Scotties Toy Box

May 25, 2012

Winner: Wet T-shirt Contest from Bill

Filed under: Pictures — Scottie @ 17:14
WINNER:

WET T-SHIRT CONTEST

BELARUS, 2011

 

 

 

And what were you expecting…?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s scared of the Vet? From Aggie

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 17:00
This was taken in a Vet’s office where the pup was not so happy being there so his “Daddy” stepped in and made everything okay…………Love this picture.

Check out Power of the Storm: 44 Ferocious Waves Attacking Lighthouses

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 16:59

Thanks Aggie

Click here: Power of the Storm: 44 Ferocious Waves Attacking Lighthouses

What do you see? from Bill

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 16:54

THIS IS WEIRD!

Work of an engineer, artist or magician?

1. Where is the middle rod?

2. How many planks? Count top and bottom.

3. Is it open to the inside or outside?

4. Are the pillars round or square?

5. How many planks? 4 or 3?

6. Is this a frame?

7. Strange construction !

8. The beam in the middle disappears from left to right

9. 2 or 3 posts ?

Sharing from FoFo

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 16:46

Hi Scottie,

I liked your recent article from May 11th entitled “Germany United by Nudity, Divided by Attitude”. As a former East German with relatives on “both” sides, it rang some truths. Thanks for sharing.

On another note, I thought you might like the attached photo I found on an LGBT blog. I don’t remember from where, but I copied it to my favorite file.

Hugs and have a good weekend,
Fofo

Just Fred from Aggie

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 16:43

Oldie but a cutie, , ,enjoy

Just Fred

An Arizona Highway Patrol officer stops a Harley for traveling faster than the posted speed limit, so he asks the biker his name. ‘Fred,’ he replies. ‘Fred what?’ the officer asks. ‘Just Fred,’ the man responds.

The officer is in a good mood and thinks he might just give the biker a break and, write him out a warning instead of a ticket. The officer then presses him for the last name. The man tells him that he used to have a last name but lost it.

The officer thinks that he has a nut case on his hands but plays along with it. ‘Tell me, Fred, how did you lose your last name?’

The biker replies, ‘It’s a long story, so stay with me.’ I was born Fred Johnson. I studied hard and got good grades. When I got older, I realized that I wanted to be a doctor. I went through college, medical school, internship, residency, and finally got my degree, so I was Fred Johnson, MD. After a while I got bored being a doctor, so I decided to go back to school.

Dentistry was my dream! Got all the way through School, got my degree, so then I was Fred Johnson, MD, DDS. Got bored doing dentistry, so I started fooling around with my assistant and she gave me VD, so now I was Fred Johnson, MD, DDS, with VD.

Well, the ADA found out about the VD, so they took away my DDS. Then I was Fred Johnson, MD, with VD. Then the AMA found out about the ADA taking away my DDS because of the VD, so they took away my MD leaving me as Fred Johnson with VD. Then the VD took away my Johnson, so now I am Just Fred.’

The officer walked away laughing hysterically!

FBI Web Surveillance: Bureau Creates Unit To Eavesdrop On Internet Communications

Filed under: News, opinion — Scottie @ 16:06

I received this from FoFo.  Yes I still correspond with him and I owe him about four emails on different subjects which I will put together if I ever get a few minutes of unmarked time to think them out.   FoFo is very concerned about this and this subject and hopes the people who come to the Toy Box are also.  I tend to agree that the whole spying with out cause, lurking and sifting everyone’s stuff hoping to find one bad evil is troubling to me also.   

To me it is the concept of innocent until proven guilty.  The legal community, law officers, and spy agencies should have probable cause before they get the right to any citizens data or information.  I am against random drug screens for the same reason, it turns upside down the innocent until proven guilty clause and makes it …prove your innocent.   I also think it tends to work against self incrimination.  The basic question is ….How much information should our government be allowed to have access to, collect, and store on each person.  Each person is not an enemy of the state, not a robot, and why should the government have access to all information about us?

Already it is almost a mute point.  Big business has been doing it for years and engaging in some sneaky tricks to get you to give up all your personal data.  Ever fill out a registration card or online form for a product….that is for marketing, to sell a list of your name and likes….why when you ask for an online brochure for a type of car do they ask for your likes and hobbies?  It is so they can build a data base on you.   

I have a huge data base on me.  To do the work I did in the military I had to have F.B.I. clearance, and to do the same at the Nuclear plant I also was registered with state and federal agencies.  Every where I have used a credit card has all my home information, stores routinely ask for my phone number even when I pay in cash, To own my own businesses I have had to register with different computer companies, with other companies to get parts and supplies, tech information and support.   The list goes on.  There are databases on what TV shows we watch and record, I am sure the company also tracks our on demand wishes, and I am sure our Netflix account is in some data base.   I bet even my Amazon account is filed in some data base available to advertisers and companies that want to sell stuff to me.   I know most web sites try to find out where you came to the site from and where you do to when you leave.   

My point is most of the stuff the government wants is even more personal that our every day stuff.   They want our emails, our calls, our loves, hates, fetishes, gossips.  Seems sometimes they want our souls.   Well for me personally I stopped caring years ago, if my ramblings, love notes and other stuff makes someone tingly, heck I will send it to them.   The just need to ask.   I have to say I have made a habit of not saying anything behind someones back I wouldn’t say in from their face.   I really am kind of proud of my self, my life, and the way I live it.  But I still think government agencies should have probable cause before investigating any one.   After all they forget we are the ones who pay their wages.  Hugs

FBI Web Surveillance: Bureau Creates Unit To Eavesdrop On Internet Communications.

FBI Web Surveillance: Bureau Creates Unit To Eavesdrop On Internet Communications

The Huffington Post  |  By 

Fbi Web Surveillance Unit

FBI Director Robert Mueller recently confirmed that the bureau is pushing for a new web wiretap law.

With the Federal Bureau of Investigation’srecent push for web wiretaps and increased Internet surveillance, the U.S. seems to be edging closer to the fictional state described in George Orwell’s “1984.”

As CNET reported earlier this week, theFBI recently created a secret web-surveillance unit, the Domestic Communications Assistance Center, aimed at creating tech that would allow the authorities to more easily eavesdrop on Internet and wireless communications. The DCAC will act as hub for all web surveillance, but will not be directly involved in executing Internet wiretapping court orders or operating investigations if proposed legislation passes as planned.

The DCAC is a collaborative effort between the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency. According to CNET, the center will not only be responsible for developing new wiretapping tech and analyzing court ordered data, but will also be charged with tracking and decoding Skype conversations.

The DCAC is a brick-and-mortar product of the FBI’s “Going Dark” Internet wiretapping program. As more calls are taking place online through voice over IP (VoIP) services like Skype, the FBI, in particular, has made it quite clear that it is not happy with the difficulty of monitoring these types of conversations.

In order to bypass this obstacle, the FBI is asking Internet companies to go along with legislation that would require web companies like Facebook, Google and Skype to make their platforms “wiretapping-friendly.” The proposed legislation is an amendment to a 1994 law, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which only applies to telecommunications companies.

Although the Federal Communications Commission extended the law to apply to broadband networks in 2004, the FBI is seeking to expand it even further. So far, the proposed amendment has been approved by the Department of Justice, but has yet to be introduced in the legislature.

Attorneys who work in the Internet privacy industry are skeptical the FBI’s proposed amendment will find much success.

“Unlike the Patriot Act, which was enacted shortly after 9/11, unless the FBI can show current immediate concern for harm, it will be a difficult initiative to push through,” Marc Roth, an attorney at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, told TechNewsWorld. He added that the FBI will likely see great opposition from civil liberties groups.

By requiring mandatory backdoors within social networking sites, VoIP services and messaging programs, the FBI would be able to quickly and easily tap into any online communications.

The purpose and rationale of the DCAC, which is also referred to as the National Domestic Communications Assistance Center or NDCAC, was outlined in FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni’s February 2011 testimony before a House Judiciary Committee.

In a statement sent to CNET’s Declan McCullagh, the FBI summed up the description of the DCAC (used herein as NDCAC) as follows:

The NDCAC will have the functionality to leverage the research and development efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement with respect to electronic surveillance capabilities and facilitate the sharing of technology among law enforcement agencies. Technical personnel from other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies will be able to obtain advice and guidance if they have difficulty in attempting to implement lawful electronic surveillance court orders.

Funding for the DCAC is provided under the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2012. In sum, Congress allocated $8,244,000 and 13 positions for operation of the center.

Worry about this some do….I ask why? it is a normal progression of life

Filed under: Cartoons — Scottie @ 15:34

I said what ????

Filed under: Cartoons — Scottie @ 15:32

Yes, I believe this is very TRUE

Filed under: Cartoons — Scottie @ 15:28

All for one, and one for all…Right

Filed under: Cartoons — Scottie @ 15:25

Daily Kos: Republicans pit national security against raising taxes on wealthy

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 14:44

Daily Kos: Republicans pit national security against raising taxes on wealthy.

John McCain and Lindsey Graham

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, deficit peacocks (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Watching the latest Republican outrage at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, you’d think he had sold the nation’s nuke launch codes to Ahmadinejad. Instead, he’s merely insisting that Republicans negotiate in good faith on revenue. Cue the hissy fits.

Arizona’s other senator, John McCain, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, dismissed Reid’s comments as “unfortunate.”

“I think it makes it pretty clear what Senator Reid doesn’t understand are the devastating effects on our nation’s security that Secretary Panetta has so graphically described,” said McCain, a Vietnam veteran and retired Navy captain. […]

Sen. Lindsey Graham, an Air Force reservist, chimed in as well: “Gutting the military should be the last thing we want to do.”

Democrats are, thus far, holding their ground and backing up Reid.

“If Republicans are willing to put revenue on the table—which is what a fair and balanced approach is—we’ll be able to get there,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who served as co-chairwoman of the failed supercommittee and whose state is home to more than 80,000 Boeing workers. […]

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin predicted that the automatic cuts will be scrapped before November, but like Reid and Murray, he insisted that revenue must be part of the equation.

“I think we’ll avoid sequestration, but the only way to avoid it is if everybody is in the soup together,” the Michigan Democrat said.

Republicans can avoid “gutting” the military simply by agreeing to pay for the military, not by slashing all other domestic programs to the bone as Republicans in the House and Senatehave voted repeatedly to do, but by raising taxes on the wealthy.

So what it really comes down to is whether Republicans are more committed to national defense or to Grover Norquist.

Daily Kos: Even Mitt Romney admits Bain Capital ‘didn’t create’ jobs

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 14:42

Daily Kos: Even Mitt Romney admits Bain Capital ‘didn’t create’ jobs.

Priorities USA releases a new video mocking Mitt Romney for coming up with new number every time that he claims to have created jobs as CEO of Bain Capital:

Yeah, yeah, I know you’re just so shocked to learn that Mitt Romney is so full of it on his claim to be a jobs creator that he can’t even keep his numbers straight … but you actually might be surprised to learn that in Mitt Romney’s own words, he’s blowing smoke:

When you ask, the question ‘How many jobs did you create at Bain Capital?’ the truth, is we invested in businesses that created the jobs. We didn’t create them ourselves. They did. [3/13/12, KMOV, St. Louis, Mo.]

That’s a rare moment of candor for Mr. Bain—and it’s a tremendously important point. Romney’s job creation number relies on giving him credit for every single job created at every single company in which Bain invested money, no matter how much or how little. That’s like buying Apple stock and claiming to have created the iPad.

Take the case of Staples, at which Romney claims he created 90,000 jobs. Bain invested $2.5 million in the company in the late 1980s—and cashed out for $13 million in 1989. By all means, give Romney credit for having seen an opportunity early on and having made a profitable investment. But give him credit for creating 90,000 jobs? Are you kidding me?

To be fair, Bain wasn’t always a passive investor. As the Priorities USA and the Obama campaign have been pointing out, there are numerous examples of Bain bustouts—cases in which Bain bought a company and took over its management, loading it up with debt, extracting millions, and letting it crash. And maybe there’s some examples of Bain taking an active role and helping managing companies into a stronger position. But if so, Romney isn’t talking about them.

Berkeley Police Chief Defends Hunt for Son’s iPhone – ABC News

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 14:38

OH my Gods…..his son’s phone, what would he have asked his officers to do to over his son’s missing virginity? OK that was a joke, I have no idea of his son’s sexual status, but my god that is a case of abuse of authority.  Get this kind of police officer OFF the force.   Hugs

Berkeley Police Chief Defends Hunt for Son’s iPhone – ABC News.

Berkeley Police Chief Defends Hunt for Son’s iPhone

ap police chief iphone lpl 120525 wblog Berkeley Police Chief Defends Hunt for Sons iPhone

(Image credit: Doug Oakley/AP Photo)

A California police chief under fire for using 10 investigators to search for his son’s missing iPhone  defended his actions, saying it was “worth it.”

When Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan’s son said his iPhone was stolen from his locker at Berkeley High School in January, Meehan ordered his detectives to track it down. The phone was equipped with Find My iPhone tracking software.

Ten officers, including three detectives and one sergeant on overtime, tracked the phone’s signal to an Oakland neighborhood, where they went door-t0-door looking for the phone, according to ABC News’ San Francisco affiliate KGO-TV.

The phone was not found and taxpayers were charged for two hours of overtime for each of the investigators on overtime, according to KGO-TV.

http://abcnews.go.com/video/portableSFP?version=&affil=null&cid=null&id=16431684&autoStart=false&adPattern=null&size=embed&widget=&pageType=blog&section=&subsectionOverride=&ipad=false

Meehan did not respond to a request for comment from ABCNews.com today, but spoke to the Oakland Tribune to defend his actions.

“I think it was worth it,” he told the paper.

He responded indirectly when asked if he believed his job could be in jeopardy, saying, “That’s a great question for the city manager.”

Meehan told the paper that the response to the missing iPhone was based on the resources available at that time and that in two other cases of stolen iPhones, 11 officers responded.

“[The Berkeley Police Department] has long recommended that community members use tracking software on their devices or load such software in order to support an investigation and the possible recovery of stolen property,” Sgt. Mary Kusmis said in a statement.

“I don’t understand why it has been cast this way. The facts are very straightforward,” Meehan said. “It’s the chief’s son, so it’s different.”

Earlier this year, Meehan was in hot water for sending an officer to a reporter’s house at 1 a.m. in March to ask for a changes to a story, according to KGO-TV. The investigation into that incident is ongoing.

Typical CEO made $9.6 million last year, AP study finds – USATODAY.com

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 14:34

And how much did you make last year…your family, friends……seems a little one sided to me.  Hugs

 

Typical CEO made $9.6 million last year, AP study finds – USATODAY.com.

Typical CEO made $9.6 million last year, AP study finds

NEW YORK – Profits at big U.S. companies broke records last year, and so did pay for CEOs.
  • CBS CEO Les Moonves at the 2011 media-oriented Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.

    Julie Jacobson, AP

    CBS CEO Les Moonves at the 2011 media-oriented Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Julie Jacobson, AP

CBS CEO Les Moonves at the 2011 media-oriented Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.

The head of a typical public company made $9.6 million in 2011, according to an analysis by The Associated Press using data from Equilar, an executive pay research firm.

That was up more than 6% from the previous year, and is the second year in a row of increases. The figure is also the highest since the AP began tracking executive compensation in 2006.

Companies trimmed cash bonuses but handed out more in stock awards. For shareholder activists who have long decried CEO pay as exorbitant, that was a victory of sorts.

That’s because the stock awards are being tied more often to company performance. In those instances, CEOs can’t cash in the shares right away: They have to meet goals first, like boosting profit to a certain level.

The idea is to motivate CEOs to make sure a company does well and to tie their fortunes to the company’s for the long term. For too long, activists say, CEOs have been richly rewarded no matter how a company has fared — “pay for pulse,” as some critics call it.

To be sure, the companies’ motives are pragmatic. The corporate world is under a brighter, more uncomfortable spotlight than it was a few years ago, before the financial crisis struck in the fall of 2008.

AP: 10 highest-paid U.S. CEOs

Figures according to AP analysis of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies. Includes firms that had the same CEO for all of 2010 and 2011 and that filed SEC proxy statements between Jan. 1 and April 30.
AP’s compensation formula totals salary, perks, bonuses, preferential interest rates on pay set aside for later, and company estimates for the value of stock options and stock awards on the day they were granted last year.
1.DAVID SIMON, Simon Property Group,$137.2 million, up 458%
2.LESLIE MOONVES, CBS, $68.4M, up 20%
3.DAVID M. ZASLAV, Discovery Communications, $52.4M, up 23%
4.SANJAY K. JHA, Motorola Mobility, $47.2M, up 262%
5.PHILIPPE P. DAUMAN, Viacom, $43.1M, down 49%
6.DAVID M. COTE, Honeywell International,$35.7 M, up 135%
7.ROBERT A. IGER, Walt Disney, $31.4M, up 12%
8.CLARENCE P. CAZALOT JR., Marathon Oil,$29.9 M, up 239%
9.JOHN P. DAANE, Altera, $29.6,M, up 278%
10.ALAN MULALLY, Ford, $29.5M, up 11%
Source: Equilar

Last year, a law gave shareholders the right to vote on whether they approve of the CEO’s pay. The vote is nonbinding, but companies are keen to avoid an embarrassing “no.”

“I think the boards were more easily shamed than we thought they were,” says Stephen Davis, a shareholder expert at Yale University, referring to boards of directors, which set executive pay.

In the past year, he says, “Shareholders found their voice.”

The typical CEO got stock awards worth $3.6 million in 2011, up 11% from the year before. Cash bonuses fell about 7%, to $2 million.

The value of stock options, as determined by the company, climbed 6% to a median $1.7 million. Options usually give the CEO the right to buy shares in the future at the price they’re trading at when the options are granted, so they’re worth something only if the shares go up.

Profit at companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index rose 16% last year, remarkable in an economy that grew more slowly than expected.

CEOs managed to sell more, and squeeze more profit from each sale, despite problems ranging from a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating to an economic slowdown in China and Europe’s neverending debt crisis.

Still, there wasn’t much immediate benefit for the shareholders. The S&P 500 ended the year unchanged from where it started. Including dividends, the index returned a slender 2%.

Shareholder activists, while glad that companies are moving a bigger portion of CEO pay into stock awards, caution that the rearranging isn’t a cure-all.

For one thing, companies don’t have to tie stock awards to performance. Instead, they can make the awards automatically payable on a certain date — meaning all the CEO has to do is stick around.

Other companies do tie stock awards to performance but set easy goals. Sometimes, “they set the bar so low, it would be difficult for an executive not to trip over it,” says Patrick McGurn, special counsel at Institutional Shareholder Services, which advises pension funds and other big investors on how to vote.

And for many shareholders, their main concern — that pay is just too much, no matter what the form — has yet to be addressed.

“It’s just that total (compensation) is going up, and that’s where the problem lies,” says Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at theUniversity of Delaware.

The typical American worker would have to labor for 244 years to make what the typical boss of a big public company makes in one. The median pay for U.S. workers was about $39,300 last year. That was up 1% from the year before, not enough to keep pace with inflation.

Since the AP began tracking CEO pay five years ago, the numbers have seesawed. Pay climbed in 2007, fell during the recession in 2008 and 2009 and then jumped again in 2010.

To determine 2011 pay packages, the AP used Equilar data to look at the 322 companies in the S&P 500 that had filed statements with federal regulators through April 30. To make comparisons fair, the sample includes only CEOs in place for at least two years.

Among the AP’s other findings:

David Simon, CEO of Simon Property, which operates malls around the country, is on track to be the highest-paid in the AP survey, at $137 million. That was almost entirely in stock awards that could eventually be worth $132 million, some of which won’t be redeemable until 2019. The company said it wanted to make sure Simon wasn’t lured to another company. He has been CEO since 1995; his father and uncle are Simon Property’s co-founders.

This month, Simon Property’s shareholders rejected Simon’s pay package by a large margin: 73% of the votes cast for or against were against.

But the company doesn’t appear likely to change the 2011 package. After the shareholder vote, it released a statement saying that “we value our stockholders’ input” and would “take their views into consideration as (the board) reviews compensation plans for our management team.” But it also said that Simon’s performance had been stellar and it needed to pay him enough to keep him in the job.

Simon’s paycheck looks paltry compared with that of Apple CEO Tim Cook, whose pay package was valued at $378 million when he became CEO in August. That was almost entirely in stock awards, some of which won’t be redeemable until 2021, so the value could change dramatically. Cook wasn’t included in the AP study because he is new to the job.

• Of the five highest-paid CEOs, three were also in the top five the year before. All three are in the TV business: Leslie Moonves of CBS ($68 million); David Zaslav of Discovery Communications, parent of Animal PlanetTLC and other channels ($52 million); and Philippe Dauman of Viacom, which owns MTV and other channels ($43 million).

• About two in three CEOs got raises. For 16 CEOs in the sample, pay more than doubled from a year earlier, including Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan (from $1.3 million to $7.5 million), Marathon Oil’s Clarence Cazalot Jr. (from $8.8 million to $29.9 million) and Motorola Mobility’s Sanjay Jha (from $13 million to $47.2 million).

• CEOs running health-care companies made the most ($10.8 million). Those running utilities made the least ($7 million).

• Perks and other personal benefits, such as hired drivers or personal use of company airplanes, rose only slightly, and some companies cut back, saying they wanted to align their pay structure with “best practices.”

Military contractor General Dynamics stopped paying for country club memberships for top executives, though it gave them payments equivalent to three years of club fees to ease “transition issues” caused by the change.

The typical pay of $9.6 million that Equilar calculated is the median value, or the midpoint, of the companies used in the AP analysis. In other words, half the CEOs made more and half less.

To value stock awards and stock options, the AP used numbers supplied by the companies. Those figures are based on formulas the companies use to estimate what the stock and options will eventually be worth when a CEO receives the stock or cashes in the options.

Stock awards are generally valued based on the stock’s current price. Stock options are valued using company estimates that take into account the stock’s current price, how long until the CEO can cash the options in, how the stock price is expected to move before then, and expected dividends. Estimates don’t generally take inflation into account.

The shift to stock awards is at least partly rooted in what is known as the Dodd-Frank law, passed in the wake of the financial crisis, which overhauled how banks and other public companies are regulated.

Beginning last year, Dodd-Frank required public companies to let shareholders vote on whether they approve of the top executives’ pay packages. The votes are advisory, so companies don’t have to take back even a penny if shareholders give them the thumbs-down. But shame has proved a powerful motivator.

It got Hewlett-Packard to change its ways. After an embarrassing “no” vote last year on the 2010 pay packages, including nearly $24 million for ousted CEO Mark Hurd, the company huddled with more than 200 investment firms and major shareholders, then threw out its old pay formula. New CEO Meg Whitman is getting $1 a year in salary and no guaranteed bonus for 2011. Nearly all her pay is in stock options that could be worth $16 million, but only if the share price goes up.

Other companies took notice, too. Last year, shareholders rejected the CEO pay packages at Janus Capital, homebuilder Beazer Homes and construction companyJacobs Engineering Group. All won approval this year after the companies made the packages more palatable to shareholders.

To be sure, shareholders aren’t voting en masse against executive pay. Instead, they seem to be saving “no” votes for the executives they deem most egregious.

Of more than 3,000 U.S. companies that held votes in 2011, only 43 got rejections, according to ISS. But the mere presence of the “say on pay” vote is triggering change, shareholder activists say.

“Companies that have gone through that trial by fire don’t want to go through it again,” says McGurn, the ISS special counsel.

Even Chesapeake Energy, a company perennially in the cross-hairs of corporate-governance activists, is bowing to pressure. The company has drawn fire for showering CEO Aubrey McClendon with assorted goodies. In addition to handing him big pay packages — $17.9 million for 2011 — Chesapeake in recent years has spent millions sponsoring the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, which he partially owns, paying him for his collection of antique maps and letting him buy stakes in company wells.

Last year, shareholders of the natural gas producer passed the proposed 2010 pay package but by a low margin, 58%. This year, with shareholder pressure mounting, the board has ended some of McClendon’s perks and stripped him of his title as chairman. A lawsuit settlement is forcing him to buy back his $12 million worth of maps.

After losing the chairman job, McClendon issued a statement saying the demotion “reflects our determination to uphold strong corporate governance standards.” Chesapeake will seek shareholder approval for McClendon’s 2011 pay at its annual meeting in June.

So far, Citigroup is the highest-profile company to have its pay package rejected this year. The bank planned to pay CEO Vikram Pandit about $15 million for his work last year, noting that he had returned the company to profitability in 2010 and worked for $1 that year. Shareholders, who watched the stock price plunge 44% in 2011 (after adjusting for a reverse stock split) weren’t so forgiving.

It’s usually around January that boards decide how much to pay a CEO for the previous year. Then they inform shareholders and ask for their vote in the spring — usually after the cash portion has already been handed out. For Pandit, that meant he had already received $7 million in salary and cash bonus by the time shareholders voted against his pay.

In a statement, Citi said it took the vote seriously and planned to “carefully consider” the input of major shareholders. It hasn’t given more specifics. Richard Parsons, who retired as Citi’s chairman after the April annual meeting, as previously planned, said after the vote that the board should have done a better job explaining to shareholders how it determined CEO pay.

Another big change is that more companies are giving themselves the right to take back a top executive’s pay from previous years if they determine that the executive acted inappropriately to inflate the company’s financial results.

The Dodd-Frank overhaul will eventually require public companies to include such broad “claw back” provisions, which will expand on narrowly written rules from a decade ago. But companies aren’t waiting. In a separate study, Equilar found that 84% of Fortune 100 companies now include claw backs in their executive pay packages, up from 18% in 2006.

Last year, the former CEO of Beazer Homes agreed with regulators, who cited the older claw back rules, to turn over $6.5 million he had earned when profits were inflated. In February, UBS took back half of the previous year’s bonuses awarded to many investment bankers because of subsequent losses in the unit.

Picking the right mix of incentives is partly just guesswork, and sometimes the results are simply a force of serendipity. Stocks can get swept up in rising or falling markets, so the fortunes of CEOs with well-designed pay packages can reflect luck — good or bad — not just managerial skills.

In February 2009, James Rohr, the head of PNC Financial Services, was granted options that allowed him to buy shares in the future at the then-current price, which had fallen 62% in five months on its way to a 17-year low the next month.

The stock has since doubled, and the options, mostly based on hitting certain profit and cost-cutting goals, are worth more than $20 million in paper profit, according to research by GMI Rating, a corporate governance watchdog. If investors had bought PNC stock just before the financial crisis in 2008, they would still be down more than a fifth.

Luck, of course, can cut both ways. Rohr is still waiting to cash in options granted in 2007, valued then at $2.5 million, when the stock was 18% higher than it is today.

Some shareholder groups doubt that ever-higher CEO pay, ingrained as it is in the corporate psyche, will ever be refashioned dramatically enough to satisfy shareholders and consumer groups who see the paychecks as too big, too disconnected from performance, and set by wealthy directors who are oblivious to the way that most of their shareholders live.

“I hope we have seen the last of this,” says Rosanna Weaver of the CtW Investment Group, which works on shareholder issues with union-sponsored pension funds and has lobbied against CEO pay packages at a number of companies. “But I would be very surprised, just given what I know of human nature, let alone what I know of the financial markets.”

Still, she’s encouraged by the change that has already been stirred.

“It’s a very big task,” Weaver says. “I still believe it is worth trying.”

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 14:31

Should churches be collecting money and using church responsibly to be sponsoring and influencing state matters?  Should tax exempt religious facilities be involved in Government?   Hugs

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Maine churches raising money to fight gay marriage

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CLARKE CANFIELD
Published: Today

 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Scores of Maine churches will pass the collection plate a second time at Sunday services on Father’s Day to kick off a fundraising campaign for the lead opposition group to November’s ballot question asking voters to legalize same-sex marriages.

Between 150 and 200 churches are expected to raise money for the Protect Marriage Maine political action committee, said Carroll Conley Jr., executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine evangelical organization and a member of the PAC. Conley is also trying to drum up support for the Maine campaign from religious leaders from around the country.

It’s unusual, but not unheard of, for churches to take up collections for political causes. Maine’s Catholic diocese says it raised about $80,000 with a designated collection in 2009 in its effort to overturn Maine’s same-sex marriage law, which was passed by the Legislature that year and later rejected by voters. The Catholic church isn’t actively campaigning this time, instead focusing on teaching parishioners about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman Father’s Day, June 17, seemed an appropriate time to kick off this year’s fundraising campaign because of the day’s focus on family, Conley said. Additional collection-plate offerings at churches are expected in the months ahead.

“The messaging we’re using is that those who are seeking to redefine marriage in Maine believe there’s no difference between moms and dads,” Conley told The Associated Press. “We believe those differences are relevant. We don’t think the differences in the genders are societally imposed roles, and we believe that children benefit when they’re in that ideal environment where there’s a mom and dad.”

Protect Marriage Maine has been in contact with about 800 churches across the state and expects 150 to 200 to participate in the Father’s Day collections, Conley said. They include Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Nazarene, Church of God, Wesleyan, Evangelical Free, Advent Christian and other denominations.

While many churches are joining the campaign against the referendum, others of various denominations are working to support the ballot measure.

Some churches have hosted phone banks where congregation members have made calls in favor of the referendum, said the Rev. Sue Gabrielson, the minister at the Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church. Other churches have held educational forums and training sessions on door-to-door canvassing.

The referendum, she said, is about inclusion, a “loving God” and being nonjudgmental and compassionate.

“What we want is for people to know that this is a religious issue,” she said.

Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who created an international uproar when he became the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican church in 2003, is coming to Maine in early June on behalf of the campaign in support of gay marriage. He will appear at three screenings of the film “Love Free or Die,” which depicts his life, in Portland, Lewiston and Ellsworth.

Churches in Maine and elsewhere have raised money from parishioners for political campaigns in the past on issues including gay rights, doctor-assisted suicide, abortion and gambling.

Federal law prohibits churches and other 501(c) (3) charitable organizations from supporting or opposing candidates running for office, either through financial contributions or endorsements, said Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, a Washington advocacy group that supports separation of church and state.

“But they can, with near impunity, support issues and causes, including same-sex marriage referenda,” Walker said.

Supporters of Maine’s ballot question have said they expect to raise $5 million or more for their campaign. Opponents have said they expect to raise far less, but collection plate offerings will go a long way toward helping fund the campaign, Conley said.

Conley has been in Washington, D.C., this week at a pastors conference organized by the conservative Family Research Council. There, he met with other gay marriage opponents from Minnesota, Washington and Maryland, where same-sex marriage ballot initiatives are being debated.

Minnesota will decide in November whether a ban on gay marriage should be part of the state constitution. Maryland and Washington are expected to have ballot measures seeking to overturn same-sex marriage laws that were recently passed by their legislatures.

Conley’s also seeking endorsements from well-known pastors who might be willing to record video and audio clips that can be played at churches taking part in Maine’s collection-plate drive, he said. Those clips would also be sent to the state’s Christian radio stations as public service announcements.

Conley said he realized churches should play a central role in the Maine campaign after being in North Carolina earlier this month when voters approved an amendment to the state constitution affirming that marriage may only be a union of a man and a woman.

“I was impressed with the coordination I saw among the faith community in North Carolina,” he said.

Vatican tracks down document holder – CBS News

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 14:26

Vatican tracks down document holder – CBS News.

Vatican tracks down document holder

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican says it has identified someone illegally holding secret documents as it tries to get to the bottom of an embarrassing leaking scandal.

Spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi declined to immediately identify the person Friday, saying only that Vatican judicial authorities are examining his case. It is not clear whether it is a layman or a cleric.

Vatican documents leaked to the press in recent months have pointed to power struggles and accusations of corruption touching senior Vatican cardinals. In one case, a cleric who complained was reportedly sent to Washington as papal envoy to get him out of the Vatican.

In another case, Vatican officials have accused the president of the Vatican bank of leaking confidential documents. He was ousted by the board Thursday.

Changing your mind…is it OK to do?

Filed under: My Life and Rants — Scottie @ 14:18

Hello all, here I sit and stink….nope that is another post….OK start again…here I am flop flipping…No that sounds like I am running for office….Hummmm, I Know

Dear world’s overlords …Oh wait..that was to be a secret until after December….Now they will charge me more, OK here we Go.

The question I ask is this:  Is it ok to change your mind and when and why.  I hear on TV that people are very suspicious of those who change their minds.  I recently made a statement when one of my co-workers received a summons for Jury Duty.  I listened to her talk about it and she was not happy about being called in.  I stated that the alternative was a professional jury system, those paid and trained to be jurors.  I made the comment that NO one wanted that , did they.  A horrible idea…right.

Well…lets not be too hasty.

See I recently also got a Jury Duty summons.  My emotions were not so noble now.  Oh yes I still understand the reasoning for a jury, but I am also reminded of the old saying..” do you want your fate in the hands of 12 people NOT smart enough to get out of jury duty”?   Interesting question.

Well I found may day to report was on my off day, between two work days and my work weekend.  I was some what upset not to have a day off between work days.  I also did not know where the place was, we had to go find it on a day before hand.  Ron and I were leery of leaving our new car in the jury lot so we decided he would drop me off, and pick me up , which meant we both had to get up earlier than he would have liked on a day off.   Then I had to be concerned about my dress, which for me was not a problem, I do clean up rather nice.  But I was very worried about my pain levels, and my boredom why I waited in the Jury room.

Well it worked out OK for me today, it was two hours and over, no jury to be on, no missed work, no long time sitting in pain.  The one bad thing was my bladder went into over drive and I went pee every 20 minutes.

So I thought, what if we did have professional jurors, who wouldn’t be missing work, wouldn’t be upset over being on a jury, wouldn’t consider it an imposition.  I am now leaning toward that now, but still looking at it wondering.   Wondering if there is a better way?   Anyone have any thoughts or ideas?   Hugs

Birthers: Still Real, Still Here – ABC News

Filed under: News — Scottie @ 13:55

Birthers: Still Real, Still Here – ABC News.

Birthers Firm Despite Obama Birth Certificate

PHOTO: U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama of Illinois delivers the keynote address to delegates on the floor of the FleetCenter on the second day of the Democratic National Convention July 27, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

If President Obama’s team can’t connect with voters on the big issues — the economy, Bain Capital, immigration — there’s always the birthers.

Whether it’s Donald Trump or the Arizona secretary of state, it’s clear that there are people who will never be convinced the president was born in Hawaii. Thanks to recent movements in the Republican Party, Democrats may have an opportunity to tie these nonbelievers to Mitt Romney. And that’s probably just fine by the White House.

The birther “controversy” reignited this week in Arizona. There, secretary of state Ken Bennett had asked Hawaii to verify Obama’s birth certificate — the long-form document that the president released last year in response to demands by reality TV host Donald Trump. A key detail: Bennett is the co-chairman of Romney’s campaign in Arizona.

Hawaii told Bennett that the birth certificate was real, and Bennett, apparently satisfied, declared the matter closed.

Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, responded by pointing to Romney’s previous quotes about Obama’s citizenship (Romney thinks Obama was born in the United States). But when asked if it was inappropriate for Bennett to investigate the matter altogether, Saul didn’t respond.

Some liberals have parodied Bennett’s effort by asking him to investigate Romney’s birth certificate from Michigan. Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Bennett, said the office is considering the request.

“Right now, we are determining whether or not that’s necessary, and it’s under consideration,” Roberts said.

Democrats also revived Trump’s flirtations with birthers on Thursday, as Romney announced a contest to share a meal with the real estate mogul for a $3 donation to his campaign. Trump famously crusaded against Obama’s claims of citizenship last year, creating a media frenzy that led the president to put his long-form birth certificate online for everyone to see.

“Once again Mitt Romney is failing the moral leadership test,” Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Melanie Roussell said in a statement. “Instead of rejecting Donald Trump’s ‘birther’ conspiracy theories and divisive attacks, he’s endorsing them by campaigning and fundraising with him. Romney has shown time and again that he’s not ready to have his John McCain 2008 type moment by speaking out against these types of attacks against the President. This type of false and extremely divisive rhetoric has no place in the political discourse of our country and Mitt Romney should stand up against it instead of standing with Donald Trump to raise money for his campaign.”

Newt Gingrich has tried again to distance himself from the birther movement. Asked Thursday evening on MSNBC why some Republicans continue to beat the birther drum, Gingrich smiled and said, “Beats me.”

A rash of so-called birther bills have swept across the country in the past couple of years in nearly a dozen state legislatures, sponsored by Republicans who wanted proof that Obama is American-born before his name is allowed on the ballot.

A.G. Crowe, a Louisiana state senator who sponsored one of the bills last year, said Thursday that even though the president’s birth certificate is on full display, he still doesn’t know whether Obama is from here or Africa.

“I have no clue. I have no clue whatsoever. No clue whatsoever,” Crowe said.

Told that Obama’s birth certificate is available, Crowe said, “But you know what, what was the reason for taking so long to do all of that?”

“Until I see it myself, my mind will not be made up as to where he was born,” he said. ABC News sent an email to Crowe with a link to Obama’s birth certificate, but he didn’t respond after that.

Leo Berman, a state representative in Texas who also filed a birther bill, said he doesn’t believe Obama was born in the United States because of YouTube videos he said he’s seen that show Obama and the first lady admitting that he wasn’t born in the country.

“I don’t think it’s real,” Berman said of Obama’s birth certificate. “That’s correct. And a number of people in the United States have the same opinion.”

According to an ABC News/Washington Post survey from about a year ago, only 77 percent of people polled said they knew Obama was born in the United States. Of those who didn’t, 3 percent said another country, and 19 percent said they had no opinion.

Facts

Filed under: Cartoons — Scottie @ 13:31

Armor of Ignorance © Pat Bagley,Salt Lake Tribune,Birthers, Muslim, Barack, Obama, Socialism, Socialist, Fear, Hate, Fox, Fox News, Climate, Hoax, Tea Party, Facts, Guns, NRA

Not the Party of Lincoln © Bill Day,Cagle Cartoons,GOP, Lincoln, civil rights, extremism

 

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