Extra Commentary http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/29/all en-US How to Get 5-20% Cashback on... Pretty Much Everything http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-20-cashback-on-pretty-much-everything <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&fot=1124&foc=1" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/shopdiscover.png"></a></p> <p>You know how some cashback credit cards make you jump through hoops or cut through forests of red tape in order to actually take advantage? Well the <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&fot=1124&foc=1" rel="nofollow">Discover it</a> doesn&rsquo;t. In fact, it has so many participating retailers agreeing to give you 5-20% on purchases, you can <i>buy</i> the hoops, and the tape, and pretty much whatever else you want, from wherever you want.</p> <p>Seriously: the Discover It card gives you cash back on over 200 online retailers. And these aren&rsquo;t obscure, &ldquo;we&rsquo;re offering them because you&rsquo;ll never use them&rdquo; retailers. These are the Best Buys, Banana Republics, Brookstones, and Bloomingdale&rsquo;s of the world (&hellip;and that&rsquo;s just the B&rsquo;s).</p> <p>If you're shopping at these places already, it makes no sense to <em>not</em> <a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&fot=1124&foc=1" rel="nofollow">sign up for a Discover it card</a> and start saving today!</p> <p>Here are a few of the 200+ retailers where you can get 5-20% cashback by shopping through the ShopDiscover portal using your Discover it card.</p> <table> <tr> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/bloomingdales_0.gif" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/Expedia_129x76_small.gif" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/golfsmith.gif" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/kmart_6.jpg" width="129" /> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/macys-129.jpg" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/nike-129.jpg" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/nordstrom.gif" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/target-129.gif" width="129" /> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/walgreens-129.jpg" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/oldnavy-129.jpg" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/underarmour-129.jpg" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/travelocity_0.png" width="129" /> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/northface_0.png" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/bananarepublic.gif" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/lego.svg" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/sears-129.jpg" width="129" /> </td> </tr> <tr> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/ralphlauren-129.jpg" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/petco-129.png" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/gap-129.jpg" width="129" /> </td> <td align=center valign=center> <img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/orbitz-129.jpg" width="129" /> </td> </tr> </table> <p><strong>Watch this quick 90-second video to learn how ShopDiscover works.</strong></p> <p id="video-player-discover">ShopDiscover video</p> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://static.wisebread.com/files/wisebread/press/video/bin/swfobject.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript'> var s1 = new SWFObject('http://static.wisebread.com/files/wisebread/press/video/bin/player.swf','player','600','337','9'); s1.addParam('allowfullscreen','true'); s1.addParam('allowscriptaccess','always'); s1.addParam('flashvars','file=http://cdn.discover.com/videos/shopD/mcd_DISCOVER_CARD_640x360.mp4'); s1.write('video-player-discover'); </script> <p>Need any more reason to save? <strong><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&fot=1124&foc=1" rel="nofollow">Sign up for a Discover it card today.</a></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-20-cashback-on-pretty-much-everything" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Get 5-20% Cashback on... Pretty Much Everything" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/staff">Staff</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best 5 Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-interest-rates-are-about-to-go-up">Your Interest Rates Are About to Go Up</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary cash back cashback credit card Wed, 04 Jun 2014 16:05:53 +0000 Staff 1139712 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to a Healthier Workday http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-ways-to-a-healthier-workday <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/8-ways-to-a-healthier-workday" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/8-ways-to-a-healthier-workday</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/8-ways-to-a-healthier-workday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015661221Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-ways-to-a-healthier-workday" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Ways to a Healthier Workday" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Work can consume the better part of your day, no matter if you work in an office or at home. With so many pressures and responsibilities related to our jobs or businesses, it is easy to forget that work can be challenging to our mental and physical health. But, it doesn&rsquo;t have to be. With a few simple steps, you can be healthier while you work, and healthier overall.</p> <p><strong>1. Take Breaks</strong></p> <p>Taking a break is essential during the work day. Find time to step away from the computer or desk once or twice during the day. Working continually can actually hinder your overall ability to stay on task and complete tasks well. Taking a break can help refresh the mind and body and help you pull through the rest of the day.</p> <p><strong>2. Eat Well</strong></p> <p>Gone are the days of break room junk food. We know better these days&mdash;at least we should! Packing a lunch or snacks of questionable nutrition is a poor choice for getting through the work day. Replace foods high in fat, sugar, and sodium with better choices that do more to fuel your body. Choose whole grains, like whole wheat bread, and fresh cheese (not processed!) and lunch meats. Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, like low-fat milk and yogurt, provide nutrition that your body and brain need to keep going during the day. And, it&rsquo;s better for your waistline, too!</p> <p><strong>3. Get Outside</strong></p> <p>When you do take a break, consider stepping outside your home or workplace office. Getting out from under the roof is freeing and can rejuvenate your mind and spirit. Even if it is cold, cloudy, wet or snowy, a few moments outside can be the refreshment you need to get back to work. Take a brisk walk around the block, or find a quiet place by a tree or bench to just breathe deeply, before heading back inside.</p> <p><strong>4. Drink Well</strong></p> <p>Java in the morning is a good thing (necessary, actually, for many working Americans!). Caffeine does wonders to wake the mind and jump-start your day. Too much caffeine; however, can actually work against you.</p> <p>The Mayo Clinic advises that 500-700 milligrams of caffeine a day, about 5-7 cups of coffee or other caffeinated drinks, can actually cause dehydration. If you&rsquo;re a java junkie, or replace the morning coffee with cups of tea, hot chocolate, or caffeinated soda, you could be pushing the upper limits of daily caffeine intake. Water is your friend. It keeps you hydrated and helps maintain balance inside your busy system. Have your morning coffee, and then keep a water bottle handy for the rest of the day.</p> <p><strong>5. Unplug</strong></p> <p>If you find stress invading your workday, you may need more than just a break from your desk. You may benefit from unplugging completely. Meditation is a quick way to help settle anxiety and mental stress. Find a quiet spot to sit in a chair or on the floor. Keep your spine straight and close your eyes. Then, focus on breathing in deeply, holding your breath for two seconds, and letting the breath out slowly. Repeat this deep breathing for five minutes. Deep breathing can help refocus and regroup the mind while squashing stresses of the day.</p> <p><strong>6. Stand Up</strong></p> <p><a href="http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/172/4/419.abstract" target="_blank">A 2010 study published by the American Cancer Society</a> showed some frightening results: sitting too long increases your risk of obesity and heart disease, even if you diligently exercise every day. Considering so many of us work at a computer desk, this study is a slap in the face. So, let&rsquo;s work healthier by standing up!</p> <p>Consider spending several hours of your work day standing. Use a countertop or adjustable computer stand to work in a comfortable, upright, position. The study found that people who sit six hours or more in a workday were at the greatest risk. If possible, alternate sitting and standing as much as possible (and still keep that daily workout, too!)</p> <p><strong>7. Embrace the Water cooler</strong></p> <p>If you work in an office, the stereotypical water cooler may indeed be the place to mingle with your co-workers. Embrace the opportunity to have a quick, non-business chat with someone you enjoy at the office. Connecting with others can help boost your mood and energy levels. If you work from home, don&rsquo;t be ashamed to take a quick break to chat around the virtual water cooler, like Facebook or Twitter.</p> <p><strong>8. Get Ergo</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/office-ergonomics-lessons-learned-from-physical-therapy-1" target="_blank">Ergonomics</a> can have a big impact on your physical health in the workplace. This applies to how well the equipment you use, like your computer, office chair, desk and other equipment, fits you.</p> <p>For instance, if your chair is too low and you must reach up to use your keyboard, you risk straining muscles in your arms or wrists. Be sure your most frequently used equipment fits your physical profile so you can sit, stand, bend and move comfortably. When your environment fits you comfortably, you reduce the risk of muscle strain and other injuries.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/justine-grey">Justine Grey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walk-walk-walk-walk-walk">Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ultimate-green-workout">The Ultimate &quot;Green&quot; Workout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-ways-to-lower-your-cholesterol">10 Simple Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary fitness Health office fitness small business work health workday fitness hacks Mon, 19 Dec 2011 01:04:39 +0000 Justine Grey 825743 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Lessons From The Inc. 500 http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-lessons-from-the-inc-500 <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/10-lessons-from-the-inc-500" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/10-lessons-from-the-inc-500</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/10-lessons-from-the-inc-500" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009748668Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-lessons-from-the-inc-500" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Lessons From The Inc. 500" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>What do the following words and phrases have in common: government services, IT services, business services, and California? They&rsquo;re the words that bubble to the surface if you do a content analysis of the just released 2011 <a href="http://www.inc.com/inc5000/welcome" target="_blank"><em>Inc</em>. 500 list</a> of fastest growing small companies.</p> <p>I always look forward to the annual <em>Inc</em>. 500 list, which expanded to the <em>Inc</em>. 5000 in 2007. I follow it not so much because I&rsquo;m interested in the companies that make the grade, but because it lets me put a finger on the pulse of entrepreneurship.</p> <p>This year was particularly interesting because companies are ranked by their three-year revenue growth, and this year&rsquo;s winners would have to have achieved their growth during the recession.</p> <p>I used <a href="http://www.wordle.net/" target="_blank">Wordle</a> to create a picture of the words that most commonly appeared in the descriptions of this year&rsquo;s top 500. If you&rsquo;re not familiar with Wordle, it&rsquo;s a simple word cloud tools (they call it a toy) that allows you take a chunk of text and instantly create a image based on the words that appear most frequently.</p> <p><img src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/services485.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>Can You Say &quot;Service&quot;?</strong></p> <p>The <em>Inc</em>. 500 list lumps products and services together, but there&rsquo;s heavy emphasis on the latter, as you can literally see thanks to Wordle. The &ldquo;products and services&rdquo; sector dominated the list with 39 percent, or 198, of the <em>Inc</em>. 500 entries.</p> <p>We all know that we&rsquo;re a <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/how-to-package-and-sell-services-online-1" target="_blank">service economy</a>, but what <i>was</i> surprising in the list, was the composition of the category. Almost a third (62 of the 198) were involved in government services, up from only 35 in 2007. Obviously, some smart entrepreneurs managed to rake in their share of federal stimulus monies that poured into the economy over the past few years.</p> <p>The balance of the 198 sector winners provided products and services (again, with an emphasis on the services) in:</p> <ul> <li>Information technology: 22 percent</li> <li>Business: 19 percent</li> <li>Consumer: 15 percent</li> <li>Financial: 12 percent</li> <li>Environmental: 02 percent</li> </ul> <p><strong>Location Matters</strong></p> <p>Almost a fifth of all winners were based in California, more than double the next two most common states, Virginia and New York with 7.4 percent each. Together, California, Virginia, and New York plus Florida and Texas accounted for about half of the <em>Inc</em>. 500 winners.</p> <p><strong>Year over Year Changes</strong></p> <p>But what about the recession? I decided to look back and compare the composition of the list before the recession, in the middle it, and most recently.</p> <p>Aside from the big increase in government services, a couple of interesting industry changes bubbled to the surface:</p> <ul> <li>In 2007, 10 percent of the <em>Inc</em>. 500 was comprised of human resource companies. In 2011, only seven companies(compared to 50 in 2007), made the list. The labor and talent shortages that dominated the minds of business owners before the recession obviously took a back seat to economic woes.</li> <li>Before the recession, the word &ldquo;marketing&rdquo; showed up a lot in the list. By 2008, it was lost in the noise as companies focused more on survival than growth. In 2011, the list once again prominently featured &quot;marketing&quot;&mdash;perhaps a harbinger of economic recovery.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Flaws</strong></p> <p>That&rsquo;s all interesting, but I think we have to recognize that the <em>Inc</em>. 500 &ldquo;competition&rdquo; has a few flaws. One is that growth percentages can be skewed in favor of those who did poorly in the first year. Second, I&rsquo;d be more impressed if the growth was based on profits, rather than revenue&mdash;the latter without the former just doesn&rsquo;t do it for the former-banker in me. And third, many of the applicants, who pay $125 to apply, do so entirely for the publicity value of being able to brag about the fact that they&rsquo;re an Inc. 500/5000 company.</p> <p><strong>Opportunity</strong></p> <p>Still, the list holds a wealth of data gems, competitive information, and business plan fodder that simply isn&rsquo;t available elsewhere. Best of all, the <em>Inc</em>. website offers lots of tools to help you in your search. Here are some ideas of how you can use it in your business:</p> <ol> <li>Compare your per employee revenue to that of others in your industry. Stratus Building Solutions tops the list at $9.1 million per person. A more typical rule of thumb is $100,000.</li> <li>Use the per person revenue to help project your own employee hiring needs.</li> <li>Evaluate the trend of companies in your industry that make the list and use it to show investors to build enthusiasm for your business.</li> <li>Use it as a sanity check when projecting your own growth.</li> <li>Look for downward trends that might portend trouble for your business.</li> <li>Compare your eating, sleeping, commuting, social networking, and work habits to those at the helm of fastest growing companies.</li> <li>Check out the multi-year winners to see who has the greatest staying power.</li> <li>Compare your business to others in your state, region, and industry.Do you measure up?</li> <li>Pick your favorite winners and commit to reading their blogs, and following them with other social media.</li> <li>Read and reread the inspiring stories of those who have struggled and won.</li> </ol> <p>Some of the nation&rsquo;s most recognizable companies have had their place on the list including 7-Eleven, Toys 'R' Us,Zappos.com and many others.</p> <p>While not every entrepreneur aspires to the fast paced growth it takes to make the cut, it&rsquo;s hard not to be inspired by those who have.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-lister">Kate Lister</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary business trends Inc. 500 marketing trends service industry small business Tue, 30 Aug 2011 19:26:04 +0000 Kate Lister 687073 at http://www.wisebread.com Actually, the Rich Don’t Create Jobs. Demand Does http://www.wisebread.com/actually-the-rich-don-t-create-jobs-demand-does <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/actually-the-rich-don-t-create-jobs-demand-does" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2742484949_55bd84d503_o_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've heard an awful lot of back and forth recently over the dreaded tax hikes for the richest Americans, and the general argument against it has been this one:</p> <p><strong>&quot;Don't tax the rich, they create the jobs!&quot;</strong></p> <p>Really? I think it's fair to say that the rich control the jobs, but do they create them? Well, kind of, but only if those jobs are needed. And that need is determined by the very people who have all the money, not by the people <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-websites-to-help-you-get-a-job" title="25 Awesome Websites to Help You Get a Job">desperate for jobs</a>. These are the same people that are laying off workers when their businesses record profits. (We'll get to that in a moment.) Apple, Target, or even a local small business like Joe's Plumbing &mdash; they will hire people if they need them, not because they have more money to do so. And why do they hire people anyway? To make money. If the goal is making money, it can be done through expansion and employment, or it can be done through cutbacks and layoffs. The latter is king these days. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laid-off-make-sure-you-get-your-unemployment" title="Laid Off? You May Have to Fight for Unemployment Benefits">Laid Off? You May Have to FIght for Unemployment Benefits</a>)</p> <p>It's classic misdirection, and fear mongering, to say that tax hikes on the ultra wealthy will lead to massive unemployment and fewer jobs. These tax cuts for the rich have been in place now for over a decade, and America is in one enormous pickle, so how do the two align? Where are all the jobs, if these tax cuts are the answer?</p> <p>In fact, history has shown that when the rich pay more taxes, there are more jobs. Just look back at those years when the top marginal tax rate was above 90%. You'll see that the average annual growth in total payroll employment was 2%. When that top rate is reduced to 35% or less, the average growth falls to 0.4%.</p> <p><img src="http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/jobsvtaxeschart0628.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>Note: The chart comes from </em><a title="ThinkProgress" href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/06/28/256605/chart-lower-taxes-on-the-rich-dont-lead-to-job-growth/"><em>ThinkProgress</em></a><em>, which is definitely a left-wing website, but the numbers are historically accurate and come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Tax Policy Center.</em></p> <h3>More Money Does Not Mean More Jobs</h3> <p>Here are some recent examples. <a title="HSBC and Merck financials" href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-leadership/post/big-profits-andbig-job-cuts-hsbc-and-merck-the-latest-to-turn-profitsand-turn-workers-out-the-door/2011/04/01/gIQA0adDuI_blog.html">HSBC and Merck both recently announced strong financials</a>. HSBC posted a 35% profit increase, around $11.5 billion, for the first half of the year. Merck's profits are solid and growing. And yet, HSBC has announced that 25,000 jobs will be eliminated between now and 2013, and Merck is laying off 13,000 people. Lockheed Martin will be trimming thousands of jobs, too.</p> <p>If the arguments for the wealthy tax breaks stand up, then these profits would equate to more jobs, not job cuts. But that's not the way the world works, at least not in businesses that have to report to share holders. And in many of these big corporations, the everyday workers are faceless numbers. They are just statistics. And when you eliminate their jobs, and the stock jumps a quarter of a point...well, a few wealthy people become wealthier.</p> <h3>Greed is the New Order of Business</h3> <p>Say you own a business and it's making $200 million a year in pure profit, employing some 3000 workers. Now you find out that if you work some people a little harder, you can maintain current production and increase profit by cutting 750 jobs. What do you do? Put your current morality to one side and adopt the mindset of a hard-nosed business executive with stockholders to please. It's quite simple. You cut jobs and give the top brass a pay raise.</p> <p>That's what is happening everywhere. Rich corporations are cutting jobs and making more money than ever. Even Fox News, who are slanted to the right, are admitting that corporations have a lot of cash in reserve; they're just not spending it. CEOs aren't saying to the board, &quot;Listen you guys, we're making too much money. Shouldn't we hire some more people?&quot;</p> <p>No, new jobs are created when there's a need. You expand, open a new plant or new store, and add jobs when they are required. You don't hire 10 people when you can get away with 8. In fact, these days you can hire 7 because people are so scared of losing their jobs that they'll work extra hard and take less pay. That's supply and demand. Don't expect businesses to eat into their profit margins or tell the shareholders that they aren't getting as big a slice of the pie. That doesn't happen any more.</p> <p>The fact is, the rich are not creating jobs. They haven't been doing it in a long time. When jobs are needed, those jobs will be filled. When jobs can be cut, they will be cut. But when profits matter more than people, we get what we have right now. High unemployment, and low taxes for the wealthy.</p> <p><em>Editor's Note: The views shared by one writer does not reflect the views of all writers on Wise Bread. Commentary on politics, news, and other topics on this site are meant for entertainment purposes.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/actually-the-rich-don-t-create-jobs-demand-does" class="sharethis-link" title="Actually, the Rich Don’t Create Jobs. Demand Does " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/musings-inspired-by-the-crappiest-of-films-demolition-man">Musings inspired by the crappiest of films — Demolition Man.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-charities-do-you-give-to">Ask the readers: What charities do you give to?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary corporations job creation tax cuts Fri, 12 Aug 2011 14:21:17 +0000 Paul Michael 660059 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-to-manage-your-online-reputation <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-ways-to-manage-your-online-reputation" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-ways-to-manage-your-online-reputation</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-ways-to-manage-your-online-reputation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016270703Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-to-manage-your-online-reputation" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Online reputation management is a hot topic lately. That&rsquo;s partly because it&rsquo;s easy to get burned.</p> <p>Ninety-two percent of consumers read reviews online, and a mere 3 percent say those reviews have no affect on their purchasing decisions, according to research from online rep firm RatePoint. That leaves a whopping 89 percent who will either welcome or wave off your business depending on what they dig up online.</p> <p>A wake-up call is long overdue for businesses still coming to grips with the stunning significance of online brand and presence. Managing your online reputation is a nonstop campaign that takes entrepreneurs to all corners of the web, not to mention social media. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-successfully-manage-your-online-reputation">Suzy Frisch</a> recently crafted an excellent overview of the importance of ORM and how small businesses can get a handle on an absolute necessity. She offers some crucial tips, such as being a first responder and replacing good news with bad.</p> <p>Basic steps like tracking mentions via Google alerts and social media monitoring and flushing the web with good news about your company are great starting points. But those introductory stages are often the end point for scores of businesses. The reality is there are other simple, straightforward, and low-cost techniques that can bolster online reputation. Here&rsquo;s a look at five ORM approaches you might be missing.</p> <h3>Using Twitter for More Than Searches</h3> <p>Definitely comb through Twitter for company mentions, reviews, recommendations, and other key communications related to your business. Twitter&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://search.twitter.com/">basic search function</a> can do the trick, but it&rsquo;s often easier to use an interface like TweetDeck, HootSuite, and their counterparts.</p> <p>Beyond that, utilize Twitter to funnel your original content. Tweets help original content get indexed faster by the search engines, which can prove a competitive advantage when it comes to ORM.</p> <p>And speaking of indexing, remember that pictures and Tweets get indexed; consider that the next time you use a photo or bang out a Tweet about a potentially controversial, problematic, or otherwise unprofessional topic.</p> <h3>Freshen Your Content</h3> <p>Content is still king. But it also has a long shelf life. Content you created four years ago to address then-pressing needs might still be ranking, even if those needs have long since shifted. Businesses and business owners can change a lot in four years, or even four months. Google likes fresh, so revisit and revamp existing content and consistently add new.</p> <h3>Double Down on Domains</h3> <p>Purchase the non-dot-com iterations of your website (.net, .org, .etc.). But don&rsquo;t forget about getting social media hubs in sync, like your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For example, check out the lineup of sites and URLs when you search for online marketing guru <a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&amp;hl=en&amp;source=hp&amp;q=danny+demichele&amp;fp=1&amp;bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&amp;cad=b">Danny Demichele</a>. That&rsquo;s a pretty rock-solid run that helps keep potentially nasty pages pushed down in the search results.</p> <p>Beyond that, consider defensively purchasing domains that are linked to or in any way touch on your company or personal name. Snatch up sites that include words like &ldquo;complaints&rdquo; and &ldquo;reviews&rdquo; and your company name.</p> <h3>Maximize Public Profiles</h3> <p>This is tied in some ways to the domain approach. Creating public profiles can help bolster your brand and temper any waves when it comes to online reputation management. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are three of the most common ones, but business owners should also check out Google Profiles and information-sharing sites like Google Knol and Quora.</p> <p>An absolute must is <a target="_blank" href="http://knowem.com/">KnowEm</a>, as in &ldquo;Know Them?&rdquo; This site allows entrepreneurs to better track and manage their brands and fend off misrepresentation and squatting across the web.</p> <h3>Get Help from Affiliates</h3> <p>Affiliate programs can have significant ORM benefits for businesses in the right spheres.</p> <p>Consider the &ldquo;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.webuyuglyhousesdallas.com/">We Buy Ugly Houses</a>&rdquo; people, who plaster billboards and telephone poles with those black and yellow signs. This is actually a Dallas-based company that essentially franchises its real estate flipping business model. When you search &ldquo;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/?q=we+buy+ugly+houses+dallas">We Buy Ugly Houses Dallas</a>&rdquo; in Google, every site in the top 10 is either one they own or owned by an affiliate.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s a huge ORM advantage. Google is set up to discourage and demote sites owned by the same company to encourage variety. Having an affiliate program essentially provides variety through third-party sites you don&rsquo;t run or maintain. It also drives sales and traffic to your business.</p> <p>You pay a commission to the affiliates, but it certainly beats seeing consumers go instead to a competitor&rsquo;s site or some irrelevant profile, news story, or blog comment that&rsquo;s ranking higher.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-and-identity-theft-in-2010">Social Media and Identity Theft in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary Facebook online branding online reputation management ORM small business social marketing twitter Thu, 30 Jun 2011 20:51:34 +0000 Chris Birk 591365 at http://www.wisebread.com The Census Questions 8 and 9 http://www.wisebread.com/the-census-questions-8-and-9 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-census-questions-8-and-9" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bf_ny-med.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I received my Census 2010 forms in the mail the other day and allotted myself a chunk of time to fill it out. Imagine my surprise when I opened it up to find that it was only 10 questions &mdash; questions that sounded more like a set up for something else than a beginning and end of something (it occurs to me that I was out of the country during the last one and away at college the one before that).</p> <p>If you listen to Michelle Bachman or any of her ilk it would seem like the census is part of some sort of giant conspiracy. If you let yourself be counted, so the logic goes, the government will know too much about you and use that information against you. My knee jerk reaction to paranoia is to fill out the forms and carry out the long standing American tradition. Also, as I live in a depressed county that has seen many economic changes and movement of long time families out of area in the last 10 years and at the same time watched as an influx of telecommuters from the coast have moved in. I&rsquo;m curious as to where we are now.</p> <p>But what got me was the assumptions being made by number 8 and number 9.</p> <p>The <a href="http://2010.census.gov/2010census/how/interactive-form.php">history behind the two questions</a> state that these two questions were put on in 1970 ostensibly to help determine whether bilingual assistance and programs were needed for &ldquo;Hispanics.&ldquo; But instantly as I read the questions I was transported back to the day when I was campaigning in San Francisco for a local ballot measure.</p> <p>After a day of canvassing and giving presentations in minority communities, a fellow volunteer activist (and Anglo) voiced his frustration with the &rdquo;Latino&ldquo; population of California. He said words I&rsquo;ll never forget.</p> <p>&rdquo;Why don&rsquo;t they realize they are voting against their own interest? Why don&rsquo;t they remember they were all farm workers once?&ldquo; I looked at him flabbergasted.</p> <p>&rdquo;You really believe that all Latinos have the exact same background? That everyone started out their American life in a field somewhere?&ldquo;</p> <p>&rdquo;Well, didn&rsquo;t they?&ldquo;</p> <p>&rdquo;No,&ldquo; I told him, &rdquo;They didn&rsquo;t.&ldquo; Then I think I (because I&rsquo;m a geek) launch into a Mexican and American history diatribe that started somewhere with Spanish land grant families, Yaqui Indians, and the Mexican War. I took him through the entire Mexican Revolution of the early 1920s and ended somewhere in NAFTA. Then I realized he may have gotten lost in the dizzying array of history and I promptly started over again. This time I started in Andalucia. The point of the matter was however, that there is no single unifying factor for this so called group of &rdquo;Hispanics&ldquo; in Questions 8 and 9.</p> <p>That Question 8 is meant to determine language needs. But my whole family can answer yes that we are Hispanic (even though I hate that term) but will that get us the programs we need to learn Nahtuatl and Spanish since my family can really only speak English? And by my family, I really mean pretty much all of my extended family as well. At least half of the Hispanic population in this country probably falls into this same category if their family arrived in the US prior to 1980 &mdash; so wouldn&rsquo;t a better question be what is your primary spoken language? And since, at least in California, bilingual programs were never actually &lsquo;bilingual&rsquo; &mdash; in that two languages were never introduced on equal footing with a result of students being sufficiently fluent in both languages is it even relevant?</p> <p>Where I live, there aren&rsquo;t all that many people requiring English as a second Language courses that hail from Spanish speaking countries except in one area of our county. We could however, use programs that ease the transition from Korean and Russian to English instead. But I&rsquo;m not sure how we are suppose to glean that from Question 8. Surely other Mexican Americans on this side of the county might check yes as our family has done and thereby will be counted erroneously as needing English as a second language programs in this part. Does this mean we&rsquo;ve already wasted money on a program that won&rsquo;t work before we&rsquo;ve even finished up the tally? Quite possibly so.</p> <p>And what of Question 9? Of course all its asking is a racial question. What do you identify yourself as. We know, of course, from the striking example of our president on down that a good number of us these days identify as more than one culture racially. We know that no culture is monolithic. Taking just Obama&rsquo;s family alone we can see that being African-American doesn&rsquo;t mean one thing or one type of community. So what exactly is Question 9 going to measure? Isn&rsquo;t the smarter question here which economic class do you identify with?</p> <p>If Question 9 was removed and some criteria of education and income were put here in its stead we&rsquo;d be measuring something that we know truly exists &mdash; cultures within the United States that are much more monolithic in need and values than what the criteria of race achieves here.</p> <p>I am fascinated and amazed at the idea of the census &mdash; not unlike how I used to feel about the department store I worked at in high school closing for a day so we could count every single item we sold and make sure it was accounted for. But the inventory only told us one thing &mdash; what items we had. It didn&rsquo;t tell us the condition of them or how out of date they were and unhip and so no wonder no one wanted to shop there sort of information. It just told us how many earrings and handbags our department had &mdash; and in the end when our store closed from bankruptcy we knew that it had nothing to do with whether or not we were missing some inventory &mdash; it was because we were no longer relevant.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-census-questions-8-and-9" class="sharethis-link" title="The Census Questions 8 and 9" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maggie-wells">Maggie Wells</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/need-a-job-apply-to-become-a-census-enumerator">Need a job? Apply to become a Census enumerator</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-charities-do-you-give-to">Ask the readers: What charities do you give to?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary census Sun, 21 Mar 2010 23:03:32 +0000 Maggie Wells 5953 at http://www.wisebread.com xkcd & Imgur joins 4chan battle vs. AT&T http://www.wisebread.com/xkcd-imgur-joins-4chan-battle-vs-att <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/xkcd-imgur-joins-4chan-battle-vs-att" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cat_internetz.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a name="jump"></a>AT&amp;T is <a href="http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/26/att-blocks-4chan-this-is-going-to-get-ugly/">blocking</a> 4chan.org's infamous /b/ message board for many of its customers.&nbsp; We all know 4chan's meme-tastic anonymous army will show AT&amp;T the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKl28Qtc4nI#t=0m45s">meaning of pain</a>.</p> <p>But the revolt doesn't stop there. &nbsp;Several important Internet figures are also sharpening their pitchforks.</p> <p><a href="http://xkcd.com/">XKCD</a> creator&nbsp;Randall Munroe <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/94pf2/att_is_now_blocking_all_access_to_img4chanorg/c0bf7y6">said</a>:</p> <div class="usertext-body"> <div class="md"> <blockquote> <p>What IP blocks do their corporate offices have? If they're really cutting off my trashy time-wasting web entertainment, I'm cutting off theirs.</p> </blockquote> </div> </div> <p>Alan Schaaf, creator of the popular social media image sharing website <a href="http://imgur.com">Imgur</a>, is <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/94pf2/att_is_now_blocking_all_access_to_img4chanorg/c0bfdbi">ready to jump in as well</a>:</p> <div class="usertext-body"> <div class="md"> <blockquote> <p class="rteindent2">Let me know if you find out. Imgur is prepared to forward all their images; I hope they like goatse.</p> </blockquote> </div> <p>Munroe and Schaaf bring a higher level of credibility to this discussion.&nbsp; AT&amp;T will have a tough time dismissing their arguments as the rantings of frustrated 15 year-old gamers living in their parents' basements.</p> <p>AT&amp;T&nbsp;has effectively pissed off the mob <em>and </em>the net intelligentsia.&nbsp; Good luck folks!</p> <p>Why do people care so much about 4chan?&nbsp; <a href="http://consumerist.com/5323430/att-reportedly-blocks-wildly-popular-and-deeply-offensive-website">Consumerist puts it best</a>:</p> </div> <blockquote><p>You may find 4chan weird, chaotic, or offensive, but you can't deny that the Internet wouldn't be the same without it. There would be no cat macros. There would be no Rickrolling. There would be no Anonymous protests against the Church of Scientology.</p> </blockquote> <p>You can get information <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0">directly from the 4chan message boards</a>.</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/xkcd-power.jpg" alt="" /></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xkcd-imgur-joins-4chan-battle-vs-att" class="sharethis-link" title="xkcd &amp; Imgur joins 4chan battle vs. AT&amp;T" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-charities-do-you-give-to">Ask the readers: What charities do you give to?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kevin-rose-supports-ron-paul-barack-obama">Kevin Rose supports Ron Paul, Barack Obama</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary 4chan xkcd Mon, 27 Jul 2009 07:17:22 +0000 Will Chen 3428 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Emails from the President http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-emails-from-the-president <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-emails-from-the-president" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/whitehouse.jpg" alt="White House Email" title="White House Email" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I got an email from President Obama yesterday.&nbsp; Did you?</p> <p>The email was from a whitehouse.gov address, not democrats.org or another political site.&nbsp; (If you were one of the 13 million people on President Barack Obama's campaign email list, you are <em>not</em> automatically on his White House mailing list. You have to sign up for the lists separately.) </p> <p>The first official White House email was sent in May, and they have since sent emails about Judge Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination, <a href="http://www.serve.gov/ ">United We Serve</a> (volunteer service), swine flu, and most recently, health care reform.&nbsp; </p> <p>Normally the President's emails are sent once every few weeks, are short, and are action oriented (e.g., &quot;watch this video of Sotomayor's&nbsp; opening statement.&quot;)&nbsp; Overall, I've been impressed with the emails and the extent to which they make me feel more engaged as a citizen.&nbsp; The President's emails from the White House avoid the harsh political commentary that you get in GOP or Democratic Party emails.</p> <h2>To Sign Up</h2> <p>Visit the <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/EmailUpdates/">White House email sign up page</a>.&nbsp; All you need to include is your email address and zip code.&nbsp; Name or other contact information isn't required to be on the President's email list.&nbsp; There are also plenty of other ways to connect with the White House including on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/whitehouse">Twitter</a>, <a href="http://www.facebook.com/whitehouse">Facebook</a>, and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/whitehouse">YouTube</a>.</p> <h2>Why is this important?&nbsp;</h2> <p>While some will disagree with me, I believe that part of being an informed consumer is being an informed citizen.&nbsp; Like it or not, the government directly affects personal finance and your wealth.&nbsp; And by allowing the White House to contact you via the means you're most likely to receive the information -- for many of us it's email --&nbsp; you will be more aware of how your finances are affected.&nbsp;&nbsp; And by being aware, you can more easily create change.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-emails-from-the-president" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Get Emails from the President" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-charities-do-you-give-to">Ask the readers: What charities do you give to?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kevin-rose-supports-ron-paul-barack-obama">Kevin Rose supports Ron Paul, Barack Obama</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary Barack Obama president's emails Fri, 24 Jul 2009 14:52:15 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 3417 at http://www.wisebread.com Philip Brewer's fiction http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewers-fiction <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/philip-brewers-fiction" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/philip-brewer-with-beret-and-cat.jpg" alt="Philip Brewer with beret and cat" title="Philip Brewer with Beret and Cat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="300" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This post won't go up on the front page at Wise Bread; only people who subscribe to my posts via the RSS&nbsp;feed or email should see it.&nbsp; Even for you guys, I'll keep it short, because this isn't about personal finance or frugality.&nbsp; It's about my fiction:&nbsp; I&nbsp;sold a story!</p> <p>My short story &quot;<a href="http://futurismic.com/2009/03/02/new-fiction-an-education-of-scars-by-philip-brewer/">An Education of Scars</a>&quot; is up at the website <a href="http://futurismic.com/">Futurismic</a>.&nbsp; If you like my writing here, you might be interested in my fiction as well.&nbsp; This particular story is about money and investing in a way, but also about possible near-future technologies and what they might mean for ordinary foks.</p> <blockquote><p>Her gown left her shoulders bare. Her skin was pale, translucent. She had no freckles, as if she had never gone out in the sun. Her lips were colored a shade of red that seemed odd for a red-head to wear, until I noticed that it was the same angry red as her scars.</p> </blockquote> <p>I won't post about every story I sell here.&nbsp; If you're interested, though, you can keep up with the news of my fiction-writing career at <a href="http://www.philipbrewer.net/">my personal website</a>.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewers-fiction" class="sharethis-link" title="Philip Brewer&#039;s fiction" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-charities-do-you-give-to">Ask the readers: What charities do you give to?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kevin-rose-supports-ron-paul-barack-obama">Kevin Rose supports Ron Paul, Barack Obama</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary fiction Mon, 02 Mar 2009 18:44:40 +0000 Philip Brewer 2882 at http://www.wisebread.com Three reasons to stop freaking out about socialism http://www.wisebread.com/three-reasons-to-stop-freaking-out-about-socialism <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/three-reasons-to-stop-freaking-out-about-socialism" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/redflag.jpg" alt="Red menace" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Friends, now is no time to experiment with socialism. To me, our opponent’s plan sounds more like big government, which is the problem. Bigger government is not the solution. Whatever you call his tax plan and that redistribution of wealth, it will destroy jobs. It will hurt our economy.”</p> <p>-Sarah Palin </p> <p>Sarah Palin and John McCain are pulling out all the stops to prevent their Straighttalk Express from driving directly off a cliff. Among the recent allegations of treacherous wrong-doing by the Obama campaign is Obama&#39;s apparent desire to &quot;spread the wealth around&quot;. Hyperbole meets hypocrisy in a rather desperate attempt to paint their opponent as an extreme leftist (please, let&#39;s be honest, there IS no extreme left in the United States), especially since John McCain supported the recent Treasury bailout bill that was intended to... <em>spread the wealth around</em>.</p> <p>Yes, the old socialist tiger is being dusted off and trotted out again. <strong>Socialism</strong> - what a terrifying term! Let&#39;s look in the dictionary to see what monsters lurk beneath this horrible, horrible word:</p> <p><strong>so⋅cial⋅ism  [soh-shuh-liz-uhm]</strong></p> <p>–noun <strong>1.</strong> a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. <strong>2.</strong> procedure or practice in accordance with this theory. <strong>3.</strong> (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles. </p> <h4>We&#39;re already socialist, kinda</h4> <p>The truth is, the United States government <strong>already</strong> spreads the wealth around. Most governments do. That&#39;s why we pay income taxes, and in return, enjoy government infrastructure such as paved freeways, postal service, Social Security (Medicaid/Medicare, if you qualify), <a href="http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2008/09/08/not-a-market-failure/">Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac</a> (sigh), and unemployment benefits. It&#39;s why we have a national forest service. </p> <p>Hell, as <a href="http://www.minnpost.com/ronway/2008/10/29/4137/america_isnt_experimenting_with_socialism_its_immersed_in_it">Ron Way points out</a>,<em><strong> public golf courses are technically socialist</strong></em>.</p> <p>I&#39;m not suggesting that these services are perfect, that our roads aren&#39;t in need of repair, or that the government operates with the efficiency of a well-oiled machine. And I do believe that it&#39;s fair to question whether government is always the best method for handling certain problems. I don&#39;t believe, like some do, that <a href="http://www.slate.com/id/2202489/">libertarianism is dead</a>, because as long as Ayn Rand&#39;s books are still in print, there will be people who believe in putting the individual first. I do sincerely hope that we will reconsider deregulation in the future, especially since it seems that American financiers can never be trusted to earn an honest buck.</p> <p>While the United States is technically a capitalist country, you&#39;d struggle to find an example of a public service that is not funded, in some way or another, by tax dollars.* </p> <p>We&#39;ve had times in which our country was much MORE socialist. Take the New Deal, engineered and implemented by Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a time when our country was facing some very dire straights. You can argue, as many have, that FDR introduced socialism to the United States in a way that was palatable, as well as desperately needed. In fact, that&#39;s where Fannie Mae came from (as well as the FDIC, SEC, FHA, etc.). </p> <p>If you don&#39;t think that socialism is a fairly weak force in the US, just look at labor unions. The very basis of many socialist economies, unions have never been so undermined and maligned in America as they are today.</p> <h4>John McCain&#39;s as big a commie as anyone else</h4> <p>I do believe, <a href="http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/mccain-calls-obama-socialist-mccain-vot">as John McCain apparently does</a>, that there is a time and a place for a government to step in and fix things. </p> <p>I don&#39;t necessarily know if this particular time in history is going to prove to be one of those appropriate moments for government intervention - like many Americans, I wasn&#39;t pleased with the $800 billion bailout bill that was handed to Henry Paulson, not to mention the political shenanigans that went into creating the bacon-laden bill to begin with. </p> <p>Giving the banks a truckload of no-strings-attached Treasury money may or may not actually show us any returns in terms of normalized consumer lending anytime soon. All indications point to the <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,444887,00.html">banks holding the money</a> to prevent their own implosion. In fact, John McCain may have a very good point when he responded to Mike Wallace in a now rather infamous interview:</p> <p><strong>WALLACE:</strong> <em>But, Senator, you voted for the $700 billion bailout that&#39;s being used partially to nationalize American banks. Isn&#39;t that socialism?</em> </p> <p><strong>MCCAIN:</strong> <em>That is reacting to a crisis that&#39;s due to greed and excess in Washington. And what this administration is doing wrong, and what Paulson is doing wrong, is not going out and buying up home loan mortgages, home mortgages, and giving people new mortgages at the new value of their home so they can stay in their home. They&#39;re bailing out the banks. They&#39;re bailing out these institutions.</em></p> <p>What McCain is talking about is nationalizing mortgages, which would be another socialist move. I actually don&#39;t disagree with the idea entirely, but then, I don&#39;t dislike socialism that much.</p> <p>Palin, it is worth noting, is the governor of a state that <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Permanent_Fund">pays people to populate it</a>. Talk about spreading the wealth.</p> <h4>Many of our allies are MUCH more socialist than we are</h4> <p>Say what you will about the evils of Canada (and I will go on record saying that Canadians are pure, Molson-and-Tim-Horton&#39;s-filled evil), they seem to manage pulling of a mixture of socialism and capitalism with significantly less guilt than we Americans do. France and England, like Canada, have socialized medical systems, and say what you will about those French surrender monkeys, they have more <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/17/AR2006101701652.html">pro-family government programs in place</a> than the United States has ever enjoyed.</p> <p>Sweden, often offered up as an example of the most egregious socialist state in the Western world, doesn&#39;t seem to be any worse for the wear. They&#39;re not experiencing USSR-style drabness of dress. Despite traditional McCarthyist claims, socialism is not actually related to totalitarianism, even though communist governments have historically trended in that direction. </p> <p>What this means is that allowing the government to partially own certain industries or markets doesn&#39;t automatically strip you of your right to vote for your elected officials (we&#39;ve got <a href="http://www.miller-mccune.com/article/745">voter purges</a> taking care of that right here in the US!).</p> <p>Were our government not facing a <a href="http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/">monumental debt</a>, two wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, and a <a href="http://www.americaneconomicalert.org/ticker_home.asp">looming trade deficit</a>, I might be a stronger advocate of the federal goverment pouring non-existant dollars into failing industries; technically, I&#39;m still on the fence about what direction I think the government should head in in order to stave off a much large crisis and recesssion. This crisis might settle down in the coming months with little intervention.</p> <p>But if our economy does crash and burn, and we are facing another Depression - wouldn&#39;t that be <em>exactly</em> the time to start experiementing (again) with socialism?</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>*Removed a section from the article after a very astute reader pointed out that it was merely a rant against pork, and not pertinent to the argument that the US practices socialism of sorts through government sponsorship of social programs.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-reasons-to-stop-freaking-out-about-socialism" class="sharethis-link" title="Three reasons to stop freaking out about socialism" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-it-pay-to-be-a-jerk">Does it pay to be a jerk?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gas-tax-holiday-don-t-fall-for-it">The Gas Tax Holiday; don’t fall for it.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-sell-your-vote">Would you sell your vote?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary economic meltdown election politics socialism stock market crash Wall Street greed Wed, 29 Oct 2008 23:20:23 +0000 Andrea Karim 2551 at http://www.wisebread.com New York Times turns off double click dictionary pop ups! http://www.wisebread.com/new-york-times-turns-off-double-click-dictionary-pop-ups <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-york-times-turns-off-double-click-dictionary-pop-ups" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fireworks1.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The New York Times website had a terrible feature that would open a new window every time you double clicked on any word in a story.  The window pointed to a definition of the word you just highligthed.  Apparently the Times had a pretty low opinion of its readers&#39; intelligence.  People absolutely <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/geek/comments/711yd/dear_ny_times_please_turn_off_your_doubleclick/">hated</a> <a href="http://grammarpolice.net/archives/001221.php">this</a> <a href="http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2007/02/26/why-i-hate-the-nyt-web-site/">feature</a>.</p> <p>Now the terror is finally over! Take a look at the <a href="http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/16/staying-cool-and-irritating-your-rivals/">new feature</a>:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/nyt_words.png" alt="new york time definitions" title="nyt definitions" width="487" height="350" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Instead of an annoying pop-up window, you get a little question mark icon that you can easily ignore.  </p> <p>I constanty highlight text while I browse. This feature update makes me feel like this: </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/elmo_cheers.jpg" alt="elmo cheers nyt decision" title="elmo cheers new york times decision" width="500" height="333" /> </p> <p>Thank you New York Times!</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/booya.jpg" alt="booya" title="booya new york times" width="500" height="375" /> </p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-york-times-turns-off-double-click-dictionary-pop-ups" class="sharethis-link" title="New York Times turns off double click dictionary pop ups!" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-charities-do-you-give-to">Ask the readers: What charities do you give to?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kevin-rose-supports-ron-paul-barack-obama">Kevin Rose supports Ron Paul, Barack Obama</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary annoying dictionary features new york times nyt pop ups Fri, 17 Oct 2008 05:46:57 +0000 Will Chen 2528 at http://www.wisebread.com We just need to vote http://www.wisebread.com/we-just-need-to-vote <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/we-just-need-to-vote" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/obama12.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="181" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Barack Obama is sounding more presidential with every speech.  When his supporters booed John McCain, he responded not with glee or bitterness, but with class.</p> <p>&quot;No, we don&#39;t need that,&quot; said Obama.  The boos die down a bit. &quot;<strong>We just need to vote, that&#39;s what we need to do</strong>.&quot;</p> <p><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GQZTbTYGxdM&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GQZTbTYGxdM&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344"></embed></object></p> <p>Many people say Obama isn&#39;t tough enough.  That he hasn&#39;t been vetted against vicious partisan attacks.  That he cannot throw a decent counterpunch after a shot below the belt.</p> <p>Well, maybe he doesn&#39;t have to.  When we finally elect a president who can rise above that kind of divisive bickering, it doesn&#39;t mean our candidates have reached a higher moral ground.  It means we have. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-just-need-to-vote" class="sharethis-link" title="We just need to vote" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-charities-do-you-give-to">Ask the readers: What charities do you give to?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kevin-rose-supports-ron-paul-barack-obama">Kevin Rose supports Ron Paul, Barack Obama</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary Tue, 14 Oct 2008 05:25:10 +0000 Will Chen 2518 at http://www.wisebread.com The AIG retreat pictures: Why it's worse than you think http://www.wisebread.com/the-aig-retreat-pictures-why-its-worse-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-aig-retreat-pictures-why-its-worse-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/golf5.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Days after AIG received a $85 billion taxpayer bailout, it spent <strong>$440,000</strong> hosting a posh corporate retreat at the <a href="http://www.stregismb.com">St. Regis Monarch Beach resort</a>.  (<a href="#regis_pictures">click here to jump down to pictures</a>)</p> <p>AIG defended the expense, explaining that the retreat was for independent insurance brokers, not AIG employees.  According to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601203&amp;sid=aVbSGJ0EQTYA">AIG</a>: </p> <blockquote><p>This is very standard in the industry to reward the top 5 to 10 percent of top sellers. In the insurance business, it’s as basic as salary as a means to reward performance. </p> </blockquote> <p>I&#39;m not sure why this explanation is any better.  AIG has a <strong>very sleazy record </strong>in their dealings with independent brokers. In 2004, AIG got busted for <a href="http://www.alternet.org/story/20561/?ses=e39efc46c2cb7d952f10ef2d70322a94">bribing brokers with illegal kickbacks</a> to betray their fiduciary duty to their clients: </p> <blockquote><p>Marsh, an insurance broker, is supposed to find the best insurance policies for its clients from a wide range of companies. Instead it steered the policies to companies such as AIG that agreed to pay <strong>kickbacks</strong>. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It solicited phony competitive bids for insurance contracts to deceive customers into thinking there was real competition for their business. Marsh made $800 million on kickbacks in 2003 alone – over half its $1.5 billion profit. With a 40 percent share of the global insurance brokerage market, its fraud drove up prices for everyone.</p> </blockquote> <p>After a series of investigations into these dirty deals, AIG agreed to pay a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/10/business/10insure.html">$1.64 billion settlement</a> with the government.  AIG apologized for these unethical business practices in 2006, stating that it will &quot;provide transparency and fairness in the insurance markets.&quot; </p> <p>I guess they didn&#39;t mean it in 2006, but I&#39;m sure we can trust them this time!<a name="regis_pictures" title="regis_pictures"></a></p> <p>About 100 brokers attended the AIG corporate retreat--that comes out to $4,400 per person.  While not technically a bribe, it certainly comes pretty close in my book.  Here breakdown of how AIG wasted taxpayer money and some pictures from the actual hotel: </p> <ul> <li>$<strong>147,302</strong> for banquets</li> <li><strong>$139,375</strong> on rooms</li> <li><strong>$23,380</strong> for spa services</li> <li><strong>$6,939</strong> for golf</li> <li><strong>$5,016</strong> at the Stonehill Tavern</li> <li><strong>$3,065</strong> for in-room dining and the lobby lounge</li> <li><strong>$2,949</strong> for gratuities</li> <li><strong>$1,901</strong> at the Monarch Bayclub</li> <li>$<strong>1,488</strong> at the Vogue Salon</li> </ul> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/st_regis1.jpg" alt="st regis 1" title="beautiful st regis with fountain" width="500" height="354" /> </p> <p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/st_regis_fountain2.jpg" alt="st regis fountain" title="st regis fountain" width="500" height="315" /></p> <p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/st_regis5.jpg" alt="st regis pool at night" title="st regis pool at night" width="500" height="340" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/st_regis4.jpg" alt="st regis golf far view" title="st regis golf far" width="500" height="323" /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/golf1.jpg" alt="st regis golf" title="st. regis golf" width="500" height="374" /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/golf3.jpg" alt="golf3" title="golf3" width="500" height="375" /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/st_regis_beach.jpg" alt="st regis beach" title="st regis beach" width="500" height="500" /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/st_regis_sea_side.jpg" alt="st regis sea side" title="st regis sea side" width="500" height="264" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/st_regis_bathroom.jpg" alt="st regis bathroom" title="st regis bathroom" width="500" height="387" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/st_regis_restaurant.jpg" alt="st regis restaurant" title="st regis restaurant" width="500" height="379" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/tikibar.jpg" alt="tiki bar" title="tiki bar" width="500" height="285" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/st_regis_stairs.jpg" alt="st regis stairs" title="st regis stairs" width="392" height="500" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/st_regis_patio.jpg" alt="st regis patio" title="st regis patio" width="398" height="500" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/cabana.jpg" alt="cabana" title="cabana" width="393" height="500" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/aig_fine_dining.jpg" alt="aig fine lobsters" title="aig fine lobsters" width="381" height="500" /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <img src="/files/fruganomics/u4/dining_by_course.jpg" alt="aig golfing" title="aig golfing" width="374" height="500" /></p> <p>They golfed while Main Street burned. </p> <p>Photos courtesy of <a href="http://www.starwoodpressclub.com/">Starwood Press Club</a> press kits.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-aig-retreat-pictures-why-its-worse-than-you-think" class="sharethis-link" title="The AIG retreat pictures: Why it&#039;s worse than you think" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-charities-do-you-give-to">Ask the readers: What charities do you give to?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kevin-rose-supports-ron-paul-barack-obama">Kevin Rose supports Ron Paul, Barack Obama</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary Fri, 10 Oct 2008 08:35:56 +0000 Will Chen 2508 at http://www.wisebread.com Did Russia launch Denial of Service Attacks against Georgia? http://www.wisebread.com/did-russia-launch-denial-of-service-attacks-against-georgia <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/did-russia-launch-denial-of-service-attacks-against-georgia" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/code_hack.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="139" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At 3:00 am Saturday morning I tried accessing <a href="http://www.government.gov.ge/eng/">Georgia&#39;s main government</a> and <a href="http://www.president.gov.ge/">presidential websites</a> and received a &quot;network timed out&quot; message.  I confirmed with <a href="http://www.siteuptime.com/">Siteuptime</a> that the sites were indeed down.</p> <p>I suspected it might be a <span>Denial of Service Attack (DDoS).  After some research I found that Russia had already <a href="http://www.shadowserver.org/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=Calendar.20080720">attacked the Georgian president&#39;s website on July 22</a> earlier this year:</span></p> <blockquote><p>For over 24 hours the website of President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia (<a href="http://www.president.gov.ge" title="www.president.gov.ge">www.president.gov.ge</a>) has been rendered unavailable due to a multi-pronged distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. The site began coming under attack very early Saturday morning (Georgian time). Shadowserver has observed at least one web-based command and control (C&amp;C) server taking aim at the website hitting it with a variety of simultaneous attacks. The C&amp;C server has instructed its bots to attack the website with TCP, ICMP, and HTTP floods. Commands seen so far are: </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>flood http <a href="http://www.president.gov.ge/" title="www.president.gov.ge/">www.president.gov.ge/</a><br /> flood tcp <a href="http://www.president.gov.ge" title="www.president.gov.ge">www.president.gov.ge</a><br /> flood icmp <a href="http://www.president.gov.ge" title="www.president.gov.ge">www.president.gov.ge</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The server [62.168.168.9] which houses the website has been largely offline since the attack started. Passive DNS records show the system houses several other websites which are mostly unrelated to the Georgian government. However, the server does also host the Social Assistance and Employment State Agency website (<a href="http://www.saesa.gov.ge" title="www.saesa.gov.ge">www.saesa.gov.ge</a>). This website along with the others on the host have been rendered inaccessible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We do not have any solid proof that the people behind this C&amp;C server are Russian. However, the HTTP-based botnet C&amp;C server is a MachBot controller, which is a tool that is frequently used by Russian bot herders. On top of that the domain involved with this C&amp;C server has seemingly bogus registration information but does tie back to Russia. “</p> </blockquote> <p>Richard Stiennon from Network World&#39;s community blog <a href="http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/30903">speculated that Russia will renew this attack</a>:</p> <blockquote><p><span>Over the past year+ Russia has engaged in all out Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS) against two of its neighbors,<a href="http://blogs.zdnet.com/threatchaos/?p=456" title="Yeah, Estonia"> Estonia</a> and <a href="http://eng.maidanua.org/node/808" title="yup The Ukraine">Ukraine</a>.  Cyber attacks against Georgia would be militarily appropriate considering that they are reportedly sending 150 tanks and associated troops( I mean peace keepers)  across the border.  And, for that matter, Georgia has probably studied Russia’s cyber techniques and prepared its own strategic cyber attack capability. </span></p> </blockquote> <p>Richard argues<span> that the world should prepare for spill over effects, as Russia might engage in DDoS attacks against news outlets (like CNN) covering the current conflict.  <strong>If you rely on web based resources you should prepare for alternatives, says Richard</strong>.   </span></p> <p>Richard didn&#39;t actual see the Georgian sites go down but his prediction seems to be coming true. </p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/did-russia-launch-denial-of-service-attacks-against-georgia" class="sharethis-link" title="Did Russia launch Denial of Service Attacks against Georgia?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daylight-saving-time-what-does-it-save-anyway">Daylight &quot;Saving&quot; Time...What Does It Save, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rolling-stone-article-on-ethanol">Rolling Stone article on ethanol</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-charities-do-you-give-to">Ask the readers: What charities do you give to?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kevin-rose-supports-ron-paul-barack-obama">Kevin Rose supports Ron Paul, Barack Obama</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Extra Commentary Sat, 09 Aug 2008 14:01:51 +0000 Will Chen 2308 at http://www.wisebread.com The Make You Wanna Holla Presentation http://www.wisebread.com/the-make-you-wanna-holla-presentation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-make-you-wanna-holla-presentation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Listen%20baby%20listen.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="116" height="115" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">I can&#39;t speak coherently and I can&#39;t write at all -- let alone stay on topic.</font></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">&#160;</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Subsequently, I’m already prepared for the electronic picket signs and the “haterific” rants about selling out, wasting time or &quot;dummy-it’s-called-an-I-pod&quot; responses.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Or maybe I’m just feeling myself and the readers of this post may indeed have imbibed their “acc-rite jooce,” before reading this, in which case I have nothing to worry about.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Today’s subject, kiddies, is how to throw a boss summer patio party or eclectic dinner party in the technological age - I mean really do it up – without digging in the crates.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">It occurred to me, shortly after myself and a then prospective female No. 1 companion were exchanging </font><a href="http://www.youtube.com/"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">YouTube</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> links and trading songs via e-mail. It was a veritable, “well, what do you know about this,&quot; contest where she hit me with everything from the soul stylings of Tyrone Davis to old recordings of Chicago and Muddy Waters. I put her up on Average White Band and hard-to-find Isley Brothers recordings as well as grooves from Marvin Gaye she never heard. Gotta love technology and what Roger Troutman would call &quot;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBeUo9ahnfQ">Computer love</a>.&quot; </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">The metaphoric Sylvania danced above my head. Party Time.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">The ingredients: a PC or MAC – laptop or desktop will do -- with a plug-in port for a large LCD screen or an up-to-date TV set and Internet access. </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">I’m not inventing the wheel or even thinking up an original idea here but why get a Bose wave radio and thumb through your I-pod. Like the man James Brown says, “get involved, get into it.” </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">You can go from Beethoven to Coltrane to Snoop Dogg to Eric Clapton with a quick search without digging in the crates, calling XM Radio tech support or getting carpal tunnel syndrome setting up random music joints on a CD changer because the disc holder decided it doesn’t want to slide out for you. </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Three keys to a YouTube party.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in; tab-stops: list .5in" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman"><span><font size="3">1)</font><span style="font: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">      </span></span><font size="3">One-Upmanship is the key. Find a unifying theme (i.e. Jazz Night, Vanilla Ice, Retrospective, Tantra, uh John Tesh anyone? ) Have fun wowing and surprising each other. </font></font></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in; tab-stops: list .5in" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman"><span><font size="3">2)</font><span style="font: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">      </span></span><font size="3">B.Y.O.D (Bring your own document with the links to your jams already in it -- Excel and Word files will do).</font></font></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in; tab-stops: list .5in" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman"><span><font size="3">3)</font><span style="font: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">      </span></span><font size="3">Rotate, Rinse Repeat: (The host should have a list, where they designate a typist for 20 minute intervals to jot down their own jams. This is wilding out interactive style to elicit groans or “oh snap” reactions). </font></font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">For you dweebie html-jocky hipsters who wear Converse All-Stars with tweed thrift shop pants (don&#39;t trip, I love the pants), here’s how you can save your links and </font><a href="http://performancing.com/wordpress-tips/wordpress-hacks-using-custom-fields-auto-embed-youtube-videos"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">embed</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> them for repeated use in a prepared file. </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">In a realm where the DJ is dead and many spend more time texting and e-mailing than talking, defeat the </font><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resistance_is_futile"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Borg</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> with a little bit of imagination. Plus if you&#39;ve got your joint on a reliably-fast free wireless network, it costs no money me hearties. </font></p> <p><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">Have fun, but just don’t let me see anymore headlines like this: <span><a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1565953/Family-beaten-after-YouTube-party-invitation.html">Family beaten after YouTube party invitation</a>. That situation -- where a “teenager was airlifted to hospital and his father left with a broken nose after 100 teenagers gate-crashed a party where an invitation appeared on YouTube – was unfortunate.</span></font></font><span><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">War is not the answer, only love can conquer hate. That’s Marvin from the 1971 title track to the seminal soul album “What’s going on?” You might want to get your game right before you try this at home.</font></font></span></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-make-you-wanna-holla-presentation" class="sharethis-link" title="The Make You Wanna Holla Presentation" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jabulani-leffall">Jabulani Leffall</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>.</div><p>Read more like this from Wise Bread:</p><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. 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