Michael Jackson: A Life of Great Creativity & Very Human Challenges
I can still remember watching 40 years ago as Michael Jackson and his brothers went on the stage of the Ed Sullivan show, with Diana Ross, who discovered them, sitting in the audience. What startled me that night was how Michael took the microphone, as if he had been doing it for a thousand years and with a voice that from the moment you heard it, knew it was special... Read more
Banks: The New Loan Sharks & Extortionists of the 21st Century?
Well, here it is the 21st of June. It's Father's Day. Yet today, millions of credit card holders that have received notices from their banks since June 1st, know this is the beginning of a new cycle in which the percentage of funds due monthly on their accounts has doubled. Instead of having to pay 3% of their total amounts due, they will now have to pay 6% and for some of them at an interest rate upwards... Read more
I'm Back! After a Month of Celebration, New Struggles & Transitions
Well, I'm back. I've been quiet for the past month for lots of reasons, perhaps the most important was preparing for and witnessing my younger son's graduation from college. It was a beautiful New Hampshire day and there were lots of speeches and honorary degrees awarded, but perhaps the best speech of the day was by a representative of the St. Anselm College graduating class of 2009. Read more
Bernanke Says Recession Over End of Year! NOT!
It was reported Tuesday that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke believes that housing is bottoming out, that the recession should come to an end by the end of 2009 and while unemployment will be slow to rebound that, things will move over to the positive side, unless of course there is a further problem with the financial system. Well, that's a stinging endorsement of Happy Days to come if I've ever heard it. Read more
The Stress of It All is Becoming Dangerous
It seems that not a day goes by during these most difficult financial times when we don't hear a story about people "losing it". Just this week, a young man apparently took his life. He was the acting chief financial officer of Freddie Mac whose stated mission is to help stabilize residential mortgage markets in the United States. The Treasury Department took over the company last September. He was only 41. That story was followed up by another in which... Read more
If You have a Credit Card: Beware the Ides of March!
While the government and the Congress have been propping up the banks with billions of dollars, the banks have not been spending all their time figuring out how to begin lending again, they have been using the money to contract rather than expand with drastic impact to consumers and the economy. The banks have assigned just enough staff to create the illusion that they are lending, but in fact they have been hiring hundreds of collection agents, reducing lines of credit... Read more
Reengineering U.S. Government, Lou Gerstner, and John Madden
Shortly after the Super Bowl, I was speaking with a life-long friend, Mike Siani, NFL scout, coach and former Oakland Raiders wide receiver. I said, “You know Mike, I always loved when John Madden was your coach and on first downs he would use three wide receivers (Fred Biletnikoff, Siani, and Cliff Branch) and send you all down field for a big gain pass play from QB Ken Stabler.“ (In Mike’s 9-year playing career alone, he averaged... Read more
War! What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing!
I think Ed Starr was on to something when he sang out the words of this popular anti-war song in 1970. This was confirmed by my college economics professor, Dr. Emily Sun, who observed that no nation could sustain itself for long periods of time on a wartime economy. Simply put, Dr. Sun would say, when you invest in war there is no direct economic return. I mean if you buy chickens, you will have eggs for breakfast and ultimately, roast chicken for dinner. When you buy bullets... Read more
Oil, Oil, Oil - What Should the Price Be?
Before we begin, remember that before there was the cost of oil, there was coal; before coal it was wood, and somewhere in between there was natural gas, not to mention electricity. And who knows in the future, we may be complaining about windmill rates. The reality is that there is some purpose to almost every form of energy, although the man made one – nuclear seems to always be... Read more
I’ve Been Mugged – Why It’s Important in Your World Today
George Jenkins’ “I’ve Been Mugged” blog reports on consumer experiences and independent views about identity theft and corporate responsibility. As a result, it also reports to you about corporate irresponsibility, greed, failure to protect the public and things that we can do to fight for change so that we aren’t “mugged” in thousands of different ways each day. It’s also home to articles that suggest new ways of doing or reviving things that worked in the past. It’s about... Read more
Keeping An Eye On The Bank's Computer
It’s been around 39 years since computers have been keeping the books at banks in America. I say that because the bank I was working for in 1970, now the third largest in the world or maybe number two now, it was in that year that they began computerizing accounts. At the end of the bank day, each bank employee, save the CEO, was given a stack of account files and a stack of data entry forms. We would fill in the data entry form from the account file. Once completed, the forms... Read more
When I was a young boy in the late 1950’s, we had a number of recessions. I can’t compare them to the one we’re experiencing today, but as they say, “When your friend is out of work it’s a recession and when you are out of work it’s a depression”. Back in those days when a man lost his job, it was a true tragedy for the whole family, as in post-World War II America; generally the woman worked in the home caring for the children. The news of a job loss in my neighborhood on New York’s Staten Island spread quickly and quietly. So did the response. Read more
The OTHER Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and President-elect Obama
When I walked in on them one late winter morning in 1974, Dr. King Sr. and his dear wife Alberta were sitting at a table doing what one does at a Church every week, putting the parish bulletin together by hand and getting things ready for the Sunday service. It was just the two of them, no pomp or circumstance, two servants of God doing His work. Dr. Albert Manley, president of Spelman College was kind enough to set up my visit that day to Ebenezer Baptist Church to meet the King’s. Read more
My 2009 America
I ran out of food and money today. It’s a Sunday and I thank God for the many things that I do have that can’t be measured by a scale or calculator. My two wonderful sons, three beautiful grandchildren are the best, as well as the rest of my family and friends that are spread across the country. My medicine begins to run out on Wednesday and I don’t know what I’m going to do about that. Read more
Caroline Kennedy – Privacy Rights Advocate
The 17th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States allows a governor of a state to appoint an individual to the U.S. Senate when the sitting Senator has resigned, died or is unable to continue to serve. This appointed person is temporary and will serve out the remainder of an unexpired term. When the term expires, the seat will become vacant and an election will he held for it. This has been going on since the amendment was ratified by the states in 1913. It has become news in 2009, because... Read more
Willie's Rant - "Cows"
January 2, 2009 - Hi! This morning, I opened my New York Times to find that there’s another crises requiring the attention of the government of the people, by the people and for the people. This time it wasn’t banking, Wall Street, autos or the housing industry with their hands out. No, the industry du jour wanting to feast at the public trough was Milk Cows. Read more
Why Does First Data Know So Much About Consumers?
I'm sure that it is true, as Mr. Capellas states, that he knows more about what we (the American public) are likely to do next than we do ourselves. However, I hope that Mr. Capellas also knows that he and First Data Corporation hold a special trust as the guardians of that information as it represents the most private of American consumer information. Why does First Data know so much? Read more