Friday is Bike to Work Day Pit Stop List

At least 6,000 riders in San Diego County are expected to hit the streets Friday morning for Bike to Work Day (BTWD). They will be greeted by volunteers at a record 75 pit stops throughout the region, where they will receive free refreshments, BTWD t-shirts, and lots of encouragement. Most of the stops will be open from 6 to 9 a.m., but some will open as early as 5:30 a.m. At Tri-City Wellness Center in Carlsbad, riders will be treated to a hot breakfast and massages. Other popular stops include the San Diego Zoo, Anywhere Bike Repair, and Bike MS. (Bike to Work Day is presented by San Diego County Credit Union. The BTWD Corporate Challenge is sponsored by Tri-City Wellness Center. Other sponsors include the San Diego Zoo and http://elivelife.com/.)

Boxer Gives Remarks Against Big Oil Taxpayer Subsidies

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) spoke on the Senate floor on Wednesday to support the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, which would eliminate $21 billion a year in taxpayer subsidies to Exxon Mobil, BP, Conoco Phillips, Shell and Chevron over the next decade.  The Senate voted 52-48 against proceeding to consideration of the legislation.
As gas prices continue to climb, the Big Five Oil companies reported a combined $36 billion in first-quarter profits this year.  At the same time, executive compensation among Big Oil CEOs has continued to climb to a staggering $14.5 million on average.  Ending this wasteful corporate welfare would reduce the deficit and help preserve investments in critical areas, from after-school programs to COPS funding to disaster assistance to communities.
Prior to the vote, Senator Boxer spoke on the Senate floor in support of the legislation to end these ‘corporate welfare’ subsidies.  Below are excerpts of Senator Boxer’s remarks as delivered:
First of all, we see the first quarter profits: Exxon Mobil, $10.7 billion.  A 69 percent increase from last year, and I’m supposed to cry for them.  I don’t think so.  B.P., with all their troubles, corporate profits $7.1 billion, up 17 percent.  This is just in the first quarter.  Shell is up 30 percent.  Conoco Phillips is up 44 percent.  Chevron is up 74 percent.
Well, I’ve got to tell you we have a deficit problem.  If we can’t ask the wealthy few in this country to do their share, I don’t know where we’re headed.
$14.5 million – The average compensation for the Big Five oil company CEOs.  That’s 307 times the average salary of a firefighter.  It’s 273 times the average salary of a teacher.  It’s 263 times the average salary of a public officer.  And it’s 218 times the average salary of a nurse.
Let the American people see who’s on their side or who’s on the side of these corporations.
The effective tax rate for Exxon is 18 percent on their $7.7 billion in income.  A family of two teachers have an effective tax rate of 19 percent.  Can you believe this?
Exxon Mobil, 18 percent on their billions.  A family of a truck driver and a dental hygienist, 19 percent.
So the effective tax rate of these humongous multibillion-dollar, multinational corporations is less than our middle-class families.
What we could do with the $21 billion over the next ten years.
We could continue these handouts, this corporate welfare to Big Oil, or we could fund the entire “COPS” program for all those 10 years.  We could also provide afterschool care for two million kids.
So I’m asking people, would you rather have a cop on the beat at home and know that our police are out there protecting our families?  Would you rather make sure that two million kids are kept off the street and have quality afterschool programs?  Or would you rather continue corporate welfare for these five corporations?
The Joint Economic Committee said, “Repealing oil subsidies would have no effect on consumer energy prices in the immediate future.”
The Congressional Research Services said, “A small increase in taxes would be unlikely to reduce oil output and hence increase petroleum prices.”
The former CEO of Shell Oil said, “With high oil prices, such subsidies are not necessary.”
This administration is moving forward.  The oil companies have over 50 million acres of leased land offshore that they could drill on today.  And all they want is more and more and more.
They want to come to California and drill off our pristine coast and threaten tens of thousands of jobs that we have in our fishing industry and our tourist industry.  They don’t have to do that.  They are sitting on these leases.
This is the moment.  We are looking to cut the deficit.  We are looking for ways to bring billions of dollars home so that we can get out of the red.  And what could be more perfect than this opportunity in the name of fairness, in the name of competition, in the name of deficit reduction and, frankly, in the name of the consumer?
Let’s have some fairness.

Calif. U.S. Border Patrol Agents Interdict Drug Smuggling Attempts

Campo, Calif. — U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested seven men in two separate incidents in Campo and seized nearly 600 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $349,000.

The most recent incident occurred yesterday morning when Border Patrol agents detected several individuals with backpacks walking north from the U.S./ Mexico border through the brush. Agents responded, intercepting six individuals and discovered six backpacks hidden in the surrounding areas. The backpacks contained 27 bundles of marijuana weighing more than 337 pounds with an estimated street value of $202,000. The men, later identified as Mexican nationals illegally in the country, were taken into Border Patrol custody.

In Other Words

Retirement: Internet Style

WHERE TO RETIRE
You can retire to  Phoenix, Arizona where……
1. You are willing to park three blocks away because you found shade.
2. You’ve experienced condensation on your butt from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
3. You can drive for four hours in one direction and never leave town.
4. You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.
5. You know that “dry heat” is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door..
6. The four seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!
You can retire to  California where…
1. You make over $250,000 and you still can’t afford to buy a house.
2. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
3. You know how to eat an artichoke.
4. You drive your rented Mercedes to your neighborhood block party.
5. When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.
6. The four seasons are: Fire, Flood, Mud, and Drought.
You can retire to  New York City where…
1. You say “the city” and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan .
2. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can’t find Wisconsin on a map.
3. You think Central Park is “nature.”
4. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multi-lingual.
5. You’ve worn out a car horn. ( ed note: if you have a car)
6. You think eye contact is an act of aggression.
You can retire to  Maine where…
1. You only have four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Tabasco .
2. Halloween costumes fit over parkas.
3. You have more than one recipe for moose.
4. Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
5. The four seasons are: winter, still winter, almost winter, and construction.
I hope you enjoyed these little tidbits from my internet file. They are sent me on a regular basis by friends around the country.
I hope to be back to work next week, being my usual curmudgeonly self. Keeps those cards and letters coming in….

Railroad Trestle Repair Sidetracked By Slow Insurance Company

By Luke Phillips
The process of restoring a historic railroad trestle bridge outside of Holtville that partially burned nearly two years ago is going slowly reports Holtville City Manager Laura Fischer.
Fischer says city staff is still working with adjusters from the city’s insurance company, but the process has stalled on their side, she says.
“We’re not making a lot of headway,” Fischer said.
Fischer says that she is keeping the city council informed of developments with the project, but says they may want to “take further legal action” in the matter.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with an insurance company that doesn’t want to pay, but it can take a while,” she said. “We’re still trying to work amicably with the insurance company. It’s been very slow on their side.”
Fischer says city staff is still having internal discussions with insurance adjusters and trying to agree on the value of the trestle and on compiling data.
Fischer says she’s had personal experience dealing with insurance adjusters after her house burned down and says the process can be frustrating.
“You have to stay on them,” she said. “We’re putting a lot of effort into it and they’re slowly getting the point.”