Sales Of Existing Homes Up 6.5% in 2015 vs 2014

Home prices in metro Atlanta dipped slightly from October to November, but grew year-over-year, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday.

“Home prices extended their gains, supported by continued low mortgage rates, tight supplies and an improving labor market,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Sales of existing homes were up 6.5 percent in 2015 vs. 2014, and the number of homes on the market averaged about a 4.8 months’ supply during the year; both numbers suggest a seller’s market.”

The Atlanta Business Chronicle

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United States Gender Wage Gap Wider

The World Economic Forum (WEF) said in its latest Global Gender Gap report that the slow pace at which the global gender pay gap is narrowing means women are now earning what men did a decade ago.
In the United States, the gap is 64%, meaning that women earn about two-thirds of what men make for similar work.
This is worse than it was last year, when the gap was 66%. The United Stated now ranks 74th in wage equality among 145 countries. Last year, it was 65th.

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Honoring Our Veterans

Today, we honor Georgia’s veterans and all who continue to protect our nation and promote freedom around the world.

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A federal appeals court rules President Obama’s controversial executive actions on immigration must remain blocked from going into effect

President Obama’s plan to protect an estimated  five million people living illegally in the United Stated from deportation faced a setback in a ruling from a New Orleans-based federal appeals court.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Texas-based federal judge’s injunction blocking the administration’s immigration initiative.

Republicans criticized the plan as an illegal executive overreach when Obama announced it last November. Twenty-six states challenged the plan in court.

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Sandberg Speaks: Women In Corporate America

Using the talents of our full population is critical, writes Lean In founder Sheryl Sandberg
At the current pace of progress, we are more than 100 years away from gender equality in the C-suite. If NASA launched a person into space today, she could soar past Mars, travel all the way to Pluto and return to Earth 10 times before women occupy half of C-suite offices. Yes, we’re that far away.
Today, LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. are releasing Women in the Workplace 2015, a comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. In total, 118 companies and nearly 30,000 employees participated, sharing their pipeline data, HR practices, and attitudes on gender and job satisfaction.
Our research reveals that despite modest improvements since 2012, women remain underrepresented at every corporate level. And it turns out the drop-off in senior ranks is not mainly due to attrition. Women, on average, are not leaving these companies at higher rates than men. Rather, they face more barriers to advancement and are less likely to reach senior leadership positions.
Women see an uneven playing field—a workplace tilted against them. Women are twice as likely to believe their gender will make it harder to advance, and senior-level women view gender as a bigger obstacle than entry-level women do.
The unfortunate reality is that women at every stage in their careers are less interested than men in becoming a top executive. Contrary to popular belief, this is not solely rooted in family concerns. Our research shows that even women without children cite stress and pressure as their main issue. This points to another possible explanation for the leadership ambition gap: The path to senior positions is disproportionately stressful for women.
When women get stuck, corporate America gets stuck. There is a wealth of evidence that diversity helps teams and organizations perform better in terms of innovation, creativity, revenue and profits. Using the talents of our full population is critical to our economic growth, corporate productivity and individual happiness.
To get more women into leadership roles, we have to address our culture’s discomfort with female leadership. Young girls are called “bossy” on our playgrounds, while young boys are expected and encouraged to lead. This dynamic carries over into the workplace, where women walk a tightrope between being liked and being respected—and men do not. This persistent bias creates a double bind for women that we must surface, acknowledge and fix.
Companies report that their CEOs are highly committed to gender diversity. Unfortunately, that message is not getting through. Fewer than half of employees believe that gender diversity is a top priority for their CEO. While a majority of companies surveyed offer career development and flexibility programs like extended leave or reduced schedules, few employees take advantage of them. Ninety percent of women and men—yes, 90%—believe taking extended leave will hurt their careers, and more than half believe it will hurt them a great deal.
Despite these concerns, mothers and fathers are more likely than childless adults to say they want to be promoted and become a top executive. It’s in a company’s best interest to figure out how to get employees to use the programs they offer to help balance work and home life so everyone can reach his or her goals.
This report is a reminder of how much is left to do. The first step to improvement is measuring progress. Companies that participated in this study have begun establishing benchmarks and goals and gathering data they can use to compare themselves with their peers. All organizations should be tracking their progress on diversity—measuring their pipelines in all functions and at all levels, as well as compiling cultural and attitudinal data.
Transparency and training are vital. If employees see real, measurable gender inequities in their organization, they will be more likely to work toward solutions. Implementing training so employees learn how to identify and counteract gender bias is critical, especially for managers, who shape the day-to-day work experience of most employees.
Finally, women are hurt by having less access to senior-level mentors and sponsors in the workplace than men, and this needs to change. Peer support can be part of the solution. More than 650 companies have Lean In Circles, small peer groups that meet regularly to help women pursue their ambitions—and 83 percent of members say they are more likely to tackle a new challenge or opportunity as a result of the support their Circle provides.
Change is never easy. But we can achieve great gains faster than anyone believes. We reached the moon in eight years of concerted effort—not 80. Let’s bring that same urgency to this mission.We will achieve not just a stronger and more successful workplace, but also increased economic growth and benefits for all our workers and families.
By Ms. Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook Inc. and the founder of LeanIn.Org.

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Empowering Girls and Women: The Power of No

No Means No!
Teaching children about personal boundaries, respect and consent; empowering kids by respecting their choices and their right to say, ‘No!’

Author of book on the subject: Jayneen (Jay) Sanders

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Thank You To Our Founding Fathers

Thank you to our Founding Fathers who 228 years ago today, signed the United States Constitution.

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Atlanta Ranks Number One in Pledging To Reduce Energy Consumption

Atlanta has outpaced all other competitor cities that pledged to reduce energy consumption by 2020. Atlanta has more property square footage signed up in the program than any other city.

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Dragon Con Expected To Attract More Than 65,000 People to Atlanta

Predictions are that more than 65,000 people will be in downtown Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend as Dragon Con, the internationally known pop culture, science fiction, fantasy and gaming convention, returns for the 29th consecutive year.

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Randy Kessler and the Implications of the Ashley Madison Data Breach.

Divorce lawyers everywhere are already very familiar with the site since membership on it is almost sufficient proof of an affair by a spouse. Belonging to this dating site for married people (whose slogan is “Life is short, have an affair”) is usually enough to convince a judge, a mediator or your spouse that someone is cheating. Perhaps more importantly, divorce lawyers and therapists are acutely aware that the simple desire to cheat is even more offensive to a spouse than the actual act of cheating.

Prior to this breach, lawyers and clients have engaged private investigators, forensic computer analysts and others to see if their spouse belonged to the Ashley Madison site or had used its services. This breach may make it easier to learn who used it and who didn’t. But unfortunately, what this news may do is give Ashley Madison more publicity than it has ever had. Certainly they are not concerned that they are perceived as promoting adultery. In fact, they want the word to be spread and for people to use their site to help commit adultery. And anyone who uses their site must certainly realize that there are risks of being caught. What if the person they end up meeting on the site is someone they already know, or someone who knows their spouse? Or what if their spouse sees the site on their computer one day by accident?

As a divorce lawyer for over 25 years, I do not think this data breach will cause more divorce. Yes, that’s what I wrote. Those people who use Ashley Madison to have an affair and who were already headed toward divorce may get there faster now that their secret is out. But this hack or breach may actually have the effect of causing people to hesitate when using such a service. There are apparently nearly 40,000,000 users on Ashley Madison. There is no way that we will now see 40,000,000 divorces. And the bottom line is that affairs more often truly are the side effect of a bad marriage. Once someone elects to have an affair, the marriage is often in very serious trouble, if not already irretrievably broken. Yes more people will be “caught”, but perhaps that will actually save some marriages. Forcing the issue, making people address what they have done can often lead to reconciliation. The alternative is for the conduct to last so long that the parties become apathetic toward each other.

What this breach may do is to force legislatures to look more closely at this site. Perhaps laws will be generated that prohibit sites like Ashley Madison. Will the public rise up and demand that sites like Ashley Madison which promote infidelity (which is still a crime in some states) be prohibited? Who knows, but as with all social issues, sunlight remains the best disinfectant, and this data breach shed a lot of sunlight onto a lot of people’s activities. And maybe it will help? Maybe people will think more before they engage in relationships like those promoted or condoned by Ashley Madison.

But as for divorce lawyers, we certainly will now have an easier time proving someone had an affair, and that should save clients a lot of money they might have otherwise spent on private investigators. But other than that, human nature is human nature. Spouses will continue to cheat on each other, and they will continue to get caught.

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