EU budget: who pays what and how it is spent – Telegraph


EU flat

 The EU budget added up to €130bn (£105bn) in 2011.

Germany is the biggest contributor, France second and the UK third largest contributors to the EU budget.

Many are questioning the size of the EU budget – at a time when individual EU states are cutting back on spending, Brussels is asking for more from the member states.

To make things worse, the EU budget for last financial year has not been signed off by auditors, the eighteenth year this has happened.

via EU budget: who pays what and how it is spent – Telegraph.

New Poll Suggests A Dead Heat

The latest poll, published today, suggests a dead heat between Obama and Romney in the race for the White House.

With six days to go until the election, no one can predict which way the election will go. Within the key swing states, it appears Romney has a slight lead over Obama in Florida. Florida has 29 electoral votes up for grabs.

In the pivotal state of Ohio, polls either show the race tied or Obama with a slight lead. No Republican has ever been elected President without the Buckeye states 18 electoral votes.

For both President Obama and Republican Romney the next 6 days will be crucial, both men have all to play for in their bid to be Commander in Chief for the next four years.


West Village Halloween Parade CANCELLED

For the first time in our 39 year history, the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management and the NYPD have CANCELLED the Parade.

We hope that everyone who would have come to the Parade is safe and that those who can volunteer to help out at one of the  Emergency Outreach Centers near you. This year’s Parade would have been on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 7 p.m.

“This pageant evokes the muses.”



DOE – Science – ASCR Discovery

Refining hurricane forecasts by connecting the dots

Hurricane origin - Africa

Predictions of North Atlantic hurricane paths based on spatio-temporal data at the region of origin, off the coast of North Africa. Click image to enlarge and for more information.

By graphing points in Earth’s roiling atmosphere with the aid of the latest petascale-power technology, scientists collaborating on Department of Energy-funded research say they could improve major seasonal North Atlantic hurricane forecast reliability by more than 25 percent.

“We ask questions about the end-game of hurricanes: Where will they likely end up in 10 or 15 days?” says Nagiza Samatova, an associate professor in computer science and mathematics at North Carolina State University and a senior research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“We are finding local impacts using global data,” adds Alok Choudhary, Samatova’s collaborator and John G. Searle professor of computer science and electrical engineering at Northwestern University.

After a few years of sleuthing through existing climate records, their work is revealing previously unknown but predictive links between distant places that seem to recur during peak years for hurricane activity.

for more, view: DOE – Science – ASCR Discovery




Facebook censors Navy SEALs who said Obama denied them backup as forces overran Benghazi and killed U.S. Ambassador

Facebook censors Navy SEALs who said Obama denied them backup as forces overran Benghazi and killed U.S. Ambassador Message was taken down by Facebook TWICE -SEALS claim it was attempt to quietly squelch opposition to President Obamas alleged failures



A message posted on Facebook by Navy SEALS claiming that President Obama denied them backup as forces overran Benghazi was taken down twice by the social networking site. The move has stoked accusations that Facebook was censoring the SEALs’ message to ‘quietly squelch opposition’ to President Obama’s alleged failures.The message contained in a meme suggesting that Obama relied on the SEALS when he wanted to get Osama bin Laden, but then turned round and denied them back up when they called for it in Benghazi. Censored? The SOS post was taken down by Facebook twice… but not before it had been shared online by thousands.

US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other American embassy staff were killed in the attack by Islamist militants in Benghazi, Libya on September 11. The tragedy has become a controversial issue in next months presidential election due to ongoing confusion over how much the administration knew about the circumstances of the attack.

More…Revealed: Googles biggest advertiser is the University of Phoenix spending nearly $200,000 every dayObama’s bad timing: President jokes about the songs on his iPod in pre-taped interview that airs as Superstorm Sandy batters East Coast

So, just how much money did YouTube make from streaming Gangnam Style?Sources present during the deadly six-hour assault have said that a desperate last request for military assistance once the CIA themselves came under attack was denied, even though elite counter-terrorism units were only two hours away.

The Facebook message about the attack was posted by Special Operations Speaks PAC SOS, an organisation founded by Special Operations veterans dedicated to protecting forces at home and abroad.

Attack: The US Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during fierce clashes in which US Ambassador Chris Stevens diedThe image was shared on Facebook between 30,000 users within 24 hours of it being posted online.However it was taken down at the weekend for what SOS claims was an ‘unspecified violation of Facebook’s terms of Rights and Responsibilities.’Retired SEAL Captain Larry Bailey said:  ‘It looks like Obama’s liberal followers in Facebook HQ are terrified of how damaging the Benghazi scandal is for the President. We understand that Facebook can run their site however they’d like, but when they’re trying to quietly squelch opposition to what is a clear leadership failure that resulted in the tragic deaths of some of our nation’s heroes, they deserve the to be called out on it.’Tragedy: Walls at the main entrance of the US consulate in Benghazi, apparently stained with blood.

Colonel Dick Brauer Jr, retired from the US Air Force, added: ‘Americans across the country deserve the truth about what happened in Libya, and they certainly deserve to know when people who hold the keys to a lot of their online communications are trying to keep that from them.’After the post was removed twice and SOS’s Facebook account suspended for 24 hours, the post was reinstated and SOS received an email from Facebook apologising. It said: ‘A member of our team accidentally removed something you posted on Facebook. This was mistake, and we sincerely apologize for this error. Weve since restored the content, and you should now be able to see it.’SOS responded to the apology: ‘We accept their apology but do not accept that it was an innocent mistake. It was clearly a means to protect Obama on Libya.’A spokesperson from Facebook said: This was an error and we apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused. They can feel free to repost the image.

more at  Facebook censors Navy SEALs who said Obama denied them backup as forces overran Benghazi and killed U.S. Ambassador | Mail Online.

Breezy Point Fire: Over 80 Homes Destroyed By NYC Blaze caused by Hurricane Sandy

homes devastated by fires brought by Hurricane Sandy


NEW YORK (AP) — A tiny beachfront neighborhood told to evacuate before Sandy hit New York burned down as it was inundated by floodwaters, transforming a quaint corner of the Rockaways into a smoke-filled debris field.

By Tuesday morning, charred foundations of from 80 to 100 buildings were left in the sand at Breezy Point, a coastal community on Jamaica Bay known for its marshland and shorebirds.

Firefighters arrived at 11 p.m. Monday to find water chest-high in the streets, and used a boat to make rescues as orange flames engulfed home after home. The water and high winds whipping the coast from Sandy kept the blaze raging for several hours as firefighters hauled hoses while sloshing in ankle-high water.

“We watched the whole place go up in flames. It was hell night. It was the devil’s night,” said resident Thomas Reicherter.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was taken to a hospital. Two civilians suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

Firefighters had to rescue several more, climbing onto an awning to take trapped people from an upstairs apartment with a roof that was catching fire from the house next door. A row of about 25 businesses, including a shoe repair store, burned with apartments above many of them.

More than 190 firefighters were sent to the blaze, still putting out some pockets more than nine hours after it erupted, training hoses on the inside of a medical center.

As daylight broke Tuesday, a stone statue that appeared to represent the Virgin Mary stood next to wooden slats and debris-caked mud, surrounded by no homes. Two logs not attached to anything crushed the top of a red Ford SUV. Residents walked aimlessly through water-filled streets with electrical wires dangling down in front of them.

The neighborhood was among the low-lying areas the mayor said were a flood danger a day before Sandy came ashore, shuttering the nation’s largest city and cutting power to hundreds of thousands. Gene Morizzo, a security guard at an ocean apartment complex in nearby Rockaway Park, said about half of the 300 or so residents insisted on staying behind, noting that Irene didn’t hit the story hard a year ago amid the same warnings.

“I kept telling people it’s a mandatory evacuation. They said, ‘Oh it’s nothing, Irene this. Irene that.”

Residents couldn’t wait to get out on Tuesday. They were directed to a nearby firehouse in Far Rockaway, but that firehouse had been evacuated because it was under 5 feet of water and had no power.

John Frawley, 57, said he made a mistake by staying behind. “I stayed up all night,” he said. “The screams. The fire. It was horrifying.”

Frawley lived about five houses from the fire’s edge and said he spent the night terrified, “not knowing if the fire was going to jump the boulevard and come up to my house.”

In September, the same neighborhood was struck by a tornado that hurled debris in the air, knocked out power and startled residents who once thought of twisters as a Midwestern phenomenon.

The community of 12,000 borders Rockaway Park, where a historic boardwalk had been strewn around the sand, popped up in some spots like an opened can and heaved 30 to 40 feet in others. The beach’s lifeguard shack and restrooms were destroyed. Allison Miller stood on what was left of the buckled boardwalk in tears.

“My home is gone,” she said.

for more  Breezy Point Fire: At Least 80 Flooded Houses Destroyed By NYC Blaze.





Ohio college group leads campaign against ‘racially insensitive’ Halloween costumes


Anyone with plans to dress up as a gangster or belly dancer this Halloween may want to reconsider.

A group at Ohio University is leading a campaign to bring attention to what it calls “racially insensitive” costumes that perpetuate ethnic and racial stereotypes.

“We’re a culture, not a costume,” the group, Students Teaching About Racism in Society, or STARS, says in its annual Halloween poster campaign, now in its second year.

On its website, STARS shows students holding photos of costumes deemed offensive by the group. In one instance, a Muslim student stands next to a picture of a white man wearing a ghutra and iqal over his head with bombs strapped to his chest.

“This is not who I am and this is not okay,” reads the message above the picture.

Other images show an Asian student holding a photo of a geisha and an African-American man positioned next to an image of a gangster. The caption reads: “You wear the costume for one night, I wear the stigma for life.”

A representative from the group was not immediately available for comment Wednesday. In a statement on its website, the group said “The purpose of S.T.A.R.S. is to facilitate discussion about diversity and all isms (sexism, classism, heterosexism, ethnocentrism etc.) with an emphasis on racial issues.

“We aim to raise awareness about social justice, and promote racial harmony. Our job is to create a safe, non-threatening environment to allow participants to feel comfortable to express their feelings,” the group said.

The initiative comes after well-known chain stores came under fire in recent years for selling controversial Halloween costumes — like Target’s adult “illegal alien” jumpsuit.

STARS’ campaign has gained some momentum since it was launched last year. The movement reportedly spread to Florida State University, where many students back the group’s message.

But not everyone is in agreement with the group’s initiative. Some students, like FSU senior Gavin Brenner, claim STARS is suppressing freedom of expression and being overly sensitive.

“These [costumes] are all portrayals which take place in film and television all the time,” Benner told “There will always be people who are being irresponsible and intentionally offensive, but that is the vast minority. When you take into account that everyone has a freedom to expression, then I believe it isn’t anyone’s place to suppress that.”

for more visit Ohio college group leads campaign against ‘racially insensitive’ Halloween costumes | Fox News.

50 MPG Then – and Now | Eric Peters Autos

Getting 50 MPG out of a gallon of gas has gotten a lot more expensive over the past 20-something years.


Back in 1990, it only cost $5,995 – $10,614 in corrected-for-2012 Fed Funny Money. That sum would buy you a new Geo Metro XFi hatchback, a car capable of 53 city, 58 highway (43 city/52 highway using the EPA”s latest “adjusted” standards).

See here, if you don’t believe me.

Today, the only new car that can match that mileage is a Toyota Prius hybrid – the least expensive version of which – the 2013 Prius C – has a sticker price of $18,950 in current Fed Funny Money. So, you’ll pay nearly twice as much to go about as far on a gallon of gas. (Actually, more than that, because it takes about three times the quantity of Fed Funny Money to buy a gallon today vs. back in 1990.)

If Uncle really gave a damn about us – as opposed to increasing his power over us –  don’t you think he’d encourage more cars like the Metro? Wouldn’t they “reduce our dependence on foreign oil”? Wouldn’t they contribute less to “global warming” by dint of converting less gasoline into carbon dioxide?



Ohio Ohio Ohio…. Why is Ohio key to the election?

In this most important of election years it could not be closer. Recent polls have Republican Mitt Romney slightly ahead, but when you break down the polls state by state the election could be either man’s.

Yet again Ohio is thought to be the key, with it’s 18 electoral votes this is the state that could swing the election. Historically, no Republican has ever been elected to the White House without securing Ohio.

Superstorm Sandy: fire rips through Queens destroying at least 50 homes – Telegraph


Fire in Queens

The New York Fire Department said on its Twitter page that more than 50 homes had been “completely destroyed” by the six-alarm blaze.  Over 190 firefighters were at the blaze in the Breezy Point section of Queens. A fire department spokesman said two people had suffered minor injuries.  Fire officials say the blaze was reported around 11pm on Monday in an area flooded by the “superstorm” that began sweeping through earlier.

via Superstorm Sandy: fire rips through Queens destroying at least 50 homes – Telegraph.

Tropical Storm Sandy: Death tolls begin to rise

As Sandy makes her way across the north east there have already been at least 13 deaths caused by the super-storm.  This is expected to rise.

Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey. The storm surge in Manhattan caused by the storm has left lower Manhattan under water. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the surge was higher than even the highest predictions. Much of Manhattan is now without power, subways are flooded and water pours into Battery Tunnel – linking Lower Manhattan to Long Island. There are reports of an explosion in the Con Edison power station on the east side of Manhattan.

In New Jersey, the Oyster Creek nuclear plant has been placed on alert due to the rising water.

Expects warn the super-storm could remain over the country for the next 24-36 hours. Although the super-storm was downgraded from hurricane status after landfall, Meteorologists warn not to downplay the seriousness of the storm, which is still giving hurricane strength winds: this could be the worst storm in US history.

Disaster estimating firm Eqecat has forecast that Sandy could cost the economy between $10bn- $20bn. The New York Stock Exchange will remain closed again today.

NEW TAX ON INVESTMENT INCOME Effective January 1, 2013

Obamacare – a health plan – is adding additional layers of complicated national taxes as of January1, 2013.
It is the very beginning of the european VAT in America.
These income thresholds will go down, and the AMT will go up.

Tax Rate:  3.8%
Applies to:  Individuals with adjusted gross income (AGI) above $200,000.  Couples filing a joint return with more than $250,000 AGI.
Types of Income:  Interest, dividends, rents (less expenses), capital gains (less capital losses)

The new tax applies to the LESSER of
Investment income amount
Excess of AGI over the $200,000 or $250,000 amount

Capital Gain:  Sale of a Principal Residence
John and Mary sold their principal residence and realized a gain of $525,000. They have $325,000 Adjusted Gross Income (before adding taxable gain).
The tax applies as follows:

AGI before taxable gain $325,000
Gain on sale of Residence $525,000
Taxable Gain (added to AGI) $25,000   ($525,000 – $500,000)
New AGI $350,000 ($325,000 + $25,000 taxable gain)
Excess of AGI over $250,000 $100,000 ($350,000 – $250,000)
Lesser amount   (Taxable) $25,000 (Taxable gain)
Tax due $950 ($25,000 x 0.038)

Capital Gain:  Sale of a non-real estate asset
Barry and Michelle inherited capital assets that they have decided to liquidate.  The sale of the assets generates a capital gain of $120,000.  Their AGI before the gain is $140,000.  They will pay the tax as follows:

AGI before capital gain $140,000
Gain on sale of assets $120,000
New AGI $260,000
Excess of AGI over $250,000 $10,000
Lesser amount   (Taxable) $10,000 (Excess over $250,000)
Tax due $380

Capital Gains, Interest and Dividends:  Securities
Harry and Sally have substantial income from their securities investments.  Their AGI before including that income is $190,000.  Their investment income is as follows:

Interest Income (Bonds, CDs) $60,000
Dividend Income $75,000
Capital Gains $10,000
Total Investment Income $145,000
New AGI $335,000 ($190,000 + $145,000)
Excess of AGI over $250,000 $ 85,000 ($335,000 – $250,000)
Lesser amount   (Taxable) $ 85,000 (AGI excess)
Tax Due $ 3,230 ($85,000 x .038)

Rental Income: Income Sources Including Real Estate Investment Income 
Hank has a “day job” from which he earns $85,000 a year.  He owns several small apartment buildings and earns gross rents of $130,000.  He also has expenses related to that income.  Even though his combined gross rents and day job earnings are more than $200,000, he will not be subject to the 3.8% tax.

AGI before rents $85,000
Gross Rents $130,000
Expenses (including depreciation) $110,000
Net Rents $20,000
New AGI $105,000 ($85,000 + net rents)
Excess of AGI over $200,000 $0
Taxable amount $0
Tax due $0

Rental Income:  Rental Income as sole source of Earnings – Real Estate Trade or Business
Henrietta’s sole livelihood is derived from owning and operating commercial buildings.  Her income stream is as follows:

Gross rents $750,000
Expenses (including depreciation) $500,000
Net rents $250,000
AGI (rental income) $250,000
Excess of AGI over $200,000 $50,000
Taxable amount $0

Because Henrietta’s rental income is from a trade or business and therefore not treated as investment income, she is NOT subject to the 3.8% investment income tax. Henrietta WILL be subject to new 0.9 tax on earned income, however, because some portion of the net rents represents her compensation for operating the commercial buildings.

For this example, assume that the net rents are her compensation.  The tax on this earned income would be as follows:

AGI $250,000
Excess of AGI over $200,000 $50,000
Tax due $450 ($50,000 x .009)

10/29/2012 East Coast Possible Storm Surge from Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy

According to the Storm Surge Exceedance Map on the National Hurricane Center’s web site, the area of Boston, MA and vicinity may get the highest water surge from Sandy. According to the map, the waves could exceed 29 feet high in some parts of the area. The possibility of a storm surge may extend from the northern North Carolina up through southern Maine.