Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wait, someone is actually fact checking Obama?

Link

Factcheck.org — a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, which “aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics” — touches on just some of the many whoppers in Barack Obama’s speech to Congress last week. My favorite line is: “Obama continued his recent habit of asserting projections as fact” — a tool that was on full display during the recent stimulus fear orgy.

Some more:

He said “we import more oil today than ever before.” That’s untrue. Imports peaked in 2005 and are substantially lower today.

He claimed his mortgage aid plan would help “responsible” buyers but not those who borrowed beyond their means. But even prominent defenders of the program including Fed Chairman Bernanke and FDIC chief Bair concede foolish borrowers will be aided, too.

He said the high cost of health care “causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds.” That’s at least double the true figure.

He flubbed two facts about American history. The U.S. did not invent the automobile, and the transcontinental railroad was not completed until years after the Civil War, not during it.

He claimed that his stimulus plan “prevented the layoffs” of 57 police officers in Minneapolis. In fact, it’s far more complicated than that, and other factors are also helping to save police jobs.

Raw Federal Election Commission donation data

for importing into databases. Only to be used for political purposes. This data may not be used for commercial or solicitation purposes.

Link

Barack's Trillion Dollar Hat Trick

1- $1 Trillion Stimulus Bill

2- $1 Trillion in new tax hikes

3- $1 Trillion Deficit

Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe-50k notes used to pan for gold

With an extraordinary video smuggled out by anti-Mugabe activist.

Link

The opposition activist has produced extraordinary footage of what Zimbabweans have to do in order to survive in a wrecked economy. As money is worthless – Zimbabwe is plagued by the world's highest inflation rate – the villagers are reduced to panning for gold in rivers. Instead of attending school, youngsters from the village scrabble knee-deep in muddy water or dig ever deeper holes in a desperate search for a few grains of gold.

These small supplies of the precious metal have thus become a crucial commodity Zimbabweans can trade for food; a loaf of bread is worth 0.1 grams. But only the young have the strength to dig and pan for gold; the village elders must go hungry, unless they have friends or relatives they can rely on. Some parents have been forced to feed rats to their children, and hunger has turned family members against each other.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Taxpayers backs are breaking...hear the snap and

see the graph. It now costs more to insure Treas Bonds than some AAA corporate bonds.

And Barack Obama wants to lay $1 trillion more each year on the backs of taxpayers. There is a limit, even a limit to the creditworthiness of American Taxpayers.

Link

In other news, the cost of buying a five-year credit default swap (CDS) to insure against the possible default of U.S. Treasury bonds reached 100 basis points for the first time yesterday. In English, the price of insuring $10,000,000 worth of Treasury bonds for five years now costs $100,000 –up from just $5,000 one year ago.

Your editors do not exactly know what the 20-fold jump in CDS prices means, but we are pretty sure we know what it does NOT mean. It does NOT mean that the U.S. government is becoming MORE credit-worthy.

As the nearby chart indicates, the price of insuring Treasury debt against default now costs more than the price of insuring the debt of almost any AA or A+ rated company in the country. In other words, the Treasury is not quite as AAA as it should be, according to the buyers of credit default swaps.

MTSU students get a head start on real world

issues and vote down a tax increase. Way to go MTSU kids....you get an A in govt.

Matthew has the story.

Some day all of this will be yours

19 Georgia Lawmakers delinquent on their taxes

Link

The report on the alleged tax dodgers, with names and Social Security numbers redacted, has been forwarded to Republican and Democratic leaders of the state House of Representatives and Senate.

“Leaders of both parties have made it clear this will not be tolerated,” state Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs), chairman of the House Ethics Committee, said in an interview late Thursday night.

Wilkinson said House and Senate leaders are now discussing what should happen to the 16 House members and 3 senators in wake of the disclosure.

Wilkinson said he requested the report from the Department of Revenue after another House member was found delinquent on his tax returns.

There apparently is no provision in state law to keep the Legislature from seating members who are behind on their taxes, Wilkinson said. But he said both chambers do have the right to expel members who fail to hand over taxes to the government.

“Both the House and the Senate will clarify this issue in coming weeks,” he said.

Louisiana Bank says bye-bye to TARP

Good, hopefully more bank shareholders will demand their management follow this example.

Link HT: Nashville Post Bidness
We believe recent actions, interpretations, and commentary regarding various aspects of the program places our Company at an unacceptable competitive disadvantage. Our Board of Directors has determined that continued participation in this program is no longer in the best interest of our Company and its shareholders." Byrd continued, "Our Company occupies a unique position of strength, growth, and opportunity relative to other participants in the financial services industry. We are pleased to be able to redeem the Treasury's investment in our Company."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

$1 Trillion in Tax Hikes in Obama's Budget

Barack Obama and his advisors are doing their best to destroy any possibility for a meaningful recovery.

Link

President Obama's budget proposes $989 billion in new taxes over the course of the next 10 years, starting fiscal year 2011, most of which are tax increases on individuals.

1) On people making more than $250,000.

$338 billion - Bush tax cuts expire
$179 billlion - eliminate itemized deduction
$118 billion - capital gains tax hike

Total: $636 billion/10 years

2) Businesses:

$17 billion - Reinstate Superfund taxes
$24 billion - tax carried-interest as income
$5 billion - codify "economic substance doctrine"
$61 billion - repeal LIFO
$210 billion - international enforcement, reform deferral, other tax reform
$4 billion - information reporting for rental payments
$5.3 billion - excise tax on Gulf of Mexico oil and gas
$3.4 billion - repeal expensing of tangible drilling costs
$62 million - repeal deduction for tertiary injectants
$49 million - repeal passive loss exception for working interests in oil and natural gas properties
$13 billion - repeal manufacturing tax deduction for oil and natural gas companies
$1 billion - increase to 7 years geological and geophysical amortization period for independent producers
$882 million - eliminate advanced earned income tax credit

Total: $353 billion/10 years

Springfield, TN Bond Protest Petition

Springfield, TN Bond Protest Petition

Click HERE (PDF) to Display and Print the Petition.

The Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen just decided to put $3 million of NEW DEBT on the backs of Springfield taxpayers. The City does NOT need to be borrowing more money when the economy is in shambles. Under TN Law the citizens of Springfield can force a vote on this new debt but time is short.

If you are a registered voter in Springfield, TN PLEASE Sign and have friends and family sign and return to the address on the petition. If you need more information call Mike Hollingsworth at 533-5458. All petitions must be submitted within 20 days so it is VERY important to act quickly. Please print additional copies and hand them out at church, at your work and around the neighborhood. Thank YOU.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

TN Dems Cooper, Tanner vote NO on Omnibus Bill

along with all TN Republicans.

Link

Federal Govt spending is consuming the economy

Federal Government spending will soon represent almost 1/3 of GDP. With State and local spending, it will approach 45%.

Link

What happens when the Govt "gives" you money

Link

3rd Alabama Legislator Convicted

Link

The conviction likely sent shock waves through the Alabama legislature and the upper echelons of the AEA (Teacher union). Schmitz was convicted of fraud in connection with a phony job where she did little work. Basically the AEA and powerful legislators set her up there so that she could draw taxpayer dollars with no work product in return. She wasn’t the only legislator with such a cushy arrangement and judegment day may be on the horizon for more.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Either he is delusional or he thinks we are.

Obama: "Not because I believe in bigger government -- I don't."

Fighting FOR free speech to fight AGAINST Annexation

Nashville TeaParty: Fri Noon at Legislative Plaza

Link

Contact: Judson Phillips

Event Info
Host:
Type:
Network:
Global
Time and Place
Date:
Friday, February 27, 2009
Time:
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location:
Legislative Plaza
City/Town:
Nashville, TN

Ominibus Appropriations Bill

See Certification Letters for earmarks.

Link

H.R. 1105
FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act

Table of Contents

Top Income TN Zipcodes per IRS Income Stats

Link HT: Taxprof

Zip Code Number of Returns Average Income Federal Tax Effective Tax Rate
Memphis, TN 38197 21 $312,000 $31,600 10.0%
Lookout Mtn, TN 37350 1,006 $230,110 $53,110 20.0%
Memphis, TN 38187 265 $225,250 $60,090 21.0%
Nashville, TN 37215 11,560 $201,740 $49,590 22.0%
Memphis, TN 38120 7,260 $200,270 $51,590 22.0%
Cookeville, TN 38503 626 $188,400 $55,020 25.0%
Germantown, TN 38139 7,547 $183,250 $45,510 21.0%
Nashville, TN 37205 12,491 $182,540 $49,030 23.0%
Chattanooga, TN 37402 1,183 $161,610 $60,950 19.0%
Chattanooga, TN 37450 13 $153,540 $25,600 13.0%
Brentwood, TN 37027 22,624 $147,390 $35,750 21.0%
Franklin, TN 37069 8,301 $139,870 $33,980 20.0%
Brentwood, TN 37024 475 $138,070 $35,010 22.0%
Chattanooga, TN 37401 280 $132,200 $25,410 14.0%
Nashville, TN 37220 3,270 $132,030 $30,650 20.0%
Nashville, TN 37203 4,885 $125,930 $45,500 25.0%
Memphis, TN 38130 296 $124,690 $21,370 13.0%
Memphis, TN 38177 158 $124,490 $25,810 17.0%
Franklin, TN 37068 471 $123,320 $30,050 20.0%
Germantown, TN 38183 455 $119,770 $27,560 19.0%

Monday, February 23, 2009

AP: Obama's deficit goals depend on "improbable"

assumptions? Ya think? Well, lets see, you start your Presidency by borrowing $1 trillion and then you talk about reducing the deficit? Then you follow by proposing a budget that is constructed of every big spending, big taxing cliche from the last 20 years. Yea, I would say that deficit reduction is pretty damned improbable.

Link

President Barack Obama's ambitious goal of cutting the federal deficit in half relies on a perfect - some might say improbable - convergence of factors: a recovered economy, a tax boost for the rich and success in easing foreign entanglements.

In calling for a deficit of about $530 billion in four years, Obama has established a marker by which to measure his first-term performance as president. The dollar figure could be his albatross or his badge of success.

"This will not be easy," Obama said Monday as he kicked off a fiscal summit at the White House. "It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we've long neglected."

For Obama, the challenge is clear: He will have to increase spending on health care and energy if he wants to accomplish the policy overhaul he promised during his campaign, yet he also needs to cut spending elsewhere and increase revenue to meet his deficit goal.

Many agencies have already missed the deadline

to appoint oversight officials for the stimulus money.

Link

Agencies have had mixed success at meeting one of the first deadlines related to the massive economic stimulus package: the goal of selecting by Feb. 13 a high-level official to oversee spending.

A number of agencies contacted by Government Executive have placed someone in charge of economic recovery act activities, as requested by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag in a Feb. 9 memorandum. But at least several others missed the Feb. 13 deadline.

The Homeland Security Department, which will receive nearly $2 billion to install explosives detection and checkpoint screening systems in airports, construct and improve border security, and improve Coast Guard infrastructure has yet to name its stimulus point person. A department spokeswoman said an announcement could come soon.

The General Services Administration, which will get more than $5.5 billion to make federal buildings and government vehicles more energy efficient and to expand border security, still is working on designating an official, a spokesman said.

And the Agriculture Department, which will receive more than $1 billion for Forest Service projects, modernization of the Farm Service Agency's computer systems, and headquarters repairs and security enhancements, is not yet prepared to make an announcement, a spokesman said.

Some agencies are waiting for President Obama to appoint high-level deputies who fit the criteria for the position.

The Stimulus Bill will create bureaucratic bloat

unlike anything we have ever seen...anywhere, anytime. The IBM Center for the Business of Government blog says we are in danger of creating a parallel government.

Link
The Stimulus Bill contains an enormous number of reporting requirements. For example, Stimulus dollars have to be accounted separately, and agencies must separately report on who gets the dollars, including subcontractors or sub-grantees, and how many jobs are created.

Programs, agencies, OMB, and the new, $84 million Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board (see p. 175 of the bill) are all required to report on the progress of spending, often on different timetables. In fact, according to new OMB guidance, there are eight levels of reporting that are now required, with the first report from agencies due March 3.

There is a risk of creating, at least on paper, a parallel government – the regular government and the Stimulus government — programs (and dollars) being funded via Stimulus dollars. The Stimulus spending ($787 billion) is almost the size of a “regular” annual budget (about $990 billion in discretionary spending in 2009, once you back out interest on the debt and entitlement programs).

9,000 earmarks in soon to be debated Omnibus bill

Will Pres. Obama live up to his campaign promises and carve them out in a fit of budget waste outrage? Of course NOT. The promises were meaningless.

Link HT: Andy at Club for Growth

During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidates Barack Obama and John McCain fought vigorously over who would be toughest on congressional earmarks.

"We need earmark reform," Obama said in September during a presidential debate in Oxford, Miss. "And when I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely."

President Obama should prepare to carve out a lot of free time and keep the coffee hot next week as Congress prepares to unveil a $410 billion omnibus spending bill that's riddled with thousands of earmarks, despite his calls for restraint and efforts on Capitol Hill to curtail the practice.

The bill will contain about 9,000 earmarks totaling $5 billion, congressional officials say. Many of the earmarks - loosely defined as local projects inserted by members of Congress - were inserted last year as the spending bills worked their way through various committees.

So while Obama and McCain were slamming earmarks on the campaign trail, House and Senate members - Democrats and Republicans - were slapping them into spending bills.

"It will be a little embarrassing for the president if he signs a bill with that many earmarks on it," said Stan Collender, a veteran Washington budget analyst. "He'll say they're left over from the Bush years, and he as to say that next year the bill will be clean."

UK Trashguys to build "rubbish profile" of households

And tax you accordingly.

Link

Waste collection crews are being issued with devices featuring GPS technology that allow councils to store a history of information about individual rubbish collections, including whether householders are failing to recycle properly.

The system feeds binmen with up-to-the minute information about houses they are visiting.

It also provides local authorities with enough information to issue recycling advice or automated fines to residents who fail to obey bin rules.

Opposition MPs and campaigners say the technology will make it easy for the government to resurrect plans for the introduction of a £50 pay-as-you-throw tax on millions of families.

Recycling charges are part of the Government's waste strategy to encourage households to recycle at least 40 per cent of their rubbish by 2010, rising to 50 per cent by 2020.

TN Higher Ed, awash in taxpayer money,

tries "Washington Monument" ploy.

When the National Park service is threatened with budget cuts, they nearly always respond by threatening to close the most visible and important attraction, the Washington Monument. Thus the name "Washington Monument" ploy.

Now TN higher Ed is taking a page from that book by threatening to stop printing the student newspaper at MTSU.

This shamelessly greedy ploy by a TN higher ed bureaucracy that acts more like a bank robber than an educational institution is absolutely unforgivable.

More Development News on Bigdog military Robot

Link

Boston Dynamics’ quadrupedal BigDog robot set a new legged autonomous distance record last year by traveling 12.8 miles without any human intervention. Following a series of GPS waypoints, BigDog walked a 2.5 miles per hour, autonomously avoiding obstacles and dealing with varied terrain until its fuel ran out.

This is pretty impressive, but not good enough for DARPA, who wants a legged robot with a range of 20 miles and a 400 pound payload for its new Legged Squad Support System program. Based on the progression of the BigDog system, though, I have no doubt that this will be achievable in the near future.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ca Repubs deny party funding to 6 tax hikers

Link

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The California Republican Party has approved a measure reprimanding six GOP lawmakers who voted for the largest tax increase in state history.

The measure to deny the six party funding for the 2010 election was approved Sunday by delegates during the party's convention in Sacramento.

Three lawmakers each from the Senate and Assembly broke ranks last week to give Democrats and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger the necessary votes for passing a compromise budget solution to the state's $42 billion shortfall.

Supporters say Sunday's resolution sends a strong message to politicians that there will be consequences for breaking their no-tax pledge.

Dem Congress in 1993 vs 2009

Link

Yet the surface equality masks a major difference between the two Democratic Congresses. The conservative Southern wing of the party was much stronger then than it is now, giving Obama the chance to govern these days with a Democratic majority in Congress that is really a functioning majority.

The regional shift of strength within Democratic congressional ranks over the last decade and a half has been significant. In January 1993, Southern Democrats comprised nearly one third of the party's number in the House and more than one quarter in the Senate. Nowadays, the Southern component of the Democratic majority is less than one quarter in the House and barely 10 percent in the Senate. The Democrats have made up for their Southern losses by gaining congressional seats in the party's more liberal beachheads on the two coasts.

That geographical change has had significant ideological implications. When the conference report on Clinton's budget bill passed the House in the summer of 1993 by the razor-thin vote of 218 to 216, there were 41 Democratic defectors--a majority of which (23) were from the South.

When Obama's economic stimulus bill first passed the House late last month, the vote was a clear cut 244 to 188. The number of Democratic defectors totaled only 11, six from the South. And when the conference report on the stimulus passed late last week, the total number of Democratic defectors was down to seven.

Gone is the talk of a "conservative coalition" of Republicans and Southern Democrats capable of controlling Congress--terminology that was in vogue for much of the second half of the 20th century.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The thieves in Congress give us a "tax cut"

1- A thief steals your credit card at gun point.

2- He runs up a debt of $10,000, spends $9,900 and then gives you $100 and calls it a "tax cut."

3- And beams with pride for helping you, and asks to be re-elected so he can do it again.

Jackson Lawmakers say NO to tax increase

Link
Three area state lawmakers made it clear Friday they would not support tax increases this session, despite a possible $1 billion revenue shortfall.

[...]

When asked if lawmakers would support new taxes, including the possibility of raising the state's gasoline tax by 1 to 3 cents, all three said no.

Rick Santelli responds to Robert Gibbs

Friday, February 20, 2009

Former American Idol in Tax Trouble

Link

What Ruben owes:

  • The IRS filed a $60,469 lien against Studdard on Feb. 4 for unpaid income taxes, according to the Shelby County (Ala.) Recorder's office. According to the lien, which you can see here, he owes the money from 2007.
  • The state of Alabama filed a $2,149 lien against Studdard on July 25, 2008, according to the Jefferson County Recorder's office.
  • The state of Alabama filed a $19,581 lien against Studdard on July 25, 2008 in Jefferson County.
  • The IRS filed a $171,920 lien against Studdard on May 16, 2008, in Jefferson County.

Shovel Ready

Link

Harvard Prof: stimulus a "terrible piece of legislation."

Harvard economist Robert Barro calls the stimulus bill a "terrible piece of legislation."

Are TN Legislators Commited to Open Records?

Tennessee Center for Policy Research says NO!!

Link

NASHVILLE - More than half of the members of the Tennessee General Assembly failed to comply with a recent open records request, according to the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

In an open records request sent to all 132 state lawmakers on January 26, legislators were asked to allow for the review of a screen shot of their legislative email address' "inbox" and "sent items" folders. Only 60 of the 132 state lawmakers complied with the open records request.

"It's an insult to the residents of this state that the lawmakers who work for us ignore the laws that keep government accountable and transparent," said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson. "It certainly makes me wonder what these lawmakers have to hide."

TN Taxpayers to borrow $262 mil for corp welfare?

How do you think this would poll about now? Not good.

Link

Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, a Finance Committee member in whose district the Volkswagen plant is going, said Wednesday he and other Republicans want to see if federal stimulus funds might be used to cover all or part of the state’s commitments instead of issuing bonds.

The senator, who has not signed on as a sponsor of the bond bill, said issuing bonds would be a departure from recent state policy. But he emphasized he and other Republicans fully intend to honor state obligations to Volkswagen and Hemlock.

“We are committed and I believe everyone on the Finance Committee is committed that all of this is going to be taken care of,” he said. “This is a question of the methodology, how do we go about fulfilling that commitment?”

Noting the state is spending large sums for VW, which is building a $1 billion facility, and for Hemlock, which plans a $1.2 billion plant, Rep. Fitzhugh said other areas of the state could use the stimulus funds.

Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, a bill co-sponsor, called the state obligations “critical” to Chattanooga and said, “I will be fighting for any mechanism that brings jobs to the Chattanooga area.”

Another health theory debunked? Anti-oxidants bunk?

Link

And now researchers at McGill University, in a study published in the February issue of the journal PLoS Genetics, are calling the entire oxidative stress theory into question. Their results show that some organisms actually live longer when their ability to clean themselves of this toxic molecule buildup is partially disabled. Collectively, these molecules are known as reactive oxygen species, or ROS for short.

Dr. Siegfried Hekimi of McGill's Department of Biology, said most of the evidence for the oxidative stress theory is circumstantial, meaning oxidative stress could just as easily be a result of aging as its cause.

"The problem with the theory is that it's been based purely on correlative data, on the weight of evidence," explained Hekimi, McGill's Strathcona Chair of Zoology and Robert Archibald & Catherine Louise Campbell Chair in Developmental Biology. "It is true that the more an organism appears aged, whether in terms of disease, or appearance or anything you care to measure, the more it seems to be suffering from oxidative stress".

Fast Food Ads vs Reality

Link

Mass may go for record GAS TAX: 50.5 cents/gal

Link
The Associated Press, quoting a draft of the plan last week, said the Patrick was considering streamlining operations into Highway, Rail and Transit, Aviation and Ports, and Registry of Motor Vehicles divisions. The AP also reported Patrick was considering a 27-cent gas tax increase, which would leave Massachusetts with the nation's highest rate at 50.5 cents per gallon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

CQ Report: Zach Wamp got earmark for Murtha

lobbying firm clients and got $29k in contributions.

Link

This chart lists members of the House who secured earmarks for clients of The PMA Group in the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations law, which was enacted in 2007. It shows the value of earmarks for projects requested only by that one lawmaker, those requested jointly with another lawmaker, and whether The PMA Group's political action committee or its employees gave that House member campaign money between 2001 and 2008. Full Story

Gathering Signatures yesterday in Giles County, TN

The Giles Home Rule Group continues gathering signatures in the Giles County Courthouse. They are petitioning the County Commission to hold a Charter Commission election so a new Home Rule Charter can be created for Giles County.

Had a great visit yesterday with Shirley, Bill, David, Roger and Allen at the Courthouse. Congrats to all involved in this effort.

Visit their website HERE.

Like most well intentioned disasters, NCLB

or No Child Left Behind was motivated by good intentions but suffers from all the problems that afflict government forced, top-down solutions.

It identified the obvious problems that everyone acknowledges but it leaves in place all the players that caused the decline in public education in the first place and it avoids the obvious solution. It simply overlaid all the problems with another layer of money and bureaucracy.

A new study shows the "standards" imposed by NCLB are illusory at best.

The obvious solution is putting more power in the hands of parents.

Link
Analysts took 36 real schools (18 elementary, 18 middle) and “moved” them from state to state (28 states in all) to see how many would make “adequate yearly progress” under each state’s NCLB rules. The alarming results? In some states, nearly all of the elementary schools would make AYP while in others practically none of them would. These are the exact same schools. This tells us that the present system isn’t working. A school’s AYP status depends at least as much on what state it’s in as on the performance of its students.

You may already be a loser at Taxpayer's Clearinghouse

Well, in fact, you ARE already a loser.

Murtha Earmark Scandal: 1/4 of House Members

Link

PMA’s founder, Paul Magliocchetti, is a former House Appropriations Committee aide who has a long-running relationship with Murtha, D-Pa., the chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

Murtha, who used to boast that his middle initial stands for “power,” carved out $38.1 million for PMA clients in the fiscal 2008 defense spending law, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Indiana Rep. Peter J. Visclosky , who serves on Murtha’s subcommittee and additionally is chairman of the subcommittee that allocates money for the Pentagon’s nuclear programs, earmarked $23.8 million for PMA clients in the fiscal 2008 defense spending bill.

His former chief of staff, Richard Kaelin, lobbies for PMA, as does Melissa Koloszar, a former top aide to defense appropriator James P. Moran , D-Va.

Moran sponsored $10.8 million for PMA clients, and Rep. Norm Dicks , D-Wash., another member of the subcommittee, sponsored $12.1 million.

NYTimes: ACORN rolling out civil disobedience

plan for homeowners who have been foreclosed.

Link

The community organizing group Acorn unveiled the campaign with a spirited rally on Friday at a Brooklyn church and will roll it out in at least 22 other cities in the coming weeks. Through phone trees, Web pages and text-messaging networks, the effort will connect families facing eviction with volunteers who will stand at their side as officers arrive, even if it means risking arrest.

“You want to haul us out to jail? Fine. Let the world see how government has been ineffective,” Bertha Lewis, Acorn’s chief organizer, said in an interview. “Politicians have helped banks, but they haven’t helped families in the way that it’s needed, and these families are now saying, enough is enough.”

Pres plan to reduce foreclosures

Executive Summary of Plan fromTreas

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Too much Debt caused our problems

soooo, the solution that the idiots in Congress offer us is.....more debt.

HT: Powerline

3 guys who sent their children to Private schools

propose "major education reform" a meaningless, feel good term if there ever was one.

How many "major education reform" initiatives have we had over the last 20 years. Hundreds. And how many have been proposed by people who sent their children to private schools. Probably as many.

THIS IS CRAZY!!! We don't need any more studies, we already KNOW HOW TO EDUCATE children.

Bill Frist and Phil Bredesn and Karl Dean ALL refused to send their children to public schools and yet they self-righteously and condescendingly ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to offer Tennessee parents the same choices they DEMANDED for their own children.

Waste our time with another STUDY??? This is INSANITY!!!

Link

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced today that he will chair a new nonpartisan statewide initiative aimed at making education Tennessee’s top priority and accelerating education reform efforts across the state.

The initiative is called the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education — or SCORE. Frist announced the initiative at Fall Hamilton Elementary School in Nashville.

He was accompanied by Gov. Phil Bredesen, Tennessee Commissioner of Education Tim Webb and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.

“The world is changing,” Frist said, “and far too many of Tennessee’s schools are failing to prepare our students for this new world.”

Twelve Senators voted against all three bailouts

Alexander and Corker were not among them.

Link from Andy at Club for Growth

There were only 12 brave Senators who voted against the TARP, the auto bailout, and the stimulus. Here they are:

Barrasso (R-WY)
Bunning (R-KY)
Cochran (R-MS)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Enzi (R-WY)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

Americans luv their Sprawl

Link

The Pew Research Center just finished a study about where Americans would like to live and what sort of lifestyle they would like to have. The first thing they found is that even in dark times, Americans are still looking over the next horizon. Nearly half of those surveyed said they would rather live in a different type of community from the one they are living in at present.

Second, Americans still want to move outward. City dwellers are least happy with where they live, and cities are one of the least popular places to live. Only 52 percent of urbanites rate their communities “excellent” or “very good,” compared with 68 percent of suburbanites and 71 percent of the people who live in rural America.

Cities remain attractive to the young. Forty-five percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 would like to live in New York City. But cities are profoundly unattractive to people with families and to the elderly. Only 14 percent of Americans 35 and older are interested in living in New York City. Only 8 percent of people over 65 are drawn to Los Angeles. We’ve all heard stories about retirees who move back into cities once their children are grown, but that is more anecdote than trend.

"With God as my witness I am not a monster."

Former Chicago alderman gets 4 years in prison

Link

CHICAGO (AP) -- A former Chicago alderman has been sentenced to four years for taking thousands of dollars in payoffs and campaign money from developers who wanted zoning changes and other favors.

Arenda Troutman also omitted the cash she received from her taxes.

At her sentencing hearing Tuesday, Troutman appeared before U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo and told him: "With God as my witness I am not a monster."

Castillo told the 17-year veteran of the Chicago City Council that he knew she wasn't a monster. But he disputed her claim that she didn't know that some of her associates were street gang members.

TN Housing Market Analysis from MTSU

Link HT: Kingsport TN Govt

Conclusion

The fourth quarter was difficult for the Tennessee economy.
The increase in job losses will create a substantial headwind
for the housing market. Although mortgage rates are ex-
tremely low, a decline in household confidence along with
falling housing prices will likely keep many home buyers on
the sidelines. The inventory of foreclosures will continue to
rise, as indicated by the rising number of new foreclosures.
Home sales continue to fall, putting downward pressure on
prices. Since supply is falling faster than demand, the inven-
tory of homes on the market is declining. The scarce good
news is the increase in multi-family permits.

Trojan Pig

Link via Insty

Nice Social Search Engine: Whoistalkin.com

Clean, Simple Interface and LOTS of sites searched.

Link

CA Repubs toss leader over budget accord

Link

SACRAMENTO — The Senate Republican leader who agreed to a budget deal with billions of dollars in tax increases was ousted by his GOP colleagues in a late-night coup early this morning, injecting another dose of uncertainty into the high-stakes battle over the state budget.

Around midnight, the Senate Republican caucus voted to boot Dave Cogdill of Fresno, one of the so-called "Big 5" leaders who reached a pact last week to close the state's staggering $40 billion deficit with a mix of steep tax hikes, spending cuts and borrowing.

Cogdill, who was chosen to lead the caucus last year in large part because of his conservative anti-tax credentials, angered his GOP colleagues last week when he brought them a budget package that included $14.3 billion in tax increases. The measure remains a single Republican vote in the Senate shy of approval.

"It's a shame it ended this way," the usually straight-faced Cogdill said with a hint of emotion after learning the news. "But we did what we thought was right. I love this state." Voted in as the new Republican leader was Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murietta, who wasted no time emphasizing his opposition to higher taxes while criticizing the budget deal.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Who are we to judge? Who else will?

Taxpayers taking an $86 billion bath on TARP

Link HT: Real Time Investigations

For the week ended February 13, 2009, the aggregate Ethisphere TARP Index is down a total of $86.5 billion, out of the original investment principal of $195.5 billion for a total balance of $109 billion. However, the Adjusted Ethisphere TARP Index, which excludes the calamity investments, has an aggregate loss $27.6 billion as of the week ended February 13, 2009, bringing the original investment principal down to $68 billion.

Memphis Principal arrested on drug charges

Link
(MEMPHIS 2/16/2009) A Memphis City Schools Principal has been arrested on drug charges. 47-year-old Marty Pettigrew, principal at Colonial Middle, has been charged with possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, and speeding.

According to court papers, police pulled Pettigrew over at the corner of Lynchburg and Fieldcrest around 10:15 p.m. Friday night, February 6th.

Officers observed Pettigrew going about eight miles over the speed limit behind the wheel of a Mercedes, when they pulled him over.

Two passengers in the car, Hans Banks and Andre Banks, were also arrested.

Performance based contracts...must be private sector?

Yep. Shelby County child support collection.

Link
Private child support companies have proven track records in Tennessee. They have been operating programs in large urban and small rural judicial districts and all sizes in between for nearly two decades. Most important, all of these contracts are performance-based. If the companies don't perform, they don't get paid. They have a vested interest in getting the job done and done right, which corresponds directly with the interest we have in ensuring that the children and the taxpayers get what they deserve.

Now a crime to photograph Law Enforcement in UK

Link

From today, anyone taking a photograph of a police officer could be deemed to have committed a criminal offence.

That is because of a new law - Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act - which has come into force.

It permits the arrest of anyone found "eliciting, publishing or communicating information" relating to members of the armed forces, intelligence services and police officers, which is "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism".

That means anyone taking a picture of one of those people could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to 10 years, if a link to terrorism is proved.

The law has angered photographers, both professional and amateur, who fear it could exacerbate the harassment they already sometimes face.

Monday, February 16, 2009

25 sites help you find what they are saying about you

or someone else. Below are a few, click on Link for more.

Link

Search

With these search engines, you can dig to find out who has the dirt on you.

  1. Social Mention: Use this social media search engine to find your name and brand on blogs, comments, bookmarks, videos, and much more.
  2. The Internet Address Book: See where you can be found on the Internet from this website, and register so that you can control the information that’s shared.
  3. Wink: Use Wink’s comprehensive people search to find yourself online, and claim your online identity.
  4. ZabaSearch: ZabaSearch is well known for being eerily accurate about the information it can dig up on you-so be sure to check this one out.
  5. Spydentity: Spydentity searches webpages, blogs, profiles, photos, and lots more to find your personal information online.
  6. PeekYou: PeekYou makes it easy to find yourself by your real, name, online username, and more.
  7. Pipl: Pipl’s comprehensive people search will show you information about your name, email, username, and phone number.

Public Records

Make use of these tools to research your own public records.

  1. iSearch: iSearch can help you find your public records data, professional information, social networking, and lots more.
  2. Intelius: Intelius is a smart tool that can help you find your personal information, including home value, income, and public records.
  3. Mamma: This mother of all search engines offers a way to find your public records, unlisted phone numbers, and background check information.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nationalizing Banks ok with these two Republicans

Link

"This idea of nationalizing banks is not comfortable," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). "But I think we've got so many toxic assets spread throughout the banking and financial community, throughout the world, that we're going to have to do something that no one ever envisioned a year ago, no one likes. To me, banking and housing are the root cause of this problem. I'm very much afraid any program to salvage the banks is going to require the government... I would not take off the idea of nationalizing the banks."

The remark prompted a bewildered smile of sorts from fellow panelist Maxine Waters (D-CA) who said, to no one in particular, "We have come a long way."

Indeed we have. While Graham was supported in his assessment by Waters and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), both of whom said nationalization should remain on the table, he found opposition from his Democratic counterpoint on the panel, Chuck Schumer.

"I would not be for nationalizing," said the New York Senator, whose constituency includes the epicenter of the U.S. banking industry. "I don't think government is good at making these decisions."

New name needed for Czar of all Czars

"Czar Czar Gabor" maybe?

Cute Onion-like news spoof.

Link HT: David Davis
The Federal Agency for Renaming Solutions, which is working overtime to find a more attractive title for the bank bailout program TARP, will also tackle the task of renaming the Czar Czar—the Czar that rules over all other Czars.

The office of the US Czar Czar was recently created to oversee the exponentially growing army of czars appointed to control all aspects of existence. The czars are being given distinctive names, such as Autocrat for the Car Czar, Munarch for the Municipal Bond Czar, Bail Boss for the Bank Czar and Morticia for the Mortgage Czarina.

“Our staff is working 24 hours a day searching for appropriate names,” said Snaky Mox, the director of FARS. “These are very complex issues for which there is no precedent, so we need to be free to make judgment calls along the way.”

Political corruption in Illinois, a Grand Tradition

Link
Blagojevich didn't invent crooked politics in Illinois, though if the charges of rampant shakedowns and hanging a "for sale" sign on a vacant U.S. Senate seat are true—and he insists they are not—he may have raised the art form.

Consider this recent box score toted by political scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago: 1,000 public officials and businessmen convicted of public corruption in Illinois since 1970, including three governors, 19 Cook County judges and 30 Chicago City Council members.

Corruption has been embedded in Illinois' political DNA since pioneer days. European immigrants found jobs and housing easier to come by if they helped keep the powers-that-be in power.

"The social compact in this state was built on corruption," said Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. "It worked very well for some people."

$50 mil to stimulate arts infrastructure

Oh yeah, we needed that.

Link
Washington, D.C. -- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed by the House and Senate with $50 million designated to assist the nation's arts and cultural workforce (?) through funding to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Your employer is bankrupt and Taxpayers are bailing

your a%s out...so what do you do?

YOU WALK OUT OF NEGOTIATIONS!!

Link

DETROIT (AP) — A person briefed on concession talks between the United Auto Workers and General Motors Corp. says union negotiators walked away from the bargaining table Friday night.

The person says the talks broke off when the company made proposals that the UAW considers detrimental to providing health care to retirees. He asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

The person said no new talks have been scheduled.

"Free" Public Property has no owner and no value

Link
A popular bicycle rental scheme in Paris that has transformed travel in the city has run into problems just 18 months after its successful launch.

Over half the original fleet of 15,000 specially made bicycles have disappeared, presumed stolen.

They have been used 42 million times since their introduction but vandalism and theft are taking their toll.

The company which runs the scheme, JCDecaux, says it can no longer afford to operate the city-wide network.

Championed by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, the bikes were part of an attempt to "green" the capital.

Affidavit: Blago brother solicited cash from Burris

Link
Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother solicited U.S. Sen. Roland Burris for up to $10,000 in campaign cash before Blagojevich named Burris to the coveted post -- something Burris initially failed to disclose under oath before an Illinois House impeachment panel, records and interviews show.

Burris acknowledges being hit up for the money in a new affidavit he has sent to the head of the House committee that recommended Blagojevich be removed from office.

The affidavit is dated Feb. 5 -- three weeks after Burris was sworn in to replace President Obama in the Senate.

Burris -- who did not give money to the Blagojevich campaign fund in response to the previously undisclosed solicitation -- provided a copy of the sworn statement to the Chicago Sun-Times Friday in response to questions about his contacts with the Blagojevich camp about fund-raising.

Burris acknowledged having three conversations with Robert Blagojevich, who headed the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund -- and one of those was likely recorded by the FBI.

Govt Retirement Bonanza in San Diego

Link HT:Newsalert
With ominous vengeance, San Diego's pension crisis has returned.

To understand why, consider the case of Eugene Gordon, an assistant city attorney who recently retired. The highest base salary earned by Gordon was $152,792 a year. But his taxpayer-funded pension is at least $235,003 a year.

Take another look at those two figures. They are not a misprint. Gordon's city pension is 54 percent higher than his base salary ever was.

Nor is Gordon's imperial-style pension an anomaly. Most longtime employees of the city of San Diego can retire as early as age 60 with retirement checks that significantly exceed their highest-year salaries. Public safety workers can pull down the same oversized pensions at age 55.

CRS Report on Fairness Doctrine

Link
Any attempt to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine likely would be met with a constitutional challenge. Those opposing the doctrine would argue that it violates their First Amendment rights. In 1969, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine, but applied a lower standard of scrutiny to the First Amendment rights of broadcasters than it applies to other media. Since that decision, the Supreme Court’s reasoning for applying a lower constitutional standard to broadcasters’ speech has been questioned. Furthermore, when repealing the doctrine, the FCC found that, as the law stood in 1987, the Fairness Doctrine violated the First Amendment even when applying the lower standard of scrutiny to the doctrine. No reviewing court has examined the validity of the agency’s findings on the constitutional issue. Therefore, whether a newly instituted Fairness Doctrine would survive constitutional scrutiny remains an open question.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Searchable 1.5 meg PDF of Conference Report

for HR 1, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Link

CBO est of Increase in Federal Deficit caused by

the "stimulus." Their estimate: $787.2 billion MORE debt will be incurred over the next 10 years...and, of course, their estimate doesn't account for the hugely depressing effect all this new borrowing will have on the economy by crowding out private borrowing.

And, in addition, Congress will be running their normal multi 100 billion dollar budget deficits.

Link

By Fiscal Year, in Billions of Dollars

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2009-

2019

DIVISION A—APPROPRIATIONS a

Estimated Budget Authority

288.7

7.1

4.6

3.6

2.5

1.1

1.1

1.1

1.1

0.5

0

311.2

Estimated Outlays

34.8

110.7

76.3

38.1

22.9

12.8

7.0

3.1

1.6

0.8

0.1

308.3

DIVISION A—REVENUES

Estimated Revenues

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

-0.1

DIVISION B—DIRECT SPENDING

Estimated Budget Authority

90.3

107.6

49.0

7.6

7.3

15.1

4.7

-4.7

-4.1

-1.9

-1.4

269.5

Estimated Outlays

85.3

108.6

49.9

8.1

7.4

15.1

4.7

-4.7

-4.1

-1.9

-1.4

267.0

DIVISION B—REVENUES

Estimated Revenues

-64.8

-180.1

-8.2

10.0

2.7

5.5

7.1

5.8

5.1

5.0

0.1

-211.8

NET IMPACT ON THE DEFICIT

Net Increase or Decrease (-)

in the Deficit

184.9

399.4

134.4

36.1

27.6

22.4

4.7

-7.3

-7.5

-6.1

-1.4

787.2