BMEWS
 
Sarah Palin is allowed first dibs on Alaskan wolfpack kills.

calendar   Tuesday - October 07, 2008

The bacon was taken into custody. . .

I like that headline better than the one the Dayton Daily News chose:

Porcine scare clears Boehner’s West Chester office

See, I’m betting that many Daytonians, being drop-outs graduates of the Dayton public schools, don’t know what ‘porcine’ means. My headline is easily understandable to the average Daytonian, who not only was likely also taken into custody recently, but understands the word ‘bacon’. (Well, the ones that can read. . .)

I do know what ‘porcine’ means, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it in this context. Did a herd of swine invade Boehner’s office? (Maybe looking for ACORNs?) Yeah, guess I’ll have to read the dreaded Dayton Daily Democrat News:

HAMILTON — A package of low-sodium bacon triggered the evacuation of House Minority Leader John Boehner’s West Chester office on Monday, Oct. 6, after staff going through the mail became suspicious of oily residue leaking from a package.

Worried that the residue was evidence of some sort of attack, staffers contacted the Washington, D.C., office and Capitol police about 3:30 p.m.

The four staffers in the West Chester office were evacuated a half-hour later, according to Jessica Towhey, a Boehner spokeswoman.

Police, local fire officials and the Butler County hazardous material team were called to the office at 7969 Cincinnati-Dayton Road.

After two X-rays of the package were inconclusive, officials took the package out back and opened it, only to find it was bacon.

The bacon was taken into custody.

Definitely a better headline. But what a waste of bacon! If you are going to send pork to a congressman to make a political statement, at least send something useless, like pork rinds.

Then again, it was low-sodium bacon. (yuk!) Come to think of it, I’ve a #10 can of rancid lard I could send to, say, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi for that rancid, pork-laden bailout last week.

Mmmm, bacon!


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Posted by Christopher   United States  on 10/07/2008 at 01:58 AM   
Filed Under: • Fun-StuffPorkbusters •  
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calendar   Tuesday - April 10, 2007

I Gots Dem 1040 Blues

Booooo! It’s time for our Annual 1040 Taxation Without Representation Party™. This Sunday is April 15 so that means .... you don’t have to file taxes yet because it is a Sunday. That, of course, means that next Monday, April 16 is ... still not the deadline for paying your taxes. No, the deadline this year is one week from now - Tuesday, April 17. Wanna know why? Here is the scoop from the IRS Official Shakedown Site ...

Taxpayers will have extra time to file and pay because April 15 falls on a Sunday in 2007, and the following day, Monday, April 16, is Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia.

By law, filing and payment deadlines that fall on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday are timely satisfied if met on the next business day. Under a federal statute enacted decades ago, holidays observed in the District of Columbia have an impact nationwide, not just in D.C. Under recently enacted city legislation, April 16 is a holiday in the District of Columbia. The IRS recently became aware of the intersection of the national filing day and the local observance of the new Emancipation Day holiday after most forms and publications for the current tax filing season went to print.

Individuals in the District of Columbia, as well as in six eastern states, already had an April 17 filing date prior to this announcement because they are served by an IRS processing facility in Massachusetts, where Patriots Day will be observed on April 16. These individuals are still required to file on April 17.

“Emancipation Day”. “Patriots Day”. Yeah, that would be too much irony for the annual Fleecing Of The Flock, wouldn’t it? Flock it! I filed my return back in February, did it electronically and had my refund automagically deposited in my bank account a week later. The rest of you nappy-headed taxpayers better get busy writing out checks so the Demoncrat ho’s in Congress can have their pork. Pork: the other green meat.

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Brian Fairington - Cagle Cartoons

Why Spring Taxes Me
-- By Tom Purcell

image imageI hate spring. I hate the sunny weather and chirping birds and neighbors smiling and humming, while they spread mulch in their planters.

I hate the buds on the trees and the sweet smell in the air. I hate the way the sun falls gently over the hills at dusk.

I hate everything about spring, because I’m self-employed.

Every year this time I’m a nervous wreck about my taxes. I worry that I’ll owe more than I think I will, and I will. I worry that I’ll not get everything organized and tallied up for my accountant in time, and it’s always close.

This is because our income tax system is complex. It is complex because drunk people (members of Congress) designed it so that a bureaucracy (the IRS) will convert the incomprehensible into the unfathomable (the tax code) in order to punish productive Americans (the self-employed) all in the name of good fun.

To comply with our onerous tax rules, I have developed a highly effective accounting technique: the Big Box Methodology. From the beginning of January through the end of December, I toss every bill, receipt, expense, etc. into a big cardboard box.

Every year, I am forced to organize and tally every one of these items, so that I can document my business expenses. I must document my business expenses to accomplish what every self-employed person hopes to accomplish: to have earned as little income as possible the year before.

I was in a mighty struggle with Big Box during the winter. He kept calling out to me, pleading with me to get things in order. But I ignored Big Box. I ignored his unreasonable demands week after week, and the more I ignored him, the more worried I got.

As spring neared, I began taking Big Box with me. When I went away for the weekends, I put him in my trunk. I had high hopes of using my weekend breaks to organize every slip of paper into a brilliant rendition of how much I earned and spent in 2006, but I did not.

No, I did the same thing this year I do every year. I waited until the last few weeks before taxes are due. Despite the recent cold snap, I know what every self-employed person knows: the weather will break big this week.

As the sun shines and the world comes to life, I’ll get calls from beautiful women who want to spend time with me. I’ll be offered box-seat tickets to baseball games, invitations to cookouts, requests to partake in fun and frivolity of every kind.

But I will turn them all down.

I will turn them down because of Congress. When members of Congress passed the 16th Amendment into law in 1913, they made the income tax deadline March 1. But in 1955 Congress pushed the deadline to April 15.

They did this so helpless American taxpayers would have more time to organize and file their taxes? Ha, ha. No, they did it to give the IRS more time. But I think there was an additional reason.

Dissatisfied that the cost and complexity of the income tax was not painful enough --according to the Tax Foundation, Americans wasted 6 billion hours and $260 billion completing returns last year—Congress saw an opportunity to ruin spring, too.

That’s why I’ve been shut off from the world. That’s why I’ve been hunkered down with an intensity and focus that would make the Unabomber wince.

I have been doing battle with Big Box, you see, trying to make sense of all the receipts, bills, etc. he contains. I’ve been in English-major hell—adding, subtracting, documenting, palpitating.

The worst is yet to come. When I finally get everything organized, I’ll forward the details to my accountant. He’ll use them to make complex tax-code calculations. Then he’ll tell me I owe way more than I thought I did.

Now you know why I hate spring.


Tom Purcell is a humor columnist nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons. For comments to Tom, please email him at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 04/10/2007 at 02:44 PM   
Filed Under: • EconomicsPorkbusters •  
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calendar   Friday - March 30, 2007

Top Ten List Of The Week

image

It’s time for this weeks’ TOP TEN list and this week we are listing pork!

Top 10 Most Egregious Earmarks Contained in War Supplemental
(HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE)

imageimageThe Democrat-controlled Congress is currently fighting to pass a $120-billion-plus emergency war supplemental laden with pork projects. Last week the House voted 218-212 to pass the bill and the Senate is expected to pass it shortly.

Senate Republicans said they expect President Bush to veto the bill because it sets a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal in Iraq. The following list highlights the most egregious earmarks contained in the Senate’s version of the bill, as ranked by fiscal hawk Sen. Tom Coburn’s staff.

10. Allows transfer of funds from holiday ornament sales in the Senate gift shop

9. $3 million in funding for sugar cane

8. $3.5 million in additional funding for guided tours of the Capitol

7. $12 million for the Forest Service money which the President requested in the non-emergency fiscal year 2008 budget

6. $20 million for insect damage reimbursements in Nevada

5. $24 million in funding for sugar beets

4. $75 million for salaries and expenses for the Farm Service Agency

3. $165.9 million for fisheries disaster relief, funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

2. $40 million for the Tree Assistance Program

1. $100 million in funding for the 2008 national party conventions.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 03/30/2007 at 04:21 PM   
Filed Under: • Porkbusters •  
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calendar   Monday - March 26, 2007

Soooooooeeeeeeee!!

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For your reading pleasure:

HR 1591 RH (PDF - 350KB)
“SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE
GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR”

FIRST, THEY DID APPROPRIATE MONEY TO KEEP OUR TROOPS FED AND ARMED

For an additional amount for `Military Personnel, Army’, $8,878,899,000

For an additional amount for `Military Personnel, Navy’, $1,100,410,000

For an additional amount for `Military Personnel, Marine Corps’, $1,495,828,000

For an additional amount for `Military Personnel, Air Force’, $1,229,334,000

For an additional amount for `Operation and Maintenance, Army’, $20,897,672,000

For an additional amount for `Operation and Maintenance, Navy’, $5,115,397,000

For an additional amount for `Operation and Maintenance, Marine Corps’, $1,503,694,000

For an additional amount for `Operation and Maintenance, Air Force’, $6,909,259,000

Provided, That the amount provided under this heading is designated as making appropriations for contingency operations directly related to the global war on terrorism, and other unanticipated defense-related operations, pursuant to section 402 of H. Con. Res. 376 (109th Congress), as made applicable to the House of Representatives by section 511(a)(4) of H. Res. 6 (110th Congress).

For an additional amount for `Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide’, $2,855,993,000, of which not to exceed $300,000,000, to remain available until expended, may be used for payments to reimburse Pakistan, Jordan, and other key cooperating nations, for logistical, military, and other support provided, or to be provided, to United States military operations, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

THEN THEY PILED ON THE PORK TO GET THE VOTES

For an additional amount for `Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs’, $20,000,000

For an additional amount for `International Broadcasting Operations’, for activities related to broadcasting to the Middle East, $10,000,000

For an additional amount for `Child Survival and Health Programs Fund’, $161,000,000

For an additional amount for `International Disaster and Famine Assistance’, $135,000,000

For an additional amount for `Assistance for Eastern Europe and the Baltic States’, $239,000,000

For an additional amount for `International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement’, $334,500,000

For an additional amount for `Migration and Refugee Assistance’, $111,500,000

For an additional amount for `Foreign Military Financing Program’, $260,000,000

For an additional amount for `Peacekeeping Operations’, $225,000,000

In addition to the funds provided elsewhere in this Act, $25,000,000 is appropriated to the Secretary of Agriculture, to remain available through September 30, 2008, to resume the 2005 Hurricanes Livestock Indemnity Program.

In addition to the funds provided elsewhere in the Act, $15,000,000 is appropriated to the Secretary of Agriculture, to remain available through September 30, 2008, for the purpose of providing assistance, in connection with the provision of emergency financial assistance for losses for 2005 or 2006 crops.

In addition to the funds provided elsewhere in this Act, $100,000,000 is appropriated to the Secretary of Agriculture, to remain available through September 30, 2008, to resume the 2005 Hurricanes Citrus Program.

For an additional amount for `Operations, Research, and Facilities’ for necessary expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina on the shrimp and menhaden fishing industries, $120,000,000.

For an additional amount for `Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies’, as authorized by section 5 of the Act of August 18, 1941 (33 U.S.C. 701n), for necessary expenses related to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina, $1,300,000,000.

For an additional amount for `Disaster Relief’, $4,310,000,000.

For carrying out activities authorized by subpart 1 of part D of title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, $30,000,000.

There are hereby appropriated to the Secretary of Agriculture such sums as are necessary, to remain available until expended, to make emergency financial assistance available to producers on a farm that incurred qualifying quantity or quality losses for the 2005 or 2006 crop, or for the 2007 crop.

There are hereby appropriated to the Secretary of Agriculture such sums as are necessary, to remain available until expended, to carry out the livestock compensation program established under subpart B of part 1416 of title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, as announced by the Secretary on February 12, 2007 (72 Fed. Reg. 6443), to provide compensation for livestock losses during calendar years 2005 and 2006.

There is hereby appropriated to the Secretary of Agriculture $25,000,000, to remain available until expended, to make payments to growers and first handlers, as defined by the Secretary, of fresh spinach that were unable to market spinach crops as a result of the Food and Drug Administration Public Health Advisory issued on September 14, 2006.

MILK INCOME LOSS CONTRACT PROGRAM.

PEANUT STORAGE COSTS.

For an additional amount for `Wildland Fire Management’, $100,000,000.

For an additional amount for `Surveys, Investigations, and Research’ for the detection of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild birds, including the investigation of morbidity and mortality events, targeted surveillance in live wild birds, and targeted surveillance in hunter-taken birds, $5,270,000.

For an additional amount to make payments under section 2604(a)-(d) of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 (42 U.S.C. 8623(a)-(d)), $200,000,000.

For an additional amount for `Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund’ to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic, $969,650,000.

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE AND SMALL BUSINESS TAX RELIEF

FINALLY, THEY KICKED THE PRESIDENT IN THE NUTS WITH A TIMETABLE

SEC. 1904. (a) The President shall make and transmit to Congress the following determinations, along with reports in classified and unclassified form detailing the basis for each determination, on or before July 1, 2007:

(1) whether the Government of Iraq has given United States Armed Forces and Iraqi Security Forces the authority to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias, and is making substantial progress in delivering necessary Iraqi Security Forces for Baghdad and protecting such Forces from political interference; intensifying efforts to build balanced security forces throughout Iraq that provide even-handed security for all Iraqis; ensuring that Iraq’s political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi Security Forces; eliminating militia control of local security; establishing a strong militia disarmament program; ensuring fair and just enforcement of laws; establishing political, media, economic, and service committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan; and eradicating safe havens;

(2) whether the Government of Iraq is making substantial progress in meeting its commitment to pursue reconciliation initiatives, including enactment of a hydro-carbon law; adoption of legislation necessary for the conduct of provincial and local elections; reform of current laws governing the de-Baathification process; amendment of the Constitution of Iraq; and allocation of Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects; and

(3) whether the Government of Iraq and United States Armed Forces are making substantial progress in reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq.

(b) On or before October 1, 2007, the President--

(1) shall certify to the Congress that the Government of Iraq has enacted a broadly accepted hydro-carbon law that equitably shares oil revenues among all Iraqis; adopted legislation necessary for the conduct of provincial and local elections, taken steps to implement such legislation, and set a schedule to conduct provincial and local elections; reformed current laws governing the de-Baathification process to allow for more equitable treatment of individuals affected by such laws; amended the Constitution of Iraq consistent with the principles contained in article 137 of such constitution; and allocated and begun expenditure of $10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects, including delivery of essential services, on an equitable basis; or

(2) shall report to the Congress that he is unable to make such certification.

(c) If in the transmissions to Congress required by subsection (a) the President determines that any of the conditions specified in such subsection have not been met, or if the President is unable to make the certification specified in subsection (b) by the required date, the Secretary of Defense shall commence the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq and complete such redeployment within 180 days.

(d) If the President makes the certification specified in subsection (b), the Secretary of Defense shall commence the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq not later than March 1, 2008, and complete such redeployment within 180 days.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this or any other Act are immediately available for obligation and expenditure to plan and execute a safe and orderly redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq, as specified in subsections (c) and (d).

(f) After the conclusion of the 180-day period for redeployment specified in subsections (c) and (d), the Secretary of Defense may not deploy or maintain members of the Armed Forces in Iraq for any purpose other than the following:

(1) Protecting American diplomatic facilities and American citizens, including members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

(2) Serving in roles consistent with customary diplomatic positions.

(3) Engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations with global reach.

(4) Training members of the Iraqi Security Forces.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 03/26/2007 at 01:18 PM   
Filed Under: • PoliticsPorkbusters •  
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calendar   Saturday - January 27, 2007

Senator Feinstein’s Pork

I bet some of you out there actually believed the Democrats were going to take control in Washington and clean up all that corruption and payoffs to Senators and Representatives, didn’t you? If so you are not only incredibly stupid but also exceedingly gullible.

Take Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) for instance. Did you know that for years she has chaired the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee which has surprisingly paid out billions in military contracts to two companies owned by ... you guessed it ... her husband.

The only question for me is why I had to go to some obscure local backwater California news site to find this out. Why wasn’t it all over the front pages of the NY Times and Washington Post? Never mind. I already know the answer to that question and so do you ...

Senator Feinstein’s Iraq Conflict
As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee,
Sen. Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions to her husband’s firms

(SILICON VALLEY METROACTIVE) - January 24, 2007

imageimageIn the November 2006 election, the voters demanded congressional ethics reform. And so, the newly appointed chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is now duly in charge of regulating the ethical behavior of her colleagues. But for many years, Feinstein has been beset by her own ethical conflict of interest, say congressional ethics experts.

As chairperson and ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON) from 2001 through the end of 2005, Feinstein supervised the appropriation of billions of dollars a year for specific military construction projects. Two defense contractors whose interests were largely controlled by her husband, financier Richard C. Blum, benefited from decisions made by Feinstein as leader of this powerful subcommittee.

Each year, MILCON’s members decide which military construction projects will be funded from a roster proposed by the Department of Defense. Contracts to build these specific projects are subsequently awarded to such major defense contractors as Halliburton, Fluor, Parsons, Louis Berger, URS Corporation and Perini Corporation. From 1997 through the end of 2005, with Feinstein’s knowledge, Blum was a majority owner of both URS Corp. and Perini Corp.

While setting MILCON agendas for many years, Feinstein, 73, supervised her own staff of military construction experts as they carefully examined the details of each proposal. She lobbied Pentagon officials in public hearings to support defense projects that she favored, some of which already were or subsequently became URS or Perini contracts. From 2001 to 2005, URS earned $792 million from military construction and environmental cleanup projects approved by MILCON; Perini earned $759 million from such MILCON projects.

In her annual Public Financial Disclosure Reports, Feinstein records a sizeable family income from large investments in Perini, which is based in Framingham, Mass., and in URS, headquartered in San Francisco. But she has not publicly acknowledged the conflict of interest between her job as a congressional appropriator and her husband’s longtime control of Perini and URS--and that omission has called her ethical standards into question, say the experts.

- More ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 01/27/2007 at 02:56 PM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsPorkbusters •  
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calendar   Friday - September 22, 2006

Stop, Thief!

Psssst! Wanna buy a slightly used laptop? Good condition, one owner? No, you don’t have to find a crook or crime syndicate or terrorist to get in on this deal. Just ask any civil service employee or check you local pawn shop in D.C. Stuff disappears from federal employees’ care almost daily. Not that all of them are crooks or stupid. Just a good number of them, as has been my experience.

Over 1,100 laptops disappeared in recent years? Nothing new. I have done contracting work for the government for nearly two decades and every contracting company I have ever worked for from Oracle to Lockheed to Harris to Northrop-Grumman to SAIC has always told us that whenever we are on-site at any federal facility to chain our laptops down to the nearest, heaviest desk we can find. That’s no joke.

So who pays for this? Why, you and me and a dog named Boo, of course. The only scarey part is that some of these laptops contain extremely sensitive, private data on American citizens and other data that should never leave a secured building at any time.

Yet they do and that private and/or classified data is secured by nothing more than a login password. Is that safe enough? Bwah-hah-ha-ha-ha-ha .... Not on your life. Almost every IT professional I know has a disk that allows us to boot up a Windoze computer and change the Administrator password in about ten seconds. We have these disks because stupid end users in our offices are continuously forgetting their passwords. Secure data? Not a chance.

imageimage1,100 Laptops Missing From Commerce Dept.
(WASHINGTON POST) - Friday, September 22, 2006

More than 1,100 laptop computers have vanished from the Department of Commerce since 2001, including nearly 250 from the Census Bureau containing such personal information as names, incomes and Social Security numbers, federal officials said yesterday.

This disclosure by the department came in response to a request by the House Committee on Government Reform, which this summer asked 17 federal departments to detail any loss of computers holding sensitive personal information.

Of the 10 departments that have responded, the losses at Commerce are “by far the most egregious,” said David Marin, staff director for the committee. He added that the silence of the remaining seven departments could reflect their reluctance to reveal problems of similar magnitude.

In a private briefing yesterday for three members of Congress, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez estimated that the disappearance of laptops from the Census Bureau could have compromised the personal information of about 6,200 households, Marin said. He said the department was still trying to determine the extent of the problem.

“We don’t know exactly how many computers were lost or whether personal information was compromised,” said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), who chairs the House Government Reform Committee and attended the briefing. “The secretary has assured me that getting that information is priority number one, and I’m confident he’ll get his arms around the problem.”

Commerce officials told the congressmen that the inventory of missing laptops had escalated rapidly in recent weeks as the department investigated the disappearances. Marin said the committee was concerned that that number could increase significantly as Commerce officials learn more about missing handheld computers, which are increasingly being used in the Census Bureau.

Commerce officials said in a statement that they knew of no instances in which information from the missing laptops had been improperly accessed, adding that all the equipment contained safeguards that would prevent a breach of personal data. “The amount of missing computers is high, but fortunately, the vulnerability for data misuse is low,” Gutierrez said in the statement.

With its disclosure, Commerce is the latest federal agency to admit in recent months that it had lost laptops with sensitive personal data. In May, an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs lost a laptop containing unencrypted information on about 26.5 million people. Three months later, Veterans Affairs acknowledged that a second computer, with information on about 38,000 hospital patients in Pennsylvania, was also missing.

The Federal Trade Commission has lost two laptops with files containing people’s financial account numbers, and the Department of Agriculture announced that one of its laptops had disappeared along with personal information on about 350 employees.

Gutierrez and his staff told the congressmen that 1,137 laptops had been stolen, lost or otherwise vanished since 2001, mostly from the Census Bureau and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Of these, 249 contained personally identifiable information, nearly all from the Census Bureau. All were password-protected, a low-level safeguard. Only 107 of the computers were fully encrypted.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 09/22/2006 at 05:35 PM   
Filed Under: • CrimePorkbustersStoopid-People •  
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calendar   Wednesday - September 13, 2006

Help Wanted

Wanna earn some quick, easy money? It’s simple. Just talk to your Congress-critter and convince him or her to post their work schedule on the internet so everyone can see just how hard they are working in DC. Or not. You can earn $1,000 for each one you “sign up”.

I encourage all of you to take the Sunlight Foundation up on this offer and tell us who accepted and who balked and refused to comply. I must mention however, that sending your consigliare with an “offer they can’t refuse” or leaving dead horse’s heads in their beds may result in disqualification. Maybe. We’re still considering bending that rule ...

(Note: This is not a joke. This is a serious offer.)

Dear Allan,

Who are our lawmakers meeting with? Lobbyists? Constituents? What do they do with their time? Members of Congress work for us, and we should know what they do every day. That’s a pretty straightforward proposition, and we bet you agree. So Sunlight is launching a campaign, at http://www.punchclockcampaign.com, to get Members of Congress to agree to post their daily calendars on the Internet.

But we need your help and creativity to make that happen. We’ll give you $1,000 for each Member of Congress, and $250 for each candidate, who you get to agree to do this, beginning with the next Congress. We’re not kidding. Consider this a fee for your work. We’re calling this the Punch Clock Campaign because almost all of us have to turn in timesheets or punch a clock to get our paychecks.

The details on how you can get your $1,000, along with suggestions of how to talk to your politicians and other materials are here:

http://www.sunlightnetwork.com/punchclock

This Congress has put in less work days than any other Congress since 1948. What are they doing when they are not in legislative session? If we are going to change the nature of the relationship between lawmakers and citizens, it has to include a greater understanding of what Members of Congress do with their time. Check out our site, ask questions, share it with your friends, and enjoy the hunt for the elusive time of our Congress!

http://www.sunlightnetwork.com/punchclock

Sincerely,

Ellen Miller
Executive Director
Sunlight Foundation and Sunlight Network
http://www.sunlightfoundation.com


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 09/13/2006 at 06:16 PM   
Filed Under: • Porkbusters •  
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calendar   Thursday - July 20, 2006

Tip O’Neill’s Gift

I can’t say it better than Jeff Jacoby does, so I’ll just shut up and let you read about government bloat, pork and the Democrat who is the prime example of useless government projects, throwing taxpayer money away and ... never mind. Just read ...

imageimageO’Neill’s Crumbling Legacy
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | July 19, 2006

All politics is local, Tip O’Neill famously said, and it surely doesn’t get any more local than when a 6,000-pound slab from a project championed by the late House speaker falls on a 38-year-old newlywed from Jamaica Plain, crushing her to death as her husband drives her to the airport. O’Neill died in 1994, but the political culture he epitomized is alive and well and enshrined in the Big Dig, a slough of corruption, callousness, and cover-ups that had become a synonym for government mismanagement long before it killed Milena Del Valle on July 10.

It would be going too far to link O’Neill to the incompetent workmanship and negligent oversight that led to the collapse of a 3-ton ceiling panel in the Interstate 90 connector just as the Del Valles drove beneath it last week. But the culture that he embodied is still solidly in place. Only one month earlier the lords and ladies of Bay State politics had gathered to christen the longest section of the Big Dig as the Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. Tunnel and proclaim the immense—and immensely expensive—highway project his triumphant legacy.

“That project could never be complete until it bears the name of the person who made it all possible,” gushed US Senator Ted Kennedy. “So let us celebrate his great legacy today . . . and remember that our job in public life is to improve the lives of others.” Valle’s life was not improved by this troubled project. It was ended by it.

Kennedy isn’t the only one whose comments, in retrospect, were cringe-making. “Whenever you have a monumental project like this, you’re going to have . . . inconveniences,” lectured Boston Mayor Tom Menino just five weeks before the falling ceiling shattered the Del Valle family. “Anybody who didn’t think about those inconveniences is not realistic.”

(-- thanx to BruceLH for the tip on this one --)

See More Below The Fold

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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 07/20/2006 at 07:09 PM   
Filed Under: • PoliticsPorkbusters •  
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calendar   Friday - May 05, 2006

Pigs At The Trough

When it comes to pork in the budget, the US Senate is part of the problem not the solution. Once again, this dishonorable bunch of spendthrifts went out of their way to carve out a little pork for a few pet projects while attempting to provide emergency funding for the war and hurricane relief. Where is the line item veto when you really need it?

Not surprisingly, Democrats jumped on this budget and gave it 100% support. Only 20 Republicans, however, had the sense to walk away from the pig trough. Keep in mind that these b**tards can vote themselves a pay raise any time they want (actually, they’ve rigged it so pay raises are automatic unless they vote against them). Are you sick and tired of this behavior from the Senate yet? If so, let them know. Mail a rancid pork chop or two to your US Senator today. Let them eat cake pork ...

imageimageSenate Defies Bush on Spending
$109 Billion Bill for Wars, Storm Relief Disdained in House
Friday, May 5, 2006

(WASHINGTON POST)—The Senate ignored President Bush’s veto threat yesterday and easily passed a $109 billion emergency spending bill for war and hurricane recovery costs that also brimmed with favors for farmers, the fishing industry, and the states of Hawaii and Rhode Island.

The two-week debate that preceded yesterday’s 77 to 21 final vote was marked by an election-year surge in targeted spending on behalf of constituents and special interests, despite repeated warnings by fiscal conservatives about a swollen budget deficit.

The Senate added money to rebuild a highway in Hawaii; protect riverbanks in California; upgrade a hurricane barrier in Providence, R.I.; and compensate New England shell fishermen for their losses from a red tide outbreak. The Senate also took steps to make farming less risky by offering compensation for virtually any scourge, including drought, flood, wildfires and pestilence.

The next step for the Senate is a potentially rancorous final negotiating session with the House, where Republican leaders greeted the Senate package with scorn. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) called it “dead on arrival” and said his chamber “has no intention of joining in a spending spree.”

House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) promised a final bill that does not spend “one dollar more than what the president asks for, period.”

If the threats hold, senators will have to accept a final bill that is nearly $15 billion less than the legislation approved yesterday. The House package, which passed March 16, came in slightly below Bush’s original $92.2 billion request, at $91.9 billion.

The Senate bill arrived on the floor last week at $106.5 billion but grew through a series of amendments. Bush did sign off on one additional measure, $2.3 billion for pandemic flu preparations.

The bill’s original intent was to provide funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to help Mississippi and Louisiana rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Ever since the Iraq invasion in March 2003, the administration has insisted on paying war-related expenses through ad hoc supplemental spending bills. It contends that the conflicts are temporary and that military costs cannot be anticipated well enough to be included in the regular budget process.

- More pork news from the WAPO ...

And just who were the biggest piggies in this porkfest?

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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 05/05/2006 at 12:35 PM   
Filed Under: • Porkbusters •  
Comments (4) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

calendar   Monday - November 14, 2005

How Pork Becomes Dough, Lesson #911

If you aren’t mad yet about wasteful spending in Washington, be prepared. This one will knock your socks off, kiddies. It seems there has been some diddling with the federal relief funds for 9/11 victims and somehow, thanks to bureaucrats at SBA who deny all knowledge and bankers who refuse to reveal details, we have doughnut shops in Georgia getting loans at sweet interest rates to “help them recover from 9/11”. I say we string all the varmints up from the nearest tree and march on Washington with flaming torches and pitchforks. Are ye with me, lads ...?

imageimageIT’S A HOLE LOT OF 9/11 DOUGH
November 14, 2005
WASHINGTON (NY POST)

More than 25 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises far from New York City were granted federally guaranteed loans at sweet interest rates under a program that was supposed to help businesses recover from 9/11, The Post has learned. The franchises, located in distant places such as Ohio, Georgia and Vermont, got loans totaling $20 million. The Small Business Administration’s inspector general is probing whether banks pushed the loans to make big profits.

Why so many Dunkin’ Donut shops got the loans — which were provided to businesses ranging from hotels to muffler shops — is one of the mysteries surrounding the troubled program. Taxpayers aren’t the only ones who got dunked. Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners around the country say they had no idea they were benefiting from a 9/11 program, called STAR because it was part of the Supplemental Terrorist Relief Act.

“We just took the loan to remodel the place,” said Mnosh Vsava, the manager of a Dunkin’ Donuts in Berwick, Pa., who got an $870,000 loan from New York City-based CIT Small Business Lending Corp. “It wasn’t 9/11 things or anything. No one ever explained nothing,” said Bobby Patel, who got a $558,000 loan for his Willoughby, Ohio, franchise. Bruce Herold, the loan officer from Bank One (now JP Morgan Chase & Co.) who approved Patel’s loan, claimed he didn’t know his bank issued a 9/11 loan.

“I have never done a STAR loan here that I knew of,” he said. “This was just an SBA deal.” Yet businesses are supposed to prove they were “adversely affected” by the attacks to get the loans, and banks are required to keep the information on file. Herold said he couldn’t provide such documents because he wasn’t aware he had made a STAR loan. Jeff Gentile, who owns a franchise in Cabot, Pa., said it was “silly” that he got a $120,000 loan under the program.

“I wasn’t harmed in any way by [9/11]. My business wasn’t,” he said. Tony Silva, who manages a Dunkin’ Donuts in Essex Junction, Vt., was the only proprietor to say his business was hurt by 9/11. “Instead of getting probably a large coffee and a couple doughnuts, [customers] were getting probably a small coffee and a doughnut,” he said. “They were spending less money.”

Banks had an incentive to hype the loans because the government reduced the traditional fee — saving some of the biggest lenders millions. The federal guarantee shields the banks from losses. Rival chain Krispy Kreme didn’t get any loans under the program. “It doesn’t make sense to me that people with a Dunkin’ Donuts in Kansas would say, ‘Hey, I can get some 9/11 money,’ “ said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), suggesting banks or the administration pushed the loans.

Dunkin’ Donuts, owned by French liquor distributor Pernod Ricard, is close to being sold for $2 billion and reported more than $3 billion in revenues last year. Dunkin’ Donuts and CIT each denied pushing the STAR loans, even though CIT was the program’s top lender, giving out $422 million, including loans to almost every doughnut shop. “It’s not something that we promote or advocated,” said Andrew Mastrangelo, spokesman for Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Brands Inc.

Chris Lehnes, a vice president for small-business loans at CIT, said in a statement issued to The Post, “Like many lenders, we do offer STAR loans, and we believe that we are in compliance with all SBA guidelines regarding the STAR program.” CIT declined requests for an interview. SBA administrator Hector Barletto said his agency wasn’t at fault. Congress put that legislation forward. It wasn’t us that put it forward.”

geoff.earle@nypost.com



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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 11/14/2005 at 02:24 PM   
Filed Under: • Porkbusters •  
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