Nevada’s Children Now Responsible for Paying Off Debt
(Las Vegas, NV) – Rarely has seven-term Congresswoman Shelley Berkley encountered a government spending proposal she doesn’t like. Just as Nevada was entering into one of the deepest recessions in history, Shelley Berkley promised the one trillion dollar stimulus would create 34,000 jobs in Nevada, a promise that has long been proven broken.
“After fourteen years in Washington, Shelley Berkley still doesn’t get that a bigger, more powerful government is not the answer to getting our economy back on track. She clearly has no concept of how many taxpayers’ dollars she wasted. Instead, she followed President Obama and Nancy Pelosi’s lead, and spent a trillion in taxpayers’ dollars growing jobs in Washington DC. Meanwhile, Nevada was left hung out to dry,” said Chandler Smith, Heller for Senate spokeswoman.
Berkley doubles, triples down on the stimulus:
- Berkley claimed the trillion dollar stimulus “will create or save 34,000 jobs statewide, with the majority of those in Clark County.” In fact, Nevada lost 65,000 jobs. (Berkley Press Release, February 12, 2009)
- Berkley: “I’m very grateful for that stimulus and if I had to vote on it again today with all the negative publicity I would vote on it again.” (Hearing on Responding to Long-Term Unemployment, House Committee on Ways and Means, June 10, 2010)
- Berkley said that the stimulus “put $700 billion into our education system. I’m not talking about only paying teachers and keeping them employed, I’m talking about the possibility of having to close schools…”It put $500 billion into Medicaid so that poor children and poor adults aren’t going to be out on the streets dying for lack of medical care.” (Steve Tetreault, “Stimulus working or not? Heller and Berkley duke it out,” Las Vegas Review Journal, July 17, 2010)
· But Shelley Berkley had her facts wrong:
o “Berkley later said she meant to say millions of dollars, not billions.
o “Her office also said that Nevada education received roughly $550 million and that the state’s Medicaid share was $450 million plus additional money for health insurance for the unemployed. (Steve Tetreault, “Stimulus working or not? Heller and Berkley duke it out,” Las Vegas Review Journal, July 17, 2010)
But in fact the stimulus padded the wallets of Washington DC and left Nevada hung out to dry:
· The stimulus created 6.8 jobs for every 1,000 Washington DC residents. It created .7 jobs for every 1,000 residents outside of the District of Columbia. (“The Obama Stimulus, Three Years of Failure,” Republican Policy Committee, February 17, 2012)
· According to study reported by the White House, “the District stands to benefit the most from the stimulus bill as it is home to the majority of Federal agencies in the region…
(The White House, “Real Estate Giant Predicted DC Area Would Benefit The Most From Stimulus Bill,” April 22, 2009)
· Washington DC received $8,357 in spending per capita. Nevada received $1,671.
(Propublica.org; http://projects.propublica.org/recovery/, Accessed February 28, 2012)
· Nevada unemployment remains the highest in the nation at 11.6 percent.
The tablet wars are finally underway as new contenders begin to enter the battlefield. Microsoft recently introduced its new tablet Surface. The latest release has the specifications to stand up to the challenge set by Apple’s mighty iPad. Microsoft packed more practical features in the new tablet and programmed it with Windows RT and Windows 8. A couple of features that were missing on the iPad like a USB port and a kickstand have been engineered into Surface. Reviews over the blogging world critique Surface as “creative and practical”.
Surface has a shiny matte finish back with a Windows logo in the center. The front houses sleek glass held by durable magnesium alloy chassis. Right below the screen at the center another Windows logo is present. Pressing the logo fires up the 10.6-inch colorful display screen. Half an inch from the four sides of the screen is covered with bezel so users can hold the tablet comfortably. The tablet in no way feels cheap, and as Tech Radar points out “The magnesium alloy chassis is covered with a soft coating that feels durable and expensive.” A ‘Kickstand’ runs along the back of the tablet, which allows the Surface to balance itself on a table or a couch.
Microsoft also offers a Touch Cover- a QWERTY keyboard with touch-typing. The Touch Cover fits at the base of the tablet, inside of which is a touch keyboard and outside is layered with a protective skin. Just three millimeter thick, the Touch Cover along with the kickstand provides an excellent laptop like appearance, which balances superbly well on your lap unlike Asus tablets, which have a tendency to fall. The Touch Cover attaches to the Surface via a magnetic connector. Microsoft explained that the Touch Cover was like “a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover.” An accelerometer allows Surface to go in a connected standby mode when the Touch Cover is flipped onto the screen. The Touch Cover is what differentiates Microsoft’s Surface with Apple’s iPad and what makes Surface way more practical.
The sides are crammed with two speakers, dual microphones, microSD, one USB 2.0 port (USB 3.0 for the Surface Pro) and Micro HDMI (Pro version has a mini DisplayPort), plus a magnetic power connector. The Touch Cover attaches at the bottom where the magnetic connector is employed and the top part is integrated with a power button.
Two versions have been announced-one a basic model and the other a PRO one. The PRO version will carry an Intel i5 Core processor running Windows 8. The basic model will run Windows RT with a slightly slower processor.
Microsoft offers a load of new features effectively cooperating with a completely new form of virtualization – Windows RT and Windows 8. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO reported said that Apple has had 67 millions iPad sales since 2010; with these numbers Apple currently leads the race. However, Microsoft has a good start than many of its Android counterparts, so keep this in mind when you get the itch for a tech upgrade and start searching for tablet or laptop deals.
For those of you who are self-employed, or who regularly travel as a part of work, keeping a record of your travel expenses must be great fun, or not. Receipts detailing your every outflow, business related of course, tucked away here, there and everywhere. The record must be accurate and precise. This can prove to be a time consuming chore, or nightmare for some, and is the last thing a traveling professional wants to be doing.
Thankfully, a number of technological products have materialized and made their way into the market to remove this annoyance, experienced by so many. These products range from receipt scanners to… yes you’ve guessed it; smartphone apps.
The Invoice Apps- Revolutionizing Business Travel
A stylish and small device called the Planon Slimscan, is a credit card sized device, designed to scan small receipts and business cards in color or gray-scale. Termed as a portable scanner, the developers claim the scan quality to be comparable to its larger counterparts typically found in the office and home. While its diminutive size is great for portability, it size prevents the device from scanning anything larger than a standard receipt.
A much larger Epson WorkForce DS-30 caters for receipts of all shapes and sizes and is surprisingly lightweight for its size. But the portable scanner is something more likely to be found in the user’s luggage than their wallet.
From the smartphone app market is Concur, one of the many available on the market now. The user simply takes a photo of the receipt, doing away with problems associated with size. The user has a simple interface where they can record and collate invoices, which are then filed away in an accounting friendly format. One problem here however is that some accounting departments do not accept these formats as receipts.
Another smartphone app, ExpenseMagic, is a similar app to Concur but operates with a key difference; the work is done by a real person. ExpenseMagic uses the hardware of the phone along with an app to photograph receipts and enter various bits of information. But this is then worked on by an employee of ExpenseMagic, who is an accountant. The accountant modifies the photographed receipts to turn them into a suitable format for accounting departments. And the downside? The extra service is not free and comes with a subscription cost.
Although there are a number of available devices and apps to help ease the lives of traveling professionals, there is still some work to be done here. As smartphones increasingly become all in one devices, from TVs to digital wallets, it is likely that smartphone apps will lead the way in this field. It is therefore up to the accounts departments to begin changing their old fashioned ways and begin accepting digital expenses.
Are social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter changing the way we complain?
So you’re out shopping to buy an expensive product; a smartphone, or one of the latest dell laptops or printers. But the service you get is rude and poor. What do you do? Most people would fill out a complaint form, or want to speak to the manager. But often people don’t feel this is enough and want to let the world know of their frustrations, particularly when faced with a seemingly impassive company.
However a new trend seems to be emerging off the back of the social networks. People are taking to the social media platforms to air their grievances, making this the new battleground… and boy do they have a voice.
A survey conducted by communications agency Fishburn Hedges and Echo Research points to this trend. It polled 2,000 UK adults and found that, in April 2012, 36% had used a social media platform to contact a big company to complain. Around 65% of those surveyed said they believed a social media platform was a better way to communicate with companies than call centres, or directly in store.
It was also found that although half of people aged between 18 and 24 used this method to engage with the big brands, older people were also turning to this technique. They found that 27% of those surveyed aged 55 and above had also engaged big brands in this way.
Peter Davis complained on Twitter after he bought a computer online only for a microwave to be delivered to his home. “This was preferable to calling their customer services line and being put on hold for inordinate length of time listening to pulsating dance music…Once my tweet was published someone from the company contacted me almost immediately. The next day I received a parcel containing the item I initially ordered.”
And it’s not limited to the retail industry. There are reports of consumers turning to social media following disruptions to trains, telephone and internet service problems and a host of other issues. The ability to send a short tweet from a mobile device into the public sphere makes it particularly convenient, and can actually provide a solution to a problem as and when it is occurring.
Facebook and Google+ are also places where firms are engaging with their customers. The issue of “public humiliation” seems to be the main point, with firm doing their best to protect their reputations.
But the use of social media to engage with customers can also backfire. The Australian airliner, Qantas, discovered this in November 2011 when it encouraged people to use the Qantas Luxury hashtag to share positive experiences of flying with the airline, with the incentive for participation being a prize of luxury pyjamas.
Instead it was flooded with thousands of complaints and sarcastic comments from unhappy customers who felt the service they received could not have been further from what they considered to be luxury.
Social media platforms are spurring a number of revolutions and the one in the form of complaints seems to have taken off. Big businesses watch out!
Blackberry has always focused it competitive advantage on the rough and tough physical keyboard on its phones. A huge expansion of the BlackBerry services, exceptional for the business world, was second to that. Businessmen received digital security and options like using printers and dedicated servers. BlackBerrys were seen in every hand; some bought it for push email capabilities, others for its functional keypad. Research in Motion (RIM), the mother ship behind BlackBerry, continued its pursuit for glory for a couple of years. BlackBerry owned much of the market share of the smartphones market, but as years went by that also changed.
Now, BlackBerry is a sinking ship still half afloat. The company initially announced that it would be releasing its new OS, BB10, early next year, but has now changed the date of its release to 2013. BB10 was a recovery plan for RIM, promising its loyalists better internet browsing, user interface and applications appropriate to consumer demand. The plummeting sales are not surprising given the companies lack of innovation against Apple and Android smartphones. The company’s net income dropped dramatically by $518 million. The fate of the company is at stake and the two CEOs have reduced their salaries to $1. RIM shares tumbled to 19% and closed at $7.39 on Friday, their lowest level since 2003, down more than 90% from 2008. BlackBerry’s US sales fell from 41% in 2007 to less than 4% in the first three months of 2012, according to research firm IDC.
In recent years, BlackBerry fell short, after iPhone’s entry into the market, to the fast paced innovations and changing consumer expectations. Analysts wonder how much time would RIM last without applying immediate changes. Bill Kreher, an Edward Jones analyst, said ‘we question the company’s long-term viability, the clock is ticking.’ It’s not like RIM cannot enter the market again; they will just have to work with newer designs rather their ‘traditional’ ones with keyboards. The company hired JP Morgan and RBC Capital Markets to formulate a recovery plan and to evaluate RIMs options.
The Canadian company announced that it would cut down five thousand jobs, one-third of its global workforce. In the second quarter RIM’s net income had dropped dramatically by 58.7% with 10% of its revenue. Peter Misek, an analyst from Jefferies & Co. reported “I think the key here, more than ever, is when do their products launch, and what kind of reception will they have and most importantly, when will QNX come in, we don’t think those answers are here yet.”
All in all, given the numbers, RIM will have to choose its option quickly and wisely. BlackBerrys operating system is third to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android; the company has to look out for the future. It is time for RIM to invest in one phone that would ensure the company’s comeback.
My goodness there’s some information out there in webland. You have to take your hat off most of all to those independent souls who seem to be happy to rake it into useful piles to make life easy for the rest of us. But does it make it easier? More and more in the red corner versus less is less in the blue. Harry Hill would have them fight it out. And may the best websites win.
A greenery clearance recently, that left my garden looking as though it had been dragged through a hedge backwards, left me pondering a problem. The problem was 15ft long, 12 ft wide, and 8ft high. It was blocking my view. It was altering the direction the wind was taking as it left my property. A fox had taken up residence by the following morning. My calculator revealed that, chopped into much smaller pieces it would take the council 7 months to take it away. It had to go sooner than that.
Of course, it was child’s play to rattle the keyboard and drum up a list of men with trailers – within 15 minutes I had a fair list of them to call. My lawn would be on view again in no time. And so I shut the laptop down. Well, no I didn’t actually. My hands idled over the keys. What was that thing my wife mentioned today that I said I would google? No use, it was gone. Never mind, thinking about tree surgery led me to think of chainsaws, and that led me to think of pain and lots of blood. And that got me thinking of being laid up, just before the Euros kick off, without a decent TV.
Knowing from past experience of one thing leading to another and then another, I put the coffee on and did a few stretching exercises. Then dived into the sea of tv deals, swam among the islands of Comet, Currys, and Dixons and surveyed the Amazon peninsula. I saw plasma and thought of blood before technology. Obviously getting tired. I was back-lit by a Blu-ray, I was getting my LCDs and my LEDs mixed up, was it a Sony or a Samsung that my neighbor had told me he’d bought? He said something about plasmas as well, that they were expensive but that he loved the great colors. Or was it his wife who appreciated the colors and that plasmas were better only in the big sizes?
I dreamed of analog chainsaws and televisions covered in trees. I called my mate in the morning. He’s a bloke who understands technology and he likes his football. He recommended the same one he had. I’d watched the FA Cup on it and said it was a great set. We went and got one the same. It’s an LED one. And it’s bigger than any TV I’ve ever owned before. That was easy, wasn’t it?
Advertisement being run by the American Chemistry Council in support of Dean Heller (R-NV)
Washington D.C. – House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA-22) released the following statement regarding this morning’s report on the impact President Obama’s proposed tax hike will have on jobs and the economy:
“For the last forty months, as unemployment has hovered above 8%, House Republicans have emphasized the importance of fostering a climate of economic growth by removing excessive red tape and regulations, and creating a tax system that makes America competitive internationally. Unfortunately, the White House and Congressional Democrats have focused their energies on the divisive rhetoric of class warfare. Just last week, President Obama introduced a proposal that would raise taxes on hundreds of thousands of small businesses. According to a new report by Ernst and Young, this tax hike is expected to shrink our economy by 1.3% and over 700,000 jobs would be lost.
“While President Obama continues to poll-test the best messaging for the campaign trail, House Republicans refuse to let the November elections get in the way of turning this economy around. That’s why the House will vote this month to stop the Obama tax hike and provide small businesses the certainty they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.”
Full Ernst & Young report:
Just wanted to flag a couple stories breaking on the economic front, which highlights the lengths to which Shelley Berkley and Democrats will go to raise taxes on small businesses even in the face of news saying the economy is slowing.
Yesterday the Associated Press reported that the U.S. economy appears weaker as retail sales have fallen.
- ASSOCIATED PRESS: “The report led some economists to downgrade their estimates for economic growth in the April-June quarter. Many now think the economy grew even less than in the first quarter of the year, when it expanded at a sluggish 1.9 percent annual rate. … ‘However hard you look, there’s just no good news in this report at all,’ said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics.” (Martin Crutsinger, US economy appears weaker as retail sales slump, Associated Press, 7/16/12)
What makes this interesting is that on the very same morning news breaks that our economy continues to struggle, national Democrats led the day with this front page story in the Washington Post:
- WASHINGTON POST: Murray’s address, set to be delivered at the Brookings Institution, is meant to influence both the Nov. 6 election and the lame-duck legislative session in November and December, when the fiscal cliff will be at hand and the fight over taxes will be in full throttle. Regardless of the election’s outcome, President Obama and the current Congress will be in office for the session. The speech comes less than a week after Obama assured Hill Democrats during a White House meeting that he would veto any attempt to maintain the Bush tax cuts on income over $250,000 a year, according to several people present. It also echoes the dismissive response by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to Republicans seeking to undo scheduled reductions in Pentagon spending that even Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has said would be “devastating” to national security. (Lori Montgomery, Democrats threaten to go over ‘fiscal cliff’ if GOP fails to raise taxes, Washington Post, 7/16/12)
This comes on the heels of a letter that Republican leaders sent to the White House on Friday asking the President to put forward a plan to avoid defense cuts that even his own Secretary of Defense has called “devastating.”
The bottom line is this: even in the face of more daunting economic news, Shelley Berkley and her fellow Democrats would rather hold military families, veterans’ health care, and millions of jobs hostage because of their addiction to higher taxes.
Background on who gets hit with the Democrats’ proposed tax hikes:
- Hundreds of thousands of small businesses would feel this tax hike right away.
- According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, nearly 940,000 flow-through businesses would be subject to the President’s proposed tax rate hikes that would take effect on January 1, 2013.
- As much as a quarter of our nation’s workforce depends on these employers for a paycheck.
- According to the National Federal of Independent Businesses, up to 25 percent of the workforce is employed by businesses that will be affected by the President’s proposed tax hikes.
- Half of all flow-through business income would be hit by Obama’s proposed tax hike.
- According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, 53 percent of all flow-through business income is subject to the President’s proposed tax hikes.
- This is especially harmful to small business, because virtually all small businesses are organized as flow-through entities such as S corporations, partnerships, and LLCs. (see IRS Statistics of Income Integrated Business Data)
Under Democrats, The Defense Budget Faces Over $1 Trillion In Cuts
Obama’s FY 2013 Budget Cuts Defense Spending By $487 Billion Over The Next Ten Years. “An array of military programs, from fighter jets to retiree benefits, would be nicked to squeeze savings in the Pentagon’s $525 billion budget for 2013, according to officials and documents released Monday. The proposed 2013 budget represents the Pentagon’s first installment in a plan to reduce its projected spending by $487 billion over 10 years. Congress must approve the changes.” (Tom Vanden Brook “Pentagon Budget Calls For Cuts To Jets, Benefits,” USA Today, 2/13/12)
- Sequestration Would Slash An Additional $500 Billion From The Defense Budget. “The cuts, roughly $500 billion to both defense and non-defense spending, were set in motion after the supercommittee failed to find more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction last year. The Obama administration has said it’s not yet planning for the cuts, instead arguing they were never intended to be implemented and urging Congress to find a fix.” (Jeremy Herb, “Pentagon’s No. 2 Joining Budget Director At Sequester Hearing,” The Hill‘s “DEFCON Hill” Blog, 7/11/12)
Total Defense Cuts Would Put Up To 1.5 Million Jobs At Risk. “‘Sequestration ($1 trillion in cuts) assumes across the board spending cuts with losses peaking in the 2013-2014 time period, with 1 million to 1.5 million jobs lost and that could increase the U.S. unemployment rate by nearly 1 percentage point in the near term,’ said Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins, a spokeswoman of the Department of Defense.” (Sean Gorman, “Rep. Randy Forbes Says 1.53 Million Defense Jobs Are ‘At Risk,’” Politifact, 10/12/11)
- The Pentagon Estimated That Sequestration “Could Add 1 Percent To The Nation’s Unemployment Rate.” “Nearly $1 trillion in defense cuts that the 2011 Budget Control Act could require would devastate the military and the defense industrial base, and could add 1 percent to the nation’s unemployment rate, the Pentagon press secretary said today.” (Cheryl Pellerin, “Additional Budget Cuts Would Devastate Military, Spokesman Says,” American forces Press Service, 9/15/11)
- Pentagon Press Secretary George Little: “We’re Not Talking About Just Military Jobs, We’re Also Talking About Jobs In The Private Sector That Support The Innovation And Creativity And Capabilities That We Need To Keep America Strong.” “At the Pentagon, internal analysis shows that sequestration also would have a profound impact on the U.S. industrial base, he added, by threatening many of the 3.8 million military and civilian jobs that the sector represents. ‘We’re not talking about just military jobs, we’re also talking about jobs in the private sector that support the innovation and creativity and capabilities that we need to keep America strong,’ he said. Moving to sequestration and the additional budget cuts it would require, department officials believe ‘would potentially add 1 percent to the national unemployment rate,’ Little said.” (Cheryl Pellerin, “Additional Budget Cuts Would Devastate Military, Spokesman Says,” American forces Press Service, 9/15/11)
- Secretary Panetta: “That Kind Of Sequestration Cut Across The Board Would Have A Serious Impact Not Only On Men And Women In Uniform, But On Our Personnel And The Contractors Who Serve The Defense Establishment.” SENATOR DANIEL INOUYE: “This sequestration, coupled with projected discretionary defense spendings, could add 1 percent to the national unemployment rate from job losses in government, military and private sector jobs within the defense industrial base. Does that description make sense?” SECRETARY PANETTA: “Mr. Chairman, I think that that is the estimate that we’ve seen in terms of the impact that would have. Now again, I just – I stress, look, Defense Department is not a jobs program. It’s a program to defend the nation. But clearly it would – that kind of sequestration cut across the board would have a serious impact not only on men and women in uniform, but on our personnel and the contractors who serve the defense establishment.” (Subcommittee On Defense, Committee On Appropriations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 6/13/12)
Spending Daily | July 17, 2012
Mounting Municipal Bankruptcies
Politico reports, “The showdown over the sequester is at full force on Capitol Hill this week…The House this week will vote on a defense spending bill as well as a plan ordering the Obama administration to say how it would go about implementing the $500 billion in defense cuts set to kick in on Jan. 2.” Representative Randy Forbes (R-VA) said, “’You have found over the last several months, people have started to become more and more aware of what’s going on. The unbelievable result of sequestration is starting to hit home to people and they’re starting to say, ‘My gosh, these guys can’t be serious about letting this happen.’”