The Agricultural Act of 2014 – also known as the Farm Bill – was passed by Congress earlier this year. We talked with Secretary Tom Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture about what he thinks should happen next:
On agricultural business in rural America:
“I think it’s important for the folks to understand that there’s great profit opportunity and business opportunity in rural America. We’re about 75 percent of the land mass in the United States. The vast majority of America is located in rural areas. It’s where most of our food comes from, a lot of our water. So there’s an importance to this place and that’s why I think it’s worthy of attention and worthy of investment.”
Vilsack says we need to think more about agricultural products beyond food and fuel. He also said the infrastructure needs of rural America are well documented and need improvement:
“The American Society of Civil Engineers suggests that our infrastructure would rank a D+ - well, that’s not good enough for us to be competitive in a global economy.”
Rural America has had a hard time bouncing back from the recession. He says this bill will supply for jobs in that area:
“There are a lot of people looking for work that maybe have a community college education, maybe a high school education. These construction jobs, these trade jobs are great opportunities for them to rebuild the middle class.”
Growing waistlines, a savvy clothing industry and good old-fashioned stubbornness have kept many men in pants that don't fit. It doesn't have to be this way.
It's become an article of faith among supporters of capital punishment that abolitionists are doing everything they can to undermine executions, putting up hurdles and then complaining about delays.
Alan “Ace” Greenberg, who rose from a Bear Stearns clerk in 1949 to become the firm’s CEO in 1978, died Friday at 86. The cause was complications from cancer.
When he joined the investment bank, it was a little, scrappy company. It rose to become one of the industry’s biggest, but never lost its outsider image, until it nearly collapsed in 2008. JPMorganChase acquired the company at a bargain basement price, in one of the first moves of the impending financial crisis.
Ace Greenberg came from another era of Wall Streeters. He had no Ivy League degree. He was born in Kansas, and he grew up in Oklahoma.
“He liked to gamble, he liked magic, he liked bridge, and, of course, the only way to legally gamble at that time was to go to Wall Street,” says William D. Cohan, author of “House of Cards, A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street,” a book that chronicles the fall of Bear Stearns.
During his career, Greenberg’s trades made a lot of money, and by 1978, he was the boss, instilling in the company a culture both of risk taking and frugality, reusing envelopes and giving new employees welcome packets with a note and some supplies.
As former Bear Stearns trader Lee Munson remembers it, the note said, “You have 50 rubber bands and a box of paper clips, and use them wisely throughout your career at Bear Stearns because you’re not going to get any more.”
Greenberg stepped aside as CEO in 1993, making way for his successor, James Cayne. He had first met Cayne playing bridge.
“Bridgeplaying was the Facebook of their time,” says Cohan.
As Bear Stearns was starting to unravel in 2007, Cohan says Cayne was in communicado at a bridge tournament. And, he says Greenberg developed a grudge against his former friend and successor for driving the firm into the ground.
“That, of course, ignores Ace’s role in it because Ace was part of the firm’s DNA,” Cohan says.
Greenberg was on the executive committee when the firm was sold to JPMorganChase. Greenberg told host Kai Ryssdal on this program in 2010 that he didn’t have much influence by that point.
“I did what I could. I tried as hard as I could. Kai, you have to understand that I was a very very small shareholder of Bear Stearns during this period,” Greenberg said.
He told “Marketplace” that what he regretted most were all the Bear Stearns workers who lost their jobs in 2008.
The Arizona senator said he believes in the death penalty, but that was not "an acceptable way of carrying it out."
As the song goes, "Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!" That is, unless you're getting paid the federal minimum wage like Mary Poppins.
Or, rather, Kristen Bell as Mary Poppins in a Funny or Die video poking fun at how difficult it is to live on $7.25 an hour:Mary Poppins Quits with Kristen Bell from Funny Or Die
Aside from lamenting that she has to buy her own birds (from Mexico, apparently), Poppins points out the irony of CEOs' growing paychecks, while she can't even live above the poverty line. Our own Paddy Hirsch has a video on this phenomenon. He doesn't sing:
Can't this British nanny catch a break? Or at least get a new umbrella?