Protests earn varying responses from locals who have to live there long after the protestors are done, leaving signs, cans, tents, more signs and... money?
Sure, why not?
Protestors are like any other group moving into a new town to spread their displeasure: they require food, rest and potentially entertainment to whittle away at their worries while in town. It's like when a convention arrives in town bringing hungry, tired people with money to burn and expense accounts to exhaust.
Unfortunately, the "Occupy" folks aren't like other protestors per se... Their march to protest smacks of a completly different flavor and is primarily galvanized with an anti-capitalist message meaning very few, if any, will take Washington's many businesses up on their fabulous dining and hotel options.
Let's face it, guys carrying tents on their backs looking to pound down some pegs aren't the kind of people I'd expect to check into a Holiday Inn that evening.
I expect a lot of benches, libraries, missions and shelters to see a slew of new faces as the city finds itself occupied. While that is a bit of a downer for DC businesses, that doesn't mean that the out-of-state press won't be on hand along with sympathetic souls who follow their plight, but don't sleep in a tent. At least DC will see an uptick, which is more than most economies can boast these days.
Sadly, that's true of any economy where protestors are touching down. They bring hope to businesses big and small, especially right now because everyone is hurting in this economy. New Chapter 9 Bankruptcy filings are popping up like gophers on a golf course, it's come to the point where American Cities are filing Bankruptcy because the Federal Government can't help, but they're still happy to tax away. To say nothing of the state of Europe, Asia and everywhere else in the world feeling the financial pinch.
There's something different about this despression (not a recession, it should be pretty obvious by now) and with politicians resorting to the blame game pointing out partisan politics rather than solutions, meaning things can only get more complicated from here on in.
Not because you pass the means test, of course.
But because you are a player in the NFL.
And notwithstanding a median income of $900,000.00 a year, an awful lot of those players become famously bankrupt.
And CNBC graciously provided a slideshow of NFL Players who filed bankruptcy after they discovered that they could spend far more than the gigantic incomes they earned.
Now, doctors seldom file bankruptcy cases, even though many fall short of a median income of $900,000.00. The reason is simple.
Doctors generally have a very long time horizon, and they begin to plan for retirement on the day they are accepted to medical school. Because of that planning, and their fairly high incomes, they do far better than most other occupations in the retirement sweepstakes, especially because their incomes are also fairly predictable.
That was true, at least, for the last fifty years or so; but even doctors have had some difficulties in the recent years, as people put off medical treatments because of economic issues, and when the real estate investments of doctors dropped in value.
Ultimately, of course, you can't take it with you; but my take is that a longer time horizon makes the world an easier place to transverse.
If you make plans, based on crunching numbers, there is at least a chance that your plans will come to fruition.
If you don't make plans, then every day is a surprise!
But normally not a good surprise.
Note: there's a name for the difficulties that some people have when they go from making very little to having a lot of money. It's called Sudden Wealth Syndrome.
And it's one of the few syndromes that people want to have!
Technology giveth, and technology taketh away.
Remember Blockbuster? It took advantage of the dvd revolution, and blew away All Those Little Mom and Pop Video Stores, Inc., that previously took up that ecological niche.
They couldn't compete with the convenience and selection and titles that Blockbuster could offer.
Then Blockbuster became the one to beat, and beat it Netflix did!
It's far more convenient to send for a dvd, and mail it back, than it is to (gasp!) drive all the way to a Doomed-Brick-and-Mortar-Store, Inc., where your kids will torment you to buy the microwave popcorn and cotton candy!
And Netflix learned that lesson; convenience, convenience, convenience.
And Netflix thrived.
The whole problem with success is that it brings with it new challenges.
See, Netflix had a bunch of deals with distributors to rent movies, but those deals had caps.
And because they had caps, and Netflix was successful, Netflix boldly warped past those caps to a place where no man had gone before. It flew right through those caps!
And then the movie providers wanted more dough.
So in summary, technology and a better idea will get you a fair distance down the road.
But, ultimately, it's better to be lucky than smart.
And that makes me sad.
Because it will drive more insolvency, more bankruptcy cases, and a further reduced middle class in America.
Actually, it makes me very sad.
The Justice Department has announced a turnaround in its policy; it will now not oppose joint bankruptcy filings by same-sex couples.
One of the most powerful tools of the Debtor and Debtor-in-Possession is the ability to use the broad-based fishing expedition tools located at Bankruptcy Rule 2004, along with depositions, to discover things that might be good to know in the case.
And nobody likes to give discovery; they know they may be handing over a smoking gun!
So Major League Baseball has now started resisting discovery in the Dodgers Chapter 11 Case.
But you have to ask yourself; didn't Bud Selig know that Frank McCourt had an Irish Name?
And when Bud put the kibosh on the three-billion dollar deal that Frank had found to save the Dodgers, and feather his own nest, did Bud think that Frank would lay down and die peacefully?
So for a while, the sideshow will be discovery disputes in Bankruptcy Court. But generally, Judges don't like discovery disputes, and want lawyers to act like professionals and decide what they ought to exchange.
But this case isn't going to be a smooth-flowing Chapter 11 with a pre-packaged plan, because it was really in the nature of an emergency bankruptcy filing.
So now there will be a fight in Bankruptcy Court, and it will be interesting to watch how that plays itself out.
I'm rooting for McCourt, myself, and I know he's the underdog. But he found the deal, and the Bankruptcy was not required by economics; it was required because Bud Selig didn't like Frank McCourt!
Hey, I calls 'em like I sees 'em.
And I've been wrong before.
Right now I am not wearing my happy face, although I like being happy.
I am deeply concerned about inflation, the collapse of social security (yes, Virginia, it's a Ponzi Scheme), the failure government to function well even as it expands to pull resources from the productive sphere of the economy, the private sector.
We are still on track for 1.4 million trustee's sales and foreclosures this year, and countless bankruptcy cases, and prices are climbing for everything except houses, and particularly food; and outsourcing is claiming more and more good jobs while unemployment statistics are on a one-way ride into the sky.
But some smart people have taken the position that the United States is better-positioned than other sections of the planet to deal with change. And in some ways, that's true.
In the United States, we have a revolution every four years; if we don't like the guys running the show, we can throw the bums out.
That in itself is a good thing, and it makes it easier to deal with political and economic strategies that aren't working. Don't like Bush? Eezee-peezie, hope and change! Don't like Obama? Easiest thing in the world to vote the way you decide to vote.
And that does make the United States blessed among countries, and it was founded by people who believed in God strongly enough to risk death (and in many cases, to find it) by traveling to the wilds of a literal new world.
But if you want an antidote to much doom and gloom (and admit it, doom and gloom get pretty gloomy after a while), go read this article by Walter Russel Mead in The Wall Street Journal!
One of the things I'll miss about moving over from Blogger as a blogging platform is that I no longer have a top ten list widget. So as a blast from the past, here's a top ten bankruptcy articles of the week from my number one bankruptcy blog:
People who buy government bonds are normally among the most risk-averse investors on the planet earth.
But if you bought government bonds from Greece, for instance, you may be in for a rude surprise.
A recent vote by the Greek Government propels the idea that investors in Greek Bonds will be taking a haircut, but it won't be phrased that way.
Instead, Greek Bond Investors will be "asked" to let their money ride, and "asked" to buy new bonds on the same terms as the old.
This is a pretty cute trick, and one that is only available to countries, as opposed to individuals.
When an individual isn't able to pay debts owed by "investors" in his life (like banks and credit card companies) the individual has much less leverage than a country.
So the credit card company or bank simply sells the bad paper at a discount, gets a tax benefit, and goes on down the road; and after the paper has been sold several times, the bottom-feeder who bought the debt for a fraction of a penny on the dollar then sues for the entire amount of the debt, plus interest at the highest contractual rate, plus attorneys fees.
Frankly, when you're insolvent, it's much better to be a country than an individual!
My faithful readers (and thank you all, even the bankruptcy lawyers) know that I have several other bankruptcy blogs, and that I put information in all of those, and it's not always the same information that goes in here.
So if you're serious about learning about bankruptcy in Arizona from the perspective of a debtor who may file a bankruptcy at some point, feel free to wander through the bundle of bankruptcy blogs I maintain.
They include the following:
Arizona Bankruptcy Homework (watch the videos here before you come in to visit!)
Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney Blog (about to undergo a massive facelift!)
Bankruptcy Crossroads (this is the baby of the family, and I really like the way it looks!)
Do you want to be on television?
Well, I recently received a very nice email that may give you that opportunity!
Read that email below, and I look forward to watching you on TV!
DID NOT RESPOND
How would you like to be contacted?
Brief description of your legal issue:
I am the development coordinator at Pie Town Productions, a high volume, Emmy-nominated production company with more than 47 series under its belt. We’ve produced programming for networks such as Discovery, TLC, A&E, WE, Lifetime, The Food Network, HGTV and OWN. Some of our current shows include House Hunters on HGTV, Meat & Potatoes on Food Network, and Downsized on WE.
I am reaching out to you in regards to a current casting of a companion show to Downsized.
Downsized is our critically acclaimed docu-series on WE that follows a large, charismatic family that has been downsized in the recession and documents their challenges and successes of adjusting to new financial constraints.
Here is a link to information about Downsized on the WE TV website:
We are now casting for a companion series to Downsized, and are specifically looking for a large and compelling family who is no longer bringing in the big bucks, is having to adjust their lifestyle, and would like some assistance getting back on track. The ideal family is fun-loving, honest, emotional...and willing to “put it out there”.
While we understand that you can’t share personal contact information, we do hope you will pass along our information to clients, and anyone else you feel could potentially benefit from a series based around their situation.
Any interested persons may apply here: http://www.pietown.tv/Shows/downsized_ourstory.php
We are happy to answer any questions you may have, please feel free to contact me any time. And please check out our website which will give you a greater understanding of our programming: www.pietown.tv
I look forward to hearing from you.
Pie Town Productions
I was sad when I heard about Marie Callender's closings in Arizona; I've eaten there frequently, and I liked the food and the serving staff. I'll miss the pies, which nonetheless had far too many carbs for me.
But one question that arises is always the same, when you look at a bankruptcy filing.
That question is "why". The answer is suggested in this article about the closings and the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
One part of the answer is that the restaurants were "adversely affected by the languishing economy, including declines in consumer confidence and sluggish consumer spending and increased commodity costs," Chief Executive Officer J. Trungale said in a statement in November.
So one of my primary fears about this economy has started to manifest itself.
Because one of the reasons for the bankruptcy filing was "increased commodity costs".
That makes far too much sense to me. If the price of coffee goes up, and the price of chicken goes up, and the price of gas goes up, it's harder to run a restaurant and make a profit. And profits are the way we keep score of which business deserves to survive, based on customer happiness.
And here is my sad prediction: this is not the end of the restaurant bankruptcy cases that we'll see in the next few months.
In Arizona, the summer is bankruptcy season for restaurants. And rising food and gasoline prices may make this a perfect storm for restaurants here.
And it does make me sad as I assemble restaurant tombstones in my head: Lazy Lou's Fish and Chips is gone, and the Black Angus on Camelback Road, Coffee Plantation, some of my favorite Greek Restaurants, and my personal favorite Fuddrucker's location, and now the Marie Callender's I enjoyed for many years.
I think we are in a depression. I hope I'm wrong, but I think I'm right.
At this time in Arizona, gay couples may not safely file a joint bankruptcy petition.
While in one reported case, a gay gouple ( Brenda and Lynda Ziviello-Howell) were permitted to maintain a joint-filing bankruptcy case, defeating a Motion to Dismiss by the U.S. Trustee's Office, the state of the law is not yet predictable enough for me to feel comfortable about filing a joint bankruptcy petition for a gay couple.
Putting it another way, one Bankruptcy Court-level case does not caselaw make.
p.s. since this case, there have been two more; we may be seeing a trend.
There are several platforms I like on the Internet, and I'm trying to decide how to help the largest number of debtors I can.
During this depression, it's hard to find a bankruptcy lawyer with all the characteristics that you want; although it's very easy indeed to find somebody who will tell you that he's a bankruptcy expert.
But for today, let's forget about bankruptcy lawyers and think about what you'll want to know if you're going to visit with a Phoenix Bankruptcy Attorney, or any other flavor of bankruptcy lawyer you choose.
And my vote there is simple: there is a minimum that you need to know before you visit with a bankruptcy lawyer, because otherwise you'll waste your limited time asking questions that are generic bankruptcy questions, rather than the specific bankruptcy questions that you really need to know (like "which exemptions will apply in my case, since I haven't live in Arizona for two full years?").
So here's some bankruptcy homework to give you background before you get your appointment with an Arizona bankruptcy law specialist:
People naturally want to know how long the bankruptcy process will take.
And I naturally want to tell them, but the answer isn't as simple as you'd think.
Obviously, the answer is different for a Chapter 13 (which may run for five years after filing) than a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, which may be closed for administrative purposes in as little as a year if it's a no-asset case.
Here it is, and enjoy reading it!
33-1102. Exemption by operation of law; designation of multiple properties on creditor's request; recording
A. A person who is entitled to a homestead exemption as prescribed by section 33-1101 holds that exemption by operation of law and no written claim or recording is required. If a person has more than one property interest to which a homestead exemption may reasonably apply, a creditor may require the person to designate which property, if any, is protected by the homestead exemption. The creditor shall demand the designation by sending a letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, to each address of the person which may reasonably be protected by the homestead exemption. The person shall designate the property by recording a homestead exemption in the office of the county recorder where the property is located or by sending the creditor a certified letter, return receipt requested, within thirty days of receiving the creditor's demand letter. If the person receives the creditor's letter and fails to respond as provided by this subsection, the person may only assert the homestead exemption by recording a claim in the office of the county recorder where the property is located.
B. If the person is married, the homestead may be selected from the community property, the joint property or the separate property of the person.
Bear in mind that you'll need to have been in Arizona for a full two years prior to filing your bankruptcy before you're assured of being able to use the Arizona Exemptions, and that there's a Federal Cap on amounts of homesteads that may come into play as well.
You probably want to read this statute as well:
33-1104. Abandonment of homestead; encumbrance of homestead
A. A homestead may be abandoned by any of the following:
1. A declaration of abandonment or waiver.
2. A transfer of the homestead property by deed of conveyance or contract for conveyance.
3. A permanent removal of the claimant from the residence or the state. A claimant may remove from the homestead for up to two years without an abandonment or a waiver of the exemption.
B. A declaration of abandonment or waiver shall be executed by the claimant and acknowledged. A declaration of abandonment or waiver is effective only from the time of its recording in the office of the county recorder in the county in which the homestead property is located.
C. This article shall not be construed to repeal the provisions of section 25-214, subsection C, pertaining to the acquisition, conveyance or encumbrance of community property.
D. Any recorded consensual lien, including a mortgage or deed of trust, encumbering homestead property shall not be subject to or affected by the homestead claim or exemption.
E. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section, a transfer of the homestead property by deed of conveyance or contract for conveyance under a trust, as defined in section 14-1201, in which the claimant retains the power to administer and revoke the trust shall not constitute an abandonment of the homestead.
Here are the favorite bankruptcy articles that have withstood the test of time. I hope you like them!
I love my friends at Justia, because the folks who own the company built Findlaw, and then sold it; and then went back to work at the same lemonade stand, helping lawyers help clients.
While I enjoy playing with blogs, when Justia builds a bankruptcy blog, it looks amazing!
I've recently started to think about the best ways to educate bankruptcy clients. I have a little bankruptcy homework blog, for instance, and I'm sure I'll show you that sometime soon.
Oh, heck! Here it is! Although my guess is that soon I'll port it over here or to my Justia Blogs, just to increase it's functionality.
And I also built some videos for debtors, because some people learn easier with videos than text. And while I built this educational bankruptcy video blog, my guess is that I'll bring those videos to Justia or to this site.
It's always a surprise for me when I see the most popular posts for any given period. Here are this week's top ten best bankruptcy posts, as determined by you, my loyal readers!
Bankruptcy has never been a simple area of the law, and it got a good deal more complex after the 2005 Amendments to the Bankruptcy Code.
After you watch this video, you'll have a far better idea of the sorts of things a bankruptcy attorney needs to know about your situation, and just as important, why the lawyer is asking those questions!
Enjoy them, and I hope they help inform you about some bankruptcy topics!
This is a test; my hope is that I'll be able to post my videos from THELAW.TV on this blog, and my further hope is that they won't automatically go off when people click on the blog!
I'll play with this little bankruptcy video and keep you posted on how well it works.
p.s. I hate it when technology defeats me. So now I'll link to those videos, instead of embedding them. When I embed them here, they start talking automatically when somebody clicks on the site. And I don't want to embarrass somebody if they're surfing for bankruptcy information at their computer at work!
Enjoy! Which one is the best? Only time, statistics, and my bankruptcy readers will tell!