Friday, October 31, 2008
Jimmy Duncan and Zach Wamp (Votes where they differed are in purple)
Lincoln Davis and Steve Cohen
Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker
Harry Reid vs. Mitch McConnell
Nancy Pelosi vs. John Boehner
Joe Biden vs. Barack Obama
Ron Paul vs. Dennis Kucinich
No limit, charge as much as you want. What do you care?
When you get the bill...don't worry. Check the website
to find a list of rich people near you. Send the bill to the nearest rich person. They will pay the bill because Barack has "asked" them to...wink, wink.
LAND O' LAKES, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35, Orlando) -- A nudist community on Florida's west coast wants to be allowed a clothing-optional polling site.
The Caliente Resorts, located in Pasco County north of Tampa, has approached election officials about the idea.
Nothing in state law would prohibit it, but the supervisor of elections says he is opposed to creating any new precincts before redistricting in 2010.
Fullilove has a troubled past when it comes to driving, mainly in Mississippi, where she's been arrested twice, accused of Driving Under the Influence. She was also involved in a bad crash that injured a young girl.
Her latest arrest, grew out of an application for a Tennessee driver's license dated March 25, 2008 where authorities say she lied about losing her license. Fullilove said her driver's license was 'lost', when in reality, it was taken away in DeSoto County after she refused a breathalyzer test.
Tuesday, the Tennessee Highway Patrol put out a warrant for her arrest saying in an Affidavit of Complaint, "... she understood that it is a criminal offense to knowingly submit false information on this application to receive a duplicate license."
An airline pilot who lives outside Norwich, Conn., Mr. Lawrence has a traditional 30-year mortgage that he has no trouble paying every month. But, thanks to the plunging real estate market, he owes more on his house than it is worth, like millions of other people.
If the banks, which frequently lent irresponsibly, and many homeowners, who often borrowed irresponsibly, are getting government assistance, Mr. Lawrence says he believes sober souls like himself are also due a break.“Why am I being punished for having bought a house I could afford?” he asked. “I am beginning to think I would have rocks in my head if I keep paying my mortgage.”
A recession is coming (or has already arrived) no matter what happens in Washington. The question is whether the attempt to forestall it is going to make it worse and turn it into another Great Depression.
By acting without rhyme or reason, politicians have destroyed the rules of the game. There is no reason to invest, no reason to take risk, no reason to be prudent, no reason to look for buyers if your firm is failing. Everything is up in the air and as a result, the only prudent policy is to wait and see what the government will do next. The frenetic efforts of FDR had the same impact: Net investment was negative through much of the 1930s.
The next administration is unlikely to do any better. Mr. Bernanke is perhaps the greatest living authority on the Great Depression, yet he has failed to stem the damage. Messrs. Paulson and Bernanke are confronted with a sick patient. They have antibiotics. They have a scalpel. But is there any evidence from the last seven months that they understand the underlying cause of the illness, or how to cure it?
Worst of all are the political incentives that are unleashed when Washington promises to spend a trillion dollars (and counting). No one can spend such money wisely even if they want to. The information about who needs to be bailed out and who needs to fail is too complicated. Inevitably, such decisions will begin to be more about politics than economics.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
If Obama and Biden really embraced the idea of sharing their peanut butter sandwiches, they could donate enough money to make millions of them. I am getting a sudden craving for a glass of milk …
The members of the Obama/Biden ticket don’t really want to share their own peanut butter sandwiches. They want to gather up all of your sandwiches and hand them out as they see fit.
Senator Obama — Kindly offering to share your lunch with a friend in the school cafeteria does not make you a re-distributionist. Being a bully who removes the choice of goodwill from others does.
In other words, just a single U.S. corporation (Exxon Mobil) will pay more in income taxes this year to various governments ($41.5 billion) than the total amount of all federal taxes paid by the residents (more than 5 million) and businesses of those six states in 2007. In 2007, Exxon paid almost as much in income taxes ($30B) as the total federal tax revenue collected in those six states ($32 billion).
1- How would the Constitution limit your powers?
2- Which decisions about the lives and property of your constituents can you make, better than your constituents can make?
PROVIDENCE — Governor Carcieri told a radio talk show audience yesterday that he would “love to find a way” to eliminate the state income tax.
But he stopped short of saying he will ask the General Assembly to eliminate a tax that provides a third of the state’s general revenue — more than $1.1 billion, at a time when the state is already struggling to pay its bills amid plunging tax receipts, a mounting deficit and the highest unemployment rate in the nation.
Asked in a later interview if what he said on radio — a week before Election Day — amounted to a pledge to seek repeal of the tax, Carcieri said: “No. It’s not going to happen in the year that begins January 1. OK? What I am trying to do is precipitate a conversation about tax policy... [because] we are where we are right now because of bad tax polic“We’ve made some changes,” he said in reference to recent moves to cap year-to-year property tax increases, reduce the state’s capital gains tax and provide a flat-tax option that cuts the income tax rate for the state’s wealthiest taxpayers. “But clearly they are not having an impact fast enough … We’ve got to do more dramatic things from a tax policy standpoint to hang out the sign that we’re open for business … because we’ve got to grow jobs.”
A diverse collection of interests — from city transit officials to labor unions to “clean tech” advocates — are clamoring to be added to the second stimulus package Congress may consider after the election.Largely left out of the debate over the $700 billion rescue package directed at Wall Street’s teetering financial sector, lobbyists for other interests now believe it’s their turn to benefit from massive amounts of new government spending intended to avert a protracted recession.
The government's offer to buy shares in the country's financial firms sounds enticing to many of the Charlotte area's community banks.
It's the cheapest way to raise capital right now, they say, and the stigma originally associated with the plan – which has morphed in the public's vernacular from “bailout bill” to “capital injection” – has largely disappeared.
Kim Price, who is chief executive of Gastonia's Citizens South Banking Corp. and chairman of the N.C. Bankers Association, estimated Wednesday that 70-80 percent of the state's roughly 125 banks will apply for the program, which allows the federal government to directly purchase preferred shares in the banks.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The frequency of cloture motions this session has really focused attention on whether or not the Democrats will reach a 60-vote majority in the Senate after next Tuesday’s elections. Right now, the general feeling seems to be that it’s within reach. What this would mean, assuming that their is a sympathetic President in the White House, is that Democrats would be able to fairly easily pass a lot of their policy priorities that have been blocked by Republicans this session.
Here are just a handful of the kinds of bills that have been filibustered this session, but could be passed by Democrats next session if they reach, or come near, 60:
S.3036 – Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008
H.R. 800 – Employee Free Choice Act of 2007
S. 1348 – Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007
H.R. 2831 – Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007
S. 1257 – District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2007
Governor’s proposal: Our schools must become collaborative continuous learning organizations that build a culture of strong relationships, professionalism, collaboration, and common purpose for all students.
Gadfly translates: Our schools will be leaderless, directionless centers of feel-goodism.
Governor’s proposal: Improving our technology system to meet the needs of our students in the 21st Century.
Gadfly translates: We still don’t know how to use the computers that we have but we’ll get some more.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) of U.S. voters say more tax cuts will better stimulate the economy than new government spending, even as Congress considers a second stimulus plan that could cost as much as $300 billion.
Only 32% think the government should pass another economic stimulus package, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Forty-three percent (43%) disagree, and 24% are undecided (see crosstabs).
But a new study on inequality by researchers at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris reveals that when it comes to household taxes (income taxes and employee social security contributions) the U.S. "has the most progressive tax system and collects the largest share of taxes from the richest 10% of the population." As Column 1 in the table below shows, the U.S. tax system is far more progressive - meaning pro-poor - than similar systems in countries most Americans identify with high taxes, such as France and Sweden.
Even after accounting for the fact that the top 10 percent of households in the U.S. has one of the highest shares of market income among OECD nations, our tax system is second only to Ireland in terms of its progressivity for households.
“We are conscious of all savings ideas these days,” he said. “We are focused on more conference calls and, when we travel, we try to drive instead of flying.”
Eleven round trips were made from Knoxville to Chattanooga in fiscal year 2008 and 33 round trips were made between Knoxville and Nashville, said Sylvia Davis, vice president for strategic planning and operations at UT.
With gasoline for cars hovering below $3 a gallon in the Southeast, Dr. Petersen’s assigned vehicle, a 2006 Chrysler 300, could make the round trip to Nashville for $38, a savings compared to the hundreds of dollars spent on fuel for a 40-minute plane ride to Nashville, according to AAA fuel calculations.
However, Ms. Davis said using the plane, which seats nine, instead of a car saves busy administrators hours on the road. A trip to Nashville and back takes six hours out of the day and would prevent officials such as Dr. Petersen from attending to university business, she said.
“The people who use the plane have hectic schedules,” Ms. Davis said. “It is a matter of convenience and accessibility.”
When Girls Preparatory School students learned a second all-girls school was headed for Chattanooga, they were so excited they decided to help pay for it.
So all the earnings from their annual Robin Hood fundraiser week will go to the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy — a public charter school scheduled to open in July. The $62,000 they made from last year’s fundraiser paid for an all-girls school in Pakistan through best-selling author Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute.
“If we can build a school halfway around the world, why not build one right here?” asked senior Natalie Berg, Robin Hood chairwoman. “I’ve always wanted to do something big locally.”
Toronto, ON – As the Federal Finance Minister considers his various options due to a slowing economy, a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted exclusively for CanWest News Service and Global Television indicates that most Canadians (82%) would be ‘supportive’ (41% very/41% somewhat) of spending cuts (18% would be ‘not very’ (11%) or ‘not at all’ (7%) in favour), compared with just four in ten (43%) who support running a deficit (6% very/37% somewhat).
“I’m going to show some cards here: I hope they’re way, way on the back burner some place,” Corker said of any other rescue ideas. “That may disappoint you. I read an article this morning where there was some discussion about an injection into GM and Chrysler.
“Once you start down that path, what industry is it that we do not deal with? To be honest, that’s what my conversation with Hank was about this morning – that I don’t think that was the spirit with which (the bailout) was put forth.”
An FBI affidavit includes a series of still photographs from video recordings allegedly showing Wilkerson accepting money from undercover agents, in one case stuffing cash under her sweater and inside her bra.
Some meetings to discuss her assistance in obtaining a liquor license and pushing legislation on behalf of a developer took place in the Statehouse, according to the complaint. Wilkerson also allegedly took the write-in payment earlier this month outside her district office in Roxbury.
Mayor Bill White breaks this law. Thousands of innocent children could be implicated. You, dear reader, may be in violation and not even know it.
The city finally is cracking down on bicyclists' rampant disregard of the registration law — by getting rid of the law.
City officials and bike enthusiasts all seem to agree that it's a silly, outdated ordinance that is all but impossible to enforce.
The City Council could vote to strike the law from the books on Wednesday.
The law requires owners to register their two-wheelers at a local fire station for $1 and place a little license sticker on the bike.
"This is something that I think is sporadically done," said Randy Zamora, the city's chief prosecutor. "And I think the firemen have better things to do."
Why the law was passed in 1968 remains a mystery, though city officials guess it was meant to deter theft and track stolen bicycles.
That's unnecessary because bicycles have unique serial numbers, said Alessandro De-Souza, assistant manager of the Bike Barn in Rice Village.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
WASHINGTON — Times are tough, but don't worry about most members of Congress making ends meet.
Their collective wealth grew by 13 percent last year, leaving them in better shape than most Americans to make it through an economic downturn, according to a new analysis of personal financial reports.
Overall, nearly two of every three senators are millionaires. That includes presidential candidates Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. In the House, 39 percent of all members belong to the exclusive club.
Only 1 percent of all Americans are considered millionaires.
"With a median net worth of $746,000, most members of Congress have a comfortable financial cushion to ride out any recession," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which conducted the study.
|Bank Name||Date Announced||Details||Bailout Amount (in Millions)|
|Bank of America (incl. Merrill Lynch)||10/14/08||details||$25,000|
|Bank of New York Mellon||10/14/08||details||$3,000|
|First Horizon National||10/24/08||details||$866|
|Home Federal Financial||10/27/08||details||$25|
|JP Morgan Chase||10/14/08||details||$25,000|
|Marshall & Ilsley||10/28/08||details||$1,700|
|Old National Bancorp||10/27/08||details||$150|
|MUMPOWER, JASON E||REPUBLICAN||003||Pending||$101,021|
|HERRON, ROY B||DEMOCRAT||024||Pending||$349,195|
But wildlife watching in Tennessee – which doesn’t require a license – is on the rise. TWRA is pitching an idea to tax non-hunters through small fees for trailer license plates, new fees to visit managed lands or by taxing products like bird seed.
Monday, October 27, 2008
But as NTU reported earlier the taxpayers will still have to pay him a full pension.
Stevens was indicted earlier this week on seven counts of falsifying financial information on his mandatory Senate financial disclosure forms. A bill signed by President Bush in September 2007 deprives a lawmaker of his or her pension only for final conviction of certain offenses committed after the bill's enactment. Most of the charges against Stevens are for offenses he allegedly committed before that time. Moreover, none of the charges for violations he may have committed after September 2007 are among the 10 specific felony offenses (including bribery, conspiracy, and racketeering) that constitute pension removal under current law.
One-quarter of the UK's business owners are thinking about relocating overseas in the next three years as a result of the UK's unfavourable tax and regulatory environment, according to a recently-published survey.
The poll by the accounting and advisory firm Tenon Group found that 26% of respondents are mulling plans to leave the UK, whilst 1 in 20 have already made plans to set up shop overseas. This rises to 30% among those business owners who have had prior experience of steering a company through a recession.
Corporation tax is the area of legislation most highly disliked by entrepreneurs, with 37% of those considering leaving the country citing this tax as the main factor. Capital gains tax and the abolition of taper relief was a key motivation for 16%. Entrepreneurs also continue to feel over-burdened by increasing employee rights, with 24% thinking about leaving the country for this reason.
Barack Obama has a very clear vision for the U.S. He believes that government is the real civilizing force in society, not individual citizens. He believes the rich are greedy and exploitative. He believes the poor are incompetent to make decisions about their own welfare and are victims of forces beyond their control.
Ok, Zach....the ball is in your court...what are your core principles (please don't point to your voting record) ?
Link HT: ACK
Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., said this down cycle for Republicans may force the party to retrench around its core principles.
“If we lose, and I suspect we will lose more seats, it will allow us, through two election cycles, to burn out the impurities and burnish ourselves as the party of limited government,” he said.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Hey Congressmen Cohen, Tanner, L. Davis, Cooper, Wamp, Gordon and Senators Corker and Alexander...I am sure you will refuse to accept any contributions from anyone remotely connected to the bailout?? SURE you will.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The bailout is now the hottest lobbying game in town.
Insurers, automakers and American subsidiaries of foreign banks all want the Treasury Department to cut them a piece of the largest government rescue in U.S. history.
The betting is that many with their hands out will be successful, especially with financial markets in a stomach-churning dive and predictions the economy is about to tumble into a deep recession.
These groups argue that the credit squeeze is so severe and the risks to the economy so dire that their industries need financial support as well.
"People who work in government believe in government, and they want a president who can inspire people to believe in government again," said David Osborne, a senior partner at Public Strategies Group, a consulting firm for government executives. "When they look at these two (candidates), they come to the conclusion that it's Obama."
Sandra Williams with Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, testifying on 7-21-08 before the TN House Utilities and Banking Committee, knows how to solve the mortgage foreclosure problem AND to show real love and compassion at the same time. Its timeless and simple:
GOVERNMENT experts say the word "drought" is making farmers feel bad and want people to use the word "dryness" instead.
Farmers also needed to accept that drier weather was here to stay, said a report by the Government's hand-picked Drought Policy Review Expert Social Panel.
"Words like drought ... have negative connotations for farm families," the report said.
"There needs to be a new national approach to living with dryness, as we prefer to call it, rather than dealing with drought."
The report criticised the Government's $1 billion annual drought program, under which drought-stricken farmers are paid Exceptional Circumstances (EC) funding.
"For all the assistance provided, farm families, rural businesses and communities currently living with dryness in rural Australia do not feel or perceive they are measurably better off," the report said.
Farming families in drought-declared areas can get an EC payment of up to $21,000 a year.
The report quoted some farmers as saying EC payments rewarded unproductive and irresponsible farmers and were of no help to good operators.
But I have never heard anyone say "More people should vote because low voter turnout leads to unreliable results," or "more people should vote because that would change the outcome/results of the election. " Mostly, I think people would simply "feel better" if we had the same results with 80% turnout, compared to having those same election results with 40% turnout.National Voter Turnout in Federal Elections: 1960–2006
But think about it this way - would you feel any better about a blood test if they took two pints of your blood compared to 20 ccs? Probably not.
|Voter turnout||Turnout of voting-age |
To specify a point, append a tag to the end of your video link with the following syntax: “#t=1m45s” (you can change the numbers before the ‘m’ and ’s’ to edit the minutes and seconds, respectively.
Here’s an example:
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The budget picture looking forward is even bleaker. While the deficit is projected to be about $550 billion for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, budget analysts have yet to figure in the effects of a recession, which could easily tack on another $100 billion. They also have not included the first $250 billion being spent on the bailout plan, which the White House budget office said this week must be added, even though much if not all of the money is eventually expected to be returned to the Treasury.
On Election Day, Arizonans can give the nation the gift of a good example. They can enact a measure that could shape the health-care debate that will arrest or accelerate the nation's slide into statism. Proposition 101, the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, would put the following language into Arizona's Constitution:
"Because all people should have the right to make decisions about their health care, no law shall be passed that restricts a person's freedom of choice of private health care systems or private plans of any type. No law shall interfere with a person's or entity's right to pay directly for lawful medical services, nor shall any law impose a penalty or fine, of any type, for choosing to obtain or decline health care coverage or for participation in any particular health care system or plan."
I have often wondered why so many liberals choose big government to be the weapon of choice in implementing their moral vision. Big government is inherently wasteful, inefficient, and corrupt and invites abuse of power by whoever is in power. Private foundations and other entities are so much more efficient in helping the poor.
I am a card-carrying, unrepentant, far-left goody-two shoes bleeding heart liberal. Radical, even.
Yet I plan to vote for Q1.
I am not a "small government" advocate. Nor is my aim to keep a few thousand more dollars in the taxpayers’ pockets (including mine) because "times are tough." Nor do I claim that taxpayers "know how to spend that money better than the government does." Nor do I believe we should force poor people to "pull themselves up by their own bootstraps."
My motives are the reverse. I think our government is too small for the services we need, and must be funded to do all the socially necessary things individuals, and the so-called (until recently) "free markets," cannot do. But without some big change, we won’t get the government we need, no matter how much money we put into it.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Lyrics by Tom Paxton
Oh the price of gold is rising out of sight
And the dollar is in sorry shape tonight
What the dollar used to get us now won’t buy a head of lettuce
No the economic forecast isn’t right
But amidst the clouds I spot a shining ray
I can even glimpse a new and better way
And I’ve devised a plan of action worked it down to the last fraction
And I’m going into action here today
I am changing my name to Fannie Mae
I am going down to Washington D.C.
I'll be glad they got my back
'Cause what they did for Freddie Mac
Will be perfectly acceptable to me
I am changing my name to Fannie Mae
I am headed for that great receiving line
So when they hand a trillion grand out
I’ll be standing with my hand out
I’ll get mine
When my creditors are screaming for their dough
I’ll be proud to tell them all where they can go
They won’t have to scream and holler
They’ll be paid to the last dollar
Where the endless streams of money seem to flow
I’ll be glad to tell them all what they can do
It’s a matter of a simple form or two
It’s not just remuneration it’s a liberal education
Ain’t you kind of glad that I’m in debt to you
Since the first amphibians crawled out of the slime (of the slime!)
We’ve been struggling in an unrelenting climb
We were hardly up and walking before money started talking
And it’s sad that failure is an awful crime
It’s been that way for a millennium or two
But now it seems that there’s a different point of view
If you’re a corporate titanic and your failure is gigantic
Down in Congress there’s a safety net for you
Typically the marriages are arranged and women have two husbands. But some wives have three or four depending on how many brothers there are in a family.
Polyandry is illegal in India but socially acceptable here. No one from the government seems to bother the villagers about the law.
"It's been going on for ages. My sister in law has two husbands, my mother in law also has two husbands," Indira says.
And as to the question of which husband is the biological father of the children -- the Pundir's don't know and don't care.
"For me everyone is the same, my mother and my fathers are the same. My mother and my fathers are like God to me," 17-year old daughter Sunita Singh Pundir says.
There are other problems with the parity argument. Consider:
•The American Psychiatric Association claims that more than 50 percent of Americans are now or will at some point be mentally ill. This estimate, a major increase from years ago, is virtually unlimited since there is no way to accurately confirm or disconfirm "mental illness."
•Supporters of parity celebrate the new law as signaling the end of "stigma," but they fail to consider that stigmatization is a marvelous negative reinforcer for undesired behavior, some of which is called "mental illness."
•Substance disorders are arguably a function of behavioral choices and in no way constitute diseases to which insurance should apply. Such self-destructive behavior is best explained by mindset, personal values and how a person copes with his or her environment. Incidence varies by cultural context, and people can clearly stop or control their addictions through an exercise of free will. Not so when it comes to bodily illness; one can no more will away cancer, heart disease or diabetes than he or she can will their onset.
•Severe conditions such as schizophrenia have been used to typify "mental illness," when it in fact constitutes no more than 1.5 percent of those labeled "mentally ill." A more prototypical mental illness, "adjustment disorder," is a name given by psychiatrists to people who have problems in living - hardly worthy of health insurance and an inducement against confronting one's problems and choices. The same could be said for "impulse-control disorders" such as gambling too much (called "pathological gambling") and other supposed mental disorders.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
As of November 5, 2008, when President Obama officially becomes president-elect, our company will instill a few new policies which are in keeping with his new, inspiring issues of change and fairness:
1. All salespeople will be pooling their sales and bonuses into a common pool that will be divided equally between all of you. This will serve to give those of you who are under-achieving a "fair shake".
2. All low level workers will be pooling their wages, including overtime, into a common pool, dividing it equally amongst you. This will help those who are "too busy for overtime" to reap the rewards from those who have more spare time and can work extra hours.
3. All top management will now be referred to as "the government." We will not participate in this "pooling" experience because the law doesn't apply to us.
4. The "government" will give eloquent speeches to all employees every week, encouraging its workers to continue to work hard "for the good of all".
5. The employees will be thrilled with these new policies because it's "good to spread the wealth around". Those of you who have underachieved will finally get an opportunity; those of you who have worked hard and had success will feel more "patriotic".
6. The last few people who were hired should clean out their desks. Don't feel bad, though, because President Obama will give you free healthcare, free handouts, free oil for heating your home, free food stamps, and he'll let you stay in your home for as long as you want even if you can't pay your mortgage. If you appeal directly to our democratic congress, you might even get a free flat screen TV and a coupon for free haircuts (shouldn't all Americans be entitled to nice looking hair?)!!!
A 6-year-old Park Slope girl is facing a $300 fine from the city for doing what city kids have been doing for decades: drawing a pretty picture with common sidewalk chalk.
Obviously not all of Natalie Shea’s 10th Street neighbors thought her blue chalk splotch was her best work — a neighbor called 311 to report the “graffiti,” and the Department of Sanitation quickly sent a standard letter to Natalie’s mom, Jen Pepperman.
Can somebody stop these bureaucrats before they Kafka again?
“PLEASE REMOVE THE GRAFFITI FROM YOUR PROPERTY,” the Sanitation Department warning letter read. “FAILURE TO COMPLY … MAY RESULT IN ENFORCEMENT ACTION AGAINST YOU.”
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said the federal government is considering outlays of as much as $25 million to help ethanol plants, which have been hit by volatile commodity prices.
Flake, a fiscal conservative, panned the plan Wednesday saying federal promotion of ethanol production is the problem. “The federal government’s ethanol policies have driven up the price of corn,” said Flake. “But rather than reforming the policies that have caused a spike in corn prices, the federal government wants to bail out ethanol producers who speculated on the price of corn. Only the U.S. Department of Agriculture could dream up a policy like this.”
Sixty-two percent of respondents in a poll commissioned by the Chattanooga Times Free Press said they believe the state government conducts much of the public’s business in secret, compared to 50 percent in 2004.The Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. telephone survey of 625 registered Tennessee voters was conducted from Sept. 22 through Sept. 24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The increased opposition to how state and local governments conduct business comes three months after the state open records law was rewritten.
The IRS has issued a ruling allowing the Yankees to use PILOTS to float an additional $300 million of bonds to finance the New Yankee Stadium. Interestingly, the Daily News suggests the IRS may be giving the Yankees a special deal that won't be available to other franchises. "The tax agency imposed tough new national regulations aimed at tightening up the use of tax-exempt financing for private businesses, including sports teams." Of course, the IRS also had some nudging from the politically influential Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem), head of the House Ways and Means Committee, who submitted a letter to the IRS advocating the Yankees' position.
But that isn't all. Regular readers may recall having seen the story about the city of New York allegedly falsifying the assessment of the stadium to give the Yankees a larger benefit. That issue is still alive and well, as this article in the New York Daily News makes clear. New York State Assemblyman Charles Brodsy had this to say about the city's assessment, "This assessment was cooked. It was done in violation of sworn promises to the IRS. That, in and of itself, requires more investigation."
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The overwhelming majority of "rich" are NOT greedy, uncaring, uncharitable people who victimize those below them on the economic ladder. They are, in fact, rich because they produce proportionately more goods and services; goods and services which are then available to everyone.
The overwhelming majority of "poor" are not immoral, lazy laggards who are looking for a handout or are the victims of a class conspiracy. They are, in fact, poor because they are proportionately less productive.
The key to prosperity for everyone is to learn the skills, and have the capital available, to be more productive.
Income inequality has increased worldwide but it is not the result of class warfare. It is the result of fast changing technology and highly mobile capital and a global marketplace that quickly rewards efficient production and penalizes inefficiency. NOW is the time to respond with world class education, not bureaucracy and teacher union driven mediocrity. NOW is the time to encourage risk taking and innovation, not to destroy incentives.
EVERYONE is penalized when you penalize productivity. This resurgence of class envy politics will kill our productivity and destroy our economy.
The economic tides will not stand still while Washington experiments with European-type social democracy, even though the dollar's role as the global reserve currency will buy some time. Our trademark competitive advantage will be lost, and once lost, it will be hard to regain. There are too many emerging economies focused on prosperity and not redistribution for the U.S. to easily recapture its role of global economic leader.
Tomorrow's children may come to question why their parents sold their birthright for a mess of "fairness" -- whatever that will signify when jobs are scarce and American opportunity is no longer the envy of the world.
It’s difficult to get one’s hopes up, though. Scientific history is littered with ambitious, revolutionary theories that turned out to be groundless. But Blacklight is an interesting case. Its “hydrino” theory isn’t put forth by a single crackpot. Instead, the company employs a good handful of high-level scientists who would presumably rebel if the idea was totally false. It has also taken over $60 million in venture funding. Despite a hearty rejection by the scientific mainstream, and being ignored for years on end, its founder, Randell Mills, has plugged on. We covered the company extensively back in May, when it started saying it had a prototype 50 kilowatt reactor.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
:...there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it..."
The new government is losing no time in implementing financial reforms, despite the global financial crisis now wreaking havoc around the world. It wants to regain its regional standing against Hong Kong and Singapore, and has its sights set on turning Taiwan into a regional asset management hub.
According to finance minister Lee Sush-der, the bill will cost the government NT$20 billion in lost tax revenue each year. But the loss will pay for itself in the form of a more vibrant economy.
Monday, October 20, 2008
When the Treasury Department's bailout czar provided an update this week on the government's $700 billion plan to rescue troubled financial institutions, he vowed that it would be an "open and transparent program with appropriate oversight.''
The next day, the Treasury Department put out an announcement about a major bailout-related contract with Bank of New York Mellon Corp. that fell short in the transparency department.
The copy of the agreement that was made public had blacked-out paragraphs in the section covering Bank of New York Mellon's compensation. If the Treasury Department is unwilling to disclose the particulars of that contract -- or even the general outline of the compensation scheme -- that raises questions about how it will treat disclosure of other bailout transactions.
They are public employees in state and local governments, ranging from teachers to cops. Most collect guaranteed pensions provided through state and local taxes and their own contributions and investment returns. Overall, 90% of public employees enjoy a defined-benefit pension, compared with only 20% (and falling) of the private work force.
Even though the commitment is there, the money isn't. A study by analysts at Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco estimates that public-employee pension funds in the U.S. are short $700 billion. That's more than all state and local governments collected last year in property, sales and corporate income taxes combined. As a result, many employees in the private sector will get hit with a double whammy: while their pensions erode, increasingly they will be hit with cuts in government services and forced to pay higher taxes to cover the pensions of public employees, the kind they can only dream about. In three-fourths of the states, public pensions even come with annual cost-of-living increases, a fringe benefit absent from private pensions.
Phil Bredesen, Democrat Legislature: Divided
Grade: B Took Office: January 2003
Governor Bredesen has generally avoided tax increases. After a four-year battle to impose an income tax inTennessee ended in 2002with the state remaining income tax-free, Bredesen wisely sided against the idea when he came to office. The only substantial tax increase under the governor was a 2007 increase in the cigarette tax. The governor has not proposed any major tax cuts, but he has supported modest breaks such as reducing the sales tax on groceries.
When state budget gaps have appeared, Bredesen has focused on budget restraint,
including efforts to reduce state employment and rein in health care spending. Per capita spending, however, has risen quickly at about 6 percent annually during his tenure.
Link HT: Makiw
WASHINGTON: Seeking to explain why he is backtracking on a campaign promise to cut taxes for the middle class, President-elect Bill Clinton said Thursday that the plan was never a major theme in his race for the White House.
Mr. Clinton, speaking at a news conference a day after saying he would have to "revisit" his tax-cut plan, said Americans voted for him because of the "big things" he wanted to do.
The middle-class tax cut, he said, was not among them.
He said he was "absolutely mystified" that the news media had perceived it as a major pledge. In interviews Wednesday, Mr. Clinton said that, because of worsening deficit projections,"I have to put everything back on the table."
Mr. Clinton spoke throughout the campaign of the need to redress declining middle-class incomes during the 1980s. He proposed a tax cut for the middle class nearly a year ago, in New Hampshire, and repeated the pledge frequently.
The court ruling overturns a law banning out-of-state wine retailers from shipping direct to in-state consumers -- unless the retailers have a location in Michigan and are part of the structure that includes beverage manufacturers and wholesale distributors. The judge said requiring a business to open a bricks-and-mortar location in Michigan violates the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from discriminating against interstate trade.
They do not seem the most likely classical music patrons: Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
But together, these defense contractors are donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to the symphony orchestra in Johnstown, Pa., underwriting performances of Mozart and Wagner in this struggling former steel town. A defense lobbying firm, the PMA Group, even sprang for a Champagne reception at the symphony’s opera festival last month.
Company representatives say they are being generous corporate citizens. But the orchestra is also a beloved charity of Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, whose Congressional committee hands out lucrative defense contracts, and whose wife, Joyce, is a major booster of the symphony.
“She just loves knowing that we have an orchestra that is the quality of a larger city orchestra,” the symphony executive director, Patricia Hofscher, said of Mrs. Murtha. “Her friends have come here and been impressed by the quality of the orchestra in a geographic and economic region that, let’s face it, are not on the beaten path.”For the first time, corporations and their lobbyists are being required to disclose donations they make to the favorite causes of House and Senate members, and a review of thousands of pages of records shows the extent — and lavishness — of this once hidden practice.
On Tuesday, lawmakers and transportation industry experts will begin looking at how Tennessee might pay for future road projects beyond the current 21.4-cents-per-gallon tax on gasoline.
Options include raising the rate on the gas tax by tying it to the rate of inflation, adding fees to transportation-related items like driver's licenses or vehicle registration, building toll roads and bridges, and borrowing money by selling bonds.
The Transportation Funding Option Committee has the task of researching alternative sources of income and reporting its findings to lawmakers in February. During the first meeting, its 20 members will hear from the chief of the Tennessee Department of Transportation about the current funding situation and what other states are doing.
Gov. Bredesen recently said he would not dip into the rainy day fund to make up for a soft economy:
Now, he is saying that despite not knowing how long the economic downturn will last, he is going to dip into the rainy day fund:
The governor said he would not, however, approve using the reserves to balance the budget.
"I'm very serious about finding some ways to cut back on our spending over the next few months so that we don't build ourselves a big hole," Bredesen said.
"You never can do it quite as fast as revenues dip, just because it takes time to make these changes," Bredesen said.
Bredesen said he can likely find ways to make the cuts necessary to fill up to a $300 million spending gap.
"But when you get much above $300 million you're talking either about legislative action, or dipping into reserves somewhat," Bredesen said.
The governor has previously expressed reluctance about tapping the state's $750 million rainy day reserves until an end to the downturn was in sight.