January 31, 2009
Forks of the Road Heritage Trail. This project would greatly enhance one of the primary gateways to our city by creating an African American/Ethnic Heritage Trail along a stretch of St. Catherine Street between the Forks of the Road Slave Market SiteAll for a cool $600,000,000. Which the site estimates will create a whopping 65 jobs in the Natchez, MS area. Yay!
(Via Moron Central.)
It took four years for Google to address the "Google bomb" that was lobbed at former President Bush.The main question I think most of us are left with is: Public Fister?
But it took the Internet behemoth only a few days to defuse the same attack on President Obama.
Four years versus a few days ... Some Googlers are asking why.
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: And a good choice. It's none of my business, it's not my party. But Michael's been here in THE SITUATION ROOM many times, we've debated issues. Terribly smart guy. I like that he's run for office. He served as Maryland's lieutenant governor. He had some failed bids for office, which is good too. You learn a lot from the canvas. So, good for them.
But I think Candy's piece is instructive. The real leader of the Republican Party in America today is a corpulent drug addict with an AM radio talk show, Rush Limbaugh. He's the real power in the Republican Party. And so Michael Steele is going to need to stand up to Limbaugh if he wants to actually lead the party of Lincoln.
Gee. Somehow, I get the feeling a talking point is circulating.
On Friday, Obama issued an executive order that requires all new contractors who win a service contract to include a clause that requires them to give the right of first refusal to the workers under the prior contract. The new contractor cannot hire anyone new until the right of first refusal has been been provided. Why the hell would anyone bid on a new contract if the new company isn't allowed to bring in its own employees?
And of course there's an exemption provision, of course there is. I see no situations in which the director of an agency would possibly decide that, nope, this won't apply to this contract. None at all!
Worst. End of Civilization. Ever.
January 30, 2009
(Via everybody's favorite hunchback.)
Must have been a slow news day.
Update: I've added moar hotness after the jump...
*I almost wrote "Upper West Side" before realizing I know an Upper West Side-er who would be great for the job.
The two shows' formats are different. Hannity's is all talking points, while Miller's is politics, sports, entertainment, whatever. Maybe if Miller was still harping on Rev. Wright three months after the election, Hannity wouldn't feel this way.
(I know this is kind of a ridiculous thing to post on, but his big fat head got to me.)
And some of the solutions for the banking industry are just chock full of potential Epic Fail.
The report covers Treasury's administration of the bailout, called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, through Jan. 23. Nearly $294 billion had been released by that date â€” almost $200 billion of it through a program to inject capital directly into financial institutions.
The roughly $200 billion in capital injections doesn't include any of the separate money authorized to guarantee losses for Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., or about $20 billion to stabilize automakers Chrysler and General Motors Corp.
"Even with more time and better data, it will remain difficult to separate the impact of TARP activities from the effect of other economic forces," the report said.
Recent moves to improve oversight of the money hadn't gone far enough, according to the report. Treasury introduced a plan to survey the 20 largest participating firms each month following an earlier GAO report that blasted the program's lack of transparency.
More information about how the money was divided and how recipients spent it was still necessary, the new report said.
"We continue to believe that additional action is needed to better ensure that all participating institutions are accountable for their use of program funds," the GAO said.
The report also said Treasury had "taken important steps" to address nine recommendations from the earlier report, which included calls to improve communication about the bailout and hire staff to oversee it.
But Treasury "has yet to fully address eight" of the recommendations, the report said.
"The lack of a clearly articulated vision has complicated Treasury's ability to effectively communicate to Congress, the financial markets, and the public on the benefits of TARP," the report said.
Also Friday, officials including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair were meeting to discuss overhauling the bailout program and other financial and regulatory reforms.
Officials have been considering several programs, including a government-run "bad bank" that would buy up trouble assets clogging banks' balance sheets, and additional guarantees against losses like those granted to Bank of America and Citigroup. Additional capital injections also are possible.
Though in the past I have never directly addressed you, preferring to act either via unseen methods (the so-called "invisible hands") or through sweater-clad proxies, I am taking the exceptional step of speaking directly to you, the US taxpayer, during this time of our joint crisis.
I have taken this drastic measure because more and more of you are being misled by charlatans, fools, and gun-toting religious nuts who want you to believe that I will receive little or no benefit from the stimulus package that is currently passing through congress.
I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth, and I shall be stimulated more thoroughly than a Viagra-swilling Urkel giving massages at the Playboy Grotto.
Perhaps you live in a fairy-tale world where cat feces miraculously shape themselves into effigies of the Virgin Mary strangling Christ by his umbilical cord, or where bicycle paths spontaneously carve themselves in areas where they are patently infeasible and unnecessary, but here in the real world it takes tax money forcibly removed from your pocket to provide these valuable social services to the chronically unskilled and underemployed.
During your morning commute on the Interstate, where you see a large empty expanse of terrain beside the road, I see a place where an ultra-modern, high-cost light rail system could endlessly shuttle half-empty trains back and forth in an eternal procession of protected union jobs and hopelessly outdated railworker benefits packages, all taking people from a place they don't live near to another place they don't want to go.
Assuming, of course, that no tit mice or red-crested dungbombers would be disturbed by the installation of such a rail system, in which case it will have to be rerouted through a residential area.
I have read several economic "columnists" claim that there are legitimate concerns, but I can assure you that they are invalid. Even now sociology and performing-arts majors are flooding the rolls of the unemployed; don't they deserve a chance to be hired by a shoddy construction outfit owned by a well-connected huckster so that they, too, can have the life experience of building shoddy high-density housing that will crumble into disuse within the next 3 to 5 years?
To those of you who still feel that my stimulus is less important than your paltry tax dollars, which you will doubtless squander selfishly thinking only of yourselves, remember that when I am angry my wrath is terrible to behold. If you think that my boundless rage will be slaked by closing thousands of Starbucks and brutalizing the journalism industry, you are fooling yourself.
Inefficient car manufacturers are only the beginning. Unless I get my stimulation, I may turn my attention to other trillion-dollar operations that are poorly run.
Or as my friends in Chicago might say, "Nice government you have there. Wouldn't want anything to happen to it, would you?"
As a disclaimer, I want to note that things are rough out there right now, and if you have lost your job, or know a person who has, I am not attempting to minimize it or downplay it. But, the drop was not as bad as predicted.
I know the Deciders are still trying to overhype the drop, with this as example:
The weakness in the fourth quarter was masked by a buildup in inventories, which adds to output even if they are unwanted. Real final sales for domestic product, which excludes inventories, decreased 5.1% in the fourth quarter.
Nice try buddy.
Anyway, I don't want to go all Kos-like in my conspiracy theories, but I wonder if the Deciders want things to sound worse so that they can hype The Magic Unicorns, and then claim that The Messiah's policies have lifted us out of this slump, and not the natural business cycle.
I mean, if some guy wants to get (legally) his freak on at home, that's his deal. But at work? Maybe not so much. Especially if it leads to this discovery.
Further rubber/latex outfits were found in Mr Santiagoâ€™s car and in the ladiesâ€™ toilets of his workplace at Aquis House in Blagrave Street, Reading.
The evening before he died Mr Santiago printed off information from the internet explaining how inhaling â€œpoppersâ€ (legal chemicals used to stimulate a sexual high) via a gas mask can cause arousal.
At an inquest into his death Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford explained Mr Santiago had only worked at Aquis House for one day before he died.
On Monday, July 21, he arrived ready for his 6.30pm to 6.30am shift.
But the next morning, when fellow guard Christopher Courtenay arrived, Mr Santiago was nowhere to be seen.
Reading from Mr Courtenayâ€™s statement, Mr Bedford said: â€œAt 6.30am I could still not see him. I assumed he was in the bathroom.
â€œAt 6.50am I carried out a full patrol. Ralph was still not back.â€
Mr Courtenay visited the staff bathroom and discovered the menâ€™s toilet was locked. He went upstairs to get a key, when he opened the door he found a body.
However, he was not certain it was Mr Santiago because only his eyes were visible under the mask.
Paramedics and the police were called. In a statement, PC Barbara Cummings described Mr Santiago as wearing â€œa black latex suit, gloves, a gas mask and Wellingtons.â€
Mr Santiagoâ€™s girlfriend Hannele Vaher did not attend the inquest but had previously explained â€œhe had fetishesâ€, of which she did not take part.
She said he was â€œprone to dressing upâ€ and adding that he took poppers.
Toxicology tests showed Mr Santiago, of Beresford Avenue in Surbiton, had some alcohol in his system.
Um, not so much jokes, if you will, as, well, death threats. I'm sure some Reichwing RethugliKKKans were responsible. Yeah.
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