‘HOW TO MAKE YOUR BRAIN 10 YEARS YOUNGER’

That’s the teaser on the cover of the current Forbes (the ‘billionaire’ issue). It refers to the private start-up company that (full disclosure, again) I own a tiny sliver of. Click here to read Forbes‘s report. Your brain is plastic – and, as it turns out, that’s not an insult, it’s good news. Further full disclosure: I have not yet found time to test the product myself . . . and my brain may be childish enough already. But if you decide to try it, the $495 price comes with a satisfaction-or-money-back guarantee (not from me!) and – as a perk of your subscription to this page – if you enter gn0604a when you check out, you’ll get 20% off.

0% CARDS

Doug Mohn: ‘I’ve played the 0% credit card game also and parked the proceeds in a money market fund for the duration. But lately, I’ve backed off a bit. The credit scoring companies don’t know that you’ve deposited the proceeds into a bank account when you make a large advance and they are likely to think you’re as irresponsible as a President who’s never vetoed a spending bill. To avoid hurting your next mortgage refinance, I recommended never taking out more than 49% of your credit limit on a 0% promotion.

☞ Then again, a long history of paying off large debts in full and on time probably helps your score. But Doug definitely has a point.

CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY

Yesterday’s ‘Boston Legal’ clipwell worth the click if you missed it – was a passionate plea for American values. Here is another:

t r u t h o u t
Saturday 04 March 2006
[Forwarded from Marni Harmony, the minister of a church in Orlando. Joe is one of her parishioners.]

Dear Mr. President:

As a young man I was honored to serve our nation as a commissioned officer and helicopter pilot in the US Navy. Before me in WWII, my father defended the country spending two years in the Pacific aboard the USS Hornet (CV-14). We were patriots sworn “to protect and defend”. Today I conclude that you have dishonored our service and the Constitution and principles of our oath. My dad was buried with full military honors so I cannot act for him. But for myself, I return enclosed the symbols of my years of service: the shoulder boards of my rank and my Naval Aviator’s wings.

Until your administration, I believed it was inconceivable that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive and preemptive war against a country that posed no threat to us. Until your administration, I thought it was impossible for our nation to take hundreds of persons into custody without provable charges of any kind, and to “disappear” them into holes like Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram. Until your administration, in my wildest legal fantasy I could not imagine a US Attorney General seeking to justify torture or a President first stating his intent to veto an anti-torture law, and then adding a “signing statement” that he intends to ignore such law as he sees fit. I do not want these things done in my name.

As a citizen, a patriot, a parent and grandparent, a lawyer and law teacher I am left with such a feeling of loss and helplessness. I think of myself as a good American and I ask myself what can I do when I see the face of evil? Illegal and immoral war, torture and confinement for life without trial have never been part of our Constitutional tradition. But my vote has become meaningless because I live in a safe district drawn by your political party. My congressman is unresponsive to my concerns because his time is filled with lobbyists’ largess. Protests are limited to your “free speech zones”, out of sight of the parade. Even speaking openly is to risk being labeled un-American, pro-terrorist or anti-troops. And I am a disciplined pacifist, so any violent act is out of the question.

Nevertheless, to remain silent is to let you think I approve or support your actions. I do not. So, I am saddened to give up my wings and bars. They were hard won and my parents and wife were as proud as I was when I earned them over forty years ago. But I hate the torture and death you have caused more than I value their symbolism. Giving them up makes me cry for my beloved country.

Joseph W. DuRocher

Eduardo Fernandez: ‘I didn’t think I could dislike this Administration any more than I did a few hours ago. Then I ran across this [‘Loose Change,’ a film that raises questions about 9/11]. I am a first generation Cuban/American and my parents brought me here at the age of 11 months old in 1961 to have a better lot in life. My father was 30 with a wife and two children and was only allowed by Castro to bring $5 dollars for the whole family. My father – a very intelligent man and a chemical engineer – was able to raise his family and put his children through college and retire at the age of 55. We have done reasonably well as a family from where we started. My brother is part owner of two investment banking companies, one in Aruba and one in Venezuela. I am now 45 and planning on retiring soon. And I am seriously thinking of moving to the Dominican Republic after this year, something I would have thought unimaginable a decade ago. What in God’s name is going on? This is not the America I grew up in and love!

☞ We are retrying the Scopes trial? Discouraging stem cell research? Freezing the minimum wage while giving tax breaks to billionaires? Torturing people to death? I share much of Eduardo’s dismay. But the film he linked to – while riveting – seems wildly implausible. It is at least partly debunked here. The kind of conspiracy suggested by the film would have had to involve so many people . . . well, you know Ben Franklin’s old line, ‘Three can keep a secret – if two of them are dead?’ It’s all but impossible to imagine hundreds of people keeping all the secrets that would have been involved here.

(Sure, some people knew of the attack in advance – Bin Laden, for one – and may have bought all those puts on American Airlines and Boeing. But the idea that this whole thing was a giant gold heist? Or that we fired a Cruise Missile into the Pentagon ourselves?)

Have a great weekend.

 

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