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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 72,731

Journal Archives

Florida Man Knocks Self Out Head-Butting Bus

A man knocked himself out head-butting the side of a public bus in Winter Haven after becoming angry over the cost of a fare on Saturday, police said.

Video from the bus terminal shows the man running head-first into the door of the bus, shattering the glass. The man falls backwards and then stagers forward before falling flat on his face. He stays down for a few seconds before jumping to his feet and running from the scene.

The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. at the Winter Haven Area Transit bus terminal, 555 Ave. E. NW.

The man was riding on the bus when it stopped at the terminal, police said. The man wanted to travel to another destination and when the driver told him the trip would cost another $2 the man got mad, police said. .................(more)


This Measure of Copper Is Another Bad Omen for the Commodities Meltdown

(Bloomberg) The number of requests to withdraw copper from London Metal Exchange warehouses relative to the level of global inventories tracked by the bourse dropped this week to the lowest since March 2013. That shows consumption has almost dried up for the stockpiles that have doubled over the past year.

Slower economic growth in China, the world’s biggest metals user, helps to explain the drop in demand. For commodity investors, it’s a bad omen because copper has historically been used as an indicator for what’s to come in raw materials and as a gauge of global expansion.

“Copper is ubiquitous in its uses across industry,” Nic Brown, the head of commodity research at Natixis SA in London, said in a telephone interview. “Concerns about copper prices and Chinese demand for copper, that’s a good reason to be worried more generally about demand for industrial metals and a wide variety of other commodities as well.”

Copper futures for August delivery declined 1.7 percent to $2.433 a pound at 11 a.m. on the Comex in New York, heading for the biggest loss in two weeks. .................(more)


How San Diego Is a Petri Dish for the ALEC Agenda

How San Diego Is a Petri Dish for the ALEC Agenda

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 00:00
By Brendan Fischer, PR Watch | News Analysis

This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) descends on San Diego, California for its annual meeting of lobbyists and legislators.

In many ways, San Diego is an appropriate setting for ALEC's conference. Beyond the walls of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, where ALEC members convene under heavy security and behind closed doors, the city known as "America's Finest" has been a major battleground in the corporate-backed resistance to local control over paid sick days and the minimum wage.

It was at ACCE's last meeting, held in Washington D.C. in December, where an ALEC task force director claimed that "the biggest threat comes from the local level" when it comes to grassroots efforts to raise the wage and enact paid sick days, and warned that "we are seeing a number of localities that have increased their minimum wage."

San Diego is one of them. One year ago, the San Diego City Council voted 6-3 to raise the minimum wage for 172,000 workers to $11.50 by 2017, and to allow at least 279,000 workers to earn paid sick days.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer opposed the measure, but it passed the city council after hundreds of people packed hearings in support. Former basketball star Bill Walton testified in favor of the bill and urged the council to adopt the proposal, which he called "good economics and good public policy." .................(more)


BDS Opponents Launch "Campus Maccabees" to Fight Student Divestment Efforts

BDS Opponents Launch "Campus Maccabees" to Fight Student Divestment Efforts

Wednesday, 22 July 2015 00:00
By Bill Berkowitz, Truthout | Report

David Brog, the executive director of Pastor John Hagee's Christians United for Israel (CUFI), was recently named to head Campus Maccabees, an organization aiming to take on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement on campuses around the United States. The newly launched entity, funded by two billionaires - gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, and Haim Saban, an Israeli and American entertainment mogul - intends to blunt BDS gains. In all likelihood, the Brog-led group will try to use a highly divisive "for us or against us" approach and try to create a narrative that conflates any opposition to Israeli government policies with anti-Semitism.

It will be interesting to see if Brog, who has spent the past decade courting Christian support for Israel, actively encourages Christian students to participate in Campus Maccabees activities. Another of Brog's tasks might be to keep the controversial and incendiary Pastor John Hagee as far away from Campus Maccabees as possible.

Earlier this July, the BDS movement marked its 10th anniversary. Critics tend to dismiss the movement and minimize its successes. BDS supporters see it as a nonviolent movement that has engaged activists from around the world.

Nevertheless, however one views BDS, it has obviously been successful enough to grab the attention of Adelson and Saban who, in Las Vegas in June, launched Campus Maccabees. The organization is "expected to be the best funded pro-Israel organization on campus, with initial funding reaching $50 million," the Forward's Nathan Guttman recently reported. ................(more)


Subprime education? ..... The student loan revolt

(Bloomberg) Cody Roderiques, a college senior, owes the federal government more than $100,000 for his student loans. He may not have to pay taxpayers back.

That’s because the New England Institute of Art is vanishing around him. On the campus of the for-profit college near Boston, studios were shuttered, teachers lost their jobs and the school announced in May it was closing for good. Under U.S. law, the institution’s death might excuse Roderiques, who will graduate in December, from his loan debt.

As education companies shrink amid government allegations that they misled students about the value of their degrees, tens of thousands of students may be able to walk away from their obligations, a scale of college-loan forgiveness unprecedented in U.S. history. The unwinding may cost taxpayers billions, touching off debate in Washington about fairness and personal responsibility.

“I’m paying back a school that doesn’t exist and that I don’t get any benefit from,” said Roderiques, 22, who is organizing students to ask the federal government for loan forgiveness. If he succeeds, other borrowers “will be right behind me.”

The push for loan cancellations intensified with the May bankruptcy of Corinthian Colleges Inc. and is spreading to other large for-profit colleges, such as Education Management Corp., which owns the chain of Art Institutes that Roderiques attends and whose stock doesn’t trade anymore after losing nearly all its value. ..................(more)


Apple Plunge Erases $38 Billion as Product Concern Resurfaces

(Bloomberg) Apple Inc. shares tumbled, wiping out $38 billion in market value, after disappointing iPhone sales rekindled concerns over whether the company can keep making must-have products.

Even though iPhone sales climbed 35 percent to 47.5 million units in the fiscal third quarter, the result fell short of the 48.8 million shipments projected by analysts. That, plus a revenue forecast for the current period that missed estimates, triggered the steepest post-earnings share decline in extended trading Tuesday since January 2013, when Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook was under scrutiny over his ability to keep up Apple’s pace of innovation and sales growth.

Apple’s shares fell 5.1 percent to $124.05 at 9:47 a.m. Wednesday in New York.

While Cook has succeeded in introducing an entirely new category with the Apple Watch, sales remain modest, indicating that Apple will have to keep relying on the iPhone to fuel growth. The company probably shipped at least 1.9 million smartwatches since it debuted in April, short of the 3 million to 5 million projected by analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. ..........(more)


Walker’s Total Destruction in Wisconsin

(The Progressive) It was a banner week for the billionaires who have invested in Governor Scott Walker, the Wisconsin state legislature and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

On Sunday, July 12, Walker signed the financially austere, socially vindictive 2015-2017 budget that shifts hundreds of millions of dollars out of public schools into private, unaccountable charter and voucher schemes, deepens the consolidation of power in the Department of Administration, and keeps the tax credits and forgivable loans flowing to campaign donors and others through the ineffective Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The following day, Walker formally announced his candidacy for U.S. President, vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, approve the Keystone XL pipeline, and restore economic sanctions on Iran. Speaking to a frenzied crowd chanting, “USA! USA!” Walker touted his record as governor, tailoring the core of his message to potential donors: Tax cuts, deregulation, union busting.

On Wednesday, the Wisconsin state Senate passed a bill that puts taxpayers on the hook for financing half of the $500 million, tax-exempt arena for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. The co-chair of Walker’s campaign finance team, real estate mogul Jon Hammes, owns an undisclosed percentage of the team, as well as multiple plots of land in and around the new “sports and entertainment district.” ..................(more)

- See more at: http://progressive.org/news/2015/07/188229/walker%E2%80%99s-total-destruction-wisconsin#sthash.C3ufi40E.dpuf

Julian Assange: Wikileaks is 'Drowning in Material'

from Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Assange, WikiLeaks is back -- releasing documents proving United States surveillance of the French government, publishing Saudi diplomatic cables and posting evidence of the massive surveillance of the German government by US secret services. What are the reasons for this comeback?

Assange: Yes, WikiLeaks has been publishing a lot of material in the last few months. We have been publishing right through, but sometimes it has been material which does not concern the West and the Western media -- documents about Syria, for example. But you have to consider that there was, and still is, a conflict with the United States government which started in earnest in 2010 after we began publishing a variety of classified US documents.

SPIEGEL: What did this mean for you and for WikiLeaks?

Assange: The result was a series of legal cases, blockades, PR attacks and so on. With a banking blockade, WikiLeaks had been cut off from more than 90 percent of its finances. The blockade happened in a completely extrajudicial manner. We took legal measures against the blockade and we have been victorious in the courts, so people can send us donations again.

SPIEGEL: What difficulties did you have to overcome?

Assange: There had been attacks on our technical infrastructure. And our staff had to take a 40 percent pay cut, but we have been able to keep things together without having to fire anybody, which I am quite proud of. We became a bit like Cuba, working out ways around this blockade. Various groups like Germany's Wau Holland Foundation collected donations for us during the blockade. .................(more)


Chocoholics International

French women might not get fat, but it isn’t because they don’t eat chocolate.

Per person, the French eat just about as much as chocolate as Americans do, according to data from Euromonitor.

The global chocolate-eating champs are the Swiss, who ate 9 kilos per capita last year, more than twice as much as Americans with their 4.3 kilos, according to Euromonitor. The world’s other big chocoholics are the Germans (7.9 kilos), Austrians (7.8 kilos) and the Irish and British (each at 7.5 kilos).

While Western Europeans on average eat about two-thirds of a pound more chocolate per year than Americans do, Americans are the hands-down champs in the consumption of salty snacks, from potato chips and tortilla chips to nuts and other “savory” snacks, said Jared Koerten, senior food analyst at Euromonitor.

Americans on average eat nearly 11 kilos of those per person a year, or 24 ¼ pounds, compared with the Western European average of 4 kilos, he said. Moreover, the U.S. market for salty snacks, both in overall sales and per-capita consumption, is growing faster than that for sweet snacks. ......................(more)


"What happens when a dying consumer economy has...borrowed all the debt it's capable of absorbing?"

U.S. Retail Sales Fall, Again - The Next Crash Is Near
Submitted by Sprott Money on 07/21/2015 05:57 -0400

Retail sales have fallen yet again in the mighty U.S. economy, home of the Never-Ending Recovery . Once again, this number has fallen even before we adjust it for inflation, in order to make the statistic meaningful. A retail sales number which is not adjusted for inflation (by subtracting the rate of inflation) only tells us how much depreciating money the people spent, not how many goods and services they actually purchased.

In June of this year, the month just reported, U.S. retail sales are estimated by the government to have fallen (month-over-month) by 0.3%, a seemingly insignificant number. But this is before we adjust that number for inflation. What is the rate of inflation, the real rate?

Our governments hide that secret with statistical falsifications too numerous to list, and in many cases too complex to explain to those without a formal background in economics. But we can see this real inflation, in our own lives. Food and shelter, the two most-important categories of consumption, are soaring at the most-rapid pace seen in our lifetime, somewhere above 20% per year.

Other categories of “consumer goods” have increased in price at a much lower rate, but here’s the point. As more and more of our populations descend to the economic status of Working Poor (or lower), food and shelter become the only categories of consumption. Thus, for this growing majority of our populations, the “inflation rate” for food-and-shelter becomes THE inflation rate: 20+% per year.


As a matter of arithmetic, no entity can pile-up more and more debt forever, not even according to the voodoo economics of charlatan economists. What happens when a dying, consumer economy has mooched/borrowed all the debt it is capable of absorbing? We get the U.S. economy . ................(more)


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