Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh Really..... Obama Seeks to Win Back Wall St. Cash

After the last couple of years of calling them everything short of Satan's children? I don't think so but some will come crawling back to him.

Mr. Obama, who enraged many financial industry executives a year and a half ago by labeling them “fat cats” and criticizing their bonuses, followed up the meeting with phone calls to those who could not attend.

The event, organized by the Democratic National Committee, kicked off an aggressive push by Mr. Obama to win back the allegiance of one of his most vital sources of campaign cash — in part by trying to convince Wall Street that his policies, far from undercutting the investor class, have helped bring banks and financial markets back to health.

Last month, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, traveled to New York for back-to-back meetings with Wall Street donors, ending at the home of Marc Lasry, a prominent hedge fund manager, to court donors close to Mr. Obama’s onetime rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton. And Mr. Obama will return to New York this month to dine with bankers, hedge fund executives and private equity investors at the Upper East Side restaurant Daniel.

“The first goal was to get recognition that the administration has led the economy from an unimaginably difficult place to where we are today,” said Blair W. Effron, an investment banker closely involved in Mr. Obama’s fund-raising efforts. “Now the second goal is to turn that into support.”

The president’s top financial industry supporters say they are confident that the support Mr. Obama needs will ultimately be there, despite the financial industry’s unhappiness over his efforts to tighten regulation of their businesses. But it is clear that those supporters will have to work much harder to win over the financial services industry than they did in 2008, before Wall Street’s bust, the subsequent clashes over policy and the sometimes bitter personal differences that lingered afterward.

“Fund-raising is certainly different than last time around in ’07,” Mr. Wolf said. “Not everybody on Wall Street agrees with the financial regulatory legislation. But as someone who witnessed firsthand the Lehman weekend at the New York Fed, there are certainly many of us in the financial services community, myself included, that fully support smart reforms.”

Still, there is skepticism. One Democratic financier invited to this month’s dinner, who asked for anonymity because he did not want to anger the White House, said it was ironic that the same president who once criticized bankers as “fat cats” would now invite them to dine at Daniel, where the six-course tasting menu runs to $195 a person.

The donor declined the invitation.

(NYTIMES) Debt Collectors Ask to Be Paid a Little Respect... Hell No

If Debt Collectors had a policy and methods of wanting to help people who are in debt they would have gotten that respect a long time ago. But Debt Collectors routinely harass, insult, threaten people to get their money so in short, go screw.

As a longtime debt collector, Lesllie Rogers has been routinely insulted, pummeled with obscenities, crudely propositioned and threatened with violence by the people she calls.

“They want you to feel as small and insignificant as possible,” said Ms. Rogers, who works for a collection agency in Rochester, Minn. “The guy who sits across from me just was threatened with getting his legs and arms cut off.”

Debt collectors like Ms. Rogers are well aware that they are not a sympathetic lot. But now they are saying enough is enough. The trade association that represents them is engaged in an unlikely charm offensive to change their lowly image, while also trying to shape the rules that govern them as they face the prospect of a tough new regulator.

Debt collectors as human beings? It could be their toughest commission yet.

These are boom times for collection agencies, which have been swamped with work as many Americans gorged on debt and then struggled to repay it. But the industry has come under fire for pushing too hard. Last year, 140,036 complaints were filed against debt collectors, a 17 percent increase over the previous year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The complaints told of menacing late-night phone calls and threats of jail time or confiscating a house. In one instance a jury awarded a Texas man $1.5 million after a debt collector left voicemail messages using vulgarities and racial slurs.

Those are the exceptions, the industry’s trade association says.

Indeed, Mark Neeb, the association’s incoming president, says that most debt collectors are the “salt of the earth” and are tired of being defined by the worst members of their profession. And it is they who are feeling harassed.

“There really ought to be a law on how consumers behave towards debt collectors,” said Mr. Neeb, whose employees routinely use aliases on the phone to protect their identity from hostile debtors.

Investors nervous as stock market eyes correction

For me this means buying up cheap stocks from the overreaction though I always thought the stock market was too high.

Just six weeks ago, the stock market hit its highest point in three years. Then came mounting evidence that the economic recovery may have stalled.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index has dropped 6.8 percent since April 29. Declining just as quickly: the hopes of many investors and economists for robust growth in the second half of the year. Industries likely to do well if growth is strong, such as financial, technology, and industrial, are already down 8 percent or more.

If the stock market drops 10 percent, it would signal a correction. Some market analysts, such as Citigroup's Tobias Levkovich, believe that the stock market is on that path now.

Corrections are common during bull markets, but one now could lead to more than the usual hand-wringing. That's because the Federal Reserve will end at the end of this month its program of buying Treasury bonds to support the economy by keeping interest rates low, which also makes stocks look attractive. The economy -- and by extension, the stock market -- will now need to show that it can expand without the Fed's help. What's more, the European financial crisis still isn't settled. Discussions about a second financial rescue package for Greece are two weeks away.

Chavez blames opposition for repeated power blackouts.

I can see all those opposition people running from power plant to power plant shutting them down to make him look bad.
President Hugo Chavez accused his political rivals on Sunday of sabotaging the country's electricity grid and trying to pin the blame on his government for blackouts plaguing much of Venezuela.

Repeated power blackouts in recent months have affected areas stretching from Venezuela's western border with Colombia to eastern regions where hydroelectric dams produce roughly a third of the electricity that Venezuelans consume.

Many Venezuelans in affected areas appear to be growing impatient as government officials promise solutions to a problem that has persisted since 2009 despite billions of dollars in investment aimed at revamping the power grid.

Opposition leaders, meanwhile, are trying to capitalize, blaming Chavez for a faulty power grid and the repeated outages.

Chavez accused his foes of provoking the outages, without presenting evidence of sabotage.

"Sabotage, we have to be vigilant," Chavez said, speaking from Cuba during a a telephone interview broadcast on Sunday by the Caracas-based Telesur television network.

The Slum areas of Broward County, Florida put on a map

Also known as high crime areas. Broward government uses the nice title of Community Redevelopment Areas but these are the areas you avoid at all times. A lot of yellow in this county..(PDF FILE)