Monday, April 29, 2013

Sandy Damaged Coastal Neighborhoods

New York Coastal Communities Worry Whether Tourists Will Come--Many restaurants and other businesses still closed since Hurricane Sandy, in places like Sheepshead Bay, Red Hook and the Rockaways, are concerned about the coming season (source infra)

Damaged Coastal Neighborhoods Worry About Tourist Season - "Along a six-block stretch of Mermaid Avenue, a commercial street in Coney Island that caters to much of the year-round poor and working-class population, many stores are still locked — among them, a Chase bank, a McDonald’s, a bagel store, a Chinese restaurant, a check-cashing place and a Mexican deli. Edward Cosmé, head of the avenue’s trade association, said his 13-year-old beauty parlor, Hair For U, is open only because he spent $40,000 of his own money to replace hair dryers and salon chairs destroyed in the storm, and he received a $25,000 loan at 1 percent interest and $10,000 in cash from the city’s Department of Small Business Services. But the number of customers is down by more than a third, he said, because some residents displaced by the storm have not returned." (read more at link above)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Turn Record Profits

privatized profits and socialized losses--

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Turn Record Profits | New Republic: "The new enticements to coax that private capital back into the market look even less advantageous to investors. As a result, we have this strange limbo, with the status quo in place to prop up the housing market. At the moment, Fannie and Freddie’s profitability means a windfall for taxpayers, as the companies must pay the bulk of their profits to the Treasury. But that won’t hold forever. And this anxiety about a government-sponsored housing market could lead to big banks getting their wish—a market with privatized profits and socialized losses."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

North Korea Does Not Want War

North Korea Doesn't Want War - Business Insider: "“This is part of a calculated, psychological campaign to increase a sense of crisis and get international attention.” Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies in South Korea, told Ellen Barry of The New York Times. The bottom line is that North Korea's people are starving, and this kind of rhetoric is an audacious attempt to unify the country in the country in the face of UN sanctions and perhaps force the international community to give it some much-needed aid."

Monday, April 22, 2013

CNN Classic

Borowitz (New Yorker) delivers a "classic"--

CNN Quits Breaking News, Becomes "CNN Classic" : The New Yorker: " . . . CNN announced today that it would no longer air breaking news and would instead re-run news stories of the past “that we know we got right.” The rebranded network, to début nationwide on Monday, will be called “CNN Classic.” “Breaking news is hard,” said the newly installed CNN chief, Jeff Zucker. “You have to talk to sources, make sure their stories check out O.K., and then get on the air and not say anything stupid. I, for one, am thrilled to be getting out of that horrible business.”. . ." (read more at link)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Jeff Bezos explains to Amazon investors why no profits are good

Surprise! Jeff Bezos explains to Amazon investors why no profits are a good thing | The Verge: "Amazon lost money in fiscal 2012: a net loss of $39 million, or 9 cents per share. A loss is never good news for investors, even investors as sanguine as Amazon's. Without naming the source or author, Bezos quotes Matthew Yglesias' admiring characterization of Amazon as a "charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers.""

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

American Best Cities - Chicago

America's 50 Best Cities - The Best Places to Live - Businessweek: "Chicago must address its increasing gang violence and high crime, as well as poor air quality and major economic issues."

Hey, it's still one of the "best places to live."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Totally change the way you are wasting your life

Facebook Unveils New Waste of Time : The New Yorker: "Before a rapt audience at Facebook headquarters Thursday, Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg unveiled new software that he promised “will totally change the way you are wasting your life.”" read more at link above

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Falkland Islands Oil Wealth

But for Maggie Thatcher, RIP, this would be a different story--

The Falkland Islands Brace for Oil Wealth - Businessweek: "The field, known as Sea Lion, contains about 400 million barrels of oil, according to Rockhopper Exploration (RKH), the explorer that discovered it three years ago. Premier Oil (PMO) of the U.K. agreed to take over operating the field last year with a $1 billion investment. The islands can expect to receive $3.9 billion in royalties and $6.6 billion in tax revenue over the life of the field, according to Edison. Those figures may increase if more oil is found around Sea Lion or if gas finds drilled last year are deemed to be of commercial value. “There’s strong potential for more reservoirs to be discovered and developed,” says Ian McLelland, head of oil and gas at Edison. The money will go mostly to the sovereign wealth fund. . . ."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Prison Operator GEO Group Withdraws $6 Million Gift for Florida Atlantic University

The higher education racket and the prison industrial complex really don't mix-- 

GEO Group Withdraws $6 Million Gift for Florida Atlantic University | NBC 6 South Florida: "Shortly after the $6 million gift was announced in February, students and activists expressed outrage, saying some facilities operated by the group have come under fire for human rights violations. "The deal was being called Owlcatraz, it's a combinations between the owls the FAU mascot and Alcatraz, the famous prison off of the bay area," student Gonzalo Vizcardo said. FAU's Faculty Senate opposed the name change and the student government was expected to also vote on a similar resolution later this week. . . ."

Monday, April 8, 2013

Most expensive gas in the lower 48?

Most expensive gas in the lower 48? Chicago, Obama's hometown--

U.S. Gasoline Prices Fall to $3.6467/Gal in Lundberg Survey - Bloomberg: "The highest price for gasoline in the lower 48 U.S. states among the markets surveyed was in Chicago, where the average was $4.05 a gallon, Lundberg said. The lowest price was in Billings, Montana, where customers paid an average of $3.33 a gallon."

Friday, April 5, 2013

Google Glass Backlash

Google Glass is Provoking a Backlash Because it's Rude to Wear a Computer over Your Eye | MIT Technology Review: "I’ve been reminded of that cyborg encounter by the advent of Google Glass, the Mann-like computer that has provoked a backlash even before hitting the market. I’m on record as predicting that Glass won’t take off except in very specific applications and certain jobs (like a surgeon, augmented for the very first time). But perhaps this is wishful thinking. Because one of the biggest strikes against Glass—that it looks hopelessly dorky—probably will go away as the design is refined. And then the only reason left for people to avoid it would be the fear of seeming like a jerk."

You want to know who will wear these (besides geeks)? Cops and military. Kinda scary.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Gangs are part of the Chicago fabric

part of the Chicago fabric for decades--

Page 2: Father of Murdered Baby Jonylah Was Not a Gang Member: Spokesman - ABC News: " . . . . Brooks described four major gangs that operate across the city: The BD's, or Black Disciples, a large African American gang that operates across the country but is based in Chicago, the GDs; or Gangster Disciples, which formed in the city's South Side in the late 1960s; the Black Pistons, a motorcycle gang; and the Vice Lords, or the Almighty Vice Lord Nation, the city's second-largest gang. "From those they have splinter groups, and that's where a lot of the violence happens," Brooks said. "It's part of the Chicago fabric, unfortunately. For decades.". . . "

Who's going to change the "fabric?"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Prison Inmate Wins $15.5 Million

He will never get justice--$15 million doesn't come close--

Prison Inmate ‘Forgotten’ for 2 Years Wins $15.5M | - JDSupra: "An inmate in a New Mexico county jail who was put in solitary confinement for nearly two years without being charged has won a $15.5 million settlementA jury awarded Stephen Slevin $22 million in his suit against Doña Ana County in January of 2012. The county appealed, but agreed last week to pay the $15.5 million settlement and drop its appeal of the verdict. Slevin, now 59, was arrested on a drunk driving charge in August 2005. He spent 22 months in solitary confinement at the Doña Ana County Detention Center as a pretrial detainee. The charges for driving while intoxicated and receiving a stolen vehicle were never prosecuted. According to his lawsuit, he entered jail as a “well nourished, physically healthy adult,” but by the time he was released in June 2007, he had an unkempt beard, bed sores, dental problems, and weighed only 133 pounds. Slevin said he had to pull out his own teeth and his cries for help were ignored. Slevin, who had a long history of mental illness prior to his arrest, also suffered a drastic deterioration in his mental state. After nearly two years spent in solitary confinement without treatment he was no longer aware of his surroundings at the time of his release. “They threw him in solitary and then ignored him,” said his attorney, Matthew Coyte. “He disappeared into delirium and his mental illness was made worse by being isolated from human contact and a lack of medical care.” His lawsuit claimed the county violated his due process rights under the Constitution because he was never given a hearing before he was put in solitary confinement. Coyte said he hopes the case helps stop the use solitary confinement in America. “Other countries recognize it as a form of torture, whereas America uses it as a routine method of incarceration,” Coyte said. He said that families of those in solitary confinement see the effects of this “barbaric treatment,” in which an inmate is isolated from daylight or human contact for all but one hour per day. . . ." (read more at the link above)

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