Just 8 men own same wealth as half the world

Oxfam International
1/16/17

Eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity, according to a new report published by Oxfam today to mark the annual meeting of political and business leaders in Davos.

Oxfam’s report, ‘An economy for the 99 percent’, shows that the gap between rich and poor is far greater than had been feared. It details how big business and the super-rich are fueling the inequality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages and using their power to influence politics.
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Selecting the President on December 19th…What! We just did that (or did we?)

By Russ Phillips

Yes, the people voted their preference on November 8th. However, there’s another step.

Actually, on November 8th the people of each state voted for a slate of electors (from that state) via the candidate of their choice, be it Democratic, Libertarian or Republican. On December 19th the electors of the successful candidate will meet to cast their electoral vote. (more)

Related articles:
*Trump’s victory another example of how Electoral College wins are bigger than popular vote ones
*Millions sign petition urging Electoral College to elect Hillary Clinton
*Indiana Presidential Electors FAQ
*Electoral College: Make Hillary Clinton President on December 19*

*Petition to put a Republican in the White House that is not DONALD TRUMP
*Partial list of state electors (including Indiana’s)

Funding Indiana’s Roads for a Stronger Safer Tomorrow Task Force meets July 21st

By Russ Phillips

Funding Indiana’s Roads for a Stronger Safer Tomorrow Task Force” will meet Thursday, July 21, 2016 and accept public testimony from the audience. This meeting will get underway at 1:00P.M. EDT in Rm. 404 of the State House and be livestreamed. Committee Members and the Agenda will be found at the previous link.

Individual citizens are encouraged to attend this meeting and to provide testimony regarding their personal experience with Indiana’s highways/bridges.

The Committee is charged with the following responsibilities:

(A)The following: (i) Review state highway and major bridge needs. (ii) Verify road and bridge needs at the local level. (iii) Develop a long term plan for state highway and major bridge needs that addresses the ten (10) points [see 10 points below] described in HEA 1001-2016, SECTION 21(g) and: (a) will achieve the recommended pavement and bridge conditions; (b) will complete the current statewide priority projects by finishing projects that have been started; (c) includes Tier 1, 2, and 3 projects; and (d) using the model developed by the Indiana Department of Transportation, includes sustainable funding mechanisms for the various components of the plan. (iv) Develop a long term plan for local road and bridge needs. (Source: HEA 1001-2016, SECTION 21.)

The long term plan for state highway and major bridge needs must include the following ten (10) points: (highlighting added by this website)

(1) Estimates of the costs of major projects, including a study of which projects can be done within current revenue streams and which projects may require additional funding.
(2) The identification of projects for which a public-private partnership, a public-private agreement, or tolling might be viable, with planning to verify and confirm these public-private partnership, public-private agreement, or tolling opportunities.
(3) The identification of resources for annual maintenance need, concentrating first on available user fees and attempting to secure stable and predictable funding sources. This must include a determination of whether additional resources must be pursued and what form of resource is most appropriate for each project.
(4) A review of the state’s debt situation and the development of a plan to maintain a strong financial position for the state. This must include consideration of whether a fee or tax could be associated with the life of a bond for an individual project, with the fee or tax then expiring by law upon payment of the bond.
(5) The evaluation of the state system of taxes, fees, and registration fees, and the equity of payments by different groups of users of transportation assets. This must include an evaluation of the overall reliability over time of the receipt of revenue from these sources.(6) A review of the fuel tax system, including such concepts as indexing tax rates, changing tax rates, and the appropriate collection points for these taxes.
(7) The ensuring that the projects listed in the plan are priority items that should be carried out, and confirming that these projects bring value to citizens either through access and safety needs or for economic development of Indiana as a whole.
(8) A review of the impact and advisability of dedicating some part of state sales tax to roads and road maintenance.
(9) An analysis of how collective purchasing agreements could be developed to share and reduce costs across the system of state and local governments.
(10) A presentation of the plan and recommendations to the budget committee before January 1, 2017.

Indiana Roads and Potholes…here’s the phone number to call

By Russ Phillips On May 6th I called my INDOT District Office regarding a stretch of road full of potholes. Previously I talked with a State Representative about the matter. Today I drove the same road and some had been filled although many more remain unfilled.   Below are listed the six INDOT District Offices and the counties each represents. To report a pothole 24/7 on an interstate highway, U.S. highway, or state road call the number listed. *Crawfordsville District (Toll Free: 1-888-924-6368 – 24 hour dispatch) (Benton, Boone, Clay, Clinton, Fountain, Hendricks, Montgomery, … Continue reading

Roads and potholes…No response from INDOT

By Russ Phillips

This is a followup to yesterday’s post about the condition of the roads, highways and bridges. It included a response to an inquiry I made to the INDOT. Following this I made a second inquiry as noted below. Unfortunately I never received a response. Is this acceptable from the Indiana state government?

11/15/15

Dear Ms. Morgan,

Thank you for the timely response to my message dated October 29, 2015 re: striping of highways. Furthermore, I appreciate your clear response to my question by stating, “INDOT hasn’t intentionally reduced highway striping.”

You also stated, “Unfortunately some district painting crews have been plagued with equipment issues and breakdowns throughout the season.” This prompts further questions due to “throughout the season.”

Is equipment being used beyond its useful life, thus, is no longer reliable? If so, the downtime becomes a problematic result. What has INDOT’s budget been in recent years and during this time has there been an order to hold back, i.e. not spend, a certain percent of the appropriation?

Sincerely,

Russell Phillips
1306 W. State Rd. 114
Rochester, IN 46975

Roads, Highways & Bridges…Know of a bad one?

By Russ Phillips

What is the condition of roads, highways and bridges you travel? We “hear” a lot about their condition but what is being “done”? Yes, we need a long-term solution but what about in the short-term? Potholes? Striping?

pothole

The purpose of this post is to encourage you to comment, particularly in Indiana, about the “bad” places you travel.

Late October last fall I drove early in the morning before any daylight IN Hwy. 25 between Rochester and Mentone, a stretch I seldom drive. The yellow and white lines were very faint if at all making it difficult to stay in my lane, particularly when there was oncoming traffic. I sent a letter to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and received this response. Several days ago I traveled a short distance on this stretch. Lines still had not been re-striped. (Note: On 11/15/15 an email was sent to INDOT with another concern. It will be published tomorrow.)

Last Thursday I drove IN Hwy 31 between Argos and Plymouth. Many potholes remain unfilled, particularly on the right side of the outside lane.

I’ve also noticed the edge of many roads are crumbling.

How are Indiana roads? County? Town? City? State? Interstate? I encourage you to comment, particularly in Indiana, about the “bad” places you travel.

They’re all bought and sold: American democracy belongs to the billionaires now

With the lone exception of Bernie Sanders, every candidate is either in bed with Wall Street or super-rich himself Salon.com By Nomi Prins, TomDispatch.com 2/2/16 This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch. Speaking of the need for citizen participation in our national politics in his final State of the Union address, President Obama said, “Our brand of democracy is hard.” A more accurate characterization might have been: “Our brand of democracy is cold hard cash.”  Cash, mountains of it, is increasingly the necessary tool for presidential candidates. Several Powerball jackpots could … Continue reading

AP FACT CHECK: Claims from the Republican debate

AP.org By Robert Burns and Calvin Woodward 1/15/16 WASHINGTON (AP) — Did Ted Cruz mean to suggest he would have gone to war with Iran over its brief detention of U.S. sailors? Did Donald Trump forget that he proposed a massive tax on Chinese goods? And does Ben Carson really think Islamic State militants chill out with a cigar? In their rush to slam the Obama administration, play up their records and play down inconvenient realities, Republican presidential candidates served up some misshapen rhetoric in their latest presidential debate (on … Continue reading

“If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist…”

(The two most recent “dropouts” from the presidential campaign are noted here.) Presidential candidate Sanders takes aim at Wall Street, Clinton in speech Reuters.com By Amanda Becker 1/5/16 U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders warned on Tuesday that financial-sector greed was “destroying the fabric of our nation” and said the starting point of any Wall Street reform effort is breaking up “too big to fail” banks. “If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist; when it comes to Wall Street reform, that must be … Continue reading

Lynn Coleman to challenge Jackie Walorski for 2nd District seat

(New info for Hillary Clinton is here. – Admin.) South Bend Tribune By Jeff Parrott 12/16/15 Democrat Lynn Coleman, a retired South Bend police officer and former assistant to Mayor Stephen Luecke, will challenge Republican incumbent Jackie Walorski for the 2nd District congressional seat, party leaders confirmed Tuesday. St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chair Jason Critchlow said he’s confident that Coleman can fare better across the geographically sprawling district than Joe Bock, the Democrat who Walorski handily defeated in 2014. “He’s an average guy,” Critchlow said. “He has worked his … Continue reading