Monday, October 13, 2014

Census Bureau Worker Blows The Whistle On The Employment Report

NY Post
John Crudele

A field supervisor in the Census Bureau’s Denver region has informed her organization’s higher-ups, the head of the Commerce Department and congressional investigators that she believes economic data collected by her office is being falsified.

And this whistleblower — who asked that I not identify her — said her bosses in Denver ignored her warnings even after she provided details of wrongdoing by three different survey takers.

The three continued to collect data even after she reported them.

When I spoke with this whistleblower earlier this year as part of my investigation of Census, she told me that hundreds of interviews that go into the Labor Department’s unemployment rate and inflation surveys would miraculously be completed just hours before deadline.

The implication was that someone with the ability to fill in the blanks on incomplete surveys was doing just that.

The Denver whistleblower also provided to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform the names of other Census workers who can spill the beans about data fraud in other regions.

Census is broken up into six regions. Cheating has already been proven in the Philadelphia region. And with this whistleblower’s letter, Census authorities now have allegations that the same kind of nonsense was going on in Denver — that office covers Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming

The Oversight Committee recently completed a report along with the Joint Economic Committee of Congress that verified one case of falsification in the Philly office. But the committee said it couldn’t prove or disprove that there was a nationwide pattern of data fraud because Commerce — which oversees Census — had “obstructed” its investigation.

“There are serious issues within the Census Bureau Denver regional office management and I feel it’s time that you are made aware of them,” the whistleblower wrote on Sept. 30 to Penny Pritzker, the head of Commerce, and Wayne Hatcher, associate director of Census Field operations.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Downsize Your Life at Retirement


Louis G. Scatigna, CFP | Friday, October 03, 2014

Great Article by Lou Scatigna

For many people, retirement is the Promised Land. It’s a time they always dreamed of when they no longer have to work and will finally have time to do as they please. To reach their goal, they played by the book: they saved, invested, and built up nice retirement funds. Now, after years of putting their families first, they get to focus on themselves and do what they want. Or so they think.

Retirees often struggle because retirement can be a dramatic change. It’s not just trading a career for a life of leisure, action for inaction, and large paychecks for smaller dividends. It can involve less excitement, responsibilities, challenges, growth, and prestige. All of a sudden, you’re not so busy or constantly making important decisions. You’re no longer in the center of all the action, but on the sidelines, out of the game. You’re not surrounded by dynamic, stimulating people who you like and admire and not doing what you are so expert at.

To ease the transition, many people try to keep other aspects of their lives at the same level they enjoyed when they were working and their incomes were at their peaks. To fill the gaps, they try to live full, wonderful lives by remaining active, eating well, taking courses, entertaining, and traveling.

When you retire, your life will be different, you won’t have the same needs. So it’s essential to make adjustments so you can get the most out of your life. Since your income will be reduced, downsize the parts of your life that you no longer need. Downsizing will save you money, time, and aggravation.

The most important item to downsize is your home, because in retirement, housing expenses are usually the largest item in your budget. When you retire, your choice of housing will determine your lifestyle. The lower your housing costs, the more money you will have available for other things.

Most retirees don’t need to live in big houses with lots of rooms; it can be an expensive luxury. The bigger the home, the more it costs to maintain. Plus, it takes much more work, which many retirees can no longer do. In addition to larger mortgage payments or rents, bigger homes usually have higher property taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance, and utility costs.

The money for those additional costs could be used to improve your lifestyle during your retirement years.

Although downsizing their homes will improve their financial health, many retirees can’t make the move. They’re comfortable in their homes and may have strong emotional ties and wonderful memories. For years, their home was the center of their lives, the nest where they raised their family and the scene of many memorable events. They know all their neighbors and consider them friends.

Many retirees spent years improving their homes and making them exactly the way they wanted. They landscaped, planted trees, and added extra rooms. Frequently, they did a lot of the work themselves. Now that their homes are finally completed, they don’t want to leave. Many feel deeply rooted and too old to move. So they stay put.
Unfortunately, many retirees are trapped in their expensive homes. After they pay their living expenses, they have no money left to enjoy anything else in their lives.

If retirees downsize by selling their homes and buying or renting smaller, less expensive ones, it can free substantial amounts of money that they can invest to generate income. Since many have lived in their homes for years, they have built up a lot of equity that can be earning money for them.

When my father retired, my parents had the choice to continue living in the family home or moving to a smaller residence. Had they stayed in their house, virtually all of their income would have been spent paying for and maintaining their home. It would have cut down on what they could do and they would never have been able to travel or expand their lives.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

"Dawn Of Libya" Islamist Militia Group Seizes US Embassy In Tripoli, Holds Pool Party

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/31/2014 12:50 -0400

Probably the ‘oddest’ headline of the day but in yet another show of disdain towards US military might, the Islamist militia group known as "Dawn Of Libya" has ‘secured’ an annex of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. As Reuters reports, the United States evacuated its embassy in Tripoli on July 26, driving diplomats across the border into Tunisia; but a YouTube video showed the breach of the vacated diplomatic facility by an armed group, with fighters seen milling around a swimming pool. A rebel takeover of the compound would now deliver another symbolic blow to U.S. policy toward Libya, which Western governments fear is teetering toward becoming a failed state.
Members of a Libyan rebel militia have entered an annex of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli but have not broken into the main compound where the United States evacuated all of its staff last month, a U.S. official said on Sunday.
It was not immediately known how close the annex, apparently made up of diplomatic residences, is to the embassy itself. Libya has been rocked by the worst factional violence since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi.
The United States evacuated its embassy in Tripoli on July 26, driving diplomats across the border into Tunisia. A rebel takeover of the compound would now deliver another symbolic blow to U.S. policy toward Libya, which Western governments fear is teetering toward becoming a failed state.

Russia demands publication of recordings from downed flight MH17

The data from the black boxes should be published, says Russia's deputy defence minister, saying the 'Boeing catastrophe throws up more and more questions'

 Russia is demanding to know why international investigators have yet to publish the black box data from a Malaysian airliner that was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July, a deputy defence minister said in an interview published on Saturday.

Moscow blames Ukraine for the disaster, in which all 298 passengers and crew were killed. In a version of events widely believed in the West, Ukraine says the Boeing 777 was shot down by pro-Russian separatists with a surface-to-air missile.

"The Boeing catastrophe throws up more and more questions. But lately not many people are talking about this," Anatoly Antonov, deputy defence minister, told RIA news agency.

"Why have the data still not been published about the conversations between the air traffic controllers and the pilots of the Boeing? Why haven’t the data been presented from the international investigation of the black boxes? Who doesn't want this to happen?"

The interview marked the latest example of Moscow’s attempts to go on the media offensive at a time when it faces intense international pressure over mounting evidence of its military support for the rebels, something it continues to deny.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Price of Beef and Bacon Reach All-Time High

July 22, 2014

( – The price of beef and bacon hit its all-time high in the United States in June, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).In January 1980, when BLS started tracking the price of these commodities, ground chuck cost $1.82 per pound and bacon cost $1.45 per pound. By this June 2014, ground chuck cost $3.91 per pound and bacon cost $6.11 per pound.

A decade ago, in June 2004, a pound of ground chuck cost $2.49, which means that the commodity has increased by 57 percent since then. Bacon has increased by 78.7 percent from the $3.42 it cost in June 2004 to the $6.11 it costs now.

In one month, beef increased from $3.85 in May 2014 to $3.91 in June 2014. Bacon increased from $6.05 in May 2014 to $6.11 in June 2014.

Each month, the BLS employs data collectors to visit thousands of retail stores all over the United States to obtain information on the prices of thousands of items to measure changes for the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is simply the average change over time in prices paid by consumers for a market basket of goods and services.

The BLS found that there was a 0.1 percent change in the food index in June, which tracks foods like meats, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy, as well as many others. “The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased in June, though its 0.2 percent increase was its smallest since December,” stated BLS.

“The index for food at home has increased 2.4 percent over the past year, with the index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs up 7.5 percent,” BLS stated.

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