All the late night talk shows laughed it up over the supposed demise of Twinkies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread etc as the news came out that Hostess Brands was going bankrupt. But delve beneath the surface and you will find something more akin to a Shakespearean tragedy than talk show banter. It’s a tale involving two unions, one private equity fund, two hedge funds and a whole cast of former CEOs. There is sacrifice, greed and betrayal. 18,000 workers will be losing their jobs while some vulture capitalists will be walking away with millions. Another vulture capitalist will itself have been devoured in the process. [Read more…]
Create an Infrastructure Bank and Transition from a Wartime to a Peacetime Economy
The deal that Congress and the President made that created the so-called fiscal cliff may not be so bad after all. In fact it has many good elements: raising taxes on the rich which will reduce burgeoning inequality in the US, deficit reduction and reduction of the bloated military-industrial complex budget.
The one thing that many experts are worried about is that taking this much money out of the economy will create a recession. However, increased economic activity that would offset the fiscal cliff provisions can come about with increased leveraged spending on infrastructure development. A relatively small amount of government money when combined with money from private investors can goose the economy while preserving the good elements of the fiscal cliff deal. [Read more…]
The looming so-called crisis facing the US after the reelection of Barack Obama is the fiscal cliff. It has been hyped as something that will bring wrack and ruin to the US economy unless something is done soon to prevent it from happening.
However, in my opinion and that of others, if nothing were done and the provisions already agreed upon went into effect on January 1, 2013, it might actually turn out to be the best thing for the US in the long run, mainly because the military-industrial complex would take a hit while there would be no consequences for Social Security, Medicare and Veteran benefits. [Read more…]
Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and larger in scale. As Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said, “We’re getting a 100 year storm every 2 years.” It used to be that a hurricane just hit a state. Then along came Katrina that hit 2 or 3 states. The latest Category 1 hurricane was a massive weather system that hit 10 states, a whole region. The scale of these large storms is getting larger and larger. 60% of the entire population of the United States was involved. [Read more…]
Mitt Romney has a jobs creation plan if he becomes President, alright. But no one, including Mitt Romney himself, is talking about it.
Remember the $2 trillion he wants to spend on the military? That $2 trillion he wants to spend on the military which the Pentagon doesn’t even want (but Defense contractors certainly do) translates into a huge jobs program.
What Romney is really advocating here is more government spending, but government spending of the right wing socialism (otherwise known as fascism) sort: a military buildup, exactly the kind of military buildup that got Hitler’s Germany and Roosevelt’s America out of the Great Depression. [Read more…]
I have been going to Tijuana for dental work for five years. In that time I’ve had two root canals, several crowns and an implant. I’ve also taken my two granddaughters down there for routine dental work a couple of times. In the process I’ve saved several thousand dollars and been completely pleased with the results.
There are probably a lot of good dentists in Tijuana and some bad ones. The problem for most people is knowing who to go to. People need referrals to good dentists so please feel free to comment on experiences that you’ve had with dentistry in Tijuana – both whom you’d recommend and who to stay away from. Personally, I would recommend the office I’ve been going to which is Baja Oral Center. There is a network of dentists there ranging from children’s dentistry to general dentistry to tooth implants. All the dentists speak perfect English so there is no language barrier. One call to Berniece, the receptionist, whose English also is great suffices to set up an appointment. By the way it’s a local call. They have a 619 area code. So that’s two barriers out of the way: language and referral. And did I mention that they’re very friendly and accommodating to your schedule? [Read more…]
Jobs in the US are undergoing a huge transformation. People are being laid off from good paying jobs with benefits, and, to the extent they are finding new ones, they are being paid about half what they were at their previous job with no benefits. Most of the newly created jobs in the “promising” recent jobs report were part time or temporary jobs. The September Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report indicated that 114,000 jobs were added in September and that the unemployment rate dipped to 7.8%. This is good news to be sure, but the fact remains that the issue is more about the quality of jobs added than the actual number.
Half of all college graduates are not able to find work. The good jobs out there are only for elite students from elite institutions. Half of all graduates including graduates in science and engineering from universities like Harvard and Duke are going to work on Wall Street.
This is where the top talent is going, and they’re making big bucks – six figures to start plus signing bonuses. If you are just an average college student though from a run of the mill college, chances are the only job you will find is as a barrista at Starbucks or at the Apple genius bar. The Microsofts, Qualcomms, Googles and Intels are only hiring the top 1% or 2% from elite colleges.
The myth that with a college education you will be able to get a good paying job is being laid to rest. [Read more…]
The average global temperature across land and ocean surfaces during September was 0.67°C (1.21°F) above the long-term 20th century average. This temperature ties with 2005 as the record warmest September in the 133-year period of record. The Northern Hemisphere tied with 2009 as second warmest on record, behind 2005. The Southern Hemisphere also ranked second warmest on record, behind 1997. It was also the highest departure from average for any month in the Southern Hemisphere since May 2010.
Even as a little girl Claire Russo wanted nothing more than to grow up and serve in the military. At 14, she was a Senate page for Dan Coats, worked at the Republican National Convention in San Diego, and interned for Senator Judd Gregg the following year. Later she said “I became obsessed with the Marine Corps after that. I knew the legacy of the Marine Corps was elite and the legacy of Guadalcanal. They were pretty tough and if I was going to join, I’d join the toughest out there.”
When she grew up, she became a Marine who served in Iraq and later as an advisor for the Army in Afghanistan. At Officers Candidate School, where she finished fourth in a class of 65, she started hearing stories about women who had been raped by other Marines. One of her drill instructors told her, “You’re either a bitch or a slut.” [Read more…]
The French prime minister announced on September 15, 2012 that France would maintain a ban on Monsanto’s MON810 maize, the only genetically modified organisim (GMO) currently allowed in Europe. Thanks to activism by French citizens and serious political outcry, Monsanto is now effectively blocked from Europe’s gigantic marketplace. This is even more true when you consider that France is the largest agricultural producer in Europe.
But that’s not all. Following the ground-breaking French study that graphically linked the lifetime consumption of Monsanto’s GMO corn in rats to massive tumors and direct organ failure, Russia’s premiere consumers rights organization has suspended both the importation and use of Monsanto’s GMO corn within the nation’s borders.
We’ve been incarcerating more of our citizens than any other country in the world. 2.3 million Americans are presently behind bars. Since 1970 the number of people incarcerated in the US has grown by 700%. Even though we are 5 percent of the world’s population, we have 25 percent of the prisoners in the world. Most of those incarcerated are there for minor drug offenses including possession of small amounts of marijuana. 9.2% of African-American adults were in prison in 2008. One in six Latino men will spend part of their life behind bars. The for profit prison-industrial-complex has grown mainly due to the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs has become a war on drug users, non-violent offenders and poor people even though a majority of drug users are affluent.
It’s standard operating procedure for San Diego based SEMPRA Energy, parent corporation of San Diego Gas and Electric, to delay costly maintenance and then, when there is a breakdown in the system such as the 2007 Witch Creek Fire which burned 198,000 acres, killed two people, injured 40 firefighters and destroyed more than 1,100 homes, to go to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and get a ruling that would allow them to charge the ratepayers for costs associated with that disaster.
So SEMPRA’s strategy is very simple. Don’t spend the money on maintenance and then, when a disaster happens, go to the CPUC whose members it has wined and dined, and ask for a rate increase so that the ratepayers, not SEMPRA, pays for the costs associated with the disaster such as paying off homeowners whose homes have been burned down in the fire. Hey, it’s cheaper than doing routine maintenance. [Read more…]