Old Dominion Blogs Virginia Political Blog Aggregator

28May/15Off

Mandatory minimum sentencing reform to become law in Maryland

Posted by Moe Lane

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By Moe Lane | Watchdog Arena Maryland House Bill 121 reforms the state’s mandatory minimum sentencing, specifically as the practice applies to drug-related crimes, and it’s a bit of a political football. HARSH SENTENCES: Mandatory minimum sentences tie the hands of judges and have led to prison overcrowding. The idea here is that in certain situations, a presiding judge can now make the decision that the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines are too counter-productively harsh. It was largely cops and prosecutors against defense attorneys on this one in the great Lobby-palooza, which probably shouldn’t surprise anybody, really.

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Mandatory minimum sentencing reform to become law in Maryland

28May/15Off

Lawmakers express surprise and frustration at North Dakota Game & Fish payments to nonprofits

Posted by Rob Port

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By Rob Port | Watchdog.org North Dakota Bureau NOT RIGHT: Senator Terry Wanzek, a Republican from Jamestown who carried the North Dakota Game & Fish Department budget during the 2015 legislative session, said he wasn’t aware of payments to Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever until a Watchdog open records request uncovered it. “It’s not right,” he said of the payments. BISMARCK, N.D. -Taxpayers are helping to fund the activities of two nonprofits that have pressed for the state to spend more tax money on conservation effort. An open records request filed by Watchdog has uncovered significant amounts of money flowing from the North Dakota Game & Fish Department to two politically active nonprofit groups

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Lawmakers express surprise and frustration at North Dakota Game & Fish payments to nonprofits

28May/15Off

Former Richmond Tea Party Leader votes for spending increases and against tax rate cut

Posted by Suzanne Barber

It is like a story from the Twilight Zone. Larry Nordvig, former Executive Director of Richmond Tea Party (RTP), voted for a 5% spending increase in Powhatan and twice voted down a one cent tax rate reduction as a newly elected Supervisor for Powhatan County. It is shocking coming from a man who once led […]

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Former Richmond Tea Party Leader votes for spending increases and against tax rate cut

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28May/15Off

Layne’s Law

Posted by James A. Bacon

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Posted at Bacon's Rebellion - Reinventing Virginia for the 21st Century

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Layne’s Law

28May/15Off

Opinions vary on state takeover of Pennsylvania’s failing schools

Posted by Evan Grossman

Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org Philadelphia is ground zero for many of the state’s failing schools, but the city’s top educator is leery of proposed legislation aimed at turning those schools around. NOT MAKING THE GRADE: The School District of Philadelphia is home to more failing schools than any other district in Pennsylvania. William Hite, the superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, recently testified in Harrisburg that the proposal to turn failing public schools into charter schools could negatively impact the financially-stressed district and backfire on the rest of the city’s students. Senate Bill 6, sponsored by Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, would establish a statewide Achievement School District to prop up Pennsylvania’s worst public schools

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Opinions vary on state takeover of Pennsylvania’s failing schools

28May/15Off

The Federal Reserve could crash the shale oil market

Posted by PG Veer

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

BOOM OR BUST? The Federal Reserve’s easy money policies may have caused fracking to expand faster than the market can support. By PG Veer | Watchdog Arena The fracking revolution has completely transformed America’s economy: some even predict the U.S. could be energy self-sufficient within the next decade. However, there are some pessimists who believe that this prosperity is a mere illusion.

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The Federal Reserve could crash the shale oil market

28May/15Off

Busting PA’s budget with welfare spending can be avoided, study finds

Posted by Jana Benscoter

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By Jana Benscoter | Watchdog Arena The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, formerly known as the state department of public welfare, is not in financial peril, but it is being treated as such. Under the 2015-16 state budget, the department is looking to receive a healthy funding increase allocated to its own operating budget if Gov. Tom Wolf gets his way. A new study shows alternatives to Gov.

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Busting PA’s budget with welfare spending can be avoided, study finds

28May/15Off

Cruz: We Mustn’t Ask If Climate Polluters Made Texas Floods Worse

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Posted at TheGreenMiles.com -

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Cruz: We Mustn't Ask If Climate Polluters Made Texas Floods Worse

28May/15Off

Milwaukee committee seeks answers to MPD tech system meltdown

Posted by M.D. Kittle

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Watchdog MILWAUKEE — Common Council members say they hope to finally get some answers about January’s catastrophic failure of the Milwaukee Police Department’s video system used for recording interviews with criminal suspects. The Milwaukee Common Council’s Public Safety Committee is scheduled to hear a “report” Thursday afternoon from MPD on the status of its MediaSolv system during the committee’s rescheduled meeting. The session begins at 1:30 p.m.

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Milwaukee committee seeks answers to MPD tech system meltdown

28May/15Off

Senate Candidate Dunnavant (VA-12) DENIES McEachin’s Story Says Janis and McEachin Working Together Against Her.

Posted by Tom White

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Posted at Virginia Right! - News from Virginia, the US and the World

Dear lord. This is better than a Soap Opera. If you don’t listen to the John Fredericks radio show, you missed it. Yesterday VaRight! wrote about a story where State Senator Donald McEachin claimed that Republican Candidate for the 12th Senatorial District Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant met with Don along with Democratic Senator Dick Saslaw and a third unnamed Democrat Senator

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Senate Candidate Dunnavant (VA-12) DENIES McEachin’s Story Says Janis and McEachin Working Together Against Her.

28May/15Off

May 28, 1865: The shackling of Jefferson Davis ordered ended

Posted by staff

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Posted at The American Civil War - The American Civil War presented day by day as it happened 150 years ago.

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May 28, 1865: The shackling of Jefferson Davis ordered ended

28May/15Off

Repeal Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need Program

Posted by Tom White

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Posted at Virginia Right! - News from Virginia, the US and the World

Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need system is a dinosaur that needs to be repealed. It is anti competitive and probably has made medical costs higher than they should be rather than contain costs as is it’s stated goal. When a medical facility wants to expand, or a new facility is planned, it is the goal of this program to make sure competition doesn’t harm existing facilities in the area. In other words, it is supposed to make sure extra competition doesn’t reduce the profit margin of existing facilities. Free market be damned!

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Repeal Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need Program

28May/15Off

Obama’s Pravda Media Jumps On Secretary Of Defense

Posted by Lars Hagen

Posted at The Roanoke Slant - This file is a very brief journal and scrapbook and LTEs of some examples of the Roanoke Times slant. Comments to: lbhagen@roanokeslant.org

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Obama’s Pravda Media Jumps On Secretary Of Defense

28May/15Off

Flooding Not New And Not CO2-AGW-Caused

Posted by Lars Hagen

Posted at The Roanoke Slant - This file is a very brief journal and scrapbook and LTEs of some examples of the Roanoke Times slant. Comments to: lbhagen@roanokeslant.org

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Flooding Not New And Not CO2-AGW-Caused

28May/15Off

Video: Democratic Debate for the 45th House of Delegates District

Posted by Blue Virginia

Posted at Blue Virginia - Front Page - Blue Virginia

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Video: Democratic Debate for the 45th House of Delegates District

28May/15Off

Raising a stink

Posted by Mike

Posted at Fishersville Mike - Proud member of SWAC corps and the "Axis of Fedorables"

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Raising a stink

28May/15Off

Walking a Crooked Line

Posted by Larry Benson

Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

Vestibular testing is used to determine if there is something wrong with the inner ear. (It’s definitely no walk in the park to be dizzy for prolonged periods of time.) A press release issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation tells about a husband and wife team who tried to mess up the balance of two vital health care benefit programs by billing Medicare and Medicaid for more than $9 million in bogus claims. The press release states that the husband owned the health care company and his wife, who was a registered nurse, helped him run the business. The man paid kickbacks through his company to Medicare beneficiaries who visited the clinic. (He also billed Medicare and Medicaid for vestibular testing that was never performed under a local physician who happened to be incarcerated on unrelated charges.) Over approximately three-and-a-half years, both benefits programs paid out more than $4.7 million for the health care company’s fraudulent claims

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Walking a Crooked Line

28May/15Off

Ohio bill would end payouts for livestock killed by dogs

Posted by Maggie Thurber

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By Maggie Thurber | For Ohio Watchdog LIVESTOCK KILLS: A provision in the budget bill would eliminate county reimbursements for livestock killed by dogs. Tucked among the myriad funding issues in Ohio’s biennial budget bill is a provision that would end payouts to owners when their livestock is killed by a dog. The provision would also end the requirement that county animal control officers investigate when livestock are killed by a coyote or black vulture. The County Commissioners Association of Ohio says the livestock kill laws are outdated and should be removed. Brian Mead, a policy analyst with CCAO, said eliminating this requirement has been in the organization’s platform for years.

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Ohio bill would end payouts for livestock killed by dogs

28May/15Off

Mississippi agency denies Oxford House’s charitable status

Posted by Steve Wilson

Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

RIGHT NEXT DOOR: A government-supported organization that helps landlords put halfway houses in neighborhoods is drawing fire in Jackson By Steve Wilson | Mississippi Watchdog The Mississippi Secretary of State’s office has put the smackdown on Oxford House. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s office issued a cease and desist letter Wednesday that ordered Oxford House Inc. — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that acts as an umbrella organization for a chain of halfway houses nationwide, including 16 in Mississippi funded with taxpayer dollars — to end solicitation of charitable donations in the state. The office, which regulates charities in the state, said in the letter that Oxford House filed for an exemption for charities whose annual contributions are less than $25,000.

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Mississippi agency denies Oxford House’s charitable status

28May/15Off

Audit of Texas General Land Office: Incentive payouts made without approval

Posted by Steve Miller

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By Steve Miller | Watchdog.org INCENTIVE – Payments were made at the state’s General Land Office without approval The Texas General Land Office’s most recent coup — after firing the group that had managed the Alamo since 1905 — is to thwart the free-wheeling Alamo Brewing Company from appropriating the Alamo brand and using it to sell beer on the backs of the Texas Revolution. The office also handed out bonuses to four employees last fiscal year totaling $290,105 that were not approved by anyone until after the year ended, according to newly released audit of incentive payouts at four major state agencies. These payments require the approval of the state’s land commissioner and the agency’s chief clerk. Outgoing chief Jerry Patterson was in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor, which he lost in March 2014. The primary recipient of the public’s largesse was the deputy commissioner of funds management, who is unnamed in the report and took in 72 percent of the $290K, or $209,718.

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Audit of Texas General Land Office: Incentive payouts made without approval

28May/15Off

Pacific trade pact could boost No. 1 ‘Tex-ports’

Posted by Kenric Ward

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

LET’S MAKE A DEAL: GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry believes the Trans-Pacific Partnership can help America achieve economic growth and job creation comparable to what occurred in Texas during his years as governor. By Kenric Ward| Watchdog.org Powered by its energy sector, Texas leads the nation in exports. Shipping out $326 billion worth of goods and services has driven the Lone Star State’s economy past California, which ranks second in outbound trade. Though conservatives and liberals in the U.S. House are fighting an expanded trade program, Texas stands to benefit from passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, says Karla Jones, director of international relations for the American Legislative Exchange Council.

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Pacific trade pact could boost No. 1 ‘Tex-ports’

28May/15Off

MN courts order more transparency for schools promoting bond referendums

Posted by Tom Steward

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By Tom Steward | Watchdog Minnesota Bureau St. Louis County Schools have finally gotten the message. There’s a tough, new set of rules for districts that take sides in expensive school bond referendums and use taxpayer money to do it. But it took five years, a unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court decision and two administrative law court reprimands, underscored by a token fine, to reach this point. ”It is precedent-setting

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MN courts order more transparency for schools promoting bond referendums

28May/15Off

Don’t expect another big drop at the gas pump after June OPEC meeting

Posted by Rob Nikolewski

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

NOT THIS TIME: Motorists saw big savings at the pump the last time OPEC ministers got together but experts say don’t expect a repeat after the cartel’s meeting June 5. By Rob Nikolewski │ Watchdog.org The last time oil ministers from nations in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries got together, motorists quickly saw a dramatic drop in gasoline prices. But with OPEC delegates just days away from assembling for their next meeting, it looks like drivers won’t experience a summer rerun. “You may not see a big decline in oil prices coming up,” said Michael Green, spokesman for AAA, the automobile organization that monitors gas prices across the country.

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Don’t expect another big drop at the gas pump after June OPEC meeting

28May/15Off

Fewer immigrants entering the US illegally

Posted by Moon-howler

Posted at Moonhowlings - A Place for Civil Debate: A Blog for Grown Ups

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Fewer immigrants entering the US illegally

28May/15Off

WE ARE WHAT WE ARE

Posted by Citizen Tom

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Posted at Citizen Tom - Welcome to Conservative commentary and Christian prayers from Gainesville, Virginia. That's OUTSIDE the Beltway.

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WE ARE WHAT WE ARE

28May/15Off

NOT SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF THIS…

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Posted at Virginia Right! - News from Virginia, the US and the World

This 12th Senate race is becoming nasty but intriguing.  One of the stories I find perplexing is the McEachin one.  It started with this comment in response to my first protest of the anti-lawyer ad campaign of Dr. Dunnavant from Skipper Stanley: State Senator Don McEachin supposedly fell off his chair eating breakfast when he saw Stolle- Dunnavant’s TV Ad stating she would vote against Medicaid Expansion in Virginia.

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NOT SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF THIS…

28May/15Off

Politicians in the neighborhood

Posted by Mike

Posted at Fishersville Mike - Proud member of SWAC corps and the "Axis of Fedorables"

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Politicians in the neighborhood

28May/15Off

If I could turn back time

Posted by Mike

Posted at Fishersville Mike - Proud member of SWAC corps and the "Axis of Fedorables"

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If I could turn back time

27May/15Off

Abrahamson asks appeals court to help her hold on to chief justice seat

Posted by M.D. Kittle

Image Shirley-Abrahamson-chief.jpg

Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Watchdog MADISON, Wis. – State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson wants a federal appeals court to help her reclaim the state court’s top job. Abrahamson and five co-plaintiffs on Wednesday filed notice to appeal a lower court’s decision earlier this month that denied Abrahamson’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop her fellow justices from replacing her as head of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

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Abrahamson asks appeals court to help her hold on to chief justice seat

27May/15Off

Highway Megaprojects and Coping with Risk

Posted by James A. Bacon

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Posted at Bacon's Rebellion - Reinventing Virginia for the 21st Century

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Highway Megaprojects and Coping with Risk

27May/15Off

MD governor vetoes civil asset forfeiture reform in wake of Baltimore riots

Posted by Moe Lane

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

MONEY TALKS: Local governments can make a lot of money from civil asset forfeiture, but that doesn’t mean everyone they seize cash from is guilty of a crime. By Moe Lane | Watchdog Arena Once upon a time, there was a Senate Bill in the Maryland Legislature. This bill (SB 528) focused on civil asset forfeiture (CAF) reform…and that’s where the libertarians reading this can start swearing, because civil asset forfeiture is a really sore subject in that particular part of the political spectrum. Essentially, and as regular readers of Watchdog.org probably already know, the basic idea behind asset forfeiture is to take away the incentive for doing crimes by taking away the stuff that criminals presumably bought with their ill-gotten gains. The classic example would be the confiscation of a Miami drug dealer’s sports car and mansion, just in time for Crockett and Tubbs to use them to go undercover (seriously, asset forfeiture was in fact the inspiration for Miami Vice)

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MD governor vetoes civil asset forfeiture reform in wake of Baltimore riots

27May/15Off

Vince Haley VA-12 Senate Candidate Picks Up HUGE Endorsement – E.W. Jackson!

Posted by Tom White

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Posted at Virginia Right! - News from Virginia, the US and the World

Today I am proud to announce my endorsement of Vince Haley for Virginia Senate in the 12th District. Vince is a man with strong convictions and an unswerving commitment to making Virginia a better place to live, raise a family, find a job or start a business. As a husband and father of three beautiful children, Vince is committed to ensuring a better future for the families and children of Virginia. At a time when we are tyrannized by an out-of-control federal government, Vince understands that it will be his responsibility as a legislator to protect the citizens he represents. Today we are faced with major attacks on our First Amendment rights

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Vince Haley VA-12 Senate Candidate Picks Up HUGE Endorsement – E.W. Jackson!

27May/15Off

Watchdog Podcast: In Our Backyards — Cops getting rich off civil asset forfeiture abuse

Posted by Eric Boehm

Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog Radio This is “In Our Backyards,” Watchdog.org’s podcast that examines local government — because the government that is the closest to you often can be the most important, even if you don’t hear much about it. We look at city councils, school boards and even water treatment authorities, because local officials can waste your tax dollars as easily as Congress can waste them. Government is real when it’s close by, in schools and local police forces. This week, host Eric Boehm looks at a local issue that has become a national one: the use, and abuse, of civil asset forfeiture laws by local police departments to help pad their own bottom lines. Law enforcement says they are using civil asset forfeiture to shut down the drug trade, but in practice the law is being used to target often innocent bystanders who have their property seized without due process

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Watchdog Podcast: In Our Backyards — Cops getting rich off civil asset forfeiture abuse

27May/15Off

Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws cost taxpayers more, study, experience finds

Posted by M.D. Kittle

Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Watchdog MADISON, Wis. — The Platteville School District might just underscore the problems and complexities of Wisconsin’s 80-year-old prevailing wage laws. The southwest Wisconsin school system last summer had several upgrade projects in mind for its high school auditorium.

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Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws cost taxpayers more, study, experience finds

27May/15Off

Michigan’s economic recovery more than just the auto industry

Posted by Jarrett Skorup

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By James M. Hohman and Jarrett Skorup | Watchdog Opinion As Michigan continues its economic recovery that has led to more jobs, higher real estate values and more government tax revenue, one might wonder what’s driving the state’s recent economic growth. Some point to the booming auto industry, praising the bailouts and speedy bankruptcies. Yet, while some pieces of the state economy are improving more than others, it’s all of them together that makes the difference. Michigan’s recent economic growth is substantial

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Michigan’s economic recovery more than just the auto industry

27May/15Off

Can we viably capture CO2 from power plants by 2020?

Posted by Deborah Thornton

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

By Deborah Thorton | Watchdog Opinion The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in June 2014 issued a proposed carbon dioxide (CO2) regulation under the Clean Air Act Section 111(d), called the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which calls for reducing CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel-based electricity power plants by 30 percent by 2030.  Most of these power plants are coal burning, and retrofitting and upgrading these systems over the next 15 years will cost the utilities – and consumers – billions of dollars. Existing power plants will be required to limit CO2 emissions to 1.1 pounds per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of production, compared to the current average of 2.14 pounds.  The cost to make the equipment upgrades is estimated to be $50 billion — annually. 

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Can we viably capture CO2 from power plants by 2020?

27May/15Off

Report: Colorado’s winding road to recovery since the Great Recession

Posted by Joshua Sharf

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

UPS AND DOWNS: Since the Great Recession took hold, the fiscal health of Colorado varies when compared to the rest of the nation. By Joshua Sharf | Watchdog Arena Since the recession, there is good news and bad news for Colorado’s fiscal situation, made clear by a new set of visualizations, a product of the Pew Charitable Trusts States’ Fiscal Health project. In some ways, Colorado is outperforming other states’ recoveries.  But its problems mirror those in other states, as it fails to take advantage of the recovery to improve its long-term situation, forfeiting increased revenues and their potential for long-term stability.

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Report: Colorado’s winding road to recovery since the Great Recession

27May/15Off

Loudoun GOP Has a Problem With Some Independents Challenging Republicans

Posted by Steve amp Arnie T.

It seems Loudoun County Republicans have a problem with some Independent candidates who are running for office in November but not all Independent candidates who are challenging Republican candidates. Two days ago we learned that disgraced Supervisor Shawn Williams is circulating petitions to run for Chairman of the Board as an Independent.  The next day […]

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Loudoun GOP Has a Problem With Some Independents Challenging Republicans

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27May/15Off

Logogate: Tennessee has eight graphic artists on state payroll, records show

Posted by Chris Butler

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

SHOVEL READY: People are already taking to social media to create their own parodies of the new Tennessee logo. By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog NASHVILLE — Tennessee has eight graphic artists and designers costing taxpayers a yearly sum of $293,000, state records show, yet officials paid a private firm $46,000 to create a new state logo. The design, as Tennessee Watchdog reported, is simplistic at best, and if thousands of angry posts on social media are any measure, people aren’t happy with the result. Taxpayers will no doubt wonder why Tennessee officials failed to use state resources.

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Logogate: Tennessee has eight graphic artists on state payroll, records show

27May/15Off

Lincoln to spend $85,000 for artistic lighting for alley

Posted by Deena Winter

Image Screen-Shot-2015-04-09-at-9.49.11-AM.png

Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

ARTSY ALLEY: The city of Lincoln will spend $800,000 to make an artsy downtown alley, including nearly $85,000 on lighting alone. By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog Lincoln will spend $85,000 on artistic lighting in a downtown alley, as part of the mayor’s quest to have a nationally prominent public art collection. Nebraska Watchdog reported in April that the city seemed to be holding off until after the mayoral election before signing an $85,000 contract to put up pretty lights in a downtown alley. Sure enough, now that the election is over and mayor safely re-elected, the contract has been signed.

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Lincoln to spend $85,000 for artistic lighting for alley

27May/15Off

Muslim Woman Not Allowed to Drive Metro Train Carrying Rep. Comstock for Photo Op?!?

Posted by Blue Virginia

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Posted at Blue Virginia - Front Page - Blue Virginia

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Muslim Woman Not Allowed to Drive Metro Train Carrying Rep. Comstock for Photo Op?!?

27May/15Off

Video: Bob Schieffer On the Importance of Having Strong Beat Reporters as Antidote to Corruption

Posted by Blue Virginia

Posted at Blue Virginia - Front Page - Blue Virginia

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Video: Bob Schieffer On the Importance of Having Strong Beat Reporters as Antidote to Corruption

27May/15Off

Sanders promises to make nation like Vermont

Posted by Bruce Parker

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

SANDERS FOR PREZ: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., launched an impressive kickoff to his 2016 presidential campaign on Tuesday, stoking the enthusiasm of thousands of supporters. By Bruce Parker | Vermont Watchdog BURLINGTON, Vt. — Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, touted his socialist vision for America as thousands of energized supporters cheered the politician’s Vermont-styled solutions on issues from education and health care to a living wage.

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Sanders promises to make nation like Vermont

27May/15Off

Charleston tour guides need government blessing to operate

Posted by PG Veer

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

LICENSE TO TOUR: In Charleston, you better have a license to give tours, or you’ll face a fine. By PG Veer | Watchdog Arena In Charleston, North Carolina, working as a tour guide is serious business. So serious that, for about 50 years, the city has required its guides to pass both a written and an oral test to prove their worth. They also have to pay over $100 dollars in fees and materials–including a 492-page study book–so they might become part of the select few who are “the face of Charleston out on the street.” “You can’t let any Joe Schmo get up there and talk,” said Federico, who passed both tests. “You can’t talk unless you know what you’re talking about.” However genuine-looking this reasoning looks like, don’t be fooled.

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Charleston tour guides need government blessing to operate

27May/15Off

Mississippi agency thumbs its nose at senator over government-funded halfway houses

Posted by Steve Wilson

Image Oxford-House-300x174.jpg

Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

RIGHT NEXT DOOR: A government-supported organization that helps landlords put halfway houses in neighborhoods is drawing fire in Jackson By Steve Wilson | Mississippi Watchdog The Mississippi state agency responsible for administering a group of taxpayer-funded halfway houses for recovering addicts is thumbing its nose at a state senator who is calling for more scrutiny. In a letter Friday from one of its attorneys, Gene Rowzee Jr., the Mississippi Department of Mental Health told Sen. Will Longwitz, R-Madison, “there appears to be a lack of factual basis for the vast majority of issues and concerns put forth in your letters, meeting and public statements attributed to you” about the Oxford Houses, which are administered by the MDMH. Longwitz and the agency have corresponded since April about the senator’s concerns. This comes after Gov.

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Mississippi agency thumbs its nose at senator over government-funded halfway houses

27May/15Off

Atlanta test-cheating scandal a catalyst for surge in charter school enrollments, report finds

Posted by Jana Benscoter

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

CHOOSING CHARTERS: A recent study shows that more students in Atlanta wanted enrolled in a charter school after public school teachers erased answers on tests in 2011. By Jana Benscoter | Watchdog Arena A study released earlier this month reported on evidence that proves students targeted in an Atlanta public schools test-cheating scandal caused an upsurge in charter school enrollment. The report, entitled “The Long-Run Effects of Teacher Cheating on Student Outcomes: A Report for the Atlanta Public Schools” finds, “some evidence that the cheating scandal lead to a movement away from traditional public schools and into the charter sector.” Researchers found “fairly large increases in enrollment in charter schools in two years after the revelation of teacher cheating in 2009-10, and 2010-11. After the 2010-11 school year, the absolute enrollment in charters stabilized, though the relative proportion continues to increase,” as do test scores.

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Atlanta test-cheating scandal a catalyst for surge in charter school enrollments, report finds

27May/15Off

Great News! Jamelle Wilson, Hanover School Superintendent Quits!

Posted by Tom White

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Posted at Virginia Right! - News from Virginia, the US and the World

Great news. The Progressive defender of the Muslim controversy and a number of other divisive issues Jamelle Wilson is leaving. From the Richmond Times Dispatch: Jamelle S. Wilson is leaving her job as superintendent of Hanover County schools to become dean of the University of Richmond’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies, UR announced this morning. Wilson will begin her new role at the University of Richmond on Aug

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Great News! Jamelle Wilson, Hanover School Superintendent Quits!

27May/15Off

Haupt’s Take: The Second Amendment is our tool to maintain the rest

Posted by William Haupt III

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

WE THE PEOPLE: The Second Amendment protects an individual right to gun ownership, writes William Haupt III. By William Haupt III | Watchdog Arena “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference. They deserve a place of honor with all that is good. When firearms go, all goes.” ~George Washington Thomas Jefferson once forcefully stated, “The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Progressives argue that the Second Amendment is a prolepsis intended only to protect a state’s right to maintain a standing militia, and therefore individuals cannot claim it as a personal right. Yet if you’ve read the Second Amendment lately, it clearly states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It doesn’t take a Ph.D.

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Haupt’s Take: The Second Amendment is our tool to maintain the rest

27May/15Off

Stimpson Files Legal Challenge to Howell’s Abuse of Power

Posted by Tom White

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Posted at Virginia Right! - News from Virginia, the US and the World

Stimpson Challenges Howell’s Abuse of Power At Speaker Howell’s request, SBE changes absentee voting rules without notice in middle of election Falmouth, VA – Today Susan Stimpson filed suit in Stafford County Circuit Court challenging the State Board of Elections’ recent decision to circumvent the General Assembly and change absentee ballot rules within a month of the election–after absentee voting was underway–at the request of Speaker Bill Howell: “We are taking this action to protect the integrity of the June 9th election and future elections in Virginia. Long-time incumbents like Bill Howell cannot be allowed to use their political power to change the rules to benefit themselves within weeks of the election, after voting has begun.   We are a nation of laws, not men.  Howell’s actions come from desperation, not strength.   Bill Howell is trying save his campaign, which is sinking by the day under the weight of his tax and spend record,” Stimpson said.

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Stimpson Files Legal Challenge to Howell’s Abuse of Power

27May/15Off

Private enterprise helps handle urban blight in Erie

Posted by Rachel Martin

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Posted at Watchdog.org - The Government Watchdog

Part 3 of 3 in the series Entrepreneurship and Erie's Evolution By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org ERIE, Pa. — It’s nice when being a do-gooder also works to your advantage. “We live here, we work here, we play here,” Leah Knapp, spokeswoman for Erie Insurance, told Watchdog.org. Having a livable downtown is good for residents and employees — “but it also helps recruit new employees.” Erie Insurance is one of the anchor donors of the Bayfront East Side Taskforce, a nonprofit working to revitalize Erie’s historic East Bayfront, “Erie’s original neighborhood.” Erie Insurance has worked with BEST over the past 25-plus years to reduce urban blight and ensure the vitality of the neighborhood in which it operates.

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Private enterprise helps handle urban blight in Erie