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Saturday, March 27, 2010

How healthcare reform will affect you, Middle Class Stressors

The Poor Man’s Recession Fighter Bulletin
Your Choice for Usable Information

In This Issue:

· Home butchered meat trend
· Stress points sapping middle class
· Overview of how healthcare reform will affect you
· Work-at-home blog and resources
· Microloans for women entrepreneurs
· Odd stuff to keep in your freezer

*What makes Clint's day. There's a new coffee-table book out on Clint Eastwood's film career, from the 1959 western Rawhide to his most recent directorial duties on Invictus. The book includes 325 photographs and movie stills and some wonderful quotes, such as this one from the time he had the romantic lead in The Bridges of Madison County. Said Clint, "This romantic stuff is really tough. I can't wait to get back to shooting and killing."

The Green Millionaire

I just finished reading the Green Millionaire by Nigel Williams. An interesting book filled with methods for which we could all save money and the planet by becoming more recycling oriented…lots of good statistics and suggestion for products to save energy, boost your car mileage and so on. The biggest drawback…no website links or contact information for the products he suggests.

His premise is you can become wealthy when you implement the money-saving strategies he suggests while saving the planet.

The book is free and includes a trial subscription to his newsletter…the catch – you sign up for a bi-monthly automatic billing of $29.95. You do have a free 14-day trial evaluation period. I’m still waiting for my 1st issue of the online newsletter.

Who would’ve guessed…lawyers are the worst drivers. According to an insurance institute study, 44% of lawyers and judges admitted to being in an accident prior to shopping for auto insurance. Financial professionals, and government workers were next in line as the worst drivers.

Europeans are gloating this week. The continent might be struggling with ballooning debts, a faltering euro and national strikes, but when the U.S. House voted in favor of President Barack Obama's health care bill Sunday night, March 21, Europeans seized the moment to thumb their noses at Americans and remind them that they've had pretty good health care for decades.

Finally…Does anyone aside from myself feel Americans are practicing the crime of democracy? The federal government seems to dominate our nightly news and our daily lives…yet, access to government actions are limited to mainstream folks more than ever before. Freedom of information and open access always seem in short supply. Indeed, under Bush Jr., the Attorney General sent a memo to all federal agencies directing them to cripple the process wherever and however possible. Slowly but surely, the government rules every aspect of our lives.

So much for transparency in government that Pres. Obama promised. Below is a resource you can use to learn more about Freedom of Information:

--Just got a note from Diane Sawyer/ABC news regarding their current series about the attack on the middle class. There is a chance they’ll include a plug for the Poor Man in an upcoming segment!


Penny Pinching Tips

Try the following free site for online coupons

Fee-based online manufacturing coupon clipping service

Need to escape an auto lease…try these sites

Peer-to-Peer lending sites
A booming alternative to tight fisted bankers – average loan is $5000. Review these sites: (Check each site to see if they operate in your state)

Count me in – a non-profit group which makes microloans to women
In all 50-states.

Always an interesting site-Work-at-Home Blog-See her radio show guests!

Tired of Looking for a job – try starting your own direct selling biz

VIPDesk-Seeks home-based call center people & more

Start Sampling Coupon Site – zip code specific

Note: Get your resume noticed. Worried about a gap in your work history…Fill it in with volunteer work. Millions of Americans are currently between jobs, so periods of unemployment aren’t eyebrow raisers like they used to be.


Odd Stuff Your Freezer will help to preserve…Batteries: A number of studies have shown that storing batteries in the freezer helps them retain their charge longer. This is less true for alkaline batteries (freezing extends their shelf life by only about 5%) than it is for NiMH and Nicad batteries often used in electronics. Keeping NiMH batteries in the freezer can boost battery life by 90%.
* Plant Seeds: Many (but not all) types of plant seeds will keep longer and germinate more successfully when stored in the freezer. Consult a copy of Seed Storage of Horticultural Crops, by S.D. Doijode, for more than you'd ever want to know about this fascinating topic. Many of the planet's most important seeds are being stored in the chilly "doomsday" seed vault in Norway.
· Plastic Soda Bottles Filled with Water: Grandma knew that keeping her freezer chockfull helped to insulate it and perform better, and kept things cold longer if the electricity failed. I like to fill empty plastic soda bottles nearly full with water, and put them in the freezer to take up any vacant space. Plus they make convenient "drip-less ice cubes" to use instead of real ice cubes in my ice chest. More at:

For designs that might move one to contemplation
check out:

Unixarcade Zazzle's*

Resources for Stockpiling and Disaster Preparation

Make Your Own Energy
Step-by-step guide reveals how to
make your own energy for 100$ or less.

News & Views

America lagging behind in too many areas…
Since 1999 there has been zero net job creation in this country. In the 1960s the US had the top high school graduation rate in the world; by 2000, we were 19th. Our college graduation rate has fallen to 12th place. We have only a tiny fraction of the top 10 global companies in emerging green industries.

Here are the top predicted growth occupations in the coming years. Note the anticipated growth in security jobs…perhaps that is why so many Wall Street firm executives are now applying for concealed weapons permits?

Predicted job Growth Areas for Men

1. Security Officers
2. Appliance/Automotive/Home Repair
3. Farming/Gardening
4. Disaster Preparation/Recovery/Cleanup
5. Personal Protection Guns/Safes/Home Security Systems
6. Dog Breeder/Trainer
7. Community Leadership City Counsel/School Boards
8. Community College/Trade School Teacher
9. Energy Reduction Expert
10.Entrepreneur/Businessmen Source:

Stressors Sapping the Middle Class

Working harder for less is the new normal--for those lucky enough to have a job. Millions of families are giving up comforts they long took for granted, such as restaurant meals, new clothes, vacations, spacious cars, home improvements, and cable television. College funds and retirement savings have taken a hit, and some families have been forced to downsize their homes or, worse, submit to foreclosure. Little wonder that record numbers of Americans tell pollsters it's getting harder to get ahead and that they worry their kids' standard of living may fall rather than rise.


In a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last fall, Americans were asked how much of the time they trusted the government to do the right thing; 65% said "only some of the time," and a stunning 11% said "never."
Big Brother is watching…Resources to protect your privacy

Your personal information—everything from your shopping habits to your health history—can be available to creditors, employers, landlords, insurers, law enforcement agencies, and, of course, criminals. All they need to do is tap into the public and private databases that gather, buy, and sell your vital statistics.

Demand for your personal information has exploded in recent years. Its availability has also raised privacy concerns. When users buy and compile various pieces of information about you, “they can paint a very complete picture of your activities,” says Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.

Here’s what Big Brother has on you:

Also, See How Privacy Vanishes Online

In Bid to Sway Sales, Cameras Track Shoppers


Home-Butchered Meat

The thud of heavy knives bashing bones, the splat of dead muscle hitting the table, the twisting of heads off bodies and the ripping of flesh from limp, cold limbs. Is this a nightmare vision from the makers of Saw or Hostel? An autopsy? No, it's actually the scene at a home kitchen near you, as more and more young Americans are taking a DIY approach to meat. It's part home economics, part politics and certainly at least part fad. But it's changing the way many Americans approach meat, chop by succulent chop.
More at:


OIL Still at $75 a barrel-Fuel Prices Rose 20 cents a gallon last week…Talk about short-term thinking! OPEC is pushing car-manufacturers and drivers around the world to accelerate hybrid and electric car development. Just this week, Chrysler announced it would roll out an all-electric car — based on the Fiat 500 platform but made in America — for 2012. This car, which was tested in Europe, gets up to 120 miles on a charge. Other U.S.-made electric cars will hit the highways even sooner.

The combination of electric, hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles entering the market should drive U.S. gasoline use DOWN over the next 5 to 10 years, perhaps down a lot. And this should rev up America's energy independence. The only thing that could derail this shift is lower gasoline prices. And OPEC is making sure that's not going to happen.
The cheapest source of new energy is to use less of it, and therefore make the energy you have go further. A smart grid helps you do that, by managing energy usage more effectively. The Obama administration announced a $3.4 billion package in 2009 to help build a smart electric grid meant to trim utility bills and reduce blackouts.


Nearly half of Americans are "extremely" or "very worried" about rising costs for health care and health insurance, and a majority place the blame on drug and insurance company profits, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds

Overview of how the new healthcare reform will affect you

"On Sunday evening the richest, most powerful country in the world, the USA, finally entered the 20th century. Yes, not the 21st century, but the 20th," read an article published Monday on the popular French news website

Parting Shot-No church would have me but…

I grew up in a part of Cleveland, OH where the population was about 40% Jewish (I’m a Heinz-57 Deist) and I often noted how well as a whole these neighbors did financially. Young men were groomed to become professionals or business owners and I always felt they prospered because of an unwritten dogma – “Sell to anyone, but buy from your fellow Jews.”

When I went to college in Arizona I noticed a similar philosophy among the Mormons. In fact I admire the Mormons for several reasons. They too foster success among their young and willingly support the businesses of their spiritual community. Also, their members never need rely on government welfare. The Mormons will help their own through paying rent and utilities for an out-of-work member and they have their own grocery store to provide food to its members. They also practice long-term food storage and believe everyone should stockpile a two-year supply of food.

These observations led me to found a not-for-profit group (later in life) called the Minimalist Group, which is based on the idea of minimizing dependence on government while maximizing self reliance.

It’s been my goal in building up the Poor Man site and Bulletin to foster a sense of community among its readers. Sharing resources, ideas and thoughts is what will allow us to remain optimistic during trying times and will help each of us survive and prosper. A small reminder – you can always email me and/or post your wants and needs and thoughts through our Yahoo community bulletin site.

Yours for better living,
Bruce “The Poor Man”

P.S. Spending into oblivion

We're in the terminal stages of the world's most gigantic pyramid scheme" set to vaporize assets of the average citizen

Here's just a glimpse of the likely fallout:

· A PRICE EXPLOSION as Americans scramble over one another to obtain tangible assets or simply hoard basic necessities, before the dollar's purchasing power evaporates fully.
· WIDESPREAD SHORTAGES, sparse grocery store shelves, and the return of long gas lines.
· FAILED BUSINESSES and economic dislocations far eclipsing anything we've seen to date.
· A BREAKDOWN IN COMMERCE, as longer-term transactions become impossible to do.
· RISING CRIME with rampant unemployment far beyond today's "official" 10% jobless rate.
· GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS DRYING UP, with the dependent class – angry, hungry, and desperate – taking to the streets. Looting, arson, and general lawlessness will quickly follow.

The Fed's own Inspector General in recent Congressional testimony admitted after much waffling that she cannot account for trillions of dollars in off-balance-sheet transactions and has absolutely no idea how much the secretive central bank is losing on its "investments."

As scandalous as the massive corporate bailouts are, they pale in comparison to those that will be required for Social Security and Medicare. An editorial in Barron's stated flatly – "Medicare, Medicaid, pensions, indeed the full freight of the federal government constitutes a Ponzi scheme in plain sight. Income is recycled to pay benefits; no new wealth is created."

Beware the "International Emergency Economic Powers Act" and how it can be activated to seize what's yours…The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) is a United States federal law allowing U.S. Presidents to identify any unusual extraordinary threat that originates outside the United States and to confiscate property and prohibit transactions in response. In the United States Code the IEEPA is Title 50, sections 1701-1707.

Or read the Treasury Dept. PDF of the Act here”

Be sure to order your Poor Man Recession Survival Kit – get PM Part I & Part II for only $4.95 plus $2.25 shipping…see our site today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Start a Job Club, Will Rush Leave US, Go Solar

Poor Man Survival Bulletin
Your Choice for Usable Information

Inside This Issue:

· Pop Secret Movie Night
· Grab your share of business grants
· Creating a Job Club
· 3 easy ways to go solar
· Will Rush leave the country because of the healthcare passage?

If you’re truly serious about preparing your child for the future,
Don’t teach him to subtract-teach him to deduct.
--Fran Lebowitz

Leveraging Your Assets

In the late 1980s I owned a successful, regional B2B publishing company. We were profitable our first year, which is unheard of in most businesses and this was pre-internet days. Several factors contributed to this. We were innovative. We were the first publication in the country to put our media kit onto a computer disk – this in itself generated a lot of positive press for us.
Perhaps the biggest reason for our success was our focus on developing multiple profit centers or leveraging our assets. Our nearly 40,000 subscribers allowed us to successfully implement business shows, related newsletters, a B2B coupon mailer called BizPak, list rentals and more.
One of our profit centers included a distributorship of Nightgale-Conant business and motivational audio and video tapes which we rented and sold. As I spent a lot of time on the road in those days (promoting our business) I listened to these tapes and they never failed to provide me with profitable ideas. Just one idea, which was an aside from the speaker, sparked an innovation which generated an immediate $1000 profit from something we were already doing….and it did so for each subsequent year.
The reason I mention this…you can do the same in your daily life. Whether for personal or business concerns, you can leverage ideas into more profit, a better lifestyle or a means of helping others…in other words – RECYCLE ideas and adapt them to your own situation.
Of course, not every idea will produce results but you should make every effort to acquire new ideas (that usually means reading, listening and adapting). Consider it a form of mental recycling.

NOTE: See my idea for a new highway welcome sign over Washington DC at end…
Save a little money each month and at the end of the year you'll be surprised at how little you have. - Ernest Haskins

New Resources

Where Your Kids Eat Free
Remember the old Holiday Inn billboards, which promoted free meals for your kids?
I always thought the billboard should show Hansel & Gretel with the wicked witch peering out from her gingerbread house…in reality, here’s a site which lists freebies.

Pop Secret Offers Movie Night
Movies and popcorn are as natural a combination as… well, movie theaters and sticky floors. Diamond Foods’ PopSecret popcorn brand, which has cultivated a connection with film in the past, has just launched a new Movie Night Maker utility on its Web site to enable users to pick a flick and invite their friends over via e-mail or Facebook.

Visitors to are presented on the home page with the Movie Night Maker, which asks them to use three scrolling menus to select the movie occasion (from “Rainy Day” and “Sleepover” to “Break-up” and “Fright Night”), the audience, and the mood they want to establish (from “sentimental’ and “silly” to “rebellious” and “bummed”).


Stimulus Funds Still Up for Grabs
It’s estimated 27% of the billions set aside for grants and loans to create jobs is still unpledged. Here are a few you might be able to tap.
· Funding for miscellaneous small project contracts can be found at: while grants are found at: Grants.Gov (see the Poor Man site to learn more about how to get a grant) Most stimulus funds flow through state government portals which are listed at:
· You can also contact your state economic development office to find opportunities. Our government doesn’t particularly like newcomers so consider pairing up with an experienced partner which can be found at:
· Know your federal agency when applying for contracts and grants. Most federal agencies have a SADBUS (Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization Specialist) who can advise newcomers.

The next airline surcharge
“In the unlikely event of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down. To start the flow of oxygen, simply insert your credit card.”<<<>>>

Snag a New Job by Joining or Creating a Job Club
From the LinkIn site, Tory Johnson, a Good Morning America, correspondent, suggests starting a Job Club to share contacts, search techniques and moral support. Folks have been recently creating such clubs by posting the news on Facebook…We’re starting a job club. If you know of anyone seeking work, this is an out-of-the-box way to make things happen. For an example of one such club, go to:

Three Ways to Go Solar
From Natural Home, by Julie Collins

Think capturing the sun’s energy is too expensive? Three homeowners—with three very different budgets—find ways to build photovoltaic power.
He bought the system.

What He Did: After retiring from a 33-year career in water politics in 2003, Patrick Ferraro retrofitted his creekside home with a solar water heater and thirty-six 100-watt solar panels, which power his home and recharge his Chrysler Global Electric Motorcar neighborhood electric vehicle. Patrick researched solar options and took classes on solar energy payback, then hired Mike Clifton of Santa Clara’s M C Solar Engineering to advise him and handle the installation.

Cost: The installed system cost $39,600 before rebates and credits. Ferraro received a California Energy Commission rebate for $10,700 and a California state income tax credit of $4,500. The panels reduce Ferraro’s power import by 50 percent and save him $600 a year.
How It Works: Ferraro’s photovoltaic (PV) system converts sunlight into energy, which powers the freezer and refrigerator; washer and dryer; window air conditioner; wall heaters; and shop tools. Maintenance is easy. Ferraro washes the panels with a long-handled broom and a garden hose. In the past six years, he hasn’t had to replace or repair a panel. “The system runs itself,” he says.

Why He Did It: Since he purchased his home in 1972, Ferraro has wanted to go solar. “Regardless of the cost you incur when you install PVs, the feel-good part is priceless,” he says. Nearly nonexistent utility bills are pretty nice, too.
Drawbacks: Solar panel installation can be pricey—even with credits and rebates. At current energy rates, it can take 15 to 20 years or more to break even.
They rent their panels.

What They Did: Peggy and Glen Roberts wanted a solar-electric system for their 2,100-square-foot bungalow, but even with rebates and tax incentives, it was out of their price range. Last year, the couple discovered SolarCity’s SolarLease program. Once the Roberts replaced their tile roof underlayment (which they needed to do anyway), SolarCity installed PV panels onto the tile roof. The 4.1-kilowatt DC system consists of fifty-five 75-watt panels that produce 7,084 kilowatt-hours a year. Any excess power their system generates is sold to the power company, and if their electrical loads exceed their system’s capacity, they can pull power from the grid. Ideally, Glen Roberts said, the amount of excess power they produce will offset much of what they need from the grid over the course of the year.
Cost: The Roberts’ only upfront cost was a $150 permit fee for their neighborhood homeowners association. The Robertses will pay $50 a month for their 15-year lease, with an annual increase of 3.5 percent (lower than the 5 percent estimated utility rate increase). The couple, whose panels were up and running in September, expects to save 10 to 15 percent on an annual basis when both the lease payments and reduced utility costs are factored in. “In the long run, it is of course better to purchase a system than to lease,” Glen Roberts said. “But if you do not have $30,000 lying around, the question becomes, ‘Do we lease and take advantage of a solar lease program we can afford now, or do we continue to be reliant upon power generated by dirty fuels?’”

How It Works: It’s similar to leasing a car. After checking out the location and applicants’ credit history, SolarCity installs the panels and provides maintenance. For their monthly rent payment, homeowners are able to use all the energy their panels produce and sell the excess to their local utility. At the end of 15 years, clients can renew, upgrade or have the panels removed for free. If they sell their home before the lease term is up, the lease term can be taken over by a qualified homebuyer.

Why They Did It: “Going solar, particularly with no financial sacrifice on our part, seemed like the greatest contribution we could make toward reducing our carbon footprint,” Peggy Roberts said. Glen Roberts adds, “We’ll be producing most of the energy we need. I also like that we’ll be helping to power the neighborhood.”

Drawbacks: Solar-as-service programs aren’t available everywhere. Because the solar providers own the panels, they get most rebates and credits. (SolarCity maintains that the utility company rebate helps them keep the lease payments low.)
She supports solar.

What She Did: Since Austin Utilities began offering its Solar Choice program, Belita Schindler has paid extra on her monthly utility bills to support solar and wind projects in her area.

Cost: Schindler estimates she spends an extra $10 to $12 a month on her utility bill.
How It Works: The Solar Choice program connects companies that produce and share solar energy—such as Good Earth Natural Foods in Austin—with customers such as Schindler, who support renewable energy development by paying a small premium on their utility bills. The panels installed by local companies power their businesses—and whatever they don’t use is sold to Austin Utilities. Then, thanks to the contributions of individuals like Belita, the local solar producers receive a bonus from the money raised through the Solar Choice program.

Why She Did It: It’s a low-cost, low-commitment way for Schindler to support alternative energy in her area. “We have to take care of the planet, and you do what you can,” Schindler says. Purchasing or leasing solar panels isn’t an option, but she’s willing to help others go solar—and she’d continue to do so even if rates increase. “It’s totally painless,” she says.

Drawbacks: Utility-based green power programs let you support renewable energy producers, but the electricity that’s fed into your home isn’t necessarily solar. Programs vary considerably. Austin’s Solar Choice program provides tangible results in the community, but in many cases utilities simply purchase renewable energy credits from producers that are already up and running.

Excerpted from Natural Home, a national magazine that provides practical ideas, inspiring examples and expert opinions about healthy, ecologically sound, beautiful homes. To read more articles from Natural Home, please visit or call 800-340-5846 to subscribe. Copyright 2009 by Ogden Publications Inc.

The average American family will spend nearly $1,000 this year on cable TV, internet & video games…add in average cell phone charges of $1,000 & we spend as much annually to stay wired as we do on auto fuel costs. –New York Times

For designs that might move one to contemplation
check out:

Unixarcade Zazzle's*

Resources for Stockpiling and Disaster Preparation

Make Your Own Energy
Step-by-step guide reveals how to
make your own energy for 100$ or less.
If I ruled the world…”I’d get money out of politics as it limits our ability to choose good leaders. It makes it hard for civilians to feel as if the government is theirs. –Singer, James Taylor
The "underground" economy is rising in direct proportion to the fall of the conventional economy, which is being choked by job-destroying regulations and tax rates.
Interesting trends you may have noticed:
· Online barter organizations are mushrooming on the Internet. Sites such as,,,, and many others are enjoying growing success as people liquidate unneeded used items for things they actually need.
· Pawn shop chains, major discounters, and self-help services are prospering. There has been phenomenal growth in Dollar General stores and many other bargain basement retailers of basic needs. Companies such as Autozone, which offer free diagnostic tools to those buying parts to work on their own cars, have seen major growth.
· Community colleges which teach trade skills such as electrical wiring, plumbing, and welding are packed with eager new students.

Home schooling, DIY courses at community colleges are growing in popularity and essential self preparation is taking place…all of which we’ve predicted since the year 1999…of course, we offer much of this at our site and via our Poor Man Survival CDs.

Is Rush Going to Leave our Country when Obama’s Healthcare package passes?
There are many hoping he will leave…but the truth is, none of the health plan has been fully shared with the public in easy-to-understand terms and it has left many afraid. Rush is stating this is the end of our democracy…then again, he’s prone to hyperbole.

However, it is clear
Voters are furious. They hate Washington. They also detest incumbents. They're concerned most about the economy and unemployment that's hovering near 10 percent. They're also split over whether Obama's health plan is good for a nation with enormous budget deficits and climbing debt.

A Gallup poll showed more Americans believe the measure will make things worse rather than better for the country as a whole and for them personally. And most polls show most people don't like the plan although some surveys showed Americans giving high marks to individual elements.

It’s my belief that

Most Americans have already been conditioned for servitude…Medical tourism will become increasingly popular.
Moving to a foreign tax haven doesn’t mean giving up your U.S. citizenship, although some have taken that drastic step. Easy Living: My Two Years in the Bahamas, go to

Also, learn more at:

Bone to Pick

For more than 20 years I’ve been a loyal supporter of a certain charity, donating a 14’ foot truckload of goods this year plus cash and time. Upon coming to MI we’ve noticed their growing greed and poor customer service (this charity isn’t alone). A visit to one of their stores left my jaw on the floor. As many of you know, I am a bookseller. Finding books of any decent kind has become much harder. This particular charity has hired a person to price books as if it were operating as a used a bookstore and the prices were sky high – much more than I could ever get on eBay.

I wound up purchasing what I thought was a new coffee maker (still sealed in the original box and priced only slightly less than traditional retail). Upon opening the box I found there was no carafe so we took it back asking for an exchange or store credit. “Absolutely not, too bad,” was the clerk’s reply. My calls to the area store Captain were never returned.

I will never patronize this charity again. I estimate I’ve donated about $20,000 to them over the years. Guess what? Not anymore! Why should I support an entity which, has now become a competitor, which in my book (pun intended) is not how these thrift stores/charities are supposed to operate.

That’s it for this week!
Bruce “The Poor Man”

A Shallow Planet Production

P.S. Soon, we’ll rename Washington DC – FedMart…Your one stop shop for medical care, jobs, police protection and everything else – the complete Nanny State Store!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Garbage Moguls, Seed Swaps-Master Gardener Tip

The Poor Man’s Recession Bulletin
Your Choice for Usable Information

In This Issue:
· Seed Swaps-become a master gardener
· Obama’s healthcare plans would boost premiums
· Middle Class Angst
· Entrepreneurial startup resources
· Garbage Moguls

"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary...." --Thomas Jefferson

Us Old Guys n Gals Need to Stick Together!

Although it’s illegal for businesses to discriminate against 40+ workers, we all know they do (because they can get inexperienced kids cheaper). Because it’s tougher for older workers who have been laid off to find decent jobs, many are fueling an entrepreneurial boom in this country.

There is growth in the Baby Boomer industries as well…in-home senior care, home handyman services, medical device delivery and installation and home electronics installation and repair services.

Although a variety of businesses have been launched by those over 40 one of my favorites is that of specialty farming. It’s tough to find good, locally grown produce in many supermarkets today. Organic and local growers sell to local consumers, eating establishments and even to local supermarkets and institutions.

If that’s something you might be interested in take a peek at your local colleges for courses and county extension service offices at:

For other startup resources, use the following sites:


Going green in your business can increase profits
Being environmentally responsible in your business will correlate directly to your profits and potential government contracts.

Many utility firms will perform free energy audits of your home or office to suggest energy/money-saving ideas.

Thanks to new tax laws, you may qualify for Residential Energy Credits, to reduce your tax bill. These credits have been recently improved under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. Under the Act, energy improvements (adding insulation, energy-efficient windows, installing solar panels, etc.) are eligible for a credit rate of 30% of the cost to a limit of $1,500 for all qualifying improvements placed into service in 2009 and 2010.

Check out this free energy saving guide…
'Energy Savings Guide' It's only a few short pages but could save you hundreds of dollars each month.

Give it a read here

Also, check out:

Hospital Sticker Shock Relief
Medical costs from a hospital stay can be devastating. Avoid mediation firms as their fee runs an average of 30% of the savings. For a list of approved medical negotiation firms:

How would you like to save $1,176,916?
Good Morning America Consumer Correspondent
Elisabeth Leamy shows you how!

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) Master Gardener program provides avid gardeners with many hours of extensive horticulture training, and in return, they are expected to volunteer in their communities. Master Gardeners assist with garden lectures, exhibits, demonstrations, school and community gardening, research and many other projects. It’s an excellent way to develop superior gardening skills while being active in your community. For more information and the locations of local Master Gardener programs across all 50 states and Canada, visit and click on "Master Gardeners


New & Noteworthy

Garbage Moguls
Terracycle takes tons of garbage and turns it into usable products relieving landfills of tons of trash. The offer a terrific fundraising program for schools and non-profits and a National Geographic TV show is coming this fall …a hoot to check out and perhaps raise some cash while helping the planet.
I’ve included the NatGeo site as well so you can watch the show.


The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has released a Internet speed test service to assist customers in comparing their actual Internet speeds to the speeds advertised by their broadband Internet provider. In preparation for the National Broadband Plan, a program by the FCC to ensure that all Americans, including those in rural regions of the country, have access to broadband Internet. The Internet speed test and information regarding the National Broadband Plan are available at

New Rules for a Healthy Credit Score
The rules that credit-card companies have to live by changed dramatically with the enactment of new regulations last month. Now, some of the rules for consumers striving to maintain good credit are changing, too.

For the most part, card holders would still do well to pay on time, keep their balances low and refrain from applying for too many credit cards at once. But some of the old tenets may not always hold up, as credit-card companies continue to adapt to the new environment and look for ways to run their for-profit businesses. More at:

For designs that might move one to contemplation
check out:

Unixarcade Zazzle's*

Resources for Stockpiling and Disaster Preparation

Make Your Own Energy
Step-by-step guide reveals how to
make your own energy for 100$ or less.


How to Organize a Community Seed Swap
Host a seed swap in your area to connect gardeners and help everyone learn more about gardening in your region.
From Mother Earth News, By Tabitha Alterman

The traditional model of a seed swap is an informal local get-together, usually in early spring, where gardening neighbors all bring extra seeds saved from previous seasons — along with any surplus seedlings they won’t be able to use that year — and trade these valuable goods among themselves. Who had the juiciest tomatoes last year? You’ll want a few seeds from those plants. You started too many broccoli seedlings in your backyard greenhouse? Why not spread the love around?

The most valuable aspect of attending a seed swap may actually be the chance to glean local wisdom about what works — or doesn’t work — in your shared gardening microclimate. Christine Sheppard, an organic farmer in Hawai'i, says she has learned a great deal about her microclimate through local seed swaps. "It put us in touch with a whole fund of knowledge about what plants grow well in our varied microclimates here in Hawai'i, most of which are not like anything on the mainland. Which tomatoes stood up to fruit fly, which root vegetables would grow in our very gritty broken lava soil, what to do with the local traditional staple of taro apart from making poi, which greens grow in our humid hot climate. It was "eat local" at its best, and a whole lot of fun too!"

So now, how about some step-by-step instructions for organizing a seed swap of your own? If you already know other gardeners in your area, you’re well on your way to setting up a fun event that will get everyone in your neighborhood started down the path to Master Gardener!

1. Choose a time and place. Depending on how many people you think may attend, it might be coziest to host the seed/plant swap in someone’s home or garden. (Reserve tables, chairs and tents, too, if necessary.) Or, if you expect to draw a larger crowd, look for free spaces you can reserve, such as a public library meeting room or a church basement.

2. Publicize your seed swap. A good place to start is by notifying local gardening groups and botanic gardens, and you can also reach interested people through classified ads, grocery cooperative newsletters, community bulletin boards and chamber of commerce calendars. Mother Earth News magazine can help you publicize your seed swap. They will gladly e-mail their subscribers in your area to notify them of your community seed swap. Visit to sign up for this free service.

3. Invite speakers. Contact your local gardening groups to find experts who know how to save different kinds of seeds, and can get folks fired up about why to save and share seeds. Extension agents also can give great tips on gardening in your specific region. Another excellent discussion topic would be about how to start seeds and transplant new seedlings.

4. Request seed donations from local gardeners or seed companies in advance, to bolster the offerings that people will bring.

5. Print off some handy articles about seed-starting, seed-saving and other gardening techniques to distribute at your seed swap. provides tons of free resources for gardeners, including how-to articles, seed company directories, gardening event listings and more.

6. Label everything clearly. Bring plenty of little dishes, or baggies and markers, to help gardeners divvy up and identify everything. Ask seed and plant donors to write down everything they know about their seed that might be helpful to donees. For example: “Green Zebra Tomato: open-pollinated, heirloom, saved from last season, has grown well in my garden for years, heavy producer, medium-size fruit, indeterminate growth habit, about 70 to 80 days to maturity, good slicer, amazing tart flavor, attractive green and yellow stripes.” It may help to give your donors notecards that they can fill out, with all these variables.

7. Host a contest to make the event more fun! Prizes could go to the gardener with the widest variety of seeds, the attendee who traveled the farthest, the youngest or oldest gardener, etc. And Mother Earth News can help you with a contest, too: The gardener who brings the widest variety of heirloom tomato seeds will win one of their highly recommended ergonomic garden trowels! (Visit to participate.)

8. When it’s all over, let us know how it went. So you organized a smashing success of a seed swap, right? E-mail your feedback to for us to post online for other organizers to share.

Excerpted from Mother Earth News magazine, the Original Guide to Living Wisely. Read the full story at or call 800-234-3368 to subscribe. Copyright 2009 by Ogden Publication

NOTE: Stuck with a small area for gardening? Learn about gardening in a 5X20 space and get free spreadsheets to track your garden harvests at:

Check out the Seed Savers Exchange at:


The famous, freedom-loving patriot Benjamin Franklin once said,
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety,
deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

News Roundup

Middle Class Money Angst Still Apparent
Fed's Flow of Funds numbers again show average Americans' net worth gaining more by mortgage defaults than asset appreciation.

If there is a recovery in Americans' finances, they don't see it.
The Federal Reserve reported Thursday that the net worth of U.S. "households" increased at about a 5% annual rate in the fourth quarter, a good deal slower than the blistering 20% pace over the two previous quarters, but still a solid increase.

Not long after the news was posted on the Wall Street Journal's Web site early that afternoon, the vituperative comments began to flow. Many simply dismissed the data as inaccurate or worse. The numbers simply didn't jibe with what they were seeing in their own finances or those around them.
More at:

History is full of proof that no country ever became great because of all the money it owed.
--James Dale Davison

Social Security to start cashing Uncle Sam's IOUs
The retirement nest egg of an entire generation is stashed away in this small town along the Ohio River: $2.5 trillion in IOUs from the federal government, payable to the Social Security Administration.

It's time to start cashing them in.
For more than two decades, Social Security collected more money in payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits — billions more each year.
Not anymore. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, when Congress last overhauled Social Security, the retirement program is projected to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes — nearly $29 billion more.

Sounds like a good time to start tapping the nest egg. Too bad the federal government already spent that money over the years on other programs, preferring to borrow from Social Security rather than foreign creditors. In return, the Treasury Department issued a stack of IOUs — in the form of Treasury bonds — which are kept in a nondescript office building just down the street from Parkersburg's municipal offices.

Now the government will have to borrow even more money, much of it abroad, to start paying back the IOUs, and the timing couldn't be worse. The government is projected to post a record $1.5 trillion budget deficit this year, followed by trillion dollar deficits for years to come. More at:


U.S. to roll out major broadband policy
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. regulators will announce a major Internet policy this week to revolutionize how Americans communicate and play, proposing a dramatic increase in broadband speeds that could let people download a high-definition film in minutes instead of hours.
Dramatically increasing Internet speeds to 25 times the current average is one of the myriad goals to be unveiled in the National Broadband Plan by the the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday…;_ylt=AhQIGuvXXPxy1t6qD8Cdo9gEq594;_ylu=X3oDMTM1ZzBiYTZpBGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTAwMzE1L3VzX3VzYV9icm9hZGJhbmQEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwM0BHBvcwM0BHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDdXN0b3JvbGxvdXRt

“I think everyone should have healthcare, but it shouldn’t
run this country into the toilet.”
--Stuart Kupferman, Retired Scientist

FACT CHECK: Premiums would rise under Obama plan

Hey…just give us the same plan as Congress! Average annual premium for a single payer is $4,824

WASHINGTON – Buyers, beware: President Barack Obama says his health care overhaul will lower premiums by double digits, but check the fine print.
Premiums are likely to keep going up even if the health care bill passes, experts say. If cost controls work as advertised, annual increases would level off with time. But don't look for a rollback. Instead, the main reason premiums would be more affordable is that new government tax credits would help cover the cost for millions of people. More at:

What Happens If Greece Really Defaults?

Most Americans don’t give a hoot about Greece and its debt – we have enough of our problems many will say. However, our economy is tied into the world economy and the fallout for America is apparent…

Earlier this week, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou traveled to the United States to promote a message: We're in this together. The debt crisis that has threatened the Greek economy and the stability of the European Union's monetary policies "very much involves America's interests," Papandreou stated in a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

The prime minister--who was born in St. Paul, Minn.--even connected the current crisis to the Great Depression as well as the Great Recession. "If the European crisis metastasizes, it could create a new global financial crisis with implications as grave as the U.S.-originated crisis two years ago," he said.

NOTE: If you think that America's federal deficit is turning into a non-issue ... or that we can just go back to business as usual ... you'd better consider the drama now unfolding in the hard numbers just released last week:

February deficit: In February alone, the official U.S. federal deficit was a monstrous $221 billion, far greater than anything we have ever experienced in history.
The president and Congress are making America's problems worse by exceeding the limits of their constitutional authority.

Parting shot-the older I get, the dumber I feel

I used to be a whiz at fixing VWs – now like many men, if there is a problem with the car, I still open the hood knowing full well, I won’t have clue as to what’s wrong (it’s a guy thing). I used to be a whiz at fixing computers, now, half the time I don’t even recognize the registry errors or other problems. I used to be a whiz at marketing (I wrote a best selling book on the subject) and promotion. Now, I can’t figure out how to promote this newsletter or blog well. Guess I’m a ‘socializing dud’ when it comes to social networking sites.

When I was younger, I had all the answers. Now, I cannot figure out my biggest challenge of all…how to take over the world. (must have watched too many Pinky & the Brain cartoons). So when Pinky (my wife) asks me what are we going to do now…I still respond with “the same thing we do everyday Pinky, figure out a way to take over the world.”

Yours for better living,
Bruce “The Poor –and dumber- Man”

P.S. Got my Census form in the mail this week – addressed to “occupant,” which is how I placed my name on the form! Also, thanks to all who wrote me about our “Pipe Dream” of a teaching farm.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Why Are Americans Angry? 15 Reasons for a Revolution

Poor Man’s Recession Bulletin
Your Choice for Usable Information

"To err is human, but it takes a politician to really screw things up." -- Old American Adage

In This Issue:
· Get growing early
· More uses for baking soda
· Bulldozing Detroit?
· Why are Americans angry?
· Nat’l Worker ID program making progress

It was, perhaps, because of his own understanding of natural law that Thomas Jefferson was heard to remark, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

1957-The Good Old Days
Comments from yesteryear…

"I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, its going to be impossible to buy a weeks groceries for $20.00."

(2) "Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long when $5,000 will only buy a used one."

(3) "If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit. A quarter a pack is ridiculous."

(4) "Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a
dime just to mail a letter?"

Remember the time before cell phones? As a matter of fact, I recall the first mobile phone I ever saw, and to be honest with you, I didn’t think they were going to catch on, because only a small percentage of the population was strong enough to lift one. My first one was permanently attached to my car & my son thought it was cool to call ahead for a pizza! It had an aerial coming out of it that reminded me of the antenna on the patrol car on the old Andy Griffith Show.

The libertarian humorist P. J. O’Rourke says, "When you think of the good old days, think ‘dentistry
Household Tips n Tricks

Baking Soda and Baking Powder
· Home made baking powder (100-year-old recipe). Combine ¼ pound of tartaric acid, ¼ pound baking soda, 1 pint flour and sift six times. Place into airtight containers.
· Clean your produce with baking soda for safer food. Wash fruits & vegetables in a pot of cold water with 2-3 tablespoons of soda to remove impurities.
· Use baking soda as a yeast substitute by combining powdered vitamin C or citric acid and baking soda – mix equal parts. The dough you add it to won’t have to rise before baking.
· Reduce acidity in foods. If you’re sensitive to high acid foods like tomato sauces or coffee, lower the acidity by adding a pinch of baking soda while cooking; will also counteract the taste of vinegar if you’ve used too much.
· Make better baked beans without the ‘toot’ after affect by adding a pinch of baking soda to the beans while they’re cooking to reduce the gas.
· Clear a clogged drain (one of my proven favorites) by adding a cup of soda to the drain followed by a cup of hot vinegar (zap in the microwave). The drain will foam up instantly. If needed, repeat or in the case of a drain clogged with grease, add some table salt and follow up with boiling water; let sit overnight and rinse with hot tap water.

Useful Resources
Here's a list of the 15 most fuel efficient cars from Consumer Reports:
ydlwvo9. And if those cars are too small, you can find out the estimated miles-per-gallon for all types of cars at

Even if you don't buy a more fuel efficient car, you can find the lowest gasoline prices in any zip code at and
We all know the price of gasoline will go higher due to dwindling resources & higher demand in China and elsewhere. Too bad more employers don’t encourage telecommuting.
Predicting the end of oil has proven tricky and often controversial, but Kuwaiti scientists now say that global oil production will peak in 2014.

Their work represents an updated version of the famous Hubbert model, which correctly predicted in 1956 that U.S. oil reserves would peak within 20 years. Many researchers have since tried using the model to predict when worldwide oil production might peak.
Finding Lost Money the Government May be Holding…includes Canada
Cheap thrills department
Turn off the TV (studies show TV is helping to make our kids fatter) and play card or board games at homes…on a more serious note, use this tool to help with your family budget – go to: and search ‘budget spreadsheet’ to get their free budget tracker.
Snag a cheaper oil change! WHEN you get your oil change – not at how many miles but at what hour can save some cash. Taking you car in at the end of the day, closer to closing time can help you to avoid those annoying ‘upsells.’ Mechanics want to get home and won’t focus on expensive fix-ups.

Resources for Stockpiling and Disaster Preparation

Make Your Own Energy
Step-by-step guide reveals how to
make your own energy for 100$ or less.

Nothing beats home grown and after several disastrous at gardening in AZ, I’m looking forward to a real garden again!

Get Growing Early: 11 tips to get food growing long before spring.
From GRIT magazine, by Amy Grisak
After struggling through a winter of grocery store greens and frozen produce, I don’t want to wait until June to enjoy fresh vegetables. Just because there might be snow on the ground doesn’t mean planting has to wait for months.

From the ground up
The key to germination is to plant seed in soil that’s warmed to 65-75 degrees. But in the frozen North, how do you get that soil warm enough, early enough? One easy method is to spread clear plastic over the soil, burying the edges to keep it in place and lock in the heat. Even if daytime temperatures hover in the 40s, the sun’s energy can heat the soil beneath the plastic to a whopping 125 degrees. Keep the plastic in place until you’re ready to plant. If your early season garden plot is a raised bed, so much the better. Soil in a plastic covered, raised bed will warm faster.

When growing heat-loving crops such as melons, peppers and cucumbers, it’s especially important to pre-warm the soil. Transplanting these crops through black plastic, which will keep the weeds down and the soil temperature up, helps ensure success in the north.

When you don’t have a greenhouse
Many gardeners dream of a permanent greenhouse; they take up valuable space in the yard and can be expensive. But most of us can find an area for at least one cold frame. This structure can be a simple, bottomless wooden box built with an angled, window-like top to gather the sun’s energy. Many cold frames are painted dark green, black or brown to absorb solar heat.

A reasonable cold frame size is 3 by 4 feet, which is easy for one person to move, although permanent frames can be much larger. Just be sure you can reach the internal growing spaces without the need to climb inside.

For an extra-early jump on the season, you can position the cold frame over a bed of fresh horse manure, which produces heat as it composts. Be sure to place a sheet of perforated plastic over the manure and layer several inches of soil on top of it to keep the roots of the new plants from reaching the hot manure.

Water the young plants inside the cold frame lightly in the mornings when it’s dry. Moisture doesn’t evaporate as quickly in the cold frame as outdoors, and wet roots in cold conditions aren’t good for most garden plants.

Toasty tunnels
Broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower are ideal choices to transplant early, since their leaves can actually freeze for a short period of time and still recover. But don’t simply plant them out in the open and hope for the best.

Plastic tunnels and floating row covers are two invaluable tools to keep hardy garden vegetables happy. They create a warm microclimate, which protects transplants and seedlings from the cool and wet springtime weather. The frost protective blanket protects the plants to 25 degrees, while the plastic tunnels typically keep them safe above 28 degrees. For particularly cold nights, toss a blanket on top for additional protection.
Floating row covers, also known as garden quilts, are made from lightweight, polyester or polypropylene fabric that can be placed directly on top of the plants. But, for early spring use, I prefer to use a support system to keep the material off tender plants, such as tomatoes and squash.

Secure support hoops, whether made from wire or arched PVC pipes, by pushing them firmly into the ground roughly 2 1/2 feet apart. Since both plastic and other row-cover fabrics are light, it’s imperative to secure them with landscape pins or staples to prevent the wind from blowing them into the next county.

One drawback to covers is the need to remove the material to water the plants. This can be remedied by placing a drip hose alongside the plants before enclosing them. Later in the season, it’s best to remove the material during the day to allow pollinating insects to reach the blossoms.

The beauty of the floating row cover is it allows 85 percent of sunlight through and doesn’t tend to overheat. However, like a full-sized greenhouse, the plastic-covered field tunnels can overheat rapidly. Be sure to open up the ends by pinning them to the hoop with a clothes pin to allow proper ventilation.

Walls filled with water

Tomato-lovers take heart, with the invention of water-filled, plastic tipis impatient gardeners can plant their precious crop up to eight weeks before the last frost date. Water tipis, which absorb the sun’s rays during the day and gradually release the heat during the night, also work well for peppers, eggplant and other crops that thrive in warm temperatures. Look for the Wall-O-Water or Kozy-Coats brands.

Plant the seedling in the pre-warmed soil and cover with an inverted 5-gallon bucket. Place the tipi around the bucket and use the garden hose to fill each cylinder to within a few inches of the top. Pull up the bucket, and the tipi will close upon itself, creating a temperate environment for the plant to protect it from cold, wind, rain and even snowstorms. I’ve had late-season blizzards shock the rest of the garden, while my tomatoes pulled through with flying colors.

As the plants progress, prop open the enclosures with stakes or wooden crochet rings to allow the plant to grow through the top. The tipis can be removed once there is no risk of frost, or they may be left on through the summer.

Garden cloches
The next best option to solar umbrellas is to use a gardening bell, or cloche, to protect individual plants. Originally, cloches were made of bell-shaped glass. They offer a pretty, classic look to the early spring garden, but they’re expensive and fragile. Instead, many gardeners opt to use translucent plastic jugs or waxed-paper caps (also called hot caps).
To use the jugs, simply cut off the bottom and push it over the planted seedling. Remove the lid to provide ventilation, and keep the jugs on the plants until they outgrow them. Unless there is drip irrigation running along the plants, each jug should be removed for watering instead of dousing the plants through the opening.

Planting as early as possible is a challenge, but the rewards far exceed the effort. By utilizing a few, or all, of these techniques, it’s possible to enjoy those first tomatoes or peppers weeks before your neighbors.

Excerpted from GRIT magazine, Celebrating rural America since 1882. Read the full story at or call 866-624-9388 to subscribe. Copyright 2009 by Ogden Publications Inc.


IRS Outlines Additional Steps to Assist Unemployed Taxpayers and Others
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced several additional steps it is taking this tax season to help people having difficulties meeting their tax obligations because of unemployment or other financial problems.

The steps –– an expansion of efforts that began more than a year ago –– include additional flexibility on offers in compromise for struggling taxpayers, a series of Saturday “open houses” offering taxpayers extra opportunities to work out tax problems face to face with the IRS, special outreach with partner groups to unemployed taxpayers and the availability of more information on a special section of the IRS Web site.

“Times are tough for many people, and the IRS wants to do everything it can to help people who have lost their job or face financial strain,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “We continue to make adjustments to key programs and expand ways for people to get help. We’re doing everything we can to help ease the burden on struggling taxpayers.”

New Flexibility for Offers in Compromise
For some taxpayers, an offer in compromise –– an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s debt for less than the full amount owed –– continues to be a viable option. IRS employees will now have additional flexibility when considering offers in compromise from taxpayers facing economic troubles, including the recently unemployed. More at:,,id=220001,00.html


Why Americans are so angry
Heather Gass always felt she had to suppress her conservative views, living as she did in the liberal San Francisco Bay area. A year ago that all changed.

CNBC financial reporter Rick Santelli had just blasted the Obama administration's plan to help homeowners facing foreclosure, and called for a "tea party" protest in Chicago. The idea caught fire around the country, and soon Ms. Gass, a 40-something real estate agent, was organizing weekly street-corner demonstrations in her hometown of Orinda, Calif.
Her focus was fiscal discipline, aimed not just at the $75 billion mortgage bailout but also the administration's $787 billion stimulus package and President Obama's budget. She remembers her first signs well: "Stop printing money" and "China owns us." By Congress's summer recess, when opposition to Mr. Obama's healthcare plan burst forth, she had 100 people protesting on street corners, she says.

How will it end? Only two scenarios are possible:
· Washington will slash spending to the bone (and raise taxes till), sinking our economy into a depression. Or ...
· Washington will DESTROY the value of our money.
Are we burning down the house financially in this country?
More at:

"If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner." –HL Mencken

"It's Time For Revolution." 15 Reasons
So says Professor Bill Quigley - a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans and legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
In an article published Sunday by, he offered 15 reasons why, starting with "It is time for a revolution.

"Government does not work for regular people. It appears to work quite well for big corporations, banks, insurance companies, military contractors, lobbyists, and for the rich and powerful. But it does not work for people.

He goes on to point out that last year "over 2.8 million people lost their homes to foreclosure or bank repossessions – nearly 8000 each day (while) the government bailed out Bank of America, Citigroup, AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the auto industry and enacted the troubled asset (TARP) program with $1.7 trillion of our money.

"Wall Street then awarded itself over $20 billion in bonuses in 2009 alone, an average bonus (on top of pay) of $123,000."

He says with 17 million people currently jobless (and the figure is likely much higher) there are millions more only able to find part-time work…(Wonder what took him so long – I’ve been saying –since the 80s- we don’t need another election; we need another revolution! Get the rest of the story at:


Your Papers Please…Coming soon…Nat’l Worker Id – Already in place in China & Mexico
Dr. Katherine Albrecht is the director of CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering), an organization she founded in 1999 to advocate free-market, consumer-based solutions to the problem of retail privacy invasion.

Katherine is widely recognized as one of the world's leading experts on consumer privacy. She regularly speaks on the consumer privacy and civil liberties impacts of new technologies, with an emphasis on RFID and retail issues. She has testified on RFID technology before the Federal Trade Commission, state legislatures, the European Commission, and the Federal Reserve Bank, and she has given over a thousand television, radio and print interviews to news outlets all over the world. Her efforts have been featured on CNN, NPR, the CBS Evening News, Business Week, and the London Times, to name just a few.

If you do not believe the threat of involuntary microchipping is real, please take a moment to read over the following disquieting developments. Taken together, they reveal a focused effort to promote human microchipping. The time to nip this trend in the bud is now.

The Poor Man reported on this development several times last year. My take is the government will use national healthcare to force Americans to carry a universal national ID card complete with biometric chips…soon, you may not be able to get healthcare, work or even buy groceries without one. In China, agents can scan you from 60 feet away; much like the hidden chip in US currency which can be scanned at airports. Recently, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) got caught using frequent shopper cards from food chains to “see if customers purchased tainted meat products,”…of course, done without anyone’s knowledge.
Visit Dr. Albrecht’s site below (she’s easy on the eyes guys).

Parting Thoughts
Detroit wants to save itself by shrinking…and the reason I mention this
DETROIT – Detroit, the very symbol of American industrial might for most of the 20th century, is drawing up a radical renewal plan that calls for turning large swaths of this now-blighted, rusted-out city back into the fields and farmland that existed before the automobile.

Operating on a scale never before attempted in this country, the city would demolish houses in some of the most desolate sections of Detroit and move residents into stronger neighborhoods. Roughly a quarter of the 139-square-mile city could go from urban to semi-rural.

Near downtown, fruit trees and vegetable farms would replace neighborhoods that are an eerie landscape of empty buildings and vacant lots. Suburban commuters heading into the city center might pass through what looks like the countryside to get there. Surviving neighborhoods in the birthplace of the auto industry would become pockets in expanses of green.

Our pipe dream
It’s been our goal to acquire 5-15 acres of farmland and turn it into a teaching farm. Our plan includes hiring those who know how to build wind turbines, solar panels, small animal livestock, gardening and the like and film them as works in progress and then share those DVDs with others.

As our country evolves (some might say ‘devolves) into city-states and the push for green living and renewable energy becomes our mandate, this idea seems more important than ever as most folks haven’t a clue about DIY self-sufficiency. Even the IRS (you have to call them and run your idea past them before they’ll send you the necessary forms for requesting non-profit status) thought our idea had a lot of merit.

All of this requires capital and since we’re not incorporated as a non-profit, grants for such an undertaking are non-existent. We estimate it will cost us $3500 just to file the various state and federal paperwork, legal fees and so on in order to qualify for grants. Then there would be the cost of acquiring the land and materials necessary to for the projects and there would be costs for getting the experts here to construct the projects, filming and editing and duplication. Any suggestions?

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the US took place in NYC in 1762…it’s now the largest in the world! Happy St. Patty’s Day.

Yours for better living,
Bruce “The Poor Man”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

DIY Emergency Kit, Cheaper Dental Work, Useful Networking

Poor Man’s Recession Bulletin
Your Choice for Usable Information

Inside This Issue:

· Assembling Your Own Emergency Kit
· Grow your own food-anywhere
· Useful social networking sites for adults
· Getting dental work

"If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." --Thomas Jefferson

Daylight Wasting Time

Remember on the 14th to change your clock either forward, backward or into another time warp; I can never recall which. Having lived in AZ for many years, it was nice not to worry about changing my clocks as it’s one of the few states, which remains the same all year long.
Every study I’ve seen indicates this is a waste of time as it doesn’t truly save time and in some cases, it actually creates a dangerous situation for school kids as drivers can’t see them in the wee hours.

I think this is a throwback to an earlier time in our history and it helped the farmers; who does it help now?

Nice Resource from AARP-Work Sharing

Work sharing helps employers avoid layoffs during a downturn by cutting work hours and spreading the remaining work among existing employees, who receive pro-rated unemployment benefits. Work sharing may be particularly beneficial for older workers, who often find it more difficult than younger workers to find a job after a layoff. Seventeen states have active programs that permit the use of unemployment funds to support work sharing. In addition, the governments of a number of developed countries promote work sharing as a way to save jobs in a weak economy.


Get the 2010 Consumer "Bible" Free
To celebrate National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 7-13, our friends at Pueblo, Colorado are giving away the 2010 edition of the Consumer Action Handbook (shipping is free too). This is the bible of every consumer office in the country because it lists contacts for state and federal consumer agencies, corporate consumer affairs departments, and more. Order your 2010 book today.

New changes to your credit card
Pay attention now to your card statement. New regs from the feds mean your issuer must use the same due date each month and over-the-limit charges are no longer allowed.

FIND a carpool buddy
Click ‘Find-a-Ride’ to reply to or to post a listing at”

Find a Green Job

Where & How to Reuse Stuff

Experts claim the average household has $3,200 worth of used stuff which could be sold for a profit. According to some, you can make your ad on Craigslist and eBay standout by placing several asterisks or other symbols before the title of your ad as studies indicate that people scanning a list are drawn to any item that looks different. Worth testing.

eBay joined Team Earth, a coalition of organizations, private sector companies and individuals convened by Conservation International, in launching the "Do More, Do Less" campaign. The ongoing campaign encourages the fair and sustainable use of the earth's resources through individual action.

The campaign's main objective is to illustrate how individual actions, taken en masse, have the potential to make a profound impact. Examples of the way individuals can make a commitment include making pledges to "use less" paper and "use more" CFL bulbs.

Make Your Own Energy
Step-by-step guide reveals how to
make your own energy for 100$ or less.


Resources for Stockpiling and Disaster Preparation

Griping online-what to do first
Fortunately, there is good news as well. Social networking sites and tools amplify your angry voice thousands of times over, and give you a reasonable chance of knocking Goliath on his butt. "Consumers are empowered by social networking in a way we've never seen before," says, Jeremiah Owyang, a Web strategist and a partner in the Altimeter Group.

But be warned. Getting attention is not the same as getting results. "It's easier to call attention to a broad social issue than it is for an individual consumer to resolve a grievance," says Joe Ridout, manager of consumer services for San Francisco Consumer Action.


Assemble Your Emergency Kit
From Mother Earth News magazine, by Barbara Pleasant

Most of us have experienced short-term power outages and have learned we can get through a day without power. Even most of the 50 million people in the northeast United States and southeast Canada who lost power during last summer's historic grid collapse found their lights back on within a day or so.

But prolonged power outages are a real possibility after a serious hurricane or winter storm. After all, it doesn't take much to bring the grid crashing down: In the summer of 1996, a tree fell on a power line in Idaho, setting in motion a blackout that affected 15 Western states.

I'm still trying to forget nine powerless days my family endured a few years ago: the smell of unflushed toilets, the power plays for batteries between father and daughter, the gas-station chicken fingers we had for Christmas dinner. Last fall, I devoted a week to preparing a simple and inexpensive emergency kit that will help my family ride out 14 days without electricity. This kit gives me peace of mind because now I know the next blackout won't be a nightmare.

Saving Safe Water

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends having 2 quarts per person per day for drinking water, and 2 quarts per person per day for washing, flushing toilets (keep reading) and other purposes. And don't forget the water needs of your animals. My 60-pound dog drinks at least half a gallon a day.

Commercially produced bottled water lasts for a year when stored in a cool, dark place. But you don't have to buy bottled water. Instead, store your own in thoroughly cleaned 2-liter plastic bottles. Make sure bacteria or other microorganisms can't contaminate your stored drinking water; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mixing in four drops of unscented chlorine bleach per quart of water just before capping the containers, although some sources disagree with this advice. If you do use bleach, check the label to make sure that the only active ingredient is sodium hypochlorite.

If a disaster catches you by surprise and you don't have stored water, fill up every available container - including your bathtub - right away. A backup plan is to melt ice from your freezer. After that, drain the water from your water heater (but first turn it off at the circuit box). To eliminate bacteria and other parasites in water of questionable quality, you have three options: Bring it to a full boil for 1 minute, filter it, or treat it with iodine or chlorine - both are available as tablets, or you can use plain chlorine bleach.

Missing Bathrooms

Even if the power is off, you can force a toilet to flush by pouring water into the tank. To determine how much water your toilet needs to flush just turn off the water supply, flush it once to empty the tank and then measure how much water you pour into the tank in order to execute one good flush. The best way to force flushes is to pour the amount of water needed into the reservoir tank, hold down the handle and let it rip. Melted ice or snow makes fine flushing water.

But in some situations, such as during a flood, your city's sewer system or your household's septic system may not work. To be prepared, store materials to make a "sawdust potty" in your emergency kit as well. All you need is organic material such as sawdust, peat moss or soil, and a 5-gallon bucket with a lid. After you use the potty, just pour a layer of organic material in the bucket and put the lid on.

Food and Other Supplies

Set aside cabinet space or a storage bin to store canned foods; unopened peanut butter and jelly; dried fruits and vegetables; crackers and hard candy. When stored in airtight containers, these foods will keep for a year. If your backup generator isn't powering the refrigerator, raid it for the food, but don't open the door more than necessary.

When a blackout hits, immediately make necessary phone calls. Tell an out-of-town relative you're OK and prepared for the emergency; ask him or her to pass on the news to other loved ones. Then turn off your cell phone to conserve its battery. Use a car charger (if you can safely get to your car) if your phone battery is low.

If you have an old cell phone that you no longer use, save it for your emergency kit. By law, every cell phone can call 911 (as long as it can get a signal), even if you do not have current service with a wireless company. A small battery-operated or crank radio is another must-have. Weather radios aren't much for entertainment, but they are an excellent source of information. With any type of radio, playing it at low volume is the best way to conserve the battery.

A blackout is one of those times when attitude really is everything. My emergency kit includes a deck of cards, paper and pencils, and a jigsaw puzzle. My teenager's plan includes drawing, lots of reading and making a scrapbook.

Measured in peace of mind, the little time and money I invested in blackout preparedness was well worth it. My stockpiled supplies provide reassuring security, so now I can look forward to the future with confidence rather than fear.

-Mother Earth News contributing editor Barbara Pleasant lives on a dead-end road in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Excerpted from Mother Earth News magazine, the original guide to living wisely. Read the full story at or call 800-234-3368 to subscribe. Copyright 2005 by Ogden Publications, Inc.

NOTE: See our Poor Man Site for a comprehensive listing of resources & suppliers or go to:


- The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. - Jean-Paul Kauffmann

Can You Settle Credit Card Debt for Pennies?
We have all seen and heard the ads that shout, "Secrets banks don't want you to know," "You have a right to settle your debts for pennies on the dollar" and "President Obama has a stimulus plan provision that allows you to eliminate credit card debt" ... if only you will call the 800 number in the ad.

People ask me if there is any truth to the ads with an air of skepticism that always contains a whiff of hope that there just might be some secret way that debts can be erased, eliminated or at least shrunk. I can't blame them. I still buy the occasional ticket when the Power Ball lottery gets big enough, like $15 million is just too small for me to bother with. Well, after 19 years of working with families who have experienced crushing credit card debt, demoralizing reversals of fortune or sometimes just plain unrestrained spending silliness, I can tell you that there is no magic wand, no silver bullet, no credit fairy.

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Get Dental Care for Less Money

Jordan Braverman, MPH

Dental care is rarely covered by Medicare... few retirees have dental insurance... and those who do have dental insurance often find that their coverage is very limited.
Dental bills average around $677 per year for the typical senior, and a major procedure, such as a root canal or a dental implant, can push that tab into four or even five figures.

Insurance can help pay dental bills. Options to consider...
Dental insurance. If you have access to subsidized group dental insurance through an employer or former employer, it likely is worth having. If not, the case for dental insurance is less compelling.

Dental insurance typically features copayments as high as 50%... annual benefit caps in the low four figures... often long waiting periods before expensive procedures are covered... and usually only 80% coverage if your dentist is out of network. Dental insurance premiums for seniors are about $480 per year for individual plans. That’s a steep price for such limited coverage, but not necessarily an awful deal if you have reason to believe that you will require significant dental work within a few years, perhaps because your dentist has warned you that a major procedure cannot be put off too much longer.

If you do decide to sign up for dental insurance, consider the policies offered through AARP. Rates on AARP dental policies often are a bit lower than what comparable individual dental coverage would cost elsewhere.

More information: Visit
If you do have dental insurance, confirm that your dentist will accept it before agreeing to any procedure. Work with him/her to get the most out of the insurance if he does.

Example: If the dental work you require is not an emergency and significantly exceeds your coverage’s annual benefits cap, ask your dentist if the work -- and the bill -- could be spread out over two or more plan years.

Private health insurance. If you do not have dental insurance but have private health insurance in addition to Medicare, this health insurance could include some basic dental benefits. Read the plan literature or call the insurance company’s customer service department to find out.

Medical flexible spending accounts (FSAs). FSAs can substantially trim the effective cost of dental care by allowing patients to pay for health-care bills -- including dental bills -- with pretax dollars. Unfortunately for retirees, FSAs are available only to employees whose employers offer FSAs as part of their benefits packages.

Dentists’ bills often are negotiable -- but only if you discuss costs before having the dental work done. Ask if you can get a senior discount or a cash discount if you pay in cash. Either of these appeals could net you savings of 5% to 10%.

Call other dentists’ offices to ask their prices for the procedure. If you find a better rate, tell your dentist that you are on a tight budget and ask if he can match the lower price.

Get a second opinion before agreeing to any major procedure. There’s a chance that your dentist could be recommending an expensive procedure that is not necessary. Have your dental files, including the most recent test results and X-rays, forwarded to the dentist who will provide this second opinion so that you do not have to pay to have these repeated. You will have to pay for the second opinion, but the cost of a simple office visit is so much lower than the cost of an elaborate dental procedure that it can be a smart investment if there is any chance that the original dentist was wrong.

If you have a LIMITED INCOME
You probably can get dental care even if your financial resources are very limited...
Medicaid. Medicaid is available only to those with low incomes and limited assets. Eligibility rules and program benefits vary by state. In most states, Medicaid provides at least basic dental care for those living near or below the poverty line.

To find out if you qualify, contact your state’s Medicaid Office. (Visit, select Medicaid/Medicare from the Benefits Quick Search menu, then choose your home state. Or call 800-333-4636 for a contact phone number for your state’s Medicaid office.)

Helpful: Nursing homes are legally required to arrange for dental care for residents who use Medicaid to pay for their stays. That typically means that they must either bring a dentist to the nursing home or transport the resident to a dentist’s office to receive care.

Local and state dental associations. Many have programs that provide dental services for free or reduced rates to those in financial need. Services are provided by dentists who volunteer their time. Eligibility requirements vary.

State and local dental associations can be found on the Web site of the American Dental Association (ADA) -- at, select "Dental Organizations" off the menu, then check both the "Constituent (State) Directory" and the "Component (Local) Directory" to find relevant associations. Or call the ADA at 312-440-2500 and ask for your state dental association’s phone number.

Example: The Connecticut Dental Association sponsors an annual "Mission of Mercy" program that provides free cleanings, extractions and fillings on a first-come, first-served basis. Unlike most programs of this sort, Connecticut’s Mission of Mercy does not require proof of limited income. See the Connecticut State Dental Association’s Web site for more information (

Public or nonprofit dental clinics. Available in many regions, these typically charge very low rates, perhaps linked to the patients’ ability to pay. In some cases, treatment is free. Your area Agency on Aging should be able to direct you to any dental clinics in your region and might know of other local low-cost dental options for seniors. (Call the US Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator, 800-677-1116, or use the Locator on the Web at to find your local Agency on Aging if you cannot locate it in your phone book.) Your local or state dental association also might know of area clinics.

If you are too well off to qualify for low-income dental programs, consider these options...
Local dental colleges. Performed for perhaps half the usual cost, the work is done by dental students under the supervision of qualified instructors. The quality of the dental care tends to be good... however, a dental school might not provide a full range of dental services. The American Dental Education Association Web site can help you find dental schools in your region. (At, click "About ADEA" then "Who We Are," and "Predoctoral Dental Education Programs.") Typing "dental schools" and the name of your state into also can help you find any schools in your region.

Retail dental centers. Usually located in shopping malls, they typically charge 10% to 20% less than traditional dentists’ offices. Thanks to:

Grow your own food -- in a bag, in a truck, anywhere
Gardening isn't just for people with lots of land. You can raise your own tasty crops in the smallest and oddest of containers. If you have access to some sun, plus time to water and care for seedlings, every little spot in the world is your garden. has tips for growing a head of lettuce in a Whole Foods reusable grocery bag. Typically, these bags are reused when you buy salad fixings at the store, but why not use them to raise fresh salad at home? Doesn't look that hard.

In fact, an entire Flickr group is devoted to Grow Bag Gardening. People around the country are growing potatoes in potato sacks, fertilizing plants in bags of fertilizer, and even raising crops in tin cans.

The container gardening site at Texas A&M also suggests using a cake pan as the site to grow green onions, radishes, or beets. What a great way to use an old pan that's scratched or warped or to use something found at the thrift store. More at:


8 Sneaky Ways to Raise Taxes

President Obama's budget proposal would raise taxes on upper-income earners by $969 billion over the next 10 years, yet the federal debt would continue to explode. To boost government revenues further, he'd raise an additional $122 billion from multinational firms, $90 billion from banks, $37 billion from oil companies, and $24 billion from hedge funds and private-equity firms. All told, that's nearly $1.2 trillion. And it would barely make a dent. We'd still have huge deficits, and the national debt would keep growing.

At least 35 states face their own budget shortfalls this year, with revenue in many states coming in below projections that were weak to start with, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. When federal stimulus spending winds down in 2011, many states anticipate a "cliff effect," in which their revenues plunge. That means new revenue will have to come from somewhere—and there aren't enough rich people to provide all the funds. "It's inevitable that the government will have to find a way to have a truly middle-income tax increase," says Clint Stretch of consulting firm Deloitte Tax. "The trick is: how?

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How to Live Happily on 75 Percent Less

Nine months after getting laid off, Catherine Goerz once again became part of the rush-hour commute—in a way she'd never anticipated.

To pick up extra cash, Goerz took a temporary job handing out fliers touting the benefits of public transportation in the San Francisco subway system. Occasionally she'd bump into people she knew from her former job as a creative producer for a Bay Area communications company. "They're in their corporate clothes," she recalls, "and I'm in this silly T-shirt and hat. 'Cathy, is that you?' they'd ask. 'What are you doing here?' Ugh."

The Great Recession—which is technically over, economists insist—may be morphing into a broader epoch: the Great Humbling. Millions of Americans who felt prosperous just a few years ago are now coping with long-term unemployment, sharp cutbacks in living standards, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and a deep sense of failure. That could persist for years. "This is not like earlier recessions, where things fell, then they bounced back to where they used to be," says Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for the Gallup polling organization. "We haven't seen this before. It's the only time this has happened since the Great Depression."

Some of the best social networking sites for adults...
Eons ( is a social network for older adults interested in leading healthy and fulfilling lives. One of the most popular features of the site is the Longevity Calculator, which asks a series of health-related questions and then estimates your life expectancy. Among the popular social groups at Eons are those that discuss spirituality, pop music and saving money.

AARP Online Community ( is a new feature of the country’s largest organization for seniors and is growing strong. As it grows, the social network will connect more and more adults interested in such subjects as entertainment, education, health, careers, sports and volunteering. You don’t have to be an AARP member to take part in its social networking.

Gather ( is a social network with an especially large number of interest groups, including those for adults interested in horror movies, baking bread or writing poetry. When members use Gather, they build up credits that can be redeemed at retailers such as, the Gap, Starbucks and Target.

Many social networking sites are now aimed at people with specific interests...
Literature. At Goodreads (, you can network with people who love to read books and want to exchange information about authors, best sellers and publishing industry events.

Women’s issues. iVillage Connect ( is one of the few social networking sites devoted solely to women, covering a wide range of topics from health, careers and relationships to shopping and style.

Careers. Of the many sites for career-minded networkers, LinkedIn ( is one of the most popular. Members exchange information about career interests and skill sets, post their résumés and invite people they have met in business to join their online network of business colleagues. Your network expands as you are introduced to other businesspeople -- a bit like exchanging business cards, except it is done online in this network.

Personal finance. ValueForum ( is one of a growing number of specialized networking sites that charge for membership. For about $21 a month, members exchange information about their personal experiences with a wide variety of timely investments, including municipal bonds, energy-related stocks, real estate, foreign equities and gold.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once observed, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Parting Shots

I’m an optimist at heart, but…
The politicians in Washington tell us the economy is recovering. Well, maybe so ... as long as you don't need a job. The problems facing this country — in debt, energy, lost jobs, unbalanced budgets and more — continue to mount.

I do believe the American Century is over with. Washington policies during the past 30 plus years have shattered the dream which was…more and more foreign countries now exceed the US in terms of policy, innovation, and overall care of its population. Few other countries are doing much better economically (Great Britain can no longer finance its national debt, Greece, and Portugal are in trouble, the Euro seems challenged, etc.).
Greece's financial troubles have shaken the European Union and its shared euro currency, whose rules were supposed to prevent governments from running up too much debt. Rioting is already taking place…can it happen here too?

If our country goes bankrupt (technically, it already is) there are many scenarios, which could take place. Chief among those would be government defaults on military and government pensions, bankrupt state governments, massive layoffs, cut backs in Social Security and Medicaid and more. In short, chaos.

A new America will emerge, but a far different one than what we grew up with. Some areas of the country will do just fine – those, which are more self-sufficient. Urban areas such as Washington DC, might not do well. We may become a nation of city-states. It’s anyone’s guess!

There’s always the slight chance I’m going to hell for sharing all of this anyhow!

Yours for better living,
Bruce “The Poor Man”