Archive for January, 2012

Welfare Drug Testing Bill Withdrawn After Amended To Include Testing Lawmakers

By: admin
Published: January 30th, 2012

From The Huffington post
by Arthur Delaney

A Republican member of the Indiana General Assembly withdrew his bill to create a pilot program for drug testing welfare applicants Friday after one of his Democratic colleagues amended the measure to require drug testing for lawmakers.

“There was an amendment offered today that required drug testing for legislators as well and it passed, which led me to have to then withdraw the bill,” said Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), sponsor of the original welfare drug testing bill.

The Supreme Court ruled drug testing for political candidates unconstitutional in 1997, striking down a Georgia law. McMillin said he withdrew his bill so he could reintroduce it on Monday with a lawmaker drug testing provision that would pass constitutional muster.

“I’ve only withdrawn it temporarily,” he told HuffPost, stressing he carefully crafted his original bill so that it could survive a legal challenge. Last year a federal judge, citing the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable search and seizure, struck down a Florida law that required blanket drug testing of everyone who applied for welfare.

McMillin’s bill would overcome constitutional problems, he said, by setting up a tiered screening scheme in which people can opt-out of random testing. Those who decline random tests would only be screened if they arouse “reasonable suspicion,” either by their demeanor, by being convicted of a crime, or by missing appointments required by the welfare office.

more here 

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Freddie Mac Betting Against Struggling Homeowners

By: admin
Published: January 30th, 2012

As I told many times, banksters and the bureaucrats have learned nothing  from the 2008’s collapse.

I think that is, because they expect to be bailed out again by the taxpayers. 

From NPR

Freddie Mac, based in Northern Virginia, says its job is to purchase “loans from lenders to replenish their supply of funds so that they [the lenders] can make more mortgage loans to other borrowers.” That’s one reason why Freddie has a gigantic portfolio containing loans that generate income from mortgage payments. Critics say this investment portfolio has been allowed to grow far larger than necessary to further Freddie’s policy mission.

Plus, in 2010 and 2011, Freddie didn’t just hold a simple pile of loans. Instead, for hundreds of thousands of home loans, it used Wall Street alchemy to chop these loans up into complicated securities — slices of which were sold in financial markets.

This hypothetical example may help explain what happens:

1) Freddie Mac takes, say, $1 billion worth of home loans and packages them. With the help of a Wall Street banker, it can then slice off parts of the bundle to create different investment securities, some riskier than others. The slices could be set up so that, say, $900 million worth are relatively safe investments, based upon homeowners paying the principal on their mortgages.

2) But the one remaining slice, worth $100 million, is the riskiest part. Freddie retains that slice, known as an “inverse floater,” which receives all of the interest payments from the entire $1 billion worth of mortgages.

3) That riskiest investment pays out a lucrative stream of interest payments. But Freddie’s slice also has all the so-called “pre-payment risk” associated with that $1 billion worth of loans. So if lots of people “pre-pay” their old loans and refinance into new, cheaper ones, then Freddie Mac starts to lose money. If people can’t refinance, then Freddie wins because it continues to receive that flow of older, higher interest payments.

If the homeowner is unable to refinance, the Freddie Mac portfolio managers win, Simon says. “And if the homeowner can refinance, they lose.”

more here

By the way, how many homeowners will refinance a mortgage?

A lot of them will try

But how many of them will succeed?

Very few.

You see the banks now days are very reluctant to refinance mortgages with zero or negative equity.

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Daily Readings 01-30-2012

By: admin
Published: January 30th, 2012

MegaUpload Users Plan to Sue the FBI over Lost Files – 

In most reports following the MegaUpload shutdown, the site is exclusively portrayed as a piracy haven.

However, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people used the site to share research data, work documents, personal video collections.

As of today, these people are still unsure whether they will ever get their personal belongings back.

Superbugs spied off the Antarctic coast – 

BACTERIA that can resist nearly all antibiotics have been found in Antarctic seawater.

Björn Olsen of Uppsala University in Sweden and colleagues took seawater samples between 10 and 300 metres away from Chile’s Antarctic research stations, Bernardo O’Higgins, Arturo Prat and Fildes Bay. A quarter of the samples of Escherichia coli bacteria carried genes that made an enzyme called ESBL, which can destroy penicillin, cephalosporins and related antibiotics

Wipro boss Azim Premji to train UK students in Bangalore –

Mr Premji, the chairman of Wipro and India’s third richest man, has offered to take third-year students from British universities to the company’s headquarters in Bangalore for three months’ intensive study and nine months on-the-job training with a view to returning them fit for work in the UK.

In an interview with The Telegraph in Davos, Mr Premji said his carefully designed training programme in India would better equip students than their courses in the UK.

Forget global warming – it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again) – 

The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.

The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.

Yet Another Green Energy Stimulus Recipient Hits the Skids (the third this week!) –

Earlier this week, Stimulus beneficiary Evergreen Energy bit the dust. Then, Ener1, a manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles and recipient of Stimulus largesse, filed for bankruptcy. And today, the Las Vegas Sun reports that Amonix, Inc., a manufacturer of solar panels that received $5.9 million from the Porkulus, will cut two-thirds of its workforce, about 200 employees, only seven months after opening a factory in Nevada.

Your Tax Dollars Not at Work – 

From Solyndra to Bobber the Water Safety Dog, an epic spending program ran amok and then ran aground, its goals unmet.

Germans float direct EU control over Greek budget – 

 Germany is proposing that debt-ridden Greece temporarily cede sovereignty over tax and spending decisions to a powerful eurozone budget commissioner before it can secure further bailouts, an official in Berlin said Saturday.

Europe’s lost generation: how it feels to be young and struggling in the EU – 

Eurozone unemployment is at a record. According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, 16.3 million people are out of work in the 17 countries that joined the euro. The story of a lost generation is becoming the scandal of a continent. In Spain, 51.4% of those aged 16-24 are jobless. In Greece, the figure is 43%.

Made in the World – 

Politicians see the world as blocs of voters living in specific geographies — and they see their job as maximizing the economic benefits for the voters in their geography. Many C.E.O.’s, though, increasingly see the world as a place where their products can be made anywhere through global supply chains (often assembled with nonunion-protected labor) and sold everywhere.

Angry about inequality? Don’t blame the rich – 

The mere existence of income inequality tells us little about what, if anything, should be done about it. First, we must answer some key questions. Who constitutes the prosperous and the poor? Why has inequality increased? Does an unequal income distribution deny poor people the chance to buy what they want? And perhaps most important: How do Americans feel about inequality?

Jobless man builds a house out of $1.82 billion worth of shredded money – 

If you’re wondering how it feels to live in a house made out of paper currency, he said that it’s quite warm inside: “Whatever you say about the Euro, it’s a great insulator.”

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TEDxRainier – Dimitri Christakis – Media and Children

By: admin
Published: January 27th, 2012

TEDxRainier – Dimitri Christakis – Media and Children

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Daily Readings 01-26-2012

By: admin
Published: January 26th, 2012

Mega-man: The fast, fabulous, and fraudulent life of Kim Dotcom – Dotcom has gone out of his way since the early 1990s to put himself at the center of media attention. He’s certainly got it now. But who, really, is this guy?

Warren Buffett’s Secretary Likely Makes Between $200,000 And $500,000/Year – Warren Buffet’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, served as a stage prop for President Obama’s State of the Union speech. She was the President’s chief display of the alleged unfairness of our tax system – a little person paying a higher tax rate than her billionaire boss.

Despite Unfair Tax Burden, Warren Buffett’s Secretary Was Just Able To Buy A Second Home – Despite a heavy tax burden, Warren Buffett’s secretary last year was able to purchase a second home in Arizona, a residence complete with a swimming pool and a “professional PGA putting green,” according to real estate records.

Obama Extols Warren Buffett as Hero, But to Wall Street He’s No Angel – President Obama invokes Warren Buffett as a great icon of Wall Street eager to pay his fair share of taxes, but the industry sees his folksy image as a mask for a robber-baron mentality.

Bill Gates: I don’t pay enough tax – What is stopping him to pay more voluntarily? 

Unanswered Issues on the “Buffett Rule” – So if your income is above $1 million, you have to pay 30 percent of your income in taxes, even if that income came from capital gains or dividends, which is normally taxed at 15%.

How to Avoid Worst of All Worlds: Pay Poorest More – Ha! How is that going to work out for “Apple” for example?

FOXCONN APOLOGISES OVER BOSS’S ‘ANIMAL’ COMMENT: REPORT – Taiwan technology giant Foxconn has apologised over comments by chief Terry Gou allegedly comparing workers to animals, according to a report.

Fed Signals That a Full Recovery Is Years Away – The Federal Reserve, declaring that the economy would need help for years to come, said Wednesday it would extend by 18 months the period that it plans to hold down interest rates in an effort to spur growth.

Forget Greece; it’s Portugal that’ll destroy euro –  Commentary: One default is an accident; two is a systemic crisis

The shrinking private equity world – 

Barack Obama is still driving America towards decline – Two words hardly mentioned in Barack Obama’s 65-minute State of the Union address to Congress: freedom and liberty. President Obama’s fourth and possibly last State of the Union speech was long on big government proposals, but short on the principles that have made America the world’s greatest power.

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Daily Readings 01-25-2012

By: admin
Published: January 25th, 2012

Davos: World bosses gloomy about year ahead – A survey of 1,258 bosses by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum of the global business elite, found 48 percent expect economic decline and only 15 percent growth.

Google announces privacy changes across products; users can’t opt out – The Web giant announced Tuesday that it plans to follow the activities of users acrossnearly all of its ubiquitous sites, including YouTubeGmail and its leading search engine.

Terence Corcoran: The United States of Envy – Welcome to the United States of Envy, land of the free and home of the brave so long as nobody makes too much more money than the next guy

Obama challenges: Shrink gap between rich, poor – “The state of our union is getting stronger,” Obama said….what a schmuck 

President Obama’s State of the Union? Hyper-Regulated – The 2012 State of the Union Address ought to address the Mistakes of the Union when it comes to over-regulation of competitive free enterprise.

Mic check! Occupy Wall Street offers a rebuttal to State of the Union – When you treat the people who build your buildings and serve your food and raise your children and patrol your streets without respect, You have not only lost touch with our humanity, You have lost touch with your own humanity

Haven’t We Heard this Before? – The Republican National Committee has compiled this video comparing lines President Obama used tonight in his State of the Union Address with lines he used in previous addresses before Congress

Herman Cain delivers Tea Party response (12:54)

US Post Office Needs to Cut 260,000 Jobs: Rep. Issa – The U.S. Postal Service needs to slash 260,000 jobs and end weekend delivery if it is to climb out of its “financially insolvent” condition, Rep. Darrell Issa said.

Roofing company sends Genesee County money to pay inmates $44 an hour – The rate for a journeyman roofer in the county is at least $26.21 per hour and $17.95 in fringe benefits, according to county documents.

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Daily Readings 01-24-2012

By: admin
Published: January 24th, 2012

Under Obama, Price of Gas Has Jumped 83 Percent, Ground Beef 24 Percent, Bacon 22 Percent – Here you have it – The State of the Union under Obama

Brazil Stiffs Obama on Oil Deal, Exposing President’s Incompetence – Obama’s policy in regard to oil and gas has been a study in incompetence driven by an ideological mania against hydrocarbon fuel in favor of more politically correct forms of energy production. This has not only led to what amounts to a campaign against oil and gas production in the U.S., but embarrassing scandals such as Solyndra, brought on by unwise federal loan guarantees to dubious green energy companies. If you were wondering why the gas prices continue go up here is a part of the reason

Buffett’s Burlington Northern Among Winners From Keystone Denial – Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

President Obama approved fiddling with budget numbers, New Yorker reports – The president prided himself on honesty in his first budget proposal, including the real estimated costs of spending, but Obama later shifted his stance and approved the use of budget gimmickry, according to The New Yorker. Is there anyone surprised?

Federal employees owe $1.03 billion in unpaid taxes – About 98,000 federal, postal and congressional employees owed $1.03 billion in unpaid taxes at the end of fiscal 2010, according to recordsprovided by the Internal Revenue Service. The total number of delinquent employees dipped slightly from 2009, but the amount owed jumped by $32 million.

How Much the Rich Pay – 

The welfare state is destroying America – Spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare alone currently account for 46 percent — or nearly half of — federal spending, excluding interest payments. Over the next 25 years, that percentage will explode to 66 percent, or close to two-thirds, according to the Congressional Budget Office..

Numbers associated with the nation’s debt crisis are almost too staggering to comprehend. Last month, total U.S. debt surpassed $15 trillion. But a recent analysis by Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff found that when long-term entitlement obligations are considered, the true fiscal gap is $211 trillion

Mark Landsbaum: Taxpayers getting sunburned again – Despite history – and current events involving alternative energy companies – many Americans buy into the notion that for good things to happen, the government needs to be involved, even in charge.

Boehner: Problem in Washington Is ‘Too Much Spending’—But Since March, There’s No Spending Without GOP Approval – Federal spending bills approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives have increased the national debt by more than $1 trillion dollars in just 10 months.

Online Vendors, Meet The 1099-K – You’ll only receive a 1099-K if you’ve participated in 200 transactions adding up to $20,000. It’s the IRS’s helpful way of reminding you to report income you might have otherwise overlooked. If you don’t receive a 1099-K because sell less frequently, you’ll still have to report your income.

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