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Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has been making the rounds talking about her new book, “A Fighting Chance.”

The book speaks to her struggle for consumer financial reform and the financial institutions that put profits over people.

So, it’s quite understandable that inevitably the talk would center on The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Student Loan Program, and an economic system that’s rigged to work for those who already have money and power.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

CFPB is Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild. She proposed, created, and built it from scratch. She has been a longtime advocate of consumer protections, so it’s expected that CFPB would be a big part of the discussion.

This is what she said: “Remember where we were just four short years ago. There was no agency out there to prevent the biggest financial institutions from cheating people on credit cards, on mortgages. Remember the banks said we will kill that agency in financial reform. They were spending more than a million dollars a day lobbying against financial reform. But remember we won, and here’s the thing, not only did we win we got an agency. In the short time it’s been alive there has already been more than three billion dollars put back into the pockets of families who got cheated on mortgages and credit cards. Now the next time someone tells me we can’t change anything, I have four words for them Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

The Federal Student Loan Program

Senator Warren staunchly opposes exorbitant student loan interest rates. She says, “Kids who can’t afford to go to college, their parents can’t afford to just write a check, so they have to borrow money. The United States government says we will lend you the money to go to school. Okay that’s a good thing to do … and then piles onto the interest rates so that the government makes tens of billions of dollars in profits off the backs of kids trying to get an education.”

The game is rigged to work for those who already have money and power

Senator Warren says, “The problem we have in this country, and we’ve had for a long time, is that Washington works for those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers. If you’re a huge corporation, if you’re a billionaire, boy, your voice gets heard in [Washington] and what you want gets attended to. For the ordinary family, it just doesn’t work so well.

She says, “It really is a rigged game, and it’s set up over and over and over that the rich get richer and the powerful more powerful. They’ve got all the advantages of concentrated money and concentrated power.

In 2009, Scott Brown won the Massachusetts special election to replace Senator Ted Kennedy, but lost his bid for a second term to Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren is all she promised to be, an ideal replacement for Senator Kennedy. Like Kennedy, she is consistent on the issues that affect the middle-class, she is straightforward and what you see is what you get.

It is widely viewed that she may run for President in 2016. But my hope is that she does not run. She is of more value and can get more things accomplished for America as Senator than she could ever accomplish as President.

Articles by Horatio Green at Yahoo: http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/942708/horatio_green.html

 

 

Melikhovo_Cottage cropped The burst of the housing bubble was a primary contributor to the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008. Many people found themselves unemployed, forced into foreclosure, or unable to pay their rent. The era of supersized lifestyles and large homes ended and people affected by the crisis scrambled to downsize or find alternate housing.

As a result, the small or tiny house movement came into being. It has garnered media attention: ten one-hour episodes of Tiny House Nation will air in July 2014.

The major selling points of the movement are low cost to purchase or build a home, ease of building your own home, living simply and inexpensively through greater efficiency, and reduction ofoperating costs in home ownership.

However, there are obstacles to building your own small or tiny house.

There are zoning laws, safety, and sanitation regulations that cannot be avoided

Unlike rural areas, zoning laws in urban and suburban areas can be a significant obstacle. For example, in my town, to build a home you must have a minimum lot size of 40,000 square feet (almost an acre), and there are size regulations for the house itself.

Here is a summary of safety and sanitation codes in my state of Massachusetts. In other parts of the country, except, perhaps, in rural areas, you will find similar standards.

The cost of land will add significant cost to the purchase your tiny house

A Tiny House costs from $10,000 to $80,000. But, where I live, an acre of land cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are other costs. For example a septic system, acquiring and connecting a safe water supply, electrical hookups, and property taxes.

You may have difficulty obtaining a mortgage for your tiny house

The Tiny House Blog reports that finding a mortgage for under $100,000 may be difficult.
Many lenders will not consider small loans because of lower-valued collateral and difficulty in reselling a home in the case of foreclosure; the tiny house market represents only one percent of all real estate transactions, and so lenders are not convinced a tiny house will retain or build equity.

Some people with pristine credit may be able to acquire an unsecured loan, however it’s always desirable to obtain a mortgage because interest rates are tax deductible and mortgages offer longer terms and lower interest rates.

Therefore, a tiny house may not be as economical as proponents envision. It may be cost-effective if you build in rural areas but to build in urban or suburban areas may cost $200,000 or more. It perhaps even may be impossible to build in some areas.

Although a tiny house may be a satisfactory lifestyle for some, it’s not a viable long-term solution for those who enjoy entertaining or plan to raise a family in the future.

Articles by Horatio Green on Yahoo: http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/942708/horatio_green.html

Shortly after Boston Marathon explosions on April 15, 2013.

Shortly after Boston Marathon explosions on April 15, 2013.

Boston Strong” is an important part of the story leading to this year’s running of the Boston Marathon. “Boston Strong” encapsulated a need for the community to unite in face of daunting challenges and an uncertain future.

It began on Patriots Day, Monday, April 15, 2013, when three spectators were killed and 260 injured by two bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon’s Copley Square finish line. It was a very violent and traumatic day for the city of Boston. But the days that followed proved to be just as intense and distressing.

Within a few days, police identified Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the suspects in the bombings.

On Thursday evening, MIT police officer Sean Collier, in responding to a reported disturbance, was shot multiple times and killed. Police linked his murder to the Tsarnaev brothers.

Early Friday morning, the Tsarnaev’s hijacked a car in Cambridge, taking the driver hostage. The hostage escaped. Led by information provided by the hostage, police pursued the brothers into Watertown. They confronted the Tsarnaev brothers, and in the ensuing gunfight MBTA Police Officer Richard Donahue was shot and critically wounded. Killed in the shootout, Tamerlan was no longer a threat, but his brother Dzhokhar who escaped capture was.

Motivated by the threat Dzhokhar still posed, Governor Deval Patrick ordered a Greater Boston lockdown and its residence to shelter-in-place. In Watertown, police officers made a house-to-house manhunt. On the evening of Friday, April 19, they captured a bloodied and wounded Dzhokhar and transported him to Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Now held at the federal prison at Fort Devens in Ayer, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is scheduled to go to trial in November.

The bombs killed eight-year-old Martin Richard; Krystle Campbell, 29; and Lu Lingzi, 23.

Of the 260, 16 had their legs amputated; two of the victims had both legs amputated. All of them have been fitted with prostheses. Many have returned to school or work.

Professional dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her leg in the bombings, last month performed at the 2014 TED Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia for the first time on her prosthetic leg specially designed for her by Hugh Herr, director of the Biomechatronics group at The MIT Media Lab.

Jane Richard, Martin Richard’s sister, lost her left leg. Their mother, Denise Richard, suffered a head injury and lost her vision in one eye. Bill Richard, their dad, lost part of his hearing and suffered burns and shrapnel wounds to his legs. The Richards have organized a group of 100 who will be running in this year’s Marathon in support of their charity, The Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation.

The other amputees have been fitted with prostheses and are learning to run anew.

Police Officer Richard Donahue is still recovering from his wounds.

“Boston Strong” has a much deeper meaning than a simple slogan or catchphrase. It sums up all of what happened during and after the tragic events of the week of April 15, and the refusal of Massachusetts and Boston to let anyone interfere with their hopes and dreams.

First responders and ordinary citizens who without hesitation ran into the chaos and the unknown that was behind the cloud of smoke and debris, not knowing whether there were other bombs or not, exemplify the meaning of “Boston Strong.” It’s exemplified by the Richard’s foundation, the Boston One Fund, and other charitable events organized to support those afflicted by the tragedy. It’s exemplified by the resilience of Boston and its support of law enforcement’s determination to bring justice to those who would commit such acts.

“Boston Strong was in full display when Haslet-Davis walked off of the “Meet the Press” set because they, at her request, promised not to name the accused bombers, a promise they did not keep.

“Boston Strong” represents the defiance against those who might think they can create fear and break the spirit this city possesses. It’s the motto written across the invisible banner that will be hanging over this year’s Boston Marathon finish line, where an estimated 36,000 runners on Monday, April 21, will again make that historic 26.2-mile attempt from Hopkinton to Boston to cross the finish line.

Articles by Horatio Green on Yahoo:http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/942708/horatio_green.html

2000 IU Vitamin D oval shaped gel capsules

2000 IU Vitamin D oval shaped gel capsules

Convinced by the research and through my own experience, I now know that the missing ingredient in the treatment of my asthma and underactive thyroid was vitamin D.

Here in the Northeast, most people enjoy the season of snow angels, snowmen, throwing snowballs, skiing, and snowmobiling. They look forward to the holidays. They look forward to the competitions for the Stanley Cup, the basketball championships, March Madness, and Super Bowl. I wish that I could enjoy the wintertime too, but with the season brings cold, dry weather that has increasingly become hell on earth.

Why?

High heating costs makes it a struggle to heat my home and keep warm. I use a space heater in one room for warmth, but during the winter months, the rest of my home is pretty much without heat.

Wintertime always triggers my asthma, and at some point, I will become afflicted with severe bronchial asthma that lasts off and on until spring.

An underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism, produces many symptoms. One of those symptoms is an increased sensitivity to cold. My underactive thyroid causes and extreme sensitivity to cold weather. Without precautions and treatment, my fingers and toes become numb, cracked, and very painful.

My symptoms and diagnosis

In hindsight, I now recognize earlier symptoms. My symptoms didn’t come into perspective until after retirement six years ago. Over time, though, they all came together to make life perilous and very difficult.

A couple of years prior to retirement, it became increasingly difficult to breathe. When I retired, my doctor’s diagnosis was persistent asthma. He prescribed an inhaler for maintenance, and an inhaler in case of an emergency that I often use to pre-medicate.

About a year later, I received my first complete physical exam. A blood test revealed that I was hypothyroid. My doctor prescribed a daily intake of a synthetic thyroid hormone.

Although my symptoms did improve, to one degree or another they persisted. Primarily, I continued to be afflicted with depression, memory and concentration problems, fatigue, weakness, aches and pains in my neck and shoulders, tingling, hoarseness, leg cramps, and difficulty sleeping. My asthma required more medication from my emergency inhaler than should have been necessary.

About seven weeks ago, I discussed these lingering symptoms with my doctor. He ordered another blood test. The result was low levels of vitamin D. He prescribed a daily intake of 2000 IUs of vitamin D.

Now, six weeks later, I feel like a new man

There has been a reduction in the severity of my asthma, and other symptoms have not returned. It takes a while before vitamin D, not acquired from sunlight, to become optimal, so things should only improve.

Subsequent to this diagnosis, I did some research and found that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in many medical conditions. Specifically, the research shows that a vitamin D supplement can reduce the severity of asthma and vitamin D plays an indispensable role in thyroid hormone functionan underactive thyroid may actually play a direct role in asthma.

Articles by Horatio Green on Yahoo:http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/942708/horatio_green.html

 

 

In 1984, a Republican controlled Senate passed legislation that allowed for-profit prisons.

In 1984, a Republican controlled Senate passed legislation that allowed for-profit prisons.

The Republican obsession to reduce the size of government by privatizing all non-inherent government functions comes from a false belief that private enterprises can be more cost-effective than what they deem as inept government. Their quest to privatize Medicare and Social Security, education, and other public sector services is good for corporations, but certainly not for society.

A case in point, in 1984 a Republican controlled Senate passed legislation that allowed for-profit prisons. But the pursuit of profit only created an incentive to keep people behind bars, which have turned the privatized prison system into a multimillion-dollar industry. Not surprisingly, today, prison populations have increased to the extent that the United States has higher incarceration rates than any other country.

Increasingly over the last 30 years, things have been golden for private prisons. Jails are now bursting at the seams with two-thirds of prisoners returning to prison within three years. The incarceration industry has been successful lobbying Congress for greater and stiffer conviction guidelines and reducing opportunities to earn probation and parole. It’s their imperative because without prisoners these industries would be out of business.

Professors Steve Fraser and Joshua Freeman attributed the rise in prison populations to prison privatization, which “has meant the creation of a small army of workers too coerced and right-less to complain.” Prisoners produce military equipment, paints and paintbrushes, body armor, home appliances, headphones/microphones/speakers, office furniture, airplane parts, medical supplies, provide equipment assembly services, and they raise seeing-eye dogs; they work in call centers, take hotel reservations, work in slaughterhouses, make textiles, shoes, and clothing. All of this while being paid between 93 cents and $4.73 per day.

Moreover, in their pursuit of profit, private prison companies solicit state governments for contracts that include occupancy guarantees. They charge states if they don’t meet contracted lockup quotas. This essentially leaves taxpayers to pay for empty beds if there are decreases in crime rates.

In any case, to “… prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation” is un-American, immoral, and simply wrong. It has not worked nor will it ever work.

Articles by Horatio Green on Yahoo: http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/942708/horatio_green.html

On June 7, 2013 Bill Guarnere,  one of the Band of Brothers, 506th Parachute Infantry,  signed the photographer Douglas Cuve’s  helmet.

On June 7, 2013 Bill Guarnere,one of the Band of Brothers, 506th Parachute Infantry,signed the photographer Douglas Cuve’s helmet.

On March 8, at the age of 90, “Wild Bill,” the nicknamed bestowed on William Guarnere for his tenacity in battle, died. You may remember him as a member of Easy Company in the hit HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.” In the series, Frank John Hughes portrayed his character.

There now remains eighteen members of the legendary Easy Company still alive.

Guarnere enlisted in the Army on August 31, 1942. Following training, he deployed to Europe with Easy Company’s Second Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division. He made his first combat jump over Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) as part of the Allied invasion of France.

Soon after, Guarnere received a battlefield promotion to sergeant. Alongside the Rhine River in mid-October 1944, Second Platoon’s placements were about a mile apart, so Guarnere confiscated a farmer’s motorcycle to facilitate his task of checking their positions that ended when a sniper’s bullet fractured his right leg. Thrown from the motorcycle, he fractured his shinbone and shrapnel found his rear end.

In England, recovering from his wounds, he went AWOL to rejoin Easy Company in fear of his reassignment to another platoon.
Guarnere was caught, court-martialed, and demoted. But because his court-martial notification hadn’t reached Easy Company in time, he rejoined Easy Company as sergeant of Second Platoon just before their deployment to Belgium.

During the Battle of the Bulge, Guarnere, while attempting to help a wounded comrade, Joe Toye, lost his right leg in an artillery barrage on his position.

Evidently his court martial never did catch up to him and he returned home in March 1945 with many commendations, medals, and decorations.

In the intervening 68 years, he devoted his life keeping Easy Company together. He coordinated reunions, produced newsletters, and helped members keep in touch.

In 2007, Guarnere co-wrote with another member of second platoon, Edward “Babe” Heffron, along with journalist Robyn Post, the national best-seller “Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story.”

Guarnere, and Heffron who died on December 1, 2013, were born 18 days apart, lived a few blocks from each other on Philadelphia’s south side, and in war fought side by side. After the war they continued their friendship, became best friends, visiting and talking to each other every day.

Easy Company’s commanding officer, Major Richard Winters (Lieutenant at the time), described Guarnere and Heffron as “natural killers.” Perhaps with greater determination than others, they, nevertheless, did what our country required of them; as they described it, they did their duty, doing what they needed to survive.

But, in the midst of all the adulation, we shouldn’t forget there are millions of other warriors who don’t get the praise that Guarnere, Heffron, and some others receive, even though they too performed equal feats of courage, did their duty, and did what their country required of them. So it’s important to keep in mind that we should hold in reverence the lives of all our warriors with an understanding that war is all about killing.

Other articles on Yahoo by Horatio Green: http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/942708/horatio_green.html

Midterm elections are only a few months away. With so many seats in Congress vulnerable to change, it’s an important election. Understanding what’s wrong with Obamacare and our healthcare system is important to how you vote.

Read article here: Understand What’s Wrong with Obamacare, Healthcare Systems; Let It Guide Your Midterm Election Vote

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