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Leo is a tabby, sleek, regal and a prima donna. He's an ex-mouser (we ain't got no mice) who has retained his fighting trim in retirement. He disdains being held, but is more than willing to jump up and command a lap, on his own terms. He's originally from Chicago and was passed down to us via both of Mrs. S's brothers.
Willow ("Wee One") is still a kitten. She's a rescue kitty. A trouble maker to the core, but with an incredible ability to melt into your lap. At the vet's for her spaying, the vet told us they had trouble during her recovery day(s) getting her pulse -- because she was purring too loudly.
Probably not, since it is well known that there is a sophisticated spam-centric cuisine in Hawaii ;-)
thank god for the Metro. You can still get out to Paul's in Friendship Heights, which was my liquor store of choice back in the day (very nice wine selection; I don't remember much about the beer, unfortunately).
Apparently, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits is the place to go for beer.
that said, I suppose one could argue that content provider access to cable, satellite and internet systems is rather limited to a small number of service providers. And cable service providers, in particular, are thieving bastards (cough, cough). They are worse than US auto makers in the way they bundle services rather than making each channel available ala carte, at least for digital services where such switching should be pretty easy.
It will be interesting to see what happens after the full switch-over to digital broadcasting, because a ton of bandwidth will be (sort of) freed up to the possibility of new entrants.
thanks for thinking of us out here on the Left Coast.
I recently received a promotion that took me out of the ranks of the classified (union) jobs and into management. That removed much of my concern about layoffs (since I was by far the least-senior researcher in the unit), although it potentially exposes me to a different kind of layoff stress. In my current position, I'm essentially an "at-will" employee, although I would have a right-of-return to my previous rank, assuming positions were available. On the bright side, my promotion came with a raise more or less equal to the furlough hit I'm taking this month! :-)
(re: the furloughs. The union has negotiated them down to one day per month from two; I presume the same will apply to management ranks)
So far, my concerns have been more about how to keep my unit running in the face of the furloughs and of being short-staffed. I'm down about a third of my research staff from just last year due to retirements and voluntary exits.
My next step actually is to advertise to fill a position or two. I've been hesitant to do so because I'd hate to hire, then have to lay someone off (if it came to that). Also, my boss's position has been vacant (making ME the interim boss), so I've been kinda busy -- and a bit loathe to commit my unit to hires before the new boss is appointed.
still, there is uncertainty in the air. Property taxes and sales taxes are plummeting. Income taxes will be down somewhat this year and more so next year, thanks to surging unemployment. County and municipal governments are threatening to sue the state for non-delivery of local tax revenues (moneys collected by the state on behalf of the localities). The city of Sacramento already is cutting into fire service, among other draconian cuts, to close its $55 million gap.
Republican state senators have refused to pony up the third of three required votes to pass this weekend a budget package negotiated by the "Big 5" (governator plus the four legislative leaders).
As you may know, all of the Republican state legislators had previously signed on to a "no new taxes" pledge, and many fear to renege on that pledge because they think it will lead to primary challenges. Given the geographic stratification of partisanship in California, it is very difficult to draw partisan-competitive districts. Hence, unless a state legislator is about to be termed out, the major threat for the typical member to his/her continued employment is primary challenges.
the budgetary hole in Cali is gargantuan -- $40 billion to cover both the projected gap for the CURRENT fiscal year and for the coming fiscal year, starting July 1. Approval requires 2/3rds votes in both chambers. The proposed package claims "$14.3 billion in temporary tax increases, $15.1 billion in spending cuts and $11.4 billion in borrowing."
Here's the LA Times' capsule summary of the deal: "Firms would get nearly $1 billion in breaks, while the average person would pay higher taxes five ways. Republicans say the plan would create jobs, but others dispute the claim."
About $1 billion in corporate tax breaks -- directed mostly at multi-state and multinational companies -- is tucked into the proposal. Opponents say the breaks will do nothing to create jobs, and the Legislature has rejected such moves repeatedly in the past. But now, to secure enough Republican votes to pass a budget that would raise taxes on everyone else, the Legislature is poised to write them into law with no public hearings at a time when the state treasury is almost out of cash.
Most of the cost to the state -- or $690 million -- would come from changes in the way corporate taxes are computed, lowering the amount owed by many large companies. Smaller tax breaks are included for Hollywood production companies and small businesses that hire new employees.
GOP lawmakers, aided by a small group of Democrats, have been pushing the tax breaks for years, along with such companies as NBC Universal, Genentech and Intel, as well as the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Taxpayers Assn. They say the breaks are an incentive for businesses to expand operations in California -- or at least not to leave.
that's just a part of the sausage making that has been going on.