Thursday, July 31, 2008
Thank YOU Marsha Blackburn for thinking of all Taxpayers BEFORE you think of special interest groups. Your vote against the boondoggle housing bill is very much appreciated. Keep on voting for taxpayers!!
Lemonette’s a video blogger from Georgia, who dispenses wisdom and hair advice from the driver’s seat of her car. Yet she’s also so much more. It’s hard to explain the charm in words. Just go watch!
The survey contains other personal questions besides financial data, such as "What time do you leave for work?"
Other questions ask about the number of people living in the resident's home, whether anyone in the household has received food stamps in the last 12 months, how many times the person has been married and how well the person speaks English.
Mary Smith, a 77-year-old from Elgin, received the survey about a month ago. She said she provided only her name and address and sent it back. So far, she has not been contacted about it.
"It asked, you know, personal questions that I didn't feel I should answer for someone I don't know. I felt uncomfortable," she said.
She pointed to questions such as: "Because of physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty remembering or making decisions?" Or, "Does this person have difficulty walking or climbing stairs?" and "Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?"
Smith said the only reason she sent it back was because the Web site threatens a fine or imprisonment if it is not filled out.
1. North America has the highest Internet penetration rate in the world of 73.6%, 1.5x the 48.1%penetration rate of Europe.
2. Africa has the lowest Internet penetration rate in the world: 5.3%.
3. The Middle East has the highest percentage growth in Internet usage from 2000 to 2008: 1,177%.
4. Asia has the highest number of Internet users.
5. There are now almost 1.5 billion Internet users worldwide.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
He was buying a newspaper and chocolate bar when the raider jumped into the driver's seat and forced the head of the passenger against the dashboard.
The van was driven off with the delivery man on board before being abandoned nearby.
The delivery man has told police that he did not know how many raiders were involved because he kept his head down and when it was safe to look up realised the documents - a total of 3,000 passports and visas in 24 parcels - had been taken.
Foreign Office officials said today they had launched an `urgent investigation' into security arrangements.
A Home Office spokesman cranked up the pressure by saying that their policy was always to use `secure armoured vehicles'.
The Home Office would usually transport passports destined for use in this country.
Professor Jeff Cornwall has the story
The ADP National Employment Report and ADP Small Business Report released today show that small businesses are continuing to be the only reliable engine for new jobs in our economy. During the month of July small businesses - defined as businesses with fewer than 50 workers - added 50,000. During the same month, medium businesses (50-499 employees) lost 9,000 jobs and large businesses (500 employees and larger) lost 32,000 jobs.
As I said yesterday, we need to understand the changing nature of this economy and take steps to help support the real engine of job creation. For the past twenty years small business has created about 78% of all new jobs every year. And yet we still have not changed our approach to public policy to reflect the new economic reality.
"Both the White House and Congress are guilty of such gimmicks on a yearly basis, and it is time for it to stop. The American taxpayers deserve to be shown the true scope of our financial problems. Our country's resources have been mismanaged and the economic downturn we're experiencing will only make the situation worse. We need to work together on a bipartisan basis to overhaul our budget process, reform entitlement programs and restrain our spending."
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Let's face it. The average individual American has little or no clout with Congress and can be safely ignored. But it's a different story with groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy.
When they speak, Congress listens. Unlike the average American, they are well organized, loaded with cash and well positioned to be a disobedient congressman's worse nightmare. Their political and economic success has been a near disaster for our nation.
For several decades, environmentalists have managed to get Congress to keep most of our oil resources off-limits to exploration and drilling.
They've managed to have the Congress enact onerous regulations that have made refinery construction impossible.
Similarly, they've used the courts and Congress to completely stymie the construction of nuclear power plants. As a result, energy prices are at historical highs and threaten our economy and national security.
What's the political response to our energy problems? It's more congressional and White House kowtowing to environmentalists, farmers and multibillion-dollar corporations such as Archer Daniels Midland.
In all, about one in four county governments in Tennessee were affected in some way by theft last year, according to a new audit conducted by the state comptroller's office.
The audit says counties in Tennessee are about $350,000 short because of theft.
Sometimes, the thefts are sizable. According to the audit, Henry County is still trying to recover more than $162,000 that was stolen in 2006 through a conspiracy involving the then-sheriff.
But more often, the audit reveals, thefts only involve one or two people and the take is much smaller, involving a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. Even in cases where the money taken was just a few hundred dollars, drawn out legal proceedings can delay repayment for years.
Joe Kimery, an assistant director in the Comptroller's Office of County Audit, said the thefts weren't sizable enough to have much of an effect on day-to-day operations in most counties. But they can create serious concerns in the eyes of taxpayers.
"It erodes the confidence the public has in government when they see these things happen," he said.
When was the last time either major party followed a gain of more than 20 House seats with another double-digit gain just two years later? That has happened just once in the post-World War II era, more than five decades ago: In the twilight of Harry Truman's presidency, Republicans scored a 28-seat pickup in 1950 and then netted 22 more in 1952.
Now, after Democrats picked up 30 seats in 2006, the question is not whether they will gain seats again this year but how many. Their pickups might well reach double digits once more.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
If they had invested just a few million in Congressional lobbying and contributions they too would be flourishing like Fannie and Freddie.
The Greene County Commission's Road Committee on Monday decided not to propose or support a referendum for the November ballot that would increase the wheel tax if approved by voters.
Committee members noted that county residents are being hit hard by rising gas and grocery prices, as well as by other steep price hikes.
Greene County Road Superintendent David Weems had said his department was definitely in need of more funding. But Weems quickly added that he opposed a wheel tax increase to do that, citing increases in the cost of gas and other costs of living for residents.
"I just don't feel like now's the time to place any more burdens on taxpayers," Weems said.
The Forest Service said Tuesday it has canceled a public service ad in which the iconic bear warned that sparks from off-road vehicles could start a wildfire.
Off-road groups had complained that the ad sent the wrong message that riders operating ATVs in a legal manner can start forest fires.
"The mutual goal of the Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council is to spread Smokey's enduring message of preventing wildfires to all forest users," the Forest Service said in a statement Tuesday.
Because the ATV ad was interpreted as unfairly targeting off-road riders, the Forest Service has requested that TV stations and other media outlets that had broadcast the ad discontinue it, the Forest Service said.
The AFL-CIO begins a ramped-up campaign to define Sen. Barack Obama with union members and their families in battleground states, focusing heavily on working-class, swing union voters in OH, MI, PA and WI. The goal, per union officials, is to dispel the many rumors circulating about Obama via two new mailers, dropped today, that ask and answer still-looming questions about the candidate. The union will send the pieces to 600K swing voters living in the four critical battleground states.
"Sen. Obama has proven time and again that he's a champion for working families who will deliver the economic change we so desperately need," said AFL-CIO Political Director Karen Ackerman. "Working people are focused on issues that matter like good jobs, fair trade, health care reform and retirement security. They aren't about to let the right-wing attack machine distort Sen. Obama's record or defame his reputation in a desperate attempt to maintain the disastrous economic status quo."
The episode opens a small window onto an open secret of lobbying. Public relations firms regularly solicit authors of opinion-page articles, draft the pieces for them and place the articles in publications where they will have the most impact -- all for a fee.
Usually the collaboration comes off without a hitch and no one is the wiser. But apparently that didn't happen here.
The commentary criticized pending federal legislation that would reduce credit card fees and suggested that retailers stand to profit from it. The measure has been the subject of a long-standing feud between retailers, which want to limit the fees, and credit card companies, which don't.
The couple immigrated to Canada from Romania in 1990 and now live in Abbotsford, B.C. Their 17 other children range in age from 20 months to 23 years old.
Alexandru Ionce does not know if the couple will be having more children.
"We never planned how many children to have," he said. "We just let God guide our lives, you know, because we strongly believe life comes from God and that's the reason we did not stop the life.
"We let life come."
The family now has 10 girls and eight boys.
"We would have liked a boy to be even," he said. "We thank God all of them are healthy and happy."
Monday, July 28, 2008
Abdinasir Ismail, one of the founders of the MNTBA, says drivers aren’t making any money because the market is oversaturated. He wants to see the Transportation and Licensing Commission reduce the number of permits available to increase demand.
Although it has long been known that making a woman laugh is the best way to seduce her, new research shows the most successful form of humour comes from one's ability to poke fund at oneself, making men like actor Hugh Grant, 47, most sexually attractive to women.
Bringing attention to your flaws is a high-risk seduction strategy for men however and has the potential to backfire.
'Dissing Oneself: The Sexual Attractiveness of Self-Deprecating Humour,' will be published in next month's Journal of Evolutionary Psychology.
During the two-year study, women students listened to tape recordings of men talking about themselves, and we asked to score the men on sexual attractiveness.
Lead researcher Gil Greengross, of the University of New Mexico in the US, said: "Many studies show that a sense of humour is sexually attractive to women but we've found that self-deprecating humour is the most attractive of all.
"People who used this humour were considered to be far more desirable as mates."
“There will be no resumption of negotiations with Council 94,” Carcieri said. “My administration spent six months and hundreds of hours negotiating the terms of this agreement with representatives of Council 94. Those representatives agreed to the terms that were finally negotiated. There were numerous concessions from the state, including not going forward with the layoff of hundreds of employees and guaranteed wage increases of 8.5 percent over the four-year contract.”
Grilli said Council 94 would probably file an unfair labor practice charge with the state Board of Labor Relations as soon as Monday. Grilli and other labor leaders believe that the Carcieri administration is required to negotiate under the state’s labor laws.
“This is uncharted territory. But we believe we still are protected by the law,” Grilli said. “Rather than all this posturing, I think we should sit down.”
Carcieri administration officials, however, maintain that they are not required to negotiate. They believe that Council 94 currently has no contractual rights. The administration issued letters last month officially terminating its most recent contract, which expired July 1.
Political Correctness by Discipline
WASHINGTON — The White House has increased its estimate for next year's deficit to nearly $490 billion, a record figure that will saddle the next president with deepening budget problems in his first year in office, a report due out Monday shows.
The projected deficit for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 is being driven higher by the continuing economic slowdown and larger-than-anticipated costs of the two-year, $168 billion fiscal stimulus package passed by Congress, said two senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the report. In February, President Bush predicted the 2009 deficit would be $407 billion.
The budget update shows this year's deficit headed under $400 billion, at least $10 billion less than projected, according to the two officials. That's partly because tax revenue held up reasonably well despite the weaker economy.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
An investigation of five years of records by The Commercial Appeal shows not just questionable spending but shoddy record-keeping, missing invoices, late payments, unexplained discounts and a history of problem employees. Records portray catering services as uncontrolled well before the tenure of James Jordan, who was forced to resign last year as nutrition services director amid allegations of gross mismanagement.
The newspaper found records in such shambles that it's impossible to see a clear picture of the unit's total operations -- and, significantly, its abuses.
Records show that board members and school employees have, for years, eaten haute cuisine on the hog.
"This catering boondoggle stinks worse than week-old cafeteria food," said Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a Nashville-based free-market think tank. "And just like week-old cafeteria food, it's time to get rid of it."
Even as soaring gasoline prices, mounting home foreclosures and bank losses throw the national economy into a tailspin, the lotteries of Connecticut and its neighboring states are booming.
Connecticut's 2008 lottery revenue of almost $1 billion is a new record, making Lotto tickets and scratch games a kind of reverse barometer of the U.S. economy.
For 30 years, Greenland's 56,000 people have been pushing for greater control over their own affairs. Despite their best efforts, it was assumed that poor, remote Greenland would remain tied to Denmark indefinitely.
But with the recent surge in global oil and mineral prices – and melting ice on land and sea improving access to potential reserves of both – the prospects for Greenland's independence have never looked better.
"If Greenland becomes economically self-sufficient, then independence becomes a practical possibility," says Aleqa Hammond, minister for finance and foreign affairs in Greenland's home-rule government, which already controls most of the island's affairs. "We know that we have gold and diamonds and oil and great masses of the cleanest water in the world … It may be closer than we think."
Thinking now about the energy situation, please tell me if you favour or oppose the following ways to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil and make the United States more energy independent.
Increasing drilling for oil in the United States immediately
Increasing offshore drilling in U.S. coastal areas
Drilling for oil in a small area of the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge
Reducing the speed limit on interstate highways to 55 miles per hour
Rationing gasoline and oil
Increasing the federal tax on gasoline
Source: Opinion Dynamics / Fox News
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 900 registered American voters, conducted on Jul. 22 and Jul. 23, 2008. Margin of error is 3 per cent.
The deal has three major components: Taxpayers would pay less for each employee's retirement, workers would receive limited pensions if they retire before age 60 and the ceiling for benefits would be lowered.
Current employees would see no changes to their benefits, nor would public-safety workers.
The compromise – hashed out over the past few days after the unions contacted Sanders on Friday – comes after years of financial turmoil at City Hall stemming from the city's billion-dollar pension deficit. It does little to solve the city's fiscal woes today, but eventually would save the city as much as $22.8 million a year.
Early this month, Valero Energy in Texas got the unwelcome news that Mexico would be cutting supplies to one of the company's Gulf Coast refineries by up to 15 percent. Mexico's state-owned oil enterprise is one of Valero's main sources of crude, but oil output from Mexican fields, including the giant Cantarell field, is drying up. Mexican sales of crude oil to the United States have plunged to their lowest level in more than a dozen years.
The same week, India's Tata Motors announced it was expanding its plans to begin producing a new $2,500 "people's car" called the Nano in the fall. The company hopes that by making automobiles affordable for people in India and elsewhere, it could eventually sell 1 million of them a year.
Although neither development made headlines, together they were emblematic of the larger forces of supply and demand that have sent world oil prices bursting through one record level after another. And while the cost of crude has surged before, this oil shock is different. There is little prospect that drivers will ever again see gas prices retreat to the levels they enjoyed for much of the last generation.
How long will we tolerate urban terrorists among us? A man was arrested last week for stabbing a woman in the face with a fork, while he was robbing her at a retirement home. He had been arrested over 30 times. This is not an uncommon occurrence. It is fairly common knowledge that we have too many repeat offenders, but did you know that we have over 52,000 people who have been arrested between 6 and 15 times? Over the past 25 years, we have arrested more people than the entire population of Tulsa, OK, or Cincinnati, OH, or Honolulu, HI, and many other cities.
Each Thursday, Mike Fleming and I have done a short segment we call "Thug of the Week", or "Thug Thursday". This little segment is not done to make fun of those who may have made a mistake and run afoul of the law, it is to let people know that the reason crime is so bad in this county is this - the "criminal justice system" is dysfunctional. We have a rule that in order to qualify for recognition as "Thug of the Week", you have to have been arrested 100 times or more. We have 140 people who satisfy that requirement. We have selected them, and brought them to people's attention, (some more than once, because they have been rearrested). It appears the cops are doing their part, but the breakdown is either in the legislature, the courts or the prosecutors or a combination of the three.
7. Section 8 – This one’s not really controversial, but maybe just because we don’t know what’s going on with it. Randomly, one section of the bill extends Section 8 federal housing subsidies for “the property known as The Heritage Apartments” in Malden, Massachusetts. Someone should ask Edward Markey (D-MA), Malden’s congressman, about what strings he had to pull to get this one in there.
8. Tax Cut for Chrylser – Another weird one. According to the New York Times, there is a provision in the bill “tailored narrowly for Chrysler to ensure that it can benefit from a corporate tax incentive even though the company is now structured as a partnership not a corporation. The bill does not name Chrysler but rather describes an unnamed automobile manufacturer “that will produce in excess of 675,000 automobiles” from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2008.”
French face prosecution for 'insulting' civil servants
Behind the legalese is the belief that civil servants are the embodiment of a French State that deserves the respect and support of all its citizens. The number of prosecutions for insulting police officers and other civil servants has risen from 17,700 in 1996 to 31,731 last year in what critics say is an abuse of government power.
Now Mr Reboux has begun a high-profile campaign for outrage to be taken off the criminal statute books.
“If you tell the owner of your local café or your banker that he's a connard, you might get into a row but you won't get prosecuted,” the mild-mannered intellectual said. “But if you say the same thing to a policeman, you find yourself in court. Why should civil servants be different? It's like something from the ancien régime.”
1- Home ownership
We don't look to arsonists to help put out fires but we do look to politicians to help solve financial crises that they played a major role in creating.2- A college degree
How did the government help create the current financial mess? Let me count the ways.
In addition to federal laws that pressure lenders to lend to people they would not otherwise lend to, and in places where they would otherwise not invest, state and local governments have in various parts of the country so severely restricted building as to lead to skyrocketing housing prices, which in turn have led many people to resort to "creative financing" in order to buy these artificially more expensive homes.
What to do? Bauerlein doesn’t conclude with an optimistic chapter on how we can turn things around. He does suggest that colleges should stop treating students like customers to be coddled. Those who can handle serious academic work should be required to do so and those who can’t but are willing to try should be helped as much as possible. If colleges were to start raising their fallen standards, we would expand the cohort of people who are capable of serious thinking, of defending the culture, and of countering demagogues.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
In Orlando, Florida, David Partin pledged to name his son after local radio hosts to win a $100 gas card as part of a contest. Partin will collect the card in December, when his son is born, if he can produce a birth certificate proving the baby is named Dixon Willoughby Partin, after the hosts.
"(His wife said) this is his problem to explain when the child is older," Greg Stevens, WHTQ-FM program director told Reuters.
HERE is the main entry point to the database.
Link HT: J Walk
Three years ago, I made a decision that changed my relationship with money: I stopped spending, and started saving, every five-dollar bill that passed through my hands. Squirreling away each and every $5 received as change from a cash transaction didn't require any complicated savings strategy, but it has paid off, to the tune of $12,000.
That's right. In three years, I have socked away $12,000 just by saving fives.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Speaking afterwards, Mr Glass said: "My left hand was covered in superglue and I stuck it to his sleeve.
"I just glued myself to him and after 20 seconds he tore my hand off - it really hurt. He had to give it a couple of tugs before it came away.
"He was just grinning about it. He didn't seem to take me seriously."
After the incident Mr Glass was allowed to stay Number 10 for 40 minutes.
When he left the building he tried to glue himself to the gates of Downing Street but was prevented from doing so by a police officer.
"I didn't have much glue left by that point," he said.
A $600 economic stimulus check, courtesy of the U.S. Treasury, made its way to Roswell earlier this week. It was payable to George A. Coker DECD. Yes, "DECD," as in "deceased." Coker died in May 2007.
"There's a $9 trillion national debt, and our government's giving away money to dead people," he said. "As a taxpayer, it offends the hell out of me."
Florida's Medicaid reform demonstration is entering into its second year. Now operating in five counties, the reform has unambiguously led to greater competition. Many plans now offer more services and products than conventional Medicaid. There are also a variety of benefit packages. The most popular expanded benefits include over-the-counter drugs and adult preventative dental care.
A measure of success of this program is the percentage of new beneficiaries who have selected a plan (67%) as opposed to auto assignment. The rate was 62% in the second quarter, 66% in the third quarter and close to 75% in the fourth quarter. Extrapolation of the first-year trend by quarter indicates a possibility of meeting the 80% target for year two.
Why did the mold litigation blob form?
Why has it ebbed?
How does the fear of mold tie into our culture of fear?
What does this fear of an enigma say about our society?
Fascinating, isn’t it? We coexist with mold for thousands of years. My friend, Walter Olson of the Manhattan Institute has said sarcastically “How unfortunate must we be to live in the twenty-first century, when plaintiffs’ lawyers have discovered the terrible health effects!”
Economic incentives have a lot to do with it: trial lawyers have an economic incentive to describe something relatively innocuous–vaccines, mold, powerlines, silicone breast implants, Bendectin–as something deadly and fit it into the fictional Erin Brockovich paradigm, which appeals to jurors’ preconceived notions. (Erin Brockovich herself has brought a number of bogus lawsuits trying to invoke this paradigm–including over mold.) Low-quality scientists of a variety of levels of sincerity are given the economic incentive to take the same position. Journalists have the economic incentive to tell a story that fits the paradigm whether or not it’s true, because the victims-and-villains storyline that could affect the viewer attracts eyeballs. The three work together symbiotically: the expert witness feeds stories to the lawyer and vice versa; the lawyer feeds stories to the journalist with the expert; the journalist creates publicity that generates business for the lawyer and the expert witness, which in turn creates more stories for the journalist.
The culture of fear is a lot larger than that (others take advantage of it), but I think the reason it is so much larger in America is because only here do we make people millionaires for inventing new things to be afraid of.
There has not been a public debate about the causes of global warming and most of the public and our decision makers are not aware of the most basic salient facts:
1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.[...]
2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming.
3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the "urban heat island" effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.
4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.
None of these points are controversial. The alarmist scientists agree with them, though they would dispute their relevance.
Egads, Sweden, that bastion of socialism, is letting private, for profit companies offer education choices for parents. Whats next...the Mayors of Nashville sending THEIR children to private schools? Oh wait!
It may sound out of place in Sweden, that paragon of taxpayer-funded cradle-to-grave welfare. But a sweeping reform of the school system has survived the critics and 16 years later is spreading and attracting interest abroad.
"I think most people, parents and children, appreciate the choice," said Bertil Ostberg, from the Ministry of Education. "You can decide what school you want to attend and that appeals to people."
Since the change was introduced in 1992 by a center-right government that briefly replaced the long-governing Social Democrats, the numbers have shot up. In 1992, 1.7% of high schoolers and 1% of elementary schoolchildren were privately educated. Now the figures are 17% and 9%.
In some ways the trend mirrors the rise of the voucher system in the United States, with all its pros and cons. But while the percentage of children in U.S. private schools has dropped slightly in recent years, signs are that the trend in Sweden is growing.
So many good intentions, so much ignorance of economics, so much taxpayer money wasted, and so many kids robbed of their faith in their own abilities.
What these kids learned was that they can site around for weeks doing nothing and still get paid for the job. What a bloody waste of human dignity.
Robinson said she was excited about the remaining 4 1/2 weeks, now that everyone has been registered. But she did not think the first month had been a waste.
"Some of these 14-year-olds are the only ones earning a salary in a three-generation household," Robinson said. "If that means sitting in a hot auditorium, then I'm okay with that."
Barry also said he was sorry that so much time had been spent on administrative issues but said "it had to be done for the good of the kids." As to whether the academy was really a "jobs" program, he said that "with the 14- and 15-year-olds, we have no problem paying them to learn."
He said computer glitches in the DOES payroll computers led to students being paid even if they didn't show up. That, in turn, made running the program even more difficult, Barry said.
The sun was still beating down on the Côte d’Azur last month as advertising executives from around the world returned for this year’s festival. But Mr. Gore was nowhere to be found, and the party buzz was about the American presidential election, the Euro 2008 soccer tournament and even the business of advertising itself. Green marketing, while booming, had lost some of its cachet.
The advertising industry is quicker than most to pick up on changing consumer tastes and moods, and it seems to have grasped the public’s growing skepticism over ads with environmental messages.The sheer volume of these ads — and the flimsiness of many of their claims — seems to have shot the messenger. At best, it has led consumers to feel apathetic toward the green claims or, at worst, even hostile and suspicious of them.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I am not willing to give away that much of the taxpayer's money.
The state is now posting that and other provider information online.
"We are pleased to be able to offer the public a way to track how their money is spent in the Medicaid program," Emma Forkner, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. "This kind of spending transparency is key to ensuring accountability from government agencies and those who get paid by them."
AgentEm developed some chants for our rally to cry out to the passing public at rush hour- here are a few of them:
- No Assembly Required!
- We Want Quiet, not a Riot!
- No Cause is Good Cause!
- No One Cares What You Think!
- We're NOT Gonna PROTEST!
- No Change to Spare!
- Silence not Stridence!
- Decide to be Satisfied!
- Expression is Depression!
- Public Scenes are a Waste of Time!
Both countries boast populations of over 1 billion people.
China's mobile phone statistics have been accelerating over the years. The nation hit the 400 million subscriber mark in February, 2006 and then took 16 months to top 500 million, which was in June, 2007. It only took another 12 months to reach the 600 million mark.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Click HERE (PDF) to Display and Print the Petition
PLEASE Sign and have friends and family sign and return to the address on the petition. If you need more information call: 615-405-2764 or 931-486-1298. All petitions must be submitted within 20 days so it is VERY important to act quickly. Please print additional copies and hand them out at church, at your work and around the neighborhood. Thank YOU.
The hundreds of thousands of fight videos online, running the gamut from fake fights to bullying to gang warfare, have parents, educators, and lawmakers around the world grasping for solutions. They want popular social-networking websites to do more to block or remove such content. Some places in the US and abroad are even criminalizing “cyberbullying” and the recording and posting of violent acts.
The ensuing debates raise age-old issues of free speech versus safety. Those on the safety side say the matter is urgent because the videos seem to inspire copycat acts. They also raise concerns that the broadcasting of such fights intensifies the humiliating effects of bullying.
“A lot of kids are looking for attention; they’re looking for a way to measure their own popularity, and they measure it now on page views,” says Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety, an online safety group in Fort Lee, N.J. “The faster we can get any of the networks to take down [such content], the less likely it is that kids are going to keep doing it, because they do it for the fame factor.”
and speaking of Fight Videos, here is former UT player Candice Parker mixing it up:
Link HT: Club for Growth
The abiding lesson here is what happens when you combine private profit with government power. You create political monsters that are protected both by journalists on the left and pseudo-capitalists on Wall Street, by liberal Democrats and country-club Republicans. Even now, after all of their dishonesty and failure, Fannie and Freddie could emerge from this taxpayer rescue more powerful than ever. Campaigning to spare taxpayers from that result would represent genuine "change," not that either presidential candidate seems interested.
“To my husband, knowing that this will be my last time seeing you, I would like to apologise for thinking only about myself and for not being a caring wife. To my parents, just thinking about you makes my eyes teary. I love you,” she cries, before heading off to lie down in a coffin and be “buried”.
Welcome to the new Korean craze of “well-dying”. In a country infatuated with “well-being” – living and eating healthily, even to the point where tobacco-makers offer vitamin-enriched “well-being cigarettes” – training companies are now offering courses on dying a good death.
“Korea has ranked number one in many bad things such as suicide and divorce and cancer rates, so I wanted to run a programme for people to experience death,” says Ko Min-su, a 40-year-old former insurance agent who founded Korea Life Consulting, which offers fake funerals as a way to make people value life.
The Pennsylvania Treasury Department has launched a database of state government agency goods and services contracts. Search by any combination of contractor, contracting agency, contract amount or date range. This primarily includes contracts entered into or renewed on or after July 1, 2008. See the FAQ’s for database parameters.
It has been verified by experts, who say it is a decoration found on the corners of a Roman coffin.
'Fans seeing this face from the distant past will be forgiven for thinking that their idol may well have lived a previous life in Rome,' said a spokesman for Bonhams, which is auctioning the item in October.
This Elvis probably dates back to about 200 AD – about 1,750 years before the birth of rock'n'roll.
But it could even date to 400 BC, experts claim.
The bust is an authentic acroterion – an ornament often found on the corners of sarcophagi, stone burial chambers where the most important people were laid to rest.
5-8-101. Sources of county revenue — Gifts and donations. —
(a) County revenue is derived from taxes on property, privileges, litigation, merchants, peddlers; from fines and forfeitures; and from money remaining unclaimed more than two (2) years in clerks' offices.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a county is authorized to accept and receive gifts and donations of money, intangible personal property, tangible personal property and real property. If any such gift or donation is offered subject to conditional or restrictive terms, then the gift must be accepted by majority vote of the county legislative body and must be used by the county subject to the terms of such conditions or restrictions. If an unrestricted gift or donation of money is accepted and received, then such money must be deposited in the county general fund and must be appropriated and expended in accordance with county budgetary procedures. If an unrestricted gift or donation of personal or real property is accepted and received, and if the property is subsequently leased or sold, then the proceeds from such lease or sale must be deposited in the county general fund and must be appropriated in accordance with county budgetary procedures.
[Code 1858, § 482; Shan., § 644; mod. Code 1932, § 1035; impl. am. Acts 1963, ch. 14, § 1; Acts 1979, ch. 23, § 5; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 5-801; Acts 1999, ch. 109, § 1.]
The study provides preliminary evidence that the disrupted neural communication that happens in Alzheimer's disease may be reversible.
The study, entitled Rapid improvement in verbal fluency and aphasia following perispinal etanercept in Alzheimer's disease, is available here,
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Thus, as a practical matter, public transit is unlikely to provide a meaningful solution to reduced energy use in transportation. This becomes clear after looking at travel behavior in the wake of the increase in gas prices over the past year. Overall, public transit ridership increased just 3.3 percent. If we convert ridership into passenger miles traveled – a distance-based rather than trip-based measure – a 3.3 percent increase translates into 1.6 billion passenger miles over the course of a year. That may seem like a big number, until it’s compared to overall US travel.
As gas prices went up, US automobile travelers eliminated 112 billion passenger miles from our roadways as vehicle miles traveled fell by 2.3 percent. Even if we assume all the increased transit ridership was accounted for by the migration of automobile travelers to public transit, buses and trains captured fewer than 2 percent of the reduction in automobile-based travel demand.
Thus, in the end, those seeking ways to promote energy conservation are still relying on market forces to affect behavior and resource use. Higher-income consumers value mobility, and automobiles provide the flexibility and adaptability they demand. As energy prices rise, incentives to provide resource stingy alternatives such as hybrid and electric only vehicles increases, stimulating even further innovation that bring down costs over the long run. Meanwhile, contrary to public perception, as fewer segments of the population rely on fixed route transit systems, the relative energy efficiency of public transit declines.
But for the deterrent to work, teachers and principals will need to be consistent when correcting students' behavior, and parents will have to accept the change, he said.
"It has to be bought in by parents," he said.
Twiggs parents will have to sign a permission slip for their child to be paddled by an administrator, and witnesses will have to be in the room, Stanley and board member Johnnie Moore said. There also will be a meeting to inform parents of the changes, Stanley said.
But they clearly show auditors and investigators from the Tennessee Department of Revenue, during a week away from the office for training -- and what Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr calls "team building."
"They are not skits just around parodies or fun," Commissioner Farr tells Phil Williams. "They are skits with the purpose of delivering a message."
The Interior Department is scheduled to unveil proposed regulations Tuesday for a program to sell oil shale leases on federal lands, similar to the leases sold now for oil and natural gas both on and offshore.
The shale is concentrated in the Green River Basin of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Developing it has become a hot topic of debate between Democrats and Republicans in response to voter anger over $4-a-gallon gasoline prices this summer.
President Bush said last month that "one major deposit in the Rocky Mountain West alone would equal current annual oil imports for more than 100 years." The U.S. currently consumes about 20 million barrels of oil per day, about 58% of which is imported.
Oil shale may be the largest untapped source of domestic oil, dwarfing the quantity of oil available offshore and on federal lands currently off-limits. However, it is very expensive to extract. A government program to subsidize its development in the 1980s was shut down when cost figures came in at several times the then-market price for oil.
But others says fist bumping may be more than a workplace fad. It's been around for years among athletes and is used by Howie Mandel, host of TV program Deal or No Deal, who says he fears germs. Last month, presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, fist-bumped at a campaign speech in Minnesota, and The New Yorker magazine used it as part of a controversial caricature of the Obamas that was published on the July 21 cover.
In business, the fist bump is catching on mainly among younger men. Eric Casaburi, the 34-year-old CEO of Retrofitness, a Manalapan, N.J., company that franchises workout facilities in five East Coast states, says that one of his managers said goodbye recently with a fist bump. It seemed natural, but Casaburi says he would hesitate to do the same with an older franchisee. Older executives believe they can tell something from a handshake, Casaburi says, but, "I don't buy into that." He sees the fist bump as a positive addition to the business greeting repertoire.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Rambam says he searches on social networks to find photos of what people he is researching look like, the first step in any investigation. He gets a lot of other vital data from those sites, like hometown, age, relationship status, school and work history, hobbies, and friends and acquaintances to interview. With Twitter, he can often see where they are right now, or at least in the recent archived past.
"I used to pay the police $500 for a driver's license photo. Now I just have to go to MySpace," he said. "I can find your location without leaving my desk."
He uses job sites to see someone's resume, date of birth, address, and work history, to find former employees of companies he is researching and to see what job openings they have and compare salary levels. And then there are sites like Don'tDateHimGirl.com and Who'sARat.com where you can find what a person's enemies have to say.
Rambam also gets information from marketing databases that gather information on people's buying habits and preferences from frequent customer cards, surveys, product registrations, actual transactions, and other activities.
The three have lived comfortably on their IRS salaries -- all three confessed to using TurboTax software to do their own taxes -- and they seldom envy the lives of those who have resorted to crime to live beyond their means. Often, a careful review of financial records let's them know their targets better than the targets' own wives.
The measure, which qualified Friday, would bar authorities from spending money to investigate or prosecute prostitutes for engaging in prostitution.
A San Francisco first-time offender program that allows men to avoid charges for soliciting a prostitute if they attend a class and pay a fine would also end under the measure.
The Erotic Service Providers Union recently announced it had gathered the 12,000 signatures necessary to put the measure on the ballot after failing to get a similar initiative before voters in 2006.
There are more than 1,000 laws and regulations which permit officials to force entry into homes, cars and business premises, a report commissioned by Gordon Brown has found.
The publication of the first comprehensive list of laws available to police, council staff and other inspectors will renew concerns about the erosion of civil liberties.
The dossier, compiled by Lord West, the Home Office minister and former first sea lord, details the often obscure acts and regulations which give the authorities the power to break into homes.
Hundreds of new powers of entry have been created since 1997, including ones relating to illegal gambling, congestion charging, high hedges and weapons of mass destruction.
West’s report details 753 separate “big brother” provisions in acts of parliament and a further 290 minor regulations. A total of 430 of these powers have been approved by parliament since Labour came to power.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Americans United for Change
Campaign for America’s Future
Center for American Progress Action Fund
Center for Community Change
National Council of La Raza
National Education Association
National Women’s Law Center
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Service Employees International Union
United Food and Commercial Workers
Their strategy is to vilify insurance companies and promote a government takeover of healthcare. Here is one of their videos.
Column after column could be filled with the ways the Massachusetts political class and its hangers-on play taxpayers for suckers - the gold-plated tax breaks for moviemakers, the insanely lucrative sick-time buybacks, the indefensible police details, the public-sector-only paid holidays, the "temporary" tax hikes that last forever, the state budgets that keep growing even as family budgets shrink.
It will never end - not until the suckers get riled up enough to fight back. Not until they start throwing incumbents out of office, instead of blindly reelecting them. Not until they stop letting themselves be treated as ATMs for politicians and doormats for public-employee unions. Not until they force their public "servants" to defer to them, instead of the other way around.
According to Almanar, Israel is sending voice messages to mobile phones in Lebanon as part of a psychological war, inciting the Lebanese against Hezbollah after the “Operation Al-Redwan” with the resistance group.
"It said it received complaints from south Lebanon and Beirut residents that they began receiving recorded voice messages promising retaliation to any attack and urging them not to allow the establishment of a Hezbollah "state within the state."
[via Cellular News]
Boy, I can't wait until the government controls every aspect of healthcare. It will be a complete disaster.
But inmates aren't the only problem. The state claims people who don't live in Tennessee anymore receive TennCare.
"This lawsuit requires us to keep these people on the program indefinitely at this point," Gordon said.
The state estimates more than 5,000 people with out-of-state addresses are on TennCare's rolls. Last year, out-of-state people cost TennCare more than $18 million.
In short, the jury is reflecting the views of many San Franciscans who made the choice to live here. They understood that housing and taxes would be higher, and so would the cost of a meal in a restaurant. They understand and believe that the city needs to provide for its poorest homeless residents and don't begrudge what the grand jury says is $186 million a year in city funds spent to finance homeless programs.Addendum from AJC: Baggage thieves mostly homeless
But, they ask, can't someone stop the panhandling? And, given all the programs and services, is it unreasonable to ask those who are being given supportive housing to start making some effort to be self-sufficient?
"People's conduct has to be held to account," Supervisor Bevan Dufty said. "They can't engage in conduct that is hurtful to them or others."
Steve Mills, Hendersonville codes director, estimated a 2,000 square-foot, wood-framed house with a two-car garage would have a $684.50 permit fee under the current standards. If the proposed fee increase is approved, that figure would jump to $1,237.
For a commercial site, Mills determined the permit fee for a 10,000 square-foot building is currently $3,648.50. Under the proposed increase, the fee would go up to $8,855.
He said the changes are not designed to put pressure on builders, but to "deal with the philosophy that (codes) should cover its expenses through revenues."
The codes department finished the 2007-08 fiscal year with a $170,000 shortfall in collections beneath the departmental budget, he said.Aldermen have deferred the decision on the increase twice and could discuss it again in September.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
They’ve taken the apparently drastic step of eliminating traffic control more or less completely in a few high-traffic and pedestrian-dense areas. The intention is to create environments in which everyone is more focused, more cautious, and more considerate. Stop signs, stoplights, even sidewalks are mostly gone. The results, by all accounts, have been excellent: pedestrian accidents have been reduced by 40 percent or more in some places, and traffic flows no more slowly than before.
This is a selective guide to resources at Columbia University Libraries and on the Internet, for conducting research on the U.S. Federal budget process. Most of the items included are available in Lehman Library, either in the U.S. Government Documents collection, Lehman, or the Lehman stacks.
Friday, July 18, 2008
"People seem to think the government has money," said former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker. "The government doesn't have any money."
A rare consensus has developed across the political spectrum that the government's own fiscal affairs are precarious, with an astonishing $53 trillion in long-term liabilities, according to the Government Accountability Office.
To put that number in human terms, the debt has reached $455,000 per U.S. household. As that debt grows, the United States increasingly relies on foreigners, including China and Middle East oil producers, for financing.
"The factors that contributed to our mortgage-based subprime crisis exist with regard to our federal government's finances," said Walker, now head of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a group established to raise alarms about the nation's budget. "The difference is that the magnitude of the federal government's financial situation is at least 25 times greater."