Saturday, January 31, 2009

Middle-Class Flight From San Fernando Valley: Will taxpayers who are leaving “America's suburb” behind doom L.A.?

L.A. Weekly reports:
With new data suggesting that a net 50,000 to 100,000 people left Los Angeles County last fiscal year, the San Fernando Valley is emerging as the poster child for middle-class flight — even as L.A. politicians try to spin an almost opposite tale.

The Valley was once America’s suburb, the nation’s most firmly rooted bastion of families holding jobs sufficient to pay for homes, cars, leisure and college tuition. Its more than 1 million people poured such a wealth of taxes into downtown’s municipal treasury — subsidizing other areas — that Valley secession was seen as an attack on L.A.’s fiscal health.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently claimed that people are moving here. But, in fact, an L.A. Weekly analysis based on U.S. Census data clearly shows that for the middle class, the opposite is true.

L.A. grew in 2007-2008 due to high birth rates among the poor and working class, mostly Latinos, and due to illegal immigration. But since 2001, on the key measure of an area’s ability to attract the middle class, 901,426 more citizens have fled the county for other states than arrived from other states, and last year, they continued that flight.

One of the starkest changes is the collapse of the Valley’s middle class. U.S. Census figures we analyzed show that in 1970, 60 percent of Valley families could afford an average house and college costs, far outpacing other urban areas recently evaluated for the same era by the Pew Research Center. Even before the recession hit in late 2007, the Valley had lost a huge swath of middle-class workers, with just 43 percent of families by 2006 earning $50,000 to $149,000 — the identical income group, corrected for inflation, that made up 60 percent in 1970.
You'll want to read this one.

Where Nations Go to Die

Mark Steyn

Plagiarism rules appear plagiarized : Southern Illinois draft looks oddly familiar, report says

USA Today reports:
Southern Illinois University drafted a new plagiarism policy in 2007 after facing scrutiny for several high profile copying controversies, but now the school has another awkward problem: It appears the policy plagiarizes part of a document created by Indiana University in 2005.

Southern Illinois is not alone in lifting the material. Several other groups have also decided to adopt parts of the policy, but they attributed it to Indiana University, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, which reported the story Wednesday.
No word yet from former Congressman Glenn Poshard on this one.

Fannie, Freddie Criticized on Rental Policy: Some Real-Estate Agents Say Mortgage Giants' Failure to Evict Tenants Could Slow Housing Rebound

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, currently the largest holders of U.S. home mortgages, are fast becoming big landlords. But some real estate agents say the firms' unwillingness to evict tenants from properties they inherit could slow the housing market's recovery.

Freddie Mac, bowing to pressure from affordable-housing advocates, said Friday it would let renters remain in homes lost to foreclosure. The mortgage-finance company will begin next month offering monthly leases to tenants, following the lead of Fannie Mae, which rolled out a similar policy earlier this month. Both companies said Friday they would halt tenant evictions in February.

Governors Press Congress To Pass Stimulus Bill

The Huffington Post

Daschle Delayed Revealing Tax Glitch

The Washington Post

Gilt-Edged Pensions

Forbes reports:
Don't let anyone tell you the American dream has faded. the truth is the U.S. is still minting lots of millionaires. Glenn Goss is one of them.

Goss retired four years ago, at 42, from a $90,000 job as a police commander in Delray Beach, Fla. He immediately began drawing a $65,000 annual pension that is guaranteed for life, is indexed to keep up with inflation and comes with full health benefits.
The special class.Your tax increase is their early retirement that you'll never have.Check out the smiling picture on beach.You'll definitely want to read this one about the coming class war.

A Governor’s Removal Spurs (the Latest) Calls for Political Reform in Illinois

The New York Times

Broadband link to U.S. jobs exaggerated

CNET

Bacon is 'danger' for kids

The Sun

Daschle chief of staff was lobbyist

Politico reports:
The new chief of staff to health reform czar Tom Daschle was a lobbyist through late last year and will have to recuse himself from issues he worked to influence, an administration aide said Thursday.

Daschle adviser Mark B. Childress is the second lobbyist to land in the top ranks of the Health and Human Services department and joins at least 12 others who have found jobs in the administration — despite the president’s repeated pledges during the campaign to stamp out their influence in Washington.

As a partner at the law firm Foley Hoag, Childress represented the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and PanFlu LLC, which sought assistance on mobile health technology issues. He will need to avoid making decisions that affect his former clients or the broader areas they represented, but Childress will not require a waiver because he did not lobby the health and human services department, the aide said.

Justice Department sends hoax e-mail to test workers

CNET

Financial Times Hits Blackstone Billionaire with Lawsuit Over Sharing $300 Subscription

The New York Post

Dem Congressman advocates lying about election date

Red State

Stiglitz Criticizes Bad Bank Plan as Swapping ‘Cash for Trash’

Bloomberg

Global Trend: Beating Us at Our Own Game


The Foundry

Only the Little People Pay Taxes

David Boaz

Our health system basically 'broke'

The Daily Telegraph

Rupert Murdoch Tells Obama Take on Teachers Unions

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
The billionaire media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch, has issued a combative and inflammatory challenge to the new Obama Administration: take on the American teaching unions to rescue America's failing education system.

Speaking at a high-powered panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Murdoch said the American public schooling system had failed its students and the greatest challenge to ensure US competitiveness in world markets was the investment in human capital.

The panel for the session, titled What Advice For The New Obama Administration, included David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Equity Group - the world's largest private equity firm, Ellen Kullman, chief executive of DuPont, and the chief of the New York Stock Exchange, Duncan Niederauer.

Asked about the controversial "buy US steel" plan that has infuriated the Australian Government, Mr Rubenstein also stunned the full conference hall by stating categorically that the protectionist clause in the Obama Administration's economic stimulus plan would not proceed.
The teachers unions have more power than Obama and or Rupert Murdoch.

A New Draft? Defense Department Establishes Civilian Expeditionary Workforce

The U.S. Defense Department reports:
The Defense Department is forming a civilian expeditionary workforce that will be trained and equipped to deploy overseas in support of military missions worldwide, according to department officials.

The intent of the program “is to maximize the use of the civilian workforce to allow military personnel to be fully utilized for operational requirements,” according to a Defense Department statement.

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed Defense Department Directive 1404.10, which outlines and provides guidance about the program, on Jan. 23.

Certain duty positions may be designated by the various Defense Department components to participate in the program. If a position is designated, the employee will be asked to sign an agreement that they will deploy if called upon to do so. If the employee does not wish to deploy, every effort will be made to reassign the employee to a nondeploying position.

The directive emphasizes, however, that volunteers be sought first for any expeditionary requirements, before requiring anyone to serve involuntarily or on short notice. Overseas duty tours shall not exceed two years.

Employees in deployable-designated positions will be trained, equipped and prepared to serve overseas in support of humanitarian, reconstruction and, if absolutely necessary, combat-support missions.

The program also is open to former and retired civilian employees who agree to return to federal service on a time-limited status to serve overseas or to fill in for people deployed overseas.

Program participants are eligible for military medical support while serving in their overseas duty station.

Kuwaiti bank reimburses Madoff losses

The Financial Times

Florida’s Tourism Addiction

New Geography

Womyn’s Lands:Lesbian Communities Struggle to Stay Vital to a New Generation

The New York Times

Despite layoffs, federal work force is growing

AP

Foreign companies’ anger over new Mass. tax law clouds Deval Patrick’s trip

The Boston Herald reports:
As Gov. Deval Patrick jets to the West Coast next week to lure firms and jobs to Massachusetts, a group representing big-name foreign companies is urging members to suspend plans to invest or expand here due to a controversial new tax law.

The move by the Organization for International Investment, which is upset with the state’s “combined reporting” tax aimed at raising $400 million, is the second time this month in which firms have threatened to cut or suspend activities in Massachusetts due to a new law.

Earlier this month, two life-science groups said they wouldn’t hold future conventions in Boston because of a recently passed bill cracking down on gifts to doctors from pharmaceutical firms.


Massachusetts would rather be less competitive at getting jobs than New Hampshire.The struggles of big,activist government.

California's 'Green Jobs' Experiment Isn't Going Well

The Wall Street Journal

Florida, Maryland, Utah Banks Shut as Financial Crisis Deepens

Bloomberg

Blagojevich's potential pension is $64,000

Overpaid Government Worker

DVD Plunge May Force Studios to Write Down Movies

Bloomberg

Uncle Sam to Pay for Middle Class Health Care

Reuters reports:
the bill allows states to receive federal reimbursement for adding more immigrant children and pregnant immigrant mothers, and drops the five-year waiting-period now required for legal immigrants to be eligible for the programs. This would enable immigrants to come to the United States and qualify for benefits on day one.
Socialism: step by step.

Schumer: We'll get to 60

Politico

Federal Grand Jury Subpoenas deals by Obama ex-boss and Daley pal Davis, plus Rezko, Cellini

The Chicago Sun-Times reports on Operation Board Games moving foreword:
A federal grand jury has subpoenaed records on dozens of low-income housing projects built over the last 30 years by indicted businessman William F. Cellini, convicted political fund-raiser Tony Rezko and City Hall insider Allison S. Davis.

The mountain of documents the grand jury wants from the Illinois Housing Development Authority includes two projects in which President Obama has acknowledged playing a minor role. Both of those projects involved Rezko, a former fund-raiser for Obama. One of them included Davis, who was once Obama's boss at a small law firm.

The grand jury is the same panel that's investigating alleged corruption under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

It issued the subpoena Sept. 29, 2008, newly released records show.

Four months later, IHDA officials are still gathering the documents, memos, e-mails and other records involving "more than dozens" of low-income housing projects funded by the state agency, said IHDA attorney Mary Kenney. "It's a very large production," said Kenney.
There's more:
Obama was a lawyer with the Davis firm. The president has said he did six hours of legal work in 1995 on one of the deals now under scrutiny by the grand jury, helping Rezko and his business partners -- Bishop Arthur Brazier and the Rev. Leon Finney -- turn an abandoned nursing home in Hyde Park into low-income apartments.

Six years later, Rezko's company stopped paying the mortgage. IHDA foreclosed on the property in 2001, as Rezko's low-income housing empire began to collapse, falling into physical and financial ruin.
You'll want to read the whole article,another great one from Chicago Sun-Times reporter Tim Novak.For more on Allison Davis.For how Obama helped his ex-boss Allison Davis get a $1 Million from charity.President Obama seems to have a cloud over his head.

Palestinians to get $20 million in US aid, but leadership in disarray

CS Monitor

Hidden Government Bonuses Enrich U.S. Contractors

Instapundit

Former Mondale Campaign Manager:'What is Wrong With Some Form of Socialism in Certain Areas?'

AOL NewsVia Club For Growth.

SEIU Rewrites History, Ignores Support for Blagojevich

Chicago Daily Observer

CNN Sells Obama T-Shirts, Propagandizing for The One

Newsbusters

Obama's half brother arrested on charge of marijuana possession

CNN

Lenders abruptly cut lines of credit: Fear excessive use amid hard times

The Boston Globe reports:
Banks and other lenders nationwide, seeking to reduce their debt exposure, are shutting off and limiting consumer credit card lines, even for many customers who carry low balances and pay on time.

As much as $2 trillion in consumer credit - nearly half of what is available - could be rescinded, according to an estimate by a prominent banking analyst. Just two years ago, institutions were handing out liberal borrowing lines to almost anyone. But now, drowning in debt and soured investments, lenders are seeking to stop consumers from running up big balances in hard times, bills they might not be able to pay.

The credit squeeze doesn't just limit spending potential; it can also damage cardholders' credit ratings by making them appear to be riskier borrowers. And in many cases, the institutions pulling back on credit took government bailout funds that were supposed to encourage them to lend more freely.

Nancy Pelosi's neo-eugenics

The American Thinker

Wall Street Senses Less Compensation in Coming Years as Government Regulates Wages

The New York Times

Burris studies in 'Senate school'

The Chicago Sun-Times

Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama supporters plan parties for economic bill

TPM

Mayor Daley Seeking Bailout Money for $15 Billion Airport Albatross

Pajamas Media

Daschle made $5m; health groups paid $220k

Politico

Report: Ted Nugent might run for NRA president

Hot Air

America's Most And Least Family-Friendly Cities

Forbes

Report: Ted Nugent might run for NRA president

Hot Air

'British jobs for British workers': Wildcat strikes spread over foreign workers shipped into the UK

The Daily Mail

OTS Says 5 Thrifts Improperly Recorded Capital Levels

Bloomberg

Lawmakers Campaign Against Gitmo Detainees in Their Backyard

Fox News

Is Tom Daschle a Bigger Tax Cheat Than Tim Geithner?

The National Review reports:
It seems Tom Daschle recently paid a little over $100,000 in back taxes and interest after failing to tell the IRS that he was receiving a free car and driver from a Wall Street friend for three years. If you’re keeping track, that’s a little over twice the amount Tim Geithner paid in back taxes and interest.
No word yet from Charles Rangel on this one.

Are Illinois Voters More Corrupt than You Think?

The Chicago Tribune has an editorial on what Illinois voters knew about troubled ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich:
By 2006, when Blagojevich sought re-election, his friend and fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko had been charged in a 24-count corruption indictment—including allegations that he had sought kickbacks for the governor's campaign fund and had used the governor's office to plant operatives in state positions of influence. Investigators were probing illicit state hiring, diversion of pension investments in exchange for political contributions, the awarding of state contracts, a mysterious $1,500 check made out to the governor's then 7-year-old daughter by a man whose wife had just landed a state job after failing a hiring exam . . . and on and on.

Yet the state's Democratic leaders rallied around Blagojevich. They looked askance as the scamster spent millions of dollars not just to smear his GOP opponent, Judy Baar Topinka, but to incessantly portray her as human trash.

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch pollster found that 78 percent of Illinois voters knew about Rezko's problems—and only 37 percent said they believed Blagojevich when he said he didn't know about Rezko's alleged illegal acts. Yet Blagojevich led Topinka 47 to 38 percent in that poll. How so? "They're basically calling [Blagojevich] a liar, but they're still going to vote for him," Research 2000 pollster Del Ali told the Post-Dispatch.

Do you remember all those honorable Democratic leaders denouncing Blagojevich's bold hypocrisy? Criticizing his perpetuation of business as usual in Illinois? Telling voters to think seriously about how they invest their votes?

Neither do we.
More than a few voters benefit from Illinois corruption, that's why someone as sleazy as Rod Blagojevich can get elected.Chicago voters elected a high ranking made member of The Chicago Mob to Chicago's City Council for 22 years.Currently,Chicago's Mayor warmly associates with a known domestic terrorist and Chicago voters don't mind.Stylish.

Markets drop mostly on bad GDP report

The Washington Times

L.A. Times to Cut 300 jobs

The Chicago Tribune

US set for ‘big bang’ financial clean-up

The Financial Times

Illinois Appellate Court strikes down Chicago's landmarks law

Crain's Chicago Business reports:
An Illinois appellate court has struck down the city of Chicago’s landmarks ordinance, saying it is unconstitutionally vague, putting in jeopardy the city’s protection of more than 250 buildings and 50 historic districts.

The ordinance, which was enacted in 1968, prohibits any demolition or alteration of properties that are designated landmarks by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, an eight-member body appointed by the mayor.

Corrupt Pennsylvania Judges Plead Guilty to Kickback Scheme to Send Minors to Jail

Instapundit reports:
The setting is Pennsylvania coal country, but it’s a story right out of Dickens’ grim 19th-century landscape: Two of Luzerne County’s most senior judges on Monday were accused of sending children to jail in return for kickbacks.

The judges, Luzerne County President Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., 58, and his predecessor, Senior Judge Michael T. Conahan, 56, will serve seven years in jail under a plea agreement.

They’re alleged to have pocketed $2.6 million in payments from juvenile detention center operators. . . .In asking the court to intervene in April, the law center cited hundreds of examples where teens accused of minor mischief were pressured to waive their right to lawyers, and then shipped to a detention center.

One teen was given a 90-day sentence for having parodied a school administrator online. Such unwarranted detentions left “both children and parents feeling bewildered, violated and traumatized,” center lawyers said.

“Very few people would stand up” to the Luzerne judges, according to the law center’s executive director, Robert G. Schwartz.
You'll want to read this one.

Next Up: A "Muni Bond Czar"?

The Bond Buyer reports on a new possible czar.

HDTV owners not watching in HD

CD Freaks reports:
Though the number of U.S. homes with HDTVs continues to rise, almost half of those homes aren't watching high definition programming, a new study found.

In-Stat reports that 17 million of the 39 million U.S. households with HDTV, or 43.6 percent, don't watch in HD. The finding is based on a recent survey of consumers and defines "HD programming" as paid high definition services from cable and satellite providers and free broadcasting over the air. Packaged media, such as Blu-ray disc and video games, are not included.
It's about costs.

Homeland Security's War on Porn Sites

Reason TV

Police help Drew Peterson's girlfriend move out

The Chicago Tribune

Maryland GOP wins election as RNC chair

Detroit Free Press

Obama's 'Bad-Bank' Plan Is Running Into Problems

CNBC

Entitlement Myths

Time

Hollywood Tax Credits? The Shows Are On The Road

New Geography reports:
If you were paralyzed with shock at the October $700 billion dollar Congressional bailout, you may have missed the inclusion of a $478 million-fine-print allotment to Hollywood for tax incentives. A month later, in the midst of California’s on-going fiscal crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed something called ‘the runaway production provision’, to utilize the bailout incentives to keep entertainment production in California and stimulate investment in motion pictures here. The proposal allows production companies to claim a $15 million deduction per California movie during the first year of filming. The credit increases to $20 million if the company films in an economically depressed area.
You'll want to read this one.

Senate Republicans May Use Filibuster to Block Stimulus

CNS News

Do vegetarians really have better sex?

Slate

Blago costs Jackson $100K in legal bills

The Hill

Democrats Move to Nationalize Health Care




The Wall Street Journal reports:
Under "stimulus," Medicaid is now on offer not to just poor Americans, but Americans who have lost their jobs. And not just Americans who have lost their jobs, but their spouses and their children. And not Americans who recently lost their jobs, but those who lost jobs, say, early last year. And not just Americans who already lost their jobs, but those who will lose their jobs up to 2011. The federal government is graciously footing the whole bill. The legislation also forbids states to apply income tests in most cases.

House Democrat Henry Waxman was so thrilled by this blowout, it was left to Republicans to remind him that the very banking millionaires he dragged to the Hill last year for a grilling would now qualify for government aid. His response? A GOP proposal to limit subsidies to Americans with incomes under $1 million was accepted during markup, but had disappeared by final passage. In this new health-care nirvana, even the rich are welcome. CBO estimates? An additional 1.2 million on the federal Medicaid dime in 2009.

The "stimulus" also hijacks Cobra, a program that lets the unemployed retain access to their former company health benefits -- usually for about 18 months. The new stimulus permits any former employee over the age of 55 to keep using Cobra right up until they qualify for Medicare at age 65. And here's the kicker: Whereas employees were previously responsible for paying their health premiums while on Cobra, now the feds will pay 65%. CBO estimates? Seven million Americans will have the feds mostly pay their insurance bills in 2009.

The bill even takes a whack at the private market. Under the guise of money for "health technology," the legislation makes the government the national coordinator for electronic health records, able to certify what platforms are acceptable. This is an attempt to squelch a growing private market that is competing to improve transparency and let consumers compare providers and costs. In liberal-world, only government should be publishing (and setting) health-care prices.
You'll want to read the whole article.

Lawsuit: Lawyer Sues Blago for Pressure to Approve Casino License for Chicago Mob Linked Rosemont

ABC TV Chicago reports:
"I was told that I would suffer dire consequences if I did not cooperate with the wishes of the administration," said Jeanette Tamayo, former state lawyer.

After the Blagojevich administration took charge six years ago, Tamayo was promoted from deputy chief legal counsel at the Illinois Gaming Board to interim administrator. At the time, gaming board members were deciding who would receive Illinois' tenth and final casino license.

"It was very clear that the governor's interest revolved around the casino and the Village of Rosemont," said Tamayo.

Gaming board investigators didn't want Rosemont which they considered mobbed up.

But according to a federal lawsuit filed by Jeanette Tamayo against Mr. Blagojevich and two of his top aides, Tamayo was threatened with retaliation and punishment if she didn't support a casino license for Rosemont.

"I received communications indicating what should happen with the gaming board and when I declined to cooperate with what I thought were unlawful or inappropriate requests, then my salary was not paid," said Tamayo.

Tamayo said "attempts to influence the outcome of the casino licensing investigation" were led by Chris Kelly who wasn't even a state employee. He was Blagojevich's chief fundraiser.

"He [Kelly] appeared at typically private meetings between the litigation counsel involved in the emerald casino cases and said 'I'm here. I represent the governor. I'm here to carry out his interests and this is what you are going to do'. He was not a lawyer. He was not on the state payroll. He just appeared as a representative of the governor and communicated or expressed that he was communicating the governor's wishes" said Tamayo.
You'll want to watch the video.This casino license was Blagojevich's prized possession to "auction" off,not Barack Obama's Senate seat.No word yet from the Rosemont casino "expert" Eric Holder.No word yet from John "No Nose" DiFronzo,a fan of a Rosemont casino.

When Interest Free Is Really, Really Expensive

The Wall Street Journal

Ex-Merrill Executives Got Burned by Madoff

The Wall Street Journal

What critics missed about treasury chief: Geithner presided over Wall Street collapse as regional Fed president

Jerome Corsi reports:
While the nomination of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner generated plenty of heat because of his failure to pay income taxes for five years, almost unnoticed amid the controversy is the fact that he presided over the failure of some of the largest banking institutions in the world – institutions he was charged with overseeing and regulating as head of the New York region of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Generational Theft Act Will Re-Start Trade Wars-- Expand Welfare State & Nationalize Healthcare

Gateway Pundit

Even left now laughing at Global Warming

Deroy Murdock

FBI: Burgeoning gangs behind up to 80% of U.S. crime

USA Today

Obama hosts labor leaders; will undo Bush orders

TPM

Friends, Until I Delete You

The New York Times

Chicago's Largest Employers

Crain's Chicago Business

Senate Passes Health Insurance Bill for Children




The Washington Post reports:
The Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation yesterday to provide health insurance to 11 million low-income children, a bill that would for the first time spend federal money to cover children and pregnant women who are legal immigrants.

The State Children's Health Insurance Program, which is aimed at families earning too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance, currently covers close to 7 million youngsters at a cost of $25 billion.

Lawmakers voted 66 to 32, largely along party lines, to renew the joint state-federal program and spend an additional $32.8 billion to expand coverage to 4 million more children. The expansion would be paid for by raising the cigarette tax from 39 cents a pack to $1.

The House approved similar legislation on Jan. 14, and President Obama is expected to sign a final version as early as next week.
Another giant step towards government run medical care with much higher taxes.

Wall Street Bonuses May Go Way of Dodo Amid Bailouts

Bloomberg

Battle lines drawn over Mass. alcohol taxes

The Boston Globe

Will Blago Cut a Deal With Fitzgerald?

John Kass of The Chicago Tribune reports:
Outside Blagojevich's home on Thursday evening, after he was booted, the ungovernator popped out to meet the press and rambled on with the same old tired lies about how he wasn't given a chance to prove his innocence, how he fought for the people and not for himself. But he cracked a few truths.

"I'd like to tell you some of the inside stuff, some of the things they were trying to do, and I'll talk about that later, if you're interested," Blagojevich said.

I know people who are interested.

"And as for some of those friends of mine in the state Senate, Dr. King said, that in the end, you remember not the words of your enemies, but the silence of your friends," Blagojevich said.

The Return of One-Party Rule

David Harsanyi

MC Bailout rap video

The Daily Bail has an informative video which deals with Bear Stearns,AIG,Fannie,Freddie,Hank Paulson,Lehman Goldman Sachs and other subjects.Enjoy!

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT FOURTH QUARTER 2008 Down 3.8%

Commerce Department reports:
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property
located in the United States -- decreased at an annual rate of 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008,
(that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to advance estimates released by the
Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP decreased 0.5 percent.

Total compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.5 percent from September to December 2008

BLS

U.S. Eyes Two-Part Bailout for Banks

The Wall Street Journal

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lawsuit argues Clinton ineligible for state post

AP

22 Most Useful Free Applications for your PC

VitaminCM

Former U.S. Congressman Cooley Charged With Bilking Investors

Bloomberg reports:
Former U.S. Congressman Wester Cooley was charged with helping bilk investors out of more than $10 million in a scam, federal prosecutors said.

Cooley, 76, of Palm Springs, California, is charged with taking more than $1.1 million in investor money in 2002, laundering the money to hide the fraud scheme and using the money for his own benefit, U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien said today in a statement. Cooley represented Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District in the 1990s.
Here's more on Wester Cooley.

Dallas Hires 3 Smoking Ban Enforcers, Total Cost:$165,000

LRC Blog

Blagojevich Removed from Office 59-0

The Chicago Sun-Times

Weather Channel Founder Blasts Gore Over Global Warming Campaign

Fox News

Businesses sick over Deval Patrick’s tax binge Candy, juice are targets

The Boston Herald

Legal System Struggles With How to React When Police Officers Lie

The Wall Street Journal

Stash of Bernie Madoff papers found tucked away in Queens warehouse

The New York Daily News

Rating agency follies: money market funds edition

The Atlantic

JPMorgan Exited Madoff-Linked Funds Last Fall

The New York Times

Fannie Mae IT contractor indicted for planting malware; Mortgage giant didn’t revoke server privileges

ZD Net reports:
A former Fannie Mae IT contractor has been indicted for planting a virus that would have nuked the mortgage agency’s computers, caused millions of dollars in damages and even shut down operations. How’d this happen? The contractor was terminated, but his server privileges were not.

Rajendrasinh Makwana was indicted on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Maryland (press reports, complaint and indictment PDFs). From early 2006 to Oct. 24, Makwana was a contractor for Fannie Mae. According to the indictment, Makwana allegedly targeted Fannie Mae’s network after he was terminated. The goal was to “cause damage to Fannie Mae’s computer network by entering malicious code that was intended to execute on January 31, 2009.” And given Fannie Mae–along with Freddie Mac–was nationalized in an effort to stabilize the mortgate market Makwana could caused a good bit of havoc.
The struggles of national socialism.

State-by-State Stimulus Spending

Club For Growth

Blagojevich Got Idea From Rahm Emanuel

Politico

Minnesota to expand nanny state to smoking drivers


Hot Air

Digital TV Beckons, but Many Miss the Call

The New York Times

The Interview Question You Should Always Ask

Harvard Business Review

Rod Blagojevich defends himself at his impeachment trial

The Chicago Tribune reports:
Alternately praising and upbraiding those who will decide his political fate, Gov. Rod Blagojevich today urged the Illinois Senate not to remove him from office, saying he has "done absolutely nothing wrong" and "never, ever intended to violate the law."

"There hasn't been a single piece of information that proves any wrongdoing," Blagojevich said to senators who were mostly stoic. "How can you throw a governor out of office with insufficient and incomplete evidence?"

The governor's dramatic, 47-minute closing argument unfolded as the Senate prepares to take a historic vote on whether to make Blagojevich the first Illinois governor dumped from office.

Accused mob assassin on trial in NYC

AP

Judge says Schwarzenegger can furlough workers

AP

Only Seven States In America Still Have A Majority Of Citizens That Consider Themselves Republican

Say Anything

Mayor Bloomberg Declares War On Salt




WCBS TV reports:
The city's plan is to get food manufacturers in the United States to agree to gradually start reducing salt content until it reaches a 50 percent cut in 10 years.

"Salt, when its high in the diet, increases the blood pressure and high blood pressure is a major factor for heart disease and stroke," said Dr. Sonia Angell of NYC's Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program.

This is just Mayor Bloomberg's latest health initiative, following on the heels of a smoking ban, a ban on trans fats and forcing restaurants to post the calorie contents.
Nanny.

Blagojevich Gives Closing Statement At Impeachment Trial

Turning the Economy Over to Politicians

David Boaz reports:
Even if regulators are as smart as Leonardo da Vinci and as incorruptible as Mother Teresa, they can never have as much knowledge as the decentralized, competitive market process, so planned economies and planned industries fall further and further behind free-market systems. But in reality, even if they're smart, they're not incorruptible. Political influence always comes into play. What we're seeing with the bailout funds will also happen with the stimulus money.

Government planners claim to be able to aggregate all the available information and make informed decisions for the whole society. But market economies clearly produce far more economic growth than planned economies. It isn't just the United States versus the Soviet Union or East Germany versus West Germany. Consider the customer service and technological advances you get from FedEx versus the post office, or Microsoft and Apple versus the DMV.

If you want money flowing to the companies with good lobbyists and powerful congressmen, then the stimulus bill may accomplish something. But we should all recognize that we're taking money out of the competitive, individually directed part of society and turning it over to the politically controlled sector. Politicians rather than consumers will pick winners and losers. That's not a recipe for recovery.
Theft by lobbying.

Miss. mayor, wife indicted in fraud case: Katrina funds allegedly misused for beach house

USA Today

California to Run Out of Cash by Next Week

Newsmax

Stimulus delights IBM

The San Francisco Chronicle

Vladimir Putin attacks Western rescue packages

The London Times reports:
Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, launched a swingeing attack on Western financial rescue packages yesterday, calling for a new world order to reverse the financial crisis.

On his first visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Putin called the crisis a “perfect storm” that had arisen from a world dominated by the US. He said that only a rebalancing of global power could cure the problem and that financial stimulus packages of the kind agreed by Washington and London could lead them down a path well-worn by Moscow while doing little to aid recovery.

“Interference of the State, the belief in the omnipotence of the State: that is a reaction to market failures,” Mr Putin said in his keynote address at the opening of the four-day meeting. “There is a temptation to expand direct interference of state in economy. In the Soviet Union that became an absolute. We paid a very dear price for that.”
Here is Vladimir Putin of KGB fame sounding like economist Murray Rothbard.

Pimco Says U.S. Must Buoy Asset Prices for Recovery

Bloomberg reports:
Policy makers must stop declines in asset prices to revive the U.S. economy in 2010 and curb rising unemployment, according to Bill Gross, co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., the world’s biggest bond fund.

“You can’t bail out everyone, yet economic recovery is not possible unless certain critical asset sectors are not only reliquefied but rejuvenated in price,” Gross wrote in his February investment outlook posted today on the firm’s Web site.
Bill Gross promotes his "position".

At $1,300, Super Bowl tickets are a bargain: Sure, it sounds expensive but it's at least $1,000 below a year ago

Marketwatch

Phoenix Store owner turns tabels on robbers...shoots both of them



Via Right Wing Video

'Mayor For Life' in Yet Another Tax Flap: Marion Barry didn't file tax return for 2007

NBC News

Ford Burns $5.5 Billion in Cash, Taps Revolving Loan

Bloomberg reports:
Ford Motor Co., insisting it can survive without federal loans, said it burned $5.5 billion in cash in the fourth quarter and will tap a revolving credit line after the worst annual performance in its 105-year history.

As storm rages over siblings' forced adoption by gay men, 5-year-old pleads: 'We want to stay with granny and grandad'

The Daily Mail

New home sales post 14.7 pct drop in December

The AP reports:
For 2008, builders sold 482,000 homes, the weakest results since 1982, when 412,000 homes were sold.

The median price of a new home sold in December was $206,500, a drop of 9.3 percent from a year ago.

Chicago Mob boss' tale offers peek at Chicago's 'Secrets'

John Kass of The Chicago Tribune reports on the sentencing of Chicago Mob Capo Frank Calabrese:
During the Family Secrets trial, the connection between Chicago politics and the Outfit came up often. In one bit of testimony in 2007, Mayor Richard Daley's friend Fred Bruno Barbara, the trucking boss and Rush Street investor, was identified by Nick Calabrese as a willing driver for mob boss Angelo "The Hook" LaPietra on bombing runs.

Daley got so angry when asked about Barbara that he turned purple and shrieked. The governor of Illinois could have called him "cuckoo."

For generations, the Outfit has formed the base of the iron triangle that runs things, and no understanding of politics in Illinois is complete without them.

Sentencing of other bosses continues on Monday. The dancing monkey show in Springfield will be over by then, but if the national media wants to understand Chicago, they should show up in federal court to see how the apes behave.
For more on Mayor Daley's good friend and campaign contributor Fred Bruno Barbara.For more on the relationship between Chicago Democrats and The Chicago Mob.For Mayor Daley's praise of a "high ranking made member" of The Chicago Mob.

For first time, U.S. professors call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel

Haaretz reports:
In the wake of Operation Cast Lead, a group of American university professors has for the first time launched a national campaign calling for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

While Israeli academics have grown used to such news from Great Britain, where anti-Israel groups several times attempted to establish academic boycotts, the formation of the United States movement marks the first time that a national academic boycott movement has come out of America. Israeli professors are not sure yet how big of an impact the one-week-old movement will have, but started discussing the significance of and possible counteractions against the campaign.
You couldn't confuse the American academic establishment's feelings about Che and Cuba with Israel.

Baltimore says Wells Fargo mortgages were predatory

The Baltimore Sun reports:
Attorneys for Baltimore City argued yesterday for the continuance of a potentially groundbreaking federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank, alleging that the mortgage provider has a pattern of predatory lending in black neighborhoods that leads to foreclosures, vacant properties, lost tax revenue and significant legal fees.

Wells Fargo filed a motion to dismiss the year-old lawsuit, claiming it is "legally deficient," in part because the city's complaint doesn't detail actual injury caused by the California company. A hearing on the motion was held in Baltimore U.S. District Court yesterday afternoon.

Saying that the city was so "thirsty for revenue" that it had to sue companies, Wells Fargo attorney Andrew Sandler blamed Baltimore for its foreclosure problems, particularly its tax lien system and high property taxes. There "is not a single assertion that's beyond mere speculation that Wells Fargo is the problem," Sandler said.

So,if Wells Fargo didn't lend to Baltimore neighborhoods: Baltimore would yell redlining! But,when Wells Fargo makes loans and things don't work out it's called "predatory" lending! Remember,this is the same city that elected Sheila Dixon who was indicted on
12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office
.

The Amazing Story Behind The Global Warming Scam

KUSI News

Pew: Almost half of Americans want to live somewhere else

USA Today

Transactions under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)

The Subsidy Scope has a database on who's getting TARP money.Via Club For Growth.Master rent-seekers Goldman Sachs has already made off with $10 Billion of other peoples' money.Just think how much more successful bank robber Willie Sutton could have been if he knew Hank Paulson.

Wisconsin's New Pork Czar

Heritage Foundation

'Buy American' Rider Sparks Trade Debate: Proviso Limits Steel, Iron From Abroad

The Washington Post

French strike nationwide over economic crisis

Reuters

Fannie Mae Foreclosure Sale at 50 Cents on $1 Shows Price Reset

Bloomberg

Tow probe didn't stop Chicago cop: FBI

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Even after he was taken off the streets during a corruption probe, Chicago Police Officer Jimmie L. Akins was still trying to figure out a way to extort bribes from tow truck companies, prosecutors say.

The probe involved secret FBI recordings of Akins, while still on duty, demanding bribes and taking payoffs to let tow truck operators remove vehicles from downtown accident scenes, according to charges unsealed Wednesday.

Akins, 41, is the fourth officer charged in a federal investigation that began in 2003. He allegedly charged tow truck operators $100 each time they hooked a vehicle in a wreck under his supervision.

One tow truck operator forged a crooked relationship with Akins after they met in a nightclub in 2004, according to the FBI affidavit supporting the charges against him. In 2006, Akins was secretly recorded shaking down $2,300 from the tow operator, who was cooperating with the FBI.

"We did one hundred a car -- I got you 38 cars," Akins allegedly said. "So from the 38 cars, out of those you gave me $1,500. So the change is $2,300."
No word yet from former Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt on this one.

Taxpayers still hate the bank bailout

CNN Money

New FICO Credit Score Debuts

The Wall Street Journal

Obama’s Open Records Pledge Tested Over Citigroup Guarantees

Bloomberg reports:
U.S. government guarantees on securities totaling $419 billion for bank bailouts provide an early test of President Barack Obama’s pledge to be open with taxpayers about what they have at risk in the credit crisis.

Bloomberg News asked the Treasury Department Jan. 26 to disclose what securities it backed over the past two months in a second round of actions to prop up Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. Department spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Jan. 27 she would seek an answer. None had been provided by the close of business yesterday.

As Congress debates an $875 billion economic stimulus bill, the guarantees represent a less publicized commitment. The public’s stake has grown along with assurances tying the Treasury to the fate of corporate loans and securities backed by home mortgages, car loans and credit card debt.

“Guarantees are only meaningful if there’s a real chance that someone will have to pay out for them,” said Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat and a member of the House Financial Services committee that is reviewing the bailouts. “The conception that guarantees cost nothing is a misconception.”
Socialism means secrecy is needed to help steal money.

Stimulus has plum for lawmaker's son: David Obey's Son the Master Lobbyist




The Washington Times reports:
A top House Republican is demanding an investigation into whether the more than $2 billion for national parks in the House stimulus package is proper in light of the fact that the chief lobbyist for the National Parks Conservation Association is the son of House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey.

NPCA is a major player in advocating for national parks funding, and its senior vice president for government affairs is Craig Obey, son of the Wisconsin Democrat who has long been his party's top Appropriations Committee member.

The money included in the stimulus bill that passed Mr. Obey's committee - $2.25 billion - was about equal to the National Park Service's total yearly budget, and would be a staggering increase and almost three times the $802 million that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved for park spending in its stimulus bill.

On Wednesday evening, the House passed the $819 billion stimulus bill by a 244-188 vote, though every Republican in the chamber and 11 Democrats voted against it.

Republicans said a bill of this size presented too many opportunities for mischief, pointing to the parks funding as one such case. Just before the vote, Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the top Republican on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called for an investigation into the parks money.
Rent seeking gone wild.More spending,means more money for David Obey's relatives.

U.S. Investigates Los Angeles Archdiocese Officials

The Wall Street Journal

Unions see better days ahead under Obama's leadership

CS Monitor

Only 5 percent of $819b plan would go toward infrastructure


The Boston Globe

His pension is safe if Blagojevich booted

AP

Real estate agents say home-price tide has turned, sellers are capitulating

The Chicago Tribune reports:
How low can they go?

More than a year after housing prices began to consistently fall in the Chicago area, it's still the unanswered question on the minds of home buyers, sellers, real estate agents and economists, as one report after another confirm a residential real estate market in dire shape.

There's no magic answer, but the general consensus is that the declines aren't over yet. On Tuesday, a key index showed that Chicago-area home values in November posted the biggest one-month decline on record. The latest drop in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price index has all but wiped out the local market's gains and returned prices to May 2004 levels.

The news came on the heels of a separate report Monday from the Illinois Association of Realtors that showed the median price of a Chicago-area home in December was down 17.3 percent from the same month in 2007.
An article well worth your time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Obama ethics question: New WH lawyer's firm sought bailout

McClatchy

U.S. Draft Law Would Ban Most Credit-Default Swaps

Bloomberg reports:
A draft bill circulated in Congress that would change how over-the-counter derivatives are regulated might ban most trading in the $29 trillion credit-default swap market.

House of Representatives Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota unveiled an updated draft bill today that would prohibit credit-default swap trading unless investors owned the underlying bonds. The draft, distributed by e-mail by the committee staff in Washington, would also force U.S. trading in the $684 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market to be processed by a clearinghouse.

“This would basically kill the single-name CDS market,” said Tim Backshall, chief strategist at Credit Derivatives Research LLC in Walnut Creek, California. “Given the small size of many issuers’ bonds outstanding, this would make it practically impossible for the CDS market to exist.”

U.S. regulators and politicians are stepping up pressure on banks to use clearinghouses and agree to increased oversight of the OTC markets to improve transparency amid the credit crisis. Bad bets on credit-default swaps led to the U.S. takeover of American International Group Inc. in September.
You'll want to read this one.

Philanthropists should do what they love, not surrender to identity politics

City Journal

Key House Panel Backs Measure Allowing Judges to Modify Mortgages

The Washington Post reports:
A measure allowing bankruptcy judges to modify the mortgages of troubled homeowners, including cutting the principal they owe, cleared a key congressional committee yesterday.

Under legislation passed by the House Judiciary Committee, a bankruptcy judge could change the terms of a loan by reducing its interest rate, extending its length, or lowering the principal or loan balance. These are known as "cramdown" provisions.

Why can't the Berkeley public library get their scanner machines serviced?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Berkeley's public library will face a showdown with the city's Peace and Justice Commission tonight over whether a service contract for the book check-out system violates the city's nuclear-free ordinance.

The dispute centers on a five-year, $63,000 contract the library wants to sign with 3M, an international technology company based in Minnesota, to service five scanner machines library patrons use to check out books.

But 3M, a company with operations in 60 countries, refused to sign Berkeley's nuclear-free disclosure form as required by the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act passed by voters in 1986.

As a result, the library's self-checkout machines have not been serviced in about six months. Library officials say 3M is the only company authorized by the manufacturer to fix the machines, which were purchased in 2004.

The library asked the Peace and Justice Commission for a waiver, but at its Jan. 5 meeting the commission voted 7-1, with two abstentions, to reject the request. The library is now appealing the decision to the City Council.
Could we make this up?

U.S. Moves to Bail Out Credit Union Network

The Wall Street Journal

Coming soon: Full-disk encryption for all computer drives

Computerworld

Want a green card? Pay $1M for stake in Orlando-area condo hotel

Orlando Sentinel

Global Taxes and Global TV Now on the Agenda

Cliff Kincaid

Obama runs into trouble with lobbying rules

The Hill

Liberal Victimhood: A Game You Can Play at Home

Ann Coulter

Boys With Unusual Names More Likely to Break Law

Live Science

Geithner receives large severance sum

Politico reports:
Newly minted Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s finances got a recent boost, thanks to a plump $435,000 severance payment from his old employer – the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

In addition, Geithner last year earned $411,000 as president of the New York Fed and got another $50,000 to $100,000 for unused vacation and comp time, according to a mandatory financial disclosure statement released by the Office of Government Ethics.

News of his nearly half-million dollar severance payment comes as Geithner embarks on helping President Barack Obama sell the $825 billion stimulus package, designed to help struggling Americans. Geithner came under fire this month from Republicans after he admitted improperly filling out his income taxes and making $42,000 in delinquent payments.
What better proof than this the Federal Reserve Bank of New York isn't "really" a governmental institution?

GOP Congressman Intros 'Rangel Rule,' Eliminating IRS Late Fees

Fox News reports:
Americans may be able to rest a little easier this April if Congressman John Carter, R-Texas gets his way.

Rep. Carter introduced a bill Wednesday to eliminate all IRS penalties and interest for paying taxes past due.

The legislation calls for the creation of what he calls the, "Rangel Rule," -- drawing attention to the recent legal issues of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., enabling citizens who fail to pay taxes on time to do so later with no additional fees.

Rangel, who writes the country's tax policies, acknowledged last fall that he failed to pay thousands in real estate taxes for rental income he earned from a property in the Dominican Republic.

As of September 2008 the Harlem Democrat reportedly paid back more than $10,000 in taxes but that did not include any IRS penalties.

Washington Post to Fold Stand-Alone Book World Section

The Washington Post

Chicago Mob boss Frank Calabrese sentenced to life

The Chicago Tribune reports:
A Chicago Outfit boss convicted in the landmark Family Secrets trial in 2007 was sentenced to life in prison in federal court downtown this afternoon.

A jury convicted Frank Calabrese Sr. and other Chicago mob bosses in a conspiracy stretching back to the 1960s, linking them to numerous gangland slayings.

Speaking to Calabrese during sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel told him, "Your crimes are unspeakable."
Here's more on Frank Calabrese and his brother-in-law union leader Ed Hanley:
EDWARD T. HANLEY (International President) - Hanley was born in Chicago on January 21, 1932. His associates include Joey Aiuppa, organized crime boss of Chicago, and organized crime figures John Delasandro and Rich Conboys. Hanley's brother-in-law is Frank James Calabrese, burglar and loanshark collector. Hanley was hand-picked for his current position by Joey Aiuppa. Hanley started his union career in 1957 as Business Agent for Bartenders Local 450 in Cicero, Illinois, and held a similar post in Local 278 of the Chicago Bartenders union, both of which are tightly controlled by Aiuppa. In 1962 Hanley became president of the Culinary Workers Chicago Joint Executive Board, which is also under the control of organized crime. He became International President in 1973.
Imagine that.

Postmaster General: Mail days may need to be cut

Breitbart reports:
Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday, in asking lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week.

If the change happens, that doesn't necessarily mean an end to Saturday mail delivery. Previous post office studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day when mail flow is light, such as Tuesday.

Faced with dwindling mail volume and rising costs, the post office was $2.8 billion in the red last year. "If current trends continue, we could experience a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year," Potter said in testimony for a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee.

Total mail volume was 202 billion items last year, over 9 billion less than the year before, the largest single volume drop in history.
Great moments in socialized mail delivery! Volume drops but they raise prices.Just a taste of socialized health care in this country.

Union Memberships Surge to Highest Rate in Decades

Newsmax reports:
Amid widening unemployment, home foreclosures and credit woes, union membership jumped to 12.4 percent of the work force last year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the ranks of organized labor rose by 428,000 workers — the biggest annual gain since the government began compiling such data in 1983. It's also the second year in a row that unions have added to their ranks. Membership rose by 311,000 members in 2007, to account for 12.1 percent of workers.

House passes economic stimulus, prodded by Obama

AP

20 money-savers that add up

CNN

The largest American charitable contributions of the year

Slate

Click fraud closed 2008 at all-time high

CNET

Big Brother Wants to Regulate Candy Cigarettes




Newsday reports:
Nassau Democrats passed a bill Monday to make candy retailers put candy and bubble-gum cigarettes behind the counter, much like real cigarettes.

Despite strong opposition from Republicans and a candy manufacturer, the 10-9 party-line vote came after an hour of contentious disagreement. "Should we encourage 9-year-olds by legitimizing the candy cigarettes like real ones?" asked Legis. John Ciotti (R-North Valley Stream).

But Roger Corbin (D-Westbury), who proposed the bill, said its intention was to make it more difficult for children to get candy cigarettes that could lead them to the real thing. "I've had children in school tell me they thought it would lead to real cigarettes, and there is a study that supports that," Corbin said.

But Bruce Blakeman, the legislature's former Republican presiding officer, called Corbin's study a "survey" that had no scientific, medical or psychiatric basis. "This is not what you were elected to do," said Blakeman, an attorney for Brooklyn-based World Confections Inc.
The Nanny State lives!

Time to stop betting against Netflix

San Jose Mercury News

What's in the Stimulus Package

The American Spectator and The Corner.

Blagojevich to give own closing argument

The Chicago Tribune

Winning 76 Million Dollars Playing Lawsuit Lottery

Right Wing News

UBS Slashes Its Bonus Pool for 2008 by More Than 80%

Bloomberg

California Teachers Support Sales Tax Hike

San Diego Union Tribune reports:
The governing body of the California Teachers Association voted over the weekend to support signature gathering for a ballot measure that would hike the California sales tax by a penny on the dollar with all the proceeds going to the state's schools.

The initiative, which the 340,000-strong teachers' union filed in December, is not part of any budget negotiations ongoing in the Capitol.

The sales tax would generate between $5 billion and $6 billion per year, the union estimates.

And what the proceeds go to? To help schools generally? Nope. To help a very specific bunch.

The measure would restrict use of the revenue to specific purposes that include class size reduction, funding art, music and vocation education courses, and salaries for teachers and other school employees.
Theft through majority voting.

FBI says Chicago cop took $100 per towed car

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
A Chicago Police scandal widened today with the unsealing of federal charges against an officer for allegedly taking bribes from tow-truck operators — at least the fourth cop ensnared in the corruption probe.

Officer Jimmie Akins is charged with attempted extortion for allegedly taking bribes in 2006 and 2007.

Akins accepted bribes to let tow-truck operators remove vehicles from accident scenes the officer was responsible for in the Near North District, according to an affidavit by FBI Agent Craig Henderson. Akins would use his cell phone to alert the tow truck operators about accidents, Henderson said.
No word yet from former Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt on this one.Also,no word yet from Mayor Daley on the "few" bad apples theory like in this quote:
"We have a very good police department,' Daley declared. 'You cannot say there are a few bad apples and write them off just like the media does. You have a few bad apples as well."

Geithner: Banks won't be nationalized

Politico

Political Scam

Walter Williams reports:
Politicians love it when the victims of their policies are invisible and the beneficiaries visible. Why? Because the beneficiaries know for whom to vote and the victims do not know who is to blame for their plight.

The College Scam

John Stossel

House defeats bill to delay digital TV transition

The AP reports:
Bucking the Obama administration, House Republicans on Wednesday defeated a bill to postpone the upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting to June 12 — leaving the current Feb. 17 deadline intact for now.

The 258-168 vote failed to clear the two-thirds threshold needed for passage. It's a victory for the GOP members, who warn that postponing the transition would confuse consumers.

U.S. Federal Open Market Committee Jan. 28 Statement: Text

Bloomberg

Ron Paul: The Biggest Bubble in the History of the World


The Lew Rockwell Show

Bailout firms have program recipients among their clients

USA Today reports:
All six of the law and accounting firms hired by the Treasury Department to help manage the $700 billion financial bailout have clients who received the federal money, contracting and regulatory records show.

The firms also have been involved in structuring complicated financial instruments tied to risky assets such as sub-prime mortgages, according to their websites and Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The collapse in value of those assets is one cause of the financial crisis.
As we move towards more "sharing" of the wealth, all sorts of these conflicts are bound to arise.Corruption on a grand scale is here.

Exclusive: CIA Station Chief in Algeria Accused of Rapes

ABC News

Geithner names Goldman Sachs ex-lobbyist as Treasury chief of staff

USA Today reports:
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner picked a former Goldman Sachs lobbyist as a top aide Tuesday, the same day he announced rules aimed at reducing the role of lobbyists in agency decisions.

Mark Patterson will serve as Geithner's chief of staff at Treasury, which oversees the government's $700 billion financial bailout program. Goldman Sachs received $10 billion of that money.
The Obama Administration likes lobbyist no matter what the President says.

The New Money Power

Frank Sieren reports on
How Peking forced its biggest debtor, the USA, to negotiate the financial crisis

Obama Stimulus Plan: Pay Davis-Bacon Act Wages

TPM reports on why statists are happy with the new stimulus plan.

California could get $10 billion stimulus school aid

The San Francisco Chronicle

Muslim cleric celebrates the Holocaust on Egyptian TV

Hot Air

Gaza Doctor Says Death Toll Inflated

Front Page Magazine

Controversial Bestseller Shakes the Foundation of the Israeli State

Alternet

L.A. teachers' union calls for boycott of testing

The L.A. Times

GM to end controversial 'jobs bank' Monday

AP

Panel OKs Holder as AG; sends to full Senate

USA Today

Blago Scandal:National media fail to follow the money

The Chicago Sun-Times

Tax Refunds Now on Hold in California

ABC News reports:
ABC News has learned that tax refunds are now on hold in California for the first time in state history, according to the state controller's office.

"Unfortunately, we have asked the California Franchise Tax Board not to send over tax refund claims beginning today because we will not be able to process them and have them out the door by Feb. 1 when a 30-day delay in tax refunds goes into effect," Hallye Jordan, spokeswoman to California State Controller John Chiang, tells ABC News.

During the 30-day delay, the controller's office estimates that a combined 2.74 million California individuals and businesses will have their tax refund delayed.
But,you can't delay paying your California taxes.You've got to love the hypocrisy of government.

Fed Computer Porn Probe

Fox News reports:
The ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee launched an inquiry Tuesday into reports that National Science Foundation officials are using government computers to view pornographic Web sites during working hours.

In a letter sent to the NSF's inspector general Tuesday, Chuck Grassley requested access to all documents related to the "numerous reports" and seven investigations into "Abuse of NSF IT Resources" -- which are referenced in the agency's 68-page semi-annual report.

In one instance, the report cites an NSF "senior official" who allegedly spent 20 percent of his work hours "viewing sexually explicit" Web sites -- amounting to a potential loss of $58,000 in employee compensation.
Many private companies have porn blocking capabilities on their networks,I guess the federal government doesn't?

Prominent Short Seller Sees The End of Warren Buffett

CNBC reports:
Just days after renewing his public criticism of Warren Buffett's current investment strategy and situation, the well-known short seller Doug Kass is out with a very bearish outlook for Berkshire Hathaway shares.

And this time he's not just making a short-term prediction as he did last year when he bet against Berkshire's stock for several months and then covered that bet at a profit.
Warren Buffett(Democrat-TARP).

Blago on Rachel Maddow

Democrats Among Stimulus Skeptics

The Washington Post

Get Paid for Social Networking and Promote Your Articles at the Same Time

The Freelance Home Writer

Defaults on Jumbo Mortgages Soar

The Wall Street Journal

Private School can expel lesbian students, California court rules

The L.A. Times reports:

Reporting from San Francisco -- After a Lutheran school expelled two 16-year-old girls for having "a bond of intimacy" that was "characteristic of a lesbian relationship," the girls sued, contending the school had violated a state anti-discrimination law.

In response to that suit, an appeals court decided this week that the private religious school was not a business and therefore did not have to comply with a state law that prohibits businesses from discriminating. A lawyer for the girls said Tuesday that he would ask the California Supreme Court to overturn the unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal.

The appeals court called its decision "narrow," but lawyers on both sides of the case said it would protect private religious schools across California from such discrimination suits.

The Good Fortune of Barack Obama

R.S. McCain reports:
recounting the sweetheart book deal Obama got as a 28-year-old Harvard Law student prompted me to create a humorous Facebook group, Authors Against Obama. Anyone who’s ever suffered through the hellacious process of publishing a book must surely be irritated to learn that (a) Obama had been sought out by a literary agent on the basis of a New York Times article about his becoming the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, (b) the agent got this beginner signed with Simon & Schuster, (c) Obama botched that deal, only to be signed to another contract with another major publisher for a reported $40,000 advance, and then (d) having been contracted to write a book about race relations, instead delivered a memoir.

A memoir! As I said at the time, no 28-year-old should be paid to write a memoir unless he led the league in RBIs and helped the Yankees win the World Series.
President Obama sure is special!

$335,000,000 FOR STD PREVENTION IN ECONOMIC STIMULUS BILL

PDF

A 40-Year Wish List : You won't believe what's in that stimulus bill




The Wall Street Journal reports:
"Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."

So said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November, and Democrats in Congress are certainly taking his advice to heart. The 647-page, $825 billion House legislation is being sold as an economic "stimulus," but now that Democrats have finally released the details we understand Rahm's point much better. This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.


We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.
Theft through majority voting.

$646,214 Per Government Job

The Wall Street Journal reports:
House Democrats propose to spend $550 billion of their two-year, $825 billion "stimulus bill" (the rest of it being tax cuts). Most of the spending is unlikely to be timely or temporary. Strangely, most of it is targeted toward sectors of the economy where unemployment is the lowest.

The December unemployment rate was only 2.3% for government workers and 3.8% in education and health. Unemployment rates in manufacturing and construction, by contrast, were 8.3% and 15.2% respectively. Yet 39% of the $550 billion in the bill would go to state and local governments. Another 17.3% would go to health and education -- sectors where relatively secure government jobs are also prevalent.
Rent seeking gone wild.

Worst U.S. housing market in 2008? California

Orange County Register

Could Silicon Valley become another Detroit?

The Washington Post reports:
Could Silicon Valley become another Detroit?

It's hard to imagine as you crawl along the traffic-choked lanes of Routes 101 and 280 between San Francisco and San Jose, past office parks and gleaming campuses still buzzing with energy despite the recent recession-related layoffs and cutbacks.

Yet some who work here see trouble on the horizon. These include top executives at Hewlett-Packard, who are ringing an alarm bell about what they see as a looming disaster, not just for HP, but for the entire U.S. tech industry. They say that unless we boost government spending on science, technology, engineering and math -- STEM, in industry jargon -- we will be unable to keep up with countries such as China and India.

At some point, companies such as Apple, Cisco, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle could be eclipsed by foreign rivals, just as Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have been.
This could be the opening entry of TARP money for tech industry.Rent seeking is out of control.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Madoff in Manhattan

Vanity Fair reports:
Bernard Madoff’s scam was global, but his center of gravity was Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Speaking to longtime residents of the tony enclave, including many who lost millions with Madoff, the author explores the thorny issues of class and religion that the scandal has brought to the surface.

FDIC May Run ‘Bad Bank’ in U.S. Plan to Remove Toxic Assets

Bloomberg reports:
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. may manage the so-called bad bank that the Obama administration is likely to set up as it tries to break the back of the credit crisis, two people familiar with the matter said.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair is pushing to run the operation, which would buy the toxic assets clogging banks’ balance sheets, one of the people said. Bair is arguing that her agency has expertise and could help finance the effort by issuing bonds guaranteed by the FDIC, a second person said. President Barack Obama’s team may announce the outlines of its financial-rescue plan as early as next week, an administration official said.

“It doesn’t make sense to give the authority to anybody else but the FDIC,” said John Douglas, a former general counsel at the agency who now is a partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, a law firm in Atlanta. “That’s what the FDIC does, it takes bad assets out of banks and manages and sells them.”

Matt Damon blasts 'repulsive' James Bond

The New Zealand Herald

A Legal Thriller: Michael Jackson Sued by John Landis

E

Economic stimulus? Feds want your medical records: Electronic database to include lawsuit, mental health, abortion, sexual details




WorldNetDaily reports:
A little-discussed provision in President Obama's economic stimulus plan would demand that every American submit to a government program for electronic medical records without a choice to opt out, and it has privacy advocates more than a little alarmed.

Patients might be alarmed, too, privacy advocates said, if they realized information such as documentation on abortions, mental health problems, impotence, being labeled as a non-compliant patient, lawsuits against doctors and sexual problems could be shared electronically with, perhaps, millions of people.

Sue A. Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom, said unless people have the right to decide "if and when" their health information is shared, there is no real privacy.
You can't have privacy when there's no separation of medicine from state.

Presence of medications found in river

UPI

Was High School Girl Possessed In Class?

10News.com

The United States Has Not Had A Balanced Budget Since 1957


Geldpress has this gem from July 20,2008 on the kinky deficit numbers the U.S. government puts out.

Blagojevich impeachment trial: audio, transcripts

The Chicago Tribune

Monster Says Hackers Stole Data From Users’ Accounts

Bloomberg reports:
Monster Worldwide Inc., the operator of the most-used job-search Web site, said hackers stole personal details from some of its 75 million users, including names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Monster hasn’t established which countries or how many users were affected, Michelle Brown, a spokeswoman in London, said via phone today. So far, the New York-based company knows that “our database was accessed and that contact and account data was taken, including user IDs, passwords, e-mail addresses, names, phone numbers and some basic demographic data,” she said.

New York City fears return to 1970s

Reuters

Mexican workers send less cash home from the US: For the first time in 13 years, the flow of remittances to Mexico has fallen

CS Monitor

ER doctors sue California, say emergency room system near collapse

The L.A Times reports:
Emergency room doctors filed a lawsuit today against the state, saying that California’s overstressed emergency healthcare system is on the verge of collapse unless they receive additional funding.

California has seen 85 hospital closures in the last decade. An additional 55 facilities have shut down emergency rooms. The state now ranks last in the country in access to emergency care and is last in emergency rooms per capita with only seven per 1 million people. The national average is 20 emergency rooms per 1 million people.



“Patients are suffering every day,” said Irv Edwards, one of the doctors represented in the lawsuit and president of Emergent Medical Associates, which staffs 12 emergency rooms in Southern California. “There are emergency rooms throughout the state where people, we believe, have died. Some have died in the lobby before they were seen. Some have died shortly after being placed in a bed after having waited in the lobby for hours. Are people truly suffering consequences? Absolutely.”

Emergency room physicians say they have been particularly hard hit by the state’s fiscal problems. Unlike other doctors, who can choose not to accept Medi-Cal patients, emergency rooms cannot deny treatment. They provide care for these patients but are reimbursed at rates they say are half the cost of the treatment.
Great moments in socialized medicine.Will banks we run better with more government involvement?