Assorted Links 11/16/09


A scene from Mr. Hulot’s Holiday

  • Capitol Hill Workshop, November 18-20, 2009
  • Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations, December 1, 2009
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, December 2, 2009
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, December 3, 2009
  • How to Find, Track, and Monitor Congressional Documents: Going Beyond Thomas, with WiFi Classroom, December 4, 2009
  • Advanced Federal Budget Process, December 7-8, 2009
  • Advanced Legislative Strategies, December 9-11, 2009
  • Research Tools and Techniques: Refining Your Online and Offline Searches, with WiFi Classroom, December 15, 2009
  • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Deficit Increases – “The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is the federal agency that guarantees pensions for 44 million Americans. The PBGC deficit doubled over the last six months to $22 billion … but this is only just the beginning as the agency’s potential exposure to future losses increased sharply.”
  • State Finance Directors Warn of More Trouble Ahead – “Michigan and California are likely to face a fresh round of budget woes when federal stimulus funds used as a fiscal crutch dry up, finance directors for the states said Friday.

    Short-term budget gaps have battered states as revenues plummeted during the recession. Aided by about $250 billion in funds from the stimulus package expected through the end of next year, states managed to close the gaps this year. But both finance directors, speaking at a Pew Center on the States event in Washington, were pessimistic about their states’ futures beyond fiscal 2011.
    . . .
    ‘I looked as hard as I could at how states could declare bankruptcy,’ said Michael Genest, director of the California Department of Finance who is stepping down at the end of the year. ‘I literally looked at the federal constitution to see if there was a way for states to return to territory status.’

    There were no bankruptcy options, and the legislature chose to cut back sharply on education and health care to fill the gap. Mr. Genest already predicts the 2011 shortfall will outpace the projected $7 billion gap. It is a smaller deficit than this year’s gap, but the choices will be more difficult because so many cuts have already been made.
    . . .
    ‘Citizens don’t quite understand yet the implications of some of the cuts that we’ve made,’ Mr. Bean said. ‘A lot of it has fallen on local governments. I am very concerned that we’re going to have a lot of insolvencies in local governments.'”

  • Report: 10 states face looming budget disasters – “Drastic financial remedies are no longer limited to California, where a historic budget crisis earlier this year grew so bad that state agencies issued IOUs to pay bills.

    A study released Wednesday warned that at least nine other big states are also barreling toward economic disaster, raising the likelihood of higher taxes, more government layoffs and deep cuts in services.

    The report by the Pew Center on the States found that Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin are also at grave risk, although Wisconsin officials disputed the findings. Double-digit budget gaps, rising unemployment, high foreclosure rates and built-in budget constraints are the key reasons. ”

  • GM Admits it Lied About Federal Stimulus Package’s Job Creation – “As TTAC reported back in June, one-third of the 17,600 vehicles ordered from Chrysler, Ford and GM were/are/will be assembled outside the United States. Any article about the order’s effects on American jobs should begin with that fact, which this one has. Surprise! The federal fleet sailing to The Big Three’s rescue did no such thing for American autoworkers.”
  • Using Two iPods On One Computer – “First, install all of your desired iPods.”
  • If You Think The Problems We Create Are Bad, Just Wait Until You See Our Solutions. – “Despair, Inc. gets with the program”
  • Political vs economic competition, or why a two-party system can be OK – “Political competition is better than autocracy, but its benefits are not well understood by a comparison with economic competition.”
  • Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be – “Spurred by an administration he believes to be guilty of numerous transgressions, self-described American patriot Kyle Mortensen, 47, is a vehement defender of ideas he seems to think are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and principles that brave men have fought and died for solely in his head.
    . . .
    Mortensen’s passion for safeguarding the elaborate fantasy world in which his conception of the Constitution resides is greatly respected by his likeminded friends and relatives, many of whom have been known to repeat his unfounded assertions verbatim when angered. Still, some friends and family members remain critical.

    ‘Dad’s great, but listening to all that talk radio has put some weird ideas into his head,’ said daughter Samantha, a freshman at Reed College in Portland, OR. ‘He believes the Constitution allows the government to torture people and ban gay marriage, yet he doesn’t even know that it guarantees universal health care.'”

  • The Latin American blame game – “If you have problems in Peru, blame Chile.

    If you have problems in the United States, blame Latin American immigrants.”


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  • Texas Leads For 2009- – “No part of America is entirely recession-proof, but it is clearly hitting some areas harder than others. The recession came later to states like Texas, and it looks to be a more shallow recession in Texas, as well:”
  • American Muslims To Fort Hood Shooter: ‘Thanks A Lot, Asshole’ – “Following Army psychologist Nidal Malik Hasan’s shooting rampage on the Fort Hood military base last week that left 13 people dead and 30 others injured, fellow Muslims across the nation sent him a message today, . . . ‘Hey, great, eight years of progress right down the shitter,’ St. Cloud, MN resident Zahida Naseem said at one of dozens of impromptu rallies held nationwide.”
  • What should you do if you are entering the job market for the first time in this unemployment climate? – “If you don’t desperately need the money, wait a bit longer. The real cost of doing a PhD or taking a year off to travel the world is not just what you have to pay for it, but also the income you forego by not working. With so few jobs to go round, investing in your future or pursuing that crazy dream of yours has never been cheaper – so go for it!

    If you don’t have a college degree at all, this is an absolute no-brainer. College graduates earn so much more over the course of their careers that getting a degree is wise even in a booming economy. In times when finding a job is so hard, it’s an offer you can’t refuse.

    Now, if delaying getting a job is not an option, there’s a few tricks that can help you get there:”

  • What kind of scum is Proinsias de Rossa? – “So, when de Rossa drools over the Goldstone report like a rabid dog, with puffery about human rights, remember this is the scum who defended Soviet oppression of the Jews.”
  • RECLAIMING THE CULTURE, ONE PROFESSOR AT A TIME. – “Those surreptitious checks are opportunities for a quick ‘What do you think?’ If the metaphor is war, the quick question to the texter is the quickest way into his or her O-O-D-A loop.”

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Posted in: Caught Our Eye

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