Sunday, May 31, 2009

'Optimistic' view sees GM revival within five years

Sure and the U.S. Treasury didn't even see the melt down in subprime and other financial markets!

Published Sunday May 31, 2009
'Optimistic' view sees GM revival within five years

WASHINGTON — The United States would recover most of its planned $50 billion investment in General Motors within five years, according to a preliminary Treasury Department estimate that foresees the company, now on the brink of bankruptcy, rebounding over that time to become a strapping global competitor.

By putting billions of dollars into the ailing automaker, the Obama administration has placed a huge bet on the effort to revive and streamline the company through the elimination of brands, dealerships and factories.

On Friday, the company's union announced that it had approved a cost-cutting contract, and GM reached an agreement to sell its Opel brand.

If the government-monitored reorganization fails, however, the government investment into the company would be lost.

Some industry analysts are skeptical that an automaker that has struggled for so long could be so quickly reborn. The preliminary estimate, by contrast, reflects optimism.

"I don't know how much we're going to recover," one administration official said on the condition of anonymity. "I'm not here to tout stock. But we're very excited about this as a company."[snake oil salesman]

After a planned GM bankruptcy, during which the company will seek to shed burdensome debts, the U.S. and Canadian governments will own 72.5 percent of the reorganized automaker. In addition, GM will owe the U.S. about $8 billion. [THE PENT UP DEMAND FOR AUTO'S ISN'T BIG ENOUGH TO DRAG GM BACK FROM THE THRESHOLD OF EXTINCTION!]

The United States could recover most of that investment by 2013, when, sources said, a Treasury projection shows the company would reach an equity value of $75 billion.

The government share, by then slightly diluted, would be worth about $46 billion. The $8 billion debt would have been repaid, and the government would have reaped billions in preferred-stock payments. Sources said the estimates are constantly being refined.

Brian Bethune, chief U.S. financial economist for IHS Global Insight, called the assumptions "extremely optimistic" given the risks in the economy and the challenges facing the company.

"This is not a nip-and-tuck exercise. This is major surgery," he said.

Among the key variables in any such forecast is the number of new cars sold annually in the United States.

During the boom years, the annualized figure for car sales in the U.S. hovered around 16 million. Recently, it has fallen to between 9 million and 10 million.

In regulatory filings, GM has estimated that the market will rebound to 16 million by 2012.

Those filings also assume the GM market share will slump slightly between now and 2012, to 18.4 percent from 19.5 percent, presumably because the company will offer fewer brands.

"It's not a completely unreasonable estimate — if the market recovers and if they really invest in GM's capabilities," said Susan Helper, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University who specializes in the auto industry.

So far, the United States has invested $20 billion to keep GM in business and would contribute about $30 billion as part of a bankruptcy restructuring.  [SO MUCH FOR THE FREE MARKET ECONOMY!]

Monday, May 25, 2009


Stress Test Under Stress


So far we've stuffed $700 Billion into these banks.

The stress test results show that banks need to plug a $74.6 Billion dollar hole. Even with all the billions already poured into these banks, there are still some pretty big problems.
Bank of America Inc, which accounted for almost half of the total capital shortfall with $33.9 billion to be raised, said it planned to sell assets, issue $17 billion in common stock, and take other steps to fill the hole.
U.S. stock index futures edged higher after the test results calmed fears that the government would have to play an even bigger role on Wall Street. Many of the banks themselves are loath to take more government aid for fear of the scrutiny it may bring and tough conditions on executive compensation.

Those banks that have taken government money are trying to pay it back because they don't want more government intrusion and control. Some banks have not been allowed to pay the government back.

And this was truly sobering:
The tests found that total credit losses for the 19 banks may reach $600 billion in 2009 and 2010. All told, if the economy performs as badly as the worst case scenario used in the stress test, the 19 banks' losses would mount to $950 billion from mid-2007 through 2010.
For many banks, converting government owned preferred shares into common could turn the U.S. into the company's biggest shareholder.

But, we haven't really nationalized the banks (wink).

Meanwhile - back in DC - what is even more amazing is this:


The Federal Reserve Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman was recently unable to tell Rep. Alan Grayson what goes on at the Federal Reserve and who has been receiving the trillions of dollars that they created. She could not account for the dollars lent or spent by the Federal Reserve and where it went, and the trillions of off balance sheet obligations.

This is why we need to support HR1207 - Ron Paul's bill to 
audit the Federal Reserve. Here is the Bloomberg report. The report has some disturbing details about the Federal Reserve and these spending programs. Campaign For Liberty also has some information regarding the lack of transparency with regard to the Federal Reserve.

We got stress, and then some.


Job Losses Push Safer Mortgages to Foreclosure
As job losses rise, growing numbers of American homeowners with once solid credit are falling behind on their mortgages, amplifying a wave of foreclosures.
In the latest phase of the nation’s real estate disaster, the locus of trouble has shifted from subprime loans — those extended to home buyers with troubled credit — to the far more numerous prime loans issued to those with decent financial histories.
With many economists anticipating that the unemployment rate will rise into the double digits from its current 8.9 percent, foreclosures are expected to accelerate. That could exacerbate bank losses, adding pressure to the financial system and the broader economy.
“We’re about to have a big problem,” said Morris A. Davis, a real estate expert at the University of Wisconsin. “Foreclosures were bad last year? It’s going to get worse.”
Economists refer to the current surge of foreclosures as the third wave, distinct from the initial spike when speculators gave up property because of plunging real estate prices, and the secondary shock, when borrowers’ introductory interest rates expired and were reset higher.
“We’re right in the middle of this third wave, and it’s intensifying,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s “That loss of jobs and loss of overtime hours and being forced from a full-time to part-time job is resulting in defaults. They’re coast to coast.”
Those sliding into foreclosure today are more likely to be modest borrowers whose loans fit their income than the consumers of exotically lenient mortgages that formerly typified the crisis. expects that 60 percent of the mortgage defaults this year will be set off primarily by unemployment, up from 29 percent last year.
Robert and Kay Richards live in the center of this trend. In 2006, they took a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage — a prime loan — borrowing $172,000 to buy a prefabricated house. They erected the building on land they owned in the northern Minnesota town of Babbitt, clearing the terrain of pine trees with their own hands.
Mr. Richards worked as a truck driver, hauling timber from a nearby mill. His wife oversaw the books. Together, they brought in about $70,000 a year — enough to make their monthly mortgage payments of $1,300 while raising their two boys, now 11 and 16.
But their truck driving business collapsed last year when the mill closed. Mr. Richards has since worked occasional stints for local trucking companies. His wife has failed to find clerical work.
“Every month that goes by, you get a little further behind,” Mr. Richards said.
Last June, they missed their first payment, and they have since slipped $10,000 into arrears. They are trying to persuade their bank to cut their payments ahead of a foreclosure sale.
From November to February, the number of prime mortgages that were delinquent at least 90 days, were in foreclosure or had deteriorated to the point that the lender took possession of the home increased more than 473,000, exceeding 1.5 million, according to a New York Times analysis of data provided by First American CoreLogic, a real estate research group. Those loans totaled more than $224 billion.
During the same period, subprime mortgages in those three categories increased by fewer than 14,000, reaching 1.65 million. The number of similarly troubled Alt-A loans — those given to people with slightly tainted credit — rose 159,000, to 836,000.
Over all, more than four million loans worth $717 billion were in the three distressed categories in February, a jump of more than 60 percent in dollar terms compared with a year earlier.
Under a program announced in February by the Obama administration, the government is to spend $75 billion on incentives for mortgage servicing companies that reduce payments for troubled homeowners. The Treasury Department says the program will spare as many as four million homeowners from foreclosure.
But three months after the program was announced, a Treasury spokeswoman, Jenni Engebretsen, estimated the number of loans that have been modified at “more than 10,000 but fewer than 55,000.”
In the first two months of the year alone, another 313,000 mortgages landed in foreclosure or became delinquent at least 90 days, according to First American CoreLogic.
“I don’t think there’s any chance of government measures making more than a small dent,” said Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist at RBS Greenwich Capital.
Last year, foreclosures expanded sharply as the economy shed an average of 256,000 jobs each month. Since then, the job market has deteriorated further, with an average of 665,000 jobs vanishing each month.
Each foreclosure costs lenders $50,000, according to data cited in a 2006 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, so an additional two million foreclosures could mean $100 billion in lender losses.
The government’s recent stress tests of banks concluded that the nation’s 19 largest could be forced to write off as much as a fresh $600 billion by the end of 2010, bringing their total losses to $1 trillion. The Federal Reserve concluded that these banks needed to raise another $75 billion.
Many economists pronounce that assessment reasonable, while cautioning that it could become inadequate if foreclosures continue to accelerate.
“The margin for error is not that big,” said Brian Bethune, chief United States financial economist for HIS Global Insight. “It’s kind of like, ‘Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we’ve seen the worst.’ ”
Among prime borrowers, foreclosure rates have been growing fastest in states with particularly high unemployment. In California, for example, the unemployment rate rose to 11.2 percent from 6.4 percent for the year that ended in March, while the foreclosure rate for prime mortgages nearly tripled, reaching 1.81 percent.
Even states seemingly removed from the real estate bubble are seeing foreclosures accelerate as the recession grinds on.
In Minnesota, three of every five people seeking foreclosure counseling now have a prime loan, according to the nonprofit Minnesota Home Ownership Center.
In Woodbury, Minn., Rick and Christine Sellman are struggling to persuade their bank to reduce their $2,200 monthly mortgage on their five-bedroom home.
Mr. Sellman, a construction worker, found some work putting in asphalt driveways last summer, but he is now receiving unemployment. Ms. Sellman’s scrapbooking businesses shut down last summer. Since then, they have slipped $19,000 behind on their mortgage.
“We were always up on our house payments,” Ms. Sellman said. “You work so hard to keep what you have, and because of circumstances beyond our control now, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Habeas Corpus, Little Bo Beep, and What's my Line (for those under 40 forgetaboutit)

May 25, 2009

U.S. Captain Hears Pleas for Afghan Detainee

GHAZNI, Afghanistan — Capt. Kirk Black, who trains the Afghan police in this impoverished province, developed a practiced skepticism about claims of innocence during a decade as a Baltimore police officer.
But last January, when relatives of an Afghan imprisoned at the Bagram military detention center begged him to look into the case, he agreed to listen. Eventually he became convinced that the detention was a case of mistaken identity and put the family in touch with a lawyer.
Soon, Captain Black was facing a potential legal battle of his own. One of his senior commanders ordered him not to discuss the case, and the military sent an officer to investigate him. He retained military defense counsel.
The Bagram prison — where about 600 people, mostly Afghans, are being held indefinitely and without charges — is a delicate issue for the Obama administration at a time when it is struggling to come up with a plan for detainees in the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which it intends to close.
The administration has argued that military detainees in Afghanistan may not challenge their detentions in American courts.  federal judge ruled last month that some Bagram detainees captured outside Afghanistan had the constitutional right of habeas corpus, citing a Supreme Court ruling. But the new administration has appealed. [take about exporting our American culture]
Captain Black’s involvement in the Bagram detainee’s case began in January, while the American officer was attending a meeting of village elders and leaders. He was approached by relatives of an Afghan named Gul Khan, who they said had been snatched by American troops in September and imprisoned at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul. The military apparently believed Mr. Khan was a Taliban leader named Qari Idris. But local Afghan officials told Captain Black it was a case of mistaken identity. Captain Black, believing that he was fulfilling a policy of the American counterinsurgency by trying to hear out locals with grievances, applied his police training to the evidence he heard. 
“Upon speaking to multiple village elders, family members, the police chief and the subgovernor, I am convinced that the individual in question is not the person that the government claims,” he wrote in January to Clive Stafford Smith, a human rights lawyer he had met three years earlier during a posting to Guantánamo. “I am a police officer in the United States, and there is a mass of evidence that this individual does not need to be held.”
Mr. Stafford Smith, who has agreed to represent Gul Khan pro bono through his brother Kala Khan and is filing a writ of habeas corpus in federal court, provided a copy of the correspondence.
It is impossible to be certain that Mr. Khan has no ties to the Taliban, who have been known to threaten villagers to lobby for captured fighters’ release. In a case last year, such efforts led to the pardon of an insurgent leader from northwest Afghanistan who immediately took up arms and killed a dozen members of the Afghan forces; he was killed by an American airstrike in February.
But in Waghez, the Khan family’s home district in Ghazni Province, officials and elders have rallied to Mr. Khan’s defense and say the Taliban have not pressed anyone to help him. The district police chief, Mohammed Juma, says the Khans are poor, nomadic shepherds. “Qari Idris is a different person than Gul Khan,” he said. “I have proven that Gul Khan is innocent.”
The subgovernor, Abdul Azim, said Qari Idris was probably in Pakistan, where Taliban fighters have refuge. Mr. Khan “is not working with the Taliban,” Mr. Azim said, adding that two dozen village elders had signed a petition seeking his release.
Captain Black, 36, who grew up in the Detroit suburbs and attended college in Michigan, joined the Baltimore police force in 1999. He eventually became a member of its SWAT team.
In 2006 he was deployed to Guantánamo as an Army National Guard officer. “When I got there, I’ll admit I basically believed everyone there was a terrorist and we had every right to be holding them,” he said. “But as I learned more about the system, I learned that quite a few of them were just swept up in the initial invasion.” He also said he and some fellow officers grew to fear that harmless or innocent detainees were locked away alongside hard-core jihadists and were vulnerable to conversion.
Late last year, Captain Black was sent to Ghazni Province. He and his fellow officers said they soon ran into limits on how much they could accomplish. The biggest frustration: provincial government and police officials so steeped in corruption that they seemed to knock the Americans back every time they tried to take a step forward.
Hearing out Mr. Khan’s family, which had the support of police and other village leaders, struck Captain Black as a way to build trust and show that the military would look into complaints of wrongful incarceration.
Mr. Khan was detained in September, as he was riding a motorcycle near Ghazni City, 80 miles southwest of Kabul. He was on his way to meet his brother and help bring livestock to their village when he ran into Yar Mohammed, a friend and relative, Mr. Mohammed recalled.
Suddenly, five helicopters swooped down. Men in one copter opened fire, Mr. Mohammed said, and bullets struck the dirt a few feet away. Americans with rifles and helmets leapt out, he said. A translator ordered the two Afghans to take off their long, flowing shirts, hold their hands up and walk backward toward the troops.
“They beat me very badly, covered my head with a bag and tied my hands,” Mr. Mohammed said.
Flown away, he said, he was eventually locked in a roughly six-feet-square cell with a blanket, a mattress and a Koran, with the lights always on and a ventilation fan rattling above.
Though his nose was broken during his capture, Mr. Mohammed said he later received medical treatment and was not beaten or subjected to any “bad behavior” during twice-daily interrogations.
“They asked, ‘Have you seen Taliban?’ and ‘Are you cooperating with the Taliban?’ ” Mr. Mohammed said. He replied that neither he nor Mr. Khan was. After three weeks, he said, he was taken to a military base in Sharana, southeast of Ghazni, and released.
“Don’t look back,” he said his captors told him. He said he had not seen Mr. Khan since the day the helicopters swooped down. American military officials in Washington and Afghanistan either declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries about Mr. Mohammed’s detention.
Kala Khan said he was able to talk to his brother for 20 minutes in late February, over an Internet video link provided for Bagram prisoners’ relatives by the Kabul office of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Gul Khan said that interrogators kept showing him a picture of Qari Idris and demanding that he admit it was a picture of him, his brother said.
“If you find somebody who says he is Qari Idris and that he was working for the Taliban,” Kala Khan said, “then you can put all my relatives in jail and you can hang all of us.”
In March, Captain Black said, he was ordered by a commander several rungs above him to “toe the party line” and not discuss Mr. Khan’s guilt or innocence. He was also ordered not to allow two journalists who visited his base to accompany him on routine trips to Waghez.
A few days later, as part of an official military investigation, a more senior officer unexpectedly arrived at Captain Black’s base to question him about conversations with Mr. Khan’s family and with this reporter. The investigating officer also sought a sworn statement from this reporter, who declined.
A military spokesman in Kabul did not respond to questions about why the decision was made to investigate the captain — or whether he would be punished. American military officials in Afghanistan and Washington also declined to comment about evidence against Mr. Khan. One official would say only that all Bagram prisoners were classified as “an imminent danger to the lives of U.S. service members.”
Citing his orders, Captain Black declined to comment about specifics of Mr. Khan’s case. But in an interview before those orders were issued, he said he was mindful of the danger of incarcerating someone who might be innocent. “Lock a guy down for 22 hours a day,” he said, “and you are creating a criminal.” 
NOTE: Take him to McDonald's and Disneyland and you created an American!
Sangar Rahimi contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


The Geography of Carbon Emissions

By Jack Dini
May 23, 2009
No American city is among the top 50 cities in the world for air pollution according to the World Bank. (1) Another list, ‘The Top Ten of the Dirty Thirty,' compiled by the Blacksmith Institute of New York compared the toxicity of contamination, the likelihood of it getting into humans and the number of people affected. Places were bumped up in rank if children were impacted. No US or European sites made the list. Sites in China, India and Russia occupied six of the top ten spots. Some examples: at Linfen in Shanxi province-the heart of China's coal industry-industrial and automobile emissions put the health of 3 million people at risk. At Sukinda in the state of Orissa in India, 2.6 million people face the hazards of one of the world's opencast chromite mines. And in Dzerzhinsk, Russia, 300,000 people are exposed to toxic by-products from chemical weapons. (2)
Have you heard about this? Probably not. But there's more. Another report states that seven of the world's ten most polluted cities are in China. Of the ten cities in the world with the highest levels of air pollution, three are in India. (3). There are more reports but by now you probably get the point. Note that no US city has been mentioned. Steven Hayward in discussing the Blacksmith report makes an observation that could well apply to all of these documents: "Not surprisingly the media and green campaigners in the United States completely overlooked this report." (4)

China has some of the worst pollution problems in the world. Nearly two-thirds of China's 343 major cities currently fail to meet the nation's air quality standards. Pollution levels in China's major cities are 10 to 50 times higher than the worst smoggy day in Los Angeles (5). The twenty fastest growing cities in the world are all in China.

China is adding 100 gigawatts of coal-fired electrical capacity a year. That's another whole United States' worth of coal consumption added every three years, with no stopping point in sight. Much of the rest of the developing world is on a similar path. (6)

As Fareed Zakaria notes,

"The combined carbon dioxide emissions from the 850 new coal-fired power plants that China and India are building between now and 2012 are five times the total savings of the Kyoto accords. So you can put in all those curly light bulbs and drive all the Priuses you want: India just ate that for breakfast and China will eat the next round of conservation for lunch." (7)

Jane Orient adds this on the futility of reducing emissions; "In a symbolic gesture, the Forces of Darkness, which are trying to end an age of enlightenment and reason, urged people to turn off their lights for an hour between 8:30 and 9:30 PM local time. Bjorn Lomborg calculated that if 1 billion turned off their lights for 1 hour, it would have been the equivalent of shutting of China's emissions for a full 6 seconds. (8)

Although China receives the most attention, it is not the only Asian nation where this concern is present. India is also growing rapidly, and its major cities experience particulate levels often eight to ten times higher than the worst American cities.  India is the fourth-most coal dependent country in the world and has enough reserves to last for the next 100 years. Carbon emissions in India are rising faster than nearly every other country on the planet. Between 1980 and 2006, India's carbon output increased by 341%, compared to 321% for China, 103% for Brazil 238% for Indonesia and 272% for Pakistan. (9)
Peter Huber sums this up quite well:
"Cut to the chase. We rich people can't stop the world's 5 billion poor people from burning the couple of trillion tons of cheap carbon that they have within easy reach. We can't even make any durable dent in global emissions-because emissions from the developing world are growing too fast, because the other 80 percent of humanity desperately needs cheap energy, and because we and they are now part of the same global economy. What we can do, if we're foolish enough, is let carbon worries send our jobs and industries to their shores, making them grow even faster, and their carbon emissions faster still." (6)


  1. Steven F. Hayward, Index of Leading Environmental Indicators 2009, (San Francisco, Pacific Research Institute, 2009), 3
  2. "The Top Ten of the Dirty Thirty," New York, Blacksmith Institute, September 2007
  3. Norman Myers and Jennifer Kent, The New Consumers, (Washington, DC, Island Press, 2004), 77 & 90
  4. Steven F. Hayward, Index of Leading Environmental Indicators 2009, (San Francisco, Pacific Research Institute, 2009), 10
  5. Steven F. Hayward, "China Comes Clean,",pubID24262/pub_detail.asp
  6. Peter W. Huber, "We Cannot Make a Dent in Global Carbon Emissions,"
  7. Fareed Zakaria, The Post-American World, (New York, W. W. Norton & Co., 2008), 90
  8. Jane Orient, "Earth Hour Celebrates Darkness," Civil Defense Perspectives, 25, 2, March 2009
  9. Priyanka Bhardwaj and Robert Bryce, "India Chooses Coal, Not Kyoto,"

Sunday, May 17, 2009



Friday, May 15, 2009


Federal Trade Commission suing companies to halt auto warranty 'robo-calls'
AP News
May 14, 2009 14:19 EST

Federal Trade Commission officials said they asked a federal court in Chicago to halt the illegal telemarketing campaign of "Your Car Warranty Has Expired." Officials say as many as 1 billion of the nuisance calls have been made to Americans.

The FTC named Voice Touch Inc. and Transcontinental Warranty Inc., which it called the telemarketer and promoter of the scheme, respectively, in the lawsuits. The agency is seeking injunctions forcing them to return allegedly ill-gotten gains.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz called it "one of the most aggressive" telemarketing schemes the agency has ever seen.
"I'm not sure which is worse, the abusive telemarketing tactics of these companies, or the way they try to deceive people once they get them on the phone," Leibowitz said. "Either way, we intend to shut them down."
It took some heavy sleuthing to determine what companies were responsible since they made "extraordinary" efforts to conceal their identities by masking their true phone numbers, he said. Such concealment by telemarketers is illegal, as is refusal to promptly identify themselves to consumers.
If a consumer received such a call about his car warranty, "there's a very real chance that these guys did it," Leibowitz told reporters in a conference call.

Representatives from Voice Touch and Transcontinental Warranty couldn't be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.

While seeking return of allegedly illegal profits from the companies, the FTC isn't immediately seeking civil fines against them but may consider doing so later on, agency officials said.

Attorneys general in Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri have taken similar actions over the calls offering deals on extended warranties, which have brought about 300,000 inquiries and 4,000 complaints to the Better Business Bureau from consumers over the past two years. The calls come even if the consumer has signed up for the national "Do Not Call" registry, which is maintained by the FTC.

The calls target people regardless of whether they have warranties or even own cars. They call numbers randomly and leave messages with a computerized voice telling people, falsely, that their auto warranties are about to expire, regulators say.

The telemarketers are misrepresenting service contracts — which consumers have to pay for — as warranties, which are included in the price of buying a vehicle, the FTC says.

"Out of warranty? You are still eligible to reactivate warranty coverage. This is the final call before we close the file." The recording typically gives the caller an option to stop receiving calls, but they continue to come even if consumers opt out.

"This is where you're told to push No. 1 to speak to a representative, or push No. 2 to be removed from the list. I've pushed that No. 2 button so many times from their calls, I've broken two phones!" said Craig Michie of Las Vegas.
"I've been faced with these calls for years," Michie said by telephone on Tuesday. "I would attempt to talk to the telemarketers and ask them not to call. They only called back."

If people call back and agree to buy policies, the companies often don't let them see the contracts until they agree to pay. And some people don't learn until they've spent thousands of dollars that the deals don't cover many types of repairs, according to regulators.

In addition, the computerized calls can eat up a consumer's cell phone minutes, possibly jacking up phone charges, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said earlier this week. He had previously asked for an investigation by the FTC into what he called a scam of "robo-dialer harassment."
Source: AP News


Dead People Get Stimulus Checks

Published : Thursday, 14 May 2009, 5:28 PM EDT
As the song goes, "you can check out but can never leave" ... 
MYFOXNY.COM - This week, thousands of people are getting stimulus checks in the mail. The problem is that a lot of them are dead. A Long Island woman was shocked when she checked the mail and received a letter from the U.S. Treasury -- but it wasn't for her.

Antoniette Santopadre of Valley Stream was expecting a $250 stimulus check. But when her son finally opened it, they saw that the check was made out to her father, Romolo Romonini, who died in Italy 34 years ago. He'd been a U.S. citizen when he left for Italy in 1933, but only returned to the United States for a seven-month visit in 1969.

The Santopadres are not alone. The Social Security Administration, which sent out 52 million checks, says that some of those checks mistakenly went to dead people because the agency had no record of their death. That amounts to between 8,000 and 10,000 checks for millions of dollars.

The feds blame a rushed schedule, because all the checks have to be cut by June. The strange thing is, some of the checks were made out to people -- like Romonini -- who were never even part of the Social Security system.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


But then again many other things were unthinkable.  It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended.

This blog is being posted as a memorial, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russian Peoples looking the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iraq, Iran, and others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it's imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Timeline shows of financial and housing crisis; meltdown