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Archive for the ‘economy’ Category

When I saw the headline before I headed to work yesterday, it was still listed a rumor. But then I returned home and saw that it had been confirmed. Vibe magazine closed yesterday. One of my former classmates was a Vibe staff member, so I’m saddened by this. But even if I didn’t know anyone affiliated with the publication, I’d still feel sad as a print journalism graduate. I love magazines. Love them. I love to look at the page designs. To read the features. And although everything is moving online, there’s something about the glossy paper of a magazine that an online version of the issue just can’t match. R.I.P. Vibe.

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LOS ANGELES — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not get the election results he sought. Now he seems determined to show California voters the consequences.

In a special election on May 19, voters rejected a batch of measures on increasing taxes, borrowing funds and reapportioning state money that were designed to close a multibillion-dollar budget gap. The cuts Mr. Schwarzenegger has proposed to make up the difference, if enacted by the Legislature, would turn California into a place that in some ways would be unrecognizable in modern America: poor children would have no health insurance, prisoners would be released by the thousands and state parks would be closed.

Nearly all of the billions of dollars in cuts the administration has proposed would affect programs for poor Californians, although prisons and schools would take hits, as well.

“Government doesn’t provide services to rich people,” Mike Genest, the state’s finance director, said on a conference call with reporters on Friday. “It doesn’t even really provide services to the middle class.” He added: “You have to cut where the money is.”

In less than two weeks, the administration has gone from warning residents that a vote against the budget measures would send the state — some $24 billion in the red — into utter turmoil to sanguine acceptance that “the people have spoken” and that the government must move on. NYT

The voters who voted no on the budget proposal weren’t just voting against taxes, they were also voting against the state’s spending practices with those funds.

A more likely explanation of the election results is that the public was furious at Sacramento for foisting a set of incomprehensible measures on them and telling them to finish the budgeting process the Legislature itself seemed unable to complete. It’s hard to blame the people, but they seem unaware that, by passing a series of ballot-box budgeting measures in recent years, voters have largely tied legislators’ hands.

No doubt it felt good to say “no” last week. But it also pretty much guaranteed that California will be facing budget problems for years—and maybe even decades—to come. News Review

Although I think that the California voters who turned down the budget proposal might not truly understand what could happen as a result of the cuts Schwarzenegger will enact, the response of the governor after the vote is extremely telling.

 And so it is that administration officials have been sent off to talk to the Legislature and hold conference calls about the latest proposed blows to state programs, while Mr. Schwarzenegger largely tends to other aspects of governing. He was in Livermore on Friday dedicating the world’s largest laser system (for sustaining nuclear fusion), and has updated his Twitter feed. “Backstage at the Tonight Show,” one tweet said. NYT

Really, Schwarzenegger? The Tonight Show and dedicating a laser system? (more…)

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People don’t kill themselves because they want to die. People kill themselves because they cannot see any hope to feel better in the future.”

Brian Mishara, president of the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

Every time I read the news lately, someone has committed suicide. All of the situations aren’t related, but they point to a disturbing trend. And the incidents cross every racial and socioeconomic line.  

Mishara told the American Free Press that global suicide rates are on a steady rise.

There are more than one million people who die by suicide each year in the world, which is more people than those who die from war, terrorist attacks and homicides every year. AFP

According to the American Association of Suicidology, there are no current statistics based on the current economic crisis, but, “There is a clear and direct relationship between rates of unemployment and suicide.”  

Because of economic woes, there has been a rise in people travelling to Japan’s Aokigahara Forest. “Also called the Sea of Trees, this destination for the desperate is a place where the suicidal disappear, often never to be found in the dense forest,” CNN.

Just this week, David Kellermann, the chief financial officer of Freddie Mac was found dead in his home. Police believe he committed suicide.  (more…)

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Today (Tax Day) was filled with tea parties across the nation as people protested overspending. Where all of these people were during the overspending of the last administration, I don’t know. A couple of months into Obama’s presidency and they’re just too through? Ummkay. Whatever.

So, I wasn’t thinking that the nationwide protests would make much of an impact on me heading into downtown Atlanta for a meeting. Well, little did I know, the protesters didn’t want to be stuck in traffic either and many of them decided to take the train as well. Which led to an interesting ride going to my destination and returning. There was this:protest-pictureExtremely hype protestors who were oh so ready to throw those signs up.

And then there were the other people riding the train home from work/school. For the most part, many of them just stayed quiet and listened to music or looked out the window. But many of the black people looked like this:

 I have never seen so many uncomfortable black people on a train in MY life.

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Even though times are rough, one positive aspect of the recession is that more restaurants are having specials, and basically giving food away to get people to dine at their establishments. Every time you turn on the TV, another fast-food chain is adding a value menu or a restaurant is having a special.

Many items on the value menu at fast food places aren’t the healthiest foods, but at least if you only have a few quarters, you can go somewhere besides Taco Bell or McDonalds.

And if they’re not adding value menus, restaurants are having giveaways.

Denny’s served free Grand Slams at all its locations in February, and offered a free Grand Slamwich this month.

 “We want to continue to connect with today’s consumers who we know have lots of choices and limited dollars,” said Denny’s CEO Nelson Marchioli.

Limited dollars indeed. (more…)

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