Saturday, October 22, 2011

Secret Service Investigates Bishop Eddie Long and his Mega Church

Looks like Bishop Eddie Long can't catch a break in 2011. The mega church pastor recently settled a sexual misconduct civil lawsuit:

Bishop Eddie Long, a virulently anti-gay Georgia pastor who heads one of the nation’s largest megachurches, has reached a settlement with four men who accused him of abusing his role as pastor to compel them into sexual relationships when they were teenagers read more

And later fast Eddie also agreed to a settlement regarding a Real Estate property law suit:

Bishop Eddie Long has reached a settlement in a lawsuit that claims he and partners in a real estate venture defaulted on a $2 million bank loan.

The settlement, reached earlier this month, is the latest in a string of costly legal setbacks for the embattled senior pastor of Lithonia's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Earlier this year Long reached an undisclosed financial settlement with five young men who accused the bishop of sexual coercion

And now the Bishop (I guess they still address him with this title) has the Feds - via Secret Service - knocking at his door:

Federal officials say they’re investigating issues surrounding investment seminars hosted by a metro Atlanta megachurch after some former members say they lost their retirement savings.

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Mark Ritchie says agents have seized laptops from employees at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia.

Ritchie says the IRS is the primary federal agency involved and the Secret Service is assisting the IRS and DeKalb County police.

DeKalb County police Lt. Pam Kuntz says the department forwarded its information to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ten former church members are suing New Birth and Bishop Eddie Long, saying they conspired with others to defraud them through “wealth-building” seminars and sermons.
read more

Funny how folks that need to find Jesus the most are among the first to run up on a soap box and preach their so-called word. All I can say is, I wouldn't even put a slug in the collection plate at that church - it would be a waste of good metal.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Jon Stewart: GOP is Whining in the Face of Victory

This is LOL Must See Video, Jon Stewart's take on the demise of Qaddafi.

Included in his hilarious take on the strange and eccentric behavior of Libya's (who knew he had this strange affection for former Secretary of State Condi Rice) notorious dictator, Stewart accurately takes to task the GOP and FOX News hosts who - surprise, surprise - go out their way to not give any credit to President Obama.

As pointed out in Republican Whining in the Face of Victory:

The American cost for the Iraq conflict is at least 4,500 dead U.S. servicemen and women and an expenditure of at least $792 billion. A Brown University study estimates that the total cost of that war will exceed $3 trillion.

In addition, more than 33,000 Americans have been injured; and, according to the Brown report, an estimated 225,000 people (military and civilians) have lost their lives as a result of our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The total U.S. financial cost for those three conflicts is projected by the Brown report to exceed $4.4 trillion.

In contrast, the conflict in Libya lasted six months at the cost of $1.1 billion to American taxpayers. No U.S. combatants have been killed.

Bush had predicted that Iraqi civilians would hail American troops as saviors and flowers would be strewn in their path as they entered Baghdad. Instead, U.S. soldiers and Marines became subjects of roadside bombs and mortar attacks. President Bush himself was greeted on a visit to Iraq by the ultimate Middle East insult: shoes were thrown at him.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's Double Standard For Players and Coaches by Greg Garrison

Roger Goodell's April 2010 memo regarding personal conduct (sent to all 32 teams):

“…every investigation, arrest, or other allegation of improper conduct undermines the respect for our league by our fans, lessens the confidence of our business partners and threatens the continued success of our brand.
It makes no difference whether an incident occurs during the season or in the off-season. At every opportunity, you should remind them of your standards and the public’s expectations, of the need to use good judgment, particularly when in a public place.”

As the new NFL commish, Goodell wasted no time in letting it be known that there was a new sheriff in town and there were going to be consequences for bad behavior - just ask Steelers.

In three games this season, the fines are already starting to add up for the Steelers.
Safety Troy Polamalu and cornerback Ike Taylor have also been fined $15,000 each.
Also, lineman Doug Legursky was fined $10,000, bringing the total for the team to $62,500

So, in this era of heightened accountability, why did Roger pass on fining San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh and Detroit coach Jim Schwartz for their post game melee, this past Sunday?

In their heated altercation - played over and over on the sports airways - the coaches were branded as hot heads. The image of Jim Swartz, like a rabid animal going after and bumping (yes, there was contact) Harbaugh was an embarrassment to coaches on every level.

How many times have you had or heard a coach emphasize composure? It appears both coaches forgot the requirement of the NFL personal conduct code of avoiding “conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the National Football League.” (NFL Personal Conduct Code)

The commissioner also had a chance to address the perception/concern of black players that there is a double standard of justice. By fining the two white coaches, he let’s the world know that anyone, regardless of status or color, associated with the NFL will be punished when they break the rules or threaten the continued success of the NFL brand.

Several players, who publicly tarnished the NFL's image, had to go New York to apologize and show remorse to Goodell in person.

On the contrast, Harbaugh joked that he had to work on his handshake and Schwartz blamed his blow up due to Harbaugh’s profanity.

So, what action did Goodell take?

None. Apparently, this incident did not warrant his attention, so his subordinates handled it.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted on Tuesday:

Both coaches told Ray Anderson(NFL vice president of football operations) today that their post game conduct was wrong and will not happen again. We believe their response is the correct one and that their post game conduct going forward will be more appropriate.

This is the league that cherishes image so much that they have sideline police at every game who enforce the uniform code and made huge rule changes to tone down on field and end zone celebrations.

Players go at one another and sometimes cross the line in the heat of the moment and they have to pay the price.

Sadly, the football world is left with this message:

We (NFL) do not tolerate anyone tarnishing the shield...except coaches, who are suppose to set the highest example for their men, organization and league. From the coaches all we need them to say is sorry. No hefty fine - that's reserved for the players.

Africa Rising: Continent's income to triple, extreme poverty gone by 2060?

Most African countries 'will attain upper middle income status' by 2060, says a new report to be released tomorrow by the African Development Bank.

Africa – the continent with the world’s youngest, poorest population – will grow by leaps and bounds over the next half century as its middle class swells, its literacy rates rise, and its average life expectancy lengthens, says a report that is to be made public tomorrow.

By 2060, “most African countries will attain upper middle income status, and the extreme forms of poverty will have been eliminated,” says the report from the Tunis-based African Development Bank.

Under the most optimistic scenario, Africa’s GDP would grow by 900 percent, topping out at $15 trillion by 2060 – that’s a shade bigger than the current GDP of the United States. At the same time, income per capita would more than triple from last year’s level of $1,667 to roughly $5,600 by 2060. That would be a big jump in Africa’s standard of living, putting the continent on par with current income levels in Southeast Asia.

Think you know Africa? Take our geography quiz.

The strongest growth will come in East Africa, where the economies of robust nations like Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania should average growth rates of more than 9 percent come 2030. Fifty years from now, per capita income in East Africa will be 10 times higher than it is today.

Cities to drive growth

Across the continent, swelling urban populations will drive Africa’s economic growth. In 2060, nearly three quarters of the continent’s 2.7 billion people will fall in the “economically active” age range – between 15 and 64. Two-thirds of the continent’s citizens will live in cities, up from 40 percent today.

More and more of those city dwellers will be members of the continent’s booming middle class, which will number 1.1 billion people fifty years from now, or 42 percent of the continent’s population. The proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day will fall by a quarter, from 44 percent of the population to 33 percent. Nearly everyone on the continent will have access to broadband Internet.

Africa’s economic gains will be accompanied by improvements in health and education, the report says. Child mortality will be cut by more than half and life expectancy will jump to 70 years, compared to the current 56 years, although that number will vary significantly across regions. Meanwhile, literacy rates will rise to 96 percent, up from 67 percent last year. read more

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bank of America earned $6.2 billion in the third quarter

There is a Grand Canyon disconnect/divide in our country between Wall Street and Main Street.

And, the opposition movement - judging by folks protesting in the streets in the Middle-East, England, Italy, France and Greece - is global.

The Great Divide - Proof A:

While our economy teeters on the brink of Depression like conditions for the middle-class, working class and poor - the recipients of taxpayers' bailout dollars are raking in the dough.

Bank of America earned $6.2 billion in the third quarter on accounting gains and the sale of a stake in a Chinese bank, which offset lower revenue and income in its credit card, real estate and investment banking businesses. source

Proof B:

Not only satisfied with record profits, BofA has decided to lay off 30,000 employees.

Bank of America, trying to break free from a pile of bad mortgages and a sagging stock price, announced plans to lay off 30,000 employees over the next few years.

Bank of America is now the employer with the largest U.S. layoff announcement this year, according to global outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. Pharmaceutical company Merck formerly held that title after announcing on July 29 plans to layoff 13,000 employees by the end of 2015

Proof C:

BofA has announced it will further gouge Main Street with new bank fees, including a five dollar a month fee for just using your debit card - unless you have a combined account amount over 20,000 dollars (another tax on the non-rich.).

Get ready for a new wave of bank fees. Bank of America will begin charging a $5 monthly fee at the beginning of next year for customers who make debit card purchases.
Whether you use your card for one purchase a month or 20, you will pay $5 per month starting in 2012. It doesn't matter if you select "debit" or "credit" at the point of sale.

Case Close:

Ergo, we have the Occupy Wall Street movement picking up steam across the USA. This movement demands that our economy - after over 30 years of Reaganomics (supply side economics) - begin to work for the 99% instead of just the 1% super rich.

And OWS argues for accountability for white collar economic crimes and that the super rich help to right the ship - after all, when Wall Street came hat-in-hand, Main Street reached deep into our pockets.

That promised trickle down economics was nothing more than a we trick ya down there economics.

BTW, the lil scratch I have is leaving BofA and going back to my Credit Union - like ole Dubya (Bush) used to say: It's your money, you know how to spend it...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Five trends driving Africa’s economic growth

This is part one of a series of articles examining what is behind the emergence of Africa's economic growth. To read the entire series, go to How We Made It In Africa.

Standard Bank analyst Simon Freemantle has identified five key trends that will propel Africa’s ongoing economic reinvigoration in the next four decades.

“Naturally Africa’s sheer size as well as often vastly differing economic and political dynamics . . . renders generalisation problematic. However, the broad thrust of these trends is incorporating the majority of the continent’s emerging and aspiring economies,” says Freemantle.
The five trends are:

Trend 1: A larger, younger and more affluent population

Africa’s population growth will average 2.2% over the next decade, compared to 0.9% in Asia. It is expected that Africa will have a population of almost 2 billion by 2050. Rapid population growth also means that the populace is exceptionally young.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s median is age 18.6, compared to 32 for the BRIC countries.
Coupled with strong economic growth, population growth will support the emergence of the continent’s consumer base. Consumer growth is being supported by a rising middle class. According to Freemantle, around 150 million Africans have entered the middle class since 1990, with a further 40 million households to become middle class by 2015.

Trend 2: Africa’s transformational urban swell

It is estimated that about 40% of Africans currently live in urban areas. By 2050 more than 60% of the continent’s population will be urbanised. Nigeria will see 140 million new urban entrants in the next 40 years. Countries such as South Africa and Angola will be more than 80% urbanised by 2050. Although this will lead to an influx of people into megacities such as Lagos, Kinshasa and Cairo, 70% of all urban growth in the next two decades will take place in smaller towns and cities.

Trend 3: Leapfrogging through technology

Africa’s population has vigorously embraced technology in general, and telecommunications in particular, as a means to boost socio-economic prosperity. By the end of 2010, there were over 500 million mobile subscriptions in Africa; by 2015, it is expected there will be almost 800 million. Nigeria is already the world’s tenth-largest mobile market. More Africans are also connecting to the internet. While internet penetration is still relatively low (around 120 million users) growth rates have been profound. Internet costs remain excessively high, limiting uptake. A range of mostly private-funded fibre optic cables set to land, or having already landed, on Africa’s east and west coasts are set to lower costs for African internet users.

Trend 4: Africa’s dormant resources potential

In addition to Africa’s considerable precious and base metals wealth, the continent is becoming a more important player in the world’s energy markets. At the end of 2010, Africa had 9.5% of the world’s crude oil, and 8% of the world’s natural gas reserves. The continent, however, still holds considerable untapped reserves, with recent discoveries in Ghana, Uganda and potentially Namibia attracting strong interest.
Meanwhile, with food anticipated to become the “new oil” of the 21st century, Africa’s immense and largely dormant, agricultural potential is gaining elevated attention. In order to feed the world’s population in 2050, food production will have to increase by 70%, necessitating a total average investment in developing world agriculture of US$83 billion.

Trend 5: Africa’s deepening financial sector

The financial services sector is responding rapidly to the continent’s altering economic reality. Although the majority of Africans remain locked out of the financial system, the growth projections for the sector are stellar. At current growth rates, Africa’s financial services sector could make up around 20% of the continent’s collective GDP within the next decade, compared to 10% today. Much of the new growth will come from retail banking. The expansion of financial services has the ability to create new jobs, establish a formal identity of millions of market participants, and provide greater safety than predominant cash-based systems.
Over the next five days How we made it in Africa will take a detailed look at each of these trend