Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
US: EXECUTIVE PAY -- C.E.O. Pay Keeps Rising, And Bigger Rises Faster
by Eric Dash, The New York Times
CHIEF executives' pay continued to rise in 2005, although at a slightly slower pace than in 2004.
The average total pay for chief executives rose 27 percent, to $11.3 million, according to a survey of 200 large companies by Pearl Meyer & Partners, the compensation practice of Clark Consulting.
The 123 chief executives included in the survey for the last three years saw their compensation increase, on average, 15 percent, to $11.4 million in 2005. Last year, their pay was up almost 30 percent, to $10.2 million.
Chief executives' median pay -- the point at which half are above and half are below -- was $8.4 million in 2005, up 10.3 percent from 2004. A few executives who received very large long-term bonus and option awards account for the big difference from the average.
While ordinary workers' wages and benefits were squeezed last year, chief executives were largely immune from those pressures.
The median base salary for chief executives rose about 4 percent, to $1 million. The median bonus rose 8 percent, to $1.8 million. That compares with a 38 percent increase, to $1.9 million, in 2004, when profits were growing faster.
The fastest-growing part of executive compensation in 2005 was in new grants of restricted stock and long-term incentive payouts. For the typical chief executive, they rose almost 15 percent, to $1.9 million. In 2004, they grew almost 111 percent, to $1.4 million, reflecting rising profits and a shift away from stock options.
Of the 200 executives surveyed, about half stand to collect big pensions. At least 20 percent can expect $1 million in annual benefits.
There were some big winners but few real losers last year. Chief executives of the largest oil companies, homebuilders and Wall Street investment houses had the largest paychecks in 2005.
Ray R. Irani, the chief executive of Occidental Petroleum, topped the list, with more than $63 million in total pay. Next were Bruce E. Karatz of KB Home and William E. Greehey of the Valero Energy Corporation, who each received more than $40 million in total compensation.
The heads of Wall Street's four biggest investment houses -- John J. Mack of Morgan Stanley, Henry M. Paulson Jr. of Goldman Sachs, Richard S. Fuld Jr. of Lehman Brothers and E. Stanley O'Neal of Merrill Lynch -- were also near the top.
Next year may reveal even bigger paydays. In January, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed 370 pages of rules to improve the disclosure of how -- and how much -- executives are paid.
The requirements, expected to take effect in 2007, call for companies to explain how much the five highest-paid managers and all directors receive.
Companies will also be expected to show deferred compensation, retirement benefits and severance pay -- figures so hard for investors to find that they are called ''stealth wealth.''
One area that has already changed is the disclosure of perks, which are usually reported in public filings as ''other compensation.'' This form of compensation rose 9.3 percent, to about $188,000, last year, after the S.E.C. took a more aggressive stance on perk reporting.
Companies ''are now putting a value on things that never had to be valued before,'' said Jannice L. Koors, a managing partner at Pearl Meyer & Partners. ''That affected tons of stuff with everybody: airplanes, cars, drivers, apartments. All the stuff that wasn't disclosed because it wasn't reported income now has to be disclosed as a perquisite.''
Chief executives at consumer products companies took a pay cut of about 4 percent after weaker shareholder returns. But boards at many automobile, retail and telecommunications companies appeared to ignore last year's bad news.
Gap, for example, more than doubled the compensation of its chief executive, Paul S. Pressler, to $19.1 million, even though the company posted its worst results in years. Still, the board withheld his annual bonus.
April 9th, 2006
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Frankly, I'm sick and tired of seeing people admiring so-and-so individual simply because so-and-so possesses a certain physical appearance. Yes, there is nothing wrong in wanting so-and-so because so-and-so is extremely hot. But that does not mean that we should award so-and-so just because that so-and-so individual possesses striking physical attributes. Honestly, is beauty an achievement? Nope, because it is merely having the good fortunate to have the correct attributes at the right time and place. Just think about this, a woman who is overweight would currently not fit our present sense of beauty we simply assume without much objection that thin is physically attractive. Now did you know that overweight women were considered beautiful during most of the Renaissance period? This meant that thin women were undesirable. Hence, I ask you again, is beauty an achievement?
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sometimes I wonder about the reality of our senses, in light of fact that most of us assume that people are in generally good. Now, honestly, is this absolutely true? I'm having a hard time believing it. Honestly, look the state of our being in this country and around the world. It is just hard to imagine anyone holding such notion that human beings are basically good as true. For example, the whole continent of Africa is in danger of extinction because of AIDS but still the world as whole seems unperturbed by such prospect. Millions of children die of starvation and still the world as whole goes on as business as usual. Truthfully, are we so apathetic and so self-absorbed? It seems that we, as a nation, particularly as the richest country in the world, are completely nonchalant as long as it does not disturb our narcissistic ideology. This egotistical worldview was well put forward by a commercial with the aphorism: "Because I'm beautiful!" Is that all that matters? Is physical beautiful all that matters? Honestly, there is nothing wrong with beauty. But, there seems to be something appalling about such endeavor particularly in light of our reality of war, hunger, and disease.
|Empire Falls (Vintage Contemporaries)|
By Richard Russo
Monday, November 10, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Think positive, this 'slow motion train wreck' is good for the U.S.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The Washington Post
Friday, September 19, 2008
Half of Americans Believe in Angels
by Julia Duin
Half of all Americans believe they are protected by guardian angels, one-fifth say they've heard God speak to them, one-quarter say they have witnessed miraculous healings, 16 percent say they've received one and 8 percent say they pray in tongues, according to a survey released Thursday by Baylor University.
The wide-ranging survey of 1,648 adults, who were asked 350 questions on their religious practices last fall, reveals a significant majority who are comfortable with the supernatural.
“Mystical experiences are widespread,” said Rodney Stark, co-director of Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion.
“I'd have guessed 15 percent instead of 55,” he added, referring to the 55 percent who claimed angelic protection. “This is the taboo subject in American religion. No one studies it, but there is a lot of it out there.”
The survey, which has a margin of error of four percentage points, also revealed that theological liberals are more apt to believe in the paranormal and the occult - haunted houses, UFOs, communicating with the dead and astrology - than do conservatives. Women (35 percent), blacks (41 percent), those younger than 30 (40 percent), Democrats (40 percent) and singles who are cohabitating (49 percent) were more likely to believe, the survey said.
Baylor researchers also criticized a much-ballyhooed “new atheism” as a barely discernable trend, saying the number of Americans who are atheists has stayed at 4 percent since 1944.
Why? Atheism is a “godless revolution that never happened,” the survey said, adding that irreligion often is not effectively transmitted to children who, when they reach adulthood, often join conservative religious denominations.
Moreover, atheism is hardly taking over the world. Europe does have more atheists than the U.S., the survey said, but no country has more than 7 percent except France, which is at 14 percent of the populace. Farther to the east, Japan is at 12 percent and China is at 14 percent.
Mr. Stark dismissed the popularity of several recent books on atheism, saying they are mostly the products of “angry” people who are largely ignored by theists.
“The religious people don't care about the irreligious people,” Mr. Stark said, “but the irreligious are prickly. I think they're just angry.”
The survey also ranked church attendance at 36 percent of the populace, about eight percentage points lower than similar surveys by pollster George Gallup but more than the low 20th percentile suggested by other polls.
“There was only one decline in church attendance and that was in the late 1960s,” Mr. Stark said, “when the Vatican said it was not a sin to miss Mass. They said Catholics could act like Protestants, and so they did.”
When asked at a press conference whether he was certain that one-third of the American populace is in church every week, he allowed that some of the respondents in the poll might have exaggerated their attendance.
“I'd say 30 percent,” he said, “but it's very high.”
The survey spoke highly of the American megachurch, congregations of more than 1,000 that are often criticized for their impersonal nature. People who attend megachurches are far more conservative in their theology than are attendees of smaller churches, it said.
Their members are also younger, they share their faith more with strangers, and they perform more volunteer work than do members of small churches.
“There are many critics who think the megachurches thrive on people who enjoy dramatic Sunday services with fine music but don't wish to become very 'religious' on a day-to-day basis - that the megachurch appeal is a mile wide and an inch deep,” said “What Americans Really Believe,” a companion book to the survey.
“But it is not true. Those who belong to megachurches display as high a level of personal commitment as do those who attend small congregations.”
Mr. Stark added, “Apparently they are preaching Jesus and that's why they get so big.”
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Dealing with hard times
1. Eliminate the nonessentials
2. Start a go-to fund for emergencies
3. Consider cutting back (rather than cutting out) for some expenses
4. Safeguard your current job
5. Be on the lookout for your next job
6. Keep your debt load light
7. Barring a complete personal financial meltdown, continue funding your retirement
8. Swap extraneous spending for smart long-term moves
9. Investigate refinancing
10. Re-examine your insurance
11. Adjust your withholding allowance
12. Reward yourself
13. Ask for an extension on your car loan
14. Get an extension on the mortgage
15. Talk to a mortgage counselor
To find out more details go to http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/15-money-moves-for-tough-times-1.aspx
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The voyage I take
Without my sisters and brothers,
Without my kins,
And without anyone but with myself.
I pride myself as my own being
Without fear to fear,
Without disillusion to disillusion,
Without hope to hope,
And without God to be.
I walk as my own without God
Who promised to be
Only if faith manifest itself in me,
Which without God cannot be.
So how do I live?
If faith must be given as a gift...
Friday, September 5, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Don't talk to me of love. I've had an earful
And I get tearful when I've downed a drink or two.
I'm one of your talking wounded.
I'm a hostage. I'm maroonded.
But I'm in Paris with you.
Yes I'm angry at the way I've been bamboozled
And resentful at the mess I've been through.
I admit I'm on the rebound
And I don't care where are we bound.
I'm in Paris with you.
Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre
If we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame,
If we skip the Champs Elysées
And remain here in this sleazy
Old hotel room
Doing this and that
To what and whom
Learning who you are,
Learning what I am.
Don't talk to me of love. Let's talk of Paris,
The little bit of Paris in our view.
There's that crack across the ceiling
And the hotel walls are peeling
And I'm in Paris with you.
Don't talk to me of love. Let's talk of Paris.
I'm in Paris with the slightest thing you do.
I'm in Paris with your eyes, your mouth,
I'm in Paris with... all points south.
Am I embarrassing you?
I'm in Paris with you.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
10 (More) Reasons You're Not Rich
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Many people assume they aren't rich because they don't earn enough money. If I only earned a little more, I could save and invest better, they say.
The problem with that theory is they were probably making exactly the same argument before their last several raises. Becoming a millionaire has less to do with how much you make, it's how you treat money in your daily life.
The list of reasons you may not be rich doesn't end at 10. Caring what your neighbors think, not being patient, having bad habits, not having goals, not being prepared, trying to make a quick buck, relying on others to handle your money, investing in things you don't understand, being financially afraid and ignoring your finances.
Here are 10 more possible reasons you aren't rich:
You care what your car looks like: A car is a means of transportation to get from one place to another, but many people don't view it that way. Instead, they consider it a reflection of themselves and spend money every two years or so to impress others instead of driving the car for its entire useful life and investing the money saved.
You feel entitlement: If you believe you deserve to live a certain lifestyle, have certain things and spend a certain amount before you have earned to live that way, you will have to borrow money. That large chunk of debt will keep you from building wealth.
You lack diversification: There is a reason one of the oldest pieces of financial advice is to not keep all your eggs in a single basket. Having a diversified investment portfolio makes it much less likely that wealth will suddenly disappear.
You started too late: The magic of compound interest works best over long periods of time. If you find you're always saying there will be time to save and invest in a couple more years, you'll wake up one day to find retirement is just around the corner and there is still nothing in your retirement account.
You don't do what you enjoy: While your job doesn't necessarily need to be your dream job, you need to enjoy it. If you choose a job you don't like just for the money, you'll likely spend all that extra cash trying to relieve the stress of doing work you hate.
You don't like to learn: You may have assumed that once you graduated from college, there was no need to study or learn. That attitude might be enough to get you your first job or keep you employed, but it will never make you rich. A willingness to learn to improve your career and finances are essential if you want to eventually become wealthy.
You buy things you don't use: Take a look around your house, in the closets, basement, attic and garage and see if there are a lot of things you haven't used in the past year. If there are, chances are that all those things you purchased were wasted money that could have been used to increase your net worth.
You don't understand value: You buy things for any number of reasons besides the value that the purchase brings to you. This is not limited to those who feel the need to buy the most expensive items, but can also apply to those who always purchase the cheapest goods. Rarely are either the best value, and it's only when you learn to purchase good value that you have money left over to invest for your future.
Your house is too big: When you buy a house that is bigger than you can afford or need, you end up spending extra money on longer debt payments, increased taxes, higher upkeep and more things to fill it. Some people will try to argue that the increased value of the house makes it a good investment, but the truth is that unless you are willing to downgrade your living standards, which most people are not, it will never be a liquid asset or money that you can ever use and enjoy.
You fail to take advantage of opportunities: There has probably been more than one occasion where you heard about someone who has made it big and thought to yourself, "I could have thought of that." There are plenty of opportunities if you have the will and determination to keep your eyes open.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
How long will you fasten from us?
Your children cry day and night for deliverance, justice, peace.
But we walk in despair, violence, injustice.
How long must we await for your justice and peace?
Will we see your hand of salvation soon?
Where must we turn in our suffering?
For our neighbors mock in our steadfast patience for the King of Peace.
They scoff at us with great vengeance.
"See", they say, "where is this Elohim of love and justice?"
Yes, O my soul, where is the Rock of our salvation?
When will the Son of Man return once again?