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  • What you need to know about wealth distribution in America

    March 5th, 2013 [Financial, Law & Politics, US]

    Required viewing.

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    No justice in Shenandoah

    May 3rd, 2009 [Civil Rights, Financial, General, Marriage Equality]

    Some satisfied, others outraged with verdict for immigrant’s death – CNN.com.

    Absolutely appalling. What the hell kind of country do we live in when this sort of circus passes for justice? Has nothing changed in the 21st century? I guess the jury foreman will he know was right when these kids get arrested for their second hate-filled murder, which I am sure is forthcoming. The jury foreman said:

    “I believe strongly that some of the people on the jury were racist. I believe strongly that some of the people on the jury had their minds made up maybe before the first day of trial,” said Maclin. “And I believe the four boys that were involved the most are racist. I absolutely do. Derrick Donchak wore a US Border Patrol t-shirt to a Halloween party after Luis died. That is racist. That is beyond in bad taste. That is horrible.”

    I think one of the people who commented on my last entry regarding this issue said it best. Elvin Rivera wrote:

    If the players roles were reversed and Luis Ramirez was on trial for killing one of the boys you can be sure that the verdict would have been guilty. “Of course he’s guilty. He’s an illegal Mexican immigrant.” How could those “boys” forget that they come from immigrant roots with names like Piekarsky and Donchak?

    They probably didn’t have to suffer the taunts and prejudice their grandparents and parents did when young but I’m sure they heard the stories from them. Maybe they came away with the wrong lesson. Maybe they were taught intolerance instead of tolerance. I don’t know. But the results are very obvious. They learned to hate.

    It’s time for the US Attorney’s office to step in and arrest those murderers and charge them with violating Ramirez’s civil rights. Regardless of his legal status in this country he had the God given right to live. The US Constitution guarantees it. Not just for us but for everyone.

    Today is Sunday and I’m sure many of the citizens of Shenandoah Pa will be in church this morning. I hope some of them pray for the family of Luis Ramirez. I hope all of them pray for forgiveness and mercy for themselves because they’ll need it.

    ‘Nuff said.

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    Plan to Change Student Lending Sets Up a Fight – NYTimes.com

    April 13th, 2009 [Banking, Education, Financial, General]

    Plan to Change Student Lending Sets Up a Fight – NYTimes.com.

    Well, hey, that’s great – now what is to be done about the millions of Americans who are paying almost all of their monthly income straight to the banks for loan repayment? The interest rates have gotten way out of hand. I have student loans at higher interest rates than some of my credit cards. Obscene. Nay – obscane.

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    Anderson Cooper 360: Blog Archive – Student Loan Nightmare: Help Wanted « – Blogs from CNN.com

    April 1st, 2009 [Education, Financial, General]

    Anderson Cooper 360: Blog Archive – Student Loan Nightmare: Help Wanted « – Blogs from CNN.com.

    Okay, to all the heartless souls who are saying that writer deserves to suffer because she went to a private school? Try taking a look at the cost of public school these days – it’s not much better. I attend a public graduate school. Tuition? More than $30,000 per year – and that’s the reduced rate for state residents. The undergraduate in-state tuition is nearly $10K annually. On what planet is this considered cheap public education? And why do I need to be punished for pursuing an education when I DID take the cheaper route? What, because my parents made enough money to disqualify me for grants, but not enough to actually help me with school?

    Also, I hate to break it to people, but community colleges don’t grant college degrees that are actually accepted in the workplace. At some companies in this fine city you need a bachelor’s degree or a degree in progress just to answer phones for little more than minimum wage. Welcome to the 21st century.

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    The belief that the wealthy are worthy is waning – Los Angeles Times

    March 19th, 2009 [Banking, Civil Rights, Financial, General]

    The belief that the wealthy are worthy is waning – Los Angeles Times.

    That the point is even open for discussion suggests that a sea change is taking place on the American political scene. For decades, the wealthy have been held up as people to be admired, victors in the Darwinian economic struggle by virtue of their personal ingenuity and hard work.

    Americans consistently supported fiscal policies that undermined middle- and working-class interests partially because they saw themselves as rich-people-in-waiting: Given time, toil and the magic of compound interest, anyone could retire a millionaire.

    That mind-set has all but been eradicated by the damage sustained by the average worker's nest egg, combined with the spectacle of bankers and financial engineers maintaining their lifestyles with multimillion-dollar bonuses while the submerged 99% struggle for oxygen.

    (emphasis added)

    I hope his predictions are right. For FAR too long we’ve been living in an a faux democracy where 1% of the people own more than a third of the wealth, and the top 20% own more than 80% of it. The purpose of income tax was to raise revenue for the government, but it was mostly to prevent an aristocracy from forming. Are we there yet?

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    Commentary: We owe oldest Americans an apology – CNN.com

    March 15th, 2009 [Financial, General]

    Commentary: We owe oldest Americans an apology – CNN.com.

    Not to mention those who should be on the brink of retirement right now, but for the fact that their entire retirement fund has been wiped out because they had the misfortune to work for 30+ years for one of the big companies currently going under or being nationalized…

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    Madoff worth more than $820 million, document says – CNN.com

    March 14th, 2009 [Banking, Financial, General]

    Madoff worth more than $820 million, document says – CNN.com.

    All the reason to liquidate his estate and divvy it up among his victims.

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    Family caught in Madoff swindle forced to sell Jewish heirlooms – CNN.com

    March 14th, 2009 [Financial, General]

    Family caught in Madoff swindle forced to sell Jewish heirlooms – CNN.com.

    This just makes me so sick, and horrified, and disappointed in humanity, that it can produce somebody like Madoff. But not to worry. There’s a backhanded Jewish blessing for every occasion.

    I hope to god the government seizes his entire estate – wherever it may be hiding – and redistributes it to his victims. There is no justification for what he did. There is no explaining the damage. Many of his victims were philanthropic groups or nonprofit organizations, or were benefactors to such groups. Without those contributions, how many more will suffer?

    Frankly I think the government ought to bear some of the responsibility here anyway. They have oversight over situations like this, and they knew something was wrong – but they failed miserably in their investigations, despite multiple warnings that something was amiss. It makes me think of children who die at the hands of abusive parents, and then after the fact we find out that child protection agencies had investigated multiple times and refused to take the child out of the home, or found “no evidence” of abuse.

    This is that serious. This man was chairman of the NASDAQ. Investors are not in a position to know whether securities fraud is taking place. This is why we have the SEC. Or at least, so we thought.

    Most of all, it pisses me off that this was a Jewish guy swindling so many people, especially so many who were also Jews or Jewish charities. First, I hate to see Jewish people involved in anything so shameful. Just… as a Jew, it pisses me off that he would do that. He should know better. He should be a better person than that. Second, you know that anti-Semites all over the country are going, “Well, it figures. Never let a Jew touch your money.” Because we all know that what one Jew does wrong gets attributed to the whole of us. But third, it kills me because he went beyond mere financial scamming and exploited a familial trust. It’s hard to explain if you’re not Jewish; it’ll just sound like I’m endorsing the Jewish mafia or something. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is… just think about it. So many of his victims were elderly Ashkenazi Jews, many of them Holocaust survivors. These are the people whose parents and grandparents came over here on ships to escape pogroms, died in the Nazi camps, etc. These are the people who stood together at Mount Sinai (or so it goes, in Jewish theology). Point being: we’ve been through so much as a people – why would we do that to each other?

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    On “Mad Money,” Cramer back to normal – War Room – Salon.com

    March 13th, 2009 [Financial, General, Television]

    On “Mad Money,” Cramer back to normal – War Room – Salon.com.

    Most disturbing:

    The man himself wasn’t the only one trying to minimize the “Daily Show” interview on Friday. TVNewser reports that producers at Cramer’s sister network MSNBC were asked not to cover it during their own shows.

    Uh, isn’t this similar to the very bullshit Jon Stewart was criticizing? This is news. Sorry, but it is. You don’t get to suppress it just because you’re a little embarrassed that it took a cable comedian to call your network to task for its role in the current economic meltdown.

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    Stewart seen as winner in showdown with Cramer – CNN.com

    March 13th, 2009 [Banking, Financial, General, Television]

    Stewart seen as winner in showdown with Cramer – CNN.com.

    I don’t know why anybody is surprised by this – Jon Stewart always takes his guests to task when he doesn’t agree with them.

    In any event, I (and most people I know) have been saying all along that Jon Stewart provides the best news/commentary on TV right now… glad to see he’s still going strong post-election. His coverage of the 2008 election was the only thing that kept me sane throughout the whole ordeal, even as it drove me crazy to see what was going on. The man deserves a prize.

    Watch the full episode of The Daily Show with guest Jim Cramer.

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    Another twist for the unemployed: Debit card fees – CNN.com

    March 13th, 2009 [Banking, Financial, General]

    Another twist for the unemployed: Debit card fees – CNN.com.

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 30 states offer direct deposit cards to the unemployed. Many of the nation’s biggest banks have contracts with the individual states. JP Morgan Chase, for instance, has contracts with seven states and has pending deals with two others, according to Chase spokesman John T. Murray. About 10 states, the Labor Department says, pay by check only.

    The National Consumer Law Center says fees range from 40 cents to a high of $3 per transaction, if the debit card is used at an out-of-network ATM. Most banks give jobless debit card users one free withdrawal per deposit period, which averages every other week in most states. But consumer advocates, including the Law Center, say the unemployed “should be able to obtain cash and perform basic functions with no fees.”

    Yeah – um, aren’t the banks getting enough taxpayer money without gunning for a share of unemployment funds, too? Next thing you know, they’ll be pulling this same shady business with Social Security checks.

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    Lawyer: Madoff to plead guilty, faces 150 years – CNN.com

    March 10th, 2009 [Financial, General]

    Lawyer: Madoff to plead guilty, faces 150 years – CNN.com.

    While I sincerely doubt it is feasible, I hope that at least some of the investors are able to recover some of their losses. This was horrible.

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    March 10th, 2009 [Coupons & Discounts, General, Health & Wellness]

    iHerb.com: Use the code COF922 at checkout and receive $5 off your first purchase!

    I bought this really amazing elderberry syrup while I was in Seattle – not syrup for pancakes, but tonic-type syrup that you take to boost your immune system when you’re sick or getting sick. I went to restock my supply online, but discovered that the company that makes the product wanted nearly $15 in SHIPPING for one 4oz bottle! I’m all for supporting small businesses, but not when the shipping costs more then the product! So I did what any self-respecting ‘net junkie would do: I Googled the stuff.

    That’s how I found iHerb.com. Not only did they sell the bottles at a discount, but Priority shipping was less than $3 (I think they deliberately take a hit on shipping to encourage people to shop there) even though I bought 2 small bottles and two large bottles! Not only that, but I was able to find a code for $5 off. So four bottles of product – the equivalent of six, in volume – cost me the same ($30) as a single small bottle + shipping would have cost elsewhere. Can’t beat that.

    iHerb.com has lots of popular natural products at discount prices. Use the code COF922 at checkout and receive $5 off your first purchase!

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    Citigroup breaks the buck – Mar. 5, 2009

    March 5th, 2009 [Banking, Civil Rights, Financial, General]

    Citigroup breaks the buck – Mar. 5, 2009.

    This really SUCKS for people who have worked for Citibank for 30+ years, and have relied on the promise of a pension, and stayed with Citibank because they had a pension plan, and have received their annual bonuses in the form of stock options. Hey, guess what? These people now have little to nothing remaining of the pensions, healthcare, and options they earned over three decades’ span. We’re not talking about executives, CEOs and rich investors. We’re talking about middle class employees. What are they supposed to do now?

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    Robert Reich’s Blog: Why Republicans Won’t Support the Stimulus

    February 9th, 2009 [Financial, General]

    Robert Reich’s Blog: Why Republicans Won’t Support the Stimulus.

    Frankly, I think the Republicans need a taste of the same poison they fed to the Dems when they were in charge. Do their floor mics REALLY need to be on?

    It’s so depressing, but not at all surprising – the Congressional Republicans WANT the economy to fail, because it’s the only way they have any hope of recovering Congress in 2010. They have no interest in the wellbeing of the country or in our economic recovery – they care only about their own power. Is that the kind of “leadership” we need right now? No, it’s not, and that’s why we elected a Democratic government.

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    Skinstore discount!!!

    January 23rd, 2009 [Coupons & Discounts, General, Health & Beauty]

    Right now everything is 20% off at SkinStore.com with coupon code YES20. Expires 1/26/09. COOL!

    What’s more, if you sign up with eBates you’ll get $5 in your account automatically, plus you’ll get an additional 8% cash back (checks sent 4x a year) if you click through their skinstore.com link – be sure to click straight through from their page to the shopping site. I’ve used it for a long time and can vouch for its legitimacy – I love my “Big Fat Check”!!!

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    Grey’s Anatomy Season 4 for only $19.99

    January 1st, 2009 [Coupons & Discounts, General, Shopping, Television]

    Holy bloody hell! Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Fourth Season is on sale at Amazon.com for $19.99!!!!!

    You can also get Weeds seasons 1-3 for only $59.99, or $19.99 apiece.

    But OMG, Grey’s for $19.99?!?!?!?! I’m SO there!

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    Ex-Sen. Claiborne Pell, proponent of student grants, dies – CNN.com

    January 1st, 2009 [Education, Financial, General]

    Ex-Sen. Claiborne Pell, proponent of student grants, dies – CNN.com.

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    Commentary: Why we need an obesity tax – CNN.com

    December 18th, 2008 [Financial, General, Health & Wellness]

    Commentary: Why we need an obesity tax – CNN.com.

    I opened this article expecting to be infuriated and ready to launch into a rant about how wrong it is to tax people for their physical condition, which many people can’t actually control… but actually, CNN really should have given the article a better title. Paterson isn’t proposing an obesity tax – he’s proposing a tax on particular products which lead to high rates of obesity, particularly among children: Non-diet sodas, and high-sugar juices that are less than 70% real juice. My only concern is that it will encourage people to buy diet sodas, which are really not the best substitute. Honestly, I’d just as soon see diet sodas taxed too, because the chemicals in those come with their own host of medical problems like cancer and digestive issues. Either way, it’s not an unreasonable tax.

    Now raising taxes on iTunes downloads, on the other hand… wtf?

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    Credit card holders livid about ‘rate-jacking’ – CNN.com

    December 17th, 2008 [Banking, Financial, General]

    Credit card holders livid about ‘rate-jacking’ – CNN.com.

    Count me in on that one. All of my credit card companies pulled that baloney of “We’re jacking up your interest by at least 10%, but of course you can opt out… if you NEVER USE YOUR CARD AGAIN!” But Citibank was the only one that actually required me to CLOSE my account if I didn’t wish to have a 20%+ rate (bearing in mind that my current rate is under 10%). It’s absolute bullshit.

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    When a Job Disappears, So Does the Health Care – NYTimes.com

    December 7th, 2008 [Financial, General, Health & Wellness]

    When a Job Disappears, So Does the Health Care – NYTimes.com.

    In short… we are fucked. Universal healthcare, anybody?

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    Obama unveils 21st Century New Deal – Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin – Politico.com

    December 6th, 2008 [Financial, General, Law & Politics]

    Obama unveils 21st Century New Deal – Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin – Politico.com.

    It’s about fucking time we had a president with real ideas about how to fix this country’s economy. I spent a little bit of time reading the comments, and it’s clear that the conservatives on that site have no idea how we got into this mess in the first place.

    This economic crisis is not the product of liberal rule. It’s the product of Reaganomics, pure and simple. Reagan spent and spent and spent, and slashed taxes instead of paying for his spending. Outwardly he theorized that if he made sure the wealthiest people had lots of money, somehow it would trickle down to benefiting the working class. This was, of course, never the true intention, and I sincerely doubt anybody genuinely thought it was going to work. The ultimate goal was to redistribute wealth upward, accumulating most of the nation’s wealth in a few greedy hands, including his own. And that’s what has happened. The middle class is either dying or dead, and they’re still being taxed an arm and a leg, frequently paying larger effective tax rates than people who make millions of dollars. Reagan got rich people accustomed to paying less than their fair share in taxes, and now they bitch and moan if they see so much as a 1% increase in their rates. Reagan racked up massive amounts of debt, piling it up like no president had before. Then Bush piled it up more than all the other presidents combined – including Reagan! The Bush administration has completely demolished this country’s economy and stability – and no conservative can fix it. It will take a liberal hand to do what needs to be done to clean up the mess left by almost 30 years of Republican tyranny, with only a short but sweet Clintonian respite (partially, anyway, since Congress was still ruled by Republicans during Clinton’s terms).

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    Cash-strapped teacher sells ads on tests – CNN.com

    December 3rd, 2008 [Education, Financial, General]

    Cash-strapped teacher sells ads on tests – CNN.com.

    It’s sad that it had to come to this… but hey, the guy is smart! Here’s hoping this doesn’t become a permanent fix.

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    It’s official: U.S. in a recession for the past year

    December 1st, 2008 [Financial, General, News, US]

    It’s official: We’ve been in a recession for a full year now.

    This, from the National Institute of DUH!

    Of course, it’s good to know that this isn’t all in our heads… you know, like some sort of mental recession by a nation of whiners

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    Pink Dollars

    November 30th, 2008 [Civil Rights, Financial, General]

    Pam’s House Blend:: Shopping With My Pink Dollars…How Much Research Do I Need To Do?.

    Shopping with my pink dollars in a way that rewards businesses that have progressive policies for their trans employees apparently is going to take a lot of effort on my part. I believe after watching Milk on T-Day night, I believe it’s incredibly important to reward the businesses that support people like me the most.

    Turns out the company she was looking at was doing the BARE minimum to get a 100% rating from HRC – and it wasn’t very much. I don’t think anybody should be surprised that HRC isn’t going to provide a sufficient measure for trans-friendly businesses… considering they’re not particularly trans-friendly themselves. 😛

    As for anybody who would criticize and claim we’re “blacklisting” companies for their beliefs? Guess what? You people have been doing this for YYEEEEEEAARS. Just ask the American Family Association, which has browbeaten countless corporations into repealing their support for LGBT causes or pulling their advertising from gay-friendly TV programming, and which has organized multiple boycotts of companies which simply committed the heinous crime of offering domestic partnership benefits to its employees. OH NOES – EQUALITY! Punish! Punish! Kill! Kill!

    Deal with it. It’s a taste of your own damned medicine.

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