Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/5 - 120m EU Residents At Risk Of Poverty, Crop Failures Push Food Costs Up

Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 12:57 PM

Economy

Saying Sandy cost up to $50 billion, New York governor asks Congress for aid

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lobbied Congress on Monday for billions of dollars to help rebuild from Superstorm Sandy, saying the U.S. House leader wanted a reconstruction bill passed by year's end. Cuomo, a Democrat, put the damage from the late October storm at $40 billion to $50 billion for New York alone, with the total likely to rise. "We need help. These are big numbers, even for New York," he told a news conference while flanked by members of the state's congressional delegation.

N.J. Sandy Cleanup to Cost About $29.4 Billion

Christie said he remains committed to working with congress, the federal government and President Obama to “get the funding support New Jersey expects and deserves in the aftermath of this catastrophe.”

Greek Red Tape Costs 14 Billion Euros

Greece’s slow and burdensome bureaucracy is estimated to cost the cash-strapped country a total of 14 billion euros a year, ($18.26 billion) or 6.8% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – almost double the European Union average of 3.5%. That was the conclusion of a recent meeting between Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis, Development and Competitiveness Minister Costis Hatzidakis and a team from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Athens.

Spain tax amnesty brings in less than hoped for

Spain is in the throes of second recession in three years and has 25 percent unemployment. The government's tax revenue has plummeted during the downturn as Spain's companies struggle and consumers rein in their spending.

EU health officials fear for disease control in Greece

Greek hospitals are in such dire straits that staff are failing to keep up basic disease controls like using gloves and gowns, threatening a rise in multi-drug-resistant infections, according to Europe's top health official. Greece already has one of the worst problems in Europe with hospital-acquired infections, and disease experts fear this is being made worse by a severe economic crisis that has cut health care staffing levels and hurt standards of care. With fewer doctors and nurses to look after more patients, and hospitals running low on cash for supplies, risks are being taken even with basic hygiene, said Marc Sprenger, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Copper thieves disguising themselves as city utility workers?

So far this year, City of Colorado Springs has spent more than $500,000 to replace stolen copper wire being taken from street lights. It's a growing problem for taxpayers, and a story News 5 has been following for years. Both the City and Colorado Springs Utilities have had enough of copper thieves.

Paso Robles, Cayucos school districts shoulder huge bond debts (California)

In the long run, property owners — not the school system — are likely to be on the hook for bigger tax bills if the agency’s revenues can’t cover future bond payments, Lockyer told the LA Times. In California, 200 school districts have borrowed more than $2.8 billion since 2007, using CABs with some maturities longer than 25 years. Ultimately, they will have to pay back about $16.3 billion in principal and interest.

Student suicides rise along with debt burdens (UK)

The statistics, released via a Freedom of Information request made by Ed Pinkney, the founder of Mental Wealth UK, a student mental health charity, was made public through the Office for National Statistics website last week. According to the data, between 2007 and 2011 the number of suicides by male students in full-time higher education rose by 36 per cent, from 57 to 78. The number of female student suicides per year almost doubled over that time period, from 18 to 34. According to Mr Pinkney, the figures come in the light of growing pressures on students caused by rising costs and gloomy job prospects.

Student-Loan Collection Targeted for Overhaul in Congress

Congress will consider overhauling debt collection in the $100 billion-a-year U.S. student loan program, replacing it with automatic withdrawals from borrowers’ paychecks tied to their income -- a system used in the U.K.

Spain hints it could miss year-end deficit target

Spain on Tuesday softened its insistence it would meet its year-end deficit target of 6.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product and said the good performance of its regions in cutting spending was not a guarantee that the objective would be achieved. At a news conference in Madrid, Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro declined twice to confirm Spain would meet the European Union-agreed target and instead referred to the European Commission forecast of a budget gap of 7.0 percent of the economic output.

Grain Prices: Crop Failures Push Food Cost Up (UK)

Consumers are expected to be hit by widespread food price hikes because crop failures have forced Britain to import foreign grain, the cost of which is at an all-time high. Experts have warned that wheat and barley prices are set to climb even further in the coming months, with knock-on effects hitting many food and drink items. The Financial Times said analysts have warned that "everything from bread and biscuits to beer to beef" would rise in price.

Warning on benefit cuts amid rise in homelessness (UK)

Young people and families with children are increasingly facing homelessness, according to a study, which says rising numbers of people are finding themselves without a roof over their heads. The report, by academics from Heriot-Watt University and the University of York, says all forms of homelessness are continuing to rise in England, and argues that "deepening benefit cuts are likely to have a much more dramatic impact on homelessness".

Miami to add $300 fee (college fees)

Unable to sell big increases in tuition, universities are tacking on fees to join their most popular programs. At the University of Cincinnati, for example, undergraduates at five undergraduate colleges pay fees of $188 to $504 per semester. That includes students in business, music, design, architecture, engineering and nursing.

120 million EU citizens at risk of poverty

The number of EU citizens at risk of poverty or social exclusion rose in 2011 to nearly 120 million, the Eurostat statistics agency said on Monday as the debt crisis continues to sap the economy. It said in 2011, 119.6 million people or 24.2 percent of the population in the EU's 27 member states were at risk of poverty, social exclusion or living in very low-employment households, up from 23.4 percent in 2010 and 23.5 percent in 2008, writes LETA/AFP.

Wasted Stimulus Work Leaves River Rocks Blocking Barges

In 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, seeking a method less expensive and damaging to wildlife than dynamiting to clear rocks from the Mississippi River, committed $5.7 million to an experimental grinding process. The project, financed by President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus program, was futile and called off after two efforts, one in 2011 and another earlier this year, totaling about four weeks.

Hedge funds hold out for more from Greece

Hedge funds are preparing to resist Greece's attempt to cut its debt by holding out against a government bond buyback in the hope of bigger gains further down the line.

NYC accused of rigging red lights in class-action suit

Hughes is part of a class-action suit, alleging fraud against the City of New York and its 150 red light cameras. They helped generate more than $235 million in fine revenue during the last five years -- $47 million in the last year alone. Attorney Joseph Santoli said, "The city, in this case, and many other municipalities have a great incentive to shorten the duration of the yellow lights."

Right turns on red cost drivers thousands at Southlake red light cameras

Officials project the five red light cameras will produce more than $1 million in revenue for the city in the 2013 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2013. That includes $2,500 in interest earned on the account. Funds from the red light camera citations are used for many things throughout the city, including flashing lights and pavement markings at crosswalks, electronic speed limit signs with radar and new school zone signs.

Water Services to Hit $1 Trillion Sales by 2020, Report Says

The global water services industry is on pace to double its annual revenues to $1 trillion by 2020 largely driven by scarcity issues and growing demand for water treatment, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch global research report. “A Blue Revolution – Global Water,” which is based on views of 35 analysts covering 60 companies from 18 countries, found demand for water will outstrip supply 40 percent by 2030 and close to half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. Water supplies will be increasingly tapped by agriculture, housing and industry, according to the report.

Striking L.A. Port Clerks Cost U.S. $1 Billion a Day

A strike hobbling the nation’s largest port complex, affecting an estimated $1 billion of cargo a day, has halted paychecks for thousands of Southern California logistics workers before the holidays. The walkout by clerical employees at the ports of Los Angeles-Long Beach has idled thousands of workers without pay, including almost 8,000 truckers, according to Robert Curry, president of California Cartage Co., one the largest freight handlers there.

Merkel: Worst Of Debt Crisis May Not Yet Be Over

"One cannot say it often enough that the European sovereign debt crisis won't be solved with one magic bullet - sometimes it's eurobonds, sometimes it's debt haircuts," she insisted. "This crisis can only be solved through a long and arduous process."

The chancellor noted that "the outlook for economic developments next year will not be as good as this year and this is even more true for our European neighbors."

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8 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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thc0655's picture
thc0655
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Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 469
Ultimate robbery WROL

http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/12/05/robbers-with-ak-47s-hit-two-detro...

OK, rhare, maybe that story I posted yesterday about scores of armed men robbing a whole village in Nigeria and killing 20 in the process is unlikely to happen in the U.S. because we have so many guns here and they have so few here (per capita).  I'm not convinced, but I hope you're right.

Now today I read another story about ultimate robberies without rule of law in Detroit.  (Detroit is a small Third World country that shares a border with the U.S. state of Michigan.)  Apparently a group of four men armed with AK47 rifles is robbing gas stations there (nineteen so far in the last few weeks!!).  Crime is escalating as I expected, starting with the most devastated places first where there is a reasonable expectation that police will be too busy/overwhelmed to respond as quickly and in as large a number of officers as in the past.  Now imagine these four thugs find out you have better stuff to steal at your house or business than any of the gas stations they've hit already or could even imagine.  Imagine defending your home and family from four guys armed with AKs.

There is good news in this story though.  1. The perps don't seem to be very sophisticated.  For instance, they're hitting gas stations instead of banks, armored cars, and wealthy homeowners.  Also they were foiled in one robbery when the clerk saw them coming, locked the door and hid behind the counter (oops - forgot a tool to break the door open with!).  2.  The perps haven't fired any shots yet, and there's a small chance they aren't mentally prepared to do so (though with all the experience they're getting that inhibition has to be dying fast).  3.  The perps don't have a former Marine or soldier in their crew who served in Iraq who can show them some of the basic strategies and techniques for making a "dynamic entry" into a building with armed defenders.  (I don't expect that to last long either, if not Detroit, then somewhere.)  4. Crimes committed with a rifle are an extremely small percentage of all violent crimes.  Crimes committed by multiple perps all armed with rifles is more rare (more rhare?) than winning the PowerBall Lottery, so maybe we can all just take comfort in that fact.

But there is also some bad news here, and not all of it is so obvious.  1. This is a huge escalation in firepower and violence potential by what I assume are standard run-of-the-mill thugs who are more used to punching senior citizens in the head and taking their Social Security money or sticking a revolver in the face of a gas station clerk.  2.  The North Hollywood bank robbery 6-13-98 is how bad it can get.  Police in many places are better prepared for this kind of thing than in 1998, but the danger and damage and death would be immense if they start shooting.  3. So far, the few armed citizens out there are still carrying only handguns on the street and at work.  No civilian or police officer armed only with a handgun would want to face these guys and get in a shootout, though a smart, alert and highly skilled shooter might prevail (the unarmed clerk "won" just by locking the door before they got to it).  As a result, before getting into an arms race with these guys, a lot of thought and effort should go into deterrence and denying entry into your location with wise building layout and structures.  4.  My instinct is that these guys have invented this crime not so much because they are suddenly unemployed and needy, but more because they sense (and rightly so) that they can get away with it because of the ongoing collapse of local society and local law enforcement.

Tom

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Gold Member (Online)
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Posts: 469
Rural home invasions on the rise

http://www.live5news.com/story/20261660/stolen-car-crashes-into-home

Rural home invasions are on the rise.  Law enforcement response is 20-30 minutes away.  Plan to defend yourself for at least that long.  And hope your home invaders are clueless amateurs like these three, not former infantry soldiers with Iraq experience carrying rifles.

Time2help's picture
Time2help
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Posts: 295
Greece downgrade to Selective Default

Anyone have thoughts on potential washout from this? Already "priced in"?

S&P downgrades Greece from CCC to SD

Ken

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Gold Member (Online)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 469
Copper thieves masquerade as utility workers?

Sometimes copper thieves disguise themselves as city utility workers in Colorado Springs?  In Philadelphia, sometimes they ARE the city utility workers!  A recent case involved arresting Streets Dept workers stealing cast iron manhole covers from the shoulder of the interstate highway and selling them for scrap.  And we recently had a case where a guy with a tractor stole a 20 ton piece of a crane destined for assembly at a construction site along with the trailer it was sitting on.

And it gets more complicated and discouraging.  In Philadelphia, at least, on those relatively rare occasions when Police catch and arrest copper thieves, Philly judges typically release them "on their own recognizance:" they are released in a few hours without having to post bail as long as they promise to come to court in about a month!!  This even happens when they are charged with felony burglary (for breaking into a house or other building) and not just with misdemeanor theft (for stealing copper outdoors). This is because Philly jails are full and these defendants have not committed a violent offense and are therefore prioritized for immediate release.  Since many (but not as many half) are homeless, they rarely show up for court.  And you can almost forget prosecuting the scrap metal dealers who buy all this stuff.  It could be done, but that would mean diverting precious police resources away from chasing stolen car rings, narcotics distribution rings, suppressing gun crime on the street, and so forth.  And for what result in court?  A $5000 fine and 2 years probation?  Business goes on.

You, like me, may be able to appreciate the comical perspective on all of this, but it won't be funny when a four year old falls into an open manhole or a bicyclist is hit by a car at an intersection with no lights or a bridge collapses.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1264
Guns are equalizers....

thc0655 wrote:

But there is also some bad news here, and not all of it is so obvious.  1. This is a huge escalation in firepower and violence potential by what I assume are standard run-of-the-mill thugs who are more used to punching senior citizens in the head and taking their Social Security money or sticking a revolver in the face of a gas station clerk.

Tom, I have no doubt violence will rise and we will see this type of thing occur more often.  However, the fact we have a well armed society means the good guys (most people) have a chance against the bad guys.  If you took away all guns, you would still have the same violence - it would just be with bats, or machetes, knives, etc.  The difference is you would prevent a law abiding citizen from evening the odds.  Guns (with proper training) equalize the situation.   A 250lb bad guy against the 100lb grandma with a gun.  With a gun and training the 100lb grandma is essentially equal in a fight.  Guns are  the only common weapon that have that attribute.

I suspect these thugs will one day try to rob someone who has a gun, is trained, and will use it to defend themselves.  Being brazen is easy if you don't think you might have to back it up with your life.

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Gold Member (Online)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 469
Happens every day

Of course, research shows armed civilians repel violent criminal attacks every day in the U.S., and in most cases without actually firing the gun.  It's just that the mostly anti-gun, anti-self-defense MSM rarely publish these stories.  This is how it should be when law-abiding citizens are attacked by criminals.  Here's a 51 second dramatization of how it often is and how it should be when the innocent are attacked:

http://www.thedailysheeple.com/locked-and-loaded-for-christmas_112012

Or this 45 second security camera footage of an old geezer lighting up the armed robbers:

My point is that citizens and police need to prepare for the coming escalation.  A five shot revolver and 4 trips to the range each year are not going to be enough for a lot of people who get targeted by criminals in the future.Of course, research shows armed civilians repel violent criminal attacks every day in the U.S., and in most cases without actually firing the gun.  It's just that the mostly anti-gun, anti-self-defense MSM rarely publish these stories.  This is how it should be when law-abiding citizens are attacked by criminals.  Here's a 51 second dramatization of how it often is and how it should be when the innocent are attacked:

http://www.thedailysheeple.com/locked-and-loaded-for-christmas_112012

Or this 45 second security camera footage of an old geezer lighting up the armed robbers:

My point is that citizens and police need to prepare for the coming escalation.  A five shot revolver and 4 trips to the range each year are not going to be enough for a lot of people who get targeted by criminals in the future.

Tom

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 2070
An Incident in Africa.

Old armed Geezers are not to be trifled with.

A gang of 21 heavily armed Gandangas (Freedom fighters to you lot) decided to kill Uncle Wallace and Aunty Rhoda who were diamond drilling in Rhodesia. They were in their 80's. There was no pension.

The Heroes of the Revolution attacked at night with the lot. RPDs, RPGs and Kalashnikovs. Uncle Wallace and Aunty Rhoda were sleeping in their shell scrape. Uncle Wallace thanked Aunty Rhoda for a fine life and they opened up with their 7.62s.

The Gandangas fled.

Uncle Wallace and Aunty Rhoda McCullum.

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