before Sept. 11, 2001: recognize suspicious activity, patterns and people and use the information to prevent terrorist attacks.

However, the centers "have increasingly gravitated toward an all-crimes and even broader all-hazards approach," focusing on traditional criminals and local emergencies, according to a report this month by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

Govt wants to tell you how to play with your children

No kidding. This kind of elitist condescension is the natural result of nanny government WAAAY out of control.

Link

There is now a concerted effort to spread adult-child play beyond its stronghold in the upper- and middle-classes of wealthy countries. To this end, many cities and states support programs of some sort. Massachusetts will give the Parent-Child Home Program, which has 33 sites in the state, $3 million this year (up from $2 million last year). Through the program, staff members visit the homes of low-income residents and offer tips not just on good books for toddlers but also on "play activities" for parents and kids. Likewise, the eminent Yale psychologist Jerome Singer has partnered with a media company to devise imaginative parent-child games (examples: "My Magic Story Car" and "Puppets: Counting") that librarians and social workers can teach to low-income parents.

Lancy is concerned that specialists behind the movement -- psychologists, social workers, preschool teachers -- are too aggressively promoting this intense, interventionist parenting style to low-income parents, and that they are are too quick to claim that adult-child play is crucial for human development. He doesn't quite rule out that some interventions may improve literacy -- though the data are murkier than the psychologists admit, he insists. But the programs, with their premise (as he sees it) that a whole class of people is simply parenting badly, leave their advocates "open to charges of racism or cultural imperialism."

Neat online translation tool

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Find out who is hosting a web site

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State Police plant embarrassing story in NY

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ALBANY - A blistering report by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo charged yesterday that top aides to Gov. Spitzer improperly used the state police to plant an embarrassing story on Senate GOP Leader Joe Bruno.

Spitzer suspended without pay his communications director, Darren Dopp - a close, longtime aide - and reassigned homeland security official Bill Howard for their roles in the dirty tricks.

Cuomo's findings were a shocking turn in the raging feud between the governor, who rode into Albany promising to clean up the town, and the lawmaker he has derided as a relic of old-style politics.

A grim-faced Spitzer said he accepted the findings without question and had telephoned Bruno to tell him, "I apologize. ... This is unacceptable."


Monday, July 23, 2007

More Georgia Legislators Blogging

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State Rep. Doug McKillip's blog,
State Rep. John Lunsford's blog,
State Rep. Mike Jacobs' blog ,
State Rep. Steve Davis' blog,
State Sen. David Shafer's blog,
State Sen. John Douglas' blog.

Rhonda says tax fight not over in Hamilton Cnty

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She condemned promoters of the tax increase for suggesting that taxpayers can "cut back by not buying that extra Coke, or not buying that pizza. The next thing you know, they'll be saying, you can cut back to two meals a day. But they never say what they can cut back."

Wheel Tax Voted Down in Washington Cnty

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This morning, Washington County, Tennessee commissioners voted down a wheel tax on its first reading.

The proposal on the table:  implement a 50 dollar wheel tax to generate funds to pay for more than 130 million dollars in building projects and to pay off some of the county's debt.

For a wheel tax to be enacted, it must be approved by two-thirds of the commission on two separate readings.

Today, citizens showed up at the commission meeting to voice their concerns about the tax. 


"Blacks rethink school choice" in South Carolina

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Jackson, 50, is among a handful of black lawmakers who say they are concerned that S.C. public schools are failing to educate poor and minority children. Their concern could push the state's years-long debate over school choice and vouchers or tax credits for private school tuition over the finish line in 2008.

Standing in the well of the Senate during a debate in May, Jackson, long considered a public school defender, said he could see the day coming when he would support school choice.

It would be a historic alliance — traditionally pro-public school black Democrats, such as Jackson, joining with school choice advocates, largely white Republicans — to allow parents to use public money to send their children to better-performing public or private schools.

Jackson says he's not alone as he reconsiders school choice, ticking off the names of colleagues: Sens. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington, and Kay Patterson, D-Richland, and Rep. Leon Howard, D-Richland, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus.

Most say it is too easy to get welfare

In an earlier Rasmussen survey 56% said  the Government should do more about poverty but this survey says most people believe its too easy to get on welfare. Could it be that most people believe government can help those in poverty by providing more opportunities through economic growth which means low taxes and less regulation?

Link


Is it too easy or too hard to qualify for welfare in the United States?

Too Easy

53%

Too Hard

22%

About Right

9%


Politicians lying? YEP and this is a whopper

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House Republicans last month rallied behind President Bush's vow to restrain spending with a pledge of support from enough lawmakers to uphold vetoes of appropriations bills.

But some of the 147 GOP lawmakers who signed that pledge now say they won't necessarily stand behind it. It's a sign that although Republicans are rhetorically backing the president's efforts to challenge Democrats on spending, the details of the fight could prove uncomfortable for some GOP members, particularly those who face tough re-election contests next year.

"I'm boxing myself in, in a very strange way, and I have to figure it out," said Christopher Shays of Connecticut, the only House Republican from New England to survive the 2006 election. "I'm going to re-look at the letter I signed and may have to go down to the White House and say I'm not on board."

So far, the House has considered four fiscal 2008 spending bills that the president has threatened to veto over cost: Energy-Water (HR 2641), Homeland Security (HR 2638), Interior-Environment (HR 2643) and Labor-HHS-Education (HR 3043). Overall, 62 lawmakers who signed the pledge have voted for at least one of those bills.

Four House Republicans — Shays, Wayne T. Gilchrest of Maryland, Steven C. LaTourette of Ohio and Mike D. Rogers of Alabama — who signed the letter nonetheless have voted to pass all four bills.

Harry Potter star turns 18, gets $41 mil

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LONDON, Italy (Reuters)
-- Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe gains access to a reported £20 million ($41.1 million) fortune as he turns 18 on Monday, but he insists the money won't cast a spell on him.

To the disappointment of gossip columnists around the world, the young actor says he has no plans to fritter his cash away on fast cars, drink and celebrity parties.

"I don't plan to be one of those people who, as soon as they turn 18, suddenly buy themselves a massive sports car collection or something similar," he told an Australian interviewer earlier this month. "I don't think I'll be particularly extravagant.

"The things I like buying are things that cost about 10 pounds -- books and CDs and DVDs."

At 18, Radcliffe will be able to gamble in a casino, buy a drink in a pub or see the horror film "Hostel: Part II," currently six places below his number one movie on the UK box office chart.

Details of how he'll mark his landmark birthday are under wraps. His agent and publicist had no comment on his plans.


Dead Farmers doing REALLY Well!!

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture distributed $1.1 billion over seven years to the estates or companies of deceased farmers and routinely failed to conduct reviews required to ensure that the payments were properly made, according to a government report.

In a selection of 181 cases from 1999 to 2005, the Government Accountability Office found that officials approved payments without any review 40 percent of the time.

Faith Hill Before and after airbrush

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Rural Vacation spot wants to remain cell free

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A group of residents in the valley in southeastern British Columbia have asked telephone company Telus Corp. not to build a planned cellphone tower in New Denver, a one-time mining boomtown that is now home to about 600 people.

If Telus decides against building the system, the economic development group plans to promote the valley's "cellphone free status" as a unique reason to visit or move to the region, Roberts said.


Norman Borlaug saved a billion lives, heard of him?

Innovate and beware the bureaucracy and save a billion lives.

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In the mid-'60s, doomsayers predicted that, because of war and overpopulation, millions of people in India and Pakistan would die of starvation – and nothing could be done to prevent it. Dr. Borlaug thought otherwise. He wanted to see if his new wheat seeds could help prevent the looming catastrophe in South Asia. Bureaucrats initially thwarted him. But as the famine grew worse, he was finally permitted to move forward.

Within a year, wheat yields more than doubled. Over the next eight years, the two countries became self-sufficient in wheat production. For his work, Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. In his acceptance speech, Dr. Borlaug quoted the creator of the prize, Alfred Nobel: "I would rather take care of the stomachs of the living than the glory of the departed in the form of monuments."

Cutting the red tape

The danger of bureaucracy is another life lesson. Whether in government, private industry or universities, bureaucracies inhibit new ideas and approaches, he said. That's why, when he started on the wheat project in Mexico, he recruited young scientists, who had not been damaged by bureaucratic thinking.

As Dr. Borlaug talked, the Congressional Gold Medal sat on an end table next to him. Set in a green felt case, the gold medal is engraved with a sketch of him standing in a wheat field in Mexico, hat on head, busy writing notes. The drawing is based on a photo that sits in his home office, which is also jammed floor-to-ceiling with books and mementos – including photos of him with presidents Richard Nixon and George Bush.

His granddaughter, Julie Borlaug, who works for Texas A&M, acts as a personal assistant, helping him sort through his vast collection of papers. Dr. Borlaug and his wife, Margaret, moved to Dallas in the mid-'80s to be close to their children. In 1984, Dr. Borlaug was recruited to Texas A&M, where he still teaches part-time.

How much do you Trust the Fed Govt?

LInk

CBS News/New York Times Poll. July 9-17, 2007. N=1,554 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

.

"How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right: just about always, most of the time, or only some of the time?"

.



Just About
Always
Most of
The Time
Only Some
Of the Time

Never (vol.)

Unsure




% % % % %

7/9-17/07 2 22 71 5 0

10/5-8/06 2 26 66 4 1

9/15-19/06 1 26 65 6 2

1/20-25/06 5 27 63 4 1

12/2-6/05 2 30 65 2 1

9/9-13/05 3 26 63 6 2

7/11-15/04 4 36 56 3 1

7/13-27/03 4 32 60 3 1

9/2-5/02 5 33 57 4 2

10/25-28/01 10 45 42 2 2

Power Corrupts, Power Corrupts, Power Corrupts

Every member of Congress has FAR TOO MUCH power over our lives. Nancy Pelosi just happens to have a lot more power over our lives than most members Congress.

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Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, hailed as reform a bill that would grant subsidies to farmers earning up to $1 million -- five times more than the cap sought by the Bush administration -- while increasing actual payments to farmers. The bill comes during the most prosperous era American agriculture has seen in decades as crop prices and farm income approach or set record highs.

"Bush seems to be taking a harder stance on millionaires than the Democratic Party, which is surprising," said Kari Hamerschlag, policy director for the California Coalition for Food and Farming, a Watsonville group urging lawmakers to move money from crop subsidies to environmental and nutrition programs.

Hugger Muggers?


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The "hugger-mugger" pretends to be drunk, approaches a drunk reveller, embraces him as a long lost friend and picks his pocket.

The wallet or phone is then passed to an accomplice.

Commander Steve Allen, head of the Metropolitan Police in Westminster, has launched a seven-week campaign called Operation Tiffanie.

Too much of a good thing-Skittles Commercial

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Corn Price volatility is a ticking time bomb

The geniuses in Congress have chosen to mandate fuel production from a food commodity that is historically very volatile. The next downturn in corn production will mean huge increases in food prices. The politicians better be preparing some good excuses because they will need them.

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A recent analysis by University of Illinois Professors Darrel Good and Scott Irwin notes that over the last half-century, corn-production shortfalls as big as 30% are not that uncommon. Very inelastic demand means that having a stable, reliable source for fuel is a very high priority for consumers. Having the supply for such a commodity depend on something as volatile as U.S. corn production does not seem like such a brilliant idea.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

TN ELVIS License Plate rescued by NJ Fan

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The Elvis plate, which benefits the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, was about 100 buyers shy of meeting the benchmark, even after receiving an extension on its deadline.

The New Jersey fan anonymously donated the $3,500 needed to cover the final 100 pre-ordered plates after hearing about the car tag's troubles on Sirius satellite radio's Elvis program hosted by longtime Presley friend George Klein.

Tammie Ritchey, executive director of the hospital's foundation, The Med Foundation, said Wednesday the donor wanted to express her love of Presley through the kind of charitable donation the rocker was known for in his lifetime.

TN not Giving away taxpayer money fast enough

Ok, Tennessee politicians, listen UP!! We have a Nashville Company opening up a 500 job call center in Kentucky! because of taxpayer funded incentives.

KENTUCKY!!!

Come ON!! What is going on here Tennessee politicians? Are you going to let the Kentucky politicians give away their taxpayer's money faster than YOU can give away Tennessee taxpayer's money. Here is what the article says:

"(Kentucky) lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year that would allow Sitel (A Nashville, TN Company) to receive tax incentives if it located near a regional university and hired students."

Sarcasm mode off:

The only way politicians "create" jobs is to bribe companies, with taxpayer money, into making decisions they would not otherwise make. The politicians then tell us, in all their exquisite arrogance, that they "created" jobs. When in fact the only thing they created was 1- a photo-op for themselves and 2- an excuse for some other politician to "create" jobs by giving away even more money. The BIG loser is ALWAYS the TAXPAYERS!!

Its not WHAT's in your Wallet but WHO!!

Great quote from a lady's letter to the editor about the upcoming vote on a tax hike in Roane Cnty.

Regarding taxes and a property tax hike (to be voted on at the County Commission meeting).

It's not what's in our wallet, but who?

Ursula Beckmann
Sevierville

Bredesen about to take over Memphis Schools? RIGHT!!

Smart City Memphis says Gov Bredesen is talking tough to Memphis City Schools about a possible takeover. Not sure what his source is but a reality check is in order. Governor Bredesen has known for six years, since he took office, that some Memphis City Schools were failing students and he has failed to take action of any kind. In those six years thousands of Memphis students and parents have had NO CHOICE but to attend miserably failing schools.

Gov Bredesen is quite happy to hold taxpayers absolutely accountable for the $500 million in new education funding he and the General Assembly passed this year. The Governor's attitude towards taxpayers is ZERO TOLERANCE. If we refuse to pay our taxes we go to jail, NO questions asked. the State department of Revenue will see to that.

BUT....when it comes to the spending side of the equation, he is happy to spend OUR money with NO accountability...NONE zip, zero, nadda.

If the Governor lived in Memphis instead of Nashville, it is quite likely that he would have chosen to avoid public schools there just as he did in Nashville and yet he has condemned thousands of Memphis parents to a single option that no one should have to choose.

The Bredesen version of "fair"

Gov Bredesen's claim that he was raising salaries to "keep up" with surrounding states doesn't quite pan out according to the article below from the Tennessean......but, hey, that is the way Government seems to work......now Governors in surrounding States can claim their commissioners aren't paid enough and they will be able to leapfrog Tennessee's salaries and THEN Gov Bredesen.....etc etc etc.

Link

Commissioners for whom comparisons were available now are paid between $8,941 and $62,571 more than the average pay of their counterparts in neighboring states. One, Commissioner of Health Susan Cooper, earns less.

The raises announced this week will cost taxpayers nearly $1 million a year.

"I'm outraged," said Richard Merryman of Murfreesboro, a salesman and business owner. "It's one thing to give them a raise, but to rub our noses in it. … I felt like it's crazy. It's insensitive."


Bald eagles, the Economist looks at the Hair factor

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Friday, July 20, 2007

"Inevitable" East Ridge Tax Hike avoided

What happened? The citizens of East Ridge made it clear who is in charge and the public servants listened to the public. Isn't that how its supposed to work?

Why does the press always say "make up" a deficit??? Why not more accurately say "reduce spending"?

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It appears property owners in East Ridge Tennessee will not be getting hit with a property tax hike as was expected.

Friday the city council held a budget workshop to try and figure out how the city will make up a $1-million budget deficit.

Photographic Library Collections

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Jon Stossel exposes the Ethanol Myth