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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

College vs. Apprenticeships:Analysis, Cops Spy On Cell Phone Data

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin
Your choice for urban survival resources

In This Issue:

1. College vs. Apprenticeship, a cost analysis
2. Cell phone technology allows police to snoop data
3. Small Business start up grants-do they exist?
4. Free-5qts bio-based oil, free cat litter, more
5. Greensburg, KS-Portrait of success for a ‘can do’ attitude

"Give me four years to teach the children and
the seed I have sown will never be uprooted."

-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Getting a grant for your small biz startup

Got an early morning call from a woman in MO this week. She had been looking at the Poor Man site’s free money section in order to learn about startup grants for her high end landscaping business.

I had to remind her that most grants, government or foundation, are usually given to non-profit groups, not individuals. The one exception are government grants underwritten for the endowment of arts.

As we point out on the site, most grant seekers team up with a local charity or other non-profit group to obtain grant money and arrange for some kind of split. The majority of government grants are very specific and require a lot of paperwork and follow-up. High on government priorities are funding for medical/technical research, job creation/training programs, studies related in a variety of areas to Native American studies, etc.

The SBA does not offer any grants that I am aware of, only low cost loans and there are many hoops to jump through.

Her best bet was to secure financing as most startups do, through family and friends, home equity (if she had any), vendor financing, and credit card financing (not a recommended). Another method some use to get needed capital is through factoring of receivables, but that applies to already established businesses with a customer base. Factoring, in essence, is selling your outstanding invoices at a discount.

One enterprising gal we know of once sold raffle tickets to raise money. She had won an all expense paid trip to another country (which was transferable) and raised somewhere near $15,000 for her business. Warning: depending on how this is structured, it can be illegal or require registration if being offered to the public. In her case, she only offered tickets to family, friends, associates and relatives.

There some private foundations which make micro-loans and grants and those can be found in the Foundation Directory. Some states now offer related programs to women and minorities (see your state’s Economic Development department). Also recommended is Matthew Lesko, the Money Guy. You’ll find a link to his site at the end of this week’s bulletin. The Foundation can be accessed online, but there is a subscription fee (free at your library).

I enjoyed your article(s) on bureaucratic laws run amok…NY officials just backed down from banning wiffle ball from summer park programs (they already ban dodge ball) while in parts of OH, officials want to rename East Egg Hunt to ‘spring egg hunt.’ Seems to be the real domestic terrorists in this Nanny State are the crooked politicians and bureaucrats who have sunk our country with stupid laws and tax policies which continue to encourage Wall St. to ship US jobs overseas…they should be tarred and feathered or worse - they are the black plague on our great country! Our family fears these diseased political pirates more than terrorists.
--Donna Lee of OH

Apprenticeships vs. College
Most college degrees today cost more and are worth less in the real world

Jobs are scarce, real incomes have fallen, and soaring college costs have produced a scenario for kids with no chance for jobs…

An article in a newspaper analyzed the payback of a college degree - Does It Pay to Go to College? Scott Burns did a cost-benefit analysis. Take a close look at the economic value of a degree in today's world. This is particularly important for the home schooled as they consider their high school plans.

Many are convinced their kids must attend college and spend a lot of time preparing transcripts and effectively letting the college admissions officer establish their high school curriculum. Certainly, a rarely challenged cultural assumption in modern America is that "you must go to college" or be forever lost as a second class citizen trapped in life long poverty. Let's put a pencil to this assumption. References and links are appended in this article.

Living Below Your Means…Suze Orman weighs in.
PBS McNeil-Lehr broadcast of The Declining American Dream among the middle class…no more upward mobility-a good education is no longer a guarantee of a middle class lifestyle (even with a masters degree)

NOTE: Many community colleges today offer apprentice programs, especially for useful trades such as being an electrician or plumber. Read more here:

YOUR FREE FOOD 2 GO: Site to be ready April 9th
Sign up now to become a distributor & get your sample pack

A Portrait of a ‘Can Do” American success story
A couple of years ago, Greensburg, KS, a small farming community, was devastated by hurricanes which leveled nearly the entire town. Many thought about leaving for good, most of their youth automatically left town upon graduation.
A group of residents got together and decided to rebuild their town, turning into what is now known as an off-the-grid ‘greenest community’ in the nation. Profiled in Reader’s Digest, they become a show case for communities to share their knowledge of going green. Learn more about what the American spirit can really do at:

Reader Comment: Jeanne-Ark
For emergencies, we have an RV which is well stocked with provisions, solar power, guns, extra fuel & extra generator. We’ve mapped out various escape routes in the event of an emergency.

Useful Resources Roundup

World’s Best Cat Litter-Free after rebate

Free-5 qts of bio-based oil for your car-good thru April 30th

In case you get an IRS audit-here’s how to win your case

Dropbox - Online backup, file sync, and ...
Dropbox is the easiest way to store, sync, and, share files online. There's no complicated interface to learn. Dropbox works seamlessly with your operating system…share with friends who use their system and get another 250mb free!

Remove coffee and tea stains from coffee cups, china, etc
Fill a stained cup with warm water, drop in a denture-cleaning tablet and let it stay overnight. The next morning, wash, rinse and dry as usual-or try a non-gel toothpaste.

Keep Your Houseplants Healthy While You’re Away
If you’re traveling for vacation or a business trip, you don’t want to worry—or even think about—your plants withering away at home. Here is a way to keep them alive and well while you’re out of town (works for up to about two weeks)...
Place plastic trash bags on the floor of your bathtub. Put big towels on top of the bags and pour water on the towels until they’re completely wet. Check each plant to make sure it has a drainage hole at the bottom of its pot, and bring it into the bathroom—then set it on top of the towel.
Right before you leave the house, give the plants a thorough watering.

DIY Battery charger plans and video


Law Enforcement Agencies now snooping your private cell phone data without your knowledge or consent…Big Brother continues to violate the 4th Amendment.

Automated Extraction Tools (free)
Law enforcement’s use of sophisticated cellular tracking techniques to observe suspects before arrest and to build cases against them in criminal cases is building all across the country, and is raising major concern over civil liberties and privacy rights. Existing law is outdated and does not give set guidelines on the use of cellular tracking techniques.

State Police in Michigan are stealing cell phone data from cell phones without the knowledge of the owner, usually during a traffic stop (an officer will ask to look at your phone). So far, FOIA attempts by the ACLU to obtain information on how and why this information is being gathered have proven fruitless as police are making the request unreasonably expensive and what information that is released, has been sketchy and piecemeal.

The ACLU filed a suit against the TSA for using similar technology on privately owned laptop computers at airports. That suit is pending.

There are sites on the web that offer free tools for an investigator to use to perform cell forensics. Many times, these tools are limited and focused a small set of phones – but can be useful nonetheless. One tool is Bitpim. BitPim is a program that allows you to view and manipulate data on many CDMA phones from LG, Samsung, Sanyo and other manufacturers.

Another free tool focused on Blackberry devices can be found The user can download the Blackberry Device Manager and back-up any Blackberry device. The back-up file is in a proprietary format (IPD) and extracts some very useful forensic data including call records, SMS, emails (including all content) and calendar events. An IPD file can be converted to a useable format by using another tool – ABC Amber Blackberry Converter. It is not free, but only costs $19.95 for the tool.

If a fungal infection has left you with thick, unsightly toenails, skip expensive drugstore treatments. Mix 50% classic Listerine and 50% white vinegar. You can dab onto toes or soak twice a week. Can take a year to work depending on how bad the infection is.


The Parting Shot…

S&P Cuts US Ratings Outlook to Negative
Standard & Poor’s put a “negative” outlook on the U.S. AAA credit rating, citing rising budget deficits and debt.

An unrecognizable America - Bill of Rights Defense Committee

The Poor Man has written extensively about corruption in politics and the ever growing need for bureaucrats to control every aspect of our lives - it’s an addiction which is destroying our country.

Previously I’ve recounted such recent incidents as Girl Scouts being banned from selling cookies from their front yard, a six-year old banned from selling lemonade in a public park, TSA groping pat downs of a six year old girl at the airport, a Chicago ban on bringing lunches to school and much more…

In Cleveland, authorities haves announced plans to have "trash supervisors" go snooping through trash cans to ensure that people are actually recycling according to city guidelines

Author Naomi Wolf (the DVD on the End of America we give away was produced by her) sent me the following email which might be of interest to readers

Dear Bruce,
Since 2007, the American Freedom Campaign (AFC) has been fighting to protect our constitutional liberties, rein in the expansion and abuse of executive power, and restore our system of checks and balances. Your involvement and support was critical to our success in injecting these concerns into the 2008 presidential campaign.

At the time, the results of that campaign suggested a consensus in our favor. We all celebrated the chance to see our government once again uphold the rule of law. Yet since the enthusiasm of that moment, the White House under President Obama has continued many of the same excesses committed by the Bush administration. Your continued concern about limits on executive power is just as important today as it was then.

While AFC is no longer able to do this important work on our own, we have folded into the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) to continue our crucial advocacy moving forward. BORDC was formed in 2001, shortly after the passage of the PATRIOT Act.

BORDC is best known for spearheading a nationwide effort opposing government surveillance in which more than 400 cities and towns across the country, as well as eight states, passed local resolutions opposing the USA PATRIOT Act. Today, BORDC is once again mobilizing Americans from all walks of life—and in all parts of the country—to protect civil liberties at the local level. Learn more at:
Be sure to view their stand on local efforts at restoring your rights here:

Your fellow contrarian, the Poor Man!

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