The Internet Makes It Easy For You To Profit Off Of A Resistance Movement, Ask Me How!

As Occupy Wall Street balloons beyond the Big Apple to include protests and meetings in over 800 cities around the world, there’s one question on everyone’s lips: “How can we make some money off of this?”

Welcome to the Ape Con Myth guide to starting a business off of people pissed off about business!

As any entrepreneur will tell you, the first step is always the same: start a grassroots political movement.  It might sound difficult, but all you need is one page, some images and a little text.  Call it something like The Occupy Party of the United States, and you’re done.

[This is why stock photography should be a regulated industry.]

Okay, almost done.  One site can be disavowed easily.  Besides, what’s a national movement if it’s not everywhere?!  It’s time to buy some domains!

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.  Use the same content on each site to save time.  Then, all you need are ads.  There’s no need to research your audience, just focus on known weaknesses, such as what suckers people in Corpus Christi, Texas are for the San Francisco Ballet.

And you can’t go wrong with a mix of dating and criminal record website ads to even it out.  Remember, these protest kids love irony.  Let them soak in it.  They’ll click through.

What’s the catch?  There is none.  You can start this business in Australia if you want.  This thing is international.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”   …  Abe, you had me at ‘you can fool some of the people all of the time’.

If you’re interested in what’s happening, stick to the real thing:  Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Together

Would a Verizon Wireless Rose Smell as Sweet?

If it wasn’t for advertising, we wouldn’t have television, newspapers… or Google, to name a few things.  But we would have music.  And places to listen to live music.  As the most abstract of the arts that also happens to be enjoyed by pretty much everyone, music is different.  Not all of it, but certainly the best of it.  What isn’t different is the Verizon Wireless Music Center and the Verizon Wireless Music Center.  While far from alone, Verizon is really into putting their names on places…

What kind of musical experience are you going to have at a Verizon Wireless facility?  Is something lost, at least conceptually, when a brand is attached?  I don’t know, can you take the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival at the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre seriously?  (Take what seriously?  …  The mayhem!)

Here’s Where Trusting S&P Would Really Come In Handy

In case you left the office on Friday for a weekend in the woods and are wondering why the sky is falling this fine Monday morn, Standard & Poor’s has downgraded the long-term sovereign credit rating of the United States from AAA to AA+.


What does it all mean?  How did it come to this?  As usual, the answer depends on who you ask, which might mean no one really knows, but who would be qualified to say?

The problem with taking this as seriously as one might was summed up by Ezra Klein in the Washington Post:

Standard Poor’s didn’t just miss the bubble. They helped cause it. They were paid by the banks to award their AAA-stamp of approval to all manner of financial products that were anything but riskless — which, ironically, makes them an accessory to the resulting explosion of U.S. debt. You’ve heard the old joke about chutzpah being a young man who murders his parents and then pleads for leniency because he’s an orphan? S&P has chutzpah. All the credit-rating agencies do. It’s built into their business, which requires them to assess the stability of markets they helped crash. It’s long been my position that the credit-rating agency model is broken and, at times, dangerous, and investors need to pay less attention to their pronouncements.

It makes it feel like (bad) theater, or simply a publicity stunt, but so have the actions of the U.S. government, as S&P pointed out:

The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,  and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.

Sure, it’s no longer clear who Congress is representing, but S&P shouldn’t be the source of the complaint.

As far as Ape Con Myth is concerned though, the major rating agencies showed their lack of judgment on the day they picked their names, which are all right up there with Okay Cleaners and Three Star Muffler.

Standard – 1b – sound and usable but not of top quality
Poor – 2A – less than adequate
Moody – 2 – subject to moods : temperamental
Fitch – 1 – polecat (any of several carnivorous mammals of the weasel family)

In summation:

Dear Everyone,

If you want theater, hire more playwrights.

Ape Con Myth

P.S.  Perhaps actors should completely replace politicians.  They know the rule: The show must go on!

Regarding Your Lack of Privacy Online

posted in: Commentary, Features, Input, Smog 0

What is a bigger waste of time: Surfing the internet or keeping track of what each individual surfs on the internet?

Tucked quietly away in Section 4 of H.R. 1981, a provision lurks that turns what should have been a no-brainer bill both parties could agree on into a way to track every U.S. internet users’ activity for the last 18 months. And despite the recent spree of data breaches in the both the public and private sectors, subsection (b) amusingly calls for this data to be stored securely.

No worries if you don’t have anything to hide?  You are five steps from having something to hide:
1. Pick any of your social/political/religious beliefs.
2. Note that there are people out there who think you are wrong.
3. Consider the odds those people could attain a position of power in your life (family, boss, police, government).
4. Image those people getting really pushy about things they don’t like.
5. Go visit a website about your belief.

We all have a reason to hide if the wrong people are looking.  And why stop with internet activity?  Storage is cheap, let’s make the phone company record every conversation.  While we’re at it, you’re probably sitting in front of a video camera reading these very words.  Mind if we record your expression for posterity?

Say cheese.  Then go tell your representative this bill takes one giant leap too far.

On Misleading Mantras

Though this op-ed highlights the great disconnect between what young people are told and the very different life waiting for them as “adults”, this phenomenon is far from new.  Also not new is the implication that we shouldn’t have gotten everyone’s hopes up in the first place, as opposed to perhaps admitting that our so-called adulthood is often nothing more than people getting backed into an economic corner where our “calling” is replaced with… whatever can pay the bills.  Hopefully.

[Excerpts from the David Brooks’ It’s Not About You – NYTimes]

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