Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Sunday 'Report;' 11/13/2011

What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
4 quick rituals for a better day
by Stephanie Booth,
Real Simple Magazine
Eat the Same Breakfast Every Day
There's something to be said for consistency. Knowing exactly what you're going to eat-and when-decreases stress and sets you up for a less harried morning. Plus, your mood won't determine what you put on your plate (making it less likely that you'll find yourself eating a glazed doughnut). Choose a healthy dish that you enjoy: an omelet with vegetables, oatmeal with seeds and nuts, or Greek yogurt with muesli and fruit, for example. You'll begin your day with energy as well as certainty. --Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., is a registered dietitian.
Savor Your Coffee
How long did it take you to down your last cappuccino? Next time, take a cue from the Japanese, whose formal tea ceremony can last four hours. Before taking a drink, participants [....]

The Left's Many Double Standards
by David Limbaugh
November 11, 2011
Today's liberals would have you believe they occupy the moral high ground on every political and cultural issue. But have you ever taken inventory of their double standards?  The left's inconsistency in applying their principles based on the party affiliation of those they're judging, gives fuller meaning to the concept of moral relativism. The only thing that's consistent is their reliable inconsistency, whether in the area of economic, social or national defense issues.
Let's consider just a few examples:
-- When "bimbo eruptions" threatened to derail Bill Clinton's campaign, his hit squad, the commander in chief of which was Hillary Clinton, eviscerated every accuser, inventing tales to destroy their character and distorting the facts of what occurred. When Ken Starr accused Bill Clinton of lying under oath, liberals turned their venom on him, accusing him of sexual perversion just for delving into the subject.  When Republicans argued that Clinton's serial sexual exploits, some of which had then occurred quite recently, demonstrated poor character, Democrats defiantly dismissed his actions as irrelevant to the performance of his presidential duties. These guardians of the fairer sex -- watchdogs of government corruption -- didn't care that Clinton's taking advantage of an intern in the Oval Office was a quintessential case of sexual harassment, given the power disparities between his station and that of Monica Lewinsky's. They even defended Clinton's perjury concerning the matter. Some argued that it was almost virtuous that he chose to lie under oath and protect his family rather than take the easy way out and come clean.
    Today, liberals are in high dudgeon and probably higher conspiracy over sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain that supposedly occurred 14 years ago. CNBC's GOP presidential debate moderators pointedly asked Cain and one of his rivals Mitt Romney, whether a man guilty of such conduct had the requisite character to be president of the United States.
-- Democrats maligned former President George W. Bush's economy for the better part of his two terms, despite the robust growth, unemployment below 5 percent and a 2007 deficit less than 10 percent of what it is today. They tell us that President Obama's horrendous economy, on the other hand, is not even his fault.
-- Frustrated with their inability to succeed in talk radio and the resulting loss of their decades long national media monopoly, liberals have resorted to demonizing conservative talk radio and Fox News Channel, saying they habitually engage in [....]

If Cain wins, the tea party loses
By Jack Hunter
Blogger for "Paulitical Ticker"
November 10, 2011
    I’ve been a conservative my entire adult life. During that time, I’ve watched the conservative movement fail. Sure, I’ve seen supposedly limited-government candidates win elections and promise to shrink government. What I haven’t seen is government shrink. Ever.
    It was the public’s frustration with such never-ending government growth that gave birth to the tea party movement. If you will recall, many liberals initially dismissed the tea party as simply a partisan reaction to President Obama’s election, but it was actually President Bush’s “Troubled Asset Relief Program” that first sparked the movement’s fire. In May 2010, Utah tea party leader David Kirkham explained:
"I think it’s a matter of fiscal or financial responsibility … What the tea party people are about and the vote for TARP and the vote for the bailout was, in our opinion, pretty fiscally irresponsible, and that’s what’s raised the ire of most people."
At the time, Kirkham’s group was working to unseat Republican Senator Bob Bennett, who had voted for TARP. When asked if the TARP-supporting incumbent deserved to lose his seat over just one vote, Kirkham replied:
"That one vote was pretty toxic. That one vote affected a lot of things, changed the rules of the game. President Bush said that where we have to abandon free market principles to save the free market, and fundamentally, we just don’t agree. There’s just no way."
Bennett was voted out and replaced with a tea partier, Senator Mike Lee. As Washington would soon learn, the rules had changed. Yesterday’s “conservative” Republicans, who had failed to produce results, were no longer acceptable. D.C. doublespeak would no longer be tolerated. The fiscally serious conservative movement [....]

The Best Day of the Week to Buy Everything
by Seth Fiegerman 

November 9, 2011
    Most MainStreet readers likely know that the price of any given product can vary significantly based on the time of year (peak season vs. off season, for example), but the day of the week has a significant impact on prices as well, at least online.  Extrabux, a price comparison website, analyzed prices for more than 100,000 products sold online at thousands of retailers and found that the price of TVs, computers and other consumer products can vary by anywhere from $20 to $40 from one day to the next. As a general rule the best day to buy each of these products is Monday.
    Computers cost an average of $1,210 on Mondays, their lowest price of the week, and cost $1,256 on Fridays, their most expensive day of the week. That $46 difference marks the biggest dollar amount fluctuation of any product on the list and the reason, according to the report, is that computer manufacturers generally roll out their rebates and discounts at the beginning of the week.  Television prices follow a similar trend, with TVs selling for [....]

The Cities Where Foreclosure Rates Are Skyrocketing
November 9, 2011
10. Columbus, Ohio
Quarterly increase in foreclosures: +32%
# of Foreclosures Q3 2011: 2,273
Unemployment: 7.6%
% home value down from peak: -12.42%
    Columbus hit its median home value peak in the first quarter of 2006. Since that time, home values have declined a relatively modest 12.4%, including a 3.4% drop last year. By the second quarter of 2012, Fiserv projects that homes in the area will lose another 2.3% of their value. Median family income in Columbus is above the national average, and unemployment is just 8%, a full percentage point less than the national average. Despite [....]

Wal-Mart Black Friday circular: See the deals
By Jessica Dickler
November 10, 2011
They may as well call it Black Thursday.
Joining a slew of other national retailers, Wal-Mart said it too will open its doors nationwide on Thanksgiving night.  Not to be one-upped by Target, which recently announced it would open at midnight on Black Friday, Wal-Mart said it will kick off its Black Friday deals at 10 p.m. on Thursday.  "Our customers told us they would rather stay up late to shop than get up early, so we're going to hold special events on Thanksgiving and Black Friday," Duncan Mac Naughton, Wal-Mart's [....]

Three Pillars of Reform for the Super Committee
By Alison Acosta Fraser,
Patrick Louis Knudsen,
Mackenzie Eaglen

November 3, 2011
    As the “super committee,” created by the contentious Budget Control Act (BCA), grapples with its mandate to find $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction savings, many are urging it to “go big.” And no wonder. Since July 31, the eve of the BCA’s enactment, the federal government has continued to hemorrhage debt to the point that debt held by the public has increased by $371 billion since then. By November 23, the super committee’s reporting deadline, debt held by the public will have increased by approximately $490 billion. Every day the nation is racking up $2.2 billion in new debt. Congress must get serious about the nation’s spending and debt crisis now.
Budgets are about setting priorities.
Sadly, there is not enough emphasis on this point emanating from the super committee. Instead it seems to be cobbling together a collection of disparate good and bad policies, desperately trying to arrive at its $1.5 trillion target. The super committee must set priorities and make bold decisions to solve Washington’s spending and debt crisis, preserve its ability to protect the nation, and assist a return to a strong, vibrant economy—without raising taxes.
How Large Is the Challenge?
The federal budget is in crisis. At $1.3 trillion, the deficit for fiscal year (FY) 2011 was the third consecutive year of deficits exceeding $1 trillion. These deficits are larger than the largest deficit during World War II when adjusted for inflation. Even under President Obama’s February budget, which includes many unrealistic assumptions and budget gimmicks, the deficit [....]

Why Your Tax Bill Might Surge Next Year
by Bob Jennings
November 9, 2011
In a recent tax planning meeting with one of our clients, we shocked them with what their income tax future looked like for 2013 if -- on the off-chance -- Congress continues to do nothing to provide a long-term permanent set of tax laws.  They had no idea what tax breaks were expiring this year and next year, and how much it would cost them personally in extra income tax. But they aren't alone, many Americans and even tax professionals aren't aware that their tax bill could rise dramatically next year.   These clients are your average American family and their situation is a good example of the law changes that will affect all of us. Here's their tax situation with a table summarizing the expiring tax laws that are scheduled to occur in 2011 and 2012.
Meet the Smiths: 26-year-olds Bill and Joan have been married for five years and have two young children. Bill earns about [....]

The Rising Threat from Nigeria's Boko Haram Militant Group
by Scott Stewart,
StratFor Global Intelligence
November 10, 2011
   The U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, issued a warning Nov. 5 indicating it had received intelligence that the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram may have been planning to bomb several targets in the Nigerian capital during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, also known as Eid al-Kabir, celebrated Nov. 6-8. The warning specifically mentioned the Hilton, Nicon Luxury and Sheraton hotels as potential targets.
    The warning came in the wake of a string of bombings and armed attacks Nov. 4 in the cities of Maiduguri, Damaturu and Potiskum, all of which are located in Nigeria’s northeast. An attack also occurred in the north-central Nigerian city of Kaduna. The sites targeted in the wave of attacks included a military base in Maiduguri and the anti-terrorism court building in Damaturu. Militants reportedly attacked these two sites with suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). The Nigerian Red Cross reported that more than 100 people were killed in the attacks, while some media reports claimed the death toll was at least 150.   According to AFP, a spokesman for Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks Nov. 5 and threatened more attacks targeting the Nigerian government until “security forces stop persecuting our members and vulnerable civilians.” On Nov. 7, a Boko Haram spokesman claimed that his group employed only two suicide operatives in the attacks and not 12 as reported by some media outlets. Though Eid al-Kabir passed without attacks on Western hotels in Abuja, a deeper examination of Boko Haram is called for, with a specific focus on its rapidly evolving tactical capabilities.
Boko Haram
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful” in Hausa, was established in 2002 in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno state. It has since spread to several other northern and central Nigerian states. The group officially is known as [....]

We Warned You: FHA Bailout Coming
by Elizabeth MacDonald
November 11, 2011
    Two years ago, in November 2009, we warned you that U.S. taxpayers would likely have to bail out yet another big government housing agency, and it wasn’t Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  We said it was the Federal Housing Administration, which sells lenders a 100% guarantee against defaults on home mortgages typically for lower income people. FHA has seen defaults skyrocket on these loans.  But the Federal Housing Administration fought us vigorously on our story. So did liberal economic research groups.
Turns out they were wrong.
As the FHA is now set to soon release its annual report, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School estimates that the FHA faces around $50 billion in losses in coming years.  Last year, economists from New York University and the New York Federal Reserve also warned the government agency would need a taxpayer bailout.
    Back in 2009, we found FHA only had a “teacup” of money against a flood of potentially bad loans out of the seven million it insures.  Today it only has $31.7 billion in reserves, out of which only $2.8 billion is set aside to back its $1 trillion book of business.  Thanks to [....]

Alabama county files biggest municipal bankruptcy
by Melinda Dickinson
November 10, 2011
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - Alabama's Jefferson County filed for bankruptcy court protection on Wednesday in the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.  Commissioners for the county, which is home to Birmingham, the state's biggest city and economic powerhouse, voted 4-1 to declare bankruptcy after meeting behind closed doors for two days in a last ditch-attempt to restructure its debt out of court.  A tentative deal reached with creditors in September to settle $3.14 billion in red ink had been widely expected to avert bankruptcy. But the deal fell apart [....]

How to spot the web’s top 3 biggest scams
by Tecca
Today in Tech
November 9, 2011
Don't be fooled by these internet scams that can steal your money, data, and even your identity
    Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and it's forced the current generation of scammers to get just a little more creative when they're trying to convince you to part with your hard-earned cash or valuable personal information. As people continue to move away from email, these criminals have shifted their focus to social networking services. Twitter, Facebook, and other online communities are plagued with spambots and other nasties ranging from annoying to downright dangerous. We've rounded up the worst offenders to show you how to stay safe online.
1. The Facebook flim-flam
This scam has cost well-wishing friends millions of dollars around the world and is often spread via Facebook, although it's made the rounds on Gmail as well. This one assumes [....]

Military widows forced to remarry to get benefits
The ‘widow’s tax’ penalizes spouses who choose not to remarry
by Jeanette Pavini
November 8, 2011
This is Part 1 in a two-part series on a law known as the widow’s tax. Part 2, on how and why the law came to be, will appear later in November.  Award-winning broadcast journalist and author Jeanette Pavini writes the Buyer Beware column for MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — On the morning of Sept. 6, 2010, Vivianne Wersel made breakfast for her two teenage kids as they wished her a happy 57th birthday.  “It was just another day for me,” Wersel says now. “Nothing special, no special Entenmanns pastry for breakfast.” Those pastries were a tradition Wersel had once shared with her husband Rich, an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, who died of a service-related heart attack in 2005 at the age of 43 — just a week after he returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq.  “I had just erased the recorded messages from our answering machine that I saved while he was in Iraq,” Wersel says. “Sometimes I would play them just to hear him say, ‘hello dear’ in his deep voice. Since I had him home there was no reason to save them, so I erased them. He died the next day.”
    Since her husband’s death six years ago, Wersel has been receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This is compensation or reparation to widows and widowers for the death of their military spouse. Most surviving spouses receive $1,154 a month.  But when she turned 57 in September 2010, Wersel became eligible for another monthly benefit under one condition: she must remarry.  Military widows and widowers can receive an additional monthly annuity through the Department of Defense called the Survivors Benefit Plan (SBP), but — because of a perplexing and logic-defying federal law known as “the widow’s tax” — only if they [....]
{Blogger Note:  This article illustrates a travesty and should be forwarded to every member of the government on every level; from the dogcatcher to the "Clown Prince" and everyone in-between!!  Not just the congress, EVERYONE!!!}

Nations challenge SC immigration law
by Jim Davenport,
Associated Press,
November 8, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sixteen Latin American and Caribbean nations on Tuesday asked to join the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against South Carolina's new illegal immigration law amid fears it would lead to their citizens facing state-sanctioned discrimination.  Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Ecuador and Chile were among the nations filing papers Tuesday, asking to join the litigation filed by the Justice Department last week in Charleston.
    In the complaint, federal lawyers asked the court to stop the state from enforcing a law that takes effect in January. The measure would require law officers who make a traffic stop to call federal immigration officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. The measure bars officers from holding someone solely on that suspicion. Opponents railed against the measure as encouraging racial profiling.  The nations state in their filings that their relationships are with the United States and that relationship should not be affected by what states do. They've filed similar challenges to Alabama's new law.  Mexico said it "has an interest in protecting its citizens and ensuring that their ethnicity is not used as the basis for state-sanctioned acts of bias and discrimination."  That was a view shared in a separate request to join the litigation by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.  Lawyers filing the papers referred questions to the Mexican embassy in Washington.  In a subsequent statement, the Mexican government said some of the law's "provisions would criminalize immigration and could lead to the selective application of the law. Its enforcement could adversely affect the civil rights of Mexican nationals living in South Carolina or visiting that state."  Mexico said it would "continue to make use of all available means and channels in order to firmly and immediately respond to any violation of the fundamental rights of Mexicans, regardless of their immigration status."
In a request filed Monday seeking a permanent halt to the law, the Justice Department argues that only the federal government has the constitutional authority to enforce immigration laws.  South Carolina's law also mandates that all businesses use an online system the U.S. government runs to check their new hires' legal status. If they knowingly violate the law, they can lose their business license.  It also makes it a felony to create fake identifications or harbor illegal immigrants.  U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles in South Carolina said the law violates people's right to [....]

Vikings’ Allen assists wounded veterans

by Jason Cole,
Yahoo! Sports
November 10, 2011
    Army veteran Josh Bullis is too young to have to be put back together. At age 22, he should worry about finding a good tattoo parlor, not whether his new house has a roll-in shower for a wheelchair. 
Jared Allen's "Homes for Wounded Warriors" program retrofits houses for handicapped veterans.
Fortunately for Bullis, through the charitable work of Minnesota Vikings star Jared Allen(notes), some of Bullis’ concerns have been alleviated. Through Allen’s “Homes for Wounded Warriors” program, Bullis is the latest veteran to get some assistance in life as a triple amputee.  “It’s more like the mental aspect, this allows me to be independent and feel independent again,” said Bullis, who lost both legs and his left arm when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan in September 2010. “It makes me feel like I haven’t lost as much.”  Bullis officially left the Army in October after more than a year of surgeries and rehabilitation. While Bullis took advantage of the foreclosure market to buy his home in Peoria, Ariz., there were still plenty of costs to [....]
At Arlington National Cemetery, mementos for latest war dead get more personal

Christian Davenport,
Washington Post,
November 10, 2011
Remembrances for the latest war dead from Iraq and Afghanistan have brought a colorful new poignancy to the cemetery.
The headstones wear Hawaiian leis and Mardi Gras beads.
They are festooned with bottles of Yuengling, flasks full of Jack, boxes of cigars.
In Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60, where those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan lie, the graves aren’t just markers of remembrance; they are canvases decorated with stones, shiny balloons and handwritten notes. In this corner of the nation’s most sacrosanct military burial ground, all manner of ornamentation abounds — one headstone is covered in lipstick kisses — bringing a colorful poignancy to an otherwise monochromatic place of mourning.  For the past two years the U.S. Army Center of Military History has been collecting and cataloguing items of interest left at graves in Section 60 of the Arlington National Cemetery — where fallen soldiers from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom are laid to rest.  Above all there are faces. Arlington may officially consecrate the fallen by marble and etched lettering, but the families of Section 60 have rejected those protocols, covering the graves with photos of the dead. Here they are as children. Here they are with their battle buddies. Here they [....]
Until Next Sunday....



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