Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shareholders Behind the PUSH to Break RJR?

Here is what I read today from a tobacco farmworker site;

Many, if not most, of RJ Reynolds’ shareholders are actually hoping the company will go out of business. These shareholders are members of special interest groups who also lobby for anti-tobacco legislation, and their decisions regarding the company’s operations and marketing are aimed at sinking RJR. Keep in mind that when a business files for bankruptcy, the shareholders are the first to get paid, so putting RJR out of business is not only beneficial to these groups ideologically, but also economically.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ma. High Court Says "OK" to Taxing Foreign Corporations

Chasing Tax Revenue Across State Lines

Well WE THE PEOPLE think it is about time! Tax foreign corporations doing business in our towns, cities and states!

Cash-starved states like Massachusetts are going after businesses that profit from their residents but are headquartered outside their borders

By Jessica Silver-Greenberg

June 1, 2009

Companies have long flocked to low-tax locales like Delaware and South Dakota. But those tax advantages may soon be in jeopardy. States, which collectively could face a $50 billion budget shortfall over the next two years, are scrambling for cash and may start hitting up companies for more money—even companies outside their borders. "The states are turning over every rock for money," says Richard D. Pomp, a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law. "If they haven't been looking at the issue, they will."

Massachusetts officials just got the green light from the state's highest court to collect taxes from a multitude of companies headquartered elsewhere. Last year the state moved to collect more than $2 million in taxes from credit-card giant Capital One Financial (COF). The state claimed that Cap One made a sizable chunk of money from cardholders who reside there, and so the company had to fork over taxes on the income.

Cap One balked, taking the matter to the state's Appellate Tax Board. The company's argument: It didn't have a branch or an office in the state, the traditional standard for collecting corporate income tax. Cap One lost the case and a subsequent appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in March. "The uncertainty and burden of trying to comply with state-by-state standards creates a significant hardship for businesses trying to navigate the economic consequences of their decisions," says Ryan Schneider, president of card services for Cap One.

Cap One is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. If the nation's top court takes up the matter—and rules in the company's favor—it could halt the momentum nationwide to tax out-of-state companies. But the U.S. Supreme Court may not be sympathetic to Cap One. The justices refused to review a similar case in 2007 involving MBNA (BAC), now owned by Bank of America (BAC). Indiana courts decided the credit-card issuer owed taxes on fees and interest paid by local cardholders. Like Cap One, MBNA didn't have an office in the state. The differences between the two cases aren't meaningful, explains Washington (D.C.) attorney Donald M. Griswold, who represented MBNA in the matter. That's why, he says, "there's a snowball's chance in hell" the Supreme Court will hear Cap One's case.

The credit-card industry isn't the only one facing a bigger tax bill if more states follow Massachusetts' lead. Tax experts and lawyers figure states also may go after insurers, online retailers, software makers, and other companies that mainly operate in a single state but have customers across the U.S. Earlier this year the New York Supreme Court backed a state law that requires (AMZN) and other online retailers to charge sales tax on residents' purchases. "The big question here is whether you have to pay taxes where you don't have a physical presence," says Walter Hellerstein, a professor at the University of Georgia School of Law. "That's a huge dollar issue for companies.

How huge? Massachusetts tax officials estimate they will be able to collect an extra $20 million from companies following the Cap One ruling and another against Toys 'R' Us. That's a significant sum in the state, which collected $1 billion last year in corporate income taxes, according to a recent study by Ernst & Young. "This is an issue states should be paying attention to," says Kevin Brown, general counsel at the Massachusetts Revenue Dept. "There's a lot of money at stake."

Silver-Greenberg is a reporter for

Friday, May 29, 2009

Logan Co. Health Commissioner Lyin' 2 da Peeps?

Read the ProMed posting below very carefully, especially the parts I have embolded, for there you will see the lie;


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Wed 27 May 2009
Source: The Columbus Dispatch [edited]

Officials at Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine [Ohio] say they don't
know how 2 women in separate rooms of the maternity ward -- one of whom
later died -- contracted bacterial meningitis late last week. But they say
there is no threat of an outbreak and that expectant mothers ready to
deliver their babies at the Logan County [Ohio] hospital have no cause for
concern. The hospital has pulled batches of any medications the women may
have been given and what remains of any supplies that were used and they
will be tested as a possible source, said hospital spokeswoman Tammy
Allison. She did not know whether hospital employees would be tested for
the bacteria.

The 2 women delivered babies on Thursday [?21 May 2009] and showed signs of
bacterial meningitis on Friday [?22 May, 2009], Allison said. They both
were transferred to Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus [Ohio] on
Friday afternoon, and one died, Allison said. She said the other woman
remains in critical condition. Both infants were transferred to Nationwide
Children's Hospital in Columbus as a precaution, Allison said. She said
federal privacy regulations prevent her from releasing the women's names or
the condition of the babies.

Riverside spokesman Mark Hopkins said [one of the women], 30, of Huntsville
[Ohio], was transferred from Mary Rutan and died on Friday. Her daughter,
was in good condition yesterday [26 May 2009] at Children's, a spokeswoman

Allison said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the
local and state health departments, have been contacted and an internal
investigation is under way. The maternity unit is licensed for 12 beds,
according to the Ohio Department of Health. It remains open, though Allison
would not say how many mothers and babies were there yesterday [26 May 2009].

Bacterial meningitis is spread from person to person through respiratory
droplets. It infects the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and
can be fatal without early treatment
. If detected early, it can be
successfully treated with strong antibiotics. Serious after-effects can
include brain damage, hearing loss, limb amputation, and learning
disabilities. However, Allison said that Logan County health commissioner
Dr Boyd Hoddinott advised the hospital that the illness is not contagious

and represents no danger to patients. Hoddinott was out of the office late
yesterday [26 May 2009] and could not be reached for comment. Symptoms
include fever, vomiting, an intense headache, and stiffness of the neck.

About 2600 people in the United States contract bacterial meningitis each
year, according to CDC. In 2006, 634 people died of meningitis, according
to the latest data from CDC. There were about 58 cases in Ohio last year
[2008], according to preliminary numbers from the state, said spokesman
Kristopher Weiss. This year [2009], the department has logged 21 cases, not
including the 2 in Logan County. At any given time, an estimated 5 per cent
to 25 per cent of people are carrying the bacteria but have no symptoms.
Those people play a major role in transmitting the disease.

Two vaccines are available for protection against meningitis, and federal
health officials recommend vaccination for young people, especially college
students. The disease is most common in infants, but no vaccine is approved
for use in people younger than 2 years old.

[byline: H Zachariah, M Crane]

communicated by:
HealthMap Alerts via ProMED-mail

[Although not specified in the news report, the cause of meningitis in the
2 cases in Bellefontaine, Ohio, from the limited information presented, is
presumably _Neisseria meningitidis_. The bacteria are transmitted from
person to person via droplets of respiratory secretions mostly from
asymptomatic nasopharyngeal carriers of the microorganism. It is estimated
that between 10 to 25 per cent of the population carry _N. meningitidis_ at
any given time, and the carriage rate may be much higher in epidemic
situations. Close and prolonged contact (such as kissing, sneezing and
coughing on someone, living in close quarters or dormitories (military
recruits, students), sharing eating or drinking utensils, etc.) facilitate
the spread of the disease.
The average incubation period for meningococcal
meningitis is 4 days, ranging between 2 and 10 days
(), so that
transmission within the hospital setting to these 2 obstetrics patients,
who showed signs of bacterial meningitis within 24 hours of delivery, is
unlikely. Although details about lengths of hospital stay prior to delivery
are not given in the news report for the 2 meningitis cases, it would seem
more likely that the microorganism was transmitted from asymptomatic
nasopharyngeal carriers in the community.

A quadrivalent A, C, Y, and W135 meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra)
was licensed in the United States in January 2005. The conjugate vaccine
induces a T-cell-dependent response, resulting in an improved immune
response, providing long-lasting immunity and preventing nasopharyngeal
carriage of _N. meningitidis_ and thus reducing bacterial transmission of
this microorganism
(). On 18 Oct
2007, the FDA approved expanding the age range for Menactra, a bacterial
meningitis vaccine, to include children ages 2 to 10 years. Previously, the
vaccine was approved by the FDA for people ages 11 to 55 years. See also

Confirmation of the identity of the pathogen involved would be appreciated.
DNA fingerprinting of the isolates would help in epidemiologic linkage.

The town of Bellefontaine, Ohio lies north of the city of Columbus, Ohio.
The Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine, Ohio can be located on

and the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at
. - Mod.ML]

[see also:
Meningitis, meningococcal - USA (02): (FL) 20090424.1547
Meningitis, meningococcal - USA: (PA) 20090218.0674
Meningococcal disease cluster - USA (NY) (02) 20060630.1808
Meningococcal disease cluster - USA (NY): RFI 20060607.1584]

ProMED-mail makes every effort to verify the reports that
are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
information, and of any statements or opinions based
thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held
responsible for errors or omissions or held liable for any
damages incurred as a result of use or reliance upon posted
or archived material.
Become a ProMED-mail Premium Subscriber at

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Too Many People? I said "Pop-Con," Not "Pop-Corn,"................... You Dummie

Elite Want Two-Thirds Of The "Dumb People" Wiped Off The Face of the Earth

Posted by: "PrisonPlanet"
Fri May 29, 2009 3:40 am (PDT)

Let the people do what they want, you get Woodstock. Let the government do what it wants, you get WACO!....Mary.

Billionaire: Elite Want Two-Thirds Of The "Dumb People" Wiped Off The Planet

Kevin Trudeau personally spoke with Bilderberg members who brazenly
advocated mass culling of human population

Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Billionaire entrepreneur Kevin Trudeau, who has been constantly harassed and
sued by the FTC for promoting alternative health treatments, told The Alex
Jones Show yesterday that elitists and Bilderberg members who he had
personally conversed with spoke of their desire to see "two thirds of the
dumb people" wiped off the planet.

Trudeau admitted that he was in Greece recently and implied that he attended
the Bilderberg Group meeting, while also stating that he personally knew
many Bilderberg members who he "conversed with on a regular basis".

Overpopulation is a primary concern of the elite, and it was the subject of
a recent clandestine meeting of billionaire "philanthropists" in New York.
Elitists veil their agenda with the humanitarian rhetoric of the need to
naturally reduce world population by means of contraception and education,
whereas in reality, as we have exhaustively documented, their program has
its origins in the inhumane pseudo-science of eugenics which first
flourished in Britain, and the ideology of racial and genetic superiority
that was later adapted by the Nazis with the aid of Rockefeller funding.

"Some of the conversations you have on the 200 foot yachts off the coast of
Monaco - you can't believe what really goes on behind closed doors," said
Trudeau, noting that Alex Jones had exposed such issues in his documentary
films, notably Endgame. The billionaire said that he had recently spent time
in Monaco with Crown Prince Albert II.

Trudeau stated that elitists he had talked to thought their plans were for
the greater good of humanity but that they believed there were two classes
of people on earth, the ruling elite and the "worker bees," , and that the
elite were defined not necessarily by money or power, but by their genetic

Trudeau shockingly detailed conversations with elitists during which they
brazenly admitted their desire for massive global population reduction.

"I've been sitting on the boats off the coast of Barbados with the guys who
basically said we need to get two-thirds of the dumb people off the planet -
I've been in the meetings," said Trudeau, adding that such words were not
spoken in an evil manner, but in a "matter of fact" way under the pretext
that such a thing would be for the good of planet earth.

Revealingly, Trudeau said that elitists see Alex Jones as an annoyance but
tolerate him because they believe Jones as well as Trudeau himself are,
"desensitizing people to these realities," - which in a way works to their

"I've been told that's why I still get invited on the yachts," added

Trudeau aid that the elite was divided into two camps, one larger faction
that, "Categorically believes they are genetically superior than the rest of
the population," and another smaller faction, mainly comprising of younger
people, that are feeding Trudeau information who, "Have come to the
conclusion that some people are smarter than others, some people are more
talented than others, some people are more motivated to work..but everyone
should be allowed to succeed or fail based on their own choices or
initiative.. and that's where there's a split and a division right now at the
highest levels," said Trudeau.

We would urge people to listen to the full interview with Kevin Trudeau via
You Tube , as it is packed with eyebrow-raising information about the mind
set of the elite and their future agenda, particularly in relation to the
economy. Alternatively, support us by subscribing to Prison and
get access to daily high-quality Alex Jones Show audio and video archives
along with a plethora of other multimedia.

http://www.prisonpl billionaire- elite-want- two-thirds- of-the-dumb- people-wiped- off-the-planet. html

Whats all the Hootin' & Hollerin' Goin' on at Hooters? Employees Sue

Hooters Employees in California Sue Over Labor Law Violations

Eight former Hooters employees have filed a class action against the owners and senior managers of the Dublin, San Francisco, Campbell and Fremont franchises, alleging numerous employment law violations.

Specifically, the "Hooters Girls" allege that they were not given rest and meal breaks during their shifts; that they had to buy their own trademark hot pants, T-shirt and pantyhose uniforms from the restaurants; that they had to pay or face discipline for cash shortages or customer walkouts; and that they weren't paid for work at special events.

The damages sought in the suit will depend on the number of employees who join the class action.

Hooters California Labor Law Class Action Legal Help
If you or a loved one has suffered damages in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.

Click on title above for a free evaluation of your possible case


FDIC: Pickin' on the small fries again; Otsego bank ordered to clean up its practices

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. disclosed early Friday that it issued a cease and desist order to Riverview Community Bank of Otsego, for "unsound banking practices" and violation of federal bank laws.

By CHRIS SERRES, Star Tribune

Last update: May 29, 2009 - 10:35 AM
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. disclosed early Friday that it issued a cease and desist order to Riverview Community Bank of Otsego, for "unsound banking practices" and violation of federal bank laws.
Riverview, which has branches in Otsego and Anoka and $127 million in assets, was cited by the FDIC for engaging in "hazardous lending and lax collection practices," as well as operating with excessive loan losses and inadequate capital and reserves. The FDIC also claims Riverview violated federal rules on real estate appraisals, among other allegations.

Rick Anderson, president of Riverview, was not immediately available for comment.

Some 11.9 percent of the bank's loan portfolio was classified as "noncurrent," or at least 90 days or more past due and not accruing interest, as of March 31, according to FDIC data. That's nearly four times the average among 429 banks statewide. Riverview's Tier 1 capital, a key measure of its ability to absorb future loan losses, was a mere 4.5 percent of assets -- just above the federal regulatory minimum of 4 percent.

The FDIC ordered Riverview to cease paying any dividends without the authority of the government, and to increase its Tier 1 capital ratio to at least 8 percent. The bank must also develop a written plan for reducing and monitoring its portfolio of loans.

More than 15 banks in Minnesota have received cease-and-desist orders from federal regulators since early 2008. Many of the loans community banks in this state made during the housing boom are turning sour at an accelerating rate, eating into banks' capital and cash reserves.

Riverview consented to the enforcement action, which was issued on April 7 but made public today, without admitting or denying the allegations.

Chris Serres • 612-673-4308

Reality Check Time; The New American Economy: A Rising Tide that Lifts only Yachts

Click on title above for a very interesting and insightful read first published waaay back in 2004....

NYC to Charge Homeless for Shelter Stays

Geezum. Why dont they just re-establish debtors prison so they can throw all (of us) poor folk in there and not have to worry about our housing, food, or clothing? Once we are tossed into these prisons, we will probably be forced to under-go mental health evaluation, be diagnosed as "social-defectives," and be forced to take mental health meds. We will most definatley lose our right to vote and/or bear arms as well, as they are working on that already. How long before debtors prison or work-houses for the poor are a reality in the USA again? Seems like that is where we are heading. None of the Powers-That-Be seem to give a dam about the poor anymore. Nevermind the war on "terror," lets get back to the war on poverty! Note to the PTB: Fix America First, and Move forward, not back.

Charging Homeless Families Rent is Wrong Take Action!

Write a Letter NOW to Lawmakers

On May 1, New York City started charging families living in homeless shelters for their stay in shelter. Children living in shelter have gone through the traumatic experience of losing their home and their families struggle every day. Now these families must struggle against another wave of misguided policies.

Under rules proposed by the City of New York, many homeless children and adults will be ejected from shelter to the streets for failing to pay shelter "rent," or if a homeless family's welfare case is suspended or closed, which happens routinely due to bureaucratic error.

CHF believes this policy is WRONG. We need your support to tell state lawmakers to pass legislation barring this practice. Please write a letter now. Click on title above to go to our action center;

Exploding Debt Threatens America

John Taylor

Published: May 26 2009 20:48

Standard and Poor’s decision to downgrade its outlook for British sovereign debt from “stable” to “negative” should be a wake-up call for the US Congress and administration. Let us hope they wake up.

Under President Barack Obama’s budget plan, the federal debt is exploding. To be precise, it is rising – and will continue to rise – much faster than gross domestic product, a measure of America’s ability to service it. The federal debt was equivalent to 41 per cent of GDP at the end of 2008; the Congressional Budget Office projects it will increase to 82 per cent of GDP in 10 years. With no change in policy, it could hit 100 per cent of GDP in just another five years.

Click on title above to read full article;

Thursday, May 28, 2009

GoldmanSachs Financial Legerdemain or 10 Sleazy Ways They Distracted Us While Pocketing Billions from the Treasury

By Nomi Prins, AlterNet. Posted May 28, 2009.

How Goldman deftly diverted attention away from the tens of billions it has taken from the public.

The best illusionists deflect audience focus away from the heart of the trick until the final moment of revelation. The way Goldman Sachs has worked its multi-prong bailout is like that. During last week's chatter about submitting their TARP payback application, the firm deftly diverted attention away from all the real money they took from the public.

Now, I have no problem with Goldman repaying their cut of the TARP money. (note: I’m using them as an example here because they’re the best financial illusionists out there, but I could easily pick JPM Chase or others for different reasons.) Plus, I sat through enough internal earnings meetings when I was at Goldman to know that CFO, David Viniar, can make the squirrels in my backyard seem as rich as Warren Buffet.

True, most of finance is based on the ability of Wall Street to make money by convincing investors that what they’re hocking on any given day has value. Reality is as good as your best sales pitch. Which is exactly what months of PR-spun words regarding strength and TARP payback intentions are. And why they have translated into billions of dollars worth of increased firm value as investors buying their myth of health drive up the stock price, which plump the pockets of the chieftains that own the stock and options. The thing is, though, that Goldman took far more public money than their little piece of TARP. So did all the other banks. In fact, the finance sector got $7.5 trillion in loans and assistance from the FED, $1.6 trillion from the FDIC, $2.4 from the Treasury (including TARP) and another $1.5 from joint federal efforts.

But, let’s focus on the ten steps of Goldman’s big public rip-off: (Or keep $42 billion give back $10 billion and see your stock price double)

1) Enlist assistants. a) The Treasury department -- under both former Goldman Sachs CEO, Henry Paulson, and Wall Street-mentored Tim Geithner -- has worked really hard at ensuring our (and Congress’s) attention is on the measly $700 billion of TARP money that Congress approved last fall, and not on the other $12.3 trillion of cheap Fed loans, FDIC backed guarantees and other favors the banks got. And, it kept going last week, as Geithner told Congress, “While TARP is proving effective at improving the immediate stability of the financial system, the scope of the issues that the [Obama Administration and the Treasury] face extend beyond TARP to include striking the delicate balance between intervention and allowing market participants latitude to operate; devising a new financial regulatory structure for the future; and working through the tough problems of what form our government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, should take as we emerge from this difficult period." Translation: focus away from the Wall Street banks, while we try not to open them to any uncomfortable new restrictions.
b) The FED, which has kept a cloak of secrecy around its $7.5 trillion giveaways (they call them facilities) including which bank got what deal. This is to “protect” us from the truth.

2) Become a bank. On Sunday night, September 21st, while Paulson and Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke were talking global catastrophe, Goldman and Morgan Stanley sidestepped the standard 5-day antitrust waiting period to receive instant Fed approval to become bank holding companies. Did they ever make consumer loans or take deposits like other bank holding companies? No. Have they since? No.
3) Use that status to access the FDIC’s Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP). That way you can raise money through issuing FDIC guaranteed debt, at much lower rates than if you had to raise it on your own. Do this to the tune of $28 billion if you’re Goldman, $23 billion if you’re Morgan Stanley, and $40 billion if you’re JPM Chase.)

Click on title above for full article;

U.S. Recession May Soon End, Economists Say

Ha Ha Ha and I am laughing all the way to the BANK---ruptcy court, that is!
Dont believe the hype. They are just trying to build up confidence to get us to spend-baby-spend. The worst is yet to come and we will be "in it" for a long long time, maybe even years. "Confidence" may be going up (for the easily deluded or for those profiting off of the recession) but the value of the dollar is going steadily down down down and we are about to lose our SC&E A+ status. Even and espically our children will "feel the pinch" as they inherit our GROSS(and I do mean gross) national debt to be paid for with higher taxes; welcome children to the IOUSA! This recession thing may NEVER end if we dont wake up, smell the coffee and set about initiating some REAL change for a change.

By Shobhana Chandra

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. recession will probably end in the third quarter, a survey of business economists showed, even as rising joblessness indicates the recovery will be weaker than previously estimated.

The world’s largest economy will begin to expand next quarter, according to 74 percent of economists in a National Association for Business Economics survey. Compared with NABE’s February poll, growth will be slower and unemployment will be higher in the second half of this year and through 2010.

Government stimulus spending and Federal Reserve efforts to thaw credit markets are helping pull the economy out of the worst slump in half a century, the survey said. While housing is stabilizing, the economists predicted consumer spending will be restrained by a deteriorating labor market as job losses continue for the rest of the year.

“There are emerging signs that the economy is stabilizing,” Chris Varvares, president of the group and of Macroeconomic Advisers LLC in St. Louis, said in a statement. Still, the recovery may be “considerably more moderate than those typically experienced following steep declines,” he said.

The economy will shrink at a 1.8 percent annual rate from April to June, and then grow at a 0.7 percent pace in the next three months, the survey showed. Growth will accelerate to a 1.8 percent rate by the final quarter.

Spending to Fall

Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, may fall 0.4 percent this year, compared with a 1.3 percent drop forecast in the prior poll. Purchases will increase 2.1 percent next year, less than estimated in February.

The NABE survey, based on the median forecast of a panel of 45 economists, was conducted from April 27 to May 11.

Signs of a U.S. recovery coincide with evidence that the first global recession since World War II is easing. German investor confidence rose to the highest since 2006 in May and the Bank of Japan last week raised its view of the economy for the first time in almost three years.

Policy measures by central banks and governments “have assisted in reviving trust in the financial markets and the real economy,” Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Josef Ackermann said yesterday. “We can already see first positive signs.”

In the U.S., nine of every 10 survey participants said the Fed’s new credit facilities improved borrowing conditions, and 55 percent said the programs also benefited markets that were not directly targeted. At the same time, nearly half the economists said credit was still hard to get.

Home Sales

Home sales may reach a bottom by mid-year, according to 72 percent of the panelists, and more than six in 10 predicted housing starts will hit a trough by that time. The survey showed home prices have further to fall, with 40 percent of the respondents forecasting the declines will continue into 2010 or later.

Payrolls will decrease by an estimated 4.5 million in 2009, pushing the unemployment rate to 9.8 percent by year-end, almost a percentage point higher than the previous estimate of 9 percent, the survey showed. Job gains next year will help reduce the jobless rate to 9.3 percent by the end of 2010.

The outlook for business investment this year also soured compared with the February survey, reflecting sharper pullbacks in spending on equipment, software and facilities, and a bigger reduction in inventories. Economists in the survey also predicted corporate profits will decline 16 percent this year.

The cost of living will fall and worker productivity will improve this year, the NABE report showed. With inflation in check and unemployment rising, Fed policy makers will keep the benchmark interest rate close to zero until the second quarter of next year, at which time a series of increases may push the rate to 1.25 percent by year-end.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington at

Hoosic Valley CSD Raised to A+ by S&P

This is MY school district and I tell you, despite what the article says, we ARE NOT doing well economically in this district....only the schools are thriving, expanding and building new annexes as we speak. Its our ever-rising school TAXES paying for these expansions, NOT a "growing" economy! Everyone, and I mean everyone I know in this district is feeling the pinch, for real.
*Anways, half the kids coming out of this school cant even spell their own name, so what are we paying for? Eee gads, mon!

Hoosic Valley CSD Raised to A+ by S&P

Click on title above for article;

Fear and Looting in America: Are we Really out of Money?

"Well, we are out of money now..." President Obama, May 25, 2009

Depends on the definition of "we".

We got into this crisis because Wall Street invented and pedaled fantasy financial instruments that turned out to be junk. While their party lasted, those complex derivatives were a gold mine for the largest financial institutions. According to the New York Times, the profits from the nine largest commercial banks "from early 2004 until the middle of 2007 were a combined $305 billion. But since 2007, those banks have marked down their valuations on loans and other assets by just over that amount." In other words, the profits weren't real.

When the fantasy finance bubble burst and all the fictional profits disappeared, the banks headed straight for mass bankruptcy. Had the government not intervened, many, if not all of them would have gone under, taking the world economy with them. To prevent a total meltdown, we've forked over several trillion dollars in bail outs, loan guarantees and stimulus funds.

But let's back up a bit. What happened to the $305 billion of 2004 through 2007 bank profits that have since vanished from the banks' balance sheets? About half were paid out in compensation to executives, managers and traders. Yes, amazing as it may seem, when you work for a large financial institution you can be paid massive sums even if your work ends up producing nothing -- not even just nothing, but a negative result. All those autoworkers who are being blamed for the miseries of GM and Chrysler? They actually did make cars that are still transporting people. But the Wall Street players, who took home billions for supposedly making valuable financial instruments, were actually making economic weapons of mass destruction. And you can bet that much of their billions are safely parked in off-shore accounts and other low/no tax investments. In a sane and fair world, we would be thinking about how to get it back to help pay for the costs of cleaning up the toxic financial mess.

In a more general way, the bubble boom produced by those fantasy financial instruments helped create a slew of billionaires. As Obama likes to point out, "This is America. We don't disparage wealth. We don't begrudge anyone for achieving success." But is there some limit beyond which success spills into obscene accumulation? At the very least we should be careful not to lose sight of how much money billionaires possess. In researching The Looting of America we tracked the wealth of the super-rich.

In 1982, the top 400 individuals held an average net worth of $604 million each (in 2008 dollars). By 1995, their average wealth jumped to $1.7 billion. And in 2008, the 400 top winners averaged $3.9 billion each.... The total for the 400 high rollers adds up to a cool $1.56 trillion. That's equal to about 10 percent of the entire gross domestic product of the US...
We certainly could have a heated argument about how much of this wealth derived from the derivative-driven boom that just went bust. A case could be made that much of this money is ill-gotten since it came from artificial financial instruments that were rated improperly, or came from artificially leveraged transactions that now have crashed the system as a whole. An even more contentious fight would break out if we discussed whether there is any justification for allowing that such sums to accumulate in the hands of the few, no matter how worthy any of these individuals may be. And we could have us a row asking whether or not a democracy can really survive with so much wealth in the hands of so few people. But surely we can all agree that those top 400 are sitting on a huge pile of money, while our country is going deeply into debt to fix a financial system that has contributed mightily to their enrichment.

Here's a dangerous thought. What if we had a very steeply progressive wealth/income tax that reduced the net worth of the super-rich to "only" about $100 million each? You wouldn't be suffering if you had $100 million kicking around. Now do the math: The 400 richest x $100 million each would equal $40 billion. That would leave about $1.52 trillion to help pay back the country for the Wall Street meltdown that we, our children and their children will be subsidizing.

Maybe we're not so out of money after all.

Les Leopold is the author of The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance destroyed our Jobs, Pensions and Prosperity, and What we can do about it. (Chelsea Green Publishing, June 2009)

The Great Incestuous Reacharound Turns into Full-On Financial Perversion: PPIP Gone Wild! or Obomba @ the Bankers Ball

From the Jr. Deputy Accountant;

Really? What the xxxx is this bullshit and why are we still sitting here allowing this to go on? I don't even really have commentary for this as my jaw is still on the ground. The absolute audacity at this point has become too much to take. The fact that you allow it, America, without torching the joint down in a mass social upheaval might be more shocking than the behavior itself. I don't advocate violence, of course, but I do advocate someone tell these asshats where they can shove their crackpot schemes that inevitably leave the American taxpayer holding the bag.

PPIP has been a scam from its inception, that much we know. But this? This is full-on financial assrape.

Via WSJ:

Some banks are prodding the government to let them use public money to help buy troubled assets from the banks themselves.

Banking trade groups are lobbying the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for permission to bid on the same assets that the banks would put up for sale as part of the government’s Public Private Investment Program.

PPIP was hatched by the Obama administration as a way for banks to sell hard-to-value loans and securities to private investors, who would get financial aid as an enticement to help them unclog bank balance sheets. The program, expected to start this summer, will get as much as $100 billion in taxpayer-funded capital. That could increase to more than $500 billion in purchasing power with participation from private investors and FDIC financing.

The lobbying push is aimed at the Legacy Loans Program, which will use about half of the government’s overall PPIP infusion to facilitate the sale of whole loans such as residential and commercial mortgages.

Allowing banks to have it both ways would give them added incentive to sell assets at low prices, even at a loss, the banks contend. They claim it also would free up capital by moving the assets off balance sheets, spurring more lending.

Confused? Lost? Not sure what this means for the taxpayer? Let me make it a little clearer for you:

I sincerely hope that clears up any confusion. Oh, and no, the taxpayers are not the ones holding the stick.

Unintended Consequences?

How many times can you claim that what has happened is an unintended consequence before it appears that it’s actually an intended consequence? This is a question that I have been pondering and was brought to a head this week as the U.S. Treasury notes and bonds sold off dramatically. The 10- year Treasury note, which was trading early Thursday at a yield of 3.17%, sold off Thursday afternoon as one rating agency announced that the U.S. debt instruments had been lowered from a Triple A rating. Moody's came out on Friday and refuted that, stating the U.S. Treasuries were still Triple A. Nevertheless, the Federal Reserve didn't increase their buying of the Treasuries and the 10 year finished the week at a yield of 3.44%. That is an increase of over 0.25% in a little over 24 hours. What does this mean to us and why should we care?

It means that those in this world who are buying our debt want higher interest rates to act as our banker. We will have the largest deficit in the history of the country and it needs to be financed. If the buyers want higher rates, our costs go up and this can lead to inflation, which affects all of us. From a purely selfish standpoint, this can also directly affect the mortgage rates we have in this country. We now have amazing low rates which are being used to stimulate the purchases of real estate and helping the turn around this core industry needed for economic revival. Rates are artificially low because of the $1.25 trillion being used by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury to buy mortgage backed securities, but eventually the money will be spent and rates will increase.

Could the movement of the bond market last week start a reversal of our plans prematurely and have the mortgage program end before it does its intended work? In other words, could an unintended consequence finish off an intended one? It just might happen.

Perhaps this is just a "shot across the bow" to wake us up and let us know that there is an end to everything. In the meanwhile, let's look at some of the unintended consequences of the recession we faced (or are facing) and the cure which could possibly be worse than the problem. Real estate has seen prices falling for several years and, combined with the low down or no down purchases of years past, have given rise to a large number of homeowners who find their loans exceed the value of their houses in a very large way. (Writers Note: FHA offers purchases with 3.5% down and V.A. has zero down to $417,000 today.) What we do for the people in the aforementioned predicament is a consequence which has created a large debate.

The problem, in simple terms, is people without equity tend to go into foreclosure faster than those with equity. Should we ignore them and let the housing market get much weaker before it turns? Help all of those in this situation; help those who have given up and stopped making payments first and foremost? Or help those who have made the payments more than those who haven't? I will give you a big clue: common sense was not used to formulate the answer. Many believe politics played a significant part.

The answer to the prime question of helping those who are considered underwater (value of the house is less than the value of the mortgage[s]), is yes, if done responsibly. How do you do that? Reduce the payment on the mortgage to the point that the borrower can make the payment and give the borrower a year or two to "right the financial ship". After that time, the unpaid interest going forward would be tacked onto the mortgage balance. What was done?

The government helped those who stopped making payments by giving the banks an incentive to cut the size of the mortgage and lower the payments to a ratio that would insure that payments would and could be made on time. The results are mixed.

Those who made their payments have little or no help. The amount you can be "underwater or upside down" is 5%, meaning that if you have $200,000 in one or more mortgages, your house must be worth $190,000. This should cover about 1% of those who are underwater and have made their payments on time. You also must have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, generally a fixed rate loan, not larger than $417,000. Time to reduce the 1% to about 3/4%. If you are not quite underwater, but your mortgage is over 80% of the value of your house, then you can get help if you meet the criteria above. You will not have to pay mortgage insurance if you currently do not pay it, however if your first mortgage equals 95% of the value of your house or more, you must pay a one-point (1% of the loan) fee. If you have a second mortgage or HELOC, you cannot include it into the loan, but instead must subordinate it (put it behind the new mortgage). If your combined loan to value exceeds 90%, you must pay 1.5 points as a fee to subordinate.

So few people can be helped by this plan that it isn't worth discussing, but what is worth discussing is why does this all seem to be backward? Why are we sending a message that if you don't meet your responsibility you will be helped, but if you do you won't be helped? To be absolutely fair, you might be helped a little, maybe.

I will be happy to give you an answer when I stop shaking my head.

Former child welfare caseworker played hooky - and forged documents to cover it up, authorities say

Child-care worker Stephanie Sabouni

BY Veronika Belenkaya and Stephanie Gaskell

Thursday, May 28th 2009, 4:00 AM

Stephanie Sabouni faces charges of faking city Administration for Children's Services documents. But she doesn't seem too worried outside court (below) or on her Facebook page (above.)

Ward for News
A soon-to-be-married former child welfare caseworker entrusted with checking on truant kids played hooky herself - and forged documents to cover it up, authorities said.

Stephanie Sabouni, 27, of Brooklyn, filled out seven forms claiming she had visited three different families whose children routinely missed school while she worked for the city's Administration for Children's Services from 2005 to 2007.

The bride-to-be was charged Wednesday with seven first-degree felony counts of tampering with public records. Each charge carries up to seven years behind bars.

"Covering up misdeeds by faking official computer records is a serious crime and this case is even more troubling because it involves allegations that children in need were ignored," said state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

The forged documents were found shortly after Sabouni left the ACS to become a teacher at a Brooklyn middle school, authorities said.

"After several Brooklyn families told ACS employees that they had never met the former child protective specialist who had written about her supposed visits to their homes, ACS alerted [us]," said city Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.

Sabouni - who recently posted racy pictures of herself on her Facebook page - has been fired from her teaching job.

Sabouni, who attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice and earned a master's degree in education from Touro College in Manhattan, denied the charges.

"ACS is at fault for everything," she told reporters after her arrest. "I'm just being used."

Her lawyer Arnold Keith argued that the documents were not public records.

"Nobody was injured as a result of these [documents]," he said. "The children she worked with are fine."

Keith said his client "went to some [homes], but not other homes."

He also said Sabouni didn't know she was being investigated when she was questioned.

"She made a statement and the statements are being used against her," he said.

"If you go in and you don't know you're being investigated and you're told you can't leave until you make a statement, I think that brings a question of knowing and a voluntary waiver of your rights," he said. "I think she may have incriminated herself."

Sabouni, who is planning to get married on June 27, was released on $1,500 bail and ordered to hand over her passport, putting her Mexican honeymoon in question. "She is upset," Keith said. "She's destroyed over these allegations."

Read more:

Cellcom Israel Announces First Quarter 2009 Results

Amid the world-wide economic stink, everything is coming up roses for this one....

PR Newswire

NETANYA, Israel, May 26, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ --

- EBITDA(1) Up by 3.0%; Record EBITDA Margin of Over 39%

- Cellcom Israel Declares a First Quarter Dividend of NIS 3.36 per
Share (Totals Approx. NIS 330 Million)

First Quarter 2009 Highlights (compared to the first quarter 2008):

- Total Revenues from services increased 1.1% to NIS 1,373
million ($328 million)

- Revenues from content and value added services (including
SMS) increased 36.5%, reaching 14.7% of services revenues

- Total Revenues (including revenues from end-user equipment)
totaled NIS 1,561 million ($373 million), a 2.1% decrease resulting
from a 20.7% decrease in handset and accessories' revenues

- EBITDA increased 3.0% to NIS 611 million ($146 million);
EBITDA margin 39.1%, up from 37.2%

- Operating income increased 4.2% to NIS 442 million ($105

- Net income increased 27.5% to NIS 348 million ($83 million)

- Subscriber base increased approx. 21,000 during the first
quarter; reaching approx. 3.208 million at the end of March 2009

- 3G subscribers reached approx. 833,000 at the end of March
2009, net addition of approx. 102,000 in the first quarter 2009

- The Company Declared first quarter dividend of NIS 3.36 per

Cellcom Israel Ltd. (CEL) ("Cellcom Israel", the "Company"), announced today its financial results for the first quarter of 2009. Revenues for the first quarter 2009 totaled NIS 1,561 million ($373 million); EBITDA for the first quarter 2009 totaled NIS 611 million ($146 million), or 39.1% of revenues; and net income for the first quarter 2009 reached NIS 348 million ($83 million). Basic earnings per share for the first quarter 2009 reached NIS 3.54 ($0.85).

Commenting on the results, Amos Shapira, Chief Executive Officer said, "We see a direct linkage between the "Public Trust" organization report recently published and the strengthening of Cellcom Israel's position in the past few years along with the improvement in its financial results. This report stated that Cellcom Israel provides the best quality of customer care in the Israeli Cellular market and that we received the lowest number of customer complaints although we have the highest number of subscribers in the Israeli cellular market. I believe this is the only and the worthwhile way to do business.

This quarter, Cellcom Israel continued to show strong profitability, with operating and net income increasing to new levels. These results are mainly due to our focusing on our core business, efficiency measures and improvement of our subscriber base. These achievements are especially noteworthy in light of the current macroeconomic environment, driving a decline in roaming revenues on inbound and outbound tourism, as well as an increase in allowance for doubtful accounts which may also have been influenced by the global economic slowdown, in addition to the challenging competitive landscape and ongoing price erosions. I want to thank all our employees and managers for the achievements this quarter, as well as for successfully implementing the widespread efficiency measures in this fluid economic environment, further enhancing our status as the leading cellular company in Israel."

"We at Cellcom Israel, the cellular company which serves the highest number of cellular subscribers in Israel, continue to focus on our primary source of business, mobile communications and value added services over our advanced cellular network characterized by the high speed and capacity of our HSPA technology. This is supported by our expansion into complementary business where we have identified both cost synergies and direct contribution to our business such as the fixed line services to the business community, provided over our fiber-optic cables and microwave links. I am pleased to announce that in the first quarter our content and value added services revenues grew by approximately 36% year over year, as we continued to drive additional growth in fixed line services. Our strategy of focusing in the core business and in those areas where we find synergy, enables us to act vigorously also in the aspect of improving reliability and service quality to our customers and in the aspect of increasing efficiency as well as continue to invest in technology and in enhancing our network's speed, subject to supporting equipment availability, while keeping our relative advantage."

"We continue to grow and expand our 3G subscriber base, and in the first quarter we once again witnessed an ongoing increase in 3G subscribers, reaching 833,000 at the end of March 2009. Most of these 102,000 additional 3G subscribers in this quarter are post-paid subscribers, characterized by higher ARPU."

Tal Raz, Chief Financial Officer, commented: "We are especially pleased with the substantial growth in our profitability, primarily with the increase in revenues from content and value added services as well as fixed line revenues, while revenue per airtime minute continued to erode by approximately 2% in the first quarter compared to the first quarter last year. The growth in profitability is mainly attributable to our diligent cost management, which led to marketing, sales, general and administrative expenses remaining at the same level as in the first quarter last year. Furthermore, our Free Cash Flow(1) rose once again, totaling NIS 393 million for the quarter, up 454% from the first quarter last year, enabling us a dividend distribution of approximately NIS 330 million, representing 95% of net income, to our shareholders."

Main Financial and Performance Indicators:

Q1/2009 Q1/2008 % Change Q1/2009 Q1/2008

million NIS million US$

Total Services revenues 1,373 1,358 1.1% 327.8 324.3

Revenues from content and
value added services 202 148 36.5% 48.2 35.3
Handset and accessories
revenues 188 237 (20.7%) 44.9 56.6
Total revenues 1,561 1,595 (2.1%) 372.7 380.9
Operating Profit 442 424 4.2% 105.5 101.2
Net Income 348 273 27.5% 83.1 65.2
Cash Flow from Operating
Activities, net of
Investing Activities 393 71 453.5% 93.8 17.0
EBITDA 611 593 3.0% 145.9 141.6
EBITDA, as percent of
Revenues 39.1% 37.2% 5.1%
Subscribers end of period
(in thousands) 3,208 3,096 3.6%
Estimated Market Share(2) 34.8% 34.6%
Monthly ARPU 139.9 144.5 (3.2%) 33.4 34.5
Average Monthly MOU * 323.0 327.2 (1.3%)

* Following the regulatory requirement to change the basic airtime charging unit from twelve-second to one-second units commencing January 1, 2009, MOU for the first quarter 2008 has been adjusted to the same per-one second unit basis to enable a comparison. MOU for the first quarter of 2008 based on the former charging units was 350.5 minutes.

Financial Review

Revenues for the first quarter of 2009 totaled NIS 1,561 million ($373 million), a 2.1% decrease compared to NIS 1,595 million ($381 million) in the first quarter last year. The decrease in revenues resulted mainly from a 20.7% decrease in handset and accessories' revenues, from NIS 237 million ($57 million) in the first quarter last year, to NIS 188 million ($45 million) in the first quarter 2009, primarily due to the higher number of handsets and accessories sold in the first quarter last year. This decrease was partially offset by an increase in revenues from services, reaching NIS 1,373 million ($328 million), up from NIS 1,358 million ($324 million) in the first quarter last year. The higher service revenues resulted mainly from an increase of approximately 36% in content and value added services (including SMS) revenues in the first quarter 2009, compared to the first quarter last year. Revenues from content and value added services reached NIS 202 million ($48 million), or 14.7% of service revenues. Furthermore, the increase in landline services revenues during the quarter also contributed to the higher service revenues. These increases were partially offset by the reduction of interconnect tariffs, approximately 2% fewer working days in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter last year, ongoing airtime price erosion as well as a substantial decrease in revenues from roaming services following the significant reduction in incoming and outgoing tourism resulting from the global economic slowdown.

Cost of revenues for the first quarter of 2009 totaled NIS 806 million ($192 million), down 8.3% from NIS 879 million ($210 million) in the first quarter last year. This decline primarily follows the lower handset costs resulting from the decline in number of handsets sold during the first quarter of 2009, in addition to lower depreciation expenses. These decreases were partially offset by an increase in cost of content and value-added services due to increased usage.

Gross profit for the first quarter of 2009 incresed 5.4% reaching NIS 755 million ($180 million), compared to NIS 716 million ($171 million) in the first quarter of 2008. Gross profit margin for the first quarter 2009 increased to 48.4% from 44.9% in the first quarter last year, mainly due to the significant decrease in handsets sales during the quarter compared to the first quarter last year, which produce lower margins.

Selling, Marketing, General and Administrative Expenses ("SG&A Expenses") for the first quarter of 2009 totaled NIS 311 million ($74 million), similar to the first quarter of 2008. The SG&A Expenses in the first quarter 2009 were mainly impacted by a significant increase in bad debts and doubtful accounts expenses, mainly following number portability, which allows subscribers to switch to another cellular operator without settling their outstanding debt. The increase in bad debt and doubtful accounts may also have been influenced by the global economic slowdown. This increase was offset mainly by a decrease in salaries and related expenses.

Operating income for the first quarter 2009 increased 4.2%, reaching NIS 442 million ($105 million), compared to NIS 424 million ($101 million) in the first quarter last year. Operating income for the first quarter of 2008 included a one-time gain of approximately NIS 19 million, relating mainly to the sale of certain surplus underground pipes for fiber optic cables and the sale of a plot of land in Modi'in, Israel.

EBITDA for the first quarter 2009 increased 3.0%, reaching NIS 611 million ($146 million), compared to NIS 593 million ($142 million) in the first quarter of 2008. EBITDA as a percent of revenues, reached 39.1% compared to 37.2% in the first quarter last year. The higher operating income, EBITDA and EBITDA margins primarily follows the ongoing efficiency measures and prudent expense management throughout the quarter.

Financing Income, net for the first quarter 2009 totaled NIS 28 million ($7 million), compared to financing expenses net of NIS 45 million ($11 million) in the first quarter last year. This change resulted mainly from deflation of 0.7% in the first quarter this year, compared to an inflation of 0.4% in the first quarter last year, which led to an income from linkage to the Israeli Consumer Price Index (CPI), associated with the Company's debentures, compared to linkage expenses in the first quarter last year. Financing income also benefited from gains from the Company's hedging portfolio mainly resulted from a depreciation of 10% of the NIS against the US dollar in the first quarter of 2009, compared to an appreciation of 8% in the first quarter last year, which resulted in a loss from currency hedging transactions in the first quarter last year. The financing income was partially offset by lower interest income relating to the Company's short term deposits as well as expenses from foreign currency differences relating to trade payables balances in the first quarter 2009, compared to an income from foreign currency differences in the first quarter last year, following the depreciation of the NIS against the US dollar in the first quarter of 2009.

Net Income for the first quarter 2009 increased 27.5%, reaching NIS 348 million ($83 million), compared to NIS 273 million ($65 million) in the first quarter last year. Basic earnings per share for the first quarter 2009 totaled NIS 3.54 ($0.85), compared to NIS 2.80 ($0.67) in the first quarter 2008.

Operating Review

New Subscribers - at the end of March 2009 the Company had approximately 3.208 million subscribers. During the first quarter of 2009 the Company added approximately 21,000 net new subscribers, most of them post-paid subscribers.

In the first quarter of 2009, the Company added approximately 102,000 net new 3G subscribers to its 3G subscriber base, reaching approximately 833,000 3G subscribers at the end of March 2009, representing 26% of the Company's total subscriber base.

The Churn Rate in the first quarter 2009 was 5.0%, compared to 5.3% in the first quarter last year. The churn for both quarters primarily consists from lower contribution pre-paid subscribers and subscribers with collection problems.

Average monthly subscriber Minutes of Use ("MOU") in the first quarter 2009 totaled 323 minutes, compared to 327.2 minutes in the first quarter 2008, a decrease of 1.3%. The decline in usage level is mainly due to fewer working days in the first quarter of 2009 than in the first quarter last year. Following the regulatory requirement to change the basic airtime charging units from twelve-second to one-second units commencing January 1, 2009, MOU for the first quarter 2008 has been adjusted to the same per-one second unit basis to enable a comparison. MOU for the first quarter of 2008 based on the former charging units was 350.5 minutes.

The monthly Average Revenue per User (ARPU) for the first quarter 2009 decreased 3.2% and totaled NIS 139.9 ($33.4), compared to NIS 144.5 ($34.5) in the first quarter last year.

Financing and Investment Review

Cash Flow

Free cash flow (Cash provided by operating activities, net of cash used in investing activities) for the first quarter of 2009 totaled NIS 393 million ($94 million), compared to NIS 71 million ($17 million) generated in the first quarter of 2008. The significant increase in Free Cash Flow resulted mainly from payments of expenses related to preparation for number portability which characterized the first quarter last year. The increase in Free Cash Flow also resulted from a decrease in income tax payments due to a one time catch up tax payment in the amount of NIS 70 million for 2007 accrued tax liability, made at the beginning of the first quarter 2008.

Shareholders' Equity

Shareholders' Equity as of March 31, 2009 amounted to NIS 439 million ($105 million), primarily consisting of accumulated undistributed retained earnings.

Investment in Fixed Assets and Intangible Assets

During the first quarter 2009, the Company invested NIS 98 million ($23 million) in fixed assets and intangible assets (including, among others, deferred commissions and investments in information systems and software), compared to NIS 116 million ($28 million) in the first quarter 2008.

Subscriber acquisition and retention costs

Under the Company's current accounting policies, capitalized customer acquisition and retention costs include only those deferred costs in respect of sales commissions related to the acquisition and retention of subscribers, if the costs can be measured reliably and are directly attributable to obtaining a specific subscriber.

The Company's current accounting policy is to recognize subsidies on handset sales as an expense in the period incurred. Management is evaluating certain subsidies, related to handsets sold together with a service agreement with guaranteed minimum future revenue, as additional costs that might be eligible for capitalization. If the Company were to defer and capitalize such subsidies, management estimates that the Company's retained earnings as of January 1, 2009 would increase by approximately NIS 90-100 million, the Company's EBITDA for the first quarter of 2009 would increase by approximately NIS 20-25 million and the Company's net income for the first quarter of 2009 would decrease by approximately NIS 5-10 million.


On May 25, 2009, the Company's board of directors declared a cash dividend in the amount of NIS 3.36 per share, and in the aggregate amount of approximately NIS 330 million (the equivalent of approximately $0.84 per share and approximately $82 million in the aggregate, based on the representative rate of exchange on May 21, 2009; The actual US$ amount for dividend paid in US$ will be converted from NIS based upon the representative rate of exchange published by the Bank of Israel on June 18, 2009), subject to withholding tax described below. The dividend will be payable to all of the Company's shareholders of record at the end of the trading day in the NYSE on June 8, 2009. The payment date will be June 22, 2009. According to the Israeli tax law, the Company will deduct at source 20% of the dividend amount payable to each shareholder, as aforesaid, subject to applicable exemptions. The dividend per share that the Company will pay for the first quarter of 2009 does not reflect the level of dividends that will be paid for future quarterly periods, which can change at any time in accordance with the Company's dividend policy. A dividend declaration is not guaranteed and is subject to the Company's board of directors' sole discretion, as detailed in the Company's annual report for the year ended December 31, 2008 on Form 20-F, under "Item 8 - Financial Information - Dividend Policy".

Other developments

Shelf Prospectus and Issuance of Debentures

In March 2009, the Company filed a shelf prospectus with the Israeli Securities Authority and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The shelf prospectus will allow the Company, from time to time, to offer and sell debt, equity and warrants in Israel, in one or more offerings, subject to a supplemental shelf offering report, in which the Company will describe the terms of the securities offered and the specific details of the offering.

In April 2009, subsequent the balance sheet date, the Company issued additional debentures from the Company's existing Series D in a principal amount of approximately NIS 186 million for a total consideration of approximately NIS 215 million. The interest rate of series D is fixed at 5.19% per annum, linked to the Israeli Consumer Purchase Index. The price for a NIS 1,000 par value unit offered in this issuance was set at NIS 1,161, representing an effective annual yield of 3.73%. The Company also issued a new series E debentures in a principal amount of approximately NIS 789 million at an interest rate of 6.25% per annum, without any linkage, for a total consideration of approximately NIS 785 million. The debentures (rated ilAA/Stable) were issued in a public offering in Israel based on the shelf prospectus and were listed for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

For additional details on the Company's debentures see the Company's annual report for the year ended December 31, 2008 on Form 20-F under "Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects - B. Liquidity and capital resources - Debt service - Public debentures" and the Company's immediate reports on form 6-K dated March 31, 2009; April 5, 2009 and April 6, 2009.

These reports are available on the Company's website at:

Conference Call Details

The Company will be hosting a conference call on Tuesday, May 26, 2008 at 10:00 am EDT, 05:00 pm Israel time, and 03:00 pm UK time. On the call, management will review and discuss the results, and will be available to answer questions. To participate, please either access the live webcast on the Company's website, or call one of the following teleconferencing numbers below. Please begin placing your calls at least 10 minutes before the conference call commences. If you are unable to connect using the toll-free numbers, please try the international dial-in number.

US Dial-in Number: 1-866-527-8676 UK Dial-in Number: 0-800-917-4613

Israel Dial-in Number: 03-918-0691 International Dial-in Number: +972-3-918-0691

at: 10:00 am Eastern Time; 07:00 am Pacific Time; 03:00 pm UK Time; 05:00 pm Israel Time

To access the live webcast of the conference call, please access the investor relations section of Cellcom Israel's website: After the call, a replay of the call will be available under the same investor relations section.

About Cellcom Israel

Cellcom Israel Ltd., established in 1994, is the leading Israeli cellular provider; Cellcom Israel provides its approximately 3.208 million subscribers (as at March 31, 2009) with a broad range of value added services including cellular and landline telephony, roaming services for tourists in Israel and for its subscribers abroad and additional services in the areas of music, video, mobile office etc., based on Cellcom Israel's technologically advanced infrastructure. The Company operates an HSPA 3.5 Generation network enabling advanced high speed broadband multimedia services, in addition to GSM/GPRS/EDGE and TDMA networks. Cellcom Israel offers Israel's broadest and largest customer service infrastructure including telephone customer service centers, retail stores, and service and sale centers, distributed nationwide. Through its broad customer service network Cellcom Israel offers its customers technical support, account information, direct to the door parcel services, internet and fax services, dedicated centers for the hearing impaired, etc. As of 2006, Cellcom Israel, through its wholly owned subsidiary Cellcom Fixed Line Communications L.P., provides landline telephone communication services in Israel, in addition to data communication services. Cellcom Israel's shares are traded both on the New York Stock Exchange (CEL) and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (CEL). For additional information please visit the Company's website

Forward-Looking Statements

The following information contains, or may be deemed to contain forward-looking statements (as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and the Israeli Securities Law, 1968). In some cases, you can identify these statements by forward-looking words such as "may," "might," "will," "should," "expect," "plan," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential" or "continue," the negative of these terms and other comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions about us, may include projections of our future financial results, our anticipated growth strategies and anticipated trends in our business. These statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and projections about future events. There are important factors that could cause our actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from the results, level of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to: changes to the terms of our license, new legislation or decisions by the regulator affecting our operations, the outcome of legal proceedings to which we are a party, particularly class action lawsuits, our ability to maintain or obtain permits to construct and operate cell sites, and other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including under the caption "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2008.

Although we believe the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements contained herein are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, level of activity, performance or achievements. Moreover, neither we nor any other person assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of any of these forward-looking statements. We assume no duty to update any of these forward-looking statements after the date hereof to conform our prior statements to actual results or revised expectations, except as otherwise required by law.

The Company prepares its financial statements in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). Unless noted specifically otherwise, the dollar denominated figures were converted to US$ using a convenience translation based on the US$\New Israeli Shekel (NIS) conversion rate of NIS 4.188 = US$1 as published by the Bank of Israel on March 31, 2009.

Use of non-GAAP financial measures

EBITDA is a non-GAAP measure and is defined as income before financing income (expenses), net; other income (expenses), net; income tax; depreciation and amortization. This is an accepted measure in the communications industry. The Company presents this measure as an additional performance measure as the Company believes that it enables us to compare operating performance between periods and companies, net of any potential differences which may result from differences in capital structure, taxes, age of fixed assets and related depreciation expenses. EBITDA should not be considered in isolation, or as a substitute for operating income, any other performance measures, or cash flow data, which were prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as measures of profitability or liquidity. EBITDA does not take into account debt service requirements, or other commitments, including capital expenditures, and therefore, does not necessarily indicate the amounts that may be available for the Company's use. In addition, EBITDA may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies, due to differences in the way these measures are calculated. See the reconciliation between the net income and the EBITDA presented at the end of this Press Release.

Free cash flow is a non-GAAP measure and is defined as the net cash provided by operating activities minus the net cash used in investing activities. See the reconciliation note at the end of this Press Release.

Financial Tables Follow

Cellcom Israel Ltd.

(An Israeli Corporation)

Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets

into US
March 31, March 31, March 31, December
2009 2009 2008 2008
NIS millions US$ NIS millions NIS
millions millions
(Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Audited)
Cash and cash equivalents 152 36 826 275
Trade receivables 1,518 362 1,438 1,478
Other receivables,
including derivatives 138 33 125 112
Inventory 128 31 236 119

Total current assets 1,936 462 2,625 1,984

Trade and other
receivables 612 146 579 602
Property, plant and
equipment, net 2,100 502 2,265 2,159
Intangible assets, net 665 159 681 675

Total non- current assets 3,377 807 3,525 3,436

Total assets 5,313 1,269 6,150 5,420

Debentures current
maturities 327 78 280 329
Trade payables and
accrued expenses 686 164 709 677
Current tax liabilities 102 24 49 65
Provisions 52 13 91 47
Other current
liabilities, including
derivatives 318 76 341 385
Dividend declared - - 700 -

Total current liabilities 1,485 355 2,170 1,503

Debentures 3,213 767 3,425 3,401
Provisions 18 4 14 17
Other long-term
liabilities - - 2 1
Deferred taxes 158 38 143 156

Total non- current
liabilities 3,389 809 3,584 3,575

Total liabilities 4,874 1,164 5,754 5,078

Shareholders' equity
Share capital 1 - 1 1
Cash flow hedge reserve 8 2 (51) (11)
Retained earnings 430 103 446 352

Total shareholders'
equity 439 105 396 342

Total liabilities and
shareholders' equity 5,313 1,269 6,150 5,420

Cellcom Israel Ltd.

(An Israeli Corporation)

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income

Three-month period ended ended
March 31, December 31,

into US

2009 2009 2008 2008
NIS millions US$ NIS millions NIS
millions millions
(Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Audited)

Revenues 1,561 373 1,595 6,417
Cost of revenues 806 193 879 3,402

Gross profit 755 180 716 3,015

Selling and marketing
expenses 157 38 156 701
General and administrative
expenses 154 37 154 659
Other (income) expenses,
net 2 - (18) (29)

Operating income 442 105 424 1,684

Financing income 60 14 62 83
Financing expenses (32) (7) (107) (393)
Financing costs, net 28 7 (45) (310)

Income before income tax 470 112 379 1,374
Income tax 122 29 106 389

Net income 348 83 273 985

Earnings per share
Basic earnings per share
in NIS 3.54 0.85 2.80 10.08

Diluted earnings per share
in NIS 3.51 0.84 2.76 9.92

Cellcom Israel Ltd.

(An Israeli Corporation)

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

Three- month period ended Year
March 31, ended
into US
2009 2009 2008 2008
NIS millions US$ NIS millions NIS
millions millions
(Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Audited)

Cash flows from operating
Net income for the period 348 83 273 985

Adjustments to reconcile
net income to funds
generated from operations:
Depreciation 121 29 144 570

Amortization 46 11 43 181

Capital gain on sale of
land - - (9) (9)

Loss (gain) on sale of
assets 2 1 (9) (9)

Income tax expense 122 29 106 389

Financial (income) costs,
net (28) (7) 45 310

Share based payments - - 4 28

Changes in operating
assets and liabilities:
Changes in inventories (9) (2) 9 112

Changes in trade
receivables (including
term amounts) (39) (9) (87) (117)

Changes in other
receivables (including
term amounts) (25) (6) (9) (34)

Changes in trade payables
and accrued expenses 66 15 (177) (271)

Changes in other
liabilities (including
amounts) 9 2 30 99

Payments for inventory
hedging contracts, net 5 1 (9) (38)

Proceeds from (payments
for) derivative
contracts, net 24 6 (5) 18

Income tax paid (90) (21) (161) (451)

Net cash from operating
activities 552 132 188 1,763

Cash flows from investing
Acquisition of property,
plant, and equipment (112) (27) (118) (429)

Acquisition of intangible
assets (47) (11) (54) (175)

Payments for derivative
hedging contracts, net - - (5) (17)

Proceeds from sales of
property, plant and
equipment - - 13 19

Interest received - - 10 17

Proceeds from sale of long
term receivables - - 37 39

Net cash used in investing
activities (159) (38) (117) (546)

Cellcom Israel Ltd.

(An Israeli Corporation)

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (cont'd)

Three-month period ended Year
March 31, ended
into US
2009 2009 2008 2008
NIS millions US$ NIS millions NIS
millions millions
(Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Audited)

Cash flows from financing
Proceeds from derivative
contracts, net 4 1 7 31

Repayment of long-term
loans from banks - - (648) (648)

Repayment of Debentures (164) (39) - (125)

Proceeds from issuance of
debentures, net of
issuance costs - - 589 589

Dividend paid (270) (64) (16) (1,525)

Interest paid (86) (21) (88) (175)

Net cash used in financing
activities (516) (123) (156) (1,853)

Changes in cash and cash
equivalents (123) (29) (85) (636)

Balance of cash and cash
equivalents at
beginning of the period 275 65 911 911

Balance of cash and cash
equivalents at end of
the period 152 36 826 275

Cellcom Israel Ltd.

(An Israeli Corporation)

Reconciliation for Non-GAAP Measures


The following is a reconciliation of net income to EBITDA:

Three-month period ended ended
March 31, December 31,

into US

2009 2009 2008 2008
millions millions millions millions
(Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Audited)

Net income...............348 83 273 985
Income taxes.............122 29 106 389
Financing income.........(60) (14) (62) (83)
Financing expenses........32 7 107 393
Other expenses (income)....2 - (18) (29)
Depreciation and
amortization.............167 40 187 751
EBITDA...................611 146 593 2,406

Free Cash Flow

The following table shows the calculation of free cash flow:

Three-month period ended ended
March 31, December 31,

into US

2009 2009 2008 2008
millions millions millions millions
(Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Audited)

Cash flows from operating
activities...................552 132 188 1,763
Cash flows from investing
activities..................(159) (38) (117) (546)
Free Cash Flow...............393 94 71 1,217

(1) Please see "Use of Non-GAAP financial measures" section at the end of this press release.

(2) In order to estimate the Company's market share, the Company was required to estimate the number of subscribers of one additional Israeli cellular operator Mirs Communications Ltd. ("Mirs"), as at March 31, 2009, since Mirs does not publish this information.

Company Contact

Shiri Israeli
Investor Relations Coordinator
Tel: +972-52-998-9755

Investor Relations Contact
Ehud Helft / Ed Job
CCGK Investor Relations /
Tel: (US) +1-866-704-6710 / +1-646-213-1914

SOURCE Cellcom Israel Ltd.

NM initiates "Greed & Fraud Prevention" Program

NM agency bans placement agents on investments

By BARRY MASSEY Associated Press Writer

A state agency is banning the use of third-party marketing agents by firms trying to obtain investment business from New Mexico's $11 billion permanent funds.

The State Investment Council also will prohibit certain campaign contributions by investment firms that have contracts with the agency.

The council approved the policies Tuesday in response to an expanding corruption scandal involving a New York state pension fund. Fees paid to placement agents by money management firms are at the heart of an alleged kickback scheme in New York. Some placement agents and investment firms implicated in the New York pension probe also did business with New Mexico's public investment and pension funds.

A company that served as the council's financial adviser on private equity investments was fired after the firm and one of its co-founders were charged in the New York case. The Dallas-based firm, Aldus Equity Partners, has denied wrongdoing.

Questions have been raised in New Mexico about the large fees paid to some placement and marketing agents. One politically connected Santa Fe broker potentially shared in more than $15 million in fees from firms that won investment deals from the state.

"The practice of fund managers paying huge fees to third-party agents may be legal and may be commonplace but the potential for a conflict of interest is troubling," said Gov. Bill Richardson, who backed the ban. "The size of these fees is alarming and the concentration of business among a handful of placement agents is troubling too."

The governor said, "I quite frankly never knew they existed. But it's best that they go away. I think we can do business effectively without them."

Pension funds in New York state and New York City announced in April that they were barring the use of placement agents, which are intermediaries hired by money management firms to help solicit investment business from public pension and endowment funds.

The council's campaign contribution restrictions will apply to investment firms as well as their principals, employees and their family members.

Under policies taking effect immediately:

_The agency will not award new investments to firms that have made political contributions within two years to any elected or appointed official that "may have influence over" the council, its committees and investment office staff. The governor, state treasurer and land commissioner serve on the council, which oversees investments of the state's permanent or endowment funds.

_Firms that already have investment deals with the council cannot make new political contributions during the term of the investment and for two years afterward. A similar ban on campaign contributions will cover third-party sales agents of the companies doing business with the council.

_Firms seeking to do business with the state will be required to make disclosures of third-party fees of more than $50,000 that were paid during the previous year. Other information must be provided such as the name of the individual or company that received the payments, a description of the services they provided and a justification for why they were hired. The information will be publicly disclosed on the council's Web site.

Companies also must disclose the name of their in-house marketing employees. That is intended to prevent firms from circumventing New Mexico's placement agent ban and hiring an outside marketing agent as a temporary employee while the company solicits business from the state.

The council will end its investment or contract with firms that violate the new policies or provide false information to the council.

The policies are broader than a new state law that will require the recipients of investments by the council and New Mexico's two public pension funds to disclose third-party marketers they used in obtaining the investment. Under the new law, which takes effect June 19, the amount of any fee, commission or retainer paid to the marketer must be disclosed to the council and the pension funds — the Public Employee Retirement Association and the Educational Retirement Board.

Earlier this month, the nation's largest pension fund — the California Public Employees' Retirement System — approved a requirement that money management firms disclose their use of third-party placement agents and fees paid to them.

In New Mexico, the governor has a controlling influence over the investment council because he, his administration officials and gubernatorial appointees account for seven of the council's nine members. The governor appoints the state investment officer, who runs day-to-day operations of the investment agency.

Richardson reiterated Tuesday that he will support legislation to expand the membership of the council with legislative appointees.

However, Richardson vowed to veto any proposal if it eliminated the executive branch's majority control over the council. The governor vetoed a bill earlier this year that would have weakened his influence over the council.


On the Net:

State Investment Council: