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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Top 2% Not Job Creators Or Millionaires In Tax Debate

Republicans maintain that the 2 percenters include business owners who would lose the incentive to add jobs if they had to pay higher marginal tax rates.

“Those who will be punished in the president’s proposal are A, small business owners, and B, those who are most likely to contribute to economic growth,” Representative Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican and member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” July 15. “We might be able to find one economist who thinks it’s good for the economy trying to raise those taxes, but we would wear out a car trying to find a second.”

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Colorado’s Hickenlooper Says Gun Control Won’t Stop Evil

A politician who says something rational, it’s amazing.

“I’m not sure there is any way in a free society to be able” to stop a deranged individual from assembling a deadly arsenal, Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said today on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“If there were no assault weapons available and no this or no that, this guy is going find something, right?” he said. “He’s going to know how to create a bomb.”

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Romney Outsmarts Obama in Fight Over Multinational Taxes

Mitt Romney’s plan for taxing multinational corporations would create 800,000 jobs, according to President Barack Obama.

“There’s only one problem,” the president added at a speech in Ohio last week. “The jobs wouldn’t be in America. They’d be in other countries.” That clever remark kicked off a week of sparring between the two candidates and their surrogates about the right way to tax corporations.

On this count, the president is wrong. Investment and job growth abroad don’t necessarily mean job losses in the U.S. And more importantly, Romney’s plan to tax multinational corporations only on the income they earn domestically is on the right track.

Properly structured, and combined with a lower corporate- income-tax rate, a so-called territorial system could make U.S. companies more competitive, simplify the tax code, reduce compliance costs, boost real wages and enable companies to repatriate the more than $1.2 trillion they are now holding abroad for fear of the tax man.

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Greece Back At Center Of Euro Crisis As Exit Talk Resurfaces

I’d say taking a large cash position going into this week is a good idea.

Greece retakes its position at the heart of the European debt crisis this week as its creditors assess how far off course the country is from bailout targets, raising again the specter of its exit from the euro.

Greece’s troika of international creditors — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — will arrive in Athens tomorrow amid doubts the country will meet its commitments and reluctance among euro-area states to put up more funds should it fail.

“If Greece doesn’t fulfill those conditions, then there can be no more payments,” German Vice Chancellor Philipp Roesler told broadcaster ARD yesterday, adding that he is “very skeptical” Greece can be rescued and that the prospect of its exit from the monetary union “has long ago lost its terror.”

After euro finance ministers failed to staunch a fresh low for the single currency last week with the approval of a 100 billion-euro ($122 billion) aid package for Spain, the troika will be tasked with determining the fiscal position of the nation where the crisis began almost three years ago. Greece is clamoring for more help as efforts to cut its debt to 120 percent of gross domestic product by 2020 fall short.

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Earnings Show Recession May Be ‘Fast Approaching’

While this quarter’s earnings reports have crossed a substantially lowered profit bar, future expectations through the year indicate a recession could be on the way.

Estimates for the third and fourth quarters have been dropped to levels not seen since the days of the 2008 financial crisis, below even the muted 2 percent expected level of inflation.

That’s an ominous recession sign for an economy that has barely managed to attain positive growth this year even with the strong level of earnings beats, according to an analysis by Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx in New York.

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“‘Geek Squad’ geek stole racy photos from phone, demanded she come to house to get them back”

A mother who went to have her cell phone fixed at Best Buy has spoken of her fury after a male employee copied racy photos of her to a CD before later inviting her to his home to collect them.

Last April, Sophia Ellison hired a Geek Squad employee in Fairfax, Virginia to transfer hundreds of photos, numbers and contacts to a newly purchased iPhone for her.

Instead, he copied them on to his own computer and demanded that she see him in person if she wanted to get them back.

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Spanish protests swell as jobless march on Madrid

(Reuters) – Hundreds of unemployed Spaniards who had walked hundreds of kilometers (miles) to Madrid joined protests on Saturday against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government and its handling of an economic crisis.

Demonstrations have swollen across Spain since the center-right government announced 65 billion euros ($79 billion) in new spending cuts two weeks ago to cut its deficit and avert a full-blown bailout, with firefighters and police joining a mass protest on Thursday.

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Debt crisis: Greek economy is in a ‘Great Depression’ says Samaras

Greek GDP is expected by the end of this to have shrunk by about a fifth in five consecutive years of recession since 2008, hammered by tax hikes, spending cuts and wage reductions required by two EU/IMF bailouts. Unemployment climbed to a record 22.6pc in the first quarter.

“You had the Great Depression in the United States,” Samaras told Clinton, who was visiting Greece as part of a delegation of Greek-American businessmen. “This is exactly what we’re going through in Greece – it’s our version of the Great Depression.”

Athens must reduce its budget deficit below 3pc of GDP by the end of 2014, from 9.3pc of GDP in 2011 – requiring almost another €12bn euros in cuts and higher taxes on top of the 17 billion successive governments have cut from the budget shortfall.

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China Central Bank Adviser Forecasts Growth Slowdown To 7.4%

A Chinese central bank adviser predicted the nation’s expansion may cool to 7.4 percent this quarter, adding to concern that the world’s second-biggest economy has yet to bottom out.

Song Guoqing, an academic member of the People’s Bank of China monetary policy committee, also warned that a decline in producer prices in tandem with consumer inflation may hurt investment returns of industrial companies, damping their desire to expand.

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Despite Horrific Shooting ‘DARK KNIGHT RISES’ Set to Rake in $160 MILLION

via TMZ.com

Dark Knight Rises” is on track to pull in north of $160 million for the 3-day opening, despite the tragedy surrounding the flick … this according to reports.

The major Hollywood studios aren’t reporting official box office numbers yet out of respect for those affected by the massacre in Aurora on Friday … but The Hollywood Reporter is estimating the film will take in a solid $160 million.

Prior to Friday’s theater shooting, the film was estimated to pull in around $170 million, according to THR.

Despite the lower number, it will still make Christopher Nolan‘s third “Batman” installment the highest grossing 2D release of all time … and will beat the opening of last year’s “Dark Knight“, which capped out at a $158.4 million in its first weekend.

The Avengers” still takes the crown for best opening ever … raking in $207.4 million.

Official numbers will be posted Monday AM.

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Heavy Rains Leave Dozens Dead in Beijing

via nytimes.com

BEIJING — The heaviest rainfall in six decades caused widespread havoc in the capital over the weekend, killing at least 37 people and forcing the evacuation of 50,000 others from waterlogged neighborhoods and villages, according to the state news media.

More than six inches of rain fell overnight Saturday into Sunday, collapsing roofs, downing power lines and turning highway underpasses into ponds that engulfed scores of cars and buses. About 80,000 passengers at Beijing Capital International Airportwere stranded overnight after fierce thunderstorms forced the cancellation of 500 flights, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The sewerage system of Beijing, a city poised on the edge of the Gobi Desert, is ill-equipped to handle heavy precipitation; residents in low-lying areas are accustomed to dealing with minor flooding after rainstorms. Officials said the rain, which began at noon and stretched into the early morning, was the heaviest since 1951.


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Statue of Disgraced Joe Paterno Taken Down on Penn State Campus

via espn.com

The Joe Paterno statue was removed Sunday morning from its pedestal outside Beaver Stadium, and it will be stored in an unnamed “secure location,” Penn State president Rodney Erickson announced. Erickson also said the Paterno name will remain on the university’s library.

Shortly before dawn in State College, Pa., a work crew installed chain-link fences to barricade access to Porter Road outside Beaver Stadium and covered the fence with a blue tarp.

The work crew then removed the 7-foot, 900-pound bronze statue by forklift and placed it into the lower level of the stadium. Erickson released his highly sensitive decision to the public at 7 a.m. ET Sunday.

Workers lifted the 7-foot-tall statue off its base and used a forklift to move it into Beaver Stadium as the 100 to 150 students watched, some chanting, “We are Penn State.”

The decision came 10 days after a scathing report by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh found that Paterno, with three other top Penn State administrators, had concealed allegations of child sexual abuse made against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The Freeh report concluded their motive was to shield the university and its football program from negative publicity.

Meanwhile, the NCAA said that that it would levy “corrective and punitive measures” against Penn State. The organization announced Sunday that it would spell out the sanctions on Monday but disclosed no details.

The Paterno family issued a statement only hours later saying the statue’s removal “does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State community.”


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WARNING SIGNS: Gun Club Owner Rejected Aurora Shooter

via sfgate.com

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes applied to join a Colorado gun range but never became a member after the owner became concerned over his “bizarre” message and behavior.

Owner Glenn Rotkovich says Holmes emailed an application to join the Lead Valley Range in Byers on June 25 and there were no overt warning signs in that form.

Holmes said he was not a user of illegal drugs or a convicted felon, so Rotkovich followed up by calling Holmes’ apartment to invite him to a mandatory orientation the following week.

Rotkovich got Holmes’ answering machine and says “it was bizarre — guttural, freakish at best.”


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US Blue-chips’ Outlook Slashed

Estimate for blue-chips are being revised lower leading some to suspect that the world’s largest economy is headed for another recession.

The reduction in growth expectations for leading blue-chips to their lowest level since late 2008 and early 2009 comes as investors have been piling into stocks in dividend-paying large companies that are seen as havens against the backdrop of the eurozone crisis and a weakening US outlook.

Read the rest here.

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NCAA Source: “Unprecedented” Penalties Against Penn State

Looks like we may be seeing the defining moment in college sports which will hopefully put more power (and money) into the hands of the players and strip it from the universities that exploit them.

(CBS News) CBS News has learned that the NCAA will announce what a high-ranking association source called “unprecedented” penalties against both the Penn State University football team and the school.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” the source told correspondent Armen Keteyian.

Read the article here.

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SAN JOSE — Amid inspirational talk, chanted mantras and shouts of victory at a late-night firewalking event attended by thousands Thursday came agonized shrieks from followers whose soles were scorched by the superheated coals, witnesses said.

At least 21 people were treated for burn injuries after taking part in the crowning event of the first day of a Tony Robbins function downtown, including at least three who went to the hospital, a San Jose fire captain said.

The people who suffered various second- and third-degree burn injuries were among more than 6,000 who attended the motivational speaker’s event at the San Jose Convention Center called “Unleash the Power Within.”

After the event, which ended about 11 p.m., the crowd walked across the street to the park, where 12 lanes of hot coals measuring 10 feet long and 2½-feet wide rested on the grass.

Jonathan Correll, 25, decided to check out what was going on when “I heard wails of pain, screams of agony.” He said one young woman appeared to be in so much pain “it was horrific.”

“It was people seriously hurting, like they were being tortured,” he said. “First one person, then a couple minutes later another one, and there was just a line of people walking on that fire. It was just bizarre, man.”

Correll, a San Jose City College student, said he saw between 10 and 15 people being treated. He said he videotaped the scene for about 5 minutes before an event staffer
told him to put the camera away.

But on a break from day two of the four-day event Friday night, others who walked on the coals said it was nothing short of life-changing.

Henry Guasch, 19, of Mountain View, said that after crossing the coals while chanting his mantra of “Cool moss,” he felt powerful.

“Overcoming something like that, it’s a breakthrough,” he said, adding that he did slow his pace in the middle of the field and got a minor burn.

Guasch and Andrew Brenner, another fire walker, both said that the keys to not getting singed are faith and concentration.

“I did it before, didn’t get into the right state and got burned,” Brenner said. “I knew I wasn’t at my peak state. I didn’t take it as serious.”

He said his feet blistered after the walk about eight months ago at another Robbins event, but he didn’t need medical attention.

Kim, a 22-year-old who didn’t want her last name used because she is still attending the event, said her two friends who did the walk seemed fine at first, but their feet started to blister about 10 minutes later. She said other people had similar problems, and a number of them were soaking their feet in a fountain at the park.

“It seemed abnormal that so many got hurt,” she said, adding that many attendees Friday complained about blisters, and a woman sitting near her had both feet completely bandaged.

David Willey, a physics instructor at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in Pennsylvania, has published a text and video on the physics of firewalking and stated that it “does not need a particular state of mind.”

“Rather, it is the short time of contact and the low thermal capacity and conductivity of the coals that is important,” he wrote. He added that ash that builds up on coals can provide further insulation.

It took about 90 minutes for everyone to walk across the coals, fire officials said. It is not known how many of the people who attended the conference took part in the firewalk.

San Jose Fire Department Capt. Reggie Williams said event organizers had emergency personnel on standby and had obtained an open fire permit from the San Jose Fire Department, Williams said. A fire inspector from the department was at the event to make sure there was no accidental fire.

A statement released Friday from Robbins Research International, said, “We have been safely providing this experience for more than three decades, and always under the supervision of medical personnel … We continue to work with local fire and emergency personnel to ensure this event is always done in the safest way possible.”

On the Tony Robbins website, he promotes “The Firewalk Experience,” a process where people walk across coals between 1,200 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

But that’s not something the San Jose Fire Department recommends, Williams said,

“We discourage people from walking over hot coals,” Williams said.

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Bomb Squads Disarm Traps at Colo. Suspect’s apt

FBI Special agent James Yacone said that while most of the explosives had been rendered safe in Holmes’ apartment, “the threat has not been completely eliminated.”

“It was an extremely dangerous environment,” Yacone said.

Read the rest here.

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Ritholtz: Investors’ 10 Most Common Mistakes

Ritholtz is out with an excellent read for a slow Saturday afternoon. Whether you are a seasoned investor or just starting out on your own you will appreciate these 10 most common mistakes.

Read the article here.

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