Wednesday, December 28, 2011

America`s Race to the Bottom

< CEO Pay

U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness in Global Trade
by :
Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities...

Posted: 12/28/11

Those of us ensconced in debates in support of U.S. manufacturing often hear opponents claiming that the over-regulated U.S. labor market and unionized heavy industry render us uncompetitive in global markets.

That may sound convincing given competition from emerging markets, but there are lots of advanced economies with long records of positive net exports, while we continue to run large deficits in manufactured goods, year after year.
If you're thinking the difference must be prices, you're thinking like an economist...
and you're pretty much wrong.
This new BLS
report (including a link to their rockin' new dashboard -- go BLS!) provides the data in the form of manufacturing compensation costs across countries, with conversions to dollars using market exchange rates. First, as shown in the first figure, in the most recent year for which they have complete data, we're toward the low end of the advanced economies in terms of compensation costs. Second, in dollar terms, manufacturing compensation costs have increased much faster elsewhere over the past decade (figure two; these summary measures use trade-weighted currencies, based on each countries relative share of U.S. trade; you can use the dashboard link above (open the Excel file) to view individual countries).
*OECD, Eastern Europe, East Asia
Source: BLS > <
Now, compensation costs aren't the whole story, especially with manufacturing becoming more capital intensive, but at least by these measures, which of course account for exchange rate movements (essential when we're discussing price competitiveness), there's not much support at all for an argument that overpaid manufacturing workers are the source of our competitive disadvantage.
I'd argue it has a lot more to do with the lack of a coherent manufacturing policy, wherein public and private representatives strategize on the best ways to boost the sector and gain global market share. Of course, this means retiring the canard that "we don't pick winners." Our competitors are well ahead of us in these endeavors and this is not the time for ideological sloganeering.

Monday, December 26, 2011

It`s a Wonderful Life...Or It Could Be !

Republicans Try to Convert America Into Pottersville
By : Leo W. Gerard

In the iconic Christmas film, It's a Wonderful Life, an angel offers the beleaguered main character, George Bailey, the stark choice between a hometown named for a cruel banker or one created by and for the middle class.

The banker's town, Pottersville, is filled with bars, gambling dens and despair. The people's town of Bedford Falls is made of hope, hard working middle class families, and their homes financed by the Bailey Brothers Building & Loan.
The film's happy ending is the people of Bedford Falls banding together to rescue George Bailey and the Bailey Brothers Building & Loan that had given so many of them a leg up over the years. Republicans seek a different conclusion. They find middle class cooperation and community intolerable. They want the banker, Henry Potter, with his "every man for himself" philosophy to triumph. In the spirit of their self-centered mentor Ayn Rand, Republicans are trying to disfigure America so she resembles Pottersville. A building and loan association, like the Bailey Brothers', uses the savings of its members to provide mortgages to the depositors. Members essentially pool their money to give each other the opportunity to buy cars and homes. At one point in the film, George Bailey explains this concept to frightened depositors who are trying to withdraw their savings during the panic that led to bank runs in 1929. Bailey urges the townspeople who had crowded into the building and loan office to withdraw only what they need, not empty their accounts. "We have got to stick together," he tells them, "We have to do this together." A building and loan doesn't function without trust and cooperation. It works well for Bedford Falls. The mortgages it provides help working people move out of the Potters Field slums and into Bailey Park, where homes well kept by their owners increase in value. Despite the success, Potter condemned this practice, saying it was based on "high ideals without common sense." He criticized the Bailey Brothers Building & Loan for granting a taxi driver a mortgage after Potter's bank had rejected his application. Potter scoffed at such practices, asking if the building and loan was a "business or a charity ward." This is exactly what Republicans do. They describe beloved American programs like Medicare and Social Security as charities -- using the euphemism "entitlements." Like mortgages from the Bailey Building & Loan, Medicare and Social Security are not charities. They're the American people depositing and pooling their money for the benefit of the American community. The GOP tries to destroy programs like these that aid the middle class, the vast majority of Americans -- the 99 percent -- while Republicans protect tax breaks and special perks for the rich -- the one percent, the Henry Potters.This time last year, Republicans demanded extension of tax breaks for the 1 percent, contending tax breaks stimulate the economy. For the past three months, however, Republicans have fought extension of payroll tax cuts, contending a break benefiting 160 million middle class Americans did not stimulate the economy. All year, Republicans have demanded an end to programs the middle class created to aid the majority, the 99 percent. The GOP wants to reverse the new banking regulations that were passed in an attempt to prevent another economic collapse caused by risky Wall Street practices. The GOP tried to to rescind the healthcare reform law that prevents insurance companies from terminating coverage when beneficiaries get sick and prohibits the practice of refusing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Influential Republicans this year have called for repealing laws forbidding child labor, laws guaranteeing minimum wage and laws protecting the environment. They've demanded elimination of federal funding for organizations like the Public Broadcasting System that educates preschoolers, Head Start, which provides opportunity to poor children, and Planned Parenthood, which uses 97 percent of its funds to provide general, obstetrical and gynecological medical care to women, many of whom are rural and poor.
Republicans have decided to be the party of Henry Potter, the "meanest man in the county," a man about whom George Bailey's father said: "he's a sick man, frustrated. Sick in his mind, sick in his soul, if he has one." Like Potter, Republicans deride compassion and community as character defects.
In the Republican world, where greed is good, it was appropriate for Henry Potter to keep the $8,000 in Bailey Building & Loan money that George Bailey's uncle, Billy Bailey, accidentally handed him. Republicans are attempting to impose that selfish belief system on the selfless American people, people like the citizens of Bedford Falls who rush to the rescue of neighbors. It won't work, just like it didn't in It's a Wonderful Life. Republicans will fail in their attempt to make America Pottersville because the 99 percent believe avarice is a sin, not a value. The GOP will fail because greed is not the American way.
Follow Leo W. Gerard on Twitter:

Editorial : Perhaps we need to re-name the (GOP) Grand Old Party, to the Grand Old Pigs ? Merry Christmas not Bah-Hum Bug !

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas From The Obamas (2011)

God Bless America and God Bless President Barack Obama !

Congressman Cohen District#9-Tennessee ~ Working for Tennesseans !

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah & Happy New Year

From Your Tennessee District#9~Congressman Steve Cohen

Contact Rep. Cohen here >

Happy Holidays :

With Christmas and Hanukkah taking place this week, I wanted to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year. These are tough economic times in Memphis and families are doing more with less to celebrate this holiday season. That is why I am working hard in Memphis and Washington to create jobs – to help ensure that every child has the opportunity to have a happy and prosperous future. Click here to see a short video I recently recorded wishing you and your family a Happy and Safe Holiday Season.

Editorial : Congressman Steve Cohen, working hard for Tennesseans ! Thank you Rep. Cohen for your recent vote to extend the middle class pay-roll tax and not cutting senior Medicare. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you and your family ! "God Bless !

Fiat Lux

Friday, December 23, 2011





Remember, not only did you contribute to Social Security but your employer
Did too. It totaled 15% of your income before taxes. If you averaged only
$30K over your working life, that's close to $220,500. If you calculate the future value of $4,500 per year (yours & your Employer's' contribution) at a simple 5% (less than what the govt. Pays on The money that it borrows), after 49 years of working you'd have $892,919.98. If you took out only 3% per year, you'd receive $26,787.60 per year and it Would last better than 30 years (until you're 95 if you retire at age 65) And that's with no interest paid on that final amount on deposit! If you Bought an annuity and it paid 4% per year, you'd have a lifetime income of
$2,976.40 per month. The folks in Washington have pulled off a bigger Ponzi scheme than Bernie Madhoff ever had. Entitlement my a**, I paid cash for my Social Security insurance ! Just Because they borrowed the money, doesn't make my benefits some kind of Charity or handout ! Congressional benefits ---- free healthcare, outrageous retirement packages, 67 paid holidays, three weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days, now that's welfare, and they have the nerve to call my Social Security Retirement entitlements ? We're "broke" and can't help our own Seniors, Veterans, Orphans, Homeless In the last months we have provided aid to Haiti , Chile , and Turkey . And Now Pakistan ......Former home of Bin Laden. Literally, BILLIONS of DOLLARS ! Our retired seniors living on a 'fixed income' receive no aid nor do they Get any breaks while our government and religious organizations pour Hundreds of Billions of $'s and Tons of Food to Foreign Countries ! They call Social Security and Medicare an entitlement even though most of us Have been paying for it all our working lives and now when it's time for us To collect, the government is running out of money. Why did the government Borrow from it in the first place ? Imagine if the *GOVERNMENT* gave 'US' the Same support they give to other countries. Sad isn't it?


Fiat Lux

All Tennessee Congressman Vote Against Tenneseans Except Cohen & Cooper !

Tennessee Republicans Vote YES !
Which Translates > Voted NO to Seniors and Unemployed !

On Motion to Go to Conference 12/20/2011 House Roll Call No. 94<> 112nd Congress, 1st Session Passed: 229-193 (see Vote complete tally)
How the U.S. House from Tennessee Voted : Remember, these Republicans are cleaver. A VOTE yes, Translates to a NO VOTE for Seniors and the Unemployed. Only two (2) Congressman from Tennessee Voted for Seniors and the unemployed. The 99% ! Rep. Steve Cohen and Jim Cooper ! Thank you Both ! All Republicans VOTED Against Seniors and Unemployed, by VOTING YES ! You should be ashamed. District#8, how do you like Mr. Fincher now ? You can also contact your congressperson, by clicking on their name !

Fiat Lux

Rep. Diane Black (R-6) Yes <> Voted Against Tennesseans

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-7) Yes <> Voted Against Tenneseans
Steve Cohen (D-9) No <> Voted For Tenneseans
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-5) No <> Voted for Tenneseans

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-4) Yes <> Voted Against Tenneseans
Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (R-2) Yes <>Voted Against Tenneseans
Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-8) Yes <> My Congressman, Voted Against Tenneseans.
Motion to go to conference; Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 - Vote Passed (229-193, 11 Not Voting)With this vote, the House rejected the Senate's two-month extension of the Social Security payroll tax reduction and requested a conference to consider a yearlong extension. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stated he would not call the Senate back into session. The standoff ended later in the week when the House agreed to pass the two-month bill and the Senate agreed to name conferees to work out a yearlong extension.Rep. Stephen Fincher voted YES......send e-mail or see bio

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-3) Yes <> Voted Against Tenneseans

Rep. Phil Roe (R-1) Yes <> Voted Against Tenneseans

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas America...Common Sense Prevailed !

President Obama : 'Enough is Enough,' Pushes House GOP to Pass Payroll Tax Bill...

Saying "enough is enough" and calling Washington "dysfunctional," President Obama on Thursday urged Republicans in the House to pass a bipartisan Senate compromise that would extend the payroll tax holiday for two months."What's happening right now is exactly why people get so frustrated with Washington," Obama said standing before a room of Democratic stakeholders. "Has this place become so dysfunctional that even when people agree to things we can't do it?" Obama said he is at the ready, waiting to sign the bill so 160 million Middle Class Americans don't see their taxes go up at the end of the year.


Flash, House Republicans finally Say YES !

House Speaker John Boehner says he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to a two-month extension of a payroll tax cut that was due to expire at the end of the year. The terms were previously included in a bipartisan Senate deal and demanded by President Barack Obama. The deal comes hours after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, called for a short-term extension, increasing pressure on House GOP leaders. The agreement also includes language to ease the administrative burden on small businesses implementing the plan. "The Senate will join the House in immediately appointing conferees, with instructions to reach agreement in the weeks ahead on a full-year payroll tax extension," Boehner said in a statement. "We will ask the House and Senate to approve this agreement by unanimous consent before Christmas."

Editorial : I cannot for the life of me, see how so much crap can be created by REPUBLICANS over what should be a bi-partisan gimme ! Thank you, Mr. President for not caving !

Fiat Lux

Wal-Mart Scrooge of the Year...You Bet`Cha !

Poor Ole Wal-Mart...RICHNE$$ only Exceeded by There`re GREED !

This years Scrooge of the Year is Wal-Mart`s Rob Walton (Upper left and right)

The vote was close and went up until the last minute, but across the nation people made their voices heard - and Rob Walton is the biggest Scrooge of them all ! A quick reminder of why Rob Walton was given this nomination: Deemed a “billionaire bully” by Brave New Films, Rob Walton is the Chair of Walmart’s board of directors. His estimated net worth is around $21 billion. As a family, the Waltons control 49% of Walmart stock, and are predicted to gain a controlling share in the next 12 months. The Waltons are the richest family in the United States, with a combined net worth is $93 billion. The Walton Family has as much wealth as the bottom 30% of American families combined – more than 35 million families. Waltons make up 4 of the 11 wealthiest people in the United States according to Forbes Magazine, and they could give more than $4,700 to every resident of New York and still have $1 billion left over. With the economy as it is, that would make a huge difference! The family’s dividends from their Walmart stock alone are more than $2 billion/year. Just using their dividends, they could ensure that a million Walmart employees make at least $12/hour. Instead, they are growing richer by the year. Even with all of this money, Walmart only pays an average of $8.81/hour to store associates. And the company has yet to meet with and address the concerns of those who work for them such as scheduling (especially during the holiday season). Just last month Walmart, under Rob’s leadership, slashed health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Walmart employees and their families—right before the holidays! What a scrooge! How Much is Enough $?

Fincher Votes Against Seniors~ Hey, That`s ME

Cong. Stephen Fincher(R)Votes Against his Tennessee District#8-Constituency !

Contact Fincher here

Contact & Find your Congressman click on Title !

Capitol Hill Tax Stalemate Hurts Medicare...That`s Seniors !

The Congressional deadlock over extending payroll tax cuts – sparked by a revolt of House Tea Party Republicans will hurt seniors on Medicare unless a resolution is reached quickly. Seniors with incomes below $15,000 per year are at risk of losing access to critical medical services through the Qualified Individual (QI) program. The program, which is set to expire on December 31, pays for Medicare Part B premiums that cover physician and other outpatient services, as well as the low income subsidy for Part D prescription drug coverage. The QI benefit represents an average savings of $5,199 per year for these low-income seniors. Without an extension of the program by Congress, states would have the right to terminate benefits on January 1. Also caught in the crossfire are reimbursements to nearly 650,000 doctors who care for Medicare patients. According to the Associated Press, Medicare sent an alert to doctors to say that they will hold up paying claims for the first 10 business days of the new year, but without congressional action it would then be forced to implement a 27.4 percent cut in reimbursement rates, which may prompt physicians to refuse to see Medicare patients.

Editorial : This Congress along with Rep. Fincher, should be run out of Office ! The audacity of these charlatans ! The Seniors "Merry Christmas" from House Republicans !

Fiat Lux

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wal-Mart the Great China Importer ~ Now Slave Masters..

Wal*Mart The New Master of Indentured Slavery...
by : Dave Jamieson

JOLIET, Ill., and FONTANA, Calif. -- Like nearly everyone else in Joliet without good job prospects, Uylonda Dickerson eventually found herself at the warehouses looking for work. "I just needed a job," the 38-year-old single mother says. Dickerson came to the right place. Over the past decade and a half, Joliet and its Will County environs southwest of Chicago have grown into one of the world's largest inland ports, a major hub for dry goods destined for retail stores throughout the Midwest and beyond. With all the new distribution centers have come thousands of jobs at "logistics" companies -- firms that specialize in moving goods for retailers and manufacturers. Many of these jobs are filled by Joliet's African Americans, like Dickerson, and immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America. But many bottom-rung workers like Dickerson don't work for the big corporations whose products are in the warehouses, or even the logistics companies that run them. They go to work for labor agencies that supply workers like Dickerson. Last year, she found work as a temp through one of the myriad staffing agencies that serve big-box retailers and their contractors. Thanks largely to the warehousing boom, Will County has developed one of the highest concentrations of temp agencies in the Midwest. Dickerson, grateful to have even a temp job, was taken on as a "lumper" -- someone who schleps boxes to and from trailers all day long. As unglamorous as her duties were, Dickerson became an essential cog in one of the most sophisticated machines in modern commerce -- the Walmart supply chain. Walmart, the world's largest private-sector employer, had contracted a company called Schneider Logistics to operate the warehouse. And Schneider, in turn, had its own contracts with staffing companies that supplied workers. The experience would change the way Dickerson saw the retail industry -- particularly during the frenetic run-up to the holidays, when workers are under tremendous pressure to get products out the door and into stores."I don't think people know what the people in those warehouses have to go through to get them their stuff in those stores," Dickerson says. "If you don't work in a warehouse, you don't know." Dickerson quickly discovered that the work wasn't easy, if there was any work at all. Each morning she showed up at her warehouse, she wasn't sure whether she'd be assigned a trailer and earn a day's pay. She says there were days that she and many temps were told simply to go home, without pay, since there wasn't as much product to unload as expected. Sometimes Dickerson was told they didn't have any trailers light enough for a woman, she says. But on most days the warehouse teemed with lumpers, many of them wearing different colored t-shirts to signify the different agencies they worked for. Dickerson herself would work for two different labor providers within the same warehouse in a little more than a year.The difficulty of a lumper's day often went according to chance. A lucky lumper might be assigned a container filled with boxes of Kleenex or stuffed animals, while an unlucky lumper might pull a container filled with kiddie swimming pools or 200-pound trampolines. For the heaviest lifts, Dickerson would be assigned a partner, and the two would split the pay for the trailer, moving the massive boxes onto pallets by hand.The job was fast-paced and stressful. Dickerson says supervisors would walk along the warehouse's bay doors, marking the workers' progress over time. The supervisors, Dickerson and other workers say, often told them to speed it up if they wanted to be invited back. Many of the workers were temps with no job security and no recourse. And the local unemployment rate, then around 11 percent, promised a long line of potential replacements."By the end of the day, your body hurts so bad," says Dickerson, who was among a small minority of females working as lumpers at the warehouse. "You tell them you can't do it the next day, ... they'll tell you, 'We've got four more people waiting for your job.'" For a while, Dickerson worked according to "piece rate" -- she was paid not by the hour but by the trailer -- a stressful pay scheme meant to encourage her and her colleagues to work faster and faster, and one that the labor movement worked hard to abolish in many industries in the 20th century. Each paycheck was different than the last, and most of them were disappointingly low, she says. In her year at the warehouse, Dickerson says she never had health benefits, sick days or vacation days. If she didn't unload containers, she didn't get paid."It all depends on how fast you work," she says. "It's like a race. You're racing to get done with the trailer so you can get another one. Otherwise, you won't get enough money." The warehouse floor wasn't a very welcoming place for a woman, Dickerson says. As one of the relatively few female lumpers, she says she was often fending off crude overtures from male co-workers. And then there were the bathroom issues. While it was piece rate when it benefited the boss, the clock came on for break time. Each day Dickerson had two 15-minute personal breaks in addition to her lunch, but the warehouse was so sprawling -- it covered ground equal to several football fields -- that it could take her five minutes to walk each way to get some air or use the bathroom, leaving her with only five minutes of personal time."When I used to go to the bathroom, I literally had somebody counting down the minutes," Dickerson says. It was particularly difficult when she was on her period and she felt couldn't use the restroom when she needed to. Eventually, she was being reprimanded for too many breaks, she says. Worried about losing her job, she says she tried so hard to avoid using the bathroom that she eventually developed a bladder infection.
Physically and emotionally drained, Dickerson stopped showing up at the warehouse earlier this year."My body still is not the same," she says. "I still have aches and I still have pains. I have migraines because of the stress I went through working at that place."Dickerson says she's now living in a house where the electricity and water have been shut off, sharing a cell phone with some of her neighbors. She's on government-sponsored health care, just as she was while working at the warehouse, and she now relies on food stamps to get by.The one place she refuses to take her food stamps is Walmart.
Walmart may have been the end beneficiary of Dickerson's sweat, but the big-box retailer wasn't directly responsible for her low pay or her aching body. That's one of the many benefits to an employment arrangement based on outsourcing and subcontracting: The corporation at the top indemnifies itself from any unpleasantness at the bottom, thanks to the smaller corporate players in the middle. Many American companies have woken up to this fact, with broad implications for the future of blue-collar work."It seems to be spreading like wildfire," Nelson Lichtenstein, a professor of American labor history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says of such outsourcing, particularly as it relates to temp workers like Dickerson. "All of these companies, wherever they possibly can, they want to create a workforce that doesn't work for them. The question is, Why? What is the incentive?" "They're smart," he says. "They run the numbers."

Editorial : And we don`t need Unions any longer. Sure, and we don`t need to breathe. Organizing Wal-Mart will be tough, but, it can and must be done. This human bondage must not be tolerated. WE need Free-Democratic Trade Unions now more than EVER !

Walmart’s Health Insurance Changes Bad for Older Workers Responding to published reports that Walmart will be significantly increasing the burden of health care costs it places on associates, I worry that these increased health care costs will keep many from seeing a doctor, and make these health problems more serious and costlier. Just think how our nation’s health care costs would go down if those in this age group were to have more affordable, preventive medical care during this critical period of their lives,” Letter (read at The Alliance encouraged Walmart to meet with OUR Walmart, an employee organization, to hear their concerns and respond to their proposed solutions for improving working conditions at the nation’s largest private sector employer.

Fiat Lux

Body Parts in a Test Tube ? You Bet`Cha !

The Gift of Life...Grow/Print Your Own !

Facts Stranger than Fiction

Click here to watch Dr. Anthony Atala >

Watch Wake Forest University's Anthony Atala discuss how science fiction is becoming science fact in regenerative medicine. Then read his follow-up blog post on this topic below.

To many people, the idea of growing replacement body parts in the lab sounds like modern-day science fiction. People are often surprised to learn that this notion of harnessing the body's natural regenerative powers isn't new. In fact, aviator Charles Lindbergh did research in this area back in the 1930s in hopes of finding a solution for his ailing sister-in-law. The idea has endured because of the desperate need for replacement organs. Every 30 seconds, a patient dies from diseases that could be treated with organ or tissue replacement. Today, regenerative medicine is becoming science fact. In the area of cell therapies, advances include a recent report that cardiac stem cells were able to improve heart function in a small group of patients with heart failure. In the area of tissue engineering -- or growing organs in the lab -- skin, cartilage, bladders, urine tubes, trachea and blood vessels have all been engineered outside the human body and implanted in patients. While these advances are currently helping small groups of patients through clinical trials, the goal of regenerative medicine scientists is to expand the applications of regenerative medicine to a wider range of diseases and also to larger groups of patients. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has called regenerative medicine the "next evolution of medical treatments". With its potential to heal, this new field of science is expected to revolutionize health care. Because of the promise of regenerative medicine, the U.S. military has funded an $85 million effort to develop regenerative medicine treatments for wounded warriors. Regenerative medicine offers the potential to improve the quality of life for many, but also to combat rising health care costs. Early estimates project that regenerative medicine therapies will result in direct health care cost savings in the United States of $250 billion per year for the chronic diseases of renal failure, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, burn and spinal cord injuries. In my TED talk, I highlighted some of the work of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC. Our team of more than 300 scientists is working on cell therapies and developing replacement tissues and organs for more than 30 different areas of the body. For example, the talk highlights our still-experimental work to engineer a human kidney. Being able to replace solid organs such as the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas is considered the "holy grail" of tissue engineering. That's why we're pursuing multiple strategies in this area: cell therapies, tissue "inserts" to augment an organ's function, and "printing" replacement organs. At TED, we demonstrated 3-D printing technology, already used in a variety of industries -- from auto parts to concrete structures. Our goal, or course, is to apply the technology to organs. The project is based on earlier research in which we engineered miniature kidneys using biomaterials and cells. In animals, these structures were shown to be functional, in that they were able to filter blood and produce dilute urine. This printer, while still experimental, is being explored for organs such as the kidney and structured tissue such as the ear. The ultimate goal is to use patient data, such as from a CT scan, to create a computer model of the organ we want to print. This model would be used to guide the printer as it layer-by-layer prints a replacement organ made up of cells and the biomaterials to hold the cells together. For me, the real highlight of the TED experience was a reunion with Luke Masella, one of the first patients to receive a lab-engineered organ -- a bladder. Seeing Luke again and hearing about his successes reinforced in my mind the ultimate goal of regenerative medicine -- to make patients better. That in itself makes it an idea worth sharing in 2012 and beyond.

Editorial : As a Heart-Transplant who waited tw0 (2) years 17 days 14 hours and twenty minutes, but who was watching the clock ? I pray for these modern miracle advances ! I`m 17 years post now !

The Gift of Life, What a Loving/Masonic Thing to Do !

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tell the REPUBLICANS ~ We`ll Do it Without YOU !

House Speaker John Boehner (R) (center) Senator Harry Reid (D) (upper left)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Monday he will not agree to reopen negotiations with House leaders on a payroll tax cut until the House passes the two-month extension already approved by the Senate.

Earlier Monday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he expected the House to reject the tax cut bill that the Senate approved Saturday. Boehner also said that he expected the House to pass legislation reinforcing the need for a one-year extension and that he wanted the matter to be taken up by a House-Senate conference committee. Reid said in a statement that, "My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today. If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans, their intransigence will mean that in ten days, 160 million middle class Americans will see a tax increase, over two million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians."The payroll tax cut extension expires at the end of the year and is worth roughly $1,000 a year for an average family.

Editorial : Mr. Boehner taking care of his millionaire friends. "You Bet`Cha ! Harry Reid, taking care of the 99%.


Court Upholds Fair Election Rule for Air and Rail Workers
by Mike Hall, Dec 16, 2011

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., today upheld the new democratic union election rule for aviation and rail workers issued by the National Mediation Board (NMBM) in 2010.

The aviation industry, led by Delta Airlines, challenged the new rule and today’s decision was the second time a federal court upheld the democratic election rule.
For decades, the deck was stacked against workers covered under the Rail Labor Act (RLA) because every worker who did not cast a vote in a representation election was automatically counted as a “No” vote. The new NMB rule says that an election’s outcome will be decided by the majority of votes cast, just like every other election, from city council to the presidency. In a statement this afternoon, the Flight Attendants (
AFA\CWA) said: This decision confirms that the National Mediation Board has full and absolute authority to bring democracy to union elections in their jurisdiction. The new rule was at the center of this summer’s shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill who held funding for the agency hostage in an attempt to repeal right of air and rail workers to democratic union elections. After Republicans backed down, a temporary funding bill was approved this fall, but the runs out next month and Republicans with the backing of the airline industry are expected to mount another attack on the workers’ rights to fair elections. Says AFA\CWA: For too long, ideologues have held up passage of this vital piece of legislation on the hope that they could strip aviation workers of their democratic right of free and fair union elections. It is time for Congress to drop this single-minded crusade against workers’ right to join a union. We encourage Congress to pass a comprehensive funding bill that allows the FAA to move forward on vital safety and airport improvement projects that will help to enhance the world’s greatest aviation system.

Editorial : Free at Last, Free at Last, "Thank God Almighty, Free at Last" ! Republicans will mount another attack...SOON !

Spes mea in Deo est.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

CEO`S Get the Gold, Workers/99% Get the Shaft !

U.S. CEO Pay Jumps Minimum Of 27 Percent Last Year, Survey Finds...

First Posted: 12/14/11 05:40 PM ET<>Updated: 12/15/11 11:19 AM ET

Click here to see how much your CEO makes.

While the incomes of so many Americans remain the same size or get smaller, corporate chiefs can't say they're suffering in quite the same way.

American CEOs saw pay increases of between 27 and 40 percent last year, according to a Governance Metrics International survey cited by the Guardian. In addition, the median value of CEOs profits on stock options jumped to $1.3 million from $950,400. This, even after Congress passed financial reform regulations that included provisions aimed at making CEO pay more transparent by allowing shareholders to weigh in.The surveys findings may resonate with Occupy movement activists, who have been railing against income inequality since the protests first started. Indeed, CEO pay by itself exceeded the amount that his or her corporation paid in income taxes in at least 25 cases last year. And in the year before America's highest-highest-paid corporate chief netted more than $145 million, U.S. median income fell to below $27,000, meaning half of all earners made less than that. But John Hammergren, CEO of health care provider McKesson, isn't the only boss taking home the big bucks. JPMorgan Chase Chief Jamie Dimon got a $19 million raise in 2010 and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein netted an extra $3.6 million in bonuses last year. The news is a good sign for people in the top one percent of earners, who saw their incomes drop by roughly a third in the official years of the recession, according to a recent report by The New York Times. Still, even after that fall, the net worth of one percenters remained 200 times higher than that of the median national income, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Some CEOs even got huge pay packages for not doing their jobs. Eugene Isenberg took home $100 million for dropping his title as CEO of Nabors Industries in October. While Dougless Foshee, the CEO of natural gas pipeline operator El Paso, became eligible for an exit package worth $95 million after the company was acquired by rival Kinder Morgan. Still, some don't seem to mind the huge CEO paydays. The vast majority of corporate shareholders say that CEOs are being compensated correctly, according to an October study from research firm Equilar.

Editorial : The United States is going bankrupt ? And these guys TAKE HUGE BONUS~$, Even when their company go`s belly-up ! CEO`s get 27%/40% raises. Their workers get $0.00 nothing, in fact they give up raises, benefits and all the while these Robber`s get huge bonus`s. Have we all gone NUTS ? NO. It is pure GREED at the top. > <

Spes mea in Deo est.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Congress to Vote on Your Rx. Drugs ~ Drug Company`s Win ~ You Lose

Contact Tennessee`s District#8 Cong. here>

Drugs are Going Up ?

Contact Your Cong. here>

It appears that Congress is hell-bent on fast tracking the legislation we've been warning you about (SOPA and PROTECT IP). If these proposals prevail, "we the people" lose and Big Pharma/Drug Co.`s win--big time. It is expected that the House Judiciary Committee will be marking up (amending) SOPA on Thursday (see info below). The health of hundreds of thousands of Americans is riding on this bill. You need to act now. Use our easy online system to send a letter to your representatives today urging them to stop SOPA. SOPA will literally kill online drug importation/Canada. It will guarantee that the drug industry can continue to charge exorbitant prices and rake in obscene profits. Meanwhile, an increasing number of Americans will suffer or even die because they can't afford their needed medications--and this is not an overstatement.

We urge you to take action today before it's too late!

SOPA Markup:

Since it is expected that SOPA (H.R.3261) will be marked up (amended) in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, I took this opportunity to write a blog post: "Congress determined to rob you of your medications and your voice!" that points out some of the bill's major flaws (and there are many).We invite you to chime in on the discussion by leaving comments in the box below the article.
As of now, the markup is not listed on the Committee's calendar. Be sure to check
their site or ours later in the week for updated information.

Thanks for all you do,

Underdog = Don Jones

Thanks to my friend Steve Sauter, in Hersey Michigan, for this one !

Fiat Lux

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tennessee`s Governor Bill Haslam a 1%`er !


Key Except: In 2008, for example, Haslam's effective federal income tax rate on his non-Pilot income was just 4.8 percent, lower than the rate of a typical upper middle-class family of four earning $152,000 and nearly as low as a family earning half that. ...

Haslam: "The easiest thing to say is, 'Well, there's the super rich. And the '1 percent' is doing well.'"

Tennessee Gov. Haslam's claim of high tax rates has some twists.

The Commercial Appeal Newspaper

Sunday, December 11, 2011

By Marc Perrusquia

Contact Gov. Haslam here >

During his successful candidacy for Governor, Bill Haslam(upper left) released data listing millions of dollars in income and taxes, contending his tax rate at times topped 48 percent on those earnings. Although Haslam's report went unchallenged during last year's campaign, a closer look at it reveals a much lower tax rate for the uber-wealthy businessman turned Knoxville mayor, then Tennessee governor.
So low, in fact, Haslam's tax data provides fodder for an emerging national debate over how federal income tax policy benefits the rich. The mother lode of Haslam's wealth flows from Pilot Flying J, a nationwide chain of convenience stores and truck stops ranked as one of the most lucrative private companies in the country.
Haslam has never disclosed his earnings from Pilot. Instead, Haslam gave reporters a summary that listed just his non-Pilot income -- $28.5 million earned between 2003 and 2008 from a range of investments. An analysis by The Commercial Appeal found Haslam used a variety of tax breaks to greatly reduce the taxes he paid on that portion of his annual income. While most taxpayers rely on wages progressively taxed up to 35 percent, the tax on much of Haslam's publicly disclosed income -- much of it capital gains involving stocks, real estate and private equity deals -- is capped at 15 percent. That's step one. In a second tax-saving step, Haslam used deductions to write off nearly a third of that non-Pilot income -- shielding $9.2 million from taxes, the newspaper found.
What emerged was an effective federal income tax rate that at times was lower than that paid by many middle-class families. In 2008, for example, Haslam's effective federal income tax rate on his non-Pilot income was just 4.8 percent, lower than the rate of a typical upper middle-class family of four earning $152,000 and nearly as low as a family earning half that. Haslam's report, which used methodology questioned by one expert and attempted to weigh the impact of both state and federal taxes, claimed a tax rate of 22.2 percent that year. Haslam told the newspaper his overall tax rate likely is higher when income is included from Pilot Flying J, which, with $18 billion in annual sales, ranks No. 11 on Forbes' list of America's largest private companies. Yet as he did during the campaign when he bucked a long tradition among gubernatorial candidates by refusing to release his tax return$, the first-term Republican declined to discuss his Pilot income or disclose his returns. "I'm not sure that this is a case of somebody that's trying to dodge taxes,'' said Haslam, emphasizing that much of his federal tax deduction involves huge charitable contributions he's made, plus state taxes he paid. Renewed interest in Haslam's finances comes amid a flourishing national debate over taxes and wealth. Spurred in part by the Occupy movement, the debate is gaining currency, too, among conservatives influenced by the likes of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who says the wealthy don't pay their fair share of taxes. A report this fall by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office fueled the debate by finding a growing income inequality between the middle class 99% and America's
richest citizens 1%. "There is a bigger gap there, that's true,'' Haslam said. "So the question is: Why ? Is it solely tax policy ? Is that what's driving the difference ? Or are there a lot of other factors at play ? And I think that's the discussion we should be having,'' he said, suggesting that inadequate education and the breakup of the traditional family might also be factors in the growing income gap. "The easiest thing to say is, 'Well, there's the super rich. And the '1% percent' is doing well.' '' Haslam's income summary reveals generous charitable giving -- he and his wife, Crissy, gave $4.1 million between 2003 and 2008 to a range of organizations including the American Cancer Society, the Boy Scouts of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and other groups -- donations also used as itemized deductions to reduce tax payments. Haslam said his federal tax deductions also include state taxes he paid under Tennessee's Hall tax on dividends and interest -- nearly $597,000 over six years. The bulk of the remainder of his deductions -- about $4.4 million -- involves investment expenses tied to business partnerships, he said. Haslam's non-Pilot income alone -- $4.7 million a year -- easily ranks him among the nation's top earners, or the much discussed "1 percent," and brings in more than many in the country's top 0.1 percent -- the $uper Rich. Haslam's summary reported he paid $3.8 million in federal taxes and $597,000 in state taxes on his non-Pilot income over the six-year period. This, the summary said, amounted to an effective tax rate that averaged 22.35 percent over the six years and reached 48 percent in two of those years. However, Haslam's non-Pilot tax rate is much lower when isolated to federal taxes and calculated in a manner typically used to compare tax rates. For one, Haslam calculated his tax rate by using taxable income, not total income. Taxable income is lower because itemized deductions and personal exemptions have been subtracted. Using taxable income inflates a tax rate, said Nick Kasprak, an analyst for the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan, Washington-based tax research organization. "That is nonsense,'' Kasprak said. "It's misleading to do that. There are a lot of tax deductions people can take. If you're not including those in your income, you're inflating your tax rate.'' Haslam said his CPA computed the tax rates published in his income summaries using accounting software by a leading national firm. The software divides taxes paid into taxable income, he said. However, using Kasprak's method, the newspaper found Haslam's effective federal income tax rate (on non-Pilot income) averaged 13.1 percent over the six years and dipped as low as 11.7 percent in 2007 and 4.8 percent in 2008. Taxing the wealthy has become a hot political issue and is expected to heat up again next year when Congress decides whether to renew the 15 percent long-term capital gains tax. Reform proposals, including a flat tax, also surround tax breaks like itemized deductions, which tend to benefit the rich. Most middle-class taxpayers take a standard deduction. "High-income people more likely are going to surpass what the standard deduction does for you,'' said Donald Marron, director of the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington. Haslam said his personal tax burden is greater on income earned through Pilot Corp., a so-called S corporation that pays no corporate income tax. Instead, earnings are passed to controlling shareholders, who then pay the taxes at rates up to 35 percent on their individual tax returns. Haslam said his Pilot income at times involves only a paper gain because those profits are funneled back into the company to upgrade and build new stores and don't actually go into his pocket. "The only thing that I take are dividends ... which are automatically attributed to you (for tax purposes) even if you don't get the cash,'' he said.

-- Marc Perrusquia: (901) 529-2545

Editorial : As a 99% `er, I can only wish, that I have the monetary problems that Governor Haslam has ! Sorry folks, he knows exactly what he is doing. He(1%`er) pays little Tax`s. You (99%) pay all of the Tax`s ! I make no apology for that fact. Here is another fact, Governor Haslam is a Super Rich 1%`er. He really does`nt understand the problems of the 99% ! Or does he ?. Tennesseans How do you like him now ?

Fiat Lux