Archive for June, 2014

Captain Rick: Once in a while I come across a website that is worthy of my recognition and promotion. Such is the case with GilbertWatch.com. Its publisher, Anita Christy, works endlessly for no pay, like me, to convey important information. Anita…this is a tribute to you and the great service that you provide to many in Gilbert, Arizona and beyond.

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Click the image link above to view a Gilbert Watch report that features Atridim News Journal and its Gilbert Council Scorecard. From it you can access the entire Gilbert Watch site. I appreciate Atridim News Journal being listed as a resource on the Gilbert Watch ‘Resources’ menu

ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL introduces a new page…Resources

I created this page as means to appreciate and recognize blog sites that are outstanding in excellence…especially those that promote ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL by reblogging ANJ posts or presenting links to ANJ. The world works so much better when we all work together. I am pleased to present Gilbert Watch as ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL’s first resource.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title at top)

Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Links:

ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Resources

Gilbert Arizona

Gilbert Council Scorecard

Gilbert Town Council Reports

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Captain Rick: The U.S. Economy officially tanked big time in the first quarter of 2014…the first slowdown since early 2011. It is a ‘wake-up call’ that America is heading into ‘Recession’ in spite of the ‘it was just a hard winter’ hype that many ‘blind’ economists have been pumping. 

Last month I posted a report showing the US government’s second estimate of GDP dropped to –1% in the first quarter of 2014…a drop from the first estimate in April of a gain of 0.1%. This third and usually final government GDP report shows that the US economy plummeted soundly into ‘recession’ territory during the first quarter of 2014.

The weather had an effect…but perhaps not as much as other factors like the curtailment of ‘Quantitative Easing’ … the pumping of tens of billions of U.S. debt dollars into the economy each month to make the economy look like its doing OK, when in reality, it is not.

This severe drop of GDP into negative territory (–2.9%) is a sign that another recession might be looming.  A recession is generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Overall, the U.S. economy continues in limp along in anemic growth…and now negative growth, as shown in the chart below.

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BLUE LINE: 3.0% GDP Growth is required to keep up with U.S. Population Growth. GDP above the blue line represents real growth that adds real jobs. GDP below the blue line indicates real economic decline that is loosing real jobs. GDP below the blue line, but above zero line (‘Recession’), is what Captain Rick calls the ‘Anemic Zone’.

RED LINE: 2.1% GDP Growth is the average of what the U.S. economy scored in the past 12 quarters (3 years). This demonstrates that the U.S. economy is stuck in the economic ‘Anemic Zone’…not mustering enough growth to keep up with population growth. 

GDP…What is it?

‘GDP’ represents ‘Gross Domestic Product’…a market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a year. GDP performance (increases and decreases) present a broad-based picture of the health of a country’s economy. High GDP growth is typical of a healthy economy. Low GDP growth (below 3%) is typical of an unhealthy economy. Negative growth is typical of an economy in recession. 

What does this GDP data mean concerning the future of America?

America is stuck in a land of anemic growth…actually declining in real growth because its economy can not consistently rise above 3% growth … a level required to produce enough jobs and income to keep pace with population growth. In reality, this means that America is declining in economic strength. In the coming few years America faces an astronomical increase in expenditures due to entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and welfare programs like Medicaid and Obamacare. America’s relatively level revenue will not be able to cover the mushrooming expenditures. Congress will not be able to address this problem by simply ‘kicking the debt can down the road’ as it has in recent years. At some point soon, the fiscal mess that is brewing will explode as America plunges over the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’.  At the bottom lies America as a third world country.

What can be done to better America and other countries?

Lots can be done! Take notice of what our elected officials do. Vote them out…replace them if they do not perform to your expectations. You might even consider running for an office. The world is in extremely short supply of intelligent people who care about our lands and well being of our people. Go for it. Run for an elected office. Help our world from plunging over the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’…before its too late.

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Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Links:

Previous GDP Report

GDP

U.S. Debt Crisis

Economy

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

Captain Rick: 10,000 Hits…a new milestone for my blog…Atridim News Journal. If each of those hits were worth one dollar, it would look like this…

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To me, the 10,000 hits received are worth much more. I sincerely appreciate each and every hit…including those by people in more than 50 countries…and especially from the 100+ who follow my blog.

I began this blog in May 2010. My original words included:

“I have an interest in news, economy, government, photography and much more. I enjoy writing about them to share with you. I will be commenting on news of interest from my town of Gilbert, my state of Arizona,  my country of the USA and the world. I hope you will join in our conversation.” 

My blog remained with few posts, due to a lack of ‘guts’, until September 2012, when my late friend Bill Whitney, who was battling cancer, gave me the courage to blog.

I invited Bill to tell the story of his journey battling cancer on a blog I would create for him. I told him that it would be great therapy for him and help many who ‘walk in his shoes’. After several months of procrastination, he agreed. In August of 2012 he began telling the story of his journey…word by gripping word. His courage led me to energize my blog in September 2012.

Atridim News Journal reached 5000 hits in August 2013, over 3 years since the first blog post…and another 5000 in the past 10 months. Captain Rick appreciates his viewers and followers.

The remarkable increase in viewing stats of over 5000 in the past 10 months, tells me I am doing things right and makes me want to continue to do my best to present good blog material. It also helps me appreciate everyone who has viewed my blog…and especially those who follow my blog…and special appreciation for my late friend Bill who gave me the inspiration to blog. Captain Rick presents a humble ‘Thank You’ to all.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Links:

Atridim News Journal celebrates 5000 Hits

About Captain Rick … Atridimincluding how he got his nickname and passion for photography and journalism

Atridim

Captain Rick

Photography by Captain Rick

Bill Whitney’s ‘C Word Journey’

Friendship

Humor

Music

Nostalgia

Pet Talk

Captain Rick: Mount Rainier is a massive, active stratovolcano that dominates the sky over Washington State. With a summit elevation of 14,411 ft (4,392 m), it is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States. Worldwide, only Mount Everest tops this stat.  

With 26 major glaciers and 36 sq mi (93 km2) of permanent snowfields and glaciers, Mount Rainier is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states. The summit is topped by two volcanic craters, each more than 1,000 ft (300 m) in diameter. Geothermal heat from the volcano keeps areas of both crater rims free of snow and ice, and has formed the world’s largest volcanic glacier cave network within the ice-filled craters, with nearly 2 mi (3.2 km) of passages. It spawns six major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems.

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Click photo for high definition viewing options via my Flickr Photostream

I captured the original of this photo during my 5000 mile ‘Wild West Road Trip’. This post presents a breathtaking high definition image in ‘Atridim WIDESCREEN’, viewable full screen on an HDTV or widescreen computer monitor. Click the photo above for high definition viewing options via my Flickr Photostream.

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Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Links:

Captain Rick’s Photostream on Flickr (Click the Play button [>] at the right of the Photostream menu bar for a zooming-panning full-screen HDTV slideshow … MAX your screen)

Photography by Captain Rick

About Captain Rick including how he got his nickname and passion for photography and journalism

Photography

Captain Rick: The Supreme Court dealt a rare blow to the gun lobby Monday by ruling that purchasers of guns must report when they are buying firearms for other people…called ‘straw purchases’.

This US Supreme Court decision does not revise any law. However, it establishes a very important interpretation of what the US Congress implied in gun laws it established in previous decades…that Congress sought to identify the ultimate gun purchaser. This Supreme Court ruling will have profound effect on future law cases that involve guns used for murder that were in hands of those that were not identified as the purchaser. It will ‘open the door’ for the listed purchaser to be prosecuted when the gun is gifted to another who uses it to commit murder.  

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Supreme Court Ruling Details

The 5-4 decision upheld two lower courts that had ruled against so-called straw purchasers, even though the justices acknowledged that Congress left loopholes in gun control laws passed in the 1960s and 1990s.

For gun purchasers to be allowed to buy from licensed dealers without reporting the actual final owners of the firearms, the justices said, would make little sense.

“Putting true numbskulls to one side, anyone purchasing a gun for criminal purposes would avoid leaving a paper trail by the simple expedient of hiring a straw,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the slim majority.

Kagan, a New Yorker who acknowledged during her 2010 confirmation hearings that she was not very familiar with guns, was opposed by four conservative justices, led by Justice Antonin Scalia — who famously has taken her hunting on several occasions.

“No piece of information is more important under federal firearms law than the identity of a gun’s purchaser — the person who acquires a gun as a result of a transaction with a licensed dealer,” Kagan said.

During oral arguments in the case in January, she had noted that without such a finding, “it does not matter whether the ultimate transferee was Al Capone or somebody else.”

Scalia’s dissent for the court’s conservatives — not including Justice Anthony Kennedy, who provided the swing vote — was scathing.

“The court makes it a federal crime for one lawful gun owner to buy a gun for another lawful gun owner,” he said. “Whether or not that is a sensible result, the statutes Congress enacted do not support it.”

The straw purchaser in the case was a former Virginia police officer who bought a Glock 19 handgun for his uncle in Pennsylvania. Both were legal gun owners. But the purchaser, Bruce James Abramski, filled out a federal form indicating that he was the “actual buyer” of the firearm.

His attorney, Richard Dietz, argued that a compromise reached in Congress decades ago was meant to focus only on the initial buyer. Even if it did intend to identify the ultimate purchaser, he said, Abramski didn’t violate the law because his uncle was licensed to own guns.

“Congress didn’t use terms like ‘true buyer’ or ‘true purchaser’ or ‘actual buyer’ because they are not concerned about the ultimate recipients of firearms or what happens to a gun after it leaves the gun store,” Dietz said.

The Justice Department, seeking to uphold the two lower court rulings against Abramski, argued that Congress always sought to identify the ultimate gun purchasers but did not want to intrude on private transactions.

But Scalia ridiculed the majority’s assertion that under federal firearms laws, the uncle — not Abramski — was the true purchaser of the gun. “If I give my son $10 and tell him to pick up milk and eggs at the store, no English speaker would say that the store ‘sells’ the milk and eggs to me,” he said.

Gun control advocates were delighted with the decision. “This is a very big and very positive decision that will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

It was the second ruling from the conservative court this term that went against the gun lobby. In March, the justices ruled unanimously that a federal law intended to keep guns away from domestic violence offenders can apply even if their crime was nothing more than “offensive touching.”

Credits

Report details: Richard Wolf, USA Today

Photo: Steve Helber, AP

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Links:

Guns in America

U.S. Supreme Court

Captain Rick: I bid a fond farewell to Casey Kasem, 82. I shall always remember his dynamic voice on the radio back in the 70’s as he counted down the top hit songs and his famous closing words “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars”.

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Casey’s closing words held extra meaning for me back in the 70s. Though we live in a much more complex world today when ‘reaching for the stars’ is out of reach for most…those closing words still give us something important to think about.

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Music

Nostalgia

Classic Stars & Cars

Captain Rick: The American flag…Old Glory…The Star-Spangled Banner flies proudly over my Arizona Oasis every Flag Day. It reminds me of the great land in which all Americans have the privilege of living in freedom. 

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Flag Day…a brief history:

In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

On June 14, 1777, less than one year after Betsy Ross had received the order from General Washington to make the first flag, the Second Continental Congress passed a flag resolution stating:

Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.

The first national observance of Flag Day was on June 14, 1877; 100 years after the flag resolution was adopted by the Continental Congress.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation stating that June 14 shall be National Flag Day, and in 1949, it was made official by an Act of Congress.

Captain Rick’s inspiration: Your help is needed to keep the Flag flying

Do not take the American Flag and its representation of freedom for granted. The United States of America is entering very difficult fiscal times with the US National Debt approaching $18 Trillion…far greater than US GDP.  America is spending $1 Trillion more per year than it receives in revenue. Its going to get worse. Millions of ‘baby boomers’ are retiring that will result in sky-rocketing Social Security costs. Obamacare will massively expand the number receiving Medicaid and its mushrooming costs. Social Security and Medicaid will become insolvent in the next 10 or so years. Simply put, there is not enough revenue to sustain the United States of America’ spending binge indefinitely. Our President and Congress have demonstrated nothing but a ‘kick the can down the road’ approach…which if continued much longer will guarantee the fall of America over the pending real ‘fiscal cliff’…of which at the bottom lies America as a ‘third world nation’.

What can you do to help?

There are lots of ways you can help. Research the candidates running for office. Support and vote for those you feel will do a better job than the vast majority of do-nothing, ‘kick-the-can-down-the-road’, politically-motivated ‘clowns’ in the current ‘Washington Circus’.

Many states and districts have no credible candidate on the roster. Consider taking the noble step of running for an office. Do not worry about the money it takes to run. If you have a voice that deserves to be heard, I am confident there are ways to address that.

I do not have all of the answers of how to fix the gigantic mess that America faces. I urge everyone to get involved. Join one of a zillion Facebook groups discussing the issues. I recommend one that focuses on finding solutions, rather than just gossiping…such as Captain Rick’s WORLD THINK TANK: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WorldThinkTank/

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Links:

U.S. Debt Crisis

Economy

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101