Thursday, January 29, 2009

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Removed from Office

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was convicted of impeachment charges by the Illinois state Senate and removed from office. The Illinois Senate voted a unanimous 59-0 to oust the Democrat Governor immediately. They also voted by the same margin to bar him from ever holding public office again in Illinois.

Earlier in the day Rod Blagojevich had asked, "How can you throw a governor out of office who is clamoring and begging and pleading with you to give him a chance to bring witnesses in to prove his innocence? A crime has not been proven here." He skipped the chance to make a formal defense during the proceedings because, he said, the rules restricted him from calling the witnesses he needed or playing in full the federal government wiretapped conversations that led to charges involving Obama's Senate seat.

In return, the Illinois Senate used words such as devious, cynical, crass, corrupt, liar, and hypocrite when discussing the case prior to the vote to oust the Illinois Governor.

Same Pork as Usual in Latest Stimulus Package

So where will this newest stimulus package get us? The democrats pushed it through the House of Representatives yesterday. President Barack Obama campaigned on change, but this new stimulus plan is full of the same old pork that we have seen for decades in American politics. President Obama has promoted the 3-T strategy for the stimulus package and recovery....temporary, targeted and timely.

First off the tax cuts & credits in the plan will mean $12/week per paycheck for the average American. It's nice, but won't make any difference at all for me. It won't change my spending habits. It won't make me go buy anything other than what I would be normally buying anyway. It will just go into my bank account as with most Americans. Very little stimulus there as most won't notice any difference at all.

Now to the pork in the bill. $70 million for stop smoking programs. Not going to create any jobs there. $335 million for sexually transmitted diseases = no job creation. $650 million for DTV coupons. $50 million for national endowment for the arts. Now I am all for museums and such, but come on. $75 million super computer for national oceanic and atmospheric association. Typical political pork. Nothing of the above helps our struggling economy or creates any jobs whatsoever.

Now to the building and infrastructure parts of the package. I think timely was one of the 3-Ts. According to the Washington Post, of the $30 billion devoted to highway spending, only $4 billion will be spent within the next 2 years. Less than $3 billion of the $18.5 billion for renewable energy and less than half the financing for school construction will be spent by 2011. How is this timely? We need this stuff now not in 2013!

Unfortunately, it looks like politics as usual in Washington. I love President Obama's energy and enthusiasm, but if we can't eliminate special interests and pork from Congress it is all for naught and this country will continue to have it's tax dollars wasted.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

President Obama Pushing New Stimulus Package

President Barack Obama took to the airwaves Saturday to promote his economic aid plan which he is hoping to get through Congress soon. Obama's recovery package goals are:

--- Double within three years the amount of energy that could be produced from renewable resources . That is an ambitious goal, given the 30 years it took to reach current levels. Advisers say that could power 6 million households.

---upgrade 10,000 schools and improve learning for about 5 million students.

---save $2 billion a year by making federal buildings energy efficient.

---triple the number of undergraduate and graduate fellowships in science.

---tighten security at almost 90 major US ports.

The plan would look to spend at least 75% of the total cost (more than $600 billion) within the first 18 months, either through work projects favored by Democrats or tax cuts favored by Republicans.

There is heavy emphasis on public works projects, which have lagged as state budgets contracted. Governors have lobbied Obama to help them patch holes in their budgets, drained by sinking tax revenues and increased need for public assistance such as Medicaid and children's health insurance. Obama's plan would increase the federal portion of those programs so no state would have to cut any of the 20 million children whose eligibility is now at risk. Obama's plan would also provide health care coverage for 8.5 million people who lose their insurance when they either lose or shift jobs.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Caroline Kennedy Withdraws US Senate Bid

Caroline Kennedy informed New York Governor David Paterson that she is withdrawing from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton in the US Senate. The daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy, has never held public office prior, but launched an unusual public campaign to replace Clinton. Hillary Clinton was sworn in as President Barack Obama's secretary of state and immediately afterward resigned from the Senate.

The New York governor's office made no immediate comment and a spokesman for Kennedy could not be reached. Paterson had said he would wait until Clinton resigns from the Senate before naming a replacement.

The New York Times reported that Caroline Kennedy's decision to withdraw was prompted by concerns about the health of her uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy, who was hospitalized after a seizure during an inaugural lunch for Barack Obama.

Kennedy's withdrawal would leave New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as the favorite for the job. Cuomo is a former cabinet secretary under President Bill Clinton and the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. The New York Times said Paterson is expected to announce the position on Saturday.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

When is the Best Time to End Your EBAY Auction?

For anyone who sells on Ebay it is a question whose answer is the difference between getting a good selling price or an average selling price for your merchandise. When is the best time to end your auction on Ebay?

I know personally there have been many auctions I had been planning on winning, but forgot about, or got busy with something else. When I remembered it had already closed. One key is to not have your auction end around people's "busy times".

General consensus for the best time to end an Ebay auction is between 10-12pm eastern time. This is the main selling time because all three major US time zones are past dinner and into the evening leisure time.

Weekends are also the best time to end an auction. Shoot for a Saturday ending or a Sunday ending. Next best would be Friday. Avoid weeknights for the most part. Always go with a 7 day auction as well. This will give your item ample time to be seen, watched and bid upon.

Good luck and may all your Ebay items sell well!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hillary Clinton Preparing for Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton is preparing for Tuesday’s confirmation hearing and barring a bombshell revelation, all sides expect Clinton to be speedily confirmed as Secretary of State, But her rendezvous with the Foreign Relations Committee at 9:30am still offers its share of potential hurdles.

Nobody’s fonder of huddling secretly with a closeknit, tight-lipped clutch of advisers than Hillary Clinton. And she’s been huddling plenty in recent days, gaming out defenses to possible attacks against her husband while synchronizing her policy positions with Obama to avoid embarrassing public disagreements on Iraq, Iran and Israel.

“If they hit her on any personal stuff or on the BS, she’ll hit the ball out of the park,” said a longtime adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity. “She’s far more concerned with the substance. This is the re-emergence of the non-political Hillary. The most discomfort is where she and Obama disagree, the ‘you’re naive’ stuff. She can’t show up the president, she can’t appear like she’s trying to formulate her own foreign policy.”

Clinton’s task is made easier by the fact that Obama quietly adopted many of his former rival’s more hawkish foreign policy positions by the end of the primaries. Her path may also be eased by the fact that Obama’s pick for Attorney General, Eric Holder, has become the main lightning rod for GOP opposition in the Senate.

“Holder’s attracting most of the attention on the right,” says Steve Clemons, vice president of the progressive New America Foundation. “She’s different. She’s a respected senator, and if they attack her, they will just appear mean and nasty… and they’ll appear as if they are undermining America’s diplomatic standing. And the Democrats are going to use soft gloves.”

The committee’s staff is so confident Clinton will sail through that it has scheduled only a single day of hearings, although it has taken the precaution of reserving the committee room for Wednesday just in case. That’s a far cry from previous secretary of state confirmations: In 1981, Al Haig had to endure a 5 day grilling about his role in Watergate before earning approval.

“We expect her confirmation hearing to be congenial, fair and swift,” said Sen. John Kerry’s committee spokesman Frederick Jones.

To ensure that nothing goes awry, Clinton has assembled a confirmation commando unit of sorts, featuring her post campaign inner circle, including Cheryl Mills, Maggie Williams and her trusted Senate chief of staff, Tamera Luzzatto.

She’s added a new collection of Clinton-Obama foreign policy experts to coach her on the issues and the Byzantine bureaucracy at Foggy Bottom. They include Clinton Senate staffer Andrew Shapiro, former ambassadors Joe Huggins and Vickie Huddleston, a pair of incoming deputy secretaries of state, Jim Steinberg and Jack Lew, Clinton campaign policy maven Jake Sullivan, and Wendy Sherman, a highly regarded State Department veteran who helped shape Bill Clinton’s Haiti policy in the 1990s.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tax Cuts Coming in the New Stimulus Plan from Barack Obama

The upcoming economic stimulus package to be proposed by President-elect Barack Obama could include very large tax breaks for individuals and businesses, according to Democratic aides. The tax cuts could make up as much as 40% of the stimulus package. The package may be worth as much as $775 billion meaning tax cuts may constitute more than $300 billion of the legislation.

Making tax cuts such a large part of the stimulus may help win support from Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said his party would support a middle class tax cut as part of any stimulus package.

The plan would attempt to boost consumer demand by spending $140 billion on tax breaks worth $500 for individuals and $1,000 for couples. The change would come by altering tax-withholding rules, rather than through a rebate check as with the previous stimulus plan enacted last year, so that workers would see an immediate increase in their take-home pay.

The $500 tax credit would apply to the first $8,100 of wages, meaning a worker who earns $24,400 a year and is paid twice a month would get about $60 extra per paycheck for four months.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Can We Get Rid of This BCS System Yet?

Can we get rid of this stupid BCS yet? My goodness. January 1st used to be the holy grail of college football days. Now it is hardly worth turning on the tele. Clemson? The team that started the year ranked in the top 10 only to finish unranked and without a coach....and who did they play again? Nebraska? About the 8 best team in the Big 12? Now thats some great New Years Day football there.

And much thanks to the BCS for ruining what used to be the best of all the bowl games the Orange Bowl. We got to see two teams that wouldnt have finished top 3 in any other major conference in the nation. Half the stadium were empty seats covered with tarps and if you really wanted to actually go you could have gotten tickets for $1 on the web. OUCH.

Then we get to watch two teams that REALLY deserved to be playing in those games fight it out before Christmas when TCU and Boise State played the best game of the entire bowl season with TCU winning 17-16.

Utah showed the strength of the Mountain West with their win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. How does this conference not have an automatic BCS berth? Seriously. A crappy Virginia Tech and Cincinatti gets a bid over TCU? TCU would throttle either of them by 20. The Big East football stinks. ACC should stick to basketball. Dont even get me started on the Big 10. Wow does that conference get over-rated every single year.

Can we just get rid of this stupid BCS and get a playoff by now?