Posts filed under ‘Our Tax Dollars’

Shock and Awe — 11th Years and $4 Trillion Later

This happened 11 years ago tonight:

Watch it.  I’m serious.  It’s amazing how much pleasure CNN got from showing live video of bombs blowing people up.

I remember thinking how thrilled Americans would be about this:  explosions, patriotism and oh yeah, they’re gonna pay!  We bad!

Eleven years on:

Iraq, Afghan wars will cost to $4 trillion to $6 trillion, Harvard study says.

March 20, 2014 at 7:56 PM 2 comments

The War on Cancer: The United States Lost

Bad news:

C  A  N  C  E  R

Cancer Soon to Become #1 Killer in America

Here’s a depressing stat: Within the next 16 years, cancer will be the number one cause of death among Americans, according to a new report from the American Society for Clinical Oncologists (ASCO).

In their first report of its kind, ASCO dug into the prevalence of cancer in the U.S. and its projected rise, as well a number of pitfalls in our current medical system that will make treating all those cancer cases increasingly difficult. In fact, the report notes, the field of oncology is under such strain from skyrocketing medical costs and doctor shortages that the Institute of Medicine has called it “a system in crisis” in need of “urgent intervention.”

More…

Why do we have “skyrocketing medical costs” and “doctor shortages?”  I’m definitely not an expert on that but I would suggest unrestrained corporate greed might have something to do with “skyrocketing medical costs” and low wages and the high cost of a college education (not to mention medical school for crying out loud) might have something to do with it.

That said, due to the corporatocracy buying off the folks who are supposed to represent and protect We the Little People, we know there are chemicals in our soil, chemicals in our air, chemicals in our water, chemicals in our clothes, chemicals in our food, chemicals in our building materials and chemicals in our baby bottles.  There’s no end to the list.

I’m 61 and I’ve been lucky.  No cancer (other than some basal cell carcinoma on my nose from spending my teen years roasting in the sun).  Living 61 years — factoring in climate change — might be a thing of the past for today’s little ones.

Oh, and remember when Dick Nixon (R) declared a “War on Cancer?

We lost.  Our tax dollars went to “defense spending.”  Never mind that cancer has, and will, kill more of us than the boogeyman out there.

 

March 13, 2014 at 7:34 PM Leave a comment

Washington D.C. Residents Told to Boil Their Water

Man-oh-man, if this doesn’t hit at the heart of the United States needing to upgrade its infrastructure I don’t know what could or would.

Here’s a press release from the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority:

DCWater is life via dcwater.com

Mar 05, 2014 — The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) advises customers to boil their water for cooking and drinking if they are experiencing low water pressure, especially in areas West and Southwest of Rock Creek Park (see attached map). If customers do not have water service, they are advised to boil water when service is restored. If customers are not experiencing low water pressure and do not live in the affected area, customers do not need to boil their water.

Customers should:
- Bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
- Allow water to cool before using.
- Store cooled water in a clean container with a cover.

Customers should use cooled, boiled water or bottled water for:
- Drinking
- Brushing teeth
- Preparing and cooking food
- Making ice
- Giving water to pets

On March 5, the Ft. Reno Pumping Station experienced a power outage that was isolated to the DC Water system. Due to a loss of pressure, affected customers are advised to boil their water until further notice. To minimize risk, customers should follow the instructions outlined in this advisory.

At this stage, this is a precautionary notice for people with low or no water. DC Water will be releasing more information as soon as possible.

More…

I’ll say it again:  We’re #1?  We’re #!?  We’re #1?

 

 

March 5, 2014 at 7:29 PM Leave a comment

How Not To Kill a Deer — or Yourself

Finland: Reindeer Antlers Being Sprayed With Reflective Coating to Protect Them From Cars

Deer Reflective Spray via chrishauk.com

(Image via ChrisHauk.com)

It’s amazing and wonderful to see a country spend money and time dealing with something like this.  We here in the U.S. can’t even get our shit together enough to teach our kids to read and write much less think about protecting drivers from deer, and vice versa.

 

 

February 18, 2014 at 9:33 PM Leave a comment

The Next Time You Hear Someone Fearmongering About Cutting the Defense Budget…

Think of this mind-blowing little factoid (my Tweet of the Day):

Tweet of the Day 2-6-14

And don’t forget, we’re talking Our Tax Dollars here.

February 6, 2014 at 5:18 PM Leave a comment

Do You Want Your Tax Dollars Spent on Religious Teachings?

Check out this map:

Map Creationism Taught in Schools via Slate

(Image via Slate.com)

Here’s the legend:

Legend Where Creationism is Taught via Slate

(Image via Slate.com)

(Via.)

I’m in Colorado, where there are six or seven “orange” schools, so my tax dollars are going to teach creationism.  Creationism is a religious belief.  I don’t want my tax dollars going to the teaching of religious beliefs, even if they’re my religious beliefs.  The teaching of religious beliefs belongs in church.  Period.

This is the kind of thing the Founders were worried about when they stressed the importance of the separation of church and state.

 

January 27, 2014 at 1:58 PM Leave a comment

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler: A Republican’s Republican

Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, is catering to the business community to such an extent he’s practically bankrupting his office:

Scott Gessler image via sos.state.co.uk

(Image via SOS.State.CO.US)

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is blaming an election bill passed by Democrats for wrecking his budget, but a closer look reveals that it was Gessler’s own choices that largely account for a $5.1 million loss.

Gessler’s office was running a $7 million surplus, so large it violated the law, in June 2012. A year later, it had fallen to less than $2 million, and now legislators are worried his budget will need extra money to keep it afloat.

Most of the shortfall traces back to Gessler’s cuts to business filing fees, according to budget numbers the Herald obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act. He also spent money on website upgrades to make it easier to register a business in Colorado.

Gessler, a Republican, is running for governor, and he touts his cuts to business fees on the campaign trail. But under the Capitol dome, he places blame for his collapsing budget on House Bill 1303, a mail-voting bill that Democrats passed last spring.

[...]

The math, however, shows the opposite.

On five occasions, Gessler cut business fees, either temporarily or permanently. The biggest one was a three-month fee holiday from December 2012 to February 2013, when fees of up to $125 were reduced to $1. Gessler’s office lost $3 million in revenue those three months.

More…

Ah yes. Catering to business at the expense of everything and everyone else. Oooh yeah!  Republicans seem not to know any other way.

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is blaming an election bill passed by Democrats for wrecking his budget, but a closer look reveals that it was Gessler’s own choices that largely account for a $5.1 million loss.

Gessler’s office was running a $7 million surplus, so large it violated the law, in June 2012. A year later, it had fallen to less than $2 million, and now legislators are worried his budget will need extra money to keep it afloat.

Most of the shortfall traces back to Gessler’s cuts to business filing fees, according to budget numbers the Herald obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act.

Gessler, a Republican, is running for governor, and he touts his cuts to business fees on the campaign trail. But under the Capitol dome, he places blame for his collapsing budget on House Bill 1303, a mail-voting bill that Democrats passed last spring.

“The issue basically with the budget is 1303’s been a budget-buster. It’s blown our budget out of the water,” Gessler said at a Dec. 19 oversight hearing at the Legislature.

Sen. Matt Jones, D-Louisville, disputed Gessler’s argument.

“I don’t think one bill is causing a $5 million deficit,” Jones said.

“I’m sorry that you find that hard to believe,” Gessler answered. “I’m happy to show you the math.”

The math, however, shows the opposite.

On five occasions, Gessler cut business fees, either temporarily or permanently. The biggest one was a three-month fee holiday from December 2012 to February 2013, when fees of up to $125 were reduced to $1. Gessler’s office lost $3 million in revenue those three months.

- See more at: http://www.chieftain.com/news/politics/2203809-120/gessler-budget-fees-million#sthash.VXjEfGvn.dpuf

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is blaming an election bill passed by Democrats for wrecking his budget, but a closer look reveals that it was Gessler’s own choices that largely account for a $5.1 million loss.

Gessler’s office was running a $7 million surplus, so large it violated the law, in June 2012. A year later, it had fallen to less than $2 million, and now legislators are worried his budget will need extra money to keep it afloat.

Most of the shortfall traces back to Gessler’s cuts to business filing fees, according to budget numbers the Herald obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act.

Gessler, a Republican, is running for governor, and he touts his cuts to business fees on the campaign trail. But under the Capitol dome, he places blame for his collapsing budget on House Bill 1303, a mail-voting bill that Democrats passed last spring.

“The issue basically with the budget is 1303’s been a budget-buster. It’s blown our budget out of the water,” Gessler said at a Dec. 19 oversight hearing at the Legislature.

Sen. Matt Jones, D-Louisville, disputed Gessler’s argument.

“I don’t think one bill is causing a $5 million deficit,” Jones said.

“I’m sorry that you find that hard to believe,” Gessler answered. “I’m happy to show you the math.”

The math, however, shows the opposite.

On five occasions, Gessler cut business fees, either temporarily or permanently. The biggest one was a three-month fee holiday from December 2012 to February 2013, when fees of up to $125 were reduced to $1. Gessler’s office lost $3 million in revenue those three months.

- See more at: http://www.chieftain.com/news/politics/2203809-120/gessler-budget-fees-million#sthash.VXjEfGvn.dpuf

January 18, 2014 at 12:04 PM Leave a comment

The “War on Drugs:” $1.5 Trillion Down the Crapper

Check out this chart showing how totally ineffective the U.S. “war on drugs” has been.  The blue line represents the U.S. addiction rate, which has remained essentially unchanged for 40 years.  The green line represent the $1.5 trillion we’ve thrown at it during that time:

War on Drugs via TheWire.com

(Image via TheWire.com)

(Via.)

There is some talk about Republicans coming back to D.C. this week and haggling with Democrats over extending Unemployment Insurance for the folks who lost it just after Christmas.  I’m hearing their big stickler will be how to pay for it (natch).  I suggest they close down the damn “war on drugs” and throw away the keys.

What.  A.  Waste.  Of.  Money.

January 5, 2014 at 1:07 PM 1 comment

Republicans Kick a Million+ Lazy Ass Americans Off Their Unemployment Insurance

Got that?  Earlier this month, Republicans refused to extend unemployment insurance to more than a million Americans because they’re lazy a++holes and if we coddle them they’ll just keep on keepin’ on sucking the tit of the American taxpayer.

Dear god of the universe:  If only we really did have a liberal media here in the U.S., they’d be screaming about this<—-  <—-:

—->  —–>

GOP not working-

And if we had Democrats here in the U.S. who made some serious noise, who had guts and a willingness to stand up to the corporatocarcy (thank you Justice Roberts and your ruling on Citizens United), We the People might stand a chance…

 

December 28, 2013 at 8:44 PM 2 comments

Exxon Hates Your Children

Tongue-in-cheek but dead serious:

(Via:  ExxonHatesYourChildren.com)

 

December 27, 2013 at 9:50 AM Leave a comment

Our Tax Dollars: Subsidizing Wall Street Bonuses

Interesting, isn’t it, that D.C. pols keep harping about teachers and food stamp recipients who supposedly suck the life out of our economy but they don’t say a word about these leeches who we pay, with our tax dollars, to live high on the hog:

Image via BecauseFinanceisBoring.com

(Image via BecauseFinaceIsBoring.com)

No Shame: $91 Billion in Bonuses, $83 Billion in Government Subsidies/Year

Earlier this year, Bloomberg calculated that the top 10 U.S. banks receive a $83 billion a year in subsidies from the government, due to their cheap cost of funding & the preferential treatment creditors give them because they assume the government sees them as TBTF.

In November, a NYT analysis of a Johnson Associates survey found that the top eight U.S. banks set aside $91.44 billion for bonuses in 2013.

More…

Oy.  Our supposed “leaders” have woven us into such a indescribably complicated mess.

December 25, 2013 at 9:37 PM Leave a comment

The United States – A Paranoid, Law-Breaking, Scardey Cat Nation

The NSA spied on — get this — UNICEF.

Back in the 60s, on Halloween, I trick or treated for UNICEF.  A penny here, a dime there and once in a while a quarter or wow, a dollar. I was helping to end the suffering of kids on the other side of the world.

H/t to my parents for getting me involved in that.

UNICEF box

Now I’ve come to learn that the NSA sees UNICEF as a threat.  Really?  According to the NSA, everything and everyone’s a freakin’ threat.

What happened to the once-confident, proud United States of America?  Now we’re a paranoid bunch of law-breaking scardey cats:

British and American intelligence agencies had a comprehensive list of surveillance targets that included the EU’s competition commissioner, German government buildings in Berlin and overseas, and the heads of institutions that provide humanitarian and financial help to Africa, top-secret documents reveal.

The papers show GCHQ, in collaboration with America’s National Security Agency (NSA), was targeting organisations such as the United Nations development programme, the UN’s children’s charity Unicef.

More…

December 21, 2013 at 8:25 PM Leave a comment

Uh Oh — Socialist America

Republicans will say this proves Americans are lazy, spoiled brats and they need to have their support systems yanked out from under them so they’ll man up and take responsibility for themselves.  Big babies:

Pew 12-19-13

(Image via People-Press.org)

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Dec. 3-8 among 2,001 adults, finds majorities say it is more important to maintain spending on Social Security and Medicare and programs to help the poor than to take steps to reduce the budget deficit. Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) say it is more important to maintain current Social Security and Medicare benefits than to reduce the deficit, while 59% prioritize keeping current levels of spending for programs that help the poor and needy over deficit reduction.

There is greater public support for cutting military spending in order to achieve deficit reduction. About half of Americans (51%) say reducing the deficit is more important than keeping military spending at current levels, while 40% say deficit reduction is more important.

More…

In other words Washington, don’t reduce the deficit on our backs.

Way to go Americans!

Speaking of big babies, maybe D.C. should look into fixing this little ditty as a way of bringing in more money:  Accidental Tax Break Saves Wealthiest Americans $100 Billion.

December 19, 2013 at 3:53 PM Leave a comment

Sentence of the Day

From David Sirota over at Pando.com in an article titled:  For Economic Stimulus, Pensions Beat Stadiums and Server Farms.

Detroit Protestors via Voice of Detroit.net

(Image via VoiceofDetroit.net)

There [in Detroit], as if proudly advertising its reverse-Robin Hood class war, the city is simultaneously seeking bankruptcy to avoid pensions payments, while pledging $400 million to build a new hockey stadium.

I would much rather have my tax dollars go toward pensions instead of a hockey stadium.  Geezus.  It’s a no-brainer.

December 10, 2013 at 1:40 PM 2 comments

Billions of Dollars Our Dollars Are Set to Go to Sugar Producers

Bowl of Sugar via wikimediacommons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Washington politicians facing a year-end deadline to cut billions in agriculture spending are feuding over the future of food aid for the poor and crop subsidies for farmers.

There is, however, one area of agreement in the contentious negotiations: sugar.

Lawmakers decided to preserve the decades-old government safety net that boosts profits for a relatively small group of growers and has cost consumers billions through artificially high prices.

The special protection is a testament to the enduring Washington clout of one of the country’s wealthiest farming interests, including the politically connected Florida family that controls a substantial share of the world’s sugar market.

Sugar makers succeeded by gaining the support of a wildly divergent collection of lawmakers — rural and urban, tea party and liberal — who have little in common other than the presence of sugar operations in their states.

[...]

The industry’s power was evident in the unusual alliances that formed in the House and Senate to thwart sugar-related measures over the past two years, turning ideological adversaries such as Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) into teammates operating from the same playbook.

“Removing the protections we have for our domestic sugar producers will do nothing but kill an American industry and outsource jobs to our competitors,” Franken said during a Senate floor debate this spring. Rubio, in the same debate, warned colleagues of the “risks to American jobs if reforms to our sugar program were to pass.”

The program, which has existed in various forms since the Great Depression, uses an elaborate system of import quotas, price floors and taxpayer-backed loans designed to prop up domestic growers, which number about 4,500.

More…

We’re talkin’ Our Tax Dollars here folks.

Oh, and don’t forget.  This is the same crowd that wants to cut food aid to the poor.

December 8, 2013 at 8:34 PM Leave a comment

We Could Retrofit Every Home in the U.S. For This Amount

Imagine spending $8 trillion on solar power here in the U.S. which we wouldn’t have to spend billions “guarding” every year:

Solar Panels image via wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

It has cost the United States $8 trillion to provide military security in the Gulf since 1976. According to Roger Stern, a Princeton economist, the US has spent as much on Gulf security as it spent on the entire Cold War with the Soviet Union! In recent years through 2010 it has been $400 billion a year, though the US withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011 and the gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan this year and next presumably means that the figure is substantially reduced. Still, we have bases in Kuwait, Qatar and elsewhere, and a Naval HQ in Bahrain, none of which is cheap. If it were $200 billion a year, that is a fair chunk of the budget deficit the Republican Party keeps complaining about. And if we could get that $8 trillion back, it would pay down half of the national debt.

More…

And shame on our so-called leaders for not talking about cutting some of this expense instead of food stamps for the poor.

Oh, and this is what just one trillion dollars looks like.  Multiply this by eight and you have an idea how much we’re spending guarding our oil.

What $1 Trillion Looks Like via the sleuth journalcom

(Image via TheSleuthJournal.com)

December 8, 2013 at 11:43 AM Leave a comment

The U.S. Government Takes Care of Raytheon. The Unemployed? Not So Much

This is happened yesterday:

Pentagon Approves $1.1 Billion Raytheon Missile Sale To Saudi Arabia

Meanwhile, there’s this from today:

Destatute via Wikimeida Commons

Strong Jobs Report Could Mean Bad News For Unemployment Benefits

 

December 6, 2013 at 7:41 PM Leave a comment

Handouts — This Time It’s About Corporations Taking Them, Big Time

I am so sick of wingers whining about Americans who get “handouts.”  They usually drone on about people on food stamps or retirees on Social Security or Medicare.  Who decides to be bored to death, to be old and/or sick? Nobody.

I think it’s high time we turn the tables and redirect the “handout” talk to corporate handouts.

Read this. Talk about handouts:

Fast food CEOs exploit despicable tax loophole

Outrageous: In two years, fast food corporations paid out $183 million in deductible “performance pay” to top brass

December 3, 2013 at 7:10 PM 1 comment

12 Years Into the Afghan War, Hamid Karzai Assures the World Stoning Will Not Be Revived

You mean to tell me we’ve spent how many lives and how many bazillion dollars in Afghanistan and the most optimistic thing its president has to say lo these many years on is that they won’t stone people to death anymore?

Stoning via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

This is progress?

 

Stoning Will Not be Brought Back, Says Afghan President — Hamid Karzai’s government backs away from reintroduction of brutal punishment after outcry

Afghanistan’s government has backed away from a proposal to reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery after the leak of a draft law stirred up a storm of international condemnation.

The president, Hamid Karzai, said in an interview that the grim penalty, which became a symbol of Taliban brutality when the group were in power, would not be coming back.

More…

“Karzai’s government,” meaning Karzai at the very least approved it, proposed “reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery.”  (I bet 99.9% of the people stoned would be women.)  In other words, the guy the Bush administration installed as president there wants stoning to be brought back, but that caused “international condemnation” so he back down?

That means it’ll happen but the government will look away.

Gee. Things are going swimmingly there, huh?

 

 

 

 

November 28, 2013 at 8:44 PM Leave a comment

When Politicians Hand Billions of Our Tax Dollars to Billion-Dollar Corporations

Boy, wouldn’t it be great if the “liberal media” got all worked up about this instead of some deadbeat somewhere ripping Medicaid off for a few thousand dollars?

Money Tree via ppiblog.com

(Image via ppiblog.com)

With the stroke of a pen, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Monday signed into law the largest corporate tax break any state has ever given to a single company. And it took just three days of debate in the state legislature to get the measure to Inslee’s desk.

The new law extends a business and operating tax cut for the aerospace giant through 2040, streamlines the permitting process and invests in a transportation package the company had advocated. Over the life of the package, the deal is expected to be worth $8.7 billion.

That money is part of an effort to entice Boeing to build the 777X, an extended-range version of its popular wide-body aircraft, in the Puget Sound region.

[...]

The deal “is notable for being the biggest package ever in history,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, an advocacy group in the District that tracks subsidies states offer to companies.

[...]

“The biggest beneficiaries of this are Boeing shareholders, most of whom don’t reside in Washington State,” LeRoy said. “This is a shift of burden from foreign airlines to Washington taxpayers who either get higher tax rates, maybe they’ll have to raise their sales tax, or they get lousier public service.”

More…

November 13, 2013 at 10:07 AM Leave a comment

Chris Christie: Increasing New Jersey’s Deficit Like Republicans are Wont to Do

Chris Christie fat via nj1015.com

(Image via NJ1015.com)

Running for New Jersey governor in 2009, Chris Christie hammered the Democratic incumbent, Jon S. Corzine, for using “one-shot gimmicks” to balance the budget, called it “unconscionable” to take away property tax rebates and railed against issuing more debt for transportation projects, promising to “start saying no to spending.”

Fast forward to 2013:

Overall spending has risen 14 percent, and while state surpluses nationwide are growing, New Jersey’s has shrunk to its lowest percentage in a decade. The state’s bond rating is among the worst in the country.

Mr. Christie’s record is drawing scrutiny now, not only because he is emphasizing that he “restored fiscal sanity” to the state as he seeks re-election next week, but also because of his possible presidential candidacy.

And if Christie does run for president, you can be sure he will boast about “saying no to spending.”  But take a look at how he’s basically rigging the books, robbing from Peter to pay Paul:

During the past two years, he took $175 million from the money paid to states to settle complaints of mortgage fraud, intended to help homeowners prevent foreclosure. (Nationwide, New Jersey has the second-highest percentage of homes in foreclosure.) Last year, he planned to take $166 million that towns were supposed to spend to build affordable housing. (The towns have sued to stop him, so the governor may have to fill an even bigger hole.)

He relied on an accounting switch earlier this year, announcing that instead of sending out property tax rebates in May, as has been the custom, the state would send them out in August, pushing $400 million onto the next budget.

[...]

Mr. Christie has been especially aggressive about taking funds dedicated to energy efficiency, to developing renewable energy and to reducing costs for rate payers. He has taken roughly $700 million in so-called clean energy funds, dumping most of that into the general fund, and using a smaller percentage to pay utility bills in state buildings. The transfers began small — $42.5 million in fiscal year 2011 — then more than quadrupled over the next three budgets.

[...]

He issued $4 billion in bonds, but said that to avoid future borrowing, he would increase the amount the state contributed toward the transportation trust fund every year. But when revenues came up shorter than his projections in 2013, he took the turnpike tolls intended for those contributions to the trust fund and used them to help balance the overall state budget. For fiscal year 2014, he again eliminated the planned payments.

More…

I recommend the whole article.  Christie’s hocus pocus “budgeting” is based on band-aides and fingers in dikes.

 

October 30, 2013 at 10:43 AM 2 comments

McDonald’s “McResources” Staffer Refers 10-Year Employee to Medicaid and a Food Pantry When She Calls Looking for Help

This is how you and I contribute to McDonald’s bottom line:  We subsidize their low-wage employees like Nancy (see video) so they can pay their top honchos millions of dollars while they refuse to give Nancy a freakin’ raise. She’s worked there full-time at $8.25 an hour for ten years!  Again, no raise in TEN YEARS.  So she calls to see if the “McResources” people can help:

More

 

October 23, 2013 at 5:31 PM Leave a comment

Poor People Don’t Matter, As Usual: Outage Shuts Food Stamp Program in 17 States

I’ve got to start keeping track of the infrastructure failures that are occurring all across the United States;  everything from water main breaks to computer glitches. I read about them here and there almost every day.    They seem small on their own but together, they add up.

Our country is falling apart.  Literally.  The thing is, the failures aren’t happening in areas where rich white people live so we aren’t hearing about them.

Food Bank

Case in point.  This is an emergency:

Power Outage Shuts Down Food Stamp Program In 17 States

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) – Food stamp recipients in 17 states lost access to the electronic system used by stores to verify their benefits on Saturday, leaving many unable to buy groceries, the company that manages the system said.

People enrolled in the government food assistance program use plastic vouchers similar to debit cards. Starting at about 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), some of those cards stopped working, Xerox spokesman Kevin Lightfoot said.

A power outage that started the problem was fixed within 20 minutes, Lightfoot said, but shoppers continued to run into difficulties throughout the day. By early evening, the problem still had not been fixed.

[...]

States States experiencing problems included Alabama, California, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois,Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio,Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, Lightfoot said.

More…

My food bank-volunteer-self knows this is going to hurt so many people in so many ways.  The ripple effect will be tremendous lest it’s fixed tonight. Get that “electronic system” up and running ASAP! Oh, wait, the government’s shut down.  Shi*t.

H/T Republicans.

 

 

October 12, 2013 at 8:28 PM 2 comments

Republicans Giddy About Spending $160 Million Per Day on Shutdown

My Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 10=12-13

Republicans are downright giddy because ah, why?  Oh yeah, I remember:  They’re — wink, wink — trying to control spending (never mind that black guy in the White House).  Oops.  Guess what: The shutdown is costing $160 million per day.

Geezus.

October 12, 2013 at 7:05 PM Leave a comment

Our Tax Dollars at Work: A Place For the Government to Put the Info it Gathers Spying on Us

This is the humongous building the NSA is building to house the data it collects by spying on us (and everyone else on the planet):

NSA Utah Data Center via via NSA.gov1.info

(Image via NSA.gov1.info)

The National Security Agency is building a massive new data center in Utah, all the better to store your weekly phone call to grandma with. You know, just in case that corn muffin recipe turns out to be a coded call to your sleeper cell to spring into action. But there’s a small problem: as the Wall Street Journalreports, the operation keeps blowing up and catching fire.

More specifically, the facility has been “undercut by logistical headaches” and “electrical troubles—so-called arc fault failures—as ‘a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box.’ These failures create fiery explosions, melt metal and cause circuits to fail.”

You can practically smell the money burning as the Army Corps of Engineers argues with its contractors over the cause(s) of the explosions. And the contractors have proved to be a many-armed beast: “The architectural firm KlingStubbins designed the electrical system. The firm is a subcontractor to a joint venture of three companies: Balfour Beatty Construction, DPR Construction and Big-D Construction Corp.”

Estimated project costs somewhere in the vicinity of $2 billion; the final cost, after they stop the thing from blowing itself up, is anyone’s guess.

More…

Anyone’s guess is right.  We can only imagine what the final tab will be.  Once contractors put their grubby hands inside the national wallet, they tend to have a hard time pulling it out.

Oh, and when I went looking for a photo of the place, I found the one above on the NSA’s website.  When I clicked the link attached to it I was taken to — I kid you not — a page titled “Domestic Surveillance Directorate.”  Creepy.  Sounds like something from the old Soviet Union.

October 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM Leave a comment

Democrats Won’t Negotiate?

Why isn’t this — from Cox’s News reporter Jamie Dupree — breaking news everywhere?

Tweet of the Day 10-8-13

October 8, 2013 at 3:36 PM Leave a comment

The Shutdown Hits the Senate and They’re Crying Like Babies

Bawwaha:

Bpxed Lunches 10-6-13I invite these poor suffering Senators to hang out with me on any given Friday at the food bank where I volunteer.  A boxed lunch sounds so fresh compared to what the people I see get.

How about some canned chili made with mystery meat that’ll last for a million years and oh, I don’t know, some canned green beans from who-knows-where?  And let’s have some soggy brownish government-issued canned peaches for dessert.

Sounds yummy huh?

Catered meals?  Really?  That’s what you’re used to?

October 7, 2013 at 8:25 PM 2 comments

Shutdown: Worker Safety Isn’t an “Essential Service”

Over the weekend the Pentagon ordered “almost all furloughed civilian employees back to work” despite the government shutdown.

Ah yes.  “Essential services” as in wars and drone attacks.

As for the health and wellbeing of We the People?

OSHA Logo

Nonessential:

A 32-year-old Scituate man doing tree work at a residence on Border Street suffered severe traumatic injuries this morning when the harness he was wearing failed and he fell 30 to 40 feet to the ground, police said.

Police responded to a 9-1-1 call at 9:45 a.m. Police said Total
Tree Co. of N. Main Street was removing trees at 136 Border St.

Police said the victim was treated at the scene and taken by Cohasset Fire Department ambulance to South Shore Hospital.

Acting Chief William Quigley said it is standard procedure to contact OSHA’s (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) Braintree office when there is a work-related accident but they could not get a hold of anyone due to the partial shutdown of the federal government. OSHA is a federal agency that regulates workplace safety and health.

More…

As an aside, there’s this: Owner Made a Billionaire Feeding U.S. War Machine.

Interesting, isn’t it, who suffers and who doesn’t?

October 7, 2013 at 7:02 PM Leave a comment

Yo, USA: Let’s Think About a Basic Yearly Income For Everyone

I can’t wait to see what happens:

Switzerland flag via wikipedia.org

Flag of Switzerland. (Image via Wikipedia.org)

Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

[...]

In March, Swiss voters backed some of the world’s strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation.

A separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company’s lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote on November 24.

More…

Nice.  When a country doesn’t spend a gazillion dollars on “defense” they can think about things like this.

 

October 6, 2013 at 7:04 PM Leave a comment

Boehner Lies: There Aren’t Enough Votes in the House to Pass a Clean Continuing Resolution

Hey John: You say there aren’t enough votes in the House to pass a “clean” (no strings attached) Continuing Resolution (CR) in the House?  Cool.  Put it on the floor for a vote and we’ll see.  Then, the issue will be moot, at least for now.

John Boehner Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

The White House on Sunday challenged  Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to prove his assertion in an ABC News interview that “there are not the votes in the House” to pass a “clean” continuing resolution.

 

“If he’s right, why not prove it?” White House press secretary Jay Carney asked on Twitter.

More…

Boehner’s lying.  He’s scared.  It would pass:  Here, here, here, and here.
No wonder he gets drunk every night.

October 6, 2013 at 6:05 PM 2 comments

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