Recession: Family arrested for SHOPLIFTING at SEARS

Come on guys you got the kids stealing too?

via LA Times

A Glendale family of four –including two teenage sisters — were arrested over the weekend after they attempted to steal about $550 worth of shoes and cologne from a Sears store in Burbank, police said.

Christian Gonzalez, 31, and his wife, Norma Gonzalez, 32, along with their 13- and 14-year-old daughters were arrested outside the store onMagnolia Boulevard after employees stopped them and said they were placing shoes and boxes of cologne into bags from another store, Burbank Sgt. Travis Irving said Monday.


Don’t be mad McDONALDS still hiring, looks to fill 50,000 JOBS

I guess working at McDonalds will not be frowned upon too much longer, the way things are going in this country.


via Yahoo

McDonald’s Corp. will hold its first national hiring day April 19 to fill 50,000 openings at its restaurants nationwide.

The company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., says it is making a concerted effort to add staff as its business improves and as more of its restaurants stay open 24 hours a day.

Continue reading

Recession: Robber calls restaurant to complain about lack of money

Yeah this dude obviously does not know there is a recession.

via AJC

A man who robbed a Wendy’s at gunpoint Saturday night apparently was so upset with his haul that he twice called the restaurant to complain, Atlanta police said.

“Next time there better be more than $586,” he said during one call. He made “a similar threat” in the second call, police said.

Continue reading

WTF? Bank Robber Talks Recession During Hold up

I don’t think talking about being ‘out of work’ justifies a bank robbery in the US court system, but it was a hell of a try!

Picture 27

via Chron

A pistol-wielding robber blamed the nation’s troubled economy for a holdup this morning at a northwest Houston bank, authorities said.

While demanding cash about 10:30 a.m. from a teller at a Compass bank branch, 12514 Tomball Parkway, the armed robber said, “I’m only doing this to eat. They’re not letting me work,“ FBI officials said.

As his partner held a shotgun on customers and employees at the bank, the robber scooped the cash into a black nylon bag, officials said.

They were last seen getting into a tan, gray or silver four-door Chevrolet sedan with custom rims, FBI agents said.

There were no reported injuries during the robbery, officials said.

Global Financial Crisis is Good News for Italian Mafia


via HipHopStarship

While businesses around the world are hoping for survival, the Italian mob is thriving.

Italy’s various organized crime syndicates, known collectively as “The Mafia Inc.” are snatching up gas stations, muscling in on supermarket franchises, making loans to cash-starved businesses, taking over restaurants and acquiring buildings in swank neighborhoods in Rome and Milan, investigators say.

Mafia groups have large supplies of increasingly precious CASH & centuries-honed expertise in preying on the vulnerable, whose ranks are swelling in the current financial crisis.

It all means the mob is free to sink cash into two areas that lie at the heart of the global meltdown: real estate and credit markets.

Mafia groups are flush with billions of euros from extortion rackets, drug trafficking and booming sales in fake designer clothing made in China expressly for the Italian mob, an increasingly lucrative trade as hard-hit consumers search for bargains, prosecutors and police said in recent interviews.

For the mob bosses, the global economic meltdown “is only an advantage,” said anti-mafia prosecutor Franco Roberti, in his office in Naples, the chaotic port city that is home to the Camorra, one of the Italy’s major crime syndicates.

Italy has scored some spectacular successes in its decades-long fight against the Mafia, capturing top bosses, persuading turncoats to testify, and encouraging ordinary citizens to resist shakedowns.

But the mob keeps growing & its drive in recent years to grab chunks of legitimate business is paying off big time in the financial crisis.

Ecko Hanging on by a Thread, Drowning in Debt


via NY Post

Hip-hop clothing designer Marc Ecko — who famously bought Barry Bonds’ controversial record-breaking home-run ball and put an asterisk on it — is now in danger of being caught in a squeeze himself.

Ecko has hired investment bank Peter J. Solomon to help refinance at least $170 million in debt owed to two key business partners, sources told The Post. With lenders scarce, sources say his empire may be dismantled as he sells off assets to pay creditors.

After a disastrous holiday season that forced heavy markdowns at department stores including Macy’s — where Marc Ecko is the largest supplier of young men’s clothing — sources said the company owes more than $100 million to Li & Fung, a global trading company that helps manufacture Marc Ecko’s inventory.

To make matters worse, Marc Ecko has defaulted on a term loan of more than $70 million from a syndicate led by commercial-lending giant CIT, sources said. Continue reading

Communities print their own Currency to keep Cash Flowing

Can you picture us spending the “Hip Hop Dollar?” Imagine how far that sh*t would go? First we need a “community” then this might be a option, if n*ggas can ween themselves off this theory of “ballin’ out.”
A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money.

Borrowing from a Depression-era idea, they are aiming to help consumers make ends meet and support struggling local businesses.

The systems generally work like this: Businesses and individuals form a network to print currency. Shoppers buy it at a discount — say, 95 cents for $1 value — and spend the full value at stores that accept the currency.

Continue reading

Ever Wonder What a Trillion Dollars Looks Like?

via Mercola

In honor of the trillion bucks the Fed just pressed up, we surfed the net and found some visuals to put into perspective what a “trilli” actually looks like. What we found was staggering.

$10,000: Ten stack is a lil’ under 1/2 inch thick
$1,000,000: A MILLI weighs 22 lbs. and fits in a nappy
$100,000,000: 100 MILLION weighs a TON!!
$1,000,000,000: A BILLION is ten pallets of BIG FACE BENJI’s
$1,000,000,000,000: A TRILLION DOLLARS can fit on a Aircraft Carrier!

Global Economic Collapse Means Boom Times for Criminal Syndicates



via AlterNet

In all catastrophes, there are always winners among the host of losers and victims. Bad times, like good ones, generate profits for someone. In the case of the present global economic meltdown, with our world at the brink and up to 50 million people potentially losing their jobs by the end of this year, one winner is likely to be criminal activity and crime syndicates. From Mexico to Africa, Russia to China, the pool of the desperate and the bribable is expanding exponentially, pointing to a sharp upturn in global crime. As illicit profits rise, so will violence in the turf wars among competing crime syndicates and in the desperate efforts by panicked governments to put a clamp on criminal activity.

Take Mexico, just now in the headlines. In late March, during her first trip there as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was repeatedly asked about the burst of narcotics-related violence in that country, the thousands of deaths that have gone with it, the patent inability of the Mexican military to contain, no less repress, the drug trade, and the possibility that the country might be at risk of becoming a “failed state.” Mexico itself may not be in danger of collapse, she replieddiplomatically, but a very real danger threatens both countries from a rise in violent crime along the U.S.-Mexican border. “The criminals and kingpins spreading violence are trying to corrode the foundations of law, order, friendship, and trust between us,” she declared at a press conference in Mexico City. To counter this danger, the secretary of state promised a militarized response that reflected the level of danger she imagined — a significant increase in U.S. anti-narcotics assistance, including the expedited delivery of Black Hawk helicopters.

The Mexican drug trade itself is nothing new. The illicit export traffic to the United States and the ensuing bloody competition among drug traffickers for access to the U.S. market have long concerned U.S. and Mexican law enforcement authorities. In the last two years, however, the violence associated with this commerce has grown to unprecedented levels as the leading crime syndicates — the Juárez Cartel, the Sinaloa Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, and Los Zetas — havesuccessfully resisted a fierce government crackdown, while fighting among themselves for control over key border access points. According to Mexico’s Attorney General, Eduardo Medina-Mora, 5,376 Mexicans were killed in drug-related violence in the first 11 months of 2008 compared to 2,477 during the same period in 2007, an increase of 117%. And as times get ever tougher for ordinary Mexicans, recruiting for the trade grows ever easier while the killings only multiply. U.S. law enforcement officials now believe inter-gang warfare is spilling into the United States in a serious way, producing rising murder rates in border states like Arizona, California, and Texas. Continue reading

Prada May Reorganize Debt to Fund New Stores as Sales Suffer


via Bloomberg

April 2 (Bloomberg) — Prada SpA’s owners may ask banks to reorganize 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) of debt, freeing cash to open new stores and promote the luxury label’s brands in the recession, two people with knowledge of the plans said.

Sales at stores open at least a year fell in 2008, reducing Prada’s cash on hand, while earnings declined as fixed costs rose, the people said. The Milan-based company may ask for some debt payment deadlines to be extended, they said, asking not to be identified because the plans are confidential.

Prada, which has fewer outlets worldwide than Gucci and Louis Vuitton, may also raise its total debt level to take advantage of opportunities to expand, the people said. Prada attempted to raise funds through an initial public offering last year, which was postponed after markets slumped. The debt reorganization would be led by Prada’s main lenders, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and Unicredit SpA, the people said.

“For the luxury brands that have the financial means to expand, the recession is a good opportunity, since asset prices are so low,” said Paolo Leschiutta, a Milan-based analyst at Moody’s Investors Service. Continue reading

[OpEd] JD- Does Barack Know How Real It’s Bout to Get in the Hood?


via Global 14



More Women Considering Stripping in Struggling Economy


via News One

As a bartender and trainer at a national restaurant chain, Rebecca Brown earned a couple thousand dollars in a really good week. Now, as a dancer at Chicago’s Pink Monkey gentleman’s club, she makes almost that much in one good night.

The tough job market is prompting a growing number of women across the country to dance in strip clubs, appear in adult movies or pose for magazines like Hustler.


Employers across the adult entertainment industry say they’re seeing an influx of applications from women who, like Brown, are attracted by the promise of flexible schedules and fast cash. Many have college degrees and held white-collar jobs until the economy soured.

“You’re seeing a lot more beautiful women who are eligible to do so many other things,” said Gus Poulos, general manager of New York City’s Sin City gentleman’s club. He said he got 85 responses in just one day to a recent job posting on Craigslist.

The transition to the nightclub scene isn’t always a smooth one – from learning to dance in five-inch heels to dealing with the jeers of some customers.

Some performers said they were initially so nervous that only alcohol could calm their nerves. Continue reading

[video] Obama Speaks On AIG: “How Do They Justify This Outrage?”

In the wake of the online chatter the Obama Deception has caused, Wall Street via AIG turns around and continues to make mockery of the White House by doing as they please with taxpayer money. This is not what the President needs when it is becoming oh so obvious who really runs the show.  These crooks are responsible for the derivative market, a blow that hasn’t even been rendered yet and which promises to be the nail in the coffin.  Nonetheless here they are, awarding themselves for a job well done.  If Madoff goes to the pokey, why do they retain their freedom and walk away with bonuses? And honestly I don’t feel like Obama is being sincere in this clip.

via HuffPost

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama declared Monday that insurance giant American International Group is in financial straits because of “recklessness and greed” and said he intends to stop it from paying out millions in executive bonuses.

“It’s hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay,” Obama said at the outset of an appearance to announce help for small businesses hurt by the deep recession.

“How do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat,” the president said.

Obama spoke out in the wake of reports that surfaced over the weekend saying that financially strapped American International Group Inc. was paying substantial bonuses to executives.

Noting that AIG has “received substantial sums” of federal aid from the federal government, Obama said he has asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “to use that leverage and pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole.” Continue reading

The “Boss Hog” 50 Cent Talks Business & Recession


via KING

People are struggling to make money in the music industry. Do you have a lot of investments outside of entertainment?
Absolutely. I make more money away from music than I do off of music—well, I was. Shit is terrible right now. Look at the economy in general. General Motors and Chrysler are looking for a bailout. It’s going to be a financial issue if they don’t succeed, though. If they don’t receive the assistance, they will go bankrupt in the next couple of years.

Isn’t it sort of like what happens to rappers when they don’t produce what the market wants?
That too. In this climate, it’s not just them. Every time you open the newspaper you see another business or establishment you thought was credible in trouble, like Circuit City filing for bankruptcy. The United States is the place to do business. So if it’s bad here, where do you go? We’re the feeding ground. All those Asian countries—Thailand, Taiwan, China—they’re manufacturing things to sell here. How long do [regular people] have to survive before we recover? We may lose our middle class. If you have $20,000 in stocks invested in different areas, a home that you actually want to live in and [a] car, that’s middle class. So those people, if you had stocks in GM like I had, [they are in trouble]. My [broker] from Goldman Sachs just got laid off. [If] the guy you got assisting you [with financial] decisions is having issues, then you really got to look into it, right?

Speaking of Main Street, there’s foreclosure crisis in your old neighborhood, South Jamaica, Queens.
Yeah, it’s got a [high foreclosure] rate because we are conditioned to want things that we don’t need. That’s as people, period. In general, as soon we can afford the $300,000 house, we’re selling it to get the $500,000 one.

I imagine you’ve had trouble convincing other rappers to be fiscally conservative?

If you try to convey that type of information to the average rapper, you ain’t going to do nothing but confuse them and make them angry with you. Continue reading

45 percent of world’s wealth destroyed: Blackstone CEO


via Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Private equity company Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) CEO Stephen Schwarzman said on Tuesday that up to 45 percent of the world’s wealth has been destroyed by the global credit crisis.

“Between 40 and 45 percent of the world’s wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half,” Schwarzman told an audience at the Japan Society. “This is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetime.”

But the U.S. government is committed to the preservation of financial institutions, he said, and will do whatever it takes to restart the economy.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plans to unfreeze credit markets through a new program that will combine public and private capital in a fund that would buy bank toxic assets of up to $1 trillion.

“In all likelihood, that will have the private sector buy troubled assets to clean the banks out in terms of providing leverage … so that we can get more money back into the banking system,” Schwarzman said.

He expects the private sector to end up making “some good money doing that,” but added there were complex issues on how to price toxic assets. Continue reading

World Bank Predicts Dire Forecast for World Economy


via iht

WASHINGTON: In a bleaker assessment than those of most private forecasters, the World Bank predicted Sunday that the global economy would shrink in 2009 for the first time since World War II.

The bank did not provide a specific estimate, but bank officials said its economists would be publishing one in the next several weeks.

Until now, even extremely pessimistic forecasters have predicted that the global economy would eke out a tiny expansion but had warned that even a growth rate of 5 percent in China would be a disastrous slowdown, given the enormous pressure there to create jobs for the country’s rural population.

The World Bank also warned that global trade would contract for the first time since 1982, and that the decline would be the biggest since the 1930s.

In a report prepared for a meeting next week of finance ministers from the 20 industrialized and large developing countries, the World Bank said the economic crisis that started with junk mortgages in the United States was causing havoc for poorer countries around the world, not only stifling their growth but also choking off their access to credit as well.

The bank said the financial disruptions were all but certain to overwhelm the ability of institutions like it and the International Monetary Fund to provide a buffer.

The bank, which provides low-cost lending for economic development projects in poorer countries, pleaded for wealthy governments to create a “vulnerability fund” and to set aside a fraction of what they spend on stimulating their own economies for assisting other countries. Continue reading

UK’s Brown Woos Obama on Global “New Deal”

via Times Online

GORDON BROWN hopes to forge a partnership with President Barack Obama in Washington this week, to call for a “global new deal” to lift the world out of recession. gordon-brown

As he prepares for his first White House visit since the president’s inauguration, the prime minister has hinted that he is ready to make further tax cuts to boost the UK economy.

Brown will meet Obama on Tuesday and address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Aides say he has both to demonstrate to a sceptical British public that he commands the respect of the president, and to persuade the American political establishment that global action is needed to rescue the US economy.

Brown is under pressure to persuade American political leaders to sign up to bold aims for the G20 summit of industrial and leadin

Many US politicians believe economic policy should put America first, and have shown little interest in concerted global action. Brown will argue for a renewal of the transatlantic relationship, with the two powers working together to solve global economic problems.

The prime minister will borrow from the rhetoric of Franklin Roosevelt, who introduced the government-financed New Deal to tackle the US Depression of the 1930s. He will argue that his 21st century “global new deal” will also require public spending on a huge world-wide scale. Continue reading

[Op-Ed] Is Porn Recession Proof?

via AlterNet

The best things in life are free.  Unfortunately, the porn industry is learning that lesson the hard way as sales go soft (zing!). Down 20-30%, Larry Flynt and Joe Francis have asked for a financial fluffer to help adult entertainment companies in their time of need.  But it’s not just magazines and DVDs that are feeling the squeeze; the Internet has been screwed up too!  Thanks to amateur porn on YouTube-like sites, porn that doesn’t require payment is easier to find than a swinger party. In a recession, that’s good news for broke consumers who are worried they’re going to lose their jobs, but what about the billion dollar adult industry? Can porn still make a buck in this tight economy?  If you ask an entrepreneur named Trixie, she’ll say, “F**k yes!”porn

Just like every other industry, the formula for success has changed. Instead of passively watching sex acts, women like live cam lady Trixie, say they’re surviving the downturn by being the mom and pop shop of porn. She has a web-cam filming her 24/7, and engages her customers in conversation to build client relationships. She likens her site,, to a local coffee shop versus a big business Starbucks. “When money is tight, people feel more resentful towards anonymous corporate entities and want the dollars they spend to go towards people they can relate to,” Trixie explains. The girl’s got a point!

While adult entertainment has always been about finding your niche, technology has let customers take the reigns, literally. “Virtually Jenna,” a video game that features porn star (and now perfume maker) Jenna Jameson allows you to poke and prod her with her infamous friends, sex toys of your choice, and even has a “Pimp My P***y” mode. At $29.95 a month, Ms. Jameson and her team are part of a trend of gaming software sales that have trumped the DVD market. Plus, there is no threat of amateur competition since video games take millions of dollars to develop. Jenna really knows how to stick it to you! Continue reading

15 Companies That Might Not Survive 2009


via Yahoo

Who’s next?

With consumers shutting their wallets and corporate revenues plunging, the business landscape may start to resemble a graveyard in 2009. Household names like Circuit City and Linens ‘n Things have already perished. And chances are, those bankruptcies were just an early warning sign of a much broader epidemic.

Moody’s Investors Service, for instance, predicts that the default rate on corporate bonds – which foretells bankruptcies – will be three times higher in 2009 than in 2008, and 15 times higher than in 2007. That could equate to 25 significant bankruptcies per month.

We examined ratings from Moody’s and data from other sources to develop a short list of potential victims that ought to be familiar to most consumers. Many of these firms are in industries directly hit by the slowdown in consumer spending, such as retail, automotive, housing and entertainment.

But there are other common threads. Most of these firms have limited cash for a rainy day, and a lot of debt, with large interest payments due over the next year. In ordinary times, it might not be so hard to refinance loans, or get new ones, to help keep the cash flowing. But in an acute credit crunch it’s a different story, and at companies where sales are down and going lower, skittish lenders may refuse to grant any more credit. It’s a terrible time to be cash-poor.

[See how Wall Street continues to doom itself.]

That’s why Moody’s assigns most of these firms its lowest rating for short-term liquidity. And all the firms on this list have long-term debt that Moody’s rates Caa or lower, which means the borrower is considered at least a “very high” credit risk.

Once a company defaults on its debt, or fails to make a payment, the next step is usually a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Some firms continue to operate while in Chapter 11, retaining many of their employees. Those firms often shed debt, restructure, and emerge from bankruptcy as healthier companies. Continue reading

Identity theft hits record 10M Americans for record $48 Billion in 2008


via CNN

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Identity theft has become more prevalent, with nearly 10 million American victims losing $48 billion in 2008, but the average loss is falling as consumers and businesses detect fraud faster, a new study shows.

The number of victims rose 22% to a record 9.9 million in 2008 from 8.1 million a year earlier, with about one in 23 U.S. adults becoming victims, according to the fifth annual study by Javelin Strategy & Research, released Monday.

Total losses increased from about $45 billion, following three straight years of declines. The average loss fell 12% to $4,849 from $5,488. One positive trend was that consumers spent less to clear up a fraud — an average $496, down 31%. More than half spent nothing.

The economic recession that began in December 2007 is likely a factor in the increase in theft cases, according to James Van Dyke, the president of Javelin.

“Identity fraud has been dropping until last year, boom, there was a turn-up,” he said in an interview. “The only thing we can logically attribute that to is the economy. If people need to make money, and decide to do so illicitly, identity fraud is the logical opportunity.”

Improper use of lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks, and credit and debit cards remained the most common means of fraud, constituting 43% of all incidents. Roughly one in four victims had personal identification numbers (PIN) compromised on their ATM cards. Online fraud totaled 11% of cases.

People who made more than $75,000 were more likely to be fraud victims than those who made less. By age, the fraud rate was highest among people 35 to 44 years old. Continue reading

Rescue of U.S. banks hints at nationalization


via Telegraph UK

The approximately $138 billion aid package on Thursday for Bank of America — including injections of capital and absorbed losses — as well as a $300 billion package in November for Citigroup both represented displays of financial gymnastics aimed at providing capital without appearing to take commanding equity stakes.

Treasury and Fed officials accomplished that trick by structuring the deals like insurance programs for big bundles of the banks’ most toxic assets.

Instead of investing tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in exchange for preferred shares in the banks, which has been the Treasury Department’s approach so far with its capital infusions, the government essentially liberated the banks from some of their most threatening assets.

The trouble with the new approach, analysts say, is that it is likely to conceal the amount of risk that taxpayers are taking on. If the government-guaranteed securities turn out to be worthless, the cost of the insurance would be much higher than if the Treasury Department had simply bailed out the banks with cash in the first place.

Christopher Whalen, a managing partner at Institutional Risk Analytics, said the approach also covers up the underlying reality that the government is already essentially the majority shareholder in Citigroup.

“There’s nobody else out there to invest in them,” Whalen said. “We already own them.”

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, outlined the elements of what could become the Obama administration’s new approach to bank rescues in a speech on Monday. Continue reading

13 Companies Hiring this Year

Tell a friend to tell a friend to tell a friend, etc…

via CNN

Though 2008 was wrought with layoffs and economic struggles, the New Year means rejuvenated hope for job seekers. state_farm_gi

While several companies continue to make mass layoffs, other companies are shifting their focus to hire aggressively in the beginning of 2009.

“This is a difficult economy, no doubt,” says Andrea Hough, vice president of talent acquisition for ServiceMaster, a lawn care and landscape maintenance company. “However, I would caution job seekers to be thoughtful about whom they are going to work for and not act out of desperation. There are some very strong companies with solid ethics in need of employees eager to be a part of a thriving organization.”

If you’re looking for work in the New Year, here are a variety of such strong companies in various industries, which are looking to hire a diverse selection of jobs in 2009, despite the tough economy:

1. Company: 7-Eleven

Who they are: A leader in convenience retailing, with approximately 7,600 7-Eleven stores in North America [and] more than 35,000 stores in 17 countries, according to Jim Wahl, the company’s manager of talent acquisition systems.

Whom they are looking for: “At 7-Eleven, we believe your work should be more than a job. It should be an investment in your future and ours,” Wahl says. “In 2009 we will be seeking candidates for operations, accounting, information systems, merchandising and marketing.”

2. Company: Banfield

Who they are: Banfield is the largest pet general veterinary practice in the world, says Mike Mason, senior director of team resources. It offers a full range of comprehensive medical services and a quality assurance program.

Whom they are looking for: “Banfield seeks associates who love pets and who share in our mission of treating pets like family and increasing the value of pets in families and communities,” Mason says.

“Our plan for 2009 calls for replacing new positions as they become open in our main campus in Portland, Oregon, and in our hospitals, as well as hiring quality associates to staff our new hospitals. To staff our hospitals, we are looking for veterinarians, PetNurses, office managers and client service coordinators.” Continue reading

U.S. Governors Seek $1 Trillion Federal Assistance


via Reuters

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Governors of five U.S. states urged the federal government to provide $1 trillion in aid to the country’s 50 states to help pay for education, welfare and infrastructure as states struggle with steep budget deficits amid a deepening recession.

The governors of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio and Wisconsin — all Democrats — said the initiative for the two-year aid package was backed by other governors and follows a meeting in December where governors called on President-elect Barack Obama to help them maintain services in the face of slumping revenues.

Gov. David Paterson of New York said 43 states now have budget deficits totaling some $100 billion as tax revenues plunge. Continue reading

Piggy Banks Fly Off Shelves in Freshly Frugal U.S.


via Yahoo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Recession-wary Americans embraced the virtues of thrift this Christmas, with stores reporting a clear rise in the popularity of piggy banks.

“We have been selling coin banks really well,” said Laura Kellner at Kikkerland Design Inc. in New York City, whose stylish chrome pig is priced at $31.

U.S. savings levels have increased markedly in recent months as households adjust to a yearlong recession and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The downturn has shattered house prices and the value of retirement accounts which, in turn, has reinforced the necessity to systematically put funds aside for the future. Continue reading

Recession Halts Plans for Jay-Z Hotel, Many Other Projects

via NY Times

Nearly $5 billion in development projects in New York City have been delayed or canceled because of the economic crisis, an extraordinary body blow to an industry that last year provided 130,000 unionized jobs, according to numbers tracked by a local trade group.jay1

The setbacks for development — perhaps the single greatest economic force in the city over the last two decades — are likely to mean, in the words of one researcher, that the landscape of New York will be virtually unchanged for two years.

“There’s no way to finance a project,” said the researcher, Stephen R. Blank of the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit group.

Charles Blaichman is not about to argue with that assessment. Looking south from the eighth floor of a half-finished office tower on 14th Street on a recent day, Mr. Blaichman pointed to buildings he had developed in the meatpacking district. But when he turned north to the blocks along the High Line, once among the most sought-after areas for development, he surveyed a landscape of frustration: the planned sites of three luxury hotels, all stalled by recession.

Several indicators show that developers nationwide have also been affected by the tighter lending markets. The growth rate for construction and land development loans shrunk drastically this year — to 0.08 percent through September, compared with 11.3 percent for all of 2007 and 25.7 percent in 2006, according to data tracked by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

And developers who have loans are missing payments. The percentage of loans in default nationwide jumped to 7.3 percent through September 2008, compared with 1 percent in 2007, according to data tracked by Reis Inc., a New York-based real estate research company. Continue reading

Fashion Powerhouse’s Chanel and LVMH Forced to Make Cuts


via Times Online

Chanel, one of the grandest French fashion names, is to lay off 200 Paris staff in an unmistakable sign that even the world’s top luxury brands are feeling the pinch in the global recession.

Until recently, France’s marques de grand luxe were claiming immunity from the slump. Demand for the high end was holding up, driven by the luxury appetites of the nouveaux riches of Russia, China and other emerging powers, they said.

The denial has faded over the past month as Russians and Asians have been noticeably absent over Christmas from the boutiques in the Paris golden triangle off the Champs Élysées and their equivalents in London and New York. Business in Japan has slumped.

A week ago Chanel, privately owned and secretive about its affairs, called off a glitzy art show as it was about to arrive in London from New York. Over the weekend trade unions reported that the fashion house was to lay off all of its 200 Paris staff who are on fixed-term or temporary contracts. Continue reading

[video] Rich Dad “Robert Kiyosaki” Dishes the Truth About “Paper Trash”

People love referencing “Rich Dad/Poor Dad” whenever they speak on economics. Well, lets listen to what Mr. Kiyosaki has to say about volatile economic systems that depend on debtor notes/fiat, or what we commonly refer to as “paper money.” Kudos to Robert, get ya self some Gold & Silver!!  There’s a fortune to be made in a recession.

P.S. His predictions were on point!

Will Casino Industry Be the Next Ones to Implode in Recession?



Scratch one axiom.

At casinos across the country, talk of collapse is in the air:  The Massachusetts State Lottery recently revised its projected revenue downward by $125 million in fiscal 2009, blaming the economic collapse that began in September. The Iowa Lottery reported that first-quarter revenue was down 5.6 percent compared to the same period last year. Ticket sales for the North Carolina Lottery fell by 9 percent from October to November.If there’s a saving grace for the gambling industry, it’s that it knows how to put on a show. And it’s pulling out all the stops to lure gamblers back in.“We realize that it’s a difficult time for everybody,” said Michael Starr, general manager of Primm Valley Resorts.It appears that weathering the tough economy is enough of a gamble for most Americans. Casinos, lottery agencies and racetracks are losing tons of money as gamblers play it safe, laying to rest once and for all the old nostrum that gambling is a recession-proof industry.

  • At the Tropicana in Atlantic City, N.J., financial restructuring advisers are preparing the casino and hotel for sale at auction in bankruptcy court. The Tropicana in Las Vegas has been in bankruptcy since May.
  • Harrah’s in Las Vegas is negotiating with creditors as it seeks to stay out of bankruptcy.
  • The Imperial in Cripple Creek, Colo., filed for bankruptcy protection last month. Another Cripple Creek casino, the Wild Horse, shut its doors in October. Continue reading

See the World’s Most Expensive Crib

Villa Leopolda sold for $750 million to a Russian billionaire in 2008.

Villa Leopolda sold for $750 million to a Russian billionaire in 2008.

Even though we see things going down the drain in this recession strained economy we are not gullible enough to think that there is NO money floating around. Someone is always getting rich in a recession.  Case in point, take a look at the world’s most expensive piece of real estate, sold for a staggering $750 Million!!

It is rumored that Frank Sinatra and Ronald Regan attended parties at this estate.

It is rumored that Frank Sinatra and Ronald Regan attended parties at this estate.

It was built in 1902 by King Leopold of Belgium (yeah, the same one who looted Africa of her precious metals and bling)

It was built in 1902 by King Leopold of Belgium (yeah, the same one who looted Africa of her precious metals and bling)

SONY Announces Massive Cuts


via BBC

Sony has announced plans to cut 8,000 electronics jobs – 5% of the division – as well as shutting 10% of its manufacturing sites.The company said the jobs would be cut by April 2010, but did not say in which countries the staff would go.

Sony said it would also cut at least 8,000 temporary and contract staff jobs in the same sector.

It said it had been trying to reduce production because of the downturn, but warned it still had to do more.

The news came as Japan said its economy had shrunk between July and September by much more than initially estimated.

The Cabinet Office said the economy had shrunk at an annual rate of 1.8% in the quarter, compared with its original estimate of 0.4%. Continue reading

How Did The $700 Billion Bailout Turn Into $7 Trillion?


via Web of Debt

“We make money the old fashioned way.  We print it.”
– Art Rolnick, Chief Economist for the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank

The $700 billion that was arm-twisted from Congress by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson in October was evidently just the camel’s nose under the tent.  According to a November 24 Bloomberg report, the Paulson/Bernanke team is now prepared to pay $7.76 trillion to rescue the financial system.[1] Prepared to pay how?  Congress has not raised its debt ceiling to anywhere near that level; but the approval of Congress, which originally voted down the controversial $700 billion bailout, is apparently no longer necessary.  The door has been opened, and the Treasury Secretary and Fed Chairman feel they can now pledge whatever they want.  Perhaps they are inching up a zero at a time just to see what the public’s tolerance is for unrepayable debt.

The new sum – $7.76 trillion – represents $25,000 for every citizen in the country, or half the value of everything produced in the nation last year; yet it’s not clear that a mere half of our net worth will rescue the financial system.  One bankrupt bank after another has been bailed out with public money, in a futile effort to prevent a collapse of a massive multi-trillion dollar derivatives pyramid created by the banks.[2] But according to the Comptroller of the Currency, U.S. commercial banks now carry over $180 trillion in derivatives on their books.  The public is liable to be bankrupted before this mess is resolved.

On top of the $700 billion initially extorted from Congress, an additional $2 trillion in loans and commitments has already been made by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury.  Yet that wall of money has not kept the imperiled banks from collapsing.  Citigroup was one of the nine lucky recipients of Paulson’s largesse in October, when he set out to recapitalize the banks by trading dollars for shares.  The bank received $25 billion from the Treasury; yet this handout was insufficient to keep its stock from dropping below $4 a share.  Citigroup was then bailed out by the Treasury to the tune of another $20 billion, along with a commitment to guarantee $306 billion in toxic assets on its books.  That equals half the $700 billion bailout, just for one bank; yet Citigroup’s books, which sport derivative bets of $37 trillion, won’t look much better than before.  Continue reading

What recession? $850 Chicken in Japan

via Reuters


TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – For those in Japan willing to splurge this Christmas despite a looming recession, a department store is offering truffle-stuffed roast chickens for 84,000 yen ($847) apiece.

Takashimaya Co has started taking orders for 12 capons to be flown in from Landes, France in time for Christmas Eve and filled with black truffles, foie gras, white sausage and chestnuts.

Continue reading

[Op-Ed] Hey U.S., Welcome to the Third World!

via LA Times

Dear United States, Welcome to the Third World!

It’s not every day that a superpower makes a bid to transform itself into a Third World nation, and we here at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund want to be among the first to welcome you to the community of states in desperate need of international economic assistance. As you spiral into a catastrophic financial meltdown, we are delighted to respond to your Treasury Department’s request that we undertake a joint stability assessment of your financial sector. In these turbulent times, we can provide services ranging from subsidized loans to expert advisors willing to perform an emergency overhaul of your entire government.

As you know, some outside intervention in your economy is overdue. Last week — even before Wall Street’s latest collapse — 13 former finance ministers convened at the University of Virginia and agreed that you must fix your “broken financial system.” Australia’s Peter Costello noted that lately you’ve been “exporting instability” in world markets, and Yashwant Sinha, former finance minister of India, concluded, “The time has come. The U.S. should accept some monitoring by the IMF.” Continue reading

Social Network Platform NING Receives $60 Million In Funding

The King of Ning

Coinciding with a cover story this month in Fast Company, Ning, the social network platform that plays hosts to customized social-network sites such as Thisis50 and The Urban Blogger, has just announced it has secured $60 million in its fourth round of funding raising its value to half a billion dollars. The funding is in response to their rapid growth rate. The CEO Mark Andreesen is reporting that they are including 1,000 new sites on their network a day and they are home to over 230,000 sites at presstime. In a nod to the strength of Hip Hop, they are openly acknowledging that Thisis50 is their most famous social hub. Makes you wonder if Curtis has any stock in this company. Also noted was their need to secure funding in case of financial uncertainty this winter, in light of the pending recession.

Ford Sells Jaguar & Land Rover Divisions To Indians


America is on sale! The bargain hunting has begun and struggling Ford motor company has just agreed to sell their Jaguar car division and their Land Rover motoring company to an Indian conglomerate, the Tata Group. These mega companies have been taking advantage of a weakening dollar and a competitive market and snatching up American institutions and well developed brands like Jaguar and Land Rover. Ford managed to offload the companies for $2.3 Billion, half of what it paid for them. Now the Tata Group has the distinction of selling the world’s most inexpensive vehicle, the Nano, a $2,500 hatchback and having some of the most luxurious vehicles in its portfolio. For more on this Jaguar driven story CLICK HERE