Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ALG Praises Senator Mike Johanns for Sponsoring Obamacare Paperwork Reduction Amendment

Fairfax, VA – Americans for Limited Government (ALG) expressed extreme disappointment that the U.S. Senate failed to allow a vote that would have eliminated a provision in the recently passed Obamacare law which requires businesses to report expenditures with another business that exceeds $600, but praised Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns for introducing the amendment to repeal of the measure.

Bill Wilson, ALG president praised Johanns for offering the amendment saying, “Senator Johanns is to be commended for trying to fix this problem. It is simply outrageous that this Congress continues to ignore the damage that they are doing to our nation’s job producers through massively expensive paperwork burdens, it’s almost as if they don’t want people to get jobs.”

Johanns’ amendment would have repealed a portion of the new health care law that requires businesses to file paperwork (known as 1099 forms) with both the IRS and the business that provided services or sold products to them that exceeded $600 over the course of a year. Additionally, the company that received the services or purchased the products with a purchase price in excess of $600 would have to file 1099 forms with the IRS and their business customer.

“The failure of this Congress to fix this single, obviously destructive provision, shows just how out of touch the current leadership is,” Wilson concluded.

The blizzard of paperwork is scheduled to begin in January 2012.
Get permalink here.

The Little Engine That Couldn’t

By Rebekah Rast
Do you remember The Little Engine That Could?

He was just a small engine that was able to pull an entire line of cars up a steep grade and down the other side. As the little engine chanted, “I think I can, I think I can” the entire way up, he was able to complete his task.
In many ways, America’s little engines are its small businesses. They hire, invest, grow and move America through its ebbs and flows.
Until now.

As these little engines, with the rest of America, sit in a deep-pitted recession, they aren’t able to chug their way out due to being derailed by taxes, regulations and an uncertain future.
Get full story here.

To Extend or Not

Get permalink here.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution

By Adam Bitely

The Executive branch is one of the more controversial branches of the Federal Government.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution lays out the duties of the Executive Branch, and it is far briefer than Article I which grants Congress its power. It is no coincidence that the Founding Fathers chose to list the Executive Branch second in the Constitution, behind the powers that they grant to Congress, which they viewed as the most powerful of the three branches.

After the Revolutionary War, many were skeptical of a strong executive—and rightly so. The American colonies had just waged a war against a “tyrant” who had ruled as a strong executive. The Founders were naturally wary of allowing the same thing to happen on their own soil. Thus, they created a rather weak executive office that was empowered to carry out the will of congress.
Get full story here.

TimesCheck.com: NYT Seeks to Discredit Rep. Boehner’s Business Alliances as White House Gets a Free Pass on Lobbying Ties, Union Support

By Kevin Mooney

Although the Obama White House is filled to the brim with former lobbyists, Rep. John Boehner’s alliances and connections with pro-business groups are somehow illegitimate and unseemly. With the mid-term elections just a few weeks away, the idea here is to take down and discredit an effective, well-liked minority leader who is well positioned to become the next House Speaker.

Private strategy sessions organized in concert with free market activists and lobbyists who are united in their opposition to new regulatory schemes are suggestive of undue influence and in direct conflict with the best interests of average Americans, The New York Times strongly implies in a front page Sunday report. The idea here is to discredit and delegitimize Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) just a few weeks before the mid-term elections that could help elect him as the next House Speaker.
While the report is framed as a straight news story, it is in reality a hit piece meant to coincide with intensified White House criticism of the affable, well-liked leader of the opposition.

President Obama mentioned Boehner by name eight times in a Cleveland speech last week that focused on economics. Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is set to begin airing new ads that criticize Boehner for opposing additional state aid for teachers and Medicare. And, the NYT is doing its part to interlink the Ohio Republican with special interests.
Get full story here.

CNBC: LeBron James’ Q Score Plunges

Written By:  Scott 

The negative opinions surround LeBron James and the summer of 2010 have been rampant.  Now, thanks to an exclusive from CNBC, we have hard data to back up the vitriol that’s been sprayed at James like his free agency took place in the game Contra.

Per Darren Rovell, James’ Q Score prior to The Decision (January 2010) reflected that of a 24 percent positive, 22 percent negative opinion.  Today, that number is drastically lower as James has a positive opinion of 14 percent with the negative side elevating to 39 percent – a 77 percent decline over the course of a summer.

Henry Schafer, executive VP of Q Scores Company brings the thunder.

“Instead of his change to the Heat being seen as the best way he can win a championship, many have looked at it and how he chose to announce it as a selfish move,” Schafer said.

Rovell reports that the Q Scores of his new teammates have also declined, signaling that James’ move to Miami cast an anchor of sorts on their respective totals.   Schafer added that LeBron’s “Decision” was one of the most catastrophic acts – not related to any anti-social behavior —  by a sports star in the 45 years of the Q Score’s existance.

A lot has been made of James’ decision to join his friends in Miami not only due to leaving Cleveland, but also for what it does to the future of the NBA as the perception is that there will now be a handful of “powerhouse” teams coupled with everyone else.  In a recent interview with SLAM Online, James seemed apathetic towards outside opinion of his Decision, casting it as an inability to “make everyone happy.”

“I think that’s one thing learned over the summer,” said James. ”I learned throughout my life, that’s one thing you can’t base your life or base your career on, trying to make everyone happy. You have to go out and do what’s best for you and your family, and at the end of the day you know that you played as hard as you can, you know that you gave blood, sweat and tears, then you can be satisfied with that.”

On Bledsoe story, it isn’t Pete Thamel this time

Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe
It’s not Pete Thamel, this time.

It’s the Birmingham News’ Jon Solomon, who reports this morning that conflicting grades on Eric Bledsoe’s transcript calls into question whether the ex-Kentucky guard should have been eligible to play college basketball in the first place.

This isn’t the report from the Birmingham Schools Investigation. That has yet to be released, though it was reported last week that the report could be coming soon.
Instead, this appears to be independent reporting by Solomon.
The crux of the story comes here:
Bledsoe’s four-year transcript shows he made an A in Algebra 3 in night school as a senior by receiving a 90 during each of the two sessions. However, a grade report from those night sessions showed Bledsoe was recorded as making a C average, with a low C recorded in the first session and a low B recorded in the second.
And here:
In a telephone conversation with The Birmingham News, the Algebra 3 teacher, Larry Webster, said the final course grade recorded on the night-school grade report is wrong. “You’ve got the wrong grade. There are two of those printout sheets. I already talked to the (school) board attorney.” He said he wouldn’t comment further and hung up.
Of course, Thamel and the New York Times first reported on possible problems with Bledsoe’s grades back in May.
Since the Algebra 3 teacher said he did speak to the (school) board’s attorney, the Birmingham Schools report will apparently deal with the discrepancy in grades. And just because the NCAA Eligibility Center cleared Bledsoe to play at UK doesn’t mean the NCAA could not retroactively declare that the Birmingham native was ineligible to play at Kentucky. If that’s the case, well, we’ll just have to wait on the report.

Chris Rainey charged with aggravated stalking

chris rainey 212x214 Chris Rainey charged with aggravated stalking
Junior wide receiver Chris Rainey of the Florida Gators was arrested early this morning after sending a woman threatening text messages. Allegedly, one of the messages he sent to her said “time to die” when she failed to answer a phone call from him.
Once officers arrived at the woman’s residence, Rainey allegedly said “wait and see what happens when they leave.” At that point, officers went to Rainey’s on-campus residence and arrested him.
In court Tuesday, the woman involved, Kelly Anderson, said: “I did not want to have him arrested last night. When the police came, I signed papers to not press any charges. I don’t fear for my safety. I think he should be released on his own recognizance.”
Rainey, who left last week’s South Florida game with a concussion, was expected to play this weekend according to head coach Urban Meyer. But less than 12 hours after making that statement, this incident occurred.
Interesting to see how this one is handled. My guess? He’ll get a slap on the wrist and be forced to sit out the first series.

“Original Civil Rights Photographer” Was FBI Informant

By Allan Lengel

The late “original civil rights photographer” Ernest Withers snapped shots of history: the motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot; King riding one of the first desegregated buses in Alabama.

But there was a little known side to the man who had a front row seat in the civil rights movement: He was an FBI informant, according to the Tennessee Commercial Appeal.

The paper reported that he marched with King and sat in on some of the civil rights movement’s sensitive strategy meetings.

He died in 2007 at age 85, the paper reported.

FBI Stats Show Violent Crime Down for 3 Years in Row

crime 2009By Allan Lengel
For AOL News
Despite a sour economy and disturbingly high unemployment, property crime dropped in 2009 for the seventh year in a row, according to FBI statistics released today. Violent crime also declined for the third consecutive year.

The FBI statistics show the murder and non-negligent manslaughter rate dropped by 7.3 percent from 2009 compared to 2008 and robberies slipped by 8 percent. Aggravated assaults dipped 4.2 percent, and rape dropped by 2.6 percent.

The FBI said there were an estimated 1.3 million violent crimes reported in 2009 and 9.3 million property crimes.

Criminologist Lawrence Kobilinsky, chairman of the Department of Sciences at New York’s John Jay College, credits the drop to improved police methods, including use of DNA and crime databases to solve burglaries and similar crimes that are often perpetrated by people who “commit 10, 20, 30 burglaries before they’re caught.”

To read more click here.

INDIANA: 15 Year-Old Boy Commits Suicide Over Anti-Gay Bullying

Another dead victim of anti-gay bullying, this time in Indiana.
He was a teenager who didn't quite fit in. His classmates said Billy Lucas was bullied for being different. The 15-year-old never told anyone he was gay but students at Greensburg High School thought he was and so they picked on him. "People would call him 'fag' and stuff like that, just make fun of him because he's different basically," said student Dillen Swango. Students told Fox59 News it was common knowledge that children bullied Billy and from what they said, it was getting worse. Last Thursday, Billy's mother found him dead inside their barn. He had hung himself. Students said on that same day, some students told Billy to kill himself. "They said stuff like 'you're like a piece of crap' and 'you don't deserve to live.' Different things like that. Talked about how he was gay or whatever," said Swango.
School administrators claim to have had no knowledge of the bullying, despite many students saying that they were aware of Billy's torment. A memorial Facebook page for Billy can be found here. Indiana does not include gay youth in its anti-bullying laws, no doubt thanks to repulsive Christianist groups like Focus On The Family.

Charles Robbins, executive director of the Trevor Project, responds to Billy Lucas' death.
Currently, there is no national standard to protect all of our children from bullying and harassment at school. Yet, we know that as many as 1 in 10 sexual minority youth have been physically assaulted at school, and that when youth are threatened or get into fights, or have property stolen at school, their risk of attempting suicide more than doubles. That is why The Trevor Project supports fully inclusive federal legislation, like the Safe Schools Improvement Act currently under consideration in the Senate, to offer the protections all of our children need from torment and ridicule at school, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Only with an enforceable national standard that offers resources and support to educators and staff, no matter the size of a school district, will we be able to prevent future tragedies like Greensburg High School has experienced. The death of Billy Lucas is a tragedy, and one that might have been prevented if his school district had the support of a fully inclusive anti-harassment and anti-bullying law.

Posted by Joe 

The Bronx Is Burning: Fired Domino's Employee Torches 2 of Chain's Storefronts

A fired Domino's employee in The Bronx set fire to two Domino's storefronts on the morning of August 22, says this New York Daily News report:
[Jamal] Thomas held on to his key and uniform, and used both to exact his revenge.
He visited several stores in uniform, claiming to be part of a secret Domino's team measuring employee satisfaction. He was really scoping out targets to torch, investigators believe.
Both fires were started with pizza boxes inside the stores, the report says.

Harry Reid Schedules Senate Vote On DADT Repeal For Next Week

It appears that the long-overdue Senate vote on the repeal of DADT will come at last next week.
A senior Democratic leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Reid met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday to inform the Republican leader that the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill will come to the Senate floor the week of Sept. 20. The aide said Senate leadership is anticipating the Senate won’t have unanimous consent to bring the legislation to the floor, so 60 votes will be necessary to end a filibuster and move forward with debate on the bill. “We are going to take it the floor next week to see where the votes are,” the aide said.
Was it Lady Gaga? Nah...
posted by Joe

Israelis And Palestinians Meet In Egypt For Resumption Of Peace Talks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) shake hands as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton smiles in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh Sept. 14, 2010. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas started the second round of direct talks on Tuesday in Sharm el-Sheikh after their first round in nearly two years in Washington on Sept. 2.(Xinhua/Hayam Adel)

Clinton Hails 'Moment Of Great Opportunity' As Middle East Peace Talks Resume -- The Daily Mail

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has travelled to Egypt today for the latest round of Middle East peace talks, hailing the negotiations as a 'moment of great opportunity'.

On her way to the talks Mrs Clinton said she believes the 'time is ripe' for an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Read more ....

Iran releases Sarah Shourd but retains other hikers

Peter Stone
Spy camera

There's no evidence that the Iranians found a spy cam in the hikers' backpacks. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

In July of 2009, three people were hiking through Kurdistan, an area comprising parts of Turkey, Iraq and Iran. The often conflicted area is named for the ethnic population of the region, the Kurds. The hikers were taken into custody by Iranian authorities and accused of being spies and carrying out espionage. Authorities promised to release one and then recanted, and now have flip-flopped again and freed Sarah Shourd, one of the hikers. Iranian authorities offered her release for $500,000, which the U.S. refused to pay. The other hikers remain in custody, one of which is her fiance.

Hiking with intent to spy

All three captured hikers, Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, work in the Middle East. Bauer is also Shourd’s fiance. They picked Kurdistan as a vacation site because it is mostly free of the sectarian conflicts in the southern parts of Iraq. While hiking outside of Zalem, a village in Iraqi Kurdistan, the hikers were detained by the Iranian national police, according to The Nation. Though the border is not easily identified, locals in the area claim that Iranian forces regularly enter Iraq, where they lack jurisdiction.

One hiker freed

Several weeks ago, the Iranian government announced it would release Sarah Shourd on $500,000 bail, which the U.S. government said it would not pay. Days later, the Iranian government recanted. Then, it was announced that Sarah Shourd was being released, on bail, for health reasons, according to CNN. Washington and Tehran technically have no relations, and the Swiss have been acting as liaison since 1979. The bail was supposedly deposited into a bank account in Oman. Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal remain in Iranian custody.

No case for espionage

Numerous sources have reported that the hikers never even crossed into the Iranian border. People from the area where they were captured have repeatedly said that Iranian police and intelligence operatives openly and notoriously cross the border and detain people. A simple accidental trespassing charge should take 10 minutes in front of any judge. There is little evidence that the detention of these people was anything other than politically motivated.


The Nation

Jay-Z Leads All Star Line-Up To The Yankee Stadium

September 14th, 2010 by Petar Kujundzic 
Jay Z and Eminem Home Tour Yankee Stadium Jay Z Leads All Star 
Line Up To The Yankee Stadium
Continuing the highly successful Home & Home-Tour, Jay-Z showed plenty of hometown-love last night at the Yankee-Stadium. With an impressive all-star lineup that featured the likes of Beyoncé, Drake, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Swizz Beatz and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, the mogul offered an epic show for its spectators thus solidifying his reputation as New York City’s unofficial mayor. Find details and more images after the jump.

After B.o.B. and J. Cole opened the memorable night, Eminem took the stage to bring forth a very special reunion by inviting Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and the G-Unit to join him.

Hova’s set was nothing less impressive as he began with the “Dynastie Intro” thus commemorating the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. He continued the show by delivering “Run This Town” featuring VMAs-closer Kanye West who once again was dressed all in red. Both artists did not hesitate to perform their recent collaborations “Power”-Remix and “Monster”. For the latter, the duo was joined by Nicki Minaj who used this opportunity well by showcasing her live abilities. The Young Money-spirit continued as Jigga was joined by Drake to to perform “Miss Me” and “Light Up” live for the first time. Colplay’s Chris Martin accompanied him on “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love),” “Most Kings,” and “Viva La Vida” only to let Beyoncé to assist her husband closing the show by giving “Young Forever” to the masses. Much to the joy of the audience, which was just as star-studded with LeBron James, Charlize Theron, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Naomi Campbell.

Jay-Z summarized the event adequately:
It’s one of the most unbelievable feelings in the world, being from New York and being in Yankee stadium. This is historic. There ain’t never gonna be another night like tonight.
Dre Yankee Stadium Jay Z Leads All Star Line Up To The Yankee 
Kanye West and Jay Z Yankee Stadium Jay Z Leads All Star Line Up 
To The Yankee Stadium
Jay Z Kanye West Nicki Minaj Yankee Stadium Jay Z Leads All Star 
Line Up To The Yankee Stadium
Jay Z Swizz Beatz Yankee Stadium Jay Z Leads All Star Line Up To 
The Yankee Stadium
Photography: MTV

George Michael gets jail-time for latest DUI crash

George Michael Posted on September 14th, 2010 by Austin
[HMG Celebrity News] – We reported in August that former ‘Wham’ singer, George Michael could face jail time for his latest display of bad driving, and it’s come true – A British Judge has just sentenced George to eight weeks in prison.
Last month the 47-year old singer pleaded guilty to a DUI charge and possession of cannabis, after crashing his $125,000 Range Rover into a London photo store on July 4th. Today, the Judge sentenced him to eight-weeks in jail and a fine of £1,250 [$1,937]. He was also banned from driving for five years.

George is reported to have gasped in shock as the sentence was read out.

This latest trouble began when he was arrested in the early hours of last July 4th in Hampstead, North London after steering his Range Rover into the door of a one-hour photo shop called ‘Snappy Snaps.’ He was promptly arrested and taken to Hampstead police station, where the cops found he was also carrying cannabis cigarettes.
Police described Michael’s condition at the time as ’spaced out.’ He was found slumped over the wheel with the engine still running, and later admitted he’d smoked marijuana and taken a sedative before trying to drive.
And this is not the first time George has had car trouble – In February of 2006, Police found him asleep at the wheel in the middle of London’s ‘Hyde Park Corner.’ – an intersection so frantic it makes Broadway look like a car park.

Three months later he damaged three other cars just trying to get out of a parking space.
Four months after that his car was found blocking a busy intersection, with the engine still on and George asleep at the wheel. Again. That won him a date with a Judge and three months of community service.
Today, George’s lawyers told the court the singer was trying to get clean and was writing new songs. But the Judge was unmoved – He told their client he saw no choice other than to impose a custodial sentence.
George is expected to serve half of this latest sentence in prison, then be released to serve the rest on probation.

We’ll keep you advised…
Source: AP