Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Thomas Sowell speaks the simple truth.
Nothing could more painfully demonstrate what is wrong with Congress than the current financial crisis.
Among the congressional "leaders" invited to the White House to devise a bailout "solution" are the very people who have for years created the risks that have come home to roost.
Five years ago, Barney Frank vouched for the "soundness" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and said "I do not see" any "possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury."
Moreover, he said the federal government has "probably done too little rather than too much to push them to meet the goals of affordable housing."
Earlier this year, Sen. Chris Dodd praised Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for "riding to the rescue" when other financial institutions were cutting back on mortgage loans. He too said they "need to do more" to help subprime borrowers get better loans.
In other words, Rep. Frank and Sen. Dodd wanted government to push financial institutions to lend to people they wouldn't lend to otherwise, because of the risk of default.
The idea that politicians can assess risks better than people who've spent their whole careers doing so is so obviously absurd that no one should take it seriously.
Monday, September 29, 2008
This was predictable, I suppose, but it's remarkable to see how strong a relationship there is between today's failed vote on the bailout and the competitive nature of different House races.
Among 38 incumbent congressmen in races rated as "toss-up" or "lean" by Swing State Project, just 8 voted for the bailout as opposed to 30 against: a batting average of .211.
By comparison, the vote among congressmen who don't have as much to worry about was essentially even: 197 for, 198 against.
In a closed-door session with House Republicans, Minority Leader John A. Boehner just called the financial rescue deal a “crap sandwich” – then said he’ll vote for it when it comes to the floor Monday.
But like Boehner, Ryan wasn’t exactly happy about how things have unfolded. Referring to the situation facing the country – and not the bill itself – Ryan said, “This sucks.”
Sunday, September 28, 2008
the Bailout boondoggle,
the Financial FEMA
Welfare for WallStreet
Hank's Big Handout
The New Century Swindle
whatever you call this monster...PLEASE Display, Print, and Sign this StoptheBailoutFax (PDF) and then fax it to your US Representative and two Senators (all fax numbers are already printed on the form itself, no need to look them UP).
PLEASE ACT TODAY!!!
Click HERE to display the form.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Wall Street's five biggest firms paid more than $3 billion in the last five years to their top executives, while they presided over the packaging and sale of loans that helped bring down the investment-banking system.
Merrill Lynch & Co. paid its chief executives the most, with Stanley O'Neal taking in $172 million from 2003 to 2007 and John Thain getting $86 million, including a signing bonus, after beginning work in December. The company agreed to be acquired by Bank of America Corp. for about $50 billion on Sept. 15. Bear Stearns Cos.'s James ``Jimmy'' Cayne made $161 million before the company collapsed and was sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co. in June.
Hey Mr. Congress, your best action is inaction....I know, I know, its so hard for you to believe that somebody as smart and sexy and good looking and well intended as you are, Mr. Congress, may not be needed. Your whole self-image is threatened. Yes, we understand how vulnerable and unsure you must feel.
Look, you will have many opportunities in the future to strut and posture. Just because you pass up this opportunity doesn't mean that we don't think you are wonderful.
Smaller Banks Thrive
The Bailout will make things worse...much worse
Friday, September 26, 2008
Italian bloggers are up in arms at a court ruling early this year that suggests almost all Italian blogs are illegal. This month, a senior Italian politician went one step further, warning that most web activity is likely to be against the law.
The story begins back in May, when a judge in Modica (in Sicily) found local historian and author Carlo Ruta guilty of the crime of "stampa clandestina" – or publishing a "clandestine" newspaper – in respect of his blog. The judge ruled that since the blog had a headline, that made it an online newspaper, and brought it within the law’s remit.
The penalties for this crime are not onerous: A fine of 250 Euros or a prison sentence of up to two years. Carlo Ruta was fined and ordered to take down his site, which has now been replaced by a blank page, headed "Site under construction", and a link directing surfers to his new site. Hardly serious stuff – except that he now has a criminal record, and his original site has disappeared.
Yes, dear Metro taxpayers, you are subsidizing Kenneth (Bud) Adams, Jr. while he owns a football team worth $994 million. And that is up from $369 million when LP field opened.Soooooo.....while taxpayers have been subsidizing the Titans, the value to the owners has increased almost threefold from $369 million to almost $1 billion. According to Forbes, Bud Adams paid $25,000 for the team in 1959.
Dealing with do-nothing political hacks made Cook County Animal Control worker Margaret Bageanis so sick with stress that her doctor still won’t let her go back to work.
On Thursday, Bageanis said she feels much better after receiving word she’ll get a $130,000 check for being a target of political discrimination.
Bageanis is one of 108 county workers set to split a $3.2 million settlement of a federal political hiring lawsuit.
"Today is a happy day. I feel vindicated," Bageanis said. "For the first day in a long time, I had the weight of [county government] off my back.
Bageanis, a 20-year employee, said she filed a complaint "about eight-inches thick" documenting years of being passed over for promotions and doing the work of lazy "political appointees." At least one patronage worker was installed under current county President Todd Stroger’s administration.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
School systems have mastered the art of the Washington Monument ploy to perfection. They will almost always threaten to cut front line teachers (also, something related to school bus safety is a good one emotional bomb to throw) and then when the budget battle dust clears, somehow the front line teachers survive and in fact grow.
What is it? Here's what I'm left to conclude: the school system is so run amok that no one can give Dr. Cash valid information in order for him to really reform it.
I'm just sayin, are we to believe that MCS didn't know about more than 300 unfilled positions before Cash announced those teacher cuts? That's just like MCS having 115,000 students on its rolls in recent years, right?
Go on, Chicken Little.
At this point, if MCS is on pace to be bankrupt next year, then count me among those who want to see the sky fall just so we can decipher what's really the truth.
Maybe, knowing that Congress will not bail them out, they will turn their attention back to their businesses and actually do some...managing?
Perhaps bank managers don't need the "help" of a bunch of publicity seeking pompous political peacocks whose only real skill is spewing empty, self-aggrandizing rhetoric?
Perhaps Congress could help most by being...irrelevant? We can only hope and learn to love gridlock.
WASHINGTON, DC – Some 258 parties, a number of them hosted by lobbyists for the finance, insurance, and real estate industries, have been thrown for members of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee this year, according to an investigation by the Sunlight Foundation’s Party Time project. Members of the House committee, along with the Senate Banking Committee, are considering the $700 billion bailout legislation for the financial sector proposed by the administration.
In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.
"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Link HT: Mr Turnbow
The investment banker firm received millions of dollars in fees from bond and swap transactions involving Jefferson County. On Dec. 11, 2003, Buckelew admired shoes and a purse at an upscale boutique in New York, prosecutors said, and the investment banker bought the items -- valued at about $1,500 -- and mailed them to Buckelew's office at the Jefferson County Courthouse.
On another bond-related trip to New York on Nov. 7, 2004, the investment banker bought about $1,119 worth of items for Buckelew from the same store and mailed them to her office, prosecutors said. Also during that trip, the investment banker paid $1,400 for spa appointment for Buckelew, according to information filed by prosecutors. Buckelew has admitted that she understood the investment banker was attempting to influence her actions as a county commissioner, prosecutors allege.
Prosecutors said Buckelew appeared before a grand jury last month in Birmingham and gave false statements about receiving the gifts.
Australian Federal Police have raided the home of a parliamentary press gallery journalist in the wake of a story about Defence intelligence.
Seven AFP officers arrived at the home of Canberra Times journalist Philip Dorling about 8.30am today, AAP reported.
"The AFP confirms that it executed a search warrant at Braddon and on a vehicle," a police spokesman said.
It is understood the raid follows a story Dorling did for the newspaper on June 14 in which he wrote that Australian spies were targeting key nations, including Japan, China and North and South Korea.
Dorling cited his source as "classified briefing papers" prepared for Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.
The accounting changes come at a time when some local governments are trying to move to retirement systems similar to the private-sector model, Jones said. Governments face the choice of keeping retiree health benefits where they are or reducing them, but keeping them at current levels will require finding a way to fund them, he said.
The unfunded liability for the state is $3.1 billion, according to its own actuarial study. For Metro, the total unfunded liability of current promised benefits is $1.5 billion over 30 years. The figure grows to $2.5 billion if the city accounts for the present value of benefits to be earned in the future. The council portion of that is about $9.2 million.
Metro would have to come up with about $100 million a year in its $1.6 billion annual budget to fully fund the liability. Metro's actuarial study mentions scenarios of lowering future benefits, and outlines how that would reduce costs.
"No one has yet found a solution to this," Riebeling said. "There are a lot of different options from changing benefits to creating a trust fund for it. All these concepts will be looked at in course. We're funding it as we go. We're meeting all our obligations currently. It's not something that has to be solved overnight. Obviously it can't be solved overnight because of the amount of money involved."
Monster pig traps Aussie woman in home
Hayes said she and her neighbours began feeding the pig, whom they named Bruce, when it showed up at their homes 10 days ago after its owners could not handle it and let it loose in the rainforest.
But it became aggressive, demanding more food and biting her on the leg when she tried to go to the toilet.
"It started getting very pushy, started pushing me around, so I started to get a bit frightened, until the stage that it started knocking on my door at four o'clock in the morning, actually head-butting my door," she said.
"This morning, I wanted to go to my toilet, which is outside. I opened up the door and the pig pushed me that hard, it pushed me back into my room, where I fell over," she said.
Finger drums are a tabletop version of an entire drum set, perfect for releasing your inner rhythm. The mini instruments light up and produce sound when struck and include record and playback buttons to capture your best solos.
Monday, September 22, 2008
What a preposterous notion. Sure there may be a individuals in Congress that share our orthodoxies enough to like them personally but we, the citizens, aren't affected by the decisions of individual Congresspersons. We are affected by their collective decisions and collectively they are:
535 people who REALLY believe they can make better decisions about OUR lives than we can make, REALLY!!As citizens, we do not abdicate our power to Congress, we DELEGATE our power. They are not "bailing out", they are misusing OUR power.
535 people who politicize every decision based on their own political interests, their political party, and major contributors.
535 people who almost never read the full text of the Laws they pass. Laws which profoundly affect every aspect of OUR lives.
535 people who consider it political suicide to admit a mistake.
Link HT: Insty
The veteran Harlem pol on Friday dispatched $10,800 to the IRS and the state tax department, according to his office.
Holy Crap, if we are going to nationalize something, lets at least be as smart as Chavez and Morales and pick stuff that is profitable! Let's nationalize Google and Microsoft!
For what it's worth, I think this plan is a hasty, ill-considered overreaction to recent events. If it's a cure, then the cure is worse than the disease. Once a bailout like this happens it will be (1) very hard to say no to anyone down the line and (2) very hard to deny politicians a much increased voice in the everyday activities of firms if taxpayers are going to be the ultimate owners when things go bad.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Here is my sign, "Hey Phil, keep your damn hands off my tax money." If Phil Bredesen and others want to attend a hocky game then they should be willing to buy tickets which reflect the full price of providing that entertainment...ESPECIALLY when you consider that most of the tickets are sold to people who DO NOT live in Davidson County.
Balsillie was considered a threat to buy the Predators from Craig Leipold and eventually move them to Canada. Del Biaggio was also interested, with the likelihood that he would eventually move the team to Kansas City.
Governor Phil Bredesen energized the crowd by holding up a sign that read, “Get Your Damn Hands Off My Team.’’
An FBI probe of Mayor Willie Herenton's ties to city contractors has turned its attention to the Greyhound bus station in Downtown Memphis where the city has major redevelopment plans.
Federal agents are examining Herenton's little-known plan to relocate Greyhound to the Memphis International Airport area, a move that has already cost $3 million and could eventually put much larger sums at stake.
A committee appointed by Herenton is considering land next to the bus station as a prime site for a new convention center, a project expected to enrich the city's civic life as well as its economy.
Yet a secret side deal could make redevelopment of the Greyhound site profitable for someone else, too -- the mayor's friend, city contractor Elvin W. Moon.
The one institution that has proven itself singularly incapable of balancing the federal budget. The institution that helplessly watches Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security sink deeper into the mire of insolvency? The institution whose members have the gall to sincerely believe they make better decisions about our lives than we can make....we are going to depend on these clowns to clean up this mess, most of which they created?
ECONOMISTS HAVE DOUBTS?!?!?!?!
21H.001, a HASS-D, CI course, explores fundamental questions about the causes and nature of revolutions. How do people overthrow their rulers? How do they establish new governments? Do radical upheavals require bloodshed, violence, or even terror? How have revolutionaries attempted to establish their ideals and realize their goals? We will look at a set of major political transformations throughout the world and across centuries to understand the meaning of revolution and evaluate its impact. By the end of the course, students will be able to offer reasons why some revolutions succeed and others fail. Materials for the course include the writings of revolutionaries, declarations and constitutions, music, films, art, memoirs, and newspapers.
1. Phenomenon (fi-nom-uh-non)
2. Anaesthetist (uh-nes-thi-tist)
3. Remuneration (ri-myoo - nuh-reyshun)
4. Statistics (stuh-tis-tiks)
5. Ethnicity (eth-nis-i-tee)
6. Philosophical (fil-uh-sof-i-kuhl)
7. Provocatively (pruh-vok-uh-tiv)
8. Anonymous (uh-non-uh-muhs)
9. Thesaurus (thi-sawr-uhs)
10. Aluminium (al-yuh-min-ee-uhm)
11. Regularly (reg-yuh-ler-lee)
12. February (feb-roo-er-ee)
13. Particularly (per-tik-yuh-ler-lee)
14. Hereditary (huh-red-i-ter-ee)
15. Prioritising (prah-awr-i-tahyz-ing)
16. Pronunciation (pruh-nuhn-see-ey-shuhn)
17. Prejudice (prej-uh-dis)
18. Facilitate (fuh-sil-i-teyt)
19. Hospitable (hos-pi-tuh-buhl)
20. Onomatopoeia (on-uh-mat-uh-pee-uh)
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Courses by Department
- Aeronautics and Astronautics
- Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation
- Biological Engineering
- Brain and Cognitive Sciences
- Chemical Engineering
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Comparative Media Studies
- Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
- Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
- Engineering Systems Division
- Experimental Study Group
- Foreign Languages and Literatures
- Health Sciences and Technology
- Linguistics and Philosophy
- Materials Science and Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Media Arts and Sciences
- Music and Theater Arts
- Nuclear Science and Engineering
- Political Science
- Science, Technology, and Society
- Sloan School of Management
- Special Programs
- Urban Studies and Planning
- Women's and Gender Studies
- Writing and Humanistic Studies
Pretty expensive campaigning for the taxpayers...$577 million
In a 4-3 decision, the court upheld an appeals court ruling that had struck down the city of Clyde's 2004 ban on guns in its parks because it conflicts with the state's multifaceted con- cealed-carry law. Clyde is southwest of Sandusky.
The ruling not only eliminates gun bans in Independence and Cleveland Heights parks but also threatens several Cleveland gun restrictions and all but kills further efforts by cities to trump or challenge the 4-year-old state law.
"The main impact is that it is going to restrict municipalities, city councils and so forth from restricting the rights of Ohio citizens who carry concealed weapons in public areas," said Patrick Lewis, a Cleveland attorney and member of the conservative Federalist Society, who was not involved in the case.
Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, who voted with the minority, was more direct, saying, "Implementation of the state statute strikes a severe blow to the underlying principles of self-government."
The question for the court was whether the concealed-carry law was meant by state legislators to be applied evenly statewide.
Many politicians and pundits claim that the credit crunch and high mortgage foreclosure rate is an example of market failure and want government to step in to bail out creditors and borrowers at the expense of taxpayers who prudently managed their affairs. These financial problems are not market failures but government failure. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 is a federal law that intimidated lenders into offering credit throughout their entire market and discouraged them from restricting their credit services to low-risk markets, a practice sometimes called redlining. The Federal Reserve Bank, keeping interest rates artificially low, gave buyers and builders incentive to buy and build, thereby producing the housing bubble. Lenders were willing to make creative interest-only loans, often high-risk "no doc" and "liar loans," in order to allow people to buy more housing than they could afford. Of course, with the expectation that housing prices will continue to rise, it was no problem for lenders and borrowers but housing prices began to fall, leaving some people with negative home equity and banks in trouble.
The credit crunch and foreclosure problems are failures of government policy. In fact, what we see now is a market correction to foolhardy government policy. Congress' move to bailout lenders and borrowers who made poor decisions will simply create incentives for people to make unwise decisions in the future. English philosopher Herbert Spencer said, "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools."
Friday, September 19, 2008
You can listen to the entire interview HERE. Senator Haynes discusses Senator Kurita and many other issues.
With the discovery of more than $37,000 in overpaid business taxes, businesses around Knox County will be receiving refunds, ranging from a few dollars to more than $4,000, Foster D. Arnett Jr., Knox County clerk, said Thursday as he announced a new policy his office would implement.
Arnett, who took office as Knox County clerk Sept. 2, said the new policy is part of an effort to restore accountability in government.
“It has been the practice of some clerks in the past to keep that money unless the business owners discovered on their own, that they had overpaid their business taxes, and I am here to tell you that is flat out wrong,” Arnett said at a press conference on the Old Court House lawn Thursday.
Arnett said 779 Knox County businesses have overpaid a total of $37,139.30 in business taxes this year, and the money will be returned. Amounts ranged from just one cent to $4,539.45.
“They want to know what we’re smoking,” he told reporters. “Tell them we’re smoking enthusiasm. We’re smoking a vision. We’re smoking a passion for a great American city that we don’t want to be stagnant. I would hope that some of these Memphians would stop drinking that Haterade and join this bandwagon of progress.”
NEW YORK: Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro has slept with 35,000 women in his 82 years of life, according to an upcoming documentary.
"He slept with at least two women a day for more than four decades - one for lunch and one for supper," the New York Post quoted an ex-Castro official named "Ramon" as telling filmmaker Ian Halperin.
"Sometimes he even ordered one for breakfast," the official said.
bailing out these companies.
"These massive federal bailouts have exposed taxpayers to literally tens of billions of dollars of new risk," the members of the Republican Study Committee wrote to Paulson and Bernanke.
Blackburn said the total risk to taxpayers is $323 billion and that she believes private companies would have come to the rescue had they known the federal government would not intervene.
She said constituents wonder "what is the next business, the next entity that is considered too big to fail?"
The lawmakers' letter calls for using free-market principles to deal with the problems, including "re-establishing the market discipline that comes from the potential of failure."
Though as a Democrat he didn't sign on to the letter, Rep. Lincoln Davis of Pall Mall backed its sentiments. "I strongly oppose taxpayers of America bailing out private investment groups who have knowingly made high risk investments," Davis said in a written statement.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
A FLORIDA judge has deemed unconstitutional a law banning baggy pants that show off the wearer's underwear.
A 17-year-old spent a night in jail last week after police arrested him for wearing low pants in Riviera Beach, Florida.
The law banning so-called "saggy pants'' was approved by city voters in March after supporters of the bill collected nearly 5,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot.
The teen would have received a $US150 ($188) fine or community service, but he spent the night in jail due to a history of marijuana use, the Palm Beach Post newspaper said today.
"Somebody help me,'' said Palm Beach Circuit Judge Paul Moyle, before giving his decision.
"We're not talking about exposure of buttocks. No! We're talking about someone who has on pants whose underwear are apparently visible to a police officer who then makes an arrest and the basis is he's then held overnight, no bond."
"Your honour, we now have the fashion police,'' said public defender Carol Bickerstaff, who asked the law be declared "unconstitutional.''
The judge agreed with Bickerstaff immediately, reported the Post.
Taxpayers must be the adults and say ENOUGH!! Keep taxes low for everyone and stop using our government to play Santa Claus.
Walmart should stick to offering products at low prices and stop trying to coop Arkansas government for their benefit.
In the presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., will benefit primarily from those efforts. Obama has received the endorsement of four federal employee unions: the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.SEIU has already endorsed Obama.
“Some of the departments did a great job and really flattened down those middle management structures that had gotten very big and very kind of bad. That’s something I could not have gotten done in a good year, but in a tough year like this is a great time, just as it is in business, to do that.”
Link HT: FOI FYI
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia was scheduled to give the keynote address at the political science department's much publicized conference. The presentation was also widely advertised as "free and open to the public." "All are invited to attend." With one exception. The broadcast press would be excluded. Only the broadcast press. Members of all other media would be welcome. They could take notes; they could make audio recordings. You see, Justice Scalia has a longstanding personal dislike of people with video cameras. The basis of that bias is not altogether clear -- but he writes into his speaking contracts that all video cameras (except those he specifically approves) will be barred from his venues.
New York City and the Yankees may have violated federal tax regulations and state laws in using $943 million in tax-exempt bonds to build the baseball team’s new stadium. ...
Mr. Brodsky and other critics have argued that the city violated federal tax regulations by manipulating the assessed value of the land beneath the stadium so that the team’s annual payment in lieu of taxes would effectively equal the annual payments to bondholders, or debt service, of $56.7 million beginning in 2010. ...
The Bloomberg administration successfully lobbied the Internal Revenue Service to approve the use of the tax-exempt bonds for the stadium, which did not initially qualify. But the IRS later issued a proposal that would tighten the rules governing such bonds so it would be nearly impossible for this kind of financing to be used again by a profitable sports franchise.
WASHINGTON - Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans. In a new TV ad that repeats widely debunked claims about the Democratic tax plan, the Republican campaign calls Obama's tax increases "painful."
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
“(Photography) is not against the law or the rules, but we are sensitive to certain types of photos being taken,” she said, “but we can’t say because of homeland security issues exactly what they are.”
So you refuse to tell us what the rules are but expect us to obey the rules that you refuse to publish. This is so unbelievable and incredible that it would be downright laughable if it were a joke. Unfortunately the PATHETIC IDIOTS in government are serious!!!Common sense?? That is the most outrageous statement that I have ever heard spewing forth from the pathetic mouth of a petty power crazed bureucrat. HOW DARE YOU ask us to obey unwritten laws and threaten us if we don’t know what they are? This is not a police state or a dictatorship - it is a country of laws and only the legislature can pass laws.
U.S. Transportation Security Administration spokesman Dwayne Baird said it should be “common sense” that taking photographs of “anything that would be of a sensitive nature” would be off limits.
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In the last six months, the Medina Police Department has issued 85 percent of its traffic citations to people who live outside the Medina city limits, police department records show.
Police Chief Jerry Morris said that statistic does not seem out of the ordinary to him.
"I don't see what the big deal is," Morris said. "We stop cars, not people, and we don't choose who we write tickets to."
A man suspended himself upside down in Trafalgar Square to protest against the rising cost of living today.
Herbert Crossman, 60, from Harrow, hung upside down from a crane for two hours in central London, attached by the ankles with a bungee rope.
He was protesting against what he described as the "take, take, take attitude" of the British Government.
He said he demonstrated how the British public is "haemorrhaging money" by lining up three tubs beneath him to catch money as it fell from his pockets - one tub for the Government, one for utility bills and one in red for his income.
The Sunlight Foundation blog says that members of Congress had 24 hours to read and understand the hugely complex energy bill that passed the House.
This is an insult to open government. EVERY BILL should be posted in FINAL form on the internet AT LEAST 72 hours before it comes to the floor for a vote.
Unremarkable because it, like too many bills, was nearly impossible to read or study prior to a final vote. The bill, H.R. 6899, clocking in at 290 pages long was introduced at 9:24 pm on September 15, 2008 and was voted out of the House Rules Committee at midnight. The final vote was held at 10:05 on September 16, 2008. That left 24.5 hours for lawmakers, staff, watchdogs, and concerned citizens to read the bill, or if one counts from the time the bill reported out of Rules, 22 hours.
That’s 290 pages of crucially important legislation to read, digest, and understand in one day. If a reader can plow through text at one-page-per-minute the bill would take approximately 4.8 hours to read, which makes it conceivable that someone could have read the bill. (Legislation doesn’t exactly fly by as fast as a novel, like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which clocks in at 287 pages.) Parsing and understanding legislation must take a longer amount of time. Additionally, calculations should factor in the basic human need for sleep.
Lawmakers and citizens should not accept that bills will be introduced that no one can or will read. This Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act goes down in the pantheon of bills released with not enough time to read them. Lawmakers should require that all bills be available online for public consumption for 72 hours prior to a vote.
ALBUQUERQUE — The Bernalillo County clerk has notified prosecutors that some 1,100 possibly fraudulent voter registration cards have been turned in to her office.
Some cards in New Mexico's most populous county have the same name as a voter who's already registered, but carry a different birth date or Social Security number; some list someone else's Social Security number; some have addresses that don't exist, Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver said Wednesday.
In one case, a series of about nine cards appears to have been taken directly from the phone book, she said.
"Those are sort of the big red flags," Toulouse Oliver said.
Faculty Senate President John Nolt tells The Knoxville News Sentinel he knows this would be a burden for students and their families. But he says it could help students graduate sooner if UT can hire more instructors and offer more courses.
Nolt says the earliest it could go into effect is January, but next fall seems more likely. UT-Knoxville raised tuition 6 percent this year while coping with an $11 million cut in state appropriations.
Taxpayers MUST also determine what we deserve and we deserve to be free of politicians who are arrogant enough to believe they "deserve" our money.
Kudos to Councilman Michael Craddock for opposing more taxpayer money to charities. If taxpayers want to give their money to charity they are free to do so but Metro Council is NOT free to give away taxpayer money.
Kudos also to Councilman Jim Gotto for trying to hold the Metro Council accountable for decisions to take private property from one citizen and give it to another private citizen, this is NOT the role of Government. Unfortunately, his bill failed.
That brought the Council to debate a bill last night that would have given an extra 60-thousand dollars to the four losing non-profits. Councilman Michael Craddock says the Council shouldn’t be giving any more money to non-profits after having to cut bus service during the budget cycle.
“You know all these people need to stop this whining about taxpayer money. That’s what this is. This is pork. That’s all it is.”
The Mayor’s office has said they’ll have uniform criteria across groups next year.
In other business, a bill failed that would have given Council the final say when the city wanted to use its eminent domain power. The bill arose out of a dispute on Music Row, where landowner Joy Ford is suing the city over its attempt to take her land and use it for a private development. The area in question is in a redevelopment district where the city does have the power to confiscate property.
“I certainly don’t intend, with anything I see now, to ask for a tax increase in anything. We’re going to manage through it,” Bredesen told reporters after a speech at the annual Governor’s Economic Conference.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
"The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness (of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disastrous scenarios. And even if there were a problem, the Federal Government doesn't bail them out. But the more pressure there is there, then the less I think we see in terms of affordable housing."
”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”
The group, calling itself Citizens Against the Taxpayer-Owned Hotel, argued that the hotel, with a price tag of up to $500 million, is an overly secretive project that would be undertaken at the expense of basic city services, such as road repair and recreational amenities -- an assessment with which top city officials vehemently disagreed.
“This is a wake-up call for City Hall,” said referendum supporter Anne Raymond, managing director of Crow Holdings, a Dallas company that owns one of the city’s largest hotels, the Hilton Anatole.
“The taxpayers of the city of Dallas deserve to learn the risks of making this decision.”
Citizens Against the Taxpayer-Owned Hotel is composed of representatives from four area hotels or hotel companies. Ms. Raymond predicted that individual Dallas residents will quickly join the effort.
The group needs to collect 20,000 signatures from registered Dallas voter within 60 days to force a referendum, Dallas Assistant City Secretary Rosa Rios said.
Recent evidence suggests men and women dream very differently. For instance, women are more likely to have intense nightmares, and more likely to remember their dreams. Now, a new study says it might all boil down to body temperature.
British researchers studied 170 volunteers and found only 19% of men had frequent nightmares, while 30% of women did. Women suffered a greater emotional impact upon awakening. They were more likely to occur near ovulation when a woman's body temperature slightly increases.
"When a woman's hormones are in a different balance, then her mood is going to be different, her physical symptoms will be different," explained psychologist Dr. Judy Kuriansky, adding it's possible women are just better at remembering their nightmares.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Let us now remember that the Alabama Governor, who knows no shame when handing out taxpayer money, said $234 million was too much.
The state has extended Volkswagon’s landmark tax credits to suppliers who follow the automaker to Tennessee. Any supplier deemed “integral” to VW’s business can get 30-thousand dollars for every job they create.
Revenue Commissioner Raegan Farr says the tax credit was tailored to the planned VW plant in Chattanooga, mostly because suppliers could easily locate in Georgia and Alabama.
Farr says, however, the incentive isn’t isolated to the Chattanooga area. It puts all of Tennessee in play for VW parts suppliers, who are expected to create an additional 10-thousand jobs.
Among the new discrepancies:
_Rangel's papers over the past 10 years show no reference to the sale of a home he once owned on Colorado Avenue in Washington.
_The details of a property bought in Sunny Isles, Fla., are bewildering at best. The stated value changes significantly from year to year, and even page to page, from $50,000 to $100,000 all the way up to $500,000.
_Some of the entries for investment funds fluctuate strangely, suggesting that the person either didn't have accurate information or didn't fill out the paperwork correctly.
It won't be long before just about everything is out in the open. At least that's the take of Donald Burke, the CIA Directorate of Science and Technology guru who spearheaded development of Intellipedia, the intelligence community's version of the Internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Burke, who has the quite non-bureaucratic title of "Intellipedia Doyen" and serves as the leading proponent on the use of Web 2.0 technologies within the intelligence community, shared a bold prediction with attendees of the Director of National Intelligence Open Source Conference in Washington. The proliferation of new Web tools and technologies will mean the end of secrecy within 15 years, he said, with almost everyone and everything leaving "digital exhaust" that will be as hard to hide as what comes out the tailpipe of a car.
I know I leave some digital exhaust each time I use a credit card or book an airline ticket, but as Burke explained that's just the beginning of what most people will leave in their digital wake in the near future.
He predicted that the incorporation of Global Positioning System technology into cell phones will become near universal, meaning that the digital trail from the phones will make it easy to track the physical location of almost anyone in real time. And, as a NATO intelligence analyst who declined to be identified told me, Google Earth makes it real easy to plot that location on really good satellite-based images.
Security cameras are proliferating everywhere, Burk said, including on top of a growing number of police cruisers, which use the cameras to scan license plates automatically and check them against a database. This all leads to "unintended information aggregation" about people and their movements. This could be a boon to intelligence agents, but it's not good for those of us who value our privacy.
|Best Performing Cities 1 - 25|
|2008 Rank||2007 Rank||Metropolitan Area|
|1||8||Provo-Orem, UT MSA|
|2||10||Raleigh-Cary, NC MSA|
|3||18||Salt Lake City, UT MSA|
|4||20||Austin-Round Rock, TX MSA|
|5||16||Huntsville, AL MSA|
|6||2||Wilmington, NC MSA|
|7||7||McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX MSA|
|8||50||Tacoma, WA MD|
|9||37||Olympia, WA* MSA|
|10||12||Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC MSA|
|11||5||Orlando-Kissimmee, FL MSA|
|12||17||Bakersfield, CA MSA|
|13||33||Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX MSA|
|14||24||Lafayette, LA MSA|
|15||43||San Antonio, TX MSA|
|16||32||Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA|
|17||77||Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA MD|
|18||42||Ogden-Clearfield, UT MSA|
|19||11||Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway, SC MSA|
|20||29||Greeley, CO MSA|
|21||74||Durham, NC MSA|
|22||61||Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN MSA|
|23||59||Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX MD|
|24||34||Savannah, GA MSA|
|25||58||Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA MSA|
The majority of the problem applications are coming from the group ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has a large voter registration program among its many social service programs. ACORN's Michigan branch, based in Detroit, has enrolled 200,000 voters statewide in recent months, mostly with the use of paid, part-time employees.
"There appears to be a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications," said Kelly Chesney, spokeswoman for the Michigan Secretary of State's Office. "And it appears to be widespread."
But even higher on the hypocrisy scale is his explanation that he forgot to report income from a foreign condo. Now he says that he will pay his back taxes but says he should be allowed to continue to determine tax policy. Expect the historically low approval rate for Congress to ratchet down a few more points.
Amid growing allegations of unethical conduct, US Representative Charles Rangel has said that he intends to pay any taxes he owes on foreign investment income, although he is refusing to relinquish his chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax legislation.
In a news conference to explain his position, the flamboyant New York Democrat insisted that he had "done nothing morally wrong," and that any irregularities in his financial affairs were errors of omission rather than deliberate deception. He announced that his tax attorney is looking at his filings going back some twenty years, and that he fully intends to pay back any federal, state or local taxes that he owes, which have been estimated at USD10,000.
"I do hope that my explanation will be sufficient to say that we do make errors, even though we consider ourselves experts in terms of tax policy for the nation," he said by way of an explanation.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.
Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.
The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action.
THE war on drivers is moving up a gear with a high-tech speed camera that tracks cars for up to six miles.
The long-reach traps will enforce limits over large stretches, including motorways, accident blackspots and some residential areas.
But critics last night claimed the equipment was just another cash cow to swell Government coffers.
Captain Gatso, the campaigns director for Motorists Against Detection, said: “This will not reduce deaths on the roads. It’s all about the money.
But this summer the town reworked its downtown thoroughfare, not only scrapping the traffic lights but also tearing down the curbs and erasing marked crosswalks. The busiest part of the main street turned into a "naked" square shared equally by bikes, pedestrians, cars, and trucks. Now, there is only one rule: Always give way to the person on the right.
Two months into the experiment, "Instead of thinking, 'It's going to be red, I need to give gas, people have to slow down, to look to the right and the left, to be considerate" says Ms. Rubcic.
Prison Guard Union spending millions to recall Arnold
But this past week, with no contract in sight, Jimenez and his union upped the ante considerably by threatening to recall California's governor for the second time in five years.Labor Unions fight Mass Income tax removal
It's too early to determine if the recall drive launched this week will succeed — many experts call the effort a media spectacle that will fizzle, while others dare not rule anything out because of the organization's tremendous campaign account.
But one thing is clear: The association's move has pushed special interest politics to an unprecedented level in Sacramento, part of a continuing saga that shows the tight grip that a handful of labor unions and business groups hold on state government.
"Special interests have either ruled the roost or will continue to try that in the future," said Jaime Regalado, executive director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University-Los Angeles. "It's just all about what politics — not only in California but politics in state capitols across the country — has been all about, and that is, money and power."
The Coalition for Our Communities has hired two powerful firms as consultants, paying $18,000 to Carpman Communications and $19,500 to the Dewey Square Group. But the group has also raised $1.5 million, with two-thirds coming from national teacher unions. The Boston Teachers Union donated $150,000 and the national Service Employees International Union gave $60,000. Unions would probably have the most to lose if the income tax was repealed, since it would trigger layoffs across state government.LA Labor unions spend millions on LA County campaign
The effort to change that comes amid a scandal that has forced out the leaders of two of the union locals that have been most active in the campaign, both affiliates of the giant Service Employees International Union. In both cases, the local presidents stepped aside after reports in The Times about possible misuse of union funds.
Labor officials say that the problems in the SEIU will not change their plans for continued spending on Ridley-Thomas' behalf using an independent expenditure committee. Such committees can sidestep contribution limits as long as they do not coordinate activities with the candidate.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
but many high ranking non-resident officials are not being touched.
Residency requirements have been causing turmoil at City Hall for months.
Because of the wording and legal interpretations of a 2004 referendum intended to make new employees live in the city, many high-ranking city officials who were required to live in Memphis under a former residency rule now can live anywhere.
The council also has been debating for months whether to relax residency rules for police in an attempt to put more officers on the street.
There are even questions about city Human Resources Director Lorene Essex's residency.
Essex, who is responsible for overseeing the residency requirement, said she lives in an apartment on Mud Island while her husband, Dr. Nathan Essex, head of Southwest Tennessee Community College, lives in a roughly $400,000 house in Collierville. A gardener at the Collierville house told WREG Channel 3 that Essex returns to the Collierville home almost every night.
In a confidential e-mail obtained by The Times, Senate President Don Perata (D-Oakland) told fellow Democrats on Thursday night that he had informed the governor "we urgently need a budget -- let's see if I can work on a deal with the Reps [Republicans] that is no tax, no borrowing. He agreed."
Perata, who had been leading the crusade for a tax hike in the Legislature, wrote that he anticipated working with Republicans through the weekend in an effort to forge a final deal. His office declined to discuss the e-mail, other than to say talks are ongoing and the Democrats oppose borrowing.
Overall consumer confidence climbed 35 points to stand at 69.2, compared to 33.8 in August. This month's RBC CASH Index was buoyed by an 81 point increase in Americans' expectations for the future. Gains also were made in every other facet of consumer sentiment, including assessments of current conditions, investing and job security.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Personality traits: Warm, compassionate, co-operative and friendly.
Highest-scoring states: North Dakota, Minnesota, Mississippi, Utah, Wisconsin, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Nebraska.
Lowest-scoring states: New York, Nevada, Wyoming, District of Columbia, Alaska, Maine, Rhode Island, Virginia, Connecticut, Montana.
Official figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics show that the amount of treatment the NHS delivers is lagging behind the pace of increase in the service's budget.
Critics said the statistics showed the NHS had absorbed huge amounts of money with very little to show for it and the Government must reform its management instead of pumping in ever more funding.
NHS productivity fell by 2.0 per cent a year between 2001 and 2005, according to the Centre for the Measurement of Government Activity, the ONS unit that monitors public spending. That was the period of the biggest funding increase in NHS history.
From 2005 to 2006, productivity fell less quickly, by 0.2 per cent.
From 1995 to 2006, the NHS annual budget more than doubled from £39 billion to £89.7 billion.