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Impending Economic Slowdown – Are you prepared?

Many Economists are predicting this slowdown.  At this point the concern is more recession than inflation.  Another article from the AP:

Halloween brings more US data to spook markets

By John AuthersTue Oct 31, 1:25 PM ET

Here we go again. On Tuesday, disappointing data from the US spooked world markets, appropriately enough on Halloween. Once more, the betting is that the US economy is set for a sharp downturn. Graphs of the dollar against the main alternative currencies, and of Treasury bond yields, all show the trajectory of a jet heading for a hard landing.

Following last week’s drab gross domestic product figures for the third quarter, yesterday brought an outright drop in consumer confidence. Analysts had expected the continuing fall in gasoline prices to fuel an increase in confidence, so this was negative. Add the survey of Chicago purchasing managers, which showed its weakest reading since August of last year, and everything was set for a run on the dollar.

Events elsewhere are compounding the dollar’s problems. The Bank of England seems certain to tighten rates at its next opportunity, and a December tightening from the European Central Bank is also firmly expected.

The dollar is at its lowest level against sterling for the year – almost $1.91 at one point on Tuesday. The pound has gained 3.5 cents since the Federal Reserve’s meeting last week. The euro has gained 1.8 per cent, and the yen has strengthened even more, moving from Y119.36 to Y116.82 since the beginning of last week. The Fed Funds futures market puts the odds of a rate cut by next March at 50 per cent, having priced out any such possibility by the beginning of last week.

The 10-year US Treasury bond yield has given up a cool 21.5 basis points over the last six trading sessions, dropping from 4.83 per cent to 4.61 per cent.

The Halloween “tricks” could come for those making money from the yen carry trade – borrowing in low-yielding yen-denominated accounts to go “long” elsewhere. But more dollar weakness could be a “treat” for equities outside the US. The flood of US investors’ money into foreign markets is fuelled by the dollar.

According to Morgan Stanley Capital International, the world outside the US has grown by 9.4 per cent this year in local currency terms, but by 16 per cent in dollar terms.

Wake up America!  The only way to really bring down this country is economically and we are letting this happen.  Think about it.  Who owns most of our debt? Where are the jobs going?  How many corporations are now off-shore and pay no taxes? And how many countries own or are running businesses here?  Remember Dubai has bought but never sold back the running of our ports.  Wake up and question this government and every politician on this subject.

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November 1, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Economy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Halloween showing by the stars

This is really a great picture for Halloween:

A spooky Nebula

 

SH2 136: A Spooky Nebula
Credit: Adam Block, NOAO, AURA, NSF Explanation: The dark nebula SH2-136 appears to be celebrating Halloween all of the time. The complex process of star formation create dust clouds of many shapes and sizes — it is human perception that might identify a ghoulish creature, on the right of the above image, chasing humans. Halloween’s modern celebration retains historic roots in dressing to scare away the spirits of the dead. Since the fifth century BC, Halloween has been celebrated as a cross-quarter day, a day halfway between an equinox (equal day / equal night) and a solstice (minimum day / maximum night in the northern hemisphere). With our modern calendar, however, the real cross-quarter day will occur next week. Other cross-quarter markers include Groundhog Day and Walpurgis Night.

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap061031.html

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

October 31, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Odor From Capitol Hill

An Editorial from the New york Times:

Congressmen caught in wrongdoing at this time of year like to complain that they’re the victims of election-eve politics. If the looming elections inspire whistleblowers, we say bravo.

As predicaments go for champions of family values, few can top the embarrassment suffered by Representative Curt Weldon when federal agents raided the home of his daughter, a Washington lobbyist, in search of evidence that the powerful lawmaker helped her with lucrative clients. The grand jury is still out on the investigation, and Mr. Weldon, a Pennsylvania Republican, says he is innocent. But with each fresh scandal, the tattooing of the G.O.P.-run 109th Congress continues in pre-election polls.

 Voters had no sooner adjusted to the shock of seeing Representative Mark Foley, Republican of Florida, disgraced from office by his come-ons to Congressional pages than Bob Ney took his turn on the pre-election scandal smorgasbord. Representative Ney, Republican of Ohio, pleaded guilty to being a principal in the quid-pro-quo insiders’ market run by Jack Abramoff, the corrupt Republican lobbyist who is cooperating with investigators about his ties to Congress and the White House. Another Republican, former Representative Randy Cunningham of California, is already doing time. He sold his office in steering $70 million in contracts to companies that offered bribes ranging from a Rolls-Royce to a carpet emblazoned “Global War on Terror.”

It should be remembered that Speaker Dennis Hastert, now under fire in the Foley scandal, helped dampen any chance of in-House ethical controls in his failed attempt to save the career of former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, an Abramoff ally who is accused of political money laundering and is awaiting trial. The sight of the ossified ethics committee forced back to life by the Foley scandal is more pathetic than heartening. It’s small wonder that lawmakers feel empowered to make ethical stretches — like Representative John Doolittle’s boosting his own family’s value by having his wife designated a consultant and paying her a 15 percent commission off the top of his campaign kitty.

Read more here.

October 18, 2006 Posted by | Op Ed, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fighting the ‘Imperial’ Internet

We should ask for a national referendum on this.

 By Bill Moyers and Scott Fogdall, TomPaine.com. Posted October 18, 2006.

Corporate media are looking to use the “free market” to add the internet to their empire. But we can’t let them dominate the ‘net and undermine our democracy.

It was said that all roads led to Rome. However exaggerated, the image is imprinted in our imagination, reminding us of the relentless ingenuity of the ancient Romans and their will to control an empire. For centuries Roman highways linked far-flung provinces with a centralized web of power. The might of the imperial legions was for naught without the means to transport them. The flow of trade — the bloodstream of the empire’s wealth — also depended on the integrity of the roadways. And because Roman citizens could pass everywhere, more or less unfettered on their travels, ideas and cultural elements circulated with the same fluidity as commerce. Like the Romans, we Americans have used our technology to build a sprawling infrastructure of ports, railroads and interstates which serves the strength of our economy and the mobility of our society. Yet as significant as these have been, they pale beside the potential of the Internet. Almost overnight, it has made sending and receiving information easier than ever. It has opened a vast new marketplace of ideas, and it is transforming commerce and culture. It may also revitalize democracy. “Wait a minute!” you say. “You can’t compare the Internet to the Roman empire. There’s no electronic Caesar, no center, controlling how the World Wide Web is used.” Right you are — so far. The Internet is revolutionary because it is the most democratic of media. All you need to join the revolution is a computer and a connection. We don’t just watch; we participate, collaborate and create. Unlike television, radio and cable, whose hirelings create content aimed at us for their own reasons, with the Internet every citizen is potentially a producer. The conversation of democracy belongs to us.

Read the rest here

October 18, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Social Security adjustment may be lower

This will hurt the Seniors on fixed incomes.  The cost of living has far outpaced the COLA From the AP:

The nation’s nearly 49 million Social Security recipients are in line to get a smaller average increase in their monthly benefit checks in 2007 than they did this year, though less of the gain will be eaten up by rising Medicare premiums. Private economists are predicting an increase of around 3.4 percent for 2007. That follows a benefit increase of 4.1 percent this year, which was the largest percentage rise in 15 years. The Social Security Administration was to announce the 2007 cost of living adjustment, or COLA, on Wednesday. Social Security recipients will see the increase reflected in their January checks. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said he expected the increase would be 3.4 percent, which would translate into an increase of around $34 for the average Social Security recipient, currently getting a monthly check of $1,011. The COLA amount is based on the rise in the Consumer Price Index in the July-September quarter of this year compared with the same quarter in 2005. By law, benefit payments for Social Security retirees, the disabled and persons earning Supplemental Security Income are adjusted each year to keep inflation from eroding the benefits.

snip

“Seniors should be helped by the drop in energy costs, which will make their heating bills more tolerable, and the lower increase in health premiums,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York.

Advocates for the elderly said the cost of living adjustment was a critical safety net for the nearly one-third of retirees who rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income.

“The COLA is more than helpful. It is crucial,” said David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP, which represents people 50 and older. “Without the COLA, you would see the purchasing power of retirees cut in half in a 15-year time period.”

President Bush, who pledged to make overhaul of Social Security and Medicare top priorities in his second term, has seen his plan to partially privatize Social Security run into stiff opposition in Congress.

He and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson have pledged to continue searching in Bush’s final two years in office for a solution to the funding problems both programs face with the looming retirement of 78 million baby boomers.

October 18, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

CREW FILES IRS COMPLAINT AGAINST LIVING WORD CHRISTIAN CENTER

Go get em CREW!!

Pastor Endorses state Sen. Michele Bachmann for U.S. House Seat — Allows Bachmann to Give Stump Speech

Washington, DC — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today filed an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) complaint against the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, MN for violating IRS law by openly endorsing state Senate Michele Bachmann’s candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives. Churches, like Living Word Christian Center, are absolutely prohibited from intervening in elections for any public office. This prohibition is a condition of the very favorable tax benefits public charities receive under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. On October 14, 2006 Ms. Bachmann delivered a campaign stump speech from the Living Word Christian Center’s pulpit and the church’s pastor, Mac Hammond, openly endorsed her candidacy. Pastor Hammond’s comments and Ms. Bachmann’s speech were made during the Living Word Christian Center’s weekend services, presented before the entire congregation and broadcast over the Internet. By using church resources to promote the candidacy of Ms. Bachmann, the church jeopardized its tax status. Excerpts from Ms. Bachmann’s speech and the pastor’s endorsement can be found in CREW’s complaint at http://www.citizensforethics.org. Videos of the speeches are available at YouTube. Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW said today, “the IRS has pledged to investigate non-profits that violate the law. So far the IRS has targeted only progressive organizations such as the All Saints Church in Pasadena, California, the NAACP and Texans for Public Justice. “This complaint and the clear evidence supporting it should spur the IRS to investigate the Living Word Christian Center and all 501(c)(3) charities that abuse their status, regardless of ideology.” *** Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit http://www.citizensforethics.org or contact Naomi Seligman Steiner at 202.408.5565/ press@citizensforethics.org.

October 18, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

World Views Americans’ Opinions Through Suburban Race

This is my District. District 6 in Illinois. The House seat has been held by Henry Hyde for as long as I can remember. The two vying for  for his seat are Peter Roskam the Republican ( very conservative ) and Tammy Duckworth a double amputee veteran of Iraq. 

This from the Chicagoist :

When Chicagoist was living abroad, discussions of American politics were often the most interesting, as well as the most embarrassing. Unlike the U.S., where many people would prefer news about Brangelina to political races around the globe (or in the States, for that matter), the global media has always taken interest in American politics.

This election season, the hotly contested 6th Congressional District seat has unexpectedly become an international election favorite, with reporters from Europe, Asia, Australia and even the Arabic Al-Jeezera descending on suburban Glen Ellyn to get the latest scoop.
The race for the 6th District seat, held for many years by retiring GOP leader Henry Hyde, pits the hand-picked war veteran, Tammy Duckworth, against the conservative state senator, Peter Roskam. The story has been picked up by outlets around the world, apparently serving as a barometer for the influence the war has had on American politics.

Peter Meunch, editor of the major German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung recently ran a feature on Duckworthin the top slot of the paper. “Duckworth’s story is a unique one so we were happy to have this piece in the paper,” he told the Tribune.” There is hardly a better case to describe America’s political situation at the moment.”

Aya Imaida, a reporter for the Japanese Nippon TV, said: “I thought this race shows the American people are divided, and this area was Republican for 32 years [with] Mr. Hyde. … Of course, I want to convey the message of how the American people think about the Iraq war.”

While Roskam assumes the most likely opinion that the international coverage will have little to no effect on actual election results, the race will certainly have a global impact. Previously, our interest in this race was limited to a bit of an outsider’s amusement and awe, especially given all the workings with DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel, but now, for the sake of our friends abroad, we only hope the Duck can pull out the win. Because, really, if this is a barometer of how we’re viewed abroad, we’d certainly take a decorated woman with potentially fresh leadership for the district over a man who was named one of the “Biggest Enemies of Gay Rights” by the Human Rights Campaign and Jane magazine, and also had the audacity to accuse Tammy, who lost both of her legs in Iraq, of wanting to “cut and run.”

With the controversial stancesRoskam has that most likely won’t fly abroad, you’d think he’d at least be able to manage a bit of tact….

October 18, 2006 Posted by | Op Ed, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bush signs bill on terror prosecution

Habeas tombstone

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer 10 minutes ago

Some of the most notorious names in the war on terror are headed toward prosecution after President Bush signed a law Tuesday authorizing military trials of terrorism suspects.

The legislation also eliminates some of the rights defendants are usually guaranteed under U.S. law, and it authorizes continued harsh interrogations of terror suspects.

Imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and awaiting trial are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Ramzi Binalshibh, an alleged would-be 9/11 hijacker, and Abu Zubaydah, who was believed to be a link between Osama bin Laden and many al-Qaida cells.

“With the bill I’m about to sign, the men our intelligence officials believe orchestrated the murder of nearly 3,000 innocent people will face justice,” Bush said in a White House ceremony.

The Pentagon expects to begin pre-trial motions early next year and to begin the actual trials in the summer.

snip

Civil libertarians and leading Democrats decried the law as a violation of American values. The American Civil Liberties Union said it was “one of the worst civil liberties measures ever enacted in American history.” Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold (news, bio, voting record) of Wisconsin said, “We will look back on this day as a stain on our nation’s history.”

“It allows the government to seize individuals on American soil and detain them indefinitely with no opportunity to challenge their detention in court,” Feingold said. “And the new law would permit an individual to be convicted on the basis of coerced testimony and even allow someone convicted under these rules to be put to death.”

The legislation, which sets the rules for court proceedings, applies to those selected by the military for prosecution and leaves mostly unaffected the majority of the 14,000 prisoners in U.S. custody, most of whom are in Iraq. It does apply to 14 suspects who were secretly questioned by the CIA overseas and recently moved to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

Read the rest here

October 18, 2006 Posted by | Current News, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cheney: ‘General Overall Situation’ In Iraq Is Going ‘Remarkably Well’

Think Progress has the audio to this if you can stomach Cheney and Limbaugh together!

Rush Limbaugh interviewed Vice President Cheney on his show today. At one point, Limbaugh asked Cheney to respond to growing frustration over U.S. efforts in Iraq.

Cheney acknowledged there is a “natural level of concern out there” because fighting didn’t end “instantaneously.” (Next month, the war will have lasted longer than U.S. fighting in World War II.) Cheney then pointed to various news items to paint a positive picture of conditions in Iraq and concluded, “If you look at the general overall situation, they’re doing remarkably well.”

 Cheney is delirious! Maybe he got near a magnet and his pacemaker jolted his brain. He’s and the admin are the only ones that think things are going well. Maybe he has trouble hearing and when the Generals talk he only hears every other word.

October 17, 2006 Posted by | Iraq, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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October 13, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment