Monday, February 28, 2011

Charlie Brooker: Sucking up to Gadaffi for the last 40 yrs (language alert)

Proposal for Vouchers for poor parents in PA

Link
A bill pending in the state Senate that would offer state-funded vouchers to poor parents to send their children to the schools of their choice has ignited a storm of controversy. Supporters say the bill, Senate Bill 1, would help children now stuck in failing schools move to better schools, whether public or private, where they will learn what they need to know to succeed in life. But, public school officials believe the proposal would take money away from the public schools during a recession, when the state itself faces a $4 billion shortfall.">A bill pending in the state Senate that would offer state-funded vouchers to poor parents to send their children to the schools of their choice has ignited a storm of controversy.

Supporters say the bill, Senate Bill 1, would help children now stuck in failing schools move to better schools, whether public or private, where they will learn what they need to know to succeed in life. But, public school officials believe the proposal would take money away from the public schools during a recession, when the state itself faces a $4 billion shortfall.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

California voters approved a crushing debt load, now it's time to pay

Link
Voters have approved borrowing in the last 10 years for such causes as stem-cell research ($3 billion), high-speed rail ($10 billion), and parks, water and the environment ($14 billion). They even took on $15 billion in debt to paper over a deficit that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said would never reemerge — something economists have scolded the state for doing.

Because of its rock-bottom credit rating, California pays a premium for its loans. Taxpayers must fork over roughly $2 for every $1 borrowed — about 20% more than top-rated states, said Matt Fabian, an analyst at Municipal Market Advisors, a bond research firm.

Location Map for the Tea Party Rally Saturday, March 5 11AM

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pictures from today's Nashville Moveon-Union Rally

Respectable turnout. The labor-left coalition knows how to turn out a crowd, gotta give'em that. Here is a crowd shot followed by photos of some of the signs.
















Dems still out of the State in Indiana

Link

Union supporters huddled in hard hats and neon construction vests. Tea partiers and their allies waved hand-drawn signs.

Tea Party Bloggers Aim To Monitor Every Member of Congress

Link
After playing such a pivotal role in the November elections, Tea Party activists vowed they would keep a close eye on Congress. They weren't kidding.

The Tea Party Patriots, one of the largest organizing groups of the movement, want to assign personal bloggers to track every member of Congress, not just the ones they supported.

The group will launch a recruitment drive this week coinciding with a weekend policy summit being held in Phoenix for state and local coordinators. Shelby Blakely, a stay-at-home mom from eastern Washington state who is organizing the project, said she has little doubt they will be able to round up enough people to tackle a job that she describes as "citizen journalism meets adopt-a-congressman."

"One of the strengths that the Tea Party has is we have a massive army," Blakely said. "We have millions of manpower hours and thousands of people willing to do heavy lifting."

AP: There's no shutdown during a 'government shutdown'

Link
WASHINGTON — Social Security checks would still go out. Troops would remain at their posts. Furloughed federal workers probably would get paid, though not until later. And virtually every essential government agency, like the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard, would remain open.

That’s the little-known truth about a government shutdown. The government doesn’t shut down. And it won’t on March 5, even if the combatants on Capitol Hill can’t resolve enough differences to pass a stopgap spending bill to fund the government while they hash out legislation to cover the last seven months of the budget year.


Fewer than half of the 2.1 million federal workers subject to a shutdown would be forced off the job if the Obama administration followed the path taken by presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And that’s not counting 600,000 Postal Service employees or 1.6 million uniformed military personnel exempt from a shutdown.

So we’re talking fewer than one in four federal workers staying at home. Many federal workers get paid on March 4, so it would take a two-week shutdown for them to see a delay in their paychecks.

Friday, February 25, 2011

America's Financial Statement

Link

This report looks at the federal government as if it were a business, with the goal of informing thedebate about our nation’s financial situation and outlook. In it, we examine USA Inc.’s incomestatement and balance sheet. We aim to interpret the underlying data and facts and illustrate patterns and trends in easy-to-understand ways. We analyze the drivers of federal revenue andthe history of expense growth, and we examine basic scenarios for how America might movetoward positive cash flow.

Heritage rates TN Congress Members on Cutting Spending

Tennessee


John Duncan (R )            100%
Scott DesJarlais (R )        90%
Marsha Blackburn (R )     85%
Stephen Fincher (R )        81%
Chuck Fleischmann (R )   81%
Phil Roe (R )                     81%
Diane Black (R )               76%
Jim Cooper (D )               19%
Steve Cohen (D )             10%



Thursday, February 24, 2011

GA Unions, Tea Party Clash Over Labor Dispute

Link
The state capitol was the scene of dueling political rallies Wednesday evening.

Several hundred people gathered on the steps of the state capitol in a show support and solidarity with union workers in Wisconsin. Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have introduced a bill that would cripple the ability of unions to negotiate on behalf of public employees for better wages and working conditions.

Across the street from the capitol, dozens of Tea Party activists staged a counter-rally. They argue that Wisconsin, like Georgia, faces a budget crisis and that cuts and that tough fiscal choices are a necessity.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"get a little bloody" says Mass Democrat to labor union

Link
Sometimes it's necessary to get out on the streets and "get a little bloody," a Massachusetts Democrat said Tuesday in reference to labor battles in Wisconsin.

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) fired up a group of union members in Boston with a speech urging them to work down in the trenches to fend off limits to workers' rights like those proposed in Wisconsin.

"I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going," Capuano said, according to the Dorchester Reporter. "Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary."

Union vs Tea Party in Massachusettes, New Jersey, Colorado

Tea Party vs. Unions: NJ is Next Battleground

Union Backers, Tea Partiers Rally At Mass. Statehouse

Unions rally in Colorado, clash with tea party

KY Senate calls for a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment

Link
FRANKFORT, Ky. — A measure urging Congress to call a constitutional convention to consider a balanced budget amendment has been approved by the state Senate.

At the urging of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, the Senate voted 22-16 along party lines to pass a resolution calling for a constitutional convention. In doing so, Paul and other proponents of the measure inadvertently forged an alliance between a coalition of Democrats and tea party Republicans who oppose the idea.

The GOP ushered the measure through the Senate despite opposition from all 15 Democrats in the chamber and a lone Republican, Sen. Julie Denton of Louisville. It now goes to the Democratic-controlled House where its future appears bleak.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Join us Thursday: Ralph Bristol's Secure the Debt Ceiling Rally

When: This Thursday Feb 24 6PM

Where: Cornerstone Church, Madison, TN

What: Free and Open to the Public, Please join us. Sign up HERE

On Thursday, February 24, beginning at 6 p.m. at Cornerstone Church in Madison, Supertalk 99.7 WTN at Cornerstone Church in Madison, TN will attempt to bolster opposition to raising the debt ceiling in order to force the government to make deep spending cuts and entitlement reforms. WTN host of “Nashville’s Morning News” Ralph Bristol says the rally is a response to what he calls “false and misleading threats” about the consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling when the government’s borrowing power is exhausted. “Sen. Pat Toomey has been fighting a pretty lonely battle against the voices of doom. It’s time to send him some help.”

Monday, February 21, 2011

Washington Post: Government Debt Levels hit Post WWII Levels

Link
The daunting tower of national, state and local debt in the United States will reach a level this year unmatched just after World War II and already exceeds the size of the entire economy, according to government estimates.

But any similarity between 1946 and now ends there. The U.S. debt levels tumbled in the years after World War II, but today they are still climbing and even deep cuts in spending won't completely change that for several years.

As President Obama and Republicans squabble over whose programs to cut and which taxes to raise, slow growth and a rising tide of interest payments - largely beyond their control - are making the job of fixing the budget much harder than in the past. Statehouses and governors face similar challenges.

Editorial Cartoons: Wisconsin Unions doth protest too much

Editorial Cartoonist takes Wisconsin Unions to task.


















Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scott Walker Ad, He got elected BECAUSE he promised to cut Govt

Washington Post: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has history of going up against unions

CBS: $25 billion spent on fraudulent Disability for Federal Workers

Link
The GAO started with the obvious. They cross-referenced federal paychecks with the names on federal disability. In just three agencies alone -- the Treasury, the U.S. Postal Service and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service -- 1,500 federal employees were found getting disability they probably didn't deserve from October 2006 to December 2008.

One case involved a Michigan woman. She qualified for disability because of mood and personality disorders. Seven months later, she found work as a letter carrier but kept on taking disability checks, a total of $37,000.

A Pennsylvania woman collected disability checks even as surveillance video showed her working as a mail clerk. Total cost: $19,000 in fraudulent payments.

Wis Doc hands out fake sick notices to keep union protesters off the job

Flashback: TEA Rallies to support a TN State Income Tax

During the years 1999-2002, Tennesseans from across the State came to the State Capital to oppose and protest a State Income Tax. The income tax was eventually defeated then but still remains a threat and will definitely be revived if supporters deem it politically possible.

There was one group that consistently and enthusiastically supported a State Income tax and the higher tax burden and bigger government it would bring. That group was the teacher's union, the Tennessee Education Association or TEA. Below are pictures from a rally on legislative plaza sponsored by the TEA and other groups in support of a State Income Tax.

Then Governor Don Sunquist looks on as the TEA rallies teachers in support of a State Income Tax.














Then Speaker Jimmy Naifeh speaks to the TEA Rally on Legislative Plaza in support of a State Income Tax. 

Wis Gov Scott Walker does not have a college degree, 1st in 64 Years

Link HT: Steve Bartin
If elected to the state's top job this fall, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker would become the first Wisconsin governor in 64 years who doesn't have a college degree, breaking the mold of the current crop of governors nationally.

Union Protester arrested by trying to sabotage Tea Party sound system

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gov Employees have full taxpayer funded pension while taxpayers suffer

8% of boomers have enough savings for a decent retirement income. Most Gov employees have a defined benefit pension plan that will be paid, come hell or high water, by those very same taxpayers. 

Tea Party activists explore recalling Wisconsin State Senators

Link
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Tea Party activists angry with Democratic senators who fled Wisconsin to avoid voting on Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill are exploring the possibility of recalling at least 2 of the absent lawmakers.

Northwoods Patriots leader Kim Simac, of Eagle River, says the Tea Party group will meet Sunday to discuss recalling Sen. Jim Holperin after they return from Madison where they planned to rally at the Capitol Saturday.

Democrats threaten Social Security Employees

Link
In a letter the Social Security Administration sent to its employees' union, agency officials said that while no decision about a furlough had been made, one was possible "given the potential of reduced congressional appropriations."

The letter was circulated by congressional Democrats, who said in a written statement that such cuts could mean shuttered Social Security offices and delayed benefit payments. The letter's distribution by Democrats underscored how the threat of jeopardizing Social Security payments is a potent political weapon.

GOP lawmakers accused Democrats of "irresponsible scare tactics," and said their proposed cuts would not affect benefits or force the Social Security Administration to close offices. Any furloughs "would result only if that decision were made by the administration," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said in a written statement.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Democrats Shutdown the Wisconsin Government

Link
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Democrats on the run in Wisconsin avoided state troopers Friday and threatened to stay in hiding for weeks, potentially paralyzing a state government they no longer control.

The party's stand against balancing the state's budget by cutting the pay, benefits and collective bargaining rights of public workers is the boldest action yet by Democrats to push back against last fall's GOP wave.

But the dramatic strategy that's clogged the Capitol with thousands of protesters clashes with one essential truth: Republicans told everyone unions would be a target, and the GOP has more than enough votes to pass its plans once the Legislature can convene.

The 14 Senate Democrats left the state Thursday, delaying action in that chamber on a sweeping anti-union bill. Sen. Jon Erpenbach, who was among those who fled, said Friday that the group was prepared to be away for weeks, although he would like the standoff to end as soon as possible.

Inflation is going UP along with interest on Federal debt

Link

Unbelievable..Geihtner admits Obama budget is an unsustainable ruse

Geithner says YES, Obama's budget is not a serious proposal. Its just a place holder and we are waiting on Republicans to be the adults and make a serious proposal and then Democrats will scream like a bunch of spoiled brats about the cuts.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Obama's deficit is largest since 1945, Bankruptcy or Bust!

Link
WASHINGTON — Not since World War II has the federal budget deficit made up such a big chunk of the U.S. economy. And within two or three years, economists fear the result could be sharply higher interest rates that would slow economic growth.

The budget plan President Barack Obama sent Congress on Monday foresees a record deficit of $1.65 trillion this year. That would be just under 11 percent of the $14 trillion economy — the largest proportion since 1945, when wartime spending swelled the deficit to 21.5 percent of gross domestic product.

The danger is that a persistently large gap in the budget could threaten the economy. Investors would see lending their money to the U.S. as riskier. So they would demand higher returns to do it. Or they would simply put their cash elsewhere. Interest rates on mortgages and other debt would rise as a result.

Rhetoric vs Reality on the left: Public Employee Union Signs in Wis

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Diane Black and Scott Desjarlais vote for more spending????

In a post yesterday I bemoaned the possibility that Boehner and other supporters of the extra engine for the strike fighter would get their $456 million earmark. (Ok, maybe technically, it wasn't an earmark but it was an opportunity to save $456 million of taxpayer money.)

They didn't.

Every member of the Tennessee delegation voted for the amendment (which removed funding) except Scott Desjarlais and Diane Black?

What's up with that? Why would Diane Black and Scott Desjarlais pass up an opportunity to save the taxpayers half a billion when we have trillion dollar deficits?

4,000 Illinois Homeschoolers sing America the Beautiful at Capitol

Just prior to a hearing on SB136, a proposal that would force Home Schoolers to register with the state and undergo criminal background checks, 4000 home schoolers converged on the IL State Capitol in Springfield to make their voices heard in protest to this attempt to take away their freedom. While waiting for the hearing, they started singing "America The Beautiful".

TN Prisoners did pretty well scamming the IRS

Link
Prisoners in Florida, Georgia and California lead the nation's inmate population in scamming payments from an unlikely benefactor: the IRS.
Seemingly proving the adage that crime pays, even behind bars, prisoners in the three states received nearly $19 million in IRS refunds during 2009 after filing false or fraudulent tax returns, according to an IRS report to Congress that was included in a federal audit released in January. 
The haul was part of $39.1 million in undeserved federal tax refunds the IRS issued to jail and prison inmates nationwide for phantom jobs on phony returns, the data shows. That's nearly triple the $13.4 million annual in tax refunds the IRS reported it issued to prison scammers just five years earlier.


Here are the Stats from TN Prisons.
Facility name and number of fraudulent returns:


Tennessee Tn - Wayne County Boot Camp 5


Tennessee Tn - Brushy Mountain Correctional Complex 34


Tennessee Tn - Mark H. Luttrell Correctional Center 40


Tennessee Tn - Charles B. Bass Correctional Complex 46


Tennessee Tn - Lois M. Deberry Special Needs Facility 49


Tennessee Tn - Tennessee Prison For Women 51


Tennessee Tn - Southeastern Tenn St Regional Corr F 63


Tennessee Tn - Riverbend Maximum Security Institution 73


Tennessee Tn - Morgan County Correctional Complex 80


Tennessee Tn - Turney Center Industrial Prison 90


Tennessee Tn - Whiteville Correctional Facility 117


Tennessee Tn - West Tennessee State Penitentiary 215


Tennessee Tn - Hardeman County Correctional Facility 295


Tennessee Tn - Northwest Correctional Complex 354


Tennessee Tn - Northeast Correctional Complex 433


Tennessee Tn - South Central Correctional Facility 487

The FCC wants to regulate journalism? Bye, Bye 1st Amendment

FCC commissioner is suggesting that he be the arbiter of what constitutes "real journalism?"

This is very scary stuff. Can we hear a collective "good grief?"

Link
Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps made a case for a government hand in media policy in a speech to the FCBA on Tuesday.

"The commission can act now. It should have acted on the media before now. I am disappointed that it has not," he said.

The decline of "real journalism" justifies federal involvement, according to Copps. "The news is suffering from a bad case of substance abuse," he said.

TV's top earners

Link HT: Barry Ritholtz


The top earners, by category:


Drama (per episode)


Hugh Laurie (House) $400,000+
Christopher Meloni & Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) $395,000 (each)
David Caruso (CSI: Miami) $375,000
Marg Helgenberger (CSI) $375,000
Mark Harmon (NCIS) $375,000
Laurence Fishburne (CSI) $350,000
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) $350,000
Denis Leary (Rescue Me) $350,000
Gary Sinise (CSI: NY ) $275,000
Patrick Dempsey (Grey's Anatomy) $250,000
David Boreanaz (Bones) $200,000
Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) $200,000
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife ) $175,000
Dana Delany (Body of Proof ) $150,000
Lauren Graham (Parenthood) $150,000
Jada Pinkett Smith (HawthoRNe) $150,000
Jimmy Smits (Outlaw) $150,000
LL Cool J (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Chris O'Donnell (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains) $125,000
Jason Lee (Memphis Beat) $125,000
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) $125,000
Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods) $125,000
Michael Weatherly (NCIS) $125,000
Matt Bomer (White Collar) $100,000
Nathan Fillion (Castle) $100,000
Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds) $100,000
Jon Hamm (Mad Men) $100,000
Cole Hauser (Chase) $100,000
Alex O'Loughlin (Hawaii Five-0) $100,000
Timothy Olyphant (Justified ) $100,000
Scott Caan (Hawaii Five-0) $80,000
Angie Harmon (Rizzoli & Isles) $75,000
Anna Paquin (True Blood) $75,000
Blair Underwood (The Event) $75,000
Zachary Levi (Chuck) $60,000
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) $40,000
Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) $40,000
Ashley Tisdale (Hellcats) $30,000


Late Night/Talk Syndication (per year)


Oprah Winfrey $315 million
Judge Judy Sheindlin $45 million
David Letterman (The Late Show) $28 million
Jay Leno (The Tonight Show) $25 million
Conan O'Brien (The Conan O'Brien Show) $10 million
Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show) $8 million
Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live) $6 million
Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately) $3.5 million
George Lopez (Lopez Tonight) $3.5 million


Reality (per year)


Ryan Seacrest (American Idol) $15 million
Joel McHale (The Soup) $2 million
Piers Morgan (America's Got Talent) $2 million
Kate Gosselin (Kate Plus 8) $250,000 per episode
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi (Jersey Shore) $30,000 per episode


Comedy (per episode)


Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men) $1.25 million
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men) $550,000
Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Eva Longoria Parker (Desperate Housewives) $400,000
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons) $400,000
Julie Kavner (The Simpsons) $400,000
Tina Fey (30 Rock) $350,000
Jeremy Piven (Entourage) $350,000
Steve Carell (The Office) $297,000
Angus T. Jones (Two and a Half Men) $250,000
David Duchovny (Californication) $200,000
Kevin Dillon (Entourage) $200,000
Adrian Grenier (Entourage) $200,000
Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) $180,000
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) $175,000
William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says) $150,000
David Spade (Rules of Engagement) $150,000
Ed O'Neill (Modern Family) $100,000
Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement) $85,000
Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) $75,000
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) $60,000
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory) $60,000
Ty Burrell (Modern Family) $50,000
Jane Lynch (Glee) $50,000
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) $40,000
Matthew Morrison (Glee) $30,000
Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) $30,000
Dylan and Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) $20,000 (each)
Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family) $15,000


News (per year)


Matt Lauer (Today) $16 million +
Katie Couric (CBS) $15 million
Brian Williams (NBC) $12.5 million
Diane Sawyer (ABC) $12 million
Meredith Vieira (Today) $11 million
Bill O'Reilly (Fox News) $10 million
George Stephanopoulos (ABC) $8 million
Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) $7 million
Shepard Smith (Fox News) $7 million
Wolf Blitzer (CNN) $3 million
Christiane Amanpour (ABC) $2 million
Lawrence O'Donnell (MSNBC) $2 million
Eliot Spitzer (CNN) $500,000

Same day Doctor Appointments via ZocDoc

Link
ZocDoc, an insanely easy service for booking same day doctor appointments, has launched service Los Angeles with more than 100,000 appointments ready to be booked. This should be welcome news: ZocDoc says the average wait time for an appointment in LA is 24 days. The easier appointments are to book, the less the burden on emerging rooms and urgent care centers.

This is ZocDoc’s sixth location, and while the roll out is methodical, the service has grown bookings by more than 42% in the last month alone. As a consumer, I’m a huge fan of ZocDoc– it’s stunningly efficient and the customer service is stellar. But is the site too good to be true?

Following Illinois' Lead, MN Dem Gov wants to Hike Taxes

Link
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton looked to the wealthy to erase about half of a $6.2 billion state budget deficit on Tuesday, proposing a new top tax bracket and a temporary income surtax that together would give Minnesota the nation's highest income tax rate.

The Democratic governor's plan would raise nearly $2.9 billion from the top 5 percent of taxpayers, including a new property tax on homes valued at more than $1 million.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Boehner Gets His $456 million Earmark...more pork, more deficit

Republicans are no better than Democrats when it comes to spending. This is pork, pure and simple but Boehner will betray ever fiscal principle he spouts and push it through. And people ask why we are cynical of government

Link
The item is a down payment that would obligate the federal government to future payments that could well be three or four times the increased spending added to this particular piece of legislation, with a big portion of the funds flowing to two cities in Ohio—Cincinnati, where Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) grew up, and Dayton, the largest city in his congressional district. 
The money will go to pay the costs to General Electric Co.’s General Electric Aviation unit and the British-owned Rolls Royce Group for their development of an engine for the new Joint Strike Fighter aircraft—money that looks, feels, and smells very much like an earmark.

15 Tax Hikes Hidden In Obama's New Budget

Link

  • Raising the top marginal income tax rate (at which a majority of small business profits face taxation) from 35% to 39.6%.  This is a $709 billion/10 year tax hike
  • Raising the capital gains and dividends rate from 15% to 20%
  • Raising the death tax rate from 35% to 45% and lowering the death tax exemption amount from $5 million ($10 million for couples) to $3.5 million.  This is a $98 billion/ten year tax hike
  • Capping the value of itemized deductions at the 28% bracket rate.  This will effectively cut tax deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions, property taxes, state and local income or sales taxes, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and unreimbursed employee business expenses.  A new means-tested phaseout of itemized deductions limits them even more.  This is a $321 billion/ten year tax hike
  • New bank taxes totaling $33 billion over ten years
  • New international corporate tax hikes totaling $129 billion over ten years
  • New life insurance company taxes totaling $14 billion over ten years
  • Massive new taxes on energy, including LIFO repeal, Superfund, domestic energy manufacturing, and many others totaling $120 billion over ten years
  • Increasing unemployment payroll taxes by $15 billion over ten years
  • Taxing management capital gains in an investment partnership (“carried interest”) as ordinary income.  This is a tax hike of $15 billion over ten years
  • A giveaway to the trial lawyers—not letting companies deduct the cost of punitive damages from a lawsuit settlement.  This is a tax hike of $300 million over ten years
  • Increasing tax penalties, information reporting, and IRS information sharing.  This is a ten-year tax hike of $20 billion.

How much do US Taxpayers owe? Much, Much MORE than you think

Eva Cassidy sings the Tennessee Waltz

Link

Federal Debt Interest costs begin upward march

Every 1% of interest rate increase will increase borrowing costs by $150,000,000,000 or $1,600/year for each of the 90 million filers who actually pay taxes. 

Link

Obama's budget adds 5,100 new IRS agents

Link
President Obama's fiscal 2012 budget doesn't cut much of anything (see above), and certainly not the Internal Revenue Service. The White House is requesting that the most beloved of all government agencies get an additional 5,100 agents next year, no doubt to wring further tax revenue from Americans. The White House wants to give the IRS a 9.4% raise in fiscal 2012, to $13.28 billion. Reuters reports this would allow for a roughly 5% increase in agency manpower to 100,537, including $460 million more for tax enforcement than in 2010.

We doubt this is the kind of fiscal discipline that voters had in mind in November, but it does reflect the mentality of an Administration that assumes it could go a long way to balancing the budget if only fewer Americans shirked their tax bills. The 5,100 extra IRS gumshoes are supposed to chase the $300 billion "tax gap," the Beltway's version of the Loch Ness monster that is the difference between what the IRS collects and what Congress thinks Americans owe. It's about as real as Nessie, though at least with the monster some Scots claim photographic evidence.

Monday, February 14, 2011

TN 912 Project Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference

Featuring Marsha Blackburn

When: This Sat Feb 19 9-4

Where: Hotel Preston, 733 Briley Pkwy, Nashville, TN

Contact: Gregory Johnson, 615-714-4530, greg@912ProjectTennessee.com

More info HERE.

Ralph Bristol's Secure the Debt Ceiling Rally Feb 24

When: Feb 24 6PM

Where: Cornerstone Church, Madison, TN

What: Free and Open to the Public, Please join us. Sign up HERE

On Thursday, February 24, beginning at 6 p.m. at Cornerstone Church in Madison, Supertalk 99.7 WTN at Cornerstone Church in Madison, TN will attempt to bolster opposition to raising the debt ceiling in order to force the government to make deep spending cuts and entitlement reforms. WTN host of “Nashville’s Morning News” Ralph Bristol says the rally is a response to what he calls “false and misleading threats” about the consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling when the government’s borrowing power is exhausted. “Sen. Pat Toomey has been fighting a pretty lonely battle against the voices of doom. It’s time to send him some help.”

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Priorities of Government according to Steve Cohen

Dem leaders shy away from gas-tax hike despite party support

This won't last very long, once the budget is approved Dems will THEN push for a gas tax hike.

Link
Despite pressure from some members, Senate Democratic leaders are reluctant to embrace an increase in the gas tax as they search for ways to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.

“At this point, the caucus is not ready to sign off on a gas tax or any tax increase,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Thursday afternoon.

Mayor David Pennington: Cutting Taxes in Dalton GA

Link

Before deciding to run for mayor, he had seen Dalton's tax revenue rise from $9.9 million in 2000 to $12.7 million in 2007. Under his leadership, the tax levy has been reduced to $9.6 million, city records show.

In all, the city has cut taxes by 24 percent since Pennington took office. Most of that came through staffing reductions, benefits changes and elimination of some city services.

Pennington went after agencies that often are sacred cows, such as the fire and police departments. He reduced the police rolls from 107 to 95, cut $300,000 from the fire department budget and eliminated a costly pension plan for new hires.

The result has been an improved city financial picture and a lighter burden on taxpayers.

Fight breaks out among Venezuelan lawmakers

Link
Tension had been building since Jan. 5, when the winners of last fall’s legislative elections assumed their seats.

Due to an opposition boycott of the 2005 balloting, the previous legislature was overwhelmingly dominated by Chavez supporters, but foes of the president hold around 40 percent of the seats in the new assembly.

Thursday’s session turned nasty after opposition member Alfonso Marquina walked to the podium to protest heckling from Chavez supporters in the gallery.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bill Maher: "Obama is a centrist the way he is a Christian"

Bill Maher nails it. Barack Obama will say anything to retain political power. He is not a centrist and will never govern as a centrist no matter how many biographies of Ronald Reagan he ostentatiously carries on vacation. Barack Obama is a far left authoritarian. Government, for him, is a tool to force citizens to conform to his clearly superior moral and intellectual orthodoxy.

Link

Tea Party "wins" $100 billion in cuts, on paper

House Republican Leadership should have been leading the charge on these cuts as a MINIMUM measure to deal with a $1.5 trillion deficit. I am quite sure the leadership will, in "good cop" fashion, negotiate away most of these cuts before all is said and done.

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House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) on Friday evening introduced a revised 2011 government spending bill that the GOP said will cut at least $100 billion in spending this fiscal year, bowing to demands by Tea Party-backed House freshmen.

The continuing resolution funding the government after March 4 cuts deeply across all areas of domestic spending and singles out many programs for complete elimination.
HERE is a PDF of the spending cuts.

Tax Scandals of the Rich and Famous - Boston.com

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Friday, February 11, 2011

A Rising Political Star in Florida-Lt Gov Jennifer Carroll

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Carroll kicked off her brief talk with a tip of the hat to the state's Tea Party movement and other conservatives in Northwest Florida who oppose too much government involvement in citizens' lives. She said one of the main charges conservatives face is to involve and educate voters on what the government's role is supposed to be.

Quoting President Ronald Reagan several times, Carroll said, “ 'Don't be afraid to see what you see.' The Tea Party wasn't afraid to see and speak out."

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction," said Carroll, as she continued on with another Reagan quote, advocating the importance of staying strong so a country can defend its citizens.

"Government's job is to protect people's lives, not run them," said Carroll, as she segued into the negatives of government-mandated healthcare.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Maryland Democrat a Tea Party member for one day, then resigns

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Del. Curt Anderson, leader of the all-Democrat Baltimore delegation, abruptly resigned from the new House tea party caucus this morning, a day after he made news by becoming the vice chairman of the otherwise Republican group.

Fellow city delegates lashed out at Anderson in an emergency delegation meeting this morning, telling him he had "embarrassed" and "hurt" them. Anderson will remain chairman of the delegation, though several colleagues warned they wanted him out in the long run.

Anderson said he was stunned by the reaction -- from constituents and fellow lawmakers alike -- to his short-lived time in the tea party, a caucus he said he joined because of a shared interest with its conservative members in reducing the size of government and avoiding taxes.

"It's almost like I joined the Ku Klux Klan," he said. He said he told tea party chairman Del. Mike Smigiel, an Eastern Shore Republican, this morning that he was resigning.

IRS Still paying Billions in bogus Earned Income Tax Credits-25% error rate

Good grief.....and the Republicans are having a hard time finding $100 billion in cuts???? WHY!! They should be cutting at least $500 billion out of a $1.5 trillion deficit.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — More than $10 billion a year in tax credits for low-income families go to people who don't qualify for them, and the Internal Revenue Service isn't doing enough to stop them, a government investigator said Wednesday.

Using the tax agency's own numbers, the investigator said about quarter of all earned income tax credits go to families that don't meet the requirements.

Union spending $1 Million to lobby AGAINST Federal spending cuts

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"We're going to energize and activate 2 million federal employees and their families," Gage said, "to let their representatives know these attacks will destroy [federal] agencies." AFGE has joined forces with other federal unions to fend off the targeted cuts.

The union, whose 270,000 dues-paying members range from Defense Department custodians to Environmental Protection Agency lawyers, plans a radio and newspaper campaign this month to promote the workforce. When Congress breaks for the President's Day holiday, rank-and-file employees in every member's district will line up to meet with their representative. And the union, an open shop, plans an organizing blitz to boost membership.

Green energy programs, Crony Capitalism at its worst

Two items from todays's news showing once again that "Green Energy" is just another name for crony capitalism and taxpayer ripoff.

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In this year’s State of the Union address, President Obama said that “a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change.”

It looks as though the alternative energy industry and their lobbyists won’t be one of the losers in any proposed corporate tax reform. The administration has repeatedly gone to bat for the tax provisions sought by alternative energy lobbyists.

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Before Congress bellies up to that bar one more time, it ought to dissect the fate of Range Fuels and the wood chips fad.

As taxpayer tragedies go, Broomfield, Colorado-based Range Fuels has all the plot elements—splashy headlines, subsidies and opportunistic venture capitalists.

$18 billion on Federal Job Training and NO ONE knows if they work

This report is about federal programs but I have always been suspicious of State Job training programs also and the effectiveness of all the dollars spent on "state unemployment offices." I have $100 bucks that says they are completely ineffective.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Chris Dodd in negotiations for MPAA Lobbying job..good grief

And they ask why we are skeptical of government???

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After promising that he would not become a lobbyist rumors are swirling that former Sen. Chris Dodd is in negotiations to become the next head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The MPAA lobbying job is said to be the most lucrative lobbying job on K Street.

Postal Service warns of default as losses mount

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The agency said it will be forced to default on some of its financial obligations this year unless Congress changes a 2006 law requiring it to pay between $5.4 and $5.8 billion into its prepaid retiree health benefits each year.

"The Postal Service continues to seek changes in the law to enable a more flexible and sustainable business model," Patrick Donahoe, the Postmaster General, said in a statement. "We are eager to work with Congress and the administration to resolve these issues prior to the end of the fiscal year."

This is what Unsustainable looks like

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Harry Reid in '06: Raising debt limit will weaken country, hurt economy

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Fastest Growing portion of Federal Spending? Interest on the debt

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Every month, CBO prepares a two-page balance sheet that summarizes what the government is spending and taking in. The latest version, released Monday, reports that Uncle Sam has paid $80 billion in net interest on the federal debt through the first four months of the 2011 fiscal year.

That represents a 9.1% increase over the same period last year.

The four-month period offers just a snapshot of the year. And the CBO report distills the gigantic federal budget, with its thousands of different programs, into nine big categories.

But make no mistake: The interest on the debt is a growing chunk of the budget. Last fiscal year, interest costs rose 13.2% -- more than any other category.

An Artificial Retina close to reality?

Not sure when/if this will be available but just the hope of it is amazing.
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Senator Harper says Comptroller's picture will scare away garden pests

Senator Harper was making a funny. Actually I just wanted to take the opportunity to try the new embed function in legislative videos. And you can also specify a start and stop time, very cool.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Reuters: Japanese voters ready for a Tea Party

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(Reuters) - A maverick politician's re-election as mayor in the central Japanese city of Nagoya sends a U.S. Tea Party-like message of contempt for the ruling party less than two years after it took power with pledges of sweeping change.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan's DPJ.L defeat in Nagoya and a governor race the same day portends a thrashing in a string of local polls in April, only making it harder for unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan to implement a workable budget and craft tax reforms to curb massive public debt.

Fla. Gov. Scott urges tea party to help pass his proposed budget cuts

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EUSTIS — Gov. Rick Scott may not be a career politician, but he used a campaign-style rally here today to try to get the energy of the tea party movement behind his budget proposal before it goes to potentially skeptical lawmakers.

Scott unveiled the broad outlines of his spending blueprint to hundreds of cheering tea party activists in a church about 200 miles from the corridors of Tallahassee. While the governor spoke, his office released details on the Internet.

"We are cutting state spending by $5 billion and cutting your taxes by $2 billion," Scott told the audience. He also mentioned a contentious revamping of the state's employee pension system that would save $2.8 billion over two years by requiring teachers and other workers to begin contributing 5 percent of their pay toward their retirement.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Deficit for first four months of fiscal 2011: $424 Billion

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If appropriations for the rest of this fiscal year are set at the same annualized amounts as those in effect for the first several months and the Congress were to enact no other legislation affecting spending or revenues, CBO expects that the federal government would end fiscal year 2011 with a deficit of nearly $1.5 trillion, around $200 billion more than the $1.3 trillion deficit recorded in 2010.