“Stocks plunged Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down 679 points — more than 7 percent — to its lowest level in five years.

The following is an excerpt from an Associated Press Article written by Tim Paradis and posted on Yahoo today: (see original here)

“Stocks plunged Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down 679 points — more than 7 percent — to its lowest level in five years. Stocks took a nosedive after a major credit-rating agency said it might cut its rating on General Motors and Ford, further rattling investors already fretting over the impact of tight credit on the economy.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index also fell more than 7 percent.

The declines came on the one-year anniversary of the closing highs of the Dow and the S&P. The Dow has lost 5,585 points, or 39.4 percent, since closing at 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007. It’s the worst run for the Dow since the nearly two-year bear market that ended in December 1974 when the Dow lost 45 percent. The S&P 500, meanwhile, is off 655 points, or 41.9 percent, since recording its high of 1,565.15.

U.S. stock market paper losses totaled $872 billion Thursday and the value of shares over all has tumbled a stunning $8.33 trillion since last year’s high. That’s based on figures measured by the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 Composite Index, which tracks 5,000 U.S.-based companies’ stocks and represents almost all stocks traded in America.

Thursday’s sell-off came as Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services put General Motors Corp. and its finance affiliate GMAC LLC under review to see if its rating should be cut. The action means there is a 50 percent chance that S&P will lower GM’s and GMAC’s ratings in the next three months. GM has been struggling with weak car sales in North America.

S&P also put Ford Motor Co. on credit watch negative. The ratings agency said that GM and Ford have adequate liquidity now, but that could change in 2009.

GM, one of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow industrials, fell $2.15, or 31 percent, to $4.76, while Ford fell 58 cents, or 22 percent, to $2.08.

“The story is getting to be like that movie ‘Groundhog Day,'” said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. He pointed to the still-frozen credit markets, and Libor, the bank-to-bank lending rate that remains stubbornly high despite interest rate cuts this week by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks.

“Until that starts coming down, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone getting excited about stocks,” Hogan said. “Everything we’re seeing is historic. The problem is historic, the solutions are historic, and unfortunately, the sell-off is historic. It’s not the kind of history you want to be making.”

The Dow ended the day at its lows, finishing down 678.91, or 7.3 percent, at 8,579.19. The blue chips hadn’t closed below the 9,000 level since the June 30, 2003.

The Dow’s tumble in the last seven sessions is its steepest ever in terms of points and the worst percentage decline since a downturn ending Oct. 26, 1987, when the Dow lost 23.8 percent. That sell-off included Black Monday, the Oct. 19, 1987 market crash that saw the Dow fall nearly 23 percent in a single day.

Broader stock indicators also tumbled Thursday. The S&P 500 fell 75.02, or 7.6 percent, to 909.92, while the Nasdaq composite index fell 95.21, or 5.5 percent, to 1,645.12.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 47.37, or 8.7 percent, to 499.20.

My brother is in an Auto Insurance Commercial for 2 seconds…and they payed him over $3000 for it, God bless Unionized labor. :)

So, as some of you may know, my brother recently moved to the Los Angeles, California area.  Some of you may also know that my brother is an avid fan and player of “soccer” (football), by pressing play below you can see a local insurance ad that he and his teammates were asked to “stand in for.” (he is the dude in orange flipping the coin and the only guy form his team to actually be in the ad. (he was a very lucky man for this, as you will see.))

The crazy part is not that my bro was asked to be in a local commercial in L.A., but rather that the piece of paper he signed in compliance with California’s unionized laborforce of Actors ended up entitling him to over $3000.00 in “suprise” checks in his mailbox for his unexpected “role” as a “principle” for 2 seconds in the resulting local auto insurance company ad.  Amazing. (the ad IS slated to air over 2000 times on cable in California/WestCoast markets, but still seems like a nice chunk of change for 2 hours “work” 🙂 to me!)

While this is clearly an example of some rather unlikely “right place at the right time” luck and seemingly outrageous pay for 2 hours of “work”  :), I also see this as just one small example of how a nationwide/trade-wide return to the American tradition of Unionized Labor membership may soon help all working Americans regain fair value for their labors and hopefully a “LIVING WAGE” for anyone willing to work 40+ hours every week.  The point I want you all to see is that what happened to my brother here would never have been possible were it not for the long history of hard work, stubborn willpower, and years of sacrifice and organizing of thousands of people for many years.  People who had the courage, the optimism and the self-respect to fight for their own financial rights in the face of overwhelming structural/legal forces that have long been fostered to boost corporate profits at the expense of worker wage/living incomes.

The “Union-made” rule/regulation by which the corporation/production company/insurance company had to play by in California in this case is what allowed for my brother, the “worker” to be paid so handsomely for his “work.”

“sex without condoms,” “the new engagement,” idea spreads among US teens…God help us survive this ignorance and return our children’s intellects and souls. :(UNPROTECTED SEX KILLS; U.S. YOUNG PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW AND ACT ACCORDINGLY!!)

WTH? Sex without Condoms is the new Engagement?? (click here to read original post at brownsugarpages.wordpress.com, will open in new window)

(Originally published by brownsugarpages.wordpress.com on July 25, 2008

So I was listening to the Freak Show on Wild 98.7 and I heard this soundbite from NPR’s Pendarvis Harshaw. . If you can’t hear the sound then here’s the basic summary of what was said:

the transition from condoms to no-condoms signifies a lasting commitment — more so even than walking down the aisle.

*DISCLAIMER*
THe ONLY safe sex is NO sex!! 

NEWSFLASH! in an “AIDS World,” UNSAFE SEX IS NEVER EVER EVER AN OPTION!  IT will KILL YOU!!! WAKE UP!!!!!

Please tell me this is a joke right?? This dude has the nerve to say; “Sex without protection is better than spending money on an expensive ring for a marriage that won’t last”! How stupid is that!? the risk you face of having unprotected sex with far greater then the cost of an engagement ring. Having a kid without the bonds of marriage is way more expensive than an engagement ring (child support for 18-22 years) getting an STD from someone who you “trust” is way more expensive in my opinion! Have we not learned anything about AIDS?? Just because you’re in a committed relationship does not mean you should have unprotected sex! How many times have we all heard of women (and men) that end up eith STD’s even though they were only active with one partner. This mess happens every day folks, it’s not a game and with the staggering rates they give about AIDS in the black community we need to stop playing! Stop using money as an excuse to substitute marriage with sex. If you can’t afford to marry then you can’t afford to have unprotected sex!

Maybe I’m just really old fashioned but there is no way in Satan’s home you should ever equate sex without a condom with marriage/engagement. Why? because we already have people (young girls in particular) equating love with sex, songs that switch the unedited “F***” to “love” on the radio versions making the terms dang near interchangeable when they are not. Sex does not equal love and unprotected sex does not equal commitment! This does not mean that the two of you will go marching down the isle. It means you need to drive down to the clinic!
Although I critized “Black in America” the woman with AIDS made a good point. She wasn’t loose, or fast or any of these things we associate with people who have STD’s. She’d been with this dude for a while and thought that when he wanted to have sex without a condom that he really was committing to her. She was actually ‘proud” but guess what. She got AIDS! This is why we have so many people with STD’s and the like. Everytime you have unprotected sex you put yourself at risk, I don’t care how much you love that person. AIDS will kill you, STD’s will kill your sexual health and babies will kill your social life.
Marriage is marriage and engagement is engagement. but unprotected sex is not either of those.
If the person you’re with (male or female) is not commited enough to give/wear the ring DO NOT have sex with them without a condom, and get tested often. Even if you are married get tested! Often!

Stephen Colbert on “psycho-pharma-parenting.”

Stephen Colbert Coins a new phrase for a recent and troubling trend in the raising of America’s youth, “psycho-pharma-parenting.”  Sad and True I think.  😦

Click here to see video. (link will open in a new window.)

‘Google’ the phrase “Cut Workforce,” and “Job loss” Scary results to behold for sure, pray for optimism, God Bless America.

Click here to see News Search results and a long list of recent US company announcements to “Cut Workforce.” SCARY. And SAD. 😦

Click here to ‘google’ job loss to see scary truths and ways of coping.  😐