Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Explosion of Tent Cities is Creating Unexpected Problems

The increasing number of tent cities across America, and the proposals to create controlled ones are creating problems not only for the people who have to live in them, but also those who live near them. The cities are also creating headaches for those in government who have to regulate them.

If local governments do not start working toward a practical way of dealing with homelessness then we’ll see far more crime in our neighborhoods. Nearly every major city across the country has a tent city. These homeless communities are expanding in size and number by the day as more and more people lose their jobs and then their homes.

Local governments should be trying to create tent cities that are controlled and policed to keep them free of drugs and crime. While these two plagues on society can’t be totally eliminated from the tent cities they can be greatly reduced through proactive government action.

The following CBS report about a Tent City in Sacramento was produced earlier this year.
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Recently Catholic Charities in Tampa, Florida was trying to create one of these ‘controlled tent cities’ and had to get approval from the Hillsborough county commission. The commission due to a great deal of political pressure by voters who lived near the proposed tent city site voted down the Charity’s request by a 4-3 vote.

Unfortunately the short-sightedness of those who were pushing to deny the tent city proposal will realize that they have created an even bigger problem because the people who would have stayed at the tent city will now be sleeping on the streets around their neighborhood instead of in a controlled area.

When I ran for Florida representative in 2008 I spoke out about the coming depression and the tent cities that it would create. Instead of the news media supporting me on this issue they attacked me for it and that same media 12 months later is now beginning to admit that we have a ‘homeless problem’.

The following snippet is from a Tampa Tribune article about my campaign dated October 10th, 2008:

“…Recommending the relaxation of Florida’s construction codes to accommodate low-cost alternatives such as adobe houses? Justifying that position by detecting no middle ground between foreclosure and tent cities? Urging an aggressive retreat to an agrarian economy, led by a state agency stressing the joys of homegrown produce? These are the concepts of the unserious, not the unconventional…”

Sadly, the tent city problem is not going to go away, it’s only going to get worse. Hopefully our local governments will gather up the political will to solve this problem and not let it turn it into a full blown catastrophe.

Bleak U.S. job market boosts military recruitment

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Aided by a bleak job market, the U.S. military met all of its recruitment goals in the past year for the first time since it became an all-volunteer force in 1973, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Military services have been stretched thin by conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, giving added weight to recruitment efforts as President Barack Obama considers sending another 40,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year.

The United States already has 67,000 troops in Afghanistan and about 119,000 in Iraq.

Pentagon officials said recruitment gains were fueled by the deepest U.S. recession since the Great Depression and an unemployment rate nearing 10 percent.

"For the first time since the advent of the all-volunteer force, all of the military components, active and reserve, met their number as well as their quality goals," said Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy.

The U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force sent a total of about 169,000 active duty recruits to training in the 2009 fiscal year that ended on September 30, beating their 164,000-member goal, the Pentagon said.

National guard and reserve forces sent about 128,000 recruits to training, beating their goal.

Carr said rising private sector unemployment was a force behind the increase in military recruitment but was not the only factor that "allowed us to be, for much of the year, in a very favorable position."

Curtis Gilroy, a senior Pentagon official, said a 10 percent increase in the national unemployment rate generally translates into a 4 percent to 6 percent "improvement in high-quality Army enlistments."

Recruitment does not come cheap. On average, the military spends between $9,000 and $10,000 per recruit, a figure that includes the high cost of advertising and of employing thousands of recruiters across the country, Carr said.

The Army spends far more, about $22,000 per recruit.

(Reporting by Adam Entous; Editing by Bill Trott)

For Sale: The $100 House

RECENTLY, at a dinner party, a friend mentioned that he’d never seen so many outsiders moving into town. This struck me as a highly suspect statement. After all, we were talking about Detroit, home of corrupt former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, beleaguered General Motors and the 0-16 Lions. Compared with other cities’ buzzing, glittering skylines, ours sits largely abandoned, like some hulking beehive devastated by colony collapse. Who on earth would move here?

Then again, I myself had moved to Detroit, from Brooklyn. For $100,000, I bought a town house that sits downtown in the largest and arguably the most beautiful Mies van der Rohe development ever built, an island of perfect modernism forgotten by the rest of the world.

Two other guests that night, a couple in from Chicago, had also just invested in some Detroit real estate. That weekend Jon and Sara Brumit bought a house for $100.

Ah, the mythical $100 home. We hear about these low-priced “opportunities” in down-on-their-luck cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland, but we never meet anyone who has taken the plunge. Understandable really, for if they were actually worth anything then they would cost real money, right? Who would do such a preposterous thing?

A local couple, Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert, started the ball rolling. An artist and an architect, they recently became the proud owners of a one-bedroom house in East Detroit for just $1,900. Buying it wasn’t the craziest idea. The neighborhood is almost, sort of, half-decent. Yes, the occasional crack addict still commutes in from the suburbs but a large, stable Bangladeshi community has also been moving in.

So what did $1,900 buy? The run-down bungalow had already been stripped of its appliances and wiring by the city’s voracious scrappers. But for Mitch that only added to its appeal, because he now had the opportunity to renovate it with solar heating, solar electricity and low-cost, high-efficiency appliances.

Buying that first house had a snowball effect. Almost immediately, Mitch and Gina bought two adjacent lots for even less and, with the help of friends and local youngsters, dug in a garden. Then they bought the house next door for $500, reselling it to a pair of local artists for a $50 profit. When they heard about the $100 place down the street, they called their friends Jon and Sarah.

Admittedly, the $100 home needed some work, a hole patched, some windows replaced. But Mitch plans to connect their home to his mini-green grid and a neighborhood is slowly coming together.

Now, three homes and a garden may not sound like much, but others have been quick to see the potential. A group of architects and city planners in Amsterdam started a project called the “Detroit Unreal Estate Agency” and, with Mitch’s help, found a property around the corner. The director of a Dutch museum, Van Abbemuseum, has called it “a new way of shaping the urban environment.” He’s particularly intrigued by the luxury of artists having little to no housing costs. Like the unemployed Chinese factory workers flowing en masse back to their villages, artists in today’s economy need somewhere to flee.

But the city offers a much greater attraction for artists than $100 houses. Detroit right now is just this vast, enormous canvas where anything imaginable can be accomplished. From Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project (think of a neighborhood covered in shoes and stuffed animals and you’re close) to Matthew Barney’s “Ancient Evenings” project (think Egyptian gods reincarnated as Ford Mustangs and you’re kind of close), local and international artists are already leveraging Detroit’s complex textures and landscapes to their own surreal ends.

In a way, a strange, new American dream can be found here, amid the crumbling, semi-majestic ruins of a half-century’s industrial decline. The good news is that, almost magically, dreamers are already showing up. Mitch and Gina have already been approached by some Germans who want to build a giant two-story-tall beehive. Mitch thinks he knows just the spot for it.

Toby Barlow is the author of “Sharp Teeth.”

Global Warming Dooms day cults don't want you to see this

Check this link ....

The Economy - No more rabbits left to pull

As much as I hope this is wrong : people have been setting up this scenario for 3+ years (probably longer).

There is now nothing the USA can do to prevent the collapse of its currency, and its economy. It has no reserves to support its value, and has the most indebted country in the world, is dependant of the credit from America's former enemies. Over the last couple of days, both Russia and China have said they will be switching their considerable dollar reserves into Euro. This will only hasten the lack of confidence in the dollar, creating a global lack of confidence in the currency, and setting into free-fall. It will soon bring about the total collapse of the dollar, and the American economy.

The warnings have been posted over and over, the telltale signs of internal economic collapse have been going on the last 3 years as front page news. And yet the public goes about its business thinking the government will come to their aid in the end, but in the end it will their own ability to survive, and surviving the actions of government will be their priority.

The handwriting has been on the wall, were we so naive to think this couldn't happen here? Did we really think all this would magically go away with changing a political party or by giving some silly cash giveaway back to public? There are no more rabbits left to pull out of the hat, there are no more interest rates left to drop to stimulate a consumer society hiding in the Mall worrying about what credit card to use for Christmas.

Whats left is the martial law to stop runs on the banks, whats left is the confiscation of precious metal, whats left is the rationing of fuel and food. And whats most pathetic of all, is that we did it all by ourselves with unbridled greed.

The definition of sovereign states.

"All persons are equal before the law and are equally entitled to its protection. All states are equal and none can officially receive special treatment from the federal government. Within the limits of the Constitution, each state must recognize and respect the laws of the others. State governments, like the federal government, must be republican in form, with final authority resting with the people. (See classical definition of republic.)

Remarkably it comes to this; "The people have the right to change their form of national government by means defined in the Constitution itself."

But the reality is centralized government that supersedes that same sovereignty by amendments. And leaves themselves free from accountability when the shit hits the fan.

How did this happen?

Originally, when the dollar was backed by gold, the conversion was $20 for one ounce. Every dollar floating around had 1/20th of an ounce of gold backing it up. In fact, a dollar could not be created unless there was gold in a vault somewhere first. That's the way the value of a dollar was used, circulated, and calculated. A dollar was an actual weight and measure of gold. And a nation grew rapidly and prospered beyond all others on earth.

We sold our birthright so to speak, and gave ourselves to living beyond our means by way of credit, disregarding every moral issue that argued against this evil! We allowed our elected government to issue "legal tender" that is for all practical purposes...worthless. And the note is now being called due.

What to do?

Its been said we rest on the backs of giants, and I tend to believe that truth, only because their accomplishments were done with sweat and blood, rather than accumulated credit debt.

No doubt there are those here who have managed their existence on a level that hasn't exceeded their income. But the majority have followed suit of governmental deficit spending, borrowing until there's nothing left to borrow.

Responsibility has to fall somewhere, and the government will without doubt find its reasoning for placing blame on some foreign entity and the issue of war. Meanwhile the private sector is left to its own devices to salvage what they can. Its coming unglued, and not a damn thing to do to stop it.

War spending & Internal infastructure

This deserves 10,000 pages of it's own. Inherently if a population or it's people are struggling to make a living or not being able to take care of each other - should NOT be waging wars based on unfounded reasons.

Just because our own economy and infrastructure is in shambles doesn't mean we need to continue aggression and military spending on others. If our goal is to help spread misery, we're going a great job the past few years. I just hope it isn't us on the flip-side after the dust settles.

Originally posted by Shortround, on our Message Boards

JPMorgan profits surge six fold

Banking giant enjoys rebound in key areas such as investment banking even as consumer credit issues persist.

NEW YORK ( -- JPMorgan Chase's profits increased more than six fold in the latest quarter, the company said Wednesday, allowing the bank to handily beat Wall Street estimates.

Delivering its results before the opening bell, the New York-based bank said that it earned $3.6 billion during the third quarter, or 82 cents a share.

During the same period a year ago, when the company was grappling with massive writedowns, JPMorgan earned just $527 million, or 11 cents a share.

The latest results easily beat Wall Street expectations. Analysts were anticipating the company to report a profit of $2.03 billion for the quarter, or 52 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) shares gained 3% at the start of trading Wednesday.

The firm's investment banking business was one particularly bright spot in the latest quarter as profit within the division climbed to $1.9 billion, more than double what it was a year ago. Much of that was driven by a strong performance in its fixed income division.

Company CEO Jamie Dimon, who has been lauded for his efforts leading the company, acknowledged the firm's "strong earnings power." But he cautioned that the company continues to face challenges, particularly within its consumer-related divisions such as its credit card business.

"While we are seeing some initial signs of consumer credit stability, we are not yet certain that this trend will continue," he said in a statement.

0:00 /2:21Wall Street's day of justice

During the quarter, the company said it added approximately another $2 billion to its consumer credit reserves, which dragged down results both within its mortgage lending and credit card businesses.

Both divisions reported widening losses compared to the second quarter of 2009.

Mike Cavanagh, JPMorgan Chase's chief financial officer, tempered that view however, noting that there were some encouraging signs such as stabilization of early-stage delinquencies within its credit card portfolio.

He added that the company could be close to the end of adding to its loan loss reserves if the economy continues to stabilize.

Cavanaugh also delivered some encouraging news for shareholders, noting that a dividend hike was a possibility, provided that the U.S. economy doesn't endure further weakness from here.

Earlier this year, JPMorgan Chase slashed its annual dividend nearly 87% to 20 cents a share to preserve capital. Cavanaugh suggested it may not be long before the board could raise it to 75 cents or $1 a share.

"If we are lucky that could be some time early next year," he said.

Other top-tier financial firms are slated to report their quarterly results later this week, with Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) slated to report its results Thursday and Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) due up Friday. To top of page



















今年上榜富豪的平均年齡為50.18歲,最年長的是擁有25億財富今年87歲的余彭年,而最年 輕的則是擁有10億元財富的23歲富豪陳冠全。其中,千萬富豪的平均年齡為39歲,億萬富豪的平均年齡為43歲,年齡在40歲以下的富豪有94位,有65 位上榜富豪的財富突破百億元,最年輕的白手起家百億富豪包括36歲的陳天橋、方威,以及38歲的馬化騰、丁磊和丁世忠。














(新加坡)一艘停泊在柔佛州東南岸丹戎亞央(Tanjung Ayam)海域的新加坡註冊油槽船被海盜盯上,所幸船員發現得早,在海盜登船前迅速拉響警報,逼使海盜放棄搶劫計劃,空手而歸。



這時,一名船員發現一艘載了6名男子的綠篷小船靠近船尾右舷(starboard),其中兩人企圖從艉樓甲板(poop deck)登上Lantana油槽船。船員趕緊拉響警報,並召集所有同事。


海盜見形跡敗露,趕緊跳上小船離開。油槽船船長過後向新加坡的海港運作控制中心(Port Operations Control Centre)報告,由控制中心通過導航廣播警惕出事海域航行的船隻防備,並通知新加坡警察海岸衛隊及馬來西亞和印尼相關單位。


Does More Federal Spending = Better Education?

Here's the chart, from Cato:

And here's "Federal Spending by the Numbers 2008"

Pound hit by falling UK inflation

A key measure of inflation has fallen to its lowest level since September 2004, official statistics show, further weakening the value of sterling.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) dropped to an annual rate of 1.1% in September from 1.6% in August.

Meanwhile, the Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation measure, which includes mortgage interest payments and housing costs, fell to -1.4% from -1.3%.

The pound fell 0.5% against the euro to a six-month low of 1.0628 euros.

It also fell to a five-month low against the dollar of $1.571, though pulled back against both currencies later.


"This is bad news for the pound," said Duncan Higgins, senior analyst at Caxton FX.

"The CPI figures will weigh heavily on the UK currency and will continue to discourage investment."

Sterling has been under pressure in recent days - including from a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research - which predicted that UK interest rates would remain at their historic low of 0.5% until 2011 and would stay below 2% until 2014.

Figures last week showing that UK industrial output fell unexpectedly in August also cast doubt on the strength of the UK economy.

Meanwhile the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has revised its estimate for GDP, forecasting that the economy did not grow in the June-to-September quarter.

And the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said that while business confidence was improving, the economy remained "frail".

'Spare capacity'

The Bank of England aims to maintain CPI inflation at 2% to keep both prices and the broader economy stable.

If CPI falls below 1%, the governor of the Bank of England will have to write a letter of explanation to Chancellor Alistair Darling.

The slide in inflation was greater than had been expected, but was largely attributed to the spike in energy prices seen a year ago, which meant prices in September this year were considerably lower.

Electricity, gas and other fuel bills fell by 7.3% on the year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Overall prices in September were unchanged from those seen in August, the ONS added.

Rising energy prices meant that inflation was likely to rise again in coming months, said Jonathan Loynes of Capital Economics, adding that the return of VAT to 17.5% from its current temporary 15% level would also push CPI back towards 2% by turn of the year.

However, he forecast the "huge amount" of unused production capacity in the economy would eventually push inflation down sharply, "keeping alive the threat of a period of outright deflation late next year or beyond".

Deficit impact

Meanwhile chief economist at Schroders UK, Keith Wade predicted this would "probably will be the low point in inflation".

The inflation data showed that the Bank of England pumping of about £160bn into the the economy's money supply - so-called quantitative easing - had not yet taken effect, said James Hughes, chief economist at Black Swan Capital Wealth.

But he added that the huge budget deficit, welfare system commitments and "uncompetitive" exchange rate meant the supply of money had not yet fed through to prices.

Meanwhile, UBS economist Amit Kara said the inflation figures would be "a comfort" to the Bank's rate-setting committee.

"I think it's minded to expand the quantitative easing programme. This just provides the additional reason to do it."

New 9/11 inquiry squashed: Truth Quest stopped by City Hall

Check this link ......

That's the record amount Goldman Sachs staff will get in pay and bonuses

City bank Goldman Sachs is expected to confirm tomorrow that bonuses will smash all records in 2009, just a year after the Government rescued the financial system from oblivion.

The Wall Street giant is on course to lavish £14billion on pay and bonuses on staff this year following a surge in profits between July and September, experts said.

Goldman's 5,500 UK workers are now set to pocket an average of almost £500,000 each for this year - the highest rewards in the firm's 140-year history.

Michael Sherwood

High-flyers, such as UK boss Michael Sherwood, could earn bonuses stretching into eight figures.

Dollar loses reserve status to yen & euro

Ben Bernanke's dollar crisis went into a wider mode yesterday as the greenback was shockingly upstaged by the euro and yen, both of which can lay claim to the world title as the currency favored by central banks as their reserve currency.

Over the last three months, banks put 63 percent of their new cash into euros and yen -- not the greenbacks -- a nearly complete reversal of the dollar's onetime dominance for reserves, according to Barclays Capital. The dollar's share of new cash in the central banks was down to 37 percent -- compared with two-thirds a decade ago.

Currently, dollars account for about 62 percent of the currency reserve at central banks -- the lowest on record, said the International Monetary Fund.

Bernanke could go down in economic history as the man who killed the greenback on the operating table.

After printing up trillions of new dollars and new bonds to stimulate the US economy, the Federal Reserve chief is now boxed into a corner battling two separate monsters that could devour the economy -- ravenous inflation on one hand, and a perilous recession on the other.

"He's in a crisis worse than the meltdown ever was," said Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital. "I fear that he could be the Fed chairman who brought down the whole thing."

Investors and central banks are snubbing dollars because the greenback is kept too weak by zero interest rates and a flood of greenbacks in the global economy.

They grumble that they've loaned the US record amounts to cover its mounting debt, but are getting paid back by a currency that's worth 10 percent less in the past three months alone. In a decade, it's down nearly one-third.

Yesterday, the dollar had a mixed performance, falling slightly against the British pound to $1.5801 from $1.5846 Friday, but rising against the euro to $1.4779 from $1.4709 and against the yen to 89.85 yen from 89.78.

Economists believe the market rebellion against the dollar will spread until Bernanke starts raising interest rates from around zero to the high single digits, and pulls back the flood of currency spewed from US printing presses.

"That's a cure, but it's also going to stifle any US economic growth," said Schiff. "The economy is addicted to the cheap interest and liquidity."

Economists warn that a jump in rates will clobber stocks and cripple the already stalled housing market.

"Bernanke's other choice is to keep rates at zero, print even more money and sell more debt, but we'll see triple-digit inflation that could collapse the economy as we know it.

"The stimulus is what's toxic -- we're poisoning ourselves and the global economy with it."