Monday, August 22, 2016

2010 Tour De France Stage 12 Results Tighten Lead

The 2010 Tour de France Stage 12 results didn’t change the leaderboard. After the 2010 Tour de France Stage 12 results, the Tour is still led by Andy Schleck. Yet, most believe that Schleck is just a placeholder, before Alberto Contador catches him and pulls off a repeat. That will either be proved right or wrong in the Pyrenees, and at the Stage 19 time-trial. But the 2010 Tour de France Stage 12 results made it just a little harder for Schleck to hold on.

Schleck came into the day with a 41-second lead over Contador, with the Pyrenees just days away. Once Sunday comes, the final rush toward victory will truly begin. Therefore, Schleck and Contador are trying to stay level until then, although Contador did a slightly better job.

After the 2010 Tour de France Stage 12 results, Contador is now within 31 seconds of Schleck. He only shaved off 10 seconds, yet every second may count by the end. Contador made a late charge to finish second behind fellow Spaniard Joaquin Rodriguez, while Schleck was left in fifth.

This was the last 200 km+ stage of the Tour, so energy was consumed for the final charge up toward Mende. The 2010 Tour de France Stage 12 results had Contador prove his climbing power at the end, which may key a bigger surge at the Pyrenees.

Schleck is the only one left who could withstand such a charge, but he is expected to falter at the final time trials. Therefore, he needs as big of a lead as possible, instead of losing a few seconds. With the 2010 Tour de France Stage 12 results at the end, it gives Schleck something else to worry about.

Although the yellow jersey didn’t change hands, the green one did. Thor Hushovd briefly lost the lead to Alessandro Petacchi, but he gained it back today. He is now six points ahead of Petacchi, with three-time stage winner Mark Cavendish in fourth.

Meanwhile, the mountain race now has Anthony Charteau 15 points ahead of Jerome Pineau. In fact, although the 2010 Tour de France Stage 12 results hurt Schleck in the yellow jersey race, he moved up to third in the mountain standings. However, that is not his desired title.

Following the 2010 Tour de France Stage 12 results, the weekend and the rush to the Pyrenees now lies ahead. Schleck will try not to lose any more of the lead tomorrow, before Contador starts his expected final charge on Sunday.


Yahoo Sport- “Overall Time Standings: Stage 12”

AFP- “Rodriguez wins 12th stage, Schleck still in yellow”

Tags:2010 Tour De France Stage 12 Results Tighten Lead

2010 Tour De France Results Recap

The 2010 Tour de France results were made official yesterday. One of the 2010 Tour de France results was expected, although the results were formed differently than expected. Last year, Alberto Contador took control against Lance Armstrong late, and was not challenged for the final week. This time, Andy Schleck offered a deeper run against him, and could have held him off if not for a break or two. Given the way the 2010 Tour de France results were formed, it made this year’s race quite a heated one.

This time, the event was not overshadowed by doping or Lance Armstrong, although Floyd Landis did his part to change that. Doping talk around this year’s competition was at a minimum, despite one rider being banned early. In fact, fighting and brawls made a fair share of headlines this time around.

The 2010 Tour de France results came after three weeks of clashes, early crashes, and even sheep blocking the route. With these kinds of altercations, and some rough routes in the opening stage, it took a few people out early. One of them was Armstrong, who conceded his final Tour very quickly.

After that happened, the 2010 Tour de France results came down to Alberto Contador vs. Andy Schleck. They were in the top two for the final two weeks, with Schleck up in week two. Everyone waited for Contador to blow him away at the Pyrenees, like last year, but it came with a lot of controversy in this case.

Since Contador passed Schleck last Monday while Schleck’s chain was malfunctioning, it violated an unwritten rule in cycling. But, by doing so, it ensured that the 2010 Tour de France results would favor Contador for a third time. He out-dueled Schleck by 39 seconds in Stage 15 – and that was his overall margin of victory, making it more debatable.

By Saturday, it was clear that the yellow jersey was Contador’s. In addition, the mountain jersey was already locked up by Anthony Charteau. The last of the 2010 Tour de France results to be settled on Sunday was the green jersey, fought over by Alessandro Petacchi, Thor Hushovd, and Mark Cavendish.

Stage 20 gave Cavendish his fifth stage-win of the Tour, and his second in a row at the Champs Elysees. However, Cavendish put himself in a big hole early, and had too big of a deficit to make up against Petacchi. As such, Cavendish finished 11 points back, despite winning the most amount of stages.

The 2010 Tour de France results were weird like that in many ways. With a questionable pass deciding things, a seven-time champion going out meekly, and a race actually in doubt in the final days, this was an unusual Tour indeed.


Yahoo Sport- “Overall Time Standings: Stage 20”

Christian Science Monitor- “Tour de France 2010 delivers drama – without the doping”

The Independent- “Cavendish fails to go green despite glorious final day sprint”

Tags:2010 Tour De France Results Recap

2010 Unemployment Extension 6/24 Update: Blocked Again as Every Republican Votes "No" -- Again

The millions of unemployed workers hoping for relief via their elected representatives in Washington saw another cloture vote (necessary to stop debate on a measure in the Senate) come and go without the necessary 60 votes that would allow the bill containing the unemployment benefits extension provision to be presented for a final vote of enactment. Democrats worked into Wednesday evening to pare down the bill in hopes of luring a few Republicans to their side of the argument but to no avail. In the end, according to the New York Times, the Republicans presented a united front again Thursday, much as they have in many cases since President Obama took office, voting against cloture to the last senator. One Democrat and one Republican abstained, and one Democrat, Ben Nelson, crossed the aisle, keeping the bill in filibuster.

The final vote, 57 – 41, reflected a gain of one vote in a week where Democrats cut and dropped and sliced to win bipartisan support. Senator Max Baucus, sponsor of the current version of the bill, said that about $100 billion had been taken away the original measure.

For Republicans, it still wasn’t enough.

Much of the Republican aversion to the bill, they have claimed, was that the unemployment benefits extension provision ($35.5 billion) was unpaid for, that there would be an increase in overall taxes, and that the bill would increase the national debt. Democrats countered their argument this week by agreeing to pay for some of the programs in the American Jobs and Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 with some of the unused and unallocated monies from the economic stimulus package and finding ways to pay for the unemployment extensions.

The problem now seems to be the raise in taxes. The taxes are all levied in the business sector.

A Republican version of the bill, sponsored by John Thune, provides for everything the Democrats have incorporated in their bill, actually decreases the deficit, and pays for everything as well. However, Thune’s version does not mention business taxes at all.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said immediately after the failed cloture vote, “The only thing Republicans have opposed in this debate are job killing taxes and adding to the national debt.” He suggested a one-month unemployment extension, and, anticipating that it would not be accepted, said, “Their commitment to deficit spending trumps their desire to help the unemployed.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), whose home state of Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the nation (14%), said, “You’ll hear a lot of excuses. The bottom line is the minority just said no.”

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) blasted the Republicans, stating that millions of people, including thousands in his home state of Illinois, were going to lose their homes and vehicles because of Republican lip service to the national debt. He noted that one of the loopholes the Democrats version of the bill addressed and the Republicans version left completely out, allowed companies to relocate assets overseas. He scoffed at Republican posturing about taking stimulus money intended for the creation of jobs to be used to pay for unemployment benefits to people who were themselves jobless, which, to him, made little sense.

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who has watched jobs flee the state of Michigan and has to contend with an unemployment rate of 13.6% (over 660,000 unemployed), stated, “We don’t need to be lectured by the people who created the deficits about getting out of the deficit hole.”

While Democrats blame the Republicans for their stonewalling and Republicans accuse Democrats of simply wanting to place the burden of debt on future generations, and while both parties accuse each other of not caring about the nation’s unemployed, those that would benefit most from the 2010 Unemployment Extension Bill can only wonder when — or even if — the senate will ever get out of filibuster. Still, mathematically, if the abstaining Democrat, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, had voted for cloture, the vote would have failed to carry the measure. The same can be said if Lisa Murkowski of Arkansas, the lone abstaining Republican, had broken ranks with her party.

In the meantime, the ranks of the jobless without unemployment benefits grows on a weekly basis. For many, that equates to no household income at all. The Unemployment Extension Bill was meant to address the unemployed retroactively to the beginning of June, covering those eligible until November. The Republican alternative plan provides for a one-month unemployment benefits extension.

The U. S. Department of Labor estimates that 1.2 million people will fall from the unemployment rolls by the first week of July if the Senate fails to pass extension legislation.

All dissenting votes Thursday were Republican, except one (Ben Nelson of Nebraska). Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who voted against the measure last Thursday, voted in favor of cloture on the revised version.



Tags:2010 Unemployment Extension 6/24 Update: Blocked Again as Every Republican Votes “No” – Again

2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl Preview

We are just one week away from the pinnacle of not just football, but sports in general, with the Super Bowl on February 7. However, while the current NFL elites are preparing for the huge game, the football universe has a game this weekend that is also very important. That would be the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl, where two teams of the ultimate prospects in college football’s senior class will go at it.

2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl: Overrated Players

The 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl contains players that were excellent in COLLEGE football. Some of these players will continue to excel and will be excellent in the NFL as well. However, several will find that the NFL is much more difficult and will fail to succeed there. The following are the players that take advantage of some of the easier aspects of college football.

Tim Tebow is the perfect example. Tim Tebow was a great quarterback for the University of Florida, possibly one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of college football. He could scramble out of the pocket and continued to be accurate when doing do throwing the football. However, there are two factors that will hinder his greatness in the NFL. 1) He had an amazing team around him in Florida, with some of the best players in the entire nation. 2) Quarterbacks that scramble in college find it very hard to do so in the NFL, where defenders are nastier and much, much faster.

Taylor Mays of USC is another player that I find to be overrated. He has been acclaimed by the college football media for his career as a safety for the USC Trojans. However, he has been questioned by many coaches for his lack of playmaking and leadership, even more so after a season in which the Trojans went 8-4 and had arguably the worst defense during his tenure there.

The 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl will help us see if these players can continue to be effective, if they will sitting on the bench as backups or worse, no job in the NFL at all.

2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl: Underrated Players

And of course there are the players that are underrated. I have two particular players in mind here, the first being wide receiver Mardy Gilyard from the Cincinnati Bearcats. He just seems like the guy that could turn around a team’s offense with his explosive ability to catch the ball and return kicks/punts. He reminds me of DeSean Jackson, who in his second year, was one of the most dynamic players in the NFL.

My second underrated player is defensive tackle Jared Odrick of Penn State. He has been overshadowed by all the talk of Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy at the position and is an AMAZING player. I think he will show at the Senior Bowl that he can be a top player in the NFL and a great pick for teams that need defensive help.

Help for weak NFL teams in the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl

Here are the players you should watch out for in the Senior Bowl this weekend that can provide a lot of help to NFL teams.


Mardy Gilyard – WR – Cincinnati: He is a fast and EXPLOSIVE player that could strongly impact a team that is weak at the wide receiver position.

LeGarrette Blount – RB – Oregon: A running back that is fast and strong at the same time, and can find cuts in the defense.

Dexter McCluster – WR – Ole Miss: Like Mardy Gilyard, he is an explosive player that can catch the ball well.


Terrence Cody – DL – Alabama: One of the reasons the Crimson Tide are the National Champions. Nasty defensive player.

Taylor Mays – DB/S – USC: Yes, I did say he was overrated but he is still a player that I want to watch in this game. Let’s see if he can become a huge playmaker here.

Roddrick Muckelroy – LB – Texas: Amazing player from Texas that can defend the run AND pass.

Well there you go. Surely the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl will be a great game, considering the amount of excellent prospects this year. I look for the South to win, as they have what looks like a conquering defense and I don’t see the North’s offense, even with Gilyard and Blount, being able to put up enough firepower to win the game.


“Official Website of the Senior Bowl.”

Tags:2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl Preview

2010 Texas GOP Platform Articulates Anti-Gay Sentiments

“We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal, and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman which is the foundational unit of a healthy society and we oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists”. This statement was extracted from page 6 of the 25 page GOP platform for Texas. The Platform advocates the re-criminalization of sodomy, making it a felony to perform a same sex marriage, and opposes the “acceptance” and “normalization” of homosexual behavior. The GOP platform also opposes granting any legal privileges to homosexuals, including the ability to adopt children, same sex insurance, or retirement benefits. The GOP platform is an attempt by the conservative sector of the Texas Republican party to preserve the “traditional” family unit and curb the spread of communicable diseases in the population such as HIV/AIDS that stigmatizes the gay community.

Texas Sodomy Laws

A law barring sodomy in Texas was first introduced in 1860. The law prohibited sodomy of any sort, including consensual. Violation of this law was punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment. The law was not struck down until 2003, in a landmark case Lawrence v. Texas. The case arose after police responded to an anonymous complaint of disturbance in an apartment complex. The police entered an apartment and found two men engaging in homosexual sex. The men were fined and thrown in jail for the night. The case received immediate attention from groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and activist law firm, Lamnda Legal. The judge struck down the anti-sodomy law and declared it unconstitutional. The GOP now moves to reverse the Lawrence v. Texas decision and re-establish the act of sodomy as illegal.

Texas Same-Sex Adoption Laws

At present, Texas adoption laws for same-sex couples are unclear. Texas Family Code 162. 001 says that Texas law permits an adult to petition to adopt. There is no explicit prohibition written against same-sex couples petitioning for adoption, Goodson v. Castellanos (2007). Goodson and Catellanos were permitted to jointly adopt a child from Kazakhstan. The relationship between the couple ended a year later. One of the partners argued against the validity of the adoption, claiming that the court that granted the adoption did not have the authority to grant a joint adoption so the legal binding of the adoption was not valid. The Texas Court of Appeals decided that the district court did have the authority to grant the joint adoption to the couple and that validity of the legal binding could only be argued within six months from the time issued. The six-month time period had already passed so the partner arguing against the validity of the joint adoption could not be heard. Because of the expiration on time, the case was never presented to the Court of Appeals. Had the case gone before the Court of Appeals, the court would have had no choice but to make a decision regarding the statute of same-sex couples adopting children in Texas. The GOP is moving to take the question out of adoption laws in Texas and replace the haziness with abundantly clear laws prohibiting same sex couples to adopt children and explicitly barring the courts from granting adoptions to same-sex couples.

Texas Same-Sex Couple Health Care and Benefits Laws

Many companies such as Dell and Apple supply employees with domestic partnership insurance, which extends to same sex couples. Private insurance companies are not permitted to extend insurance benefits to same sex couples at present. Also concerning health, Texas does not allow a partner of a same sex couple to make a medical decision regarding the other partner should one of them become incapacitated without an advance directive. A same sex couple can obtain an advance health care directive and validate it by signing it in front of two witnesses. The GOP platform, should it be validated, would take this opportunity away from same sex couples and partners would no longer under any circumstances be allowed to make medical decisions for their partner. Same sex couples would also be prohibited from receiving retirement benefits from the other partner under the new GOP platform.

AIDS/HIV in Texas

The conservative wing of the Republican Party who drafted this platform discusses the “spread of communicable diseases” in relation to the gay community under the homosexuality section on page 6. The AIDS/HIV virus erupted in the gay community during the 1980’s. The virus is spread through the exchange of bodily fluids and has proven to be highly contagious. There is not a cure for the virus although recent medical improvements have been made in the form of retro viral drugs, which have consistently produced positive results in keeping the virus at bay in HIV/AIDS victims. Although anyone who engages in “risky” behavior is at risk for contracting the virus, it has been prevalent among gay men. The GOP has stated in the platform, “We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous and communicable diseases”.

Texas Same-Sex Couples Marriage Laws…Or Lack There Of

The GOP platform calls to criminalize the performing of same-sex marriages in the state of Texas. The platform states that anyone performing a same sex marriage ceremony or issuing a marriage license in the state of Texas could be subjected to felony charges. “We support legislation that would make it a felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil official to perform a marriage ceremony of such”. Currently, Texas does not recognize nor grant any type of same-sex marriages, civil unions, or extend domestic partnership benefits to same sex couples. Texas was thrown into a legal hot seat earlier this year concerning the divorce of gay couples in the state of Texas. A Dallas same- sex couple that got married in Massachusetts in 2006 applied for divorce in the state of Texas in October of last year. Gregg Abbot, Texas Attorney General, says that a divorce cannot be granted between a same-sex couple because Texas does not recognize any legal binding between them. The proposed platform would take the laws concerning gay marriage a step further, making it criminal to engage in the practice of same sex marriages or civil unions.

The GOP uses language in the platform that opposes the “normalization” of homosexual behavior and “forced acceptance” of homosexual conduct and relationships. The Texas GOP opposes the acceptance of homosexuality in schools, churches, and places of business and strongly suggests that homosexuality should not have to be tolerated. “We affirm that this section is a response to the attacks on traditional family values”. The Texas GOP is moving to push homosexuality completely away and re affirm Texas society as heterosexual and celebrating the traditional family core of one man and one woman.

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas condemns the proposed Texas GOP platform and has called on Texas Republican Party leaders to re consider the anti- gay language and strong anti-gay sentiments that are expressed in the platform. The RLC is pushing party leaders to address the issues in the platforms and issue a statement that would make it clear to Texans that this platform is not the generally shared beliefs of the entire Texas GOP, including its candidates. Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas Chairman Joey Dauben said, “While I personally disagree with same-sex marriage from a Biblical perspective, marriage is a contract between individuals and God, not with the government. If we want government out of our wallets and boardrooms, we should also keep government out of our churches and bedrooms”. The RLC fears that this platform will turn potential voters away from the Republican candidates and generally weaken the party.

Joe Solomese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, issued an e-mail to HRC members stating, “They’re not just against marriage equality; they’re against basic equal rights. They think it should be 100% legal to fire someone for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Even their word choice shows a possible anti-transgender bias, using the phrases “natural man” and “natural woman.” The Human Rights Campaign has publicly condemned the proposed anti-gay legislation and is calling on RNC chairman Michael Steele to publicly strike down the anti gay language used in the platform.

Earlier this year, LGBT Texans celebrated the election of Annise Parker, an openly gay woman to the Houston Mayor’s office. Now the Republican party, or a sector of it is trying to eliminate openly gay individuals from holding any office in government and withdrawing anti-discrimination policies on the basis of sexual orientation, making it fair game for employers to not hire LGBT individuals. The fight for equality continues for LGBT Texans and this platform is seen as a major roadblock for LGBT activists, but as a touchdown for those opposed to permitting gay rights.



Tags:2010 Texas GOP Platform Articulates Anti-Gay Sentiments

2010 Texas Bowl Preview and Prediction - Illinois Vs. Baylor

2010 Texas Bowl Preview

Baylor and Illinois will meet on December 29th in Houston for the 2010 Texas Bowl. The game is being played at a “neutral site”, but it will feel like a home game for the Baylor Bears who will only have to make a three hour drive to Houston. Baylor is currently a 1 ½ point favorite over the Fighting Illini.

Illinois had an up and down season and finished 4-4 in the Big Ten and 6-6 overall. The Fighting Illini went 1-3 in their last 4 games with their only win coming against Northwestern. Baylor went 4-4 in Big 12 play and finished the season 7-5. Baylor lost their last three games of the season against Olahoma State, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma.

When Illinois has the Ball

The Fighting Illini are a team dedicated to running the football. Illinois was 13th in the nation with 242.3 rushing yards per game. Running back Mikel Leshoure is a beast at 6’1″ and 230 pounds. Leshoure racked up 1513 yards this year and averaged 6 yards per carry. As if Leshoure wasn’t big enough, backup running back Jason Ford is listed at 6’1″, 235 pounds, and had 426 yards and 7 touchdowns this season. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is dangerous on the ground as well with 815 yards rushing on the year. Scheelhaase has run the ball well all season but his passing numbers drastically improved throughout the year. In the first 6 games Scheelhaase threw only 4 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. In his last 6 games Scheelhaase had 13 touchdowns and only 1 interception.

Baylor’s defense did not put up great numbers this year. The Bears ranked 83rd in the nation in scoring defense at 29.8 points per game. In all fairness, Baylor did play against some talented offenses this year. The Bears schedule included games against the 3rd highest scoring offense (Oklahoma State) and 4th highest scoring team (TCU).

When Baylor has the Ball

The Bears are led on offense by quarterback Robert Griffin. The sophomore has been sensational this year throwing for 3195 yards and running for 591. Griffin’s favorite target is wide receiver Kendall Wright who finished the regular season with 66 catches for 825 yards. Baylor is balanced on offense and can hurt their opponents by running in addition to throwing the football. Running back Jay Finley averaged 6.3 yards per carry on his way to 1155 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Illinois played pretty well on defense throughout the season. The Fighting Illini allowed an average of 24.3 points per game, 53rd in the country in scoring defense. The scoring numbers are slightly skewed, however, by the 67 points they gave up to Michigan in a game that went into a third overtime.

2010 Texas Bowl Prediction

Baylor and Illinois will play for the Texas Bowl trophy and for bragging rights for their conferences. Illinois comes into the Texas Bowl with only one win in their last four games and I think they will leave Houston with another loss. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin has the ability to take over a game and the Illinois defense will have a hard time stopping a balanced Baylor attack. Throw in the home crowd advantage and I think Baylor will win and cover the 1 ½ point spread.

Prediction: Baylor 31 – Illinois 21

Tags:2010 Texas Bowl Preview and Prediction - Illinois Vs. Baylor

2010 Unemployment Extensions - UI Extensions Expected to Pass in the Senate Today

2010 Unemployment Extensions – Now into their seventh week of deadlock over the unemployment benefits extension bill, the Senate is finally expected to take the first winning vote toward passage today.

Advancement of the unemployment extension bill will mean an incredible relief to the jobless, as over 2.5 million Americans have lost their unemployment benefits over the last month and a half, leaving many families on the brink of homelessness and starvation.

The UI extension bill has been stalled in the Senate as Democrats and Republicans argued over whether or not the bill should be paid for.

Senate Republicans maintain that the federal deficit has reached a level so high it has become dangerously detrimental to the health and survival of the country itself, contributing to the inability of the economy to begin to produce new jobs for the unemployed as concerned businesses are reticent to hire.

The Republicans presented several fiscally responsible bills and amendments as well as a number of compromise offers which either partially or fully paid for the unemployment benefits extensions, using varying combinations of unallocated funds from the failed 2009 “stimulus” package as well as targeted cuts to bloated and unnecessary government spending.

All of the Republican unemployment benefits extension proposals also included extending the $25 per week in FAC stimulus money for recipients.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have insisted on not using unallocated “stimulus” money to help the unemployed and have refused to make any cuts in government or their own Congressional budgets to prevent further adding to the nation’s debt.

In fact, while finding ways to pay for every other provision in the broader H.R. 4213, the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010” or “Tax Extenders” bill of which unemployment extensions was initially a part, the Democrats found ways to pay for every other provision of a scaled down bill and even removed the $25 per week FAC stimulus money to the unemployed, but maintained that they would not find offsets for the $34 billion needed to pay for what was left of unemployment benefits extensions, thus knowingly making unemployment extensions into a political issue that would stall in the Senate.

Then, capitalizing on the Republicans’ attempt to start to bring spending under control in order to begin to heal the economy and help build confidence in the business community so they would create jobs again, the Democrats used the stalemate and the suffering of the unemployed to demonize the Republicans.

Democrats turned down multiple opportunities to end the deadlock and provide unemployment benefits extensions to the jobless, long before and right up to the 4th of July Congressional recess.

It even took pleas from Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (Maine) to finally persuade Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev) to separate unemployment benefits extensions from the many other contentious issues in H.R. 4213, the “Tax Extenders” bill so at least some Republicans could get on board with it, even if unemployment benefits extensions were not paid for.

The move did bring two Republican votes across the aisle. On June 30, just before the Independence Day recess, Reid brought a nearly standalone unemployment benefits extension bill to the floor for a cloture vote which came very close to finally passing, missing by only one vote – a result of the passing of Senator Robert Byrd (D-W. Virg.).

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) then made yet another offer to restore unemployment benefits at least temporarily so the jobless would not have to go without benefits over the 12-day recess, but the democrats refused again.

Senator Reid had also turned down a compromise offer from Senator George Voinovich (D-Ohio) for his vote earlier that day. Voinovich offered to provide the 60th vote necessary for cloture of the unemployment extension bill if Reid would agree to allow just half of the benefits bill to be paid for with unused stimulus funds. Reid refused this offer as well, even though he and the Democrats had previously offered to use those same funds for other provisions in the “Tax Extenders” bill. Voinovich was reportedly stunned, commenting that Reid was obviously using the unemployment extension issue to demagogue for votes in November.

But at last, now 20 days later and after over a million more jobless Americans have lost their unemployment benefits, the Senate should have their 60 votes necessary for cloture today.

A replacement for the late Senator Robert Byrd has been appointed and will be sworn in at 2:15 this afternoon.

Senator Reid has the option of several bills to bring to the floor today. One, which has already been prepared for quick passage, is a standalone version of unemployment extensions passed in the House on July 1, just before the recess.

However, Reid is expected to bring the Senate version of unemployment benefits extensions to the floor for a cloture vote and Byrd’s newly sworn replacement, the soon to be Senator, Carte Goodwin from West Virginia, is expected to finally cast the 60th vote.

While the Senate will have up to 30 hours for additional debate on this version of the bill, it is expected to finally pass in the Senate. As it is no longer the same H.R. 4213 bill originally sent up from the House and as it contains the Reid-Baucus Amendment (H.R. 4425), the bill, once passed in the Senate, will have to go to the House for their vote to reconcile the changes.

The House is said to be prepared to receive and quickly pass the revised unemployment benefits extension bill and should then get it to the President quickly for his signature, hopefully by the end of this week, at which time the unemployment extension bill will finally become law.

The unemployed should then expect to have to wait at least two to four weeks, possibly a little longer, to begin to start receiving retroactive and ongoing UI benefits checks again. Each state will be handling retroactive benefits differently, so be prepared to complete paperwork to claim unemployment benefits you have missed and, for some, to make application for your next tier.

These unemployment benefits extensions, unfortunately, apply only to restoring extensions in Tiers 1-4 and do not benefit the ninety-niners who have already exhausted or are about to exhaust all of these benefits and who so desperately need a Tier 5 to be added as there are not nearly enough jobs to absorb all of the unemployed. Tier 5 will be another battle, if we can even get Congress to listen again.

It’s unfortunate that so many millions of Americans have had to suffer so greatly while our “representatives” in Congress turned our lifeline into a political weapon, trying to use our suffering to score Democrat votes. Hopefully, we will all find jobs before these unemployment benefits extensions run out. But that is not very likely. And they run out, not coincidentally, right after the November election.

Tags:2010 Unemployment Extensions - UI Extensions Expected to Pass in the Senate Today

2010 Unemployment Extensions: Jobs Going Forward

2010 Unemployment Extensions – Unemployment extensions have now been stalled in the Senate for over six weeks, leading to 2.5 million jobless Americans losing their benefits with hundreds of thousands not far behind them each week.

The disagreement holding up passage of a UI extension bill has never been about whether or not unemployment benefits should be extended (Although the Democrats would like you to think it is). Rather, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans have locked horns over whether those UI extensions should be paid for or not. But both sides have repeatedly stated that unemployment benefits should be extended.

It would seem a little suspicious to me to hear that every member of our esteemed upper house was in agreement on anything these days, were it not for the fact that the current job market in this country is so abysmal. Unemployment is terribly high – The government continues to report manipulated and sanitized numbers near 10% but some believe it could actually be as high as 27%. And job creation – Well, someone let President Obama loose again and he’s running around touting some 3.6 million jobs created. Oh yeah … or saved. I don’t think I’ll bother to address this. Just look around you.

So that leaves us with a very discouraging job picture. For those of us that are unemployed, many of us are just flat out not going to find a job in this current economic environment, plain and simple. Do you know the experts are saying there are five of us for every one job out there? FIVE OF US! FOR EVERY ONE JOB!

Except, I don’t believe it.

Look, I’m unemployed and I’ve been sending out resume after resume after resume for 16 or 18 months now. (I’ve lost count. They cut off my benefits weeks ago, so what does it really matter?) And I can tell you, in my experience, I’m not competing with any five people for each job. I WISH! I’m competing with 300-500 applicants for every position I’ve applied for.

I’ve read it all over the web, too – The desperately unemployed, posting comments where ever they can get their voice heard. Just like me, many report that if they ever even hear back from an employer they sent a resume to, they say “Thank you very much but we’ve received 400 resumes so don’t call us, we’ll call you … ” or “Thank you for your eloquently written and very compelling cover letter, your expertly crafted and very impressive resume and your stunning list of celebrity references, but we’ve been deluged with so many, we’ve decided to use yours to light the bar-b-que at the company picnic next weekend.” (Or something along those lines.)

No, I don’t believe I’m competing with just five other people. Heck, if I was, I’d at least have a chance. No, I’m competing with hundreds for every single job I try for. THAT is the problem in this market.

Now, sure, I know the statistics. I’ve reported on them, cited them, used them in other articles. There are X number of unemployed for X number of jobs. Divide the latter by the former in any given month of late and you get five job seekers for every job.

But what the statistics don’t tell you is that, first of all, there are now a lot of employers who are specifically looking for new employees – that are already working. Yeap! Some have been so bold (and cruel) as to have specifically established that one of their criteria for a new hire will be that they will only consider applicants that are currently working. Helpful. Really.

Then there is the fact that many jobs that may be available are not something I could possibly do. Take for instance, pretty much any job Obama claims to have “created”. Other than temporary census work, the bulk of “stimulus jobs”were mostly construction type jobs (and were also temporary, albeit union, by design). And, desperate and willing as I am, this 49 year old ex-soccer mom will likely never wield a jack hammer. (Although I’m sure my chiropractor would be happy to see me back.)

You may have the opposite problem. If you’re a man that has been in construction all your life but you happen to live in an area of the country not blessed by those millions of stimulus jobs (so pretty much anywhere in these 57 states), working in women’s retail or, say, as a dental hygenist … Well … I’m sorry. You’ll have to excuse me. I’m trying to picture you there right now, all tan and buff with your tool belt on, handing me a little cup of minty stuff and asking me to swish and spit …

The point being, there may be X number of jobs out there, but most of us may not have the skills or the ability to soon enough garner the skills and ability to do them. Interestingly, over the past couple of months since this “summer of recovery” started (and my unemployment benefits went away), I didn’t suddenly find all sorts of jobs I could go take. On the contrary, I’ve begun to have trouble even finding jobs I can apply for. (Well, that is, jobs where the employer won’t bust out laughing when he gets my resume. Not that they probably ever read most of our resumes, anyway.)

And yes, all ye who tell us condescendingly that we should break down and apply for jobs that pay less than we used to get. OMG! Somebody better hold me back! What the $#%! do you THINK every last one of us is doing? First of all, there is nothing out there paying anywhere NEAR what I was making when I was laid off. I’ve applied for jobs that I did years ago on my way up the ladder that paid $25 an hour way back then but are now paying $9 – $12 an hour – part time! Ya see, we got ourselves wutcha call an employer’s market. And why would an employer pay a decent wage for a job he can now pay any one of 400-500 desperate, hungry people to do for half or less? They’re not being greedy, it’s just good common business sense. They’re not, after all, running a charity, you know.

And yes, we apply to fast food places and Walmart and Target and 7-11. We’ll work at the gas station. We’ll mow lawns. (I can even do that. I’m not so good with the weed-wacker, though. And you don’t want to let Orrin Hatch and his handy drug testing kit anywhere near me if you put one in my hand.)

But these places tell me I’m over qualified. The other places I try to manipulate my resume to appear like I could actually do the job for tell me I’m under-qualified. And long, long ago, it seems, the last time I actually got to look into the eyes of a potential employer on an interview, she told me I would be great for the position, but I’d probably leave as soon as something better came along, and so she was going to have to turn me down. I argued with her and tried to convince her otherwise – in a very professional and respectful manner, of course – because I needed that job so bad. If I remember correctly, I said something like, “Oh no, really. Just because I used to make 10 times what you’re offering and this job will barely pay for the bus fare to get here and I’ll be bored out of my skull and I could so do your job 100 times better standing on my head … No, THIS is where I feel my true passion and creativity can best be expressed and my destiny fulfilled.” (To be honest, that may not be an exact quote. It was just so long ago.)

No, I don’t believe it. If there were truly, in a practical and meaningful sense, just five of us unemployed vying for every job, we, the unemployed, would surely know it. We’d be asked into interviews and would run into each other in the waiting rooms and HR departments across the fruited plain, looking all crisp in our Sunday best, grinning and chatting cordially, resumes in hand, as we covertly sized one another up. Doesn’t happen. The statistic is misleading. Things are far, far worse out here than any of you still fortunate enough to have jobs could possibly imagine.

And THAT is why we MUST have unemployment benefits and extensions restored – NOW. Until this government quits dinkin’ around with this nonsense social engineering experiment and unchains the free market to go back to doing what it does best – creating wealth FOR EVERYONE – we, the unemployed, will be left here, trapped in our homes (or cardboard boxes), emailing resumes from our computers (or the public library) into the black hole of the internet or rapid dialing every hurting business in the phone book, begging to sweep their floors.

Pass unemployment extensions NOW. And put Americans back to work.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take notes on “Fun With Dick and Jane”. I’m running out of ideas regarding how to survive this debacle of an economy.

Tags:2010 Unemployment Extensions: Jobs Going Forward

2010 West Coast Chardonnay Wine Value Picks

This Special Summary Issue covers 2001-2008 West Coast Chardonnay wines. Updated West Coast Chardonnay wines, scores and prices in this issue show the “Average Price per Score” from 2004-2008 wines scored by at least two of the major wine critics and available for sale in the US.

At the high scoring end, the 2006 Rodney Strong, Chardonnay Sonoma Reserve received an average score of 94 points and at $26 is 32% of the average cost of a similar scoring West Coast Chardonnay, earning it a Great Value moniker.

At the low price point of $8, the 2008 Bogle, Chardonnay California received an average score of 87 and is 36% of the average $25 cost of a similar scoring West Coast Chardonnay, a Great Value.

A total of 2,925 West Coast Chardonnay wines are profiled in this issue.

Tags:2010 West Coast Chardonnay Wine Value Picks

2010 Unemployment Extensions - Harry Reid Continues to Delay UI Extensions

2010 Unemployment Extensions – Yes, that’s right. Governor Joe Manchin (D-W. Virg.) has said he will name a replacement for the late Senator Byrd (D-W. Virg.) by 5:00 p.m. on Friday. At last, the long (too long) awaited 60th vote for the Democrats’ version of unemployment benefits extensions will be there.

The jobless have waited for months now for this UI extension bill to pass, suffering through two long holiday recesses, two million of them losing benefits weeks ago. Harry Reid and the Democrats have been taking every opportunity to tell the unemployed how much they care, how badly they want them to have their benefits restored as soon as possible, how hard they are working to make that happen and just how awful the Republicans are for being so hard hearted and out of touch and continuously blocking unemployment extensions.

Never mind that the Republicans have presented multiple bills and amendments to get us our unemployment extensions, all of which have either been voted down by the “caring” Democrats or totally ignored before they could be put to a vote. Never mind that the Republicans have offered temporary UI extension after temporary UI extension to keep us from losing our benefits and having to go without in the first place while the Senate works all of this out but the Democrats have been dead set against keeping us out of the middle of this. (Read here and here.)

Why would the Democrats do this, I wonder? Why are the Republicans willing to keep us out of pain while they wrangle over the various provisions in these bills, but the Democrats prefer to keep us stewing, running out of money, out of food, losing our cars, our utilities, our homes?

If the answer to that isn’t obvious by now, I don’t know what is. As I have previously reported here, the Democrats are facing great public dissatisfaction at all their failed policies, their failure to create jobs, their failure to stimulate the economy, their insistence on legislating against the will of the people. They are facing a likely loss of the House and their overwhelming majority in the Senate. So they need to polarize voters and create hatred for the Republicans to create voters for themselves. Just like the President suing Arizona to solidify the Latino vote, the Democrats have allowed us to suffer so long when they could have accepted any number of Republican unemployment extension bills or even a Republican compromise to pass unemployment extensions to solidify the jobless vote.

As I previously wrote, “… unemployment extensions have become a last ditch stand to separate and stir up a large group of angry people to create another block of Democrat voters. It HELPS the Democrats every single day that they can keep unemployment extensions from passing. It HELPS Democrats every time they get to come to the microphone and say that the Republicans are blocking UI extensions. It HELPS the Democrats, who have the full cooperation of the liberal media, to go on and on about how much they care about us, while REFUSING any idea that doesn’t add to the debt, while REFUSING every compromise the Republicans have offered, while REFUSING to vote for any bill written or promoted by a Republican.”

I explained over a week ago that the Democrats didn’t need to wait for a Byrd replacement and could have passed unemployment benefits for us (not only many weeks ago) but on July 12, the day they came back from the 4th of July recess if they wanted to. There is a fully paid for unemployment benefits extension submitted by Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) with full support of the Republicans that Reid could have put up for a vote on that day if he really cared about the fate of the unemployed.

As I projected then, however, Reid did not even entertain voting on this Republican unemployment extension bill any more than he entertained a compromise deal for the final necessary vote of Senator George Voinovich (D-Ohio) on the Democrats’ version of the UI extension before the recess. Reid left the unemployed to drown for another 12 days while the Senate went off on their vacation. (Read my projection of this here.)

But if that still didn’t convince you, here’s another opportunity to test my theory:

According to (Please read that article), Harry Reid has the power as Senate Majority Leader to keep the Senate over later Friday night to swear in the new West Virginia appointee that Governor Manchin has promised to appoint by 5:00 that day. Reid could keep them over the weekend to proceed onto a cloture vote on the unemployment extension bill, which we assume, with the late Senator Byrd’s successor in place, would finally pass. This would expedite the UI extension bill greatly, allowing it to become law no later than early or mid week next week. And for heaven’s sake, they took a 12 day vacation while we languished. Surely working a weekend won’t kill ’em.

So if Reid is so concerned about what we’re going through, and doesn’t just want to keep saying he is … for as long as he can keep saying it … he will keep the Senate in session over the weekend to get our unemployment extensions to us ASAP.

But don’t hold your breath. According to Politico, seems Reid has already scheduled the vote for our unemployment benefits extensions for next Tuesday. But hey, what’s another week when you’re on a Senator’s salary?


Tags:2010 Unemployment Extensions - Harry Reid Continues to Delay UI Extensions

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