Previous month:
October 2010
Next month:
December 2010

November 2010

No More Shell Games!

Steve_rathje On November 29th, President Obama announced that he was imposing a two-year freeze in the wages of federal employees, with the intention of saving $60 billion over the next 10 years.

Question; How does freezing wages at their current level actually provide a savings?

Answer; It doesn’t! To actually provide a ‘physical savings’ cuts not freezing, need to take place. Otherwise, what is being described as savings is merely, in all reality, preventative spending, two very separate things. This freeze as they call it is nothing more than a shell game to get taxpayers to believe that the government is serious about saving money and reducing spending.

Let’s look at this from a common sense point of view. Let’s say you own a company, and that company spends a million dollars a year on payroll, payroll that it can no longer afford. Do you freeze future wage increases to save or reduce capital expenditures? No! Rather, you cut current wages and benefits immediately while analyzing the necessity of the current labor force. All departments have to participate with unnecessary personnel from each department receiving a furlough. Duties are combined wherever possible. Feasibility studies are made to determine internal costs vs. subcontracted ones. Budgets are brought inline with revisions being made, and prices are cut to stimulate sales in order to boost profits and become economically solvent again.

Keep this in mind. The average wage of a federal employee is right at $100K p/year, that in and of itself is a recipe for disaster. Why, because federal employees produce nothing that can be sold at a profit. They are what we in business call indirect labor that is labor that cannot pay for itself. This type of labor is what companies try to eliminate altogether or at the very least, keep to a bare minimum. Indirect labor merely adds to government overhead, which increases costs/taxes and doesn’t add anything to the GDP in the process.

Using 2009 numbers, which are more than likely, due to historical fact, the most accurate numbers we have that can be trusted, there are, as of January 2009, 2,748,978 civilian federal employees in the United States government. This is according to the Federal Employment Statistics published by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Employees with security agencies (CIA, NSA, etc) as well as the Military and National Imagery and Mapping Agency are not included in this number.

During this time, 97.6% of civilian federal employees worked in the executive branch of federal government with a total payroll that exceeded $275 billion per year.

So what should we do? First of all, let’s cut all federal employee wages, with the exception of the CIA, NSA, etc., as well as the Military, National Imagery and Mapping Agencies by 15% immediately. That in and of itself will save $41.235 Billion per year or $412.346 Billion over 10 years even if no reduction in federal employees ever takes place. In addition, all government pensions and benefits (except the aforementioned) must be reviewed and reduced to levels commensurate with industry standards. I would also strongly suggest a 25% reduction in federal employees once feasibility studies are completed by an independent agency or agencies, and a determination made as to how many federal jobs can actually be provided by private sector companies. Based once again on 2009 numbers, a 25% cut in personnel would reduce the number of federal employees by 687,244, with an income averaging $100K p/yr, reflects an annual savings of $68.724 Billion or $687.245 Billion over 10 years.

So to sum it up, reducing federal employees by 25% or 687,244, and immediately cutting the average wage by 15%, saves the American taxpayer $120.268 Billion p/yr or $1.203 Trillion over a 10 year period. Imagine the message that would send to friend and foe alike.

How many folks reading this article, have been laid off? How many of you have gone to work one day, only to find yourself being called into the office to receive a pink slip? No one, especially your employer, likes to be placed in this situation. But in order to remain in business and continue to produce a viable product to the public, drastic measures like these are unfortunately necessary.

We all know too well how the size of government directly affects the economic wellbeing of America . Government must be reduced wherever possible, spending must be reigned in and waste a thing of the past. The shell game that’s being played by our elected representatives must come to an end, because if it doesn’t, America as we know it will become nothing more than a pawn in a game of cat and mouse where there are no winners, only losers.

Steven R Rathje Founder/C.E.O.
International Procurement Services, Inc. and
The Genesis Group, Inc.


Latest Reported Weather Conditions

Have you looked outside?  The first visible snowfall has arrived, although it probably won't accumulate to much.

For the rest of the day:  Windy, colder and cloudy with scattered snow showers and patchy freezing drizzle. High around 30. West wind 20 to 30 mph with gusts to around 35 mph. Chance of precipitation 40 percent.  Tonight the low will be around 18 with winds continuing to gust up to 30 mph.


Branstad announces Debi Durham as head of Iowa Department of Economic Development

URBANDALE, IA. -- At a news conference this morning, Gov.-elect Terry Branstad announced that Debi Durham will serve as head of the Iowa Department of Economic Development in the Branstad/Reynolds administration.

Durham has been president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce since being named to the post in July of 1995. She also serves as president of The Siouxland Initiative (TSI), the economic development corporation serving the tri-state metropolitan area, and the Siouxland Chamber Foundation.

“Today, I am excited to name Debi Durham as head of the Iowa Department of Economic Development,” said Branstad. “When I began my campaign for governor, I stated my ambitious goal of creating 200,000 new Iowa jobs over five years. With Debi spearheading these efforts, I have no doubt we will reach this goal.”

Branstad says Durham’s experience as head of a private-public partnership will be valuable as the department begins its transition to the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress.

“I am honored to be named as head of Terry Branstad’s Department of Economic Development,” said Durham. “His bold, hands-on leadership was very successful in leading Iowa through the Farm Crisis to our state’s economic resurgence in the 1990s. Iowa is fortunate to have his leadership at its helm, and I am ready to get to work creating jobs across the entire state.”

Durham was the 2002 Republican lieutenant governor candidate, and in 2003 was named to the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame.

In both 2007 and 2008, Durham’s leadership contributed to the Siouxland metro’s recognition as the top economic development community in the United States by Site Selection magazine.

For more information on the Branstad/Reynolds transition team, please visit www.GovernorBranstad.com.


Cubs Going After Rays' Slugging First Baseman?

According to reports, the Chicago Cubs are interested in Tampa Bay Rays First baseman Carlos Pena.

A 1998 first-round pick, Pena is now a free agent.  He hit 28 homers last season, batting just .196, but knocking in 84 runs and scoring 64.

Pena, 32, has hit 144 homers in the last four years, an average of 36 per season over that span. 

The Cubs need to fill a void at first base, something they unsuccessfully tried to do with platoon players after the departure of high profile player Derek Lee last summer. 


Iowa City Police Department Re-Accreditation Assessment Team Invites Public Comment

IOWA CITY, IA. -- A team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA®), will arrive December 11, 2010 to examine aspects of the Iowa City Police Department's policy and procedures, management, operations, and services. Verification by the team that the Iowa City Police Department meets the Commission's state-of-the art standards is a part of a voluntary process to maintain accreditation. Accreditation is important to the Iowa City Police Department as it keeps our policies current with the best practices across the United States.

Accreditation is for three years, during which the Department must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with the standards under which it was accredited. The Iowa City Police Department had to address 463 standards in order to gain accredited status. This is the Departments 3rd re-accreditation, with the initial award of accreditation occuring 2002.

The assessors for the accreditation process are: Team Leader - Chief Phillip Baca of the Commerce City, Colorado Police Department and Lieutenant Nick Armold of the Huntington Woods Department of Public Safety, Huntington Woods, MI. The assessors will review written materials, interview individuals, and visit offices and other locations where compliance can be verified. Once the CALEA Assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full Commission, which will then determine if the agency is to be granted accredited status. The CALEA Program Manager for the Iowa City Police Department is Maya Mitchell.

As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session Monday, December 13, 2010, at 7:00p.m. The session will be conducted at the Iowa City Public Library, meeting room A, located at 123 S. Linn, Iowa City, Iowa.

If for some reason an individual cannot speak at the public information session, but would still like to provide comments to the assessment team, he/she may do so by telephone. The public may call 356-5407 on Monday, December 13th, 2010, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Telephone comments, as well as appearances at the public information sessions are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency's ability to comply with CALEA's standards. A copy of the standards is available at the Iowa City Police Department. Local contact is Sgt. Kevin Hurd, (319) 356-5286.


New service helps bus riders get real-time route information via mobile devices

Iowa City, Coralville and the University of Iowa Cambus transit departments have launched an information system called Bus on the Go (or BONGO for short) that provides bus riders with real-time route and vehicle information via a smart phone, text message, website or telephone.

BONGO uses a GPS transmitter on each bus to send a signal every 10 seconds that updates the latitude and longitude of the vehicle along its route. That information is relayed in real time to an online map that displays the predicted arrival times for every stop, each of which is assigned a unique number. Stop numbers can be found online at http://www.ebongo.org and will eventually be posted on signs at each stop.

Riders can check bus locations and expected arrival times several ways:

--Using a handheld smart device (such as iPhone, Blackberry, Droid or Pre) or computer to visit http://www.ebongo.org. Additionally, users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR code on a bus stop sign to load up the bus stop web page on the phone's browser.
--Texting ‘nbus bongo’ with the bus stop number to 41411. There is also an option to receive a text message when the bus is approaching a user's stop – with a lead time chosen by the rider (1 minute, 3 minutes, 10 minutes, etc.)
--Calling 319-471-4155. Riders can call in, enter their stop number and receive information regarding the anticipated arrival time of their bus.

Initial costs for the UI Cambus will be $125,000, plus $50,000 annually for operating the system. Iowa City's share is $120,000 upfront and $35,000 annually, while Coralville will spend $52,000 initially and $13,000 annually.

Editor's Note:  Here's a novel idea, get to the bus stop at least five minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time of the bus.  It's been tested and works every time.  Taxpayers coughed up $395,000 for this luxury and city officials didn't make sure you were aware of the purchase you just made.....   How on earth did transportation departments and passengers survive without this?   They survived just fine, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if these departments ask for bigger budgets next year, as these costs become *higher than anticipated.*


United Nations Bans Skeptical Journalist From Cancun Climate Change Conference

LOS ANGELES, CA. -- A veteran journalist and documentary film maker, known for asking difficult questions of climate scientists and politicians, has been denied press accreditation for the Cancun Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

The UN has refused access to the Cancun Climate Change Conference to Phelim McAleer, who is well known for asking scientists and politicians difficult questions about Global Warming orthodoxy.

McAleer was notified of the UN's refusal to accredit him just days before the international conference opening today.

McAleer produced and directed Not Evil Just Wrong, a documentary on Global Warming, and his reports from Copenhagen Climate Change Conference went viral on Youtube.

During one encounter an armed UN security guard prevented McAleer from asking a scientist difficult questions about the climategate e-mails and warned that if he did not stop filming he would confiscate his equipment and expel him from the conference

McAleer was also assaulted by environmentalists during a live TV  interview.

McAleer says the refusal to allow him access to the Cancun Climate Change Conference is censorship.

"I sent them exactly the same documentation that was acceptable for Copenhagen last year, but it seems they did not like my coverage of Copenhagen and are now trying to silence me and the people who have questions about this process," said McAleer.

"The message is clear—ask UN scientists and politicians difficult questions and you will be banned from any UN sponsored events. No difficult questions allowed," he added.

McAleer is a 20 year veteran journalist who covered the Northern Ireland troubles. He has also worked for the UK Sunday Times and as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and The Economist. He has worked as a journalist and film maker in countries as diverse as Ireland, Romania,  Uzbekistan , Indonesia, Madagascar, Chile, Indonesia, Vietnam, and many other countries.

For interviews please e-mail media@noteviljustwrong.com.

Greener Horizon Films Ltd ., 578 Washington Blvd., Suite 938, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292


Congress is serving Lame Duck

Coined a "lame duck" session of Congress, that's what we have right now in Washington.  The outgoing 111th Congress waiting for the 112th Congress to take its place.  This one is especially important because the U.S. House, currently a Democrat majority, will become a Republican majority come January.

With that majority in mind, here's the lame duck agenda, one that ignores the will of the people the the outcome of the November 2 election:

  • Debate on extending the Bush tax rates
  • Senate voting on food safety
  • Senate to push Dream Act
  • Senate to debate START Treaty

That's not exactly lame duck stuff folks!  Outgoing Dems want to shove some bad legislation down your throat.  With the House losing the Democrat majority, the two houses of Congress are looking to get some very liberal things passed before it's too late.

We've talked about the Bush tax rates, liberals want the rates to expire, they're counting on that tax hike money to fund their progressive agenda, er *budget*: 

http://coralvillecourier.typepad.com/community/2010/11/extending-the-bush-era-tax-rates.html

http://coralvillecourier.typepad.com/community/2010/09/dont-buy-into-the-progressive-game-of-bait-and-switch.html

http://coralvillecourier.typepad.com/community/2010/11/progressives-want-more-americans-on-food-stamps.html

The Senate is voting tomorrow on *Food Safety*.  It's a ruse folks.  This isn't really about improving food safety in this country, it's about more government control and regulation.  The so-called Food Safety Modernization Act, S.510, grants the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) more control over your diet and what farmers can do, even small farmer's market type gardeners. The guise being used to sell this legislation is, to protect consumers from food-borne illnesses.

Don't believe the ruse.  Contact your Senators immediately and tell them to vote no!  A study by Senator Tom Coburn's (R-OK) office states "on the whole this bill represents a weighty new regulatory structure on the food industry that will be particularly difficult for small producers and farms to comply with (with little evidence it will make food safer)." 

Do you really want fewer small farms and more corporate farms?  That will be just one of the consequences if this bill is passed, that and higher prices.  The U.S. already has the safest food supply in the world!  And Democrats want more government, more government, more government?  To fix something that's not broken?  Contact Senators Grassley and Harkin today:

http://coralvillecourier.typepad.com/community/contact-elected-officials.html

DREAM Act:  Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2009

This is an amnesty bill, piecemeal style.  It amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.   From Opencongress.org:  This bill would give states the authority to repeal the denial of an unlawful alien’s eligibility for higher education benefits, which have been previously tied state-residency. Additionally, it allows for the adjustment from status of alien to conditional permanent resident and outlines the criteria for such an adjustment by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (liberal, NV.) is pushing this bill as a stand alone bill in giving thanks to all the latinos who voted for him on November 2.  To give you an idea of how bad this bill is, back in September Reid tried to slip this bill in as a last minute amendment to a Defense Spending bill.  he attached an amnesty bill for undocumented minors - the DREAM Act - onto the National Defense Authorization Act.  Reid played games by attaching a VERY controversial piece of legislation to a routine/annual military funding bill, basically saying, If you want money for the military, then this other thing has to pass along with it to get the funding. 

START Treaty:  The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia is said to be unbalanced, favoring Russia more than the U.S.  While it does focus on nuclear disarmament, Republicans argue the treaty does not go far enough to allow America to update its nuclear deterrent capabilities.  Proceeding with caution instead of hastily backing a treaty in the name of global image would seem a prudent thing to do.

As you can see, there's a lot to this so-called Lame Duck session, and in my experience, if the Democrats want it, it's bad for the country.  Contact Grassley, Harkin and Loebsack today and let them know how you feel.

http://coralvillecourier.typepad.com/community/contact-elected-officials.html


Karen Kubby wants to keep you in the dark about abortion

In an Iowa City Depressed-Citizen Writer's Group piece titled, A sad day for women's rights, Emma Goldman clinic *supporter* Karen Kubby wrote the following:

"It's a sad day when Iowans elect a governor that places the rights of a fetus above some of the very people who voted for him."

Wow, that's a pretty sad statement, but not in the way Kubby thinks.

Trying to paint Governor-elect Branstad in a bad light on the issue of abortion, it seems Kubby may have shot herself in the foot.

Here's a link to her piece, read it for yourself it's pretty eye-opening as to what Kubby - not Branstad - believes when it comes to abortion.  http://www.press-citizen.com/article/20101127/OPINION01/11270301/A-sad-day-for-women-s-rights

In a nutshell, here's the Kubby stance on abortion:

  • If parents are unaware their minor child is going to have an abortion, she doesn't want them to know
  • She doesn't want the number of abortions being performed to become public knowledge
  • She doesn't want the public to know which doctors perform abortions
  • She opposes the ban on partial birth abortion
  • She opposes ultrasounds being conducted prior to the abortion procedure
  • She opposes providing risk factors to the patient prior to the abortion procedure

In review of Kubby's Writer's Group piece, it seems that Branstad wants to shine a little light, where Kubby wants to keep you in the dark.


You're the boss

"Such will be the relation between the House of Representatives and their constituents. Duty, gratitude, interest, ambition itself, are the cords by which they will be bound to fidelity and sympathy with the great mass of the people." -- James Madison, Federalist No. 57, 1788