01. 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
02. 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
03. 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
04. 36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
05. A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
06. 24% of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
07. Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
08. Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
09. For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
10. In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
11. As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
12. The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
13. Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
14. In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
15. The top 1% of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
16. In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
17. More than 40% of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
18. For the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
19. This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
20. Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
21. Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
22. The top 10% of Americans now earn around 50% of our national income.
The battle over gas drilling has made its way to upstate New York and many farmers, especially those that rely on grasslands, are alarmed at the possible impact fracking – the relatively new technology for gas drilling – could have on their livelihoods. Dick Cheney’s 2005 Energy Policy Act, with its “Halliburton Exemption” significantly deregulated fracking, making it exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act and the Clear Air Act. Alarmingly if not surprisingly, the dismantling of these most basic safeguards to protect us from pollution seems to have not caused our lawmakers any concern.
Fracking allows drillers to tap gas reserves deep in the ground. To do so they rely on a high pressure mix of water, sand and undisclosed chemicals pumped into the ground to collapse and crack into horizontal deposits trapped in rock. Sadly, in areas where fracking has already happened there has been widespread pollution and ruined drinking water.
Already, the USDA quarantined 28 cattle in Pennsylvania who grazed on a pasture that was contaminated by fracking leaks. The state agriculture department said that the toxic water which included chloride, magnesium, potassium, and strontium, a heavy metal toxic to humans(especially to young children), has contaminated the cows’ meat (via Reuters). Propublica reported last year that 16 cattle dropped dead after being exposed to fracking run- off. Farmers across Pennsylvania, which has seen heavy gas drilling, have spoken about birth deformities and sickness in their grazing cattle. As the prospect of natural gas fracking looms on the horizon for New York State, many area farmers are alarmed and concerned that it could put them out of business.
The three Swedish owners of The Pirate Bay will have to pay €50,000 a day for failing to shutter the service in the Netherlands, an Amsterdam Court ruled on Friday.
The Swedish pirate site was ruled illegal earlier by the Dutch courts, but remained online because its servers are abroad.
It is not clear how the Dutch court thinks it will enforce the fines as none of the co-founders live in the Netherlands. As expected, The Pirate Bay is still accessible in the Netherlands and will remain so for the time being.
On Monday, another Dutch court ruled that ISP and cable operator Ziggo and KPN owned competitor XS4ALL do not have to block The Pirate Bay as was requested by Dutch lobby group BREIN. The court believes blocking the entire site is unjustified and the ISPs can’t be held liable for the actions of individual users. Also BREIN failed to produce hard evidence for this case.
Brein has already announced an appeal.
Halliburton Co. says its second-quarter profit soared 83 percent as natural gas drilling activity picked up in the U.S.
Halliburton is the first of several companies connected to the BP oil spill to report second-quarter financial results. The company, which was hired by BP to seal the Macondo well before it blew up, has seen its stock tumble 17 percent since the April 20 explosion.
A federal official says scientists are concerned about a seep and possible methane near BP’s busted oil well in the Gulf of Mexico
Both could be signs there are leaks in the well that’s been capped off for three days.
The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because an announcement about the next steps had not been made yet.
The official is familiar with the spill oversight but would not clarify what is seeping near the well. The official says BP is not complying with the government’s demand for more monitoring.
It’s farting in our general direction…
The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.
Underscoring the seriousness of these issues are the conclusions of retired Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who was asked last year to review the method for tracking the Defense Department’s most sensitive programs. Vines, who once commanded 145,000 troops in Iraq and is familiar with complex problems, was stunned by what he discovered.
“I’m not aware of any agency with the authority, responsibility or a process in place to coordinate all these interagency and commercial activities,” he said in an interview. “The complexity of this system defies description.”
The result, he added, is that it’s impossible to tell whether the country is safer because of all this spending and all these activities. “Because it lacks a synchronizing process, it inevitably results in message dissonance, reduced effectiveness and waste,” Vines said. “We consequently can’t effectively assess whether it is making us more safe.”
Now, about that huggs bosom thing….
The Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Project is situated 28 km (18 miles) outside of Palangka Raya, the Capital of Central Kalimantan. It is located within the boundaries of the Nyaru Menteng Arboretum, a 62.5 hectare lowland peat-swamp forest ecosystem, founded in 1988 by the Ministry of Forestry Regional Office of Central Kalimantan. The clinic, quarantine facilities and socialization cages are inside a fenced area of 1.5 hectares, while midway housing is at the farthest end of the Arboretum, which has good forest for the smallest orangutans and is undisturbed by visitors.
Three islands have been acquired for the purpose of penultimate training of the rescued and rehabilitated orangutans before release. Kaja Island, for some 43 of the larger orangutans, is located only eight kilometres away by road. Palas Island contains another 26 orangutans. Bangamat Island, presently home to 13 orangutans, is for larger orangutans that have spent virtually their entire lives in captivity but are now deemed ready and able to cope with life in the forest under supervision.