1) It’s illegal: Since there are currently no work permits for illegal aliens, handing them out would require a change in the existing law. If this were a dictatorship like North Korea or Cuba, Dear Leader Barack Obama could simply issue a decree and change the law. Here in America we’re a republic which means that he unquestionably, uncontroversially cannot issue work permits for illegal aliens without a bill passing through Congress. His attempt to do so may seem like a small matter to some people, but it sets an ...
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
Many people may have voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because of his charisma. But anyone familiar with the disastrous track record of charismatic political leaders around the world in the 20th century should have run for the hills when they encountered a politician with charisma.
What is scarier than any particular political policy or issue is the widespread tendency to treat political issues as personal contests in talking points — competitive skill in fencing with words — rather than as serious attempts to find out ...
There aren’t Greek columns tall or wide enough to camouflage Barack Obama’s impending North Carolina catastrophe. In September, the campaigner-in-chief will travel to Charlotte for his party’s presidential nominating convention. For once, the incurable jetsetter may wish he had stayed home.
Obama’s stage managers envision a triumphant, unifying coronation reminiscent of their 2008 DNC production in Denver. But the southern swing state is turning into a Democratic disaster zone.
Start with the North Carolina Democratic Party. At the state party convention last week, Obama for America was AWOL. The glaring absence of ...
It’s becoming increasingly clear that President Obama is not burdened with too heavy a commitment to honesty.
This is hardly a shock about any politician, but revelations of dishonesty hurt some more than others. Announce that Bill Clinton has been speaking falsely, and it hits the ears with as much force as the news that birds fly, fish swim and dogs lick their own nether regions.
But Obama was supposed to be different. He was a “lightworker,” an ocean tamer and cynicism slayer. In short, he was supposed to be too good ...
A Denver homeowner association
has outlawed sidewalk drawings in chalk by a pre-school
Three-year old Emerson Cohen's artistic rampage was cut short by
leaders of a residential development built on the site of the old
Stapleton airport. From
Denver's CBS 4:
“We live on a courtyard and we all bought into the notion that
we were sharing a space,” said [mother Sarah] Cohen.
But the group — called a Innovations and Courtyard Traditions at
Stapleton, a sub-association of the Stapleton MCA (Master Community
Association) — said because it is a shared space, anything that
offends, disturbs or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment isn’t
allowed. It seems that some neighbors have complained.
“The association is trying to go down a path of do no harm and
prevent the sidewalk art as opposed to… until such time as it can
get together and discuss it,” said the attorney representing the
Cohen said no neighbors have mentioned anything to her. She also
plans to keep letting her daughter use chalk to decorate the common
“It’s summertime and God forbid my daughter is drawing flowers,
her name and hearts,” said Cohen.
The concerns will be brought up in a future meeting and then it
will be up to the residents to decide.
One person's experiment in living is another's busybody hell: A
few years ago Virginia Postrel looked at the
unbearable pettiness of neighborhood aesthetic
Nick Gillespie on Real Time with Bill Maher, Friday
12/22 6/22, With Kirk Douglas, Rachel Maddow, Mort Zuckerman, & Mark Ruffalo
I'll be on HBO's Real Time with
Bill Maher on Friday, June 22, at 10pm ET (the show airs throughout
the weekend). Among the other guests: screen legend Kirk Douglas,
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, billionaire publishing magnate Mort
Zuckerman, and actor Mark Ruffalo.
As regular Reason.com visitors will recall,
I was on the show last July, where I sparred with Democratic
Party operative Donna Brazile and Braddock, Pennsylvania Mayor John
Fetterman, and actor John Turturro.
Among the feedback from last year's appearance:
Hey, @nickgillespie just bc you look like the Fonze with
Aids doesn't mean you can ramble on like a fag
U stupid undercover Tea bagging fuck!
@nickgillespie What was it like to get your ass
pounded by Donna Brazile and Mayor Fetterman? For a PhD you're
awfully ignorant and wrong.
Thx @nickgillespie for showing us that Libertarians can
interrupt, roll eyes, and fling racist remarks W/O gov't
@nickgillespie Great job representing us on a show
that never has Libertarians. Thanks for showing the hypocracy
@nickgillespie You were brilliant on the Bill Maher
Attempts to be Relevant Show
@nickgillespie never heard of you until last night,
now you are my hero!
@Nickgillespie made 3 liberal heads explode on bill
maher's show last night.
As I told the Washington Times not long ago, "To
first they try to ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they
call you a douche, and then they start engaging you in
Seriously, being on the show was a blast and I look forward to
tomorrow. Please tune in!
I was hoping a letter in my
inbox from 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley was a job
offer, but it turns out he was just interested in my
recent post about the frosty relationship between private space
entrepreneurs and NASA veterans Gene Cernan, Neil Armstrong and
Recently you published an article that took note of an interview
with Elon Musk that appeared on 60 Minutes. We’re glad you noticed
our reporting on SpaceX Corporation. Because you are interested in
the privatization of manned space flight I wanted to make you aware
of something that we should have made more clear in our
Part of our interview dealt with the congressional testimony of
Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan. Both raised concerns about the
Obama administration program. Part of Armstrong’s testimony
“I am very concerned that the new plan, as I understand it,
will prohibit us from having human access to low Earth orbit on our
own rockets and spacecraft until the private aerospace industry is
able to qualify their hardware under development as rated for human
occupancy. I support the encouragement of the newcomers toward
their goal of lower-cost access to space. But having cut my teeth
in rockets more than 50 years ago, I am not confident. The most
experienced rocket engineers with whom I have spoken believe that
it will require many years and substantial investment to reach the
necessary level of safety and reliability.”
In our 60 Minutes story on SpaceX, I reminded Elon Musk
of the criticism. The quote of my question is:
“Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, have both testified against
commercial space flight in the way you are developing it, and I
wonder what you think of that?”
We should have made it explicit in our story that, while
Armstrong was “not confident” that the newcomers could achieve
safety and cost goals in the near term, he did want to “encourage”
them. We also should have spelled out more clearly that his
concerns were directed toward the “newcomers” in general and not
SpaceX in particular.
Armstrong contacted us after our story to say that many people
have misconstrued his position as a result of what we said on
60 Minutes. We agree he has a point. I wanted to give you
a little more clarity on this in the event you continue to write
about the subject.
If you feel publishing this note would be a service to your
readers, please feel free to do so.
Kraft and Cernan, as you can see in the original post, still
seem to be adamant in their view that space travel can't be trusted
to just any slob in "Who Farted?" t-shirt. But it's good to
hear Armstrong is willing to let somebody other than government
employees slip the surly bonds of earth. And kudos to Pelley (who
is also the
only one of the Big Three anchorbots giving substantial play to
the Fast and Furious debacle) for being scrupulous.
No word on whether Armstrong is willing to let amateurs try
In the seedy world of the Chicago unions and the political pawns they control, there is a family dynasty whose name is at the top of heap in terms of power and political muscle. That is the Coli family. Without the blessings of the Coli family and the union they control, Teamsters Local 727 and Joint Council 25 (the governing body of 20 Teamster locals in Illinois and Indiana), Chicago might not have Rahm Emanuel as its mayor and America might not have Barack Obama as its president. Now, however, the Coli union dynasty may be in jeopardy due to a RICO suit filed against several members of the Coli family, including John Coli, Sr., and Teamsters Local 727.
SCI Illinois Services, Inc. is a company that provides funeral services in Chicago and vicinity. Being in the Chicago area, the company’s employees (which consist of funeral directors, embalmers, embalmer trainees, and auto livery drivers) are represented by Teamsters Local 727.
According to the RICO suit, SCI is required under its union contract with the Coli-controlled Teamsters, to pay money into the union’s health, pension, and education funds for its Teamster-represented employees. The health, pension and educations funds are where out of the four fund trustees, according to the suit, the Coli family has installed three of its family members.
The funds are also where the Coli dynasty has, according to the RICO suit, allegedly created a “scheme to defraud and extort” money from SCI by inflating audit findings. Over many years, the union would claim that the company owed more money than it believed it owed to the Coli-controlled funds.
Defendants have conspired to and have falsely and intentionally inflated audits relating to how much was owed to the Local 727 Funds, continually abusing the legitimate audit process year after year to extort as much money as possible from Plaintiff for the Funds.
Finally, after years of Plaintiff submitting to extortion and incurring enormous legal expenses, Plaintiff decided to fight instead. In litigation brought by the Funds at the control and direction of the Defendants, Plaintiff sought the deposition of key individuals, including Defendant John Coli, Sr. Coli Sr. resisted his deposition vigorously. When the court finally ordered him to attend he did appear, but was belligerent and uncooperative, stating, “For the record, go f**k yourself.”
According to the RICO suit:
By engaging in the scheme to extort contributions from Plaintiff into the Funds, the Coli Defendants are seeking to increase the viability and perceived financial soundness of the Funds by any, including illegal, means.
By engaging in the scheme to extort contributions from Plaintiff into the Funds, the Coli Defendants and the Union are seeking to serve and protect their own direct and indirect financial interests. The Union’s pension fund is seriously underfunded and a source of potential embarrassment and criticism for the Union and its leadership. The underfunded status of the Funds impacts the Union’s ability to recruit and retain members, which has the effect of diminishing membership dues − the primary revenue source for the Union. The Coli Defendants and the Union are therefore seeking to augment the pension fund by engaging in this fraudulent and extortionate scheme to reduce the level of underfunding. The seriously underfunded status of the pension fund is also a potential source of embarrassment for and criticism of the Coli Defendants, causing their job performance to be called into question, and raising questions about their competence and issues of nepotism, cronyism, qualifications, experience and general fitness to carry out their responsibilities, placing at risk their job security and generous compensation packages. Similar motives exist with regard to the other union benefit plans. The Coli Defendants are engaging in this scheme to wrongfully extort money that the Funds are not entitled to for the purpose of improving their image, consolidating their control and thereby protecting their own financial interests and maintaining control of the Funds and the Union.
Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court judge denied the Coli’s motion to dismiss the RICO suit.
In his denial of the motion to dismiss, Judge Zagel summarized the complaint as follows:
The gravamen of the complaint is that Defendants have manipulated a series of audits to fraudulently inflate the amounts for which the Funds billed Plaintiff. Specifically, the complaint alleges that beginning in August 2002 and continuing to the present, Defendants have deliberately withheld records from auditors, signed off on final auditing reports that they know to be materially flawed, imposed unreasonably burdensome procedures on Plaintiff to challenge the audits, and sued Plaintiff to collect payments to which they were not entitled. For years, Plaintiff capitulated to the fraud by settling rather than incurring the costs of litigating each individual audit. The complaint states that, between April 2004 and April 2008, Plaintiff settled seven lawsuits with Defendants for amounts far exceeding what Plaintiff actually owed the Funds.
The most recent scheme allegedly involved an employer-wide audit covering all of Plaintiff’s funeral homes in the State of Illinois. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant deliberately withheld information from the auditing firm which “caused the draft audit report to have intentional misrepresentations,” such as the inclusion of non-Local 727 employees, as well as employees and funeral homes covered by previous settlement agreements.
The complaint contains enough facts to infer the existence of an agreement between Defendants to violate § 1962(c). The conspiracy claim stands. Causation and injury have been sufficiently pled–there is no question that Plaintiff has payed out hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Funds in order to settle ERISA actions based on disputed audits.
While the Coli case is about one individual union and the family that controls it, the case may have much farther reaching impact as there are thousands of companies across the United States that contribute to underfunded union pension plans.
If the allegations against the Coli-controlled funds prove to be true, not only might the Coli dynasty come to a well-deserved ignominious end, but there may be other companies that are overpaying moneys into ‘schemes’ such as the one the Coli’s are accused of masterminding.
- Teamsters Coli RICO Complaint
- Teamsters Coli Dimissal Denied
- Random Acts of Vandalism Cause Teamsters To Postpone Funeral Directors’ Strike
“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)
Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com
[Emphasis added throughout.]
Real men wear pink. Real women wear fur. And real market-based policy doesn’t include special interest subsidies. Sadly, lots of legislation fails the real free market test. So it is with one of Washington’s favorite energy sources du jour: energy production tax credits (PTC). Sadly, anti-market policies like the expansion of the wind energy production tax credit continue to get support in Congress. The Obama Administration is rightly criticized for the stunning waste of taxpayer dollars under...
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rail news today, Gov. Jerry Brown has backed off his plan to
block environmental lawsuits against the state’s proposed
high-speed rail project. Via the
San Jose Mercury News:
The Brown administration on Wednesday abandoned its plan to ease
environmental scrutiny of the $69 billion bullet train, backing off
quickly after strong opposition from environmentalists threatened
the project altogether.
The proposal was designed to prevent opponents from halting
high-speed rail construction in court on environmental grounds. It
was tied to a key vote in the Legislature in coming weeks on
whether to build the first $6 billion leg of tracks in the Central
But powerful environmental groups -- and key bullet train
supporters -- like the Sierra Club and National Resources Defense
Council were outraged at what they considered an attempt to
undermine the state's landmark environmental law. They spent the
last three weeks urging lawmakers to scrap the plan, saying it
would set a dangerous precedent.
California is operating on a
tight deadline to get started with the project or risk losing
$3.5 billion in matching federal stimulus funds. The State Senate
has set a July 1 deadline to appropriate $2.6 billion in bonds to
start construction on the first leg in central California.
Environmental lawsuits against projects in California can take
months or years to conclude. On this basis, Conn Carroll of The
Washington Examiner is declaring the project
[A]ccording to the stimulus law, California must begin
construction on the project before December 31, 2012 or they will
not be eligible for any more high speed rail stimulus dollars.
Obama’s Transportation Department reaffirmed this time limit last
year when they admitted they had “no administrative authority to
change this deadline.”
When I read that Brown was dropping his efforts to block
environmental suits this morning, I had the same initial thought:
There’s no way this train will begin construction this year. But
there are a number of possibilities that could keep this boondoggle
from the chopping block.
First, it’s important not to make the assumption that the people
who are suing to block the project are actually suing to actually
block the project. A lot of them are likely looking to be paid to
go away or to make sure they get a better sum than an eminent
domain process might land them or because they’re close to the
tracks but not close enough to sell their land and want
compensation for any hardships the trains cause or for any number
of reasons. There could be all sorts of quick settlements of these
cases by throwing money at the problem or agreeing to land
Second, don’t underestimate the government’s ability to ignore
or alter deadlines, or find other sources for the money. I mean,
look at how the Obama administration has been behaving. Just
because they don’t have the authority to change the deadline
doesn’t mean they won’t do it anyway. And even if they don’t, and
California misses the deadline, there’s all sorts of tricks they
can resort to. The Federal Railroad Administration has a $35 billion loan
guarantee program which states:
Eligible borrowers include railroads, state and local
governments, government-sponsored authorities and corporations,
joint ventures that include at least one railroad, and limited
option freight shippers who intend to construct a new rail
As much as I would like to cackle at the bullet train’s demise,
it’s still too soon to say. I’ll believe it when I see the bloated
blue-and-gold monster’s corpse on a pike during season three of
Game of Thrones.
President Obama came into office globally hailed as the savior of America’s standing in the world. Now, three-and-a-half years into the Obama presidency, international disappointment has set in. In its recent release of the 2012 report, the Pew Global Attitudes Project stressed that global public opinion is still so much more favorable toward the United States than it was under President George W. Bush and that a majority of its 21,000 respondents worldwide still hoped Obama would be reelected....
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The greatest crisis of American democracy is not
getting your way. And when a sluggish republic hinders
progress, it's time to act. Just ask Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid, who advanced an astonishing argument the other day on the
Senate floor: The president, explained Reid, is free to
unilaterally craft immigration policy because we've tried
to do that for years, and we can't because they won't let
Yesterday, Senator Jerry Moran (R–KS) gave an important speech at The Heritage Foundation on the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), negotiations on which will open on July 2 in New York. Through letters to the Administration, legislation, and amendments, Moran has played the leading role in seeking to ensure, with his colleagues in both parties, that the ATT does not infringe on rights protected under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Moran made a valuable contribution by pointing out...
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