Brian Banmiller's blog

Buckle Up For Summer Turbulence


Millions of families and friends are now going through that daunting springtime task of making travel plans for summer vacation. I wish us all good luck, and pray for patience. It’s bad out there.

After spending an hour on-line checking flights with various carriers to cities in Europe, I called Delta to get some personal one-on-one help to explain the complicated advanced fare options. After a five minute wait, then a fifteen minute conversation, I made the mistake of saying, “But your website shows a non-stop flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam”.  read more »

Bossnappings Getting More Outrageous


Times are tough all around the world. But if you are a manager in France, it’s getting to be downright criminal.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy is facing a very unusual dilemma. What should he do when hard-working and otherwise law-abiding citizens start holding their managers hostage to get their economic points across, and show their economic frustrations.

Since March 12th there have been four separate “bossnappings” where managers have been held hostage at factories by workers for up to twenty four hours. On one occasion a billionaire boss was barricaded in his taxi by employees for an hour.  read more »

A Fur Friendly Ride


Japanese car maker Honda is releasing a new car on the market and it's going to the dogs.

At a recent New York City auto show Honda unveiled its new dog friendly car that will be available this fall. With the help of rescue dog Sammy, the company showed off the new version of its Element Utility Vechicle that comes complete with a dog bed in the trunk, built in water bowl, fan and for the less agile canines an easy entry ramp. Additional features include a paw logo on the side of the car and easy to wash seat covers. In the pictures posted Sammy can be seen modeling some of the car's highlights including the built in dog bed and the entry ramp.  read more »

Piracy Hits Your Home


The issue of piracy has now traveled way beyond Johnny Depp playing one on the silver screen. Now it’s commandeering news headlines and will soon show up as entertainment on your cable box.

A day after Navy snipers shot and killed three Somali pirates during the successful rescue of U-S cargo ship Captain Richard Phillips, Spike TV announced it will be airing a reality show about the U-S Navy’s mission to stop piracy in dangerous waters off the coast of Africa.  read more »

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Art Imitates Life

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Want some free advice on how to deal with mortgage scams? Take in a movie.

The movie may be pure fantasy. But the message you may get before it starts will be all too real. In an attempt to help struggling homeowners being bombarded by clever criminals taking advantage of struggling homeowners by pitching a variety of mortgage scams, The Federal Reserve is placing advertisements amid movie previews before the main feature, telling people about the scams and how to avoid them.

Sandra Braunstein, Director of the Federal Reserve’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, says the purpose is to reach a different audience, get people’s attention and then direct them to a website with tips on how to avoid scams.  read more »

Fear of Fraud Bigger Than Terrorism


Since that terrible attack on 9/11, Americans have been understandably afraid of terrorism. But with the recent worldwide economic meltdown, most Americans are now more concerned about economic terrorism. And so is the federal government.

First, a global forecast that looks out to 2025 and conducted by the National Intelligence Council reported last month that global power is shifting from West to East with energy and economic issues being the key drivers of the shift. According to Aviation Week and Space Technology, “the report also warned that the diffusion of scientific knowledge and technology will place dangerous capabilities within reach of terrorist organizations.”  read more »

Economic Survival Guide

Bookshelves are filled with self help books. How to lose weight. How to have confidence and now the one we all need, how to get your money back.

Ali Velshi is the Chief Business Correspondent for CNN, host of "Your $$$$" and has now an author. His first book “Gimme My Money Back: Your Guide to Beating the Financial Crisis.” is on the shelves and it's a book Velshi says you can read in a few hours and finish feeling like an investor. Velshi says the recession has taught us the dangers of overspending and when the recession ends this is a lesson we shouldn’t forget.

“Life is not going to be like it was before. We have been over consumers for decades. We as a country consume more than we produce, we as individuals consume more than we produce, we buy too much on credit.”  read more »

Flying Is For the Birds

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More commercial and private planes are taking flight worldwide than ever before. Unfortunately, so are large birds such as geese and pelicans. And if you don’t think they can harm planes, check out the pictures I found for this article. As a private pilot and airplane owner, these pictures and a recent article in USA Today shocked me.

USA Today reports that bird populations are increasing, according to Richard Dolbeer, a retired Department of Agriculture wildlife biologist who created the Federal Aviation Administration's database tracking system for bird strikes in 1990. "In most cases it's going to be these large birds that are going to cause a catastrophe or a significant strike event," Dolbeer said.  read more »

Flights Cancelled For Lunch

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Just when I thought I’d heard it all, this headline on AvWeb caught my eye last week. The independent aviation news source was reporting that Air New Zealand would have to cancel 25 regional flights so tower staff at five small airports could comply with new labor rules.

According to AvWeb, the new rules required lunch breaks to be scheduled, rather than allowing staff to take them as workload permits. The result is the five towers would have to be closed twice a day for up to 45 minutes while staffs had their meal breaks. Imagine how many private pilots would have to circle the field and burn up gas waiting for tower staff to finish their lunches. Commercial carriers are also impacted.  read more »

Tax Myths Busted


Spring has sprung, meaning its tax time but this season is painful enough without paying more than you owe. So beware the tax myths that could cause you to empty out the piggy bank.

Jeff Schnepper, a former Professor of Taxation, Accounting and Finance and author of “How to Pay Zero Taxes” has compiled a list of five tax myths that can cost you money. Schnepper says from Santa Claus to the Tooth Fairy our culture is full of myths, and in the world of taxes these myths can cost you big bucks if you don’t know the rules.  read more »