Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Solar Energy Is Much Cheaper Than You Think

What's the cost of solar today? Well, it depends a great deal on where exactly you are located, but no matter where you're located, I'd bet that most of you have a cost of solar in your head that's 2-100 times greater than the actual cost of solar power.

One of the things I majored in for my bachelor's degree (a long time back) was sociology. I think one of the key lessons I learned in those four years was that we are not exactly rational beings (okay, I guess I had a sense of that beforehand). Societal theories and economic models based on the idea of humans making completely rational decisions simply don't work. There are a lot of different reasons for this, but one huge one is that we often don't have all the information we would need in order to make a rational decision.

In a related manner, something I've learned in my several years reading and writing about clean energy is that the average person has a price of solar power or price of wind power in their heads that is at least a few years old, sometimes even many years old.

No criticism from me - I know how busy modern life is! It's often hard to make time even for the essentials. If you're not working and living in the clean energy arena, you probably don't feel like you have time to practice your clean energy free throws (i.e. keep up with the price of different energy technologies).

But energy is a huge deal. It's most likely a big portion of your monthly expenditures. And it has a transformational effect on the world we live in. But we won't get into all that today - let's get into the fun stuff! I'm going to catch you up on some tremendously awesome news about solar power.
First, however, to make one of my points, I need to give you a short briefing on some wind power facts. (I know, this is getting complicated - just stick with me.) On average, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance study has found that people think wind power is about twice as expensive as it actually is.
Unfortunately, I'm not aware of a similar study on solar power. But I think this is still very useful for solar power for a few reasons. To get to those, we have to ask, "Why do people think wind power is so much more expensive than it is?"

From my experience covering this topic for years, I have a few ideas:

Wind turbine prices have fallen 29% since 2008, and about 50% since 1990. Very possibly, people simply have an outdated price of wind power in their heads. It's quite logical - if they heard the price of wind power 10 years ago but haven't kept up with changes in the industry, they simply have that one price in their heads.

There's a lot of bashing of renewable energy by certain politicians and media agencies. In particular, one of the most repeated claim is that "renewable energy is too expensive." For those tied to the coal, natural gas, and nuclear industries, this falsehood is key to their own financial success, because everyone knows that wind and solar power are popular with the masses, and almost everyone knows they're clean and good. The only hope for these dirtier industries is to try to convince people that clean energy is more expensive... even when it's not.

However, the even bigger news is that the two points above apply to solar power even much more than wind power!

Solar power prices have fallen off a cliff in recent years.

Yep, if you have a 1977 price of solar panels stuck in your head, you think solar panels are 100 times more expensive than they actually are. If you have a year 2000 price of solar panels stuck in your head, you think they're about twice as expensive as they actually are. Even if you have a 2008 price of solar panels stuck in your head, that's about 80% too high. And, actually, even if you have an early 2012 price of solar panels in your head, that's about 20% too high!

Did you get a solar quote back in 2008? If so, it's probably quite a bit higher than it would be today. Maybe it's time to check again?

But while we're at it, let's not forget the political and media coverage. Either through simple lack of awareness, or something more nefarious, many politicians and members of the media repeatedly assert that solar power is "so expensive." They've got outdated information in their heads. Don't listen to them. Check the numbers for yourself. And, very importantly, share this information with your friends and family so that they are not tricked by outdated information and misinformed media professionals and politicians.

I think the points above are quite interesting and informative. But there's a lot more to say about the cost of solar.

I do some freelance research and writing for Cost of Solar (http://www.costofsolar.com), a nationwide network of highly experienced, licensed solar professionals dedicated to raising awareness and educating the public about the benefits of solar energy. You can view some of my other posts and some I've contributed research to at http://costofsolar.com/news/

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Obamacare Joke Is On Us

A tongue-in-cheek warning is making the rounds: If an email offers you a functioning link to create an account on HealthCare.gov, it's a scam run by offshore con artists. Nothing on the legitimate HealthCare.gov website actually functions.

President Obama clearly senses that his signature policy achievement is on the verge of becoming a laughingstock. He responded yesterday, as is his habit, by staging a campaign-style appearance in the Rose Garden, complete with hand-picked ordinary citizens serving as silent witnesses to the Affordable Care Act's merits, while the president declared that "there's no excuse for the problems." (1)

One of those ordinary citizens, expectant mother Karmel Allison, provided a rare unscripted moment when she became woozy as she stood behind the president. Obama, who is much more likeable when he gets out of his near-constant campaign mode, quickly turned to help her as he quipped, "This happens when I talk too long." (2)

There was little else to smile about when the commander-in-chief, stating only the obvious, announced that HealthCare.gov is too slow, that "there's no excuse for the problems," and that "they are being fixed" by "some of the best IT talent in the country." (1) (That might be part of the problem. In the absence of immigration reform, maybe we should be recruiting the IT talent behind some of those fraudulent offshore websites.) At the same time, the president churlishly admonished Republicans who have opposed this law at every turn to stop "rooting for its failure." (1) He sounded like the manager of a losing ballclub who blames opposing fans for booing his players.

Obama's broad points, however, were perfectly fair - and perfectly irrelevant. Eventually, the federal website that provides an individual insurance market for 36 states will be fixed, after a fashion. Consumers will, someday, be able to go online, compare their insurance options, obtain a price that reflects any government subsidies for which they qualify, and sign up.

But it is going to take more than just speeding up the site before that can happen. Though the federal Health and Human Services department has imposed a virtual news blackout on the website's performance, word is leaking out from insurance companies that only a trickle of customers gets through, and that many of those who make it through the maze are being mishandled. Some of the information funneled to insurers is wildly inaccurate, including customers who are reported as having multiple spouses or who have signed up for multiple concurrent insurance policies.

Even after those more serious technical problems are ironed out, we will be left with a law whose fundamental architecture is flawed beyond redemption. The statute gives the sick an ironclad right to obtain insurance they are certain to buy, but healthy people have only a minimally enforced "mandate" to purchase coverage that is inherently overpriced in order to cover those who are already sick. Large employers have already received a one-year reprieve from their own mandate to offer coverage, and many are reducing their full-time headcount anyway, further diminishing the pool of people over whom risk is spread.

It gets worse. Though the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act's basic constitutionality last year, it sided with the roughly half the states that have chosen to opt out of the expansion of Medicaid, which was crucial to the law's goal of providing near-universal coverage. More litigation is underway on the question of whether the law even allows the government to offer, in the 36 states that do not offer their own exchanges, the planned subsidies for coverage for households with income between the poverty level and four times greater. A defeat on that point would mean that Obamacare would require millions of Americans to buy insurance that they simply could not afford, at least if they want to attend to matters such as paying rent or eating. The individual mandate would certainly fall at that point, leaving insurers forced to cover mainly the sick people who would still buy policies - policies whose prices would inevitably spiral upward.

The president faults Republicans for "rooting" for the law to fail. But if Obama and his party wanted GOP buy-in, the time to get it was when legislators were writing the law. It would have been a tedious, messy, uncertain process, and it might not have borne fruit. Yet had Obama asked lawmakers of both parties to help him draft a health care reform plan, he might well have gotten a sound blueprint, just as he did with the Simpson-Bowles plan for deficit reduction. (Obama did not ultimately support that deficit plan, but at least the process demonstrated that compromise is possible on difficult issues when the two parties actually work together.)

Right now neither side is being practical. Obama and other Democrats pretend that fixing Obamacare is just a matter of fixing a website. Republicans want to stop Obamacare by any means necessary - but they have no plan whatsoever for what would happen next. If the Affordable Care Act disappeared, we would still be left with serious issues of affordability and availability.

Most Americans wanted someone to do something about these issues. Somebody - namely Democrats - did. Getting what we wanted, and belatedly discovering that it isn't what we really wanted, is going to be the least funny joke of all.

1) The Washington Post, "Obama on health-care site: 'There's no excuse for the problems, and they are being fixed.'"
2) The New York Daily News, "'This happens when I talk too long:' President Obama helps fainting audience member during long-winded speech"
For more articles, please visit the Palisades Hudson Financial Group LLC newsletter or subscribe to the blog.
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Monday, May 31, 2010

First Argentina and Now the EU - Who Will Be Next?

To be realistic, we have to recognize that the federal government's growth rate has been accelerating, and continues to accelerate, under the present administration, while at the same time, the private sector continues to shrink. So, the real question is "How will the government sustain itself?"

The logical solution would be for the government to do what we all should do, and that is to learn to live within our means. Realistically, the government (i.e. most politicians) never will support that approach for multiple reasons, including procuring enough votes to ensure re-election. Also thwarting this approach is the fact that US debt is becoming less attractive to foreign buyers (Source: Washington Post, April 7, 2010). Therefore, the only alternatives seem to be:

1. Print more money,
2. Generate more revenue through increased taxes, or
3. Figure out new ways to access OUR assets.

Just to set the background based on facts, let us review what happened in Argentina. In 1902, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. At that time, the US was the only country close to Argentina in terms of being the second most powerful economy in the world. Both countries were running behind Great Britain.

In 1916, a new president was elected. The campaign appealed to the middle class and was predicated upon "fundamental change." The changes that were implemented included: "mandatory pensions, mandatory health care and support for low income housing.... to stimulate the economy." These programs resulted in two major changes: (1) the government assumed more control over the economy and (2) new taxes were assessed to fund the government's efforts. Not surprisingly, after some time the government's payouts exceeded the taxpayers contributions.

Do you think this is starting to sound a lot like the US entitlement programs -- specifically Social Security and Medicare? If you are not getting concerned yet, then read on!

The situation in Argentina only got worse under the Peron administration when the target of all the rhetoric first focused on the "rich" and then broadened to include the "middle class." Under Juan Peron's administration, government went through a rapid expansion, labor unions grew and social spending accelerated geometrically. Long after Peron was gone, the government continued spending way beyond its means resulting in "hyperinflation" in 1989.

By 1994, the net result of all of the new income taxes, taxes on the wealthy, value added taxes, etc. totally crushed the private sector. In 2002, Argentina was experiencing an economic collapse very much like the Great Depression in the US.

In summary, in a period of 100 years Argentina declined from the number two position in the world to a state of abject poverty whereby they were unable to meet their debt obligations.

Just think what would happen if America follows the same path as Argentina. As reported by the Heritage Foundation on October 31, 2008, Argentina's president "announced she would move forward with her plan to seize the nation's private pension funds.... seizure of the funds is necessary to protect Argentinian's from the global market crisis. But most observers believe the real motive is to use the $30 billion in seized assets to ease massive debt obligations her... government has run up."

If our government adopted the same approach, perhaps on a more subtle basis, IRA accounts alone would provide access to about 4 trillion dollars. Just think about how many new government spending programs, new Czars and new agencies that amount of money could support!

I would have to say that seizure of assets is most likely is beyond the scope of probability in the US. Seizure of retirement assets probably will not happen, but eating away at OUR freedom of choice regarding retirement savings could happen one bite at a time.

Consider the following:

1. The New York Times recently recognized that Social Security already has begun to "pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes, an important threshold it was not expected to cross until 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office."
2. The US Treasury has begun introducing proposals to provide various incentives to divert money toward "government approved investments."
3. Based on a study conclusion that most Americans have saved very little for retirement to supplement their Social Security benefits, there are advocates in the present administration who are proposing to force workers to save five per cent of their income. Maybe that is not such a bad idea except that it is further proposed that these savings go directly into a "Guaranteed Retirement Account" run by the government. The net result of this proposal would be to leave less for you to control through an IRA. Moreover, you have to ask yourself, What would protect this account from ending up in exactly the same condition as Social Security?

I do not know about you, but it seems to me that there is an ill wind blowing us all down the same path as Argentina. Keep your eyes open! Watch for the first step which likely will be naming the US Government Czar of Retirement!

As an added thought, if you cannot relate to Argentina's history, take a close look at the growth of social programs in the European Union during the past 60 years, and look at where they are today!

The time line for failure seems to be shrinking -- it took Argentina 100 years; it only took the EU 60 years. How quickly will the next country fail financially, and more importantly, might it be us?

Mr. Newman has roughly 40 years of industry experience - 28 years as part of the Ford Motor Company management team, and more recently, as President and COO of the Strategic Alliances Consulting Group, Inc. His business background encompasses a broad spectrum of experience in various disciplines including purchasing, finance, product planning, export planning, business planning and international business development.

On behalf of Ford Motor Company and his other clients, Mr. Newman successfully negotiated a variety of joint ventures, licensing agreements, acquisitions and divestitures around the world. As President and COO of Strategic Alliances, he developed a strategic and business planning process that was implemented successfully at many automotive supplier operations in North America and in Europe, at a charitable organization and in several entrepreneurial business enterprises.

To read more about Mr. Newman's business insights on business alliances, negotiation and other must have business tips, read his Book, Beyond the Chicken Dance (http://www.beyondthechickendance.com)


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Global Economies, Equities, Currencies and Gold Markets on Edge!

Global Economies Are On Edge

I know for many of us...news seems to be nothing more than presentation of a gathering of all the negative information available to fill twenty minutes of a thirty minute time slot. Stories of intense individual crisis from around the world in addition to global economic and environmental crisis is more than we were meant to handle in my opinion. It is like the media's goal it to help us pretend to be all knowing - Omniscient. God did not intend for His people to be constantly bombarded with one negative fact after another covering all corners of the world. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think on such things." This should be our guide; but in today's world - is that even possible?

Not if you are focused on the current economies of the world... especially western economies. About the only good news is that the near crisis we are watching every day is affecting change - the great de-leveraging of overleveraged economies around the world. It was inevitable. Aside from this, there was/is little 'truth' in today's economies. They have been built on overextended promises by people who never intended to be held accountable.

Global Equities on Edge

The DOW Jones Industrial Average and other markets have seen sudden and dramatic decline over the last few weeks. I wrote about this in earlier articles many months ago. It is like everyone is sitting nervously at their computers with their finger right above the send button on nothing but "sell' orders. For over four months, the markets have been trying to go higher...but they want to go lower. Can you feel it? A sense of foreboding...like something bad is going to happen and it could be quick and severe. We have seen it before. We are treading on thin ice.

With the near record stock market recovery of the last year, you would think everyone would be happy. What is happening is that even those who understand little know that most every economic indicator available points to broad based problems. I could list them for you if I wanted to add to the laundry list of pain...stock valuations, unemployment, residential real estate, commercial real estate, bank failures, government bailouts of companies and recently other countries....but the biggest, most worrisome of them all - global government deficit spending. And the point I need you to understand? Your intuition is correct if you are feeling uncomfortable. Is there any other proof? Yes there is. The price of Gold and other precious metals.

Gold Markets on Edge?

Stock market recoveries are not paralleled by increases in the price of Gold. They almost always move in opposites. If there ever was a reason to worry about the state of global economics in my opinion, it can be summarized by the continued rise in the price of gold even as equities markets went up. Why?

There are more gold buyers than there are sellers. I am not just referring to individuals either, although this is true. I recently read an account where the travelers were in retail shops in China and there are floors where retail gold of all types are sold to the public....gold bars and gold coins specifically, and it was wall to wall, elbow to elbow people, and they were not just looking - they were buying.

China on Edge?

The new found wealth in China is scared. They are one of the few economies that seem to have everything going for it, yet these folks are trusting little of it...they want hard assets...real estate and gold. And since real estate has doubled in one year, they want gold. If you are a would-be gold buyer, you are competing with these folks.

But they are not alone. Central Banks and other countries have switched from long time net sellers of gold to buyers over the last two years. If I had to ask that you focus on just one thing, it would be this fact. These same institutions have been telling everyone for years that gold is not money, it is a relic left over from the old days when all currencies were tied to gold...the gold standard. Yet when the International Monetary Fund announced their plan to sell gold to generate some cash for struggling countries months ago, there was a line of would be buyers ready to take all they could sell. They eventually sold 200 tons to India - China wasn't happy. They did all they could to secure that gold. China is the largest producer of gold on Earth and yet they are looking to buy all they can find.

Fiat Currencies on Edge!

I answered this in other articles...why do all these governments and banks want gold? Back-up my friend. The same reason you should be taking the time right now to become proficient in these markets. There is still time - but not much.
You need to be careful. Trust me, I know; the precious metals markets can be very unforgiving. I am 100% convinced you need to be in them. You need to own gold. However, not just any gold, at any price...get educated by knowledgeable, un-biased, experienced people with only your interest at heart to be your guide. Find advocates.

For me, taking positive action in the middle of all the economic pain allows me some freedom to focus on the positive. As the Paul suggests...doing this is an active endeavor. It is work. It is not a passive act. Remembering that there is much that is more important than all of this also helps. During challenging times, it is a good idea to re-set your priorities on a macro level. For many, God, family, other people, health...so much more rank above the problems of today. But God did give us all a mind and I believe He expects us to use it.

I want to close with a final request. Print out this article and stick it away for a year. In one year, take it out and read it. If you took my advice and became educated and finally bought precious metals for the right price for the right reasons...well, a thank you email or card will be sufficient.

Insanity = doing the same things over and over expecting different results!

Steve Peters brings over 24 years of business, financial markets and gold broker experience to help new or unsure gold buyers avoid the mistakes so many make. Go here to read more: Best Gold Guide Ever Written.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

What Would You Do Now?

I recently stumbled upon a television program I'd never seen before. It immediately captured me. Random people are put in contentious situations by staged actors and a hidden camera crew. The situations are emotionally driven and eagerly judged by societies.

From rulers to peasants, we all have our own throne to sit upon. It is built of our ideals, comprised of what we believe to be right, and that which we know to be wrong. So what do we do when we step outside and find ourselves faced with testing the sturdiness of that throne we sat so securely on just this morning?

The program shows outrageous incidents that demand an instant opinion, requiring you to choose which side of the fence you're on. Society, on a whole, immediately chooses the obviously correct side of that proverbial fence and for most of us, that choice is the building blocks of our individual ideals.

I was elated! Have we hit the upward curve of enlightenment? I am watching societies ideals in action and grateful to a television program for giving us a live seminar on how to grow new generations of sturdy, easily obtainable, throne building material. These random people are faced with defending an apparent victim and they overcome that forceful surge of emotion telling them to "stay out of it". We are all touched with the majority of people saying it wasn't heroism, but just the "right thing to do."

For the most part, we've agreed that we know what the right things are and applaud the 'heroes' out there for doing them. The program shows us it does happen; people are standing up for each other - stranger to stranger. We even see people doing the right thing on a humanity level; stopping situations that can possibly lead to the harm of unseen strangers. This proves to me that each one of us is capable of doing the right thing. Just think, if more and more people, every day, stood up and did the right thing, what our world would look like. This has to be the inertia that propels us toward becoming a truly peaceful, respectful society.

The program throws a twist in this two part seminar. They test not only our ideals, but also the materials we chose to build with. Maybe that's the key to building the strongest possible throne; if your materials are filled with holes, it is easily blown down. Intellectually we know this, yet every form of media shows daily examples of us not applying it. What if the victim sits upon a throne that is frowned upon by society? Are they still not a victim? And doesn't it portray the strongest of thrones in protecting the victim without judgment, but simply for being a fellow human being?

How many people will be motivated to always trust in their core and overcome the emotionally fearful drive to walk away? Will we act in faith of the "right thing to do", or will we shuffle home, climb upon our trembling thrones and convince ourselves it doesn't touch us? What would you do... now?

T Timlock


Monday, September 14, 2009

Understanding the World's Energy Crisis

You saw it in with gas prices in the summer of 2008.When non-renewable resources like oil, gas and coal become more and more scarce; and the requirements from developing nations increase, our demand for energy will quickly overwhelm our supply.We take our uninterrupted supply of energy for grant, even though we know it is not unlimited.Now we have to take steps to deal with an impending energy crisis.

We saw in the summer of 2008 that we can all make changes to conserve gas, so what steps are we taking to conserve power, and even water?What conservation steps are you taking?The consumer is responsible for conserving the resources of the planet.It is not the job of the leaders, global or local, but of us, the consumers.

The gas crisis of 2008 was not the first.We have had three other major energy crises in recent history.The first was the 1973 oil crisis, then the 1979 energy crisis, and finally the 1990 oil price hike.There have also been several regional crises.Prices have increased dramatically over the last half decade, and still some people insist that the energy crisis is a myth.

Is it truly a myth?Will we see the energy crisis in our lifetime?It is more than possible, it's likely.Did you know that we have already used up 50 percent of the world's available oil?At the current rate, we will use up the other 50 percent in the next 32 years.You can bet our rate of consumption will only increase.

The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security states that China and India's use of oil will increase by over 12 percent over the next two decades.The average growth for an industrial nation over the same period is 1 percent.With one-third of the globe's population in those two countries, that kind of increase will have an incredible impact.Our generation will most definitely see an energy crisis in the upcoming years.

How does the world's energy crisis affect you and your energy use at home?The first and most essential step is to recognize the importance of the way we use energy in our lives.We must quit taking our resources for granted. We must find ways to conserve gas, oil, and electricity.Making others aware of the crisis is important as well.

You can take small steps like switching off the car engine at stop lights, joining a carpool, riding a bike, and combining short errands into one trip.Decreasing the use of gas and oil in daily activities is the way to delay or even avert the crisis in the long term.

You can also start looking at alternative energy options.Solar and wind energy are both feasible alternatives that are extremely cost-effective.Make them your answer to the world's energy crisis.

Jeff Fisher is a renewable energy enthusiast. Do-IT-Yourselfer's can harness the renewable energy of the wind and sun to eliminate your power bill. Take Action Today! Read my recommendation at http://attractionmarketingexposed.com/harness-wind-and-solar-power

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Call to American Congress

I would like to personally thank Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME); Arlen Specter (R-PA); Susan Collins (R-ME); and Ben Nelson (D-NE) for their courage and commitment in putting country before party in helping to draft and/or vote for the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. You have done a great service for the American people and have set a worthy example for members of your respective parties.

I speak for myself as well as countless other Americans who would like our Senators and Representatives to know that we don't care at this point about whether our government is big, small; liberal or conservative. We don't care about power plays or lobbying in the hallways of Congress. We don't care about your orchestrated diversions or leaking a scandal that would highlight a political opponent's latest wrongdoing.

We don't care who you are having sex with, and we don't care how many Washington cocktail parties you maneuver around. Sometimes it seems like we do; and the media is convinced that we do because their ratings support that belief. But know this: When it gets right down to it, really we don't.

What we do care about is having a government that works. We want a Congress who is ready willing and able to put personal differences aside, and work together to effect positive change. We want to be assured that the officials whom we have elected, whom we have supported, and whom we now look to for leadership, in Washington and at home, are doing their jobs.

We feel like that's not too much to ask for.

We are realistic. We know that few of our representatives are career economists, and we don't expect everything in this economic recovery plan to come off without a hitch or two.

We are hopeful. We know that with the new Administration comes a new start for a better future; for us, for our children, and for the world.

You in Congress are who you are, but we also are who we are. We are Americans; we are strong and resilient. We are proud to be the citizens who make this country great. And by the way, we as a Nation have gotten through worse than this before; and we as a People will help each other get through this crisis now. Don't you even worry about it, because we will step up; and we will rise to the occasion. That's who we are, and that's what we do. We'll do our part, and by the same token you need to do yours.

We expect that whatever your party affiliation or philosophical beliefs may be; that you, our representatives, lay aside the political gamesmanship and sit down and work together for the positive good of our nation as a whole.

My call to you now, all members of Congress, is this: Let these four Senators be your example as you work with each other to lead your country into our future.

Senator Collins: "These are hard-working American people who need our help, who deserve a stimulus package that is targeted, effective, and bipartisan. This debate is not about Republicans or about Democrats. It's not about our new President winning or losing. It's about helping the American people and surely we ought to be able to come together to advance that goal."

Senator Specter: "My vote was cast recognizing the very substantial political peril that I face. I know that there are many on the Republican political spectrum who do not like the vote. I remember, obviously, the tough primary fight I had in the year 2004. But I felt in the final analysis, given the very severe consequences which might befall the country that my duty was to look out for the public interest and not my own personal political interest. That is why I voted as I did."

Senator Snowe: "Today, Washington sent a strong signal to the American people that this Congress is, indeed, committed to getting our economy back on the road to recovery," said. "Facing one of the worst economic downturns in our nation's history, inaction was not an option."

Senator Nelson: "The time is now to begin turning this recession toward recovery. Congress cannot wait another three or six months to see if economic conditions worsen, for by then it could be too late and we could be in a depression from which it could take years to overcome. Now is time to provide the tools the American people will use with creativity and drive to rebuild the economy and return us to prosperity. The $789 billion economic recovery plan before us providing job creation and tax cuts for millions of Americans has the best chance to do that, I believe."

Thank you from all of us, and thank you again personally from me: Senator Collins, Senator Specter, Senator Snowe, and Senator Nelson. Job well done.

Kathi Carbone

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Tips on Buying Authentic & Exclusive Leather Handbags

Designer, exclusive collection of leather handbags are marked as expensive ranges of handbags. Hence those repertoire of handbags are limited to a plush class of women from upper class of urban society. However, this is not true, these exclusive ranges of handbags can be affordable and accessible and can be absolutely made of genuine leather too. Here are some tips given on how and from where to buy those leather handbags with assurance quality and from designers' store. Using these tips you can save from being cheated counterfeit handbag company and save your money too to be spent on exaggerated price tags and can enhance pleasure of shopping genuine leather handbags.

First of all, leather handbags aficionados can opt for auction sites to get leather handbags at their own range of prices. Plenteous websites are operating and exuding designer handbags allowing people to choose and bid online. These auction sites showcase top quality bags from top designers' boutiques and allow people to start bidding at extremely low ranges. Online shoppers are given with complete security for placing their bids through these sites.

Another way is to ensure savings and quality while buying leather handbags is to define how much you are willing or ready to pay for them. Especially, if you are buying a bag from auction sites, you must know when to stop bidding as per your affordable level or you may end up going overboard due to lack of planning and over indulgence for your rampant fetish for leather purses.

Buyers should also check on sellers by taking information on them to know how fair they are in fixing prices of their leather handbags. It is better to deal with those sellers who is reputed and certified member of reputed auction sites. Buyers should also check on customers' feedbacks on sellers to ensure they are dealing with credible leather handbags sellers.

Matthew Watson is an expert writer in the field of online shopping and product descriptions. He has been providing excellent tips and ideas on online shopping for quite some time now. At present he is writing dedicatedly for a popular online shopping portal, http://www.usunlocked.com/, offering Mobile Accessories, Online Books Shopping, Online Shoes Store for perfect experience of shopping in America.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

No funds for military families after 2 years

Two years ago, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed off on a special taxpayer-funded assistance program for military families, but not a single dollar has been disbursed, according to the Independent Weekly of Lafayette, La.

The law gives oversight of the program – the Louisiana Military Family Assistance Fund – to the Department of Social Services, but the agency has not given out any money and missed its Jan. 1 deadline to file a report to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

The DSS still cannot point to any benchmarks or timeline for the program, the Independent Weekly reported.

The program is designed to award need-based grants to families of Louisiana National Guard and reserve forces called to active duty since 9/11 and to guard units that deployed for natural disasters such as hurricanes.

The funds come from private sources and taxpayers who opt to designate all or part of their returns to the program, which provides emergency cash to families who have lost a source of income due to military service.

Allotments may be as small as money for rent, and larger amounts are available for casualty cases. A lump sum of $2,500 is to be offered to the families of soldiers missing or killed in action or taken prisoner.

More than 11,800 men and women are eligible for the program along with their estimated 12,000 dependents.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Can all the Conspiracy theorists stop and think for a minute?

You guys have come up with many reasons why the 9/11 was a conspiracy. And many were good ideas, but there are a few major flaws. The biggest of which is the money. Conspiracy theorists say that Bush planed, and executed 9/11 as an excuse to go to war. The question i have for you is why send the economy into a downward spiral, one that we still haven't recovered from, right before we go to war? We need money to fight a war, right? It just doesn't make sense.
Then you also need to look at the effect. When the planes hit the country united. but it quickly died away. there are plenty of other targets that could have been hit that would have had the entire country, and maybe the entire world up in arms. could you imagine the up-roar that would have ensued if the planes had hit a school? I can guarantee that had it had been a school, the vast majority of the planet would have backed the U.S. Now if a 22 year old collage student can realize all this why wouldn't the Government.

Read and vote on Y! Answers

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The new global sex trade

Want a sexual slave?

That is the question hundreds of thousands answer each year, as they purchase a child or young person from traffickers in a multibillion-dollar international business known as the global sex trade.

When in many countries a young woman can be kidnapped for $500 and yield $250,000 annually from sexual servitude, it doesn't take much economic ingenuity to understand why corrupt capitalists crave some buy-in to this repulsive form of commerce.

These victims of sexual slavery come from some of the most well-known sexually trafficked areas in the world, including Cambodia, Thailand, Latin America, Eastern Europe (countries like Romania, Lithuania, Albania, Moldova and Ukraine), Russia and even Africa.

The U.S government reports, "Of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people trafficked across international borders annually, 80 percent of victims are female and up to 50 percent are minors. Hundreds of thousands of these women and children are used in prostitution each year."

And to whom are these sexual servants being sold? Those in nearly every country on the planet, including Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Great Britain, Canada and even America!

How does one become a sexual slave?

Traffickers begin by enticing women with jobs (like housekeeping, being a nanny, waitressing, etc.), but end up turning these employment opportunities into forced prostitution. Other victims are literally abducted from their homes or off the streets and imported to countries under the force of heavy-handed intermediary agents.

America's not the only one with leaky borders

How do traffickers and their victims make it across international borders? Look at our own country! If drug lords and illegal aliens stream across, how difficult can it be for sexual traffickers? There are endless avenues to get into most countries, from using authentic travel papers to being smuggled in on trains, planes, automobiles and boats.

After two years of investigation and interviewing traffickers and their victims, journalist Victor Malarek documented his findings in his book, "The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade." Malarek also commented to PBS:

The smuggling [routes] around the world were established many decades ago for weapons and drugs. It's far easier to smuggle human beings. The Bohemian borders around the European Union are very easy to cross. You cross the Danube in narrow areas or on boats, you go over the mountains and get yourself into Kosovo and Bosnia into Albania, and you [go] across the Adriatic, and ... you get yourself into Italy. ... Once they're in the European Union, it's just a free-for-all.
You go to a country like ... Israel. It's hugely secure. How in heaven's [name] do 5,000 women from Moldova, Romania and Ukraine get into Israel? ... Some of them [go] overland through the Sinai Desert after landing in Cairo, almost like a biblical trek for them, scary biblical trek.

Then there are all kinds of ways that you can get into North America: under student visas, under temporary work orders, under tourism visas. You can get into Canada by taking a boat. A lot of these freighters come over, and in the back of them are girls and there are women, so when they park their little boats ... in Vancouver or in Halifax or Montreal late at night, they're taken off, and they're here. ...
Chuck Norris

read full story at wnd

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

PC Run Amok!!

An Ohio library dropped a policy that barred a public interest group from holding a forum on traditional marriage without also inviting someone to argue for "same-sex marriage."

The agreement by the Newton Falls Library Board of Trustees settled a lawsuit filed by Florida-based Liberty Counsel, which applied to the library to hold a meeting last spring that would include prayer and Scripture reading.

The library denied Liberty Counsel's application, citing a policy that said, "If a program deals with a controversial subject, then all sides of the issue must be presented."

Who in the world made up THAT law!?

The policy made the room available to "nonprofit organizations" for "programs of a civic, cultural or educational nature."

Liberty Counsel said it requested the room for specific dates at the end of May and on June 6 or 13, but library director Kerry McCrone denied the application May 23.

Along with notice of the denial, McCrone sent a copy of the policy, highlighting the statement that if a program deals with a controversial subject, all sides of the issue must be presented.

With the settlement, the library has agreed to remove the requirement.

Mathew D. Staver, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, said the old policy violated the First Amendment's right of free speech.

"Under the former policy, Liberty Counsel would have been required to invite a proponent of same-sex marriage before we could address our viewpoint that marriage is the union of one man and one woman," he said. "Such a policy invites dispute and ends up censoring the speaker."

This is so ridulous it's not funny any more. Who are these people to tell ANYONE they may not practice their rights under the First Amendment without someone there to argue the counter-point of whatever subject a person chooses to speak about. What's next, home monitoring of private conversations between family members? Referess throwing flags for PC violations? What a nutty world we live in. It's sad when people have to file lawsuits to get permission to speak their minds about anything contrary to the "polictically correct" agenda in America.