Three More Banks Go Bye-Bye [Bank Death Watch]

11/21/2008 11:31:00 PM

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The first is The Community Bank in Loganville, GA, number 20 on the list for the year of banks to go bye bye.
hey were closed today by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance and the FDIC was named receiver.  The FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Bank of Essex, to assume all the deposits of The Community Bank. 

As of October 17, The Community Bank had total assets of $681.0 million and total deposits of $611.4 million.  Bank of Essex purchased approximately $84.4 million of The Community Bank’s assets, and did pay the FDIC a premium of $3.2 million for the right to assume the failed bank’s deposits.  The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later disposition.

The FDIC estimates that the cost to its Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) will be between $200 million and $240 million.  This is the third bank to be closed in GA this year.

The second and third are Downey Savings and Loan in Newport Beach, CA and PFF Bank and Trust, Pomona, CA.  These two banks are number 21 and 22.

These banks weren’t “closed down” per say, but sold in a transaction facilitated by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) and the FDIC.  The banks were sold to U.S. Bank, National Association, Minneapolis, MN.  The combined 213 branches of the two banks will reopen as branches of U.S. Bank.

As of September 30, 2008, Downey Savings had total assets of $12.8 billion and total deposits of $9.7 billion.  PFF Bank had total assets of $3.7 billion and total deposits of $2.4 billion.  Besides assuming all the deposits from the two California banks, U.S. Bank will purchase virtually all their assets.

The FDIC and U.S. Bank entered into a loss share transaction.  U.S. Bank will assume the first $1.6 billion of losses on the asset pools covered under the loss share agreement, equal to the net asset position at close.  The FDIC will then share in any further losses.

The FDIC estimates that the cost of to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) for Downey Savings will be $1.4 billion and $700 million for PFF Bank.  The two banks are the fourth and fifth banks to close in California this year.  The last bank to be closed, Security Pacific Bank, Los Angeles, was only two weeks ago.

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, ‘Agenda’ Pages Are Back [Faith]

11/21/2008 10:59:00 PM

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The agenda pages that disappeared from Obama’s website only four days after its inauguration have returned.  The original 25 issues have been weaned down to 24 issues with the agenda of “Faith” being missing.  And the copyright notice has been changed.  Also, note the “America Serves” part of’s old site is no longer present.

Out with the old change:


In with the new change:



11-07_Change_Faith Although the “faith” page has disappeared from the website, the topic still appears on the forums and it still appears on the Obama/Biden Election site.  So what did the “Faith” part of Obama’s old Change agenda page say?


“(Obama’s speech on faith) may be the most important pronouncement by a Democrat on faith and politics since John F. Kennedy’s Houston speech in 1960 declaring his independence from the Vatican…Obama offers the first faith testimony I have heard from any politician that speaks honestly about the uncertainties of belief.”

--E.J. Dionne, Op-Ed, Washington Post, June 30, 2006

In June of 2006, Senator Obama delivered what was called the most important speech on religion and politics in 40 years.  Speaking before an evangelical audience, Senator Obama candidly discussed his own religious conversion and doubts, and the need for a deeper, more substantive discussion about the role of faith in American life.

Senator Obama also laid down principles for how to discuss faith in a pluralistic society, including the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate.  In December, 2006, Senator Obama discussed the importance of faith in the global battle against AIDS.

The speech that is noted is Obama’s “Call to Renewal” speech at the Call to Renewal’s Building a Covenant for New America.  During this speech Obama talks about his own personal faith.   His speech borderlines ending the separation of church and state and basically implies that the “reason a gang-banger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd” is because there “a hole in that young man’s heart – a hole that the government alone cannot fix.”  That religion will fix everything.  And that we as a nation of different religions and nonbelievers have to come to a “compromise” on what is ethical and moral across the board on a political level.  The speech borderlines on the “S” word……What is good in one religion that is good in another religion, is good for all religions. 

And there is man’s law and God’s law, if man’s law goes against God’s law, it is our duty to follow God’s law and not man’s. 

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” – Romans 13:1

We must obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29

All I have to say on the matter is this.  If I want or need more God in my life, I have the option of going to a church.  I don’t need government telling me that I need more God in my life.  And I don’t need a government telling me that there is only one book that can be followed and all other are trash?  That is a Constitutional right that I have, via the First Amendment.  Personal responsibility for personal  morality and personal ethics are the responsibility of each individual, not the government.  If all religions have a “compromise” then what separates those religions anymore?  And that we need to think in terms of “thou” and not just”I”, when it comes to religion.  And does all that not brush on State or National Religion?:

“Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble; and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

So unless Obama decides to change our Constitution, he’s out of luck.  Additionally Obama keeps calling Abraham Lincoln a genius, which he may have been when it came to many things, however obviously he is not completely knowledgeable about Lincoln since Lincoln stated the following:

“The Bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion.  I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma.”

Excerpts are below with the entire video so that the Obamabots can not say that I am taking things out of context,which admittedly I am however, I am ‘highlighting’ certain statements to prove a point.  You are a human with a mind, and can watch the entire video for yourself, to determine whether you think I am correct, or form your own conclusion.

“At best, we may try to avoid the conversation about religious values altogether, fearful of offending anyone and claiming that – regardless of our personal beliefs – constitutional principles tie our hands.”

“But in the long haul, I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in people’s lives – in the lives of the American people – and I think it’s time that we join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy.”

“You need to come to church in the first place precisely because you are first of this world, not apart from it.  You need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away – because you are human and need an ally in this difficult journey.”

“More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms.  Some of the problem here is rhetorical – if we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice.”

“I believe in keeping guns out of inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manufacturers’ lobby – but I also believe that when a gang-banger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels somebody disrespected him, we’ve got a moral problem.  There’s a hole in that young man’s heart – a hole that the government alone cannot fix.”

“But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square.”

“Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize some overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country.  We might recognize that the call to sacrifice on behalf of the next generation, the need to think in terms lf “thou” and not just ”I, resonates in religious congregations all across the country.  And we might realize that we have the ability to reach out to the evangelical community and engage millions of religious Americans in the larger project of American renewal.”

“Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific values.”

“And if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? … Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy?  Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination?  How about Deuteronomy, which suggest stoning your child if he strays from the faith?  Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful our own Defense Department would survive its application?”

“Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do.  But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice.  Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality.  It involves the compromise, the art of what’s possible.  At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise.  It’s the art of the impossible.”

“Finally, any reconciliation between faith and democratic pluralism requires some sense of proportion.”

“But a sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state.  Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation – context matters.  It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as consequence of muttering the phrase “under God.”  I didn’t.  Having voluntary student prayer groups use school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats.  And one can envision certain faith-based programs – targeting ex-offenders or substance abusers – that offer a uniquely powerful way of solving problems.”

“A hope that we can live with one another in a way that reconciles the beliefs of each with the good of all.  It’s a prayer worth praying, and a conversation worth having in this country in the months and years to come.”

PART ONE:  8:49
PART TWO:  9:02
PART FOUR:  9:10
PART FIVE:  4:05
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Want Porn? Check Out Change.Gov’s Message Board.

11/21/2008 08:24:00 PM

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In my best Miranda Priestly voice, “Somebody’s not paying attention…..”  to the “What Else Needs Changed?” forum on

Although I will say that it does seem appear that it gets cleaned up on a daily basis.  Click for larger version.


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Exactly Who Is President And Whose Not Here? [Who Is In Charge?]

11/21/2008 08:18:00 AM

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94666-004-B6D627DFAccording to Bloomberg, Obama’s transition team is “exploring” a “swift”, prepackaged bankruptcy for the Big 3 as a possible solution to the industry’s financial crisis, including contacting at least one bankruptcy-law firm to say that Daniel Tarullo, a professor at Georgetown University’s law school who heads Obama’s economic policy working group, would call to discuss the workings of a so-called prepack plan.

When checking with the team’s press office, a Stephanie Cutter said, “We have not put out anything specific for the auto industry except that something needs to be done immediately.”

Congress yesterday gave the Big 3 until Dec. 2 to show a plan of action showing that taxpayers and auto workers would be protected.

So first why is Obama’s team working on something for now?  The man isn’t inaugurated as president until January 20th.  Obama isn’t even a senator anymore, as he resigned last weekend.  And he seems to think his team can come up with something that Congress hasn’t?  The arrogance of this man continues to completely shock and astound me.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama calls Bush and says “Hey buddy, ya know, it’s the end of your term.  Why don’t you go ahead and hand things over to me ahead of schedule.”  But then again, this is Obama’s “testing” time.  The actions and attitude that you see now are a pre-cursor to how he will be once in office, and that frightens me.  Between most of his transition team being nothing but his friends, who have absolutely no real world experience in Washington, and the fact that he’s basically making Clinton’s cabinet his own speaks louder than anything.

Obama obviously doesn’t have a clue as to how the real business world works.  You don’t just hand the Big 3 their money, a blank check, you ask them for a plan of action.  It’s like anything else with business when it comes to asking for money for equipment or a project.  You don’t just submit a request for say, a million dollars in a company that makes 10 million a year profit.  You have to justify the need for the money, how you are going to spend it, what you are going to spend it on, why it is needed, and how it will be productive and profitable.  If you can’t do that, then 9 times out of 10, you are not going to get the money if you can’t justify the need, and your plan of using it.

And with this bailout, there is no guarantee that it’s going to work.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.  Why keep doing something that isn’t working?  And why bailout the Big 3, when no one has any money to purchase a new car, because there are over 10 million unemployed people in the United States?  And for those that do have the funds and/or credit to purchase a new car, they can’t get loans because the banks aren’t giving loans.  Bailing out the Big 3 isn’t going to work.  All it is going to do is make an ocean of cars in parking lots, ports and dealerships.

The Big 3 need to fall to change the way they are doing things.  Their cars are substandard compared to the rest of the world and are overpriced compared to the rest of the world.  Thirty years ago was a different matter, today, I see more new cars broke down alongside the road than I do cars made thirty years ago.

And what happened to Obama’s promise that we, the taxpayers, were the first in line for help when he got into office?  All I’m hearing about is the Big 3 and the environment for his first days in office.  Bailing out the Big 3 and making stricter legislation on the environment isn’t going to “stimulate” the economy, it isn’t going to give people jobs, it isn’t going to reduce unemployment, it isn’t going to help the stock market, it isn’t going to give people back their 401(k) that are basically becoming worthless, it isn’t going to do anything other than increase our tax liability in the long run.

And what Obama needs to remember is that the Big 3 probably aren’t going to make it until January 20th, and he still needs to get his plan approved by Congress.  He isn’t a dictator.

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Lessons From The Great Depression [My Parents]

11/21/2008 01:49:00 AM

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1sn99hitBoth of my parents lived through the Great Depression, although my father was only 4 years old when the stock market crashed.  But the lessons he and my mother, along with my grandparents learned from the “great crash” continued on with them throughout their lives, with some until the day they died.  Although I never remember any of them suffering for anything, in fact them paying cash for new cars and cash for homes, they were all extremely “tight” when it came to money.

And I think it’s time to share a personal side of my life with you, and share with you what I learned from my parents and my grandparents and how they lived through the Great Depression, and how it affected their way of life for the rest of their lives.  They taught me many of the “old” ways, and here I share some of them with you in hopes that you take away something that will help you in the long run, if things go bad along with 17 tips to make your life easier.

I have memories of huge gardens started every spring with long hours of summer spent tending to that garden.  Meals towards the end of summer of nothing but vegetables; corn on the cob, green beans,  red tomatoes sliced thick, cucumbers, and collard greens, all fresh from the garden that morning. 

When there was an excess crop, which was nearly every year as planned, the canning rush would be on.   I remember shelves lined with canned tomatoes, tomato juice, green beans, corn and carrots.  Onions would he pulled, washed, hung and dried in the basement.  Also in the basement, which had a dirt floor, was a potato “shed” that had been filled with dirt.  The potatoes would be stored in this dirt for winter use.  And of course were the jars of zucchini, pickles and relish with onions, cauliflower and peppers.   Peas were also a yearly crop however, those would be blanched, and then frozen.

We were also lucky enough to have a huge apple tree, a huge mulberry tree and a small vineyard of concord grapes.  Since we lived near the woods, there were always wild strawberries and blackberries for the picking in the summer.  We were also lucky enough to have a wild walnut tree in the woods.

As for meat, every so often my parents would go out and purchase a half side of beef, a couple whole hogs, a couple lambs, and a dozen chickens or so.  The beef, hogs and lamb of course were already slaughtered however, my father would spend hours using a saw and knives cutting it all up, where mom would be waiting to wrap it in butcher paper, write on the tape of the contents, and place it in the freezer.  Then the Kitchenaid mixer would come out, the meat grinder attachment went on, and hamburger and sausage would be next.  I have memories of pork shoulders “curing” in closets and memories of my father beheading a dozen chickens, my mother dipping them in boiling water, and she and I plucking the feathers.  By the end of the night, the chickens were cut up, in the butcher paper, and in the freezer.

And then there was “huntin’” season.  I bagged my first deer at the age of 13 and ended up on my butt.  But hunting season was for deer, squirrel, pheasant and rabbit.  Turtles were awesome for soup.  And summers were spent many times fishing for crappie, bluegill, and walleye.  All of it ended up on the table or in the freezer with nothing going to waste.  And no, I never ate raccoon, possum, rats or groundhog… that’s just…. ew.  But I’ve had rattlesnake, alligator, moose, buffalo (farm) and bear and would eat it all again in a heartbeat.

Everything eaten was pretty much made from scratch, even bread made by my father every Sunday afternoon, from scratch from the large cakes of yeast he would purchase.  At the time bread machines didn’t exist.  They even made their own spaghetti and noodles.  The only thing that they did not “make” as I remember were milk (if you will), cheese, ice cream and butter, although they did try for a time to make butter, but decided that the cost of buying it outweighed the time to make it.  It seems the only things that were bought on a regular basis were milk products and eggs, although if I was lucky enough to get a box of cereal, it was eaten with powdered milk.  Breakfast was toast with homemade jam and oranges.

For me while growing up, grocery stores were of the “verboten” goods of cereal like Corn Pops and Fruit Loops, Snickers, cupcakes, chips, buttery crackers, and exotic fruit.  The aisles of Pop Tarts, chips and such weren’t even gone down when my mother went to the store.  For my mother, grocery stores were for flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, oranges and bananas.  Even pineapple was a treat and generally only served around holidays.  Coconut wasn’t bought pre-shredded in plastic bags, it was bought on sale, and then hacked open and shredded by hand.

At my home, at the time Pepsi was sold in 8-packs of glass bottles.  And that 8-pack would last at least two weeks.  Pepsi was only allowed  on Friday night when mom would make popcorn, or on Saturdays at lunch, when a home made pizza was made from scratch, crust and all.  Milk and mostly powdered milk was the drink at breakfast, and water for other meals and snacks.  There were no prepackaged foods like Stouffer's lasagna, as it was made from scratch.

Which leads us to eating out.  We never, ever ate out.  The few times we did were when my parents would drive 60-75 miles to go shopping out of town in larger cities for groceries.  Generally eating out consisted of Burger King back when they made real hamburgers.  There wasn’t any delivered pizza.  No Chinese food.  Nothing delivered at all. And no “quick trips” to McDonalds.  No Subway.  No TGI Fridays.

As for clothes, well, that was a little different.  My mother did make my father’s work shirts which one could hardly tell the difference between it and a store bought Arrow shirt.  She also made his ties.  She would sit at night crocheting or knitting a blanket, afghan or scarf.  Sometimes she would sit at the sewing machine making quilts from my old jeans, or old shirts.  She even made sheets and towels.  But clothes were store bought, and I could never go without my Levis.

Then there was the issue of electric.  One would never EVER leave a room and leave the TV, stereo, or lights on.  If you weren’t in the room, nothing was to be on.  And winters would find oneself under quilts she had made, with the furnace temperature turned down to below 50F, while there was a wind chill of –10F outside.  Summers were not inside with air conditioning, they were in front of fans with windows open, or sitting on the porch.  In the summers, clothes were line dried, and nearly always washed in cold water.  Showers lasted at most 10 minutes or I’d get a knock on the bathroom door and then a shock of hot water in the shower when they turned on the cold water in the kitchen.

But I didn’t live by candlelight.  I mean my parents did have oil lanterns, candles, flashlights and batteries for when the lights went out.  But I didn’t grow up with only a radio and books.  I had my own room, with a double bed, my own TV and my own stereo.  This of course was about the time when VCRs came out and I was in High School.  This was before the days of video games on TVs and computers.  If you wanted to play a video game, you went down to the local hangout with a pocket full of quarters.   I remember hearing that my cousin had gotten a ColecoVision and I was mad because my parents wouldn’t get me one.

This was around the beginning of the days of cable but we didn’t have it, as it wasn’t run out our way and many people still didn’t have it.  And there wasn’t an internet.  If you wanted to talk to your friends, you used a phone.  There were no cell phones and I didn’t have a phone in my room.  If you wanted to talk to your friends and you weren’t home, you used a pay phone.  If you wanted to see a movie, you went to the theater.  And I got an “allowance” in return for helping around the house, taking out trash, doing my own laundry, doing the dishes and helping in the garden.  It wasn’t much, and of course my parents encouraged me to save it, but that was my “fun” money for Pepsi, Lay’s chips, Snickers and the movies.

Which brings me to the point and lessons of this post.  Although my parents could have afforded to eat out everyday, could have afforded to buy everything new, could have afforded to to leave lights on, could have afforded to buy a new car, in cash, every year, and could have afforded to give me everything I wanted, they didn’t.  Instead it ended up in the bank in CDs so when they did buy a new home, which in 20 years I remember two of them being purchased with cash, they had it, and no debt.  And when my father was laid off permanently in the mid 80s after working for the same company 19 years and eight months.  He was only four months away from retirement, and he lost his pension (Yep they “f***ed” him.) and having that money in the bank was how they made it until he found another job since unemployment was really a joke, and still is.  Especially when the unemployment office told him he would have to take a job that was offered to him through the unemployment office at 25% of his previous pay, for the exact same job he had been doing, until at a later time he found a job that was closer to his previous rate of pay.  He was never the same after what the company did to him, and after what the unemployment office did to him.  He became a very, VERY, VERY bitter and mean man.  Especially after mom found a job, and worked for the first time since the late 60s, and covered the bills until things became “normal” again so they wouldn’t have to depend on that money in the bank… but they never were normal for him again especially when mom wanted to keep her job after he got the job that was closer to his previous pay.  It was a good thing that I was nearly 18 and ready to leave and I never went back.  Those are the things that hard times can do to people and it can affect you for the rest of your life.

My parents never had a credit card, and they never took out a loan, even when they bought a new house, and even though my father was eligible for VA loans.  If the freezer died, they went out the next day and bought one with cash.  If the car broke down, it was paid for in cash.  If they bought new furniture, even if a living room suite cost $5K, it was paid for in cash.  If they couldn’t afford to pay for it in cash, then they figured they didn’t need it and didn’t get it.

And they did all this while my father was the only one who worked most of the time, but we suffered for nothing.  So how did they do it?  By following a certain set of “unwritten” and “unsaid” rules which they carried with them from the Depression years.

1.  Live below your income.  If you can’t afford it, and you can’t pay for it in cash, then you don’t need it.  Do not spend more than you earn, do not go into debt.

2.  Needs, not wants.  You may think you “need” it, but in reality you only “want it” because you think you “deserve” it.  And I don’t mean to insult anyone, but those who are 15-30 will have the hardest time with this because you just don’t know what it’s like without.  You’re use to having it all, you’re use to getting it all, because you think you deserve it all.  You are going to have to learn to prioritize what you need over what you want.  You may think you “need” a new cell phone, when in reality you don’t even “need” a cell phone at all when you have a home phone.  If its something important, they can leave a message.  And which is important, having money for gas and food, or paying a cellphone bill you don’t need?

3.  Stay home.  My father had two-weeks of vacation a year.  That vacation was one week at home, and one week at my grandparents, 800 miles away.  Other than that, there was no travel.

4.  Eat in.  Like I have said, we hardly ever ate out.  Even my father took his lunch with him to work, which was generally the prior nights leftovers.  Mom always seemed to make just enough for us, and then enough for the next day for his lunch.  He even took a thermos of coffee with him to work.  Now lunches for me at school, were of course school lunches, for at the time full price lunches were $0.90 - $1.10, so it made more sense for them to give me a dollar instead of packing lunch.  There was no, “lets stop at McDs for a snack” on the way home.

5.  Skip the alcohol.  Now my father was from a mountain top in West Virginia, and he had a degree in Chemical Engineering, so I’m pretty sure you can figure what he did from time to time.  But even still, he always had a bottle of either 151 or Irish Whisky in the cupboard.  But those bottles, fifths, would last over a year.  My parents didn’t  really drink.

6.  Keep Your Car.  The first car I remember was a 1967 Comet and that was their only car until we moved about 30 miles out in the middle of nowhere.  Then they purchased a 1972 Monte Carlo.  My father drove the Comet to work everyday, and mom used the Monte Carlo.  That Comet lasted until 1981 when it was hauled to the junk yard, and they bought a 1981 VW Rabbit.  The 1972 Monte Carlo lasted until 1987 at which point they got a 1987 GMC truck.  The 1981 VW Rabbit lasted until 2001 when mom got a used Mazda RX7.  A car is for transportation, not a fashion statement.  During the Great D, many people didn’t have vehicles and literally walked for miles.  Today, our society doesn’t quite work as well with that, but if you are in a city, use the bus.  If you live somewhat outside of city limits, use a bike if you can.  Only use your car if it is absolutely necessary.

7.  Entertainment.  During the Great Depression the only entertainment was a radio,or books, or magazines, if you could afford them.  Everyone had a radio.  Going to the movies was a treat from time to time.  Now I’m not saying forget the TV and stick to radio.  What I am saying is drop the $100 a month cable and go to bunny ears.  Also forget buying movies.  Which leads me to online.  Now I am a full believer in the Internet.  I get my news, weather, just about everything from online, even TV shows and movies (and I’m talking legally.  If you wish to break the law, that’s your choice.)  I am a firm believer in paying the $20 - $50 a month for the Internet.  It really can be your “home entertainment center” if you use it as such.  And I’m not talking about sitting in front of the computer surfing for 8 hours a day, or chatting and such.  You can even find many many books, legally, online, if you search for them.

8.  What is old, is new.  Now my parents didn’t have to buy things used, or fix things back up if they broke, but they did.  And they took care of what they had so it would last.  My mother was the queen of garage sales, flea markets and auctions.  My father would fix the lawnmower (a push one, not a riding one) and rebuild the engine himself.  If its broke, fix it first instead of just throwing it out. 

9.  Use it up, don’t waste it, don’t throw it out, wear it out.  This statement may bring images of pack rats, but that is not what it is about.  It about simple things like adding water to the last bit of shampoo in the bottom of the bottle.  Its about not throwing any food away, even scraps.  And just because a platter or bowl you need doesn’t match the rest of your dishes, doesn’t mean that it’s not useful or needed.  Its about if there is a black spot in a potato, don’t throw the whole potato away, cut out the dark spot, and use the rest.  When I have leftover veggies, I throw them in the freezer, even if its only a spoonful.  When I get enough, I thaw them out, cook them down, grind them to make vegetable stock.  And just because there is a small hole in your shirt, doesn’t mean it goes in the trash.  Pick up a needle and thread and fix it.

10.  Make Do.  This one I’m putting in a category all by itself.   Make do is about just that, make do with what you have, work with what you have.  It is a mentality.  For example, I’m a woman so I learn to make do without a mixer, since the last one died and I haven’t found one on sale or at a decent price to replace it.  Recently I made a Key Lime pie from scratch.  Now the “filling” if you will. which is nothing more than key lime juice (hand squeezed), sweetened condensed milk, and egg whites, has to be “whipped”.  Well I don’t have a mixer, and I don’t have an egg beater. My “make do” was to take a whisk, place the handle between my hands, and rub my hands together.  Believe it or not, it worked.  It was a little bit of work, but I “made do” with what I had on hand.  That is an example of making do.  Instead of using paper towels, use regular hand towels.  Save plastic Ziploc baggies and reuse them after washing them out.  Now I don’t have a huge ball of tin foil under my sink, and I don’t save it, as I don’t use it that often.

11. Turn It OFF.  If you are not in a room, turn out the lights.  If you aren’t playing your XBox, UNPLUG IT.  Many electronics continue to use electric even if they are turned off, and still plugged in.  Digital TVs and monitors are notorious for this.  I’m not saying unplug everything when you leave a room, but try to use strip plugs where you can turn the entire strip off.  If you’re not using it, don’t leave it on.  And for winter heating, lower the thermostat to no higher than between 65F – 68F.  If you are cold, put on a sweater or sweatshirt.  Cover yourself with a blanket, or better yet, knit yourself one.  If its hot, open the window and use a fan, forget the AC.  Although in environments where daily temps are 90F+, AC/Central Air is a requirement but you can raise the temperature to 75F – 80F and use a fan.  Also, unless needed, wash your clothes in cold water and line dry them if possible if weather allows.  Remember, during the Great D, many homes did not have electric as it had not been run yet, and in fact nearly all outside of town didn’t even have running water much less a water heater.  Clothes were washed by hand.  Baths were taken by gathering water in buckets, and warming them on a stove.  Everyone shared the water.

12.  Learn to cook and stockpile.  This is not as hard as it seems.  It may seem more expensive to buy items to make things from scratch in the beginning, but in the long run, it is much much more inexpensive to stockpile, and cook from scratch.  There are many many good places on the web to find easy recipes to start with, and work your way up.  I buy lemons, limes and oranges on sale, juice them myself, and freeze the juice in ice cube trays.  This is much cheaper and healthier than buying the concentrate.  When I can get fresh veggies on sale, like green beans for $0.50 - $0.99 a pound, I buy five – ten pounds, blanch them, and freeze them in freezer bags.  Tomatoes are the same.  Cook them, grind them, and freeze.  I even make my own bread, however I cheat with a bread machine that I bought at a second-hand store, never opened, for $13.00.  I buy pasta and cheese and make my own mac and cheese.  I make my own rice mixes with rice, bouillon and spices.  I have an awesome knife (since my cutter broke) to cut thin thin potatoes for homemade french fries.  I use dried beans to make soup and baked beans.  I dry my own onions, celery and garlic to make onion, celery and garlic powder.  If you don’t have the pots and pans, I’m pretty sure you have a Goodwill, Salvation Army or second-hand store nearby.  Or check garage sales.  A little soap and elbow grease can go a long way.

13.  Get the most for your money.  Use coupons, sales and price matching.  I know many people hate using coupons and many people think that coupons are only for processed food.  And if you use coupons, then you are poor.  This is somewhat true, yet it’s not.  I use them religiously and combined with sales, on the average, every grocery bill always has a savings of 50 –70% between coupon use, sales and price matching.   This allows me to buy the higher price goods such as meat.  And we don’t eat SPAM, or processed food.  I buy roasts, strip steaks, hamburger, pork chops,  whole chickens and occasionally fish (but generally canned tuna and salmon).  If I can get all my pantry and dry box items at 75% off, then I can afford beef when it is on sale and still save between 50-70% off full price.  And I unlike many people, don’t make a list.  I shop for what is on sale, and I “stock up” on them.  If ketchup is on sale (since I haven’t mastered the perfect ketchup) and its a good price, I’ll buy 4-6 of them, if I’m running low on my stockpile shelf.  If whole chickens are on sale for $0.99 or less, I’ll buy four of them, take them home, cut them up, and then make chicken stock from the remainder and bones.  It took time to get to this point with the stockpile, but it can be done, and it can be done in about a two months time.  Recently I didn’t go grocery shopping at all for four weeks, and put a serious dent in my stockpile and freezer.  The following week, I spent $150 and got nearly $400 in grocery items, and just about replaced everything that had gotten low in my stockpile and freezer.  There are many good sites on the web to learn to how power coupon and shop for sales and learn what the corporate policies are for using those coupons.  It can be done, and it takes a bit of work, but the savings are worth it.

14.  Garden.  If you live in the country, you are blessed with land.  If you are in the city, in an apartment, you are cursed with concrete however, you can still grow herbs.  These take minimal space, and if things go bad, are a good thing to barter with.  And if you have the space, make a compost pile for free fertilizer.

15.  And another important thing.  Be flexible.  If things go bad, you are going to learn how to do everything you know differently.  You may have to take a job that you feel is beneath you, but at least it’s income.  Be open to suggestions and criticism, respectfully.  The person who is telling you something might be 20 or 40 years older than you, and just might know something that will help you through the hard times.  You may not be eating the quality or quantity of food you like or wish.  You may be wearing clothes that are two years out of style.  You may have to learn how to darn your socks.  I know these things seem silly now, but what if things go bad?  And you are going to hate it having to live in a way that seems foreign to you.  I have sort of lived the way my parents did, but not quite to their extreme.  I am falling back now on everything they taught me, and happy that I know what I do.  But I too do not look forward to really really having to scrape, do without, and make do.  It will be a bit easier for me in the beginning, if everything goes bad, but it won’t make it any happier for me.

16.  But the most important thing to remember, is no one is going to help you. You are on your own.  Don’t expect any handouts from the government, because if you get one, it’s not going to be too much.  Seriously.  Last year’s stimulus was $600.  Exactly how far did that money go?  And don’t expect food stamps.  States are running out of money.  And there probably won’t be soup kitchens like there were in the 1930s, and you really wouldn’t want that soup anyway as it was basically water.  Do not count on help from anyone but yourself.  That is the bottom line.  Only you can look after yourself.  And that is going to be the hardest thing for most people to accept.  And a lot of people are going to be angry, and that is expected and understood.  But remember, it’s not going to be forever.  It’s not going to be that way for the rest of your life.  It may only be two months, or two years, or it may be 10 years, but it won’t be forever.  And you won’t be alone in it all, as just about everyone else will be going through it with you.  It’s just getting through it.

17.  The biggest lines and suggestions I can give you overall is lower your expenses while trying to increase your income.  Ask yourself, do I “need” this or can I “make do” without it? 

Good Luck.

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How About Those Unemployment Numbers? [Nearing Great Depression Numbers]

11/20/2008 10:35:00 PM

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GD_unemp The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on November 7, 2008 the following:

Employment has fallen by 1.2 million in the first 10 months of 2008; over half of the decrease had occurred in the past 3 months. […]

The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage point to 6.5 percent in October, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 603,000 to 10.1 million.  [As a reminder, after the 1929 Stock Market Crash in October, the unemployment rate in 1930 went from 3.2% to 8.7%.  In the following year, 1931 the rate went to 15.9%.  And in 1932, the unemployment rate went to 23.6%]

That was as of October 31, 2008.  Are you ready for more wonderful news?

The Labor Department said today, that new claims for jobless benefits rose last week to a seasonally adjusted 542,000 from a downwardly revised figure of 515,000 in the previous week.  That is also the highest level of claims since July 1992 according to the Labor Department.

The four-week average of claims is worse:  It rose to 506,500.  The highest in more than 25 years.

If there is any good news in all of this, the Senate approved legislation to extend unemployment benefits through the holidays.  The White House has said Bush would quickly sign the bill.

The measure provides seven additional weeks of payments to those who have exhausted their benefits.  Those in states where the unemployment rate exceeds 6 percent would be eligible for an additional 13 weeks, for a total of 20 extra weeks.  And that is on top of an already 13-week extension approved by Congress in June.  Normally, unemployment benefits last up to 26 weeks.  With the 26 weeks, and the additional 13 weeks from June, and the additional 7 or 20 weeks, that is a total of 46 to 59 weeks.  Without the extension, 1.1 million people would have exhausted their unemployment benefits by the end of the year.

The number of people continuing to collect benefits for one week or more neared a 26-year high.  The number surged by 109,000 to 4,012,000 for the week ending Nov. 8.  The last time the figure was this high was for the week of Dec. 12, 1982 when it reached 4,381,000.

Some of the worse unemployment rates in the nation are in Rhode Island, currently at 9.3%. the highest since February 1983, when Ronald Reagan was in his first term as president. 

Michigan’s unemployment rate rose to 9.3% in October, the highest rate since July 1992.

In Nevada, the September unemployment rate was 7.3%, the most recent available.  In October, Nevada posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 22nd consecutive month in October, with one in every 74 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing during the month – more than six times the national average and up 119% from October 2007.  EDIT:  The October unemployment rate for NV is 7.6%, rising again for the sixth consecutive month.

Arizona, with the second highest foreclosure rate in the nation, with one in every 149 homes receiving a foreclosure filing, had an October unemployment rate of 6.1% up from 5.9% in September.

In Florida, the September unemployment rate was 6.6% with October’s numbers being released tomorrow.  Florida is number three in the nation for foreclosures, with one in every 157 homes receiving notice.  The state’s unemployment hotline hired 200 extra employees and added 70 phone lines, but that hasn’t been enough to keep up with the demand.  EDIT:  The October unemployment rate for FL is 7.0%, a 15-year high.

Georgia is sitting at 7%, the highest in 16 years.

California’s unemployment rate for September was 7.7% the highest in 16 years, with October’s numbers being released tomorrow.  EDIT:  The October unemployment rate for CA is 8.2%.

In Illinois, the unemployment rate went from 6.9% to 7.3% in October.

Get ready everyone, it’s starting to get a little dark and looming on the horizon.  Oh and if you expect your local, county, state governments to help you, forget it.  Your on your own.  Maybe the Federal government will get around to us by the middle of next summer, after bailing out the banks, bailing out the Big 3, and taking their winter vacation to the Hamptons.


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So How’s Your Change Going?

11/20/2008 09:26:00 PM

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Just a little reminder, since November 5th, the down has dropped from an opening of 9616.60 to a closing of 7997.28.  That is a 1619.32 drop.  The Dow had been on an upward swing for about a week finally however, do I need remind anyone what happened on the eve of November 4th when the market started going down again on November 5th?  The Dow Jones is at an 11 year low. 

1 Month is –18.49%
6 Month is – 41.13%
YTD is –43.07%
1 Year is –41.95%
3 Year is –29.85%
5 Year is –21.49%
10 Year is –18.72%

Say bye bye to more of your 401K. 

All that is going to be left of anyone’s stocks and 401(k)s is going to be change.  How’s that for change?


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Misery Index


To Someone Who Is A Stock Market Guru, Is This Legal?

11/20/2008 04:33:00 PM

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A certain company, who shall remain nameless, recently offered a “special dividend” of $2.10 on each common share of stock that one holds as of November 21, 2008, payable December 5, 2008.

Now why would the Owner and CEO of a company purchase 550,000 shares of his own stock on November 20th, by exercising options?  This actually puts him at owning over 8.9 million shares not including 7.5 million shares in a trust fund for his children.

This means that first there is a “special” dividend, which in this company’s 50 years of existence has never done before, and previous “normal” dividends are around $0.05, is given and second the CEO and Owner, the day before the special dividend is figured buys over a half million shares in his own company, at a price that is running about $6.00 below actual cost by exercising his options.  So when the dividend is figured tomorrow, he makes an extra $1.1 million just off the “special dividend” and then he can unload the stock on Monday, at face value, which will be a profit of around $2.5 - $3.0 million provided the stock doesn’t take a nose dive.

Is this legal?

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Misery Index

GM, FORD Execs Say NO to $1 Salary In Exchange For Bailout. [GREED]

11/20/2008 04:10:00 PM

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auto_06 Back in 1979 Chrysler asked for government assistance.  The Chrysler Corp. Loan Guaranty Act required Chrysler’s creditors to accept 30 cents on the dollar paybacks and the U.S. government backed $1.2 billion in new Chrysler debt.  This allowed Chrysler to issue bonds at a 10% interest rate, rather than the 14% that Ford had to pay for its debt.  The bailout saved Chrysler. 

As part of the deal, Lee Iacocca got his workers to take pay cuts and, for a year, he took a $1 salary and no bonus.  After Chrysler paid back its debts, Iacocca rewarded himself; Chrysler ended its Salary Reduction Program in 1981 and executive salaries were restored to their 1979 level.  Iacocca and his top executives also received retroactive payments in cash and stock to make up for the reduction in Chrysler’s stock price.  In 1981, Iacocca made $360,000 [$857,714.85 in 2008 USD].

Yesterday, the CEO of GM and Ford indicated to  the House Financial Services Committee that they would not be interested in reducing their salaries, like Iacocca did, to $1 in exchange for a bailout. 

“I’m willing to do what I’ve been doing,” Wagoner, CEO of GM said, saying he has already accepted a significant wage decrease and given up other forms of compensation.  He said he had previously cut his salary by 50 percent.  But he stopped short of saying he would accept a $1 salary.  His 2007 compensation was $15.7 million which includes the 50% cut.  GM went through $6.9 billion in the 2nd Q this year.

Mulally, CEO of Ford said when asked if he would work for $1 a year, “I think I’m OK where I am.”  Mulally also said, “I absolutely respect the intent of your question as a symbolic gesture,” adding, “but it is a symbolic gesture.”  Last year Mullaly earned $21.7 million.  Ford went through $7.7 billion in the 2nd Q this year.

As for Chrysler?  Robert Nardelli, had said on Tuesday he would be wiling to work under that salary as a condition for its $7 billion low interest loan under a federal bailout package. “I’d be willing to accept that,” Nardelli said.  As for his current salary?  Well, he isn’t required to disclose his salary at Chrysler, which is owned by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.  Additionally, Chrysler went through only $3.3 billion in the 3rd Q this year.

It is sad to say that the CEO’s of the Big 3, seem to think it’s business as usual and nothing has to change.  The only one who seems to be a bit humbled on the situation is Chrysler.  Give Chrysler their money in exchange for Nardelli getting a $1 salary.  Forget about GM and Ford, especially GM since they sent $1 million from a $25 million retooling plan from the US government, to their Brazil plant, which is independent of the US, and any vehicle that is produced there doesn’t come to the US.  And also with GM releasing what I personally call a propaganda threat video about what will happen if the auto industry is allowed to fall. 

Obviously GM and Ford aren’t concerned about their workers as they claim they do, and are only thinking of their own selfish pockets.  Gluttony, Greed and Pride are three deadly sins that GM seems to be living to follow.  Only one more and they are over half way of all seven deadly sins.   At best, Chrysler have the money under the terms of the $1 salary, forget GM and Ford.  If the CEO’s aren’t willing to sacrifice to help save their companies, then they can go down with the ship and sell out to China.  And I absolutely despite Wagoner’s arrogance and greed.  Pride, Greed and Vanity are nearly halfway of the seven deadly sins.  Or they can oust Wagoner, since obviously he can’t handle his company, put a new CEO in his place, and then give them the money. 

But in the end, mark my words, if the money is given to them, at least one of them will ask for more money, and will still end up in bankruptcy.  And additionally if the money is given, it’s the end of the free market.  If the bailout doesn’t work, and they all fail, or even one fails, the jobs are gone, everyone is effected, and we the taxpayers are stuck with the bill with nothing to show for it.  The bailout does not guarantee the success of the Big 3, and thus it does not guarantee that jobs are saved, and it also means that the bailout money is not paid back.

Here’s a videos to take a gander at.  This is when U.S. Rep Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) questions all three CEOs about how can the Big 3 guarantee that they will not be back in a few months asking for more money, and why giving them money is going to work.  When questioning GM CEO Wagoner about actually seeing the plan, he replies that basically it’s up to the SEC to allow viewing that information.


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Misery Index

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Al Qaeda’s “How Ya Doin’” Message To Obama.

11/20/2008 10:32:00 AM

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Exit-of-Bush-and-Arrival-of-Obama_000001 Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, everyone knows by now that al Qaeda released a video tape addressed to Obama.  In the tape, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s number 2 “man” condemns Obama for his stand on Israel and Afghanistan.  And I chose to not blog about it, at least not at the time, because I had a hunch, and my hunch has been confirmed.

BTW, can anyone translate what the words are in the picture to the right for me?

In the tape Zawahiri can he heard saying, “In you and in Colin Powell, [Condoleezza] Rice and your likes, the words of Malcom X (may have mercy on him) concerning ‘house Negroes’ are confirmed.” […]

Now Malcom X did do a speech in which he addresses the “house negro” and the “field negro” in which Zawahiri is speaking of however, if you listen to the tape, the word “negro” is never said.  And although I know absolutely no Arabic, I was pretty sure there wasn’t a word for Negro in Arabic.

Zawahir uses the term “abeed al-beit",” which literally translates as “house slaves.”  But in the al-Qaida supplied English subtitles of his speech that include the translations as “house negroes.”  And as we all know, using the term slave when speaking of someone who is Negro is verbotten.

So my question is this:  Who chose to be politically correct?  Was the video initially released without subtitles and they were added in by SITE (the organization that monitors such releases), or did someone from al Qaeda decide to be politically correct?

And for more thoughts to ponder.  Will Obama respond to the tape, or rather will he respond to the tape after checking with his zillion advisers since he doesn’t have any experience dealing with terrorists.  Or will he choose to be mum on the matter, in typical Obama fashion, and not respond at all. 

The days of playing president in the bullpen are over, its time to step up to the plate and see what he’s got.

And BTW, instead of listening to the news of selected excerpts from the video, here’s the full video.  I’ve also done a transcription, since things like this disappear after a time.

As a note, the YouTube video is not complete however the transcription is.  The complete video can be found on the Internet Archive however, the reason I did not embed that video is it is for auto play.

ZawahiriIn the Name of Allah, and all Praises is due to Allah, and Prayers and Peace on the Messenger of Allah and on his family, Companions and allies.  Muslim brothers everywhere:  Peace be upon you and the Mercy of Allah and His blessings.  As for what comes after:
Barack Obama has won the presidency of the United States of America, and on this occasion, I would like to send several messages.  First, a message of congratulations to the Muslim Ummah on the American people’s admission of defeat in Iraq.  Although the evidence of America’s defeat in Iraq appeared years ago, Bush and his administration continued to be stubborn and deny the brilliant midday sun.  If Bush has achieved anything, it is in his transfer of America’s disaster and predicament to his successor.  But the American people, by electing Obama, declared its anxiety and apprehension about the future towards which the policy of the likes of Bush is leading it, and so it decided to support someone calling for withdrawal from Iraq. 
The second of these messages is to the new president of the United States.  I tell him:  you have reached the position of president,  and a heavy legacy of failure and crimes awaits you.  A failure in Iraq to which you have admitted, and a failure in Afghanistan to which the commanders of your army have admitted. 
The other thing to which I want to bring your attention is what you’ve announced about how you’re going to reach an understanding with Iran and pull your troops out of Iraq to send them to Afghanistan is a policy which was destined for failure before it was born. 
It appears that you don’t know anything about the Muslim Ummah and its history, and the fate of the traitors who cooperated with the invaders against it, and don’t know anything about the history of Afghanistan and its free and defiant Muslim people.  And if you still want to be stubborn about America’s failure in Afghanistan, then remember the fate of Bush and Pervez Musharraf, and the fate of the Soviets and British before them.  And be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them. 
As fore the crimes of America which await you, it appears that you continue to be captive to the same criminal American mentality towards the world and towards the Muslims.  The Muslim Ummah received with extreme bitterness your hypocritical statements to and stances towards Israel, which confirmed to the Ummah that you have chosen a stance of hostility to Islam and Muslims.  You represent the direct opposite of honorable black Americans like Malika al-Shabazz, or Malcom X (may Allah have mercy on him).  You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims, and pray the prayer of the Jews although you claim to be Christian, in order to climb the rungs of leadership in America.  And so you promised to back Israel, and you threatened to strike the tribal regions in Pakistan, and to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, in order for the crimes of the American Crusade in it to continue. 
And last Monday, your aircraft killed 40 Afghan Muslims at a wedding party in Kandahar.  As for Malik al-Shabazz [Malcom X] (may Allah have mercy on him), he was born to a black pastor killed by white bigots, but Allah favored him with guidance to Islam, and so he prided himself on his fraternity with the Muslims, and he condemned the crimes of the Crusader West against the weak and oppressed, and he declared his support for peoples resisting American occupation, and he spoke about the worldwide revolution against the Western power structure.
[In Video, Malcom X Speech]
Malcom X:  New bridges must be built, because in the minds of the majority of our people today, Africa is too far away.  So the only way you and I can point them in that direction, is build new bridges.  We have to have the type of understanding of Africa, and the type of understanding of our people here in order to build a bridge.  A contact.  A line of communication between the two.  And once the lines of communication have been established and our African brothers can stretch forth their hands and reach us.  And we can stretch forth our hands and reach them while there’s nothing this blue eyed man in this country will be able to do to you and me successfully from that day onward.
[End video]
[In Video, Malcom X statement]
Malcom X:  One thing I found in all of my travels is that all of the Africans, not only the Africans but the Asians and the Muslims look upon us as their long lost brothers. 
[End video]
[In Video, Malcom X speech] 
Malcom X:  There’s a world wide revolution going on.  It goes beyond Mississippi.  It goes beyond Alabama.  It goes beyond  Harlem.  What is it revolting against?  The power structure.  The American power structure?  No.  The French power structure?  No.  The English power structure?  No.  Then what power structure?  An International Western power structure.
[End speech]
Zawahiri:  That’s why it wasn’t strange that Malik al-Shabazz [Malcom X] (may Allah have mercy on him) was killed, while you have climbed the rungs of the presidency to take over the leadership of the greatest criminal force in the history of mankind and the leadership of the most violent Crusade ever against the Muslims.  And in you and in Colin Powell, [Condoleezza] Rice and your likes, the words of Malcom X (may Allah have mercy on him) concerning “House Negroes” are confirmed.
[In Video, Malcom X speech] 
Malcom X:  You have to read the history of slavery to understand this.  There were two kinds of Negroes.  There was that old house Negro and the field Negro.  And the house Negro always looked out for his master.  When the field Negro got too much out of line, he held them back in check.  He put ‘em back on the plantation.  The house Negro could afford to do that because he lived better than the field Negro.  He ate better, he dressed better, and he lived in a better house.  He lived right up next to his master in the attic or the basement.  He ate the same food his master ate and worse his same clothes.  And he could talk just like his master – good diction.  And he loved his master more than his master loved himself.  That’s why he didn’t want his mater hurt.  If the master got stick, he’d say “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?”  When the master’s house caught afire, he’d try and put the fire out.  He didn’t want his master’s house burned.  He never wanted his master’s property threatened.  And he was more defensive of it than the master was.  That was the house Negro.
But then you had some field Negroes, who lived in huts, had nothing to lose.  They wore the worst kind of clothes.  They ate the worst food.  And they caught hell.  They felt the sting of the lash.  They hated their master.  Oh yes, they did.  If the master got sick, they’d pray that the master died.  If the master’d house caught afire, they’d pray for a strong wind to come along.  This was the difference between the two.  And today you still have house Negroes and field Negroes.  I’m a field Negro.
Zawahiri:  You also must appreciate, as you take over the presidency of America during its Crusade against Islam and Muslims, that you are neither facing individuals nor organizations, but are facing a Jihadi awakening and renaissance which is shaking the pillars of the entire Islamic world; and this is the fact which you and your government and country refuse to recognize and pretend not to see. 
As for the third message, it is to the Muslim Ummah.  I tell it:  America, the criminal, trespassing Crusader, continues to be the same as ever, so we must continue to harm it, in order for it to come to its senses, because its criminal, expansionist Crusader project in your lands has only been neutralized by the sacrifices of your sons, the Mujahideen.  This, then, is the path, so stick to it.
As for the fourth message, it is to the lions of Islam, the Mujahideen.  I tell them:  may Allah reward you in the best way for your historic heroics, which have ruined America’s plans and rendered its projects ineffective.  So be firm and resolute.  Your enemy’s stagger has begun, so don’t stop hitting him. 
And I say to my brothers the Mujahideem in Iraq in general and the Islamic State of Iraq in particular, and to its Amir, the towering mountain Abu ‘Umar al-Baghadadi:  your enemy has admitted defeat, and the forthcoming stage is expected to be dominated by conspiracies and betrayals in order to cover the American withdrawal, so you must persevere, for victory is in an hour of perseverance. 
And I tell my brothers, the lions of Islam in Somalia:  rejoice in victory and conquest.  America is gathering its wounds in Iraq, and Ethiopia is looking for a way out, and for this reason, the stage of conspiracies and machinations has begun.  So hold tightly to the truth for which you have given your lives, and don’t put down your weapons before the Majahid state of Islam and Tawheed has been set up in Somalia. 
And I tell all Mujahideen everywhere:  the Hubal of the age has begun to falter and recede, and Allah has granted you success and honored you by making you the most important cause of that, so be resolute on the path of Jihad until you meet your Lord while He is pleased with you. 
And my fifth message is to all the world’s weak and oppressed.  I tell them:  America has put on a new face, but its heart full of hate, mind drowning in greed, and spirit which spreads evil, murder, repression and despotism continue to be the same as always.  And the Mujahideen of Islam, by the grace of Allah, continue to be the spearhead of the resistance against it to restrain it from injustice, aggression and arrogance. 
As for my final message, it is to the American people.  I tell it:  you incurred defeat and losses from the foolish actions of Bush and his gang, and at the same time, Shaykh Usama bin Ladin (may Allah preserve him) sent you a message to withdraw from the lands of the Muslims and refrain from stealing their treasures and interfering in their affairs.  So choose for yourself whatever you like, and bear the consequences of your choice, and as you judge, you will be judged.
And our final prayer is that all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and may Allah send prayers and peace on our Master Muhammad and his family and Companions.
I think there is more to this video, as in the captioning after “bear the consequences of your choice” there is a comma, not a period.
As for Zawahiri’s message to the American people about bin Ladin, too bad bin Landin can’t speak for himself anymore………

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Congressman Joe Knollengerb Says Taxpayers Money Is Congress’ To Do As They Wish, Not Taxpayers. [Moron]

11/19/2008 09:42:00 AM

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Joe Knollenberg is a Congressman for Michigan’s 9th District, and he is a republican.  He’s also hard core on bailing out the auto industry, which makes sense since he is from Michigan. “Our automakers are now going to receive a partnering hand from Washington, not just a burdensome mandate.” Knollenberg states on his website.  Knollenberg was up for re-election this year, and got a little bit of help from GM by them throwing him a fundraising event for his re-election.  At the fundraiser about 50 people – mostly GM execs – attended the reception, and most were donating about $1,000 each.

So he’s representing his constituents which is more than most do in Congress and so his intentions are honorable.  However……….

According to Knollenberg, the money that you pay in your taxes is not your money?  It belongs to Congress to do as they wish, whatever they want with it, and you basically have to live with that.

Although I do not live in Michigan, I am glad to hear that he LOST his re-election bid.  Knollenberg lost to former state senator and lottery commissioner Gary Peters.

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GM Flies to Washington To Beg For Bailout, Meanwhile Gives $1 Billion to Brazil.

11/19/2008 08:36:00 AM

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gm1 I have come to the conclusion that GM is the auto version of AIG.  Now we have two sucking black holes.  Would you believe while GM is begging congress for billions of dollars, they sent US taxpayer money to Brazil?  And while US autoworkers are being laid off, in Brazil, GM employees, 7,000 of them, are on PAID HOLIDAY?

Yesterday the CEO’s of the Big 3 flew to Washington, DC to beg, plead, rob, to tell Congress the auto industry is running out of cash and needs $25 billion in taxpayer money to avoid bankruptcy.  The CEOs told Congress that they will likely go out of business without a bailout. 

Rick Wagoner of GM told members of Congress that the company is burning through ash, asking for $10-$12 billion for GM.  “We want to continue the vital role we’ve played for Americans for the past 100 years, but we can’t do it alone,” Wagoner told the Senate Banking Committee.  One person close to GM in Detroit said that the company needed around $11 billion within three months just to stay afloat.

All three used private jets to make the trip, but lets focus on GM, shall we?  Wagoner used his G4 private jet, one of eight jets in the GM fleet that continues to ferry executives around the world.  Wagoner’s private jet trip to Washington cost his company an estimated $20,000 roundtrip.  After the hearing, Wagoner declined to answer questions about his travel.  GM (along with Ford) say that it is a corporate decision to have their CEOs fly on private jets and that is non-negotiable, even as the companies say they are running out of cash.

But part of the money that GM wants is for health-care coverage by UAW retirees, especially for those who are too young for Medicare.  GM, along with Ford and Chrysler, want to make sure the retirees have the luxury of health insurance, and their pension, at the US taxpayers cost.  One GM retiree states that he receives $3,000 a month in pension and health-care insurance for life.  When he retired from GM, he was making $33 an hour as a welder/repairman and he received a pension and a $35,000 buyout after working for GM for 34 years.

[I guess you an I are the ones who GM expects to pay the bill for their contract with the UAW, although you and I aren’t the ones who agreed to it.  We are not the ones who promised to pay wages to a “bank” or workers we no longer need.]

Also, GM just opened a $300 million plant in Russia earlier this month and is expected to produce 70,000 cars annually.

But meanwhile, GM is kissing some serious butt in Brazil.  It is being reported, as of today, that GM has decided to invest $1 billion (USD) to expand business in Brazil, the local media reported Tuesday.  The money is coming from the $25 billion US taxpayers to “complete the renovation of the line of products up to 2012” which is part of the retooling to bring vehicles up to meet the more stringent air quality standards and part of the CAFE (corporate average fuel economy” standards.

But yet, GM”s chief executive in Brazil, Jaime Ardila has said that “We are not dependent on the U.S. in any way.”  And also according to Ardila, “It’s not part of corporate’s plans to file for bankruptcy, so we’re not going to speculate,” when asked if GM files for bankruptcy.  “GM [Brazil] is independent from an operational standpoint.  It develops its products locally, for a local market, and all of its suppliers are here.  Nothing is imported,” Andre Beer, former vice president of GM in Brazil, now a consultant in Sao Paulo, said.  GM Brasil is a separate legal entity from its parent in Detroit, they do not make anything for the United States market, yet they still received $1 billion in taxpayers money from GM US.

And in Brazil, automakers AREN’T getting bailed out, or even asking for government aid.  But the Brazilian government did give them $8 billion Brazilian reals ($3.47 billion USD) into the auto loan market through government banks.

Also at GM Brazil, 7,000 Brazilian workers are on mandatory paid leave.  “This probably won’t be the last paid leave announced by the company,” the director of Sao Jose do Campos’ metalworkers union, Vivaldo Moreira Araujo, said in a statement.  [So unlike here in the US the workers are not “laid off” but on PAID leave?  Am I missing something here?  Are you ready for the “twist”?]

With the CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards imposed by Congress, vehicles that are fuel-efficient that are imported from their overseas factories count as fuel-efficient.  In other words, the CAFE states there must be a certain percentage of vehicles that meet CAFE standards produced.  

To me, it sounds like GM is planning on using their Brazilian company to meet the CAFE standards for .  Yet in 2005 alone, American bought more cars than did China, India, Russia and Brazil, COMBINED.

So, GM gets money from the US taxpayers, from a “handout” to retool vehicles to meet more stringent US air quality standards, sends part of that money to Brazil and uses part of that money to help retain jobs in Brazil, but begs Congress for money?  Have I missed anything?  So let me make sure I have this right.  GM uses US taxpayers money, free money, that is suppose to be used for retooling for US vehicles to meet the more stringent air quality controls that take effect in 2012, but sends part of that money to GM Brazil, a company that is independent from GM Detroit, for retooling on South American vehicles……….  And remember Nancy Pelosi wants a lame-duck session of Congress to give the Big 3 taxpayers money yet Treasury Secretary Paulson has said “NO” to using part of the $700 billion bailout for the Big 3.  The Big 3 has already gotten $25 billion for retooling and now wants another $25 billion for “daily operational costs” which include giving money to those who are retired, and obviously sending it overseas to other countries.

GM needs to fall………… and learn to stand on their own two feet without help and learn to walk a new way instead of wanting something for nothing.

GM Brazil

Brazil is the largest GM subsidiary in South America and the third largest in the world according to their website.  In Sao Caetano do Sul, Brazil are the administration, technological center, engineering center and manufacturing facilities.  Vehicle assembly, plus engine and transmission manufacturing facilities are in Sao Jose dos Campos.  The Mogi das Cruzes Comples has manufacturing and parts distribution facilities.  In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, GM has a vehicle assembly facility in the city of Gravatai.  A parts distribution and warehouse are located in Sorocaba and a proving ground is in Indaiatuba, both in the state of Sao Paulo.  GMAC has headquarters in Sao Paulo and handles finance activities, including credit and leasing.

The company’s Brazilian headquarters in Sao Caetano do Sul employs 11,333 engineers and administrative staff out of a national total of 23,874.



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Second Teacher In NC Under Investigation.

11/18/2008 05:22:00 AM

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harris[4]Diatha Harris remains on the job teaching in Cumberland County Schools in North Carolina while a second teacher in the same school district has been accused of preaching their political beliefs to school children.

If you remember Diatha Harris is the teacher in the Cumberland County Schools in North Carolina who belittled and embarrassed a student on camera about her being a supporter of Obama.  The portion of the video, which was filmed by a Swedish film company ended up on YouTube.

In the video, as an example of Harris victimizing a McCain student, the teacher tells the young girl that the person she is picking for president has said that US troops will be staying in Iraq, a "senseless war", for another hundred years if need be.  She then tells the student "So that means your daddy is going to be in the military for another hundred years."  In the video the student can be seen biting her lip and nearly in tears.

Superintendent William Harrison of the Cumberland County Schools stated that he was “shocked when I saw the clip of an interaction between a Cumberland County Schools teacher and her students as posted on YouTube.”  In an interview with WTVD, Harrison stated, “I was particularly uncomfortable with the level of uneasiness felt by our students depicted in this video.”

Harris claims she was the victim of selective video editing and stated that she had recently apologized for her actions to the student and family, although the incident happened late last Spring.

Superintendent William Harrison of the Cumberland County Schools, has completed his investigation of the incident regarding Harris belittling a McCain student supporter on video however, the details weren’t released according to a school district spokeswoman.

The school system’s policy on political activity [PDF] stipulates, “Under no circumstances are assemblies, school classes, or students to be used in partisan political activities during the school day.”  The school system asked a lawyer to determine what disciplinary action it could take in the case of Harris.

Harris has retained a lawyer to fight to keep her job, according to a school district spokeswoman.  Harris remains on the job and continues to be allowed to teach, despite violating school policy in that she imparted her political persuasion on her students.  She has only 3 more years to retirement.

But now a second teacher within the same school system has accusations of the same.  Parent Tenesia Jackson filed a complaint alleging that Melissa Smith, a teacher at Mac Williams Middle School, made disparaging comments about President-elect Barack Obama on Nov. 6, a school district spokeswoman has said.

In the complaint, Jackson said that her 11-year-old daughter and other students in Smith’s social studies class had talked about their excitement at Obama’s election.  The complaint alleges that Smith told students not to be upset if their parents’ tax dollars went to “a 13-year-old girl for an abortion.”  The spokeswoman said the complaint also accuses Smith of posing hypothetical questions, including:  If you were a waitress, how would you feel if your customer gave your tip to a homeless person who had an Obama sign?

Superintendent Harrison and Principal Hancock are said to be investigating.


  • Teacher Who Is Obama Supporter Belittles McCain Student on Camera [Abuse of Power]  (11/06)
  • UPDATE on Diatha Harris, Teacher Who Belittled Fifth Grade McCain Supporter on Video [Hit the Road Diatha] (11/07)
  • UPDATE:  N.C. Teacher Diatha Harris Blames Videographers For Making Her Look Bad. [Yea, RIGHT!]  (11/10)


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GM Sells Suzuki To Raise $230 Million

11/18/2008 04:35:00 AM

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gm_general_motors_logoLooks like GM has also wizened up.

GM averaged to burn about $1.03 billion per month in the 2nd Q of this year and $2.3 billion per month in the 3rd Q of this year.  The GM-Suzuki partnership dates from 1981 but links loosened after GM sold a 17 percent stake in Suzuki in 2006, leaving it with three percent.

GM has announced it will sell its entire 3.02% ($230 million) stake, about 16.4 million shares, back to Suzuki.  Suzuki will pay $14.04 a share, the same price its shares closed at on Monday in Tokyo.  With the buyback, Suzuki now owns about 20% of its own outstanding shares, Kyodo news agency reported.

GM has also said that the $230 million is only three to seven days’ worth of cash, but by selling its stake in Suzuki, GM would save more money by delaying for two weeks incentive payments to its dealers.  Dealers were notified of the change in an email Monday.

Suzuki will finance the acquisition from its cash reserves, the Nikkei newspaper reported today, citing a company statement.

Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki said in a statement Monday that the Japanese automaker and GM will continue to collaborate on projects currently underway.  “There will be no impact on Suzuki’s current business plan,” Suzuki, Chairman and CEO, Suzuki Motor Corp. said in a statement yesterday, indicating that they [GM and Suzuki] will cooperate to jointly develop environmentally friendly cars.

“As GM taking this particular step to sell the shares it owns as a step toward strengthening its balance sheet is very understandable, we wanted to support GM’s decision,” Suzuki had said.

With this stock sale, GM now owns no stake in any Japanese automaker as it already sold its entire stake in Isuzu Motors Ltd. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. in recent years amid deteriorating earnings.

In 1981, Suzuki and GM entered a capital tie-up when GM acquired a 5.3% stake in the Japanese car-maker.  The stake was bolstered to 20% in 2000 but in 2006, GM reduced its stake in Suzuki to 3% as part of its restructuring program.

If you missed it, GM distributed a propaganda video on YouTube making the case that a $25-billion bailout now would be far less costly to the nation than allowing the industry to fail.

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