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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,621

Journal Archives

Forbes.com: Michigan football the 5th-most valuable program in America

Forbes.com: Michigan football the 5th-most valuable program in America

The Michigan football team worked its way back onto a national stage this season with a 10-2 record and a berth in the Sugar Bowl.

However, the Wolverine program never left the big stage when dollars and cents are involved.

Forbes.com recently unveiled its current list of the most valuable college football programs in America, with the Michigan football program entering at No. 5, worth a Forbes value of $94 million.


Forbes' top five valued programs in America are Texas ($129 million), Notre Dame ($112 million), Penn State ($100 million), LSU ($96 million) and Michigan ($94 million). ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.annarbor.com/sports/um-football/michigan-football-the-fifth-most-valuable-program-in-america/

I wonder what the camp counselors are like......?

Wall Street has destroyed the wonder that was America

from Newsweek, via The Daily Beast:

Imagine a vast field on which a terrible battle has recently been fought, the bare ground cratered by fusillade after fusillade of heavy artillery, trees reduced to blackened stumps, wisps of toxic gas hanging in the gray, and corpses everywhere.

A terrible scene, made worse by the sound of distant laughter, because somehow, on the heights commanding the dead zone, the officers’ club has made it through intact. From its balconies flutter bunting, and across the blasted landscape there comes a chorus of hearty male voices in counterpoint to the wheedling of cadres of wheel-greasers, the click of betting chips, the orotund declamations of a visiting congressional delegation: in sum, the celebratory hullabaloo of a class of people that has sent entire nations off to perish but whose only concern right now is whether the ’11 is ready to drink and who’ll see to tipping the servants. The notion that there might be someone or some force out there getting ready to slouch toward the buttonwood tree to exact retribution scarcely ruffles the celebrants’ joy.

Ah, Wall Street. As it was in the beginning, is now, and hopes to God it ever will be, world without end. Amen.

Or so it seems to me. It was in May 1961 that a series of circumstances took me from the hushed precincts of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I was working as a curatorial assistant in the European Paintings Department, to Lehman Brothers, to begin what for the next 30 years would be an involvement—I hesitate to call it “a career”—in investment banking. I would promote and execute deals, sit on boards, kiss ass, and lie through my teeth: the whole megillah. In consequence of which, I would wear Savile Row and carry a Hermčs briefcase. I had Mme. Claude’s home number in Paris and I frequented the best clubs in a half-dozen cities. But I had a problem: I was unable to develop the anticommunitarian moral opacity that is the key to real success on Wall Street. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/12/25/wall-street-has-destroyed-the-wonder-that-was-america.html

USA Today: Holiday sales fail to dazzle

Holiday retail sales appear on track to be somewhere between ho-ho-ho and ho-hum, raising the prospect that the economic expansion is still struggling to reach top form.

Some stores, including J. Crew and Bloomingdale's, were offering after-Christmas discounts of 75% or more, which were more reminiscent of the recession than a recovery.

Early and late in the season, shoppers seemed to ignore many of the lingering economic warning signs and spent like it was 2007 again. Yet, all that spending doesn't equal a blockbuster holiday season, some retail analysts say.

It's "a lot better than it was three or four years ago," says Chris Christopher, senior principal economist for IHS Global Insight. "It looks OK, but when you take price increases into account, it doesn't look too good." ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.usatoday.com/NEWS/usaedition/2011-12-27-afterxmas27_ST_U.htm

Recession or Depression -- Are We Really Better Off Than in the 1930s?

Recession or Depression -- Are We Really Better Off Than in the 1930s?
[font color="green"]The Investigative Reporting Workshop[/font], News Report, Kat Aaron, Posted: Dec 25, 2011

Some call this moment the Great Recession. As the hardship has lingered, others have begun calling it the Little Depression. But equating the hard times of the 1930s with the hard times of today is mostly overblown rhetoric. Or is it?

On the surface, the comparisons are obvious: a period of great wealth and exuberance, followed by a stock market crash. After the crash, widespread economic pain. Millions of people out of work, thousands of homes lost. Families going hungry.

But much has changed. There is social security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, none of which existed when the Depression hit. Breadlines and shantytowns, emblems of the Depression, are nowhere to be seen. Today, though, there is great hardship out of view. Behind closed doors, apartments and shelters are overcrowded, and cupboards are bare.

In interviews with dozens of people who lived through the Great Depression, both similarities and differences between the eras emerge. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://newamericamedia.org/2011/12/recession-or-depression----are-we-really-better-off-than-in-the-1930s.php

Mom Finally Became Ally for Gay Daughter

from New America Media:

Mom Finally Became Ally for Gay Daughter

New America Media / Salon.com, First Person
Jamilah King, Posted: Dec 26, 2011

“Are you going to that gay pride parade?” my mother asked late one morning as I was rushing off to work last June. For a moment, I didn’t know how to respond. I stopped in my tracks, looked back at her and mumbled something about how I’d probably be too busy and didn’t like big crowds anyway. Sensing my discomfort, mom nonchalantly added, “Well, if you decide to go, I could go with you.”

It was a watershed moment for both of us, one that proved that my mom had finally become my ally.

My mother and I had spent the better part of the past decade doing an awkward dance around my sexuality. Most of it was spent tripping over one another; me, nudging her toward acceptance by insisting on brunch with my girlfriend. Her, timidly mastering the Spanish pronunciation of my girlfriend's name. But usually, we were most in sync when there was silence. It seemed easiest to avoid the topic altogether.

For a while, it worked. She’s a single black mom and, as she likes to note, I’m her “only child in the land of the living.” We are, for all intents and purposes, each other’s anchors. The world was cruel to black girls, and wholly unforgiving to the black women they’d grow into, but we’d always had each other. The rhythm of both of our lives depended heavily on an undisturbed current. .......(more)

The complete piece is at: http://newamericamedia.org/2011/12/mom-finally-became-ally-for-gay-daughter.php

Eugene Robinson: A Brainpower Revolution

from truthdig:

A Brainpower Revolution

Posted on Dec 26, 2011
By Eugene Robinson

This is a moment when policymakers should be thinking big, not small. History will little note nor long remember that the payroll tax holiday was extended for two months rather than 12. The complex and difficult questions we’re avoiding, however, may haunt us through the century.

Let me be clear that I applaud President Obama and the Democrats for the political victory they won last week. The impact was to weaken the influence of the most reactionary and clueless faction in Congress—the tea party Republicans—and strengthen the hand of both progressives and pragmatic conservatives. This can only be a good thing.

But let me also be honest: It’s crazy to have spent so much brainpower and energy on a skirmish that was purely tactical, while blithely ignoring the enormous challenges we face. It would be difficult to squander all of our nation’s tremendous advantages. At present, however, we seem to be doing our best.

The central issue is the prospect of decline. For much of the 20th century, the United States boasted the biggest, most vibrant economy in the world and its citizens enjoyed the best quality of life. The former is still obviously true; the latter, arguably still the case. But there is a sense that we’re fading—that tomorrow might not be as bright as today. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/a_brainpower_revolution_20111226/

Chicago Cardinal Tries to Walk Back Crazy Comment About Gay Rights Advocates "Morphing" into the KKK

from Lawyers, Guns & Money, via AlterNet:

Chicago Cardinal Tries to Walk Back Crazy Comment About Gay Rights Advocates "Morphing" into the KKK

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago makes a very serious argument in defense of traditional Catholic doctrine on marriage:

CARDINAL GEORGE: Well, I go with the pastor. I mean, he’s telling us that they won’t be able to have Church services on Sunday, if that’s the case. You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism. So, I think if that’s what’s happening, and I don’t know that it is, but I would respect the local pastor’s, you know, position on that. Then I think that’s a matter of concern for all of us.

This somewhat reminds me of the argument that Democrats are the party of racism because Robert Byrd was a KKK member in 1947. The Klan threatened Catholics with its intolerance and hate in 1923. Therefore, anyone who the Catholic Church opposes must also be a purveyor of hate, even though the Catholic Church is the institution attempting to repress the rights of others. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/753857/chicago_cardinal_tries_to_walk_back_crazy_comment_about_gay_rights_advocates_%22morphing%22_into_the_kkk/

Max Keiser: Hey, 1% pigs! Go & find real job!

The Nation: Revolution through Banking?

Revolution through Banking?

Carne Ross
December 22, 2011

It has been clear for some time that the conduct of the banking and financial industry is one very important cause of the 2008 credit crunch. Moreover, for-profit banks by and large fail to deliver services to the poor, deepening poor people's marginalization from the mainstream economy. The banks relentless pursuit of profit, an intrinsic feature of the industry (as of the broader economy), continues to expose all of us to the risk of another banking crisis which would repeat the enormous harm done last time, above all to the world’s poorest. Sadly, it’s unrealistic to expect Washington to do much to curb the industry, given the banks' enormous lobbying sway and privileged access to senior officials, regardless which party is in power.

It’s no surprise then that the banks have been an important focus of discussion in the Occupy Wall Street movement. And a new approach to banking may become one of the important ways that Occupy moves forward and starts producing material change.


The ideal bank would be democratically owned and controlled by its customers and its employees. Like at many credit unions, all depositors would get an equal say, regardless of the size of their accounts. It would be non-profit, building in a competitive advantage over the for-profit banks. It would be accessible to all, in particular the poor (we are inspired by the Grameen Bank, started by Mohamed Yunus in Bangladesh). It would be a bank that anyone can bank with and receive better service than what they receive today at conventional banks. Any small-scale bank we establish say in New York would have be to be replicable by others elsewhere.

The banking crisis was caused by several intrinsic characteristics of the financial system. The level of debt and risk was concealed by the unintelligibility, but also by the secrecy and opacity, of many banking practices. The infamous credit default options concealed risk as they spread it and were barely understood even by the bankers trading or buying them. In contrast, an Occupy bank would be wholly transparent, perhaps even in real time, showing transactions as they happen. Technology now makes this plausible. Likewise, technology has enabled new peer-to-peer platforms where borrowers and lenders negotiate with each other directly. We have also discussed minimizing risk by adopting some of the ideas of Laurence Kotlikoff, whose concept of “limited purpose banking” permits no build up of liabilities within a bank because all liabilities would be mutualized. Kotlikoff proposes that banks would essentially become clearing houses where investors would "buy" the loans of other customers via a cash-based mutual fund. The bank would not itself hold any loans, thereby eradicating the risk of a bank run. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thenation.com/article/165333/revolution-through-banking

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