Flap’s Links and Comments for October 17th through October 18th

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for October 17th through October 18th:

  • North Dakota Women Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison for Methamphetamine – A woman accused in North Dakota of running a drug ring that included her 63-year-old mother was sentenced Monday to 23 years in prison.

    Authorities say Christeena Barker led the operation that transported about six pounds of methamphetamine from the Minneapolis and Bakersfield, Calif., areas for distribution in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Federal authorities dubbed the investigation "Operation Price is Right."

    Barker, 44, of Moorhead, Minn., pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver a controlled substance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers called Barker a "career offender-plus" and recommended a sentence of 25 years.

    "They moved an enormous amount of methamphetamine in a short period of time into the Fargo-Moorhead area," Myers said during Monday's hearing.

    Defense attorney Ross Brandborg asked for a sentence of 15 years. He said his client has lived her life under difficult circumstances, and ultimately cooperated with authorities.

    "She was never given a chance," Brandborg said.

    Myers said Barker had promised to help with the case after she was arrested in summer 2010. Instead she became a fugitive. She eventually was located in Strasburg in February.

    "Agents found her through a bit of luck and a lot of hard work," Myers said.

    Barker said in a tearful statement that she fled because she was scared.

    "Yes, I've had a drug problem and alcohol abuse. I've never had treatment," she said.

    Barker's mother, Betty Ann Schweigert, of Fargo, was sentenced earlier this month to 16 years in prison for her role in the conspiracy. Another one of Schweigert's daughters, Annette Avila, 32, pleaded guilty in July and is set to be sentenced in December.

  • ‘Rogue’ NLRB Defied Subpoena by Withholding Documents, Issa Says – The National Labor Relations Board’s acting general counsel, Lafe Solomon, broke the law by intentionally withholding documents about Boeing Co., Representative Darrel Issa said.

    “Your continued personal obstruction, lack of compliance with a validly issued congressional subpoena and false statements to the committee are unacceptable,” Issa said today in a letter to Solomon. “The NLRB is acting as a rogue agency that believes it does not have to fully answer to Congress.”

    Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, requested that six NLRB employees submit to transcribed interviews for his investigative panel.

    The NLRB’s complaint against Boeing in April said the airplane maker violated labor laws by deciding to build a 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina in retaliation for union strikes in Washington state, home to Boeing’s factories. NLRB spokeswoman Nancy Cleeland didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Issa’s letter. Boeing has denied it acted to punish the union.

  • Who Besides Solyndra Got Loan Guarantees? – Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison just resigned, as the controversy stubbornly refuses to go away.  Seems worth revisiting the loans once again, since I've spent a little time looking more deeply at the program over the past few days.

    Supporters of these programs claim that they're a necessary part of winning the green future because these are investments that are too risky, or too big, for private capital to take on.  

    Of course, if the government is going to be a VC, supporters say, they have to expect a high failure rate. There's a lot of talk about the manufacturing "Valley of Death", where startup manufacturing firms may have difficulty getting capital to commercialize their prototypes.  According to proponents of this theory, there's plenty of money for early stage ventures, and plenty of bank loans for established firms, but no money for mass commercialization of new manufacturing ideas.  (Hence the "valley").  This valley, they say, is especially wide for energy firms, because the capital costs for starting up are so high.

    I've been somewhat skeptical of those claims–why are people pouring money into manufacturing startups if they're inevitably doomed to die at the commercialization stage?  But say it's true.  I thought it was worth looking at who got the money from these programs, and for what.  How well is the government doing in its role of VC/valley of death sherpa?

  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-10-18 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-10-18 #tcot #catcot
  • Flap’s Links and Comments for October 17th on 06:09 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for October 17th on 06:09 #tcot #catcot

Flap’s Links and Comments for October 2nd through October 3rd

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for October 2nd through October 3rd:

  • House Appropriators take a shot at ObamaCare, Labor and NLRB – The House appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services and Education is attacking funding for Obamacare, the Labor Department and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

    According to subcommittee chairman, Montana Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, the appropriations bill would prevent the Obama administration from implementing Obamacare until the Supreme Court rules on the case. It also defunds the NLRB’s attempts to implement “quickie elections” for unions and defunds implementation of the NLRB’s “poster rule,” which requires employers nationwide to hang pro-union posters in workplaces.

    The “quickie elections” rule the NLRB recently passed allows unions to hold a workforce election within just seven to ten days after requesting one. For decades, unions has to wait about 45 days or longer after requesting an election to hold one. That ensured workers and the company had enough time to catch up and become fully informed on what was happening, as union leaders usually already know what’s going on because they deal with labor relations issues all the time.

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    Read it all

  • Perry, Romney Embrace a National Right-to-Work Law – Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney both say they support a national right-to-work law.

    Workers outside right-to-work states currently are obligated to pay the union fees as a condition of employment at firms that have unions, which is in accordance with the National Labor Relations Act. But the unions cannot demand membership.

    "Gov. Romney … would sign a national right-to-work law if it came across his desk," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told TheStreet in an email.

    "Governor Perry would support Senator DeMint's national right to work bill," Perry spokesman Mark Miner told TheStreet in an email.

    Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) introduced the National Right to Work Act in March 2011, which aimed to protect "the free choice of individuals to form, join, or assist labor organizations, or to refrain from such activities."

    DeMint's state has seen a heavy labor dispute that concerns a Boeing plant in North Charleston, S.C., as the National Labor Relations Board general counsel ruled in April that Boeing's decision to build the plant represented an illegal retaliation for a 2008 strike by the International Association of Machinists at one of its plants in Everett, Wash.

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    Read it all

  • Craig Becker and Boeing – For the last few months, Boeing has been clashing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over its decision to locate a plant in South Carolina. The NLRB argues that the airplane manufacturer illegally moved work from union factories in Washington state to a new $1 billion facility in the right-to-work Palmetto State.
    NLRB lawyers maintain this is straightforward retaliation against union workers, based on comments allegedly made by Boeing executives themselves. Business leaders have denounced this as an unprecedented bit of federal pro-union advocacy, with the House of Representatives last week voting to halt the Boeing case and others like it.
    The battle may soon intensify. Federal financial disclosure forms reveal that Craig Becker, a key union-friendly vote on the NLRB, owned stock in Boeing at the beginning of this year. Becker is one of federal agency's Democratic board members.

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    Read it all

  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-10-03 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-10-03 #tcot #catcot
  • Obama Supporters "Occupy" DC
    – YouTube
    – Obama Supporters "Occupy" DC
    – YouTube
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: 2011 Wiggle Waggle for the Pasadena Humane Society – 2011 Wiggle Waggle for the Pasadena Humane Society
  • Occupy DC Protesters Call for Re-election of Obama and for Government to Use Force to Impose Their Ideas | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Occupy DC Protesters Call for Re-election of Obama and for Government to Use Force to Impose Their Ideas #tcot #catcot
  • Obama Supporters "Occupy" DC
    – YouTube
    – I liked a @YouTube video from @adamkokesh Obama Supporters "Occupy" DC
  • Flap’s Links and Comments for October 1st through October 2nd | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for October 1st through October 2nd #tcot #catcot

Flap’s Links and Comments for September 20th through September 23rd

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for September 20th through September 23rd:

Flap’s Links and Comments for September 19th through September 20th

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for September 19th through September 20th:

  • Highlights from the Full Tilt Ponzi Lawsuit – WSJ – As our colleague Alexandra Berzon is reporting, the government today said online-poker website Full Tilt cheated players out of their money. In part, an amended lawsuit from the government said Full Tilt claimed to hold money from players’ bank accounts that was being used instead to pay profits to Full Tilt’s owners and for other purposes.

    Here are a few highlights from the government complaint. (And read the government’s amended lawsuit here):

    * Disguised payments from banks: “The principals of the Poker Companies…deceived or directed others to deceive United States banks and financial institutions into processing billions of dollars in payments for the Poker Companies, by, among other things, arranging for the money received from United States gamblers to be disguised as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants and other non-gambling businesses…” the lawsuit said.

    In part, the lawsuit says some of the defendants tricked Visa and Mastercard — which had blocked payments to gambling sites — by directing “others to apply incorrect transaction codes…and create the false appearance that the transactions were completely unrelated to internet gambling.” The lawsuit says an Absolute Poker document from 2007 identified 20 Internet shopping websites — including petfoodstore.biz and bedding-superstore.tv — used as fronts for credit-card transactions.

    * Shifting money: “[I]n or about the summer of 2010, Full Tilt Poker’s payment processing channels were so disrupted that the company faced increasing difficulty attempting to collect funds from players in the United States. Rather than disclose this fact, Full Tilt Poker simply credited players’ online gambling accounts with money that had never actually been collected from the players’ bank accounts.  Full Tilt Poker allowed players to gamble with — and lose to other players — this phantom money that Full Tilt Poker never actually collected or possessed.”

  • U.S. Chamber Sues NLRB to Block Notification Rule – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce today filed a lawsuit against the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) challenging the Board’s new rule requiring businesses to post notices explaining employees' rights to unionize. The Chamber’s lawsuit alleges that the misguided NLRB rule violates federal labor and regulatory laws as well as the First Amendment. The case, Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board, et al. is in the U.S. District Court of South Carolina.

    “The NLRB has no authority to impose any of these requirements,” said Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the Chamber’s public policy law firm. “This is nothing more than labor regulation run amok. Adding insult to injury, the Board’s new rule violates the First Amendment by forcing employers to use their own resources to post the NLRB’s pro-union message on the company’s own property.”

    The Chamber’s lawsuit alleges that the NLRB’s final rule regarding Notification of Employee Rights Under the National Labor Relations Act (“Notification Rule”) violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), and the First Amendment. Significantly, the rule creates a new “unfair labor practice,” exposing businesses to significant and costly liability for failure to comply. The Rule — which applies to virtually all private employers in the United States — becomes effective on November 14, 2011.

    “At a time when the private sector is striving to create desperately needed new jobs, it is disappointing to see that the NLRB is imposing new and unnecessary regulations on employers,” said Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits. “The latest rule is part of the NLRB’s pattern of tipping the scale in favor of unions, at the expense of employers and employees alike.”

    According to the Chamber’s lawsuit:

    • Nowhere does the NLRA give the NLRB authority to coerce employers to post such notifications, or to impose onerous penalties for those who fail to post the notices.
    • In violation of the APA, the rule arbitrarily and capriciously excludes from the mandatory notice a description the fundamental rights of employees to be free of compulsory union membership and compulsory union dues.
    • The NLRB violated the RFA by failing to properly assess the significant economic impact the rule would have on small businesses.
    • The rule violates the First Amendment by compelling employers to post the NLRB’s ideological views on unionizing.

  • Feds Call Full Tilt Poker A Massive Ponzi Scheme – Manhattan’s U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claimed on Tuesday that Full Tilt Poker and its board of directors operated the company “as a massive Ponzi scheme against its own players.”

    Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said on Tuesday they were filing legal papers as part of a civil money laundering complaint that alleged Full Tilt Poker improperly used funds of online poker players to pay members of its board of directors, including famous poker players Howard Lederer and Christopher “Jesus” Ferguson, $440 million since April 2007.

    Bharara announced the filing of a motion to amend a forfeiture and civil money laundering complaint that was filed in April, alleging that Full Tilt and board members Lederer, Ferguson and Rafael Furst, together with Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar, defrauded poker players out of some $300 million by not maintaining funds at the company sufficient to repay players.

    “Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme,” Bharara said in a statement. “Full Tilt insiders lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited.”

    Federal prosecutors have drawn up an amended complaint that names Bitar, Lederer, Ferguson and Furst, adding them to the original complaint which was filed seeking $3 billion from Full Tilt Poker and an unrelated poker company, PokerStars. The proposed amended complaint claims that in 2008 and 2009 Full Tilt sent emails to its players and posted messages on online poker message boards, assuring players that “unlike some companies in our industry, we completely understand and accept that your account money belongs to you, not Full Tilt Poker.” But the new complaint claims that the company did not have enough funds to repay players and that by March 31 Full Tilt only had $60 million or so in its bank accounts while owing $390 million to players around the world, including $150 million in the U.S.

    Federal prosecutors claim that Full Tilt’s board members got rich because the company used player funds to pay them massive amounts of money that largely was transferred to their accounts in Switzerland and other overseas locations. Specifically, the feds allege that Bitar pocketed $41 million and Lederer got $42 million. Jesus Ferguson allegedly was allocated $87 million in distributions and received at least $25 million, federal prosecutors claim.

  • Want to Ditch the Twinkies and Other High Caloric Food – Feed Your Brain? | Smiles For A Lifetime – Temporary (Locum Tenens) Dentistry – Want to ditch the Twinkies? Here is an easy way to do it…..sort of…..:
  • Flap’s California Morning Collection: September 20, 2011 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Morning Collection: September 20, 2011
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Report: More Testing Needed at Dayton VA Medical Center Over Infection Control Dental Clinic Flap – The Dayton VA Medical Center Dental Clinic Flap continues…..:
  • Shocker: Obama and Buffett Are Wrong on Tax Rates Paid By Millionaires | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Shocker: Obama and Buffett Are Wrong on Tax Rates Paid By Millionaires #tcot #catcot
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-09-20 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2011-09-20 #tcot #catcot
  • President 2012 Poll Watch: Romney 49% Vs Obama 47%, Obama 50% Vs. Perry 45% | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 Poll Watch: Romney 49% Vs Obama 47%, Obama 50% Vs. Perry 45%:
  • NV-Sen: Dean Heller 48% Vs. Shelly Barkley 42% | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – NV-Sen: Dean Heller 48% Vs. Shelly Barkley 42% #tcot #catcot
  • Flap’s Links and Comments for September 19th on 08:25 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for September 19th on 08:25 #tcot #catcot
  • Overstock.com Not Pleased with Amazon.com California Internet Sales Tax Legislative Compromise » Flap’s California Blog – Overstock.com Not Pleased with Amazon.com California Internet Sales Tax Legislative Compromise
  • Does Diabetes Increase Alzheimer’s Disease Risk? | Smiles For A Lifetime – Temporary (Locum Tenens) Dentistry – Does Diabetes Increase Alzheimer’s Disease Risk?

Flap’s Links and Comments for September 15th through September 19th

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for September 15th through September 19th:

Flap’s Links and Comments for September 15th on 10:33

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for September 15th from 10:33 to 14:26:

  • Perry debate performances hurt his chances – The modern Republican Party does not want to nominate Mitt Romney. As we've said many times on this site, he's of the wrong religion, the wrong region and he's the author of Romneycare. GOP primary voters and caucus attenders will only nominate him after they've exhausted every other available (and viable) option.

    Perry need only meet two tests to win the nomination. Test #1 is that he has the knowledge and experience to serve effectively as president. Test #2 is that he has an even (or better than even) chance of defeating President Obama next November. All the other pieces of the puzzle are there. He has a very powerful base. He has the money. He has (enough) established political support.

    Perry has so far failed Test #1. He needs to pass it, again and again, in debate after debate, to win. If he continues to fall short in these debates, then he won't be the nominee. He'll be in the discard pile with all the others.

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    Perry needs to step it up in the debates and work on some specific policy recommendations

  • Perry’s Missing His Chance to Build a Big Lead Early – I think the best one can say about Perry’s two debate performances is that they’ve been good enough — he is, after all, still the frontrunner in most polls. I think the worst you can say is that, so far, Perry is deeply disappointing to any Republican who wanted a presidential nominee who could naturally and easily articulate a powerful argument for conservative principles and think on his feet.

    It’s not like the idea that Michele Bachmann would go after him was a surprise, nor was the angle of “crony capitalism,” and the heart of Perry’s defense is that he’s offended that someone would accuse him of altering his position for a donation so small.

    Perry has plenty of time, and will have plenty of opportunities to regroup. But it’s fascinating to think that the conventional wisdom around him could change so dramatically in two weeks, and essentially after two key nights . . .

  • Tim Scott’s NLRB bill passes in the House – Rep. Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.) bill to limit the National Labor Relations Board's powers passed in the house today by a vote of 238 – 186.

    8 Democrats voted in favor of the bill which was largely proposed in response to the NLRB's decision to blog a new Boeing plant in South Carolina.

    Sen. Harry Reid is unlikely bring up the bill in the Senate, but the House is eager to show that they are willing to pass legislation that will add jobs to the American economy.

  • President 2012: Mitt Romney To Be a No Show at California GOP Convention » Flap’s California Blog – President 2012: Mitt Romney To Be a No Show at California GOP Convention
  • CDC: Successful Anti-Smoking Efforts Resulting in Less Lung Cancer? | Smiles For A Lifetime – Temporary (Locum Tenens) Dentistry – CDC: Successful Anti-Smoking Efforts Resulting in Less Lung Cancer?:
  • President 2012 GOP Florida Poll Watch: Rick Perry 29% Vs. Romney 20% | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – :
  • Log In – The New York Times – NY Times Review: Joe McGinniss’s ‘The Rogue,’ on Sarah Palin
  • Flap’s Links and Comments for September 15th on 10:20 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Links and Comments for September 15th on 10:20 #tcot #catcot