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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I

Hard to remember that it is still winter. At 7 AM local time it was 64 degrees at the beach in Chicago, where they had four 85 degree days in a row, the warmest on record and 35 degrees higher than normal. Warmer in Chicago than in Las Vegas. Tornado's, rain, and wind are pelting Hawaii today, and has been for the past four days. California, Nevada and Utah have been pelted with winds and fast downpours or snow at the higher elevations. All in all a very unusual national weather pattern for this point in March. Remember Spring does not begin until this coming Tuesday.

The difference between linear and open business models are under serious study by business programs at universities around the world. Linear thought, brought on by supply chain longitudinal models and a employer chain of command mentality hit full pace with Henry Ford and the Model T. That same model worked well for most of the 20th century. Computers only contributed to this linear thought, as flow chart driven programmers literally trained a generation that the way to gain results is through liner flow chart thinking. But researchers in Japan, Great Britain and her in the US, are finding that as computers break free of the keyboard centric box PC, entrepreneurs, sales and even distribution models are changing in major ways, evolving in a more end result and not linear routing model. How is this changing the way you think of how to get things done? Your view of the world?

It could be areas of recession driven post boom Las Vegas, as in one Madrid barrio, neighbors have converted a half-built, abandoned housing complex into a community garden. It's one way Spaniards are dealing with the leftovers of the construction boom -- land that was cleared for condos that never got built. Spain is littered with such spaces, where builders ran out of money mid-project. City planners are forced to get creative about what to do with potentially hazardous wrecks that are an eyesore, at best.

 Home prices have fallen throughout the US, and have plummeted in some states. It's making home ownership more affordable to many lower income families. These new borrowers are borrowing at today's low rates. But that doesn't mean that buying is always a better choice than renting. Some of the the challenges facing would-be, first-time home buyers  include stringent mortgage loan standards, requirements of higher income levels than may in this recession era can qualify for and record levels of student loan debt. Then too maintenance and other cost now fall on the homeowner instead of a landlord. Home ownership remains a way to add stability to a family, as families move less often, and all family members have a stake in making the home work. the number of 25 to 34 year olds who buy a first time home, is half of what it was ten years ago. Income is down, some of the American Dream has diminished, the pressure to leave the nest has gone down as well. Sales to other than investors are way down, as only investors can easily qualify for new home loans, making it harder for young Americans to cut through the maze and red tape and land a good deal on a home. Tax breaks and other incentives impact high income Americans more than young and lower Americans, as most Americans no longer can use an additional tax credit because they are already at the limit the government allows for their income level. So homes are now being added to the list of the rental market at every increasing numbers.

A new study that finds that voters tend to go for the candidate with the deeper voice.  A British Biological Research Journal did a study that found that listeners are more likely to vote for the deeper voice, regardless of their sex. But there are exceptions. Harry Reid has a high voice. Romey's voice is mellow and low compared to his competition. Candidates use vocal coaches to "enhance their electability."

Puerto Ricans are American citizens who do not vote in U.S. presidential general elections. But Puerto Ricans do participate in Republican and Democratic nominating contests. Tomorrow, Puerto Rico holds a Republican primary. Both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney visited the island this week. Santorum stirred up controversy with his insistence that Puerto Rico make English its main language to qualify for U.S. statehood. Republicans in the state, according to polls, tend to agree with Santorum, despite his views. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul did not campaign in the territory. Puerto Ricans are American Citizens by Act of Congress, but as a territory they haven no voting voice in Congress.

Residents of Illinois and Louisiana this week have been bombarded by TV ads attacking one or another presidential candidate, the vast majority of them ending with words like this: Welcome to the brave new world of presidential Super PACs, groups that walk and talk and run TV ads like a regular candidate's campaign, but legally have NOTHING to do with the candidate they support. The vast majority are for Romney and have names sounding patriotic and grass roots. This Tuesday night, we get a new look at these groups. At midnight, they must file a report with the Federal Election Commission detailing who gave them money, and how they spent it. It is expected that a good deal of PAC to PAC donations will be revealed, further veiling who the primary donors are. In this presidential race the Super PACS have pretty much become the race, doing all of the things traditional campaigns do. SuperPACS spend over 20 times the money that the actual campaigns pay. Unofficial links to PACS

Small donors are more likely to turn up at the polls or attend a caucus than the big money donors to SuperPACS. So far Obama leads in small donors, however, in addition to Super PAC funds, Romney has also build a sizable small donor base.

Soccer star Fabrice Muamba, a British Citizen born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and brought to England as a young refugee child, is in critical condition this morning. Only23, he collapsed during a game suffering from a heart attack.

 Author Liza Mundy's new book, "The Richer Sex," explores how the role of "family breadwinner" has changed in recent years. As the economy has suffered, more women have replaced men as the primary earner. These changes are causing identity conflicts. Think of the pressure this can place on relationships, and on the other side of the coin how the role reversal can also be liberating for both men and women.

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