Saturday, July 25, 2009

Will we ever hear the tapes?

911, police tapes key in Gates case - "Mounting pressure to get to the bottom of the controversial arrest of black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. is centering on recorded police tapes that may offer a dose of reality amid all the media and political noise.

Cambridge police brass and lawyers are weighing making the tapes public, which could include the 911 call reporting a break-in at Gates’ home and radio transmissions by the cop who busted him July 16 for disorderly conduct."

But will we ever hear these tapes?

Obviously I don't know what they contain. But let's assume hypothetically that they show Prof. Gates to be a) behaving like an ass, and b) therefore a liar as well, and c) the officer in question behaving professionally. Given that the police commissioner immediately went to the officer's defense--which he never would have done without hearing the tapes and talking to the other officers who were there--I think that may be the case.

Those tapes could prove a huge embarrassment to Gates, and also to our meddlesome President, who just had to plunge into this situation without knowing the whole story, and then proceed to thrash around like a cod in a gill net trying to get himself out.

And with his health care legislation teetering on the brink, and his approval rating hovering around the 50 point level, can another embarrassment be allowed? I could envision the White House bringing pressure to bear on the Cambridge government to prevent release of the tapes. But that is all just a big paranoid fantasy, isn't it?

California budget crisis brings critics of Prop. 13 to the fore - San Jose Mercury News

California budget crisis brings critics of Prop. 13 to the fore - San Jose Mercury News: "Proposition 13 is the 1978 law that rolled property assessments back to 1975 levels and capped both the annual increase in assessed value and the tax itself.

The state's budget crisis is prompting another review of the popular measure. Several groups, including the nonprofit California Tax Reform, and a campaign recently started by San Francisco Assessor Phil Ting, are leading a charge to change Proposition 13 to extract more taxes from commercial property owners."

Oh, sure. Raise taxes on business in a recession. That will do wonders for the unemployment--in the wrong direction.

Thanks to Fred Pilot for this link.

Raleigh takes on parking in yards - Local & State - News & Observer

Raleigh takes on parking in yards - Local & State - News & Observer: "Among the opponents is Councilman Philip Isley, who says this is the latest and most egregious attempt by the city to tell residents what they can and can't do on their own property.

'This is beyond the nanny state,' Isley said. 'This is a homeowners association on steroids.'"

First they came for the cars in the front yards, and I said nothing. Then they came for the refrigerators in the back yards, and I said nothing. And when they came for the trailer in the driveway that my brother in law was living in, it was too late! / Asia-Pacific - India widens climate rift with west / Asia-Pacific - India widens climate rift with west: "India rejected key scientific findings on global warming, while the European Union called for more action by developing states on greenhouse gas emissions. Jairam Ramesh, the Indian environment minister, accused the developed world of needlessly raising alarm over melting Himalayan glaciers."
With India taking this position, and with China belching out enough coal smoke to blot out the sun, I'm not sure that all our capping and trading will accomplish much. And the larger point is that here is an environmental minister disputing the core beliefs of the global warming crowd. We here in the US are being force-fed the "debate is over" propaganda, but it isn't that simple. I don't pretend to know, but I think there are still more questions than answers.

Regulators shut 6 Ga banks, 1 in New York state - Yahoo! Finance

Regulators shut 6 Ga banks, 1 in New York state - Yahoo! Finance: "Regulators on Friday shut six banks in Georgia and a small bank in New York state, raising to 64 the number of federally insured banks to fail this year."

Friday, July 24, 2009

At Jade Park, mobile-home owners do it their way

At Jade Park, mobile-home owners do it their way: "Jade Park residents are proud of surviving development and dodging homeowner association communities with the red-tiled roofs, many of which sprouted nearby. People have elbow room to stretch, freedom to design their own yards and fix their homes as they see fit."
That's one way to keep your freedom from HOA rules--live in a trailer.

Woman charged with stealing $35,000 from homeowner's association | | Times-News Online | Hendersonville, NC

Woman charged with stealing $35,000 from homeowner's association | | Times-News Online | Hendersonville, NC: "Heather Pettit Barnette, 31, of 14 Shadowbrook Drive, Flat Rock, was charged with obtaining property by false pretenses by allegedly taking $35,544 from the Shadowbrook Property Owner’s Association, according to court records."
It seems to me that these charges are popping up with greater frequency.

Daily Herald | Reforms will have significant impact on association members

Daily Herald | Reforms will have significant impact on association members
Jordan Shifrin's column about changes to the law on HOAs and condos in Illinois. : Village Wins Ruling Over Annexation : Village Wins Ruling Over Annexation: "A three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed two Moore County court decisions and ruled against every objection to Pinehurst's involuntary annexation of Pinewild Country Club.

Judges Linda M. McGee, Robert Hunter, and Cheri Beasley unanimously supported the village of Pinehurst. The court's opinion -- written by McGee with Hunter and Beasley concurring -- says that gated communities like Pinewild cannot stop annexation just by blocking access to private streets. Being a gated community does not give Pinewild any different status, the court ruled."

Pinewild argued that they couldn't be annexed "if its residents simply refused to allow police, firefighters, waste collection workers, administrative officials or certain other municipal employees access to their private streets." Charming. This is why eventually a lot of these places will incorporate as municipalities.

Researcher Condemns Conformity Among His Peers - TierneyLab Blog -

Researcher Condemns Conformity Among His Peers - TierneyLab Blog - "A remarkable first-hand description of this phenomenon was provided a few months ago by the economist Robert Shiller, co-inventor of the Case-Shiller house price index. Dr. Shiller was concerned about what he saw as an impending house price bubble when he served as an adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York up until 2004.

So why didn’t he burst his lungs warning about the impending collapse of the housing market? “In my position on the panel, I felt the need to use restraint,” he relates. “While I warned about the bubbles I believed were developing in the stock and housing markets, I did so very gently, and felt vulnerable expressing such quirky views. Deviating too far from consensus leaves one feeling potentially ostracized from the group, with the risk that one may be terminated.”"

White Sox Mark Buehrle Pitches Perfect Game -

White Sox Mark Buehrle Pitches Perfect Game -
Oh, yes. And now the Sox are tied for the division lead with Detroit--and about to start a series with them. On a roll, baby.

This is going well

N. Korea Calls Clinton 'Schoolgirl,' U.S. Fires Back - Political News - "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested Thursday she's holding out hope that North Korea will rejoin nuclear disarmament talks, even as the country's foreign ministry descended into low-brow name-calling -- describing Clinton as a 'primary schoolgirl' and calling her unintelligent.

North Korean representatives also said the so-called six-party talks are 'over' and 'dead,' and rejected as 'nonsense' the United States' plan to offer the country new incentives."

The US becomes a Joe Palooka doll.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kausfiles : Obama's Overreach

Kausfiles : Obama's Overreach: "On tax increases, Obama said:

'I don't want that final one-third of the cost of health care to be completely shouldered on the backs of middle-class families who are already struggling in a difficult economy. And so if I see a proposal that is primarily funded through taxing middle-class families, I'm going to be opposed to that ...' [E.A.]

In standard Washspeak, this means Obama is open to a health reform that taxes middle class families as long as it isn't 'primarily' or 'completely' funded by taxes on middle class families. But 49% funded by taxes on middle class families? ... However you interpret these sentences, it's hard to see how Obama hasn't given a flashing green light to non-trivial tax increases on middle class families. ... 6:10 P.M."

So says Mickey Kaus. And I am certain he is right, because there is no way on earth that "the rich" can be soaked sufficiently to cover all this extravagant federal spending.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Conservative kiosk not allowed at mall | | Local News for Charlotte, North Carolina | Top Stories

Conservative kiosk not allowed at mall | | Local News for Charlotte, North Carolina | Top Stories: "At the end of July, Free Market Warrior will not be allowed at Concord Mills Mall. The kiosk chain's owner shared e-mail correspondence with NewsChannel 36 that explains that the mall management has decided that the items sold are not 'neutral' enough"
The "biting" message ticked off somebody who complained to the mall owner and wrote a letter to the Charlotte Observer. And then the mall owner decided the conservative business was kiosk non grata. And that's how much your constitutional rights are worth on private property, even if you pay your rent.

Bill Text 26th Legislature: Alaska's state sovereignty resolution

Bill Text 26th Legislature: "BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature hereby claims sovereignty for the state under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States; and be it FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution serves as Notice and Demand to the federal government to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers."
This is the meat of the resolution that Sarah Palin just signed. The Palin haters are doing their usual thing over this, saying only one other governor has been dumb enough to sign it. However, it was passed unanimously by both houses of the Alaska legislature, so what was she supposed to do--veto it?

George Staropoli--who should bail out the HOAs?

The only real solution to the HOA foreclosure fiasco « HOA Constitutional Government: "Given the current dismal state of affairs with our economy, and the increasing rate of HOA/condo foreclosures, I have been doing a lot of serious pondering (ahem!) on this major threat to the survival of HOA-land. I think I hit upon the only real solution to the HOA foreclosure problem, taking a cue from the federal government bailout of the mortgage industry, banks, and GM. I am not proposing another government bailout. Oh no!

Instead, I’m proposing a private corporation bailout. You know, like the Bank of America bailout of Merrill Lynch, etc. But, the major obstacle to this plan was, WHO? I thought and thought of candidates. In these dire circumstances it had to be a “true believer”, a corporation that had faith in HOA-land, and one that would fight tooth and nail to preserve HOA-land from collapse. Only one stood out, loudly and clearly: Community Associations Institute (CAI)."

Tongue? Cheek?

Government Motors tanking

GM global sales fall 22 pct in first half of 2009: "DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors posted Wednesday a 22 percent global sales drop from a year earlier for the first six months of 2009 amid the economic slowdown and the automaker's slide into bankruptcy."
And this is what we, the taxpayers, are now invested in.

Another isolated instance!

Crimetracker - Video On Demand | | News for Louisville, Kentucky: "She was supposed to collect fees from the people in her Neighborhood Association but instead, police say the treasurer bilked her neighbors out of more than $10,000 in dues."
And check out the piano ad that precedes the video.

Glenmore group thinks treasurer absconded with $666,446 | Charlottesville Daily Progress

Glenmore group thinks treasurer absconded with $666,446 | Charlottesville Daily Progress: "An audit of the Glenmore Community Association’s finances has discovered nearly $700,000 missing from the operating and reserve accounts of the luxury neighborhood’s homeowners association.

The missing funds are the latest twist in the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Michael Comer, who was treasurer of the homeowners association and president of the Glenmore Country Club.
Comer, 45, did not show up for a meeting on the morning of July 1 to discuss a financial audit of the association’s finances for 2008."

Isolated instance.

Police: former HOA president steals $166K from association | association, boynton, casablanca - Test Page - CBS Channel 12 News

Police: former HOA president steals $166K from association | association, boynton, casablanca - Test Page - CBS Channel 12 News: "BOYNTON BEACH-- The term condo commando has taken a whole new meaning at Casablanca Isles, a development on West Boynton Beach Boulevard, west of I-95.

This after police say the president and bookkeeper of Casablanca's homeowner's association raided association funds for more than $166,000."

I am shocked! Shocked! To discover that there is theft going on Casablanca.

Homeowner fights HOA rules

Homeowner fights HOA rules: "A valley man is upset about the latest HOA rules that govern his Community in Goodyear. He's even hired a lawyer. Tom Anuszewski rents out his home in Canyon Trails. He claims the new rules are unfair to him and his tenants and that they may even be discriminatory.

The Canyon Trails Homeowners Association sent letters to all homeowners who currently rent out their homes. The new policy states that homeowners have to pay a $200 rental fee. They also have to hand over the names, ages and license plate numbers of the tenants. The HOA is also asking for a background check on all tenants. On top of that, they now have the right to evict tenants on the homeowner's behalf as a third party beneficiary.

'It's unfair,' says Anuszewski. He believes the HOA is trying to discourage homeowners from renting out their homes."

Many CIDs are trying to prevent renting now. But what if, like Anuszewski, you have to rent out the place to survive economically?

Homeowner Associations Wield Great Power Amid Foreclosures - News Story - KTVU San Francisco

Homeowner Associations Wield Great Power Amid Foreclosures - News Story - KTVU San Francisco: "Often, the homeowners association will hire a collection agency to do the work for them. Those collection agencies are usually part of law firms that represent Homeowners associations and may do foreclosures.

Many homeowners complain they're being abused by collection agencies that run up huge collection fees that can be four or five times the amount originally owed.

Tax attorney Michael Hamersley of El Dorado Hills said he faces foreclosure because the collection agency his homeowners association hired demands more than $2,000 for an overdue assessment of just $226.

In Oakland, condo owner Brenda Fuller said she fell behind on her homeowners dues after she went on temporary disability.

“They would have taken my house,” explained Fuller.

Homeowner advocate Marjorie Murray said in both cases collection agencies began foreclosures."

Check out Marjorie Murray's organization--the Center for California Homeowner Association Law

Which California dream?

News Analysis - Pinch of Reality Threatens the California Dream - "“In the end, we do not know for sure whether the California public really wants the California dream anymore,” said Bruce E. Cain, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. “The population is too diverse to have a common vision of what it wants to provide to everyone. Some people want the old dream, some want the gated privatized version, and some would like to secede and get away from it all.”"
Thanks to Fred Pilot for flagging this quote from Bruce Cain, a prominent political scientist who seems to highlight one of the main issues I wrote about in Privatopia.

Anger follows California budget crisis deal

Anger follows California budget crisis deal: "The Times said the reduction would be achieved through a combination of measures including allowing prisoners to finish their sentences on home detention and creating incentives for completion of rehabilitation plans."
I wonder what those incentives are. Considering the abysmal success rate of "rehabilitation" it would have to be a winning Powerball ticket.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

UPDATE 2-California counties, cities to fight budget deal | Markets | Markets News | Reuters

UPDATE 2-California counties, cities to fight budget deal | Markets | Markets News | Reuters: "LOS ANGELES, July 21 (Reuters) - The day-old pact among California leaders to close the state's $26.3 billion budget gap came under fire on Tuesday as county and city governments threatened to sue to block a plan to seize local tax revenues as part of the deal.

City and council officials vowed to seek a court order barring the proposed diversion of $2 billion from local redevelopment agencies and $1.7 billion in highway tax collections into state coffers to help close the budget deficit."

Can you imagine how bitter this is going to get?

Roubini: Economic Recovery To Be 'Very Ugly'

Roubini: Economic Recovery To Be 'Very Ugly': "Nouriel Roubini, the economist whose dire forecasts earned him the nickname 'Doctor Doom', told CNBC Monday that the economic recovery is going to be 'very ugly.'

'The recovery is going to be subpar,' Roubini said. 'I see a one percent growth in the economy in the next few years. There will also be 11 percent unemployment next year and the recovery is going to be slow. It's going to feel like a recession even when it ends.'"

I hope he's wrong, but just being candid about it, I am afraid he's right.

University of Illinois at Chicago studies lesbian drinking habits

WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather - $3M NIH grant to UIC to study lesbian drinking: "CHICAGO (STNG) -- The UIC College of Nursing has received a $3 million federal grant to continue research to identify risk factors for excessive drinking among lesbians."
And I'm proud to be working at Ground Zero for the study of lesbian drinking. I think.

This is the Behavioral Sciences Building, where I work. How about that Neo-Brutalist style?

Detroit Schools on the Brink -

Detroit Schools on the Brink - "Detroit's public-school system, beset by massive deficits and widespread corruption, is on the brink of following local icons GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy court...Some experts say the Detroit case could be the first in a string of Chapter 9 bankruptcies among school districts and other public entities battered by the economic crisis, and it could help shape that area of the law. "Given the state of public finance," says Samuel Gerdano, executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute, "I think the wave is coming.""
So do I. I think the private and public institutions of local government are on the edge of a cliff right now. Many state and local governments are facing insolvency right now. What does the future hold? The Obama administration is spending so much money that we, the taxpayers, will soon be faced with increased federal taxes. That will increase resistance to state and local taxation, so massive service cuts seem to be the only way they can go.

Yeah, but that was different...somehow...

Democrats irked by Obama signing statement: "President Barack Obama has irked close allies in Congress by declaring he has the right to ignore legislation on constitutional grounds after having criticized George W. Bush for doing the same."
Remember all the lefties going berserk over Bush's signing statements? I don't like them, either. I think presidents should either sign or veto. I guess I'm old fashioned that way. But I am wondering how much outrage we will see from his supporters now that he is doing the same things.

Dark Roasted Blend: The Walled Cities: Keeping Out The Joneses

Dark Roasted Blend: The Walled Cities: Keeping Out The Joneses
These are spectacular photos--don't miss them.

Polls can affect president's hold on party -

Polls can affect president's hold on party - "Barack Obama, who completed six months in office Monday, has a 55% approval rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, putting him 10th among the dozen presidents who have served since World War II at this point in their tenures."
I realize these poll numbers can change. But in a way that's the point. He has brought down his own approval numbers by over-reaching, especially on health care. I believe that if he took on the issue of reducing health care costs first, and got a bill passed on that, he would shoot up in the polls. Then he could address the question of universal coverage. But he is stubbornly insisting that everything has to be done at once, and right now.

California Reaches Budget Deal, With Billions Cut -

California Reaches Budget Deal, With Billions Cut -
And it is pretty harsh.

Getting Along with Americans & Canadians: How to be liked in Canada & the U.S.

Getting Along with Americans & Canadians: How to be liked in Canada & the U.S.: "By the way, the answer to 'How are you?' in all situations is 'I am well. Thank you. How are you?' or 'Fine. Thank you,' or the more popular colloquial but grammatically incorrect, 'Good. How are you doing?' or similar statements.

The questioner does not want to know your real state of health unless he or she is a doctor or nurse in a medical office. 'My ebola virus is spreading rapidly, and I will not live more than a day longer,' is not the welcomed answer in social or business situations. 'How are you' and 'How do you do' are polite greetings, not questions."

Here is one of my pet peeves. Why do Americans insist that every single human interaction, however impersonal and trivial, cannot commence until the following magic words have been uttered:

"How are you?"
"Fine. How are you?"

Why is this incantation necessary? The grocery clerk, the bank teller, the mugger...even people who would just as soon step over your dying body to get to an ATM are asking you how you are before they will proceed further with selling you a can of Drano.

Here's how bad it is. People call a radio talk show and wait for an hour to get on the air. Then the host says to them, "OK, Bob in Denver--go ahead." And what does Bob say?

"How are you?"

The host should reply, "Is that why you called, Bob? You waited on hold for a hour to ask me THE SAME STUPID QUESTION EVERY OTHER CALLER HAS ASKED ME TODAY? Well, here's your answer: I'm exactly as FINE as I was TWO MINUTES AGO when I answered the SAME QUESTION for the LAST CALLER!"

I know I can't change this situation, but sometimes I actually tell people how I am and you should see the look of shock and horror on their face when I do. It's not that I tell them anything bad. It might be, "Well, I cut myself shaving this morning." But that is enough to send the "how are you" folks into a panic, because they didn't want any real interaction and now here it is.

Subprime brokers mutate into loan fixers - The New York Times-

Subprime brokers mutate into loan fixers - The New York Times- "FedMod is but one example of how many of the same people who dispensed risky mortgages during the real estate bubble have reconstituted themselves into a new industry focused on selling loan modifications.

Despite making promises of relief to homeowners desperate to keep their homes, FedMod and other profit making loan modification firms often fail to deliver, according to a New York Times investigation based on interviews with scores of former employees and customers, more than 650 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau, and documents filed by the Federal Trade Commission in a lawsuit against the company."

Do you see anything wrong with this picture?

Area Man Uninterested In Creating A Better Community Even Though This May Benefit Him In The Long Run | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

Area Man Uninterested In Creating A Better Community Even Though This May Benefit Him In The Long Run | The Onion - America's Finest News Source - Firms Bank on California Cities' Distress - Firms Bank on California Cities' Distress: "A parade of law firms big and small have responded to Pacific Grove's call for help as the California city works to get a handle on its growing budget deficit.

While Pacific Grove is not ready to file for Chapter 9, under which municipalities seek bankruptcy protection, it is exploring the legal costs and potential consequences of such a move. It has recently received eight pitches, from behemoths like Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Cooley Godward Kronish and Morrison & Foerster, and from smaller, more regional shops such as Best Best & Krieger, McNutt Law Group and Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai. Responding to the city's request for qualifications, the firms outlined costs for pre-filing consultation and representation in bankruptcy and post-bankruptcy proceedings."

This must be a boom year for bankruptcy lawyers.

Condominium Associations Suffer As Foreclosures Take A Grip | House Repos Blog

Condominium Associations Suffer As Foreclosures Take A Grip | House Repos Blog: "As condos are lost to foreclosures, the rest who are still in their homes laments that they are finding it difficult to maintain the sprawling houses because a majority cannot shell out the fees for their upkeep."

Columbia, Inc.? Old idea gets new traction -

Columbia, Inc.? Old idea gets new traction - "It's been 13 years since the failure of the last real effort to convert Columbia into an incorporated municipality, but some feel the current suggestion that the town's homeowners association seek power over zoning is tied to that old debate.

'If they can get control of zoning, they'll also be asking for incorporation,' said Pearl Atkinson Stewart, the Columbia Association board member with the longest tenure and institutional memory. 'I can't see it going anywhere.'

In fact, deputy county solicitor Paul Johnson said that based on his experience, he feels incorporation would be the only way for the town's residents to get zoning authority, an opinion shared by the Maryland attorney general's office, said spokeswoman Raquel Guillory."

Libertarians argue that CIDs will replace cities, but I think it is more likely that the really big ones, like Columbia, MD, will incorporate as municipalities.

Unpaid dues split neighbors | The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Unpaid dues split neighbors | The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.: "Liens filed by neighborhoods in Allen County against their residents over uncollected dues are increasing. Associations are even filing lawsuits to ensure they get the money needed for maintenance of community areas and other services. A newly enacted state law, however, will give the two sides time to resolve their problems without resorting to the court system, according to one of the law’s authors."

CRITTERS: Quite a Response to Haley vs. Willoughby Park HOA -

CRITTERS: Quite a Response to Haley vs. Willoughby Park HOA - "I want to thank everyone who has responded to the column about the Willoughby Park HOA board's efforts to evict Haley, the 13-year-old dog.

The responses on the Critters Blog, in the StarNews forum and via e-mail have been unanimous in noting the injustice being done to Haley, Paige Cole and Brian Brian Niemcvyk.

I'll have a lot more to say about this particular case and on the issue of some HOA boards far overstepping their bounds - in next Saturday's Animals Tales column and back here in the Critters Blog."

Cynthia Stephens sent this update from a local columnist who is tracking the case.

Family Hassled By HOA - Colorado Springs, Pueblo - Weather, News, Sports -

Family Hassled By HOA - Colorado Springs, Pueblo - Weather, News, Sports -: "Woodmen Hills Filing 11 in Peyton, wants the Wolbers family to manicure their front lawn. The Wolbers don't see a problem with their lawn. 'Our lawn is green and mowed, I don't know what else they want,' Jeni Wolbers said.

Jeni Wolbers' husband deployed in May and her daughter is in renal failure. The daughter is waiting for her father to return so he can donate his kidney. Jeni spends all her time and money taking care of her daughter.

In May, the Wolbers landscaped their backyard, which the HOA required. 'All of our money went into that, and now my husbands gone and I have no help,' stated Jeni."

Thanks to Fred Pilot for this infuriating link.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coming soon to the USA: health commissars

BBC NEWS | UK | England | London | Man refused liver transplant dies: "A man from east London who began binge-drinking at 13 has died after being denied a life-saving liver transplant.

Gary Reinbach, 22, from Dagenham, was given only a few weeks to live after developing cirrhosis of the liver.

He was admitted to University College Hospital London (UCL) with alcohol damage for the first time 10 weeks ago.

But health chiefs ruled he should not be exempt from strict organ donation criteria which require an alcohol-free period of at least six months."

And soon, we here in the USA may get our very own "health chiefs," meaning the government commissars who will decide whether we live or die. That's how socialized medicine works, and anybody who doesn't see where Obamacare is designed to lead is either blind or disingenous.

HOA bans smoking INDOORS!

Leader-Telegram Online: "Members of the Fairfax Parkside Homeowners Association on Wednesday voted to outlaw smoking inside residences that are part of the 34-unit development. The ban also prohibits smoking in shared spaces, such as porches and garages, but does allow it in yards and on patios.

Of the 19 association members who voted on the issue, 15 favored the anti-smoking regulation proposed by association President Dave Hanvelt, while four argued that residents should be allowed to smoke in their homes."

This is an HOA in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, that was part of the USA until recently.

White House pushes health care before disclosure of economic data

My Way News - White House putting off release of budget update: "The administration's annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits and unemployment and slower growth than projected in President Barack Obama's budget in February and update in May, and that could complicate his efforts to get his signature health care and global-warming proposals through Congress.

The release of the update - usually scheduled for mid-July - has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town on its August 7 summer recess.

The administration is pressing for votes before then on its $1 trillion health care initiative, which lawmakers are arguing over how to finance."

So Congress is supposed to pass this before it is fully read and debated, before hearing from their constituents during the summer recess, and even before the nation is told the actual state of the US economy. Your representative government at work...