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1906 – San Francisco – photo from airship

click to enlarge


Via: Boing Boing

‘San Francisco before the great fire: rare, public domain 1906 video’



NOTE: Seeing how people drove in 1906, I find it a wonder ANYONE survived to see 1907!


September 16, 2011 Posted by | U.S. Cities | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Default rate at US for-profit schools UP to 15 PERCENT

Via: Reuters

New U.S. Education Department figures show rising default rates on student loans with the sharpest increase among students at for-profit trade schools and colleges.

For students in the for-profit sector, the default rate for those who should have started paying back loans in the 2009 fiscal year rose to 15 percent from 11.6 percent for those whose payments began in 2008.

Overall, student default rates rose to 8.8 percent from 7 percent for students at all types of post-secondary schools, the department said.

High default rates can penalize schools under a government crackdown on poor graduation rates in some programs.

The toughest rule would ban schools from taking students with federal loans if at least 35 PERCENT of graduates and dropouts of programs are not paying back their loans, or meet other criteria.

A trade group of 1,500 for-profit schools, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, is challenging that rule, among others.

APSCU argued that the default rates announced on Monday were misleading, partially because of steps taken by the schools to address problems in recent months, calling the data “looking in the rear view mirror.”

“We believe that the default rates will go down when the economy improves and the unemployment rate drops,” (BRILLIANT!) the group said in a statement.



Via: Raw Reply June 8, 2011

Acting on orders from the U.S. Department of Education, a S.W.A.T. team broke into a California home Tuesday at 6 a.m. and roughed up a man — because of his estranged wife’s defaulted student loans, ABC News10 reported. She wasn’t there.

Yet, Kenneth Wright of the city of Stockton was grabbed by the neck by handcuffed before he and his three young children were put in a police car as the officers searched his house, he told ABC News10. He said he was in his underwear the whole time.

“They busted down my door for this. It wasn’t even me,” Wright told the local news station. “All I want is an apology for me and my kids and for them to get me a new door.”

Local police were reportedly not involved in the incident.



personal thought:

I see NO SIGN the economy will improve, and unemployment rates will drop, in 2011 OR 2012.

IF things don’t get better, I can imagine some very angry young people, perhaps not as angry as those in the UK; but perhaps, even angrier.


photo: Seattle, November 30, 1999


September 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Social Security concerns unnerve Florida seniors

Via: Reuters

Florida seniors were so rattled by proposed changes to Social Security emerging in the U.S. political debate that their consumer confidence levels plunged more than that of any other age group in August, an economic survey showed.

And that was BEFORE Texas Governor Rick Perry called the popular retirement program a “Ponzi scheme” during last week’s debate among Republican presidential candidates.

It would be difficult to overstate the impact of Social Security in Florida, a longtime retirement haven that is the most populous of the political swing states.

Consumer confidence among Floridians over 60 plunged nine points to 57 in August, according to the latest monthly survey conducted by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

It was the biggest drop among any age group in the survey, which put the overall Florida confidence score at 62 (truthfully, I’m surprised it’s that high), barely above recession level.



photo: Yup, definitely Florida!


September 13, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, GOP morons, Huntsman, Perry, Romney, Ron Paul, Santorum, teabaggers | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ALL of THEM – ‘GOP Morons of the Day’

Via: Think Progress

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): “More stimulus? Do we really need ‘son of  stimulus’? We passed a trillion dollars in stimulus. Will billions more do the job? There is nothing new here…I hope Congress doesn’t pass this plan.”

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA): “The failed stimulus and its successor policies have proven that massive government deficit spending is not the solution — it is the problem.” Issa also “poo-pooed the president’s job package, saying it sounds like a ‘second stimulus.’”

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): “Although the plan we heard tonight sounds a lot like a replay of his 2009 stimulus bill, even the President has now come to realize what Americans have known for some time, it simply didn’t work. $800 billion in federal spending got us where we are today.”

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL): “This seems to be nothing more than a son of stimulus proposal that will generate more political rhetoric than jobs. If that is the case, I will firmly reject it.”

REP. ANDY HARRIS (R-MD): “We didn’t hear a whole lot new. This is basically ‘stimulus two.’

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): “Two and a half years after the President’s signature jobs bill was signed into law, 1.7 million fewer Americans have jobs. So, I’d say that Americans have 1.7 million reasons to oppose another stimulus.”

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN REINCE PREIBUS: “Despite one failed stimulus, the President wants even more deficit spending.”


Of course, all of this criticism is based on the incorrect assumption that the 2009 Recovery Act didn’t work.

But as the Congressional Budget Office has continually found, the Recovery Act created or supported MILLIONS of JOBS, keeping the unemployment rate up to TWO POINTS BELOW where it otherwise would have been.

At its height in the third quarter of 2010, Recovery Act funds were supporting up to 3.6 million jobs.



September 10, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Bachmann, GOP morons | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Pay for Chiefs Outstrips U.S. Taxes

Via: NYT – the NEW ‘Fair and Balance’

At least 25 top United States companies paid more to their chief executives in 2010 than they did to the federal government in taxes, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The companies — which include household names like eBay, Boeing, General Electric and Verizon — averaged $1.9 billion each in profits, according to the study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal-leaning (that doesn’t mean the numbers are wrong, does it?) research group. But a variety of shelters, loopholes and tax reduction strategies allowed the companies to average $304 million each in tax benefits — which can be taken as a refund or used as write-off against earnings in future years.

The chief executives of those companies were paid an average of more than $16 million a year, the study found, a figure substantially higher than the $10.8 million average for all companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.

The financial data in the report was taken from the companies’ regulatory filings, which can differ from what is actually filed on a corporate tax return. Even in a year when a company claims an overall tax benefit, it may pay some cash taxes while accumulating credits that can be redeemed in future years. For instance, General Electric reported a federal tax benefit of more than $3 billion in 2010, but company officials said they still expected to pay a SMALL AMOUNT of cash taxes (‘while accumulating credits that can be redeemed in future years’ – hey, that’s fair).



“Hey Citizen, you dropped the soap” – Republican/Tea/Libertarian Party


September 1, 2011 Posted by | 2012, GOP morons, teabaggers | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joseph Stiglitz – ‘Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%’

Via: Vouge

It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened.

The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year.

In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent.

One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided.

While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride.

Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran.

While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.


This is half the first page of the five page article. You can read the rest, HERE:



Via: Columbia News

Columbia University Professor Joseph Stiglitz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics on Wednesday (10-10-01) by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


August 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Infrastructure woes take toll on US economy-engineers

Via: Reuters

Failing infrastructure will cost the United States billions of dollars in lost productivity, income and trade in coming decades, according to a civil engineering report released on Wednesday that said the impact on gross domestic product could reach $2.7 TRILLION.

The American Society of Civil Engineers regularly tallies the amount needed to upkeep declining U.S. roads, bridges and waterways. It said the country will need to invest roughly $220 billion annually to maintain the country’s infrastructure in “MINIMUM TOLERABLE CONDITIONS,”

It said the gap between infrastructure needs and federal funding is growing. (yeah, well no kidding)


Without improvement to the country’s transportation system, the economy will lose 400,000 jobs by 2040, it said, and income will take a hit.

“By 2040 American households will be not only earning less in income; they will also be spending $54 billion more on transportation costs than they would with a fully sufficient system,” it said.



July 28, 2011 Posted by | 2012, GOP morons | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neighbor vs. neighbor as homeowner fights get ugly

Via: AP

‘As more are unable to pay homeowners’ fees, associations pit neighbor against neighbor’


The Inlet House condo complex in Fort Pierce, Fla., was once the kind of place the 55-and-older set aspired to. It was affordable. The pool and clubhouse were tidy, the lawns freshly snipped. Residents, push-carts in tow, walked to the beach, the bank, the beauty parlor, the cinema and the supermarket. In post-crash America, this was a dreamy little spot. Especially on a fixed income.

But that was Inlet House BEFORE:

– the rats started chewing through the toilet seats in vacant units and sewage started seeping from the ceiling.

– condos that were worth $79,000 four years ago sold for as little as $3,000.

– the homeowners’ association levied $6,000 assessments on everyone — and then foreclosed on seniors who couldn’t pay the association bill, even if they didn’t owe the bank a dime.

Normally, it’s the bankers who go after delinquent homeowners. But in communities governed by the mighty homeowners’ association, as the sour economy leaves more people unable to pay their fees, it’s neighbor versus neighbor.

” What the board is doing is trying to foreclose on people to force people out the door,” says Mike Silvestri, 75, who stopped paying his dues at Inlet House in protest over what he considers unnecessary and unaffordable assessments.

He and others say there were cheaper ways to deal with the rat infestation and leaky sewage that led the board to order up a costly plumbing overhaul. “They are bamboozling old people. I’m old, but I’m not senile,” he says.


To combat the rise in delinquencies, boards are switching off utilities, garnishing income and axing cable. They are yanking pool passes and banning the billiard room. And, in the most extreme cases, they are foreclosing.

The treacherous part is that homeowners’ associations are acting like a local government without restraints, and they have this extraordinary power,” says Marjorie Murray, a lawyer and founder of the Center for California Homeowner Association Law.

Today, one in five U.S. homeowners is subject to the will of the homeowners’ association, whose boards oversee 24.4 million homes. More than 80 percent of newly constructed homes in the U.S are in association communities.

And of the nation’s 300,000 homeowners’ associations, more than 50 percent now face “serious financial problems,” according to a September survey by the Community Association Institute.

An October survey found that 65 percent of homeowners’ associations have delinquency rates higher than 5 percent, up from 19 percent of associations in 2005.



July 12, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Herman Cain Pledges Not To Sign Any Bill Longer Than Three Pages

Via: Think Progress


Herman ‘Keep it Simple, for the Simpletons!’ Cain:

“Engage the people. Don’t try to pass a 2,700 page bill — and even they didn’t read it!

You and I didn’t have time to read it. We’re too busy trying to live — send our kids to school. That’s why I am only going to allow small bills — THREE PAGES.

You’ll have time to read that one over the dinner table. What does Herman Cain, President Cain talking about in this particular bill?”




The Pocket Constitution

usconstitution.net has printed a special edition copy of The Constitution of the United States that has been proofed word for word against the original Constitution housed in the Archives in Washington, D.C. It is identical in spelling, capitalization and punctuation.

This 48 PAGE Pocket CONSTITUTION also includes the Bill of Rights, Amendments 11-27, The Declaration of Independence, and a complete index of the Constitution.



June 8, 2011 Posted by | 2012, Cain, GOP morons | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(1 of 2) Uganda: UN warns on population pressure

Via: Daily Monitor

Uganda has been ranked among “high fertility” countries in the world which will contribute most to the bulge in population size in the next decades, a United Nations report has revealed.

The World Population Prospects, the official UN population projections report, shows that these high fertility countries will see rising population growth till the end of the century.
By this time, it is estimated the world population will be 10.1 billion.

Uganda’s population growth rate, currently at 3.2 per cent is the third highest in the world after Yemen and Niger. There were an estimated 31 million Ugandans by 2010 from just 5 million in 1948.

This figure is projected to grow to 60 million by 2030 and eventually reach the  100 million mark in 2050.




2010 – estimated 31 million

2050 – estimated 100 million

IF the poulation rate continues at 3.2%

2100 – the estimated population will be 483 million


Note: To put the Uganda population of 483 million in perspective; the estimated 2010 population of the United Staes is 308 million, and is growing at 0.9%.



May 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment