|To: briskit who wrote (284855)||12/19/2008 9:26:27 PM|
|Blagojevich Pardons 22 People|
The Democratic governor rarely acted on pardon applications during his six years in office, until now.
Friday, December 19, 2008
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- While facing his own legal cloud, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich decided to pardon 22 other people.
The Democratic governor rarely acted on pardon applications during his six years in office. The backlog of requests at one point topped 1,600.
But Blagojevich has acted more often in recent months.
His office says he issued 22 pardons Friday, the same day Blagojevich vowed to fight the federal corruption charges he faces.
Aides wouldn't provide any information about why he granted the pardons or what crimes the people were accused of committing.
One person on the list shares the name of a man who was cleared by DNA evidence after serving three years for rape.
The pardon's included:
Jackie Wayne Collins
Edward Lee Smith
Robert Eugene Smith
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|To: LindyBill who wrote (284851)||12/19/2008 9:32:58 PM|
|Calif. AG urges court to void gay marriage ban|
SAN FRANCISCO – The California attorney general has changed his position on the state's new same-sex marriage ban and is now urging the state Supreme Court to void Proposition 8.
Jerry Brown filed a brief Friday saying the measure that amended the California Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman is unconstitutional. He says it deprives gay couples of a fundamental right.
After California voters passed Proposition 8 on Nov. 4, Brown said he would fight to uphold the initiative in his role as attorney general, even though he personally voted against it.
He submitted his brief in one of the three legal challenges to Proposition 8 brought by same-sex marriage supporters.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The sponsors of Proposition 8 asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to nullify the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before voters approved the ballot initiative that outlawed gay unions.
The Yes on 8 campaign filed a brief arguing that because the new law holds that only marriages between a man and a woman are recognized or valid in California, the state can no longer recognize the existing same-sex unions. The document reveals for the first time that opponents of same-sex marriage will fight in court to undo those unions that already exist.
"Proposition 8's brevity is matched by its clarity. There are no conditional clauses, exceptions, exemptions or exclusions," reads the brief co-written by Kenneth Starr, dean of Pepperdine University's law school and the former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton.
The campaign submitted the document in response to three lawsuits seeking to invalidate Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment adopted last month that overruled the court's decision in May that had legalized gay marriage in the nation's most populous state.
Both Attorney General Jerry Brown, whose office is scheduled to submit its own brief to the court Friday, and gay rights groups maintain that the gay marriage ban may not be applied retroactively.
The Supreme Court could hear arguments in the litigation as soon as March. The measure's backers announced Friday that Starr, a former federal judge and U.S. solicitor general, had signed on as their lead counsel and would argue the cases.
Proposition 8's supporters assert that the Supreme Court lacks the authority or historical precedent to throw out the amendment.
"For this court to rule otherwise would be to tear asunder a lavish body of jurisprudence," the court papers state. "That body of decisional law commands judges — as servants of the people — to bow to the will of those whom they serve — even if the substantive result of what people have wrought in constitution-amending is deemed unenlightened."
The cases are Strauss v. Horton, S168047; City and County of San Francisco v. Horton, S168078; and Tyler v. State of California, S168066.
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|From: TimF||12/19/2008 9:49:45 PM|
|Green jobs are bogus, cont.|
From the comments section (#88 out of 89):
Now that we have dispatched with the nonsense of Green-jobs-are-bogus. ...
Huh? Who has dispacted with that?
Environmental policy can change the mix of jobs but not the overall number of jobs. An economy CAN become greener. This is implicit in my original post. I should have made it explicit and I will in the Env-Econ 101 piece but I didn't think that part of the message would be so easily overlooked.
Green jobs ARE bogus. At least in today's political climate where politicians are promising 5 million green jobs without mentioning the cost (i.e., the loss of jobs in other sectors).
Green government fiscal policy doesn't create jobs in the long run. I've yet to see any real empirical evidence (economic impact studies don't count) that it does. Those who advocate green jobs, in my opinion, are (1) naively hopeful about win-win government policies and will become disillusioned or (2) crass marketeers of government boondoggles or (3) somewhere in-between.
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|From: TimF||12/19/2008 9:54:09 PM|
|Let's 'Restructure' Washington While We're at It|
Congress is at least as unresponsive to consumer demand as Detroit.
By PHILIP K. HOWARD
Congress has been suitably tough in its advice to Detroit, calling for "a complete restructuring" of our failing auto makers. But how about restructuring Washington? The federal government is a giant Rube Goldberg machine that not only wastes hundreds of billions of dollars each year but also burdens local governments and the private sector with legal requirements that no longer serve the public good. Congress should take its own advice and retool Washington. Here's how:
- Cut "legacy obligations." Detroit cannot afford promises it made in past years. Neither can America. Last year, Congress once again reauthorized farm subsidies, mainly to large corporations, of over $10 billion annually. The farm bill, originally passed in 1933 to keep small farmers afloat (when 25% of Americans lived on farms), outlived its usefulness by the start of World War II.
Today just 2% of Americans live on farms. Congress lectures Detroit about a one-time loan of $15 billion, yet year after year Congress hands $10 billion to corporate farmers. And that's only one of hundreds of institutionalized pork-barrel projects.
- Streamline management. The federal government employs about 2.5 million civilians (including the Post Office), about 10 times the number directly employed in the U.S. by Detroit. The bloat is legendary. In his study on "thickening government," NYU Prof. Paul Light found that some government agencies have 32 layers of management, compared to five layers in most well-run companies.
Civil-service rules make hiring an ordeal and firing practically impossible. Rigid job classifications are far more onerous than UAW work rules, guaranteeing massive inefficiency. At many federal agencies, people shuffle back and forth, passing paper from one level to the next, doing nothing useful. Civil service needs to be overhauled.
- Make products that the public wants. Congress is in the business of making and revising laws. But it almost never goes back and reviews unintended consequences. Pick up any volume of the U.S. Code and ask yourself whether the detailed provisions of that law make sense today.
Take something relatively innocuous, like the requirement in the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to maintain the privacy of patient information. One effect is lots of forms -- over $1 billion worth annually. Compliance also stifles important activity: For example, research on heart-attack recovery at the University of Michigan slowed to a crawl when only one-third of the sample bothered to complete the necessary HIPAA paperwork.
- Enhance competitiveness. Washington's failures are far more significant to the economy than Detroit's. The federal government not only is over seven times larger than Detroit in annual expenditures but it also establishes the legal platform on which the entire U.S. economy operates. The legal infrastructure that Congress has provided is a huge, internally inconsistent mess, requiring businesses, hospitals and schools to negotiate a maze of legal detours. Day-to-day, teachers, doctors, business managers and government officials are unable to make sense of ordinary choices. Law has effectively removed the freedom needed to take responsibility.
Take the 2001 No Child Left Behind law, a 670-page statute that ostensibly provides for national testing so we know how schools are doing. But that worthy goal could be accomplished in a few pages, with delegation to the Secretary of Education to make sure the standards are uniform and providing adequate funding. Instead the statute is a model of micromanagement, a top-down exercise in terrorizing teachers into thinking nothing is important except, as one teacher put it, "test, test, test."
- Increase accountability. Members of Congress look out the window at the huge regulatory edifice they've created over the years and throw up their hands. Washington doesn't even have the idea that it has a responsibility for making sense of the laws it has passed. Making detailed laws and never revisiting them is like pointing the car in one direction and leaving the passengers in it without the power to turn the wheel when they hit a curve. Sooner or later the car drives off a cliff.
As Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey said of Detroit, we need a "change in culture, to a culture that answers challenges with innovation rather than lobbying and litigation." Truer words were never spoken about Washington.
Historian Henry Steele Commager once observed that America had developed "an almost lawless passion for lawmaking." Society can't function effectively if weighed down by decades of accumulated law. Americans can't access their can-do spirit if they go through the day looking over their shoulders.
- Impose change from the outside. Entrenched cultures rarely fix themselves. That's more true with Washington than with Detroit -- Washington does not have Toyota or Honda pushing it to compete and innovate. President-elect Barack Obama is committed to change, but, like his predecessors, he will find himself nibbled to exhaustion by thousands of special interests.
What's needed is an outside movement to overhaul Washington, perhaps organized as a nonpartisan shadow government, making proposals area by area. It could be run by a council of elders, such as former political leaders, CEOs and maybe a few mayors who have to suffer under Washington's mandates. Only with intense outside pressure will leadership within Washington be able to surmount the forces of inertia.
The time to act is now. To energize America's flagging economy, there is nothing that would be more important than a dramatic spring cleaning of the law of the land -- all 100 million words of binding requirements, most of which exist only because someone once took the trouble to write them. The point is not to change public goals (although the farm bill might finally disappear), but to realign laws so that they can advance, rather than destroy, them.
Like Detroit, Washington has lost its way. The only solution, as lawmakers are learning with Detroit, is to force its hand. It's worth the effort. Removing the shackles of outmoded law will unleash untold resources and human energy.
Mr. Howard, a lawyer, is chair of Common Good (www.commongood.org), and author of the new book "Life Without Lawyers," published next month by W.W. Norton & Co.
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|From: Geoff Altman||12/19/2008 9:58:08 PM|
|Ok, Peter, Hawkmoon, Alan, KLP, Neeka and anyone else that might take interest in my progress through this insane trip that I've planned. Here's a link to my route:|
I should be setting off tomorrow morning, with any luck I'll be travelling in between the snow storms....<g>
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|To: greenspirit who wrote (284864)||12/19/2008 10:31:53 PM|
|From: Geoff Altman|
|We were in Leavenworth about this time 2 years ago. It was really great, did some cross country skiing for the second time in my life, lots of fun. I made a snap decision to go back to Seattle after hearing they were expecting 6 inches.. We just barely made it through the pass. Fantastic scenery....|
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|From: LindyBill||12/19/2008 10:38:24 PM|
|How to set up links to posts. |
There are several steps involved. open a separate tab by using the Test Your HTML Here Before You Post It! page. Then make a row of "formats" like this. I will leave first and the last bracket off the format so that it shows on this page.
Then, I make a row beneath it of graph/picture formats like this. Again, I will leave the first and last bracket off:
I don't post this page as they would disappear on the post. I copy and save these formats to a "WordPad" document so that it's easy to set up in the future.
Now, when I want to post a "link" instead of a URL, I simply copy the URL, go to this tab and paste it between the "URLs" then cut and paste it where I want. Same with picture/chart using the bottom format. This sounds complicated, but once you set it up it gets quite quick to do. I don't bother to hide a bottom URL, which I pick up using the FIREFOX "Hyperwords" extension when I copy text. I use it to cut down the internal mess a URL makes in a post.
I was tipped this morning that FIREFOX has another extension, Copy Link Text 1.3.2 I added this to my tools. Now when you are over a link, simply right click and click "Copy link location." This gives you the link without the bother of opening the page. Good example of where I use this is when copying Instapundit links, because that is the way he presents everything. Now I simply paste this between the URL's on the format. If I want different words other than just link, I highlight "link" and paste or type them in. A real time saver. You will notice that this tool also gives you a "copy test" option. This picks up the words of the link at the site.
And that's it! You don't need to do this, but it makes a cleaner post with less effort.
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