Thursday, September 10, 2009

No Lessons learned

Here we are on the eve of the 8th anniversary of one of the worst disasters in American history. And there is very little talk about whether it could happen again. It is the same kind of complacency that existed prior to September 11th 2001. I had written in July of that year that a "disaster" would happen because we were unprepared. I cited Pearl Harbor as an example. I had no idea what happened would 2 months later.

Now I'm repeating it again, we are headed for another disaster. Could it be another terror attack? I don't know for sure. It could be cyberterror, the total collapse of the economy, a Swine Flu pandemic that leads to the deaths of tens of thousands, or the asassination of President Obama. All I know is we are too indifferent or ignorant to stop it. Or are we?
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Poverty at 11-Year High - And Still Rising

And there is no hope in site. Not as long as we produce nothing and continue to import everything. This President means well but doesn't seem to have any economic program for increasing employment. Rather than bailing out Wall St. and auto industry with hundreds of billions in money we do not have, he - and the Congress - should have set out to create a public works program. Especially since the infrastructure in America is crumbling. It was government created jobs that got us out of the Great Depression. A fully employed populous, working under decent wages, will create demand which makes the the economy grow. And a growing economy is that prosperous, not poor:

The poverty rate in the United States hit 13.2 percent last year, according to a study released Thursday - up from 12.5 percent the previous year.

That's an 11-year high, and it means that nearly 40 million Americans were living below the poverty line, the equivalent of a family of four living on about $22,000 or less a year. CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston has more on the stark reality behind the numbers.

[...]The new poverty numbers don't reflect the downturn of 2009, when unemployment has reached almost 10 percent. That means there's worse news to come.

200 Million Children Work Worldwide

We still live in a world that treats children poorly. The solution: education. Like with so many problems, education can solve it. If only governments, including our own, understood this simple concept we wouldn't have this terrible evil going on.

Children are used to produce everything from pornography in Ukraine to fireworks in the Philippines and diamonds in Sierra Leone, the US Department of Labor said in a report.

The report, published on Thursday, lists 122 goods "produced with forced labor, child labor, or both, in 58 countries" from Afghanistan to North Korea to Uzbekistan.

"Agricultural crops comprise the largest category, followed by manufactured goods and mined or quarried goods," said the report, which was mandated by Congress in 2005, when lawmakers passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

Child labor was more common than forced labor, and the goods most often produced by children were cotton, sugar cane, tobacco, coffee, rice, and cocoa in agriculture; bricks, garments, carpets, and footwear in manufacturing; and gold and coal in mined or quarried goods.

Strawberries from Argentina, footwear from Bangladesh, gold and silver from Bolivia, and rubber from Cambodia were brought to international markets with the work of child labor.

Myanmar, which is listed in the report as Burma, used child and forced labor to produce 14 products, ranging from jade to teak wood.

In India, children worked on glass bangles, leather goods and soccer balls; in Pakistan, they are used to make carpets.

And in Russia and Ukraine, the Philippines and Thailand, they were used in the production of pornography.

"The International Labor Organization estimates that over 12 million persons worldwide are working in some form of forced labor or bondage and that more than 200 million children are at work, many in hazardous forms of labor," the report said.

Armed man Arrested in Capitol During Obama address

As I keep saying, there is a effort to try and assassinate the President. If the Republicans continue to engage in hate mongering directed against the President will be more attempts on the life of Obama.

U.S. Capitol Police have arrested a Virginia man they say tried to drive into a secure area near the Capitol with a shotgun and rifle in his car as the president gave his health care address to Congress.

Joshua Bowman, 28, of Falls Church, Va., was arrested around 8 p.m. Wednesday and charged with two counts of possession of an unregistered firearm and one count of unlawful possession of ammunition. Each carries a possible one-year jail sentence and $1,000 fine.

Bowman's intentions were unclear, said police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, but the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington decided against prosecuting him on more serious charges, said spokesman Benjamin Friedman.

Schneider said Bowman approached a security checkpoint near the Cannon House Office Building in a four-door Honda Civic and told officers he wanted to park.

People who want to drive into the area must have a permit and have their vehicles searched. The timing of the request raised an officer's suspicion, Schneider said, and Bowman consented to a vehicle search.

A shotgun, rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition were found in Bowman's trunk, said Erica Stanley, a spokeswoman for the District of Columbia mayor's office.

Trade Deficit jumps to Highest level in 6 months

This means that America will continue to be a debtor nation much like any third world nation. We produce very little but consumer plenty...of foreign products. And how do we pay for these imported goods, as we have for decades? By putting it on a credit card. Because all the good paying manufacturing jobs have been outsourced. Trade is a component of GDP. Meaning, trade deficits rob our economy. It is also contributes to our foreign debt. That means we have to borrow to pay off the Chinese. Recipe for more disasters. Unfortunately, the last politician to talk about this issue was - Ross Perot. And he ain't running for President anymore.

The U.S. trade deficit shot up in July to the highest level in six months as a surge in shipments of foreign oil and autos pushed imports up by a record amount.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that the trade deficit rose 16.3 percent to $32 billion in July, much larger than the $27.4 billion imbalance that economists had expected. It was the largest imbalance since January and the percentage increase was the biggest in more than a decade.

Imports rose by 4.7 percent, the largest monthly advance on records that go back to 1992, while exports edged up by a smaller 2.2 percent. Both gains provided evidence that the most severe recession since World War II was beginning to lose its grip on the global economy.

That would explain our auto industry is being taken over by foreigners.
General Motors Co. agreed to sell its Opel unit to Magna International Inc., accepting the German government’s preference over a financial investor that the U.S. carmaker had favored.

Magna, Canada’s biggest auto-parts maker, and its Russian partner OAO Sberbank will acquire a 55 percent stake in Opel, Detroit-based GM said in a statement. GM, Magna and Germany resolved disputes over Opel’s access to GM intellectual property and financing issues in the past two weeks, according to a person familiar with negotiations.

Top U.S. Banker: Criticism of Excessive Bonuses "Appropriate"

Now this guy deserves a medal. Why isn't his comments front page news? And why aren't the politicians saying I told you so? Maybe they don't care? Maybe the bailout of Wall St. was a mistake?

A top US banker has said that public anger about excessive bonuses paid out by financial institutions is both "understandable and appropriate".

Lloyd Blankfein, head of Goldman Sachs, also said that payouts guaranteed over a number of years should be banned.

His own firm was recently criticised for setting aside billions of dollars to be paid out in bonuses.

Many blame excessive bonuses for the short-term risk taking that helped bring about the financial crisis.

Mr Blankfein, one of Wall Street's best paid bankers, said "there is little justification for the payment of outsized discretionary compensation when a financial institution lost money for the year".

61 SC House Republicans call on Governor to Resign

This is what politicians in America have to come to. They have little concern for what is right and what is good for America. The honorable thing for Mr.Sanford to do is step down. But love of power and self trump duty and honor. Whether it's the Republicans and Democrats they not only dishonor their parties but have little regard for family. Is it any wonder our society is crumbling when the two parties spend all their time chasing skirts or selling out.

Sixty-one South Carolina House Republicans asked Gov. Mark Sanford to resign Wednesday, questioning his ability to lead the state since his unannounced summertime trip to see a mistress in Argentina and investigations of his state and private travel that followed.

"Your decision to abandon our state for five days, with no defined order of succession and with no known way to contact you, is inexcusable," said a letter from the lawmakers signed by House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham.

At least this guy had the decency to quit. But here's another example of a politician who uses his power to pursue self interest rather than doing what he was elected for.
Mike Duvall's second term as a member of the California Assembly was progressing pretty much like his first — in relative obscurity, with few notable legislative accomplishments.

The Orange County Republican is now a YouTube hit after KCAL-TV aired his racy comments about sexual conquests that were caught by an open microphone in a Capitol hearing room. Several media outlets said the comments referred to Duvall's affairs with a female lobbyist and another woman. He resigned Wednesday.