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2009 July — Why Now?
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Posts from — July 2009

Get Them On The Record

Via Corrente a report in The Hill: Liberals will get single-payer vote on House floor

Seeking to dampen liberal anger about deals cut with centrists, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said House leaders have agreed to allow a floor vote on a government-run, single-payer system.

“A lot of members on our committee want a vote on that,” said Waxman said in an interview. “I believe their wishes will be accommodated.”

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) offered a single-payer amendment in the Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday, but withdrew it after Waxman said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had promised a floor vote.

A roll call vote will highlight who needs to be “trained” in the 2010 election. I don’t care what kind of crap bill, if any, gets passed. If it isn’t Medicare-for-All it will be too expensive and reward the insurance industry.

Representative Weiner of Brooklyn also called the Republicans on the committee out by offering an amendment to eliminate the current Medicare program. For some reason the Repubs didn’t vote for it after bad-mouthing “government-run programs” for years.

July 31, 2009   4 Comments

More Local “Job Reductions”

The Feds finished their work, so now it’s the turn of the state’s attorney to deal with the local Sheriff’s Office: Morris’ ‘criminal enterprise’

SHALIMAR — Former Sheriff Charlie Morris and four members of his administrative staff face state racketeering charges for their roles in a “criminal enterprise.”

A sixth, Sabra Thornton, identified as Morris’ mistress, will be charged with grand theft.

In a detailed charging document made public Thursday, state prosecutors said the Sheriff’s Office from 2006 to 2009 operated as a criminal enterprise at its highest levels, with the sheriff using public money to buy gifts and pay off thousands of dollars in debt for a top female employee, Thornton, his former chief of staff.

The other four are accused of helping keep it quiet.

Thornton drew a large salary from the Sheriff’s Office even though “there was no evidence that (she) performed any work,” the charging document said.

If you had evidence of the “work” she performed we would be dealing with network satellite trucks and the state’s attorney would be on CNN every night for weeks.

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July 31, 2009   Comments Off on More Local “Job Reductions”

Fires Still Raging In BC

FireThe CBC reports on the continuing wildfire emergency in British Columbia: Lillooet under wildfire evacuation alert

Residents of Lillooet, B.C., have been warned to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice as the Mount McLean forest fire continues to burn out of control.

Firefighters are still working hard to extinguish the wildfire, which is burning about four kilometres from the southwestern Interior town of 2,300 people over an area more than two square kilometres and is so far uncontained.

According to the CBC wildfire map there are 14 uncontained, and 6 contained fires burning in British Columbia, most, if not all started by lightning strikes during the current the current heat wave. The majority of the fires are in the southern third of the province, which is just north of Washington state. Seattle, Washington recorded a record high temperature of 102° this past week.

July 31, 2009   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Table For One

Friday Cat Blogging


[Editor: Petrov does like the crowded conditions of eating with the other cats on the ground. He jumps up on the entrance to the “Dogloo” and I put a spoonful before him.]

Friday Ark

July 31, 2009   7 Comments

No Class At All

The ABC reports that Riot police break up Tehran memorial

Iranian police have used tear gas and batons against thousands of mourners who staged a graveside ceremony for those killed in the recent post-election violence.

As many as 2,000 people gathered at Tehran’s main cemetery to remember those killed in the wave of protests since last month’s election.

Witnesses say many of those who gathered at the cemetery were beaten and arrested as the police moved in and took them away.

Amateur video showed riot police and pro-government militia used sticks, batons and teargas to break up the crowd. Some mourners fought back with rocks. Many were beaten and driven away.

The memorial marked the 40th day since the death of a young woman, Neda Agha Soltan, whose death at a post-election protest shocked the world after footage of her final moments was put on the internet.

The observance of the fortieth day is an ancient religious tradition in Islamic culture and the “Islamic” government of Iran refused to allow this young woman’s family and friends to observe the traditional rituals associated with her death. You have to wonder how many more religious requirements will be deemed as a danger to the current leaders?

The main reason that the “church” and the “state” must be kept separate is that throughout history the “church” always ends up corrupted by the association.

July 30, 2009   Comments Off on No Class At All


Piyush was in the area not running for President and I missed him.

The Times Picayune reports:

After a three-month break mandated by state law, Gov. Bobby Jindal will resume raising money for his re-election campaign today with an event in Destin, Fla.

The fund-raiser is being hosted by the Louisiana chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, and follows a speech that Jindal is giving to the group, which is holding its 2009 convention in the popular vacation destination.

Well, at least we are getting some tax revenue from the visit, which will help the county budget. Although we are in better shape than many counties because of state and federal actions. We didn’t have to lay off anyone from the Sheriff’s Office because of all of the arrests by the Feds, and the state arrests of other local officials are being tried in the state capital in Leon County, so we don’t have to pay those costs. Things could be worse. 😈

July 30, 2009   7 Comments

Has Anyone Thought This Through?

McClatchy reports that Democrats may drop public option from health bill, which means the whole process was a waste of energy and time.

The “half dozen half-wits” in the Senate, Max Baucus [dR] of Montana, Kent Conrad [dR] of North Dakota, Jeff Bingaman [DD] of New Mexico, Susan Collins [rd] of Maine, Mike Enzi [RR] of Wyoming, and Chuck Grassley [RR] of Iowa, have lost the reason for the effort and think there is some way of getting health insurance reform without actually reforming anything.

There is talk of mandates for people, but no explanation as to exactly what authority the government has that can force people to buy anything from a private business, like an insurance company. You don’t have to buy auto insurance unless you want to drive, and driving is a privilege, not a right. If the government supplies health insurance, you can be taxed to pay for it, but you can’t be ordered to buy it from a private insurance company, no matter what Congress may think. This mandate garbage is nonsense. Where does this power come from?

July 29, 2009   10 Comments

Ever Wonder Why…

Rook found and posted an old file that deals with one of the oddities of the world, in this case the gauge, or distance between the tracks, of US railways, and why it is such an odd size.

It is like the Connections series of James Burke, which traces the path of inventions.

July 29, 2009   1 Comment

In The News

CNN noticed this story, Calling all witches: Cave in need of new hag, today, that I reported three weeks ago, and reported it after Caroline Bohanan [BBC video link] had won the job. But they did spell Wookey Hole properly, unlike CBS who also ran an article. [No link to CBS because almost everything on their site that didn’t happen inside their building is sourced to the AP.]

This is a real article, about a real traffic accident in Australia: Cucumber truck hits buffalo near jumping crocs. The truck was carrying cucumbers, not shaped like one.

July 28, 2009   4 Comments

Take A Break

I’ve added The NewsBiscuit to the roll because of inciteful articles like this:

Beautiful, fun-loving daughter with her whole life ahead of her not killed in tragic circumstances

Emma Lee, an 18-year-old woman described by her friends and family as ‘the life and soul of the party’ and ‘someone who has touched us all’, was today not cruelly snatched from her loved ones in a sudden horrific accident. A promising and talented student who was well liked by both classmates and staff at the college where she continues to study to be a lawyer, Emma was neither the victim of a crazed attack nor struck down by a hospital superbug after undergoing a routine operation. Today those closest to her confirmed in an emotional statement that she remains in robust good health.

We all need a break from “media world”.

July 28, 2009   4 Comments

I Should Explain

I keep forgetting that most people don’t actually know what I’m talking about when I say “lift the cap on FICA” and I should explain.

If you actually work for a living you pay what are often called “withholding taxes” which will appear on your W-2 form as FICA. The Federal Insurance Contributions Act [FICA] is one of the two laws that govern the collection of taxes to fund the Social Security insurance program and the Medicare insurance program. If you are self-employed, your contributions are covered by the Self-Employment Contributions Act, but it covers the same taxes.

The tax rate for Social Security is 12.4%, and for Medicare, it’s 2.9%, but the cost is split equally between the employer and employee, so you only see 7.65% deducted from your wages. The Medicare rate applies to 100% of your wages, from the first dollar you are paid. The Social Security rate is capped, and you only pay the 6.2% on the first $102,000 that you make in a year.

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July 27, 2009   Comments Off on I Should Explain

A Christian Wouldn’t Lie, Surely

Update: He finally showed up and promptly messed up by talking. This is why reading people their rights doesn’t make a big difference, they’ll talk anyway. The LPT didn’t issue a new article, they just updated it.

The Local Puppy Trainer reports the shocking news, the coach didn’t turn himself in

NICEVILLE – Lawmen believe they’ve given the Rocky Bayou Christian Academy coach accused of sexual misconduct more than ample time to turn himself in.

Now, police officers, deputies and even the U.S. Marshal service are on the lookout for the 28-year-old who’d arranged to turn himself in at 10 a.m. Monday. James Laird Seegars, Jr is accused of lewd and lascivious conduct with a 14-year-old and has also been entered into the National Crime Information Center database.

“He knew this was coming. It was not a secret,” said Niceville Police Department Lt. Randy Sallee.

Seegars had told investigators he was only “a phone call away” whenever they needed him to surrender, Sallee recalled. But when lawmen called Seegars, they found he was in Augusta, Ga.

“That’s not a phone call away,” Sallee said.

The accused coach told police he’d come in on his own Monday morning, but that didn’t happen.

Wow, who could have imagined that a guy facing major prison time over a sex charge with a minor wouldn’t just come in to face the music. The guy was a Christian who went to church every Sunday, and everything.

July 27, 2009   2 Comments

More Fires In British Columbia

FireThe CBC reports on a new fire North of Seattle: Lillooet fire burning uncontrolled

A 1,000-hectare wildfire burning out of control within sight of Lillooet in the southwest of B.C. has forced the evacuation of two homes.

Fire officials said there are 13 helicopters and 57 firefighters working to extinguish the Mount McLean fire northeast of Seton Lake, but the blaze was completely uncontained on Monday morning.

The fire is burning on the mountain slopes about 1½ kilometres directly above the town of Lillooet, with the most active fire front approximately four kilometres northwest of the town.

Squamish-Lillooet Regional District ordered two homes in the area evacuated on Sunday, and fire officials expect to release more information later Monday morning.

The fire started on Wednesday with a lightning strike, and additional lightning strikes over the past few days complicated efforts to put it out.

The CBC Fire Map shows five uncontrolled fires burning in British Columbia, and five more fires that have been declared under control. The uncontrolled fires are in the middle of Vancouver Island, this fire [Mount McLean], the Terrace Mountain fire, the Pleasant Creek fire, and in the North of the province, the Liard River fire that has been burning since June 1.

The fires are causing concerns about air quality and water availability in the province. Recent storms have had more lightning than rain, and caused the spike in fires.

July 27, 2009   2 Comments


CNN has more actual facts about the incident in Cambridge:

(CNN) — The woman who made the 911 call that led to the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. never referred to black suspects when she called authorities for what she thought was a potential break-in.

Police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, released the 911 phone call Monday. In the call, Lucia Whalen reports seeing “two larger men, one looked kind of Hispanic, but I’m not really sure, and the other one entered, and I didn’t see what he looked like at all.”

“I just saw it from a distance, and this older woman was worried, thinking somebody’s breaking in someone’s house and they’ve been barging in,” Whalen says. “She interrupted me, and that’s when I noticed. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it at all, to be honest with you. So I was just calling because she was a concerned neighbor, I guess.”

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July 27, 2009   8 Comments