Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Mortgage Crisis Hits Michael Jackson

I just saw on the news that Michael Jackson (the singer) is going to lose the Neverland Ranch. It's being auctioned off in March because he is way behind in his monthly payments. That wasn't too surprising, since he has said that he didn't intend to live there again, anyway. What is shocking is that he is also behind in his mortgage payments on his home in Encino. That is terrible.

Nowadays a lot of people are giving money to presidential campaigns for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I think that maybe somebody should take up a collection for Michael Jackson. After all, if the presidential candidates can raise so much money so fast (for nothing), why can't Michael? Hillary Clinton's campaign raised $35 million this month. Barack Obama raised $50 million this month. Michael's payoff on Neverland is $25 million. Therefore, it can be done. It's not like a bunch of stars wouldn't come together to make a video or something for him that could be downloaded on iTunes, with most of the proceeds going to the "Save Neverland" fund, or something like that. Or, even the "Save Michael" fund. It would be pathetic if Michael had to ask for free money himself, but not so if a bunch of fans did it. For the Jacksons to lose their Encino home would be terrible. I heard the news about Michael falling behind on his mortgage payments on my local news here in Los Angeles. Losing Neverland isn't such a bad thing- I wonder how much money that property is worth. Losing the house in Encino would be terrible.

Maybe Oprah's "Big Give" people will give Michael Jackson a few months worth of mortgage payments. That would be good. Although, Michael has been the epitomy of people living beyond their means. The poster child. I don't get it, though- he always denies publicly that he's having money problems, and yet doesn't seem to be doing any work to make any money now, and it's always in the news that he's short of funds. Dude, if you want help, you have to ask for it. Admit your problems and ask for help.

If Michael Jackson were to record a short song and put it up on iTunes, and say that a purchase would help him financially, I would buy it to help him out. Would you?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Vote For A Democrat For President. Build Up The Average Person Again.

I was watching online today CNBC's Larry Kudlow rudely trying to beat down Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute, over Jared's defense of Hillary Clinton's proposals to take away the huge tax breaks and subsidies that oil companies, health care companies, and drug companies are receiving from the Bush Administration. Mr. Kudlow is also against Hillary's proposal to regulate the credit card companies as to their policies on charging high interest and high fees. He says that if Hillary or Obama enacts such things, then the U.S. will lose "jobs", and that Hillary is proposing "limiting profits". I don't know about the "jobs" part, but the part about "limiting profits" is a lie. If oil companies are made to pay the same taxes as other companies, that's fair, right? Don't you think so? Why give the oil companies such special treatment? Where is the "limit"? They could still make unlimited profits under Hillary Clinton's Administration. They would only have to pay more tax on those unlimited profits. Everybody wins.

As for "jobs" being lost, what kinds of jobs would those be? Most adults in America (the ones who are not wealthy) need jobs that pay enough for us to live somewhere, provide food and clothing, and some money for them to buy a few nice things. Most people also hope that those jobs provide medical insurance, which is something that everyone needs. A lot of jobs (most jobs) don't provide these things.

The banking industry is one that you can trust, right? It works like this: the U.S. Federal Reserve lends money to the big banks, so that they can lend it to people like you and me. The policies of the banks have lead to this current "crisis" in the mortgage industry. Lots of people are losing their homes now, and cannot pay their bills because the interest rates have gone up on them. Do you think that any one person or group of people was responsible for that? If so, who? Shouldn't a major bank like Chase make more sub-prime loans because Countrywide and Bank of America are doing it? The pressure to do it and thus remain competitive was there. The end result of all those sub-prime loans was something that banks traditionally don't want- and the economy doesn't want- a plethora of foreclosures, eliminated jobs in the mortgage industry, and stalled income from new home loans. Sure, creating the sub-prime loan product created lots of jobs. And lots of salespeople got big bonuses for selling loans to people who couldn't afford them. And other salespeople sold those loans up to Wall Street. It seems that the American banking system and Wall Street has a lot of "sanctioned fraud" going on, in the guise of "free market". Do all businsess transactions that we enter into have to be risky? Can't we trust anybody anymore?

Should any company send their call centers (and thus jobs) overseas in order to cut costs of having American workers? (A company can save a lot of money by doing that. They don't have to pay as much of an hourly wage, and they don't have to pay the Social Security tax for the worker if they eliminate the American job). With the "globalization" that business leaders have been lauding for a few years now, we common American workers are looking and wondering, "what's so great about it so far? The U.S. is not making nearly the amount of products inside the U.S. anymore. Lots of factories have been closed down all over the U.S. in the last 7 years.

I believe that a corporation who hires employees has a responsibility, not only to shareholders, but to the stakeholders as well. Who are the stakeholders? Well, one of the largest stakeholders in a company is the employees. They all have a stake in the survival of a company. Why? Well, because they give the largest portion of their time- a large percentage of their lifetime- to that company. Eight hours a day, for several years, is devotion. You stake your income, your paycheck, your pension, on that company. If your competitor moves jobs overseas to cut costs, smart business principles dictate that you must remain competitive with your competition in order for your company to survive, and the pressure for the company to do what their competitor did is overwhelming. For any one company to eliminate jobs here in the U.S. in order to re-create those same jobs in another country is downright unpatriotic, if you ask me.

It is one thing to open a new plant overseas to supplement a growing business that your company has overseas for a growing consumer base overseas. That's great- it means that a company is truly becoming global, and truly creating jobs . But when a company eliminates workers here to give those jobs to lower-paid foreign workers, that's not creating jobs. It's simply doing harm to America and its workers, and it shows no honor on the part of the management of those companies, and on the part of lawmakers who allow such things. Decisions like these by large corportations are often done hastily, and usually done for the sake of stockholders, not stakeholders.

The challenge for American companies and lawmakers: to preserve jobs. To modify current jobs to meet the demands of the future. To preserve the dignity of the workers. To preserve the security of the worker. To adequately compensate the worker.

There is one unfortunate but necessary mantra in today's society: don't trust anyone. Not your employer. Not your banker. Not the people on TV like on certain TV shows where people lie to you all the time (if anyone lies to me once and I catch them, I never trust them again anyway). You have to watch your own ass. You better have a plan B, C and D.

Hillary Clinton is proposing to put America back in the right direction, and by that, I mean the correct direction. Americans are living paycheck to paycheck now more than ever, and more people today than ever are a paycheck or two from being out on the street. If Hillary or Obama can get into the White House, they surely will face lots of brutal, sneaky, partisan attacks from the right-wing folks, many of whom are outlined in Al Franken's book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them". It was truly amazing that when Bill Clinton was in the White House, he managed to get so many good things accomplished despite all the personal attacks that were going on against him at the time- Whitewater, the Jennifer Flowers trial, the Monica Lewinsky embarrassment, and the impeachment hearings. Despite all that, plus more, he managed to leave the U.S. economy and the U.S. military in great shape for the future. It took a tremendous, unbelievable overhaul by the current administration to screw it up. I feel that Hillary has seen it all in terms of what kind of political opposition that she will face as she tries to pull off what she proposes. I believe that she can do what she says she can do. I know that she already has some brilliant people who would come with her if she makes it back into the White House. Bill Clinton would be there, too, contributing in some way, but Hillary would be the one calling the shots. She's done great for New York, and I know she'd be great as the President. Way better than the one we have now. I like Obama, too. I'm sure that he would also assemble a good administration were he to become the President.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Online Beggar Looking For Online Donations!

The bible says, "Seek and you shall find". Successful people often say that if you want something, you have to ask for it. Well, the internet is as good a place as any to "put it out there", so I'm putting it out there: I want money. I don't care if you give me one cent, $5 or $50,000 at one time, or even more. I just want money, and I'm accepting free contributions right here on my site through my Pay Pal account. Please give at least one dollar, though, please.

I attended a seminar with a motivational speaker recently, and he said that he learned a valuable lesson when he was working as a waiter. A very wealthy man asked him how much of a tip that he thought he deserved. This speaker, Jeff, said that he thought he deserved $150 as a tip. The guy gave him a $100 tip, but told him that if he had said $10,000, he would have received that much as a tip. So go ahead, donate $10,000 to me!

I accept money via Credit Card, Master Card, Visa, Discover and Diner's Club, and from your bank account through Pay Pal. Off to the right of this posting is a Pay Pal button, where you can donate money to me.

Lots of people are donating money to Barack Obama's campaign, to Hillary Clinton's campaign, and even to John McCain's campaign. I am looking for money to go into my bank account, so that I can pay off all my credit card debt. I'm not looking to be known as an online beggar, but hey, people waste money all the time- a little coffee here, a little candy there, etc. If I can inspire you to save ANY money for yourself at all this week, then please donate some money to me here. Please, do it now!

There are plenty of people who are sick and dying, and have lots of money but don't want to leave it to their family. Others are super wealthy, like Warren Buffett, and have so much money that they give it to huge charities, but not to individual people who need help. Well, Mr. Buffett and anyone else who is wealthy, please listen: donate enough money just to help me get out of debt. My goal is to go back to school and get an advanced degree, either a PhD in Mathematics, a JD degree, or an Master of Business Administration degree. Of course, any and all money I receive, over and above paying off the debt, will go toward school.

So, everyone reading this, please donate to me, any amount, large or small, and I will send you an email to acknowledge it if you leave me your email address. That is all! And read my blog- I will let you know my progress!

Thank you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Disney Parks Will Blossom, Thanks To Imagineering!

Wow, I just found out about 2 great things coming to Disney's American theme parks. Disneyland will open the "House of the Future" in May, in a collaboration with Microsoft, Hewlett Packard and a couple of other companies. Walt Disney World will open an "American Idol Live" show, where theme park guests at the Disney Studios can audition and compete for a spot on the popular television show.

Disneyland's new "House of the Future" will bring a new take on a former Disney attraction. In 1957, Disneyland previewed "Monsanto's House of the Future", where the house and almost all materials were entirely made of plastic. That attraction ran for 10 years at Disneyland. I heard that the house wasn't really large, though.

The new concept for the "House of the Future" sounds exciting. On the outside, the house will look just like any modern house that you can find in any American city. On the inside, however, the house will feature modern and futuristic technologies and home furnishings. I can't wait to see what fruit will bear in this attraction. From what I've read, this house will be about 5,000 square feet.

In 2009, the Disney Studios Theme Park at Walt Disney World will unveil an "American Idol" attraction, where guests can audition and "show their stuff" in front of a live audience. While all details have not been worked out yet about how this show will work, this is clear: this show will generate lots of excitement, and lots of guest participation. This show in being done in conjuction with Freemantle Media, which produces the "American Idol" television show on the Fox Network. This collaboration is a brilliant move on the part of both companies.

Going back to Disneyland in California, something else exciting is being built at the Disneyland Resort: the Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Resort, a Disney Vacation Club Resort. Ground has already been broken on this new project, and this addition to Disney's Grand Californian Hotel is going up in earnest. Disney Vacation Club members will have first dibs on booking rooms at this new DVC Resort, which will be Disney Vacation Club's first ever Resort in California. DVC Resorts are even better than hotel rooms, for they provide the comforts of home. The larger the unit, the more comforts. Disneyland now has a show where you can preview these units- ask a Disney Vacation Club Cast Member for details.

Another exciting thing going on at the Disneyland Resort is at California Adventure Theme Park. Disney is going to invest $1 billion into remodeling and expanding the park! There will be a whole new area based on the Disney-Pixar movie, "Cars", as well as other grand additions.

All of the things mentioned here have been announced within the last 2 months. I'm really excited about the projects that Disney has on its slate, and I can't wait to experience them all!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

For Rent: 2- Bedroom Vacation Home Unit at Oak Plantation Resort, June 15-22, 2008, for $800

Do you want to go to Walt Disney World in Florida on vacation with your family or some friends? If so, you will want to stay in a nice place. While Disney does offer great resorts to stay at, it can be quite expensive to stay there.

Why not stay at the Oak Plantation Resort, located in Kissimmee, Florida? It's a very nice, quiet, beautiful and modern resort. It's located close to Walt Disney World. I currently am renting out my 2-bedroom Time Share unit at Oak Plantation Resort for the week of June 15 to June 22, 2008 (one week, checking in on Sunday June 15). I am asking $800, firm.

The unit which I have for rent is located in a prime spot at the Resort. I frankly feel that I have one of the best locations, in one of the best times to visit Walt Disney World. My unit is located upstairs, so that you overlook the pool area. It's also conveniently located near the resort's General Store. The unit has 2 bedrooms, a washer and dryer, 2 bathrooms, and a nice-sized living room (with a sleeper sofa), and a dining area. The unit will accomodate up to 8 people comfortably. There is also a really cool, full kitchen. There are ceiling fans in the unit, as well as air conditioning. The Resort is located 8 miles from Walt Disney World, and is also located very close to nice restaurants and other attractions. The Resort also offers a Game Room, Excercise Room, Tennis Court and Basketball Court. This Resort has a lot to offer for a great vacation. I am offering this unit for 1 full week, at $800 total.

Why rent from me? Well, you will be getting one of the best locations at the resort. You will not only save on the cost of renting such a room (you will save over $200 by renting from me), you will also not have to pay tax on top of the room rates that the Resort quotes you. I have owned this unit during this week since the Resort opened, and I have used it several times.

For details about this Rental Offering, please call David Ransom in Los Angeles at (323)393-5822.

Thank you.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I am pissed. I watched "The View" and Whoopi said that she was voting for Barack Obama because he was the first one to say that he wanted to take away tax breaks for companies that sent U.S. jobs overseas. Well, look what I discovered on You Tube just now! I actually voted for Obama because of what Whoopi said. I didn't catch this episode, where she retracted (a day after voting took place) and endorsed Hillary! Whoopi pointed out that Hillary actually said the same thing in May of 2007.

Anyway, I can't help but think that a lot of people voting for Obama were like me, kind of on the fence until Whoopi spoke up. Oh, well...I hope Hillary gets the Presidential nomination. Check it out!

Natalie Cole Hatin' On Amy Winehouse After the Grammys

Tonight on KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, signing legend Natalie Cole, who presented at the Grammy Awards, said that Amy Winehouse should not have won the Grammy for Best Record, or any of her other 4 Grammys won, because "she should not be rewarded for bad behavior". Miss Cole, who years ago suffered her own cocaine addiction, said that Miss Winehouse should have won some years in the future, after she has cleaned herself up. Does that mean that Natalie should give back all the awards that SHE won due to HER drug use after she won awards. What's being judged here: the musical aspects, or the person's personal life? Leave Amy Winehouse alone!

Next, KCBS interviewed the wonderful singer Josh Groban, who said that Amy Winehouse deserved the award. Well said, Josh! I love your voice, your music, your hair and your non-judgemental spirit!

Personally, I loved the performance of the song, "Rehab", which, quite frankly, I had never heard until the Grammys broadcast. It's edgy and Amy Winehouse really looked good performing it.

Yes, I'm not much of an MTV person anymore- my enthusiasm for it kind of died out sometime before N'SYNC broke up. And Michael Jackson being accused of molesting that bratty kid didn't help it for me, either. Not because I think that Michael did it- it's just that he was SO STUPID to even allow himself to have been in that situation again. Big idiot.

Beyonce looked really hot tonight, along with Tina Turner. Little Richard has still got it, too. I think that HE should tour, like Garth Brooks.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Torn Between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

I am so torn between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic Primary today. i don't know what I'm going to do.

I got so pumped up at the rally on Sunday at Pauley Pavillion on the UCLA campus. Michelle Obama said to vote for Barack and that as President, he will show us from day one that we made the right choice. She was so impassioned, that out of every person on that stage Sunday, she was by far the most convincing. I do like Barack Obama.

Then, there's Hillary. I saw her in November at a little backyard party in my neighborhood in Los Angeles. I was stoked to see her and to hear her in person. I have always liked her, and got an ever bigger appreciation for her when I read her book, "Living History" years ago.

One thing is for sure: I really believe that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton really believe that America crucially needs each of them as President, and I can't help but think that each one is correct. If at least one of them does not become the next President, I will seriously contemplate moving to another country (that's where all the good jobs seem to be going, anyway!). I don't think that will happen, though. Too many people are pissed off now, and more people are paying attention.

Anyway, I thought that I'd made up my mind to vote for Barack Obama, but I still feel a strange loyalty to Hillary Clinton. I wish that I could vote for both. I'll decide in a few hours how I will vote.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

What Happened at UCLA's Pauley Pavillion Today with Oprah, Caroline Kennedy, and Michelle Obama

Today I went to Pauley Pavillion at UCLA with my Mother. We got there around 12 noon. There were plenty of seats. There was lots of media. We tried to sit where we wanted- a simple seat on the side, not on the floor level, but on the next level up. We were not allowed to sit just there, because they wanted to fill all the seats behind the podium. After a while of waiting, we finally got to sit where we wanted (we weren't trying to be on TV. We simply wanted easy access to the restroom).

The State Assembly Speaker spoke, the mayor of Pomona spoke, and another person who I don't remember her position spoke. A 94-year-old Korean-American lady who was a Navy veteran also spoke about the changes that have taken place in America also.

Finally, Caroline Kennedy came out and spoke. She was nice. Her speech was OK- she was nice and likeable, but there was no passion in her speech, I thought.

Then Oprah Winfrey came out and spoke. Boy, was she passionate. She said that a lot of her friends told her that she was betraying women by voting for Barack. Other people told her that she was voting for Obama because he is black. To both sets of people, she told them that she was insulted for them thinking that way. She said that she is independent minded, and can make her own decisions. She is now free to do that. She gave an impassioned speech about freedom to dream about change, and to actually make those changes. Next, she turned the floor over to Michelle Obama.

Michelle came onto the stage with Stevie Wonder, who was holding her hand. Michelle tripped a little climbing onto the stage, causing Stevie to actually fall over (and almost fall off) the stage! It was horrifying, but I think they were both OK. Oprah hugged Stevie as he came up to the stage. Michelle introduced Stevie and asked him to speak.

Stevie said that he came out to show support for Obama, and he gave the audience a little melody with lyrics, "Barack Obama" to remember. Stevie mentioned that he had rallied for years for Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday to be a holiday, and now it is. He also pointed out that he rallied for an end to apartheid in South Africa and the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, and it happened. Now Stevie wishes for Barack Obama to be our presidential candidate in November.

Next, Michelle Obama came out and gave an impassioned speech. She talked about growing up in the south side of Chicago. She said that her father was hard-working, living in a time where you could get a factory job, with decent pay and benefits, and as long as you worked hard, you could make a living. She also said that he parents stressed getting an education as a means to succeed. She and her sister got their college educations and succeeded. Michelle met Barack Obama in law school. She pointed out that she and Barack have both worked with real, average, poor people- men and women- in Chicago at first, and then all over the state. Barack Obama ran for public office and moved up slowly, now being a state senator in Illinois. Michelle says that Barack has been attacked by all kind of people who want to discredit him. She says that he is credible, he has solid integrity, he listens to all people, he respects all people and their feelings, he knows what it is like to struggle financially, and he knows what the average American's struggle is. Michelle was so effective and impassioned in her speech that I believe that she may have convinced me to vote for her husband. At the conclusion of her speech, Michelle introduced a final, surprise guest.

The surpise guest was Maria Shriver (a.k.a. Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger), who also fired up the audience. She said that "as California goes, so does the nation". She said that Barack Obama is a lot like the state of California: diverse, leader, dreamer, and a few other things that I don't remember.

As the rally adjourned, Pauley Pavillion was filled with excitement, and people were motivated. I was excited. A lady that I spoke to said that I have to read Chapter 5 of "The Audacity of Hope". I will go to the bookstore tomorrow and do that!

I'm now at a crossroads. I love Hillary Clinton, but Barack Obama and his beautiful wife Michelle have given me more hope that possibly I can help America get back on track to keeping jobs here, bringing back good benefits, and being able to make a living in America. I have some serious thinking to do before voting this time! One thing I do know: Obama is truly brilliant. I'd like to see a President who will be able to cut through the bullshit and tell it like it really is to Congress for average Americans.

I Might Go See Barack Obama, Oprah and Caroline Kennedy at Pauley Pavillion Today

My mother called me on the phone this morning at about 9:40AM. "I'm sorry to wake you, but Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey and Caroline Kennedy are going to be at UCLA at 1PM today, and it's free".

"Cool", I said. "The Super Bowl ususally starts around 3PM or 3:30, so that's just enough time to do both". So, I woke up a little early on a rainy Sunday, and I will have breakfast at my mother's house. We will probably drive over to UCLA and see if we can get in, and I will finally get to see Oprah (first and foremost), and it will be nice to see Obama. I'm a Hillary person, but I do like Obama and I support him all the way up til when it comes down between him and Hillary. I've never seen Caroline Kennedy in person, either. As you may have read in a previous post, I saw Hillary in a backyard gathering about 2 months ago, and that was fun.