Saturday, May 31, 2008

Phil Bredesen: Some State Jobs are Fossils

Maybe we should do a little more digging and find MORE fossils. In fact, maybe we should get Indiana Jones to lead an expedition into the deepest darkest regions of State Government so taxpayers won't continue paying for other fossils.

Link
"There are some positions that are just leftover fossils from some previous something or other that now are getting identified."

His comments came shortly before state finance commissioner Dave Goetz held a capitol hill update on the $50-million dollar voluntary buyout package that will save 64-Million dollars in next years state budget by eliminating 2000 state government jobs.

Elect Me and I will represent your interests

Krauthammer on Environmentalism as savior of the left

Link
Two decades ago, however, socialism and communism died rudely, then were buried forever by the empirical demonstration of the superiority of market capitalism everywhere from Thatcher's England to Deng's China, where just the partial abolition of socialism lifted more people out of poverty more rapidly than ever in human history.

Just as the ash heap of history beckoned, the intellectual left was handed the ultimate salvation: environmentalism. Now the experts will regulate your life not in the name of the proletariat or Fabian socialism but -- even better -- in the name of Earth itself.

Environmentalists are Gaia's priests, instructing us in her proper service and casting out those who refuse to genuflect. And having proclaimed the ultimate commandment -- carbon chastity -- they are preparing the supporting canonical legislation that will tell you how much you can travel, what kind of light you will read by, and at what temperature you may set your bedroom thermostat.

Pompous Political Peacocks are posturing while

citizens are actually making effective, efficient decisions to adjust to higher oil prices.

The politicians will do something but, as always, it will be counter productive and too late to help anyway even if it were effective.

Professor Perry gives us the details
To help offset high gas prices, the 4-day work week is coming back (just like it became popular in the 1970s and early 1980s when gas prices rose); just another example of how consumers will find many ways to deal with $4 gas: buying smaller cars (see post below), driving less, and working four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days to achieve 20% savings, etc.

Bottom Line: Markets adjust, consumers adjust, producers adjust, employees adjust, employers adjust, everybody makes adjustments; that's part of the miracle of the market - continual adjustments to the never-ending dynamic changes in the economy and the marketplace.

Big Govt + Big Insurance = Big Tax Burden

Republicans and Democrats both selling out and taxpayers will end up paying for risky behavior by large corporations. This is very much like many of the ridiculous mortgage bailout bills.

At a time when the economy is more dynamic than ever and labor and capital are more mobile than ever, the last thing we need to do is get government involved in this process....the US Congress can screw up just about anything.

Link
The proposal -- backed by giant insurers Allstate Corp. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., as well as Florida lawmakers -- focuses on "reinsurance," the policies bought by insurers themselves to protect against catastrophic losses. The proposal envisions a taxpayer-financed reinsurance program covering all 50 states, which would essentially backstop the giant insurers in case of disaster.

The program could save homeowners roughly $500 apiece in annual premiums in Florida, according to an advocacy group backed by Allstate and State Farm, the largest writers of property insurance in the U.S.

But environmentalists and other critics -- including the American Insurance Association, a major trade group -- say lower premiums would more likely spur irresponsible coastal development, already a big factor in insurance costs. The program could also shift costs to taxpayers in states with fewer natural-disaster risks.

It gets better:

Critics cite that debt forgiveness as an example of how states with little or no hurricane risk can end up footing the bill for damage in flood-prone areas. "For years, federal flood-insurance backers told us the program was financially sound, but the storms of 2005 left it $17 billion in the hole," said Steve Ellis of nonpartisan budget watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Even some analysts hired by lobbyists for the federal program acknowledge it has its risks. "If you charge something less than the private-market cost for homeowners' insurance, that creates a potential incentive to increase exposure on the coast" -- in other words, to build in risky or flood-prone areas -- said David Chernick of Milliman Inc., an actuarial firm hired by ProtectingAmerica.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Gov Jindal pushes vouchers for poor NO parents

Link

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal's push to funnel state dollars into a program that would send some New Orleans students to private schools will get a debate in the full Senate after narrowly passing another legislative hurdle Friday.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 6-4 for the voucher program, the final approval needed to send the bill to the Senate floor. The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, already has approval from the House.

Supporters said the program would give students in failing schools in New Orleans the ability to get a better education and a better quality of life. Opponents said it would siphon dollars away from public schools and undercut school reform efforts under way in the city.

IRS worker indicted for snooping into 200 celebs

tax returns. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Every taxpayer in the US has their entire financial family history recorded by the IRS, the temptation is simply too great. Lets make the reasonable assumption that 95% of IRS workers are honest and would not snoop. Thats means the other 5% have complete access to data which is absolutely vital to the privacy of most citizens. This is completely unacceptable. This is just another very good reason to abolish the federal income tax.

Link HT: Club for Growth
MAY 30--An Internal Revenue Service employee snooped on the tax records of about 200 celebrities and athletes, confessing to investigators that he accessed the confidential material out of "curiosity." John Snyder, a 56-year-old tax examiner from Cincinnati, was named this month in a misdemeanor criminal complaint charging him with accessing the computerized accounts of "at least 202 taxpayers," almost all of which were Hollywood figures, sports stars, and "well-known Cincinnati-area individuals."

Free Classified Ads from Wal-Mart

Nashville

Knoxville

Memphis

Turning Algae into Gasoline

Link

Sapphire's "green crude" has been certified with a 91-octane rating, but the company disclosed few details about its technology.

Its process can grow algae using wastewater, and the executive team said it is confident that the technology can scale up to produce gasoline on a commercial scale.

Walking Machine Logger Robot

Link

Video: TV Camerman arrested by Police

Link

Video of the incident shows one of the officers walking away, looking at the photographer, and then walking out of frame while the other officer drives away from the scene.

The photographer then began to put his camera in the news vehicle to move to the media staging area when the officer begins circling around.

At that point the tape shows that the officer physically attacked the reporter.

Amazing New Prosthetic Arm from Dean Kamen

Link

Ala Senator McClain indicted: Bribery, money laundering

Link

State Sen. E.B. McClain has been named in a 50-count indictment by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud money laundering and bribery involving a program receiving federal money.

U.S. Attorney Alice Martin during a press conference today said McClain used his public office for "personal profit."

"He worked the 'pass through grant process not to help his community and those in need of GED training, but to line his pockets with over $300,000," Martin said.

McClain, 67, a Midfield Democrat, is already facing state theft charges. Both cases involve a $65,000 grant in 2002 from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to the Community Resource Center, a nonprofit founded by the Rev. Sam Pettagrue.

Pettagrue was also named in the federal indictment.

McClain, who was hired as a consultant for Pettagrue's nonprofit, received at least $55,500 from special legislative grants sent to the group from 2001 to 2003. At times he was paid directly from the state grants he requested for the group. Pettagrue was also charged in that case.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cap and Trade and Rube Goldberg

Link HT: Club for Growth

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce put together a great chart on the regulatory apparatus that would be needed to implement the economy-killing Lieberman-Warner global warming legislation. Not only would this be a massive expansion of government, but it would also have a devastating impact on states.

Small Scale Nuclear Power

Link

Start Up Junkies: new Mojo Reality Show on Hulu

Link

Feel the Pain: Non-Abductees Anonymous

Morristown Tax Hike pushers strategy change

Linda Noe continues her stellar job of documenting the tactics used to push a sales tax hike in Morristown. Voters defeated a sales tax hike a short four months ago after city fathers tried the hammer and nail approach. Now, those same folks are trying a quieter, gentler approach and the local newspaper is apparently going along.

Link
There actually IS a citywide special election on a sales tax referendum, and early voting ends today. Election Day is June 3.

There was a countywide sales tax referendum four months ago (February 5) that failed by a narrow margin.

It is amusing to observe and speculate about the dramatic difference in local newspaper coverage (Citizen Tribune) of the February 5 countywide sales tax increase referendum (THEN) and the current June 3 citywide sales tax increase referendum (NOW).

Free Sheet Music

Link

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The eBay of Webcam Language Tutoring: Edufire

Learn a language with your own personal tutor via webcam. EduFire is a fascinating new service where tutors offer their services for a set hourly price and students give feedback and testimonials.

This could well be a model for internet instruction for many types of subjects. My guess is that Edufire will soon be offering many subjects. This is a fascinating combination of eBay and social networking.

What % of tax filers pay NO tax?

Link



Four Types of Tax Returns




Single People

Couples

All


Individual

Head of


Joint

Filing


Returns


Returns

Household


Return

Separately

Total Returns

134,372,678

59,347,974

19,985,059

52,505,729

2,462,804

Paying Returns

90,593,079

41,900,154

6,572,893

40,081,458

2,004,781

Non-paying Returns

43,779,599

17,447,820

13,412,166

12,424,271

458,023









Fraction of Returns Non-paying32.58%
29.40%67.11%
23.66%18.60%

Govt wants to discourage teen drinking...ok, so they

hike the tax on so-called "alcopop" drinks (forgot to mention, this is in Australia) which are fruity, low alcohol content drinks aimed at teens.

So what happens, the teens simply buy more hard liquor and mix their own.

Link

PS-The comments are very funny. The first comment:
Hey !! It is not supposed to work that way. All the people drinking alcopop are supposed to stop it !! Why do you think they put the excise tax up on the stuff - c'mon, play fair you ex-alcopop drinkers. A five-year old could have worked out that a 750ml bottle of vodka and a bottle of fanta is cheaper than 6 cans of alcopop. Next the Government will tax people for going to school because they are becoming smarter !!

Taxpayers paid a $25,000 bar tab for OR "scientists"

Link
The audit, released Monday by the Department of Energy's inspector general, said the lab spent $236,300 on food and beverages for 318 people attending a four-day conference it hosted in Boston last year — almost 400 percent of the federal daily allowance.

Registration fees were used to pay for entertainment expenses, including a $25,000 bar tab at two conferences in Knoxville in 2006 and 2007. Some federal and contractor attendees may have even been reimbursed twice for meals on their travel vouchers, auditors said.

"Private firm hired to help struggling students"

Hmmm........lets ponder this for a minute, "Private firm hired to help struggling students" very interesting.

Link

Good news from Memphis!!! Taxes going DOWN

This is extraordinary!!! Mayor Willie Herenton was talking about a 58 cent tax hike....now, lo and behold, the City Council has actually looked at the budget and they may be able to CUT taxes.

Ok, Everyone sing!!.."roll out the barrel"

Link

Spending LESS on BAD things? What a concept!!

Hey, politicians may not be fast learners but lets give them their due when they get it right. Shelby County Commissioners want to get out of the Golf business...of course they shouldn't have gotten into the golf business in the first place but its nice to know that they can recognize a mistake...eventually.

Link

As budget hearings continued Tuesday, some commissioners questioned the county's spending priorities, saying they want to get out of the parks and golf course business and direct resources toward social services and pretrial programs to hasten inmates through the jail.

"Which services help us avoid a higher cost?" asked commission chairman David Lillard. "We have to look at what services are essential and we have to prioritize based on that. There are some things that are real easy and one of them is, are you going to run a golf course or are you going to fund these other essential services?"

Twenty Very nice, creative home offices

20 REAL nice home offices

Quiet Revolution since 1980: from 5.7% to 44%

In 1980, 5.7% of households owned stocks or mutual funds. In 2007 that number had grown to 44%...a quiet revolution.

Link

Big Pharma using excess profits to stall generics

Excess profits exist where monopolies exist. The federal Government grants drug companies monopolies for drugs they develop via patent laws. These government created monopolies result in excess profits. The drug companies then use these profits to buy off generic drug companies, paying them to agree not to offer generics.

The government granted patent monopoly period should be dramatically shortened or abolished.

Link
Makers of brand-name prescription drugs reached 14 agreements with makers of generic drugs to delay the generic drug makers entry into the market, according to a new report released by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC says these deals, which it has dubbed 'pay-for-delay,' are harmful to consumers, but it hasn't been very successful in blocking them to date. The agency is on record as supporting legislation that would ban such deals, but such measures haven't made much progress on the Hill due to opposition from both brand-name and generic drug makers.

The Reason Taxes Go UP: Political Power

When TaxPAYERS have political power, taxes stay level or go down and Governments are held accountable for how they use the power and money granted to them by the citizens.

When TaxTAKERS have political power, taxes go UP and UP and UP. California and Michigan are prime examples. Although Arnold has been timidly pledging to oppose new taxes, he will have no choice because TaxTAKERS have too much political power in California.

Link

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's inability to stop the growth of the state's payroll despite his pledges to reform government spending shows that he is hampered by a problem that has cursed many of California' governors before him, political observers said Tuesday.

In his first State of the State speech in 2004, Schwarzenegger said that "if we continue spending and don't make cuts, California will be bankrupt." But the fact that the state's payroll has mushroomed on his watch - as its budget deficit has grown to $17.2 billion - shows that promise was hard to keep, experts say.

Social Networks affect healthcare decisions

Alert the PRESS, re-write the textbooks, our behavior is affected by other people.

Link

The latest research comes from Nicholas A. Christakis, a medical sociologist at the Harvard Medical School, and James H. Fowler, a political scientist at the University of California at San Diego. The pair reported last summer that obesity appeared to spread from one person to another through social networks, almost like a virus or a fad.

In a follow-up to that provocative research, the team has produced similar findings about another major health issue: smoking. In a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, the team found that a person's decision to kick the habit is strongly affected by whether other people in their social network quit -- even people they do not know. And, surprisingly, entire networks of smokers appear to quit virtually simultaneously.

Taken together, these studies and others are fueling a growing recognition that many behaviors are swayed by social networks in ways that have not been fully understood. And it may be possible, the researchers say, to harness the power of these networks for many purposes, such as encouraging safe sex, getting more people to exercise or even fighting crime.

Chinese Real Estate Search Site

Link

Robots showing off

Another interesting JOB search site

Linkup.com

and as always, the best job search site so far:

Indeed.com

Communicate with your fellow drivers

Link

Electronic signature system for petitions

Link

A new high-tech system is being pioneered locally by the Ohio Petition Co., a Columbus business that sprang up after a strip-club issue dismally failed to qualify for the November ballot. Backers of the petition drive spent $1.5 million, but only 29 percent of the signatures were valid, dooming the effort.

Several other issues have suffered the same fate in recent years.

The new system uses a "digital pen" that captures signatures electronically on special paper. It transmits them to a BlackBerry, which, in turn, sends the information to a computer, where the signatures and accompanying details are checked visually against a statewide voter-registration database maintained by county boards of elections.

Ian James, a veteran Democratic political operative, saw a chance to fill the vacuum when the strip-club petition drive crashed.

"Our program is not the cheapest out there," James said. "But if you want cheap, you'll get failure."

"We guarantee that we will get your issue on the ballot," he said. If that doesn't happen, Ohio Petition will pay a "significant monetary penalty," depending on the size of the contract.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Free Economy

Very interesting take on the digital economy. HT Club for Growth

To Chattanooga Taxpayers: I am SO Sorry about

your recent loss. Oh, you haven't heard? Your city owned utility is about to start offering high speed internet. Blake Fontenay reminds you that a similar attempt in Memphis ended badly.

Plus, a little technological development called WiMax, soon to be deployed, may well make current technologies obsolete....good luck Chattanooga Taxpayers.

Google Espionage-Secret Russian Camp

Ok, calling it espionage may be a bit dramatic but Google Maps is an extraordinary tool for amateur sleuths.

Link

One of the few Govs who will FIGHT for Taxpayers

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.

Link
I am hereby vetoing H. 3567, R-288, which increases the tax on cigarettes by 50 cents per pack…I do so because the revenue from this tax increase is dedicated to the start of additional spending on health care – for which there is no additional revenue as these programs grow. In that regard, the bill represents two tax increases – an immediate one with the bill’s passage, and a second over time to pay for these new programs.

Taxpayers funding Tax Hike Propaganda...AGAIN

This is completely outrageous. The General Assembly should move immediately to top this abuse of taxpayers.

Linda Noe documents, again, the City of Morristown actually registering with the local Election Commission as a Single Measure Committee to raise and spend funds to promote a tax hike which they proposed. HERE is her full post.

I wish I could find words to describe the arrogance of these Morristown officials.

"Deadly neglect" from FDA

Every American adult citizen should have the right to politely listen to the FDA's advice and then make their own decision about their health and welfare.

Link

It's all very perplexing to the seventh-grader from Maryland, who doesn't understand why she's being denied medicine that might help her live longer.

"I really don't want to stop and I don't think we should stop," she said in an interview Thursday. "I know there are other drugs out there for me. ... I'm not happy with it. I don't think it's right."

With more than 550,000 Americans dying from cancer each year, such pleas are gaining increased sympathy on Capitol Hill. In an unusual alliance, conservative Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback and liberal California Democratic Rep. Diane Watson introduced legislation this week that would force the government to speed up its drug-approval process and make sure that terminally ill patients get quick access to investigative drugs.

"What we need is a system that looks at the patient and their life-or-death situation, not at a bureaucracy and its needs," said Brownback, a melanoma survivor. "This is deadly neglect and it can't continue."

$3,200 to obtain information from YOUR State Govt

Congrats, Tennessee citizens, YOUR State Government is now officially off limits.

Link

“Opryland.” “Party.” “Prizes.” “Training.” “Teamweek.” And an eight-letter expletive for orgy.

Those are the words that Drew Johnson, executive director of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, focused on when asking for e-mails regarding “Team Week,” an August training session for Tennessee Department of Revenue employees. The training week for 380 employees costs about $140,700, according to the department’s full funding request.

Mr. Johnson was curious to find out just what goes on during that week. The expletive has been mentioned as a nickname employees have used to describe the week.

He asked to look at messages sent between Jan. 1 and April 30 from the department’s commissioner and six others.

Revenue officials gave Mr. Johnson a choice. Department employees could go through the e-mails themselves for free, or the state’s Office for Information Resources could do it at a cost of $3,201 for each day of correspondence, they said.

Female Poll Tax Receipt 1942, Davidson Cnty TN

Click on image to see full size. (I pixelated the name)

Found this poll tax receipt at the Nashville Flea Mkt this weekend. Have done some research and found that the poll tax was levied 1889 and repealed in 1943. HERE is more info. If you have more info about the poll tax in Davidson County, please email me at taxusless@gmail.com.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Nashville is 43rd but doesn't deserve it, Memphis is 54th

Link






More Mars Images

Link

Mark Steyn masterpiece: oil exec testimony

Link

I was watching the Big Oil execs testifying before Congress. That was my first mistake. If memory serves, there was lesbian mud wrestling over on Channel 137, and on the whole that's less rigged.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz knew the routine: "I can't say that there is evidence that you are manipulating the price, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not."

Had I been in the hapless oil man's expensive shoes, I would have answered, "Hey, you first. I can't say that there is evidence that you're sleeping with barnyard animals, but I believe that you probably are. So prove to me that you are not. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence and prima facie evidence, lady? Do I have to file a U.N. complaint in Geneva that the House of Representatives is in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?"

Do it yourself Elf Ears

Link

UN wasting Billions on "Carbon Credits"

The UN wasting billions (of our tax dollars)...I am sooooo surprised.

Link

Billions of pounds are being wasted in paying industries in developing countries to reduce climate change emissions, according to two analyses of the UN's carbon offsetting programme.

Leading academics and watchdog groups allege that the UN's main offset fund is being routinely abused by chemical, wind, gas and hydro companies who are claiming emission reduction credits for projects that should not qualify. The result is that no genuine pollution cuts are being made, undermining assurances by the UK government and others that carbon markets are dramatically reducing greenhouse gases, the researchers say.

The criticism centres on the UN's clean development mechanism (CDM), an international system established by the Kyoto process that allows rich countries to meet emissions targets by funding clean energy projects in developing nations.

Biggest decline ever in miles driven

Link

RI "Tightens" Arts Budget...cuts $100k bird recording

Yes, indeed, those absolutely necessary art projects must be torn from the budget whilst lawmakers fight back the tears....a few examples:

Link HT: Governing

PROVIDENCE — First there were the $84,000 neon lights on the side of the Rhode Island Convention Center.

Then there was the $100,000 recording of birds chirping outside the new Kent County Courthouse.

And who can forget the proposed $500,000 cloud machine that would have floated into the terminal at T.F. Green Airport years back?

When it comes to using taxpayer dollars for public art installations, some lawmakers say it’s time to cap the amount of money spent.

A state law enacted 20 years ago requires that at least 1 percent of the construction budget for any new or expanded state building be set aside for an art installation that will make the building more inviting.

The idea was to promote the arts in well-traveled public spots and the law has helped place dozens of sculptures, paintings and murals around the state, in addition to the more unusual pieces.

Pols "worry" about cost of Gas...cost of Govt no concern

Luv this headline..."Pumped-up pols seek answers to gas woes." What a JOKE!

The state pols (in this case, Mass) have NO control over gas prices at all and yet, for those areas where they do have control, like college tuition, we never see them get "pumped up" over completely unjustified tuition hikes.

Link

Teacher runs in-school charm clinic

Wow, this takes me back...way back. Ms Lewis, my 4th grade teacher's class was pretty much a constant charm class, we even learned basic ballroom dance steps like foxtrot etc. She also wrote a play, which the class performed, that taught us how to receive a visitor to our home from another country.

Link
"Children aren't taught manners anymore," said Trice, who adapted the idea of in-school charm clinic from a relative.

Trice, who has been teaching for 27 years, said girls and boys in her charm clinic learn the importance of saying "please" and "thank you."

"The girls learn to sit like a lady, and the boys learn about shining their shoes and tying a tie," Trice said.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

How are cell phones affecting the fabric of society?

Very thought provoking article:

Link

Christine Rosen is a fellow at Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center; I like to think of her as the premier techno-scold of our time. Her classic 2004 essay, "Our Cell Phones, Ourselves," is a penetrating view of what the mobile phone has wrought and is worth revisiting.

There are the quotidian problems of the cell phone: The ringing interruptions which intrude on every aspect of daily life — in movies, at church, during dinner. In the infamous Paris Hilton video of a few years back — which surely you did not see — there was a moment when, in the midst of amour, Miss Hilton's cell phone rings off-camera. Hilton vaults off the bed at light speed, leaving her partner clutching at the air. The viewer hears Hilton shriek with recognition as she examines the caller ID; her playmate looks down dejectedly.

Perhaps few of us have suffered this level of cellular abuse, but the tweeting, beeping tone is a constant artifact of life these days, and one I suspect most of us would just as well do without.

And phonus interruptus is just the most obvious problem the cell phone presents. There's also the way it breaks down the walls of privacy. When people yack on their phones about the most personal matters in public, they are forcing the rest of us to become privy to their confidences.

Rosen's analogy is that it's "a form of communications panhandling — forcing our conversations on others without first gaining their tacit approval."

Yet there is a deeper problem still, as Rosen explains: The cell phone "encourages us to connect individually but disconnect socially, ceding, in the process, much that was civil and civilized."

Memorial Weekend Project: Pulsejet Bike

Link

Hi my name is Ben,"Nice to meet you Dan"

The internet is amazing.....here I was browsing news stories and find another guy named Ben has the same problem that I have experienced forever. You introduce yourself as Ben and people hear it as "Dan." Very weird...never heard anyone mention this problem before and bingo...I am not alone!!!

Link

A friend who is a speech therapist explained that the mix-up stems from my saying my name with a soft ‘b.’ To learn to say a hard ‘b,’ she suggested I place my hand in front of my mouth and practice repeating my name, so that I can feel my breath strike my palm.

I practiced and practiced, to no avail. Recognizing defeat, I have considered changing my name to Dan, but then everyone would probably call me Ben.

Another option is to go by Benjamin (I can hear it now, ‘Danjamin’). Benjamin, however, sounds to stuffy. I would rather be known as Dan.

Despite the difficulties it imposes, I am at peace with my dual identity. Given the ordinariness of my name it would be narcissistic to take offense at someone thinking I am one of the 1,193,150 Dans in America?rather than one of the 330,750 Bens.

US Firms to explore for offshore oil...in Bahrain

The geniuses in Congress won't let us drill for oil in our own waters...soooooo:

Link
Manama, Bahrain (AHN) - U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. will carry out new oil exploration in Bahraini territorial waters.

Dr. Abdul Hussain Mirza, minister of oil and gas authority, said the cost of the new discovery would range from $10- 20 million depending whether it is offshore or onshore.

"Oil exploration requires technical work which takes one to one and half years before it starts. The first oil well will be dug in 2010," Mirza was quoted as saying by the Bahrain News Agency.

Amazingly realistic special effects: Car Commercial

Banks prohibited because they produce no sales tax

Some Texas cities are beginning to restrict where banks locate. Why? Because banks don't produce any sales tax revenue. Holy Mackeral!! This opens up all sorts of opportunities for local governments to abuse their power. Anything that increases revenue is ok.

Our elected officials live in a bubble along with other TaxTAKERS who apparently believe their only mandate is to maximize revenue to feed the government beast. The ends justify the means.

Link HT: Empower Texas

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fingerprint Registry required in Lending Bailout Bill

For anyone related to the mortgage lending business.

Link HT: Flashpoint

Yet earlier this week, a measure creating a federal fingerprint registry totally unrelated to national security passed a U.S. Senate committee almost without notice. The legislation would require thousands of individuals working even tangentially in the mortgage and real estate industries — and not suspected of anything — to send their prints to the feds. The database and fingerprint mandates were tucked into housing and foreclosure assistance bills that on Tuesday passed the Senate Banking Committee by a vote of 19-2.

The measure the committee passed states that “an indvidual may not engage in the business of a loan originator without first … obtaining a unique identifier.” To obtain this “identifier,” an individual is required to “furnish” to the newly created Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry “information concerning the applicant’s identity, including fingerprints for submission” to the FBI and other government agencies.

[...]

The amendment adopted the fingerprint provisions in a section called the “S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act.” The fingerprints will be part of what the amendment calls “a comprehensive licensing and supervisory database.”

And the database would cover a broad swath of individuals involved with mortgage lending. The amendment defines “loan originator” as anyone who “takes a residential loan application; and offers or negotiates terms of a residential mortgage loan for compensation or gain.” It states that even real estate brokers would be covered if they receive any compensation from lenders or mortgage brokers. Since many jobs in both real estate and mortgage lending are part-time and seasonal, even some of the most minor players in the mortgage market may have to submit their prints.

Justifications listed in the bill for this database include “increased accountability and tracking of loan originators,” “enhance[d] consumer protection,” and “facilitat[ing] responsible behavior in the subprime mortgage market.”

Funny Political Photoshops

Bin Laden at the border. More HERE

The Idiot Tax

HT: Tax Guru

Vallejo California declares bankruptcy

Perhaps the police and firefighter unions will sue the taxpayers individually to collect their salaries, many of which were well over $100k.

Link

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Vallejo became the largest California city to seek bankruptcy protection a week after it rejected an offer by labor unions for $10 million in pay cuts.

The Northern California city listed assets of $500 million to $1 billion and debt of $100 million to $500 million in its Chapter 9 filing today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento. Bankruptcy protection would keep city services running and freeze creditor claims while officials devise a recovery plan.

``It's a bittersweet moment,'' City Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes said in a phone interview. ``It's bitter because our city is in such pain, but it's sweet because we are finally addressing our problems. We are finally addressing it head on.''

The filing came two weeks after the City Council's unanimous decision to file court papers seeking bankruptcy and talks with public safety labor unions failed to produce enough savings to keep the San Francisco suburb solvent. The bankruptcy makes Vallejo the first local government in the state to seek protection from creditors after running out of money amid the worst U.S. housing slump in 26 years.

Does Phil Bredesen love these children MORE than

their parents? Apparently he believes he does because he is saying that parents shouldn't be allowed to judge the safety of their schools.

Phil Bredesen is using the power, WHICH WE THE CITIZENS HAVE GRANTED TO HIM, to override their judgment. This is an extraordinary abuse of power.

Link
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Phil Bredesen vetoed legislation that would have exempted small, private Mennonite schoolhouses in Henry County from state fire safety codes.

Bredesen said in a letter to Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey that exempting the small schools would "erode Tennessee's reasonable system of building and fire code protections."

The sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Butch Borchert of Camden, said Bredesen's veto contradicts an earlier administration pledge to allow the exemption that was sought by parents of about 20 students.

Borchert said administration officials earlier told him they were "fine with it."

50% of union members would Stop paying dues

if only they could says a union boss who is fighting passage of a Right-to-Work law in Colorado. Right from the horses mouth, this union boss says that unions must collude with government to force workers to stay in the union...otherwise, given their natural right to freedom of choice, they would leave.

Big Labor uses government just as big business uses government...in fact those are the two largest sources of money and influence.

Link

What's so great about being in the union?

Half of Colorado's United Food and Commercial Workers would stop paying union dues if they could, according to the group's local president.

In a May 1 letter to members, Ernest Duran warns that the right-to-work initiative headed for Colorado's November ballot would decimate his ranks of dues-paying members.

"If this amendment passes, we will enter all future negotiations divided," Duran wrote. "In my opinion, we will enter with less than 50 percent of the workers as union members."

If Amendment 47 passes, no one could be forced to pay union dues. Under current state law, those working at union-organized companies may have to pay union dues whether they like it or not.

Memo to Pidgeons, don't mess with Pelicans

When Hillbillies go Green

Rep. Maxine Waters: Nationalize the Oil Companies

Maxine was obviously miffed when an oil company executive told her the truth so she said "this liberal" just might take the oil companies away from the mean companies and the GOVERNMENT would run them......Oh yes, lets have the US Congress run the oil companies...thats the ticket. Did Steve Cohen, in the background, nod yes in agreement?

Video Link HT: Club for Growth

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Improve your jokes

Link

Tax Hikes Galore-Maury and Rutherford Counties

Rutherford County Mayor wants $30 wheel tax hike

Mt Pleasant in Maury County has voted to raise water rates 20% and is also proposing a 37 cent property tax rate increase

New CBO web page on Effective Tax Rates for

different income groups.

Link

Senator Judd Gregg Video: "Farm Bill is Trash"

Link

Now OK for soldiers to have sex in Afghanistan...sort of

However, they must leave the door open...really, read on.

Link

JALALABAD, Afghanistan — Single soldiers and civilians working for the U.S. military in Afghanistan can now have sex legally. Sort of.

A new order signed by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-101, has lifted a ban on sexual relations between unmarried men and women in the combat zone.

General Order No. 1 outlines a number of prohibited activities and standards of conduct for U.S. troops and civilians working for the military in Afghanistan. Previously, under the regulation, sexual relations and "intimate behavior" between men and women not married to each other were a strict no-no. The regulation also barred members of the opposite sex from going into each other’s living quarters unless they were married to each other.

But the latest version of General Order No. 1 for Afghanistan, which Schloesser signed April 19, eases those restrictions.

The new regulation warns that sex in a combat zone "can have an adverse impact on unit cohesion, morale, good order and discipline."

But sexual relations and physical intimacy between men and women not married to each other are no longer banned outright. They’re only "highly discouraged," and that’s as long as they’re "not otherwise prohibited" by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to the new order.

Single men and women can now also visit each other’s living quarters, as long as everyone else who lives there agrees, and as long as visitors of the opposite sex remain in the open "and not behind closed doors, partitions or other isolated or segregated areas," according to the new regulation.

Unmarried men and women who are alone together in living quarters must leave the door open, according to the new policy.

Major Chicago Govt Bribery Indictments Today

Link
Federal authorities are set to announce charges Thursday against 15 people, including seven City of Chicago employees, after an investigation into bribe-taking at the city's Zoning and Building Departments.

Developers, contractors and city inspectors or other employees were arrested Wednesday and Thursday for bribery in connection with city building, zoning and construction permits, the U.S. attorney's office announced.

The investigation targeted city employees who allegedly took money to influence zoning applications or alter building plans, authorities said.

Memphis robber shot when he breaks in a second

time after cops leave investigating the first robbery. Kudos to this Memphis cop for explaining that citizens do have the right to protect themselves.

Link

Bus gives obnoxious driver a little nudge

Profanity at the end of the video.

Addictomatic.Com Tennessee News Search

Very nice comprehensive "Tennessee" news search including Blogs, Twitter, Videos, etc

Link

Teachers must sign pledge not to attend churches

that use musical instruments.

Link
Five Columbia (Tennessee) Academy teachers are in danger of losing their jobs unless they promise to end their relationship with churches that allow the use of musical instruments, a local minister and a teacher involved said Tuesday.

“It feels that they are being asked to choose between their job and their church,” said Russ Adcox, minister at Maury Hills Church, where all five teachers attend services.

Adcox said school officials deemed the teachers to be in breach of their contract because of a Good Friday service held at the church that included musical instruments. They are now being asked to sign a pledge promising not to participate or affiliate themselves with worship services that use musical instruments.

Interesting Wilder Interview on Fox17

said he almost quit after defeat for speaker.

When an Earthquake interrupts your wedding

Link

GOP asks: Why does everyone hate me?

Link

Medicaid Money Laundering-Enron is for chumps

The real money is in Government Fraud. The Enron thiefs were amateurs.

Link

The scene of this crime is Medicaid, the open-ended program that provides health coverage for about 59 million low-income people, with the rolls expanding every year. States determine eligibility and what services to cover, and the feds pick up at least half the tab, though the effective "matching rate" is as high as 83%. Now it turns out that states have been goosing their financing arrangements to maximize their federal payouts and dump more of their costs onto taxpayers nationwide.

The swindle works like this: A state overpays state-run health-care providers, such as county hospitals or nursing homes, for Medicaid benefits far in excess of its typical rates. Then the federal government reimburses the state for "half" of the inflated bills. Once the state bags the extra matching funds, the hospital is required to rebate the extra money it received at the scam's outset. Cash thus makes a round trip from states to providers and back to the states – all to dupe Washington.

Supt of Sewers playing golf on taxpayer's dime

Link

It takes an unhealthy mix of dishonesty and daring for a city employee to drive to a suburban golf course to play 18 holes on the taxpayers' dime.

You've got to be a fool to do it when you're carrying a cell phone with a GPS tracking device.

That's apparently what happened this week, landing the city's $106,115-a-year superintendent of sewers in the disciplinary equivalent of a sand trap.

Winston Cole has been placed on administrative leave with pay after he was tracked to an unidentified suburban golf course when he was supposed to be on the clock at the Water Management Department's South District headquarters, 1054 W. 95th St.

Court agrees to hear chimp's plea for human rights

Link

His name is Matthew, he is 26 years old, and his supporters hope to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.

But he won't be able to give evidence on his own behalf - since he is a chimpanzee.
Animal rights activists led by British teacher Paula Stibbe are fighting to have Matthew legally declared a 'person' so she can be appointed as his guardian if the bankrupt animal sanctuary where he lives in Vienna is forced to close.

An anonymous businessman has offered a substantial amount to cover his care, but under Austrian law only humans are entitled to have guardians.

The country's supreme court has upheld a lower court ruling which rejected the activists' request to have a trustee appointed for Matthew.

So now 36-year-old Miss Stibbe and the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories have filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The insists that the chimp needs legal standing so a guardian can be appointed to look out for his interests - especially if the sanctuary shuts down.

Miss Stibbe, who is from Brighton but has lived in Vienna for several years, says she is not trying to get the chimp declared a human, just a person.

'Everybody who knows him personally will see him as a person,' she said.

Opps...Congress forgets 34 pg section of Farm Bill

so the vote to override Bush's veto is null and void. Hmmmm...this would almost lead one to believe that NO ONE ACTUALLY READ THE BILL!!!!!

These idiots pass legislation everyday without reading the bills!!

Link

Only hours before the House's 316-108 vote, Bush had vetoed the five-year measure, saying it was too expensive and gave too much money to wealthy farmers when farm incomes are high. The Senate then was expected to follow suit quickly.

Action stalled, however, after the discovery that Congress had omitted a 34-page section of the bill when lawmakers sent the massive measure to the White House. That means Bush vetoed a different bill from the one Congress passed, raising questions that the eventual law would be unconstitutional.

In order to avoid those potential problems, House Democrats hoped to pass the entire bill, again, on Thursday under expedited rules usually reserved for unopposed legislation. The Senate was expected to follow suit. The correct version would then be sent to Bush under a new bill number for another expected veto.

TN Crime Reports on Google Maps

Nashville

Memphis

Knoxville

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Remember, Ethanol was brought to you by YOUR

US Congress. The same geniuses that are, as you read, actively looking for many other problems they can "solve" for us. May the big man up stairs have mercy on our pitiful souls.

Link
A Postal Service study found the new vehicles got as much as 29 percent fewer miles to the gallon. Mail carriers used the corn-based fuel in just 1,000 of them because there weren't enough places to buy it.

``You're getting fewer miles per gallon, and it's costing us more,'' Walt O'Tormey, the Postal Service's Washington-based vice president of engineering, said in an interview. The agency may buy electric vehicles instead, he said.

Flying Fish stays aloft for 45 seconds

59% oppose banning sale of handguns

Link

Would you favour or oppose a law that banned the sale of handguns?

Apr. 2008

Apr. 2007

Favour

36%

37%

Oppose

59%

55%

Unsure

5%

8%

Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,502 American adults, conducted from Apr. 23 to Apr. 27, 2008. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

Why did parents stay AWAY in droves?

From a meeting designed to get parental input on the choice of a new superintendent.

Because parents are not concerned with the qualifications of yet another education bureaucrat.

I have a suggestion: Call a meeting where you sign up parents for vouchers so PARENTS will have the power of choice. Such a meeting would make a REAL difference for parents...that meeting would be a success.

Link

Hillary's chances on Intrade dip to 6%

Link

Entitlement Reform that increases freedom & prosperity

Rep. Paul Ryan makes some REALLY good suggestions that would be a major step towards more personal freedom and empowerment. Those who want government to have more power will oppose these reforms tooth and nail, but those who believe individual citizens should be empowered will welcome them.

Link

- Health Insurance. The bill provides universal access to affordable health insurance, by shifting the ownership of health coverage from the government and employers to individuals. It provides a refundable tax credit – $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families – to purchase coverage. Individuals will be able to buy insurance offered by any provider in any state – not just the one where they live – and carry it with them if they move or change jobs.

This will encourage, and enable, people to shop for the coverage best suited to their needs and financial circumstances. Insurance companies will also have an incentive to diversify coverage at competitive prices. The active participation of individuals and families in a national, competitive market will restrain health-care costs.

The plan also establishes transparency in health-care price and quality data, so this critical information is readily available before someone needs health services. It also encourages the adoption of health information technology.

- Medicaid and Medicare. The bill modernizes Medicaid by giving states maximum flexibility to tailor their Medicaid programs to the specific needs of their populations. It also allows Medicaid recipients to avail themselves of the health-coverage options open to everyone else through the tax-credit option.

The bill secures the existing Medicare program for those over 55 – so Americans can receive the benefits they planned for throughout most of their working lives. Those 55 and younger will, when they retire, receive an annual payment of up to $9,500 to purchase health coverage – either from a list of Medicare-certified plans, or any plan in the individual market, in any state.

The payment is adjusted for inflation and based on income, with low-income individuals receiving greater support and a funded medical savings account.

- Social Security. Workers under 55 will have the option of investing over one-third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts. These personal accounts are likely to grow faster than the traditional benefit. They are also the property of the individual, and are thus fully inheritable. The bill includes a guarantee that no one's total Social Security benefits from the personal accounts will be less than if he had chosen to say in the current system.

Combined with a more realistic plan for growth in Social Security benefits, and an eventual increase in the retirement age, the Social Security program can thus become sustainable for the long term.

- Tax Reform. The current federal tax code is complex, burdensome and discourages economic growth. It cannot be fixed with incremental changes; it needs a complete overhaul.

To accomplish this goal, the bill first of all offers individuals a choice of how to pay their taxes – either through the existing law, or through a simplified code with a tax return that fits on a postcard, just two rates and virtually no special tax deductions, credits or exclusions (except the health-care tax credit). Taxpayers themselves choose which code serves them better.

The rates in the simplified code are 10% on income up to $100,000 for joint filers ($50,000 for single filers); and 25% on taxable income above these amounts. There is also a generous standard deduction and personal exemption totaling $39,000 for a family of four. The alternative minimum tax is eliminated. And to promote long-term investment in economic growth, taxes on capital gains, dividends and estates are also eliminated.

On the business side, the bill gets rid of our uncompetitive corporate tax – currently the second highest in the industrialized world – and replaces it with a business consumption tax of 8.5%, which is half the average industrialized world rate.

The roadmap I'm offering is a real plan, with real proposals, real numbers to back them, and real legislation to implement it. Based on the analysis of government actuaries, it is projected to make Social Security and Medicare permanently solvent, lift the growing debt burden on future generations, and hold Federal taxes to 18.5% of GDP.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Earmark Skimming"...corruption at a new level

Earmarks are bad enough. Now we learn they are just the beginning. Federal agencies have been skimming earmark money and have no accountability for how the "skimmed" money is spent.

Why in the name of all that is reasonable would anyone want to give the US Congress any more power over our lives?

Link

While many of his questions remain unanswered, Mr. Nelson says that federal agencies have been taking a cut from earmarked funds for years, some for unrelated purposes as varied as staff salaries and postage stamps.

Mr. Nelson calls the practice “earmark skimming,” and lately he has become increasingly vocal over what he describes as unaccountable federal bureaucrats diverting millions of dollars into agency “slush funds.”

“They are skimming a percentage of each earmark off the top and failing to disclose what happens to those funds they withhold,” Mr. Nelson said in an e-mail message.

More disclosure for thee but not for the TN General Assem-bly

In the "more than a little hypocritical" category, the Tennessee General Assembly passes a law requiring more disclosure for some private colleges but STILL refuses to subject itself to open records and open meetings laws and also refuses to pass a law requiring all State expenditures be posted on the web.

Mayor gets indicted over Text Msgs: The Result?

He declares text msgs private and inaccessible to open records requests. Unbelievable!

Link
Embattled Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick revealed to city employees last week a policy, which he implemented last month, making private all text messages from publicly-funded devices. The policy, which took effect on April 15, will prevent the public from accessing messages and pages under the Freedom of Information Act.

In March, Kilpatrick was charged with perjury and other counts after sexually explicit text messages contradicted what he said under oath regarding an affair with former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty.

62% prefer lower taxes and FEWER Govt Services

"Limited Government" is a contradictory term for many politicians. For most citizens, however, it is a great hope.

Link
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 62% of voters would prefer fewer government services with lower taxes. Nearly a third (29%) disagrees and would rather have a bigger government with higher taxes. Ten percent (10%) are not sure.

Those numbers have changed little over the past month.

Republican voters overwhelmingly prefer fewer government services—83% of the GOP faithful hold that view while just 13% prefer more government involvement. Democratic voters are evenly divided on this question: 46% prefer more government services, while 43% prefer less government services.

More secret meetings, more corporate welfare

All we know is that $100 million of OUR money is being given to a large corporation. Otherwise, we the taxpayers who will be taking this money out of our family budgets are completely in the dark.

Don't spend too much time worrying about

local property tax hikes. You will want to save a little of your worrying time for the complete disaster that is being created for you by the US Congress.

Link
The federal government's long-term financial obligations grew by $2.5 trillion last year, a reflection of the mushrooming cost of Medicare and Social Security benefits as more baby boomers reach retirement.

That's double the red ink of a year earlier.

Taxpayers are on the hook for a record $57.3 trillion in federal liabilities to cover the lifetime benefits of everyone eligible for Medicare, Social Security and other government programs, a USA TODAY analysis found. That's nearly $500,000 per household.

When obligations of state and local governments are added, the total rises to $61.7 trillion, or $531,472 per household. That is more than four times what Americans owe in personal debt such as mortgages.

The $2.5 trillion in federal liabilities dwarfs the $162 billion the government officially announced as last year's deficit, down from $248 billion a year earlier.

State to seize more "unclaimed" property

Better keep some activity going in your bank account...if the General Assembly thinks you have forgotten about the money they will quickly assume its "unclaimed."

Link
-- $10 million achieved by increasing the estimate of how much the state will receive in both the current year and next year from unclaimed property. State law provides that property held by financial institutions and other entities goes to the state if abandoned or unclaimed by the owner for a period of several years.

Newspaper Headlines you will never see:

This is an absolutely critical time of year for the family budgets of Tennessee taxpayers.

County Commissions and City Councils all across the State are deciding property tax Rates for next year.

Families all across Tennessee will be FORCED to CUT their family budgets if taxes are hiked and yet we NEVER see a headline alluding to FAMILY BUDGETS. We always see headlines about closing government budget "shortfalls" aka known as overspending. Why can't we see headlines like:

Oak Ridge Families face deficit after taxes hiked.

Betty Anderson lobbies on judicial selection, but not really

Betty Anderson is the wife of House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh. She lobbies for more than 20 organizations and probably makes (this is just my best guess) well over $100,000.

But we wouldn't know she was lobbying on this issue unless the Tennessean told us. Thank you Theo Emery.

Link

Anderson, incoming chairwoman of the bar association's legislative committee, said she had not broken any ethics laws because she was acting as a volunteer lobbyist, and lobbied on the issue less than the 10 days that would require her to register as bar association lobbyist.

She said that while she discussed judicial selection with Ramsey and Naifeh, she treated the issue as she would with any of her clients and that there was no conflict of interest.

"I don't consider my work on this to be a conflict of interest. Do I think there could be a perception of that? I think you'd have to ask other people," she said. "I don't perceive one."

Dick Williams, chairman of the Tennessee chapter of the government watchdog group Common Cause, said that even if Anderson's lobbying was legal, her role raises an appearance of impropriety.

"I can't blame the public for saying it looks a little funny," he said. "I wouldn't use the term 'it doesn't pass the smell test,' but I wouldn't be surprised if some people would."

A Real OUCH!

Link

Newspaper photographer Ryan McGeeney of the Standard-Examiner in Utah in the US was spared serious injury in the mishap, and even managed to snap a photo of his speared leg while others worked to help him.

"If I didn't, it would probably be my editor's first question when I got back," McGeeney said.

The 33-year-old, an ex-Marine who spent six months in Afghanistan, was taking pictures of the discus event and apparently wandered into off-limits area set aside for the javelin throw.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Nate says CHANGE-is-up-to-you

Forget the cost of Mass Transit, lets pay for the escalators

Link

New York City Transit has spent close to $1 billion to install more than 200 new elevators and escalators in the subway system since the early 1990s, and it plans to spend almost that much again for dozens more machines through the end of the next decade. It is an investment of historic dimensions, aimed at better serving millions of riders and opening more of the subway to the disabled.

These are the results:

¶One of every six elevators and escalators in the subway system was out of service for more than a month last year, according to the transit agency’s data.

¶The 169 escalators in the subway averaged 68 breakdowns or repair calls each last year, with the worst machines logging more than double that number. And some of the least reliable escalators in the system are also some of the newest, accumulating thousands of hours out of service for what officials described as a litany of mechanical flaws.

¶Two-thirds of the subway elevators — many of which travel all of 15 feet — had at least one breakdown last year in which passengers were trapped inside.

Transit officials concede that the machines’ performance has often been poor, but say they are finally moving to fix what is wrong.

Top High Schools in Tennessee

Link


RANK SCHOOL LOCATION STATE INDEX SUBS. LUNCH E&E

23 Martin Luther King Academic Magnet Nashville Tenn. 5.371 13 79.3

24 Hume-Fogg Academic Nashville Tenn. 5.332 9.2 80.3

187 Brentwood Brentwood Tenn. 2.852 3 97.1

390 Hillsboro ** Nashville Tenn. 2.218 35.7 44

465 Ravenwood Brentwood Tenn. 2.053 2 30.6

717 Franklin ** Franklin Tenn. 1.679 9 26

823 Fairview Fairview Tenn. 1.55 25.5 20.4

844 White Station Memphis Tenn. 1.525 38 36.2

892 Oak Ridge Oak Ridge Tenn. 1.465 36 35.9

952 Collierville Collierville Tenn. 1.409 9 24

1031 Farragut Knoxville Tenn. 1.323 5 24.7

1042 West Knoxville Tenn. 1.31 37 21.3

1229 Dobyns-Bennett Kingsport Tenn. 1.13 26.3 30.5

1256 Independence Thompson's Station Tenn. 1.102 6.5 22.7

1339 Centennial Franklin Tenn. 1.021 14 24.6

Secret Meetings, again

The arrogance is off the charts. These public servants wield extraordinary power over our lives and they don't even have the decency to conduct public business in public. This is ANOTHER insult to citizens.

Link
Democratic House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh talked about the weekend discussions during a House committee meeting on Monday. Also attending the secret budget meetings were state Comptroller John Morgan, Treasurer Dale Sims and Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz.

Complaints from several House Democrats' about a lack of detail about the buyout proposal delayed the expected conclusion of the legislative session last week.

No public announcement was made of the weekend meetings. The Legislature is exempt from the state Sunshine Laws requiring government bodies to hold open meetings.

Living the Sovereign Life in International Waters

Link

Tired of the United States and the other 190-odd nations on Earth?

If a small team of Silicon Valley millionaires get their way, in a few years, you could have a new option for global citizenship: A permanent, quasi-sovereign nation floating in international waters.

With a $500,000 donation from PayPal founder Peter Thiel, a Google engineer and a former Sun Microsystems programmer have launched The Seasteading Institute, an organization dedicated to creating experimental ocean communities "with diverse social, political, and legal systems."

"Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that Seasteading was an obvious step towards encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public-sector models around the world," Thiel said in a statement.

Top Secret Recipes-Cloning Name Brands

Link
Top Secret Recipes® is the world’s only Web site that brings you original custom recipes that have been created from scratch in the test kitchen by the guy who has devoted the last 15 years to kitchen cloning. With over 4 million Top Secret Recipes® books in print, Todd Wilbur can often spend days at a time and dozens of attempts creating the perfect clone of a famous brand-name product. He brings those recipes to you here every week without misrepresentation. When you cook using one of these recipes, you can rest-assured that it is time well-spent.

Scary Mountain Trail-Can you watch the whole video?