8 May 2014
The Office of Inspector General’s Cases of Employee Misconduct at the Environmental Protection Agency
On December 18, 2013, Mr. Beale was sentenced to 32 months in prison for defrauding the EPA of approximately $900,000 in undeserved pay and bonuses. Our investigation found, among other things, that Mr. Beale received his salary while missing more than 2.5 years of work at the EPA… Our investigation indicated that the senior executive approved, or authorized the approval of, fraudulent time – and – attendance records and travel vouchers for Mr. Beale from 2000 through 2010.
… another EPA manager who allowed an employee to stay at home and not report for duty for several years. … It is estimated that the manager’s approval of fraudulent time-and-attendance records cost the government more than $500,000.
One such investigation involves a career EPA employee who allegedly stored pornographic materials on an EPA network server shared by colleagues. When an OIG special agent arrived at this employee’s work space to conduct an interview, the special agent witnessed the employee actively viewing pornography on his government-issued computer. Subsequently, the employee confessed to spending, on average, between two and six hours per day viewing pornography while at work. The OIG ’s investigation determined that the employee downloaded and viewed more than 7,000 pornographic files during duty hours.
…a GS-15 Step 10 EPA employee who has not been physically able to complete any work for at least the last year; however, this employee continues to draw a full salary and receive the benefits of an active employee. This employee suffers from a debilitating disease and has been allowed to remain on telework status for several years without providing any substantive work product.
These are just a few examples given at the testimony.
You wonder why we are so far in debt. Bad spending policy… major mismanagement of resources.
By the way – a GS-15 Step 10 employee makes over $150K annually.
8 May 2014
Will Detroit Be The First Major Chinese City In The United States? – Economic Collapse Blog
Chinese homebuyers and Chinese businesses are starting to flood into the Motor City, and the governor of Michigan is greatly encouraging this. In fact, he has formally asked the Obama administration for 50,000 special federal immigration visas to encourage even more immigration from China and elsewhere.
Chinese immigrants could save Detroit: governor – Want China Times
What Snyder plans is to allow Chinese people to buy houses in Detroit. He believes that the state government does not have to spend a penny to save the city because of the new immigration plan, which will benefit the city significantly.
Chinese Creating New Auto Niche Within Detroit – CNBC
Dozens of companies from China are putting down roots in Detroit, part of the country’s steady push into the American auto industry.
Last year, the biggest carmaker in China, Shanghai Automotive Industries, opened new offices in suburban Detroit without any publicity, which is almost unheard-of in an industry that thrives on media coverage.
In addition to Chinese companies locating in Detroit, a cottage industry of lawyers, accountants and corporate advisers has grown up to assist them. Their numbers are small now, but the impact of the Chinese on the local economy is slowly expanding.
Should be interesting where this leads. Not surprising that another culture would fill that void. It is interesting that Americans chose not to rebuild Detroit… maybe lack of resources, or lack of desire, who knows.
8 May 2014
Missouri House Overrides Gov. Nixon’s Veto, Enacts Historic Tax Cuts
Today – following the lead of the State Senate – the Missouri House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Tim Jones has overridden Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of SB 509. For the first time in nearly 100 years, Missouri taxpayers will be given broad-based tax relief.
This vote to override the governor’s veto will provide $620 million in tax relief for hard working Missourians. The legislation includes a reduction of the top income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and a 25 percent exemption from income taxes for small businesses.
Nice job, Missouri.
Good to see the system work when even the top dog can have his say overturned.
6 May 2014
Morning Plum: The GOP’s real position on immigration, laid bare – Wash. Post
Republicans face a very simple dilemma on immigration: Either they embrace reform, or they are inescapably the party of maximum deportations.
GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte had an interview with a reporter at Univision.
Ramos repeatedly pressed Goodlatte to explain why it is that House Republicans refuse to act on immigration reform. Goodlatte repeatedly claimed the problem is that Republicans can’t trust Obama to enforce the law, as evidenced by the fact that deportations from the interior have dropped. Goodlatte explicitly said the problem is that only people convicted of serious crimes are getting deported from the interior.
Ramos then pressed Goodlatte on whether this means Republicans want to see more deportations from the interior. Goodlatte — who as chair of the House Judiciary Committee is a key player on immigration — refused to answer directly:
JORGE RAMOS: So your point is that you want more people to be deported?
BG: My point is that I want the President to enforce the law, and that way Congress will feel the pressure to reach a resolution to deal with the people who are lawfully here, who have been law abiding citizens.
The Senator answers the question directly. The law should be enforced. He is not focused on immigrants… he is focused on the law. The newspaper tells it differently.
This is how Republicans have boxed themselves in on this issue: They’ve defined “enforcing the law” as maximizing deportations from the interior, no matter who gets removed.
It’s not Republicans boxing themselves in – it’s the Washington Post misrepresenting the Senator’s answer. I want the laws to be adhered to in this country. I am not anti-immigrant – but follow the law. That’s all.
5 May 2014
White House Wants to Lift Ban on Interstate Tolls – NY Times
A transportation proposal sent to Congress by the Obama administration on Tuesday would remove a prohibition on tolls for existing Interstate highways, clearing the way for states to raise revenue on roads that drivers currently use at no cost.
Some Northeastern states, like Delaware and New Jersey, were allowed to keep tolls on existing highways that became a part of the national system. Other states were allowed to charge tolls on highways that were added to existing Interstates, but that revenue can be used only for repair and maintenance of those roads.
The proposal comes as Congress prepares to rewrite the existing surface transportation bill. A Congressional Budget Office study found that the Highway Trust Fund, which helps pays for Interstate repairs and is financed by a gasoline tax, will run out of money in August.
My questions is why is this Highway Trust Fund running out of money. Is spending ever addressed with these people (except when using it as leverage against political opponents)?
The government wants us to drive less and use less fuel, right? Now the fund that comes from gas taxes is running out of money. People who bought electric cars to save gas money may have to pay for it with tolls. And then, there’s are possible privacy issue with tracking drivers.