1. US WEALTH GAP PUTTING THE SQUEEZE ON STATE REVENUE BY JOSH BOAK AP ECONOMICS WRITER

    link for full story  http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_WEALTH_GAP_STATE_REVENUE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

    US WEALTH GAP PUTTING THE SQUEEZE ON STATE REVENUE


    Republican lawmakers in Georgia are pushing to replace that state’s income tax with an expanded sales tax. State Sen. Judson Hill disputes the view, held by many economists, that the wealth gap dampens economic growth. The Republican lawmaker argued that some “of these individuals at higher incomes will hire more people and create new companies, which will provide opportunity for everybody at every income level.”

    Across all states, sales taxes account for 30.1 percent of all state revenue, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Personal income taxes make up 36.6 percent. The rest comes from other sources, such as taxes on fuel, alcohol and cigarettes.

    As consumers have spent more online and on untaxed services, many states have tried to tax items like Netflix subscriptions and iTunes downloads. Washington state now taxes services at dating centers, tanning salons and Turkish baths.

    Kim Rueben, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, said the rise of untaxed purchases might have squeezed state revenue even if income inequality hadn’t widened.

    "Sales taxes are being eroded by the fact that we’re moving to a services economy, and people are buying far more on the Internet," she said.

    Research by Lucy Dadayan, a senior policy analyst at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, notes that income tax collections have become more volatile from year to year, making it harder for states to plan budgets, provide services and launch programs. She endorses an overhaul of state tax codes to produce a more balanced revenue flow.

    But S&P says its findings suggest that the wealth gap derives from many factors and that state tax-code revisions don’t fully address the consequences.

    "Changes to state fiscal policy alone won’t likely fix what’s wrong," S&P concludes.

  2. Ventura City Council may double number of red-light cameras VC Star

    Ventura City Council may double number of red-light cameras

    VENTURA, Calif - If the Ventura City Council decides to renew its contract with its red-light camera provider, motorists could see twice as many of those “Photo Enforced” signs on roads in the city.

    If approved at the council’s Monday night meeting, the contract extension would be the fifth with Redflex Traffic Systems, which first brought the cameras to Ventura in 2001. The cameras snap a picture of a driver running a red light, which is then sent to Ventura police for identification. If identified and confirmed, the citation is issued.

    The proposed three-year contract, with automatic two-year extensions after that, gives the council the option of increasing the number of what are known as “approaches” to 40 from 20. An approach means one direction of traffic, and there may be several at one intersection.

    Under terms of the contract, the city will receive a guaranteed $1,177 per approach per month.

    The city’s current contract allows for up to 20 approaches. The city has 18, generating more than $254,000 per year. From that, Ventura pays for a police traffic officer and two part-time positions who administer the program, according to city officials.

    The city will pay Redflex $2,190 per month for the existing approaches, while new ones will jump in payment to $5,500 per month, the contract states.

    The proposed contract assures “cost neutrality,” meaning the city will pay less than it collects. Past contracts had no such provision, so Ventura owes Redflex $2.7 million. The city collected too little from convictions to pay what it owed Redflex. In exchange for the contract extension, Redflex agreed to forgive $1.7 million of that debt.

    The cameras have helped with “reducing traffic collisions and injuries related to red light violations” at each approach, Police Chief Ken Corney wrote in his administrative report. “It appears that drivers in Ventura are electing to comply with traffic signals, decreasing collisions and injuries to the community.”

    The council meeting will start at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 501 Poli St. Because this is the first meeting of the month, public comment will take place before regular business.

  3. Questions about end-of-life care lead to futile treatment [Poll] Tom Kisken VC Star

    Questions about end-of-life care lead to futile treatment [Poll]

    VENTURA, Calif. - Marlene Forbes was in a coma. She never documented her dying wishes.

    Deborah Sutherland knew her mother didn’t want futile care. She didn’t want to be kept alive when living meant machines doing what her body couldn’t do.

    Sutherland begged Los Angeles-area doctors, who wanted to keep giving more care, to remove the 69-year-old woman from life support. They did.

    “As a daughter, I felt emotionally as if I killed her,” said the retired Ventura lawyer who advocates for advance health care directives. “But I knew intellectually I did the right thing by standing up for her.”

    Doctors ordered treatment they didn’t think would help the patient — futile care — to 11 percent of patients in five intensive care units over three months, according to a new study by UCLA and the Rand Health think tank. An additional 9 percent of the patients received care doctors said was probably futile.

    It happens, according to researchers, doctors and family members of patients, because people do not complete advance care directives. Primary care doctors may balk at asking their patients “what if” questions.

    Instead, decisions are made at the last moment by family members who are unsure what their loved ones want.

    There are times when doctors want to do more. Far more often, family members push for treatment that physicians say will not help.

    “I wouldn’t say it happens every day,” said Dr. David Fishman, director of the intensive care unit at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura. “I would say we might have one or two patients a week where it might be futile.”

    The medical center and other hospitals use palliative care teams to help patients and families consider end-of-life choices. Bioethics committees deal with situations in which family members insist on care that doctors are reluctant to give.

    Still, futile care happens enough that doctors wince at the phrase.

    “I think it’s the combination of us doing a poor job of teaching people about the end of life and unrealistic expectations of family that patients will always be saved if they come to the hospital,” said Dr. Hannah Grossman, chief medical officer at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. “I think it happens at every hospital in the United States.”

    Avoidance

    The 89-year-old man outside a Thousand Oaks senior center had not filled out a do not resuscitate form or spelled out his wishes in a directive or the form called Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.

    He has not talked to his daughter about dying. He sees a doctor too infrequently to have the discussion in a medical office as well.

    “I never think about it,” he said. “I have nothing settled.”

    Inside the center, Madeleine Fritschi, of Westlake Village, said her father was like that, too. He did not want his children burdened with his end-of-life decisions. He told them he took care of everything.

    She discovered the only paperwork was woefully out of date after he was diagnosed with leukemia. The lack of records triggered a battle that involved a do not resuscitate order that she fought to have rescinded and eventually his transfer from one hospital outside Ventura County to another.

    He died of leukemia in 2004. Now Fritschi is pushing her 92-year-old mother to finish her advance care directive. When the time comes for making decisions, she wants to make sure everything is documented.

    “I don’t want to be left with other family members saying I didn’t do the right thing,” Fritschi said.

    Conflicts over what should be done are complicated by advances in medical technology that expand the possibilities of what can be done.

    “Medical technology allows us to extend life,” said Ron Hyrchuk, director of spiritual care services and a member of the bioethics committee at Simi Valley Hospital. “Sometimes it can extend death.”

    Battles emerge over the definition of futile care. Two more days of life may seem worthwhile to someone’s child even if the treatment only delays the inevitable.

    “This is never, never a simple process,” Hyrchuk said. “It’s complex. It’s never just about the patient. It’s about the family. It’s about the relationships they had.”

    Lost opportunities

    The study by UCLA and Rand focused on days when five intensive care units in the UCLA Health System were full and at least one patient was receiving care doctors said would not help.

    On those days, over three months, 33 patients were kept in the emergency department for more than four hours. Nine patients scheduled to be transferred to the ICUs from outside hospitals waited for more than a day. Two patients died while waiting to be transferred.

    Futile care can delay care to others, said Dr. Neil Wenger, one of the authors.

    “This treatment actually affects other patients, not just the patient lying in the bed,” he said.

    Other ramifications include the cost. Of the $554 billion spent by Medicare in 2011, 28 percent, or $170 billion, was spent on care in the last six months of life, according to the The Medicare NewsGroup.

    “We have scarce resources,” Grossman said. “We really have to focus on putting them where they belong.”

    Researchers, doctors and patient advocates say patients, their families and doctors have to talk about the end of life before things reach the ICU. They say doctors and patients who put off the decision because the issue is painful need to realize the consequences of not talking are worse.

    Many people argue doctors must initiate conversations over advance care directives. Others act on their own.

    Kristina Carlsson, of Westlake Village, is unsure her advance care directive precludes the possibility of questions of what is a heroic measure and what isn’t. She thinks address all the scenarios that could lie ahead is impossible.

    Still, she has worked for more than 20 years in dementia care, mostly as an administrator. She knows the battles that can happen without a written record.

    “I saw too many families who thought they had everything in a row, and they didn’t,” she said.

    For more information on Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, visit http://capolst.org/.

  4. US and NATO narrative of Terrorism is full of loopholes Agha H Amin and Khalid Aziz

    US and NATO narrative of Terrorism is full of loopholes

    Agha  Amin and Khalid Aziz


    Questions from a regional expert
     
    Ironically US citizens decapitated are scapegoats only to influence western public
    opinion
     
    US and NATO narrative of Terrorism is full of loopholes
    But consider that the Russian take over of Crimea and Putin’s goal of taking over E. Ukraine are all related to a grab for energy resources; 
    the creation of ISIS,
     the break up of Libya, 
    the birth Boko Haram in Nigeria, 
    the birth of rebels in North African and CAR, Somalia, Puntland are rebel groups of war lords being prepared,
    EU and US and Canadians are travelling freely to attack only shias in iraq and syria but cause no harm in US or EU ? DOES NOT MAKE SENSE !

    David headley prime Bombay attack perpetrator was a US intel Asset .

    i actually met him briefly in pakistan and was told that he is being used as decoy to capture or kill ilyas kashmiri by US intel !

    Indian government tried its best to get him extradited to India but US intel successfully blocked the move .
     I suspect, through appropriate priming by SFO to disintegrate states, so that energy resources come under Warlord controls; check the economics of this model?
    What provides support for this thesis is why no interdiction of export of oil is going on from these areas while large US naval assets command the Oceans. 
    How are money’s being transferred through the Banks for such exports? Won’t this be terrorist money now that it ends in ISIS  coffers? 

    US and NATO are supporting very extremists in Libya , Syria and Iraq which they claim to fit in Afghanistan ! A Joke !

    why secular muslim governments like libya and syria and iraq were attacked and all 3 states turned into citadels of terrorism and instability !

    actually US policies created all 3 citadels of terrorism ! this question no so called intellient journalist like Gretchen , or carlotta gall or steve coll is asking !

    how and why 90 % of morphia paste labs are located in 25 km radius of US camps in helmand , well known to US intel and US army is allowed not to attack them as these are intel assets !



    Leading US decision makers in Afghanistan opposed idea of fencing pakistan Afghanistan border as it would disturb drug mafia regarded as an asset , specially president karzai , unofficial head of afghan drug mafia !

    Aafia siddiqi was sentenced to long imprisonment for attacking a US soldier but no question was asked from pakistani state how OBL was housed in a pakistani  high security zone ?

    US public is not told exact circumstances of how OBL was actually sold to US by key pakistani civilian and military decision makers in early 2011 to Obama regime as an election gift and blame affixed on tip off from a pakistani doctor afridi ! how it happened that an article from pakistani president was published in leading US newspapers within hours of OBL raid ? An impossible time frame from a man who cannot write a page of good english !

    Quetta and Pishin housing top taliban leadership was never attacked but some US blue eyed contractors were awarded lucrative contracts to attack non entities in two pakistani districts remotely connected with US casualties in afghanistan ?


     
    Briefly , we are all being made fool of. 
    Putin moved into Crimea after the discovery of large of off shore energy blocks under the sea in the Black Sea. 
    That was the reason for the fomenting of Orange Revolutions in this region, despite guarantees by US & EU not to enter E. Europe. 

  5. The Queen Tells Scots To ‘Think Very Carefully’ Ahead Of The Independence Vote

    The Queen Tells Scots To ‘Think Very Carefully’ Ahead Of The Independence Vote

    Posted: 09/14/2014 3:25 pm EDT Updated: 4 hours ago
    QUEEN ELIZABETH II
    • Share on Google+

    LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II has made her first comments about this week’s Scottish independence vote, urging Scots to “think very carefully about the future.”

    But the popular British monarch didn’t indicate a preference on how Scots should vote, carefully maintaining the neutrality that is her constitutional obligation.

    Still, some may interpret her comments as a suggestion that Scots looking to embrace independence should be cautious about severing Scotland’s long ties to the United Kingdom, which date back more than 300 years.

    The queen spoke after a Sunday church service near her Balmoral estate in Scotland. She made the comment to a well-wisher in the crowd.

    Buckingham Palace recently issued a statement indicating her plans to remain neutral before Thursday’s vote.

    She was seen as resisting calls from some Conservative Party lawmakers that she should make her views known before the historic vote because it could possibly lead to a breakup of the United Kingdom.

    She is well known to have a deep affection for Scotland and to spend much of her free time every summer at her extensive Balmoral estate, where she can be seen walking in the woods or riding horses.

    Weekend polls have suggested the race is too close to call with both sides planning a frenetic final few days of campaigning.

    Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to return to Scotland to attempt to persuade voters to reject independence and remain part of the United Kingdom.

    The “Better Together” campaign has been emphasizing the economic uncertainties that would face an independent Scotland, while pro-independence forces have been predicting a rosy future for an oil-rich Scotland free of the United Kingdom.

    If Scotland votes for independence, it would split from the United Kingdom in 18 months. Scottish leaders have indicated a desire to have the queen serve as head of state of an independent Scotland if the Yes campaign triumphs.

  6. John Perkins - Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption - YouTube John Perkins Amy Goodman Democracy now!! →

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p5pXqQEGM4

    John Perkins - Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption - YouTube John Perkins  Amy Goodman Democracy now!!

  7. San Diego cabbies cry foul over body odor test

    San Diego cabbies cry foul over body odor test

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Body odor is among 52 criteria that officials at San Diego International Airport use to judge taxi drivers. Cabbies say that smacks of prejudice and discrimination.
     
    For years, inspectors with the San Diego Regional Airport Authority run down their checklist for each cabbie — proof of insurance, functioning windshield wipers, adequate tire treads, good brakes. Drivers are graded pass, fail or needs fixing.
     
    Anyone who flunks the smell test is told to change before picking up another customer.
     
    Leaders of the United Taxi Workers of San Diego union say the litmus perpetuates a stereotype that predominantly foreign-born taxi drivers smell bad. A 2013 survey of 331 drivers by San Diego State University and Center on Policy Initiatives found 94 percent were immigrants and 65 percent were from East Africa.
     
    Drivers wonder how inspectors determine who reeks. Driver Abel Seifu, 36, from Ethiopia, suspects they sniff inconspicuously during friendly conversations in the staging area. Airport authority spokeswoman Rebecca Bloomfield said there is “no standard process” to testing.
     
    Others drivers question how inspectors distinguish between them and their cars. The checklist has a separate item for a vehicle’s “foul interior odors,” which Bloomfield says may include gasoline, vomit or mildew.
     
    "If they want to bring their smell detector, they can use it to test the customers and the drivers," said driver Negus Gebrenarian, 39, from Ethiopia. He, like other drivers, said the stench is just as likely to come from the back seat as it is from the front.
     
    The airport authority says it is enforcing a policy of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, which regulates taxis throughout the region, that prohibits foul-smelling drivers and promotes regular bathing. It also says the practice is about satisfying customers.
     
    "Taxi drivers are often the first impression that travelers receive when arriving into San Diego and we want to encourage a positive experience," Bloomfield said. Only about three drivers fail to get a passing grade each year, she said.
     
    Inspectors have been smelling drivers for years. There was no controversy until a union employee waded through a 568-page airport board agenda and noticed the checklist, which had been approved in July for revisions unrelated to the body odor test. KPBS reported on the practice last week.
     
    San Diego’s policy appears to be unusually explicit about sniffing out smelly cabbies. Chicago requires that drivers be “clean and neat in their appearance.” New York City’s wording is similarly broad.
     
    Seattle long evaluated cabbies for body odor associated with infrequent bathing and not washing clothes but dropped that test last month for a more general requirement on cleanliness.
     
    "The industry didn’t like it and they felt that we were kind of overstepping: Why are we dictating to them? We don’t tell city employees that you’ve got to shower more often," said Denise Movius, Seattle’s deputy director of finance and administrative services.
     
    Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the 18,000-member New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said her face reddened with anger and dismay when she learned about the San Diego practice. She suggested the airport leave it to customers to complain about body odor.
     
    "What a dehumanizing way to treat your workers," she said.
     
    Travelers arriving in San Diego on Wednesday were mixed.
     
    Sue Beneventi, 70, thinks cabbies are getting picked on.
     
    "If you’re going to say cab drivers, shouldn’t you also say waitresses and anyone else who deals with the public?" she said after returning from San Antonio.
     
    Daniel Johnson, an 18-year-old Marine who came from Flint, Michigan, said it’s fair to grade on body odor, especially considering the $70 fare to get to his base. He has felt trapped in smelly cabs in other cities.
     
    "The smell puts a sour expression on your face and you’re thinking I just don’t want to be in here," he said.
     
     
    Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  8. Turkey refuses to host U.S. anti-ISIS forces

    Turkey refuses to host U.S. anti-ISIS forces

    The decision echoes the country’s refusal to allow the U.S. to station 60,000 troops in Turkey in 2003 to invade Iraq from the north. (Shutterstock)  

    Turkey will refuse to allow a U.S.-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants, a government official told AFP Thursday.

    “Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

    The decision echoes the country’s refusal to allow the U.S. to station 60,000 troops in Turkey in 2003 to invade Iraq from the north, which triggered a crisis between the two allies.

    Read also:U.S. allies in muddy campaign against ISIS

    Ankara then also refused Washington permission to use its air bases to attack Saddam Hussein’s regime.

    Turkey has come under fire by some critics for indirectly encouraging the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) because of its support of Islamist opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and its loose control of its borders.

    But Ankara vehemently denies its strategy has backfired.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was to hold talks in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to drum up support from 10 key Arab nations and Turkey, after President Barack Obama announced Washington’s new strategy against Islamic State jihadists, which will include air strikes in Syria.

    Lightning advance

    After a lightning advance, ISIS militants now control swathes of Iraq and much of northern Syria along the Turkish border.

    Turkey now sees itself a victim of ISIS with Islamist militants holding 49 Turks hostage, including diplomats and children, abducted from the Turkish consulate in Mosul in Iraq on June 11.

    Ankara is therefore reluctant to take a stronger role in the coalition against ISIS militants in apparent fear of aggravating the hostage situation.

    “Our hands and arms are tied because of the hostages,” the official told AFP.

    Turkey can open Incirlik Air Base in the south for logistical and humanitarian operations in any U.S.-led operation, according to the official who stressed that the base would not be used for lethal air strikes.

    “Turkey will not take part in any combat mission, nor supply weapons,” he said.

    Turkey is the only Muslim country in a coalition of 10 countries who agreed to fight ISIS at the NATO summit in Newport.

    Kerry is due to stop over in Turkey on Friday according to the official, although the U.S. embassy in Ankara declined to confirm the visit that comes as part of a regional tour.

    Last Update: Thursday, 11 September 2014 KSA 20:56 - GMT 17:56

  9. T.O. council hears complaints of noise Ventura County Star Mcdonald’s Ave Arboles

    T.O. council hears complaints of noise

    Ventura County Star (CA) - Thursday, September 11, 2014
    Readability: >12 grade level (Lexile: 1370L)
    Author: Rachel McGrath Special to The Star
    For more than three hours this week, Thousand Oaks City Council members heard testimony about noise and disturbance issues reportedly plaguing residents living near the Oakbrook Plaza shopping center. 

    Specifically, residents spoke about a McDonald’s restaurant and drive-thru in the neighborhood. 

    Frank Millar, who lives on Shady Brook Drive, had appealed a Thousand Oaks Planning Commission decision to allow Simi Valley resident Debbie Voss, the franchisee operating the McDonald’s at 1908 E. Avenida de Los Arboles, to continue to operate extended drive-thru hours. 

    At Tuesday night’s public hearing at City Hall, city staff members recommended that the council deny the appeal and uphold the commission’s approval. 

    As the clock ticked toward 11 p.m. at the hearing, Mayor Andy Fox suggested that the item be continued so all parties could work on a compromise that would address neighbors’ concerns and give Voss a chance to make changes that might mitigate noise from the drive-thru. 

    Fox said the discussions showed that there was a problem with code compliance at the shopping center. He requested that the city manager, city staff members and police address the issues. 

    The motion was approved unanimously, 5-0. 

    Voss bought the restaurant, previously a Burger King, two years ago. Although the permit allowed operations only from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., she has been operating the drive-thru from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. six days a week. 

    When city officials told her in February about the violation of the existing special-use permit, Voss filed an application to allow the extended hours. The commission approved the application 4-0 in June. 

    “It was an honest mistake,” Voss told the 

    See COUNCIL, 2B 

    council. “There are three businesses that open as early as 5 a.m. and as late as 1 a.m. when I opened my restaurant. 

    “I was not aware I was in violation of the hours. About 80 percent of McDonald’s restaurants operate the hours that I do.” 

    Voss said mature trees, four lanes of a busy street, a median and a concrete wall separate her restaurant from the homes on Shady Brook Drive. 

    Seventy percent of her business comes from the drive-thru Friday and Saturday nights, she said. 

    Millar told the council Tuesday that some of his neighbors and he have documented the noise from the drive-thru at night, saying some homeowners could hear the drive-thru speaker, while others have been disturbed by idling truck engines, noisy mufflers and late-night revelers. 

    He also cited deliveries and landscape maintenance that took place outside permitted hours. 

    At the shopping center, built in 1979, operating hours of several businesses gradually have extended into early morning and late night over the years. 

    The McDonald’s sits between a state Department of Motor Vehicles office and a Taco Bell restaurant and drive-thru. 

    City staff members acknowledged that the Taco Bell and a Starbucks in the shopping center operate longer hours than their permits allow. Starbucks has an application set to come before the commission to allow it to continue to open at 5 a.m. 

  10. What It Was Like to Be an Iranian-American Woman in NYC on 9/11

    9/16/2001  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hedia-anvar/what-it-was-like-to-be-an-iranian-american-woman-in-nyc-on-911_b_5799734.html  

    What It Was Like to Be an Iranian-American Woman in NYC on 9/11

    I’ve been thinking that if there were a world war, it wouldn’t feel right to hide when most of the rest of the world suffers. I wouldn’t know another way to mentally survive a global war other than joining it. How could I really go about my business? What do my petty dreams of making films matter when the world is in turmoil?

    …Everything seems cockeyed to me even if it all pretends to be normal. On the other hand, I can’t believe that strange people are still strange in this city, and that swindlers still swindle, as if this should’ve modified everyone into something somber and solemn, like it did me…

    …You must think that I’m utterly obsessed — I never thought I could be so profoundly affected by events that don’t ultimately have much to do with me. But there it is. I wish I had a paramedic license like you [so I could help]…

    …You say people are volunteering so much because they want to feel like they’re a part of something, but that’s not what it is. It’s that they feel connected to the rest of the human race, and they can’t reconcile themselves to the fact that they’re lucky enough to have their homes and family when there are other people majorly suffering. So they’ll give blood, or donations, or raise a flag, or light a candle, anything to show — not the world, but themselves — that they live here too on the planet, and whether we like it or not, we’re all linked…