Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Existing home sales have increased three months in a row. Foreclosed property inventory seems to be falling. The supply of existing homes for sale is also falling, or at least the number of homes listed for sale has fallen.
New home buyers can get a federal tax credit for as much as $8,000. With just a little work, a buyer can use that money for a down payment, or refile their 2008 taxes to get the money this year instead of next year. Thank you, Uncle Sam.
My least favorite uncle, Uncle Sonny Perdue, is giving a very humble tax credit for buying a home. It's $1,800 spread over three years.
Uncle Sam will put $8,000 in your pocket this year. Georgia will give a $600 allowance over three years. And, these two programs expire very soon.
We either need to remind our sons, daughters, and friends of this deadline OR lobby to continue the programs until our economy gets going.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Does anyone really care that History’s greatest monster, the man who laid hands
on, endorsed, and applauded many of the most heinous regimes of the last part of
the twentieth century, has left the Southern Baptist Church? And he did so now
because of, among other things, the role of women in the church?
That, like most of what Jimmy Carter says, is simply attention getting pablum by an senile old leftist.*
The man is an unrepentant anti-semite and leftist. About the only part of the Bible he likes to take literally is the part about the Jews killing Christ. That gives him his anti-semetic justification.
Other than that, Carter wants to be free to live as he wants, not as God wants him to. Good riddance.
* I did delete the part about the pearly gates as that can offend
some peoples sensibilities and I really shouldn’t speculate on what St. Peter
will do when Jimmy approaches the gates.
Wow! A compassionate conservative on the Macon city council without guts.
Eric, if you have the power to condemn Carter and cast him out of the church, do it. That's not a bit different from damning him to Hell. Unless of course, you and your fellow church members don't expect a trip to Heaven. If your church members are damned to Hell, I ain't goin' attend your church. No one else should either. If you're going to damn Carter, stand by it all the way to the Judgment Day.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Let's shock some Republicans with their own rhetoric!
You'll want to watch around the 25th minute when Sen. Franken asks Judge Sotomayor is the words "abortion," "birth control," or "privacy" appear in the Constitution. The Judge gives a great lesson as to whether words MUST be in the Constitution.
A good lesson for us all.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Yes, some managers might act when the work load appears to be falling. But, how do they know that isn't just a normal fluctuation? So firing happens after things get bad. And, rehiring won't happen until after reports show good things are happening and a continuing trend shows the good things aren't a fluctuation.
Meanwhile, another 1.5 million people are facing foreclosure on their homes.
Again, we must change the foreclosure process in Georgia to allow homeowners a legal process. As it is, lenders can foreclosure and auction the property without no court records or impartial review by the state.
It ain't right to take a man's house without due process. Let's make that an issue in 2010.
Links to stories.
The 'other' document can be seen here.
I did not find this information on my own. I owe some thanks to a friend and former professor at NGCSU. If he keeps on teaching, I'll keep on learning. Thanks!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Let me start with language. The meanings of words aren’t in dictionaries; they are in people. People use a dictionary for spelling checks, pronunciation clues, and for a list of possible meanings to any one word. The word blue is a simple example. Blue is a color but I can see several different blues. Blue could be a mood. Blue could be an unlawful behavior as in ‘blue laws.’ Any one word could have more than one meaning and that meaning could be revealed by the context. Context being dictionary defined as the “words, phrases, or passages that come before and after a particular word or passage in a speech or piece of writing and help to explain its full meaning.” But, using that dictionary definition, context only helps to explain the full meaning of a word by how it was used by a person.
But, that doesn’t yet capture language.
Everyone had a first language. As a Zen Master might ask a student, what was the language that you spoke before you learned to talk? Before we learned to speak, we had some sort of internal language that included labels for things like “warm” and “cold.” Those labels didn’t include any concepts of Fahrenheit or Celsius. Words like Celsius and Fahrenheit do not form naturally in the human mind. The human mind naturally discriminates. Salty tastes different than sweet. Warm feels different than cold. Light is different from dark. And, from the moment of our birth, we began a catalogue of judgments. Those judgments could have been simply, I like this and I don’t like that. So we had to have an internal language with ‘words’ for this and that. Plus various commands to do things like move the hands and feet. And, simple questions like, “What is that and why can’t I reach it with my hand?”
Each of us developed an internal language during our change from fetus to baby to infant right up to and including learning our first vocal and foreign word. We still have our non-verbal and native language. We use it every day. We do things that require no unspoken use of our verbal languages similar to those first natural discriminations, like picking a color for a wedding theme or a setting for the thermostat. We experience an internal clue that starts us down a path to language. My internal temperature should be an ideal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When I feel ‘cold,’ it doesn’t mean my body temperature has dropped. My body temperature might still be 98.6 degrees but the effort of keeping that ideal temperature exceeds my ability to ‘warm’ myself. So I could feel ‘cold.’
One cold fact of our language, we kept our first, internally created catalogue of words and meanings. We use them everyday prior to translating our needs, desires, and feelings into our adopted, social language. Our social languages merely give us one set of clues for communicating with others within our personal and human society.
To plead the case of language, the men who wrote and signed the Declaration and the U.S. Constitution are dead. Their society is gone from our planet along with the environment that created and supported it. The circumstances of those men and their society contain clues that are missing from any modern resurrection.
If we could resurrect each of those men, they could not understand our modern questions or fit themselves into our times. Each had a unique interpretation of the documents. Of the 74 men appointed to the Convention in Pennsylvania, only 55 would ever attend. No one from Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, now known as Rhode Island, ever attended. Only 11 states ever voted on the creation of the Constitution, as the New Hampshire delegates were too late to the convention. When the document was completed, only 39 of the 55 signed. One signature, John Dickinson’s, was added by George Read.
So, in addition to language and its meanings, which men would we resurrect? All 74 or only the ones that personally signed the final draft? How do we account for the mob actions on September 29, 1987? In Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania assembly lacked a quorum. Without a quorum, meaning enough members to conduct legal business, the assembly could not vote on calling for a state ratifying convention. A mob formed and dragged two assembly members from their homes to the State House. The two members were forced to remain while their opposition voted for a state ratifying convention. Certainly, a strange way to bring principles like equality into government. Do we resurrect that mob or the two members opposed to the Constitution?
If we resurrected only Jefferson, author of the Declaration and anadvocate for a bill of rights, he would have to answer this question, “If slaves did not have equality under the U.S. Constitution, why did they have any value in proportioning seats in the House of Representatives?” Simply repeating. “All men are created equal ” explains nothing about a slave having less value for the purpose of a decennial census. Jefferson doesn’t have to explain that slaves had less value, less rights, and less freedom than others during his lifetime. That is the circumstance of his time and his society. But he must explain why such slaves had any value in allocating power among the 13 states as determined by a federal census.
He could answer, “It was a necessary compromise to get Southern ratification.”
And, it was a compromise. It was a compromise between King George and King Cotton. Any compromise answer eliminates Jefferson and the U.S. Constitution as the ultimate foundation of all government principles. If compromise is a principle of government, then the U.S. Constitution is a starting point for negotiations and citizenship becomes a yard sale.
Friday, July 10, 2009
These have never flown more than 2 hours at a time. Seems they break after 1.7 hours in the air.
Very good planes for the arm chair warrior. You'll get to spend 30 hours working on the plane for every hour that you fly it.
They're all low miles, too. Never been flown outside the United States. They won't stay in the air that long.
You could even get one that sits in the hanger all day as only half the planes are available for missions defending the United States.
And, we thought Detroit couldn't make reliable transportation, eh?
Details on how the F-22 Raptor, the worlds greatest fight plane, is a piece of flying junk. Click this link.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
A system for tracking employment that is meaningful.
How many people between the ages of 21 and 57 have jobs. What kind of jobs do they have?
Full time with sick days and vacation
Full time with sick days, vacation, and retirement
Full time with sick days, vacation, retirement and health care
Part-time with no benefits
Part-time with no benefits and expected to last less than 6 months
Part-time with no benefits and with some hope of more than 1 year of steady work
On-Call with no hope of steady work
Outside Contractor that does not have a company or business beyond a status of "outside contractor"
Temporary with no advancement to permanent
Temporary beyond six months
Temporary beyond a year
That would be a good start on employment statistics. Changes and trends between these categories might reveal more than our current system of .... Unemployment is at a percentage ... or 565,000 new jobless claims were filed last month when seasonally adjusted ...
New legislation that stops banks from lobbying or contributing to political parties or campaigns. Why? In this day and age I have to use banking services. My fees shouldn't be used to mobilize an army that might not share my political views. Same thing goes for utilities.
Laws that make sense of PAC names. I shouldn't be able to start a new PAC with a name like National Rural Electrification PAC. It should be named Electric Company PAC. Yeah, there is a PAC with a name like Rural Electrification PAC. How do we enforce such a law? License a PAC. Want to lobby for electric companies? Then, you can only lobby for electric companies and electric company issues. Not electrification. Not energy. Want to lobby for whales? Then, only lobby for whales. Just make a list of issues that should have a lobby for it. How about the Poverty Lobby, the GED Lobby, Unemployment Lobby, Truth in Government Lobby, ...
Just set up a list of things that should have a lobby. Then, set up a list of companies that can collect or donate to the issue.
If we can't do that, outlaw PACs making donations to other PACs. And, candidates making contributions to other candidates. And, outlaw candidates from moving their campaign funds around, period. At the end of the race, whatever money is left, tax it 100% for the state.
I'll get back to this topic.
What do you want changed ...
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Consumer debt delinquencies have hit new record highs. Some of that isn't new. Or, news.
Over 6.6% of all credit card accounts are maxed out. Over 4.5% of credit cards are past due.
Loans for mobile homes, which are mortgages in fact, have a delinquency rate of 3.7% and home equity loans were close behind with a 3.5% rate.
The number one cause? Job loss.
As I've said before, the unemployment rate in the U.S. isn't a decent measure of unemployment. The unemployment rate can be figured by the number of people who present an unemployment claim to a state agency. Or, the Census Bureau can ask people. That second option is done all the time through the Current Population Survey or CPS.
The CPS was once known as the the "long form" of the decennial census. So, we can sample people who file claims or we can statistically sample a survey ...
Neither works well for me.
I look at the percentage of people holding a job.
Under Clinton as recently as 2001, 64.4% of people over 16 had a job. That fell under Bush to 62 to 60 percent. It's now fallen to 59.5%. I expect that to fall further.
Those statistics have four categories that suck. "1) independent contractors, 2) on-call workers, 3) temporary help agency workers, and 4) workers provided by contract firms."
I don't think the "on-call worker" really has a job. Seems like a dishonest way to inflate employment statistics.
Here's the statistic I love and hate at the same time. The total percentage of unemployed plus marginally attached workers plus workers forced into part time work ...
That number just hit 16.5%. Ugly to the bone. Under Clinton, from 1999 to the end of 2000, that number varied between 6.8% and 7.7%. In 1994, the percentage rate was higher than 11 for four months. In the past ten months, the rate has grown from 10.9% to 16.5%.
As the number of people without secure jobs increases beyond 16.5%, we'll see more foreclosures and more delinquent debt.
Foreclosures in Georgia? Rates? Numbers?
No one knows. That is the raw fact. Georgia's State Legislature doesn't care enough to track it.
What are the national numbers? According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), new foreclosures were 1.37% of first mortgages. That doesn't sound so bad, eh?
Mortgage delinquencies were 9.12%. So about one in TEN homeowners are dealing with the possibility of foreclosure.
Now I'm going to get to the point.
We live in a state where foreclosure on a home doesn't require a legal procedure. The lender doesn't have to file a single piece of paper.
If I'm a lender in Georgia, I just send a notice of default to a homeowner and then sell the property on the court house steps. Over 7,462 homeowners in just five Georgia counties had their homes sold on the court house steps. In April ... this year. Five counties out of 159.
Am I getting the message across?
Republicans whine about property rights. Georgia homeowners don't have property rights in Georgia. Lenders have all the rights.
Every homeowner in Georgia is thirty days away from losing their home. All it takes is one missed payment. No legal process. No court review. It's all in the hands of the lender.
That isn't right.
As employment drops, as the number of people forced into part time work, as the number of temporary jobs increase, we need real action to save our neighbors.
Kennedy may have said that a rising tide raises all boats. But, it does nothing for those with their heads barely above water.
Just for kicks, read this foreclosure story about from the AJC. Link It's about an NFL football players ex-wife in Atlanta. The wife has been featured in The Real Housewives of Atlanta. It's something of a takeoff on Desperate Housewives. The house was bought for $2.4 million. It sold in foreclosure for $1.1 million. Allegedly, the ex-wife trashed the house before leaving. She says someone broke in. Interesting story.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Accusing a well-known man like Bill O’Reilly of being one of the greatest liars in American history requires proof. I’ve already stated that Mr. O’Reilly is smart, well educated and successful. Some criminals are very smart, well educated and successful; consider Bernie Madoff and the executives of Enron.
I rate Bill O’Reilly as a better liar than those men. O’Reilly remains trusted despite being caught several times.
What did he do this time? He misrepresented the polling results of a recent opinion poll. Why? He disagreed with the source and the results.
O’Reilly pointed to two questions in the recent CBS/NYT poll on healthcare conducted the week of June 12th. In some headlines, reporters have focused on the cost, in taxes, of national healthcare. The healthcare poll asked, “Would you be willing or not willing to pay higher taxes so that all Americans have health insurance that they can’t lose no matter what.” The answers were 57% would be willing and 37 would not be willing with 6% not answering Yes or No.
Bill O’Reilly changed that question to, “'Would you be willing to pay higher taxes so that all Americans have health insurance?'” Clearly that wasn’t the question in the poll. And, with his education and experience, he knows how to frame polling questions. He knows what happens when just a few words are changed. Leaving out just a few words not only changes the question, it changes the answers. In this case, no one answered Bill’s question. But, Bill says that according to the Times, Americans overwhelmingly want government financed health care.
Bill knows better. He doesn’t think his audience knows the difference. But, that’s not the worst lie in Bill’s column last Sunday. Bill says the Times intentionally selected Democrats for the poll based on another question in the poll. The poll asked of those who voted in the 2008 presidential election, “Did you vote for Barack Obama, John McCain, or someone else?”
It’s a simple enough question, if you voted, who did you vote for? Of those who voted, 48% said they voted for Obama, and 25% said they voted for McCain. Oddly, that doesn’t add up to 100%. Some 19% of the people who answered that question said they didn’t vote. That wasn’t the question. Did you vote? If you did, who did you vote for?
Just as revealing, 86% of the people in the poll said they were registered to vote. Nationally, only 62% of people eligible to vote are registered.
Clearly we have two questions, at least, that weren’t honestly answered. In one case, people proudly answered that they were a registered voter. In the other case, people were too proud to answer, “I voted for the loser.”
Today’s loser, the liar Bill O’Reilly, claims the entire poll was “a con,” “a fix,” “a deception,” and that the Times “scientifically stack[ed] the deck” based on one set of answers to one simple question.
Answers from people aren’t always honest, not even under oath in a court of law. In polls and in life, our backgrounds, incomes, and our ages aren’t always revealed.
What O’Reilly revealed in his column wasn’t that some liberal lied to the nation. O’Reilly got caught lying about polls, the questions in polls, and the answers in a poll. All because Bill didn’t like the answers.
You can read his column at The Gwinnett Daily Post.