Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cyberquilting

Click the title link for more information.

"Cyberquilting Goals/Objectives
Cyber quilting Cacus

2008 Allied Media Cyber Quilting Caucus

The Cyber Quilting Experiment is a project examining how the internet can be used as a resource for social justice work and movement building activities. As with the Highlander Folk School in the Civil Rights Movement, the cyber quilting experiment is to be a space where activism, cognitive engagement, and skill development intersect, equipping women of color activist and organizations with the cyber tools needed to bring about radical social change. The experiment is composed of three spatial internet components: (1) A Space to End Violence against Women of Color; (2) A Space to Envision a Better Day; and (3) A Space to do Media Justice work. Each internet space will "quilt" together artist, scholars, and activists to either create new projects or to collaborate on existing projects.

Three Spatial Components of The Cyber Quilting Experiment

The three spatial components are interconnected and complex because each component encompasses essential resources for the development of social movements: activism/contentious politics, cognitive engagement/dissidence, and skill development.

Ending Violence against Women of Color:

This spatial component creates an online space where women of color who are committed to ending violence against women of color can meet and strategize.

Envisioning A Better Tomorrow Patches: This spatial component creates an online space where women of color to use various types of art to create visions of better world.

Media Justice Center: This spatial component creates an online space where women of color will use education, activism, and alternative sources of information to work with other media justice activist to etch out what media justice is and how it can be used to help scholar, activist, artist, groups, and organization to further their social justice work.

Overall Goals of the Cyber Quilting Experiment

* To be a cyber resource center for women of color who are committed to social justice work.
* To lay the internet groundwork for future collaborations and social movement activities.
* To find creative ways to make the internet and cyber resources available for the masses.
* To develop a comprehensive database of women of color organizations, community groups, activist, scholars, and artist.
* To develop an archival space where individuals and groups can download or view "How To" (i.e. put on a grassroots fund raiser, how to stage artistic protest, how to put on a conference, etc.)
* To create internet spaces where activist can meet and talk about who they are, what is the work that they do, what would they like to see happen, and how can they collaborate to make it happen.
* To educate scholars, activist, community groups on how to use various internet technologies.
* To create a Skill Share Intergenerational Technology Protest Workshop.
* To find creative ways to make the internet accessible for individuals, communities, and groups committed to social justice (i.e. Regional/quadrant cyber houses/ libraries with internet access).
* To use video conferencing, Google groups, Google documents, movie-making websites, blogs, list serves, phone conferences, Youtube, marketing newsletters, Twitter, digital worlds (i.e. Second Life), and social networks cites (i.e. Friendster, Facebook, and Myspace) as mechanism for social justice organizing.
* To create a social networking site (i.e. Activist Facebook) for Women of Color.

To learn more contact us at cyberquilting@gmail.com"

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Cry for Help

Today I want to ask for your help. A fellow blogger K8 the GR8 who I adore has a special needs child whose school is in dire need of any support we can offer. When you have the time go over to her site and read one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read "The Secret Fire". I believe that God gives special needs children to those of us he deems special enough to handle it...those who have a grace, strength and courage the rest of use just don't have. I am going to repost her post from today complete with links so that if you can help you will know where to go and what to do.

A cry for help

"Parenthood is by no means a sure thing. In our heads, we form a theatre of characters… the characters who play us are nicely predictable, the children - our imagined children - that act out cute renditions of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ in our heads are often sadly far from the parallel reality. The trouble is, you never know what shape the jelly mold of combined DNA will actually take until it’s too late.

Let me throw you a hot spud… when you’re walking down a populated street and your gaze falls upon a disabled child being pushed by a resilient parent, your gaze is not of admiration or respect. No. If you’re like me, like most of the planet, you’ll feel a sudden sadness. You catch a smell of pathetic tragedy that such a child occurred and you make a concerted effort not to stare.

As you walk away, you say to yourself: ‘Oh please God, don’t ever let that happen to my babies.’

God listened as that prayer left my lips as a young woman, and made his decision right there and then, not to grant it. He proved to me that I was capable of loving the impossible, and I’m infinitely glad now that he did.

I felt like a martyr at first. I felt weak for accepting help, ashamed to even entertain the thought of handing my broken child over to capable hands for more than an hour at a time. I would’ve shoved the kid back up into my womb to grow into adulthood if I could, but instead I found an even safer haven… a paradise of open-minded un-adulterated top-quality care.

St Catherine’s ’special school’ approached me when Laughingboy was but a few months old and began taking him regularly in therapy classes at the tender age of one, the date he first started was the 3rd of September, 2002. I remember this date vividly for it was the day of Laughingboy’s last seizure, the regularity of these had been slowly growing more and more violent with each day passing so their sudden halt was amazing to us. Even his neurologist was lost for words.

Since that fateful day, St Catherine’s has carried my cross and has done the work that I could not possibly do. I cannot describe the guilt and grief I felt before they took my hand, the knowledge that I should be constantly entertaining this tiny rag-doll, this perpetual baby that couldn’t even acknowledge my existence. All I could do was wrap him up safe and leave him, staring into oblivion until I returned again. How selfish my free time became!



He acknowledges my existence now. He turns his head and smiles and giggles and kicks his perfectly formed legs with glee. St Catherine’s gave him those legs. They brought him swimming, they made splints to help his bones form properly and placed him in a whole array of positions so that his entire muscle mass developed. I couldn’t have done that. They play endless games and engage him in hand-over-hand entertainment, they sing to him and gave him the ability to lift his heavy head, all on his own. I can’t sing for peanuts.



St Catherine’s is in trouble.

This is where I become sheepish because this is where you come in, and I know that by now you have whiffed the familiar sweaty tang of a beggar-lady who is aware that a bended knee is not always a shameful thing.

St Catherine’s owes the Revenue Commissioners €1.25 million. The payments from the HSE and the Department of Education were halted suddenly in 2006 and now the school is in severe debt - while they are cagey with the exact number, I believe the number floats somewhere around the €6 million mark.

Needless to say, their belt has been tightened. There is now a bare minimum of staff, we the parents were informed at a meeting - I think even before the staff were - that redundancy packages were being bandied about. They have halted all counselling services for staff, cut weekend respite to the bare minimum, and let the extra nurses go. They have stopped all external training seminars thus halting progress in its tracks, and have put a stop to trips to the swimming pool.

But the worst of all. All those new babies, those new broken children in tireless hospitals are now on their own. Harry Cullen himself, a voluntary worker, CEO of the school, has to call these distraught parents ‘at such a vulnerable time’ as he said, and explain to them that the inn is full.
THE INN SHOULD NEVER BE FULL.

Apparently the HSE don’t want St Catherine’s to close, so they have told the school to create a recovery plan by the end of October and then they would talk further about the possibility of some cash. Mr. Cullen is not holding his breath however, he can see like the rest of us that the HSE seems to be in dire trouble itself.

And what of the Department of Education? I’m fearful of what to tell you, also I don’t know for sure. I sense that the school is staring down the barrel of a large gun, that’s all I can give you, really. The lack of information is quite bizarre.

The Revenue Commissioners are sympathetic to a point, but cutting through all the ducktape that pins St Catherines to its virtual interrogation chair will be very, very expensive.

So who is left? I’m afraid the answer is you, and your brothers, your sisters, your neighbours and your talkative coalman. Please help this amazingly worthy charity in any way you can. Their bank details are below, a standing order is there too… €5/month would be just out of this world, and the tax from this mighty gift would return to the school at the end of the year. They’ve even put together Christmas cards, if you’d like to buy some.

I’m slightly biased, I’ll admit, but they do a job that is way and above any amount of cash and you know it. Schools like St Catherines all over Ireland are suffering too, but I offer this one to you. I would do anything to stop it from liquidating so I ask you humbly for your help. Thank you so much for reading all of this, if all you can do is link to this page I would be eternally grateful.

-o0o-

And now for the official extras:

If you live in Co. Wicklow, freetext “Autism” to 50308, before 31st October 2008. If you join this affinity plan, 02 will donate 5% of your bill to St Catherine’s service until 31st December 2009. If you don’t live in Wicklow, text “autism” to 087-9245894.

Their banking information is as follows:

Account Name: St Catherine’s Association Ltd
Bank: Allied Irish Bank
Address: Church Road, Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland
Account No: 009920234
Sort Code: 93-35-54

And if you click HERE(here, I've linked to her page with the link as it is a downloadable form), you’ll find a printable standing order.

This is the website for the school; St Catherine’s EDC… you’ll find a lot more information on their services here. (Thanks to Prin for reminding me!)

-o0o-

Again, THANK YOU for any help you can give, you have no idea what this means to me!"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Postcards from Amerah...

You guessed it, today is another Postcards from Amerah day. She's been on a roll lately :)


A Married Couple

A married couple in their early 60s was celebrating their
40th wedding anniversary in a quiet, romantic little restaurant.
Suddenly, a tiny yet beautiful fairy appeared on their
table.
She said, 'For being such an exemplary married couple and
for being
loving to each other for all this time, I will grant you
each a wish.'
The wife answered, 'Oh, I want to travel around the world
with my darling husband.'
The fairy waved her magic wand and - poof! - two tickets
for the Queen Mary II appeared in her hands.
The husband thought for a moment: 'Well, this is all very
romantic, but an opportunity like this will never come again.
I'm sorry my love, but my wish is to have a wife 30 years
younger than me.'
The wife, and the fairy, were deeply disappointed, but a
wish is a wish.
So the fairy waved her magic wand and poof!...the husband
became 92 years old.
The moral of this story: Men who are ungrateful bastards
should remember
fairies are female.....



Old Timer Sex

The husband leans over and asks his wife, 'Do you remember the first time we had sex together over fifty years ago? We went behind the village tavern where you leaned against the back fence and I made love to you.'
'Yes', she says, 'I remember it well.'
'OK,' he says, 'How about taking a stroll around there again and we can do it for old time's sake?'
'Oh Jim, you old devil, that sounds like a crazy, but good idea!'
A police officer sitting in the next booth heard their conversation and, having a chuckle to himself, he thinks to himself, I've got to see these two old-timers having sex against a fence. I'll just keep an eye on them so there's no trouble. So he follows them.
The elderly couple walks haltingly along, leaning on each other for support aided by walking sticks. Finally, they get to the back of the tavern and make their way to the fence.. The old lady lifts her skirt and the old man drops his trousers. As she leans against the fence, the old man moves in.. Then suddenly they erupt into the most furious sex that the policeman has ever seen. This goes on for about ten minutes while both are making loud noises and moaning and screaming. Finally, they both collapse, panting on the ground.
The policeman is amazed. He thinks he has learned something about life and old age that he didn't know.
After about half an hour of lying on the ground recovering, the old couple struggle to their feet and put their clothes back on. The policeman, is still watching and thinks to himself, this is truly amazing, I've got to ask them what their secret is.
So, as the couple passes, he says to them, 'Excuse me, but that was something else. You must've had a fantastic sex life together. Is there some sort of secret to this?'
Shaking, the old man is barely able to reply, 'Fifty years ago that wasn't an electric fence.'

McCain and Obama at the Barbershop

John McCain and Barack Obama somehow ended up at the same barber
shop. As they sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word
was spoken.

The barbers were both afraid to start a conversation, for fear it would
turn to politics. As the barbers finished their shaves, the one who had
McCain in his chair reached for the after shave.

McCain was quick to stop him saying, ' No thanks, my wife Cindy
will smell that and think I've been in a whorehouse'.

The second barber turned to Barack and said 'how about you?'
Obama replied 'Go ahead, my wife, Michelle doesn't know what the inside
of a whorehouse smells like'.


Warning from the Government

In 2009 the government will start deporting
all of the weird old people.

I started crying when I thought of you.

Run, my friend, RUN !!!!




Well....what can I say....someone sent it to me! I'm not going alone.

I used to have this image



as my avatar all over the web, but then other people decided they liked it as much as I did so I think I will adopt the new one from Amerah above as my new avatar...it has double-fisted coffee, I think he suits me better :)

Oh, and last but not least...

Online Tic Tac Toe

Remember the old game TIC TAC TOE we used to play when we were kids?Here it is on line now but you have to play against the computer. Turn the sound down, it's kinda loud....here

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Psychiatric Dog Service Society

This is one of the best things I have run across in a while.

"PSDS Mission:

Education

To educate mental health consumers, providers, and the general public about Psychiatric Service Dogs

Advocacy

To empower consumers with Psychiatric Service Dogs to advocate on their own behalf
To assist the legal community in advocating for the rights of Psychiatric Service Dog handlers
To help 'gatekeepers of public access' understand their obligations under the law
To partner with other mental health organizations in advocating for our rights

Research

To document efficacy of Psychiatric Service Dog partnerships
To understand how Psychiatric Service Dogs are being used and by whom
To identify Psychiatric Service Dog teams 'best practices'
To establish inclusion/exclusion criteria for prospective Psychiatric Service Dog handlers
To identify training strategies that work well with mental health consumer populations
To identify barriers to Psychiatric Service Dog team success

Training Facilitation

To assist professional dog trainers in learning how to train a Psychiatric Service Dog
To develop a nationwide resource of qualified Psychiatric Service Dog trainers
To connect mental health consumers to a Psychiatric Service Dog trainer in their area
To connect Psychiatric Service Dog consumers with each other for peer support"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Finally! Something else I can get on board with...

Since I know that you all l-l-l-o-o-o-v-e those StayFree commercials as much as I do I thought I'd repost this from Shameless Magazine:



"Dear manufacturers of Stayfree menstrual pads,

This is my first time in many years purchasing your product. I usually make use of The Keeper combined with washable, reusable pads for all my menstrual needs, but a recent travelling period (get it? LOL) necessitated the acquisition of a disposable product.

First of all, I’d like to say thanks for including an individually-wrapped Handi-Wipe with each pad. Although I am unlikely to let a chemical-soaked tissue within one hundred feet of my hoo-hoo, I found it useful for several other things, such as: removing a bicycle grease stain from my favourite pants, getting rid of unsightly shower buildup, and polishing my sterling silver.

Second, although the pads themselves were not advertised as “scented”, I couldn’t help but notice that you chose to give them, gratis, a rather noticeable aroma. I presume this is done in order to make my crotchal area more appealing, either to myself or a potential lover. However, I found the scent of the pads to be more reminiscent of a bowl of decaying potpourri or some kind of medication for sick babies than of a healthy vagina. If you insist on “improving” the natural odour of my area, here are a few suggestions for scents that I think will be much more appealing to women like me:

- Teriyaki Chicken
- Newly-Mown Hay
- Clive Owen
- Double Frappuccino (no whipped cream)
- Fish Taco

I hope you will give these suggestions their due diligence - you may have a whole new target market at your disposal! No pun intended!

Shamelessly yours, Anna"


My ex would have loved a double frappuccino scent :) I know, too much information...

Isn't Stayfree the maker of those "Have a Happy Period" insanities they call commercials? Don't even get me started...

An Assualt on Democracy!

I had thought I could possibly take a break from politics this week...doesn't seem as though there's a chance in hell of that happening. *Sigh*

Taken from Crooks and Liars today:



Keith Olbermann comments on GOP attempts to suppress votes by attacking ACORN

"In 2008, faced with a groundswell of public opinion that should deliver a landslide of disapproval for the Republican party and send it into the political wilderness for years, the poor losers of the GOP are more than ready to prevent that end by any means. Few, if any, of the tactics it is using are illegal - often the result of careful legislation designed to preserve the Republican majority forever - but added together they comprise an assault on democracy which would stun even the cynical and sly politicians of Old Europe.

In state after state, Republican operatives — the party's elite commandos of bare-knuckle politics — are wielding new federal legislation to systematically disenfranchise Democrats. If this year's race is as close as the past two elections, the GOP's nationwide campaign could be large enough to determine the presidency in November. "I don't think the Democrats get it," says John Boyd, a voting-rights attorney in Albuquerque who has taken on the Republican Party for impeding access to the ballot. "All these new rules and games are turning voting into an obstacle course that could flip the vote to the GOP in half a dozen states."

The GOP and the McCain campaign have been trying to drum up a Bradley Effect, with campaign and party apparatchiks trotting out racist whistles against Obama (and by extension against the party he now leads) at every opportunity while party leaders pretend to be oblivious and unknowing. McCain, Palin and the GOP's Congressional leaders would condemn any overt racism, of course, and attribute it to some bad apples - but they seem remarkably dense in not spotting anything other than utter hate speech racism from their followers (or the candidate himself) when it occurs. The merest veil of deniability conceals their deliberately looking the other way while their supporters run riot.

Nor have their smears stopped at racism. Calling Obama and Dems in general traitors, terrorist abettors, "feminazis" and (oh, horrors) socialists has become a substitute for debating issues. (Actually, Obama's just echoing Lincoln.) From an early stage, the GOP knew it was going to run on personality smears as a substitute for facts. Again, much of the groundswell of hate on the Right is implausibly deniable by the leadership, but since any media attention only fuels their base's paranoia and engenders new smear attacks, "implausible" is all they need to keep the ball rolling independently.

But even all that isn't sufficient to either cage the vote or at least to provide plenty of excuses to keep Republican leaders in charge of their party after the elections. So we now have the ACORN faux-scandal, which John McCain has hyperbolically called 'an assault on democracy" and which seeks to provide a ready-made narrative for de-legitimizing the election.

It also serves, through the time-honored tactic of calling your opponents out for what you yourself are doing, to conceal very real Republcan voter registration fraud - not just individuals cooking up daft names to register as a way of getting paid for no work but a concerted effort to cook the books by making Republican support seem stronger than it really is.

Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed.

I am not a Republican," insisted Karen Ashcraft, 47, a pet-clinic manager and former Democrat from Ventura who said she was duped by a signature gatherer into joining the GOP. "I certainly . . . won't sign anything in front of a grocery store ever again."

It is a bait-and-switch scheme familiar to election experts. The firm hired by the California Republican Party -- a small company called Young Political Majors, or YPM, which operates in several states -- has been accused of using the tactic across the country.

... The 70,000 voters YPM has registered for the Republican Party this year will help combat the public perception that it is struggling amid Democratic gains nationally, give a boost to fundraising efforts and bolster member support for party leaders, political strategists from both parties say.

Those who were formerly Democrats may stop receiving phone calls and literature from that party, perhaps affecting its get-out-the-vote efforts. They also will be given only a Republican ballot in the next primary election if they do not switch their registration back before then.

Some also report having their registration status changed to absentee without their permission; if they show up at the polls without a ballot they may be unable to vote.

The guy behind that particular bit of skullduggery, Mark Anthony Jacoby, who owns the firm known as Young Political Majors, was arrested Saturday for vote fraud in 2006 and 2007.

And, of course, we still have that mysterious glitch in electronic voting machines - the one that only ever seems to work in favor of Republican candidates - in places like West Virginia.

Virginia Matheney and Calvin Thomas said touch-screen machines in the county clerk's office in Ripley kept switching their votes from Democratic to Republican candidates.

"When I touched the screen for Barack Obama, the check mark moved from his box to the box indicating a vote for John McCain," said Matheney, who lives in Kenna.

When she reported the problem, she said, the poll worker in charge "responded that everything was all right. It was just that the screen was sensitive and I was touching the screen too hard. She instructed me to use only my fingernail."

Even after she began using her fingernail, Matheney said, the problem persisted.

When she tried to vote for candidates running for two open seats on the Supreme Court, the electronic machine canceled her second vote twice.

On her third try, Matheney managed to cast votes for both Menis Ketchum and Margaret Workman, Democratic candidates for the two open seats.

Calvin Thomas, 81, who retired from Kaiser Aluminum in Ravenswood in 1983 and now lives in Ripley, experienced the same problem.

"When I pushed Obama, it jumped to McCain. When I went down to governor's office and punched [Gov. Joe] Manchin, it went to the other dude. When I went to Karen Facemyer [the incumbent Republican state senator], I pushed the Democrat, but it jumped again.

"The rest of them were OK, but the machine sent my votes for those top three offices from the Democrat to the Republican," Thomas said.

Thomas, who brought his daughter with him to the polls, said she had the same problem.

"After I finished, my daughter voted. When she pushed Obama, it went to McCain.

It has often been said that, to prevent such "glitches" having an effect, Obama has to not just win but win handily. That's inconvenient to network bosses who are already wondering how they'll fill election evening coverage if it's all decided by teatime. John McCain has assured Chris Wallace today that there will be a full election night to cover and some polls seem to help his case for that (and, obviously, influence voter's perceptions) - even while others don't.

But at the end of the day the GOP is prepared even for a Democratic landslide. They'll just package up all the hate, all the smears, all the Alien Nation rhetoric and throw caution to the wind. Back to Bilmon (h/t Ron):

We don't need to hark back to the unfortunate history of a certain Central European country in the 1930s to understand how poisonous this kind of political myth making can become. Powerful elements of the Republican Party and the conservative "movement" aren't just preparing themselves to go into opposition, they're preparing themselves to dispute the legitimacy of an Obama presidency -- in ways that could, if taken to extreme, lead to another Oklahoma City.

It's hard to tell to what degree the GOP high command fully understands or is trying to feed these dynamics (indeed, it's becoming increasingly difficult to even tell who the GOP high command is these days). The last thing I want to do is get into an arms race with the wingnut right when it comes to paranoid conspiracy theories. (That's one race the left will always lose). Still, the recent statements of John McCain and his Bircher-influenced running mate aren't exactly reassuring:

My opponent's answer showed that economic recovery isn't even his top priority. His goal, as Senator Obama put it, is to "spread the wealth around."

You see, he believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism.

I've been following politics for going on 35 years now, and I don't think I've ever heard a Republican candidate publicly refer to his Democratic opponent as a "socialist" -- not even while hiding behind a cardboard cutout like "Joe the Plumber". This from a man who told the entire nation on Wednesday night that believes an obscure nonprofit group is "perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."

Likewise, I don't think there's ever been an American vice presidential candidate who explicitly referred to entire regions of the United States as "pro-American" -- with the clear implication that other regions are something less than "pro-American." Not since the Civil War, anyway.

We've crossed some more lines, in other words -- in a long series of lines that have made it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ultraconservative wing of the Republican Party and an explicitly fascist political movement. And John McCain and his political handlers appear to have no moral compunctions whatsoever about whipping this movement into a frenzy and providing it with scapegoats for all that hatred, simply to try to shave a few points off Barack Obama's lead in the polls.

To call this "country first" only works if you assume your opponents (and scapegoats) are not really part of that same country. And we all know where that leads.

Yes, we do. And the extreme Right has been happily contemplating violent resistance or even a coup to defend themselves from what they see as a hostile and un-American Democratic takeover for years now. They even write books about it."


While I have quoted the entire article in this post the original post contains many links that did not transfer in the copy/paste procedure. For the links in the article click the title link of this post.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Cookbook for the Boy--Yea!

I think I've told you before about The Art of Manliness. It is the coolest place for those of us raising boys without the benefit of a significant grown man (if there is such a creature) in their lives. Today in the reader I ran across this from the site, The Art of Manliness: Man Cookbook. Here is an excerpt:

"There’s nothing like a hot and hearty stew to warm you up after working out in the winter cold. Ideally, a soup or stew should be eaten from a deep wooden bowl that you carved with your own hands. You should also be sitting in front of a warm fire that you built yourself. Extra man points are awarded if you eat said bowl of soup with a grizzly bear blanket covering your lap. Of course, you killed the bear with your own hands because that’s what men do. Now that everything is in place, you’re ready to let your delicious soup or stew melt the cold away and prepare you to get back to splitting wood and shoveling snow.

Shrimp Creole
Submitted by Todd McGillivray, - http://hoganisgod.tumblr.com/

Here's the deal. This recipe is food you only serve to people you like- or think you will. It's messy, it's embarrassing to eat...in other words, it brings everyone down to the same level, which is exactly where the hell they should be anyway. Pass out the lobster bibs and bottles of beer, and if you really like the folks, sit a container of baby wipes right in the middle of the table next to the shell bowl. They'll laugh, and then they'll thank you. It's even better the next day as an impromptu pasta sauce or stir-fry add-on.

STUFF YOU NEED

• 1 pile of big-ass shrimp, preferably uncooked and with the head on. Needless to say,
when I'm at the family compound, we end up with cooked and cleaned and headless. But
my way tastes better. This makes enough sauce for two pounds.
• 1 white onion, somewhere between the size of a baseball and a softball, chopped fine
(1/8th inch dice)
• 1 green pepper, seeded and deribbed (obviously), chopped fine
• 3 stalks of celery, ends off, chopped fine between 2 and 6 cloves of garlic, minced. I like lots.
• an embarrassing amount of butter, like a stick at least
• heavy handful of all-purpose flour
• 1 can of good canned tomatoes - if they're whole, give 'em a rough chop (as in "stick knife in can, chop a little")
• lil' bit of tomato paste is good too, but only add it if you've got some kicking around already, don't go opening up a new can
• some cayenne pepper
• salt and pepper
• bay leaves
• thyme (dried's fine)
• chicken stock
• Jack Daniels (one shot)
• hot sauce (I like Frank's 'cause it doesn't adjust the flavor of the
• rest of the ingredients, but follow your heart/ulcer)
• cooked white long grain rice, if you're serving this as a meal. You do NOT use that weak short grain or calrose rice with this culinary gold, and if I even catch you THINKING about brown...you need individual grains that separate in the sauce, not something that feels like a third-grade spitball in your mouth.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:
• An enameled cast-iron dutch oven, or failing that, the heaviest pot you have - you want something that'll take to a low simmer well.
• Something that allows you to scrape large quantities off the bottom of the pot quickly - the biggest spatula-type thingy you've got.

STUFF YOU DO
Alright. First, you do the shot of Jack. (kidding, unless you want one. I've been known.) Get your mise-en-place together (read: do your chopping now), because once you start, you'll want everything handy to the pot. Stick the big-ass pot on a medium flame and melt the butter. When it foams and recedes, it's ready. Fire the onion, garlic, celery and pepper in there and stir occasionally until the onion is translucent. Then you flip the flame up to "Fourth Circle of Hell", grab a handful of the flour, fire it into the pot and start stirring the everloving crap out of it. You want to absorb the butter and veggie liquid with the flour, and then have the Cajun Napalm (aka: the roux, you posh bastard) adhere to the veggies. Stir, stir, stir, and eventually the flour will turn a nice light brown. Actually, it's a little faster than eventually when you cook at high heat. If you blacken the flour, start over. You cannot save it from that point, and it'll taste like carbon, and carbon is not a flavor, it's a mistake. If you're nervous, do this at the same medium heat. It
just takes forever, and while you and I appreciate that great food can take a great deal of time, we're not making a goddamn cassoulet here. Once the flour's nicely brown (think Halle Berry), you pour in the can of tomatoes with the liquid, a healthy shot of the cayenne, same amount of thyme, a serious shot of pepper, a couple bay leaves, and enough chicken stock to cover the amount of shrimp you bought. It's all eye here. You also add the shot of Jack. Have some for yourself, too. You've earned it. Bring the mess to a boil, cover it, and gently simmer it for like a half-hour, hour, whatever. You just want the flavors to come together. Stir every ten minutes or so. Taste it every so often and adjust the salt (totally dependent on the saltiness of the chicken stock; I buy the low-sodium stuff so I've got a little more control). Once everything's merged into something that approximates what I served you and has reduced into a thick red sauce, you can add the shrimp. If you need more liquid to cover the shrimp, add water, chicken stock, beer, whatever's handy. Once that shrimp is pink, it's done. Pour into an enormous bowl. Take the rice and put it in another big bowl. Service is easy - place rice in individual bowl, add lots of shrimp and sauce over top. Serve with amazing bread and real butter and beer. That's all you need. Seriously. Although a nice red Zinfandel (Ravenswood from the Napa Valley is a good default) works beautifully with this too. If anyone complains about the mess, you have to ask yourself a serious question: why is this person my friend?
This serves six or eight as a starter (omit the rice) or four for dinner, and hopefully leaves you with some leftover. Can be doubled, tripled, etc. I find this is the right amount for about two pounds of shrimp. And this works REALLY well with the jumbo shrimp, so splash out...or use the 21-30 counts and serve over a medium-rare steak. I mean, it's versatile as hell."

:) I'm hungry now...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

National Women's Law Center--Citi Education Series on Family Economic Security

"Through educational programs, including online trainings and other activities, the Citi Education Series on Family Economic Security at the National Women's Law Center provides critical economic security information to advocates and service providers who work directly with women and families in their communities.

Millions of women and families are poor in this country, and many additional families are on the precipice of poverty. Even middle-class families are struggling to make ends meet, and are too far from turning their dreams of buying their own homes, paying for college, and saving for retirement into reality.

Education is one proven strategy for enhancing employment opportunities and raising incomes. Another key element to family economic security is child care assistance — enabling women to work knowing that their children are in a safe, educational environment and providing children with the benefits of early childhood education. In addition, family tax credit programs, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Dependent Care Tax Credit, can help women and their families make ends meet.

This Series builds on the work of the National Women's Law Center by providing expert information and resources to advocates and service providers."


Webinars:

Part I - Tax Credits: What Working Families Need to Know

Part II - Tax Credits Outreach: Tips and Tools for Service Providers and Advocates

Developing America's Potential: An Agenda for Affordable, High-Quality Child Care

"For the past several months, a broad group of national and state organizations has been crafting a shared agenda, or "blueprint," for the future of child care. The agenda, Developing America's Potential: An Agenda for Affordable, High-Quality Child Care, recognizes that high-quality child care helps children, families, and communities prosper. Join us for a webinar where we will discuss the content of this agenda and its relationship to new legislation."


"These online sessions are free to participate, but registration is required."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Links and videos to get you ready for your debate drinking game :)

Rules for tonight's debate drinking game

Thanks Kiterea for emailing me these priceless links!

Rednecks for Obama

rednecks4obama.com

Now for some videos to get you ready, especially if you just don't think you can sit through another debate. Just remember the dream and watch it anyway :)

Yes We Can--will.i.am



Anthem for Obama



American Prayer--Great!



There's another version with Beyonce, Bono, the Edge and Dave Stewart here

We Are the Ones



k, go have fun!

Monday, October 13, 2008

October 15th is Poverty '08 Blog Action Day

On this day you are supposed to write a post appropriate for your blog in support of Blog Action Day for Poverty '08. I will post a page of links related to serving those in need.

The Official Measure of How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty

2008 Annual Update of the Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions Page from DHHS--great chart on the difference between thresholds and guidelines

USDHHS LIHEAP Clearinghouse Director's Toolkit

LIHEAP Funding

LIHEAP Clearinghouse State Disconnect Policies

US Annual Statistical Supplement 2006 US social Security Administration Office of Policy Social Welfare and the Economy Historical Charts

Theories of urban poverty and implications for public housing policy, 2005

Housing and Urban Development Online Library

HUD Local Information by State

National Center for Children in Poverty--great tool--state profiles allowing you to choose demographics and learn about state economic policies in the areas of early childhood and family economic security Family Resource Simulator You can find a complete list of all their data tool here.

Coalition on Human Needs "The Human Needs Report"

Institute for Research on Poverty

National Poverty Center

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Online Information About Key Low-Income Benefit Programs Links to Policy Manuals, Descriptive Information, and Applications
for State Food Stamp, TANF, Child Care, Medicaid, and SCHIP Programs


The Finance Project(is a specialized non-profit research, consulting, technical assistance and training firm for public and private sector leaders nationwide. We help leaders make smart investment decisions, develop sound financing strategies, and build solid partnerships that benefit children, families and communities.)--Information Resource Center


The Effects of Welfare and IDA Program Rules on the Asset Holdings of Low-Income Families--A Report in the Series Poor Finances: Assets and Low-Income Households


That's it for today. I may add more as the week progresses.

*edit*

Here's some more :)

Economic Policy Institute

EPI Poverty and Family Budgets Issue Guide


Affordable Car Ownership Programs:Transporting Families toward Financial Stability and Success


Kaiser State Health Facts--Health Costs and Budgets

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services--Medicaid page

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services--SCHIP page

That's it for Tuesday, October14.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Senator Obama--Please Nominate Brooksley Born as your Attorney General or at the very least Secretary of the Treasurey

I read this AlterNet article this morning. The Woman Who Could Have Prevented This Financial Mess Was Silenced by Greenspan, Rubin and Summers So wouldn't it have been great if she could be in Obama's cabinet? Click the title link for an indepth interview with Ms Born which appeared in Washington Lawyer, October 2003. I'm pretty sure you will like what you read. You just never think a lawyer can give you the warm and fuzzies :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Response from AIG Blog Relations

In all fairness I thought this response from AIG deserved it's own post. I just wish they had proofread it first. :) Still, it's a reassuring answer as I did hear on the news today where they have canceled another retreat they were planning so I guess our outrage has been duly noted and that's a good thing.

"AIG Blog Relations has left a new comment on your post "The Debate and Other Random Thoughts...":

Earlier today, AIG announced an important policy change - one that we wanted to be sure you knew about.

A short time ago, our Chairman and CEO Ed Liddy said that he has ordered the immediate cancellation of all outside meetings, conferences, and recognition events across AIG, except those that are required by law or that are deemed absolutely critical to sustain our ongoing business needs.

Given AIG's commitment to our customers, business partners, regulators, and American taxpayers, coupled with the new and very different challenges our company now faces, we take these responsibilities extremely seriously. Their trust is critical to our success. We recognize the need to be sensitive about all company expenditures.

As we move forward, we will continue our focus our efforts to pay back the $85 billion loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as quickly as possible.



Posted by AIG Blog Relations to Prin's Links for Social Work Students at October 9, 2008 2:19 PM"

AlterNet's Progressive Voter's Guide to the Economy

"we have to know where the candidates stand on the issues that matter the most, like the economy, the environment, health care, immigration and reproductive justice. It's no small task to get reliable information on anything, let alone politics, in an age of campaign attack ads, media bias and outright corruption. That's why AlterNet has put together some handy election guides to help you learn what you need to know about Barack Obama and John McCain before you make a trip to the ballot box. The guides aren't meant to be exhaustive, but they do cover a lot of ground. For the next two weeks, we'll be rolling out an election guide each day, starting today, with the economy."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

CEO's Earnings '05-'07--I Want My Money Back...You Should Too!

Click the title link for the slideshow and pretty pictures of these arrogant, self serving you-know-whats.


"1. Countrywide CEO collected $361.7 million--If the home-mortgage mess has a ground zero, it's Countrywide Financial. Under the leadership of Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide helped fuel the housing bubble by writing thousands of questionable subprime mortgages -- the kind used to create the toxic mortgage-backed securities that taxpayers are now being asked to clean up. A spike in bad loans hammered Countrywide in 2007, and in January it agreed to be purchased by Bank of America. Mozilo's total take-home pay for 2005-07 was $361.7 million, most of it from gains on options, according to Equilar.

2. Fannie chief sank the ship--Fannie Mae fueled the housing bubble by guaranteeing more and more risky loans and purchasing too much subprime debt. Things got so bad that the government stepped in and took control of Fannie in September. Shareholders got wiped out, and CEO Daniel Mudd was denied a golden parachute worth $9.8 million, by one estimate. But he still took home $11.6 million during the boom years of 2005-07, according to Equilar, including $8.3 million in bonus pay. Experts trace the history of many of Fannie's problems to predecessor Franklin Raines, who left in an accounting scandal and later agreed to pay $24.7 million to settle civil charges. But Mudd was at the wheel when the ship went down.

3. No golden parachute for Freddie chief--Like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac fed the frenzy by backing too many risky loans. It was also taken over by the government after conditions worsened this summer. Freddie Mac shareholders got wiped out, and the fiasco contributed to fears that bad mortgage debt would take down the economy. But former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron did just fine. He took home $12.9 million from 2005-07, according to Equilar, including $8 million in bonuses. But regulators did snag his golden parachute, worth an estimated $9.8 million.

4. Bear earned big but lost millions-- Bear Stearns was the first Wall Street giant to hit the skids. It was about to collapse last March when the Fed guaranteed up to $29 billion in bad mortgage-related assets. JPMorgan Chase could then stomach a takeover. CEO James Cayne, who left in January, lost millions on Bear stock during the plunge. But he had also cashed out millions in stock before the fall. He took home $42.3 million in his final three years on the job, 2005-07, Equilar says, including $29.8 million in bonus pay for accomplishments that included leading Bear Stearns into the arena of mortgage-backed securities.

5. CEO got 186 million as Lehman failed--Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy protection in early September after it was unable to secure the kind of government backing for a corporate buyout mustered by Bear Stearns. The chief obstacle was concern about a $30 billion portfolio of shaky commercial-real-estate assets compiled under the watch of CEO Richard Fuld. Lehman filed for bankruptcy, investors were wiped out, and employees lost their jobs. But Fuld walked away with $186.5 million in earnings from the prior three years, Equilar says. Fuld, who defended his compensation while testifying before a congressional panel on Oct. 6, got most of that by cashing out options. But he also took home $36.8 million in bonus and incentive pay.

6. AIG chief collected 25.4 million--Under the leadership of CEO Martin Sullivan, giant insurer American International Group got itself in deep trouble through the use of exotic financial products known as credit default swaps. As the housing sector unraveled this year, AIG reported a string of surprise losses. By September, the insurer needed an $85 billion bailout from the Federal Reserve to avoid bankruptcy. AIG shareholders were virtually wiped out in the deal. But Sullivan, who got the boot in June, came out of it a multimillionaire. He raked in $25.4 million in take-home pay over three years, according to Equilar.

7. Merrill chief led a busy securities shop--Under Stan O'Neal, Merrill Lynch was one of the most industrious of the Wall Street toxic-debt machines, churning out the types of securities that the government now says it must buy to save the economy. Merrill Lynch took more than $10 billion in write-downs on bad debt in the second quarter. Fears about much more to come forced Merrill to accept a buyout from Bank of America to avoid disaster. O'Neal left Merrill a year ago with $66 million in earnings under his belt for 2005-07. That included $32.6 million in bonuses, Equilar says.

8. WaMu CEO collected 36 million--Under the leadership of Kerry Killinger, Washington Mutual plunged headfirst into the kinds of adjustable-rate mortgages and home-equity loans that were destined to go bad when homeowners could not refinance. The largest U.S. savings and loan faced losses from residential mortgages of as much as $19 billion through 2011 when regulators seized it on Sept. 25. But Killinger, who got bounced in September, should have plenty of cash. He took home $36 million in 2005-07, according to Equilar. That included $11 million in bonus pay for his performance.

9. Wachovia chief pushed a costly takeover--Bad loans piled up too high at Wachovia; in the second quarter of 2008 alone, the bank reported an $8.9 billion loss. The chief culprit: "pick-a-pay" loans that came in the door when Wachovia bought California thrift Golden West Financial in 2006. Golden West specialized in those risky mortgages. Finally, on Sept. 29., months of speculation ended with news Citigroup will acquire Wachovia in a deal arranged by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. CEO G. Kennedy Thompson, who left in June, did well during his tenure. He took home $16 million during 2005-07, including $10 million in bonus pay, Equilar says.

10. Citi CEO took home 35 million in bonuses--Citigroup was another of the toxic-debt machines during the housing boom. Now its shareholders are paying the price. Citigroup has taken more than $57 billion in write-downs and losses since the crunch hit, and analysts expect much more. Citigroup has been forced to cut its dividend and raise more than $30 billion. The man at the helm while the mess developed was CEO Charles Prince, who has since left the company. He earned $35.6 million in bonus pay during the boom years of 2005-07 and took home a total of $41.5 million."


Ok, to the best of my calculations that's $894 million. Almost a billion. Hell, I could go mess something up for a fraction of that, but here's the difference...I-could-never-live-with-myself-knowing-I-had-wiped-out-an-entire-country's-economic-system. I say make them pay it all back, or better yet make them all spend a week with me, driving my 20 year old car with no windshield wipers, sleeping on my 10 year old mattress, with no cell phone and only limited cable/internet service, oh and here's the best part...eating hamburger helper for the entire week... That ought to bring a little humility to their otherwise clueless selves.

The Debate and Other Random Thoughts...

Yea! I finally have consistent access to the internet! Of coarse along with access to the internet also comes constant phone calls, gggrrrr... There, that's much better...ringer...off :)

The first thing I want to say about the debate is that I honestly don't think I can sit through another one. I am proud of me though, considering these are the first debates I have ever watched and I managed to sit through three of them. I might be convinced to watch some more Palin "live entertainment" though. It is a great way to increase your metabolism without having to do any exercise.

For a complete transcript of the debate go here.

The first thing I noticed was that McCain came out and hurried up to his podium to, well...it seemed like he was jotting down notes before he forgot them. Shouldn't he have done that before he got up on national television. The second, I want to see the letters they both wrote and the dates when both were written.

(M) But you know, one of the real catalysts, really the match that lit this fire was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I'll bet you, you may never even have heard of them before this crisis. (Me)(This is one of the most bigoted comments I have ever heard and also where he blames the "little people" for the problem, but wait, it gets worse...)

But you know, they're the ones that, with the encouragement of Sen. Obama and his cronies and his friends in Washington, that went out and made all these risky loans, gave them to people that could never afford to pay back...And you know, there were some of us that stood up two years ago and said we've got to enact legislation to fix this. We've got to stop this greed and excess....My friend, I'd like you to see the letter that a group of senators and I wrote warning exactly of this crisis. Sen. Obama's name was not on that letter." (See this is where he is saying that we should not be allowed to share in the "American Dream." That is only for the privileged few and that we are to blame for the economic meltdown)


(O) "I wrote to Secretary Paulson, I wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman [Ben] Bernanke, and told them this is something we have to deal with, and nobody did anything about it.

A year ago, I went to Wall Street and said we've got to reregulate, and nothing happened.

And Sen. McCain during that period said that we should keep on deregulating because that's how the free enterprise system works."


But without a doubt the crowning moment in the debate was when Obama outed AIG exec's for their $446,000 "vacation" a week after their 85 billion bailout.

Hell yeah, it's exhausting screwing the American taxpayers...I bet they did need all this:

"The Tuscan-style luxury resort sits atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and features a private beach club with "surf butlers," three swimming pools and a championship golf course, according to its Web site.

Most of the attendees at the convention between Sept. 22 and Sept. 30 stayed in premium "pool view" rooms at the 400-room hotel, with 47-inch LCD TVs and marble bathrooms furnished with a "Deep Roman" bath and shower. The rate: $375 per night.

The group also booked 17 "ocean view" rooms, at $425 each, and one "presidential suite," discounted from its usual $3,200 a night to $1,600.

Another $9,982 was spent on food and drinks at the StoneHill Tavern, the Monarch Bayclub, in-room dining and the lobby lounge; $6,939 on golf; $1,488 at the Vogue Salon; and $1,450 on no-show and cancellation fees.

An invoice dated Oct. 3 said AIG still owed the resort $40,543 in charges after a $402,701 deposit.

The itemized bill does not show what executives specifically ordered at the spa and salon, but a look at the hotel's spa menu (PDF) shows 75-minute "intuitive massages" at $215 a pop (most of the executives spent $210 each for a spa treatment on Sept. 25) and men's and women's haircuts and styles starting at $50 and $75, respectively.

Executives also spent $147,302 on banquets at the hotel and $23,380 at the Spa Gaucin, which features three-story waterfalls and a "Well of Desires, where symbolically all your cares will be left behind."

It's unclear whether any of the AIG executives tossed a spare coin in the well."


They still owe the spa $40,543....hurry up now congress...go on and pay that for them too. Sometime down the road we will get the blame for a future recession because we didn't pick up their tab quick enough and they were just so f-ing stressed about it they couldn't do their job.

Now in all fairness this "conference" was supposedly taken by executives from a completely solvent part of AIG. My question is this...if AIG had a subsidiary that was completely solvent then why didn't they pull money out of it before expecting us to pay them out of debt?

One more thing and then I will stop rambling. From now on instead of posting what I am reading I will be clipping parts of the article and putting them in the "ClipIt" widget in the sidebar. It is a pretty cool tool and saves me time. So scroll down the widget to find out what I've deemed important enough to "clip" for the day :) Have a good one!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Keating Five Video

For over a week now I've been having modem problems, in case you are wondering. It just comes on and goes out like it has a mind of it's own. If I were a paranoid person I would think someone out there just doesn't like my politics and is messing with me. So... here's a video for ya :~




Isn't this exactly what happened on Wall Street? On a much grander scale, of coarse.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Latest from Martin D. Weiss

This is the latest email received from Mr. Weiss. I've already signed up and thought you might like to also.

"I’m holding a special complimentary Q&A session NEXT FRIDAY to help get you and your family through this crisis with every penny you have 100% intact — your bank accounts, retirement accounts, insurance policies, business accounts — everything. Just click here to claim your free registration now.

Look. The news is horrendous. Credit is disappearing almost everywhere. Markets are coming unglued.

Just a few hours ago, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that 159,000 jobs vanished in September, bringing the total number of jobs lost this year to 760,000.

But if you thought this was strictly a Wall Street crisis, think again. Only 25,000 of the 159,000 pink slips issued in September were issued by financial services and investment companies. The really dramatic plunge in payrolls hit Main Street hard — manufacturing, construction, retailers, business services, leisure and hospitality.

It’s tragic that this crisis is depriving so many families of their paychecks. But unfortunately, Congress’ new bailout plan is clearly too little, too late.

To add insult to injury, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just announced, “One of the individuals in the caucus today talked about a major insurance company. A major insurance company — one with a name that everyone knows that's on the verge of going bankrupt.”

Entire financial sector “on the verge of bankruptcy” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Almost immediately, investors slaughtered insurance stocks. Prudential fell 11% ... Met Life plunged 14.9% ... and Hartford plunged 32%.

Reid’s office instantly switched into damage control mode, claiming that the Senator really meant that the entire financial sector is on the verge of mass bankruptcy. That wasn’t exactly reassuring to insurance investors either, and their stocks promptly plunged some more.

Urgent Q&A Session to Help You
Protect Your Family’s Finances

It’s clear that now, this crisis is no longer just about the economy or the stock market or even your investments.

The game is changing. Investors worldwide are realizing that the government's latest attempt at a bailout is simply too little, too late — and that this great crisis is about to affect each one of us at a very personal level:

* It's raising questions about your insurance providers; whether your policies and annuities will be there when you need them.

* It's creating grave concerns about the safety of your personal savings and checking accounts.

* It's causing you to worry about the security of your brokerage account.

* It's giving you nagging doubts about the safety of your money market funds, your retirement accounts and even the money you've socked away for your kids' and grandkids' education.

* And it's making you agonize over your credit; making it nearly impossible for you to get loans, lowering the amount available to you on your credit cards and more.

With every new day, you're being asked to make crucial decisions about your personal finances ... about how to keep your money safe ... about what you should be doing to hedge against what the President himself is calling a meltdown scenario.

That means, as this crisis continues to spin out of control, you'll need more than prophetic forecasts. You'll need frank, no-nonsense help to see how this crisis will most likely impact you and your family personally.

I will not keep silent while you base crucial decisions affecting your family's financial security on Pollyanna propaganda, spin and even outright lies being told by politicians, bureaucrats and corporate CEOs.

So at noon on Friday, October 10,
in a special Q&A Conference online,
We’re going to help you get your family through this

My team and I are going to give you the unhedged answers to the questions you are asking now.

When you register, you can tell us what you need to know: You can ask any and every question affecting your family's financial survival and my team and I will pull out all the stops to make sure you get the clear, concise, actionable answers.

Just register for free and use the handy registration form to ask anything you need to know to make the very personal, very practical, financial decisions you're wrestling with now.

You might ask, for instance ...

* Should I be using extra money to pay off as much debt as possible now?

* What are the chances that increasingly desperate lenders and credit card companies might suddenly demand full payment on the money I owe them?

* When lenders slash my credit limits, effectively making me 100% "borrowed up," will that hurt my credit scores?

* If my bank fails, could my accounts be frozen while the FDIC sorts things out? If so, for how long?

* Is there a chance that Washington could declare a 1933-style banking holiday before this is over? How would nationwide bank closures impact my ability to get or transfer cash from my bank, ATMs and online? How much cash should I be keeping on hand now?

* I've heard there's a way to legally boost the FDIC insurance on my accounts by a factor of two, three, four or even more. True? Or false?

* Is there a type of savings and checking account that guarantees I'll have full access to my funds no matter what Washington does with the banks and thrifts? If so, what do I have to do to get one?

* What happens if my stock broker goes belly-up? Could my money be frozen or vanish altogether? What are the risks that Wall Street does NOT want me to know about?

* Does the Treasury's new $50 billion "insurance plan" mean ALL money market funds are now 100% safe? Could my money market fund or my cash account at a broker still break the buck and actually reduce my principle?

* How can I know if my mutual funds own things that are likely to destroy my wealth in a stock market meltdown?

* What if so many people suddenly decide to dump investments, my online broker's website is out of reach and they're not answering the phone? Is there still a way to liquidate my mutual funds?

* What will happen to my policies if my insurance company collapses? Will my annuities and my life, health and property insurance still pay off? Or will all the premiums I've paid simply vanish into thin air? What can I do to reduce the risk that this will happen to me?

* Or anything else that occurs to you!

My team and I will tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We'll offer practical solutions. We'll even tell you whom to call and what to say to shield your money and your family as this great crisis continues to unfold.

All we ask is that you
let us know you’re coming.

As always, we must ask that you let us know you're coming so we can make sure we can accommodate you.

Registration is free, easy, and takes only seconds. Plus, it's the only way we can make sure you receive instructions for attending — and it's the only way we can be sure to include the answers that matter most to you!

Just click this link now, give us your e-mail address so we can make sure you get your attendance instructions, and use the handy form to ask any question you have. When you click "submit," you're in.

My friend, this is a watershed moment for you, for me and for millions of Americans. What we do now to protect ourselves will make a huge impact on our wealth and our families' financial security for the rest of our lives.

Best wishes,


Martin D. Weiss"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month--Click the Banners!

Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year here:

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)


Tell a gal P.A.L. Brought to you by The Allstate Foundation.


Taken from the United States Department of Justice Domestic Violence Page:

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.

Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

* Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair-pulling, biting, etc. Physical abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use.

* Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

* Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.

* Economic Abuse: Making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.

* Psychological Abuse: Causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.

Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life - therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers.

Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Center for Victims of Crime, and WomensLaw.org.