The recent news about Cyprus banks confiscating depositor’s funds sent chills throughout the financial world here and abroad. I couldn’t believe that the plan in Cyprus hinged on the idea that the bank could just steal customer’s funds to balance the bank’s books. I muttered to myself when I read the story that something as crazy as that couldn’t possible happen here in the United States. Unfortunately, I learned that the plan to pull a Cyprus type grab here was already in the works. (more…)
Archive for March, 2013
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Author’s Note: Grace Under Pressure is an on-going series of posts honoring everyday people who courageously make positive differences in their own lives and consequently in the lives of others. It is my own personal affirmation that unexpected heroes reside among us and that they serve as quiet but unshakable proof that virtue really is its own reward – and ours, too.
Every year, Henrico’s (VA) Deep Run High School holds a dance marathon to help local charities. The event is wildly successful raising over $1 million since its inception in 2007. The kids start their dancing on Friday night and 27 shaking hours later the exhausted participants rightly toast their accomplishment with some donated punch and soft drinks. This year they toasted more than a marathon.
Sophomore Michael Schiavo was the top fund-raiser this year bringing in an impressive $7,161 in donations. But according to Michael, he got a lot more than he gave. Michael suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. DMD is a genetic based dystrophy that attacks 1 in 3600 boys. It usually manifests itself in infancy and causes a wasting away of muscle tissue that is replaced with fat and fibrotic tissue leading to fibrosis. The average life expectancy for patients afflicted with DMD is around 25.
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
To some of us the transition from slave to citizenship by those Africans brought in chains to these shores for economic exploitation and horrific abuse ended with the “Emancipation Proclamation”. To others its’ end might have been marked by “Brown v. Board of Education”, or by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Those of somewhat more insightful bent may have said that the true emancipation occurred when Barack Obama was elected President in 2008. In my view, as much of an impact as all those milestones (and more such as Jackie Robinson i.e.) made to American consciousness, Black people in the United States clearly still lack the benefits and rewards of citizenship. I would go further and say that in the United States, at this time; most Black people still suffer the degradation and challenges brought about by both institutional and emotional racism. This is not to say that in our country other groups, such as Latino’s and Native Americans are free of oppressive prejudice, but to assert that given their history in this country Black people are slotted into the bottom of the economic and social ladder and are still struggling to obtain even those most minimal of rights that most Americans see as their birthright. (more…)
-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the other same-sex marriage case, Hollingsworth v. Perrry, a case involving California’s voter approved ban on gay marriage, also known as Prop 8. UCLA professor of constitutional law Adam Winkler reminds us that oral arguments is the time when justices “hostile to a lawyer’s argument often reveal their disagreement through penetrating—sometimes devastating—questions.” Sometimes penetrating, sometimes devastating, and sometimes the court is not pleased.
The spiny freshwater turtle population is less than 1000 according to Canadian reports, but they found a windfall of dozens of the turtles recently. The problem is that they were dead and on a Chinese menu. Yet, the Chinese owner will face only a relatively small fine for this violation. In killing and sell these turtles for soup (and contributing to the possible loss of a species) the owner will face less of a penalty than a car theft or bad check.
John Cassidy has a remarkable story out in the New Yorker this week about a sweetheart deal cut by the Justice Department with one of the wealthiest men in the world, Steven A. Cohen (who may be pictured here at a standard picnic, or not). Cohen’s company would pay $626 million but not have to admit any wrongdoing and Cohen would face no personal sanction. The billionaire appears to be celebrating this month with a buying spree with a Picasso painting and a huge new mansion. What is amazing is that various Cohen subordinates have pleaded guilty and Cohen has been tied directly to an insider trading allegation. Yet, he appears to “too big to jail” as a continuation of the Obama Administration’s bifurcated legal system for the super rich and the rest of us.
Saudi Arabia has long shocked the world with its medieval Sharia justice system, but nothing prepared most of us for the recent execution in Jazan, Saudi Arabia. Faced with Mohammed Rashad Khairi Hussein, a Yemeni man accused of murder and sodomy, the Sharia court ordered him first beheaded and then crucified. This is not the first such sentence under Sharia law. A man in 2009 was ordered beheaded and then crucified for being a gang leader.
Dale Peterson, the Alabama Republican running for Agricultural Commissioner, has railed against “thugs and criminals.” Yet, Peterson is facing a second shoplifting charge in just five months. The latest charge however is over a handful of nuts that he ate at a Sam’s Club. Indeed, it is hard to see why either of these charges were brought rather than requiring a simple payment at the counter.
In Chickasha, Oklahoma, Anthony Black, 21, was arrested for a particularly risky act of shoplifting. Employees at Ross Seed Company were concerned because they thought a man was handicapped and was having trouble walking. They then thought he might be drunk. They then realized it was probably the chainsaw stuck down his pants.
John Goodman, 48, recently lost his freedom for 16 years and now it appears that he has lost his beloved adopted daughter. Goodman is the wealthy founder of the International Polo Club Beach in Wellington, was convicted of killing Scott Patrick Wilson, 23, while driving drunk. Facing a civil lawsuit from his family, Goodman has legally adopted his 42-year-old girlfriend, Heather Laruso Hutchins, as his daughter to protect some of his money. Now it appears his daughter is back being his girlfriend after an appellate court ruled that her adoption was a sham and fraud. It was the continuation of Goodman’s effort to establish himself as one of the worst human beings on the planet.
There is an interesting case out of Disneyland this month where a paraplegic man was stuck on the famous (infamous?) Its A Small World ride after a breakdown and sued for emotional distress. It is the scene of countless parodies of people going mad in the ride. What is interesting is that Jose Martinez, 52, was only left for 30 minutes and it was at the end of the ride as they were leaving the goodbye tunnel. While the music continues to play, it was only for 30 minutes as they fixed a mechanical problem. Nevertheless, Disney was hit with damages to the tune of $8000.
We have long followed the horrific record of China on the environment. The Chinese regime has continued to push for high production rates as the number of “cancer villages” and lethal pollution rises across the country. This record has made China the worse environmental violator in the world. Now, greed has combined with power to make for what could be one of the greatest single environmental losses with China expanding its destructive record to Latin America. Ecuador has announced a plan to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies. The loss of such pristine areas (and unique species within it) will cause incalculable damage to feed China’s insatiable demand for energy.