Thursday, June 3, 2010

Get elected to Congress--Leave Congress---Make BIG money Lobbying Congress---See who is doing this!!

An inteactive map (click HERE) that when you run the cursor over the state will show you the number of former Congress-people who are now registered lobbyists for various organizations.  Click on the State and it will show you a picture of the person and what they lobby for.  Texas leads the way with 17...
""It's not exactly breaking news that Washington is stuffed to the gills with lobbyists. One good government group recently tallied 8 lobbyists for every member of Congress during the health-care reform debate. But what doesn't get as much attention is that, over the last few decades, a vast army of what might be called uber-lobbyists has taken shape in the capital, made up of retiring lawmakers eager to cash in on K Street after a lifetime of making do with public sector salaries.
We've compiled a close-to-comprehensive list of former members of Congress currently working on behalf of private interests in Washington's influence-peddling industry. We count 172 of them -- almost one-third the number of current members of Congress.""

COOLEST World Cup Soccer Schedule!! (If you like soccer)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This Memorial Day Photo got to me like no other this weekend...

HT:The Daily Dish:(A young woman lays down on the grave of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Noah Pier on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery May 31, 2010 in Arlington, Virginia. Pier was killed February 12, 2010 in Marja, Afghanistan. This is the 142nd Memorial Day observance at the cemetery. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.)

Monday, May 31, 2010

20 of the most "badass" quotes from movies AND links to the actual clips

My favorite is below...Here is the link to the rest---which is your favorite....

If you are a computer geek, this is for you---NICE graphic on super-computing...

From BBC: In graphics: Supercomputing superpowers (Click on this link for interactive graphic)
The biannual Top 500 supercomputer list has been released. Use this graphic to explore the world's fastest number crunchers or find out more about alternative supercomputer powers .
About this data:  The data used to generate the interactive treemap visualisation come from a draft of the June 2010 TOP500 Supercomputing list. This ranks most of the world's fastest supercomputers twice a year. There may be minor differences between this list and the final published list.
The graphic allows you to see the visualise the list by the speed of each machine; the operating systems used; what it is used for; the country where it is based; the maker of the silicon chips used to build the machine and the manufacturer of the super computer.
The maps were produced using the Prefuse Flare software, developed by the University of California Berkeley.

Is the situation in Haiti improving?? Not so much...

From NYTIMES: Rubble of a Broken City Strains Haitians’ Patience
Update on how the recovery/re-building is progressing in Haiti. This report "from the ground" shows growing frustration with the effort. Rubble is still piled in the streets and there is public sentiment that the government is not proactive enough with the clean-up and recovery. Have things really changed (or at least improved) internally to bring about desired change?
""While few have given up entirely on the dream that a more efficient, more just Haiti might rise from the rubble, increasingly, hope is giving way to stalemate and bitterness. “Is this really it?” Haitians ask. They complain that the politically connected are benefiting most from reconstruction work that has barely begun. They shake their heads at crime’s coming back, unproductive politicians and aid groups that are struggling with tarpaulin metropolises that look more permanent every day.""
Taking care of people who are in crisis is job one.  The problem of homelessness, the"tent/tarpaulin cities" that dot the landscape, and immediate health issues are priorities, but re-building infrastructure and motivating people to create a new and improved Haiti needs to be a high priority too.  Seems like enough resources, money and material,  have been poured into the country that there could be a full-frontal assault to improve conditions dramatically even at this early stage.
Crucial to this effort must be the participation of ex-patriate Haitians who seem committed to help create a better Haiti.  However, this has not been easy for them:
""Before Parliament closed, she added, lawmakers could have made it easier for members of the Haitian diaspora to invest — perhaps by easing rules requiring that joint ventures be 51 percent Haitian-owned...That might have opened the country to more people like Alain Armand, 36, a Haitian-American lawyer from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who is now trying to open several businesses here in Port-au-Prince, the capital, including a bed and breakfast.""
If the existing government of Haiti OR the shadow government created by the UN with former President Clinton as co-president does not aggressively solicit the investment dollars from people like Mr. Armand, then they are simply going to give up and go away.  That would be a shame and Haiti will remain at status quo. That would be in no ones  interest...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

1,000% Inflation in Zimbabwe---It is important to protect your currency, isn't it??

Inflation is a thief in the night (or day) that literally reaches into your pocket to take your money.  Actually, it reduces the purchasing power of  your money.  You can think of price increases in two ways: the value of  goods/services increases because they become relatively scarce, or the money used to buy those goods or services is worth less than it was before and now it takes more of it to exchange for those goods/services. Zimbabwe is good example of the devastation inflation reaps on a country.  A once thriving country is now reduced to monetary ashes. Inflation is not the only cause of its decline, but it will likely be its complete downfall.  A country cannot print more money than its economy can produce in "stuff"...If you increase the money supply by 10% then, assuming constant velocity of money (the rate at which your money supply "turns over to buy GDP), you must produce 10% more in goods and services to maintain price stability.  Anything less than that then you have the classic definition of inflation--"too much money chasing too few goods". 

From BBC: Zimbabwe's inflation tops 1,000%
""Zimbabwe's inflation rate has surged past the 1,000% mark signalling that the African country is struggling to keep its economy functioning normally. The annual rate of price growth was 1,042.9% in April, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said, having risen 129 percentage points from March....Zimbabwe is a country that is blighted by crumbling urban infrastructure. There are regular water and power cuts, while the cost of everyday foods has surged. A loaf of bread now costs between Z$80,000 - Z$110,000 (79 US cents - $1.08) up from about Z$7,500 last year, when the price was controlled by the government. A carton of orange juice costs about Z$500,000 and a kilo of beef up to Z$1m.
This is an excellent example of "The Menu Costs of Inflation" (the expense in having to change the posted prices on a regular basis for businesses) and/or the "Shoe Leather Costs of Inflation" (the increase in transaction costs--i.e.-having to go to bank to get more money to conduct business).
"Business quotations are not valid for more than two days," an office manager in Harare told the BBC News website. "Actually I have one in front of me which says it is valid for 24 hours. Prices can literally double overnight," she said...""
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