Monthly Archives: August 2011

Purely libertarian .. in Space

This post at Spaceflight Now about the possibility of the IIS space station going unmanned in November sparked this side commentary on The Other McCain delving into the deterioration of America’s commitment to win the science and technology race, and the federal task of providing for the national security.

The offshoot post by Chris Smith ( aka Smitty , aka @smitty_one_each ) is a short and sweet case for why the current state of the space program is a failure of Progressive politics and he may well be right on that point. What I found noteworthy ( and note, I did here), was the introduction of a supposition about “purely libertarian” opinion on the validity of the space program.

Smitty was kind enough to make a small change in his post after our exchange on twitter, but I did ask him if he would mind an answer of sorts to his query on libertarian views.

I have no idea if his use of the small “l” in libertarian was intentional, which begs the question about the term “purely libertarian”, but I will just assume he literally meant libertarian ( not Libertarian) and go from there. I re-read the post several times, and was really confounded at a reason for bringing in libertarians at all. Why not moderates or independents? The comments below the post answered my question. Most GOP variety conservatives don’t have any idea what the answer would be. They certainly don’t know WHY the libertarian answer is what it is. Most can’t see past the “provide for the national defense” any more than the Left can see past the “provide for the general welfare”. (please send hate mail directly to me and save my editor a lot of heartache, please.)

You see, a purely libertarian viewpoint on the space program would be relatively straightforward: Turn the space program into a REAL race for the top and let it be funded by private businesses. Let the funds come from investors and the jobs go to the massive range of employees possessing the hugely encompassing range of skills needed to launch a viable ( and profitable) program of exploration into space. National security? Well, currently the federal government has managed to launch a forty year long , ghastly expensive serious of failures to produce. Now, there is no doubt that space exploration is a worthy expenditure. I will even concede that there are likely legitimate national defense concerns with our ability to position ourselves as the forerunner in space exploration and technology development. Which begs just one last question from me: Since when is the federal government the leader in ANY race to efficient, productive, and profitable expansion of anything, except itself?

Please follow Smitty on twitter. Despite my response to this particular statement, I have found him to be insightful, dedicated, and an excellent source of information and wit!

A Brave New World In 1984

The English language is beautiful in its complexity, dangerous beauty. Interpretation is an art in English, enough that you can paint your own pictures with someone else’s words. Orwell knew it. Aldous Huxley figured out how to control people without it. Unfortunately it seems the world’s governments have figured out how to use the ideas of both. In 1984 Orwell used “newspeak” while Huxley in “A Brave New World” just made everyone’s life just comfortable enough to not question.  I feel only a small minority of the political spectrum is being truly honest in the current debate. Although all sides say that our course is unsustainable, they are demanding that more money be spent or that if we just lessen the amount of unsustainable growth of government we will be fine. Whether the two larger sides of the argument are acting politically or not, this type of statist philosophy is attained through things Huxley and Orwell wrote about, through active shaping of the populace.

Newspeak is so prevalent today I have to pick from only a few terms that have been victims of the practice. These two will be the term “liberal” and the term “Social Justice.” I have chosen them for very important reasons, they are both old and loaded terms that have been used in incredibly dynamic ways.

The word liberal comes from the word liberty. In Europe during the Enlightenment individuals who felt that people should have more control over their own actions were called liberal. That is what the word meant originally and is the reason why many on the far right consider themselves libertarian. The Newspeak corruption of the word began With F.D.R. when after half of the new deal was deemed unconstitutional; He tried to add 6 more seats to the supreme court in order to pass similar bills that had been denied. He chose to claim he wanted more “liberal” justices. He chose the word for two reasons, because after the abuses of Woodrow Wilson and his Progressive buddies the term progressive was negatively loaded, and because the laws he wanted passed were the opposite of liberal in its original sense and that was the reason half the New Deal was deemed unconstitutional. The modern term Liberal has become the polar opposite of what it meant, now liberalism demands more economic and social control over people. Mussolini for example hated liberal government because it denied government control, while modern American liberals demand control in everything including what your children eat, whether you have health insurance and whether you can wear an American flag shirt at an American public school.

“Social Justice” is a meaningless term. It has been in use since the turn of the 19th century, has been used by Islamists, fascists, communists and totalitarians before it was adopted by American liberals. It can literally mean anything. From what I have seen Social Justice is invoked when a government wants to do something that by itself, would be called immoral, but it is excused by claiming it is for the greater good, i.e. for the justice of all society. Honestly justice needs no qualifier. Social Justice is so vague in fact; you can use it to claim the morality for anything. If you want to dispose of a group of people, all you have to do is say they are bad for society, there in it is justified to kill them and so fourth. That kind of power is not “liberal” in its original sense, but social justice has been a term used by American Liberals to coerce the ability to do many things thought tyrannical by our founding fathers.

To keep on the social justice theme, terms like “open space” and “smart growth” are the same kind of undefined or open-ended term that social justice is. These programs are what has sent Bay Area housing prices skyrocketing, these programs for example quadrupled the housing prices of Palo Alto CA, in the decade of the 1970’s. That isn’t smart growth. Keeping “open space” for posterity is great, but when the consequence of an unlivable cost of housing causes farm workers in Salinas CA to live 9 people to one apartment society isn’t being helped. Basically the fruition of these laws is that rich, mostly white liberals make money and price out  the poor and minorities. There is half the African American population in San Francisco than there was just 15 years ago and currently more African Americans die than move to or are born in the city. Not social justice in my eye.

What programs like “open space” and “smart growth” do is they provide money for the less fortunate, or affordable housing all of which is bad economically. It would be easier to not try to control what happens and let cities naturally develop lower income areas due to a reasonable cost of living, something the Bay Area hasn’t experienced since these types of government interventions started. Regardless of the damage these actions have caused the less fortunate, their newspeak terminology and the idea that they are giving to the poor makes people feel well, comfortable and good, that is if they don’t have to live in those places hardest hit and failed by an inevitably incompetent economic third party. This leads me into the Huxley side of my point. Make people just comfortable enough to not question. There are many ways to do this.

In Huxley’s book what is used is a removal of the family structure, drugs, sex and guaranteed food, shelter and work. In the book there was a biological caste system. The Alfa class was the hardest to control because they were the most biologically intelligent while the lowest biological class was the easiest to control, using guaranteed living, drugs and sex. We have only one biological class, human. Our class system is irrelevant to biological ability. Yet I see a Huxley like control system apparent. Regardless of the epic failure of government programs to help the less fortunate, these programs do control the helped populace. These individuals are stuck but their needs are taken care of, their animal needs that is. The STD and drug use rates of these communities’ shows that drugs and sex became a needed release or entertainment. These things are fun and addicting, even all consuming if you have a job let alone if you have none. These individuals are controlled with false comfort drugs and sex, which causes a breakdown of the family. Huxley would feel sick to his stomach thinking maybe his idea was used, but this particular idea has existed since the Ancient Greeks. Give people free stuff and take away their choices and they will be happy, for a short period.

Regardless of the extreme inhuman suffering of these groups leading to crime and at its worst riots, those that provide it receive a comfortable feeling at best and a megalomaniacal feeling with a need to protect these hurtful practices at worst. Through Orwellian newspeak even the most intelligent people can be fooled into thinking any program is for the best. “I live fine, I take care of those people, so I am like a protector, without me they would be worse off, I am more moral than those who would question and change things.” It is a type of moral comfortability. The Alphas of “A Brave New World” felt the same of the inferior biological castes. That false feeling of being a protector is incredibly pervasive and speaks to our most animalistic of instincts.

Unlike in Huxley’s book, when riots happen you cannot release drugs or “soma” in clouds from their government workstations. We are seeing what happens to a completely controlled populace as I type. In the U.K. where riots hit hard they have a whole lower class, many of which have not worked just in their lifetime, but their families have not had a job in three generations. People need liberty. People need choice and they need the ability to fail and suffer. We have been warned. Humans aren’t like a bear in a zoo that can be made happy with friends and activities to use up their time. It is in actuality about power and control. Read both books, especially “A Brave New World,” tell me that the scene when the teacher was instructing his very young students to stimulate each other sexually doesn’t make you question why the government wishes to teach your toddler about sex. This country is turning to a brave new world in 1984.

Bradygboyd.com

 

Government Assault on Gibson Guitars Goes Viral

It all started on August 26th. The Wall Street Journal published an article by Eric Felten the struck fear into the hearts of guitar players the world over.

Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

It isn’t the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian’s ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name “United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.”

Not only is Gibson in the cross-hares of the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, but guitar players themselves could be found guilty simply for owning the instruments. If a musician owns a vintage Gibson or Martin, any dark wood used on the guitar might require specific documentation on its harvest date to prevent the seizure of the instrument.

While artists are largely opposed to changing out one wood for a more ecologically sustainable one, they are even more opposed to the government looking in their guitar cases.

Numerous blog posts, forum entries, magazine stories and online stories have publicized the activities of the U.S. government. This one from the Atlantic Wire titled “How to Turn Guitarists Into TEA Partiers: Take Their Gibsons Away” uses the multitude of posts in guitar internet forums to illustrate that perhaps artists are starting to see what happens when freedoms of a certain group are infringed upon.

While I’m not sure that the latest action by Attorney General Eric Holder and company will really turn most guitaristss into Conservatives, it should. Individual liberty is the one part of the platform that free-thinking, non-collectivist, independent-minded six-string fret-masters should have no trouble accepting.

Government over-reach has been furthered in this manner for decades (many decades). Go after one specific group and take their freedom away. What will the voting populace care if some small group of long-haired guitar-players loses a few instruments in the name of the greater good? The truth is, they won’t.

Gun regulations, cigarette restrictions, unfair taxation and more all came about by finding a small population and imposing something on only them. Tax some small group a little more and the rest won’t mind because it doesn’t affect them. Then go after another group, and another, until everyone is under the thumb of a growing government and there is no one left in opposition.

Perhaps that is what sent this viral. Perhaps guitar players make up a larger portion of Americana than the administration had counted on – an increasingly connected, online, aware, young and possibly voting population. Perhaps because it there is a large, traditionally liberal (if that’s possible) base in the musician community. It could also be because it’s not just about the wood and not just about guitars.

Gibson released a press release on August 25th that demonstrates that the government’s raid almost seems to target them for doing .. nothing wrong.

In 2009, more than a dozen agents with automatic weapons invaded the Gibson factory in Nashville. The Government seized guitars and a substantial amount of ebony fingerboard blanks from Madagascar. To date, 1 year and 9 months later, criminal charges have NOT been filed, yet the Government still holds Gibson’s property. Gibson has obtained sworn statements and documents from the Madagascar government and these materials, which have been filed in federal court, show that the wood seized in 2009 was legally exported under Madagascar law and that no law has been violated. Gibson is attempting to have its property returned in a civil proceeding that is pending in federal court.

In that same release, it notes that the Justice Department has, “asked the judge to stop the court case indefinitely.”

If this were about protecting forests and what Gibson may have done wrong, why suspend the case? Why no charges in the last two years? Why not Martin and co who uses the same wood? What is the government up to? Perhaps it’s politics.

Gibson is located in Tennessee, a right-to-work state. Martin is located in Pennsylvania – a union shop state. Obama’s National Labor Relations Board has already shown a propensity to go after companies, like Boeing, in right-to-work states. Also, C.F. Martin tends to support Democrats while Gibson’s CEO supported Republicans.

One of Gibson’s leading competitors is C.F. Martin & Company. The C.E.O., Chris Martin IV, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC over the past couple of elections (though, to be fair, he did donate a whopping $750 to Republican Congressmen in the 90s.) According to C.F. Martin’s catalog, several of their guitars contain “East Indian Rosewood.” In case you were wondering, that is the exact same wood in at least ten of Gibson’s guitars. – Landmark Report

Even if artists, music lovers or just those that like to pluck on a good ‘ole six string don’t want to get into politics, these actions almost force their hand. Everyone has a breaking point. If not to protect something as individual and free as a Gibson, then for what? Perhaps to find the answer to why this story is broad-reaching (a.k.a. viral) one only needs to ask “If not now, when?”.

Dear Janeane Garafalo: Not Again!

Well I see you’re at it again.  It wasn’t good enough for you to insult the intelligence of Black Americans by suggesting that those of us who hold conservative values are brainwashed.  It wasn’t enough for you to degrade our cognitive abilities by accusing SUPREME COURT JUSTICE Clarence Thomas of suffering from Stockholm Syndrome because of his Tea Party affiliations.  Apparently your White Guilt has not yet been appeased.  You had to break out your white hood and cape one more time to come to the aid of poor, dumb Black folk everywhere.  The Caucasian Crusader to rescue!

This time object of your rescue mission is Herman Cain.

“But Herman Cain, I feel like, is being paid by somebody to be involved and to run for president so that you go, ‘Oh, they can’t be racist. It’s a black guy. It’s a black guy asking for Obama to be impeached’ or ‘It’s a black guy who is anti-Muslim,’ or ‘It’s a black guy who is a tea party guy,’” she continued. “I feel like, well wouldn’t that suit the purposes of whomever astroturfs these things, whether it be the Koch Brothers or ALEC or Grover Norquist or anything. It could even be Karl Rove. ‘Let’s get Herman Cain involved so it deflects the obvious racism of our Republican Party.’”

Watch the Caucasian Crusader take down racists left and right! Her robe is full of specialized weapons and she’ll use them all: Koch Brothers! Norquist! KARL ROVE!  Sure, they may be a little dull and overused, but CC is not really known for her originality.

Janeane, in my last letter to you I discussed how implicitly racist were your statements about SUPREME COURT JUSTICE Clarence Thomas and Black Americans in general.  Instead of having the grace to apologize you’ve doubled down on your rude assessment of Black intelligence.  It seems unfathomable to you that Herman Cain could be a Republican, and a Tea Party Republican at that, because he believes in the principles of smaller government and individual responsibility.  No, Black people must always remain on the Democrat plantation taking handouts from the government and surrendering our family structures and neighborhoods in the process.  If we dare attempt to escape, then we must be getting paid – to prove that the Tea Party isn’t racist, to prove that Republicans aren’t racist. Are you saying, Janeane Garofalo, that Herman Cain is cheat and a liar?  Are you really saying that Black people who hold conservative values are criminals, or at the very least dishonest?  Well how incredibly….racist of you!

You want the rest of the white people at Current TV, a white owned and white-run “network”, to believe that Herman Cain is a shallow criminal.  The Herman Cain who was raised in segregated Georgia by working class parents (father had three jobs).  The Herman Cain who graduated from Morehouse College (that’s a BLACK school) with a degree in mathematics.  The Herman Cain who received a Master’s degree in computer science from Purdue University while working for the Navy.  The Herman Cain who went on to become the CEO (that’s a very important job in the non-Hollywood world, btw) of Godfather’s Pizza and the head of the National Restaurant Association.  The Herman Cain who sat on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.  Is that the Herman Cain you think is such an idiot he can’t think for himself or know if he’s being used?  Is that the Herman Cain you think is such a lapdog at “massa’s” feet that he’d accept money to run for President just to prove the GOP isn’t racist?

Perhaps you think my father-in-law, Victor Davis is an idiot and a criminal too.  You see, he is also a Black man and a conservative.  He survived his mother’s attempt to abort him and was born into poverty in Michigan (a state).  He worked his way to college at the University of Iowa where he became a star tailback, later taking his talents to play for the Canadian Football League.  Victor went on to become a pastor in the inner city of Gary, IN, where he continues to serve a community that is a majority Black and that people like you would never set foot in.  He has provided food, shelter, jobs, clothes, schooling, support and counseling to countless people.  He has lobbied for improvements to his community and the condition of Black Americans in the inner city in general.  He established a low-cost, private school in the heart of the inner city to give frustrated Black parents a viable opportunity to remove their children from the dismal, dangerous Gary public school system.  You will not find a person in his congregation who has not been in his home for a meal.  You will not find a person who would characterize this man as a sellout (50 years in the ‘hood), an idiot, or a greedy liar.  Through his decades of community service he has endured gang and drug violence, watching loved ones succumb to the dangers of the ghetto and the tragic loss of two sons.  Yet through it all he has never wavered from his dedication to his God, his family or his community.  And he is a conservative.  Would you dare stand face-to-face with that man and say the horrible things about Black conservatives that you are all too comfortable saying Keith Olbermann?  I can arrange it if you think you could do it.

How about Star Parker?  Maybe she’s a brainwashed, greedy shill too, no?  You know Star Parker – founder of the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education.  She was a single mother living on welfare when she finally realized that Democrats had been running the inner cities of America for decades, and yet Black people continued to suffer from the most debilitating social diseases in the nation.  She went back to school, became an author, a consultant and a regular television commentator.  Is she a fool too, Janeane?  Perhaps you would like a sit-down with Ms. Parker as well, then you can tell her to her face why you think she is a sell out.  Again, I am willing to make all the arrangements, but somehow I don’t see you accepting the invitation.

I could name so many more intelligent, amazing, educated Black Americans that are proud to call themselves conservatives.  They are people who have served and continue to serve their communities in real, discernable ways.  Please take a moment to enlighten yourself about those people.  Compare what you contribute to society against their contributions.  Then come back and apologize, because you are a bigot and your tired argument that Blacks are not allowed to think outside the tiny little box you’ve constructed for them is actually quite racist.  To echo Star Parker, its liberals like you, who use the Black community as a doormat for you to wipe your white guilt off, that have caused so much damage in our inner cities.  Your policies of dependence and the attitude (that you have so clearly illustrated for us) that Black people should not be allowed to stray from the plantation of liberal ideology have all but destroyed our families.  Enough is enough.  Take a look at yourself and the limits you have ascribed to Black Americans.  And have the decency to be ashamed.

Six Years After Hurricane Katrina, Grassroots Organizations Lead Gulf Recovery

Community Leaders Across the Gulf Coast Call for National Support

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Six years after Hurricane Katrina, poor and low-income residents, African-Americans, immigrants, indigenous populations, and other at-risk communities living along the Gulf Coast report that the storm’s devastating effects continue to be felt. The need for environmental restoration, affordable housing, employment opportunities, the right to return for displaced persons, and access to quality healthcare and education remain, and have been exacerbated by new disasters including Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and the BP oil disaster.

“The disasters that have devastated the Gulf Coast over the past six years – whether natural or manmade – have created the need to rebuild anew, and grassroots organizations have been taking the lead, working to create a just and sustainable future for the region. However, Federal assistance is a must if the region is to indeed be made ‘whole’ as promised by both this and the previous administrations,” states Stephen Bradberry, Executive Director, Alliance Institute, and Advisor, Gulf Coast Fund.

Founded in the wake of Katrina, the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health is a community-led philanthropy focused on long-term social and environmental sustainability for the region. The Fund provides grants and support to over 200 organizations on the ground in all five Gulf states and works closely with community leaders, creating programs and opportunities for them to forge networks and strengthen relationships. In turn, these leaders are playing a decisive role in Gulf Coast restoration, galvanizing local residents, heightening the accountability and responsiveness of elected officials, and working to mobilize national support for Gulf Coast renewal.

“We must continue to demand governmental accountability on all levels – local, state, regional and national – and restore full civic participation in the region,” states Jaribu Hill, Executive Director, Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights, and Advisor, Gulf Coast Fund.

BP Disaster: Community Leaders Call for Legislation

Gulf Coast communities continue to experience economic and environmental problems due to the April 2010 BP drilling disaster, and reports of severe oil-related health issues continue to climb. According to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, almost 500 miles of coastline from Louisiana toFlorida remains contaminated. Activists from across the Gulf are calling on Congress and the Administration to support the RESTORE the Gulf Coast Act of 2011, legislation introduced in the Senate last month that would require 80% of Clean Water Act penalties levied against BP for the drilling disaster to go towards ecological and economic restoration of the Gulf. “While the RESTORE act is a good start, we also need legislation to create a Regional Citizens Advisory Council to give coastal communities a seat at the table as oil and gas development continues in the Gulf,” notes Aaron Viles, Deputy Director, Gulf Restoration Network, and Advisor, Gulf Coast Fund. “The Gulf Coast is a national treasure, and it’s urgent that we move forward with restoration immediately,” Viles declares.

Media contact:

Barbara Nonas
[email protected]
(212) 759-4378

This press release was issued through eReleases(R).  For more information, visit eReleases Press Release Distribution at http://www.ereleases.com.

SOURCE Gulf Coast Fund

Web Site: http://gulfcoastfund.org

Looming Utility Rate Hikes Could Devastate Some Idaho Residents

Over 40% of Idaho’s 50+ Struggling to Pay Current Utility Bills as Idaho Power and United Water Press for Rate Hikes

BOISE, Idaho, Aug. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As if Treasure Valley residents didn’t have enough to worry about when it comes to household budgets – Idaho Power and United Water want to add one more to the mix: higher utility bills. AARP says the hikes could prove devastating to some Treasure Valley residents, particularly the elderly, and is calling on the Idaho Public Utilities (PUC) to deny both companies’ requests.

Idaho Power is pressing for an 8.8% electric rate increase, while United Water is proposing a near 20% hike – both taking effect in 2012 if approved by the PUC.   AARP stands in strong opposition to the rate hikes, which are currently under PUC review.

“The rate hikes being requested are a bad idea in a good economy, but in today’s economy, they are a horrible one,” said Jim Wordelman, State Director for AARP.  “To many Treasure Valley families already living on the brink financially, higher utility bills could simply push them over the edge.”

To make matters worse, hidden in the 110 page Idaho Power rate hike request is a little known measure that could cost consumers even more – a move making permanent a fixed cost adjustment, also called “decoupling.” The measure leaves customers paying a fixed rate to cover Idaho Power’s revenue while having another charge subject to the company’s energy sales.  If energy sales are bad, the customer automatically has to pay more, if sales are good, the customer will pay less, and in either case the company’s revenue is always covered.  The proposal shifts any shortcomings in energy profits from shareholders onto customers – penalizing consumers for using less electricity by making them pay more.  Decoupling is currently in place temporarily for Idaho Power.

Also tacked onto the Idaho Power request is a $1 increase in the customer service charge.

“Idaho Power and United Water don’t deserve these rate hikes and AARP is urging the PUC to say ‘No Way,” added Wordelman.  “AARP hopes to see public hearings scheduled soon on these rate hikes, where the public can make their voices heard loud and clear.”

Over 40% of Idahoans 50+ reported difficulty affording their utility bills this past year according to a recent AARP survey (http://bit.ly/gBePOb).  Older individuals spend a much higher percentage of household income on utility bills, for the low income elderly, the bills can account for 24% of their expenditures.

Utility companies across Idaho are pressing for similar rate increases that would affect most residents’ utility bills, if approved by the PUC.  Rocky Mountain Power is requesting a rate hike of 7.2% for electric customers (and an increase of 16% for Time of Use customers- those paying for energy based on the time of day they use it), while Avista is proposing a 3.6% increase for residential electric bills and 3.5% for natural gas customers (this would be on top of a 3.59% rate hike in 2010, a 3.92% hike scheduled to hit consumers Oct. 1st of this year, and a 1.74% hike hitting in 2012 – part of a 3 year 9% rate “deal.”  Also included is a proposal to increase customers’ service charges by $.50 a month).

AARP is calling on the PUC to deny the rate hikes and is urging its members and the public to join the fight to make it happen.  The public can get more information on the issue, how to get involved and file comments on the rate hikes by visiting www.aarp.org/ID, and get regular updates by following AARP Idaho on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AARPIdaho.

AARP is Idaho’s largest membership organization with 180,000 members.

Follow us on Twitter @AARPIdaho and Facebook: AARP Idaho

SOURCE AARP Idaho

CONTACT: David Irwin of AARP Idaho,             +1-208-855-4004      ,             +1-208-850-4502

Web Site: http://www.aarp.org/id

Strip Club Considers Appealing Recent Texas “Pole Tax” Ruling

HOUSTON, Aug. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Rick’s Cabaret International, Inc. (NASDAQ:RICK), the nation’s leading group of upscale gentlemen’s clubs, said today it is considering an appeal of a Texas Supreme Court decision upholding a state law requiring strip clubs to pay a $5 fee for every club visitor.  On Friday August 26th the Texas Supreme Court reversed the judgment of a Texas Court of Appeals, ruling that the SOB Fee does not violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and remanded the case to the District Court to determine whether the fee violates the Texas Constitution.

In a Form 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission signed by Rick’s Cabaret President and CEO Eric Langan , the company said: “We disagree with the decision of the Texas Supreme Court.  Both we and the TEA [Texas Entertainment Association, a trade group] are currently considering whether to appeal the Texas Supreme Court’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court (regarding the constitutionality of the fee under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution).  Additionally, our claims regarding the Texas Constitution have not yet been addressed by the courts.  We do not plan to make any payments of these taxes while the case is pending in the courts. However, we will continue to accrue and expense the potential tax liability on our financial statements, so any ultimate negative ruling will not have any effect on our income statement and will only affect our balance sheet. If the decision is ultimately found in our favor, as we believe it will be, then we will have a one-time gain of the entire amount previously expensed. Further, we have filed a separate lawsuit in which we raise additional challenges to the statute imposing the fee or tax.  The courts have not yet addressed these additional claims.”

The company further stated in the Form 8-K: “We have paid the tax for the first five calendar quarters under protest and expensed the tax in our consolidated financial statements (as filed with the SEC), except for two locations in Dallas where the taxes have not been paid, but we are accruing and expensing the liability.  For the subsequent quarters, as a result of the Third Court’s decision, we accrued the fee, but did not pay the State.  As of June 30, 2011, the Company had approximately $6.1 million in accrued liabilities for this tax. We have paid more than $2 million to the State of Texas since the inception of the tax.”

A copy of the company’s Form 8-K is available at its investor relations website, www.ricksinvestor.com.

About Rick’s Cabaret: Rick’s Cabaret International, Inc. (NASDAQ: RICK) is home to 22 upscale adult nightclubs serving primarily businessmen and professionals that offer live entertainment, dining and bar operations. Nightclubs in New York City, Miami, Philadelphia, Charlotte, DallasHouston, Minneapolisand other cities operate under the names “Rick’s Cabaret,” “XTC,” “Club Onyx” and “Tootsie’s Cabaret”. Sexual contact is not permitted at these locations. Rick’s Cabaret also operates a media division, ED Publications, and owns the adult Internet membership website couplestouch.com as well as a network of online adult auction sites under the flagship URL naughtybids.com. Rick’s Cabaret common stock is traded on NASDAQ under the symbol RICK. For further information contact [email protected] or visitwww.ricksinvestor.com.

Forward-looking Statements: This document contains forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause the company’s actual results to differ materially from those indicated in this document, including the risks and uncertainties associated with operating and managing an adult business, the business climates in cities where it operates, the success or lack thereof in launching and building the company’s businesses, risks and uncertainties related to the operational and financial results of our websites, conditions relevant to real estate transactions, and numerous other factors such as laws governing the operation of adult entertainment businesses, competition and dependence on key personnel. Additional factors that could cause the Company’s results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements are described in forms filed with the SEC from time to time and available at www.ricksinvestor.com or on the SEC’s internet website atwww.sec.gov.   Rick’s has no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements to reflect the occurrence of future events or circumstances. For further information visit www.ricksinvestor.com.

 

SOURCE Rick’s Cabaret International, Inc.

CONTACT: Allan Priaulx of Rick’s Cabaret International, Inc.,             +1-212-338-0050      , [email protected]

Obama Nominee Krueger Accused of ‘Sloppy Research’

Alan Krueger nominee for White House Economic CouncilToday, in a move to combat Americans’ view that the President is failing on economic policy, Obama will nominate Alan Krueger to head the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Alan Krueger, if confirmed, will be walking into a group that has faced failure and discontent. Larry Summers, Christina Romer, and the man Krueger will replace, Austan Goolsbee, have all left the council in recent months.

Krueger is a veteran of the Obama administration. Alan served as Asst. Treasury Secretary under Tim Geithner in 2009 and 2010. He returned to his 20 year teaching career at Princeton in 2010.

The confirmation of Alan Krueger is likely to be contentious. The make-up of both the House and Senate have changed and Republicans are likely looking to put a microscope on this nomination considering the lack of review Obama’s collection of Czars have received and their failure to do anything substantive to help the American economy.

Krueger is known as a labor economist. In 1994-95 he served as Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1993 he was credited for his narrow research that attempted to buck conventional wisdom on minimum wage. Most economist stipulate that by forcing raises to minimum wages instead of letting them happen through market forces will force them to hire fewer people.

Krueger conducted a study during a recession in New Jersey. His report postulated that while the state raised the minimum wage, fast food restaurants actually hired additional staff. Unfortunately, that study has since been proven as flawed  ..  on House.gov [emphasis mine]:

The best data Card and Krueger could have obtained from these restaurants were hours worked. However, they did not obtain that data. Another set of economists, Dr. David Neumark and Dr. William Wascher, obtained the payroll data from the restaurants Card and Krueger surveyed. When Neumark and Wascher calculated the numbers, using the identical statistical methodology of Card and Krueger, they found the exact opposite of Card and Krueger. Card and Krueger found that restaurant employment in New Jersey rose, while restaurant employment in Pennsylvania fell. Neumark and Wascher found that employment in Pennsylvania rose more rapidly than employment in New Jersey. A Presidential Commission found in 1980 that teenage employment fell one to three percent for every ten percent hike in the minimum wage. The difference between Pennsylvania and New Jersey was exactly within that range.

The Card and Krueger study has collapsed. The foundation of the Administration’s argument for higher wages has fallen apart. Raising the minimum wage destroys jobs. Only by doing sloppy research can economists arrive at another answer. The Card and Krueger fiasco is an example when inadequate research is used to buttress unwise policy.

If being wrong on an entire study weren’t enough, he also missed the mark when gauging the American economy, of which he will now be advising the President. In Charlotte last June Krueger said, “But recoveries also have internal momentum.   The income generated from restocking inventories leads consumers to spend more, which in turn leads businesses to sell more goods, invest in more plants and equipment, and hire more workers.   Although the recovery will move in fits and spurts and is still fragile, I think the most reasonable forecast is for economic growth to proceed in the 3 percent range this year and to be stronger next year. ”

Obama is now relying on more false facts from academia and base socialism instead of the truth that free-markets and capitalism represent. If Obama can’t abandon his attempt to turn away from a free-market system, the economy may never recover.

Americans have lost all faith in the President’s ability to lead on the economy. Alan Krueger will be yet another toppled domino in the string of poor nominations, decisions and policies that Obama’s made in order to prevent the very double-dip recession he may be causing.

Every Action Starts A Chain Reaction

It was a “teaching moment” on one of the kids’ channels, but the words of wisdom were so profound.

Every action starts a chain reaction.

Oh, if only this simple, yet profound life lesson were taught in homes and schools across this nation! This would be the revolution meant for dreams!

Everything in life is a choice. Every single choice we make has a consequence- good, bad or indifferent.

Unfortunately, our society has morphed from the days of choices and consequences to making excuses and blame games. The world is literally spinning out of control because we’ve allowed the chain reaction to become distorted and mutilated.

By allowing the chain reaction to become distorted and mutilated without repairing it, we are now seeing the effects of what a dysfunctional society produces. Rather than teaching our children that their actions have consequences, they are now coddled by an educational system which teaches them everyone is a winner at everything, and there are never any losers.

We are reaping the consequences of this indoctrination in every facet of our society.

One example of the consequences we are experiencing can be found in the case of Justine Winter, a Montana teenager. Her actions started a chain reaction that has cost not only her, but many people, dearly!

Since the dawn of time, teenage girls are synonymous with “drama”. However, by smothering the expectation of taking personal responsibility, society has cultivated a new ‘breed’ of  ‘drama queens’. Justine Winter is in this “new breed’ of “drama queens.’

In March of 2009, Justine Winter and her boyfriend, Ryan Langford, were arguing. He had read an entry in her diary about her feelings for one of his friends.  They argued, and when they parted ways for the evening, she drove away believing they were breaking up. She was distraught, as most teenage girls are when there is a romantic breakup.

The two teenagers continued to argue for nearly half an hour- by text messages- as she drove home. With each text she became more frantic and irrational.

Justine: “Goodbye, Ryan… I am telling the truth when I tell you I love you. My last words, I love you Ryan.”

Ryan: “Yeah, whatever you say. You win, I lose.”

Justine: “If I won, I would have you, and I wouldn’t crash my car,” she wrote in a distraught message. Then, in yet another message, she added, “Thats why I am going to wreck my car. …because i am a terrible person. … i want to kill mysself [sic]. good bye ryan. I love you.”

She made a choice- and acted on that choice- which started a chain reaction that would change many lives forever.

Life was quite the opposite for Erin Thompson, a 35-year-old pregnant wife and mother to a teenage son, Caden. Caden, a very talented drummer, had the honor of being one of only three students who were chosen to play at a school concert. They were driving home after the concert when their car- and lives- literally collided with Justine.

Passerby’s who stopped to help did not think Justine would make it. She was airlifted to the hospital where she spent 7 weeks in ICU and went through multiple surgeries. She left the hospital with a neck brace.

Erin, her unborn child, and Caden died at the scene of the crash. Erin’s husband was given the devastating news in a phone call from the police.

Choices.

Actions.

Chain Reaction.

Consequences.

After an investigation of the crash, police determined that Justine was driving 85 miles per hour on a bridge that was under construction. She made no effort to brake as she entered the construction zone. Justine’s car crossed over into Erin’s lane, colliding head on and causing a horrific explosion. When no explanation was found as to why Justine crossed over into Erin’s lane, they continued to investigate. It was not long before the “Why” question was answered. The text messages between Justine and Ryan were discovered.

The text messages were clear- Justine had threatened to crash her car just moments before the actual crash occurred. The girl who wanted to end her life, survived the crash, but took the lives of 3 others. Patrol Sgt. Ernie Freebury summed it up by saying:

“She did just exactly what she said she was going to do.”

It sounds like an open and shut case, right? Not so fast!

Justine says she doesn’t remember that night at all, and her family says she didn’t really mean what she said in the text messages. In fact, her family disagreed with the investigators on the cause of the crash, and Justine and her father sued the estate of Erin Thompson, claiming that Erin caused the crash, not Justine. They also sued three companies who were involved in the construction, alleging improper  traffic marking and lighting at the construction site.

Talk about adding insult to injury! This takes the cake in that department!

This is the moment Justine’s father failed her miserably. Rather than standing beside her, supporting her through the tragedy that changed her life forever, he allowed her to blame someone else for a choice she made. Not only did he allow her to blame someone else, he also encouraged her in the blame game by acting on behalf of her and allowing her to file the lawsuit. While his love for his daughter is understandable, enabling her in her cowardice has only hurt his daughter more, not helped her!

In a town that was already divided in this tragedy, the division grew even wider. Many people were appalled that the Winter family blamed the very people that had already suffered so much. Yet, not everyone agreed with this sentiment, and could not believe that this was ruled a crime.

Friends of Justine’s family said they believed it was ” a plain and simple accident”. How do they explain the text messages she sent just moments before saying she was going to crash her car?

Attorney Ed Corrigan explained it, saying:

“She purposely went into that wrong way in a traffic, ran into that car … and had to know, or should have known that by doing so, she was going to kill the occupants in that other vehicle.”

Is Mr. Corrigan right, or is it something entirely different? Could it be that Justine is just another symptom of the warped, self-absorbed society we have become? Could it be that Justine was only thinking of herself, how she felt and what she wanted, never thinking of how her actions could affect those around her?

We all have to make choices every day of our life. Some of our choices are good. Some of our choices are bad. Some of our choices do not really make a difference in the outcome of life at all. Some choices have devastating consequences.

Unfortunately, this life lesson is slowly being eroded by a society that would rather teach our children to blame others for their actions rather than taking personal responsibility.

_________

Sources:

20/20- Watch the online episode of this story 

 

FEC To Allow Foreign-Born Citizen to Run for President

The six commissioners of the Federal Election Commission are being tasked with a Constitutional question: Can a foreign-born citizen run for President of the United States?

The Constitution strictly forbids anyone but a “natural-born citizen” from becoming president, but it does not restrict candidacy. Now, the FEC won’t either.

Guyana-born New York attorney Abdul Hassan would like to file papers, take campaign contributions, and collect federal matching funds for his candidacy. Two draft advisory opinions from the FEC may let him do just that – even though he can never be sworn into that office.

Hassan had posed four questions to the commission.

1) As a naturalized American citizen, will Mr. Hassan be considered a “candidate ” or “person ” running for President under the Act?

2) As a naturalized American citizen, is Mr. Hassan eligible to receive presidential matching funds under the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act?

3) As a naturalized American citizen, will Mr. Hassan violate 2 U.S.C. 44Ih(b) if he solicits and receives contributions for his presidential campaign?

4) Is Mr. Hassan required to comply with the Act’s provisions regarding expenditures, contributions, record keeping, and reporting?

The opinions state that he can be a candidate, can collect campaign contributions and would be required to disclose his campaign finances to the commission. The difference between the two opinions is the question of whether or not he may receive federal matching funds for his campaign. Draft A forbids him from collecting the matching money and Draft B sidesteps the question as “hypothetical”.

Why Hassan is pressing this issue, with full knowledge that he will not win the election and even if he did, could not be president is not immediately clear. It could be the slippery-slope approach that liberals take when attempting to erode the power of the Constitution. Before long, the FEC may be questioning the definition of “natural-born” or “citizen”. It would only take a single challenge to his candidacy to open a legal case that would ultimately end up in the Supreme Court.

The Constitution does not define “natural-born citizen”. That term is defined in section 8 of the United States Code of  Laws. This challenge could open up the question of whether the U.S. code is an accurate or Constitutionally-acceptable definition. Semantics are the tool of the left and they may be at work to change the application of a fundamental clause in the U.S. Constitution.

This is not the first attempt to circumvent the natural-born citizen requirement to be president. More than 20 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed to change the requirement. Perhaps the most famous being one that was intended to allow Henry Kissinger to serve as President.

The FEC could vote on the opinions as early as Thursday and for either opinion to be accepted, four of the six commissioners must agree.

Public comments must be submitted by Noon on Wednesday August 31st, 2011. Those wishing to comment on the Draft A or Draft B of the Draft Advisory Opinion 2011-15 should follow these directions:

  1. Comments must be in writing, and they must be both legible and complete.
  2. Comments must be submitted to the Office of the Commission Secretary by hand delivery or fax (202) 208-3333, with a duplicate copy submitted to the Office of General Counsel by hand delivery or fax (202) 219-3923.
  3. Comments must be received by noon (Eastem Time) on August 31,2011.
  4. The Commission will generally not accept comments received after the deadline. Requests to extend the comment period are discouraged and unwelcome. An extension request will be considered only if received before the comment deadline and then only on a case-by-case basis in special circumstances.
  5. All timely received comments will be made available to the public at the Commission’s Public Records Office and will be posted on the Commission’s website at http://saos.mctusa.com/saos/searchao

If you would like to deliver your comments by hand, one copy each should be delivered to:
Office of the Commission Secretary
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20463

-AND-

Office of General Counsel
ATTN: Rosemary C. Smith, Esq.
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20463

Here I Stand So Help Me God

Here I Stand, So help Me God

“The evil in this world almost always comes from ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.” – Albert Camus

I was born in San Francisco, grew up in Marin County just 30 minutes away and now live in San Francisco. I graduated with a B.A. in Theater Arts from a small liberal arts college (yeah I know).  I lived within American liberalism my whole life, and although it is striking and intoxicating, I always felt as if there was something basic yet unseen that made it, for lack of a better term, wrong. I have only recently been able to put it into words, but it was a long road, it required a hefty load of reading, thought, and personal experience. In my opinion, philosophically and morally, the American welfare state as it stands now is inhumane and a tool by which to control a populace.

Two years ago I received the honor of being offered a couple jobs as a Para-educator (a one on one or assistant aid for special needs classrooms). I chose to work at the school my father went to, servicing kids from the most rough of neighborhoods. I thought it would be good for me because I lived middle-class in one of the richest counties in the country most of my life. I fell in love with the community almost instantly. My father, who also worked the neighborhood as a beat cop, gave me a hint before I started working there, simple and prophetic, “be real.” I was, and although the situations of the children make it mentally and emotionally exhausting, the people you work with, the talent, humor, ingenuity and intelligence of the children get you through. That is, if you can keep hope, because cold, sharp statistics are like steel daggers in your mind. I can’t help but think of new Einsteins, new Pattons, new Edisons-children that may have possibly been epoch changing forces, being caught in the net of circumstance and choked like un-flowered buds. I certainly see the potential every day from when I walk into work until I leave. Endless potential.

I agree that there must be a social safety net. A robust economically active economy can easily provide that. If that safety net starts to constitute a sizable portion of the economy, we start getting into dangerous ground. A safety net is designed to catch, not to hold. If you trap a human being in a situation of being a ward of the state, it is incredibly destructive. Psychologically, it forces feelings of inferiority and incapability, or develops a belief that at least others believe you are inferior or incapable.  It is like a mental prison for our youth, and I can tell you first hand it is horrific to deal with either way it manifests, whether outwardly or inwardly. The belief that programs that single out people as more in need than others are compassionate is simply wrong. Compassion is helping someone succeed; it is not making them a slave to the scraps of others. It is as painfully simple as the Chinese proverb. Moreover, who is going to fish when they are handed a fish daily? In a person’s self-conscience it is inevitable that if they don’t do something of purpose, they suffer. In my opinion, you can see how it manifests with freakouts, fights and beatings being posted on video sharing sights daily, crime stats, test scores and heartbreaking stories on your local news.

Politicians that seek to help by doing more of the same are acting inhumanely. Either from ignorance or malevolence, it matters not; our overbearing, incompetent, unsustainable Welfare state is no solution because it adds to the problem. It turns whole swaths of society into indentured servants to whatever party wishes to pay for them to continue on aimless and suffering. It may get votes. It may look good. It may be easy to claim that anyone that would try to fix the problem just wants to hurt those who are suffering. Yet, reality persists. The numbers certainly don’t lie. The problem has gotten worse since the solution was enacted.

Humanity is unstoppable, no matter the color, class, or whatever convoluted title you can place on a particular individual. If you give people the freedom to succeed and you expect them to, they will, if you give them the choice not to then that is inhuman. We don’t have to watch as the very “compassionate” society we designed strangles many of our best and brightest. Fix it, or that high horse is just what it drops behind him.

When Josef Stalin was on his deathbed he called in two likely successors, to test which one of the two had a better knack for ruling the country. He ordered two birds to be brought in and presented one bird to each of the two candidates. He then instructed each of them to make sure that the bird did not fly away. The first one grabbed the bird, but was so afraid that the bird could free himself from his grip and fly away that he squeezed his hand very hard, and when he opened his palm, the bird was dead. Seeing the disapproving look on Stalin’s face and being afraid to repeat his rival’s mistake, the second candidate loosened his grip so much that the bird freed himself and flew away. Stalin looked at both of them scornfully. “Bring me a bird!’ he ordered. They did. Stalin took the bird by its legs and slowly, one by one, he plucked all the feathers from the bird’s little body. Then he opened his palm. The bird was laying there naked, shivering, helpless. Stalin looked at him, smiled gently and said, “You see… and now he is even thankful for the human warmth coming out of my palm.”