Louisville, KY - What is going on today? Glad you asked!
It seems President Obama has proven once again his double standard when it comes to his administration. Former 2008 Obama Campaign manager, and White House adviser, David Plouffe has apparently taken speaking engagement fees from a company with ties to the Iranian government.
Of course just last week, Obama signed an executive order allowing the U.S. to impose sanctions against countries purchasing or trading for Iranian oil. The Treasury Department also levied sanctions against two banks -- one in China, one in Iraq -- that reportedly provided assistance to a number of Iranian banks after they were blacklisted from U.S. financial companies.
This can't look good.
So how great is the U.S. economy doing? So great that immigrants adult children are leaving the U.S. for jobs overseas. And why not? Between 1970 and 2010, India's GDP per capita multiplied an astounding 13 times, according to United Nations data. Brazil's leapt up by a factor of 29, China's by 38, and Korea's by a mind-bending 74.
Can we afford to continue down the path of least resistance?
Just how bad are things? Take a look at the top ten states on unemployment and underemployed.
Louisville Mayor Fischer is following Jerry Abramson's lead by continuing to drag out the retired firefighters court case on underpaid pensions. Once again, as appears to always be the case, the City loses their court cases, and continues to appeal them costing taxpayers even more money accordingly in legal fees alone, and then has to settle the case anyway.
On June 29 Jefferson Circuit Judge Mary Shaw ruled that the City owed the retired firefighters money for underfunding their pension requirements over decades. The Judge laid out the terms of repayment and how the interest would be paid. According to attorney Ann Oldfather interest is set at a rate of 12%.
As of July 31, according to a CJ report, the amount owed is $7 million and counting. That amount rises $2300 each day.
So what does Fischer have to say about it?
According to his spokesman Chris Poynter, ".... the city carefully considered several issues in deciding to appeal, including that losing the case will cost taxpayers substantially more money in accruing interest; that the city has lost every major ruling in the firefighters’ lawsuits; and that it has already paid out more than $71 million — a total that doesn’t include Oldfather’s latest calculation.
“We think the judge was wrong in the ruling,” Poynter said. “Our legal team weighed this appeal very carefully, because we know we have not been successful in the past. But we believe we have a pretty strong case.”"
I'd sure like to know how they figure the Judge erred considering the City has never won on the issue.
There is more on firefighters in Louisville, Kentucky this time in regards to "volunteer" departments. The Courier Journal is reporting Jefferson County’s suburban fire districts — responsible for protecting nearly 187,000 homes and businesses — are tumbling toward a financial crisis that could force sweeping changes in the way the county fights fires.
As a former volunteer firefighter in the 1980's at Okolona, I have seen firsthand how a real volunteer department actually works and they do a great job. The fiscal crisis looming is not because there are not enough volunteers, it is because the departments themselves tried to change a working model to mimic a paid force.
Even Courier reporter Jesse Halladay admits that's part of the problem.
Suburban departments increasingly have moved away from using volunteers, opting instead for career firefighters who are more dependable but also more expensive, earning higher wages and greatly raising pension costs. Since 2000, suburban districts have hired 84 percent more career firefighters, increasing from 226 to 415, and reduced their volunteer numbers 29 percent, from 637 to 450.