In the old days, it worked like this. (Really, it did.) Your company – or, if you were an author or a movie star, your publisher or Paramount – would pay a monthly retainer to a clipping service that subscribed to virtually all the newspapers and magazines in the land. Those services employed little old ladies (one assumes) to read it all and snip any mention of you or your company or its products. To those snipped out clippings would be affixed a little label with the name of the newspaper in which it had appeared and the date . . . and each week a stack of clippings would appear in your mail and the mail of all their other clients. Now, you just click here and get it all free and instantly as it happens. (If you were on TV, a company would call you and offer to sell you an audio recording it had made. Today, you just TiVo it.)


Douglas Hutchison: ‘Shares of Wal-Mart have slid this week. Are you still bullish?’

☞ If we have an uneventful economy and markets – yes. But never forget that economic and financial hard times recur periodically, so you should never borrow to invest in the stock market, nor invest with money you might need in the next few years.


Joe Cherner: ‘Once again we find Pfizer and Philip Morris with similar market caps, similar dividends, and similar P/Es. One kills hundreds of thousands of people a year and one cures hundreds of thousands of people a year. Never underestimate the power of addictive drugs.’

☞ When I consider how web boggle has taken over my life, without even altering my body chemistry (so far as I can tell), I can only begin to imagine what a curse a real addiction is like.


Don Rudolph: ‘Please read a copy of Class War in America by Charles M. Kelly. It should be required reading in every Economics classroom.’

☞ ‘The most appalling thing,’ writes Amazon reviewer Robynne Williams, ‘is that the book was published in 2000, BEFORE the installation of the most rapacious Administration since the 19th century.’ She calls it a ‘superb and succinct account of the rise and rise of the plutocracy.’

Comments another Amazon reviewer, Jack Lohman: ‘Even as a life-long Republican, I find it hard to disagree with many of the arguments in this obviously Liberal writing. I highly recommend [it].’

Meanwhile . . . while you’re at it . . . consider Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich of the New York Times. In a Publisher’s Weekly nutshell:

Determined to find out how anyone could make ends meet on $7 an hour, [Ehrenreich] left behind her middle class life as a journalist except for $1000 in start-up funds, a car and her laptop computer to try to sustain herself as a low-skilled worker for a month at a time. In 1999 and 2000, Ehrenreich worked as a waitress in Key West, Fla., as a cleaning woman and a nursing home aide in Portland, Maine, and in a Wal-Mart in Minneapolis, Minn. During the application process, she faced routine drug tests and spurious “personality tests”; once on the job, she endured constant surveillance and numbing harangues over infractions like serving a second roll and butter. Beset by transportation costs and high rents, she learned the tricks of the trade from her co-workers, some of whom sleep in their cars, and many of whom work when they’re vexed by arthritis, back pain or worse, yet still manage small gestures of kindness. Despite the advantages of her race, education, good health and lack of children, Ehrenreich’s income barely covered her month’s expenses in only one instance, when she worked seven days a week at two jobs (one of which provided free meals) during the off-season in a vacation town. Delivering a fast read that’s both sobering and sassy, she gives readers pause about those caught in the economy’s undertow, even in good times.


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