Friday, August 31, 2007

Michigan AFL-CIO calls for Tax Hikes

Wonder if the rank and file would support Tax Hikes as enthusiastically as the AFL-CIO leadership?

Link

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan AFL-CIO enters the Labor Day weekend pushing for a tax increase to support state government services and promising to help lawmakers who might face recalls for voting in favor of revenue increases.

"We believe the state needs a new, larger budget," Mark Gaffney, president of the union umbrella organization, said Thursday at a pre-holiday weekend press conference. "We believe there is going to have to be tax revenue enhancements. We are talking to legislators about reforms and reorganizations, but we do not believe for a minute that reforms and reorganization alone will fix an over $1 billion hole. We are concerned that as months go by the hole gets bigger."


Sept is a bad month for stock mkt

Would be interesting to run a what if and see how investing a lump sum at the end of Sept each year compares to investing a lump sum/12 each month.

Link

John Ford's Taxpayer funded Legal Expenses

Link

Here's a breakdown of what it will cost taxpayers. Under the law a court appointed attorney makes around 90 bucks an hour, but can't charge more than a total of 5-thousand dollars for an appeal.

Should Ford go to trial in a separate corruption case in Nashville, the most his public defender can charge is 8 thousand dollars.


Ok, just one more cute pic

Link

All together.....awwwwwwwww!

Link

$48 billion...will it be well spent??? NO

Reps Wamp and Gordon and Sen Alexander are just pleased as punch that they can take part of the credit for spending $48 billion of OUR money....supposedly for:

"The bill authorizes up to $48 billion for federal programs that would expand science and math education and support the research infrastructure in the United States, including the work at ORNL."

Will Reps Wamp and Gordon and Sen Alexander expend the time and effort to follow-up and see if this money is well spent? Will a significant part of this money be used to hold the bureaucracy accountable for how this money is spent? Will we the taxpayers ever receive any kind of meaningful and comprehensive audit? Will we EVER know if this money accomplishes anything?

No, NO, NO, and NO. The only good bet is that a significant portion will be wasted or find its way into programs that have nothing to do with teaching math and science.

Protect your digital photos

Link

uMark is a powerful batch watermarking software. It enables you to add visible watermarks to your digital images and photos. Be it your company name, logo or a copyright notice; uMark can add all!

$425,000 per person?????

Where the hell did all this taxpayer money go?

Link

You might be asking: Where in the hell did all this money go? Well, the White House fact sheet says $24 billion has been used to build houses and schools, repair damaged infrastructure and provide victims with a place to live. But isn't everyone complaining about the lack of housing?

Perhaps all this money should've been directly deposited in the bank accounts of the 300,000 people living in New Orleans. All divvied up, that $127 billion would come to $425,000 per person! After thanking Uncle Sam for their sudden windfall, residents could head to Southern California and buy homes that are now on sale thanks to the sub-prime mortgage crisis and bid up the sagging house prices in the state.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

20% of Brit Households Govt Dependents

In UK, being on the dole is apparently NOT a path to dignity and independence.

Link

The figure of three million workless homes is particularly bleak because it includes only those where there is someone of working age - defined as between 18 and 65 whether claiming a disability or not, but excluding students.

Last month the Whitehall spending watchdog attacked ministers for their failure to reduce workless numbers.

The National Audit Office warned that those living in workless households are at risk of permanent joblessness and poverty and face falling into a spiral of ill-health and crime.


Fitch: Newspaper Outlook worse than expected

Link

Among the specific companies it cites:

Gannett Co. where USA Today ad pages fell 17% compared to last year, and real estate classifieds at its community papers plunged 20%.

Tribune Company, where help-wanted classified tumbled 19%, and real estate shrank by 24%. (Fitch has Tribune on a "Ratings Watch Negative," anticipating a further downgrading of its credit.)

The McClatchy Co., where real estate collapsed by 26%, and automotive plunged 20%.

Dow Jones & Co., where ad volume fell 20% on a 75% tumble in technology-related ads.

Newspaper industry ad weakness, Fitch concludes in a report subhed, is "More Secular than Cyclical" -- meaning much, if not all, of the declines will be permanent.

Ark Legislature to ban snuff spittle?

Link

Democratic Representative Pam Adcock of Little Rock says she plans to file legislation that would ban all tobacco products, not just cigarettes, from the House and Senate chambers. Governor Beebe says he supports the proposal. But not everyone is of like mind. Representative Rick Sanders of Hot Springs says the measure is going too far, unless someone has "thrown up because they looked into a cup or something like that."

End the Massachusetts Income Tax Petition

Carla Howell and her group in Massachusetts conducted a petition drive in Mass in 2001 to end the State Income Tax. They got the question on the ballot and got 45% of the vote in 2002...in Massachusetts!! Now they are starting another petition drive to get it back on the ballot for 2008.

LInk

2002 : Our first End the Income Tax Initiative in Massachusetts got 885,683 votes – 45.3%. We did it with volunteers, a small budget, and advertising spending of less than $89,000.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Smells like a TN Gas Tax Hike

Link

Now, the state transportation study committee is looking at a variety of ways to solve the financial problem.

Some states are using a transmitter that calculates your mileage while others are using high occupancy toll lanes for solo drivers.

There is also toll bridges and toll roads, an indexedfuel tax or an increased fuel tax, costing drivers more at the pump.

Will McCain accept public financing?

Link

WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain on Tuesday became the first presidential candidate to be eligible for matching funds from the federal government, but his campaign still hasn't decided whether to take the money.

McCain, an Arizona Republican, applied to the Federal Election Commission for public money earlier this month. The campaign had to certify that it had received a certain amount of small contributions, bringing in at least $5,000 in 20 states in donations of $250 or less each.

The public financing could be a lifeline for McCain's campaign, which has struggled to raise money and has spent nearly all of what it has taken in. As of June 30, McCain had $3.2 million in the bank and owed nearly $1.8 million in unpaid bills, even though his campaign has raised more than $24 million this year.

But accepting the federal matching funds would subject McCain to strict spending caps in each state, potentially crippling his campaign financially if he did emerge from the primary season as the GOP nominee.

"We have not made a final decision yet," campaign spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said about the public money. "We're, frankly, doing what's necessary should we decide to take the matching funds. . . . We want to keep the option on the table."

Most Say Pres Candidates Should Refuse Lobbyist Money

Link

2007 Aug 23-26 (sorted by "desirable")

Acceptable

Unacceptable

No opinion

 

%

%

%

Individual contributions made by citizens

93

7

*

The candidate's own savings

92

7

*

Fundraisers who organize and collect large numbers of individual contributions on the candidate's behalf

86

13

1

"PACs," or political action committees

47

47

5

Public financing from the federal government

41

57

2

Contributions made by Washington lobbyists

23

75

1


Photos of North Korea

Link

Rasmussen: Giuliani 24%, Thompson 23%

Link

Republican Presidential Primary Contenders


Aug. 26

Aug. 16

Aug. 8

Rudy Giuliani

24%

22%

28%

Fred Thompson

23%

19%

22%

Mitt Romney

13%

15%

13%

John McCain

12%

14%

10%

Mike Huckabee

5%

4%

4%

Source: Rasmussen Reports
Methodology: Telephone interviews with approximately 600-650 likely Republican primary voters, conducted from Aug. 23 to Aug. 26, 2007. Margin of error is 4 per cent.


Private schools expand in Knoxville


Link

The choice was between turning students away or building to accommodate them.

So Knoxville Catholic High School officials launched a campaign to add an expansion to the school. The mandate: They couldn't borrow money to do it, and they couldn't use students' tuition.

They began soliciting funds from parents and the community in November 2006. Within months, they had $2.8 million for an academic wing that's slated for completion by Thanksgiving. It opens in the spring.

The 19,000-square-foot addition will allow the school to serve about 150 more students. The current population is 654.


Get answers or research from experts

Askville

Mturk

Doc talks about why long waits occur

for office visits.

Link

By far the biggest problem is how we (physicians) get paid. We are paid by the visit, not by the amount of time spent. Therefore, our best efficiency occurs when we always have someone in the queue. An empty queue is a lost opportunity.

The way we pay physicians encourages waiting - not explicitly, but implicitly.

Ask any physician and they will tell you that they try to stay on schedule, but …

1. The second patient of the day was much sicker, or more complex than expected.
2. A hospitalized patient crashed, so I was late getting to the office.
3. The third patient of the day was 15 minutes late, throwing my entire schedule off.
4. A patient called in acutely ill and I had to squeeze them into the schedule - throwing my entire schedule off.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blog: Ford sentence: 66 mos, 2 yrs supervised release

Link



Washington Cnty $50 wheel tax passes 1st reading

Washington County includes Johnson City in the Tri-Cities area.
 
Link

Washington County commissioners approved a $50 wheel tax on first reading Monday as a way to pay back more than $138 million in bonds earmarked for the county's school and jail building projects.

Commissioners voted 19-6 in favor of the new tax, which must pass on second reading by two-thirds of the commission in order to go into effect on July 1.

Voting in favor of the wheel tax were Commissioners Greg Matherly, Pete Speropulos, Paul Woodby, C.B. Kinch, Peggy Richardson, Frank Bolus, Mark Hicks, Jim Powell, Phil McPeak, Wendell Messimer, Bill Biles, Kyle Shell, Gerald Sparks, Scott Buckingham, Mark Larkey, Janice White, Ben Bowman, Evert Jarrett and Pat Wolfe.

In opposition to the tax were Commissioners Sam Humphreys, Sid Campbell, Ron England, Richard Matherly, Mark Ferguson and Danny Edens.


Monday, August 27, 2007

“Never ever again, will I make these kind of mistakes,”

John Ford said at his sentencing hearing:

Link

Ford said he trusted people, which was his mistake. However, he said, he takes full responsibility for all that has happened, and that he blames no one else.

"Never ever again, will I make these kind of mistakes," he said.

Ford also assured the court that he has followed every order that has been given to him since his indictment.

Ford finished by speaking about his children, and asked the court to remember then when deciding on his sentence.

Ford spoke in a very low, humble voice. It was a striking difference from the Ford was saw and heard in some of the FBI's surveillance tapes, as well as the Ford we often see on television.

Ford wiped his face and eyes as he returned to his seat.

Only 9 States License More Occupations

How free should you be to buy goods and services from anyone you choose. Are you too stupid to make that decision? YES according to the geniuses at the General Assembly. They now require 110 different occupation types to obtain a license before they can conduct business. Only 9 other states require more administrative red tape. Just last session, if memory serves, locksmiths and welders were added to the list of those who have to be licensed.

Does this improve quality? Of course not. Normally it is just an easy way for those in a trade to restrict the entry of new competition.

Link

Ranking the States on Occupational Licensing
States (Number of jobs requiring a license)

1. California (177) 26. Virginia (89)
2. Connecticut (155) 27. Louisiana (88)
3. Maine (134) 28. Ohio (88)
4. New Hampshire (130) 29. Georgia (85)
5. Arkansas (128) 30. Indiana (85)
6. Michigan (116) 31. Iowa (85)
7. Rhode Island (116) 32. Utah (84)
8. New Jersey (114) 33. Delaware (83)
9. Wisconsin (111) 34. Montana (79)
10. Tennessee (110) 35. Texas (78)
11. Alaska (109) 36. New York (77)
12. Massachusetts (107) 37. West Virginia (77)
13. North Carolina (107) 38. Wyoming (74)
14. Oregon (107) 39. Arizona (72)
15. Vermont (107) 40. Alabama (70)
16. Florida (104) 41. Colorado (69)
17. New Mexico (104) 42. North Dakota (69)
18. Maryland (98) 43. Mississippi (68)
19. Nebraska (96) 44. Hawaii (64)
20. Minnesota (95) 45. Pennsylvania (62)
21. Nevada (95) 46. Idaho (61)
22. Illinois (93) 47. South Carolina (60)
23. Kentucky (91) 48. Kansas (56)
24. Oklahoma (91) 49. Washington (53)
25. South Dakota (90) 50. Missouri (41)

"it's really kind of inconsequential"....WHAT!!!

A sense of entitlement, an attitude of arrogance, elitism....just a few of the adjectives that come to mind.

State Paid For Spouses' Activities At Regents Meetings

When the regents met at Austin Peay last year,the spouses of board members were taken to tour an art museum, to Clarksville's downtown shopping district and to sample liquid nitrogen ice cream at the school's Sundquist Science Complex.

The state paid $1,490 for flowers, $5,668 for other decorations and $2,385 for spouses' activities for the four board meetings, the AP review found.That's in addition to $54,997 spent on food, $12,117 on buses and other transportation and $8,969 for welcome packets.

The schools hosting the quarterly meetings augmented their spending with money collected from private or foundation sources, including another $31,131 for food and $4,967 worth of alcohol.J. Stanley Rogers, a board member and former Democratic House Majority Leader, defended the practice of visiting campuses and said that the expenditures are not as exorbitant as they may seem.

"When you're running a business as large as this is, with 45 institutions and a multibillion dollar budget, it's really kind of inconsequential in the whole scheme of things," he said.

Lobbying State AGs, the New Lobbying Game

Would be interesting to know if any paid lobbyists are influencing our Tennessee Attorney General, Robert Cooper.

Link

At a panel discussion last month in Washington, D.C., Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (R) said lobbying of state law enforcers has become increasingly common since 45 attorneys general in 1998 forced tobacco firms into a record $246 billion settlement over smokers' health claims.

"A cottage industry has sprung up. There are now hundreds of people making a very good living lobbying attorneys general," Suthers said at the forum, where he was joined by Stenberg and the Republican attorneys general of Wisconsin and Virginia. "When the 50 state attorneys general get together to discuss issues, there are often 100 or more lobbyists in the back of the room looking for an opportunity to further their cause."

Stenberg's firm specializes in "resolving legal issues with state attorneys general," according to his company's Web site. In an interview with Stateline.org, Stenberg said his work primarily is divided into two categories: meeting with corporate clients and meeting with state attorneys general or their staff "to make sure they have the facts and a full understanding of the matter."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

59% had a good, excellent or best ever summer


Link


Would you say the summer of 2007 was the best ever, excellent, good, fair or poor?

Best Ever

6%

Excellent

13%

Good

40%

Fair

29%

Poor

12%

Politicians to the rescue...dum da dum!!

Lenders have been "encouraging" home ownership by lending to people who can't repay their loans. The result is the huge loan losses because of these "sub-prime" loans. What is the reaction of our elected representatives? Why, of course, to ignore these facts and require  EVEN  smaller down payments and stretch the repayment out over even longer periods.

Link

The Bush administration supports an increase in loan limits, and it is even promoting the elimination of the down payment requirement.

"FHA's existing 3% down payment requirement does not meet the demands of today's marketplace, where most first-time homebuyers put down 2% or less," says Stephen O'Halloran, a HUD spokesman.

But it's doubtful that this last bit will fly in Congress. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the ranking member on the Senate banking committee, has already expressed concern about lowering the down payment limit, though he is expected to reach a compromise with Dodd when the committee drafts its version of an FHA reform bill.

"While the subprime market has witnessed considerable stress, the losses in that market are borne by investors," Shelby said at a hearing on FHA reform last month. "Were those same losses to occur in FHA programs, it is likely they would be borne by the taxpayer."


10k die in UK due to shortage of CC beds

When you put politicians in charge of health care...

Link

More than 10,000 people are dying needlessly each year after being denied intensive care treatment, according to senior doctors.

[...]

Britain has 0.6 critical care beds per 10,000 population compared to 4.4 per 10,000 in the US.

"There are not enough beds and we regularly struggle to meet -demand," Dr Taylor said.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said the Government was doing all it could to ensure hospitals provided efficient surgical care.


Its illegal and unsafe and not built to code-who cares

Study: Cell Phones do NOT cause crashes

Perhaps the cell phone is just a good excuse for us to vent about our fellow drivers?

Link

Since 1993, the average amount of time a cell phone subscriber spends on calls rose from 140 minutes to 740 minutes per month, according to the data compiled by the pair, Saurabh Bhargava and Vikram Pathania. They also noted that 40 percent of Americans use their phones while driving.

But they reported that from the number of fatal accidents has fallen or stayed flat in all states from 1987 to 2005. And during that period, the number of non-fatal crashes in seven states that the pair studied also was steady or down.

The implications of those numbers run head-on into what many people intuit about cell phones causing crashes. (A 2003 Gallup Poll found that 70 percent of Americans said cell-phone drivers cause accidents).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Wilson County Property Tax HIKE Alert

MONDAY NIGHT HEARING

Despite the Finance Committee's vote to keep the property tax rate at $2.48, there is a movement underway to propose an increase to the property tax rate from the floor at the Wilson County Commission meeting on Monday night, August 27, 7:00 p.m. A public hearing on the budget will be held prior to the meeting at 6:00 p.m.

For a listing of the Wilson County Commissioners, go to
http://www.wilsoncountytn.com/commission.htm

Value of Public Companies doubled last 5 years

An explosion of world wide prosperity due to free markets and free trade.

Link

Bottom Line: There has as much wealth (measured by stock market value) created in the last 5 years ($35 trillion), as was created during the thousands of years it took to create the first $35 trillion (in 1999).

Clark and Dawe: Aussie Comedy Team

Photo Collection of Church Signs

Link

The Man is a Saint!! We are NOT worthy!!

Bredesen urges every Tennessean to conserve water

Governor pledges to save lives on state's highways

TN Governor Phil Bredesen to hand out free air conditioners

Bredesen is warning Tennessee schools to be cautious

and to show that he REALLY cares:

Bredesen urges confidence in lottery despite glitch


Sat dose of TN Waltz-Turner and Ford

Former Rep Brenda Turner Introduced FBI to Charles Love

Retired FBI Agent Joe Carroll, who played the undercover role of E-Cycle's president during the investigation, testified in April that Ms. Turner introduced investigators to Mr. Love, who boasted that he had "been involved in payoffs to various politicians" in East Tennessee.

"As a result of meeting (Ms. Turner), we met Mr. Love," Mr. Carroll testified. "And we subsequently hired Mr. Love, if you will, E-Cycle did, as our representative for East Tennessee."

Mr. Carroll testified that Ms. Turner, who lost a bid for re-election in 2004 to Joanne Favors, a Chattanooga Democrat, initially was a target of the investigation, but she never was charged.


John Ford to be sentenced Monday

It could take all day because attorneys plan to call plenty of witnesses.

Thousands of hours of secret FBI recordings showing money being handed to John Ford are part of the reason a jury convicted the former state senator of bribery in his Tennessee Waltz case. Prosecutors claim he took more than 50- thousand dollars in bribes.

On Monday, Ford's attorney plans to call more than a dozen witnesses who will testify in Ford's sentencing hearing.

"We are going to present everything to the judge to show him John's entire life show him the great things he's done in the 30 years he's been in the legislature and the great things he's done for the community of Memphis," adds Ford's attorney Mike Scholl.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Politicans and Bureaucrats have good intentions but

OH NO!! That may not be enough. First we learned that anti-smoking ads may actually be increasing teen smoking and Now we are told that government can't change eating habits....its all so disillusioning.

WHAT!!! Government can't raise our children for us? Damn!!

Tax cuts = Rich pay more

Link

OK, let's talk equity. It's almost an article of faith on Capitol Hill these days that the Bush tax cuts tilted the income tax system in favor of the rich. If this were true, it would be reflected in the actual data on the distribution of the income tax.

For the Bush tax cuts to have been a give-away to the rich, people paying the higher marginal tax rates would have to be carrying a smaller share of the income tax load. But the IRS data indicate that they are not paying less. Instead, they are paying more -- lots more. More surprisingly, the richest 1%, 5% and 10% of the taxpayers are shouldering a larger percentage of the income tax burden at the federal level than the tax estimators said they would had the Bush tax cuts never materialized. The data nearby tell the story.

The preliminary 2005 data just released from the Treasury Department show more of the same. The amount of tax paid by those earning more than $1 million a year increased to $236 billion in 2005, up from $132 billion in 2003, the year of the tax cut. This was a 78% increase in taxes paid by millionaire households.

Very Nice Buy/Sell Handmade Items Site

Link

Here is Pottery for example

Living in fear of being held accountable

We all live in fear of being held accountable for paying our taxes. A letter from the IRS  will produce more anxiety and fear than almost any other piece of mail. Paying your property taxes means the difference between having a roof over your head and living on the street. Taxpayers are held to a higher level of accountability than ANY government agency or politician. That  is why it is so maddening when we find that school administrators are taking our taxpayer money and then lying to us about what that money is accomplishing.

Smart City Memphis does another great job of highlighting the failure of Memphis City Schools...Year after Year after Year.

Link

After all, to be judged as proficient in reading in Tennessee classrooms, an eighth grader has to answer only 40 percent of the questions right. In 2004, it was 43 percent, and in 2003, it was 51 percent. Last time, we got one of our children's report cards, that test score was a solid "F" no matter who calculated it.

Supt. Carol Johnson was masterful in her use of safe harbors, a strategy made possible under No Child Left Behind and she was only taking advantage of the provisions of the sweeping federal law. Admitting on the front end that we are seriously oversimplifying the definition of safe harbor, in essence, it gives districts a way to include schools that really aren't making AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) – but are making strides – into the list of "good standing" schools.

There are 41 of these safe harbor schools at Memphis City Schools. Or put another way, of those 128 schools touted in news release for setting a new record in "schools in good standing," 41 of them actually are not making AYP.

Marketing Geniuses in the making


$4,000 vet bill for a Pet chicken

Link

Lilly's owners spent almost £2,000 on her injured leg before vets were forced to amputate it

When the treatment failed and the experts said Lily's leg would have to be amputated in order to save her life, Mrs Mills and her husband dug deep again to meet the costs.

Even then her medical bills were not over, as Lily was diagnosed with depression.

Being alone in the house was getting her down, so now the couple leave the television on whenever they leave their home in Cwmbran, South Wales.

Sen. Jackson's Non-profit overcharging taxpayers?

Senator Doug Jackson gets paid $256k per year to head a non-profit that produces a TV show for a State Agency, the TWRA, for much more than a commercial TV station could do the same job.

Link

Jackson, who gets an annual salary of $256,000 as executive director of the Renaissance Center, serves as secretary of the Senate legislative panel that considers bills involving the wildlife agency.

Jackson said his prominence hadn't affected decisions regarding the show.

"I certainly don't influence them, and I don't benefit from the show," said the Dickson Democrat, who displays the two Emmy statues in his legislative office. "The Renaissance Center has done an exemplary job in the production of that program at an affordable price."


COC says Metro taxpayers be damned

The Metro Nashville Chamber of Commerce has morphed into just one more special interest group standing at the Courthouse door with their hand out for taxpayer money. The Chamber of Commerce has supported most of the recent tax increases and is quite happy to accept some of this new taxpayer money as "subsidies" and "incentives." The article linked below indicates they support the corporate welfare sought by the new Preds owners.

I can translate the highlighted quote below: "there is no way in heck that the Preds can survive, like any normal private business, without huge taxpayer subsidies. We hope they can find other revenue but it ain't looking good."

Link

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the need for changes to the lease between the team and the city, stating that "the local ownership group is committed to identifying additional sources of revenue for the arena that will enhance the management and utilization of the arena so that Nashville's tax base can be better supported and grown."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Parents not signing kids for Free Insurance

Link

Bredesen said CoverKids is for families who make too much money to qualify for TennCare.  A family of four, for example, would be eligible if their annual income was less than $51,000 per year.  But only an estimated 5,000 children have been enrolled.

"If your child does not have health insurance, the chances are very good that we've got free health insurance for you here, but you've got to fill out an application," Bredesen said.

The governor said there is enough money in the state's budget to insure all of Tennessee's uninsured children.  But they'll go without, unless parents start signing them up.


More on BIG Education giving.

More info on Education related giving from a reader. This from OpenSecrets.org on giving by State Affiliates of the National Education Association. Virtually all of the contributions go to Democrats.

Affiliate

Total

Dems

Repubs

% to Dems

% to Repubs

Alabama Education Assn

$54,898

$51,648

$3,250

94%

6%

Alhambra Teachers Assn

$340

$340

$0

100%

0%

Arizona Education Assn

$2,300

$2,300

$0

100%

0%

Arkansas Education Assn

$10,618

$10,618

$0

100%

0%

Bay City Education Assn

$250

$250

$0

100%

0%

Broward National Education Assn

$200

$200

$0

100%

0%

California Elementary Education Assn

$25,000

$25,000

$0

100%

0%

California Teachers Assn

$161,005

$156,675

$4,330

97%

3%

Colorado Education Assn

$18,100

$18,100

$0

100%

0%

Connecticut Education Assn

$450

$450

$0

100%

0%

Duval Teachers United

$6,975

$6,975

$0

100%

0%

Education Assn Exec

$1,000

$1,000

$0

100%

0%

Florida Education Assn

$53,400

$53,400

$0

100%

0%

Hawaii State Teachers Assn

$250

$250

$0

100%

0%

Illinois Education Assn

$9,115

$9,115

$0

100%

0%

Indiana State Teachers Assn

$2,975

$2,675

$300

90%

10%

Iowa State Education Assn

$9,683

$8,183

$1,500

85%

16%

Kansas National Education Assn

$12,938

$11,438

$1,500

88%

12%

Kentucky Education Assn

$5,900

$5,900

$0

100%

0%

Maine Education Assn

$1,450

$1,450

$0

100%

0%

Maryland State Teachers Assn

$700

$700

$0

100%

0%

Massachusetts Teachers Assn

$7,300

$6,300

$1,000

86%

14%

Michgan Education Assn

$200

$200

$0

100%

0%

Michigan Education Assn

$118,274

$115,274

$3,000

98%

3%

Middle Cities Education Assn

$500

$500

$0

100%

0%

Milford Education Assn

$300

$300

$0

100%

0%

Minnesota Education Assn

$3,050

$3,050

$0

100%

0%

Minnesota Rural Education Assn

$4,250

$4,250

$0

100%

0%

Mississippi Assn of Education

$1,000

$1,000

$0

100%

0%

Missouri National Education Assn

$1,300

$1,300

$0

100%

0%

Nea Fund For Children & Public Education

$95,000

$70,000

$25,000

74%

26%

NEA-Alaska

$960

$960

$0

100%

0%

NEA-New Hampshire

$1,650

$1,650

$0

100%

0%

Nebraska State Education Assn

$200

$200

$0

100%

0%

Needham Education Assn

$500

$500

$0

100%

0%

Nevada State Education Assn

$2,700

$2,700

$0

100%

0%

New Jersey Education Assn

$10,300

$9,700

$600

94%

6%

New York Education Assn

$9,800

$9,800

$0

100%

0%

North Dakota Education Assn

$2,675

$2,675

$0

100%

0%

Ohio Education Assn

$20,002

$12,652

$6,750

63%

34%

Oregon Education Assn

$67,798

$60,298

$7,500

89%

11%

Overseas Education Assn

$800

$300

$500

38%

63%

Pennsylvania State Education Assn

$4,175

$1,175

$3,000

28%

72%

Sail Education Assn

$1,000

$0

$1,000

0%

100%

Southeastern Ohio Education Assn

$250

$250

$0

100%

0%

Tennessee Education Assn

$1,300

$1,300

$0

100%

0%

Texas State Teachers Assn

$10,514

$10,114

$400

96%

4%

Utah Educational Assn

$250

$250

$0

100%

0%

Virginia Education Assn

$1,450

$1,450

$0

100%

0%

Warren Education Assn

$1,462

$1,462

$0

100%

0%

Washington Education Assn

$14,554

$14,554

$0

100%

0%

Wisconsin Education Assn

$140,650

$120,150

$20,000

85%

14%

Wyoming Education Assn

$10,510

$10,510

$0

100%

0%

BIG Education giving BIG political bucks

Link

Professors and others in the education field have given more to federal candidates running in 2008 than those who work in the oil, pharmaceutical, and computer industries -- a sign of how academia has become a much bigger player in the political cash sweepstakes.

Of the more than $7 million that academics donated in the first half of this year, more than $4.1 million went to presidential campaigns, particularly Barack Obama's, according to a study released this month by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The Illinois senator brought in almost $1.5 million, while Hillary Clinton received nearly $940,000.

Republican Mitt Romney was in third place, with about $448,000, but overall, three-quarters of contributions went to Democrats.

Pompous Peacocks do NOT create jobs

Don Fenly points out that Presidential Candidate Bill Richardson didn't create as many jobs as he claims. I will go him one better. Bill Richardson didn't create ANY jobs. The hard working people of New Mexico created the jobs and the only contribution of Bill Richardson was to keep government out of the way.

Politicians will shamelessly claim to be able to solve ANY problem. And they will go even further and take credit for anything good and positive that happens while they are in office.

Instead of ratcheting up the humility when they take office, they ratchet up the arrogance.

Denmark to Cut Income Taxes

Link

Under the proposed reforms, announced by the government on Tuesday, the income ceiling for the middle and top income tax brackets will be raised to DKK353,000 per year from DKK304,100, and to DKK381,300 per year from DKK365,000, respectively.

The government is also proposing to raise the employment tax deduction, which is subtracted by all working wage earners, to 4.7% from 2.5%.

Some of these tax cuts would take effect on January 1, 2008, with the total tax cut package coming into force on January 1, 2009.


People and the Party together....not really

This Soviet poster is from 1978 as the planned economy of the Soviet Union was falling apart. Its posted on a blog that displays a soviet era propaganda poster everyday. Fascinating stuff. As the economy crumbled the only response from Soviet leaders was to call on tired collectivist rhetoric. The poster reads: “People and the party are undivided”

Link

So, common folk used to joke like “People and the party are undivided indeed, except for the things they eat” implying that many goods were in shortage and the party officials could get them in special stores without problems.

Jackson Library expands under Private Mgt

Link

The branch, aimed at roping in families in north Jackson, had hit a hurdle in the spring when county commissioners voted against tossing in cash needed to open its doors.

Library officials have since pared down the startup cost of the new branch from more than $90,000 to nearly $70,000, said Sharon Younger, the library board's chairwoman.

The library will be able to pay about $40,000 of that with savings trimmed from its operations in the past year. Younger said. After the opening, she said library officials will start pushing for donations and other funds to pay the difference back to Library Systems and Services Inc., the Maryland company that runs the library.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More cute kids pics: Baby Viking Hats

Link

6 yrs old and destined to play Las Vegas

Group formed to lobby for later school start

Link

At a time when students and educators are coping with extreme heat, a new state advocacy group is pushing for the school year to start much later.

The grass-roots group recently launched a Web site, www.savetennesseesummers.org/index.html, and more than 500 families are supporting the mission, according to a news release from the organization.

"The groups' mission is to lobby the legislature for a uniform, late-August or early September school start date for all Tennessee K-12 public school," the release states.

Former State Rep Convicted

Link

Judge James Todd sentenced Davis to 57 months in prison - four years and nine months - on each count. Davis will serve those terms concurrently, meaning at the same time.

"Your honor, I stand here today ashamed and embarrassed," Davis, 64, told Todd. "Not a day goes by when I don't think about how to repay those people. I can't say that enough. I am so sorry."

Davis represented District 79, comprised of Gibson County and parts of Carroll County, as a Democrat in the state House of Representatives from 1979 to 1992. He ran again in 2002 but lost in the primary.


Lawyers among most corrupt group in Kenya

Link

Lawyers in Kenya are now ranked as the ninth most corrupt group in the country, according to the Kenya Bribery Index 2007, a report released Tuesday by Transparency International (TI) [advocacy website]. The annual Kenya Bribery Index [TI materials] has never in its previous five years of publication listed lawyers as top solicitors of bribes in Kenya. For the sixth year in a row, the police were listed as the top corrupt political branch in the 2007 study. The judiciary, which was ranked sixth in the Kenya Bribery Index 2006 [PDF text], moved out of the top ten this year. AP has more.

Corporate welfare going out of favor?

Let us hope so. Corporate welfare is just one step away from good ole fashioned corruption and political payoffs.

LInk

"There's an entitlement mentality about tax breaks today," Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Mark Funkhouser says. "Every developer thinks it's his right not to pay property taxes." Funkhouser was elected mayor in May after campaigning against tax breaks to developers, including one for a luxury condo development in an affluent part of his city.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

You can now embed Google Maps


View Larger Map

Stealing Yard Signs maybe but NOT trucks

Link

A Jimmy Godbee campaign truck was stolen Sunday from outside the Waffle King on Highway 61, according to the Carroll County Sheriff's Office.

Capt. Shane Taylor confirmed that Godbee's son reported the bright orange 1968 Chevrolet pickup - which Godbee said still sported a large campaign poster attached to the bed - missing at 1:55 p.m. Aug. 19. The truck had last been seen at 9 a.m. by Deputy Adrian Lanning.

Godbee is running against fellow Republicans Bill Chappell and John Denney and Democrat Tom Flippo for county commission chairman.

Bathing dogs now subject to TN sales tax

The Tax Foundation notes that the Tennessee Department of Revenue now says that any charge for having your pet bathed in Tennessee is now fully taxable. Grooming is still only taxed at 15%...BUT if your groomer puts both charges on the same bill, tax will apply to both.

HERE is the advisory from the Dept Of Revenue. The law says that laundering tangible personal property is fully subject to taxation. Wait till PETA gets wind of this!!

Congress Approval Rating Matches Historical Low

Link

Govt can easily devolve into institutionalized corruption

and that is why collectivist fantasies like socialism and communism invariably end up being nothing more than brutal thugs with power and the only way you receive favors is to be one of the thugs or pay a bribe. This post to a Washington Post blog points in the same direction.

Link

Spend more than a few minutes talking with contracting officials and industry experts and you'll likely hear a growing concern: That fewer and fewer companies will openly complain when they feel aggrieved about an award, even when they have clear evidence the lesser competitor got the work. If the folks I have talked to are right, they losers remain silent so as not to alienate program managers and contracting officials who will be the key players on future work.

In other words, government contracting has become a cozy insider affair, according to these folks. It's not what you know and do so much as it is who you know in the government and how good your relationships are, they say. I know, I know: It sounds like conspiracy theory and it might just be. But I've heard the complaint from enough different, smart people that I have to wonder.

59 yr old tries out for college football

YES!!! All of us 59 year olds are cheering for him!!

Link

If anyone knows whether a 59-year-old man can compete with athletes much younger, it should be Flynt. He has served as a strength and conditioning coach at Nebraska, Oregon and Texas A&M, while himself staying in top shape.

Flynt also spent the summer lifting weights, running sprints and climbing the bleachers at Franklin High School.

At 5-foot-10, 205 pounds, Flynt is nearly the exact size he was when he originally played.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Gorgeous Photos of Alaska by a Bush Pilot

Link

Net Migration of Seniors-TN Ranked 4th

Tennessee is ranked 4th in net migration of seniors. Migration of seniors is typically a net positive for the economy. Wonder how long it will take some politician to "take credit" for this? Probably has more to do with warm weather than anything else....oh and three of the top 4 states don't have an income tax.

                      2004-2005 Migration

1 Florida                   37,140
2 Arizona                   24,610
3 Texas                     18,290
4 Tennessee                 10,663
5 Georgia                    9,610
6 North Carolina             8,666
7 South Carolina             5,750
8 Arkansas                   4,827
9 Washington                 4,427
10 Oregon                    4,278

UK Socialized Docs "threatened" with privatization

Link

Family doctors have been warned that unless they agree to open at evenings and on Saturdays, private companies will be contracted to take over their practices.

A letter sent to local NHS organisations has ordered them to improve surgeries' responsiveness to the public, along with people's access to and choice of GP services. This includes the option of seeking alternative providers, including private companies, instead of GPs.

The Times understands that the letter, from Mark Britnell, Director of Commissioning at the Department of Health, was altered before being sent to tone down references to "competitive tendering" – which would include offering GP contracts to private sector companies.

But doctors' leaders said that the final draft sent to health trusts remained "very aggressively-worded" and a clear sign of a government mission to bring more private practice into the NHS.


Tenncare financed huge drug habit for TN

Tennessee leads the nation in painkiller prescription increase.

Link

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A study by The Associated Press shows the number of prescriptions for painkillers in Tennessee went up by 206% between 1997 to 2005.

[...]

The sharp increase in Tennessee was due in large part to the generous drug benefits from TennCare.

A 2003 report from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee concluded patients enrolled in TennCare paid just 1.6% of the cost of their prescriptions, and that contributed to the state's high use of the drugs.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Waltz duo controls $189,000 in war chests

should Ward Crutchfield and Chris Newton be able to control the $189k still left in the campaign accounts after their convictions?

Link

Two former state legislators convicted in the FBI's Operation Tennessee Waltz bribery sting have more than $189,000 combined in their campaign accounts and by law can donate it to charities and political campaigns and organizations.

In the two years following his May 2005 indictment, former Sen. Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga, contributed almost $14,000 to political campaigns and the Hamilton County Democratic Party, according to campaign financial disclosure statements.

Mr. Crutchfield, who resigned his Senate seat Aug. 6, has $172,173 in cash on hand, the largest amount of the convicted five former legislators, according to a July campaign filing.

On Friday, Mr. Crutchfield declined to discuss his plans for the remaining money.

"I'm not ready to make a statement," he said.

Former Rep. Chris Newton, R-Cleveland, contributed $1,200 to Republican Party organizations in Meigs and Polk counties, statements show. Mr. Newton made those donations after his 2005 indictment in the federal investigation. Disclosure forms show he has $17,523 in cash on hand.

Search for unclaimed Property in TN

such as unclaimed utility deposits. Type an "a" in the "Last Name or Business Name" box to see all owners starting with a, etc.

Link

Ramsey mulls gubernatorial bid in 2010

says Hank Hayes at the Kingsport Times-News.

Link

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has been thinking this summer about running for governor in 2010.

"I think that I would be one of the handful of front-runners on the Republican side," Ramsey, a Blountville Republican state senator who represents Sullivan and Johnson counties, said of that thought. "Obviously the most important thing right now is to be re-elected in November 2008. But I am making a name across the state, so it's not something I've ruled out for sure."

The race to succeed Democrat Phil Bredesen, who cannot run for a third term under the state's constitution, might be crowded. Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp are among those mentioned in news stories as possible Republican gubernatorial hopefuls. Possible Democratic contenders include U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis and former state House Majority Leader Kim McMillan, who now serves as Bredesen's senior adviser.

Nice profile of Rhonda Thurman, Tax Fighter

in Chattanooga. Rhonda Thurman is the perfect example of a citizen who takes seriously her responsibility to hold OUR government accountable for how they spend OUR money and how OUR elected representatives use the power and authority granted to government by the citizens. Rhonda has been a hairdresser for 32 years. Her career as volunteer political activist is an amazing story.

Link

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Very Interesting Current News Tracker Site

Link

"Prankster" throws water balloon at Anti-Tax Rally

and hits talk radio crew in Chattanooga. The suspect said he was the stepson of one the county commissioners being criticized for his vote for higher property taxes.

Link

A prankster with a water balloon interrupted an anti-tax "tea party" at East Lake Park on Saturday afternoon.

The man doused a WGOW Talk Radio crew with one of the balloons, then was chased down and corralled at a nearby church.

Bobby Petty, president of the Greater East Lake Community Council that sponsored the event, said he saw the man wearing a bandana at the back of the crowd for about an hour before the sudden attack.

He said when emcee John Wolfe told the crowd that County Commissioner John Brooks should be coming out to East Lake helping residents pay the higher tax that he helped pass, the man lowered the bandana over his face. He then started running toward the Talk Radio crew.

He dropped one water balloon next to Greater East Lake Community Council Vice President Rachel Holloway, as he shouted, "Those loud mouth SOBs," Mr. Petty said.

He said the man later told those in the group that he is the stepson of Commissioner Brooks. He gave his name as John Chenkus.

Mr. Petty said the water balloon zipped by the head of former County Commissioner Lou Miller and nailed Mr. Wolfe and fellow emcees Robert T. Nash, Tim Price and Carnell Storie. "They were pretty wet," Mr. Petty said.

More Un-bleepin-believable Preds disclosures

Preds new owners would like for taxpayers to insulate them from risk and THEN they will be happy to be the new owners.

Link

Freeman's group is seeking three significant changes from the status quo: $3 million worth of taxpayer money that would be used to help minimize past losses; responsibility for incentives to improve the financial performance of the arena; and a guarantee from the city of an average 14,000 in paid attendance per game each season so the club does not lose its substantial NHL revenue-sharing rights, in exchange for eliminating any right for the team to ever leave Nashville.

STOP Welfare for the Rich

Link

The farm program is repulsive welfare for the rich. The average farmer earns much more than the average American.

Joe Saino says "Memphis is Broken"

and he knows how to fix it. Joe has been investigating Memphis City government for three years.

HE KNOWS HOW TO FIX IT!!

MS Pol goin down??

Link

Pay attention to Mississippi in the coming weeks. There's "rumors" that the Feds have offered a felony plea deal to an un-indicted "high profile politician" in regards to a failed beef processing plant that taxpayers ended up paying for. Very interesting....

Fat Lady not singing-Phil Williams-NewChannel5

Phil Williams says that, although Al Ganier's plea agreement marks the end of a five year criminal investigation, there are MANY, MANY questions left unanwered. A very good read for those who have followed this case. Kudos to Phil and NewsChannel5 being the catalyst for this case and then following it to the "conclusion".....for now.

Link

But here's my question: after I first revealed the bogus contract, why didn't Sundquist order his staff to investigate and fix the problem?

I also raised questions about whether the company was filing bogus invoices with the state, which auditors later confirmed

Did Sundquist ever ask his friend to repay taxpayers?

Instead, he defended Stamps as "a good person" and attacked my reporting about the Workforce Strategists contract as "tabloid journalism."

[...]

And where was Sundquist on ENA's contract?

"There is, in fact, some evidence that Sundquist interceded in some way on behalf of ENA with respect to at least one contract," wrote U.S. District Judge Karl Forester in one opinion as the Ganier case dragged through the court system.

As to the nature of that evidence, that remains sealed in the court files.

$10 mil earmark that nobody wants in Fla

except the political contributor of the Alaska Congressman who requested it.

Link

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 — It is not often that a local government tries to turn down $10 million in federal construction money.

But then it is not every day that an Alaska congressman surprises a Florida community with the gift of a highway interchange that just happens to abut the property of a major political fund-raiser.

The money for the interchange was the work of Representative Don Young, the Alaska Republican who was chairman of the transportation committee before the last election.

Officials of Lee County considered the project a low priority, environmental groups opposed it and the Republican congressman from the district never asked for it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Recall of local officials is Constitutional

Link

A constitutional amendment is not needed to recall local officeholders, but two area General Assembly members said they are not inclined to seek passage of a bill that would give local residents that option.

The Tennessee attorney general's office issued an opinion stating that a constitutional amendment is not needed for recall elections of local elected officials because the Tennessee General Assembly could pass a law allowing recall of those officeholders.

Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, said he would follow the sentiment of his district in deciding whether to support recall legislation. So far, he said, he has heard from more people who oppose such a measure.

"We can recall these guys every time we have an election anyway," Rep. Floyd said.

State Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said he requested the opinion after reading about local tax opponents who said they wanted to recall county officials who supported a countywide property tax increase this year.

"No one contacted me about this," he said. "I asked the question just out of curiosity myself."

Hillary Nutcracker

Link

IRS charges Chattanooga Schools $650k

A "computer glitch" caused the Hamilton County school system to under report and pay payroll taxes. The IRS sent them a bill for $944,000 but negotiated it down to $650,000. Hmmmmm, wonder if they would cut the rest of us the same slack??

Link

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - The Internal Revenue Service insists the Hamilton County School system must pay $$650,000 in penalties and interest for under-reporting payroll taxes.

The amount is much more than the $27,000 the schools failed to pay in the first three quarters of the 2006 calendar year.

School officials say they discovered a computer glitch that caused the under-reporting and they paid the taxes in January.

The IRS came back with a $944,000 bill for interest and penalties.

The school system filed an appeal the waive the bill in May, but found on August 9th the federal government was willing for forgive only part of the penalty.

Chief Financial Officer Tommy Kranz told the school board the error came in January 2006 when the computer payroll accounting system erroneously generated two payroll tax numbers. The district then based its calculations on the wrong number.



Pentagon Paid $998,798 to Ship Two 19-Cent Washers

Link

The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq, and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pentagon records show.

The owners of C&D Distributors in Lexington, South Carolina -- twin sisters -- exploited a flaw in an automated Defense Department purchasing system: bills for shipping to combat areas or U.S. bases that were labeled ``priority'' were usually paid automatically, said Cynthia Stroot, a Pentagon investigator.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Athens TN doc wrote 35,000 unlawful prescriptions

Link

A former Athens, TN Orthopedic Surgeon pled guilty to Obtaining Drugs by Fraud and Conspiracy to Obtain Drugs by Fraud earlier this week after a lengthy investigation conducted by the TBI’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Dr. Loren Nichols, 40, was arrested in April of 2006 and accused of writing prescriptions for self-use and for the use of his friends and family, many of whom worked for him. A two-year investigation revealed his writing more than 35,000 unlawful prescriptions of controlled substances. In July of 2007, Nichols faced 20 additional charges of Dispensing Prescriptions by Fraud as well as the original two fraud charges. There were nine other defendants related to this case. The majority of them have also pled guilty.

Nichols owned a practice on Cook Drive in Athens, TN and performed surgery at the Athens Regional Hospital from May 2003 until October 2004.

The Tennessee Related Boards suspended Nichols’ medical license in October of 2004. This week’s conviction resulted in his being sentenced to two years probation.

TennCare's Week Long Picnic-WSMV

Nancy Amons, WSMV, reports that TennCare is having a week long picnic, on the clock. I can see a little esprit de corp builder but not on the clock....maybe a Saturday afternoon thing with families but not a week long vacation.

Link

At a time when a state program is facing an important federal deadline this week, TennCare is holding a weeklong outing for their workers that involves playing golf, having a scavenger hunt and playing softball.


Taxpayers will cough up $5 million more for Preds?

WHAT!!!! It never fails. Thank goodness for Brad Schrade and the Tennessean on this scoop. OF COURSE they didn't want to make it a campaign issue. They would prefer that taxpayers simply hand over their bank account numbers so they can make the withdrawals as needed!!....holy mackeral....the arrogance, the chutzpah....what kind of damn fools do they think we (or our elected representatives) are!!!! This is un bleepable believable.

Link

Taxpayers could have to pay $5 million more per year to keep the Predators in Nashville under a new lease proposal by a group of local buyers, city officials have estimated, and the buyers are trying to keep the details from the public.

The city would pay the additional money at the Sommet Center, under a series of lease concessions the group says is necessary to close a deal to keep the professional hockey team from leaving town.

Taxpayers now pay about $13 million a year, and the added $5 million cost has been projected by the city finance department in a new analysis.

[...]

"We have a legislative strategy in place that will not require public disclosure of the specifics of the ask nor necessitate any response thereto on the campaign's part prior to the election although we will need to have a Sports Authority meeting prior to election day where certain parameters of the proposal will be publicly discussed," attorney James Weaver writes to mayoral candidate Karl Dean and an associate of candidate Bob Clement.

The e-mail goes on to say, "It is our desire, and frankly the driving force behind our legislative strategy, that this decision not be an election issue."