Posts filed under ‘Our Tax Dollars’

Hey America — The Police Work For Us and Let’s Not Forget That

(Image via NormStamper.com)

(Image via NormStamper.com)

This has got to be the quote of the week, if not the year, from Norman Stamper, the former Chief of Police in Seattle who says his use of force during the 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations there was “the worst mistake” of his career:

I’m just very, very disappointed and troubled that lessons that we learned in Seattle have not been embraced by American law enforcement in general, by these police departments that are facing mistrust and distrust in their communities in particular. If anything, the police in America belong to the people, not the other way around.

 

More…

Seemingly simple I know but so true.  We the People pay the police to protect us.  They work for us.  They are our “civil servants.”  They’re there to protect CIVILians.  Let’s not forget that Americans.

I’m beginning to think we have.

 

 

August 14, 2014 at 6:30 PM Leave a comment

Equipment Meant for War Going to Local Police Departments

When you’re a hammer, everything’s a nail.  When you’re a tank, everyone’s a terrorist:

During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”

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Military Weapons to Cops via nyt.com

(Image via NYTimes.com)

August 14, 2014 at 12:56 PM Leave a comment

The American Military Industrial Complex is Smiling Tonight!

I read something a few weeks back about how ISIS in Iraq has commandeered a huge amount of military equipment we paid for with Our Tax Dollars during the 2013 invasion. The supposed “training” of the Iraqi army George W. and Co. said they were doing was a farce and when ISIS emerged, the so-called army cut and ran, leaving billions of dollars of weapons (like humvees at $200,000 a pop) lying around. So now we’re bombing Iraq again and the the billions of dollars of military equipment we paid for are being blowing up by the people we paid to build them in the first place.

Aye yie yie.  I’m sure the military industrial complex is drinking up a storm tonight but I’m SMFDH.  Our tax dollars down the shit hole, again:

Humvee via wikipedia

(Image via Wikimedia)

When President Obama announced US airstrikes in Iraq, most observers understood that the US would be bombing members of ISIS. What many did not know was that, in a twist of such bitterly symbolic irony that it could only occur in the Middle East, the US would also be bombing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of American military equipment.

Here’s why: in the decade since the 2003 US-led Iraq invasion, the US has spent a fortune training and arming the Iraqi army in the hopes of readying it to secure the country once America left. That meant arming the Iraqi army with high-tech and extremely expensive American-made guns, tanks, jeeps, artillery, and more.

But the Iraqi army has been largely a failure. When ISIS invaded northern Iraq from Syria in June, the Iraqi forces deserted or retreated en masse. Many of them abandoned their American equipment. ISIS scooped it up themselves and are now using it to rampage across Iraq, seizing whole cities, terrorizing minorities, and finally pushing into even once-secure Kurdish territory. All with shiny American military equipment.

So the US air strikes against ISIS are in part to destroy US military equipment, such as the artillery ISIS has been using against Kurdish forces.

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If it weren’t for the military equipment the U.S. walked away from, ISIS wouldn’t be near as powerful and we might not be re-inserting ourselves into that country 11 years after I stood on the protest line doing what I could to stop it because I knew it would be a disaster.  But, voila, here we are.

That said, guess who’s on the corporate media? The people who want to make more war.

Geezus.

 

 

 

August 8, 2014 at 6:19 PM Leave a comment

About Hamas’ “Rockets”

I suspected the world, and more specifically the Israelis, were being terrorized by their own government as to the power of Hamas’ “rockets” and I was right:

Iron Dome AFP

(Part of Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system, largely paid for by U.S. taxpayer dollars. Image: AFP)

Gaza’s Bottle Rockets

Why Hamas’ Arsenal Wasn’t Worth a War

 Hamas’ rocket fire into Israel has occasionally been described by the international press in dire terms — as a “non-stop onslaught,” an “unbearable” and “incessant” assault that is “paralyzing the country” and making life “intolerable” for ordinary Israelis. One CNN report even claimed that Israeli soldiers were collapsing from the psychological trauma of the explosions. It has made for a nasty portrait of Hamas and its military strategy, one that could even be read as a tacit endorsement of Israel’s stated goal of disarming the group with military force.

But a closer examination of Hamas’ military capabilities and goals reveals a very different picture. Most of Hamas’ arsenal is comprised of homemade rockets that are decidedly incapable of inflicting mass civilian casualties, flattening apartment blocks, or causing conflagrations that consume entire cities. “Hamas’ rockets can kill people and they have,” a counter-intelligence veteran of the U.S. CIA who spent his career monitoring Israeli and Palestinian military capabilities told me recently, “but compared to what the Israelis are using, the Palestinians are firing bottle rockets.”

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That’s what I thought.

August 4, 2014 at 4:17 PM Leave a comment

Delaware Oil Refinery Asks Taxpayers to Protect it From Rising Sea Levels

Ah yes, on to the next great ripoff.  Here we have a Delaware oil company, a direct contributor to climate change, asking taxpayers to protect it against rising sea levels caused by ah, climate change:

PBF INdustries pbfenergy.com

(Image via PBFEnergy.com)

Big oil companies invest big chunks of their profits (which are bigger than many countries’) into climate change denial. As I wrote a while ago, 9 out of 10 top climate change deniers are linked with Exxon Mobil, the biggest private oil company. Still, there are some brilliant scientists working for oil companies, and they understand what is happening and preparing for it – after all, you wouldn’t make plans to explore oil in the Arctic areas if the ice wasn’t melting.

Good point.

They’re also very open in accepting climate change when it suits them. Recently, an oil refinery from Delaware [PBF Energy] is asking taxpayers to pay for protecting it from rising sea levels. The refinery is just on the water front, and vulnerable to sea level rise, storms and even coastal erosion. Naturally, they invested lots of money in the facility, and don’t want to see it destroyed.

The federal Coastal Zone Management Act provides grants to states for projects such as building out natural barriers, like dunes, to protect against storm surges. The oil refinery believes it too can ask for money, after making its “fair share” of contributions to global warming.

“The extent of the shoreline erosion has reached a point where facility infrastructure is at risk,” says the permit application from the company.

Well sure, we wouldn’t want any damage to be done to the refinery by global warming, especially as refineries are one of the main causes of global warming. We should protect it, so that it can cause even more global warming, so that we can protect it more.

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The gall.  Oh the gall.

July 31, 2014 at 10:26 AM 2 comments

Wondering What the Chances Are That Any of These Fish Survived

This is the lazy person’s way of ripping off taxpayers by charging to supposedly restock a lake.  I mean, what are the chances that any of these fish survived?  Look at the height the plane was flying when it shot those poor things out of the hold, er ah, “set [them] free.”

A Utah fish hatchery has come up with a novel way to restock remote lakes that’s giving a new meaning to the term “fly fishing.”

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has taken to flying several planes over hard to reach areas dropping native fish out of a compartment at the bottom of an aircraft.

Hundreds, sometimes up to 1,000 3-inch fingerlings are set free.

The fish are fed by a man named Ted Hallows, who supervises them until they’re ready to be released into the wild.

“We’re in charge of coordinating the aireal stock statewide,” Hallows said.

They don’t always make it into the water alive. A small percentage of them die.

“They kind of flutter down, so they don’t impact very hard, they flutter with the water and they do really well,” Hallows said.

Overall, fisherman and experts are happy to hear someone is keeping the state’s lakes stocked.

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The person who wrote that article is so compliant.  No questions about whether dropping fish from 1,000 feet above a lake is viable.  The government says, the government says, the government says…and I report.

 

 

 

July 13, 2014 at 6:56 PM Leave a comment

Petition: Appoint George W. Bush Ambassador to Iraq

In a perfect world George W. Bush would be in prison for war crimes but I would settle for this:  From the White House’s petition site:

White House Petition Site via WhiteHouse.gov

(Image: Petitions.WhiteHouse.gov)

Nominate former President George W. Bush respectfully be named the next U.S. Ambassador to the country of Iraq.

In the best interest of both Nations, we the undersigned, respectfully request that Former President George W. Bush be nominated for the position of U.S. Ambassador to the Nation of Iraq. Said position should include all rights and responsibilities of the Ambassador, including residence in the country in which they are representing the interests of the United States.

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And make it for life.

July 3, 2014 at 11:03 AM 1 comment

Jamie Dimon Has Cancer: Oops, Turns Out He’s a Human Being Just Like the People He Spent His Life Ripping Off

Breaking news about Jamie Dimon, yeah, that Jamie Dimon:

Jamie Dimon via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

 

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Diagnosed With Throat Cancer

You can buy the best care the world has to offer (supplemented by our tax dollars) but hey Jamie, welcome to life down here on the ground.

Good luck.

July 1, 2014 at 8:48 PM 1 comment

When Asked What the Definition of Winning in Iraq is, John McCain Can’t Answer

For all of John McCain’s war mongering, you’d think by now he’d have an answer when asked what the definition of “winning” in Iraq is. But no.  (I saw this live this morning.  Not only can’t McCain answer, his anger at being asked is palpable.)

June 13, 2014 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

After the U.S. Government Spent Billions of Our Tax Dollars “Training” the Iraqi Army…

Mission Accomplished 8-18-10

This is where we are today:

This is an incredibly striking sentence from The Guardian‘s coverage of the militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)’s takeover of Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul:

Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers – roughly 30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters.

The Iraqi army outnumbered ISIS by about 40:1 in Mosul. Yet the army still turned tail and ran — ran so fast, in fact, as to leave some of their tanks and helicopters behind.

I’m proud to say I opposed invading Iraq from day one.  We’ve destroyed the place. The billions of tax dollars we spent there are down the drain and the lives lost on all sides were — tragically — for naught.

 

June 12, 2014 at 12:03 PM Leave a comment

The USDA’s “Wildlife Services” Killed Two Million Animals in Fiscal 2013

Dead Fox via Wikimedia Commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

One would think the USDA’s “Wildlife Services” was involved with ah, oh, I don’t know, serving wildlife or their interests, right?

Nope.  Not in this corporatocracy.  This is what they’re doing with our tax dollars:

Wildlife Services, the highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has released new data showing that the agency killed more than 2 million native animals during the last fiscal year.

The new numbers reveal a 29 percent increase in the program’s killing, up almost a half-million animals since fiscal year 2012, despite an increase in public awareness.

Wildlife Services target animals deemed as pests by powerful special interests groups from the agribusiness, hunting and livestock sectors, according to Center for Biological Diversity.

“Wildlife Services has long been out of step with the values of Americans, and the new figures make clear it has no interest in changing,” said Amy Atwood, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned to reform the program last December. “These appalling new numbers show that Wildlife Services is simply thumbing its nose at the growing number of Americans demanding an end to business as usual at Wildlife Services.”

[...]

The covert killings—which includes aerial gunning, traps and exploding poison caps—has gone on for decades with little oversight and according the Center for Biological Diversity, the agency has killed more than 26 million native animals  since 1996.

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Here’s a list of the dead (2013):

  • more than 320 gray wolves
  • 75,326 coyotes
  • 419 black bears
  • 866 bobcats
  • 528 river otters
  • 3,706 foxes
  • 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs (as well as destroyed more than 30,000 dens)
  • 3 golden eagles

June 10, 2014 at 2:57 PM Leave a comment

Wow: Live Feed of the International Space Station Orbiting Earth

It takes a while to load but man-oh-man the live view from the International Space Station (link below) is breathtaking…the clouds, the never-setting sun and city lights.

At times I curse our new technologies and at times I love them.  In this case, I love them.

Our tax dollars at work. Check it out here.

From a few minutes ago, moving east off the U.S. coast over the Atlantic (it’s much better in person):

ISS livestream via eol.jcs.nasa.gov

(Screenshot from livestream via eol.jcs.NASA.gov)

June 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM 2 comments

When the Military and Wars are a Country’s Priority

I-35W Bridge Collapse, Minneapolis, MN, August 1, 2007

I-35W Bridge Collapse, Minneapolis, MN, August 1, 2007 (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

WILMINGTON, Del. — Underneath a now-silent interstate bridge over which 90,000 tractor-trailers and cars normally rumble every day, engineers and workers in hard hats are using shovels and high-tech sensors to figure out how and why the ground has shifted.

The Interstate 495 bridge in Wilmington, Delaware, was closed Monday after four pairs of support pillars were found to be tilting. Officials do not know when it will reopen.

Engineers are hoping to unearth clues that will help them determine how to shore up the bridge over the Christina River, a process officials say is going to take considerable time.

[...]

Four pairs of 50-foot-tall columns that are 5 feet in diameter are leaning, with the top of one roughly 2 feet out of line with the bottom. They are tilting by as much as 2.4 degrees, or 4 percent, from vertical.

[...]

An AP analysis of more than 600,000 bridges last year showed that more than 65,000 were classified as “structurally deficient” and more than 20,000 as “fracture critical.” Of those, nearly 8,000 were both — a combination of red flags that experts say indicates significant disrepair and risk of collapse.

More…

June 4, 2014 at 9:00 AM Leave a comment

Kansas’s Republican Governor Bankrupting State

Sam Brownback via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

This is what happens when a crazed, tax-cutting Republican governor comes into office:  He proves Ronnie right: Government is the problem and it doesn’t work because why?  The crazed, tax-cutting Republican governor bankrupted it:

Kansas revenues plunged again in May, leaving the state more than $300 million below estimates for the current year.

The state reported Friday afternoon that revenues fell $217 million below estimates in May, the second month in a row they came up short of expectations.

The latest decline leaves the state about $310 million short for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/05/30/5056233/kansas-tax-revenues-plunge-again.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/05/30/5056233/kansas-tax-revenues-plunge-again.html#storylink=cpThe state reported Friday afternoon that revenues fell $217 million below estimates in May, the second month in a row they came up short of expectations.
The latest decline leaves the state about $310 million short for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The numbers again raise questions about Gov. Sam Brownback’s income tax cuts from 2012 and 2013 and their effect on the state’s financial health.

Brownback’s administration attributes the falling revenues to taxpayers cashing in investments early before capital gains taxes increased in 2013.

Riiight.  That’s so lame.

[...]

Critics have blamed Brownback’s income tax cuts, which were cited recently when Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the state’s credit rating at the end of last month.

Moody’s warned that the income tax cuts — without offsetting measures such as spending cuts — would drain the state’s reserves. That, the ratings firm said, would pose a “significant credit weakness.”

The rating agency cautioned that spending cuts won’t be easy because of court-ordered spending on schools, keeping up with Medicaid demands and funding the state’s pension system.

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Good luck Kansas.  Oh, and you guys might want to pick up a copy of Thomas Frank’s book:  What’s the Matter With Kansas?

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/05/30/5056233/kansas-tax-revenues-plunge-again.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/05/30/5056233/kansas-tax-revenues-plunge-again.html#storylink=cpy

 

June 2, 2014 at 8:04 AM 1 comment

Imagine if the U.S. Held a Country-Wide Vote on Defense Spending

Switzerland flag via wikipedia.org

(The flag of Switzerland via Wikipedia)

Somehow or another I came across this article and my eyes almost popped out when I read the headline.  People in Switzerland got to vote on whether their country would spend $3.5 billion on new fighter jets?  Amazing and wonderful.

If only we could do that here in the U.S.  The idea is that when our congresspeople vote on defense spending bills they’re our representatives so we are in essence voting.  But what with Republicans and a whole lot of Democrats now acting as wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporatocracy, that isn’t how it working anymore.

Swiss Reject $3.5 Billion Gripen Purchase in Blow to Saab

Swiss voters rejected a 3.1 billion- franc ($3.5 billion) order for Gripen fighter jets, a setback to Swedish defense company Saab AB.

The 22-plane contract, which Switzerland awarded 2 1/2 years ago, was opposed by 53.4 percent of voters, the government in Bern said on its website today. That’s in line with the latest survey ahead of the vote, which showed some 51 percent of people polled opposed the transaction.

“The people have spoken,” said Susanne Leutenegger Oberholzer, a Social Democrat member of parliament. “We surely don’t have the money for such unnecessary acquisitions.”

More…

And as a not-so-small aside, look at this disclamer at the top of the page:  (Adds comment from lobby group in 11th paragraph.)  Here’s paragraph 11:

According to mechanical- and electrical-engineering trade group Swissmem, the no-vote will deprive the Swiss economy of 2 billion francs of orders. The compensation deals tied to the Gripen contract “would have secured jobs in Swiss companies,” Swissmem said.

So, Swissmem is a lobbying group.  Nice to know.  Imagine if U.S. newspapers noted at the top of every article when a lobbying group was being quoted.  That would practically double the weight of the average newspaper but wouldn’t it be nice say, when you see someone quoted from the group “Americans for Prosperity,”  you’re told it’s a lobbying group.  You could look it up and see  it was founded by the Koch brothers and it’s working not on behalf of Americans per se, but very, very, very rich Americans.

What a sensible and sane thing to do.

 

 

 

May 18, 2014 at 3:18 PM Leave a comment

If Banks and Oil Companies Can Write Off Their Expense, Why Can’t Teachers?

This is what happens to the tax system when it’s permissible for corporate lobbyists to throw megabucks at people who are supposed to represent, ah, We the People. Hardscrabble teachers’ (and other) unions crawl on their hands and knees in an attempt to be heard but they aren’t.  They don’t have the

$5,000 bill

(Image via Wikipedia)

This is so wrong:

Tweet of the Day 5-10-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10, 2014 at 7:11 PM 1 comment

When Wall Street Funnels Our Tax Dollars Into its Insatiable Coffers

City of Los Angeles logo

This is my hair-on-fire headline of the day:

Los Angeles Now Spending More on Wall Street Fees Than on Maintaining Roads

Los Angeles councilman Paul Koretz has called for banks NY Mellon and Dexia to return $65 million in “unfair profits and termination payments” they received between 2008 and 2014. This follows a report (embedded below) revealing that the city spent more than $200 million in fees to Wall Street in 2013 alone.  Koretz says he may push the city to take punitive action against the financial institutions involved if they do not renegotiate the deal.

The report, published by the union-backed Fix LA Coalition, notes that “the City of Los Angeles last year spent more on Wall Street fees than it did on our streets.” Indeed, the report notes the city “paid Wall Street $204 million in fees, spending only $163 million on the Bureau of Street Services.”

The fees are connected to the controversial interest-rate-swap deal cemented by Los Angeles in 2006. It is a deal similar to those engineered by Wall Street in cities across the country. Those deals have made headlines in recent years in some of the country’s most high-profile municipal budget crises.

For instance, a recent study by former Goldman Sachs investment banker Wallace Turbeville found that an interest-rate swap deal was a primary driver of Detroit’s fiscal crisis. Noting that the banks used the city’s bankruptcy to demand “upwards of $250-350 million in swap termination payments,” Turbeville concluded that “a strong case can be made that the banks that sold these swaps may have breached their ethical, and possibly legal, obligations to the city in executing these deals.”

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This is what happens when city employees are charged with signing 200-page contracts with Wall Street firms that are written in legalese in tiny fonts.  The Wall Street firms are the only ones who know exactly what they say.

 

 

 

May 7, 2014 at 1:11 PM Leave a comment

Charter School Operators Siphoning Off Millions of Taxpayer Dollars

CHARTER SCHOOLS

 

Why is this a surprise?  Taxpayer dollars should fund public schools, not so-called “charter schools.” Anyone can set up a “charter school” and suck up our tax dollars to fund it, or their a lavish lifestyle.

Public money for public schools.  Period.  If someone wants to open a “charter school,” fine.  Come up with the money on your own.

Release: “A new report released today reveals that fraudulent charter operators in 15 states are responsible for losing, misusing or wasting over $100 million in taxpayer money.”

Summary: “Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud And Abuse,” authored by the Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education, echoes a warning from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General. The report draws upon news reports, criminal complaints and more to detail how, in just 15 of the 42 states that have charter schools, charter operators have used school funds illegally to buy personal luxuries for themselves, support their other businesses, and more. The report also includes recommendations for policymakers on how they can address the problem of rampant fraud, waste and abuse in the charter school industry. Both organizations recommend pausing charter expansion until these problems are addressed.

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May 6, 2014 at 6:34 PM Leave a comment

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 1 comment

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