Saturday, February 28, 2009

5 stabbed in separate incidents outside NYC club

The AP reports:
Police have arrested a man in the stabbing of two people outside a New York City nightclub, but investigators are still looking for whoever stabbed three other people outside the same club about a half-hour later.

Police say all five victims are in stable condition after the stabbings early Saturday outside the Deco club in lower Manhattan.
No word yet on whether Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban knives.

Struggling States Look to Unorthodox Taxes

The New York Times

AIG near deal on new terms of U.S. bailout: source



Reuters reports:
AIG will also give the Federal Reserve ownership interests in American Life Insurance (Alico), which generates more than half of its revenue from Japan, and Hong Kong-based life insurance group American International Assurance Co (AIA) in return for reducing its debt, the source said.

AIG may also securitize some U.S. life insurance policies and give them to the government to further reduce its debt, the source said.

The new deal would come as the insurer struggles to sell assets amid the financial crisis and prepares to post the largest quarterly loss in corporate history.

AIG, once the world's largest insurer, is expected to post a roughly $60 billion fourth-quarter loss on Monday, produced in large part by write-downs on certain tax assets and commercial mortgage backed securities, the source said.

The loss works out to about $460,000 per minute.
The struggles of American fascism.

Illinois State Income tax hike on table

The Chicago Tribune

200 Plus NYC Tea Party Protests Obama as Socialist,Communist,Hitler,Etc.

Village Voice

Broadcaster Paul Harvey dies

Crain's Chicago Business

Roland Burris Makes $300K Between Salary and Pensions

CBS TV Chicago reports:


A guaranteed salary for life with raises every year—that's the impossible dream for most of us. But not for Illinois' elected officials.

A viewer e-mail to CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine asked what kind of Senate pension Roland Burris would get after his retirement. The answer: he won't get anything unless he runs and is elected for a full term.

But Sen. Burris, who formally retired 13 years ago, has been getting a big state pension ever since then.

Between his annual Senate salary of $174,000 and his $122,000 Illinois state pension, Burris is making nearly $300,000 a year.
Public service is a rather lucrative racket.

New York City's Retired Librarians Are Getting Some of the State's Biggest Pensions

The New York Post reports on some very special workers:
Being expert in the Dewey Decimal System really pays off.

Some of the richest pensions in the state are doled out to the loyal ex-librarians of the New York Public Library.

The seventh and ninth most generous pensions in New York, higher than every single state law-enforcement officer, belong to recently retired city librarians.

Indeed, for librarians willing to put in the time, the rewards are great - only retired doctors and attorneys have higher pensions from the state, which administers city library pensions.

After she retired as senior vice president for human resources from the NYPL in April 2008, Priscilla Southon earned the distinction of having the seventh highest pension in the state.

Her pension comes to $188,846 a year.
Your higher taxes are their lavish pensions.You'd have to have a 401K with $5 Million to get this kind of payout,with today's interest rates.You are a slave to majority voting theft.

Facebook users with hundreds of online 'friends' only have a handful of TRUE pals

Daily Mail

Louisiana Bank Says It Will Return Bailout Bucks

Pro Publica

Obama Puts the Economic Cart Before the Horse

Peter Schiff

Push to Expand Internet Access Leaves Behind the Urban Poor

The Washington Post

HSBC Said to Consider $17 Billion Rights Offering

Bloomberg

DOJ Nominee ‘Shocked’ by Her Own Words

The National Review

Two men get prison in A.C. gambling ring

Philadelphia Inquirer

Fannie Mae portfolio shrank in January, delinquencies jump

Reuters

Census Bureau is flooded with job applicants

The Detroit Free Press

Fed Officials Weigh ‘Exit Strategy’ for End of Crisis

Bloomberg

Enjoying New Muscularity, Liberals Rejoin Lobbying Fray

The New York Times

California paid for top officials' free rides

L.A. Times

$25 Billion to Promote Electric Cars Is Untouched

The New York Times reports:
The future of the American auto industry is getting off to a slow start.

The Energy Department has $25 billion to make loans to hasten the arrival of the next generation of automotive technology — electric-powered cars. But no money has been allocated so far, even though the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan program, established in 2007, has received applications from 75 companies, including start-ups as well as the three Detroit automakers.
Great moments in central planning.

Bankers to Obama: Stop trashing us

Politico reports:
The American Bankers Association has a message for the president: Stop talking trash about banks.

In his unofficial State of the Union address Tuesday night, Barack Obama said that it's "unpopular ... to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions."

In a letter to the White House, ABA CEO Edward Yingling says bankers across the country were "disappointed and concerned" with rhetoric like that.

"Mr. President, of the over 8,000 banks in this country, very few ever made a single subprime loan, and they did not engage in the highly leveraged activities that brought down Wall Street firms," Yingling said.
Proving that the government doesn't need to run the banking system.

AIG's woes persist despite aid

The Washington Times reports:
Nearly six months after American International Group Inc. got its first massive bailout from the government, it's still stumbling.

The big insurer keeps losing money and is unable to sell some of its biggest assets. Some Wall Street analysts have stopped tracking it. And it appears on the verge of getting another helping hand from Washington.

Like Citigroup Inc., which on Friday received another round of federal support, AIG is considered too big and too important to fail.

"If the government lets AIG fail, I think you are going to see an enormous sort of shock wave across all industries, because AIG had their finger in a lot of different areas," said Russell Walker, a risk management professor at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Great moments in central planning.

Banks Opting Out of the FDIC's Two Safety Programs

What are America's safest banks? Here's a list from The FDIC of those banks that have opted out of two guaranteed programs:
As required by the Final Rule implementing the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (the TLG Program), the FDIC is publishing on its Web site two lists – (1) a list of the eligible entities that have opted out of the Debt Guarantee Program and (2) a list of the eligible insured depository institutions that have opted out of the Transaction Account Guarantee Program.
You'll need excel to view the list on the spreadsheets.Anyway,it's well worth your time.Banks on these lists don't want the FDIC's "help".You can't say that about Citibank or Bank of America.

Education chief favors longer school year

CNN

Berkshire Hathaway Reports Worst Year Ever

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reported Saturday morning that 2008 was the legendary investor's worst year ever. It also reported a grim fourth quarter, though it eked out a slight gain.

Recession Hits Younger Workers Hard

The New York Times reports:
Nearly 2.2 million young people, ages 16 through 29, have already lost their jobs in this recession. This follows an already steep decline in employment opportunities for young workers over the past several years.
Are you sure those higher college tuition prices are worth it?? It appears not,for many people.

Nationwide Ammunition Shortage Hits U.S.

Pajamas Media

Mortgage interest tax deduction cut criticized

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
President Obama has grabbed what the real estate industry considers the third rail of tax reform: mortgage-interest deductions.

Among the many tax increases on the affluent laid out in his budget proposal Thursday was a plan to reduce the itemized deduction rate for families with incomes over $250,000 to 28 percent, down from 33 or 35 percent. That would amount to as much as to $70 less for every $1,000 in mortgage-interest deductions.

The National Association of Realtors quickly responded with a strongly worded letter to the president, arguing the change could "trigger yet another crisis in home values," by reducing spending, increasing foreclosures and expanding job losses. Mary Trupo, the Realtor group's public issues director, said the impact would be particularly widespread in expensive housing markets like the Bay Area, where a large portion of home buyers are well-to-do.
Just one more reason not to buy overpriced California real estate.Obama knows he can win California next time with or without these gentry liberals.

L.A. budget gap could hit $1 billion

The L.A. Times reports:
Los Angeles could face nearly a $1-billion shortfall by 2010 because of a mammoth bailout needed for the city's employee pension funds, which have seen investments tank in the spiraling national recession, according to a city budget report released Friday.
As you can see,the mission statement of L.A. city government is generous pensions for the "special class".

$2 billion for child care, Pelosi says

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the Swedish nanny state here in America.

Shopping malls go into cost-minimizing mode

The Chicago Tribune

Frank Rips CitiField Then Welcomes Bank Money

Sports by Brooks reports:
Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is one of the most powerful politicians in the country, serving as head of the House Financial Services Committee. And lately, he’s been one of the more outspoken critics of banks receiving bailout money paying big bucks for corporate sponsorships, complaining to the NEW YORK TIMES about Citigroup’s 20-year, $400 million stadium naming deal with the Mets that “marketing expenses should be for real marketing, not ego boosts, which is what I think naming rights are.”

Which is a reasonable position to take; I don’t know if I agree with his assessment that no one “has ever opened a bank account or decided to buy a CD because a bank’s name is on the stadium” - if that’s the case, why do any marketing at all - but it’s a valid point. Of course, when you read Darren Rovell’s column on CNBC today, you start to get a sense that his motives might not be so pure.

It seems Rep. Frank would rather banks stop frittering away money on sports sponsorships and put it where it can go to good use - into his own coiffers. That’s because the securities and investment industry has been Rep. Frank’s main contributor over the past two years, donating more than $230,000 to his campaign. And two of the five individual companies making the largest contributions - Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of America - are among the biggest players in sports marketing and sponsorships.
This is only the beginning,it's just a matter of time before Citibank's workforce votes just like postal workers or tenured professors at Harvard to "satisfy" Barney Frank.

Democrats Could Face an Internal Civil War as Gentry and Populist Factions Square Off

Joel Kotkin explains the coming war in the Democratic Party between two major factions in the Democratic Party:
Energy and the environment are potentially even more explosive issues. Gentry politicians tend to favor developing only alternative fuels and oppose expanding coal, oil or nuclear energy. Populists represent areas, such as the Great Lakes region, where manufacturing still plays a critical role and remains heavily dependent on coal-based electricity. They also tend to have ties to economies, such as in the Great Plains, Appalachia and the Intermountain West, where smacking down all new fossil-fuel production threatens lots of jobs – and where a single-minded focus on alternative fuels may drive up total energy costs on the farm, make life miserable again for truckers, and put American industrial firms at even greater disadvantage against foreign competitors.

In the coming years, Mr. Obama's "green agenda" may be a key fault line. Unlike his notably mainstream appointments in foreign policy and economics, he's tilted fairly far afield on the environment with individuals such as John Holdren, a longtime acolyte of the discredited neo-Malthusian Paul Ehrlich, and Carol Browner, who was Bill Clinton's hard-line EPA administrator.
You'll want to read the whole article.

AS MASS. LEGISLATURE GUARDS ITS OWN FUNDS, COMMUNITIES REEL

The Boston Globe

Friday, February 27, 2009

George Lucas to produce first post-Star Wars film

Telegraph

Democratic Socialist Leader Explains on Fox News

You Tube

What Americans make

USA Today

Porn bidding war over octomom

The Chicago Sun-Times

Rand's Atlas Shrugged Sales Skyrocket

The American Thinker reports:
Sales of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged have almost tripled over the first seven weeks of this year compared with sales for the same period in 2008. This continues a strong trend after bookstore sales reached an all-time annual high in 2008 of about 200,000 copies sold.

“Americans are flocking to buy and read Atlas Shrugged because there are uncanny similarities between the plot-line of the book and the events of our day” said Yaron Brook, Executive Director at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “Americans are rightfully concerned about the economic crisis and government’s increasing intervention and attempts to control the economy. Ayn Rand understood and identified the deeper causes of the crisis we’re facing, and she offered, in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ a principled and practical solution consistent with American values."
Some people don't like socialism.

Obama's Chief Vetter Greg Craig Has Tax Problem

Gawker reports:
White House general counsel Gregory Craig has seized control of Obama's vetting process after a series of nominees with unpaid taxes. But his wife's business may also have avoided taxes. Who vets the vetter?

Derry Noyes, Craig's wife, runs Noyes Graphics, a design business, out of the couple's home in northwest Washington. Between Craig's work and hers, they've been on Washington's A-list for a decade.
Via Instapundit.

Energy-state lawmakers vow to fight Obama oil tax hikes

The Houston Chronicle

Obama's first budget: Key department figures

CNN

My Muslim President Obama

Asma Gull Hasan in Forbes:
I know President Obama is not Muslim, but I am tempted nevertheless to think that he is, as are most Muslims I know. In a very unscientific oral poll, ranging from family members to Muslim acquaintances, many of us feel, just as African-Americans did for the non-black but culturally leaning African-American President Bill Clinton, that we have our first American Muslim president in Barack Hussein Obama.

Second Amendment Under Fire: Gun Ownership in the Obama Era

Pajamas Media

14-year Commercial Real Estate Supply In China

L.A. Times

Dobson resigns as chairman of Focus on the Family

The Washington Post

Citigroup Sets Stock Trading Volume Record

Bloomberg

Court: Virginia man, not the state of Maine, owns 1776 copy of Declaration of Independence

Newsday

Ron Paul "Probably" Won't Make Another White House Bid

CBS News

Senate bans Fairness Doctrine revival 87-11

Ars Technica

Barry Bonds' perjury trial delayed indefinitely

The San Francisco Chronicle

Obama administration may rescind 'conscience rule'

The Chicago Tribune

Top Dems Planning Amped Up Efforts To Elevate Rush As GOP’s Public Face

The Plum Line

California Unemployment Rate Jumps To 10.1 Percent

CBS reports:
California's unemployment rate jumped to 10.1 percent in January, the state's first double-digit jobless reading in a quarter-century.

The jobless rate announced Friday by the state Employment Development Department represents an increase from the revised figure of 8.7 percent in December.

A year ago, California's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent. Since then, steep declines in the construction, finance and retail industries have put thousands out of work.
Yet,the morons that run California just raised taxes!

Northern Trust seeks to repay TARP money

Crain's Chicago Business reports:
Northern Trust Corp., stung by a flap over its sponsorship last weekend of a PGA golf tournament in California, is moving to become the first U.S. bank to repay the bailout funds it received.

In a letter Friday to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, Northern CEO Frederick H. (Rick) Waddell said, in effect, that the bank doesn’t need the $1.6 billion it sold in preferred shares to the federal government last fall.
This is the very same Northern Trust where Barack Obama got his mortgage.

Obama’s USA Service Website Hosts Gun “Buy Back” Event

Prison Planet

Judge Milton Shadur sets 'Fast Eddie Vrdolyak' free

Chicago critic Andy Martin reports:
I first encountered federal judge 'Shady Milt' Shadur when he was still a lawyer in private practice.

I was a young law student who assisted newspaper reporters on an investigation into two corrupt judges on the Illinois Supreme Court. Even before my diploma was issued the word out on the street: the Illinois Supreme Court was going to destroy me as an example to other potential corruption-fighters who might expose judicial corruption. The Supreme Court judges launched a vicious and cruel campaign of character assassination against me, because I was too honest, not because I was dishonest.

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed 'Shady Milt' to crucify me with a laundry list of false accusations and impertinent investigations. Among other matters, Shadur and his associates in crime were obsessed with my love life, and my sources in Viet-Nam. Even then Shady Milt was doing the biding of crooks.

John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago

Mother Jones reports:
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton believes the security of the United States is at dire risk under the Obama administration. And before a gathering of conservatives in Washington on Thursday morning, he suggested, as something of a joke, that President Barack Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.
I guess John Bolton isn't a big fan of Chicago.

When landlords default on mortgages, renters need to learn their rights

Marketwatch

Feds: Mass. court clerk offered hooker favors for sex

The Boston Herald reports:
A Chelsea court clerk has been accused of trading sexual favors with a prostitute who allegedly gave him oral sex in the city courthouse in exchange for his efforts to get her case dropped, according to a federal affadavit.

James Burke, 41, was charged today in U.S. Federal Court in Boston with one count of attempted deprivation of rights under the color of law and one count of deprivation of rights under the color of law, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He made his initial appearance this morning in federal court. He was released on a $10,000 personal surety bond, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The prostitute, identified in court papers as the “cooperating witness,” was in Chelsea District Court in December 2008 with her attorney when she saw Burke, and told her lawyer that she had given him oral sex in the courthouse in 2005.

A subsequent FBI investigation revealed that Burke is alleged to have solicited oral sex in February 2005, and again in December last year from the prostitute he met in court in exchange for working his connections to get her case dropped, according to a seven-page affadavit.
Great moments in Blue America.

Obama's Massive Budget:Bigger than Clinton's 1996 to 1999 Budgets Put Together

Portfolio reports:
It's pretty much impossible to get one's head around the sheer enormity of the numbers in Barack Obama's first budget. But it's important to try, and one anonymous commenter has a very good point: the entire federal budget, as submitted by President Clinton in 1996 through 1999, was smaller than the budget deficit that Obama is proposing for next year.

Obama's total budget is $3.6 trillion, which works out at $34,000 per household; median household income is about $50,000. Which basically means that for every dollar that a US household earns, the US government plans to spend 68 cents next year.
Obama,the big government man.

Illinois State board wants fee to appeal property taxes

Crain's Chicago Business reports:
So you think your property taxes are too high and want to appeal? Doing so will cost you at least 25 bucks if a state agency that handles appeals gets its way.

In a formal legal notice filed Friday, the state Property Tax Appeals Board, known as PTAB, said it intends to begin charging from $25 for fairly small appeals filed by homeowners to as much as $450 for multi-million-dollar cases filed by factory and office-tower owners.

"This is not something we want to do, but our back is up against the wall," said PTAB Executive Director Louis Apostol. "We've been operating with a limited budget and staff, but the number of appeals is increasing precipitously."
No word yet from Alderman Burke on this one.

The 15 Strangest College Courses In America

Online College Blog has some strange college courses.It's good to know federal taxpayers are subsidizing this fluff.

Who's Getting TARP Money

Pro Publica has the information.Check out the table at the bottom to see whether your financial institution is a parasite.

Terminated: Why the Women of Wall Street Are Disappearing

Forbes

Charity tax limits upset many

The Washington Times reports:
Democrats and Republicans poured cold water on President Obama's budget plan to cut down on wealthy taxpayers' charitable giving tax deductions, the second of his ambitious cost-savings plans to earn lawmakers' scorn, and underscoring the legislative minefield he is entering.

Porn in the USA: Conservatives are biggest consumers

New Scientist reports:
Americans may paint themselves in increasingly bright shades of red and blue, but new research finds one thing that varies little across the nation: the liking for online pornography.

A new nationwide study (pdf) of anonymised credit-card receipts from a major online adult entertainment provider finds little variation in consumption between states.

"When it comes to adult entertainment, it seems people are more the same than different," says Benjamin Edelman at Harvard Business School.

However, there are some trends to be seen in the data. Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.
Great moments in Red America.

Why Homeownership Is Falling – Despite Lower Prices: Look to the Job Market

New Geography

Only One Stock Mutual Fund Manager Made Money in 2008

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Thomas H. Forester somehow managed to be the only stock mutual fund manager among 8,200 peer diversified U.S. stock offerings to post a gain for 2008.

Those funds had a 39% average loss, while his Forester Value fund ended the year with a small 0.4% gain.

Mr. Forester, 50 years old, is an unlikely hero. He has toiled in obscurity for most of his 20-year investment career.
An interesting article.

Europe's Crisis: Much Bigger Than Subprime, Worse Than U.S.

Tech Ticker

Califronia Dreaming is Becoming a (Nightmare) Reality

Chicago Daily Observer

Class-action suit filed in corrupt judges case

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
Two Luzerne County judges used youths as "commodities that could be traded for cash," attorneys for more than 70 juveniles and their parents alleged in a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court in Scranton.

In failing to disclose $2.6 million in alleged kickbacks from two juvenile centers, Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan violated the right of every juvenile defendant to a fair and impartial trial, says the suit, which seeks class-action status. Thousands of county youths were sentenced to the facilities.

51% Say Tax Hike On Those Earning Over $250,000 Is A Good Move

Rasmussen

Statement from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on Vrdolyak Sentence

Chicago Public Radio

Queens tenants at condo had to pay fees and fines to Gambino Mob thugs, feds say

The New York Daily News reports:
Gambino gangsters controlled a condo board in Queens and extorted tens of thousands of dollars in bogus and inflated fees from owners when they tried to move, the feds say.

Testifying at the trial of reputed hit man Charles Carneglia, former residents of the Greentree Condominiums in Ozone Park said they were slammed with steep last-minute charges for "failure to comply with condo bylaws."

Federal prosecutors allege Carneglia conspired with several mob associates on the board - including local Realtor Joseph Panzarella Sr. and former president Robert Porto - to gouge the residents.

The Greentree development features attached and unattached townhouses which range in price from about $250,000 to more than $400,000.

Right before he was due to close on the sale of his two-bedroom duplex in 2001, UPS driver Joseph Mauro said he was blind-sided with a $47,517.47 bill from the board for fees and fines he supposedly owed.
Great moments in Blue America.

Panel: Raise Gas Tax, Charge Drivers by the Mile

Fox News reports:
Raise federal gasoline taxes to help pay for road projects?

Not during a recession, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said.

Then how about moving toward a system that finances highway construction by charging motorists by the mile?

When LaHood suggested last week that be considered among other potential financing schemes, he got bushwhacked by the White House. "It is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration," the president's press secretary said.

With the administration's position seemingly clear, a special commission created by Congress is nonetheless endorsing those two ideas.

Its report Thursday warns that if government fails to find a new way to raise money, "we will suffer grim consequences in the future: unimaginable levels of congestion, reduced safety, costlier goods and services, an eroded quality of life, and diminished economic competitiveness as a nation."
The Obama administration wants you to rely on a government public transportation worker to take you to work:that transportation worker will be part of a union that contributes money to politicians who want to overpay government workers.It's just a Chicago style scam.

Ex-NPR Editor In Child Porn Bust

The Smoking Gun reports:
For the second time this month, a Washington, D.C. media figure has been charged with possession of child pornography. David Malakoff, who until recently worked as National Public Radio's science editor and an on-air correspondent, was named in a felony criminal information filed Tuesday. The information, a copy of which you'll find below, offers few details about the 46-year-old Malakoff's alleged criminal activity, except to note that he possessed the illicit material between April and June 2008 (Malakoff resigned from his job last June, according to NPR spokesperson Anna Christopher).
Great moments in state run media.

Homeowners Open Fire With AK-47 On Thieves

WSBTV

Treasury and the Citi: Deal announced

Politico

Tough times boost push for taxes on porn, strip clubs

USA Today

The Coming Blue State Collapse

Pajamas Media reports:
Here’s a quick and dirty guess: Upper-middle-class families in blue states–those President Obama calls “the rich”–will soon be paying 20% more a year in state and federal taxes. If you pay $100,000 off
of a $300,000 income now, look for $120,000 in a couple of years.

Federal income taxes are going up, and deductions are going down. That much we know. What we don’t know yet–but I would bet money on it–is if the 7.65% Social Security and Medicare tax ceiling will be
lifted from $102,000 to $150,000 or so.

Taxes are headed up at the state and local level too. Residents in blue states like California and New York will be socked hardest.

Take California. Its top income tax rate is the nation’s highest at 9.3%. More appalling, it kicks in at only $47,056 a year. Make too much gold in the Golden State–a million a year–and you are pinched by a 1% surcharge. California also has a 7.25% sales tax, but that’s just a base.

Capital gains get no preference. They are taxed like ordinary income.

For all that, California spends more than it takes. The state is on the verge of bankruptcy and just passed a budget with $12 billion of new taxes.

The trend of higher taxes has not escaped California taxpayers. For each of the last five years, California has led the nation in the outflow of its residents to other states. Since 2004, California has lost about a million and a half people from taxpaying households. At the same time, the state has taken in two million people, mostly non- or minimal taxpayers who are newborns or immigrants, legal and illegal.
How ironic,the Blue States voted for Obama who's going to make them even more uncompetitive.

Lead law puts thrift stores in lurch

The Boston Globe reports:
A federal law designed to protect children from lead products has caused several Masschusetts thrift stores to stop selling kids' clothing, shutting off an important shopping alternative for families struggling in this recession.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which took effect Feb. 10, prohibits all shops from selling children's products that contain too much lead or potentially harmful chemicals. Congress passed the law in response to a series of recalls of toys and jewelry that had high lead content and were linked to several child deaths and illnesses. But the legislation applies to all children's products, including clothes, which could contain lead in metal zippers, buttons, or painted fabrics.

The sweeping nature of the law has been devastating for many resale shops nationwide, such as those run by Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries. Unlike traditional merchants, thrift stores do not deal directly with manufacturers, which can provide proof that products meet safety standards. The regulation also applies retroactively to goods already in stores, and many thrift stores do not have funds to conduct the tests themselves.
The compassion of paying higher prices because of government restrictions.

Pepsi and IBM are Now More Creditworthy than the U.S. Government


George Washington's Blog reports:
As the nearby chart indicates, the price of insuring Treasury debt against default now costs more than the price of insuring the debt of almost any AA or A+ rated company in the country. In other words, the Treasury is not quite as AAA as it should be, according to the buyers of credit default swaps.
The God of majority voting theft is beginning to fail.Something to keep in mind as more politicians promise other peoples' money to other people.

President's Inner Circle Has Earmarks in Omnibus

CQ Politics reports:
Funny how items show up in spending bills without any notice -- like an earmark for a president who promised not to seek any.

President Obama, who took a no-earmark pledge on the campaign trail, is listed as one of dozens of cosponsors of a $7.7 million set-aside in the fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill passed by the House on Wednesday.
Change you can believe in!

19 Georgia lawmakers behind on taxes, state report says

Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:
Nineteen members of the state Legislature have failed to pay state and federal income taxes, some of them dating back to 2002, according to a Georgia Department of Revenue report given recently to legislative leaders.
Are these future Obama appointees?

Senator Judd Gregg: The US Is Facing Bankruptcy (Video)

Gateway Pundit

Economy shrinks at worst pace in 25 years

AP

How He Did It: A Diagrammatic Analysis of the Obama Campaign


Instapundit

Commission recommends federal gas tax increase

L.A. Times

And Off We Go To Democracy European-Style


IBD

Apartment Buyers Abandoning 6-Figure Deposits

The New York Times reports:
The real estate market in Manhattan has become so unnerving to buyers that some are forfeiting six-figure deposits rather than close on deals they have made.

At 304 Spring Street, a sleek condominium building in SoHo with stunning Hudson River views, the buyer for the duplex penthouse recently decided he would not go through with the deal and walked away from a $780,000 deposit.

At 1120 Park Avenue, a classic prewar co-op filled with multimillion-dollar apartments, it appears that a buyer forfeited a deposit of as much as $1.1 million.

Real estate agents representing buyers of at least three other multimillion-dollar properties also report clients who knowingly left deposits of more than $1 million or hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.
Great moments in Blue America.

The Obama Revolution: Paid for by the people


The Wall Street Journal

Anti-lead law causes small-business devastation

SF Examiner reports:
Although horror stories keep pouring in about severe economic problems caused by an anti-lead law that went into effect Feb. 10, Congress continues to ignore the cries for relief. The law, called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, provides fines starting at $100,000 per violation, plus possible jail time, for anybody convicted of selling lead-containing items intended for use by children aged 12 and under.
and
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., the law’s sponsor, says it allows the CPSC to make common-sense exceptions to anti-lead requirements. But even the CPSC itself has told trade groups that its hands are tied by the difficult standard for exclusions. So businesses like A Kids Dream consignment shop in Conway, Ark., had to close its doors because of the law. Finally, charities nationwide will no longer be able to sell old items in fundraisers they use to finance social services. Salvation Army spokeswoman Melissa Temme, for instance, said some 16,000 fewer people in substance-abuse rehabilitation programs will be served by her organization as a result of the law. This law is an utter disaster. Congress ought to fix it, immediately.
Remember,only Ron Paul voted against this law.

Class warfare returns to Washington

Politico

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama’s Budget Plan Sweeps Away Reagan Ideas

The New York Times reports:
The budget that President Obama proposed on Thursday is nothing less than an attempt to end a three-decade era of economic policy dominated by the ideas of Ronald Reagan and his supporters.

The Obama budget — a bold, even radical departure from recent history, wrapped in bureaucratic formality and statistical tables — would sharply raise taxes on the rich, beyond where Bill Clinton had raised them. It would reduce taxes for everyone else, to a lower point than they were under either Mr. Clinton or George W. Bush. And it would lay the groundwork for sweeping changes in health care and education, among other areas.
Great moments in American style socialism.

Obama Seeks to Kill Hedge Fund Break

Huffington Post

Harvard: the Inside Story of Its Finance Meltdown

Forbes reports:
Stocks were tumbling last fall as the new school year began, but at Harvard University it was as if the boom had never ended. Workers were digging across the river from Harvard's Cambridge, Mass. home, the start of a grand expansion that was to eventually almost double the size of the university. Budgets were plump, and students from middle-class families were getting big tuition breaks under an ambitious new financial aid program. The lavish spending was made possible by the earnings from Harvard's $36.9 billion endowment, the world's largest. That pot was supposed to be good for $1.4 billion in annual earnings.

Behind the scenes, though, a different story was unfolding. In a glassed-walled conference room overlooking downtown Boston, traders at Harvard Management Co., the subsidiary that invests the school's money, were fielding questions from their new boss, Jane Mendillo, about exotic financial instruments that were suddenly backfiring. Harvard had derivatives that gave it exposure to $7.2 billion in commodities and foreign stocks. With prices of both crashing, the university was getting margin calls--demands from counterparties (among them, jpmorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs) for more collateral. Another bunch of derivatives burdened Harvard with a multibillion-dollar bet on interest rates that went against it.

It would have been nice to have cash on hand to meet margin calls, but Harvard had next to none. That was because these supremely self-confident money managers were more than fully invested. As of June 30 they had, thanks to the fancy derivatives, a 105% long position in risky assets. The effect is akin to putting every last dollar of your portfolio to work and then borrowing another 5% to buy more stocks.

Eighty Seven Percent of Housing Value Loss* in Just Four States

Reason

Next Bailout:The Liberal Media?

The Foundry

Bank failures put pressure on FDIC

The Financial Times

Not Everyone is Playing the TARP Game

New Geography

College students warned about Mexico travel

MSNBC

JPMorgan to cut 12,000 jobs in WaMu deal

L.A. Daily News

Man, 28, Dies After 'Guzzling' Viagra During 12-Hour Romp

Fox News reports:
A Russian man died after guzzling a bottle of Viagra to keep him going for a 12-hour orgy with two female pals.

The women had bet mechanic Sergey Tuganov $4,300 that he wouldn’t be able to follow through with the half-day sex marathon.

But minutes after winning the bet, the 28-year-old died of a heart attack, Moscow police said.

Ron Paul "The Federal Reserve Is the Culprit"

You Tube

Budget Makes Room for Some Obscure Pet Programs

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Inside a $3.6 trillion budget released Thursday dominated by marquee projects like health care and education, President Barack Obama still found room to ask Congress to fund smaller pet programs as well.

Having sought the presidency on a call for volunteerism, Mr. Obama is seeking an unspecified amount of money to set up a new "Social Innovation Fund" to finance not-for-profit groups active in health, education, the environment and other areas.

"It's a venture-capital fund to invest in the next generation of great ideas, and the next generation of social entrepreneurs," said Alan Solomont, an Obama campaign activist who is chairman of the federal Corporation for National Community Service.

Mr. Obama asked Congress for a 30% funding increase -- to $1.13 billion -- for the corporation for the year starting Oct. 1.
The next generation of rent seekers want to steal you blind through majority voting theft in Congress.

The Slavery of Excessive Freedom

Reason reports:
After a rigorous content analysis (PDF) spanning more than half a century of articles in National Review, The Weekly Standard, The American Enterprise, and The American Spectator, George Mason University economist Daniel Klein and graduate student Jason Briggeman conclude, basically, that conservatives are not libertarians. On issues related to drugs, gambling, and sex, Klein and Briggeman find, these magazines have been more likely to support the status quo or increased restrictions on freedom than to advocate liberalization. The one partial exception has been National Review, especially in the area of drug policy, where pro-liberalization articles outnumbered those favoring current policy or calling for greater government intervention by a ratio of more than 2 to 1 from 1955 through 2007. But by and large, say Klein and Briggeman, the leading conservative magazines are not "real champions of liberty" because they "more often than not fail to oppose government intrusion into America's bedrooms, gambling places, and drug activities."
The government that's big enough to give you free medical care is going to be in your bedroom.

Federal regulators ignored problems at IndyMac, report finds

L.A. Times

House Faces Tuesday Vote on Bankruptcy Cramdowns

Housing Wire

Jewish Leaders Blast Clinton Over Israel Criticism

WCBS TV

Fannie Mae seeks $15.2B in US aid after 4Q loss

AP

Former Gotti crony John Alite claims affair with Victoria Gotti, Junior Gotti's sister

New York Daily News

Fitzgerald may appeal no-prison for Vrdolyak

Crain's Chicago Business

Former Chicago Alderman Gets Probation in Operation Board Games Sentencing

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Former Ald. Edward Vrdolyak (10th) was sentenced today to five years probation for fraud after a federal judge called prosecutors "greedy" for seeking 41 months in prison.

Vrdolyak has pleaded guilty to entering into a crooked deal involving the sale of a $15 million Gold Coast building belonging to the former Chicago Medical School, now the Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine and Science.

Vrdolyak and Stuart Levine, a board member for the school, steered the sale to Smithfield Properties and agreed to split a $1.5 million finder's fee that Vrdolyak negotiated.

But U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur said he would not consider the argument by prosecutors that the fee constituted a loss for the school.
Not much of a deterrent here.

Obama's Budget: Almost $1 Trillion in New Taxes Over Next 10 yrs, Starting 2011

ABC News

Obama's New Budget -- Top Rate Could Soar to Over 45%

David Keating

Rocky Mountain News to close, publish final edition Friday

Rocky Mountain News reports:
Colorado's oldest newspaper will publish its final edition Friday.

The Rocky Mountain News, less than two months away from its 150th anniversary, will be closed after a search for a buyer proved unsuccessful, the E.W. Scripps Co. announced today.

How the Real Mob Helped Make the Movie The Godfather

Vanity Fair

CALPERS Gone Wild:Promise Now, Pay Later

Jim Walsh reports:
During the 13 months ending in early December 2008, the investment portfolio of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CALPERS) lost almost a third of its value — an $81.4 billion drop from just over $260 billion to just under $180 billion. CALPERS manages retirement money for a range of government employees, including firefighters, police officers, social workers, and some teachers. Fund managers said that capital reserves designed to protect against market downturns were helping offset the losses, but they reserved the right (accorded specially to CALPERS by California law) to require state and local governments to contribute additional cash to support the defined pensions promised to CALPERS beneficiaries.


This statist version of a capital call is unique in the American labor market. Only government entities can do it. But, as CALPERS executives reviewed their investment losses and mulled their options, local government officials insisted they didn't have any additional cash to contribute. CALPERS' response was that it would sue local governments that didn't pay up if the investment portfolio was still in the red by June 30, 2009. In terms of draining resources from the commonweal, illegal aliens are amateurs when compared to CALPERS pensioners.
You'll want to read the whole article.Check out CALPERS real estate investments in overpriced California!

HILLARY HAMMERS ISRAEL OVER GAZA AID CRISIS

The New York Post reports:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent angry messages to Israel in the past week, complaining that humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip is being blocked by officials in Jerusalem, Israeli media reported yesterday.

Clinton aides made it clear she would make the supposed Israeli foot-dragging a central issue next week when she makes her first trip to the region as secretary of state, the newspaper Haaretz reported.
That Saudi-Clinton Library money looks like it's paying off.

Behind the budget: Rahm's brother

Politico

Pennsylvania General Assembly bought 220 Bibles: Cost $13,700

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
Talk about swearing on a stack of Bibles.

With the state sinking deeper into a fiscal hole, the Pennsylvania General Assembly bought 220 Bibles and other holy books for legislators as they took the oath of office last month.

And the public paid for them - roughly $13,700 in all.

"Holy Moses," said Eric Epstein, a Harrisburg activist and founder of RockTheCapital.org, when told about the bulk purchase. "By the time you arrive at this station in your life, you shouldn't need the taxpayers to pay for your moral boarding pass."
Great moments in Blue America.Separation of Church and State? Ha,ha.

Freddie Mac delinquency rate accelerated in January

Reuters

The slow death of handwriting

BBC

Jay Leno hauled before Writers Guild trial committee

The L.A. Times reports:
Reporting from Los Angeles and New York -- Comedian Jay Leno was hauled in front of his own union's trial committee Wednesday to address charges that he broke guild rules during last season's writers strike, a full year after the alleged violations.

The NBC late-night host was a prominent backer of the Writers Guild of America during the 100-day work stoppage, but he alarmed union officials when he announced on the air that he was penning his own monologues while the strike was still in full swing.
Some people aren't for the free market in monologues.

Union Crane-Safety Teacher Admitted to Helping Mobsters

The New York Times reports:
After two fatal tower crane accidents last year, New York City instituted a series of reforms to increase safety and oversight in the construction industry, including requiring a 30-hour class for crane operators and other workers on the safest way to raise and lower a tower crane.

But some sessions of the city-mandated class are being taught by a union official who has admitted that he helped unqualified people, including organized crime figures, get into his union, according to sworn testimony and investigative reports. He and other union officials helped some of those men secure licenses to operate smaller cranes at construction sites across the city, the testimony and the reports say.
Great moments in organized crime.Did you think the government was going to make you safe?

California grapples with retirees' health benefits

The San Francisco Chronicle

February Ratings: Fox News Beats CNN and MSNBC Combined in Total Viewers

Media Bistro reports:
Fox News was the ratings leader during prime time and total day during February 2009 — its 86th month on top. FNC averaged more Total Viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined in prime time and total day.

FNC had nine out of the top 10 programs in cable news last month in Total Viewers. The O'Reilly Factor was #1 for the 99th consecutive month, and was up 33% in Total Viewers compared to February 2008. The other top programs included Hannity (up 38%), Glenn Beck (the 5pmET hour was up 100%), The FOX Report with Shepard Smith (up 30%) and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (up 24%).

Obama Calls For the government becoming the sole provider of federally backed college lending

Bloomberg

Porn Plot: Vivid's Sordid Plans for Nadya 'Octomom' Suleman

Fox News

Feds: CIA boss had history of bad behavior

MSNBC

In Arkansas and a few other spots, pain not so great: Steady growth without a boom seems fine now

USA Today reports:
When a senior editor at New York-based SmartMoney magazine addressed an economic forecast conference here in November, he opened by joking about how nice it was to come to a place where people weren't jumping off buildings because of financial distress.

It was a perfect icebreaker, largely because it rang true. In Little Rock and in several other corners of the country, the financial crash has been more of a fender-bender — at least so far.

Layoffs and foreclosures are on the rise and some business investments are on hold, but unemployment rates remain well below the national level in Arkansas and several other states, including Wyoming, North Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia. New companies are moving in and some are expanding, adding a few hundred jobs here and a few hundred there.

In December, Forbes named Little Rock one of the best middle-class housing markets because median home prices were rising while the national market was plummeting.
You'll want to read the whole article.

Boomers: 30% Underwater

Les Christie reports:
So much home equity has been lost that should boomers need to sell their homes, 30% of those aged 45 to 54 would owe money at closing, according to "The Wealth of the Baby Boom Cohorts After the Collapse of the Housing Bubble," a report released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based, non-partisan think tank. About 18% of boomers aged 55 to 64 are underwater and would have to bring money to the table.

Earmarks Gone Wild: Andrew Roth Explains the Scam

Club For Growth

Salary Questions Irk Jim Calhoun

Fanhouse reports:
A local freelance journalist, political activist and former campaign manager for the Green Party candidate for Connecticut governor in 2006, Ken Krayeske, attended the press conference. He wanted to question Calhoun about all the money he makes at the state university even as the state budget faces a nearly $1 billion deficit.

Lawmakers reject Obama plan to cut farm aid

The Washington Times reports:
Top Democrats and Republicans are already shooting down President Obama's plan to cut farm subsidies, dealing a blow to one of the cost-savings promises he laid out in his congressional address Tuesday night.

"We'll have to see what specifically the president is talking about, but we just finished the farm bill last year, and I don't think we'll open it up," said Rep. Collin C. Peterson, Minnesota Democrat and chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
You didn't think Obama really was going to cut spending?

The rise and fall of a golden boy: Operation Board Games' Nick Hurtgen

With the Blago investigation on a roll,with the recent conviction of Nick Hurtgen,it's time to look at an old Isthmus article from May,9,2006:
Peter Nicholas Hurtgen entered Wisconsin government fresh out of college in 1987, getting in on the ground floor of Tommy Thompson's extraordinary 14-year tenure in the governor's mansion. Over the course of nearly a decade on Thompson's staff, he rose to become the No. 2 man in the Department of Administration, arguably the most important cabinet office. He left for a plum job in investment banking, specializing in, no surprise here, government bond issues.

A year ago it all came crashing down. Today Hurtgen, 43, stands indicted in Illinois in a complex pay-to-play scheme involving construction and financing for hospital and healthcare facilities. He also stands largely alone, abandoned by the Dairyland politicians and lobbyists whose company he kept.

It was a stunning fall for someone who had once been a financial wunderkind in the Tommy Thompson administration. Hurtgen was "a rainmaker," says Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. "He played a very critical role in arranging campaign contributions and setting up fund-raisers and making campaign money appear. He's the classic influence peddler."
You'll want to read this one.Thanks to reader GS for the heads up on this one.

Black Caucus Wants Obama Involved in Census

CQ Politics

Northern Trust Should Embrace Golf and Renounce TARP

John Powers reports on Chicago's,rich northern suburbs:
Judging from the Presidential election results in New Trier Township, voters were confident enough in Barack Obama and the Democrats to support him by a 63-35 margin. During the election season, I would occasionally mention to my neighbors that Obama has promised to raise taxes on them, which would get a response of “No, he is only going to raise taxes on rich people, not us”, which shows how bewildering the campaign was. Given New Trier Township includes Winnetka, Kenilworth, Wilmette, Glencoe, plus portions of Glenview and Northfield, this demographic is exactly the target of the the 2010 tax hikes.
Great moments of the trust fund class.

59% Still Believe Government Is the Problem

Rasmussen

New-home sales tumble to record low pace in Jan.

The AP reports:
The median sales price fell to $201,100 in January, a record 9.9 percent drop from the previous month

Medicare Spending Has Wide Regional Disparities, Study Finds

Business Week reports:
A new study examining 14 years of Medicare spending finds that state-by-state increases vary wildly depending on how much medical care is available.

The study, released on Feb. 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that annual Medicare spending increased an average of 3.5% from 1992 to 2006 nationwide, but the burden on the government program was not uniform: Nebraska's spending rose 5.3% annually over the same period, more than any other state, while the District of Columbia clocked in with the lowest annual inflation, at 1.6%.

Spending per Medicare enrollee also varied widely, from a high of $9,564 in New York in 2006 to a low of $5,311 in Hawaii. The national average for 2006 was $8,304. The reasons given for the discrepancies were not the health or wealth of a particular state's population but the amount of health-care resources available. The more hospital beds and doctors in a region, the higher the costs billed to Medicare.
It's doesn't look like Republicans cut spending on health care.

GM posts massive loss, auditor may question viability

Reuters

Teenage Prostitutes

Right on the Left Coast

Nasdaq Pulls Harder for Listing Switches

The Wall Street Journal reports:
In the tug-of-war for stock-exchange listings, the Nasdaq Stock Market's growing arsenal of weapons is helping it gain ground.

With promises of big-screen appearances in Times Square and detailed intelligence on share trading, Nasdaq attracted companies with $80 billion of market capitalization to switch from the New York Stock Exchange in 2008. The milestone nearly matched the Big Board's own record in snatching Nasdaq companies, back in 2000.

By contrast, the NYSE, a unit of NYSE Euronext, stole Nasdaq-listed companies with just $8 billion in market value last year.

Aiding the Bottom 10%: A Recipe for Economic Decline

John Tamny

Defaults by Franchisees Soar as the Recession Deepens

The Wall Street Journal

‘Black Swan’ Author Sees Trouble Exceeding 1930s

The New York Times

BURRIS' SON GOT STATE JOB FROM BLAGO

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
The son of embattled Sen. Roland Burris is a federal tax deadbeat who landed a $75,000-a-year state job under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich five months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Blagojevich's administration hired Roland W. Burris II as a senior counsel for the state's housing authority Sept. 10 -- about six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his South Side house.
They sure have high standards in Illinois government!

Home Economics of Anxious Times: Dyeing Your Hair in the Kitchen Sink

The Washington Post

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Study: listening to podcasts better than going to lectures

Ars Technica reports:
Listening to podcasted versions of university lectures seems to be better for students than simply going to class, according to new research by State University of New York (SUNY) Fredonia psychologist Dani McKinney. Her study, titled "iTunes University and the classroom: Can podcasts replace Professors?" suggests that students who download the podcast version of a class tend to achieve better academic performance than those who don't, though it's more about what the students do when they download the podcast than the existence of the podcast itself.

Malls Race to Stay Relevant in Downturn

The Wall Street Journal

Lawsuits allege Chicago Cop falsified DUI charges

The Chicago Tribune reports:
Two Chicago men today filed lawsuits against the city and a police officer they accuse of falsifying DUI charges against them.
The separate federal suits allege that Town Hall District Officer Richard Fiorito violated the civil rights of James Dean Jr. and Shawn Rauch.

The men's attorneys accuse Fiorito of manufacturing fake DUI and other traffic charges against motorists in a scheme to garner the extra overtime pay that comes with making court appearances on cases.

Great moments in Blue America.

The 10 Craziest Government Subsidies

Ask Men has the craziest government subsidies.Here's one:
In 2003, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin managed to get a $250,000 subsidy from the federal government to implement the National Preschool Anger Management Project. The project, which apparently exists in other areas across the country, is intended to help teachers and parents instruct preschoolers on how to develop positive coping skills for reducing and managing stress in their lives. Kiddies are taught stress-reduction techniques that will allow them to curtain their feelings of anger and anxiety. The subsidized program is aimed at those children who are living in high-risk environments, wherever in Iowa that may be.
Senator Harkin is nothing more than a con man stealing money from people who pay taxes.

Low-carb? Low-fat? Study Finds Calories Count More

CBS News

Former Bear Stearns Executive Pleads to Fraud Charge:Operation Board Games

Bloomberg reports:
P. Nicholas Hurtgen, a former Bear Stearns Cos. managing director, pleaded guilty to a fraud charge for his role in helping two men advance a plot to win a Chicago- area hospital construction contract.

Hurtgen, 46, of Glencoe, Illinois, entered his plea to aiding and abetting wire fraud today before U.S. District Judge John Grady in federal court in Chicago. A trial had been set to start March 9. In exchange for Hurtgen’s cooperation, prosecutors agreed to ask for a 22 1/2-month sentence. Hurtgen can withdraw the plea if Grady hands out a longer term.
The Blago-Rezko-Illinois politics world.

Media Sob Story: Poor Bus Driver Faces Foreclosure & Wants Bailout-- Can't Afford $800,000 Home (Video)

Gateway Pundit

Holder Wants Assaults Weapons Ban to Help Mexico

MSNBC reports:
Federal agents have rounded up 755 suspects in a wide-ranging crackdown on a Mexican drug cartel operating inside the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday.
Here's the novel Eric Holder argument for U.S. gun control:
At a press conference announcing the arrests, Holder also suggested that re-instituting a U.S. ban on the sale of assault weapons would help reduce the bloodshed in Mexico, where last year 6,000 people were killed in drug-related violence.
You are supposed to give up your gun so bloodshed will be diminished in Mexico! The gun ban hasn't diminished murder in Chicago.

Oxford student killed himself hours after being told PhD thesis wasn't good enough

Daily Mail

New Bailout: Only Banks Getting Biggest Bailouts Will Get Tougher Terms

Pro Publica

Obama to lay out 8 keys to health plan

Politico

Mayor Daley Backs Secrecy in Government:Doesn't Want to Release Rogue Cop Complaints and Stimulus Wish List

The Chicago Tribune reports:
Mayor Richard Daley today said he supported Police Supt. Jody Weis' refusal to publicly release the list of officers who have been the subject of repeated complaints, a decision that defies two federal judges.

Daley said many complaints against officers are "unfounded and meritless." Those officers do not deserve to have their names made public, the mayor said.
and
Daley again defended his refusal to release his “wish list” of projects that the city would fund with federal money from the recently approved economic stimulus package.
No comment on any of this from William Hanhardt, former Chief of Detectives of the Chicago Police Department.Sometimes complaints aren't meritless.

Uncle Sam Bank not open for bank business, yet

Reuters

Long hours link to dementia risk

BBC

Is Libertarianism a Sign of Mental Illness? Harvard Law School to Have Conference

CATO reports:
Harvard Law School is having a conference to analyze the “free market mindset.” The basic premise of the conference seems to be that people who believe in limited government are psychologically troubled.

The conference schedule features presentations such as “How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community” and “Addicted to Incentives: How the Ideology of Self Interest Can Be Self-Fulfilling.” The most absurd presentation, though, may be the one entitled, “Colossal Failure: The Output Bias of Market Economies.” According to the description, the author argues that the market “delivers excessive levels of consumption.” Damn those entrepreneurs for creating so much wealth!

In the good old days of Soviet dictatorship, the regime classified dissidents as being mentally ill (after all, only a nutcase would fail to see the glories of communism).

Now that leftists at Harvard want to portray laissez-faire philosophy as being somewhat akin to a mental disorder, maybe the next step will be re-education camps
Via Club For Growth.You have to understand,Harvard wants everyone to pay taxes:except universities like Harvard that get to compound their wealth tax free.If everyone got Harvard's tax deal then Harvard couldn't steal money from the taxpayers every year.Harvard has done quite well in rent seeking off the taxpayers.This is the essence of the late Harvard philosopher John Rawls: in the name of egalitarianism everyone should re-distribute money to Harvard while Harvard doesn't pay any taxes and defines' those who want Harvard's tax situation as "mentally ill".The Harvard/John Rawls Theory of Justice.

Federal Reserve Cop Says You Can't Film Federal Buildings

Live Leak

Treasury says big banks can get more bailout funds

AP

Blago Investigation: Former banker pleads guilty in hospital fraud

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
A politically connected former investment banker has admitted telling the CEO of a suburban Chicago hospital that she had to hire a contractor favored by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

P. Nicholas Hurtgen admitted Wednesday he told the hospital chief that not hiring the contractor would mean never getting permission to proceed with a major construction project.

The 46-year-old entered his plea to abetting mail fraud in a Wednesday appearance before U.S. District Judge John F. Grady.

Hurtgen is a key figure in the government's long-running investigation of corruption on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board.
For more on this subject click on this.

U.S. existing home sales fall along with value

Reuters reports:
The median national home price declined 14.8 percent from a year ago to $170,300, the lowest since a $169,400 level seen in March 2003.
See the danger of the government encouraging people to put less than 10%?

Mafioso: A History Of Mafia Names

AskMen

The New York Times Company’s Self-Inflicted Insolvency

Eric Englund has a great article on the New York Times that begins with:
The New York Times Company is committed to the creation of long-term shareholder value through investment and constancy of purpose. ~ Investor Relations
You'll want to read the article and look at this chart.

Faulty collection notices tax residents' patience

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Here's one way to make up a budget deficit - send out a bunch of fake tax collection notices.

Apparently the San Francisco Treasurer's Office sent out a whole lot of erroneous collection notices to businesses last week. So many, in fact, that the phone system clogged up and folks wanting to challenge the fee had to come down to City Hall in person.

Of course the errors were accidental. But one person who received a letter (and asked to remain anonymous) said the business being taxed had closed three years ago and the tax claim was from 1992. She argued her $310 bill, but other taxpayers might just trust the city and pay up, she pointed out.
Will government run health care have these same sort of problems?

Obama's Words vs. Obama's Deeds: Despite Claims, Yes, Your Tax Money Will Go to Bail Out Fraudulent Home-Buyers, Speculators, and House-Flippers

Ace of Spades

Low-Rated,Long-Term Munis Still Floundering

Bond Buyer has an article with some very good statistics.

Byrd: Obama in power grab

Politico reports:
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.

In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”

While it's rare for Byrd to criticize a president in his own party, Byrd is a stern constitutional scholar who has always stood up for the legislative branch in its role in checking the power of the White House. Byrd no longer holds the powerful Appropriations chairmanship, so his criticism does not carry as much weight these days. Byrd repeatedly clashed with the Bush administration over executive power, and it appears that he's not limiting his criticism to Republican administrations.
The concept of "checks and balances" isn't well understood to Chicago Democrats.

Jefferson County, AL Can’t Make $636 million Debt Payment

Charting Stocks

Group of Rich Americans Sues UBS to Keep Names Secret in Tax Case

The New York Times

Should We Let California Go Bankrupt?

Steven Malanga reports:
In just one decade California made a remarkable turnabout, going from a state with one of the highest levels of net in-migration to the state with the second highest level of domestic net out-migration. Typically people either head for the exits because they are seeking more economic opportunity or because they are being driven out by high housing costs. You get a little bit of both in California because the state’s zoning regulatory schemes keep housing production artificially low and housing prices high even in a mediocre economy.

As the economist Randall O’Toole points out in his study of housing restrictions, The Planning Penalty, “Thanks to a variety of land-use restrictions, California suffers from the least affordable housing in the nation.” The planning penalty, O’Toole estimates, adds from $70,000 to $230,000 to the cost of a home in the Central Valley, $300,000 to $400,000 in Southern California, and $400,000 to $850,000 in the San Francisco Bay area because in California, 95 percent of the population lives on just 5 percent of the land. “The problem is supply, not demand,” O’Toole observes. “Austin, Atlanta and Raleigh are growing faster than California cities, yet have maintained affordable housing.”
You'll want to read the whole article.Another great one by Steven Malanga.

Lobbyists win classified leaks ruling

The Washington Times

Tribune Tower pulled off the market

Crain's Chicago Business reports:
Tribune Co. has scrapped plans to put the Tribune Tower up for sale because of cratering real estate prices and the company’s late-year bankruptcy protection filing.

The media giant hired brokers last summer to sell the landmark tower as well as the Los Angeles Times’ headquarters complex, known as Times Mirror Square, and had hoped to get marketing materials to prospective investors early this year. But the moribund real estate investment sales market prompted the company to shelve those plans, says Stephanie Pater, Tribune’s director of real estate.

Topless coffee shop opens

Kennebec Journal

Renters Losing Edge on Homeowners

The Wall Street Journal reports:
Over the past 18 years, after-tax mortgage payments have averaged 26% more than rent payments, according to Green Street Advisors, a real-estate consultancy based in Newport Beach, Calif. In 2006, at the height of the housing bubble, mortgage payments reached as high as 66% more than rent payments. But by the end of 2008, average monthly rent for the largest 50 metropolitan areas was $1,045, compared with after-tax mortgage payments of $1,300, assuming a rate of 5.5% on a 30-year fixed mortgage. That means mortgage payments averaged just 24% more than rent payments, the narrowest gap since 2001.
We wonder if this figures include mortgage interest property taxes,and insurance.

4 common marriage problems — and solutions

MSNBC

The Obama File

The Obama File

Downtown Chicago Condo sales sink to negative 250 units in fourth quarter

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
It sounds like a bad joke, but it's true: The downtown residential market is so awful, it's shrinking.

Last year, the number of new condominiums slated downtown declined by almost 3,000 units. And in the fourth quarter, the number of residential sales was a negative 250 units.

How can that be?

The numbers are drawn from an annual survey that Appraisal Research Counselors reported Tuesday. They are the worst results anybody can recall for the reports, which the company has compiled in quarterly updates since 1997.

Gail Lissner, vice president at Appraisal Research, said the residential inventory fell as developers scrapped projects they would have delivered in a couple of years. The sales figures went negative in late 2008, she said, because buyers began canceling contracts and some developers were caught fudging sales data from earlier in the year.
Negative 250.The struggles of Blue America.

Ruling puts tribe hope for casino in doubt: US justices bar land trust tactic

The Boston Globe reports:
The US Supreme Court delivered a crippling setback yesterday to the Mashpee Wampanoag in Massachusetts and many other tribes across the nation that are seeking to build casinos, ruling that the federal government cannot place land into trust for newly recognized tribes.

The Panic of 2008: How Bad Is It?

New Geography

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Home mortgage relief for millions of illegals: Obama's program provides $275 billion to assist homeowners facing foreclosure

Jerome Corsi reports:
Illegal aliens can apply for mortgage relief under the Obama administration's $275 billion plan, according to immigration experts and a group the government will use to help homeowners modify loans.

Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C., told WND approximately 1 million households headed by illegal immigrants acquired mortgages through the beginning of 2007, before the housing bubble burst.

"There is no legal prohibition against illegal immigrants owning homes," he said, "and in most cases mortgage lenders will accept a taxpayer ID or a Matricula Consular card issued by a Mexican Consulate office as identification to illegal immigrants from Mexico."
Stylish.

Pink Floyd Line of Converse Shoes to Give You Classic Rock Cred, Little Ankle Support


Prefix

One in nine people living in Britain now born overseas as 300,000 more foreigners settle in the UK

The Daily Mail

DoD officials vow secrecy on budget

Instapundit reports on this one:
The Obama administration has directed defense officials to sign a pledge stating they will not share 2010 budget data with individuals outside the federal government.
In an undated non-disclosure agreement obtained by Defense News, the administration tells defense officials that “strict confidentiality” must be practiced to ensure a “successful” and “proper” 2010 defense budget process.
It's a secret.

The Decline of Los Angeles

Joel Kotkin reports:
L.A. seems to be fading rapidly toward irrelevancy. Its economy has tanked faster than that of the nation, with unemployment now close to 10%. The port appears in decline, the roads in awful shape and the once potent industrial base continues to shrink.

Job growth in the area, notes a forecast by the University of California at Santa Barbara, dropped 0.6% last year and is expected to plunge far more rapidly this year. Roughly one-fifth of the population depends on public assistance or benefits to survive.

Once a primary destination for Americans, L.A.--along with places like Detroit, New York and Chicago--now suffers among the highest rates of out-migration in the country. Particularly hard hit has been its base of middle-class families, which continues to shrink. This is painfully evident in places like the San Fernando Valley, where I live, long a middle-class outpost for L.A., much like Queens and Staten Island are for New York.
You'll want to read the whole article.The struggles of Blue America.

Merrill hit by unseen $500m charge

The Financial Times reports:
Ineffective internal controls at Merrill Lynch caused the firm to understate its 2008 losses by more than $500m, the investment bank said on Tuesday in its annual report.

Oscar Ratings Are Up

The New York Times

Drinking for Your Health? Maybe Not. Study of Women Shows Increased Cancer Risk

The Washington Post reports:
For years, many women have been buoyed by the news about one of life's guilty pleasures: That nightly glass of wine may not only take the edge off a day but also improve their health. Now it turns out that sipping pinot noir might not be such a good idea after all.

A new study involving nearly 1.3 million middle-aged British women -- the largest ever to examine alcohol and cancer in women -- found that just one glass of chardonnay, a single beer or any other type of alcoholic drink per day increases the risk of a variety of cancers.

"That's the take-home message," said Naomi E. Allen of the University of Oxford, who led the study being published March 4 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. "If you are regularly drinking even one drink per day, that's increasing your risk for cancer."
You'll want to read the whole article for this comment:
"There doesn't seem to be a threshold at which alcohol consumption is safe,"

Fed Chief Says Recovery May Wait Until 2010 or Later

The New York Times

AIG’s Liddy May Shift Strategy as Asset Sales Stall

Bloomberg reports:
American International Group Inc. may scrap a plan to repay a $60 billion U.S. government loan by selling businesses, after failing to find enough promising bidders, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy, who took charge in September and unveiled the strategy the following month, has concluded it won’t work, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the insurer’s talks with the government are private. AIG is proposing additional ways to reduce the company’s debt to the U.S., including handing over stakes in some operations directly to the government, a person said.

Full text of Pres. Obama's speech to Congress and the nation

L.A. Times

Gotti Jr. ordered shootings, ex-best friend says

Newsday

GOP hates earmarks — except the ones its members sponsor

McClatchy

Chicago's Top Cop to Judge:Can't have list of most reported cops

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis has refused a federal judge’s order to release the names of officers who have at least five citizen complaints filed against them since 2000.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez had given Weis until 4 p.m. Friday to do so.
There's more:
The city also is fighting a judge’s order to release a similar list in another excessive-force lawsuit. That list names 662 officers who faced 10 or more citizen complaints between 2001 and 2006.
Here's a link to a press conference Patrick Fitzgerald had on police brutality.Remember,Mayor Daley thinks only police should own guns in Chicago with cops like these.

Everything you ever wanted to know about LCD monitors

Tech Radar

Ron Paul on Eliminating the Income Tax

You Tube

House Dems Ask Northern Trust to Return Some TARP Funds

Chicago Public Radio reports:
Northern Trust bank, based in Chicago, is taking a whole lot of heat for a golf tournament it sponsored last weekend.

Congressman Barney Frank and other democrats on the House Financial Services Committee are hopping mad after reports emerged that Northern Trust spent money on parties and entertainment during the golf tournament.
No word yet from Northern Trust customer Barack Obama on this one.

Troubled San Francisco Chronicle in danger of closing

The AP reports:
The owner of the San Francisco Chronicle will sell or close the daily newspaper if it can't dramatically lower expenses within the next few months.

The Hearst Corp., which owns northern California's largest daily newspaper, didn't specify a savings target in Tuesday's grim announcement. But the New York-based company said the cost cutting will require significant layoffs.

Dick Durbin Calls for Roland Burris to Quit

US News and World Report

Santelli: The White House sort of made a veiled threat against me, didn’t it?

Hot Air

San Francisco mayor caught with bottled water, which he's banned in city government

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Is the Green Mayor holding out on us?

This week, the City Insider spotted an almost empty case of bottled water in the back of Mayor Gavin Newsom's hybrid sport utility vehicle as it was parked in front of City Hall. At least one full bottle of Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water remained under the plastic covering.

This from the mayor who in June 2007 issued an executive order directing city government to no longer purchase bottled water, saying the containers clog landfills while the city owns a pristine reservoir in the Sierra Nevada that produces some of the country's best-rated tap water.
Greats moments in Blue America! Following the rules isn't what Gavin Newsom is all about.