ATLANTA Reuters – A grand jury indicted 35 former Atlanta public school educators, including an award-winning former superintendent, on Friday for allegedly conspiring to cheat on standardized test scores to obtain cash bonuses.Former Superintendent Beverly Hall was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators in 2009, the same year prosecutors contend widespread cheating took place.Hall received a $78,000 bonus that year for improving the school system’s test scores, prosecutors said.”The money she received, we are alleging, was ill gotten and it was theft,” Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said at a news conference.Besides Hall, those indicted included administrators, principals and teachers.
The 65-count indictment said “test answer sheets were altered, fabricated and falsely certified.”Hall was charged with racketeering, making false statements, theft by taking and false swearing. She and others could face up to 45 years in prison if convicted, Howard said.A state investigation of test results in 2009 found cheating in 44 of the 56 Atlanta public schools examined. The cheating was prompted primarily by pressure to meet targets in a data-driven environment, according to a investigation conducted by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s office.
Read the Rest @ Former Atlanta schools chief, others indicted in cheating scandal – Yahoo! News.
TEL AVIV – Did former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commit perjury when she claimed in a Senate hearing that she did not know whether the U.S. mission in Libya was procuring or transferring weapons to Turkey and other Arab countries? The goal of the alleged weapons shipments was to arm the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Any training or arming of the Syrian rebels would be considered highly controversial. A major issue is the inclusion of jihadists, including al-Qaida, among the ranks of the Free Syrian Army and other Syrian opposition groups. During the recent hearings over the Obama administration’s handling of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Clinton was directly asked about alleged U.S. weapons shipments out of Libya.
Clinton claimed she did not know whether the U.S. was aiding Turkey and other Arab countries in procuring weapons.
… “You’re saying you don’t know?” asked Paul.
“I do not know,” Clinton said. “I don’t have any information on that.”
Clinton’s claims seem to now be unraveling.
Confirming WND’s exclusive reporting for over a year, the New York Times earlier this week reported that since early 2012, the CIA has been aiding Arab governments and Turkey in obtaining and shipping weapons to the Syrian rebels.
Read the Rest @ Did Hillary commit perjury?.
… especially if you are self employed and pay for it yourself. “Skimpy Insurance plans”? What if we’re pretty healthy and don’t need a more expensive plan, we’ve got other expenses to worry about. Imagine if they forced you to upgrade your car insurance to a less “skimpy” option. “Premiums, are going to be, lower”… another broken promise?
They won’t make a sound no matter how many of them you try to toss in a bucket, and you can’t pitch them in a fountain and wish for good luck. But make no mistake, bitcoins are getting big.
The online alternative currency, previously little more than a curiosity in financial markets since its 2009 inception, has zoomed in trading value since the Cyprus banking crisis erupted two weeks ago.
With fears spreading that even insured deposits might not be safe in similar nations hit by banking crises, those looking for a haven to store their wealth have fled to the complicated world of digital cash.
“Incremental demand for bitcoin is coming from the geographic areas most affected by the Cypriot financial crisis-individuals in countries like Greece or Spain, worried that they will be next to feel the threat of deposit taxes,” Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx, said in a report on the startling trend.
Read the Rest @ Bitcoin: Cyprus Sparks Scramble for Digital Dollars – Yahoo! Finance.
PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande may have finally found a way to tax the really rich: by making their companies pay.
In a televised interview Thursday night, he said he wants companies that pay their employees more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million) to pay 75 percent payroll taxes on those salaries.
The proposed tax, which still needs to be approved by parliament, replaces one of Hollande’s signature campaign proposals: to tax individuals who earns more than 1 million euros at 75 percent. France’s highest court has thrown out that plan and the government has been looking for a replacement.
Hollande said he hoped the new proposal would push companies to lower executive pay at a time when France’s economy is suffering, unemployment is soaring and employees are being asked to take pay cuts.
While the president reiterated his goal of stopping the rise of unemployment this year and restarting growth, he offered no specific new economic policies.
Read the Rest @ France to tax companies 75 pct on $1.3M salaries – Yahoo! News.
“Marriage is between a man and a woman… gay marriage not a civil right”, how much of the country is aware of this flip flop? I guess once you’re in office your policies can change with the tides.
Are you having trouble keeping track of the President’s shaky gay marriage stance? Well, the following won’t make things any easier…
Obama was in favor of same-sex marriage before he was against it — and before he was for it again. In 1996, as he ran for Illinois state Senate, Chicago’s Outlines gay newspaper asked candidates to fill out a questionnaire. Tracy Baim, the co-founder and publisher of Outlines, dug up a copy of the questionnaire in 2009, cataloging the president-elect’s shift.
He had written on the 1996 questionnaire, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
Read the Rest @ President Barack Obama’s shifting stance on gay marriage
Finally a look back at 2008….
Anger is growing against President Barack Obama the day after he signed into law a spending bill that included a provision opponents have dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act.”
But food and public safety advocates and independent farmers are furious that Obama signed it despite its inclusion of language that they consider to be a gift to Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) and other firms that produce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds and crops.
The protests come on the heels of a massive petition campaign… But Obama ignored it, instead choosing to sign a bill that effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO or GE crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from the consumption of these products may come to light in the future.
“This provision is simply an industry ploy to continue to sell genetically engineered seeds even when a court of law has found they were approved by USDA illegally,” the petition stated. “It is unnecessary and an unprecedented attack on U.S. judicial review. Congress should not be meddling with the judicial review process based solely on the special interest of a handful of companies.”
Many food safety advocates maintain that there have not been enough studies into the potential health risks of GMO and GE seeds and crops, and the judicial power to stop companies from selling or planting them was one key recourse they were relying on to stop them from being sold if health risks come to light.
Read the Rest @ Furor Growing Against Obama Over ‘Monsanto Protection Act’.
Related Article @ The Unholy Alliance: Monsanto, Dupont & Obama
Related Article @ You’re Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It’s Not So!
Related Article @ Obama Appoints Monsanto’s VP as Senior Advisor to FDA
The Great Recession is an apt name for America’s current stagnation, but the present phase might also be called the Grand Illusion—because the happy talk and statistics that go with it, especially regarding jobs, give a rosier picture than the facts justify.
The country isn’t really advancing. By comparison with earlier recessions, it is going backward. Despite the most stimulative fiscal policy in American history and a trillion-dollar expansion to the money supply, the economy over the last three years has been declining. After 2.4% annual growth rates in gross domestic product in 2010 and 2011, the economy slowed to 1.5% growth in 2012. Cumulative growth for the past 12 quarters was just 6.3%, the slowest of all 11 recessions since World War II.
And last year’s anemic growth looks likely to continue. Sequestration will take $600 billion of government expenditures out of the economy over the next 10 years, including $85 billion this year alone. The 2% increase in payroll taxes will hit about 160 million workers and drain $110 billion from their disposable incomes. The Obama health-care tax will be a drag of more than $30 billion. The recent 50-cent surge in gasoline prices represents another $65 billion drag on consumer cash flow.
February’s headline unemployment rate was portrayed as 7.7%, down from 7.9% in January. The dip was accompanied by huzzahs in the news media claiming the improvement to be “outstanding” and “amazing.” But if you account for the people who are excluded from that number—such as “discouraged workers” no longer looking for a job, involuntary part-time workers and others who are “marginally attached” to the labor force—then the real unemployment rate is somewhere between 14% and 15%.
Read the Rest @ Zuckerman: The Great Recession Has Been Followed by the Grand Illusion – WSJ.com.
With all the recent threats coming from North Korea lately I thought it would be a decent time to share this documentary. It doesn’t have the usual “North Korea is a horrible place” tone since it appears to try and present the country as objectively as possible, touching briefly on controversial areas when they come up yet quickly moving along to more mundane subjects. However, even with its lighthearted approach, the controlling and harmful aspects of this regime on its people is easy to see.
Watch the trailer for “A State of Mind” below, click on Read More to watch the full documentary.
MIAMI (Reuters) – Millions of Americans will be priced out of health insurance under President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul because of a glitch in the law that adversely affects people with modest incomes who cannot afford family coverage offered by their employers, a leading healthcare advocacy group said on Tuesday.
Tax credits are a key component of the law and the White House has said the credits, averaging about $4,000 apiece, will help about 18 million individuals and families pay for health insurance once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, beginning in January 2014.
The tax credits are geared toward low and middle-income Americans who do not have access to affordable health insurance coverage through an employer. The law specifies that employer-sponsored insurance is affordable so long as a worker’s share of the premium does not exceed 9.5 percent of the worker’s household income.
In its rule making, or final interpretation of the law, the IRS said affordability should be based strictly on individual coverage costs, however.
That means that, even if family coverage through an employer-based plan far exceeds the 9.5 percent cutoff, workers would not be eligible for the tax credits to help buy insurance for children or non-working dependents.
Read the Rest @ Little hope seen for millions priced out of health overhaul – Yahoo! News.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Insurance companies will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims on individual health policies under President Barack Obama’s overhaul, the nation’s leading group of financial risk analysts has estimated.
That’s likely to increase premiums for at least some Americans buying individual plans.
The report by the Society of Actuaries could turn into a big headache for the Obama administration at a time when many parts of the country remain skeptical about the Affordable Care Act.
While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.
The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.
Read the Rest @ Study: Health overhaul to raise claims cost 32 pct – Yahoo! News.
North Korea said today it has moved strategic rocket and artillery units into top combat position in preparation for a strike against the United States.In a statement released by the Korean Central News Agency KCNA, North Korea said, “From this moment, the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army will be putting in combat duty posture No. 1 all field artillery units including long-range artillery strategic rocket units that will target all enemy objects in U.S. invasionary bases on its mainland, Hawaii and Guam.”The United States recently engaged in long-planned joint military exercises in the region. Also, the United States and South Korea Friday signed a military pact providing for a joint response to even low-level provocation from the North.
Read the Rest @ North Korea Puts Artillery Forces on High Alert, Threatens US – ABC News.
The elderly have always needed help in their later years. It has come mainly from family members, and this continues to be the case. But today’s family is far smaller and more likely to be geographically scattered than in the past. These trends are expected to become more pronounced. Add in rising numbers of older Americans and the outlook is for a nation increasingly unable to have the time or money to take care of its older citizens. Obamacare recognized this problem. Led by efforts of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, the law included an employer-based long-term care insurance program. Employees would have paid the premiums and the level of coverage was modest. But it would have added a layer of protection that does not exist for most people. To get votes to pass the program, however, it was approved as a voluntary benefit and not as coverage everyone had to get. This universal aspect of insurance is crucial to health care reform. If only sicker people had to get health insurance, their costs would be very high. Healthy people would not feel the need to buy it and would not offset the expenses incurred by those most likely to use the product.This problem, which carries the label of “adverse selection,” is what plagued the new long-term care insurance program. It never got out of the gate–literally–and was abandoned by the Obama Administration as unworkable. To throw supporters a bone, a long-term care commission was created to develop recommendations. It has no budget or staff, which should tell you something about the lofty priority this topic enjoys.
via Should Long-Term Care Be an Entitlement? – Yahoo! News.
This country is over $16 trillion in debt, over $100 trillion if you count unfunded liabilities, and we seriously have articles putting thoughts of yet more entitlements in people’s minds!? Are you kidding me?
The Obama administration has failed in gun control because it has failed to enforce existing gun laws.In 2007, candidate Barack Obama said, “We know what to do. We’ve got to enforce the gun laws that are on the books.” He also alluded to cracking down on straw man purchasers and “unscrupulous gun dealers.” He continued to reiterate this view on the campaign trail in 2008, including calls for stronger background checks.When President Obama addressed the people of Newtown, he asked, “can we honestly say that we’re doing enough?” and answered, “If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough,” adding, “surely we can do better than this … if there’s even one step we can take to save another [life] … then surely we have an obligation to try.” But President Obama has apparently forgotten the words of candidate Obama. President Obama would have to look no further than a mirror to see who is responsible for not doing “better than this.” Strong enforcement of existing gun laws has not been a priority. CNN’s John Avlon writes, “before the Newtown shootings, the Obama administration had not made enforcement of existing guns laws a political or policy priority” and cites Arkadi Gerney, an adviser to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on illegal guns from 2006-11 who said, “during the Clinton administration there were efforts to fully enforce the gun laws we have.”
Read the Rest @ Gun Control Facts: Existing Gun Laws Would Reduce Crime, But These Are Not Enforced.