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Archive for March 2011

Less Drama, More Money: Avoid The Lottery and Get Rich Slowly

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Over at Get Rich Slowly, J.D Roth discusses the ignorance and futility of playing the lottery, and quotes a recent Wired article:

While approximately half of Americans buy at least one lottery ticket at some point, the vast majority of tickets are purchased by about 20 percent of the population. These high-frequency players tend to be poor and uneducated, which is why critics refer to lotteries as a regressive tax. (In a 2006 survey, 30 percent of people without a high school degree said that playing the lottery was a wealth-building strategy.) On average, households that make less than $12,400 a year spend 5 percent of their income on lotteries—a source of hope for just a few bucks a throw.

Buying a lottery ticket on rare occasions might be harmless fun. But playing frequently is just plain stupid. You’d be far better off to invest that money in virtually anything else. That ten or twenty dollars a month may seem paltry, but it can add up. Take that money and make better bets: stocks, bonds,  mutual funds, or even just savings accounts and CDs. Not only will you actually have something left—unlike the money you spent on losing lottery tickets— you’ll soon have more than you started with.

Read the whole article, and visit Get Rich Slowly from time-to-time to help keep yourself in the right financial mindset.

Written by breckfield

March 30, 2011 at 8:41 am

Posted in finance

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The Media Matters Tax-Exempt Scandal

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Media Matters has classified itself as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt educational foundation. Have they committed tax fraud?

The IRS’ exemption requirements for 501(c)(3) organizations states:

In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

Last week, Media Matters’ founder David Brock stated that MM has launched an all-out war of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” against Fox News. Why? Because, in Brock’s words, “it is the de facto leader of the GOP.”

It sure sounds like Media Matters is participating in a”campaign activity for or against political candidates.”

Brock has also admitted that Media Matters is preparing opposition research files against Fox executives and mid-level officials, and has hired writers to assemble a book discrediting Fox News, to be released prior to the 2012 elections.

It appears that Media Matters, funded in part by billionaire George Soros, is planning to harass, intimidate, and discredit Fox News employees and the companies that do business with Fox and its parent company, News Corp.

So how can they legally claim to be a tax-exempt educational foundation?

As Mark Tapscott notes:

IRS application for 501(C)(3) tax-exempt educational foundation status, Section VIII, Question I asks the applicant: “Do you support or oppose candidates in political campaigns in any way?” (Emphasis added).

Under Brock’s definition of Fox News, it appears he is setting MM on a course of actively opposing all Republican candidates.

And the MediaMatters.org website itself clearly states:

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Not “correcting misinformation”, but “correcting conservative misinformation”.

As Brandon Kiser writes:

Because of this, Media Matters should reconsider their 501(c)(3) status which is designated for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes. MMFA no longer meets any of these qualifiers (it’s arguable they never did) and under the banner of waging a war against Fox News and the GOP puts them in an entirely different zip code.

The scandal here isn’t that Media Matters is running a campaign against conservatives. The scandal is that they are doing so while claiming tax-exempt status. In its zeal to attack conservatives and those who give them a voice, David Brock and Media Matters appear to be breaking the law.

Written by breckfield

March 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

The Pigford Scandal: Greenbacks and White Guilt

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John Stossel writes about the Pigford v. Glickman payout scandal, in which the US government is paying over two billion dollars to blacks who claimed they were farmers and were discriminated against in seeking government-subsidized farm loans.

Some of those who requested Pigford funds may have been victims of racial discrimination. But the evidence shows that most people seeking Pigford payouts were not discriminated against by the USDA. In fact, most recipients were not even farmers.

The evidence of fraud is both statistical…

According to the census, there were 18,000 black farmers in the country when the lawsuit was filed. But 97,000 black “farmers” have applied for the money.

…and personal…

Black farmer Jimmy Dismuke says it’s fraud. He said lawyers went to black churches and told people who had never farmed to file for the money.

People say well, how do I qualify?” Dismuke told us. “And then [the lawyers] started talking about potted plants.  They said if you had a potted plant, you can be a farmer.  And if you have a yard and you fertilize it, you’re a farmer.”

So how did it come to this, and why isn’t there a national outrage over such well-documented fraud?

The answer is painted in Green & White.

Lawyers have already been paid about 50 millions dollars from handling Pigford settlement claims, and they are on track to receive another $50 million from the next round of payouts. In addition, new lawsuits are being filed on behalf of virtually every other minority. With a class-action revenue stream such as this, why wouldn’t the law firms do all they can to encourage further settlements and payouts?

The second, and most important factor, is Race. A relatively small number of black farmers were discriminated against, and those farmers deserved to be fairly compensated. But the Pigford lawsuit and payout isn’t about making those farmers whole. It’s about capitalizing on White Guilt.

Pigford doesn’t pay you for being a victim of discrimination. Pigford pays you for being Black. And that will always attract freeloaders, which damages the cause of the legitimate victims.

Just as “affirmative action” hurts the competent minorities, the Pigford scandal hurts the legitimate black farmers that it should have helped.

Written by breckfield

March 26, 2011 at 9:01 am

Big East Hype Crushed On The Court

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Some folks have argued that the Big East conference is overrated, given 11 berths in the Men’s NCAA Basketball tournament when they should probably have had six or seven.

Those folks have now been proven right.

Four of those 11 teams lost in their first NCAA tournament game this week:

On Thursday:

  • #4 Louisville lost to #13 Morehead State.
  • #6 St. Johns lost to #11 Gonzaga.

On Friday:

  • #9 Villanova lost to #8 George Mason.
  • #6 Georgetown lost to #11 VCU.

Note that three of those four losses were to much lower seeds.

Georgetown lost 8 conference games and still was given a #6 seed.

Villanova didn’t even have a winning record in the Big East (9-9), yet still received a #9 seed.

How many teams were denied a spot in the tournament that should have been there, victims of the Big East Hype?

Written by breckfield

March 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

Michigan Democrats Busted For Fake Tea Party Candidates

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In Michigan, more allegations of fake Tea Party candidates:

Two former leaders of the Oakland County Democratic Party are facing a total of nine felonies for allegedly forging election paperwork to get fake Tea Party candidates on November’s ballot…

“It was learned that a scheme was developed by a party leader in Lansing to place on the ballot people pretending to be Tea Party activists and that this was going to be a statewide effort,” Bouchard said.

If this seems like deja vu all over again, you are correct. Over the past year, Democrats have been caught trying to get phony candidates added to the ballot as Tea Party members in New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Florida, and elsewhere. Worried about going one-on-one against conservative opponents, some liberals have tried to introduce fake Tea Party candidates in an attempt to split the Conservative vote.

So far, most of those frauds have been revealed. But we should expect more of these shenanigans in the coming months.

Written by breckfield

March 17, 2011 at 8:16 am

Posted in news, politics

Tagged with , ,

Grant Hill Bitch-Slaps The Fab Five

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ESPN recently aired  the much-hyped “The Fab Five”, Jalen Rose’s self-aggrandizing documentary that celebrates the five University of Michigan freshmen that came together to win…nothing significant.

Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock is not impressed:

The legacy of the Fab Five is that they were on the cutting edge of America’s unashamed embrace of style over substance…

Five super-talented black kids enrolled at a prestigious, white university to play for an inexperienced, piss-poor-at-the-time white coach and, 20 years later, had the audacity to embark on a media tour preaching about black Duke players being Uncle Toms.

Former Duke player Grant Hill took exception to some of Rose & Friends’ comments—and took the opportunity to respond on the NY Times’ College Sports blog:

It was a sad and somewhat pathetic turn of events, therefore, to see friends narrating this interesting documentary about their moment in time and calling me a bitch and worse, calling all black players at Duke “Uncle Toms”…

In his garbled but sweeping comment that Duke recruits only “black players that were ‘Uncle Toms,’ ” Jalen seems to change the usual meaning of those very vitriolic words into his own meaning, i.e., blacks from two-parent, middle-class families. He leaves us all guessing exactly what he believes today…

To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous…

I am proud of my family. I am proud of my Duke championships and all my Duke teammates. And, I am proud I never lost a game against the Fab Five.

“Class” is a word used often to describe Grant Hill, but probably never used to describe The Fab Five. Jalen Rose and his college buddies are older now, but not necessarily wiser.

Written by breckfield

March 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Fear vs. Facts: Why Japan Is Not Another Chernobyl

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You’ve no doubt heard, read, or felt the panic that has been triggered by the Japan earthquake’s damage to nuclear reactors. Those who oppose nuclear energy have seized upon the tragedy to predict “another Chernobyl”, to spread Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD), and to lecture us on why nuclear energy is unsafe.

Before you lose yourself in nightmares of The China Syndrome, you should take three minutes to read William Tucker’s piece in the Wall Street Journal. Tucker calmly explains the difference between the Japan and Chernobyl incidents, and also reminds us that “The China Syndrome” was a fictional hypothesis that was disproved at Three Mile Island.

If a meltdown does occur in Japan, it will be a disaster for the Tokyo Electric Power Company but not for the general public. Whatever steam releases occur will have a negligible impact.

As the author of a pro-nuclear book, Tucker undoubtedly has a vested interest in this debate. But his explanation is rational and backed up by facts, not driven by the media’s need to sell more advertising, or Rep. Ed Markey’s need for more publicity.

What has happened in Japan is a tragedy of epic proportions. But, as Tucker writes:

With all the death, devastation and disease now threatening tens of thousands in Japan, it is trivializing and almost obscene to spend so much time worrying about damage to a nuclear reactor.

Let’s focus on the real problems, not the fictional ones.

 

 

Written by breckfield

March 14, 2011 at 8:36 am

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