Friday, October 10, 2014

AIG Loan: It boils down to two words...

Hanging out at The Urban Politico today and watched this hilarious Daily Show analysis of the AIG lawsuit.  (Those two words are at the end of the video)

Yeah. I didn't know anything about it either. Stewart makes it so fun and easy to despise Wall Street.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Englanders Are Tight As Ticks...but everybody knows that!

As this article points out, New Englanders donate the least amount of dollars to charity of any region in the U.S.  My state, New Hampshire, is lowest on this totem pole.  If the national average is 3%, the New England aggregate of six states, MA, RI, CT, NH, ME, VT, comes in at 2.04% with NH bringing up the rear with 1.74%.  (

Why am I not surprised?  I've been living and working in New England since 1997.  As a region, New Englanders are tight with a buck, suspicious of newcomers, probably the last to let go of a quarter (and the eagle screams when they do so).  I sell broadcast advertising on television.  Getting a New Englander to trust me takes time...and I'm very trustworthy!  Once they do trust you, you're in.
And, for the most part, they pay their bills on time, unlike the other parts of the country in which I've lived (especially California where it should be cash in advance 90% of the time).

This fascinates me and I wonder if the New England native's standoffish suspicion towards organized religion has anything to do with it?  You'll notice the most generous areas are where Mormons and Baptists live.  They know they're going to Hell if they don't tithe.  I know this because I was raised in the Baptist church. And, believe me, I tithe!

If you're curious as to how you're neck of the woods stacks up, here's the list.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Does Time Heal All Wounds?

Thirteen years ago today our country experienced its most cataclysmic event of the brand new 21st Century.  Two airliners, hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists, flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.  A third hijacked plane flew into the Pentagon and a fourth plane was taken down by the brave passengers aboard who overcame their abductees, choosing to die with honor. But it seems so much more recent.  Perhaps it's because we're still fighting the terrorists and we've not had closure; perhaps because the wound is so raw.  I saw this photograph on Twitter and felt compelled to post. It's so different from the others commemorating this day in 2001.  

I'm flying from Boston to SoCal tomorrow.  I'm not on American or United but my original plans were to leave today until my husband pointed out it would be 9-11.  I had forgotten but, then, it was only May.

I've nothing to add other than I fear for our men and women in the armed forces.  We are now tasked with going back to fight ISIS/ISIL.  Obama says no boots on the ground, but we know how that goes.

God help us and be with us.  


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Can We Talk?

Joan Rivers died today and I mourn her passing.  She could be irreverent, she could be annoying, she could be tasteless.  She was painfully honest while uproariously and politically incorrect.  It's not a big deal today but in her day, it was groundbreaking.

Her stints on the "Tonight Show" are probably my earliest memories of her.  At least, that's where she hit it big. 
"When I started out, a pretty girl did not go into comedy. If you saw a pretty girl walk into a nightclub, she was automatically a singer. Comedy was all white, older men. It was Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Bob Hope, Shelley Berman, Red Skelton ... even Amos and Andy were white men, which is hilarious if you think about it."   The Hollywood Reporter  12/06/12

We watched her evolve along with her face into the unapologetic woman who once admitted to developing bulimia after her husband's suicide because it gave her control over something when everything in her world seemed uncontrollable. 4/06/13 

Her husband left her broke.  Her relationship with Johnny soured when she left to do her own show on another network.  He never spoke to her again.  She hung on, climbed out of the hole she was in and went on with her life.  She had a daughter to raise and a career to rebuild and debts to pay.  

She did it all with flair.  I have to say, I still laughed at her Fashion Police antics and her red carpet "Who are you wearing?" interviews, her jewelry line she personally hawked on the shopping networks, her book signings and ongoing stand up appearances.  She must have had an iron will.  She will she be missed.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Lesson in Greed

Last week, a story from my neck of the woods, northern New England, captured the national news and imagination of folks across America.  A regional, family-owned chain of grocery stores, Market Basket, had been in the grip of a family battle for control, resulting in losses of millions of dollars in revenue, employee generated strikes and people weighing in from all sides:  the street, the air waves, print and online. In June, long-time CEO Arthur T. Demoulas was fired by his board of directors led by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas.  Many employees went on strike or joined store boycotts protesting the firing of the man who has led the company for decades.

For six weeks, many of the 25,000 non-union workers created picket lines, refused to enter stores and refused to stock shelves, forgoing paychecks and risking being fired. Their actions left 71 stores throughout Massachusett and southern New Hampshire without product to sell, costing the company millions of dollars. Apparently the Demoulas cousin rivalry had been ongoing for years. Employees sided with "Artie T" whom they say knew the name of every employee in every store, regularly visited the stores and treated them all "like family".  It's been a heartwarming story to watch in this age of corporate indifference.
Workers said the new leadership would destroy the culture of Market Basket, where employees could often earn greater pay and benefits than at other grocery stores. Customers worried that prices would be increased if profit became a greater focus. 8/29/14
Cynic that I am, I can only hope and pray the means by which Artie T used to buy out his cousin for $1.5 BILLION dollars will not result in the very thing the employees feared to begin with, the destruction of their culture.  
But the deal requires Artie T. to raise $550 million in the private equity and commercial markets, mortgage Market Basket real estate, and invest a huge piece of his personal wealth. Market Basket will be a debt-laden enterprise that will have a tough time making payments while also keeping good wages and benefits for associates, fair deals with suppliers, and low prices for customers. Something in the traditional success formula will change.     BU Today 9/02/14
Demoulas borrowed from private equity firm The Blackstone Group.
It all begins with something called private equity, a vast pool of money managed by very tough-minded business-school types. The banker who gave you your mortgage is a teddy bear compared to these guys. 8/29/14
Yes.  If there's any lagging, they're going to want their pound of flesh.  the easiest way to cut costs is...cut employees, early retirement, eliminate pension, lower or freeze wages, increase hours & know the drill.  Let's just hope it doesn't come to pass for these loyal employees who've already sacrificed much.

To be continued.



by Cole Scott