Saturday, March 29, 2008

Economic Stimulus Payments Help on 3/29/08

Saturday, March 29, 2008 the IRS is holding “Super Saturday” to give people an opportunity to learn how to apply for the much publicized economic stimulus payments. Many IRS locations will be open especially to help those who are normally exempt (low-wage workers, disabled veterans, retirees on a limited income) from filing a tax return. According to the IRS to receive a payment, taxpayers must have a valid Social Security number and $3,000 of income. They must also file a 2007 federal tax return. The IRS states, “Those eligible for payments will receive up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples), and parents will receive an additional $300 for each eligible child younger than 17.” For more information check with the above linked locations (call first to be sure a particular office is open), or call the helpline at 1-800-906-9887. The IRS has also created an Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center, a Frequently Asked Questions link, and an Economic Stimulus Payment Calculator.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Passport Concerns

The Washington Times, is currently running (March 26-28, 2008) a three-part series about the outsourcing of U.S. passports. The Government Printing Office (GPO) addresses concerns raised by this series in a press release dated March 26, 2008.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Foreclosures - Historical Background

Now that foreclosures are a topic of interest due to the subprime mortgage crisis, FRASER (Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research) has posted annual reports and other documents related to the Federal Home Loan Bank between 1933 and 1952. Included are reports of other entities that were part of the Federal Home Loan Bank including "the Federal Savings and Loan Corporation created as part of the National Housing Act of 1934 and abolished in 1989; the Home Owners' Loan Corporation created by the Home Owners' Refinancing Act in 1933 and liquidated in 1951, and the Federal Savings and Loan System or Division."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Census 2010 Budget Problems

According to testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Census Bureau is facing potential delays and a huge budget increase for the 2010 census due to problems with a contract to develop handheld computers for collecting data. Estimates for the budget increase range from $600 million to $2 billion. The report, Information Technology: Significant Problems of Critical Automation Program Contribute to Risks Facing 2010 Census, states that the GAO (General Accounting Office) recommended the Census Bureau:
  • strengthen its systems testing and risk management activities,
  • define specific measurable performance requirements for the handheld mobile computing device, and
  • develop an integrated and comprehensive plan to control its costs and manage operations.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

American Heroes

In 1861 Abraham Lincoln created the National Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military recognition for valor. On March 25, 2008 the spirit of that medal lives on as the Congressional Medal of Honor Society recognizes 51 Americans representing their respective states and the District of Columbia with Above & Beyond Awards. These Americans, whose names will be announced soon, embody courage, sacrifice, integrity, patriotism, commitment and citizenship. More information about this prestigious award is available from the Above & Beyond site as is a list of previous medal of honor winners. The site also contains information about how to nominate deserving individuals from your neighborhood for next year’s award.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Texas Two Step

If you vote as a Democrat in the primary tomorrow, March 4, 2008, in a sense you have a chance to vote twice. First, your vote gets counted in selecting the 126 delegates who come from the popular vote. Second, if you attend the caucus at 7:15 p.m. or whenever the last voter casts a ballot, you have a chance to participate in selecting an additional 67 delegates. To participate in the caucus, bring either your stamped voter registration certificate or a certificate obtained when you voted to prove in which party you cast your vote. (In other words, only if you voted as a Democrat can you participate in the Democratic caucus.) You can find the location of your caucus (Democratic or Republican) which is also your election-day precinct polling location by entering either your precinct number or your address or your name and address in the Harris Votes Find Your Voting Info page available as a pull-down choice from the Voting Information tab. The page also includes a sample ballot.

If you vote as a Republican, on the other hand, the traditional primary system prevails in which delegate votes reflect the popular vote. Both the Democratic and Republican precinct meetings, however, give attendees a chance to select people to attend the March 29 senatorial district conventions where delegates are chosen to attend the state convention. At the state convention delegates for the national convention are selected.

The Democratic State Convention will be held in Austin on June 5-7 while the Republican State Convention will meet in Houston on June 12-14. The Democratic National Convention will be held in Denver on Aug. 25-28 while the Republican National Convention will meet in Minneapolis-St. Paul on Sept. 1-4.

For a more detailed explanation of the whole election process see the Texas State Teacher's Political Convention Process page or access the Web sites of the the Texas Republican Party or the Texas Democratic Party .

On election day, March 4, the Houston League of Women Voters has teamed with KRPC Channel 2 to offer a helpline at 713-271-1905. Their Voter Guide March 2008 is also available online with information about candidates' positions on key issues.