Visit me at (Click here for link) I have "moved" some older posts to this site.

A Quick Blog Update

Only the title of this song - "Time for Change" - has anything to do with this post. Mostly, I chose this song because this blues band of young siblings is fantastic.

Since I started this blog about nine months ago, I have had a lighter teaching schedule than normal. Outside of the drop in income, it’s been nice having a lighter load, and I have used some of my extra time writing like crazy on this blog. But my full schedule for the fall started this week, and I will be teaching seven classes at three different schools. So free time may be a bit scarcer, and 10-12 posts a month will be a tough pace to maintain.

About a month or two ago, I noticed that the number of visitors to this blog was dropping a bit anyway, so I started reevaluating my online writing strategy. I then discovered “Hubpages,” a social networking site and writing platform designed for people like me who are writing as a hobby and/or want to make some money from their efforts. For various reasons, I think that it might be a better platform than this blog for reaching a larger audience. So I’ve been going back through some of my old posts, making some updates and revisions here and there, and posting them on “Hubpages” to see what happens. Like with blogging, it takes some time to let people know that I exist, so it’s too early to know if this will lead anywhere. But as I invest my newly limited time revising, posting, and promoting the older material, it leads less time for brand new stuff.

So the moral of the story is that I will be posting things on this blog, at least for a while, somewhat less often than in the past. But if you are a new visitor, or only found your way here recently, I have a whole mess of posts listed on the blog archives to the right. (Or just type something of interest in the search box to see if I ever wrote about it.) I’m also sure that people who have been visiting for a while can find some stuff that they missed the first time.

You can also check out my new account at Hubpages. Here is the link to my profile page. (It can also be found at the top of this blog.) I have also put links to a couple of my “hubs” at the bottom of this post. (You don’t need to join Hubpages to read them.) Thanks in advance for any feedback that you can give. And if you like anything that you read, tell a friend. Who knows; maybe you will end up helping a formerly (and possibly future) semi-starving teacher (and “wanna-be” writer) make a little extra money. Thanks for reading.

Here are a couple of links to my "hubs":

Creation / Evolution Debate and Public Education

Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Meaning of Holidays

Can "Humanitarian Wars" be Won? (Revised)

Here's a classic Vietnam era anti-war song.

After reading the second comment listed below, and reconsidering my response to that comment, I decided to republish this post with a few revisions. (A future post will explain why.)

When it became clear that the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were going to drag on for a while, the inevitable comparisons to Vietnam began. In some basic ways, however, the current wars bear little resemblance to Vietnam. The rugged terrains of Iraq and Afghanistan are nothing like the tropical rainforests of Vietnam. Insurgents in the current conflicts seem to have far less domestic and international support than the Vietcong once had, and they have not been organized as single, united forces. Also, the number of American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan combined are only 1/10 (so far) of those killed in Vietnam.

Still, there are some eerie similarities. Like in Vietnam, The United States has been fighting against enemies who can be very difficult to locate and properly identify. These insurgents, like the Vietcong, recognize that they cannot take on the United States military in a “conventional” war. So they infiltrate communities, blend in with the civilian population, and are content to harass American soldiers (and the population in general) with quick hit-and-run strikes and booby traps. They know that they do not have to win in a conventional sense. They also know that when Americans kill civilians, it plays into the insurgents’ hands. So all that they need to do is inflict enough casualties and drag these conflicts out long enough to convince the United States that the costs are too high. In other words, they have to do the same thing that the Vietcong was able to accomplish.

This is why some would say that continued U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are ultimately pointless. Like Vietnam, these conflicts cannot be won. Others, however, disagree. Part of the reason that our efforts in Vietnam failed, they would argue, was that the American public did not adequately support the efforts of the military. And this lack of support went beyond the efforts of the liberal media and of those anti-war hippies. The federal government, partly out of fear of public opinion, asked the military to fight this war with “one hand tied behind its back.” For fear of inflicting excessive civilian casualties, soldiers could not root out and destroy communists as aggressively as necessary. Also, due to concerns about possible domestic and international reactions, restrictions were placed on bombing targets, with the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi being a particularly important “off-limits” potential site. If enough of the public had recognized that “war is hell,” but you must fight to win, then the results may have been different. To those who maintain this view that Vietnam was winnable, history may be repeating itself in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I agree with those who say that lack of public support was a big part of America’s failure in Vietnam. Anti-war protesters, in fact, would take this as a compliment. In theory, it is also possible that more aggressive action could have led to a different result.  This is assuming, of course, that over a half million troops, double the tonnage of explosives that were dropped in all of World War II, and the extensive use of chemical agents were just not enough. Still, there is an even more fundamental problem with this line of reasoning, a problem that also applies to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Vietnam, the United States’ basic justification for involvement was to stop the spread of communism. Part of this effort, like the Cold War in general, was to protect and promote American interests. (A world full of communist nations, after all, is bad for business.) However, the United States also claimed that defending South Vietnam from communism would make that country a better place. So there was a humanitarian component to this war, a component that can lead to big trouble. After all, the more damage that the United States did in South Vietnam, the harder it was to argue that these efforts were helping the people of that nation. In a sense, the United States, through its stated policy objective, doomed itself to failure. At some point, the infliction of excessive death and destruction would make it impossible to declare any legitimate victory.

In World War II, the United States was not fighting against Japanese and German soldiers in an effort to make those countries better places. The goal was to defeat their military forces and destroy their capacity to continue fighting. World War II was unimaginably horrific, but it was simpler strategically than a war like Vietnam. The United States could more easily identify the enemy’s military forces and felt that it was justified in targeting civilian populations and using all of the firepower at its disposal.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan resemble Vietnam much more than World War II. In both places, like in Vietnam, the United States initially used national security as the justification for fighting. Afghanistan had terrorist training camps that were harbored by the Taliban government, and Saddam Hussein (supposedly) had “weapons of mass destruction.” Over time, however, particularly in Iraq, the United States justified its efforts with humanitarian language: liberation, promoting democracy, etc. Now, like in Vietnam, the United States is trying to win wars while appearing to help people, fighting against insurgents who are difficult to distinguish from civilians. With such unrealistic stated goals, it may already be impossible to ever declare victory.

A Little Thought About Judging Others

This song from my favorite Creedence Clearwater Revival album is about all of the "little people" that we tend to take for granted each day.

As I get older – and particularly since I started this writing experiment – I find myself dealing with two sets of competing thoughts and emotions. On the one hand, I seem to get less tolerant of ideas that seem so obviously irrational and stupid. Often, these ideas are rooted in tradition and/or convention, and their adherents are either unable or unwilling to ask themselves if these beliefs make any sense. They are content to just mindlessly follow their herd of choice. But on the other hand, I also find myself mellowing out a bit and becoming more tolerant of thoughts and behaviors that I do not personally believe or practice. I get frustrated with humanity a little less often than I used to, and I generally let more things slide. So which tendency is going to win?

I have heard it said that if you are torn between choosing either justice or mercy, you should err on the side of mercy. So instead of focusing on the negative aspects of a person, I try to focus on one central question: is this person doing any significant harm? It’s so easy to get caught up in judging people by rather high standards. But in a world filled with rapists, murderers, thieves, and other scumbags, it is important to commend those who avoid these blatantly evil acts. Following the laws – at least the big ones – and generally respecting the rights of others are actions that we tend to take for granted. Instead of being grateful for all of the people who leave us alone each day, we tend to notice those few who either get on our nerves or, occasionally, do us actual harm.

Now one might argue that a lot of those people who do no significant harm are also doing little that is uniquely positive and good. It is also true that many law-abiding citizens behave and think in some strange, irrational, and stupid ways. But I can try to live with those facts. Given the various forms of evil that are out there, I should be grateful to anyone who is nice enough to not intentionally harm me. And if a person actually has some moments of real goodness, that is just an added bonus. Expecting too much more of the human race will only lead to frustration, cynicism, and some long, angry blog posts.

"The Plants Strike Back" (A picture "analysis" for a contest)

I wrote the following for a contest in which we are required to interpret the picture seen below in 300 words or less. Here is what my warped mind came up with:

Most claim that these are random events: the result of a gust of wind, a careless flower smeller, or a falling branch. The drastic increase in these types of injuries, however, can mean only one thing. After years of floral abuse, some of our herbal cousins are fighting back. They are tired of being eaten, chopped up, genetically altered, and burned down. So if one of these abusive humans draws near to those blessed with sharp thorns and branches, the plants strike without warning, going straight for the eyes. As the gouging incidents increase, we will increasingly become both literally and figuratively blind, refusing to see that plants are living, conscious, and powerful beings.

Some say that I am crazy, a living testament to the dangerous combination of environmentalism and hallucinogenic drugs. Others might wonder why these attacks would suddenly start now, after eons of humanity abusing plant life. I do not claim to have all the answers. Decades of our genetic manipulation efforts may have created a new breed of ass-kicking plant. It’s also possible that the process of natural selection is simply running its course, producing an evolutionary leap similar to humanity’s development of intelligence superior to other apes. Or maybe God is fed up with the human race and has decided to unleash a horde of demonic plant life instead of hitting us with another global flood. Whatever the case, we have two choices: declare all-out war on those plant species who have demonstrated violent tendencies, or start developing a means of communicating with these newly conscious life forms in order to find a settlement or train them to be nice. In the mean time, I have one suggestion: Don’t stop and smell the roses.

I am participating in the WeBlog's Sleepy Sunday contest! You may read other participating posts HERE

A Mosque Near Ground Zero? (The Message Sent by Protestors)

Here's a brief video about the controversy discussed in this post.

I have no conception of the suffering experienced by the friends and families of those who were murdered when the twin towers were destroyed. If I was in their position, the thought of a Muslim community center near Ground Zero might also strike a nerve. Still, I cannot help but give a simple and some would say insensitive analysis of the situation. By turning this into a major issue, the opponents of this construction project are sending a terrible and dangerous message to the Muslim world.

The “War on Terror” is supposed to be a battle against a behavior. It is not a war against a particular country, ethnicity, or religion. The behavior of the United States over the last nine years, however, has convinced many in the Muslim world that this is actually a war against Islam, the exact message promoted by Islamic extremist groups. Protests against this building project further create this impression. If Americans are angry about a mosque near Ground Zero, it indicates that they hold Muslims in general responsible for the September 11 attacks. So the only logical conclusion for Muslims is that many Americans actually consider themselves to be at war with Islam itself.

Some Americans who are angry about this project will deny this simple fact, and I admit that their motives for protesting against it may vary. Their various arguments and justifications, however, are irrelevant. The only thing that really matters is the perception that this controversy creates around the world. To limit the threat of terrorism, the only effective strategies are to find and neutralize current, potential terrorists and reduce the number of future terrorist recruits. Even more than the Cold War, this is at heart an ideological struggle. Potentially alienating hundreds of millions of Muslims and creating the impression that Americans are at war with Islam, therefore, is the most dangerous thing that can be done. Unfortunately, nine years into this “war,” many Americans still have much to learn. It’s bad enough that so many people still believe that conventional military operations are the best way to eliminate a non-military threat. But what is even more disheartening is that so many Americans have yet to even properly identify the enemy.

Pain Relapse

Here's a catchy little song about hoping for a better future.

I’ve been having one of my periodic chronic pain relapses over the last week or two. (Click here for a past post that provides more details.) The culprits these days have been my left arm and shoulder. I haven’t played any racquetball for a while, and at times, it even hurts to type. So some writing ideas that have been floating around in my head will have to wait, and I will be keeping this short.

It is only at times like these that I fully appreciate the blessings of good health. So if you have been feeling healthy lately, be sure to do something active each day in order  to take advantage of your good fortune. Hopefully, if the chiropractic adjustment sticks, I will be doing the same soon, and I will be able to get back to some more serious writing in the near future.

A Sample of a Debate on Facebook

Every now and then, I get caught up in a dialogue on Facebook regarding various political, religious, or philosophic issues. After a while, I always find myself wondering if all of the time and effort is worthwhile. It is unlikely, after all, that any of us involved are going to change our views. It’s basically an arguing contest, not a quest to gain knowledge from others. Also, more importantly, I am spending precious time and mental energy producing stuff that will disappear into the Facebook void instead of focusing on writing for my own blog. Still, these types of dialogues may have some value. At least all of us involved are getting some practice exploring, clarifying, and expressing our beliefs.

So to give an example of what I mean and to have something to show for my Facebook efforts, I have included, word for word, one of these recent dialogues. (Names of my “opponents” have been removed, however.) I will let you decide for yourselves if this was a worthwhile way to spend my time. This discussion started shortly after Proposition Eight - California’s ban on same sex marriage - was overturned by a federal judge. Some would argue that this decision by one man was in defiance of the will of the voters who passed it two years ago.

(Someone had just asked why it is that Christians focus so much on the “sin” of homosexual behavior. After all, Jesus never directly mentions it in the gospels.)

Person #1 (P1): Voters do want their votes counted so a judge shouldn't be doing this. And Jesus didn't dwell on it, true, but He did include it in Matt 15:19 as one evil, under sexual immorality. I don't think most Christians dwell on this subject, but shouldn't be passive either.

Me: In 1967, the Supreme Court struck down state bans on interracial marriage. If this issue, along with several other civil rights issues, was left to the voters of individual southern states, I can predict how some of them would have voted. Sometimes, courts must protect minorities from the "tyranny of the majority." If anyone cares, here is my take on gay marriage: "Gay Marriage: Why It's Fine With Me."

Person #2 (P2): In that case, I want to legalize POLYGAMY!! Just please dont tell my wife.

Me: Maybe polygamy should be legalized. Old Testament patriarchs like Abraham and Jacob had multiple wives. Plus, it's more honest than cheating on your spouse. If people want to impose their moral code through the law, adultery should be the practice that is outlawed. (And maybe we can go back to the good old days of Old Testament law when the guilty parties were stoned to death.)

P2: If you want to remove morality from the law, then what about drug use, sex with minors, prostitution, etc? Should we legalize all that too, or remove any laws banning it?

P1: If it's case of civil rights that it should be challenged in the constitution - whether state or federal, not by one single judge. The judicial system was set up to protect constitutional rights of all voters. Everyone didn't favor the healthcare reforms and the impact it will have - can we find a judge to repeal that?

Me: P1, I don't know what you mean by "challenged in the constitution." They are following the standard process of challenging the law. It's done through the judicial system. The same process will be followed for both gay marriage and challenges to the health care bill. Judges may ultimately repeal parts of the health care bill, and they may ultimately uphold the same sex marriage ban. The gay marriage decision will be appealed until it reaches the Supreme Court. Then nine judges (instead of one) will decide. (Judicial review has been firmly established for 200 years, so I don't see it going anywhere.) Keep in mind that there may be cases where you are in the minority but you feel that basic legal principles are on your side. I don't think that anyone believes that majority rule should always win out. There are countless cases throughout American history where the majority of people in a state or region supported laws and policies considered either ludicrous or blatantly unjust today. And P2, I'm not advocating for "removing morality from the law." Obviously, laws are often based on a moral foundation. If a behavior has a measurable, negative impact on others, it should be illegal. That's the principle that our legal system is founded upon. Gay marriage, like polygamy or interracial marriage previously, has no measurable negative impact on others. Therefore it should be allowed whether it offends certain people's morals or not. Sometimes a distinction must be made between personal moral codes and enforceable legal codes. If you refuse to recognize this obvious distinction, then this "discussion" is clearly a waste of time. (And I guess we will be on our way toward the 10 Commandments becoming a legal code.)

I've noticed in these Facebook "conversations" that no one ever directly addresses the questions that I raise. Political and religious topics - and this one gets into both - are usually pointless. At least this gives me a little writing practice.

P2: Paul (Me) - I always enjoy your comments because unlike other some of the other folks we debate, you always have good points and back it up with good reason.
Let me first address your points, so that your efforts dont just end up being writing ...practice haha!

"If a behavior has a measurable, negative impact on others, it should be illegal. That's the principle that our legal system is founded upon."
How do you define negative impact on others? For some people, finding out that your son is married to the same sex can be as equally or more painful than finding out that your son is hooked on illegal drugs or that he sleeps with prostitutes.

"Gay marriage, like polygamy or interracial marriage previously, has no measurable negative impact on others. Therefore it should be allowed whether it offends certain people's morals or not."
So should it be legal to set up a strip bar next door to your house because it does not hurt anyone, and only offends you?

In the end, I think everyone has a preference and everyone wants what's best for them and fits with their value system. And what goes and does not go depends on what the courts let pass or strike down. I do agree that the process of the judicial system was set up to ensure that laws do not conflict with our constitutional rights. The only problem is that many times, the judicial decisions are driven also by the political, religious, and personal views of the judges. This occurs on both sides of the political spectrum and is the reason why presidents usually pick judges who typically have made judicial decisions that align with the president's political view. Also, I'm sure there are political scientists on both sides of the spectrum who can argue the constitutionality of many laws.. If not, there would be no appeal.. So I believe the constitutionality of laws ultimately depend on which judges are in place at the time the law goes through the process.

Now for your final point :)
"Sometimes a distinction must be made between personal moral codes and enforceable legal codes. If you refuse to recognize this obvious distinction, then this "discussion" is clearly a waste of time."
I think all legal codes stem from some type of personal moral code. I think the reason why some fight for a ban on Gay Marriage vs premarital sex is the fact that Gay Marriage may be more easily enforced now than the other.
Let me know if I've missed any of your points and I'll try to address them too so you know your writing has not gone to waste :)))

P2: One last question: Should incest be banned? Like father/daughter marriages? Or how about incestial polygamy, where the entire family marries each other? According to your definition, it hurts no one when all parties are consenting and who cares if it offends anybody.. LOL!!

P1: Paul (Me) - What i meant is that it hasn't been determined yet if this is a civil rights issue. Not everyone agrees if it's comparable to anti-discrimination yet and the constituion has to be amended once that is determined. Up till this point..., marriage was always assumed to be man/woman, now we're talking about a new definition and different social rules that we haven't faced before.
Paul and P2 - You are both gave great points of view. P2, you could be a lawyer -ha ha. You can never take bias completely out of any social issue - that's just impossible. We live with the outcomes regardless of our personal beliefs.

Person 3 (P3): Can I marry my hermit crab Hermie?

Me: First, I have one important question. Is it cool if I use some of this dialogue for a future blog post? (I won't use your names.) I just don't want to waste all of this writing on Facebook alone. This question also goes for any other participators who might still be reading this stuff.

Thanks P2 for your detailed response. (It's refreshing.) There is no doubt that judges often have political agendas. It's unfortunate that courts have become so politicized, but it is, as you said, probably unavoidable. I'm not sure if the writers of the Constitution had "judicial review" in mind when they set up the judicial branch. It has evolved over time, and you could make a good case that it has made that branch of government too powerful. People only seem to get upset about it, however, when judges don't rule in their favor. I still hold to my statement about the distinction between personal moral codes and legal codes. Since we are not in a theocracy, the Bible cannot be used as a legal book. So all we can do to be fair to people with different beliefs is determine as best we can if a behavior infringes on other people's rights. In a country that claims to love freedom, we should have the freedom to engage in behaviors so long as they do not harm others. Anything else is an attempt to impose your personal beliefs on others. You compared allowing gay marriage to legalizing drug use, prostitution, and incest. Now I could go on for a while about drugs and prostitution. Our society is highly arbitrary in defining those terms. Alcohol and nicotine are legal, and all kinds of people have sex for economic reasons without breaking the law. I think that prostitution and drug use are banned due to some of the negative byproducts associated with them: disease, addiction, human trafficking, abuse, stealing to fund the habit, etc. I tend to think that laws involving drugs and prostitution should be liberalized a bit, but with some legal restrictions to limit some of these "side effects." Incest, however, is a different story. There are measurable negative effects, particularly potential birth defects in any children produced. I'm sure that many psychologists can also demonstrate the harm done when parents have sex with their kids. (I notice that no one has tried to deal with my interracial marriage argument, however.) And P3, I don't think that you can get Hermie to say "I do" or sign the certificate.

P3: use any dialogue you like for future blog posts. If Hermie cannot say "I do" or sign the certificate so that indirectly and unfairly disallow my right to marry Hermie simply because Hermie is physically unable to do the above actions? Isn't that discrimination based on "physical handicaps?"

Me: P2, I missed a couple of your arguments. Some people might be offended if their Christian daughter marries someone from another religion. Maybe we should ban that as well due to the harm it has done. Strip bars are legal. There are just regulations determining where they can be. (There are land use regulations for everything.) So no, I should not be allowed to stick one next door. (Or maybe you just want to ban strip clubs altogether.)

Me: P3, no. A marriage is a legal contract, and as far as I know, animals cannot enter into any legal contracts. So maybe we should ban all contracts due to discrimination (along with strip clubs, marriages that offend any parents, and every form of "sin" that we can imagine.)

Me: I have enough dialogue now. . . .

Help, I've Been Plagiarized!

I picked this song for three reasons. First, I have never posted an Allman Brothers song, which is just wrong. Second, it has amazing guitar work by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. Third, it is about a man who is about to get caught cheating.

About a year ago, I started writing education related essays in the hopes of compiling a book someday. When I told people that I was enjoying this new writing hobby, some suggested that I should start a blog. While recognizing that this would be an easy way to get my writing out there, I also thought that blogs were a strange concept. You write all of this stuff, and then you give it away for free. Why would people ever pay you to write what they can get for nothing, and what’s to stop people from just taking your words and/or ideas and publishing them as their own? In theory, of course, you could “monetize” your blog, and if you ever got a decent amount of traffic, it could turn into a little money. Also, in theory, people are not supposed to steal your work. Blogs are copyright protected, and there are tools to search the web in order to find out if someone is posting your words. Proving that someone took your ideas, however, could be a bit tricky. Still, I decided to plow forward about eight months ago. After all, how else could a person with no writing experience get himself so easily “published”? I could have kept my ideas “secret” until a book was put together. The odds, however, of an unknown essay writer like me finding a willing publisher and paying readers seemed pretty slim. And so here I am, having a great time sending my thoughts out into “the cloud.”

A couple of days ago, I joined “Hubpages,” a popular site where millions of users share articles with one another. After a couple of days of posting “hubs” and of doing a little browsing in order to see how the site works, I am thinking that it may be a better platform than this blog for sharing some of my stuff. (Here's a link to my profile.) There was a little problem, however. For three of the four hubs that I posted, I received a “duplicate” warning. This was not a big surprise or major issue. After all, everything that I posted had previously appeared on this blog, and posting duplicates is not against their rules. The only problem, apparently, is that it lowers something called your “hubscore.” So I decided to email the site and let them know what was happening. When I received their reply, however, I found out to my surprise that my posts were duplicates from two sites: first my blog, which I expected; and second, some mystery site with a business sounding name. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link that they sent me, and there was one of my blog posts, copied word for word on to some site called “Finance / Go for Gold.” After doing a little browsing on this mystery site, two things became clear: there was no source or author listed for any of the works on the site, and this was not the only one of my posts copied. It turns out that this site had posted practically everything on this blog that was related to either politics or economics. (Here’s a link to the site and one of my copied posts.)

My reactions varied. On the one hand, I was a little bit flattered. No one, after all, had ever cared enough to plagiarize me. I also noticed that some of my posts had a fair number of clicks, so some people out there are unknowingly reading my words. (Of course, the site looks kind of crappy, so I’m not that flattered.) But on the other hand, this was a confirmation of my previously stated fears. I have been chasing this crazy dream that writing could become a second career of sorts, supplementing my inconsistent adjunct faculty income. Meanwhile, here is a site (from China apparently) trying to benefit in some way from my hard work. How am I supposed to get off of the ground if people can so easily steal my stuff? I guess that this is what people mean when they say that they “feel violated.” Luckily, I have not been the victim of any kind of significant theft in my life, so this is a little shock to the system. And I can’t help wondering if there are plenty of other characters out there doing this kind of thing to myself and to other hard-working bloggers in the world.

I have now been officially welcomed to the internet age. Like everything else, the World Wide Web can be a great tool for good or evil. It creates unlimited opportunities for people to communicate. Some use it to publish their thoughts, start legitimate businesses, and find others who share their interests. Others use it to break copyright laws, post disgusting videos, and plan terrorist attacks.

I’m still pondering my next course of action. My first priority is to get that duplicate warning removed from my “hubs.” From corresponding with the “Hubspace” people, it seems that they are probably willing to do it. Most likely, I will start focusing more of my attention on that site when posting in-depth, longer essays on history, politics, and more academic topics. Future would be plagiarizers might be more reluctant to copy material from such a well-visited site. “Hubspaces” has also been nice enough to give me some courses of action for dealing with copyright infringement. If there are any internet experts or lawyers out there, I am open to suggestions. And if you are a blogger who writes on political or economic topics, you might want to click on the link to “Finance / Go for Gold.” Who knows? Your words may be more “famous” than you are, and you may even be helping someone else earn a little money.