Financial

Eating Bugs

From Change.org

An Open Letter to the Mother of the Boy Who Eats Bugs

by Joy Eckstine May 19, 2010 08:33 AM

Every once in a while, a boy, your son, comes into the shelter where I work and eats a very tiny lunch. Once, I convinced him to change his clothes. On another occasion, a skilled mental health worker engaged him in conversation and found out that part of the reason that he is so emaciated is because his mental illness takes the form of him eating bugs. Bees, wasps and beetles, specifically. I know which business’s roof he sleeps on and which skateboard park he likes to hang out at. What I don’t know is the way to reach him on a more profound level.

Another thing I don’t know is where you are and if you are staring at the ceiling of your bedroom at night, with slow tears forming, your heart constricted with the everpresent worry of having a mentally ill child. I use the words “boy” and “child” on purpose — yes, he is in his 20’s, the age that schizophrenia usually strikes, but I also know that for mothers, their child is their child their whole life through.

We all know the reasons that mentally ill people are not receiving treatment — budget cuts to every level of mental health treatment, de-institutionalization, laws which protect their civil rights from forced treatment, the unpleasant side-effects of many psychiatric medications. We have also all watched as the jails and prisons of our country become the primary providers of psychiatric treatment.

But those facts do little to assuage your pain, I am sure. If you are like most parents of mentally ill people that I have known, you have spent your life seeking help and asking questions, only to be met with a bewildering morass of treatment modalities, unresponsive systems, lovely but overwhelmed mental health professionals and a lifetime of self-questioning and, at times, self-blame.

Clean up Colorado Elections

6269.61Volunteers are collecting signatures to get publicly financed elections for Colorado state offices.  Ballot Initiative #53 gets Big $$ out of politics, and restores democracy and voter confidence. If passed, candidates for the Colorado legislature and statewide offices will have the option of accepting public funds for their campaigns.  In exchange candidates agree not to use or accept private, corporate or special interest money. This measure will change the way government works in Colorado!

Candidates who voluntarily chose public funding can focus on issues.  When elected, these public servants will be free to represent everyone—not just the special interests that funded them. Anyone can consider running for office if it’s not all about the money chase.  Initiative #53 is truly a game changer.

More volunteers are needed to collect signatures to meet the July  deadline. This effort will dramatically increase democracy in our state. To find out how to get involved, go to www.cleancampaignscolorado.com.

Ronnie not Ulysses

Why do GOP Congressmen keep pushing for Reagan’s face on the $50 bill?

They seem dead-set on getting rid of Grant’s face. Such determination is always indicative with people so I did some research and the reasons just jump right out:

He was a Methodist. You know, those people that don’t like wars. Yet he served. Damn him! Made it to General of the Union army. Reagan had the good sense to be nearsighted and avoid all combat duty yet made it all the way to Captain. *cough*

He could actually ride a horse. Both men were in the Cavalry but there the similarity ends. While at West Point Grant set a record for horse jumping that stood for 25 years.

He opposed opportunistic wars. His opinion about the Mexican-American War was that it was unjust. Period. He spoke his mind but did his duty. Well, at least Reagan always spoke his mind

He drank too much. Persistent rumors followed Grant throughout his career. Reagan was part of the New Temperance Movement.

He believed in peace. “Let us have peace” was his presidential campaign slogan. Reagan was quoted as saying in 1984: “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” The Soviet Far East Army was placed on alert after word of the statement got out, and that the alert was not withdrawn until 30 minutes later. Congressman Michael Barnes (D-Md.) confirmed that information with then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.[2]

He stopped the Confederates. Bottom line, he was the pivotal man that ultimately stopped the loons that nearly shattered our country.

So I can see why the current GOP congressional minority would want to get Grant’s face off the $50 – since that’s likely the smallest bill they ever carry they’re forced to look at the face of a Republican (a Radical at that) that underlines how far they’ve strayed from their values.

The Roaring ’10s

15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Wealth And Inequality In America

Check out this series of graphs that illustrate how bad the gap is between the 2-percenters and the rest of the ‘little people.’ Follow the money – it’s all going up.

Read more

Hate Obama? Fire your Democratic employees

The insane rhetoric from the right gets worse and worse.

As if outsourcing jobs didn’t do enough damage to America, now Lunatic Fringers are advocating businesses firing their Democratic employees:

From Neal Boortz (i.e., “Talkmaster”) on Twitter:

How un-American can you get?

This is most vicious, evil cold-blooded thing I’ve ever read.

This is why I will never stop fighting for unions – we need them because of this kind of mentality.

Thanks to Say It Ain’t So Already where I first spotted this.

Wake up Dems – this is just going to get worse.

Poll: Most Blame Bush for Economy

From Politico via the Drudge Retort:

Former President George W. Bush gets more blame for the country’s economic troubles than his successor or the Democrats who control Congress, according to a Harris poll out Wednesday.

Thirty-one percent of the 2,344 adults surveyed said Bush deserves the most blame for a rough economy, leading the second-place Wall Street by 6 percentage points.
Read more

Photo from the Documerica Project of the National Archive

FRC says no to RNC

From Drudge Retort:

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, urged supporters Wednesday to stop donating to the Republican National Committee. “If you want to put money into the political process, and I encourage you to do so, give directly to candidates who you know reflect your values,” he said. “Better yet, become a member of FRC Action and learn about the benefits it offers, including participating in the FRC Action PAC which can support candidates who will advance faith, family and freedom.”

Posted by Corky at 05:31 PM

Oh my God… the Republicans have finally driven off their very best shock troops.

I wonder… does this mean the ‘church campaign’ won’t happen this election cycle?

Bad news for the Lunatic Fringers – but likely not Longmont, those Fringers never waver.

A Gathering of Vultures

As the Liberals in Congress struggle against the Party-of-No Republicans and the Blue Dog DINOs, the people in the lower economic level are being picked of the last flesh on their living bones by the circling vultures. After they have lost almost everything they possess by the too-big-to-fail banks and investment companies, bled by the co-payments for essential medical care for their children, and either lost their homes in foreclosure or have trouble paying their rent, the vultures have gathered for the last pickings.

One cannot long watch television without the realization of precisely what the aims are of the remaining ghouls that dog their tracks. First and foremost are the “easy credit” advertisements by which they are bombarded. If you get a paycheck, you can get money quick to last until then. It only costs you a “little” more than you borrow, (only an APR of a hundred or two), and you can spend on anything you want. If you own a car, bring in your title and get the same sweet deal. The commercials depict happy people enjoying the prospect of living it up on all that “Easy Cash”.

Congress is currently stuggling with the task of regulating these vultures against those who think that the poor are not sufficiently important to protect. They appear to rest secure in their opinion that those who are dumb enough to fall for those deceptions deserve to be victimized. The fact that many may be so financially strapped in this “Land of Plenty” that they have no other avenue of survival.

Another source of income to the television channels are the advertisements telling those who have won lawsuits and have judgements which are to be paid over time that they don’t have to wait for their money. They can really sell those judgements, (at discount prices, of course), and obtain a large amount of “cash now” with which they can “live it up” until it’s all gone. They do not, ever, tell how much the discount will be and how much they will collect of the proceeds for corporate profit. Often, these judgements or annuities are the only source of supplemental income available to these people and they will suffer terribly by their loss but, what the hell, it’s all “Free Enterprise”!

A third enticement, aimed the elderly, is one that I particularly find reprehensible. They dig up all the old has-beens like Pat Boone, Robert Wagner, or Peter Graves, who were the heart-throbs of our youth, to hawk the idea of “reverse mortgages” wherein they promise monthly stipends in return for signing a contract that allows them lending institutions to own your home when you die. Now, every elderly person whom I have met will tell you that they have made precise plans for whom they want to inherit from them and they will deprive themselves of essentials of life to retain their property for that purpose.

Further, this arrangement amounts to the bidding company actually wagering that you will not live very long because the more quickly you die, the more profit they will gain. Let us hope that most of these elderly have brains enough to know that, should they determine that they want to leave the old home place, that they will make more money by selling it outright, even if they themselves carry a contract for a balance. At least, they won’t have to live the rest of their lives looking over their shoulders and wondering whether their “heirs:” are becoming impatient.

(To add insult to injury, they continually remind us of our advanced years by showing us how decrepit our once-upon-a-time have gone through the same deterioration that we must deal with every day. This comment from a person who refused to attend the 60-year clas reunion because she prefers to recall the raucous friends of her youth rather than the old codgers who now creep around with canes and walkers. She prefers to remember the friends of her youth as vital and energetic as they were so long ago,)

(Note: Peter Graves has passed away since this writing and I, for one, will always remember him as the dashing and daring Mr. Phelps of “Mission Impossible” and not as the enfeebled huckster for reverse mortgages.)

As macabre as these three “vultures” may appear, there is still one that is so reprehensible that they don’t even advertise. They merely contact the elderly personally in the effort to puchase their paid-up life insurance policies. The proposal is that they will discount the amount payable on your death and give you that amount “today”. In return, they become the beneficiary of that policy and collect it only on your death. I can’t speak for anyone else but it would seem that one could never again sleep comfortably at night.

While the comfortably wealthy worship at the altar of Capitalism and engage in the preservation of Free Enterprise while resisting any regulation of banks and other lending institutions. the sheep have already been stripped of their fleece and new ways are being developed to profit from the disposal of their bones. Meanwhile, the vultures go about their work of devouring whatever value remains of their being.

Does anybody out there care? Will the Senate shape up and pass the Consumer Financial Protection Act which has been passed by the House? Or will the Republicans continue the campaign to end the Class Warfare in their usual manner, by forcing the poor back to the status of serfs in bondage to the privileged?

Stay tuned.

This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own working-class family. She spends her “Sunset Years” in writing and struggling with The System.

Google eyes Longmont

It's time to modernize

The City of Longmont in its e-news for Friday, March 12, 2010 informs Longmont residents that Google is looking for a community to launch its experiment to bring better and faster Internet access to everyone. They want to partner with a community to test ultra-high speed (over 1 gigabit per second) fiber-to-the-home broadband networks.

Nominate Longmont. We are the best choice for Google and the benefit to our community is enormous.

You can help our community from now until Friday, March 26, 2010,

Visit www.ci.longmont.co.us/news/google_fiber and follow the process. It will take little of your time and your community will see renewed prosperity if we are successful in this public-private partnership. This map shows the location of people that have signed.

Since 1997 Longmont has been looking for a business partner to supplement our existing eighteen-mile fiber-optic ring.

Brandon Shaffer, Longmont’s state senator and president of the Colorado Senate, has written to Google on our behalf.  His letter outlines many of the reasons why Longmont should be the #1 choice for this partnership.

Adobe Acrobat PDF of Senator Shaffer’s letter

(text of letter follows)


March 11, 2010

Google Broadband Network Trial Location Selection Team
www.google.com

Dear Google:

I would like to take a moment of your time to share my support of the City of Longmont’s application to be selected as a Google Broadband network trial location. I believe that there simply is no better location for Google to build its first open access fiber to the home, ultra-high speed broadband network than my hometown of Longmont, Colorado.

I know Google is looking for a community where a fiber-based system can be deployed quickly and efficiently and Longmont certainly meets the test.
Longmont owns an 18-mile fiber-optic ring with the capability of bringing high-speed fiber optics based telecommunications into every home and business in Longmont. Google will have a head start on infrastructure if it chooses Longmont as a municipal partner.

In addition to this ring, the City also owns its electric utility, Longmont Power & Communications (LPC). LPC provides extremely reliable electrical energy at the lowest rates in Colorado and maintains the city-owned fiber optic ring that is connected to each of its electrical substations and other facilities, providing tremendous capacity for future applications including smart grid. Longmont would be a “one-stop shop” that could provide Google not only access to the electrical distribution infrastructure and the fiber optic ring, but other City infrastructure and assistance with permitting and rights of way issues – a partnership that could not be beat. As if that weren’t enough reason, Longmont already has in place a robust citywide Wi-Fi system that uses the City’s fiber optic ring as its backbone that could be a test bed for new wireless applications.

I know that Google is very focused on implementing fiber for residential use, but you should know that the City’s hospital, libraries, school district and many municipal services are currently benefitting from this fiber backbone and a partnership with Google multiplies the endless number of applications that can really tie a community together.

Longmont is fortunate to have some of the highest concentrations of high-tech employees per capita in the United States. Home to companies such as Seagate, Western Digital and DigitalGlobe, a Google business partner, we are located between two major universities (Colorado State University and the University of Colorado at Boulder). Longmont has a population of just over 80,000 – not too large that it would be unmanageable but not too small to test a robust new system.

With the incredible mountain views, high quality of life, being one of Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live and an All America City, I believe that Longmont, Colorado, is your best choice to locate and partner with to create the shared vision of providing ultra high-speed broadband to the home. I thank you for your time and consideration of Longmont, Colorado, and speak not only as a representative of my district but as an excited resident.

Sincerely,
Brandon Shaffer
President, Colorado Senate

Abandon All Hope

From the Agonist:

The Examiner responsible for investigating the Lehman Brothers collapse and bankruptcy has found a number of “colorable claims”, meaning legal claims that, given the facts as now known, would have a good chance of succeeding with a jury. These include:

  • A claim against Richard Fuld, CEO, and three successive CFOs (Christopher O’Meara, Erin Callan, and Ian Lowitt) that they are liable for providing “materially misleading periodic reports” regarding the true liquidity situation of Lehman Bros. In particular, these individuals never revealed the true purpose of 105 Repos.
  • A claim against Ernst & Young for “professional negligence” in allowing the 105 Repo program to continue without any explanation to the public.
  • A claim that JP Morgan Chase did not act with “good faith and fair dealing” when negotiating with Lehman over collateral requests. The bank may have knowingly taken too much collateral.

There’s much more before this – the usual outstanding detail you’ve come to expect from the Agonist.

Go. Read.

This will help you understand why we need better banking regulations.

Also, it underlines that the people of Longmont deserved to know about Twin Peaks sooner… and it was kept carefully quiet and only mentioned obliquely and never in actual value numbers – sound familiar?

Longmont’s Hidden 100

Longmont's oldest political syndicate?

The Spartans had their 300, Longmont has its 100 – but Longmont’s tiny army has a bit of an advantage: they never have to show their faces to the ‘enemy’. These are real ‘heroes’ – people who ‘support their candidates wholeheartedly’ but live in horror of ‘retribution’ and that they might be ‘exposed’.

I doubt these folks are afraid of anything but an IRS audit or their proctologist.

This fine group donated no less then $6269.61* to the Western Tradition Partnership, a viciously hard-core right wing partisan group from Montana associated with Scott Gessler, now a candidate for Colorado Secretary of State – just like Ken Blackwell in Ohio. Original document filing
* does anyone see the pattern of 6s in that figure?)

All this money was spent by one hundred Longmont residents who don’t believe the majority should have any rights at all – to them it’s all about money and power and to hell with the ‘little people.’ They managed to cover the town with political toilet paper that activated the far-right factions and disgusted the left to the point of not voting – much to the glee of the people who decried low turnouts during the last election.

We’d love to hear from anyone that can help us identify Longmont’s Comehere Rouge Guerrillas** and help bring them out of the mists of secrecy into the light of day – and I’m NOT talking about the way the Times-Call plays fast and loose with the political process.

(** it’s a joke, for all you humor-impaireds out there)

Help to End Poverty

Move The MountainJoin Scott Miller, CEO of the Move the Mountain Leadership Center and author of Until It’s Gone: Ending Poverty In Our Nation, In Our Lifetime to learn more about CIRCLES™, a program in which engaged community members, government, and human services work together to end the cycle of poverty in Boulder County. Join us on March 17 at 3 p.m. at the Xilinx Retreat Center, 1951 Fordham Street. Dinner will be served. RSVP to 303-441-1545 or csrvp@bouldercounty.org.
Map

[googleMap name=”Xilinx Retreat Center” width=”525″ height=”525″ mousewheel=”false” directions_to=”false”]1951 Fordham Street, Longmont, CO 80501[/googleMap]

Lehman shrinking

From the BCBR:

Lehman consolidates three newspapers

February 15, 2010 — LONGMONT – Lehman Communications Corp., publisher of the Times-Call in Longmont, consolidated three of its weekly newspapers and eliminated nine employees in an effort to cut costs.

The Louisville Times, Lafayette News and Erie Review were consolidated into the Colorado Hometown Weekly on Jan. 20. The new weekly has a circulation of approximately 20,000.

Read the rest at the BCBR.

Great Recession May Claim Twin Peaks Mall

BREAKING NEWS:

Katie Witt, Longmont City Council 2010

An email dated February 10, 2010 from Councilmember Katie Witt to a constituent reveals that Panattoni, owner of Twin Peaks Mall, is in serious financial difficulty. The future of Twin Peaks Mall is in jeopardy and may fall victim to a “fire sale.”

According to Witt’s email, the Twin Peaks Mall was purchased for $37 million and is now worth only $17 million.  She also states that Panattoni placed $8 million down when the mall was purchased

Because of the collapse of the financial industry which began in the spring of 2008, greater accountability is now required from financial institutions.  Banks are “shedding loans that do not have at least 50% equity invested in the property.”  Since the Twin Peaks Mall loan currently fails to meet that criterion, Bank of America may call the loan and the mall would likely be sold to the highest bidder.

Click here for the full text of the email.

“There is a commercial real estate crisis on the horizon, and there are no easy solutions to the risks commercial real estate may pose to the financial system and the public,” says a report issued Thursday by the Congressional Oversight Panel, the bailout watchdog led by Harvard Law professor and middle-class advocate Elizabeth Warren.

The six-minute video of the Congressional Oversight Panel provides an explanation of what is likely to occur in the commercial real estate market that is well worth the time to listen:

In an article published Thursday on Huffington Post (Elizabeth Warren Warns About Commercial Real Estate Crisis, ‘Downward Spiral’ For Small Businesses, Local Banks), “Over the next five years, about $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate loans will reach the end of their terms and require new financing. Nearly half are “underwater,” meaning the borrower owes more than the property is worth. Commercial property values have fallen more than 40 percent nationally since their 2007 peak. Vacancy rates are up and rents are down, further driving down the value of these properties.”

The previous council under the leadership of Roger Lange tried on several occasions to explain to the Longmont community that decisions regarding the redevelopment of Twin Peaks Mall rested in the hands of Panattoni, the developer.   This writer, on numerous occasions since the fall of 2008, asked Will Damrath, who recently left Panattoni, to “show us the money.” Until now, the reality of the situation facing the developer has not been revealed to the Longmont public.

Fortunately, the previous council approached the project with caution and due diligence.   Only an Urban Renewal Plan was authorized.  Had a commitment been made by the city using the common financial mechanism of Tax Increment Financing, the financial situation of the city itself would have been seriously jeopardized.

The current majority led by Bryan Baum campaigned against the previous council with promises that they would see to it that progress would be made on the Mall’s redevelopment.  Longmont residents would be justified in asking them, “What did you know and when did you know it?”

Perhaps Panattoni will find an investor that will join them in reaching the threshold for refinancing.  However, given the experience of 2009 including the closing of Albertson’s and the upcoming closing of K-Mart, our community should double its efforts to support our local businesses.  That may be the best that we can do at this time to sustain our community.


image of email from public records (jpg, 360K)

Transcription:

02/10/2010 11:14 AM

Re: Twin Peaks Mall
Katie Witt to Ron
From: Katie Witt/Longmont
To: “Ron” <goadre@comcast.net>

Dear Ron –

Please forgive me for not returning your email sooner. I read it, but then
didn’t have time to respond, and then it got lost in a pile of other emails.

Here is the situation on the mall:

Panatonni purchased the mall for $37m. Currently, it is only worth S17m. They put $8m down on the project. Due to new banking regulations, banks are shedding loans that do not have at least 50% equity invested in the property. If Bank of America calls their note, our mall will be sold to the highest bidder, although I do not believe that will happen. Mayor Baum has been working hard ~o find equity partners to come in and make up the difference, but I am not sure that Panatonni liked the terms they were offering. We have just heard in the past few days of a reorganization within the company that leads me to believe that Panatonni has an idea of how to pull themselves out of this situation. Since this is privately owned property, Longmont has no control over the timeline prior to the company putting in an application for redevelopment. We are smoothing the way as best we can, but toe many variables are outside of our control (ie bank lending practices).

Let me assure you that city council, as well as city staff, is committed to seeing the mall succeed. We will do all that we can ethically do in order to see our mall back on its feet and thriving.

Please let me know if I can answer any more questions for you. I promise it will not take me as long to answer!

Sincerely,

Katie Witt

—–“Ron ” <goadre@comcast.net> wrote: —–

=======================
To: <katie.witt@ci.longmont.co.us>
From: “Ron” <goadre@comcast.net>
Date: 01/23/2010 12:51PM
Subject: Twin Peaks Mall
=======================

Council member Katie Witt,

I would like to know the status of where the City Council sits in regards to the Twin Peaks Mall. More tenants are leaving shoppers are forced to go outside of Longmont and the Theater is somewhat atrocious.

Regards,
Ron Goad