Thursday, November 3, 2011

Social network postings to be monitored by government; FL. being sued for charging out-of-state tuition for illegals; Occupy Oakland takes over port; Paying interest on unspent loans; Solyndra paid substantial bonuses; Mexican cartel violence spilling across border in Texas; Senator calls on Obama to cancel $12.8 million in bonuses; Obama and protected animals and plants; Green job loan to Pelosi's brother; EPA says Obama administration cut corners in evaluating science on EPA

Personal Liberty reports: If you post to social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, the Department of Homeland Security is probably watching you.
As part of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign and a new National Terrorism Advisory System, DHS is looking at ways to better monitor social networks and “training hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers across the country in filling out suspicious activity reports” on social network postings, DHS Undersecretary Caryn Wagner told The Associated Press.
The use of social media to coordinate uprisings in the Mideast and the riots in England “shocked some officials into attention and prompted questions of whether the U.S. needs to do a better job of monitoring domestic social networking activity,” Wagner said.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ CBS Tampa reports: Children of illegal immigrants living in Florida are suing the state for charging them out-of-state tuition.
Wendy Ruiz, a sophomore at Miami Dade College, is one of those behind the lawsuit.
She is paying $5,000 more than she technically has to, because her college insisted upon charging her out-of-state tuition when her parents were unable to produce legal immigration documents.
NBC Bay Area reports: The East Bay city of Oakland was once again the focus of the national Occupy movement as Occupy Oakland called for Wednesday to be a "general strike" day.
A protest that began at 9 a.m. climaxed around 6 p.m. when a crowd estimated to be over 4,500 effectively shut down the Port of Oakland.
Dozens of protesters at the Port climbed on top of big-rig trucks and began dancing while others hung a banner from scaffolding that read, "This is what democracy looks like."
Human Events writes: Let us pause to appreciate the business acumen displayed by the statists who paid years of interest on sixteen billion borrowed federal dollars they haven’t even spent yet. 
Besides having insufficiently large armies of bureaucrats ready to spend the money, state governments also ran afoul of federal regulations that clogged their stimulus plumbing.  “One state had only spent 30 percent of its State Energy Program funds two years after they had become available,” explains the Inspector General.  “We found that this was due to the time needed to comply with regulatory requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act – issues that affected other jurisdictions as well.” 
The Davis-Bacon Act forces the government to pay union-scale wages to contractors, even if they don’t employ unionized workforces.  It’s supposed to prevent non-union shops from stealing all those tasty government construction jobs from union shops that can’t compete with them on labor costs.
Powerline blog opines: At The Corner, Andrew Stiles notes a report from Green Technology that Solyndra’s executives substantial bonuses shortly before their company declared bankruptcy, having run out of your money. The taxpayers likely will be stuck with a $530 million bill. Here is where some of it went:
Karen Alter, senior vice president of marketing, received two $55,000 bonuses on April 15 and July 8 of this year, on top of her $250,000 annual salary.
If it weren’t our money, this would almost be funny: how can you award someone in charge of marketing $110,000 in bonuses when the company wasn’t making enough sales to stay out of bankruptcy?
Ben Bierman, executive vice president of operations and engineering, received $120,000 in bonuses this year on top of his $276,000 salary.
Paula Camporaso, vice president of information technology — $80,000 in bonuses on top of her $107,000 salary.
Dave Sanat, vice president of supply chain — $80,000 in bonuses on top of his $111,000 salary.
Bill Stover, the company’s CFO who took the fifth before Congress at a September hearing, was awarded at least $120,000 in bonuses on top of his $367,000 salary.
And, finally:
The document also reveals that Chris Gronet, one of Solyndra’s founders, was “transitioned to the role of adviser and consultant” from his position as CEO on July 1, 2011, and negotiated a severance package worth more than $450,000.
[You can go to the site to see what their Democrat political contributions have been, or just take my word for it.
LA Times writes: Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Obama on Wednesday warning that Mexican cartel violence is increasingly "spilling over" the border and calling for more security.
Abbott cited a "deadly shootout" involving "cartel operatives" last weekend in the town of Elsa, about 250 miles south of San Antonio, in which a Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy was shot three times. Sheriff's officials have said the deputy was wearing a protective vest and is expected to recover.
Fox News reports: A Republican senator is calling on President Obama to cancel the $12.8 million in bonuses that
were approved for 10 executives at the government-seized mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that
received a $170 billion taxpayer-funded bailout.
“I am calling on the president of the United States to cancel those bonuses and explain to the American people, the taxpayers who bailed out Freddie and Fannie, why he continues to reward failure,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.,
said at a news conference Tuesday.
Yahoo reports: [A month ago:] Obama administration is taking steps to extend new federal protections to a list of imperiled animals and plants that reads like a manifest for Noah's Ark — from the melodic golden-winged warbler and slow-moving gopher tortoise, to the slimy American eel and tiny Texas kangaroo rat.
With a Friday deadline to act on more than 700 pending cases, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service already has issued decisions advancing more than 500 species toward potential new protections under the Endangered Species Act.
Also among species that advanced for further consideration are 35 snails from Nevada's Great Basin, 82 crawfish from the Southeast, 99 Hawaiian plants and a motley cast of butterflies, birds, fish, beetles, frogs, lizards, mussels and more from every corner of the country.
But it also comes amid a backlash in Congress against the 37-year-old endangered species program. Earlier this year, citing restrictions against development and other activities, Republicans unsuccessfully sought to strip the federal budget of money to list new species as threatened or endangered. 
The Weekly Standard wrote: Despite the growing Solyndra scandal, the Department of Energy approved $1 billion in new loans to green energy companies -- including a $737 million loan guarantee to a company known as SolarReserve:
SolarReserve LLC, a closely held renewable energy developer, received a $737 million U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee to build a solar-thermal project in Nevada.

The 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes project, near Tonopah, Nevada, will use the sun’s heat to create steam that drives a turbine, the agency said today in a e-mailed statement. SolarReserve is based in Santa Monica, California.
On SolarReserve's website is a list of "investment partners," including the "PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund (East) LLC." As blogger American Glob quickly discovered, PCG's number two is none other than "Ronald Pelosi, a San Francisco political insider and financial industry polymath who happens to be the brother-in-law of Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives."
The Washington Times reports: The EPA’s internal watchdog said this week that the Obama administration cut corners in evaluating the science it used to back up its 2009 finding that carbon is a dangerous pollutant and can be regulated under existing federal law.
The report by the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general, dated Sept. 26 is certain to be used in court by those seeking to overturn EPA’s claim that it can write global warming rules under existing law, and doesn’t need new authority from Congress.

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