Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kirk: Bankruptcy Should Be Option For States « CBS Chicago

Mark Kirk

WASHINGTON Freshman U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) says bankruptcy should be considered as an option for some states – such as Illinois – looking to get out from under crushing debt.

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, some on Capitol Hill are looking for ways to allow the states to get bankruptcy protection from pension debt and other obligations.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Click on the following for more details:  Kirk: Bankruptcy Should Be Option For States « CBS Chicago

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission - The New York Times

commission casts a wide net of blame, faulting the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the Federal Reserve and other regulators for permitting a calamitous concoction: shoddy mortgage lending, the excessive packaging and sale of loans to investors and risky bets on securities backed by the loans.

Of the 10 commission members, only the 6 appointed by Democrats endorsed the final report. Three Republican members have prepared a dissent; a fourth Republican, Peter J. Wallison, a former Treasury official and White House counsel to President Ronald Reagan, has written a dissent, calling government policies to promote homeownership the primary culprit for the crisis.

report seems aimed at shaping future debate over the crisis. “The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done,” the panel wrote in the report’s conclusions. “If we accept this notion, it will happen again

Click on the following for more details:  Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission - The New York Times

And remember Thursday is the first day for the real report.

Taco Bell Meat: Chain Sued Over 36% Beef Content In 'Taco Meat Filling' [Updated]


The meat mixture sold by Taco Bell restaurants contains binders and extenders and does not meet the minimum requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be labeled as "beef," according to the legal complaint.

The class-action lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in the Central District of California by the Montgomery law firm Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles.

Attorney Dee Miles said attorneys had Taco Bell's "meat mixture" tested and found it contained less that 35 percent beef.

[Taco Bell’s response: ]

At Taco Bell, we buy our beef from the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket, like Tyson Foods. We start with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef. Then we simmer it in our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture. We are proud of the quality of our beef and identify all the seasoning and spice ingredients on our website. Unfortunately, the lawyers in this case elected to sue first and ask questions later -- and got their "facts" absolutely wrong. We plan to take legal action for the false statements being made about our food."

Greg Creed
President and Chief Concept Officer
Taco Bell Corp.

Taco Bell Meat: Chain Sued Over 36% Beef Content In 'Taco Meat Filling' [Updated]

Did the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s Audit give the public warning of its January 2011 bankruptcy?

Archdiocese of Milwaukee

The following information is taken from the CPA audit available at the Archdiocese’s website:  http://www.archmil.org/ArchMil/Resources/FIN/ArchdioceseFY2010FS.pdf

YES—The cover letter to the Archbishop stated quite clearly in the last paragraph—…“due to uncertainties with the lawsuit, it is at least reasonably possible that management’s view of the outcome will change in the near future.”  That paragraph refers the reader to Note #8 which is below.


Click on the photocopy to enlarge:




Archdiocese of Milwaukee pension plans underfunded - JSOnline

Archdiocese of Milwaukee

employees' pension plans are underfunded, confirming one of the fears expressed by Catholic Church employees since the archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 4.

affects only archdiocese employees and retirees - not those of schools, parishes or other participating employers. He attributed the shortfall to poor investment performance.

Milwaukee Archdiocese's plans are not covered by ERISA, the landmark 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act meant to protect workers' pensions.

in the public portion of the meeting that he anticipated six major creditor groups, including the victims and pension plan participants.

Diocese of Wilmington, where documents released as part of its bankruptcy revealed a dramatically underfunded pension plan. Also, in Wilmington, the court ruled that millions of dollars in pension funds in a joint investment account would become part of the diocese's estate.

Click on he following for more details:  Archdiocese of Milwaukee pension plans underfunded - JSOnline

Catholic church to pay $1 million to settle abuse lawsuit -


Archdiocese of San Antonio would pay the man, who is now 19, $946,000 to settle his lawsuit against the church.

Former priest John Fiala is charged with plying the unidentified boy in his parish in rural southwest Texas with booze and giving him a car in an attempt to 'groom' the boy for sexual abuse in 2007 and 2008, according to court documents.

He allegedly sexually abused the boy on several occasions on church property, frequently threatening to kill the youngster if he told anybody about the abuse, and once pointing a gun at the teen, the documents say.

after his ordination into the priesthood in Nebraska, Fiala moved to Texas with a clean recommendation. This was even though a teenager in the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska had complained of Fiala making a sexual advance in 2002, three years before he moved to Texas.

Click on the following for more details:  Catholic church to pay $1 million to settle abuse lawsuit - Yahoo! News

Traffic jam: The 10 most congested cities in America


In 2009, the average American driver spent 34 hours stuck in rush-hour traffic and lost out on $808 because of it, says a new study. Check out the 10 worst cities for drivers during peak hours (6 to 10 a.m., and 3 to 7 p.m.), as ranked by the 2010 Urban Mobility Report from Texas A&M University.

- Aaron Couch, Staff Writer

In May 2005, traffic slows to a crawl in Silver Spring, Md., on the outer loop of the Washington Beltway, a roadway encircling Washington, DC, known for its traffic jams. (Andy Nelson/The Christian Science Monitor/FILE)

1. Chicago / Washington, D.C. (tie)

Yearly delay: 70 hours

Cost per driver: $1,738 (Chicago), $1,555 (Washington, D.C.)

Chicago and Washington, D.C., each benefits from a strong public transportation system, so their congestion problem, while the worst in the country, would be even more awful without it.

Without public transportation in cities across the US, the amount of extra congestion would have cost an additional 785 million hours in time delays and $19 billion worth of fuel, the report estimates.

See the other eight by clicking  here.

1240 & 1350–WMMB: State bankruptcy law may be in the works


WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Washington lawmakers are working behind the scenes to develop a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under large debts, political insiders say.

Municipalities can declare bankruptcy protection, but states cannot, The New York Times reported.

Bankruptcy lawyers who have been consulted by Congressional aides said some members of Congress fear it is only a matter of time before a state seeks a bailout.

Bankruptcy could also allow a state alter contractual promises to retirees and could provide an alternative to a no-strings bailout, the report said.

Besides potentially hurting retirees, bankruptcy for states could damage bond markets.

"All of a sudden, there's a whole new risk factor," said Paul S. Maco, who was head of the Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of Municipal Securities during the Clinton administration.

No potential state bankruptcy bill has been formulated and no members of Congress have come forward as a sponsor, but Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, asked Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about the possibility of a hearing this month, the Times said.

Critics of a state bankruptcy law say it could give governors and others more leverage in bargaining with unionized public workers.

"They are readying a massive assault on us," said Charles M. Loveless, legislative director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "We're taking this very seriously."

1240 & 1350 - WMMB

10 Economic Benchmarks for the State of the Union and GOP Response

Interesting article from The Huffington Report—quite different from the Tea Party view.


1. The federal government isn't a runaway fiscal monster.


2. Main Street and Wall Street aren't "in this together."

3. The bankers who created this crisis are doing great.

4. Taxes for the wealthy are historically low.


5. Income inequality is rising, and the rich are richer than ever.

6. Corporations have never had it so good.

7. We're in a jobs depression.

8. People with jobs are hurting too.

9. Young people are being lost to unemployment

10. The housing situation? Don't even ask.

Click on the following for all of the story:  Richard (RJ) Eskow: Reality Checks: 10 Economic Benchmarks for the State of the Union and GOP Response

U.S. Home Prices Slump Again, Hitting New Lows - NYTimes.com

long-predicted double-dip in housing has begun, with cities across the country falling to their lowest point in many years, data released Tuesday showed.

“A double-dip could be confirmed before spring,” the chairman of S.&P.’s index committee, David M. Blitzer, said.

Eight of the 20 cities in the index fell to new lows for this cycle, including Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; Miami, Seattle; and Tampa, Fla. Only a handful of places — essentially California and Washington — saw prices rise.

Prices in Atlanta and Chicago fell more than 7 percent, exceeding even the drops in the perennially troubled Detroit and Las Vegas.

Click on the following for more details:  U.S. Home Prices Slump Again, Hitting New Lows - NYTimes.com

Daily Chronicle’s View: Long overdue pension reform has new chance


General Assembly in 2010 capped pension benefits for newly hired public employees and elected officials who began their employment Jan. 1 and after. Their benefits can be calculated based on a maximum salary of $106,800, with percentage increases the lesser of half the rate of inflation or 3 percent. Retirement age was increased from 60 to 67.
Franks’ bill [House Bill 146] would impose the same caps and annual pension increase formula on all employees served by the five state-funded pension systems and the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

Click on the following to read all of the opinion:  Our View: Long overdue pension reform has new chance | Daily Chronicle

DeKalb votes to eliminate residency requirement | Daily Chronicle

DeKalb’s public works director, planning and economic development director, assistant city manager and city attorney do not need to live within city limits. The chiefs of the police and fire departments, as well as the city manager, would still need to live in the city.

“We’re really facing serious times and serious changes here,” said Mayor Kris Povlsen, who said he supported the measure. “Changing with the times is not easy. … We also need to realize that not everyone is going to be happy as we change with the times.”

Click on the following for more details:  DeKalb votes to eliminate residency requirement | Daily Chronicle

Fidder fills open Boone County Board District 1 seat


Fidder is a Capron resident and certified residential appraiser working with Advantage Appraisal.

Some board members voiced concern over the process used to appoint Fidder to the position. Fidder was one of five Boone County residents who expressed interest in the seat. Among those vying for the spot was Brad Stark, who ran as an Independent candidate for a county board position in last November’s election.

Those interested were brought before county board members earlier this month to answer a series of questions.

“I don’t want to put them through an interrogation and make it an uncomfortable process,” Walberg said prior to the meeting earlier this month.

Members were not allowed to ask their own questions. Instead, vice board chairman Anthony Dini asked each interested person the same questions.

“My concern isn’t for the person being appointed, but for the process,” Board Member Pat Mattison said.

Click on the following for more of this BDR story:  Fidder fills open Boone County Board District 1 seat

US Corporate Tax Reform Must Come at a Price

Great article regarding what is wrong with the current corporate tax .

    1. Reduction in the Corporate Tax Rate is a Necessity

    2. Severe Budget Pressures Suggest Revenue-Neutral Corporate Reform

    3. The Current Corporate Tax Favors Some Business Sectors over Others


    4. International Tax Rules Favor Foreign Over Domestic Job Creation


Click on the following for more details:  tax.com: Corporate Tax Reform Must Come at a Price