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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Say It Isn't So: Sun-Times Media Group files for Chapter 11 debt protection

NEW YORK – The Sun-Times Media Group, owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and dozens of suburban newspapers, says it has filed for bankruptcy, making it the fifth newspaper publisher in recent months to seek protection from creditors.
Editor & Publisher article on Sun-Times
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Obama to unveil proposals to help small businesses (AP)

The broad packages of measures to reduce small business lending fee but to increase some Small Business Adminstration loans to 90 percent. (AP)

read more | digg story

Saturday, March 14, 2009

PARADE Magazine | Nicolas Cage, Single Dad On and Off-Screen

Nicolas Cage gained recent box-office fame for his adventurous role in the puzzle-filled National Treasure series. This time around, in Knowing, Cage is unraveling the mystery behind an ominous message.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The 10 Major Newspapers That Will Either Fold or Go Digital

24/7 Wall St. has created its list of the ten major daily papers that are most likely to fold or shut their print operations and only publish online

read more | digg story

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

NAMIC Announces CNN Anchor T.J. Holmes as Host for The 2009 NAMIC Annual Awards Breakfast

National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications today announced that T.J. Holmes, anchor for the weekend edition of CNN Newsroom, will serve as host for the NAMIC Annual Awards Breakfast.
Robert J. Miron, chairman, Advance/Newhouse Communications, will serve as honorary chair for the NAMIC Annual Awards Breakfast, which will feature the presentation of the Next Generation Leaders Awards.
Scheduled for Friday, April 3, 2009 at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, DC from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., the event is being held in conjunction with the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Cable Show as part of Cable Connection - Spring.

"T.J. Holmes is one of today's most respected young journalists and Robert J. Miron is one of our industry's most distinguished business leaders," said Kathy Johnson, president, NAMIC.
"We are honored that they will join us in recognizing another outstanding group of young executives who personify NAMIC's vision and are shaping the future of the communications industry."

Holmes' appearance as host of the NAMIC Annual Awards Breakfast is made possible courtesy of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. In addition to supporting this year's event, Turner is a NAMIC Annual Corporate Sponsor.

As an Annual Corporate Sponsor under its Bright House Networks banner, Advance/Newhouse is a supporter of NAMIC's national agenda. Throughout his illustrious career, Miron has earned many accolades such as the NCTA's Distinguished Vanguard Award and induction into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. Miron is a member of the Walter Kaitz Foundation's board of directors, serves as chairman of the executive committee for C-SPAN, and holds membership on the executive committees of the Cable Center, CableLabs and the NCTA.

Presented in partnership with Multichannel News, the awards program recognizes the industry's up-and-coming business leaders who reflect and embrace NAMIC's mission to educate, advocate and empower for multi-ethnic diversity in the communications industry. Since its inception in 2006, the Next Generation Leaders Awards has emerged as a premier platform for recognizing exceptional business achievements.

Awards will be presented to executives of color, age 45 and under, in three categories: Cable MSO, Cable Programmer and Technology Company or Discipline. Winners selected to receive 2009 Next Generation Leaders Awards will be announced in March.

Sponsors of the 2009 NAMIC Annual Awards Breakfast include the NCTA; Suddenlink Communications; The Sportsman Channel; A&E Television Networks; Ensequence; The Food Network; and Bright House Networks. 2009 Planning Co-chairs are Mark Kang, vice president, Affiliate Relations, The Sportsman Channel and NAMIC Board Director; and Danielle Wade, vice president, Customer Service and Marketing, Bright House Networks and NAMIC Board Director.

For more information on the 2009 NAMIC Annual Awards Breakfast and Next Generation Leaders Awards or inquiries pertaining to sponsorship, table/ticket purchases contact Sandra Girado, manager of Meeting and Events at the NAMIC national headquarters, 212-594-5985. Online registration for the NAMIC Annual Awards Breakfast can be accessed via www.namic.com.

NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications) is the premier organization focusing on multi-ethnic diversity in the communications industry, founded in 1980.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Business News You Can Use 3/3/09

Editor's Note: I understand that this is a lot to read. Go slow and find out how to fund your business--no matter your residence. I am using Indiana because I live in Indiana.


Introduced on day 43, President Barack Obama said Tuesday during and address to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the economy must be jumpstarted and mentioned the Consumer and Business Lending Initiative included in the economic stimulus package.

It is for up to a trillion dollars to the American people and helps frozen credit markets. Individuals should check their state’s web site for specific information.

Although it is a lot to read, not reading it will prevent you from understanding how to access the funds being given to states.

I have picked out the most relevant points explaining the Consumer and Business Lending Initiative:

Consumer & Business Lending Initiative – Up to $1 Trillion: Addressing our credit crisis on all fronts means going beyond simply dealing with banks.
While the intricacies of secondary markets and securitization – the bundling together and selling of loans – may be complex, they account for almost half of the credit going to Main Street as well as Wall Street. When banks making loans for small businesses, commercial real estate or autos are able to bundle and sell those loans into a vibrant and liquid secondary market, it instantly recycles money back to financial institutions to make additional loans to other worthy borrowers.
When those markets freeze up, the impact on lending for
consumers and businesses – small and large – can be devastating. Unable to sell loans into secondary markets, lenders freeze up, leading those seeking credit like car loans to face exorbitant rates.
Over the next several days, President Obama, the Treasury Department and the SBA will announce the launch of a Small Business and Community Bank Lending Initiative: This effort will seek to arrest
the precipitous decline in SBA lending – down 57 percent last quarter from the same quarter a year earlier for the flagship 7(a) loans through:
• Use of the Consumer &Business Lending Initiative to finance the purchase of AAA-rated SBA loans to unfreeze secondary markets for small business loans.
• Increasing the Guarantee for SBA Loans to 90%: The Administration is seeking to pass in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act an increase in the guarantee of SBA loans from as low as 75% to as high as 90%.
• Reducing Fees for SBA 7(a) and 504 Lending and Provide Funds for Both Oversight and Speedier and Less Burdensome Processing of Loan Applications.
Small Business and Community Lending Initiative: Few aspects of our current financial crisis have created more justifiable resentment than the specter of hard-working entrepreneurs and small
business owners seeing their companies hurt and even bankrupt because of a squeeze on credit they played no role in creating. Currently, the increased capital constraints of banks, the inability to sell SBA loans on the secondary market and a weakening economy have combined to dramatically reduce SBA lending at the very time our economy cannot afford to deny credit to any entrepreneur with the potential to create jobs and expand markets. Further adding to this frustration is the sense that
community banks – which still engage in relationship lending that serves their local communities -- have been overlooked not just during this crisis, but over the last several years.
Over the next several days, President Obama, the Treasury Department and the SBA will announce the launch of a Small Business and Community Bank Lending Initiative: This effort will seek to arrest the precipitous decline in SBA lending – down 57 percent last quarter from the same quarter a year
earlier for the flagship 7(a) loans through:
• Use of the Consumer &Business Lending Initiative to finance the purchase of AAA-rated
SBA loans to unfreeze secondary markets for small business loans.
• Increasing the Guarantee for SBA Loans to 90%: The Administration is seeking to pass in
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act an increase in the guarantee of SBA loans
from as low as 75% to as high as 90%.
• Reducing Fees for SBA 7(a) and 504 Lending and Provide Funds for Both Oversight and
Speedier and Less Burdensome Processing of Loan Applications.

The President said that the country must put Americans back to work. He said the multi-faceted economic stimulus package impact is being felt because of tax cuts and such and transportation projects.
The President said of the three and a half million jobs, 400,000 will be infrastructure projects including laying broadband lines.
The President said 14 days after signing the bill into law shovels are hitting the ground and people are being put back to work.
It is up to anyone interested to go to their state’s web site to find out how the stimulus package money is being spent where they live.
In Indiana, there is a new web site dedicated to this along with a personal message from Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.
The message said:
Thank you for visiting INvest.in.gov. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by the President will send unprecedented amounts of funding to states designed to stimulate the economy and to help those states with severe budget crises. Because we've been more careful about state spending, we've been able to balance our budget, repay all debts, and build strong reserves, so Indiana is in a different fiscal position than many other states. We still face difficult times, but we are holding our own and maintaining vital services that have been slashed severely in other states.

My direction to our team has been simple: jobs, speed, prudence, and long-term value. We will use these dollars to put Hoosiers to work quickly. We will use them carefully, making sure to protect education and other services in the years after these one-time funds stop coming. And whenever possible, we will use them to create assets of lasting value: roads, bridges, buildings, but also better prepared teachers, more energy efficient homes, and so on.

We must never forget that Washington does not have the money it is now beginning to distribute. The federal government will be borrowing it, and our children will inherit the bill. Our duty to use it wisely and efficiently is therefore a very solemn one.
The web site itself went on to say:
This website will be maintained to keep Hoosiers fully informed about uses of federal stimulus funds. You are invited to check it often.
While there, I found via press release, the economic stimulus package has already been put to work:

Unemployment Insurance Check amount increase
INDIANAPOLIS (February 19, 2009) - Governor Mitch Daniels announced today that eligible Hoosiers who are collecting unemployment insurance will receive a $25 increase in their weekly benefits.
The $25 weekly increase is part of the just enacted federal stimulus legislation. The increased benefit could extend through the end of 2009. States that participate in the program with the U.S. Department of Labor will be reimbursed for its cost. For Indiana, that could be as much as $185 million.
"We filed immediately so as not to lose a day getting more money to those who have lost jobs," said Daniels. "Indiana will be one of the first states in the nation to act on this opportunity."
Eligible Hoosiers will start accruing the benefit increase when they file their weekly unemployment voucher beginning Sunday, February 22. Increased benefits will be paid with two $25 deposits for eligible recipients beginning Monday, March 2 and then $25 weekly thereafter.
The increased benefit will apply to all eligible Hoosiers collecting state or federal unemployment benefits. The average weekly benefit for Hoosiers collecting unemployment insurance is $290; the maximum benefit is $390 per week.

Also while there, I found the group that could help me access federal grant funding through the state for businesses:
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) responds quickly to help businesses locate, grow and thrive in Indiana. The State of Indiana’s lead economic development agency, the IEDC oversees Indiana’s statewide business attraction and development efforts, coordinates state programs and incentives for companies looking to grow in Indiana, and provides technical assistance, business expertise and funding to Indiana entrepreneurs and high-tech start-ups. The IEDC is led by Indiana Secretary of Commerce and Chief Executive Officer E. Mitchell Roob, Jr. and governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Mitch Daniels.

Northwest Contact List
Director:
Jim Staton - 219.644.3694
Project Manager:
Cynthia Pruitt - 219.644.3697
Administrative Coordinator:
Mollie Collins - 219.644.3696

There are billions of additional dollars available to Indiana through a competitive grant process provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Examples include: Law Enforcement assistance, Health Information Technology, etc.
The Governor has asked Secretary of Commerce and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) Mitch Roob to work with local communities, not for profits, colleges and universities both public and private, and state agencies to ensure that Indiana is competing for as many of these grants as possible and that the projects submitted are as strong as possible.
Project Survey
The state, in conjunction with Ball State University, has created a survey to gather information about potential infrastructure and other projects that may be eligible for stimulus funding. The survey is online and serves only as a tool to gather information. Any entity that wishes to have a project considered for funding or possible grant application should complete the online survey at the link below.
Completion of this form does not mean that the project will or will not receive any stimulus funds. The survey is a central collection point for Indiana project information and is only a means of gathering information.
You may not have answers to all questions, but please provide as much information as possible, including local match funding sources. A sample form is provided below to help you collect your project information.
The deadline to submit is March 9, 2009.
As you can see, there is an impending deadline.
If this information is not presented to you via you local newspaper where you live, you should write a letter to the editor and ask why.


Details on the Financial Stability Plan
Between 2006 and 2008, there was a net $1.2 trillion decline in securitized lending (outside of the GSEs) in these markets. That is why a core component of the Financial Stability Plan is:
A Bold Expansion Up to $1 Trillion: This joint initiative with the Federal Reserve builds off, broadens and expands the resources of the previously announced but not yet implemented Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF).
The Consumer & Business Lending Initiative will support the purchase of loans by providing the financing to private investors to help unfreeze and lower interest rates for auto, small business, credit card and other consumer and business credit. Previously, Treasury was to use $20 billion to leverage $200 billion of lending from the Federal Reserve. The Financial Stability Plan will dramatically increase the size by using $100 billion to leverage up to $1 trillion and kick start lending by focusing on new loans.
• Protecting Taxpayer Resources by Limiting Purchases to Newly Packaged AAA Loans:
Because these are the highest quality portion of any security — the first ones to be paid — we will be able to best protect against taxpayer losses and efficiently leverage taxpayer money to support a large flow of credit to these sectors.
• Expand Reach – Including Commercial Real Estate: The Consumer & Business Lending Initiative will expand the initial reach of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility to now include commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). In addition, the Treasury will continue to consult with the Federal Reserve regarding possible further expansion of the TALF program to include other asset classes, such as non-Agency residential mortgage- backed securities (RMBS) and assets collateralized by corporate debt.
4. New Era of Transparency, Accountability, Monitoring and Conditions: A major and legitimate source of public frustration and even anger with the initial deployment of the first $350 billion of EESA funds was a lack of accountability or transparency as to whether assistance was being provided solely for the public interest and a stronger economy, rather than the private gain of shareholders, bondholders or executives. Going forward, the Financial Stability Plan will call for greater
transparency, accountability and conditionality with tougher standards for firms receiving exceptional assistance. These will be the new standards going forward and are not retroactive. These stronger monitoring conditions were informed by recommendations made by formal oversight groups – the Congressional Oversight Panel, the Special Inspector General, and the Government Accountability
Office — as well as Congressional committees charged with oversight of the banking system.
a. Requiring Firms to Show How Assistance from Financial Stability Plan Will Expand Lending:
The core of the new monitoring requirement is to require recipients of exceptional assistance or capital buffer assistance to show how every dollar of capital
they receive is enabling them to preserve or generate new lending compared to what would have been possible without government capital assistance.
• Intended Use of Government Funds: All recipients of assistance must submit a plan
for how they intend to use that capital to preserve and strengthen their lending
capacity. This plan will be submitted during the application process, and the
Treasury Department will make these reports public upon completion of the capital investment in the firm.
• The Impact on Lending Requirement: Firms must detail in monthly reports submitted to the Treasury Department their lending broken out by category, showing how many
new loans they provided to businesses and consumers and how many asset-backed
and mortgage-backed securities they purchased, accompanied by a description of the
lending environment in the communities and markets they serve. This report will
also include a comparison to their most rigorous estimate of what their lending would
have been in the absence of government support. For public companies, similar
reports will be filed on an 8K simultaneous with the filing of their 10-Q or 10-K
reports. Additionally, the Treasury Department will – in collaboration with banking
agencies – publish and regularly update key metrics showing the impact of the
Financial Stability Plan on credit markets. These reports will be put on the Treasury
FinancialStability.gov website so that they can be subject to scrutiny by outside and
independent experts.
• Taxpayers’ Right to Know: All information disclosed or reported to Treasury by
recipients of capital assistance will be posted on FinancialStability.gov because
taxpayers have the right to know whether these programs are succeeding in creating
and preserving lending and financial stability.
b. Committing Recipients to Mortgage Foreclosure Mitigation: All recipients of capital
investments under the new initiatives will be required to participate in mortgage foreclosure mitigation programs consistent with guidelines
Treasury will release on industry standard best practices.

f. Posting Contracts and Investment Information on the Web: The Treasury Department
will post all contracts under the Financial Stability Plan on FinancialStability.gov within
five to 10 business days of their completion. Whenever Treasury makes a capital
investment under these new initiatives, it will make public the value of the investment, the quantity and strike price of warrants received, the schedule of required payments to the government and when government is being paid back. The terms of pricing of these
investments will be compared to terms and pricing of recent market transactions during the period the investment was made, if available.
• Drive Down Overall Mortgage Rates: The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve remain committed to expand as necessary the current effort by the Federal Reserve to help drive down mortgage rates – freeing up funds for working families – through continuation of its efforts to spend as much as $600 billion for purchasing of GSE mortgage-backed securities and GSE debt.
• Commit $50 Billion to Prevent Avoidable Foreclosures of owner-occupied middle class homes by helping to reduce monthly payments in line with prudent underwriting and
6. Small Business and Community Lending Initiative: Few aspects of our current financial crisis have created more justifiable resentment than the specter of hard-working entrepreneurs and small business owners seeing their companies hurt and even bankrupt because of a squeeze on credit they played no role in creating. Currently, the increased capital constraints of banks, the inability to sell SBA loans on the secondary market and a weakening economy have combined to dramatically reduce
SBA lending at the very time our economy cannot afford to deny credit to any entrepreneur with the potential to create jobs and expand markets. Further adding to this frustration is the sense that community banks – which still engage in relationship lending that serves their local communities --
have been overlooked not just during this crisis, but over the last several years.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Steelworkers Say President's Choice for Health and Human Services a Good One

Kansas Governor Understands the Challenges to Working Families

The United Steelworkers (USW) today heartily endorsed President Obama's selection of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to become the new Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

USW International president Leo W. Gerard said that her nomination is another example of how intent the new Administration is on addressing issues critical to America's working families.
"As both Governor of Kansas and its insurance commissioner prior, Ms. Sebelius has demonstrated a keen perception of the struggles confronting ordinary Americans," said Gerard.
"She knows change is needed and we stand confident in her ability to play an active role in revamping the health care system. Her experience provides her with an in-depth understanding of the complexities of heath care and insurance issues."

Robert Bratulich, USW District 11 Director, which includes Kansas, said,
"President Obama could not have selected a better candidate to head HHS. Governor Sebelius is a stalwart supporter of working families."

Sebelius is in the middle of her second term as governor. Prior to becoming governor, she served for eight years as Kansas insurance commissioner, where she earned praise for her consumer watchdog role. She was an early Obama supporter and worked tirelessly during his campaign.

"Under her leadership the U.S. will finally be on the path towards affordable universal health care coverage," said Bratulich.

The USW represents 1.2 million active and retired workers in North America industries including metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service sector.

Weekly White House Address, President Barack Obama

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hate groups on the rise

Fueled by immigration fears, the recession and the election of a black president, hate groups in America increased their numbers again in 2008. The count now stands at a staggering 926 — a more than 50% increase since 2000.
I'm now deeply worried about the way hate group leaders are exploiting the election of Barack Obama and the economic crisis to swell their ranks and how their anti-Semitic, white supremacist propaganda is promoting violence.
A neo-Nazi leader was quoted in USA Today saying "When the economy suffers, people are looking for answers. … We are the answer for white people."
The day after President Obama was inaugurated, a white man in Massachusetts killed two black people and raped and gravely wounded another. His arrest derailed his plan to also invade a synagogue and kill as many Jews as possible. He'd spent six months reading racist websites and concluded they "spoke the truth about the demise of the white race."
As you know, we not only track and expose the activities of racist extremists — we use innovative legal strategies to put them out of business. We recently won a $2.5 million verdict against the leader of the Imperial Klans of America for the brutal beating of a teenage boy of Latino descent in Kentucky.
As a loyal supporter, you play a vital role in our work. Please help by alerting the authorities to any hate incidents you see and by speaking out against hate whenever and wherever you see it.
And please send an extra gift to aid our crucial efforts to combat extremists who are determined to divide us along racial, ethnic and religious lines. Thank you for your dedication to justice and tolerance.
Sincerely,

Morris Dees
Founder

Publisher

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Nothing much to say...ummm..my teeth are really white and that's a good thing...ummmm...
I will put links to blog posts here from time to time and I would like you to read and comment. Please watch, subscribe to the videos too. Thank you!
Oh Yeah, I started a new blog!
I began DIY Life Hack Mamma because that is what I do most of the time: figure stuff out.
 If you've ever heard of the phrase champagne taste on a beer budget, you've found me. I make soap from scratch because regular soap does not agree with my skin, I recreate restaurant meals at home, create appliances I cannot install or afford (yet,) and in general, I figure out a way from no way. I pray a lot too. Join me on my journey. It will be fun. 
Everything you see me do is for entertainment purposes only. All of my experiments are for my purposes only. It's fun to watch.

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