Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, 2012!

Merry Christmas! While we waste $25 million in tax payer dollars today alone in Hawaii, you can always get yourself a real present. Why not just buy your own Senator! They come cheap these days:

"The South Korean CEO of an Iowa metals company has donated $500,000 to a university institute honoring a U.S. Senator (Harken) currently pushing for the $1 coin."

Check it out for yourself.  I think the vast majority are for sale in 2013!

Friday, December 21, 2012

MONTANA 2012 TEAM PARISIAN


Montana.    It’s not getting any easier, but “do-it-yourself”  in Montana can still pay off.   It just takes  work, some luck, some leg-work and some time.   Isn’t that what trophy hunting is all about?  Year after year I hear hunters tell me about their quest for big bucks, how bad they want to hunt out west, how they can’t quite ever scrape enough money aside to do it.   Truth be told, if it was easy, everyone would do it.  I don’t fish, I don’t play golf but I do enjoy hunting Montana.   I like to get it done, now for my boys.   In my short 58 years I have found that if people want to do something they will do it.  If it’s important to them they will do it and will find a way.  If they don’t, they will find an excuse and invariably excuses are for people who don’t want it bad enough.     Our trip to Montana was going to be different this year, which was guaranteed.   For starters, the ranch property we hunted for the past few years was off-limits to hunting.   The disastrous winter of 2010 and disease had taken its toll.  Fawn recruitment was poor and between the cats, coyotes and severe drought of this past summer ranch ownership had made the decision to shut down big-game hunting.   So, I had to come up with a plan.  After all, with an expensive non-resident license in hand you do need a place to hunt.   Between phone calls, letters and some luck I was able to find some access and get  lined up for the week of Thanksgiving for my two sons and hunting pal for an elk and deer combination hunt.    My beautiful wife was in the mix this year too so our team was going to start with her running with us.
We didn’t know what to expect.    My wife had suffered enough Thanksgiving weeks without us so she decided she would roll with the team for part of the week and return to TN for Thanksgiving Day turkey with her parents.

Our party had 2 bull tags in Unit 590.  No easy task.  My youngest son had a cow tag.  I had returned my cow tag for a refund.   No sense in killing another cow,  I’ve shot enough elk in my life and we wouldn’t need any more meat than filling the 3 tags we had.  The locals were quick to point out how lucky we were.  Yes, luck played a part.  The reality is, many years of applying for lottery bull tags and paying full bore non-resident prices also played a huge part.  We paid more in fees to just acquire bull tags then residents would ever pay in a lifetime!
In my annual pre-hunt email  to our team I started it with the following.  

Team,

Let me start with an apt analogy of our upcoming week as I see it.
“Cowards never start. The weak never finish. Winners never quit.”
There was no “quit” in us and you’ll see why!  We arrived in Montana on Saturday, the 17th of November without one of our gun cases.  Thank you DELTA!  It did arrive a couple of days later though.  We were able to borrow a rifle from a client for a couple of days but there’s an element of distrust with somebody else’s rifle that any good hunter would attest too.  If you hunt and can shoot straight you know of what I speak.  Confidence is part of the battle.  To me, a big part, nope, make that a huge part.

After hitting a busy WalMart for the basics we headed out, hours into the brown eastern Montana terrain.  It’s always nice to drive away from a city, traffic, congestion, people and into the country I grew up in.    It’s like old home week, like homecoming at church, like an old pair of gloves or boots that put a smile on your face.   It just feels good to be part of it.  It’s renewal.  Don’t believe me?  Try it sometime yourself.  Montana will welcome you with open arms!   

Team members were my wife, Pam,  son, Jordan, a sophomore in high school and son, Hunter, a junior at GA TECH.  Hunter is a proud member of the United States Air Force ROTC detachment at TECH and will be completing his degree in mechanical engineering next year.   My pal, Ron Branch, from south Georgia and long time hunting pal rounded out our team. 
 
Day 1 found us in the pines  south of Melstone and north of Custer, Montana.   It’s an area I have been hunting for nearly 3 decades and the change is obvious.

It’s now elk country,  lots of posted ground,  low mule deer populations, high whitetail populations,  good coyote populations,  an occasional big cat and throwing an outfitter or two into the mix along with a nasty winter in 2010 only added to the change.   Like many places, no most places in Montana, in the early 1980s, when one would make inquiry to hunt a ranch, ranchers would simply say to you, “have at them boys, go kill ‘em”.  Now, sons and daughters run the show.  It’s a different time for sure.  It’s the changing face of the old West and the changing face of eastern Montana even without a gas or oil well in sight!
We were going to hunt elk the first few days and then head into some prairie country on the back end of the week for mule deer.  We had buck mule deer (or whitetail tags) in hand and fully expected to bump a decent buck the first few days in the Bull Mountain timber.  It wasn’t to be.   

The prolonged drought across Montana had taken its toll and the fires in the Bull Mountains this summer were devasting to many ranchers and wildlife habitat.


In this picture , behind us was a massive burn area that we had permission on that I figured would have enough "green" late in the year to attract some bulls or muley bucks and does. We couldn't find an elk track anywhere but did bump some does and a small buck or two.

Out of many years of hunting elk it was the first year that any of us with tags did NOT have a shot opportunity on a real big bull or even a decent bull.  Hunter could have filled his bull tag on a fat spike bull at 30 yards but smiled and let him move on to grow up for perhaps another young hunter, years down the road.  Jordan never had a shot opportunity on a cow and Ron never set his eyes on a decent bull until the back-end of the trip on property that our tags were not good for.  That’s the down and dirty version but the work, sweat, fun, laughs and memories were once again, priceless.   My wife had an absolutely fantastic time taking video and pictures  and did find a couple of sheds.

No cell phone coverage.  No internet.  No video games. Great food.  Only coyotes howling all day, shed hunting, the incessant wind blowing in the pines, titanium aircraft miles overhead leaving contrails, eagles soaring, turkeys stalking, geese migrating, ravens talking.   It’s Montana in November, what’s not to like!
A couple days along, Jordan had an exciting evening  that Pam was able to film when he rattled in a nice muley buck at last shooting light.  It was from this high vantage point he started shooting.
He finally was able to connect but we were not able to recover the buck the next day.   Video looked like the deer was dead on its feet.  It got dark so fast and the deer was in a very steep coulee so we decided to move out and find the deer in the morning.  We reviewed the film again and it looked like the deer was about to go down but the disappearing blood trail ran out after 250 yards for good.   Jordan was a 16 year old walking disappointment.   It happens.   We did our best and again, with our  GPS units and walkie-talkies  were able to mount a high tech effort to find the beast.  It wasn’t to be but not for our lack of trying.    I am a fairly good tracker, no, make that a good tracker and it just wasn’t to be.   I have always said that killing big mule deer usually boils down to a game of seconds and inches and this was no exception.   I just wish Jordan had killed it on the first shot.  He does too.   He realized how immense the country is and short of finding magpie’s feeding on a carcass in the next few days within miles of where he took the shot, that finding the deer would be impossible.   I think the deer will make it if predators don’t get him but it’s a cruel world in nature and like our world, on a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone is zero.

On Day 5 we had moved into some beautiful country about 35 miles north and east of Ingomar, Montana.  Check it out on a map.  There is nothing there.   The ranch we were hunting on had been shot out the year before and in the past 14 months a total of 21 bucks had been killed on the property.  I knew going in it would be tough to find a mature muley and I expected us to find at least one decent buck at best.  My expectations were met, not exceeded.  Hunter made a nice shot on a nice buck to draw first blood.

He used his experience from years afield to move up to a pine tree and luckily had a great rest on a stiff branch to help steady his aim while shooting into a stiff wind.   I talk about this a lot to the team and we always try to increase our odds when shooting by getting down on the ground, leaning into something, getting to a fence post, anything to give us a better chance of holding steady into what is usually a stiff Montana wind.   Hunter is only 20 but has had the unbelievable good fortune to have killed a pickup full of bucks in various states and I think every buck he has killed has been a 10-pointer!  He is a cool customer when things get heated and someday will be a tremendous asset to America sitting in the captains seat of a taxpayer owned, United States Air Force aircraft.  When the shooting starts I want that boy on my side.  His deer this year?  A nice muley for sure.  I like the mass at the bases.   It was a tough drag straight up as you can see but with the 4 of us taking turns we just manned-up and got it done.

Once we cleared the rim we put the buck on the neet kart and rolled.  (www.neetkart.com)  There’s not a finer device for hauling deer on earth!

We did run into some nice bulls, in fact we saw more bulls than bucks!   Here’s a picture of the biggest 6x6 bull at about 150 yards.

My hunting pal, Ron Branch from Tifton, Georgia is the guy in the middle here.  For a south Georgia boy he's turned into a good muley hunter!   In fact, he's even learned to take the cold weather in stride!   Always a pleasure to share a camp fire and a good liquor drink out of a tin cup with Ron!

 With so few deer on the 25-section ranch and trespassers having driven over every inch of ground in the few days prior to our arrival and after a couple days of scouring every nook and cranny in the rough stuff and turning up nothing but a few guppy bucks and very few does I made the executive decision to head north into the “BREAKS” and hunt public ground.  The weather turned cold, with wind chills at near zero but we had a blast up there and although we ran into plenty of deer we didn’t turn up a buck we wanted.
 

I like hunting the Montana  breaks.   I grew up deer hunting in the Badlands of western North Dakota on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation  (good hunting, cheap licenses if you do the work) which is similar.   Montana has about 10 million acres of public land, much of it can be rough, may require lots of hard work and can hold a lot of animals.  You just have to get away from roads, 4-wheelers and commotion.    It’s amazing that there is a relationship between rough country and how many hunters want to get out of the pickup and do the work, you think?  It’s easy to decipher that math!  We found more deer in rougher ground which we expected; we just didn’t find Mr. Big.    Without our GPS units and the software on our Garmins from HuntingGPSMaps.com we wouldn’t be able to operate as quickly and effectively as we do.  Everyone carries a good old-fashioned compass as well.     If you hunt Montana or Colorado I would suggest you invest in the software.  It allows you to see game units, find public land, locate yourself on paper maps, access forest service roads and most importantly gives you the name of the private land-owner to track down and call in the off-season!  I get plenty of questions about what I carry around my neck.  All are essential to me.  Binocs, range-finder, GPS, GARMIN with software.  All are tucked into pockets to keep the weight off my neck.  I keep a cow elk call handy as well when hunting elk.   
The week flew by.   We dealt with a flat tire and when we went to change the tire we found the jack kit had been removed (stolen) and the spare tire changed out as well.  Hertz made it right for us!
We were able to get plenty of great pictures and video’s of game and took this picture of a beautiful whitetail thinking he was hidden right off of Highway 12 in the timber.  Jordan is exceptional at using his iPhone camera and holding it up to his binocs and taking pictures.    I wish we would have had a crack at this bomber whitetail. 
There were some magnificent trophies taken around Montana this fall and one of the greatest muley bucks I have ever seen was shot a couple miles south of Melstone, Montana the week before we arrived.   This is a picture of about what that deer looked like except he had heavier mass.
I wish someday I get a crack at a buck that magnificent.    Where they come from, where they grow that mass and width, how they get to that 6.5 or 7.5 age-class or more still is a mystery to me.  That head gear in eastern Montana attracts a crowd for sure!.
We took some great video of a buck that nearly ran over us hunting a doe.   As you know, I am a big believer in wearing blaze orange and this video is a testament to the inability of deer to distinguish three orange pumpkins sitting motionless just a few yards away.  When still hunting in the timber it makes it so much safer to know where everyone is at and to find your party members easier.  Although we carry walkie talkies we don’t use them while hunting as it is illegal in Montana.  We do use hand signals to communicate across distances and we use the universal one-handed fist pump when some decent bone hits the ground!

On our last morning Jordan and I were in another game unit on a friends property trying to get Jordan on a good whitetail as that unit was off limits to mule deer hunting due to a special lottery tag you needed to have for muley bucks.   We saw alot of deer as it was in a migration path between the river and the hills where they bed for the day we just didn’t see a bomber whitetail buck. Lots of dinker bucks, no bombers.  We headed back to the bunk house to pack and head to Billings and back to reality (or lack thereof).  Jordan was in good spirits, still rehashing his incident with the buck that we couldn’t find.    After lunch we finished packing and headed out on our way to the Billings airport.   

In amazement we spotted a group of deer feeding out in some rimrock that we had watched the night before that were on off-limits private ground.   They had crossed the county road overnight and we would have never thought that the same small herd would be up and moving around  past 1 p.m the next day but the rut had something to do with it.  We kept moving down the road and I drove into the ranch to check with the rancher to make sure we could make a move on the deer and got the green light.  Jordan quickly got his things together and we headed back up into the hills.   

The weather was very mild for late November as you can see.  Jordan was able to use a fence post “rest” and dropped the buck at the very last minute of the trip!

Talk about working hard, keeping motivated, never giving up.   Jordan got it done! 
As a Dad, I couldn’t have been happier.  It’s what hunting at this stage of my life is all about.

In a November week there were some lessons learned,  memories made and we whipped up a whole lot of “never quit”!   We covered more miles, more country this year than ever before and saw far fewer deer. We wound up shooting the two biggest muley bucks  we saw.

Me, I never fired a shot!   I am a lucky guy and thank my Creator every day! 

 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Extinction of Common Sense

Oakland, California, the fifth-most crime ridden city in America, faced a $32 million budget deficit last year. It closed the gap by dismissing a fourth of its police force, more than 200 officers.

Untouched was the $17.3 million that the city pays to stage 10 games a season for the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders and to host Major League Baseball’s Athletics in the O.co Coliseum. The funds cover debt financing and operations and are supplemented by $13.3 million from surrounding Alameda County, based on data compiled by Bloomberg from public records.

“If someone calls 911, you’re looking at an indeterminate amount of time before an officer can respond,” says Barry Donelan, 40, a sergeant who is president of the Oakland police union. “Citizens are suffering.” Reversing a renewed rise in violent crime is out of the question, he says.
Now the city is under pressure to replace the 46-year-old structure to keep the Raiders. The team’s owners may move to nearby Santa Clara and share an under-construction, $1.2 billion venue with the San Francisco 49ers, or to Los Angeles, where the City Council has backed a $1.5 billion stadium hoping to lure the NFL. Losing the Raiders would leave Oakland with about $145 million in debt, which originated 17 years ago in part to bring the team back from Los Angeles.

‘Didn’t Work’

“The 1995 deal didn’t work from a financial perspective for any party to the deal -- city, county or Raiders,” says Amy Trask, chief executive officer of the Raiders. “That shouldn’t stop us from trying to reach a deal that works for everyone.”
Oakland mirrors dozens of other U.S. cities and states whose taxpayers provide publicly owned facilities and financial subsidies to teams in the NFL, the most popular U.S. sports league with more than $9 billion in annual revenue. Jacksonville, Florida, also fired police officers and cut services while lowering the Jaguars’ rent 11 times since 1993 and deferring $12.3 million in rent payments.
Taxpayers have committed $18.6 billion since 1992 to subsidies for the NFL’s 32 teams, counting the expense of building stadiums, forgone real estate taxes, land and infrastructure improvements, and interest costs on public bonds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Eighteen of the teams are owned by billionaires.
Even clubs using privately financed buildings such as New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, where the New York Giants and Jets play, receive tens of millions of dollars in subsidies in the form of land and infrastructure spending.

$10 Billion

Publicly financed stadiums for all U.S. major-league sports, including soccer, cost taxpayers about $10 billion more than forecast when accounting for the costs of land, infrastructure, operations and lost property taxes, according to a study of all 121 facilities in use during 2010 by Judith Grant Long, who teaches urban planning at Harvard University. The NFL has the highest public price tag, with taxpayers putting up about 87 percent of the expenses for NFL stadiums, she writes in her 2012 book, “Public/Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities.”
Competition among cities for a limited supply of teams will probably mean even more sacrifice by taxpayers, she writes. Cities including Atlanta, San Diego and St. Louis -- in addition to Oakland -- are considering replacing their football stadiums.

Relocation Threats

“News that Los Angeles is building a stadium with no team in place is providing the straw man for a new round of relocation threats,” Long writes. “The midnight move of the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1995 was ground zero for the effective use of relocation threats based on stadium woes, and started a relocation-threat frenzy that infected all of the major leagues for the years to come.”
Public officials across the country regularly support stadiums by drawing on sales and property taxes and by imposing levies on hotels and rental cars. In Indiana, subsidies for a stadium and a convention center account for a third of state debt, according to a Fitch Ratings report. Officials raised hotel taxes to 9 percent from 6 percent and doubled rental-car levies to 4 percent and food and beverage taxes to 2 percent to pay for the Indianapolis Colts’ building.
Hamilton County, Ohio, sold Drake Hospital to the University of Cincinnati this year for $15 million to cover a deficit related to the Cincinnati Bengals’ football stadium. Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Taxpayer Subsidies

The $18.6 billion of taxpayer subsidies to the NFL reflect costs and investments since 1986, when a new era of publicly funded stadium construction began in response to new laws on the use of municipal bonds for professional sports. The data were compiled from thousands of pages of documents related to bonds, financial disclosures and other public records.
The total includes $7.1 billion for stadium construction, $6.5 billion in forgone property taxes and $4.3 billion for interest costs. Land acquisition and infrastructure expenses beyond those wrapped up in the stadiums account for the rest. The data don’t account for revenue that flows back to cities or states from the buildings, covering some costs. Long estimates the average state or city receives net payments after expenses of about $9 million over a 30-year lease for all stadiums and arenas -- or about $300,000 a year.
“There is never a good reason for taxpayer monies to subsidize for-profit entertainment businesses, especially extremely high-profit entertainment or sports businesses that are largely unaffordable to the vast majority of citizens,” said Leo Hindery Jr., managing partner of InterMedia Partners LP and founder of the YES Network, a regional sports cable television channel in New York controlled by the Yankees. “I don’t believe in state-sponsored finance of private enterprise at all.”

Al Davis

NFL clubs have invested $6 billion in stadiums since 1992, said Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL.
“We understand that every community carefully weighs its financing options,” McCarthy said. “It is up to these communities to make their own best decisions on which projects to finance and how.”
Oakland’s history with the Raiders goes back to 1960, when the team was set up in an expansion of the American Football League, now part of the NFL. Al Davis, originally head coach and general manager at the age of 33, became the team’s majority owner in the 1970s. The Raiders routinely sold out during that decade and won two Super Bowl championships.
After Davis couldn’t persuade the city and county to make revenue-enhancing improvements to the stadium, he moved the team in 1982 to the Los Angeles Coliseum. The team won another Super Bowl in 1984. That arrangement lasted until 1995, when Davis announced that the Raiders were going back to Oakland. The Los Angeles structure wasn’t generating enough income, he said.

Moving Costs

Oakland and Alameda County loaned $63.9 million to the Raiders as part of the move, to cover relocation and operating costs and a training facility. The money was part of $197.7 million that the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority borrowed, including some for changes sought by the Athletics and the city.
“The bonds cover far, far more than the improvements just for the Raiders,” said Trask, the team’s CEO.
Seventeen years later, that deal is sapping the finances of the city of 390,724, across the bay from San Francisco. The city and county have limited options to recover the loan because mandatory payments are limited to amounts received from parking, concessions and rent, according to stadium authority documents.
With interest, the amount owed by the Raiders on its loans now totals $124.8 million, according to a financial statement for the coliseum authority, as revenue from the stadium hasn’t generated enough to cover all costs. Taxpayers must continue repaying the original debt, which with refinancings now totals about $145 million, according to financial records.

Team’s Payments

The team pays $525,000 a year, along with 50 percent of the take from concessions and parking, for interest on the loan, Trask said. The outstanding principal is secured by the Raiders’ 20-acre headquarters and training facility near Oakland International Airport. The property would revert to public ownership if the team left town. The Raiders also will pay about $1.5 million in 2012 in rent and other revenue unrelated to the loan. Since 1995, the team has paid “hundreds of millions” from seat-license fees, premium seating and other building revenue, she said.
“Every year we pay a tremendous amount of money, some of which is deemed repayment, some of which is revenue they receive as a result of us playing in the facility,” Trask said. “When you add together everything the city and county received pursuant to our agreement and through the past 17 years, it’s literally hundreds of millions.”

New Stadium

When Davis died last year, ownership of the team went to his widow, Carol, and son, Mark, who became the general manager. Mark Davis told the NFL Network in October that the coliseum is beyond repair and the Raiders’ best option would involve staying in Oakland and building a new stadium at the present site. While the team has talked with the 49ers, it has no plans to share a venue, he said.
“I think there’s a very strong recognition that they need a new stadium,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in October. “They are complicated projects. They have not only financing challenges, but how you do it in the context of the overall development and priorities of the community.”
In 1998, the city entered a separate interest-rate swap, tied to the coliseum debt, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) It generated an upfront payment of $15 million that was used to help fund stadium improvements, said Rebecca Kaplan, a member of the city council who was elected in 2008, long after the financial arrangement to bring the Raiders back. Swaps are contractual exchanges of interest payments designed to insulate a borrower against surges in yields that rise and fall with market rates.

Goldman Swap

In this case, Oakland left the swap in place in 2008 when it converted underlying variable-rate debt to fixed-rate, even though it no longer needed the arrangement to lock in borrowing costs. While the swap has generated $37 million of present-value savings, yields have fallen, forcing Oakland to pay $4 million a year to Goldman Sachs. The agreement doesn’t end until July 2021, even if the team moves away. Getting out of the deal would cost $16 million that the city doesn’t have.
“Oakland got sold a bill of goods,” Kaplan says. “The deal with the Raiders turned out to be a bad deal because it didn’t bring in sufficient revenue for the city.”
Craig Kocian, the city manager at the time who has since retired, didn’t respond to a telephone call seeking comment on the arrangement. Tiffany Galvin, spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs, declined to comment.

‘Judgment Error’

“The interest-rate swap seems to me to have been just another judgment error,” said Roger Noll, a professor emeritus of economics at Stanford University. The loan to the team was mainly a subsidy, he said by e-mail. “The authority seems to have done pretty well at making the coliseum subsidy to the Raiders very complex in order to minimize political resistance to the deal when it was made.”
Oakland and Alameda County over the past five years split $132.5 million of operating costs and debt service related to the stadium, according to financial reports. Stadium revenue doesn’t cover that amount, according to city disclosures.
Oakland, an industrial port city, has long been known for its gang violence and other crime. Last year it became the base for long-running protests by the Occupy movement, putting increased demands on police. Oakland was fifth among U.S. cities in crime last year, behind Flint, Michigan; Detroit; Camden, New Jersey; and St. Louis, according to the 2011 Crime Rankings based on FBI data, published by Congressional Quarterly.

200 Cops

By 2011, Oakland had already trimmed spending over three years by $170 million, cutting 150 city workers to cope with revenue curbed by lingering effects of the recession. The subsequent budget cuts reduced the police force to 630 officers from 837 in 2009, according Donelan, the union president. The cops also took pay cuts, he said.
This year, the number of murders in Oakland has risen 16 percent; rapes, 24 percent; and burglaries, 43 percent, according to a city crime report. The average response time to emergency calls in Oakland has slowed to 17 minutes this year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in August.

Budget Limited

Public officials who do deals to subsidize pro football “don’t understand that government budgets are limited, so that if you say the government is going to do this activity with its funds, it necessarily has to not do something else,” said Dennis Coates, an economics professor at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.
When forgone property taxes, interest and other expenses are included, Oakland’s total subsidy comes to $343.3 million over 30 years.
As in other cities, the costs of Oakland’s stadium debt spread beyond the community, affecting taxpayers across the U.S. Holders of municipal bonds such as those sold for the coliseum aren’t taxed on the interest income they receive. That means the Treasury will forgo about $41 million in tax revenue through 2025 on Oakland stadium debt, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Nationwide, $17 billion of debt issued to build stadiums since 1986 will cost the federal government about $146 million this year and $4 billion by the time all the issues mature in 2047, based on data compiled by Bloomberg for 2,700 securities.

Less Wealthy

In Jacksonville, where the Jaguars have deferred rent and negotiated lower payments, the city sold naming rights to the municipal stadium in 2010 to EverBank Financial Corp. (EVER) The team’s owner at the time, Wayne Weaver, demanded and got the city’s $4 million share of the transaction, according to city documents. Jaguars spokesman Dan Edwards declined to comment.
While the residents of cities such as Oakland may derive some benefit from having an NFL team, poorer taxpayers end up shouldering a disproportionate share of the subsidies, according to the University of Maryland’s Coates.
“Using lottery funds means taxing the poor to entertain people who can pay for $80 seats,” Coates says. “A sales tax is predominantly paid by less wealthy people. A hotel tax, or rental-car tax, all that does is make you less competitive in drawing out-of-town visitors.”
Meanwhile, the argument that taxpayer subsidies for NFL owners help create jobs doesn’t hold up, according to studies by Coates, Harvard’s Long and Stanford’s Noll. Rather, the presence of stadiums leads to a shift in spending away from other activities, their research shows. Residents are hurt as cities steer funds away from health, safety and other forms of entertainment, according to Coates.

Four Wins

In Oakland, fans have been disappointed by a decade of losing, even with the financial support from the city and the county. The Raiders haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2002 season and this year have won just four games while losing 10. Last week’s home finale against the Kansas City Chiefs narrowly avoided a local TV blackout because of low ticket sales.
The city is developing proposals aimed at keeping the Raiders, as well as the A’s and the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association. Although the Warriors announced plans to move to a new arena in San Francisco, Oakland’s idea is to develop a coliseum district that would include new structures for each team as well as hotels, housing and restaurants, according to city records.
Oakland needs to limit the cost and liability for taxpayers while ensuring the development will increase sales tax and other revenue, said Kaplan, the city councilwoman. She has been active in the discussions as a member of the public works committee. The city already has the land for the sports venues and other facilities in the area of the coliseum, she says.
“We have a good playbook of what not to do,” said Kaplan. “Our goal the next time is to do it right.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Time and America CORZINED!

LOL.  It should be the year America was totally Corzined.

Obama should look closer at these amazing numbers.  I reckon if we could just outlaw math, we could solve all our problems but there's just no denying the math. 

The following are 75 economic numbers from 2012 that are almost too crazy to believe...

#1 In December 2008, 31.6 million Americans were on food stamps. Today, a new all-time record of 47.7 million Americans are on food stamps. That number has increased by more than 50 percent over the past four years, and yet the mainstream media still has the gall to insist that “things are getting better”.

#2 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

#3 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

#4 According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all Americans have received money from a safety net program run by the federal government at some point in their lives.

#5 For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

#6 Median household income in the U.S. has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.

#7 Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

#8 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been under 59 percent for 39 months in a row.

#9 In September 2009, during the depths of the last economic crisis, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed. In November 2012, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed. It is more then 3 years later, and we are in the exact same place.

#10 When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job in America today, it comes to more than 100 million.

#11 According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all small business owners in America “say they would not start a business today given what they know now and in the current environment.”

#12 The number of jobs at new small businesses continues to decline. According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

#13 The U.S. share of global GDP has fallen from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011.

#14 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.

#15 There are four major U.S. banks that each have more than 40 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.

#16 In 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing, but now there are less than 12 million.

#17 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971. Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are.

#18 The Pew Research Center has also found that 85 percent of all middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.

#19 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

#20 Right now, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.

#21 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.

#22 According to one survey, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.

#23 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percentof all men in the United States have jobs.

#24 The average amount of time that an unemployed worker stays out of work in the United States is 40 weeks.

#25 If you can believe it, approximately one out of every four American workers makes 10 dollars an hour or less.

#26 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government. Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.

#27 Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. And that does not even count Social Security or Medicare. Overall, there are almost 80 different “means-tested welfare programs” that the federal government is currently running.

#28 When you account for all government transfer payments and all forms of government employment, more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government.

#29 Barack Obama has been president for less than four years, and during that time the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has increased by nearly 8.5 million. Something seems really “off” about that number, because during the entire decade of the 1980s the number of Americans “not in the labor force” only rose by about 2.5 million.

#30 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#31 According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years.

#32 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

#33 Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

#34 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.

#35 At this point, only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs.

#36 In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance. Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.

#37 Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has passed the one trillion dollar mark.

#38 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#39 One survey of business executives has ranked California as the worst state in America to do business for 8 years in a row.

#40 In the city of Detroit today, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty, and close to 50 percent of all adults are functionally illiterate.

#41 It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

#42 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.

#43 If you can believe it, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.

#44 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs. 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

#45 Our trade deficit with China in 2011 was $295.5 billion. That was the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the planet.

#46 The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#47 According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.

#48 The U.S. tax code is now more than 3.8 million words long. If you took all of William Shakespeare’s works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.

#49 According to the IMF, the global elite are holding a total of 18 trillion dollars in offshore banking havens such as the Cayman Islands.

#50 The value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 96 percent since the Federal Reserve was first created.

#51 2012 was the third year in a row that the yield for corn has declined in the United States.

#52 Experts are telling us that global food reserves have reached their lowest level in almost 40 years.

#53 One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.

#54 If you can believe it, one recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.

#55 Medical costs related to obesity in the United States are estimated to be approximately $147 billion a year.

#56 Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high. Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP are near an all-time low.

#57 Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.

#58 The wealthiest 400 families in the United States have about as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of all Americans combined.

#59 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percentof all Americans combined.

#60 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#61 Nearly 500,000 federal employees now make at least $100,000 a year.

#62 In 2006, only 12 percent of all federal workers made $100,000 or more per year. Now, approximately 22 percent of all federal workers do.

#63 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.

#64 Nearly 15,000 retired federal workers are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. The list includes such names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.

#65 U.S. taxpayers spend more than 20 times as much on the Obamas as British taxpayers spend on the royal family.

#66 Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

#67 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

#68 During fiscal year 2012, 62 percent of the federal budget was spent on entitlements.

#69 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#70 It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#71 Medicare is also growing by leaps and bounds. As I wrote about recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

#72 Thanks to our foolish politicians (including Obama), Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.

#73 Amazingly, the U.S. national debt is now up to 16.3 trillion dollars. When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.

#74 During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated about as much debt as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.

#75 Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was originally created back in 1913.







 

Timothy Massad and John Kerry

A living example of what type of buffoons are really in charge.

There is no fiscal cliff to worry about.     The worry is dumb shits like Timothy Massad raping taxpayers.

The fiscal crisis will make the fiscal cliff look like a Sunday drive.

John Kerry will make a great Secretary of State. Should he fall behind on his job, he will sure know how to "ketchup"!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

800-491-5611

Premier bullshit artists.

Slimy, scum telemarketers.

Integrated Services, Inc
5 Revere Drive, Ste. 200
Northbrook, IL 60062-1500
Phone #: 1-800-491-5611
Fax #: 1-800-253-0616

especially John Banks.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The NYC Mayor......

In the least unexpected news of the week, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, whose forays into central planning started with banning sugary sodas, and then proceeded to gas rationing, has just done what everyone expected him to do, and demand a ban on all assault weapons:

  • MAYOR BLOOMBERG CALLS FOR ENFORCEABLE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN
I await the imminent escalation to something like the "taxable inhalable oxygen for those making over $250,000 - it's only fair act" to be proposed by the Mayor and his central-planning enamored brethren in D.C. next.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

BROOKSTONE customer service

I order over the internet a fair amount.   BROOKSTONE ranks up there near the very top as having the least inspired, unmotivated customer service people anywhere.

Talk about doing the company a disservice!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Evil at Sandy Hook


The mentally ill only get attention when they get in trouble don't they?  Most cannot medicate themselves properly and get little help except from  family which many times are not able to deal with the constant needs of the relative. Of course common sense dictates, or should dictate that a mental health patient not be allowed to "gun up".  The terrifying loss of the young by a madman is horrible.  The cost of freedom is always steep.  Those that give up their freedoms for security will have neither.
  
Remember when armed lunatics massacred 76 men, women, and children at Waco?  Twenty murders a day in Chicago can be a slow day, but hey, what's the fuss about?  Its not the guns folks, its the nutcases.
 
For some reason, when a drunk driver mows down a family, we don't see the car dealer, the gas station, the auto manufacturer, the liquor store, the brewer, AAA, and car owners generally, blamed in quite the same way that we see the gun makers, the ammo makers, the NRA, and gun owners generally, blamed for things like this.
  
It makes no more sense to write about how many cars used in such accidents were (1) gasoline, (2) diesel or (3) hybrid than it does to tell about (1) handguns, (2) rifles, and (3) shotguns.
 
But now let me ask, how about the thousands of babies in the United States killed through abortion?
 
No outrage about that?  Let's face it, and our God knows, the U.S. is in the kid killing business.
 
There's evil lurking everywhere.  

Sick Commentary from President O

"We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."

Mr. President, just what on earth does that mean?

Talk about a lawyer running the show.......ugh..........

Asperger's Syndrome

Lest anyone think that all people who are in the camp of having Asperger's Syndrome are evil  I think they should look at Michael Burry.

Michael Burry spent millions of his own money fighting the United States Government forces of evil.

http://www.scioncapital.com/

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Rays on the Creek, Alpharetta, GA

The management decision to do a paint, turpentine or lacquer job inside the restaurant on Friday night should be enough to fire somebody.

What a bunch of loons!  To have to sit and smell that crap while getting a drink and waiting on a table lasted about one sip before we had to get the hell out of there for some fresh air outside.  The pregnant woman working there probably gave her baby it's first "high" after last night!

Service is so-so as well.  The food is better than the service but the stench and stink of fresh paint was just too much. 

I wish I had the night over and half off my bill.

Ugh.

  

Native American Advisors CHIPPEWA PARTNERS

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CHIPPEWA PARTNERS, Native American Advisors, Inc. is a Registered Investment Advisor, founded by Dean Thomas Parisian in 1995. The firm is a manager to an exclusive clientele and is closed to new clients. As a Registered Investment Advisor, our expertise developed over 35 years balances experience, integrity and tremendous work ethic. Dean Parisian is a member at the White Earth Reservation of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, a former NYSE and FINRA arbitrator and trader who began his career with Kidder Peabody and later worked for Drexel Burnham Lambert in LaJolla, CA. His philanthropic interest is in Native American education and he's endowed a significant scholarship for Native Americans at the University of Minnesota. His greatest accomplishment includes raising two sons and 26 years of marriage. The Parisian family enjoys outdoor pursuits at Pamelot, their farm in Tennessee and at the Ghost Ranch, their ranch on the Yellowstone River in Montana. For media requests contact the firm via email: ChippewaPartners (at) gmail dot com, on Twitter: @DeanParisian. Global 404-202-8173