Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Obama: Reappraise Wall Street Values

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told Wall Street investors Monday that several of them have been too focused on their own gain at the expense of struggling Americans and echoed Franklin Delano Roosevelt's call for a "reappraisal of values."

Obama prides himself on delivering tough messages directly to the source, and his address at the NASDAQ Marketsite was another example. He said a "what's good for me is good enough" mentality has crept into parts of the business world while working men and women toil longer hours and still struggle to pay for health care, tuition and taxes.

"If we are honest, I think we must admit that those who have benefited from the new global marketplace—and that includes almost everyone in this room—have not always concerned themselves with the losers in this new economy," the Illinois senator said.

"The danger with this mentality isn't just that it offends our morals, it's that it endangers our markets," Obama said.

Economic experts including former Commerce secretary Bill Daley, former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson and University of Chicago economist Austan D. Goolsbee helped Obama with the speech, which risks alienating some Wall Street supporters. But Obama said in a recent interview with The Associated Press that he is determined not just to campaign by telling people what they want to hear, but to win support for an agenda for change.

Other examples include Obama's lecture to Detroit automakers that they need to build more fuel efficient vehicles and his support for performance-based merit pay before the teacher's union that opposes it.

Obama blamed Wall Street for wasteful and unethical anti-market practices such as corporate boards that allow executives to set the price of stock options to guarantee they'll make money regardless of performance and CEOs who get massive severance packages or perks even when workers lose their jobs or pensions. But he also accused the Bush administration of approving mergers with little scrutiny and maintaining more than $1 trillion worth of corporate tax loopholes.

"This administration has accelerated these trends through its tax policies and spending priorities to the point where there is greater income inequality now than at any time since the Gilded Age," Obama said. He also compared the situation to the Great Depression, when Roosevelt challenged the cynicism by calling for faith in the United States and its institutions.

"We certainly do not face a test of the magnitude that Roosevelt's generation did, but we are tested still," Obama said.

"I am asking you to join me in ushering in a new era of mutual responsibility in America," he said. He said he believes Wall Street leaders want to be part of building a more just nation, but they haven't been asked before.

He used the subprime mortgage crisis as an example, saying it started as a good idea until some lenders and brokers began lowering their standards as they saw how much money could be made. It was tempting to look the other way, he said.

"The consequences are now clear: nearly 2.5 million homeowners could lose their homes" and millions of others could see their homes devalued, Obama said.

Obama said markets need to be more open and transparent to keep the trust of investors and the public. He said that trust can be restored by federal action like:

—New mortgage rules with tough penalties for lenders who trick homeowners into loans they can't afford;

—An investigation of the relationship and business practices of rating agencies and their clients;

—A five-star credit card rating system to inform consumers about the level of risk for their credit card, including how easily the company can change the interest rate;

—A request that lenders show some flexibility to people trying to sell or refinance their homes.

Lets break this down a bit shall we.

• New mortgage rules with tough penalties for lenders who trick homeowners into loans they can't afford;

As a Mortgage Broker myself I can honestly say that people are not TRICKED into anything when it comes to a Mortgage. or should I say 99.99% of the time they are not. EVERYTHING is spelled out in the contract even before closing. On the Good Faith Estimate EVERYTHING is gone over and clients want to know everything about their loan. I get stopped every time like clock work on the APR rate. Every time I need to tell them that this is not your actual rate. Everything is explained to these folks that take out ARMS. How their rate WILL go up a X amount of time and how there are penalties for paying off the loan too soon in some instances.

What a joke. Another way for Democrats to remove blame from the individual and blame companies for offering a service that like it or not has served the market VERY WELL. No one wants to look at the the positive numbers of RECORD number of home owners living in their homes right now.

Here is the reality for this FOOL Obama. John Hope Bryant, founder of Operation Hope says it clearly that Healthy and Responsible Sub-prime lending has lifted more poor people out of poverty then anything in the last 50 years!

That is a reality! Liberals don't get that.

A request that lenders show some flexibility to people trying to sell or refinance their homes.

LOL. What now he wants to make it easier for flippers to get out of property as well?
Hell they are part of the problem with the real estate market. Some of these Foreclosures you are seeing are flippers that are STUCK in their purchases that they can't flip as quickly as they thought. That is the risk with the investment.

—A five-star credit card rating system to inform consumers about the level of risk for their credit card, including how easily the company can change the interest rate;

Give me a damn break.
People need to show fiscal restraint. Can't afford that pair of shoes at the mall. DON'T BUY IT. People know how their interest rates can go up on Credit Cards. They aren't THAT NAIVE, they just act like they are when shit hits the fan.

Florida's Welfare Rate Is Lowest In The Nation

This is what true conservatism is like.
You adjust things accordingly through the legislature to make people NOT depend on the govt for their living. You then couple that with proper fiscal restraint in the state govt and promote small business and large business. The result is fewer people living off the Govt and taking responsibility for their own lively hood.

What a far out concept!

TAMPA - Florida had the nation's lowest rate of households on welfare last year, according to figures recently released by the U.S. Census.

Just 1.3 percent of Florida households reported receiving welfare payments in the 2006 American Community Survey, a yearly demographic portrait of the nation set to replace the once-a-decade Census long form in 2010.

Welfare experts such as Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, aren't surprised to find Florida ranked so low.

There are a number of reasons for it, they say. Florida has had higher job growth, tougher welfare eligibility rules and lower welfare payments than many states. And it lies in the South, where tradition - and legislation - more often attaches a greater stigma to welfare than other regions do.

"The South has always been more conservative than the rest of the country, so they're less encouraging to people about welfare … especially as compared to the New England states," said Haskins, author of "Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform."

"The Southern states also tend to have the lower benefits [and] the lower the benefits, the easier to earn your way off welfare."

Florida has ranked low in the category for years. The survey lists it 51st among the states and the District of Columbia. In addition to Florida, there were six other Southern states rounding out the eight with the nation's lowest welfare participation rates: Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Georgia. Wisconsin was the only non-Southern state. In all those states, less than 2 percent of households reported receiving welfare benefits in the survey.

Alaska had the highest rate of households receiving public cash assistance - 6.3 percent - followed by Maine; Washington, D.C.; Oklahoma; and Hawaii.

"Alaska and Hawaii have benefits that are off the scale, because cost of living there is so high," Haskins said. "D.C. and Maine have probably among the lowest-income populations in the country. Oklahoma's kind of surprising."

A U.S. Department of Health & Human Services survey of 2002 welfare benefits for a family of three lists Alaska and Hawaii with the highest monthly payments nationwide: $923 and $712, respectively. Alabama offered the lowest monthly benefit at $164.

Florida's monthly benefit of $303 ranked 43rd in the nation. That is still the maximum benefit today for a family of three, according to Don Winstead, deputy secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, which determines eligibility for welfare payments, also known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Winstead thinks the lower payments have helped maintain the state's standing among those with the lowest rates for welfare recipients.

"That absolutely plays a role. Depending on the audience, I say Florida has among the lowest benefits in the country, or among the highest in the Southeast," Winstead said.

"Historically, Florida is a state with low benefits. Largely [it's the state] just not wanting to set benefits too high to encourage people to be on welfare rather than working. It's basically a legislative decision."

The federal welfare reform law, passed by Congress in 1996, made changes intended to make welfare more of a temporary benefit. The revamped program required states to set a five-year limit on the time families with an adult could receive cash benefits, with some exceptions. Florida set a stricter limit: four years.

The federal law said beneficiaries had to start working no later than two years after they first receive welfare benefits. Florida requires beneficiaries to start working right away.

Winstead said the tough standards of Florida's 1996 welfare plan, passed in anticipation of the broad federal reforms, require able-bodied adults to get jobs right away. Florida also will cut off all benefits, after 10 days' notice, if an adult in the household refuses to work without a good reason. The federal law allows a partial cut-off.

"The combination of a policy structure that rigorously enforces the requirement for work has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the welfare caseload," Winstead said.

"In 1996, there were over 200,000 families on welfare in Florida. There are less than 50,000 now."

We can all give a round of applause to Jeb Bush and the State Legislature in Florida for a Good Job. Now lets see if Christ can keep that momentum going.

Friday, September 14, 2007

10,000 Black men to patrol the streets

This seems like the type of plan that could work.
Its long been my stance that it takes the PEOPLE of the community to fix and correct the problem inside of poor communities.
Only through the people taking a firm stance and saying NO MORE can things truly take hold. No other way is possible for long lasting calm and peace. You can throw a cop on every street corner but till the PEOPLE come together to turn their HOOD into a Neighborhood, nothing will last.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The city's embattled police chief, acknowledging that police alone cannot quell a run of deadly violence, has called on 10,000 black men to patrol the streets to reduce crime.

Sylvester Johnson, says black men have a duty to protect more vulnerable residents. He wants each volunteer to pledge to work three hours a day for at least 90 days.

"It's time for African-American men to stand up," Johnson told the Philadelphia Daily News, which first reported the story Wednesday. "We have an obligation to protect our women, our children and our elderly. We're going to put men on the street. We're going to train them in conflict resolution."

The program's backers include Dennis Muhammad, a former Nation of Islam official who has been hired by police departments in Detroit, Syracuse, N.Y., and other cities to conduct community-sensitivity training.

Philadelphia, the nation's sixth-largest city, has nearly 1.5 million residents, 44 percent of them black. It has notched 294 homicides this year. More than 80 percent of the slayings involve handguns, and most involve young black males.

Johnson plans to introduce the "Call to Action: 10,000 Men, It's a New Day" program on Oct. 21, three months before his planned retirement.

"He won't get anywhere near that number. If he gets 1,000 people, it will be great," said Heather DeRussy, who leads a local Guardian Angels chapter that has recruited just seven members in the past two years. Given its size, the group focuses on a single north Philadelphia park plagued by prostitution and drug use.

DeRussy lauded Johnson for his effort but said she fears the volunteers will find it dangerous to patrol their home turf.

"In their own neighborhoods, with the 'Don't snitch' mentality, they're kind of putting themselves in harm's way, because there are going to be people who disagree with what they're doing," DeRussy said.

The men who join Johnson's program will not carry weapons or make arrests but will instead emphasize conflict resolution, similar to the Guardian Angels' ground rules.

Police in other cities have hired Muhammad in recent years to provide sensitivity training to officers and community members, but it was not immediately clear whether any have deployed a volunteer patrol force.

Johnson, who had led the police department for seven years, appears increasingly frustrated by the daily gun violence. He and other city leaders have blamed the Legislature for not passing gun-control measures.

Mayor John F. Street, whose term is up at the beginning of 2008, has voiced support for the program, but it was not clear whether he would become involved. His office did not return a call for comment Thursday, nor did Johnson's office.

Street and Johnson have both endured withering criticism from frustrated residents and community leaders who say they should do more to halt the violence.

One gun-violence researcher said the idea of putting citizens on patrol had the potential to show children that adults care.

"A steady exposure to violence just creates this toxic environment for children and youth. As adults, we don't want them to think they have to handle it on their own," said Rose Cheney, executive director of the Firearm and Injury Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

"If, by putting people out there — not just as a town watch, but as resources who connect them to what they need from adults — that can be very promising," she said.

There was another program in I think St Louis that sought to bring in dozens of black leaders or black male role models for the local Junior High and High School black teens. I think coupling this effort with the one that the Police Chief has, real change can take hold.

The problems that are effecting Philly are SERIOUS.
They have today 294 murders so far this year. Its only September.
I applaud the actions of this Police Chief.
More should follow suit.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

HEAVILY Discounted Rate for Moveon.org

Very interesting.
And people that the audacity to say that the NY Times is NOT a liberal News Paper. Or that the Media is not run by liberals.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An ad criticizing the top U.S. general in Iraq raised charges on Thursday that The New York Times slashed its advertising rates for political reasons -- an accusation denied by the paper.

The ad by liberal anti-war group moveon.org ran on Monday, the day of Gen. David Petraeus' testimony to Congress about the war and how long U.S. forces will stay in Iraq.

Moveon.org confirmed it paid $65,000 for the full page ad headlined "General Petraeus or General Betray Us."

The New York Post ran a story on Thursday asking why the basic rate of $181,692 for such an ad was discounted.

"Times Gives Lefties a Hefty Discount for 'Betray Us' Ad," was the headline in the Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis denied the rate charged indicated a political bias and said it was the paper's policy not to disclose the rate paid by any advertiser.

"We do not distinguish the advertising rates based on the political content of the ad," Mathis told Reuters.

"The advertising folks did not see the content of the ad before the rate was quoted," she said, adding that there were over 30 different categories of ads with varying rates.

Mathis confirmed the open rate for an ad of that size and type was around $181,000. Among reasons for lower rates are advertisers buying in bulk or taking a standby rate, she said.

"There are many instances when we have published opinion advertisements that run counter to the stance we take on our own editorial pages," she said.

The ad in the main news section of the Times accused Petraeus of "cooking the books for the White House."

It angered Republicans, including Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, a presidential candidate who brought it to the Petraeus hearing on Monday and waved the ad in the air, telling lawmakers he was "irritated" by it and other criticism by Democrats.

Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor who blogs on media at buzzmachine.com, said the key question for the Times was could any other political or advocacy group get the same rate under the same circumstances.

"The quandary the Times gets stuck in is they don't want to admit you can buy an ad for that rate, no matter who you are," Jarvis said, noting that with print advertising revenues in decline newspapers generally did offer big discounts.

On a more general note, Jarvis said U.S. papers should emulate their counterparts in Britain where, for example, The Guardian makes no effort to hide its liberal stance.

"In the U.S., I would argue newspapers should be more transparent and open about the views taken ... and the (New York) Times is liberal," he said.

That is a pretty damn sweet deal. Only 65 K to get that much attention nationally and on top of that, commit a drive by character assassination of a war hero. NICE.

I wonder if they'll give Rudy that same discounted price for his ad?

I doubt it though. If anything Rudy better be ready, following this stunt by him the NY TIMES may REALLY go after him.

Federal Deficit Running Lower This Year

Where do you see this blazing across in headlines in national news papers?

WASHINGTON (AP) - The federal deficit is running sharply lower than last year even though spending in August set an all-time high, the government reported Thursday.

The Treasury Department said that the deficit through the first 11 months of this budget year totaled $274.4 billion, down 9.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

Analysts believe the deficit for all of 2007 will actually be even lower because they are forecasting a sizable surplus in the final month, reflecting in part timing issues that caused about $44 billion in Social Security and Medicare payments that normally would have been made in September to be shifted into August.

The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting that when this budget year wraps up on Sept. 30, the deficit will total $158 billion, down by 36.2 percent from last year's $248.2 billion deficit.

The government's books have been helped this year by record flows of tax receipts, which have continued even though economic growth has been reduced by a serious slump in housing.

A deficit of $158 billion would be the best showing since the budget was actually in balance for four years. The last surplus was in 2001, President Bush's first year in office.

While forecasts had projected that government surpluses would total $5.6 trillion over the next decade, the 2001 recession, spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the president's first-term tax cuts all combined to wipe out those surpluses.

Republicans contend that Bush's tax cuts are a major reason that government receipts are so strong now, but Democrats contend that the tax cuts are providing very little economic stimulus and that revenues are simply rebounding to more normal levels after slumping earlier in the decade.

The deficit hit an all-time high in dollar terms in 2004 at $413 billion and has been declining since then. The administration is projecting that the government's books will be in surplus by 2012 if Congress follows Bush's recommendations on spending restraint. However, the Democratic-controlled Congress is pushing for higher spending for the budget year that begins Oct. 1. Bush has pledged to veto spending bills that exceed his requests.

For August, the deficit totaled $116.9 billion. However, about $44 billion of that figure reflected payments for Social Security and Medicare that were mailed in August because Sept. 1 fell on a Saturday and Labor Day came on Sept. 3.

Through the first 11 months of the current budget year, receipts total a record $2.282 trillion, up 7.5 percent from last year, while outlays totaled a record $2.557 trillion, up 5.3 percent from last year.

Or better yet where are the doom and gloomers on the economy?

Unions are a joke

It used to be that Unions served a purpose. They were protecting American workers from unsafe working conditions, and from outside tariffs and economic impacts.
They used to actually work to improve conditions of the people say in Steal Factories, Car Manufacturing etc. But over the years it seems like Unions have become nothing more then cash revenue streams for the Unions themselves.

Now comes the ultimate slap in the face to the American worker.
Unions that are in support of Illegal immigration:

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A union representing workers at six Swift & Co. meatpacking plants sued federal immigration authorities Wednesday, alleging agents violated the workers' rights during raids by roughly handling even those not suspected of crimes.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the eight workers named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit seek unspecified damages and an order to stop U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from conducting what the union says are illegal raids.

ICE officials investigating identity theft arrested 1,297 workers at the plants in December, but union officials have said that more than 12,000 workers were detained against their will during the raids. Swift has estimated the financial impact at up to $50 million.

Union president Joseph Hansen said workers were handcuffed and held for hours and denied access to phones, bathrooms, legal counsel and their families.

"What happened to the Swift workers ... is absolutely an outrage," Hansen said Tuesday.

According to ICE, 274 of those arrested during the raids were charged with identity theft or other crimes unrelated to immigration law. Nearly all were convicted, ICE spokesman Tim Counts said Tuesday. He disputed the claim that workers weren't allowed access to phones.

Of those arrested for being in the country illegally, 649 had been deported as of March 1, according to the most recent numbers available from ICE. All were sent to Latin American countries.

ICE returned to the plants in July and arrested 20 more people, including a human resources manager and a union representative on charges of recruiting and harboring illegal immigrants. The latter two cases are pending.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Amarillo, Texas, names as defendants Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, the two agencies and unnamed federal agents who conducted the raids.

A Department of Homeland Security official referred questions to ICE. Counts said ICE attorneys had not yet seen the lawsuit but planned to fight it.

"From what we've heard from the complaints, they are baseless," Counts said.

Counts said civil search warrants gave the agency the right to fully search the plants and question everyone there. Workers were allowed to use their cell phones, company phones and even the phones of federal agents during the operation, he said.

The Food and Commercial Workers union represents 1.3 million workers in the United States, including 250,000 workers in packing and food processing. The plants raided were in Grand Island, Neb.; Cactus, Texas; Greeley, Colo.; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minn.

Officials at Swift, which is not named as a defendant, did not immediately return a message left Wednesday seeking comment on the lawsuit. Brazilian firm JBS S.A. acquired Swift from a private equity firm for about $1.5 billion in July, making the company the world's largest beef processor.

Its a damn shame.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Over 500 scientists published studies countering global warming fears.

This was way too good to pass up.

Challenge to Scientific Consensus on Global Warming: Analysis Finds Hundreds of Scientists Have Published Evidence Countering Man-Made Global Warming Fears.

A new analysis of peer-reviewed literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting at least one element of current man-made global warming scares. More than 300 of the scientists found evidence that 1) a natural moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced more than a dozen global warmings similar to ours since the last Ice Age and/or that 2) our Modern Warming is linked strongly to variations in the sun's irradiance. "This data and the list of scientists make a mockery of recent claims that a scientific consensus blames humans as the primary cause of global temperature increases since 1850," said Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Dennis Avery.

Other researchers found evidence that 3) sea levels are failing to rise importantly; 4) that our storms and droughts are becoming fewer and milder with this warming as they did during previous global warmings; 5) that human deaths will be reduced with warming because cold kills twice as many people as heat; and 6) that corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate.

Despite being published in such journals such as Science, Nature and Geophysical Review Letters, these scientists have gotten little media attention. "Not all of these researchers would describe themselves as global warming skeptics," said Avery, "but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see."

The names were compiled by Avery and climate physicist S. Fred Singer, the co-authors of the new book Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, mainly from the peer-reviewed studies cited in their book. The researchers' specialties include tree rings, sea levels, stalagmites, lichens, pollen, plankton, insects, public health, Chinese history and astrophysics.

"We have had a Greenhouse Theory with no evidence to support it-except a moderate warming turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events," said co-author Singer. "On the other hand, we have compelling evidence of a real-world climate cycle averaging 1470 years (plus or minus 500) running through the last million years of history. The climate cycle has above all been moderate, and the trees, bears, birds, and humans have quietly adapted."

"Two thousand years of published human histories say that the warm periods were good for people," says Avery. "It was the harsh, unstable Dark Ages and Little Ice Age that brought bigger storms, untimely frost, widespread famine and plagues of disease." "There may have been a consensus of guesses among climate model-builders," says Singer. "However, the models only reflect the warming, not its cause." He noted that about 70 percent of the earth's post-1850 warming came before 1940, and thus was probably not caused by human-emitted greenhouse gases. The net post-1940 warming totals only a tiny 0.2 degrees C.

The historic evidence of the natural cycle includes the 5000-year record of Nile floods, 1st-century Roman wine production in Britain, and thousands of museum paintings that portrayed sunnier skies during the Medieval Warming and more cloudiness during the Little Ice Age. The physical evidence comes from oxygen isotopes, beryllium ions, tiny sea and pollen fossils, and ancient tree rings. The evidence recovered from ice cores, sea and lake sediments, cave stalagmites and glaciers has been analyzed by electron microscopes, satellites, and computers. Temperatures during the Medieval Warming Period on California's Whitewing Mountain must have been 3.2 degrees warmer than today, says Constance Millar of the U.S. Forest Service, based on her study of seven species of relict trees that grew above today's tree line.

Singer emphasized, "Humans have known since the invention of the telescope that the earth's climate variations were linked to the sunspot cycle, but we had not understood how. Recent experiments have demonstrated that more or fewer cosmic rays hitting the earth create more or fewer of the low, cooling clouds that deflect solar heat back into space-amplifying small variations in the intensity of the sun.

Avery and Singer noted that there are hundreds of additional peer-reviewed studies that have found cycle evidence, and that they will publish additional researchers' names and studies. They also noted that their book was funded by Wallace O. Sellers, a Hudson board member, without any corporate contributions.

Man Made Global Warming right Al?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Biofuels may harm more than help

Funny I said the same thing not 1 month ago.

PARIS (Reuters) - Biofuels, championed for reducing energy reliance, boosting farm revenues and helping fight climate change, may in fact hurt the environment and push up food prices, a study suggested on Tuesday.

In a report on the impact of biofuels, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said biofuels may "offer a cure that is worse than the disease they seek to heal".

"The current push to expand the use of biofuels is creating unsustainable tensions that will disrupt markets without generating significant environmental benefits," the OECD said.

"When acidification, fertilizer use, biodiversity loss and toxicity of agricultural pesticides are taken into account, the overall environmental impacts of ethanol and biodiesel can very easily exceed those of petrol and mineral diesel," it added.

The OECD therefore called on governments to cut their subsidies for the sector and instead encourage research into technologies that would avoid competing for land use with food production.

"Governments should cease to create new mandates for biofuels and investigate ways to phase them out," it said.

The OECD said tax incentives put in place in many regions, including the European Union and the United States, to encourage biofuel output could hide other objectives.

"Biofuel policies may appear to be an easy way to support domestic agriculture against the backdrop of international negotiations to liberalize agricultural trade," it said.


Instead it encouraged members of the World Trade Organization to step efforts to lower barriers to biofuel imports to allow developing countries that have ecological and climate systems more suited to biomass production.

The OECD also encouraged government to work on cutting demand for transport fuel rather than encouraging production of so-called "green" fuels.

"A liter of gasoline or diesel conserved because a person walks, rides a bicycles, carpools or tunes up his or her vehicle's engine more often is a full liter of gasoline or diesel saved at a much lower cost to the economy than subsidizing inefficient new sources of supply," it said.

Biofuels, made mainly from grains, oilseeds and sugar, have been accused of being responsible for a recent surge in farm commodities prices, along with other factors such as lower output and tight stocks.

The OECD, which said in July that it saw biofuels keeping prices at high levels into the next decade, said it would lead to an unavoidable "food-versus-fuel" debate.

"Any diversion of land from food or feed production to production of energy biomass will influence food prices from the start, as both compete for the same input," it said.

That is the realty. You will force people to choose to eat or drive a car in terms of their fuel production.

As noted in the above research as well as in the Mcclatchy article from Just last month, the rising cost of our food prices is directly related to the increased use of these bio fuels to run cars.

Sure its "cleaner" burning but its also less productive, it doesn't burn at the same rate inside of vehicles as regular Gasoline or Diesel. As this study also mentions it also generates large amounts of pollutants from the methodology in growing these foods which are now fuel.

But alas those that think Biofuel is the way to go will stay die hard on this position. No matter how much more Milk Prices rise (13%) or Beef and Chicekn (10% and 9% respectively).

The solution is again Hydrogen to run your car, but I am sure when we really take off on that the eco freaks will then say we are draining our oceans dry so we need to stop this and do something else.

Almanac Calls for Warmest Year in 100

I am sure some way they will find a way to blame this on Global Warming despite the Farmers Almanac going back a two hundred years. Either that or say that The Almanac is part of the Oil Companies conspiracy.

DUBLIN, N.H. (AP) - The Old Farmer's Almanac says it used time-honored, complex calculations to predict that 2008 will be the warmest year in a century, along with a bit of folklore—years that end in "8" have weird weather.

People still talk about the frigid winters of 1748 and 1888, tornadoes of 1908, Northwest floods and the Northeast hurricane of 1938.

"At the very least, we expect it to be the warmest year in the last century overall, so people will talk about it for that reason alone," said publisher John Pierce.

This year's edition, on newsstands Wednesday, predicts a warmer than average winter in much of the country. Believers can look for below- average snowfall, except for a narrow swath extending from northeast Texas to northern New England.

Claiming a secret formula based on sunspots as well as meteorology, the almanac forecasts a hot summer in most areas, but cool and dry in the upper Midwest. It says there will be more rain than normal—except in Florida and the already dry West.

The Almanac, established in 1792, is North America's oldest continuously published periodical. The little yellow magazine still comes with the hole in the corner so it can be hung in outhouses for leisurely reading. It boasts 18.5 million readers.

The Old Farmer's Almanac is not to be confused with the Maine-based Farmer's Almanac, published only since 1818. The 2008 edition of that publication, which went on sale in late August, forecasts plenty of snow this winter across the Northeast, temperatures averaging as much as 3 degrees below normal along most of the Atlantic Coast, and four major frosts as far south as Florida, but with tamer weather in the West.

This year, for the first time, the entire issue of the Old Farmer's Almanac is available electronically.

Editor-in-Chief Jud Hale said incorporating technology should not be surprising.

"If (founder) Robert B. Thomas was alive today, he'd be in the forefront of high tech," Hale said. "He'd want to have the very latest abilities to communicate and do the weather and be involved with science."

Colin Powell interview

An interesting interview with Colin Powell. A man that I respect immensely. After reading his book Soldier I grew to respect the man even more. I think Powell is a smart man that holds true to his beliefs.

Today GQ posted an interview about him that was very telling
I like his take on this and I generally agree particularly with this part:

Isn’t the new global threat we face even more dangerous?
What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?

I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there—ones that we can take advantage of? It should not be just about creating alliances to deal with a guy in a cave in Pakistan. It should be about how do we create institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market economies? This is perhaps the most effective way to go after terrorists.

I also see his point on this:

So you think we are getting too hunkered down and scared?
Yes! We are taking too much counsel of our fears.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t a terrorist threat. There is a threat. And we should send in military forces when we have a target to deal with. We should also secure our airports, if that makes us safer. But let’s welcome every foreign student we can get our hands on. Let’s make sure that foreigners come to the Mayo Clinic here, and not the Mayo facility in Dubai or somewhere else. Let’s make sure people come to Disney World and not throw them up against the wall in Orlando simply because they have a Muslim name. Let’s also remember that this country was created by immigrants and thrives as a result of immigration, and we need a sound immigration policy.

Let’s show the world a face of openness and what a democratic system can do. That’s why I want to see Guantánamo closed. It’s so harmful to what we stand for. We literally bang ourselves in the head by having that place. What are we doing this to ourselves for? Because we’re worried about the 380 guys there? Bring them here! Give them lawyers and habeas corpus. We can deal with them. We are paying a price when the rest of the world sees an America that seems to be afraid and is not the America they remember.

You can drive up the road from here and come to a spot where there is a megachurch over here, a little Episcopal church over there, a Catholic church around the corner that’s almost cathedral-size, and between them is a huge Hindu temple. There are no police needed to guard any of this. There are not many places in the world where you would see that. Yes, there are a few dangerous nuts in Brooklyn and New Jersey who want to blow up Kennedy Airport and Fort Dix. These are dangerous criminals, and we must deal with them. But come on, this is not a threat to our survival! The only thing that can really destroy us is us. We shouldn’t do it to ourselves, and we shouldn’t use fear for political purposes—scaring people to death so they will vote for you, or scaring people to death so that we create a terror-industrial complex.

Trust but verify.
That is what we need to abide by. Trust the foreign student but VERIFY that he/she is who they say they are.

Trust Muslims but don't disregard research like this from the PEW research center. Research that paints a disturbing image of acceptance of these terrorist acts.

But I ask, how are we supposed to gain intelligence from these captured terrorists if we put them through our legal system and give them a lawyer on our tax dollars. Its seems a bit odd to me that we would give them rights that they seek to destroy in this nation. Especially since many even in the UK are calling for Sharia Law to take hold. It may be a far cry but letting this sort of crap fester may take hold.

America is unique and perhaps the only thing that can destroy us is ourselves but that does not mean that we should discount the threat that these crazy bastards pose. Its not that clear cut and dry.

And I disagree with General Powell on things like this:

Do you still support affirmative action?
I have always supported affirmative action. I believe there is still a place for it. I spoke at the 1996 Republican convention in San Diego with my friend Ward Connerly [a black opponent of affirmative action] sitting in the audience. He had warned me that he would walk out if I made any reference to affirmative action. And when I did express my support for it, I looked right at him, and he didn’t move. Affirmative action is a concept that is probably not a growth industry. I’m glad it will eventually go away. But when I go to these inner-city neighborhoods, including across the street here in the Washington area, you can’t tell me these kids have the same opportunity that other kids have or that my kids have. Is it because they’re black that these kids are at a disadvantage? To some extent no, to some extent yes. We can’t deny it. Therefore, to the extent that we still believe it appropriate to provide some way of balancing the legacy of the past, I think we have an obligation to do so.

Honestly I believe that their may be SOME parts of this nation that AA is needed but OVERALL what keeps these black kids and other minorities in these areas are their own background and upbringing. Their own social problems within their areas and the victim mentality that keeps them there.

9 times out of 10 its not outside forces that keep you within a community or a perpetual state of poverty. Its your own mentality that keeps you there, generation after generation. Its a problem that we need to confront similar to what Cosby is doing around the nation now.

That is the sort of leadership that is needed. A leadership that will BREAK the cycle not create another system within a govt to fix a problem.

And I animately disagree with Mr Powell here:

America could not survive without immigration. Even the undocumented immigrants are contributing to our economy. That’s the country my parents came to. That’s the image we have to portray to the rest of the world: kind, generous, a nation of nations, touched by every nation, and we touch every nation in return.

Yes sir they are contributing to this economy but not to the great positive that many choose to believe. Just ask the Border states that are seeing hospitals close, Crime rate increases, and in with the additional cost and need that is being taken on by cities around the nation that need to now pay for more police, more fire departments for the flood of new illegal immigrants into this country.

There is a reason that there are caps on immigration To control the explosion of population growth and slowly gradually as a nation or as a city grow with the increase in population. But when you have an open border you cannot do this. You have to expand quickly or do like Hazelton PA did and get rid of them. But of course you will have judges legislating from the bench as usual.

As I mentioned before in other posts. I came here as a First Generation Immigrant, but my parents took the legal steps to come here not the illegal ones. I wish others like Powell would get that.

Its one thing to have the economic impact from legal immigration growth but its another to have it unbridled population growth like we see with illegal immigrants.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Kanye catches a Tantrum....again

What a little girl.
The dude catches a Tantrum whenever he doesn't win.
What ever happened to being humble?

LAS VEGAS - Sour grapes from Kanye West — again. Shut out at the Video Music Awards, Kanye West threw a tantrum Sunday night in front of media and crew backstage as the MTV show was ending.

West, waiting for an elevator in a crowded hallway, began yelling about losing all five categories for which he was nominated.

"That's two years in a row, man ... give a black man a chance," West said, stomping around his entourage and directing his comments at a reporter. "I'm trying hard man, I have the ... number one record, man."

West said he never will return to MTV.

The rapper was nomination for five awards, including male artist of the year. This is the latest in a series of awards show outburst for West. Last year, he crashed the stage at the MTV Europe Awards after not winning for best video.

This is not the first time that Kanye does this crap.
He's done it before at a Radio Station. Acting like a little bitch when he didn't get an award last year in Europe. Its his MO.

I heard of being coddled growing up but this cat is ridiculous.
Kanye do us all a favor man, if you can't take an award or lack off properly stop making records man. You wont be missed.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Not a Crime Rudy!?

Are you flipping kidding me!


GLENN: Welcome to the program. Mayor Giuliani, how are you?

GIULIANI: Nice to talk to you.

GLENN: Rudy, first of all, loved you in the debate. I saw the polls and people disagree with me. They thought you were talking about New York too much. I personally thought you won the night the other night. I thought you were very clear. The reason why you were talking about New York is you're not hanging your hat on September 11th. You're hanging your hat on all kinds of things. You have vast amounts of experience and I just thought you did a great job, but I want to go a little deeper on a couple of things and if you done mind, I'd like to start with immigration.


GLENN: You're being attacked on immigration. Correct me where I'm wrong. You say you took over the policy that was in place before you. You basically said you can't ask for immigration status if they come in to report a crime, get medical care, use in school. You didn't start the policy, but you didn't stop it, either, right?

GIULIANI: Also I did two things about the policy. The policy as it's described by some of my opponents. The fairness to my predecessors, the policy was to report all criminals, not just all criminals. It says right in the executive order the police are instructed to report all people who are illegal who are suspected of a crime. So we reported all people who were suspected of a crime or who committed a crime to the immigration service.

GLENN: All right. Which executive order was that?

GIULIANI: It was the executive order that was signed originally by Mayor Koch, continued by Mayor Dinkins and then by me and it sets up the following situation. You have to report all illegal immigrants or anybody with a questionable status who is suspected of committing a crime. However, there are three exceptions, only three exceptions to it. One is if they're putting children in school; two is if they are reporting a crime; three is if they're going to a hospital for healthcare which, by the way, was mandated by the federal government. So the first two, even the third were necessary for public safety. New York had 400,000 illegal immigrants. The federal government never deported more than 2,000 a year. If the illegal immigrants who were in New York and not going to be removed, even though their names were being turned over when they committed crimes, then you wanted their children to go to school. Otherwise there was a real chance there would be even more crime in New York City with 70,000 children at home, with nobody to take care of them.

GLENN: All right.

GIULIANI: So the point that I make is, the way to evaluate my policy, was it a good one or a bad one was, what was the end result of my policy. The end result was the safest large city in America, safer than any cities than any of my opponents came from or had responsibility for.

GLENN: Well, okay. I agree with that, but then you've got this quote from '94 and you give me the context on this. Quote: If you come here, you work hard. You happen to be an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city. You're somebody that we want to protect. We want you to get out from under what is often a life of being a fugitive, which is really unfair.

GIULIANI: The context of that was for people to come forward to report crimes because we needed their help and we didn't want them to be afraid of coming forward. The context of that was we wanted them to put their children in school not to be afraid to do that. Even with the policy that I pointed, I continued it was probably seven, eight years old, there were still people, illegal immigrants, who would not report crimes. But we wanted them to.

GLENN: Right. But isn't illegal immigration a crime in and of itself?


GLENN: Aren't you saying --

GIULIANI: Glenn --

GLENN: You're protecting criminals by saying that being treated as a criminal is unfair.

GIULIANI: Glenn, it's not a crime. I know that's very hard for people to understand, but it's not a federal crime.

GLENN: It's a misdemeanor but if you've been nailed, it is a crime. If you've been nailed, ship back and come back, it is a crime.

GIULIANI: Glenn, being an illegal immigrant, the 400,000 were not prosecuted for crimes by the federal government, nor could they be. I was U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York. So believe me, I know this. In fact, when you throw an immigrant out of the country, it's not a criminal proceeding. It's a civil proceeding.

GLENN: Is it --

GIULIANI: One of the things that congress wanted to do a year ago is to make it a crime, which indicates that it isn't.

GLENN: Should it be?

GIULIANI: Should it be? No, it shouldn't be because the government wouldn't be able to prosecute it. We couldn't prosecute 12 million people. We have only 2 million people in jail right now for all the crimes that are committed in the country, 2.5 million. If you were to make it a crime, you would have to take the resources of the criminal justice system and increase it by about 6. In other words, you'd have to take all the 800,000 police, and who knows how many police we would have to have.

GLENN: So what's your solution?

GIULIANI: My solution is close the border to illegal immigration.

GLENN: How do you do that?

GIULIANI: You do that by building a fence, a physical fence and a technological fence, and the technological fence is more important than the physical fence. The technological fence would alert you to illegals approaching the border well in advance so the border patrol can get there and stop them. You deploy the border patrol every 50 miles along the border. I've already outlined this on a map. I did this in detail about two weeks ago. And then you have the border patrol stop people from coming in, literally stop them from coming in. If you did that for a year or two, you would end it. You also have a tamperproof ID card that every person from a foreign country should have that comes into the United States. The goal has to be, yes, you're allowed to come to the United States but you have to identify yourself before we let you in, and we have to be sure you're a safe person. And then if you come in, you'll be in the computer base, you'll be able to work, you will have to pay your fair share, you'll have to pay taxes but we have to end it right at the border by having the resources to stop people from just walking into this country and not identifying themselves. Only the federal government can do this. If the federal government doesn't do this, there is no way that the local governments in this country can handle it other than in a practical way. If you make people that are just going to be here for the next 20 years, if you put them in a situation of danger and risk, you're going to have more crime in your communities.

GLENN: There are two things that jump to mind here, and I don't -- I mean this with all respect, I gotta tell you. As I watched you the other night -- I mean, I really, truly think that we're in real trouble in this country --

GIULIANI: We are in trouble.

GLENN: -- on so many fronts.

GIULIANI: There was an article in Time magazine, I don't know if it was a week ago or two weeks ago and it's highly critical of me. Believe it or not, I'm very proud of it. The article says I am exaggerating the Islamic terrorist threat.

GLENN: No, you're not.

GIULIANI: And I have to tell you in all honesty and good conscience, I'm understating it because I don't know how to exaggerate it. It is a real threat. I wish it wasn't. All you have to do is look at what's going on in Germany right this minute with those people that were, you know, planning to attack American soldiers. All you have to do is look at what happened in New Jersey a few months ago with the people who were planning to attack Fort Dix or in Queens with the people that were going to attack Kennedy airport. This is going on all the time and we have to be on offense against it --

GLENN: Hang on.

GIULIANI: America has never --

GLENN: I don't think there's a soul -- honestly I don't think there's a soul in the audience that doesn't think you are going to be extraordinarily tough. I admire you for what you did with Yasser Arafat in the 1990s, I admire you for what you did during 9/11 with the Saudi prince and after. However, what you just said about immigration, you missed -- there is no ramification that you just mentioned for the companies and that's the supply -- or that's the desire side. And the other thing is, and I hear this all the time and it drives me crazy. These tamperproof ID cards. Have you noticed how many times we've changed our money in the last five years? There's no such thing as tamperproof ID.

GIULIANI: Well, first of all, I didn't mean to leave out the companies. Anyone who is engaged in illegal activity should be penalized. The more you have a system that has one single ID card and you have a tamperproof ID card, the penalties can be enforced. The problem with it is not that the penalties don't exist. They are very hard to enforce. Now, you are absolutely correct, Glenn. There is no such thing as a 100% tamperproof ID card, but where you're wrong is there are considerably better cards and identification systems than we presently have.

First of all, if you made it just one identification card, that would help instead of six or seven. Number two, if you just introduced some biometric data on it like a fingerprint, you'd probably get it to -- I don't want to do this statistically but you'd get it to 98%, 99%. That's a heck of a lot better than where we are now. We have an ancient system of identification for immigrants who come to this country. Credit card companies do a better job of collecting data and removing fraud than the United States government.

GLENN: But what a surprise. It's the capitalist system. Let me -- because we've only got a couple of minutes. Let me switch gears with you. Another thing that I'm very concerned about that I think Americans are -- I think everybody is understating this problem, the economy with the subprime nonsense. We are in real trouble here. Bush is now talking about bailing out these homeowners, but the homeowners aren't losing much. A lot of them came in with zero down. This is just a bailout and the company. Shouldn't we just let companies fail and if you took a risky loan, you bet, you bet wrong; move on?

GIULIANI: To a very large extend, that's correct, particularly from the point of view of the federal government and the President. The President has to focus on the pillars of our economy and make sure that those are being handled correctly and if they are, the market will straighten out the rest. The pillars of our economy are low taxes, smaller government, moderate regulation, and a sound monetary policy. So on this question of how much help should the market in general be given, that should really be determined by the Fed through the supply of money, and they have shown that they can do a pretty darn good job of that. That should not be the function of the congress and the President. And what the congress and the President should be working on, you know what would be really helpful right now for our economy? How about a tax cut? A tax cut would stimulate our economy in general and help it get through some of the dislocation that are being created in what is just a portion of our economy.

If you try to do a bailout, Glenn, what you are likely to do is have the problem spread beyond now where it is to the entire company. You don't with a that. There is a book out right now, The Forgotten Man, it would be great for everybody to read it because it shows and it's sort of a reanalysis of the history of the Great Depression, and the premise of the book basically is of course there was a depression and it was a really bad one, but it extended for a decade because of the wrong decisions made by Hoover and Roosevelt.

GLENN: We've been talking about it on this program for a couple of weeks.

GIULIANI: Intervening too much, creating massive government bureaucracies, raising taxes, putting in high tariffs. Sure as heck sounds like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards to me. All three of them have promised to raise taxes, they all want to raise protectionist duties and regulation. So I think that would be the worst thing to do and I hope the President relies on an area where he's had great strength actually since he's been President, which is sticking with the fundamentals of the economy: Low taxes, reduce the burden of government, and see what you can do -- maybe a revision of Sarbanes-Oxley wouldn't be a bad idea. That would bring all kinds of IPO money to the United States, all kinds of investment money to the United States.

You know, if you are having trouble in one part of the economy, you shore up the entire economy so it remains just in one part of the economy, they work it out and you don't spread it to the rest.

GLENN: Mayor Giuliani, I know you have to run. Let me just leave you with this real quick. Every month we take a poll of all the guys on the staff, the radio and the television and my magazine. We took it yesterday. You won in a landslide, landslide.

GIULIANI: Well, I like that poll. I'm in Florida right now. We're trying to accomplish the same thing in Florida.

GLENN: Well, best of luck to you and we'll talk to you again, sir.

GIULIANI: Thank you.


You know, I had my heart set on voting for Rudy if he was to be the nominee, but THIS RIGHT HERE, throws that all out of whack. There is no way I would ever vote for him just because of this one issue. How the hell can you say its not a crime? Its been a crime since 1929!

This could be it right here folks. The downfall of Rudy in this very interview.

Sorry Rudy you lost my support.
Now I just have to hope Thompson can show me something!

Ohh the Hypocrisy!

Via Drudge:

Fri Sep 07 2007 07:48:23 ET


As former Vice President Al Gore waits to hear if he has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless effort on climate change, a new video will air this weekend capturing Gore on a fuel-guzzling private jet!

FOXNEWS host Sean Hannity is set to unleash the damning video this Sunday night, network sources reveal.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

So the surge isn't working?

But Hillary Clinton just said it was!

Damn undermining the Generals findings before its even presented. Close minded much?
Well, Reid declared the surge lost even before it began. I guess being surprised by this latest "preemptive" strike by the Dems is not a complete shock. Its their forte.

Congressional Democrats are trying to undermine U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' credibility before he delivers a report on the Iraq war next week, saying the general is a mouthpiece for President Bush and his findings can't be trusted.

"The Bush report?" Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin said when asked about the upcoming report from Gen. Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq.

"We know what is going to be in it. It's clear. I think the president's trip over to Iraq makes it very obvious," the Illinois Democrat said. "I expect the Bush report to say, 'The surge is working. Let's have more of the same.' "

The top Democrats — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California — also referred to the general's briefing as the "Bush report."

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Gen. Petraeus' report was potentially compromised by the White House's involvement in drafting it.

"If the same people who were so wrong about this war from the start are writing substantial portions of this report, that raises credibility questions," he said.

Republicans bristled at the pre-emptive strike against the report.

"Are these leaders asking the American people to believe that the testimony of a commanding four-star general in the U.S. Army should be discarded before it's even delivered?" said Brian Kennedy, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.

"If so, these statements completely ignore what's truly at stake in this war and suggest that neither the commander in chief nor our chief commander on the ground have any regard for the lives of the men and women fighting for this country," he said. "It's appallng, and I think the American people — rightfully — will continue to stick by the decisions of our commanders and troops on the ground when it comes to what is best for their safety and security."

Mr. Bush's surprise visit Monday to Iraq's Anbar province showcased success in the one-time al Qaeda stronghold where Sunni tribal leaders teamed with U.S. troops to drive out the terrorists and rapidly improve security.

Despite continued bloodshed in Iraq, the president's visit was one of several recent signs of U.S. military success in Iraq that blunted antiwar momentum leading up to the September progress report.

The congressionally mandated report from the administration, which will be delivered in two parts by Gen. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker, is expected to show some U.S. military advances, but limited progress from the fledgling Iraqi government toward ending sectarian fighting.

Democrats said they put more faith in a report Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office that showed Iraq failed to meet 11 of 18 political and security benchmarks set by Congress.

They also favored an analysis due today by Gen. James L. Jones, former U.S. commander in Europe, that is expected to say security gains have been "uneven" and Iraqi security forces are ill-prepared to stand alone, according to a CNN report.

"We will see what the Bush report will be at the end of next week," Mrs. Pelosi said. "The facts are self-evident that the progress is not being made. They might want to find one or two places where there has been progress but the plural of anecdote is not data."

She said Democrats were determined to uncover "the ground truth in Iraq."

I wonder if they'll step down?

Seeing as Democrats have a history of not stepping down even after being arrested.

Gary Siplin - Orlando State Democratic Senator (Only left office after Governor Bush FORCED him out)
Barney Frank - Male Prostitution (Still in office)
William Jefferson - 90K Cold Hard Cash in Fridge. (Holds a seat on Homeland Security)

TRENTON — Eleven public officials from across New Jersey, including Passaic Mayor Samuel Rivera, were arrested Thursday morning in a federal corruption sting, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Trenton said.

Three other politicians from Passaic County — Assemblyman and Passaic County Undersheriff Alfred E. Steele, D-Paterson and Passaic city Councilman Marcellus Jackson and former Passaic city Councilman Jonathan Soto — ­were also arrested for demanding and taking cash bribes for the awarding of public contracts. Steele is also the pastor at Seminary Baptist Church in Paterson and has been in the state Assembly since 1996. He has served as deputy speaker since 2002.

Also arrested were Orange Mayor and the Democratic state Assemblyman Mims Hackett Jr.; Keith O. Reid, the chief of staff to Newark’s City Council president; and five Pleasantville school board members. The officials allegedly demanded and accepted bribes ranging from $1,500 to $17,500 at any one time, the spokesman, Michael Drewniak, said in a statement.

Each of the officials and one associate took bribes from companies that offered insurance brokerage or roofing services to school districts and municipalities, Drewniak said.

The yearlong investigation began amid evidence of corruption in the Pleasantville School District.

In response, the FBI established an undercover insurance brokerage company purporting to employ the government’s two cooperating witnesses and undercover agents, Drewniak said, adding that criminal complaints against the 12 defendants will be unsealed at 12:30 p.m.

Initial court appearances will take place at about 1:30 p.m., in the federal courthouse in Trenton before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne Bongiovanni, Drewniak said. A news conference is scheduled to take place at about 3:30 p.m. in front of the courthouse in Trenton with U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, FBI Special Agent Weysan Dun and Atlantic County Prosecutor Theodore F.L. Housel. Jenna Pollard, who answered the phone at Steele's Paterson office and identified herself as his chief of staff, declined to comment and said she didn't know if Steele had a lawyer.

The arrests are the latest in an anti-corruption campaign waged by Christie's office, and mark the second major corruption roundup this year.

Two Democratic senators, Wayne Bryant of Lawnside and Sharpe James of Newark, are facing pending federal corruption charges. Both pleaded not guilty.

More than 100 public officials in the state have been convicted on federal corruption charges in the last five years, the A.P. reported.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

How Poor are Americans?

If you listened to John Edwards and particularly those on the left we are all wallowing in complete destitution. But when you break down the numbers and look at the reality of it all, it paints a completely different picture.

The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various gov­ernment reports:

* Forty-three percent of all poor households actu­ally own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

* Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

* Only 6 percent of poor households are over­crowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

* The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

* Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

* Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

* Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

* Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

That right there is the reality of the "poor" in this country folks.
This is why I truly honestly laugh when people talk of poverty in America and better yet the argument that somehow Socialism is the answer for that when its even compared to our European counter parts.

Robert E. Rector has more here.

Drudge Moves Internet Traffic like no other.

You gotta give the man his credit.
He has done to News information on the internet what Rush Limbaugh has done to radio. Completely transformed it from multiple sites and lots of searching to 1 place to find your daily headlines that are of importance and skip the smaller news.

Its so basic its scary how successful it has become and continues to be. I myself go to Drudge before I go to any other site for news. Its just that convenient.

Internet news pioneer Matt Drudge and the Daily Mail make an unlikely alliance. But the mercurial founder of influential US website the Drudge Report has played a pivotal, if unwitting, role in the overnight success of dailymail.co.uk, which last month shocked many on Fleet Street by taking second place in its first appearance in the ABCe online readership figures.

The Mail's 11.8 million unique users in July put it ahead of telegraph.co.uk and Times Online, but behind Guardian Unlimited - owned by The Observer's parent company, Guardian Media Group.

The measure was introduced to provide advertisers with an accurate guide to the popularity of Britain's growing newspaper websites. But the Mail's rivals claim around a third of traffic was generated by referrals from the Drudge Report, which shot to prominence when it broke stories about the Monica Lewinsky affair a decade ago.

'We counted 36 Daily Mail stories on Drudge during July,' says Edward Roussel, the Telegraph's digital editor. Publicity for the Mail on Sunday's free Prince CD pushed huge numbers of users towards dailymail.co.uk, while other popular stories, including several about David and Victoria Beckham's move to LA, also played well with the US audience. 'It's testament to the power of Drudge,' says Roussel. It is also a tribute to the power of the Mail's journalism, of course, as Roussel readily concedes. 'They write stories with global appeal - terror stories and showbiz stories in particular.'

But the Mail's ABCe success has reignited a fierce war of words among media owners about the way news site figures are measured. The three main ratings agencies - Nielsen NetRatings, Hitwise and ABCe - all measure slightly different things, and it was only the Mail's popularity abroad that catapulted it to second spot; UK users accounted for just 22 per cent of hits. The Daily Telegraph prefers to trumpet Hitwise's data, which bases its figures on UK users and defines a news site more narrowly, arguing that it is more accurate. Hitwise also happens to be the only one that consistently places telegraph.co.uk at the top of its rankings, which allows the paper to run adverts claiming it is the most popular news website in the country.

Guardian Unlimited has long published figures for advertisers to scrutinise and Tim Brooks, managing direction of Guardian Newspapers Ltd, says: 'Everybody in the internet business knows the Telegraph's claim to be the most popular news website in the UK is nonsense.'

The Mail's Martin Clarke, who launched London Lite, Associated's free evening paper in the capital and is tipped as a possible successor to Mail editor Paul Dacre, is in charge of the web operation. He says UK users are far more valuable than overseas readers, despite the fact that 78 per cent of page impressions come from abroad (the equivalent figure for the Telegraph is around 40 per cent). 'Advertisers at the moment are most concerned with UK traffic. Its great to have international visitors and its great the internet's such an international phenomenon, but in economic terms you can't [convert] it into revenue. It's pointless everyone judging themselves by traffic that no one can quite work out how to monetise.'

But Clarke points out that dailymail.co.uk's domestic growth has also been impressive, increasing by 14 per cent in July compared with the same month last year. Crucially, it is just not just silver surfers that account for its success. 'The website is expanding the Mail's demographic reach: 60 per cent of visitors are ABC1s, and over half are aged 18-24. It's the market advertisers want - affluent and young. We also have a female bias, as you'd expect given our heritage.'

The Mail site now boasts 2.55 million unique users in the UK, although that places it well below the Telegraph, Times and Guardian on most measurements. As one senior industry figure concedes: 'It's very confusing for advertisers when they see two - or indeed three - separate [analyses] being bandied around. And media owners' understandable habit of shouting about the numbers which show them in the best light doesn't help.'

What is beyond dispute, however, is that the overall market is growing and British papers are finding a new audience in the English-speaking world. After years of gloom about falling circulations, one senior industry source says that, at least, is welcome news. 'Britain doesn't lead the world at much. We should celebrate our success in this field.'

Any collective euphoria is likely to prove short-lived in a notoriously competitive industry. The Mail's performance in the ABCe index alarmed rivals, which had always felt its parent Associated had been slow to innovate online. 'In isolation it's a slightly shocking figure,' Clarke concedes, but he says there has been 'solid, steady growth' since the Mail and its Sunday sister title started to integrate its online operation into the newsroom last spring.

Placing Clarke, who remains associate editor at the Daily Mail, in charge of the group's internet operation last year was a statement of intent. Although Associated has invested heavily in the digital world, buying several websites to hold on to advertising revenue that is migrating online, Clarke says: 'Editorially we were a bit slower. But we have always kept a watching brief and the economics of the digital world have changed.'

A new site built from scratch will launch in a few months and it will make use of video footage and user-generated content, he adds, but the Mail's approach will continue to be low-key. 'We tend to just get on with the job. We don't show tourists round our news hub,' he says.

That is a thinly disguised dig at the Telegraph, which has invested heavily in its state-of-the-art newsroom and is happy to show it off to industry executives. Clarke's assertion that Associated's 'market-leading' papers will always be given priority over the website could also be construed as a shot across the bows of his rivals: 'You don't want to distract a specialist reporter from covering a story to record a podcast that will be listened to by one man and his dog. It's important not to do things just because the technology allows you to.'

The Telegraph's Roussel retorts: 'We had a global growth rate of 63 per cent year on year in July and 78 per cent year on year in the UK. If we hadn't been so evangelical we wouldn't have those figures.' But he agrees with Clarke that UK users are the only ones that count. 'That's really where the value of the business resides and that's what will pay journalists' salaries and meet the cost of newsrooms. We need to get [foreign hits] in perspective. The idea that British newspapers can take on the best US newspapers in their home market is hubristic and misplaced. We're minor brands in the US and we will remain minor brands.'

Overseas readers are, at the very least, an added bonus, but the domestic market continues to grow rapidly and in a sense everyone is winning at the moment. The real battle will commence in 18 months time, when the growth of broadband penetration begins to slow down - as in the US - and the established players begin a fight to protect their online readership in a more mature market.

'We're 18 months behind the US and we will fight voraciously when that time comes,' says the same senior industry source. In the meantime, he argues, British papers should be thankful they are making an impact on a global scale - even if some of them may have Matt Drudge to thank for it.

Global leaders

British newspaper websites are popular overseas because they enjoy a reputation for fearless journalism. But they also have another obvious advantage - they are written in English. The Guardian was one of the first newspapers to enthusiastically embrace the new medium, and has established a significant lead over its domestic rivals. In the US, the New York Times is the second most popular news website behind CNN.com, according to web information company Alexa, and the 30th most popular website. The internet versions of upmarket British newspapers are also popular in America - the Telegraph is the 11th most popular news site in the US . But the BBC News website is only just behind the NYT and the corporation's strength in its domestic market continues to pose the biggest challenge to UK newspapers.

Gods will Mr. Richardson?

Nice way to try and get that Iowa Caucus swing into the front of the pack.

God's will is for Iowa to have the first-in-the-nation caucus, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson told a crowd here Monday.

"Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord, should be the first caucus and primary," Richardson, New Mexico's governor, said at the Northwest Iowa Labor Council Picnic. "And I want you to know who was the first candidate to sign a pledge not to campaign anywhere if they got ahead of Iowa. It was Bill Richardson."

Several people in the crowd snickered after Richardson made the comment.

"That was a little weird," said Sioux City resident Joe Shufro. "I don't know what God had to do with choosing Iowa among other states. I found that a little strange."

Other states have been jockeying to beat Iowa to hold the first presidential caucus. Many Democratic candidates have promised to skip campaigning in states that try to position themselves before Iowa.

Sioux City resident Jan Hodge agreed that Richardson's statement was odd.

"It's the kind of thing that would make me wince if, for instance, George Bush said it," Hodge said. "Richardson has the saving grace of not taking himself too seriously. It was one of those off-the-cuff remarks that can't be taken as seriously as the punsters will make it."

Much of the crowd that had gathered earlier to hear Hillary and Bill Clinton had left by 1 p.m. when Richardson took the stage. During a roughly 15-minute speech, he highlighted many of his key campaign points and professed his commitment to unions.

Part of Richardson's promises includes a goal to reduce the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 55.

Now that is a brilliant idea. Medicare will be insolvent in 2018 so the SOLUTION is to make it more available to more people sooner! Wow, why didn't I think of that! Ohh I know, cause I not a dumb ass!