Knock Knock.

May 29, 2009

This story is soooo unbelievable …

A local pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a San Diego County official, who then threatened them with escalating fines if they continued to hold bible studies in their home, 10News reported.  

Attorney Dean Broyles of The Western Center For Law & Policy was shocked with what happened to the pastor and his wife.  

Broyles said, “The county asked, ‘Do you have a regular meeting in your home?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you say amen?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you pray?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you say praise the Lord?’ ‘Yes.'”

The county employee notified the couple that the small bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of county regulations, according to Broyles.

 Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed “unlawful use of land” and told them to “stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit” — a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Broyles also said this case has broader implications. 

 “If the county thinks they can shut down groups of 10 or 15 Christians meeting in a home, what about people who meet regularly at home for poker night? What about people who meet for Tupperware parties? What about people who are meeting to watch baseball games on a regular basis and support the Chargers?” said Broyles. 

There is either a lot more to this story or this is very scary stuff.

PS. The Chargers are a football team.


Stick it to them!

May 28, 2009


Every state has budget problems. Every state is struggling how to raise taxes without calling them taxes. Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz (R) has released the following opinion on one such tax …

The state budget pending in Madison contains a special hit on sick and elderly people living in nursing homes across Wisconsin.  The monthly tax on every nursing home bed would double from $75 to $150 per monthstarting July 1, 2009 if legislators adopt the plan introduced by Governor Doyle.  The bed tax would rise further, to $170 per month, in July 2010.

The bed tax enables the state to capture federal dollars for state medical assistance costs. That might make sense if all the additional federal funds supported nursing home residents, but that’s not the plan.

The plan is to return only 41 cents of every additional federal dollar to nursing homes and use the other 59 cents for other state spending…

Sticking it to our most sick and elderly community members, especially those paying for their care from their own savings, is hardly fair public policy, but legislators crafting the budget in Madison apparently hope your attention will be diverted to other issues.

In other words, stick it to those who worked hard and saved so they would never be burden on the government and now have no voice.

Good Plan!

How to Be a Wise Man

May 27, 2009

I have come across this Chinese Proverb many times over the years.

Thanks to Ian Stuart for reminding me once again …

A wise man makes his “Own Decisions” ; an ignorant man follows public opinion.

Yes, it’s the same for women.

Double Taxation

May 26, 2009

Every city is hurting for money. Every option is being explored to help.

Mayor David Cicilline of Providence wants to charge a $150/semester tax on students.

Just for going to school in Providence.


Cicilline’s office said there is no study showing how much students cost Providence for the use of police and fire protection and other services. The city points out that the private schools’ property, valued at more than $1.7 billion, is tax-exempt.

This is what is boils down to … tax exempt property.  Lots of tax exempt property.

I was sympathetic with the Mayor until the report also stated …

Cities often look for revenue from universities to compensate for their tax-exempt status, and many schools already make voluntary payments to local governments. Providence’s four private schools — Brown, Providence College, Johnson & Wales University and the Rhode Island School of Design — agreed in 2003 to pay the city nearly $50 million over 20 years.

Wait a minute. Providence managed to get these universities to agree to volunteer payments of lieu of taxes and now also wants to go after the students individually?

I applaud those universities for recognizing the cost they are to city coffers and doing something about it.

Going after the students would now be a case of double taxation.

Who is watching you?

May 22, 2009

Where does private property rights begin and the public’s rights end?

Sir Paul McCartney has requested Goggle remove his “pad” from street view.

The former BEATLE’s security team, who monitor access to the house 24 hours a day, complained to the web giant.

Sir Paul, 66 — whose band had a hit with You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away — has been careful about security since bandmate JOHN LENNON was murdered in 1980.

A source said: “He was unsettled when he heard Google users could get a 360-degree view of the property.”

Duh! I wouldn’t want my home under 24 hour surveillance either. How about you?

Last night a Googlespokesman said anyone could now remove their house from the site by clicking a button.

The article doesn’t go into where that button is, but if you are interested you can look for it.

Fix the Streets!

May 21, 2009


This breaking news from OhMyGov.Com …

101 year old Italian Great-Grandma running for public office 


Yes that’s right; it is possible the world will soon have an elected official older than Robert Byrd.

Accordingto UPI, Donati is running for council on the Civic Non-Party Ticket for the Common Good. If elected her ambitions seem to be pretty straightforward, and one would think attainable. “I want to improve the roads around here and listen to everyone’s problems as I always have done.”

You might be thinking about now this is a ” cute” story. 

If so you would be wrong.

Politics is something of a family business in Donati’s clan. Her grandson Roberto is running for Mayor of the village, and her daughter and son-in-law are running for the right to sit alongside their family matriarch on the council. If elected, Donati seems ready and willing to assist her relatives in any political quagmires they might encounter.

This is a budding dynasty story… with a burning question … Can they really improve the roads?

Is this nitpicking?

May 20, 2009


A big thank you to OhMyGov.Com for alerting me to this story ….

Imagine printing out an unnecessary extra page every time you print a two-page document, and then having someone else pay for it. In so many words, this process describes the extent of waste involved in federal government printing. According to a study released by Lexmark International, $440.4 million of the annual $1.3 billion spent on government printing costs is wasteful.

As descriptions of government spending increasingly mention “trillion,” a mere $440 million seems trivial. However, unlike controversial spending such as TARP money, stimulus packages or auto bailouts, this waste is indefensible even to federal employees. According to the study, 92 percent admit they do not need all of the documents they print in a day. Furthermore, employees discard 35 percent of printed pages in the same day. 

The results from Lexmark indicate a two-part problem.  Chiefly, accountability operates at a bare minimum. Only 11 percent of agencies have policies in place dictating when to print. Fewer than 10 percent of agencies have automatic double-sided printing, and just 5 percent require personal codes to print.

Clearly, this lack of individual accountability leads to lack of restraint. Over 60 percent of employees admitted to printing “significantly more” while working in the office compared to working at home. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but federal employees seem to believe in free printing. 

Do you think that the same problem may exist in State and Local governments?

Is it a small problem … a big problem … or nitpicking?