Friday, December 3, 2010

Tynielle Silvera: Honor Student Killed By Drunk Driver

Tynielle Silvera was the kind of person we all want our children to be. She was making good grades, on her way to college and even tutoring other kids in the neighborhood. She was planning on becoming an attorney, and had become her mother's pride and joy.

Silvera's dreams for the future came to a screeching halt this week, as she was run down by a drunk driver as she was crossing the street.

The perpetrator of the crime, Kenneth Serwan, is a 46-year old married father of three who'd been convicted of drunk driving in the past. He is being held on $100,000 bail. At the time of her death, Tynielle was crossing the highway to take the train back home after heading to Bedford-Stuyvesant, where she'd been tutoring 13-year-old Leanora Genus.

Genus said that Silvera was like a sister or best friend to her, and always motivated her to strive for her goals. Serwan's decision to drink and drive that day caused the painful and instant death of the dreams of two young women. He should be ashamed of his choices, as should anyone who has even taken a chance on getting behind the wheel after drinking.

A recent study showed that alcohol is the most costly drug in our society, ranking ahead of crack, heroine and crystal meth. The high price of this drug of choice comes not just from the damage it does to the individual, but also from what it does to the rest of us. Millions of people are affected each year by alcohol-related incidents, including drunk driving accidents, rape, domestic violence, etc. If we are going to protect the Tynielle Silveras of the world, we must confront the demon of alcohol consumption.

Even more harmful for Tynielle is that she could have been affected by alcohol abuse if she'd had a chance to attend college. Over 92,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 report being victims of sexual assault committed by someone under the influence of alcohol. Also, 42 percent of college students admit to binge drinking. I've spent the last 20 years of my life on a college campus, and I can say that this accident wouldn't have been the last time that Tynielle's life would be significantly impacted by alcohol.

I was at dinner once with a colleague that I worked with every single day. I respected the brother a great deal, but he honestly liked to drink too much. Once, we went to dinner and I saw him gulp down several drinks before the meal, a few more during the meal and even more after the meal. I then sat there like an idiot as he grabbed his car keys, got behind the wheel and drove home.

I may never forgive myself for failing to speak up that day. I should have stopped him from getting into that car. I did confront him a few months later about his drinking, telling him that he is not only jeopardizing his own life, but that he is risking the lives of others and sending the wrong message to the students who looked up to him. He never spoke to me again and I lost a friend for life. Truth be told, I couldn't care less about losing a friend that day, because he needed to be confronted.

When we see others who drink too much and consider getting behind the wheel after drinking, it is our obligation to stop them, no matter what it takes. It may be uncomfortable, and it may cause a confrontation. But by stopping a person from drinking and driving, we might be saving the life of an innocent victim. Tynielle Silvera had a future, and alcohol killed it. The tears of her mother should be etched in our hearts, and we must stand up to the demon of alcohol abuse.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Solicitor of Labor Documents Show Plan to "Shame" Employers into Unionizing

December 3rd, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Documents obtained by Americans for Limited Government (ALG) Research Foundation through a Department of Labor whistleblower show a coordinated strategy by the Solicitor of Labor, Patricia Smith, to force reluctant employers to unionize.

ALG Research Director Don Todd, whose office obtained the documents, explained, “To help the unions, the Department of Labor is going to put public-relations people in every regional office to beat the drums on EEOC, OSHA, and wage-an-hour violations of employers that refuse to organize. And they will find violations.”

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund, Smith said “she didn't know what” a plan to “deter [employers] through shaming” meant.

An ALG backgrounder Todd said the “broader plan outlines exactly what it means. Employers that refuse to unionize are going to be targeted for litigation.”
Get permalink here.

Cancun “Can’t”

By Howard Rich
“Cancun can.”
That’s the catchphrase of this year’s United Nations’ “global warming” conference — a costly taxpayer-funded boondoggle being held at the tropical Yucatan vacation destination. Last December U.S. taxpayers shelled out more than $1 million to send a 106-person delegation to the UN climate conference in Copenhagen — where President Barack Obama pledged billions of American tax dollars toward a radical global wealth redistribution scheme.

How much will this latest junket cost us? Aside from the exorbitant travel costs, American “climate ambassador” Jonathan Pershing has already pledged $1.7 billion of your tax money to the effort — and that’s just to cover the scheme’s “fast-start” funding.

According to the agreement reached in Copenhagen, this wealth redistribution fund would siphon as much as $100 billion annually from developed nations like the U.S. beginning in 2020.
Get full story here.

Compromise With Me

ALG Editor's Note: William Warren's award-winning cartoons published at are a free service of ALG News Bureau. They may be reused and redistributed free of charge.
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Senators Support Taxpayer Defunding of Public Broadcasting

By Rebekah Rast
This year alone, American taxpayers spent $420 million to fund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
Due to the downswing of the economy, CPB has requested $604 million for Fiscal Year 2013.

“Businesses and families have been forced to cut their budgets because of the poor economy, CPB should too,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) in an op-ed in the Washington Examiner stating his support for defunding CPB.

This is not a new agenda for Capitol Hill. In June, Rep. Lamborn introduced H.R. 5538, which would effectively prohibit federal funding for CPB after FY 2012.

“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting puts out some programs that I enjoy and a lot of people enjoy, but they can stand on their own two feet,” Lamborn says in an exclusive interview with Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “In fact, 87 percent of their money comes from sources other than the U.S. taxpayer. So why should we, in days of $1 trillion annual deficits, give money to a corporation or any company that can fund itself.”

CPB is a nonprofit that receives about 13 percent of its funding from the federal government—meaning taxpayers.
Get full story here.

Pelosi’s Job Destruction Legacy Continues With Lame Duck Tax Increase Vote

By Rick Manning

Video by Frank McCaffrey
Nancy Pelosi is taking one last upper cut to our nation’s job creators before she goes back to being the leader of a ragtag group of inconsequential leftists in January 2011.

Pelosi clearly is not content with having the jobless rate rise during her four year tenure in the House of Representatives from 4.6 percent when she became Speaker in 2007 to a stunning 9.6 percent in the month her party was voted out of power. No, doubling the unemployment rate is not enough for Ms. Pelosi, before she leaves power she is determined to deliver another haymaker to the reeling economy. Pelosi and her cohorts voted to raise taxes on the nation’s job creators in a flailing attempt to show she is for the “middle class” but not the “rich”.

Ironically, this is the same Pelosi who spent years railing against the tax rates established by Congress in 2001 and 2003, decrying them for years as tax cuts for the rich. Now, by extending tax cuts for “middle class” Americans, she is admitting that in fact, the “Bush” tax cuts actually benefited all Americans, not exactly her campaign rhetoric.

Get full story and video here.

Generous Hillary Clinton Provides New ‘Not Running For President’ Story


Hillary Clinton was in Bahrain today, and because we live in a period of history after her husband’s presidency and before her death (from that most feminist of diseases, breast cancer, we presume), somebody asked her if she was interested in running for president. And because Hillary Clinton has yet to become mentally ill from hearing the same question over and over, as people ignore her actual, present existence, she politely answered, and now the media has a brand-new “Hillary Clinton denies running for Obama job!” story. “I think I’ll serve as secretary of state as my last public position, and then probably go back to advocacy work, particularly on behalf of women and children,” she said. So, she’s going to run for president of the women and children?
It was the first time Clinton has spoken so directly about leaving public service, where she has been a dominant figure in Democratic circles for two decades.
Of course, Clinton used the words “think” and “probably,” soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo… hopefully a tapeworm packed with explosives has wriggled its way into the body of each and every media person in the world and will detonate in approximately five seconds!
…Damn. [Reuters]

Wikileaks UFO Disclosure - WikiLeaks Cables Contain UFO Info Claims Assange

Breaking UFO News : Answering reader questions in The Guardian, Australian-born Assange said: "Many weirdos email us about UFOs or how they discovered that they were the anti-christ whilst talking with their ex-wife at a garden party over a pot-plant. However, as yet they have not satisfied two of our publishing rules. 1) that the documents not be self-authored; 2) that they be original.

"However, it is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the Cablegate archive there are indeed references to UFOs."

Whether these amount to intercepted communications from other world's where little green men make unpleasant comments about earthlings remains to be seen.

We believe the latest report about how The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is poised to add the Internet to its portfolio of regulated industries is a move to censor the truth..

More Info coming .....

KKK snowman

Inspired by the joyous holiday season, one resident of Hayden, Idaho made this delightful snowman in his front yard. And yes, that's a noose in its hand. From
 2010 1201 25975010 240X180The homeowner who had the offensive snow sculpture in front of his home is Mark, who was profiled by KXLY back in July when he posted flags ranging from an Aryan Nations flag to an SS flag at his home, drawing the ire of his neighbors. Then in October he angered residents further when, according to neighbors, he passed out bullets on Halloween. Mark refuted his neighbors claims, saying he didn't actually pass out bullets, but rather he passed out bullet casings, and only did so after he ran out of candy. A self-described white separatist, Mark, who declined to give his last name during an interview in July, said Wednesday there was nothing wrong with his snowman.

Kurtis Blow Denies Marijuana Arrest Allegations

Kurtis Blow is denying reports that he was arrested Thursday for possession of marijuana.

TMZ reported yesterday that the rapper was busted at LAX after a TSA body scan determined he had marijuana in his pocket.

Authorities report that since it was under an ounce, he was given a ticket and allowed to proceed through security screenings.

Now Blow is taking to his Twitter page to clear speculation about the incident and assure fans that he was not arrested.

Speaking on his airport episode, he tweeted:
What is this I hear bout me being busted for weed at the airport? Not true. Isn't weed legal in California? Tmz is bugging.”
Governor Schwarzenegger previously signed a law that would make possession of less than an ounce of marijuana an infraction subject to a maximum of a $100 fine.

Edgar Jimenez (AKA El Ponchis): 14 Yr Old Mexican Teen Drug Hitman Arrested

Mexican army has arrested a 14-year-old boy on suspicion of being a hired killer for a drug cartel.
Officials said Edgar Jimenez, nicknamed El Ponchis, had been trying to catch a plane from Cuernavaca to the US with two of his sisters.

The military alleges that he took part in a number of beheadings under the influence of drugs supplied by the cartel.

South Korean jets will bomb North if it attacks again

President Lee Myung-bak’s government is suffering intense criticism that its response to North Korea’s Nov. 23 barrage on a South Korean island was weak, and over the stunning revelation that the South’s spy chief dismissed information in August indicating the North might attack the front-line island of Yeonpyeong.
Lee’s nominee, Kim Kwan-jin, told a parliamentary confirmation hearing that further North Korean aggression will result in airstrikes. He said South Korea will use all its combat capabilities to retaliate.
SKorean jets will bomb North if it attacks again

WikiLeaks Has UFOs Documents: Julian Assange

WikiLeaks has UFOs Documents: Julian Assange

LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Does WikiLeaks have documents on UFOs or extraterrestrials? Julian Assange’s UFOs question came in a new Guardian interview that asked about the release of a quarter-million US diplomatic cables. The Guardian asked Julian Assange about his legal troubles, engineering issues, and plans for the future. But dropped in their was a notable question and shocking answer.

“Have there ever been documents forwarded to you which deal with the topic of UFOs or extraterrestrials?” Assange’s answer was “yes”. Moreover, he suggests that the documents could soon get released. “It is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the cablegate archive there are indeed references to UFOs.”

How many documents are there? WikiLeaks according to Assange receives many more correspondences than those that satisfy WikiLeaks’ “publishing rules”. But the cablegate archives about the UFOs reportedly meet those standards and will be released.
Eight feared UFOs have been spotted hovering over Chinese airports since June, says news reports.  The confusion is causing British news to suggest that the aircrafts are not UFOs but secret new Chinese military planes, not disclosed to Chinese airport officials.
Alleged UFO Chinese Airport Pictures Set 1

In July, news reports claimed a UFO sighting over Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport; the airport was shut down. On June 30,  Xinjiang was reportedly shut down following a similar sighting. In summer 2010, Sichuan province suffered similar shutdowns blamed on illuminated items. On September 11, the airport at Baotou, Inner Mongolia, was shut down upon another alleged spotting; three flights to Baotou from Shanghai and Beijing were diverted during the episode.
The Chinese military and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) have repeatedly suggested lack of communication between the two organizations. This fall, the CAAC was left to speculate what was spotted above its own airports that prompted their closures.
Alleged UFO Chinese Airport Pictures Set 2

Chinese news claimed in July that the CAAC couldn’t release the information because “there was a military connection.” Eighteen flights were delayed or rerouted on July 7 at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport at roughly 9 pm local time, reported CNN. That prompted Wang Jian, head of air traffic control with Zhejiang branch of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, to have no explanation for the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport incident. “No conclusion has yet been drawn”.

UFO Chinese Airport Photo 5
UFO Chinese Airport Photo 6

UFO Chinese Airport Photo 2UFO Chinese Airport Photo 3

Helen Thomas says Congress, White House, Hollywood and Wall Street are owned by Zionists

by Philip Weiss

Who said there are only two acts in American lives? Helen Thomas keeps on going. Here she is in the Detroit Free Press saying that her firing has liberated her to speak the truth about Zionist influence. Apparently she gave a speech in Dearborn, Michigan. John Mearsheimer lately called Dennis Ross an agent for Israel and Thomas calls him a Zionist. Well for god's sake he headed the Jewish People Policy Institute, which is based in Jerusalem. Isn't that a story? This guy is now making our policy? Is Thomas right or is she wrong about Zionist influence? When will the debate really happen? I think the answer is, When Jews come out strongly against Zionism and can show that this is not about Jews, it is about an ideology/mindset/frame that pervades and distorts Jewish life. Thomas:

"I paid the price for that [speaking out]," said Thomas, a longtime White House correspondent. "But it was worth it, to speak the truth."
"The Zionists have to understand that's their country, too. Palestinians were there long before any European Zionists."

Thomas claimed that "You can not say anything (critical) about Israel in this country."
In a speech that drew a standing ovation, Thomas talked about "the whole question of money involved in politics." "We are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There's no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion. They put their money where there mouth is…We're being pushed into a wrong direction in every way."...

In her speech to about 300 inside a center in Dearborn, Thomas lashed out at the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying they were built on lies. And she decried bias against Arabs.

"We all know the Arabs are much maligned. They are automatically terrorists. I was called the Hizballah at the White House, Hamas, and everything else. But I never bowed to those kinds of slurs because I know who I am. I'm an American."

Criticizing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Thomas said "we've lost our way."

In the interview, she said the Iraq war was "a war built on lies."

"Seven years of war now with Iraq. They did nothing to us. They are totally innocent, and they were just demonized. I'm not saying Saddam Hussein wasn't a terrible man. But how many thousands of Iraqis did you kill, for what reason?…They've never explained the war. No weapons of mass destruction. No ties to Al-Qaeda. What is this? Why are we killing those people. And why are we there?"...

During her interview and speech, Thomas often used the term "Zionists" negatively, saying that Dennis Ross, President Obama's adviser to the Middle East, was a Zionist.

"Obama, he puts in charge for the Arab world a Zionist like Dennis Ross…You don't put a Zionist in charge of the Muslim world in the White House."

Its Hard to Hold a Candle

in the cold November rain....

The BLS November employment report is a bummer, especially in the wake of mostly improving economic reports (e.g., consumer confidence, unemployment insurance claims, regional manufacturing surveys, etc).

According to the BLS, employment increased by a mere 39,000 and the unemployment rate rose from 9.6 to 9.8%.

The rise in the unemployment rate was not, alas, due to people re-entering the labor force - the participation rate was unchanged at a (depressed) 64.5%.  According to the household survey, 173,000 fewer people were employed in November (recall that the headline employment number comes from the separate survey of businesses, while the unemployment rate is calculated using the household survey).

If the other, positive, economic reports are ultimately reflected in strong fourth quarter GDP, the employment numbers would be an indication of rising productivity (for the third quarter, the BLS reported 2.3% labor productivity growth).

Out of the 15.1 million unemployed (!!!!), 6.3 million have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks.  There was a good article yesterday in the Times on how long-term employment can have persistent effects, as people who have been unemployed for a long time become less employable (a form of what is sometimes called "hysteresis" in the economics literature).

Hopefully the report will concentrate some minds in Washington (but don't hold your breath).  It should strengthen the President's attempt to salvage an extension of unemployment benefits from the negotiations with the Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts.

November is one of the months when the seasonal adjustment makes things look worse - on an unadjusted basis, the unemployment rate was 9.3% (up from 9% in October), and payroll employment increased by 217,000.

For more on the employment report, see Calculated Risk, David Leonhardt, Free Exchange, and Real Time Economics' roundup.

BY Bill C

November jobs report: Unemployment rate up

The government's monthly labor report threw a curve ball Friday morning as November's job growth came in far lower than expected and the unemployment rate rose to 9.8%. U.S. employers added 39,000 jobs to their payrolls in November, the Labor Department reported. That marks a major slowdown from October, when the economy added an upwardly revised 172,000 jobs.

Can We Do the Non-Crazy Thing with the Bush Tax Cuts?

December 1st, 2010 . by economistmom
I am no longer going to “let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”  I am no longer going to try to talk people into seeing that the “right” thing to do with the Bush tax cuts would be to let them all expire.  (The even “righter” thing would have been to never have enacted them in the first place.)  I am just going to urge the policymakers to avoid doing something with the Bush tax cuts that seems totally contradictory to the fiscal policy goals–both shorter-term and longer-term–that they claim to have.  In other words, let’s try to avoid doing something with the Bush tax cuts that seems totally crazy given what we say our fiscal policy goals are for both adequately supporting the (still fragile) short-term economy and better encouraging economic growth by reducing the deficit over the longer term.

The fiscal policymaking in this town seems totally schizophrenic right now.  What a juxtaposition to have President Obama’s deficit-reduction commission release its final report while the Administration “negotiates” with Congress on whether all of the Bush tax cuts, or just most of them, should be permanently extended (and deficit financed).  The media has been reporting that whether the bulk of the Bush tax cuts will be extended or not is not the issue–it is whether the upper-bracket ones benefitting only the rich will be included as well, and what constitutes “rich.”  (That floor may be moving up all the way to $1 million.)
Let’s remember that the permanent extension of “just” the “middle-class” Bush tax cuts, as President Obama has proposed, would add about $2.2 trillion to the debt over the next ten years–without interest costs and without the associated extension of Alternative Minimum Tax relief.  Such extension would preserve the full value of Bush tax cuts for 97-98 percent of households while continuing to give the largest dollar value of tax cuts to those above the $250,000 threshold.  (That’s because those in the upper tax brackets have income that passes entirely through the lower brackets.)  Extending the upper bracket cuts along with the rest would raise the ten-year cost to close to $3 trillion (again, without interest).  So the Administration and Congress are debating over whether we should commit to over $2 trillion, versus closer to $3 trillion, in deficit-financed Bush tax cuts.

Meanwhile, the President’s fiscal commission has recommended that federal revenues be increased as part of a package of policy changes that would get deficits down to economically sustainable levels by 2015 and beyond.  Yes, it’s a package that is heavier on the spending-cut side than on the tax-increase side.  Yes, it’s a tax proposal with a Republican-oriented goal of keeping marginal tax rates low, in fact, lower than Reagan-era tax rates.  But the revenue increases come from broadening the tax base in ways that reduce tax preferences for higher-income households more than lower-income ones, preserving or even increasing the overall progressivity of the tax system while making the tax system more efficient.  And the central message on tax policy from all of the various commissions, task forces, and study groups that have reported recently is pretty simple:  beyond the next couple years, we need more revenue, not less.

That’s why I think it’s crazy to be arguing about which portions of the Bush tax cuts should be permanently extended.  The first-best debate should be over whether to extend any of them at all, because whether it comes to our short-term tax policy needs (stimulate demand in the economy) or our longer-term tax policy needs (raise more adequate revenue in pro-growth ways), the Bush tax cuts are far from the best (even tax) policy to address those needs.  Note that today the President’s own fiscal commission echoed the Bipartisan Policy Center’s call for a payroll tax holiday as a far more effective way to use tax cuts to stimulate the economy in the short-term.  (See page 43 in the final commission report.)  But if letting them all just go away is off the table, the second-best (but still “non-crazy”) debate should be whether we should be even considering letting the then-Bush-soon-to-be-Obama tax cuts go on for longer than the next couple years.  And we should be talking seriously about whether we will continue to play the charade of “expiring tax cuts that never expire,” or if we can start making hard and better choices and honoring our other promises (like the one about reducing the deficit) that are contradictory to our bad habits on expiring tax cuts.

I think most Americans who are paying attention to today’s fiscal policy news are probably shaking their heads and/or cussing and/or laughing in a dark-humor sort of way.  It seems both ridiculous and tragic that our leaders can proclaim their intent to get our fiscal house in order out of one side of their mouths, while arguing to keep (forever) their favorite piece of the fiscally-reckless and economically-ineffective Bush tax cuts out the other.   They are so busy screaming at each other from their (sticky, embedded) corners that they can’t see the common ground between them.

So I make one open wish today, regardless of how politically-unrealistic I’m told this wish is: that policymakers could consider doing at least the “non-crazy” thing with the Bush tax cuts and stop proposing that any of them be permanently extended.  Instead of frantically trying to “decouple” the high-end Bush tax cuts from the “middle-class” ones, we should be thinking about the best way to eventually “decouple” ourselves from all of them.
**UPDATE, 2:30 pm:  note the latest news about an anticipated House vote on Thursday on the extension of the “middle-class” Bush tax cuts and Steny Hoyer’s somewhat “delirious” (crazed?) presentation of the issue to the press.  I think he’s catching his own schizophrenia on the issue, when he says: “Why am I laughing?…And the answer to that is, I do not know.”  ;)