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Archive for June, 2011

ScienceAdvocates FW: SAT/ACT Summer Classes @Ebenezer Church, July 9 – Aug 6, 2011 2 Attachments

Posted by jcmaziquemd on June 24, 2011

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life lessons from the very wealthy

Posted by jcmaziquemd on June 21, 2011

life lessons from the very wealthy

By Barry Ritholtz, Published: June 18 | Updated: Friday, June 17, 9:45 PM

Money won’t buy happiness, but it will pay the salaries
of a large research staff to study the problem.
Bill Vaughan

Please excuse the very wealthy for feeling a bit under siege lately.

Taxes for the top 2 percent are very likely to go higher. Uncle Sam’s share of capital gains and dividend income might rise, and means-testing for Social Security and Medicare is probable. In the United States, the very rich hold most of that wealth in dollars, which are worth increasingly less. As income inequality has grown dramatically in the nation, the very wealthy are blamed for all manner of social ills.

Rather than pile on the wealthy, this week I’d like to approach the subject of money a little more philosophically. There are surprising insights to be gleaned from the experiences of the very wealthy regarding their investments and experience with wealth.

Some context: In my day job, I come into contact with very high-net-worth individuals. These include young technologists with modest portfolios to families that measure their wealth in nine and 10 figures. For the math-averse, that’s hundreds of millions to billions of dollars.

Over the years, I have had some fascinating conversations with people who have hospitals and graduate schools named after them. I’d like to share some of the things I have learned from these folks.

1. Having money is better than not having money.

Sure, this may be obvious, but let’s get it out of the way upfront. Money may not buy you happiness, but it buys many other important things. Like financial security, excellent health care, education, travel and a comfortable retirement. In a word: freedom.

2. Don’t become “cash rich” and “time poor.”

Devoting all of your waking hours to making money is a problem, especially in professions with a partnership fast track. Lawyers, doctors, bankers and accountants can get so caught up in the competitive nature of their jobs that they lose touch with their family. Any semblance of a normal personal life disappears, and a very unhealthy balance between work and home can develop.

Work is the process of exchanging your time for money. Remember: What you do with your time is far more meaningful than the goods you accumulate with your money. If you are working so much to become rich but you ignore your spouse and miss seeing your kids grow up, you are actually poorer than you realize.

3. Memories are better than material objects.

You may be surprised to learn that among the monied set, expensive cars, yachts, houses, jewelry and watches come at the end of the list.

Their priorities? Memories and accomplishments. This was especially true when it came to family. Toys matter less than good times.

The rule of diminishing returns is a harsh mistress with luxury goods. Do you really think $100,000 audio speakers sound 20 times better than a pair of $5,000 speakers? (They don’t). Is a $250,000 sports car five times faster than a $50,000? (It is not). These days, you can buy quite a lovely home for $1,000,000 (and much less in the country’s interior). Those $10,000,000 manses are not 10 times roomier. Anyone who has owned a $10,000 Rolex will tell you that a $39 Casio keeps better time.

When discussing the benefits of wealth, I have heard again and again about amazing experiences, family get-togethers, vacations, shows, sporting events, weddings and other events as these people’s most important life experiences. While these things cost money, nearly every family can afford reasonable versions of them.

4. Watch your “lifestyle leverage,” especially early in your career.

Those partnership-track careers? The dirty little secret: Those firms love to get their young employees leveraged up. They will even help you get that way, co-signing mortgages for big houses or even directly lending you the cash on favorable terms.

They encourage up-and-comers to spend extravagantly; they extend lines of credit to their rising stars. You need a big house with a jumbo mortgage; you cannot pull up to a business meeting in anything less than the best luxury car. It is part of their corporate culture.

Isn’t that nice of them?

Not really. The big banks, investment shops, law firms and accountants have learned how profitable it is to have “golden handcuffs” on their best employees. These highly-leveraged, debt-laden wage slaves will work harder, put in longer hours and stay with the firm longer than those debt-free workers.

Besides, overleveraged employees do not leave to work at a new start-up or a smaller, more family friendly competitor.

You recent graduates: Remember this when you are offered credit on generous terms. Your leverage is your detriment.

5. Having goals is incredibly important.

I have a friend who is a serial entrepreneur. He was a board member in a household-name dot-com from the 1990s. He sold his stock — too early, I warned at the time — for $30 million. (It would have been worth $90 million a few months later.)

But that didn’t matter to him — he planned to use that money for his next company, which he promptly built and sold for $250 million. He rolled that l into his third venture, which he cashed out of for a cool $1 billion. His long-term goal, and the ability to execute that vision, are what led him to incredible success.

He once said something that has stayed with me: “I am always surprised at how many people have no goals. They simply let life’s river flow them downstream.”

There is a Latin phrase associated with military actions: “Amat victoria curam.“ It translates as “Victory loves careful preparation.” You would be amazed at what you can accomplish with planning.

6. You must live in the here and now.

Goals are important, but don’t miss out on what is happening today.

This is especially true among entrepreneurs, corporate execs and Type A personalities. Do not let dreams of that mansion on a hill prevent you from enjoying the home you live in.

This is an area that can easily veer into cliche. Rather than risk that, I’ll simply remind you of what John Lennon sang in “Beautiful Boy”: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

7. It helps to be incredibly lucky.

I am struck by how many very wealthy people I know — especially tech entrepreneurs – have expressed being grateful for their good luck. Again and again, I have heard the phrase: “Being smart is good, but being lucky is better.”

Rather than leave you with the impression that success is simply a roll of the dice, I am compelled to remind you what the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger was reputed to have said: “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”

I don’t know whether it’s better to be smart or lucky, but I would suggest that making the most of the opportunities takes more than just dumb luck.

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Blacks and Financial Status

Posted by jcmaziquemd on June 21, 2011

http://www.prudential.com/media/managed/aa/AAStudy.pdf

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20 June 2011

Posted by jcmaziquemd on June 20, 2011

It’s the birthday of Charles Waddell Chesnutt (books by this author), born on this day in Cleveland (1858). His parents were free mixed-race Southerners who left Fayetteville, North Carolina, for Ohio. One of his grandfathers had been a slaveholder, and Chesnutt looked white, but he always identified as black. His family moved back to Fayetteville when Charles was eight, and the boy went to a Freedmen’s Bureau school for the children of freed slaves. He became a teacher, and then principal of the State Colored Normal School in Fayetteville, which trained black teachers.

In 1880, when he was 22 years old, he wrote in his journal: “I think I must write a book. I am almost afraid to undertake a book so early and with so little experience in composition. But it has been a cherished dream, and I feel an influence that I cannot resist calling me to the task.”

It took Chesnutt a few years to get there. He was an established and respected citizen in Fayetteville, but in 1883 he decided that he didn’t have much of a future as a black writer in the hostile post-Civil War South. So he moved back to Cleveland with his wife and children. He passed the state bar exams and set up a stenography business, and in his spare time he wrote stories. In 1887, he published his first short story, “The Goophered Grapevine,” in The Atlantic Monthly. He was the first black fiction writer to be published in The Atlantic — although the magazine assumed that he was white until he informed them several years, and many stories, later.

In 1891, Chesnutt sent a manuscript to Houghton Mifflin, who wrote back: “A writer must have acquired a good deal of vogue through magazine publication before the issue of a collection of his stories in book form is advisable.” Apparently he had not acquired enough vogue, because his manuscript was rejected. He continued to publish stories, and in 1899 Houghton Mifflin finally released his first book, The Conjure Woman. Most of the Conjure Woman stories described clever slaves outwitting their cruel masters, and they were written in dialect, filled with supernatural events. The Conjure Woman was incredibly successful, and Chesnutt was welcomed as a major new voice in American fiction.

Chesnutt was trying to write a critique of racism, but it was easy to lose sight of that in the stories. William Dean Howells, one of his champions, wrote about The Conjure Woman: “As far as his race is concerned, or his sixteenth part of a race, it does not greatly matter whether Mr. Chesnutt invented their motives, or found them, as he feigns, among his distant cousins of the Southern cabins. In either case, the wonder of their beauty is the same; and whatever is primitive and sylvan or campestral in the reader’s heart is touched by the spells thrown on the simple black lives in these enchanting tales.”

Chesnutt switched gears for his next book, The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color-Line (1899), realistic stories of life in Ohio and North Carolina, featuring middle-class, light-skinned, mixed-race characters. The Wife of His Youth was also a big seller, and Chesnutt decided to quit his stenography business and become a full-time writer.

Chesnutt followed up these collections with three novels: The House Behind the Cedars(1900), The Marrow of Tradition (1901), and The Colonel’s Dream (1905). They sold poorly — readers considered them too angry and radical. So just six years after publishing his first book, Chesnutt’s literary career was finished. He went back to his stenography business, worked as an activist, and published an occasional essay or short story.

He wrote: “We speak of the mysteries of inanimate nature. The workings of the human heart are the profoundest mystery of the universe. One moment they make us despair of our kind, and the next we see in them the reflection of the divine image.”

And, “Impossibilities are merely things of which we have not learned, or we do not wish to happen.”

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haiti earthquake

Posted by jcmaziquemd on June 11, 2011

http://www.bostonreview.net/BR36.3/junot_diaz_apocalypse_haiti_earthquake.php

jcm has used our Tell-a-Friend form to send you this note.

We look forward to your visit!

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MedPage Today News: Bottled Water Use High Among Minorities

Posted by jcmaziquemd on June 11, 2011

:
Minority parents are disproportionately more likely to give their children bottled water rather than water from the kitchen tap, a crosssectional survey found.

Click here for the full story: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/GeneralPediatrics/26880

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Worldwide: A Day’s Worth Of Food In Calories

Posted by jcmaziquemd on June 9, 2011

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Check out Bargaineering : Kids and Money: Teach Your Teen About Investing

Posted by jcmaziquemd on June 8, 2011

I recommend this page : Kids and Money: Teach Your Teen About Investing. You can read it on : http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/kids-money-teach-teen-investing.html

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2011 Black Weblog Awards Finalists

Posted by jcmaziquemd on June 5, 2011

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Art Spolight: Elizabeth Catlett, “First an Outcast, Then an Inspiration”

Posted by jcmaziquemd on June 5, 2011

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Art Spolight: Elizabeth Catlett, “First an Outcast, Then an Inspiration”

via theblackbottom by gbayardIII on 6/4/11

Courtesy of Reginald and Aliya Browne

“Stargazer” (2007) by Elizabeth Catlett.

By CELIA McGEE

Published: April 21, 2011

While we are featuring the works of young, up-and-coming artists, this is an opportunity to get to know one of Americas most noted artist. Ms Catlett is the premier artist of our time and the exhibition which seeks to display works of new artists that are inspired by her is a fresh and exciting idea. Talking with her a bit last year in regards to the authenticity of a 1939 lithograph she did, Ms Catlett commented on how she was looking forward to this show while chastising those people forging her artwork George Bayard of Bayard Art Consulting said.

By CELIA McGEE

IN the fall of 1932, fresh out of high school, Elizabeth Catlett showed up at the School of Fine and Applied Arts of the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, having been awarded a prestigious full scholarship there. But she was turned away when it was discovered that she was “colored,” and she returned home to Washington to attend Howard University.

Elizabeth Catlett

Seventy-six years later, the institution that had rejected her, now Carnegie Mellon University, awarded her an honorary doctorate in recognition of a lifetime’s work as a sculptor and printmaker. By then, after decades of living and making art in Mexico, she had become a legendary figure to many in the art world, to the point where some were even surprised to learn she was still alive.

But not everyone, and certainly not the far younger, primarily African-American artists included along with her in the show “Stargazers: Elizabeth Catlett in Conversation With 21 Contemporary Artists,” on view now at the Bronx Museum of Art. “A lot of people like her are just kind of myths,” said Hank Willis Thomas, whose gold-chain and cubic zirconia nod to both the abolitionists of the 19th century and to rappers, “Ode to CMB: Am I Not a Man and a Brother,” is in the show and shares with much of Ms. Catlett’s work a concern with the history of slavery and “the black body as commodity,” he said. “A lot of her work,” he added, “especially from the ’60s and ’70s, could pass as art of today.”

Ms. Catlett, now 96, is known for her work’s deep engagement with social issues and the politics of gender, race and deprivation. She started down this road during the Depression, when she participated in the Federal Art Project, and followed it consistently into the era of the activist Black Arts movement in the ’60s and beyond. Which is not to say she has focused on message at the expense of form: she prepared for her M.F.A. under Grant Wood at the University of Iowa (“he was so kind,” she recalled recently, and he always addressed her as “Miss Catlett”) and also studied in New York with the Modernist sculptor Ossip Zadkine and at the Art Students League, developing her own brand of figurative modernism in bronze, stone, wood, drawings and prints.

Though that style has often been compared to Henry Moore’s, her work has always been grounded in her perspective as a black woman and artist, ruminating on communal struggle, pride, resistance, resilience and history, particularly through her depictions of the female form.

The curator of the Bronx Museum show, Isolde Brielmaier, has juxtaposed 31 of Ms. Cattlet’s works with pieces by 21 other artists — less to point out her direct influences on them, Ms. Brielmaier said, than to explore resonances between the older artist and the younger ones. The idea, she added, was to make the show about “what all the artists are thinking, and to look at the past and the future.”

Ms. Catlett herself, who is back in New York this week for a panel discussion about “Stargazers” at the museum on Friday, demurs about her influence on later generations. (She is, however, clear about the most important advice she can offer an artist, she said during her previous visit to the city, in the fall: “Never turn down a show, no matter where it is.”) She has lived much of her life, after all, on the margins of an art history she and other artists of color were not invited to help write for a very long time.

In 1947, while on a fellowship in Mexico, she married the artist Francisco Mora, whom she had met through the Taller de Gráfica Popular printmaking collective. Their left-wing political associations did not endear her to the State Department, which declared her an undesirable alien when she took Mexican citizenship in 1962. This, on top of Ms. Cattlet’s race, contributed to her relative obscurity in the mainstream American art world.

Close

The photographer Carrie Mae Weems, a generation older than most of the other artists in “Stargazers,” recalled encountering Ms. Catlett “through reading on my own,” in the late 1960s. “She wasn’t taught to me in class, as most black artists were not taught to me in class, and most women artists.”

The show gets its title from Ms. Catlett’s black-marble “Stargazer” (2007), a reclining female figure that manages to feel just as powerfully assertive as her standing red-cedar sculpture “Homage to My Young Black Sisters” of 1968, with its black-power salute. The reversal of the traditional passivity of the odalisque figure, said the Moroccan-born artist Lalla Essaydi, who upends the convention in her own work, “is definitely something I quote.” And Ms. Catlett’s more militantly upright sculptures seem to reappear in Sanford Biggers’ monumental woodcut “Afro Pick” (2005), and in Roberto Visani’s recycling of guns and other weapons into works that are street-wise, loaded with history and totemic.

In keeping with Ms. Brielmaier’s aim for the show, the impact is not always a matter of visible influence. Mickalene Thomas, for example, said her intricately bedizened paintings and pattern-happy photographs do not draw on Ms. Catlett’s work in any obvious way, but that “she’s been very inspirational.”

“I like how her draftsmanship and sculpting have informed the political impact of images she created,” Ms. Thomas said, allowing work created with a specific ideological bent to nevertheless “take the African American experience and make it universal.”

Another artist in the show, Xaviera Simmons, also talked about her intense admiration for Ms. Catlett’s formal skills, and for the fact that she is “still working in her 90s, and making art that’s so technically savvy and stunning.”

“That’s kind of diva,” Ms. Simmons said.

Ms. Simmons is friends with Ms. Catlett’s granddaughters (one of whom, Naima Mora, is known to students of another discipline as a winner on “America’s Next Top Model”). When Ms. Brielmaier decided to include her large-scale photograph “One Day and Back Then (Seated),” which shows Ms. Simmons sitting in the type of rattan chair made famous by Huey P. Newton and wearing little more than black paint and an Afro wig, “I was a little afraid of offending my best friends’ grandmother,” she said. But then again, she thought, Ms. Catlett “has her nudes” — and ultimately, “we all work in the same tradition.”

Things you can do from here:

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