Sunday, July 31, 2011

Science center tops pay in district

Things won't get fixed, until this sort of thing gets fixed. Unfortunately, it will require a great deal more pain:

The St. Louis Science Center last year spent more on compensation for its top executives, and took up a larger share of its payroll for them, than any other tax-supported cultural institution in the Zoo-Museum District.

The nine highest-paid executives at the science center in 2010 collectively received more than $2 million in compensation, which includes salary, retirement packages and other benefits. That made up 19 percent of what the science center paid for its entire staff, which includes 184 full-time employees and 410 part-timers.

None of the other four local institutions that receive tax money paid that much collectively to their highest-earning executives — those making more than $150,000 in total compensation — or took up that much of their payroll for them.

Some Bankers Never Learn

Why Voters Tune Out Democrats

Read this:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Re Casting Dr. Strangelove

Since we seem to be re-living that dark comedy, I have been thinking about casting.

Grover Norquist as Dr. Strangelove.

John Boehener as General Turgidson

Eric Cantor as General Jack D. Ripper

And the South Carolina Congressional delegation as the bomber crew.


Friday, July 29, 2011

South Carolina Wants It's Own Tag On

Debt ceiling bill puts South Carolina vs. the world in House

The freshmen are some of the most conservative members of their class—Mulvaney proposed an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill two weeks ago to freeze defense spending at FY 2011 levels and was soundly defeated by members of his own party. Last month, he opened up to POLITICO about his delegation’s “South Carolina versus the world” mentality.

“I know it’s been frustrating to our leadership sometimes, because they look at South Carolina and say, ‘What are these crazy guys going to do now?’ But all we’re doing is being true to our state,” Mulvaney said.

Duncan said at that time that their leadership had “gotten the message very clearly early on from us. They know we’re going to talk; we’re going to try to be like-minded when it comes to representing South Carolina.”

The positions taken by Sen. Jim DeMint — a conservative powerhouse nationally and especially in the state — undoubtedly loom large over the House delegation. The House freshmen periodically put DeMint on conference call to seek his advice on votes. DeMint was a strong opponent of the Boehner plan, appearing at a Tea Party rally Wednesday to urge members of Congress to “hold the line” against any vote but the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan passed in the House. The four freshmen insisted they were “no” or “lean no” votes throughout the week.

Asked whether divine intervention might hit during prayer Thursday night, Scott said: “Divine inspiration already happened. I was a lean no, and now I’m a no.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The evil of Rupert Murdoch

The editors had talked to Murdoch at length, and he had given them his personal assurance that the paper’s quality would be maintained. Within a few months, all those editors were gone. They had quit in disgust or had been shown the door. Murdoch imported his own thugs and stooges from Britain to run the place.

Read more:

Did U.S. firm use bribery to land fuel contract for U.S. forces in Iraq?

A lawsuit in Florida has cracked open a rare window into the cloistered world of high-level war contracting, as a billionaire oilman defends himself against allegations that his company paid off Jordanian government officials to control supply lines of fuel to U.S. forces in Iraq.

The controversial businessman at the center of the trial that began last week in Palm Beach is Harry Sargeant III, a retired Top Gun pilot and former GOP fundraiser who is denying the lawsuit’s claim that an ex-CIA agent working at his oil company wired a $9 million bribe to the head of Jordan’s intelligence agency in 2007.

Mohammad al-Saleh, the plaintiff in the case first reported by NBC News in May 2008, is a member of Jordan’s royal family. He claims that the payment was a kickback that helped Sargeant perpetuate a monopoly on shipping fuel though Jordan to U.S. bases in neighboring Iraq.

The existence of the monopoly was confirmed by a congressional investigation in 2008 that accused Sargeant’s energy business, the International Oil Trading Co. (IOTC), of gouging the Pentagon in what it called the “worst form of war profiteering.” A Pentagon audit found this year that IOTC was overpaid by as much as $200 million on fuel contracts dating from 2005. The company, however, insists it was underpaid and has sued the U.S. government for $75 million.

Column: Could Murdoch scandal happen in U.S. media?

"Why should the public trust us?"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Busy, busy, busy!

I've been in my new position for two weeks, and I've had little time to update the blog. It's a good job. But, I have a lot more territory to cover. It's quite a physical shock, especially in the heat. I'm slowly moving into my new workspace.

I literally had to buy new shoes.

I have a fair number of articles to note for posting. The debt and Rupert Murdoch meltdowns are fun to watch.

Scruffy had his annual exam, and is now ready for his trim.

Regrettably, the sewer in the basement was clogged by tree roots, and Roto-Rooter profited. I also lost the load of clothes in the washer. The car needs new tires. Life goes on.

One of my oldest friends is moving from the city to the county. His house was the Library Of Congress for us in the old days, so seeing *bare walls* in the old house was a considerable shock. The new house has more than double the space, and a far better garage.

The heat has restricted Scruffy and my own movements. He's not a puppy anymore, and neither is my old body.

I still need to clean out space for my house's gaming area. All is about 60% ready, but a house cleaning is needed.

TV DX'ing is getting worse by the day. The coming FCC-mandated TV spectrum loss will render most TV DX'ing moot before the end of the decade.

Almost ready to upgrade my amateur radio license. Life interfered with it during June; I'm hoping for late August, now.