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How to use all your vacation days without fearing for your job
According to a recent report from the U.S. Travel Association, 40 percent of American workers don't use all their vacation days.
The fact that so many Americans feel uncomfortable taking the time off that they've earned is disturbing -- and it doesn't have to be this way.
I remember that when I was growing up, my mother, a high school math teacher in the South, got 15 paid days of vacation every school year. She always said, "I earned them. I'm going to take them."
That philosophy stayed with me when I grew up and started my own career.
Unlike most of my colleagues who roll over vacation days from year to year, until they're told they must use them - my employer only lets you bank 60.
I closely monitor my time, take a few vacations throughout the year, and start fresh each January with a zero balance. That makes me an anomaly.
Many employees fear that if they take time off, their jobs won't be there when they return. Some believe they're more likely to be picked for layoffs if they're not around all the time.
Others think that they're indispensable -- the whole place will grind to a halt without them, so they can't take a break.
Our workaholic culture and fear for their careers holds others back: In many workplaces, there's a stigma against those who take prolonged time away from the office.
Regardless of unofficial policies, office politics or stigmatization, you are entitled to the amount of annual vacation that your employer promised you in your contract, and they can't officially penalize you for taking it.
It's yours in the same way that your paycheck is. You've earned your vacation days, and you can and should take all of them, without fear. Here's how.
Be Reachable While on Vacation
With technology and smartphones, we may be able to go on vacation and still conduct those parts of your job that can't be left untouched for a week or two. Your clients don't always have to know where you physically are.
"Being reachable and productive - even during vacation - has become a way of protecting our 'brand' as employees," says Jenni Luke, CEO of Step Up, a nonprofit that recruits professional women mentors to propel girls from under-resourced communities.
"Because technology makes us capable of being in touch at all times, employees today feel like they do not have an excuse to not be available.
Have Someone Watching Your Back
Adriana Ruiz, a public relations consultant with Newlink in Miami, recommends having a "trust buddy" system - someone who's always watching out for you.
"Having at least one person you can rely on for keeping your work afloat during the time you are outside of the office helps release a lot of the pressure that comes with leaving work," she says.
There's a reason the military uses the buddy system. When someone falls down, it's easier to cover and help them and the company up again. Just make sure that it is someone you trust, who isn't looking to move up into your job.
This works best when you work in teams.
Train Your Replacement
No one is irreplaceable, no matter what we want to believe about our work productivity and ourselves. If you are actually irreplaceable to your organization, you're probably not delegating enough to your staff and colleagues.
Our employers will replace us all one day. It's inevitable. In fact, training our subordinates to replace us, helps show that we are ready to advance up the corporate ladder as well.
How else would there be places for us to advance if our bosses were irreplaceable? We need them to train us to move up, and we need to do the same for the workers that report to us.
Your vacation can be a great test to see how your staff and co-workers rise to the occasion.
Let Your Intentions Be Heard
Don't keep it a secret that you are going to take some personal time. Let your boss and subordinates know with as much lead-time as you can give them.
That will give everyone involved the time to plan ahead, and smooth over any bumps that may be caused by your absence.
We plan ahead so that if someone is out, someone from our team will cover for them and let our clients know when their day to day person is going to be out and for how long...
And make sure they know who is their contact at the agency.
Coordinate Your Time Off with Your Boss
This is obvious, but it's worth saying: Some times will be better than others for you to be gone.
If you're worried about the work you'll be leaving behind, have an open and honest discussion with your supervisor, to find a vacation time that works for you and your company.
"You know when things in your company or department is not so hectic and where your position might not be required for a short time," says Carol Gee, a former editor at Emory University Business School Atlanta.
"I made sure that any outstanding or critical tasks or deadlines were completed and relayed that to my supervisor, when putting in request for leave."
Get a Second Opinion
Richard Kline, a hiring manager at LegalAdvice.com, recommends bouncing your vacation ideas and backup plan off an impartial third party.
"The trick is to gain an objective perspective and escape the 'office group fantasy' that taking a vacation is selfish," he says.
"Quite often, discussions with people outside the office will assist people in realizing that the fear of taking a vacation... is an unhealthy mindset that is to be overcome."
It's a tough world out there sometimes. People getting in your face, disrespecting you.
Too many people going through their days, with little regard for others.
Not every day is going to be a great day... but there is someone who promises to make you feel your best, all the time.
Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbLxStcTHiM&feature=player_embedded
Obsessed with their Apple stuff?
Apple stuff is undoubtedly slick, curvy and tactile. Its programs perform user-friendly and irrefutably useful functions.
What turns me off is the cult-like approach that Apple has to marketing and advertising.
I'm offended by the self-important manner in which Apple has created a technological apartheid, mainly just by charging a lot more...
But also by distancing itself from ordinary PCs - that's personal computers to the uninitiated.
PCs? ... Apple wants you to know, are for lowly, poor and unimaginative people with boring jobs.
Apples, on the other hand, are for clever, freewheeling, creative types who like modern music and wear cargo shorts to work. The whole thing makes me feel rather divided.
Truth be told... Apple people are just like the rest of us.
The company uses slick marketing propaganda, that encourages the fetishizing of its products and makes my kids feel inadequate because they don't own them.
It almost seems like Apple appears to have a creepy, quasi-religious hold on its consumers - one which fills them with a nagging sense of dissatisfaction if they don't have the very latest, upgraded version of the must-have gadget.
Whole swathes of the population have become members of the Apple cult these days... and even, apparently intelligent and educated people are immersing themselves in Apple's techno-twaddle.
How about some self-awareness Apple folks... snap out of it... it's just a cell phone, an iPad and a Mac.
With a little effort... you can be so much more than just another Apple emoji.
By the way... did you hear about the Apple iCloud nude photo fizz going viral?
Here's a round-up of jokes about the iCloud hacking scandal from late-night comics Kimmel, Craig Ferguson, Conan O'Brien.
Kimmel: Nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other female stars were leaked online over the weekend. I think you can tell how good or bad a person you are based on how many seconds you wait to Google "Jennifer Lawrence nude" after hearing the news. Anything under 60, you're going to hell.
Kimmel: Early reports suggest that the culprits obtained photos by hacking into the Internet cloud through Apple's iPhone app. Apple is denying that. They're claiming hackers broke in by finding out email passwords. I think the CEO of Apple should be forced to apologize in the nude.
Kimmel: Next week they're expected to announce a new iPhone with a virtual wallet. Apple is believed to be partnering with American Express. The wallet would replace having to carry credit cards around. You can lose your naked pictures and all your money in one easy step.
Ferguson: The weather is changing in L.A. It is hot here. How hot is it? Just yesterday, the cloud started raining nude celebrities.
Conan: Apple has plans to launch a mobile wallet to replace physical credit cards. Because if there's one company you want to trust with your money, it's the company that leaked your nude photos.
In case you haven't heard, or you are oblivious to the news of the day... America's 'Debt Limit' is now again the latest fabricated crisis in Washington.
Today is September 12th... and your taxes are still going up... and our country is virtually bankrupt... and going $4 billion dollars deeper in the hole - each and every day. Yet Obama pretends all is well. Here's Obama's latest propaganda...
Here's Obama's "bull crap" for the week... 09/12/2014...
Speaking of manure...
Check out this innovative new product... Kohler's new Touchless Toilet Flush Kit.
The Kohler Touchless Toilet Flush Kit is the first all-in-one kit designed to efficiently make almost any toilet a touchless flushing toilet.
Easy to install, the Touchless Flush Kit is another service you can add during a toilet install or repair. Available at Home Depot.
Watch the video: http://howto.homedepot.com/videos/watch/3743505190001?cm_mmc=hd_email-_-PI_NA12_C2_X02-_-20140908_MEMBER_CAT_EMPIX02_L06_WIN_2738643-_-votw_video&et_rid=3450309
Obama secretly passed thousands of illegal regulations... that are attacking your rights and stealing your money
A Oregon-based gun maker said Thursday that it has been blocked from processing credit card transactions by its long-standing credit card company...
And believes it is the latest victim of the Obama administration’s “Operation Choke Point.”
The Obama administration has said Choke Point lets the Departments of Justice and Treasury crack down on illegal businesses - by blocking their access to banks and other parts of the U.S. financial system.
But critics of the program have said the administration is using it to crack down on businesses it doesn’t approve of, under the guise of trying to stop illegal activities, even when they have done nothing illegal.
According to people familiar with the program, Obama administration officials have targeted several industries, including those dealing with guns, gambling, credit repair services, payday lending and others.
Under the program, officials have told banks and other financial institutions that they are responsible not just for their clients, but for their clients’ customers.
Officials warn these institutions that they should not provide financial services to companies in these high-risk industries.
Close observers of the program have said these warnings often have the effect of forcing banks to quickly jettison any client that could pose a possible risk, which leads to sudden notices to companies like the one received by Calico.
“Operation Choke Point isn’t just targeting online merchants, it’s targeting entire industries, regardless of their clean records and law-abiding practices,” Brian Wise, senior advisor for the U.S. Consumer Coalition said.
The US government has no authority over the banking industry specifically. They can tell the government to buzz off and process any and all transactions they deem appropriate.
However, if the financial institution wants to receive positive audits from the SEC - which allow it to continue investing in specific financial activities.
Then it will play along with the Marxist-Leninist Obama administration by blocking a list of businesses - which have been identified by the Obama Administration as black list businesses.
This would be more true for historical donors for the RNC, and inline with the actions taken by the IRS in past elections concerning Tea Parties.
Shutting down the business activities of the donors, reduces the financial advantage of the RNC over the DNC in the American elections coming up very soon.
These are Obama Zealot Marxist-Leninist... who do not want to let go of control over America.
They will do what ever it takes (legal or illegal) to eliminate their competition and retain control of the Senate.
Let me get this straight. Holder and the DOJ can cut off legitimate businesses from the banking system for selling and/or manufacturing guns...
Yet they can illegally run guns into Mexico and give them to the drug cartels, which can be used to kill border patrol agents.
This Administration is the greatest enemy to the Founders America. They are traitors and tyrants... and they have sold their souls.
Security operators on the ground in Benghazi say they were told to stand down
Obama and Hillary Clinton have been trying to hide this truth for two years, by blatantly lying and threatening people. It's time for all Americans to hear the truth.
Get them in front of Congress ASAP, swear them in with full immunity and put it live on the TV without commercials. (C-SPAN).
Five security operators responsible for guarding the CIA station in Benghazi, Libya insist they were told to “stand down” the night of the deadly 2012 attacks, arguing the order prevented them from likely saving the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others.
The claim is made in a new book titled “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi.”
Scheduled for release next week, it is the first public account of the deadly attacks from security personnel who were on the ground that night.
“If you guys do not get here, we are going to die!” a diplomatic security agent shouted over the radio, the commandos say in their new book, according to the New York Times.
Within moments the team, comprised of former members of American Special Forces teams and hired as private contractors, was ready to deploy and move to the compound, a mere mile away.
“Five minutes, we’re ready,” Kris “Tanto” Paronto, a former Army Ranger, told Fox News. “It was thumbs up, thumbs up, we’re ready to go.”
However, according to the team, a top CIA officer in Benghazi, who they refer to as “Bob,” told them to “stand down.”
“It had probably been 15 minutes I think, and … I just said, ‘Hey, you know, we gotta – we need to get over there, we’re losing the initiative,’” John Tiegen told Fox News.
“And Bob just looks straight at me and said, ‘Stand down, you need to wait.’”
“We’re starting to get calls from the State Department guys saying, ‘Hey, we’re taking fire, we need you guys here, we need help,’” Paronto added.
Finally, after 30 minutes of waiting, the team said they deployed, in defiance of the order, the Times reported.
Revisiting the events of the fateful night, the five commandos say they believe Ambassador Stevens and others would have been alive if not for the “stand down” order.
“Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith, yeah, they would still be alive, my gut is yes,” Paronto said.
“I strongly believe if we’d left immediately, they’d still be alive today,” Tiegen added.
A senior intelligence official told Fox News that “there were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.”
The commandos adamantly denied that claim, insisting to Fox News the order was given.“You use the words ‘stand down,’” host Bret Baier said.
“A number of people now, including the House Intelligence Committee insist no one was hindered from responding to the situation at the compound… so what do you say to that?”
“No, it happened,” Tiegen answered.
“It happened on the ground – all I can talk about is what happened on that ground that night,” Paronto added to Fox News. “To us. To myself, twice, and to – to Tig, once. It happened that night. We were told to wait, stand – and stand down. We were delayed three times.”
Fox News aired a special Friday night at 10 p.m. with the complete interview with the commandos.
Earlier this year, testimony from nine military officers appeared to undermine the claim that a “stand down” order was given.
The Obama regime is trying to do damage control.
And not surprisingly - the liberal media Obama puppets are not even reporting on this lastest scandal bombshell.
Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RcCMjjKPKM
What you don't know - can hurt you
Here is something that is potentially more frightening than the Obama scheme "ChokePoint."
Democrat socialist Harry (dingy-harry) Reid Senate majority leader from Nevada - has introduced a bill to undermine the 1st amendment too! - The RIGHT to free speech! ...
By banning anyone reporting on incumbent voting records. That would in effect, create secret and corrupt voting - without consequences.
Scheming with the crook in the White house and his racist flame-thrower Eric Holder...
Liberals are trying to subvert the Constitution of the United States and its’ Bill of Rights.
These are impeachable offenses.
Chris Roland walks his pet turtles, (from left) Cindy and Kuka, on Madison Avenue in Manhattan on Sept. 4. Roland has had the turtles for years & says he walks them daily.
Goats & hikers share the peak of Ergischhorn Mountain in Switzerland at an altitude of approximately 8,300 feet on Thursday.
Fans wear alien masks at an outdoor screening of "The Day the Earth Caught Fire" at the British Museum in London on Aug. 28. The event was part of the British Film Institute's Sci-Fi: Days of Fear & Wonder, which has its official start in October.
A torch-wielding man casts a tiny shadow as he stands in the vastness of the world's biggest cave, the Hang Son Doong cave in Vietnam.
Large waves hit the lighthouse and harbor at high tide at Newhaven in Sussex, England.
Manager Akiyoshi Kaneko inspects sleeping compartments at the Capsule and Sauna Century Shibuya in Tokyo.
The capsule concept started out as lodging for businessmen working or partying late who missed the last train home and needed a cheap place to sleep. But capsule rooms like these are growing more popular in these budget-conscious times.
Sixty-three women skydivers set a new world record for the largest all-female formation while jumping head down, Nov. 30, 2013, in Eloy, Ariz. The record was certified by the Federation of Aeronautics International.
Leave your passport behind and virtually travel outside of the US to these stunning national parks from across the globe. Pictured: rainforest and granite mountains, Serra dos Orgaos National Park, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"Giving money and power to government... is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." -- P.J. O'Rourke
Why did Atlanta resident Margaret Mitchell write Gone with the Wind? Because an ankle injury kept her from walking and she was really, really bored.
When politicians go to bat for industries or businesses, they're more likely doing it because they're protecting their campaign donors. Not because they're looking out for you.
In "How to Win Friends and Influence People," Dale Carnegie wrote "to be interesting, be interested."
Lyrics from "Got to Get Better" by Eric Clapton...
"There's still one thing you can do
Get down on your knees and pray...
You know the Lord will answer you
Don't wait til tomorrow... do it today!"
Obama and Jeanne Shaheen... co-conspirators in campaign fraud
Jeanne Shaheen is the Democrat corrupt U.S Senator from New Hampshire. Shaheen has been nothing more than an Obama puppet... playing liberal politics.
Shaheen is just another career politician, in it for her own gain.
Jeanne Shaheen has spent months attacking outside money, but now she is sending thinly veiled smoke signals to scumbag Harry Reid, begging for help - from his outside money SuperPAC.
This is another example of the shameless hypocrisy that we have unfortunately come to expect - from dishonest Washington Democrats, like Obama and Jeanne Shaheen.
Ways to fly more comfortably
Whether you're looking to exercise your right to recline or hoping to avoid squashed knees, it pays to pick the right seat.
In recent weeks, passenger fights over reclining seats have diverted three flights -
A Delta flight from New York to West Palm Beach, Florida... a United flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Denver... and an American flight from Miami to Paris.
Paying up for extra legroom isn't a cure-all: In two of the three recent incidents, passengers were sitting in such premium seats.
To avoid a tight squeeze - and avoid paying expensive additional charges for extra space - look to seat maps on sites such as SeatGuru.com or SeatExpert.com.
Dimensions for basic economy seats can vary widely... and the difference in fares may be less than the fee to upgrade.
"On JetBlue, even the seats that you don't pay for have more legroom than others," said George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com.
SeatGuru.com reports that premium economy prices can be significantly cheaper booked closer to departure - although you do risk missing out altogether.
Which NFL teams have the biggest fan base?
A new color-coded map shows just how much reach your favorite NFL team has across the United States.
Basically, the odds are good that you’re surrounded by like-minded football fanatics — unless your team happens to be the New York Jets.
The map shows which counties various football fans live based on which NFL team they “Like” on Facebook.
Based on the data, the New York Jets are only NFL team, that failed to win over a single county.
However, the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos... both show impressive reach across the U.S.
The Federal government is bloated, unproductive and out of shape
Ah, "Labor Day." A government created day on which those people who work (read: producers) - are supposedly celebrated, by the people who don't (government and welfare recipients).
Pat yourselves on the back, entrepreneurs - the parasites love you. As I've written here previously - approximately 65 million US citizens work -
The rest receive welfare in various forms.
So, as you see, for about 252 million Americans, life is pretty good.
The government taxes those who create vast sums of wealth, half of which is then stolen ("for the greater good") and re-allocated to people who can't work or won't.
A small percentage of this is allocated towards some useful things, sure, but most is squandered by the growing bureau-rat class.
So, it's safe to say that about 252 million individuals are not interested in leaving the US. Expatriation!? They probably don't even know what that means. They'd be absolutely insane to want to do so....
They have it pretty good.
They're born, they immediately get separated from their family and educated (read: brainwashed) in government year-round camps, torn from precious REM sleep and fed lackluster school lunches only to fail by world standards.
And then, after lots of brainwashing (some of which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars), there is a job awaiting them in an exploding public sector - a militarized public sector at that.
From Colorado... government taxes on weed are so high, black market still going strong
As you likely recall, voters in the Centennial State approved a referendum two years ago legalizing recreational marijuana.
Some of the referendum's supporters resorted to a dicey argument -- it would create more revenue for state government because of how legal pot would be taxed.
They even ran the numbers and projected $33.5 million in revenue during the first half of 2014.
In the event, the figure was almost two-thirds less -- $12 million.
The taxes are so high -- 27% -- there's still a thriving black market in pot.
The Marijuana Policy Group estimates only 60% of people who want weed in Colorado will buy it through legal channels.
"If the price is too high," says Ron Kammerzell of the Colorado Department of Revenue, "then we can't compete with the black market, and that was our ultimate goal with Amendment 64 -- we wanted to eliminate the black market."
Cohabitation in Florida is still illegal?
The state doesn't just steal property. It makes criminals out of peaceful people. Have you cohabitated with a girlfriend or boyfriend? That is, have you lived with someone of the opposite sex? Well, that's a crime in Florida...
According to Chapter 798 of the Florida Statutes:
798.02 - Lewd and lascivious behavior. - If any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, or if any man or woman, married or unmarried, engages in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
That means fine or imprisonment...
The ancient law dates back to more than a century ago... when the state wanted to make sure people got permission to be together and marry from the government.
The law is still enforced. According to WCTV, almost 770 Florida residents were charged with misdemeanors for living together from 2007-2011.
In an interesting twist... the law doesn't apply to same-sex couples?...
Do you think the 'straight' community should protest and raise hell - for such unfair treatment?
It seems gays and lesbians - now have more protections than the 'straights' do?
Anthony Evans singing out... "I Found You" ... a strong and impressive performance
Love this song, Amazing! When you heart gives into doubt... I hope you remember this.
Anthony Evans has already made a name for himself performing on The Voice. Now he's back with a song that will make you want to sing out in praise!
Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UAY_qM09-hQ
Winds of Fate
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
One ship drives east and another drives west
With the self-same winds that blow;
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
That tells them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the winds of fate
As we voyage along through life;
'Tis the set of the soul
That decides its goal
And not the calm or the strife.
You set the sail of your own soul.
You set the course of your own life.
The Web... the next 20 years are going to make the last 20 years just pale!
The world is hitting its stride in technological advances, and futurists have been making wild-sounding bets on what we'll accomplish in the not-so-distant future.
Futurist Ray Kurzweil, for example, believes that by 2040...
Artificial intelligence will be so good, that humans will be fully immersed in virtual reality and that something called the Singularity... when technology becomes so advanced that it changes the human race irreversibly, will occur.
Kevin Kelly helped launch Wired magazine in 1993. He's a strong voice in the tech world, and has interesting insights into the evolving tech sphere. And some seriously bold predictions.
"If we were sent back with a time machine, even 20 years, and reported to people what we have right now and describe what we were going to get in this device in our pocket -
We'd have this free encyclopedia, and we'd have street maps to most of the cities of the world, and we'd have box scores in real time and stock quotes and weather reports, PDFs for every manual in the world ...
You would simply be declared insane," Kelly said.
"But the next 20 years are going to make this last 20 years just pale," he continued. "We're just at the beginning of the beginning of all these kind of changes.
There's a sense that all the big things have happened, but relatively speaking, nothing big has happened yet. In 20 years from now we'll look back and say, 'Well, nothing really happened in the last 20 years.'
"People tend right now to think that the future of the Web is Web 2.0; it's like a better Web.
I went back to the early issues of Wired and all the Time magazines and Newsweeks and the newspapers trying to find out what people thought the Web was going to be before it was."
What most people thought, Kelly found, "was it was going to be a better TV, like TV 2.0.
"That's what we thought the Web would be at first - 5,000 different sources giving you specialty information about a horse channel... and a dog channel... and a cat channel... and a saltwater equipment channel…
"But of course," Kelly explains, "that missed the entire real revolution of the Web, which was that most of the content would be generated by the people using it.
The Web was not better TV - it was the Web!"
So what does this mean for the future?
Reality is becoming plastic. Essentially, Kelly explains, the digital world has made the physical world more malleable. Easier to mold to our desires.
"We're getting back a little bit more to a previous era -- the hunters-gatherers -- where people made the stuff they consumed. In a curious way, the new technologies can offer us more access to that earlier era."
3-D printing… personalized medicine… wearable technologies. These are three trends (of many) that will define an age in which we are in more control of the things we consume.
And in turn, Kelly argues, we'll be more in control of our realities.
"Certainly most of the things that are going to be produced are going to be made by robots and automation...
But we can modify them and we can change them, and we can be involved in the co-production of them to a degree that we couldn't in the industrial age."
Tracking and surveillance are only going to get more prevalent, but they may move toward "coveillance" - so that we can control who's monitoring us and what they're monitoring.
Kelly says the solution may be to let people see who's tracking them, what they're tracking, and give them the ability to correct trackings that are inaccurate.
Right now, people just feel like they're being spied on, and they can't control who's watching them or what information is being surfaced.
"We're in the period now where the huge dimensions of data and their variables in real time needed for capturing, moving, processing, enhancing, managing, and rearranging it."
"We used to rearrange atoms, now it's all about rearranging data. That is really what we’ll see in the next 10 years ...
They're going to release data from language to make it machine-readable and recombine it in an infinite number of ways that we're not even thinking about."
"In a certain sense, what becomes really valuable in a world running under Google's reign are great questions... and that means that for a long time humans will be better at that, than machines.
Machines are for answers. Humans are for questions.”
God offers guidance and perspective...
In the Bible, when David faced Goliath, everyone around him was talking about the mountain. They were saying, "Goliath is so big. There's no way we can defeat him." Then along came a young man named David.
He was only 17 years old. But somehow, he had a different perspective.
When he saw Goliath, instead of saying, "He's so big. We don't have a chance," he said, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the Living God?"
He was saying, "Hey, wait a minute. This is not right. This mountain doesn't need to keep us from our destiny." David's friends and the people around him began to laugh.
They said, "David, are you crazy? You can't fight Goliath. You're just a kid. You're too small. You don't have any experience."
But David shook it off. He went out to face Goliath - his mountain - and Goliath began to laugh. When he saw how young and small David was, he said, "Am I a dog that you would come at me with a stick?"
He was saying, "Don't you have anything better to send out against me than this little runt? It's not even going to be a fight." But, David wasn't focused on the size of his giant; he was focused on the size of his God.
He didn't just pray that he would defeat Goliath. He didn't beg and plead with God. No, he knew he already had the victory! David spoke to his mountain.
He looked Goliath in the eyes and said, "Goliath, you come against me with a sword and a shield, but I come against you in the name of the Lord God of Israel."
In other words, "You've got a sword, but I've got something better.
I've got the forces of heaven backing me up." He said, "Goliath, this day the Lord will deliver you into my hands. I will defeat you and feed your head to the birds of the air."
He was saying, "You may be big, but I know my God is bigger. And when I speak to the mountain, God's promised it will be removed!"
If you're going to break old habits and make changes in your life, you've got to speak to the giants that mock your victory.
No matter what you may be facing, no matter how big those goals and dreams may seem, start changing your words and declare victory.
Don't talk about your mountain; talk to it! Don't tell the world how big your problems are; tell them how big your God is!
Stand in faith, speak victory and move forward in the freedom and blessing God has in store for you!
"Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them." (Mark 11:23 NIV)
Dress code violation
Nancy was employed in the Human Resources department of a large multinational. Having graduated recently from college, her job was to impart training to employees in corporate dress code and conduct.
She was stepping into the elevator one day when a man sporting a french beard, and dressed casually in cargoes and t-shirt, entered with her.
Reminded of her responsibilities, Nancy taunted, "Dressed a little too casually for a Thursday, aren't we?"
The man with the french beard replied, "Just one of the perks of owning the company!"
Prince William and wife Kate are expecting another baby. This is big news — in the year 1614. -- David Letterman
Now there will be two royal babies. This guy is going to have to start looking for a job, you know what I mean? -- David Letterman
Also from England, it turns out they have now identified Jack the Ripper. They found the DNA off an old white Ford Bronco. Not only that, but they now know the guy was married to Kelly Ripper. -- David Letterman
On Friday President Obama made a surprise visit to Stonehenge on his way back from the NATO summit in Wales. And even crazier — today he made a surprise visit to the White House. -- Jimmy Fallon
AMC is coming out with a spin-off of “The Walking Dead” that will show the apocalypse in other parts of the world. It's called “The News.” -- Jimmy Fallon
It was a terrifying day here in L.A. The City of Angels has been struck by a disaster called "light rain." The mayor of L.A. was considering declaring a state of emergency because thousands of people had to change their outdoor brunch plans. -- Craig Ferguson
The rain was terrible in Los Angeles. The rush hour here was crazy. The highways were jammed. Traffic was bumper to bumper and people were driving like idiots all over the place. Then it started to rain. -- Craig Ferguson
The rain in L.A. was around an eighth of an inch. That's it, California. The drought is over. Go back to leaving your faucets on all the time. Open up a free car wash. It's over. -- Craig Ferguson
I watched a lot of football this weekend. I spent about 14 hours on the couch watching other people exercise. How much did I exercise this weekend? Not one second. I'm even thinking about hiring someone to carry me back and forth from the refrigerator to the TV set. -- Jimmy Kimmel
This week President Obama will announce his plans for addressing the threat posed by ISIS extremists in Iraq. It’s an incredibly difficult situation. I think at this point he should just tell Liam Neeson that they have his daughter. -- Seth Meyers
Five tips to outsmart hackers
Before we get to the five tips - here's the number one tip...
First and most important way to stop hackers...
STOP PUTTING YOUR PERSONAL INFO ON FACEBOOK!
With so much of our lives, personal information and transactions online these days, news reports of hacking attacks -- which have been coming with increasing regularity -- can render us overwhelmed and helpless.
But there are things you can do to protect your email, banking and social media accounts than just changing your passwords every other month.
Protect data against loss or theft
Maybe it happens at a bar late night, as you’re rushing through airport security to make your plane or just getting out of a cab.
“The number one way your information can be stolen, is by leaving your devices or having them taken from you,” say Yahoo Tech reporter Dan Howley.
It’s not just passwords that may be saved on your devices. You could have tax information, important documents and personal photos that you wouldn’t want to see fall into the wrong hands.
Apps such as Lookout allow you to track down your devices if you lose them, at a cost of about $3 a month. A control panel accessible from any computer allows you to remotely lock your device or wipe its data.
Another option is LoJack, which allows the user to pinpoint the location of the lost device, wipe it and even generate a police report for the lost device. It's $119 for four years of service.
Use 2-step authentication
By now, you should know better than to use the same password for all your accounts or something too simple like Password123.
But using a clever password along with two-step authentication, is the safest way to keep bad guys out of your most frequently-accessed accounts.
Sites including Yahoo mail, Gmail, Twitter and Facebook offer a two-step sign-in process for added protection every time you log in, regardless of whether it's from a new computer or the device you use every day.
After entering a password at login, the site requires a verification code sent to a mobile phone number or additional email address you’ve specified, before allowing you into the account.
“It’s good in case something like Facebook is hacked or someone figures out your password, username. They still need that confirmation code to get on,” says Howley. “Without that - they can’t do anything.”
While it’s possible for an entire site to get hacked, it’s less likely that hacker will also have your cell phone.
Turn this feature on in your settings/preferences menu.
Update apps and software
How often do you get prompted to update your browser, smartphone apps or operating system? Well, software engineers aren’t tinkering away to create new versions just to annoy you.
If you’re one of those people who have 17 app updates waiting, now might be a good time to do that.
“Your apps have certain holes in them that get found by hackers, then they’re reported on. If you don’t plug those holes, you're still at risk of getting hacked,” explains Howley.
Neglecting software updates can leave your devices vulnerable, and it only takes a few minutes to keep your device and information safe.
Surf safely in public
Using public wi-fi is one of the most dangerous things you can do with your devices, short of maybe surfing the web while going for a swim.
Hotels, coffee shops and even public parks offer free wi-fi, but while it’s convenient, it isn’t safe to shop, bank or even enter your email password.
Everyone sharing that Internet connection with you - can access your computer.
“Any one of those people can easily get into your computer and see exactly what you're doing,” Howley says. “They can see you type in your password for any number of programs or apps and steal that and use that against you.”
An alternative is to use a virtual private network (VPN) such as Private Internet Access for $7 a month or $40 a year. After connecting to a public wi-fi network, the VPN sends your connection to their servers, encrypting your online activity.
It’s as safe as using your own (password protected) wireless network at home.
If you have to use a public computer in a library, cafe or even a friend’s house, browsing online using an "incognito" or "private" window, will keep secret any information you enter or view.
Popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari offer this feature.
Passwords and search histories aren’t saved, so you can close the window at the end of the session knowing no one will be posting to Facebook or transferring funds from your checking account, after you’ve left.
Given the chance to move elsewhere, nearly half of everyone in high tax states would do so
"So I did some digging," Neil explained. Turns out the claim is accurate. "Gallup - a non-biased organization - discovered that 47% of the Marylanders it surveyed would love to flee their home state."
What's more, "several states have large swaths of people who would move if given the chance. No. 1 was Illinois at 50%, followed by Connecticut at 49%...
Below Maryland was Rhode Island at 42%, with New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts each logging 41% of surveyed people who were willing but unable to flee their state."
On this map, the darker the shade of green, the higher the percentage of people expressing a desire to move...
"It's probably no surprise to learn that those highest-ranked states have something in common," Neil went on.
"The Tax Foundation actively keeps track of how much the states tax their citizens. So I did some cross-checking, and sure enough, the states with the greatest percentage of disgruntled citizens - are also the states with the greatest effective tax rates.
"New York and New Jersey are right at the top in terms of tax burdens, with Maryland, Illinois, Connecticut and Massachusetts - which is still called 'Taxachusetts' - in the top percentiles.
Of course, people say they want to move, but families, jobs and such are bigger considerations than taxes. And woe to anyone who puts faith in a politician to lower his or her tax burden.
Looks like birds like winter games too
You won't believe what we caught this crow doing. A thrill-seeking crow has discovered the delights of winter sports.
Humans aren't the only ones who love a good snow day. A family catches a crow using a jar lid as a sled and taking to the slopes.
Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2k1aoLAMRMc
7 Day Free Trial @ Chemistry.com.
Thought for the day...
The Cholesterol myth... "invented disease" that could be harming your health
Sally Fallon, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and Mary Enig, Ph.D, an expert in lipid biochemistry...
Have gone so far as to call high cholesterol "an invented disease, a 'problem' that emerged, when health professionals learned how to measure cholesterol levels in the blood.
And this explanation is spot on.
If you have increased levels of cholesterol, it is at least in part because of increased inflammation in your body. The cholesterol is there to do a job: help your body to heal and repair.
Conventional medicine misses the boat entirely - when they dangerously recommend that lowering cholesterol with drugs is the way to reduce your risk of heart attacks...
Because what is actually needed is to address whatever is causing your body damage - and leading to increased inflammation and then increased cholesterol.
As Dr. Rosedale so rightly points out:
"If excessive damage is occurring such that it is necessary to distribute extra cholesterol through the bloodstream, it would not seem very wise to merely lower the cholesterol and forget about why it is there in the first place.
It would seem much smarter to reduce the extra need for the cholesterol - the excessive damage that is occurring, the reason for the chronic inflammation."
Let's take a look at the dangers of low cholesterol -- and how it came to be that cholesterol levels needed to be so low in the first place.
If Your Cholesterol is Too Low ...
All kinds of nasty things can happen to your body. Remember, every single one of your cells needs cholesterol to thrive - including those in your brain.
Perhaps this is why low cholesterol wreaks havoc on your psyche.
One large study conducted by Dutch researchers, found that men with chronically low cholesterol levels showed a consistently higher risk of having depressive symptoms.
This may be because cholesterol affects the metabolism of serotonin, a substance involved in the regulation of your mood.
On a similar note, Canadian researchers found that those in the lowest quarter of total cholesterol concentration, had more than six times the risk of committing suicide as did those in the highest quarter.
Dozens of studies also support a connection between low or lowered cholesterol levels and violent behavior, through this same pathway:
Lowered cholesterol levels may lead to lowered brain serotonin activity, which may, in turn, lead to increased violence and aggression.
And one meta-analysis of over 41,000 patient records, found that people who take statin drugs to lower their cholesterol as much as possible may have a higher risk of cancer, while other studies have linked low cholesterol to Parkinson's disease.
What cholesterol level is too low? Brace yourself.
Probably any level much under 150 - an optimum would be more like 200.
Now I know what you are thinking: "But my doctor tells me my cholesterol needs to be under 200 to be healthy."
Well let me enlighten you about how these cholesterol recommendations came to be. And I warn you, it is not a pretty story.
This is a significant issue. I have seen large numbers of people who have their cholesterol lowered below 150...
And there is little question in my mind, that it is causing far more harm than any benefit they are receiving by lowering their cholesterol this low.
Who Decided What Cholesterol Levels are Healthy or Harmful?
In 2004, the U.S. government's National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to attempt to reduce their LDL cholesterol to specific, very low, levels.
Before 2004, a 130-milligram LDL cholesterol level was considered healthy. The updated guidelines, however, recommended levels of less than 100, or even less than 70 for patients at very high risk.
Keep in mind that these extremely low targets often require multiple cholesterol-lowering drugs to achieve.
Fortunately, in 2006 a review in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that there is insufficient evidence to support the target numbers outlined by the panel.
The authors of the review were unable to find research providing evidence that achieving a specific LDL target level was important in and of itself, and found that the studies attempting to do so suffered from major flaws.
Several of the scientists who helped develop the guidelines even admitted - that the scientific evidence supporting the less-than-70 recommendation was not very strong.
So how did these excessively low cholesterol guidelines come about?
Eight of the nine doctors on the panel that developed the new cholesterol guidelines - had been making money from the drug companies that manufacture statin cholesterol-lowering drugs.
The same drugs - that the new guidelines suddenly created a huge new market for in the United States.
Coincidence? I think not.
Now, despite the finding that there is absolutely NO evidence to show that lowering your LDL cholesterol to 100 or below is good for you, what do you think the American Heart Association STILL recommends?
Lowering your LDL cholesterol levels to less than 100.
And to make matters worse, the standard recommendation to get to that level almost always - includes one or more cholesterol-lowering drugs.
The Dangers of Cholesterol-Lowering Medications
If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, taking a drug should be your absolute last resort.
And when I say last resort, I'm saying the odds are very high, greater than 100 to 1, that you don't need drugs to lower your cholesterol.
To put it another way, among the more than 20,000 patients who have come to my clinic, only four or five of them truly needed these drugs, as they had genetic challenges of familial hypercholesterolemia that required it.
Contrast this to what is going on in the general population.
According to data from Medco Health Solutions Inc., more than half of insured Americans are taking drugs for chronic health conditions?
And cholesterol-lowering medications are the second most common variety among this group, with nearly 15 percent of chronic medication users taking them...
High blood pressure medications - another vastly over-prescribed category - were first.
Disturbingly, as written in BusinessWeek early in 2008, "Some researchers have even suggested - half-jokingly - that the medications should be put in the water supply."
Count yourself lucky that you probably do NOT need to take cholesterol-lowering medications, because these are some nasty little pills.
Statin drugs work by inhibiting an enzyme in your liver that's needed to manufacture cholesterol.
What is so concerning about this... is that when you go tinkering around with the delicate workings of the human body, you risk throwing everything off kilter.
When the people rise up...
People are subtly mocking forms of authority all over the world in peaceful protests.
This new "post-graffiti" sees these new street artist taking aim at the political elites and hierarchy.
For example, sometime during the Labor Day weekend... someone painted red the hands of the Washington statute in Mill Park in Trenton, New Jersey.
The historic statute was cast in Italy and first showed at the U.S. Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876.
“It was political, I know that,” believes artist Jon Naar, whose home features a view of the statue.
Having written the first book on graffiti in America, Naar noticed the hands were the only thing painted red, hinting to him that this was a politically motivated tactic.
This is not the first time art groups in Trenton have decided landmarks for political statements must be re-made in order to reflect reality.
In 1994, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of the New World, an ad hoc Native American group splashed red paint on the statue of the explorer in Trenton's Columbus park, to protest genocide.
A mural of the reading of the Declaration of Independence in Trenton in 1776 - featured on a wall in the downtown area there - was painted several years ago, in a case never solved.
In July two Germans, Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke, climbed up the Brooklyn Bridge towers in the middle of the night...
In order to replace the stars and stripes - with a white version of Old Glory.
Wermke recounted an experience shortly afterwards:
“While I was watching joggers taking pictures, a burly American with a cowboy hat approached me and said:
‘Did you see the white flags? Usually there are American flags up there, but now they’re white. Did Brooklyn surrender to Manhattan? I mean what else do white flags mean?’
‘I don’t know,’ I answered. ‘White also means peace.’
He laughed and said: ‘Oh yes, New York surrendered and America is the most peaceful country in the world.’”
“After a while reporters showed up, you saw cameras everywhere,” Leinkauf said.
“Around 10:30am, when the first mobile units and helicopters showed up, followed by police, the atmosphere and also my mood changed...
It added another meaning to the flags: the possibility of a threat.”
In Europe, similar peaceful actions have happened.
Just recently this Soviet monument in Bulgaria had its soldiers turned to American superheroes.
It's happened before.
Last year it was painted pink in order to express Bulgaria's regrets for having supported Russia during the Cold War.
Russia has called on the government in Bulgaria to prevent the vandalism of Soviet monuments.
We've covered similar actions here before, such as one in Istanbul:
When one man painted a public staircase rainbow colors, the community loved it.
But when city workers of Istanbul, Turkey covered the brightly-colored street art with dull gray paint, people re-painted the staircase swiftly. A battle of sorts had broken out.
A retired engineer named Huseyin Cetinel spent reportedly $800 on paint to make the steps in his area more attractive.
He says that nature is colorful and he believes cities can be as well.
His work went viral. Many saw the paint job as a call for equal rights. The artist said he wasn't trying to promote any group, but simply add color.
But when the city painted over the staircase, the people of Turkey were outraged.
At first the government denied doing so, but ultimately fessed up... like a child under the pressure of a knowing parent.
A quiet war was waged - as guerrilla artists painted the city with color while the city covered it up with gray.
Gray seems to be the color of choice for unimaginative, communist-style central planners.
Ultimately, the city let the citizens have their colorful way.
People are mocking their political structures in creative and noticeable ways worldwide.
Some may state that that is destroying "property" but if it were "private property" we would agree.
Since it is all "public property" then things change somewhat.
In any case, people worldwide are beginning to passively and creatively let the power structures know...
That they don't like their mostly statist gray propaganda... and are refashioning it themselves.
Perhaps this is part of the evolution - not revolution - as people begin to take back their own sovereignty, using things like bitcoin...
Or, at the very least, artistically letting the powers that be know...
That we are still here, still human... and they are going to have to try even harder to suppress us.
This Week's Government Goofs & Goofballs
An Independent & unbiased accounting of our government & political mischief
America's middle-class is eroding due to Obama's government fraud and waste...
In Manhattan, the upscale clothing retailer Barneys will replace the bankrupt discounter Loehmann’s, whose Chelsea store closes in a few weeks.
Across the country, Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are struggling, while fine-dining chains like Capital Grille are thriving.
And at General Electric, the increase in demand for high-end dishwashers and refrigerators - dwarfs sales growth of mass-market models.
As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all.
The post-recession reality - is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking - as the top tier pulls even further away.
If there is any doubt, the speed at which companies are adapting to the new consumer landscape serves as very convincing evidence.
Within top consulting firms and among Wall Street analysts, the shift is being described with a bleakness more often associated with left-wing academics, than business experts.
“Those consumers who have capital like real estate and stocks and are in the top 20 percent are feeling pretty good,” said John G. Maxwell, head of the global retail and consumer practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In response to the upward shift in spending, PricewaterhouseCoopers clients like big stores and restaurants are chasing richer customers with a wider offering of high-end goods and services...
Or focusing on rock-bottom prices, to attract the expanding ranks of penny-pinching consumers.
“As a retailer or restaurant chain, if you’re not at the really high level or the low level, that’s a tough place to be,” Mr. Maxwell said. “You don’t want to be stuck in the middle.”
In 2012, the top 5 percent of earners were responsible for 38 percent of domestic consumption, up from 28 percent in 1995, the researchers found.
Even more striking, the current recovery has been driven almost entirely by the upper crust, according to Mr. Fazzari and Mr. Cynamon.
Since 2009, the year the recession supposedly ended, inflation-adjusted spending by this top echelon has risen 17 percent, compared with just 1 percent among the bottom 95 percent.
More broadly, about 90 percent of the overall increase in inflation-adjusted consumption between 2009 and 2012 was generated by the top 20 percent of households in terms of income, according to the study sponsored by the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
The effects of this phenomenon are now rippling through one sector after another in the American economy, from retailers and restaurants to hotels, casinos and even appliance makers.
While spending among the most affluent consumers has managed to propel the economy forward, the sharpening divide is worrying, Mr. Fazzari said.
• Middle class eroding? Ya think? What genius just now figured this out and what could possibly be the cause? Let me take a guess, maybe a bunch of commie liberals running the country!
There are two types of liberals, the very wealthy ones who do not want anyone else to achieve wealth and the others with their hand out because they are to lazy to work! They're also very generous... with someone elses money!
• It’s going to be hard to maintain strong economic growth with such a large proportion of the population falling behind. We might be able to muddle along - but can we really recover?
• Class warfare is real but it is being perpetuated upon the middle and lower classes. There will be reprisal. The nation cannot become 3rd world. This BS about wealth redistribution is garbage. The reality is; the laws that govern the economic system will determine who gets what.
• The lower class is growing, too. You see, if the middle class is disappearing, they MUST be going somewhere. If not up, then down. But, since the lower class isn't important in America, there is no data being released on this.
• We can predict that USA will be returning to an "Aristocratic" society (like old Europe) where power is held by the small elites and /or we become unstable like third world countries and become always on the edge of military or revolutionary takeovers.
Sad prediction... for short lived "American Exceptionalism.
Paying high taxes to fund Obama's inept, bloated, corrupt government is not patriotic... it's idiotic
As usual the mainstream media and the people who watch it have the story totally wrong.
Burger King is not giving US taxpayers a "raw deal" by looking to move abroad so as to save on profits which are not repatriated.
Instead, the iconic fast food burger chain is doing the moral thing by moving its tax-base outside the war-mongering, highly socialist US federal government's reach.
The liberal mainstream media will never give you this side of the story.
This obvious trend towards expatriation terrifies the talking heads. You have to come to alternative media sources - like the Friday-funnies political inserts.
The debate has been totally laughable. It is truly shocking how clueless Americans are about why these companies (and citizens) are leaving the U.S. in droves.
The U.S. is not competitive! For a country that claims to have been built on capitalism, it sure does not understand free markets.
U.S. tax policy has made the U.S. uncompetitive globally. The nation had the highest effective corporate income tax rate in the developed world.
Corporate tax is always passed on to the consumer... it is a tax on consumers.
Yet, look at all the tax slaves in the US rising up angrily...
That a company is trying to find a way - for them to be extorted for less money.