Seeking a holiday message to provide a platform for their political grandstanding, Congressman Harry Mitchell and Phoenix Mayor Philly Gordon hit upon the idea of urging Phoenix residents to make “at least one out of three purchases” in locally-owned stores. Teaming with a group calling itself Local First Arizona, the message is to help local businesses weather the Obowma enhanced recession.
“For every $100 that is spent in a locally-owned store, we get to keep $45 of it in our community,” said Gordon, quoting information from a national study of the impact of local buying by an Austin-based organization, Civics Economics.
Interesting that an Austin, Texas based study is being used to advocate for support of Arizona businesses.
A visit to both organization’s websites illustrates they use similar language and figures, customizing their findings for other cities such as Pelosi’s San Francisco and Obowma’s hometown of Chicago.
Remember Harry? The former high school teacher, who should understand basic economics, was nonetheless onboard voting for all of the unsustainably costly Obowma bailouts, trillions in government expansion programs and the socialized fed-med overhaul. But he assists the local economy when he is in town, by getting his haircuts at a local barber, according to the report in the daily.
Gordon oversees Phoenix’s “Sanctuary City” status, compelling taxpaying citizens to fund benefits for the illegal aliens he coddles by providing safe haven from the law. His help consists of supporting illegals who are taking jobs from Arizona workers by accepting substandard wages.
Although support of local businesses is commendable, Arizona’s Wal-Mart spokeswoman Delia Garcia, pointed out that the Arkansas-based retailer employs 32,000 Arizonans, spent $1 billion with Arizona suppliers last year alone, paid $342 million in state sales taxes and donated $10 million to Arizona charities. Information is available here.
Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and HighGround execs Doug Cole and Chuck Coughlin are lobbying on behalf of Payday loans, an industry many consider to be unscrupulous predatory lenders due to excessive interest rates. All three men are advisors to Gov. Jan Brewer. To the surprise of many Capitol watchers, Woods’ name appeared as campaign manager on Brewer’s 2010 campaign filing documents earlier this month.
Last year, by a vote of 59.5% to 40.5% voters overwhelmingly rejected the industry-crafted initiative — Proposition 200 — to repeal the law putting the lenders out of business after June 30. The industry poured more than $14.7 million into the campaign while opponents had less than $1 million. Woods, Cole and Coughlin are trying to convince lawmakers to let the Payday lenders stay in business despite the public vote to the contrary.
Arizona’s usury laws cap interest on consumer loans at 36 percent a year. But industry lobbyists pushed through a special law in 2000 allowing them to charge fees that far exceed the cap for “deferred presentment transactions” of up to $500, writes Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Serices.
For example, someone who needs money writes a check for that amount plus the fee, which can be up to $17.85 per $100. The company agrees not to cash the check for up to two weeks. That amounts to annual interest of more than 450 percent. But when lawmakers enacted the law, they included a sunset clause: The law self-destructs July 1 unless renewed.
Doug MacEachern’s quick hit in the daily about Obama’s Fed-Med, is titled When Grandma wakes up to it all . . .
It goes hand-n-glove with this news article in the same publication, in which it was reported that the Mayo Clinic’s Arrowhead Family Medicine practice will stop taking Medicare payments for primary-care services. The policy goes into effect Jan. 1, affecting about 3,000 seniors. Five doctors have practices at the clinic.
Arizona health-care experts say this may become a long-term trend in the industry. For now, most Valley hospitals are still taking Medicare reimbursements.
For Mayo Clinic, the cost of providing services to Medicare patients exceeded the total amount paid on behalf of Medicare patients by $840 million in 2008, according to the hospital.
“Government payers, without question, are the worst payers in health care,” said John Rivers, president of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. “Medicare shortfalls in hospital payments represent nearly $1 billion in Arizona alone. And those costs ultimately get shifted onto the backs of privately insured individuals in the form of a hidden health-care tax.”
Rivers said Medicare payments can’t be kept below cost forever without extensively damaging hospitals’ ability to serve their communities. Opting out of Medicare may be the only choice for many to balance their books.
“Mayo Clinic was the first health-care system to go in this direction, and I don’t think they will be the last,” he said. “Everyone else is facing the same pressures as Mayo Clinic, and I won’t be surprised to see more of this in the future.”
Dan Nowicki, the Republic reporter assigned to flatter Sen. John McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign, is now onboard as his chief image re-crafter and apologist. McCain is up for reelection on the 2010 ballot and is just a bit worried about not connecting with his Republican constituency. A recent Rasmussen Reports survey showed that 61% of Arizona Republicans think McCain has lost touch with those in his own party. In political parlance, those are deadly numbers.
Today we are told that although McCain missed more votes than anyone else in the senate in 2007 and 2008, he is back in the saddle, so to speak, and conscientiously casting votes to show his home staters how busy he is working on their behalf. Instead, most remember his predicable aisle crossing on issues that are the antithesis of Republican principles and his service as the architect of amnesty legislation for the estimated 25 – 30 million illegal aliens in the U.S.
During his chronic absences from sessions of the 110th Congress, McCain missed 420 votes, or 63.9 percent, of a total 657.
Yet McCain has arrogantly opined he doesn’t think his missed votes mattered to Arizona voters, since they continue to reelect him. Of course the fact that he has an enormous campaign war chest already bulging with over $5 million and has never previously had a viable challenger, might just be a factor. Omitted from the article is the fact that he carried his home state in last year’s presidential election by an embarrassingly slim 10 percentage points.
The national media is smelling blood in the water. These are just a few of those covering the fact that an exceedingly popular former Arizona congressman is being encouraged to challenge the state’s senior senator.
If J.D. Hayworth gets in the race, brush up on your French. At least manage enough fluency to bid John McCain “au revoir.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act better known in many quarters as the $787 billion “stimulus boondoggle” is showing how accurate that handle is.
The University of Arizona is spending $144,000 to study Hiaki, an “endangered” tribal language spoken by fewer than 80 aging people in the state. Apparently the tribe didn’t think it was important enough to preserve, but Obowma does — while digging his hand into your pockets to ensure its survival.
Arizona State University is spending more than $500,000 of the over $50 million in taxpayer funded stimulus grants it has received to study the genetic differences between queen and worker ants.
Would we kid you?
And no doubt with a straight face, Rick Shangraw, ASU vice president of research and economic affairs justified the ant study by saying it “furthers knowledge of evolution and societal behavior, which sheds light on understanding humans.” The project also preserves two jobs this fiscal quarter, he said.
The federal Administration for Children and Families is using stimulus money to grant $400,000 in pay raises for Phoenix’s Head Start staff and $203,000 for Chicanos Por La Causa, according to data from the White House. Luis Rosero of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the raises were appropriate because “if I give you a raise, it is going to save a portion of your job.”
Huh? And how much is this genius getting paid?
ASU received a $168,000 stimulus grant to study how friends of a school child impact that child’s academic performance or affect whether the child turns to drugs. Shangraw said results could contribute to findings about how to improve the way children are brought up.
We couldn’t make this stuff up.
Read more in the daily.