XIAM007

Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Debt ceiling negotiators think they've hit on a solution to address the debt ceiling impasse - Create a new Congress -

Debt ceiling negotiators think they've hit on a solution to address the debt ceiling impasse - Create a new Congress - 


Debt ceiling negotiators think they've hit on a solution to address the debt ceiling impasse and the public's unwillingness to let go of benefits such as Medicare and Social Security that have been earned over a lifetime of work: Create a new Congress.
This "Super Congress," composed of members of both chambers and both parties, isn't mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but would be granted extraordinary new powers. Under a plan put forth by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his counterpart Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), legislation to lift the debt ceiling would be accompanied by the creation of a 12-member panel made up of 12 lawmakers -- six from each chamber and six from each party.
Legislation approved by the Super Congress -- which some on Capitol Hill are calling the "super committee" -- would then be fast-tracked through both chambers, where it couldn't be amended by simple, regular lawmakers, who'd have the ability only to cast an up or down vote. With the weight of both leaderships behind it, a product originated by the Super Congress would have a strong chance of moving through the little Congress and quickly becoming law. A Super Congress would be less accountable than the system that exists today, and would find it easier to strip the public of popular benefits. Negotiators are currently considering cutting the mortgage deduction and tax credits for retirement savings, for instance, extremely popular policies that would be difficult to slice up using the traditional legislative process.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has made a Super Congress a central part of his last-minute proposal, multiple news reports and people familiar with his plan say. A picture of Boehner's proposal began to come into focus Saturday evening: The debt ceiling would be raised for a short-term period and coupled with an equal dollar figure of cuts, somewhere in the vicinity of a trillion dollars over ten years. A second increase in the debt ceiling would be tied to the creation of a Super Congress that would be required to find a minimum amount of spending cuts. Because the elevated panel would need at least one Democratic vote, its plan would presumably include at least some revenue, though if it's anything like the deals on the table today, it would likely be heavily slanted toward spending cuts. Or, as Obama said of the deal he was offering Republicans before Boehner walked out, "If it was unbalanced, it was unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue."


Read more -
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/23/super-congress-debt-ceiling_n_907887.html

25 Reasons To Absolutely Despise Bankers And Their Minions -

25 Reasons To Absolutely Despise Bankers And Their Minions - 


1) Bankers, according to the London Times, launder about 400 billion dollars a year or more in illegal weapons sales. The next time you hear of an African war lord killing families so he can kidnap young boys to become child soldiers and young girls to become child sex slaves, please remember that this could not have happened without the active assistance and cooperation of the bankers and the politicians they own.
2) Bankers told American businessmen that entering World War I would make the Great War last longer which would be good for the United States because it would bankrupt England, France and Germany. Calvin Coolidge on Veterans Day in 1928 said America had lost only 30,000 soldiers during the war but another 100,000 since the war ended. Those men had died of their wounds after the Armistice was signed. Everyone who died after 1915 in WW I died for bankers and Israel.
3) Bankers have been laundering drug money at least since the Opium wars. Currently bankers launder a trillion dollars a year in drug money. That these illegal drugs are killing millions of people and destroying cities one family and one neighborhood at a time is of no concern to them.
4) Gordon Duff of Veterans Today tells us that the Global Hawk which is a pilotless drone version of the U2 Spy plane is frequently used to carry 3,000 pound payloads of opium paste out of Baluchistan Pakistan. This lucrative opium trade is one reason why Afghanistan in America’s longest war. America has killed millions of innocent civilians for nothing. America will one day have to pay that debt.
5) On 9-10-2001 Donald Rumsfeld told us that he could not trace 2.3 trillion dollars in Pentagon spending. On 9-11-2001 four planes were electronically hijacked which together with pre-planted explosives killed 3,000 Americans that day and many more since in needless wars. 189 people died at the Pentagon. Most of these were auditors trying to find the missing trillions the bankers and their friends stole. American taxpayers are treated as indentured servants by the bankers. We are not allowed to audit the books and demand the return of the stolen money. Trillions more have gone missing since Rumsfeld promised on 911 to do a better job tracking down that money.
6) On March 22nd 2000 Susan Gaffney, the Housing and Urban Development Inspector General, testified before the House Governmental Affairs Committee detailing the 59.6 billion dollars that went missing from HUD during the previous two years. When asked if she did anything to recover the missing money she said No. If we were equal to a banker, we would have demanded audits. Years earlier Catherine Austin Fitts was at HUD under Bush I. She found one block in San Diego that had 20 million dollars in HUD guaranteed loans for buildings that never ever existed. All of these loans defaulted and were paid for by taxpayers who do not have the right to audit the books.
7) Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert are both American financial experts who now report on gross banking fraud from their base in Paris. They have made several trips to Dubai and have told us what multiple bankers told them. American contractors returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have deposited suitcases full of money in Dubai banks. If we did not have a government owned and operated by the bankers, would any of this be possible?
8) Bankers financed the Soviet Revolution which allowed their Communist minions to kill over 60,000,000 real human beings. They deliberately starved 10,000,000 to death in the Ukraine.
9) The UN estimates that worldwide the slave trade traffics 250,000 mostly women and children a year. Many young children are killed for snuff films by Russian Jewish mobs. None of this could happen without the active participation and cooperation of bankers and the governments they own in the United States, England, Israel, Belgium, France, Portugal and elsewhere around the globe.
10) Several years ago documents revealed that the African slave trade was financed through front men like Aaron Lopez . The African slave trade resulted in the deaths of millions of human beings en route to North and South America. No estimate has been made of the numbers killed by the wars over 3 and one half centuries engendered by the desire to capture their fellow Africans to be sold to the bankers and their minions. The slave trade would not have been possible without the active participation and cooperation of the bankers and their governments. Did I neglect to mention the other end of the African slave trade? Every school book cites the trade of rum made in Newport Rhode Island by the 21 Jewish distillers for the slaves of Africa. What they do leave out is the fact that those distillers also sold rum to Indians who routinely massacred white settlers while in drunken rages. Then the settlers would take revenge so all sides except for the distillers and the bankers lost in this trade.


Read more -
http://vidrebel.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/25-reasons-to-absolutrly-despise-bankers-and-their-minions/

NEW Dem. debt plan - "cuts" will take place over 10 years, no tax hikes. And yes, a $2.5 trillion debt ceiling increase -

NEW Dem. debt plan - "cuts" will take place over 10 years, no tax hikes. And yes, a $2.5 trillion debt ceiling increase -



Just out from CNN's Lisa Desjardins
  • BREAKING - NEW Dem. debt plan: Reid to offer at "least $2.5 Trillion" in deficit redux w/ no revenue increases, Dem. source tells CNN.
  • NEW REID PLAN: "At least $2.5 T in deficit redux" w/ no revenue increases. BUT, unclear what baseline he's using and what he'd cut.
  • REID PLAN: Dem aide tells our  they think it meets GOP call for dollar-for-dollar spending cuts with debt increase.
And we are confident that the spending "cuts" will take place over 10 years, back-end loaded, which means no spending cuts any time soon. Said otherwise, no spending cuts, no tax hikes. And yes, $2.5 trillion debt ceiling increase. Just as we predicted two weeks ago.
More as we get it.
Read more -

Clever water fountain in Japan - Shows Cool Physics -

Clever water fountain in Japan - Shows Cool Physics -




What did I notice at first? Look at the spaces that make the letters as they fall. They get bigger. Why?
How about we start with a slightly simpler case. Suppose I build a water fountain that just releases two drops of water one after the other. Maybe the the second drop is released from the same point, but 0.2 seconds later. It seems to make sense that the two drops would stay 0.2 seconds apart. And they do.

States Try to Squeeze Taxes Out of Online Travel Sites -

States Try to Squeeze Taxes Out of Online Travel Sites - 


For years, Expedia, Orbitz and the like have avoided paying most state sales taxes because their businesses aren’t physically located in those states. But now legislatures and courts are cracking down on online retailers. Will that mean higher costs for travelers?
Online retailers have started running into problems in a number of states in the last few months as courts and state legislatures try to squeeze sales taxes out of them. So far, only five states (Connecticut, Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island) require Internet retailers to collect sales tax. But according to Forbes, 12 other states are considering it.
Some sales taxes are paid when a traveler books through an online travel site, but not as much tax is collected as when travelers book directly through a hotel. When you use a travel site, a service charge is taken out of the total amount paid, and taxes are generally assessed on the rate the hotel gets from that travel site, not on the total amount. So states have been largely missing out on a small percentage of those taxes thanks those service fees and middlemen.

Read more: http://moneyland.time.com/2011/07/22/states-try-to-squeeze-taxes-out-of-online-travel-sites/#ixzz1T3m4K3qQ

Adults take traditional teen jobs, leaving youth unemployed -

Adults take traditional teen jobs, leaving youth unemployed - 


When Erin Swiatek began looking for a job last summer, she scoured her neighborhood for employment, but found even the fast food restaurants in the area around her home weren’t hiring.
“[I applied] anywhere I could,” says Swiatek, an 18-year-old Erie High School graduate. “There was [sic] a lot of fast food restaurants that were near my house: Dominos, Pizza Hut, but no takers. Even at Target, they said they wouldn’t hire me or someone else had already taken [the position].”
Swiatek says even at these locations, many of the employees were older and she felt her age might have been a deterrent for the employers.
“I started to give up because they were only taking adults, and I was like, ‘Who would ever hire me? I’m just a kid,’” she says.
Swiatek’s experience is a common one for many youth aged 16 to 21 in Boulder County and across the nation: During the past three years, they are increasingly finding that jobs historically available for them, such as hospitality, food services and retail, are being taken by adults. Some are even calling this summer the most difficult yet in terms of youth employment opportunities.
They are gradually becoming the last hired and first fired in these areas as adults scramble to find employment in the wake of the recession.
The fact that employers are not hiring youth is a trend with real consequences. Fewer summer jobs for youth mean less exposure to work environments and ultimately less time to build the skills and experiences needed for career track employment.

Read more -

Constant water leaks into the Big Dig tunnels are causing safety problems and tens of millions of dollars in damage -

Constant water leaks into the Big Dig tunnels are causing safety problems and tens of millions of dollars in damage - 


Constant water leaks into the Big Dig tunnels are causing safety problems and tens of millions of dollars in damage, including corroded electrical systems and flooded air vents, and have even begun to damage the enormous steel girders that support the Tip O’Neill Tunnel, according to an internal report by the Big Dig’s chief engineer obtained by the Globe.


But the April report, intended to brief a new top deputy to Transportation Secretary Jeffrey B. Mullan, was extensively rewritten at transportation headquarters, where staff reduced the seven-page report by two-thirds. The shortened report covered most of Helmut Ernst’s major points, but left out much of the detail on the present and future cost of repairs and omitted some specific warnings by Ernst about the potential threat of the ongoing leaks to the safety and long-term structural integrity of the tunnels.


By the time new highway administrator Frank DePaola briefed the transportation board of directors on the issue this month, he likened the major leaks to the water from “three garden hoses’’ and stressed that “the tunnels are safe.’’


Ernst’s report does not say the tunnels are unsafe, but voices more alarm at the potential risks of the leaks. The report was written after a corroded 110-pound light fixture crashed Feb. 8 in the O’Neill Tunnel, revealing widespread corrosion in lights throughout the 7.5-mile Big Dig tunnel system. Ernst’s report makes it clear that the fallen light is part of a much larger problem: the salty ground water that seeps in through cracks and other openings in the tunnels.


“Tunnel leaks are a more vexing problem as they are widespread throughout the tunnel and are the cause of safety concerns and [have] a damaging effect on the tunnel structure and equipment,’’ wrote Ernst.


Ernst listed more than $150 million in immediate leak repair and prevention projects and stressed that potentially more-costly leak repairs lie ahead, including extensive excavation to repair major cracks in one tunnel. He has previously said that replacing and rewiring corroded tunnel lights could cost $200 million.


Read more - 
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/07/24/report_cites_costs_risks_of_big_dig_leaks/?s_campaign=8315

FAA Shutdown: Which Airlines Are Cashing In And Which Are Spreading The Love -

FAA Shutdown: Which Airlines Are Cashing In And Which Are Spreading The Love - 

In case you didn't know, the FAA was forced to partially shutdown at midnight on Friday after Congress failed to resolve a dispute over the agency's funding.

It's been estimated that the shutdown will cost the government $200 million per week in lost revenue from airline ticket taxes. CBS News reports that theuncollected tax will come out to roughly $61 per domestic ticket.

As Gadling reported on Saturday, there were a few airlines who were "treating" their customers to tax breaks, including Virgin America, who refused to increase fares as a result and has since launched an "Evade Taxes. Take Flight." sale.

Airlinereporter.com is also reporting that Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Frontier Airlines are all sharing the love with their customers.

On the greedy side, American, United, Continental, Delta, US Airways, Southwest, AirTran and JetBlue have allraised fares to varying degrees, the Associated Press reports. Most of the increases hovered around 7.5 percent.

Southwest and AirTran have increased fares by $4-each way to offset industry pressures. Southwest rep Brad Hawkins told Airlinereporter.com: "Our current ticket prices will remain the same (Customers will not see an increase in fares), as the 7.5% excise tax will not be collected. These decisions were made in light of the recent industry change in aviation tax collections, and we made a business decisions to remain competitive in these economically challenging times."

The moral of the story? In the next few days (if not weeks) think before you buy a plane ticket.



Read more -
http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/07/24/faa-shutdown-which-airlines-are-cashing-in-and-which-are-spread/

Furthest, Largest Mass of Water Discovered Around Quasar -

Furthest, Largest Mass of Water Discovered Around Quasar - 


Two teams working with researchers from the California Institute of Technology have discovered the largest mass of water yet observed. The gaseous, watery cloud was spotted around the quasar APM 08279+5255 some 30 billion trillion miles from Earth. And yes, there will be a lot more “-illions” used before the end of this post.
The water surrounding the quasar is in the form of vapor, but taken all together it is about 140 trillion times the amount of water in Earth’s oceans and is 100,000 times more massive than our sun. Because the quasar is so far away, its light has taken 12 billion years to reach Earth. This fantastic distance gives scientists a unique look at what the universe looked like when it was a mere 1.6 billion years old. (For reference, NASA estimates that the universe is about 13.7 billion years old.) Interestingly, water is not uncommon throughout the universe, though the amount of water around this quasar alone is estimated to be 4,000 times the water in the Milky Way.
At the heart of the quasar is massive black hole, about 20 billion times the size of our sun. As the black hole consumes matter, it spits out the equivalent energy as a thousand trillion suns. Much of this energy is in the form of X-Rays and infrared radiation, which scientists were able to observe. From their analysis, they’ve been able to learn about how the quasar interacts with the surrounding mass of water and other gasses.
Scientists were also able to determine that there is enough gas currently spinning around the quasar to feed the black hole until it swells to six times its current size. But that may not be the fate for this cosmic cloud. Because the gas is spinning so quickly, there’s a chance that it could be spun off or, more spectacularly, could ignite and become a star itself.
Scientists will just have to keep watching, and waiting, to find out.
Read more - http://www.geekosystem.com/furthest-largest-water/