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TexasTowelie

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,960

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Do Some Benefits For State Retirees Still Make Sense?

by Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation Hawaii

In Hawaii, we think it is very important to “take care of” our state workers, especially those who have been with the government for a long time.

So we long ago agreed to pay “other post-employment benefits,” or OPEB, to state workers. The Employees’ Retirement System represents the retirement benefits. The Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund represents the medical benefits.

The “unfunded actuarial accrued liability” of either plan represents the present amount of what we taxpayers owe for these future benefits, over and above what we already have set aside to pay them.

A study on the unfunded status of OPEB plans for public employees has been published by the American Legislative Exchange Council. Here is how we fared when compared to 2014 numbers set forth in a prior study.

Read more: http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/ID/18515/Do-Some-Benefits-For-State-Retirees-Still-Make-Sense.aspx

[font color=330099]Perish the thought that any Republican believes that other people deserve a decent retirement.[/font]

Darrell Issa, in a once-safe Republican seat, finds himself on the ropes

SOLANA BEACH, Ca. — One by one, Doug Applegate’s fellow veterans stepped up to the microphone and named the threat to America: Donald Trump. One of them shook with rage, discussing Trump’s joke about the “captured” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Others asked how Applegate’s opponent, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), could support Trump and claim to be a friend of veterans.

“You have a presidential candidate insult women — you’re talking about women who are for the first time being drafted,” said Nancy Cook, 43, a Gulf War-era veteran, her voice quavering with emotion.

Just hours had passed since FBI Director James B. Comey’s announcement that he would examine more emails to see whether Hillary Clinton had let classified information slip through her private server. Applegate, a retired colonel who has given Issa the first real challenge of his career, was sticking to the facts that had undergirded the challenge. Issa supported Trump, and the 49th District of California and its growing Latino voter base did not.

“Demographics have changed in the 49th,” Applegate said in an interview. “I knew this was a Marine district. I knew one thing the Democrats never have tried is to run a Marine. And I know that in the military, if you say anything that’s racist or misogynistic, nine out of 10 times you’ll be disciplined for it.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/californias-darrell-issa-in-a-once-safe-republican-seat-finds-himself-on-the-ropes/2016/10/30/88a868e4-9eb4-11e6-8832-23a007c77bb4_story.html

Federal employees behind in pay by 34 percent on average, salary council says

Federal workers earn 34.07 percent on average less than private-sector employees doing comparable work, according to the government’s official, although not universally accepted, tally of how salaries compare.

The figure was announced at Friday’s annual meeting of the Federal Salary Council, a group of union representatives and outside experts on compensation that oversees the General Schedule, the pay system for white-collar workers below the senior ranks.

In the prior three years, the reported overall average “pay gap” was about the same — 35.37, 35.28 and 34.92 percent.

“Federal pay needs to be substantially increased,” said National Treasury Employees Union president Tony Reardon, a member of the council. “When you look at the private sector, what kind of pay increases they have had, it dwarfs what federal employees have received. It’s time for Congress to step up and pay federal employees what they deserve to be paid.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/10/31/federal-employees-behind-in-pay-by-34-percent-on-average-salary-council-says/?hpid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-politics%3Ahomepage%2Fcard

California companies get billions in tax breaks -- especially aerospace, entertainment, media

Businesses in California were given state tax breaks worth about $2.67 billion over the past two decades, with more than half the money going to two sectors of the economy – those trading in war and circus.

These tax breaks – denounced as “corporate welfare” or praised as “business incentives” – totaled $889.3 million for aerospace and military contractors, and $389.4 million for entertainment and media companies, according topublic data compiled by the nonprofit Good Jobs First.

The biggest breaks went to two aerospace defense giants, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. In 2014, the Legislature approved a controversial bill aimed specifically at Lockheed, a key subcontractor for Boeing on a bid to build next-generation bombers for the Air Force. The bill granted Lockheed a tax credit of 17.5 percent of wages paid to its workers, worth $420 million over the 15-year life of the deal.

Northrop, a rival, quickly protested, saying the credit gave Lockheed a tremendous competitive advantage, and the Legislature extended the break to Northrop.

Read more: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/tax-733766-million-california.html

Aiming for a supermajority in California Legislature, Democrats play the Trump card

SACRAMENTO — The one shred of power Republicans hold in the California statehouse — enough seats to block Democratic lawmakers from having a “supermajority” — is on the brink in this election.

Already California is one of only seven states in which Democrats control the Legislature and the governor’s office, as compared to 23 states where the GOP holds both. Republicans in the Golden State no longer hold a single statewide office. But they still have enough seats to block Democrats from a two-thirds majority — meaning that Democrats can’t raise taxes or pass certain kinds of bills without some bipartisan support.

But even that modicum of clout could slip away at the polls on Nov. 8. The Republican share of California’s registered voters has dwindled to just 27 percent. Demographics, voting trends and turnout at the polls all threaten to cut even further against the GOP here. And of course there’s the elephant in the room: GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose poll numbers in California this past week dropped to “unchartered territory,” as one former GOP operative put it.

If the state emerges after Nov. 8 with a Democratic supermajority, the only consolation prize for conservatives will be the reality that some of those Democrats will be moderate, pro-business types willing to buck liberals in their own party.

Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/10/29/aiming-for-a-supermajority-in-california-legislature-democrats-play-the-trump-card/

BART cops arrest man suspected of molesting boy with Down syndrome

A boy with Down syndrome was sexually assaulted in a BART station bathroom Saturday night, police say.

A man followed the juvenile into the bathroom at the Pittsburg Station and allegedly molested the boy, whose mother was waiting outside the bathroom and called police for help. The boy was taken to Kaiser Hospital in Vallejo.

The suspect, who was not identified, was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on suspicion of committing lewd acts on a child, according to a BART police report.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/BART-cops-arrest-man-suspected-of-molesting-boy-10423686.php

Canada keeps signing free trade deals, and few people seem to mind

One of the few issues on which Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have agreed is their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (although Trump disagrees that Clinton opposes it). Their positions reflect the significant skepticism that many Americans have toward free trade.

But step across the northern border, and there’s a very different outlook. Canada has been busily pursuing free-trade agreements under both Conservative and Liberal governments, with minimal opposition.

On Sunday, just days before he celebrates his first year in office as Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau signed a massive economic and trade agreement with the European Union that will give Canada access to a market of more than 500 million people in 28 countries, with a combined GDP of more than $16 trillion.

Trudeau’s Liberal government has also set its sights on trade deals with China and India, and supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which Stephen Harper’s Conservative government signed last October before losing the federal election.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-canada-trade-20161030-story.html

In California state government, women earn 80 cents on the dollar compared to men

California’s path-breaking bid to end workplace pay disparities faces one of its widest gender wage gaps among the state’s own employees.

A new report from the California Department of Human Resources shows that women in the state workforce earn about 79.5 cents on the dollar compared to men.

That’s a greater disparity than the gender pay gap in both California’s private sector and in the federal workforce, according to the report.

It’s also a touchy bargaining point in stalled labor negotiations for the state unions that represent workers in female-majority occupations a year after Gov. Jerry Brown signed an ambitious law that aims to shrink the gender wage gap across public and private workplaces.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article110933072.html

After $38-million deal collapsed, L.A. Co. secretly launched public corruption probe of retired CEO

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors secretly launched a public corruption investigation of its former Chief Executive William T Fujioka shortly after his retirement two years ago, examining his role in real estate dealings, a multimillion-dollar emergency communications project and other county business, according to a document obtained by The Times and officials familiar with the probe.

County officials have refused to discuss the details of the investigation, or specify how much the probe cost. They hired an outside consultant to do the work, but shielded the contract, billings and a report behind assertions that those documents are protected by attorney-client privilege.

At the request of the board, the county’s consultant — the downtown law firm Paul Hastings LLP — requested a meeting with the district attorney’s Public Integrity Division to spark a criminal probe, according to a letter obtained by The Times under the state’s Public Records Act. The district attorney “concluded there was no basis for a criminal investigation,” a spokeswoman said.

Fujioka denied any wrongdoing, but declined to respond to the details of the investigation. He said he was “glad the DA found no merit to these allegations” and said the probe was among a string of political attacks against him orchestrated by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Other examples included the ouster of high-ranking executives viewed as too close to him, Fujioka said.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-fujioka-investigation-20161030-snap-20161029-story.html

Canada keeps signing free trade deals, and few people seem to mind

One of the few issues on which Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have agreed is their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (although Trump disagrees that Clinton opposes it). Their positions reflect the significant skepticism that many Americans have toward free trade.

But step across the northern border, and there’s a very different outlook. Canada has been busily pursuing free-trade agreements under both Conservative and Liberal governments, with minimal opposition.

On Sunday, just days before he celebrates his first year in office as Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau signed a massive economic and trade agreement with the European Union that will give Canada access to a market of more than 500 million people in 28 countries, with a combined GDP of more than $16 trillion.

Trudeau’s Liberal government has also set its sights on trade deals with China and India, and supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which Stephen Harper’s Conservative government signed last October before losing the federal election.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-canada-trade-20161030-story.html
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