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Posts Tagged ‘Economy

(ENVIRONMENT) READ: Gizmos’ Energy Draw Alarms Experts…

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294955-6-20090919194543.image(Newser Summary) – All around the house, electronic gadgets are blinking, buzzing, computing—and drawing on an immense amount of energy, the New York Times reports. Worldwide, they take up 15% of household power, and will likely consume three times as much by 2029, making it harder to combat global warming. Two hundred and thirty nuclear plants would be needed to fuel that demand, the International Energy Agency says.

Most experts say regulations are needed to limit gadgets’ energy draw, but manufacturers have resisted such mandates. A federal attempt to limit the power draw of TVs—flat-screens are the biggest energy offender—died in the 1990s due to industry opposition. But Congress has done it before, limiting the energy use of appliances like refrigerators and washers. “Standards are one of the few ways to cheaply go after big chunks of energy savings,” one advocate says.

Neal Colgrass

Source: New York Times

Written by dnnnewshound

September 26, 2009 at 10:34 am

Posted in Ecology, Economics

Tagged with , ,

(ECONOMY/OUTRAGEOUS) READ: Chicago Cabbies Want To Charge For People Tossing Their Lunch!…

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s-CAB-largeSource: The Huffington Post

Chicago could become the first major city in the country with a puking ordinance if cab drivers get their way.

Chicago taxi drivers proposed a package of fee and fare hikes Thursday designed to offset their plunging income during the recession. Among the more controversial revenue-boosting ideas brought to the City Council is charging customers $50 for vomiting in cabs.

If enacted, Chicago would become one of America’s least friendly cities for drunks and people who eat bad shellfish. Customers who barf in cabs in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston or San Francisco may face the driver’s wrath, but they won’t see any additional charges.

“No, we do not have a puking fee,” Boston Police spokesman Joe Zanoli told the Huffington Post. “To my knowledge it’s free to puke in a cab.”

Raymond Turner, president of Yellow Cab Houston, said Friday that of the nearly 3.7 million cab trips his company makes yearly only a fraction involve incidents of reverse peristalsis.

“It’s a fairly rare event,” Turner said. “From my perspective, putting a city ordinance that applies to all cab rides for something that happens only three or four times a month is not very prudent.”

Turner added that while Houston has no law allowing for a fee, drivers often work out arrangements with customers who ralph while in transit. Some passengers agree to pay for a car wash, while others give larger tips.

Written by dnnnewshound

September 26, 2009 at 10:09 am

Posted in Economy, Outrageous

Tagged with ,

(POLITICS) NYT: Government Pays Legal Bills For Executives That Defrauded The Government…

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Source: NYtimes/The Huffington Post

www.huffingtonpost.com_Raines_s-RAINES-largePRECISELY one year ago, we lucky taxpayers took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants that contributed mightily to the wild and crazy home-loan-boom-turned-bust. In that rescue operation, the Treasury agreed to pony up as much as $200 billion to keep Fannie in the black, coughing up cash whenever its liabilities exceed its assets. According to the company’s most recent quarterly financial statement, the Treasury will, by Sept. 30, have handed over $45 billion to shore up the company’s net worth.

It is still unclear what the ultimate cost of this bailout will be. But thanks to inquiries by Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, we do know of another, simply outrageous cost. As a result of the Fannie takeover, taxpayers are paying millions of dollars in legal defense bills for three top former executives, including Franklin D. Raines, who left the company in late 2004 under accusations of accounting improprieties. From Sept. 6, 2008, to July 21, these legal payments totaled $6.3 million.

With all the turmoil of the financial crisis, you may have forgotten about the book-cooking that went on at Fannie Mae. Government inquiries found that between 1998 and 2004, senior executives at Fannie manipulated its results to hit earnings targets and generate $115 million in bonus compensation. Fannie had to restate its financial results by $6.3 billion.

Almost two years later, in 2006, Fannie’s regulator concluded an investigation of the accounting with a scathing report. “The conduct of Mr. Raines, chief financial officer J. Timothy Howard, and other members of the inner circle of senior executives at Fannie Mae was inconsistent with the values of responsibility, accountability, and integrity,” it said.

That year, the government sued Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Leanne Spencer, Fannie’s former controller, seeking $100 million in fines and $115 million in restitution from bonuses the government contended were not earned. Without admitting wrongdoing, Mr. Raines, Mr. Howard and Ms. Spencer paid $31.4 million in 2008 to settle the litigation.

When these top executives left Fannie, the company was obligated to cover the legal costs associated with shareholder suits brought against them in the wake of the accounting scandal.

Now those costs are ours. Between Sept. 6, 2008, and July 21, we taxpayers spent $2.43 million to defend Mr. Raines, $1.35 million for Mr. Howard, and $2.52 million to defend Ms. Spencer.

“I cannot see the justification of people who led these organizations into insolvency getting a free ride,” Mr. Grayson said. “It goes right to the heart of what people find most disturbing in this situation — the absolute lack of justice.” READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 6, 2009 at 12:32 pm

(WAR) UK Army Too Broke To Recruit More Troops…

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Source: Times Online

www.timesonline.co.uk_Afghanistan_British_Troops_610067aThe army is being forced to cap its growth because recruitment is “unaffordable”, a leaked Ministry of Defence document has disclosed.

The briefing note — entitled Controlling Growth in Army Strength — is the first admission by defence officials that they do not have enough money to expand and provide further support to overstretched forces in Afghanistan.

Senior army figures believe troop shortages are responsible for the growing number of British casualties in Helmand.

Yet the Ministry of Defence concedes in the memo that increasing the size of the army beyond its full strength of 102,000 is too READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 5, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Military, WAR

Tagged with , , , ,

(ECONOMY) READ: Cash-Strapped States To Set Inmates Free…

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www.huffingtonpost.com_Inmates_s-INMATES-largeMandatory sentencing laws are relaxed, parole is accelerated, and time off for good behavior is increased as states scramble to save money.

Reporting from Denver – After decades of pursuing lock-’em-up policies, states are scrambling to reduce their prison populations in the face of tight budgets, making fundamental changes to their criminal justice systems as they try to save money.

Some states are revising mandatory-sentencing laws that locked up nonviolent offenders; others are recalculating the way prison time is counted.

California, with the nation’s second-largest prison system, is considering perhaps the most dramatic proposal — releasing 40,000 inmates to save money and comply with a court ruling that found the state’s prisons overcrowded.

Colorado will accelerate parole for nearly one-sixth of its prison population. Kentucky has already granted early release to more than 3,000 inmates. Oregon has temporarily nullified a voter initiative calling for stiffer sentences for some crimes, and has increased by 10% the time inmates get off their sentences for good behavior.

The flurry of activity has led to an unusual phenomenon — bureaucrats and politicians expressing relief at the tight times. “The budget has actually helped us,” said Russ Marlan, a spokesman for the Corrections Department in Michigan, which increased its parole board by 50% this year to speed up releases.

“When you’re not having budget troubles, that’s when we implemented many of these lengthy drug sentences and zero-tolerance policies [that] really didn’t work,” he said.

Though prison budgets grew steadily over the last 20 years, a recent survey found that 26 states cut their corrections budgets this year. The reductions range from the small-scale — such as putting in energy-efficient lightbulbs — to sweeping changes like the early releases.

“States are saying, ‘We can’t build our way to public safety, especially when budgets are tight,’ ” said Adam Gelb, head of the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project. “For the most part, state leaders are not holding their noses and making these changes just to balance their budgets. They’re beginning to realize that research-based strategies can lead to less crime at far less cost than prison.”

Many states have expanded credit for good behavior. Others have made legal tweaks, such as raising the minimum amount of damage required for a property crime to be a felony. Some, like New York, have overhauled long-criticized mandatory sentencing laws that sent nonviolent, first-time drug offenders to state prison. READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 5, 2009 at 10:25 am

(ECONOMY) READ: Recession over, Bank of Canada says…

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www.cbc.ca_Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said Canada is on track for an economic recovery._mark-carney-cbc090423Source: CBCnews.ca

The recession is over, the Bank of Canada said in its quarterly Monetary Policy Report released Thursday.

After shrinking since the last quarter of 2008, the Canadian economy will grow by an annualized rate of 1.3 per cent in the current quarter, the bank said.

Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said Canada is on track for an economic recovery.Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said Canada is on track for an economic recovery. (CBC)“We are on track for the recovery both in Canada and globally,” Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney told reporters.

However, unemployment will continue to rise, he said.

For many Canadians, “it’s not a recovery until they start getting their jobs back. And on that score, we could still be in for a long wait,” Avery Shenfeld, CIBC economist, said in a report published Thursday.

“Don’t break out the champagne yet,” said Patricia Croft, chief economist of RBC Global Asset Management.

The return to growth after three quarters of decline signals the end of the recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of shrinkage.

Growth will accelerate through late 2009 and by the first half of 2010, the Canadian economy will be booming along with four per cent growth. But that will begin to taper off to less than three per cent by the last half of 2011, the bank said. READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 4, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Economy

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(NOT SURPRISING BUT): Toyota to close domestic line…

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ceoworld.biz__toyota_logoSource: The Japan Times On-Line

Toyota Motor Corp. is planning its first long-term closure of a domestic assembly line as auto sales fall to their lowest level in more than 30 years.

Toyota, which cut domestic output 49 percent through June, will reduce output by about 220,000 units by shutting down the line at its Takaoka plant in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, from the first quarter of fiscal 2010 through the second half of calendar 2011, spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said Wednesday.

The automaker is considering reducing its annual global production capacity by around 700,000 units from 10 million to deal with the persistent auto slump, the company said.

As part of the effort, Toyota is also studying a plan to suspend factory operations in Britain’s Derbyshire for a production cut of another 150,000 units. The automaker will soon announce the closure of New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., a California-based joint venture with General Motors Co., for an output reduction of 300,000 units.

Read more: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20090827n2.htm…

Written by dnnnewshound

August 31, 2009 at 6:36 pm