Is Fed Now Making Its Next Big Mistake?

Ben Bernanke has a message for Wall Street  and Main Street: Don’t worry, expect no big changes in Fed policy — unless the  economy changes in a major way. Don’t hold your breath.

No question, the nation’s top banker has a tough job convincing investors,  producers and lawmakers he’s doing the right thing for the economy. The problem  is, the Fed has a long track record of making big mistakes, but often doesn’t  know until years later.

And it might be making one now.

While some speak of the Fed’s “success,” holding interest rates at zero and  buying $85 billion a month in Treasuries — the Fed now owns more than $3.5  trillion in U.S. debt, up from $900 billion just a few years ago — this hasn’t  brought us a normal economic recovery.

Indeed, despite the incredible stimulus, inflation remains below the Fed’s 2%  target. GDP growth is averaging an anemic 1.7% in the past year.

All told, the economy is just 3% bigger than at the end of 2007, when the  recession began. By comparison, in a normal recovery GDP is usually up 16% or  more this far into a recovery.

Unemployment of 7.6% isn’t close to satisfactory. And since last year all of  the net U.S. jobs created have been part-time positions; it’s obvious we’re in  an unprecedented employment crisis.

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Joke of the Day

A man was sued by a woman for defamation of character.

She charged that he  called her a pig. The man was found guilty and fined.

After the trial he asked the judge, “This means that I cannot call Mrs. Johnson a pig?” The judge said that was true.

“Does this mean I cannot call a pig Mrs. Johnson?” the man asked. The judge replied that he could indeed call a pig Mrs. Johnson with no fear of legal action.

The man looked directly at Mrs. Johnson and said, “Good afternoon, Mrs. Johnson.”

Joke of the Day

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.

The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though a whale is a very large mammal, its throat is very small.

The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. The teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human, it was impossible.

The little girl said, “When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah”.

The teacher asked, “What if Jonah went to hell?”

The little girl replied, “Then you ask him!”

Best Summer Job Ever

A lucky university student today said his  dreams had ‘come true’ after he landed a job as an international water slide  tester.

Seb Smith, 22, from Cheddar, Somerset, beat  off competition from 2,000 applicants to fill the £20,000-a-year ($30,500) role with  holiday company First Choice.

He will now spend the whole summer travelling  to exotic locations across the globe where he will ride and rate the company’s  most exhilarating chutes.

Rather pleased: Seb Smith, 22, from Cheddar, Somerset, celebrates after beating off competition from 2,000 applicants to be named the new official water slide tester for holiday company First Choice

Rather pleased: Seb Smith, 22, from Cheddar, Somerset,  celebrates after beating off competition from 2,000 applicants to be named the  new official water slide tester for holiday company First Choice

Plum job: He will now spend the whole summer travelling to water parks and resorts in exotic locations across the globe where he will ride and rate the company's most exhilarating chutes, flumes and slides
Plum job: He will now spend the whole summer travelling  to water parks and resorts in exotic locations across the globe where he will  ride and rate the company’s most exhilarating chutes, flumes and slides

 

'I'm absolutely over the moon': The design technology student will visit sun-soaked holiday locations like as Majorca, Turkey and Egypt, staying at the firm's 20 Splash World resorts over a six-month period
‘I’m absolutely over the moon’: The design technology student will visit sun-soaked holiday locations like as Majorca, Turkey and Egypt, staying at the firm’s 20 Splash World resorts over a six-month period

 

Not for the faint-hearted: The view from the Tower of Power at the Siam Park, Playa de las Americas, Tenerife
Not for the faint-hearted: The view from the Tower of  Power at the Siam Park, Playa de las Americas, Tenerife

 

Clubbers' choice: The Aguamar waterpark near the Fiesta Don Toni Resort, Playa d'en Bossa, Ibiza
Clubbers’ choice: The Aguamar waterpark near the Fiesta  Don Toni Resort, Playa d’en Bossa, Ibiza

 

Dizzying: Mr Smith will rate the corkscrew waterslides at the Lanzasur Splash Resort, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
Dizzying: Mr Smith will rate the corkscrew waterslides  at the Lanzasur Splash Resort, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote

 

Plenty of opportunities for travel: The slides at the LTI Paradise Valle Taurito, Lago Taurito, Gran Canaria
Plenty of opportunities for travel: The slides at the  LTI Paradise Valle Taurito, Lago Taurito, Gran Canaria

The design technology student will visit  sun-soaked holiday locations like Majorca, Turkey, Egypt and even Jamaica,  staying at the firm’s 20 Splash World resorts over a six-month  period.

Mr Smith, who studies at the University of  Leeds, today described his summer job as a ‘dream come true’.

‘I’m absolutely over the moon to be chosen as  the new slide tester – and can’t wait to get started in my new job,’ he  said.

‘I can’t believe I’ll be travelling the world  judging slides based on the biggest splash and adrenaline factor.

‘It’s going to be amazing and I’m really  looking forward to being part of the team and to sharing my experiences with  holidaymakers via Twitter and Facebook.’

This will be his life for six months: The Tropicana Sea Beach Splash Resort, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
This will be his life for six months: The Tropicana Sea  Beach Splash Resort, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

 

The water flume at Aqua Fantasy, Turkey: Leeds University student Mr Smith, called his job a 'dream come true'
The water flume at Aqua Fantasy, Turkey: Leeds  University student Mr Smith, called his job a ‘dream come true’

 

And there's plenty of time to relax: Another view of the Aqua Fantasy Aquapark Hotel & Spa in Turkey
And there’s plenty of time to relax: Another view of the  Aqua Fantasy Aquapark Hotel & Spa in Turkey

 

A slide at Planos Bay, Tsilivi, Zante, Greece: 'I can't believe I'll be travelling the world judging slides,' Mr Smith said
A slide at Planos Bay, Tsilivi, Zante: ‘I can’t believe  I’ll be travelling the world judging slides,’ Mr Smith said

 

'It's going to be amazing': Another view of the Coral Sea Splash Resort, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
‘It’s going to be amazing’: Another view of the Coral  Sea Splash Resort, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

 

Waterslides at the Aqualand Village, Agios Ioannis, Corfu: Mr Smith will be judging splash and adrenaline factor
Waterslides at the Aqualand Village, Agios Ioannis,  Corfu: Mr Smith will be judging splash and adrenaline factor

 

Slides at the Hotel Sun Palace, Faliraki, Rhodes: He'll be sharing his experiences via Twitter and FacebookSlides at the Hotel Sun Palace, Faliraki, Rhodes: He’ll  be sharing his experiences via Twitter and Facebook

Mr Smith was picked for the adrenaline-packed  role after battling against four other finalists at the five-star Iberotel  Makadi Saraya hotel in Hurghada, Egypt.

He will now be given a six-month contract  with all overseas travel expenses paid on top of his £20,000 ($30,500) salary.

And as a reward for all his ‘hard-work’ at  the end of the contract he will receive a seven-night holiday for two staying at  an all-inclusive resort.

Luke Gaskins, head of Holiday Innovation at  First Choice, said: ‘We’re thrilled to have Seb as our new slide tester and to  welcome him as part of the First Choice team.

‘We were impressed by his enthusiasm and  skills at every stage of our search and at the final it was clear that we’d  found the ideal person for the role of slide tester.

‘Seb is going to be a key part of the team  who will help us to give our SplashWorld customers the best all inclusive water  park experience possible and we can’t wait for him to get sliding.’

The water flume at Aqua Fantasy in Turkey: Mr Smith has a six-month contract on a £20,000 salary
The water flume at Aqua Fantasy in Turkey: Mr Smith has  a six-month contract on a £20,000 ($30,500) salary

 

The water flume at Beaches Negri in Jamaica: He will travel to exotic locations across the globe
The water flume at Beaches Negri in Jamaica: He will  travel to exotic locations across the globe

 

An aerial shot shows the attractions at at Aqua Fantasy: At the end he'll receive a week's all-inclusive holiday
An aerial shot shows the attractions at at Aqua Fantasy:  At the end he’ll receive a week’s all-inclusive holiday

 

The water flume at Holiday Village Costa del Sol: First Choice said they impressed by Mr Smith's enthusiasm
The water flume at Holiday Village Costa del Sol: First  Choice said they impressed by Mr Smith’s enthusiasm

 

Looking down the Aqua Fantasy water flume: The design technology student will get used to views like this
Looking down the Aqua Fantasy water flume: The design  technology student will get used to views like this

 

The pool at Hotel Sol Pelicanos, Benidorm: The job spec said applicants had to be 'comfortable in swim-wear'
The pool at Hotel Sol Pelicanos, Benidorm: The job spec  said applicants had to be ‘comfortable in swim-wear’

 

The tour operator advertised the post after  their last water slide tester Tommy Lynch, 33, from Liverpool, hung up his  trunks after four years in the role to move to a new job.

Potential candidates were told they needed to  be fun-loving, passionate and enthusiastic as well as ‘mad about  waterparks.’

Additional job description information said  applicants must be ‘willing to travel’, ‘comfortable in swim-wear’ and ‘happy to  get wet at work.’

Attribution: Damien Gayle, Daily Mail

Was Sandy Hook a Good Crisis?

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Now before you just think me insensitive, read on (although you still may think that).

Recently, CBS Morning News had on Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey to speak about their “bipartsan” gun control bill.

Senator Pat Toomey: “…the problems that we have are not law-abiding gun owners like Joe and myself. Uh, and we don’t need, in my view, to put restrictions on what law-abiding people can do. What we need to do is try to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerously mentally ill people.”

Toomey went on to say that he and Joe met with families. That’s a problem for me. In my opinion legislation that will affect the general public should not be born out of anecdotal tragedy. Isn’t the senate supposed to be the deliberative body, where cooler heads are supposed to prevail?

And to think I was a supporter of Toomey. I thought he would go to Washington and actually govern as a conservative. It sure doesn’t take long to show ones true colors in that town. And is anyone else sick to death of the word bipartisan?

From what I understand from the Toomey/Manchin bill, doctors are to report any signs of mental illness to the feds, without the knowledge or consent of the patient. Most of my more liberal friends think I am mentally ill. Does that mean if my doctor happens to be a lib and I a conservative, he can alert the authorities that I may be unstable?

Toomey continued: “…But a measure that helps to make it harder for violent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill to get guns, I think that’s just common sense.”

Well, that sounds good and well-intentioned, but it will just be one more of thousands of gun laws that are not being prosecuted now. What’s one more law going to do? The answer: absolutely nothing, but to further erode the second amendment rights of the law-abiding citizen. That and politicians can then claim they did something.

As usual, we can always count on a REAL conservative, Senator Ted Cruz to set the record straight.

Cruz said on the Lou Dobbs show: “ In 2010, over 15,000 felons, fugitives tried to illegally purchase guns and were turned down. Out of those 15,000, the Obama Justice Department prosecuted just 44. Let me repeat those numbers: out of 15,000 felons and fugitives illegally trying to purchase a gun, the Obama Justice Department only prosecuted 44.” That’s less than 0.003%.

It appears to me as if the background checks we currently employ are working just fine. But of course that empirical data won’t tug on the heartstrings of the general public, nor advance the agenda of the left; that agenda being the eventual confiscation of our guns.

Cruz continued: “… But I think it is also sad that so many politicians are trying to take advantage of that tragedy, not to pass legislation targeting violent criminals, but instead working to take away the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms of law-abiding, peaceful citizens.”

Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show, made a great point regarding this issue. He said: “People aren’t being prosecuted. They’re not being utilized, the laws already on the books, because the image must be that we don’t have enough laws to deal with these kinds of tragedies. They are trying to create the impression that we don’t have enough laws to deal with Sandy Hook. None of what’s been proposed would’ve stopped it, by the way, because Sen. Cruz is right: it’s not about that.”

Once again, Rush is right. If criminals were prosecuted under our current laws, the public would realize we don’t need any new ones.

In my opinion, it is intentional. They wait for the inevitable tragedy to occur, and then swoop in like vultures, or more like the ambulance chasing attorneys most of them are, exclaiming: “If we only had a law to prevent this tragedy?”

Remember the Progressive credo: Never let a crisis go to waste! During a crisis, one can accomplish much more than would otherwise be possible.

Veggieanimals

Who said don’t play with your food?

 

Most people are taught from a young age not  to play with their food but one woman has turned the habit into art.

Vanessa Dualib, 32, has spent four years crafting a range of animals out of various vegetables and fruits in her Sao Paulo studio in Brazil.

They include a friendly elephant carved out of potatoes and a red snake shaped out of a chillies.

Potty: An elephant has been carved out of potatoes by artist Vanessa Dualib at her studio in Sao Paulo, Brazil
 An elephant has been carved out of potatoes by  artist Vanessa Dualib at her studio in Sao Paulo, Brazil

 

 

To pea or not to pea
An artist called 'peacasso' made from peas
  A Shakespearean actor has been crafted out of pea pods and okra, pictured above, while artist ‘peacasso’  sits down to paint a peatrait, pictured below

 

Giving spice some life: A scorpion has been put together out of a couple of chilli peppers
 A scorpion has been put together out of a couple of chilli peppers

Other creations are a killer whale made from aubergine, fish crafted from pineapple and a pepper scorpion.

Vanessa, a photographer, has made over 120 images to date, with the project still ongoing.

She said: ‘I see a fruit or vegetable that reminds me of an animal.

‘After that I carve some of the details, add  the googly eyes and take the shot.

Spicing things up: A red snake made out of two chilli peppers forms part of the unusual collection of food animals
 A red snake made out of two chilli  peppers forms part of an unusual collection of food animals made by Ms Dualib
A red lobster made from sweet potatoes
A monster made out of a root vegetable
  A red lobster made from sweet  potatoes looks at home on a vegetable sea bed, pictured top, while a monster  has been carved out of a root vegetable, pictured bottom

 

Sprouting wings: A dragonfly made out of peas and mange tout by artist Vanessa Dualib in Sao Paulo, Brazil
 A dragonfly made out of peas and mange tout by artist Vanessa Dualib in Sao Paulo, Brazil

 

Long time in the making: A white moray eel has been carved out of a banana as part of an art project it has taken Vanessa Dualib four years to complete
 A white moray eel has been carved out of a banana as part of an art project it has taken Vanessa Dualib  four years to complete

 

Gold fish bowls: 'My proposal is always to try to challenge the perception of whoever is looking at my creations', Vanessa Dualib says
 ‘My proposal is always to try to  challenge the perception of whoever is looking at my creations’, Vanessa Dualib  says

‘I then sometimes create a backdrop scene in Photoshop to go better with the story I am trying to tell.

‘I keep adding more almost on a weekly basis.  Whenever I have the some spare time, I am working on this.’

Vanessa set upon the idea after deciding to combine her three favourite things – photography, food and  humor.

She added: ‘It can be quite challenging sometimes, but always in a good way.

May the force be with you: A Star Wars scene with Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader recreated out of carrots
 A Star Wars scene with Luke  Skywalker and Darth Vader recreated out of carrots

 

Sea food: A blowfish swims towards a fishing hook also made out of fruit in this scene created by Vanessa Dualib
A blowfish swims towards a fishing hook also  made out of fruit in this scene created by Vanessa Dualib

 

A vole made out of yam
A hippopotamus made from potatoes
 Vanessa Dualib made this vole out of yam,  pictured above, and a hippopotamus out of potatoes, below

 

Good enough to eat: A llama carved out of cheddar cheese with a grated cheese fur coat
 A llama carved out of cheddar cheese  with a grated cheese fur coat

‘I work with a raw, perishable “media”. And  my proposal is always to try to challenge the perception of whoever is looking  at my creations.

‘The reaction has always been very, very  positive. At the beginning this was a great surprise and one of the things that  kept me working on this project.

‘Somehow, I felt my work and my humor where  able to lighten up the day of people I never met and probably never  will.’

Vanessa has since created a book titled  Brincando com a Comida – ‘Playing with Food’ – showcasing 52 of my  creations.

Living the lime life: Five exotic fruits enjoy tequila shots in a scene called 'limes gone wild'
 Five exotic fruits enjoy tequila  shots in a scene called ‘limes gone wild’

 

Jurassic art: A dinosaur created out of several sweet red potatoes by Vanessa Dualib
A dinosaur created out of several sweet red potatoes by Vanessa Dualib

 

Having a whale of a time: A killer whale made out of a single aubergine leaps into the air in this water scene
 A killer whale made out of a  single aubergine leaps into the air in this water scene

 

A beetroot has been transformed into an octopus with the simply addition of eyes and a carved mouth
A beetroot has been transformed into an octopus with the  simply addition of eyes and a carved mouth

Attribution: Daily Mail

The Treasure That Sank the Spanish Empire

 

The stunning treasures from a sunken Spanish  galleon have been revealed for the first time after the ship was rediscovered  nearly 400 years on from its wreck in the Gulf of Mexico.

The loss of the Buen Jesus y Nuestra Senora  del Rosario along with seven other ships destroyed the Bank of Madrid – and even  contributed to the collapse of the Spanish Empire.

Now deep-sea divers believe they have found  its wreck 400m deep, with 17,000 objects on board revealing that it was carrying  gold, pearls – and even parrots.

Treasure: Some of the 27 gold bars recovered from the wreck of Buen Jesus y Nuestra Senora del Rosario
 Some of the 27 gold bars recovered from the  wreck of Buen Jesus y Nuestra Senora del Rosario

 

Unique: These pearls are from a rare species of oyster found in seabeds off the coast of Venezuela
 These pearls are from a rare species of oyster  found in seabeds off the coast of Venezuela

 

Precious: The loss of the treasure, such as this chain weighing half a kilogram, devastated Spain's economy
The loss of the treasure, such as this chain weighing half a kilogram, devastated Spain’s economy

Galleon: This image of 16th-century Seville shows a ship similar to that lost in the Gulf of Mexico
This image of 16th-century Seville shows a ship  similar to that lost in the Gulf of Mexico

The discovery unveiled today gives a  fascinating glimpse into the sometimes unexpected treasures which made the  colonial economy run.

The wreck site, around 400 miles from the  Florida Keys, contains 39 gold bars, and nearly 1,200 silver pieces of  eight.

More unusually, the site features more than  6,600 pearls being exported to Europe from the coast of  Venezuela.

The gems came from a type of oyster which was  unique to South America but which was nearly extinct by the early 17th century  thanks to over-exploitation by colonial traders.

Bullion: A gold bar stamps with official marks certifying its purity and taxation status
 A gold bar stamps with official marks  certifying its purity and taxation status

 

Vessels: These ceramic jars and tableware were used to furnish the doomed ship on its voyage
 These ceramic jars and tableware were used to  furnish the doomed ship on its voyage

 

Precious: A selection of the jewels and precious stones being transported from the New World to the Old
A selection of the jewels and precious stones  being transported from the New World to the Old

Certificate: A stamp reading 'en rada' operating as a sort of guarantee of the gold's origin
 A stamp reading ‘en rada’ operating as a  sort of guarantee of the gold’s origin

And it was not only wildlife to suffer from  the oyster trade – 60,000 Caribbean natives are believed to have died while  diving for pearls on behalf of the Spanish.

In addition to the precious metals and  jewels, two bird’s bones were found at the site, thought to have come from a  blue-headed parrot.

The parrots made popular pets because of  their bright plumage and ability to mimic human speech, but this is the first  time the remains of one have been found in a shipwreck.

Another glimpse of everyday life in the early  modern world comes from a tortoiseshell comb for lice apparently made by a  member of the ship’s crew.

Jar: The artefacts found by the Odyssey expedition have not been seen for nearly 400 years
The artefacts found by the Odyssey expedition have not been seen for nearly 400 years

 

Astrolabe: This was used to navigate by the stars but did not help the ship avoid a devastating hurricane
 This was used to navigate by the stars but  did not help the ship avoid a devastating hurricane

 

Riches: But the empire was deep in debt and the wreck of its ships contributed to its downfall
 But the empire was deep in debt and the wreck of  its ships contributed to its downfall

 

Examination: An archaeologist holding silver retrieved from the wreck 400m deep in the Gulf of Mexico
An archaeologist holding silver retrieved  from the wreck 400m deep in the Gulf of Mexico

The Buen Jesus y Nuestra Senora del Rosario  was one of a fleet of 28 Spanish merchants hit by a hurricane on September 5,  1622.

Eight were sunk, killing 500 people on board  and hiding their treasure for nearly four centuries.

The Spanish economy had been relying on the  boost it would have received from the ships’ arrival, and the disaster  contributed to the eventual downfall of the formerly all-powerful colonial  empire.

To the rescue: The Seahawk Retriever moored over the site of the shipwreck
 The Seahawk Retriever moored over the  site of the shipwreck

 

Delicate: Cutting-edge technology was used to retrieve the valuable treasures from the seabed
Cutting-edge technology was used to retrieve  the valuable treasures from the seabed

 

Handle with care: Team members examine containers full of ceramic jars from the Buen Jesus
Team members examine containers full  of ceramic jars from the Buen Jesus

 

Machinery: This filtration system designed to sift small finds was specially designed for the expedition
This filtration system designed to sift small  finds was specially designed for the expedition

Excavations at the site of the wreck have  been going on for more than 20 years, using deep-sea technology developed by  British engineers to drill for oil in the North Sea.

They were carried out by Odyssey Marine  Exploration, whose president Greg Stemm told The Times: ‘This is the major find  of our time.’

The objects excavated from the Rosario are  going on display at the company’s headquarters in Florida.

Oceans Odyssey 3, a book on the shipwreck and  its contents, is published today by Oxbow Books.

Find: The site of the shipwreck is around 400 miles away from the Florida Keys
 The site of the shipwreck is around 400 miles away  from the Florida Keys

 

Attribution: Hugo Gye, Mail Online