Saturday, August 13, 2011

Insider trading investigation of S&P; Possible farm Vehicle reclassification; Obamacare deemed unconstitutional by Democrat judge; Obama drilling rules rejected by judge; Union legislation becomes regulation in attempt to skirt Congress; White House top 20 raises in time of high deficits and debts

CNBC writes: The Securities and Exchange Commission has asked credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s to disclose who within its ranks knew of its decision to downgrade US debt before it was announced last week, as part of a preliminary look into potential insider trading, people familiar with the matter say.
The Virginian Gazette writes: A new rule being proposed by the federal Department of Transportation would require farmers to get commercial drivers licenses.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is a part of DOT, wants to adopt standards that would reclassify all farm vehicles and implements as Commercial Motor Vehicles, officials said. Likewise, the proposal, if adopted, would require all farmers and everyone on the farm who operates any of the equipment to obtain a CDL, they added.
The proposed rule change would mean that anyone who drives a tractor or operates any piece of motorized farming equipment would be required to pass the same tests and complete the same detailed forms and logs required of semi-tractor trailer drivers.
Drivers would keep logs of information including hours worked and miles traveled. Vehicles would be required to display DOT numbers. A CDL in Virginia costs $64 for eight years, or $8 per year, not including the cost of an instructional class and the written test.
If the DOT reclassifies farm vehicles and implements as commercial vehicles, the federal government will have regulatory control over the nation’s farm workers, estimated at over 800,000, by requiring them to have commercial drivers licenses.
Reuters writes of Obamacare ruling: [Part of the judge's decision] "This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them repurchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives," the majority said in its 207-page opinion. "Today we have prevailed in preventing Congress from infringing on the individual liberty protected by the U.S. Constitution," Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said. the Obama administration on Friday issued new incentives for states and people to participate in health insurance exchanges, including tax credits and funding grants for the states.
The NYT writes: A judge on Friday threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land.

The government argued that oil and gas companies had no case because they didn't show how the new rules, implemented by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service last year, had created delays and added to the cost of drilling.
Freudenthal rejected that argument.

The Charleston Daily Mail opines: In 2010, organized labor condemned the bipartisan vote in the United States Senate that killed the Employee Free Choice Act.
Employees, prematurely, celebrated the fact that their right to a secret ballot in elections determining union representation was secure.
EFCA, or the "card check" bill, would have eliminated the sacred right of employees to participate in their union elections by secret ballot. 
Where the current administration has failed to persuade Congress to adopt its legislative agenda, time and again, it has waived its regulatory wand and enacted the failed "legislation" as "regulation."
Magically, it becomes the law of the land.
Since the rejection of the Employee Free Choice Act, the administration, largely through the National Labor Relations Board, has brought the legislation the Congress killed back to life.
Consider these recent regulatory initiatives of the NLRB:
n Expanded use of mail and Internet balloting in union elections.
Why? Because these ballots are not cast in secret.
* "Ambush elections" are being pursued, shortening the period of electioneering in a union campaign from 42 to 10 days, with the net result that employees know as little as possible about what they are voting for or against;
* New regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor so onerously increase reporting requirements on management lawyers and consultants that many will cease serving employers at all, depriving them of critical advice on how to comply with the law and not violate it;
* Universal posting obligations imposed on ALL employers explaining how employees can organize a union.
These notices would have to be posted by every employer in every worksite that is under the NLRB's jurisdiction (which includes virtually all private-sector employers) forever;
            Snopes confirms: [This program won't allow the entire graph to show, but the % of increases in             salary range from 86% to 17%.  You must click on the link to see for yourself.....  Please note
            the titles of the job-holders.]

How did  your social security increase work out for you this year?  
Was it comparable at all to the increases that Obama gave his staff during this difficult 
financial period?  
Top pay raise of + 86% increase was to the  Kevin Lewis,  Director of African-American



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