Risky business of running for US president - Gulf News Risky business of running for US president - Gulf News

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Risky business of running for US president - Gulf News

Risky business of running for US president - Gulf News

Washington: In the risky business of running for president, Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are largely playing it safe.

For all the small daily dramas of the 2012 campaign, there's a risk-averse dynamic playing out: Neither candidate has been making bold new policy proposals or displaying a free-wheeling personal style. So far, at least.

Part of that is just who they are: Obama always has been known for his cool demeanour, and Romney has discipline built into his corporate pedigree.

Neither of them has the swagger of former President George W. Bush, the renegade streak of 2008 Republican nominee John McCain or the rapscallion's grin of former President Bill Clinton.

But Obama and Romney are men who know how to gamble: Obama decided to run for president after just two years in the Senate, launched an ambitious health care overhaul effort while the economy was still on shaky ground, and gave the "go" order on the Osama Bin Laden raid. Romney entered politics after a career in private equity, where risk is part of the job description.

Despite their backgrounds, their caution as candidates extends well beyond personal style.

The president debated for weeks how and when to announce that he supports gay marriage, and only went public after remarks by Vice President Joe Biden nudged him along. When Obama finally did make his announcement, his words were carefully measured to tamp down any backlash. He spoke of dinnertime conversations with his daughters about treating people equally, and of abiding by the Golden Rule.

Romney, too, treated the issue gingerly, even as he disagreed with the president. He restated his opposition to legalising such marriages, but called it a "very tender and sensitive topic" and said he supported extending certain rights to gay couples.

Political psychologist Stan Renshon, a professor at City University of New York, said Romney has clearly decided that the benefits of sticking to a script outweigh any downsides.

"His No. 1 priority at this point is to establish himself as a bona fide alternative," Renshon says, "and the less risky he sounds, the more conventional, the more boring, the better off he is."

And Renshon said Obama's even demeanour helps him fend off accusations that he's too radical. The president's re-election argument is a recitation of promises kept and a plea for more time to deliver on those yet to be fulfilled.

For now, Obama doesn't see the need to strike out in new directions. His announcement on gay marriage, for all the commotion it generated, was largely seen as confirming what people already believed about him. And getting the word out early will make it feel like ancient history by Election Day in November.

Both candidates also have been wary in their interactions with the press — to the point that Romney's aides recently tried to physically bar reporters from approaching the candidate to question him as he shook hands with people standing along a rope line.

The Republican candidate later tried to smooth over the flap by paying an impromptu visit to reporters in the back of his campaign plane. But he took note of what a rarity that was by observing that his press aide was "about to pass out." And, no, he still didn't take questions.

Obama, for his part, is happy to use the press when it suits his purposes — he hastily scheduled a TV interview to reveal his shift on gay marriage — and to pummel reporters when that fits his campaign narrative.

In a talk to graduates at Barnard College earlier this month, Obama lamented that "faith in our institutions has never been lower, particularly when good news doesn't get the same kind of ratings as bad news anymore. Every day you receive a steady stream of sensationalism and scandal and stories with a message that suggest change isn't possible."

The candidates' wives also have been playing it safe for the most part.

Michelle Obama has largely steered clear of all the contentious talk about issues important to women — contraception, abortion, the Violence Against Women Act and more. Her standard speech at campaign fundraisers ticks off a list of accomplishments by her husband. Her public appearances largely focus on her two signature issues of fighting childhood obesity and supporting military families, both widely popular and non-political.

Ann Romney, for her part, generally sticks to a script while campaigning for her husband, sharing warm and humorous stories about Romney family life and the challenges of raising five boys.

David Ropeik, a Harvard professor and author of several books on risk, said it's no surprise that the candidates are being cautious "in a no-holds-barred, 24-7, scream-a-thon world, where any hint of what the other side might see as an error is guaranteed to explode."

But Ropeik said both men need to know that being too careful can do them more harm than good.

"Candidates take a huge risk by being so buttoned up that they fail to express human sincerity," Ropeik said. "It's risky not to be sincere — even though sincerity is risky."

As the campaign progresses, the candidates may well adopt more risky strategies to further their own ambitions, especially if the race remains close.

Obama, for example, raised eyebrows this week with a tough new ad that goes after Romney's record at the Bain Capital private equity firm. The ad quotes a former steelworker who compared the firm to a "vampire" that sucked the lifeblood out of companies.

The populist pitch may help fire up Obama's base of support but risks making it more difficult for him to attract voters in the political centre.



Business Plan Development Orientation with Speaker Mark Lang - Emailwire

(EMAILWIRE.COM, May 27, 2012 ) Detroit, MI The Entrepreneurial Roundtable is a group of aspiring entrepreneurs that meets the 1st Thursday of each month. The group is eagerly looking forward to a bonus meeting taking place on Friday morning, June 8 from 11am to 1pm.

Mark Lang will speak about starting a new business. He will present the all important first steps required to build a successful business. Topics to be covered include:

How to put a business plan together
What you need to know to put together a business plan that will show what your exact business needs are
Find out where there is money for business in Wayne County
Where you can get a loan for a business where one of the requirements is that you must have been turned down by two other banks

This meeting is free to attend and open to the public. There are no pre-registration requirements. This is a great opportunity to network and learn from local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. For more information about this event visit http://www.megaeveningevent.com/real-estate-event-details.php?id=469

The Business Plan Orientation meeting will be held at the Wayne County Community College Eastern Campus located at 5901 Conner St in Detroit. Visit http://www.megaeveningevent.com for details on all upcoming events.

About the Michigan Entrepreneurial Roundtable:
The Entrepreneurial Roundtable meets the 1st Thursday of every month from 6 9 pm to discuss challenges and rewards of business ownership and offer solutions to problems in todays economy. This club is open to the public, free to join and there are no pre-registration forms or requirements. Owning a business is not a requirement; everyone is welcome to attend meetings.


Mark Maupin
17177 Laurel Park Drive, N. Ste 142
Livonia, MI 48152

This press release was submitted by Right Now Marketing Group, LLC

Green Power's money woes linger - Bellingham Herald

PASCO -- Something is going on inside Green Power's space at the Big Pasco Industrial Park.

The lights are on and water is being used, say Port of Pasco officials. Some employees are working on grinding up piles of garbage, but exactly what is being done remains unclear.

Almost three years after the state halted construction on the plant that CEO Michael Spitzauer promises will turn garbage into fuel, Green Power still lacks the necessary permits to finish the project.

The company is half way through a six-month lease with the port and does not appear to be making much progress on the plant or on paying off debts, according to state officials and court records.

Spitzauer told the Herald in an email last week that his company has gotten through hard times and is now paying what it owes and creating jobs.

But Spitzauer still owes at least $21 million to former investors, employees and contractors, said Seattle attorney James Rigby, who is the U.S. trustee on Spitzauer's ongoing personal bankruptcy case.

Spitzauer says that amount is exaggerated.

Pasco plant stalled

Spitzauer first leased Port of Pasco property in May 2008. Previously, he had planned to build an $82 million plant in Fife inside the Puyallup tribal reservation to convert waste to diesel. That project never was built.

It's also unclear if Spitzauer has made any of the mobile biofuel-producing vehicles that he once proposed.

Green Power's partially built biofuels plant in Pasco was shut down in August 2009 because Spitzauer lacked the necessary permits from the state Department of Ecology.

But despite telling state officials that a new permit application would be filed, that hasn't happened, according to Ecology officials.

Green Power still owes the Department of Ecology a $42,000 fine for starting construction without the proper permit and for state staff time spent on his first attempt to get a permit. He must pay that before filing a new application.

Spitzauer, who has told the Herald he lives in the Seattle area, said he's paid the penalty and is in the permitting stages.

Jani Gilbert, Department of Ecology communications manager for Eastern Washington, said Spitzauer emailed state officials Tuesday saying a check was in the mail, but they have not received the payment nor a new permit application.

Spitzauer has had similar problems getting city permits.

Green Power had an air conditioning system installed at the Pasco plant in March without receiving the required city permit, said Mitch Nickolds, Pasco's inspection services manager.

According to the contract Spitzauer signed with Horst Inc. of Kennewick, which installed the units, Green Power was responsible for getting the necessary permits.

Nickolds, who inspected the work earlier this month, said Spitzauer agreed to begin the permit application and pay any penalties.

The usual fine is to pay double the permit fee, which is based on the value of the work, he said.

Spitzauer applied for the building permit Wednesday after the Herald asked him about the issue. Nickolds said it would take about 10 days for the permit to be reviewed.

At the same time, Spitzauer also applied to renew his expired 2009 building permit for remodeling the office that never had a final inspection, Nickolds said.

Steve Horst said he likely still would be waiting to receive the last $16,000 that Green Power owed his company for the $30,000 air conditioning installation project if he hadn't told Spitzauer that he'd reported the payment problem to the Port of Pasco and the Herald.

Financial struggles

On the other side of the state, Spitzauer continues to face personal financial problems.

He has been unable to get a judge to drop a bankruptcy case he filed in 2010 in Western Washington.

He filed for bankruptcy protection three other times that same year, then asked to withdraw his requests and the dismissals were granted.

In the recent case, he has not provided required information about his debts and has failed to appear at meetings scheduled with creditors, according to court documents.

Spitzauer's creditors claim they are owed $21 million and have taken the lead in pursuing the case, which isn't the norm, said Rigby, the U.S. trustee overseeing the current case. He called the case unusual.

Spitzauer estimated in court documents that his debts are less than $1 million.

So far, Spitzauer has turned over $55,000 to the trustee. And $50,000 of that was a payment that Spitzauer made to keep from having to appear at a deposition.

The judge refused to discharge Spitzauer's debts, so his creditors can continue to try to collect what they're owed. In the mean time, Rigby said he has found no more assets for the creditors and plans to close the case.

Spitzauer told the Herald this week that his bankruptcy case is private and that he has settled some debts and is arranging to settle others.

But Rajan Babaria, with Texas-based Chakra Energy Corp., which is among four investors who claim Spitzauer owes them $16 million, said in an email to the Herald that Spitzauer has not paid his company anything.

Chakra Energy claims to be owed about $2.4 million, but Babaria doesn't think his company will ever be paid.

Lingering Tri-City debts

Part of the bankruptcy is a $3.6 million judgment and interest owed to a former employee who sued in Benton County Superior Court.

James Osterloh, who was chief engineer for Green Power before he resigned two years into a five-year contract, told the Herald that Spitzauer has been making some payments on his May 2010 judgment.

Osterloh sued Spitzauer and Green Power in August 2009 for using Osterloh's Social Security number and other employment information to open credit card accounts in Osterloh's name and charge at least $54,000.

Spitzauer initially agreed to pay off the credit cards, but when he didn't, Osterloh got a court judgment against him, court documents show.

American Express Bank has sued Spitzauer in Franklin County Superior Court for repayment of the $54,000, according to court documents. That case is not settled.

In addition, two Tri-City companies have filed in Franklin County, claiming they haven't been paid for their work for Green Power.

American Electric of Richland said it's owed $500,000, and Twin City Metals of Kennewick is owed $48,000, according to court judgments.

Elaine Fischer, spokeswoman for the state Department of Labor and Industries, said Green Power still owes the state about $27,000 in unpaid wages, interest and penalties. The agency also received a wage complaint from an employee alleging the worker wasn't paid overtime for work between September 2011 and January. Fischer said the complaint is pending.

Spitzauer told the Herald he has a payment agreement with the agency.

While he has been making payments on unpaid workers compensation insurance, Fischer said he has not paid the wage claims and does not have a payment agreement for them.

Because of previous problems with Green Power's late payments, the Port of Pasco required Spitzauer to pay $233,867 in advance for his current six-month lease and water and sewer utilities. That lease expires Aug. 31.

Spitzauer will have to come back before the port commission to request a lease extension, said Jim Toomey, the port's executive director.

Spitzauer said he plans to ask for a lease renewal and more space at the port. He told the Herald that his company is doing well and is assembling mobile biofuels units at Big Pasco for customers.

"We are delivering systems and we are growing," he said in an email. "We are proud of what we do."

Money Mole Assess the Effects of the Rise in Unsecured Loans - YAHOO!

Following recent reports of a dramatic increase in the levels of unsecured lending, the team at Money Mole have assessed the effects of this and issued advice on how to seek the most recommendable loans.

(PRWEB UK) 27 May 2012

It has been announced that the percentage of people being offered unsecured loans is on a steep upwards curve. This has caused alarm among many, but the team at Money Mole have provided suggestions on when and where secured loans are appropriate and how to reach the right agreement. One member of the team offered this guidance:

“Through our price comparison site, we allow our customers access to the whole market, and we’re able to put them in touch with the most reputable companies offering the best rates for secured loans, based responsibly on the consumer’s personal demographic”.

  •     Where the lending of unsecured loans used to be dominated by small lenders, large banks have become increasingly eager to grant these facilities to even those with a poor credit history. The team at Money Mole are strongly suggesting that their users give serious consideration to their own financial situation, and the long-term effects of unsecured loans before making any decisions. While many people find the service incredibly useful, it is not advisable to base your eligibility purely on the advice of your loan provider.

  •     In order to avoid finding yourself in a contract with an irresponsible loan provider, always conduct your own research before signing. The financial experts at Money Mole have also recommended being wary of companies who do not appear to be selective in any way in the process of offering loans or who appear to target students. The recommend always selecting a company who are willing and able to provide all relevant information regarding terms and conditions as well as on customer entitlements.
  •     Money Mole have advised anyone looking into the prospect of taking out an unsecured loan, not to panic upon hearing this news. When taken out responsibly, and for relatively small amounts of money, these loans can be a really effective relief from financial struggle. Unsecured loans also normally involve lower interest rates, often with a typical APR of around 6%.

Based in Essex and London, MoneyMole is one of the UK’s leading price comparison sites. Specialising in allowing their customers access to companies offering a range of financial services including the arrangement of secured loans, unsecured loans, re-mortgage, or life insurance, the firm have a trusted reputation for helping people from a range of financial backgrounds.

Ben Austin
Money Mole
0800 088 6000
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