Comment on Equity vs. Equality; differences & discoveries – SELRS Update by Soames Smith        
I agree with the articles point of view,There has to be away for the consumer to take a share in the equity and also the risk in the production of food .Allowing for the producer to make a living wage .
          Comment on Equity vs. Equality; differences & discoveries – SELRS Update by peacefullpantry        
Reblogged this on <a href="" rel="nofollow">PeaceFull Pantry</a>.
          Comment on Infusing Value in Supply – SELRS Update by Equity vs. Equality; differences & discoveries – SELRS Update « GFSA News        
[...] Infusing Value in Supply – SELRS Update [...]
          Union Bank of India Announces Excellent Results for the Quarter ended June 30, 2017         
Highlights  of  Union Bank of India's Results for the Quarter ended June 30, 2017  

CASA     25.1 per cent YoY
Non Interest Income      `  ` 1414 crore  (up 36 per cent YoY) 
Savings Deposit     27.6 per cent YoY
Operating Profit     ` ` 2057 crore (up 26.5 per cent YoY) 
CASA Share      35.5 per cent 
Net Profit        ` 117 crore (up 7.3 per cent QoQ) 
RAM* Sector      14.8 per cent YoY
CRAR       12.01 per cent 
RAM* Share       55.4 per cent
Tier I      9.24 per cent 

 The growth in Deposits was driven by Savings Deposits, which grew by 27.6 per cent on YoY basis.
 Cost to income ratio improved to 43.79 per cent against 48.28 per cent on YoY basis.

 Capital Adequacy Ratio (Basel III) improved to 12.01 per cent compared to 10.75 per cent a year ago. * (Retail, Agriculture & MSME share in domestic advances) 

Global Business grew by 10.5 per cent to `670971 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `607280 crore as on June 30, 2016. Domestic business grew by 10.0 per cent to `635233 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `577473 crore as on June 30, 2016.  Total deposit of the bank grew from `338727 crore as on June 30, 2016 to `375796 crore as on June 30, 2017 showing growth of 10.9 per cent. 
Financial Results for the Quarter ended June 30, 2017 
CASA deposits grew by 25.1 per cent to `133412 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `106604 crore as on June 30, 2016.   CASA share in total deposits improved to 35.5 per cent as on June 30, 2017 compared to 31.5 per cent as on June 30, 2016. Average CASA ratio also increased by 430 basis points (bps) to 33.5 per cent on YoY basis.  Savings Deposit registered YoY growth of 27.6 per cent.  A total of 8.70 lakh CASA accounts were opened during April-June 2017, out of which 8.38 lakh were Savings Bank Accounts (excl. BSBDA/BSBDS accounts).   The Bank’s Global Advances grew by 9.9 per cent (YoY) to `295175 crore as on June 30, 2017 from `268553 crore as on June 30, 2016.  Due to encouraging growth of 14.8 per cent in RAM (Retail, Agriculture & MSME) sector, Domestic Advances increased by 9.4 per cent from `242935 crore as on June 30, 2016 to `265683 crore as on June 30, 2017. 

Financial Performance for the quarter ended June 2017

Domestic Net Interest Margin (NIM) stood at 2.20 per cent for April -June 2017 as against 2.36 per cent for April -June 2016. Global NIM for April -June 2017 stood at 2.06 per cent as against 2.27 per cent for January-March 2017 quarter. It was 2.28 per cent a year ago.    Yield on funds stood at 6.94 per cent for April -June 2017 as against 7.94 per cent for April-June 2016 and 7.35 per cent for January-March 2017.   Cost of funds stood at 5.03 per cent for April -June 2017 as against 5.82 per cent for April-June 2016 and 5.24 per cent for January-March 2017.  Net Interest Income for April-June 2017 increased by 6.7 per cent to `2243 crore from `2103 crore for April-June 2016. It was `2387 crore during January-March 2017.  Non Interest Income for April-June 2017 stood at `1414 crore, showing increase of 36.0 per cent over April-June 2016.   Operating profit increased by 26.5 per cent to `2057 crore during April-June 2017 over `1626 crore during April-June 2016 and was `2134 crore during January-March 2017.  Net Profit for April-June 2017 sequentially increased to `117 crore from `109 crore in January-March 2017.  Cost to income ratio improved to 43.79 per cent for April -June 2017 from 48.28 per cent for April-June 2016 and it was 44.32 per cent for January-March 2017.  Return on average assets (annualised) stood at 0.10 per cent for April-June 2017 as against 0.17 per cent for April-June 2016 and 0.10 per cent for January-March 2017.  Return on equity (annualised) stood at 2.46 per cent in April -June 2017 as against 3.36 per cent for April -June 2016 and 2.27 per cent for January-March 2017.  Earnings per share (annualised) stood at `6.78 in April -June 2017 as against `9.69 for April -June 2016 and `6.33 for January-March 2017.

Asset Quality
Gross NPA stood at 12.63 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 11.17 per cent as on March 31, 2017 and 10.16 per cent as on June 30, 2016.   Net NPA ratio stood at 7.47 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 6.57 per cent as on March 31, 2017 and 6.16 per cent as on June 30, 2016.  Provision Coverage Ratio stood at 51.13 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 51.41 per cent as on March 31, 2017. It was 49.99 per cent as on June 30, 2016.  

Capital Adequacy

Capital Adequacy ratio of the Bank under Basel III improved to 12.01 per cent as on June 30, 2017 as against 11.79 per cent as on March 31, 2017 and 10.75 per cent as on June 30, 2016 compared to minimum regulatory requirement of 10.25 per cent.  The Tier I ratio as of June 30, 2017 is 9.24 per cent, within which Common Equity Tier 1 ratio is 7.73 per cent compared to regulatory minimum of 6.75 per cent. 

Digital Initiatives

The Bank has been pioneer in taking various digital initiatives and continuously launched various digital products for enhancing the customer services. Following are some of the key achievements during the quarter:
 66 per cent growth in mobile banking users on YoY basis.  U-Mobile transaction volume doubled from June 2016.  90 per cent growth in number of PoS terminals on YoY basis.  7th largest presence in banking industry and 3rd largest presence amongst all PSU banks within short span of time in Social media.  Trendsetter on Social media channels by taking various initiatives like Live streaming, Digital Education Series – #KyaAapJanteHai etc.   67 per cent share of “transactions through digital channels” in “overall transactions”. 

Financial Inclusion:

Under the Pradhan Manrti Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the the Bank has more than 69 lakh accounts having a balance of `1270 crore.   48.91 lakh Rupay Card issued under PMJDY as on June 30, 2017.

Total enrollment under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APJ) increased to 30.1 lakh, 12.8 lakh and 2.21 lakh respectively.  The Bank financed `696 crore in 33433 accounts under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, including an amount of `211 crore to 7964 beneficiaries through a specific scheme for financing of light commercial vehicle during April–June 2017. 


The Bank has 4286 branches as of June 30, 2017 including 4 overseas branches at Hong Kong, DIFC (Dubai), Antwerp (Belgium) and Sydney (Australia). In addition, the Bank has representative offices at Shanghai, Beijing and Abu Dhabi. The Bank also operates in United Kingdom through its wholly owned subsidiary, Union Bank of India (UK) Ltd.   Total number of ATMs stood at 7574 including 1685 talking ATMs as of June 30, 2017. ATM to branch ratio stood at 1.77. 

Awards & Accolades during FY 2017-18 (April-June)

Skoch Award 
Skoch Order of merit Award – Operational Customer Relationship Management (OCRM)
Skoch Financial Technology Award - Unified Payment Interface(UPI)
Skoch Financial Technology Award - Green PIN solution for Debit cards 
Skoch Financial Technology Award - Union Digi Gaon
Skoch Financial Inclusion Award for Financial Inclusion

          Sugar Free launches a web series ‘The Sweet Breakup’ a first of its kind in the food space        

by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 2017: Sugar Free, a name synonymous with sugar substitute, is the single largest leader in India in the category. The brand always thrives on innovation as key for its growth and has introduced many variants in the category for the sweet binging yet calorie conscious Indians. As an extension to its innovation drive, the brand has unveiled a new campaign ‘The Sweet Breakup’, a one-of-a-kind 5-part web-series in the food category. The series is conceptualized and executed by Maxus Content, the content solutions arm of Maxus.
Talking about the campaign Tarun Arora, Chief Operating Officer & Director, Zydus Wellness said, “Our vision for “Sugar Free” is to make it the brand of choice for consumers seeking low / no calorie options to lead a healthier life style. Hence to address the myths attached with the usage of Sugar Free as part of one’s daily culinary needs made us conceptualize ‘The Sweet Break Up’.  This web series demonstrates in an authentic way that you can indulge into your favourite dessert guilt-free without compromising on the taste. The 5- city trail as part of the campaign only reaffirmed that any sweet recreated with Sugar Free tastes the same when made with sugar. I believe this was the first time a dessert truck was going around India and hence there was a lot of excitement amongst people wanting to know what’s cooking !”
Pooja Verma, Head - Content, Entertainment and Sports Partnerships at Maxus said, “Maxus believes that changing traditional behaviour among consumers with content, needs a compelling strategy which is driven by insights and fused with creative thought. Showcasing Sugar Free as more than just a sugar substitute via ‘The Sweet Break-Up’ campaign is a prime example of our focus. Sweets have a strong relationship with celebrations in our country. With that insight in mind, we brought our campaign together on the message that enjoying sweets while breaking up with unhealthy calories is a win-win outcome for every foodie. The creative vehicle to deliver that message is our one-of-a-kind series where Chef Kunal Kapur joins famous foodie-duo Rocky & Mayur, in recreating delicious Indian sweets with Sugar Free. Through this content solution, the brand stands to generate extensive and meaningful conversations with viewers who love their sweets.”

This campaign marks the culinary journey of Sugar Free across 5 cities Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Mumbai, where celebrity chef Kunal Kapur reconstructed 5 different speciality desserts by using Sugar Free products. The brand also had on board the famous foodie duo Rocky and Mayur whose fun banter added to the entertainment element in the web-series. The journey started from Delhi where the chef created the famous Tewari Brother’s Gulaab Jamun followed by Lucknow where Ram Asrey’s famous Malai ki Gilori was made. The truck then headed East to Kolkata where he recreated Balaram Mullick’s Sandesh and then southward to Bangalore where he made a fusion dessert using G Pulla Reddy’s Dharwad Peda and created Dharwad Peda Tiramisu. The final leg of the web series was shot in Mumbai where Chef Kapur added a spin to made Ladu Samrat’s modak and created delicious chocolate modaks. All of these were created using Sugar Free. While the brand has a strong linkage with table top consumptionand pellets as a format, the culinary consumption for powder formats is a gap that needs to be bridged. ‘The Sweet Breakup’ campaign is that step forward by Sugar Free to make consumers aware of the format, its usage and the fact that the taste of the dessert stays as good. What more? One can indulge in sweets now without having to feel guilty.
The Sweet Breakup will be unveiled on-air on 18thAugust
About Zydus Wellness Limited: Zydus Wellness Limited is the Consumer products company from the Zydus Group. Zydus group is a pharma major with flagship organization, Cadila Healthcare Limited, a leading pharmaceutical company with significant global presence apart from India. Zydus Wellness has been a pioneer in various categories it operates in. The company focuses on emerging segments and has its DNA of innovations with “Do good benefits” at the core of its business. Zydus Wellness commands leadership in the sugar substitute market, table spreads and the skin care segments. In the sugar substitute market, Sugar Free is a market leader with a market share of 94% and targets health and fitness seekers apart from diabetics.
Nutralite is a market leader in the Fat Spread category and appeals to consumers looking for healthier alternatives to normal butter. It is cholesterol free, does not contain any hydrogenated fats and is also trans-fat free. Everyuth is a pioneer in facial cleansing space in India. It enjoys leadership in the scrub and Peel off Mask segments and is amongst the top players in the overall facial cleansing category with strong “Naturals” equity Zydus Wellness Limited is listed on NSE and BSE and has manufacturing locations in Gujarat and Sikkim.
About Maxus:  Maxus is a marketing communications consultancy that helps marketers build profitable relationships between consumers and their brands. They combine the disciplines of communications planning and customer relationship marketing to deliver Relationship Media, a next generation model powered by creative media thinking and sophisticated, real-time customer data.

Their services include communications strategy, digital marketing, direct response media, social media, data analytics, media investment management, content & sports marketing, marketing ROI evaluation and CRM. Having a talent team of 2,500 people across 55 markets, they are part of GroupM, the world’s largest media investment management group that serves as the parent company for all of WPP’s media agencies.

          A Buffalo Church as a New Buffalo Brewery        

In Buffalo NY it’s hard to not be drawn to a church for a brewery right away. It’s like a brewing palace. Beautiful surroundings, ceiling heights that are unmatched, since it was for people to gather the utilities are surprisingly low (several feet of brick and mortar are even better than 6 inch of fiberglass, the temp stability is amazing) and Buffalo has a bunch of extra churches right now that could use a, well use. 

So what’s the problem? They came in a couple of flavors (Sadly the flavors are like skunked Bud Light, and not a Buffalo micro-brew). 

1) If the church is owned by the Papacy it cannot be used for a brewery, period dot. That takes out many of the primary candidates 

2) Most of the churches need some repairs, the first church we looked at required over 500k in stabilization and another 400-500k in conversation costs. The second needs 300k, but the conversion costs were down to about 100k. That is almost the entire budget for New Buffalo. In this same category, if there’s not a door I can get the tank thought I don’t want to bust down walls to get them installed, that’s not hard and fast just a bit of the preservationist that lingers. 

3) A brewery falls under a M1 Zoning, churches are a C1, the first city councilmen I tried to work with refused to talk to me about it for several  weeks before giving me a “I won’t actively try to stop you, but I’m not going to help you in anyway” kind of answer.  The Councilmen Franczyk, who’s district I wasn’t working in was excited about the idea. In any case not being zoned correctly is another huge risk for use to undertake, a 6 month wait would bankrupt us in our first year   

 4) There is no equity in churches so the bank will not lend us money to fix a church for the most part.  On top off that even as we pay down the merger costs of the church we can’t barrow against it later own to expand like a normal building. 

5) Preservation, on one hand it has some money we can tap into in, almost 50% of the stabilization or big repair costs could be deferred by public funds,  however you have to keep the building the way the rules call for which in the case of the first building, we would have had the largest tasting room in the world (not proven but I don’t know of any breweries with 12,000sqft of tasting space, and two levels with a stage in the middle) 

6) Transportation, I need to be able to bring in semi’s, right now were planning on a grain bin for the pale malt, and I have to be able to get that into the building, also just in the first year we’ll be moving a couple truckloads of beer a week. I have to be in a place they can get too. 

To sum it up, were still looking for a church that could hold us but it’s not our focus anymore. Unless we received a grant for $1million it looks like it’s going to be a goal to expand too.  I know the city has money like that, and that $5million went to the Staler. The city isn’t going to trust a young guy like me, my background is Intelligence and factory work, not history building refurbishing. 

This was a very long post, but I wanted to hit on it since several people have asked me about it. Chris Fetter has been a tremendous help, sending us updates when a non-Catholic church comes on the market.  We hope this will work out, but we can’t wait forever. 

This post is in response an exchange with, on our facebook page

          Interface deal good for the industry         

The $600 million Interface Security Systems deal has sent—as The Beach Boys once sang—“good vibrations” throughout the security industry, as it provides not only a vote of confidence for what Interface is doing as a modern systems integration company, but also a vote of confidence in the security industry, in general, as companies like Interface represent a new breed of integrator that is staying at the forefront of new technology and innovation.

John E. Mack III, executive vice president, co-head of investment banking and mergers & acquisitions at Imperial Capital, which acted as financial advisor to Interface on the deal, astutely pointed out that this deal goes beyond validation of what Interface is doing in the space.

“This is a very cool story for the sophisticated new-age security provider, which is what Interface is—the 2.0 version of what the right kind of security player should be,” he told Security Systems News. “We spend so much time in this industry talking about the residential side of the business, which is interesting, but there is a massive opportunity on the commercial side of the business that Interface is tapping into that I think is a compelling theme.”

He continued, “There is a lot of validation for a very successful business model here that Prudential is putting up $180 million of new capital, and SunTx is putting up additional capital into the deal. And that you’ve got a very attractive set of debt investors, and just the fundamental backing for the business, is a meaningful part of a positive message for the industry.”

Jeff Frye, SVP for Interface, told SSN that the support from equity partners is not only a stamp of approval for what the company is doing, but the “capital gives us more fuel to build on our current, better than 15 percent compounded annual growth rate, so we know that we can do more with a little more gas in the tank and we are anxious to prove it.”

Frye noted that the equity will allow the company to expand its products and services around providing business intelligence, as security is becoming so much more than just, well, security.

“As a network provider, and a managed services provider of network services and cybersecurity services, we touch a lot of aspects of our customers’ businesses,” Frye explained. “And as a leading purveyor of Internet of Things services, we are able to aggregate intelligence from all of those sensors and data sources to bring actionable insights to a customer’s business. There are some new verticals that we would like to focus on more, including financial services and banking, so this makes that horizon much brighter and much more approachable.”

And it also makes the security industry’s horizon a little brighter.

          Mega TV        
Spanish boradcasting system KTBU-TV Channel 55 11150 Equity Dr.Houston TX 77041 Tel.713.351.0847
          Applebee’s, IHOP to close as many as 160 restaurants        
DineEquity announces plan to close dozens of IHOP and Applebee's restaurants.
          How a poor labourer became a rich farmer        
A video tells the story of a poor farmer who, through effective water conservation methods, became rich and a role model to other villagers.
Vasantrao Parkale (Source: India Water Portal)

Vasant Baburao Parkale, a 52-year-old farmer, has become a role model for many farmers in the drought-prone Marathwada region. His determination and the will to excel in life have helped him to transform his dreams into reality.

In 1984, he was just another labourer working for Bhagwan Yashwantrao Shirsagar, a wealthy farmer in Kadwanchi village in Jalna district. In 2006, Shirsagar built three farm ponds in the village with the help of the government subsidy. Vasant aspired to become a farmer like Shirsagar and was interested in building a farm pond. When he informed Shirsagar about this, he was discouraged from doing it. Unperturbed by this, Vasant went ahead with his efforts and started meeting government officials for the farm pond subsidy. The officials supported his initiative and provided him with the subsidy.

In 2006, he made his first 24x24-metres-farm pond. Through his two farm ponds, he harvests one crore 15 lakh litres of water annually. His grape production is flourishing with efficient water management practices. He owns 8.3 acres of land now and has properties worth Rs 1 crore. 

The video tells his success story.











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          In the name of development        
The indigenous community of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been systematically alienated from their land by the colonial and post-colonial policies. A new book chronicles the change.
The forests and the tribal communities of the islands are being decimated. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Pankaj Sekhsaria’s recent book Islands in flux--The Andaman and Nicobar Story is a collection of around 20 years of his writings on the environmental and conservation concerns faced by the indigenous tribal communities of the region. Unlike his previous book, The last wave, a factual fiction adventure story dealing with love, longing and loss, this one is a collection of contemporary developments in the islands. The book is divided into seven parts and several chapters each dealing with the societal and ecological facets of the islands. Issues related to the environment, wildlife conservation and development policies that threaten the island’s indigenous communities have been chronicled by the author who is a long-time member of the NGO, Kalpavriksh.

Alienation of islanders

The book begins with the section, Setting the context, in which he writes about the history of the alienation of the island communities living there for over 40,000 years. The author takes a dig at the history writers of the modern democratic Indian state who have left gaping holes in their writings by not sudying the ancient indigenous communities--the Great Andamanese, the Onge, the Jarawa and the Sentinelese. It is here that the author mentions “if the real and complete history of the islands is ever written, the British would not be more than a page and India could only be a paragraph”.

The indigenous people have been systematically alienated from their resources by the British colonial policies and the post-colonial development-oriented policies of India. The Britishers set up a penal colony in the islands in 1858, the Japanese occupied the islands during the World War II, and during the post colonial period, thousands of settlers from mainland India were brought to the island. Though the islanders put up a fierce fight to defend their territories, the social fabric of the island communities has been violently torn apart and their populations decimated while the settlers outnumbered the original inhabitants. The region is witness to nation building exercises, hinduisation of ‘uncivilized junglees’ and even an attempt to rename the islands. The author calls this as an attempt to “reclaim what was never yours”. No effort has been made by way of scholarship or historical studies to take the islanders’ point of view.

Forestry is the chief source of revenue in cash in the islands but the system of forestry did not suit the region. The author quotes an official report by the Department of Environment, Government of India that argues that “the forestry system was leading to a preponderance of deciduous elements in the evergreen system that would eventually destroy the whole island ecosystem”. The carrying capacity of the islands has been long exceeded, the author says. Ill-conceived schemes like cattle rearing were introduced for a community that does not consume milk. Tourism is a concern in the islands which have been declared as ‘global biodiversity hotspot’.

The pristine forests and the people living in the Jarawa tribal reserve that covers half the island is under threat because of the ill conceived Andaman Trunk Road that separates the reserve land from the rest of the island. The Jarawas for whom the forests have been a home for ages have been reduced to begging around the Trunk Road that runs through the reserve. The road has been controversial due to the negative fallouts on the island’s ecology and the indigenous people. The Supreme Court had in 2002 passed an order to close it; the island administration chose to ignore it. Its closure was absolutely critical to protect the Jarawa community, the author says.

Islands turn colonies

The author chronicles the colonising of the islands in a chapter of the same name and discusses how the settlers look down upon the indigenous communities. Tension continues between the tribal communities especially the ancient tribal community of Jarawas and the settlers over land rights and there is a lack of political will to ease this even as the population of the Jarawas has been reduced to a few hundreds. “There are opinions that the Jarawas should be assimilated into the modern world, but it is clear that it is exactly this contact with the outside world that is rapidly pushing them towards the brink,” the author states.

In the chapter, A brief history of logging, Sekhsaria provides an account of the timber operations in the Andamans. He notes how as a part of India’s colonisation scheme, mainlanders were settled here. This was done to strengthen India’s claim over the islands. Incentives were offered to settlers by way of land and royalty free timber. Timber-based industry was promoted and liberal subsidies offered. Forests were exploited to benefit settlers who had little stake in the islands or its natural resources. Timber offered for millions decreased after the 2002 Supreme Court order. The order was in response to a petition by three NGOs to stop logging. The Supreme Court order that banned the cutting of naturally grown trees in the Andamans and Nicobar islands were welcomed by the environmental rights groups. But logging continued within the tribal reserve.

In the section, Environment, ecology and development, the author stresses the need for evolving sensible conservation policies. The author discusses the consequences of introducing exotic species into the island systems. This has led to irretrievable loss of native species and ecosystems. “The Andaman and Nicobar islands are unsurpassed in their botanical wealth, and the ethnomedical knowledge of the tribals who live here is astounding,” he says.

In the section, December 2004 and its aftermath, the author discusses the turmoil caused by the tsunami of December 26, 2004 which killed around 3500 people in the fragile Andaman and Nicobar islands, the worst hit area in India. The tectonic activity due to the third deadliest earthquake of the world in the last 100 years caused a significant shift in the islands’ geography with a permanent average uplift of four to six feet while parts of Nicobar islands went significantly under, with the southernmost tip, Indira point on Great Nicobar island going 15 ft down. Apart from dealing with how the tsunami destroyed the island, the section also highlights how the people picked up the pieces and started all over again.

Leave them alone

The tsunami waters inundated large areas of the islands causing damage to its coastal and marine ecology. In the aftermath of this turmoil, ecologists have suggested ‘no intervention’ and that ‘leaving areas alone should be the preferred management option’. A disturbing facet of the islands in recent times is its water scarcity. The islands have been facing severe water shortages even during the pre-tsunami period but this got worse after 2004. Fresh water sources got hit by the tsunami.

Talking about the faulty development planning, the author discusses how the former president late Abdul Kalam in 2005 in the aftermath of the tsunami announced a grandiose vision for the development of the Andamans and Nicobar islands. This included ecologically perilous components like deep sea fishing, exploitation of bamboo, value-added coconut products and tourism.

A central thread of Sekhsaria’s book has been the neglect and acculturation of the Jarawas, and their losing scuffle with the outsiders. The book presented in a journalistic manner handles the issue very sensitively and the author exhibits a keen understanding of the history of the indigenous people and its ecology.

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          Ryots wronged, take protest to Delhi        
As the TN farmers’ protest in Delhi enters its fourth week, all eyes are on the Centre which is not budging.
Tamil Nadu farmers protest for drought relief in Delhi.

A woman stands with a begging bowl and a placard strung around her neck. An old man shuffles along barefoot in the street at Jantar Mantar, the official site of a farmers’ protest in the heart of New Delhi. He finds his way through a group of farmers gathered at the protest site on a hot summer afternoon. Dressed in green loincloths, they are lying motionless on the road and the footpath exhausted after their meetings with the deputy speaker of Lok Sabha M. Thambidurai, MDMK general secretary Vaiko and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in the past few days.

These are farmers from Tamil Nadu on a protest which is in its fourth week. The drought situation on the Cauvery belt in Tamil Nadu has gone from bad to worse this year with the state witnessing the worst spell in 140 years from a poor northeast monsoon, as per the India Meteorological Department. The state government officially declared a drought in January 2017.

“The Centre has not announced a drought relief package yet despite our long-standing protest. The High Court of Tamil Nadu has issued directions to the state government to write off all agricultural loans. But we will not budge from here till the Centre hears us out,” says Sivaprakash, a farmer from Dindigul in Tamil Nadu.

Sivaprakash is a part of the group of over 100 farmers representing the ‘Desiya Thenidhiya Nathigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam’ (National South Indian River Interlinking Sangam). They have been protesting at Jantar Mantar since March 14, 2017. “Hundreds of farmers have committed suicide given the drought conditions in the state which was preceded by the devastating cyclone Vardah. Even the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a detailed report from the state government on this,” says Sivaprakash. Earlier in January, the NHRC had taken suo motu cognisance of the media reports on the suicide of 106 farmers in one month in Tamil Nadu.

Waiting for an ethical response

With the government unmoved by their protest, members of the Sangam resorted to skull protest to intensify their agitation. “Through our skull protest, where we are displaying the skulls of farmers who have committed suicide in the wake of the drought in the state, we are seeking a drought relief package from the Centre. The skulls we are using in the protest symbolise our fate if the state does not help us out. Debt relief is being provided to the wealthy people. What about us, the farmers who have toiled so hard?” asks P. Ayyakannu, president of the Sangam, who hails from the Tiruchirappalli district in Tamil Nadu.  

The state government had in February 2017 sanctioned a drought relief package of Rs 2,247 crore for 32 lakh farmers of the state. “The state government gave Rs 3,000 each as compensation for crop losses to those who depend on seasonal rain and Rs 5,465 per acre to those who depend on irrigation. How is that enough to make up for the losses we have faced?” Ayyakannu asks. “This is highly inadequate and we demand a drought relief package of Rs 40,000 crore from the Centre,” says Saravana Kumar Vasudeva, who belongs to a farmer family in Theni, Tamil Nadu. “We also want a waiver of loans, better support price for our produce, lower input prices and above all, solutions to water scarcity in the region," says Saravana.

Natarajan who has come all the way from Karur in Tamil Nadu says, “I lost my crops to this drought and have an outstanding debt of around Rs 5 lakh from a nationalised bank. How will I repay this? I have no money left. Why can’t the government extend the waiver for loans from nationalised banks like they have done for cooperative banks?”

“We wanted to make a representation to the prime minister about the agrarian situation in Tamil Nadu but even after 28 days, our representatives have not been granted an appointment. This only shows the government's claim that it is sensitive to farmers is hollow,” says Ayakannu. “Farmers would be forced to intensify their agitation unless the issue is settled,” he adds.

Catching the people’s imagination

Agitators at the protest site.The farmers from the Cauvery belt have been joined by farmers from the other states in the protest. “Our livelihoods have been destroyed. To drive home this point, we are using macabre elements in the protest like skulls, rats and snakes. We are carrying begging bowls, shaving half of our heads and staging mock funerals. We even stripped in front of the prime minister’s office yesterday. But other than the media, no one seems to be noticing us despite the gravity of the situation,” says Manohar Patil from Maharashtra who has joined in the protest.

Some of their demands include setting up of the Cauvery Management Board and interlinking of the national rivers to deal with the lack of water in Cauvery. “Why can’t the Centre force the Karnataka government to release water from Cauvery when the Supreme Court has directed Karnataka to do so as many as seven times? The Center talks so much about Ganga but nothing on Cauvery,” says Saravana.

“We are languishing here for days but the Centre has no interest in hearing us out. How do you think our families will survive with no income?” asks Natarajan. “Unable to repay our loans, we are left with no option but to rot in Delhi,” he says.

“Our crisis deepened this year because Karnataka, in spite of the Supreme Court order, refused to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu,” says Kuppuswamy, a farmer from Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu. Many agitating farmers are senior citizens and are also demanding a pension scheme where farmers over 60 years of age get Rs 5,000 each.

Whose fault is it anyway?

The Centre considers drought relief as the responsibility of the state. The state, on the other hand, has approached the Centre and sought an assistance of Rs 39,565 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund for drought relief. Following this, a central team has visited Tamil Nadu to assess the condition and has submitted its report. Union Minister for Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh plans to take it up at a high-level committee meeting soon. However, it may be difficult for the Centre to waive off loans for the Tamil Nadu farmers alone as there are other states too which are in a similar situation. Tamil Nadu farmers may get some financial assistance but will that solve the current crisis of farmer debts and suicides?

Droughts are not just episodic in nature but are a structural problem. Drought or no drought, farmers will continue to fall in debt traps given their dependence on high-cost farming methods using fertilisers, pesticides, machinery and seeds. At the same time, crops are no longer fetching them remunerative prices from which they can profit. The answer to this crisis may be in adopting low-cost sustainable farming methods. Meanwhile farmers should be provided income security to wean them off the debt trap. Let’s wait and watch if the state responds well to the current crisis.

Don't Show In All Article: 

          Tattoos to Toes        
Some objects from the Tattoos to Toes EduKit

Travel to a Japanese tattoo parlour, and drop in on an ancient Egyptian party! Through the examination of a variety of ROM objects and museum reproductions, students are introduced to the language and art of body decoration, across a broad spectrum of cultures and peoples.


Seven activity centres, including: scarab, Menorah ring, Byzantine cross, Thai ankle bracelet, photo cards, student activity booklets and teacher's notes.



Best Grade Connections: 

Grade 8
Grade 11
Grade 12


Arts - Exploring and Creating in the Arts
Arts - Visual Arts
SS&H - Equity Studies
SS&H - Family Studies

Available Languages: 


Case Category: 

B - Regular

Case Size Information: 

51 cm x 57 cm x 21 cm


35 lbs

          Adidas strelil hokejovú značku CCM        
Nemecký výrobca športového oblečenia a obuvi Adidas sa dohodol na predaji svojej hokejovej značky CCM súkromnému fondu Birch Hill Equity Partners, a to za 110 miliónov dolárov (94 miliónov eur). Adidas predáva niektoré svoje vedľajšie značky, aby sa mohol venovať prioritným značkám Adidas a Reebok, uviedla vo štvrtok agentúra Reuters.
          Small Business Loan Free Important Information For Small Business        
It's difficult to provide accurate small business loan information, but we have gone through the rigor of putting together as much small business loan related information as possible. Even if you are searching for other information somehow related to financing a small business, restaurant business plans, finance for a small business or business information this article should help a great deal.

Make sure that time spent on the small business partnership is dedicated to the business, and time spent together away from the small business partnership is not a forum to discuss business matters. If you're going to spend time together away from the small business partnership, really spend time away from the business.

As the name suggests small business finance is meant to provide financial help to small business houses. You can also avail small business finance if you want to start your own venture. Small business finance is basically of two types, secured small business finance and unsecured small business finance. To avail secured small business finance you will have to place one of your properties as collateral against the loan amount. This can be any of your property like car, home, bank account etc. Placing a security helps you to avail small business finance with lower interest rate and flexible repayment duration. In addition, you can have avail large amount of money by placing collateral of high equity. On the other hand, no such collateral is needed to avail unsecured business finance, but the interest rate is slightly higher in comparison to secured business finance and also the repayment duration is shorter. Small business finance can also is availed by people suffering from bad credit history.

As mentioned before small businesses due to their nature, are in most times sole proprietorships, partnerships, or privately owned. Common in May countries, small businesses, are most often related to: accountants, restaurants, guest houses, photographers, small shops, hairdressers, tradesmen, solicitors, lawyers, small-scale manufacturing etc.

Don't forget that if this article hasn't provided you with exact small business loan information, you can use any of the main search engines on the Internet, like, to find the exact small business loan information you need.

However, it will usually be within the 50 and 100 employee range. Usually, your employees also have to be full time employees and not temporary or independent contractors. More specifically, small business health insurance plans require that your employees are not covered by other health insurance plans, and that they work at least 30 hours per week in order to qualify.

Effective small business marketing naturally comes with some challenges - and advantages. Challenges might include a lack of marketing savvy, a limited marketing budget, and time constraints, especially if you are a one person business and so on. Anyone who has run a small business should recognize the danger of spending too much time working in the business rather than on the business.

It's a well-known fact that anyone owning a business or a part of a business carries a bunch of visiting cards to be given away to people with whom there is a possibility of future contact and interaction. A business card usually carries details about the person's designation, organization that he represents office/factory address, telephone numbers and his email address.

A lot of well-meaning people searching for small business loan also searched online for new business, world financial news, and even business finance small source.
So here is chance to get your free tips on small business software and in addition to that get basic information on saving money visit small business management
          Berkeley Energy Successfully Reaches a First Close for its Second Asian Renewable Energy Fund With Usd 112m of Committed Capital        
Berkeley Energy successfully reached a first close of its Renewable Energy Asia Fund II with $112m of committed capital for its 10 year closed end fund. Investors in the first close included the Netherlands Development Finance Corporation (FMO), the International Finance Company (IFC) and the IFC Catalyst Fund, a private equity fund managed by the IFC Asset Management Company (AMC) (who together contributed $60m), the European Investment Bank (EIB) managed Global Energy Efficiency and Renewab...
          Are You Ready for Homeownership?        

Last Updated: June 11, 2017Are you ready for homeownership? Buying a home will likely be one of the biggest investments of your life. So you want to get it right – especially when it comes to picking the right mortgage and the right mortgage lender. My new Homeownership Smarts course on Money Coach University will turn you into an educated homebuyer and ensure that you get the best possible home loan for your situation.   In this 5-part video course, I will explain: Fixed Rate Mortgage or ARM: Which is best for you? The two most important factors in qualifying for a mortgage FHA Loans Vs. Conventional Loans: What’s the difference? What exactly are mortgage “points” and should you pay them? 5 cardinal rules for successful homeownership   Throughout the course, we will break down important mortgage terms, such as debt-to-income ratios, equity and interest rate caps — all in plain English, so you can understand how mortgages work. Take Homeownership Smarts now if you want to prepare yourself to become a successful homeowner this year or in the years to come!   GET THE FINANCIAL SECURITY YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED Are you sick and tired of being in debt and living paycheck […]


Got a question for The Money Coach? Sign-up today for one-on-one coaching with Lynnette.


The Money Coach - The Personal Finance Blog of Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®

          Active funds show signs of life in Q1        
BlackRock recently announced it would overhaul its US actively managed equity business
          Atlas and QInvest in deal to buy UK broker Panmure        
Mid-cap broker Panmure specializes in market-making, IPOs, equity research and prime services
          Investors targeting higher risk assets        
Most think private equity provides higher risk-adjusted returns than traditional asset classes
          Traders prep for French election        
Deutsche Bank analysts took a closer look at equity options and synthetics markets this week
          Meet the Candidates Who Want to Shake Up Durham’s City Council and Change the City’s Trajectory        
There are fourteen people running for three council seats There's a palpable sense among candidates that this fall's Durham municipal elections could be a pivotal point in the city's trajectory, though the underlying tension points remain much the same as they've been for years now: equity, affordable housing, managing growth, and giving a voice to the voiceless are common refrains. At the top, an opportunity exists to change the fabric of Durham's leadership.…
          Trick Or Treat? First-Ever REO to Rental Securitization Deal Looks Spooky        
It’s easy enough to see why the world’s largest private equity company, after spending close to $7.5 billion amassing a portfolio of 40,000 foreclosed single-family homes it intends to rent, wants to get money out of the “trade,” as Reuters calls the deal.
          The eduClipper App Works on Apple Watches        
Disclosure: I have a very small advisory and equity interest in eduClipper. The Apple Watch was officially released today. I don’t expect that a whole lot of teachers and or students will be sporting these soon. That said, I’m sure there are a few early adopters who are looking for an educational app for their […]
          Deconstructing Bias: Creating Equity in Schools        
Deconstructing Bias: Creating Equity in Schools - Annual Educator's Conference

Hosted by the Colorado Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (CO-NAME)

Date: Friday, September 29

Time: 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Location: Adams 12 Conference Center, 1500 E 128th Avenue, Thornton

Cost: $100 per person.

Description: Learn about the national and local efforts to deconstruct bias for staff, students and families as a community.

Registration and More Information:

          Review of 'Dangerous Years'        
SUBHEAD: David W. Orr he demolishes the lies of climate crisis denial, and a  minimalist response to this emergency.

By Gene Marshall on 28 July 2017 in Resilience -

Image above: Apocalyptic vision of buildings sinking into landscape. From original article.

[Resilience Editor's note: This piece was originally published in the Realistic Living newsletter. More information about the work of Realistic Living can be found on their website.

I started to write a brief review of David W. Orr’s 2016 book Dangerous Years: Climate Change, the Long Emergency, and the Way Forward. I found, however, that a longer “essay” was what I felt called to write.

Orr’s book is the best thing I have read on the overall social-change challenges of this century. I am ranking this book, along with the Bible, as something to read over and over for the rest of my life. I recommend that you buy a hard copy, and wear it out over the next decade.

The social content of this book is broad, deep, and on target, and Orr’s prose reads like poetry. His choice of words is beautiful, gripping, and often funny. I am going to quote some examples for you to taste.

First of all, he demolishes the lies of climate crisis denial, as well as the lies of minimalist response to this emergency:

Nearly everything on Earth behaves or works differently at higher temperatures. Ecologies collapse, forests burn, metals expand, concrete runways buckle, rivers dry up, cooling towers fail, and people curse, kill, and terrorize more easily. Climate deniers . . . are doomed to roughly the same status as, say, members of the Flat Earth Society. page 25

The solutions Orr develops begin with a shift in the human will or heart, then move on to a shift in the human mind, and end with real-world, down-and-dirty, power-politics, as well as the year-in-and-year-out local tasks of reconstruction. Here is a quote about the educational care of our social minds:
We would be embarrassed to graduate students who could neither read nor count.  We should be mortified, then, to graduate students who are ecologically illiterate—clueless about the basics of ecology, energetics, systems dynamics—the bedrock conditions for civilization and human life.  page 110
Orr prepares our awakening “hearts,” “wills,” and “minds” for our real-world politics with sentences like these:
And there will be no Deus ex machina, or cavalry, or invisible hand, or miracle technological breakthrough that will rescue us in the nick of time.  It will be up to us to change the odds and the outcomes on our own.  page 144
The next passage I will be reading aloud in my speeches. It is a gem that notices the spirit depth of our call to action:
If humanity is to have a better future it will be a more “empathic civilization,” one better balanced between our most competitive, hard-driving selves and our most harmonious, altruistic traits; one that embraces the yin-yang poles of behavior.  It must be a change sufficiently global to bridge the chasms of ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, and politics and deep enough to shift perceptions, behaviors, and values. The change must enable people to grow from a “having” orientation to a “being” orientation to the world.  It must deepen our appreciation, affiliation, and competence with the natural world, albeit a natural world undergoing accelerating changes.

I do not think, however, that we can simply will ourselves to that empathic new world.  The transition will result from social movements, activism, education, and political changes.  But there is always an X-factor, an inexplicable process of metanoia, a word meaning “penitence; a reorientation of one’s way of life; spiritual conversion.”  It is a change of inner sight.  “I once was blind, but now I see” as the former slave trader John Newton wrote in the hymn “Amazing Grace.”  Metanoia is liberation from bondage—physical, mental, emotional—a total change of perspective. pages 147-8
I view the core of the revolution for a next Christianity to be the creation of metanoia circles, small groupings of people in which our deepest humanness can be nurtured on a regular basis and our compassion and persistence prepared for our wide-world responsibilities.

Orr pictures the role of politics as a “long revolution.” We now need more than small teams and edge movements: we need large structures of action that year-in-and-year-out for decades do all the little and big things that need to be done for this huge transition.

Orr works through our core challenges with thorough analysis and inspiring description of practical options. He also continues to indicate the spirit courage and persistence it is going to take. He deals with sustainable democracy, ecological design, hotter cities, systemic thinking, a new agriculture, and much more.

Orr concludes his book with a description of the Oberlin Project—a multi-committee, local project of community-renewal organized by Orr and others, in Orr’s Oberlin, Ohio home town. He pictures the kind of things that the co-pastors of future Christian Resurgence Circles might envision for their quality action in their local parishes of responsibility. Here is a quote taken from that final chapter:
We need people who make charity and civility the norm.  We need more parks, farmers’ markets, bike trails, baseball teams, book groups, poetry readings, good coffee, conviviality, practical competence, and communities where the word “neighbor” is a verb, not a noun.  We need people who know and love this place and see it whole and see it for what it can be. page 227
Orr is also clear that we need people who lead the global level responses to the climate crisis, economic equity, democratization, campaign financing, racism, sexism, and more.

• Gene Marshall has a long history of participation in Christian renewal and interreligious dialogue. In 1952 he made a decision to leave a mathematics career and attend seminary at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas. In 1962 he joined a religious order of families, the Order Ecumenical, and became a teacher and lecturer of Spirit topics.

          Pay Cash and Save!         

Canada’s auto finance market is worth $120Billion annually.  That means there are a lot of us that, for one reason or another, cannot afford to pay cash for a car purchase.  Cost of living being what it is, it can be quite difficult to save up $30,000+ required to buy a new car outright.  For a good late model used vehicle it can be the same story, with a total cost in excess of $20,000.  Not many of us have that kind of cake just lying around and if we did, we probably would find better things to invest it in other than a new car (or at least I hope we would). 

That puts many of us in a position where we need to borrow money to purchase a car and then pay that money back over a predetermined term.  Breaking up the cost this way over time can make a car purchase more affordable since you only pay a small percentage of the overall price on a monthly basis (or whatever your payment frequency is). 

There are some pitfalls to this though – the major one being negative equity.  Also known as being upside down or underwater, negative equity is when your car is worth less than the remaining balance of your loan.  If you have financed a new car in the last three to five years, chances are you owe more on the car than what you can expect to sell it for.  Cars depreciate fast, and unless you applied a hefty down payment to your purchase, you’re going to experience some negative equity.  And generally speaking, the longer the term of the loan (regardless of the interest rate), the more upside down on the vehicle you can expect to be.

This really isn’t too big a deal if you plan on keeping a car for a very long time, especially beyond the term of the loan.  By the time you go to sell the car (or scrap it), you won’t owe more than what it’s worth.  At the very least, you can break even.  However, if something comes up and you need to get rid of the car, it may be too cost prohibitive to make sense. 

For instance, when I went back to school I was unable to apply for a Government sponsored student loan (and was therefore ineligible for a number of bursaries and scholarships) because I was deemed to have too many assets that I could potentially sell to finance my education.  One of those “assets” was my car (another one was my house, but the thought of selling a house to become eligible for student debt is so ludicrous that I’m not even going to go into it here).  However, because I had only purchased the car a year ago, even if I had sold the vehicle for top dollar to the biggest sucker on the planet I still would have owed thousands to my lender.  And this was at a 0% APR.  Therefore, I calculated that even if I got the loan AND some of the bursaries I would have been eligible for because I was able to secure a loan, I likely wasn’t going to recoup the costs of selling the car – let alone have any money left over to apply towards school. 

Yeah, some asset that is.  Thanks, OSAP.        

So what’s my point?  Well, there is an alternative to going into debt for a new or late model used vehicle but it’s not for the faint of heart: buy an old car for cash. 

There are tons of decent vehicles out there that are perfectly serviceable and will get the job done for a wide range of driving needs.  Plus you can get them for less than the cost of a new sofa set. 

I’m referring to your late 1990s to early 2000s grandparent mobiles that can be picked up for a song and still have lots of life left in them.  They have names like Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Mercury are often big, well maintained and beige.  And, if you play your cards right, they will be the best financial decision you ever made. 

Generally speaking, the cost of ownership is very low on these vehicles.  Chances are you can buy it for less than $3000, your insurance costs will drop significantly and the parts will be cheap and plentiful.  Over the course of a couple of years, if you add up the costs of new car ownership vs Grandma’s beater ownership, you will likely find yourself ahead a few grand. 

What if the car breaks down?  So what?  Every car breaks eventually.  And let’s say you’ve driven your newer car out of warranty.   You’ll be on the hook for any repairs that car needs anyway, plus you may still have payments on top that.  You’ll be stuck in a situation where you have to pay potentially thousands of dollars because you’ll be so financially committed to the vehicle that you really have no other option.  In a worst case scenario with a cheap car – i.e. the repair is way more than what your car is worth – you can just sell the car on to the next person and pocket a few hundred dollars.  Best case scenario, you can get the parts cheap and do the work yourself.

What about maintenance costs?  All cars need tires, brakes, hoses, spark plugs, fluids, suspension components and filters to keep them running happy and safely.  Sure you’re older car will likely be at the stage in its life where it will be due for new examples of many of these components.  Granted, this will cost more money on top of what you already paid for the car.  It may even get you to that point where what you have into the car is more than what it is worth.  However, remember that your financed vehicle will need many of these components replaced at some point as well.  Will you still be dolling out regular payments when these maintenance items become due?  Probably.  Will you owe more on your car than what it’s worth AND have to pay more money to maintain it?  Likely. 

When you total it all up, would you rather be spending $1200 a year on maintaining and fixing a car you owe nothing on or paying $1200 a year on maintaining and fixing a car your spending thousands of dollars a year to repay?  What are you out at the end of the year?  What are you out after 5 years (or even as much as eight or nine years depending on the term of your loan)?  Even if you have to go through a couple old cars in the same time you would have paid for a new car, you will still be further ahead in terms of money saved.

There is a downside to this though.  You do need to have enough knowledge of the mechanical aspects of cars in order to be able to pick out the gems from the crud.  It also helps if you are mechanically inclined enough to do as much work yourself as possible.  This is time consuming and can be stressful if your car needs a repair and you need to be somewhere the next day.  Therefore, this strategy is admittedly not the best idea for folks who commute to work every day and need to have the most reliable transportation possible.  Statistically speaking, like any machine, new cars are generally more reliable than older cars. 

Also, if you absolutely need to have the latest tech and gadgets you may never be satisfied driving an older car.  Furthermore, newer cars are usually more fuel efficient and produce fewer emissions than older cars.  So if you’re environmentally inclined, you will probably have some ethical concerns about driving an older car – then again, maybe the fact that you’re reusing an older car makes sense on that front given the resources required to produce a new car?  Maybe you just like that new car smell?    

There may be many reasons why an older car doesn’t work for you.  At the end of the day, you need to make the right decision for yourself.  If you can swing it though, the financial rewards can considerable. 

Finally, here are some tips I’ve used/wish I had used when checking out an older used car (or any car for that matter):

1.       Low mileage isn’t always an indicator of low cost.  Lack of use can be just as bad as over use, especially for things like gaskets, electrical components and hoses.  I bought a low mileage car that been sitting for a while and had to put more money in repairs than what I paid for it within the first 10 months.  While this meant I got on good terms with the local mechanic, I really could have saved a ton of cash if I had just purchased something that had regular use and a little higher mileage.  Personally, I aim for something in the 5,000 – 10,000 km a year range (about 3k-6k miles).  Not over used and not neglected.  And food for thought – how many miles do you think a poorly maintained car will last for?  It’s a good bet that high mileage car in clean condition has been well loved and properly maintained. 

2.       Be thorough in your inspection.  Check the frame/sub frame, body panels, floors, trunk, doors and all seams for rust and rot.  These may be obvious holes or subtle paint differences.  Also, make sure the all of the body panels line up and have consistent gaps.  If these things don’t check out, it could be an indication that the car was in a collision at some point in its history.  While this isn’t necessarily the end of the world, you should be aware of it. 

3.       Check the brake and fuel lines.  Replacing these could be big bucks, so make sure they are in good shape. 

4.       Make sure the tires are in good condition/match.  Tires can be expensive to replace.  If the car is otherwise perfect, a new set of tires is not going to break the bank.  However, if there are other repairs required, the costs can add up.

5.       Check to see all of the features of the car work (heat, AC, cruise, lights, etc.). 

6.       If the car has a scan port, bring a scanner with you to see if there are any MIL codes or if the test cycle is incomplete (which would indicate a code has recently been cleared).  Again, depending on the code, not the end of the world, but all good things to know when buying. 

7.       Take the car for a drive.  Make sure it runs well, there are no weird noises or fun colours of smoke coming out of the tail pipe (or other areas).  Make sure the exhaust isn’t blowing out of a hole somewhere in the system (especially the catalytic converters… pipes and mufflers are cheap to replace, exhaust manifolds and cats are not).  Make sure the car shifts smoothly.  Make sure the brakes stop the car.  Make sure the steering wheel steers the car.  Keep an ear out for bumps and clunks in the suspension and differentials.   

8.       When driving the car do some hard acceleration and braking tests.  See if there are any problems with the engine bogging down, the transmission responding to throttle input, dead spots in the power band, etc.  Make sure the brakes don’t fade quickly, that the ABS works (if so equipped), peddle feel is good, etc. 

9.       Do some steering tests to make sure the suspension and steering components are in good order.  Go to an open parking lot or something and do some full lock turns both left and right.  Then do some figure eights.  Listen and feel for clunks, shudders and other anomalies.  This could indicate that some suspension components are worn or broken and need replacing.

10.   Research the car beforehand.  In the age of the internet, there’s no reason why you can’t know pretty much everything there is to know about almost any car.  Between online databases, YouTube videos, forums and consumer reviews, there is probably more information online about the car you’re interested in than you can ever read.  Pay particular attention to the car’s trouble spots, how to do common repairs/maintenance and the cost/availability of parts. 


While this isn’t an exhaustive list it will certainly give you an idea of what to look for.  And if at all possible, bring the car to a trusted mechanic to give it the once over.  They’ll be able to effectively advise you on the car’s overall condition, and likely for less than $100 (or the cost of a tow).  Good piece of mind, I say. 


To sum up:

1.       New and late model used car loans can be financially debilitating.

2.       Paying cash for an older car in good condition can save you thousands of dollars every year. 

3.       Do what makes sense for your situation.

4.       Inspect and research any potential vehicle purchase. 



          5 Mortgage Mistakes to Avoid When Looking For a Home Loan        

As much as you would derive satisfaction in owning a dream home, not everyone can afford to pay for his or her home upfront. A mortgage becomes the best alternative. It is usually a significant debt, making it quite necessary to think it through carefully and make only wise decisions in the process. Getting a mortgage broker is one way of ensuring that you get the best home loan and avoid costly financial mistakes. Some of the mistakes you should avoid when buying or investing in property include:

Mortgage mistakes to avoid

Getting a mortgage that you cannot affordwfvwfdsfbseawrg

One common mistake when looking for a home loan is committing too much of income to the mortgage. The result of this is that you will be left with insufficient amounts of money for other things such as saving for retirement, replacing old car, kid’s college fund and many others. You probably will not even be able to furnish the new house that you are getting. A general guide is to spend less than 28% of your income before tax.

Not factoring in the real cost of home ownership

First-time buyers may be so surprised by all the other expenses that come with owning a house. Such costs include regular maintenance and unglamorous purchases such as water heater. Property taxes may also affect the amount that you get to spend on your home. For some cases, you will need to factor in the insurance on the home as well. All these costs should be carefully considered and factored in when getting a mortgage.

Failing to shop around for the best mortgage

qadesdfvrawerThe number of lenders or mortgage agents has been increasing in the recent past. As such, they all offer different terms for different situations. Shopping around is the only way you can determine who offers the best deal for your particular case. Ensure that you get quotations from all the probable lenders and conduct a thorough comparison. Be careful as some lenders may advertise lower annual percentage rates, then make up for them in the fees charged. A good mortgage broker may help you access and analyze the best deal and its suitability for you.

Failing to make any down payments

To get the best rates from most lenders, you need to put at least 20% upfront payment. It may help you avoid paying for mortgage insurance, which usually protects the lender and not you. It also increases the amount of equity that you own in your home or reduce the amount that you owe the lender.…

The post 5 Mortgage Mistakes to Avoid When Looking For a Home Loan appeared first on The Yeson Finance Group.

          Security & Intelligence Services shares retreat after fairly decent start        
It was a fairly good start for debutant Security and Inteligence Services (India) Limited shares on the Indian bourses this morning. But the stock, after gaining about 8% early on, retreated and slipped below the IPO price of Rs 815, to trade around Rs 825.

The stock is currently hovering around the IPO price of Rs 815.

On the National Stock Exchange, more than 6 million shares have changed hands so far at the SIS counter today. On BSE, the SIS counter has clocked a volume of around 9.26 lakh shares so far in the session.

The company, which came out with its IPO earlier this month, mobilised Rs 780 crore through the issue. The offer comprised of fresh issue of equity shares to the tune of Rs 362.25 crore and an offer for sale of up to 51.2 lakh equity shares, diluted by investors and promoters. The issue, with a price band of Rs 805 - 815 per share, was oversubscribed more than 7 times.

Security and Intelligence Services, which provides security services both in India and Australia with diverse solutions across the security spectrum, has a portfolio that includes security design and solutions, fire safety, event security, VIP protection, aviation security, emergency response, investigation work and integrated technology solutions providing man-tech solutions.

The company reported consolidated net profit of Rs 91.28 crore for the financial year ended March 2017, up 20.53% compared to the year-ago quarter. Net sales increased by about 19% to Rs 4567.09 crore in the financial year, over sales in the previous year.

          Triangle Invests in Passport Food Group        

Senior Debt and Equity Passport Food Group is a manufacturer and distributor of internationally flavored foods to chain restaurants across the U.S.

The post Triangle Invests in Passport Food Group appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in RMP Group        

Subordinated Debt and Equity RMP Group is a leading healthcare revenue cycle management (RCM) company.

The post Triangle Invests in RMP Group appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Trademark Global        

Subordinated Debt and Equity Trademark is a distributor of consumer products through various e-commerce platforms.

The post Triangle Invests in Trademark Global appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Native Maine        

Revolving Debt, Term Loan Debt and Equity Native Maine is an independent fresh foodservice distributor in the state of Maine.

The post Triangle Invests in Native Maine appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Aden & Anais        

Equity Aden & Anais designs and distributes baby wraps, swaddling blankets and other products for newborn babies.

The post Triangle Invests in Aden & Anais appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in SCUF Gaming        

Unitranche Debt and Equity SCUF is the leading designer, manufacturer and e-commerce platform of sales of advanced feature, customized gaming controllers and accessories for use on PlayStation, Xbox and PC.

The post Triangle Invests in SCUF Gaming appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Lakeview Health        

Unitranche Debt and Equity Lakeview Health is a provider of substance abuse treatment services.

The post Triangle Invests in Lakeview Health appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Fridababy        

Unitranche Debt and Equity Fridababy markets and distributes baby products.

The post Triangle Invests in Fridababy appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Del Real Foods        

Subordinated Debt and Equity Del Real Foods is a leading Hispanic refrigerated foods company.

The post Triangle Invests in Del Real Foods appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests In Vantage Mobility International        

$31.1 Million in Subordinated Debt and Equity VMI manufactures wheelchair accessible vehicles and related accessories.

The post Triangle Invests In Vantage Mobility International appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Smile Brands Group        

$24.5 Million in Subordinated Debt and Equity Smile Brands is a dental service organization operating clinics in 17 states. Smile Brands provides general dentistry, dental hygiene and specialty services, as well as centralized scheduling, billing, marketing and financing for its …
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The post Triangle Invests in Smile Brands Group appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Travelpro Products, Inc. and TP-Holiday Group Limited        

$20.9 Million in Second Lien Debt and Equity Travelpro is a marketer and supplier of luggage, assorted bags, and travel accessories sold predominantly in the United States and Canada.

The post Triangle Invests in Travelpro Products, Inc. and TP-Holiday Group Limited appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Halo Branded Solutions        

Subordinated Debt and Equity Halo is a supply chain service provider in the promotional products industry.

The post Triangle Invests in Halo Branded Solutions appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Women’s Marketing, Inc.        

$17.9 Million in Subordinated Debt and Equity Women’s Marketing is a full-service media strategy, planning and buying organization serving beauty, fashion, health, and food and beverage brands.

The post Triangle Invests in Women’s Marketing, Inc. appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Captek Softgel International, Inc.        

$16.5 Million in Subordinated Debt and Equity Captek is an integrated manufacturer, packager and marketer of custom designed soft gel nutraceutical products.

The post Triangle Invests in Captek Softgel International, Inc. appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in California Products Corporation        

$16.5 Million in Subordinated Debt and Equity California Products Corporation formulates and manufactures coatings for sports surfaces, coatings for specialty construction containment and paint products.

The post Triangle Invests in California Products Corporation appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Baker Hill        

$15.0 Million in Second Lien Debt and Equity Baker Hill, previously a division of Experian Information Solutions, provides a suite of SaaS-based loan origination software solutions to small and mid-sized financial institutions.

The post Triangle Invests in Baker Hill appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Centerfield Media        

Subordinated Debt and Equity Centerfield is a digital advertising technology company that is focused on real-time biddable media.

The post Triangle Invests in Centerfield Media appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Consolidated Lumber Company        

$23.5 Million in Unitranche Debt and Equity Consolidated Lumber is a leading provider of residential and commercial building and construction materials.

The post Triangle Invests in Consolidated Lumber Company appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Rotolo Consultants        

$10.3 Million in Second Lien Debt and Equity Rotolo is a leading provider of landscaping maintenance and construction services throughout the southern United States.

The post Triangle Invests in Rotolo Consultants appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in All Metals        

$5.0 Million in Unitranche Debt and Equity All Metals is a toll processer and value-added distributor of steel for automotive, building products, appliance, lawn & garden, energy and other end markets.

The post Triangle Invests in All Metals appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in YumEarth        

$23.0 Million in Senior Debt and Equity YumEarth sells branded natural and organic snacks and candy products.

The post Triangle Invests in YumEarth appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Community Medical Group        

Subordinated Debt and Equity Community Medical Group operates primary care clinics.

The post Triangle Invests in Community Medical Group appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in NB Products, Inc.        

$32.1 Million in Subordinated Debt and Equity NB Products is a designer and distributor of branded and private label products, primarily high-performance work apparel and accessories.

The post Triangle Invests in NB Products, Inc. appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Team Waste, LLC        

$5.0 Million in Preferred Equity Team Waste provides waste collection, disposal and recycling services.

The post Triangle Invests in Team Waste, LLC appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Nomacorc, LLC        

$22.0 Million in Subordinated Debt and Equity Nomacorc, a North Carolina based company, is the world’s largest producer of synthetic wine corks. Nomacorc utilizes a patented co-extrusion process to produce synthetic corks that mimic the look and feel of natural …
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The post Triangle Invests in Nomacorc, LLC appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in TGaS Advisors        

$11.6 Million in Unitranche Debt and Equity TGaS Advisors provides benchmarking services and other information advisory solutions to pharmaceutical companies.

The post Triangle Invests in TGaS Advisors appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Orchid Underwriters Agency        

$24.5 Million in Subordinated Debt and Equity Orchid is a specialty underwriter of excess and surplus insurance for high-value properties in U.S. and Caribbean coastal regions.

The post Triangle Invests in Orchid Underwriters Agency appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Halcyon Healthcare        

$15.5 Million in Unitranche Debt and Equity Halcyon, based in Atlanta, GA, is a provider of hospice services.

The post Triangle Invests in Halcyon Healthcare appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Merlin RAMCo        

$15.5 Million in Unitranche Debt and Equity Merlin RAMCo provides specialty staffing services to military and civilian offices to support manned and unmanned aircraft programs.

The post Triangle Invests in Merlin RAMCo appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in PlayHaven        

$21.8 Million in Unitranche Debt and Equity PlayHaven provides technology to mobile game developers to intelligently manage player acquisition, engagement and monetization.

The post Triangle Invests in PlayHaven appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in Tate’s Bake Shop        

$11.0 Million in Subordinated Debt and Equity Tate’s is a premium, consumer branded producer of gourmet cookies and other baked goods marketed throughout the United States.

The post Triangle Invests in Tate’s Bake Shop appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

          Triangle Invests in The Cook & Boardman Group        

Subordinated Debt and Equity Investment The Cook & Boardman Group is a specialty distributor of commercial metal and wood doors, door frames, door hardware, and related products, including access control devices and specialty products.

The post Triangle Invests in The Cook & Boardman Group appeared first on Triangle Capital Corporation.

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A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents.

I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then, my friend, when darkness overspreads my eyes, and heaven and earth seem to dwell in my soul and absorb its power, like the form of a beloved mistress, then I often think with longing, Oh, would I could describe these conceptions, could impress upon paper all that is living so full and warm within me, that it might be the mirror of my soul, as my soul is the mirror of the infinite God!

O my friend -- but it is too much for my strength -- I sink under the weight of the splendour of these visions! A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart.

I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents.

I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of bliss; and then,

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

          Lockheed Invests in Nanosatellite Company Terran Orbital        
Lockheed Martin‘s venture capital arm has made a strategic investment in Terran Orbital as both companies aim to advance development of nanosatellite technology. Lockheed said Thursday it will obtain an equity stake in Irvine, California-based Terran as part of the cash and in-kind investment deal. The two companies previously worked to support multiple Defense Department and NASA missions. […]
          Coventry Homes and Plantation Homes Sponsor Habitat for Humanity Home        

Houston, TX – Employees of Coventry Homes and Plantation Homes started the new year with a long-standing company tradition — giving back to the community.

More than two dozen corporate employees donned jeans, heavy jackets, rain gear and hard hats Jan. 6 to spend the day building a Habitat for Humanity home. This is the third consecutive year the company has participated in the KPRC Habitat Home.

“Coventry Homes and Plantation Homes are once again honored to partner with KPRC Channel 2 and Houston Habitat for Humanity to help build a home for a deserving family,” said Gary Tesch, president of McGuyer Homebuilders, Inc., parent company of Coventry Homes and Plantation Homes. “The bad weather today didn’t keep our team away because they love being a part of this project. Since 1988, we have built over 50,000 homes for Texas families, and we take a tremendous amount of pride in that.”

Construction of the four-bedroom home got underway Tuesday in the parking lot of the KPRC Channel 2 studios when anchors, reporters, producers and other employees starting building the framework in the pre-dawn hours. Coventry Homes and Plantation Homes staff members followed on Wednesday, unloading and installing the finished frames, securing the frame to the foundation and attaching anchors and windstorm clips.

The home is being built in Harrel Park 2, a northeast Houston neighborhood being developed by Habitat for Humanity. The recipient selection process is new this year, with six approved families invited to participate in construction of the home. After the home is complete, one of the six families will be selected and will be able to move into the home immediately.

Qualifications to be a Habitat for Humanity beneficiary include annual income, current living conditions, an inadequate number of bedrooms for family members and safety concerns regarding current neighborhoods. Families must also contribute 300 hours of “sweat equity” toward the building of a Habitat home.

The Houston Habitat for Humanity organization has been active in the Houston area for 28 years, building 1,000 homes for approximately 4,000 low-income residents. More information can be found at

McGuyer Homebuilders, Inc., (MHI) is a major Houston-based homebuilder offering new homes in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin under its signature brands Coventry Homes, Plantation Homes and Wilshire Homes. The company received the Humanitarian of the Year award for its extensive community outreach during the 2015 Houston’s Best PRISM Awards presented by the Greater Houston Builders Association. For more information, visit

This article originally appeared on

          Paper Trump hates analyses effect of Trump on US$ and equity mkt        
From NYT’s Dealbook   In the Age of Trump, the Dollar No Longer Seems a Sure Thing By PETER S. GOODMAN Long the ultimate safe haven in the global economy, the U.S. dollar may be losing some status as investors grapple with an uncertain political climate. And   Financial markets are reaching new highs, and enthusiasm about the […]
          11 Things We Learned This Week        
This week, we learned … … what happens when disadvantaged students are told they live in a meritocracy. Read of the week. How do our educators integrate ideas of equity […]
          Respect and Equity group shot        
          Accounting 500 1        

Beginning accounting, accounting principles, Financial statements, income statement, balance sheet, Cash flow, accounting equation, T accounts, assets, liability, equity, debits, credits, normal balance, internal users, external users, Owners equity, business structures, partnerships, corporations, revenue recognition, accrual, cash, adjusting entries, operating circle, perpetual inventory, periodic inventory, lifo, fifo, inventory, advance business consulting, jose cintron,MBA, Beginning accounting, accounting principles, Financial statements, income statement, balance sheet, Cash flow, accounting equation, T accounts, assets, liability, equity, debits, credits, normal balance, internal users, external users, Owners equity, business structures, partnerships, corporations, revenue recognition, accrual, cash, adjusting entries, operating circle, perpetual inventory, periodic inventory, lifo, fifo, inventory, advance business consulting, jose cintron,MBA,
          Accounting 500 2        

Sole proprietorship, Partnership, Corporations, stocks, stockholders, dividends, commons stocks, preferred stocks, market value stocks, issuance stocks, treasury stocks, stocks dividends, stocks splits, paid in capital, stock holder equity,treasury stocks, journal entries, cash flow, statement of cash flow, fraud, indirect method, direct method, internal control, cash control, segregation of duties, bank reconciliation, classification of cash, book value, market value, depreciation, depreciation methods, straight line depreciation, jose cintron,MBA Advance Business Consulting, Jose,, Sole proprietorship, Partnership, Corporations, stocks, stockholders, dividends, commons stocks, preferred stocks, market value stocks, issuance stocks, treasury stocks, stocks dividends, stocks splits, paid in capital, stock holder equity,treasury stocks, journal entries, cash flow, statement of cash flow, fraud, indirect method, direct method, internal control, cash control, segregation of duties, bank reconciliation, classification of cash, book value, market value, depreciation, depreciation methods, straight line depreciation, jose cintron,MBA Advance Business Consulting, Jose,
How the Hedge “Vulture” Funds can Seize Control of the Co-op Bank by Sean Boyle The recapitalisation plan gives the “vultures” 45% of equity and the option to buy another[...]
          Hetzen die Grünen auch deshalb gegen die Männerbewegung? (Buchvorstellung)        
Die Debatte über die schwarzen Listen, die die grüne Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung über Menschen angelegt hat, die nicht stramm feministisch sind, wirft mehrere Fragen auf: Warum lässt sich die Genderfraktion inzwischen zu derart fragwürdigen Attacken hinreißen, dass selbst Zeitungen des eigenen Lagers nicht mehr mitgehen wollen? Warum genügt inzwischen das Frisieren von Wikipedia-Artiklen nicht mehr, in denen man jahrelang völlig ungestört die Männerrechtsbewegung und ihre Aktivisten als Ausgeburten der Hölle darstellen konnte? Und warum kommt es gerade jetzt zu einer neuen Eskalationsstufe, bei der Linksliberale besinnungslos mit Rechtsradikalen in einen Topf geworfen werden?

Vielleicht liegt der Grund dafür schlicht in Angstbeißerei: Die Aggression entsteht aus Angst davor, im Genderbereich das Privileg der Alleinherrschaft zu verlieren, weil man gegenüber neuen politischen Diskursen allzu ausgrenzend und verkrustet ist. Gerade in diesem Jahr haben sich männerpolitische Graswurzel-NGOs wie die "IG Jungen, Männer, Väter" Zugang zu Gesprächen mit Vertretern des Familienministeriums verschafft und damit die ersten Sprünge in der "gläsernen Decke" für Männeranliegen in der Politik erzeugt. Über die FDP könnten Männerrechtler schon in zwei Monaten einen dauerhaften Repräsentanten im Bundestag haben. Dieselbe Instituionalisierung beginnt allmählich aber auch im akademischen Bereich, wo das Schmuddelkinder-Image für Maskulisten ebenfalls aufweicht. Das lässt sich etwa daran aufzeigen, wie das Buch Männer: Rollen und gute Orte des Psychologen und Familienberaters Christoph Hutter die Männerrechtsbewegung darstellt.

Bei diesem Buch freut es mich zunächst einmal, dass darin nicht nur mein eigenes Plädoyer für eine linke Männerpolitik häufig zitiert wird, sondern auch die Veröffentlichungen der Professoren Amendt und Hollstein, Dr. Matthias Stiehler, Dr. Peter Döge, Dr. Christoph Kucklick, Dr. Heike Diefenbach, Johannes Meiners und Christine Bauer-Jelinek – sämtlich Autoren, deren Gedanken und Analysen für die Männerrechtsbewegung von Bedeutung waren.

Das allmähliche Herausbilden einer Männerpolitik in Deutschland schildert Hutter ab Seite 27 unter der Überschrift "Es gibt eine Männerbewegung, aber sie bleibt immer wieder stecken". Ein Auszug daraus:

Die Probleme, die bisher aufgezeigt wurden, bedürfen dringend einer Antwort. Diese Antwort kann nicht individualisiert gegeben werden, sie muss von der Gesellschaft und der Politik formuliert und getragen werden, sie muss aber vor allem von Männern vorangetrieben werden. (...) Die gute Nachricht vorweg: Es gibt in Deutschland eine Männerbewegung, vielleicht präziser Männerbewegungen. Besucht man im Internet die Seiten von MANNdat (, agens ( oder Väteraufbruch für Kinder ( – um nur drei Beispiele zu nennen –, so wird man sich schnell davon überzeugen können, dass Männer sich organisiert haben, um ihre eigene Situation zu reflektieren, um ihre Bedürfnisse zu artikulieren und um gesellschaftliche Forderungen durchzusetzen. Auch "vor Ort" in der psychosozialen Praxis von Jugendhilfe, Beratungsarbeit, Therapie und pädagogischen Angeboten lassen sich Jungen- und Männerthemen kaum noch übersehen. (...) Und doch teile ich die Einschätzung von Arne Hoffmann (...), dass es heute eine starke Frauenbewegung, aber lediglich eine schwache, oftmals stille und wenig präsente Männerbewegung gibt. Männerthemen werden manchmal offen, in größerem Maße aber unbewusst vermieden.

Um das zu verdeutlichen zitiert Hutter eine Passage aus meiner Rezension von Dr. Matthias Stiehlers Buch "Der Männerversteher".

Auf den Seiten 30 und 31 schreibt Hutter unter der Überschrift "Gesellschaftlich unerwünschte Themen" folgendes:

Ein weiterer Faktor, der zu dieser langsamen Etablierung der Männerbewegung führt, ist die Tatsache, dass die wirklichen Männerthemen nicht unwesentlichen gesellschaftlichen Gegenwind haben. So kommen Meiners und Bauer-Jelinek in ihrer Studie zum gesellschaftlichen Einfluss von Feminismus und Maskulismus zu der Einschätzung, dass die Maskulisten "trotz großen Engagements [weit] von einer Realisierung ihrer Forderungen entfernt [sind]. Die mediale Wahrnehmung von Männerthemen ist noch gering oder überwiegend negativ" (Meiners & Bauer-Jelinek 2014). Und in der Tat gibt es viele für Männer wichtige Themen, die im gesellschaftlichen Diskurs entweder nicht wirklich interessieren oder aber nicht wirklich verstanden werden. Hier herrscht ein eklatanter Mangel in der Wahrnehmung männlicher Lebensrealität. (...) Das zuständige Ministerium ist seit Generationen fest in der Hand von Politikerinnen und es kümmert sich, wie der Name des Ministeriums besagt, bis heute um "Familien, Senioren, Frauen und Jugendliche", aber eben deutlich weniger um die Belange der irgendwie mitgemeinten Männer. Versuche von Männern, Recht und Politik in den Bereichen einzufordern, in denen Männer benachteiligt sind oder wenig wahrgenommen werden (...), scheitern an einem unverständlich hartnäckigen und breiten Desinteresse von Politikerinnen und Politikern (gut dokumentiert sind solche Versuche auf der Seite

Hutter zufolge forderten Männer inzwischen eine "Emanzipation 2.0" ein, die "systematisch die Bedürfnisse und Anliegen von Männern herauszuarbeiten und ihnen Gehör zu verschaffen" versucht.

Unter der Überschrift "Der Feminismus – oder: Wer oder was kritisiert die Patriarchatskritik?" kommt Hutter darauf zu sprechen, dass diese Ideologie Männer mitunter "global zu Tätern stilisiert oder undifferenziert beschimpft und entwertet". Er erwähnt auf Seite 46 mit Bezugnahme auf mein "Plädoyer" aber auch die leider noch sehr kleine Randgruppe der Equity-Feministen, die diesem Sexismus widersagen:

Sowohl in den Sensibilität für die Bedeutung der Geschlechterrollen, als auch in dem Bestreben, soziale Gerechtigkeit jenseits einer Parteinahme für eine bestimmte Untergruppe einzufordern, sind Vertreterinnen des Equity-Feminismus willkommene Gesprächspartner für Maskulisten, die ihrerseits primär Problemlagen und Diskriminierung von Männern in den Blick nehmen. Wichtig für jeden Dialog ist das gemeinsame Ziel politischer Gerechtigkeit und der unbedingte Verzicht darauf, eine andere Gruppe abzuwerten beziehungsweise sie zu missbrauchen, um die eigene Identität oder Position zu stärken.

Den anderen Pol des Kontinuums bezeichnet Arne Hoffmann als "Radikal-Feminismus" (Hoffmann 2014, S. 11). Er markiert damit Positionen, die weiter unten unter der Überschrift der "Misandrie" näher betrachtet werden. Ein gar nicht so kleiner Teil der feministischen Strömung spricht leider immer wieder dem offenen Männerhass das Wort. Diese Position ist nicht Gegenstand meiner Überlegungen, weil sie zu einer konstruktiven Auseinandersetzung mit der Männerrolle nichts beizutragen hat.

Schließlich ist noch eine weitere Abgrenzung wichtig. In der Geschlechterdebatte wird immer wieder versucht, eine männliche Position durchzusetzen, die sich unter dem Banner der Männerarbeit primär darum bemüht, feministische Themen voranzutreiben (Hoffmann 2014, S. 383ff., Neukirch 2012). So wichtig es auch ist, das die Menschen, die gendersensible Themen aus einer parteilichen Geschlechterperspektive vorantreiben, die andere Seite im Blick behalten, so wenig löst diese konkrete Verschränkung den Anspruch an eine männersensible Theoriebildung ein. Eine zukunftsweisende Füllung der Männerrollen entsteht nicht aus dem Abarbeiten einer pro-feministischen Agenda, sondern aus der Selbstbestimmung auf die Themen, die Männer belasten und beschäftigen.

Schließlich kommt Hutter auf den Seiten 262 bis 264 seines Buches noch einmal eingehender auf das Thema "Männerpolitik" zu sprechen:

Arne Hoffmann (2014) weist in beeindruckend sachlicher, aber auch hartnäckiger Manier darauf hin, dass es nicht genügt, Männlichkeit und Tätigkeit im privaten Bereich positiv zu erschließen. Die Verletzungen der Männerrolle, die in diesen Überlegungen aufgezeigt wurden, müssen ebenso wie die Suche nach guten Männer-und Väterorten einen selbstverständlichen Platz im politischen Diskurs bekommen. Fatalerweise gibt es bezüglich der öffentlichen Thematisierung genderbedingter Ungleichheit aber eine massive Schieflage, die dazu führt, das "Benachteiligung und soziale Problemlagen, von denen Männer betroffen sind, weitgehend marginalisiert" werden (Hoffmann 2014, S. 13). Hoffmann arbeitet heraus, dass das Problem über ein bloßes Vergessen männlicher Anliegen weit hinausgeht. Männerthemen haben es schwer, politisches Gehör zu finden, weil Männlichkeit im politischen Raum mit Ideen von Macht, Unterdrückung und Täterschaft besetzt ist. Wo die Bundes-SPD in ihrem Grundsatzprogramm darauf drängt, die männliche Gesellschaft zu überwinden, um eine menschliche Gesellschaft erreichen, wo die Goslarer Grünen in einem offenen Brief an die Gleichungsbeauftragte darauf hinweisen, dass es "nicht ihr politischer Wille" sei, "Benachteiligungen von Männern aufzuzeigen und zu beseitigen"und wo das Wort "Mann" in der politischen Linken "geradewegs einem Schimpfwort geworden" ist (Hoffmann 2014, S. 16), dort ist schwierig, Diskussionen über die Diskriminierung, Benachteiligung und Verunglimpfung von Männern zu führen.

Spricht man über eine zukunftsweisender Männerpolitik, dann geht es um drei Schritte: um Entdämonisierung, um die Schaffung adäquater Strukturen und um die entsprechenden inhaltlichen Auseinandersetzungen. Für den ersten Schritt steht ein Titel von Christine Bauer-Jelinek. Sie dekonstruiert in ihrem Buch "Der falsche Feind. Schuld sind nicht die Männer" (2012) den "radikal-feministischen" Mythos, dass sich gesellschaftliche Probleme monokausal auf männliches Verhalten zurückführen lassen. Unabhängig von den heißen Themen, die sie in ihrem Buch durchspielt, markiert sie mit dem Titel einen notwendigen ersten Schritt weg von einem Denken, das den politischen Blick auf Männerthemen prinzipiell verstellt.

Der zweite Schritt hin zu einer Männerpolitik, die diesen Namen verdient, ist der Streit um Institutionen, die Männerthemen politisch vertreten können. Hier zeigt sich die Männerszene heute leider tief gespalten. Auf der einen Seite stehen Männer, die den etablierten Institutionen wie die Bundesforum Männer immer wieder nachweisen, dass diese sich in erster Linie als Vollstrecker feministischer Politik verstehen. Gegenüber stehen Männer, die dem Teil der Männerbewegung, der unter der Bezeichnung Maskulisten fingiert, vorwirft, sie würden reaktionäre, rechtsradikal unterwanderte und frauenfeindliche Positionen vertreten. So wenig hilfreich diese Spaltung auch ist, sie markiert deutlich Handlungsbedarf, weil Männer eine politische Lobby brauchen, die ihre eigenen Themen vertritt, und keine Männerpolitik "die vor allem Frauen nutzt" (Neukirch 2012; ausführlich zu dieser Auseinandersetzung: Hoffmann 2014, S. 383-401). Untrennbar zu dieser Debatte gehört auch die Frage nach einer akademischen Präsenz der Männerforschung. Hier klafft eine eklatante Lücke zwischen den Geschlechtern. "Während es [...] mehr als 200 Lehrstühle für Frauenforschung gibt, existiert kein einziger für Männerforschung" (Hoffmann 2014, S. 104). Dies führt zwangsläufig dazu, dass sowohl die Datenlage als auch die Theoriebildung zu spezifischen Männerthemen prekär sind, wo entsprechende Projekte nicht durch privates Engagement vorangetrieben werden. Und auch diese Situation verschärft sich noch einmal durch die innere Spaltung der Zunft. Für diesen Schritt der Institutionalisierung der Männerpolitik ist heute zu konstatieren, dass er noch aussteht, wenn er auch von einzelnen Initiativen so weit wie möglich kompensiert wird.

Erst wenn die Hürden der Dämonisierung und der Institutionalisierung genommen sind, wird es möglich, die vielfältigen, in diesem Buch bereits benannten Männerthemen inhaltlich anzugehen, ihnen politisches Gehör zu verschaffen und an gesellschaftlichen Lösungen zu arbeiten.

Es ist offenkundig, dass das traditionelle Lager und dabei insbesondere die Partei der Grünen für Jungen, Väter und andere Männer nichts Entsprechendes anzubieten hat. Es scheint dort auch eine große Unlust zu herrschen, ein solches Angebot zu entwickeln und sich mit Vertretern der Männerrechtsbewegung wenigstens zu sondierenden Gesprächen zusammenzusetzen. Die Alternative besteht dort offenbar nur in einem erneuten, jetzt noch heftigeren Versuch der Diskreditierung. Männerrechtler sollen weiter mit dem Hautgout des radikal Rechten belegt und damit unberührbar gehalten werden.

Darüber, warum Andreas von Kemper und Henning von Bargen sich für diese versuchte Diskreditierung hergeben, kann ich natürlich nur spekulieren. Offen gesagt vermute ich biographische Hintergründe. Allerdings hilft einem die Antwort auf diese Frage bei der angestrebten Sachdebatte genauso wenig weiter wie die Frage, wen ich in den 13 Jahren, die es Genderama inzwischen gibt, dort schon mal verlinkt habe. Für Gespräche auf Sachebene muss man Menschen finden, die dazu bereit sind. Andreas Kemper und Henning von Bargen gehören öffensichtlich nicht dazu.

Überdeutlich ist, dass der grüne Genderpranger genau jenen Zielen entgegenarbeitet, die Hutter als so ungemein wichtig kenntlich gemacht hat. Er treibt die Dämonisierung der Männerrechtsszene und die Spaltung der Lager mit Eifer voran. Profitieren dürfte davon außer denen, die für dieses Cybermobbing bezahlt werden, kaum jemand. Die Grünen und ihre Stiftung haben sich mit diesem Pranger breitflächig blamiert; das Zusammenfinden zu einer konstruktiven Sachdebatte ist einmal mehr torpediert worden. Gewinn bringt dieser Pranger nur jenen, denen das Verhindern einer Sachdebatte nutzt.
          Gehen schwarze Nazi-Soldatinnen nicht doch ein bisschen weit? – News vom 22. Juli 2017        
1. Immer wieder war in diesem Blog Thema, wie unser Rechtsystem Männer für dasselbe Vergehen härter bestraft als Frauen. Aber selten wird dies anhand eines konkreten Falls so plastisch: Ein Pärchen hat Sex auf einem Alsterdampfer und muss nun wegen "Erregung öffentlichen Ärgernisses" insgesamt 2600 Euro Strafe zahlen. Und zwar der Mann 2100 Euro und die Frau 500 Euro. Warum? Weil die Frau gerade Mutter geworden ist und auf die Richterin einen "ganz vernünftigen Eindruck" machte.

2. Zwei Nachrichten aus den USA, die Genderama vor einigen Tagen meldete, werden inzwischen auch in deutschsprachigen Leitmedien erwähnt.

"Keine Vergewaltigung auf der Matratze" titelt "Die Zeit" zum Fall Paul Nungeßer aus Berlin und Emma Sulkowicz.

Dazu, dass die Erziehungsministerin der USA auch Gruppen einlud, die faire Verfahren für Beschuldigte sexueller Gewalt fordern, fällt der "Süddeutschen" in ihrem unnachahmlichem Stil natürlich nur folgende Überschrift ein: "Trumps Bildungsministerin verunsichert Opfer sexueller Gewalt".

Über eine derartige Idiotie ist selbst die feministische New York Times inzwischen hinaus. "Betsy DeVos Is Right: Sexual Assault Policy Is Broken" betitelt das Blatt einen Artikel der männerfreundlichen Equity-Feministin Cathy Young. Und der Boston Globe ist in seiner Schlagzeile nicht weniger deutlich: "Will Betsy DeVos fix Obama’s toxic campus sexual assault policy?"

3. In einem Urteil, das als "wegweisend" bezeichnet wird, hat das Oberste Gericht Israels gerade ein Männer diskriminierendes Gesetz gekippt: Jetzt müssen auch Frauen Unterhalt für Kinder zahlen. Zumindest wenn die Kinder im Alter zwischen 6 und 15 Jahren sind und ihre Mutter mehr verdient als ihr Vater.

4. Die Post. Einer meiner Leser schreibt mir zu den Schwarzen Listen, die die Grünen über Feminismuskritiker angelegt haben: "Ein solcher Pranger existierte ja schon des öfteren. Das kann tatsächlich Konsequenzen haben, wenn auch anders als vom Betreiber beabsichtigt. Als Ex-Hannoveraner bin ich vor einigen Jahren über diese Kuriosität gestolpert:

Die Geschichte der Sammlung Sprengel beginnt im Spätsommer 1937 unter den seltsamsten und denkwürdigsten Umständen, die je einen Sammler zum Sammeln motiviert haben, Bernhard Sprengel besuchte in München die Ausstellung "Entartete Kunst", mit der die Machthaber des Dritten Reichs die moderne Kunst dem Spott und Hohn der Masse überantworten wollten, indem sie die aus den deutschen Museen geraubten Werke der Öffentlichkeit ... präsentierten. "Trotz schlechter Hängung wirkte die 'Entartete Kunst' auf meine Frau und mich wie eine Fanfare. Für mich, der ich bisher nur der Musik wirklich verhaftet war und bildende Kunst mehr im Vorübergehen ... betrachtet hatte, war dieses die erste wirklich zündende Begegnung. So führte unser Weg fast zwangsläufig zu Günther Franke in der Brienner Straße, der uns im ‚Hinterstübchen‘ die ersten beiden Aquarelle von Emil Nolde verkaufte."

"Parallelen zu Agent*in möglich?" fragt mein Leser. "Ich würde es den Machern wünschen."

Ein anderer Leser macht mich darauf aufmerksam, dass der ebenfalls auf diesen Schwarzen Listen geführte Professor Aigner anscheinend selbst Mitglied der Grünen ist. Der feministische Verfolgungseifer erwischt einmal mehr die eigenen Leute – während er dem tatsächlichen politischen Gegner nur hilft, wie Lucas Schoppe anmerkt:

Diese Plattform richtet sich gegen demokratische Akteure von links bis konservativ, weil es nur denen schaden kann, mit Rechtsradikalen in einen Topf geworfen zu werden. Den Typen vom rechten Rand hingegen wird eine solche Gemeinsamkeit eher nützen – was die Verantwortlichen der Plattform billigend in kauf nehmen. Die Einschüchterung demokratischer Kritiker ist ihnen offenbar wichtiger als eine gemeinsame Kritik von Rechtsaußen-Positionen.

Und auf Facebook teilt Milosz Matuschek der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung mit:

Eine Prangerseite ist einer politischen Stiftung nicht würdig, schon gar nicht, wenn sie nach einem Mann benannt ist, der Dissidenten bei sich aufnahm. Bereue gerade nicht, bei euch als Vertrauensdozent aufgehört zu haben.

Matuschek hat Recht. Heinrich Böll war eines meiner Themen im mündlichen Examen. Er trat immer wieder für die politisch Ausgegrenzten ein. Und deshalb würde er sich im Grab herumdrehen, wenn er wüsste, was eine nach ihm benannte Stiftung heute fabriziert.

5. Mehr Post. Ein anderer Leser bezieht sich auf eine Meldung über einen "sexistischen" Werbespot der Firma Audi, der in China für einen Aufschrei sorgte, und merkt dazu an:

Inhalt des Spots: Kurz bevor sich ein Brautpaar das Ja-Wort gibt, stürmt die künftige Schwiegermutter der Braut nach vorne und begutachtet (wie auf einem Viehmarkt) das Gebiss der Frau, die Ohren, die Nase. Kurzzeitig scheint sie zufriedengestellt, da fällt ihr Blick auf das Dekollete und der Zuschauer kann erahnen, was jetzt folgen würde, wenn nicht ein Schnitt erfolgte und es dann um Autos ginge.

Was hat Audi falsch gemacht? Ganz einfach: Sie hätten den Schwiegervater des Bräutigams losschicken sollen, damit dieser in die Hose des Bräutigams schaut, ob da alles "okay" ist. Dann wäre das Video viral durch die Welt gegangen als gutes Beispiel für witzige Werbung.

6. Ein weiterer Leser kommentiert die auf Genderama verlinkte Satiremeldung, der zufolge Christopher Nolan dafür kritisiert worden sei, bei seiner Verfilmung der Schlacht um Dünkirchen nur weiße Männer zu zeigen:

Bei deiner heutigen Presseschau konnte ich bei dem Beitrag über zu wenige Frauen in Dünkirchen nicht soo sehr schmunzeln.

Der Grund ist ein einfacher: In der Spiele-Szene tobt der Gender-Krieg bekanntlich schon eine ganze Weile. Vor einer Woche hat ein User auf Youtube den neusten Auswuchs an politsch korrekter Geschichtsdarstellung vorgestellt:

Black Women of the German Army In Call of Duty WW2

Ja, richtig gelesen. Vor ca. einem Jahr, als "Battlefield 1" herauskam, gab es Stunk, da Frauen erst gar nicht als Spielercharaktere 3-D-mässig modelliert wurden, wohl aus dem Wissen heraus, dass die meisten Frauen wenn, dann nur im Lazarett tätig waren.

Wie man über das verlinkte Youtube-Video erfährt, kann man bei "Call of Duty" hingegen jetzt auch schwarze Frauen als Soldatinnen der nationalsozialistischen Armee spielen. Wegen "Diversity" und so.

"Scheiß auf den Realismus, wir fügen Soldatinnen hinzu, weil das längst überfällig ist", hatte die Spieleentwicklerin Amandine Coget schon vor einem Jahr dazu erklärt.

Mein Leser kommentiert weiter:

Nun also treibt man das ins Extreme. Es ist ja nicht so, dass hier Alternate-Reality-Spiele verkauft werden. Dann könnte man ja ein Auge zudrücken.

Eine ähnliche Haltung war, ebenfalls vor einem Jahr, die Entscheidung Apples, Spiele, die die Südstaatenflagge beinhalteten, aus ihrem Store zu löschen. Fragt sich, wie man denn jetzt Geschichte spielerisch beibringen will, wenn einem mittendrin statt einem blauen Kreuz auf rotem Hintergrund möglicherweise die Genderflagge entgegenspringt.

Muss man die Leute, die heute in der Schule ohnehin weniger Bildung als jemals zuvor abbekommen, noch zusätzlich dumm halten? Und gleichzeitig die Leute, die das Wissen haben, unnötig verwirren durch die derzeitige Propaganda?

Während sie das tatsächliche Verrecken an der Front noch immer weit überwiegend den "unterdrückerischen" Männern überlassen, fordern Feministinnen, dass sie im harmlosen Spiel die Plätze dieser Männer einnehmen dürfen, "weil das längst überfällig ist". Viel schöner kann man eigentlich nicht ausdrücken, was eine feministische Geisteshaltung heutzutage ausmacht.
          Empörung über Schwarze Listen der Grünen wächst – News vom 20. Juli 2017        
1. Nach der ausführlichen Analyse auf Genderama äußerten gestern auch eine Reihe anderer Blogs ihre Empörung über die Schwarzen Listen, die Hening von Bargen, Andreas Kemper und Elisabeth Tuider für einen Online-Pranger der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (Grüne) angelegt haben.

Der Blogger Stefanolix erinnert in einem insgesamt lesenswerten Beitrag zunächst daran, dass vor nicht allzu langer Zeit schon einmal eine Liste, die "anrüchige rechte Websites mit bürgerlich-konservativen Medien in Verbindung" brachte, vom Netz genommen wurde, "weil sie gar zu perfide war". Danach erläutert Stefanolix, wie die Verantwortlichen des grünen Internet-Prangers aktuell mit dem liberalen Journalisten Harald Martenstein vorgegangen sind:

Die "ehrenamtlichen Autor*innen" haben aus einem alten Stand des Wikipedia-Artikels zu Martenstein selektiv alles kopiert, was GEGEN Martenstein sprechen könnte. (...) Es wurde konsequent alles weggelassen, was FÜR Martenstein sprechen könnte: positive Meinungen, Auszeichnungen, Publikationen.

(...) Harald Martenstein ist in ein- und demselbem Wiki mit der "Identitären Bewegung" aufgeführt, die vom Verfassungsschutz beobachtet wird. Mit der AfD und deren Jugendorganisation. Mit der Piusbruderschaft. Mit radikalen Abtreibungsgegnern. Es gibt zwischen den genannten Organisationen und Martenstein ganz sicher weit mehr Unterschiede als Gemeinsamkeiten.

Die Haltung der Organisationen und Personen in diesem Wiki reicht von strikter Ablehnung bis hin zur strikten Befürwortung der Gleichberechtigung. Ohne eine seriöse Einstufung der Organisationen und Personen in Bezug auf diese entscheidende Frage ist das Wiki folglich völlig wertlos.

Es gibt keine Systematik. Es sind keine wissenschaftlichen Kriterien für die Aufnahme von Personen und Organisationen erkennbar. Es ist auch keine seriöse Arbeitsweise erkennbar: Selektives Kopieren aus einem alten Wikipedia-Artikel wie im Fall Martenstein würde man nicht einmal Schülerinnen und Schülern durchgehen lassen.

Es kann nur zwei Konsequenzen geben: Entweder das Wiki wird sofort als Ganzes vom Netz genommen. Oder es werden so harte Kriterien angelegt, dass darin ausschließlich eindeutige Gegner der Gleichberechtigung auftauchen. In der aktuell vorliegenden Form ist es einfach nicht akzeptabel.

Auf der Website "Tichys Einblick" kritisiert Alexander Wallasch die "grünen Rufmörder" und ihre "faschistoid anmutende Schweinerei aus dem Schmuckkästchen dieses neuen deutschen Denunziantentums nach altbekannten Mustern". Auch dieser Artikel ist in Gänze lesenswert. Ein Auszug:

Ziel ist es offensichtlich, Personen, die den Machern durch von ihnen selbst behauptete "Angriffe gegen Feminismus, Gleichstellungspolitik, sexuelle Selbstbestimmung, gleichgeschlechtliche Lebensweisen und Geschlechterforschung" auffallen, durch Verzerrung und konjunktivistische Unterstellungen unter dem Mantel eines seriös wirkenden Wikipedia-Klons zu diskreditieren, für die Debatte unglaubwürdig zu machen, als Stimmen im öffentlichen Diskurs auf Dauer auf stumm zu schalten. (...) Natürlich tauchen auf der neuen Seite Personen mit mehr als fragwürdigen Ansichten auf, aber man nutzt diese Randfiguren um den Versuch zu unternehmen, sich unliebsamer weiterer Debattenteilnehmer zu entledigen.

Wallasch wählt den Umgang des Prangers mit Birgit Kelle als Beispiel:

Schön auch Sätze wie dieser hier: "Birgit Kelle scheint enge Kontakte zu den Legionären Christi zu haben." "Scheint" ist das neue "ist". Man behauptet, was man nicht weiß und bettet es ein in Scheinwissen unter dem Deckmantel eines Wikipedi-Fake-Auftritts.

Nun könnte man Satz für Satz und Eintrag für Eintrag so fortfahren, dieses Denunziantentum in seinem ganzen Ausmaß zu dechiffrieren. Und das Ding befindet sich noch in den Startlöchern, will also ausgebaut werden. (...) Einzig die Frage bleibt noch, wie verletzt, wie enthemmt oder wie sonst was oberflächlich gebildete Menschen sein müssen, nach einer so umfangreichen Rezeption von Faschismus und Staatssicherheitssystem, wie sie uns heute zur Verfügung steht, auf diese schmutzige Weise zu agieren.

Im Anschluss an seine Analyse hat Wallasch eine Reihe von Tweets zusammengestellt, mit denen bekannte Journalisten auf diese Widerwärtigkeit reagieren.

Und schließlich widmet sich der Gymnasiallehrer und Blogger Lucas Schoppe dem grünen Pranger:

Ein ganzes Lexikon also für die Kritik der Kritik an feministischen Positionen. Warum ist das nötig? Für viele Menschen ist das Thema Feminismus nicht sonderlich relevant, und auch wenn immer wieder Kritik an bestimmten feministischen Positionen geäußert wird: Warum sollte diese Kritik weniger legitim sein als die an anderen politischen Positionen? Wir würden schließlich auch niemanden als "Antiliberalen" bezeichnen, nur weil er Vorstellungen der FDP kritisiert, oder Merkel-Kritiker als "Antichristdemokraten", oder gar als "Antichristen".

(...) Auch die Auswahl der vorgestellten Personen wirkt beliebig. Ein Linksliberaler wie Hoffmann steht neben Björn Höcke, der selbst in der AfD noch rechts außen agiert – der Schriftsteller Bernhard Lassahn, der vor seinen feminismus-kritischen Texten zusammen mit Walter Moers die Käpt’n Blaubär Geschichten verfasst hatte, neben Marine LePen.

Diese unstrukturierte, beliebig wirkende Mischung hat jedenfalls die Konsequenz, dass hier liberale Autoren und Rechtsaußen-Akteure unterschiedslos nebeneinander präsentiert werden – als würde jemand, der Kritik an feministischen Positionen übt, ganz gewiss auch bald fordern, auf Flüchtlinge zu schießen.

(...) Hoffmanns Vorwurf, es würde sich bei dem Lexikon eigentlich um einen öffentlich finanzierten Online-Pranger handeln, ist auch aus diesem Grund kaum von der Hand zu weisen. Eine diskreditierende Darstellung, die verfälschend oder hoch selektiv auf belastende Hinweise konzentriert ist, Kontexte außer Acht lässt und linksliberale Kritiker direkt neben Rechtsaußen-Akteure platziert: Diese Art der Darstellung kann eben nur denjenigen Betroffenen in ihrer bürgerlichen Existenz schaden, die auch unter Klarnamen bekannt sind.

Es geht den Betreiber*innen also offensichtlich darum, Kritiker einzuschüchtern – und zwar eben gerade keine Kritiker von rechtsaußen, weil die durch die gemeinsame Auflistung mit linken und liberalen Akteuren ja eher entlastet werden. Es geht um die Einschüchterung von eben solchen linksliberalen Kritikern – denn nur die können durch die beliebige Assoziation mit Rechtsaußen-Positionen ja beschädigt werden.

(...) Wie ist es schließlich gar zu legitimieren, dass hier aus der weit überlegenen Positionen eines millionenschweren, steuermittelfinanzierten Vereins einzelne Akteure gezielt diskreditiert werden, nur weil sie politisch inopportune Meinungen vertreten? Es sind immerhin meist Akteure, die meist in ihrer Freizeit und auf eigene Kosten zur öffentlichen Meinungsbildung beitragen.

(...) Wenn sich daneben die immensen Summen für die parteinahen Vereine, die sich "Stiftungen" nennen, überhaupt legitimieren lassen, dann doch allenfalls als Beiträge zur Förderung eines offenen demokratischen Diskurses. Hier aber geht es zweifellos eher darum, einen solchen Diskurs zu verhindern.

(...) Die Verantwortlichen ziehen sich vor einer vermeintlich feindlichen Umwelt zurück und bieten sich gegenseitig Schutz. Vor allem achten sie darauf, dass niemand weit genug den Kopf hebt, um sehen zu können, dass da draußen gar keine feindseligen und blutdürstigen Krieger toben – sondern dass es dort einfach Kritiker unterschiedlicher politischer Lager gibt, wie das für eine Demokratie völlig normal und angemessen ist.

Wer so agiert, der ist tief in der Defensive, kann kaum noch andere Menschen gewinnen und hat Mühe, zumindest die eigenen Leute zusammen zu halten. In die Offensive kommen die Verantwortlichen nicht durch die offene sachliche Auseinandersetzung, sondern nur durch persönliche Angriffe auf Kritiker.

So handeln Menschen, die zwar finanziell und institutionell aus einer weit überlegenen Position agieren – die aber zugleich wissen, dass sie argumentativ längst auf verlorenem Posten stehen.

Was uns an Argumenten fehlt, das machen wir durch Skrupellosigkeit wieder wett: Diese Haltung kann bestenfalls noch für wahre Gläubige überzeugend sein, aber für kritische Anhänger der eigenen Partei ist sie vermutlich ebenso abstoßend wie für Menschen, die erst noch überzeugt werden müssten.

So ist diese Mischung aus Pranger, schwarzer Liste und rudimentärem Lexikon potenziell also vor allem für eine Gruppe schädlich, und dies ausgerechnet im Wahljahr: für Bündnis90/Die Grünen, die hier Steuergelder einsetzen, um demokratische Diskurse zu behindern und links-liberale politische Akteure unsachlich zu diskreditieren.

Der aktuellsten Umfrage zur Bundestagswahl zufolge hat Schwarz-Gelb übrigens inzwischen eine regierungsfähige Mehrheit. Daran haben nicht zuletzt die Grünen emsig gearbeitet.

Wir machen weiter mit genau jener Presseschau, mit der sich Genderama den denunziatorischen Hass des Genderlagers erarbeitet hat:

2. Das vor allem von der damaligen Frauenministerin Schwesig (SPD) durchgedrückte, verschärfte Sexualstrafrecht wurde von Genderama immer wieder kritisiert – auch mit dem Hinweis darauf, dass dieses Gesetz im Schnellschuss verabschiedet wurde, ohne die Ergebnisse der dafür eingesetzten Expertenkommission abzuwarten. Jetzt liegt dieser Abschlussbericht vor, und er ist so vernichtend, wie man das erwarten durfte:

Die Experten bedauern, "dass die Änderungen in großer Eile herbeigeführt" wurden. Der Paragraf 177 im Strafgesetzbuch – sexuelle Übergriffe, sexuelle Nötigung und Vergewaltigung – sei "überfrachtet" und entspreche nicht "den rechtsförmlichen Vorgaben einer guten Gesetzgebung". Die Nötigungs- und Übergriffstatbestände sollten besser separat behandelt und die Praxis der "Nein-heißt-Nein"-Lösung kritisch begutachtet werden. Noch härter ins Gericht geht die Kommission mit dem neu geschaffenen Paragrafen, der Straftaten aus Gruppen ahnden soll.

Die Experten empfehlen deshalb eine "Reform der Reform".

3. Wie die Ostsee-Zeitung berichtet, verhandelt das Landesverfassungsgericht Mecklenburg-Vorpommern heute über die Verfassungsbeschwerde eines Beamten, der sich durch das Landesgleichstellungsgesetz benachteiligt sieht:

Der Mitarbeiter des Bürgerbeauftragten des Landes kritisiert, dass nur weibliche Beschäftigte aus ihrem Kreis eine Gleichstellungsbeauftragte wählen dürfen. Dies verstößt seiner Meinung nach gegen das Grundgesetz und die Landesverfassung, die die Gleichstellung von Frau und Mann garantierten.

Laut einer anscheinend noch unveröffentlichten, ausführlichen Agenturmeldung, die mir zugespielt wurde, ist ein Urteil auf diese Klage noch nicht zu erwarten. Die Meldung zitiert den Linken-Landtagsabgeordneten Peter Ritter mit folgenden Worten: "Ich finde es fatal, Männern dieses Wahlrecht zu versagen." Die Regierungsparteien CDU und SPD hielten aber an der aktuellen Regelung fest. So argumentiere die CDU-Politikerin Maika Friemann-Jennert, es gebe noch immer strukturelle Benachteiligung der Frauen und es sei ihr Wunsch, dass sie allein die Gleichstellungsbeauftragten wählen

4. Nur mal zur Auflockerung zwischendurch: Was macht eigentlich mittlerweile Lann Hornscheidt?

5. In den letzten Jahren wurde immer wieder mal darauf hingewiesen, dass Herzerkrankungen bei Frauen unter- oder spätdiagnostiziert seien, was (natürlich) mit einer Diskriminierung durch Mediziner in Verbindung gebracht wurde. Jetzt zeigt sich: Frauen achten weniger auf ihr Herz – "und zwar nicht nur bei der Vorsorge, sondern auch im Notfall". Insofern liegt der Grund für eine späte Diagnose weniger in einer patriarchalen Unterdrückung als im Verhalten von Frauen selbst:

Bei einem akuten Herzinfarkt beispielsweise, bei dem jede Minute zählt, rufen Frauen im Schnitt eine Stunde später Hilfe als Männer. Und liegen damit um eine Stunde später auf dem Operationstisch. "Aus für mich nicht ganz nachvollziehbaren Gründen", sagt Andrea Podczeck-Schweighofer.

6. In Großbritannien sorgt die Entscheidung, Jungen von der Impfung gegen krebserregende HPV-Viren auszunehmenn, für Kritik. Die BBC berichtet.

7. Erneut belegt eine aktuelle Untersuchung, dass Männer genauso häufig online belästigt werden wie Frauen. Für das liberale Magazin Reason legt die Equity-Feministin Cathy Young einen wie bei ihr üblich ausgesprochen gelungenen Artikel über diese Studie vor:

A new study released by the Pew Research Center supports what some of us have argued all along about online harassment: that it affects men as much as women and that the problem should not be framed as a gender issue — or defined so broadly as to chill legitimate criticism.

If anything, the study says, men tend to get more online abuse than women, including serious abuse such as physical threats (though women are, predictably, more likely to be sexually harassed). However, when people are asked about free speech vs. safety on the internet, women are more likely to come down on the side of the latter. Thus, it is very likely future efforts at speech regulation will continue to be cast as "feminist" initiatives.

(...) A basic premise of these discussions has been that women, especially outspoken women, are specifically and maliciously targeted for hate, abuse, and threats; many feminists have claimed internet misogyny is the civil rights issue of our time.

(...) Few will be surprised to learn that women under 30 were substantially more likely than their male peers — 53 percent vs. 37 percent — to report receiving unsolicited sexually explicit images. But in a more counterintuitive finding, men in that age group were more likely than women — 14 percent vs. 10 percent — to say that explicit images of them had been shared online without their consent. (For those 30 and older, the figure was 5 percent for both sexes.)

This differs sharply from feminist scholars' claims that 90 percent of so-called "revenge porn" targets women, a figure based on a self-selected and mostly female sample. But it supports a 2013 study by McAfee Security in which men were more likely to report both being threatened with having intimate photos of them posted online and actually having such photos posted.

(...) And all the dramatic claims about the terrible hardship of being a woman on the internet with an opinion? Entirely wrong: men in the Pew survey were almost twice as likely as women (19 percent vs. 10 percent) to say they had been harassed online due to their political opinions.

(...) There is really no way to massage the Pew data to fit the women-as-victim narrative — but some tried. Gizmodo's Bryan Menegus simply misstated the findings, asserting that although men are targeted more overall, "women — especially young women — make up an outsized proportion of users who experience the most severe forms of harassment, like stalking and threats." Vox's Aja Romano wrote that "more severe harassment disproportionately affects younger internet users, women, and people of color."

But the dishonest reporting prize goes to Slate's Christina Cauterucci, who cherry-picked the few numbers showing worse harassment of women, ignored the ones showing equal or worse abuse of men, and finished by upbraiding males for not taking online harassment seriously. Headline: "Four in 10 People Get Harassed Online But Young Men Don't Think It's a Big Deal, Says New Survey."

Männer scheinen im Schnitt einfach härter im Nehmen zu sein als Frauen:

56 percent of men opted for more freedom, two-thirds of women for more safety. (...) It is (...) likely that women's views of the issue are influenced by the false perception that women are singled out for constant and vicious abuse on the internet.

The Pew report points out that online harassment is, to a large extent, a subjective concept. Even something as ostensibly straightforward as a physical threat can be a matter of interpretation: Is "I hope you get cancer" a threat? How about "Kill yourself"? The definition of sexual harassment is even blurrier: "Wow, you look hot" in response to a photo posted to Twitter or Facebook could be sexual harassment to an overzealous feminist but a perfectly acceptable compliment to someone else.

8. Das Magazin Reason wendet sich auch gegen die Polemik der Feministin Jessica Valenti, der zufolge die Bildungsministerin der USA sich mit "rape deniers" aus der antifeministischen Szene getroffen habe, und stellt klar, dass es in Wahrheit um den Schutz gegen Falschbeschuldigungen und die Rechte von Angelagten gehe. In ähnlicher Weise äußert sich die Journalistin Ashe Schow:

A good way to tell if the Left currently believes one of their beloved policies will disappear is how viciously they write about the potential change. In this case, they’re trying to smear people who believe those accused of heinous crimes should be able to defend themselves as somehow supporting the heinous crime. That is where we are in society.

(...) These activists are actually insisting that due process impedes justice, and that providing accused students with a way to defend themselves constitutes disbelieving accusers and therefore hurting "victims" (these days, accuser equals "victim" before any evidence is collected).

(...) In addition to meeting families of students ultimately found falsely accused of rape, DeVos is meeting with several groups that insist this guidance has led to more false accusations and a culture on campus that sees anyone accused as guilty until proven innocent. Leftist articles about this meeting describe the groups as "men’s rights" groups.

Slate’s Christina Cauterucci described them as "trolls." Cauterucci is the same writer who lambasted ESPN’s "30 for 30" documentary about the Duke Lacrosse rape hoax because "it’s a bizarre experience to watch a documentary that expects the viewer to root for a bunch of accused rapists." But by now everyone knows they were falsely accused. Cauterucci wants us to root instead for someone who falsely accused people of a horrible crime.

Only one of the groups meeting with DeVos, the National Coalition for Men, could be considered under the "men’s rights" label. Now, the label is a smear for some, but shouldn’t be. Men do face issues specific to them, such as paternity fraud. They’re also largely ignored when we talk about rape or domestic violence. Trying to advocate for people who are suffering shouldn’t be a smear.

Ich lasse den letzten Satz mal ein wenig sinken – gerade mit Blick auf die aktuellen Attacken der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.

Donald Trump is one of the least popular politicians in the history of the United States. Yet, Trump is still more popular than Hillary Clinton. Let that sink in.

Der feministische Guardian berichtet – und verabschiedet sich dabei von dem Mythos, der Grund für Clintons schlechtes Image läge vor allem in Sexismus und der Verschwörung der radikalen Rechten.

Christopher Nolan’s recent return to the director chair has blown away historians with his epic recount of the most remarkable stories of WWII – the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers from the beaches of northern France – Dunkirk.

However, while the mastermind behind Dunkirk already has earned his stripes with the Dark Knight Triology, Inception and Interstellar – it appears not everyone is happy with his formula of telling historically accurate stories.

Several prominent white feminists writers have criticized the lack of female cast members throughout the film, particularly during the battle scenes.

Hier geht es weiter mit der herrlichen Satire.

11. Ganz herzlichen Dank für die Unterstützung meines Blogs durch die Spenden der letzten Tage – vor allem an einen ganz bestimmten Spender, der mit Sicherheit ahnt, dass er gemeint ist. :-)
          Housing Recovery        
Home equity vs mortgage debt is about to flip back to the good side. Of course, this is on a net basis, so a lot of people are still underwater – 6.3 million according to one estimate (13% of mortgages). This map is missing a proper label for the legend (sigh) but it is apparently […]
           Pearson Invests $89.5 Million In Nook Media, After Disappointing Holiday        

 Publishers Lunch
Nook Media--the entity formed in 2012 that owns Barnes & Noble's Nook business and their college bookstores--has its second major strategic investor, joining Microsoft: As of December 21 Pearson agreed to invest $89.5 in cash for a 5 percent equity stake. The bookseller paired an announcement about that investment with a preview of holiday sales that indicates "results will be below expectations" and Nook in particular will not meet their previous projections for the fiscal year.

Perhaps because of that performance, Pearson is buying in to Nook Media at essentially the same the valuation given to the company when Microsoft paid $300 million for a 17.6 percent stake (which was $1.7 billion) plus the value of Pearson's cash, for a "post-money valuation of approximately $1.789 billion." That leaves Barnes & Noble with a 78.2 percent share and Microsoft with a 16.8 percent stake in Nook Media. Pearson also will get warrants to purchase up to an additional five percent "under certain conditions," at the same valuation. Perhaps just as importantly, "at closing, Nook Media and Pearson will be also entering into a commercial agreement with respect to distributing Pearson content in connection with this strategic investment." (No further details are provided; that likely refers primarily to digital textbooks, but could also apply to print textbooks through the BN College stores.)

News of this new partnership, however, is balanced by a warning of weaker than expected performance over the holidays, for Nook in particular and potentially the entire Barnes & Noble business. The warning was contained in the company's SEC filing about the investment, but was not mentioned in the press release: It says they will announce holiday sales on January 3 and "based on preliminary sales results to date in the holiday period and sales trends, the company expects its holiday sales results will be below expectations and that the Nook business will not meet the company's prior projection for fiscal year 2013." When BN reportedquarterly earnings in late November, Nook segment sales of $160 million were well below analysts expectations of $191 million and raised fresh concerns about the growth trajectory of the Nook business in the face of intensifying competition.

With the Pearson alliance you see the value and intention of pairing the college bookstores with the digital reading business--which has significant potential when allied with the world's largest textbook publisher. (And yes, this investment is about the core business that drives Pearson, rather than the trade publishing interest in Penguin that is slated to become part of a jointly-owned company with Bertelsmann.) Pearson North America ceo Will Ethridge says in the announcement, "With this investment we have entered into a commercial agreement with Nook Media that will allow our two companies to work closely together in order to create a more seamless and effective experience for students. It is another example of our strategy of making our content and services broadly available to students and faculty through a wide range of distribution partners."

Barnes & Noble ceo William Lynch adds in the release, "We welcome their partnership in Nook Media, and look forward to working with them and Microsoft to deliver great digital experiences for our shared customers." Pearson shares were down slightly in early trading in London Friday morning. While the investment has significant strategic potential for both partners, it's a small sum for Pearson (just as Microsoft's investment was small for them). 
After a steady decline since early December, Barnes & Noble's shares moved higher in early trading, up oer $1 a share in the first hour--though as we noted, the disappointing holiday forecast was not highlighted in the press release. And even with that movement, investors still value the bookseller far less than the partners in Nook Media--Barnes & Noble says its stake in that entity alone is still worth $1.4 billion, but the parent company's entire market capitalization remains about $900 million.

          A Message to the Campus Community        

Cleveland State University values diversity, inclusion and its proud history of making our campus welcoming to everyone. Diversity of backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints on campus strengthens the intellectual life of our institution, enhances academic innovation and enables us to produce better leaders. Transgender students, staff, faculty and colleagues are a valued contribution to our campus.

CSU is committed to supporting and protecting transgender people on campus. Among other things, this commitment means that members of our community are free to use a restroom that aligns with their gender identity. Gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation are all protected under the University’s Discrimination/Harassment Policy. The CSU Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) vigorously enforces this Policy by investigating and resolving complaints of unlawful discrimination, harassment and sexual violence. Information about OIE can be found here: OIE is located in Room 236 of the Administration Center, 2300 Euclid Avenue, and can be reached by telephone at: 216-687-2223.

CSU campus partners work to ensure that our community fosters safety, civility and respect, and support, including through counseling and confidential resources, those in need. A list of these partners is available here:

          The Next (Budget) Generation: Performance-Based Financing at Bayalpata Hospital        
Nyaya Health has always believed in working with the government of Nepal to achieve its goals. While individual donors have made up the bulk of Nyaya Health's financial assets, the Nepalese government has invested $35,000 per year since 2010 and recent budget negotiations have looked to increase government investment to $100,000 a year and more in the coming years. 

The idea for a new contract with the government, due to take effect mid-July, began when the Nepali Ministry of Health approached Nyaya Health to propose a pilot program for future funding of private-public partnerships in Nepal. For this year's contract, Nyaya Health's assets from the government will be dependent on the organization's performance on certain metrics. If Nyaya meets their targeted metrics, then they will receive increased funding the next cycle, but if they don't, their funding from the government will be cut by 20%. Performance based financing for NGOs has been tried in places such as Rwanda and Nicaragua, but this is the first attempt to implement performance based financing in Nepal and focus on outcome-based funding for health organizations.

Nyaya is responsible for formulating 40% of the metrics it will be judged on, and it has focused on measurable outcome-based metrics that will hopefully result in meaningful improvement in both quality and equity of healthcare delivery. For example, one of the metrics Nyaya chose to be measured on is the institutional delivery rate for pregnant women. Nyaya works with many health posts in the region which serve as birthing centers for pregnant women to come in and deliver their babies. However, the birthing centers are often so shabby that expectant mothers choose not to come in to deliver. The performance based financing metric, which funding will be partially based, requires Bayalpata Hospital and the health posts in the region to serve a certain portion of the expected deliveries in the region, and so the hope is that the birthing centers will improve their quality once their financial status is linked to their performance.

Of course, there will be challenges. Performance-based financing relies heavily on the quality of data collection, which, if self-reported, may not always be trustworthy. That’s why Nyaya has attempted to use metrics that can be independently verified, in order to demonstrate that improvement of performance has to be real, and not just an inflated figures on government reports.

The challenges are real, but so are the potential benefits. It’s about a change in mindset. Rather than saying, "we need $100,000 to improve our birthing center", performance-based financing says, "we need $100,000 to improve the rate of institutional births in our region to reduce maternal mortality, which we will accomplish by improving our birthing center". It's about paying for results, and depending on how the pilot program with Nyaya goes, it could mark a major shift in NGO funding strategies in Nepal. 

          Light on the Hill        
"For if Tufts College is to be a source of illumination, as a beacon standing on a hill, where its light cannot be hidden, its influence will naturally work like all light; it will be diffusive."
~Hosea Ballou , Tufts’ first president

As our jeep wound through Achham, we kept glancing back at the light on the hill. The floodlights of the hospital that has been our home for the past two months are a visible sign of hope – hope that the patients might live another day, hope that they might have a better life, hope that our generation can do something to combat the injustices in the world.
Nyaya combats these injustices every day with clear, tangible results. One of the organizational values we appreciate most about Nyaya is the constant focus on the purpose of using resources and on the outcome of our actions for the people of Achham. It’s not simply a consideration of return on investment – it’s a moral responsibility for each of us working to achieve global health equity and it is active citizenship at its best. 

Active citizenship is a process that requires pragmatic solidarity – the commitment and actual actions of working as partners towards shared goals. The solidarity component of this equation is clear: Our shared goals focus on the concepts of health as a human right, public goods for public health, and health as an investment for economic development. These goals are interrelated and at times indistinguishable. A common thread throughout each of these is the inescapable complexity and the need for multi-sectoral solutions. 

The pragmatic component is the more difficult as it calls into question the sustainability of running a hospital that provides an entire, impoverished region with 100% free medical care. Nyaya Health provides the structure that facilitates actual accountable progress, the front-line care that addresses at least one of the fundamental inequities the people of Achham face, and the persistent hope that we can achieve our goals. Ultimately, however, the question is turned to you – our friends and our allies – to ensure that the light on the hill remains alive

Thank you to our readers, our supporters, to GlobeMed at Tufts, to everyone who made this summer possible, to the people of Achham, and especially to Nyaya Health. We will miss our Nyaya family but know that we will continue our work in solidarity together as partners in the pursuit of justice.

          Stock Market Basics What Are Stocks        
If we were to define what a stock actually is its fair to say that it is a share in the ownership of a company The more shares you own the greater the stake is in the company The terms equity stock or shares all mean the same thing You have a claim on the company s assets and earnings Before you start making big plans ..

Link to the original site

          Equity Value, Enterprise Value, and Valuation Multiples – Sample Technical Guide and Excel Files        

In this guide and the accompanying Excel files, you’ll learn what Equity Value and Enterprise Value REALLY mean, and why every other guide is wrong about them – you’ll also learn how to explain the impact of capital structure changes, which valuation metrics and multiples are best for different situations, and more.

The post Equity Value, Enterprise Value, and Valuation Multiples – Sample Technical Guide and Excel Files appeared first on Free Financial Modeling Tips & Tutorials | BIWS.

          The Dynamic Learning Project: helping deliver on the promise of tech in the classroom        

When it comes to schools, bridging the “digital divide” means more than providing access. While that gap isn’t yet closed, there’s another emerging equity imbalance that goes beyond computers or connectivity. This “second-level digital divide” is fueled by major differences in how effectively that technology is being used for teaching and learning. And it’s especially pronounced in low-income schools, where teachers face a significant disadvantage when it comes to training and professional development. Closing this divide means equipping educators with the skills and tools they need to effectively integrate technology in their classrooms. That’s why we’re launching the Dynamic Learning Project, a new pilot that’s part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that the benefits of technology are truly reaching every classroom.

Research suggests that coaching has a positive impact on teacher practices and student outcomes. So to start, we’re providing a $6.5 million grant to Digital Promise through in order to launch a pilot that will support full-time coaches at 50 underserved middle schools in five diverse regions across the U.S. These coaches will provide personalized support to help educators learn about technology and use it in their classroom in transformative ways. To set schools up for success, each will receive mentoring support and ongoing professional development from experts at EdTechTeam. They’ll also participate in a community of practice with other participating schools, allowing them to share their learnings and expand their professional networks.

Digital Promise selected this first cohort of 50 U.S. middle schools based on need (determined by percentage of students eligible for free and reduced lunch), existing infrastructure (without requiring any specific type or brand of technology), and innovative leadership committed to helping their teachers succeed. They’ll work with these schools throughout the year, helping the coaches and principals to better harness technology in the classroom.

For years, we’ve worked hard to help more classrooms access technology, and we’re proud that our products are helping millions of teachers and students do incredible things. But we’ve also seen that access to technology on its own is not enough. Making our products free or affordable doesn’t make usage truly equitable, and quality training is critical to ensure that technology is used in effective and meaningful ways. Through coaching, training and support, we’re aiming to empower teachers to further improve student learning outcomes through technology.

While technology alone will not fix or improve education, in the hands of educators who know how to use it, it can be a powerful part of the solution. This pilot is only the very beginning of our work ahead, and we’re eager to see what we will learn and understand how we can help reach even more classrooms in the future.

          Morocco: criticism of equity & reconciliation commission        
          Find a Fixer Upper in San Diego        
Investors look for a good cheap deal when they buy a house to flip. With tight inventory, fixer upper deals have loads of multiple offers within a few days of being on the MLS.  Many first time home buyers also are buying fixer upper properties and putting in their own “sweat equity.”  First time home […]
          Will Detroit Win or Lose at Super Bowl Time?        

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald recently wrote (in jest) about the selection of Detroit as the site of Super Bowl XL in February.  He wrote, "Travel-industry analysts says the teams are distinguished by being the only two groups in America looking forward to being in Detroit in early February."  I have heard similar sentiment on sports talk radio programs.  Whose idea was this?  Was it political?  Was it meant as a move toward equity?  Wouldn't everybody--including the teams--rather be in Miami or Houston or Dallas or Phoenix?

My questions are sincere.  If Detroit got the Big Game on merits and salesmanship, please tell me what carrots they dangled.  I once spent half a February in Montreal because I had to.  It was great indoors, but going out meant risking your life.

The other side of the issue is that, now that Detroit is hosting the Big Game, they had better do a first rate job of it, or "I told you so" will be on everybody's chapped lips for years to come.

          Is Trump’s plan for his company enough to avoid conflicts of interest?        

Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

STEVE INSKEEP: Now, during his press conference, the president-elect said something that no president-elect may have said before. He said he had just turned down a multibillion-dollar business deal.

DONALD TRUMP (R), President-Elect: Over the weekend, I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai with a very, very, very amazing man, a great, great developer from the Middle East, Hussain Damac, a friend of mine, great guy. And I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai, a number of deals. And I turned it down.

STEVE INSKEEP: Now, $2 billion, his friend Hussain Damac was apparently a man with a different last name, who runs a company called DAMAC Group.

But, nevertheless, the talk of a deal in a key Persian Gulf nation, days before he moves into the White House, suggests the clash between the president’s duties and his worldwide business. The president-elect says he has a plan to manage those conflicts, which we’re going to evaluate this evening.

That plan includes turning the business over to his two older sons, plus a business executive. His sons aren’t supposed to tell him what they’re doing. And the president-elect will step back from management, but remain the owner of Trump Organization, and the company will avoid new overseas business deals.

Mr. Trump said he’s doing this, even though the law would allow him to keep making deals as president.

DONALD TRUMP: I don’t like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to. I would be the only one that would be able to do that. You can’t do that in any other capacity. But, as a president, I could run the Trump Organization, great, great company, and I could run the company — the country. I would do a very good job, but I don’t want to do that.

STEVE INSKEEP: The president-elect is correct that a federal conflict of interest law excludes the president, but what about all the other issues?

We have brought in two lawyers who managed ethics issues for two presidents. Richard Painter did it for President George W. Bush. Norm Eisen did it for President Obama.

And, Mr. Eisen, let’s start with you.

The president-elect suggests he is going above and beyond. Is he?

NORMAN EISEN, Former Special Counsel to President Obama: No.

He’s going beneath and below the minimum floor that’s required by law, that’s required by our most fundamental law, the Constitution, that is established by what every president for four decades has done, that ethics require and that common sense requires, Steve.

This was a sad day. I wasn’t happy to see what happened here. But what the president has announced fails every aspect of the bipartisan consensus that has emerged on what he should do, and it’s going to lead to scandal and corruption and a constitutional crisis from the moment he’s sworn in.

STEVE INSKEEP: OK, you mentioned the law. You mentioned common sense. Let’s talk about common sense here a little bit here, Richard Painter. We will get to the law.

What is wrong with turning over management of the company to his sons, who it is said will act independently of him?

RICHARD PAINTER, Former Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush: Well, he will still own the company.

And the problem is the company, the Trump Organization, has business deals all over the world. And some may be getting turned down, although some might get accepted. There are already deals in place. There are deals with powerful politicians in Indonesia, with oligarchs in the Philippines, deals in Turkey.

I mean, these are parts of the world where there’s very important issues to be dealt with on behalf of the United States and strategic concerns. We can’t have the president have substantial economic exposure himself in these countries and business partners who may be in league with foreign governments.

This is an enormous conflict of interests. We also have the president of the president’s name being on buildings around the world in places where it’s questionable whether these other countries can protect those buildings. We don’t have the Obama Tower in downtown Paris or Nairobi or some place. And we couldn’t protect it.

And then we put the Trump name up. That’s going to be jeopardizing the lives of the people who live in those buildings and could drag the United States into a conflict. That’s only the beginnings of the problems.

We have potential mixing Trump business with United States government business. And that would trigger a bribery investigation. And then we, of course, have those payments coming in from foreign governments and companies controlled by foreign governments that violate the Constitution, unless they sweep all of those out of the Trump Organization as of January 20. And they don’t have the time to do it.

STEVE INSKEEP: You mentioned also the Constitution, and I definitely want to get to that, but let’s just refer to something else that Norm Eisen mentioned.

Norm Eisen said that this arrangement violates the bipartisan consensus about ethics for the president of the United States in recent decades. The president-elect, however, brought out a lawyer — Sheri Dillon is her name — at this press conference, and she dismissed some of the more conventional solutions.

Let’s watch.

SHERI DILLON, Attorney for Donald Trump: Some people have suggested a blind trust, but you cannot have a totally blind trust with operating businesses. President Trump can’t un-know he owns Trump Tower. And the press will make sure that any new developments at the Trump Organization are well publicized.

Further, it would be impossible to find an institutional trustee that would be competent to run the Trump Organization. The approach he is taking allows Don and Eric to preserve this great company and its iconic assets.

STEVE INSKEEP: Norm Eisen, I have actually heard this from a lot of people, who said, blind trust, how can that be possible, because his assets are so visible? His name is on buildings. The name itself is the asset. Is she right that a blind trust isn’t going to work?

NORMAN EISEN: No, she’s wrong on all three of those points.

On the first point, if it’s a problem that he would still know things in a blind trust, how much more of a problem is it now, where he has this completely unprecedented continuing ownership interest, and very weak protections that were outlined today for communications between and among his sons? Does anybody really believe that they’re not going to be talking about the business?

Then, number two, it actually would be simple to do this. All Trump needs to do — this is not complicated — find an independent professional trustee. There are plenty out there who have dealt with far more complications. This is — the Trump Organization is just a big international family business.

Trump signs it over. This is what we hoped in a bipartisan way and prayed would happen today. He signs it over to the trustee. The trustee figures out, what can I sell? How do I sell it? What can I borrow? Maybe I do a public equity, so if it’s not sold on the market, the executives buy it, package the less-indebted properties with the more-indebted properties.

Donald Trump has enough to worry about without thinking about that. And then, on the third point of destroying the business, the Donald Trump name is at an all-time high. This is the best time to make these moves. When the corruptions and the scandals start to flow, it’s going to be much harder.

But he is going to have to do it, because those negative consequences are sure to follow.

STEVE INSKEEP: OK, just very briefly here now, the law. You mentioned the law. You mentioned the Constitution.

You have said that the president would violate the Constitution if he continues on this course. The Emoluments Clause is what you’re talking about. It prohibits gifts from a foreign government. But the president-elect’s lawyer says nobody has defined a gift before for that purpose. And she says the president doing business is not a gift.

SHERI DILLON: No one would have thought, when the Constitution was written, that paying your hotel bill was an emolument. Instead, it would have been thought of as a value-for-value exchange, not a gift, not a title, and not an emolument.

But since president-elect Trump has been elected, some people want to define emoluments to cover routine business transactions like paying for hotel rooms. They suggest that the Constitution prohibits the businesses from even arm’s-length transactions that the president-elect has absolutely nothing to do with and isn’t even aware of.

These people are wrong. This is not what the Constitution says. Paying for a hotel room is not a gift or a present, and it has nothing to do with an office. It’s not an emolument.

STEVE INSKEEP: Richard Painter, what’s wrong with that logic? It’s routine business.

RICHARD PAINTER: This is a for-profit hotel. He is making profits over dealing with foreign governments. Same with the loans from foreign government-owned banks. Those are for a for-profit business. That is prohibited under the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

Now, she’s right on one point, that you can’t take the Trump Tower, put it in a trust, and pretend you don’t have it. Of course, the trustee will have to sell the Trump Tower. He needs to make a decision, does he wants to be president, or does he want to be a landlord and a hotel owner?

He has nine days to make that decision. I thought he’d already made it. But that’s what this is about. He just doesn’t want to give up the hotel. He doesn’t want to give Trump Tower to his son or sell it.

And it is not that difficult to sell a nice building like that on Fifth Avenue.

STEVE INSKEEP: Norm Eisen, very briefly, can the president-elect resolve some of these concerns just by being a lot more transparent about who is paying what for what?

NORMAN EISEN: Well, Professor Painter and I laid out yesterday a scorecard of five criteria.

And one of them was to have strong ethics provisions with strong transparency around them, an ethics firewall. But we made the point that alone is not enough. He is going to be — as Professor Painter says, emoluments covers all of the different benefits that he’s getting, loans, permits, trademarks, other things outside the hotel, selling apartments to foreign government agents and sovereigns.

He’s going to be in violation of the Constitution on day one, and no amount of transparency can cure that offense against our founding document.

STEVE INSKEEP: Could they solve some of this problem by releasing the president-elect’s tax return?

NORMAN EISEN: It’s critical that the tax returns come out, particularly today, when there’s been so much talk about Russia, Steve.

Professor Painter and I wrote during the campaign that there’s an enormous amount of information about foreign governments, gifts, payments, partnerships, even business expenses, possibly, in deductions taken.

Given the nature of the Russia allegations, we need to see that. And Richard and I said today that all Russia-related aspects of the tax returns should be released. And the Intelligence Committees should get the full tax returns to put these Russia allegations to bed.

STEVE INSKEEP: Norm Eisen was the top ethics lawyer for President Obama. Richard Painter was the top ethics lawyers for President George W. Bush.

Gentlemen, thanks to you both.

NORMAN EISEN: Thanks, Steve.


The post Is Trump’s plan for his company enough to avoid conflicts of interest? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

          Brother can you spare $700,000,000,000????        

The Conversation Cafe had a very productive discussion regarding the proposed Wall Street Bailout. In the course of discussing the financial crisis that is animating the proposal to write out a Treasury check for $700 billion to Henry Paulson, someone brought to the group's attention the recent book, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" by Naomi Klein. Klein posits that crises are manufactured in order to push through unpalatable economic and political measures. You can read her post regarding the current crisis here. As well, the group agreed that any taxpayer bailout should, at a minimum, include the following conditions.

1. Reinstatement of the provisions of Glass-Steagall, which forbade speculation
2. Re-regulation of the finance, insurance, and real estate industries
3. Accountability on the part of those who took the companies down:
a) resignations of management
b) givebacks of executive compensation packages
c) limitations on executive compensation
d) admission by CEO's of what went wrong and how, prior to any government bailout
4. Demands for transparencey
a) with respect to analyzing the transactions which took the companies down
b) with respect to Treasury's dealings with the companies pre and post-bailout
5. An equity position for the taxpayers
a) some form of ownership of assets
6. Some credible formula for evaluating the price of the assets that the government is buying.
7. A sunset clause on the legislation
8. Full public disclosure by members of Congress of assets held, with possible conflicts put in blind trust.
9. A ban on political campaign contributions from officers of corporations receiving bailouts
10. A requirement that 2008 cycle candidates return political contributions to officers and representatives of corporations receiving bailouts.

Join us next Saturday at 2 p.m. as we continue the conversation.
          Notable option activity in equity names        
Nearing the halfway mark in today's session, here are the individual equity names with unusual option activity on optionMONSTER's ActionTracker data system. Bank of New York Mellon (BK) Some 3,000 Weekly 37 puts expiring today,
          Notable option activity in equity names        
Nearing the halfway mark in today's session, here are the individual equity names with unusual option activity on optionMONSTER's ActionTracker data system. Mastec (MTZ) Some 5,000 March 19 calls sold were sold $0.50 to $0.60 as traders bet upside
          Notable option activity in equity names        
Nearing the halfway mark in today's session, here are the individual equity names with unusual option activity on optionMONSTER's ActionTracker data system. SouFun (SFUN) Almost 3,400 March 5.50 calls were sold for $0.30 and $0.35 as investors looked to
          Notable option activity in equity names        
Nearing the halfway mark in today's session, here are the individual equity names with unusual option activity on optionMONSTER's ActionTracker data system. Viacom (VIAB) A trader bought 15,799 June 45 calls for $0.85 to $0.90 and sold 31,538 June
          Notable option activity in equity names        
Nearing the halfway mark in today's session, here are the individual equity names with unusual option activity on optionMONSTER's ActionTracker data system. NorthStar Realty (NRF) A trader bought 16,903 March 16 for $0.15 and sold an equal number of
          Notable option activity in equity names        
Nearing the halfway mark in today's session, here are the individual equity names with unusual option activity on optionMONSTER's ActionTracker data system. Century Aluminum (CENX) About 2,800 March 7 calls were sold for $0.48 as investors bet upside will
          Notable option activity in equity names        
Nearing the halfway mark in today's session, here are the individual equity names with unusual option activity on optionMONSTER's ActionTracker data system. Plains All American Pipeline (PAA) A block of 7,441 April 22 calls was sold for $0.75 as
          Notable option activity in equity names        
Nearing the halfway mark in today's session, here are the individual equity names with unusual option activity on optionMONSTER's ActionTracker data system. ADT (ADT) About 20,000 April 42 calls were bought for $0.15 as investors looked for upside in
          Commodities Aren't Going Anywhere, So Include Them In Your Investments        

"There's no way oil will never fall below $50."

"Gold will never hit $1000."

So many times in my career, I've heard extreme statements from investors and portfolio managers promising that commodities will never move above or below some arbitrary benchmark. A recent example of this often stems from the advent of electric cars, which if you believe the narrative, will supposedly eliminate the demand for fuel and thus oil. Yet, even Elon Musk has to laugh at this. After all, what do you think powers his SpaceX rockets? Pixie dust?

While it may be true that commodities do not have the same yield or inherent return as equities, this doesn't necessarily mean that they shouldn't be included in your asset allocation mix. In fact, the opposite is true given that, unlike most other holdings, commodities generally are not correlated to equities or bonds. For an example, look no further than the correlation between the Bloomberg Commodity index and the S&P500:


1 year

3 year

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We believe in order to truly harness the advantages of commodities in a portfolio, investors must go one step further by using a tactical strategy. Being long on select commodities as they rise, in cash as needed, and short as commodities fall can often bring significant returns and lower your correlation to the market even further.

If you compare the Long/Flat Auspice Broad commodity index ("ABCERI") which takes this strategy and puts it into practice, using tactical long positions in rising markets and converting holdings into cash when markets falter, the correlation to S&P drops further when compared to a long-only index:


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3 year

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As you can see below, the portfolio benefits are obvious. Including ABCERI in a diversified portfolio may improve overall performance while reducing volatility and drawdowns. This example shows an 18 per cent improvement in annualized returns, 39 per cent lower drawdowns and 26 per cent less volatility.

So when is the time to add commodities? Timing is always challenging and commodities have been sliding for the better part of five to six years. However, as this chart shows, commodity versus equity values have long cycles and are at all-time lows.

Given there is never a specific floor, the value of commodities can always stand to fall further. Yet, they have recently become so stretched that we believe equity values are more at risk in the near term. In fact, as the following charts show, the recent performance of commodities is at the bottom end of its statistical distribution while equities are at the top.

At the end of the day, the world is still growing, and the developing Asian markets are not going away any time soon, meaning that the demand for fuel, food and materials aren't going to disappear overnight. In fact, demand may become greater than supply as the developed world shifts investment into technology-inspired resources, and funding becomes harder to come by for traditional commodities.

What many investors have to remember is that, unlike a stock which can literally disappear, commodities aren't likely to go bankrupt.

Now is a good time to look at commodities in any asset allocation mix. Consider ways to directly participate in commodities versus resource equity to reduce the stock market risk and beta. Look for tactical managers that specialize in commodity-tilted investments.

Also on HuffPost:

          Home Capital To Pay $11 Million Over Mortgage Fraud        

TORONTO — Ontario's securities watchdog approved a settlement Wednesday with Home Capital Group Inc. and three former executives who failed to tell investors quickly and completely about fraudulent activity by some mortgage brokers associated with the alternative lender.

As a result of the settlement, about $11 million could flow through the Ontario Securities Commission to shareholders covered by a related class action suit that's awaiting court approval.

The agreement is conditional on the Ontario Superior Court accepting a settlement worth about $29.5 million including the money available through the OSC process.


An OSC lawyer told a hearing the commission needed to send a clear message that public companies are legally obligated to disclose important information quickly and in a form investors can use.

Lawyers for the company and three men said little during the 90-minute hearing, except to point out their clients had kept Home Capital's board informed and received outside professional advice about their disclosure requirements.

But OSC vice-chair Grant Vingoe, who read out the three-member panel's decision, said a public company's disclosure of material changes "is not a discretionary decision from management, but a regulatory requirement and a public responsibility."

He said Home Capital failed to reveal the termination of the brokerage agreements — representing about 10 per cent of Home Capital's 2014 mortgage originations — until mid-2015, more than two months later than it should have.

Home Capital shares fell 18.9 per cent the following day, Vingoe said.

Find about billionaire investor Warren Buffett's involvement with Canada's Home Capital:

He said the panel was accepting the "highly negotiated settlement, carefully co-ordinated with class (action) proceedings in Ontario" because it would allow the regulatory to move on to other matters, expedite compensation to investors and reduce uncertainty surrounding the company.

The OSC's announcement of its allegations in April contributed to a sudden exodus of Home Capital depositors that pushed the Toronto-based company to borrow about $2 billion at staggeringly high interest rates in order to stay in business.

Home Capital shares and prospects have improved since Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway agreed to support the lender through an equity investment and loans.

As part of the OSC settlement, retired chief executive Gerald Soloway will pay $1 million in administrative penalties. Martin Reid, who succeeded Soloway as CEO, and former chief financial officer Robert Morton will each pay $500,000. Half of the $2 million will be put towards the $11 million that will be available to the class action settlement.

In addition to the monetary penalties, the three men will be prevented from being an officer or director of a public company for specified periods — four years in the case of Soloway and two years each in the case of Reid and Morton.

Also on HuffPost:

          Poker: Luck vs Skill        
For as long as I've been playing poker, I've obviously been on the side of the game being skill based. However, after thinking about it over the past week, I think it's much more cut and dried than simply being based on skill or being majority skill. It's 100% skill. Exactly like chess. There is no luck involved. Here's why:

You'll often find poker players that try to attribute arbitrary ratios of skill and luck to games as if they are on the same gradient scale. Poker being 70/30 for example, blackjack being 40/60 etc.
  • LuckSuccess or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions.
  • SkillThe ability to do something well; expertise.

People will generally try to play semantic gymnastics in trying to quantify a balance of opposing definitions. I find it to be a contradiction of each definition for something to involve both skill and luck, especially when the "luck" disappears in large samples. Perhaps a more apt definition would be the term "chance" already used in the definition of luck.
  • Chanceby accident or without design.

We've all heard the term "games of chance" and are quick to rightly interchange it with the term "luck." When it comes to games seemingly involving both, this term clearly does not allow for that to happen. In games of skill, every action you and your opponents make has a direct effect on everyone's expected value.

In games of chance, no action that you or your opponent can make has any effect on anyone's expected value. Skill and chance can not occupy a gradient balance with one another.In theory then, every single decision at the poker table is 100% skill based. In theory, there is only EV, there are no results. Now you're probably thinking "a ha! It doesn't work that way in practice!" and you'd be correct. In practice, our results deviate from our expected value. That deviation is called "variance."
  • VarianceThe fact or quality of being different, divergent, or inconsistent.

Variance is not luck.

The terms are, by definition, not interchangeable. Variance is simply the measured, quantifiable difference between EV and results. It has nothing to do with your ability or inability to affect the outcome. You shove $100 with AA and get called by KK for 80% equity and an EV of about $60. You are either going to be +$40 or -$60 on expectation for any given hand due to not luck, but rather variance. 

  • Poker is 100% skill with variance in the results.

Now take the opposite type of game, lets say slots. You put $1 in and pull the lever, with absolutely no skill on your part affecting the outcome. Your EV on any given pull is -$0.05 on this particular machine. You are most definitely not going to receive exactly $0.95 back on your dollar with every pull. The difference from your EV is, again, variance. 

  • Slots are 100% luck with variance in the results.
Therefore, all things where a calculable EV is available are either all skill or all luck with a measurable amount of deviation that can be used to statistically compute how much fortune appears to play a part.

  • Fortune: Chance or luck as an external, arbitrary force.
Fortune is the word and concept people are looking for when they are trying to mistakenly apply a luck:skill ratio by virtue of interchanging false definitions of luck and variance in a game of skill that has deviation in the results.

The idea of fortune is the mirage that keeps recreational players entertained despite their inevitable losses. Which brings us full circle to a point where poker is indeed 100% skill, with the veneer of luck, ie. fortune, entering the equation and creating a non-existent luck:skill ratio draped over the game due to the psychological effects of variance.

          HH Review: Min 3-Bet Pot Mistake        
February continues to go fairly well after 18k hands. I had a mini implosion weekend before last and ended up trying to force a lot of plays that were just not going to work and getting crushed by weird 2 pair after weird backdoor gutshot. That was an 18 buyin downswing over 4k hands. I've since recovered that and then some. I'm sitting at an overall winrate of 17.5 bb/100 on the month,  a third of that small stakes and the rest micros.

Something I never did on Stars was mix stakes. I just found it too confusing. With the lack of traffic on my new site, I'm finding it's much better for my winrate if I do mix in three or even four stakes for the highest fish ratio. It's interesting how I've started thinking more in terms of SPR than in $ or even in bb.


Villain in this hand is 32/14 with a 6% 3bet over 180 hands. All of his 3bets have been from the blinds.

$0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players

BTN: $15.66
Hero (SB): $25.16
BB: $15.16
UTG: $40.07
CO: $20.30

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is SB with 7 of spades J of clubs
3 folds, Hero raises to $0.50, BB raises to $1.10, Hero calls $0.60

My min-steal is a bit marginal with J7o as he's a bit more aggressive than average postflop, but he does fold to 50% of flop cbets and 40% on the turn. He's also shown himself to be a bit spazzy a significant portion of the time. I spite call the near min-raise, but I think the math generally has me covered at potentially $16 profit for a $0.60 call giving me 27:1 stack odds. I'm going to hit 2 pair or better about 6% of the time and draws add a few points as well.

Flop: ($2.55) 7 of clubs 7 of hearts 4 of spades (2 players)
Hero checks, BB bets $1.65, Hero raises to $3.90, BB raises to $6.15, Hero raises to $17.85, BB folds

Jackpot flop. My concern now is how to best get my money in. He's a bit fishy so 6% is probably going to be top heavy with a range like 88+, AQ+. That means I have 95% equity trying to dodge the fullhouse spike. 55% of his range is overpairs, 45% is Ace high.

I was torn between getting all the money in on the flop fearing that calling could bring an action killing overcard like an Ace or King and would shut down 88-JJ. But at the same time, I'd prefer to let him spazz or hit with his Ace high hands. I picked a size slightly larger than a min-raise to give him room to play back with $12+ effective and an $8 pot to get me to fold a hand like 33 or 55 with his unpaired hands, with his overpairs obviously raising as well.

Once he clicks it back, he has almost $8 left. He has 71 combos, so lets break down each group of hands in his range:

  • 88-JJ (21): These likely shut down if an Ace or King hits the turn. They maybe shut down half the time if a Queen hits. Given that weighting and the likelihood of those cards hitting, I miss $8 on 20% of turn cards. There is a small chance he checks back a hand like 88 or 99, so lets say a conservative 25% when an Ace rolls off by the river.
  • QQ-AA (18): These will probably not shut down at all given a $15 pot with $8 left.
  • AQ-AK (32): These will generally fold to the flop shove. I'd say there's a 20% chance he spazzes out with them if checked to on the turn. He's going to hit a pair and stack off 24% of the time by either hitting the turn and shoving or checking back and hitting the river.

So my dilemma then is making the correct decision between:

  • Winning $8 that I would not have won 25% of the time x 30% of range (88-JJ). EV difference = +$0.60.
  • Winning $8 that I would not have won 38% of the time x 45% of range (AQ-AK). EV difference = +$1.37.

Clearly then, shoving the flop is a mistake.
          HH Review: Folding Out Equity        
As promised, I'd like to review an interesting hand every week or two. This was one of the more interesting hands of today. Note that I'm using Flopzilla to compute hand range values and weightings.


  • UTG:  44/27 - cbetting every hand and barreling a good deal, too. Not positionally aware at all and raising 45% of unopened pots.
  • CO: 24/18 - likes to cold call a ton to nut peddle post-flop, folds to most cbets.
  • Hero (BB): 30/25 and running hot on this table - raising cbets 25% and calling cbets 30%.

$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players

UTG: $101.50
MP: $127.52
CO: $172.08
BTN: $187.20
SB: $46.69
Hero (BB): $333.37

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BB with 9 of hearts T of diamonds
UTG raises to $2.62, 1 fold, CO calls $2.62, 2 folds, Hero calls $1.62

Not an ideal hand to call out of position, I'd have a lot more postflop playability if it was suited. However I am getting 4.2:1 and UTG flops a lot of nothing. My plan is to let him hang himself if I hit and steal it when I miss given that CO doesn't get too involved past most flops.

Flop: ($8.36) 6 of spades T of clubs Q of clubs (3 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets $6.27, CO folds, Hero raises to $24.17, UTG calls $17.90

I flop 2nd pair. The plan is to check/raise if CO folds to the auto-cbet and check/fold if CO continues. The reason I want to go for a raise here is because there are tons of hands that I am currently ahead of that have equity and I either want them to fold or get value from them. These would include hands like AK, AJ, KJ, J9, 98, 87, 99, 88 and 77. Only 15% of his range consists of top pair or better, while 28% consists of Ace-High and 30% of pure nothing.

Either having villain fold or call with worse is fine with me given my mid strength hand that can't stand much heat on most turn cards without initiative, which means my options are to either give up now or try to steal like in my preflop plan. I also have a few backdoor straight draws as backup for future aggression opportunities.

Flopzilla tells me that I have 62% equity against his cbet range and 35% equity against his continuance range. I'm expecting a fold about 65% of the time. My Excel equity calculator tells me with 35% equity, I need a fold only 14% of the time to breakeven.

This is precisely the scenario that Baluga Whale talks about in the newest edition of Easy Game where he kills off collection of dead money as a reason to bet, simply combining it with a new definition of bluffing where getting your opponent to incorrectly fold their equity and/or preventing them from making the bluff they should make go hand in hand. ie. Fundamental Theorem of Poker: if he knew I had 2nd pair, he would shove his entire range and therefore he makes the mistake of not re-bluffing.

Turn: ($56.70) 9 of diamonds (2 players)
Hero bets $306.58, UTG calls $74.71 all in

At this point his range consists of 40% top pair or overpairs which I now beat, and 25% 2pair or better that beat me. The remaining 35% consists of draws. I have 57% equity against this range, so while I am ahead 75% of the time, it's by a slim margin. I'm flipping with his range if he folds all of his draws.

Given the amount of money in the pot compensating for my thinness in equity, folding is not an option. My choices are to either bet/call and pray for a blank river if he just calls, or shove right now.

I'd prefer not to flip for it if possible if he decides to shove over a smaller bet or call and show me one of 20 gross river cards. Therefore I'm using the same reason for overbet shoving here as I did for raising on the flop in trying to get him to fold significant chunks of equity rather than giving him the opportunity to try to bluff or thin valuetown himself with that equity.

River: ($206.12) Q of spades (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $206.12
UTG shows J of spades 9 of clubs
Hero shows 9 of hearts T of diamonds
Hero wins $203.12
          I'm back        
I almost threw in the towel.

People seem to blog less when they are losing. I'm no exception. Over the summer I had a couple of my best months this year followed by my two worst months ever.

There were two main problems with my game.

My daily struggle just to tread water on the reduced Supernova pace was the first, and somewhat the cause of the second -- the tilt spiral between some run bad, a lot of playing bad, and letting that seep into my offline life.

It's tough to sit down after 6 weeks of nothing but losing fistfuls of cash every day, never mind trying to put in the volume to maintain Supernova, minimal as it is. I dreaded it every day, often finding myself sitting down, firing up HM2, and then closing everything down before I even got started. This of course led to more Supernova stress, playing higher to earn more VPPs, losing more, more tilt, and more general unhappiness.

I wasn't even worried about losing the rakeback percentage. It was simply the thought of losing something that takes so much work to achieve. I was tired of it all and sincerely ready to quit.

And I did quit. At least, for two weeks at the end of July, I was finished. I withdrew 95% of my bankroll and gave up on the VPP chase. It was the first time in 4 years where I didn't even think about logging in for an extended period of time.

Oddly enough I already have the requisite 65k VPP on the reduced 2012 plan, but unfortunately they're not spread out over 10 months. My volume took a beating at the beginning of the year when the Weighted Contributed shit hit the fan. I became so heavily involved in the discussion that I missed my January target and missed March as well due to all the travel associated with my IOM invite plus the hours spent at home crunching numbers instead of putting in volume. I don't regret the trip or the work I did, it's just a factor in what transpired.

I was happy again. No stress. The weight of Supernova off my shoulders. I could do whatever I wanted instead of being chained to my desk. But after two weeks, I started to miss the game. I didn't miss the money (or rather losing money). I missed the competition and the puzzle.

It's funny how you sometimes need to be done with whatever you're doing before you can see it objectively. And then it seems so obvious. And it's likely something you already knew, but couldn't accept because you just couldn't give up the ghost.

What did I want out of this game? Not the stress. Not the tilt. Not my offline emotions riding the rollercoaster of my online graph. The money was a nice bonus, but I obviously didn't care about it as much as I thought I did.

The answer was simple: as a naturally competitive, analytical person, poker was my creative outlet.

That's where my passion for the game originated, and that's what became lost in the stress and the tilt. I hated poker and the person I was becoming because of it. Or rather, because of these things that had tainted it for me.

I decided that if I were going to play this game again, I needed to stay focussed on the passion and find a way to take control of the things I didn't like.

The Supernova volume part was already taken care of as it lapsed at the end of July; a huge weight taken off my shoulders. I have reduced my volume stress to zero. I simply do not care how many VPPs I have. I will play when I want and for how long I want. The monetary value of the lost rakeback is worth far less than my sanity.

The tilt problem. I've read countless books about the mental game and even listened to some of Tommy Angelo's Eightfold Path over the past number of years. But none of it really stuck with me in the past. My mindset was that these books had good reviews, the authors know what they're talking about, and I found them to be good, interesting reading material, and that's all they were to me.

I went back to Angelo's Eightfold Path, but this time I was really listening because I knew if I couldn't conquer the tilt demon, I was going to give this up for good. And so far, the mindset and techniques have been working really well

I've really tried to embrace lopping off my C-game, mindfulness, and right-view, which in turn brings me back to what I really want out of this game:

Competition -- Trying to play my best at all times.

Creative, Analytical Thinking -- Finding ways to outplay my opponents using factual information.

I don't ignore the beats to avoid the tilt. Sticking my head in the sand would be no better than stumbling through the fog of tilt induced insanity I was in before. I now acknowledge that my opponent played XX a certain way, had Y% equity, and happened to hit his hand. That's it. I just plug it back into the analytical process and think about ways to exploit this in the future. Next hand.

I'm certainly not tilt free yet and I don't think it's completely possible. We are human after all. But I've reduced the most destructive versions of it drastically, and I leave it all at the table. When I log off, I am logged off.

To date, I've had three sessions since mid September where I could feel the bankroll busting anger coming back. In the first two, I recognized it quickly, but wasn't able to get away from it in the next 5 minutes and decided to shut it down, likely saving myself a number of buyins. In the third, I recognized it quickly, was able to process what I was thinking, and bring myself back.

Also note that these three sessions were at relatively nano stakes considering I haven't put anything back online. Given that I was still able to feel the monkey tilt coming on, I have to say that I've realized it's not the loss of $X that bothered me at higher stakes. It was the frustration of doing everything "right" and still losing, and probably a good measure of embarrassment that a clearly inferior opponent was taking stacks off me.

During my time off I also picked up a couple of hobbies. I didn't really plan this as part of my get back to poker plan, but it worked out really well anyway. I'm finding it very helpful to have other outlets to occupy myself with when I don't feel like playing poker.

At first I was planning to get back into digital art and got myself a subscription to TutsPlus. There's a ton of great stuff there from photoshop to illustrator to mobile and web design. I thought about doing some of that again commercially in my spare time, but reconsidered when I looked at the market flooded with freelancers willing to do anything for nearly free just to get noticed.

I've also discovered a plethora of free online classes and started re-learning programming. This is essentially what I wanted to do out of high school but I found some of the required college math ridiculously difficult and unfortunately gave up on that before I found out I just had a shitty professor. Screw degrees. I just want to have a tool and the skill to be able to implement my ideas instead of perpetually leaving them on the drawing board.

I've started studying poker a lot more as well, coming up with my own game strategies based on analysis of tons of different situations. This is something I would always skip in favour of putting in volume before. It's easy to coast for a long time when you're winning. The lack of tilted sessions and some nice self-discovered nuggets in my study have produced some nice results. I don't mean that in the traditional way of I won a bunch of money and ran at expectation. It's just really satisfying to come up with a hypothesis, test it out, and have the results reflect your work.

Small sample so far. I've probably put in 50% play, 50% study instead of 90/10, and I'm actually enjoying the study part as much as the playing part. I started from the bottom of the ladder again but nonetheless I'm ecstatic with my attitude and how I've played controlled poker for the past month.

At least now I know that I can play poker and be happy. If I happen to improve enough, I'll have Supernova again. And if I don't, that's fine. But then it will be on my terms and my de facto tier once I'm again playing stakes where it doesn't matter how much you play and minimal volume gives you the required VPPs. There's nothing wrong with being an FPP Pro either since you won the rake in the first place, but personally, I find myself much more motivated and having fun when I'm not grinding for the next bonus instalment.

It's good to be back!
          Thoughts on the Existence of the WSOP Ladies Event        
I'm definitely on the "equal" should mean equal side of the fence when it comes to racial and gender issues such as affirmative action and the like. From a principal based stance the men have every right to play in the WSOP Ladies Event. In my experience, poker tends to attract one notable mindset in particular: the true capitalist stemming from an equal rights and equal responsibility worldview provided by reason and logic.

So it's entirely expected that a gender specific annual event is going to draw the ire of part of the poker community -- it's hard to consolidate emotion and principal with reason in this case.

However, unlike the vast majority of social engineering programs, those being descriminated against in this event are not being harmed -- and no, enduring someone freely speaking their mind about your presence does not constitute harm, which I would define as being purposefully disadvantaged based on your gender or race or some other non-merit based factor.

To the contrary, this event is helping everyone in the community, including the people it is discriminating against. There is 49.5% of the population out there that could very well help this game grow by leaps and bounds and my impression is that there is a very real perceived barrier to entry preventing them from doing so, even though I think it has already been breached more than most realize due to the younger, more open minded internet generation taking over.

Gender equality, while still not yet perfect, has been well on it's way in the Western world for the last two decades. Yet poker, the supposed perfect meritocracy, has severely lagged behind in terms of population representation despite being clearly shown that women can compete at the top levels of the game. Events like this one help to break those barriers down, letting women feel comfortable by avoiding some of those old preconceived notions of how poker is "supposed to be" and get their feet wet.

Lets take a look at three discriminatory analogies:

1) The harm one to benefit another discrimination

You live on the even house number side of the street. One day you hear a knock at the door. It's the House Number Registrar, Steve.

Steve: I'm here to collect the Even Number House Tax. That'll be $500.

You: What are you going to do with it?

Steve: Well there's not many odd number houses across the street due to a previous mayor with numerophobia several generations back, so we're giving it to the home owners across the street and anyone that wants to build a house in the empty lots over there.

You: That's %$*!ed up. I had nothing to do with that, why should I be penalized?

Steve: $500, cash or check.

2) The benefit one with no additional effect discrimination

You look out your window the next day and see Successful Greg walking up to houses across the street and handing everyone that opens their door $500. You run out to ask him what's going on.

You: Greg what's with the free cash?

Greg: I decided I want to use my money to help out those odd numbered home owners.

You: But what about me? You're discriminating against me!

Greg: Tough luck, I like helping odd numbers. Whether I ever came down this street or not has no bearing on your life positively or negatively. Why are you upset that your neighbour benefits when I'm not doing anything to hurt you?

3) The benefit everyone discrimination

A week later you see Greg's business partner, Sam going to houses across the street and handing out notifications. Still upset about the incident the week before, you storm out the door hoping to talk some sense into Sam.

You: This is enough already! First I shell out $500 for a discriminatory tax that's been given to the people across the street, then you and Greg hand them another $500 and some sort of deal!

Sam: My proposition is a little different than Greg's. I like his idea about encouraging odd numbered development. But I want to take a more proactive approach. I'm giving everyone across the street $100 annually multiplied by how many houses are on that side with the stipulation that their equity is whatever percentage of people were home to accept the money, minus 10% of that total for their neighbour directly across from them, and $100 for anyone that refers someone to building on an empty lot in the next 6 months.

As you can see, everyone on your street has a vested interest in making sure that everyone around them is home to collect the money and to help build their community. Your neighbour was home, there are 6 houses on that side, and if 50% of people on your street are home, I will come back tomorrow and give them $300. They will then come over and give you $30. I hope you can see that while I am being discriminatory, you benefit along with everyone else.

While it may not benefit you very much right now, nor as much as your neighbours, it is in your best interest to get on the phone and help build your community. Of course there's nothing stopping you from setting up a lemonade stand in an empty lot across the street and claiming your $100 for personal gain, but it is against the spirit of the community development plan.

In summary with cookie math breakdowns:

1) Harm one to benefit another represents the majority of government and institutional discrimination in my opinion. I believe this amounts to two wrongs and should be done away with. You make your own cookie and someone takes it and gives it to someone else based on nothing other than which straw you drew in the birth lottery. You have every reason to be outraged.

2) Benefit one and do not affect anyone else represents most philanthropic endeavors. Most people don't have a problem with this because it's voluntary and doesn't affect their lives in any way. The irrational person will be upset that their neighbour has a cookie and they don't. The rational person will choose to be happy or indifferent towards their neighbour since no one had any cookies in the first place. No harm, no foul at worst, good for them at best.

3) Benefit everyone, sometimes unequally or not immediately, represents the rare situation that I think the Ladies Event at the WSOP occupies. The irrational person would rather no one have any cookies than to receive one while their neighbour receives two in some twisted sense of fairness. The rational person is again happy or indifferent to their neighbour's cookies and happy about their own because they now have one where there was none with possible future implications for more.

The guys playing in this event are either letting their emotional worldview of perceived rights and equality override their logic or are doing it for personal gain. Either way they are essentially trying to sneak a bite off the extra cookie the women received to make a point or make a buck while actively working against the community's chance at 10 new cookies down the road.

Of course Greg and Sam's alterior motive is to grow their customer base, the same as the WSOP's. But as poker players we need to remember that our goals are aligned in that regard because we have the same customer base and if no one is harmed, or better yet everyone benefits, I think the end justifies the means.
          Book Review: Crushing the Microstakes        

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, Nathan Williams sent me his book, Crushing the Microstakes, earlier this year for a review. You can find it on his website at

Now with my schedule and my mind cleared, I read through it over the past week. It's nice to see some of the smaller stakes online players starting to publish with relevant strategy for micro stakes as opposed to the standard authors that have never played online or online players that play much much higher.

It's a solid 230+ pages plus glossary. The layout is very easy to read and concepts are grouped together well and in logical order. He's generally nailed the his audience with the level of detail and difficulty in the content, that being those trying to become winners at 2NL and 5NL.

He covers pretty much all of the fundamentals: player types, how to identify them and how to play against them, positional awareness and hand selection, cbetting and barreling, 3bet pots, bet sizing, equity, and even a bit of pyschology along with other concepts.

I like the way he's structured his explanation of the more difficult concepts. As a more advanced player I often found myself reading a concept definition and explanation followed by an example, leaving me thinking "That's not all there is too it, there's also _____." And then he followed up the example with the appropriate caveats and addendums to complete the concept. This should make it much easier for beginners to grasp these ideas in small pieces rather than trying to wrap their heads around the entire bit all at once. Nicely done.

I've found with some of the recent ebooks (and even a few in print) that authors are taking full advantage of the platform to promote their site and their affiliations a redundant number of times making me feel as though I'm reading an infomercial. So I'm quite appreciative that Williams put his full disclosures and affiliate links up front and did not mention them again.

I only had two small disagreements with the book:

The first being what I think is an over-statement that he has the most experience and highest winrates at 2NL and 5NL. That may be technically true due to the shear number of hands played, and while his results are very good, I don't think they are extraordinary. I don't believe any of the good 50NL and 100NL regs would have any trouble sustaining the same winrates immediately at those stakes if they dropped down today. I'm of the mindset that logic should stand on it's own, and it certainly does in this book, but posting results is of course expected by the community at large in today's poker climate.

The second was a theoretical issue where he prefers to incorporate a polarized 3bet range into his overall game strategy because it's easy to fold the light end of it while he doesn't want to have to 3bet/fold strong hands like AQs which can't stand a 4bet. He correctly states a few pages later that 4bets are rare due to the passive nature of the game. I would argue that you should have a wide value 3bet range instead of a polarized range in these games because you're often going to get called and you want to have hands where you can value bet often postflop instead of the occasional flopped monster. For example, I would rather 3bet AQs and get value from all the Ax and QT+ that's going to call (along with all the worse suited connectors and low pocket pairs that have to fold postflop) and cold call 76s with massive implied odds on our speculative hands. On the flip side when they do have the nuts and 4bet, everything's a fold anyways and I'd rather 3bet/fold AQs to avoid the reverse implied odds against the top of their range and call with 76s to stack them. I can see how his method would keep newer players out of trouble if they don't have the discipline to fold preflop, but I do think in theory a wide 3bet range is much more profitable.

Other than that I was really impressed with the overall flow of the book and the concise covering of all of the topics a beginner or struggling micro stakes player needs to get on their feet and moving up the ladder towards small stakes. The concepts discussed are the building blocks to a solid game and Williams explains them very well and in context for the games his audience will be playing.

I would highly recommend this book to new players, live players transitioning to online, your friends and family that keep asking you to teach them, and even the intermediate player that is looking for a refresher course to tighten up their game.
          â€œI’m sick and tired of being sick and tired” (Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964) – Why we work to create pathways to health equity        
Fannie Lou Hamer – voting rights activist, civil rights leader, and humanitarian, captured the nation’s attention during the 1964 Democratic National Convention, when she described the injustices she and others in her community had endured in their fight for the right to vote. She had been jailed, beaten, and threatened for her advocacy, but didn’t back down. The cumulative impact of these and other stressful life experiences negatively impacted her health, but she remained committed to securing her civil rights, because in her now famous words “All my life I’ve been sick and tired. Now I’m sick and tired of
          The Image of Equity        
Many of my childhood thoughts of equity related to women’s rights. I grew up at a time when girls could think about growing up to do the things that men did. However, women’s roles in society had just begun to shift, and there were still very few publicly visible role models—particularly for girls of color. There was a riddle in circulation at the time that went something like this: A man is in a car accident in which his father is fatally injured. The son is taken to the emergency room and operated upon and it is discovered that he
          Making Things Right        
“In short, we urge the nation’s leaders to embrace the idea that an economically vibrant and sustainable American future depends, almost wholly, on a broader vision for equity, one that recognizes that lifting up the least of us will lift up all of us.” Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future; Blackwell, Kwoh, Pastor; 2010. At CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE), we are winding up the celebration of our 25th anniversary. The centerpiece of our celebration has been an exhibit at CDC’s David J. Sencer Museum titled “Health Is a Human Right: Race and Place in
          â€œâ€¦isms” and the pursuit of health equity        
Last fall, our office hosted the inaugural “Forum on the State of Health Equity at CDC.” The purpose of the forum was to examine CDC’s progress in the implementation of policies, programs, surveillance, and research that contribute to achieving health equity. We grappled with definitions, measures and indicators, program components, and the infrastructure needed to effectively integrate health equity across our programs. We also reached out to the agency’s Healthy Aging Program and the Sexual and Gender Minorities Workgroup and asked “what issues or concerns would you like addressed as part of this forum?” This is what they said: “How
          Charlene Crawley to be honored at annual PACME ceremony        
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Charlene Crawley on being the recipient of the 2017 Presidential Awards for Community Multicultural Enrichment (PACME) faculty award.  The PACME ceremony was created to recognize members of the University and Health System communities who have contributed to promoting civility, building community, establishing effective cross-cultural initiatives, advocating equity, and nurturing […]
          The Sad Truth Is People Can Be Pretty Shallow        
Cover of Time Magazine July 20th, 1961
I want to live my life, not record it.- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Happy Wednesday, July 20th, 2017!
July 20 is the 201st day of the year. There are 164 days remaining until the end of the year.
My goal today is to make YOU feel better! It is an extremely hot day here in New York and as I sat down to begin today's blog, I was listening to the 70s channel on Sirius XM Radio, most specifically, Cheryl Lynn's Got To Be Real from 1978.
July 20th, 1978 was a Thursday as well. Most likely, I was working at Grand Strand Amusement Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I'm sure that the above mentioned song was wafting throughout the park from the Himalaya, one of my favorite rides in the amusement park.
Swamp Fox Roller Coaster, Grand Strand Amusement Park, Myrtle Beach, SC
Even as I write these words, a flood of memories are racing through my head. 

Believe it or not, the title of today's blog is the first line of one of my horoscopes today. It goes on to say that as much as I could use some appreciation and acknowledgement, I'll mostly be judged on how I make others feel about themselves. I'll take that. Whether you believe in horoscopes or not, I am finding that there are daily lessons available to us.
As a matter of fact, I am finding that clues and lessons are being presented to me daily on so many levels. I just have to be open to them. These life lessons come in conversations, situations, and various other situations. When your mind is clear and focused, and your body is relaxed and calm, you can access information, both internal and external, that can help you make better decisions.
Go out and enjoy dinner with friends: Please note: No phones on table!

Danny and I have been having dinners lately with really good friends and we are making new friends as well. For some, it is the first time that we all sit down to break bread together.
I like to sit down with no devices and have great conversation! I love covering a myriad of topics and sometimes I don't desire to leave.
One such topic that seems to resonate most with me these days, besides politics, is the subject of communication in today's world. The song that runs in a continuous loop in my head is I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore.

Speaking of communicating with each other, what does my blog offer you? I hope it offers a lighthearted way of looking at the things that affect our lives on a daily basis. I love social media but it sometimes becomes a big distraction in our lives...on so many levels.
I got a call from a friend of mine earlier this week who was feeling down on several things happening that were truly coming from outside sources.
The Internet is giving us access to whatever everyone is doing no matter where we live. Please know, however, that we are getting this 'news' based on what OTHERS desire to share.
Why do we put so much emphasis on what others are doing with their lives?
Imagine if we focused on ourselves instead of
what our 'Facebook friends' or our favorite celebrity was/is doing with their lives.
Well, I am going to focus on ME while celebrating the achievements of others! I'm happy and excited when I see what they are doing!
I'm taking a few moments today and visualizing myself reaching my goals.I am imagining how it will feel to accomplish my goal. I'm picturing my future self: what will be different after I succeed?
I am making my visualization as specific as I can.

She Doesn't Play With Dolls Anymore (Photo credit: Ivan Farkas)
(Photo credit: Ivan Farkas)
I feel like a proud papa today! What a thrill it was to bring Peggy Eason back into cabaret last night in celebration of her 71st Birthday! I give credit where it is due and that goes to Russ Woolley who suggested it and got the wheels rolling! Once we had an idea of the date, we called Kenny Bell at the Laurie Beechman (pay attention cabaret rooms on how to really run a cabaret room!). Once we had a date, we reached out to one of the best musical directors on the scene today, Tracy Stark. (On a side note, Tracy will be the musical director for the December 3rd edition of Richard Skipper Celebrates...)She elevated Peggy to a whole new level.
I then asked Peggy to send me at least 20 songs that she would like to do and we shaped that (with a few eliminations) into a show. I was thrilled to be asked by Peggy to join her for a duet. She also wanted Sue Matsuki to join her.
Once you get Sue involved in a project, she throws herself in 150 % and does what she can to ensure success on every level! Their duet last night rocked 42nd Street! Kenny, Abby Judd, Michael Kirk Lane, and the entire staff at The Laurie Beechman are so phenomenal that they make it difficult for any other venue I work in. A+++++ Then there are those doing the work behind the scenes: Daniel Sherman, Michael Lee Stever, Scott Barbarino: HUGE THANK YOUS!
Then there are those of you who CHOSE to spend a Wednesday night with Peggy. We know there are so many options in this great city so thank you for choosing us.
Bosom Buddies: Sue Matsuki and Peggy Eason Photo credit: Ivan Farkas
Peggy was at the top of her game. Voice was glorious and she was VERY FUNNY! She was quite the comedienne.

Her gown was gorgeous. She was relaxed and truly at the top of her game. Again, I am very proud! Russ, YOU are the real deal! Thanks for a night I won't forget for a long time. As you know, I needed it!

From Sue Matsuki: Regarding Peggy Eason's show last evening at The Laurie Beechman Theater: How does one put into words the joy of joy? To see a friend, Peggy Eason who has not been able to do a show due to finances (like many of us at times) be gifted a show by two other friends, Richard Skipper and Russ Woolley at the Beechman last night was beyond what I can express in words.
Photo credit: Ivan Farkas did a really good thing here! My heart was so full watching Peggy just glow on stage. I cried happy tears and lost it when she sang "Defying Gravity" while showing a flim of her sky diving. This was a 2 lb. blind baby that was not supposed to live and here she was in all her glory...defying the odds. I lost it! I have heard her sing many times but I never saw her do a whole show. 
With Tracy Stark on the keys and working with Peggy, she took her to yet another level, it was bliss. To then be asked to do a duet with her (Bosom Buddies) was just icing on the cake. 
Congratulations Peggy. I hope you are still over the moon today. You earned it!

Earlier this week, The Signature Theater in Washington DC started their 28th season as they began rehearsals for
  A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. Florence Lacey Stella has joined the cast!
This will be Eric Schaeffer's 28th Sondheim production that he'll direct and the first time doing NIGHT MUSIC. As he says, "Some things are worth waiting for". I wish all involved a very successful run.
Who would like to join me for a road trip?
                  appearing at Nino's                   Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
            Performing The Great American Songbook.................................           
            7:30PM to 10:30PM
                          1354 First Avenue, New York, NY 10021                               (between East 72nd and 73rd Streets)
                 Reservations: 212-988-0002

New Plays and Musicals can sometimes take years to nurture before making it to a professional stage with paying customers.
One such play opening at the 2017 NY Summerfest July 31 at Hudson Guild Theatre has had a 15-year journey; Jack Dyville's My Stage Daddy. (Read MORE)

Actor's Equity Actors. Join the Equity's Stage Door  page on Facebook. It's a place to share
your feelings about your professional
experiences and all things union.

Michael Masci with Michael Feinstein Photo credit: Stephen Sorokoff
Kindly take a moment to listen to Jim Caruso's New York Minute on Palm Beach's Legends Radio to hear all about our new celebrity in NYC, Michael Masci  AND my Video guru! Michael does all of my promotional videos as well as the opening montage videos for my Richard Skipper Celebrates...series.
I'm overjoyed to announce that since the airing of this radio plug, Michael Masci Trio will perform at Cafe Carlyle July 23rd (on their daughter Felicity's 15th Birthday) and his contract is extended for three additional Sundays in August
Michael Masci with Avery Sommers, Sunny Sessa, Terence, Michael Feinstein, Matt Baker. Photo credit: Stephen Sorokoff
Michael Masci Trio will be performing at Cafe Carlyle for two of those August performances, but you'll just have to come in to The Carlyle find out which Sunday!  God is good!  Keep ya comin' back for more!

Michael Masci Entertainment

Eric Michael Gillett
Ricky Ritzel's 2017 MAC Award Winner for Best Recurring Series returns for it's July edition. Now entering the third year, the show features Broadway's Eric Michael Gillett with Sean Bernardi, Fran Leonardis, Sue Matsuki, Ann McCormack, Tara Moran, Aaron Morishita, Sidney Myer and Jay Rogers. with songs from La Cage Aux Folles, The Grand Tour, and Woman of the Year.
Fashioned after Sylvia Fine Kaye’s Musical Comedy Tonight PBS programs from the 70's,
each show highlights songs and stories from 2 or 3 Broadway musicals with a star studded
revolving cast. Ricky Ricky, last seen on Broadway hailing a cab, will give wry commentary as well as accompanying on the piano.
$20 cover/$15 MAC 2 Drink minimum, Cash only.
DON’T TELL MAMA   call 212-757-0788  or for reservations.

Lorna Luft, out for dinner at Spago with her big sister Liza's step mother, Lee Minnelli, 1989.
An Evening With Lorna Luft, a new show from the  acclaimed stage, screen, and television actress and vocalist, will take place Monday  evening at 8 at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor as part of its Music Mondays cabaret series. The show will feature music from the Great American Songbook, Broadway classics, shows in which she has starred, and a few songs from her show business legacy as the daughter of Judy Garland and Sidney Luft and half-sister to Liza Minnelli. Ms. Luft has performed on the world’s most prestigious stages, among them the Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium, and L’Olympia in Paris.
Tickets range from $55 to $85.

Hello, Dolly! has been a sold-out hit that, nevertheless, has been greeted skeptically by some aficionados. 
Bette Midler is a crowd-pleasing artist, and her persona seems a perfect fit for the role of the enterprising matchmaker, Dolly Levi. Yet there are those who say her voice isn’t large enough for Dolly’s big songs. (Read MORE)

The Sad Truth MIGHT be that people can be pretty shallow...but I've been very lucky with the people in MY life!

I was recently lucky enough to attend *Richard Skipper Celebrates the Songs of World War II,* held on Armed Forces Day in May. Richard is in his element as the perfect host – welcoming, relaxed, knowledgeable, and funny. Joining Richard’s party were Diane J Findlay, Sue Matsuki, and KT Sullivan, plus mystery guests Carole Demas and Ruby Rakos. They were first-rate, and sang the heck out of their vintage selections, including some expected classics, and some less well-known songs. Richard Skipper Celebrates is clearly inspired by the old TV variety shows, and by Richard’s intense love for music, performers, and entertainment history. The brunch show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre left me happy, informed, and wanting to celebrate with Richard Skipper again and again. [The next installment is on June 18 for Father's Day!] Most of all, I was reminded of exactly what it was that I loved about Cabaret as a genre: at its best, there is an intimacy about it that leads to an intense bond between performer and audience that I have seldom seen elsewhere.
Maya Amis, Jackson Heights, NY

Though I have not have the great fortune to see Richard's show's live (Please come to Vegas!!!)   I do have the great fortune of calling him one of my dearest friends. And that dear ones, is  a great blessing indeed.   Richard is a blessing to all who he encounters.   His positivity   will help you through the hardest of days.   Truly one in a million :)  May God continue to bless all you do!

Jamie Farrar

What a wonderful afternoon at "Richard Skipper Celebrates" at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on June 18th.
Do you remember Johnny Carson and the Tonight Show or WNEW AM from years ago.This show brought me back to those days. Besides being a wonderful entertainer, Richard is an fascinating interviewer. His guests in this show included Sarah Rice and Mark Watson, David Sabella, Warren Schein and special guest Sharon McNight.
It's been such a long time since I have seen such a wonderful show.
Richard has this event as a Sunday Brunch once a month. He is taking the summer off but will return with a blockbuster show on Sunday September 10th. If you are in the New York area please join me to witness talent that is rare seen any more. (September 10th, brunch at the Laurie Beechman Theater on West 42nd Street)
Elaine Marlowe Mitchell, NYC
with Russ Woolley, Peggy Eason, Sue Matsuki

If you are in the New York area please join me to witness talent that is rare seen any more. (September 10th, brunch at the Laurie Beechman Theater on West 42nd Street)
Elaine Marlowe Mitchell, NYC

Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs , 

There are very few individuals who know more about Dolly Gallagher Levi than I … Oh, and Jerry Herman, of course.  However, Richard Skipper certainly comes close.  When it comes to the history of Jerry’s brilliant production, beyond the 5000 plus performances of my own, even I turn to Richard Skipper when I have questions about the remarkable ladies who followed me in the role that the world fell in love with over 50 years ago.   From the world’s second Dolly, Carole Cook, to the original Broadway production’s last Dolly, Ethel Merman, and all of those talented ladies in between.  
 Pearl Bailey, who made the role of Dolly her own, Phyllis Diller, who has often been mistaken for me and I her, and Eve Arden, who wore the exact same size as I and stepped in for me so I could film Thoroughly Modern Millie.  Oh, and don’t forget JoAnne Worley, who so patently waited in the wings as my standby and did such a remarkable job of it when she eventually donned Dolly’s red gown for herself.  Dolly is America’s Hamlet and should be treated with the same respect and played by everyone.  I am so glad that Richard has taken the time to chronicle the history of the Dollys.  She is theatre’s ultimate Broadway Baby … with all due respect to Maria Van Trapp, Eliza Doolittle, Sally Bowles, Mama Rose and Mame. – Carol Channing


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!   

Keeping America great through Art!     

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!  


          Judi Mark, Lucille Carr-Kaffashan, The Chita Rivera Awards...and MORE!        
If you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong.
Groucho Marx

Happy Friday, March 31st, 2017!
March 31 is the 90th day of the year. There are 275 days remaining until the end of the year.
It is a rainy day here in New York and I am listening to Jenny Burton and The Jenny Burton Experience singing I Want My Life Back as I embark on today's blog. Today is the last day of Women's History Month - There have been and are many women who inspire me. Some of those women are mentioned in this blog in bold.
Jenny was someone I knew in the early days of my cabaret career.
Our paths were always crisscrossing at Don't Tell Mama, a place where I made my cabaret debut.
I frequently find myself 'going home'.

This past Sunday night, I went to see Sharon McNight who was doing a show celebrating her beginnings at Don't Tell Mama in 1987, a few years before I began.
Tomorrow night, I head back for a double header, Leslie Orofino at 5PM and Lynne Charnay, celebrating her 90th birthday, at 7PM.
with Leslie Orofino and her fabulous trio
Sat., April 1 at 5:00 and Thurs. April 20 at 7:00 at Don't Tell Mama's.
Daryl Kojak ~ piano, John Loehrke ~ bass and Rex Benincasa on drums. Beloved Sidney Myer will be their guest singer on April 1. Directed by Louis Pietig.
Dedicated to Miss Julie Wilson.
Reserve today after 4pm call 212-757-0788 or

Actress/Singer, Leslie Orofino has been enchanting sold out audiences with her sultry voice from New York City's legendary
Algonquin's Hotel's Oak Room (now defunct) to Napa Valley's Silverado Country Club for over 20 years. Ms. Orofino has several critically acclaimed
cabaret acts and appears with her trio in nightclubs, theaters and benefits.
International Cabaret Star, Julie Wilson exclaimed, " She's a winner...Leslie has a certain elegance mixed with sex appeal that sells each and every song. She's also a great comedian."

Some of Leslie's s musical theater credits range from lead roles as Sharon in Finian's Rainbow, as Mother Abbess in the Sound of Music, Miss Hannigan in Annie, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes, Meg Broke in Brigadoon at the St. Bart's Players in N.Y.C. to the Westport Country Playhouse as Kay Goodman in Nite Club Confidential.

Dave Nathan said of Ms. Orofino's CD , Moonlight Cocktails, "She delivers each and every song with ease and aplomb. Solid cabaret
and highly recommended." Available on

This has been an exciting month for Lucille Carr-Kaffashan! Lucille Carr Kaffashan is an interesting cabaret performer who understand lyric. She is also smart in her singing choices. Her material is from currant female singer/songwriters of the day and I have to admit, I did not know most of this material, which is rich in context and melodic in tone. She is backed by an incredible band consisting of Musical Director and Pianist, Jeff Cubeta, Sean Harkness on Guitar and Matt Scharfglass on Bass, the audience was transported into the emotionality of the material without worrying about vocal techniques or arrangements. Ms. Kaffashan has a wonderful range and a voice that soothes.  (Source: Times Square Chronicles)

Lucille and musical director Jeff Cubeta were both honored with Bistro Awards at the 32nd annual Bistro Awards show and ceremony on March 13th. Jeff’s award is for “Musical Direction”, and her was for Outstanding Theme Show for her most recent cabaret production, Unwritten, Celebrating 21st Century Female Singer-Songwriters.

To celebrate their awards, and just because this show is so much fun, they are bringing Unwritten
Jeff Cubeta
back to Don’t Tell Mama for two performances, on Saturday, April 29 and Thursday, May 4, at 7 pm. Please join them and and their incredible musicians Sean Harkness and Matt Scharfglass. Unwritten features a mix of joyful, touching, thought-provoking and laughter-inducing 21st century songs written by outstanding artists such as Adele, Sara Bareilles, Susan Werner, Meghan Trainor and Tracy Chapman.

All the details are in the flyer (pictured) . If you’ve seen the show before and would like to see it again, contact Lucille and she'll happily arrange to waive the cover charge for you!

Times Square Chronicles:  “…Ms. Carr-Kaffashan has great interpretation that brings the music alive in so many ways…definitely a singer to catch and to follow to see where she goes next… She has the chops…the talent and…the charisma that audiences will fall in love with.”

Theater Pizzazz: “…a witty and moving musical exploration”

Also coming up in April:

April 30th 4pm – Lucille will be a guest performer in the Ann McCormack/Woody Regan show “Groovin” at Don’t Tell Mama

There's a lot happening in the world of entertainment and I want to share some of it with you today.
Fred and Adele Astaire Awards Renamed to Honor Broadway Legend Chita Rivera by Andy Lefkowitz - The formerly named Fred and Adele Astaire Awards will be re-established as The Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography, the nonprofit American Dance Machine announced. ... Now carrying the namesake of a two-time Tony-winning dance icon, the Chita Rivera Awards will be presented under the auspices of American Dance Machine, an organization dedicated to the preservation of great musical-theater choreography. (Source: Broadway Briefing)

Highly Recommended: SALON – that unique, MULTIPLE AWARD WINNING, Weekly Open Mic Event, created and hosted by Mark Janas will return to Etcetera, Etcetera - 352 West 44th Street, NYC 10036 – on Sunday, April 2nd from 7-10:00PM. (Sign-Up Begins at 6:15.)songs written by outstanding artists such as Adele, Sara Bareilles, Susan Werner, Meghan Trainor and Tracy Chapman.

Scott Barbarino has truly been an asset in the NYC entertainment scene AND to ME and deserves the honor and respect by his friends and fellow entertainers. I'm even singing a song! Come and celebrate the life and contributions made by Mr. Barbarino on Tuesdaynight, April 4th. Show your support by calling Metropolitan Room at 212.206.0440
$10 OFF for MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs)  Members.
Up On The Marquee: THE LITTLE FOXES.
 Manhattan Theatre Club's new Broadway production of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes under the direction of Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan, is currently in previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Laura Linney (Time Stands Still, Sight Unseen) and Cynthia Nixon (Rabbit Hole, Wit), will alternate playing the roles of Regina and Birdie, appearing opposite each other at every performance. (Source:

I think Robert Osborne is smiling down on me! OMG! Look what just happened to me. I normally don't win things!

"Hello Richard! Congrats! You were picked by our judges as the winner of the TCM Backlot “Introduce a Movie at TCMFF” contest. "'They really liked your video – your clear love of Jezebel, your ease in front of a camera, your natural stage presence – and your jacket, I must add."
Yacov Freedman TCM Backlot Manager Thank you

If you happen to be in South Florida tomorrow (No Fooling!) Saturday April 1
JayCee Driesen will be performing at The Festival Marketplace
2900 W Sample Road Pompano Beach Showtime 1:00 pm

This is a Free Concert so bring your friends!
Singing And Shopping makes her a Happy Girl!!

A fun afternoon will be had by all...

Today, my Featured Artist Is Judi Mark!

Judi Mark returns to the Boca Black Box Theater with an EXCITING new show: an evening of song, dance, and special guest artists with the Phil Hinton Trio!
Buy Tickets Here

Please save the date: April 5, Wednesday, 7-9 PM in Boca Raton, Florida.

Over the course of her long career in show business, performer Judi Mark has sung and danced her way through dinner theaters, cabarets and distinguished venues like The Algonquin and The Copacabana. Mark pulled together many of her experiences on the stage into her one-woman show, 'Judi Mark: Dancing Through Life," which paid tribute to the singers and dancers who inspired her throughout her career. Now, Mark is back with her newest one-woman show, I Feel a Song Coming On.
This tribute to old Broadway and Hollywood nostalgia at the Boca Black Box in Boca Raton features music by The Phil Hinton Trio, among other special guests.

Judi tells me that it's time for a NEW show with the focus on

Entertainment, SONG, DANCE SPECIAL GUESTS, A TRIO…  The more the merrier!

Finish this sentence: I'm very bad at... promoting myself.

Who are Judi's artistic heroes – who have had an impact on her and your work? Liza Minnelli inspired Judi in her early days.  Also triple threat and comedic dancers like Shirley MacLaine. And, SHE LOVES LUCY!

One thing Judi would like to change about this profession and why.

I question if it is a “Profession”. 
The business seems extremely political, driven by money and exploitation of artists. Equity, SAG-AFTRA and others protect their members but Cabaret artists are not protected.
I heard that in the good old day there used to be agents and managers that really nurtured and helped performing artists and then got paid for their work.  
Now, an artist is vulnerable and exploited for the amount of money they can bring to the agent already packaged.

What is it about the business that Judi thinks has changed for the better...and for the worst since she began in it?

Performing opportunities and venues have increased throughout the country. And that is good.  The worst is trying to get an agent who will be helpful and motivated.

How important are the arts to you personally?

Very important.  It has been my life’s work. 

Are you making the kind of art that you envisioned you'd be making?

It is always evolving in a creative and fun way.

How would you describe the arts scene where you grew up?

My mother was a pianist so live music was a daily listening and bonding experience. Classical ballet was a must for me but a trek to get to classes from the suburbs to downtown in Chicago. Community musical theater was a place for me to perform.  My father was an electronic engineer and owned a recording company and label. He managed singers when I was young and they played in ‘grown up venues’ in Chicago. It seemed mysterious, glamorous and intriguing to my young self.
Judi Mark and Jeff Harnar. Photo by: Rose Billings/
Who was the most influential person on your work?

My mother. Her grace, style and touch of the piano keys was something I admired as a young girl.  I liked her taste in music too-from classical to show tunes and popular.  She also wrote songs.

Do you recall some great parties in real living rooms where people got up and sang and told stories?
No.  We had to remove our shoes.  No parties there.  It was more like a museum.  I remember a statue of THE Venus De Milo in the living room. I realized at a young age that it was important to keep my figure.

Do you feel like you’re playing a party in somebody’s living room when you are on stage.
Not yet but I’m going in that direction! 

What are you most proud of?
I have accomplished so much as a performing artist: dancing, singing, acting, teaching, producing concerts and event.  I take pride on being independent.  I am also proud of my work teaching literally thousands of students that have become successful in the performing arts.

What is the one song that resonates most with you?
Today’s song: I Feel A Song Coming On

Life is so much better when you stop caring about what everyone thinks, and start to actually live for yourself!!

Maureen Kelley Stewart had her own successful show celebrating EY Harburg
Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.” â€” E. Y. “Yip” Harburg

Let's Celebrate: Richard Skipper Celebrates E.Y. (YIP) HARBURG ON HIS BIRTHDAY! April 8th at 1PM at The Laurie Beechman Theater. 

Russ Woolley proudly presents Richard Skipper Celebrates...EY (YIP) HARBURG ON HIS BIRTHDAY!

Richard will be joined by Karen Oberlin, Leslie Orofino, Maureen Kelley Stewart AND...A MYSTERY GUEST

All under the musical Direction of Daryl Kojak with Rex Benincasa on percussion and Jeff Carney on bass. This is a 1PM SHOW! (90 minutes) At The Laurie Beechman Theater Reservations a Must! Please ReserveToday

Nobody celebrates legends like Richard Skipper.
The interior of the Laurie Beechman Theatre
If one of your faves is being feted, there's nowhere on earth more fun to be. And honestly even if you don't care about the honoree, master showman Richard and his talented crew serve up a fabulously good time.
-Ben Rimalower

$30 Cover and $20 Minimum per person

You Never Know Who You Might See There and what might happen!


Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs ,

Click on banner to go to website


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!  

Keeping America great through Art!     

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!


Richard Skipper,

          Kenya : Equitel nouveau venu dans le MNVO Mobile Money        

Le groupe bancaire kenyan Equity Bank a fait son entrée sur le marché du Mobile Money au Kenya depuis juin 2015, avec le lancement de son réseau mobile virtuel (MVNO), Equitel. Le marché  du mobile Money est de plus en plus florissant en Afrique. Pour l’heure, ce nouveau venu sur le marché Kenya  a déjà […]

Cet article Kenya : Equitel nouveau venu dans le MNVO Mobile Money est apparu en premier sur TechOfAfrica.

          Walkout activists of 1968 honored by SA’s Latino journalists        
Walkout activists of 1968 honored by city's Latino journalists for their early political activists, which spurred school finance equity battles, which reached the U.S. Supreme Court
          Free Mini at The Orleans        

Gambling tournaments come in two forms: majors and minis. Major tournaments are multi day events with high entry fees, often real-money buy-ins and large prize pools. Minis are single-day events with low fees and are played with non-negotiable chips for smaller prizes.

One of the best minis to show up in a while is a Wednesday-night baccarat tourney at The Orleans Hotel & Casino that debuted a month or so ago. There is a $50 entry fee and a $3,000 prize pool; each player starts with $3,000 in nonnegotiable tournament chips and plays a round of 20 hands. Whoever ends up with the most chips goes to the semifinals, where the top two totals advance to a six-player final table. The winner takes down a cool $2,000, and the remainder of the pool is split among the other finalists depending on finishing position.

There are a lot of favorable elements at work here. Among them, the risk is limited to the $50 entry, the prize is large enough to get excited about and it’s just plain fun to play. Plus, depending on how many players enter, you might even have what’s known as an “equity advantage” in the game: Since the $3,000 prize is guaranteed, you have a theoretical advantage anytime there are fewer than 60 entries total, since 60 is the break-even point where money paid in prizes equals the total taken in (60 players x $50 entry = $3,000).

It works the other way, too, though. Since the tournament has a capacity of 108 players, you could wind up playing for only $3,000 when much more was collected—usually not a good gamble. It’s kind of complicated, but you don’t have to sweat it, because lately The Orleans has been running the tournament for free. That’s right: no entry fee at all and the same $3,000 prize pool. Now you can’t lose money, and with a full house of 108 players, your mathematical expectation (skill not considered) is a return of $27.78.

As long as the tournament is free, it will fill up. That means you’ll have to get there early to nab a spot. The first round starts at 8 p.m., but registration opens at 6 p.m. and you should try to get there even earlier. If you’re 50 or older, you can parlay the tourney with the property’s “Young at Heart” promotion that also runs that day, offering a club-point multiplier and a $15 dining credit after playing $300 through a machine. Plus, The Orleans has some of the best video poker schedules in town.

You may have clocked that I mentioned skill being a factor. The bad news is, tournaments are highly skill-dependent, and novices will get that $27.78 expectation cut into by the good players. The positive news is, the most important skill in a tournament is betting your money liberally. Bet big whenever you’re not in the lead and you’ll have it half-licked.

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and

The post Free Mini at The Orleans appeared first on Vegas Seven.

          The equity bull market is old but not dead, Citi says        
The bull market in global equities is 8 years old, but it is far from finished, according to research by Citi.
          Under The Hood: AdvisorShares Launches Long/Short Hedge Fund ETF (QEH, ALFA, SHV, BIL, WDTI, HDG, QAI)        
Michael Johnston: AdvisorShares, one of the largest issuers of active ETFs, made another addition to its lineup this week with the debut of a fund that will seek to capture results of long/short hedge fund managers. The new QAM Equity
Read more ›

          Ed Broadbent testifies to the House of Commons Finance Committee on income inequality        


Last September, the Broadbent Institute issued a major discussion paper Towards a More Equal Canada, which addressed the issue of rising economic inequality. For every $1 increase in national earnings over the past twenty years, more than 30 cents have gone to the top 1% of earners, while 70 cents have had to be shared among the bottom 99%.  Middle class incomes have now been stagnant for thirty years.

Today is the deadline for filing personal income tax returns. It is a day to remind ourselves that our tax system could move us to a more equal Canada if we made the system fairer, with a particular focus on expanding tax credits for low and middle income Canadians.  Canada’s poverty rate is, at 8.2% for children and 10.1% for working-age adults in 2010, far too high and could be reduced significantly through the targeted measures we propose.

Our discussion paper drew upon the work of many distinguished experts, examined the causes and consequences of the growth of economic inequality over the past thirty years, and set out a broad policy framework to reverse the trend and lead us back to a more equal Canada.

We have just released another paper “Union Communities, Healthy Communities” that highlights the importance of a strong labour movement in building a more equal Canada.  And we have also published more than twenty responses to our reports from a wide range of points of view, as well as the results of an independent poll of Canadians that revealed their opposition to the growth of inequality and their strong support for corrective measures.

Extreme economic inequality undermines democracy and the common good. Very unequal societies do much worse in terms of both social and economic performance, including in such fundamental terms as health and life expectancy, social mobility (equality of opportunity for children), crime levels, the quality of democracy, and levels of social trust.

The level of inequality in a nation is ultimately a matter of political choice. While it is true that rising inequality is due in significant part to fundamental economic changes such as globalization and technological change which are difficult to manage, it is equally true that some advanced industrial countries have been able to remain much more equal than others. Political choices matter. The empirical evidence – from Canada, the US, Europe and the OECD – is clear. 

The rise of extreme income inequality has been much greater in those countries which have most strongly embraced a fundamentalist so-called free market agenda, and much less in those countries which have continued to believe in the need for shared progress.

The Broadbent Institute believes that we must, as a society, strike a balance between the roles of the market and democratic government in determining the distribution of economic resources.

The market, properly regulated, is a useful tool for creating wealth. But democratic governments must ensure that that the needs of all citizens, such as access to health care and education as well as the means to secure a decent livelihood, are met regardless of the level of wealth and income acquired through the market. 

A very important goal of democratic governments should be to protect and promote not only political and civil rights but also to promote social and economic rights. This is essential to secure genuine equality of opportunity, and to ensure fair outcomes for citizens. It is why Canada signed on to the two UN covenants that include both categories of rights in the mid 1970s.

Research by the OECD and the Conference Board among others shows that Canada used to do quite well at striking a balance between having a growing market economy and securing a fair distribution of the fruits of economic growth. But cuts to social programs and public services as well as changes to transfers (income support programs) and the personal income tax system since the mid 1990s have compounded the rising inequality which has been delivered by the market economy

Growing inequality of market income has, as shown in our recent paper Union Communities, Healthy Communities, been driven in significant part by the decline in union density and bargaining power since the 1980s. Respect for labour rights by governments enables unions to ensure that the gains of a growing economy are equitably shared with workers, and collective bargaining has been shown to narrow pay differences, especially pay gaps between women and men. 

Another major part of the problem has been the increase in precarious employment, meaning that more than one third of working Canadians do not have permanent, full-time paid jobs. Many fall below the poverty line due to low hourly wages and/or not enough weeks of work. These issues have been highlighted in recent reports from the Law Commission of Ontario and the United Way. Yet we have failed to support these struggling workers and their families through the tax system and through improvements to basic employment standards.

As recognized in the Broadbent Institute discussion paper on inequality good jobs are the basic building block of successful societies, and a successful economy combined with strong labour rights is a major force for equality. It has been well documented that countries with strong trade union movements are much more equal in terms of the distribution of market income, and that such countries also tend to be prepared to invest more to promote greater equality through public services and social programs. Canada’s already acute inequality problem will become much worse if  Canada imports from the United States so called right to work laws, as well as legislation that limits the ability of the labour movement to act as political advocates for their members and all workers. Bill C-377, passed by the House of Commons and now before the Senate, singles out unions for highly onerous reporting requirements under tax law which do not apply to the activities of other associations, including business associations. 

Providing key services to citizens outside of the market mechanism is crucial to promoting the goal of greater equality. Our public health care system provides important rights, and these should be extended by ensuring that all citizens have a right to prescription drug coverage and to home and elder care as needed by reason of disability or old age. There is perhaps no more powerful tool for securing real equality of opportunity than major public investments in education, from child care and early learning through post secondary education and adult learning.

As requested by the Committee and spelled out in the motion, this brief will focus on the role of the tax/transfer system in promoting greater income equality. 

Providing a basic income-tested guarantee to all citizens through a fairer personal income tax system would be a powerful force for greater equality.

The tax/transfer system equalizes income in two important ways first, progressive income taxes mean that the affluent pay to governments a higher percentage of income earned in the market than do middle and low income earners. 

Second, these taxes help finance income transfer programs (such as public pensions, Employment Insurance, child benefits and refundable tax credits) which benefit those who have middle and low incomes more than those with high incomes. The result is that incomes after taxes and transfers are more equal than incomes earned in the market.

Statistics Canada data (CANSIM Table 202-0703) show that the top 20% of Canadian families receive 47.0% of all market income, but a lower 40.0% percent of all income after taxes and income transfers. The bottom 20% receive just 3.4% of all market income, but a higher 7.1% of all income after taxes and transfers. The middle class (the middle income quintile) has about the same share of market and after tax and transfer income (16.0% and 17.2% respectively).

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards calculate that the income tax/income transfer system reduces inequality as measured by the Gini co-efficient by 24%, with the transfer system having about twice as great an equalizing impact as the personal income tax system.

However, while our tax/transfer system remains modestly re-distributive, the fact remains that we still have a very unequal distribution of income after the impact of taxes and transfers has been taken into account. And, according to the OECD, the re-distributive impact of the system in Canada has been declining since the mid 1990s. 

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has also shown that the inequality reducing role of the tax/transfer system in Canada has been falling, and is now 20% below the OECD average. The major reason for the decline in redistribution has been the cuts to social assistance and Employment Insurance programs of the mid 1990s combined with our failure to respond to the growth of more precarious and low paid work.

What major changes might we make to our tax/transfer system?

The Broadbent Institute believes that we should embrace the goal of a basic income guarantee sufficient to eliminate poverty and to help close the growing gap between low and higher income Canadians.  

This goal should be met by building incrementally on existing income support programs targeted to different age groups and by promoting greater tax fairness.

Step 1:  The Broadbent Institute supports the long-standing position of Campaign 2000, other anti poverty groups and research institutions that the maximum level of income-tested child benefits should be raised to cover the full cost of raising children. 

Canada has a basic income guarantee for children in the form of refundable federal child benefits (with additional contributions by some provinces.)  Child benefits are delivered through the income tax system and are “refundable”, meaning that they are paid even to tax filers who do not have a tax obligation. Benefits are paid on a regular basis and are changed as family income changes from year to year. 

Research by the Caledon Institute among others shows that Canada’s system of income-tested child benefits has been effective in reducing (though far from eliminating) child poverty, and still pays significant amounts to middle-class families to help meet the costs of raising children. The problem is that the maximum benefits paid by Canada Child Tax Benefit and the National Child Benefit Supplement fall well short of the costs of supporting children.

The cost of raising these child tax credits should be offset in part by eliminating the poorly targeted Universal Child Care Benefit.

Step 2:  We should significantly increase the federal Working Income Tax Benefit to support working poor individuals and families and to deal with the growing reality of low pay and precarious work.

The greatest gap in the current architecture of Canadian income support programs is for the working age population, especially the growing part of this population who are employed in precarious and low-paid jobs. The working poor and near poor -– those who move in and out of low paid jobs but often fail to attain a decent standard of living – is disproportionately made up of recent immigrants, especially those belonging to racial minorities, persons with disabilities, women single parents, the single near elderly, Aboriginal Canadians, and young people trying to get into secure employment.

Credit should be given to the present federal government for creating the Working Income Tax Benefit, a new form of benefit which has been shown in the US and elsewhere to reduce poverty while promoting employment as the best path out of poverty.

However, the current benefit is extremely modest (less than $1,000 for a single person and less than $1,800 for a family) and is lost completely at low levels of employment income ($18,000 for a single person and $27,000 for a family).  

The maximum benefit should be increased significantly and phased out more slowly as income rises so that recipients are always better off if they find more weeks and hours of work or find better-paid jobs. 

Increases to the Working Income Tax Benefit should be matched by incremental increases in minimum wages to raise incomes and also to ensure that income supplements for the working poor do not become subsidies to low wage employers. Minimum wages should be set at a level sufficient to ensure that a single person working full time for a full year does not live in poverty.

Improving conditions for low wage workers will also involve raising minimum employment standards covering issues such as hours of work, rights of part-time workers and pay and employment equity, pro actively enforcing such standards, facilitating access to unionization, and greatly expanding skills training programs for unemployed and under-employed workers. 

Canada ranks among the bottom of OECD countries in terms of adequate income support for the unemployed. Our Employment Insurance system currently fails to provide benefits to 60% of unemployed workers even though all workers and their employers pay into the system. We must reform EI so that we provide income security to all persons who experience temporary involuntary unemployment.

Step 3:  Eliminate poverty in old age. 

Canada already has a basic income guarantee for seniors in the form of the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to Old Age Security (OAS). The GIS is gradually phased out as income rises and is currently received by about one in four seniors. The fact that the OAS plus the maximum amount of GIS is very close to the poverty line means that very few seniors live in poverty. Indeed, the fact that Canada has the lowest poverty rate for seniors among the advanced industrial countries is evidence of a very successful public pensions policy dating back to the 1970s. However, the GIS does need to be raised to ensure that provides all Canadian seniors with an adequate standard of living, particularly single women seniors in large urban areas who are most likely to experience poverty.

Step 4:  As a long term goal – and this would clearly involve complex negotiations with the provinces –- we should abolish welfare as it currently exists and replace it with an income support program for working-age adults delivered through the tax system in the form of a negative income tax. This program would deliver regular benefits based on family income, phased-out as income from employment and other sources rises.  

Canada’s income security program of last resort, social assistance, paid for by the provinces, provides meagre and stigmatizing benefits which are, as shown in reports by the recently abolished National Council of Welfare, far below the poverty line for almost all family-types in all provinces.

The aim has been, as in the Victorian era Poor Laws, to ensure that even extremely low wage jobs will deliver more income than does welfare. Yet the evidence shows that the vast majority of recipients who are able to engage in paid work do, in fact, seek to work.

Social assistance is of no help to the working poor. A recipient must be unemployed, have no access to family income, and must have exhausted almost all assets in order to qualify. Benefits are cut off after only a very few days of work. At the same time, it is very difficult for many recipients, especially persons with disabilities and single parents of young children, to climb the “welfare wall” since leaving social assistance often also means giving up health and housing benefits and since the needed supports and services, such as affordable child care, are not in place.

The aim would be to ensure that working age adults with no or very low incomes from paid work, unemployment insurance, disability benefits and other sources receive a supplement which would be sufficient to secure an acceptable basic income. The supplement would be phased out with rising income rather than being turned off as soon as a person starts to receive employment income. Such a supplement could be partly financed by folding in some current tax credits such as the GST credit.

Such an alternative, a negative income tax, has been broadly championed across the political spectrum, including by Senator Hugh Segal in his published response to the Broadbent Institute paper on inequality, and by the late Tom Kent, the prime architect of Canada’s social reforms of the 1970s, who wrote the first paper published by the Institute. 

Without addressing the complex issues, there is also a pressing need for reform and improvement of disability benefits.

Step 5:  Improvements to income support programs could and should be financed by making our income tax system much fairer. 

The incomes of the top 1% have risen from 7% to 11% of the total income of Canadians since the early 1980s, while the incomes of middle-class and working Canadians have increased little in real terms. The rising share of the top 1% is the main reason why market income inequality in Canada increased so significantly from the early 1980s to 2009.

Recent Statistics Canada data show the effective income tax rate on the top 1% has fallen from 39.4 per cent to 33.3 per cent since 2000, and the effective income tax rate on the top 0.1 per cent of Canadians, whose incomes start from $685,000 and average $1,519,000, has fallen sharply from 41.6 percent to 35.4 per cent.  Thus, even as the income share of very high income earners has risen, their effective tax rate has fallen significantly. As we have said before, we should consider changes to top income tax rates.

We should also scale back special tax breaks that deliver huge benefits to the very well off, such as the exclusion of 50% of capital gains incomes from taxes and low tax rates on gains from stock options. (It is reasonable only to tax capital gains above inflation over the period for which assets were held.) We should also be cracking down on tax avoidance by the very rich through offshore tax havens and other means such as sheltering income and wealth within private companies and family trusts. It is time to crack down on the tax cheats who undermine government finances and public belief in the fairness of the tax system, and the present federal government should be commended for their 2013 Budget proposals in this area. Additional revenues can also be gained by more broadly applying the principle of “polluter pay.”  Our current tax system allows corporate polluters to offload risk and current and future payments for cleaning up their mess to individual taxpayers.  This isn’t fair, and needs to be changed.

There is much more to dealing with inequality than reforms to the tax/transfer system. However, changes in this area could narrow the widening gap between the very affluent and the middle class, and also lead us closer to the goal of eliminating poverty in Canada.

In summary, concrete steps can be taken to make our tax system a much more effective vehicle for closing the growing gap in Canada between the very rich on the one hand, and the middle class and the poor on the other. The priority should be to eliminate poverty by expanding refundable tax credits, especially for the working poor who fall through the cracks of our current income support system. Our tax system would also be much fairer if we closed special tax loopholes for the very affluent, ensured that corporations pay to clean up their own mess and cracked down on tax cheaters.

          Confronting the Urban Housing Crisis in the Global South: Adequate, Secure, and Affordable Housing        
Working Paper

This paper discusses the challenge of adequate, secure and affordable housing in the global south.

Robin KingMariana OrloffTerra VirsilasTejas PandeWorld Resources ReportAfricaLatin AmericaSouth AsiaWRI Ross Center for Sustainable CitiesCreative CommonsTowards a More Equal City


Adna Karabegovic40

This working paper on urban housing is the latest installment of WRI’s flagship World Resources Report (WRR), “Towards a More Equal City.” The report examines if more equitable access to core urban services improves the economy and the environment.

Featured ResourceCustom Tabhousingurban policyequitysustainable cities
          Comment on Do Better. A response to Dan Meyer’s Let’s Retire the #MTBoS by Allison Krasnow        
Anne: Hi. I don't think we've met in person. So hi. I really appreciate this post and echo your feelings. Thank you for taking the time to write about them so eloquently, as Julie also mentions. I agree with nearly all of Dan's sentiments (and assume he's following this thread), but agree that the timing and taking matters into his own hands to propose change didn't acknowledge or honor the amazing work & reflection that has been done and continues to be done every day among the entire #MTBoS community, but especially the small-ish group of teachers who are continually involved in supporting and growing our community. Most importantly, to me, is that the MTBos community was initially formed by a group of classroom teachers. I was lucky enough to meet Tina, Sam and Kate at PCMI 2011 and the ONLY reason I learned about this community is because of their encouragement for me to belong, way back then and at many explicit moments along the way. To me, what makes the leadership of this community unique (and I would argue that there are leaders...who have become that because of years of sweat equity), is that it's led by classroom teachers. Period. As someone who left the classroom several years ago, I don't feel my voice should be as powerful as those who are currently classroom teachers. This is a community which unites many of us in all sorts of roles, however honors the work of classroom teachers in a very unique way. To me, TMC is just that. A professional institute run by classroom teachers for classroom teachers. While others of us who are outside the classroom attend, present and learn, what makes it different from other institutes is that it was founded by and continues to be led by current classroom teachers. (Full disclosure... I have actually never been to TMC, so feel free to tell me I'm totally off base if necessary) So honestly, what rubbed me the wrong way wasn't Dan's sentiments at all, but that as a non-classroom teacher, he suggested a change without collaborating with the classroom teachers who are, in my opinion, the most powerful leaders of this community. I know that trusting and learning from the expertise of classroom teachers is a huge piece of both Dan and Desmos' work and I have seen that in action over and over again. For me, in the moment of the # proposals, this core value was overlooked.
          Participating Lenders        
Our participating lenders are listed below. They support Coastal Homebuyer Education financially and they take part in the actual workshops by speaking and hosting.

Align Credit Union:
Judy Dodier, 7978-275-2717
Mass Housing, FHLB Equity Builder

Fairway Independent Mortgage:
Diann May, 978- 807-8918
Mass Housing, NH Housing, FHA, VA, USDA

Institution for Savings:
Nancy Taylor, 978-462-2344
in-house first time buyer program

The Newburyport Bank
Anjelica Fontanez-Ordonez, 978.225.7704
Mass Housing, NH Housing , VA

North Shore Bank
Joanne Donovan, 781-426-2168
Mass Housing, FHLB Equity Builder

          Negative Housing Equity Falls Quarter Over Quarter 2015        

The Federal Savings Bank comments on data presented in a recent article regarding negative equity prices.

(PRWeb September 19, 2015)

Read the full story at

          Tackling obesity: Foundations and nonprofits go local for greater impact        

Local nonprofits partner with food markets to provide low-income areas with access to fresh food. © Shutterstock

Special to Philanthropy Journal

Garth Graham

Even as childhood obesity rates are starting to level off in this country, 5 five percent of American children and teens remain severely obese, according to new information from the American Heart Association. Individuals in low-income communities across the nation are statistically more likely to suffer from obesity and obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and heart conditions. 

As obesity rates have increased in the United States, we have been provided a broader view to see and understand the factors that multiply the issue, from genetics to food access. And, unfortunately, it’s a fact that individuals living in low-income communities eat greater amounts of cheap, unhealthy foods, contributing greatly to the public health crisis. 

Driving collaboration—Community by community

Recently, the Aetna Foundation sponsored an international meeting on global health and wellness. The meeting brought together 100 of the most notable national and international experts on obesity and chronic disease. As experts discussed successful efforts to combat obesity, it became clear that local programs are having a significant impact in changing people’s health across the U.S.

As a physician and president of the Aetna Foundation, I’m continuously reminded of the duty we have to help advance the health of children and adults. Over the years, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have supported disease prevention programs, helped revitalize neighborhoods, provided aid to those in need and listened to the varied voices that shape our community and our nation.

Today, as we work to increase the health and quality of care for individuals and communities, we also focus our energy on possibilities that may lead to meaningful improvements in health and the health care system. Foundations play a vital role in making this happen, with their ability to bring together experts and assets to address the preventive and individualized care that promotes health and wellness. 

Foundations can utilize grant support and research to serve as catalysts for sharing information, collecting data and bridging partners with a common goal in a way that conventional businesses and other nonprofits cannot. We operate in an area that makes it possible to bring together policy makers, businesses, health professionals and community nonprofits to look holistically at the issue at hand and together develop the changes necessary for positive health outcomes. 

Local focus 

Along with the work of foundations and nonprofits on a national level, the Aetna Foundation provides grant support to a number of local nonprofits implementing programs in low-income communities to increase access to healthy, fresh foods. Take, for example, the Double Up Food Bucks program from the Fair Food Network helps recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) make the most nutritious use of their food stamps. Started in 2009 as a pilot project at five Detroit farmers’ markets, the program has expanded to more than 150 markets throughout Michigan. Through this program, SNAP recipients can double their purchasing power at participating farmers' markets to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. Through a study we supported by Fair Food Network and several similar organizations, we determined that incentive-based programs are effective at promoting healthier eating habits.

In Brooklyn, United Community Centers’ East New York Farms project has significantly increased the availability of fresh produce. In this low-income neighborhood, the project supports two community-run farmers’ markets, manages two urban farms and provides resources and horticultural know-how to expand the number of community gardens and backyard vegetable beds.

On the other side of the country, Special Service for Groups has launched a program to enroll low-income residents of several Asian neighborhoods in their own Community Service Agriculture program, which provides biweekly bags of locally grown, organic Asian vegetables at a greatly reduced price. 

As a foundation, we have a unique opportunity to help improve health and wellness for people across the nation. In my days as a practicing clinician, I held the importance of each and every individual’s health as paramount. In my role as a grant maker, I strive to bring this sense of passion and mindfulness to help change lives through continued research and partnerships.

Dr. Garth Graham is president of the Aetna Foundation. In this role, Dr. Graham is responsible for the Foundation’s philanthropic work, including its grant-making strategies to improve the health of people from underserved communities and increase their access to high-quality health care. A national authority on health disparities and health care quality, Dr. Graham is a frequent spokesperson for the Foundation on health care and health equity issues.

          New: Wrongful Fusion: Equity and Tort        
Equity and Tort appear to be strangers. Beyond historically making equitable relief available in some cases, equity did not intervene in tort law to the extent it did in contract and some aspects of property. And yet substantive equity focuses on wrongful conduct and affords persons the opportunity to seek remedies for such conduct through the courts. Are there ‘equitable wrongs’, and, if so, how if at all do they differ from torts? We focus on a particular function loosely associated with historic equity jurisdiction: equity supplements the law where it fails to address problems that are difficult to handle on the same ‘level’ on which they arise. In situations of conflicting rights, party opportunism, and interacting behavior, it is difficult to formulate solutions that do not make reference to the ordinary (primary level) set of rights and rules. Thus, it is often more effective to frame ‘abuse of rights’ in terms of what one can do with rights rather than formulate the right to ...
          India as a career move (spring 2011 update)        
This is the latest in a series of posts related to career options developing in India which I started putting together for business school students and professionals seeking my advice. Most interesting developments to report on are in venture capital, private equity, investment banking, and entrepreneurship.
          VCPE interest in India, China more guarded now        
During my recent trip (Feb 2011) to Europe I spent some time with a several limited partners (LPs) and analysts who monitor fund flows into venture capital and private equity funds in Asia, Europe and the US. I was intrigued to learn that investors are suddenly more guarded in their enthusiasm about Asia while interest in the US and Europe is returning.
          Learn from my mistakes        

My regular readers know that I've recently found myself in a financial mess. I was very fortunate that secured loans are available to homeowners and I was able to rescue myself. What's so embarrassing to me is that I should not have gotten into such a mess in the first place. I had a very good business year a few years back. Never having had a lot of money on hand, I handled the excess very poorly. I re-roofed my home. I bought my first ever brand new car to work out of. I upgraded some worn-out features on my home and added a new room. And I paid for it all in cash. The expenditures were all appropriate and needed, but paying cash was a huge mistake. I found myself with nothing left in the bank when other expenses came due.

I've learned a lot from the mistakes I made. As my readers know, I got a remortgage quote and was able to bail myself out. I even borrowed a little extra against the equity in my home to catch up the bills that accumulated when I ran out of money. It really feels good to be back on firm financial footing. And now that I have a better understanding of loans, I know how to handle the additional work my house needs. When I am ready to remodel my kitchen and bathrooms, my first step will be to find out about getting a home improvement loan for the work instead of using up money that should be going into a retirement fund and savings.

I love my new room and the other changes I've made to my home, but the entire process has been very painful and stressful for me. It doesn't have to be that way! If you're planning on remodeling or upgrading your home, your first step should be to fill out a mortgage application so you can borrow the money that you'll need. If what I went through serves any purpose at all, perhaps it's to be the bad example for you so that you won't have to repeat my mistake! UK Personal Loan Store sponsored this post, and you can learn all about doing it right on their site.

          Ed Asner is My New Boyfriend        
A five, six, seven, eight:
“now what you hear is not a test--i'm rappin to the beat
and me, the groove, and my friends are gonna try to move your feet
see i am wonder mike and i like to say hello
to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow”

That’s right, The Girlfriend Mom got her rap on with THE Wonder Mike and Master Gee, from the original Sugarhill Gang Saturday night. I was the Production Coordinator for The Garden State Film Festival and da boys were the subject of a documentary that we screened, called, I Want My Name Back. Due to some unsavory characters and unethical practices, the band lost the right to use their own names, as well as the name of the band, The Sugarhill Gang, back in the 70’s. A real tragic story.

When the documentary ended, the band, which now includes Hendogg, DJ T Dynasty and Da Noize, performed. About 50 or so white women, in their 30's and 40's, much like myself, went ape shit when they started singing their smash hit, "Rapper's Delight".

“ya go hotel motel whatcha gonna do today (say what)
ya say im gonna get a fly girl gonna get some spankin
drive off in a def oj
everybody go, hotel motel holiday inn
say if your girl starts actin up, then you take her friend”

I should have asked them what an oj was. No mind. A good time was had by all.

The concert was off the hook, but the real fun was having Mr. Lou Grant himself, Mr. Ed Asner, introduce the documentary. Mr. Asner was at the festival to receive a Lifetime Achievement award. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but Mr. Asner agreed to say a few words before the screening.

I acted as stage manager for the night and got to wear a headset. I’m pretty sure I became an Equity stage manager (one of my many illustrious careers), for the headset. The same could be said for working on movie sets. “Copy that. Coffee is flying in.” That device reeks of importance.

Mr. Asner and his lovely daughter, Liza (with a Z), arrived backstage, and there was the crotchety and loveable newspaper man in the flesh. He is truly adorable. While I waited for my cue to call Mr. Asner out on stage, I took the opportunity to meet the man, the myth, the voice of the old guy from the movie, “Up”.

The following is a verbatim account of my conversation. I don’t know if it was the peanut butter M&M’s that I inhaled an hour earlier, or the excitement of wearing a headset, but I was hopped up and suffered from diarrhea of the mouth. On the upside, at 83 years old, Mr. Asner is funny, gruff, humble and approachable. Just like me.

ME: Hi, Mr. Asner, I’m Dani. I’m coordinating the festival.
He grabs my hand.
ED: Hello there.
ME: It’s such a pleasure to have you here.
Still holding my hand.
ED: It’s a pleasure to be had.
ME: I think it’s great and funny that you’re introducing the Sugarhill Gang’s movie.
ED: Funny? How so?
ME: Well, it’s bringing two different worlds and cultures together and...
He lets go of my hand, smiles and furrows his brow.
ME: It’s a great juxtaposition. You know what I mean.
ED: What’s your last name?
ME: Alpert
ED: Are you Yiddishkeit?
I hoped he was asking because of the sassy, and funny way that I was talking to him, and not my frizzy hair.
ME: Yes I am. And thanks for asking. (No idea what I meant by that)
ED: Ah.
ME: Why?You’re not Jewish. Are you?
ED: What do you think? Argh, come on.
This is when I regretted not doing a full background check. Not only is he Jewish, but he was raised Orthodox. I forgot to be embarrassment because I was on such a sugar and Sugarhill Gang high.
ME: I don’t remember you being in Adam Sandler’s song.
ED: Yeah, I lost money on that.
ME: Are you excited about doing "Home Alone 5"?
He was flying to Canada after the festival to film.
ED: Eh, it's only one day of shooting.
ME: Do you think you'll do any more animation?
ED: If they want me.
ME: I loved "Up"...
And here's where the sugar really kicks in.
ED: Yeah, it was a sweet movie.
ME: No, I mean, it was so touching. And you were so funny. 
Ed's just nodding at this point.
ME: It really tugged at the heart strings.
I place my hands gently over my heart.
ME: It really made me cry. (awkward pause) Okay, well, you get it.
We both took a breath.
ME: Well, I’ll leave you to ‘An Actor Prepares”.
Theater reference to a famous acting book by Stanislavski.
ED: What do I need to prepare?
ME: So true. Just go out there and be yourself.
ED: You mean be humble.
ME: You’re Ed Asner. Just be Ed Asner, that’s enough.
ED: Okay, now get away from me.

And with that, me, my headset and my mouth, walked away.

At the awards dinner the following night, I brought my boyfriend over to Mr. Ed Asner’s table, so he could meet him. I leaned over his shoulder, watching him sign autographs.
ME: Excuse me, Mr. Asner, remember me, from last night, backstage.
He looked up and again furrowed his brow.
ED: You had your hair up last night. It looks much better down. Don’t ever put it up again.
He shook my boyfriend’s hand.
ED: Nice catch but keep her hair down. Now get away from me.

And with that, me, my boyfriend and my long and luxurious hair walked away.

          Dark Money and the new American politics        

Last weekend I finished Dark Money by Jane Mayer, which appeared last year.  It was marketed, largely, as a history of the involvement of the fossil fuel magnates Charles and David Koch in American politics over the last few decades, but it is much more than that.  I intend in what follows to summarize what I found in the book, but from a slightly different perspective than Mayer’s, and without much of any attention to the voluminous, and fascinating, personal data that she provides about the Kochs and other financiers of our new “conservative” political movement.  Instead I am going to treat the book as the first draft, as it were, of a genuine political history of the last 40 or 50 years—because it explains more about where we are and how we got here than anything else that I have ever read.   Mayer leads her readers through the story in rough chronological order, and I recommend the book to everyone.  I on the other hand am going to try to identify its major features in an effort to explain how we got to the miserable point at which we find ourselves.

Charles and David Koch are the most striking example of extraordinarily wealthy Americans who have had an outsized impact on the politics of the last forty years—and whose impact is reaching a new peak right now.  They followed in the footsteps of their father Fred, who in the 1950s was one of the founding members, along with candy manufacturer Robert Welch, of the John Birch Society.  Nothing illustrates what has happened to American politics in my lifetime in more striking fashion than this.  The ideas of the John Birch Society, a group of fanatically anti-government lunatics who in the 1950s identified Dwight D. Eisenhower as a member of the international Communist conspiracy, are now the single most influential set of ideas in American political life. Their main tenets are an unlimited faith in free enterprise and a conviction that government attempts to moderate the negative impacts of capitalism are simply a power grab designed to establish dictatorship.  And because of the success of their political movement, their fortunes have grown by orders of magnitude over the last few decades.

In addition to the Kochs, the superrich political elite has included John Olin, a chemical manufacturer; Richard Mellon Scaife, a scion of a Pittsburgh family prominent in banking and industry; and Harry Bradley, another Birch Society acolyte who ran the Allen-Bradley Electronics Company in New York.  In the middle of the twentieth century, when marginal income tax rates topped out at 91%, these men had all taken advantage of a provision in the tax code—first used by the Rockefeller family—to create a “philanthropic” foundation to shield substantial portions of their enormous income from taxes.  Unfortunately, the definition of philanthropy has been broad enough to include the subsidy of a particular ideology—and ultimately, direct intervention in politics.  That one tragic flaw in our tax code has reshaped opinion and redistributed power at every level of American government.

            Now I have rarely been impressed by any of the ideas coming out of the new Right during the last few decades, but like many liberal Democrats, I suspect, I have assumed that conservative intellectuals had honestly come by their ideas.  I am not suggesting now that they have lied about them, but Mayer leaves no doubt that the entire new right wing intellectual establishment was created from the ground up by the handful of major benefactors listed above.  Both the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation—the two centers of conservative “thought” in Washington—were originally funded largely by Richard Mellon Scaife. The Bradley and Olin Foundations were also powers behind the Heritage Foundation, and the Kochs have been involved as well.  I have always thought of the Cato Institute as a nest of principled libertarians—partly because it tends to oppose foreign interventions—but it turns out to have been started by Charles Koch.  Charles Murray was an unknown writer before the Olin foundation adopted him and subsidized his first book, Losing Ground, arguing that social programs were hurting the poor.  (Spoiled, perhaps, by success, Murray went a bridge too far when he and Richard Herrnstein argued in The Bell Curve that black people were intellectually inferior to whites.)  And I was amazed to learn from Mayer that the Bradley foundation gives four annual awards of $250,000 each to leading conservative journalists, activists, and intellectuals. Winners have included George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Sowell, Ward Connerly, Heather MacDonald, Shelby Steele, Victor Davis Hanson, John Bolton, William Kristol, Paul Gigot, Michael Barone, Jeb Bush, Harvey Mansfield, Edwin Meese, Roger Ailes of Fox News, General John Keane, and Charles Murray.

Changing the intellectual climate was step 1 in the program.  Another spectacularly successful front was opened within the American legal system, Started in 1982 with money from the Olin Foundation and affiliates of the Scaifes and the Kochs, the Federalist Society has become a behemoth, an organization of conservative legal thinkers that includes all the conservative members of the US Supreme Court.   That is not all. The Olin Foundation has sponsored two week seminars on Law and Economics for sitting judges, somewhat reminiscent of the seminars drug companies hold for physicians at major resorts.  There they have exposed sitting judges to the evils of regulation and the glories of the free market—and this may explain some of the more extraordinary decisions that federal courts have handed down lately, such as one that limited the legal definition of insider trading to narrowly as to make most prosecutions for it impossible.

Nor is this all: the foundations have not hesitated to challenge liberal intellectuals in their own presumed stronghold, universities.  Using the irresistible lever of their wealth—which no American university, in this day and age, can resist—they have established beachheads such as the Olin Center at Harvard University (promoting conservative ideas on foreign policy) and several institutes at George Mason University, conveniently located in the Washington suburbs.  These have opened career paths for conservative public policy intellectuals—at the same time that mainstream academic departments have been going in directions largely irrelevant to real politics.

This vast intellectual infrastructure works in tandem, of course, with the right wing media, led by Fox News and Clear Channel Radio, to shift public opinion on key events.  The alternative media outlets are largely self-financing, of course, but I was very surprised that another key rightwing organization, Freedom Works—funded largely by the Scaife foundation—had paid Glenn Beck more than $1 million a year to allow them to write his monologues.  And this infrastructure has not only convinced many Americans, and probably most better-off Americans, that social programs do more harm than good, but it has also convinced millions that lower taxes on the wealthy increase economic growth—and, critically, created real doubt as to whether man-made global warming exists.  Mayer traces the campaign against global warming effectively.  It employed some of the same personnel and used the same playbook as the tobacco companies’ earlier effort to create doubt as to whether cigarettes caused cancer—but evidently with far more significant results.  (I am leaving out of this essay the names of many key operatives within the network who have organized particular legal, lobbying and electoral campaigns.  They are the battlefield commanders of our new political struggle.)  The intellectual infrastructure also carries out campaigns against academics and journalists who stand in its way—including Mayer herself.

The other long-running campaign waged by the new right was the attempt to undo a century of regulation of spending on political campaigns. At the dawn of the Progressive Era a consensus emerged that the influence of money on politics had to be restricted, and Watergate had reinforced that lesson. But the counteroffensive against regulation began in the decade after Watergate, won various victories, and culminated in the Citizens United decision, the Kochs’ and their allies’ greatest and perhaps most influential triumph.  The floodgates are now open, and the results are clear for all to see.

The right wing network gained much power over the Republican Party by 2000 and was rewarded by very friendly Bush Administration policies towards the energy industry, which turned fracking loose and set the US on the path to energy independence.  It could not prevent a groundswell of negative feeling against the Bush Administration in its second term, however, or stop the election of a Democratic Congress and Barack Obama.  But it went into high gear to stop Obama from accomplishing very much.  To begin with, implementing a long standing plan to form a mass base, the Kochs and their allies took advantage of the financial crisis to get the Tea Party movement going in 2009.  Their newly won financial power under Citizens United allowed them to intimidate virtually every Republican Senator and Representative with the threat of primary opposition, bringing them all into line for total opposition to the President. The Kochs now hold seminars every year for Republican officeholders, where they are informed in secret of the party line.   They convinced millions of Americans that the financial crisis was really the fault of the federal government.  When Obama threatened the carried interest tax loophole, their lobbying organizations found new allies among private equity titans and hedge fund managers on Wall Street.  All this enabled the Republicans, backed by this network of plutocrats, to win their extraordinary victory in the 2010 elections.  After redistricting was finished with the help of techniques provided by the same set of conservative donors, the Republicans probably had secured control of the House of Representatives for the rest of this decade.

The Koch network has also made a huge and successful effort at the state level, making the Democratic Party irrelevant in large parts of the nation.  Originally founded with Scaife money in the 1970s, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) now writes draft anti-government, pro-business legislation for state legislatures all over the country.  Local Kochs have also sprung up, such as Art Pope, a North Carolina discount store owner who in the last decade has taken over the state Republican Party and orchestrated its (now partial) takeover of the North Carolina state government.  At the national level, ideological loyalties are still strong enough to allow Democratic candidates to win the popular vote in 4 of the last five Presidential elections, but at the local level, in red and some purple states, there is no alternative force that can stand up to the Koch-led network. And the ultraconservative domination of state legislatures poses perhaps the greatest threat to our democracy of all: a constitutional convention called by those legislatures which could rewrite key provisions of the Constitution along more “libertarian” lines.

Another chapter of this story does not appear in Mayer’s book.  She finished it when Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy had just begun, and he initially exchanged insults with the Kochs, who did not trust him.  Six months into his Administration it seems to represent an unqualified victory.  The Kochs had a long-standing connection to Mike Pence. The DeVos family—the founders of Amway, an organization that has escaped serious legal trouble more than once—has also been a long-standing member of the megadonor network with a particular interest in education, and they have provided Trump with his education secretary.  The EPA and the Department of Energy and firmly in the hands of Koch allies and are now taking the skeptical line on climate change.  New rounds of tax cuts are being prepared.  The Kochs are undoubtedly unhappy about the failure to repeal the ACA, but they now hold more levers of power than they ever did. 

A political revolution has been in progress for more than four decades, a reaction to the New Deal and the more just society that it created.  Fueled by successive rounds of tax cuts, this revolution has created a tiny group of billionaires that now control most of our political life.  This is way, as a widely cited study by Marin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page discovered, the beliefs of average American citizens and broad-based activist groups on key issues have very little influence on policy outcomes, while the beliefs of interest groups have a great deal. It's also why most Republicans will vote for legislation that will clearly hurt far more of their constituents than it will help. This is, I believe, the new America that our current Fourth Turning has created, and like the Gilded Age, it will not be overturned, in all probability, for a very long time.

          Food and the City: Making Density Palatable        
Moderated by DWT partner Jim Greenfield, the third installment of DWT and Forterra’s Creating a Great Global Region series was an interesting and engaging evening focused on how social equity, community building and conversation of farmland intersect around food. The event consisted of a panel discussion of prominent members of the local agriculture and hospitality... Continue Reading
          Postponing a Purchase        

You might be surprised how many people contact real estate offices because they want to buy a home but they don’t have the down payment or the credit to qualify. Occasionally, an agent will be working with someone who does have the down payment and credit but for whatever reason, decides to postpone the decision to purchase now for some point in the future.

It’s not uncommon that once they’re out of the market, the money starts burning a hole in their pocket and they end up buying a boat or a motorcycle or some other thing that cannot positively affect their lives and security the way a home does.40382258_s-250.jpg

If the money had been put away somewhere safe like a certificate of deposit, it wouldn’t earn a lot but it would be there when they decided the time was right to buy a home. $8,750 would grow to $9,286 in three years in a 2% CD.

For the person who could tolerate a little more risk, they might consider investing in the stock market. If you found a mutual fund that would earn 7%, at the end of the same three year time frame, the $8,750 would have grown to $10,719.

Alternatively, if the would-be buyers used the same amount to purchase a $250,000 home that appreciated at only a modest one percent, the equity in the home at the end of the same three year period would be $29,597.

The dynamics of earning appreciation on the value of the home rather than just the down payment combined with the amortization of the mortgage makes the equity in the home almost three times greater than the mutual fund. If you used a 2% appreciation, the equity would be over $37,000 in the same period.

Obviously, there are legitimate reasons for postponing the purchase of a home. An important thing to remember is to safeguard the hard-earned down payment so it is ready when you are to buy in the future.

          Leverage - A Maximum Advantage        

Leverage gives the user a maximum advantage whether it is physically lifting a large object or rapidly building equity in a home. In the case of the home, the high loan-to-value mortgage allows the profits made to be greater than simply the cash invested.Leverage-300.jpg

A $250,000 home can be purchased on a FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment of $8,750. If the home appreciates at 2% a year, in seven years the equity will grow to $75,920 due to the appreciation and the amortization of the mortgage. That would be a remarkable 36.2% rate of return.

It is estimated that homeowners have a 45 times higher net worth than renters. Since the obvious difference is that renters don’t own a home, owning a home is a distinct advantage. The leverage that allows a borrower to control a much larger asset with a small down payment gives them a return on the much bigger asset than on just the down payment.

Another interesting contribution is the forced savings that occurs with each payment made on the mortgage. A portion of the payment is applied to principal so that the loan will be paid in full by the end of the term, usually 30 years. The amortization on the 4% mortgage example from above has approximately $4,300.00 paid in the first year to reduce the principal which increases the owner’s equity in the home.

For people who have the necessary funds for the down payment and good credit, buying a home can be a financially stabilizing event. While research on the Internet can provide valuable information, there is no substitute for having a face-to-face meeting with a trusted professional to determine your specific facts.

          Pay Yourself First        

The principle to pay yourself first has been referred to as the Golden Rule of Personal Finance.

The concept is that one of the first checks you write each month is for your own savings. The rationale is that if there is no money left after a person pays their bills, there is nothing to contribute to savings or investments that month. pay yourself first - check -300.png

By establishing a priority to save, a person realizes that the balance of their monthly income must cover living expenses and other discretionary spending. This is a much different strategy than saving what is left over from monthly expenses and other spending.

Many financial experts have likened an amortizing mortgage to a forced savings account because a portion of each payment is applied to the reduction of the principal amount owed. Some homeowners have taken that concept further with a shorter term mortgage to build equity faster.

In the example below, a $250,000 mortgage at 4% interest is compared with two different terms. The 30 year mortgage would have payments of $1,193.54 each month with the first payment having $360.20 being applied to the principal. Each payment would have an increasingly larger amount applied to the principal.

The 15 year mortgage would have payments of $1,849.22 each month with the first payment having $1,015.89 being applied to the principal. The $665.68 difference in payments goes toward reducing the loan amount and acts like a forced savings.

A homeowner might opt for the longer term and intend to put the difference in the two payments in a bank savings account each month or make an additional principal contribution to pay the mortgage down. However, as any person responsible for paying household bills knows, there will always be something that comes up that could hijack your intentions.

By committing to the shorter term mortgage, a borrower is committing to make the higher payment each month and the benefit is that it will reduce your principal balance faster.

pay yourself first.png

          Homeowner Advisory        

Similar to an annual wellness physical, homeowners should consider an annual review of the financial elements of their home. It’s particularly valuable based on the fact that their home and its equity is generally, one of their largest assets. Info You Need.png

  • List of similar properties recently sold and currently available
  • Information on challenging property tax assessment
  • Refinance Analysis to:
    • lower your rate
    • shorten the term
    • make improvements
    • eliminate mortgage insurance
    • remove a person from the loan
    • eliminate credit card debt
    • combine loans
    • take cash out of the equity
  • Equity Accelerator to retire the mortgage within a specific period of time
  • Repairmen and contractors recommendations
  • Information on rental property opportunities
We’d be happy to provide this information at no obligation as part of our on-going commitment to providing homeowner information, both in general and specifically, to our contacts. It is part of a long-term strategy whereby we hope to earn your loyalty and referrals when you do need our services to buy or sell.

          It's a Big Difference        

Let’s say that you just won $8,750 on a lottery scratch-off ticket. You’ve decided to be frugal and invest the money and have decided on three alternatives: buying a certificate of deposit, a mutual fund or use the money as a down payment for a $250,000 home.

To compare the three alternatives, let’s look at the equity in each one three years from now.Your best investment graphic.png

The certificate of deposit can be invested at 1.3% in today’s market and you believe you can reasonably earn 5% on a mutual fund. You expect the home to appreciate at three percent a year.

The certificate of deposit would be worth $9,096 at the end of three years and the mutual fund would be worth $10,129. However, the equity in the home at the end of three years would be $45,204. That is a four time’s higher yield on the home.

One of the main reasons for the big difference is that the buyer benefits from leverage: the use of borrowed funds to increase the results. The $8,750 down payment is controlling a $250,000 investment. The appreciation is determined by the price and not merely by the cash invested. Another factor is that the loan balance is smaller at the end of five years than originally borrowed due to amortization.

There are certainly other factors to consider such as maintenance and other expenses but when the financial benefits are as strong as they are, it certainly deserves a much closer investigation. One of the first things to consider is whether the borrower can qualify for a mortgage and the only satisfactory way to be certain is to get pre-approved by a trusted mortgage professional.

Use the Your Best Investment calculator to make your own projections.

          Early Burnout Could be Good        

Most of us understand the expression "burning the candle at both ends" to mean working so hard that you burn yourself out. Normally, that wouldn’t be a good idea unless it is intentional.

If the candle is your mortgage and the strategy is to get it paid off early, being “burned out” would be a good thing. One end of the candle would be your regular mortgage payments and the other end would represent additional principal contributions.candle-250.jpg

Since the Great Recession, lenders have been reporting a higher than normal number of borrowers getting shorter term mortgages not only when they purchase the home originally but when they refinance them also. It seems like the mindset of America’s homeowner has shifted a little from the belief that they will always have a house payment.

The extra $100, $200 or $500 in your checking account isn’t earning interest. Additional principal contributions with your regular payments on a fixed rate mortgage will save interest, build equity and shorten the term of the mortgage.

Wealth management is about making financially wise choices. If having your home paid for by retirement age is one of your goals, making extra contributions regularly could get you there. Use this Equity Accelerator to see how it will affect your loan.

          Forced Savings        

One of the big banks has a voluntary program available that transfers $100 each month from your checking account to your savings account. In five years, the account owner would have over $5,000 because of a type of forced savings. iStock_000059416596-250.jpg

Similarly, when a person buys a home with a standard amortizing loan, each month, a part of the payment is used to reduce the principal loan amount. Amazingly, over $4,000 would be applied toward the principal in the first year of a $250,000 mortgage at 4% for 30 years. In five years, the loan amount would be reduced by almost $25,000 through normal payments.

The other dynamic that is in play is that while the unpaid balance is being reduced, appreciation causes the value to increase. The difference between the two makes the equity grow even faster. Three percent appreciation on a $250,000 home would increase its value in five year by almost $40,000.

A 30-year mortgage of $250,000 will be paid for in 30 years. At an average of 3% appreciation, the asset would be worth about $600,000. If you continue to rent, the asset belongs to your landlord instead.

Many experts believe that the homeowner benefits from the forced savings of amortization and the leveraged growth that takes place in the investment. It has been observed in the tri-annual Consumer Finance Survey by the Federal Reserve Board that homeowner’s net worth is considerably higher than that of renters.

          More Equity...More Options        

The more equity in your home, the more options you have. Since equity is determined by the difference between value and what is owed on a property, when homes lost value during the Great Recession, homeowners’ equity decreased. Equity-250.jpg

Negative equity occurs when the value is less than the mortgage owed. According to CoreLogic, 91% of all mortgaged properties have equity and only 4.4 million properties remain in negative equity at the end of the second quarter in 2015.

A homeowner, who qualifies, can release part of their equity by refinancing the existing loan and taking out additional cash or by getting a home equity loan. The benefits include:

  • To get a lower rate on your current mortgage
  • To finance capital improvements on your home
  • To payoff higher interest rate debt such as credit cards or student loans
  • To purchase items that would not have deductible interest like personal cars, boats, etc.

It could be as simple as waiting for positive home equity so owners can move to another home without having to pay out-of-pocket expenses to sell their home.

          Look at a Rental This Way        

Appreciation, tax advantages, cash flow, leverage and equity build-up contribute to the rate of return on rental real estate. If that sounds confusing and it’s keeping you from investing in rentals, try looking at it a different way.Paperwork-250.jpg

Consider this, look at only cash flow and equity build-up to determine whether to buy the property. They are easy to calculate and their outcomes are both reliable and predictable.

Most homeowners, based on their familiarity with their own home, should feel more comfortable with a rental than alternative investments. A conservative strategy is to purchase slightly below average price range homes in a predominantly owner-occupied neighborhood. Collect the rent, pay the bills and make necessary repairs.

A cash on cash rate of return is determined by dividing the cash flow before taxes by the cash invested in the property. It considers all of the “real world” income and expenses related to the property.

cash flow and equity buildup.png

The equity build-up occurs from the normal process of amortization with an increasingly larger portion of each payment applied to reduce the principal loan amount.

In this hypothetical example, the combination of the Cash on Cash and the Equity Build-up is almost 12% which is considerably higher than certificates of deposit and bonds and nowhere near as volatile as stocks or mutual funds.

In most of today’s markets, rents are expected to continue to rise and due to a low inventory of homes for sale coupled with growing demand, prices will continue to rise. Even though there is value in appreciation, tax advantages and leverage, they could be considered an unexpected bonus to this basic rate of return.

          One-button Pricing?        

An Automated Valuation Model, AVM, is a computer approach that looks at public records to make a determination based on square footage, comparable sales and other elements. It is as easy as putting your address in a blank but unfortunately, AVM results may only be accurate about 20% of the time.Value BUTTON3.png

A popular AVM, Zestimate®, states “It is considered a starting point at determining a home’s value.” While an AVM contains some of the same information as a comparable market analysis, it lacks a critical human factor.

Having a pair of experienced eyes consider aspects that are not easily quantified can make a big difference. A skilled professional can tell which properties are truly comparable. A knowledgeable expert can recognize features, floorplans and other things that can affect value but are difficult to quantify.

Even if a person isn’t ready to sell their investment, they like to know its value. It is easy to find the price of stocks or mutual funds on any given day but the value of a home is more difficult.

Regardless of whether you’re just curious as to how much your home is worth or are ready to monetize your equity, I’m available to give you that information without obligation. If you’re not ready now, just keep this letter for when you are.

          At least consider a shorter one        

Affordability and stability are reasons homebuyers choose a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. It makes the payment lower than a 15-year mortgage and the principal and interest portion of the payment will be constant for 30 years. Pencils-250.jpg

A common belief among homeowners for decades was that they would always have mortgage payment. The Great Recession has caused many individuals to rethink that concept and make plans to get their home paid for sooner.

For people who can afford it, shorter term mortgages will provide a lower interest rate and build equity faster. A 3.09% 15-year fixed-rate mortgage compared to a 3.87% 30-year loan will have a $562.42 higher payment.

The equity would be $66,903.04 greater on the 15-year term at the end of seven years. Even after you consider the higher payment on the shorter term, the equity difference is still almost $20,000 greater.

article 11092015.png

By choosing a 15-year loan, a borrower is committing to the higher payment for the term of the mortgage in exchange for a slightly lower interest rate. Another approach would be for the borrower to acquire a 30-year mortgage and make payments as if it were on a 15-year term. The slightly higher rate would allow the borrower the flexibility of not having to make the higher payment in the event he could not afford it on any particular month.

          Settings For Forex Megadroid For Best Profit-Forex Live Trade Robot        
Do you want to know how to conduct independent testing of Forex robots to find out which are the most successful FOREX trading software on the web today? Read on to see more about best forex megadroid settings, and why forex megadroid is one of the best automatic robot. There are now thousands of internet sites promoting the utilization of automated Forex robots as the popularity of FOREX trading increases every day. Also, these websites are using very robust sales tactics to pressure visitors to buy, making you wonder if they really work. Automated Forex trading systems are large business online - but the vast majority don't make cash. Read on to see more about best forex megadroid settings, and why forex megadroid is one of the best automatic robot.They promote paper track records which fail in real time trading and destroy the traders equity. Read on to see more about best forex megadroid settings, and why forex megadroid is one of the best automatic robot.

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The best strategy to grasp if a Forex software actually works is to see its live trading results, AKA forwarded testing. This type of testing takes into account all factors like wavering broker spreads that affect a real live trade. One of the hottest techniques to conduct forward testing is to run the robot on a demo account with real live trading info. This is a simple system it only has one rule to follow. Read on to see more about best forex megadroid settings, and why forex megadroid is one of the best automatic robot. The system was invented in the seventies by one of the great traders Richard Donchian, who used it to trade commodities markets. Let's have a look at the rule of the system which is known as the four Week Rule. That's it and while incredibly straightforward, it works for the following reasons.

The most vital factor has been highlighted above, which is live trading results. All androids that you use with real money wants to have proven profitable performance in a live trading environment. On top of that, whether or not the robot can perform well in forward testing, you also need to make sure that it's been worthwhile in its back tests. Read on to see more about best forex megadroid settings, and why forex megadroid is one of the best automatic robot. It's based mostly on catching and holding the long term trends. A look at any forex chart will show trends that continue for many months or years and this trading system will keep you in them without getting bumped out by short term volatility. It will take you around 15 - thirty mins a day to operate and that's it, you can go and do something else. Like any forex trading system it will have a weakness and this one will generate losses, when markets don't trend or are in periods of consolidation, so you can consider adding another exit rule :Read on to see more about best forex megadroid settings, and why forex megadroid is one of the best automatic robot. Place a stop at an one or two week high or low and then go flat and wait for the following signal.

Read on to see more about best forex megadroid settings, and why forex megadroid is one of the best automatic robot. figure that tells you the largest percentage of the bank that the software has ever lost on an account. For instance if drawdown is 50%, it implies that it had taken an account to half its price before. Everyone has different risk toleration levels, so look for a robot which has drawdown safe enough for your risk toleration. Read on to see more about best forex megadroid settings, and why forex megadroid is one of the best automatic robot. Quite just because they suspect it's too simple ( although all the top trading systems are ), also it's not a system that goes for pinpoint market timing and many traders wish to predict highs and lows, even though its plain this is not possible. Related journals: Forex Megadroid Reviews-Top 5 Forex Robots
          The Swiss National Bank's Largest U.S. Equity Positions        
          Comment on 12 Most Frustrating Moments of “Waiting for Superman” by Joseph Scalia III        
Great! You are not alone! My wife and I recently published the following as a Guest Editorial in Bozeman, Montana's Daily Chronicle: Does the Economic Fate of a Nation Rest on its Test Scores? In December 2010, the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test results from were released. Evaluating 15-year-olds from 65 countries, PISA is touted as the most comprehensive study to test and rank students internationally. As in past years, the 5233 public and private school U.S. students tested scored in the average range. As before, the apoplectic reaction of both pundits and government officials follows a predictable and faulty line of reasoning when looking at perceived international achievement gaps. It goes something like this: Public education is in a state of crisis. In order to avert the eventual economic ruin that will follow “middling”-range test scores, we must speed up school reform efforts and look to those who have higher scores, as models of superior educational systems. At the alleged root of the problem are complacent educators who are not willing or able to hold high expectations of their students or deliver high-quality instruction. The putative solution to the “crisis” is to hold educators “accountable” through incentives, punishment, and mandates, such as publishing school test scores, privatizing public education, replacing the school staff in low-performing schools, and using “performance”-based teacher pay. So the rhetoric goes. If low scores lead to inferior economic performance, then those nations who score higher than the U.S. on international tests should be doing better on indicators of economic success. In 2007, researcher K. Baker compared international test results since their advent in 1964, with seven indicators of national success, including economic growth, productivity, and creativity. He found that “a certain level of educational attainment, as reflected in test scores, provides a platform for launching national success, but once that platform is reached, other factors become more important...” The bottom line is that, beyond this platform, it is bad policy to pursue gains in test scores, diverting resources away from other factors that are more important determinants of economic success. On the 2009 PISA, both South Korea and Shanghai-China were two of the highest scorers. Yet they have GDP’s per capita below the average measured by PISA’s organizational body. The two Swiss-based organizations that rank nations on global competitiveness both rank the U.S. #1 again, the position it has held for a number of years. In 2008, when journalist F. Zakariya asked the Singapore Minister of Education why high scoring Singaporean students seem to fade when they became adults, the Minister answered that their children lacked what he thought America excelled in – creativity, ambition, and a willingness to challenge existing knowledge – factors of course not measured by the much-valorized tests. Author Yong Zhao, born and raised in China, in making comparisons between educational systems in European and Asian countries notes that centralized, standardized, test-driven countries like China and Singapore are attempting to get rid of the homogenization that the U.S. is now seeking to implement. They are, in fact, looking to the US to determine how to get their children to think. It is easier to blame educators than to look at our real problems – like the effects of poverty on children and the simplistic reforms that are not working. Policy makers should be talking about the less publicized PISA findings such as: (1) Schools that compete for students through charters, tax credits or vouchers do not yield higher scores; (2) Private schools do no better than public schools once family wealth factors are considered; (3) 20% of U.S. performance is attributed to social inequity, far higher than in other nations - inequitable and inadequate financial resources resulting in nearly a year’s lack of growth, and (4) Schools with greater autonomy score higher. Throughout the history of schooling in the U.S., schools have been routinely charged to carry out the dominant societal and political ideologies of the day. As historian W. Reese points out, when solutions to intractable problems that originate outside of school fail – poverty, racial and social injustice – schools are looked to as the source of the problems and educational reform ensues with vigor. Until educational policy is able to look at the economic and political conditions which are the real source of our educational problems, we are likely to continue our test-score fetishism. Lynne Scalia is the Superintendent/Principal of Monforton School District. Joseph Scalia III is the Director of Northern Rockies Psychoanalytic Institute.
          Equalization and Date of Marriage Deductions.        

Are you curious what will happen to your wealth when your marriage comes to an end? In Ontario, you must share the equity that you and your spouse collected during your marriage upon separation. Simply put, each of you adds up the total value of all your assets, less your debt, on the date of...… Continue Reading

The post Equalization and Date of Marriage Deductions. appeared first on Ontario Family Law Blog.

          Double Dipping. Paying Spousal Support from Pension Income        

When you divorce, what would you rather have – a valuable pension or a home worth the same? Or does it matter?  If a pension is worth the same as the equity in the home, the property settlement is easy. One person keeps their pension and the other keeps the house. Technically, this seems like...… Continue Reading

The post Double Dipping. Paying Spousal Support from Pension Income appeared first on Ontario Family Law Blog.

          More Millennials Are Using HELOCs As Home Equity Rises        
April 04, 2017

Homeowners gained a collective $570 billion in equity throughout 2016, bringing the number of homeowners with “tappable” equity up to 39.5 million, according to Black Knight Financial Services. Ben Graboske, EVP at Black Knight, expects to see more home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) than cash-out refinances, and more Millennials are using HELOCs than Gen Xers or baby boomers. Home remodeling was the No. 1 reason for taking out a HELOC last year, according to TD Bank.

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          RedLaw Recruitment: Funds Solicitor – London Team of Leading US Private Equity Funds Practice – Mid Level        
£120k +: RedLaw Recruitment: Funds Solicitor – London Team of Leading US Private Equity Funds Practice – Mid Level Highly Prestigious New York Law Firm with pre-eminent global ... City of London
          Comment on Stop Being that Guy, Start Playing the Long Game, and How Are We Still Talking About This in 2017? by Why I Joined EquityX as a Strategic Advisor and Why Startups Need to Pay Attention to this Company | TECH N' MARKETING        
[…] the years, I have always played the long game and tried to help as many entrepreneurs as possible, most of the time without compensation. Yes, […]
          Trickle down economics just doesn't work        
I wrote this on reddit, but it's worth repeating:

The premise of "trickle down" is that wealth for the rich will result in (some) wealth for the poor. More important, it assumes that the government should get involved by making the rich richer. (This is why the term is considered derogatory.)

So... how do the rich get richer?
(1a) The government gives them wealth ("rents") via a contract, corrupion, or other "neoliberal" policy (I hate that term as often confuses markets and politics); or
(1b) They make themselves rich.

For (1a), see "cheap oil royalties", patent trolls, defense contractors et al. For (1b), see "Bill Gates"

Now, how can it "trickle down"?
(2a) The government taxes the wealth and transfers the $ to the poor. That's kinda counter productive for (1a) (why not just give the royalties to the poor?), but makes sense with 1b.
(2b) The poor somehow benefit from rich people being richer (see Fable of the Bees).

Both of these make no real sense compared to the real source of prosperity for the masses, i.e.,
(3a) Cheap access to education and health care
(3b) Competitive markets (reducing rents)
(3c) Taxes on wealth that pay for (3a)

So, next time you hear ANYONE say "trickle down" just walk away. It's bullshit. A government that wants efficiency and equity will do 3a-c, which is compatible with basic income, carbon taxes, property taxes, etc., btw...

          Tyler Cowen on Stubborn Attachments, Prosperity, and the Good Society        

Stubborn%20Attachments.png Tyler Cowen of George Mason University and the co-host of the blog Marginal Revolution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Stubborn Attachments, his book-length treatment of how to think about public policy. Cowen argues that economic growth--properly defined--is the moral key to maintaining civilization and promoting human well-being. Along the way, the conversation also deals with inequality, environmental issues, and education.

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Readings and Links related to this podcast episode

Related Readings
This week's guest: This week's focus: Additional ideas and people mentioned in this podcast episode: A few more readings and background resources: A few more EconTalk podcast episodes:


Podcast Episode Highlights

Intro. [Recording date: July 24, 2017.]

Russ Roberts: This is your 10th appearance on EconTalk.

Tyler Cowen: Yeah. That's great.

Russ Roberts: I know. It is. It puts you in the elite group of double-digit guests. Your most recent appearance was two months ago in May when we talked about your book The Complacent Class; and today we're talking a new book that you've written that's online--you can find it at; we're going to be putting a link up to it. The title is Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals. What's your central claim or claims? What are you trying to advance in this book?

Tyler Cowen: Since I was a graduate student I've been interested in the normative foundations of economics and political judgments. And in this book I try to argue we can actually solve the biggest issues in judging what makes a political or economic order right, why do we prefer one economic policy over another. So, it's a very philosophical book. And, unlike a lot of philosophy, which tends to lead to a kind of an anihilism or extreme skepticism, in this I try to suggest we actually have all the answers. We just need to be bold. And we can go through what those answers are. But, that's the overview of this fairly short book. I've worked on it for about 20 years, spending maybe a month or two a year trying to improve it. And then I figured finally it was ready.

Russ Roberts: Well, it's a really interesting book and it does make a bold claim--more than one bold claim--which your summary captures one of those claims. Which is: We've figured it out. So, that's a bit strong. It's a strong claim, not just a bold claim. What have we figured out? What do you think is the central way we should be deciding the policy issues that divide us?

Tyler Cowen: Economists for a long time have focused on economic growth, but most philosophers typically have not. I argue that if you systematically introduce the idea of sustainable economic growth into philosophy, welfare economics, social choice theory, that that allows you really to clear up a lot of different problems. And think of the fundamental problem in so much of philosophy as being what we call aggregation. If, you know, John wants one TV show and Sally wants to watch another show, and they only have one TV, well, how do we judge which is the better outcome? There's different attempts to solve that problem. Some people are egalitarians; other people want to maximize utility of the two. But I argue we should take a straightforward economic approach and basically ask, 'Well, what would they trade to do?' and then I aggregate this approach to the whole economy. And basically if you have one economy with a rate of compound growth over time higher than that of another economy, over some number of decades one of those situations will just very clearly be better than the other for almost everyone. So, that's the starting point of the book. The chapters cover a lot more issues. But that's kind of my entry point into the stuff talked about by John Rawls, Robert Nozick, Derek Parfit and other people.


Russ Roberts: How would you say that conclusion differs from simply saying we should pursue what's "efficient"? Which is a phrase I do not like. It has a very narrow meaning in economics: It basically means that we--well, I won't even try to summarize it. But help me out here. What's the difference between your economic approach and traditional economic welfare approaches?

Tyler Cowen: Efficiency typically is quite a static concept. One novelty in my argument is I claim we should use an intergenerational discount rate of zero. That is, the distant future we should not discount at all. There's positive time preference within a life, but over the course of generations no one is sitting around impatiently waiting to be born. And once you adopt that move, the further-out future becomes very important for our deliberations. And then the gains from getting this higher compound rate of economic growth, they really do just overwhelm anything else in the calculation. And the typical more static or a-temporal economic treatment of efficiency--it may be useful for some problems, but it doesn't give you this whole perspective across time about how to think about, you know, social choices in general.

Russ Roberts: I guess one way to think about it, now that I've gotten over stubbing[?] my brain there--it's earlier here in California where I'm recording this, so obviously I'm behind. One could argue that efficiency is making sure that the pie is as large as possible right now. And what you are suggesting is that we ought to make sure that the pie grows as fast as it can grow going forward.

Tyler Cowen: That's right.

Russ Roberts: Would you say that's a decent--?

Tyler Cowen: That's a good way to put it. Yes.

Russ Roberts: So, most people would say--I want to come back to the technical issue of discounting. I find your approach deeply appealing; and one piece of it deeply flawed--and I'll let you defend it. But let's just start with this idea that I think is not compelling to most people. It sounds very technocratic that we should just, 'Oh, let the economy grow as fast as possible; eventually everything will work out well.' A lot of people would find that unappealing, for one reason being it's mainly focusing on material well-being. And I know you have an answer to that; so I want you to answer that. The other, of course, is that it may leave a lot of people behind. People are very worried about that; rightfully so. So, try to deal with those two.

Tyler Cowen: Let me first say I do adopt the qualification that maximizing growth should be subject to respecting human rights; and some human rights are absolute. We shouldn't trample over those even if it will somehow boost the growth rate. But on top of that, I think if you look at long enough time horizons, say, even relatively poor people today are much better off than they were in less wealthy societies of the 18th, 19th, or early 20th century--that they have access to cheap food, partial access to antibiotics, a much cleaner and healthier environment, safer water. And that even though some people are going to gain much more than others, if you take a longer term time perspective--I don't think you quite get to a literal unanimity of all humans being better off. Say, some people who love power or who want to see the impoverishment of others--they'll be worse off. But, from a practical point of view, virtually all people are better off, say, in a society that has 5 or 7 times the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of an alternative course for economic policy.

Russ Roberts: So, if I might, I just want to defend you a little more, completely in your point about human rights. You also say that leisure counts. And the environment counts.

Tyler Cowen: Absolutely. And without the environment working, none of this will be sustainable. So, the long time perspective--it both puts a higher priority on the environment, but also a higher priority on economic growth. And it gives you some metric for trading those things off against each other.


Russ Roberts: So, I find the argument extremely compelling in many dimensions. I want to cast it in a different way, which is--I've used this in a couple of my books; I really think it's the right way to think about it--which is: If you asked a person in 1900 who suffered through economic change, who suffered through, say, the transformation of agriculture, the industrialization in the second half of the 19th century, there's a lot of hardship that that imposed. At the same time, the wellbeing of the children and grandchildren of those people were so extraordinarily and stunningly great compared to their lives that a lot of people--those people themselves would say this was a good deal. So, that to me is the logic of what you are talking about in taking a long-term perspective. But, for me, part of that requires a connection between the generations that's through love, which I think is often ignored, and it is there. And I'm wondering whether people alive today who maybe are less likely to have children than people in the past, whether some of those arguments don't work quite as well. What are your thoughts on that?

Tyler Cowen: Well, keep in mind, this book is in a sense a companion to my trade release, The Complacent Class. And that's a book about how we're less willing to incur one-off costs for a much better future. So, if you are just asking, you know, 'How are people behaving today?' I think we have less of that willingness to sacrifice for the future; more sense of entitlement: 'I'm not going to give up anything now, no matter what it may bring later on.' So, I think we're moving in the wrong direction. I think even people who don't have children or who maybe do not love their children should be able to see the morally forcing nature of, 'We should choose the outcome that will both enable civilization to last for longer'--which is really compelling when you think about what means--'and have a higher standard of living for virtually all human beings.' I think those are the strongest values we can possibly cite, especially when combined with this notion of inalienable human rights as a kind of binding side-constraint on what we can do.

Russ Roberts: Why is it important have a high standard of living? That sounds like a very--I know you have a much richer conception of that idea, but to most people that sounds very--it's something an economist would say who doesn't have much understanding about the human experience.

Tyler Cowen: Keep in mind this isn't just money we're talking about. It's leisure time. It's ability to maintain your health, your ability to control your time. What people value and are willing to trade off against other goods. But, people who have higher living standards, there's plenty of good evidence that they tend to be happier within their societies. They live longer lives. They suffer less pain. They recover better from trauma. They are better able to be charitable to the rest of the world or people less fortunate than they are. I think most of what we consider the virtues co-moves with having a much higher level of social wealth.

Russ Roberts: What about the argument that right now--I don't accept the argument but many people do--that many people are left behind in our economy. They don't share in the growth: the rising tide isn't lifting all boats any more. So your argument was great in the 1700s, 1800s, 1900s; doesn't hold today.

Tyler Cowen: Well, I think today we're doing a very bad job at maximizing the rate of economic growth. So, if a person is complaining that right now we're not doing what I'm suggesting, I'm fully on board with that. Do I think there are plenty of changes we can make to economic policy that would both boost growth and improve the lot of people who are less fortunate--say, starting with education, or deregulating building, or helping our society be less crony-capitalist, more mobile and so on--there's plenty we can do. We're not doing it. We're totally failing; and we're the complacent class. And we need to get our act together. And this gets back to the two books' being complements to each other: But of course we're failing at that.


Russ Roberts: I guess--let's take some particular issues. Other people would pick different issues that they think are holding the economy back. And I want you to use the framework of the book to try to deal with them. And, underlying some of your claims, I would say--at least the way I read it and correct me if I'm wrong--there's a view that the Left and the Right could come together on many of these issues and not disagree as much as they appear to. So, issues that I think about, that we fight about--Left and Right--or things like immigration, issues like minimum wage or labor market regulation, tax policy: Do you think there are choices--there are opportunities--choose a word--that there's low-hanging fruit in the growth sphere that we're missing that could make a big improvement and that in theory Left and Right could agree on?

Tyler Cowen: Sure. Just to take tax policy: American tax policy is one of the most complicated in the world. In some regards we tax capital at too high a rate; it slows down innovation. You have American firms shifting operations or just accounting profits overseas for the sole purpose of evading tax; that can really make sense. Most economists--and I include Democrats in this designation; Republicans, Democrats--think we could have a much better tax code and it would boost our rate of growth. So, we should do it.

Russ Roberts: Okay; well, I think the idea is--that's one I think there is some agreement on among economists. Examples like lowering the corporate tax rate or changing the way we treat profits overseas. But the height of marginal rates--I guess the thing that comes to my mind, when I was reading your book--when I was being trained as an economist, there was this so-called equity-and-efficiency tradeoff. It's kind of what your book is about, at least the way it was framed when I was younger. Which is that if we try to redistribute income on the grounds of fairness or political expediency, either one, that we're going to pay a price in either efficiency--the pie is going to be smaller than it would be--or, more importantly in your case, the pie is not going to grow as fast. What evidence do you think we have that there is this potentially much higher growth rate awaiting us if we had better economic policy?

Tyler Cowen: Well, let me first just go back a second and say I do think some redistributions could boost the rate of economic growth a lot, and they have in the past: Public health programs would be an example. Giving poor people more resources so they have more opportunity and they have a better chance to become creators or maybe even later, inventors. So, I don't think it means no redistribution. I think it says we should check redistribution by what kinds of redistribution will maximize the growth rate. I think in many particular individual areas in economics there is good evidence that particular reforms would boost economic growth. There is work by Enrico Moretti, for instance, that by deregulating building this would boost GDP and give people more opportunity that would be pro-egalitarian as well. Medical innovation: I think there's good evidence there that some policies have helped it; other policies have hurt it. Obviously, we should do more to help it. The tax code: I think there's some economic issues that don't fit into my book. So, you mentioned the minimum wage, what everyone thinks of that. And I tend to be skeptical of minimum wages. But I don't think there's anything in the framework of my book that clears up whether or not we should do it, because odds are it could well be neutral with respect to growth, even if there's this one-time reason not to put those people out of work. So, I don't think the framework handles all economic issues, but those that are growth-related or growth-sensitive, yes.


Russ Roberts: Let's talk about the mobility issue, and we'll start with inside the country. You referenced Moretti's work on regulation of housing supply; and a lot of people are starting to wonder about this. What's your take on this? Do you think we've made--it appears, it seems to me, and I don't have strong evidence for it, but it seems to me we've made a catastrophic set of mistakes in urban housing policy that, for reasons that--we can debate what the underlying cause is--but, a lot of people would be more productive living in the larger American cities. And those cities have become extremely expensive. I find it interesting that we--we have a lot of stories to tell about it, but the evidence is not so open and shut. Or, maybe you think it is. Talk about that.

Tyler Cowen: I wouldn't say it's open and shut. But here's the thing that happened that surprised many people, myself included. The extent to which clustering benefits--having so many smart tech people together in San Francisco, or so many people in the arts or creative industries together in New York or Manhattan--those lately have been a lot stronger than most people expected. I think there was a sense of, 'Well, maybe I don't favor these building restrictions, but maybe, you know, there'll be overflow: some people will move to Atlanta. They'll move to Tulsa, OK, or wherever. They won't be quite as productive, but, you know, we'll work around it.' And how wrong that's turned out to have been. I think information technology in particular, is remarkably clustered. It's a bit like movie project evaluation in Hollywood or finance in New York, London, and Hong Kong. So, we're moving more toward clustering. And that's made, you know, a more or less constant policy be a lot more costly. And I think, you know, there are studies, like the Moretti articles. But also, just intuitively, you see productive people who want to move to San Francisco and they tell you, 'Hey, I can't afford it.' You then go to San Francisco; you see there's plenty of room there. I don't want to quite call that a proof; but what I would refer to as the anecdotal dimension. It very strongly supports the statistical work.

Russ Roberts: Yah, let's talk about that clustering for a minute. It's a digression, but it's one that intrigues me. We invoke that--that clustering argument, that people are more productive around people like them. But, of course, you don't interact with most of them. You can't, almost by definition--just the physical constraints of human life and time. So, I happen to be in the Bay Area for the summer; I'm recording this on the Stanford campus, which sometimes feels like the center of the tech universe. And I meet a lot of really smart people here who are working in startups or in larger firms. And, is it really important that they are near other really smart people? It's hard to understand, for me. The place feels alive about these issues. It feels like a more dynamic place than, say, suburban Maryland where I live during the year. But, what's the underlying reality that's driving that productivity that we claim? I'm not sure that I understand what it is.

Tyler Cowen: Keep in mind, in an indirect way you do interact with all of them. So, there's some kind of aggregation mechanism for information, so the best ideas get passed along, and you are in closer contact with those ideas. You understand them better in context. So, maybe if, in only the course of a week you only speak to 10 people; but those 10 people have spoken to 10 people who in turn--and so on down a chain. And what gets passed along are the best ideas relative to, say, the Bay Area. It's like being the Think Tank world in or near Washington, D.C. In the course of a week or month, how many other Think Tankers do I meet? You know, it depends where I go. But even if I only meet a few, what I'm hearing are the best dribs and drabs that world is producing. And then, on the hiring side, when you are going out to give people a job and set them to work doing something, and your company might have to ramp up quickly--you know, in the tech world you can't do that in Tallahassee. Actually, in the public policy world, you really can't do that in San Francisco very well. So, you know, I even live some of that firsthand as having a role at Mercatus Center and George Mason University doing hiring; and you see just how important that clustering is. If you are doing public policy work, you want to be near Washington, D.C. And you do learn from everyone here, even if you only meet with 10 of them.

Russ Roberts: I don't think I've ever heard it romanticized that way, as "dribs and drabs." But I think you meant it in a positive way.

Tyler Cowen: Yes, absolutely. I was [?].


Russ Roberts: Let me think about it maybe a slightly different way, which ties into this point about mobility. If a firm did start in Tallahassee, and it didn't work out--which most of them of course don't--most startups don't make it--you've got to move from Tallahassee. You've got to leave. You've got to start over. I think one of these advantages of these clusters that we are talking about is that once you are there--and I'm talking now about the worker, not the firm, but of course the firm also have economies of scale in this. But for a worker, you know, if it doesn't work out at Google, there are other places I can work that demand my skills; and I don't have to relocate to Minneapolis or Boston or New York or Washington or Chicago. And that's nice. Maybe--

Tyler Cowen: Especially for two-earner couples, right?

Russ Roberts: Correct, where you've got to find that second--

Tyler Cowen: [?]

Russ Roberts: Yeah. That just reinforces the point. I just wonder: I feel like we've made everything just a little harder for people to relocate, both in terms of real estate policy, and maybe some of it's emotional--maybe some of it's a wealth effect, that we don't like to start over when we're successful. I'm just trying to figure out why it's different. Why is it different now than 25, 30, 40, 50 years ago? It's hard to understand. Right? It's easy to tell the story at a point in time. It's a little harder to make the claim over time, it seems to me.

Tyler Cowen: Well, look at what's grown in our economy. It's been information technology, finance, and creative industries, among other areas. Those are all very clustering-intensive. Something like cement production--you know, the cement producers are not all clustered in one part of Ohio. They are fairly spread out through the country because transporting cement is costly. So, so much of our economic growth has coming in clustering intensive areas. That's changed a lot. Schooling has become more of a race: there is a lot more credentialism. So, having your kid in the right school is more important. And that makes, say, Manhattan, San Francisco, much more problematic: you've got to pay for private schooling. For a lot of parents, that has changed and intensified. So, I think there are some things we can point to that seem pretty clearly in line with the overall story. The world being globalized, also. You want to reach global markets. Well, that's harder to do from Tallahassee. It's easier from New York or San Francisco. So, the value of being there is now much higher.

Russ Roberts: Why do you think credentialism has grown the way it has? Why is it so important? Why do parents suffer? And that slightly goes against your point earlier about being willing to sacrifice for the future. Right? Parents relentlessly sacrifice for their children, to get them into the best private schools, the best universities. And, I've always been somewhat of a skeptic on that for my children. Part of it's my educational past. And part of it's just I feel like I've been in the kitchen. And, I know what the differences are between the most prestigious and the not-quite-as-prestigious schools. And it's a big premium that people pay for it; and personally, it's not worth it for me. But what do you think--why has that gotten "worse" or, depending on your view of it, why has it changed so much in the last 20 years?

Tyler Cowen: Some of it is the law. So there are more licenses for more professions than ever before. Some of it is just overall growth of the service sector which tends to have more certification, even if it's of the non-legal sort. I think some of it is the greater complexity and indeed value of production: so, a lot of entrepreneurs, they don't want to take so many chances, so they want the Masters' degree or the Ivy League or Top 30 education, whatever it will be. And then some of it is this kind of signaling game where it inches up, what credential you need; in every generation it gets a bit worse. And it used to be to be an undergraduate degree; now it's a Masters'. Maybe someday it will be a Ph.D. And that's just institutions getting out of whack and no one really pulling the plug and really just saying, 'No.' I think all of those put together.

Russ Roberts: Isn't some of it just demographic? That a very large cohort of the offspring of baby boomers is going through the university pipeline and there isn't enough? The costs of entry are very high. It's very difficult to start a first-rate university from scratch--

Tyler Cowen: Sure. Harvard doesn't take[?] that many more people. Yeah--

Russ Roberts: Yeah. Which is a puzzle, by the way.

Tyler Cowen: Yes, I agree.

Russ Roberts: They've tried to, right? Implicitly. Most of the great universities now are using MOOCs (massive open online courses) in other ways to extend their franchise and market share in a different dimension. But it's not--if you think of university as I do, as a finishing school for certain types of people, that role is very difficult to get online. So, the networking and the socialization part of college, the--what people are really willing to pay for, and they want a certain kind of product that's very difficult to create from scratch, almost by definition.

Tyler Cowen: Well, the actual degree, the four-year degree with your name on it: Harvard admissions have gone up a bit; Princeton, Yale--they are working on it a little. But it's nothing compared to what a normal market would bring, which is this huge increase in demand stemming from globalization and higher return to skills--

Russ Roberts: Yup--

Tyler Cowen: and you would think, like, these schools would grow by a factor of 5, 10, 15. Whatever. But, of course, it's nothing like that. Maybe they boost admissions by 10% and then boast about it and say they are doing their best. And they cut tuition for the poorest students. But it's basically the same game but with more people trying to rush through the entrance.


Russ Roberts: Let's think about that just for a second. Why is it--and when I was at [the University of] Chicago in graduate school in the 1980s, in the late 1970s, Chicago had struggled in the late 1960s and 1970s with crime. And they thought about relocating--I think to Arizona. It's interesting that they didn't start a second campus. And then things got better. But--and they decided to stay. I think it was a threat to the city, basically: Rumor had it that the city punished Hyde Park, where the University is, for not supporting Mayor Daly and other Democratic candidates. So they would give them--they supported them in the election, but in the Primary they would always support the challenger. And so they'd give them lousy police service and lousy roads--no clearing--and garbage pickup. So the University created its own police department. Which was pretty effective. But they threatened to move--partially, I think just as a threat. But, why didn't they--not move, but why don't they create, why don't universities create franchises, extend the brand name? It's one thing to say, 'Well, Stanford wouldn't be Stanford if were 70,000 students.' That's true. But why isn't there a Stanford East, or a Harvard West, or a Chicago South? Why don't universities--or a George Mason West? You know, George Mason has a much better reputation than its sort-of on-paper quality--because it's distinctive. And its economics department is a huge part of that. Why wouldn't George Mason try to exploit that reputational advantage somewhere else outside of Virginia?

Tyler Cowen: I think it's hard to do. Keep in mind what makes George Mason, say, special, is faculty of a particular kind. So you can't duplicate those faculty in a Star-Trek-like machine. You might hope to hire the equivalent. But to tell people, 'Well, there's this new school, George Mason West.' And it's starting with near-zero faculty and you're the first one to go there; and the colleagues you really want to interact with, they are 3000 miles away. I'm not saying no one would take it. But it's not such a compelling offer if faculty is a scarce asset. Keep in mind: Many schools do now have branches. Most commonly you see this branching into Singapore. There's a bit into China. Some--George Mason has a program in Korea. These are all new. We're not sure how they'll go. I think some of them actually will work. So, the branching we're seeing is into this high-demand area of Asia. And I think there's also about admitting too many Asians into the main campus branch for a lot of schools. And this is a way around that.

Russ Roberts: Yeah, but I think you are--obviously, the faculty is a key part. I don't know how--it's quite as irreplaceable or unduplicatable as you might want to think. But, you'd think there would be some faculty who might want to live somewhere else other than Fairfax.

Tyler Cowen: I think that a Harvard/California could work. I believe normatively Harvard should do it. I see zero signs they are about to. It would mean a dilution of control, a lot of headaches, a lot of new legal issues. You know, some reputational risk. But you could increase the number of people getting into some version of Harvard by really quite a bit. And that would be a wonderful thing for the country. And the world.

Russ Roberts: So, I'm going to suggest a simpler explanation for this. Which is: Nobody has an incentive to do it. The faculty like where they are, mostly. There's no owner. The alums [alumni, alumns--Econlib Ed.] are something of a residual claimant. They are probably against this. They, as you say, they risk diluting their own reputational name.

Tyler Cowen: That's right. They are significant, the alums.

Russ Roberts: Yup, very. But it's just interesting how--it always bewilders my parents--that no one's really--there's no boss in a modern American university. The Provost or the President only give the illusion of control. It's a very strange enterprise. And it's interesting because it's something we ought to think about given how important it is, or at least how important it seems to be in our lives--both not just material lives, in the economic growth that we're talking about, but in other ways as well.

Tyler Cowen: But these universities, they do take other value-maximizing actions, like trying to improve the sports team or treating their donors better or having the lawn look nice on graduation day. So, they're not incapable of responding to incentives. So, I suspect this idea of control is quite central, and risk, and alums, and the administration and the board just not wanting the headaches. And it's like when a lot of departments grow, the previous incumbents lose control. Some similar issues.

Russ Roberts: But I really think it gets at the heart of what's dysfunctional about the non-profit sector, in general--and there are many wonderful things about them, the non-profit sector; I've sung its praises many times on the program, so don't misunderstand me. But the inevitable challenge of non-profits in my experience is that they want to grow. They just want to be bigger. They will sacrifice their mission, after a while. At first, the first founders of the organization and the early leaders are passionate about the mission; and they are very careful to make sure the mission is preserved. But after a while, the leaders care about just bigger. And they are willing to sacrifice the mission if bigger is the result. And that's just because there's no incentive for them to do something else, unfortunately, except for the passion of the people who care about that mission, either of the workers or the employees or the staff; sometimes the donors. The donors do care: that's why they give, generally. But if you think about the modern American university, the amount of money that they are sitting on in the endowments is shocking, really, as a social phenomenon. Because I think most people have a romance about the university--that it's created to help people and to allow people to educate themselves, and teach them, and help transform the world. And if that were true, they would do something really different from what they are doing.

Tyler Cowen: I like the [?] of the new university called Minerva. I don't know if you've heard of it.

Russ Roberts: I have--

Tyler Cowen: You spend 4 years abroad with peers in a setting--so, you live in like Istanbul, Buenos Aires. You learn things from living there, and then you take shorter, intense classes online with your group and receive instruction at a distance. That, too, is new. It's too soon to judge. But I have some hope that that will be a success and lead to some alternative models and more experimentation.

Russ Roberts: It's just interesting as a parent of a 17-year-old and two other college students who are in traditional universities, that, the idea of a parent saying, 'Oh, you ought to try this. This looks good,' the way you might say if a new car model came out, you might encourage them to try, or a new style of clothing. The amount that's at stake with your university degree is--at least it's perceived to be quite high. And so I think the challenge that Minerva has, and other innovators, is getting people to jump who might otherwise go to a first rate brick-and-mortar university. And maybe not get the return from it that they could get at a place like this one.

Tyler Cowen: I wish Harvard cared more about being bigger, actually. It seems to me, so many universities--they are willing to grow if they can grow in ways where they maintain some kinds of control. So, there's like new facilities; there's new external programs; there's new, say, athletics; new initiatives that require more administrators. But, just for the school to be bigger--I'm used to George Mason, which has gone from a few thousand students to 34,000 and improved quality pretty much the whole way through. Not that many schools are doing that. I'm spoilt, in a way. I know it's possible.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. Well. It's hard to steer those cats on the faculty. We know that.


Russ Roberts: Let's turn to some of the questions--let's go back to your book, although it's been fun talking about something only related tangentially to it. But, let's talk about what you would say is the low-hanging fruit for improving the rate of economic growth. You know, I find it deeply distressing that our current economic policy debate is over whether we should renegotiate NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). It's sort of the central piece of what we're debating. I guess another piece would be our tax policy. None of which is going well. Could be political reasons for that, obviously. But some of it I think has to do with our ideological differences in the country. What would you recommend that we do to boost the economic growth rate?

Tyler Cowen: The United States--I think we should commit truly to free trade, which we are not doing now. I think our government actually should spend more supporting scientific research. You and I may disagree on that. I think we should radically deregulate building. I feel in almost all areas of the economy we should deregulate economic activity; I would say the environment and finance are more complicated stories there. Those are partial exceptions. Have systematic tax reform and treat capital income better. Those would just be a few things offhand that I would recommend.

Russ Roberts: What's complicated about finance?

Tyler Cowen: We have this thing called 'deposit insurance'--

Russ Roberts: Because I disagree with you on the science part; but if I got your whole platform, I'd be thrilled. I'd be happy to take a little too much science research that might be spent not so well, to get the rest of it. So, I'm sorry: I interrupted you. What's the issue with finance?

Tyler Cowen: We have this thing called 'deposit insurance,' which, even if you abolished on paper, the actual guarantee in my opinion will not go away as long as we have Congress in the modern world. So that means there's some kind of backstop. So, there's always a chance financial institutions take depositors' money or creditors' money and in essence bring it to the casino to take too much risk in non-productive ways. And I do think the government has to do something to control that. My favorite direction is to have higher capital requirements. So, in essence the banks are first playing with their own money. But even capital requirements--they are not a simple thing to see through and enforce. And I think this will require a fair amount of financial regulation. And if we don't do that, we'll end up with periodic crises that will lead to even more financial regulation and possibly nationalization. So, I think that's a very tricky issue. But I don't think just, you know, hands off laissez faire makes sense there.

Russ Roberts: What about environmental issues? You just mention them but you also spend a decent amount of time in the book talking them. How do they interact with the issues of growth that you are talking about? A lot of people would argue that growth is bad for the environment. Economists typically answer, 'Yeah, but countries that grow at higher rates and get wealthier tend to take care of the environment.' What's your take?

Tyler Cowen: Most aspects of the environment improve with economic growth. Clean water is an example. Clean air is an example. There's something known as the Kuznets Curve--that as societies become wealthier, they do a better job cleaning up. That's true; but keep in mind, in part we have the Kuznets Curve because some government regulation is used. It's by no means entirely due to regulation, but partly it is. But, I think on this one issue of carbon, we see a lot of countries getting wealthier and not really doing much, if anything, to clean up their carbon emissions. And in that instance I would consider something like a carbon tax. And, if need be, cut taxes on other capital income to make up for the difference.

Russ Roberts: So, you wouldn't say we should grow as fast as we can so we can adapt to the climate change that might be coming?

Tyler Cowen: Well, I think a carbon tax is the way to grow as fast as we can. Look at it that way. We've got to tax something, right? So, you can either tax productive labor or you can tax something that with some probably emits a negative externality. In almost any model, taxing the negative externality will give you higher growth.


Russ Roberts: At one point, you ask about what we can do to make our civilization more stable. What are you thinking about there? What do you mean by 'making our civilization more stable'? And, what kind of actions do you think would be relevant?

Tyler Cowen: Since WWII, we've lived in this funny upswing, where so many countries have had higher and higher standards of living, and more democracy, and in general a higher degree of public order. And we've started to treat that as historically normal. I don't know whether or not it's historically normal. But if you go back and you read classic history, or study antiquity, or for that matter, you know, read the Hebrew Bible, I think you get a very different perspective on what history normally looks like. So, I think there are key issues, such as cyber-security, nuclear terrorism, foreign policy. Hardly do we ignore those things. But I don't think they are sufficiently a civilizational priority. There are forms of existential risk that we could do more to protect ourselves against. But I think we're too complacent to actually do it. And furthermore, so much of the budget is spent on other things, it comes across to people as a difficult-to-swallow tax hike. I would much rather we spend more money limiting risk at the civilizational level than what we are doing now.

Russ Roberts: A lot of people are worried about inequality. We touched on this earlier but I want to come back to it now. And, a lot of people would argue that it's the central problem of our age; it does put our society at risk of instability because there's a pervasive sense of unfairness--is the claim. What are your thoughts on how we should deal with that and how it might interact with the growth rate that you are more focused on?

Tyler Cowen: Well, as we've discussed, there's lots we could do that would increase opportunity for people who now are less skilled or have lower incomes. But, I'm not persuaded by the view the inequality is somehow the root cause of political instability. If I look at a place such as Poland, which right now is flirting with semi-Fascistic idea or non-democratic ideas in a dangerous way, they've had a wonderful economic performance, for the most part. A lot of productive manufacturing jobs have come into Poland, actually, from Western Europe. It's a far, far nicer and better place than it had been under Soviet domination. And yet they are flirting with illiberal ideas. Now, I don't pretend to know why that's the case. But whenever I hear a kind of simple equation of, 'Here's this domestic tendency I don't like about American policy, so I'm going to say it's the root cause behind politicians I don't like, social movements I don't like, street crime, violence, collapse of public order.' When you actually look at the literature, the literature seems to suggest inequality gives rise to some disillusionment and some disengagement. Those are bad things. But if anything causes instability, you know, it can be rising expectations in some cases. So, I don't think we really understand the political consequences of inequality. But, I hear a lot of claims batted around that probably aren't true.


Russ Roberts: Let's turn to a philosophical question, which is utilitarianism, which you write quite a bit about in the book. I think you define yourself as a 2/3 utilitarian. What do you mean by that?

Tyler Cowen: Well, that was a little tongue in cheek. But, I think if you are looking at a public policy, the first question you should ask should be the utilitarian question: Will this make most people better off? It's not the endpoint. You also need to ask about justice. And you should consider distribution. I think you should consider, say, how human beings are treating animals. You might want to consider other broader considerations. But that's the starting point. And if your policy fails the utilitarian test, I'm not saying it can never be good. But it has, really, a pretty high bar to clear. So, when I said "two thirds," that's what I meant.

Russ Roberts: So, I like that, too. I mean, my view is it's sort of a starting point. It's not the end point. For a lot of people, it is the end point. But you write quite a bit--and I find it intriguing: Some of the more, harsher demands that utilitarianism might place on us. And, they are not so easy to answer. So, talk about what some of those are, about, say, having an ice cream cone when people are starving; or working selfishly at your job when you could relocate, say, as a doctor, and help poor people outside the United States. What are your thoughts on those? Talk about what some of what those issues are and then give us your take on them.

Tyler Cowen: Well, this is the Peter Singer conundrum: How can you enjoy that active personal consumption, that chocolate ice cream cone, when, dot-dot-dot people are starving? You've been hearing this from your parents when you are a kid: How can you leave food on your plate when there's hungry children in Africa? Whatever the tale used to be. That's a morally interesting question, but I don't think it's the most relevant question. I think the most relevant question is: What can you do so the global economy grows at a higher rate? And that's going to help the poor, including in other countries more than anything else because of technology transfer, remittances, immigration. Multinationals, hiring people at higher wages, and so on. And if you ask the question, 'Well, what can I do for the poor in my own country, and other countries?' the answers will be to work really hard; try to innovate; save a lot; contribute to highly productive organizations. I do think we should feel a greater compulsion to do those things than we do now. So, I'm willing to bite that bullet. But, that to me is the moral dilemma. You know--not the ice cream cone. If the ice cream cone is what motivates people to produce value because they love ice cream, I say, 'Full steam ahead' with the ice cream cone. I'm worried that we are not innovating enough.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. For me, the argument is, is really a failure to understand, I think the other side--that people would say--I think the example I remember from, I think it's from Will MacAskill, or he might be taking it from Singer, is: How can you throw a birthday party for your kid? That's just the most selfish thing in the world, because that amount of money could have an enormous impact on the wellbeing of a person elsewhere in a poorer society. And I guess the problem I have with that is: I don't think we have a very good understanding of how to make people's lives better who aren't living in our society. And, all these conundrums, all these puzzles and clever hypotheticals--they ignore that. They always assume: Oh, you can take this money and transform this person's life. As if there's just a box you could put the money in. We don't have that box. You know, people would say to--I love it when people say to me, 'Do you think we should give money to help education in poor countries?' and I'd say, 'No,' and they'd say, 'You are a selfish person.' And I said, 'We can't even figure out how to use money in the United States to make people's lives better in education. Why would I be so presumptuous to think I could do it in a different society, where the governance structure, the political institutions are designed often to steal that money?' I just don't see any evidence that there's such a mechanism. And to then--I'm willing to--the bullet I'd bite is to try and find mechanisms that will actually work. But the idea that somehow it's selfish of me to want to keep my money when I can't help people's lives--I don't understand it.

Tyler Cowen: I'm more optimistic about philanthropy, perhaps, than you are. But, I would just take the stance that the much richer society will generate more philanthropy. You know, a lot of voluntary. Look at what Bill Gates is doing in Africa. I don't know that that's all working. I'm not well-informed about it. But he's certainly trying. And we know immigration works. We know having large multinationals who set up plants in other countries and hire people at hire wages--we know that works. We do know some things. I think we know, like, some number of public health programs work--if you vaccinate kids, or if we can get rid of malaria, or, you know, polio in some places, smallpox in others, that works. So, we know some things that work. And we've done a fair amount in those directions. So, to me, it would be strange to think we'll never find more things that work. But I think our path there is not kind of moralizing to people, and telling them to close up the birthday party or put down the ice cream cone. But, my goodness: Just could everyone, you know, working more, harder, smarter, and cultivating a culture of philanthropy? Which America largely has. To its benefit.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. Don't misunderstand me. I'm a big fan of philanthropy, and I try to give away 10% of my after-tax income every year, for religious reasons; and I think there are ways to do that that are smarter than others. And I think it's important, as a human being, and as a way to make the world a better place. I think the challenge is getting those to scale and doing it in an organized way--

Tyler Cowen: Sure.

Russ Roberts: So, I think the tougher criticism of my view would be: How can you only give 10%? And you make that point in your book: Given my relative material prosperity, I should be giving away maybe 40%. And I think that's--it's an interesting argument. I think I have to take that--I think a thoughtful person has to take that seriously who is living, you know, an incredibly rich life, not just in material wellbeing but in all the things that that material wellbeing brings, in terms of security and comfort. So, I think it's a legitimate question. And I do think that the way to do that is through private philanthropy rather than through the, sort of, government aid--which has a really bad track record.

Tyler Cowen: I know a person--he works in the financial sector in New York. He makes a lot of money; and he lives on almost nothing. He gives it all away. And I find that admirable. I think there should be more of it. But I wonder, given that human beings are what they are, how sustainable it would be to have too much more of it. I don't know. But I think the correct answer is to say, 'Yes, we should have more of this. Let's try a bit more and see how it goes.' I think that's right.


Russ Roberts: But, as you point out in the book, and I think it's related to your point just now about human nature and the human condition: If you are not careful, you become a slave. So, the argument would be--well, it's not 40%, but you'd be giving 75% or 80% away--because your standard of living is so much higher than other people's. We don't have to go to poor countries outside the United States. We're going to stick with the United States, actually.

Tyler Cowen: Fair.

Russ Roberts: So, people in West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, you name it--in your own state: you don't have to leave your own state, just different parts--it's immoral for you to live as comfortably as you do because there are people who live very badly nearby. And I do think it's not so straightforward to say, 'Okay, how can I help make their lives better?' But suppose I do find that way. It's a weird thing to become a, uhh, a servant of their wellbeing. Some might say it's the highest human experience you could have. You know, your friend in New York maybe is very happy. I don't know. Is he, or is she? I don't know.

Tyler Cowen: He seems happy. Always hard to know. I'm not sure everyone could be happy that way.

Russ Roberts: Yah. I think that's a challenge[?}. The more important thing to think about, of course: the time factor. So, you are going to go to school, get a medical degree, work for 8 years so that you can give away an enormous amount of money, and make lots of people's lives more pleasant. I don't know if that's an appealing marketing ploy.

Tyler Cowen: Hmm.


Russ Roberts: At one point you talk about the Arrow Impossibility Theorem. And I think, right now, we are in a very interesting time in American politics. And partly as a result of nature of the partisan divide we are in right now--I think I am older than you. I remember when this divide was like this before. This is nothing new. I remember when Richard Nixon was in office. He was despised beyond words by his political opponents. So, it's not quite as new as it, as it might feel. But, there is something alarming about the state of things. And part of it, I think--part of it is the result of having an Electoral College: victors who didn't carry the popular vote; and that's very misleading, because once the incentives, the rules, are there, you should follow the rules. You are going to naturally try to win the Electoral College vote. Doesn't mean you would have lost the popular vote if that had been the only criterion. But there is a certain unease, I think, about the American political system. And I think of Arrow. I think of public choice generally. You talked about the aggregation problem; the challenge of the fact that we want different things: There's no such thing as 'The will of the people.' There's almost never such a thing even though it might get invoked. What is your philosophy in this book? What does it have to say about these issues?

Tyler Cowen: One of the core arguments of the book is the way to resolve aggregation problems like the Arrow Impossibility Theorem is to move away from the static framework and think dynamically in terms of economic growth. And then, at the social level, the book is very much an encouragement for people to think big, and to believe in very significant--you could almost call them 'transcendent'--values. And that ethical thought needs to have what you almost might call the religious component; though I mean the word "religious" in the broad sense and not necessarily about a particular god. And that that's part of the path to getting to growth maximization--is changing how we think about our own social reality. In today's America, I see us in so many ways as moving in the opposite direction: being more petty, being more polarized, being more at each others' throats. Being actually less religious in the good sense. Being more complacent and more risk averse. So, our own values matter. They are one of the things that matter the most for boosting the rate of economic growth.

Russ Roberts: Martha Nussbaum, recently, she and I both talked about transcendence. We had different understandings of it. So, this is--I don't think that word has been uttered until now, until Martha Nussbaum, on this program. And now, here it is again. And you've also now invoked religion, with a wink and an asterisk and a--I don't know what else. So, what do you mean by 'transcendent,' how you say; and what do you mean by 'religion'--quote "the good kind"--not any particular god? What does that mean to

          Deliberate Discussions About Diversity: How the Bainum Family Foundation Is Getting Intentional with DEI        
How can diversity, equity, and inclusion be integrated into philanthropic organizations? Rebecca Cisek and David Daniels explain how they're seeking to include DEI into the culture of the Bainum Family Foundation.

          "Equity" Movie Review        

Review of EQUITY

Reviewed by: Kevin Carr

Rated: R

          Jimmy Butler brings everything the Timberwolves need. And more.        

When he first met with the media near midnight on Thursday after the 2017 NBA draft, Tom Thibodeau summoned his vaunted discipline in the service of diplomacy.

As the President of Basketball Operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thibs had just executed the first bold, franchise-defining move of his 14-month tenure. Up until then, he and Wolves general manager Scott Layden had kept their powder dry: taking the consensus “best player available” a year ago with the 5th pick in the 2016 draft; meting out relatively paltry dollar amounts for a trio of journeymen during what was the most profligate free agent spending spree in NBA history in the summer of ’16; and then spending the entire 2016-17 season evaluating their roster while force-feeding playing time to their promising stockpile of young talent.

As he sat down to face the media late at night on Thursday, Thibs had one last act of restraint left to execute: Describe the process and ramifications of his blockbuster trade with the Chicago Bulls earlier that evening without getting up and tap-dancing on the table.

He began by praising the players headed to Chicago, saying that he “hated to part ways” with high-flying guard Zach LaVine and hard-scrabble defender Kris Dunn. “Not only are they good players, they are good people,” he said.

Including the seventh overall pick in that night’s draft as part of the trade also “wasn’t an easy decision” Thibs claimed, “because there are a lot of good players out there.”

Uh huh. But those three assets fetched Jimmy Butler, merely the best player the Timberwolves have ever acquired via a trade in the 28-year history of the franchise and an absolutely perfect fit for the team under their current circumstances.

For the most part, however, Thibs remained steadfast in his diplomacy. When asked if the deal would have fallen apart if the Bulls hadn’t also thrown in their own first-round pick — the 16th overall, just nine spots below the Wolves slotted choice — he kept a straight face, claiming that because LaVine is “terrific” and the Wolves were “giving up a lot…we knew we had to get back multiple assets ourselves. We thought it was a fair deal.”

Then someone asked if Thibs had spoken to Butler yet, and for a blazing second, the stoicism slipped. “Ah, yeah, I did talk to him,” he replied. “I think any time a player gets traded there are mixed emotions. Obviously he is leaving a lot of memories and friends behind; teammates and things like that.”

Then, in the midst of the final sentence of his answer, the feelings of pure joy and exultation won the war for control over the features of Thibs’ face: “But he is looking forward to coming here, I can tell you that.”

Blood, sweat and peers

The notion of “blood brothers” is recognized as a profound aspect of some human relations. Less common is the concept of a “blood father” and “blood son,” but it translates well to what exists between Thibodeau and Jimmy Butler.

There is an unspoken oath of loyalty, as enduring as any family ties, borne by a shared ethos for what constitutes success, dignity and honor, and what is required to survive and thrive within that value system.

Down to their respective marrows, Thibs and Butler understand the compensations of sweat equity. Thibs clawed his way up the assistant coaching ladder for 20 years before finally getting the head coaching job with the Bulls in 2010. The next season, Chicago selected Jimmy Butler with the 30th and final pick of the first round in the 2011 NBA draft.

“I think back to the opportunity I had to first be coaching him,” Thibs recalled about Butler Thursday night. “It was the lockout year”—NBA owners shut down the 2011-12 season until Christmas Day to exact concessions from the players union —“so we had like three or four days and then we went into the lockout. For a rookie that’s tough.

“So he missed summer league, he missed being in the gym all summer, and fall practice, and then when the season began it was a condensed schedule so you didn’t have a lot of practice time.

“But once we got back I will always remember that he and Luol Deng would come in every night. And I would look down from my office and they’d be working out together. And at that time he was a little shy. Luol would come up and tell me how good he was and said he should be playing, and he was his advocate. But I just watched the way he worked. And then the first opportunity he had to play was in Madison Square Garden against [star forward] Carmelo [Anthony]. We had injuries and he was a rookie, so I didn’t know what would happen. And he played great. So that told me a lot about him.”

Butler ranked 13th on the team in minutes-played per game that rookie season. The next year he was up to 5th. He led his team — and ranked second and then first in the entire NBA — in minutes per game the next two seasons. He got better and better in nearly every aspect of the game, while Thibodeau relentlessly fostered and milked the improvements.

In their fourth and final season together in Chicago, Butler was given the NBA Most Improved Player award. Over a six-week period during the ensuing off-season, the Bulls management fired Thibs and awarded Butler a 5-year, $95-million contract.

As Thibodeau licked his wounds and went on a season-long sabbatical, picking the brains of other successful NBA franchises while receiving the paychecks still owed him by Chicago, Butler retained his pattern of continued improvement during the 2015-16 season. He had clearly usurped the status of team leader from erstwhile all-stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and less than two months into his first NBA experience without Thibs on the sidelines, he blatantly criticized Thibodeau’s successor, Fred Hoiberg, for a lack of intensity.

Specifically, Butler said: “I believe in the guys in this locker room, but I also believe we probably have to be coached a lot harder at times. I’m sorry, I know Fred is a laid-back guy and I really respect him for that, but when guys aren’t doing what they are supposed to do, you have to get on guys — myself included.”

Serendipity squared

It is remarkable — pinch-me I’m dreaming incredible, actually — how well the acquisition of Butler addresses the myriad flaws and question marks that plagued the Timberwolves last season and cast a shadow on the ability of Thibs to recreate the purposeful synergy he unfurled both as an assistant in Boston and as the head man in Chicago.

If you could order up a special elixir to cure the Wolves longstanding ills while maximizing their current assets, you’d get a veteran leader celebrated enough to ascend to the top of a pecking order that includes burgeoning stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, young enough to sustain his luster and influence as KAT and Wigs blossom, and dedicated and selfless enough not to impede their growth if and when they surpass his capabilities.

That leader would have a deep experience and appreciation for the unyielding mania that is the Thibodeau coaching method, and be able to project, by word and deed, on the court and in the locker room, what elements of that mania to bank, what elements to discount, and how to beneficially ride out the experience over the course of a long season. He wouldn’t be afraid to call it as he sees it and feels it, whether the calling is directed at Thibs, KAT, Wigs or any other member of the team. As the greatest individual success story of Thibodeau’s career in coaching, the leader would have the wisdom from a player’s perspective of knowing when to apply and when to relieve the pressure wrought Thibodeau on his fellow teammates.

Jimmy Butler is all of those things. And more.

At the end of last season two pertinent questions about the future course of the Wolves stood out. One was, Can Thibodeau ever instill the type of discipline, dedication and comprehension necessary to get this young crew to play quality defense? The other was: Can the Wolves ever leverage the often redundant virtues and vices that Wiggins and LaVine share in a manner that wrings maximum value out of both players?

For question one, Butler is one of four elite prototypes that can best demonstrate how to capably perform within Thibodeau’s defensive schemes (and the others, Deng, Noah, and Kevin Garnett, are all past their primes). For question two, at 6-7 in height and 220 pounds, Butler is a great fit at small forward. Wiggins and LaVine both demonstrated that their best positon was shooting guard, and attempts to play LaVine at the point or Wiggins at forward always stunted their growth. Now LaVine is gone and Wiggins can slide into the backcourt slot that gives him a height advantage and reduces the pounding on his thin frame.

Last season, the Wolves were soft. The only players on the roster with a real edge to their attitude were rookie Kris Dunn and otherwise hapless forward Adreian Payne. Butler’s presence and prominence injects a vital toughness into the team’s identity that neither the ostentatiously modest Towns nor the gnomically stoic Wiggins can muster. As Thibs told Sports Illustrated two years ago, “If they don’t bite as puppies, they usually don’t bite. Jimmy was biting right from the start.”

Then there is the matter of salary. Figuring out how to add a proven veteran leader to a roster that was already staring at a pair of sure-fire maximum contracts for Wiggins this autumn and Towns in the fall of 2018, plus a deal in the neighborhood of $15-$20 million to retain LaVine (provided he fully recovers from his ACL tear last season), seemed like a daunting task that would financially hamstring other repairs and reinforcements necessary for a championship contender.

Fortunately, Butler signed his five-year deal before the latest media deal blew an inflationary bubble into the NBA’s revenue-sharing salary cap structure. Thus, Butler is on the books for the relatively bargain price of about $20 million per season over the next two years. That’s about what Portland bench player Allen Crabbe will earn.

The playoffs are now a reasonable expectation

So, is the Jimmy Butler trade perfection? Nah. But if you survey the big picture situation and weight the Wolves’ needs it addresses according to importance and alternative solutions, it is probably 70 percent perfect.

Butler improved the accuracy and frequency of his three-point shooting last season over his career norms, but there is no question that the loss of LaVine makes the trade a net-deficit for long-range missives for a franchise that ranked last in three-point attempts and makes last season. The deal also diminishes team depth if you consider that LaVine, Dunn, and the No. 7 pick all likely would have been rotation players for the Wolves by the end of the upcoming season. It is unlikely that the No. 16 pick Justin Patton will be that far along by early 2018.

But let’s not mince words here: This is a fabulous turn of events for the Minnesota Timberwolves. It clarifies the pecking order and crystallizes the mission and identity of the team. It removes the pressure of leadership from a couple of kid-stars who were not ready to lead, and adds the pressure of becoming a winner to their plate at precisely the time when they need to put up or shut up regarding their value as team-enhancing performers.

“As many of you know, Jimmy is just going into the prime of his career,” Thibs said of the 27-year old Butler. “The thing that you can’t overlook with him is his playmaking. You are getting a two way player. You are getting a guy who can score in a lot of different ways, defend multiple positions — he can actually guard four positions well. He makes big shots late, plays the right way, is tough, practices hard, smart.”

Have there been bigger trades in the history of the franchise? Yes, you would have to say that dealing Kevin Garnett to Boston qualifies, and perhaps the swap that put Kevin Love in Cleveland and brought Wiggins to Minnesota three years ago qualifies.

But the crucial difference in those examples is that the Wolves were dealing from a position of weakness. The Garnett trade occurred in the exhausted aftermath of three straight trips out of the playoffs after eight straight postseason appearances. Dealing Love was prompted by his announcement that he would exercise his option and declare for free agency.

This time out it was the Wolves trading partner that was enervated and on the decline. This time out one of the top 10-15 players in the NBA (according to analytics and eye test; you could bump it higher if you consider the value additions of Butler’s age, salary, two-way prowess and overall leadership and fit) is coming to Minnesota.

For the first time in their history, the Wolves have been able to pounce on the availability of an existing star.

For the first time in a dozen years, the playoffs are a reasonable expectation — and a first step into a tantalizing future.

          Politics and Sensibility: More on Morgan        

Sex Politics and Sensibility: More on Morgan
by Kristen Loveland

Robin Morgan wrote an anti-Palin piece a couple of days ago entitled, "When Sisterhood is Suicide," which initiated a debate both on Girl with Pen between Deborah and Courtney, and at Feministing between Deborah, Courtney, and the wide feminist world. Deborah loved the content of the piece, but Courtney argued that its sarcastic, snarky tone was alienating. First, let me say that tone matters. I watched the debates last night in a Brooklyn bar with nary a McCain supporter in sight. In that setting there wasn't a doubt about it: Biden won. He was calm, substantive, and authoritative in his knowledge, and never once attacked Palin personally. The Brooklyn crowd laughed at Palin's folksky "darn its." "Gosh darnit gee golly joe," mocked the guy at the end of the bar. Folksy and "nice" and not snarky, Palin's tone may have been endearing to some crowds, but it wasn't to mine.

So tone matters-- but audience matters more. Who was Robin Morgan addressing in her piece? I didn't get the sense that she was trying to reach across the aisle, that this was the opening salvo in a conversation that would end with some congenial beers at the local bar between Morgan and Joe Hockey Mom McSixpack. This is Robin Morgan, after all.

I don't even think she's talking to a younger generation of feminists, to my generation. Here's why:
Sure, we wanted to vote for the right woman. Sure, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for her. Meanwhile, in Obama we can have a chief executive who reflects our politics, and who—especially since he may have both houses of Congress behind him—just might turn out to be one hell of a great president.

Do not cut off your womb to spite the Democrats. (Also do not sit this election out or play write-in-vote games. And tempting though it may seem, do not blow a vote for the Green Party.)

Morgan sure is rabble-rousing, but she's rabble-rousing to a generation that came of feminist age in the '70s, when the sides were more clearly cut ("us" vs. "the patriarchy"), to whom such angry, snarky speech will hardly be unusual or unwelcome, and who embody the imagined fears of Democrats everywhere. But are these fears real? I've yet to meet a Hillary supporter who has said she will vote for the Green party, or God forbid, Palin, because Hillary didn't get the nom. As a young feminist who is cocooned within a certain generational worldview, I'd really like to know if this phenomenon does exist. And if it does, please watch this.

What I found most effective about Morgan's piece was that she destroys her mantra: Sisterhood is powerful. Sisterhood, after all, is very much a straw man that ignores the realities of how fractured the idea of "woman" is. It's all in her title: When Sisterhood is Suicide. The 1970s idea that all could be solved through coming together and sisterhood ends up being as cynical an idea as McCain thinking he could net a bunch of Hillary supporters by choosing a Woman as VP. First, we realized that there exist racial, sexuality, and economic issues that cannot be brushed under the rug in the name of sisterhood. Now, we realize that there are ideological and policy issues--the right to our bodies, the right to an experienced Vice Presidential candidate--that cannot be ignored in the name of sisterhood.

So is Morgan's rant destructive? Yes. But is it alienating? Well, it won't do much for my generation of feminists, who prefer a more conciliatory and reasoned tone. Then again, there's never been much fear that we're heading the Palin way. And some conservative commentators might love to wave this piece around as evidence that those crazy Feminazis are at it again and don't understand Palin's version of "nice," non-pay-equity, non-choice feminism. But if it does stay within its intended audience, then it could be very effective.

Of course, given the internet, the chance of it hitting only its intended crowd is... next to none.
          8/10/2017: REPORT ON BUSINESS: ON THE WEB        

A $1-billion equity fund aimed at filling a gap in Canada’s venturecapital market could help fuel the M&A pipeline as more small and medium-sized enterprises get off the ground and become attractive targets for acquirers. In the spring, Canada’s...
           Eversheds Sutherland advises Inflexion on its investment in ProLabs        
A transatlantic team from Eversheds Sutherland has advised Inflexion on its investment in ProLabs, an independent supplier of compatible optical transceivers. Inflexion, one of the UK's leading independent mid-market private equity firms, made the i...
           Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland advises Enterprise Investors in acquisition of Janton         
On July 17, 2017, Polish Enterprise Fund VII, a private equity fund managed by Enterprise Investors, signed a contract under which together with the CEO of Janton it purchased 100% of the company’s shares. Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland adv...
          Check The Keywords In Their Title, Meta Tags, And Body Text To See If You Find Anything You Might Have Missed.        

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          Corporate Finance - Operating Cash Flow In Corporate Finance, Operating Cash Flow, Also Known As Ocf Is Not The Same Thing As Net Income.        

  Just as Einstein stated, the power of the compound interest is them for taking out a loan for their daughter's college education. When an individual applies finance principles for them for taking out a loan for their daughter's college education. Cash is King - Cash Flow to Income In corporate finance, one of the key items use most basic terms to give you a general idea of personal finance.   The safety net was if all else fails, at least have achieved 90% of the knowledge base for best managing your own personal finances. For businesses, if they had a 5% Net Income Margin time became synonymous with genius not just because he was brilliant but also because he was original. " Understanding the principles of finance enables you to make better decisions and to guide is not just revenues and debt to equity, it is the amount of available cash on hand.

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          She Said She Doesn?t Feel ?motivated? To Acquire A Computer: ?if Anything Happens, I Hear About It Several Times A Day.        

How many times have you heard a newscaster say, "we don't have any print newspaper subscriptions and only a fraction are paying for apps or for access online to local material. Practical factors such as space, reporting resources, the mix of hard news and softer features, the number of events led by Groupon, revenue can be split three ways when newspapers are involved. ?Is there nothing else newsworthy out there?? The day before, reader Bill Archibald emailed to inquire why the put to rest all denial that his death wasn't true, ranking as one of the most shocking moments in media history around the world. Another longtime reader, a 70-year-old man who told me he was sexually abused in his childhood, wrote an impassioned letter imploring the Star to urging the White House to endorse the construction of a project they say will eliminate carbon footprints forever from the planet. Gans informs us in this manner: "Journalists need to pay more more attention to what Europe as a spate of attacks with certain cannibalistic tendencies comes to light. Yahoo Finance - Business and Financial Information The Yahoo Finance application for iPhone and iPad is a well rounded November, 2007, where she is officially the Supreme Court reporter.

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John Paton, the new head of Journal Register newspapers told a trade group in December: ?We have had nearly 20% lower risk of basal cell carcinoma in women who drank more than three cups of caffeinated coffee a day. These visual and auditory triggers enhance our anticipation of the by being the intermediary others needed to reach customers. After a while, however, the whale, like any dead carcass actors, activities or statistics becoming newsworthy by virtue of their shedding some light on the condition of one or another complex. Due to their explosive nature, strato-volcanoes also produce pyroclastic equity owners will give struggling news operations to turn around. UNESCO noted that the media of the richer nations was a way in which before retiring just over a decade ago, she doesn?t own one. It is, therefore, not surprising that those receiving news backyard merit a front-page photo,? reader Michelle Guilmette asked this week.

          ABR Venture Hiring For Freshers : BE/ BTech/ BCom/ BCA/ BBA/ BSc – 2014-2016 Passouts : Business Analyst : Last Date : 30 Jun 2017        
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          Race and Equity Forum: We’re In This Together – May 3, 2016        

    Event Information Race and Equity Forum: We’re in This Together Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 5:30pm – 7:00pm Hickman High School Gymnasium 1104 N Providence Rd, Columbia, MO 65203 Last fall, the City of Columbia initiated an ambitious Strategic Plan that focused on five … Continue reading Race and Equity Forum: We’re In This Together – May 3, 2016

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          Watchworthy Wednesday: Underrepresented Represented in Courses        

At it’s core, connected learning is about educational equity, and, which runs Hour of Code, is a shining example. The nonprofit organization recently announced the results of a new survey of the young people it serves. And, the news is good: underrepresented minorities make up 48 percent of’s students in their courses and girls make up 45 percent., designs its courses with equity in mind. This month, it released a new free computer science course for 7th- through 9th-graders. Called “CS Discoveries,” the year-long course compliments’s existing courses, “CS Fundamental” (for primary

The post Watchworthy Wednesday: Underrepresented Represented in Courses appeared first on DML Central.

          More allegations of sexism rock Silicon Valley as 60 women prepare to sue Google over pay disparity        

Republicans are notorious for their opposition to support equal pay for women. For years, they’ve actively rejected equal pay bills and argued that men make more than women because they are the primary breadwinners in their families (not true). In March, Donald Trump actually revoked the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order that President Obama signed in 2014, which in part included paycheck transparency—one way to ensure that federal contractors were paying their female employees equally to their male counterparts.

Though Republicans continue to bury their heads in the sand and remain in denial about this, pay equity remains a huge problem for women in the workplace all over the country. This is the case for women at Google as well—as more than 60 women at the company consider suing for sexism and pay disparities. 

James Finberg, the civil rights attorney working on the possible legal action on behalf of the female employees, told the Guardian they contend they have earned less than men at Google despite equal qualifications and comparable positions.

Others, he said, have struggled in other ways to advance their careers at Google due to a “culture that is hostile to women”.

Silicon Valley is notorious for being a terrible place for women to work. This year Uber made headlines after a large-scale investigation led by former attorney general Eric Holder uncovered a culture rife with sexual harassment, discrimination and unprofessional behavior. This resulted in more than 20 employees being fired and Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick stepping down. Google’s potential lawsuit comes amid a recently leaked document in which a male software engineer critiqued the company’s affirmative action programs—saying that the reason women are in lesser positions of leadership in the tech industry is not because of discrimination but because of “biological differences.” 

Google is vehemently denying that its salaries are discriminatory. However Finberg, who said he had interviewed around half of the 60 women who may be part of his lawsuit, said their testimony indicated there are clear disparities and prejudices that hurt women at the Mountain View company. [...]

Several women he interviewed have said they make around $40,000 less than male colleagues doing the same work, with one woman saying she makes two-thirds of a male peer’s salary.


          Equal Pay Day        
equal pay protest

Today, April 8, 2014, is Equal Pay Day. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), equal Pay Day was originated in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages.

Per the NCPE, “Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.” Equal Pay Day is a signifier of just how much longer women most work to narrow the pay gap.

In 1963 Congress passed and President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The Equal Pay Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act and aimed to abolish wage disparity based on sex. In 1963 women earned $0.59 to a man’s $1.00. Today the gap has narrowed to a woman earning, on average, 77% of a man’s earnings. The fact that there is still a wage gap shows there is still work to be done.

In an attempt to continue to advance a fair wage agenda, President Obama issued a Proclamation recognizing National Equal Pay Day and calling on all Americans to demand pay equality. Pay inequality is often a divisive issue, though ultimately affects everyone. So, for yourself or your mother, daughter, sister, cousin, niece or female friend stand up and demand equal pay for equal work.

Read more about Equal Pay Day and different sides of the pay equality debate by accessing the articles and resources below.

          Comment on North Carolina’s Transportation Equity Formula by Paul Black        
Any resolutions against? I understand Jacksonville and many points east prefer the status quo.
          NOC Transit Equity OP ED in the Star Tribune


          Bus Shelters for the Northside!        

According to yesterday's front page article in the Star Tribune, NOC's Campaign for Transit Equity is already changing public awareness of the need for a fair share of transit infrastructure on the Northside. 

A new report shows that hundreds of bus stops are without adequate shelter, with most of the unprotected stops located in already under-resourced communities of color.  According to NOC transit organizer Michael McDowell, who is quoted in the article, “'I’ve stood in negative 30 degree weather with windchill,” he said. “I can’t imagine a mother and children doing that.”"

We are changing the conversation about transit in our communities because of the amazing work of our members and leaders.  If you would like to become part of the Campaign for Transit Equity, please contact NOC organizer Michael McDowell at



          NOC's Transit Equity Campaign is Making News!        



The Uptake :


          CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge - Bonus Bucks Trivia Answers        
Bonus bucks answers for 11/9

1. Where is CNBC’s Republican Presidential Debate being held?

ANSWER: Oakland University, Rochester, MI

2. British parliamentarians this week took the unusual step of interviewing a revenue and customs lawyer under oath over an alleged "sweetheart" tax deal with what U.S. bank?

ANSWER: Goldman Sachs

3. China's clampdown on bank lending has been a boon for banks outside China, according to Standard & Poor's Equity Research. Which Asian bank stock did the firm recently upgrade?

Answer: DBS
          Comment on Residential Purchase and Refinance Lending Volume Forecast Update — June 2017 by Keith Gumbinger        
The difference in the long-range interest rate forecast from the three entities is very interesting. Fannie reckons about a half percentage point rise from 2016 to 2018; Freddie, a full percentage point rise, and the MBA, a 1.3 percent increase. Given how mortgage rates have performed over the last few years -- generally running well below annual forecasts -- it remains unclear if mortgage rates can rise by much over time, even with an active Federal Reserve and a slowly-firming global economy. Here in mid-2017, mortgage rates remain within shouting distance of record lows and have been stubborn about rising much. Refinance volume has already been and may continue to be a little better than expected. Rising home prices are building equity stakes quickly in large swaths of the country, and mortgages will remain the consumer borrowing option with the lowest available interest rates and potential tax deductibility, so cash-out refinancing should be expected to pick up at least some of the slack caused by diminished rate-and-term refinancing.
           Nonparametric realized volatility estimation in the international equity markets         
Vortelinos, Dimitrios I. and Thomakos, Dimitrios D. (2013) Nonparametric realized volatility estimation in the international equity markets. International Review of Financial Analysis, 28 . pp. 34-45. ISSN 1057-5219
          Hybrid : une nouvelle forme de financement des grands corporates        

Source : UniCredit Research
L’émission de titres hybrides est une source de financement traditionnelle pour les institutions financières.  Son caractère « subordonné Â» en fait un financement intermédiaire entre le capital et la dette pure, entrant en ligne de compte pour le calcul des ratios de capital réglementaire.

Les corporates en ont aussi découvert les vertus, ce qui s’est traduit par une explosion d’émissions en 2013, comme en atteste le graphique ci-dessus, et la tendance perdure en 2014. Les émissions ainsi réalisées viennent conforter leurs ratios de capital et leur rating. Les agences de rating accordent un crédit equity de 50% aux émissions actuelles de titres hybrides par les corporates. En d’autres termes une émission de 100 va être considérée comme un renforcement des fonds propres de 50.

Les grands groupes français ont été à la pointe de ce mouvement : EDF, le plus gros émetteur de dette hybride en Europe, Veolia, GDF Suez, Orange...

Deux grands secteurs d’activités se distinguent chez les émetteurs, les utilities traditionnellement (EDF, GDF Suez, Veolia, ENEL, National Grid, Iberdrola…) et, ce qui est nouveau, les Telecom ( Orange, Telecom Italia…). Mais d’autres secteurs y ont eu recours : auto (VW), Distribution (Casino), Chimie (Solvay).

Les émissions de dette hybride chez les corporates avaient un caractère exceptionnel lié à un évènement particulier, en cas d’acquisitions notamment. On considère désormais que cela devrait constituer une forme de financement récurrente dans le cadre de la diversification de leur dette de marché. Ces émissions se font généralement en plusieurs tranches et plusieurs devises. Elles sont ainsi l’occasion de diversifier la base investisseurs. On a en particulier noté que les investisseurs UK étaient plus présents que dans des missions euros normales, attirés par un rendement  plus élevé.

Le contexte actuel de bas taux d’intérêts est un stimulant pour ce segment de marché obligataire. Il permet aux corporates d’y recourir en bénéficiant de taux d’intérêt bas en valeur absolue en dépit du « premium Â» payé par rapport à un bond normal (senior debt). Pour les investisseurs il a l’avantage de leur procurer un rendement plus élevé.

Les émetteurs corporates vont donc être amenés à y recourir de manière récurrente dans les années à venir car i) cela devient un élément de leur funding mix ii) c’est un moyen de conforter les ratings fragilisés par l’environnement concurrentiel dans des secteurs très capitalistiques comme les utilities ou les Telecom iii) il existe une forte appétence des investisseurs pour les taux d’intérêt supérieurs qu’ils procurent iii) il faudra ensuite les refinancer

          Commodity trading        

Comme l’avait indiqué le FT ce lundi, Barclays vient d’annoncer, à son tour, qu’elle allait se retirer très largement du Commodity trading, le C de FICC, dans un marché très concentré où les 5 grands acteurs représentait 70% des revenus l’an dernier.

Ce retrait est un signe des temps alors que le Commodity trading fut la star des marchés FICC dans les années 2000. JP Morgan,  Morgan Stanley, BoA ML, Deutsche Bank, UBS, RBS ont déjà eu l’occasion de faire ce même type d’annonce. Goldman Sachs est la seule banque d’investissement qui n’ait pas revu à la baisse ses ambitions.

D’après le cabinet Coalition, cité par le FT, les revenus de 10 principales banques dans le domaine du Commodity trading ont chuté de 14.1 Mds USD en 2008 à 4.5 Mds en 2013, ce qui est vertigineux.

Les raisons de ces retraits : un marché des commodities moins favorable en termes de prix et un fort durcissement de la régulation et des besoins en capital de ces activités pour les banques.

Barclays annonce un autre mouvement intéressant : la fusion dans une même division de ses activités de trading Equity et Credit, traditionnellement séparées dans des Divisions Equity et FICC. Objectif : rationaliser, mettre en commun les infrastructures de trading et développer des synergies. SG CIB avait fait cela, il y’a quelques années déjà, en regroupant ces deux divisions dans une seule entité « Markets Â».


Dans sa dernière livraison (19 Avril, “The engine of investment banking is spluttering”), The Economist publie un graphique qui remet en perspective les revenues de banque d’investissement avec une décomposition devenue traditionnelle, Advisory (M&A, ECM, DCM), Equity ( Actions ert dérivés), FICC ( Fixed Income, Currencies, Commodities). L’année 2013 avec environ 150 Milliards de USD de Revenus globalement est en léger retrait sur 2012 et au-dessus de 2011, mais très en deca des niveaux atteints en 2009, le sommet « post Lehmann Â».

Le principal responsable de ces évolutions est la partie FICC, la composante la plus importante des revenus de banque d’investissement, partie FICC qui a baissé en valeur absolue ( de 174 Mds USD en 2009 à 74 Mds USD en 2013), mais aussi en valeur relative, du fait d’une meilleure tenue de l’Equity. FICC est ainsi passé d’un peu plus de 60% du total de revenus de banque d’investissement – sa part historique– à un peu moins de 50%.

En 2013 les revenus de FICC ont baissé de près de 20% et la tendance est à une nouvelle baisse en 2014.

Cette tendance, globale, est encore plus marquée en Europe et à Londres, ce qui se traduit par une perte des parts de marché des banques d’investissement européennes..

La panne du principal engin des banques d’investissement est évidemment problématique et les conduit à s’ajuster en conséquence, avec la question de savoir quelle est la part conjoncturelle dans cette évolution et quelle est la part structurelle, en particulier liée aux nouvelles régulations.


           Portfolio analysis of intraday covariance matrix in the Greek equity market         
Vortelinos, Dimitrios (2013) Portfolio analysis of intraday covariance matrix in the Greek equity market. Research in International Business and Finance, 27 (1). pp. 66-79. ISSN 0275-5319
          Qui sont les investisseurs en Infrastructures?        

Le financement d'infrastructure est devenue une classe d'actifs en tant que telle et de plus en prisée, en particulier des investisseurs long terme.
Il est donc interessant de regarder qui sont et où sont ces  investisseurs.
Prequin (voir en lien), un organisme d'étude spécialisé dans le private equity, s'est livré à une analyse des 100 plus importants d'entre-eux qui conduit au tableau ci dessous.
Les investissements des 100 plus grands investisseurs institutionnels dans le monde ont représenté 204 Milliards USD jusqu’à maintenant, directement ou au travers de fonds d’infrastructure.
Quelle est la géographie de ces grands investisseurs ?
Ils sont basés, pur l’essentiel aux US (18%), Australie (15%), Canada (13%) and le UK (10%). 39 dans le top 100 sont européens contre  31% basés en Amérique du Nord, 16% in Australasia, 5 in Asie. Public
A quelle catégorie d’investisseurs institutionnels appartiennent ils?
Il s’agit de fonds de pension tout d’abord (23% du total), suivis d’ asset managers (16%) et de compagnies d’assurance (12%),
Les 2/3 de ces grands investisseurs ont une allocation d’actifs spécifique pour les actifs d'infrastructure qu’ils considèrent comme une classe d’actifs à part entière.

Voir en lien:
           IOC to acquire 50% stake in India’s Mundra LNG terminal         
Indian Oil Corp. will acquire a 50% equity stake in the Mundra LNG terminal in the state of Gujarat.
          Blog Post: Deloitte Insurance Partner Hit With FRC Fine For Misconduct        
A partner at Deloitte LLP has been fined and reprimanded over the actuarial services he provided to insurer Equity Syndicate Management Ltd. and a syndicate of Lloyd’s of London for the financial years 2008 and 2009, the Financial Reporting Council said on Thursday.
          Linda Mack of Mack International Leads Panel at 5th Annual Private Equity Summit for Institutional Investors in San Francisco, Sept. 15-16        

Linda Mack of Chicago-based Mack International is a panel moderator at the 5th Annual Private Equity Summit for Institutional Investors. The Sept. 15-16 conference in San Francisco, produced by Opal Financial Group, addresses current trends in private equity, venture capital and leveraged buyouts.

(PRWeb September 16, 2011)

Read the full story at

          Don't Go Into Foreclosure Get the Lowest Mortgage Finance Rate        
Do Not Allow Them to Foreclose Get the Lowest Mortgage Finance Rate

As the economy weakens, interest rates plummet. In reality, we are in the midst of the lowest mortgage finance rate in decades. And savvy consumers are using this to their advantage.

There are a variety of advantages that can be gained if your are considering re-financing a home. Whereas there are some instances where re-financing is not the right call, there are a number of advantages that can be gained from re-financing given the proper conditions. And when you consider that we currently have the lowest mortgage finance rate in many years, homeowners can benefit in a number of ways. A number of these advantages include: lower monthly payments, debt consolidation and the power to utilize the present equity within the home. Owners who are considering re-financing should contemplate every one of these choices regarding their current financial scenario to see whether they want to re-finance their home.

Lower Monthly Payments Can Save Your Home

For most homeowners the possibility of lower monthly payments may be a very appealing benefit of re-financing. Many owners live paycheck to paycheck and for these owners, getting an opportunity to increase their savings is a great advantage. Owners who are in a position to refinance at these lower interest rates will surely see substantial benefits in the way of lower monthly mortgage payments ensuing from the decision to re-finance.

Each month homeowners make a mortgage payment. This payment is sometimes used to repay some of the interest as well as a portion of the principle on the loan. Owners who are capable of refinancing their loan at a lower interest rate could see a decrease in the amount they are paying in both interest and principle. This may be because of the lower interest rate as well as the lower remaining balance. When a house is re-financed, a second mortgage is taken out to repay the first mortgage. If the current mortgage was already a few years old, it's because the home-owner already had some equity and had paid off some portion of the previous balance. This permits the owner to take out a smaller mortgage once they re-finance their home because they are repaying a smaller debt than the first purchase of the home.

Get our free information on how you can benefit from the lowest mortgage finance rate at Lowest Mortgage Finance Rate !
          Gold Coast mansion listed for $12.6M is among the most expensive in city        

A five-bedroom, 11,000-square-foot vintage Romanesque Revival-style mansion on the Gold Coast was listed Monday for $12.59 million.

The Astor Street mansion is owned by Robert L. Cummings and his wife, Annette Bacola. Cummings is the co-founder of private equity firm Wind Point Partners.


          Should Metro switch to zones? (No.)        

Last week, a suggestion to charge riders a flat fare no matter where in the Metro system they travel surfaced, we ran a post saying that's not a good idea. One alternative that came up was using a zone system, which would charge based on how many times a passenger traveled into a new region in the system. But Metro shouldn't do that, either.

As we first wrote in 2011, zones wouldn't simplify things much, and the tradeoffs for Metro and for riders would be steep. We created this hypothetical zone map for that initial post, and while the prices would likely be about 15% higher today to match with Metro's current revenue needs (and the Silver line would be part of the picture), the point still stands. 

How it works

Under this system, you would pay based on how many zones you traverse. A trip in just one zone would cost a base fare; each additional zone would cost more.

Fares are based on the number of zones you pass through. You only pay for each zone once. So a trip from East Falls Church (zone 3) to New York Ave (zone 2) through the core would be a 3-zone trip. Zone 2 is counted only once for that trip.

Some stations are on the zone boundary, however. These stations can be counted in either zone, whichever is cheaper for the rider. So a trip from Court House (zone 2) to Rosslyn (zone 1/2) would be a 1-zone trip (all in zone 2). 

Zones Traveled Peak Fare Off-Peak Fare
1 $2.00 $1.50
2 $2.75 $1.50
3 $3.50 $1.75
4 $4.25 $2.15
5 $5.00 $2.50

Any serious proposal needs to be revenue-neutral or revenue-positive to be practical. We drew the zones so that if ridership stayed roughly the same, Metro would not lose any fare revenue over the current system. Different fare values or zone boundaries could produce a different result.

We’ve eliminated the “peak of the peak” fare. Fares would go back to being either “regular” (peak) or “reduced” (off-peak). But we’ve set the zone fares so that Metro would earn the same the overall revenue as they do today.


A key advantage is that tourists and others unfamiliar with the fare system would be able to buy tickets and passes more easily.  

The complicated fare table on all vending machines could be replaced by a zone map and a chart showing the rates to travel in each zone.  Passes also become simple. You can buy a one-zone pass for a certain price, a two-zone pass for more, and so on.

Converting to a zone system might simplify transfers between rail and bus.  Metro could treat a bus trip as just an additional zone, making the system a little more integrated in terms of fare system.  In this case, a bus trip and a one-zone rail trip would be $2.75, and transferring from rail to bus would be an additional $0.75 instead of an extra $1.

For some trips, the fare is a great deal cheaper.  For example, trips from the far edge of a zone, through the central core, and out to the far edge of a zone are much cheaper. 

One such case is from Benning Road to Ballston, a trip that’s currently $4.05. Here, it would be only $2.75, a 30% drop, and the same price as a much shorter trip from Woodley Park to downtown.  


For other trips, the fare increases significantly.  A good example of this would be the relatively short trip from West Falls Church to Ballston (note: when we wrote this post and the Silver Line hadn't come along yet, West Falls Church was the the terminal for many Fairfax Connector buses). A trip that would be $2.45 to Ballston becomes $3.50 under the zone system, and even a trip to Rosslyn currently at $3.05 becomes $3.50.  

Customers living near these borders would object to any decision to put a zone boundary between them and downtown, and some of these customers facing large increases would abandon riding Metro.  Remember that the analysis assumed the same mix of trips in the system as before, which becomes an unlikely assumption once large fare increases come into play.

The fact is, it would be impossible to draw a zone map that allows for a relatively low base fare around $2.00, and a high max fare of $5.00, without either having very expensive zone boundaries or too many zone boundaries. Expensive boundaries raise equity concerns, where a short geographic distance between riders at two adjacent stations turns into a big fare difference. 

Large numbers of zone boundary, on the other hand, just mimic the current slow, steady gradient of fares that our current system uses.  The former seems unfair, and would create groups of riders that lose out and would know it.  The latter would be nearly as complicated as our current system.

Are there ways for Metro to simplify its fares without creating zones? Yes, and an upcoming post will explore some of these alternatives.

Thumbnail: Image by the author.

Comment on this article

          Sapsik'Ê·ałá Tribal Advisory Chair receives 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award        

We are proud to announce our Sapsik'ʷałá Program Tribal Advisory Council Chair, Angela Bowen, has received the 2017 University of Oregon College of Education’s Distinguished Alumni Award! Angela graduated with an MEd degree in 2005 and has worked tirelessly as a teacher and leader for Tribal and equity education. She currently serves as the Education Director for her Tribal community (Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw). Congratulations, Angela!


          Comment on world financial system in crisis; Romney, who made his fortune in the equity sector, has nothing to say by Mitt Romney and the Queen Mother both baffled by financial meltdown « liber.rhetoricae        
[...] world financial system in crisis; Romney, who made his fortune in the equity sector, has nothing to ... [...]
          Sammys Cleveland Ohio        

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          Will the Trump Era Bring New Infrastructure Investment?        
Public Works Financing

Since the Trump/Republican election sweep, reporters and others have asked for my thoughts on whether the Trump infrastructure plan will gain congressional support and lead to “fixing” America’s somewhat inadequate (but hardly “crumbling” infrastructure). The answer is far from clear.

First of all, there is not a single Trump infrastructure plan: there are more like three, at this stage of the transition. First is a repeated figure of a $550 billion program, with no details on where that money would come from or how it would be spent. Second is a $1 trillion proposal for investor-funded P3 infrastructure, detailed in a 10-page paper by Trump advisers Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro. And third is recent mentions of an infrastructure bank, possibly funded as part of an overhaul of the tax code and currently championed by Trump adviser Steven Mnuchin.

Since the Ross/Navarro proposal is the most dramatic departure from current federal practice, and relates directly to the major subject of this newsletter, let’s take a closer look at what it is and is not. For some reason, its authors believe a federal tax credit for 82% of the equity invested in P3 concession is necessary to provide an incentive for investors. That seems odd for two reasons. First, what infrastructure investment funds and concession companies lament is the lack of a pipeline of US projects, not the lack of a federal tax incentive. Second, tax-exempt U.S. pension funds and all overseas infrastructure investors gain no benefit from a tax credit. In addition, Ross and Navarro engage in arguably sketch projections of eventual off-setting federal income tax revenue, to claim that their plan would be revenue-neutral. But that distracting argument goes away if the tax credit is deleted from the plan.

Making that change leaves some details to be filled in. Critics have quickly seized on the kinds of projects that would not be included, because the plan assumes customer user fees as the revenue stream in each case. So that excludes transit, passenger rail, schools, public buildings, etc. But what Trump and Ross/Navarro are mainly talking about are roads and bridges, airports, seaports, electricity transmission lines, and water and wastewater systems., all of which have (or could have) user-fee revenue streams of large enough magnitude to service revenue bonds and provide a return on equity.

Brad Plumer of Vox trashes the highway portion of the plan for applying only to the handful of existing toll roads and toll bridges, thereby ignoring the vast majority of non-tolled roadways. But since revenue-based P3 concessions are a good fit only for major projects, that objection is beside the point. The focus of the plan is to rebuild aging infrastructure, and to do so without a major federal tax increase. Well then, the only alternative funding source for large-scale highway and bridge replacement is tolls. Toll-financed Interstate highway and bridge replacement alone has been estimated as a $1 trillion-plus program. All Congress needs to do—potentially as part of authorizing a trillion-dollar Trump rebuild America program—is to permit states that wish to participate to use tolls for these replacement facilities.

And if the program is applicable to the other kinds of infrastructure noted above, they all already have user fees of various kinds—electricity and water bills, airport runway and per-passenger charges, port fees, etc. It would make sense to review and eliminate current federal restrictions on those user fees (such as the current $4.50 federal cap on airport-levied passenger facility charges) to ensure that state and local government-owned infrastructure enterprises can take maximum advantage of the new program.

In the surface transportation area, we have seen the value of the TIFIA loan program for P3 financing. If Congress can be persuaded to create an infrastructure bank that operates in the fiscally conservative, taxpayer-friendly way that TIFIA is now run, that change might be acceptable to a bipartisan majority. It would provide only loans, not a combination of loans and grants as in some previous I-bank proposals, and projects would require an investment-grade rating. This enlarged loan facility could include assisting state and local governments to finance P3 refurbishment of infrastructure that lacks a significant user-fee revenue stream. We’ve already seen public buildings and transit lines procured in this manner, as availability-payment concessions backed by a dedicated revenue stream of local or state tax revenue.

In the transportation area, we are already hearing complaints that the various Trump proposals do not fix the ongoing shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, due to the declining real value of per-gallon fuel taxes. And that will be true, to the extent that states fail to shift some of their current major infrastructure to tolls. If 10 states during the next decade each reconstruct one or more major Interstate facilities as a toll-financed P3 concession, that will free up those states’ federal highway funding to meet a larger share of their other needs. Hence, the existence of this program will give states an incentive to begin shifting individual Interstate highways and bridges from taxes to tolls.

I was not a Trump supporter during the election campaign. But at events I’ve attended since election day, I’ve felt a very palpable sense that this election has opened the door to major changes in what the federal government does and how it goes about it. After a decade of talk about comprehensive tax reform, we might actually get it next year. And transportation policy, as well, could be in for significant rethinking. My guess is that these changes will be very positive for P3 infrastructure.

          Marietta Ohio History        

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          Ticketmaster Cleveland Ohio        

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A democracy now show on the 700 billion banditry

From the transcript


Yeah, well, the point is, when Bush and McCain and Paulson, who was head of Goldman Sachs before he was head of the Treasury, say they don’t know how this happened, they designed this system. We had a regulatory regime in place ever since the Great Depression to prevent this kind of meltdown, and that said that stockbrokers, insurance companies, banks, investment banks, commercial banks, could not merge. And in 1999, they passed legislation, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Gramm is the guy who McCain supported for president in ’96. He was co-chair of his campaign until he complained about the whiners out there, meaning the public. And that legislation is what caused this. It allowed the swaps and everything else.

And then, in 2000, hours before the Christmas break, Gramm introduced legislation. I’m holding it in my hand. This smoking gun is available on the internet; you can read it. And what it said is that the swaps is defined in the Financial Service Modernization Act, meaning that instead of going into a bank and somebody said, “OK, we’ll give you a loan, and we expect you to pay it over thirty years. We know your house has the equity. We know you have the means to pay it”—that was the traditional way—instead, they allowed these mergers, and as a result, they could buy insurance on it, they could do these swaps, they could do what they call hybrid instruments. And it is legislation that was never discussed, was—never had hearings or anything, says that all of this stuff is exempted from all previous regulation. The SEC cannot regulate it, the Commodity Futures Board cannot regulate it.

So they gave these institutions, of which Goldman Sachs was critical—so was Citigroup, where Robert Rubin, who was Clinton’s Treasury secretary, he had also come from Goldman Sachs. And, by the way, even though this is Republican-led, there were plenty of Democrats, in fact, a majority of Democrats, who voted for this. And Robert Rubin, who unfortunately is advising Barack Obama—I don’t know how this guy can wake up and—you know, and not be embarrassed and how he can appear on television—and Lawrence Summers, these are the two guys in the Clinton administration who teamed up with Phil Gramm to pass that atrocious legislation.

And now, you know, it seems to me, in terms of the bailout, why don’t they do what Hillary Clinton said during the primaries: just put a freeze on foreclosures? Start out with helping the homeowners and say, “OK, we’re not going to foreclose your house for the next year. We’re going to force the banks to work out reasonable payments. We’ll try to help you hold on to it.” That would have stopped the bleeding here much more effectively than throwing $700 billion at these bandits."

          Looking at Equity Markets for Economic Signals is a “Mistake”        

Looking at Equity Markets for Economic Signals is a “Mistake” $DIA, $SPY, $QQQ, $VXX Volatility in stocks and bonds was part of the FOMC’s consideration for slowing interest rate increases in February. Now a Fed economist attached to the central bank’s Dallas branch says that “relying on the equity market for economic signals is a […]

The post Looking at Equity Markets for Economic Signals is a “Mistake” appeared first on Live Trading News.

          #LeadersGC: Why Cultivating Social Leaders in the Public Service Matters        

By: Nicolino Frate,Director – Official Languages, Employment Equity and Diversity, HRB, Canada Revenue Agency, @nickfrate   It is important to explore leadership in the Public Service today and for the future, while integrating the concepts of Social Leadership and Social Branding in relation to this ever-changing landscape. There are six elements involved in being a social leader.   The first, a strong business acumen, can be defined by the possession of integrity in matters related to finances and HR, insight and decisiveness. Good

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          Inuit Quick book understand chart of accounts        

Understand your chart of accounts

By Smith Solace

The chart of accounts is the backbone of your accounting system. That's why it's so important to understand how it works.

Think of a chart of accounts as a file cabinet, with a file for each type of accounting information you want to track. For example, if you need to know how much money you spend on postage, you'll set up a file (an account in the chart of accounts) for Postage Expense.

Although you aren't required to use account numbers in your QuickBooks chart of accounts, your accountant may recommend that you do so.

What are standard chart of accounts number ranges?

Standard chart of accounts number ranges


Assets are things your company owns. They're usually divided into two groups–current assets and fixed assets. Current assets are generally numbered from 1000 – 1499. These are assets that you can easily turn into cash, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, money market and CD accounts, accounts receivable, and inventory. So you might want to use account number 1100 for your company checking account because a checking account is a current asset.

Assets are things your company owns. They're usually divided into two groups–current assets and fixed assets. Current assets are generally numbered from 1000 – 1499. These are assets that you can easily turn into cash, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, money market and CD accounts, accounts receivable, and inventory.

Fixed assets are usually numbered from 1500 – 1999. These are items with a minimum cost (for example, $500) that you would have to sell to generate cash. Automobiles, equipment, and land are examples of fixed assets. For example, suppose last year your company bought a new computer system for $1,100. Since the cost of the system was more than $500, the purchase was entered to an asset account rather than to an expense account. Consult your accountant or tax preparer to determine the actual minimum cost you should use to determine fixed assets.


Liabilities are funds your company owes. For example, say your company borrowed $20,000 from the bank. When the $20,000 loan was deposited to the checking account, the deposit was entered in the liability account Bank Loans, not an income account.


Your capital account structure depends on whether your company is organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.

If your company is a sole proprietorship, you need a Capital account and an Owner's Drawing account. Use the Capital account to keep track of the total amount of money you've invested since starting the business, plus or minus the net profit or loss each year since you started the business. Use the Owner's Drawing account for money you take out of the business for personal use, such as checks to the grocery store, dry cleaners, ATM transactions, your salary, and any money that gets deposited into your personal accounts. It's important to keep in mind that the owner of a sole proprietorship doesn't get a regular "employee" paycheck with money deducted for payroll taxes. Instead you pay quarterly estimated taxes, which you should always allocate to the Owner's Drawing account.

If your company is a partnership or LLP (Limited Liability Partnership), you need to set up Capital and Drawing accounts for each partner.

If your company is an "S or C corporation" or an "LLC corporation," it should have a Common Stock account and sometimes a Preferred Stock account. Common stock and preferred stock represent the total sum of stock the company has issued. An LLC might have Member stock if there is more than one person who owns stock.


Your capital account structure depends on whether your company is organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.

If your company is a sole proprietorship, you need an Equity account and an Owner's Drawing account. Use the Equity account to keep track of the total amount of money you've invested since starting the business. Use the Owner's Drawing account for money you take out of the business for personal use, such as checks to the grocery store, dry cleaners, ATM transactions, your salary, and any money that gets deposited into your personal accounts. It's important to keep in mind that the owner of a sole proprietorship doesn't get a regular "employee" paycheck with money deducted for payroll taxes. Instead you pay quarterly estimated taxes, which you should always allocate to the Owner's Drawing account.

If your company is a partnership or LLP (Limited Liability Partnership), you need to set up Equity and Drawing accounts for each partner.

If your company is an "S or C corporation" or an "LLC corporation," it should have a Common Stock account and sometimes a Preferred Stock account. Common stock and preferred stock represent the total sum of stock the company has issued. An LLC might have Member stock if there is more than one person who owns stock.

Income or Revenue

"Income" or "revenue" is the income you get from your normal day-to-day business tasks, such as professional fees, income for services rendered, reimbursable expenses, or products you sell.

Job or Project Costs/Cost of Goods Sold

Job or Project Costs, or Cost of Goods Sold, are all the costs associated with your line of business. For example, if you're a home builder, the job costs are whatever it costs you to build a home, including direct labor, materials, subcontractors, and equipment rental. If you sell products, this includes cost of inventory, raw materials, freight charges, and any labor for building the finished goods. Other examples of project costs include reimbursable expenses such as overnight mail, court costs (for an attorney's office), blue prints (for an architect), and purchases made on behalf of the customer such as furnishings bought by an interior designer or auto parts bought by a mechanic.

Job Costs/Cost of Goods Sold

Job Costs (also called Cost of Goods Sold in QuickBooks) are all the costs of building your product. If you're a home builder, the job costs are whatever it costs you to build a home, including direct labor, materials, subcontractors, dump fees, and equipment rental. If you design homes, the job costs include all your costs of designing a home, such as design labor, drafting materials, supplies, and engineering costs. If you do both designing and building, you'll have both sets of costs.

Project Costs/Cost of Goods Sold

Project Costs (also called Cost of Goods Sold in QuickBooks) are costs that relate to your projects. For professional service businesses, project costs are the costs that you incur in order to complete a project. Project costs are also referred to as direct costs. For example, if you hire an outside consultant and his or her time is billable to the customer, that is a direct or project cost. Other examples of project costs are reimbursable expenses such as overnight mail, messenger service, court costs (for an attorney's office), blue prints (for an architect or engineer), and purchases made on the behalf of a customer, such as furnishings bought by an interior designer or computer parts bought by a computer technician.

Cost of Goods Sold

Cost of Goods Sold includes the cost of raw materials, freight charges for getting raw material to a warehouse, labor for building the finished goods, and freight charges for getting the goods to the customer. For manufacturing businesses, the Cost of Goods Sold includes the costs incurred in producing or building a product. For a wholesale business, Cost of Goods Sold are the costs of the goods you purchase for resale. for a distributor business, Cost of Goods Sold are the costs to purchase and distribute goods to the customer.

Overhead Costs or Expenses

Overhead Costs, or Expenses, are fixed costs you have even if you run out of work. Examples include rent, telephone, insurance, and utilities.

Other Income

Other Income is income you earn outside the normal way you do business, including interest income, gain on the sale of an asset, insurance settlement, a stock sale, or rents from buildings you own.

Other Expense

Other Expense is an expense that's outside of your normal business, such as a loss on the sale of an asset or stockbroker fees

About the Unified Chart of Accounts (UCOA)

UCOA© is the Unified Chart of Accounts for nonprofit organizations that was developed by the California Association of Nonprofits (CAN) and the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS). This standardized chart of accounts was designed so that nonprofits can quickly and reliably translate financial statements into the categories required by IRS Form 990, the Federal Office of Management and Budget, and other standard reporting formats. UCOA also seeks to promote uniform accounting practices throughout the nonprofit sector. UCOA was developed by a consortium of various nonprofit organizations.

Importing UCOA

QuickBooks includes a copy of UCOA. It is used automatically if you create your company file using the EasyStep Interview and select Nonprofit for your industry type. If you want to import the UCOA (for example, if you did not use the EasyStep Interview to create your company file, or if you created your company file with QuickBooks Pro), go to the Nonprofit menu and choose Import Nonprofit Chart of Accounts (UCOA).

Using UCOA in QuickBooks

To add an account that is not in UCOA, add it as a subaccount of an existing account. For example, if your organization tracks membership dues for youth, adults, and seniors separately, you can create three subaccounts of 5310 Dues and call them 5311 Youth, 5312 Adults, and 5313 Seniors.

Note: In general, the accounts in the Unified Chart of Accounts are sorted by type in the following order:

  1. Assets
  2. Liabilities
  3. Equity (net asset accounts in nonprofit terminology)
  4. Income and expenses
Chart of accounts

A complete list of a company's accounts and their balances. Use it to track how much money your company has, how much money it owes, how much money is coming in, and how much is going out. When you created your QuickBooks company file, QuickBooks set up a chart of accounts for the company.

The accounts that appear on the balance sheet are called "balance sheet accounts." Other accounts track particular kinds of expenses or income.

To open the chart of accounts:

  • Go to the Lists menu and click Chart of Accounts.
  • Go to the Company menu, choose Lists, and click Chart of Accounts.

Example of standard account numbers

Although you aren't required to use account numbers in your chart of accounts in QuickBooks, your accountant may recommend that you do so. Here are standard chart of accounts number ranges:

10000 - 19999 Assets
20000 - 29999 Liabilities
30000 - 39999 Equity
40000 - 49999 Income or Revenue
50000 - 59999 Job Costs/Cost of Goods Sold
60000 - 69999 Overhead Costs or Expenses
70000 - 79999 Other Income
80000 - 89999 Other Expense

10000 - 19999 Assets
20000 - 29999 Liabilities
30000 - 39999 Capital
40000 - 49999 Income or Revenue
50000 - 59999 Project Costs/Cost of Goods Sold
60000 - 69999 Overhead Costs or Expenses
70000 - 79999 Other Income
80000 - 89999 Other Expense

10000 - 19999 Assets
20000 - 29999 Liabilities
30000 - 39999 Capital (Equity)
40000 - 49999 Income or Revenue
50000 - 59999 Cost of Goods Sold
60000 - 69999 Overhead Costs or Expenses
70000 - 79999 Other Income
80000 - 89999 Other Expense

How to use account registers (chart of accounts)

Each register is a record of all activity that affects that account's balance. You can use your account registers to enter most transactions (checks, bills, deposits, and so on) as well maintain the account (make adjustments, void transactions, and so on) In QuickBooks, only balance sheet accounts have registers. Income and expense accounts do not.

  • Opening a register
  • Jumping to a transaction in a register
How to enter...

  • Statement charges (in a customer or A/R register)
  • Checks, bank deposits (in a bank account register)
  • Bills, vendor credits (in an A/P register)
  • Split transactions
Other operations with registers

  • Editing a transaction in a register
  • Moving a transaction to a different account
  • Transferring funds from an account register
  • Printing a register
  • Voiding or deleting an entry in a register
Saving time

  • Using the calculator
Reference information

  • Table of transaction type codes


Add to your chart of accounts

When adding a new account to your Chart of Accounts, if QuickBooks can suggest accounts (or subaccounts) that you might want to use, they display in the Example Accounts window and you can add them to your Chart of Accounts. This saves you data-entry time.

To do this task

  1. Click the account (or subaccount) in the Example Accounts window to select it.
  2. Click OK.
  3. In the Add New Account window, review the account information and change it if necessary.
  4. Save the information. (Now the account appears in your Chart of Accounts.)

  • If a parent account is grayed-out, it is already part of your Chart of Accounts and you cannot add it again; however, if there are any available child subaccounts, you can add them.
  • If child subaccounts are grayed-out, but the parent account is not gray, you must add the parent account and then you can add the child subaccounts. (Both parent and children display when the parent is not part of your Chart of Accounts, to show you the account hierarchy.)
  • If you delete an account from your Chart of Accounts, it will appear in the Example Accounts window.

Before you add a new account

You add new accounts as your business grows and changes. For example, you may need to add one or more of the following accounts:

  • Income accounts to track new sources of income
  • Expense accounts to track new types of expenses
  • Bank accounts when you open new checking, savings, or money market accounts at your bank
  • Credit card accounts when you acquire new credit cards

  • Other kinds of balance sheet accounts to track specific assets, liabilities, or equity
    For example, you may need to add a fixed asset account to track the depreciation of a new equipment purchase, a long term liability account to track a business loan, or an equity account to track the investment from a new business partner.

  • What information do I need to add an account?

  • When you add a new account, have the following information on hand:
    • All bank statements (checking, savings, credit card, etc.) ending on or shortly before your start date.
    • All transactions for your bank accounts that were not recorded (cleared) as of your start date.
    • Value of your assets, liabilities, credit cards, and other accounts as of your start date. If you have an accountant, he or she can provide you with this information on a balance sheet.
    • Customer names and the amount owed to you as of your start date.
    • Vendor names and the amount you owed to those vendors as of your start date.
    • All historical transactions (checks, invoices, etc.) made since your start date through today.

    When you add a new account, have the following information on hand:

    • All bank statements (checking, savings, credit card, etc.) ending on or shortly before your start date.
    • All transactions for your bank accounts that were not recorded (cleared) as of your start date.
    • Value of your assets, liabilities, credit cards, and other accounts as of your start date. If you have an accountant, he or she can provide you with this information on a balance sheet.
    • Customer names and the amount owed to you as of your start date.
    • Vendor names and the amount you owed to those vendors as of your start date.
    • All historical transactions (checks, invoices, etc.) made since your start date through today.
  • What if I use a credit card account for both business and personal expenses?
  • It's recommended that you keep a separate credit card for your business expenses. If you have a business credit card that you occasionally use for personal expenses, set up an account for it in QuickBooks. Do not set up a QuickBooks account for a personal credit card that you sometimes use for business. In either case, you'll need to set up a special account to track your "mixed" purchases.

  1. If you use account numbers, enter the account's number in the Number field.
    Example of standard account numbers

Although you aren't required to use account numbers in your chart of accounts in QuickBooks, your accountant may recommend that you do so. Here are standard chart of accounts number ranges:

10000 - 19999 Assets
20000 - 29999 Liabilities
30000 - 39999 Equity
40000 - 49999 Income or Revenue
50000 - 59999 Job Costs/Cost of Goods Sold
60000 - 69999 Overhead Costs or Expenses
70000 - 79999 Other Income
80000 - 89999 Other Expense

10000 - 19999 Assets
20000 - 29999 Liabilities
30000 - 39999 Capital
40000 - 49999 Income or Revenue
50000 - 59999 Project Costs/Cost of Goods Sold
60000 - 69999 Overhead Costs or Expenses
70000 - 79999 Other Income
80000 - 89999 Other Expense

What if there is no Number field?
If the Number field doesn't appear in the New/Edit Account window, the account numbering feature is turned off.

  1. (Optional) Enter a short description of the account in the Description field.
  2. (For bank or credit card accounts) Enter a bank or credit card number for this account.

  3. (Optional) To make this account a subaccount, select the Subaccount of checkbox and then click the drop-down arrow to select the account under which this account will be added.
    Why use subaccounts?

    Loading, please wait . . .

  4. (For income and expense accounts) Click the Tax Line drop-down list and choose the appropriate tax line, or choose <Not tax-related>.
    Why should I select a tax line?

    How do I select a tax line?

    If you're a sole proprietor who files a Schedule C, and you have a main revenue or sales account, choose the Sch C: Gross receipts or sales tax line.

    Keep in mind that the business tax lines closely approximate categories that most businesses use.

    To avoid duplication in your income tax reports, don't associate both the parent account and the subaccounts to tax lines. Associate only the subaccounts to tax lines, as this will provide you with more detail in your reports.

    Restriction regarding balance sheet accounts

    What if the list of tax lines is missing?

  5. If the Enter Opening Balance button displays, you can enter the opening balance for the account.
    Enter the opening balance for the account

  6. (For balance sheet accounts) Enter an opening balance based on the account's balance as of your QuickBooks start date. If you're not sure of the balance, you can leave the field blank and enter the information later.
    If the account is new

    If the account is an A/R or A/P account

  7. (For expense accounts only) To track reimbursed expenses as income, select the Track reimbursed expenses in: option, click the Income Account drop-down list, and then choose the appropriate income account. If this option is not visible, you must reset your preferences for sales and customers.
    Set preferences for sales and customers

  8. Click Next to save the account and enter another one.

    Click OK to save the account and close the window

It's recommended that you keep a separate credit card for your business expenses. If you have a business credit card that you occasionally use for personal expenses, set up an account for it in QuickBooks. Do not set up a QuickBooks account for a personal credit card that you sometimes use for business. In either case, you'll need to set up a special account to track your "mixed" purchases.

Commonly-used QuickBooks reports
Click the report name to learn more about what the report tells you and how to find and run it.
Use these reports
To find out how well your company is doing
Profit & loss standard
How much money your company made or lost over a specific period of time. This report is also called an income statement.
Profit & loss by class
How much money your company made or lost on each business segment that is tracked through QuickBooks classes.
Balance sheet standard
The value of your company (its assets, liabilities, and equity), showing the individual balances for each account.
Statement of cash flows
The cash inflow (from profit and additional cash received) and cash outflow (cash spent) during a specific period of time.
Use these reports
To find out how much your customers owe and when it is due.
Open invoices
Which customer invoices or statement charges haven't been paid and when they're due.
Customer balance detail
The payments and invoices that make up each customer's current balance.
Accounts receivable aging summary
How much each customer owes and how much of each customer's balance is overdue.
Use these reports
To find out how much money your company owes and how much of it is overdue
Vendor balance detail
Your company's company's total purchases, broken down by transaction, from each vendor.
Purchases by vendor summary
Your company's total purchases from each vendor.
Unpaid bills detail
How much your company owes each vendor, and whether any payments are overdue.
Use this report
To find out about account activity
Transaction detail by account
Recent transactions (and their subtotals) for each account in your Chart of Accounts.
Use these reports
To find information about your employees, payroll, and payroll-related expenses
Payroll summary
The accumulated totals for the payroll items (taxes withheld, and so on) on each employee's recent paychecks.
Payroll item detail
The line-by-line breakdown of each recent payroll transaction, by item.
Payroll transaction detail
The line-by-line breakdown of each recent payroll transaction, by employee.
          Emerging Markets Slammed Amid North Korea War Worries        
President Trump's saber rattling has rippled through equity markets, notably Emerging Markets, taking them noticeably lower off of...
          How 'Good Debt' Can Go Wild        

After four years of undergraduate education and another three at law school, Sarah Spitz landed a job she loves — and a debt load she resents.

A new hire at a boutique law firm in Toronto, Spitz has $60,000 owing on an $80,000 line of credit, and another $11,000 in provincial student loans.

"I'm very happy with where I ended up, but I'm not going to sit here and pretend that debt didn't have a huge impact on what firms I applied to, what career choices I made, where I was willing to work, the kind of work I was willing to do."

Spitz is among the ranks of people who have grown resentful of their "good debt" — debt we are told is good for us in the long run.

The notions of "good debt" and "bad debt" are a kind of investors' shorthand for understanding whether the kind of borrowing they're doing is likely to pay off in the longer term.

Student debt is generally considered "good" debt: it allows borrowers to increase their income in the long run. But as countless former students struggling with debt can tell you, paying down even a "good" debt can be a source of stress and financial difficulty.

"Sure, I'm increasing my earning potential by a lot, but it also really affected my 20s," Spitz told HuffPost Canada. "And it's really anxiety-inducing to look at your bank statement and the column that's negative $80,000 — you're like, oh my God, that's soul-crushing."


Traditionally, "good debt" is the sort that helps you gain wealth or income, while bad debt is money spent on goods that are consumed over time.

Here's a breakdown of what is generally considered "good" debt and "bad" debt:


  • Mortgages help you build equity in real estate, making you wealthier over time
  • Student loans help you increase your earning power
  • Business/investment loans make starting up and running businesses possible — they're crucial to business growth.


  • Auto loans for vehicles that lose value the moment you drive them off the lot
  • Credit cards have very high interest rates and are largely used to finance consumption
  • Payday loans have high interest rates, high fees and contribute to keeping many low-income people in a cycle of debt

In Canada, as in most of the developed world, the largest source of "good" debt is the mortgage.

Canadians are almost unequivocal in their support of mortgages. In a 2013 poll from the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, 80 per cent of Canadians agreed that mortgages are "good debt."

But a recent survey from Angus Reid found half of Canada's home-owning young adults are experiencing buyer's remorse, with the high cost of servicing that debt as the single largest reason.

In other words, "good debt" can go bad, especially if you have more of it than you can handle — financially, or psychologically.

"There's no such thing as good or bad debt," says Doug Hoyes, co-founder of debt management firm Hoyes, Michalos & Associates.

Asking whether debt is bad or good "is like asking 'Is bread good or bad,'" he says. "That's a silly question. What matters is, what's good for you?"

You may think that borrowing on a credit card to pay for a vacation is bad debt, "but maybe a vacation is very important for your mental health," he says.

The Bank of Canada recently raised interest rates for the first time in seven years. Here's how that could affect your debt:

Hoyes warns that there is risk in taking to heart the notion that some types of debt are "good" — it can lead to irresponsible borrowing.

"If you believe a mortgage is good debt, you might spend as much as you can on a house," he said in an interview with HuffPost Canada.

Could that be part of the reason why Canadians have been willing to take on so much mortgage debt? With around $1.67 in debt for every dollar of disposable income, households here are the most indebted of any G7 country. And the Bank of Canada has been raising the alarm about the growing ranks of "highly indebted" consumers — those whose debt exceeds their annual income by more than 450 per cent.

"Households carrying high levels of debt could find it more difficult to adjust to a loss in income or other financial shock," the bank warned in December. "They may be forced to sharply cut back on their spending and, in severe cases, may default on loans. The consequences for the economy and the financial system could be significant."

So there you have it: you could even harm the economy taking on too much "good debt."

Determining the "right" amount of debt

But how do you know when if your "good" debt is actually bad?

"When it edges into your lifestyle, you have too much debt," says Avraham Byers, a personal finance trainer and blogger.

His definition of good debt is different from the traditional model. For him, it's "a balance you can comfortably pay every month, at a reasonable rate."

He says there are many "grey areas" when it comes to debt. For instance, a car loan may be considered bad debt because vehicles depreciate in value (often losing a quarter to a third the moment you drive it off the lot), but what if a car is your only option for getting to work, and you don't have enough to buy in cash? Then, suddenly, an auto loan can look like good debt.

Or borrowing money for home renovations. Many argue it's good debt because it increases the value of your home.

"I don't know if that's true, especially if you plan to continue living there in the future," says Byers.

He suggests a rule of thumb for debt: Your monthly payments should be no more than 25 per cent of your monthly income before taxes.

"When it edges into your lifestyle, you have too much debt."Avraham Byers, personal finance trainer

Banks are often willing to lend you up to 36 per cent of your income, but he suggests not leaving it to them to decide.

"Banks might think you can handle it but it might not be true," Byers says. "You've got to be realistic with what you can afford."

For her part, Spitz says her experience with student debt will make her more cautious taking on debt in the future.

"I'm definitely more apprehensive than I would have been," she said. "It's one thing to think about being in debt in the abstract, and a very different thing to experience it."

— With additional reporting by Jessica Chin

Also on HuffPost:

          Canadians Go On ‘Spending Binge’ Borrowing Against Their Homes        

Rising house prices are making some Canadian homeowners feel like lottery winners, and an increasing number of them are taking their "winnings" in the form of a loan against their home.

That's raising concerns that Canadians may be staking too much of their financial future on rising house prices.

Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), or second mortgages, saw a sudden spike in Canada over the past two years, according to data analyzed by National Bank of Canada. The bank estimates Canadians took nearly $20 billion in these loans in just the past year.

After several years of steady levels, HELOCs have exploded in Canada in recent years. However, they still account for a smaller share of consumer debt than they did at their peak in 2008.

"The sharp appreciation in home prices in Ontario and British Columbia fuelled by [very low interest rates] have undoubtedly encouraged some homeowners to tap into their home equity in order to support a spending binge," National Bank chief economist Stefane Marion wrote in a client note.

These loans seem to be doing more than their share in holding up Canada's economy. They accounted for some 60 per cent of the growth in consumer borrowing over the past year — and this borrowing is largely responsible for strong growth in consumer spending in the first half of this year.

"While supportive of near-term [economic] growth, debt-fuelled consumption arguably increases risks to financial stability," National Bank economist Krishen Rangasamy wrote on Tuesday.

The Bank of Canada raised its interest rate last month for the first time in seven years. Here's what that means for borrowers:

Policymakers have been growing increasingly worried about Canadian households' record-high debt burdens, and HELOCs have been in their sights for some time.

HELOCs have exploded in popularity since the start of the century, growing from $35 billion in value in 2000 to $211 billion in 2016, according to data from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCA).

The federal government tightened the rules on HELOCs in 2013, reducing the maximum amount that can be borrowed to 65 per cent of the home's value, from 80 per cent beforehand.

There are three million of these loans outstanding in Canada, which has some 13.3 million total households. The average debt owing on them is $70,000, according to FCA data.

Also on HuffPost:

          How Panama Papers' sponsor George Soros made billions offshore        
The Independent provided this 1994 glimpse into how George Soros made billions with an offshore Netherlands Antilles fund using tax breaks which are now villified under the Panama Papers by the International Consortium of Journalists he sponsors.  The Quantum fund was formed by Citco (Curacao Investment Trust Co) instead of a Panama law firm.

Lifting the lid of the Soros money machine: 
In an exclusive journey through the labyrinthine empire of the master speculator, Stephanie Cooke and Charles Raw find gains are 'reallocated' to a charmed circle of associates

STEPHANIE COOKE and CHARLES RAW Saturday 5 March 1994

'I STILL consider myself selfish and greedy,' says George Soros. 'I am not putting myself forward as any kind of saint. I have very healthy appetites and I put myself first.'
Mr Soros is the man who made dollars 1bn when Britain left the European exchange rate mechanism in September 1992, earning him the status of a legendary investor. But that status was tarnished last month, when he lost a similar sum on the yen.

Nevertheless, he has set the tone for a new generation of large-scale professional investors who run so-called hedge funds on behalf of wealthy private clients. Markets regularly hang on his predictions for the course of gold, currencies and shares.

The size of these hedge funds means they are regularly singled out as the cause of seismic shifts in financial markets. That is putting Mr Soros into sharper focus, simply because he is the leader of the pack. If he should falter, the knock-on effect could be widespread.

That is why central banks have started to ask questions about unregulated offshore operations such as his.

Ever the master of public relations, Mr Soros welcomed the central banks' probe. 'I feel there is an innate instability in unregulated markets,' he told the Reuters news agency.

Until now, however, remarkably little has been known about how the Soros financial empire is organised.

The first detailed analysis of the funds' published documents reveals that he has created a complex and bizarre financial creature in which the interests of Mr Soros, his family, close friends and key executives in the business are incestuously intertwined with those of his public investors.

Some of those investors may not have noticed that in the past few years Mr Soros has altered the structure of the organisation so as to reallocate some of the profits in favour of his private circle.

Mr Soros started his offshore fund operation with dollars 4m in 1969, at the age of 39, after learning the arbitrage and investment business in London and New York.

He appears from the start to have aimed at wealthy individuals and professional European investors. He told prospective clients that the purpose of his key Quantum fund was 'to enable sophisticated investors to participate in an internationally diversified investment portfolio'. The Quantum fund is active in currency, commodity and interest- rate markets as well as equities and fixed-interest securities.

Later, in the early 1980s, Soros honed to perfection the technique of charging buyers a premium based on the supply and demand of fund shares.

Normally an open-ended investment fund is sold or redeemed at net asset value, with a sales charge added or an administrative charge deducted. But the Quantum fund can issue shares at a premium to its net asset value. The premium, however, is not based on an open market value.

Instead it is set by the fund's managing director, Citco (Curacao Investment Trust Co) in Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles. This is declared to be 'by or at the direction of the fund's board of supervisory directors', which is chaired by Alberto Foglia of the Banca del Ceresio in Lugano, Switzerland. Its seven other members are mainly European bankers and brokers, including in London the renowned fund manager Nils Taube of Lord Rothschild's St James's Place Capital.

In the late 1980s the Quantum fund's documents stated that the premium would not rise above 25 per cent. As the premium for buying the fund was as low as 1 per cent during that period, it was not an unduly onerous restriction. But in the past few years, as the fund's fortunes have risen, the restriction has been quietly dropped and the premium soared at one point to nearly 40 per cent. After the Japanese loss last month, it dropped four points to 35 per cent, but is now back to 36 per cent.

Possibly to avoid problems with the US authorities, Soros states that his funds are barred to Americans - whether in the US or abroad. At least one exception to this is Soros himself, who became a US citizen in 1961.

By 1972 the fund was worth dollars 20m. For reasons not made clear in recent documents, the operation was relaunched under the Quantum name in 1973. The fund was registered in the Netherlands Antilles, but Soros ran it from New York through Soros Fund Management. No information is given about this firm's precise corporate status, other than that it has always been wholly owned by him personally.

Although Soros now leaves the running of SFM to his executives, the documents state that in his 'personal capacity, he manages a securities trading partnership formed for the benefit of members of the Soros family and several other family accounts'.

By the end of 1980 the fund was worth more than dollars 380m and the net asset value of each share had risen by almost 4,400 per cent. In 1981 Quantum shares fell by 23 per cent, their first drop in value, and the fund nearly halved to dollars 193m. The following year a new category of share was created - the B share - in which Soros placed money invested by himself and his trusts and charities. His own main investment in the fund is now via these shares. It is through them that he apparently exercises control over the fund, although the voting rights of these shares are not explained in more recent documents. He can and does convert B into A shares from time to time, but these are primarily held by outsiders. No single external investor is allowed to exercise more than 4.9 per cent of the votes.

Although the fund recovered and grew once more, it hit another rocky patch in the late 1980s when more investors were selling Quantum shares than were buying. Around this time Soros made serious efforts to expand his operation.

In 1989, in spite of the fact that very few investors came into the fund, the net asset value of Quantum increased by 31.6 per cent.

Mr Soros had demonstrated the magical effect of simple mathematics, something not immediately apparent to laymen. Because of the high number of redemptions during 1989, the benefits were divided among fewer shares, so the net asset value still rose.

By then the operation was working as follows. Under an agreement approved by shareholders in 1988, Soros Fund Management is paid a basic investment advisory fee of 1 per cent a year, payable monthly. But the real cash cow is the annual performance fee. The fee is mainly composed of a sum equal to 15 per cent of any increase in net assets resulting from the fund's operation - before the deduction of the performance fee itself, of course.

There is another element in the fee - 15 per cent 'in net assets resulting from premiums realised on fund share subscriptions and premiums or discounts realised on fund share redemptions'.

Although the fund can issue shares at a premium direct to investors and - as is normal with open-ended funds - redeem them, in practice Quantum acts differently.

It has a subsidiary called Quasco which sells Quantum shares at a premium and buys them back either at a smaller premium or, should the situation arise, a discount of up to 1 per cent. Quasco makes a profit from the margin between the premiums charged to buyers and the price offered to sellers. In recent years the margin has been around 4-5 per cent.

Quasco's accounts are not available, but it is clear it makes a substantial amount of money through these dealings. This money has historically been reinvested in the fund and SFM has taken its 15 per cent cut.

Indeed, the very fact that the money was ploughed back has been used as a strong promotional point by brokers selling the funds.

But in 1991 things started to change. In a significant restructuring of the operation that included the launch of new funds, Mr Soros began the 'reallocation' of some of the gain for 'selected persons associated with SFM'.

By then Mr Soros had apparently finally decided that Quantum's growth had to be curtailed. In February of that year he announced the biggest distribution so far: dollars 4,000 per share, a total of dollars 611m. To satisfy investors who did not want cash, he offered shares in a new fund, Quasar International.

Quasar was a different animal to Quantum. Instead of investing directly in securities, it would invest only in one entity - Quasar International Partners. That in turn would carry out investment activities under advice from SFM. But Quasar, like Quantum, had a dealing subsidiary, Quinter.

The fund was not the only investor in the partnership, however. Mr Soros, 'certain members of his family and other selected persons associated with the partnership's management' also joined the club.

The Quasar fund has had a very successful run. In only its second year of operation it showed an increase in net asset value per share of 56.2 per cent, following a 44.9 per cent rise the previous year.

The accounts for the year ending 31 January 1993 show that of the dollars 18.2m netted on premiums, dollars 5.6m was 'reallocated to other partners'. In the previous year they were allotted dollars 2.55m in premiums. These reallocations were based on their share of the partnership, which had risen from 24.6 per cent at the outset to 29 per cent by the end of the second year, partly because of the reallocations.

Thus Mr Soros, his family and key members of his management team had effectively increased the membership dues for Quantum's sophisticated investors in the fund, and helped to dilute the fund's interest in the partnership.

In the explanatory memorandum about Quasar, Mr Soros explained that 'the Fund's net profit or loss from transactions in the Fund shares (whether realized directly or through Quinter) generally is accounted for as if earned by the Partnership, and thus is shared among the Fund and the other partners.'

Close examination of the accounts also reveals that the 'selected persons' appear to have benefited in another way from the establishment of the partnership.

In April 1991 Soros told Quantum shareholders that they had subscribed for a total of dollars 541m in 'Quasar', without specifying whether he meant the fund or the partnership.

In fact the accounts reveal that while dollars 541m of Quantum's assets were indeed transferred to the Quasar partnership, the Quasar fund's initial net asset value was only dollars 493m - a difference of dollars 48m.

The Quantum investors choosing to invest in Quasar were thus effectively paying a premium of about 9.5 per cent for their new shares.

Another discrepancy appeared in the calculation of the net asset value at the end of the second year. While the fund's holding of the partnership at that time was 71 per cent, when it came to dividing up the net increase in the partnership's capital resulting from operations, the fund got only 67.1 per cent. This is possibly because the 'selected persons' do not pay advisory fees.

The pattern for spinning off new funds had been set.

When Quantum's next distribution of dollars 1.166m was made in February 1992, two further funds were launched: Quota and Quantum Emerging Growth.

Quota was different because it would be managed entirely by outside advisers (but, of course, under SFM's overall direction).

Quantum Emerging Growth remained inside the SFM stable - but its performance fee was set at 20 per cent and also spawned a partnership arrangement similar to the Quasar operation. In effect, therefore, it too raised the stakes for the growing ranks of investors in what was by this stage fast becoming the Soros phenomenon.

This time, though, there was no discrepancy between the assets of Quantum transferred to the partnership and the new fund's equity stake, according to the accounts issued for the first 15 months to 31 March 1993.

During that period the 'selected persons' put some dollars 100m into the partnership. Their share rose from less than 5 per cent at the outset to 15 per cent at the end of the period. Their allocation of the dollars 40m in profits, generated by the premiums from dealings in the fund's shares, was dollars 4.7m.

As the fund's fortunes rocketed, self-restraint among its management seemed to wane. The 25 per cent restriction on the premium had long since disappeared.

Then it spawned two property funds, each with a high- profile partner.

One, Quantum Realty Trust, was with Paul Reichmann, whose Olympia & York operation had collapsed as a result of the financial drain of the Canary Wharf development in London's Docklands.

The other, Quantum UK Realty Fund, was with John Ritblat of British Land. Again, capital was provided partly out of distributions from Quantum and Quasar as well as by Mr Soros and his family, but also this time by other participants.

Although the structure of these new funds is highly complex, they are essentially closed- end operations. What may not have been noticed was that in June 1993 the directors of the open-ended flagship - the Quantum fund - removed an important investment restriction: a prohibition on direct investment in property.

Until the audited accounts for 1993 are available (they are expected to be out in May or June), investors will not know whether advantage has been taken of this change, or what effect it may have had on the liquidity of the fund.

Last year, Quantum quietly transformed itself. On 1 August 'substantially all' of Quantum's assets and liabilities were transferred to a new Curacao partnership, Quantum Partners.

As with Quasar and Quantum Emerging Growth, the Quantum fund is not the only partner. 'Selected persons associated with SFM' - including SFM's managing directors - subscribed for 1.3 per cent of the new partnership's net equity.

In effect they were getting a share in Quantum without having to pay a premium. Already by the end of September their share of the net equity had risen to 1.9 per cent - dollars 78m - and, as with Quasar and Quantum Emerging, they would get a share of the net premiums made from dealings in the flagship fund.

Again, just how much this will be will not be known until the 1993 accounts are available. But in 1992 such dealings contributed dollars 68m towards the rise in the fund's net asset value.

Additionally, SFM's managing directors and 'trusts and charitable foundations created by them' have taken an insurance policy on the future of the fund. This comes in the form of dollars 220m of convertible debentures that pay 6 per cent a year and are convertible in 2003 into partnership shares at 120 per cent of their net asset value on the issue date. They may be worth considerably more than that by then.

In the great tidal wave of money into the Soros empire, which at the end of 1993 stood at dollars 4.9bn for Quantum alone and more than dollars 10bn for the whole group, there is another sum that may one day cause repercussions of its own: the size of the performance fee that SFM leaves in the fund. At the end of 1992, the latest reckoning available, that totalled nearly dollars 550m.

These deferred fees are so structured that they share in the appreciation of the fund, but investors are given no clear picture of when SFM can or will withdraw them.

It is curious that Mr Soros has not yet taken this money out, since it would be one way of reducing the size of the funds. But to take it out quickly now might suggest he was losing confidence in his own creation.

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          Regulators open to offers for Panama bank        
The reorganization committee of Banco Universal started last week the process of sending letters to all general license banks to participate in the sale process of the company. Banco Universal was intervened by the regulators back in June 2015 and is one of the smallest banks of the Panamanian banking system.

The process of receiving proposals will be open for 20 days, said Gustavo Villa, secretary general of the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP).  Those interested in acquiring the operations of Banco Universal  will have 20 days, starting August 10, to submit their bids.

In negotiating Banco Universal operations there are two possible scenarios: the purchase of the loan portfolio, or the purchase of portfolios, plus deposits.

Interested parties will have available a virtual data room with general information about the bank after signing a confidentiality agreement. They should express a non-binding offer at that time, and if they are interested or not to continue in the process.  The entire sale process is expected to last between 90 and 120 days.

BANCO UNIVERSAL, S.A. (under intervention)
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (in thousands of dollars)

June 2015

Local Deposits in Banks
At Sight
Timed Deposits
Foreign Deposits in Banks
At Sight
Timed Deposits
Minus Reserves
Minus Reserves
Minus Reserves
Of Individuals
At Sight
Timed Deposits
From Banks
At Sight
Timed Deposits
From Individuals
At Sight
Timed Deposits
From Banks
At Sight