My Picks for November 2017 Election in Ohio

First off, understand that this post is not written to be grammatically or politically correct. It is written in a style of writing called “stream of consciousness”

That means that if you have some problem with how I have represented my thoughts on this election coming up, you are being judgmental. Who are you to judge my stream of consciousness?

If you have some ideas or opinions about the upcoming elections, please by all means share your thoughts or opinions.

We gots an election coming up in this piece. Mahoning Valley Votes yall. So’’s I decided I needs to weigh in on some stuff…

I gots my facts from two sources:

The League of Women Voters puts out this fine guide to the elections by county and I found me a copy and read up on it. I aint ginna bother speaking to no stuff that I aint voting for so ifin you is smart, you will get your own copy somewhere.

I gots mine at St E’s whiles I was visiting a friend who had himself all jacked up. But I am guessing if you call them, they can tell you where you can get yours. They is called the League of Women Voters. Ask your google or your siri or your mama, cause I aint your directory assistance— you know.

If you dont want to ask you mama or try to calls them get on over to ballotpedia.org I guess you wants me spell it for ya. Ballotpedia.org dang its. Sound it out if you gots to. Sheeeetttt…

If there is one thing you can do smart in this world it is get your arse out theres and vote. But don’t be a ponkass bitch about it. Find out whats you votin on first. Or if you is kinda preferrin to be a follower then just vote how I is going to vote.

YesonIssue2_400Pixels

There are two statewide issues on the ballot. One I knows everyone has been hearing about is Issue 2. We done heard so much about issue 2, most of us is thinking the whole thing is just number two. And it is too. We gots a bunch of lying pharmaceutical companies who is masquerading as people who gives a shit about anything other than money whos is buying all kinds of support from doctors and lawyers and indian chiefs tryin to look legit. They are against Issue 2 Passing. They created some special Political Action Committee and funded it real nice and then started trying to tell everyone that if Issue 2 Passes it is going to cause all kinds of problems and cost people more money.

That shizzit is outright lies. The only people gonna lose money is the people selling you your drugs. They try to make out that if it passes that the people who sponsored it are going to get all their legal bills paid. Well, that is misdirection. The fact is that the only legal bills that would get paid by the taxpayers are the ones that are created when the the pharma companies sue them for sponsoring the bill in the first place. I will be voting for Issue two to pass. Just cause in my view these pharma companies are not only fat and rich as it is and lying dirtballs. They also is partially responsible for the opioid problem in this state and every other place. So fuck them. They dont get no cred from me.

marsyslaw

Second Statewide is Marsy’s Law also known as Issue 1. This is one that everyone should be voting to pass. Essentially it is will give the victims of crimes some rights that they currently don’t have. Like being advised as to the status of a case against a perp who may have done something to them. And other helpful stuff. Crime Victims Rights are something that most states already have in place and Ohio needs to get with the times on this. So it is a yes from me.

I lives in Mahoning County. There are some renewals on levies that should pass. And to be sure, in my opinion unless you lives somewhere seriously corrupt like Niles or The City of Youngstown, most times when your trustees or whoever is asking for money to do something, it is cause they need it. And it will benefit your community. So I usually just go carte blanche on all that cause I live in Boardman and aint never really had no problem with how we been governed here. Or how much it costs. OR any of that shit.

boardman

We gots some people running for School Board here and trustee too here in Boardman. A nice place to call home. We gots three homies runnin for trustee. I aint quite sure what a trustee is but I am guessing that they must do something otherwise, why would we have to elect em?

So we gots Brad Calhoun– This dude is like in his fifties. I guess he has already been a trustee for 8 years up in here. So he gots some experience. And that is helpful I am thinking. SO he is probably gonna get my vote. Just cause like I said before, I aint got no real complaints about how shit goes here.

Then we gots some educational peoples looking to get elected. Mahoning County has an Educational Service Center. Funny thing is I aint never heard of this shit. But if you want to know what they do, Check this link. https://www.mahoningesc.org/Page/338

One of them homies lookin to get elected is an incumbent. That means he is already working there. His name is Scarsella. I guess he has been there since 2006. That means he gots experience and plenty of it. Odd thing is I cant figure no reason to make a change there. I guess cause I aint never heard of it and had to look it up it dont matter all that much to me. But it may matter to you. If you think someone else can do a better job, then vote em in. It aint my place to tell you how to live.

Then is Boardman we gots people wantin to be on the School Board. Again, it dont matter much to me., so I is probably just going to vote for the people who are already working there. Vickie Davis and John Landers. I need to pick another out of the four runnin so last but not least, Tracey Balentine. Why not Fryda? You may ask. Cause he aint got no experience with the schools that I can see. He is some business guy. That may be good in some circles. But, many times business people have ulterior motives when they is trying to get elected. Shoot just look at Trump ifin you dont believe that.

Like I said earlier, for the Tax levies, I figure to give em all a yes. We also gots some schools asking for money. I say yes again. Aint no harm in investing in the youngins. And then finally we gots some restaurants here in Boardman wantin to sell some hooch on Sunday and whatnot. Who cares really? May as well let em sell it here. Cause if people wants to drink on Sunday, they is gonna get their dranks. May as well be here at the local places.

So that is all for this election cycle. This is DM signing off for now. But if you gets on my nerves enough, I will definitely have something to say about it. And you.

Social Media Management and Assessment Services at Mahoning Valley Podcast

Social Media Management and Assessment

Most people will tell you that you have to be on Social Media if you own a business. I do not agree with this point of view. Just because your competitors are spending money and time to be on Social Media, that does not mean that you have to spend your marketing budget the same way.

Not every business has the resources to manage a Social Media Marketing Program. And not every business that gets on Social Media gets anything back from it expect another time and cost expense. That is because Social Media requires an investment. You have to invest your time. You have to invest your money. And you have to invest patience. You have to get in for the right reasons and with the right goals and then you have to persist.

For instance, if you have a website that sells products directly to consumers; it is going to take time to find your customers and engage them. But once you have engaged them, then you have to keep them engaged. But guess what, there are easier ways to do that then to put out a blog or tweet. There are easier and more cost effective ways of doing that then to make memes and post them to your facebook page. Or pinterest account.

That is why there are so many abandoned twitter accounts for businesses. There are so many abandoned facebook pages for organizations and businesses. If many of these accounts are not abandoned, they are neglected. And that is the rub isnt’t it? Yes, just about anyone can figure out how to set up a twitter account or a blog. Just about anyone can make a facebook page. But then what?

How do you pay for the content that most of these accounts require to garner any attention? Or how do you pay for the manpower to keep growing them? Or to manage responses to your posts or tweets? How do you make that time and money pay off? That is the big question isn’t it?

I live in Youngstown Ohio. And I started a podcast because I believed that there was and still is a need to talk about the good things that happen here locally. Our mainstream media outlets have a bad habit of featuring bad news and talking about the bad things that happen here. Don’t get me wrong. They do help to highlight some of the good things too. But sometimes, I get the feeling it is only because they are concerned someone may challenge their FCC License if they don’t include some Community News.

So in the course of researching twitter accounts and facebook pages as a means of reaching my audience, I found out a few things that made me decide to write this article. First, in a market this size, some local merchants do have twitter accounts and facebook pages. Some have done OK with getting followers and likes. But many are not actually that active. The most active accounts belong to other media companies or marketing companies. Or the local University.

This lead me to the conclusion that too many companies and organizations are spending time and money on using Social Media to their detriment. They are spending time and money to manage Social Media accounts so they can get 2 shares or 5 retweets. And their reach is not really expanding. They are not really finding new audiences or selling more services. Even the marketing companies here struggle to use these channels effectively.

Does this mean that it cannot be done. Absolutely not. It means that many people jumped in on the Social Media Bandwagon, but are not able to actually benefit. Or they are able to benefit some, but without a dedicated manager for their Social Media; they may have no idea on how much if at all. Or worse, they are spending money and time with an Agency and are not really seeing any measurable results. Because far too many Digital Agencies or “experts” are not sufficiently trained to actually determine if they are making an impact on the bottom line. Sure they may be able to say, look we got you 10 new followers this week or 20 new likes on your facebook page; but can they tell you that it translated into x new customer or leads?

That is where Social Media Management and Assessment Services come into play. You may already be into Social Media, but is it really doing anything for you? That is the big question. Is your organization or business getting anything back for your time and money?

If you are unsure, then it is time to call in someone who can help you find out. So call me and let’s talk. You can also find out more about Social Media Management and Assessment Services on my website. Or even better come by my facebook page and we can chat. Or one of my twitter accounts. If you are ready find out if you are getting your money’s worth on the time and effort your spend communicating on the internet, then get in touch.

I will look at your accounts and your website and give you some real time information about where you can improve. And if it makes sense, we can talk about how I can help you make some money with you investment.

Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 9 Transcript

Listen to it here.

Today on Mahoning Valley Podcast, Save your money, Public Library Resources and Kwanzaa, Continuing the destruction, Boardman UPS Grinch, Holiday Generosity to the Salvation Army

Save your money this Holiday and wait until next week to do your shopping. Why? Because it is inevitable that the places where you get your gifts are going to be offering the best prices of the year in most cases a few days after the big holiday windup. If you have never noticed this trend, then go on out to your favorite department store next week when the retailers show their desperation to get those last few dollars in their coffers to close the fiscal year. According to Deal News

There are seven categories or items you can save a lot of money on next week. Please be advised that this section does contain affiliate links to Amazon to help offset the cost of producing this podcast. So if you like what you are hearing and need some of these items, please go ahead and get them and it will help you and this effort.

Clothing

Apparel deals dominate after-Christmas sales. Last year, some of our most popular sales during that time included discounts of up to 70% up at Nordstrom, Amazon, Columbia, and H&M. And don’t forget the Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale, which often (including last year) lands right at the end of December. Winter coats, hats, and gloves will see even deeper discounts now than they did during Black Friday. In 2015, post-Christmas sales went as high as 70% off select items with most discounts around 40% or 50%, plus additional discounts on clearance items.

Cameras

While we’ll see all manner of tech discounts after Christmas, camera deals are what really impress us this month. We found that 31% of after-Christmas camera deals were Editors’ Choice last year. And remember, there’s still plenty of things your phone can’t do that a camera can.

About 31% of the camera deals found in after-Christmas sales will be of Editors’ Choice quality.

If you really want to maximize the value of your camera purchase, consider a refurb. The best deals we see are factory-refurbished units from Canon, Nikon, and more. These items, restored to almost-new condition and backed by manufacturer warranties, are even preferred by some experts.

Audio Gear

Headphone and home theater deals will be on fire after Christmas; in years past, 41% checked in as Editors’ Choice. However, true audiophiles will have to continue paying top dollar: We don’t typically see high-end gear at Editors’ Choice prices this late in the year. Expect bargains on entry-level to mid-tier options from brands like Pioneer, Sony, Polk, Klipsch, and Beats. This is also another area to check out refurb products, especially if you’re looking for Polk, Beats, and Bose.

Sports and Fitness Gear

Retailers love to take advantage of those New Years’ resolutions to get in shape by offering deals on sports and fitness equipment. While we don’t necessarily see more deals or all-time lows after Christmas, we definitely saw better sitewide discounts from a range of stores.

Last year, stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Groupon, and Sears had after-Christmas discounts of 25% to 50% on select sporting and fitness goods, sometimes on top of clearance discounts.

We’re particularly excited about Sears this year, which is likely to offer big deals to offset lackluster performance this year. Last year, Sears offered lots of deals on NordicTrack, so keep an eye out if you want a treadmill or an incline trainer. Plus, NordicTrack has its own New Year’s sale, cutting 40% to 60% off select items.

This is also traditionally a good time to get deals on gym memberships. Be sure your deal includes no upfront fees, and at least one month free. You can easily negotiate these freebies if they aren’t included in the plan.

Video Games

This will be a great time to stock up on your favorite video game titles, especially for older systems. Even better than audio equipment and cameras, a whopping 56% of video game deals are expected to be Editors’ Choice during the upcoming after-Christmas sales. Last year, we saw Assassin’s Creed for Xbox 360 from $5, and Xbox One games from $6.

Christmas Decorations

We know you want to enjoy your motorcycle-riding Santa now, but the best time of year to buy Christmas decorations from a savings perspective is the day after Christmas. On December 26, prices on holiday decor will drop 40% to 75% at stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, and Pottery Barn.

Last year, inflatable lawn ornaments were the best bet, with inflatable Christmas Yoda and Darth Vader options each marked down by about $15 to $30. We’re hoping the force is with us, and these deals will be back this year.

Hatchimals

If you’ve promised your kiddo this season’s hottest toy and haven’t bought it yet, then you don’t have many options: You’ll have to pay hundreds of dollars on eBay, if you can find one at all.

But if you can convince your little one that Santa is bringing Hatchimals in February this year, the toys will likely be back in stock and down to normal prices ($50) once the manufacturer has had a chance to make more and the craze has diminished. On a personal note, I cannot imagine why anyone would want one of these hatchimals. I understood the Pet Rock as it never spoils the carpet or wakes you up with it’s butt in your face or needs $1000.00 in Grooming. But a hatchimal?

Make a Wish PSA

Here is something many people never think about, but our Public Library in Mahoning County is a wonderful source of information and free events. Coming up next week for instance in a number of different branches; there will be reading with your baby sessions to get them up to speed on the ever important skill of reading. Events for adults like learning how to access ebooks and online resources there and even Blood Drives with the Red Cross and a Kwanzaa Celebration.

On a personal note, I have often thought that Kwanzaa is one of those winter holidays that makes a lot of sense. What better way to wrap up a year then to reinforce seven values that all have the potential to make our or anyone’s community a much nicer place to live. Among these values, Unity, Economic Cooperation, Faith, Purpose and Creativity. If we all celebrated Kwanzaa, it is my opinion that the world would be a much better place to live and work in.

On a much sadder note according to the Vindicator, a deep injection well will be permitted to reopen in Weathersfield Township. The destruction of this earth continues to line the pockets of irresponsible and greedy persons who will someday give account for their actions. More than two years after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shut down a deep injection well in Weathersfield Township because of small earthquakes, a judge has ordered the state to allow it to reopen.

Judge Kimberly Cocroft of Franklin County Common Pleas Court issued a decision Friday that orders ODNR and American Water Management Services, owner of the well, to submit a proposed entry setting forth the parameters under which the well will reopen.

Specifically, the judge said the entry should address the amount of oil and gas drilling waste that will be injected initially into the well, the injection pressures to be used and how they will “incrementally increase the volume and pressure while simultaneously providing constant monitoring for seismicity.”

Guess what? Even if these things are monitored it does not change two facts about deep well injection and fracking. These practices are destructive and dangerous. Any manipulation of resources that are offered by nature is going to have a deleterious effect on the quality of life for all of us. It is logical to assume that if you inject toxins into our environment they will not just go away, They will start to leach into the water and the ground and effect anything that uses that water or earth. That means food supplies and water supplies will be contaminated. People wonder why Cancer has been on the rise despite our efforts to curtail it. It is directly related in my opinion to the toxins that the Industrial Revolution has produced and deposited in our environment.

Then in the usual antiholiday spirit the Vindicator also reported that someone has been playing the Grinch at the Boardman UPS Store.

Police are investigating a theft at the UPS store at 143 Boardman-Canfield Road, the second theft reported at the store this week, both involving Christmas gifts.

A woman told police she mailed a package containing $920 in cash and various other gifts to family Dec. 12. By monitoring the tracking number, she determined the package never left the facility.

The woman followed up on Dec. 20, and the store manager told the woman UPS security would open an investigation. She will pursue charges, according to the report. On a related story, A family decided it would not pursue criminal charges against a former UPS employee for taking $650 from Christmas cards an elderly woman was sending money to her grandchildren. That report was made with police Tuesday.

So I guess this just goes to show that Corporate America is still refusing to pay a living wage to people. Well that and people in general can have a tendency to look out only for themselves. Of course corporate greed is no excuse for engaging in criminal acts and stealing from people. In fact there is not an excuse for such a thing. It is despicable. If you don’t like your lot in life or the wges you earn, go get another job or figure out a way to live on what you make. As a reminder people get what they give. So if you are not getting what you want; try giving a little more and see if it comes back to you. It will.

St Jude PSA

And now onto someone who definitely gets it. According to WKBN Channel 27 our local CBS affiliate, For the fifth year in a row, a generous donor dropped gold coins in a few Salvation Army buckets in Mahoning County. The Salvation Army received a fourth gold coin in its bucket at the Poland Giant Eagle late Thursday night. It’s a 1 ounce pure gold Canadian Maple Leaf.

“We are pleased by this generous donation and we wish to express our gratitude to the donor,” said Major Elijah Kahn, Mahoning County Area Coordinator. “It will help us narrow the gap in our fundraising deficit this year as we approach the finish line.” Three 1 ounce gold coins were discovered in three of its kettles across the area on Wednesday. A Canadian Maple Leaf was dropped in a kettle at Canfield Giant Eagle, a South Africa Krugerrand coin and a Grant Wood American Arts Commemorative Series coin were dropped in kettles at the Giant Eagle in Austintown. The donor remains anonymous and left no note or information.

And that is the way to do it. I know that I gave a shoutout to Owens Construction last episode for sponsoring a Holiday Party at Youngstown Community School

And I believe that it is good to give recognition to people who do things that are worthy of mention, but the fact of the matter is, that it is the things that people do in secret that are the most valuable in my opinion. Not the things that people do in the public eye to get themselves attention for the good works they do, but the things that we do in private when no one is watching or paying attention that sometimes have the most value. There are some people who would say that integrity is not about what you do when you know people are watching but about the things that we do in private. I would also go so far as to say that if you are going to engage in charitable acts; doing it without recognition demonstrates far greater generosity and character.

WWF PSA

Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 8 Transcript

Get this episode here.

This Episode goes back to the topic of the podcast. Local stuff. Although no one called me on it, I am apologizing for the last episode first. It may seem surprising to some of you who hear this episode, but I am sorry about the last episode. If you heard it, then you may know why. Anyway, Back to why I started doing this in the first place.

Cockfighting continues to be a problem here in the Valley. According to the Vindicator For the second time in less than a week, police and humane agents have served a search warrant as part of a broader investigation of cockfighting.

Members of the vice squad, Community Police Unit and Animal Charity served the warrant at a 1413 Forest View Drive home on the East Side today.

Unlike a warrant served Dec. 15 at an Ives Street home where police found roosters, heroin and cocaine, the Forest View Drive homeowners were cited only for violating housing codes prohibiting farm animals in the city.

About 30 roosters were found in a makeshift coop covered with a tarp in the backyard. It had wooden floors with straw and portable heaters inside. A detective described it as one of the cleanest he has ever seen.

This may seem somewhat insensitive to some listeners, but: Why is this illegal? Who cares if people want to set a couple of cocks in a ring and watch them tear each other up? Obviously some people do care, but for many it is a nonstarter. It does not harm any people. It does not cause property damage, unless you count the damage done to the fowls themselves. And it is not posing a health threat unless you happen to find some of that chicken in your chop suey or mcnuggets and it has not been cooked or stored properly. What about you? Do you care if people go to or organize cockfighting?

Then up in Niles, or down in Niles: I guess depending on your perspective the Vindicator is reporting that some more of the public officials announced that they are quitting. Robert Marino, council president since 2004 and a fixture on council for more than 20 years, shocked his fellow council members tonight by announcing he will not seek re-election next year when his term expires.

Two other council members, Steve Papalas, D-at large, and Frank Pezzano, D-1st, immediately followed Marino’s statement by announcing that they, too, will not run again in 2017.

And as if those announcements were not enough, long-time Law Director Terry Dull said he will retire next February.

The four revealed their plans at the conclusion of Wednesday’s council meeting.

Yeah, well for those of you who missed it, their alleged ringleader was indicted last month on more than 50 counts of various corrupt activities. According to the Vindicator, Two years after news of an investigation of possible corruption in Niles government began, an indictment of former Mayor Ralph Infante laid bare allegations of public corruption few could have imagined.

The 56-count indictment of Infante, released Tuesday, references bribery dating back to 1993, unreported gifts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, including envelopes of cash around Christmas time, accepting money for a job with the city and a vice that harkens back to the Niles of yesteryear – gambling.

The indictments unsealed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court contain a variety of allegations, including 17 counts of felony tampering with records, five counts of money laundering, two counts of theft in office, four counts of bribery and others.

The most serious charge Infante faces is engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, which carries a 10-year prison sentence upon conviction.

The other charges, especially the 17 counts of tampering, could make his possible sentence rise to more than 100 years.

The charges date back to 1993, just one year after Infante began his career as Niles mayor, which spanned 24 years, ending in 2015.

So I say good. It is apparent that Niles needed a good laxative. And so the rest of the excrement that had been running that town is voluntarily evacuating itself. And it is about time. Who knows how many people were oppressed by that group of alleged criminals. Notice I keep saying alleged. That is because an indictment does not a conviction make. But at least, the rest of our allegedly organized criminal element in this town has been put on notice. You are being watched and recorded. It won’t be long before we come for you too. Or you can skink off like the cowards you are and find some other rock to crawl under in some other Valley. Are you getting the idea? Aint everyone affeared of you.

And related to this story the Vindicator is also reporting that Niles Oversight Committee is grappling with another or revised plan to bring it’s finances back into balance.

Despite some reservations, the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission unanimously approved the city’s latest amended recovery plan from fiscal emergency – the fifth such revision.

“You have demonstrated quite a bit of progress since the emergency was declared,” said Quentin Potter, commission chairman. However, Potter and several other commission members are concerned about one of the plan’s key elements – the leasing of the financially troubled Wellness Center.

The city hopes to lease the building for $240,000 annually for three years with an option by the tenant for a three-year renewal. John Davis, a commission member, was skeptical about finding a tenant and questioned Mayor Thomas Scarnecchia as to the level or probability of success from low to high.

“If it’s low, then it shouldn’t be in the plan,” said Davis, who earlier this month in an interview with The Vindicator called for the mayor’s resignation after council rejected his fourth revision to the plan.

“I would say it is a high probability,” the mayor promptly responded.

And that is what a mayor is supposed to say isn’t it? He is not supposed to say, “well: you know for the last 20 or so years our community has been allegedly raped by it’s governing officials who were to busy enriching themselves to bother trying to actually serve the public interest” No, any descent mayor is going to say, “this is the plan and it will work. Or at least there is a good probability it is going to work.” And let’s hope for the sakes of the beleaguered residents of Niles, now that the crap is clearing itself out of the area, it can start living up to it’s potential instead of being a haven for alleged criminals.

St Jude PSA

So in brighter more Holidayesque news, The WFMJ Channel 21 News reported that Youngstown has passed a budget for the first quarter of 2017.

Youngstown City Council approved its quarterly 2017 budget Wednesday evening December 21, 2016.

A total amount of 40 million dollars will be used until March, with almost no changes from this year’s budget.

Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Ray says no changes will be made to police and fire departments, and that the council does not see any future layoffs within the next year.

The downtown amphitheater project will also not affect the budget.

Council will meet again in the coming months to decide the budget for the full year.

Now there is some good news. Police and Fire protection for the City will not be affected. That is progress. Not only that, but one of them wonderfully free venues will be added to the Downtown area, an amphitheater. Not that it will be free to build, but many times; such a venue actually will provide free entertainment to the community. Not to mention the fact that when it is not hosting an event, it makes a great place for childrens and adults alike to play. It may not be a playground, but who when they were growing up didn’t love to hop up on an empty stage and look out over a large space and act like Robert Plant? Or Cher? Depending on what gender you identify with.

Now this is not exactly Valley related, but before you click on Cher’s website: I want you to make sure that you are not at work for 2 reasons. First, she is forward thinking enough to welcome people with audio onto her site. Yes, I said forward thinking. She welcomes you with her own voice to her website. That is so smart, If you have a website and are that smart; you need to get in touch with me. Because that is part of what I do here at Mahoning Valley Podcast.

Second reason. Cher has a tendency to put her best features forward. And if you never have seen Cher, then in her case and in my opinion one of her best features is behind her. Yes she is a good singer, but like wow, she has an incredibly attractive behind. And she is not shy. So, if you click over to her website, within 1 minute you will be graced with a very nice picture of one of her more revealing outfits. I almost was delayed in the writing of this transcript the view is so nice. Anyway int may not be safe for work.

Let’s get back into local news and commentary. Apparently the Austintown PTA thinks that perpetuating myths is more important than raising their youngins with the truth. According to the Vindicator, As Austintown Elementary School student Bryan Fleshman stood in line to meet Santa Claus, he confessed he was a little nervous.

“I’m not ready for Christmas yet,” said Bryan, a red Santa hat perched on his head and green face paint coating his cheeks.

The second-grader was one of about 1,000 of the school’s students who got to meet Santa on today, thanks to the school’s Parent Teacher Association. An annual Santa Claus visit is a school tradition.

“We try to bring in any kind of fun or educational activities that we can,” said PTA president Bethany Martinez. “Some of the kids, it’s the only time they’re going to get to see Santa.”

A flurry of holiday happenings took place district wide over the last few weeks. The intermediate school also got a visit from Santa this week, thanks to the PTA there. AIS and AES both hosted a “Santa’s Shop” for students.

That is great, but the fact is that Santa is a myth. A figment of the imagination. And that is why no living or dead person has EVER seen Santa. News flash, the dude doesn’t exist. Why am I being such a grinch you may ask yourself? Because when I was growing up, my parents (God rest their souls) had me going for a few years with the myth of Santa. I know they were just doing their best to be entertaining and even fun, but it would have served me better to learn from an early age that there is no such person. That in order for them presents to appear on Christmas morning, someone had to work their ass off and make sacrifices and even cause themselves to pay horribly high interest rates on Credit Card balances. That way, when I found out that Santa is a fake, I wouldn’t have started wondering in my young mind, “What else did my parents lie to me about?”

FEMA PSA

Now because this is a podcast and it represents for the most part a mobile form of communication here is one headline about Mobile Internetting. According to The Verge, The European Commission has accused Facebook of providing “incorrect or misleading information” in the run-up to its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014. Information requested by the Commission is used to vet large mergers and takeovers, aiming to find out if the resulting business would be anti-competitive. If Facebook cannot provide a decent excuse for misleading the Commission before January 31st it could be fined up to $179 million.

The Commission’s complaint refers specifically to the nature of the data-sharing agreement between Facebook and WhatsApp. In 2014, Facebook told the Commission that it would be unable to automatically link data between accounts on the two services, but in August this year, the social network introduced a new privacy policy that does exactly that. WhatsApp user data — including phone numbers — is shared with Facebook in order to map social connections and deliver more relevant ads on both services.

Does this surprise anyone of my listeners? If so, let’s talk. Contact me for a free and very quick consultation on privacy on the internet and if you want in modern society. And then if you want we will talk about how you can start using the internet to your advantage as well. Because I know some of you out there in the cyber audience know that the Internet can be used for more then jut sharing pictures of your dog eating your lunch. Or emailing grandma that your sled needs a tuneup so you can’t make Christmas dinner this year.

Lets wrap it up with some more examples of how people can actually do some good in this community. According to the Vindicator, Owens Construction helped Youngs-town Community School celebrate Christmas in style with a dance and pizza party.

Mike Owens, owner of Owens Construction of Youngstown, and a few other company employees wanted to give back through a donation of some kind for this holiday season.

His choice was made easy when he heard the gifts students wanted for Christmas.

“One kid wanted a blanket, and another, a mechanical pencil,” Owens said Tuesday afternoon. “These were just such basic needs, not really wants. That’s what got to me.”

In addition to the dance party, pizza, snacks and drinks, students received nearly $2,500 worth in Christmas gifts for students and their families.

Principal Heidi Cope-Barker said the holiday party is a symbol of what the YCS represents – being a child.

“We want to make sure we are celebrating our kids everyday,” she said. “Having a holiday party for them reminds us we are all kids at heart, and we get to be kids, too.”

Beyond that engaging in such charitable activities benefits the Owens Construction Company too. Everyone hears this time of year about how it is more blessed to give then receive. Well due to this act of generosity, they are not only getting a free plug in the local paper, but I shared their facebook page post on my timeline. I am sharing this story on the podcast, I am sharing the link to my twitter account and I gave them some link juice too by linking back to their website with a Search Engine Optimized Link that will point back to them from at least 4 different locations where I post these transcripts. All that from one act of generosity. And a nice attaboy from me too. Well done Owens.

WWF PSA

Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 7 Transcript

Listen Here

Welcome to the Mahoning Valley Podcast for 12/20/16. We are going to look at what’s trending on Social Media this week. Not everyone who is interested in the Mahoning Valley wants to use Social Media, so this episode is for you too. I also enjoy adding a little commentary of my own to this effort. Some maybe you agree with, some maybe you don’t. We are also going to hear from a guest as to why podcasting is such a unique content format. I will also throw in a couple of Public Service Announcements for good measure, so stick with us for this episode.

Over on youtube, Saturday Night Live got a big boost with their Skit on Hilary Clinton. If you didn’t catch it, I won’t spoil it for you now, let’s just say that she is portrayed as doing a grassroots effort to stay the hand of the Electoral College from officially electing Mr Trump as our President on December 19th. By the time this hits the interweb, the vote will be cast. According to the National Archive, it won’t be officially counted and announced by Congress until January 6 2017.

Here is a little more about what to expect on Counting Day. The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes. Congress may pass a law to change this date.

The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the results of the Electoral College vote. The President of the Senate then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.

If a State submits conflicting sets of electoral votes to Congress, the two Houses acting concurrently may accept or reject the votes. If they do not concur, the votes of the electors certified by the Governor of the State on the Certificate of Ascertainment would be counted in Congress.

If no Presidential candidate wins 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the House of Representatives to decide the Presidential election. If necessary the House would elect the President by majority vote, choosing from the three candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by state, with each state having one vote.

If no Vice Presidential candidate wins 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the 12th Amendment provides for the Senate to elect the Vice President. If necessary, the Senate would elect the Vice President by majority vote, choosing from the two candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by state, with each Senator having one vote.

If any objections to the Electoral College vote are made, they must be submitted in writing and be signed by at least one member of the House and one Senator. If objections are presented, the House and Senate withdraw to their respective chambers to consider their merits under procedures set out in federal law.

December 19th may well go down in infamy as the day that The United States of America became the Divided States of Donald Trump.

Needless to say, as of this writing, Twitter is also buzzing loudly with noise about the Electoral College. Twitter is a much more outspoken media than most though for those of you who do not follow Twitter Trends. Much more expressive and vitriolic in my opinion. Even Donald Trump himself is known for openly expressing his opinion much to the detriment of his soon to be appointment to govern this fine nation of ours.

Facebook is not so much concerned with the Electoral College today as it is with the assassination of a Russian Diplomat today 12/19/16. According to CNN.com “Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty police officer, was the gunman who assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey on Monday, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a press conference. The attacker was born in 1994 in the town of Soke in Turkey’s Aydin province, he said. Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported that the gunman has been neutralized. But it was not immediately clear whether the attacker was killed or captured by police as of this writing.”

Cnn.com continued “Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an art exhibition in Ankara on Monday, after the gunman shouted, “Do not forget Aleppo!” as he opened fire.

The shooting of Ambassador Andrey Karlov was captured on video. Russia’s foreign ministry described it as a “terror attack.”

If you have been following mainstream media, then you know that the situation in #Aleppo has become ridiculously tragic. People under constant threat of death and destruction as government forces and ideologists fight it out. Personal opinion, if your ideology is causing to you to do harm to anyone, it is probably time to rethink.

And then if you want another reason not to hold your cellphone next to your ear, on youtube and facebook, Ceelo Greene is a trending due to a phone malfunction. I personally started using speakerphone a few years back when there were stories about how Cell Phones could cause brain cancer. Anyway, if you didn’t see the video check the show notes and watch this poor man’s phone blow up in his ear. There are also a few vids showing Mr Greene discussing the idea that it was all a part of a new project of his. With him apologizing for stirring people up.

What do you think, Publicity or Tragedy? Or both?

Make A Wish PSA

It also seems somewhat ironic that on the same day we saw security footage depicting a cell phone blow up on someone’s face, we also have the Samsung Galaxy 8 trending on both twitter and Facebook. I am thinking Samsung may have bought the trend. Not that I can prove this, it is not too hard to buy trends on facebook or twitter. If your pockets are deep enough. If you have a very large budget for 2017 (think at least 5 million dollars per quarter), contact me and we can discuss how you can bring your product or service into a trending position on twitter or facebook. And let me know if you believe it is possible to buy trends on any of the places you may find this transcript or podcast.

What else is trending on youtube this week? Korean Bar-b-Que If you ever wondered if you get what you pay for, check this video. These nice young men decided to check out the difference between barbecue that costs 24.00 and 346.00. Apparently Korean barbecue is pretty popular in modern cuisine these days, cause this video garnered over 3 million 6 hundred thousand views by the time of this writing. To be fair, the Channel that is displaying this video has over 11 million subscribers and apparently has been running these food price comparison videos for some time.

People do love food talk and food videos and food pictures though. I often enjoy checking out my cousin’s culinary adventures on Tumblr. Food and Wine has over 5.3 million followers I am among them of course. They also have nearly 2 Million Likes on Facebook. Food is such a popular subject on Social Media that Twitter itself decided to get into the act and set up their own account. Ironically it only has a little less then 1 million followers.

Here is a story you won’t see reported on the mainstream media this week, (Most likely anyway)

So we will head back to Samsung. There is a movement going on to ask the manufacturer to compensate their employees for diseases caused through the manufacture of Smart Phones. According to Green America “Since 2007, more than 70 Samsung factory workers have died due to work-related diseases and hundreds have fallen ill, according to SHARPS, an occupational health advocacy group in South Korea.

Courts in Korea have sided with one victim, ruling her leukemia was caused by dangerous chemicals she was exposed to at work. Seven years after her death, Samsung finally issued an apology to workers in 2014.

In July 2015, Samsung finally agreed to pay victims $85.8 million in compensation—in line with the recommendations of the Mediation Committee. However, so far, Samsung has ignored the core recommendation of this committee: to fund an independent non-profit foundation that will determine how to fairly distribute compensation to workers for their diseases and how to develop an effective strategy for assessing and incorporating safer chemicals into production, in order to prevent future diseases.”

The Associated Press is also reporting on this story here.

One last trending topic According to Cnn.com again, A truck rammed into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin on Monday night, killing nine and injuring at least 50. Officials are investigating the crash as an act of terrorism, according to a German intelligence official familiar with the matter.

Authorities have apprehended the suspected driver, according to a police spokesman.

The crash occurred in Breitscheidplatz in the western part of central Berlin. Another person who was in the truck died on scene, Berlin police tweeted. “A truck just ran over a sidewalk at #Breitscheidplatz Our colleague report multiple injuries. more to follow,” Berlin police tweeted.

The “accident” is being investigated as an act of terror.

So now for some of my opinion. The mainstream media is conspiring with the criminals who commit these crimes whether they are attributed to ideology or simple human criminality. It is not a conscious choice on the part of the media. Yet, many times some one commits a criminal act regardless whether a motive is known or not, rather then simply identify the act as criminal, it is sensationalized as an act of terror. EVERY criminal act is an act of terror to the victim. Does this mean that we are to differentiate between terroristic motives and other motives?

How is it a conspiracy? Well by identifying the alleged perpetrators. If Al Qeada or ISIS or ISIL whatever they want to call themselves claim responsibility for some criminal act, they get exactly what they want from the mainstream media. Publicity and the furtherance of their goals to inspire terror. Why would a responsible journalistic organization give credence to a claim that so and so committed a criminal act without proof? In fact, in America; any allegations of criminality must be proven in a court of law before it is considered to be fact.

So what can our mainstream media outlets do? That is the usual question. Well, what do you expect them to do? I expect any reporter or journalist to stick with verifiable facts. I expect that using sensational terms such as “act of terror” or “terrorism” be reduced to the much more accurate terms “criminal act” or “criminality” And that no attribution be made to any group or individual unless it has been proven in a court of law. Why? You may ask. This means that no matter what any criminals do, they never get credit for it. They get no play on the media. They are simply identified as criminals without any name or ideology. And when their free publicity dies out, they will have to find some other way to terrorize people.

St Jude PSA

We are going to listen some to award winning Podcast Host, Producer, and Consultant Daniel Lewis discuss why podcasting is a unique and perfect media for reaching your audience and gaining the trust of your subscribers and audience. So we have some excerpts from Audacity to Podcast along with my personal commentary. If you enjoy the excerpts, feel free to subscribe on the show notes. You can also contact me if you are ready to develop your own podcast.

Why is podcasting a unique and perfect media for reaching an audience, gaining trust and establishing a unique voice in the cacophony of voices on the internet?

A quick summary of 8 points that make podcasting more intimate and unique than writing, video even TV and Radio.

  1. Authentic Voice
  2. Speaking to individuals
  3. Building Relationships
  4. Publishing Consistently
  5. Taking Content Everywhere
  6. Engaging with Real People
  7. Connecting Through Social Media
  8. Focusing on the Niches

I am going to just briefly go over a few of these points as I have already listened to the entire episode. First off an Authentic Voice. If you are on Social Media, you know that there are hundreds if not thousands of individuals and companies vying for your attention. Many of them may seem to sound exactly alike. Having the same messaging. Save Money. Save Time. Try this new thing or that. Did you know that there were over 30 Billion Podcast Downloads in 2015 according to the Pew Research Center? Or that there were estimated over 200 million pieces of new content produced every minute on Social Media?

So where is your content in that incredible multitude of pieces being produced and shared every minute of every day? Is your voice being heard? Or are you sounding just like everyone else? Your podcast will represent your unique point of view that people can appreciate for it’s authenticity.

And what about speaking to individuals? When you podcast, you are likely (if you are doing it well) speaking to your microphone. Or interviewing someone. And that as if it were your best friend or someone you love and care about. Why does this happen in most cases? It is natural to be much more considerate, genuine and careful when you know that you are being recorded. This comes across in your podcast and helps you to build relationships with your listeners.

And that is the third point. Podcasts help you to build relationships. Just like Social Media does if you use it properly. Building relationships is what all this Internet Stuff is all about. Although there are many different uses for the internet such as research, information gathering and disemmination, and personal and professional expression; at the heart of it all and at the beginning it was all about relating to each other.

So let’s talk about how podcasts can be taken anywhere. It maybe that you are listening today on your computer. But possibly you are listening on your phone or tablet. Whats the point? If you are an experienced podcast listener you know that you can download your podcasts and listen to them anytime and anywhere you have your phone. Or Ipod. Think about that. When you are making podcasts, your audience can listen to you anywhere. Anytime. On their schedule. No other media allows you to do this for your audience with the exception of music.

There are many creative ways of using this unique media. And I have thought through them. Not to brag, but if you have something to say either to customers or clients or prospects; we can figure it out together. And make it work. And make it worth your while. You only need contact me at mahoingvalleypodcast.com or on Facebook or Twitter. And we will figure it out. Just as an added incentive for doing so, I will respond to your inquiry with actionable ideas and if you want to work on them with me, we can do so. If you want to implement them yourself; so be it.

WWF PSA

Todays Target Black Friday

How Black Friday Promotions Are Often Deceptive

How you are being duped into spending more money then you have for the holidays

We all like to think that the holidays bring about peace on earth and goodwill towards men, but there is mounting evidence and substantial documentation to show that the holiday season is often just an excuse for desperate retailers and merchants to con you into spending more money then you can afford.

Take for instance, this example of how Target is using outright deception to get you to buy an Iphone. According to  Mike Wehner reporting for bgr.com  ,

If you head to Target’s online store and search for “iPhone 7,” you’ll be met with the retailers much publicized gift card promotion, which nets you a $250 store voucher with the purchase of any iPhone 7, 7 Plus, or 6 Plus. It’s a great deal, in line with similar promotions from Best Buy and Walmart, but it’s not the only thing you’ll see on the search results page.

If you scroll down to the actual individual listings for various iPhone 7 models, you’ll see prices that have no reason to exist, much less under the guise of a “sale.”

The iPhone 7, which starts at $649 for the 32GB model and goes up to $849 for 256GB, is being sold for $1,129.99. That’s a hefty $280 premium over the regular price, and for no discernible reason. It’s not a bundle that includes anything else; it’s just the phone, and its “regular” price is marked even higher, by $20.

What’s even more hilarious, is that it’s listed as a Black Friday sale, and its price is slated to go back up on Sunday.

And this price adjustment isn’t limited to the 256GB model, as both the 32GB and 128GB versions are also priced at a ridiculous markup.

What’s worse, people are apparently actually buying these phones at this jacked-up price. Target’s handy little buyers tool shows that the iPhone 7 is being bought for over $1,000.

So what’s the deal here? It’s hard to tell. At first I assumed the prices were the result of some third-party seller antics — Walmart, for example, sells products in its online store that come from third-party merchants, and they can set the prices to their own liking. However, there’s nothing on the store page or individual listings to suggest these devices are being sold by anyone other than Target itself.

Maybe Target discovered the secret to Black Friday: People will buy just about anything as long as they think it’s on sale.

While this is not a new phenomena; it seems that the Black Friday deceptions are beginning to stretch beyond one day a year into an entire month or more. I have noticed advertisements locally that proudly proclaim that the entire month of November is a Black Friday Event. I am not the only one to notice this trend.  Hayden Dingman writing for pcworld:

“Black Friday has outgrown itself as retailers have cannibalized the name ‘Black Friday’ and used it to promote deals all throughout the month of November,” says Matthew Ong, a senior analyst at NerdWallet. “This is partially a response to the late Black Friday date in 2013, but this Christmas creep is a trend that’s been ramping up in the last few years and [is] only likely to continue.”

But it’s not just about the timing. A closer look at the deals around Black Friday show how the date has become a buzzword to trick people into pulling the trigger on shoddy deals. Retailers are manipulating prices and the products themselves just to get you into the store. Once you’re in the store, they’ve already won. So before you camp out in line, read on to learn the real deal about Black Friday. “

Many unsuspecting consumers such as yourself make assumptions about how the whole Black Friday thing works. But according to the  Wall Street Journal  , Black Friday promotions are a part of an annual business planning process.

The common assumption is that retailers stock up on goods and then mark down the ones that don’t sell, taking a hit to their profits. But that isn’t typically how it plays out. Instead, big retailers work backward with their suppliers to set starting prices that, after all the markdowns, will yield the profit margins they want.

And Black Friday deceptions are not new either. Although there may be examples of large well established retailers using deceptions to lure consumers into overspending prior to 2009; this example of how Walmart has been accused of deception for Black Friday was documented by  Sue Walsh for technologytell.com  shows it has been around for a while.

Customers from around the country are complaining that the deals Walmart promised on  Black Friday  were given away ahead of time in a pre-sale procedure many are calling a scam because it was not made known to the public.

In Tracy, CA, customers who arrived before dawn to snap up the $198 eMachines laptop that was advertised as being on sale between 5am-10am discovered the stores entire inventory of 37 units had been sold the day before in a non-advertised pre-sale. The manager admitted there was no way for the general public to know about the pre-sale unless they called the store (and obviously there was no way for most people to know they needed to do that), and apparently had not told the line of customers that started forming around 3am that the laptop was not available.

Nearly half of the Black Friday deals studied in the UK from just last year showed that the prices were actually lower at other times in the year as documented by Jay McGregor writing for the Wall Street Journal.

According to a  study conducted  by consumer watchdog Which?, the latter.

The report found that 49% of 2015 Black Friday deals in the UK were actually cheaper at other points in the year. Which? tracked prices for 178 items across multiple major retailers like Currys, John Lewis, Amazon and Argos for three months before Black Friday 2015. It found that the discount shopping day was only the cheapest, or joint-cheapest, day to buy the tracked goods half of the time (90 out of the 178 deals).

The phenomena of Black Friday Deceptions has even been documented by Government Officials.  United States Senator Richard Blumenthal’s office reported:

Some of the tricks and traps that advertisers use to get consumers into their stores or onto their websites include: deceptive and overly broad advertisements, hidden fees at checkout, and emailed coupons that hide the fine print in links to other websites.

For example, a JCPenney circulator advertises, “No interest if paid in full within 12 months.” However, the extremely hard to read, white-lettered fine print says: “Must request at time of purchase. Offer applies to window treatment purchases of $500 or more made between 11/24/13-11/27/13.” In addition, the consumer must have a JCP credit card or a JCP Mastercard.  And, if a consumer fails to pay off the amount within 12 months or fails to meet minimum monthly payments, the interest rate – charged back to the purchase date – jumps to 26.99 percent. So any small mistake by the consumer, like not asking for a no interest promotion or accidentally missing a payment, would result in potentially huge interest payments.

So what to do? Well most experts are offering some ideas on how to find out if you are being deceived.  This article by Lori Grunin  offers some ways of making sure you are not manipulated into spending more money then you have.

  • Decide what you want before you shop.
  • Research using your favorite search engine or app.
  • Unbundle the bundles
  • Watch out for hidden fees.

But overall, it is my opinion that Black Friday and Cyber Monday should be completely ignored. And I am not alone on this idea.  Aol.com  encourages consumers to follow these steps and just skip it all together.

Don’t be quick to fall for overhyped “doorbuster” sales. Oftentimes, retailers will dangle a popular item at a big discount to lure customers in, but what they don’t tell you is how limited their quantities are. These stores know that once they get you inside, you’re likely to stay and spend on the lesser deals, so always call and check their inventory first.

Next, watch out for derivative products. Some Black Friday ads will only include the bare minimum when it comes to technical specs for devices like TV’s, laptops and tablets. Usually, this is because the item on sale is a derivative product, specifically manufactured for Black Friday and the holiday season with lower overall quality and less features. These items may look like their pricier counterparts, but they probably won’t last as long, costing you more in the long run.

Lastly, don’t be swayed by phony markdowns. This is when a sale price is posted alongside an inflated “original price,” creating the illusion of a great deal. This is a classic retail trick, so don’t be misled. Focus on the sale prices and use those as a comparison.

Remember the everlasting tension between businesses and consumers. Business wants you to spend no matter what your means. You as a consumer are responsible for what you choose to spend. And make no mistake. If you overspend due to deception on the part of a business, you will be the one on the hook for it.

Image courtesy of experienceheadphones.com

Todays Target Criminals

Image courtesy of appdevelopermagazine.com

Criminals are on my list today. Why would I discriminate against criminal activity? Because it discriminates against me and mine. Because criminals of all sorts are out there preying on people like you and me who are just trying to get through and find some peace. But modern American society glamorizes these piece of crap gangstas. People who sell your children drugs and rob your homes. People who would just as soon kill you as look at you if you get in their way.

So we get alleged criminals like Donald Trump running for president and a whole bunch of lost souls supporting him. We get alleged criminals like Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre teaching generations of children that it is good or even beneficial to flaunt the law to get ahead. We get tons of modern entertainment options in the movies and tv that glamorizes crime and make it seem as if it is somehow ok to break the law to survive.

Sure a lot of these entertainment options usually have some morality component, like it is ok to become a criminal if you or yours have been wronged somehow, but that doesn’t change the fact that vigilantism is illegal. It is illegal to take the law into your own hands. For any reason. But criminals and the criminally minded make it seem like it is OK. So then, we get white collar criminals who somehow justify to themselves that it is ok to take people’s money for themselves to take care of their families or somehow pay back an unjust society.

And the most appalling of criminals, the so called terrorists. The religious fanatics who can somehow justify the terrorizing of people just cause they hold a different belief system. The lunatics who believe that the only way to change society is to destroy it. These criminals come with various self rationalizations, but the end result is all the same.

Today then all you criminals be put on notice, that just cause people emulate you and you get paid well in  all cases, there is also justice. You will pay it all back. You will end up in jail. You will end up dead. Universal Jurisdiction is a real thing and you are courting yourselves to a sorrowful end. My advice, if you are not interested in having the universe rule against you, then consider allowing people to hold their own believes and opinions, and you hold yours. Then go out and get a real job and pay your taxes like everyone else does.

Todays Target Predatory Lenders

Predatory lending is any lending practice that imposes unfair or abusive loan terms on a borrower. It is also any practice that convinces a borrower to accept unfair terms through deceptive, coercive, exploitative or unscrupulous actions for a loan that a borrower doesn’t need, doesn’t want or can’t afford.

Predatory Lending: Laws & Unfair Credit Practices – Debt.org

These actions include calling me and threatening to send my information to the collection bureaus.  Tacking on seriously high “penalty fees” like late fees and “payment processing fees” as well as “payment unable to be processed fees”. I fully intend to pay back the money I have borrowed. Although it just may take longer then originally anticipated. So lets have a look at some of the companies I recommend that you avoid with all your strength no matter how attractive the option seems, it is better to just go out and do day labor if possible then deal with these companies.
Lets start with Rise Credit at https://www.risecredit.com  Fortunately for whatever reason their website would not allow me to complete the process to actually get their loan, but their terms were as follows. Borrow 1000.00 and pay some sort of fee that brings the total amount due back to the lender and Rise to over 3000.00 whether it is payed off early or not. So basically it was once the loan was accepted, it ended up costing over 2000.00 no matter how soon I could pay it back. That is predatory.
Next Avant. Beware of this company. They are very transparent about their terms, but if you go late even for a day, expect to be contacted by phone numerous times until you speak with them about it. They also will require that you link your checking account to their company for Automatic Deductions. Never mind if for some reason, you cannot get the money in there in time. They are going to initiate a transfer. And if you do not spend the money with your bank to “stop payment” they have no problem initiating the transfer anyway and you still end up paying extra fees.
Mariner Finance   These guys tried changing the payment location twice on me at the last moment in an effort to try to make the payment go late and collect additional revenue from my loan. How’s that for an underhanded tactic?  They also reported inaccurate information to all three Credit Bureaus about how many accounts I had with them. They also like to initiate phone calls prior to the actual date the loan payment goes late. So they will actually call you one day after the due date and start asking for the payment. Then after all this, they stated over the phone that they could extend the due date on the payment. But only if I agreed to pay it back at a lower payment rate for a longer amount of time.  They did not disclose that was the plan, until after they ran another credit inquiry and I asked them why. This would have resulted in extending the loan and them collecting an additional approximately 45% interest on the original loan. Clever, but quite predatory.
There are any number of payday loan companies and title loan companies in operation as well. Avoid these companies. I can assure you that it is not worth it. I tried one of these once cause the car needed new brakes. I ended up paying back over 1000.00 for a loan that was for 400.00 all in the matter of 3 months. So the company made 600 dollars for lending me 400.00 for 3 months. That is ridiculous.
I am sure that most readers have received these pre-approved offers from any number of companies offering Credit Cards. Generally, almost all of these offers are going to cost you a bunch of money in the long run. The list of these predatory lenders goes on and on, from Department Stores and Oil Companies that offer easy access to Credit. Target, Walmart, Goodyear, and countless other large retailers and Gas Stations will offer you easy credit, but like the Theme Song from the show Good Times said, they are all “easy credit ripoffs”.
While I was in college, I also encountered a number of lenders who were willing to encumber me with Credit Cards despite the fact that I had little to no income. Any Company that offers a Credit Card to a College Student based on future earnings is predatory in my opinion. I am not going to bother identifying these sharks, but suffice it to say it cannot be right.
Have you had any experiences with a predatory lender? Feel free to identify them in the comments below. Also, feel free to join me in discriminating against the money hungry corporations that have no sould or conscience. And finally, always read the fine print.

Todays Target Corporate America

I keep hoping I will become comfortably numb to the ridiculous antics of Corporate America.  But is seems as if I need to vent first, then maybe I can put it all behind me. I don’t want to give people the idea that I am against all business and commerce. Because that is not the case. Commerce and Business makes the world go around and provides me with many comforts and conveniences.

For reference sake, it is not love that makes the world go around. It is love that keeps an eye on it all. And occasionally interrupts the world’s progress towards self destruction.

Anyway, why am I discriminating against Corporate America today? Because despite it’s valiant efforts at continuing to take care of me and my family; it is still a tremendously corrupted and sorrowful group of money loving evil doers. OK, to be fair, not everyone who runs a business is a greedy fat cat. But overall, it seems as if many corporate executives, cannot see past a dollar sign. And that lack of vision cause me to feel discriminatory.

To wit:

Lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies and supposed Health Care Companies. These are people who are supposed to be trying to make people’s lives better. There are no less than 72 different active cases against these Companies. These are not allegations only but have been substantiated by the fact that a judge has agreed to hear the case against them.

Class Action Lawsuits against Corporate America.  I could not even start to count how many of these there are, because I do not want to spend the time doing so. Suffice it to say there a a lot. Like a boatload. Like a Cruise Ship Load. Like a Tanker Load.

And numerous self reported insider stories on Corporate Greed   Anyway, I am sure you get the idea. It is time for people to #discriminate against Corporate America along with me. It is OK, really.

Please comment as to your own experiences and join me in being discriminatory. If you dare.