Unfiltered Political News

December 18, 2014

Gas prices, check!

Many Americans like Dr. Daniel Amen think that gas prices are still too high. This from a CBS poll conducted to assess what Americans thought about the drastically reduced prices of gas and what they intend to use the savings for. Gas reached four dollars a gallon, and many republicans blamed the steep prices on Obama’s unwillingness to drill. This along with many of their diatribes were motivated by a racist segment of the American society that is unwilling to give any credit to America’s first black president even when the opposite of their blames come to fruition.  How can a …continue reading

Gas prices, check!

Many Americans like Dr. Daniel Amen think that gas prices are still too high. This from a CBS poll conducted to assess what Americans thought about the drastically reduced prices of gas and what they intend to use the savings for. Gas reached four dollars a gallon, and many republicans blamed the steep prices on Obama’s unwillingness to drill. This along with many of their diatribes were motivated by a racist segment of the American society that is unwilling to give any credit to America’s first black president even when the opposite of their blames come to fruition. 

How can a president be responsible for higher gas prices and then not correspondingly responsible for the fall of these same prices? However, many of the problems that republicans have once associated with Obama have been solved, but there has been no corresponding willingness to credit the president for the solutions he put forth that have been working by every metric available to economist.

Clinton as Ally of the Year

In the recent award ceremony over at Grindr, the leading gay hook up app that hit the Internet in just three years, have voted Hilary Clinton as the “Straight Ally of the Year”. This might turn more than a few heads, as Clinton had not been previously though of as a particular ally.

Grindr has nearly 4 million users from its launch 3 years ago and this platform has gotten a lot of positive results, of course, mostly from the LGBT community. Grindr’s aim for equality has been their plight in putting up this app. They aim to educate people of their rights in the community as well as encourage other LGBTs to come out and not be afraid.

Hilary has shown her support for same sex marriage last year when she stepped down from her post as secretary of state. She has long been an important figure in the political world and her great support for gay marriages has put her in an even light for the LGBT community. Grindr has even made their prediction of the year 2015 that Hillary will be announcing her presidential candidacy, which me and Bernardo Chua are pretty excited about.

Well, that certainly will be something everybody will be looking forward to in the year 2015. For now though, there have been no response yet from Clinton’s camp to her being awarded the “Ally of the Year” but it will certainly be taken positively.

L.A. Earthquake Plan Calls For Massive Retrofit

The Southern region of the American state of California has long been known for its history of seismic activity. However, as stated by Bruce Levenson in the past law makers and shapers of the region’s building codes have assumed that the area is reasonably well prepared in the event of a major earthquake. 

However, a new report suggests that a massive retrofitting may be necessary in order to ensure the safety of millions of residents who call the area home. Eric Garcetti, who was recently elected as Mayor of Los Angeles, recently commissioned a year long study concerning the preparedness of the area in case of a major earthquake.

It seems that the findings made public by the recent release of the report have staggering implications for the potential safety of millions of people. Should an earthquake occur, the report suggests that its impact will be far more deadly, and the destruction left in its wake, far more comprehensive than was previously assumed. 

As a result, Mayor Garcetti is now issuing a call for the retrofitting of all wooden and concrete buildings constructed in the city of Los Angeles prior to the year 1980. The potential cost of such a massive undertaking has not yet been fully calculated, but is expected to be somewhere in the neighborhood of several billion dollars. No word has yet been released as to whether the plan is truly practical, or how the money for the retrofitting would be raised.

Royal Couple’s New York City Visit

Looks like Duchess Kate is back in full swing after a summer of pregnancy related sickness.The royal couple just touched down in New York City this weekend and the entire city is going crazy over their arrival, even Twitter has been jam packed with warm welcomes to the royal couple.

It’s been reported that Will and Kate are staying at the Carlyle Hotel and many fans and onlookers are everywhere in hopes of catching just a glimpse of the couple during their stay. Unfortunately WIll and Kate are only in America for a short 48 hours but they seem to have a fully itinerary. During their trip to the states Prince William plans to visit Washington,DC to see President Obama while Kate intends to make a visit to a child development center in Harlem.

Currently they are making an appearance at the fundraiser for their Royal Foundation. These next two days are jam packed with activities but the media’s real focus will be on Kate’s Wardrobe. Dave and Brit Morin hopes they just stay safe.

Net Neutrality Under Debate

A brewing modern issue is up for debate recently as it becomes almost a national issue. Net neutrality, or to be more specific “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites”, has been an ongoing debate on the web even for people like Vijay Eswaran. 

It has gone without saying for quite a while, but in recent years it has increasingly become a hot button issue.

With the statement coming from the President himself, President Barack Obama, together with the US government strictly opposes this principle. They argue that the internet should always be free to all, and strongly disagree with the notion that internet usage will be limited with fees and other payments.

Net neutrality is being pushed as a standard operating procedure within the global internet usage that commands telecom and broadband companies, whether start-up firms or multinationals decide to use websites fairly. It is like a fair-use policy, but as expected from multinational telecom companies, things might turn sour. 

The system can actually be changed to favour one company from the others by charging or paying additional payments to gain faster access to their sites and their content. With the government opposing, Netflix and YouTube are still free to use half of the world’s Internet’s bandwidth up to who-knows-wh

Really? A Pop-Tart Gun Bill

Really? Has society gotten so paranoid that we actually need laws in place to protect kids from the wrath of overzealous educators when found drawing, fingering or chomping images of a firearm? One lawmaker in Texas thinks so and is doing something about it. A democrat from Rio Grande City, TX, Rep. Ryan Guillen has come up with a bill that will shield students thru fifth grade who simulate a gun with hand gestures or any other imaginative way they can come up with, from being severely punished by their schools.

Guillen hatched the idea of the “Pop-Tart Gun” bill in March of 2013 after having heard about the second-grader from Maryland whose school suspended him for biting a Pop-Tart into the form of a gun. Along with considerable media attention, the boy, Josh Welch, grabbed the attention of gun rights activists at the National Rifle Association and awarded the boy a lifetime membership to their organization.
With similar cases of students being too harshly punished with suspensions for mimicking gunplay popping up in other states, lawmakers saw the need to introduce legislation that would put a stop to removing students from class time over behavior that does not pose a threat to others. A Texas-based advocacy group believes that overly harsh punishment for minor misbehavior is contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline in that state. With new legislation proposing to allow firearms at sporting events and board meeting at schools coming into play, there is no doubt our Second Amendment rights and education will be mingled in many bills this coming session. This story was shared with me by Daniel Amen.

Florida Judge Rules a Temporary Ban on Arrests for Feeding Homeless

Florida has a very controversial law in place that makes feeding homeless people against the law. This has made some people very angry. It is comparable to outlaws giving assistance to homeless people. As a result, a few people have gone on a hunger strike in order to protest the controversial ordinance. Keith Mann hasn’t acted yet, but he knows some who have.

While it is not quite making it illegal to help the homeless or the destitute, it is a step towards that direction. Often times, certain extremes against a person or a group often start with a small step coupled with the assurance that it is not going to get to that point. Then all of a sudden, it gets to that point. In response, the judge put a temporary ban on the ordinance. The people who went on the strike celebrated with a meal. It is hard to guess where they are going to go after the 30 day ban, but this fight is only beginning.

Suprising Move by Liberals to Block Obama’s Treasury Nominee

It is no surprise that President Obama is widely seen as a champion of liberal causes and receives strong support from the liberal faction in the United States. However, it is somewhat surprising to discover that top liberals are uniting to block President Obama’s nominee for undersecretary of the Treasury Department, Antonio Weiss, who is a Wall Street investment banker.

 

The opposition to the appointment of Weiss as undersecretary of the Treasury department stems from internal turmoil within the Democrat party between the left wing progressives led by Elizabeth Warren and the more centrist democrats. The left wing progressive forces of the Democrat party resent the Obama administration appointing Wall Street insiders to top level federal positions. Bruce Karatz likes to keep watch on political movements and says that the more centrist members of the Democrat party tend to be more friendly toward Wall Street insiders. Centrists also tend to view the appointment of Wall Street insiders to top administrative positions as a good thing.

 

To further complicate matters is Obama’s refusal to live by his often repeated promises to end the revolving door between government administrative employees and lucrative private sector jobs. Obama seemed to at least give lip service to ending the practice of high-level federal employees taking the knowledge and connections obtained while working for the government and selling in the private sector. However, despite any claims to the contrary, President Obama has little trouble cozying up to Wall Street tycoons.

Mitt Romney Preferred GOP Candidate for 2016 Presidential Nomination According to CNN Poll

Mitt Romney has publicly said he is not running for political office in 2016. The former governor of Massachusetts sought the GOP nomination in 2008 and won the nomination in 2012. Now, a small but growing of conservatives have realized that Romney may have what the nation will need in a post-Obama political climate. In the recent midterm election, Romney was said to have been a big winner. This was because the candidates he personally stumped for performed well in the midterms.

In the recent CNN/ORC International poll, Romney was the preferred candidate conservatives want to capture the party’s nomination. That was expected according to Tom Rothman, but the statistics might be a bit surprising. Fully 20% of respondents chose him. After Romney, Dr. Ben Carson can in at second place with 10% of the votes. The other GOP candidates performed poorly such as Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 9%, NJ Governor Chris Christie at 8%, and former AR Governor Mike Huckabee at 7%. However, when Romney’s name was taken off the list of potential GOP candidates, Jeb Bush prevailed in the poll. Bush’s family have been urging him to run for office.

As Florida governor, Jeb Bush enjoyed strong appeal with Hispanics and captured a respectable share of the Black vote for a Republican. As far the Democrat poll went, voters strongly favored Hillary Clinton at 65% with Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren faring poorly. When Mrs. Clinton was not on the list of choices, Biden emerged as the top choice.

Kenneth Griffin: Sharing the Wealth

Kenneth C. Griffin is the founder and CEO of Chicago-based Citadel LLC, serving as the company’s hedge fund manager. Citadel, one of the world’s largest hedge funds, has assets under management estimated at $14 billion, with Griffin leading the charge since the company was founded in 1990.

Griffin’s foray into high finance essentially began while still a student at Harvard University. Studying Economics, he would make trades between classes, having started 2 funds from his own dormitory room.

Graduating from Harvard in 1989 with an Economics degree, Griffin caught the eye of Glenwood Capital founder Frank C. Meyer, an investor who was interested in Griffin’s investments, and their subsequent rate of returns. Providing Griffin with $1 million to invest, Meyer realized a 70% return on investment, exceeding his expectations on the investment. Griffin was then on his way, and has continued that success with more recent investments.

With Citadel’s explosive growth and continued dominance in hedge funds on a global scale, Griffin has been able to realize a significant personal income stream. With a reported annual salary exceeding $700 million, his net worth is estimated at $5.5 billion, which ranks him 89th on Forbe’s list of richest Americans.

As busy as Griffin is at Citadel, he does spend time pursuing other passions in his busy life, and is frequently called upon for major news networks, with regards to the American economy.

A libertarian who favors economic policies put in place by the Reagan Administration, his disillusionment of current Illinois fiscal policy led him to contribute a record $2.5 million to the GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, who went on to win the Governor’s seat in November 2014. Other noted Republicans that Griffin has made contributions to include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

Griffin’s philanthropy efforts in the community are well noted. He’s a member of several philanthropic boards, which include several organizations in Chicago. A big proponent of charter schools, Griffin and his wife, along with the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, opened Woodlawn High School, a new charter school in Chicago, in October 2006.

His financial contributions to several different beneficiaries have been substantial.

Griffin and his wife, through the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation, have donated, among many other contributions, $16 million to Children’s Memorial Hospital, and $10 million for the Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center. In February 2014, Harvard University received a $150 million gift from Griffin, earmarked for need-based financial aid for undergraduate students. It is the largest gift Harvard has ever received. He has also donated $11 million to Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, where he is a member.

He has a seat on the board of E-Trade, on their Risk Oversight Committee since 2009. And he serves on the Advisory Boards of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation and on the political risk consultancy Eurasia Group.

As successful as Griffin has been in the business community, he still feels that further growth is possible, and has current concerns about Wall Street; specifically, about the potential for electronic stock exchanges (he is for them supplanting floor-based ones), and risk management practices now being seen on Wall Street. In 2008, he was quoted as saying “the industry needs to overhaul its thinking, accept greater regulation”. (Opalesque)

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