Can Kicked – Again

Looks like the  issue of Greece’s debt and economy has been pushed back for a little while longer

After months of acrimony, Greece finally clinched a bailout agreement with its European creditors on Monday that will, if implemented, secure the country’s place in the euro and avoid financial collapse.

The terms of the deal, however, will be painful both for Greeks and their radical left-led government, which since its election in January had vowed to stand up to the creditors and reject the budget cuts they have been demanding.

I wonder how the people who suffered from the banking restrictions, the unrest feel about their leaders making essentially the same deal that was offered months ago.

Does anyone really think the latest round of bailout will make a difference?

Greece had requested a three-year, 53.5 billion-euro ($59.5 billion) financial package, but that number grew larger by tens of billions as the negotiations dragged on and the leaders calculated how much Greece will need to stay solvent.

Greece has received two previous bailouts, totaling 240 billion euros ($268 billion), in return for deep spending cuts, tax increases and reforms from successive governments. Although the country’s annual budget deficit has come down dramatically, Greece’s debt burden has increased as the economy has shrunk by a quarter.

They’ve already did the same thing twice already. Starting to look like a bad real life version of “Ground Hog Day” without the principals actually learning anything.
Not in Greece, not in the Eurozone, not in America or China. No one seems to be taking the issue to heart and making actual reform or changes to stave off disaster.

I hope that I’m just being alarmist here. What do you think about the state of the economy?

 

Unintended Consequences?

I’m always amazed at how people don’t seem to be able to think things through.

Los Angeles (CNN)In drought-punished Southern California, with the unceremonious push of a steely sodbuster, another lawn bites the dust.

That’s one down, and a sprawl to go.

Here in the land of perpetual sunshine, up to 5,000 residential lawns now vanish each month, converted into drought-resistant gardens and yards in under cash incentives, says the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), a consortium of water utilities serving 17 million people.

It’s all part of“the nation’s largest turf removal and water conservation program”whose budget was more than quadrupled in May, to $450 million, because of a homeowner rush to save water, the district says.

Yeah, let’s put the focus on the homeowner’s rush to save water and not the MWD’s drive to save their business.  The article indicates that the program will “save more than 70 million gallons of water over 10 years — enough water for 160,000 households” — but are they considering the impact such actions will have?

Climate is controlled at ground level by turfgrasses as they cool temperatures appreciably, thus working as exterior “air conditioners.”  

Dust and smoke particles from the atmosphere are trapped by turf which helps keep the air cleaner.

Noise is absorbed by grass areas which cut down on excessive sound, a growing problem in urban areas.

For example, grassed slopes beside lowered expressways reduce noise 8-10 decibels.

Pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, are absorbed by turfgrasses thereby rendering the air fit to breathe. 

So instead of having CO2 sinks in our cities; we are going to increase the urban heat effect, increase the amount of pollution and dust in the area and increase the noise level. Gee, won’t it be such fun living in those areas?

 

 

Financial News – Greece

Global stock markets sank Monday after Greece closed its banks and imposed capital controls in a dramatic turn in its struggle with heavy debts.

Oil prices declined and the euro edged down after Athens announced the moves to stanch the flow of money out of Greek banks and pressure creditors to offer concessions before a bailout program expires Tuesday.

Germany’s DAX index tumbled 2.9 percent to 11,161.41 points in early trading and France’s CAC-40 dived 3.4 percent to 4,887.69. Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.6 percent to 6,643.83. Futures augured losses on Wall Street. Dow futures were down 1.1 percent at 17,677.00. S&P 500 futures shed 1.1 percent to 2,073.00.

Greece’s Cabinet closed banks for six business days and restricted cash withdrawals. The Athens Stock Exchange was due to be closed Monday. That follows Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ weekend decision to call a referendum on European and International Monetary Fund proposals for Greek reforms in return for bailout funds.

The accelerating crisis has raised questions about whether Greece might withdraw from the 19-nation euro currency, a move dubbed Grexit.

While this has happened in the past; I strongly suggest people keep an eye out. Each time this happens the odds of the problem cascading to affect our economy increases.  As everyone knows our world economy is very tightly interwoven with so many other countries. Even if we don’t have much direct trade with Greece, other countries do so if their economy tanks it can impact ours.
Next, I would also suggest people study how the Greek government has and will handle this. One of the common steps as shown above is a ‘bank holiday’. Think about what would do how you handle business, how you would put food on the table and gas in your car. People still have to work, still have to get to doctor’s appointments, buy medicine etc.

Think about what else the government or banks can do. Remember in 2013?

He should know. As Cypriot finance minister in 2013, Sarris was forced into a deal contingent on winding down a bank on an ELA lifeline. A second bank was forced to raid its clients deposits to recapitalize, a process known as a ‘bail-in’.

How many of us keep most of our money in the banks; wouldn’t it be a kick to find out the bank decided to take 10, 15, 40% of your money to stay afloat?

I’m watching closely and trying to take the lessons to heart. What do you think about the situation?
Please join the discussion>?

Competing Claims

This made me laugh, of course some people say it doesn’t take much to make me laugh.
I was looking for the transcript of the oral arguments. Couldn’t find it yet but I did find the Amicus brief for the en banc hearing and before.
I read the Everytown for Gun Safety Amicus and found:

Everytown for Gun Safety is the largest gun-violence-prevention organization in the country. It has over 2.5 million supporters, including over 275,000 California residents and the mayors of over 50 California cities.

Okay….but earlier the Brady Bunch Campaign had filed also.

Amicus Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, non-profit organization dedicated to reducing gun violence through education, research, and legal advocacy

Now this filings are months apart and the wording is slightly different -so it is possible both are/were correct. But the numbers are very telling. US Census bureau reports the adult population of California is estimated to be 29,528,702 – so 275,000 supporters – that is 0.931% of the adult population (assuming that Everytown ONLY counts adults as supporters – which I would doubt). Not even a full percentage point of the population as supporters of the largest gun-violence organization.

Meanwhile in  state where most counties makes it darn difficult to get a Concealed Carry Permit – 52,521 people (per Calguns 2013 PDF Alert) have a permit. Oh, that is counting non-government personnel only. 0.177% of the adult population. So only 5 times as many people support Everytown as people who have actively and successfully gotten a carry permit.

Again this struck me as funny (as in Oh that is so sad) way.
Please join the discussion. 

Criminal Mindset

I normally don’t name criminals, especially murderers, on this blog. Part of that reasoning is to deny them the publicity they want. Sometimes though, publicity is the last thing they might want. So for that reason, I’m naming – Artrai Alexander — the car jacker who was taken down by the minivan mom and her boyfriend. Mostly the minivan mom; Mr. Alexander, I hope that fact follows you for a very long time.

 

Fox 4 news had a brief clip of a jail house interview with Artrai Alexander – take a look.

 

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Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com
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Now, let’s think about some of the statements which shows Artrai Alexander (and to some extent many other criminals) mindset

 

Alexander told FOX 4 that yes, he stole a Dodge Challenger and yes, he drove crazily while trying to get away from police.

However, he does not take any responsibility.

He claimed the car’s owner pulled a gun on him earlier in the day, and that he did not stop because he was afraid police would shoot him.

Because someone else committed a crime; possibly, maybe, he claims; it is okay to commit another crime. He didn’t call the police, he didn’t avoid the situation, he didn’t try to work out their differences (if there were any). Nope, he stole a new $25,000 vehicle.

Next, after committing a crime; he believes it was acceptable to endanger other lives to avoid jeopardizing his own. Says a lot about how he values other people eh? He risked many lives, including driving at high speed through a school zone, just to keep from possibly maybe, he claims from being shot. Gee, I wonder why he might think the police would shoot him. Anyone else notice the first pictures of Artrai Alexander was a 2009 mug shot?

 

And the reporter is absolutely right about denying responsibility.

Liesmann’s 13-year-old son, T.J., was also in the van when it was hit, and police said Liesmann was like a mad mama bear, hanging on to Alexander until officers arrived.

“She’s pretty tough, huh?” FOX 4 asked Alexander.

“Yeah,” said Alexander. “Thumbs up to her…I want you to understand my upset-ness as well for being put in that situation

Emphasis mine — he didn’t do anything himself; he was ‘put in that situation. Excuse me if I disagree Artrai you and only you are responsible for the situation. Ever wonder how criminals can justify the horrific acts they do? Easy, they blame some one else.

This is a great example of why I do not agree with the mentality and advice of ‘just give them what they want’. I don’t know what they want, I don’t know if doing so will keep me safe and I don’t know if they even see me as anything other than a walking resource.

We don’t need gun control. We need to gain control of social values that raises up people like Artrai Alexander. We need to implement laws that reduces the chance of someone like Artrai Alexander being able to repeatedly endanger the public for his own gain.

 

Please join the discussion. 

Signs of Decline…

…every civilization has declined in time. The signs are usually obvious in hind sight. Sometimes though they are so startlingly clear it boggles the mind.

Syfy tells Adweek exclusively that it has green-lit a third movie in its increasingly silly Sharknado franchise before even airing the second one (official title: The Second One).

The first flick cost the network a scant $250,000, a cost repaid in social chatter and fan love. Now the network has committed to a third film to be set in a yet-to-be-determined city, presumably with the rest of the principal cast from Sharknado and Sharknado 2: The Second One, provided no airborne carnivorous fish spend their last moments on Earth munching on Tara Reid or Ian Ziering between now and then.

And it isn’t just that they approved the movie but the fact that the movies made money. I may have to study Revelations to see if this isn’t listed as a sign of the end of times.

Politcs and firearms.

Anti-Rights cultists, like “Perfectly Frank”, usually try to do two things; first they want to make firearm related violence simplistic (There are too many guns) and second, they usually try to paint gun owners with a broad brush.
Frank tried it with his “Adding Color To Firearm Death Rates” . He took the very simplistic approach of ‘determining’ which states are ‘Red’ (Conservative) and which states are “Blue” (Liberal); of course the top states with high firearm death rates are predominately Red. I left a reply – actually two – with links or the images below. That was Thursday; funny how there has been no reply since then.
These images are still very simplistic but add a layer of information or two.

First, as I showed with the city statistics for the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex; not every area is the same. Especially not at the state level like Frank is trying to imply. I really like this first graphic; everyone has seen it. It shows some major cities in relation to the firearm death rates of other countries. Of course these aren’t ‘advanced, developed, western, handpicked nations’ so I’m sure some people will claim the comparison is invalid.

 

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The last graphic shows the voting pattern, broken down by county level, for ‘red’ and ‘blue’ states. Amazing how Red the country looks at this level of detail; much different from Frank’s list by state.

 

 

And when we look at the homicides by city and then look at the counties those cities are in; an amazing thing happens — it looks like many of those cities are voting liberal !!! Oh no, doesn’t that kinda run counter the ‘conservative’ areas are killing others more often?

Now, there are some important differences between urban and rural areas that need to be addressed.

Objectives. We analyzed urban–rural differences in intentional firearm death.

Methods. We analyzed 584629 deaths from 1989 to 1999 assigned to 3141 US counties, using negative binomial regressions and an 11-category urban–rural variable.

Results. The most urban counties had 1.03 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.87, 1.20) times the adjusted firearm death rate of the most rural counties. The most rural counties experienced 1.54 (95% CI=1.29, 1.83) times the adjusted firearm suicide rate of the most urban. The most urban counties experienced 1.90 (95% CI=1.50, 2.40) times the adjusted firearm homicide rate of the most rural. Similar opposing trends were not found for nonfirearm suicide or homicide.

Conclusions. Firearm suicide in rural counties is as important a public health problem as firearm homicide in urban counties. Policymakers should become aware that intentional firearm deaths affect all types of communities in the United States.

Cities have nearly twice the firearm homicide rate of rural areas while rural areas only have a slightly higher rate of suicide. Other distinctions have been noted.

Background: Family physicians can play a vital role in preventing gun violence, and better data on which to base their interventions might result in more effective prevention efforts. Using Washington State data, two assumptions on which interventions can be based were tested: compared with urban areas, rural areas have (1) a higher percentage of gun deaths from shotguns and rifles, and (2) a higher percentage of gun deaths from suicides and accidents.

This is important as we consider that suicides are much more common then homicides and the types of gun control laws proposed by anti-rights cultists are unlikely to address the most common rifles and shotguns used in rural suicides. That is unless they push for really draconian laws.

I won’t get into the debate about whether or not we suicide should be illegal. I’ll just note that very few of the gun control laws proposed by any of the antis address suicides.

Please join the discussion.