FLOWER MINISTRY

January 15, 2017


One of the very best things our church sponsors is the flower ministry.  The Women in the Church (WIC) established this practice close to seventy-five years ago, and it has endured ever since.  In every church or organization of any size there are always individuals with medical needs that require them to remain home-bound, even if temporarily.  We have several members who, due to age, simply cannot make the journey to church.  Many of our members are in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.  They are not forgotten.

Each Sunday, the arrangements around the pulpit are removed after the second service and taken to our fellowship hall.  From there, they are divided and placed into individual vases to later be distributed to those unable to attend.   The ladies do a wonderful job and have developed a very workable procedure.  The book you see below is structured each week indicating name, address and phone number of those receiving the bouquets.  Assignments are then made for individuals volunteering to take the vases to the assigned names.

Tables are arranged with vases and the names of each recipient.  You can see from JPEGs two and three how the process works.

 

 

assignment-directory

This book is prepared during each week and assignments made.

table

 

There are two additional tables not shown here.

table-3

As you can see, each vase has a name on it for delivery.

Without further discussion, I would like to give you some idea as to the flower arrangements provided.  Members of our church provide flowers for each Sunday’s service.  Generally, these flowers are to remember family members and loved-ones who have passed.

Let’s now take a look.  You will notice familiar backdrops in each digital.  The location never changes week after week. Please forgive the quality of these digital pictures.  I have a little over-exposure on some.

2011-08-07_09-48-33_780

2011-12-18_08-28-36_896

yellow-roses

mixed-flowers

roses1

sun-flowers

 

lillies

spring3

This is a very quick post but I hope you enjoy it.  It’s amazing the “good deeds” accomplished by thousands of people over our country—north, south, east and west.  People who really care.

ORDORIFOUS REALITY

January 14, 2017


My company is working on a project involved with capturing methane from the decomposition of organic material in landfill sites.  Research preparatory to accepting the job reviled very interesting facts.  Let’s take a look.

NUMBERS:

The U.S. has 3,091 active landfills and over 10,000 old municipal landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, in the “good old days,” every town (and many businesses and factories) had its own dump.  This is somewhat disturbing since these landfills were unregulated.  Upregulation without standards can create situations where effluent can creep into groundwater possibly polluting wells and other sources of potable water.  That has now changed for the better.  The two digital maps below will indicate location and concentration of approved landfill sites.  You certainly can notice the greatest concentration is from the Mississippi River east where population densities are greatest.  This is certainly to be expected.

landfill-map2

landfill-map

Municipal solid waste (MSW) – more commonly known as trash or garbage – consists of everyday items people use and then throw away, such as product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps and papers. In 2010, individuals in the United States generated about 250 million short tons (230 Mt) of trash.   In the United Stateslandfills are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states’ environmental agencies. Municipal solid waste landfills (MSWLF) are required to be designed to protect the environment from contaminants that may be present in the solid waste stream

Some materials may be banned from disposal in municipal solid waste landfills including common household items such as paints, cleaners/chemicalsmotor oilbatteriespesticides, and electronics. These products, if mishandled, can be dangerous to health and the environment.  Safe management of solid waste through guidance, technical assistance, regulations, permitting, environmental monitoring, compliance evaluation and enforcement is the goal of the EPA and state environmental agencies.

A typical landfill site looks pretty much as follows:

landfill-storage

You are correct—a big, very big mess.

CODES AND REGULATIONS:

Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 258 addresses seven major aspects of MSWLFs, which include the following:

  • Location restrictions—ensure that landfills are built in suitable geological areas away from faults, wetlands, flood plains or other restricted areas.
  • Composite liners requirements—include a flexible membrane (i.e., geo-membrane) overlaying two feet of compacted clay soil lining the bottom and sides of the landfill. They are used to protect groundwater and the underlying soil from leachate releases.
  • Leachate collection and removal systems—sit on top of the composite liner and removes leachate from the landfill for treatment and disposal.
  • Operating practices—include compacting and covering waste frequently with several inches of soil. These practices help reduce odor, control litter, insects, and rodent, and protect public health.
  • Groundwater monitoring requirements—requires testing groundwater wells to determine whether waste materials have escaped from the landfill.
  • Closure and post-closure care requirements—include covering landfills and providing long-term care of closed landfills.
  • Corrective action provisions—control and clean up landfill releases and achieves groundwater protection standards.
  • Financial assurance—provides funding for environmental protection during and after landfill closure (i.e., closure and post-closure care).

TIME LINE FOR METHANE PRODUCTION FROM LANDFILL:

Collection of methane does not occur the first day garbage is dumped into a landfill.  The chart below will indicate the constituents and a typical timeline for production CH (4).

time-line

We are after the methane so as you can see, after two years, approximately, we have roughly twenty percent (20%) of the effluent available for reclama.

Typical characteristics and quantities from decomposition of an established landfill are as follows:

typical-characteristics-and-quantities

HOW WE DO IT:

The JPEG below will indicate a very rough schematic of a landfill site with wells “sunk” to receive mechane and basic piping necessary for the accumulation of mechane.  Well systems consist of a series of vertical LFG extraction wells (perforated or slotted collection pipes) that penetrate to near the bottom of the refuse or to near the depth of saturated waste. Well systems are often recommended for landfills or portions of landfills that exceed 12 m (40 ft.) in depth. The design of a well-system requires an estimate of the rate of LFG production and the radius of influence of the wells. A well- system, either active or passive, is useful for layered landfills where vertical LFG migration is impeded. Because of the variability of landfill refuse, design procedures are difficult to apply to LFG collection systems. Vertical LFG collection wells are typically installed once filling operations have been completed, and are commonly spaced at a frequency of one per acre and are constructed using an auger type drill rig. As a general rule, where LFG collection efficiency is important, it is generally advisable to develop a tighter grid of extraction points with smaller spacings operated at a lower vacuum. It has been found that a vacuum of 10 to 25 inches of water column (in wc) represents a reasonable balance between maximizing zones of influence and minimizing air intrusion into the site. Operating at higher vacuum levels tends to extend the zone of capture beyond the limits of the waste burial and increase the potential for atmospheric air intrusion that could create a landfill fire/explosion hazard. The radius of the capture zone for a vertical extraction well may range from around 50 feet to 200 feet and is strongly dependent on localized landfill conditions. LFG recovery rates from an individual extraction well may range from approximately 10 to 50 cubic feet per minute (cfm).

A depiction of a typical well is shown as follows:

well

Each well must meet EPA standards and have the ability to capture all affluent so contamination of ground water does not occur.  Well extraction piping and well placement patterns may look as follows:

well-extraction-piping

A cross-section of a typical site indicates multiple wells with the landfill area.  The digital below will give you some idea as to schematic piping and flow.

methane-collection

As you can see, after accumulation, the affluent must be cleaned to remove methane.  Constituents possible within the “mix” are as follows:

organic-contaminants

Some of these contaminants are cancer-causing so they must be dealt with prior to collection.

You will notice in our example above; the collected and scrubbed methane is used to fire generators used to produce electricity.  This electricity may be sold back to the grid or used for industry and/or homes.

Examples of LFG Energy Projects:

Projects can vary significantly depending on the size of the landfill, the energy end-user, and other factors. Currently operational projects include:

  • Apex (50 million tons of waste) Las Vegas, NV – CC Landfill Energy LLC is building a plant that will produce 11 megawatts (MW) of electricity for NV Energy, a utility that serves approximately 2.4 million customers.
  • Puente Hills (123 M tons) Whittier, CA – The largest LFG-to-electricity program currently in production, Puente Hills produces 50 megawatts, enough to power roughly 50,000 homes. Additionally, some of Puente Hills’ gas is used to fuel garbage trucks.
  • Rumpke Sanitary (36 M tons) Colerain Township, OH – This landfill site hosts the largest landfill-to-gas facility in the world, recovering approximately 15 million standard cubic feet of LFG per day, which is then distributed by Duke Energy Corporation.
  • Newton County Landfill Partnership (19 M tons) Brook, IN – More than 1.1 million standard cubic feet of gas is captured from Newton County Landfill per day. The energy is used by a nearby factory to make egg cartons.
  • Atlantic Waste (15 M tons) Waverly, VA – This site has in place a 20-mile pipeline to Honeywell’s Hopewell plant. The landfill provides 20 percent of the energy used at the plant.

CONCLUSIONS:

Methane extraction is not only possible but is being accomplished across the United States.  The very short list above indicates those states and cities in which technology is being applied to provide usable energy from old-fashioned garbage.


One of the items on my bucket list has been to attend the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  (I probably need to put a rush on this one because the clock is ticking.)  For 50 years, CES has been the launching pad for innovation and new technology.  Much of this technology has changed the world. Held in Las Vegas every year, it is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies and where next-generation innovations are introduced to the commercial marketplace.   The International Consumer Electronics Show (International CES) showcases more than 3,800 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems and more; a conference program with more than three hundred (300) conference sessions and more than one-hundred and sixty-five thousand attendees from one hundred1 (50) countries.  Because it is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ — formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® — the technology trade association representing the $287 billion U.S. consumer technology industry, and it attracts the world’s business leaders and pioneering thinkers to a forum where the industry’s most relevant issues are addressed.  The range of products is immense as seen from the listing of product categories below.

PRODUCT CATEGORIES:

  • 3D Printing
  • Accessories
  • Augmented Reality
  • Audio
  • Communications Infrastructure
  • Computer Hardware/Software/Services
  • Content Creation & Distribution
  • Digital/Online Media
  • Digital Imaging/Photography
  • Drones
  • Electronic Gaming
  • Fitness and Sports
  • Health and Biotech
  • Internet Services
  • Personal Privacy & Cyber Security
  • Robotics
  • Sensors
  • Smart Home
  • Startups
  • Vehicle Technology
  • Video
  • Wearables
  • Wireless Devices & Services

If we look at world-changing revolution and evolution coming from CES over the years, we may see the following advances in technology, most of which now commercialized:

  • Videocassette Recorder (VCR), 1970
  • Laserdisc Player, 1974
  • Camcorder and Compact Disc Player, 1981
  • Digital Audio Technology, 1990
  • Compact Disc – Interactive, 1991
  • Digital Satellite System (DSS), 1994
  • Digital Versatile Disk (DVD), 1996
  • High Definition Television (HDTV), 1998
  • Hard-disc VCR (PVR), 1999
  • Satellite Radio, 2000
  • Microsoft Xbox and Plasma TV, 2001
  • Home Media Server, 2002
  • Blu-Ray DVD and HDTV PVR, 2003
  • HD Radio, 2004
  • IP TV, 2005
  • Convergence of content and technology, 2007
  • OLED TV, 2008
  • 3D HDTV, 2009
  • Tablets, Netbooks and Android Devices, 2010
  • Connected TV, Smart Appliances, Android Honeycomb, Ford’s Electric Focus, Motorola Atrix, Microsoft Avatar Kinect, 2011
  • Ultrabooks, 3D OLED, Android 4.0 Tablets, 2012
  • Ultra HDTV, Flexible OLED, Driverless Car Technology, 2013
  • 3D Printers, Sensor Technology, Curved UHD, Wearable Technologies, 2014
  • 4K UHD, Virtual Reality, Unmanned Systems, 2015

Why don’t we do this, let’s now take a very brief look at several exhibits to get a feel for the products.  Here we go.

Augmented Reality (AR):

Through specially designed hardware and software full of cameras, sensors, algorithms and more, your perception of reality can be instantly altered in context with your environment. Applications include sports scores showing on TV during a match, the path of trajectory overlaying an image, gaming, construction plans and more.  VR (virtual reality) equipment is becoming extremely popular, not only with consumers, but with the Department of Defense, Department of Motor Vehicles, and companies venturing out to technology for training purposes.

augmented-reality

Cyber Security:

The Cyber & Personal Security Marketplace will feature innovations ranging from smart wallets and safe payment apps to secure messaging and private Internet access.  If you have never been hacked, you are one in a million.  I really don’t think there are many people who have remained unaffected by digital fraud.  One entire section of the CES is devoted to cyber security.

cyber-security

E-Commerce:

Enterprise solutions are integral for business. From analytics, consulting, integration and cyber security to e-commerce and mobile payment, the options are ever-evolving.  As you well know, each year the number of online shoppers increases and will eventually outpace the number of shoppers visiting “brick-and-motor stores.  Some feel this may see the demise of shopping centers altogether.

e-commerce

Self-Driving Autonomous Automobiles:

Some say if you are five years old or under you may never need a driver’s license.  I personally think this is a little far-fetched but who knows.  Self-driving automobiles are featured prominently at the CES.

self-driving-automobiles

Virtual Reality (VR):

Whether it will be the launch of the next wave of immersive multimedia for virtual reality systems and environments or gaming hardware, software and accessories designed for mobile, PCs or consoles, these exhibitors are sure to energize, empower and excite at CES 2017.

vr

i-Products:

From electronic plug-ins to fashionable cases, speakers, headphones and exciting new games and applications, the product Marketplace will feature the latest third-party accessories and software for your Apple iPod®, iPhone® and iPad® devices.

i-products

3-D Printing:

Most 3D printers are used for building prototypes for the medical, aerospace, engineering and automotive industries. But with the advancement of the digital technology supporting it, these machines are moving toward more compact units with affordable price points for today’s consumer.

30-d-printing

Robotic Systems:

The Robotics Marketplace will showcase intelligent, autonomous machines that are changing the way we live at work, at school, at the doctor’s office and at home.

robotics

Healthcare and Wellness:

Digital health continues to grow at an astonishing pace, with innovative solutions for diagnosing, monitoring and treating illnesses, to advancements in health care delivery and smarter lifestyles.

health-and-wellness

Sports Technology:

In a world where an athlete’s success hinges on milliseconds or millimeters, high-performance improvement and feedback are critical.

sports-technology

CONCLUSIONS:

I think it’s amazing and to our credit as a country that CES exists and presents, on an annual basis, designs and visions from the best and brightest.  A great show-place for ideas the world over from established companies and companies who wish to make their mark on technology.  Can’t wait to go—maybe next year.  As always, I welcome your comments.

FARADAY FUTURE FFZERO1

January 5, 2017


I certainly had no idea engineers and automobile manufacturers have been working on autonomous or driverless automobiles for years. Experiments have been conducted on automating automobiles since the 1920.  Very promising trials took place in the 1950s and work has proceeded since then. The first self-sufficient and truly autonomous cars appeared in the 1980s, with Carnegie Mellon University‘s Navlab and ALV  projects in 1984 and Mercedes-Benz and Bundeswehr University Munich‘s Eureka Prometheus Projects in 1987. Since then, numerous major companies and research organizations have developed working prototype autonomous vehicles including Mercedes-BenzGeneral MotorsContinental Automotive Systems,  Autoliv Inc., Bosch, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Volvo, Vislab from the University of Parma, Oxford University, and Google.  In July 2013, Vislab demonstrated the BRAiVE, a vehicle that moved autonomously on a mixed traffic route open to public traffic.  

As of 2013, four U.S. states have passed laws permitting autonomous cars: NevadaFloridaCalifornia, and Michigan.  With the intensity involved, I’m quite sure there will be others to follow.   In Europe, cities in Belgium, France, Italy and the UK are planning to operate transport systems for driverless cars, and Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain have allowed testing robotic cars in traffic.

There is absolutely no way progress could be accomplished without technologies such as GPS, proximity sensors, visual cameras and of course the software necessary to drive each system and integrate each system so success may result.  These technologies will continue to improve over the next few years.  I heard a comment yesterday that indicated if your son or daughter is under ten years old, he or she may never have the need for a driver’s license.  Time will tell.

CLASSIFICATIONS OF DRIVERLESS VEHICLES:

The American Society of Automotive Engineers has developed five stages or classifications of autonomous automobiles.  These stages are as follows:

sae-classifications

FARADAY FUTURE FFZERO1:  THE CAR

I would like to introduce to you now the FARADAY FUTURE FFZERO1.   Future’s 1,000-horsepower concept car should make Tesla very, very nervous.  The media announcement was made just this week and is as follows:

LAS VEGAS — With a thumping bass soundtrack in a lengthy airplane hangar-like building in Vegas, Faraday Future unveiled their new FF 91 electric “super car” on 4 January 2017.

The automaker was criticized at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for showing off their FFZERO1 concept car, which turned out to be more style than substance. This year’s unveiling of the FF 91 was different, in that they attempted to show off a real vehicle that consumers will be able to order soon.

Filled with more hyperbole and superlatives than a car show and tech conference combined, Faraday Future promises the fastest acceleration for a production automobile at 0-60mph in 2.39s with a whopping 1050hp. They also laid claim to the most advanced battery technology in the industry, and boldly claimed they would disrupt all aspects of the car industry.

Faraday Future even dared to put themselves on a roadmap of “historical steps in technology,” equating their electric vehicle to the creation of the electric motor by Michael Faraday, alternating current by Nikola Tesla and even the internet by Tim Berners-Lee.  Digital pictures that follow will indicate the overall design of the vehicle. The first JPEG shows the initial rollout and introduction at the CES 2017 this week.

unveiling-and-media-announcement

faraday-concept

faraday-2

faraday-1

DESCRIPTION:

First off, although it’s a concept high-performance one-seater, it rides on FF’s new Variable Platform Architecture (VPA) on which it will base all its future cars. Essentially, it’s a skateboard-style chassis with that allows FF to easily scale up or down the platform for different vehicle types.  Moreover, with this layout, FF can have one, two or three motor setups, making for front-, rear- or all-wheel drive. And, from a safety standpoint, the structure also makes for larger crumple zones. While the variable chassis is all well and good, you won’t spend any time interacting with it, really. You will, however, spend lots of time in the FF cabin. Thankfully, that’s been as well thought out as the platform.

Inside the FFZERO1, just like future FF production cars, the steering column has been fitted with a smartphone. This allows it to become the focal point for the interface between the driver and the car — from sitting behind the wheel or from inside the owner’s home. When commanded by that smartphone, the autonomous FFZERO1 (oh, yeah, it can drive itself, too) can come retrieve the driver.     More of that as we move along.

The driver sits at a perfect 45-degree angle that is most beneficial to circulation in a seat derived from NASA designs. There, the driver can easily view the propeller-shaped, asymmetric instrument panel. Moreover, in this electric race car, the driver wears an unique Halo Safety System with integrated head and neck support, oxygen and water supply — combined into a prototype helmet.

Rethinking where passengers are placed in a vehicle, since all the power components are beneath the driver rather than in front, Faraday Future designers pushed the driver near the front and shaped around the single seat a “perfectly aerodynamic teardrop profile.” This is accented by FF’s soon-to-be signature ‘UFO line’ that runs around the center of the vehicle. This mystical line and is, as FF put it, “intended to give the sense that this vehicle is not completely of this world.”

Combining form and function, FF has created aero tunnels that run through the interior length of the vehicle. These allow air to flow through the car rather than around it. More than accentuating the alien look of the thing, the tunnels also dramatically reduce drag and improve battery cooling. This does away for any need of bulky, space-stealing radiator.  This is truly an innovative design and one that surely will be copied by other manufactures.

Amazingly, all of this was pulled together in just 18 months when the team of multidisciplinary experts from the technology, automotive, aerospace and digital content came together to create a new line of electric cars. Apparently working nights and weekends, FF was able to take the all-digital FFZERO1 and turn it into the concept model you see today.

The FFZERO1 unveiling comes after news of FF’s plans to invest $1 billion, reportedly backed by the Chinese, in the creation of a 3 million-square-foot manufacturing facility in North Las Vegas. FF plans to break ground on this phase one investment in the next few weeks, ultimately employing 4,500 people.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re already wondering how such a team and design happened to come together so quickly and create something that seems not only promising but also industry-changing. Is Faraday Future the cover for the long-rumored Apple Car set to debut in 2019? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

SELF-DRIVING:

A very impressive demonstration was the self-parking capability of the vehicle itself.

self-parking

The company demonstrated a self-parking capability in the lot outside, showing the car searching the aisles for an empty space and then backing in to it.

COSTS AND AVAILABILITY:

Faraday plans to release the FF91 in 2018. To pre-order, hopefuls will need to provide a refundable $5,000 (£4,080) deposit.  Prospective buyers were told they would be able to connect to the forthcoming car via a virtual “FFID” account.

“For the car to have a 130-kWh battery pack, it would be very heavy, and very expensive – extremely expensive to have a battery that size.”  On stage, Faraday executive Peter Savagian explained that the FF19 would be chargeable from various electrical standards. He added its range would extend to 482 miles (775km) when driven at 55mph. Many analysts expect interest in electric vehicles to continue to rise in coming years. “We estimate around one in 10 vehicles will be electric or hybrid by 2020, at around 8 million vehicles,” said Simon Bryant at analysts Futuresource.  I personally feel this is very optimistic but time will certainly tell.  I do not plan on owning a driverless vehicle in my lifetime but who knows.

As always, I welcome your comments.

DODD-FRANK

December 26, 2016


WARNING—This might be a little, if not a lot, boring to some of you maybe most of you.

O.K., with that said, what is the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act? I hear many people indicate the restrictions placed on banks, both national and regional remain THE reason for significantly tight credit since its passage in 2010.   Let’s take a look at the Act, the basics and how bankers feel it is crimping their style.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a massive piece of financial reform legislation passed by the Obama administration in 2010 as a response to the financial crisis of 2008.  There were early signs of distress relative to the impending crisis: by 2004, U.S. homeownership had peaked at seventy percent (70%); no one was interested in buying or eating more candy. Then, during the last quarter of 2005, home prices started to fall, which led to a forty percent 940%) decline in the U.S. Home Construction Index during 2006. Not only were new homes being affected, but many subprime borrowers now could not withstand the higher interest rates and they started defaulting on their loans.  This caused 2007 to start with bad news from multiple sources. Every month, one subprime lender or another was filing for bankruptcy. During February and March 2007, more than twenty-five (25) subprime lenders filed for bankruptcy, which was enough to start the tide. In April, well-known New Century Financial also filed for bankruptcy.   According to 2007 news reports, financial firms and hedge funds owned more than one trillion ($1 T) in securities backed by these now-failing subprime mortgages – enough to start a global financial tsunami if more subprime borrowers started defaulting. By June, Bear Stearns stopped redemptions in two of its hedge funds and Merrill Lynch seized $800 million in assets from two Bear Stearns hedge funds. But even this large move was only a small affair in comparison to what was to happen in the months ahead.

1.) In simple terms, Dodd-Frank is a law that places major regulations on the financial industry. It grew out of the Great Recession with the intention of preventing another collapse of a major financial institution like Lehman Brothers.

2.) One of the main goals of the Dodd-Frank act is to have banks subjected to a number of regulations along with the possibility of being broken up if any of them are determined to be “too big to fail.”

3.)  To accomplish the goal stated in item number two above, the act created the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). It looks out for risks that affect the entire financial industry. The Council is chaired by the Treasury Secretary, and has nine members including the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPA. It also oversees non-bank financial firms like hedge funds. If any of the banks gets too big in the council’s determination, they could be regulated by the Federal Reserve, which can ask a bank to increase its reserve requirement—the money it has ‘saved up’ and is not using for lending or business costs.

4.) Under Dodd-Frank, banks are also required to have plans for a quick and orderly shutdown in the event that the bank becomes insolvent—or runs out of money.

5.)  The Volcker Rule is part of Dodd-Frank and prohibits banks from owning, investing, or sponsoring hedge funds, private equity funds, or any proprietary trading operations for their own profit.  The Volcker Rule does allow some trading when it’s necessary for the bank to run its business. For example, banks can engage in currency trading to offset their own holdings in a foreign currency.

There are many financial types that see real issues with Dodd-Frank.  These are as follows:

  • Codifies Too-Big-to-Fail. Rather than eliminating the market’s expectation that certain big financial firms are too big to fail, Dodd-Frank creates an explicit set of too-big-to-fail entities—those selected by the Financial Stability Oversight Council for special regulation by the Fed.
  • Threatens Small Businesses.Dodd-Frank’s complex web of regulations favors large financial firms that can afford the lawyers to analyze them. New requirements will be disproportionately costly for small banks and small credit rating agencies. Dodd-Frank’s complex derivatives rules will further concentrate an already concentrated industry. (I can attest to this fact.  My company has been trying to obtain financing for a local CNG project for over two years.  Just now getting that financing in place.  We are not asking for millions of dollars but even that has come under intense scrutiny.)
  • Hurts Retail Investors.Dodd-Frank gives the Securities and Exchange Commission a new set of responsibilities that distracts it from its core mission. New rules impose costs on nonfinancial companies that will be passed on to investors and consumers. Commission resources will be diverted to protecting the wealthiest investors.
  • Consumer “Protections” Harm Consumers. The consumer financial products regulator established by Dodd-Frank, rather than helping consumers, threatens to raise the prices consumers pay and limit the products, services, and providers available to help them achieve their financial objectives. Various rules, such as price controls on banks’ debit charge fees to merchants, are likely to increase bank fees for consumers and drive low-income customers away from basic banking services.
  • Sows the Seeds for the Next Financial Crisis. Dodd-Frank forces complex derivatives into clearinghouses. These entities will be large, difficult to manage safely, and very deeply connected with the rest of the financial markets. If one of these clearinghouses runs into trouble, the economic ramifications could be massive, which means the government will be tempted to engineer a bailout.
  • Creates New Unaccountable Bureaucracies. Dodd-Frank establishes several new bureaucracies, including consumer protection, data management, and stability oversight agencies that operate with limited transparency and little accountability to the American people.
  • More Power for Failed Regulators. Despite their past regulatory failures, Dodd-Frank gives the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Fed broad new regulatory powers.
  • Unchecked Government Power to Seize Firms. Dodd-Frank allows the government to sidestep bankruptcy and instead seize and liquidate companies. Vague criteria define which companies may be seized, and there is limited judicial oversight of the whole process. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation might use the process to prop up failing firms and to favor particular creditors.
  • Interferes with Basic Market Functions. The Volcker Rule, which prohibits banks from engaging in proprietary trading and limits their investments in hedge funds and other private funds, is proving to be difficult to implement. It will be more difficult to comply with and will interfere with the functioning of the market.
  • Replaces Market Monitoring with Regulatory Monitoring. Dodd-Frank relies on the hope that regulators that failed before and during the last crisis will be able to spot problems in the future. For example, Dodd-Frank gives broad new systemic risk oversight responsibilities to the Fed and the Financial Stability Oversight Council. It also raises the deposit insurance cap to $250,000, which will discourage large depositors from monitoring banks and correspondingly increase the likelihood of regulatory intervention.

If you aren’t asleep by now I can’t help you.  This is the long and short of the Dodd-Frank Act.  I would say reform was needed to reign in banks and financial firms that had grossly overstepped their mandates.  GREED was their goal.  They achieved that goal for a short period of time with consequences that have shaken our country and global finance.  Please not that now one banker, insurance company, hedge fund manager or other individual was charged with criminal activity.  Heavy fines were assigned but no one is now doing time for their misdeeds.

 


Our youngest grandson is twelve (12) years old and happens to be an avid Falcons fan.  As you probably know, the Falcons have their home in Atlanta, Georgia.  Actually, he is a rabid fan!  He has a Falcons “T” shirt, sweat shirt, ballcap, socks, underwear, rain jacket, wind-breaker etc.  Our grandson bleeds red and black.  You get the picture.  For his birthday, last week, we purchased tickets to the next-to-last Falcons game.  They played the San Francisco 49s and won in a handy fashion.  The 2016 season will be the last year for the Georgia Dome and the Falcons home field. Next year, the fans will watch the team in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Let’s find several facts about the “Dome” and look at the complex.

In 1992, the Georgia Dome was completed at a cost of $214 million (US),  The funding came from the Georgia General Assembly, making it one of the largest state-funded construction projects in state history.  It seats 74,228 for football, and can hold approximately: 80,000 for concerts, 71,000 for basketball when the dome is fully open and 40,000 for basketball and gymnastics when the dome is sectioned off (one half closed off by a large curtain). For most Georgia State football games, the dome is configured with 28,155 seats, with tickets for the bulk of the lower level and the club-level seats on sale. The record for overall attendance at the Georgia Dome is 80,892,  This occurred during the 2008 SEC Championship Game in football.

The structure is located on 9.19 acres (3.72 ha) of land.  It has a height of 270.67 feet (82.50 m), a structure length of 745.75 feet (227.30 m), a structure width of 606.96 feet (185.00 m), and a total floor area of 102,149.51 square feet (9,490.000 m2). The dome is the largest cable-supported dome in the world. Its roof is made of Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric and has an area of 374,584.08 square feet (34,800.000 m2). From its completion until the December 31, 1999 opening of the 20-acre (8.1 ha) Millennium Dome in London, it was the largest hooked domed structure of any type in the world.

In 2006, the Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority announced a $300 million renovation to the Georgia Dome. The project was separated into two stages. The first stage, which took place before the 2007 NFL season, focused on updating the premium seating areas, including the creation of eight ‘super-suites’ as well as an owners’ club.  In 2008, the exterior of the stadium was repainted, replacing the original teal and maroon color scheme with a red, black and silver theme to match the Falcons’ team colors; the stadium’s original teal seats were replaced with red seats in the 100 and 300 levels and black seats in the Verizon Wireless Club Level (200 Level). The entrance gates and concourses were also renovated and updated before the 2008 football season.  In 2009, the video screens in both end zones were relocated to a new exterior monument sign on Northside Drive. The interior end zones each received a new and considerably wider High Definition video screen that significantly enhances views of replays, as well as graphics and digital presentations. A new sound system was installed in the same year, replacing the previous system that was nearly 20 years old.

The external structure may be see below.

ga-dome

The dome is adjacent to the Olympic Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta.  Very close to the Park is the CNN Center and the Georgia Convention Center.  As you might expect, this area is always hopping with things to do, great restaurants and other mesmerizing activities.

centenneal-park

Falcons field may be seen from the JPEGs below.  As you can see the internal structure is absolutely huge—huge with no internal supporting members to restrict vision.

falcon-stadium1

falcon-stadium2

One thing you must love about NFL football is the enthusiasm on display from the fans.  One of which may be seen below.  The foursome sitting in front of us would always turn and give us high-fives when the Falcons scored.  The final score was 41 to 17—Falcons.  We were high-fiving most of the night.

fantastic

NEW HOME FOR THE “BIRDS”

Next year the Falcons will move to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium leaving the dome behind.  The existing structure will be torn down to provide much-needed parking in the area.  The Benz stadium will be cutting-edge with all the amities you might expect.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is an under-construction retractable-roof, multi-purpose stadium in AtlantaGeorgia, that will serve as the home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS). It is intended to replace the Georgia Dome, which has been the Falcons’ home stadium since 1992. The total cost is estimated at $1.4 billion.  Mercedes-Benz Stadium is scheduled to host Super Bowl LIII in 2019.

In December 2014, the Georgia World Congress Center’s board of governors approved a resolution to raise the cost of the stadium to $1.2 billion. The stadium was initially slated to cost $1 billion, then rose to $1.2 billion in October 2013.

The city has agreed to contribute $200 million in stadium bonds, but with additional tax revenues[42] and with the state of Georgia contributing $40 million for parking expansion, public spending is expected to reach near $600 million.

In January 2015, the Falcons announced the sale of personal seat licenses (PSL) costing up to $45,000 per seat, depending on the section of the stadium. The most expensive tickets will be priced at $385 per game, in addition to one-time PSL fees, for the first three years.

On August 21, 2015, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Mercedes-Benz would acquire the naming rights for the stadium, and this was later confirmed by a press conference at the stadium site on August 24. Under the stadium deal with the city of Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, the Falcons organization controls the stadium’s naming rights and receives all related revenue. Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon stated that the sponsorship would last 27 years, calling it the largest marketing deal in Mercedes-Benz’ history, but Cannon would not disclose the full value of the deal.

As artist rendition, may be seen below.   A real departure from the existing structure.

mercedes-benz-stadium

We had a great time and I certainly hope you find the time in the very near future to visit “HOT-Lanta” and the Centennial Park area.

DRAIN THE SWAMP

December 13, 2016


Sometimes the only way you know where you are is to look back and see where you have been.  My grandfather use to say this to me when I was a kid.   Heard it a thousand times.  It was his way of saying that frequent reflection is “good for the soul” and reminds us we are going to have good days and bad days, at least on this earth.  Countries are like individuals in that respect—not really that different at all.  We still live in a great country, full of promise.  For the most part, a kid born today can be just about anything he wants to be as long as he has a dream AND the work ethic to put that dream into motion.  This fact has been demonstrated time and time again and with a diverse cross-section of our population.  Woody Allen was pretty much correct when he said that 95 percent of success was just showing up.  A dude names Thomas A. Edison indicated that 90 percent of his success was due to perspiration and 10 percent to inspiration.  A fairly smart guy named Einstein said the world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything.  Years ago, when I played high school football, I had a coach named E.B. (Red) Etter.  Coach Etter had two great sayings, “You boys had better show me something and damn it, if you make a mistake, make it at full speed.”  “The next one seen loafing will do laps to Pittsburg and back.”  Coach Etter did have a way with words.   One more and I will get to the point; “I don’t get to blow the whistle, I don’t get to ring the bell, but just let the train jump the track and see who catches hell.”  Some of us, are quick to place blame, throw someone under the bus, cry foul, put on that “poor me” attitude.  Ever listen to talk radio?  We do have problems and it has become evident, forgive me—more than evident, that the American people are going to have to help themselves.  We are going to have to work around our Federal government if we get any problems solved.  We start by getting “liquid”.  Eliminate debt, become much more independent and much less dependent upon Federal services.  Employ our full resourcefulness.  Engage.

The significant inactivity we see today from our “Executive” and “Legislative Branches” of government results from nothing more than fear.  Fear of taking a stand.  Fear of performing.  Fear of engaging.  Ever hear these before?

  • If I do something to make the train jump the track, I might not get reelected.  Then what would I do?  Better not even try.  Stalling is the best policy.  Let’s consider action AFTER the mid-term elections.
  • I definitely don’t want to offend the unions.  OK, so what if our kids can’t read.  How is that my problem?  I send my children to private schools.  After all, I am a member of Congress.
  • If I protect our borders I will lose 12 million votes.
  • There is more ( and better ) officiating in an NFL game on Sunday than we get from the SEC relative to oversight of the stock market.  Then again, porn sites are much more interesting than working a “day job”.
  • Tort reform!—Do you know how much money those guys contribute to our PAC?
  • We know that “Freddie” and “Fanny” are in terrible shape but a “re-org” right now would be too disruptive.  Besides, fixing them would mean admitting they need fixing and we have been saying all along that they were in “fine working order”.
  • We can fight two wars.  We just have to make sure we send our best and brightest back—again and again and again.  PTST doesn’t last forever—does it?  After all, those prosthetic devices seem to work well enough.

You get the picture.

Ever wonder when these guys work?  Is “The View” more important than sitting at your desk in the Oval Office, with your sleeves rolled up and your tie loosened?  Head down, plowing through.   We have viable information that most of Congress did NOT read the new health care bill.  We have viable information that the most of Congress did NOT read the 2500 page “jobs bill”.  We have viable information that the Attorney General did NOT read the bill passed by the Arizona Legislature BEFORE the Federal suit was levied.  I don’t think in my lifetime (and I’m 74) I have seen a president that travels more than Mr. Obama.  It seems as though he relishes the spotlight and finds great pleasure in conveying absolute minutia to just about anyone who will listen.  When you think about it, what great revelations come from Washington anyway?  I’m not talking about news; I’m talking about “stuff” you can use.  Information that, once known, changes your life; makes every day living easier; reduces stress; promotes a minimal feeling that things will eventually be OK; addresses a growing unemployment; addresses the feeling that there may be a  double-dip recession and does something about it.  Where are the “guys and dolls” we elected?  Well, they are feeding at the public well.  We are truly on our on so, let us act that way.  Develop a resourcefulness that is indicative of our American heritage.  Can do spirit.  The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer.  We know that if we don’t they won’t.  Let’s learn from history.

I wrote the above post three years ago.  Since that time—we have a new sheriff in town, Donald John Trump. His message— “Make America Great Again”.   Drain the swamp.  I have absolutely no argument with this but can he do it?  According to the web site POLTIFACT, “the Donald” has promised to do the following during his first four-year term as president:

  • ‘Build a wall’ — and make Mexico pay for it
  •  Temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States
  • ‘Bring manufacturing (jobs) back’
  • Impose tariffs on goods made in China and Mexico
  • Renegotiate or withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • ‘Full repeal of Obamacare’ and replace it with a market-based alternative
  •  Renegotiate the Iran deal
  • Leave Social Security as is
  • Cut taxes
  • ‘Bomb’ and/or ‘take the oil’ from ISIS

I am assuming he will accomplish these things using executive orders where necessary and obtaining Congressional approval when available.  When I was a kid it was always easier climbing up a tree than coming down.  Governing is complicated even when you have a majority in both houses of Congress.  The time it takes to make corrections may take as long as creating the problems in the first place even without objections from the rank and file Senators, Congressmen and Women.  I can NOT imagine what might take the place of the Affordable Heath Care Law or how long it will take to implement corrections allowing a better and more workable system.  At an average of 1,100 words per page, the 10,535 pages of Obamacare regulations consist of approximately 11,588,500 words. By contrast, as officially published by the Government Printing Office, PPACA is 906 pages long and HCERA is 55 pages long.  It would take me four years to read it.

Our tax code–takes 73,954 pages to define and explain.  Light reading for a rainy Saturday afternoon.  Nothing that long can be completely understood by any individual. You see the problem.

I personally would be satisfied if he accomplished reinvigorating manufacturing, once again creating jobs, reducing our individual and corporate tax burdens and removing regulations that unnecessarily restrict commerce.  Then again, that’s just me.  I suppose we “hide and watch”.  TO BE CONTINUED!

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