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Sunday, May 27, 2012

‘You Have to Pay for That’: California City Bills Obama $35K After Campaign Fundraiser

With California’s current deficit woes, it has seemingly become difficult to justify the tens of thousands of dollars it can cost the taxpayer in extra security measures for Obama’s campaign stops.

That is why, according to the Los Angeles Times, Newport Beach has billed the president $35,043.04.
The L.A. Times continues:

City Manager Dave Kiff said the invoice was his idea.

“I think it is appropriate to treat it like a private event — if another private event that large and which required that much police presence occurred, we would bill the event sponsor,” he said in an email. “If the president was here on presidential business, we likely would not have billed for that.”


Judge Sends Honor Student to Jail for Missing School

A Houston-area teenager has been jailed and fined for missing school by a judge who hopes to make an example of her. 17-year-old Diane Tran is working two jobs while taking advanced placement and dual credit courses at Willis High School in Willis, Texas. Some mornings, she is simply too exhausted to make it to school on time. Some days she misses classes altogether.

She was warned by Judge Lanny Moriarty in April not to miss any more school. When she missed school again last week, he sentenced her to 24 hours behind bars and a $100 fine.

“If you let one of ‘em run loose, what are you gon’ do with the rest of ‘em, let them go too?” the judge offered as justification.


Recent Grad Faces Trespassing Charge After Getting Shot While Stumbling Into Unlocked Home

A 21-year-old woman who was shot in the hip by a Colorado homeowner after police said she drunkenly wandered into a house now faces a felony trespassing charge, prosecutors said.

Zoey Ripple, who graduated from the University of Colorado earlier this month, entered a couple’s Boulder home through an unlocked door at around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, police said.

Ripple apparently ignored warnings from the couple that they had a gun and walked into their bedroom. Homeowner Timothy Justice fired one shot in the darkness, police said.

When Justice and his wife switched on the lights, they saw Ripple on the floor with a gunshot wound. They later told police they did not recognize her as anyone they knew.


Are Young People Just Lazy And Stupid Or Is This Economy Anti-Youth?

Today, National Center for Education Statistics released some ugly numbers for young people looking for work this summer. At some point, the Obama administration needs to take some responsibility.

High school employment has reached a 20-year low. 32 percent of high school students held jobs in 1990. Today, that number has dropped to a whopping 16 percent.

For college students, it’s not much prettier. 40 percent of full-time college students hold jobs—23 percent less than the 52 percent of students who worked in 2000.


Retired General Recalls First Death Under His Command

Memorial Day is for remembering those who gave their lives for their country. But retired general Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, remembers Guido Farinaro every day.

"I was a second lieutenant," Pace told a spellbound dinner audience as he recounted the first marine to die under his command in Vietnam in 1968. "He was a lance corporal. I was 22. He was 19."
Pace said Guido was killed by a sniper.

"I was holding Guido when he died. Like children and grandchildren, the first, somehow, is more special."


Awkward: Obamas to Welcome George W. Bush to White House Next Week

This ought to be fun. Barack and Michelle Obama will welcome The Most Evil Man in the World (or as he's known outside the Democratic Party, George W. Bush) and his wife Laura to the White House next week, for the unveiling of their official portraits. Of course, this comes as the current president is in full campaign mode, and W. occupies the role of Obama's eternal scapegoat. It'll be no minor miracle if Obama can make it through the unveiling without blaming Bush for something.

Such ceremonies often bring together current and former presidents with rivalries, grudges or awkward relationships. But the timing of this unveiling is particularly delicate as Mr. Obama uses Mr. Bush as a foil on the campaign trail against former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, his presumptive Republican challenger. Although Mr. Obama generally does not mention Mr. Bush by name, he often says Mr. Romney wants to replicate the former president’s agenda but “on steroids.”

At a campaign fund-raiser in Redwood City, Calif., on Wednesday, for instance, Mr. Obama said Republicans wanted “bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans,” “deeper cuts” in Medicare and education, “even more power” for banks to do as they please, and fewer regulations that protect consumers. “But that’s not new,” he added. “That was tried, remember? The last guy did all this.”


Question Of The Day

What Is Your Favorite Military/War Movie?

In U.S., Nearly Half Identify as Economically Conservative

Americans are more than twice as likely to identify themselves as conservative rather than liberal on economic issues, 46% to 20%. The gap is narrower on social issues, but conservatives still outnumber liberals, 38% to 28%.

These results are based on Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 3-6. Since 2001, the poll has asked Americans to say whether they are liberal, moderate, or conservative on "economic" and, separately, "social" issues. The interpretation of what qualifies as social or economic issues is left to the respondent, given that the question does not define or provide examples of these types of issues.

In the same poll, on Gallup's standard measure of ideology -- not asked in reference to any set of issues -- 41% identified themselves as conservatives, 33% as moderates, and 23% as liberals. Those figures are similar to what Gallup typically finds when it asks people to identify their ideology.


Warning For Speed Cameras Begins

In an effort to increase driver compliance with the posted School Zone speed limits throughout Wicomico County, the County is launching an Automated Speed Enforcement Camera Program. Similar programs are being utilized in Montgomery County and District Heights, and are viewed as an effective means of positively changing driver behavior and improving safety for both pedestrians and motorists. The Transportation Article of the Maryland Annotated Code authorizes municipalities to establish school zones and utilize speed monitoring systems to enforce posted limits. Maryland law further requires that revenue derived from such programs be utilized for public safety programs and improving pedestrian safety.

According to Sheriff Mike Lewis, "Our main objective is to protect the children and residents of Wicomico from drivers who are choosing to disobey the posted speed limit and break the law".
The speed enforcement equipment uses a radar camera programmed to capture a series of photographs of vehicles exceeding the posted limit by more than 12 mph during the hours of 6am-8pm. These digital images will be used to identify the vehicle’s registered owner and will appear on the citation which carries a $40 fine. The vehicle’s recorded speed and the time of the violation will also be noted on the violation, which is being treated as a civil rather than criminal penalty. As a result, no license "points" will be assigned and insurance providers are not notified of the citation.

To allow drivers who live, work or travel through the area time to become more familiar with the program, Warning notices will be issued to violators for the first 30 days beginning Tuesday, May 29, 2012. Once the grace period concludes, violators will receive a $40 citation which may be contested in Maryland District Court. Detailed instructions on how to pay the citation or request a Court date are included on the violation notice.

In addition to the Warning period, information regarding the program will be available on the Wicomico County Sheriffs website and signage will be posted advising drivers that camera enforcement is being utilized.

According to Sheriff Lewis, "The overriding goal of this program is not to trap drivers or catch speeders, the goal is to make people aware and get them to slow down…lives depend on it".

Isaac's Live Lip-Dub Proposal

9-Year-Old Shames School Into Healthier Food With Blog About Its Lacking

Here at Consumerist, we know a little something about publicly shaming big, bad companies into doing right by customers. But apparently, it works on other levels as well — say, a 9-year-old girl blogging about her terrible lunches at her school in Scotland.

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Remembering 2012

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend when we remember, reflect and pay homage to all the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom and prosperity we call the American way of life.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It came into being after the Civil War as a day set aside to honor the Union war dead, but actually Southern ladies organizations and school children had decorated the graves of the Confederate dead even as the civil war was going on.

Each area had its own date to decorate and though they may have been different they were all usually in the month of May.


Burning Down Home Depot Will Not Help Save Your Friend's Hardware Store

We do enjoy hearing stories about friends who go the extra mile to help each other out. There is also something to be said for helping out a local business in favor of a national retail chain. However, it's probably not in anyone's best interest to try to burn the bigger store to the ground.

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Obama Holds Off on Pool-Destroying Regulations til After Election

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, in an amazing example of evolution, President Obama announced he wouldn’t enforce regulations written by his own Administration.

I’m sure we’ve all heard about the ADA swimming pool lift requirement by now. In order to make swimming pools and spas accessible to Americans with Disabilities, all facilities were required to install permanent lifts in every public facility, at a cost of at least $6,000 each, by the end of May. Locations with multiple pools would be required to install a lift for every single pool on their property. Of course, each lift would need to have a qualified operator and lifeguard on duty.

Beyond the cost and hassle of getting the lifts installed, hotel insurance companies weren’t even sure if they would be able to write internal policies for them. Needless to say, the risk of lowering a quadriplegic into water over his head presents a liability problem or two. The cost could be so great that most facilities would just eliminate their pools. It’s why diving boards disappeared (I still haven’t forgiven personal injury attorneys for that one). I can only wonder what would happen to water parks, since most modern high-speed slides seem a tad hazardous for people with limited mobility.

Long-Running Mouse Infestation May Shut Down N.Y. Walmart

Recent state inspections of a Monticello, N.Y. Walmart have the mundane violations you'd see in any food facility's inspection: dusty fans, lettuce cross-contamination, and coolers slightly warmer than they should be. Then there's all of the food and other merchandise they've had to throw out after it was "defiled by rodents." The state keeps coming back and reporting "thousands" of mouse droppings and evidence of rodents all over the store...and a few decaying corpses while they're at it. The reports of mice go back to September 2011.

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Recovery? Half of American Households Living on Government Benefits

Some astoundingly grim news on the "economic recovery" front: half of American households are receiving government funds to support themselves. No matter which way you slice it, this number isn't good news for the Obama administration -- they can spin the jobs numbers by ignoring the number of people who dropped out of the workforce, but this statistic is pretty straightforward.

The 49.1% of the population in a household that gets benefits is up from 30% in the early 1980s and 44.4% as recently as the third quarter of 2008.

The increase in recent years is likely due in large part to the lingering effects of the recession. As of early 2011, 15% of people lived in a household that received food stamps, 26% had someone enrolled in Medicaid and 2% had a member receiving unemployment benefits. Families doubling up to save money or pool expenses also is likely leading to more multigenerational households. But even without the effects of the recession, there would be a larger reliance on government.


New Parking Meter Sensors Put An End To Parking On Previous Driver's Dime

Have you ever pulled up to a metered parking spot and found that the driver who just left the space still had time left on the meter? It's like getting free money, especially if that leftover time is enough for you to run your errand without having to feed the meter. But the folks in Denver are testing out new sensors that would delete any remaining time when you drive away from the meter.

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Volunteer Mounted Patrols to Debut in Howard Co.

SAVAGE, Md. (AP) - Howard County police are getting some equine assistance this Memorial Day weekend.

The department has established a new volunteer mounted patrol unit. Twelve people will conduct patrols while riding their own horses. The unit starts work this weekend in the Savage area.

The mounted volunteers won't have any police powers, but police say they will report any suspicious activity and deter crime.