Sunday, December 14, 2008

Obama faces heady challenges, and they're growing

The Associated Press is justified to write about the challenges Obama faces even before his inauguration on January 20, 2009.

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama, relatively young and inexperienced, is facing a rapidly growing list of monumental challenges as he prepares to take the reins of a nation in turmoil.

"I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead," Obama said after his historic election a little more than a month ago.

It was a sobering assessment at the time, but the country's problems have only worsened since then. Now, Obama sounds dire, particularly as he talks about the economy: "We're in an emergency."

He spoke during a week in which Congress killed a bailout of the failing auto industry, the government reported that jobless claims spiked to their highest levels in more than a quarter-century, and the Treasury Department said the nation registered a record federal budget deficit for November.

With woes foreign and domestic on more fronts than even Franklin Delano Roosevelt encountered when he took office in the midst of the Great Depression, Obama will be sworn in as the country's 44th president in January.

His leadership will be tested immediately and in many ways. His performance from the outset could well set the tone for his presidency.

Not only is Obama saddled with lingering wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that he is inheriting from President George W. Bush, but he also must deal with:

_a deepening recession in the U.S. and a spreading global economic crisis.

_an automotive industry on the brink of collapse and soaring national debt.

_increasing unemployment and its ripple effects.

_the threat of terrorism amid a historic transfer of power.

At the same time, Obama may be drawn into an unfolding political scandal over Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's alleged efforts to trade the president-elect's former Senate seat for personal gain. The ongoing federal investigation could ensnare some of his top advisers and taint the self-styled reformer who has tried to steer clear of notorious Chicago politics.

The president-elect says he's "absolutely confident" his aides did not try to cut deals with Blagojevich, but at the very least, the scandal is a distraction for a leader facing the magnitude of problems on Obama's plate.

Obama also has promised an ambitious foreign and domestic policy agenda that includes withdrawing most U.S. combat troops from Iraq, cleaning up government, overhauling the health care system, fighting global warming and developing alternative energy sources.

Some priorities may fall to the wayside or be done piecemeal. But, so far, he has signaled an intent to move forward on much if not all of those plans. The question is how quickly he can accomplish his goals, while simultaneously confronting the growing list of major problems.

"There's a lot of ground giving under him. It's a terrific challenge," said Fred Greenstein, a Princeton University professor emeritus of politics and a presidential historian.

"From one perspective, it's as if he's about to take over the captain's job on a sinking ship. From the other perspective, he could be on a glide path to Mount Rushmore if he does a combination of morale building and energizing people while dealing with the economic distress by producing some constructive changes in the society and in the economy."

"The striking thing is he doesn't seem scared," Greenstein added.

Indeed, Obama exudes confidence. He has surrounded himself with people in his incoming White House and Cabinet who have decades more experience than him in government, as well as foreign and domestic policy. They include big names such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Larry Summers, Tom Daschle and Robert Gates, longtime Washington insiders.

Comparatively, Obama has been on the national stage for a short time. He was introduced to the country during the Democratic convention in 2004 when he was in the Illinois Legislature and running for the U.S. Senate. Age 47, he will become president after serving just four years in the Senate

Most historians liken the situation facing Obama to that which confronted Roosevelt — but the comparison does not seem to do justice to the colossal challenges Obama is facing.

Roosevelt was already an established politician when he came into office at the depths of the Great Depression in a society with no safety net for the suffering. And the economy was much worse then than it is now. But he did not have two wars on his plate, nor a political scandal swirling nearby. And Roosevelt did not have a planet suffering from global warming and watching its natural resources dwindle.

He also let his four-month transition pass by keeping his distance from Republican Herbert Hoover. The two men had sharp policy differences over how to address the Great Depression, and Roosevelt stayed mum between his election and his inauguration.

Not Obama. He's been extraordinarily active since his election.

With each new bit of bad economic news, he makes his views known — though he always is careful to defer to Bush when it's decision time. As president-elect, however, Obama's words now carry the power to move financial markets — perhaps even more so than those of Bush.

He has held regular news conferences to announce his Cabinet, and he gives the Democratic radio address on most weekends.

"Part of what he's doing is paying lip service to the notion that there's only one president while sucking up all the oxygen," Greenstein said.

Politically, with things so bad, Obama can claim any change for the better as a success. If the economic and security situation deteriorates further, he can rightly say he inherited a mess.

Obama won the election with more than 50 percent of the popular vote, and nearly three-fourths of people in an AP-GfK poll last week said they approved of how Obama has been handling the transition.

Judging by those numbers, he has plenty of political capital to spend as he tackles the country's mounting problems.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Obama aide promotes job plan, warns automakers

WASHINGTON – After more than two weeks of virtual silence on the economy, President-elect Barack Obama's transition team burst on the scene with new ambition and urgency Sunday, demanding swift passage by Congress of a massive two-year spending and tax-cutting recovery program.

Obama aides called on lawmakers to pass, by the Jan. 20 inauguration, legislation that meets Obama's two-year goal of saving or creating 2.5 million jobs. Democratic congressional leaders said they would get to work when Congress convenes Jan. 6.

Though Obama aides declined to discuss a total cost, it probably would far exceed the $175 billion he proposed during the campaign, but would not immediately seek to raise taxes on the rich. Some economists and lawmakers have argued for a two-year plan as large as $700 billion, equal to the Wall Street bailout Congress approved last month.

With the wounded economy worsening, the Obama team's new assertiveness was a recognition he needed to soothe financial markets with signs of leadership. It also foreshadowed a more hands-on role by Obama to influence congressional action during the final weeks of the transition.

Obama planned to introduce his economic team on Monday, including Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary and Lawrence Summers as head of the National Economic Council. Obama also has settled on New Mexico Gov. bill Richardson as his commerce secretary.

"We don't have time to waste here, " Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said. "We want to hit the ground running on January 20th." Echoing that, the second-ranking House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said, `We expect to have during the first couple of weeks of January a package for the president's consideration when he takes office."


Added Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee: "We're out with the dithering. We're in with a bang."

Obama's team didn't limit itself to the long-term economic recovery.

Axelrod warned automakers, seeking billions in government help to stave off collapse, to devise a plan to retool and restructure by next month. Otherwise, he said, "there is very little taxpayers can do to help them."

Axelrod couldn't resist taking a jab at the Big Three executives, who left Congress empty-handed last week after flying into Washington in corporate jets and pleading for money. "I hope that they will come back to Washington in early December — on commercial flights — with a plan," he said.

The emphasis on the economy began Saturday when Obama outlined the framework of a plan to save or create 2.5 million jobs by the end of 2010. The scope of the recovery package is far more ambitious than what Obama had spelled out during his presidential campaign, when he proposed $175 billion of spending and tax-cutting stimulus. The new one will be significantly larger and would incorporate his campaign ideas for new jobs in environmentally friendly technologies — the "green economy." It also would include his proposals for tax relief for middle- and lower-income workers.

But there were no plans to balance the tax cuts with an immediate tax increase on the wealthy. During the campaign, Obama said he would pay for increased tax relief by raising taxes on people making more than $250,000.

"There won't be any tax increases in the January package," said one Obama aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details of the Obama package have not been fleshed out.

Obama could delay any tax increase to 2011, when current Bush administration tax cuts expire.

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio urged Obama to make that explicit. "Why wouldn't we have the president-elect say, `I am not going to raise taxes on any American in my first two years in office?'"

In a sign of where the congressional debate might lead, Boehner called for lowering capital gains and corporate income taxes.

Some economists have endorsed spending up to $600 billion to revive the economy. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and former labor Secretary Robert Reich, a member of Obama's economic advisory board, both suggested $500 billion to $700 billion.

"I don't know what the number is going to be, but it's going to be a big number," Goolsbee said. "It has to be. The point is to, kind of, get people back on track and startle the thing into submission."

While Obama in the weekend Democratic radio address said his plan "will mean 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011," aides said the figure was a net sum of jobs created and jobs saved that would otherwise disappear without government help.

The adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity said the plan would likely slow down job losses in 2009, but that new jobs probably would not be evident until 2010.

Obama's plan is both an economic and a political blueprint. By not including tax increases, he silences one potential Republican objection to his plan. If successful, the scope of his plan would set the stage for his other legislative goals, including expanded health care, permanent changes in tax rates and a comprehensive overhaul of energy policy.

"This package is designed to be a down payment to get his entire agenda started," the aide said.

Axelrod appeared on "Fox News Sunday" and ABC's "This Week." Schumer was on ABC, Hoyer and Boehner on Fox and Goolsbee was interviewed on "Face the Nation" on CBS. Reich appeared on "Late Edition" on CNN.

Obama transition: http://www.change.gov
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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Obama to name Geithner, Summers to economic posts

NEW YORK – President-elect Barack Obama will announce the leaders of his economic team Monday, naming Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary and Lawrence Summers to direct the National Economic Council, transition officials said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Geithner, 47, president of the New York Federal Reserve, would be the top Cabinet official in charge of leading the administration's response to the global economic crisis. Word of his likely selection Friday helped send the Dow Jones Industrials soaring 500 points after several days of steep losses.

One top Democrat said John Podesta, a leader of Obama's transition team, had told Senate aides on Friday that Obama hoped for speedy confirmation so the new administration could get to work quickly thereafter.

Geithner (pronounced GITE-ner) served as a Treasury Department official during the Clinton administration, where he played a major role in negotiating assistance packages for South Korea and Brazil.

Summers, 53, a former treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and one-time president of Harvard University, will advise Obama from the White House. Officials said he would coordinate the federal response to the economic meltdown across several agencies, including a plan Obama announced Saturday to create or save 2.5 million jobs by rebuilding infrastructure and modernizing schools while developing alternative energy sources and more efficient cars.

During the Clinton administration, Summers helped craft the U.S. support program for Mexico during its 1995 financial crisis. He later helped lead the U.S. response to the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

Geithner and Summers were scheduled to appear with Obama at a press conference in Chicago Monday morning.

The announcement comes as Obama moves quickly to fill slots for his incoming administration. On Saturday, he named longtime spokesman Robert Gibbs as White House press secretary.

Ellen Moran will be director of communications in charge of getting Obama's message out. Her deputy in the White House will be Dan Pfeiffer, the communications director for Obama's presidential transition team.

In other positions, Obama is virtually certain to offer Congressional Budget Office chief Peter Orszag the job of directing the White House Office of Budget and Management, and Orszag is likely to accept, Democratic officials said Saturday.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton also is in line to become secretary of state, while Obama's choice for attorney general is Eric Holder. He held the No. 2 slot in the Justice Department in President Bill Clinton's administration.

Officials said New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had emerged as a likely pick as commerce secretary, although he had hoped to be secretary of state. Like Clinton, he was a rival of Obama's for the Democratic presidential nomination last winter. He dropped out after the early contests, though, and soon threw his support behind the eventual winner. The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the anticipated appointments.

The president-elect has largely stayed out of public view since his election on Nov. 4, preferring to work quietly with aides and Vice President-elect Joe Biden in a suite of offices in downtown Chicago.

Obama faces unusual challenges and has moved quickly in assembling his team. Former President George H.W. Bush made his first Cabinet pick the day after his election in 1988, but former President Clinton did not name any members until after Thanksgiving. President George W. Bush's transition was delayed by the contested result in Florida.

While speculation has been rampant about most top-level appointments, there has been relatively little about Obama's choice for defense secretary. His aides encouraged speculation before the election that Robert Gates, who now holds the position, would remain in office for an interim period.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota has been chosen as secretary of health and human services and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano is likely to be named as secretary of the Homeland Security Department.

Napolitano was an early supporter of candidate Obama among the ranks of Democratic governors, as was Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. Sebelius has figured prominently in recent days in speculation as possible secretary of labor.

Additionally, retired Gen. James Jones, a former Marine Corps commandant and NATO commander, was among those under consideration for national security adviser. James Steinberg, an Obama campaign aide who served in Clinton's White House, was another possibility, according to officials.

Obama has repeatedly referred to the economic crisis as the top priority for his new administration.

Geithner held posts in the Treasury Department under three administrations and five secretaries before moving to the New York Fed in 2003. He also held positions at the International Monetary Fund and was employed at the private firm of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor and David Espo contributed to this report.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

'Meh': Apathetic expression enters dictionary

Are you a Simpson's Fan?


LONDON – At least someone is excited about "meh."

The expression of indifference or boredom has gained a place in the Collins English Dictionary after generating a surprising amount of enthusiasm among lexicographers.

Publisher HarperCollins announced Monday the word had been chosen from terms suggested by the public for inclusion in the dictionary's 30th anniversary edition, to be published next year.

The origins of "meh" are murky, but the term grew in popularity after being used in a 2001 episode of "The Simpsons" in which Homer suggests a day trip to his children Bart and Lisa.

"They both just reply 'meh' and keep watching TV," said Cormac McKeown, head of content at Collins Dictionaries.

The dictionary defines "meh" as an expression of indifference or boredom, or an adjective meaning mediocre or boring. Examples given by the dictionary include "the Canadian election was so meh."

The dictionary's compilers said the word originated in North America, spread through the Internet and was now entering British spoken English.

"This is a new interjection from the U.S. that seems to have inveigled its way into common speech over here," McKeown said. "Internet forums and e-mail are playing a big part in formalizing the spellings of vocal interjections like these. A couple of other examples would be 'hmm' and 'heh.'

"Meh" was selected by Collins after it asked people to submit words they use in conversation that are not in the dictionary. Other suggestions included jargonaut, a fan of jargon; frenemy, an enemy disguised as a friend; and huggles, a hybrid of hugs and snuggles.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Marks History

He is not the first youngest American President. There is John F. Kennedy. But he is the first US black President.

Borne of a Kenyan father, and an American mother, Obama grew up under the stewardship of his grandmother to whom he was grateful to in his victory speech. His credo "Change has come to America" has become a reality when he was elected yesterday with his running mate Joe Biden as the President and Vice-President. There has been forecast by the BBC that Sarah Palin is going to win, and they predicted it to be against the interest of America because having a Democrat as President and a Republican who is criticizing obama heavily will make up a divided America. But American voters are really intellligent.

The repercussion of this electoral result to the world is heavy. Obama winning means an entirely different policies on economy and international security. With the global financial crisis on its worst scenario, America is pervasively affecting every country in the world. Last night, it was reported that the Philippine furniture business is experiencing a downturn because American importers can no longer pay for furniture imports. Many furniture business in the country are closing as a result. Another point of contention would be the US policy in Iraq War. Obama is a supporter of withdrawal of US forces from the Gulf.

In Obama's words, he says that the challenge American is facing now is greater than the challenge of the recently concluded elections. God bless America.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

John McCain and Barack Obama Life's Milestones

For long I had been monitoring the US Elections Campaigns usually eyeing on Obama's Progress. I have an inkling that the presidential race is really tight and Obama if he'll be able to make it through may only edge with a limited margin. Just today, a Yahoo news says that McCain is inching greater towards Obama's position. Timely, I have found an online literature of McCain and Obama's life since they were born. They are two very much different candidate.

1) McCain was born 1936 in Panama Canal (72 years old)
Obama was born 1963 (45 years old)

I am sure age is a great consideration to most American voters. It is a dilemma of choosing an old wise man with untarnished record of military service and history of courage and honor, from a brilliant, young candidate with charisma reflecting from him. Obama is a JFK of the 21st Century America.

2) McCain has two marriages.
Obama has grown up apart from his father of Kenyan origin. He grew up with his mother who had married an Indonesian. Obama had lived in Hawaii and Indonesia before finally settling in United States.

3) McCain has a service record of Navy lieutenant and must have been promoted to Admiral but decided to work in a private company owned by his wealthy father-in-law.
Obama is a graduate of Harvard School of Law with Magna Cum Laude title and is the first Black to be the President of Harvard Law Review.

4) McCain has served in the House of Representative in 1982 and 1984 (apparently while being backed up by his father-in-law) before serving the Senate in 1986, 1992, 1998 and 2004 while Obama has a record of serving the grassroots as Community Organizer of a church-based group Developing Communities Project, as a lecturer of constitutional law in Chicago Law School (1993) before finally being elected as Illinois Senator in 1996 and US Senator in 2004.

5) McCain's campaign is supported by funds earned through traditional fund raising.
Obama's fund raising involves even a 100 US Dollar donation of an ordinary US citizen. A site devoted to community involvement with Barack's campaign is also set-up with now million of members. See http://my.barackobama.com/.

6) Both has written books. McCain's book "Faith of my Fathers" (1998) is about his personal experience as a war veteran in Vietnam. The book is later portrayed in a TV production in 2005. His second book was published in 2002 entitled "Worth the Fighting For". He has third book in 2005 "Character is Destiny".
Obama has three books: Audacity to Hope (1988), Dreams from my Father (1995) and Audacity of Hope (2006).

7) McCain's father is a name in the US Armed Forces.
Obama's parents are academicians: his father an economist from Kenya and his mother an anthropologist.

8) Obama is known for his Anti-Iraq War stance his famous speech delivered in 2002 while McCain' service record in the Navy reaffirms his Iraq War discourse. In 2007, McCain supports increased troops in Iraq.

9) Both has a young family with McCain's eldest age 24. Obama's eldest Malia is only 9 years old.


Now, America has to decide tough. But Obama is more promising to the outside world other than America.

Reference:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/02/03/us/politics/20080203_MCCAIN_TIMELINE.html

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2007/12/29/us/politics/20071229_OBAMA_TIMELINE.html
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Helping While Earning Money Philippines Open Invitation

For those who might be interested... Earning money while socially benefiting people.

*3rd Ateneo de Manila-School of Government Social Entrepreneurship
Training Program for Professionals*


Do you want to learn how to earn while helping change the world?

Do you have a great idea on how to help the Philippines but don't know how to start?

Do you want to discover new and innovative ways of solving our country's most pressing social problems?

If you answered YES to any or all of these questions then this Seminar is for you!

The Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government in cooperation with Avant Change and the Ateneo de Manila-Loyola Schools' Development Studies Program is inviting you to join the 3rd Social Entrepreneurship Training Program for Professionals which will be held every Saturday from November 15,2008 to March 14,2009, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ateneo Professional Schools, Rockwell Center, Makati City. This program will introduce you to the concept of social entrepreneurship through lectures, discussions and case studies of actual social enterprises. In addition to this, the program will help you develop new and innovative social enterprise business plans that will help you towards making a positive contribution in our society.

Moreover, the program will also help you in developing ways by which you can continue to earn profit while at the same time helping uplift the lives of the marginalized sectors of our country. Finally, the program will also give you an opportunity to have mentoring sessions with social enterprise experts who can give you sound advice on how to further improve your social enterprise business plan.

The main faculty member for this program will be Atty. Arnel Casanova, a Mason Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Atty. Casanova will be assisted by Avant Change Founder Steve Koon, who is also a Mason Fellow and Harvey Keh, Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government. Registration Fee for the Program is only P 16,000.00 inclusive of a book on social entrepreneurship, class materials and a certificate of completion. Group discounts are offered to groups of 3 or more registrants. Members of the academe, government and non-profit organizations can also be given a discount on a case to case basis through the Dr. Antonio La ViƱa
Scholarship Program.

Deadline of Registration and Payment will be on November 13,2008.

If you would like to make a reservation and register, please send us an
email with your complete name and contact information to
ateneoylse@gmail.com . This program is limited only to 30 people to ensure
that everyone can be given proper mentoring and guidance by the faculty
members, registration will be on a first come, first serve basis. For more
information about this program, you can contact Cristyl Senajon at (02)
426-5657.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Must Not When Trading In Forex

The FOREX platform I used has provided that trading in the forex may involve substantial loss or risk. At this point I want to expound on the forex must not's.

1) Must not let emotions rule when trading.

I started with 140 Australian Dollar investment. I said I had training and maybe I can earn a bit. Last OCt 15, I did in the XAU-USD pair. I buy and sell XAU with USD as based currency. The forex platform is a very convenient platform than the first platform I used during the training. I deposited my initial investment by using my debit card with VISA.

My first two positions earned me 6.24 AUD, not bad for a 140 AUD investment. On the third position I lost 7.03 dollars. I got motivated with winning although at some positions I am losing. Unfortunately, the losses are much higher than the wins. I let my adventurousness dominate me.


2) Must not be greedy.

For a 140 AUD investment, few dollar earnings less than 10 is alright. When you aimed higher, you exposed yourself longer and run the greater risk of facing market volatility. Staying longer more than 30 minutes may not be good for a mini-account. Don't get too excited to winning. For first timers, winning makes you feel good but you are unaware you are losing more than your winnings. The loss will be felt few hours after you realized it.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

I can't believe it. I lost 11,000 pesos in forex trading

I traded in three non-consecutive days.

I can't believe it!

I lost 11,000 pesos in a matter of hours!

But I feel great!!

My left brain says I did right.

Spend it for myself than give it to in non-gratuitous people!


I know I will repent this act later.

It's just that my let brain is not orking anymore.

That's it!

I just have learned a lesson.

I really intended it to pay for a plane ride.... I just changed my mind suddenly...

I told you my left brain is not working anymore.

I think my right brain is waiting to be used. When will that be?

I am getting insane
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Presidential politics: Endorsement time



The vice presidential candidates are picked. The conventions are done. So are the debates. What's a political watcher to do with the 15 days left before the election?

You can always try to decipher the polls or wait for the October Surprise (if it hasn't already happened yet). Or, you can do what we did this weekend: meander through the avalanche of endorsements that have been handed down from newspapers and other notables during the campaign season.

There have been a few newsworthy endorsements recently as some high-profile Republicans have publicly moved to Democratic territory. Christopher Buckley, William F. Buckley's son, endorsed Barack Obama (and subsequently lost his column at the National Review over it). Colin Powell did the same this weekend. Republican talk show host Michael Smerconish announced he'd be voting for a Democrat for the first time in 28 years. (We should note that even though he's a fixture on the McCain campaign now, Sen. Joe Lieberman jumping parties to endorse John McCain was also news at the time.)

But those are just a few voices that received attention for making unexpected choices. There are a lot of other endorsements out there, so here's a round-up of some nods.

First, the political ones. President Bush, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the NRA have endorsed McCain. Hillary Clinton, Caroline Kennedy and the AFL-CIO have endorsed Obama.

Obvious political endorsements can be boring, so thank Hollywood for giving us Heidi Montag, Matt Damon and the Baldwin brothers. Montag of "The Hills" fame endorsed McCain and then he endorsed her right back. Matt Damon said Obama is his guy and (more famously) noted that Sarah Palin's candidacy sounded like a "bad Disney movie."

Then, there's the dueling political posturing of a couple of the brothers Baldwin. While neither may have explicitly endorsed a candidate, you could probably tell by watching "Saturday Night Live" this weekend that Alec is a loud Democrat and little bro Stephen is an outspoken Republican. (Stephen even went so far as to challenge Obama to a boxing duel for charity.)

Baldwins aside, what you might find more useful is knowing who newspapers endorse. The Chicago Tribune, for example, is backing Barack Obama. It's the first time in the paper's history that they are endorsing a Democrat for the presidency of the United States. A few days after the Trib endorsement, McCain picked up his own big-deal endorsement from a paper in the swing state of Ohio, the Columbus Dispatch.

There's a comprehensive list of newspaper endorsements over at Editor & Publisher, but we've pulled a few of the other key ones below:

Boston Herald – McCain

Los Angeles Times – Obama

New York Post - McCain

Washington DC Examiner – McCain

Washington Post – Obama


Source: Yahoo Newsroom
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Monday, October 13, 2008

One Moment with the Senator

How would you explain the relationship of power with money in a public setting? Here’s one anecdote of mine that happened just last September 30. I am on my way to the Senate to run an errand. I had to go visit one Senator’s office to get some input on the paper we were writing and supposed to be due. On my way to the office of the Senator, I came across a couple. We were all stationed in the outside of the Ground Floor elevator and I was going to the 6th floor. The couple would be going to the office of Senator Enrile at the 5th floor. So what happened was we all waited till the elevator opened. There were three elevators. One was supposed for use of employees and officers of the Senate. The other two for guests. It so happened that we had chosen this elevator. And I told the couple who seemed came from the North as I had know accent of the Modern Igorot because I visited Sagada once, to just wait and ride with me so I could usher them. So I intended to be an usherette for them. But when we had entered the said elevator, the girl elevator operator told the couple that the said elevator was exclusively for use of the officers and employees of Senate. The couple was stunned, and before I was able to say to the girl that they were with me, they already came out.

So this was the magic. The elevator went up and we stopped at the 3rd floor. Surprisingly, Senator Enrile was apparently coming in. My thought was the Igorot couple who would be going to him. I told myself, if the couple was with me, they should have seen the Senator that close at that specific moment.

I was not a Senate employee. I was there only to do research and call. But the girl elevator operator did not ask me to leave the elevator. Maybe because I was dressed well and appeared to be educated; or probably mistaken me to be a Senator’s Staff. Yea, I had thought so. While we were riding up the 5th floor, no one would stand close beside Senator Enrile. I did. He was to my left. I know it is awkward to have some powerful person to your left, because the left side is the position of a follower (in kinesics or the science of body language). I have been trying to show that in this world we were equal and I did that shamingly! Since I was not supposed to be there either! I am not related to Senator Mar Roxas but I felt awkward to have the Senator to my left.

Now, I imagined what could have happened if the couple was there with us. Probably, they would also be half-hearted to approach Senator Enrile. I am not sure. In the Local Council, whenever constituents asked councilors for financial aid, they did it without shame. I am not sure if it’s the same in the Senate that is why they had to divide the three elevators for certain groups’ use.

Maybe, the Senate’s general services only think of the worse that is to happen; or only for security. But the security at the Senate Entrance is already too tight. Well, we do not know.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Economy Becomes Focal of the 2nd Barack, John McCain Presidential Debate

Policies inevitably affect the economy. Just this month, the stock market of Wall Street had fallen. Stock prices are in its 5-year low. The Lehman Brother CEO Fuld is currently investigated in the Congress because of the investment bank's bankruptcy that has worldwide repercussions. The Congress has alleged Fuld for receiving a big compensation package that enable him to live a luxurious life. What John McCain termed as the greed in Wall Street. Meanwhile, Obama admitted that the financial crisis blowing the country is both a result of Democrats and Republican actions. He admitted in the debate when a studio audience asked that they must already stop pointing fingers and instead focus on the issue at hand. CNN has a transcript of the 2nd debate which happened last night.

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama debated in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday night. NBC's Tom Brokaw moderated the debate. Here is a transcript of that debate.

Brokaw: Good evening from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. I'm Tom Brokaw of NBC News. And welcome to this second presidential debate, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Tonight's debate is the only one with a town hall format. The Gallup Organization chose 80 uncommitted voters from the Nashville area to be here with us tonight. And earlier today, each of them gave me a copy of their question for the candidates.

From all of these questions -- and from tens of thousands submitted online -- I have selected a long list of excellent questions on domestic and foreign policy.

Neither the commission nor the candidates have seen the questions. And although we won't be able to get to all of them tonight, we should have a wide-ranging discussion one month before the election.

Each candidate will have two minutes to respond to a common question, and there will be a one-minute follow-up. The audience here in the hall has agreed to be polite, and attentive, no cheering or outbursts. Those of you at home, of course, are not so constrained.

The only exception in the hall is right now, as it is my privilege to introduce the candidates, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Gentlemen?

Gentlemen, we want to get under way immediately, if we can. Since you last met at Ole Miss 12 days ago, the world has changed a great deal, and not for the better. We still don't know where the bottom is at this time.

As you might expect, many of the questions that we have from here in the hall tonight and from online have to do with the American economy and, in fact, with global economic conditions.

I understand that you flipped a coin.

And, Sen. Obama, you will begin tonight. And we're going to have our first question from over here in Section A from Allen Shaffer.

Allen?

Shaffer: With the economy on the downturn and retired and older citizens and workers losing their incomes, what's the fastest, most positive solution to bail these people out of the economic ruin?

Obama: Well, Alan (ph), thank you very much for the question. I want to first, obviously, thank Belmont University, Tom, thank you, and to all of you who are participating tonight and those of you who sent e-mail questions in.

I think everybody knows now we are in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And a lot of you I think are worried about your jobs, your pensions, your retirement accounts, your ability to send your child or your grandchild to college.

And I believe this is a final verdict on the failed economic policies of the last eight years, strongly promoted by President Bush and supported by Sen. McCain, that essentially said that we should strip away regulations, consumer protections, let the market run wild, and prosperity would rain down on all of us.

It hasn't worked out that way. And so now we've got to take some decisive action.

Now, step one was a rescue package that was passed last week. We've got to make sure that works properly. And that means strong oversight, making sure that investors, taxpayers are getting their money back and treated as investors.

It means that we are cracking down on CEOs and making sure that they're not getting bonuses or golden parachutes as a consequence of this package. And, in fact, we just found out that AIG, a company that got a bailout, just a week after they got help went on a $400,000 junket.

And I'll tell you what, the Treasury should demand that money back and those executives should be fired. But that's only step one. The middle-class need a rescue package. And that means tax cuts for the middle-class.

It means help for homeowners so that they can stay in their homes. It means that we are helping state and local governments set up road projects and bridge projects that keep people in their jobs.

And then long-term we've got to fix our health care system, we've got to fix our energy system that is putting such an enormous burden on families. You need somebody working for you and you've got to have somebody in Washington who is thinking about the middle class and not just those who can afford to hire lobbyists.

Brokaw: Sen. McCain?

McCain: Well, thank you, Tom. Thank you, Belmont University. And Sen. Obama, it's good to be with you at a town hall meeting.

And, Alan (ph), thank you for your question. You go to the heart of America's worries tonight. Americans are angry, they're upset, and they're a little fearful. It's our job to fix the problem.

Now, I have a plan to fix this problem and it has got to do with energy independence. We've got to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don't want us very -- like us very much. We have to keep Americans' taxes low. All Americans' taxes low. Let's not raise taxes on anybody today.

We obviously have to stop this spending spree that's going on in Washington. Do you know that we've laid a $10 trillion debt on these young Americans who are here with us tonight, $500 billion of it we owe to China?

We've got to have a package of reforms and it has got to lead to reform prosperity and peace in the world. And I think that this problem has become so severe, as you know, that we're going to have to do something about home values.

You know that home values of retirees continues to decline and people are no longer able to afford their mortgage payments. As president of the United States, Alan, I would order the secretary of the treasury to immediately buy up the bad home loan mortgages in America and renegotiate at the new value of those homes -- at the diminished value of those homes and let people be able to make those -- be able to make those payments and stay in their homes.

Is it expensive? Yes. But we all know, my friends, until we stabilize home values in America, we're never going to start turning around and creating jobs and fixing our economy. And we've got to give some trust and confidence back to America.

I know how the do that, my friends. And it's my proposal, it's not Sen. Obama's proposal, it's not President Bush's proposal. But I know how to get America working again, restore our economy and take care of working Americans. Thank you.

Brokaw: Senator, we have one minute for a discussion here. Obviously the powers of the treasury secretary have been greatly expanded. The most powerful officer in the cabinet now. Hank Paulson says he won't stay on. Who do you have in mind to appoint to that very important post?

Sen. McCain?

McCain: Not you, Tom.

Brokaw: No, with good reason.

McCain: You know, that's a tough question and there's a lot of qualified Americans. But I think the first criteria, Tom, would have to be somebody who immediately Americans identify with, immediately say, we can trust that individual.

A supporter of Sen. Obama's is Warren Buffett [chairman of Berkshire Hathaway]. He has already weighed in and helped stabilize some of the difficulties in the markets and with companies and corporations, institutions today.

I like Meg Whitman [former CEO of eBay and current McCain campaign adviser], she knows what it's like to be out there in the marketplace. She knows how to create jobs. Meg Whitman was CEO of a company that started with 12 people and is now 1.3 million people in America make their living off eBay. Maybe somebody here has done a little business with them.

But the point is it's going to have to be somebody who inspires trust and confidence. Because the problem in America today to a large extent, Tom, is that we don't have trust and confidence in our institutions because of the corruption on Wall Street and the greed and excess and the cronyism in Washington, D.C.

Brokaw: All right. Sen. McCain -- Sen. Obama, who do you have in mind for treasury secretary?

Obama: Well, Warren would be a pretty good choice -- Warren Buffett, and I'm pleased to have his support. But there are other folks out there. The key is making sure that the next treasury secretary understands that it's not enough just to help those at the top.

Prosperity is not just going to trickle down. We've got to help the middle class.

And we've -- you know, Sen. McCain and I have some fundamental disagreements on the economy, starting with Sen. McCain's statement earlier that he thought the fundamentals of the economy were sound.

Part of the problem here is that for many of you, wages and incomes have flat-lined. For many of you, it is getting harder and harder to save, harder and harder to retire.

And that's why, for example, on tax policy, what I want to do is provide a middle class tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans, those who are working two jobs, people who are not spending enough time with their kids, because they are struggling to make ends meet.

Sen. McCain is right that we've got to stabilize housing prices. But underlying that is loss of jobs and loss of income. That's something that the next treasury secretary is going to have to work on.

Brokaw: Sen. Obama, thank you very much.

May I remind both of you, if I can, that we're operating under rules that you signed off on and when we have a discussion, it really is to be confined within about a minute or so.

We're going to go now, Sen. McCain, to the next question from you from the hall here, and it comes from Oliver Clark, who is over here in section F.

Oliver?

Clark: Well, Senators, through this economic crisis, most of the people that I know have had a difficult time. And through this bailout package, I was wondering what it is that's going to actually help those people out.

McCain: Well, thank you, Oliver, and that's an excellent question, because as you just described it, bailout, when I believe that it's rescue, because -- because of the greed and excess in Washington and Wall Street, Main Street was paying a very heavy price, and we know that.

I left my campaign and suspended it to go back to Washington to make sure that there were additional protections for the taxpayer in the form of good oversight, in the form of taxpayers being the first to be paid back when our economy recovers -- and it will recover -- and a number of other measures.

But you know, one of the real catalysts, really the match that lit this fire was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I'll bet you, you may never even have heard of them before this crisis.

But you know, they're the ones that, with the encouragement of Sen. Obama and his cronies and his friends in Washington, that went out and made all these risky loans, gave them to people that could never afford to pay back.

And you know, there were some of us that stood up two years ago and said we've got to enact legislation to fix this. We've got to stop this greed and excess.

Meanwhile, the Democrats in the Senate and some -- and some members of Congress defended what Fannie and Freddie were doing. They resisted any change.

Meanwhile, they were getting all kinds of money in campaign contributions. Sen. Obama was the second highest recipient of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac money in history -- in history.

So this rescue package means that we will stabilize markets, we will shore up these institutions. But it's not enough. That's why we're going to have to go out into the housing market and we're going to have to buy up these bad loans and we're going to have to stabilize home values, and that way, Americans, like Alan, can realize the American dream and stay in their home.

But Fannie and Freddie were the catalysts, the match that started this forest fire. There were some of us -- there were some of us that stood up against it. There were others who took a hike.

Brokaw: Sen. Obama?

Obama: Well, Oliver, first, let me tell you what's in the rescue package for you. Right now, the credit markets are frozen up and what that means, as a practical matter, is that small businesses and some large businesses just can't get loans.

If they can't get a loan, that means that they can't make payroll. If they can't make payroll, then they may end up having to shut their doors and lay people off.

And if you imagine just one company trying to deal with that, now imagine a million companies all across the country.

So it could end up having an adverse effect on everybody, and that's why we had to take action. But we shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Now, I've got to correct a little bit of Sen. McCain's history, not surprisingly. Let's, first of all, understand that the biggest problem in this whole process was the deregulation of the financial system.

Sen. McCain, as recently as March, bragged about the fact that he is a deregulator. On the other hand, two years ago, I said that we've got a sub-prime lending crisis that has to be dealt with.

I wrote to Secretary Paulson, I wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman [Ben] Bernanke, and told them this is something we have to deal with, and nobody did anything about it.

A year ago, I went to Wall Street and said we've got to reregulate, and nothing happened.

And Sen. McCain during that period said that we should keep on deregulating because that's how the free enterprise system works.

Now, with respect to Fannie Mae, what Sen. McCain didn't mention is the fact that this bill that he talked about wasn't his own bill. He jumped on it a year after it had been introduced and it never got passed.

And I never promoted Fannie Mae. In fact, Sen. McCain's campaign chairman's firm was a lobbyist on behalf of Fannie Mae, not me.

So -- but, look, you're not interested in hearing politicians pointing fingers. What you're interested in is trying to figure out, how is this going to impact you?

This is not the end of the process; this is the beginning of the process. And that's why it's going to be so important for us to work with homeowners to make sure that they can stay in their homes.

The secretary already has the power to do that in the rescue package, but it hasn't been exercised yet. And the next president has to make sure that the next Treasury secretary is thinking about how to strengthen you as a home buyer, you as a homeowner, and not simply think about bailing out banks on Wall Street.

Brokaw: Sen. Obama, time for a discussion. I'm going to begin with you. Are you saying to Mr. Clark (ph) and to the other members of the American television audience that the American economy is going to get much worse before it gets better and they ought to be prepared for that?

Obama: No, I am confident about the American economy. But we are going to have to have some leadership from Washington that not only sets out much better regulations for the financial system.

The problem is we still have a archaic, 20th-century regulatory system for 21st-century financial markets. We're going to have to coordinate with other countries to make sure that whatever actions we take work.

But most importantly, we're going to have to help ordinary families be able to stay in their homes, make sure that they can pay their bills, deal with critical issues like health care and energy, and we're going to have to change the culture in Washington so that lobbyists and special interests aren't driving the process and your voices aren't being drowned out.

Brokaw: Sen. McCain, in all candor, do you think the economy is going to get worse before it gets better?

McCain: I think it depends on what we do. I think if we act effectively, if we stabilize the housing market -- which I believe we can, if we go out and buy up these bad loans, so that people can have a new mortgage at the new value of their home -- I think if we get rid of the cronyism and special interest influence in Washington so we can act more effectively.

My friend, I'd like you to see the letter that a group of senators and I wrote warning exactly of this crisis. Sen. Obama's name was not on that letter.

The point is -- the point is that we can fix our economy. Americans' workers are the best in the world. They're the fundamental aspect of America's economy.

They're the most innovative. They're the best -- they're most -- have best -- we're the best exporters. We're the best importers. They're most effective. They are the best workers in the world.

And we've got to give them a chance. They've got -- we've got to give them a chance to do their best again. And they are the innocent bystanders here in what is the biggest financial crisis and challenge of our time. We can do it.

Brokaw: Thank you, Sen. McCain.

We're going to continue over in Section F, as it turns out.

Sen. Obama, this is a question from you from Teresa Finch.

Teresa?

Finch: How can we trust either of you with our money when both parties got -- got us into this global economic crisis?

Obama: Well, look, I understand your frustration and your cynicism, because while you've been carrying out your responsibilities -- most of the people here, you've got a family budget. If less money is coming in, you end up making cuts. Maybe you don't go out to dinner as much. Maybe you put off buying a new car.

That's not what happens in Washington. And you're right. There is a lot of blame to go around.

But I think it's important just to remember a little bit of history. When George Bush came into office, we had surpluses. And now we have half-a-trillion-dollar deficit annually.

When George Bush came into office, our debt -- national debt was around $5 trillion. It's now over $10 trillion. We've almost doubled it.

And so while it's true that nobody's completely innocent here, we have had over the last eight years the biggest increases in deficit spending and national debt in our history. And Sen. McCain voted for four out of five of those George Bush budgets.

So here's what I would do. I'm going to spend some money on the key issues that we've got to work on.

You know, you may have seen your health care premiums go up. We've got to reform health care to help you and your budget.

We are going to have to deal with energy because we can't keep on borrowing from the Chinese and sending money to Saudi Arabia. We are mortgaging our children's future. We've got to have a different energy plan.

We've got to invest in college affordability. So we're going to have to make some investments, but we've also got to make spending cuts. And what I've proposed, you'll hear Sen. McCain say, well, he's proposing a whole bunch of new spending, but actually I'm cutting more than I'm spending so that it will be a net spending cut.

The key is whether or not we've got priorities that are working for you as opposed to those who have been dictating the policy in Washington lately, and that's mostly lobbyists and special interests. We've got to put an end to that.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

The world wants Obama but US want MacCain

All along I thought of Senator Obama's advantage. But as I watch their debate last night in BBC World News, my sister went on telling that the issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer says McCain is winning in the United States.

In the beginning, i was liking Obama for his stand on the middle class and Iraq War. It is also noteworthy that while Obama does no favor the troops in Iraq, he agrees on sending more troops in the Afghan borders. It is his belief that the Al Qaeda is penetrating the country and it is where US must focus more. McCain has edge on the home security issues. He proudly says that the current administration suceeded in improving security for the homeland.

The September 11 attack has considerably overshadowed the framework of the elections. Having the current president of US a Republican, who failed to protect the Homeland from the terrorists threats, the Democrats find opportunity to gain the acceptance of the world.

The reason behind the attack of the World Trade has many stories. In fact when that happened there was a paradigm shift on the focus of security -- from cold war communist-laden issues to terrorism. It changed America's fight and limited the communist-democratic head-on to terrorist-democratic collide. Whether the communist and democratic collide of ideologies is finished or not is a different story. The point is the terrorist bombing in America has shaken it and is also the factor to what is now American financial crisis.

Having Republican as head of the country, expect US to re-dignify itself with more anti-terrorist measures. I have mentioned in an earlier post that Bush has been sued by a Foundation of invasion of privacy for colluding AT & T to redirect communication usage data to an office of the National Security Agency; it definitely still is a part of the security measure which although legally reinforced by the Patriotic Act is violating the US Constitution.

The agenda of Obama is more focused on the Economy. It is where he won last night to me. And MCain as macho as other Civil-war Southerners ideology seems to be un-reinforcing to the Iraq war cause with his age. I don't know. But his lenient personality seems to me inappropriate to the cause of war. He seemed to me Ashley Wilkes in the novel Gone With The Wind.

BBC research polls opined Obama win last night. But it noted that the audience of the last night's debate are more of democrats.

Is US ready for a Black President?
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Friday, September 26, 2008

How Is It to Have a Bad Credit Reputation? Part 3

So yes, when you failed to pay your balance with your credit card bank and not follow the monthly payments due, you will have your credit card get cancelled. It is the beginning of the ordeal. With the shame on it, with the bank's collecting agents nagging you at your office to pay, you will eventually feel cold-footed. You will suddenly be nervous that you may be sued by the Bank for not paying.

Fortunately, my brother who was then studying law told me that no one gets imprisoned for unpaid debts. My other sister who is also taking up law now will add that the Philippine Constitution has explicit provision on the no-criminal liability for not paying debts.

A result of credit card non-voluntary cancellation is the submission of your name to the Bank Association of The Philippines' Negative List. This list is a roster of debtors who has been reported by Philippines banks for not being responsible enough to pay their debts. When you got included in it, your life is over. Or at least that was what I felt. Young debtor. Me. Then.

The inclusion of your name in that dreaded list will definitely block you from availing of car loans, house loans, education loans, etc. It will prevent you from having or attaining an affluent life which everybody does dream of. It was painful to think of it. Your own future and the future of my kids are at stake! First of all, I never want them to experience the life I had which was hard. That was how fast-forward my thoughts then was. I don't know but my mind is on a blast during those time. It's what they call a rush life even that I am a "probinsyana".


Below is an interview with Topper Coronel, President of the Bank Association of the Philippines (BAP) regarding the Negative List (Interview Transcripted) which I had clipped from Pinoy Money Talk.

The BAP Credit Bureau is just the repository of information. That means garbage in, garbage out. The banks themselves make the list. However, there are only several bank officers within a bank who are specifically authorized to modify that list and they are responsible for its reliability. They can get sued for mistakes. We are not worried about the accuracy of these lists. We are not dealing with kids here.

Yes, there are triggers for people to be listed and these are agreed upon by participants of the system. These include canceled credit cards due to improper usage, not voluntary cancellation. Even when the credit card falls past due, it is not immediately placed on the list. We make allowances for curable periods where a borrower might have merely forgotten to pay.

Banks as a rule look at the total credit history of a person. If you have a cancelled credit card or a bounced check but have paid the amount already, it is the obligation of the bank to make a notation that you have rectified the situation.
Personally, my advice is to deal with banks that know their business. If I were a bank, I would rather deal with someone who has had bad experiences with credit but got burned and has reformed, rather than someone who is spotless. Those who process credit applications and reject someone right away because of some bad decisions are lazy and are not doing justice to the bank. We are not dealing in heaven where there are only spotless angels.
Also, good banks invest in good systems. There are algorithms that check not just the name but also the address, birthday and other personal details. The BAP’s system can check details like middle names. We have enough safeguards to make sure we don’t make mistakes and ruin people’s lives. Our system can only be accessed by two or three very senior people and it is fully audited and fully secure.
The best way to check would be to write a letter of request to the BAP and we can check the system for you. Then we can tell the bank to review their records.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

EFF Sues President Bush

That goes the headline...Although what really sues who is the EFF to The National Security Agency. Read on..


Aims to end illegal spying

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a lawsuit against President George W. Bush and others in his administration for the illegal surveillance of emails and telephone calls without a warrant.

The suit also names the National Security Agency (NSA), Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff David Addington, and former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales.
Electronic Frontier Foundation

The lawsuit, Jewel v. NSA, is aimed at ending what the EFF says is "the NSA's dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and holding accountable the government officials who illegally authorized it."

Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T employee Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA.

EFF attorneys filed a suit against AT&T in 2006 alleging that US telecoms giants had opened its network to the NSA without warrants. This year Congress passed legislation giving telecommunications firms immunity from spying lawsuits. The case is now stalled in federal court.

"In addition to suing AT&T, we've now opened a second front in the battle to stop the NSA's illegal surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and hold personally responsible those who authorized or participated in the spying program," said Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston.

"For years, the NSA has been engaged in a massive and massively illegal fishing expedition through AT&T's domestic networks and databases of customer records. Our goal in this new case against the government, as in our case against AT&T, is to dismantle this dragnet surveillance program as soon as possible."
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Heard the latest news: McCain's Vice President is a Woman

The US Race for the November Elections is getting under our pants. Democrats are democrats, republicans are republicans. Obama did not choose Hillary as a VP candidate because definitely, choosing a woman for a VP will weaken the democrats stand in November. Amerian Blacks and Woman may at first sight go strong together as a pair but the dynamism of the US electorate may elicit other response to the merging of women and black forces under the democrats' banner. At this time, it is becoming apparent that Obama is "llamado" or a stronger candidate than McCain does. In response to Obama's choosing of the Delaware Senator, the Republicans this time choose a woman as their Vice-President. I will be showing the profiles of both contenders to the presidential race later. What is the implication of this decision by the Republicans? Well, I see it as something that intends to communicate a message: women will always remain second best to the men. It's that traditionalism that Republicans have been branded with. Money wise, Obama camp has experienced no laxity. He's being supported financially by wide range of financiers. The race is about the psychology of the question of having an American Black for President. With barely three months, propaganda that can sway voters' opinion or choice of candidate will be the name of the game. There are studies that voters (in any country for the matter) generally change candidates' preference when the elections is nearing, at the slightest knowledge they receive from external sources like the media. The choice of a woman as Republican's VP candidate, who is equally capable as Hillary CLinton, will make the voters' attention turn to the Republicans.

Sarah Palin is McCain's VP:
A Basketball Pointguard, A Beauty Queen, A Governor





Joe Biden is Obama's VP:
A Senator from Delaware


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Thursday, August 28, 2008

How Is it to Have a Bad Credit Reputation II

I feel restless today. I have been out. I rode my brother's mountain bike to the streets. It's so bad my CSC ID wont be accepted so that I can get my money at Western Union. It is my payment for the google earnings. Anyway, maybe it's not the only reason why i feel restless. I dont mountain bike usually. but this time i had to. I've been mountain biking when i will have to buy my viand for lunch. I had to.I've been wishing for a car and now all I have is a mountain bike which i lent from my older brother.

In December 2004, I lent some money from DBP ( a 6-month salary loan for my management analyst job in the provincial government) in order to buy a second hand car. That time i was taking my Masterals in Diliman, and everyday i had to walk for 15 minutes from the UP Checkpoint to the NCPAG buiding in SOLAIR area. That was stressfull for me since i had to wake up 5 am everyday to report for a 7 am work in the government of Bulacan, and then left 3pm from office to commute for another two hours from Malolos City to Quezon City. I really needed a private mode of transportation because I run out of breath with my then daily lifestyle. I atended classes until 9 pm in the evening. Sometimes because of tiredness, i will sleep unintentionally in my MPA class. I was glad my teachers would just let me. because they know I am working and commuting daily from Bulacan. I thought if i have a personal vehicle, life would be convenient. So i decided to buy. However, the cheapest second hand car then is a 150,000 worth of Toyota Lancer. So the money from DBP wasn't enough. My mom would not want me to buy a car. The more that I became aggressive in my plan. I was a rebel child. I just wanted my convenience. Life was hard for me. So I decided to deposit the money in another account. a cooperative saving account. I joined the cooperative and i got my first deposit account for them. i deposited the 60,0000 plus net loan from DBP (DBP collected interest worth 12,000) so that I can loan three times its value. I attended a membership seminar and i learned that the maximum loan the Coop could give me is three times the collateral deposited. I underwent another CI in the office in Malolos City. I was dismayed when what was "only" approved was P50,000 of loan.

As i recall it now, I knew I had a decision-making mistake in my finance. It was carelessness in my part. My mind was crowded of worries and pressure. Paying for the water bills, giving allowance to my siblings who were schooling in college, my mother's incapability to understand my needs...

I had no record exactly of how i consumed the money. It was almost 110,000 pesos. I only could remember that there were points in the past that I would withdraw few hundreds from my deposits to buy few clothes for myself, withdraw few thousands to augment to my masters tuition fee, and few hundreds to give allowance to mheng and rex, and another thousands for the house expenses. I have an elder brother but he was taking up law. Now he was done with the juris doctor degree from Ateneo. The money did not disappear instantly because i am not a money waster. In fact i would describe myself a spend thrift. Maybe what happened then was i got too depressed hence losing my rationality. I remember I often was crying during the nights. i would arrive home tired. And would find them watching TV when i came home. There was not even a food offered to me. And that was the reason of my crying.

That depression would continue until the turn of the year. As other like-minded gal like me, i would not lose my optimism in spite of my depression. I achieved a lot at that young age, i must never give up.
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Digression from Blog Topic: Meteor shower visible in Metro Manila Aug 12

With clear skies expected to prevail over the country in the next few days, astronomy enthusiasts can watch out for a spectacular meteor display tomorrow night, the weather bureau said yesterday.

Prisco Nilo, director of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said the Perseid meteor shower will peak on the night of Aug. 12 until dawn the following day, with hundreds of meteors per hour to be observed under most favorable sky conditions.

“Occasionally, an exceptional shower may show tens or even hundreds of meteors per minute, but around 50 meteors per hour is more typical,” Nilo said in a statement.
He said the Perseid meteor shower is the most reliable one to be seen from Aug. 10 to 14 of each year.

“Under most favorable clear sky condition, there may be 60 to 100 meteors per hour,” he said.

Nilo said August is one of the most popular times of the year to observe meteor showers, which are easiest to see if there is no moonlight and light pollution.

The Perseid meteor shower radiates out from the constellation Perseus, located in the eastern horizon during this month, Nilo said.

The famous Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years, with the first known information on it coming from the Far East. Perseids came to be known later as the “Tears of St. Lawrence.”

Nilo said meteors in a shower appear to come from one area of the sky, but they melt as soon as they enter the earth’s atmosphere due to extreme heat.

Source: Philippine Star

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Mails Informing You Won Lottery

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PLUS LOTTO ONLINE DRAWS
201 Hanbury,
London E1 5HU

Dear Winner,
RE: NOTIFICATION OF WINNING.
EMAIL CODE: PLD15378

This email message is sent to inform you that your email address has been selected as a winner in the "Alpha Category" of the Plus Lotto Online Draw for a prize of One Million Pounds Sterling.
Send your reply to the fiduciary coordinator Desmond Warwick
Email: plusverification22@gmail.complusverification22@gmail.com> , for provision of your PCP2 form and due steps to be taken for the processing and remittance of your prize.
Congratulations,

Sanserivo Michelle
Promotion Secretary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have you ever received letters like this on your email? Sometimes this comes in the form of letter enjoining you to receive huge inheritance from a dead rich man, or woman who met tragic accidents and left no heirs to their wealth.

The money are legitimate. The mails are real. But the story on the mails are not. You will be tempted to do and correspond with the addressee. Imagine a one million pound sterling being transferred instantly to your bank account.

Believe it or not. Once I have been tempted to study the possibility of receiving money from source like this. In my case, it was a dead person's money whose account has not left a will of testament attached with it. Upon studying, I learned that cooperating with the bank sender may have me commit money laundering, and my contact bank embezzlement. Try to answer the emails and you will receive responses.

Bank embezzlement is committed when a bank employee who is handling an account of a person he or she personally knows acquired the wealth legally without having any legitimate rights to it. Sometimes, the rich persons left no one to transfer the funds to upon death, and the "escheat" laws of every country will require any banks to hand over those kind of wealth to the state treasury.

Money laundering on one hand is usually charged to the receiver of this legitimate money. In our country, money laundering has been done when an amount exceeding P500,000 pesos has been deposited to your bank account in one transaction day, whether it comes from a local or international bank source. Most money launderers set-up bank account in countries where the bank secrecy laws are very tight so that authorities would not easily have access to the records of bank account owners.


If you have plans to be a Robinhood, the receipt of the one million pound sterling above would not be easy. Even if the bank employee from that country can do the transfer smoothly, the prohibitions on the recipient's country can be strong.

While bank embezzlement can be levied by the embezzler by just returning the money acquired, money laundering on one hand is a criminal offense already and is punishable by imprisonment of 15 years to reclusion perpetua or life. Hence, you will see the willingness of your contact person from another country because they do not face criminal impediments as you as recipient can face back home. Usually, the laundered money came from UK, or Africa where governments are unstable, and is transferred to a developing country like the Philippines. Africa has funds from the blatant corruption of its abusive rulers from recently reformed governments. In some cases, I've read that there are some people killed in receiving these money.

Our Central bank has been monitoring money money laundering cases strictly especially after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Assumingly, the money used to fund terrorist bombings are transferred through EFT or electronic fund transfer so banks have been more strict.
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Humbling Experience

Prof. Lim of the Asian Institute of Management had asked me to join him with his lunch with Philippine National Oil Company Energy Development Corporation Chairman Paul A. Aquino. Of course, this is in line with the business case that I am helping him to write. As we all know, the said GOCC had been privatized on November last year and as a result is now owned by the Lopez Group of Companies. Reason why MERALCO has been facing hearings recently is that I would presume is because of the discreet transaction that had happened in the PNOC-EDC bid. Red Vulcan Holdings Corporation had the highest bid of 58.5 billion pesos to the 40% stake of the government on PNOC EDC. In early part of this year, the First Gen Company bought the minor shares of Red Vulcan taking final control of the said company. The series of events that succeeded the bid fumed the Senate since the Lopez's is already owning the MERALCO. A monopoly is shadowing. PNOC-EDC is the sole company in the country that has geothermal plants. It ranks as the world's second largest producer of geothermal energy, next to United States. Senator Joker Arroyo in his Senate privelege speech during the first regular session of the 14th Cogress said that the privatization measure of the executive department to restructure PNOC-EDC may create a "vacuum". He also said that while it would be privatized, the original mandate of the said geothermal drilling company must not be circumvented. It must remain that the prime purpose of PNOC-EDC is to explore and develop indigenous energy sources. He further said that the country is indeed losing leverage with the sale of government's stock on PNOC-EDC.

The intent of our lunch with Mr. Paul Aquino would be to know what Corporate Social Responsibilty Programs would be implemented by Vulcan Holdings in the communities of the geothermal plants. In a speech before the Management Association of the Philippines, Mr. Paul Aquino relates that PNOC-EDC is spending huge money for its CSR programs that directly benefitted the communities where the company's geothermal plant is located. Prior to that, CSR programs of PNOC-EDC are not much community-based. He started a more community-based approach when he experienced first hand PNOC-EDC's rig workers being killed and the community residents did not even bother to help. He decided that in places like Leyte and Negros, PNOC-EDC is the government.

With the sale of the government's PNOC-EDC to a private company, what is going to happen to the price of electricity or kuryente? Recently, my brother submitted a complaint to MERALCO because our usual P1,500 pesos of electric bill rose to 2,500 pesos in the two preceding months. We consumed 251 kilowatts every month! The complaint resulted to a new MERALCO meter being installed in our house. The reader is digital and it is a lot more convenient to read. With it you may know how much eletricity every appliance consume in the house! My personal computer for example has a range of 90 to 150 watts. Indeed, a laptop would save more energy than a PC. I just hope with the monopoly, our electricity consumption would not amount for more.



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Sunday, July 20, 2008

How is it to have a bad credit reputation?

If you don’t sill believe that money is power, or that politics and economics in macro terms are not related, I will show you how.

At age 25, I am already on debt. I all blame it to myself, but of course to credit cards agents who lured me to owning several credit cards. When you have several, you have an illusion of being so rich because owning credit cards give you financial liberation. You can d things in advance, or buy things you liked without your salary for the 15th and 30th f month even reaching your hands. Until unknowingly, you have been into spending spree that put you on debts. At first, you won’t be afraid because you think that credit cards have pro-customers policy. But as I will have to realize later, all these commercial plastic companies have the only goal of profiting from our spending. The thought of buying in advance is really uplifting, but he interest is what will have to surprise. Of course, I have read the policies of the first credit card company about the interest schemes. Standard Chartered is my first credit card. And having them are indeed good. I have no words against the credit card because owning the Standard Chartered is like a status of independence to me. With this first credit card, I got to learn the discipline in money management. Well, not really because I have been managing my own finances since I was 19 years old. The next credit card agent lured me to apply for a Citibank visa card. Oh, I felt so elated having two credit cards! Oh I felt very rich! The next agent lured me to an HSBC red Master Card. All these two cards have validity until 2008. I was unaware that having them handy in my wallet would make me a spender. In January 2005, my first misuse of credit card happened. I was strolling in the SM malls when people from the AOWA stand invited me to join their promo. They have me chose an umbrella from their storage and they said thee umbrellas have commensurate prizes….

To be continued….

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Life has been sometimes in disarray

Yes, life has been put sometimes in disarray so that we can give order in it. I have been asking myself many times why frustrating, shaking, and perspective-changing instances happen in our world. It is only today that I begin to accept that everything happens for a reason. After so many years of not accepting what tremendous change happened to our family life, it is only today that I was able to see the breaking of the new day. All I think now is how can I move on from the messy life I have. Well, financially speaking. I have been down for the past few years, and my financial situation is what caused my life a mess. It is my silent realization that what happened to me in the recent past has not to be blamed on other people. It is my own decision to be what had been, and it is my decision also now what I will become tomorrow. Well, people help me realize the good things. There was a point when I think of having suicide. Yes I did! I did! But I know it is not a good thing. Why waste your life on a thing that has no logic. Taking your own life is like a manifestation of your fear. For me, I know If I kill myself, many people will be surprised, some maybe regretful, and some may find the act strange or some will definitely feel I was a loss. That time I was thinking how many people will attend my funeral! That time, I never was afraid to die! Because death is like a saving grace! But I was reminded that taking your own life is a sin. It never is good.

Sometimes, cowardice is inevitable. We usually fear because it is a realization of our limitations as persons, but if only we have faith, even if that faith sometimes dwindles, it is still what will eventually bear factor on our meaningful and best decisions. Faith is the belief in the things unseen, and so even if I do not see God, I believe He is watching my every decision and step. My sister once gave me a meaningful testimonial. She said we must not do things because they are what we think were the right thing to us, but because it is the right thing in the eyes of God. Yes, she is right. I never thought of it that time maybe because I used to believe that while I had done good things to other people, He did not give me the best. I felt a failure and felt unblessed. On second look, the case was not. Looking back, I know there are also good things that happened to me, which made me happy today. Our life is better now, of course our life, although not mine, because I still have my backlogs. But at least I contributed to our family life’s betterment. It is enough for me.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Why Starbucks coffee shops have cooled off By JAMES BERNSTEIN


 AP
AP

MELVILLE, N.Y. — Starbucks’ a

nnouncement that it is shuttering 600 stores marks an end to what seemed to be the company’s continual upward climb and invincibility in the retail coffee shop industry.

Two market-research experts spoke recently about the world-famous company.

What happened to Starbucks?

Several things. For years, Starbucks has been exceptionally profitable and was a darling of Wall Street. But it expanded too rapidly: "You can expand so much," said Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Manhattan-based market-research firm Brand Keys.

Did the excitement wear off?

Pretty much, said Harry Balzer, a vice president of Port Washington, N.Y.-based The NDP Group. "They [Starbucks] certainly had a nice run," Balzer said. "I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I don’t think I’ve seen anybody do it better. But there’s nothing like success to bring on competition. Nobody says you can have the whole market forever."

What else went wrong?

Passikoff said Starbucks tried to migrate its coffee brand into a lifestyle brand. "They came out with the movies and the books in the stores. There’s nothing wrong with that aspiration. But as part of this, they essentially took a step away from the core quality of the brand, which was the coffeehouse experience, which they imported from Europe and turned into an American experience. For a while, no one was grinding beans. The place didn’t sound like the coffeehouse and didn’t smell like the coffeehouse anymore," Passikoff said.

Bad marketing decisions?

Yes. The experts said their stores were getting too crowded with furniture, Passikoff said. The couches went. "What essentially they did overall was re-engineer the experience right out of the stores. So customers were standing on line, and there was no experience anymore. They were too much like everyone else."

How much of Starbucks’ decline is related to the economy?

Passikoff argues not that much, that Starbucks’ market share began to decline a year ago. "In our tests last year, they came out No. 2 to Dunkin’ Donuts. This year, Dunkin’ is No. 1, McDonald’s is No. 2 and Starbucks No. 3 in our market surveys." But Balzer said the entire restaurant industry has been harmed by the bad economy.

Should Starbucks have stuck with its original strategy of being just a coffeehouse?

Yes, Passikoff said. "You don’t walk away from a successful brand strategy, not when you’re making money."

Can Starbucks go back to what it was?

Passikoff said he doubts it. "Customer values have shifted so dramatically. They are what they are." Balzer said Starbucks still has a lot of marketing power left, however. "They have got to do new things," he said.

Source:
http://www.star-telegram.com/business/story/742107.html
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Friday, July 4, 2008

Dirty Politics

The US government more than any institution in the world especially its electoral process is characterized for dirty politics. JUst this early, with the incoming elections for the presidency, much has been done already by the Republicans to bring down Obama and Hillary's camp. Definitely, the US right now is a republican country considering that Bush is such. While the rest of the world has focused attention on Iraq War as devil advance of the United States, in the US homeland, different things are happening. The United States people more than any time in history has their prides high at present, maybe a result of the September 11 bombing which made them aware of what they had been through before becoming a World power in the post-WWII period. They came to power because of industrial military complexes located in the orange county in Florida. Many analysts say US makes war to make money. The mortgage problem of the United States result to recessionary movements in the capital market, and made life harder for Americans presently. I know someone from The Philippines who went to US to work there last year but news said the service industry is not affected by the recession at all- good for her. Meanwhile, while middle class Americans are busy thinking about their losses from the mortgage industry, with lands are not being paid, other sectors of society meanwhile are flourishing for their lifetime accomplishments. Many blacks or niggers as what they were called by Confederates in the Civil war, are advancing well in their careers and enriching their lives more because of hard work. The music industry is a testament to this with Beyonce, Rihanna, Chris Brown and the likes occupied the top seat over others. Blacks throughout history had made their life better even surpassing some whites. Well, it's not a question of race, but I think America is facing the most difficult problem one country can have- PRIDE. In the patriot movie of Mel Gibson, Benjamin Martin blurted out these words: "Pride is a weakness." Aren't Republicans the owners of land properties. They are the ones losing now in the economy because they are landed, while in Politics, a Black is gaining prestige because of being self-made. The relationship of money with politics is what made the politics in US dirty, like in ay other country of the world. Power is about money. You are powerful when you have it.We should expect more to come with the Obama campaign. Politics can make the angels demons, and vice-versa.
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Spoof Video Obama and Clinton



Definitely an anti-obama campaign. :D
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Favorite Blogs: Influential

My Blog Carnival


I got five top most liked blogs and this year marks my second year of blogging. I first started to blog in the Pinoy Big Brother Fantasy Game sponsored by BBK from Palawan. These five blogs I liked will be my nominations to the Writing Project of Ms. Janette Toral “The Ten Most Influential Blogs of 2008”.


My five choices are:


I am voting for my friend mica to the The Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008. I admire the theme of her site http://missingcarlo.filblogs.com/ about his brother who is special. It says something about the importance of family.


I also admire benj's site about SAGADA because i had been there once but i never got the initiative to write about it and promote it. For this, I also vote for benj's http://www.visitsagada.com.


I would also nominate my friend’s chitra for her site on cooking recipes. This site is a must see because it is loaded with recipes from cakes to main courses. The site is also interactive because you can join and share your recipe This is India-based site: http://andhrabhojan.com/.


I would also nominate this very interesting blogsite of a 17-year old cebuano gentleman. He does not cease to educate about the initiatives of Mar Roxas. I am happy to find how industrious Senator Mar is, because honestly, I do not prepare a list of presidential bet for 2010 because of my resignation to our political system. But this blog pulls me back to it and make me critical again, being a Pol Sci Graduate myself. http://marroxas2010.blogspot.com.



I am also voting for two food sites:

http://www.davaodeli.com/
http://manilafoodistas.blogspot.com/

I can use them for reference to future eat-outs with my good friends.


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