Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Moody's put federal officials on notice that unless they agree on a plan to tame the nation's debt load, the U.S.'s rating could be downgraded a notch to Aa1 next year.
A downgrade could negatively affect the Aaa ratings of states, cities, counties, school districts and other debt issuers that Moody's has identified as having substantial links to the U.S. government in terms of federal employment and procurement, and Medicaid, the state and federal funded healthcare program for the poor.
"If the U.S. rating is downgraded then we have to answer the question, 'which states and local governments have enough links to the U.S. government so that their ratings should not be higher,'" said Naomi Richman, a Moody's analyst.
A previous downgrade warning for the nation in 2011 triggered a review of a slew of municipal credits by Moody's, which in December finalized negative outlooks on the Aaa ratings for Maryland, New Mexico and Virginia, along with 36 local governments. The rating agency at that time noted those issuers would not likely retain their top ratings should the United States be downgraded.
But Moody's analysts said on Tuesday that downgrades would not be automatic and would instead occur on a case-by-case basis.
Most of the local governments are in Maryland and Virginia, which have large concentrations of federal workers and companies that do business with the U.S. government. Others are in Texas, Colorado, Alabama, Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Bob Kurtter, a Moody's analyst, said some muni ratings may be under pressure even if the United States retains its triple-A rating and slashes its budget. For example, deep federal defense spending cuts could negatively affect Maryland and Virginia, he said. On the other hand, federal officials could decide instead to drastically reduce spending on social programs, which would affect other muni credits.
Publishers Notes: Could the school teachers pension attribute to such a dramatic downgrade?
Deficit predicted because feds 3.1 million set to expire. Then - we have the school teachers pension shift whereby it escalates dramatically from 2014 and forward.
It is not as though we did not try and warn our elected County officials about what was about to come down the 'pike'. The time has now arrived.
Look at Line Item 32 on Page B.2 in the attachment above.
Around 2,000 protesters had gathered to protest against a film apparently made in America that desecrated the name of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad. Witnesses say a US flag was pulled down, torn into pieces, and then set alight. CNN reports that warning shots were fired to disperse the crowd.
Reuters notes that its not immediately clear what film the protest was focused on, but noted that Christian Pastor Terry Jones is due to stage something called "International Judge Mohammad Day" in Florida today, according to the website http://www.standupamerianow.org/ — Max Fisher has more details on that film over at the Atlantic.
UPDATE: A US consulate in Libya has also been attacked, reportedly due to the same film.
See photos and video of the attack >
Over the past ten days, what hasn't surprised me is how the corrupt media created its own pro-Obama reality coming out of the conventions. What does surprise me is how this coordinated psy-ops push is working to panic a lot of conservatives.
Date of Occurrence: Wednesday September 5, 2012 at approximately 5:50 p.m.
Laurel, DE- Jerry E. Mitchell, 66 of Laurel has succumbed to the injuries he sustained in a single vehicle crash that occurred on Wednesday September 5, 2012.
Mitchell, who was not properly restrained, was removed from the scene by EMS and initially transported to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital before being flown to Baltimore Shock Trauma where he was listed in critical condition. He was pronounced dead on September 10, 2012 at 9:15 p.m.
The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is continuing their investigation into this incident.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney calls a new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report finding that President Obama has missed over half of his daily intelligence briefings “hilarious.”
From Fox News
When you look at Mayor Ireton's refusal to expose the more than $2,000,000.00 on returned surplus you have to wonder, was there some kind of insider trading going on at the time?
What I mean by that is, don't you find it interesting how all of a sudden out of nowhere the Police Chief comes forward with a massive request, yet she was told DON'T EVEN ASK during budget time?
Go back to the alleged phone spoof. Don't you find it extremely interesting how the dynamic trio, (Ireton, Duncan and Maciarello) filed criminal charges against me for filing a false police report, (yet I never filed a report or complaint) in order to access my cell phone records. Then they immediately dropped the charges!
Out of nowhere the States Attorney, Police Chief and Mayor come together to grandstand for financial support in a desperate attempt to make things look as if things could get really bad.
The FACT that NO CRIMINAL acts were done in the alleged phone spoof, the Police Chief and numerous detectives dropped everything they were doing to investigate a NON CRIMINAL activity.
I smell a rat. Some might call it a pay back. All I know is that every single department should be treated equally and this is NOT the case here. While I firmly agree, the Police should have been given the funding former Council Members agreed to years ago, ponying up more than $450,000.00 for the rest of the year and ignoring other departments is just plain wrong.
I also find it VERY interesting how the Mayor has not been present in ANY of the Work Sessions and Council Meetings on this matter. Perhaps he's too afraid I might stand up and challenge him like I'm doing right now.
Mayor Ireton knew there was extra funding in surplus but refused to let the Council know how much. This is just way too convenient to have me believe it was anything other than insider trading, (so to speak).
"It's not Joe Albero's election to lose, it's the citizens' election to lose."
I stated back in my eartlier Post on this matter: "In my almost 50 years of life I have seen MANY Teachers charged and very few convicted. It seems easy these days to file charges against a Teacher and quite frankly I feel its important to let these things go to court, (if it ever goes that far) and report the outcome".
Filmmaker Joel Gilbert makes the case in his full-length documentary“Dreams from My Real Father: A Story of Reds and Deception.”
The ad will run in the Post’s New York City, national and international editions Tuesday and Sunday.
By James Howard Kunstler
In an age of gross zeitgeist dysfunction — when untruth, delusion, and deception rule – politics is mere advertising, which is to say surface shimmer playing on the public’s wish-fulfillment fantasies. The trouble at this moment in history is that the American public’s wishful fantasies are inconsistent with the circumstances that reality offers to us and the choices for action that they present.
President Obama’s historical role will be seen as a wish-fulfillment totem for late 20th century progressive liberalism – the first black president. The Democratic Party apotheosized the genial young lawyer with his appealing family in order to demonstrate the triumph of social justice, which was their great struggle of the era. Evidence of that is the striking divergence from the get-go between Mr. Obama’s Hope and Change advertising and his sedulous defense of pervasive racketeering at the highest levels of polity once in office. Otherwise, you must decide whether he was a tool of the giant banks, or a dupe-made-hostage to them, or simply too clueless to understand what was required in 2009 – namely the break-up and reorganization of the banks plus hearty prosecution of their executives for massive swindling (along with reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act). I voted for him in 2008, by the way, since the wish-fulfillment motif moved me, and also because of the horrifying McCain-Palin opposition.
In office, then, Mr. Obama quickly proved to be a different breed of porpoise than the voters bargained for. He let the Wall Street privateers run amuck another four years, aided with colossal infusions of conjured-out-of-nothing “money” from the Federal Reserve. He let loose the demons of a high-tech totalitarian “security” state with every sort of electronic surveillance, citizen data-mining, and drone spying that innovation allowed. He stood silent like a Banana Republic store mannequin after the supreme court decided that corporations could buy elections (he could have pushed loudly for legislation or even a constitutional amendment to redefine corporate “personhood”). And of course, he continued to prosecute the absurd war in Afghanistan where, after nine years, US forces are unable to accomplish the only aims of being there: to control the terrain and to moderate the behavior of the people who live there.
Chicago Teachers Vote to Strike; 350,000 Kids Affected; 16% Raise Over 4 Years Not Good Enough; Strike of Choice; Roadblock to Reform
The average teacher in Chicago makes $76,000 a year for nine months of work. They were offered 16% salary increase spread over four years. Given the system has a $665 million deficit this year and a bigger one next year, I am wondering why there should be a raise at all.
Nonetheless, the New York Times reports With No Contract Deal by Deadline in Chicago, Teachers Will Strike.
“We do not want a strike,” David J. Vitale, president of the Chicago Board of Education, said late Sunday as he left the negotiations, which he described as extraordinarily difficult and “perhaps the most unbelievable process that I’ve ever been through.”
Union leaders said they had hoped not to walk away from their jobs, but they said they were left with little choice.
“This is a difficult decision and one we hoped we could have avoided,” said Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union.
The political stakes now may be highest for Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic mayor in a city with deep union roots. He took office last year holding up the improvement of public schools as one of his top priorities, but now faces arduous political terrain certain to accompany Chicago’s first public schools strike in 25 years.
Late Sunday, Mr. Emanuel told reporters that school district officials had presented a strong offer to the union, including what some officials described as what would amount to a 16 percent raise for many teachers over four years — and that only two minor issues remained. “This is totally unnecessary, it’s avoidable and our kids do not deserve this,” Mr. Emanuel said, describing the decision as “a strike of choice.”
What attracts the left, both politicians and media, to Slick Willy is the fact that he presided over a thriving economy even while raising taxes. This coincidence was championed as a justification for higher tax rates by Obama in his own speech  before the DNC.
I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 – the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.
The Clinton-era tax hikes, it is alleged, provided the federal government the means to create a healthy middle class. Or at least that’s the only casual connection that can be gathered from such a philosophy. The left claims that economic growth is driven primarily by middle class spending. This spending needs to be subsidized in turn by government initiatives. As Nobel Prize winning economist and class warrior Joseph Stiglitz puts it:
Overall, voter turnout has not increased, and one national study suggests early voting may have depressed turnout in several states, possibly because election day loses its stimulating effect on non-voters.
Since Maryland implemented early voting in 2010, a small percentage of the electorate has taken advantage of the six-day, pre-election period now afforded under law. Only 2.4% of eligible voters used early voting centers in the 2010 and 2012 primary elections and 6.3% in the 2010 general election, according to the State Board of Elections.
Overall, the government has recovered about 80 percent of the money it spent through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the best-known of recession-era financial bailout programs.
Total consumer borrowing dipped $3.3 billion in July from June to a seasonally adjusted $2.705 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Monday. It was the first decline since August 2011. The drop in credit card debt offset a small rise in a measure of auto and student loans.
The Agriculture Department once again is buying meat from a California slaughterhouse it had investigated for animal cruelty. The department says Central Valley Meat has made improvements after an undercover video showed workers kicking and shocking downed cows.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service says there's no evidence sick cattle made it into the food supply. However the agency plans quarterly audits at the facility for at least the next year. The Department buys meat to supply school lunch and other food programs.
"I hope that you cherish this honor as part of your memories of this summer, and as a reminder that you will always have a home — let me say that one more time, especially for Mr. Phelps — you will always have a home here in Baltimore," said Baltimore MayorStephanie Rawlings-Blake as she gave keys to the city to the famously Las Vegas-loving swimmer and the other Olympic athletes.
“Today we remember how America was forever changed one fateful morning eleven years ago. I will never forget where I was when I first heard the horrific news or how I felt for all of the families and the nation affected by this unimaginable tragedy. I join my fellow Americans in prayer today in remembrance of those who lost their lives on that day. It is also important to remember all the brave men and women overseas defending our freedoms and liberties so that nothing like that horrible day in September ever occurs again.”
Ten years ago, owners Colleen and Michael Histon couldn’t have guessed that the farm and cheese making business would be in their future. When their children were in 4-H, it was normal to have a few market lambs, of the meat variety, or a dairy heifer in their 2.5-acre back yard in Mount Airy. Once the kids got older and moved on, Colleen continued to raise a few lambs as a personal source of meat, and even got into showing them at the local fairs.
Date of Incident: 8 September 2012
Location: Bateman Street at South Division Street, Salisbury, MD
Suspect: Trey Michael Davis, 23, Cambridge, MD
Narrative: On 8 September 2012 at 1:52 AM, a deputy from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office stopped a Ford F-250 that the deputy observed driving the wrong way on the one way section of Bateman Street as the F-250 approached South Division Street. The deputy stopped the F250 and detected a strong odor of alcohol emanating from within the passenger compartment. The driver, Trey Davis, exited the
truck for the purpose of sobriety testing. The deputy concluded after testing that Davis was operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol and placed him under arrest.
The deputy transported Davis to the Sheriff’s Office for processing, during which Davis declined to take a breath test.
Davis was released upon the issuance of citations.
Charges: Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol.
Incident: Driving Under the Influence
Date of Incident: 9 September 2012
Location: 300 block of N. Camden Avenue, Salisbury, MD
Suspect: Steven Michael Carey, 61, Fruitland, MD
Narrative: On 9 September 2012 at 1:15 AM, a deputy from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office responded to a reported three car collision in the 300 block of N. Camden Avenue. Upon arrival, the deputy discovered that Steven Carey of Fruitland had been southbound on North Camden Avenue when Carey’s vehicle struck the rear end of a stopped van owned and operated by Salisbury University that was
stopped in the roadway for the purpose of picking up passengers. Investigation revealed that the four way flashers of the van were operating. After striking the rear of the van, Carey’s vehicle was then bounced into the path of a third vehicle that was travelling northbound causing that third vehicle to become involved in the collision.
Upon making contact with the Carey, the deputy detected a strong odor of alcohol and suspected that Carey was under the Influence. Upon being asked if he had been drinking, Carey replied that he had not.
At the conclusion of sobriety testing, the deputy placed Carey under arrest. The deputy also noted that Carey had trouble standing and had to assist Carey to the patrol vehicle.
Carey refused to take a breath test during processing. Carey was released upon the issuance of citations.
Charges: Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
Too Fast For Conditions
Incident: Obstructing and Hindering
Date of Incident: 8 September 2012
Location: 1000 block of East Road, Salisbury, MD
Suspect: Brandon D. Sykes, 28, Salisbury, MD
Narrative: On 8 September 2012 at 8:45 PM, a deputy from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office responded to investigate a reported domestic dispute in the 1000 block of East Road. Upon arrival the deputy met with a female subject who resided there who stated she wanted a male subject to leave the residence. While the deputy attempted to investigate the event, the name of the male subject was requested by deputy. The male subject, who was very agitated by the presence of the deputy, replied “(Expletive) You, I don’t have to give you my name”. The female identified the male as Brandon Sykes, who then exclaimed “Don’t you tell him my name (expletive)”. When asked to confirm his identity, Sykes replied he did not have one. The refusal of Sykes to confirm his identity made it difficult for the deputy to complete and investigation.
The deputy placed Sykes under arrest for Hindering and Obstruction and transported Sykes to the Central Booking Unit. While en-route, the deputy obtained a photo of Sykes via his Mobile Date Terminal and confirmed Sykes identity. Sykes was processed at the Central Booking Unit and taken in front of the District Court Commissioner. After an initial appearance, the Commissioner detained Sykes in the Detention Center in lieu of $15,000.00 bond.
Charges: Obstructing and Hindering
Notes From The Wicomico County Board Of Education: Meeting At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11; Board Notes Posted From August Meeting
Board Notes provide an unofficial summary of business conducted at recent meetings of the Wicomico County Board of Education. The Board of Education at its monthly meeting held on Aug. 14, 2012:
Began using BoardDocs Pro, a paperless online meeting system designed to deliver better public access to agendas and supporting materials, increased efficiency and significant cost savings in some areas. Robert Langan, Director of Technology, explained how the community can view meeting agendas and can virtually attend a meeting through following the BoardDocs scoreboard, which shows votes on agenda items. Other Boards have confirmed that BoardDocs is a useful tool for managing Board agendas, policies, minutes and other Board business. The Board will work toward making BoardDocs the repository of its policies so they are searchable locally and by other BoardDocs members. The Board anticipates saving paper and about $14,000 in distribution costs each year while offering improved access to information to the community.
BoardDocs for Wicomico County Public Schools is located at http://www.boarddocs.com/mabe/wcboe/Board.nsf/Public
The Scoreboard, for access during meetings, is at http://www.boarddocs.com/mabe/wcboe/Board.nsf/scoreboard.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. John E. Fredericksen shared with the Board that:
-He and other school system officials attended a meeting of the Wicomico County Chapter of the NAACP to participate in a discussion on the question, “Are black students disciplined more harshly than whites?” Preliminary findings appear to indicate that the answer is yes, and that disciplinary differences manifest in multiple, often subtle ways. Wicomico school officials will continue to discuss the issue with the NAACP and others in the community, and will explore ways of addressing the issue with families, staff and students.
-The Consistent Attire Program (CAP) pilot is ready to kick off in nine elementary schools: Beaver Run, Charles H. Chipman, Delmar, North Salisbury, Pemberton, Pinehurst, Prince Street, Wicomico Early Learning Center and West Salisbury. CAP dress requirements will be in effect with the start of the new school year Aug. 27, and schools will work with students and families to ensure full compliance. Some students from Title I schools who attended a summer camp for children in homeless circumstances received a flyer (not a voucher, as was erroneously stated) about CAP clothing; qualifying students could receive three sets of CAP outfits, purchased from a dedicated Title I fund for serving homeless students. Research has shown that consistent attire improves discipline, safety and learning, and results in savings for families.
-Applications for Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs) have already exceeded 6,000 for the new school year, with more expected in the coming weeks. Wicomico had 58% of its students eligible for free and reduced-price meals last year due to family income.
-The Summer Feeding Program run by Food Services was very successful, and will look to add even more faith-based partner locations next year.
-Wicomico is rolling out “Why Try!,” a Christian Moore program designed to help students succeed. Themes include relationships, relevancy and resilience, and understanding different styles of learning including seeing (visual), hearing (auditory) and feeling (kinesthetic). “Why Try!” is being tried out in a few schools first.
-Teams are continuing to make great progress on developing effective observation/evaluation tools for teachers, with professional development on the new tools done Aug. 13 and 14 for principals, supervisors and coordinators. Work continues on setting the criteria for measuring student growth for principal evaluations. A full work session was set for Sept. 4.
-About 130 principals and supervisors attended the 2012 Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Educator Effectiveness Academy held in Cambridge this summer. Sixty people had training at North Salisbury Elementary on Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility, the new School Progress Index (which replaces Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP), the new teacher evaluation system, and Year 3 action plan and budget for Race to the Top.
-The Comprehensive Master Plan will soon have its annual update, with some changes due to ESEA flexibility and new Master Plan requirements. Race to the Top is integrated into the Master Plan. Wicomico is awaiting guidance from MSDE for the update, which is due Oct. 15.
-Technology renovations are nearing completion to have a secure staff wireless network and an “EDUGUEST” network to provide access for guests during meetings and special events. The school system also had a new, higher-speed connection with Comcast at a lower cost than the previous contract. A cutover to the new Outlook system for email is planned for Sept. 28, and the school system is looking at shortening the current five-year length of time it keeps emails in its archive due to storage issues.
-Facility Services has taken care of building projects throughout the school system this summer, include the roof and parking area/access lane at Fruitland Intermediate, locker replacement at Pittsville Elementary and Middle, roof replacement at Charles H. Chipman Elementary, and auditorium upgrades at Parkside High and Wicomico High.
-The school system continues to work on adjustments to programming because of the non-renewal of the STARS I grant.
-The attendance policy review is continuing.
-The equipping of buses with Zonar GPS systems continues, with installations scheduled for Aug. 24. Three days of bus inspections will also take place in August to ensure that all buses meet safety requirements to transport Wicomico students.
-The first Superintendent’s Open Door of the 2012-13 school year will be held 4-6 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Board of Education Office. Anyone who wishes to share comments, concerns or questions with the Superintendent may come in that timeframe for a 15-minute meeting on a first-come, first-served basis.
Mr. McGee who wrote to you about the paper delivery yesterday is a liar. We have GPS and Cameras in the car.
He swerved at the car. Tailgated them and conducted an illegal traffic stop on them.
He cursed out the Honor Roll kids and local athletes and threaten 16year old for delivering a FREE paper. They never broke 51 yesterday and in his area the top speed posted is 31mph. I suspect he was more upset that we recorded the whole thing and that I called him back.
Mr. McGee was furious when I called him back - he wanted to know how I got his number - his company name MCGEE ELECTRIC is on the side of his van. Then the rocket scientist threatened me and said we have delivered to him for 14 weeks. Funny since this was our 5th paper and the first time we delivered to his area!
If you don't want a paper - no worries! This was our last week of delivering 5000+ to home in the area. We will only deliver 1000 to a different area each week as our subscription base has grown into a full time job.
This is supposed to be a community paper with community events, and community photos and community stories... and its free! We have had an overwhelming positive response.
Anyone wanting free home delivery we will soon have boxes for you for free as well. We will do our best not to deliver to people that are on the list of no home deliveries.
The paper cost over $1.25 per paper to produce - we don't want any wasted. AND IF WE DOUBLE DELIVERED or delivered one or two you don't want, then use them for crab paper but for goodness sake take a deep breath and don't act like the guy from McGee Electric! We want this to be a positive thing for our community. Take care and God Bless.
John D. Robinson, Sr.
Admission is based on SAT/ACT scores, class rank, physical aptitude scores, extracurricular activities, athletic abilities and medical examinations. Academies accept applications on a rolling admissions basis beginning in September. Final acceptance however is contingent upon also receiving a nomination from an authorized source such as one's congressman or senator. The deadline to apply for a nomination from Congressman Harris is November 1, 2012. Any resident of the 1st District between the ages of 17 and 23 is encouraged to apply. Interviews will be conducted in November, and the Service Academies will be notified of Congressman Harris' nominations by December 31.
The favorites won big, mostly in blowouts, and the lone shocker was the Jets transforming into an unstoppable juggernaut on offense.
But while the results were boring, the action was not.
We had celebration fails, bone-crunching hits, and one spitting-mad coach.
We picked our 10 favorite GIFs from yesterday and ranked them.
Beverly Bell: Can you please start by telling us how you define alternative media?
Leslie Thatcher: I would define alternative media as media not controlled by mega-corporations or big business or very wealthy people. It is not necessarily progressive. Probably there are some AstroTurf alternative media out there, outlets that appear to be independent but are funded by the people who fund right-wing think tanks and other ideological ventures.
On the internet, you hardly need anything more than a computer to start a website. So that's probably the simplest place to do alternative media. But there've always been alternative media. I'm old enough to remember when alternative media were mimeographed pamphlets you handed out at colleges and demonstrations and things like that.
BB: And for people who care about constructing alternatives to the world we live in that's governed by money and corrupt power, how do you view media as a vehicle?
LT: We hope that by reporting what's really happening, we'll be able to change things because once people understand what's happening, they'll respond to it, rise up and do something about it.
Alternative media is hopefully not controlled by the dominant storyline in America, which I once heard someone describe as, "Everything is really okay. No matter what's happening, it's all right; just go out there and buy stuff." And that's whether it's NPR or Time Warner or Fox. Whatever they're reporting on, it seems to lull people to sleep or alarm them in ways that are not constructive. The things that they want you to respond to are putative threats, instead of what I would define as the real threats to our autonomy, our democracy, our integrity as human beings, real threats to life and love.
So I really strongly feel that I'm doing this because it gives me the opportunity every day to offer an alternative to the prevalent worldview in this country. Though sometimes I wonder whether it's really the prevalent worldview or whether it's simply the one that's dosed out to us. People in communities that are not white, that are not middle class, certainly have a different view of the world, I think, from the one that prevails in mainstream media.
Built around a tropical theme, the event will take place at the Nassawango Country Club in Snow Hill on the banks of the Pocomoke River and will feature music from the 1960’s through the 80’s.
DDC Executive Director Brian Garrett explained the event is a bit out of the norm as far as his organization’s fundraising efforts usually go.
One problem with radical test score gains, as many researchers have noted, is that miraculous improvements in test scores over short periods of time are more often the result of cheating, student skimming, or other test manipulation. We've seen this pattern repeated all over the nation, starting with the so-called Texas Miracle under former US education secretary Rod Paige's oversight.
Something very similar happened in New York state, where unrevealed relaxations in state testing standards led to a multi-year belief in the efficacy of reforms there. When results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests revealed the gains were illusory, New York admitted the test changes, thereby wiping out half a decade of supposed achievement gains on math and language tests.