Bank of America to pay nearly $17B in mortgage pact, says CBS News

Are American banks redeeming themselves by paying billions in financial settlements back to the U.S. taxpayers?  CBS News reports on one U.S. Department of Justice investigation led to the largest settlement so far in 2014.  http://cbsn.ws/1q2HHXz

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Is technology replacing the human workforce?

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

If you look forward to the next 50 years you might not like what you see when it comes to the American workforce. The workforce could be robots and not humans. I am not trying to bring up a Dooms Day scenario, but if you look back 50 years ago, computer technology has grown so rapidly that humans don’t seem to be catching up — but the robots are and so are the corporations that might see the future human workforce as a liability or poor investment in labor.

After watching the video below I became concerned more about the low-wage worker as they might be replaced by a “bot” at a favored fast-food joint or industrial manufacturing job for more efficiency. The initial investment of a bot may be substantial, yet in the long run, it could pay for itself. Through bot technology, corporations don’t have to worry about wages, medical insurance or staff vacations. So where do the low-wage workers go for jobs in the future?

Not only low-wage workers should be concerned about the bots. As computers get smarter and continue to retain more information, computer problem-solving white collar workers could be replaced by hardware and software workers, namely advanced super-computers. So where do the higher salaried white collar workers find jobs in the future?

As Americans we have become more and more dependent on computer technology. We love our smart phones, tablets and laptops. These instruments have made our lives easier and computer technology has infiltrated into every aspect of our lives: cars, refrigerators, maps, education, publishing, supermarkets, advertising, social groups, farming, advanced manufacturing.  Americans are capable of producing more crops, goods and information than in anytime in human history. And we are enjoying the comforts of this technology.

But at what point will computer technology replace the jobs Americans hold today? What will a child born in 2014 need for education and job training to provide for their families – shelter, medical needs and food on the table?  It is something to seriously contemplate, or maybe you should just Google it.

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New film to help students take action on global water crisis

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

We take it for granted when we turn on the faucet and clean drinking water  appears and is plentiful.  Yet, throughout the world more than 1 billion people do not have clean drinking water.  The Thirst Project, an proactive student organization hitting the clean water problem head on, says  80 percent of global diseases are water-borne and result from drinking contaminated water.  These diseases kill more than 2.2 million people per year.

In a new movie, “Earth to Echo,” the stars of the film receive “distress signals” on their phones from someone who needs their help.

Students can join The Thirst Project and “Earth to Echo” to take action against the global water crisis without having to give, donate, or raise any of their own money. All you have to do is TEXT the keyword ECHO (in all caps) followed by your message for hope and encouragement to someone in a developing community without safe, clean drinking water to 51555. For every message we receive, the movie “Earth to Echo” will donate to The Thirst Project to build wells to give clean water to those who need it most. Not only that, but we will capture the actual messages we receive and install them on murals on the wells funded by this campaign. Then, go see the movie “Earth to Echo” in theaters everywhere July 2014. Visit www.ThirstProject.org/EarthToEcho to learn how you can get involved today!

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Occupy Our Homes Atlanta protests Fannie Mae executive at press club event

APC protest photo

An Occupy Our Homes Atlanta protester stood up during Egbert Perry’s conversation with Atlanta Press Club guests. – Survivingtimes.com photo

By Sharon Dunten, editor of Survivingtimes.com

Protesters from Occupy Our Homes Atlanta today crashed the Atlanta Press Club during a luncheon for Egbert Perry, Integral CEO and Fannie Mae board chair at the Commerce Club in Atlanta.

After the lunch and an introductory conversation with Perry,  APC facilitator and board member, Maria Saporta,  noticed the Occupy members starting to spreading themselves throughout the meeting room, standing in between tables and chairs, and also holding up signs and distributing printed materials stating, “Shame on Fannie Mae.”  Saporta asked the protesters repeatedly to sit down and remain quiet.

“What Fannie Mae has done to this country is criminal,” said the protester closest to the podium where Perry was speaking.   But not heeding her demand, she announced the program was over.  Perry was whisked away by his staff as Occupy members encircled him for a direct talk.

In his short stay as a highlighted speaker, Perry did say that the city of Atlanta has “an absent vision and is left with opportunities to cannibalize” both at the urban and rural levels in Georgia. He said Atlanta is not a city of collaborators, and leadership does not exist to make investments in infrastructures including transportation, education and water issues.  “The metro area (Atlanta) is separated by large distances,” said Perry in regard to the city’s public transportation system.

The city of Atlanta started discussing the MARTA system (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit System) in the 1950s, but the first bore hole was not made until June of 1979.  With $12.9 million in their pocket, the vision was to be Atlanta’s primary bus and rail transportation system.  By the 2000s, MARTA rail line only expanded to one stop north of Sandy Springs and as far south as the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. To the east, the last stop ended at Indian Creek and the western stops ended at Bankhead and another stop inside the 285 beltway

Egbert Perry

“It ought to be a ‘no brained,'” said Perry. As far away as the state of Connecticut there are effective transportation services to provide an infrastructure up and down the East Coast, he said.

A U.S. veteran, Mark Harris, also interrupted Perry’s conversation with APC guests.  He said Fannie Mae evicted him from his home. Literature distributed by protesters stated that Harris was only $100 away from a compromise to keep his property, when Fannie Mae evicted him.

Hunger group provides way for gardeners and farmers help food pantries

As the weather becomes consistently warmer throughout the nation, many gardeners’ and farmers’ minds turn to the land and the spring planting season. But their thoughts also make considerations for the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, Feeding America, where food and grocery products will help feed more than 37 million low-income Americans through a network of more than 200 food banks in the U.S.

If gardeners and farmers wish to help their local food banks, Feeding America suggests the following steps:

Contact the local Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers organization and help contribute a bushel, a dollar or an hour. The organization provides 33 million pounds of food, volunteer hours and has given more than $800,000 to local food banks and pantries in 2013.  Contact jborys@feedingamerican.org for more information.

Farmers and families that live in rural areas might consider designating acres to donate their crops to local food banks or maybe taking a portion of their crop’s sale and donating it to local book food pantries.  InvestAnAcre@feedingamerica.org.

Also, with more than 84 million households with gardens in the U.S., many gardeners are planting an extra row of produce for soup kitchens and food pantries to help feed the hungry. Plant A Row hotline is (887) 492-2727 to find a campaign in the area.

Feeding American is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. The organization provides food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in communities across the U.S. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people they serve; educates the public about hunger issues; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit Feeding America.org or go on InvestAnAcre@feedingamerica.org or go to Twitter at Twitter.com/Feeding America.

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The day in the life of a homeless person

Through the use of a 35 mm camera carried by a homeless person, viewers of HomelessGoPro can experience first hand what it is like to be Homeless.

Most Americans have never experienced what it is like to be homeless.  Through a San Francisco project called Homeless GoPro, photos and reports are developed to build awareness around homeless individuals’ daily interactions, as a way to experience them together and also address another aspect of homelessness – the empathy divide.

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How long will it take for the unemployed to find a job?

While market reports seem to be noting an upswing toward recovery in the U.S. economy, there are still many people who are unemployed that lost their jobs as a result of the Great Recession.  How long will it take for these individuals to find a job … a lasting job …?  The Brookings Institute Papers on Economic Activity reveals:

“The short-term unemployment rate is a much stronger predictor of inflation and real wage growth than the overall unemployment rate in the U.S. Even in good times, the long-term unemployed are on the margins of the labor market, with diminished job prospects and high labor force withdrawal rates, and as a result they exert little pressure on wage growth or inflation.”  See the study report here.

In addition, a FiveThirtyEight analysis says Americans who had the misfortune of losing their jobs during the height of the most recent recession in 2009 were more than four times as likely to end up out of work for a year or longer than those who lost their jobs during the comparatively good economy of 2007.  See analysis report here.

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