Debt Ceiling Vote

This is all getting really ridiculous with all the bi-partisan fighting between the two sides.  The House is struggling to pass a measure that is going to get voted down by the Senate.  Its unclear if the House would pass the measure that the Senate can pass.

Its clear now that the Republican party has no interest in doing anything that will help this country move forward.  Their only goal is to filibuster any attempts to move this country out it its current economic fiasco to make Obama look bad.

The markets has spoken with the huge decreases this week.  Let see if these guys can manage to do the right thing and pass legislation for the benefit of the country.

At the same time, the President needs to get off his ass and start trying to lead this thing.  He should have put out a proposal instead of taking this position of letting the two parties come up with a solution.  But who knows!  Maybe he knew there was no point in putting out his own proposal because nothing would get down as evident by what is transpiring now in Congress.

Debit card tax refund

The US Treasury department is going to hand out tax refunds this year on prepaid debit cards to low income taxpayers who don’t have a bank account.  Its a new pilot program.  The Treasury department is going to send out some 600 k letters to households asking them if they want to take part in the pilot program.

For those without bank accounts, the debit cards will allow them to avoid check-cashing fees or costly refund anticipation loans and checks. Direct deposit is also faster. It takes 10 days or fewer for the IRS to process a tax return and deposit a refund electronically. A mailed paper check may not reach a taxpayer for up to six weeks.

I live this idea and hope it works out.  It is nice to see some progressive thinking finally kicking in.

Judge strike down health care law

A federal judge in Virginia declared the foundation of President Obama’s health care law unconstitutional because the government cannot require Americans to purchase insurance.  No court, according to the judge, had expanded the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution to allow the government to regulate a person’s decision not to buy a product.  In this case, health care.

In his order, he said he will allow the law to remain in effect while appeals are heard, meaning there is unlikely to be any immediate impact on other provisions that have already taken effect. The insurance coverage mandate is not scheduled to begin until 2014.

While two other federal judges have upheld the law, the conflicting ruling is going to eventually be settled by the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Nomination

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan began her nomination process this week as she began her congressional hearings.  Today the Harvard grad carefully responded to Republician questioning her record in an attempt to find a reason to block her nomination to the high court.

President Barack Obama’s nominee soldiered through her second day of testimony on Capitol Hill apparently in good shape to win Senate approval — barring a major gaffe — in time to take her seat before the court opens a new term in October. If confirmed, Kagan, 50, would succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

The Senate Judicial committee called Kagan back Wednesday for a second and likely final day of questioning.

Sexting Case

A 19 year old student is suing her former high school for an illegal search that they conducted on her cell phone.  The former female student alleges that school officials invaded her privacy and violated her free-speech rights when they confiscated her cell phone, found semi-nude photos stored inside and turned the phone over to authorities.

The lawsuit alleges that the trouble began after a teacher confiscated the cell phone of the student, identified in the suit only as N.N., when she broke school rules by making a call on campus in January 2009.

She was later called to Principal Gregory Ellsworth’s office, suspended for three days and told that her cell phone had been turned over to authorities after Ellsworth found semi-nude and nude photos inside, the lawsuit says.

When other students at the same high school were caught allegedly sending nude and semi-nude photos on their cell phones last year, the Wyoming District Attorney General gave them a similar choice: taking re-education classes or facing charges.

The lawsuit says N.N.’s photos were never printed, distributed or uploaded on the Internet and were intended to be seen only by the student and possibly by her long-time boyfriend.

The lawsuit seeks damages, reimbursement for the re-education course she was required to take and the deletion of any stored copies of the photographs.

As technology continues to expand and enter into our lifes, new and more interesting types of cases will emerge to address those new advances.

BP What are you doing?


After weeks of fucking up the environment, BP finally conceded that the oil leak is larger than it originally estimated, adding more worry as portions of the massive spill began appearing on shore.

They finally made available video footage of the amount of oil that continues to gush out into the ocean.  Is it me or does it seem that every week, BP comes up with a new idea and their execution fails to stop the spill.

Could this fucking mess become the death nail of future oil drilling in the ocean.  I guess time will tell.

Goldman Executive Deny Wrongdoing

After nearly 11 hours to combative exchanges, Senators and the leaders of Goldman Sach returned to their respective corners to fight another day.  It isn’t clear who got the better off the other in this public round of debate.

If the stock price of Goldman Sach is an indicator then the company came out ahead as the stock rose $1.01 per share, to $153.04.   Other would argue that the stock was due to go up after dropping from the $180 per share levels just a few weeks ago.

Some of the things that came clear from today’s interplay is that Gold is stating that the people that they were dealing with that is at the core of the SEC fraud charges – were institutions and not your regular “Joe”.  Institutions with a high level of knowledge about the markets and who possessed knowledge about the market.  So they know what they were doing and Gold just accommodated or created an environment for them to make their trades.

The other argument that Gold made was that the short selling was just a byproduct of their risk measures.  They take action from institution and avoid too much risk they edge their bets to offset their risk.

It will be interesting to see how things play out in the public arena as well as in the court.

Texting With Work Phone

Be careful what you text on a company phone.  Because the real question is can your employer read your text message if you do it on a company phone.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that questions whether a California city violated a public employee’s rights by reading sexually explicit text messages on an electronic device owned by the Police Department. A decision has not been made.

Although the case involved a police officer, some legal experts said the ruling could have broad implications on how public and private employees can be monitored.

In the digital era, employees often are expected to be in constant contact with their managers. The use of cell phones and mobile internet service has skyrocketed over the last decade, and some of the growth can be attributed to companies giving cell phones and smartphones to their employees

Employees should protect themselves by keeping their personal lifes out of work communications.  If your employer has anything to do with giving you your phone – whether it is paying for it or not, its sale to assume that your text are not private so you should have no reasonable expectation of privacy towards them.

Defamation Lawsuit

There has been a raise in companies filing defamation lawsuit against anonymous poster, posting negative comments about their company.  The process is fairly simple.  The company files a defamation claim against a “John Doe”.  The complaint enables the company to issue subpoena against websites where the comments were posted asking for information concerning the  identity of the poster.  The information will come in the form of server logs, user account information and ip addresses.

These days, one’s ip address is the equivalent of one’s home address or finger print.  As each home is appointed to a unique ip address.  Once they have your ip address, they can subpoena your Internet Provider for the account associated to your ip address.

With this information, they can now connect you to the comments being made on the Internet.  They then amend their complaint to add you as a Doe.  Serve you and the lawsuit begins.

Campaign Spending Undermine


The US Supreme Court recent ruling on campaign spending could have long time effects.  If you haven’t heard, the overturn a 63 year old law limiting political spending by labor and big business on the grounds of free speech.

The ruling paves the way for corporations, labor unions, and religious groups to give money to sway votes to push their agenda.

The ruling covers the money corporations and unions may spend from their own profits on independent ads and other advocacy efforts on behalf of candidates or issues. It does not change restrictions on direct contributions to candidates for federal office, which remain prohibited under federal law, but are allowed in New Jersey state races.

The decision essentially means that if a corporation wanted to spend millions of dollars of its own money on its own issues ads in support of a candidate, it may do so. The ruling does not change spending rules covering the thousands of political action committees by corporations and special interest groups.

Now Congress will have to decide how they want to react to the high court’s ruling.