Atlantic Yards: A Crash Course
faxless payday loans

Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
faxless payday loans
, News
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Friday 31 July 2009 8:20 PM

from the Next American City

faxless payday loans

When Developer Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner Companies announced the fanciful vision of a sports stadium in Brooklyn surrounded by world-class architecture designed by Frank Gehry, little did he know he was about to head one of the most controversial development projects in the history of New York.

A protest mural on the Atlantic Yards site. Image via flickr.

In addition to the stadium, the master plan of the project, in an area known as Atlantic Yards, showed a mixture of commercial, retail, and housing units, as well as green space. The original price of the project, slated for a 2006 completion, was $2.5 billion and included 8 million square feet and 22 acres of development. By the time the Public Authorities Control Board finally approved it in December of 2006, the cost had doubled to $4 billion, partly due to rising costs associated with Gehry’s designs.

The original design for the 20,000-seat arena, named Barclays Center after the British Bank, incorporated Gehry’s now almost customary usage of titanium. The plan also consists of 16 towers, including a 620-foot tower dubbed “Miss Brooklyn.” In 2008, the tower, which had drawn some controversy for its size, was scrapped for a new 511-foot tall Gehry design, named B1. The general design was quickly met with concern and opposition from numerous residents in the area who feared the size of the development, as well as related factors, like traffic congestion, which they believed would negatively alter the character of the neighborhood.

Locals were more enthusiastic about the proposed addition of housing, particularly affordable housing. Forest City stated that almost 2,000 of the 6,400 approved units would be condominiums, and about 200 of those would be subsidized. Half of the rental units were supposed to be reserved for moderate to low-income households. To further express their commitment to affordability, the developer and Brooklyn office of ACORN signed the Housing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2005 to solidify their pledge of making 50 percent of the residential units affordable.

However, as time has passed, affordable housing has become an issue that many opponents of the project have scrutinized as the project continues to change. One of the big issues has been what the term “affordable” really means. Brooklyn Speaks, an umbrella group that is more generally concerned with the fact that the scale of the project makes it impossible for it to integrate with the rest of the neighborhood, makes the point that “60 percent of the affordable units would only be affordable to families making in excess of the Brooklyn median income…$35,000.” The Atlantic Yards Report, a blog that follows news on the project and offers analysis, has brought to light a variety of possible loopholes in the MOU and the way Residential Project was defined as consisting of 4500 (rental) units, leaving a gray space for units added later that may not have to be part of the 50/50 program, as well as non-rental units.

Seen as the project’s main opponent, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn makes it very clear that they support growth and development in the Atlantic Yards area but are against Ratner’s “inflated, false claims,” and lack of interest in community input. They are also opposed to the use of eminent domain in this project, which they see as “inappropriate and abusive.” The project proposes to seize 68 privately held properties through eminent domain, which the developer sees as necessary to deal with “blighted conditions” in the area. Such seizures would displace many residents and businesses in the area and disrupt the general fabric of the neighborhood by introducing very dense development.

Such opposition, which in a few cases has manifested into lawsuits and court challenges, has added to construction delays and dramatically changed the timeline of the project. In fact, in June, the New York State Appellate Court agreed to hear an appeal challenging the use of eminent domain to take the property for the project, which could cause another significant delay. Still, Ratner is determined to break ground on the project before the end of the year and is very aware that in order to qualify for tax-exempt bonds the project must begin before the end of 2009.

Since June, when the anticipated completion date was announced to be 2019, the cost of the project has ballooned to $4.9 billion. In addition, the $25 million in revenue that the city hoped to gain once Atlantic Yards was completed is seen as a lost cause to most. Furthermore, Frank Gehry, the man whose architectural vision won over many proponents, will no longer be designing any of the buildings. The rising costs, coupled with the current economic situation, called for designs that are less expensive than Gehry’s (albeit less impressive).The Kansas City firm, Ellerbe Becket, will now design the less expensive –and more generic-looking—stadium. The New York blog, Gothamist, describes the redesign as “a banal homage to any number of unremarkable ‘field house’ arenas across America.”

Being able to borrow money and raise capital in this fiscal climate has placed the project at a severe disadvantage. And with a less than exciting main attraction, resolute local opposition, and legal and financial hurdles, it is hard to say if Ratner’s Atlantic Yards will ever—or even ought to—come to fruition.

Dems warn Baucus with gavel threat
faxless payday loans

Posted by Howard Rich | News
faxless payday loans
| Friday 31 July 2009 7:19 PM

From The Hill

faxless payday loans

In an apparent warning to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), some liberal Democrats have suggested a secret-ballot vote every two years on whether or not to strip committee chairmen of their gavels.

Baucus, who is more conservative than most of the Democratic Conference, has frustrated many of his liberal colleagues by negotiating for weeks with Republicans over healthcare reform without producing a bill or even much detail about the policies he is considering.

“Every two years the caucus could have a secret ballot on whether a chairman should continue, yes or no,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “If the ‘no’s win, [the chairman’s] out.

“I’ve heard it talked about before,” he added.

Harkin did not mention Baucus, but his suggestion would likely resonate with the senior Montana Democrat, who has often clashed with his colleagues over important bills.

Liberals are also upset by reports that Baucus and other members of the Finance panel have tossed aside the proposal to create a robust government-run insurance program.

Harkin and Baucus are on different sides of the question of whether to create a government-run insurance plan.

While Harkin, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, wants a strong public option, Baucus has favored a more modest proposal to set up a co-op program.

Some senators suggest privately that Baucus might be more open to persuasion if his chairmanship is subject to regular votes.

Another senior Democratic senator endorsed Harkin’s suggestion but declined to speak on the record for fear of angering Baucus.

“Put me down as a yes, but if you use my name I’ll send a SWAT team after you,” said the lawmaker when asked about a biennial referendum on chairmen.

Some Democrats have pushed back against criticism of Baucus.

A Senate source argued that critics do not have a realistic view of what it takes to enact an overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system.

“Those members who want everything they’ve ever dreamed of and want it now don’t have a plan — or the votes — to get it,” said the source. “This bipartisan Finance group isn’t focusing on politics or partisanship; it’s focused on results — delivering real healthcare reform, the president’s top priority this year.”

The plan Baucus is negotiating would address many Democratic priorities, such as lowering insurance prices for middle-class families and prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions. Baucus has appeared to respond to pressure from colleagues, announcing on Wednesday new details of his negotiations with Republicans and promising his bill would extend insurance coverage to 95 percent of legal U.S. residents.

It is unclear whether the idea of a secret-ballot vote on chairmanships would gain much momentum in the conference.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who survived a secret-ballot referendum on his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in November, said he would oppose such a vote on all chairmen.

Lieberman noted that the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, which is headed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), recommends who should serve as committee chairmen at the start of each Congress, picks then ratified by the Democratic Conference as a whole.

But this process has become pro-forma except in extreme circumstances, such as the aftermath of Lieberman’s decision to endorse Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential election. Some lawmakers would like referendums on chairman to become more regular.

Senate Republicans have implemented term limits on chairmen and ranking committee members in their conference. Republican lawmakers may only serve three full terms as the chairman of a panel.

But Senate Democrats have no limits. This means Baucus could continue to have an outsize influence on major legislation for years to come. He is 67 years old, relatively young by Senate standards.

And despite the complaints of liberals, Baucus has retained the support of Reid, who sees Baucus’s efforts as essential to crafting a plan that can win 60 votes on the Senate floor.

As the senior Democrat on Finance, Baucus has played a major role in crafting legislation, going back to former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax package and Bush’s 2003 Medicare prescription drug plan.

Once again, he has emerged as a lead negotiator in a landmark policy debate, and some lawmakers think he will end up defining healthcare reform.

“The solution is coming, I think, in the Senate Finance Committee,” Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.), a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, said in a recent television interview.

Liberal advocacy groups and labor unions have tried to pressure Baucus to support the public option, but to little avail. Some liberal advocates have even given up on Baucus.

“I don’t think we’re going to change Max Baucus’s mind,” said Gerry Shea, assistant to the president for governmental affairs at the AFL-CIO, who added that Baucus would not be targeted in grassroots activities planned for August.

Liberals have stifled their gripes for the past several weeks, but it appears their patience is nearing its end.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a member of the HELP Committee, said it would be very difficult for him to support a healthcare package that did not include a strong public option. On Tuesday he grumbled about the slow pace of Finance Committee negotiations: “I’m not happy with the slowness there.”

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), a senior liberal lawmaker, complained to reporters last week about being left out of Finance Committee talks despite serving as chairman of the panel’s Healthcare subcommittee.

City approves eminent domain resolution for Tansi water harvesting
faxless payday loans

Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
faxless payday loans
, News
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Friday 31 July 2009 6:17 PM

from the Crossville Chronicle

faxless payday loans

Pat and Ed Sawchuck are afraid their dream of a lifetime has been stolen. They aren’t alone.

The couple were among a crowd of Lake Tansi residents who attended Thursday’s special-called meeting of the Crossville City Council. During the meeting the city approved a resolution in a 3-0 vote to take eminent domain action in order to harvest water from Lake Tansi.

Voting in favor of the action were Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III, Dr. Carl Duer and Earl Dean.

City Attorney Kenneth Chadwell prepared a resolution that was read and approved by the city to start the process. Mayor Graham motioned to approve the resolution.

The resolution states:

“… the City Attorney be authorized and directed to file a Petition for Condemnation against the Lake Tansi Village Property Owners Association, Inc. for the purpose of acquiring under the power eminent domain the water, property, and other rights more particularly described as follows, and as set forth more specifically in the Petition for Condemnation, to-wit: (a) all water that flows over the spillway of Lake Tansi and that could flow over said spillway; (b) all water siphoned at any time, by Defendant, from Lake Tansi; and, (c) all water located in Lake Tansi between the invert elevation of the spillway of Lake Tansi, and that point which is twelve (12) inches below said invert elevation, together with and including the right to draw, harvest, pump, remove and transfer, in perpetuity, all water existing and located between said invert elevation, and the point twelve (12) inches below the same, continuously and without interruption at any time, and from time to time, without notice, at all times during which there exists water between said two points; (d) further, and concurrently 420 acre feet of raw water and water storage in Lake Tansi; and, (e) along with and including all rights incidental to, or necessary for, the harvesting, transfer and transportation of said water described in this paragraph and contemplated in this Resolution, including real property and easements, if any, to the treatment and filtration facility of the City located on Meadow Park Lake in Cumberland County, Tennessee, (all water, property, easements, storage and rights sought for condemnation herein by the City, known herein collectively as the ‘Property’).”

The resolution also states the city of Crossville will pay the sum of $500,000 to the Clerk of the Court in payment of the fair market value of the property rights to be acquired in the condemnation.

Graham’s motion was amended to include the city pay $6,500 to L. T. Murphy & Associates, for appraisal work in the case.

Tansi residents reacted after the meeting.

“We couldn’t wait to move here from Michigan. We were so happy to find a place on the lake that was affordable. And here we are — they’re taking it away from us,” Pat Sawchuck said.

The Sawchucks were among a group of Lake Tansi residents who are upset and plan to fight the city over its decision.

“We just moved here from New York. It was promoted as the retirement capital of Tennessee. We gave up everything we had to come here and now we’re not going to be living on a lake. It’s going to be a mud pit,” Jody Brown said.

“Well, the fight isn’t finished. We’re just beginning. We’re not just going to lay down. The homeowners are upset and we are united,” Bernie Abbot said.

The group plans to fight with legal action.

“We’ve formed a legal committee and we plan on fighting this,” Abbot said.

Residents are afraid the lake will be used as a cash cow for the city so it can sell water to other counties and areas leaving the property owners and residents of Tansi to pay with loss of property values.

“This isn’t fair. We have no vote in the matter. No say so. We were an easy target. It may start off with them using only the overflow or siphoning, but what about the next group who gets elected in there? We can’t vote (in the city). We have no voice,” Sandra Shnee said. “This is a band-aid fix for now. It won’t be something that will last in the future. We’re going to lose our lake.”

The resolution states that “the taking of the Property is for public use and in the public interest, and it is specifically resolved hereby that the acquisition of the Property, as so identified, is necessary for the purpose of providing and supplying a raw water resource and supply for the public water system of the City of Crossville in order to meet the growing demand as substantiated above and in the Raw Water Report; to maintain sufficient raw water supply during times of emergency conditions, including, without limitation, drought conditions; and to provide a raw water supply for the treatment facilities of the City of Crossville during times of maintenance, repair, construction and excavation in the existing impoundments of the City of Crossville and the fixtures and improvements thereto, including, without limitation, for the additional purpose of filling said impoundment.”

Council members Boyd Wyatt and Jessie Kerley did not attend the meeting.

History Of Gov't-Run Health Care Is A Study In Skyrocketing Costs
faxless payday loans

Posted by Howard Rich | News
faxless payday loans
| Thursday 30 July 2009 8:04 PM

From Investor’s Business Daily

faxless payday loans

By RUDY BOSCHWITZ AND TIM PENNY | Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2009 4:20 PM PT

In considering whether to expand the government’s role in the delivery of health care or in health care insurance, it is worth looking at Medicare and Medicaid.

These two huge programs already make the government the largest player in the health care industry. The profligate nature of these two programs should raise lots of doubt about the Obama program doing anything but “busting” the budget.

In 1968 total spending by the federal government was $178.1 billion dollars. Forty years later in 2007, total spending had risen to $2,728.9 billion dollars. So the budget of the U.S. increased in dollar terms 15.3 times in that 40-year span.

But all programs did not rise in unison. Some rose more, others less.

Outlays for Social Security rose from $23.3 billion in 1968 to $581.4 billion in 2007, an increase of 25 times. So Social Security drove the budget higher at a substantially faster rate than the budget rose as a whole.

ObamaCare plans to expand the government’s role in insuring the American people. The government is already the largest insurer in the health care business through Medicare. We are now told ObamaCare will save money.

What kind of impact did Medicare, the first large government health insurance plan have in budgetary terms? Medicare rose from $5.1 billion in 1968 to $436.0 billion in 2007 an astounding increase of 85.5 times over the 40-year period. Will Obama-Care be better?

Beware of government estimates about the future cost of ObamaCare. When Medicare was being considered in the mid-1960s, the government projected that the outlays for the program 25 years down the road would be $10 billion. Instead, in 1990, 25 years later, the outlays were $107 billion. Government estimates were off by a factor of more than 10!

Medicaid, the other large medical program currently in effect, outdid Medicare. Medicaid outlays in 1968 were $1.8 billion. In 2007 they had risen to $190.6 billion, an increase in dollar terms of 105.9 times.

And that is only the Federal outlay number. There is a roughly equal Medicaid amount spent by the states due to federal mandates. Without those mandates we would not be reading about the large deficits that most states endure.

The idea of expanding the federal role in the medical arena is truly fiscally irresponsible. The claim that money will be saved through government competition with the private insurance system (with government setting the rules!) is the height of fantasy.

If 45 million Americans are now uninsured, that means 265 million are insured privately, and the government should not disrupt that. If the government becomes the insurer of most Americans, the impact on the budget would be absolutely awesome. Rationing of medical care that is so often mentioned would surely result.

Equally depressing are the estimates which say that even with ObamaCare, millions will remain uninsured.

Nor is government insurance so great. During Boschwitz’s 12 years as a U.S. senator, he never took government insurance. His wife continued working at the company they started. She continued the insurance available to all full-time employees. He was the dependent. It was both cheaper and more comprehensive coverage than the congressional plan. For the same reason, he never signed up for Medicare. He’s back on the company plan!

If in the 40-year span from 1968 through 2007 Social Security went up 25 times, Medicare 85.5 and Medicaid 105.9, why did the total federal budget increase overall only 15.3 times? What held the budget back?

It was largely defense. Defense outlays rose from $82.2 billion in 1968 (or 46.1% of the total budget) to $547.9 billion in 2007 (20.1% of the total budget). In dollars, that is an increase of a bit less than 6.7 times.

Yet on a recent talk show Rep. Barney Frank assured us that we can pay for these new medical programs by decreases in defense outlays and additional taxes on the “rich” — those with incomes exceeding $250,000, he explained.

Medicine over our lifetime has made extraordinary progress. New discoveries and advances continue to be announced almost weekly. Most — but not all — have occurred here in the U. S. where medicine has always attracted the best and the brightest.

The government has played a most significant role by funding research through the National Institute of Health to the tune presently of $30 billion annually. It is a proper role for government and among the best and most admired of programs that receives the broadest bipartisan support.

Will the best and brightest young people be attracted to a career run by government rules, regulations and financial dictates that may well frown upon individual initiative? Our fear is that they will not, and the extraordinary progress of medicine will slow.

That alone is reason enough to oppose the government’s further immersion into the field of medicine.

Boschwitz served in the Senate from 1978 to 1991 and was a member of the Budget Committee throughout. Penny served in the House from 1983 to 1995. Both are Republicans from Minnesota.

Vote for term limits for politicians now
faxless payday loans

Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
faxless payday loans
, News
faxless payday loans
, Term Limits
faxless payday loans
| Thursday 30 July 2009 4:46 PM

From the Hattiesburg American

faxless payday loans

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has been a breath of fresh air. His approach at levity during hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor was as welcome as were his thought-provoking questions to Judge Sotomayor and his commentary to and about her.

When will the American voting public become sufficiently weary of many of the tired and old and intellectually and socially irresponsible, midget-minded senators who determine everything from what I eat and the price I pay for it to what I am able to view and listen to, to where my clothes will be produced, to whether I shall have to reluctantly support the killing of people in war and otherwise … and finally who manage to discover fault with almost everyone except themselves?

Quite frankly, I am tired of Sens. Arlen Specter, Charles Schumer, Patrick Leahy, Jon Kyl, Charles Grassley, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Sessions and Orrin Hatch – all of whom appear possessed with positioning themselves for the next election and who appear unconcerned with discharging their duties as representatives of the people.

Vote term limits now!

Joseph R. Miller


Term limits needed for elected offices
faxless payday loans

Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
faxless payday loans
, News
faxless payday loans
, Term Limits
faxless payday loans
| Wednesday 29 July 2009 8:27 PM

From the Hattiesburg American

faxless payday loans

In recent opinions, Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Upchurch are both right. We need to replace our current politicians who toe the party lines to the detriment of us all.

But unless we demand term limits for elected office, we will be right back here a few years down the road facing the same problem.

I would like to submit that the problems our country faces will never be resolved when our leaders from day one are far more concerned about being re-elected than doing anything we sent them there to do. That’s our fault for not demanding that they leave after two terms.

We make that demand of our presidents but not our Congress who controls the purse strings of the nation. We have 535 people in Congress with unlimited credit cards who are answerable to no one!

The Founding Fathers never intended for professional politicians to run our country and dictate our choices to us. We must take back our country from the career politicians who are spending us into a black hole.

In recent opinions, Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Upchurch are both right. We need to replace our current politicians who toe the party lines to the detriment of us all.

But unless we demand term limits for elected office, we will be right back here a few years down the road facing the same problem.

I would like to submit that the problems our country faces will never be resolved when our leaders from day one are far more concerned about being re-elected than doing anything we sent them there to do. That’s our fault for not demanding that they leave after two terms.

We make that demand of our presidents but not our Congress who controls the purse strings of the nation. We have 535 people in Congress with unlimited credit cards who are answerable to no one!

The Founding Fathers never intended for professional politicians to run our country and dictate our choices to us. We must take back our country from the career politicians who are spending us into a black hole.
Why don’t we do just that next year? Vote against every incumbent who has severed two or more terms and insist on a constitutional amendment to establish a limit of two terms for each office.

With term limits we’ll get the government of the people, by the people, and for the people that the Founding Fathers envisioned and our nation desperately needs.

Donald Bradford


Arroyo Dismisses Accusations She’s Trying to Extend Term Limits
faxless payday loans

Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Term Limits
faxless payday loans
| Tuesday 28 July 2009 7:07 PM

By Francisco Alcuaz Jr.

July 27 (Bloomberg) — Philippine President Gloria Arroyo dismissed accusations she will attempt to cling to power when her term expires next year by changing the constitution.

“I never expressed the desire to extend myself beyond my term,” Arroyo said in her annual policy statement. “Many of those who accuse me of it tried to cling” to office themselves, she said, without elaborating.

Any attempt to extend the six-year term would risk stirring the wrath of voters suspicious that her election in 2004 was fraudulent. She may also need to tread carefully before meeting U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington this week. The U.S. backs democracies in Southeast Asia such as the Philippines and Indonesia to counter China’s influence and stem the spread of terrorist offshoots of al-Qaeda.

Arroyo plans to discuss climate change, nuclear non- proliferation and counter-terrorism with Obama, she said. “There is now a good prospect for peace talks” with local communist guerillas and Muslim separatists, she added.

The U.S. is the Philippines’ biggest export market, and the 5.5 million Filipinos working there sent home as much as $7.8 billion in remittances last year. In the 1980s, the U.S. helped push former President Ferdinand Marcos out of office on a wave of public demonstrations and then provided air cover for troops loyal to his successor Corazon Aquino to fend off a coup attempt.

If she attempts to rig the system “and people are morally outraged, they can act powerfully and instantaneously,” said Segundo Romero, a fellow at the Development Academy of the Philippines in Manila. “Whatever she says, she must be able to explain it to President Obama.”

Tax Pledges

Arroyo, 62, pledged to improve tax collection and introduce levies on liquor and cigarettes to pay for increased spending on health, education and infrastructure projects. The country’s economic fundamentals are intact, she said.

Staying in power would enable Arroyo to fend off any legal actions over allegations of vote-rigging, corruption and human rights abuses, Romero said. Her predecessor Joseph Estrada spent six years under arrest after he fell from power and before he was convicted of corruption and sentenced to life in jail in September 2007. Arroyo pardoned him a month later.

Opposition lawmakers have failed in three attempts to impeach Arroyo. She has denied all the allegations.

Supporters of former President Ramos tried to remove the single-term limit during his administration.

Constitutional Moves

Lawmakers in the Arroyo-controlled House of Representatives last month called for an unprecedented joint vote with the smaller Senate to discuss amending the constitution. Senators, outnumbered by House members 10-to-1, oppose changes before next year’s elections and without a constitutional convention elected for the purpose.

“If she steps down, she will open herself to legal challenges,” said Bong Lopez, a political science professor at University of Santo Tomas in Manila. “The opposition will file cases against her. She’s afraid because she put Estrada in prison. What assurance does she have Estrada’s supporters won’t do the same to her?”

“Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there,” Arroyo said today.

Arroyo is more unpopular than Estrada was at the time of his ouster, according to Manila-based Social Weather Stations, one of the Philippines’ two biggest polling organizations.

Another option open to Arroyo is to revive a 2006 push by her supporters for a shift to a parliamentary system with a prime minister who would take over many of the president’s powers. Such a change would have to be endorsed by the Supreme Court

“It’s a long shot,” said Lopez. “She has to run for parliament” first, he said.

Failing any attempt to keep Arroyo in office, the leading candidates in next year’s election are Senators Manuel Villar, Francis Escudero and Manuel Roxas and former President Estrada, according to Social Weather Stations.

“As the campaign unfolds and the candidates take to the airwaves, I ask them to talk more about how they will build up the nation rather than tear down their opponents,” Arroyo said. “Give the electorate real choices and not just sweet talk.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Francisco Alcuaz Jr. in Manila at

Obamacare: Prelude to ‘Public Option’
faxless payday loans

Posted by Howard Rich | Columns
faxless payday loans
| Tuesday 28 July 2009 5:16 PM

President Barack Obama says that his health care program will cut costs and give Americans better coverage and more choices. Obviously, these are concepts which should sell extremely well in a country where we place a premium on savings and selection. Of course, the actual substance of Obama’s $1.5 trillion socialized medicine plan stands in stark contrast to the capitalist-sounding, fiscally-responsible rhetoric that’s being used to promote it – which is probably why Obama is encountering such serious resistance in selling even members of his own party on the plan.

Far from expanding individual choices, Obama’s proposal is designed specifically to eliminate competition and put one provider in charge of health care – the government. And instead of cutting costs, Obama’s plan would force millions of Americans to use the same low-quality government health care options that have spawned the unsustainable growth rates that we’re now supposed to be “reducing.”

In other words, if “Obamacare” passes, costs would go up, choice would be eliminated and coverage would diminish – which is ironically the opposite of everything Obama claims his plan would accomplish.
Sadly, Obama and his supporters are ignoring literally dozens of common sense reforms in their effort to impose government’s flawed, demonstrably ineffective philosophy on the rest of the health care industry.

Rather than pushing for private, portable health savings accounts (while simultaneously combating fraud, cutting administrative costs and reforming eligibility in Medicaid), Obama instead wants to put the failed government model of high costs, zero accountability and rampant administrative inefficiency in control of everything.

Of course, Obama is much too politically astute to simply hand over the nation’s health care system to government bureaucrats, which is why his plan creates an intermediate step – a so-called “exchange” system where consumers are driven to lower-quality government care by artificially-established premiums at both ends of the spectrum.

All this does, however, is delay the inevitable, as government simply manipulates the market to create artificially-high premiums for private plans and artificially-low premiums for its own offerings.
The end result of all this so-called “choice?” According to a recent study by the Cato Institute, Obama’s plan would “reduce competition by driving lower-cost private health plans out of business.”
“President Obama’s vision of a health insurance exchange is not a market, but a prelude to a government takeover of the health care sector,” the report continues. “In the process, millions of Americans would be ousted from their existing health plans.”

Additionally, the tax hike that is supposed to pay for $540 billion of Obama’s “cost-saving” plan will itself cost an estimated 4.7 million jobs, according to a recent report by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). How, exactly, would these massive layoffs reduce the cost of coverage, to say nothing of assisting in our nation’s “economic recovery?”

Ask yourself honestly – when was the last time a monopoly wound up cutting costs? Or producing a better product or service? And when was the last time you can remember government running a business better or more efficiently than the private sector?

Given these concerns, the “socialized medicine” stigma is one that Obamacare backers are desperately seeking to avoid. In fact, just last week a Texas Congressman was prohibited from using the term “government-run health care” as he attempted to advise his constituents of a telephone town hall meeting on the proposal.

Congressional leaders informed him that “public option health plan” was the term he must use.
Far from creating options, though, “Obamacare” is truly socialized medicine at its worst – a manipulative effort to get rid of choice in the marketplace and exert government control over yet another facet of our daily lives.

Passing it will only make our nation’s health care problems exponentially worse.
The author is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

East Bay state senator reopens term-limit reform debate
faxless payday loans

Posted by Howard Rich | Issues
faxless payday loans
, News
faxless payday loans
, Term Limits
faxless payday loans
| Friday 24 July 2009 7:15 PM

An East Bay state senator is leading a bipartisan effort to revamp term limits for California legislators.

State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, introduced a state constitutional amendment that would reduce the number of years one can serve in the Legislature from 14 years to 12 but extend the amount of time one can serve in each chamber — that is, the 12 years total could be three four-year state Senate terms, six two-year Assembly terms or any combination thereof.

Lawmakers currently can serve no more than two four-year terms in the state Senate and three two-year terms in the Assembly; all current and former lawmakers would still be bound by these limits set by Proposition 140 of 1990.

The new rules would take effect with those elected to office in November 2010.

That’s a major difference between this and last year’s Proposition 93, which would’ve made the same term-limit changes but would’ve “grandfathered” current lawmakers into extended terms.

That proposition was derided as a power grab by then-incumbents such as state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles; 53.6 percent of voters defeated that measure.

State Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, and state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, have signed on as the Hancock amendment’s co-authors. It’ll require two-thirds votes of both Legislative chambers to be placed on the ballot for voter approval.

“If anything has demonstrated the need to revise the term-limits law, it is certainly the disastrous budget process we have been going through,” Hancock said in her news release.

“Increasingly, inexperienced legislators are dealing with increasingly complex challenges and a dysfunctional governance system,” she said. “The existing term limits don’t allow legislators the time and stability to develop the expertise and hands-on legislative experience to forge positive solutions for the very big challenges facing California.”

Hancock said the amendment follows the recommendations of the 1996 California Constitution Revision Commission.

Martha Montelongo, who helped lead the opposition to Proposition 93, said it’s amazing to her that lawmakers would suggest this given the public’s overwhelming lack of confidence in them.

Amid a fiscal crisis, she said, asking for more time in office is “not very inspiring.”

Lake City charter school gains approval
faxless payday loans

Posted by Howard Rich | News
faxless payday loans
, School Choice
faxless payday loans
| Thursday 23 July 2009 7:01 PM

By Bradrick McClam
Lake City News & Post Reporter
Published: July 22, 2009

LAKE CITY — Lake City will soon be the home to a new charter school.

Dr. Deloris W.B. Brown, director of education for the new Lake City College Preparatory Academy Inc., said in a phone interview July 10 that the school received approval the previous week.

To receive approval for a charter school, she said, you have to establish a planning group of parents, educators and community members. The planning group is comprised of Queen Wallace, Shirley Kennedy, the Rev. Dr. Frank Maddox, the Rev. Ray McAllister, Gloria Tisdale, John Williams, Judy Toney, Vera Elliott, Ruby Jackson and Luvenia Richardson.

Former educators in the planning group are Gloria Brayboy, who was an elementary school teacher; Dr. Flossie Bartell, former assistant superintendent for instruction for Dillon School District 2; and LaKisha Bennett, who was a music teacher and social worker.

Brown said the planning group members had to submit a proposal to the Office of School Choice at the South Carolina State Department of Education. She said they were notified in writing to attend a hearing where they answered questions and received approval.

She said the group also had a similar hearing with the South Carolina Public Charter School District in Columbia.

Members of the Lake City City Council heard about the idea of the new charter school coming to the area during their regular council meeting in April.

Brown said during the meeting that the new charter school had already received 150 signatures from parents stating they will allow their children to attend the school when it opens.

During the council meeting, Brown said the school anticipates an opening date of August 2010.

“This gives us ample time hire the necessary personnel,” she said at the meeting.

She said the charter school will serve grades K-12 and will follow the guidelines of the No Child Left Behind Act.

She hopes to have a student enrollment of 200 when the school opens, she said in April.

The new charter school will focus on the arts. Brown has said that research shows students who participate in arts-based curriculum perform better academically.

She has looked at facilities to house the new charter school, although regulations state the new charter school can be approved before receiving a license of occupancy, she said.

Brown said in April that she thinks teachers in the local school district are trying to make a difference, but parents and students should have other options.

Brown, a Lake City native, has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and district-level director of curriculum and instruction, she said.

Brown received a bachelor’s in English literature from the University of Miami and a Master’s of Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University. She also earned a Master of Science in Education from Fordham University as well as a dual Doctor of Education and Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership.


A community meeting about Lake City College Preparatory Academy Inc. will take place Aug. 11 in the Lake City Youth and Family Center, at 106 E. Thomas St.

To learn more about the charter school, which leaders plan to open in August 2010, call (843) 210-9029.

Next Page »
faxless payday loans
e-wallet Wordpress Theme