Best known for its honest and sometimes scathing consumer reviews of restaurants, Yelp has now expanded to include inmates ratings for prisons.
Prisoners, their lawyers and family members are joining the growing band of internet reviewers on Yelp who critique everything from bowling alleys to plumbers.
And with typical candor, reviews make plain that employees at New York’s Sing Sing Correctional facility are the ‘most unprofessional staff in the world and the rudest’, while at New York City’s Rikers Island, ‘If the roaches and rats don’t mess with you the correctional officers will.’
However, some are asking why bother to review your period incarcerated inside a jail or prison.
Attorneys, who do a majority of the reviewing, reply that it is boredom that began the latest Yelp reviewing trend and that not all the reviews are negative.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2316301/Prisoners-review-jails-Yelp-The-staff-Sing-Sing-rude-watch-roaches-Rikers-Island.html#ixzz2TH2W7uFx
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According to a new report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Institute (GAI), President Barack Obama has spent over twice as many hours on vacation and golf (976 hours) as he has in economic meetings of any kind (474.4 hours).
The report, “Presidential Calendar: A Time-Based Analysis,” used the official White House calendar, Politico’s comprehensive presidential calendar, and media reports through March 31, 2013 to calculate its results.
GAI’s findings may actually understate Obama’s recreational hours.
Last year, Obama told CBS News that playing golf is “the only time that for six hours, I’m outside.” But instead of six hours, GAI counted a round of golf as taking just four hours. Likewise, for presidential vacation hours, researchers attributed just six hours of any day of vacation to leisure activity.
“Like most people, presidents still do work while on vacation,” said GAI President Peter Schweizer. “So we really went out of our way to fairly and accurately reflect how the president spends his time.”
The study applied a similarly generous assessment to Obama’s time spent in economic meetings by counting anything on the official White House calendar even remotely related to the economy as an economic meeting. For example, “Obama meets with Cabinet secretaries” and “Obama has lunch with four CEOs” counted as economic meetings.
GAI’s new report dovetails with its presidential calendar analysis last July that found Obama devotes little time to economic meetings.
Asked whether the latest numbers paint a negative portrait of presidential economic leadership, Schweizer says that is for others to decide.
“People understand that presidents have the most stressful job in the world and need a break from time to time,” said Schweizer. “There will be some who will be encouraged by the numbers and some who will wish the president spent more time in economic meetings. As a government watchdog group, we just tabulate the numbers and let others decide how to interpret them.”
If you are a federal worker on furlough this week — or an airline passenger delayed by federal furloughs — you might want to save your blood pressure and go read another story.
This one is about all the money the U.S. government spends on . . . nothing.
It is one of the oddest spending habits in Washington: This year, the government will spend at least $890,000 on service fees for bank accounts that are empty. At last count, Uncle Sam has 13,712 such accounts with a balance of zero.
They are supposed to be closed. But nobody has done the paperwork yet.
So even as the sequester budget cuts have begun idling workers and frustrating travelers, the government is required to pay $65 per year, per account to keep them on the books.
In this time of austerity, the accounts are a reminder of something that makes austerity hard: expensive habits, built into the bureaucracy in times of plenty. The Obama administration has spent the past year trying to close these accounts, with only some success.
“If anyone had kept open a bank account with no money, and was getting a charge every month, they would do everything they could to close it,” said Thomas A. Schatz of the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste. But, he said, the government hasn’t shown the same kind of urgency with taxpayers’ money.
“It’s just lack of attention to detail. And poor management,” he said. “And, clearly, the fact that no one gets penalized for paying money to keep the accounts open.”
SEATTLE – Washington state’s governor signed into law on Monday the final piece of a six-year effort to rewrite state laws using gender-neutral vocabulary, replacing terms such as “fisherman” and “freshman” with “fisher” and “first-year student.”
Lawmakers have passed a series of bills since 2007 to root out gender bias from Washington statutes, though a 1983 state mandate required that all laws be written in gender-neutral terms unless a specification of gender was intended.
“This was a much larger effort than I had envisioned. Mankind means man and woman,” said Democratic state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles of Seattle.
The new gender-neutral references, for example, include “journey-level plumber” instead of “journeyman plumber,” “handwriting” in place of “penmanship,” and “signal operator” for “signalman.”
“There’s no good reason for keeping our legal terms anachronistic and with words that do not respect our current contemporary times,” Kohl-Welles, the 475-page bill’s sponsor, told Reuters.
Several words, however, aren’t easy to replace, said Kyle Thiessen, the state’s code reviser, who heads up the 40-staff Washington Code Reviser’s Office agency.
The state likely won’t change the words “airmen” and “seaman,” for example, because of objections by the state’s Washington Military Department, he said.
Civil engineering terms such as “man hole” and “man lock,” also will not be changed because no common-sense substitutes could easily be found, Thiessen said.
Nearly 3,500 Washington state code sections, out of a total of about 40,000 have been tediously scrubbed of gender bias, although most involve adding pronouns “she” and “her” to augment the existing “he” and “his,” Thiessen said.
The bill passed the Democrat-controlled state House 70-22 on April 9 and unanimously cleared the state Senate on Feb. 8 before being signed by Democratic Governor Jay Inslee.
REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R-CA): Mr. Secretary, we think that there was a coverup of some kind of wrongdoing that led this administration to lie to the American people about the nature of the attack immediately after the attack and for a week after that attack. We need to have these questions answered. We need to talk to the people who are on the scene. Can you give us a commitment now that for this administration you will be coming up with the request, the honest request of this investigative committee as to who was evacuated and how to talk to them so we can get a straight answer and an understanding of what happened in Benghazi?
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Well, before I became Secretary, Congressman, I believe I got the answers to who was evacuated and had a pretty good sense of what happened there. But now that I am the Secretary and I am responsible to you and the Congress, I can promise you that if you’re not getting something that you have evidence of or you think you ought to be getting, we’ll work with you. And I will appoint somebody to work directly with you starting tomorrow, with you, Mr. Chairman, to have a review of anything you don’t think you’ve gotten that you’re supposed to get. Let’s get this done with, folks.
KERRY: Let’s figure out what it is that’s missing, if it’s legitimate or if it isn’t. I don’t think anybody lied to anybody. And let’s find out exactly, together, what happened, because we need — we got a lot more important things to move on to and get done. (House Foreign Affairs Committee, April 17, 2013)
A new study by the libertarian Reason Foundation finds that the California High-Speed Rail System will saddle taxpayers with losses between $124 million to $373 million a year.
Exaggerated ridership estimates and slower-than-promised trip speeds make the California bullet train project a big financial loser for taxpayers, says the study.
“The California high-speed rail project cannot be delivered at the cost promised to taxpayers, is based upon a business plan incapable of delivering on its legal requirements, and is justified by proponents based upon unachievable benefits,” write the study’s authors, Wendell Cox, Joseph Vranich and Adrian Moore.
“The [California High-Speed Rail Authority’s] financing assertions are virtual fantasy and represent additional evidence that its April 2012 Business Plan sorely fails the test of what constitutes a credible business plan. The taxpayers and the state would be best served by its immediate cancellation.”
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has already significantly lowered its 2035 ridership projections from 65.5 million to 117 million down to just 19.6 million to 31.8 million. Yet the Reason Foundation says even those lowered estimates are unrealistic; 2035 ridership is likely to be 65% to 77% lower.
President Obama’s long-awaited budget proposal, to be released today, does not come right out and say that it intends to reduce contributions to charity—but that is almost certainly what would happen were it to become law. Here’s why. The White House has effectively doubled down on a tax change it has been pushing for four years that would limit the value of the charitable tax deduction. The Administration has, since 2009, pushed unsuccessfully to allow only 28 cents on a dollar donated to charity to be deducted—even though the top tax rate for the wealthy donors who make most use of the deduction has been 35 percent. In the budget released today, the President again proposes to cap the charitable deduction at 28 percent—despite the fact that the top rate on the highest earners has increased to 39.6 percent. Think of it this way: the White House proposal would raise the cost of giving to charity from 60 cents per dollar to 72 cents per dollar. That’s a 20 percent increase in what can be called the “charity tax.”
When one taxes something more, of course, one gets less of it—and it’s likely that the current $168 billion in itemized charitable giving would decline. Indeed, Indiana University’s Center for Philanthropy has previously estimated that capping the charitable tax deduction’s value at 28 percent—even when the top income tax rate was 35 percent—would lower giving by 1.3 percent, or some $2.18 billion in 2010. The new proposal would likely take an even bigger bite from giving. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that the reduction in giving could be as high as $9 billion a year.
For the Obama White House, this is a matter of tax fairness—in keeping with the Administration’s overall proposal to cap the deductibility of other significant tax expenditures, notably the home mortgage interest deduction and the deduction for state and local taxes. These, like charitable donations, are typically used to the greatest extent by the most wealthy taxpayers who, the Administration has reminded us time and again, should, in its view, pay their “fair share.”
Secretary of State John Kerry told the press in Beijing that he discussed with Chinese government officials investing in America’s infrastructure. Kerry called the security concerns “very, very few; very, very little.”
“We welcome Chinese investment in the United States. And a very, very small percentage of investment is subject to a process where we have a security evaluation because of the nature of the business or the particular location. But it’s very, very few; very, very little. And obviously, there are sometimes concerns when there’s a state ownership of a particular business because that raises a different set of considerations,” Kerry said, in response to a question about what he said to encourage Chinese investment in America.
(CNSNews.com) – If you sell a gun to your son, “there’s something wrong with your family,” says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In a radio appearance on Friday, Bloomberg, a gun control activist and co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, praised the legislation that is now moving forward in the Senate. The bill would require universal background checks for most sales of firearms, including those online and at gun shows.
“The only thing it would not cover is if you sold a gun to your son, for example,” Bloomberg told radio host John Gambling. “Number one, I don’t know how we would ever enforce that if it were the law. So to make a big deal about that’s carved out, so what? It doesn’t change anything.”
“Number two, I would argue if you want to sell your gun to your son, maybe you have a problem in your family,” he said. “Why don’t you just give—I don’t know if you should have a gun or not, but if you have a commercial transaction of $100 with your son, there’s something wrong in your family.
“It’s just not something where everybody’s pulling together in the same direction,” Bloomberg said. “So that’s the only thing it leaves out.”
Bloomberg said he would be satisfied with the Senate bill, which includes initiatives for school safety and stricter penalties for gun trafficking, although he wishes it also had included a ban on so-called ‘assault weapons.’