Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gov. Brown releases plan for California Pension Changes.. (Associated Press) by Adam Weintraub... March 31, 2011

Brown releases plan for Calif. pension changes


The Associated Press


Gov. Jerry Brown released a 12-point proposal to revamp California's public-employee pensions Thursday, drawing immediate outcry from state workers complaining that it asks too much and from Republican lawmakers who said it doesn't go far enough.

The proposals target practices that critics say drive up costs for taxpayers and provide public-sector workers with far more generous benefits than private workers receive.

The package includes specific bill language to limit pension spiking, the practice of boosting pension benefits with a big raise in the last year before a worker retires. Instead, pensions would be based on a three-year average of base pay, not overtime or unused vacation time.

It also would ban retroactive pension benefit increases, "holidays" when employers do not have to contribute to pensions, cash payments to raise pension benefits and paying benefits to workers who have been convicted of an employment-related felony. Brown's package also would prohibit the state and local governments from paying an employee's share of pension contributions.

Several other changes are still being developed, Brown said. They include a cap on benefits, limits on employees returning to government work after they retire and a shift toward a hybrid plan in which employees would be responsible for part of their retirement planning.

Brown, a Democrat, won election last year in part on a platform of pension reform, and much of that platform is reflected in Thursday's proposal.

Republican lawmakers had pushed during budget negotiations for more extensive pension changes, but both sides say the talks broke down last week over other issues such as a spending cap and tax changes.

"We're pleased to see that the governor is interested in pension reform," said Sabrina Lockhart, spokeswoman for Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare.

Nevertheless, the said Republican lawmakers are unhappy that Brown is looking to run it through the Legislature, which could easily change the rules in the future, rather than put the plan before voters, where it would be much harder to undo.

"There are more protections for the taxpayers if the voters approve," Lockhart said.

Senate Republican leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, said the GOP supports most of Brown's proposals but wants the public to vote on them and doesn't believe a voluntary hybrid pension system will work.

"Governor Brown's proposal assumes public employees will volunteer for lower benefits, which ignores reality," Dutton said in a statement.

Public employee groups said state workers already have made pension concessions while negotiating new contracts that have saved hundreds of millions of dollars.

Brown's proposals "fly in the face of collective bargaining law and amount to a breach of agreements that state government has made with millions of workers in California," said Dave Low, chairman of a coalition of public employee unions. "California's policymakers need to take a careful look at the billions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthy in our state budget before they launch an assault on California's middle class."

Published: Thursday, March 31, 2011 18:17 PDT

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Battle: Los Angeles": Go SEE THIS MOVIE!! by Declaration Entertainment

'Battle: Los Angeles': Go. See. This. Movie. by Declaration Entertainment On the most recent addition of Take A Movie to Work over at Declaration Entertainment, Bill Whittle discusses the importance of this terrific action movie, which – MOST SHOCKING, EXHILARATING SPOILER ALERT OF ALL TIME – makes American soldiers, the best people our society has to offer, look like THE BEST PEOPLE OUR SOCIETY HAS TO OFFER! Missing are all of the clich├ęs we have come to expect from movies that depict our fighting men and women. There are no brooding loaners bemoaning the futility of war, no racist loud-mouth adrenaline junkies itching to kill anything they don't understand, the troops aren't victims of nefarious political posturing or trying to steal from the third-world… Even the relationship between Aaron Eckhart's battle-hardened Staff Sergeant Nash and the fresh-faced, just-out-of-school, naive Lieutenant is respectful and authentic. When the Lieutenant breaks down from his first exposure to the chaos of battle, there is no condescending moment of the wise-old enlisted man rising up to take command. Instead, Eckhart reminds the younger man of his responsibility, pulls him out of his own head, prompts him to make a decision, and then says "Yes sir." Every moment of this film inspires envy of the discipline, decisiveness, charity, and just general good character our military demands of its fighters. Plus, they kick butt. Lots of it. You know, according to German authorities, Arid Uka, the terrorist who shot and killed two US Servicemen last month, had recently viewed an Islamist propaganda video titled "American Soldiers Rape our Sisters!" Read The Full Story:

Another Obama War (by Llewyn H. Rockwell Jr.)

Another Obama War By Llewyn H. Rockwell, Jr. Following the US-lobbied UN authorization of military murder in Libya, the death-dealing regime of Colonel Gaddafi said immediately that it would stop all killing. That put Obama's war on hold, for a little while. The crazy Colonel has learned a thing or two about American foreign policy. If you pretend to favor the stated goals of the empire and comply with its stated dictates, you can otherwise do what every government in the world is structured to do: stay in power at all costs. Gaddafi learned this lesson about a decade ago, when, with much fanfare, he announced that he would stop his nuclear weapons program and join the war on terror. The US then decided to rank him and his regime among the world's good guys, and proceeded to hold him up as an example of wise statesmanship. Then he proceeded to dig in more deeply and tighten his despotic control over his citizens, all with the implied blessing of the US. But this time it may not work. For weeks, American officials have been decrying Gaddafi's bloody attacks on his people, but does the US really have a problem with dictatorship of his sort? This fact is unknown to Americans, but in the Middle East, and in Arab nations in particular, American commercial interests are regarded as a force for liberation but not the US government. The US has been the key to the power of Middle East dictatorships for decades, among which are Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Yemen. I leave aside the killing of hundreds of thousands of Iaqi civilians to liberate them. So it is something of a joke that the US would push a war against Libya in order to save that country from dictatorship. More likely, the real issue here is the same one that inspired the wars against Iraq: the ownership and control of the oil. And even if freedom were the driving motivation, when in modern history has war ever actually brought that to people? All war by nation states today ends in massive civilian deaths, destruction of infrastructure, political upheaval without end (see Afghanistan and Iraq), vast expense, and bitterness all around. War will not achieve its claimed objective. It might even end up entrenching Gaddafi's power. But let's say that he ends up dead, like Saddam Hussein. What then? The new government will be handpicked by the victor, and never gain any credibility, just as in Iraq. People resent foreign conquerors even more than local despots, and this resentment is not a good foundation for a future of liberty.

Monday, March 21, 2011

California GOP Denounces Schwarzenegger Clemency ( Sunday March 20, 2011


Calif. GOP Denounces Schwarzenegger Clemency


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Republican Party has denounced the decision by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to commute the sentence of the son of a political ally.

The resolution approved Sunday by delegates attending the state party's convention condemns the former Republican governor's action, which reduced the prison sentence from 16 years to seven for Esteban Nunez.

Nunez is the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, a Democrat, and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the 2008 stabbing death of a college student in San Diego.

Schwarzenegger's action during his final night in office angered the San Diego County district attorney and enraged the victim's family. Neither was notified beforehand.

The resolution condemns the commutation and "the manner in which it was done." A Schwarzenegger spokesman says the former governor declined comment.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Highest in the World!

U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Highest in World

We're No. 1!

But that's the bad news. After a reign as the nation with the second highest corporate income tax rate, the United States is set to move into first place when Japan lowers its rate next month.

The combined federal and state rate in the U.S. is 39.2 percent of corporate profits, a new analysis by the Tax Foundation disclosed. When Japan, which currently has a rate of 39.5 percent, enacts a planned cut of 4.5 percentage points in April, America will have the highest rate of all the economies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the group of 34 advanced nations with economies most comparable to the U.S.

"United States companies are now in the position of trying to compete in the 21st-century world economy with a 20th-century tax system," said Scott A. Hodge, the Tax Foundation's president and author of the new study.

America has moved to the top of the corporate tax list not by raising taxes but through inaction. Between 2000 and 2010, nine OECD countries cut their corporate tax rates by double-digit figures, and almost every OECD nation has cut rates to some extent.

In the United States, on the other hand, the rate has remained essentially unchanged during that 10-year period.

Germany, which had the highest rate in 2000, 52 percent, has slashed its rate to 30.2 percent, and Canada, No. 2 in 2000, cut its rate from 42.57 to 29.52 percent.

The rate in Ireland is now just 12.5 percent, while in Iceland it is 15 percent and in Chile, 17 percent. Four other OECD nations have a rate lower than 20 percent.

Worldwide, about 75 countries have cut their rates since 2006, according to the Tax Foundation.

But 2011 marks the 20th year in which the U.S. statutory tax rate has been above the average of OECD nations.

For the United States to move to the OECD average and match China — which significantly lowered its rate in 2008 — the federal rate would have to be reduced to 20 percent.

"The scope of corporate tax reform so far endorsed by the White House would fall far short of this goal," the Tax Foundation stated.

Hodge said: "Dozens of countries around the world — including many of the United States' closest trading partners — have realized that sky-high corporate tax rates are an economic dead end.

"Now more than ever, Americans want to see policies that will help create increased growth, more jobs, and higher standards of living — exactly the things that a lower and more streamlined corporate tax system can help achieve."

And the National Center for Policy Analysis, commenting on the Foundation's report, observed: "As other nations enact reforms and rate cuts, the U.S. corporate rate will continue to stand out as a hindrance to economic growth and competitiveness unless lawmakers move to lower the tax burden for businesses."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hawaii Elections Clerk: Obama not born here! By Joe Kovacs, WND March 13, 2011

Hawaii elections clerk: Obama not born here By Joe Kovacs, WND A college instructor who worked as a senior elections clerk for the city and county of Honolulu in 2008 is making the stunning claim Barack Obama was definitely not born in Hawaii as the White House maintains, and that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Obama does not even exist in the Aloha State. Tim Adams, a former senior elections clerk for Honolulu, now teaches English at Western Kentucky University. "There is no birth certificate," said Tim Adams, a graduate assistant who teaches English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky. "It's like an open secret. There isn't one. Everyone in the government there knows this." Adams, who says he's a Hillary Clinton supporter who ended up voting for John McCain when Clinton lost the Democratic nomination to Obama, told WND, "I managed the absentee-ballot office. It was my job to verify the voters' identity." He says during the 2008 campaign when the issue of Obama's constitutional eligibility first arose, the elections office was inundated with requests to verify the birthplace of the U.S. senator from Illinois.

Officer to Obama: See you in Court... by Bob Unruh, WND

Officer to Obama: See you in court By Bob Unruh, WND An Army officer who invited his own court-martial to resolve for the nation questions about Barack Obama's eligibility to be president has waived a preliminary hearing in his case. Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, who refused orders from a chain of command led by Obama, also today released a new video explaining why documentation needs to be released by Obama that could confirm that he qualifies to be president under the Constitution's demand that the office by held only by a "natural born citizen." Lakin was scheduled for an Article 32 military hearing tomorrow, the equivalent of a civilian preliminary hearing in a court case. But Daniel J. Driscoll, an Army hearing officer, had banned Lakin from bringing in evidence about Obama's birth as well as testimony from Hawaii officials who may have information on the subject. "In my view our constitutional jurisprudence allows Congress alone, and not a military judicial body, to put the president's credentials on trial," Driscoll wrote in a memorandum determining what evidence the defense for Lakin would have been allowed. But in a new video, Lakin said the issue is important:

Obama Can Shut Down Internet for Four Months Under New Emergency Powers... (By Joseph Watson) Prison

Obama Can Shut Down Internet For 4 Months Under New Emergency Powers By Paul Joseph Watson, Prison President Obama will be handed the power to shut down the Internet for at least four months without Congressional oversight if the Senate votes for the infamous Internet 'kill switch' bill, which was approved by a key Senate committee yesterday and now moves to the floor. The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which is being pushed hard by Senator Joe Lieberman, would hand absolute power to the federal government to close down networks, and block incoming Internet traffic from certain countries under a declared national emergency. Despite the Center for Democracy and Technology and 23 other privacy and technology organizations sending letters to Lieberman and other backers of the bill expressing concerns that the legislation could be used to stifle free speech, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed in the bill in advance of a vote on the Senate floor. In response to widespread criticism of the bill, language was added that would force the government to seek congressional approval to extend emergency measures beyond 120 days. Still, this would hand Obama the authority to shut down the Internet on a whim without Congressional oversight or approval for a period of no less than four months. The Senators pushing the bill rejected the claim that the bill was a 'kill switch' for the Internet, not by denying that Obama would be given the authority to shut down the Internet as part of this legislation, but by arguing that he already had the power to do so.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cops Hit Naked Woman with TASER after kick to groin (Woman was throwing items at car windows, according to the post report).


Cops hit naked woman with TASER after kick to groin

Woman was throwing items at car windows, according to the police report

Glendale News Press

BURBANK, Calif. — Burbank police were forced to use a Taser gun to subdue a naked 43-year-old woman Thursday afternoon after she attacked the officers outside her apartment on the 900 block of West Angeleno Avenue.

Neighbors called Burbank police at 2:32 p.m. to report that the woman, who officials did not identify, was throwing items at car windows, according to the police report.

When officers arrived and confronted the woman, she told them a man inside her home was causing her to act erratically, said police Sgt. Robert Quesada.

When officers entered her apartment and determined no one else was there, she began throwing her possessions at them and managed to kick one officer in the groin, according to the report.

Read more on the Glendale News Press.

LA Times: LAPD Limits Impounding of Unlicensed Drivers' Cars (March 12, 2011) By Joel Rubin & Ari Bloomekatz

LAPD limits impounding of unlicensed drivers' cars

Previous policy for sobriety checkpoints had been criticized by immigration advocacy groups.

By Joel Rubin and Ari Bloomekatz, Los Angeles Times

March 12, 2011


Under criticism that it was unfairly targeting undocumented immigrants, the Los Angeles Police Department on Friday announced changes to its rules for impounding cars of unlicensed drivers at sobriety checkpoints. Previously, LAPD officers at such checkpoints followed stringent protocols that called for them to impound a car whenever the driver was found not to have a valid license, regardless of whether the driver had been drinking. Those rules have drawn the ire of immigration advocacy groups that said they disproportionately targeted undocumented immigrants, who are not able to obtain licenses legally in nearly all U.S. states. Once a vehicle is impounded, law enforcement agencies often require it to remain locked up for at least a month and charge the owner hefty fees to release it. The new LAPD guidelines soften the department's stance somewhat. Police will be required to make an attempt to contact the registered owner of the stopped vehicle. If the owner is a licensed driver and can respond to the checkpoint in "a reasonable period of time," the officers will release the car to him or her. If the owner is unlicensed, officers will permit another person who is a licensed driver to take the car. If no one with a license is available, police will impound a vehicle. In any case, police will issue a citation to the unlicensed driver. Police Chief Charlie Beck said that since he took over the department more than a year ago, the checkpoint policy had "stuck in my craw as one of the things we weren't doing the right way." Beck said he decided to make the change after immigration rights advocates raised the issue with him anew in meetings this week. "I'm tired of casting the net so wide," he said. "This is the right thing to do. There is a fairness issue here … and we're trying to balance the needs of all segments of our community and keep the roads safe." The new rules, Beck said, were an attempt to mitigate somewhat "the current reality, which is that for a vast number of people, who are a valuable asset to our community and who have very limited resources, their ability to live and work in L.A. is severely limited by their immigration status." The change, which the department announced in a news release late Friday afternoon, is likely to anger groups that support strict enforcement of immigration laws. Efforts to contact representatives of several of those groups for comment were unsuccessful. The issue of impounds has become a controversial topic in recent years. Police in the small cities of Bell and Maywood have been accused of systematically targeting undocumented immigrants when impounding cars in an effort to boost municipal revenues. Ron Gochez, a member of the steering committee for the Southern California Immigration Coalition, expressed limited praise for the LAPD's change but questioned why the department needed to impound a car if the driver had not been drinking. "It's a step in the right direction, but it still falls short of what we're asking for," he said. "We're not against checkpoints. We want checkpoints to happen, we want drunk drivers off our streets. We just don't want people to be losing their cars who aren't drunk."

Elections Officials hits T.V. to affirm NO HAWAII Birth (by Joe Kovacs) WND

Elections official hits TV to affirm no Hawaii birth By Joe Kovacs, WND In direct contradiction of the White House storyline, the former Honolulu elections official who caused a national stir this month when he told WND Barack Obama was "definitely" not born in Hawaii, and that no long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate even exists for the president in the Aloha State is now reaffirming those claims to a network television affiliate. Tim Adams, the former senior elections clerk for the city and county of Honolulu was interviewed by Gene Birk of ABC affiliate WBKO-TV in Bowling Green, Ky. Video of the 9-minute interview has been posted on YouTube and is embedded here: "As of the time I was in Hawaii working in the elections office," said Adams, "we had many people who were asking about the eligibility of Senator Obama to be president. I was told at the time there is no long-form birth record, which would have been the case if President Obama was born in [a] hospital in Honolulu. There is no such form in Hawaii." As WND first reported June 10, Honolulu's current elections administrator, Glen Takahashi, confirmed that Tim Adams was indeed "senior elections clerk" in 2008, in charge of verifying voters' identity, especially those involving absentee ballots.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Norco's Founder had vision for the city until the Great Depression hit!! (Press-Enterprise) Sat. March 12, 2011

Norco's founder had vision for city until Great Depression hit

10:00 PM PST on Saturday, March 12, 2011

By NITA HILTNER Special to The Press-Enterprise

As professional history surveyor Bill Wilkman was researching Norco's history for the city, he discovered that Rex Clark, Norco's founder, was more than the builder of the Norconian Hotel. He found that Clark was a true visionary with a plan for the entire city.

The discovery came while Wilkman was preparing a draft Norco Historic Context Statement to the city for a Norco preservation program to determine what residences and commercial buildings in Norco could be qualified as landmark buildings or points of interest. From his research, Wilkman learned about Clark's big plans for the city.

Wilkman, owner of Wilkman Historical Services, was hired by the city of Norco after Norco became the 57th Certified Local Government city in California. In 2008, the Norco City Council decided to create a more professional historical preservation program that together with the CLG designation would give Norco access to training and grants related to its history.

Submitted to The Press-Enterprise

The Norco Store, as it looked in 1923, was built by town founder Rex Clark.

Clark built about 50 houses in an attempt to lure buyers to buy them or build their own, and farm on the properties. Clark had built the old Norco general store, a lumberyard and other retail stores to support new homeowners. If someone bought a house and land to farm, Clark would teach the buyer how to raise chickens to make the residents independent. If they could make money from their own homes, they wouldn't be dependent on an employer.

"Clark was a believer in rugged individualism and was trying to help people gain their independence in life," said Wilkman.

Clark also laid out and built 12 homes on city size lots in a tract he planned as a city village. He created five tracts for development, of which Wilkman said Tracts 1 and 2 were the most developed. Unfortunately, all Clark's plans were affected by the Great Depression. But the houses and other buildings he built may be eligible for funds for preservation once they are indentified.

In the second part of the survey, Cory Tibbet of LSA Associates will be visiting 325 properties that were built between 1900 and 1946 to photograph and take notes for historical significance.

After that, the city can decide which buildings to designate as landmark, such as the old Norco school on Hamner Avenue and which to designate as points of interest. Wilkman said that property owners in Norco might see Tibbet outside their house, not on their property, taking notes and photographs. She will be wearing an orange jacket or shirt. Wilkman said the survey should be finished by October.

"Historical preservation has to work in the real world," said Wilkman, noting that all historically significant buildings may not be saved.

With a complete list of historical properties, the city will be armed with information going forward to the future.

"You want people to see the benefit of it and to be in the plan," said Wilkman.

Reach Nita Hiltner:

Bill Clinton: Offshore Drilling Delays 'Ridiculous' (NewsMax) Friday March 11, 2011


Bill Clinton: Offshore Drilling Delays 'Ridiculous'

Delays in offshore oil and gas drilling permits are "ridiculous" at a time when the economy is still rebuilding, former President Bill Clinton told attendees Friday at the IHS CERAWeek conference. Clinton spoke on a panel with former President George W. Bush that was closed to the media, Politico reported. There also was no video of the event. Still, there were several attendees who confirmed to Politico that Clinton agreed with Bush on many oil and gas issues, including criticism of delays in permitting offshore since last year's Gulf of Mexico spill. "Bush said all the things you'd expect him to say" on oil and gas issues, said Jim Noe, senior vice president at Hercules Offshore and executive director of the pro-drilling Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition. But Clinton added, "You'd be surprised to know that I agree with all that," according to Noe and others attending the conference who talked to Politico. Clinton said there are "ridiculous delays in permitting when our economy doesn't need it," according to Noe and others. Both Clinton and Bush agreed on the need to get offshore drilling workers back on the job. They also agreed on the need for more domestic shale gas production, with Clinton noting that it has been done safely for years in his home state of Arkansas. © Newsmax. All rights reserved.