Posts filed under ‘Money’

God wants church leaders to be rich

Maybe it wasn’t an IRS violation, but it’s a violation in my book.  And it’s further evidence that this is a product to be marketed and sold. It involves gaining new customers and keeping the existing customers loyal to the brand.  

NEW YORK — A senator’s high-profile investigation of spending by televangelists wrapped up after more than three years Thursday with no penalties for the pastors who refused to cooperate and no definitive findings of wrongdoing.

The report released by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley raises questions about the personal use of church-owned airplanes, luxury homes and credit cards by pastors and their families, and expresses concern about the lack of oversight of finances by boards often packed with the televangelists’ relatives and friends. However, the senator draws no specific conclusions about whether the ministries violated IRS rules that bar excessive compensation for leaders of religious nonprofits.


January 7, 2011 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

Mark Madoff: Snapped or Murdered?

People aren’t going to forget about 65 billion dollars… 
Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty and is serving a 150-year sentence in a North Carolina federal prison. His investors have cash losses estimated at $20 billion, but the wealth supposedly held in their accounts when the fraud collapsed totaled $64.8 billion.
Maybe he should have changed his name,  moved to Utica, and got a job managing a Jason’s Deli, showing up in NYC only for court dates.  But I guess giving up the houses would have been even harder to do (parentheses are mine): 
Mr. Madoff married his college sweetheart, moved to the wealthy suburb of Greenwich, Conn., and had two children. He got divorced and married his second wife, the fashion executive Stephanie Mikesell. They had two children and settled in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood (not bad). He kept a residence (great phrase) in (the wealthy suburb of) Greenwich and also owned a waterfront home on Nantucket.

 Mr. Madoff earned $29.3 million over his last eight years at the firm, according to a lawsuit filed against him by Irving L. Picard, the bankruptcy trustee seeking to recover money for the fraud’s victims.

He also benefited from his father’s bogus investment advisory business, taking at least $17 million more from his family’s accounts than he deposited, the lawsuit asserted.

In the complaint, filed in October 2009, Mr. Picard described Mr. Madoff’s compensation as “astronomical,” and accused him and his brother of being “completely derelict” in their duties and responsibilities at the firm.

Then again, maybe someone exacted their revenge on him:

According to the police reports, at about 4 a.m. on Saturday, Mr. Madoff sent two e-mails to his wife, Stephanie, who had taken their 4-year-old daughter to visit Disney World in Florida on Wednesday, Dec. 8, leaving their 2-year-old, Nicholas, in her husband’s care.  

One of his e-mails said, “Please send someone to take care of Nick.”
Another said: “I love you.”

The victim’s son was found unharmed in the apartment, as was the family’s dog, Grouper.

What kind of “caring” person leaves a 2-year old behind?  And, that’s a really short suicide note.  There was one other equally short note to…his lawyer (weird).  The note said “take care of my family” (I hope there isn’t any Pulp Fiction confusion about what that meant).  Leaving his 2-year-old child alone in the house?  Sending an email instead of calling to make sure she got the message (what if battery died, what if she got it wet on the log ride, what if she set it down at a snack bar, etc.).  You plan this thing when you’re not in charge of a child if you’re a decent human (or at least be sure someone got your “come get the kid” message, maybe someone in the same city…).
Either he was not a decent human being by any measure (in which case those kids are better off now) or maybe someone put the baby and the dog in a room and kill’t him.   I smell a mini-series.  Maybe even a movie.  Certainly an episode of Law & Order is already in the making. 

December 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment

Laundering Corporate Funds:Tom Delay faces up to life in prison

More unethical and fiscal irresponsibility representing big-business. 


AUSTIN, Texas — Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay — once one of the most powerful and feared Republicans in Congress — was convicted Wednesday on charges he illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.

Jurors deliberated for 19 hours before returning guilty verdicts against DeLay on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces up to life in prison on the money laundering charge.

Prosecutors said DeLay conspired with two associates, John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, to use his Texas-based PAC to send $190,000 in corporate money to an arm of the Washington-based Republican National Committee, or RNC. The RNC then sent the same amount to seven Texas House candidates. Under Texas law, corporate money can’t go directly to political campaigns.

November 24, 2010 at 11:30 pm 2 comments

Non-Vatican Catholic Bishop? No Such Thing

The Vatican’s U.S. attorney, Jeffrey Lena, contends that the 1962 document, “Crimen Sollicitationis,” did not preclude clergy from notifying secular authorities if they learned that a priest was sexually abusing a minor. Lena also maintains that U.S. bishops do not work directly for the Vatican, and that legally the Vatican is not liable for their actions. 

Bishops do not report to the Vatican?  If that’s the case, then wouldn’t logic then dictate that the priests who report to the Bishops are also not reporting to the Vatican and therefore neither are the church-goers who are following their priest? 

Look here, it’s plain and it’s simple – A Bishop that does not work for the Vatican is called…an Episcopalian Bishop.  If he’s called a Catholic Bishop, then he’s working for the Vatican.  Done and Done. 

Had they cleaned house back when it first started occuring, perhaps things would be different.  Had they loosened their grip on the ridiculous (and flawed from very founding of the church) belief that women are not equal to men, perhaps they could have easily ousted these clergy in favor of other replacements.   But instead of ‘fessing up to a few violations and settling the few suits and the bad press…their apathy allowed it to continue on and on, in different countries, and in different decades.  And now the number of confirmed violations has ballooned.  And as a double-whammy to their pockets, many followers who are  disgusted by the lack of action have stopped or slowed contributions on Sunday.

May 17, 2010 at 7:40 pm Leave a comment

Nationwide Health Care Reform Ads

Go Earth! —

I wrote to you last week asking for your help to produce and air a powerful new ad about why doctors and nurses around the country are standing up for health insurance reform. The response was extraordinary — thousands of OFA supporters chipped in over $600,000 in just a few days, blowing away our $300,000 goal.

So now we have a tremendous opportunity. We’re putting the finishing touches on the ad, just in time for a week of crucial negotiations in Congress that could determine the final shape of health reform. If we reach $1 million by Wednesday, we can pull the trigger on an ambitious plan.

We’ll focus the energy of staff across the country on this key campaign, hold events with doctors and nurses, and air the ad coast-to-coast to elevate their trusted voices at this critical moment.

Will you donate $15 or more now to help make it happen?


Thanks, Mitch
P.S. — Last week, we brought doctors and nurses from across the country to the studio to film the ad. Check out behind-the-scenes pictures of the ad you’re funding and chip in to help us put it on the air at this vital time.

October 8, 2009 at 3:05 pm 1 comment

September Economy News

U.S. consumer spending soars to eight-year high; ‘cash for clunkers’ credited

Federal Reserve: Recession is over

October 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

More American

I was recently told that without a doubt, a Chevy built by Mexicans or Canadians is “more American” than a Toyota built buy Americans.  And that got me thinking…

What is “more American” to purchase:  (1) A product manufactured by foreigners working for a company that is headquartered in America; or (2) a product manufactured by American workers (in American factories) by someone headquartered in another country? 

In other words: How important is the geographic location of the CEO’s desk?

I have to think about not just the worker and his/her family, but the whole kit ‘n caboodle…everything that goes along with both the factory and the work.  I think that Toyota and Honda might be just as “American” (if not more-so) than buying GM or Dodge*.  Especially considering that these foreign manufacturer’s sacrificed some of their bottom line in exchange for R&D, increased efficiency, and other long-term sound business practices which results in their American employees still being able to cash their check and support their families. 

Factories equal land and buildings….and those require endless maintenance from all sorts of third parties.   There is lanscaping and irrigation and roofing and HVAC and fire systems and repairs from gutters to toilets. There are cafeterias and insurance premiums.   There are electricity charges and water bills.  There are computers and network cabling and phone lines and data links.  There is machinery and machinery maintenance and raw materials and waste.  Factories are generating revenue for lots of other companies. 

Next is the paycheck and this doesn’t just go to the worker’s family and then disappear – it is given to other local businesses in the worker’s country (be that America or a foreign country).  The worker spends it at grocery stores, clothing stores, sporting events, little league dues, vacations, mortgages, and so on and so on (most of which also generates sales taxes).  Some of the paycheck goes towards income taxes.   Like the factory itself, the paycheck is generating other revenue.   

The taxes (property, sales, income) are also spent again in the country where the factory is located.  Tax revenue is used to pay teachers and soldiers.  To pay people to build roads and to build satellites.  To conserve our parks and to build our tanks.  

Seems to me that buying a Toyota Tundra that was built in Texas is more American than buying a Silverado built in Mexico or Canada.

Some well known Americana companies that have moved most, if not all, of their manufacturing outside the U.S.:

Fender – Nearly all of its instruments are built in Mexico, China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and India.  Only a few high-end models are built in America. 
Levi’s – Check your label: A very few still say “Made in the U.S.A.”
Rawlings – “Baseball is as American as apple pie. But baseballs themselves — the actual leather-covered spheres hurled in the major leagues — are only as American as gallo pinto, the national dish of Costa Rica, where Rawlings balls have been made since 1986.”
The Chrysler Building – An American Icon.   In July of 2001, the Abu Dhabi government bought a 90% stake in Manhattan’s Chrysler Building for $800 million. 
7-11 – “While the chain’s down-home origins may lie deep in the heart of Texas, its parent company is nestled amid the flashing neon of Tokyo.”
GM, Ford, Dodge: Many cars and trucks are built in Mexico and Canada.  On the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit there are cars from Chevy, Ford, Dodge, and Toyota.  The only car that’s American is the Toyota.

* Ford is excused for while they made poor decisions to overpay executives and to ignore fuel efficiency in their US cars, they (1) Have shown they can do it by being the number 1 auto importer into Brazil (a energy-independent country who uses flex-fuel / bio-fuel in all its new cars) and by building a 60+ mpg Ford Focus in England.  So it can build efficient cars for South America and Europe, it simply chose not to in the USA; and (2) they did not accept / require bailout money as did GM.

September 28, 2009 at 9:15 pm Leave a comment

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