Thursday, October 25, 2012

As The Dust From The Explosions In Syria Gets Into His Eyes - President Jimmy Carter Says That ISRAEL Is Responsible For The Lack Of Peace In The Middle East Because Of Their Settlements - Because There Is No YouTube Video For Him To Blame It All On

Jimmy Carter says Mideast peace is 'vanishing'

JERUSALEM — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Monday during a visit to Jerusalem that the prospect of an Israel-Palestinian peace accord is "vanishing," blaming Israeli settlement of the West Bank. Carter, a longtime critic of Israeli policies, called the current situation "catastrophic" and blamed Israel for the growing isolation of east Jerusalem from the West Bank. He said a Palestinian state has become "unviable." "We've reached a crisis stage," said Carter, 88. "The two-state solution is the only realistic path to peace and security for Israel and the Palestinians." Carter is currently on a two-day visit leading a delegation known as the "The Elders," which includes the former prime minister of Norway and the former president of Ireland. The group met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But they didn't meet with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Carter said that the delegation didn't request a meeting because they haven't been granted meetings on previous visits. Netanyahu has pledged support for a Palestinian state but peace talks with the Palestinians have been frozen for most of his tenure. Carter criticized him for not doing enough. "Up until now, every prime minister has been a willing and enthusiastic supporter of the two-state solution," he said.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

After The Partisan Fight Over Student Loan Servicing Has Ended - Students Have Problem Paying Their Loans Serviced By The Federal Government

Student Loans Backed By Government Crush Many Families

The title of this story is misleading.

The fact that these student loans are "government backed" is IRRELEVANT to the key issue at hand.

Previously the banks were the "loan servicing agents".  The loans were STILL "government backed".
President Obama advocated that the "bank middle man" be removed and that a government agency directly service the loan.

The partisan banter broke along the lines of "the banks" or "the government" as the "customer service" agent to which you send your check to every month, etc.

Behind this story is the real world evidence of how people who are laced with expensive government loans are not making enough money to pay their loan obligations.

We keep getting lulled into devise arguments:

  • The Banks vs the Government
  • For Profit Schools or State Schools/Private Schools
  • Subsidized Student Loan Interest Rates at 3% or allow it to rise to 6%
It is clear that with so many students unable to pay their loans due to their job situation - the Federal government BACKING will be yet another draw upon the balance sheet of the nation.

Where is the front end push back against people who go to expensive schools on the hopes of making it big upon graduation?  Maybe there needs to be some "risk mitigation", imposed by the government.

We hear attacks upon "for profit schools" because they have low intake standards and, if left unchecked they rake in revenues for the school only to have their students not find a job, the government is left holding the bag.

Since even "not for profit schools" receiving their check at the front end - how are they any different?

Unlike Most American s- O'Reilly And Stewart Make Money From Talking Politics - But As Millionaires They Donated Their Proceeds To Charity

O'Reilly, Stewart joust at mock debate

Sunday, September 9, 2012

This Is The First Time That I Have Ever Watched "30 Rock". This Is The Last Time

I played a recording on my DVR.
Once it ended - and while I am across the room on my computer - the show "30 Rock' came on.

I have never watched an episode of "30 Rock" nor "Friends" during their entire run.

In watching "30 Rock" and all of the subtext messages - I won't be watching again.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

In The 3rd Quarter The Postal Services Loses As Much As Did JP Morgan Chase With One Bad Investment - But Won't Trigger The Same Public Outrage

Postal Service reports $5.2 billion loss in 3rd quarter

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Postal Service's net loss widened to $5.2 billion during the April through June period, and the cash-strapped agency warned on Thursday that without help from the U.S. Congress it will be unable to borrow money this fall.
The Postal Service, which relies on the sale of stamps and other products rather than taxpayer funding, has been struggling for years as Americans increasingly communicate online and as payments for future retiree health benefits and other obligations drain its cash.
A week after its first-ever default on a legally required payment to the federal government, officials called on Congress to pass postal legislation that would overhaul the mail agency's business model and offer some relief from its dire financial situation.
Lawmakers, who have said they are committed to helping the Postal Service become profitable, left last week for a month-long recess without reaching an agreement on postal legislation.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Airbus To Build Its First US Based Manufacturing Plant In Alabama ($600M w/ 1000 Jobs)

Airbus to build 1st US assembly plant in Alabama

We needed to be visible in the States under the Airbus flag," Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier said.
The new $600 million plant will make A320 passenger jets, which compete head-to-head with Boeing's 737. Those planes are the minivans of the airline world — widely-used people-haulers generally flown on short- and medium-haul trips. They generally carry about 150 passengers.
North America is the biggest single market for that type of plane, Airbus executives said, and they want more of it. Boeing's 737 has an advantage now, with Southwest and Alaska Airlines buying only 737s. Current A320 customers include US Airways and Frontier Airlines. American Airlines handed Airbus a victory when it ordered 260 of the planes last year.
Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, cranks out more than 400 of those jets a year, more than any of its other planes.
The new plant advances the company's strategy of expanding production outside its home base. The Mobile operation will join assembly plants in Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; and Tianjin, China.
Labor costs are likely to be lower in Alabama, where union organizing is more difficult than in Europe or in other parts of the U.S. Bregier said cost savings were not the main goal for the Alabama plant, but added, "Clearly we selected a competitive environment."
Building in Alabama helps Airbus cut foreign-exchange costs, as well. Most A320s are built in Europe, so costs are in euros. But planes are sold in dollars because most aviation lending happens in dollars. That cost disadvantage will shrink if Airbus pays to assemble at least some of its planes in dollars.

Europe's Unemployment Rate Reaches High Tipping Point

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fared Zakaria Calls For Public Pension Reforms

Why We Need Pension Reform By Fareed Zakaria

From The Time Article

A day after Governor Scott Walker won his recall election, the New York Times wrote, "The biggest political lesson from Wisconsin may be that the overwhelming dominance of money on the Republican side will continue to haunt Democrats." Democrats have drawn much the same conclusion. "You've got a handful of self-interested billionaires who are trying to leverage their money across the country," said David Axelrod, Barack Obama's senior campaign strategist. "Does that concern me? Of course that concerns me."
But then how to explain the landslide victories in San Jose and San Diego of ballot measures meant to cut public-sector retirees' benefits? What should concern Axelrod far more is that on the central issue of the recall--the costs of public-sector employees--the Democratic Party is wrong on the substance, clinging to its constituents rather than doing the right thing.
Warren Buffett calls the costs of public-sector retirees a "time bomb." They are the single biggest threat to the U.S.'s fiscal health. If the U.S. is going to face a Greek-style crisis, it will not be at the federal level but rather with state and local governments. The numbers are staggering. In California, total pension liabilities--the money the state is legally required to pay its public-sector retirees--are 30 times its annual budget deficit. Annual pension costs rose by 2,000% from 1999 to 2009. In Illinois, they are already 15% of general revenue and growing. Ohio's pension liabilities are now 35% of the state's entire GDP.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

5 Dead Mexicans, Torched In The Arizona Desert Cannot Be Used To Justify Gov Janet Brewer's Past Concerns As They Did Not Have Their Heads Cut Off


From The Blaze:

(The Blaze/AP) – An Arizona sheriff says five bodies found burned beyond recognition inside the shell of a charred SUV are likely the result of drug cartel violence.
The bodies and vehicle were found in the Vekol Valley, a rugged, mountainous desert area that’s a well-known smuggling corridor for drugs and illegal immigrants headed from Mexico to Phoenix and the U.S. interior.
The bodies were so severely burned that investigators couldn’t even determine their gender or ethnicity. While it remains uncertain whether the victims were from Mexico, the sheriff’s department has notified the Mexican Consulate.
“Given all these indicators, you don’t have to be a homicide detective to add up all this information,” Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said Saturday.
A Border Patrol agent first spotted the white Ford Expedition driving at around 4:30 a.m, however, the SUV disappeared and federal and local law enforcement were unable to track it down. It is not clear why the vehicle drew attention from authorities in the first place.
At daybreak, an agent spotted tracks leading from Interstate 8 into the desert. The vehicle that left the tracks had apparently launched off the highway, going airborne for a short distance before landing in the desert. The tracks continued on for a couple of miles.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Majority Of The Mexicans Now Smiling Over Thomas Perez's Targeting Of Sheriff Arpaio Understand That Just 200 Miles To The South Perez Can't Do A Damned Thing For 95% Of Their Countrymen

View Larger Map

Obama Administrations' Justice Department Civil Rights Division Head's Target - Sheriff Joe Arpaio - 

BACK IN MEXICO - Thomas Perez Can Do Nothing To Assist Hispanics That Suffer From The Ultimate Racial Profiling - Inside Of A Nation That Has Put Politics Over Governance - Just As Perez Appears To Be Doing

Saturday, April 28, 2012

US Debt Information

Government - US Debt

The Defense Attorney Always Rings Twice When Offering To Do "Pro Bono" Work For Sexual Favors

Attorney accused of trading drugs for sex with inmates

When it comes to defense attorneys I have come to accept that they are products of the shady people they interact with and the system that must make sense about dysfunctional people.

Some of the excuses used by some defense attorneys to explain the innocence of their client makes me wonder if they are on drugs because the excuse stretches credulity. 

A man with the power to spring a criminal defendant out of jail can have this power go to his head as he subsequently seeks to translate the jubilation of his female clients into sexual favors.  If he hands out hallucinogenic drugs that allow them to get past the fact that he looks nothing like Mathew McConaughey - he might actually get a few of them to go along with the scheme.

A tip from an inmate led to the arrest of a Sandy Springs attorney accused of offering inmates prohibited items in exchange for sexual favors.
Michael Stuart Winner, 45, was booked into Cobb County Jail on eight felony charges involving two female inmates, according to his arrest warrant obtained by Channel 2 Action News.
Winner met with the inmates in private attorney-client rooms at the Cobb County Jail on numerous occasions, the warrant states.
On one occasion, Winner exposed himself to a female inmate, and another time, he asked to see a woman's breasts, according to the sheriff's office, which secured the warrant.
In exchange, Winner offered to bring the inmates drugs or tobacco, items prohibited in jail, according to deputies. An inmate's complaint about Winner led to an investigation into his actions.
Winner was arrested Thursday evening at his home and booked into the jail, where he remained Friday night on $10,000 bond, jail records show.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Me Against The "Tree Rats" - One Man's Battle To Get Some Fruit This Year Without Going Insane

This is not a squirrel.
This is a TREE RAT.

I am long past the days where I was impressed with their acrobatics.

They are now the #1 threat to my fruit tree crop:
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Apples
After years of waiting for my peach trees to bear fruit (at least 3 of them have died over the past 5 years) - this year I see signs of success.

Over the weekend I saw three of my peach trees full of fruit and my plum tree with even more.
Two days ago Atlanta had torrential winds that had my trees bent over as their leaves acted like a kite.  These sustained winds cause some of the fruit to fly off.

I can tolerate Mother Nature.  I hammered in more metal rods into the ground and used zip ties to hold the tree trunks more steady in the wind.


This morning I saw two tree rats having a field day on my green peaches. 
The worst thing about them is that they take a few bites out of the under-developed peaches and then throw them on the ground.

When I looked out of my window and saw them I ran into the garage, got a bottle of "Critter Ridder" and yelled at them as I ran down the stairs.  They both scurried off by the time I got close to the tree.

The worse thing about Tree Rats is that they have no respect for property.
I wouldn't mind if they took a few and allowed the rest to grow to maturity.
Instead - just as I noted with a pecan tree at another house that I used to live in - while I am away working to pay my bills, Tree Rats have all day to eat my treasure.

They have no sense of limits on what they take.

If you hear about a man who was arrested for firing a shot gun inside of city limits in Georgia as he killed some Tree Rats - it might be me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Home Owners Associations Vs The Green Economy

Solar panels cause clashes with homeowner groups

Next to a letter from the IRS - my worst fear is receiving a letter from my Home Owners Association:
  • The letter is asking me to pay my dues or pay for some special assessment to do emergency repairs
  • The letter is a demand that I get back into compliance after some unknown Gestapo member of the "Covenance Committee" did their periodic walk and noticed something was out of line with my house 
I live to hate the HOA but I do understand that they are ultimately working to assist my property values be retained or grow.

Funny enough - over the past 15 years I know of several friends that told me how easy going their HOA is, only to later see their property values plunge:
  • Neighbors failing to pay their annual dues and as a result the pool no longer opens
  • The HOA not following through on their threats to place a lien on the house if you don't pay
    • My HOA does not play.  They will put a lien on the house for anyone that does not pay their dues.

I believe that it is in everyone best interests for the HOA to accommodate reasonable designs for solar panel installations.  IF the panels are installed on the back portion of roof, not visible from the front of the house - they should approve it. 

If the front of the house is facing the sun and the installation would require the panels to be visible from the front - the home owner should be allowed to place the panels in their back yard.

CUMMING, Ga. — The government wants you to install solar panels at your house, and will even give you a tax break to do it. But your neighbors? Maybe not.

It's a lesson Angel and David Dobs discovered when their homeowners association north of Atlanta denied their request to install solar panels on their roof. Neighborhood officials said the panels would look out of place and might lower home values in a community that regulates details as fine as the coloring of roof tiles, the planting of trees and the storage of trash cans.
"It's like living under communism — someone gets to dictate every possible thing you do," David Dobs said.
Homeowners associations around the country have banned or severely restricted the installation of solar panels, and the solar industry has pushed back to halt the practice. A recent attempt in Georgia to expand the right to go solar had support from environmentalists and some Republican lawmakers concerned about private property rights but it succumbed to opposition from developers and real estate agents.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thomash Kinkade - Printing Money While Painting

Sales of Kinkade artwork surge after painter dies

One man that I had always had respect for is Thomas Kinkade, the famous painter.

Once he got a loyal following for his artwork he could generate money by pulling out his paint brushes and use a blank canvas like the US Mint uses a blank sheet of paper that will later become a dollar bill.

I was actually surprised to read that his company had recent financial difficulties.  Prior to the recession a Thomas Kinkade painting was an appreciating asset.

I hope to one day develop a system by which my fan base throws money at me because they know that they will make a return on investment.

I hope to live longer than age 54 though.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

US Budget Deficit Raised To $1,200 Billion For 2011-2012

CBO: Deficit estimate for 2012 hiked to $1.2T

A new estimate from congressional economists says the government will run a $1.2 trillion deficit for the budget year ending just a few weeks before Election Day. It would be the fourth straight year of trillion dollar-plus deficits.
The almost $100 billion spike from earlier projections for the fiscal 2012 deficit comes almost exclusively because Congress passed legislation recommended by President Barack Obama to renew a 2 percentage point cut in payroll taxes and jobless benefits for people languishing on unemployment rolls for more than six months.
Last year's deficit registered $1.3 trillion.
The Congressional Budget Office report is just the latest confirmation of the government's severe fiscal problems. While the official CBO forecast predicts the deficit sliding to just 1 percent of the size of the economy within a few years, that estimate relies on revenues averaging about $500 billion a year over the coming decade — mostly from expiration of Bush-era tax cuts on income, investments, large estates and for families with children.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Oscars = People Worship

In my view - there is no greater example of "people worship" than the Oscar Awards.

On this blessed night all pretenses that the "1%" are to be loathed are thrown out of the window as those who's performances are able to manipulate our emotions on the big screen are provided praise by those who live vicariously through their life experiences.

Despite the fact that many of them live dysfunctional lives, with discarded relationships too numerous to mention, they are held up as the epitome of American success by those who believe that the corporate class are the real thieves.

Those who are able to steal our reality as they take us into a fantasy on the video screen has far more power than a banker.  While a banker can trigger mass protests - Hollywood drains people's discretionary funds from their wallets and their consciousness.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

At Least 356 Prisoners Die In Honduran Prison Fire

Officials: Hundreds die in huge Honduras prison fire

Little control inside prison
Officials have long had little control of conditions inside many Honduran prisons, where inmates have largely unfettered access to mobile phones and other contraband. A woman visiting her partner was among the victims.

In many South American prisons prisoners are placed into common cell blocks where they live openly among other prisoners.  They are segregated by gang affiliation.

It is tragic that the facility was so misconfigured that more than 350 people were allowed to die.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Social And Economic Justice" In Greece Hinges On Vote For Bailout Plan

Greek PM warns of collapse if bailout deal rejected

Who is "connecting the dots" between what is happening now in Europe and what certain forces seek to guide us toward in America?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ironic Twist Of Fate - Atlanta's "Bank Of America Tower" Is Foreclosed Upon

Bank of America Plaza to be auctioned today

The iconic tower that lights up the Atlanta skyline will be auctioned off on the steps of the "Fulton County Court House" - as a bank repossession.

While Bank Of America is not the owner of the tower, only a tenant - it represents a twist of fate.

Had I won the $54 million in the lottery, just as the lady from College Park GA did - I would use my proceeds to purchase this building.  I wonder if they would take $54 million in hard currency instead of the $363 million original loan value?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

As France And 9 Total European Nations Face S&P Downgrades The Rhetoric Attached To America's Downgrade Is Absent

9 eurozone nations downgraded by S&P

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Standard & Poor's said Friday that it has downgraded the credit ratings of nine euro area governments, including AAA-rated France and Austria.
S&P lowered its rating for Italy, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus by two notches. The move means Italian bonds are now rated BBB+, dangerously close to the junk bond level that could make it even harder for the government to raise money.
France and Austria both had their top-tier credit rating lowered by one notch to AA+, said S&P. But Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg all maintained their AAA ratings.
S&P cut the ratings of Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia by one notch.

I am frequently stunned how the arguments used in the American Political Shooting Match to define the reasons why an negative point in the United States don't fit when the same things happen in a more international scope.  The recent downgrade of certain fragile European nations prove this point.

When the United States suffered a downgrade of its credit rating a few months ago it was attributed to the political stalemate surrounding the 'Debt Ceiling Deal'.   As we look at the 9 European nations that just got dinged - it should be noted that many of them have a larger debt to GDP ratio than does the United States.   It is also true, however, that the US Debt is far larger from a numerical stand point.  But for the perceived safety in the USA as an investment repository - we would be screwed as our government's attempt to finance its debt is rejected by the market - until the returns outweigh the risks.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Venezuela Asked To Pay Fraction Of Value Of Confiscated Exxon Assets

Venezuela Seen Getting Off 'Lightly' In $908 Million Exxon Payment

CARACAS — An international arbitration panel awarded U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp. about $908 million in a verdict over oil assets nationalized by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2007, the company said late Saturday.
The payout is substantially lower than the $7 billion that Exxon was seeking in restitution and is likely to be a boon for Venezuela's defiant leftist government, which in recent years has embarked on a widespread nationalization campaign to centralize control over key economic sectors.
"It's a nice Christmas present for Chavez and Venezuela," said Russ Dallen, an analyst and bond trader at local investment bank Caracas Capital Markets. "The verdict is a lot less than people were probably thinking. It certainly means that [state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA or PdVSA] got off lightly," Dallen added.
Exxon spokesman Patrick McGinn said the decision by an arbitration court at the International Chamber of Commerce, "confirms that PdVSA does have a contractual liability to Exxon Mobil."
A PdVSA spokesman declined comment when reached by telephone on Sunday.

The best way to choke off all future foreign investment next to  proving to be a nation that is constantly at war thus exhibiting a high risk that capital assets will be destroyed is to earn a truck record for confiscating private property into government hands.