Category: Spending


Law Firm At Center Of Silver Scandal Donated Huge Sums To Dems

 

 

Weitz & Luxenberg Federal Donations 2011-2012 (influenceexplorer.com)

 

” The plaintiffs law firm Weitz and Luxenberg, which employed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, is said to have provided Mr. Silver with $5.3 million in referral fees, despite his having “never performed any legal work whatsoever,” according to the prosecutors.

  If millions of cash for no work sounds like a generous arrangement, it’s not the first time the firm has shown its generosity. According to the Observer’s research, over the last two cycles, members of the law firm has given at least $600,000 to federal candidates, with over 99% of that going to Democrats. The top three recipients in 2013-2014 included Harry Reid ($44,400), Bruce Braley ($39,675) and Kay Hagan ($10,050); in 2011-2012, the top three were Barack Obama ($29,421), Heidi Heitkamp ($22,400) and Mazie Hirono ($22,400). The top ten recipients in both cycles were all Democrats.

  But even these amounts, capped by federal law, pale next to the dollars showered upon candidates for office in New York State. And although no wrongdoing has thus far been attributed to the law firm, it’s at least worth noting that two of the biggest recipients were both involved with the Moreland Commission, which was mysteriously and abruptly disbanded by the governor in March 2014 after less than a year on task of probing public corruption.”

 

New York Observer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Collect Debts, Nursing Homes Are Seizing Control Over Patients

 

 

 

” Lillian Palermo tried to prepare for the worst possibilities of aging. An insurance executive with a Ph.D. in psychology and a love of ballroom dancing, she arranged for her power of attorney and health care proxy to go to her husband, Dino, eight years her junior, if she became incapacitated. And in her 80s, she did.

  Mr. Palermo, who was the lead singer in a Midtown nightclub in the 1960s when her elegant tango first caught his eye, now regularly rolls his wife’s wheelchair to the piano at the Catholic nursing home in Manhattan where she ended up in 2010 as dementia, falls and surgical complications took their toll. He sings her favorite songs, feeds her home-cooked Italian food, and pays a private aide to be there when he cannot.

  But one day last summer, after he disputed nursing home bills that had suddenly doubled Mrs. Palermo’s copays, and complained about inexperienced employees who dropped his wife on the floor, Mr. Palermo was shocked to find a six-page legal document waiting on her bed.

  It was a guardianship petition filed by the nursing home, Mary Manning Walsh, asking the court to give a stranger full legal power over Mrs. Palermo, now 90, and complete control of her money.

  Few people are aware that a nursing home can take such a step. Guardianship cases are difficult to gain access to and poorly tracked by New York State courts; cases are often closed from public view for confidentiality. But the Palermo case is no aberration. Interviews with veterans of the system and a review of guardianship court data conducted by researchers at Hunter College at the request of The New York Times show the practice has become routine, underscoring the growing power nursing homes wield over residents and families amid changes in the financing of long-term care.

  In a random, anonymized sample of 700 guardianship cases filed in Manhattan over a decade, Hunter College researchers found more than 12 percent were brought by nursing homes. Some of these may have been prompted by family feuds, suspected embezzlement or just the absence of relatives to help secure Medicaid coverage. But lawyers and others versed in the guardianship process agree that nursing homes primarily use such petitions as a means of bill collection — a purpose never intended by the Legislature when it enacted the guardianship statute in 1993.

  At least one judge has ruled that the tactic by nursing homes is an abuse of the law, but the petitions, even if they are ultimately unsuccessful, force families into costly legal ordeals.”

     Before you commit your loved one to a nursing home/elder care facility be sure to read this entire piece from the NY Times . This is a shameful abuse of the law , no different than “civil asset forfeiture” .

Panicked Super Rich Buying Boltholes With Private Airstrips To Escape If Poor Rise Up

 

 

 

 

” Super rich hedge fund managers are buying ‘secret boltholes’ where they can hideout in the event of civil uprising against growing inequality, it has been claimed.

  Nervous financiers from across the globe have begun purchasing landing strips, homes and land in areas such as New Zealand so they can flee should people rise up.

  With growing inequality and riots such as those in London in 2011 and in Ferguson and other parts of the USA last year, many financial leaders fear they could become targets for public fury.

  Robert Johnson, president of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, told people at the World Economic Forum in Davos that many hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes.

  He said: “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.” “

 

 

   We would guess that the likelihood of the “poor” rising up is less a motivation for the rich man’s prepping than is the possibility of the entire economic “house of cards” collapsing .

 

The Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Box Office: ‘American Sniper’ Quickly Becoming No. 1 War Film Of All Time

 

 

 

” American Sniper has set its sights on another record: Within a matter of days, it will overtakeSteven Spielberg’s WWII classic Saving Private Ryan to become the top-grossing war-themed film of all time in North America, not accounting for inflation.

  Clint Eastwood’s history-making movie jumped the $200 million mark on Sunday, putting it ahead of Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor, another WWII title, which topped out at $198.5 million domestically in 2001. American Sniper is distinct from those two film in being set during a modern-day conflict.

  Saving Private Ryan, released in 1998, earned $216.7 million domestically. Taking inflation into account, that would equal roughly $312 million in today’s terms. But a record is a record, and the history-making Sniper will cross $216 million sometime this week for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow.

  Films addressing recent conflicts have had a decidedly mixed track record, but American Sniper is benefiting from a massive turnout in America’s heartland, as well as from its six Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actor for Bradley Cooper’s performance as the late Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who fought in the second Iraq war.

  In celebrating Sniper’s $200 million milestone, Warners domestic distribution chief Dan Fellmansaid that Eastwood “created a gripping drama with a rare insight into the toll of war that has resonated with audiences in almost every demographic.” “

 

Thanks to The Hollywood Reporter 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Much Is Your State Paying For A Gallon Of Gas? This Cool Map Will Show You

 

Debt.com Gas Prices Over Time

 

 

 

” What is the average price of gas in your state? Researchers at Debt.com have put together a map to show you.

  Debt.com’s interactive map allows users to see their state’s average gas price-simply by hovering their cursor over the state. Clicking a state will show you its average price for the last 10 years:

  While the national average for a gallon of gas is about $2.18, some states fare better or worse than others.

  For example, drivers in Hawaii “consistently pay the most for gas.” They are currently paying an average of $3.31.

  In addition to Hawaii, drivers in Alaska, California and the New England region pay among the highest average gas prices in the nation.”

 

More at The Daily Signal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,700 Private Jets Descend On Davos For World Economic Forum

 

 

 

 

” Billionaires, world leaders and pop stars are clogging up the skies with their private jets as they descend on the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to liaise over issues such as terrorism, the central banks and growing economic inequality.

  Over the course of this week, approximately 1,700 private jets are expected to fly into the region, resulting airport traffic increasing by 10% which means that landing spots are in short supply.

  The Swiss Armed Forces have even opened up one of their military air bases for the first time to try and accommodate the increase in traffic. For private jet companies like PrivateFly, Netkets and VistaJet, this is by far their busiest time of year. “

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside The Best Vintage Car Discovery Ever

 

 

 

 

 

 

” $20 million worth of exquisite luxury cars were lost in a French barn for decades. We just found them.

  Like most people, car enthusiasts dream about treasure and usually, automotive treasure is found in a barn: an enthusiast’s collection of exotics abandoned in a dusty structure, left to the sparrows.”

 

 

 

 

 

” The Baillon Collection, coming up for auction on February 6th, is just that—a forgotten hoard of gorgeous European cars left for decades under open-sided sheds in southern France. Their owner, shipping magnate Roger Baillon, fell on hard economic times in the 1970s and was never able to build the automotive museum he had worked towards. Instead, his cars became a ghostly testament to the power of neglect. “

 

See the whole story with many more photos at Maxim.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of More Than 3,000 U.S. Counties, Just 65 Have Recovered From Recession, NACo Says

 

 

NACo 4 indicators

 

 

” Seven years after the recession began, only one in 50 U.S. counties has fully bounced back, according to a study the National Association of Counties released Monday.

  The 2014 County Economic Tracker shows that 65 of the nation’s 3,069 counties have met or surpassed prerecession levels in four measured categories: jobs, unemployment rate, economic output and home prices.

  Those places range from Anderson County, S.C., to McKenzie County, N.D., to Kodiak Island, Alaska.

  National employment surpassed 2007 levels during 2014 and the U.S. gross domestic product had fully recovered from the recession by 2011. But the national unemployment rate was 5.6% in December compared with 5% when the recession began seven years earlier. And housing values in much of the country have yet to fully return.

  The recovered counties are largely located in energy-rich areas and have small populations. Of the 65 recovered counties, 24 are in Texas and 16 are in North Dakota. The others are generally in the middle of the country, including nine in Minnesota and eight in Kansas.

  None of the recovered counties has more than 500,000 residents.”

 

     This article , more than any other demonstrates that the nearly $3 Trillion in government stimulus spending was nothing more than wasteful cronyism handed out to favored unions , interest groups and corporations . Little or none trickled down to benefit the taxpayers actually footing the bill .

Wall Street Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

States With The Most People On Food Stamps

 

 

 

 

 

” With grocery bills priced as high as $1,300 per month as of late, some American workers simply cannot afford all of their groceries on top of everything else they already have to buy. This is why the government offers food stamps.

  The USDA Food and Nutrition Service reports that as of September 2014, there were around 46.5 million individual food stamp recipients (22.7 million households) receiving an average benefit of $123.74 each (around $257 per household).

  To be eligible, a household has to earn a gross income amount that’s less than 130% of the poverty level, or a net income amount (gross income minus deductions) that’s less than 100% of the poverty level for their family size.

  This means, a single person can be eligible for food stamps if his or her gross monthly income is under $1,265 ($15,180 per year), and a family of four can be eligible if they gross less than $2,584 per month ($31,008 per year). The applicant also can’t be a wealthy person who simply doesn’t have a steady income source. So, if the applicant has thousands of dollars sitting in the bank, for instance, they won’t apply as cash assets are considered as well.”

 

 

And the “winner” is … our nation’s capital …

 

 

” 1. District of Columbia

• Number of food stamp recipients: 144,768

• Percentage of the state’s population on food stamps: 21.97%

• Total cost of just these benefits alone (That is, how much do just the money on those EBT cards cost the state?): Around $18 million

• Estimated cost of benefits alone per capita in this state: $27.19 per person “

 

 

   Our nation’s capital is a true study in contrasts , the highest percentage of food stamp recipients along with the richest suburbs in the nation .

 

 

 

 

For those unfamiliar with the surrounding counties of DC , here is a map …

 

 

 

 

 

Read more at USA Today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite Decline In CPI, Food Index Increases In December

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Despite a decline in the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) in December, the food index increased and the price index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs hit a record high, according to data released today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

  According to the BLS, “The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined 0.4 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 0.8 percent before seasonal adjustment.”

“ The gasoline index continued to fall sharply, declining 9.4 percent and leading to the decrease in the seasonally adjusted all items index,” said the BLS.

“ The fuel oil index also fell sharply, and the energy index posted its largest one-month decline since December 2008, although the indexes for natural gas and for electricity both increased,” said the BLS.

“ The food index, in contrast, rose 0.3 percent, its largest increase since September.” “

 

 

    Perhaps this has something to do with the record high food prices , after all Obama did promise that “electric prices would necessarily skyrocket” …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is one promise candidate Obama has kept: Price of Electricity Hit Record High in U.S. in 2014

 

 

Electricity Price Index Hit All-Time High in 2014

 

 

 

 

CNS News has the details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firearms Sellers Say They’re Being Choked Off From Payment Processors

 

 

TransNational Bank

 

 

” Go to a gun show, and you won’t find many merchants using PayPal.

  You’ll also find few vendors using popular payment processors such as Square, Stripe and Spark Pay.

  That’s because some payment processors explicitly prohibit the use of their systems for online — and some in-store — sales of firearms, ammunition and certain accessories.

  Retailers in the gun industry say they’re being discriminated against.

“ Being shut out from mainstream payment processors makes us feel like we are part of some type of shady business when, in fact, there is more regulation and documentation required for federally licensed firearms dealers than most businesses,” said Trevor Blandford of Terminal Performance Associates in Caroline, Va.

  Blandford, 21, has been working gun shows for his family’s business since he was 14 years old. Recently, his parents named him general manager of Terminal Performance, which is known for its custom-built pistols and rifles and originally finished wraps. He and his family sell their merchandise online and at local trade shows.”

 

     As the State continues to pursue it’s gun control agenda in the most deceitful and underhanded ways , it is refreshing to know that at least one financial institution is not allowing this blatantly unconstitutional move by our “employees” in the Federal government to shut down legal businesses …

 

” With few options, Terminal Performance then turned to Transnational, a payment processor located in Rosemont, Ill., that is not shy in boasting its support for the Second Amendment.

  Although it processes payments for a range of industries, Transnational has capitalized on the trend of payment processors choking firearms merchants from their customer lists.

“ Our decision to provide services within the firearms industry mostly is predicated by the fact that we believe through the obtaining of an [federal firearms license] it’s one of the more heavily regulated processes that has good governance and good oversight,” Jae Haas, President of Transnational told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

  Having been in the payment processing business for 16 years, Haas said he’s observed a growing trend of banks and payment processors adding firearms dealers to their “prohibited” or “high-risk” lists.”

 

 

Lovers of liberty would do well to try and give Transnational as much of their business as possible .

 

 

Read more at The Daily Signal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Charlie Hebdo’ Post-Attack Issue Sells Out, eBay Bids Top $1,100

 

 

 

 

 

” What is being billed as “the survivors’ issue” of Charlie Hebdo will increase its record print run from 3 million to 5 million, distributor MLP said on Wednesday. Amid huge demand, copies of the issue also appeared on eBay in markets outside of France, with one auction on the U.K. version of the site reaching a price of more than $1,100.

  Across France there were lines as newsstands opened at 6 a.m. to get one of the historic issues, which depicts the Prophet Muhammad in cartoon form against a green background under the words “All Is Forgiven” and holding one of the now-ubiquitous “Je Suis Charlie” (“I Am Charlie”) signs on its cover.

  It had previously announced a 3 million print run.

  By 10 a.m., the issue was sold out across France, and the paper announced that an additional 2 million copies would be printed and delivered throughout the week, with an additional 1 million to be delivered to newsstands later in the day on Wednesday and an additional 500,000 each Thursday and Friday.

  The issue was designed to be on sale for eight weeks — though it’s expected not to last that long. The historic demand for the tiny satirical weekly follows the terrorist attack on its offices that killed 10 staff members and two police officers one week ago. The record 5 million print run is a huge jump from its typical weekly circulation of 60,000.”

 

The Hollywood Reporter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Reasons The Math On Obama’s College Plan Doesn’t Add Up

 

Obama Community College

 

” There are at least six reasons that community college won’t be free anytime soon, no matter what President Barack Obama says.

  Obama, who traveled Friday to Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn., to tout the America’s College Promise plan, said he wanted to make higher education as accessible as a high school diploma for all Americans.

  But the plan has flaws that all but ensure it won’t be implemented and will serve only as a political proposal to make supporters happy.”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Streaming Devices Poised To Dominate Viewing Preferences As Seven In 10 TV Viewers Stream Programming

 

 

 

 

 

” While the television continues to provide the best quality picture and viewing experience, the way content is being discovered and consumed is changing dramatically, especially for millennials. According to the preliminary results of the second NATPE||Content First and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® joint research study on consumers’ attitudes toward television viewing, just 55 percent of millennials use TVs as their primary viewing platform, while streaming devices – laptops, tablets, and smartphones – are poised to dominate their viewing preferences.

  CEA and NATPE commissioned the study, conducted by E-Poll Market Research, to evaluate the TV content distribution landscape, explore the dynamics at play against the background of exploding consumer choices and determine how consumers find TV content and view it across different platforms. The initial findings were released today during a panel session held at the 2015 International CES®. Owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the 2015 CES, the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, runs January 6-9, in Las Vegas, Nevada.”

 

 

Read more here and below:

 

 

 

” Among the study’s findings:

  • Millennials flock to streaming. The millennial demographic group – age 13 to 34 – is comfortable using many different sources of TV program content and consequently are significantly more likely to consume full-length TV programs from a streaming source (84 percent streamed in the past six months) than live TV programming at its original air time (54 percent), or recorded content from a DVR (33 percent).
  • Millennials value their Netflix subscriptions more than broadcast or cable. Millennials value their ability to stream content above cable or broadcast channels. The ability to choose what they want to watch when they want to watch it is of high value to all three generational groupings, but particularly among millennials. In the study, 51 percent consider subscription to Netflix “very valuable,” compared to 42 percent for broadcast channels, and 36 percent for cable subscriptions.
  • Gen Xers love video on demand and DVRs. Gen Xers tend to be the heaviest users of their cable/satellite/telco time shifting offerings including video on demand (VOD) and DVR. Among those in this age group who have access to VOD, 76 percent use their VOD service once a week or more often, similar to SVOD usage. The study found DVRs are primarily used to avoid commercials, while VOD is for convenience.”

 

    Given the average customer satisfaction rating of the cable networks , the growing popularity of streaming video is hardly a surprise .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Obama To Propose Two Free Years Of Community College For Students 

 

 

 

 

 

” President Barack Obama will need the approval of Congress to realize his proposal for making two years of community college free for students.

   So far, that plan doesn’t have an official price tag — other than “significant,” according to White House officials. If all 50 states participate, the proposal could benefit 9 million students each year and save students an average of $3,800 in tuition, the White House said.

  But administration officials insisted on a call with reporters Thursday evening that “this is a proposal with bipartisan appeal.”

  Case in point: Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, whose brainchild Tennessee Promise program strongly influenced Obama’s proposal. Beginning this year, any high school graduate in that state is eligible for two years of free community college tuition under the Tennessee Promise.”

 

 

    Regardless of the “bipartisan appeal” how the f**k is a government that is 18 trillion dollars in the hole supposed to pay for yet another feel-good , vote buying entitlement ? Simple mathematics puts a real figure ($34.2 Billion annually) to the White House’s estimate of a “significant” cost and as always with State spending we can be sure the estimate is a very lowball one . WTF ?

    And putting aside the cost , where in the Constitution is the “right” to a free education ?

   With that in mind , let us not forget what the Obama administration has already “accomplished” in the field of education:

 

 

Student Loan Debt

 

What could possibly go wrong ?

 

 

Read on at Politico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day Without A National Debt

 

 

 

 

 

” On this day in economic and financial history…

  A nation without a debt seems inconceivable today. The United States currently has more than $16 trillion in public debt, and no sensible proposals exist to bring this massive sum down to a more reasonable level. But there was a day when the U.S. proclaimed itself a debt-free nation: Jan. 8, 1835.

  The brand-new United States emerged from the Revolution with some $75 million in war debts, and this sum grew to $127 million after the War of 1812. After these wars, the young nation embarked on a 20-year period of positive cash flow and debt reduction, which picked up steam after the election of President Andrew Jackson in 1828.”

 

Read more about this historic day …

 

 

Further reading:

 

History Of Debt In The United States – Debt.org

178 Years Ago Today We Had A National Debt Of $0

Andrew Jackson – Wikipedia

Bureau Of The Public Debt: Our History

 

 

    Since that historic day in 1835 , the US government has spent an average of $100 million that it did not have , each and every year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behold, The World’s First Automatic Supercar

 

 

 

 

 

 

” It’s heresy, I tell you, absolute heresy. As if it’s not enough that a lowly Chevrolet must now be considered a supercar — no “almost” dismissive needed or deserved, thank you very much — even more blasphemous is that said Chevy is at its most “super” when hooked up to an automatic transmission.

  The car, not surprisingly, is the latest rendition of Corvette’s topflight Z06. That’s hardly a revelation; if any Chevrolet were to be deemed super, it would have to be the iconic Corvette. But, it is a little more shocking that the transmission in question is not one of those new fangled PDK’ed thing-a-ma-bobs with their fancy dual clutches and pre-selected gear changing mechanisms, but rather a plain, old torque-converted, could-be-in-a-Cadillac slushbox.”

 

 

 

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

 

 

 

 

” Nor is it just in a straight line that GM’s new eight-speed 8L90 autobox is superior to the also available seven-speed manual. Zooming around Spring Mountain Motor Resort’s 2.4-kilometre racetrack, the combination of precise gear selection algorithms and bullet-quick shifting (Jeff Polidan, Chevy’s design systems engineer for the new eight-speed transmission, claims that, at 0.45 seconds, his automatic shifts faster than Porsche’s supposedly-higher-tech PDK) have the autobox shifting gears perfectly. Indeed, so adroit does the 8L90’s computer match gears and revs that the Z06 is quicker, more manageable and indeed more fun left in its fully automatic mode. Use the paddle shifters if you must, but you’ll be slower for it. The 2015 Z06 truly is, in every sense of the word, the first automatic transmission supercar.”

” There’s no doubt the Z06 must finally be deemed a true supercar. The 6.2-litre supercharged V8 boasts 650 horsepower (smack dab between Lamborghini’s Huracan and Aventador), 650 pound-feet of torque (more than either) and, when hooked up to the aforementioned eight-speed autobox, can accelerate to 100 kilometres an hour in just 3.1 seconds (just barely behind the aforementioned Aventador and 0.3 seconds quicker than the manual). The quarter mile arrives in a truly startling 10.95 seconds as long as you’re you’re letting the eight-speed autobox shift itself; a slightly longer 11.2 seconds if you insist on shifting the seven-speed manual yourself.”

 

Review continues here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Federal Student Loan Debt Tops $800 Billion

 

 

Student Loan Debt

 

 

 

” From November 2013 through November 2014, the aggregate balance in the federal direct student loan program–as reported by the Monthly Treasury Statement–rose from $687,149,000,000 to $806,561,000,000, a one-year jump of $119,412,000,000.

  The balance on all student loans, including those from private sources, exceeded a trillion dollars as of the end of the third quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

” Outstanding student loan balances reported on credit reports increased to $1.13 trillion (an increase of $8 billion) as of September 30, 2014, representing about $100 billion increase from one year ago,” the bank said in its latest report on household debt and credit. “

 

 

   The article goes on to explain just how this scheme is rigged to benefit the universities and not the students . Just another example of cronyism at the highest levels …

 

 

” By doling out a net average of about $100 billion per year in student loans, the federal government allows even the nation’s wealthiest universities to charge students more than they and their families can pay without going into debt.

  That makes colleges richer and students poorer.

  The federal government already has programs in place to forgive or payoff the student loans of Americans who engage in government-approved activities, or who do not do well enough financially in their after-college years to pay off their own loans.”

 

CNS News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Warning Signs Of A Market Crash In 2015

 

 

 

 

 

” The FTSE 100 slid on the first day of trading in 2015. Here are 10 warning signs that the markets may drop further.

Vix fear gauge

  For five years, investor fear of risk has been drugged into somnolence by repeated injections of quantitative easing. The lack of fear has led to a world where price and risk have become estranged. As credit conditions are tightened in the US and China, the law of unintended consequences will hold sway in 2015 as investors wake up. The Vix, the so-called “fear index” that measures volatility, spiked to 18.4 on Friday, above the average of 14.5 recorded last year.

Rising US Treasury yields

  With the Federal Reserve poised to raise interest rates for the first time in almost a decade, and the latest QE3 bond-buying programme ending in October last year, credit markets are expecting a poor year for US Treasuries. The yield on two-year US Treasuries has more than doubled from 0.31pc to 0.74pc since October.”

 

Read the rest at The Telegraph , if you dare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US Debt Soars By $100 Billion On Last Day Of 2014, Hits Record $18.14 Trillion

 

 

 

 

 

” It seems like it was only yesterday when we reported that, in yet another sleight of hand for the US Treasury and Social Security Administration, US debt rose by $32 billion on the last day of November sending total US debt above $18 trillion for the first time ever.  As we further noted, it also meant “that total US debt has increased by 70% under Obama, from $10.625 trillion on January 21, 2009 to $18.005 trillion most recently.”

  Fast forward to today when we are happy to report that according to the US Treasury, America’s debt-funded spending spree, while supposedly slowing down if looking at the declining monthly budget deficit report, never actually has.”

 

Thanks to Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge

 

Interested viewers can keep track of the burgeoning national debt at our post of the real time National Debt Clock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generating New Revenue Streams

 

 

 

” The common reaction to a budget crisis is reducing personnel and cutting services. The focus of this article is to provide police agencies with an alternative to personnel and service reductions. This alternative could help the survival of a city and maintain or expand police service through generating new revenue streams as a proactive approach to meet the fiscal crisis of today and the uncertain future of tomorrow.

  While generating revenue streams is not new to most agencies, the focus and resources necessary to meet current and emerging public safety needs are unprecedented in law enforcement’s history. Law enforcement executives are accustomed to the ebb and flow of fiscal budgets. The current trend, however, is much more far reaching and will impact almost all cities in California and most likely all communities in the United States.

  Five years ago, the current state of the economy facing cities and counties was not even a concern. Now, however, many law enforcement agencies are facing the reality of severe budget cuts, reduced workforce, and the elimination or reduction of many law enforcement programs. Today, police chiefs are being asked to look for ways of economizing, increasing efficiency, eliminating redundancies, and finding revenue sources.

  This trend will be prompted in two possible ways. First, increasing financial pressure will require more severe budget cuts to the point that many agencies will be able to provide only basic services. Second, cities will begin to see successes at nearby agencies and look to new revenue streams as a panacea to forestall reduced services or even bankruptcy. Based on the research for this article, there is a clear presumption of need for law enforcement to generate new income streams. A first necessary step in that process is to examine possible revenue-generating ideas.
Possible New Revenue Streams

  A group of experts in the fields of city government, business, real estate, and entrepreneurship assembled in April 2008 to identify possible new income streams that could be initiated by law enforcement.2 Their suggested new revenue streams serve as an example of ideas that can be generated in a short period of time. Each idea must be weighed against the feasibility of implementation, profit potential, and appropriateness for law enforcement involvement. Their most prominent recommendations were

    • fees for sex offenders registering in a given jurisdiction,
    • city tow companies,
    • fine increases by 50 percent,
    • pay-per-call policing,
    • vacation house check fees,
    • public hours at police firing range for a fee,
    • police department-run online traffic school for minor traffic infractions,
    • department-based security service including home checks and monitoring of security cameras by police department,
    • a designated business to clean biological crime scenes,
    • state and court fees for all convicted felons returning to the community,
    • allowing agency name to be used for advertisement and branding,
    • triple driving-under-the-influence fines by the court,
    • resident fee similar to a utility tax,
    • tax or fee on all alcohol sold in the city,
    • tax or fee on all ammunition sold in, the city,
    • public safety fees on all new development in the city,
    • 9-1-1 fee per use,
    • police department website with business advertisement for support,
    • selling ride-a-longs to the public, and
  • police department–run firearm safety classes.

  In addition to concepts that may lie ahead, there are also many examples of revenue-generating ideas that have been tried and proven in actual use. “

 

 

    Yes , as this police chief acknowledges however inadvertently , it’s all about the revenue generation and less about public safety …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olivia Dorey Wants You To Know How The Government Spends Your Money

 

 

 

” Former House of Commons page Olivia Dorey was once one of the people hand-delivering the federal budget to MPs when the finance minister rose to deliver his speech.

  That task inspired her to try to read through a budget so she knew better what it contained.

” And I couldn’t. I couldn’t find the numbers, I couldn’t make sense of what they were trying to explain … I’m used to doing my own personal budgets, and this book, this book was nothing like a budget to me,” she said in an interview in Ottawa.

  Dorey studies public administration at the University of Ottawa, and is interested in politics. But she still couldn’t figure out the budget. That experience jarred her to begin a personal mission to build a website where people could key in some basic demographic information and find out how the federal budget affected them. 

  Some of that information is available — specific funding for a hospital or transit, for example, or qualifications for Old Age Security — but much of it is simply not publicly accessible, or hard to follow after an initial announcement.

  That’s led Dorey to start lobbying MPs to build budgets differently.

” If I can’t understand public finance and find the information I need, what hope do other Canadians have understanding it?” Dorey said.

  She believes federal, provincial and municipal budgets should be clear enough that people like her grandparents in Bridgewater, N.S., who don’t have university educations, can understand them. Her campaign led her to a strong ally: former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page.

  Right now, there are several documents you have to read if you want to track a funding promise, including:

  • The budget, the annual planning document for government spending.
  • The estimates, which contain much more detailed information about spending.
  • The supplementary estimates, the update to the estimates.
  • The departmental performance reports, which recap how much was spent out of the amount budgeted, and staffing levels. “

 

Story continues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir James Dyson Now Owns More Land In England Than The Queen

 

Dodington Park James Dyson's home

 

 

” Sir James Dyson, the billionaire who made his fortune through the bagless vacuum cleaner, now owns more land in England than the Queen, after buying a 3,000 acre estate in Lincolnshire.

  The inventor now has one of the largest private landholdings in the country since he purchased the Cranwell and Roxholme estate from the Crown Estate.

  Dyson’s land 25,000 acre land portfolio now also exceeds the Queen’s 20,000 acre Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, as well as the Duke of Bedford’s 13,000 acres in Bedfordshire.

  The Duke of Marlborough’s Oxfordshire estate, based at Blenheim, is estimated at 11,000 acres, while the Duke of Wellington’s Hampshire estate is only 7,000 acres.”

 

The Telegraph has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hackers Released An Enormous Cache Of 13,000 Passwords And Credit Cards

 

 

 

 

 

” On Friday, a group claiming affiliation with the loose hacker collective Anonymous released a document containing approximately 13,000 username-and-password combinations along with credit card numbers and expiration dates.

  The stolen personal information was released in a massive text file posted the document sharing site Ghostbin. The compromised sites run the gamut from pornography to gaming to online shopping. 

  Some of the most significant leaks came from online video gaming networks like Xbox Live, the Sony PlayStation Network, and Twitch.tv. There was information from accounts at Walmart, Amazon, and Hulu Plus, as well as keys to computer games like The Sims 3 and Dragon Age: Origins, and a whole lot of porn sites.

  Some Anonymous members have pushed back on the assertion that this leak had anything to do with the hacktivist group. Anonymous has no official leadership or centralized organizational structure; instead, it functions as a loose affiliation of computer hackers that join together in support of various causes, ranging from battles with the Church of Scientology to doxing members of the KKK. If hackers branding themselves as Anonymous carry out a particular action, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any of the same people who have carried out any other Anonymous-branded action.

  Judging from the document, the following sites were compromised or, at the very least, had some of their user data stolen—possibly through malware installed onto users’ personal devices or other nefarious methods.

 

  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • PlayStation Network
  • Xbox Live
  • Twitch.tv
  • Origin.com
  • Hulu Plus
  • Dell
  • Brazzers
  • lKnowThatGirl
  • Mofos
  • DigitalPlayground
  • Wicked
  • Twistys
  • Fantyasyhd
  • Puremature
  • Tiny4k
  • MotherFuckerXxx
  • Playboy
  • CastingCouchX
  • BangBros
  • POVD
  • BabesNetwork
  • ArtisticAddiction
  • X-art
  • Shutterstock
  • Platinumclub.com
  • AprilJordan.com
  • DareDorm
  • PrettyPetites
  • NaughtyAmerica
  • PornAccess
  • RookieBabe
  • GFMembersPass
  • HungarianHoneys
  • PleaseBangMyWife “

 

Daily Dot has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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