Archive for March 24th, 2009

Heritage Jobs Report: February Employment Losses Would Be Worse with Card Check

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Heritage:

February continued the miserable string of poor employment reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most jarring number is the unemployment rate, which increased by a half a percentage point to 8.1 percent. The payroll survey reported that non-farm employment fell by 651,000 jobs, roughly in line with expectations.

February Report

Job losses were deep and widespread in February, with almost every sector shedding jobs. The unemployment rate climbed to 8.1 percent, the highest level since 1983. The current economic downturn is very severe, and its magnitude is similar to the 1981-82 recession. If these similarities hold true, unemployment may continue to climb and even peak after the recession has ended, as it did in the early 1980s when the unemployment rate reached its high of 10.8 percent after the recession was officially over.

Vermont’s Opinion on K-12 Education and School Choice

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Friedman Foundation:

This survey shows a striking contrast between public opinion and public reality. Responses indicate a wide disconnect between individual schooling preferences and actual school enrollments. Forty-four percent of Vermont parents said they would like to send their child to a private school; however in reality, approximately 8 percent of Vermont’s K-12 students attend private schools. Twenty-five percent of Vermont parents said they would like to send their child to a charter school. As of this school year, Vermont has no charter school law. Twelve percent of Vermont parents said they would choose a regular public school for their child. Approximately 92 percent of Vermont’s K-12 students attend regular public schools.1 As we survey one state to the next, we continue to see this stark implication that states do not have sufficient school choice systems in place to match parents’ schooling preferences

Univ. Chicago Law: The Case against the Employee Free Choice Act

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

University of Chicago, Law School:

Legislation, being costly, has to be shown to be a good, or otherwise it should be treated as harm. The Employee Free Choice Act does not come close to passing that test, which is why there are strong and principled reasons to oppose, and oppose vigorously, its passage.

Sirius XM to roll out iPhone app

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Reuters:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sirius XM Radio Inc looks to expand the reach of its satellite radio service with the second-quarter launch of an iPhone application as it explores a potential marketing partnership with satellite TV provider DirecTV Group.

The company, which had to sell a 40 percent equity stake to John Malone’s Liberty Media to resolve looming debt problems, is looking for new revenue streams as its primary distribution outlet, new car ales, is looking “terrible” this year, management said on Thursday.

Sirius said the iPhone application would be available to its 19 million subscribers and to Apple Inc’s 7 million U.S. iPhone users. It can also be used by iPod Touch Wi-Fi users,

Kansas Liberty news updates

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Some recent stories from KansasLiberty.com:

  1. Pregnancy Management Initiative gains Senate support
    1. The Kansas Senate voted Tuesday to fund the Stan Clark Pregnancy Maintenance Initiative.The initiative is one of the programs earlier targeted for elimination as the state struggles to balance its budget.

      The program was seen by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as less important than other taxpayer-supported goals, such as supporting Planned Parenthood, a regional abortion provider.

      The funding level in the Senate’s version matches the funding level in the budget bill passed by the House: $355,000.

    2.  “House, Senate pass differing versions of fiscal year 2010 budget

    Passage Tuesday of differing versions of fiscal year 2010 budgets in the Kansas House and Senate sets up what could be a contentious debate later this week among members of a yet-to-be-appointed conference committee who will be charged with reconciling the House and Senate bills.

    At the center of the debate will be funding for K-12 education. The Senate’s budget proposal does not cut education spending, while the House calls for a $26 million reduction.

    There are other less-glaring differences in the bills as well, but both proposed budgets would spend roughly the same amount in fiscal year 2010.

3.  Neuhaus testimony wraps up second day of Tiller trial

The state rested its case against Wichita abortionist Dr. George Tiller today, shortly after the end of testimony by its only witness.

Tiller is charged with 19 misdemeanor counts of performing late term abortions after obtaining a second opinion from Dr. Kristin Neuhaus, with the state claiming she had an improper legal or financial affiliation with Tiller, a violation of state law.

Google Voice: Press ’1′ to invade your privacy

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Computer World:

Lost in all the hooplah about the release of Google Voice is this disturbing fact: The service will give Google enormous amounts of information about the intimate details of your everyday life, including recordings of your voice mail and possibly your phone calls. Combined with what Google already knows about you, it could mean your privacy is at an end.

Google Voice, by all accounts, may be the best tool ever for managing your telephone communications. It routes all of your calls through a single number, and can then ring all of your phones simultaneously. You can manage your voice mail with it, including getting free transcripts of your calls. It includes free voice conferencing, inexpensive overseas calls, and plenty more. You’ll also be able to record and store your calls online.

But all that information about your calls will be routed through Google.

Portugal Socialist Party to limit salt

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

In the US, the Republican and Democratic parties do the work of the socialist political parties in banning otherwise legal activities.

Reuters:

LISBON (Reuters) – Alarmed by high death rates from strokes in Portugal, deputies from the ruling Socialist party submitted a bill to parliament Friday to slash the use of salt in bread, blamed for many blood pressure problems.

The country’s key dietary staple — dried salted cod that is rehydrated and cooked in many different ways — has made the Portuguese accustomed to using more salt in food than other nations, and bakers add generous amounts to their dough.

Bread is one of the main sources of salt intake and many Portuguese eat it with every meal.

“Portugal currently has one of the highest mortality rates from strokes in Europe, which is about double that observed in Spain and three times that in France,” the draft bill reads.

Kansas House endorses budget; mild cut to schools: Star

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

The Star:

TOPEKA | Shuttered correctional facilities, reductions to universities and state agencies, and small cuts to schools are under consideration as Kansas lawmakers seek to erase a $680 million budget deficit.

The Kansas House Monday endorsed a $13.4 billion budget plan that uses nearly $400 million in federal stimulus money to avoid bigger reductions. Lawmakers warned that the state’s fiscal condition necessitated slashing of spending.

In a sign of just how tough the decisions are, House lawmakers voted to dock their own daily pay by 10 percent. The move may be symbolic if the Senate balks at the pay cut. But House Republicans said there’s nothing symbolic about the pain in the other budget cuts.

“It’s tough to go home and tell your constituents ‘I cut services for the poor. … I cut spending on public safety programs,’ ” said Rep. Kevin Yoder, an Overland Park Republican who leads the House budget committee. “The truth is, this Legislature does not have enough money to fund every priority, and we’re going to have to make reductions.”

8 networking sites to enhance your career and your life

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Computer World:

March 10, 2009 (PC World) Sure, facebook and myspace can be useful tools for networking with consumers and peers, but what about all the other social networks on the web with more specific purposes or narrower audiences? The list is endless and runs the gamut, but the eight below are some of our favorites.

1.   APSense.com: Tap into an affiliate marketing revenue stream by promoting products and sites on your business profile, and get paid for the friends you refer.

2.   Biznik.com: Join your local business community to connect and collaborate with nearby entrepreneurs, and find out about local seminars and events.

Kansas City Professional Development Conference

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

JCCC:

KC PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE PRESENTS WORK/LIFE ENRICHMENT CONFERENCE

The Kansas City Professional Development Conference (KCPDC) will present its 2009 Professional Development Conference: Work/Life Enrichment, on Wednesday, March 25.  Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the entrance to Pierson Auditorium in the University Center, 5000 Holmes Street, Kansas City, MO, on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus.

The keynote presentation is “How to Go Green—and Why.” Everybody knows they’re supposed to ‘go green’, but from there it gets a little vague—and a lot confusing. Are there really, as Time magazine and Newsweek suggest, 79 things we’re supposed to do to save the planet? Are all 79 equally important? Kristin Riott, outreach director for Bridging The Gap, will give you a concise perspective on the world’s top environmental issues, their causes, and the easy, highest-impact solutions you can incorporate into your life at home and at work. Learn, too, how “going green” can help our economy—the nation’s, and your own.

The conference sessions feature two tracks:  Work and Life.  Participants may choose to stay on one track, or alternate from one to another.

Work Track sessions are Give ‘em a Pickle; Getting to an Empty Inbox Everyday; Learning to Affirm and Accept People

Life Track sessions are Biofeedback and Breath Work for Stress Management; Achieving a Life of Balance (Part 1); Achieving a Life of Balance (Part 2—must have attended Part 1)

There is no cost for JCCC full and part-time employees since JCCC is a member of KDPDC.   Registrations may be done online by Wednesday, March 18, through MyJCCC using CRN 30539.  Individuals with dietary requirements or needing accommodation should contact Cathy Misenhelter at cmisenhe@jccc.edu or Ext 3958.

Terry A. Calaway to deliver annual State of the College

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

JCCC:

CALAWAY TO DELIVER STATE OF THE COLLEGE ADDRESS MARCH 27

Johnson County Community College president Terry A. Calaway will deliver his annual State of the College address at 2 p.m. Friday, March 27, in Polsky Theatre. This year’s theme is Today’s Challenges — Tomorrow’s Opportunities.

The address will be followed by a reception in the Carlsen Center lobby.

The State of the College address informs the community of major college accomplishments and issues.

The event will be available for viewing the following week at http://video.jccc.edu and on the college’s cable TV channel on Channel 17 (SureWest or Time-Warner) or Channel 22 (Comcast).

CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER OPEN FORUMS SCHEDULED

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

JCCC:

CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER OPEN FORUMS SCHEDULED

Open forum presentations have been scheduled for candidates being interviewed for the college’s Chief Information Officer position.

All faculty and staff are invited to attend.  Each candidate will provide opening remarks on their background, followed by a 10-15 minute presentation on the candidate’s “Vision for the Role and Function of Information Technology in Higher Education.”  An open question and answer period will follow the candidate’s presentation.

All sessions will be videotaped, and a link to the presentations will be available following the final candidate forum.   Those attending the sessions or reviewing the videos will have the opportunity to provide feedback.

The open forum sessions are scheduled as follows:

Candidate #1:  2 – 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 25, 232 CC
Candidate #2:  2 – 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, Hudson Auditorium (217 Nerman Museum)
Candidate #3:  2 – 3:00 p.m., Thursday, April 2, 211 CC
Candidate #4:  2 – 3:00 p.m., Friday, April 3, 211 CC

HOSTS NEEDED FOR CHINESE MODEL UNITED NATIONS TEAM

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

JCCC:

HOSTS NEEDED FOR CHINESE MODEL UNITED NATIONS TEAM

JCCC’s partner college in China will send its Model United Nations team to JCCC en route to the international meeting in New York.  These bright and motivated “Model UNers” are a pleasure to talk with and always fun to host.

If you’d like a rewarding international experience, please consider providing room and board to one or two students from April 1 to 5.  For more information, contact Carolyn Kadel at ext. 3496.

Jack Cashill on Obama and Bin Laden

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Jack Cashill:  ” Does Obama Know Osama’s Dead? ”

“You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda,” the then obscure Obama blustered six months before the Bush administration would launch its “dumb war” in Iraq.

For the next six years, most ambitious Democrats and the media embraced a pseudo-hawk position like Obama’s. Iraq was a “distraction” from the real war on terror against al Qaeda and Bin Laden, a “diversion,” a “sideshow.”

So conventional has this wisdom become that to Google “ Iraq” and “sideshow” now produces some 7 million hits. As is evident in such numbers, a whole lot of people, influential and otherwise, have made a major emotional investment in the continued pursuit of bin Laden.

A major investment perhaps, but not a wise one. As national security guru Angelo Codevilla argues persuasively in the March issue of The American Spectator, “Osama bin Elvis” is dead and has been for the last seven years.

For starters, no reputable person has seen him alive since October 2001 when he was interviewed by Al Jazeera. The audio and video tapes that he has allegedly made in the years since have convinced no one but the CIA.

Freedom in the 50 States: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

State Policy Index:

Kansas is #12 out of 50.

Unions want to kill 401(k)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Bloomberg:

March 16 (Bloomberg) — U.S. lawmakers should reform retirement plans after 401(k) and Individual Retirement Accounts lost more than $2 trillion in value since October 2007, a group of consumer and labor groups said.

The new consumer-labor group, “Retirement USA,” backed by the Pension Rights Center, the Service Employees International Union and the Economic Policy Institute, said the flagging economy has highlighted the inadequacies of 401(k) plans and increased the need for alternatives such as government-managed funds run with professional oversight.

Retirement account balances plummeted over the past year, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 38 percent. The average 401(k) balance fell to $50,200 in 2008 from $69,200 the previous year, according to a January study by Fidelity Investments.

“We may not be able to help the people hurting right now, but we should set up something for the future that will make people more secure,” said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. “It’s been shown clearly that individuals make a lot of mistakes.”

KC Business Journal: Medtronic looks to KC for diabetes-division expansion

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

KC Business Journal:

A $13.5 billion medical device company is considering Kansas City-area sites — including the Applebee’s Services Inc. headquarters in Lenexa — for the expansion of its diabetes division.

Competition for the expansion project, expected to deliver about 1,500 new jobs in the next five years, is down to the Kansas City area versus San Antonio, said Steve Sabicer, a spokesman for Fridley-based Medtronic Inc.’s diabetes division.

In narrowing down potential sites, he said, Medtronic has looked at labor cost and availability, business environment, facility costs and quality-of-life issues. Medtronic considered Minnesota as a location as part of its nationwide search. However, Sabicer declined to identify factors that knocked the Twin Cities off the list of potential locations.

“We looked at cities in all 50 states,” Sabicer said. “But it’s come down to Kansas City and San Antonio.”

The winner is expected to be announced by mid-April, he said.

Feds give Kan. more jobless, food stamp benefits

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

KSN:

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) – State officials say the federal stimulus package means additional benefits for unemployed Kansans and an increase in food stamp benefits.

Secretary of Labor Jim Garner said Monday that an additional $25 is being added to weekly unemployment benefits, which started March 4th. He said the extra money will continue until the end of the year.

About 59,000 Kansans draw unemployment benefits, averaging $328 per week.

Darrell Issa Swears Off Pork — why can’t Tiahrt and Moran?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Club for Growth:

Darrell Issa is now the 26th member of the U.S. House to swear off earmarks. Congrats! From his press release:

Rep. Darrell Issa today announced that he will not make appropriations project spending requests, also known as earmarks, for FY 2010. He cited President Barack Obama’s broken campaign promise to veto bills that do not bring earmarking down to 1994 levels and a 92% increase in spending over last year’s level as deciding factors in his decision.

“President Obama’s spending priorities have more than tripled the federal budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2009 ballooning it to $1.7 trillion,” said Issa in a letter to local officials explaining his decision. “As a result, the state of our nation’s finances is dire, and our federal spending plan does not in any way bear an appropriate relationship to the state of our nation’s economy.”

Earmark distribution, by state

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

USA Today:

Congressional earmarks, ranked by the amount directed to states and U.S. territories, that were included in the $410 billion spending bill signed by President Obama on Wednesday:

State Amount Number
California $568,730,493 733
Texas $370,046,650 369
Mississippi $324,976,918 226
Florida $251,823,596 338
New York $245,083,122 497
Pennsylvania $242,303,580 527
Alabama $240,167,157 209
Louisiana $232,822,813 192
Minnesota $199,031,643 114
Ohio $187,423,884 294
Michigan $179,472,590 267
West Virginia $176,737,900 142
Washington $171,723,572 204
Hawaii $165,048,707 113
Arkansas $159,114,268 115
Virginia $155,164,892 186
New Jersey $150,670,750 220
Massachusetts $149,910,169 216
New Mexico $144,092,821 129
Alaska $143,922,875 100
Illinois $140,965,682 285
Kentucky $140,482,257 164
Missouri $136,853,741 176
Maryland $132,202,990 171
North Carolina $118,796,030 173
Iowa $113,803,486 196
North Dakota $110,687,091 60
Wisconsin $102,978,050