Parisian Family Office, CEO. Began Wall Street, 1982. Founded investment firm, CHIPPEWA PARTNERS, Native American Advisors. Active Trader. White Earth Chippewa Tribal member. Was NYSE/FINRA arb. Conservative, raised on Great Plains reservations. Pureblood, clot-shot free. In a world elevated on a dopamine binge, this is his take! Written from MT Ghost Ranch on the Yellowstone River, TN farm Pamelot or San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, CASA TULE'. Always been, will always be, an optimist.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
1. The state of being actually or legally bankrupt due to Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s Fed interest rate hikes.
2. The act or process of becoming a bankrupt, due to continuous Fed interest rate increases.
3. Complete loss; — followed by of. “Bernanke’s continual Fed rate hikes destroyed my portfolio, forcing me to declare ‘Bernakruptcy’.”
Thesaurus words for “bernankruptcy”:
bouncing check, breakage, breakdown, bust, collapse, crack-up, crash, crippling, damage, defeat, destruction, detriment, dilapidation, disablement, disrepair, encroachment, failure, futility, harm, hobbling, hurt, hurting, ill success, impairment, incapacitation, infringement, injury, inroad, insolvency, insufficient funds, kited check, losing game, loss, maiming, mayhem, mischief, mutilation, no go, nonaccomplishment, nonsuccess, overdraft, overdrawn account, receivership, ruination, ruinousness, sabotage, scathe, sickening, spoiling, successlessness, unsuccess, unsuccessfulness, uselessness, weakening
Talk about Monday morning quarterbacking.........
"If you consider that there has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the past 22 months, and a total of 2112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers.
"The firearm death rate in Washington, DC is 80.6 per 100,000 for the same period. That means you are about 25 percent more likely to be shot and killed in the U.S. capital, which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the U.S., than you are in Iraq ."
Conclusion: The U.S. should pull out of Washington.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The US economy is clearly in a depression… not a recession, not a recovery, but a DEPRESSION. More than 40 million Americans (12%) are on Food stamps. Nearly one in five of us are unemployed of underemployed. Folks go to Wal-Mart at 11PM waiting for their government checks to clear at midnight so they can buy baby formula, milk and other necessities.
Three out of every five Americans are overweight. One in five are obese. Indeed, there are only two areas (one state, Colorado, and Washington DC) where obesity rates are under 20%.
Nearly three in four of us don’t get enough sleep. Almost one third of us report having trouble falling asleep EVERY night. And almost half of us report that day-time sleepiness interferes with normal activities including work.
Half of marriages end in divorce. One out of ten married couples report sleeping alone. The average American watches 28 hours of TV a week (enough to qualify for a part-time job). Two thirds of us eat dinner while watching TV, preferring the fake, sensationalized lives of others to engaging with our own families.
The TV and media are filled with foul, ungodly images of sex, violence, and hate. The most watched shows of the last decade all feature ordinary folks becoming superstars in lottery-esque competitions (American Idol, Survivor, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, etc) OR crime sagas detailing the most sordid and disgusting elements of society (CSI, Law and Order, etc) OR amoral social dramas in which notions of personal responsibility, fidelity, and common decency are unknown (Desperate Housewives, the Bachelorette, etc).
Today, brain dead, vapid human beings who have contributed nothing to society are idolized and followed as though they invented the wheel. We’ve actually got two industries devoted to presenting the illusion and reality of celebrity: Hollywood shows the photo-shopped, CGI-enhanced, scripted version, while the paparazzi and weekly glossies reveal the drug-addicted, affair-crazed, family breaking, soul-less emptiness.
Sex or violence are plastered on virtually every flat surface available. Even the check-out lines at the grocery store feature endless images of barely clothed women along with headlines sensationalizing gruesome behavior, right out in the open for children to see. And if the kid can actually read the headlines… God only knows what ideas this stuff is putting into their heads.
Financially, we’re all pretty much bust or going bust (except those on Wall Street).
New home sales in July were a RECORD low. Not record as in for the year, but the lowest since 1963. The talking heads are high fiving because sales improved in August, but failed to note that they were still DOWN 19% from August 2009 levels.
Americans two primary assets for retirement (stocks and their homes) have both been absolute disasters. Home prices are down 30%, stocks haven’t produced gains in over a decade. Every moron on TV talks about the Dow 10,000 like it’s a miracle. But when you adjust the Dow for inflation, (using the BLS’ ridiculous CPI measure) the Dow is SUB-500 in terms of purchasing power.
Our money system is controlled by an elite banking oligarchy fronted by academics who have never run a business, invented anything, or had any interaction with commerce aside from vying for tenure. Our currency is now worth less than 1/20th of what it was a century ago. And we are ALL in debt up to our eyeballs on a personal, corporate, local, state, and federal level.
Heck, even USA TODAY (not exactly the cutting edge in financial research) notes that in order to pay off our current liabilities, every US family would have to pay $31,000 a year… for 75 YEARS!!!
And we’re talking about an economic recovery?
According to David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff:
· Wages & salaries are still down 3.7% from the prior peak;
· Corporate profits are still down 20% from the peak;
· Real GDP is still down 1.3% from the peak;
· Industrial production is still down 7.2% from the peak;
· Employment is still down 5.5% from the peak;
· Retail sales are still down 4.5% from the peak;
· Manufacturing orders are still down 22.1% from the peak;
· Manufacturing shipments are still down 12.5% from the peak;
· Exports are still down 9.2% from the peak;
· Housing starts are still down 63.5% from the peak;
· New home sales are still down 68.9% from the peak;
· Existing home sales are still down 41.2% from the peak;
· Non-residential construction is still down 35.7% from the peak.
The American Psychological Association reports that 73% of Americans cite money as a source of significant stress. Personal bankruptcies have fallen 8% month over month from July to August. However, August 2010 bankruptcies are up 6% from August 2009… so much for the recovery.
And yet, despite all of this, assumedly intelligent people write op-ed articles and appear on TV claiming that things are swell in the US, that we’re actually OK and that the recession is over. Some of these people even have advanced degrees or have won international prizes for economics.
Let’s be honest. Forget recessions, forget even Depressions, the US is an empire in decline.
You can literally see it crumbling right in front of you. Just start looking at how people live, eat, and act on a day to day basis. Look at how our Government runs itself, how it manages our affairs, how it spends our tax Dollars. Look at how our justice system works, who it protects and who it punishes.
It’s all out there, right in the open for you to see. You don’t need an expert degree or some kind of advanced education. It’s OBVIOUS to anyone who bothers looking around.
The fact we don’t admit it doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Profits And Baby Formula – Bloomberg picked up an eye-opening statement made by the Wal-Mart CEO last week.
"I don't need to tell you that our customer remains challenged…You need not go farther than one of our stores on midnight at the end of the month. And it's real interesting to watch, about 11 p.m. customers start to come in and shop, fill their grocery basket with basic items – baby formula, milk, bread, eggs – and continue to shop and mill about the store until midnight when government electronic benefits cards get activated, and then the checkout starts and occurs. And our sales for those first few hours on the first of the month are substantially and significantly higher."
Talk about shopping only for necessities. The mid-night trip for baby formula says it all.
Luckily the NBER said the recession ended. Hurray:
So The Recession Ended 15 Months Ago – A Bloomberg report on lagging jobs got superseded by the FOMC statement. Here’s the opening line from the Bloomberg report:
Payrolls dropped in 36 U.S. states in August, led by Michigan, indicating the labor market will take time to rebound from the worst recession since the 1930s.
A little later in the article, it was noted how broad the job weakness was:
Texas lost 34,200 jobs, and California eliminated 33,600, the Labor Department said. The number of states where payrolls dropped was the highest this year.
More job losses in more states. Thank the gods that the recession’s over.
The country is collapsing everywhere and all the leaders can do is lie to their electorate that things are great. Images of the Titanic come to mind.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
If the recession was over months ago why on earth are we still subsidizing the uemployed. When does this end? Here is Dean Parisians take on what "they" should do for starters.
Do drug testing on those who receive welfare. If you’re doing drugs then you lose out on the benefits. You can afford the drugs, then you can afford the food.
If you are on welfare then you will need to be on birth control. This will be your choice either be on birth control or don’t receive welfare. It should not be the governments nor the tax payers responsibility to support you having more children so you get more money.
If you are on welfare for a certain period, then the government can call on you for labor. This will decrease the governments spending.
If a large corporation moves jobs overseas, then they will need to pay higher taxes to help pay for the unemployment for the people that lost their jobs. If they move their headquarters overseas, then a tariff will be placed on the items they sell.
There will no longer be an earned income credit on taxes. Why should the Government pay those who don’t pay any taxes at all and why are we paying people to not improve themselves?
Illegal immigrants will be returned to their own country and their country will be billed for the cost of returning them. If that country does not want to pay then they will no longer receive aid. If they are letting their people come here then why are we giving them aid to help the people in their country?
The US government will now be required to purchase only Made in America items. The company does not have to be US owned, but the products must be produced in the US thus creating jobs.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday took over the Georgia banks: Bank of Ellijay, in Ellijay, with $168.8 million in assets; First Commerce Community Bank of Douglasville, with $248.2 million in assets; and Peoples Bank, based in Winder, with $447.2 million in assets.
Georgia, where the meltdown in the real estate market brought an avalanche of soured mortgage loans, has been one of the hardest hit states for bank collapses. The failures of the three banks Friday brought to 14 the number of Georgia banks that have fallen this year.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Isn't this sickening news?
This is close to what Madoff did except those who are ripped off are YOU and ME ladies and gents. Taxpayers. Bona fide revenue producers. Madoff went to jail for life, these two departments only have arrogant excuses.
May 2012 be the end of an error............
This is what he said about this 30-inch buck.
"Sometimes things just seem like they are meant to be. Last year I spent 12 days pursuing this buck and only laid eyes on him five of those 12 days. Got within bow range twice, but never got a shot. This year, we nailed him on the first stalk of opening day. Go figure!"
If a Republican doesn't like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
If a Democrat doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.
If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A Democrat wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a Republican doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Democrats demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.
If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it..
A Democrat demands that the rest of us pay for his.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The 2nd guy crooked his head sideways for a minute, scratched his head, and squinted his eyes thinking real hard about the question. Finally, he says, "Well, I don't know about kin, but it would make us even."
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The amendment to Prudential’s contract is the first document to show how VA officials sanctioned a payment practice that has spurred investigations by lawmakers and regulators. Since 1999, Prudential has used so-called retained-asset accounts, which allow the company to withhold lump-sum payments due to survivors and earn investment income on the money for itself.
The Sept. 1, 2009, amendment to Prudential’s contract with the VA ratified another unpublicized deal that had been struck between the insurer and the government 10 years earlier -- one that was never put into writing, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue. This verbal agreement in 1999 provoked concern among top insurance officials of the agency, the documents released in the FOIA request show.
For a decade, until the contract was formally changed, Prudential wasn’t fulfilling its obligations to survivors of fallen service members, says Brendan Bridgeland, an insurance lawyer who runs the non-profit Center for Insurance Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“It’s very clear they violated the original terms of the contract,” says Bridgeland, who is retained by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to represent consumers.
“Every veteran I’ve spoken with is appalled at the brazen war profiteering by Prudential,” says Paul Sullivan, who served in the 1991 Gulf War as an Army cavalry scout and is now executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington. “Now vets are upset at the VA’s inability to stop Prudential’s bad behavior.”
That the VA allowed Prudential to issue retained-asset accounts for 10 years while the contract required lump-sum payouts is “more evidence that the VA was asleep at the wheel for a decade,” says Sullivan, who was a project manager and analyst at the VA from 2000 to 2006.
“When grieving families check the box that they want a lump sum, they should get it. We remain disappointed and irate at the VA’s failure to provide advocacy for veterans,” he says.
State and U.S. Probes
Since July 28, when Bloomberg Markets first reported that Prudential sent checkbooks instead of checks to survivors requesting lump-sum payouts, state and federal officials have demanded the retained-asset system be investigated and reformed. The VA itself launched a probe of its life insurance program the day the first story was published.
The next day, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo launched what he called a “major fraud investigation” of Prudential and other life insurers over their use of retained- asset accounts. Since then, Cuomo’s office has issued subpoenas to Prudential and at least 12 more insurance companies.
The insurance departments in Georgia and New York have also opened probes. The U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee plans to hold hearings into Prudential’s use of retained-asset accounts to pay money owed to fallen soldiers’ survivors.
‘News to Me’
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates -- who was in office when the 2009 agreement was signed -- said when the VA started its probe that he had been unaware that survivors were being sent retained-asset accounts.
“Until today I actually believed that the families of our fallen heroes got a check for the full amount of their benefits,” Gates said at the time. “This came as news to me.”
As a result of the VA probe, the agency announced today that it will change its insurance program, allowing survivors to request and receive lump-sum checks.
Under Prudential’s original 1965 contract with the VA and a 2007 revised contract -- both of which were released as part of the FOIA response -- the insurer is required to send lump-sum payouts to survivors requesting them. The contract covers 6 million active service members, their families and veterans.
The checkbooks Prudential sends to survivors are tied to what the insurer calls its Alliance Account. The checkbooks are made up of drafts, or IOUs, and aren’t insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Prudential invests the survivors’ money in its general corporate account, where it can earn the insurer as much as eight times as much as it currently pays in interest to beneficiaries.
Prudential held $662 million of survivors’ money in its corporate general account as of June 30, according to information provided by the VA. Prudential’s general account earned 4.2 percent in 2009, mostly from bond investments, according to regulatory filings. The company has paid survivors holding Alliance Accounts 0.5 percent in 2010.
Families that were supposed to receive lump-sum payments under the terms of the contract before it was amended in 2009 may be able to successfully sue Prudential for lost interest, insurance lawyer Bridgeland says.
“Survivors would have a very strong claim for interest earned by Prudential on their money,” he says.
Prudential spokesman Bob DeFillippo says his company is following the terms of its agreement with the VA.
“Prudential is in compliance with its contract with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs,” he says.
DeFillippo declined to comment on whether Prudential was in compliance with its contract between 1999 and September 2009 or to answer any other questions. Prudential chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Strangfeld declined to comment for this story.
In July, DeFillippo said Prudential’s retained-asset account was a useful service for bereaved relatives of soldiers. “For some families, the account is the difference between earning interest on a large amount of money and letting it sit idle,” he said. Survivors can withdraw some or all of their money at any time, he said.
Veterans Affairs Chief of Staff John Gingrich says the agency approved use of the Alliance Account because it wanted to help survivors.
“We needed to give an option to individuals that allowed them more flexibility and time to react to the tragic family situation,” Gingrich says.
VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts declined to say when Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in January 2009, learned of the existence of the 1999 verbal agreement and the 2009 amendment. She also declined to make Shinseki available for comment.
The VA official who verbally agreed in 1999 to allow Prudential to change the terms of the 1965 contract and begin offering retained-asset accounts was Thomas Lastowka, the VA’s director for insurance, according to Dennis Foley, a VA attorney. Prudential began sending Alliance Account kits to soldiers’ beneficiaries in June 1999.
Foley says the VA and Prudential would have been better off if they had put their 1999 agreement in writing.
“Could that have been done better?” Foley asks. “Probably. Best practice would have been to legally memorialize it at the time.”
Foley says the 1999 changes to the 1965 contract were valid, even if they weren’t in writing, because they were made by mutual agreement by people empowered to make such decisions.
“It was changed by somebody who was authorized to change it,” he says.
The language of both the 1965 contract and the 2009 amendment make clear that Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential was required to adhere to the original terms until 2009, regardless of any handshake agreements in 1999, insurance lawyer Bridgeland says.
The 1965 contract says any alterations must be made in writing.
“No change in the Group Policy shall be valid unless evidenced by an amendment thereto,” it says. “No Agent is authorized to alter or amend the Group Policy.”
The VA and Prudential signed a revised contract in 2007, saying it was “amended in its entirety.” That contract, with the exact same words as the 1965 agreement, required that Prudential pay survivors with lump sums.
The 2007 revision included the same procedures in the 1965 agreement requiring any changes be made in writing. It contained no mention of the retained-asset system, or of the verbal agreement struck in 1999.
It wasn’t until Sept. 24, 2009, that the changes agreed to by VA official Lastowka and Prudential in 1999 were put into writing. The 2009 amendment allowing Prudential to hold onto death benefit payouts was made retroactive to Sept. 1, 2009, not back to 1999.
By putting in writing a change that was verbally adopted 10 years earlier, the VA is effectively trying to backdate the amendment, says Jeffrey Stempel, an insurance law professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who wrote ‘Stempel on Insurance Contracts’ (Aspen Publishers, 2009).
“They’re trying to reinvent history,” Stempel says. “You really can’t do that. This is a blatant giveaway by the VA with nothing for the agency or the people in uniform.”
Nine of every 10 survivors ask Prudential for lump-sum payments, the VA says. Prudential sends those families “checkbooks” instead of checks.
‘Disasters Do Happen’
Documents released in the FOIA request show some signs of concern within the VA after Prudential proposed the retained- asset accounts in 1998. Lastowka, the official who allowed Prudential to introduce the Alliance Accounts, said that the insurer’s “checkbook” system wasn’t protected by the FDIC.
“Disasters do happen,” wrote Lastowka, in an e-mail dated June 9, 1999, to Stephen Wurtz, the agency’s deputy assistant director for insurance.
Lastowka said in his e-mail that the lack of FDIC coverage could backfire on survivors.
“Who is responsible if Alliance goes belly up?” Lastowka asked. “I think we have to also be prepared to defend the use of the Alliance Account.”
Lastowka also asked whether Prudential had adequately disclosed to survivors that the Alliance Accounts weren’t covered by FDIC insurance. “Did Pru alert us to the non-FDIC fact?” he wrote to Wurtz. “Or was it in small print as the notice to beneficiaries?”
Documents turned over by the VA didn’t include a response from Wurtz.
‘Aware of Issues’
Lastowka says his e-mail shows the decision to allow Alliance Accounts was carefully considered.
“This e-mail demonstrates simply that the VA’s Insurance program was aware of issues that might be raised as we implemented the payment method and that we should be prepared to respond to inquiries,” Lastowka says. “We were confident that we were making a decision which would benefit survivors.”
The FOIA documents show that on June 10, 1998, Prudential gave a presentation to the VA. It included 10 pages of key points, saying the Alliance Accounts would benefit survivors because they would provide safety, flexibility in how and when to use their money, competitive interest rates and customer service.
In fine print, at the bottom of one of the pages, was this caveat: “Funds in the Alliance Account are direct obligations of The Prudential Insurance Company of America and are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.”
Twelve years later, the issue of the lack of FDIC protection in retained-asset accounts flared anew.
FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said in August that consumers could incorrectly conclude that retained-asset accounts were insured by the FDIC.
“The insurance company must take care to avoid implying in any way that these accounts are in fact FDIC-insured,” she wrote in an Aug. 5 letter to state insurance regulators.
Some families of veterans have taken their complaints to court. Five survivors filed a federal fraud lawsuit in Boston on Aug. 30 against Prudential claiming the insurer has earned as much as $500 million in profits by improperly keeping beneficiaries’ money instead of paying it out in a lump sum.
The suit, Lucey vs. Prudential Insurance Co. of America, says the insurer fraudulently claims to beneficiaries that the Alliance Account is a lump sum.
“Initiation of this ruse does not constitute payment of anything to anyone,” the suit says. “The Alliance Account is merely a bookkeeping device used by Prudential to hold on to beneficiaries’ money.”
Prudential hasn’t yet filed a response in court. Spokesman DeFillippo says he can’t comment on the case.
“It is important to note that several federal judges have rejected claims against accounts like our Alliance Account, concluding that beneficiaries are in virtually the same position they would be in had the insurer sent them a check,” DeFillippo says. He cited the dismissal of a case against MetLife Inc. on Sept. 10.
Insurance contract professor Stempel says that regardless of the outcome of that lawsuit, it’s clear that Prudential and the VA wrongly manipulated a federal contract at the expense of military members and their relatives. “At a minimum, survivors ought to be made whole with their missed interest,” he says. “The VA really seems to have had the best interests of the insurance company at heart, instead of those of the soldiers and their families.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Always up early, something both Dad and Grampa Walt had in their genetic code. Probably something about the early bird getting the worm. I see it everyday in the summer when the cardinals come at first light and feed on all the bugs that are attracted to the lights over the garage. At first light I grabbed my coffee and headed to Milton High School. Just me. Alone with flags. Thank you Dr. Smith and your wonderful family for keeping this memory alive. I will never forget that Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, our nation is still under attack. Every day.
Our culture, our language and our borders. All under attack. Believe it.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
An unspoken code of silence seems to be preventing Atlanta police homicide detectives from charging anyone with the fatal shooting of a mother of four who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“This was a completely innocent person,” homicide detective Mark Cooper said of 28-year-old Tammy Robinson. “The only mistake she made was coming out of her house. ... That bullet wasn’t meant for Ms. Robinson.”
Two days of animosities between two groups -- neither of which lived at the Grant Park Commons in southeast Atlanta -- led to the shooting on Aug. 28. The group that was armed had come to the complex looking for their antagonists over a “minor ongoing dispute,” Cooper said Wednesday.
He declined to be specific about the reason for the dispute but said, “in most cases, this should have been handled with words.”
About 75 people were milling round outside when the first shots were fired, but nobody who was questioned admitted to witnessing the shooting.
“I know the residents of this complex saw something,” Cooper said.
Moments before the shooting, Robinson and a friend were sitting on a bench. They decided to go inside when they saw indications that trouble was coming, according to her younger sister, Tisha.
They were walking back to her apartment when Tammy Robinson was shot in the face.
“I need witnesses to come forward,” Cooper said. “The individual they were shooting at had nothing to do with the incident the night before.”
Detectives have tried to interview people who are said to have “witnessed the shooting, but they are not willing to talk. We have an idea of the individual involved.”
Two men they suspect are vaguely described as in their early 20s and both about 5 feet, 10 inches tall.
But no one is talking.
And that’s not unusual, according to Georgia State University criminal justice professor Volkan Tapalli.
“It’s pervasive and it’s something that’s common in most large cities across the United States,” Tapalli said of the no-snitch philosophy.
The unwritten rule applies to those who live in an area where a crime occurred as much as it does to the offender, he said.
There is no one reason for the resistance, he said.
“It’s breaking a code. It’s being afraid. There’s always fear of reprisal,” Tapalli told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The ethics are that you’re supposed to mind your own business and not get into the affairs of others. In some cases, it may be considered you’re preempting somebody’s ability to extract retribution on their own.”
The dead woman’s sister tried to put it in a context she hoped witnesses would understand.
"This could be your sister, your aunt,” Tisha Robinson said.
She referred to her four nephews -- the 2- and 4-year-olds who live with their grandmother and the 8- and 10-year-olds who live with her -- in pleading for someone to report what they saw.
“We lost our mother at a young age. We lost our father at a young age,” Tisha Robinson said of herself and her older sister, whom she said was a recently laid-off clerk at the Fulton County Superior Court.
But the mind-set that does not allow for cooperation with the police may be too entrenched to overcome, Topalli said.
“A lot of this comes out of a historical mistrust of the police,” Topalli said. “They probably don’t think they are making it any more dangerous for others [if they don’t help police]. They don’t think the police are capable of dealing with this. But most homicides are cleared.”
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Sept. 7, 2010 -- Money may shape your outlook on life, but it can only buy so much when it comes to your daily happiness.
"More money does not necessarily buy more happiness," write researcher Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University and colleagues in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers found income can positively affect how you view your life, but it doesn't necessarily affect your daily emotions. Other factors, such as health, caregiving status, loneliness, and smoking are more likely to color your daily emotional state.
The study, based on more than 450,000 responses to a daily survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, showed that how people rated the quality of their lives -- on a scale from one to 10 -- rose steadily with annual income levels.
But the quality of people's daily emotional experiences leveled off at a certain stable income level, suggesting that there may be a salary cap on money's ability to buy happiness.
"Perhaps $75,000 is a threshold beyond which further increases in income no longer improve individuals' ability to do what matters most to their emotional well-being, such as spending time with people they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure," write the researchers. Participants' emotional well-being was measured according to their responses to questions about emotional experiences on the previous day.
The results showed that as incomes decreased below $75,000, the participants reported less happiness and increasing sadness and stress.
Researchers also found that the emotional pain of unfortunate events, such as divorce, disease, or being alone, was exacerbated by poverty.
Over the weekend, we saw a flurry of micro stimulus programs announced, which will have no measurable long-term impact, and in some cases result in growth declines in the future, yet likely result in a very short "sugar high" boost to the economy.
It's just more of the same from this President. In the past week, the Obama Administration has preemptively claimed victory on two fronts; a military pullout in Iraq, and the American economy (and conveniently right in time for Labor Day). Of course, he “exaggerated” the pullout in Iraq. There are still 50,000 troops on the ground, and the troops he did pull out are merely being replaced with private mercenary contractors like those from Blackwater. So, in Iraq, nothing has changed.
The administration’s proclamation that they have “stopped the bleeding” in terms of the economy is a similar misrepresentation of the facts. Its not that they have stopped the bleeding, America has almost bled out!
Counting U-6 measurements of those not considered by the Labor Department as unemployed because they are either off jobless benefits or are working part time, the jobless rate of the U.S. has hovered near 20% for over a year at least. During the Great Depression at its peak, unemployment reached 25%, but even this comparison is misleading. The population of the U.S. during the 1930’s was around 122 million, meaning far less working age adults than there are today in our population of 310 million people. In fact, the actual number, not percentage, of unemployed and underemployed today far exceeds that of the Great Depression. The number of desperate people, the critical mass of poor in a country, can have a far more insidious effect on its social environment than the abstract historical “percentage”, at least in my view.
Given the real state of unemployment, why has there been such euphoria over the economy in the past few days? Well, August private employment numbers from the Labor Department of 67,000 jobs created “beat Wall Street estimates”, that’s why. Set aside the fact that 121,000 temporary government jobs were cut equaling an actual net loss of 54,000 jobs. At least the privet sector is alive, right? Wrong. Here’s the rub…
Mainstream analyst estimates have become an incredibly pervasive delusion among investors and the public lately, a delusion that now has the financial sector dancing to whatever tune the government and the central banks wish to play.
Analysts forecast monthly unemployment reductions or increases based on….? Certainly weekly unemployment benefits filings are a part of the prediction process, and perhaps a few other statistics which are questionable themselves, but at bottom, these estimates are a blind guess involving very little concrete math. A guess completely subject to the whims of the analysts themselves. This “guess” is then for some reason treated as a legitimate reference point by the entire market for determining the health of the economy. It becomes a purely fabricated psychological indicator with no basis in reality. Want to pump up the stock market for a couple weeks? Why not guess lower job creation than is liable to occur. Or, if you are the Labor Department, tweak the numbers up a little above estimates and then “revise” them down in another month or two after everyone has forgotten. Bankers and economists projected 40,000 new private sector jobs created in August. Labor Department numbers were 27,000 above that. Result: stock market jubilee and a declaration that the recovery is in full swing.
Friday, September 03, 2010
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Air Force 2 only used 47,500 gallons of jet fuel for this trip and carbon emissions were a mere 1,031 tons of CO2. It costs only $11,500 per hour to operate Air Force 2 and each additional plane for the other members of our party group. These are only rough estimates, but they are close (who's counting?). That's quite a carbon footprint as my good friend Al Gore would say, so we must ask the American citizens to drive smaller, more fuel efficient cars and drive less too, so we can lessen our combined carbon footprint.
I know times are hard and millions of you are struggling to put food on the table and trying to make ends meet. I do appreciate your sacrifice and do hope you find work soon. I was really exhausted after Barack took our family on a luxury vacation in Maine a few weeks ago. I just had to get away for a few days. Will write more from Martha's Vineyard where we will spend our sixth vacation this year with more of our family and friends.