Mean_girls_eww_why

You just paid your taxes, and this is what you bought

By  |  April 15, 2014  |  No Comments

By Andrew Collins | Watchdog.org
Uncle Sam thanks you.

An $876,752 study on snail sex

Via tumblr.com
A University of Iowa study is trying to figure out if it’s better for snails to reproduce sexually or asexually.

A $16 million tropical vacation

Via chicka-chicka-gifs.tumblr.com
That was the final price tag on President Obama’s most recent holiday vacations to Hawaii and Africa.

A $750,000 study on how kid cartoons contribute [...]

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Walker’s in, the left fires first, and the War for Wisconsin is on

Wisconsin  |  April 16, 2014

That didn’t take long.

Literally minutes after Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch officially announced their re-election campaign, a Hillary Clinton front group rolled out its attack machine against the Republican governor and potential 2016 presidential hopeful.

ILLEGAL? Questions abound over the Social Security Administration's use of the IRS to withhold tax refunds from children of deceased recipients.

IRS-Social Security seizure a ticking time bomb

National  |  April 16, 2014

The legal issue of garnishing money from the children of deceased parents remains legally contentious, and a senior senator is demanding answers from the agencies involved.

DEVASTATED: In 2010, a 7.0 earthquake devastated part of Hispaniola, with the epicenter of the quake 16 miles from the capital city Port-au-Prince, Haiti bore the brunt of the damages with its government reporting an estimated 230,000 deaths, 300,000 injuries, and 2 million displaced people. Four years, U.S.  warned about the importance of aid transparency.

Lawmakers call for an end to corruption in Haiti

National  |  April 16, 2014

A group of elected officials from South Florida wanted to see first-hand the corruption and waste that is gripping the island nation of Haiti and to see how U.S. Agency for International Development — USAID — money is being spent.

ready

Few Illinois teachers feel completely ready for Common Core

Illinois  |  April 16, 2014

By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Fewer than two in 10 teachers in Illinois say they’re completely ready for Common Core, despite Illinois being in its fourth year of the new learning standards.
The Illinois State Board of Education’s own teacher survey shows just 17.5 percent of teachers say they are fully prepared for Common [...]

bobmenendez

Politically connected Florida doctor rakes in $21M in Medicare payments

Florida  |  April 16, 2014

By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A South Florida doctor with campaign finance ties to U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., took in a whopping $20.8 million in Medicare reimbursements in 2012, according to an Associated Press analysis of physician data released by the Obama administration.
Salomon Melgen, a West Palm Beach ophthalmologist, was tops among [...]

ROLLING MOTORISTS: Ticket-issuing cameras are collecting millions of dollars from drivers who fail to come to a "full stop" at red lights before turning right.

TN officials unaware of alleged scandal with red light camera contractor

Tennessee  |  April 16, 2014

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog
NASHVILLE — Officials in 10 Tennessee towns and cities contract with a red light camera company, Redflex, which is receiving intense scrutiny nationwide after allegations it was involved in a large bribery scandal in Chicago.
Tennessee Watchdog was able to reach officials in four of those 10 government entities — and only [...]

FLYING HIGH: Mississippi's state budget has the highest percentage of federal funds by any state, according to a recent report. PHOTO BY: CREATIVE COMMONS

State spending, federal aid make for a shaky partnership

Mississippi  |  April 16, 2014

There are two trend lines in Mississippi’s budgets from year to year. One is the ever-increasing amount of money the state government spends. The other is the percentage of the state’s revenues that come from the federal government that keeps going up.

SEEING GREEN: Since 2010, at least two Kansas police departments have seen a sudden spike in revenues because of the state's taxation laws on illegal narcotics. From 2010 to 2012, almost 60 percent of all drug incidents involved marijuana, according to statistics provided by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Law enforcement reap big payouts from War on Drugs

Kansas  |  12:03 pm

Crime doesn’t pay, unless you’re a Kansas law enforcement agency reaping the spoils of war.

The War on Drugs, that is.

Buried deep within state statute is a little-known provision that directly rewards police departments for busting-up the local narcotics scene, and it does so using the government’s oldest trick in the book: taxes.

SEEING GREEN: Since 2010, at least two Kansas police departments have seen a sudden spike in revenues because of the state's taxation laws on illegal narcotics. From 2010 to 2012, almost 60 percent of all drug incidents involved marijuana, according to statistics provided by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Law enforcement reap big payouts from War on Drugs

Kansas  |  12:03 pm

Crime doesn’t pay, unless you’re a Kansas law enforcement agency reaping the spoils of war.

The War on Drugs, that is.

Buried deep within state statute is a little-known provision that directly rewards police departments for busting-up the local narcotics scene, and it does so using the government’s oldest trick in the book: taxes.

janitorial

Living wage could cost Milwaukee County $2M more for janitorial services

Wisconsin  |  11:40 am

By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Milwaukee County taxpayers could see nearly $2 million in tax relief over the next three years if the county’s new union-influenced living wage wasn’t standing in the way.
Taxpayers can only realize the $1.98 million in projected savings if the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors locks in a deal [...]

SPECIAL REPORT

VIDEOS

EdSchultz

Is the mainstream media being unfair to Obamacare?

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By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. — Need a good laugh?
Check out what MSNBC host Ed Schultz had to say Monday about the mainstream media’s handling of Obamacare.
Trust me, you’ll want to sit down for this one.

Contrary to Schultz’s claims, a major Gallup survey released Monday indicates that sign-ups through the Affordable Care Act are [...]

WATCHBLOG

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – State Delegate Barbara Comstock is inflating her energy record to pump up her congressional bid.
The McLean Republican’s congressional campaign webpage declares that she “authored Virginia’s law to allow for offshore exploration of energy.”
In fact, Comstock’s “major legislation” did no such thing. Her 2010 bill, HB 900, [...]

Comstock goes overboard with offshore energy claim

 |  Texas

While taxpayers were picking up the tab for intensive, outpatient care for mentally ill patients, those patients were playing games and watching movies.

Medicare fraud: $97 million for mentally ill patients to watch movies, play games

By Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org
State public utilities regulators are calling for an easy way for consumers to compare complaints against the nation’s phone companies.
Currently, consumers can file complaints about their telecommunications service with the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, but those complaints aren’t publicly available in an online format for consumers.
On Wednesday, Chris [...]

Regulators push for public database of complaints against phone companies

 |  Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has saved almost $2 billion staving off welfare fraud, waste and abuse under Gov. Tom Corbett, said Beverly Mackereth, the secretary of the state’s Department of Public Welfare.

DPW chief: PA saves billions fighting welfare fraud

 |  Montana

By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
For some, ignorance is bliss, but for Democrat Jon Tester, it’s an important campaign tactic.
Sure, the second-term senator from Montana isn’t up for re-election until 2018, but that won’t stop him from using disingenuous attacks on the wealthy to scare his constituents into sending him campaign cash.
“Today, it looks like the billionaire Koch [...]

Tester launches disingenuous attack on the Koch brothers

 |  Pennsylvania

With no debate and a nearly party-line vote, the state House passed a bill that eliminates a loophole in the law state defining the crime of stalking.

PA House approves ‘stalking’ bill

Section 7

FROM AROUND THE WEB

By John Seiler | Cal Watchdog
CalWatchDog.com Editor-in-Chief Brian Calle interviews Rebecca Friedrichs. She is an Orange County schoolteacher who is fighting for her right not to be associated with the political activity the nation’s most powerful union, the National Education Association, and its state affiliate, the California Teachers’ Association. She ready to take her fight [...]

California teacher takes on teachers’ union agenda

By Anita Folsom | for Michigan Capitol Confidential
Failed government subsidies have existed in U.S. history from George Washington to Barack Obama.
But what’s especially remarkable about the stream of government aid — subsidies to the fur trade, steamships, railroads, airplanes, and even ethanol today — is that private citizens, with no federal funds, almost always outperform [...]

Government subsidies run wild in Michigan

By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf | Maryland Reporter
Many minimum wage workers will be getting a raise now that a hike to Maryland’s wage has been signed into law. But while advocates are ascribing the increase as a win, there’s a bitter aftertaste for one group that was left behind.
The minimum wage will increase to $10.10 over the [...]

Tipped workers left behind in MD minimum wage hike

By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
If you’re going to experience the court system in South Carolina, chances are it will be in either magistrate or municipal court.
That’s where you’ll go to take care of traffic tickets or if you’re charged with a crime that carries a sentence of no more than 30 days in jail. [...]

SC judicial income disclosure forms don’t disclose much

By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
It appears that arguably the most powerful lawmaker in the South Carolina General Assembly would hold his title if his colleagues voted today.
Nine House members, both Republicans and Democrats, who were interviewed Friday by The Nerve said that for now, they would vote to re-elect House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, as the [...]

SC House members stand by embattled speaker

By Tom Gantert | Michigan Capitol Confidential
While some are pitching a storyline in Detroit of a bankrupt city in need of more revenue, the city already collects hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes that no other city can.
The state allows only Detroit to collect a “utility users’ tax” and a casino “wagering tax” that combined accounted [...]

Special deals allow Detroit to collect hundreds of millions in extra revenue

By Jami Lund | Freedom Foundation
April 3-5 was the Washington Education Associations “Representative Assembly” where the most ardent union supporters gather for a few days of union business.
On the agenda every year is an opportunity for participants to vote on position statements and action items for the union. Here are seven interesting items that passed [...]

Washington teachers union endorses ‘parent choice’

By Glynis Kazanjian | Maryland Reporter
Voters may get to skip the lines at the polls this summer by receiving and marking their ballots online, but election officials must first decide if the convenience outweighs the security risks.
The State Board of Elections will vote this month on using a new online ballot marking system, which includes [...]

MD absentee ballots moving online causes security concerns

By Joseph Perkins | Cal Watchdog
What a long strange trip it’s been for the Pebble Beach Company since it unveiled its Del Monte Forest development plan all the way back in 1987.
In the ensuing 27 years, PBC has revised its plan innumerable times only to have state regulators or local government bodies block the company from breaking [...]

Why California has an affordable housing crisis