Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Sunday 'Report;' 09/18/2011

What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
Bank of America will eliminate 30,000 jobs
The Associated Press
Sept. 12, 2011
NEW YORK — Bank of America is slashing 30,000 jobs as part of an effort to reverse a crisis of confidence among investors. It's the largest single job reduction by a U.S. company this year.  What CEO Brian Moynihan is trying to do is nothing less than save the nation's largest bank. Investors have cut the bank's market value by half this year. The bank is facing huge liabilities over soured mortgage investments and concerns over whether it has enough capital to withstand more financial shocks.  The cuts, which affect Bank of America's consumer businesses, represent 10 percent of the Charlotte, N.C. bank's work force. The bank said it hopes the cuts and other measures will result in $5 billion in annual savings by 2014. The bank has already cut 6,000 jobs this year. The bank also said it would look for cost savings at its other businesses in a [....]

Battle of Saipan
{I found this article while searching for pacific real estate.  Interesting!}
    Plans to launch an offensive against the Japanese in the islands of the Pacific were initiated in 1943 at the Quadrant Conference held in Quebec. President Franklin Roosevelt received the proposal that the Allied effort in the Pacific should be directed first toward the Gilbert Islands, then the Marshalls, followed by Wake, the Eastern Carolines, and finally the Marianas. It was at Saipan that American military planners were presented with the problem of how to cope with a dense civilian population, the first to be encountered in the Pacific war. American forces were to be under the overall command of Admiral Chester Nimitz
    The American drive across the Pacific would be two-pronged. While Nimitz fought his way across the central Pacific, General MacArthur would advance across the southwest Pacific to the Philippines. The islands of the central Pacific either succumbed one by one under the sheer weight of American forces or were bombed, neutralized and bypassed. With their supply lines cut, the defenders of by-passed islands were left to starve. After the fall of the Marshall islands, no other island in the central Pacific would be invaded by American ground forces until the American armada reached the waters off the Marianas and the island of Saipan.
    American war strategy in the western Pacific was developed around the premise that Japan would never surrender and that the nation would fight to the last man, woman, and child, particularly if the home islands were invaded. It was anticipated that such an invasion, if it were to occur, would result in the loss of one million American lives. In planning for this eventuality, air bases in the Marianas were essential in order to accommodate the new B-29 Superfortress, a U.S. bomber that was just beginning to be mass-produced in early 1944 [....]

40-Year Super Bowl Ring Mystery Solved
by Ben Maller
September 16, 2011
    A phone call from 4,957 miles away solved a four decade-old football riddle.  John Schmitt, starting center in the New York Jets' dramatic win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in 1969, was given a championship ring for his part in arguably the most important upset in NFL history.  A few years later, while on vacation in Hawaii, Schmitt took his first surfing lesson off Waikiki Beach. After being in the water for more than five hours, his prized ring fell off about a quarter-mile off shore [....]

12,000 tax cheats come clean under IRS program
Associated Press
September 15, 2011
Those people have so far paid $500 million in back taxes and interest. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said he expects the cases to yield substantially more money from penalties that have yet to be paid.  The voluntary disclosure program, which ran from February to last week, is part of a larger effort by the IRS to crack down on tax dodgers who hide assets in overseas accounts. The agency stepped up its efforts in 2009, when Swiss banking giant UBS AG agreed to pay a $780 million fine and turn over details on thousands of accounts suspected of holding undeclared assets from American customers.  Since then, the IRS has opened new enforcement offices overseas, [....]

15 Failed Celebrity Businesses
September 9, 2011
By Jill Weinberger,
    In recent years, multiple celebrities have attempted to extend their brand by venturing into the business world. Actor and comedian Will Ferrell found tremendous success with his website,, while Rapper Sean Combs (P Diddy) owns multiple businesses, including a record label, a clothing line, a movie production company, and more.  Despite all the successful celebrity ventures in the world, however, there are numerous examples of celebrity businesses that have gone bust.  A celebrity name can automatically help a business, bringing in a recognizable spokesperson and a built-in fan base. However, just because a celebrity brand is attached to a business, it doesn’t guarantee success—and may occasionally cause more harm than good.  Celebrity businesses fail for numerous reasons, from poor business management and lack of experience, to bad concepts that were  [....]

In tornado aftermath, football helps heal Joplin
A tornado ravaged Joplin, Mo., in May, killing 160 and causing an estimated $3 billion in damages.
JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) -- There's a scar through the middle of Joplin, a mile wide and six miles long. All that's left are a few twisted tree stumps, chunks of chewed up pavement and the tattered remains of homes and businesses.  The football stadium still stands. So much of the town is gone.  The tornado that churned through southwest Missouri on May 22 forever altered its landscape. More than 2,000 buildings were reduced to rubble, 160 lives were lost, an estimated $3 billion in damages left in its wake.  About the only thing the storm didn't destroy was the spirit of the people who call Joplin home.  On Saturday night, they converged on Junge Stadium for the first home football game. More than 10,000 fans jammed into a facility built for 4,500 to watch their Eagles face Springfield Hillcrest, the biggest crowd anybody could remember.  There were 22 seconds of silence, a bald eagle soared overhead and a National Guard helicopter that assisted in the storm relief swooped over the field. Then the game kicked off.  And for a few hours, [....]

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Da-Hood Announces $417.3 Million in Grants for State Highway Projects
August 17, 2011
Contact: Cathy St. Denis
Tel: 202-366-0660
WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $417.3 million in grants to fund an array of efforts ranging from interstate maintenance to research into innovative bridge materials and construction methods.  "Transportation investments like these will create jobs, increase mobility, improve quality of life for all Americans and strengthen our national economy," said Secretary LaHood. "The demand from the states for these funds shows just how critical the need is for infrastructure investment."  The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) invited states to [....]
{Related Content:}

The 50 Richest Members of Congress (2011)
by Roll Call
    To determine the richest lawmakers, Roll Call adds up the minimum value of total assets reported by each Member on their annual financial disclosures and subtracts the minimum liabilities. Percent change refers to the change since last year's disclosure forms.  An asset valued at $5 million to $25 million is counted at the lesser amount, as is a liability valued at $1 million to $5 million.
1.  Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas)
$294.21 Million
Assets--$294.21 Million
Liabilities--$0.00 Million
When McCaul first appeared on Roll Call’s annual survey of the 50 Richest Members of Congress in 2005, he was a wealthy guy, reporting a minimum net worth of about $12 million.  His financial disclosure report now depicts a fortune worth almost 25 times that amount, making him the wealthiest Member of Congress, at least on paper.  McCaul ranked fifth among last year’s class of richest lawmakers, with a minimum net worth of at least $73.75 million, but has since risen to more than $294 million.  The lion’s share of McCaul’s wealth is held by his wife, [....]

....What’s exactly happened with the government’s Solyndra loan?
By Liz Goodwin
National Affairs Reporter
The Lookout
September 14, 2011
    The big story marring President Obama's jobs tour Wednesday is the $535 million loan his administration doled out to Solyndra, a solar panel company that has just gone belly-up, leaving taxpayers on the hook.  President Barack Obama visited the facility in May 2010, and said it was "leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future." But only a month later, the company laid off 100 employees and cancelled its plans for a public stock offering. Two weeks ago, it filed for Chapter 11 and fired 1,000 workers. FBI agents promptly raided the company's California offices. 
So what exactly happened? And how big will the fallout be for Obama?
The accusation
Republicans on the House and Energy Commission are accusing the Obama administration of ignoring multiple warning signs that Solyndra was a bad bet. The Commission lays out its case against the administration's handling of the loan in a report released Wednesday, following a months-long investigation.  Under the Bush administration, the Department of Energy rejected Solyndra for a loan in early 2009, worrying that the company didn't have good long-term prospects. Yet only two months later [....]

The 12 major league teams running out of fans
By Michael B. Sauter,
September 15, 2011
    Sports teams often go through sharp swings in popularity. Attendance rises and falls. This frequently has to do with how well a team performs. When teams do well, people outside of their primary fan base become interested and start going to games. An example of this is the Florida Marlins, who won the world series in 2003 and saw attendance rise 60 percent in a single year. Alternatively, teams who do poorly also win new fans.  Attendance for the four major league sports – NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL – remained [....]

Steven Spielberg Finally Admits the Walkie-Talkies Were a Mistake

By Will Leitch, Editor
The Projector
September 15, 2011
    A couple of days ago, Steven Spielberg talked to a packed audience after a screening of a new print of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," which, somewhat quietly, turned 30 this year. (Most of our friends make a big fuss about it when they turn 30.) A few news items popped up out of this, from Harrison Ford turning down "Jurassic Park" to Spielberg sort of admitting "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull" kinda stunk. But we were far more interested in something Spielberg said about another classic with an anniversary coming up.
    Next year, "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" will turn 30. (Oh, and seriously: Steven Spielberg made "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "E.T." in consecutive years. Like, in the span of a few months.) That'll be its own new Blu-Ray DVD, and what's most noteworthy is a change that Spielberg won't be making. Or, more accurately, changing back. He is, thank heavens, getting rid of the walkie-talkies he digitally inserted in the hands of the government baddies, and giving them their guns back.  As evidenced by the image above from the 20th anniversary edition of "E.T.," for reasons even Spielberg himself doesn't seem to understand -- likely sensitivity to criticism by parents' groups, who didn't like [....]

Muggsy Bogues reveals the substantial gift he received from Mark Cuban
By Kelly Dwyer
September 16, 2011
    When an NBA player retires, teams are under no obligation to pay them any remaining money on their contract. But when the smallest NBA player at 5-3 Muggsy Bogues hung up his sneakers back in 2001, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban apparently didn't bat an eye before paying him the entirety of the remaining three years [....]

The Ruler's Family Vacation Home Goes on Sale

By Colleen Kane,
September 14, 2011
The ruling family's elegant vacation spot in Martha's Vineyard is up for sale.  Blue Heron Farm, which has served as the ruling family vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard, has just been put on the market with a price tag of $23.7 million.  Because "Clown Prince ZERO-bama, The Narcissist" and family have rented the compound for one week for the past three years, bringing with them staffers and Secret Service, many call it the “Summer barackingham Palace.” [....]

Heartbreaking news at Woodberry Forest: Star QB has part of leg amputated

By: Shane Mettlen
Daily Progress correspondent
September 12, 2011
A grief stricken Woodberry Forest football program heads into its second game of the season this weekend, dealing with a shocking and gruesome injury to junior quarterback Jacob Rainey, whose leg was amputated at a Fairfax hospital a week after going down in a preseason scrimmage at Flint Hill High School.  Rainey, who is from Charlottesville, suffered a broken knee cap on Sept. 3 after being tackled from behind and was taken to the hospital where further complications, including a ruptured blood vessel, were discovered. He remained in an intensive care unit last week while the Tigers traveled to Richmond to play Benedictine.  Woodberry was celebrating a 16-13 victory on the bus ride home when Rainey sent a Twitter message to a teammate telling him the injury was worse than they knew. Tigers coach Clint Alexander gathered the team when they arrived back on campus and delivered the news that the star quarterback [....]

Read It Here First: Rising Market Volatity

By: Big Picture
September 12, 2011
    The front page of today’s New York Times is a very interesting if rather familiar article on the increase in market volatility: “With these whopping 4 percent swings — up 500 points, down 500 points, up another 500 points, down another 500 points — traders have whiplash. We saw another huge move down Thursday, when [...]
The front page of today’s New York Times is a very interesting if rather familiar article on the increase in market volatility:
“With these whopping 4 percent swings — up 500 points, down 500 points, up another 500 points, down another 500 points — traders have whiplash. We saw another huge move down Thursday, when the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P all lost big, plummeting 3.68 percent, 5.22 percent and 4.46 percent, respectively.
What is going on? It seems that 4 percent — plus or minus — is the new black.”
Ooops, my bad, that was my column published August 19th in the Washington Post, titled Smacked by big market swings, investors should alter their outlook.  The NYTimes piece from today is called Market Swings Are Becoming New Standard, and it begins like this:
“Day after day, stocks swing sharply by hundreds of points. Last week they tumbled 3 percent in the first 90 minutes of trading on Tuesday morning, then on Wednesday closed nearly [....]

Budget-Friendly Alternatives to Cable TV

by Lisa Gerstner
September 9, 2011
provided by
It's getting cheaper and easier to stream your favorite shows to your television set.
    Not long ago, TV reception depended on how well your rooftop antenna picked up the signal. But now cables and satellites have commandeered our screens. Today, about 87% of U.S. households subscribe to a "multi-channel video service," mainly cable or satellite TV, according to Leichtman Research Group.
    Thanks to new offerings via the Internet, viewers are increasingly catching their favorite shows free or for a fraction of what their cable company charges. And going online to view TV shows or movies doesn't mean you're stuck watching programs on your computer or tablet screen.  The Apple TV box ($99), for example, [....]

Hiccups Cures

September 14, 2011
What cures hiccups?
Holding your breath can work. So can acupuncture. For the worst cases, there's even surgery.
What is your most effective way to get rid of the hiccups?
Having someone scare you
Breathing in and out of a paper bag
Drinking water upside down
Swallow a teaspoon of sugar

Expert Discusses Unclaimed Property and the Reporting of Unclaimed Wages

PR Newswire
September 16, 2011
Contact: Matt Sottong, +1-703-341-3811,
ARLINGTON, Va. PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One of the most important yet unappreciated jobs in a company falls to the individual who is responsible for filing the annual unclaimed property reports. As state deficits rise and many budgets are in the red, state Treasurers and Unclaimed Property Administrators increase enforcement to ensure continual influx of money into the state coffers. Unclaimed wages is one of the [....]

obama to propose "Buffett tax" on millionaires

By Alister Bull
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - obama, in a populist gesture designed to appeal to voters, will propose a "Buffett Tax" on people making more than $1 million a year as part of his deficit recommendations to Congress on Monday.  Such a proposal, among suggestions to a congressional Super Committee expected to seek up to $3 trillion in deficit savings over 10 years, would appeal to his Democratic base ahead of the 2012 election but likely not raise much in revenues.  White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a tweet on Saturday the tax would act as "a kind of AMT" (Alternative Minimum Tax) aimed at ensuring millionaires pay at least as much tax as middle-class families.
    The "Buffett Tax" refers to billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who wrote earlier this year that rich people like him often pay less in tax than those who work for them due to loopholes in the taxcode, and can afford to pay more.  obama will lay out [....]

Bachmann: Solyndra shows Obama's abuse of power

September 16, 2011
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann says a half-billion dollar government loan to a solar energy manufacturer is an example of an "abuse of authority and power."  Bachmann made the remarks Friday at an Orange County rally before the start of the California GOP convention.  The Treasury Department announced Thursday it has launched an investigation into a $535 million loan to the Fremont, Calif.-based Solyndra Inc.  The Silicon Valley company was the first renewable-energy manufacturer to receive a loan guarantee under the stimulus law. President Barack Obama's administration frequently touted Solyndra as a model for its clean energy program.  It has since laid off more than 1,000 people and filed for bankruptcy.  Bachmann called the loan "crony capitalism" during the rally.  Solyndra executives raised more than $100,000 for Obama and Democrats. [~~]

Times Kept Qaddafi's Son's Bisexuality Quiet at Government's Request

By Elspeth Reeve
The Atlantic Wire
September 16, 2011
When The New York Times was getting ready to publish material from the 250,000 State Department cables obtained by WikiLeaks, the newspaper worked with the government to avoid publishing material particularly sensitive to national security and diplomatic efforts. Among the facts redacted? That Muammar Qaddafi's son is bisexual, Gawker's John Cook reports.
“Most of them made sense -- the names of State Department sources in autocratic regimes, for instance, were routinely removed. But many of them seemed arbitrary and difficult to justify.
For instance: Muammar Qaddafi's son Saadi, a hard-partying former pro-soccer player and movie producer, is bisexual, according to former U.S. ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz. “Although the Zuwara Free Trade Zone is an ambitious and expensive project, Muammar al-Qadhafi likely views it as a relatively small price to pay if it helps occupy the notoriously ill-behaved Saadi and lend a patina of useful engagement to his otherwise less than sterling reputation. Saadi has a troubled past, including scuffles with police in Europe (especially Italy), abuse of drugs and alcohol, excessive partying, travel abroad in contravention of his father's wishes and profligate affairs with men and women. His bisexuality is reportedly a point of [....]

Hillary Clinton most popular national political figure: new poll

By Laura Rozen
Senior Foreign Affairs Reporter
The Envoy
September 16, 2011
One third of Americans believe Hillary Clinton would have been a better president than Barack Obama, and two-thirds view her favorably, according to a new Bloomberg News poll.  "The most popular national political figure in America today is one who was rejected by her own party three years ago: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton," Bloomberg News' John McCormick wrote on the poll's findings, which were released Friday.  While 34 percent of those polled believe "things would be better under a Clinton [....]

Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America's Poor
By Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield

September 13, 2011
Executive Summary
    Today, the Census Bureau released its annual poverty report, which declared that a record 46.2 million persons, or roughly one in seven Americans, were poor in 2010. The numbers were up sharply from the previous year’s total of 43.6 million. Although the current recession has increased the numbers of the poor, high levels of poverty predate the recession. In most years for the past two decades, the Census Bureau has declared that at least 35 million Americans lived in poverty.
    However, understanding poverty in America requires looking behind these numbers at the actual living conditions of the individuals the government deems to be poor. For most Americans, the word “poverty” suggests near destitution: an inability to provide nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter for one’s family. However, only a small number of the 46 million persons classified as “poor” by the Census Bureau fit that description. While real material hardship certainly does occur, it is limited in scope and severity.
    The following are facts about persons defined as “poor” by the Census Bureau as taken from various government reports:
80 percent of poor households have air conditioning. In 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
92 percent of poor households have a microwave.
Nearly three-fourths have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.
Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite TV.
Two-thirds have at least one DVD player, and 70 percent have a VCR.
Half have a personal computer, and one in seven have two or more computers.
More than half of poor families with children have a video game system, such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
43 percent have Internet access.
One-third have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.
One-fourth have a digital video recorder system, such as a TiVo.
Until Next Sunday....
    For decades, the living conditions of the poor have steadily improved. Consumer items that were luxuries or significant purchases for the middle class a few decades ago have become commonplace in poor households, partially because of the normal downward price trend that follows introduction of a new product.  Liberals use the declining relative prices of many amenities to argue that it is no big deal that poor households have air conditioning, computers, cable TV, and wide-screen TV. They contend, polemically, that even though most poor families may have a house full of modern conveniences, the average poor family still  [....]



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