Author Archives: theraspberryblog

About theraspberryblog

I read a lot of news. Like a whole lot of news.

Class war ?

Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate: 1959 to 20...

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By now you have probably seen Jon Stewart’s take on Warren Buffett‘s Op-Ed on raising taxes on the rich, if not it’s here:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-august-18-2011/world-of-class-warfare—warren-buffett-vs–wealthy-conservatives

However, no one seems to be posting links to the original Op-Ed, so here it is:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/stop-coddling-the-super-rich.html

Here is a response to Mr Buffet’s Op-Ed by another billionaire Charles G. Koch

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/275099/koch-responds-buffetts-call-tax-hikes-daniel-foster#

Here are two responses in response to his statement that the past several years have had a massive increase in government spending (it’s been going on for a while):

http://www.businessinsider.com/government-spending-2011-7

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-budget-deficit-2011-7

An article about giving to charity which is kind of a response to Mr.Koch’s assertion:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/magazine/22FOB-wwln-t.html

Finally, for those of you who watched the complete story on The Daily Show, the source for the comments about how American poor aren’t really poor;

http://blog.heritage.org/2011/08/17/one-in-five-children-poor%E2%80%94but-what-does-that-mean/

And a response to mathematical inaccuracies in that story:
http://politicalcorrection.org/blog/201108180008

Read the information provided and watch the video; then actually think for yourself, it’s easy.


My final word on this weeks stockmarket

Coaster Express at Parque Warner Madrid

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwKvwD97cf8

 

Maybe this video will help, but probably it’ll just make you smile.


“The chickens are coming home to roost”

Giełda na Wall Street

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Two videos that actually address our financial and political crisis:

http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/markets-react-as-fed-leaves-rates-unchanged/6tjpvo6?from=&adlt=strict

http://www.businessinsider.com/dylan-ratigan-rant-2011-8

Please watch these videos they give a fresher perspective on our current situation.  Here are some definitions to help:

Brady bonds are dollar-denominated bonds, issued mostly by Latin American countries in the 1980s, named after U.S. Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brady_Bonds

The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism[1] . The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948. The goals of the United States were to rebuild a war-devastated region, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, and make Europe prosperous again. The initiative was named after Secretary of StateGeorge Marshall. The plan had bipartisan support in Washington, where the Republicans controlled Congress and the Democrats controlled the White House. The Plan was largely the creation of State Department officials, especially William L. Clayton and George F. Kennan. Marshall spoke of urgent need to help the European recovery in his address at Harvard University in June 1947.[

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_plan

The Finnish Banking Crisis of 1990s was a deep systemic crisis of the entire Finnish financial sector that took place mainly in the years 19911993, after several years of debt-based economic boom in the late 1980s. Its total taxpayer cost was roughly 8% of the Finnish GNP, making it the most severe of the contemporary Nordic banking crises. The crisis has been attributed to a combination of macro-economic turbulence, weak regulation, and bank-specific problems.[1] Governmental intervention included bank takeovers, direct monetary assistance and temporary blanket guarantees to the banks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_banking_crisis_of_1990s

A Derivative is a financial instrument with a value dependent upon underlying variables. The term can refer to a contract, or its value, derived from the underlying assets. The most common derivatives are futures, options, and swaps but may also include other tradeable assets such as a stock or commodity or non-tradeable items such as the temperature (in the case of weather derivatives), the unemployment rate, or any kind of (economic) index.[1] A derivative is essentially a contract whose payoff depends on the behavior of a benchmark.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_%28finance%29


As those in finance walk away from the rubble of the recession unscathed; average citizens may face jail time for their debt

The main cellblock taken by ghostieguide dec 2...
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Dickens wrote about the world where debtors prisons were common.   It is the same world that gave us Karl Marx.  If you believe that was long ago think again.

Six states (Arkansas, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Washington) allow debt collectors to seek arrest warrants for debtors in default if all other collection methods have failed. Whether a debtor will actually be prosecuted or not varies from state to state, county to county, and town to town. The individual is taken into custody and is typically required to submit financial documentation to the courts (to facilitate seizure of assets or wage garnishment), although in some cases the individual may be held indefinitely until a payment plan is reached or the debt is paid in full, especially if the individual is insolvent

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debtors%27_prison

More than a third of all U.S. states allow borrowers who can’t or won’t pay to be jailed. Judges have signed off on more than 5,000 such warrants since the start of 2010 in nine counties with a total population of 13.6 million people, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal of filings in those counties. Nationwide figures aren’t known because many courts don’t keep track of warrants by alleged offense. In interviews, 20 judges across the nation said the number of borrowers threatened with arrest in their courtrooms has surged since the financial crisis began.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704396504576204553811636610.html

Kyle Dewitt spent three days in jail because he was too poor to pay a fishing fine. Last spring, Dewitt was ticketed and fined $215 for fishing smallmouth bass out of season (Dewitt disputes the charge). But Dewitt, 19 years old with a fiancée and a nine-month-old son, lost his job at a grocery store in 2010 and has been out of work ever since. He couldn’t afford the $215 fine. Instead he offered to pay $100 up front, and repay the rest in a month. But Judge Raymond Voet of Ionia, Mich., refused.

http://www.credit.com/blog/2011/08/man-jailed-for-not-paying-fishing-fine/

That could be me before the blow-drying and eyeliner, and it’s definitely Al Szekeley at any time of day. A grizzled 62-year-old, he inhabits a wheelchair and is often found on G Street in Washington, D.C. — the city that is ultimately responsible for the bullet he took in the spine in Phu Bai, Vietnam, in 1972.

He had been enjoying the luxury of an indoor bed until December 2008, when the police swept through the shelter in the middle of the night looking for men with outstanding warrants. It turned out that Szekeley, who is an ordained minister and does not drink, do drugs, or cuss in front of ladies, did indeed have one — for “criminal trespassing,” as sleeping on the streets is sometimes defined by the law. So he was dragged out of the shelter and put in jail.

“Can you imagine?” asked Eric Sheptock, the homeless advocate (himself a shelter resident) who introduced me to Szekeley. “They arrested a homeless man in a shelter for being homeless?”

http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/08/09/america_crime_poverty/index.html


Wisconsin

An enlargeable map of the 72 counties of the S...

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The recalls in Wisconsin are recently in the news, however, what really catches the eye is the questionable practices taking place that could poison the results.

MADISON — Robocall errors and targeted mailing typos are beginning to litter Wisconsin’s recall campaign landscape in the closing days of the race.

While Democrats and Republicans say they’ve made innocent mistakes in reaching out to the electorate, some fear democracy could pay the ultimate price.

Here is the most equally skewed report I could find:

http://www.beloitdailynews.com/news/wisconsin/errors-typos-plague-wisconsin-recall-elections/article_341b06dc-bf7c-11e0-a15f-001cc4c002e0.html

In Wisconsin, flyers from the non-existent Milwaukee Black Voters League offered some “warnings for election time,” including the false claim that anyone who voted in a primary election could not vote again the general election.

“If anybody in your family has ever been found guilty of anything, you can’t vote in the presidential election,” the flyer read. “If you violate any of these laws, you can get 10 years in prison and your children will get taken away from you.”

And here is a reference from the last election lest you see this as anew development:

http://www.island.lk/2004/11/03/world1.html


Nutella and Antioxidants, two stories about how little people understand food

little girl with sammich

CC BY-ND by strocel on flickr

These two stories shed light on our ideas and misconceptions about foods.  Is anything that has chocolate and sugar definitely bad? Should we eat more antioxidants?  The answers suggested in these articles might surprise you.  Just a disclaimer, I like a tablespoon of Nutella melted and mixed in my black coffee in the morning.

 

One tablespoon of Nutella contains 100 calories, 5.5 grams fat, 0.5 grams fiber, 1.5 grams protein, and 10.5 grams sugar. Sure, the sugar content is high, but it also has a low Glycemic Index of 33, which means the energy is slow releasing. The same amount of Smucker’s strawberry preserves contains 50 calories and no fat. It also contains no protein, no fiber, and 12 grams of sugar with a GI that’s likely in the mid-60s or even 70s.

For the Nutella story titled  Go Ahead, Eat Chocolate for Breakfast:

http://www.slate.com/id/2300390/

 

As it turns out, we have no evidence that antioxidants are beneficial in humans. (Though if you’re a Sprague-Dawley rat, there’s hope.) In fact, as Emily Anthes wrote last year in Slate, the best available data demonstrate that antioxidants are bad for you—so long as you count an increased risk of death as “bad.”

For the antioxidant story titled The Doctor and the Pomegranate:

http://www.slate.com/id/2300578/


Keynes v Hayek: Two economic giants go head to head

cartoon of two people fighting over bag of money

CC-BY-ND by HikingArtist.com on Flickr

Two economic theories are coloring the current debate on how to solve the ongoing financial crisis, here is a break down of both so that you can make informed decisions:

John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich August Hayek were two prominent economists of the Great Depression era with sharply contrasting views. The arguments they had in the 1930s have been revived in the wake of the latest global financial crisis.

The contemporary relevance of their ideas has even been debated in a rap video. More than 1,000 people attended a BBC Radio 4 debate at the London School of Economics to hear supporters of the two economists argue their case.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14366054


Debt-Ceiling Deal Sets Off Lobbying Frenzy

picture of capitol building

CC-BY by isante_magazine on flicker

With the new debt ceiling deal the power to cut 1.5 trillion dollars will rest in the hands of just twelve people. It would seem much easier to influence just 12 rather than the majority of two full houses of congress, just sayin’.

When the Divine Dozen are named, it will lead “to the emergence of a pack of superlobbyists who will have access to those members” and who can try to protect clients from the carnage, said Democratic consultant David Di Martino. That’s because with only six members from each party on the committee, influencing the super committee will largely be an inside game with Democratic and Republican lobbyists working their respective lawmakers.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/daily/debt-ceiling-deal-sets-off-lobbying-frenzy-20110801