Sunday, November 30, 2008

What is your Travel Geography IQ

Scroll down to the map. Starts out easy but then gets tough.


Amazing Stop Motion animation using Dice

Fujiya & Miyagi- Ankle Injuries from Insound on Vimeo.

Railroad pension scandal unfolding

In fact, the percentage of Long Island Rail Road union employees who end up getting disability benefits is so huge, it boggles the mind: up to 97 percent. That's almost all of them.

For instance, the New York Times investigation found: "The 12 highest-paid Long Island Rail Road engineers in 2006" were healthy enough to earn generous salaries, most "over $200,000." But just two years later, they've all retired and gone on disability. The same is true of "the top-earning conductors."

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board was started in the 1930's as a sort of social security and disability program for rail workers. But unlike regular Social Security, it approves nearly all occupational disability requests, and doesn't require rehab or medical re-evaluations.

Two Britains, One public, one private


So middle Britain has been doubly betrayed. First, all those stealth taxes since 1997 didn't give us properly reformed public services. Our schools still under-perform: expensive new buildings are no substitute for tackling outdated working practices and LEA bureaucracy. Classes are closed in term-time for staff training. My local NHS Trust diverts cash from beds and drugs to employ a "Director of Civic Engagement". Only half of Britain's fire engines carry a defibrillator while half a billion pounds is wasted on regional fire control centres, announced in 2000 but now not ready until 2011.

But second, we're now told that all this isn't in fact sustainable. In Monday's mini-budget we learnt that we must pay even more; in fact, half of all taxpayers will have to pay more in two years' time to bail out our bankrupt public finances. New Labour's contract with middle Britain has been truly shattered. Hard-working families struggling in a recession must pay higher National Insurance to fund bureaucrats who can't be sacked, however inefficient, whose pay is index-linked and whose pensions are worth three times as much as theirs.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Michigan Liquor lobby fights back, will ban all shipments

A Michigan judge recently ruled that Michigan can not ban out of State retailers from shipping to Michigan consumers. Big Liquor, ever resourceful, is now lobbying for a bill that will ban ANYONE from shipping wine, OR out of State.


On Nov. 11, Lansing lawmakers introduced a bill to solve the problem by banning all direct wine shipments by retailers, whether they're Michigan merchants or those in another state. The bill was approved in committee the next day and could sail through the Legislature in the lame-duck session beginning Tuesday and be on the governor's desk before Christmas.

"That's crazy," Chess said last week. "The state loses a lawsuit, and they respond by punishing consumers and retailers. It seems to me Michigan can ill afford to be hurting businesses right now."

Americans Mistrust Politicians on Economy

You mean to tell me that most people don't think the geniuses in Congress are smarter than the rest of us? Hardly.....the problem, of course, is identifying the few people that serve in Congress who want to give us back the power so WE can make those decisions. The politicians are well aware of their own incompetence and the level of uncertainty involved, they simply don't want to give up the enormous power they have to effect the economy.


Polling Data

When it comes to addressing the nation’s current economic problems, how confident are you that U.S. policy makers know what they’re doing?

Very confident


Somewhat confident


Not very confident


Not at all confident


Not sure


Source: Rasmussen Reports
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,000 likely American voters, conducted on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16, 2008. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

The Original Winnie the Pooh Drawings

From a blog that is always a visual delight: BibliOdyssey


Friday, November 28, 2008

68% prefer "Merry Christmas" over "Happy Holidays"


Only one-quarter of adults (25%) favor signs that say “Happy Holidays.” Those figures are virtually unchanged from our survey conducted this time last year.

Men (71%) favor “Merry Christmas” slightly more than women (65%).

From a politically partisan perspective, Republicans (84%) overwhelmingly prefer “Merry Christmas” more than Democrats (51%). Far more Democrats (43%) wish for “Happy Holidays” signs than Republicans (13%).

In terms of age, men (73%) and women (68%) over 40 want signs to say “Merry Christmas” slightly more than men (63%) and women (55%) under 40.

Regardless of what the signs say, 53% will be attending a Christian church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day this year. That’s down four points from last year. One-third (32%) do not plan to go to a service.

Adults over 40 are much more likely to attend a Christmas service than those under 40. Also, married adults (59%) will go to a church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day more than those who are not married (42%). In addition, Republicans (68%) are more likely to go to a Christmas church service than Democrats (45%).

The Pigs give thanks for juicy Taxpayers

HT: Sharon Cobb

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Almost never enforced but you still owe the sales tax

on groceries bought out of State.

AP trying to take the fun out of Black Friday.


Farr said the tax can be paid with forms that can be obtained online or at department offices.

"You can file it as regularly as you would like, but at least once annually," he said.

He said "people are surprised" when they are told that out-of-state purchases require a tax filing.

"We do perform use tax assessments and investigations," he said. "Most people's defense is 'I didn't know.'"

He said that although grocery purchases "may not be an area of focus" for the department but failing to pay it becomes a tax liability and "should they ever be audited that could be something that is looked at."

The Revenue Department has programs in place to share information with other states about the sale of aircraft, boats, ATVs and jewelry, according to Joan Cagle, tax audit supervisor for Tennessee. The department also has worked with several furniture and carpet dealers in other states to help track out-of-state sales.

Academic/Scholarly Journal Search Sites



Sub-titled 'Your Life Science Magazine Rack', this site delivers the most recent life science literature as it is published direct from RSS feeds. You can browse for over 100 journals within life science by subject, see the most recently updated TOCs, search the content of TOCs (it's a bit slow), see the most 'popular' articles, and if you register, you can do a lot more. There are links to the full text of articles.

ticTOCs - Tables of Contents Service
Also based on scholarly journal Tables of Contents (TOCs), ticTOCs is a user friendly service that covers all subjects - over 11,000 journal TOCs are included from more than 300 publishers. You can Search for Tables of Contents, view the latest TOC for each journal, link to the full text of around 250,000 articles (where institutional or personal subscription allows), export TOC feeds to popular feedreaders, and select and save (by ticking them) journal titles in order to view future TOCs ( Register to ensure your MyTOCs are permanently saved). And more! ticTOCs is where researchers can now keep-up-to-date. Heriot-Watt University is one of the partners involved in developing this service, which was funded by JISC.

CiteULike Current Issues
CiteULike currently has over 11,000 journals online. You can browse all the recent articles in these journals.

From the University of Helsinki, FeedNavigator downloads medical RSS feeds published by websites and aggregates their content into a single feed, latest news first. This gives access to over 4,000 medical sources, including numerous journal Tables of Contents, which are updated continuously.
The latest issues of popular science journals on one page. You can select from various subject areas.

Zetoc RSS
Find journal TOC RSS feeds by name, keyword or subject. Zetoc produces its own feeds but has more than the other services mentioned above. Requires some knowledge of how RSS works.

55% to 27% favor more nuclear power plants


Polling Data

Should more nuclear power plants be built in the United States?





Not sure


Source: Rasmussen Reports
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,000 likely American voters, conducted on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13, 2008. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

Constitution of the old Soviet Russia: USSR


Very Nice Collection of Breaking News RSS Feeds


also, a very good search engine for News RSS Feeds HERE.

Yikes-Aborted landing in Azores in high cross winds

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Which Country has the most Progressive Tax?

The US. HT: Andy Roth

Percent of total income Percent total taxes paid
OECD Average28 %32 %
Germany29 %32 %
Czech R.29 %34 %
Netherlands28 %35 %
U.K32 %39 %
Italy36 %42 %
Ireland31 %39 %
U.S.33 %45 %

Advice for Bailout Applicants-How to Pandhandle

All of these suggestions will be helpful to corporate fat cats sucking up to Congress.

  1. Swallow your pride. Most people find it difficult to quietly beg for money from friends or relatives; it’s even harder to beg from complete strangers where everybody can see you. Still, you’re going to have to suck it up and be humble. If you've already exhausted the alternatives (see Tips) and begging is your last resort, it may help to keep in mind that in many countries, begging does not hold the stigma it does in most of the Western World, and in some places asking for alms is considered an honorable profession.
  2. Remember what you're offering. People who give you money do so because it makes them feel good. A person is more likely to help you if they can identify with you, and if they feel their contribution will make a significant difference in your situation. Sometimes, people give alms for religious reasons, and other times because they feel guilty for having been born with so much more than others without having necessarily earned it. The more you learn about why people give, the better you'll be at receiving.
  3. Clean up. Before you begin, make an effort to look presentable. You certainly don’t want to be smelling of alcohol, for example, but you also should comb your hair, practice overall good hygiene, and dress in clean, but cheap clothes. If you stand out, people are more likely to give you money. Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers so you don’t get too warm or cold. You want to present an image of a hard-working, normal person who is just like the people from whom you are asking for money, except that you’re a little down on your luck.

The 15 Most Valuable Paintings

Here is a picture of the most valuable painting at $147 million. Its 1948 by Jackson Pollack. What????


Sat Night Live alum loses 100 lbs-Horatio Sanz


We are all middle class now


For example, four-in-ten Americans with incomes below $20,000 say they are middle class, as do a third of those with incomes above $150,000. And about the same percentages of blacks (50%), Hispanics (54%) and whites (53%) self-identify as middle class, even though members of minority groups who say they are middle class have far less income and wealth than do whites who say they are middle class.

Salvation Army goes High Tech-Text Your donation

Instead of giving cash to the popular bell-ringing volunteers who collect donations at shopping locations, Memphians can donate $5 to The Salvation Army in Memphis by texting the word RING to 90999. After confirming the donation, the $5 donation will be applied to the user’s cell phone bill.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beer Tax Map

TN is lower than all contiguous states except KY and MO.


Poll: "sick" relationship between Fed Govt and Public

Poll results released on Monday by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and Gallup highlighted what the Partnership's president, Max Stier, characterized as a "sick relationship" between the federal government and the American public.

"We do not have the kind of support from the public the government needs to accomplish its mission," Stier said. "But these numbers describe what needs to take place to fix that relationship."

Survey respondents had a slightly higher regard for government workers than for agencies, but neither fared too well. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they thought federal employees did a good or excellent job, and 27 percent said the same of federal departments and agencies.

Teaching Geeks to make Eye Contact


Only in Japan would you find a DVD designed to help nerds practice making eye contact with other humans.

"I think the Japanese are shy people compare to Americans," says Yosuke Ito, creator of Miterudake (literally, "just looking"). "I'm not 100 percent sure you can overcome shyness with this DVD but I hope it helps somehow."

His disc features 50 people standing in front of a blank white background. They're all women, which Ito swears is just a coincidence. They stare into the camera and occasionally say stuff like "I want to leave" or "That's enough."

There are elderly ladies, pretty girls, foreign women, children and even twins to gaze at. The idea is that once geeks build up confidence by making eye contact with the 2-D ladies on the DVD, they can then venture into the meatspace world.

South Carolina Sales Tax Holiday for Guns


Columbia, SC—Most people are probably unaware of it, but on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, handguns, rifles and shotguns will be sales tax free in South Carolina. State lawmakers passed a bill in June that includes the sales tax holiday on firearms. They called it the Second Amendment Recognition Act.

Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Greenwood, was the sponsor of the original bill. He said he got the idea after talking to the owners of a hunting outfitters shop in Clinton about the late summer sales tax holiday for back-to-school supplies and clothing. The store owners said they could use the stimulus, too. “It was to help dealers,” Rep. Pitts says. “Another point was to bring recognition to the 2nd amendment.”

Kent Parsons, manager of Barron’s Outfitters hunting and fishing store in Columbia, says the days after Thanksgiving are typically busy sales days anyway. He’s hoping that even more people than usual will be buying shotguns and rifles from his store since they’ll be sales tax free. Sales tax will still be charged on ammunition and accessories.

Gratuitous Cuteness...and this is a REAL horse


68% to 20% Favor offshore drilling


Polling Data

Should drilling be allowed in offshore oil wells off the coasts of California, Florida, and other states?





Not sure


Source: Rasmussen Reports

Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,000 likely American voters, conducted on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13, 2008. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

Kisber wants a bailout for VW bribery

This is so contorted and twisted that its hard to follow. But lets try: Matt Kisber secretly negotiated a deal with Volkswagen to give away hundreds of millions in taxpayer money. Now he wants those same taxpayers (Hey Matt, the same taxpayers who pay State taxes also pay Federal taxes) to bailout...err, themselves.


NASHVILLE — The state’s top economic recruiter says he hopes any federal stimulus package for states next year would allow Tennessee to use some of the money to help pay part of its commitments to the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

“We’ve conveyed to members of the congressional delegation that having it broad enough to cover the types of infrastructure that are required for things like VW and the other types of large projects would be very helpful,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber said.

Mr. Kisber said it would be “a great partnership between the federal and state governments in supporting these job-creating opportunities — which is what stimulus is all about.”

Volkswagen announced in July it would locate a $1 billion assembly plant employing 2,000 people at Enterprise South industrial park in Chattanooga. Tennessee’s incentive package for the company includes agreements to spend $229.7 million on plant-related investments, including $80 million to get the site ready for the plant, roads, upgrading and relocation of rail lines.

Monday, November 24, 2008



The workers were employed by a former CNN subcontractor Team Video Services (TVS). TVS provided technical work at CNN's D.C. and New York bureaus for more than 20 years. In 2004 CNN terminated its subcontract with TVS and announced they would hire their own employees to provide the video and audio services. The complaint was filed in April, 2007.

Judge Amchan found that CNN was a joint employer with TVS and therefore the network was obligated to recognize and bargain with NABET. (CNN's employees in the bureaus were not part of NABET).

"CNN disagrees with the recommended decision and denies that it violated the National Labor Relations Act," a CNN statement emailed to TVNewser concludes. "CNN plans to appeal this decision to the full NLRB. Because an appeal will be filed, the Judge's recommended decision is not enforceable and is not binding."

New Super Fast High Definition CT Scanner

So fast that you don't even have to hold your breath.


A scan of the entire heart can be performed in only 250 milliseconds, which is less than half a heart beat. In addition, it is possible for physicians to reliably display a heart with a fast pulse or an irregular heart beat without using beta blockers, thus simplifying the workflow and yielding clinical and financial advantages. Owing to its high scanning speed, the Somatom Definition Flash also features new possibilities for performing CT examinations of the heart in the sub-mSv range. This represents a much lower radiation dose than is obtainable with conventional systems, which require doses ranging from 8 mSv to more than 40 mSv. For the first time ever, the heart can thus be examined at a radiation exposure level that is three times lower than the background radiation a person naturally absorbs in a year.

25 Best Cities to find a job

Link HT: J Walk

The top 10 are:

  1. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  2. Rapid City, South Dakota
  3. Idaho Falls, Idaho
  4. Bismarck, North Dakota
  5. Houma, Louisiana
  6. Morgantown, West Virginia
  7. Logan, Utah
  8. Fargo, North Dakota
  9. Casper, Wyoming
  10. Billings, Montana

TN Family with 16 children, all Homeschooled and

the father is self-employed and they refuse welfare.

Link HT: Michael

They get by on Gil Bates' income from his small family business, Bates Tree Company.

They're eligible for welfare subsidies but refuse to take them. "We want to be on the giving end," said Kelly Bates.

Still, she says, "We love yard sales and thrift stores."


Here's the lineup: Zachary, 19; Michaela, 18; Erin, 17; Lawson, 16; Nathan, 15; Alyssa, 14; Tori, 12; Trace, 11; Carlin, 10; Josie, 9; Katie, 8; Jackson, 6; Warden, 5; Isaiah, 4; Addallee, 2; and 18-month-old Ellie.

An Obama supporter gives good Edu-advice

Unfortunately, he doesn't mention Home schooling but otherwise he hits the nail.

Link HT: Jay P Greene

If children were their sole concern, Democrats would be the champions of school choice. They would help parents put their kids into whatever good schools are out there, including private schools. They would vastly increase the number of charter schools. They would see competition as healthy and necessary for the regular public schools, which should never be allowed to take kids and money for granted.

The Democrats also need to get serious about the downside of collective bargaining. They have long looked the other way as labor contracts impose page after page of onerous work rules -- basing teacher assignments on seniority, for example, or making it virtually impossible to dismiss anyone. These rules fundamentally shape -- and distort -- the organization of schooling. Because of them, schools are organized to promote the interests of adults, not children. This needs to change.

It just keeps $7.4 Trillion


Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government is prepared to lend more than $7.4 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers, or half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, to rescue the financial system since the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.

The unprecedented pledge of funds includes $2.8 trillion already tapped by financial institutions in the biggest response to an economic emergency since the New Deal of the 1930s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The commitment dwarfs the only plan approved by lawmakers, the Treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Federal Reserve lending last week was 1,900 times the weekly average for the three years before the crisis.

Congress to bailout the Detroit Lions

Link (satire) HT: Tax Foundation
Items being discussed include giving the Lions a four touchdown lead prior to kickoff in all remaining games, forcing Lions’ opponents to play at least one half of each game wearing blindfolds, and taking the best players from teams enjoying a bye week and adding them to the Lions’ roster.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Charlie Rangel is a tax criminal...not once but

many times over apparently. This is waaay beyond absurd. This man is responsible for writing OUR tax legislation.

Link HT: Insty
Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel took a "homestead" tax break on a Washington, DC, house for years while simultaneously occupying multiple rent-stabilized apartments in New York City, possibly violating laws and regulations in both cases.

The situation raises a number of potential problems for the congressman, including:

* New York City law requires that tenants use rent-stabilized apartments as their primary residence.

* DC's real Property Homestead Deduction Act also requires that a property receiving the benefit be a primary residence.

* Tax lawyers told The Post that a property owner cannot have two primary residences - or take advantages provided to primary residences at two different addresses simultaneously.

* DC's law also requires that the owner of a property benefiting from the tax break be a personal-income taxpayer in DC. District law exempts members of Congress from paying personal DC income tax, but they must pay property tax.

Judge Jim Gray talks about decriminalizing drugs

Judge Gray's website

BaseJump from World's Tallest Bldg in Dubai

Change your work environment instantly


Train Tracks
Busy Restaurant
Wind Chimes

More than you will want to know about any TN City

Database of Tennessee City Demographic information on


Blogosphere Meme/Quote Tracker

Here is the graph for "you can put lipstick on a pig"


Government Pay Databases around the US

Tamara Thompson at PI Buzz has compiled a list HERE. Her entries for TN are:

Federal Employees in Tennessee
Government Salary Database
Knoxville/Knoxville public employees, top 10% earners

She also points to an effort to consolidate all govt employees in a single database:


Should School districts have taxing authority? No

In very liberal Oregon, with a poll commissioned by the Oregon School Board Association the answer is: No.


A Libertarian Defense of Social Conservatism

I'm still searching for the mythical creature that is the "financially conservative, socially liberal" politician. In virtually every case, the pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage politician is the first to vote against a tax cut, the first to vote for more spending and quick to compromise principles on any issue there is.

Using the National Journal's ratings of Senators in 2007, the correlation coefficient between "economic" scores and "social" scores is 90%. That means they almost always go together; financial conservatives are social conservatives and vice versa. Every Senator scoring above 60 in economic issues, scored above 50 in social ones. Every Senator scoring below 40 in economic issues, scored below 50 in social ones. If there is such an animal as a "financial conservative, social liberal", it does not exist in the US Senate.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NYC Churches ordered to stop serving homeless

The arrogance and insanity of bureaucrats has reached a new low.

NEW YORK (CBS) ― City officials have ordered 22 New York churches to stop providing beds to homeless people.

With temperatures well below freezing early Saturday, the churches must obey a city rule requiring faith-based shelters to be open at least five days a week -- or not at all.

Arnold Cohen, president of the Partnership for the Homeless, a nonprofit that serves as a link with the city, said he had to tell the churches they no longer qualify.

He said hundreds of people now won't have a place to sleep.

WTVC investigates Chattanooga School Salaries

Hamilton County has highest paid school superintendent in State.


Poll: Most consider Web most reliable News source


A Zogby Poll, commissioned by IFC, found 37.6% of those asked consider the Internets the most reliable source of news. 20.3% consider national TV news most reliable and 16% say radio is the most reliable source.

Also revealed:

• 39.3% of those surveyed trust FOX News most for the issues they consider most important, followed by CNN with 16% and MSNBC with 15%.

• 72.6% believe the news they read and see is biased.

• 88.7% Republican and 57.5% Democrat respondents describe the news media as biased.

Friday, November 21, 2008

UAW will get a very good return on their money

if the auto bailout is approved.


Obamas CHOOSE private school

HERE is the article and here is the tuition page from the school web site.


Tuition and Fees

Tuition for 2008-2009
Lower School
Middle and Upper Schools

Tuition includes a daily hot lunch, curriculum fees, and Lower School textbooks.

Additional annual fees are:

Lower School Parents Association Fee $50
Middle School Parents Association Fee $55
Upper School Parents Association Fee $75
Middle School Textbooks $250-$300
Upper School Textbooks $500-$600
Bus Transportation (Optional)
Daily trips between Washington, DC and Bethesda, MD campuses
Lower School Aftercare (Optional)
1 to 5 days per week
$1,485 to $5,250
Middle School Aftercare (Optional) $650 per trimester

Police Dashcam of Meteor over Edmonton, Canada

A Big MTSU College cheer for NO FEE HIKE

Matthew has the story. Whats wrong with these kids...don't they want to spread their wealth??


MTSU students handily defeated the proposed activity fee increase this week via PipelineMT. Over 5000 students voted on the referendum - more students than voted in the last SGA Election, and the vote totals looked like this:

Yes - 974
No - 4034

The Doc will Webcam you now


American WellTM is a new healthcare marketplace. With American Well, consumers interact with physicians immediately, from home, using Web-based videoconferencing, secure chat and telephone. Physicians offer electronic consultations for a fee, at a time and place of their choosing, supporting a more balanced practicing lifestyle.

Argentina Nationalizes Private Pensions

"nationalizes" = using the power of government to steal.


Argentina’s Senate on Thursday night comfortably passed a bill to nationalise the country’s private pension funds in the final congressional hurdle for the government’s controversial plan.

A month ago, investors and financial markets were shocked by President Cristina Fernández’s announcement that she planned to nationalise the 14-year-old pension system, and saw the move as an ill-concealed asset grab designed to plug a hole in the government’s $21bn debt servicing requirements next year. The government denied this, saying it was simply rescuing a flawed system that had never worked well.

The private pension funds, known as AFJPs, were widely criticised for charging high commissions but the sudden way in which the president announced the nationalisation plan, and its speedy course through Congress, have done nothing to calm fears among investors that the government will flout property rights and take any measures it considers necessary to keep public finances flush.

The Senate approved the bill by 46 votes to 18 with one abstention. Under the new regime, the AFJPs’ $26bn in assets and annual contributions of up to $5bn will pass to the state social security administrator, Anses, which will be responsible for all retirees under the state’s pay-as-yo-go system.

Now we know things are REALLY bad!!


Rolls-Royce plans to cut up to 2,000 jobs worldwide, including 140 in the UK, after reviewing the impact of the current economic "uncertainties", the aerospace giant announced today.

The firm said it had started consulting unions about the proposed job losses at its assembly and test facility in Derby, part of the group's civil aerospace business.

Rolls-Royce, which employs 39,000 workers globally, 60 per cent of whom are based in the UK, said the announcement was the first stage in a more general programme aimed at matching the group's capacity more closely with the expected load in its facilities.

Silly Taxpayers, its not $700 Bil, its $4.28 Tril

What???? You thought that you were on the hook for only $700 billion....riiiiight! We're talking the US Congress here folks.....its already $4.28 Trillion and counting.


Financial Crisis Balance Sheet
Government EntitySum in Billions of Dollars
Federal Reserve

(TAF) Term Auction Facility900

Discount Window Lending
Commercial Banks99.2
Investment Banks56.7
Loans to buy ABCP76.5
Bear Stearns29.5
(TSLF) Term Securities Lending Facility225
Swap Lines613
(MMIFF) Money Market Investor Funding Facility540
Commercial Paper Funding Facility257

(TARP) Treasury Asset Relief Program700

(FHA) Federal Housing Administration300
Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac350

Note: Figures as of Nov. 13, 2008

Hypocrisy beyond belief

Teacher Union President says it's ok for Barack and Michelle to CHOOSE the school which is best for their children...even if its a private school.


Clarksville Taxpayer ALERT: costs double

for internet fiber to home project. This looks like a boondoggle in the making. Its very strange that the Leaf-Chronicle headlines this story in a way that completely misses the most important issue, the $50 million deficit for the fiber to home project.

At Wednesday's Power Board meeting, new Clarksville Department of Electricity President Rick Ingram told the board the utility needed about $50 million — in addition to an original $55 million bond issue — to complete the original fiber-to-the-home network envisioned by the utility.

In proposing a potential escape route, Ingram invited in representatives of the Community Communications Authority, which proposed building a $35 million wireless network to complete the utility's telecommunication project.

CCA officials said the utility could recoup its costs by increasing its current telecom offerings — including TV, Internet, and soon, phone — to include cellphone plans.

"We've not decided to get into the wireless," board member Wayne Abrams said. "This is something we're going to study."

"You don't just let somebody come in and do a presentation and sign a contract for $35 million," he said.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Very Nice Searchable Earmarks Database

From Legistorm...building on their other databases.


Can Drug Labels/Health Anxiety make you sick?

Yes, apparently they can.

Link HT: John Goodman

Nocebos can even be fatal. In one classic example, women in the multi-decade Framingham Heart study who thought they were at risk for heart attacks were 3.7 times as likely to die of coronary conditions as women who didn't have such fears -- regardless of whether they smoked or had other risk factors.

Research deliberately causing nocebos has been limited (after all, it's kind of cruel). But in one 1960s test, when hospital patients were given sugar water and told it would make them vomit, 80% of them did.

Studies have also shown that patients forewarned about possible side effects are more likely to encounter them. In a study last year at the University of Turin, Italy, men taking finesteride for enlarged prostates who were informed that it could cause erectile dysfunction and decreased libido were three times as likely to experience such side effects as men who weren't told.

"People's expectations play a very important role in how they react to all medications," says Richard Kradin, a physician and psychoanalyst at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and author of "The Placebo Response and the Power of Unconscious Healing." He notes that about 25% of patients who get completely inert placebos in clinical trials complain of side effects -- typically headaches, drowsiness and dizziness.

Pictures of all New Members of Congress

Here is Phil Rowe from the TN 1st District. All other pictures HERE.

Come on Congress, Buy that Edsel

Home schoolers are a political force

Home schooling parents continue to assert themselves politically with great effect...this is one of the great untold political stories of the last 10 years. People like Kay Brooks, for example, have made a huge difference in the political landscape in Tennessee.

It is sad that parents must assert a right to control the education of their children but the lesson is clear, freedom must be defended everyday.

By the 21st century, state laws were well established and uncontested, though nearly every year state legislators or judges, especially in the most permissive states, seek to increase regulations on home-schooling families in the name of accountability. Such initiatives nearly always fail due to the astonishing grass-roots organization and political mobilization of home schoolers. The most recent challenge to home schooling arose when a California court cited a 1929 state law that ostensibly requires home tutors to be state-certified. After several months of protests and concomitant uncertainty for the 160,000 home-schooled children in the state, the court reversed the ruling to permit home schooling as a “species of private school education” and came surprisingly close to finding in the federal Constitution a right to home school.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Auto workers paid to do crossword puzzles

From a 2005 Detroit News article via Ace. Why do the auto workers put up with this crap from their union...looks like this would be an insult.


WAYNE -- Ken Pool is making good money. On weekdays, he shows up at 7 a.m. at Ford Motor Co.'s Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, signs in, and then starts working -- on a crossword puzzle. Pool hates the monotony, but the pay is good: more than $31 an hour, plus benefits.

"We just go in and play crossword puzzles, watch videos that someone brings in or read the newspaper," he says. "Otherwise, I've just sat."

Pool is one of more than 12,000 American autoworkers who, instead of installing windshields or bending sheet metal, spend their days counting the hours in a jobs bank set up by Detroit automakers and Delphi Corp. as part of an extraordinary job security agreement with the United Auto Workers union.

The jobs bank programs were the price the industry paid in the 1980s to win UAW support for controversial efforts to boost productivity through increased automation and more flexible manufacturing.

Bailout Polls overwhelmingly say allow them to fail

HT: Andy Roth

SurveyUSA has been surveying various cities on whether or not the federal government should bailout out the auto industry. Here are a few:

Portland, OR: 60% say "allow them to fail"
Boston, MA: 64%
Tampa, FL: 54%
San Diego, CA: 54%
Seattle, WA: 60%
Oklahoma City, OK: 63%

Bredesen says taxpayers do have limits??

Phil Bredesen, after giving away hundreds of millions in taxpayer funded corporate welfare as Mayor of Nashville and says that there is a limit to the number of taxpayer dollars he is willing to give away. Wow, I am glad Phil's benevolence with OUR money does have its limits.


Bredesen, a Democrat, says the state has offered incentive packages to attract two major projects, and to a series of VW suppliers. He declined to name the companies, but said the offers of tax breaks will stand despite a growing budget shortfall and a dire economic outlook.

Bredesen says if the state is successful in landing either or both of the unnamed projects, it will be a good time for what he calls ‘‘a breather’’ on incentive packages.

Unconstitutional Special Favors for VW

The financial incentives for Volkswagen are just the beginning. All sorts of other unconstitutional (see below) favors are promised to VW in the memorandum that I posted yesterday (Thanks to Danny Newton for wading through this monster to point out some these outrageous conditions.)

Here is an excerpt from page 22 of a memorandum of agreement. Volkswagen wants special tax breaks on all their company owned vehicles from TN and AL and GA, a promise that other car manufacturers will not be able to get the same tax breaks etc. etc.

Article XI, Section 8 of the Tennessee Constitution says in part:

No corporation shall be created or its powers increased or diminished by special laws but the General Assembly shall provide by general laws for the organization of all corporations, hereafter created, which laws may, at any time, be altered or repealed and no such alteration or repeal shall interfere with or divest rights which have become vested.

1/3 of federal employees "fully engaged"


The survey found that about one-third of federal workers considered themselves to be fully engaged, while almost one-half are somewhat engaged and 17 percent are not engaged.

The report noted a connection between levels of employee involvement and specific outcomes, though the cause and effect were not always clear. Higher levels of employee engagement correlated with higher scores on the results and accountability portion of the Office of Management and Budget's Program Assessment Rating Tool.

Is TN caving to "Big Content"? EFF says YES

While the entertainment industry failed to get "hard" requirements for universities in the Higher Education Act passed by Congress earlier this year, the RIAA succeeded in Tennessee (and is pushing in other states) with this provision that gives Big Content the ability to hold universities hostage through the use of infringement notices. Moreover, the new rules will cost Tennessee a pretty penny -- in the cost review attached to the Tennessee bill, the state's Fiscal Review Committee estimates that the new obligations will initially cost the state a whopping $9.5 million for software, hardware, and personnel, with recurring annual costs of more than $1.5 million for personnel and maintenance. Not a penny of this will go to artists, nor to any of the record labels RIAA represents.

I wonder how many other State Depts are "saving"

WPLN is reporting the Tennessee Department of Human Services has been receiving more than they have been spending so they have some left over from previous years. I wonder how many other State Departments money left over and how much? And where can you find this information?

“We have been saving that money to make sure we had enough to get us through one or maybe two years of a bad economy with a caseload growing without having to come back to the state for additional funds.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

VW Memorandum of Agreement with State, Local

Govts and the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. This is the agreement referenced in this Times Free Press article.

50 page pdf file (3 megs)

Volkswagen is getting a variety of perks, in addition to sizable state and local tax breaks and financial incentives, to build its $1 billion, 2,000-employee plant in Chattanooga, a memorandum shows.

The state is committing $2 million, for example, for marketing and public relations for VW and the project, while the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce is creating an “ambassadors program” to help integrate VW workers into the city.

VW even can rename the portion of Enterprise South industrial park where it will locate the facility, according to a memorandum of understanding between the automaker, local and state governments and the Chamber.

The more-than-50-page memorandum is a detailed list of commitments each of the parties are expected to carry out in the future.

TV Investigation: John Ford's GF appointed to Library


Now, Action News 5 has learned Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton - one of Ford's former political colleagues - has hand-picked Mathews to run an important post at the Memphis Central library.


For Mathews, that may be a real problem. Her job application, obtained by the Action News 5 Investigators, is chock-full of spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Click here to review the application.

66 cold medicine cases in Hardin County

Most of the approximately 66 cases resulting from September’s first-ever major round-up of Hardin County suspects accused of violating the Meth Free Tennessee Act of 2005 are still working their way through the local court system.

Four cases have now been dismissed after the defendants produced documentation from their physician that explained their alleged purchase of more sinus medication containing ephedrine than allowed by the law. Most recently, on Nov. 4, charges were dismissed against Felica F. Allsup and Tracey D. Sisk, according to Hardin County General Sessions Court records.

What, never seen a man breastfeed in public?


Culturally Appropriate Healthcare

Donald Boudreaux is Chairman of the George Mason University Department of Economics. His blog, Market Correction, is a compilation of his letters to the editor. Here is a great one on "culturally appropriate healthcare."

6 August 2008

Editor, Washington Post
1150 15th St., NW
Washington, DC 20071

Dear Editor:

La Clinica del Pueblo's Mauricio Silva boasts that his clinic supplies "culturally appropriate health care" (Letters, August 6). I love this idea! And I presume that in this age in which diversity is celebrated and all cultural preferences are equally respected and protected, I can receive my own culturally appropriate health care.

In my culture - call it individualist - I am not forced to pay for anyone else's health care and no one else is forced to pay for mine. I'm free to choose to buy health-care insurance as long as it isn't forcibly subsidized. And persons in my culture are mortally offended at the prospect of being forced to participate in any collective scheme of health-care financing or provision.

I call upon all persons respecting diverse cultures to stand up for mine, which today is endangered - to help me and my fellow individualists protect our culture from forcible assimilation with the dominant one that is arrogantly trying to strip us of our unique cultural folkways.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, Department of Economics
George Mason University

Monday, November 17, 2008

An MTSU student skeptic

Here is his story.

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Barack's Letters to a Govt Union President

On October 20, just weeks before the election, Sen. Barack Obama sent six letters to John Gage (National President, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO.) These letters address concerns, apparently raised by Mr. Gage with then Candidate Obama. We have not seen Mr. Gage's letters, but Mr. Obama's stand alone. They address issues in six agencies: the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, Social Security Administration, Transportation Security Administration and the Labor Department.

New Yorkers Loud and Clear: Cut Spending

Seventy-five percent of voters think the state budget gap of $2 billion for this fiscal year should be closed by cutting spending, while 10 percent support increasing taxes and nine percent favor borrowing money.

Tennessee Major Market TV Station Links







Where do public school teachers send their children?


Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Change we can believe in..agenda pages restored

to Obama's

As of 12:30pm Alaska time, 11/16/2008, appears to have restored agenda pages to No explanation and still copyrighted. But progress.

Unbelievable quote by Barney Frank

Barney Frank is about to vote to spend billions of taxpayer money on an auto industry bailout that is quite likely to be a complete disaster and his thought: ''There's no downside to trying.'' Hey Barney, if this is risk-less, how about we use YOUR money.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said over the weekend the House would aid the ailing industry, though she did not put a price on her plan. ''The House is ready to do it,'' said Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. ''There's no downside to trying.''

Frank's committee has scheduled a Wednesday hearing on an auto bailout.

Drink up TN, we are just 49th in Binge Drinking

Only 9.2% of TN drinkers are binge'ers.

Nancy Pelosi: Now in charge of Car Design


Obama Action Figure Collection


G. I. O., the real American hero? Jailbreak Toys and Brooklyn music and design store Halcyon the Shop asked prominent contemporary artists like Suckadelic and Mars-1 to make their own customized, handmade toys. Here's what they came up with for our next President.

Ace is right...if Bush had suggested this policy

the left would have gone completely, certifiably bonkers. And, of course, they should have condemned it if Bush had proposed it as they should now condemn Obama.

Are you an idiot to keep paying your mortgage?


But what about the moral obligation to pay off a debt?

Elected officials have been chipping away at that by blaming the foreclosure crisis largely on predatory lenders. In a campaign fact sheet, President-elect Barack Obama says he "recognizes that the real victims in the subprime mortgage crisis are not the lenders, but the millions of borrowers who followed the rules and whose only crime was taking out mortgages that lenders told them they could afford."

Last year, Congress started removing some financial hazards of default when it passed a bill that temporarily waives the income tax on mortgage debt that is canceled when a homeowner is foreclosed upon, sells a home for less than the remaining debt (a short sale) or gets a loan modification that reduces the principal balance.

Global warming: "which may actually not exist"

Environmental zealots will still try to convince relevancy-starved politicians to "do something" but the mass hysteria that is the modern environmental movement is beginning to lose some of its momentum. However, their tyranny of good intentions will be a huge threat for some time.

Dr Pachauri, a former railway engineer with no qualifications in climate science, may believe what Dr Hansen tells him. But whether, on the basis of such evidence, it is wise for the world's governments to embark on some of the most costly economic measures ever proposed, to remedy a problem which may actually not exist, is a question which should give us all pause for thought.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Young Thomas Sowell on Welfare


"Lost in Transition" Transition Blog


$7 mil Book Deal for Sarah Palin


With Barack Obama’s election victory certain to generate dozens of volumes from politicians, strategists and journalists – and with another shelfload of memoirs expected from members of President George W Bush’s administration – Palin’s personal account of her tumultuous introduction to national politics is widely regarded as the book most likely to repay a multi-million-dollar advance.

“She’s poised to make a ton of money,” said Howard Rubenstein, New York’s best-known public relations adviser.

“Every publisher and a lot of literary agents have been going after her,” added Jeff Klein of Folio Literary management.