••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Most career advice is highly subjective, offered by experts rather than researchers. A new study, however, suggests that there are methods and activities that can maximize your chances of success.

Researchers at the University of Missouri studied the efforts of 327 job seekers, ages 20 to 40, and found that developing and following a plan at the start of your job search, and having positive emotions later in the job search had a significant impact on success....


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oprah Winfrey will announce on Friday that her popular daytime talk show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," will end its run in 2011, Tim Bennett, the President of Harpo, announced in a letter released to ABC affiliates on Thursday....

yeah. after all, once you've had the wasilla cannonball on, what's left...?
Financial industry representatives are scrambling to find a strategy for responding to the massive regulatory reform bill the Senate Banking Committee aims to pass by early December.

The list of industry complaints about Chairman Chris Dodd's discussion draft is vast and growing as lawyers and analysts struggle to digest the bill and calculate its impact.

In addition to well-known issues, such as a proposal to consolidate banking regulators into a single agency and create a new consumer protection supervisor, a range of other provisions concern the industry, including tough restrictions on derivatives, a revised method for determining deposit insurance premiums and a requirement that large firms issue new debt instruments.

"It's a revolutionary bill. It just changes the regulatory and supervisory landscape in a very dramatic way," Gil Schwartz, a partner with the law firm Schwartz & Ballen, said of the 1,136-page measure.

The list of objections is so long that industry groups are uncertain what to target first. That has led the American Bankers Association to conclude that blanket opposition is the best bet.

"We just cannot sit down and look at every single issue every time it comes up; there are just hundreds of them," said Ed Yingling, the ABA's president and chief executive.

As a result, the ABA has opted to oppose the entire bill outright, even though it agrees conceptually with some points. "We are on record for over a year supporting the major planks of reform such as a systemic oversight council, a resolution mechanism, and filling gaps in the regulatory system, but we are opposing this bill," Yingling said. "Features in it are so negative that the message we are sending is we just oppose the draft."

Industry representatives will not have a clear read on where the rest of the Senate Banking Committee stands until Thursday, when the panel formally convenes to begin debate on the legislation.

Dodd is expected by next week to have a manager's amendment that makes technical corrections but no substantive changes. Substantive amendments to change the bill are due Nov. 23, and Dodd hopes to hold a vote on the bill shortly after Congress returns from its Thanksgiving recess in early December.

With some tweaks, the Connecticut Democrat is expected to be able to push the bill out of committee on a party-line vote, but he is expected to have to make substantial changes to succeed in passing the bill through the full Senate.

Big banks and community banks have already begun to track separate issues.

The largest institutions are keying on provisions that would create a new consumer protection agency, eliminate national bank preemption, force most derivatives contracts to be cleared by exchanges and require large, systemically important firms to issue debt that can be converted to equity. Another concern is that a new systemic-risk council, which would have the power to break up large, complex institutions that pose a threat to the economy, would cap the size of banks.

Small banks are also focused on the consumer financial protection agency and a provision that would specifically put the enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act under the new supervisor. But they are most worried about the proposed consolidation of regulators, arguing such an agency would favor the large banks and effectively undermine the dual banking system.

They are also pushing for the bill to take a tougher stance on commercially owned banks. Dodd's bill would put a three-year moratorium on commercial firms seeking to buy or charter industrial loan banks, but would not ban such purchases outright.

"The CFPA is something we obviously have huge concerns with," said Steve Verdier, a senior vice president for the Independent Community Bankers of America. "We're also disappointed that they just have a moratorium on the ILC loophole."

Scott Talbott, the head lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, said his group will "multiply, not divide its efforts" and fight several aspects of the bill at once. He cited additional issues, including a requirement that banks retain 10% of the risk in securitizations, proposed increased liability through third parties, and a provision giving shareholders a nonbinding vote on executive compensation. "We have a number of concerns with the Dodd bill and we will focus on all of them, from the CFPA to the 10% risk-retention requirement, to shifting the deposit base," Talbott said.

Several large-bank lobbyists said they worry that the Dodd bill does not provide enough room for customized derivatives trades by forcing most swaps to be centrally cleared and traded on exchanges. The bill also does not include exemptions for end users of derivatives that were adopted by the House. "Our primary issues on derivatives have been the need to preserve the concept of customized contracts, of not forcing everything on to an exchange or even to mandate that everything be cleared," said Scott DeFife, the top lobbyist for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

Large banks also object to how the bill would calculate deposit insurance premiums. Currently, premiums are based on domestic deposits. But the legislation would require the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to base regular assessments on assets — a move that would cause larger institutions, which rely less on deposits for funding, to pay more.

Some large banks oppose a requirement that large institutions prepare "funeral" plans detailing a plan for their unwinding should they fail. They contend that doing so would lay bare business strategies that would give competitors an unfair advantage.

The Roundtable is also fighting a proposal that would require institutions to bulk up on so-called contingent capital — a hybrid debt instrument that could be converted to equity in a crisis.

"The cost of that instrument is going to be too high" and the measure could spook investors, Talbott said.
HAGERSTOWN, Md. – A woman quietly left $40,000 worth of rare U.S. coins near a Catholic shrine for safekeeping so the Virgin Mary could watch over her life savings while she was out of town, and apparently it worked: The money was returned to her when she got back a week later.

Operators of the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes near Emmitsburg thought they had been blessed with a big donation when a groundskeeper found the two plastic freezer bags filled with gold and silver while raking leaves.

But Shrine Director William Tronolone said the woman approached him after a noon Mass Sunday, six days after the discovery, to ask whether anyone had found some coins she had hidden beneath fallen leaves....
DEARBORN, Mich. – There's a swirl of activity in a spacious, modern kitchen as final meal preparations are made.

An older man tries to swipe a felafel off an appetizer plate but instead gets a loving hand slap from a woman. The happy, well-dressed guests move to a table full of food in a dining room adorned with Middle Eastern wall-hangings.

It's an inviting, if idealized, dinner party scene from any Arab-American home — at least that's what the CIA seeks to convey in the first television commercial of its kind. The agency, in turn, hopes it's an inviting message to U.S. Arabs.

"Your nation, your world," a male voice says with a Middle Eastern accent, as the frame moves outside and pans out to show the party through a window of a gleaming, high-rise building. In seconds, the shot zooms out to an image of the U.S. from space. "They're worth protecting.

"Careers in the CIA."

The commercial, which the agency plans to debut on mainstream and ethnic TV stations and Web sites nationwide within the next few months, represents artistic and technological leaps for the agency....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Republican National Committee’s health insurance plan covers elective abortion – a procedure the party’s own platform calls “a fundamental assault on innocent human life.”

Federal Election Commission Records show the RNC purchases its insurance from Cigna. Two sales agents for the company said that the RNC’s policy covers elective abortion.

Informed of the coverage, RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told POLITICO that the policy pre-dates the tenure of current RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

“The current policy has been in effect since 1991, and we are taking steps to address the issue,” Gitcho said.

Leading up to passage of the House health care reform bill last week, 176 House Republicans joined 64 Democrats in voting for the so-called Stupak amendment, a measure that prohibits federal funds from being used to buy health insurance that covers elective abortions.

A spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee – the campaign arm for the House Republicans – said it does not include coverage for elective abortions in its employee insurance policy.

“The policy does not cover abortions unless the life of the mother is in danger,” the NRCC spokeswoman said.

According to several Cigna employees, the insurer offers its customers the opportunity to opt out of abortion coverage – and the RNC did not choose to opt out.
what's the matter with kansas baptists?

Demonstrators from Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas protest across the street from Sidwell Friends; students hold a counter-protest.
(Carol Guzy/the Washington Post)

"god hates you"? jesus! those kids are getting a great education. wonder why they call it "heartland".

Friday, November 06, 2009

da gop plan
(from da dems email)

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says it would barely make a dent in most of our premiums, and could lead to higher premiums for older Americans.

The New York Times reports that it doesn't stop insurers from refusing to cover you because of a pre-existing condition.

The CBO's research shows that the GOP plan would likely cut the deficit by just $68 billion over the next ten years -- far less than the Democratic bill, which cuts the deficit by $104 billion over the same period.

The CBO also estimates that under the Republican bill the number of uninsured Americans would actually increase to 52 million by 2019.

And Politico writes that the Republican's so-called plan doesn't keep insurers from dropping you when you're sick -- it just makes them let you know that you're being dropped.