California will avoid deep spending cuts to public schools and universities, and be able to pull out of the fiscal swamp without slashing other services further, after voters handed Gov. Jerry Brown's signature tax measure a decisive victory Tuesday. Proposition 30 had an 8 percentage point lead Wednesday morning, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

Seventy-two percent of voters handily rejected a rival measure, Proposition 38. Brown's tax measure has been his central focus since his election two years ago and will have major implications for the state's finances. If it had been defeated, nearly $6 billion in automatic spending cuts, falling almost entirely on public schools, would have been automatically enacted under the budget approved by lawmakers earlier this year.

Prop. 30 will raise the sales tax by one penny for every $4 spent for four years, while increasing the income tax on the state's highest earners for seven years. It would generate about $6 billion per year in new revenue. The sales tax hike will go into effect Jan. 1, while the personal income tax increase is retroactive to the beginning of this year.

At an election night event at a hotel near the Capitol, a few hundred backers of Prop. 30 were in a celebratory mood. Brown, who took the stage soon after the measure gained majority support for the first time, expressed confidence that it would pass.

"I know some people had some doubts, had some questions - can you really go to people and ask them to raise their tax?" Brown said. He added that he believes California is the only state where voters said, "Let's raise our taxes for students, for our schools, for our California dream."

The measure enjoyed strong support in coastal counties like San Francisco, where voters approved it by a 3-1 margin, but was defeated in more conservative areas. Opponents had argued that state leaders should reform what No on 30 spokesman Aaron McLear called a "broken system," prior to "asking voters for a $50 billion bailout the politicians can spend on anything they want."

Voters easily defeated Prop. 38, which would have increased the income tax rate on nearly all Californians for 12 years, generating about $10 billion per year. Nearly all of that money would have gone to public schools, though some of it also would have been spent to pay down the state's debt.

Finally getting a public vote on his tax measure has been Brown's top policy goal, and he had hoped it would be the only tax measure on the state ballot. The governor melded his measure with another being pushed by the California Federation of Teachers, but he was unable to persuade civil rights attorney Molly Munger, who has bankrolled Prop. 38, to drop her effort.

Munger conceded Tuesday night. "A powerful coalition has begun coming together and a strong movement has been formed," she said. "As we continue this fight, we can and will build on all the good work that has been done."

For Brown, the vote will finally answer the question of how to proceed with restoring California's finances.

The governor ran for office on a pledge that he would not increase taxes without a vote by the people - and told voters he knew best how to right California's fiscal ship. Soon after he was sworn in, he began efforts to put such a measure before the people.

Brown had hoped for such a vote in May 2011, before the enactment of his first budget, but he was unable to win the backing of enough Republicans in the Legislature.

That experience also earned him criticism for not realizing that the politics of the state had changed dramatically since he was last in the governor's office, and that it would take something short of a miracle for Republicans to agree to even put a tax measure on the ballot, let alone vote for it.

But the governor has been dogged in his determination to hold such a public vote, and started a signature-gathering effort to place the measure on the ballot. He has spent the past few weeks barnstorming the state on the issue, sometimes visiting multiple cities a day, and was assisted by a strong union push.The measure's passage was a huge win for the governor. But a loss wouldn't have tarnished his legacy, said Barbara O'Connor, emeritus professor of communications and director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at Sacramento State University.

Had it lost Brown would say, " 'The people have spoken, we'll deal with this in the normal course of our budgeting,' " she said. "That's his legacy: Be straight with people, and try to get the best deal."

Whether the governor was being straight with voters was the focus of much of the campaign against the ballot measure. Opponents hammered Brown for saying that all the new money would go to education, when in fact much of it would benefit other parts of the state budget.


What did it change? Very little actually. Not that system updates are normally incredible, but you like to see something change.

According to Microsoft’s Major Nelson, it is simply a routine maintenance update and no apparent new features are being added. His statement below:

Sometime during the early morning hours tomorrow (Pacific Time, Tuesday, October 11th) we are pushing out a mandatory system update. If you are signed into LIVE already, you may be signed out. Once the update has been completed, you’ll be able to sign-in again and back online in a few moments. This is a general system maintenance update and there are no new features that will show up once your system has been updated.

Don’t get too down about it. There are no doubt new things in the works down the road.


Tonight’s Republican debate comes amid persistent gloom about the prospects for the U.S. — and the global — economy. Here are 10 questions we’d like to hear the candidates answer:

1. The unemployment rate is stuck at 9.1%. The U.S. isn’t adding enough jobs to keep up with the growth of the labor force. What’s done is done — the fiscal stimulus, the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing, etc. What specific policies would you adopt today to quicken the pace of economic growth and hiring?

2. If raising taxes would be bad for the economy, how would cutting spending and eliminating government jobs now be good for the economy?

3. Housing remains a major drag on the U.S. economy. About one in five Americans with a mortgage owes more than the value of his or her house. More than half Americans with equity in their home have a mortgage with an interest rate above 5%, but hasn’t refinanced. Home-building is at historic lows. Can government policy do more to rescue housing? If so, what?

4. Several of you have expressed displeasure with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Who would you prefer to see in that job?

5. Will the middle class have to bear some of the burden — either in higher taxes or fewer government benefits — to bring the federal deficit under control?

6. Are there any tax increases of any kind that you would accept over the next decade?

7. What’s the best way to slow the growth of health care costs in the U.S. over the next quarter-century?

8. Mitt Romney backs the imposition of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports if China doesn’t allow its currency to float freely on international markets. The Senate is taking up similar legislation. Do you support the pending Senate bill?

9. The living standards of our children and our grandchildren’s generation depend on investments we make today that pay off in future productivity later. What, if anything, should the government spend money on today with that objective in mind?

10. How specifically, if at all, should government policy respond to the persistent widening of the gap between winners and losers in the U.S. economy?

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Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

Posted by Unknown | Sunday, June 14, 2009

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Seirei no Moribito?) is the first in the ten volume Guardian (Moribito?) series of Japanese fantasy novels, written by Nahoko Uehashi. It has since been adapted into numerous media, including radio, manga and anime adaptations. Scholastic released the first novel in English in June, 2008. Media Blasters has confirmed that they acquired the rights to the anime. The series premiered on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block in the U.S. at 1:30 a.m. on August 24, 2008 EST, but was dropped from the schedule without warning or explanation on January 15, 2009 after two runs of the first ten episodes. It has returned to [Adult Swim] during Summer 2009 for the entire series run.

Balsa the spearwoman is a wandering warrior, who takes on the task of saving lives in atonement for a past sin. On her journey, she happens to save a prince and is tasked with becoming his bodyguard. And he is going to need one, for his own father, the emperor, wants him dead. Balsa, the spear wielder and bodyguard, is visiting the New Yogo Empire. She is hired to protect the Second Prince, Chagum, who is endangered because he is possessed by a being despised by his father, the Emperor, who ordered his assasination. The two go on a perilous adventure for the survival of the prince. Throughout the story, Balsa's past will come to light and they will uncover mysteries about Chagum's condition while developing a family-like relationship with each other and others.

Guardian Of The Spirit (Moribito)

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit Volumes 3 & 4 (2-Pack)


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Lucy In The Sky With DiamondsLyrics.

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds Lyrics
- The Beatles


Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green,
Towering over your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
And she's gone.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Ah... Ah...

Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain,
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies.
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high.

Newspaper taxis appear on the shore,
Waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds,
And you're gone.


Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties.
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile,
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.


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