Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Yes, I said Christmas. No I do'nt think there's a 'war' on Christmas as much as the religious zealots on the right would want us to believe (and no matter how many times the Fox Network would suggest we're at war.) I actually think most people enjoy this time, and the vast majority or Christmas celebrants. Even if you're not then you're still happy about the holidays. Very few are true scrooges out to pull down the Christmas trees and manger scenes. So don't dwell on the bad, just enjoy the love of the present.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Got a Job? Make a few Bucks during the Holiday Rush

For the past couple of months the unemployment rate in LA has actually declined. The drop is marginal, a percent here or there, and it's also a seasonal increase. But, nonetheless, if you really wanted a job you're probably going to be able to find one at this moment. Albeit, you won't get paid much and it's gonna suck (stocking shelves for everyone buying gifts this Christmas that they can't afford), but at least you'll have a $10/hr job. Maybe it's not that rosy. If you're 75 and you and your wife have to work at Walmart for 8 hours a day during the rush to make a bit more cash, well I do'nt think you're better off even with a job (compared to none at all). Who wants to be 75 and still working (at Walmart no less). Jobless numbers in LA for last month declined to 561,500, down by about 3% from the previous month. Great news, but we'll see if it sticks in the Winter months. IF we see a rise then all this 'good news' will be indicative of a larger unresolved problem. Thanks again to san diego bankruptcy lawyers CC Legal for the stats.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Paul wins San Diego Straw

Texas congressman Ron Paul won the San Diego Straw Poll beating out Mitt Romney on his home turf. Will paul start getting more media coverage with his win and second place finish in Iowa? I'm not one to be the full out Libertarian as Paul and co. He might be too far in the other ditch for my liking. You?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Where Have all the jobs gone?

Can you guess what this graph represents? Ok, it has a title so you know. This is a depiction of the number of people employed in the manufacturing sector since 2000. You can see a steady decline long before any problem in 2008.

The question is where did all the jobs go?

Part of it has to do with the diversification of the state economy. Not as many manufacturing jobs, more tech jobs, etc. But that doesn't attribute to the 35% decline in 10 years.

There's a huge component of loss attributed to the pressures of American companies to deliver goods at the lowest possible cost. That means, in order to a) have people buy their stuff, b) make money, American companies are sending work overseas.

Remember, wages is the number one expense for most firms so sending work to China at the fraction of the labor cost is very very attractive. It's also damaging to the local economy. So not only do we build other nation's economies, we ruin our own.....all so we can have cheap stuff to buy at Walmart.

Notes: Data compiled by San Diego Bankruptcy Lawyer Cecelia Chen and dervied from RAND California data sets.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You Know That Ron Paul Guy?

He won't win, although something tells me he would be the best bet for the masses. Let's face it, if it's true corporations run the show, Ron Paul won't see the light of day. Just take a look at his media coverage, his exposure is POOR comparative to the number of supporters he's getting. If we didn't have the internet nobody would know the guy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nine, Nine, Nine, Nien!

How does a pizza owner get to be President? Not only is the proposed Herman Cain solution to the economy bogus (9%national tax, 9% income tax, 9% corporate tax), but he lacks a certainly level of experience I'd be comfortable with in a President. I am, however, thrilled to see a bit of diversity getting some play. Palin doesn't count as diverse (more like loose cannon). Cain even considered a shot means the Tea Party hopefuls have a bit of clout, and a bit of clout is always a welcome addition to a party that can get really mired in the clay of inactivity. Change is good, and although I highly doubt Cain has any chance of winning, I'm happy to see a breathe of fresh air throughout the ranks. (I'll play the race card too, I doubt Republicans as a whole are ready for a black leader, but maybe I'm looking too much into things and am not as 'progressive' as may would think.....) That may be enough to keep some of the old guard from throwing votes his way. The rest will probably cringe at his lack of international experience. The last thing we need is a President who thinks every Muslim is a terrorist and has little grasp of state of the Mid-East (et al).

Friday, September 30, 2011

Obama Deficit Plan to tax the rich

Republicans lament the tax hikes for the wealthy that Obama has proposed to alleviate some of the pressure on the budget. He also wants to make taxation a bit more equitable, or at least equitable in his eyes. I get the idea that taxing the rich would impede the incentive to create more jobs (let the job markers create more jobs rather than letting the gov't waste that money). Part of me actually doesn't care much if the super rich have their taxes increased. Lately it seems greed is the name of the game, whereas before greed meant more money (thus more jobs), now greed leads to more yachts, not more jobs. I also don' tbuy the argument that this will 'split' America. Enough of the stupid fear rhetoric please. 5% of Americans have a million or more in annual income. Last I checked that's not 50%. Everyone has to do their part and it will be a combo of higher taxes for some, lower taxes for others, less spending (dare I say the military is included, yes I do), and the multitude of other government inefficiencies.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bankruptcy Numbers for LA Up and Down

Just like this post on foreclosures, I'm taking a look at data from LA to figure out how bad things really are. Foreclosure data was really inconclusive, other than demonstrating things are not getting better any time soon.

 Bankruptcy data is kind of the preemptive strike before foreclosure. Although not everyone who files for bankruptcy has their home foreclosed, and not every foreclosure wen thru bankruptcy, it's a signal nonetheless. The bankruptcy data from quarter 2 2011 is good and bad. The good news we'll start with first.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings for LA were actually down. This is significant because it's the first period we've seen a decline in filings the end of 2006.

The number was only a 2% decline, but it's certainly good news. There were 52,328 filings, which is still a huge number. REmember,
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the individual is allowed to keep certain exempt property. Most liens, however (such as real estate mortgages and security interests for car loans), survive.
The bad news is Chapter 13 filings were up, and up more than the past two quarter increases. (The rate of increase from quarter to quarter was up.) Quarter 2 2011 Chapter 13 filings for LA actually hit an all time high at 20597. Chapter 13 filings,
allows individuals to undergo a financial reorganization supervised by a federal bankruptcy court. The Bankruptcy Code anticipates the goal of Chapter 13 as enabling income-receiving debtors a debtor rehabilitation provided they fulfill a court-approved plan.
If this is an indication of economic health then LA is in some tough times. Things are getting worse, not better. Remember, although the increase quarter by quarter is around 5% on average, it's still INCREASING which means, date I remind you, that more and more new people are in dire straits. What's next? Here's where we're at, the need for jobs.

That simple.

The solution? I wish I knew, but it seems clear we're not only stuck in the woods, but will have another few years of belt tightening.

Alas, thanks again to San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney Cecilia for the stats.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tracking Foreclosures in LA and Pasadena

man things have gone awry.... I like to take a look at the actual stats of our economy so I have an idea what trouble we're in, when we'll come out of it, and when we'll slide even further. Most economists agree we're in another recession--the proverbial 'double dip'. I'm not a fan, but what does the evidence say and how is California really doing? Well take a look at this graph:
This graph depicts LA foreclosures since 2006. You can see the ominous increase that peaked just before the 2008 crash. After the crash, well, using this data it's anybody's guess. There doesn't appear to be a trend other than every period we see an unfortunate number of people losing their homes. Just when you think the number may be declining you have another month, like this past June, where 2471 foreclosures were recorded, up from the previous month by over 300. What about Pasadena?
Same thing really. We can't tell where the numbers are going. Albeit they are much smaller, no real trend emerges. May was a great month, June was the second highest total of foreclosures this year (at 26). What does the data mean? IN the least we're not out of the woods yet and people are still in trouble. After that, it's anybody's guess. It seems clear that the 'recession' is still here, the economy still lags, and recovery isn't in sight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pick on someone else

I've been blasting Bachmann a lot lately. I think I'll lay off. She's just giving people too much easy mud to sling.....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bachmann Spews More Mid East Stupidity

In California pumping up the troops, Bachmann decried the inaction of Obama for not doing more to prevent the 'radical' upheaval in the mid-East. I'm really trying to like Mich, but good god she's got really bad foreign policy. Apparently democratic rule is undesirable. Now, you can argue that Egypt may not be better off with whomever takes the place of Mubarak in democratic elections, but that's the whole point--democratic elections. Does Bachmann want the CIA to role in and establish their own 'ruler' like they did in Iran? That didn't work out so much. Or how about Afghanistan? Nope. Someone inform this woman.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bachmann Can't be Pres Cause she's a Woman

Although supporters for Bachmann will hail from the conservative right, there's one thing that doesn't jive--she's a woman. This is one of those classic 'pick and choose' moments for conservative Christians. They don't allow women to be pastors yet they could be President? Actually probably not. This is partially why the Republicans will never nominate a woman, they're still backwards when it comes to gender. take for example one of the leading voices for the Reformed church: Not only that, Baptists aren't much different here. So although Michelle could run a country, she won't win cause she doesn't have a penis.... A bit backwards? Or the way God intended?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Beating on the Straw Lady

Who knew straws could be so important? (Well actually, most pundits pay close attention to the Iowa poll.)

Mitch won the straw poll. Pawlenty drops out because of the straw poll. The crazy Pentecostal Rick Perry is apparently now not only entering, but has a chance? And the rest of us sort of sit back and wonder if there's anybody other than Ron Paul......

I suppose it could be worse. It could be Bush v Palin (only in an alternate universe). Or Palin vs Bachmann..... or Palin vs anybody.....

Seriously though, Bachmann may have won, but I have a real hard time believing Republicans are in a place to elect a women. There I said it, but it may be true. Plus, I think Paul gives us our best shot at the White House in 2012.

Your thoughts?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Crazy Bachmann in Newsweek

Actually she kind of does. Yea, I think Newsweek did intentinoaly chose a picture that made her look crazy. And yes, she is galvanizing voters. And yes, this is catching the ire of conservatives across the nation.

Thank goodness she doesn't have a lazy eye. (But honestly, I would prefer to opt for a less cranky voice of the Tea Party faction).

More from LA Times.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Debt Ceiling Part Deux

House can't pass the bill put out by the speaker. Republicans are split on this and making the bill even more conservative won't help its passage through senate.

What is your take on the whole debt debacle? Should the House relent? Give some leeway?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

State of the Economy

I've got some stats on the state of the economy, just the data, not the commentary, that I'll be posting up over the next week. Housing data and bankruptcy stats.....let's just say it's not as great as it could be.... (yea I know that's pretty vague).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Debt Ceiling Caving

I'm going to say two things that are pretty opposite of good ol fashion conservative ideology.

America is in a crisis. We borrow way too much money in order to keep the public sector working (that's only one part of the overall problem.)

Because we love to borrow (remember when your grandparents had an aversion to borrowing money on whim?) we're facing a dilemma between stopping the borrowing (or at least curbing the borrowing), or status quo.

Status quo is really going to leave us poor. Us as a country, not the rich 1% but the average Jills like me.

republicans refuse to budge on their status quo suggestions. I agree with them that raising corporate taxes may not be the best way to go, but then again, doesn't everyone have to participate in righting this economy?

Democrats don't want to give up their programs.... (yes i know that's too simple.)

My simple thoughts are as follows: military, taxation.

Or wealthiest are getting wealthier, why not increase their taxes significantly (obviously I'm not rich.)

Or military eats 50% or so of our tax revenues, can we scale back SOMEWHERE?

The answer is yes to both regardless of what you may feel.

Are those the only places to cut? No. Can we afford to cut significantly ? Yes.

SOMETHING has to give in a big way and I prefer it to be fewer wars overseas than kicking even more Americans at home onto the street.

Just my thoughts, let's bite the bullet and make some huge changes that will impact generations to come in a good way.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hahn Bumps Huey

It was tight but Democrats reigned supreme over Republicans in the Democratic 36th congressional district runoff. About 76K came out to vote and about 55% went to Hahn. It was close......

Monday, June 27, 2011

Change imminent or die - Republicans in Cali

Churches are on the decline all across America because largely they are among the hardest organizations to change from within. There's a say, "where you settle, there you die."

Death may be on the horizon for Californian Republicans unless something doesn't change soon.

With a change in the boundaries for many jurisdictions coupled with a more important loss in state-wide support, Republicans need to think about making more than superficial changes.

If you think change is not needed see above, but also note the stats, a 9 point loss in the past decade to about 1/3 of Californians card carrying Republicans.

The cause?

An obvious change in the electoral climate, a way to say the majority of folks are tired with hard lined Republicans.

Conversely, there is possible interest in supporting more moderate candidates.

Are there enough candidates moderate enough and capable enough to prepare for the upcoming election? Or will Democrats achieve supermajority status?

And will CRP faithful be interested in change?

I wonder how different CRP and the church really are? We'll find out come election time and who ends up running under the CRP banner. If they don't get it right this go around you can bet they'll have to blow up ship to have a chance next time around.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is anybody really surprised

Is anybody really surprised by Arnie?

He cheated, a while back, and now we find out (wife probably knew before).

But is anybody surprised? We live in an age where the most popular TV Show is 2 1/2 men that glorifies casual sex and ridicules marriage.

It seems our America is more interested in the tabloids and the car wrecks.

Anybody here of the latest celebrity to make it 20 years in marriage?

I'm not saying that one is better than the other, but my have our perceptions changed. Is it for the better? Or is it just simple reality?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Killed - What it Means to American Culture

Obama just won the 2012 election.

Can we skip it and use that money to peace?

Probably not.

In spectacular fashion, last night the American people, and the whole world that was awake at the time, were interrupted with breaking news. Most of the eastern sea board was asleep. The President was up all day.

A covert operation had started and landed.

The result?

Osama is no more.


Sure, victory.

It only took 10 years, but we kept up the pursuit. Amazingly in a digital age he evaded capture for so long.

I'm at odds at what I would've preferred, Osama judged by judges, or judged by the bullet.

Either way the world is a safer place.

However, let's be careful.

The image of our nation isn't a bunch of boisterous college students chanting USA! in one breathe while chugging beer in the other.

We should claim victory in bringing the mastermind behind the change we've experienced in our nation in the past 10 years, immense change as a result of one bad man. But we shouldn't rejoice over death. That's too simple. That's to prehistoric. That's typical Taliban/Al Queda .

We, Americans, we need to be better, to be different, to reach out for better. Let's hope this is the start of better for our nation. We sure could use it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Is the worse over for LA?

A month ago I posted a bit on bankruptcies as an indicator of the overall health of the Californian economy.

I've picked up some stats closer to home. It seems the worse is almost over--although that's not really saying much.

In a time when municipalities are mulling options to get rid of substantial debt amidst declining revenues, people like you and me are the hardest hit. The consumers, families really, are sometimes pushed too far (sometimes on their own doing, let's face it, Americans like their 'stuff' and sometimes we don' tneed as much as we buy) and have to declare bankruptcy.

Most don't make enough to qualify for repayment over 3-5 years (Chapter 13) and so most opt for Chapter 7. Every since the law changed in 2005 (when it was easy peezy lemon squeezy to declare Chapter 7), the numbers have been on a steady increase.

Every quarter since 2007 has seen an increase in filings. Check out the graph below on Chapter 7 increases.

So it's all doom and gloom right? Now quite.

It seems that LA is finally at the bottom and clawing their way back to up. Some cities in California have even started to see a decline in filings. LA is close, and by mid-2011 the worst of the 2008 credit hit will be over IMO. That doesn't mean that everything will be rosy. Far from, in fact the numbers are still sky high..... but the good news is these numbers are slowly declining.

The recovery will take years upon years, and hopefully we've learned a lessong or two on unnecessary consumer debt along the way.

I'm not naive either, some of us got hoodwinked with bad mortgages, couple that with losing your job, and yea, you get the picture of financial ruin.

But it seems that LA and co., are pulling themselves out of the worse. Now let's cross our fingers we can kickstart a recovery to prevent some big dominoes from falling, namely cities who are teetering on collapse and just need a slight breeze to knock them down..... (weak metaphor but I'm trying here.)

What about you/ Have you noticed housing sales increase? More economic activity? More jobs?

FYI, the data used in this post was compiled by San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney Cecilia who was kind enough to allow us to use it here. Her data was garnered from RAND California, a stats company.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Accepting Nominations

Republicans seem to get the sense they can unseat Obama in 2012.

OK, well who do you think should lead the charge?

Don't pick the most popular, pick the best candidate.

The answer isn't Palin BTW. It will never be Palin......

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Budget Impasse

Still can't figure it out hey.....

California's Legislature is stuck in a bit of a quagmire. But it's actually an opportunity for the generally unpopular Republicans.

However, as budget time fleshes out to something workable, an opportunity presents itself in the shape of some form of consensus. Brown and co., may be willing to do things they wouldn't otherwise do (reduce pensions).

GOP votes are no longer needed to pass since a simple majority is all that's required.

So a chance to either wedge the gap between parties even further and perhaps propel to 2012, or, a chance for Dems to squeeze some concessions.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Empty Straw Man

It's easy to criticize Obama for this healthcare initiatives. Those who claim his defense will note he's only been at it for 2+ years. Bush had 8 years to screw it all up. But heres' the thing with American politics, there's no real change.

Obama preached, "change you can believe in."

But what exactly is that change? Can anybody tell me what that 'change' ACTUALLY is? Is that a change in something? A change in stuff? A change in underwear? Nobody actually knows what change is....

It might represent something, but change wasn't actually anything substantive.....but many believed in it.

It's also true that in the last election the conundrum for many was 'ABB' (anything but bush); or at least for independents.

In came Obama.

But before we all nod in agreement, whomever Republicans think can unseat Obama wouldn't really be a change.

Seriously, think about it. The same 'change' that's empty for Obama's campaign will be the same empty 'change' preached by Republicans.

Back to my thoughts on politics, it's all the same. Republicans might be conservative for some social positions, and Democrats liberal.

But the political spectrum for the most part is straight down the middle of the road.

Yea yea, a road has a yellow line and cars go in different directions, but the metaphor still works--we don't REALLY have a difference.

I'm waiting for something huge to change, my change would have to be substantive, maybe a third political party? Maybe a change in party systems? I don't know, but it would have to be huge to budge what is essentially status quo.

For Obama, 'Change' was really an empty modifier to maintain status quo.

For the next Republican in office it will be the same: status quo. Don't believe that problems are solved with a change in goverment b/c fundamentally the rich still get richer and the poor poorer.

Enough with status quo, we need change we can grasp, touch, feel, and not just 'believe in'.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Laugh at Libs

Can libs laugh at themselves? Let's see how successful this show is...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Your Thoughts on Tax Cuts

What are your thoughts on California tax cuts? I'm curious to know your thoughts on the past but also solutions for the future.

Some would claim Bush reduced taxes for the poor and the rich......

Some would claim Obama is doing neither (or perhaps just increasing subsidies for the rich.)

We're in cost cutting mode, and perhaps increasing revenue generation (increasing taxes).

Who should get what?

Do we need to go back to the good old days pre-1970s when the rich were still rich but taxed heavily? would that help bridge the gap of economic disparity?

Or should we opt for less tax, more subsidies, and more debt? Heck, the possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Divided on Immigration

California has about the same population as the entire country of Canada. We're not small.

Lots of Americans come for the beaches, the lifestyle, the climate, the jobs, the glamor.

Plenty come from below, and they come illegally.

That's not new. But what we're beginning to realize is the COST of illegal immigration.

1/3 of those incarcerated are illegal aliens with no status. That's 55K per illegal alien incarcerated. That's just the cost on the corrections side.

Do we need to tighten up? You bet your damn self we do. Something drastic needs to happen. The tough part is the balance between racism and protection. EVen marginalised hispanics want jobs and a better economy.

It's easy to build more prisons and throw away illegal aliens (and criminals), but that's $$$ we don't have. It's easy to throw people back, but that doesn't prevent anybody from returning. More border agents is again, more cash, and the border is, let's face it, MASSIVE.

It's too costly to ship everyone back, and then work to prevent illegal aliens from returning. It's taht simple. That doesn't mean tougher laws aren't required, but imagine if we could capture the huge workforce here illegally......

but again, how without legitimizing coming illegally?

We could go ahead and figure out a way to improve Mexican life and make California comparatively less attractive. That would take a while though....

Even the GOP is divided on what to do. If they swing too far to the right they'll lose perhaps 1/3 of voters? In the least they'll lose the Latino vote.

Too far to the left and nothing gets done.

What's the solution? There might be a need for a mix; I"m willing to here some comments to get the dialogue going.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Recovery in California?


Check out bankruptcy stats. We're slowly creeping beyond highs only seen in the mid-90's.

With some cities, like San Diego, close to bankruptcy (we're talking the CITY might declare bankruptcy) it's pretty evident, we're still in an economic depression.

Some areas, like San Diego, Sacramenta, and even San Francisco to a lesser extent, continue to hit new highs for regular folks like you and me filings for bankruptcy.

However, that number is slowing. so we're hitting all time highs, but the rate at which the quarterly number (filings are calculated every quarter) seems to be slowing.

But it's still a full year perhaps from declining, and more afte rthat before recovery.

We're in it for th elong haul, and at this point I bet a ton of people are more interested in turning this ship around then screaming at politicians for 'not doing' enough.

Let's innovate and be better, and while we're at it keep the right people accountable.

Here are some more stats depending on where you're from (thanks to San Diego bankruptcy attorney Cecilia Chen for the stats compiled from Rand):

San Diego
Sacramento Bankruptcy
San Francisco Bankruptcy
LA Bankruptcy Stats

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tone it down


That's the word of the month in the wake of the Arizona shootings.

One thing Americans aren't regarded for is being quiet.

I do'nt advocate quietism/silence. I do, however, think we can improve in our listening skills, and as a result we may be able to disagree with each other in a much more, how do I say?, professional way.....

We'll never point the blame other than the shooter himself, so let's not go there.

But let's use this as a stark reminder that yelling at each other doesn't make us stronger. We can do better, no?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Under New Ownership

So I wanted to write about my life rolling through the wavy bumpy road of conservatism, and I wanted to reflect where I'm from, California, and then I stumbled across this blog and thought, why can't I write about it too?

So here I am, new to the world of blogging, and unaffiliated with whomever wrote here before (sorry if I don't match up.... :P)