Poverty has an Expiration Date?

According the World Bank, it does. What is the difference between extreme poverty and poverty? Who defined it? While the governments of the world figure this out, the World Bank has set a deadline for 2030 to end extreme global poverty emphasizing that the poorest benefit from strong growth and rising prosperity in developing nations Reuters reports. According to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Saturday following a meeting of the World Bank’s Development Committee, “For the first time in history we have committed to setting a target to end poverty. We are no longer dreaming of a world free of poverty; we have set an expiration date for extreme poverty.”  The goal plans to reduce extreme poverty to 3 percent and target the bottom 40 percent of people living in each country of the developing world.

The target of the World Bank aims to guide the institution and work with the United Nations to make plans post-2015 poverty strategy to replace existing goals. The developing world has seen a growth of about 6 percent annually in their economies with millions of people being lifted out of poverty creating a new global middle class which has also allowed for increases in growing inequality. As the Committee explains, “We recognize that sustained economic growth needs a reduction in inequality. Investments that create opportunities for all citizens and promote gender equality are an important end in their own right, as well we being integral to creating prosperity.” This week the World Bank released figures that show extreme poverty has plunged since 1990 with 21 percent from 43 percent and that most of the poor are heavily concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, while China has slashed extreme poverty according to Reuters. Kim also said climate change and investments in heath and education were discussed as well.

The meeting also called for donor fundraising campaigns by the World Bank’s fund for its poorest borrowers urging strong participation by all countries. Every three years according to Huff Post, donors from rich and developing economies alike raise funds for the Bank’s International Development Association or IDA, while the United States, Britain and Nordic nations are usually the biggest funders for the past several years Brazil, India, China, Chile, Argentina and Peru have also donated funds. However with the current financial climates in Europe and the United States, the World Bank will be more restrictive when it comes to how the money is used so not to impact the poor. The emphasis according to Kim should be on helping fragile  and conflict hit countries.

The Aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing

Deval Patrick Boston Marathon

The capture of the second suspect for many closed the first chapter in the mystery surrounding the Boston Marathon Bombing last Monday, but now many not just the government want answers to why and how. As the lone survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing lies in a heavily guarded room recovering from injuries, no one knows what the 19 year old will say or when as on Sunday he was in serious condition after being pulled bloodied and wounded from a tarp covered boat in a Watertown backyard. One thing is for sure, the American Civil Liberties Union and the federal public defender raised concern over the plan to interrogate Dzhokhar Tsarnaev without reading his Miranda Rights. The capture came on Friday night hours after his 26 year old brother Tamerlan died in a gun battle with police. The U.S. official said an elite interrogation team will be used without reading him his rights invoking the exception because of immediate danger to the public such as bombs planted and ready to go off. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero called the legal exception in this case as non-compliant with the rule since the rule states that continued threat to public safety and OT an open ended exception to Miranda rights which guarantees the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. The Massachusetts’ federal public defender’s office said they would represent him once charged, however a lawyer should be give as soon as possible because of issues regarding possible interrogation.

As of right now, no charges have been brought against Tsarnaev as it is unclear what charges will be filed according to Huff Post. The twin bombing injured 180 and killed three which can carry the most serious charge of a possible death sentence because the use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill people, however Massachusetts does not have a death penalty. According to the Associated Press, President Barack Obama said there are many unanswered question about the bombing including whether the brothers had help and to delay judgement about the motives behind it. Gov. Deval Patrick said on Saturday that Tsarnaev is unable to communicate at this time as he is still recovering at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where 11 victims were treated.

The all day manhunt on Friday lead police in Boston to a Watertown neighborhood and left the city for much of the day at a standstill. The break came when a homeowner spotted blood on his boat and pulled back the tarp to see a bloody Tsarnaev hiding inside. After some gunfire, he was seized, taken into custody in an ambulance and to where he currently resides to treat injuries suffered during the battle. During the night, Tsarnaev brothers killed an MIT police officer, severely wounded another lawman and took part in a shootout and car chase hurling explosives at the police reports AP. The explosives were similar to the ones used at the Boston Marathon attack according to authorities who recovered a pressure cooker lid embedded in a car down the street. Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau also confirmed that the suspects tossed two grenades before Tamerlan ran out of ammo and police tackled him. But while handcuffed, officers had to dive out of the way as Dzhokhar drove at them in a carjacked Mercedes, while the SUV dragged Tamerlan’s body down the block. Police were able to track the escaped suspect by a blood trail left after abandoning the Mercedes.

Investigators cannot offer a motive for the Boston attack at this time, however interviews with officials and those who knew the brothers has painted a picture of the older brother as someone embittered with the U.S. becoming increasingly radical in his Muslim faith and influential over his brother. According to AP, the Russian FSB intelligence service told the FBI in 2011 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a follower of radical Islam two law enforcement officials confirmed Saturday. In an FBI news release, a foreign government possibly Russia said Tamerlan Tsarnaev appeared to be a strong believer and his ideology drastically changed since 2010 as he prepared to leave the U.S. for a region in Russia to join an unspecified group. In response, the FBI interviewed the older brothers and relatives finding no domestic or foreign terrorism activity in phone records, online, his travels or his associations. An uncle of the brothers confirmed a falling out with Tamerlan over increased commitment to Islam and spoke to the fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother, has had his life wasted by his older brother and was used for his brother’s benefit not his own. A neighbor of the older brother in Cambridge said that Tamerlan had strong political views about the U.S. quoting Tamerlan as sating the U.S. uses the Bible as “an excuse for invading other countries” AP reports. As of Saturday, 50 people remain hospitalized and three in critical condition.

Some lawmakers have criticized the FBI for not placing Tsarnaev under watch after questioning him over radical beliefs. According to Huff Post, on Sunday Sen. Lindsey Graham of, R-S.C., felt the ball had been dropped while Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. said the FBI repeatedly overlooked possible links to terrorist activity among a subset of Muslims in America. A mosque in Cambridge, Mass. confirmed Saturday that the Tsarnaev brothers infrequently attend services at the center that was a 10 minute walk from their apartment. According to a statement released by the Islamic Center of Boston, “In their visits, they never exhibited any violent sentiments or behavior. Otherwise they would have been immediately reported to the FBI. After we learned of their identities, we encouraged anyone who knew them in our congregation to immediate report to law enforcement, which has taken place.” The Los Angeles Times reports that Tamerlan was kicked out of the mosque three months ago after becoming argumentative with the imam leading the service who praised Martin Luther King Jr. Becoming enraged, Tamerlan shouted, “you cannot mention this guy because he’s not a Muslim!” There were no more incidence after that. The statement released by the center also  said, “Right now, our focus will remain on grieving for the victims and their families, praying for a speedy recovery for the injured, and offering what support we can to all in need.” The investigation of course is ongoing into the motivation for the crime.

As the week came to a close, some of Boston resumed some normalcy with tension still running high and another race pays tribute to the fallen and injured. On Saturday, Governor Patrick of Massachusetts and dozens of local and state police appeared at the first home game for the Boston Red Sox since the bombing on Monday. While at home the streets of Boston began to buzz with life again, thousands of runners participating in the London Marathon on Sunday paid tribute to those killed and injured in the Boston Marathon six days earlier. According to the Associated Press, participants paused for a moment of silence in the beginning wearing black ribbons o their chest in solidarity while two runners finished carrying a banner “For Boston.”  As Valerie Bloomfield, a 40 year old participant from France, put it,”It means that runners are stronger than bombers.” The London Marathon is the first major international marathon since the bombing on Monday and some 35,000 runners took part in the race that drew tens of thousands of spectators turning up to show their solidarity and strength with no fear. Authorities in London boosted security by 40 percent adding in extra surveillance to be safe. Many who were present when the bombs exploded in Boston were determined to run in the London Marathon this year. Yet some did show apprehension and anxiety on Sunday as some feared a copy cat bombing might happen telling friends and family not to come.

As the race began, a moment of silence was given to the city of Boston and many showed support for the bruised city. Many in the crowd wore Boston t-shirts as half a dozen police officers mingled and chatted with the runners. Before the race began, announcer Geoff Wightman announced over the loudspeaker that a moment of silence would be given for the city of Boston as running is a global sport that united people in every continent in a spirit of friendship. During the moment of silence, only the buzz of helicopters and beeping trucks could be heard AP reports. Security was on high alert but not intrusive to the race as marathon staff, officials and journalist were bag checked before the race in response to the Boston attack. Marathon organizers plan to donate money to a Boston fund set up for victims, while in Germany 15,000 runners participated in the Hamburg Marathon wearing armbands with the slogan “Run for Boston.”

Meanwhile back in Boston some groups fear retaliation in the form of hate crimes, while the city braces for a very large bill. In the days after the bombing, the region’s Muslim community has condemned the violence and distanced themselves from the suspects. It is unclear if the possible motives were related to politics, religion or difficulty assimilating after immigrating to the United States nearly a decade ago. The Muslim community faces a hard questions now: Do they accept the men as Muslim despite the allegations against them? If so, will Tamerlan get an Islamic burial? Mosques and Islamic groups fear retaliation if associated with the brother after friends and family identified them as Muslim and their interest in Islamic Chechen insurgency groups according to social accounts. Disagreement about whether to bury Tamerlan as a Muslims have arisen among mosques in the Boston area with the Islamic Institute of Boston claiming the brother does not deserve a Muslim burial and the other Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center saying the brother should be buried according to his religious traditions. No funeral has been set as the body is in the possession of law enforcement for forensic experts, medical examiners and investigators to inspect for more details about his death and actions. Several organizations have released statement appealing for restraint and understanding after the identities of the bombing suspects were publicized and reveled to be of Chechen descent, AP reports. As for the amount of money lost because of the bombing, the numbers are only estimates. Due to closed streets and the increase in state resources used for the manhunt, the estimated bill according to Jim Duffley, chief regional economist at research firm IHS, could be between $250 and $333 million per day for the shutdown Business Week reports. The Washington Post’s WonkBlog according to Huff Post took a shot at calculating the cost and put their estimates closer to a billion dollars a day but the effects could be smaller than that more like a major blizzard.

420 Friendly: The Rule Rather Than Exception

Tax Revenue From Marijuana Legalization

As Washington struggles to find a solution to the fiscal crisis now in swing, several states have found a way to capitalize on the legalization of marijuana in their state which has the potential to bring billions in revenue to states struggling to meet their own budgetary concerns. According to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank Huff Post reports, the federal legalization of marijuana would offer large new revenue streams that could potentially relieve some of financial strains on the federal budget. Carol Davis, a senior analyst at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy told the Huff Post that, “We don’t know the size of the marijuana market right now, and we certainly don’t know what would happen to the price and the demand for marijuana under different levels of legalization. But we do know that legalization would lead to a positive revenue impact on the income and sales tax side.”According to a 2010 study, legalizing the drug would generate $8.7 billion in federal and state tax revenue annually assuming that it would be taxed similar to alcohol and tobacco as well as the income earned by pot producers to standard income and sales tax.

Besides federal benefits, according to the study, states and local governments stand to save billions on the current spending regulating marijuana use. The state of Washington estimates it will generate $1.9 billion in additional revenue in five years due to the legalization, while eighteen states and Washington D.C. have already legalized medicinal marijuana and another 10 are currently considering legislation according to the National Cannabis Industry Association. A recent Pew Research Center poll shows a majority of Americans support the legalization of weed, however opponents argue that fiscal benefits are outweighed by social impact such as violence, crime and social disintegration according to a Heritage Foundation report.

Could the United States become a 420 friendly society? Possibility but with restrictions. What does 420 friendly mean? Well I have often wondered about the origins and had look no further than Huff Post. Depending on who you ask and how coherent they are, the answers range from the number of active chemicals in weed to teatime in Holland to even yes Hitler’s birthday according to Huff Post. The origin of the term celebrated by pot enthusiasts around the world on April 20 has been lost in the smoke filled memories of the people who created it. The Huff Post has actually traced the origins back to a Point Reyes, California forest where it turns out it not only started but explains how it spread. High Times, a marijuana focused magazine, published the story that the term 420 came from police code in San Rafael, California in the 1970s where the police began to use it to refer to marijuana and from there spread. However the true story does start in San Rafael, but involves five San Rafael High School friends known as Waldos as they hung out at a wall outside the school coined the term in 1971. Today the code appears in pop culture and mainstream like in Pulp Fiction, Price is Right, Craigslist postings and in 2003 when California Legislature codified medicinal marijuana under the bill named SB420.

The Waldos have proof that they used the term in the early 70s speaking with Huff Post and prefering to stay with the names Waldo Steve, Waldo Dave, Waldo Mark, etc. as pot was still illegal in 2009 when the interview took place. California since then has decriminalized possession making the fine a little more than a parking ticket as medicinal marijuana shops have popped up all over the state and weed is not so taboo. In 2012, their story was told by Huff Post to set the record straight about the origins and spread of the term 420. The story begins in 1971 when the Waldos got word that a Coast Guard service member could not tend his marijuana plants anymore near Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard Station, so the group with a treasure map decided to find the free bud. The Waldos would meet at the statue of Louis Pasteur outside school at 4:20 p.m. after practice to begin their hunt. The group would remind each other to meet up at 4:20 to search for the treasure and were unsuccessful in their first couple of searches. The group would take a ride out to Point Reyes at 4:20 smoking the entire way week after week, but never actually found the patch. The group adopted the codeword to used around school and parents to hide the fact they were smoking pot.

As they continued to use the term, eventually luck would have it that the term would spread farther than they could ever imagine thanks to the Grateful Dead. As San Francisco’s hippie utopia collapses and miscreants took over The Haight, the Grateful Dead packed up and moved to Marin County hills just blocks from their high school. Beside the geographic location, several of the guys had connections to the Dead through family like Mark Gravitch’s father who took care of real estate, Dave Reddix’s older brother, Patrick, managed a Dead sideband and was good friends with the bassist Phil Lesh. Patrick Reddix recalls to Huff Post that he smoked with Lesh but couldn’t recall if he used the term 420 around him but must have. The Dead, recalls Dave Reddix, had a rehearsal space on Front Street, San Rafael, California and they used to practice there. The friends would hang out listening to the music and smoking making it possible that Patrick spread the term to Phil Lesh as well as Dave himself while hanging with Lesh. As the Grateful Dead toured through the 70’s and 80’s playing hundreds of shows per year, the term spread through the underground and once High Times picked up on it the magazine made the term global. The Waldos say it took a few years for the term to spread but by the early 90’s were hearing it all over San Rafael, even in unexpected places such as Ohio, Florida and Canada as well as spotting the digits on signs and park benches.

In 1998, the Waldos set the record straight and got in touch with High Times even presenting evidence to back up their story. Stashed away in a San Fransisco bank vault, Reddix, Gravitch, Capper and Patty Young have kept a flag with the 420 stitched on it, letters, newspaper clipping and other pieces of memorabilia Huff Post reports. The men are still excited to this day about their impact on international subculture as the group is considering doing a documentary about their experience, a dictionary of slang and whatever else might come their way.

Oldest Family Business In U.S. Profits Without Layoffs Or Outsourcing

Oldest Family Business In U.S. Profits Without Layoffs Or Outsourcing – Careers Articles.

With the sequestration in full effect and no sign of any deals anytime soon, companies are finding ways to cut costs in order to make the hefty profits pre-recession by outsourcing, automating, and downsizing, but one company refuses to do so. The story of Avedis Zildjian Company sounds like something of a myth especially since in its 390 year history of cymgal manufacturing has never laid off a worker at least in recent history. Instead of laying off employees, the company retrains them for a new position when their jobs are automated plus offers incentive pay for increase productivity. The CEO Craigie Zildjian told NBC about the relationship with workers explaining, “It comes down to trust doesn’t it? You take care of us, and we take care of you.” Being the oldest family owned business in the U.S., the Zildjian company made cymbals in Turkey during the Ottoman Empire, then in Massachusetts during the Great Depression and can trace their history to Avedis Zildjian who was an Armenina alchemist whose secret formula for metals created cymbals with such an entrancing sound that he was invited to live with the sultan in the palace according to AOL jobs. Today, the facotry in Norwell, Mass., is run by 14th generation embers of the family and the Zildjian cymbals have been used by everyone from 19th century composer Richard Wagner to big band drummer Gene Krupa and Ringo Starr. The company currently controls 65 percent of the cymbal market with Craigie Zildjian as CEO and her sister Debbie Zildjian as vice president of Human Resources. The company’s commitment to retraining employees for new jobs is in stark contrast to employers who have cut back on training for decades which increased during the recession leaving only 1 in 5 workers with new skills from employer provided training in the past five years, according to a recent survey. For the past fifteen years, the company has offered 125 employees incentive pay for greater productivity and accuracy which has lead to only two months in 15 years where employees haven’t received a bonus according to Debbie Zildjian. This explains why so many employees are lifers who have been with the company for decades. Zildjian has been inviting music legends to test out their products and help them innovate for decades and to this day they send good tidings and birthday wishes to their artists on their twitter account which almost has 50,000 followers. The company has evolved with time as Craigie and Debbie Zildjian are the first women to run the company. The company’s success may also be due to the special rules for family management which requires as BBC reports that no family member can report to another, everyone must have job experience, college degrees are required, and no spouses allowed.

Federal Employees Owed $3.5 Billion In Back Taxes In 2011: IRS

Federal Employees Owed $3.5 Billion In Back Taxes In 2011: IRS.

On Friday, the Internal Revenue Service stated that a number of federal employees and retirees owed delinquent incomes taxes in 2011 even more than the previous year with a 12 percent increase that totals about 312,000 people and more than $3.5 billion owed as of Sept. 30,2011. Out of 9.8 millions workers included in the data the delinquency rate was 3.2 percent better than the general public which was 8.2 percent. The Department of Housing and Urban Development had the highest with 4.4 percent and the Treasury Department which includes the IRS had the lowest with 1.1 percent. Among independent agencies, the Government Printing Office had a rate of 7.6 percent the highest and the National Credit Union Administration had the lowest with 1 percent. House employees had a delinquency rate of 3.7 percent higher than the Senate employees at 3.3 percent, while the Federal court employees had a rate of 2.7 percent. According to Huff Post, the IRS has said that most residents who owe taxes filed their taxes but cannot pay the full amount at tax time while others had their bills increased through audits and cannot pay the higher bills. The IRS does not publicize the data but makes it available upon request as Huff Post reported and does not include people on payment plans in their data. The data comes as many federal workers face unpaid furloughs because of the sequestration as many have receive or are yet to receive a furlough notice in the coming months.

Nike, Apple, Facebook Among U.S. Companies That Intend To Back Gay Marriage In Coming Supreme Court Cases

Nike, Apple, Facebook Among U.S. Companies That Intend To Back Gay Marriage In Coming Supreme Court Cases.

The fight for equal rights for all groups continues to rage as the right to marry has made more headline not just in the United States but around the world. As many other countries come to accept the idea and other struggles to come to terms, the United States as always is struggling to unite on the issue. While others struggle, some U.S. business interests are showing their support for gay marriage by lending their signatures to two briefs that will be filed this week with the U.S. Supreme Court, according to lawyers who argue that gay rights is good for business. Various companies will be joining separate friends of the court briefs one on Wednesday challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act and one on Thursday that questions the California ban on gay marriage. The companies are asking that the court invalidate Prop 8 in California and strike down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. According to Reuters, the Prop 8 brief filed has some major players joining the fight including Apple, Nike, Facebook, Morgan Stanley, Intel Corp, Xerox, AIG, and Cisco Systems. The cases will be argued on March 26 and 27. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has not taken a position on the issue, while business interests have no previously been represents in briefs already filed in support. More names could be added to the brief that will be filed on Thursday according to the lawyers handling the Prop 8 brief. Similar brief for the DOMA case has more than 250 signatures that will be filed Wednesday. The Prop 8 brief claims that the companies feel the ban and other laws inflict real and unnecessary injury on business and can impede the efforts to recruit the best workers because of the social stigma imparted by Prop 8 and similar laws. It seems to be more about business than actually being concerned with equal rights?

‘Gun Owners Support Starbucks’ Day Celebrated On February 22

‘Gun Owners Support Starbucks’ Day Celebrated On February 22.

With all the problems in American and for that matter the gripping financial crisis across the globe, I think the issue of gun control has become so tied up and ridiculous that the impending sequestration that will occur on March 1 takes priority. Don’t get me wrong gun violence is on the rise unfortunately, so something really does need to be done about it but the government keeps getting tied up with special interest groups and people who really don’t understand the second amendment. I am not afraid to say it people once again the constitution is their to protect our right but people have taken it to a whole other level. I believe in protecting our rights, but I think anyone will agree that their is a better way to protect our children and ourselves than more guns. Instead of focusing on just the weapons themselves, all I am ask is that more measures are taken and followed to keep as many guns away from people who really should not have them such as criminals and mentally unstable individuals. It does not make me feel safe seeing anyone carrying a gun freely in public not even the police because who can you trust now a days it makes me nervous that is why I do not own one. The people these pro second amendment people should be going after are the ones on our payroll…the lawmakers and president not each other. People like to think the NRA has their interests at heart, but they stand to lose a lot of money if membership or guns are regulated more (gun manufacturers hello) that is why they have so many lobbyists. Hey if you want to own a gun more power to you but get your facts right before you attack people about their dislike of guns. Guns don’t necessarily paint a pretty picture they just make a mess.

On Friday, gun rights activists plan to descent on Starbucks in order to bring the coffee chain face to face with the nationwide debate on gun control. Why Starbucks? The chain allows customers to carry guns openly as long as it is legal in the state, so to show their appreciation some activists have designated Friday, February 22 as “Gun Owners Support Starbucks” Day. More than a thousands people plan to participate and 700 people liked the moments Facebook page.  An organizer of the event, Ed Levine, told WNEW that “Some anti-gunners wanted citizens such like myself kicked out of Starbucks for carrying a gun and Starbucks said, ‘Hey, we’re here to sell cakes and coffees.'” Zack Hutson, a spokesman for Starbucks commented to the Huff Post that, “Where laws can permit open carry, our stores permit it. Where laws don’t permit open carry, our stores prohibit it. We encourage customer and advocacy groups from both sides to share their input with public officials.”

Everyone has the freedom to hold their own opinions and beliefs, but where the problem comes is when people do not acknowledge other people may not believe the same thing. Here in lies the conflict in any major fight. I don’t think gun control and gun violence would be such a controversial issue if people would compromise to come to a solution that benefits everyone without compromising their beliefs. Guns do little to bring people together as it as proven in the past and second amendment activists are proving now.