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Archive for September, 2007

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told Wall Street investors Monday that several of them have been too focused on their own gain at the expense of struggling Americans and echoed Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s call for a “reappraisal of values.”

Obama prides himself on delivering tough messages directly to the source, and his address at the NASDAQ Marketsite was another example. He said a “what’s good for me is good enough” mentality has crept into parts of the business world while working men and women toil longer hours and still struggle to pay for health care, tuition and taxes.

“If we are honest, I think we must admit that those who have benefited from the new global marketplace—and that includes almost everyone in this room—have not always concerned themselves with the losers in this new economy,” the Illinois senator said.

“The danger with this mentality isn’t just that it offends our morals, it’s that it endangers our markets,” Obama said.

Economic experts including former Commerce secretary Bill Daley, former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson and University of Chicago economist Austan D. Goolsbee helped Obama with the speech, which risks alienating some Wall Street supporters. But Obama said in a recent interview with The Associated Press that he is determined not just to campaign by telling people what they want to hear, but to win support for an agenda for change.

Other examples include Obama’s lecture to Detroit automakers that they need to build more fuel efficient vehicles and his support for performance-based merit pay before the teacher’s union that opposes it.

Obama blamed Wall Street for wasteful and unethical anti-market practices such as corporate boards that allow executives to set the price of stock options to guarantee they’ll make money regardless of performance and CEOs who get massive severance packages or perks even when workers lose their jobs or pensions. But he also accused the Bush administration of approving mergers with little scrutiny and maintaining more than $1 trillion worth of corporate tax loopholes.

“This administration has accelerated these trends through its tax policies and spending priorities to the point where there is greater income inequality now than at any time since the Gilded Age,” Obama said. He also compared the situation to the Great Depression, when Roosevelt challenged the cynicism by calling for faith in the United States and its institutions.

“We certainly do not face a test of the magnitude that Roosevelt’s generation did, but we are tested still,” Obama said.

“I am asking you to join me in ushering in a new era of mutual responsibility in America,” he said. He said he believes Wall Street leaders want to be part of building a more just nation, but they haven’t been asked before.

He used the subprime mortgage crisis as an example, saying it started as a good idea until some lenders and brokers began lowering their standards as they saw how much money could be made. It was tempting to look the other way, he said.

“The consequences are now clear: nearly 2.5 million homeowners could lose their homes” and millions of others could see their homes devalued, Obama said.

Obama said markets need to be more open and transparent to keep the trust of investors and the public. He said that trust can be restored by federal action like:

—New mortgage rules with tough penalties for lenders who trick homeowners into loans they can’t afford;

—An investigation of the relationship and business practices of rating agencies and their clients;

—A five-star credit card rating system to inform consumers about the level of risk for their credit card, including how easily the company can change the interest rate;

—A request that lenders show some flexibility to people trying to sell or refinance their homes.

Lets break this down a bit shall we.

• New mortgage rules with tough penalties for lenders who trick homeowners into loans they can’t afford;

As a Mortgage Broker myself I can honestly say that people are not TRICKED into anything when it comes to a Mortgage. or should I say 99.99% of the time they are not. EVERYTHING is spelled out in the contract even before closing. On the Good Faith Estimate EVERYTHING is gone over and clients want to know everything about their loan. I get stopped every time like clock work on the APR rate. Every time I need to tell them that this is not your actual rate. Everything is explained to these folks that take out ARMS. How their rate WILL go up a X amount of time and how there are penalties for paying off the loan too soon in some instances.

What a joke. Another way for Democrats to remove blame from the individual and blame companies for offering a service that like it or not has served the market VERY WELL. No one wants to look at the the positive numbers of RECORD number of home owners living in their homes right now.

Here is the reality for this FOOL Obama. John Hope Bryant, founder of Operation Hope says it clearly that Healthy and Responsible Sub-prime lending has lifted more poor people out of poverty then anything in the last 50 years!

That is a reality! Liberals don’t get that.

A request that lenders show some flexibility to people trying to sell or refinance their homes.

LOL. What now he wants to make it easier for flippers to get out of property as well?
Hell they are part of the problem with the real estate market. Some of these Foreclosures you are seeing are flippers that are STUCK in their purchases that they can’t flip as quickly as they thought. That is the risk with the investment.

—A five-star credit card rating system to inform consumers about the level of risk for their credit card, including how easily the company can change the interest rate;

Give me a damn break.
People need to show fiscal restraint. Can’t afford that pair of shoes at the mall. DON’T BUY IT. People know how their interest rates can go up on Credit Cards. They aren’t THAT NAIVE, they just act like they are when shit hits the fan.

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This is what true conservatism is like.
You adjust things accordingly through the legislature to make people NOT depend on the govt for their living. You then couple that with proper fiscal restraint in the state govt and promote small business and large business. The result is fewer people living off the Govt and taking responsibility for their own lively hood.

What a far out concept!

TAMPA – Florida had the nation’s lowest rate of households on welfare last year, according to figures recently released by the U.S. Census.

Just 1.3 percent of Florida households reported receiving welfare payments in the 2006 American Community Survey, a yearly demographic portrait of the nation set to replace the once-a-decade Census long form in 2010.

Welfare experts such as Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, aren’t surprised to find Florida ranked so low.

There are a number of reasons for it, they say. Florida has had higher job growth, tougher welfare eligibility rules and lower welfare payments than many states. And it lies in the South, where tradition – and legislation – more often attaches a greater stigma to welfare than other regions do.

“The South has always been more conservative than the rest of the country, so they’re less encouraging to people about welfare … especially as compared to the New England states,” said Haskins, author of “Work Over Welfare: The Inside Story of the 1996 Welfare Reform.”

“The Southern states also tend to have the lower benefits [and] the lower the benefits, the easier to earn your way off welfare.”

Florida has ranked low in the category for years. The survey lists it 51st among the states and the District of Columbia. In addition to Florida, there were six other Southern states rounding out the eight with the nation’s lowest welfare participation rates: Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Georgia. Wisconsin was the only non-Southern state. In all those states, less than 2 percent of households reported receiving welfare benefits in the survey.

Alaska had the highest rate of households receiving public cash assistance – 6.3 percent – followed by Maine; Washington, D.C.; Oklahoma; and Hawaii.

“Alaska and Hawaii have benefits that are off the scale, because cost of living there is so high,” Haskins said. “D.C. and Maine have probably among the lowest-income populations in the country. Oklahoma’s kind of surprising.”

A U.S. Department of Health & Human Services survey of 2002 welfare benefits for a family of three lists Alaska and Hawaii with the highest monthly payments nationwide: $923 and $712, respectively. Alabama offered the lowest monthly benefit at $164.

Florida’s monthly benefit of $303 ranked 43rd in the nation. That is still the maximum benefit today for a family of three, according to Don Winstead, deputy secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, which determines eligibility for welfare payments, also known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Winstead thinks the lower payments have helped maintain the state’s standing among those with the lowest rates for welfare recipients.

“That absolutely plays a role. Depending on the audience, I say Florida has among the lowest benefits in the country, or among the highest in the Southeast,” Winstead said.

“Historically, Florida is a state with low benefits. Largely [it’s the state] just not wanting to set benefits too high to encourage people to be on welfare rather than working. It’s basically a legislative decision.”

The federal welfare reform law, passed by Congress in 1996, made changes intended to make welfare more of a temporary benefit. The revamped program required states to set a five-year limit on the time families with an adult could receive cash benefits, with some exceptions. Florida set a stricter limit: four years.

The federal law said beneficiaries had to start working no later than two years after they first receive welfare benefits. Florida requires beneficiaries to start working right away.

Winstead said the tough standards of Florida’s 1996 welfare plan, passed in anticipation of the broad federal reforms, require able-bodied adults to get jobs right away. Florida also will cut off all benefits, after 10 days’ notice, if an adult in the household refuses to work without a good reason. The federal law allows a partial cut-off.

“The combination of a policy structure that rigorously enforces the requirement for work has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the welfare caseload,” Winstead said.

“In 1996, there were over 200,000 families on welfare in Florida. There are less than 50,000 now.”

We can all give a round of applause to Jeb Bush and the State Legislature in Florida for a Good Job. Now lets see if Christ can keep that momentum going.

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This seems like the type of plan that could work.
Its long been my stance that it takes the PEOPLE of the community to fix and correct the problem inside of poor communities.
Only through the people taking a firm stance and saying NO MORE can things truly take hold. No other way is possible for long lasting calm and peace. You can throw a cop on every street corner but till the PEOPLE come together to turn their HOOD into a Neighborhood, nothing will last.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The city’s embattled police chief, acknowledging that police alone cannot quell a run of deadly violence, has called on 10,000 black men to patrol the streets to reduce crime.

Sylvester Johnson, says black men have a duty to protect more vulnerable residents. He wants each volunteer to pledge to work three hours a day for at least 90 days.

“It’s time for African-American men to stand up,” Johnson told the Philadelphia Daily News, which first reported the story Wednesday. “We have an obligation to protect our women, our children and our elderly. We’re going to put men on the street. We’re going to train them in conflict resolution.”

The program’s backers include Dennis Muhammad, a former Nation of Islam official who has been hired by police departments in Detroit, Syracuse, N.Y., and other cities to conduct community-sensitivity training.

Philadelphia, the nation’s sixth-largest city, has nearly 1.5 million residents, 44 percent of them black. It has notched 294 homicides this year. More than 80 percent of the slayings involve handguns, and most involve young black males.

Johnson plans to introduce the “Call to Action: 10,000 Men, It’s a New Day” program on Oct. 21, three months before his planned retirement.

“He won’t get anywhere near that number. If he gets 1,000 people, it will be great,” said Heather DeRussy, who leads a local Guardian Angels chapter that has recruited just seven members in the past two years. Given its size, the group focuses on a single north Philadelphia park plagued by prostitution and drug use.

DeRussy lauded Johnson for his effort but said she fears the volunteers will find it dangerous to patrol their home turf.

“In their own neighborhoods, with the ‘Don’t snitch’ mentality, they’re kind of putting themselves in harm’s way, because there are going to be people who disagree with what they’re doing,” DeRussy said.

The men who join Johnson’s program will not carry weapons or make arrests but will instead emphasize conflict resolution, similar to the Guardian Angels’ ground rules.

Police in other cities have hired Muhammad in recent years to provide sensitivity training to officers and community members, but it was not immediately clear whether any have deployed a volunteer patrol force.

Johnson, who had led the police department for seven years, appears increasingly frustrated by the daily gun violence. He and other city leaders have blamed the Legislature for not passing gun-control measures.

Mayor John F. Street, whose term is up at the beginning of 2008, has voiced support for the program, but it was not clear whether he would become involved. His office did not return a call for comment Thursday, nor did Johnson’s office.

Street and Johnson have both endured withering criticism from frustrated residents and community leaders who say they should do more to halt the violence.

One gun-violence researcher said the idea of putting citizens on patrol had the potential to show children that adults care.

“A steady exposure to violence just creates this toxic environment for children and youth. As adults, we don’t want them to think they have to handle it on their own,” said Rose Cheney, executive director of the Firearm and Injury Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

“If, by putting people out there — not just as a town watch, but as resources who connect them to what they need from adults — that can be very promising,” she said.

There was another program in I think St Louis that sought to bring in dozens of black leaders or black male role models for the local Junior High and High School black teens. I think coupling this effort with the one that the Police Chief has, real change can take hold.

The problems that are effecting Philly are SERIOUS.
They have today 294 murders so far this year. Its only September.
I applaud the actions of this Police Chief.
More should follow suit.

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Very interesting.
And people that the audacity to say that the NY Times is NOT a liberal News Paper. Or that the Media is not run by liberals.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An ad criticizing the top U.S. general in Iraq raised charges on Thursday that The New York Times slashed its advertising rates for political reasons — an accusation denied by the paper.

The ad by liberal anti-war group moveon.org ran on Monday, the day of Gen. David Petraeus’ testimony to Congress about the war and how long U.S. forces will stay in Iraq.

Moveon.org confirmed it paid $65,000 for the full page ad headlined “General Petraeus or General Betray Us.”

The New York Post ran a story on Thursday asking why the basic rate of $181,692 for such an ad was discounted.

“Times Gives Lefties a Hefty Discount for ‘Betray Us’ Ad,” was the headline in the Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis denied the rate charged indicated a political bias and said it was the paper’s policy not to disclose the rate paid by any advertiser.

“We do not distinguish the advertising rates based on the political content of the ad,” Mathis told Reuters.

“The advertising folks did not see the content of the ad before the rate was quoted,” she said, adding that there were over 30 different categories of ads with varying rates.

Mathis confirmed the open rate for an ad of that size and type was around $181,000. Among reasons for lower rates are advertisers buying in bulk or taking a standby rate, she said.

“There are many instances when we have published opinion advertisements that run counter to the stance we take on our own editorial pages,” she said.

The ad in the main news section of the Times accused Petraeus of “cooking the books for the White House.”

It angered Republicans, including Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, a presidential candidate who brought it to the Petraeus hearing on Monday and waved the ad in the air, telling lawmakers he was “irritated” by it and other criticism by Democrats.

Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor who blogs on media at buzzmachine.com, said the key question for the Times was could any other political or advocacy group get the same rate under the same circumstances.

“The quandary the Times gets stuck in is they don’t want to admit you can buy an ad for that rate, no matter who you are,” Jarvis said, noting that with print advertising revenues in decline newspapers generally did offer big discounts.

On a more general note, Jarvis said U.S. papers should emulate their counterparts in Britain where, for example, The Guardian makes no effort to hide its liberal stance.

“In the U.S., I would argue newspapers should be more transparent and open about the views taken … and the (New York) Times is liberal,” he said.

That is a pretty damn sweet deal. Only 65 K to get that much attention nationally and on top of that, commit a drive by character assassination of a war hero. NICE.

I wonder if they’ll give Rudy that same discounted price for his ad?

I doubt it though. If anything Rudy better be ready, following this stunt by him the NY TIMES may REALLY go after him.

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Where do you see this blazing across in headlines in national news papers?

WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal deficit is running sharply lower than last year even though spending in August set an all-time high, the government reported Thursday.

The Treasury Department said that the deficit through the first 11 months of this budget year totaled $274.4 billion, down 9.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

Analysts believe the deficit for all of 2007 will actually be even lower because they are forecasting a sizable surplus in the final month, reflecting in part timing issues that caused about $44 billion in Social Security and Medicare payments that normally would have been made in September to be shifted into August.

The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting that when this budget year wraps up on Sept. 30, the deficit will total $158 billion, down by 36.2 percent from last year’s $248.2 billion deficit.

The government’s books have been helped this year by record flows of tax receipts, which have continued even though economic growth has been reduced by a serious slump in housing.

A deficit of $158 billion would be the best showing since the budget was actually in balance for four years. The last surplus was in 2001, President Bush’s first year in office.

While forecasts had projected that government surpluses would total $5.6 trillion over the next decade, the 2001 recession, spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the president’s first-term tax cuts all combined to wipe out those surpluses.

Republicans contend that Bush’s tax cuts are a major reason that government receipts are so strong now, but Democrats contend that the tax cuts are providing very little economic stimulus and that revenues are simply rebounding to more normal levels after slumping earlier in the decade.

The deficit hit an all-time high in dollar terms in 2004 at $413 billion and has been declining since then. The administration is projecting that the government’s books will be in surplus by 2012 if Congress follows Bush’s recommendations on spending restraint. However, the Democratic-controlled Congress is pushing for higher spending for the budget year that begins Oct. 1. Bush has pledged to veto spending bills that exceed his requests.

For August, the deficit totaled $116.9 billion. However, about $44 billion of that figure reflected payments for Social Security and Medicare that were mailed in August because Sept. 1 fell on a Saturday and Labor Day came on Sept. 3.

Through the first 11 months of the current budget year, receipts total a record $2.282 trillion, up 7.5 percent from last year, while outlays totaled a record $2.557 trillion, up 5.3 percent from last year.

Or better yet where are the doom and gloomers on the economy?

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Unions are a joke

It used to be that Unions served a purpose. They were protecting American workers from unsafe working conditions, and from outside tariffs and economic impacts.
They used to actually work to improve conditions of the people say in Steal Factories, Car Manufacturing etc. But over the years it seems like Unions have become nothing more then cash revenue streams for the Unions themselves.

Now comes the ultimate slap in the face to the American worker.
Unions that are in support of Illegal immigration:

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A union representing workers at six Swift & Co. meatpacking plants sued federal immigration authorities Wednesday, alleging agents violated the workers’ rights during raids by roughly handling even those not suspected of crimes.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and the eight workers named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit seek unspecified damages and an order to stop U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from conducting what the union says are illegal raids.

ICE officials investigating identity theft arrested 1,297 workers at the plants in December, but union officials have said that more than 12,000 workers were detained against their will during the raids. Swift has estimated the financial impact at up to $50 million.

Union president Joseph Hansen said workers were handcuffed and held for hours and denied access to phones, bathrooms, legal counsel and their families.

“What happened to the Swift workers … is absolutely an outrage,” Hansen said Tuesday.

According to ICE, 274 of those arrested during the raids were charged with identity theft or other crimes unrelated to immigration law. Nearly all were convicted, ICE spokesman Tim Counts said Tuesday. He disputed the claim that workers weren’t allowed access to phones.

Of those arrested for being in the country illegally, 649 had been deported as of March 1, according to the most recent numbers available from ICE. All were sent to Latin American countries.

ICE returned to the plants in July and arrested 20 more people, including a human resources manager and a union representative on charges of recruiting and harboring illegal immigrants. The latter two cases are pending.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Amarillo, Texas, names as defendants Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, the two agencies and unnamed federal agents who conducted the raids.

A Department of Homeland Security official referred questions to ICE. Counts said ICE attorneys had not yet seen the lawsuit but planned to fight it.

“From what we’ve heard from the complaints, they are baseless,” Counts said.

Counts said civil search warrants gave the agency the right to fully search the plants and question everyone there. Workers were allowed to use their cell phones, company phones and even the phones of federal agents during the operation, he said.

The Food and Commercial Workers union represents 1.3 million workers in the United States, including 250,000 workers in packing and food processing. The plants raided were in Grand Island, Neb.; Cactus, Texas; Greeley, Colo.; Hyrum, Utah; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minn.

Officials at Swift, which is not named as a defendant, did not immediately return a message left Wednesday seeking comment on the lawsuit. Brazilian firm JBS S.A. acquired Swift from a private equity firm for about $1.5 billion in July, making the company the world’s largest beef processor.

Its a damn shame.

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This was way too good to pass up.

Challenge to Scientific Consensus on Global Warming: Analysis Finds Hundreds of Scientists Have Published Evidence Countering Man-Made Global Warming Fears.

A new analysis of peer-reviewed literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting at least one element of current man-made global warming scares. More than 300 of the scientists found evidence that 1) a natural moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced more than a dozen global warmings similar to ours since the last Ice Age and/or that 2) our Modern Warming is linked strongly to variations in the sun’s irradiance. “This data and the list of scientists make a mockery of recent claims that a scientific consensus blames humans as the primary cause of global temperature increases since 1850,” said Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Dennis Avery.

Other researchers found evidence that 3) sea levels are failing to rise importantly; 4) that our storms and droughts are becoming fewer and milder with this warming as they did during previous global warmings; 5) that human deaths will be reduced with warming because cold kills twice as many people as heat; and 6) that corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate.

Despite being published in such journals such as Science, Nature and Geophysical Review Letters, these scientists have gotten little media attention. “Not all of these researchers would describe themselves as global warming skeptics,” said Avery, “but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see.”

The names were compiled by Avery and climate physicist S. Fred Singer, the co-authors of the new book Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, mainly from the peer-reviewed studies cited in their book. The researchers’ specialties include tree rings, sea levels, stalagmites, lichens, pollen, plankton, insects, public health, Chinese history and astrophysics.

“We have had a Greenhouse Theory with no evidence to support it-except a moderate warming turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events,” said co-author Singer. “On the other hand, we have compelling evidence of a real-world climate cycle averaging 1470 years (plus or minus 500) running through the last million years of history. The climate cycle has above all been moderate, and the trees, bears, birds, and humans have quietly adapted.”

“Two thousand years of published human histories say that the warm periods were good for people,” says Avery. “It was the harsh, unstable Dark Ages and Little Ice Age that brought bigger storms, untimely frost, widespread famine and plagues of disease.” “There may have been a consensus of guesses among climate model-builders,” says Singer. “However, the models only reflect the warming, not its cause.” He noted that about 70 percent of the earth’s post-1850 warming came before 1940, and thus was probably not caused by human-emitted greenhouse gases. The net post-1940 warming totals only a tiny 0.2 degrees C.

The historic evidence of the natural cycle includes the 5000-year record of Nile floods, 1st-century Roman wine production in Britain, and thousands of museum paintings that portrayed sunnier skies during the Medieval Warming and more cloudiness during the Little Ice Age. The physical evidence comes from oxygen isotopes, beryllium ions, tiny sea and pollen fossils, and ancient tree rings. The evidence recovered from ice cores, sea and lake sediments, cave stalagmites and glaciers has been analyzed by electron microscopes, satellites, and computers. Temperatures during the Medieval Warming Period on California’s Whitewing Mountain must have been 3.2 degrees warmer than today, says Constance Millar of the U.S. Forest Service, based on her study of seven species of relict trees that grew above today’s tree line.

Singer emphasized, “Humans have known since the invention of the telescope that the earth’s climate variations were linked to the sunspot cycle, but we had not understood how. Recent experiments have demonstrated that more or fewer cosmic rays hitting the earth create more or fewer of the low, cooling clouds that deflect solar heat back into space-amplifying small variations in the intensity of the sun.

Avery and Singer noted that there are hundreds of additional peer-reviewed studies that have found cycle evidence, and that they will publish additional researchers’ names and studies. They also noted that their book was funded by Wallace O. Sellers, a Hudson board member, without any corporate contributions.

Man Made Global Warming right Al?
Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure……

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