Tuesday, July 31, 2007
State education officials have levied the harshest level of sanctions under the federal No Child Left Behind education law on 20 underperforming schools, including 17 in Memphis.
The state has given Memphis City Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson directives on making changes in the failing schools, which includes mandatory administration changes in some cases.
It's the first time state officials have told the district they are required to make the changes.
The schools had been on notice for six years that stricter sanctions could be coming.
All of Johnson's nominations for shuffling principals, assistant principals and guidance counselors will have to be approved by the state this year.
Two Chattanooga schools and one Nashville school also received similar notifications as the ones in Memphis.
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen stopped short of taking over 17 under-performing Memphis City Schools, but his patience is running thin. It's a story the FOX 13 I-Team has been investigating for two weeks.
The governor has ordered Memphis City Schools to restructure education plans at the 17 schools.
Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson said the district has already taken corrective actions like replacing some principals and assigning math and reading coaches.
"I do believe that the governor will expect greater accountability, greater oversight, greater reporting of these schools and we certainly plan to work in partnership with the accountability office," she said.
- At the beginning of Congress this year, Speaker Pelosi said that she would target those making more than $250,000 per year (presumably, married couples making this income) for tax hikes.
- Less than a month into their new majority, the Democrats passed (with some GOP help) the first tax increase since 1993. This tax increase (some provisions of which violate the Taxpayer Protection Pledge) was on energy companies. Guess whose bill that will come out of?
- I'll be charitable and put all of the private equity tax hike ideas in one basket. S. 1624 would tax publicly-traded investment partnerships as if they were corporations. H.R. 2834 would tax capital gains received by the investment manager (called "carried interest") at 35%, rather than 15%.
- John Edwards has come out for a top capital gains rate of 28%. Senator Ron Wyden has done him one better, saying that the top rate on capital gains and dividends (which are themselves actually double taxes) should be 35%.
- Just this past week, the Democrat House passed a bill that raises taxes on U.S. subsidiary corporations of foreign companies. This Pledge-violating vote was to pay for more food stamp money.
- In order to pay for nearly-full AMT repeal, the Democrats have come out with no shortage of ideas to raise taxes (why fixing an AMT mistake needs to be paid for is beyond me). Such ideas have included curtailing the state and local income and sales tax deduction, imposing a 4% AGI "surtax" on high income earners, taxing capital gains and dividends at AMT rates for those taxpayers, and probably a few others that I have forgotten.
- Rhetorically, Democrats have reserved a lot of their vitriol for international taxpayers. They want to repeal the 911 exclusion which allows Americans to shelter lots of earned income from double taxation, and they want to repeal many of the international corporate provisions of FSC-ETI.
City employees are asking for a $750 refund of the property taxes they pay each year as part of their union's wish list of contract proposals.
That sounds like a long shot, like the union's request that the city pick up the full cost of employee medical insurance premiums.
What city would ever give city workers a break on their property taxes?
Well, Houston for one.
The city sets aside $1 million each year to offer firefighters with homes in Houston a $750 annual refund on their property taxes, according to the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association contract.
Sales: "You want answers?"
Finance: "I think we are entitled to them!"
Sales: "You want answers?!"
Finance: "I want the truth!"
Sales: "You can't handle the truth!!! Son, we live in a world that requires net license revenue. And that revenue must be brought in by people with elite skills. Who's going to find it? You? You, Mr. Operations? We have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.
You scoff at the sales division and you curse our lucrative incentives.
You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know:
That while the cost of business results are excessive, it drives revenue. And my very existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, drives REVENUE! You don't want to know the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at staff meetings ... you want me on that call. You NEED me on that call!
We use words like upgrades, another round, top-shelf, medium-rare, on-the-rocks, cabernet, Cohiba and foursome. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent negotiating something. You use them as a punch line!
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to people who rise and sleep under the very blanket of revenue I provide and then question the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a phone and make some sales calls. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!"
Finance: "Did you expense the lap dancers?"
Sales: "I did the job I was hired to do."
Finance: "Did you expense the lap dancers?!"
Sales: "You're damn right I did!"
Romero said he could "absolutely" see Bredesen as a vice presidential candidate next year. "Tennessee has been a good bellwether of how candidates come across to the rest of the nation. His leadership and popularity here, in a state that usually picks the winner in presidential elections, I think would lend to the credibility of him as a vice presidential candidate."
Monday, July 30, 2007
This is not just hype -- it's dangerous, delusional bullsh*t. Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World. And the increasing acreage devoted to corn for ethanol means less land for other staple crops, giving farmers in South America an incentive to carve fields out of tropical forests that help to cool the planet and stave off global warming.
Ms Gordillo's political power comes mainly from the union's sheer size: with 1.4m members teaching in primary and secondary schools, it is the largest labour union in Latin America. From that political base, Ms Gordillo controls a significant block of deputies in the lower house of the federal Congress, as well as two senators. And while no state governor will say so openly, "none of them will go against her will," says Carlos Ornelas, an education specialist at Mexico City's Metropolitan Autonomous University.
So it is hard to ascribe poor educational performance to lack of money. The problem is how the system is organised. Teachers, including school heads, are accountable to union leaders, not to the education ministry or parents. Teacher evaluation exists in name but not in practice. A significant slice of education spending goes straight to the union. Some 30,000 union officials are on the payroll as teachers; they never set foot in a classroom although there is a teacher shortage in some schools. In 2006, an election year, 750m pesos ($70m) was transferred from the ministry to the union, a threefold rise over the 250m pesos in transfers in 2005, according to Aldo Muñoz, a political scientist at the Iberoamerican University.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
HUGE savings for patients willing to travel to exotic locations and be pampered like a VIP. I think you call it COMPETITION!! Look for the AMA to try to pass a law to LIMIT YOUR FREEDOM by prohibiting this kind of medical tourism just as many state medical associations are trying to pass laws to limit the spread of the very popular minute clinics.
Under the continuing New Deal approach, five commodities -- corn, soybeans, cotton, rice and wheat -- got about 90 percent of last year's $19 billion in subsidies. This is a perverse incentive for overproduction of the five, which depresses prices, which triggers federal supports.
Lugar, who proposes capping annual farm assistance at $30,000 per recipient, is attempting reform at a time when federal energy policy is making matters worse. By subsidizing corn-based ethanol, the government is making the "crop specific" approach to subsidies increasingly irrational: Ethanol enthusiasm has produced a one-year increase of 12 percent in acres planted in corn, the price of which has risen 20 percent in a year. So farmers are planting fewer acres in soybeans, which therefore also are being made more expensive by federal policy. Furthermore, U.S. agriculture subsidies, which have the World Trade Organization properly frowning, are becoming major impediments to further liberalization of global trade, and hence to the huge potential growth of U.S. farmers' incomes from exports.
Pedro Gracia can't fire bad teachers so he is proposing to allow principals to shift them to another school...IF the principal agrees to accept bad teachers from other schools. WHAT??? How did we reach this level of government absurdity? How did we fail the parents and taxpayers to this extent? Answer: The political power of teacher's unions. And OUR elected representatives have watched calmly as this awful system has been put in place because they value the political power of the teacher's union more than they value the quality of education. This makes Tennessee Waltz look like a minor offense.
Garcia says the maneuver is legal, and the district is making strides toward giving some teachers — who enjoy special protection under state tenure laws — a fresh start, reassigning them where they may be more successful.
"That's life," he said. "… I think sometimes a person has been in a place too long. Maybe you need a change in scenery."
No other Nashville-area districts employ a similar policy, and national education experts say the strategy is unconventional, to say the least.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Clarksville taxpayers should remain vigilant however because even though the statement below seems pro-taxpayer, the definition of "subsidies" can be quite slippery.
James Chavez, president and CEO of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council, said Global was aware when talks began two years ago that "if people didn't use (the events center), they shouldn't have to pay for it."
"(Global) knew the community was in transition," Chavez said.
Chavez told the City Council and County Commission the Sports Authority would not go forward with a financing plan that used subsidies from those not patronizing the events center.
Earlier this month, researchers at Britain's Oxford University suggested the implementation of a higher value-added tax on foods deemed unhealthy in order to reduce both consumer demand and the number of heart attacks and strokes. Do you personally think charging higher taxes on unhealthy foods is a good idea or a bad idea?
A good idea
A bad idea
Source: Angus Reid Strategies
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,086 Canadian adults, conducted on Jul. 13 and Jul. 16, 2007. Margin of error is 3.0 per cent.
"Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."Link
the WiMax technology, a wireless Internet connection for laptop computers and other portable devices that offers DSL-like speeds over a range of miles, as opposed to WiFi's range of several hundred feet.
Friday, July 27, 2007
1. No public purpose. Private economic benefits to GOOGLE, and private political benefits to North Carolina's elected officials. Nothing here for the businesses and taxpayers of NC. Government shouldn't be in this business. It violates our constitutional principles, and violates a long tradition of separation of business and political activities. GOOGLE is being used as free political advertising for politicians, and taxpayers are being used as unwilling subsidizers of GOOGLE's stock price.
2. Equal protection. You can't single out a business for bad treatment, and tax them extra to benefit everyone else. But then you can't tax everyone else just to benefit one business.
3. These programs don't work. It's a waste of money. Few jobs are created, at enormous cost. The cost to taxpayers will be double the "salary" of the "new" workers. And, more generally, businesses don't make location decisions based on these kinds of subsidies. It's just a pure political payoff.
51% Say Metro Should NOT build a new Convention Center
37% Say Metro Should build a Convention Center
Tim has received great Press HERE, and HERE.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the worst case of voter-registration fraud in the history of the state of Washington. There has been nothing comparable to this," state Secretary of State Sam Reed said at a news conference with Satterberg, King County Executive Ron Sims and Acting U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan.
Socialized medicine is a prescription for waiting lines and low quality. A Canadian Doc tries to warn us.
I soon discovered that the problems went well beyond overcrowded ERs. Patients had to wait for practically any diagnostic test or procedure, such as the man with persistent pain from a hernia operation whom we referred to a pain clinic — with a three-year wait list; or the woman with breast cancer who needed to wait four months for radiation therapy, when the standard of care was four weeks
And now even Canadian governments are looking to the private sector to shrink the waiting lists. In British Columbia, private clinics perform roughly 80% of government-funded diagnostic testing.
This privatizing trend is reaching Europe, too. Britain's Labour Party — which originally created the National Health Service — now openly favors privatization. Sweden's government, after the completion of the latest round of privatizations, will be contracting out some 80% of Stockholm's primary care and 40% of its total health services.
Since the fall of communism, Slovakia has looked to liberalize its state-run system, introducing co-payments and privatizations. And modest market reforms have begun in Germany.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
All sorts of info. For example, HERE is a list of "bundlers" they list for Fred Thompson
|Name||State||Employer||Min. Amount Raised||Cycle||Candidate|
|Chuck Ashman||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Pamela Ashman||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Michael Curb||TN||Curb Records||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Christen Ellis||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|David Ellis||CA||Ellis/Hart Associates Inc.||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Jay Grodin||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Arthur Kassel||CA||Eagle & Badge Foundation||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Rose Layton||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Tom Layton||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Deanne Lewis||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|John Lewis||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Shel Lytton||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Susan Lytton||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Phil Martin||TN|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Mack Mattingly|| ||former Georgia Senator||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Sarah Newman||DC||Cassidy and Associates||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Sam Pimm||NH|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Ken Reitz||DC||360 Advantage||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Candace Smith||CA|| ||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Clifton S. Smith Jr.||CA||San Marino Tribune, Beverly Hills Courier and Design Magazine||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
|Zach Wamp||TN||U.S. Congressman||Not Listed||2008||Fred Thompson|
The CIA recently updated its policies on Freedom of Information Act requests to allow bloggers to qualify for special treatment once reserved for old-school reporters. And last August, the NSA issued a directive to its employees to report leaks of classified information to the media -- "including blogs," the order said.
It scored 534 points out of 1,000, which was also the second-lowest score in the country. Only Ameren-Illinois scored fewer points than MLGW -- 523.
Now, Ohio pols wants to take their future payments from the "tobacco settlement" (wink, wink..tax) and hock them for a big cash settlement because those damn feds are messin up the game by threatening to raise federal cigarettes taxes...damn feds.
Plunder and pillage is such a complex bidness, especially when you are competing with the feds.
Columbus- With a proposed increase in the national cigarette tax casting a long shadow, a panel of Ohio officials took the first step toward completing a plan to raise $5 billion for the state by selling off future payments from tobacco companies.
As Congress considers legislation adding 61 cents a pack to the cigarette tax to pay for children's health care expansion, the Buckeye Tobacco Settlement Financing Authority is racing to get the largest financial transaction in Ohio's history off the ground.
Timing is crucial for the three-member panel as it hurries to get the multibillion-dollar bond plan into financial markets by early November - before potential new taxes, court decisions or more-extensive smoking bans are rolled out.
A majority of Marylanders want state leaders to raise enough new tax revenue to fix the state's budget shortfall and increase spending on education, health care and other priorities, a coalition of labor unions, environmental advocates and liberal groups said yesterday.
The Alliance for Tax Fairness released the results of a poll showing broad-based opposition to the idea of resolving Maryland's projected $1.5 billion budget shortfall by spending cuts alone. Respondents favored higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, the coalition said.[...]
The Alliance for Tax Fairness includes the Maryland League of Conservation Voters; the Maryland State Teachers Association; the Service Employees International Union; the League of Women Voters; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, 1,000 Friends of Maryland; the Association of Nonprofit Organizations; and Progressive Maryland.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The study, whose sponsors included the U.S. government and an environmental group, predicted that farmers in the bay watershed will plant 500,000 or more new acres of corn in the next five years. Because fields of corn generally produce more polluted runoff than those of other crops, that's a problem.
More power to Oprah!! I hope she earns twice as much next year.
Former state senator John Ford's sentencing date has been reset for August 27th, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
Ford, who was convicted of bribery earlier this year, had been scheduled to be sentenced on July 31st. He was one of the premier defendants in the Tennessee Waltz political corruption investigation.
Ford has a status conference scheduled for August 3rd in Nashville in a separate federal case involving his consulting fees from Tenn-Care providers. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.In an interesting twist in the Nashville case, Edward Yarbrough has been nominated to become the new assistant United States Attorney for Middle Tennessee. Yarbrough represented Ford in his senate ethics hearing, meaning he would likely recuse himself from any dealings with Ford's criminal case. Yarbrough would replace Craig Morford, who has been promoted to a job with the U.S. Attorney General in Washington.
The 5.6 million votes cast in 2006 midterms by Hispanics represented only 13 percent of the total Hispanic population compared to the 27 percent of all blacks who cast votes and 39 percent of all whites who voted -- a disappointing turnout attributed to a population too young to vote or ineligible because of citizenship status.
• Latinos gained 1% more registered voters and voted 2% more in 2006 than in 2002.
• Whites gained 2% more registered voters and voted 1% more in 2006 than in 2002.
• Black-registered voters declined by 2% and voted 1% less in 2006 than in 2002.
• 13% of all Latinos voted, a 1% increase
• 39% of all whites voted, a 2% increase
• 27% of all blacks voted, no change
• More than 400,000 legal permanent residents are eligible for U.S. citizenship -- and the right to vote -- in Illinois.
• There are 55,000 registered Hispanic voters in Chicago -- about 13% of all registered to vote.
A TBI investigation involving feuding Metro police unions widened Tuesday as one union's headquarters were raided and officers in two other departments were questioned.
Agents hauled off computer hard drives and files from the Antioch Pike offices of the Teamsters, which took over as the Metro Nashville police union last year in a bitter department election.
A Teamsters representative is being investigated for allegedly concealing cameras at a youth camp run by the ousted Metro union, the Fraternal Order of Police.
Agents have begun questioning law enforcement officers in Memphis and at Nashville's police and sheriff's departments to learn the identities of others believed to be connected to the incident, TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The study, written by Stan Liebowitz, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, compared record sales and music radio listening in some 100 American cities from 1998 to 2003. It found that, very roughly, an hour's worth of radio listening per person per day, over the course of a year, corresponded with a 0.75 drop in the number of albums purchased per capita in a given city. Professor Liebowitz has proposed that people use radio listening as a substitute for buying music.
Because the solution was never in our hands to start with. Yes, it looks and sounds good to tap your quivering lips with the tips of your fingers and force a few tear drops from your red eyes and say, "Why don't more people, like ME, CARE about poverty?"
This is simply a narcissistic exercise that allows the ME to parade their presumed moral superiority. Simply expressing concern may make you feel better about yourself but it does nothing to help those living in poverty.
Donald Sensing points out that world wide poverty is plummeting. And it has nothing to do with collective awareness raising. It has to do with free markets.
The people of the world do NOT need our pity or faux concern. They need a chance to prove they are as good or better than we are at producing goods and services in a free and open marketplace.
Although their placards identify the picketers as being with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, they are not union members.
They're hired feet, or, as the union calls them, temporary workers, paid $8 an hour to picket. Many were recruited from homeless shelters or transitional houses. Several have recently been released from prison. Others are between jobs.
"It's about the cash," said Tina Shaw, 44, who lives in a House of Ruth women's shelter and has walked the line at various sites. "We're against low wages, but I'm here for the cash."
Carpenters locals across the country are outsourcing their picket lines, hiring the homeless, students, retirees and day laborers to get their message across. Larry Hujo, a spokesman for the Indiana-Kentucky Regional Council of Carpenters, calls it a "shift in the paradigm" of picketing.
Political groups also are tapping into local homeless shelters for temps.
This is so bloody typical...money is ineffectively spent for one purpose. BUT, rather than hold the bureaucracy accountable for the original goal, the money is simply absorbed and "repurposed" and the bureaucracy has an excuse to ask for even more money in next year's budget. Spending is the problem!!
Homeland Security has given states $380 million to set up the high-tech intelligence centers to help law enforcement officials do what they were not able to do before Sept. 11, 2001: recognize suspicious activity, patterns and people and use the information to prevent terrorist attacks.
However, the centers "have increasingly gravitated toward an all-crimes and even broader all-hazards approach," focusing on traditional criminals and local emergencies, according to a report this month by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
There is now a concerted effort to spread adult-child play beyond its stronghold in the upper- and middle-classes of wealthy countries. To this end, many cities and states support programs of some sort. Massachusetts will give the Parent-Child Home Program, which has 33 sites in the state, $3 million this year (up from $2 million last year). Through the program, staff members visit the homes of low-income residents and offer tips not just on good books for toddlers but also on "play activities" for parents and kids. Likewise, the eminent Yale psychologist Jerome Singer has partnered with a media company to devise imaginative parent-child games (examples: "My Magic Story Car" and "Puppets: Counting") that librarians and social workers can teach to low-income parents.
Lancy is concerned that specialists behind the movement -- psychologists, social workers, preschool teachers -- are too aggressively promoting this intense, interventionist parenting style to low-income parents, and that they are are too quick to claim that adult-child play is crucial for human development. He doesn't quite rule out that some interventions may improve literacy -- though the data are murkier than the psychologists admit, he insists. But the programs, with their premise (as he sees it) that a whole class of people is simply parenting badly, leave their advocates "open to charges of racism or cultural imperialism."
ALBANY - A blistering report by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo charged yesterday that top aides to Gov. Spitzer improperly used the state police to plant an embarrassing story on Senate GOP Leader Joe Bruno.
Spitzer suspended without pay his communications director, Darren Dopp - a close, longtime aide - and reassigned homeland security official Bill Howard for their roles in the dirty tricks.
Cuomo's findings were a shocking turn in the raging feud between the governor, who rode into Albany promising to clean up the town, and the lawmaker he has derided as a relic of old-style politics.
A grim-faced Spitzer said he accepted the findings without question and had telephoned Bruno to tell him, "I apologize. ... This is unacceptable."
Monday, July 23, 2007
She condemned promoters of the tax increase for suggesting that taxpayers can "cut back by not buying that extra Coke, or not buying that pizza. The next thing you know, they'll be saying, you can cut back to two meals a day. But they never say what they can cut back."
This morning, Washington County, Tennessee commissioners voted down a wheel tax on its first reading.
The proposal on the table: implement a 50 dollar wheel tax to generate funds to pay for more than 130 million dollars in building projects and to pay off some of the county's debt.
For a wheel tax to be enacted, it must be approved by two-thirds of the commission on two separate readings.
Today, citizens showed up at the commission meeting to voice their concerns about the tax.
Jackson, 50, is among a handful of black lawmakers who say they are concerned that S.C. public schools are failing to educate poor and minority children. Their concern could push the state's years-long debate over school choice and vouchers or tax credits for private school tuition over the finish line in 2008.
Standing in the well of the Senate during a debate in May, Jackson, long considered a public school defender, said he could see the day coming when he would support school choice.
It would be a historic alliance — traditionally pro-public school black Democrats, such as Jackson, joining with school choice advocates, largely white Republicans — to allow parents to use public money to send their children to better-performing public or private schools.
Jackson says he's not alone as he reconsiders school choice, ticking off the names of colleagues: Sens. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington, and Kay Patterson, D-Richland, and Rep. Leon Howard, D-Richland, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus.
Is it too easy or too hard to qualify for welfare in the United States?
House Republicans last month rallied behind President Bush's vow to restrain spending with a pledge of support from enough lawmakers to uphold vetoes of appropriations bills.
But some of the 147 GOP lawmakers who signed that pledge now say they won't necessarily stand behind it. It's a sign that although Republicans are rhetorically backing the president's efforts to challenge Democrats on spending, the details of the fight could prove uncomfortable for some GOP members, particularly those who face tough re-election contests next year.
"I'm boxing myself in, in a very strange way, and I have to figure it out," said Christopher Shays of Connecticut, the only House Republican from New England to survive the 2006 election. "I'm going to re-look at the letter I signed and may have to go down to the White House and say I'm not on board."
So far, the House has considered four fiscal 2008 spending bills that the president has threatened to veto over cost: Energy-Water (HR 2641), Homeland Security (HR 2638), Interior-Environment (HR 2643) and Labor-HHS-Education (HR 3043). Overall, 62 lawmakers who signed the pledge have voted for at least one of those bills.
Four House Republicans — Shays, Wayne T. Gilchrest of Maryland, Steven C. LaTourette of Ohio and Mike D. Rogers of Alabama — who signed the letter nonetheless have voted to pass all four bills.
LONDON, Italy (Reuters) -- Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe gains access to a reported £20 million ($41.1 million) fortune as he turns 18 on Monday, but he insists the money won't cast a spell on him.
To the disappointment of gossip columnists around the world, the young actor says he has no plans to fritter his cash away on fast cars, drink and celebrity parties.
"I don't plan to be one of those people who, as soon as they turn 18, suddenly buy themselves a massive sports car collection or something similar," he told an Australian interviewer earlier this month. "I don't think I'll be particularly extravagant.
"The things I like buying are things that cost about 10 pounds -- books and CDs and DVDs."
At 18, Radcliffe will be able to gamble in a casino, buy a drink in a pub or see the horror film "Hostel: Part II," currently six places below his number one movie on the UK box office chart.
Details of how he'll mark his landmark birthday are under wraps. His agent and publicist had no comment on his plans.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture distributed $1.1 billion over seven years to the estates or companies of deceased farmers and routinely failed to conduct reviews required to ensure that the payments were properly made, according to a government report.
In a selection of 181 cases from 1999 to 2005, the Government Accountability Office found that officials approved payments without any review 40 percent of the time.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
A group of residents in the valley in southeastern British Columbia have asked telephone company Telus Corp. not to build a planned cellphone tower in New Denver, a one-time mining boomtown that is now home to about 600 people.
If Telus decides against building the system, the economic development group plans to promote the valley's "cellphone free status" as a unique reason to visit or move to the region, Roberts said.
In the mid-'60s, doomsayers predicted that, because of war and overpopulation, millions of people in India and Pakistan would die of starvation – and nothing could be done to prevent it. Dr. Borlaug thought otherwise. He wanted to see if his new wheat seeds could help prevent the looming catastrophe in South Asia. Bureaucrats initially thwarted him. But as the famine grew worse, he was finally permitted to move forward.
Within a year, wheat yields more than doubled. Over the next eight years, the two countries became self-sufficient in wheat production. For his work, Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. In his acceptance speech, Dr. Borlaug quoted the creator of the prize, Alfred Nobel: "I would rather take care of the stomachs of the living than the glory of the departed in the form of monuments."
The danger of bureaucracy is another life lesson. Whether in government, private industry or universities, bureaucracies inhibit new ideas and approaches, he said. That's why, when he started on the wheat project in Mexico, he recruited young scientists, who had not been damaged by bureaucratic thinking.
As Dr. Borlaug talked, the Congressional Gold Medal sat on an end table next to him. Set in a green felt case, the gold medal is engraved with a sketch of him standing in a wheat field in Mexico, hat on head, busy writing notes. The drawing is based on a photo that sits in his home office, which is also jammed floor-to-ceiling with books and mementos – including photos of him with presidents Richard Nixon and George Bush.
His granddaughter, Julie Borlaug, who works for Texas A&M, acts as a personal assistant, helping him sort through his vast collection of papers. Dr. Borlaug and his wife, Margaret, moved to Dallas in the mid-'80s to be close to their children. In 1984, Dr. Borlaug was recruited to Texas A&M, where he still teaches part-time.
CBS News/New York Times Poll. July 9-17, 2007. N=1,554 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
"How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right: just about always, most of the time, or only some of the time?"
| Just About |
| Most of |
| Only Some |
Of the Time
Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, hailed as reform a bill that would grant subsidies to farmers earning up to $1 million -- five times more than the cap sought by the Bush administration -- while increasing actual payments to farmers. The bill comes during the most prosperous era American agriculture has seen in decades as crop prices and farm income approach or set record highs.
"Bush seems to be taking a harder stance on millionaires than the Democratic Party, which is surprising," said Kari Hamerschlag, policy director for the California Coalition for Food and Farming, a Watsonville group urging lawmakers to move money from crop subsidies to environmental and nutrition programs.
The "hugger-mugger" pretends to be drunk, approaches a drunk reveller, embraces him as a long lost friend and picks his pocket.
The wallet or phone is then passed to an accomplice.
Commander Steve Allen, head of the Metropolitan Police in Westminster, has launched a seven-week campaign called Operation Tiffanie.
A recent analysis by University of Illinois Professors Darrel Good and Scott Irwin notes that over the last half-century, corn-production shortfalls as big as 30% are not that uncommon. Very inelastic demand means that having a stable, reliable source for fuel is a very high priority for consumers. Having the supply for such a commodity depend on something as volatile as U.S. corn production does not seem like such a brilliant idea.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
The Elvis plate, which benefits the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, was about 100 buyers shy of meeting the benchmark, even after receiving an extension on its deadline.
The New Jersey fan anonymously donated the $3,500 needed to cover the final 100 pre-ordered plates after hearing about the car tag's troubles on Sirius satellite radio's Elvis program hosted by longtime Presley friend George Klein.
Tammie Ritchey, executive director of the hospital's foundation, The Med Foundation, said Wednesday the donor wanted to express her love of Presley through the kind of charitable donation the rocker was known for in his lifetime.
Come ON!! What is going on here Tennessee politicians? Are you going to let the Kentucky politicians give away their taxpayer's money faster than YOU can give away Tennessee taxpayer's money. Here is what the article says:
"(Kentucky) lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year that would allow Sitel (A Nashville, TN Company) to receive tax incentives if it located near a regional university and hired students."
Sarcasm mode off:
The only way politicians "create" jobs is to bribe companies, with taxpayer money, into making decisions they would not otherwise make. The politicians then tell us, in all their exquisite arrogance, that they "created" jobs. When in fact the only thing they created was 1- a photo-op for themselves and 2- an excuse for some other politician to "create" jobs by giving away even more money. The BIG loser is ALWAYS the TAXPAYERS!!
Regarding taxes and a property tax hike (to be voted on at the County Commission meeting).
It's not what's in our wallet, but who?
Gov Bredesen is quite happy to hold taxpayers absolutely accountable for the $500 million in new education funding he and the General Assembly passed this year. The Governor's attitude towards taxpayers is ZERO TOLERANCE. If we refuse to pay our taxes we go to jail, NO questions asked. the State department of Revenue will see to that.
BUT....when it comes to the spending side of the equation, he is happy to spend OUR money with NO accountability...NONE zip, zero, nadda.
If the Governor lived in Memphis instead of Nashville, it is quite likely that he would have chosen to avoid public schools there just as he did in Nashville and yet he has condemned thousands of Memphis parents to a single option that no one should have to choose.
Commissioners for whom comparisons were available now are paid between $8,941 and $62,571 more than the average pay of their counterparts in neighboring states. One, Commissioner of Health Susan Cooper, earns less.
The raises announced this week will cost taxpayers nearly $1 million a year.
"I'm outraged," said Richard Merryman of Murfreesboro, a salesman and business owner. "It's one thing to give them a raise, but to rub our noses in it. … I felt like it's crazy. It's insensitive."
Friday, July 20, 2007
Why does the press always say "make up" a deficit??? Why not more accurately say "reduce spending"?
It appears property owners in East Ridge Tennessee will not be getting hit with a property tax hike as was expected.
Friday the city council held a budget workshop to try and figure out how the city will make up a $1-million budget deficit.