Saturday, March 6, 2010

Congress spend tax money on luxury cars, high salaries and perks

I wanted to seperate Hastings from the rest of the story, but so far this doesn't rise up to the heights of the UK expense scandal but its pretty damn close how taxpayer's money is being used by Congress who even gave themselves a expense raise.

When Corrine Brown, a Democrat from North Florida, traveled on congressional business, she used a chauffeured Lincoln Town Car and an SUV at a cost of nearly $8,000.

And Tom Rooney, a House Republican from the Treasure Coast, spent about $2,500 to maintain an aquarium in his office.

To government watchdogs monitoring how our tax dollars are spent, the expenditures suggest that some members of Congress are out of touch with the financial hardships facing many of their constituents.

"Shame on our congressmen and [congresswomen] to be so insensitive to the plight of Floridians and Americans who can barely make ends meet," said Dominic Calabro, president of Florida TaxWatch. "It's absolutely the wrong message at the wrong time."

Pete Sepp, spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union in Alexandria, Va., said lawmakers may not understand why "people could be upset over a few thousand dollars out of a budget of trillions, but it shouldn't surprise them."

"It is a very important symbol of the federal government's overall behavior to watch the p's and q's on office expenditures," Sepp said. "It's one of the few costs of government that people can relate to directly."

And it adds up to more than $1 billion a year.

Read the whole thing.

Rep. Alcee Hastings has girlfriend on his payroll at taxpayers expense.

The joys on being a congress critter on the taxpayer's dime. She pretty much as that job for life because the way the district is cut up, Hastings will never be voted out.

Job losses, home foreclosures and the worst economy in decades have forced many Americans to cut back or do without.

But not members of Congress, who voted themselves a 5 percent increase in their own budgets for staff salaries, office expenses and perks last year.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Miramar Democrat, paid two staffers about $160,000 apiece — and one of them was his longtime girlfriend.

....Florida's highest-spending House member was Hastings, who went through 96.5 percent of his allowance, while the most frugal, Adam Putnam, a Central Florida Republican, used 75.6 percent of his budget. The top 10 spenders were evenly split among Democrats and Republicans.

....Most Florida representatives employed one high-earning staffer. But Hastings had two near the top of the pay scale: Chief of Staff Arthur Kennedy and Deputy District Director Patricia Williams, the congressman's girlfriend of many years.

The House nepotism rule prevents lawmakers from hiring relatives, including spouses, in-laws, aunts, uncles and even cousins. But it does not exclude significant unmarried others.

Williams began working for the representative after he was first elected in 1992. She's a disbarred lawyer who represented Hastings in the 1980s, when he was tried and acquitted of accepting bribes as a federal judge and subsequently impeached and removed from the bench.

Williams' pay has gone up more than 30 percent since 2002, according to LegiStorm, a nonpartisan group that tracks congressional salaries.

Hastings' office did not respond to several e-mails or phone messages seeking comment.

Unrest within Dutch party(PvdA) on Immigrants Taking Over

What seems to be a good sign in the local elections.
Immigrant voters have again provided important support for Labour (PvdA) in the local elections. Moroccans in particular voted for the party en masse, according to research by Amsterdam city council and the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies of the University of Amsterdam.

The PvdA remained the biggest party in Amsterdam by some way, partly due to 74 percent of Moroccans voting for the social democrats. Among Ghanaians, a big group in the Zuidoost district, the figure was even 88 percent. Among Surinamese and Antilleans, the PvdA 'only' won 53 percent, De Volkskrant reported yesterday. It gave no figures for Turks.

What it signals to the white leftists.

The majority of immigrants voted for the PvdA. They generally choose a compatriot. As a result, Turkish and Moroccan candidates put at unelectable levels on the party candidate lists were nonetheless elected in Wednesday's elections. Thanks to a large number of preference votes from compatriots, they elbowed aside the white candidates above them on the lists.
This has given rise to turmoil within the PvdA. "We have become the Party for the Immigrants" rather than the Party for Labour, said Andre Boersma bluntly (in Dutch: Partij van de Allochtonen and Partij van de Arbeid, both PvdA in short). Boersma was a PvdA council member in Enschede, but now has to leave.

The social democrats won 9 seats in Enschede on Wednesday, of which four will be filled by immigrants that were low down on the election list, but climbed spectacularly thanks to preference votes. Of these four, only one, Shridath Salikram, has council experience. Preference votes also put him on the municipal council four years ago.

.....The local PvdA leader is also an immigrant, Seyit Yeyden, but he is not happy with this development. "Let's face it: it is not a good mix this way. A number of outstanding candidates have now been elbowed out. We also have no woman in the party. But still, the voter decides."

So it fine if the immigrants vote for the party but when they predictably vote tribally now its time to get upset.

CAIR makes press with police detaining 7 Muslims praying

In a shopping center parking lot.

A Los Angeles Muslim civil rights organization has filed a misconduct complaint and requested an internal investigation of police in Henderson, Nev., after seven Southern California Muslim men were detained and questioned for praying in a parking lot.

The men were driving through Henderson on Dec. 20 when they stopped for food and gas at a shopping center, according to the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

While stopped, the men prayed next to their vehicle. Two patrol officers soon arrived – followed by a police sergeant, according to a Henderson police spokesman.

“We got a call from a citizen saying that seven suspicious males [were] in a parking lot engaging in suspicious behavior," said Officer Todd Rasmussen, a department spokesman.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations alleges that one of the officers said he was responding to a call about a “bunch of guys doing weird moves."

Muslim prayer is conducted by a series of movements that include bending down and prostrating on the ground.

The officers did a cursory search of the men's vehicle and questioned them about their jobs, schooling and places of birth for more than half an hour, according to the complaint filed by the Muslim civil rights group.

“The scope and length of the stop was not reasonable under the circumstances, nor did it serve any legitimate investigative purpose,” Ameena Qazi, a staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, wrote to Henderson Police Chief Jutta Chambers.

In addition to an investigation, the Muslim civil rights group has asked for disciplinary action against the officers, changes in officer training and compensation for the emotional distress suffered by the Muslim men.

This is some ghetto behavior, no learned Muslim with any self-respect is going to start praying in a public parking lot as if they own the place. It is allowable to double up on prayers when you get to your destination or even miss a prayer when circumstances arises. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a publicity stunt which CAIR will gleefully move along to push for more exceptions to Islamic practices.

This is the sort of nonsense you expect from Muslims coming from the hardline middle east who pray in public in places like Europe. It should be unacceptable behavior here in America.

Kevin Smith a punchline for gym ad

Via Consumerist.

So cold and yet so gold.

Obama's policies will add almost $10 Trillion to America's deficit.

You would think that would give Obama pause but to his liberal worldview this is just a bump in the road to change America. The end result is more people will be hooked on big government which works out well for Dems.

A new congressional report released Friday says the United States' long-term fiscal woes are even worse than predicted by President Barack Obama's grim budget submission last month.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that Obama's budget plans would generate deficits over the upcoming decade that would total $9.8 trillion. That's $1.2 trillion more than predicted by the administration.

The agency says its future-year predictions of tax revenues are more pessimistic than the administration's. That's because CBO projects slightly slower economic growth than the White House.

The deficit picture has turned alarmingly worse since the recession that started at the end of 2007, never dipping below 4 percent of the size of the economy over the next decade. Economists say that deficits of that size are unsustainable and could put upward pressure on interest rates, crowd out private investment in the economy and ultimately erode the nation's standard of living.

Still, the Feb. 1 White House budget plan was a largely stand-pat document that avoided difficult decisions on curbing the unsustainable growth of federal benefit programs like the Medicare health care program for the elderly and Medicaid, which provides health care to the poor and disabled.

Jay-Z in the Situation Room is disrespectful.

I won't be surprised when a pic of him sitting in the oval office comes out.

Obama's newest illegal amnesty push

I doubt he thinks he will get any traction on this issue this year but as a election wedge to gin up hispanic votes who want a blanket amnesty bill he will take it.

Reporting from Washington — Despite steep odds, the White House has discussed prospects for reviving a major overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, a commitment that President Obama has postponed once already.

Obama took up the issue privately with his staff Monday in a bid to advance a bill through Congress before lawmakers become too distracted by approaching midterm elections.

In the session, Obama and members of his Domestic Policy Council outlined ways to resuscitate the effort in a White House meeting with two senators -- Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- who have spent months trying to craft a bill.

According to a person familiar with the meeting, the White House may ask Schumer and Graham to at least produce a blueprint that could be turned into legislative language.

The basis of a bill would include a path toward citizenship for the 10.8 million people living in the U.S. illegally. Citizenship would not be granted lightly, the White House said. Undocumented workers would need to register, pay taxes and pay a penalty for violating the law. Failure to comply might result in deportation.

Considering the thousands of dollars most illegals pay to cross the border, registering, paying some taxes and small penalty is ridiculously easy and a slap in the face of those of us who did it the right way.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Scottish bar slammed by Muslims over Medina name change.

There are clubs and bars named after the Vatican and Medina also has a second meaning that can relate to a bar. Get over it.

A Scottish bar that has undergone a re-branding exercise has caused outrage among the local Muslim community who say it is disrespectful to the Islamic faith.

The Dundee establishment, which was formerly known as Bar Rio, has recently reopened as Medina Bar and Grill in the city's Nethergate.

But the move has angered local adherents to the Islamic faith, which discourages the drinking of alcohol among its followers.

Medina is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia and is the second holiest site in the Islamic faith behind Mecca.

However, it is also a term used for a market or bustling trading centre in north African cities.

South Africa black-owned farms 'failing'

Shocking. Who would have thought handing over farm land to political cronies and people who have no farming experience would end in failure? It was a stupid plan but it was popular for obvious political reasons. Now South Africa has to deal with the fallout which will cost them more over the next decade or so.

Some 90% of farms redistributed to South Africa's black population from white farmers are not productive, the government has said.

Land reform minister Gugile Nkwinti warned the land might be repossessed if the farms continued to fail.

Almost 60,000 sq km (23,000 sq miles) have been redistributed under policies aimed at benefiting black people who were left impoverished by apartheid.

The land was bought from white farmers who sold up voluntarily.

The BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg says some black farmers are likely to argue that they have been struggling to get the resources and skills to develop their land.

And repossessing the land would provide a whole new problem for the government, our correspondent says, as any move to return the land to its former white owners is bound to be controversial.

Geert Wilders to be next Dutch prime minister?

The MSM in the Netherlands are not happy about it.

The Freedom Party currently has nine of the 150 seats in the Dutch parliament, and five of the country's 25 European parliament seats. But some polls suggest it is now the most popular party in Holland, traditionally seen as a bastion of tolerance.

The Dutch political mainstream yesterday made clear its outrage at the election results. NRC Handelsblad, the Dutch newspaper of record, observing: "The Dutch political system, based on consensus and co-operation, is coming apart at the seams."

Muslims in Almere, where one third of the 190,000 population is of immigrant origin, reacted with shock and anger to his party's success, fearing his victory would fan animosity.

"It is terrible," said computer sciences student Kadriye Kacar, 35, who was born in Holland but is of Turkish descent. "People are looking at us in a new way today as if they are thinking – 'We won and you are leaving'.

"I don't wear a headscarf normally but I have decided to start doing so now out of protest. Other people in my community are planning to do the same. We will protest until Wilders is gone."

Apple trying to keep labels off Amazon's promotion.

At this point I am up for the EU to put the screws to Apple as they have clearly combined that dickish smug attitude backed with a ton of money in the back and marketshare to become 90's Microsoft.

When Amazon first launched the Daily Deal in June 2008, its primary aim was to drive more customer traffic to the online retail giant's MP3 store. "The labels paid nothing for being included in that privilege, nor were they asked," a major-label head of sales says.

But in mid-2009, the executive says, "that promotion morphed into something where the labels make arrangements to provide an exclusive selling window with Amazon for a big release expected to do a lot of business on street date."

In exchange for a Daily Deal promotion on a new album, Amazon has been asking labels to provide it with a one-day exclusive before street date and such digital marketing support as a banner ad on an artist's MySpace page and messages on label and artist Web sites and social network feeds.

"When that happened," the executive says, "iTunes said, 'Enough of that shit.' "

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Obama advisers set to back military tribunals for 9/11 suspects.

Eric Holder should lose his job over this mess that he help to create out of his own biases. This is why Obama needs people around him who are not yes people and could point out what a stupid plan Holder created.

President Obama's advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.

The president's advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some alleged terrorists in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.

If Obama accepts the likely recommendation of his advisers, the White House may be able to secure from Congress the funding and legal authority it needs to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and replace it with a facility within the United States. The administration has failed to meet a self-imposed one-year deadline to close Guantanamo.

The administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the president's legal advisers are finalizing their review of the cases of Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators. Asked about the process, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that "no decisions have been made."

Privately, administration officials are bracing for the ire of disappointed liberals and even some government lawyers should the administration back away from promises to use civilian courts to adjudicate the cases of some of the 188 detainees who remain at Guantanamo.

That bolded part ain't going to happen. No lawmaker before the midterms wants to be the yes vote in a tight race to close Gitmo and transfer terrorists to the mainland.

Obama to liberals: Obamacare just the beginning, please pass it.

Not a surprise. Obama is a supporter of a single payer system and this bill is a chance to start the control by the government of the healthcare industry. Once its starts it can't be stopped and Obama knows it. He needs something to pass to continue to go back and add to it.

Obama argued to the group of progressive members that his health care reform bill should be looked at as the foundation of reform, that can be built on in the future. He asked them to help gather votes for the final health care battle and promised that as soon as the bill was signed into law, he’d continue to push to make it stronger. But in a matter of weeks, he stressed, he could sign into law legislation that would lead to 31 million new people being insured, including the woman who wrote him…

“He just said that the public option, something that he has supported along the way, is not something that we can pass. And he emphasized the fact that the decision now is between doing as much as we can do and doing nothing. That’s it. He thought the whole foundation thing — that this is definitely something we could be proud of, something we could build off [of],” said Schakowsky.

Woolsey told Obama that she’d be introducing legislation to create a public option and Obama said he encouraged the effort, according to Schakowsky.

None of the members, including Kucinich, indicated that they would vote any differently this time around. “I think [Kucinich] left the meeting leaving the impression with the president that he’s a no-go,” said Schakowsky.

But, said one attendee, Obama pointed Kucinich toward single-payer language that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was able to get into the bill. Kucinich fought for an amendment that would allow states to adopt single-payer systems without getting sued by insurance companies. Obama told Kucinich that Sanders’s measure was similar but doesn’t kick in for several years. “He definitely wrote it down,” said one member of Kucinich, suggesting that he’d look into it.

Skinput turns your body parts into a touch interface.

I will wait while you get all the dirty jokes out but the concept is intriguing if not right away useful.

The future of touchscreen interfaces is: you? A project between a Carnegie Mellon researcher and a couple of creative thinkers over at Microsoft Research have created Skinput, a Bluetooth-enabled device that allows you to use your own skin as a peripheral input device for devices like cell phones, MP3 players or gaming consoles.

The device works via an armband, which contains a small projector that beams whatever relevant interface you need onto your hand or forearm. Then you simply press the appropriate part of your skin just like you were tapping the screen of an iPhone. An acoustic sensor in the armband can tell where you are tapping because of the different bond densities, tissues, and other differentiating factors inherent in your body’s geography.

Bluetooth then transmits the corresponding signal to the appropriate device; if you’ve just dialed a phone number, it sends the info to your phone and dials the call.

NZ inventor puts Flying Hovercraft up for sale

It is even better in reality than it sounds.
Mechanic Rudy Heeman took the model of a hovercraft to create the WIG or "wing in ground effective vehicle".

It rides like a normal hovercraft but, once it reaches a speed of 70km an hour, it becomes airborne.

It took Mr Heeman more than a decade to complete the machine.

Obama nominates brother of undecided House Dem.

No one thought this would look suspicious on the day of Obamacare push?

Tonight, Barack Obama will host ten House Democrats who voted against the health care bill in November at the White House; he's obviously trying to persuade them to switch their votes to yes. One of the ten is Jim Matheson of Utah. The White House just sent out a press release announcing that today President Obama nominated Matheson's brother Scott M. Matheson, Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

New section of I-95 already needs $3.5 million in repairs

Ladies and Gents, South Florida!

The Florida Department of Transportation is sinking $3.5 million into fixing a section of Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County that is only five to six years old.

The section, between Linton and Boynton Beach boulevards, is riddled with patches of missing asphalt that have commuters either easing around them or swerving into adjacent lanes.

The section of the highway that will be ground down and resurfaced was widened to 10 lanes in 2004 and 2005. Typically, FDOT resurfaces roads every 12 to 15 years.

"Usually asphalt pavement is designed for 20 years," said Claude Villiers, a professor of civil engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. "If the mix performs well, after 10 years or so you could do something to rejuvenate its life span. In the first five years, it is a little too early for something to go wrong. We classify this condition as premature failure."

Geert Wilders big winner in local polls.

Wilders popularity at this level exposes major social problems that the multicult, tolerance for all elitist crowd have refused to acknowledge or address. The population is demanding a crackdown on what they see as a segment of the population that are Muslim who refuse to share what they deem Dutch values. Call it racist or whatever you want because it is a real problem that must be defused.

Geert Wilders scored major gains in local authority polls Thursday, making him a serious challenger for power in a June national election, preliminary results showed.

In the first test of public opinion since the collapse of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's coalition government last month, Wilders's Freedom Party (PVV) led in the city of Almere and was second in The Hague.

The results came on top of an opinion poll showing that the PVV, which campaigns against Muslim immigration as its main platform, would win the most seats -- 27 in the 150-member Dutch parliament -- in the June 9 election.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hoyer: Eric Massa faces misconduct allegation

He allegedly hit on a male staffer and got reported on it. As a scandal if it were a Repub, it would be all over the news, but for an ill Dem you will start seeing sympathy stories by tonight and by weekend it will be over.

A freshman congressman from New York who cited health reasons in announcing his retirement Wednesday is facing allegations of misconduct, a top House Democrat confirmed.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer did not elaborate on the allegation against Democratic Rep. Eric Massa, who said he will not seek a second term after a recurrence of cancer late last year.

The allegation involved a male staffer, a House aide told The Associated Press, but the aide wouldn't characterize the allegation further. The aide was not authorized to discuss the allegation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Traders Turn Attention to the Next Greece

Hedge Funders are under close watch as suspicion builds that someone is playing around with the Euro. That doesn't excuse the fact that it looks like a lot of countries in the EU are in need of a fiscal correction.

Even as Greece pledged anew on Wednesday to rein in its runaway budget deficit, briefly easing the anxiety over its perilous finances, traders on both sides of the Atlantic weighed the risks — and potential rewards — posed by the groaning debts of other European governments.

While investors welcomed news that Athens would raise taxes and cut spending by $6.5 billion this year, analysts warned the moves might not be enough to avert a bailout for Greece or to contain the crisis shaking Europe and its common currency, the euro.

Indeed, some banks and hedge funds have already begun to turn their attention to other indebted nations, particularly Portugal, Spain, Italy and, to a lesser degree, Ireland.

The role of such traders has become increasingly controversial in Europe and the United States. The Justice Department’s antitrust division is examining whether at least four hedge funds colluded on a bet against the euro last month.

“If the problems of Greece aren’t addressed now, there is a risk the market will focus on the next weakest link in the chain,” said Jim Caron, global head of interest rate strategy at Morgan Stanley.

Whatever the outcome in Athens, the debt crisis in Europe threatens to tip the financial, as well as political, balance of power across the Continent. With Germany and France emerging as the most likely rescuers, leaders in Berlin and Paris could end up dictating fiscal policy in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain.

And in the months ahead, fears about the growing debt burden elsewhere in Europe are likely to return, according to investors and strategists. That is particularly worrying given that Western European countries must raise more than half a trillion dollars this year to refinance existing debts and cover their widening budget gaps.

The way fear can spread from capital to capital reminds Mr. Caron of how the American financial crisis played out. “What people are doing in the markets is no different from what they did with the banks,” he said. “First it was Bear Stearns, then it was Lehman Brothers and so on. That’s what people are worried about.”

Obama's final push for Obamacare begins!...again!

Nothing noteworthy about his speech today surrounded by supporting medical people I guess. He did put reconciliation on the table but wasn't even man enough to actually say the word.

Obama is hellbent on the government taking over the healthcare industry and as you read below about the details, this isn't about cost savings, this is about control.

Toyota spending $250 million on factory closing in California.

Amazingly, elected officials are trying to blackmail Toyota to keep a plant open they no longer need as some sort of welfare program.

Toyota said Wednesday it will spend $250 million to assist employees at a Northern California factory slated to be closed next month.

Toyota Motor Corp., which is working to repair its image in the U.S. following recalls and congressional hearings, said the bonuses are for salaried and hourly workers at Fremont-based New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. who will lose their jobs when production halts there on April 1.

The facility, California's sole remaining automobile assembly plant, started 25 years ago as a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors Co. The goal was that the American automaker observe the Japanese car-making system up close and Toyota could test out its model on U.S. workers.

GM says it has no legal obiligation to help and they are right but you won't find the Dems or the Unions going after them.

Detroit teachers union blocks Teach for America volunteers

Any teachers union is for themselves and not for making the education system better. The gall of the teachers union in one of worst educational systems in America to block something that would improved the situation is typical. A union in these times is nothing more than a bloodsucking parasite on civilized society.

Leaders from both the Detroit Public Schools and city charter schools are working to lure Teach for America -- the nonprofit that supplies highly motivated young college graduates to poor urban classrooms. But the effort is threatened by opposition from the Detroit Federation of Teachers.

The union has succeeded in blocking Teach for America before. About 50 of the nonprofit's members taught in the Detroit Public Schools from 2001-03, when the union successfully demanded they be thrown out, saying they took union jobs.

Teach for America is a two-year program that recruits high-achieving volunteers to be specially trained and placed in poor schools that are difficult to staff.

Many become permanent educators in their host communities.

Their impact is undeniable. TFA is regarded as one of the important reasons why New Orleans schools -- for years among the nation's worst -- have steadily improved since being rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. A 2008 Louisiana report found TFA-trained educators were more effective at teaching math, reading and language arts than other teachers with more experience.

AFL-CIO plans to spend record sum this election season.

Hopefully it will also be the biggest waste of money taken from membership dues they have ever done.

Nissan recalls 540,000 trucks and minivans

Yesterday it was GM and today Nissan, you know they are doing this now as the public is focused on Toyota.

Nissan is recalling 540,000 vehicles worldwide to fix faulty brake pedal pins and inaccurate fuel gauges.

The Japanese automaker's North American division said no accidents or injuries have been reported, but the company is initiating the recalls based on three reports of brake pedal pins partially disengaging, hindering braking ability.

(AP) Details of Obama's health care plan..Mandates!!!

This is the third version of Obamacare and he somehow makes it worse. The main government money grabs.

--INSURANCE MANDATE: Like the bills approved last year by the House and Senate, the proposal would require almost everyone to be insured or pay a fine.

There is an exemption for low-income people. The Senate bill exempted people with incomes under the federal poverty level ($22,050 for a family of four) whereas Obama's plan, like the House version, would exempt people under the tax-filing threshold ($45,295 for a family of four).

But the fines levied under the insurance mandate would be higher than the Senate proposed. Obama also keeps a "hardship exemption" that excuses anyone from buying insurance if it would cost more than 8 percent of their income.

--MEDICAID: Like the Senate bill, Obama's proposal would expand the federal-state Medicaid insurance program for the poor to cover people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, $29,327 a year for a family of four. The federal government would pick up more of the tab, paying 100 percent of the cost for newly eligible individuals through 2017. Obama eliminated a special deal that would have given Nebraska 100 percent federal funding for newly eligible Medicaid recipients in perpetuity. A different, one-time deal negotiated by Sen. Mary Landrieu for her state, Louisiana, worth as much as $300 million stayed in.

--INSURANCE MANDATE: Like the bills approved last year by the House and Senate, the proposal would require almost everyone to be insured or pay a fine. There is an exemption for low-income people. The Senate bill exempted people with incomes under the federal poverty level ($22,050 for a family of four) whereas Obama's plan, like the House version, would exempt people under the tax-filing threshold ($45,295 for a family of four). But the fines levied under the insurance mandate would be higher than the Senate proposed. Obama also keeps a "hardship exemption" that excuses anyone from buying insurance if it would cost more than 8 percent of their income.

--INSURANCE MARKET REFORMS: Like the House and Senate bills, Obama's proposal would stop unpopular insurance industry practices such as denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or charging women more. In response to a recent 39 percent rate hike announcement by Anthem Blue Cross in California, Obama would give the federal government the authority to block rate hikes, roll back premium prices and force insurance companies to give rebates to consumers.

--MEDICAID: Like the Senate bill, Obama's proposal would expand the federal-state Medicaid insurance program for the poor to cover people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, $29,327 a year for a family of four. The federal government would pick up more of the tab, paying 100 percent of the cost for newly eligible individuals through 2017. Obama eliminated a special deal that would have given Nebraska 100 percent federal funding for newly eligible Medicaid recipients in perpetuity. A different, one-time deal negotiated by Sen. Mary Landrieu for her state, Louisiana, worth as much as $300 million stayed in.

--TAXES: Obama scaled back a tax on high-cost insurance plans that was opposed by House Democrats and labor unions. The tax would be delayed from 2013 until 2018 and the thresholds at which it is imposed would be moved up from policies worth $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families, to $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. Those changes mean $120 billion in lost revenue over 10 years that Obama would replace mostly by applying an increased Medicare payroll tax to investment income as well as wages for individuals making more than $200,000, or married couples above $250,000. The Senate bill had applied the tax only to wage income.

--PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Obama would close the "doughnut hole" coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug benefit that kicks in once seniors have spent $2,830. The Senate bill would have provided a 50 percent discount on the cost of brand-name drugs in the doughnut hole but Obama would close the gap entirely by 2020. The added cost, which the White House did not disclose, would be paid for in part by an additional $10 billion in fees on the drug industry.

--EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITY: Obama keeps the approach in the Senate bill, which doesn't require businesses to offer coverage, but charges fees to companies with more than 50 employees if the government subsidizes employees' coverage. Obama increases the fees to $2,000 per worker instead of $750, but grants companies an allowance that was not part of the original Senate plan.

--SUBSIDIES: Obama provides more generous subsidies overall for purchasing insurance than the Senate bill did. The aid is available for households making up to four times the federal poverty level ($88,000 for a family of four).

Does anyone see anything there that could lead to costs going down? Not for businesses and not for anyone with a good paying salary. This is worse than the Senate bill.

Rangel told to quit because he doesn't have the votes.

Not enough votes to keep him from an embarrassing rebuke that could happen today led by the GOP. He is long overdue to get the hell out of there due to his lapses.

Rep. Charles Rangel's turbulent reign as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee looked headed for an inglorious, embarrassing end on Tuesday night.

Rangel was bluntly told he doesn't have the votes to hang onto his powerful perch atop the tax-writing committee, and he will have to quit as chairman as soon as Wednesday, sources told the Daily News.

The New York Democrat - a Korean war hero and Harlem political legend - has fought bitterly for 18 months to cling to power after the House Ethics Committee launched ever-expanding probes of his ethical lapses.

Rangel's refusal to go down easy was on full display after he emerged from a testy evening huddle with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Kudos to Artur Davis for being the first CBC member to say publicly Rangel has to go. No

Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) is the first Democratic lawmaker on the Ways and Means Committee and first member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to call on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to give up his chairmanship in the wake of an ethics committee admonishment.

Davis is running to replace Republican Bob Riley as governor of Alabama and appears to be an odds-on favorite to win the Democratic primary. But he faces a tough general-election contest.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Investors turn to Britain's massive debt problem.

Talking Greek size because the cheap lending has not stopped in Britain.

Britain is not in the 16-nation euro zone and, unlike Greece and other struggling countries that use the currency, it retains control over its monetary policy. As a result, it has benefited so far from a huge bond-buying program undertaken by the Bank of England — proportionally, the largest in the world — that has kept mortgage rates and gilt yields at unusually low levels.

That means the government and its citizens have been able to continue to borrow at interest rates that do not reflect their true financial situation.

Indeed, the increase in private and government debt here contrasts sharply with the deleveraging that has been going on in the United States.

British household debt is now 170 percent of overall annual income, compared with 130 percent in the United States. In an echo of the United States’ rush into subprime mortgages with low teaser rates, millions of homeowners in Britain have piled into variable-rate mortgages that are linked to the rock-bottom base rate.

As for the British government, it has been able to finance a budget deficit of 12.5 percent of G.D.P. — equal to Greece’s — at an interest rate more than two full percentage points lower only because the Bank of England bought the majority of the bonds it issued last year.

“It’s not just ‘basket cases’ like Greece that can be considered candidates for sovereign crises,” said Simon White of Variant Perception, a research house in London that caters to hedge funds and wealthy individuals. “Gilts and sterling will continue to come under pressure as scrutiny of the U.K. fiscal situation intensifies.”

Activision gets set to run Call of Duty into a ditch.

They fired the two top guys at Infinity Ward and now annual releases of Call of Duty games is just setting them up to fail as they milk the franchise dry.

Vince Zampella and Jason West, chief executive and president, respectively, of Encino game development studio Infinity Ward, both exited, corporate parent Activision confirmed Tuesday. Their departure puts in question the fate of Infinity Ward, creator of the Call of Duty military shooter series and the producer of its recent blockbuster Modern Warfare installments.

While Activision wouldn't specify the reasons for their leaving, it referred to an apparent conflict with West and Zampella in the company's annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday. Activision said it is "concluding an internal human resources inquiry into breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward," adding, "This matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation."

Top employees at Infinity Ward have clashed with Activision Blizzard management as they have tried to secure more independence from their corporate parent and also expressed displeasure at other game development studios being assigned to work on Call of Duty games, people familiar with the situation said.
Zampella and West could not be reached for comment. Activision didn't respond to a request for comment.

Call of Duty is one of Activision's three key franchises, along with the music series Guitar Hero and online fantasy game World of Warcraft. Last year, the three games accounted for 68% of the Santa Monica publisher's revenue.

Indeed, Call of Duty has grown more important for Activision as Guitar Hero revenue fell last year in the face of slumping sales for the music game genre. In February, Activision laid off about 200 employees, a move it attributed to declining sales for Guitar Hero and other games aimed at infrequent, casual players.

Pricks....Evil Apple goes after HTC and Google.

Count me in on Team HTC/Google. Apple wants the smartphone market to itself and throwing out these generic patents suits is one way to tie everyone up.

Apple has a bigger strategy at work here. It filed its suit with the United States District Court in Delaware, but also with the United States International Trade Commission, and it could ask the commission to halt shipments of infringing HTC phones that are coming into the United States.

So why did Apple sue HTC and not Google? Mr. Zittrain believes Apple is simply going after a less powerful company first, one with much smaller pockets than Google.

“It clearly involves some form of litigation strategy of picking off the weaker members of the herd first,” Mr Zittrain said. “They can always add Google to the suit later on.”

Many lawyers I spoke with believe this case will end up being settled out of court before it goes that far.

Hillary and Obama stabs UK in the back over Falkland Islands

Unless some report comes out that Hillary went off the reservation what the hell was she and the White House thinking pulling this crap on the UK over the Falklands? The Iron Lady ended this debate back in the early 80s.

Argentina was celebrating a diplomatic coup yesterday in its attempt to force Britain to accept talks on the future of the Falkland Islands, after a two-hour meeting in Buenos Aires between Hillary Clinton and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Responding to a request from Mrs Kirchner for “friendly mediation” between Britain and Argentina, Mrs Clinton, the US Secretary of State, said she agreed that talks were a sensible way forward and offered “to encourage both countries to sit down”.

Her intervention defied Britain’s longstanding position that there should be no negotiations unless the islands’ 3,000 inhabitants asked for them. It was hailed in Buenos Aires as a major diplomatic victory, but condemned in the Falklands.

Britain insisted there was no need for mediation as long as the islanders wanted to remain British. “We don’t think that’s necessary,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

It is not necessary. For whatever reason Obama has something in for the Brits and takes every chance he gets to stick it to them. No reason for this garbage.

UK's NHS to run £38 Billion shortfall by 2016.

Government run healthcare is never fiscally responsible.

More than a third of NHS primary healthcare trusts, which fund hospitals in England, are running deficits that have led to a cutback in surgical operations and seen calls to close casualty departments, according to a joint study by the Guardian and the thinktank Civitas.

The analysis, which used figures from the public board meetings of 100 trusts, shows the health service overspend this year is more than £130m. The Department of Health has warned trusts they cannot enter the new financial year in the red and health authorities which do not cut costs face repaying cash from next year's budget or being subjected to central control.

The funding gap has already had an impact on patients, with GPs in Hertfordshire being told to get "approval" for a list of procedures including hysterectomies, removal of "skin lumps and bumps" and tooth extraction. Managers have advised the family doctors that in many cases "it is usually better to wait to see if symptoms resolve themselves".

The single largest shortfall is in Enfield primary healthcare trust, which has a budget of £450m, but is in the red to the tune of £17.5m. Bosses are proposing to replace Chase Farm hospital's A&E department with a consultant-led "urgent care centre" that will not take blue light ambulances and is open only 12 hours a day.

Although the government has said the health budget would not be cut, analysts say that even with "zero real growth" the NHS will face a shortfall of £20bn by 2013 – a gap that will grow to £38bn by 2016.

Sen. Jim Bunning gets death threats over fiscal responsibility

Typical but not surprising. All Bunning is asking for is the Dems to follow the same rules they just passed on pay as you go rules. They don't care and now bashing him for not wanting to add more debt to Obama's deficit.

Obama endorses reconciliation, pathetic offer of bipartisanship

This is the only way he has left to push for the government takeover of the healthcare industry.

White House officials tell ABC News that in his remarks tomorrow President Obama will indicate a willingness to work with Republicans on some issue to get a health care reform bill passed but will say that if it is necessary, Democrats will use the controversial reconciliation rules requiring only 51 Senate votes to pass the "fix" to the Senate bill.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been awaiting the president’s remarks direction on how health care reform will proceed.

In his remarks, scheduled to be at the White House, the president will paint a picture of what he will say will happen without a health care reform bill – skyrocketing premiums, everyone at the mercy of the insurance industry as recently seen with the 39% premium increases proposed by Anthem Blue Cross in California.

He will note that the “fixed” bill will include the proposal for a new "Health Insurance Rate Authority" to set guidelines for reasonable rate increases. If proposed premium increases are not justifiable per those Health Insurance Rate Authority guidelines, the Health and Human Services Secretary or state regulators could block them.

He has put in four ideas from the GOP to make it a bipartisan bill and its not even worth a damn.

The president will also extend a hand to work with Republicans on measures they have pushed, including $50 million for state grants for demonstration projects to explore alternatives to medical malpractice cases, and a crackdown on Medicaid and Medicare fraud as proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

He will also herald the removal of extraneous provisions in the bill such as the so-called “Cornhusker Kickback,” a deal to secure the support of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., in which the federal government would pay for Nebraska’s Medicaid expansion; and “Gator-aid,” the provision to shield Florida seniors from cuts to the Medicare Advantage program, secured by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

$50 million to do research on tort reform is me putting $1 towards paying off the national debt. It is designed to fail and Obama knows it. All he wants is the media to cover for him and hail his effort to reach out when he is giving the middle finger to the American public.

This comparison to Jersey Shore is apt.

U.S. Representative Paul Broun, M.D. (GA-10) released the following statement after President Barack Obama announced his intentions to incorporate only four minor Republican ideas into the 2,000-plus page health care bill:

“I don’t know if we should be insulted or humored at the President’s feeble attempts to incorporate Republican ideas into his latest health care proposal. Snookie, from the Jersey Shore, has more substance than President Obama’s offer.

“Instead of listening to the American people, the President has once again demonstrated his arrogance and ignorance about what the nation expects from its leaders. This is “The Situation,” Mr. President: the American people do not want unconstitutional mandates and job-killing tax increases. They are concerned with the costs of premiums, the quality of their health care and ensuring their children and grandchildren are not left with the bill.

If you want to govern with the consent of the governed, you need to scrap this government take-over plan and embrace more of our commonsense solutions that protect the vital patient/doctor relationship and decrease the costs of premiums without adding to the national debt.”

Coffee party leader profiled in NYTIMES also worked for NYTIMES?

Via Instapundit.

UPDATE: Reader Aaron G. emails:

So the New York Times article describes the Coffee Party’s origin thus:

“The snowballing response made her the de facto coordinator of Coffee Party USA, with goals far loftier than its oopsy-daisy origin: promote civility and inclusiveness in political discourse, engage the government not as an enemy but as the collective will of the people, push leaders to enact the progressive change for which 52.9 percent of the country voted in 2008.”

Except the woman mentioned as starting it-Annabel Park-is not some Jane Shmo who got thrust into it by accident, she’s a career activist. A fact that is not exactly hidden either. The first results for her name on google bring up her Linkedin:

Spoiler: the only private sector work listed is “Strategy Analyst: The New York Times”

Obama's drastic cuts to America's nuclear weapons.

There is a lot of naivity if he thinks by cutting America's weapons that other countries will follow. They will praise us and just keep building their own stockpile.

Officials said hundreds of nuclear weapons could be cut, in many cases by retiring weapons that are now kept in storage, from the current level of 2,200 warheads.

A senior administration official said the new strategy would point to a greater role for conventional weapons, while "maintaining a strong and reliable" nuclear deterrent.

On Monday the president met Robert Gates, the Defence Secretary, to discuss the "Nuclear Posture Review" which was supposed to be published in December but was delayed reportedly because Mr Obama did not consider it radical enough.

The policy review "will be an important step forward in pursuing the goal of reversing the spread of nuclear weapons and seeking a world without them," said the official. He said it could also rule out the need to develop the nuclear version of "bunker-buster" weapons for penetrating underground targets.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spain: Venezuela Plotted to Kill rival leaders with FARC, ETA.

Now this is going to be highly entertaining.

Spain and Venezuela headed toward a potential diplomatic face-off after a Spanish judge on Monday accused Caracas of collaborating with rebel groups to assassinate Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and other top political figures.

Spanish National Court Judge Eloy Velasco alleged Monday that the Venezuelan government had collaborated with Basque separatist group ETA and Colombia's main guerrilla group in a plot against leaders living in or traveling to Spain that began in late 2003.

The allegations were part of an indictment that ordered 12 alleged members of ETA and of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to stand trial on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and terrorism, according to a copy reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

"There is evidence…showing the cooperation of the Venezuelan government in the illegal collaboration between FARC and ETA," according to the indictment.

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, speaking at a news conference Monday in Hanover, Germany, said he had ordered his Foreign Ministry to "request an explanation from the Venezuelan government" regarding the allegations. "We are awaiting such explanation," Mr. Zapatero said.

GM to recall 1.3 million cars over power steering problems.

When is the media lynching and congressional hearings going to happen..oh wait its GM so never mind. What about that union workmanship eh?

WASHINGTON – General Motors said tonight it will recall 1.3 million cars in North America to replace a power steering motor that could fail, following a federal probe launched in January.

GM said the recall would cover 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalts, 2007-10 Pontiac G5s and similar models sold in Canada and Mexico.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency in January had opened a probe of 905,000 Cobalts from the 2005 through 2009 model year following 1,132 complaints of power steering failures that could make the cars hard to control. The complaints included reports of 14 crashes and one injury.

"After our in-depth investigation, we found that this is a condition that takes time to develop. It tends to occur in older models out of warranty," said Jamie Hresko, GM vice president of quality, in a statement. “Recalling these vehicles is the right thing to do for our customers' peace of mind.

Holder's DOJ lawyers leaked info on CIA operatives?

Via The American Spectator. I knew that Holder had brought in lawyers that aided leftist groups and lawyered up for terrorists but this part is a bit much.

Ironically, say DOJ sources, while Holder and his staff continue to work hard to protect the identities of those attorneys who provided legal advice to suspected or convicted terrorists, several of the attorneys in question are believed to have been instrumental in the efforts of Human Rights Watch and CREW to leak to the media and Democrat supporters on Capitol Hill, the names of CIA interrogators of enemy combatants and suspected terrorists, as well as the locations of foreign-based U.S. secure holding facilities and various interrogation techniques used on terror suspects and enemy combatants.

Pelosi won't get rid of Rangel because of the Black Caucus.

That is the only reason Pelosi has come out with this explanation why Rangel has not been booted out of his way and means chair. She fears the Congressional Black Caucus rage that a member got kicked out of such a powerful post. The CBC which is no stranger to financial scandals won't give a damn about any pressure to remove Rangel. The Protect the brother mentality wins.

Rep. Charlie Rangel’s admonishment for violating House gift rules “is not good,” but his actions did not put the nation at risk in any material way, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday.

Pelosi said it is not her place to interfere in any investigations of the matter and said she would not get involved politically.

“But the fact is, is that what Mr. Rangel has been admonished for is not good,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It was a violation of the rules of the House. It was not a–something that jeopardized our country in any way.”

Obama's 3rd Obamacare plan this Wednesday

I call this the continuing contempt Obama has for the American Public.

“In a matter of days, we will have a proposal,” Pelosi said, pointing to Obama’s forthcoming bill.

“It will be a much smaller proposal than we had in the House bill because that’s where we can gain consensus. But it will be big enough to put us on a path of affordable, quality health care for all Americans that holds insurance companies accountable.”…

Melody Barnes, a top Obama domestic policy adviser, did not dispute Pelosi’s characterization of the new plan as smaller in scope — and quite possibly in cost — than either the House or Senate health care bills…

“They (the summit participants) talked about medical malpractice reform and found possible areas of common ground there and so that’s something they (White House staff) will be looking at,” Barnes said. “They (summit participants) talked about purchasing insurance across state lines doing that, though, in a way to make sure people are treated fairly. So, I think we’ll look towards those issues and we will be drawing upon that. The conversation that took place at Blair House was important to us, because we wanted to hear what the leadership in Congress had to say.”

So the plan will have conservative ideas which won't gel with the expanding government role in the healthcare industry but that is not the point. All Obama wants out of it is to say to the press look we put in their ideas and they still say no while hoping it clicks with the public. Its a sham bill but it is so transparent it is embarrassing on its face. But the media will rally behind it.

Colt 45 drinking Mom pulls pimp cane sword at daughter's school.

I was going to say the "Please don't be black" prayer then I saw Colt 45 and realized it was pretty much useless.

A spitting match between two students at Riverview Elementary School Monday apparently led to a bizarre encounter in the office Tuesday morning.

"She had spit on me so I spit on her back," said second grader Aaliyyah Price.

Price and her grandmother spoke with us from the family's home. They said 32-year-old Toni Price went to the school to confront the parents of the girl who spit on her daughter.

"She said she went up there to talk to the girl's parents," said Bennie Price. "But the girl's parents wasn't there."

According to court records, Toni Price ended up inside the school where an employee reported a drunk woman was armed with a sword running through the halls of the school. She told police Price was threatening to cut her.

Officers who arrived on the scene retrieved a black walking cane in which a long sharp blade is concealed.

"When I got up there I took the cane," said Price's mother, Bennie. "I had it, police drew guns on me, and I didn't know what was going on."

Price's mother believes she probably had the weapon to ward off pit bulls in the neighborhood and had no idea where she may have gotten such a weapon.

"I don't know," she said.

She said she does know her daughter would have never actually hurt anyone inside the school.

Price told police she drank a 40 ounce bottle of Colt 45 before going to the school.

She's charged with aggravated assault and for having a weapon on school property.
Her bond is set at $4500.

More from WREG

The suspect's mother says her daughter never took the blade out of the cane, but according to the affidavit in the case, the victim told police Price "pulled out a knife from a walking cane and told her that she was going to cut her."

The suspect's seven-year-old daughter also told News Channel 3 she saw her mother pull the knife from the cane.

A spokesperson for MCS says administrators noticed something was strange right away, immediately called police and officers arrived before anyone was injured.

The affidavit says Price told officers she drank a 40 ounce Colt 45 before she went to the school. We observed several empty bottles of beer in a garbage can and on the ground at Price's home while we were interviewing relatives.

It sounds like a good family atmosphere for a young girl to grow up.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

EU Moves Toward a Bailout of Greece

They are asking for more spending cuts but since they don't have a EU wide policy on bailout each other it could get highly entertaining.

A plan led by Germany and France to bail out Greece with as much as €30 billion ($41 billion) in aid began to take shape amid intense and risky jockeying between Athens and Berlin over timing and terms.

Greek officials said they expected to seal a deal by Friday, when Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou meets in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but senior German officials insisted a bailout wasn't imminent.

"There is definitely no such plan," said Ulrich Wilhelm, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The conflicting accounts reflect Germany's reluctance to give up any leverage it has over Greece before Athens has shown concrete progress in reining in its deficit, expected to reach nearly 13% of gross domestic product this year. Germany, the economic engine of the 16-nation euro zone, would have to shoulder the lion's share of any bailout. Polls show that a solid majority of Germans oppose extending aid to Greece. Greece, which needs to refinance more than €40 billion in debt in the coming months amid growing doubts over its solvency, is eager to lock in a rescue plan as quickly as possible.

Washington is also looking for Europe to resolve the Greek crisis soon and remove the uncertainty that has rocked global markets in recent weeks. U.S. officials have publicly backed the European Union's efforts to keep the Greek crisis under control, but say privately that the EU's fiscal demands of Athens may be too severe.

European policy is "short-sighted" because it will "tear Europe apart in the longer term, all in the name of rectitude," said Ted Truman, a former Obama Treasury international official, who worked with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House chief economic adviser Lawrence Summers on the U.S. response to Asia's financial crisis a decade ago. Mr. Truman believes the electorate in Greece and other debt-ridden countries may turn against the EU as a result of harsh austerity.

Spain's children sending Jew hating postcards to Israel.

What does it say about the Spanish school system that some sort of campaign is this on-going?

Israel lodged a formal complaint with Spain yesterday, charging certain individuals in Spanish schools of promoting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ideas among young children. The letter comes after Israel's ambassador to Spain, Rafi Shotz, recently received dozens of anti-Semitic postcards from Spanish elementary school students.

The postcards bore statements including "Jews kill for money," "Leave the country to the Palestinians" and "Go somewhere where they will accept you." A Foreign Ministry official said the handwriting appears typical of children six to nine years old. Advertisement

"Apparently there are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel individuals who get permission to operate within schools," the official said. "Each time, the embassy has received several dozen postcards from a different school. And it seems as though whoever is doing this is moving from school to school."

Business Bashes Federal Plan for Wage-Linked Contracts

Posted about it earlier last week but more on this new plan by the unions being studied by Obama to basically shut out non-union companies. The taxpayers will have to pay more for contracts that will end up benefiting union backed companies.

In awarding government contracts, federal agencies have long been permitted to make "trade-offs" in which they pay more for contracts they think will provide higher quality or better value. It's not clear how the Obama administration could strengthen that to ensure pay and benefit factors are more readily considered in awarding the more than $500 billion in government contracts a year. Also not clear is whether the administration would do that through a mandate or stronger endorsement and whether Congressional approval would be needed.

"The administration is looking for the appropriate approach that will protect taxpayer dollars while taking into account the impact on performance of low wages and benefits," an administration official said.

The White House is also more broadly considering how to overhaul government contracting "in ways that will save taxpayers money while protecting workers," a White House aide said Friday, adding that no recommendations have been sent to the president or approved. "None of the options being studied would in any way or form benefit bidders because they have a unionized work force."

Business groups and some Republican lawmakers say the plan could cost the government billions more dollars and put nonunion employers at an unfair disadvantage.

"This is an attempt by the unions to force their policy agenda on a wide swath of the economy by rigging the government procurement process," said Glenn Spencer, Executive Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Workforce Freedom Initiative.

Obama rescinds 'leave internet alone' policy

It was nice knowing the internet as it stands now. Nothing makes me calmer than knowing the government is looking out for me.

The US government’s policy of leaving the Internet alone is over, according to Obama’s top official at the Department of Commerce.

Instead, an “Internet Policy 3.0” approach will see policy discussions between government agencies, foreign governments, and key Internet constituencies, according to Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling, with those discussions covering issues such as privacy, child protection, cybersecurity, copyright protection, and Internet governance.

The outcomes of such discussions will be “flexible” but may result in recommendations for legislation or regulation, Strickling said in a speech at the Media Institute in Washington this week.

The new approach is a far cry from a US government that consciously decided not to intrude into the internet’s functioning and growth and in so doing allowed an academic network to turn into a global communications phenomenon.

Strickling referred to these roots arguing that it was “the right policy for the United States in the early stages of the Internet, and the right message to send to the rest of the world.” But, he continued, “that was then and this is now. As we at NTIA approach a wide range of Internet policy issues, we take the view that we are now in the third generation of Internet policy making.”

Van Jones called Saddam's Human Shields 'Heroes'

Par for the course for an avowed communist, cop killer supporter. Via Gatewat Pundit.