Archive for December, 2011

Daily Readings 12-30-2011

By: admin
Published: December 30th, 2011

Job Creation Is Price for New U.S. Health Law: Andrew Puzder - I am not an expert on health-care policy, but I do know something aboutjob creation. So when a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee asked me to testify about the effect on employers of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes known as Obamacare, I thought I could offer some insights.

New fee coming for medical effectiveness research – Starting in 2012, the government will charge a new fee to your health insurance plan for research to find out which drugs, medical procedures, tests and treatments work best. But what will Americans do with the answers?

America is in denial about its fiscal future – We are shifting from “giveaway politics” to “takeaway politics.” Since World War II, presidents and Congresses have been in the enviable position of distributing more benefits to more people without requiring ever-steeper taxes. Now this governing formula no longer works, and politicians face the opposite: taking away — reducing benefits or raising taxes significantly — to prevent government deficits from destabilizing the economy. It is not clear that either Democrats or Republicans can navigate the change.

Start Saving or Get Ready for U.S. Decline: Laurence Kotlikoff - America has a terrible saving problem and a slumping economy. But our national mantra, underscored by last week’s payroll-tax cut, is spend, spend, spend. Yet, countries can’t spend their way to prosperity. This demand-side voodoo-economics approach is driving us further into hock. The right mantra should be save, save, save.

U.S. Government Has Spent $682,570 to Study ‘Shrimp On A Treadmill’ – Reports of $500,000 of taxpayer funds to study a project that has shrimp running on a treadmill hit the headlines early in 2011. A recent report now shows that $682,570 in grants has been awarded to the research effort.

Obama Administration Spending Millions to ‘Better Connect’ People With an Urban Park – The Obama administration is giving $20 million in taxpayer money to the State of Missouri for improvements to I-70 that will “better connect” people in St. Louis with the parkland around the base of the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

Public workers’ perk hits taxpayers – Government workers in 21 states are using an obscure perk to retire early or to boost their annual pensions by thousands of dollars, which can cost taxpayers millions more in payments to retirement funds, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

Federal workers starting at much higher pay than in past – A 30- to 34-year-old lawyer started at an average of $101,045 this year, up from $79,177 five years ago. The government hires about 2,500 lawyers a year. And a mechanical engineer, age 25 to 29, started at $63,675, up from $51,746 in 2006. The government hires about 600 mechanical engineers a year.

Behind the boost: The government is classifying more new hires — secretaries, mail clerks, chaplains, laundry workers, electrical engineers and wildlife biologists — as taking more demanding versions of their jobs and deserving more pay.

PHILLY COUNCILWOMAN WILL ‘RETIRE’ FOR ONE DAY, COLLECT A $478K PENSION, AND RETURN ON MONDAY – Another elected official set to return after collecting his DROP payment is Register of Wills Ronald Donatucci, who retired Dec. 23 and will also return on Monday, Bielli said. He collected $366,797.

Throw Out the Entire D.C. Establishment – Crony capitalism is the most serious current danger to the American community, a threat not simply to government or the economy, but to our very way of life.  It is the worst such threat since the trusts and monopolies of the early 20th century, and in much the same way. Cronyism is one of the major forces behind the establishment of the corrupt pseudo-aristocracy that has been taking shape in this country over the past two decades, a synthetic privileged class made up in large part of politicians, hustlers, and hangers-on who have become expert in exploiting the rest of us.

Tweeting the word ‘drill’ could mean your Twitter account is read by U.S. government spies – The Department of Homeland Security makes fake Twitter and Facebook profiles for the specific purpose of scanning the networks for ‘sensitive’ words – and tracking people who use them. 

The U.S. Government Bond Bubble (And What To Do About It) – Treasury bond prices will likely suffer a major decline in the next few years. Here are eight high-yielding stocks that are a smarter alternative for the income part of your portfolio.

The Genius of “One Percenters” Is Their Amazing Command of the Obvious – Why do most people often miss the obvious? For starters, we’re bombarded with so much information that it’s hard to think about everything. Also, there’s a tendency to ignore things that are contrary to firmly-held beliefs.

Secrets Of The Accidental Entrepreneur – The combination of luck, health, and flexibility that allows one to roll with disappointments, learn from them, move forward, and repeat when necessary.

Scientists test sick Alaska seals for radiation – Experts not sure if woes, from hair loss to bloody lesions, tied to Fukushima nuclear plant (Uh-huh, where do they think those millions of tons of radioactive water from Fukushima, that were  dumped into the ocean  go? See the google images for the ocean currents) 

It’s the Math, Stupid!: Seven Devastating Facts About 2012 – 

  1. Every day, the U.S. government takes in $6 billion and spends $10 billion.  This means that every day the federal government spends $4 billion more dollars than it has.
  2. The real unemployment rate is a jaw-dropping 11 percent.
  3. Every fifth man you pass on your way to work is now out of work.
  4. College graduates are now 34% less likely to find a job under Obama than they were under President George W. Bush.
  5. Every seventh person you pass on the sidewalk now relies on food stamps.
  6. The ravages of the Obama economy now mean that more Americans live under the federal poverty line than at any time in U.S. history since records have been kept.
  7. Under President Barack Obama, every fifth child in America now lives in poverty.
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Daily Readings 12-24-2011

By: admin
Published: December 24th, 2011

The corruption of America – Our political leaders, our business leaders, and our cultural leaders have made a series of catastrophic choices. The result has been a long decline in America’s standard of living.

For decades, we have papered over these problems with massive amounts of borrowing. But now, our debts total close to 400% of GDP, and America is the world’s largest borrower (after being the world’s largest creditor only 40 years ago) … And the holes in our society can no longer be hidden.

Sir Mervyn King: debt crisis is causing a dangerous ‘dependence on central banks’ – Sir Mervyn King has used his position as vice-chairman of Europe’s “early warning watchdog” to warn that the developing debt crisis is causing a dangerous “dependence on central banks”

Christmas Trees and the Logic of Growth –  Central banks are creating a tinderbox by keeping alive many very bad investments.

For investors, playing the game of risk has never been easier – The devolution of the investment decision to a single choice between “risky” assets—equities, oil, and the like—and “less risky” ones—U.S. Treasuries, German bunds—brings to mind a well-dressed man in a casino, who, on each successive hand, moves all his chips from red to black and then back again.

E-Mail Clues in Tracking MF Global Client Funds – One e-mail chain refers to the transfer of roughly $200 million that MF Global owed JPMorgan Chase on Oct. 28 — the firm’s last business day before it filed for bankruptcy. In that chain, a senior official in the firm’s Chicago office was told to make the transfer, said the people close to the investigation who requested anonymity because the inquiry was still open.

Fed’s Once-Secret Data Compiled by Bloomberg Released to Public – Bloomberg News today released spreadsheets showing daily borrowing totals for 407 banks and companies that tapped Federal Reserve emergency programs during the 2007 to 2009 financial crisis. It’s the first time such data have been publicly available in this form.

To download a zip file of the spreadsheets, go to http://bit.ly/Bloomberg-Fed-Data. For an explanation of the files, see the one labeled “1a Fed Data Roadmap.”

US Regime Wants ‘License To Lie’ And ‘Ability To Destroy Records’ – 

How Bad Ideas Worsen Europe’s Debt Meltdown – Europe is as full of bad ideas as it is of bad debts.

The Failure of the Euro – The Little Currency That Couldn’t

New Bubble May Be Growing in 30-Year Mortgages – The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the most common way U.S. buyers finance a home purchase, isn’t the ideal instrument its supporters claim it to be.

What Fannie and Freddie Knew – The SEC shows how the toxic twins turbocharged the housing bubble

SEC’s Fannie, Freddie Lawsuits Miss the Enablers – So who is holding the regulators accountable for letting these alleged frauds go on?

The Beginning of the End of the 9-to-5 Workday? – New evidence shows that we’re reaching a tipping point in terms of workplace flexibility, with businesses seeing the wisdom of allowing employees — young ones especially — to work odd hours, telecommute and otherwise tweak the usual 9-to-5 grind.

Voters leaving Republican, Democratic parties in droves – More than 2.5 million voters have left the Democratic and Republican parties since the 2008 elections, while the number of independent voters continues to grow.

Officials Plead Guilty in New York Voter Fraud Case – A total of four Democratic officials and political operatives have now pleaded guilty to voter fraud-related felony charges in an alleged scheme to steal a New York election

Holder’s Voter ID Fraud – The Obama Administration’s re-election mobilization continues: Witness Eric Holder’s attempt to play the race card and perhaps twist the law in a campaign against voter identification laws

How Kim Jong Il Starved North Korea – What kind of disastrous economic policy results in the death by starvation of up to 3 million people in a nation with the population of Texas?

United Nation General Assembly observes one-minute silence to mourn death of Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea’s leader  – However, representatives of the United States, Japan, South Korea on Thursday boycotted the one-minute silence at the General Assembly, with Britain, France, Germany and other European countries joining them.

 Readied To Donate Organs, 21-Year-Old Emerges From Coma – Sam Schmid, an Arizona college student believed to be brain dead and poised to be an organ donor, miraculously recovered just hours before doctors were considering taking him off life support.

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Daily Readings 12-21-2011

By: admin
Published: December 21st, 2011

Alarm as Dutch lab creates highly contagious killer flu – A deadly strain of bird flu with the potential to infect and kill millions of people has been created in a laboratory by European scientists – who now want to publish full details of how they did it.  

Merrill: ‘Classic bubble’ signs in Canadian housing market – Canada’s housing market shows the “classic signs of over valuation, speculation and over supply,” but Bank of America Merrill Lynch says that’s no reason to think that there will be an epic crash of American proportions.

Germans Ponder If Europe Behaves Like Them Would That Backfire – Germany’s drive to mold the rest of Europe into its economic image may come at a cost for the country’s export machine. (Oh, Scheiße!)

Super Young Retirement Savers – Occupy Wall Street-ers: here, those young people show how they are going to become rich…by working and saving

Who Created Prosperity? Bureaucrats Or Individuals? – Was America’s standard of living achieved due to individuals using their own capacities, in their own pursuits for happiness or success, unhindered by government control? Or was it thanks to government bureaucrats drawing up plans and managing the economy?

China Is Not The Source Of Our Jobs Problem – The bottom line is that we Americans are allowing ourselves to be suckered into believing that China is the source of our unemployment problems when the true culprit is Congress and the White House

Candidate Match Game – Who is your candidate

Dumbest Moments in Business – The biggest missteps of 2011

10 Things Our Kids Will Never Worry About Thanks to the Information Revolution – You know you’re getting old when you start using the same sort of “kids these days” rants with your children that your parents threw your way long ago.

Mexico Mayan region launches apocalypse countdown – Unlike enthusiasts of other doomsday theories who suggest putting together survival kits, southeastern Mexico, the heart of Maya territory, plans a yearlong celebration.

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Wastebook 2011

By: admin
Published: December 20th, 2011

Wastebook 2011

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My Time at Walmart: Why We Need Serious Welfare Reform

By: admin
Published: December 19th, 2011

From The College Conservative
by Christine Rousselle

During the 2010 and 2011 summers, I was a cashier at Wal-Mart #1788 in Scarborough, Maine. I spent hours upon hours toiling away at a register, scanning, bagging, and dealing with questionable clientele. These were all expected parts of the job, and I was okay with it. What I didn’t expect to be part of my job at Wal-Mart was to witness massive amounts of welfare fraud and abuse.

I understand that sometimes, people are destitute. They need help, and they accept help from the state in order to feed their families. This is fine. It happens. I’m not against temporary aid helping those who truly need it. What I saw at Wal-Mart, however, was not temporary aid. I witnessed generations of families all relying on the state to buy food and other items.  I literally witnessed small children asking their mothers if they could borrow their EBT cards. I once had a man show me his welfare card for an ID to buy alcohol. The man was from Massachusetts. Governor Michael Dukakis’ signature was on his welfare card. Dukakis’ last gubernatorial term ended in January of 1991. I was born in June of 1991. The man had been on welfare my entire life. That’s not how welfare was intended, but sadly, it is what it has become.

Other things witnessed while working as a cashier included:

a) People ignoring me on their iPhones while the state paid for their food. (For those of you keeping score at home, an iPhone is at least $200, and requires a data package of at least $25 a month. If a person can spend $25+ a month so they can watch YouTube 24/7, I don’t see why they can’t spend that money on food.)

b) People using TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) money to buy such necessities such as earrings, kitkat bars, beer, WWE figurines, and, my personal favorite, a slip n’ slide. TANF money does not have restrictions like food stamps on what can be bought with it.

c) Extravagant purchases made with food stamps; including, but not limited to: steaks, lobsters, and giant birthday cakes.

d) A man who ran a hotdog stand on the pier in Portland, Maine used to come through my line. He would always discuss his hotdog stand and encourage me to “come visit him for lunch some day.” What would he buy? Hotdogs, buns, mustard, ketchup, etc. How would he pay for it? Food stamps. Either that man really likes hotdogs, or the state is paying for his business. Not okay.

The thing that disturbed me more than simple cases of fraud/abuse was the entitled nature of many of my customers. One time, a package of bell peppers did not ring up as food in the computer. After the woman swiped her EBT card, it showed a balance that equaled the cost of the peppers. The woman asked what the charge was, and a quick glance at the register screen showed that the peppers did not ring up as food. (Food items had the letter ‘F’ next to their description.) The woman immediately began yelling at me, saying that, “It’s food! You eat it!”

This wasn’t the only time things like this happened: if a person’s EBT balance was less than they thought it would be, or if their cards were declined, it was somehow my fault. I understand the situation is stressful, but a person should be knowledgeable about how much money is in their account prior to going grocery shopping. EBT totals are printed on receipts, and every cell phone has a calculator function. There’s no excuse, and there’s no reason to yell at the cashier for it.

The worst thing I ever saw at Wal-Mart Scarborough was two women and their children. These women each had multiple carts full of items, and each began loading them at the same time (this should have been a tip-off to their intelligence levels). The first woman, henceforth known as Welfare Queen #1, paid for about $400 worth of food with food stamps. The majority of her food was void of any nutritional value. She then pulled out an entire month’s worth of WIC (Women, Infants, and Children program) checks. I do not mind people paying with WIC, but the woman had virtually none of the correct items. WIC gives each participating mother a book containing actual images of items for which a person can and cannot redeem the voucher. This woman literally failed at image comprehension.

After redeeming 10+ WIC checks, Welfare Queen #1 had me adjust the prices of several items she was buying (Wal-Mart’s policy is to adjust the price of the item without question if it’s within a dollar or two). She then pulled out a vacuum cleaner, and informed me that the cost of the vacuum was $3.48 because, “that’s what the label says.” The vacuum cleaner was next to a stack of crates that were $3.48. Somehow, every other customer was able to discern that the vacuum cleaner was not $3.48, but Welfare Queen #1 and her friend Welfare Queen #2 were fooled. Welfare Queen #2 informed me that she used to work for Wal-Mart, and that the “laws of Wal-Mart legally said” that I would have to sell her the vacuum for $3.48. After contacting my manager, who went off to find the proper vacuum price, Welfare Queen #1 remarked that it must be tough to stand on a mat all day and be a cashier. I looked at her, smiled, shrugged, and said, “Well, it’s a job.” She was speechless. After they finally admitted defeat, (not before Welfare Queen #2 realizing she didn’t have enough money to buy all of the food she had picked out, resulting in the waste of about $200 worth of products) the two women left about an hour and a half after they arrived at my register. The next man in line said that the two women reminded him of buying steel drums and cement. I said I was reminded why I vote Republican.

Maine has a problem with welfare spending. Maine has some of the highest rates in the nation for food stamp enrollment, Medicaid, and TANF. Nearly 30% of the state is on some form of welfare. Maine is the only state in the nation to rank in the top two for all three categories. This is peculiar, as Maine’s poverty rate isn’t even close to being the highest in the nation. The system in Maine is far easier to get into than in other states, and it encourages dependency. When a person makes over the limit for benefits, they lose all benefits completely. There is no time limit and no motivation to actually get back to work. Furthermore, spending on welfare has increased dramatically, but there has been no reduction of the poverty rate. Something is going terribly wrong, and the things I saw at work were indicators of a much larger problem. Something must change before the state runs out of money funding welfare programs.

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Daily Readings 12-19-2011

By: admin
Published: December 19th, 2011

The Hyper-Hypothecation Credit Default Swap Time Bomb – 

Economic Fairness – by Walter E. Williams – Say a person wants to become a taxi owner. He has a driver’s license, a car and accident liability insurance. Is it fair that in New York City, he has to first purchase a taxi license (medallion) that as of October sold for $1 million? Taxi licenses in Chicago go for $56,000. In Boston, they are $285,000, and in Philadelphia, they run $75,000. Is that fair competition?

Our Marxist Wizard of Oz – Obama’s not in Kansas anymore

President Obama to stay in D.C. while Michelle Obama, daughters head to Hawaii – First lady Michelle Obama and first daughters Sasha and Malia are headed to Hono­lulu on Friday for a 17-day vacation — without the president. At least for now

Michelle’s Solo Hawaii Trip Likely to Exceed $100,000 – The military jet flight alone is priced at more than $60,000, according to government estimates. But that’s only the beginning. The additional cargo flight that often accompanies the first lady on such a trip must also be paid for, as well as the limos and other accoutrements it will contain.

Outrage! Author of ‘stimulus’ linked to companies it helped - An adviser to Barack Obama who played a keyrolein developing the energy provisions of the so-called stimulus bill has served on the boards of several companies that recently received government funds, including hundreds of millions in “stimulus” money.

TJ Glauthier served on Obama’s 2008 White House Transition Team. He is widely credited with helping to craft the energy provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the “stimulus.”

New Foreclosure Wave is Coming – Despite a seasonal slowdown in overall foreclosure activity, and a process still bogged down and backed up by the “robo-signing” processing scandal, the U.S real estate market is about to be hit by another surge of bank repossessions, according to a new report from the online foreclosure sale site RealtyTrac. As banks resubmit millions of documents and courts begin hearing cases again, the backlog of over four million delinquent loans will start surging through the pipeline again.

This slump won’t end until 2031 – Commentary: Our predicament parallels Long Depression of 1870s

Europe’s economic purgatory – By now, it’s obvious that adopting the euro was a colossal blunder. It may rank as Europe’s worst policy mistake since World War II. The virtues of the common currency — it reduced transaction costs and the uncertainty of fluctuating exchange rates among national monies — were temporary. Its vices seem permanent or, at least, semi-permanent: the mounting economic costs of saving the euro; the growing nationalism from arguing over who’s to blame.

Rahm looks for more power, ability to deputize during G8 – Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants big new powers to help stage the NATO and G8 summits here in Chicago next May.

Military given go-ahead to detain US terrorist suspects without trial – Civil rights groups dismayed as Barack Obama abandons commitment to veto new security law contained in defence bill

Meet the new 1%: healthcare CEOs replace bankers as America’s best paid – No bankers in top 10 of America’s best-paid executives, but those in charge of healthcare and drugs firms are in the money

I’m the fourth best president in American history ~ Barack Obama

Thanks Taxpayers: Obama’s 17-Day Vacation to Cost $4 Million – As many Americans continue to struggle to find work, forgoing Christmas presents and vacations this year as a result, Barack Obama is headed to Hawaii on Friday for his 17-day long, $4 million vacation courtesy of taxpayers

Gold to Slip Below $1,500 in Next 3 Months: Poll - Sunday, 18 Dec 2011

Gold Could Hit $2,500 Next Year: Strategist – Monday, 19 Dec 2011

 Fannie, Freddie At Heart Of Financial Crisis, Fraud Charges Show – The SEC is suing top officers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for not disclosing their true exposure to subprime loans. Maybe now the left’s tired canard that Fannie and Freddie were blameless can be laid to rest.

How Did World War II End the Great Depression? - It is commonly opined, in high school history classes and backyard barbeques, that government spending in the run-up to World War II “got us out of the Depression.” This narrative conveys the sense that the end of the Great Depression was both accidental and necessarily belligerent.

And the Crisis Winner Is? Government – From Greece to Washington to New York state, there’s no effective mechanism to control spending.

 That is what cult of personality looks like – How did Kim Jong Il and all other dictators did it? A lot of brainwashing from a very young age… 

Santelli Balances the U.S. Budget

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Daily Readings 12-14-2011

By: admin
Published: December 14th, 2011

CME chief alleges Corzine aware of transfers – Jon Corzine, the former chief executive of MF Global, “was aware” that the broker-dealer made use of customer funds during its desperate fight for survival, a US Senate hearing was told on Tuesday.

Realtors: We Overcounted Home Sales for Five Years – Data on sales of previously owned U.S. homes from 2007 through October this year will be revised down next week because of double counting, indicating a much weaker housing market than previously thought.

Most Economists Expect Another Global Recession – By common consent, the world economic outlook is much darker today than it appeared in the early autumn.

HOWARD DAVIDOWITZ: ” I see only pain ahead. Things will get better when Obama is gone and someone even half sane replace him. If a dog runs against Obama I would consider voting for the dog”

Treasury Reports 38th Straight Month of Deficits – The Treasury Department has released spending and income data showing that the federal government has now run a deficit for the 38th consecutive month.

The man who predicted the European debt crisis – In 1997, before the first euro note had rolled off the presses, the Harvard economist Martin Feldstein surveyed Europe’s plans for a single currency and, in a lengthy essay in Foreign Affairs, predicted that they would come to grief.

Our decade from hell will get worse in 2012 –  Market crash, political gridlock, revolution, new class wars…

Thanks a lot to the 1% – A new analysis released yesterday shows that the top 1 percent of New York City’s moneymakers paid 43.2 percent of the city’s income tax — even though they accounted for just 33.8 percent of total income here

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