Cheaper High Speed Internet Access Needed For All Americans

December 27, 2012 Leave a comment
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Internet access has become a part of the U.S.  way of life and crucial to the American economic and  social health yet, internet connectivity speeds are falling behind other nations  and regulators do not consider it necessary for all homes to be connected.

A fast reliable web access  is crucial for finding jobs, starting small business, accessing education online, and allowing Americans to connect and  complete in the global economy.   Yet a third of Americans or 100 million people do not have home access to broadband Internet while countries like Korea have 200 times faster internet to all homes at inexpensive cost of approximately $27.

Only 70 percent of Americans have high speed internet connections while 94 percent of South Koreans are connected according to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
And although  the U.S. prides itself in leading  technology advances the FCC only requires 4 megabits per second download and 1 Mbps uploads while  South Korean’s government planned to install 1 gigabit per second data access to each home by 2012.  These speeds need to be re-evaluated by regulators to reflect the current global standards.

In the U.S. the lower middle and lower  income cannot even afford high speed broadband  internet access as it is  luxury while the Koreans will provide access to all citizens. According to the  OECD, U.S. ranks 14th  out of 25 countries on internet connectivity including broadband, and fiber to the home.

Experts say that looking at countries that have managed to increase their  Internet nationwide and looking at declaring Internet access a “legal right”  is something the U.S. should consider and that the FCC should create policies that will ensure more companies compete to keep prices low while providing high speed.

Unfortunately with the history of Ma Bell, broadband and internet, laws were put in place for telecommunication that may be interfering with the ability for many companies to compete in high speed broadband internet access as has been easier other countries.



Easier To Access Guns Than Mental Health Services

December 26, 2012 Leave a comment
— Sandy Hook Victims.

“It is time that we show greater concern for protecting our children than for our gun rights,” says a statement released by the Sandy Hook Elementary School’s District – Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents. “That time is now.”

“Unless we eliminate the easy access to weapons and increase the limited access to mental health care then the conditions that produced this horrific mass murder of educators and children will remain long after Sandy Hook is a sorrowful memory,” the statement says. “Just as there is urgency in providing resources for the war on terror, there must be urgency in preventing gun violence from killing and injuring our precious children.”

Records show police officers take a gun to the  mentally ill  who appear to want to cause harm to others because in the U.S. they have gone without care and are left to responding officers.  The public has not yet heard about  Adam Lanza who killed 26 including children at Sandy Hook Elementary School and if there was mental illness that may have been contributing factor to the violence.

“It is a shame that a bullet is what our mental health safety net has become,” said Louis Josephson, chief executive officer of Riverbend Community Mental Health Inc. in Concord, New Hampshire, which offers outpatient and residential programs.

Moe Keller, vice president of public policy and strategic initiatives for Mental Health America of Colorado said in a statement that “in Colorado it is easier to purchase an AR-15 assault rifle, the one used by the shooter in Newtown, than it is to access high-quality, affordable mental health and substance use disorder treatment in the community”

“At MHAC we believe the key to keeping our children—and all of us—safe from acts of mass killing involves a multipronged approach that includes prevention, access to services for the treatment of mental health conditions and substance abuse use disorders, and restricting access to guns and ammunition from individuals with the potential to commit violent acts,” said Keller.

Colorado’s Gov. Hickenlooper has proposed $18.5 million in new funding for mental health systems in Colorado in his 2013 budget.


U.S. House Voted For Increase of More Tech Visas

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

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With unemployment up 7.9 percent in November and 1.4 million  unfilled tech jobs  through 2018  the U.S. House of Representative voted 245 to 139 to increase the number of permanent – residence visas for those graduating from U.S. universities with doctoral or master’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics  (STEMS).

Backed by prominent technolgy firms such as Microsoft which had 6,000 job openings in September this year, the passing of the bill would keep the needed technology talent in the U.S.

“We are creating unfilled jobs,” said Microsoft chief counsel Brad Smith, speaking at a forum on immigration policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. in September “We have a shortage.”

“We can only gain by asking as many people who are smart and who create opportunities far beyond just their own to be part of our society,” said Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican. “The benefit to our economy is undeniable.”

STEM jobs, including teaching positions, account for roughly 6 percent of the U.S. economy, according to Nicole Smith, a senior economist who studies the issue at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

“We know some of the best schools in the world in those areas are found in the United States… This is a chance for them to cut out the red tape” and help graduates stay, she said.

“In a global economy, we cannot afford to educate these foreign graduates in the U.S. and then send them back home to work for our competitors,” said Texas Republican Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who had introduced the “STEM Jobs Act,” and  supporter of this high tech visa program to help retain U.S. trained workers to boost innovation and job creation.


Economy In Best Shape In 18 Months

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

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According to a Bloomberg Global Survey, the economy is in its best shape in 18 months with China’s economy improving and the U.S. looking to avoid the fiscal cliff driving optimism and stock markets up globally.

Two thirds surveyed described the global economy as either stable or improving with Investors selecting  stocks and the equity market as the first choice of investments with real estate and the housing market and second for investment opportunities.

The U.S. came out on top for the eighth straight quarter when investors were asked which  where they saw opportunities for the next year with China coming in as second to the U.S. and Europe as the worst place for investing. China was fourth in September according to Bloomberg survey of subscriber traders, investors and analysts.

“U.S. companies have better profit potential, balance sheets and access to capital,” Christian Thwaites, a poll respondent and president and chief executive officer in New York of Sentinel Investment, which manages more than $27 billion, said in an e-mail.

Expectation  is that the U.S. will avert $607 automatic spending and tax cuts which is helping fuel the global optimism that  President Barack Obamaand Congressional leaders will reach a short-term agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Commodities are down 18 perent from September according to the last survey and forcasted to be the attractive asset expected to perfrom well over the next with the worst being U.S. Treasury bonds which forty-eight percent holders intend to sell bonds over the next six months.

“The global economy is improving, recovering and healing, thanks to the U.S. and the emerging markets,” said Andrea Guzzi, a poll respondent and vice president of IST Investmentstiftung fuer Personalvorsorge, which manages money for Swiss pension funds. “More people are becoming wealthy, less and less are poor.”




China’s Cyber Assault on Brian Milburn’s Solid Oak Software

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment
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Brian Milburn gives us a rare look at the activities of Chinese cyber hackers committing corporate espionage to steal codes, take credit for new software,  and relentlessly  harass  and cyber attack a company and personal lives in efforts to stop a lawsuit.

Imagine  mobile and computer cameras spying on your personal and corporate life plus personal, corporate and related attorney’s emails and files on corporate servers accessed by the entity you are suing in court.

Milburn and his company Solid Oak Software lived a three year nightmare of their privacy being violated and crimes perpetrated  on his life and business with the blessing of the Chinese government.

Cyber hackers and  attackers  backed by the  Chinese Government on stolen software codes collapsed Brian Milburn’s Solid Oak Software business,   efforts to remedy eventually weakened his heath  and yet he did not back down during the three year legal  and cyber war.

University of Michigan researchers examined the code and verified  it  used to create internet babysitting software  touted by the Chinese Government  as their own which was the center of this corporate espionage

Retaliation, attack and harrasment began after Milburn publically accuse china of taking his parent filtering software called CYBERsitter and sued the People’s Republic of China where in three years he never once saw a lawyer, nor documents from China attorneys because they never filed one except one short request to have the case dismissed.

A one man battle unit  and without any assistance from any U.S. government agency,  he tried to stay one step ahead of the hackers endlessly making maneuvers to protect his network, swapping out servers, trying to determine middle of the night malfunctions and watching his sales decline rapidly. Later he  learned hackers interfered with his order system by then it was too late.

“It felt like they had a plan,” says Brian Milburn.  “If they could just put the company out of business, the lawsuit goes away. They didn’t need guys with guns or someone to break my kneecaps.”

The intruders were identified by Jose Stewart of Secureworks, a threat expert,  that the hackers were out of Shanghai who were known for their national security breaches for a number of years known as the “comment” group as identified  also by other commercial hacker hunters.

This group has hacked into the president of the European Union Council, major defense contractors and even Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.  The group has been linked to the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, according to leaked classified cables.

Two months after the court was settled, the cyber attacks stopped.


Nov 1 Faster Short Sales and Deed-In-Lieu

November 2, 2012 Leave a comment

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November 1 begins the start of new rules   for short sales  which has consolidated the process into one new streamline program easier to execute, faster  and   includes lender requirements to respond to short sales within 30 days of the offer, provide weekly updates and communicate final decisions within 60 days of receipt of offers.

No longer will borrower need to be in default to qualify for a short sale if their mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as long as they have hardship such as death of a borrower or co-borrower, divorce, legal separation, illness, disability or distant employment transfer.

Deficiency judgements (balance between short sale and owed amount) may be eliminated with some funds paid at closing.  Military borrowers are not required to pay funds to negotiate the elimination of deficiency judgements.

Servicers working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac   will be able to skip a step when attempting to get a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure approved  by the elimination of approval by mortgage insurer as part of the  process and according  to the new standard delegation agreements.

“Short sales and deeds-in-lieu are important tools to prevent foreclosures and help struggling borrowers,” said Leslie Peeler, SVP of national servicing organization at Fannie Mae. “These delegation agreements create an even more streamlined process that will ultimately help more families avoid the costly effects of foreclosure and benefit taxpayers. We are pleased that the mortgage insurance companies have stepped up to the plate with us to help more homeowners.”

Should a borrower not make a  20 percent downpayment, the borrower is then required to have a mortgage insurance.  Agreeing to the terms are the following mortgage insurers:  CMG Mortgage Insurance Company; Essent Guaranty, Inc.; Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corporation; Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation; PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.; Radian Guaranty Inc.; Republic Mortgage Insurance Company; Triad Guaranty Insurance Corporation, and United


Affirmative Action Challenged In University of Texas Case

October 11, 2012 Leave a comment
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Affirmative action came under attack at the U.S. Supreme Court as Chief Justice John Roberts took the lead in questioning whether universities should continue to give special preference to racial minorities.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on University of Texas’s admissions program which uses race as an admissions consideration for as much as one quarter of each class which calls to  question affirmative action.

“What you’re saying is that what counts is race above all,” Justice Anthony Kennedy, the likely swing vote, told the lawyer defending the plan. “You want underprivileged of a certain race and privileged of a certain race.”

During arguments today in Washington, the court’s Republican-appointed majority scrutinized the University of Texas’s admissions program, which uses race as a consideration in admitting as much as one quarter of each class.

The case was filed  by Bert Rein, the lawyer challenging the Texas program on behalf of student Abigail Noel Fisher,  who applied unsuccessfully to Texas in 2008 and later enrolled at Louisiana State University who said that she was passed over by UT in favor of minoarity students with lower grades and few extracurricular activities.

Texas has support in the case from some of the nation’s most powerful institutions who want a racailly diverse workforced and rely heavily on Universities.  Fifty-nine companies filed a brief be half of Texas iincluding Microsoft Corp., Wal-Mart Stores Inc.,Gap Inc., General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc., Shell Oil Co. and Viacom Inc.

“The core of our interest is in ensuring that the nation’s universities produce graduates who are going to be effective citizens and effective leaders in an increasingly diverse society, and effective competitors in diverse global markets,” said U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, the administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer.

Although Kennedy directed the bulk of his questions at the lawyers defending affirmative action, he also balked at Rein’s contention that Texas’s policy is unconstitutional because it adds only a handful of minority students to the school.

“If it’s so few, then what’s the problem?” Kennedy asked,

“I thought the whole point was that sometimes race has to be a tiebreaker,”  he said as the potential swing vote on the court.