Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, gave a nearly $14,000 pay raise to a female staffer in 2008, at the time he was becoming romantically involved with her, and later that year took her on a taxpayer-funded trip to Southeast Asia and the Middle East, though foreign policy was not her specialty.
Late last Friday, Baucus acknowledged his relationship with Melodee Hanes, whom he nominated for the job of U.S. attorney in Montana, after it was first reported on the website MainJustice.com. But he said that Hanes withdrew from consideration for the job when the relationship became more serious. The next day, he dismissed calls for an ethics investigation, saying, “I went out of my way to be up and up.”
Since his announcement, more details of the relationship have emerged, raising questions about a workplace romance between a boss and employee that Baucus tried to keep quiet and also contradicting his explanation for why Hanes’s nomination was withdrawn.
Jodi Ravi, a former reporter for the Missoulian revealed over the weekend that the paper informed Baucus in March that it was poised to publish a story about Hanes’s relationship with the senator and the fact that he had nominated her for the U.S. attorney job.The next day, Hanes withdrew from consideration. According to the Missoulian, Baucus’s office never acknowledged a relationship between the two, and the paper did not run a story.
So Tiger Baucus decides to put his whore on the payroll and bump her pay and no one in the media seems to care?
That wouldn't be media bias would it?
The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.
Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.
Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.
The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.
When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.
The trend to six-figure salaries is occurring throughout the federal government, in agencies big and small, high-tech and low-tech. The primary cause: substantial pay raises and new salary rules.
Don't forget the kick ass health benefits and retirement.
This clown takes one weekend issue of the Times and proclaims it neutral?
I've been waiting all week for them to send notes about last Sunday's , considered by them to be the worst example of a liberal press.
There was lots of criticism of the president and his administration in the paper's coverage that day.
If you only read the opinion section you would have seen the likes of Frank Rich taking wide swipes at for his decision to send 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan.
Wrote Rich, "Obama's speech, for all its thoughtfulness and sporadic eloquence, was a failure at its central mission. On its own terms, as both policy and rhetoric, it didn't make the case for escalating our involvement in Afghanistan. It's doubtful that the president's words moved the needle of public opinion wildly in any direction for a country that has tuned out Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq alike while panicking about where the next job is coming from."
For this idiot's information, it's not just the op-ed sections that make a medium non partisan, it's the "news" sections.
For instance, I think covering an organization rampant with charges of voter fraud would be something a neutral news medium might cover.
Or how about an education czar who at one time spoke to young people about "fisting". I think that might be newsworthy.
Or maybe several congressman who manage to have vacation properties outside the continental US on paltry congressional salaries. I think that would be worthy of some ink.
But what do I know.
When it comes to peddling porn, Larry Flynt wants you to know his videos of people having sex are a cut above other smut on the rack.
So when a pair of nephews Flynt personally groomed for the porn business decided to launch their own company last year and use the family name, the creator of "Barely Legal," ''Busty Beauties" and "Daddy Gets Lucky" wasted no time suing the upstarts for trademark infringement.
Flynt accused his brother Jimmy Flynt's sons in federal court of tarnishing his image by launching Flynt Media Corp. and producing a series of videos he says are nothing but cheap knockoffs.
"The junk they publish hurts my reputation, which in turn hurts my revenue," the gruff, gravelly voiced porn king testified in U.S. District Court this week, where a Flynt family feud is playing out before a stone-faced jury and a no-nonsense judge.
Maybe Larry can hire tiger Woods to rehab his reputation.
I think Brian Kelly is a great coach but I don't see success at Notre Dame as a given.
First, his offensive style was designed for teams over matched in talent. That spread offense doesn't necessarily translate to a team that shouldn't have any problems getting talent. Just ask Rich Rodriquez at Michigan.
Second, Kelly did have a lot of success at UC but with who's talent? Many of the contributors were Mark Dantonio's recruits. Can Kelly year in and year out bring in the number of blue chippers it's going to take to make Notre Dame a perennial power again?
He chased and got his dream job, I don't begrudge anyone for that. But he established himself as a king in this city longing for a winner. At Notre Dame, he'll just be another coach. Remember, be careful what you wish for..... you just might get it.
Good luck to BK. He opened the eyes of a country to show what could be at the program. That will make it easier to attract fans (sold out the Sugar Bowl allotment already), coaches and recruits.
This has been a great year that from a fan who's been at games with about 8,000 people. Too bad it couldn't end on a high note.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The Obama administration is warning Congress that if it doesn't move to regulate greenhouse gases, the Environmental Protection Agency will take a "command-and-control" role over the process in a way that could hurt business.
The warning, from a top White House economic official who spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity, came on the eve of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's address to the international conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Jackson, however, tried to strike a tone of cooperation in her address Wednesday, explaining that the EPA's new powers to regulate greenhouse gases will be used to complement legislation pending in Congress, not replace it.
"This is not an 'either-or' moment. It's a 'both-and' moment," she said.
But while administration officials have long said they prefer Congress take action on climate change, the economic official who spoke with reporters Tuesday night made clear that the EPA will not wait and is prepared to act on its own.
And it won't be pretty.
"If you don't pass this legislation, then ... the EPA is going to have to regulate in this area," the official said. "And it is not going to be able to regulate on a market-based way, so it's going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty."
Command and control? Where have you heard those words before?
So let me make sure I have this right. These clowns are willing to regulate CO2 even when they know it's going to do damage to the economy..... And they don't care!
Take your blood pressure meds before you read the rest.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Take Detroit Public Schools. There hasn't been a republican in their city since the invent of the wheel and yet we get this........
Detroit Public Schools students posted the worst math results ever recorded in the 40-year history of a prestigious nationwide test, according to scores released today.
Sixty-nine percent of fourth graders and 77 percent of eighth graders scored below basic skill levels in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a standardized test that serves as a nationwide yardstick in measuring student learning.
"These numbers are only slightly better than what one would expect by chance as if the kids had never gone to school and simply guessed at the answers," said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools ...
Unless the community takes action to fix these urgent academic problems, "this city has no future," he said...
So Mr./Ms. Progressive, how about having the stones to step up to the plate and explain how republicans are to blame for a city school system that amounts to a cesspool.
What's so "progressive" about illiteracy?
A pack of leftists has put a $200,000 price on the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue. Oh, it's not a plot to kill him, they claim, only a bounty to get him arrested. It's one heck of a coarsening of U.S. politics.
Is it just us, or is this the most despicable act the hipster left has come up with since MoveOn.org tried to smear General David Petraeus as General Betray-Us in a New York Times ad last year?
Monday, Fox News reported that a coalition of 120 left-wing groups called "Velvet Revolution" issued an Old West-style "wanted" poster, complete with a tip hotline urging anyone connected with the Chamber president to come forward with information that will get him arrested. It offers guaranteed anonymity for tipsters.
Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008. Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008.Federal records show that $5.97 million from the $787 billion stimulus helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global public-relations and communications firm headed by Penn.
Monday, December 07, 2009
The city's finances are so shaky that officials repeatedly borrow money to cover day-to-day bills, rarely go after deadbeats and have sat on millions of dollars in property tax overpayments for years, according to two recent audits.
Mayor Dave Bing has warned the city is courting receivership unless he makes drastic changes, but two little-noticed audits offer startling glimpses of how quickly the city is burning through cash, losing revenue and failing to implement seemingly routine controls of spending.
Detroit, which faces a $300 million deficit, remains "one of the weakest (financially) in the nation" and "significant economic conditions continue to cast doubt on the city's future operation," outside auditors wrote last month in a 227-page audit of the 2007-08 finances.
Until recently, workers in the city's Treasury Division weren't even sure how many bank accounts the city had and sat on at least $3.2 million in property tax overpayments, according to a November report by the city's auditor general, Loren Monroe.
Treasury workers only told taxpayers they had overpaid if they asked, a practice Monroe slammed as bad government.
"It's blatantly unfair. Even if you overpay on a credit card, the credit card company credits your account," said Ted Phillips, executive director of the United Community Housing Coalition, an advocacy group. "Even the worst of the worst give you a credit for your future bill. It's crazy."
Columbus City Schools have more than 120 buildings designed for teaching.
But in a three-day effort to teach its teachers, the district is renting banquet halls, high-end hotels and conference centers -- using almost $145,000 in federal grant dollars.
Many schools also will be used as sites for workshops, but the external locations were needed because sessions will go on all day and cafeteria benches would have been uncomfortable, spokeswoman Kim Norris said. Also, classroom desks might have been too small for adults, she said.
Are you kidding me?
Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network’s top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network’s political bias, two sources familiar with the effort said.
Because we all know that NPR is "fair and balanced".
Pencils and notebooks resembling President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign ads have been sold in at least one Columbia school and other public schools, causing the company that distributes the materials to travel around the state yanking the supplies out of machines.
“Don’t be mad at us,” said Greg Jones, a sales representative with Pencil Wholesale. “It was a total accident.”
Pencil Wholesale distributes supplies to six Columbia schools: Parkade Elementary, Cedar Ridge Elementary, Paxton Keeley Elementary, Mill Creek Elementary, Smithton Middle School and Hickman High School, said Linda Quinley, the district’s chief financial officer.
At Mill Creek, at least one pencil and a notebook with designs similar to Obama campaign advertisements have been sold out of a supply machine. Two families have complained about the politically tinged materials.
Three Missouri schools have contacted Jones since the beginning of the school year asking that the materials be removed, and Mill Creek Principal Mary Sue Gibson this week said she also planned to call Pencil Wholesale.
What a moron
The place to be
They watched the hazy sun
Sinking in the sea
From the Golden State of California who hasn't had a conservative in state government since the Hell's Angels doubled as security guards.....
Once the envy of the other 49 states, California has become the measure of failure. Historically a trend-setter, once again, as California goes, so may go the nation.The Pew Center on the States recently completed an extensive study of the 50 state governments and found California in the worst straits, but also discovered nine other states have joined us in a condition of "fiscal peril."
"The same pressures that drove the Golden State toward fiscal disaster are wreaking havoc in a number of states, with potentially damaging consequences for the entire country," concluded the study, "Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril."
Those states – Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin – share many of California's maladies. Some, the study found, suffer from economies that disproportionately rely on particular industries, such as housing in Florida or auto manufacturing in Michigan. California, Illinois and New Jersey repeatedly have used borrowing or accounting schemes to put off tough budget decisions. Like California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Oregon are restricted in raising taxes or cutting spending because of voter initiatives and constitutional restraints, Pew noted.
"The recession put almost all states in a bind," the study observed, "but California, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin have a history of persistent shortfalls."The Pew study was based on data up to July 31 of this year and bluntly forecasted "states' fiscal conditions are widely expected to worsen even when the national economy starts to recover." Indeed, that seems to be the case. Unemployment in California was 11.7 percent and nationally 9.2 percent as of the study's completion, the study reported. In the scant months since, California's jobless rate has risen to 12.5 percent in November, and the national rate has hit 10.2 percent.
What's so "progressive" about being a third world country?
Rachel Porcaro knows she's hardly rich. When you're a single mom making 10 bucks an hour, you don't need government experts to tell you how broke you are.
But that's what happened. The government not only told Porcaro she was poor. They said she was too poor to make it in Seattle.
It all started a year ago, when Porcaro, a 32-year-old mom with two boys, was summoned to the Seattle office of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She had been flagged for an audit.
She couldn't believe it. She made $18,992 the previous year cutting hair at Supercuts. A few hundred of that she spent to have her taxes prepared by H&R Block.
"I asked the IRS lady straight upfront — 'I don't have anything, why are you auditing me?' " Porcaro recalled. "I said, 'Why me, when I don't own a home, a business, a car?' "
The answer stunned both Porcaro and the private tax specialist her dad had gotten to help her.
"They showed us a spreadsheet of incomes in the Seattle area," says Dante Driver, an accountant at Seattle's G.A. Michael and Co. "The auditor said, 'You made eighteen thousand, and our data show a family of three needs at least thirty-six thousand to get by in Seattle."
Wait until you need a kidney transplant and some bureaucrat tell you that you have already have two kidneys.
Thanks reader Jeremy on this tip...
On a normal day, Majken Friss Jorgensen, managing director of Copenhagen's biggest limousine company, says her firm has twelve vehicles on the road. During the "summit to save the world", which opens here tomorrow, she will have 200.
"We thought they were not going to have many cars, due to it being a climate convention," she says. "But it seems that somebody last week looked at the weather report."Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. "We haven't got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand," she says. "We're having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden."
And the total number of electric cars or hybrids among that number? "Five," says Ms Jorgensen. "The government has some alternative fuel cars but the rest will be petrol or diesel. We don't have any hybrids in Denmark, unfortunately, due to the extreme taxes on those cars. It makes no sense at all, but it's very Danish."
The airport says it is expecting up to 140 extra private jets during the peak period alone, so far over its capacity that the planes will have to fly off to regional airports – or to Sweden – to park, returning to Copenhagen to pick up their VIP passengers.
You'd think that these people would be sensitive to the amount of pollution they're spewing.
If you were a skeptic, you might think they really don't believe in this stuff.
Just call them Snowball and Napolean
I have no particular beef with the title game selection of Alabama v Texas. But I have a real issue with the conventional wisdom that says that Texas plays from a "real conference" and therefore, plays a tougher schedule.
See the attached breakdown of each of the five undefeated teams resumes with their ratings (courtesy of the Sagarin ratings). The reason I used the Saraging ratings for this is 1) all D1- and D1AA teams are included and 2) Each teams is evaluated on the exact same standard and not some arbitrary rating by a sports writer who's seen all of 20 games this year.
You'll see on this schedule the tremendous non conference schedule Texas put together (UTEP, La.- Monroe, Wyoming, Central Florida).
But Gordon, they play in a tough conference.
Really? Who's the big name dropper Texas put a beating on this year? Oklahoma at 23? Texas Tech at 31? They wouldn't have even played Nebraska had it not been for the extra playoff game. If you take that game out, their schedule is just as comparable as TCU's or UC's.
I know it sounds like sour grapes for a guy who's team that didn't get in but it really isn't. I'm fully aware that there were 5 undefeated teams this year; three had to sit out. I probably would have picked Texas as well.
This is an indictment of the entire BCS system. Do you think that a team like Alabama, who scheduled North Texas State, Florida International or Tn.- Chattanooga is going to make room for a Boise State or TCU so they can beef up their resume?
These schools raid all the cupcakes on the hostess truck so they can pad their schedule with wins. Then they roll the dice in conference play.
That's why it needs to be settled on the field not in the board room of a cartel known as the BCS schools. Instead , we don't get Boise or TCU against the traditional powers, they get to play themselves just to make sure they don't upset the cartel. You'd think this caball of academics would be appalled at the whole "rich get richer" quality of college football. But it's one thing when it's a Wall Street bank, they have no skin in that game.
At least the Bearcats get to play against one of those powers even though they are technically one of the BCS schools.
This week, I'll lay out my 16 team playoff format which actually incorporates the current bowl system.
But this system is a total scam. And just like Bartman says, it's akin to figure skating where reputation trumps actual performance.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Yesterday was a long day for the Gekko's as we made the trek to Pittsburgh for the Bearcat's game.
It made for along day but the results were awesome as the Bearcats won on a squeaker 45-44; finishing a perfect 12-0 record. Now we're on for a BCS bid with the potential to finish 13-0.
Congrats to BK and the crew for a great game and a equally great season.
By the way, it helped yesterday that Kelly was matched up against the worst coach in Bear's history, Dave Wannstache.
Back to bed for me.