Category Archives: culture

Organic Food – Bah Hum Bug!

Yesterday, I had a “spirited” conversation about food with a colleague -specifically organic food.  There were some glaring problems with our mutual understanding of some main points that were key to our conversation.  My discussion opponent was under the impression that the organic food they buy supports “small farms and local growers.”   My response to that was “Anything you buy from Wal-Mart is not from a small batch producer.”  This was met with anger and disdain.  I then posed the question “What is organic food?”  This innocient question was answered with “anything grown or raised without pesticides or herbicides.”  (fertilizer omitted from their answer) I countered with “What about GMO (genetically modified organism) plants, are they organic if you don’t spray they with anything?”  Again, my query was met with anger and frustration.  That is when it hit me.  THEY DON’T KNOW!  THEY SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW!  So, as a public service I am going to post some things to pull some of you from your “too cool for school poser status” into “informed consumer” status.  Pay attention!

First of all lets define organic food (please note the RED areas):

Answers.com says:

A term that has acquired the meaning of foods grown under natural conditions (without the use of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides; and either not processed, or processed without the use of additives). The term, when used on food labels, has no legal meaning.

PLEASE NOTE THE LAST SENTENCE OF THIS DEFINITION

USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) definition, from April 1995

  • “Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.

  • “‘Organic’ is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act. The principal guidelines for organic production are to use materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and that integrate the parts of the farming system into an ecological whole.

  • “Organic agriculture practices cannot ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water.

  • “Organic food handlers, processors and retailers adhere to standards that maintain the integrity of organic agricultural products. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.”

So, looking at that info, it is not a valid argument to say that “Organic Food” is free from pesticides, herbicides, and man made fertilizers.  I agree it may have less contaminants than “non-organic” foods, but not ZERO.

Next issue:

GMO Seeds: Organic or Not?

I will yield to The Organic Center on this one.

We are frequently asked are GMO foods organic? The short answer, no. If a food is created from a GMO (genetically modified organism) seed it is not organic. Why? Because genetically modified seeds have been engineered to produce their own insecticide or resist weed-killing herbicides. In addition, according to the Non-GMO Project “GMOs are organisms that have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.” However, please note that not all non-GMO seeds are actually grown organically. A farmer can use a non-GMO seed and spray it with all kinds of pesticides, herbicides and use synthetic fertilizers and the seed will still be non-GMO, but it will no longer be considered organic due to how it was grown.

Next Issue: “Organic food purchases support small farms and local towns folk.”

You decide for yourself who is profiting here. This is a chart showing which BRANDS own what ORGANIC LABELS.  Any look familiar?  Print this out and take it to your local supermarket and compare labels.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pay Day Loans and The Circle of Poverty

There are those “people” in this world that take advantage of people (any retail establishment, insurance company, or mortgage broker)  and then there are those that take advantage of the people who legitimately have no other viable recourse left and are grabbing at any straw they can to survive.  These predators are the worst people in this world.  I read The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David Shipler recently.  That book has taught me more about poverty than anything else I have ever read.  The American experience of working, not one, but two full time jobs and still existing under the poverty line is an unacceptable, yet a REAL facet of many American’s lives.  The book speaks about the “circle of poverty” and how one act a poverty stricken family takes leads to the next act that keeps them in poverty.  It is truly sad.  When I read this article and had to share it with you.  Read, Think, Get Smarter

Legal Usury

The skeevy business of payday loans.

By Timothy Noah

Roughly 20 years ago, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, I wrote a news article for the Wall Street Journal about the federal government’s plans (later codified in legislation during the Clinton administration) to distribute food stamps and other government benefits electronically. Poor people would have debit cards and could have immediate access to the funds they needed. This was a more novel idea than it sounds today, because speedy, point-of-sale credit card terminals still lay in the future. In those distant days, when you went to the supermarket, you had to bring cash or write a check.

The Bush appointee I interviewed was very excited about the new scheme for one simple reason: It was going to put check-cashing companies out of business. This was an industry despised even by Republicans for exploiting society’s least advantaged by charging them outrageously high fees. Instant access to cash would eliminate this market. I don’t remember exactly what the Bush appointee said, but his overall message was loud and clear: Good riddance to a sleazy and predatory business.

Two decades later, check-cashing companies are still around and a thriving new sleazy and predatory business, the payday-loan industry, has grown up beside them. Payday loans replace check-cashers’ outrageously high fees with usurious interest rates. What neither the Bush appointee nor I anticipated was that the same technology that sent welfare moms and retirees their government benefits in the blink of an eye could give a new kind of predatory lender instant access to unwary customers’ bank accounts. Electronic banking giveth and electronic banking taketh away.

I thought about all this on Oct. 4, when the Federal Trade Commission announced that the co-founder of Swish Marketing Inc. paid $850,000 to settle charges that he allegedly debited customers’ bank accounts without their knowledge. According to the FTC, Swish operated Web sites that guided consumers to payday lender sites. (One of them piously named “Christian Faith Financial“; never mind Matthew 21:12.) To get the loan, you filled out a form giving the lender access to your bank account. That’s a bad idea, but standard practice for payday lenders, and perfectly legal. The illegal part (according to the FTC) was what followed. When you submitted your application, you were automatically sent to a Web page with a button that said “Finish matching me with a payday loan provider!” (example here). This Web page also happened to offer consumers the chance to acquire four additional items. Three of these offers were pre-clicked “No,” but a fourth was pre-clicked “Yes,” which was easy to miss. This fourth offer was for the purchase of a debit card on which you could load $2,500, in the unlikely event that you happened to have $2,500. (If you had $2,500 why would you be applying for a payday loan?) Just to purchase the empty debit card cost $54.95. Some sites billed the debit card as a “bonus offer” and revealed the $55 charge only in tiny type. In any event, it was very easy for the borrower to miss entirely the fact that in applying for a payday loan, he or she was also letting a separate company reach into his or her bank account to extract $55 to pay for an unrelated product that he or she almost certainly didn’t need.

The attorney for alleged perp Jason Strober said in a press release, “We are confident that [he] would have prevailed in court.” Strober settled only because “it became too expensive to continue fighting.” Strober, meanwhile, has created a blog, Prosmallbusiness.org, whose first entry states that the FTC’s “power to destroy businesses they don’t like is truly scary.”

It may or may not give Strober solace to learn that under the recently-passed Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, the FTC will yield jurisdiction over payday loans to the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Agency, whose overseer, Elizabeth Warren, really, really hates payday loans. In a 2008 paper coauthored by Oren Bar-Gill of New York University Law School, Warren offered payday loans as a key example of “a credit product that can impose substantial costs on imperfectly informed and imperfectly rational borrowers.” Typically, she explained, you pay a $30 fee for a two-week cash advance on a $200 paycheck, which amounts to an annualized interest rate of 400 percent. That’s not particularly high for this type of loan; some of them go up to 780 percent. Thirty bucks “is unlikely to bankrupt any consumer,” Warren conceded, but the payday lender is counting on the likelihood that many customers will roll the loan over for another two weeks, and then another. Ninety percent of the industry’s profits come from suckers who do this five times or more over the course of a year. “This is very expensive credit,” Jean Ann Fox of Consumer Federation of America told me.

Indeed, interest rates don’t get more insanely high than this. That raises the question: Isn’t usury illegal? It turns out the federal government imposes no statutory maximum on interest rates. Many states do, and some states (for instance, New York) ban payday loans altogether. But under federal law, payday lenders who don’t commit outright fraud may operate with impunity. Well, almost. The Pentagon got fed up with its recruits getting ripped off by payday lenders and in 2007 got Congress to make it illegal to extend such loans to members of the military. But civilians remain fair game.

Indeed, one of the sketchier provisions in Dodd-Frank affirmatively prohibits Warren’s new agency from setting a maximum interest rate on payday loans. This was inserted at the behest of Senator Bob Corker, R.-Tenn. (The payday-loan business was reportedly born in Corker’s home state and continues to thrive there.) You might think the banking industry would pressure Congress to shut down payday lenders because they give lending a bad name. But a recent report by National People’s Action, a network of community activist groups, and the nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative revealed that big banks extend $2.5 to $3 billion in financing to payday-loan companies. Wells Fargo is in especially deep.

“The payday industry WELCOMES regulation,” according to Payday Loan Industry Blog, operated by Trihouse Enterprises, which owns 16 payday-loan stores. “It helps the industry legitimize their industry, it manages the few unscrupulous payday loan operators that exist in all industries, and it creates a level playing field for consumers.” Implicit in this assertion is the confident belief that no regulator would dare put them out of business. The authors don’t seem terribly worried that Warren will prove that assumption wrong. Do they know something we don’t?

Yuck! 10 grossest Halloween candies of all time (that aren’t candy corn)

By Matthew Schneiderman

I call them the “grossest,” but it depends on whom you’re asking: To your average trick-or-treater, these may very well be the 10 “coolest” Halloween candies.  I put each of the candies through an evaluation from a friend’s son, 5-year-old P.J. Koesterer, a New York City resident and trusted authority on candy yuckiness.

  • Fangs with tongue
    Image: Au'some Ghoulish Gummy Tongue

    This combo disguise-plus-candy is one part plastic, one part gummy, and all parts yuck. Kids are entitled to about 90 seconds of tongue wagging before the candy dissolves.

    $1.95; Au’some Ghoulish Gummy Tongue; store.offbeattreats.com

    5-year-old says: “Whoa, that’s scary!”

  • Severed finger dip stick

    Image: Galerie Creepy Candy Finger with Dipping Powder

    Fun Dip for the witchy crowd. Grotesquely colored human digits — on sticks! — go into mouth, then into neon powder, then back into mouth.

    $3; Galerie Creepy Candy Finger with Dipping Powder; galerieusa.com for stores

    5-year-old says: “Spooky!”

  • Glow worms
    Image: KandyKastle Lightning Bugs Gummy Candy

    These gummies come packaged with a pair of plastic tongs equipped with a small LED. Pick up a bug and see it light up. Ditto for Swedish Fish and kids’ pinkies.

    $11.29 for 12 1.4-ounce bags; KandyKastle Lightning Bugs Gummy Candy; candycentral.com

    5-year-old says: “Awesome! Do you eat it?”

  • Grubs
    Image: Creepy Confections Grimy Grubs

    These are shorter, squatter, and ickier than your typical gummy worms. Catch-22 of cautioning kids about potentially dangerous behavior: Will they think to put the candies into their nostrils if you don’t warn them not to?

    $19 for 12 1.7-ounce bags; Creepy Confections Grimy Grubs; candy-crate.stores.yahoo.net

    5-year-old says: “Bumpy”

  • Messed-up green mouth

    Image: Big Stuff Lip Pops

    Less of a lollipop than a large candy pacifier with a disturbing handle — big green lips and braces — that’ll turn a kid’s face into something well suited for a fun house.

    $10.75 for 12 pops; Big Stuff Lip Pops; candydirect.com

    5-year-old says: “I’m gonna eat all those tooth parts!” (the tooth parts are inedible)

  • Squishy eyeballs
    Image: CandyTech Gummi Eyeballs

    Forget the “peeled grapes in a bowl” trick. These gummy eyeballs are much more realistic in look and feel.

    $10 for 14; CandyTech Gummi Eyeballs; dylanscandybar.com

    5-year-old says: “Crazy! I can squish it.”

  • (Fake) bug pops
    Image: Creepy Confections Fly & Spider Pop

    “Crawlers” being closely identified with “creepy,” burying a candy bug Tootsie-Pop-style in a sucker is a surefire way to spook tots and strict vegetarians alike.

    $30 for 24 pops; Creepy Confections Fly & Spider Pop; candy-crate.stores.yahoo.net

    5-year-old says: “Look at those bugs! 3-D!”

  • (Real) buggy pops

    Image: Hotlix Scorpion Sucker

    Yes, that’s a real scorpion in that lollipop. Other bugs you can find in this line of candy: Crickets and worms. In our opinion, a bit too gruesome for children, but it had to make the list.

    $2.95 each; Hotlix Scorpion Sucker; hotlix.com

    5-year-old says: “What the … it’s real? A real scorpion? That thing’s poisonous. Scorpions are poisonous, right?”

  • Snotty nose
    Image: Hose Nose

    Grody to the max: A prosthetic nose — complete with ear straps — full of candy mucus that gets squeezed out directly onto the wearer’s tongue.

    $29.40 for 12; Hose Nose; candywarehouse.com

    5-year-old says: “Eww! That’s cool!”

  • Ghoul mask
    Image: Creepy Confections Goblin Mask Pop

    13 ounces of candy shaped into a hideous full-size mask. The only thing creepier than the painted visages is the volume of sugar (220 grams) contained in one treat.

    $10; Creepy Confections Goblin Mask Pop; brandnewllc.com for stores

    5-year-old says: “You can eat this? It’s giant!”

Five Reasons Why Your Sushi Chef Hates You

You only patronize the one sushi joint that you heard has the freshest fish. You sit at the bar and annoy watch the chefs while they work. You bust out your little chopsticks and mix wasabi into your soy sauce with a practiced arrogance while boring regaling your friends with tales of that one time you ate rare whale sashimi in Tokyo.

Oh, the sushi chefs know you. They sharpen their knives every time they see you approach. When you sit at the bar to watch them work and greet them with a “Konichiwa!” they give you a “friendly” nod. Next time, you might want to skip eating that “roe” that they reserve for their “special” customers. In fact, get something with tempura, to be on the safe side!  Bwah hahaha!

Straight outta the mouth of a longtime Broward-based sushi chef Takeshi Kamioka… Five Reasons Why Your Sushi Chef Hates You:

1) You think you’re hot shit.
People will come in and say, “I’m from California and New York,” thinking they eat a higher level of sushi. I’m like, what do you want from me? “How was your flight?”

2) You show off how much wasabi you can eat.
You’ll have these assholes sit at the bar and have a wasabi-eating contest. They rave like they love it hot, but they’re really dying.

3) Your Japanese sucks.
People come in and order in Japanese and get it wrong. They’ll try to say [the Japanese word for rolled sushi] nigiri. But my waiters won’t understand, because they’re saying it wrong, and they’ll bring them sake or something. Some people order in Japanese, and when we don’t understand them, they [even act superior] like, “Oh you don’t know what that is.”

4) You actually prefer frozen fish.
Around here, a lot of people use frozen tuna. Toward the wintertime, we use a rich-colored tuna with a nice oil content. As a duty as a sushi chef, you’re supposed to give the finest cuts to your customer. But then people are so used to the frozen sushi, they think it’s bad, return it, and it goes to waste.

5) You’re American.

Customers will come in and say to the staff “Hey, you’re not Japanese.” Neither are you.

By Erica K. Landau {Link to Article}

With family like this, who needs enemies?

Daughter urges Okla. voters to not vote for father

This image provided by Andrew and Jan Schill is of a political advertisement attacking Jan Schill’s father, McClain County, Okla. judicial hopeful John Mantooth. The ad, which reads “Do not vote for my dad!” and features a picture of the daughter’s family, also highlights cases in which Mantooth has been sued and a website the couple started.(AP Photo/Andrew and Jan Schill)
by SEAN MURPHY

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma judicial candidate is fending off a political attack from his daughter, who has taken out a local newspaper ad urging voters: “Do not vote for my dad!”

McClain County judicial hopeful John Mantooth’s daughter and son-in-law paid for the quarter-page advertisement, which features a picture of the daughter’s family, highlights cases in which Mantooth has been sued and lists a website the couple started, http://www.donotvoteformydad.com.

Mantooth said the bad blood stems from his 1981 divorce from his daughter’s mother.

“This is a family issue which should have been kept private,” he said Monday. “I’m very sad about this. I’m very disappointed. I’m hurt, but I love my daughter, and I want things to get better, and I hope they will.”

Jan Schill, 31, said she never has had a good relationship with her father and doesn’t think he’d make a good judge.

“We just felt like it would be bad if he were to become a judge,” Schill said in a telephone interview from her home in Durango, Colo. “I assumed that he would not appreciate it, but he’s made so many people mad, I’m just another mark on his board of people’s he’s had a beef with.”

Keith Gaddie, a professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma, said such campaigning illustrates that “none of us wants our lives too closely examined.”

Here are some excerpts from http://www.donotvoteformydad.com

Worm-ridden Chocolates

by Andrew

I write as the son-in-law of John Mantooth and as an attorney who began my career in District 21.  After careful thought, I cannot imagine staying silent when I weigh the consequences of him sitting in judgment over a community I dearly love.  Though trying to pen down the troublesome legal philosophy of Mr. Mantooth would be difficult, I think an entertaining, but sad story most adequately grasps the essence of this philosophy.

One day shortly before the Christmas of 2004 John Mantooth hurried into my law office with a rusted golden basket.  He quickly handed over his gift and thanked me for the chocolates I had sent him the previous day, and then departed as quickly as he had entered.  As I resumed my lunch with two other local attorneys, I perused the contents of the mysterious golden basket to find a “Law Office of John Mantooth” pocket knife, a scentless bag of potpourri and a cellophane wrapped box of chocolates hastily taken from the inventory of his cupboard.

After a delightful lunch, I unwrapped the chocolates in anticipation of a quick dessert before returning to work.  Also offering a chocolate to one of my friends, I took a quick bite.  However, upon recognizing an unfamiliar and unpleasant taste I yelled in shock for my friend to stop.  My deepest momentary fear was realized when a survey of the remaining chocolate revealed the remains of the numerous worms and weevils that had long ago devoured the aged chocolate.

The following day would find a slightly enraged voicemail from John Mantooth who had discovered that I was under the erroneous assumptions that the gift was for me.  He wanted to clarify that the rusted golden basket, pocket knife, stale potpourri and worm-ridden chocolates were not for me, but were in fact for my wife, his second daughter, for Christmas!  He did not want her to think she was forgotten!  The slight humor I had originally felt quickly turned to anger and a renewed sadness for the years of such indifference my wife had endured.

Back in 2004, I asked Mr. Mantooth what kind of father would give his daughter the gift of worm-ridden chocolates for Christmas.  He offered no reply.  Today, I would suggest that the question the voters of District 21 should be asking is, “if this is what Mr. Mantooth gives to his children, what would he give the people of District 21?”

I would encourage everyone to take even a cursory review of the Cleveland, McClain and Garvin County court records from the past thirty-seven years which would offer a view into the often disturbing and always perplexing legal philosophy of John Mantooth.

Do Not Vote For My Dad

by Jan Schill (formerly Jan Mantooth)

District 21 judicial candidate John Mantooth is not a good father, not a good grandfather and in my opinion a review of his 37 year record as an attorney in Cleveland, Garvin and McClain Counties reveals that he would not be a good judge.

Click the links below for more information:

Caicco v Mantooth – Appeal from Order Admitting Will

Hamilton v. Mantooth- Petition Alleging Fraud

Greer v. Marshall – Motion to Remove Counsel

Mantooth v. Mantooth – Application for Contempt Divorce # 2

Mantooth v. Mantooth – Divorce # 1

City of Purcell v. Mantooth

Sparlin v. Mantooth – 2009

Reading between the lines, as i usually try to do, I think I get the real issue here.  You ready for it???

Jan Schill (formerly Jan Mantooth) does not think John Mantooth would make a good judge.

I think I got this one right!

*Karl Rove would have never thought of this!

I hoped it would get better – but it didn’t.

Texas schoolchildren will be required to learn that the words “separation of church and state” aren’t in the Constitution and evaluate whether the United Nations undermines U.S. sovereignty under new social studies curriculum.

In final votes late Friday, conservatives on the State Board of Education strengthened

Don McLeroy

requirements on teaching the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation’s Founding Fathers and required that the U.S. government be referred to as a “constitutional republic” rather than “democratic.”

The board approved the new standards with two 9-5 votes along party lines after months of ideological haggling and debate that drew attention beyond Texas.

The guidelines will be used to teach some 4.8 million students for the next 10 years. They also will be used by textbook publishers who often develop materials for other states based on those approved in Texas, though Texas teachers have latitude in deciding how to teach the material.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said after the votes Friday that such decisions should be made at the local level and school officials “should keep politics out” of curriculum debates.

“Parents should be very wary of politicians designing curriculum,” Duncan said in a statement.

But Republican board member David Bradley said the curriculum revision process has always been political but the ruling faction had changed since the last time social studies standards were adopted.

“We took our licks, we got outvoted,” he said referring to the debate 10 years earlier. “Now it’s 10-5 in the other direction … we’re an elected body, this is a political process. Outside that, go find yourself a benevolent dictator.”

GOP board member Geraldine Miller was absent during the votes.

The board attempted to make more than 200 amendments this week, reshaping draft standards that had been prepared over the last year and a half by expert groups of teachers and professors.

As new amendments were being presented just moments before the vote, Democrats bristled that the changes had not been vetted.

“I will not be part of the vote that’s going to support this kind of history,” said Mary Helen Berlanga, a Democrat.

At least one state lawmaker vowed legislative action to “rein in” the board.

“I am disturbed that a majority of the board decided their own political agendas were more important than the education of Texas children,” said Rep. Mike Villarreal, a San Antonio Democrat.

In one of the most significant curriculum changes, the board diluted the rationale for the separation of church and state in a high school government class, noting that the words were not in the Constitution and requiring students to compare and contrast the judicial language with the First Amendment’s wording.

Students also will be required to study the decline in the U.S. dollar’s value, including the abandonment of the gold standard.

The board rejected language to modernize the classification of historic periods to B.C.E. and C.E. from the traditional B.C. and A.D., and agreed to replace Thomas Jefferson as an example of an influential political philosopher in a world history class. They also required students to evaluate efforts by global organizations such as the United Nations to undermine U.S. sovereignty.

Former board chairman Don McLeroy, one of the board’s most outspoken conservatives, said the Texas history curriculum has been unfairly skewed to the left after years of Democrats controlling the board and he just wants to bring it back into balance.

Educators have blasted the curriculum proposals for politicizing education. Teachers also have said the document is too long and will force students to memorize lists of names rather than learning to critically think.

The Tao of Russell

Few things make me as upset as seeing someone who “deserves” to win lose through no fault or mistake of their own.  I am speaking in general terms of the results of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villians, a reality show on CBS.  Russell Hantz, an oil company owner from Dayton, TX is arguably the greatest manipulator the show has ever seen.  Like him or not- he plays the game within the rules and does what he needs to to accomplish his goals.  He is the most hated player the show has ever seen, BY THE OTHER PLAYERS, which has cost him winning either of the two seasons he as been on.  However it is also worth noting that he as won the “FAN FAVORITE” $100,000 award, which is voted on by the viewers, both times he has competed and reached the finale.  What this shows me is that the people Russell manipulated and used to his own ends-WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE RULES- can never win because the other contestants can not look past their own disdain and anger toward him to see that he truly deserves to win based the thousands

Russell’s play and 2 second place finishes have made me realize something that I really think is important.  In my mind he deserved to win, when looked at from a “game” perspective…however, he made people upset and made their lives miserable on his way to reaching the finale.  That part of the “game” is not accounted for by Russell and ends up what eventually costs him the million dollars, because the people he moves like pawns and manipulates are the very ones that decide to give him the million dollars or not and they can not and will not over look his brashness, rudeness, and hubris and acknowledge his superior game play and manipulation techniques.

THAT IS THE LESSON DEAR FRIENDS

The Tao of Russell states:  No matter your level of accomplishment, no matter your level of success,  no matter your level of pride – when looked at and judged by other people, they will remember how you treated them and those around them proving that emotion will always out weigh logic in personal decisions.

Some People You Need To Know

In the spirit of  Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People:

Today, I am going to share.  These are the 10 people that I learn from, are entertained by, and make me think.  I hope you click on some of these names and get something useful out of this internet fad before it plays out. This list is in no order what so ever-except the order in which I thought of them.

Matt’s 10 Most Influential People (OF THE WORLD)

Ben Hoffman– As Infomania’s curmudgeon, who metaphorically steps up on a soap box, Ben starts every diatribe with “Hey, I got something to say.”  He then outlines some aspect of our society that we over look – but shouldn’t.  Thursday nights on Current TV or look him up on You Tube.

Elizabeth Warren– In the wake of the 2008-9 financial crisis, she became the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to investigate the U.S. banking bailout (formally known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program). In that role, she has provided a critical check on the U.S. Department of the Treasury and has been a leading advocate for accountability and transparency.  Since 2007, she has advocated for the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which President Barack Obama has supported and Congress is now considering.

Chuck Klosterman–   Chuck Klosterman is the author of four books on topics ranging from pop culture to sports to death. He’s ironic, funny, and quite insightful, although firmly cemented in his opinions, so if you aren’t open to other’s ideas then don’t read this, because you’ll probably just get angry. He openly talks about doing drugs on various occasions, as well as tying in his life experiences (they’re pretty interesting) with music and pop culture and what that means in the larger scheme of things.  He also writes for The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, The Washington Post, Esquire, and SPIN.

Pres. Barack Obama–  Well, he is the President of MY United States AND he said this “I am asking you to believe.  Not Just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington…I am asking you to believe in yours.”   I really think he means it.

Jay-Z–  I could not care less if you like or dislike his music.  Jay-Z’s success is best American success story that I can think of.  Click the link and read about what determination, talent, and ambition can yield someone.  If you are only going to read ONE biography- read his.

Phil Keoghan–  Host of Amazing Race, this guy has done some amazing things and completely believes your life should not be wasted.  According to his book, No Opportunity Wasted, Keoghan set out to live his life to the fullest by accomplishing exotic goals and taking risks after a near-death experience at the age of 19. Since then, he’s broken a world bungee jumping record, gone diving in the world’s longest underwater caves, eaten a meal on top of an erupting volcano, and renewed his vows underwater. He was a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where he shared with Oprah his list of things he wants to do before he dies. The focus of many of his shows is helping others live their lives to the fullest.

Nico Pitney–  Nico Pitney is National Editor at the Huffington Post. He was previously Deputy Research Director at the Center for American Progress and Managing Editor of ThinkProgress. He lives in Washington, DC, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and NPR.

Paul Krugman–   Where to start, hmmmm…Let’s see, he is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. In 2008, Krugman won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for his contributions to New Trade Theory and New Economic Geography. He was voted sixth in a 2005 global poll of the world’s top 100 intellectuals by Prospect.  The Nobel Prize Committee stated that Krugman’s main contribution had been to explain patterns of international trade and the geographic concentration of wealth by examining the impact of economies of scale and of consumer preferences for diverse goods and services.  Krugman’s work on international economics, including trade theory, economic geography, and international finance has established him as one of the most influential economists in the world according to IDEAS/RePEc. Krugman is also known in academia for his work on liquidity traps and on currency crises. As of 2006, Krugman had written or edited more than 25 books, 40 scholarly articles and 750 columns at The New York Times dealing with current economic and political issues. Krugman’s International Economics: Theory and Policy, co-authored with Maurice Obstfeld, is a standard college textbook on international economics. He also writes on political and economic topics for the general public, as well as on topics ranging from income distribution to international economics. Krugman considers himself a liberal, calling one of his books and his New York Times blog “The Conscience of a Liberal”.  My hands down pick for celebrity Jeopardy Champion….WATCH OUT KEN JENNINGS!

Jim Parsons– Best known for playing Sheldon Cooper on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, with his performance often cited as a significant reason for the program’s success. On July 16, 2009, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on The Big Bang Theory. In August 2009, he won the Television Critics Association award for the highest individual achievements in comedy. In April 2010, he received the National Association of Broadcasters Television Chairman’s Award for a significant break-through in one or more specific art discipline.  HANDS DOWN THE FUNNIEST PERSON ON TELEVISION.

Sabrina Howell esq.-   My wife, confidant, and bestest pal.  This lady makes me laugh, calms me down, and keeps my head on straight.  She is the kindest, least judgmental, and funniest person I know – not to mention the fact she is my baby’s momma!

I hope this list gives you some insight into what I think is important and “influential” in the world.  I don’t think any of these people made Time Magazine’s list-but all of them should have. Read, learn, and get smarter.


News Flash: Republican’s hate the Poor (and minorities)

What a novel thought...

Below is an article written by Sam Stein, a political blogger.  You can read the original posting here.  I am not going to expound on what this article expresses until you read it for yourself.  I will let you draw your own conclusions and my comments will follow.  However, I will highlight my favorite parts of it, so you can easily predict what is currently pissing me off. (HINT: RED = BAD )

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