Warm Southern Breeze

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Archive for the ‘– Business… None of yours’ Category

Republicans Started The Idea Of Government Shutdowns

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 7, 2019

The “Blame Game” is a popular political football not only in our nation’s capitol, but across the nation in statehouses. The “polarization” oft described by news outlets and “fake news” is a direct result of practices used by Republicans, which began in large part with Newt Gingrich.

You know, the Newt Gingrich who was the Georgia Republican having an extra-marital affair while trying to impeach then-President Clinton for a sexual tryst with White House Intern, Monica Lewinsky. Yes, the same Newt Gingrich who divorced his first wife (Jacqueline “Jackie” May Battley, who was his high school geometry teacher) while she lay in hospital recovering from cancer surgery while he was campaigning in hopes of becoming the GOP’s presidential nominee.

That’d be the same Newt Gingrich who next married a Congressional aide (28-year old Marianne Ginther) with whom he was philandering while married to his first wife Jackie, and asked her to marry him before having divorced his first wife, and then married Marianne a mere six months after divorcing Jackie, who also asked her (Marianne) if she would be interested in having an “open marriage” in which he could have a mistress and a wife.

And yes, it’s the same Newt Gingrich who in the exact same pattern, did the exact same thing when he married his third wife (Callista Bisek) by carrying on a six-year adulterous relationship with her, whom was also a Congressional aide, and then later moved to divorce his second wife Marianne after learning she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and the third wife whom Trump later named as Ambassador to the Holy See, as an ultimate insult, and slap in the face to the Pope, the Vatican, and all that the Church believes in, and stands for. It’d be like naming neo-Nazi/White Supremacist/Holocaust denier to be Ambassador to Israel, or an industrialist to be Secretary of the Interior, or a climate change denier to be administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Wait…

That Newt Gingrich.

The same Newt Gingrich who wrote the so-called “Contract with America” which was broken the first day Republicans took the oath of office following their win of the House and Senate – the first time since 1953 – even though they all signed vows that stated “If we break this Contract, throw us out.”

Yeah.

THAT Newt Gingrich.

Now, the Bully in Chief is blaming Democrats because he can’t get his way – which is BILLIONS MORE for a “concrete, rebar-reinforced wall,” which has since devolved into “steel slats,” or even less, a simple “barrier.” Notice how things are changing already? Next thing you know, it’ll be a row of concertina wire spooled across the 1954 miles of U.S./Mexico border.

Frankly, it’d probably be much cheaper, not only in the immediate term, but in the long term, as well. You see, one of the things that NO ONE – not even the Congressional Budget Office, nor the Government Accountability Office – has studied is “how much the upkeep of ‘the wall’ will cost American taxpayers.

But here’s an even more disconcerting thing: The ever-shifting comments of the Current White House Occupant on the matter, which have ranged from this comment from a campaign speech given Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at his Trump Tower office building in Manhattan:

“I would build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great great wall on our southern border, and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall.”

To one of his highnesses more recent Twitter rants which was:

“Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal. Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built. We have done a lot of work. $5.6 Billion Dollars that House has approved is very little in comparison to the benefits of National Security. Quick payback!” January 2, 2019

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

Promises.

Lies.

Broken promises.

More lies.

Say anything to get elected, or if you prefer, to get into Lady Liberty’s & America’s pants. The net effect is the same.

Look, I’m no fan of either Gingrich or Trump as human beings, and I think that Trump is vastly out of his league in any government, much less at the Federal level, and as President. He’s told more brazen lies than almost anyone can remember, and has sown confusion in our nation, which is not only demoralizing domestically, but makes us look like buffoons in the eyes of our international allies, and enemies. But, to give credit where credit is due, I think Read the rest of this entry »

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Marijuana in Alabama: Show me the money!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, January 5, 2019

How Much Money Could Alabama Earn By Legalizing, Taxing, and Regulating Marijuana?

How much money could Alabama stand to realize if it Legalized, Taxed, and Regulated (LTR) cannabis for Adult Recreational Use (ARU), and Medical Use (MMJ)?

In order to make a reasonably accurate estimate, we need certain pieces of information from reliably accurate sources, such as:

1.) How many people would purchase it?

2.) How much tax would be placed upon it?

3.) How frequently would they purchase?

There are other questions, but let’s start by answering those three.

First, let’s determine how many people consume marijuana in the state – adults, of course.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), is an annual survey which first began in 1971 and is conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It’s conducted under the auspices of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Read the rest of this entry »

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Danger, Will Robinson… DANGER! Big Brother IS Watching -and- Listening!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 3, 2019

Feeling paranoid?

Not to worry.

You just think you are.

But it’s true.

YOU’RE BEING WATCHED.

-and-

Did you know?

Even the direction-finding app Waze is owned by Google.

The G will eat your babies.

The G has already eaten your lunch.

And G, you didn’t even know it.

The G is Google.

So, here’s the deal: You THINK you’re searching for something and the search will return UNBIASED results… right?

WRONG!

From Forbes, Mar 5, 2012, 12:34pm: “Google will track what you search for in its search engine facility and then use that intelligence to its advantage.”

But we can go back even further to see where “You’re not the customer; you’re the product.”

In 1973 the artists Richard Serra and Carlota Fay Schoolman broadcast a short video titled “Television Delivers People.” An anodyne soundtrack played while sentences in white text on a blue background slowly scrolled upward. The messages displayed thematically matched the saying under exploration. Emphases were added to the excerpt by Quote Investigator: 1

Commercial television delivers 20 million people a minute.
In commercial broadcasting
the viewer pays for the privilege of having himself sold.

It is the consumer who is consumed.
You are the product of t.v.
You are delivered to the advertiser who is the customer.
He consumes you.
The viewer is not responsible for programming——
You are the end product.

If you think that anything has changed, you’re WRONG AGAIN.

This time, it’s Google.

And not only is there online Google, there’s now the danger of Amazon’s Alexa listening device, which increasingly is being found to be not only INSECURE, but invasive.

Truly…

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING!

Look, I’m not now, nor have I ever been one to be conspiracy-minded, nor any kind of fear-monger. But THIS is not surreptitious, this is BLATANT! Echo/Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google’s Home Assistant are ALL privacy invaders! Those so-called “smart speakers” are ALWAYS LISTENING! They’re snoops! Blatant eavesdroppers! And the tragic irony is, folks freely give up their privacy to have that “shiny new thing.”

Okay, perhaps you don’t have that “shiny new thing,” and if you don’t, GOOD FOR YOU! But Read the rest of this entry »

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Bill Bratton, Ex-NYC Top Cop, Says Pot “Addictive”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 31, 2018

William “Bill” Bratton, was NYC’s Police Commissioner 1994-96, 2014-16, and LAPD Chief 2002-2009

Former New York City Police Commissioner William “Bill” Bratton appeared on a Sunday call-in interview on the radio show “The Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis” on WNYM 970 AM (Hackensack, NJ) recently, and was asked about his thoughts on the legalization of cannabis in New York State for Adult Recreational Use (ARU).

He said in part that, “At this particular time, I still strongly oppose it. I think there are too many unanswered questions. We still don’t have effective capabilities in law enforcement to deal with the issue of driving while impaired by the use of marijuana. It is as addictive as any other drug. We don’t really know the full effect of that drug on the development of children. I guarantee that about the same as alcohol is very available to young people, marijuana – particularly the way it’s being proposed in this state in terms of allowing people to grow it in their homes, as well as the widespread distribution of it – young people will be getting their hands on it. There’s the compounding feature of the smell of it. Nobody wants to live in a building, in an apartment building, a public housing project, on the streets, in the parks, with the pervasive smell, which you’ve already started to see an increase in the use of it on the streets. The enforcement lessons of… (unintelligible) There are too many unknowns. And, ah… ” etc.

Fortunately for you, dear reader, I’ve researched the matter, and can address just about all his questions.

He claimed that: Read the rest of this entry »

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Does This Trump-Caused Market Slump Foretell Recession?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Of course, the Stock Market is NOT the economy, but for many, it’s the easiest touchstone to consider approximating the economy. And because most Americans are NOT heavily invested in Wall Street, its performance only nominally and indirectly affects them.

However, for those traders whose livelihood depends upon its gains or losses, such as corporate and investment banks, and brokerage houses, speculators, derivatives traders, hedge and other type funds, and the like, it doesn’t portend well.

And then, Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, while vacationing in Mexico, decided to call on Sunday the CEOs of 6 of the largest banks in America (Brian Moynihan of Bank of America; Michael Corbat of Citi; David Solomon of Goldman Sachs; Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase; James Gorman of Morgan Stanley; and Tim Sloan of Wells Fargo), and then Twitterized it ex post facto. The media managers at Treasury decided to inform the public that… “The CEOs confirmed that they have ample liquidity available for lending to consumer, business markets, and all other market operations. He also confirmed that they have not experienced any clearance or margin issues, and that the markets continue to function properly.”

The Current White House Occupant is Mad at Mnuchin, and wants to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell, ostensibly because Mnuchin told POS45 that Powell would be a good choice for Fed Chairman. That’s according to four anonymous people, who were described by Bloomberg News as being “four people familiar with the matter” and speak “on condition of anonymity.” Where I come from, and live, that’s called cowardice. It might be called something else in Trumpanzeeville.

In the days ahead, POS45 will Read the rest of this entry »

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A Guide To Increasing Company Value

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 19, 2018

Almost everyone who has worked in sales has heard the mantras “the customer is always right,” and “the customer is your most important person.”

And as anyone who has worked in healthcare can attest, neither of those statements are true.

For example, consider the patient who, arriving at the ED (Emergency Department) said to the physician, “My doc says my sugar is high so he gave me this medicine for diabetes.”

Naturally, the physician asked, “Do you take it?”

The patient replied saying, “No, ’cause I don’t have diabetes, just high sugar.”

And then, another Physician who explained to the patient’s mother her child’s diagnosis and therapeutic interventions saying, “She has a concussion, she needs to rest in bed in a quiet dark room until she is better.”

The mother then asked, “Can she go to the fair?”

Conventional wisdom often monikered as “common sense,” sometimes follows the pithy axiom that “common sense isn’t so common anymore.”

For years, I’ve maintained that the customer is NOT “always right,” nor are they the “most important person” in any business.

Instead, the most important person in any business are the employees.

Some CEOs have gotten a bad rap, often justifiably, because while seeking to return corporate profit and shareholder return, they’ve cut resources and employees. Like the abusive Pharaoh of the Exodus account in the Old Testament, they demand to “make more bricks with less hay.” Of course, we know how that story ended – not well.

So naturally, it delighted me to read some time ago that Sir Richard Branson, a renown entrepreneur and philanthropist, has similarly long held that thought and said, “Put your staff first, customers second, and shareholders third.”

In a 2014 interview with Inc. magazine, Sir Richard said, Read the rest of this entry »

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Ever Had A Bad Restaurant Experience? Here’s What You Can Do.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ever been to a busy restaurant?

Who hasn’t?

By “busy,” I mean one with many customers/patrons while you’re there. It could be any style restaurant, of course, such as a fast-food place, but more particularly, I mean to refer to restaurants that have wait staff.

In such a busy restaurant, the place will typically be crowded, practically all seats will be filled at every table, and if there’s a bar counter with chairs, it’ll be filled up too. And  on football game days, some restaurants are filled to capacity, often just as much as they’re filled on weekends year round.

It seems eating/dining out is a type of American pastime. It’s common to hear others say “go there, try that, try the new dish” at this, that or the other restaurant.

Doubtless, at some time or another, at any type of restaurant, we’ve experienced slow or poor service, and even poor quality of food in some of them. Even the well-known Waffle House chain restaurant can have moments when they’re overwhelmed with customers, thereby stressing the cook and wait staff.

So, think about how long it took you to be seated, then be waited upon, then to get your drinks, and then food, and how well (or not) your needs were attended do during the meal.

With any crowded restaurant, the large number of patrons can overwhelm the wait staff, and the kitchen staff. Yes, it can be frustrating, but you’re hungry and/or have made plans or reservations, so you don’t want go to another restaurant – and often won’t. After all, you’re already there. And it’s a hassle to do that. Right? So, you settle, suffer, and endure the poor service.

The source of the problem, and the primary matter to be addressed is inadequate staffing. What is a proper ratio of waitstaff to customers? And what is a proper ratio of kitchen staff to customers? How many chefs and line cooks does it take to support a given amount of tables during peak hours? How many bussers and host staff are needed? How many bartenders? An effective staffing ratio is the answer to those questions and others related to effective, efficient service in a full house restaurant.

In a restaurant that seats 100 people, it would be absurd to imagine that only 1 waitstaff could effectively meet the needs of all 100 patrons. Similarly, it’d be equally preposterous to think that only 1 cook could effectively or simultaneously prepare enough food for 100 patrons. That’s completely ignoring the number of Read the rest of this entry »

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How Has the GOP Improved Alabama Quality of Life?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 31, 2018

In almost every measure of the quality of life, Alabama comes up short. Seriously short. Or, to couch it in somewhat Biblical terms (which most Alabamians of any political or religious stripe would understand… and, which most any reasonably well-read person would as well), “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” ref: Daniel 5:27 (NIV)

This is not a Republican thing, per se, nor is it a Democratic thing. It is an ongoing statement of the poor quality of of almost EVERYTHING in Alabama. The root of most every problem plaguing Alabamians lies with the state’s 1901 Constitution which, among other things, FORBIDS local self-governance known as Home Rule – the basic principle upon which our democratic republic was founded – which is that EVERY person has a voice, a vote, and a say-so in how things are run from the grass-roots level, and that all are equal under the law, which is no discriminator of persons.

That is in large part why on almost every statewide ballot there are questions pertaining to counties or cities, and why the entire state must vote on what people in the opposite sides of the state do, and why they have a say-so in other towns and cities governance. Think of it as allowing your nosy neighbors a say in how you do things in your house.

Yeah, I know… weird, isn’t it? Maybe “stupid” would be another, better, or more accurate choice of words.

In Montgomery, when the part-time Legislature with full-time pay convenes (total compensation for legislators approximates $50,000/year), they are constitutionally required and mandated to legislate local matters, because the constitution literally FORBIDS local people from making local decisions.

The legislature is further hamstrung, and the people are thereby harmed, by the inordinately short period of time to which they are similarly constitutionally constrained to meet – 30 meeting days in a  105 calendar day period. Who could get ANYTHING done for 4.8 million people in such a short period of time? Seriously… WHO?

Consider public corruption as an example of how problematic the 1901 Alabama State Constitution truly is. Most recently, the GOP-dominated Legislature, Governor’s office, individual legislators (predominately GOP), and other ancillary agencies (Alabama State Troopers/Department of Public Safety, later known as ALEA, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, etc.) were involved in corruption scandals, the likes of which the state hasn’t seen in, like… FOREVER! Seriously. The extent and degree of severity of corruption which has recently plagued Alabama is unparalleled.

Once the GOP-dominated Legislature was in power, they promptly set about improving the practically toothless Ethics Laws which many of them promised to change, if elected. Ordinarily, that’d be a good thing. Mike Hubbard became Speaker of the House, and the state’s top executive branch offices – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries – were all filled by Republicans.

Now, here’s where the problems begin.

All THREE branches of government – the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial – were touched by serious corruption. As a natural consequence, the people’s business was impeded and damaged, which also wasted the taxpayers time, money and resources to investigate and prosecute.

But perhaps the MOST costly price paid was continued damage to the state’s already tarnished image in the public eye, nationally and internationally… as if it could get any worse.

Governor Robert Bentley was the subject of Federal and State investigations over whether he misused public funds, and violated campaign finance law to further his extra-marital involvement with a female aide. Corollary to that, he was also facing impeachment… the first ever Alabama governor to face such serious public scrutiny and reprisal.

The Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and other legislators were facing investigations and indictments by the Attorney General for possible violations of ethics laws, and other related laws. Named as witnesses were many well-known, high-powered big business lobbyists, and their clients.

The State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was facing a SECOND investigation in his second elected term over his refusal to obey and uphold Federal Law, and a Federal Judge’s court order to obey the law, which meant he could face public trial by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission (his peers), and a SECOND possible expulsion from the bench.

The Governor accepted a plea deal to two lesser misdemeanors, resigned from office, repaid monies, performed community service, and promised to never again hold public office.

The Chief Justice was found guilty and removed from the bench – a SECOND time.

The Speaker of the House and other legislators were all found GUILTY of violating the very Ethics Laws they passed – which were all felony violations.

As well, over a dozen current legislators and others (high-powered attorneys, former legislators, lobbyists, business owners, etc.) are STILL being found GUILTY of, or pleading GUILTY to violating Federal and/or state law, including bribery, mail fraud, Medicare fraud, misuse of public office, and various other forms of abuse of public trust.

And then, there’s the sheriff from Etowah County, Todd Entrekin, who was found to have LEGALLY redirected funds which were to have been used for feeding inmates (three-quarters of a million dollars), to his own personal use, to, with his wife Karen, purchase a luxurious beachfront house on the Gulf Coast.

All but one of those identified are Republicans.

But again, this is not an “Us versus Them” or “Republican versus Democrat” problem. It’s a corruption problem, the predominate root of which lies with the 1901 Alabama State Constitution. Consequently, the entire state suffers.

Harvard University’s Center for Ethics researched Legal and Illegal corruption in all 50 states three branches of government, and found Alabama wanting by most measures.

Of course, it neither helps that Alabama has a continuous and ongoing history of voting for one party, or the other – so that there’s rarely if ever a mix of parties in power. It’s quite literally, a bipolar type of operation, which goes from one extreme, to the other.

Alabama has had SIX constitutions, and the one under which it now labors is not even the best of the five which preceded it.

The state’s present constitution – the 1901 Constitution – has well over 900 amendments. That one thing alone makes it the most bloated and inefficient of any such type of governing document in the entire world – hands down, bar none.

The Dictionary of Alabama says this about Alabama’s 1901 Constitutional Convention:
“Called primarily to establish White supremacy by disfranchising Blacks, the Constitutional Convention of 1901 continues to shape Alabama politics in the twenty-first century. The convention also concentrated power in the state legislature, decreased opportunities for Home Rule, and established voter requirements that even many White men could not meet, reducing the political influence of the state’s many poor Whites. The 155 delegates to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901 codified Black disfranchisement and increased the political power of the state legislature at the expense of local government.”

So when combined with the fact that it STILL contains racist language, and provisions which have been Read the rest of this entry »

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American Academy of Family Physicians @AAFP Errs on Website Criticizing #Nurses @NCSBN

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 26, 2018

The American Association of Family Physicians website had a glaringly obvious spelling goof in their headline criticizing Board Certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.

In a strangely ironic, even cruel twist, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) authored a letter dated 10 May 2018 criticizing the efforts of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to encourage states to expand their Nursing Scope of Practice laws to more accurately reflect uniformity of standards, and allow professionally Board Certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN-BC) with ability, education, and training to practice to the fullest extent of their license for the benefit of patients and Public Health. News of the AAFP’s letter was published on their website 16 May.

However, since that news item’s publication, the website contained an obviously glaring spelling error, which negatively reflects upon the physicians’ professional organization, and has neither been noticed, nor corrected as of the date of publication of this entry – Saturday, 26 May 2018.

The ostensible purpose of the AAFP letter, which also carried the endorsement of 80+ professional physician organizations, was to Read the rest of this entry »

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Yes! Iron skillets are STILL Made in America!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 9, 2018

If you’re like me, you want to “do your part to support the home team,” and buy as many items Made in USA as you can possibly find. It just makes sense to support your friends and neighbors who are also entrepreneurs, skilled artisans and craftsmen.

Now please, don’t misunderstand, I have NEVER opposed Free Trade, but I have long opposed unfair trade… and poor quality products, even if they are Made in USA. And as far as I’ve seen, the quality of Lodge brand iron cookware is on par with cheap Chinese imports. And that is not saying very much at all – or rather, it says volumes.

I enjoy cooking, and am primarily self-taught. And I have learned by trial-and-error, that thin, cheap, often aluminum cookware is inferior, and more often than not, burns food… even when it’s used to simply warm a canned food item, such as green beans, or corn. And the reason why, is that it’s thin!

Multiplied by today’s “flat top” cooking surfaces, that’s a marriage made exclusively in Hell. The reason why, is that unlike flame stoves which can be adjusted for intensity, and even the older “coiled eye” resistor heating elements, flat top/smooth surface cook tops use a very messed up and faulty process. Here’s what typically happens.

Turn on the “burner” and watch what happens. Even at LOW temperatures, the element underneath the smooth surface comes on at 100% intensity, and then quickly goes out. That process is repeated at every “temperature” setting, with the only difference being between “temperatures” is the length of time at which the element stays on. For example, at the “HIGH” setting, the heating/cooking element is on constantly, while on the “MEDIUM” setting, the heating/cooking element cycles on-and-off less frequently than if it were on “LOW.” Essentially, the “temperature” adjustment knob is a timer, rather than a rheostat.

What’s a rheostat?

Glad you asked!

Without going into too much detail, think of a rheostat as a Read the rest of this entry »

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America Is Under Attack

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

FaceBook criticism is nothing new. In fact, there’s an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to it, which began, interestingly enough, in 2007 – a mere two years after the company, under CEO Mark Zuckerberg, settled a lawsuit with brothers Cameron, and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra claiming that he had stolen the idea for the company, which at the time was valued at US$10 Billion. It’s now worth more than 40 times that.

FaceBook’s IPO was May 21, 2012, opened selling at $26.21 per share, and now trades around the $150 mark. The last time it was near that price was June 12, 2017, while the highest it’s ever been was $190.28 on January 29, this year. So this momentary decline is a mere hiccough, or passing fancy of algorithmic computer-based trading, from which humans are largely excluded. FaceBook’s market capitalization, aka 
“market cap” is very nearly $450 billion, which is the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares.

Less than a year later, in 2013, FaceBook was resoundingly publicly criticized for not having protections in place to guard against online stalking, child sexual predators, and bullies after loosening restrictions on Read the rest of this entry »

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Remington Files Bankruptcy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 26, 2018

Remington Outdoor Company, formerly known as Remington Arms Company, LLC, is America’s oldest firearms manufacturer, and privately-owned by Cerberus Capital Management, announced February 12, 2018, that they intended to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection later this year. Cerberus will relinquish ownership once restructuring is completed. Their filing was done today, March 26, 2018.

Remington’s plan will allow them to reduce debt by $700 million of their $950 million debt, contribute $145 million of new capital into their subsidiaries, and $100 million in creditor-funded money as a debtor-in-possession term loan. Planning for the bankruptcy had been announced late 2017.

The company’s unaudited returns dated February 12, 2018, show net revenue of Read the rest of this entry »

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That Big Clear Rock On Your Left Ring Finger… Is An Ostentatious, Useless Piece Of Crap.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 22, 2018

“A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” sang late starlet Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

But since when did diamonds become valuable?

And how did clear pieces of carbon, nothing more than mere coal, a dirty fossil fuel, come to symbolize – of all things – “love”?

They’re certainly not rare (though for a brief time, they were), and in fact, they are significantly more abundant than gold – though you likely wouldn’t be aware of it, per se – and because diamonds are the hardest substance known to science, it’s not uncommon to find diamond abrasives in any hardware store, or construction site. They’re even on fingernail files. But since when did you ever see a golden saw, or golden fingernail file?

But first, some  supply-and-demand “backstory” mixed with market manipulation and eventual monopoly… and then back again.

In 1870, gigantic diamond mines were discovered near Read the rest of this entry »

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Welcome The F-35 Lightning II To Alabama!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 21, 2017

I’ve just heard/read the news that the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field in Montgomery has been chosen to get a fleet of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Mission jet aircraft.

That’s the $1.45 TRILLION-dollar TOTAL LIFETIME OPERATION COST of operations, cost-overrun, over-budget, faulty, so-called “do-everything” aircraft which can’t do an aerial “dogfight,” and the money already spent upon it ($350Billion) could have LITERALLY purchased a “McMansion-priced home” ($600K – over 2x the average price of the average US house), for EVERY SINGLE HOMELESS person in our nationand– had plenty of money left over.

It’s part and parcel of what late, former WWII Supreme Allied Commander, former-two term Republican POTUS Dwight David Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex” in his Farewell Address the evening of January 17, 1961, as a two-term Republican, under whose leadership our nation grew like “gangbusters,” our infrastructure expanded phenomenally and exponentially, and under who the Personal Income Tax Rates upon the VERY WEALTHIEST of Americans was 90%+, with Corporate Income Tax Rates 40+%.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Alabama Can’t Have Nice Things, Including Internet Service

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 21, 2017

Why Can’t Alabama Have Nice Things?
-or-
Why FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal Could Be Good For Alabama’s Economy

Already, following quickly on the heels of GOP FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s (a former corporate lawyer for Verizon) Net Neutrality repeal, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) such as Comcast, Cox Communications, and Frontier Communications have announced increased costs starting January. see: https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2017/12/19/comcast-cox-frontier-net-neutrality/

<sarcasm>I suppose the “savings” regular families get from the GOP’s Tax Scam bill will offset any additional costs.</sarcasm>

Now, here’s the (easy to understand) “deal”:

Those firms want to increase sales, and by extension, increase profits. Not merely margins. In order to do that, one must TRULY compete on a “level playing field.”

But, let’s consider another thought, that being of service. There are, even now, many areas in our nation WITHOUT ISP, or options. It’s VERY “close to home.”

For example, I can drive 30-45 minutes and be in a VERY remote area… which, until this point, had NO ISP, save for satellite service. At my urging, relatives, whose example I am referencing, began to collaborate with their neighbors to get ISP to “lay line” to their, and others’ residences.

They (area residents) were already paying for a service (satellite ISP) which quality was poor, unreliable, and costly. The “wire line” ISP (falsely) claimed that to extend service to that area (even though it was already nearby – at the road), would not be “profitable.” I demurred, urged and encouraged them ALL THE MORE to Read the rest of this entry »

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Follow The Money: Paul Manafort, Donald Trump & Michael Flynn

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

By now, you’ve likely heard, or read about Paul Manafort’s bail being revoked.

Manfort, of course, was briefly then-candidate Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign Manager, and has been arrested by the FBI as part of former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s (b.1944) ongoing investigation into illegal activity by foreign nations in the United States, some of which may have been related to the General Election of 2016.

Manfort (b.1949) is a Georgetown University School of Law-educated attorney, and among other activities, has made his money lobbying for, and advising the national political campaigns of such presidential candidates as Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Robert “Bob” Dole.

Manafort has also advised political campaigns in totalitarian dictatorial regimes, and has lobbied for, advised, and represented some highly unsavory international criminal characters including Read the rest of this entry »

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All Work Has Dignity -and- The Laborer Is Worthy Of Their Hire

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 23, 2017

A long-time & dear friend recently shared this thought: “If you’re going to say something about people lacking career aspirations, make sure you’ve created opportunities for advancement and not merely encouraged people to work from Engineer II to Engineer III.”

My thoughts follow:

While I am in an ethnographic & demographic majority, I am simultaneously in an educational & professional minority. However, for as long as I can remember, I have NEVER ceased advocating for educational attainment, either through Vocational Education – and that word, “vocation,” is one we have improperly derided, though it has ALWAYS had greatly esteemed meaning. So let us instead, use the OUTSTANDING and more descriptive term “Trades.”

Now… I have NEVER ceased advocating for educational attainment, INCLUDING Trades!

ALL work has dignity! And “the laborer is worthy of their hire.” And that is PRECISELY what those who purport to promote employment do NOT do by deriding & belittling Read the rest of this entry »

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Extending Battery Life in iOS 11

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 19, 2017

In Apple’s iOS 11 {as 11.0.3 (15A432)}, shortened battery life/power has been a source of continual complaint form many.

Part of the reason why, is that in iOS 11, the Bluetooth & Wi-Fi features can NOT be turned OFF from the “swipe” menu, which is accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

Instead, what that “switch” does, is to Read the rest of this entry »

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Build The Wall

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Seems an Alabama company (Caddell Construction, in Montgomery) is vying for POS45’s attention by being one of six “finalists” in the surreality show now called “The President,” which has built a “life-sized sample” segment along the US-Mexico border.

Why don’t the idiots build one around Alabama?

Which reminds me of a story:

On one of their patrols, two GIs in the Middle East happened upon a device halfway buried in the sand, which they thought was an IED. After determining it was not, one of them picked it up and dusted it off, whereupon a cloud of smoke began to billow from it.

Scared, he threw it down, and they began to run from it.

Just as soon they thought they’d safely distanced themselves from it, they turned around and then saw a genie appear from within the cloud of smoke.

They hesitated reaching for their rifles because the genie appeared unarmed. After all, a muscular man wearing a turban, no shirt, and a billowy pair of pants could hardly be a menace… right?

Suddenly, the genie spoke, and in a authoritative voice said, Read the rest of this entry »

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Cuss…tomer Service, With A Smile!😄

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 28, 2017

You gotta’ feel for the folks on the other end of the phone in corporate Customer Care / Customer Service for various companies. Sometimes, they catch Hell. Seriously, they do.

Folks may sometimes call up mad as a hornet, irritated – for whatever reason – and then proceed to “take it out” on whoever answers the phone.

It’s a DIFFICULT job, to be certain, but someone’s gotta’ do it.

So… hat’s OFF to those unsung heroes of business enterprise!

Now, let’s get real… real hard, and really real.

Most folks, I would presume, don’t walk around with a chip on their shoulder. They’re not constantly engaging or berating themselves with conflicting internal dialogue, or hearing voices in their head. In other words, not only are they sane, they’re moderately happy, satisfied with life, and things in general. While there are occasions in which they become dissatisfied, angry, or upset, those very same sane people communicate, and collaborate with others to make others aware of problems, so that solutions and corrections to them may be made.

Of course, few would suppose that Read the rest of this entry »

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Deep Dish Pizza: A How-To Guide

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 25, 2017

Who doesn‘t like pizza?

Why, it’s practically unAmerican to not like pizza! Have you ever made your own pizza at home? Ever wanted to make a Deep Dish Pizza at home? Good news – you can! And I’ll share images and a recipe which will help get you started.

This may come as a complete surprise to some, but pizza is BIG BUSINESS in the United States.

Top 50 Pizza Chains’ Annual Sales by State (Click to enlarge)

And as Marketplace Host and Senior Editor Kai Ryssdal says, “but first, let’s do the numbers…”

According to CHD Expert, a foodservice industry marketing trends & data organization, at the end of September 2016, there were 76,723 pizza restaurants in operation in the United States.

In their 2016 Pizza Consumer Trend Report, foodservice industry researcher Technomic found that 41% of consumers polled say they eat pizza once a week, a 55% increase from the 26% reported only 2 years ago.

And a 2016 Morgan Stanley report found that pizza delivery is a $30 billion industry, but could be be worth over $210 billion — which is the total amount Americans currently spent on off-premise dining. And of that $30 billion figure, over 1/3 – $11 billion – are delivery orders which are placed online, and nearly 2/3 of those online orders are… pizza.

So with impressive data like that, it should come as no surprise that a Harris Poll found that Americans’ No. 1 favorite comfort food is pizza, which also had twice as many votes as any other dish… including chocolate.

Now, for a recipe, and the how-to.

There are many seemingly innumerable styles of pizza, which vary with stuffed crusts, in shape, size, ingredients, and any other number of variations in pizza, and fortunately, this one will be simple enough to make at home.

We’re going to make the entire thing, including the crust.

A highly flavored #homemade #pizza dough crust - hWhat you’ll need is Read the rest of this entry »

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Will That Be Cash, Pizza, Praise, Or Nothing?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 24, 2017

Decades ago, Dale Carnegie expounded on the power of praise in his classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

In it, he wrote in part that, “…there is one longing – almost as deep, almost as imperious, as the desire for food or sleep – which is seldom gratified. It is what Dewey calls Read the rest of this entry »

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German Grocer Aldi To Heat Up U.S. Competition

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

German Discount Grocer Aldi Sets U.S. Expansion Plan

Aldi says it will open nearly 900 stores, invest $5 billion over five years

Aldi says it will open 900 stores and invest $5 billion over five years. Photo by Anthony Devlin/Zuma Press

By Heather Haddon
June 11, 2017 9:00 p.m. ET

Competition in the U.S. grocery sector is about to get more fierce.

Discount grocery chain Aldi is expected to unveil on Monday plans to invest $5 billion to open nearly 900 stores and remodel hundreds more in the U.S.

The expansion, over the next five years, puts the German grocer on track to becoming the third-largest food retailer in the U.S. by store count, behind the larger Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co., and a growing threat to traditional food retailers.

Aldi said it is expected to have a total of 2,500 locations across the U.S. by 2022. Its plan comes as another German discounter, Lidl, is set to open its first 10 stores in the U.S. on Thursday as part of a multiyear expansion.

Executives at Wal-Mart and Kroger have been preparing for the growth of the discounters for years. Wal-Mart has been sprucing up its stores and slashing prices on some products in select markets, while Kroger continues to drive down costs to compete.

But the discounters could have a big impact on the U.S. grocery market as they did in Europe. Their market share there has steadily grown while traditional supermarkets have seen theirs fall.

Deep discount chains in the U.S. are expected to grow by up to 10% a year through 2020, five times the rate of traditional grocers, according to a recent report by consulting firm Bain & Co.

“It should absolutely be more than scary to traditional grocers and retailers,” said Mikey Vu, a partner in Bain’s retail practice.

Many shoppers in the U.S. are unfamiliar with Aldi. The chain has been in the U.S. since Read the rest of this entry »

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Beat the Heat with Buttermilk Popsicles?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

A good and longtime friend shared recently about making buttermilk popsicles at home with family, using a recipe presumably which came from Steel City Pops, a trendy nouveau foodery in Birmingham, AL. And giving credit where credit is due, Alabama has some mighty fine eateries, and an amazing wealth in it’s diversity of food. As evidence of that fact, Chef Frank Stitt, owner of Birmingham restaurants Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega Restaurant, and Chez Fonfon has been on the James Beard Foundation Award‘s radar for quite some time, and most recently, NPR recognized the excellent oysters produced by Murder Point Oysters using farming methods in that Bayou La Batre, Alabama Gulf Coast town, which were also feted by Chef Emeril Lagasse. Alabama food is a literal treasure of gastronomic proportion. And it’s not just limited to the holiest of holies… barbecue.
(👉Get your Alabama Barbecue Trail app here!👈😋)

Now, I confess an aversion to buttermilk except in cooking. And the reason, of course, is that I’ve tried it. And not just once. In fact, I recollect as a youth visiting with relatives in Read the rest of this entry »

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BIG INSURANCE Companies Fear Single Payer For ONE Reason

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, May 12, 2017

A friend had shared the opening paragraph, upon which I remarked.

My response follows.

“At the risk of stating the obvious, I feel compelled to note that insurance companies do not exist to provide health care. They exist to make money. Big money. Big money at your time of greatest vulnerability. This happens by raising income as much as possible and limiting “risk” as much as possible. Now go ponder the implications.”

—/—

And that is the single greatest reason why a Read the rest of this entry »

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United Airlines Fly Flap Grounded In Written Policy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 27, 2017

Like many, I recently read a couple articles about the dust-up involving United Airlines and their Dress Code for Employees who fly off-duty.

Most notably, the New York Times reported on the story, as of course, did others, and another unrelated passenger who took to Twitter to express their thoughts. The Times even interviewed the unrelated passenger, of whom they wrote, “The incident was first reported on Twitter by Shannon Watts, a passenger at the airport who was waiting to board a flight to Mexico. In a telephone interview from Mexico on Sunday afternoon, Ms. Watts said she noticed two visibly upset teenage girls leaving the gate next to hers. Both were wearing leggings.”

I confess that, in my haste, I made some remarks, in the form of questions, and later found a site which Read the rest of this entry »

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Attorney, Entrepreneur, Banker Donald V. Watkins Offers POTUS Trump Advice

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 27, 2017

Donald V. Watkins is an American Attorney, Entrepreneur, and Banker.

Donald V. Watkins is an American Attorney, Entrepreneur and Banker.

–––//–––

March 26, 2017

Open Letter to President Donald J. Trump

Dear President Trump,

I am a longtime political independent who cherishes America’s form of participatory democracy. Even though my ancestors were slaves who worked on plantations in Mississippi, my parents, siblings and other relatives finally got a chance to vote after Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and President Lyndon Johnson signed it. I have even held elective office within this democracy.

I believed in America when I could not drink from public water fountains or use bathrooms that were reserved for “Whites Only”. I did not sit in an integrated classroom until I entered college at Southern Illinois University in 1966. I attended law school at the University of Alabama from 1970 to 1973 on a desegregation scholarship awarded to me by the national office of the NAACP. I arrived on campus a full year before any black athlete played on a sports team at the University.

Donald Trump, 45th United States President, official portrait

When I started practicing law in 1973, a few diehard segregationists in Alabama’s court system openly referred to me as the “nigger lawyer from Montgomery” during official court proceedings. I was not addressed as “Attorney Watkins” or “Mr. Watkins” in these courtrooms until sometime in 1976. A few judges just barked out instruction to me without ever looking me in the eyes or addressing me as a human being.

I got through all of these degrading experiences by focusing on the American flag in each courtroom I entered. To me, Read the rest of this entry »

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In Praise Of @Arbys Denali-Style Meat Mountain Sandwich: Have you tried it?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 18, 2017

Arby’s promotional image of their “Meat Mountain” sandwich, a “secret menu,” hand-made custom sandwich which contains every meat and cheese offering they carry.

You MUST TRY THIS!

Arby’s has a sandwich called “Meat Mountain”…

…but it’s NOT listed on the menu!

In a manner of speaking, it’s been somewhat “under the radar” except to a few with specialized knowledge of it. It’s like a word-of-mouth menu item.

Apparently, it’s been around for quite some time, at least two, and very nearly three years – at least since August 2014.

Store associates will make it for customers who ask for it by name.

What is it? Read the rest of this entry »

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Free Enterprise And #Beer

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 6, 2017

I am a FIRM PROPONENT of ENTREPRENEURSHIP, FREE ENTERPRISE, and FAIR COMPETITION.

budweiser-beer-original-logoabinbev-china-logoFor that reason, and others, I have NOT purchased an AB-InBev product in quite some time, not only because of the inferior quality of their products, but because it is a greedy, global, monolithic oligopolic (virtually monopoly) enterprise.

It is NOT an American company, and ceased being an American company when it SOLD OUT to the Belgian brewing company InBev for around $52 billion in 2008. From then, the company was named AB-InBev.

Molson Canadian Lager beer, original bottle, brewed in Montreal, CanadaTo add insult to injury, the U.S. Department of Justice OK’d a deal in 2016 in which AB-InBev BOUGHT SABMiller’s U.S. business which in turn, would allow Molson Coors to Read the rest of this entry »

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Citizens United Ruling Violates Equal Protection Clause

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, February 6, 2017

Nick Hanauer, a multi-billionaire about whom few have likely heard, authored a highly publicized article not too long ago warning about wealth inequity. Increasingly, the wealthy are realizing that a strategy of cutting taxes upon the wealthy and their corporations is not a recipe for American success, precisely for the reason that it adversely affects economic infrastructure, and jobs, among other damages.

However, one needn’t be wealthy to realize and understand that money, and the unreasonable desire for it known as avarice (an extreme form of greed), and the unwieldy power that accompanies it, are corrupting influences in any nation, and particularly in our United States because of SCOTUS ruling in the 2010 Citizens United v Federal Election Commission decision which Read the rest of this entry »

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LOGIC: If bin Laden is not dead, there was no @realDonaldTrump #GoldenShowerGate. Here’s why.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 12, 2017

Most would agree that Osama bin Laden is dead, that he was killed by a TOP SECRET CIA-led joint U.S. Military operation code-named Operation Neptune Spear, which was executed by the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group, aka DEVGRU, or commonly as SEAL Team Six.

DEVGRU and the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), aka “Delta Force,” are the DOD’s elite counterterrorism task force units, both which operate under the Joint Special Operation Command (JSOC).

Also involved in Operation Neptune Spear was the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) “Nightstalkers,” (SOAR(A)) from Ft. Campbell, KY, and the CIA’s Special Activities Division (SAD), the most secretive of all clandestine agencies, whose members – if compromised – are denied by the United States Government.

But it was the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group’s DEVGRU that was Operation Neptune Spear’s fatal piercing point for Osama bin Laden.

The general public has not ever seen images of Osama bin Laden’s corpse. Nor are they likely ever to see them. At least not in this lifetime.

In addition to President of the United States Barack Obama, one of the less-than-fifty-people who ever saw them was Republican Senator James Inhofe, who described in part what he saw to CNN: “One of the shots went through the ear and out through an eye socket, or through the eye socket and out through the ear and exploded, that was the kind of ordinance it was. That caused the brains to be hanging out of the eye socket. Absolutely no question about it. A lot of people out there say: ‘I want to see the pictures,’ but I’ve already seen them. That was him. He’s gone. He’s history.”

President Obama, who ordered the mission, said in part to CBS News that, “Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain this was him. We’ve done DNA sampling and testing. And so there is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden. It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence. As a propaganda tool.”

Following President Obama’s White House announcement May 2, 2011 that bin Laden had been killed, speculation quickly arose that the death was falsified, that it – like some imagine the Moon Landing – was somehow “faked.”

Lack of publicly available images and details on the TOP SECRET Operation Neptune Spear only fueled specious speculation which, like wildfire, spread throughout the tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy community.

It was nearly two years later, in February 2013, that Read the rest of this entry »

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“Too Big To Fail” Banks Get Bailout, Gave Customers The Shaft

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 19, 2016

Chalk One Up for the Working Man

By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published (via Facebook) on December 18, 2016
Used with permission

On Thursday, I tried a case for a close friend on mine in the Jefferson County, Alabama District Court in Bessemer, Alabama. My friend is a hard working Bessemer resident and family man whose world was turned upside down when Citibank sold his credit card account to San Diego-based junk debt buyer, Midland Funding, LLC. He is one of millions of bank credit card customers each year whose accounts are bundled in loan pools and then sold to junk debt buyers without the customer’s knowledge.

Midland Funding is one of several mega junk debt buyers in America. This group of financial sharks buys unsecured bank debt for pennies on a dollar and then strong arms debtors who miss one or more of their monthly payments. Midland is part of a multi-billion industry of shady financial predators.

In my friend’s case, Citibank sold his account to Midland Funding. The balance on the account was $6,800. My friend paid his credit card monthly on a regular basis, but had an unexpected hiccup in his monthly cash flow a couple of years after he opened the account. As a result he failed to make a couple of his payments on time. When this occurred Citibank sold my friend’s account to Midland, and Midland eventually sued my friend. This is how my friend became my client.

Remember, Citibank had a similar hiccup during the Great Recession of 2008. The bank requested and received a total of $181.6 billion in federal bailout assistance to keep from collapsing. In fact, Citibank led the banking industry’s “welfare queens” by receiving more financial bailout assistance than any big bank in the U.S.

Citibank’s “Thank You” to the taxpayers like my client, whose tax dollars made the financial bailout possible for these big banks, was the low-down act of selling his credit card account to a shark like Midland Funding. The big banks were quick to take taxpayer-sponsored financial assistance, but slow to give taxpayers similar financial assistance in return.

[Editor’s Note: Alamerica Bank, which is Read the rest of this entry »

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