Sunday, March 29, 2009

unwillingly contributing to the bank bailouts...

Robin's commentary --

How many different ways as a taxpayer is there for us to help bail out the banks?

one method is a stimulus packages, and another method is a little closer to home.

the latter I found out the other day.

Imagine my shock when I opened up my credit card statement and suddenly discovered that my annual percentage rate (APR) jumped from 8% to 18%.

Shocked, I called the credit card company and asked what's going on.

Did I miss a payment?

Was there another account that I was late on?[you know, one of those little intricacies that they throw at you to try and raise your interest rates]

Did I not make a full minimum payments?

No! They replied. "You did not do anything wrong."

"Then why with my credit score am I paying 10% more in interest all of a sudden?"

"It is solely because of increased costs that we raised your interest rates," they replied. "You do have the option to opt out and cancel your card if you so desire if you do not agree to the new terms."

That percentage increased added $50 more to my minimum required payment, plus, paying off and canceling a credit card can also lower your credit score.

As a consumer and a customer of 19 years, I feel that I am being punished and with my credit and payment history, there is no way I should be paying 18% on any credit card.

the person on the phone apologized and said that there was no way that they could reduce my interest rate.

They are KeyBank,

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Want to bet Oregon will be next?

California planing to regulate the color of your car

California environmental protection agency--

Normally I don't comment on what other states are doing, however, when I saw this article I could not resist.

in 2006, California adopted the California Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as AB 32. This law created a comprehensive, long term plan for California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Cool Paints was identified as an Early Action strategy... A cooler interior would make drivers less likely to activate the air conditioner, which increases carbon dioxide emissions.

Potential approaches include reformulation of paint to reflect near-infrared sunlight, parked car ventilation, and solar reflective window glazing. It is expected that cool paints, together with reflective glazing, will reduce the soak temperature of the typical vehicle parked in the sun by 5 to10 degrees celsius.

{Power point}

Of course the biggest offender of this greenhouse fiend, is the color black.

I guess that in California they never heard of just rolling down a window.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Supreme Court: "does it matter whether someone using a phony ID knows that belongs to someone else?"

Fox News

Ignacio Carlos Flores-Figueroa, an illegal alien from Mexico, made what he calls a bad decision. Everything was okay until his employer got suspicious and called in the authorities when Flores-Figueroa, who was working under an assumed name for six years decided to exchange ONE set of phony identification numbers and started to use his REAL name.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on prosecutors' aggressive use of a new law that was intended to strengthen efforts to combat identity theft. In at least hundreds of cases last year, workers accused of immigration violations found themselves facing more serious identity theft charges as well, "without any indication they knew they are counterfeit Social Security and other identification numbers belong to actual people and were not made up."

The charge for identity theft would carry a minimum prison term of two years and the government hopes that this would help persuade illegal aliens to plead guilty to lesser immigration charges, and except prompt deportation.
Flores-Figueroa acknowledges he used fraudulent documents to get and keep his job at a steel plant in East Moline, Ill. But he "had no intention of stealing anyone's identity," his lawyers said in their brief to the court. He traveled to Chicago and bought numbers from someone who trades in counterfeit IDs.

this case hinges on how the justices rule resolve the question of, "does it matter whether someone using a phony ID knows that it belongs to someone else?"

Victims rights groups say "no".
The "havoc wrecked on the victim's life is the same either way," said Stephen Masterson, a Los Angeles-based lawyer, in his brief for the victims' rights groups.

Flores-Figueroa and more than 20 immigrants' rights groups, defense lawyers and privacy experts said that the congressional law passed in 2004 against identity theft was intended to be against those people who gain access to private information in order to drain people's accounts, run up their bills under someone else's name.

An additional 100 workers were also arrested in the same raid were using unassigned numbers and face charges with little prospect of prison time.

The case is Flores-Figueroa v. U.S., 08-108.

despite the issue of identity theft, what does it matter if the numbers are made or real?

The issue is that somebody is using PHONY identification and Social Security numbers that do not belong to them.

If the Supreme Court decides that it is a lesser crime if the numbers do not belong to anybody, then aren't they just encouraging more people to use phony names and Social Security numbers?

Or is this just another example of how the laws of the United States only apply to citizens of the United States.

And... if the employer had used e-verify, would Flores-Figueroa have been hired in the first place?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

bicycles may be allowed to not stop at controlled intersections

Oregon Legislature

House Bill 2690 which is sponsored by Representatives BAILEY, Senators ATKINSON, PROZANSKI, Representatives CANNON, DEMBROW, GALIZIO, J SMITH (at the request of Bicycle Transportation Alliance)...
"would permit persons operating a bicycle to enter an intersection with specified traffic control devices without stopping, provided that person operating bicycle slows to safe speed and yields right of way to traffic or pedestrians.... creates an offense of improper entry into an intersection with a maximum fine of $360"

The bill allows a bicycle rider not to stop at a stop sign or intersection controlled by a flashing red signal.

how smart is this?
the first thing that's going to happen is the only words that they are going to hear are "bicycles do not have to stop!"

In my opinion, this bill will only increase the amount of bicycle to car accidents as already number of people do not stop at traffic control devices [cars included] and now we are giving bicycles permission?

and on that note... perhaps cars should also have the luxury of not stopping at traffic control devices legally in order to reduce greenhouse gases from idle time.

On the other hand, as we have just reached an unemployment rate of 10.8%, bicycles may be the only thing that will be able to afford to drive.
are you listening Ted tax-and-gouge-me?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rep. Blumenauer tries to solve the tarp program the only way that Oregon knows how...
by taxing it!

Rep. Earl Blumenauer website

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) announced today his idea regarding any high-ranking employee of a subsidize financial institution who received a bonus such as in a situation of AIG.

Blumenauer announced his bill today that will impose a 100% tax surcharge on those bonuses.

“Across the nation unemployment is at an all time high, and in my home state of Oregon it’s even worse. Funds provided under the TARP Program were intended to provide stability to the financial system to prevent further pitfall, not to pad the pockets of corporate executives,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “I strongly support President Obama’s efforts to pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole. It’s time for Congress to take action in holding these executives accountable and to increase oversight of these programs. As a member the House committee with jurisdiction over tax, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Ways and Means committee and in Congress to claw-back these ill-gotten bonuses; and that’s why I am filing this legislation to impose stiff taxes on these types of compensation arrangements.”

this is my Oregon... the way to solve everything is to tax it.

So let me see if I understand Blumenauer's thinking...

1. The federal government lends large amounts of money to a company like AIG at taxpayer expense.

2. High-ranking executives receive enormous amounts of "bonuses" for such a wonderful job that they have done with the company.

3. The President and Congress feel that they are duped because of those bonuses.

4. Blumenauer solution... tax those bonuses at 100%.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Unemployment hits 10.8%
Lets keep those taxes coming

The Oregonian

What can I say that I have not already said?

Keep it up Oregon, maybe we'll make #1

Friday, March 13, 2009

Barack Obama signs US budget...
legislatures find creative ways to spend it

The Oregonian --

President Barack Obama signed into law Wednesday $410 billion spending bill which is welcome news to officials in Oregon who will receive an estimated $211 million of that money which has already been earmarked for 8816 individual projects and programs.

A sampling of what Oregon has proposed to spend the "stimulus" money for to help Oregon's economy is...

• $45 million for Portland streetcars

• $3.3 million for design work on the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River

• $640,000 for OSU Klamath River Fish Disease Research

• $81.6 million for MAX light rail, south corridor along I-205

• $34.4 million to dredge and deepen the Columbia River channel to accommodate larger vessels

• The $410 billion spending bill includes $211 million from 121 earmarks for Oregon. They include:

• $300,000 city of Portland Family Justice Center

• $333,000 for PSU Science Research Teaching Center

• $14.2 million for deepening the channel and jetty repair at the mouth of the Columbia River.

• $1.4 million for ecosystem restoration for the lower Columbia River. Work will benefit salmon, steelhead and other species

• Source: Taxpayers for Common Sense; House Appropriations Committee

Even Obama complained that he was "signing an imperfect omnibus bill because it's necessary for the ongoing functions of the government." [I wonder if he's talking about Oregon?] Obama remarked during the signing ceremony, "Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct federal money to WORTHY projects that BENEFIT PEOPLE in their districts, and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination."

However, despite good intentions, Portland has other plans for the money. For example, Portland will spend $45 million to create a new loop for the city's streetcar system which would link the Lloyd District to the Oregon Museum of science and industry. $3.3 million for continued work on a new Columbia River Crossing on Interstate 5 and $333,000 to the Portland State University science research teaching center.

Oh yes, and the benefit people part...$370,000 will go to help Portland "cope" with homeless and low income veterans.

Portland is not the only state entity to have their fingers in the pot... two senators wrote a $475,000 provision that will allow a truck climbing lane to be built on Interstate 84 near a three-mile hill, and $380,600 to investigate the possibility of geothermal power and wind generating facility at an old military facility in Christmas Valley.

what can I say? it kind of speaks for itself {sigh}.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dell has added to the unemployment lines


Dell computer in Texas today announced that it is adding to the list of unemployed, however won't they give exact numbers.

Last year Dell said that it will lay off 10% of it's work force [about 8,800 people] in a cost cutting measure.

As of January 30th, Dell has lowered their head count by 9,300.

at least they are still in business when things turn around.

When a business outright just closes, like K Mart in Lane county for example, you might as well forget about them ever coming back.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Illegal immigration...
could it save our economy?
And is that what we really want?

The Oregonian --

Local groups in Oregon and other states are pushing for a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Unions, businesses and faith leaders are teaming up to lobby legislators in order to raise awareness and have an economic argument regarding illegal immigration.

The groups are asking lawmakers to halt all immigration related legislation at a state level and declare support for swift federal action, pushing Congress for September vote on immigration. This includes securing borders, regulating the flow of workers and allowing illegal aliens in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line to become citizens.

Although the group has different perspectives, employers would like a reliable, legal workforce and union leaders would like workers to be legal so they don't have to hide in the shadows and are not taken advantage of. Religious leaders are wanting to show how immigration affects individuals and their families.
"we come together to talk sense, to explain that there are consequences to enforcement only actions, and you change the debate to a more reliable, humane, realistic conversation, instead of vilifying a whole ethnic group," said Jeff Stone of the Correlation for a Working Oregon. "Ultimately, we're going to have to live together as a community."

According to a 2005 Pew Hispanic Center Study, an estimate of 150,000 immigrants live in Oregon while waiting to have their immigration status resolved.
However, businesses have now joined the battle in reform against illegal immigration thanks to the federal "no match" rule, which would require businesses to fire illegal workers.

"The Coalition for a Working Oregon [which represents more than 300,000 workers] says employers can't afford to lose the workers -- there aren't enough native Oregonians to do the job -- and they need a better mechanism to get a legal workforce."

Groups planning to mobilize supporters, especially Latinos who are US citizens to lobby state lawmakers are planning a march on May 1 in Salem.
" we need to show that we have the capacity to mobilize," said Francisco Lopez, coordinator of the immigrants right group CAUSA. "We need to make noise locally so it's reflected on a national level."

this article is definitely worth reading in its entirety. Again, it's a group advocating for people to break the law and are accusing Americans of being just plain lazy.

Agreed, that we have done some of this to ourselves by having child labor laws that prohibit kids from working in the fields to make extra money, such as I did when I was a kid I picked strawberries, beans, cut rhubarb and delivered newspapers to make extra money.

What I am really getting tired of hearing, is the statement, "jobs that Americans won't do!" Bull shit! We do not need a subculture to support us. If we do, and especially if we believe that our economy is dependent on that... then I'm very ashamed.

I for one am not afraid nor will I hesitate to do manual labor to support my family.

Friday, March 06, 2009

PeaceHealth adds to the unemployment list

Register Guard

PeaceHealth announced on Friday that it will cut 70 more fulltime positions to reduce expenses by $7.5 million.

The cuts are in addition to $10,000,000 which was announced in January due to the worsening recession, bad debt,charity care,etc
and Ted "Tax and gouge me" adding a tax to hospitals for health care helps how?[link]

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Kicker: The state needs the money more the you do


It happens every time when it comes to paying the tax payers their kicker check.

Salem cringes and tries desperately to find a way to keep your kicker money. Well, this time under the excuse of government stability, they would like to add your kicker money to a "rainy day fund".
" [the kicker]would give Oregon more flexibility during economic downturns "so when hard times hit, we're not closing schools, we're not closing courts, we're not taking state police off the road," said Sen. Ginny Burdick, a Portland Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate's Revenue Committee. "The next time we have one of these downturns we will not suffer so much pain...At the same time we were closing schools, we were returning kickers."
I think that they should look at their own spending habits instead of keeping OUR money. We have to budget and live with-in our means and so can they

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Another 2000 added to the unemployed list

Register Guard

After a 41 year run Monaco Coach may be closing it's business.

Monday, Monaco terminated about 2000 employees, leaving about 145 workers remaining while management continues to try to obtain new financing or capital.

The outlook for Monaco is “bleak,” but reflects what’s going on in the RV industry, said analyst Frank Magdlen, research director of the Robins Group in Portland. [No Relation :-)]
“These are not items of necessity,” Magdlen said. “They’re a luxury item.”
While that may be true, that RV's are a luxury item, there is still the cascading downward effect not only from the employees that lost their jobs, but also the business that supply parts and other support items necessary to this business.

Another example of just how Oregon legislators just don't get it, and think that the solution to the problem is to raise taxes.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The state wants more of OUR money....

The Argus Observer

Facing a $3 Billion shortfall, state law makers will be looking at new ways to increase revenue through tax increases [No surprise there] and cutting programs.
"That is a very scary number in terms of reductions to the sorts of services Oregonians need,’’ R-Ontario, and co-chair Phil Barnhart said.
Several suggestions made were to increase the tax brackets for those making $125,000 or $150,000 and to decrease the federal deductions allowed on state tax returns.

I still say that they don't get it. times are really tough and the money tree is getting bare and adding MORE taxes will just cause the tree to die sooner.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

More Regulation...

Bend Bulletin

The Oregon Legislature is considering a ban on studded tires. According to HB2186, which was introduced by Gov. Ted Kulongoski could restrict and prohibit the sale and distribution of after-market motor vehicle parts, which could include studded tires.

The purpose of the bill is to help the state reach its goal in reducing greenhouse emissions from motor vehicles.