The New Jim Crow – Racism or Class?

An interesting view from Author Robert D. Putnam on inequalities in American society and the economy. Putnam believes that racism isn’t the major impediment to economic mobility in the country anymore – class is. And as far as that goes he may be correct. However, in weighing whether racism is an issue – a lot depends on just what you define as “racism”. The conservative view of that is “we aren’t hanging you from trees and burning down your homes anymore – so there is no racism”. Of course to anyone else with an IQ above freezing water – racism is a lot more nuanced that just physical acts of depravity. I mean – just because you aren’t shooting me – doesn’t mean you aren’t trying to kill me with a knife.

Robert Putnam: Class Now Trumps Race as the Great Divide in America

Robert D. Putnam, author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, issued a strong warning to anti-poverty advocates at a forum on social connectedness at the Aspen Ideas Festival Saturday, urging the audience to get beyond talking about poverty and race and start thinking about social mobility and class instead.

“Those two conceptual moves, framing it as poverty and thinking about it as a matter of race, have a very deep history… and I think both politically and analytically that’s an almost fatally flawed framework,” said Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, in response to remarks from co-panelists Anne Mosle, vice president of policy at the Aspen Institute, and Mario Small, chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.

“You say poverty to most ordinary Americans, most ordinary voters, they think black ghettos,” he continued, whereas over the last couple of generations “class, not race is the dominant — and becoming more dominant — dimension of difficulty here.”

“Relatively speaking, racial differences controlling for class are decreasing while class differences controlling for race are increasing in America,” he said. “Non-white folks with a college education are looking more and more like white folks with a college education and white folks who haven’t gotten beyond high school are looking more and more like nonwhite folks who haven’t finished high school.” Continue reading

Entrepreneurship and Immigrants

Just the immigrants in California do more for the country than a whole Red State full of  Tea Bigots! Not the least because these immigrants aren’t trying to bring the whole country down because we have a black President like the treason sipping Tea Bigot Republicans are.

Indeed…Save America! Deport a Tea Bigot!

In any event – a salute to those entrepreneurs, who got nothing to do with Silicon Valley…

And everything to do with true American grit!

And often, investment from financial sources outside of the US, which do a far better job at “micro-financing” than the herd mentality, often self destructive American Venture Capital market. That is changing with some of the web based “Crowdfunding” investment models like Rock The Post designed around the needs of small businesses which often only need $10000-200,000 – and not generally millions. New legislation allows small individual investors to purchase up to $1 million in stock or equity, without being restricted by State Blue Sky laws.  Here is how it works.

Insofar as the large number of immigrants starting businesses because of the lack of employment opportunities – about 30% of US incorporations are done by black Americans for much the same reason.

California leads U.S. in immigrant entrepreneurship, study finds

Gloria Suen owns Li Hing of Hong Kong, one of California's many immigrant-owned small businessesImmigrants own 33% of California’s small businesses, the highest share in the U.S., and make up 27% of the state’s population.

When Gloria Suen opened a retail shop in Chinatown, she and her sister knew so little English they could barely decipher the rules and regulations that govern small businesses. But she asked advice from anyone who would listen and persevered.

“In those days, I had to work 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” she said. “I had to, little by little, learn.”

Today her family-owned small business, Li Hing of Hong Kong, sells ornate Chinese antiques and fine crafts to businesses and homes across the U.S.

Li Hing is part of a movement pushing California to the forefront of a national trend: The state leads the nation in the percentage of businesses owned by immigrants, a share that exceeds the demographic’s proportion of the general population.

One-third of small-business owners in the state are immigrants, according to a report published Thursday by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a New York-based think tank. About 27% of the state’s population was born in a foreign country, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Continue reading

Crime Doesn’t Pay – The Wasabi Zombie…And Other Stories

Things are getting weird out there!

This epicurean proto-Zombie decided to spice – up his girlfriend, perhaps in anticipation of the “main course”!

Using her jeans.

I mean… Dang! Most of us guys are pretty happy just getting our love interests, wives,  or girlfriends out of their jeans!

Man Arrested for Attacking Girlfriend With Wasabi

John McGuinness, 22, was arraigned Friday in Barnstable District Court on charges of domestic assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and intimidation of a witness after he allegedly attacked his girlfriend.

In the very early hours of Friday morning, Barnstable police responded to the intersection of Route 149 and Willimantic Drive for a report that a young woman had been assaulted, according to police reports.

At the scene, the victim told officers that she and McGuinness had been at the Fox Hole Bar in Osterville to watch the Boston Celtics game. On the way home, the victim received a text message from a male friend. This angered McGuinness and the couple argued until the victim dropped him off at his home, according to the report.

While she was driving home, the victim received a text message from McGuinness who said he was throwing a $200 pair of her jeans outside. The victim drove back to find McGuinness outside with her pants, which he had covered in wasabi sauce, according to the police report.

McGuinness then forced down the window of the victim’s car and took her cellphone, which spurred her to get out of the vehicle, according to the police report.

Once she was out, McGuinness hit the victim in the face with the jeans, getting wasabi sauce in her eyes.

Then, while the victim tried to clean her eyes and fled, he poured more sauce in her car, the report said.

Police arrested McGuinness at his home on Roseland Terrace.

In the “Crime Doesn’t Pay” category – there is the result of a recent study that Bank Robbery, in particular is a poor paying occupation, The average US Bank Robber only nets $4,330 – which, when you account fo an average 10 year jail stay if they are caught…

Is a measly $433/yr. I mean you can make that much or more – (a week!) Flipping Burgers for minimum wage. And not have to worry nights about the 6’4″ 350lb Bubba sharing a cell with you.

Robbing banks a bad idea for crooks from economic standpoint

Bonnie and Clyde

Infamous Bank Robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow didn’t make much money robbing banks

Crime doesn’t pay, at least not very well, when it comes to robbing banks, a new study finds. With unprecedented access to financial data from British banks, economists have shown that bank robbers don’t make a lot of money, certainly not enough to justify the risks involved in such an armed robbery. “The return on an average bank robbery is, frankly, rubbish,” the researchers wrote in the statistics journal Significance. “It is not unimaginable wealth.” It is so low, in fact, that it is not financially worthwhile for banks to install screens that could further reduce robberies.

Economist Neil Rickman of the University of Surrey and his colleagues were given unusual access to financial data from the British Bankers’ Assn. Such data about robberies are not normally disclosed to the public because it is commercially sensitive and could potentially encourage copycat robbers. Treating bank robbery as a business like any other, they used normal statistical measures to calculate profitability.

In 2007, there were 106 bank robberies or attempted robberies at the 10,500 bank branches, compared with 7,500 robberies of other businesses. (In the U.S. in 2006, there were about 12,000 bank robberies.) Although bank robberies in Southern California tend to occur in higher numbers at branches near freeway entrances, the British team found no link to branch size, branch location, or how busy a particular branch is. Of all those robbed, only 13 were targeted twice and only one three times. About a third of attempted robberies were unsuccessful, and about 20% of the successful robbers were ultimately caught and convicted.

The average take in a British bank robbery is a modest 12,706.60 euros (about $15,887) per person, compared with an average of $4,330 in U.S. bank robberies. Given that the average U.K.wage for fully employed people in Britain is about 26,000 euros, a bank robbery “will give him a modest lifestyle for no more than 6 months.” If he robs two, he will still have only a modest lifestyle. Four robberies, and the odds are excellent that he will land in jail. “As a profitable occupation, bank robbery leaves a lot to be desired,” the authors wrote. (A similar analysis of drug dealing in the book “Freakonomics” explains why most low-level dealers live with their mothers: The activity is so unprofitable that they cannot afford a place of their own.) That may be why bank robberies are declining in the U.K. and the U.S…

Bill Maher – Who is More Successful – Obama or Romney?

Interesting viewpoint…

 

 

Stupid Deal of the Decade? Magic Johnson Group Buys LA Dodgers for $2 billion…

There are good investments…and bad.  Paying out $2 billion for a Sports Franchise in a sport which is on the way down – is definitely one of those “bad” investment ideas. Seems to me $2 b could be better spent buying a NFL Franchise (Several of which are actually worth $2 B or more) or investing in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), which is about the fastest growing professional sport out there right now. The list of the Top 50 Professional Sports Franchises in the World looks like this.

So… Why but the Dodgers?

I hope Magic hasn’t lost his business “magic”!

Group Led by Magic Johnson Wins Auction to Buy Dodgers for $2.15 Billion

In a quick, dramatic end to the year-long financial crisis of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team’s owner, Frank McCourt, agreed to sell the team Tuesday night for $2.15 billion to a group headed by Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ Hall of Famer.

The Johnson group’s deal, financed largely by Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services firm, includes $2 billion for the team (minus $412 million in debt) and $150 million to create a joint venture with McCourt on the parking lots and land surrounding Dodger Stadium. The deal is valued at $2.3 billion.

If the all-cash deal is approved by the judge overseeing the Dodgers’ bankruptcy, the price will be the most ever paid for a professional sports team.

The most ever paid for a franchise is at least $1.4 billion for Manchester United. The Miami Dolphins were sold for $1.15 billion and the Chicago Cubs were acquired for $845 million. McCourt, who bought the team in 2004 for $421 million, had resisted selling the real estate, preferring to rent the lots for $14 million a year to the team’s new owner. But the Johnson group suggested the joint venture on the land, said a person briefed on the sale but not authorized to speak publicly.

The deal will let McCourt repay a $150 million loan made to the team last year by Major League Baseball and his $130 million divorce settlement to his ex-wife, Jamie.

The winning bid defeated one by Stan Kroenke, the billionaire owner of the St. Louis Rams, Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets, and a second from two other billionaires: Steven A. Cohen, the hedge-fund manager who recently bought a small share of the Mets, and Patrick Soon-Shiong, who made his money in pharmaceuticals.

The final steps in the process came rapidly. McCourt’s investment banker, Blackstone, asked each bidder to raise their offers Monday night.

Baseball owners approved all three bidders Tuesday afternoon and later in the evening McCourt selected on the Johnson group. An announcement was made shortly after 11 p.m. eastern.

In addition to Johnson and Guggenheim Partners, the winning group includes Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and Peter Guber, the film producer and head of Mandalay Entertainment.

The agreement to sell the Dodgers to Johnson’s group appears to end an extraordinary year for the team. It filed for bankruptcy last June after Selig blocked a new, long-term billion-dollar cable TV deal between the Dodgers and Fox Sports. Selig had sharply criticized McCourt’s management of the team — in particular his use of team money for his and his ex-wife’s personal use — and installed a monitor to oversee the team’s operations. McCourt called that a hostile takeover.

More Questions About Wyclef’s Yele Haiti Charity

Met Wyclef a few months ago, and was quite impressed with his planning knowledge around his charity. This was a stand around over some coffee informal chat – so to be honest it certainly wasn’t some sort of in-depth talk like an investigative reporter might do. He’s a bit on the shy side, and I was rather shocked when he walked up to me and introduced himself. I had seen him in the airport lounge a half dozen times, but he was always surrounded by security. I don’t approach celebrities when I see them, because I feel that is a violation of their privacy.

I see all the stuff Yele is doing in Haiti with local people while travelling from place to place. One of their ongoing campaigns is to keep the drains along the streets clear so that runoff doesn’t pool and form potential locations for cholera to fester. They also hire crews of locals to sweep the streets, collecting some of the millions of bottles and water containers which seem to cover Port au Prince. Their bright yellow shirts are likely to appear anywhere, but I don’t know enough about all they are working on to say whether there is any overall strategy to it – or what other things they may be working on.

I suspect that when they are down to picking on Wyclef’s charity, there is a bit of cover up on how badly some of the International and US Governmental AID organizations have effed up. Almost everywhere you turn, little of the money promised has come through. Even money supposedly committed winds up being diverted, sometimes for nefarious reasons. Worse, there continues to be a massive level of confusion as to how to prioritize projects – despite the needs being pretty straightforward. Lastly, there is apparent collusion between some of those very same “Aid” and “US Governmental” organizations and the criminal drug cartels. If the Cartels are big enough to buy whole governments – they certainly can buy their own AID agency to promote and assist with moving their merchandise.

There was supposed to be $12 billion in International and US AID money… How that never got spent could well make the boys at Enron blush with envy. They are picking on Wyclef’s $16 million… But what about the $3.2 billion donated to the Clinton/Bush fund? As far as I know, none of the Clinton/Bush money has been “disappeared”, but there certainly are other fruitful areas to audit.

Wyclef Jean Defends Yele Charity, Again

The Washington Post is reporting that musician and activist Wyclef Jean is responding to a recent report by the New York Post questioning the spending of Jean’s charitable organization, the Yele Haiti Foundation, again. The New York Post reported that the foundation collected $16 million in 2010, but less than a third of that went to emergency efforts. The Post also says that $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t appear to exist.

Jean says that he is proud of what the foundation has accomplished after the earthquake almost two years ago. He says his Yele Haiti Foundation rebuilt an orphanage and set up a system of outdoor toilet and shower facilities in one of the largest shanties in the Haitian capital.

The star told the Miami Herald:

“The Post [New York Post] conveniently fails to acknowledge that the decisions that Yele made were a response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters in modern history and required an immediate humanitarian response,” Jean said in a written statement. “We made decisions that enabled us to provide emergency assistance in the midst of chaos and we stand by those decisions.”

We find it interesting that media outlets are so focused on following Jean’s paper trail while ignoring others. What about countries that pledged to send aid to Haiti and still have yet to do so — including the United States, because of congressional shenanigans? The lesson here should be that people should actually donate money to organizations that are in the business of rebuilding after disaster relief, not just famous faces that are known for being musical geniuses. The two don’t translate, much like the numbers.

Read more at the Washington Post.

Another Connection Between Republicans and Foreign Terrorists

Now that the Republican Candidate Group of Dwarves has selected a new, new, new  blast-from-the-past leader in Neut Gingrich – it may be interesting to go back and see how some of these same Republicans of Neut’s era are connected to terrorists, dictators, and mass murderers. For instace Bob Barr, Neut’s “hit man” during the Clinton Impeachment scandal has been working for former Haitian Dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier. Indeed, most of the nonexistent WMDs Saddam Hussein was supposed to have had – were made in the USA under the Raygun Administration and given to him…

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that there are even more nefarious connections between Republicans and terrorists.

Renegade US Group Wanted to Help Gadhafi—for $10M

Terrorism expert Neil Livingstone hopes to be Montana’s Republican nominee for governor next year—but voters may be turned off by his involvement in a bizarre scheme to help Moammar Gadhafi get out of Libya. Livingstone and the rest of his team—a veteran CIA officer, a Republican political operative convicted of scamming a baseball PAC, a Kansas City lawyer, and a Belgian engineer—offered to find Gadhafi an escape route and a way to keep some of his billions in return for a fee of at least $10 million, the New York Times reports.

“The idea was to find them an Arabic-speaking sanctuary and let them keep some money, in return for getting out,” according to Livingstone, who says the plan was aborted after the team failed to receive US government permission to receive funds from Libya. After the fall of the Gadhafi regime, however, a letter was found from the Belgian to Gadhafi offering the team’s lobbying services to win US government support for the dictator. Livingstone—described in the letter as the “recognized best American anti-terrorism expert”—says he hadn’t seen the letter before this week, and it greatly distorts the team’s intentions.

Samuel L, Jackson Now Top Grossing Actor of All Time

Samuel L. Jackson has been in a lot of movies – over 100. Several of these have been mega-hits at the box office, including roles in Star Wars and Pulp Fiction.  Of course any black guy who would walk around in a Kilt with cornrows, as Jackson did in the Movie Formula 51 – is a badass… He gets moved to the “Giant Negroes” category for that one!

Top-Grossing Actor of All Time Is…

Samuel L. Jackson has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-grossing actor of all time, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Jackson’s films—he’s made more than 100—have earned more than $7.4 billion, thanks in part to huge earners like the Star Wars prequels, which account for a whopping $2.4 billion. Perhaps Jackson isn’t the person you would have guessed held the spot—but who can deny the appeal of an actor who will do this?

Guy Fawkes Day in America – Moving Money

So what happens if 100,000 people move their money to small banks?

The fees charged by the big banks have gotten progressively ridiculous, and several of the major banks like Bank of America purposefully manipulated customer accounts to maximize overdraft fees to the tune of $2o billion a year…

Bank executives continue to get massive multi-million dollar bonuses… despite the fact it was American taxpayer money that bailed those very same banks out of a crisis created by the banks themselves.

Wall Street Protests Get Specific: Could ‘Bank Transfer Day’ Pit Americans Against Their Big Banks?

The growing anger directed at U.S. banks (especially the big ones that took federal bailout funds) over recent fee increases coalesced this weekend into a Facebook-driven campaign urging Americans to close their accounts at large banks and move their money to credit unions by Nov. 5.

Though not initiated by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York and other cities around the country, the effort has been embraced by the protesters, and their “We are the 99%” mantra is all over the “Bank Transfer Day” Facebook page — making this the first specific action by a political movement that has been criticized as unfocused and incoherent.

Bank Transfer Day was started by a 27-year-old Los Angeles art-gallery owner, Kristen Christian. She says she’s not affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street protesters but that many organizers of those demonstrations had reached out to her to express support.

Christian chose Nov. 5 because of its association with 17th century British folk hero Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the House of Lords but was captured on that date in 1605. In an interview with the Village Voice, however, Christian and Occupy Wall Street leaders who discussed the effort to get Americans to move their money from large banks to small institutions emphasized that they weren’t trying to create a collapse of the financial system. ”I’ve been very careful to state that this is not … anarchy,” Christian told the Voice. “It’s shifting the money to a company people respect the practices of. It’s like, if you don’t like Walmart’s practices, shopping at a local grocery store instead.”

Formal Complaint to Judiciary Committee Filed Against Clarence Thomas

At least some folks are beginning to get serious on Capitol Hill.  Tommie Clarence’s “Pay for Justice” scheme may well be unraveling fast…

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Democrats, demand ethics probe of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

A group of liberal Democrats, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, will formally ask theHouse Judiciary Committee today to investigate “ethical lapses” by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

At issue is Thomas’ failure to report “at least $1.6 million” in earnings by his wife Virginia for her work at the conservative Heritage Foundation between 2003 and 2007. Virginia Thomas has been one of the most vocal critics of the federal health care law. The Supreme Court will hear a case this term determining the law’s constitutionality.

The letter also asked the committee to examine “air travel and yacht stays and other gifts from wealthy supporters.”

“Reports of potential ethical lapses by Justice Thomas’s actions give rise to concerns about conflicts of interest undermining appellants’ rights of due process and also raise substantive questions about Justice Thomas’s ability to retain his seat,” said the letter, which was written by Blumenauer and will be delivered today.

“We urge that your committee hold hearings regarding the nature of these questions, their factual basis, and their potential to undermine the public’s trust in the Supreme Court,” it says.

During a news conference Wednesday, Blumenauer also said a similar letter will be sent to the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee in coming days.

“Nobody is unaccountable in our system of government and we need to take steps to make sure this is always the case,” he said. “These are fundamental questions about the administration justice and it doesn’t necessarily need to be partisan to make sure there are rules of the road for the Supreme Court.”

In January, Thomas eventually amended several years of financial disclosures he is required by law to file after media reports raised questions about the omission. Simultaneously he released letters saying his wife’s income was “inadvertently omitted due to a misunderstanding of the filing instructions.”…

Calls To Investigate Clarence Thomas Intensify

Don’t expect any Republicans to stand up for whats right on this one – but 20 Democrat Congressmen have called for an investigation into the questionable finances of Clarence Thomas, and “pay to play” justice at the Supreme Court.

The 5-4 Supreme Court - All the Justice You Can Afford

Clarence Thomas Should Be Investigated For Nondisclosure, Democratic Lawmakers Say

Democratic lawmakers on Thursday called for a federal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual financial disclosure forms.

Led by House Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), 20 House Democrats sent a letter to the Judicial Conference of the United States — the entity that frames guidelines for the administration of federal courts — requesting that the conference refer the matter of Thomas’ non-compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to the Department of Justice.

The letter outlines how, throughout his 20-year tenure on the Supreme Court, Thomas routinely checked a box titled “none” on his annual financial disclosure forms, indicating that his wife had received no income. But in reality, the letter states, she earned nearly $700,000 from the Heritage Foundation from 2003 to 2007 alone.

Slaughter called it “absurd” to suggest that Thomas may not have known how to fill out the forms.

“It is reasonable, in every sense of the word, to believe that a member of the highest court in the land should know how to properly disclose almost $700,000 worth of income,” Slaughter said in a statement. “To not be able to do so is suspicious, and according to law, requires further investigation. To accept Justice Thomas’s explanation without doing the required due diligence would be irresponsible.”

The letter also cites a June report in The New York Times indicating Thomas may have regularly benefited from the use of a private yacht and airplane owned by real estate magnate Harlan Crowe and failed to disclose the travel as a gift or travel reimbursement.

Current law requires the Judicial Conference to refer to the Attorney General any judge the conference “has reasonable cause to believe has willfully failed to file a report or has willfully falsified or willfully failed to file information required to be reported.”

Slaughter’s press statement also notes that the Heritage Foundation was a prominent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, an issue the Supreme Court is expected to rule on by next summer.

“The Attorney General would be the appropriate person to investigate the issue of non-disclosure, and that is why my colleagues and I are making this request today,” Slaughter said. “I cannot determine guilt or innocence, but I can request that the government do our due diligence in investigating a situation that strikes me, and many other members of Congress, as suspicious.”

Other members of Congress on the letter include Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), John Olver (D-Mass.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.).

Money, Honey… Indeed.

Small Business Owners Leave Republican Plantation Over Tax Cuts For the Rich

It is becoming ever more painfully obvious that the Republican Tax Giveaway to the Rich is a major element in the country’s finances being in freefall. The Chamber of Commerce has increasingly become noting but a propaganda arm of the Republican Party, much like Faux News.

Small Business Owners Demand Repeal Of Bush Tax Cuts For The Rich

Michael Teahan, like his father, mother, and uncles before him, is a small business owner. The 52-year-old has spent most of his adult life running his own businesses: a restaurant, a coffee bar and various companies involved in the espresso machine business.

“I was the only person in my family to go to college, because that’s not what we did — we all opened up businesses,” Teahan says. “For some people, that’s a big hurdle … for us, it was like having lunch.”

Teahan currently operates Espresso Resource, a company that imports espresso machine parts from Europe to sell to U.S. restaurants and coffee shops. And he’s doing very well for himself: The two-man operation clears about $1 million a year in total sales, Teahan says — enough to secure himself annual income in excess of $250,000.

That makes Teahan one of the few small business owners to actually benefit from the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the wealthy. He says the cuts save him about $12,000 a year, compared to what he paid before they were enacted. But as debates over the federal budget deficit have intensified, Teahan has found the political discussion increasingly divorced from the reality of his experience as a small business owner.

Tax cuts for the wealthy, according to Teahan, will do nothing to bolster his firm. They won’t affect his hiring decisions, they won’t encourage him to buy new equipment or help him move into a bigger warehouse. He says all of those decisions — the nuts and bolts of actually running a small company — depend on the his customers’ economic conditions, not his personal tax rate.

“What we do in business, how we spend our money, how we allocate our resources — that has very little to do with tax policy,” Teahan says. “I map my business based on my customers, and what my customers want to buy, and what they can afford to buy.” Continue reading

1 in 7 Americans Now on Food Stamps

No jobs…no food. The wealth gap moves into dangerous territory in the US.

1 in 7 Americans rely on food stamps

The use of food stamps has increased dramatically in the U.S., as the federal government ramps up basic assistance to meet the demands of an increasingly desperate population.

The number of food stamp recipients increased 16% over last year. This means that 14% of the population is now living on food stamps. That’s about 43 million people, or about one out of every seven Americans.

In some states, like Tennessee, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oregon, one in five people are receiving food stamps. Washington, D.C. leads the nation, with 21.5% of the population on food stamps.

“The high unemployment rate caused the high participation rate,” said Dottie Rosenbaum from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank.

But it’s not just the nation’s stubbornly high unemployment rate of 9.8%that’s driving the increase in food stamp use. Some states are expanding their definitions of poverty to include more people.

At the same time, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act boosted annual funding to the nationwide food stamp program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, by $10 billion.

The average recipient receives $133 in food stamps per month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That amount varies from state to state; in Hawaii the average is $216, while it’s $116 in Wisconsin.

But the Recovery Act funding increased the maximum food stamp benefit by 13.6%, which translates to about $20-24 dollars per person per month.

The U.S. government considers food stamps to be effective stimulus for the economy, because the recipients usually spend them right away.

Idaho saw the biggest increase in its food stamp program, with a spike of 39% compared to last year, followed by Nevada, at 29%, and New Jersey, at 27%.

 

 

Ben Franklin Implants – Politician Hides $79k in her Bra!

Dayam! Gotta believe $79,000 in cash, even in hundreds …

creates a bit of a bulge.

This week’s Orange Jumpsuit Award goes to Prince Georges, Maryland County Executive Jack Johnson, and his wife, Leslie. I’ll check and see if I can find a model with a little bit more “room” to hide all that cash!

Jack Johnson, Prince George’s county executive, and his wife, Leslie, arrested

Just after 10:12 a.m. Friday, Leslie Johnson frantically phoned her husband, Jack B. Johnson, the Prince George’s county executive.

Two FBI agents were at the front door of their two-story brick colonial in Mitchellville.

“Don’t answer it,” the county executive said, unaware that more agents were listening in.

Johnson ordered his wife to find and destroy a $100,000 check from a real estate developer that was hidden in a box of liquor.

“Do you want me to put it down the toilet?” Leslie Johnson asked.

“Yes, flush that,” the county executive said.

But what about the cash? she asked – $79,600.

Put it in your underwear, the county executive told his wife.

She replied, “I have it in my bra” – which is where agents discovered the money after she answered the door.

 

FBI Raids Prince George’s Government Center; Jack Johnson Arrested

Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnsonand his wife Leslie face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to a federal indictment.

Jack and Leslie Johnson face tampering with witness charges; and destruction, falsification and altering of documents charges.

In an affidavit released Friday afternoon, F.B.I. agents described how they tapped the Johnsons’ phone right before the raid was about to take place at just after 10:00 a.m.

“Tear up the check,” the document stated, referring to Jack Johnson’s demands to his wife, while federal agents were at the door of their Mitchellville, Md. home.

The check Johnson was telling his wife to tear up was a $100,000 bribe from developers, according to federal documents.

When police arrested Leslie Johnson, they found $79,600 in cash, in her underwear, according to the sworn federal affidavit.

The F.B.I. agents also claim Johnson received $5,000 on November 5th, from developers to use his influence to get them bids in projects, according to the document. The documents state Johnson received $15,000 more Friday morning in the first leg of the raid.

Federal agents confronted Johnson after a meeting they say was captured on videotape. They say he claimed the money was for a party he was throwing at the end of his term as County Executive. They let him go.

But agents say Jack Johnson almost immediately called his wife on his wiretapped cell phone and told her to tear up the check in the underwear draw in their room, federal agents said in the sworn statement. She tore up the check and flushed it.

“Do you want me to put it down the toilet?,” Leslie Johnson asked, according to the affidavit. Then agents heard the sound of a toilet flush over the wire-tap.

They each face 20 years if convicted of all charges, and three years of supervised release. They are also facing fines of, no more than, $250,000.

U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein says he expects to charge additional defendents. And FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard McFeely issued a blunt warning: If you’re involved in “pay to play, it’s far better to talk to us now than for us to come knocking at your door.”

The allegations of pay to play involving county officials and developers in Prince George’s go back years. A lawsuit by a New Carrollton developer alleges a number of county councilmembers were involved.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland confirmed Jack Johnson’s arrest earlier Friday. A 9NEWS NOW crew was at Johnson’s home when he was put in a car and driven away Friday afternoon. Neighbors at the scene said they were surprised by the arrest. A plumber outside the home told 9NEWS NOW that he was at the home to “check the plumbing and some toilets…for some evidence, I guess.”

Rep. Donna Edwards issued a statement Friday afternoon about the arrest. In the statement, she says: “The arrest of Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson is in the hands of law enforcement and the court system. I am saddened personally by these developments and look forward to a fair and just resolution. However, my primary concern remains that the needs of residents of Prince George’s County continue to be met at all levels of government.”

Johnson’s arrest follows news that the FBI is conducting multiple raids in Prince George’s County.

According to sources, the raids are taking place at the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboroand the homes of several county leaders.

Johnson has served as county executive since 2002. His wife, Leslie, was elected earlier this month to a seat on the Prince George’s County Council.

Jack – I got some bad news…and some really bad news. They got your dumb, greedy ass dead to rights. The really bad news?

You are looking at 10-20 years in an Orange jumpsuit – and so is your wife.

There is a lot more to this one – so stay tuned. And before the black conservative lot begin to jump up and down and celebrate on another black politician going down…

There is more than likely a highway on this one to Michael Steele’s back door , too.

That Award… Your “One Size Fits All”…Family Group Jumpsuit!

Family Jumpsuit Award for Jack Johnson and his Wife, Leslie

 

President Obama Gives Nobel Prize Money to Charities

Obama gives $1.4 million in Nobel Prize money to charities

Ten charities will split the $1.4 million awarded to President Obama as part of the Nobel Peace Prize, the White House announced today.

“These organizations do extraordinary work in the United States and abroad, helping students, veterans and countless others in need,” Obama said in a statement. “I’m proud to support their work.”

The charities work on such issues as housing for veterans, college assistance and economic development in Africa and Central Asia. The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund is a recipient.

Here’s the full list, as provided by the White House: Continue reading

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