from the Linda Out Loud blog
I have heard a lot of people trash news sources like Breitbart, The Blaze and Fox lately. They are painted as extreme right-wing media and any story coming from them is suspect. When you press their detractors for specifics, you hear often hear "they LIE!" or "they just promote the republican party line!"
When asked what news sources they prefer, you get a list that includes NPR, Huffington Post, CNN, and MSNBC. Yet all of these media companies could easily be classified as being "creative" with their facts and quick to tow the democratic party line. Especially after a Huffington Post contributor publicly admitted having "political commitments on the left" and MSNBC was caught for the 4th time in less than a year selectively editing video to change a story and fit a particular slant.
First of all, regardless of where you get your news, verify the source. In the age of the internet, there is no excuse for not following up on a questionable story. Second, here is one specific case where the people at Breitbart and Fox News were painted by the left as a bunch of right-wing, racist nut jobs. Turns out Breitbart's reporting and Fox's follow up of the story were right all along.
"Breitbart directed investigations of the Pigford fraud and championed the cause of the original black farmers in the lawsuit, arguing that many of them had been left behind while opportunistic lawyers and fraudulent claimants looted the federal treasury in exchange for votes and support.
The left, led by the George Soros-funded Media Matters for America, attempted for years to dismiss claims of fraud in Pigford, calling it Breitbart's "stupidest conspiracy theory." When Fox News picked up the story, Media Matters called it an attempt to attack "anti-discrimination efforts.
In fact, the 5,529-word report by LaFraniere shows that Pigford and subsequent settlements had little to do with redressing discrimination and everything to do with politics and greed, while the true victims of discrimination continued to suffer in obscurity." - full story here
This one example does not mean Breitbart, The Blaze or Fox News is always correct. It does show that dismissing them as biased while CNN, NPR, and the Huffington Post are held up as some pillar of truth is ridiculous.
Everyone has a bias. Fact. Trashing the bias of the right while ignoring the bias of the left doesn't do anyone any favors. Check any story you read for additional sources. Examine your own bias when reading the news. Be honest with yourself and demand honesty from your news sources. Finally, don't be so quick to dismiss news just because it comes from someone you don't like or a source that doesn't share your politics.
About 18 months ago, when Congress and the White House were not able to agree on a plan to deal with the budget deficit and the national debt, they gave themselves a deadline to come up with a plan, or automatic reductions in the proposed rate of increase of about 2% would kick in. The deadline is tomorrow, and no deal is in sight.
Keep in mind, this is not a 2% cut in spending. It's a 2% reduction in the proposed rate of increase in spending. Spending goes up in any case. In typical big government fashion, the first cuts being considered in what's been deemed "the sequester" are those that will cause the most pain and get the most attention. The politicians who make their living doling out increasing amounts of your money want to make sure you never consider hampering them again.
They're not proposing cutting out team building trips to Las Vegas, or Hawaii. They're not proposing eliminating studies of the behavior of fish or ketchup flows. They're not considering selling vacant buildings or unused land. We're still going to send fighter jets to the Muslim Brotherhood. Everyone in D.C. still gets a raise.
No, the cuts that have been promised are more along the lines of letting prisoners out of detention, laying off school teachers, not paving roads, laying off air traffic controllers, moth balling air craft carriers and more. You're going to be severely punished for your insolence. How dare you suggest the government curb spending!
If you ever had any doubts about the government's insatiable appetite for more money and more authority, just turn on the news. No matter how much they have, it's never enough. There is no cut or reduction in the increase that is not "draconian". When you have to give up 2% of your income, as every worker did this year when the "payroll tax holiday" expired, that's no big deal. Suck it up and pay. When government is asked not to increase their spending quite as much as they had planned, that's insanity.
The politician's behavior is not surprising to me. They're just doing what they've always done and will always do until the people say enough, and give them the boot. The more ominous thing is the reaction of the people. If you believe in the pollsters, most people are okay with this. They seem to think that turning over everything to central authority will make their lives better. Can you point to a single example in the history of the universe where that turned out to be the case?
United Airlines recently announced it's merging with U.S. Airways. Berkshire Hathaway and Brazil's 3G just announced they're purchasing Heinz for $23 billion dollars. This comes in an atmosphere in which shareholders are increasingly telling boards of big corporations to put their cash hoards to work or give it back to the stock holders.
Corporations around the world are sitting on trillions of dollars because the global economy doesn't seem to be offering worthy investments in the minds of many. However, like birds on a wire, when one or two key players decide it's time to go back to the lawn and forage, the rest soon follow en masse.
Warren Buffet has said he's ready for yet another big deal. He likes to keep about $20 billion on hand, which means, even after the investment in Heinz, Berkshire still has about $12-$13 billion to shop with. Apple is sitting on a mountain of over $120 billion in cash. Many investors have decided that putting enormous stockpiles of dollars into money markets in this interest rate environment is a waste of capital.
This could upset the government's apple cart. First, if companies start spending their excess capital instead of buying Treasuries with it, interest rates are going to go up, which means financing the debt gets even more expensive. It also means that money is going to find its way into the hands of people who actually have an idea what to do with it. There could be a rash of new start ups, which is great for the economy, maybe not so great for the government.
If investors start to get the idea that equities are a far superior play than government debt, interest rates go higher, faster.
Of course none of this takes place in a vacuum. The government will see some benefit in increased taxes, but will that outpace interest rate increases? Will the government try to put the brakes on growth, should it occur? Can they stop that train, once it's left the station?
We could be approaching the point where all that "kicking the can down the road" finally catches up with the government. The fact is, even a thriving economy can't fix their balance sheet without massive changes that nobody in Washington D.C. is willing to make.
But it's not all gloom and doom. We could conceivably have a financial disaster in the public sector along with massive growth in the private sector. Where it goes from there depends on how everyone reacts to such a dynamic. I'm not even going to try to predict that.
By Gain-Stovall, Inc.
Email in its various iterations has been around for decades and in wide usage since the 1990s. It is invaluable for business communication, but are users being careless with it?
We know a lot of people through our business, civic and personal relationships that are a lot smarter in person than they appear when it comes to using email. Not only does the improper use of email display a lack of professionalism, it can be hazardous to your computer’s health and your credit rating. Leaving yourself and those you communicate with via email vulnerable to hacking, ID theft and computer viruses isn’t just inconsiderate, it’s downright dangerous.
Email is still the most effective marketing tool for small businesses, according to a survey from Constant Contact. Ninety one percent (91%) of small business owners cited it as the best delivery method for their marketing message. So, since it is a valuable business tool, learn to use email effectively.
Toward that end, here are some tips that will show you as a considerate and savvy person when it comes to using email:
Keep it professional
When using email for business, keep in mind that what you say and how you say it says a lot about you and your professionalism or lack thereof.
Use the subject line
Not using the subject line telegraphs that this may be spam, so it will likely be ignored. Make the subject line short and to the point. The subject line also helps people sort their mail. If your communication back and forth with someone moves to a different subject, remember that you can change the subject line.
Keep your message brief
Just like you, your business clients, prospects and fellow community leaders lead busy lives. Get to the point as soon as possible. If action is needed, be clear on how and when the recipient should respond.
Using all capital letters is interpreted at shouting, which can also come across as angry. Don’t do it.
Check your message for typos
We all type quickly and even if we have spell check, typos happen. Before you push the send button, read it yourself or better yet have someone else look at it for you.
Don’t sit on emails for too long, it makes you look indecisive and unprofessional. If you need time to think about it or to gather information, acknowledge receipt and tell them when you will get back to them.
Know when to take it offline
As effective as email can be, it is hard to communicate expression and tone of voice. If the responses back and forth are plentiful and nothing is resolved, pick up the phone. You’ll be surprised how fast this will move things along.
Learn how and when to use BCC (blind carbon copy)
When sending an email to a large group of recipients that don’t need to interact with each other, put your name in the “To” section and the intended recipients in the “BCC” section. Why? Putting all the recipients in the “To” section exposes them to spam, email hacking and worst of all, computer viruses.
Reply or Reply to all
Before you hit the “reply to all” button, think about whether everyone needs to see your reply. (See above.) You can also remove some recipients from the reply to all where appropriate.
Think before you send
If reply is emotionally charged, why not wait over night before sending.
Long before people were posting stupid things on Facebook, they were writing stupid things in an email and hitting the send button before thinking about it. Don’t be one of those people. With a little forethought, you can enhance your reputation as a responsible communicator and a savvy businessperson.
Got an old website that’s not workin’ for you anymore? Want a fresh new look with greater functionality and better search engine outcomes? Perhaps it’s time you thought about a Wordpress site.
Wordpress is a free software program for creating clean, compelling websites with or without blog functionality. It’s user-friendly and has hundreds of attractive design templates or “themes” resulting in a wide variety of “look and feel” options. It can totally replace or supplement your existing site.
How do you get a Wordpress site? There are two ways:
Option 1: You can go to Wordpress.com and create a free site in minutes. There are in-depth tutorials to help you navigate and learn the “how-to’s” of creating and managing your Wordpress site. You have a lot of flexibility when choosing a domain name, which would appear as: www.mywebsite.wordpress.com. This option would give you the opportunity to practice with the software and test out your new site without any cost.
But since there really is no “free lunch”, there are a few limitations with this option:
- you don’t really own the site, Wordpress does
- your domain name is less professional looking
- there are design limitations and a learning curve
- you cannot “monetize” your site or accept advertising
Option 2: Purchase your own domain name for about $15.00/year and have your site hosted by a service like godaddy.com, bluehost.com, hostgator.com, etc. for about $7.00-9.00/month. Then you can download the Wordpress software, which is available for free on most hosting sites.
The benefits of this option include your ability to have full control over your site, to monetize and to choose from a huge variety of theme designs. The costs are affordable: you’ll pay about$100.00/year for hosting and domain renewal. You also present a professional image by having your own domain and software that is clean, crisp and attractive.
White space wars
By Ed Duffy
When TV went from analog to digital transmission, a lot of bandwidth was freed up that stations no longer needed. The term "white space" actually comes from the space between broadcast stations that served as a buffer. This space is readily available because it was/is unlicensed. This portion of the broadcast spectrum can cover large areas from a single location. What if it were put to use for Internet transmission? What if you could tune in the Internet while driving across country, as easily as tuning in a radio station? Actually, it could be easier than that as your device could automatically look for the strongest signal available. You just set it to automatic and it does the rest.
Unlike traditional Wi-Fi, white space Wi-Fi would travel much farther and through most obstacles. You could conceivably cover an entire town from one point as opposed to installing hundreds of nodes. A relatively small number of sufficiently powered, strategically located stations could cover the entire country.
So why hasn't such a thing been deployed? Because it would totally shake up the current structure of the market. The FCC is considering using the frequencies for a nationwide free Wi-Fi system. Companies who make their living connecting you to the Internet aren't thrilled with that proposal. What about VOIP? Why would anyone buy a telephone plan when they can make calls across a free Internet? Advantage hardware guys. Other companies like Google, which makes its fortune on advertising, and Microsoft, which sees cloud based services as its future, are all for it. Others think it will interfere with other networks or wireless devices, although the FCC points out that in 10 years of testing, there's no evidence to support that contention.
I think there's room for compromise. The FCC could license the space to private companies on the condition that they provide free Wi-Fi service within their coverage area. Licenses could be packaged so that if you want the metro-area, you also have to cover some rural area (ensuring coast to coast coverage). A percentage of the licensed space could be retained by the ISP for it's own purposes, such as establishing or connecting to premium networks. Premium networks could be based on security, bundled content, speed or other factors. Other types of networks, fiber, DSL, Cable, 4G, could still exist, but they'd have to come up with new value propositions (new reasons for you to use them).
- Maybe the Ravens weren't the only winners of Super Bowl XLVII
- An alternative to Atlas Shrugged; Atlas Spent?
- Book Review; The Citizen's Last Stand: Are You Ready, by Jeff Wright
- You're in Charge Here!
- Tax System Overhaul
- Is a reverse mortgage right for you or your clients?
- How do you Network?
- How taxes on the rich get paid...by you
- The Fiscal Cliff or Fiscal Quicksand
- Beware This “Stealth” Risk
- The union model needs an overhaul
- Starbucks does it again
- Obamacare and the job market
- Don't throw out the First Amendment in defending the Second
- The Fiscal Cliff: We've already gone over it
- The Trouble with Hamas
- Trickle down ecomomics vs. trickle down government
- Now What?
- Marketing lessons from the 2012 Presidential election
- How government subsidies can lead to failure