Happy Sunday: Happy New Year 2012

 What has been will be again, 
   what has been done will be done again; 
   there is nothing new under the sun.

—Ecclesiastes 1:9

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012

2012 will be the last year for standing up to the evil, greed and opportunism of the charismatic creeps who have ruined our nation and our world.

2012 will be a test for American Christians to reject the wicked agendas that are being pushed by extremist religious leaders. This is the year to start being the people that Jesus taught us to be. We have been wasting and betraying our greatest gift.

2012 must be the year when the majority of the voters step up and vote, not just for themselves and because of themselves, but with respect to the good of the nation and the good of their neighbors. Many will have to step in and help when corrupted local and state governments attempt to deny their enemies the right to vote.

2012 will be a year toward recovery only if  America is willing to do the  hard work needed to express the truth and the whole truth. The lies that the right has been pushing and the pseudo academic arguments that the left has pointlessly engaged in will simply not do.

2012 will be the year of the charismatic creep; the charismatic opportunist; the charismatic bully and the charismatic liar. If America cannot get off of its dependency on charisma, then 2o12 needs to be the year of the charismatic hero, the charismatic savior, and the charismatic leader of the majority of the people.

2012 is the last chance to force the government and the corporations to carry out the will of the  majority of the people. This will be the last year to make it so that the middle class constitutes the majority of the people. This is the last chance to save democracy as we know it. Continue reading

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Gold Fever: How To Turn That Hobby Into Income

There is a market for everything and everything is in the markets!

Anyone who has a skill or a craft can do the work for fun when the economy is good. But when the economy turns sour, that craft or art can become a way to make money.

The good news is that new, alternative and underground markets are opening up. Americans are applying their ingenuity and work ethic to alternative sources of income. Alternative and underground markets have been in existence since the dawn of man, but most of today’s households have already made an investment in the skills, hardware and software needed to get into online sales and other high tech adventures.

The bad news is that the arts communities are the biggest source of tasty prey for every type of predator, scam artist and crook in the world. It takes some savvy, a little paranoia, some education, and lots of good research before the entry level arts entrepreneur can safely dash out into the markets.

To get back to the good news, experienced and successful artists, volunteer arts attorneys, and local arts organizations are more than willing to help an artist or crafter who is a newcomer to the business.

This article will cover the internal processes that a budding arts business mogul needs to think about before hitting the markets or investing any money in full production.

The information is designed for the entrepreneur who is planning to create enough quality work for a good and well planned sales season next year.

 

READ MORE HERE! 

 

 

Fake Marble by Xenonlit. Acrylic on Pine board. 6′ x 18 “

 

 

 

 

 

Gold Fever

A BRIEF HISTORY OF GOLD FEVER

 

The California Mother Lode

For seven years during the mid1800s, the California Mother Lode was overrun with settlers, crooks, criminals and fools from a variety of nations. These hardy souls had hopes of finding enough gold to become rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Most ended up either settling into their ranches and businesses or spending their last days on Earth as the discoverer James Marshall did: in poverty.

It all began when James Marshall partnered with John Sutter and proceeded to build a mill on the American River at Coloma, California. In January of 1848, Marshall looked into the river and saw some gold flakes in the water. Marshall and Sutter tried to keep the discovery under wraps, but the secret got out and the gold rush commenced.

For the next seven years, hundreds of thousands of people flooded into the Mother Lode to scour the rivers and rocks for gold. The gold rush slowed down when the placer (surface) and strike (underground) claims played out and hydraulic mining commenced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

READ MORE HERE!

 

Stealth Post: An Open Letter To The Congressional Black Caucus

 

 

Since 2005, I have believed that anyone who took on the presidency after the Bush-era would be a “lid loosener”. That person would work to undo as much of the damage as possible, but would be unlikely to turn the country around. It would be the second president after the Bush-era who would whip off that lid and reap the accolades and the rewards.

Or worse, the second president after President Obama would return to the path of destruction that Bush and the Republicans have carried out so well.

President Obama has done incredible work so far but the most remarkable problem is that we, the public, do not know it. No media source, except for MSNBC, has even touched the issue of the changes that he has made or the corrections that he has enacted. The same goes for Rep Pelosi, who has only been credited once with the accomplishments that she has made.
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Just as we sat back and watched Bush tear our country down, one big blast at a time, we sat back and allowed the charismatic creeps of the Tea Party work their way into power that goes far beyond their true numbers.
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In one respect, the media has painted a picture of President Obama and the Democratic Party as doing nothing but to pander to and cave in to the extreme right-wing on every issue. When it became clear that Obama was doing everything that he could to disassociate from the left and from Black America, the Black Caucus should have been as loud and demanding as the Tea Party, banging on the White House door, banging on every other door, and speaking up to represent  not just Black Americans, but all Americans.
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It is time for the Black Caucus to realize its full potential and to do just what it is doing: be heard, advocate for the invisible ones, and make the Democratic Party pay attention and show some respect.
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It is good that the Black leadership in Congress did not wait until it is too late to speak up and to make a difference.
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The potentially fatal blow to the odds of a second term for President Obama has come from his insulting and disastrous “sacrifice” message. He has shown an inability to leave academic behavior behind and to get into an executive behavioral mode.
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It is time for him to show some progress toward becoming one who executes, not one who stands behind the lectern, sits behind closed doors, or avoids getting up close and personal with the human beings in Congress or on the many “commissions” and “committees” that he is so fond of.
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He misses the point entirely, needs to stop lecturing, needs to learn the fine art of delegation, and must start listening.
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We are not his students. We are his teachers and school is in session.
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Worse is this never-ending call for “bipartisan” support that President Obama is never going to get. No great leader tolerates being humiliated again and again. No great leader uses capitulation as an ongoing strategy, but wisely does as Muhammad Ali did when he used the “Rope a dope” strategy against his opponent. The American people will tolerate an occasional “rope a dope” strategy, but only if the fighter wins.
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Worse than that has been a failure to even acknowledge us, as if we would jeopardize any of the benefits that he believed would be gained from relentless pandering to the extreme and racist right. Those people have made it perfectly clear that his demise is their first priority, yet he will not listen.
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What are we being asked to sacrifice in support of that kind of behavior? More poverty? More disenfranchisement? Fewer and fewer of us belonging to his beloved middle class?
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A call for sacrifice (as if we have not been sacrificing already) is the last thing that the formerly middle class, veterans, disabled workers, evicted homeowners, the unemployed, the ripped off, the hopeless, the students, the disenfranchised, the elderly, and any other exhausted citizen needs to hear.
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As an example of failure to execute, I have never seen worse misconduct and failure to perform from the claims processing wing of the VA. The VA Secretary is the most aloof, distant and publicly absent officer I have ever seen. There is no excuse, three years into a presidential term, for delays of 2 to 4 years for the same sloppy and corrupted veterans claims processing that was going on at the start of President Obama’s term.
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I will not be able to help with sacrificing for those who want to redistribute what is left of our national trust to the insanely greedy and unjustly rich. I truly resent being told to sacrifice even more to cover for the problems that I did not create, the disaster that I have no control over, and the political fortunes of anyone who panders to my worst enemies.
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I say to the Black Congressional Caucus,  “congratulations” for standing up. Congratulations for letting President Obama and the Democratic Party know that we can take our own direction.
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It makes me ill to think of losing President Obama and taking the risk of subjecting the nation to more of Bush-era politics.
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Be that as it may, congratulations, Rep Waters for having the courage to say the words:
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“Let” and “Go”.
But we have no more tolerance for cynical political marketing plots and ploys. This effort has to be  carried to the finish and failure is not an option. 
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Here are my comments on specific matters, for what these are worth.
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We need to recover as much of the looted national treasure as possible and to get it back into the national treasury. We need to put our national infrastructure ahead of global hegemony and interference. We need to put our politicians on notice that they answer to the people, not to the corporations.
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We need to stop feeding on those who engage in silly sex scandals and to go after those in high power and high office who have engaged in the most destructive of misconduct. There has been rank cowardice in these matters, and we never stopped wanting justice brought to those who have corrupted our government and bankrupted our nation.
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We need to end two pointless, costly wars and to stop funding the world’s dictators. We need to cut a nation’s foreign aid by $100,000 for every unskilled immigrant, opportunist, or asylum seeker that they send here. We need to cut a nation’s foreign aid by $500,000 for every citizen of theirs who is incarcerated in our prisons.
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We need to put people to work on our infrastructure before it collapses, but we need to do it right, putting auditors to work to recover the last penny of any fraud, waste and abuse of funds that occurs.
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While we work on our infrastructure, we need to start apprenticeships to create skilled workers in all fields. High school graduates have to be ready to go to work, not directly into massive debt to earn entry-level job credentials at expensive private technical schools. Strip out the garbage courses and teach those kids something that can help them get to work.
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End that general academic testing nightmare and restore the choice of a technical school track in high school education. Give the employers a tax break for funding college courses while an individual is working.
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Our environment is priceless. We have opportunities to clean up the environment and to manufacture the most technologically advanced “green” products. We can do this in urban centers and poor rural areas. We can put people back to work while we do it. 
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We need to punish the corporations that are hoarding stimulus finds, are engaging in overseas tax dodges, have sent jobs overseas, and have not created the jobs that they promised to create.
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We need to outlaw any government support or approval of financial products that are solely based on theoretical possibilities, and not on real goods or production. We need to regulate and enforce against predatory consumer banking schemes.
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We want it acknowledged that jobs that were sent overseas had been invented by, built by, and refined by American workers, not the corporations. We need to tap into that creativity, innovation and quality to get our jobs back. Give a painful financial consequence to any corporation that hands any more of our jobs and our brain trust over to another nation.
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We need veterans and Social Security cost of living calculations that cut out the costs of luxury items and consider only such costs as the food, transportation, housing, medical care and utilities that the majority of veterans and Social Security recipients actually spend their money on. Those costs rise every year.
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We want to shine a light on corporate lobbying and on the direct access that corporations have to Republican and other lawmakers. The lawmakers need to stop writing custom-made laws after secretive and unofficial meetings.
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Restore the will of the people, not the will of the corporations or the extremist and racist fringe as the guiding force in government leadership decisions. 
We need to get veterans their benefits decisions within 9 months, and to do so without the ineffective and corrupted claims processing bureaucracy and system that exists today.
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We need to break up the cozy relationships between the self-perpetuating “service organizations” and the Veterans Administration claims processors. Those service organizations have representatives who are not even doing the proper records requests, follow ups or case preparation. They simply lead the veterans into believing in them while discouraging the veteran from taking any action on their own.
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There must and end to bonuses that are paid to VA claims processors until the disastrous delays and problems are stopped, and claims are processed within 12 months.
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The veterans service organizations need to be audited and a claims processing success or failure rate identified. Publish the resulting scores to allow veterans to make informed choices.
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In summary, I applaud the Black Caucus for speaking up now, when their efforts will mean something. You must not let anyone or anything stop you in your progress, as you are now the only voice of we, the “invisible”, but definitely not helpless or powerless people.
Photo Credits: c2010 Edith R Allen, All rights reserved

How Americans lost Their Voices and What is Likely to Happen.

The citizens are talking, that’s for sure. But what have we said? With the health care reform debacle as an example, many of us clearly said that we would just like to see a doctor and have help paying a bill that is not bloated in order to give the health industry insane profits.

From another perspective, many of us were perfectly happy with our Health Maintenance Organizations and health plans, were secure in our jobs or retirements, and had no desire for nationalized health care for anyone else.

Stuck in the middle were those who are not sure about their jobs. Now, people worry more than ever about what will happen to them if they lose their employer subsidized health care plans, employment laws, and union benefits.

THE “MAINSTREAM MEDIA”

The media is corrupted in most cases. In two studies, Media Matters has found that TV news networks have repeatedly given considerably more attention to perceived setbacks to progressive health care reform efforts than to events that signal progress for those efforts.”

We listened to the mainstream media during the health care debates. It was not difficult to find out that we are actually listening to a mechanism for delivering manipulative  sales pitches from the well-financed extreme right and corporatist sides of the issue.  To this day, the code words “Obama Care” do not refer to a substandard government program, they speak to  extremist political entities who want to get rid of a president because of his race.

Many similarly coded expressions  speak to corporate interests that are definitely working against the public interests.

Committed health care reform advocates are still barely allowed to talk to us about the financial feeding frenzy that is going on in the medical industries.  When the topic comes up, there is usually a well-trained, interrupting, out-talking media operative who gets help from the moderator in having the final word. And the final word is usually a predetermined set of talking points for a given topic.

More frequently, we hear from politicians who seek to further their political and personal agendas by pretending to carry out their campaign promises. The tactic is to keep promising as little as possible while attacking as viciously as possible.

Such deception has created an irrational mindset that develops when there is consistent dishonesty, especially when people have gotten themselves into positions where they must either perform or be exposed and deposed.

Most frequently, extremist Right Wing and corporate elements are allowed to throw whatever spanner into the works that they can, wherever they can, no matter how irrational or silly they are being.  Still, their attention seeking antics dominate the airwaves and Internet. They are prepared to restart their deceptive and distracting engines whenever any major issue comes up.

In summary, the mainstream media, in increasingly obvious cooperation with the corporate elites and sensational fringe elements is being heard all day every day.

One part-time news network and a cable comedy show is all there is to present the opposing viewpoints or the truth.

How can the average citizens be heard? Anyone may use their voices with e-mail, phone, or by writing to Congress and the White House. These days it is easy to address our concerns and to send them to our political parties, organizations, clubs, groups, local newspapers and national journals.

LOBBYING AND ORGANIZED INTERFERENCE

We are also easily drowned out by lobbying and by the acts of political operatives. One effective lobbying or political operation can counter the will of the vast majority of us.  Look at the power that the National Rifle Association and the private prison industry has to change our laws, in spite of being vastly outvoted by the public.  One well-financed and media savvy organization can overrule and fool tens of millions of us.

Harmful lobbying groups, corporations and private organizations are now more effective in thwarting the will of the people. The people have been ineffective in enforcing their will through their votes whenever they are discouraged or prevented from voting.

An Open Secrets article identifies some surprisingly powerful lobbying entities that are involved in the health care reform battles. The CATO Institute, founded by the Koch brothers is a huge and meddlesome entity that needs to be constantly examined,  investigated and exposed.

There are thousands more secretive and powerful groups that are pulling strings, operating in secret and doing great damage.

SMALLER GOVERNMENT THROUGH PRIVATIZATION: A GREAT SCAM

Privatization is a great and destructive scam on the nation. The absolute corruption and deception associated with privatization have never been fully revealed. Many right wing groups work hard  to hand over government functions and assets for the enrichment of the few.

Most Americans know this, having seen the corruption in their local power, sewage, lighting, and economic development districts, but feel powerless to prevent even more looting of our treasury and trust.

The truth is that privatization actually keeps the government liable, while enriching the privileged private few. The nuclear power industry is “private” and  has only $12 billion in liability. The taxpayer and the US government are liable for the rest in the event of a nuclear disaster, as just one example of the huge pile of buried and invisible national liability.

Absolute lies and false statements like “less government” have been given vastly more attention in advertising, on the Internet, and in the mainstream media. Facts and realities that counter the false statements are either drowned out or not reported. There is only less visible and involved government, but there is not less liability.

CORRUPTED INSTITUTIONS:

The Supreme Court is partially corrupted. In military standards, the “slightest hint of  corruption” is enough to cause a commissioned officer to be removed from a position. If this standard would be applied to the highest court in the land, justices Scalia and Thomas would be censured, if not impeached because of their, decisions, their  participation in extremist political functions, and their potential conflicts of interest.

CORRUPTED CORPORATIONS:

If the corporation is an individual, then that individual is psychotic, and should be locked up and put under psychiatric care.

THE RISE IN PUBLIC PROTEST:

As far as the always  growing size and number of public protests, it only takes a small group of fake “Anarchists” to turn a peaceful demonstration into a riot and to invite brutal suppression. If these fake and real “Anarchists” are promptly rounded up and removed or turned over, then larger, louder and more persistent protest will become our only real outlet for being heard.

THE EXPRESSION OF THE PUBLIC WILL:

We have strongly expressed our demands for health care reform, jobs, union bargaining rights, the restoration of looted funds to our treasury, regulation of deregulated and rogue industry,  and a host of other issues. There is much polarization, but if those who are the loudest and most present are actually counted, they show up as a small minority of us. Without a balance or a showing by those who are concerned about centralized and not extremist issues, the loud and freakish minority will prevail. The shriekers and the shrillers will definitely get their way.

Our powerful statesmen, satirists,  and eloquent speakers are absent or have  been replaced by inarticulate elitists, comedians who refuse to take responsibility for anything but making jokes, or by functionally inarticulate ivory tower academics and ineffective political insiders.  Our inputs are splintered. They trickle in and are buried under mounds of useless content and spam. Or, our utterances are carefully censored so as not to offend the advertisers.

In the end, greedy and powerful interests  easily cancel our citizen’s imperatives and drown out our tiny voices. Today, the powerful and the noisy travel deep into the territory of fascism, racism, elitist greed, power mongering and mental instability.

PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT:

The silencing and disenfranchisement of the masses works in conjunction with acts of  perception management. Perception Management began as a military program for getting large populations to believe in what they are hearing.

Now the same tactics and principles are being used for everything from hawking political schemes to hawking products.

In the most sinister form, perception management is being used to fool the masses for the financial and political gain of a few at the expense of the many.

Persistent false advertising, influence peddling, lies, deception and canned news is the norm these days. A recursive effect happens where most people eventually come to believe the lies.  Bombarded by thousands of persistent and obvious deceptions, rumors and falsehoods, far too many people will vote and act based on what they hear and they will not think for themselves.

In the end, we are being talked at and lied to vastly more than we are getting the truth or are being heard.  We are acting on the lies and deception that we hear far more than we are acting based on truthful information.

These are the times when a democratic nation that has already walked itself into disaster is very close to walking itself into its own destruction.

It will only take one charismatic and convincing monster, backed by corrupted followers, courts, congresses, communications and corporations to force us to follow as we enter the process of our final demise.

Adventures in Droidland

After months of plotting and plotzing, I finally got me Droid. OMG, that thing is a materialistic orgasm of consumer nonsense. But I have reasons for upgrading to a little computer on wheels. Being a medical marvel of fighting a rare illness, I’ve been holed up all winter and now can do my writing and research outside of the house!

I feel no remorse as my little 5 year old Samsung rests peaceably in the closet, its little battery snoozing until such a time as I might need it again. The little fellow has been a loyal and trustworthy companion during good times and bad times.

But I had to take the deal on a droid. I’ve been on a three day plan that involved absolutely no carbohydrates. This was to see if something could jump start my metabolism in order to drop some dangerous pounds. No way am I walking willingly into Type II Diabetes and joint damage.

Three days without carbohydrates will affect the brain. I think that carb deprivation damages the phrenominic system and the frugality centers of the mind.

Only one more day of that nonsense, then it’s french bread, wheat germ and real food again.

After getting the deal of a century for what must be an older model, I took the thing home and promptly had to use a land line to call Verizon in order to get the thing set up. I like to get the older model for as cheaply as possible in order to learn about the features. Sometimes the latest and greatest models offer features that only, Steven Hawking or Michelle Obama would need. The rest of us would never use them.

It was not a bad setup process at all. Verizon tech support is not of this Earth and is not of India, either. The phone center folks have never been less than stellar even once in five years.

Even the tech support gets excited about this device.

After the setup, it was just a matter of getting used to the tiny keys with my stubby fingers in order to hand my life over to Google G-mail.

The thing is nonsense! When it is turned horizontally, everything goes horizontal with a sneer, as if to say “That all you got, sissy-girl?”

After minimal tinkering, I found the apps. Oh my, the apps. It is true that there are thousands of them, but many, with their less than 4 full stars, do not cut the mustard as far as I’m concerned.

 They all have  comments with ratings and warnings, very Open Saloon-like in directness of speech, if a bit cleaner in language. No one yells “STFU” in all caps.

 There are some goodies, indeed.

I found a bible, a compass, a tiny little security software, a numeric and measures converter, a stopwatch, a flashlight, a radio and some other nonsense.

There are art programs, technical stuff that I’ve never heard of, games, goofy goodies, daily cartoons. I have to dive back in there and go after that metronome. And that is just from lurking through the free stuff.

Later, I decided to try a visit to one of my writing sites. Thank goodness the thing has a zoom. Everything was tiny, but crystal clear. I could not figure out how to do a new post, which is fine, given the tiny keyboard.

The title worked fine, but the body of the text kept throwing me out. I will have to figure out how to copy and paste or just use my computer which, strangely, has an absolutely HUGE screen right now.

Part of me is racked with guilt and the other part is gloating over the deal that I got. The leftovers of me are fretting about being in hock to Verizon for the rest of me life for the bloated bill. But, as always, I have many justifications for the purchase that manage to rationalize things just fine.

My favorite rationale is:  “STFU, superego. Id and Ego need a day out to play, you know”. Id and Ego were starting to stink, and I at least convinced them to take a shower.

But it’s a Droid. I am now portable, as in not tied to the computer and the darkened rooms where I feared turning into a toadstool or a fat, greasy psychotic with no cats. I have been housebound since last August and have had enough!

Now I can hang out in cafes, ogle the mens and lurk all over the web, untangling the strings of me vast but highly unprofitable internet empire.

I even took a phone call. One call was telling me that I had a great opportunity to get in on something that was left unsaid because the “end” symbol is quite easy to find.

I ignored the other call. Phooey! We’re talking brand new PDA here!

Droooiiiidddd….(bizarre sound with awful and scary wagging red light)….will rule the world with its 16 gigabytes of hard, cold memory and its merciless compass flashlight megapixel camera and 3D Google app video thingie.

I don’t know when this thing will be obsolete. It isn’t Apple, after all, which goes obsolete as soon as the patent cools off.

Maybe next, we’ll get implants and start looking like those Borgs with the camera and screen where the right eyeball used to be, and a satellite dish shoved up our useless…

well…we’ll leave the future to the young. Right now the old is pretty happy after waiting so long.

The Billionaire Boys Club Isn’t As Phat As It Used To Be!


bankrupt

WTF?

The New York Times has an incredible article titled “After a 30-Year Run, Rise Of The Super-Rich Hits A Sobering Wall”.

It would be well worth your time to give this article a read, after you read and rate my post, and click on an ad, of course.

According to a Forbes article, some 350 billionaires were thrown out of the club, worldwide.  The US tops the list with 125 drop offs, followed by Russia. India took the hugest financial hits, which is fine with me, given the number of Indian finance clowns who have infiltrated our finance infrastructure and jacked it up.

But two individuals who lost weren’t finance scam machines, but icons who actually created something that is a big part of life in America!

Jon McAfee, the anti-virus icon,  went from 100 million worth to 4 million.   His story is a major part of  the New York Times article.

I wanted to find and highlight another person who was an icon of invention, and to see how he was doing. I thought of Frederick W. Smith, Founder of Fedex. He is #559 on Forbes drop off list.

I highly encourage all to read the entire New York Times article, which is a rich summary of the rise and fall of the rich, but which provides comparisons with the flat or lost income that the rest of us suffered.

I wanted to find a couple of people who truly deserved to give it up and found these three interesting sources.

“Forbes In Pictures: Notable Drop-Offs”

Rupert Murdoch Took A Big Hit This Year

Suze Orman Had An Idea For Bush

HERES A CHALLENGE: At “Forbes In Pictures” can you find someone who really deserved to get a check-ectomy?  Or someone who has been a great philanthropist, like Bill Gates, who is giving most of his money away?

If you write a blog and tell us what the person did that was good, bad or ugly, you can add a link to the comments here!