Archive for October 12th, 2011

October 12, 2011

Amnesty International is assailed for seeking George W. Bush’s arrest.

The Canadian government responded to the request with critical words for Amnesty International.

“I cannot comment on individual cases… that said, Amnesty International cherry picks cases to publicize based on ideology. This kind of stunt helps explain why so many respected human rights advocates have abandoned Amnesty International,” Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney told POLITICO, noting that Amnesty International had never sought a court order to bar Cuban dictator Fidel Castro or Tongolese dicator Gnassingbé Eyadema from Canada.

via Amnesty International seeks George W. Bush’s arrest – Tim Mak –

October 12, 2011

Part 2 of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ film due October 2012!

By PATRICK GAVIN | 10/12/11 1:18 PM EDT

In March, POLITICO told you about the new movie, “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1,” based on the Ayn Rand novel that has enjoyed a resurgence in political circles thanks to the tea party’s embrace of its exploration of limited government power and individual freedom.

Given its mild marketing and theater screenings, “Atlas” box office performance was lukewarm: It did $1.7 million on its opening weekend on 300 theaters, for $5,600 per screen. (Its second weekend was even less successful.)

But the folks behind the movie were undeterred and are moving forward with a second installment of “Atlas.”

Harmon Kaslow, who produced “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1” along with John Aglialoro,told POLITICO that “Part 2,” which will cover roughly the second third of the novel, will soon get under way. And the hope is that it will be bigger and better.

First, it’ll be longer.

“Right now, it’ll probably be 30 to 40 minutes longer than the first movie. The first one was about an hour and a half and a lot of those faithful to the book said they really wished we would have given them more out of the book. … We’re going to slow things down a little bit and let people enjoy what they experienced in the book, in the theater.”

Then, there’s the new cast. Part 1’s journey to the screen included a long history of production changes that at various points included talk of casting A-listers such as Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron and Brad Pitt, but the final product featured a more modest cast (Taylor Schilling, Grant Bowler, Matthew Marsden, Graham Beckel and Rebecca Wisocky). Kaslow is realistic about what he can afford, but said, “We’re going to aspire to get the biggest names that we possibly can” while also being faithful to the book’s characters and who’s best for those roles. Some of the new actors will step into roles played by others in Part 1.

And they’re hoping to have a bigger budget. “We’re going to spend more money on it than we did the first one,” Kaslow said. “We’re stepping it up on ‘Part 2’ with a substantially greater budget for advertising.” Kaslow said he thinks the first movie could have done “significantly better” but also has a glass half-full perspective on things.

“Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts do a film in the $4,900 per theater range and nobody batted an eye. But ‘Atlas Shrugged’ did over $5,000 and it’s a ‘failure’ and so on and so forth. We don’t subscribe to that. … We probably spent less than 1 percent of what a studio spends on marketing a film. If you look at all of these factors, our assessment is that it was very successful.”

Key to that success was the tea party’s embrace of the movie, and although Kaslow is clear that tea party types are a key part of the audience (“If you look at Ayn Rand’s core message, it really revolves around respect the rights of the individual and that’s really where the connection is with groups like the tea party and that’s what we’ll be focusing on”), he also hopes to avoid being pigeonholed.

“We’re not going to change the message of the book simply because one or more political or activist groups have found a connection with the message of the book. To the extent that these type of groups embrace it, we welcome their support, but we’re not going to go and actively solicit it.”

Kaslow said he hopes to start production in early 2012, “with hopes of previewing it around the time of the nominating conventions.”

via New ‘Atlas Shrugged’ film on the way – Patrick Gavin –

October 12, 2011

Gibson Guitar CEO slams U.S. raids as overreach

“Armed people came in our factory … evacuated our employees, then seized half a million dollars of our goods without any charges having been filed,” Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz told reporters and others at a Washington lunch.

“I think it’s a clear overreach,” he said.

Government agents seized a total of over $1 million worth of rosewood, ebony and finished guitars from Gibson factories in Memphis and Nashville in raids in 2009 and August of this year, Juszkiewicz said.

via Gibson Guitar CEO slams U.S. raids as overreach | Reuters.

October 12, 2011

Warren Buffet May Owe A Billion Dollars In Back Taxes

On top of this tax bill, figure the value of the time IRS agents have invested trying to collect it – they don’t work cheap, and we pay their salaries – and the resources Buffett’s people have invested fighting back.  All of which would have been saved if Buffett simply practiced what he preached, and willingly handed over his fortune to the brilliant and compassionate “leaders” he commands the rest of us to support without resistance.

Warren Buffet is no different from the other liars and frauds orbiting Barack Obama.  His hypocrisy just runs billions of dollars deeper.  When it comes to “shared sacrifice,” you do the sacrificing, and they do the sharing.

via Warren Buffet May Owe A Billion Dollars In Back Taxes – HUMAN EVENTS.

October 12, 2011

Union Leaders in Chicago to get $500,000 each in pensions: ‘Insane’ even for Illinois?

A labor leader in Chicago is expected to receive pension payments of nearly $500,000 a year, while another could get about $438,000 a year, according to reports Wednesday.

The Chicago Tribune and WGN-TV, which obtained information about union pension benefits during a joint investigation, said at least eight union officials in Chicago were eligible for what were described as inflated city pensions on top of union pensions for the same period of employment.

The news organizations said this was due to “a charitable interpretation” of Illinois law by officials representing two city pension funds.

“Can you name any place in the world where someone can get two pensions for the same job?” state Rep. Tom Cross, a Republican, told the paper. “Even by our standards here in Illinois, it’s beyond belief. It’s insane.”

Chicago and Illinois are facing financial trouble, in part due to pension shortfalls.

On Tuesday, state Sen. Mark Kirk released a report on Illinois’ debt that said it had the worst credit rating of any state and that its debt was rising, NBC Chicago reported.

Kirk said the state was nearly insolvent and said he doubted there would be any help from Washington.

“It’s highly unlikely that the federal government would ever bail out a spend-thrift state. Therefore, Illinois needs to fix this on its own,” he said.

Amid the city’s financial woes, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reportedly proposed a budget that would see three of Chicago’s oldest police stations closed. The budget was due to be unveiled Wednesday.

The Tribune said the official who was expected to get about $438,000 a year would do so from three pensions covering the same work period: a city laborers fund, a union district council fund and a national union fund.

It said an analysis showed that this 59-year-old union official, Liberato “Al” Naimoli, would get a total of about $9 million if he lived to his expected lifespan.

Another official, Charles LoVerde III, a former trustee of the city laborers’ pension fund, stood to receive three pensions for the same time period totaling nearly $500,000 a year, the investigation found.

The Tribune said he took leave of absence in 1998 from a job with the city’s water management department, which paid $44,000 a year, to work full time for the local.

The paper said the law states that union leaders with city pensions cannot “receive credit in any pension plan established by the local labor organization based on his employment by the organization.”

But pension fund officials say a union district council is not a local labor organization, the paper said.

“The Legislature never told us how to administer this thing,” the city pension fund directors’ attorney, Fredrick Heiss, told the paper. “They could have said ‘no second pension at all,’ but they didn’t say that.”

The Tribune said the joint investigation with WGN-TV found that Naimoli, president of Cement Workers Local 76, was receiving a city pension of about $158,000 a year. It said his city pension was based on his union salary.

Naimoli, who retired in 2010 from the $15,000-a-year city job, is also now eligible to receive a pension of about $60,000 a year, the paper said, from the Laborers’ Pension Fund for Chicago and Vicinity.

He also will become eligible for payments of about $220,000 a year from a third pension, provided by the national union, LIUNA, on his 60th birthday next year.

The Tribune said he had not worked his $15,000-a-year job with the city for a quarter of a century.

Related: Ex-labor chief’s 1-day rehire nets $158,000 city pension

via $500,000 in pensions: ‘Insane’ even for Illinois? – US news – Life –

October 12, 2011

PopModal Conservative Videos – GOP Debate – Bloomberg part 1/4

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The best answer was by newt Gingrich at 8:23 who clearly defined the Occupy Wall Street protesters, Bernanke, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and the media.

I scored each candidates performance and came up with the following data: The winner was Newt with 7 questions and a score of 8.1, Romney had 15 questions with a score of 7.9, Bachmann (7 questions) and Cain (11 questions) tied with a score of 7.5. Santorum 5 questions with a score of 7.4, Paul had 6 questions and a score of 7.1 and Perry was disappointing with 10 questions and a score of 6.4.

This was my own opinion based on not whether I liked the answers, because I think they all would be great presidents, but on clarity, articulation, confidence and charisma. I scored each answer on a scale of 1 to 10. Newt and Romney both scored two answers at a 9. Perry paled in comparison and was a disappointment.

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