What is a Meme?

What is a Meme?

Over dinner conversation with a diverse group of thinkers - the questions was posed "what is a Meme?" I struggled with a concise definition along the lines of ... "it's an evolving mass of like-thoughts that a group of people subscribe to, add to, and riff on." What make it different from culture? um .... okay now I have to look it up and post a better definition here. Have at it ... - Brian

"A meme (pronounced /ˈmiːm/, rhyming with "cream"[1]) is a postulated unit or element of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, and is transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. (The etymology of the term relates to the Greek word mimema for "something imitated".)[2] Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes, in that they self-replicate and respond to selective pressures.[3] Memeticists have not empirically proven the existence of discrete memes or their proposed mechanism, and memes (as distinct from ideas or cultural phenomena) do not form part of the consensus of mainstream social sciences. The word was first introduced by British scientist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976) to discuss evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. He gave as examples melodies, catch-phrases, and beliefs (notably religious beliefs), clothing/fashion, and the technology of building arches.[4] Meme-theorists contend that memes evolve by natural selection (in a manner similar to that of biological evolution) through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance influencing an individual entity's reproductive success. Memes spread through the behaviors that they generate in their hosts. Memes that propagate less prolifically may become extinct, while others may survive, spread, and (for better or for worse) mutate. Theorists point out that memes which replicate the most effectively spread best, and some memes may replicate effectively even when they prove detrimental to the welfare of their hosts.[5]" find more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

Top 5 Health Insurance Companies Net Profit 2007

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS187049+15-Jul-2008+PRN20080715 HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY PROFITS IN 2007:

• UnitedHealth Group — $ 4.654 BILLION. UnitedHealth Group owns Oxford, PacifiCare, IBA, AmeriChoice, Evercare, Ovations, MAMSI and Ingenix, a healthcare data company

• WellPoint — $ 3.345 BILLION. Wellpoint owns BLUES across the US, including Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Healthy Alliance, and many others

• Aetna Inc. — $ 1.831 BILLION

• CIGNA Corp — $ 1.115 BILLION

• Humana Inc. — $ 834 million  According to the data, the five largest groups based on total revenue reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and the  California Department of Managed Health Care were WellPoint, Inc., the Kaiser Family Foundation, UnitedHealth Group, Health Care Services Corporation and Aetna.  Among them, net premiums written grew an average of nearly 6 percent even as total members declined by almost 2 percent.  Total revenue and net premiums written for the health industry as a whole grew 8.7 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively. The five largest publicly traded groups by total revenue reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission -- UnitedHealth Group, WellPoint, Inc., Aetna, Humana, Inc. and the CIGNA Corporation -- saw an average total revenue increase of 9.4 percent in 2007.

"ObamaCare Is No Big Deal" says Forbes.com

ObamaCare Is No Big Deal Michael Maiello, 08.17.09, 1:00 AM ET

When a cop and a professor got out of control, Barack Obama defused tensions with a beer in the garden. But the way health reform opponents have flown off the handle, nothing less than a fistful of Xanax and some medical marijuana could possibly calm things down. I kid, angry mob, I kid because I love! Please don't send me to your death panels, no one is seriously suggesting silencing you with a cocktail of recreational drugs. ObamaCare isn't worth all the shouting. It's not an ambitious proposal. It doesn't change health care as we know it. Not even the industries that will be most affected are that worked up about it. The health insurers won. UnitedHealth, Aetna and Cigna will maintain hegemony. Most people will still get the health insurance that their human resources managers pick for them. Pharmaceutical companies like Merck and Pfizer will not have to contend with the federal government using its purchasing power to bring down prices or with re-imported drugs from Canada. For that, the pharma lobby might accept slightly shorter patent protection so that generic drugs can be manufactured more quickly--a minor concession for which the industry won two major victories. The most radical of Obama's suggestions, that the government should provide a strong public option to private insurance is history. It's not happening. We're getting co-ops instead. Co-ops. The last co-op I saw was an organic grocery store where you had to spend hours stocking shelves and ringing up customers just for the privilege of buying produce that's cheaper and better at a farmer's market. It'll be worse with health care. The co-ops will be small, regionally based nonprofits that will be open only to people with incomes at three or four times the poverty line or for people who are not offered insurance by their employers. The co-ops would be seeded by the government but will have to be self-financing soon after. They won't take business away from private insurers because, by design, insurance company customers won't be allowed to switch to them. Even if people had a choice, they'd likely not pick the co-ops because they won't have the scale that big insurers do. Move on, angry Town Hallians, there's nothing to get hoarse over here. Everything else that's part of ObamaCare is something that industry and the government agree on. The government will expand Medicaid to cover more poor people, and it might expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Neither program threatens private insurance in any way--both are for people and families who legitimately can't afford to buy insurance. ObamaCare will end the practice of rescission where insurers drop ill customers to avoid their mounting bills. This actually fits right in with the conservative critique of health insurance and with policies enacted by George W. Bush. In the conservative analysis, there's two kinds of health care--routine stuff that people should pay for and catastrophic stuff that it's just too hard to reliably save for and is more appropriately insured against. So Bush started the Health Savings Account as a tax-free way to save for health care expenses that can be tapped to pay for routine care by people who have high-deductible catastrophic health insurance. If you agree with Bush's HSA idea, then you kind of have to agree with Obama's effort to end rescission because there's simply no point in paying for catastrophic health insurance if the insurer can drop you at the first sign of catastrophe. The Obama plan will also bar insurance companies from refusing to cover people based on pre-existing conditions (either by not offering them coverage outright or by charging ludicrous premiums). The insurance companies have no problem with this, so long as everyone is required to have insurance to stop people from staying uninsured until the day after they're seriously ill. The mandate that everyone be insured is a sticking point for some on the left and on the right. I'm sympathetic to those who believe, as Obama did in the primaries, that it's basically unenforceable, and I also sympathize with freedom lovers who think it's a bit nanny-statish. But if we're willing to subsidize purchases for those who can't afford to buy insurance, and the insurance industry is willing to end rescission and stop refusing to cover people who are already sick, then this is a good deal both for society and the shareholders of publicly traded health companies. The mandate isn't a slippery slope toward socialized medicine, it's more like a subsidy for industry, and that's probably why the insurers don't mind it. Unavoidably, there will have to be some debate about publicly subsidized health plans providing abortions. Also, some will worry that taxpayer money will buy doctor visits for illegal immigrants. Believe me, I understand how infuriating it is when the government uses taxpayer dollars in pursuit of goals that individuals might abhor. But where were the anti-health reformers when the government took my money and used it to eavesdrop on phone calls, invade Iraq and bail out AIG? The government just doesn't let taxpayers dictate how each of its citizen's dollars gets spent. That's probably a good thing, because I'd blow all my tax money on obscene art and Jay-Z tickets, and you'd wonder why there were potholes everywhere. Oh, and there will be no death panels--most people will continue to have their care rationed by bureaucrats working in insurance companies instead. Why that's more comforting to people remains a mystery. If somebody denies me access to a medical service, I really don't care if they work for Aetna or the government. Here's one thing we can agree on, left or right: After ObamaCare, our senators and congressional reps will still have better health insurance than the vast majority of citizens. If you're headed to a Town Hall, could you please scream at them about that for me? It's pretty freaking absurd. If they can't give everyone in the country access to the congressional plan, they shouldn't give themselves access to it either. By all means, be angry at the the hypocrisy of our federal representatives who will give to themselves before they think about us. But don't let ObamaCare get to you. The day after ObamaCare begins, the system as we know it will have been ... tinkered with. Nothing more. Michael Maiello is the editor of Markets and Intelligent Investing at Forbes. An Equal Shot, his weekly column, runs on Mondays.

Language Can Create the Reality It Describes

Rush Limbaugh's "Nazi" Rhetoric: Where's the Outrage?

By Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America
http://www.alternet.org/story/141911/

The Houston Chronicle editorial page wanted to be absolutely clear: References to Adolf Hitler or Nazis in American politics had no place in the "discourse of the nation," and the crude analogies were "beyond the pale." The practice was "absurd and dangerous."

The editorial page was disgusted by the rhetoric and firmly believed that dredging up the Nazi comparisons desensitized people to the pain and violence that actual Nazis unleashed in the 20th century.

The condemnation was fitting, given the fact that the country's most-listened-to talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, last week unfurled shocking rhetoric in which he compared the Obama White House to a Nazi organization and even likened Obama to Hitler. ("Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate.") The outlandish attacks seemed to be a case of Limbaugh playing catch-up to Fox News' Glenn Beck (Limbaugh = Beck Lite?), who had been pounding the noxious Nazi angle for weeks.

Of course it's depressing to watch Limbaugh drive politics into the gutter, but at least watchdogs at big-city dailies like the Houston Chronicle are calling out the really reprehensible stuff, right?

I wish.

Because here's the catch: That Chronicle editorial I mentioned above wasn't in response to Limbaugh's latest misguided hate maneuver. The scathing editorial was published on January 7, 2004, and came in response to news that two videos submitted to a MoveOn.org advertisement contest had included Hitler imagery in their 30-second attacks on President Bush. (They were just two of the 1,500 clips submitted.) MoveOn never endorsed the efforts or promoted them; the clips simply appeared on MoveOn's crowded contest website. But when news spread about their mere existence, a controversy erupted, and the liberal netroots group quickly pulled the ads, apologized for their inclusion, and denounced the use of Nazi imagery.

Despite that swift action, the Hitler-MoveOn story, fueled by Fox News (see Glenn Greenwald), became a very big deal and gobbled up days' worth of news coverage, coverage that often stressed how unrestrained and irresponsible the liberal blogosphere was (Hitler?!), to the point where the Chronicle weighed in with a stand-alone editorial on the topic.

But fast-forward to today. As Limbaugh envelops himself in Nazi rhetoric, for some reason, the Houston Chronicle's editorial page, along with so many other corporate news outlets, remains silent about the offensive Hitler comparisons. Despite the fact that Limbaugh has not apologized for his comments -- unlike MoveOn in 2004 -- and is continuing to compare the Obama White House and the Democratic Party with Nazis, many in the media don't consider it newsworthy and haven't condemned it. And more important, journalists don't show any signs of believing that the episode tells us anything about the radically unhinged nature of the right-wing media in this country today. That story's just a non-starter. Period. [Emphasis added – C.G.]

It's just Rush being Rush, right?

Over the weekend, some welcome media voices did rise up to denounce Limbaugh's rhetoric in no uncertain terms. (David Brooks: "What he's saying is insane.") But why did it take so long, and why isn't everyone making that blindingly obvious point? And why wasn't it considered big news that the de facto leader of the Republican Party went there (i.e. Nazi-ville)? He went to a place that previously was considered unconscionable and unpardonable by the press. Just ask MoveOn; it still has the scars to prove it.

Why isn't Limbaugh uniformly condemned for his words?

After all, if The New York Times is going to prop up Limbaugh as an all-powerful and deeply important figure in American politics, the way the newspaper did last summer with its worshipful Sunday magazine cover story, shouldn't it dutifully chronicle his radical and outrageous rhetoric, too?

Yet the Times in recent days has managed just a sentence or two about Limbaugh's embrace of Nazi analogies. Of course, the Times is not alone in completely downplaying the story. As of today, The Washington Post has not reported one word about Limbaugh's shocking comments. Then again, The Washington Post also gave Beck a pass when he announced that the president of the United States had a "deep-seated hatred of white people" and was a flat-out "racist." At the Post, which obsesses over the intersection of the media and politics, the jaw-dropping attack by Fox News' superstar host wasn't considered newsworthy.

That's correct: Two of the most popular and powerful conservative voices in America have recently called out Obama as a Nazi and a racist. But, sorry, at The Washington Post, that's just not news. Nothing to see here, people. Just keeping moving along.

If I could play assignment editor for a moment here: The political story of the year continues to be the unhinged radical-right response to Obama's inauguration and the naked attempt to dehumanize and delegitimize him through a nonstop smear campaign sponsored by the GOP Noise Machine. The misguided movement breaks all kinds of taboos in American politics, as well as in the press, and is redefining our political culture -- for the worse. Yet the press continues to play dumb.

So spooked are journalists by decades' worth of "liberal media bias" attacks that they refuse to connect the glaringly obvious dots on display. They refuse to drill down into the rancid undercurrent that's behind the Obama-is-a-Nazi dementia, the town hall mini-mobs that are wreaking havoc across the country, and the bizarre birther conspiracy theory. The three right-wing phenomena are all related, and they all revolve around a runaway hatred of Obama (as well as the federal government), and they're all being fueled by the Noise Machine, especially Fox News and Limbaugh, both of which no longer recognize common decency, let alone journalistic standards.

Yet instead of putting Limbaugh on the receiving end of well-deserved scrutiny and scorn, rather than turning his comments into a political firestorm, the press plays dumb and actually goes out of its way to legitimize the worst offenders of the GOP's hate brigade.

And so that's why we saw ABC invite mini-mob cheerleader Michelle Malkin onto its Sunday morning talk show and sit her across from Pulitzer Prize-winning writers. Because in the eyes of elites at ABC, Malkin, whose job is basically to blog any semi-coherent smear campaign she can cook up, and who told Fox News viewers last week that health care reform "puts a discount on the lives of elderly people," deserves a place at the mainstream table. She's a very serious and important person.

And instead of examining the obviously dangerous implications of somebody like Michael Savage attracting a large and loyal radio audience as he belches out his hatred for women, liberals, gays, Arabs and other minorities, the prestigious New Yorker recently published something of a Savage valentine, portraying him as "weird" and "fun" and just completely misunderstood by liberals who worry too much about Savage's "addictive," jazz-inspired riffs.

Of course, just days after the profile appeared on newsstands, Savage hosted an interview with a delusional leader of the birther movement, and together they hatched a plan to unleash even more mini-mobs to ransack town hall forums and drive the birther message, all in hopes of forcing the president out of office. (Was that the "fun" The New Yorker had in mind when it toasted Savage in its pages?)

Because the corporate press has ignored the simmering hate wave on the right and let pass almost without comment the kind of outbursts that, if ever were to appear on liberal websites, would be denounced around the clock by media elites, it's not surprising that Limbaugh pretty much gets a pass for his Nazi crusade. (Do I even have to mention that the conservative press has been almost comically hypocritical about the Nazi issue? In other words, Bush + Hitler = bad. Obama + Hitler = crickets.)

Want some concrete proof that the press has treated this media Nazi story differently than the Hitler-MoveOn kerfuffle in 2004? Consider the fact that The Indianapolis Star published letters to the editor about the Hitler-MoveOn story on January 7, 9, 10, 11, and 19 back in 2004. To date, however, not a single word has been published on that same Star page about Limbaugh's creeping Nazi obsession.

Here's a list of big-city newspapers that covered the story in January of 2004, according to Nexis (and the number of separate articles, columns, or letters that referenced the story):

  • Indianapolis Star (5)
  • The New York Sun (5)
  • The Washington Times (5)
  • The Kansas City Star (3)
  • The New York Times (3)
  • News & Record of Greensboro, North Carolina (3)
  • San Antonio Express-News (3)
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune (3)
  • The Boston Globe (2)
  • New York Daily News (2)
  • Houston Chronicle (2)
  • New York Post (2)
  • The Arizona Republic (1)
  • Boston Herald (1)
  • The Denver Post (1)
  • Hartford Courant (1)
  • Los Angeles Times (1)
  • The Modesto Bee (1)
  • San Francisco Chronicle (1)
  • The Seattle Times (1)
  • St. Petersburg Times (1)
  • Rocky Mountain News (1)
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer (1)
  • Washington Post (1)
  • Newsday (1)
  • Richmond Times Dispatch (1)
  • Atlantic Journal-Constitution (1)
  • Orange County Register (1 )

Total big-city newspaper mentions: 54.

To date, here's the complete list of big-city newspapers that have covered the Limbaugh-Nazi story:

  • The Boston Globe (1)
  • The New York Times (1)
  • New York Daily News (1)
  • Denver Post (1)
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal (1)
  • Boston Herald (1)

Total big-city newspaper mentions: 6.

How Not to Use Twitter if You Own a Business

An example of how never to use Twitter and how never to use Twitter if you have a business period.

Alright. You own a business, and you think to yourself, "this Social Media thing has legs ... it looks promising. I got to get on the Twitters and the Facebooks to reach my audience." So you do your homework and figure out what your business presence is going to be. You define your company point of view, the voice you'll write in, 4 or 5 topics you'll always write about (1 being your business) - man you got this brand thing down! Blah blah blah ...

This blog forks here.

I make no claim to be the oh so common "social media expert". I'm just a guy working at a hosting company. Simple. I also like using Twitter to connect with information flows and thoughts from my neighborhood and the world.

Last week I began to see a firestorm of tweets coming from peeps in the UK where they were attacking and defending against some Twitterer named @blankstudent.  After taking a look at the twitstreams, it became clear that the BlankStudent was 5 kinds of mean and dumb at the same time. I mean flat-out stupefyingly ugly. Check them out yourself at http://twitter.com/blankstudent several 100 consecutive tweets starting Aug 2 - 6.  Be careful, the fella is a mean dog. Like old Yeller when he got rabies, approach him with caution. He's certainly a bad egg, and with Twitter and social media word gets around.

Here's few PG13 tweets out of 100+ from blankstudent >>> mind-numbingly derogatory towards women. It goes down hill, way down hill:

@juliansimpson washing up, ironing, and shopping can you tell me anything else enlighten me

to this ....

@Nagem986 now go get me a coffee and be quicker take the heels off32 minutes ago

and then

@eBeth You have nothing but cleaning to do your life is so easy pole and brush. Now go and get me some food.

 

Oh, and he has a business. Good luck with that pal. Here's a link to his terms of service. Violates the terms of use he requires his customers to follow. What a genius. http://www.lazystudent.co.uk/disclaimer.html

If you have a business and you want to spew hate well ... as we say in Texas bless your heart (you're a moron).

Last point: Never argue with an idiot. He'll bring you down to his level and win because he's got more experience.

and

If you roll in the mud with pigs - you're gonna get dirty.

Friends forgive me for getting down into the dirt this time; I just want to ensure that you avoid this particular swine.

sin duda - Juanhijo

The Arc of Celebrity in the Post-modern Digital Age

The recent deaths of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Billy Mays created the usual hyper-slop of television coverage. It was coupled with the new reverberating social media echo chamber that reached a deafening cacophony of inanity. Some are calling it the Jackson effect. Twitter tracked 100K tweets per hour at its peak. Google mistook the onslought of Jackson searches and web traffic as a DDoS attack. The icon-loving mass-media mob culminated in a Lottery for tickets to Jackson's funeral. (If you don't understand why The Lottery is ironically spooky read a little Shirley Jackson re: public stonings.) This is the first of 100’s of celebrity icon deaths that the hyperventilating media will bury us in.   

Is the media coverage driven by the fact that Jackson was an instrumental force in people's lives? An outsider to our culture looking on would assume that Jacko was a god, or a deified hero. In reality, Michael Jackson was a terrific musician and dancer, who reached the pinnacle of his career almost 30 years ago. He was a man who seemed to struggle with identity in public; a man who's quirks bordered on shocking; a man with an unseemly fetish for youth and young people. No this man was no statesman, no god, no oracle.

Here is the root cause of the media feeding frenzy in my estimation: He was a man who lived nearly his entire life in public.

The private became public - the line between the two blurred by analogue and now digital media. By 1960, 90% of Americans had televisions. The saturation of the internet into family homes took less than 15 years. One of the by-products of the entrenched mass media into our culture is a new Iconic Celebrity status. “Always On” broadcasting and the speeding up of communication velocity and frequency over the last 50 years brings people into our lives who would never have been there previously (think 1910).

The medium is the message. 

The impact of living in a real life Truman Show is more powerful than the actual outputs of the artist. We ignore that he was an “alleged” a child predator. Pick a foible, we ignore it. The "we of society" love him because he is familiar. We love him because he is an icon in our mental maps. We love him because his public living for 43+ years runs parallel to our own personal history. We love him because we've seen him, we “know” him.

The electronic mass media creates 1000’s of iconic celebrities in our culture, transforming them into guideposts for how we see the world, meter our history, and relate to our own lives. First kiss songs, random movie lines, “didja see that Seinfeld where …”. Celebrity icons act as comfortable fixed points of reference that anchor the unpredictability of living. It is a by product of what Marshall McLuhan called hot and cold communication mediums.

Communication mediums alter and shape cognitive organization.

The icon of “Michael Jackson” is interchangeable with 1,000's of other celebrity icons already rooted into our mental maps. We see celebrity icons created, ascend, peak, and decline – sometimes all in a week. Now that mass media is over 50 years old, we will witness the final denouements of more Celebrity Icons as their lives come to an end, natural and unnatural. The Jackson Effect is not over, it is only just beginning and accelerating.

Independence Day Revisted

us_declarationTHE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
In Congress, July 4, 1776,

THE UNANIMOUS DECLARATION OF THE THIRTEEN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws of Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the Lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

JOHN HANCOCK, President

Attested, CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary

New Hampshire
JOSIAH BARTLETT (My ancestor; a doctor and by
all accounts a curmudgeon to
be proud of.
WILLIAM WHIPPLE
MATTHEW THORNTON

Massachusetts-Bay
SAMUEL ADAMS
JOHN ADAMS
ROBERT TREAT PAINE
ELBRIDGE GERRY

Rhode Island
STEPHEN HOPKINS
WILLIAM ELLERY

Connecticut
ROGER SHERMAN
SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
WILLIAM WILLIAMS
OLIVER WOLCOTT

Georgia
BUTTON GWINNETT
LYMAN HALL
GEO. WALTON

Maryland
SAMUEL CHASE
WILLIAM PACA
THOMAS STONE
CHARLES CARROLL
OF CARROLLTON

Virginia
GEORGE WYTHE
RICHARD HENRY LEE
THOMAS JEFFERSON
BENJAMIN HARRISON
THOMAS NELSON, JR.
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE
CARTER BRAXTON.

New York
WILLIAM FLOYD
PHILIP LIVINGSTON
FRANCIS LEWIS
LEWIS MORRIS

Pennsylvania
ROBERT MORRIS
BENJAMIN RUSH
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
JOHN MORTON
GEORGE CLYMER
JAMES SMITH
GEORGE TAYLOR
JAMES WILSON
GEORGE ROSS

Delaware
CAESAR RODNEY
GEORGE READ
THOMAS M'KEAN

North Carolina
WILLIAM HOOPER
JOSEPH HEWES
JOHN PENN

South Carolina
EDWARD RUTLEDGE
THOMAS HEYWARD, JR.
THOMAS LYNCH, JR.
ARTHUR MIDDLETON

New Jersey
RICHARD STOCKTON
JOHN WITHERSPOON
FRANCIS HOPKINS
JOHN HART
ABRAHAM CLARK

Folksy but true: Rules for surviving in post modern business

5 Minute Management Course

Lesson 1:

A man is getting into the shower, just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands David, the next-door neighbor. Before she says a word, David says, 'I'll give you $800 to drop that towel.' After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of David.. After a few seconds, David hands her $800 and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, ' Who was that?' 'It was David, the next door neighbor,' she replies. 'Great,' the husband says, 'did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?'

Moral of the story:
If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2:

A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg. The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg. The nun said, 'Father, remember Psalm 129?' The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.   The nun once again said, 'Father, remember Psalm 129?' The priest apologized 'Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.' Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way. On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129.  It said, 'Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.'

Moral of the story:
If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson 3:

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out.  The Genie says, 'I'll give each of you just one wish.' 'Me first! Me first!' says the admin clerk..  'I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.'  Poof! She's gone. 'Me next! Me next!' says the sales rep. 'I want to be in  Hawaii  , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas, and the love of my life.'  Poof! He's gone.

'OK, you're up,' the Genie says to the manager.  The manager says, 'I want those two back in the office after lunch.'

Moral of the story:
Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 4

An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, 'Can I also sit like you and do nothing?'  The eagle answered: 'Sure, why not.' So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story:
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 5

A turkey was chatting with a bull.  'I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree' sighed the turkey, 'but I haven't got the energy.' 'Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?' replied the bull.  It's full of nutrients..' The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story:
Bull Shit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there...

Lesson 6

A little bird was flying south for the winter.  It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.  A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Moral of the story:
(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.

(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.

(3) And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut! 

THUS ENDS THE 5-MINUTE MANAGEMENT COURSE.

21ST CENTURY PRINCIPLES FOR SMART GROWTH

Short term growth where the objective is to quickly extract resources or capital is a short sighted dead-end. Let's hope the conjunction of utility computing, the social network, and the rapid conversion to Cloud flatten out the relationships between consumer and business; fostering new efficiencies and tighter collaboration.  A long view of business relationships goes beyond quarterly gains, and monthly quotas, what Rick Schaefer and Rick Cummings teach - It is always a business of people, and not parts.

http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/haque/2009/01/davos_discussing_a_depression.html

1. Outcomes, not income. Dumb growth is about incomes - are we richer today than we were yesterday? Smart growth is about people, and how much better or worse off they are - not merely how much junk an economy can churn out. Smart growth measures people's outcomes - not just their incomes. Are people healthier, fitter, smarter, happier? Economics that measure financial numbers, we've learned the hard way, often fail to be meaningful, except to the quants among us. It is tangible human outcomes that are the arbiters of authentic value creation.

2. Connections, not transactions. Dumb growth looks at what's flowing through the pipes of the global economy: the volume of trade. Smart growth looks at how pipes are formed, and why some pipes matter more than others: the quality of connections. It doesn't just look at transactions at the global, regional, or national level -- how much world trade has grown, for example -- but looks at how local and global relationships power invention and innovation. Without Silicon Valley's relationships powering the development of personal computing and the internet, for example, the volume of trade between Taiwan, Japan, and China, would be a fraction of what it is. Smart growth seeks to amplify connection and community -- because the goal isn't just to trade, but to co-create and collaborate.

3. People, not product. The next time you hear an old dude talking about "product", let him know the 20th century ended a decade ago. Smart growth isn't driven by pushing product, but by the skill, dedication, and creativity of people. What's the difference? Everything. Globalization driven by McJobs deskilling the world, versus globalization driven by entrepreneurship, venture economies, and radical innovation. People not product means a renewed focus on labour mobility, human capital investment, labour market standards, and labour market efficiency. Smart growth isn't powered by capital dully seeking the lowest-cost labour -- but by giving labour the power to seek the capital with they can create, invent, and innovate the most.

4. Creativity, not productivity. Uh-oh: Creativity is an economic four-letter word. Why? Because it's hard to measure, manage, and model. So economists focus on productivity instead -- and the result is dumb growth. Smart growth focuses on economic creativity - because creativity is what let us know that competition is creating new value, instead of just shifting old value around. What is economic creativity? How many new industries, markets, categories, and segments an economy can consistently create. Think China's gonna save the world? Think again: it's economically productive, but it's far from economically creative. Smart growth is creative -- not merely productive.