Tag Archives: Money

Duty and Honor

Posted by: BetsM

Op-ed by Gary Hart

Gary HartOf the many reasons for public discontent with government generally and Congress particularly, none is more obvious than the wholesale movement of former members of both Houses of Congress into the lobbying business. The massive lobbying industry is quick to remind us that lobbying is perfectly legal, or perhaps it is better to say not illegal, and that it has been going on from the beginning of parliaments. That may be technically true, but it neglects the critical point that, when conducted by former members of Congress, and now increasingly their wives and children, lobbying is a sophisticated way of trading titles provided by voters for substantial personal gain.

No one truly believes that John Doe is as valuable to his lobbying firm and its corporate clients as former Senator John Doe is. Senator John Doe adds prestige to the firm. More importantly, he can open doors in the offices of his former colleagues. In the lobbying business, that is pure gold. The core and centerpiece of the lobbying business is ACCESS. It is possible to count on the fingers of one hand the number of members of Congress who refuse to see a former colleague.

My relatively few years in elective office spanned a critical transition time. Very few of my Senate colleagues from the 1970s became lobbyists. For most of the great ones it was a matter of self-respect and personal honor. By the time I retired from office in the later 1980s, not only former Senators but also their wives and sons and daughters were joining or forming lobbying firms and making a very great deal of money. It would take more than blog space permits to analyze the reasons for this transformation. But much of it had to do with the triumph of money over that earlier sense of personal honor. No American has the right to trade an office and a title bestowed upon him or her by the people for personal gain.

Senators Michael Bennet and Jon Tester are sponsoring legislation to bar Senators from lobbying for life. I would find it amazing if there were even committee hearings on this proposal, let alone a vote on the floor of the Senate. But such a measure would do more to demonstrate that the current Senate is serious about recapturing its dignity, its respect, and its sense of honor than any other single step I can think of. And perhaps most of all, it would go a very long way to restoring the confidence of the people in their government.

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President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 01/30/10

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WhiteHouse.govReining in Budget Deficits~~The President pledges to rein the deficit, citing three specific steps to this end. He praises the Senate for restoring the pay-as-you-go law, discusses his proposal for a freeze in discretionary spending, and calls for a bipartisan Fiscal Commission to hammer out further concrete deficit reduction proposals.

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British Boy, Charlie Simpson Age 7, Raises $240,000 for Haiti Relief

Posted by: BuellBoy

Charlie Simpson

Simpson's efforts have been described as 'bold' and 'innovative' by Unicef's UK executive director.

He’s no Wyclef Jean or George Clooney, but that hasn’t stopped seven-year-old Charlie Simpson from raising more than $240,000 (£150,000) for the Haiti earthquake. Simpson from Fulham, west London had hoped to raise just £500 for UNICEF’s earthquake appeal by cycling eight kilometers (five miles)around a local park.

Charlie Simpson

Charlie Simpson

My name is Charlie Simpson. I want to do a sponsored bike ride for Haiti because there was a big earthquake and loads of people have lost their lives,” said Simpson on his JustGiving page, a fundraising site which launched his efforts.

I want to make some money to buy food, water and tents for everyone in Haiti,” he said.

Donate to Charlie Simpson’s Haiti fundraising page

And with that simple call, messages of support flooded the site.

Charlie's helpful little sister

Charlie's helpful little sister

Such a big heart for a young boy, you’re a little star!” wrote one supporter. “Well done Charlie. A real celebrity,” said another. More donations began pouring in after the story caught the attention of the British media — with many cheering Simpson past the £100,000 mark.

Even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is spreading the message. His “Downing Street” Twitter alias said: “Amazed by response to the great fundraising efforts of 7 yr old Charlie Simpson for the people of Haiti.”

David Bull, UNICEF’s UK executive director described Simpson’s efforts as “very bold and innovative.” “It shows he connects with and not only understands what children his own age must be going through in Haiti,” Bull said in a press statement.

The Simpson family

The Simpson family

The little seed — his idea — that he has planted has grown rapidly and his is a place well deserved in the humanitarian world. On behalf of the many children in Haiti, I thank Charlie for his effort.”

Money raised by Simpson will go towards UNICEF’s Haiti Earthquake Children’s Appeal which will provide water, sanitation, education, nutrition as well as support child protection.

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Complete Haiti Relief Coverage Main PageHaiti Relief Coverage Main Page

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President Obama’s Saturday Youtube Address: Fighting for the Public Against Special Interests

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WhiteHouse.govPresident Obama Addresses This Week’s Supreme Court Decision~~In this week’s address, President Barack Obama addresses the Supreme Court decision to further empower corporations to use their financial clout to directly influence elections and vows that “as long as I’m your President, I’ll never stop fighting to make sure that the most powerful voice in Washington belongs to you.”
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George Lopez Throws Benefit Concert For Disaster Relief: “Help Haiti with George Lopez and Friends”

Posted by: Audiegrl


A Personal Message from George…

The people of Haiti need our help. On Thursday, February 4th I am throwing a benefit concert, called “Help Haiti with George Lopez and Friends” at The Nokia Center, here in Los Angeles. The best musicians, comedians and athletes will be there for the cause, including my friends Andy Garcia, Slash and Samuel Jackson.

100% of the proceeds will go to directly to Haiti to help the victims and their families. Click here for more information on how to purchase tickets for “Help Haiti with George Lopez and Friends.”

Lopez Tonight Help Haiti DonationIf you can’t make it to the concert, you can still help. Lopez Tonight has teamed up with “CARE” to raise money. Click on the “CARE” logo to donate directly to relief efforts that will help the people of Haiti. And we will match the first 25,000 dollars that come from you.

Americans are the most generous people in the world. Your gift will help save lives. Let’s show Haiti how much we care.

Guests Include: Slash, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, Kobe Bryant, Ray Romano, Larry David, Vanessa Hudgens, Cheech & Chong, Margaret Cho, Cedric the Entertainer, Cypress Hill, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Eva Langoria-Parker, Amber Veletta, Don Cheadle, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Cheech and Chong, Cypress Hill, Los Lobos, and many more!

Tonight you can check out “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief”, LIVE Streamed and Blogged at 44-D’s tonight…January 22nd at 8PM EST. Join in and help out the people of Haiti.


Complete Haiti Relief Coverage Main PageHaiti Relief Coverage Main Page

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President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 01/16/10

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WhiteHouse.govGetting Our Money Back from Wall Street~~As the President continues to work on immediate job creation, he discusses his proposal for a new fee on the largest financial institutions to ensure that every cent of taxpayer assistance gets paid back. Saying that, “we’re not going to let Wall Street take the money and run,” he then to discusses the ongoing push to make sure banks can never put our economy at risk again.
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Fed posts record profit of $46.1B for last year

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve made a record profit of $46.1 billion last year, reflecting money made off its extraordinary efforts to rescue the country from the worst economic and financial crisis since the 1930s, the central bank announced Tuesday.

The windfall gets turned over to the Treasury Department.

It marks the biggest profit on record dating back to 1914 when the Fed was created. The previous record profit – of $34.6 billion – was registered in 2007. In 2008, the Fed reported a profit of $31.7 billion.

The Fed says the bigger profit was primarily due to increased income from the securities it held last year.

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44-D’s Best Music of 2009

Blogpost by: Ogenec

Never, ever on schedule, but always on time.” – Nas

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Hey y’all, Happy New Year!  I’ve been promising the list for some time, and I’ve been slacking.  Especially in the wake of AG’s most excellent best books list.  But like Kanye, “you should be honored by my lateness.”  🙂  What follows is a highly personal take on the best music of 2009.    The profusion in the quality and quantity of recorded music is mind-blowing.  And I especially love to be turned on to new stuff.  So I’m hoping you guys will chip in with your own suggestions.   Here we go.

Noisettes, Wild Young Hearts:  I’d never even heard of the Noisettes before Summer 09. But I heard their song “Atticus” at a store somewhere and went in furious search of the group.  Even though rock is not my genre, this is probably my favorite disc of the year.  Of course, calling this is a rock album is a serious disservice.  Most commentators call it a hybrid mesh of rock, blues, disco, and old school r&b.  They’re probably right, but it just sounds like the future to me.  The lead singer is DOPE, and I can’t wait to catch their live show.  Favorite cut: Atticus.

Mos Def, The Ecstatic:  He’s baaaack!!  Mos has floundered a little bit since his magnificent opus, Black on Both Sides.   I get it — he’s been distracted by his acting career (and weird appearances on Bill Maher).  And I liked The New Danger more than most folks.  But this is that classic Mos that we know and love.  Favorite cut: Auditorium.  Also love the remake of Roses with Georgia Anne Muldrow.

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Q-Tip, Kamaal The Abstract: The genuises at Q-Tip’s record label have to explain why they shelved this album for more than eight years.  I think it’s even better than last year’s The Renaissance.  Another hybrid album, this time with elements of r&b, soul, rock, and jazz.  Sounds like future Prince or Stevie Wonder.  Favorite cut: Do You Dig U?

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Drake, So Far Gone: Okay, this is a bit of a cheat.  The mixtape, which I’m still geeking over, came out in 2008.  But he re-released certain of the mixtape cuts on CD and itunes in 2009, so it qualifies.  As a bonus, the re-release contains an unreleased track “Fear,” which is bananas.  Hottest kid in the rap game right now, and with good reason.  Favorite cut: Fear.  Shout-out to DJ Khalil.

Lee Fields, My World: I gotta thank the good people of HBO’s Entourage for this one.  When I heard “Ladies” during the credits of one of the episodes, I lost my sh*t.  I had to cop the album.  Gutbucket soul, set to the sweetest harmonies you’ve ever heard.  And hey — I detect a little of the hip-hop influence as well.  Looks like the old school is learning from the new school, not just vice-versa.  I am a big fan of the ’60s renaissance in music.  If you love Amy Whitehouse, Joss Stone etc., check this OG out.  While you’re at it, check out Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings too.  Favorite cut: Ladies.

Rafael Saadiq, The Way I See It: I’m sticking with the retro soul angle here.  I’ve been down with Ray-Ray since Tony Toni Tone.  This is his masterpiece.  Again, if you like the Motown doo-wop sound, you’ve gotta check this out.  And while you’re at it, get the Live from the Artist’s Den DVD.  It’s fantastic.  Favorite cut: 100 Yard Dash.

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Fela, The Best of the Black President: “Eh-heh, let us get down.  Into another underground spiritual game….”  I have to show some love to the greatest Nigerian musician of all time.  If you want to know the meaning of “underground spiritual game,” you need to check out Fela!, the best show on Broadway.  This album will hold you over until you can.  It’s a compilation of Fela’s most popular cuts.  Note, however, that these are mostly edits: many of Fela’s songs run 20-30 minutes long, and you owe it to yourself to listen to the unedited versions.  Still, an excellent way to get familiar with the genius that is Fela.  Favorite cut: Water No Get Enemy.

Robert Glasper, Double Booked: And now we segue from Afrobeat to jazz (actually, less of a transition than you might think).  Robert Glasper is my favorite jazz pianist right now.  He’s just so melodic.  He’s also incredible live — the missus and I saw him last year at the Kennedy Center.  He can play everything from straight-ahead to fusion to soul jazz to hip-hop.  And here, he does.  The first half is an acoustic trio setting; the second, “The Experiment,” a fusion exercise with Bilal and Mos Def making vocal appearances.  Wonderful stuff.  Favorite cut: No Worries.

Roy Hargrove, Emergence: A little more jazz.  I’ve loved this guy ever since I saw him play in St. Louis many moons ago.  Like Glasper, Hargrove does all variety of jazz, soul and hip-hop-inflected music.  Indeed, my favorite album of his is Crisol, a Latin jazz homage.  Here, Hargrove goes big band.  I’m not generally a fan of the big band genre, but I love this.  Especially the treatment of Mambo for Roy from the Crisol album.  Favorite cut: Mambo for Roy.

Maxwell, Blacksummersnight: Maxwell returns.  He’s lost the neo-soul affectations of his first few albums, and is in full-on grown man mode.  I love it, and you will too.  The harmonies, the live instrumentation, the trumpets, it’s all so gorgeous.  And if you missed his North American tour, you missed the best concert of the year.  Period.  Favorite cut: Bad Habits.

Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Devil’s Halo: I think of this album as sort of a bookend to Bitter.  I liked Bitter, but found it to be a little dark for me.  This is dark too, but it’s not so depressing.  Just deep, slow, and sensual.  You know, kinda like Me’Shell herself.  Favorite cut: Love You Down (wonderful remake of the Ready for the World song).

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The Dream, Love vs Money: I don’t listen to a lot of commercial radio.  Obviously.  🙂  It’s virtually all dreck to me.  But I love me some The-Dream.  I don’t think there’s anyone else in R&B working at his level.  He’s behind most of the hits you’ve danced to, from Rihanna’s Umbrella to Beyonce’s Single Ladies.  But he saved the best for himself on this album.  The-Dream is the future of R&B.  Favorite cut: Fancy.

Major Lazer, Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do: I don’t even know how to classify this one.  Reggae meets rock meets electronica?  Dancehall meets punk?  I heard someone call it “electro reggae.”  Let’s go with that.  This album, from MIA’s producers Diplo and Switch, rocks HARD.  Just get it already.  Favorite cut: What U Like(WARNING: This is a VERY explicit and raunchy song.   Not for delicate ears!!!)

Raekwon, Only Built for Cuban Linx 2: The second installment of the Wu-Gambino crime-soaked masterpiece.  This is for all you who claim not to like gangsta rap.  Indulge your id and have a little fun with this one.  It’s not real, any more than playing Grand Theft Auto or watching Scarface is.  But it’s an escapist treat. Amazon says “Blazing tracks…delivered with Raekwon’s melodic flows and street oriented delivery.”  Werd.  Favorite track: We Will Rob You.

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Forbes: The World’s Most Powerful People

The 67 heads of state, criminals, financiers and philanthropists who really run the world.

forbesmostpowerfulForbes— In its inaugural list of the world’s most powerful people, Forbes has the News Corp. chief at No. 7, ahead of such luminaries as the king of Saudi Arabia (No. 9), Pope Benedict XVI (No. 11) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (No. 17),
Topping the list is President Obama, followed by China president Jintao Hu, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

hillary_1116

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, is No. 10. Murdoch is the only pure media mogul to crack the top 10, though Brin and Page certainly dabble in media, as does No. 6 on the list Carlos Slim Helu, the Telmex CEO who recently purchased a 6.4% stake in the New York Times.

Other media bigwigs on the Forbes list of the 67 most powerful people include No. 13 Jeff Immelt, the CEO and chairman of NBC Universal parent GE.

Prime Minister of Italy and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi is No. 12, while New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder of the business news service that bears his name, is No. 20.

oprah-winfrey-

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is No. 45, New York Times editor William Keller is No. 51, Al Jazeera director-general Khanfar Wadah is No. 54, Apple founder and Disney director Steve Jobs is No. 57 and BBC director-general Mark Thompson is No. 65.

Forbes held its list to 67 “based on the conceit that one can reduce the world’s 6.7 billion people to the one in every 100 million that matter.”

Its criteria consisted of: the number of people one influences; one’s ability to project power beyond one’s immediate sphere of influence; control of or access to significant financial resources; and how actively one wields power.

The list even includes a few of the more notorious drug traffickers, terrorists and other assorted outlaws. Osama bin Laden, for example, is No. 37.

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View the entire list @ forbessmalllogo

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No Longer “To Big Too Fail”

posted by GeoT

By Karey Wutkowski

WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (Reuters) – The Obama administration plans to unveil on Monday a new plan for dealing with troubled financial giants, said a senior U.S. lawmaker, who also mentioned potentially big changes for the insurance industry.

Too Big To Fail

Too Big To Fail

Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and a chief architect of the financial regulation overhaul, declined on Friday to give details on the administration’s new bill, which would give the government the power to dismantle large financial companies that get into crises.

The new draft bill is expected to take a tougher stance toward troubled financial firms than the administration’s original plan, and may take out some language that would allow for temporary bailouts.

Giving the government “resolution authority” would serve as a rebuttal to the concept that some firms are too big to fail. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday highlighted the need for this authority as well as other measures to reduce the likelihood that one firm could destabilize the financial system.

Frank also said Congress is discussing whether to create an optional federal charter for insurers.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-NY)

Rep. Barney Frank (D-NY)

Insurance companies are currently regulated by the states.

“If we do get into national chartering it will be in life insurance … and maybe large commercial entities,” Frank said during remarks to a banking symposium.
He said lawmakers would not likely try to federally regulate property and casualty insurers, however.

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