And if you wonder why Dayton is losing jobs…

Just give Jules Opperman a call. She opened the small gelato shop in the Oregon district that I absolutely loved. She decided the Oregon District parking hassles and walking traffic weren’t her best option and found a new space on Brown Street- right across from Burger King. 900 square feet that has been a bicycle shop, a hip clothing store, a retro furniture shop and was to be her new home for her business with it’s 5 or 6 employees.

It’s been headache after headache from the permit process people, and she’s ready to look elsewhere. So, if you are wondering why Dolcessa ain’t in Dayton when it reopens somewhere else, you can ask your City Commissioners what they did to simplify processes in city hall, and instill a customer oriented ethos in dealing with potential employers.

But you won’t be eating gelato on Brown Street :-(

Fed cuts rates again- and it won’t help.

What happens when the Fed can’t cut interest rates anymore? We’re getting really close to finding that out. No, wait, isn’t that sort of what the Bush administration “Stimulus package” is- when we borrow money from future generations, and hand it out for free?

The Fed cut interest rates again today, and you should be wondering what Ben Bernanke is smoking. The US imports more than it exports, and with a weaker dollar, cost of living will begin to skyrocket. No matter how much they cut the interest rate, it’s not getting passed down to consumers fast enough or even passed at all.

Reactive economic policy is never a good idea, since macro economics are a long term art, not a short term tactic. Instead of stepping in and forcing the banks to cut rates to consumers who are already deeply in debt, with high interest revolving credit- he’s playing with the rates that are only available to the A+ credit people, the ones who already have money and aren’t getting foreclosed on. My economic stimulus plan wouldn’t have cost the government a cent, compared to this catastrophic path we’re headed down.

Fed cuts rates again in bid to stave off recession – Jan. 30, 2008
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Faced with growing risks of recession, the Federal Reserve made its second deep interest-rate cut in a week and slashed a key short-term rate by a half-percentage point Wednesday.

U.S. stocks, which had been slightly lower ahead of the announcement, surged on news of the rate cut but ended lower after a volatile final two hours of trading.

The federal funds rate – an overnight bank lending rate that affects how much interest consumers pay on credit cards, home equity lines of credit and auto loans – was cut to 3.0% from 3.5%. The rate had stood at 5.25% only four months ago.

The discount rate, which is what banks pay to borrow directly from the Fed, was also cut by a half-point to 3.5% on Wednesday. The cut was made at the request of nine of the nation’s 12 Federal Reserve district bank presidents.

The Fed slashed both rates by three-quarters of a percentage point in an emergency move on Jan. 22….

The rate cuts were necessary because problems in the credit markets were putting a squeeze on both consumers and businesses, the Fed said. It added that it sees growing weakness in both the job market and the battered housing market.

“Today’s policy action, combined with those taken earlier, should help to promote moderate growth over time and to mitigate the risks to economic activity,” according to the statement. “However, downside risks to growth remain.”

The Fed also appeared to hint that it will keep cutting rates if the economy shows more signs of decline.

“The committee will continue to assess the effects of financial and other developments on economic prospects and will act in a timely manner as needed to address those risks,” the statement said….

“Given where the Fed says the risks lie, you have to ask yourself, ‘Are financials markets going be all that less stressed by March?'” he said. “I think the answer to that is, ‘Probably not.'”

But economists who are concerned about inflation criticized the Fed move, and its apparent lack of attention to price pressures.

“Higher prices are coming, even if the economy slows to a crawl,” said Rich Yamarone, director of economic research at Argus Research. “We’ve seen price increases in company announcements, in our grocery bills and in the economic data. The Fed is telling you they’re going to watch it because that’s in their mandate. But I think they’ll turn a blind eye to that.”

The rate cuts came on a day the government reported that economic growth slowed significantly in the last three months of 2007, matching its weakest performance of the past five years. It also comes as Congress rushes to pass a $150 billion economic stimulus package to spur spending by both consumers and businesses.

I added the bold italics. The banks made bad decisions when giving high risk creditors loans at high rates. The entire housing market is collapsing, with foreclosures in Ohio going up 88% since last year. Revolving debt isn’t being reduced, and it’s all interconnected. By a simple forced reset of the Adjustable Rate Mortgages immediately, many home owners housing costs would be hundreds of dollars less per month, thus freeing up money to pay down higher interest revolving credit card debt. Re-regulating credit card rates, with a cap of 19%- still giving banks a 15% return on their money, would also help consumers faced with mounting bills, and higher gas prices- and gas price pass-throughs (since everything we buy is shipped by truck) to get their bills under control.

Banks haven’t shown a willingness to either refinance at lower rates to anyone but the most credit worthy. This is why the rate cuts aren’t going to solve any problems. BTW: my opponent, Jane Mitakides supports the current stimulus package and didn’t think it went far enough. I guess that would make her a tax and spend Democrat, just like the tax and spend Republican, Mike Turner, that she hopes to replace who also supported this boondoggle “stimulus” solution.

DDN endorses Mitakides, barely

With their normal, negative bent, the Eddie Roth-less editorial board begins their “endorsement” talking about losing. Of course, they would have said the same thing about Abraham Lincoln, but no matter. They then go on to say that Turner is unbeatable. Next comes that Jane Mitakides raised impressive amounts of money last time she got spanked with 38% of the vote.

Then they get to me, again, with a negative bent starting with one inaccuracy after another. It’s almost embarrassing that they call themselves a “newspaper.”

My first race was for Mayor- same time as Turner, who wasn’t a contender, until Mayor Dixon took me outside to attack me (the “scuffle” that the paper brought up) for asking where the money was coming from for his campaign. After that, the paper finally took off the gloves, and attacked Dixon as unfit for his questionable job performance at the Dayton Public Schools (where he was taking sick days while traveling on City business). Turner won that election by a mere 400 votes. The DDN goes on to say “Mr. Esrati is also the fellow who later wore ninja masks to city commission meetings in protest of certain rules” – leaving out that 5 courts found me right, and Turner wrong in that case. They make it seem like I did it many times, although, it was only twice, and the second time was to remind the Commission that citizen voices must not be silenced.

Obama poster: Esrati Endorsed Me“Online, Mr. Esrati has said that when he takes those tests one sees occasionally about which presidential candidate one shares the most views with, he comes up with Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich. He thinks this is mainly because of his views on Iraq. He says the war there was “concocted to bloster the bottom line of the military industrial complex.”” At least I have a site and say something. However, attempting to line me up with Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, although I clearly state I support Obama is just another attempt to make me seem more of a fringe element. At least the smart people of OH-3 will see that I have enough balls to say something substantial, and they can find information on my site. Try that on their endorsed candidates site: Jane08.com When OHDave asked Jane who she backed– all she could come up with is the party line: “In the Presidential race, I’m supporting the Democrats!”

“He approaches the online world with relish. He is better cut out for blogging than legislating.” is their final dig. Heaven forbid, we have a candidate who actually communicates with his constituency.

They skip over Sanders, who was 30 minutes late to the meeting (which they didn’t mention) and then say Jane “Mitakides is the natural choice of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, which has endorsed her” even though the party refused to endorse her in December, and then chose her last week when they realized I was their only other choice- and I refuse to kow-tow to the unions which make up 50% of the secret society screening committee.

The paper goes on with Ms. Mitakides complaints about Turner supporting the president (he’s a Republican, isn’t that what he’s supposed to do?), that she’s a NRA supporter, and that she wouldn’t be as partisan as Turner- which means what? She’ll vote with the Republican’s more often?

Even though Jane Mitakides couldn’t get a web site up for almost a month after she turned in her petitions, and young voters have been turning out in droves (they all get their info from the ‘net) the DDN still thinks that “if the Democrats are to have any hope of giving Rep. Turner a run, they need a candidate who starts with at least the Democratic base relatively united behind her. Ms. Mitakides, though her credentials aren’t great – lacking local involvement – is the best bet.”

Wow. With an endorsement like that, who needs it?

One last thing- the DDN doesn’t even bother to put the endorsement on their site- which meant I had to waste even more time retyping their drivel. They are almost as on-top of this new-fangled-internet thing as my Grandmother (who died in 1995).

UPDATE

Finally found the link- it’s so long I’m just making a link here. Here is the link to the support letters that they published.
A second “last thing”- (Steve Jobs II here)- if you want to write a letter to the editor, now is the time- 200 words or less preferred, addressed to [email protected] Make sure you include all contact info- address, phone, e-mail and REAL NAME (Juan, Gene, Pedro etc.)

Jared Diamond must have seen the Esrati Priceless video

Jared Diamond won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for “Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies” and tonight he spoke at Wright State.

In the middle of his presentation, he talked about his worries of a growing economic divide in this country- and how the wealthy have insulated themselves from the common people. I was immediately thinking of my “Priceless video” that I posted a few weeks back. This same issue has brought previous societies to their knees, just as it is beginning to undermine our country.

Here is a quote from another site, that recounted his position:

t r u t h o u t – Jared Diamond | The Ends of the World as We Know Them
Why weren’t these problems obvious to the Maya kings, who could surely see their forests vanishing and their hills becoming eroded? Part of the reason was that the kings were able to insulate themselves from problems afflicting the rest of society. By extracting wealth from commoners, they could remain well fed while everyone else was slowly starving.

What’s more, the kings were preoccupied with their own power struggles. They had to concentrate on fighting one another and keeping up their images through ostentatious displays of wealth. By insulating themselves in the short run from the problems of society, the elite merely bought themselves the privilege of being among the last to starve.

I had the honor of asking the first question. It related to my current poll on the sidebar on the right of this page. When presented with many issues to solve, how do we find the correct root issue, and how do we get leaders that will prioritize them correctly? His answer was simple, we vote. I didn’t want to rebuke him, but, it seems voting in the last two presidential elections is part of what got us into the predicament we’re in.

I have strong feelings that my “magic wand” poll isn’t going to give us the right “root issue” as a priority, but I hope to be proved wrong. I look forward to the debate once we have enough answers to be statistically more significant.

I’m looking forward to reading my autographed copy of “Guns, Germs and Steel”- but it probably won’t be until after the primary.

Getting rich failing: Only in America

Saw this in the Dayton Business Journal today:

Countrywide CEO to voluntarily give up $37.5M in severance – Dayton Business Journal:
The chief executive of Countrywide Financial Corp. says he will give up $37.5 million in cash severance and other perks he would have gained from the company’s acquisition by Bank of America Corp.

Countrywide said Angelo Mozilo remains a substantial stockholder and an employee. His shares and equity awards will be treated in the merger in the same manner as those of all other shareholders and employees.

“My primary focus today — as it has been for the past 40 years — is to do what is in the best interests of Countrywide’s employees, customers and shareholders,” Mozilo said. “I believe this decision is the right thing to do as Countrywide works toward the successful completion of the merger with Bank of America.”

Note, I wrote about this same loser before: his total package was $115 million, so giving up $37.5 isn’t exactly a huge setback. A lot of people lost their jobs because of him (if you believe CEO’s are as pivotal to the success of a company as their pay would seem to indicate).

If there is any class of people who deserve to be in prison, Angelo Mozilo should be one of the poster children. Sending an entire segment of the economy into a tailspin because of unregulated banking and profiteering is far more heinous  than selling a few ounces of crack.

It’s OK that the Montgomery County Democratic Party endorsed Jane Mitakides for Congress

As of today, the slightly behind the times party still has Richard Chema as their candidate on the site.

Apparently they also sent out an e-mail saying they “Unanimously endorsed Jane Mitakides for Congress” however, since the vote of the screening committee which made the endorsement, was behind closed doors- we’ll never know if that was the case. As to the Central Committee endorsement, in public, yes, they all agreed. I guess donkeys move in herds too.

Ohio Montgomery County Democratic Party
Richard Chema for 3rd Congressional District

220 Brown St., Dayton 45402

HQ #: 937-223-5460

www.chemaforcongress.com

[email protected]

Screenshot from Montgomery County Dem site endorsing 2006 Candidate Richard Chema for congress (in 2008)

On Craigslist, a supporter: David Esrati : I remember him

Found this on Craigslist- and thought it was worth sharing. I think it sums up why I’m in this campaign.

David Esrati : I remember him
Yeah I remember David. Laugh if you will, but I am sick and tired of the “business as usual” pols.

Ahhh… let me gaze into my crystal ball. Whether you are Dem or Rebub, you’ll end up with two choices, both created by equally corrupt machines.

Later that Tuesday night, you’ll watch which “team” wins, really not content with the outcome other than the fact your “team” won.

I’ve just come back from David Esrati’s website. I think I’m going to support him (being a stauch repub, that means something). Why? Because even though he does not support my views 100%, I think that he will pursue with passion what he feels is right, NOT what he feels obligated to based on who funneled tons to cash to his committee. Admit it, both big name machines are beholden to their own devils. Unions, Big Oil, Hollywood, Defense, etc.

Yeah, I’m willing to take a risk with my vote. But I won’t be risking how I feel by casting it.

Mr. Esrati, good luck in your campaign. I will be supporting you.

I’m not a huge fan of anonymous posts, but, I’ll take reviews where I can get them.

I’m now a plain-spoken iconoclast! And I give good YouTube, just like Obama.

It’s nice to see some people getting the message from my campaign, Ohio Daily Blog says the following:

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races | Ohio Daily Blog – A Community Blog On Ohio Politics And Public Affairs
Esrati Likes Obama, Gives Good YouTube – Dayton activist/blogger/candidate David Esrati (D) continues to provide the news and entertainment in this race. Blogger OhDave of Into My Own has a great interview with the plain-spoken, iconoclastic Esrati…

Esrati on prisons

A Dayton cop once told me a story that they swear is true. A man walked into a mini-mart, pointed a gun at the cashier, said “this is a robbery, call the police.” The police arrived, he put the gun down, was put in the cruiser, where he said, “I’m having a heart attack take me to the hospital.” He had no health insurance, and needed expensive medical care- so jail was the solution.

It’s absolutely crazy that convicts can have guaranteed rights that the rest of us don’t- like health care.

Right now I know three people in prison. I don’t know how common that is, but, the reality is, the United States has more inmates per capita than any other industrialized country.

All three of my felon friends are more of a threat to themselves than to society, and this is a rising trend. Two were drunk and stupid, one was on parole and went on a crack binge. Of the three, one most definitely owes a debt to society since his drunk and reckless driving resulted in the death of one of his friends, but, the young man is going to have constant reminders of that one stupid night because of the toll it took on his body. Yes, he has a debt to repay, but is prison really the answer? Should he instead be sentenced to a lifetime of public service instead of 2 years in a cell with 3 squares and a cot?

When I was in the Army, they would still accept problem children as a diversion program. The judge would say, you’ve got a choice, prison or the Army, and the recruiters made their quota by hanging out at the courthouse. From what I hear, that’s no longer an option. The service won’t  take society’s cast-aways.

There are serious costs involved in keeping prisons full. Besides the health-care costs, it’s more expensive to send a kid to prison than it is to pay for college, and the long-term costs are even greater when former felons find the job market is considerably smaller for convicts.

Convicts also get released with additional obstacles. When whisked off to jail, you don’t get to cancel your cell phone contract, pay off credit cards, car loans, etc. So, re-establishing fundamental necessities can be overwhelming. Something as simple as car insurance is now a high-risk proposition, just because you haven’t carried insurance for the last couple of years. The deck is stacked against the newly free. I’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is to get back on your feet, and this is part of the reason recidivism is also high.

There is a difference between prisons too. Some offer no counseling, training, education options while others, both within the same state, allow an inmate to achieve 99% of an associate’s degree, so that they are well prepared to make changes once released.

Other countries require a year to 18 months of service upon graduating from high school, either in the military or in a civilian public works program. The University of Dayton has integrated a very strong “service program” into its undergraduate program as a fundamental part of the education process. There is no doubt that programs like this can build a better citizen.

This country can’t continue to build prisons and create ex-cons who will forever be under-employed. It’s time that we introduce new programs to divert first-time offenders and create more cost-effective proactive programs to instill social skills and values into our future generations.

Along with a national year of service requirement, I would prefer to see public service programs developed where first-time, non-violent offenders work for the greater good as a way to pay their debt. These programs would be run along with alcohol and drug intervention programs, GED completion courses and trade apprenticeship programs.

Locking them up and throwing away the key is really just throwing away lives that could still be turned around. I’m looking forward to May when my favorite inmate gets out from his second 3-year term (he’ll be 31) and we can see the difference between doing time where he was shoveling pig manure the first 3, and getting an associate’s degree with a 3.98 GPA the second time.

We can’t afford to keep this revolving door in operation anymore.

New poll on Esrati.com

If you could change one thing with a magic wand, what would it be?

Yes, I’m giving you three choices- so we can see which are the most important issues- to a smaller sample and make the poll more significant.

I’m not looking for nitty-gritty how it would happen- I’m giving you a magic wand- and *voila* it’s fixed to your liking. Poll is in the sidebar on the right, under Categories. Have at it.