Fashion essentials 2012

Fashion essentials 2012

The Revolution

Dr. Ron Paul's THE REVOLUTION: A MANIFESTO is a concise (167 pages) and convincing argument for a return to America's libertarian principles. During his campaign for president, Dr. Paul established a very diverse following: Republicans, Democrats, Greens, and "even some anarchists," he would joke. In truth, many people were drawn to him due his obvious sincerity -- a breath of fresh air! -- even if they did not fully agree with or understand his ideology. Now they will understand and become Austro-Jeffersonians, one and all!

The first chapter, "The False Choices of American Politics," demonstrates why those Ron Paul supporters who do understand his message cannot bring themselves to vote for either McCain or Hillary/Obama, or even to really care who among them wins: There is very little (if any) substantive difference between them. They may disagree about when and where to use foreign intervention, but never over whether it should be used at all. They may disagree over how fast interest rates should be cut by the Fed, but never over whether the Fed should exist. You get the idea.

Chapters 2 and 3 are titled "The Foreign Policy of the Founding Fathers" and "The Constitution," respectively. Here Dr. Paul challenges his neocon and liberal opponents to openly condemn the wisdom of the founding fathers, which they do with their actions, or else follow it. The framers of the Constitution were far from unanimous -- there were bitter disputes among so-called "Federalists" (Hamiltonian nationalists) and "republicans" (Jeffersonian decentralists) -- but today's neocon/liberals reject the wisdom of both parties, taking an expansive view of their powers that even Hamilton himself would have seen as excessive.

Chapter 4, "Economic Freedom," may be an eye-opening one for many readers. First, there are the liberals who were attracted to Dr. Paul's campaign, who may for the first time be presented with a contrast between the true Austro-Jeffersonian libertarian brand of capitalism and the inflationist, Kudlow & Company / Forbes magazine variety. Secondly there are many "paleoconservatives" I met who supported Dr. Paul but were under the mistaken impression that he was against free trade -- nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, as Dr. Paul points out here, he is 100% in favor of unilateral, unconditional free trade and 100% against quotas, sanctions, embargoes, duties, and protective tariffs. He does oppose phony "free-trade" deals like NAFTA and the WTO (joining many liberal Democrats in doing so, but for different reasons) not because they "steal American jobs" (they don't), but because they limit trade too greatly. Furthermore, they erode constitutional sovereignty and work for the benefit of politically connected elites, something with which libertarians, paleocons, and liberals can all agree.

All three constituencies will also cheer Chapter 5, "Civil Liberties and Personal Freedom." Here the contrast between Jeffersonian libertarianism (once considered "liberalism" before that philosophy was given a bad name in the early twentieth century) and the so-called "conservatism" of the neocons and post-WWII New Rightists is perhaps at its greatest. Ron Paul supports the Constitution and the limits it places on government -- which makes him a "blame America" leftist among the neocon punditry, all apologists for the liberal Wilson/FDR/Truman/LBJ foreign policy, by the way.

But the best and most important chapter, without a doubt, is Chapter 6, "Money: The Forbidden Issue in American Politics." Here Dr. Paul expertly details the operations of the Federal Reserve System in stunning clarity -- no conspiracy theories or half-truths that often further obfuscate discussion of the secretive monetary authority. The Austrian (and true) perspective on the Fed is not to be horrified that the Fed isn't a government agency (it is, even if indirectly), but to be outraged that all banks are essentially arms of the government. We don't need the government to have even more control over the money supply, we need it to have no control whatsoever (the exact opposite of what movies like FREEDOM TO FASCISM seem to suggest). What's more, Dr. Paul doesn't spread the myth that the Fed somehow profits as an entity when it creates money (its profits go to the Treasury), but instead, politically connected individuals and businesses profit at the expense of working-class and poor families. You see, the effects of inflation are not uniform -- the Fed System works as a wealth redistribution system from poor and middle-class to the rich and politically connected. How so? Buy this book and find out!

Finally, the book ends with the self-titled seventh chapter in which Dr. Paul lays out a moderate and realistic course that could be accomplished over one or two presidential terms. I'm tempted to share this blueprint for you here but I don't want to discourage anyone from buying the book. Instead, I'll use the last few words of this review to lament the fact that this blueprint will certainly not be implemented by the next president. Perhaps a young man or woman who volunteered for Ron Paul's campaign in 2008 will work his or her way up through the political establishment and be swept into office, with a like-minded Paulian Congress, sixteen years from now (just as Reagan followed sixteen years after Goldwater -- not that either of these two are to be looked at as heroes. . .). We can only hope that the Republic can endure that long!

Crash Proof

I read this book around early summer after hearing about it on a financial webcast I stumbled accross. Thank heavens I did. I read the author's explanations of what has happened and what will and I have to say that it makes sense to me. I had macroeconomics 25 years ago and barely paid attention but after reading this it all came back to me. Schiff doesn't just preach gloom and doom. He lays out a good case for his predictions. I didn't just trust this book. I read two others that basically say the same things. What I liked was that it validated thoughts and questions I'd had for years.

"how can we all be so wealthy yet save nothing?" "How can we have had such a run up in home prices even though we haven't added that many people to the nation?" "How can inflation be officially low even though so many things have gone way up in price (food, fuel, insurance, education, health care, and even home prices till recently)". "How can we manufacture relatively little and sell each other services and still become more wealthy?" If that was possible I'd stay home and cook my wife meals while she mowed the lawn for me and we'd just get rich that way.

Maybe I just like how Schiff shares my natural pessimism and distrust of politicians being put in charge of our national statistics. But I used a simplified form of his advice, bought gold via ETFs, an international bond fund, with the balance in a treasury money market fund, and in just a few short months I've made quite a bit more than I did in any single year since I've been investing. And unlike in past years, I feel very confident that the trend in my investments is going to be up. The underlying economic picture simply demands that these products will do well. I realize that 3 months of good results (up 20%) does not prove anything, but I read this book way before I heard anything in the news about the dollar decline or housing bubble. Now that I've read the book, I tune in daily and the news just confirms the book's premise.

We have had a debt based too-good-to-be-true affluence. Like a drunken college kid on a spending spree, it will end eventually. The housing bubble alone might not sink us. The consumer credit crunch alone might be something we could work with. But add in the astronomical federal govn't obligations ($50 trillion unfunded?) and it's just a matter of time before the ride gets wild.

I would like to thank Mr Schiff for writing this book. I honestly feel that it has saved my financial future. I am in a business where one cannot work into old age, and instead of seeing my traditional stock investments knocked back down in value, I may actually be able to make a nice profit that will help us get through the hard times ahead.

I'm no expert, just a small business owner, but I looked hard to find an honest rebuttal to this book before investing my money in gold (I dont' want to lose money!) , but all I have been able to find were cheerleading tomes to the stock market that were short on logic and long on boasts and how great things were and still are. I find those to be total BS and so I can't trust their theories. Post a comment here if you know of one who actually makes a good argument for staying in the US stock market.

The Gone Fishin' Portfolio

Mr. Green has boiled profitable long-term investing down to a 20-minute annual exercise. And his recommended portfolio beats the market in good AND bad times. (The proof is all there.) The portfolio will not only diversify you into stocks and bonds, it will diversify you among all the major asset classes - gold, U.S. stocks, Treasuries, foreign stocks, etc. - which, as he explains, is where the magic is. He'll show you how much (in percentage terms) of your nest egg to put in each asset... as well as the specific investment to buy to get exposure to each one. (You'll also cut your investment costs by a wide margin, which really adds up.)

I've read Graham's Intelligent Investor and Security Analysis - both classics, and incredible guides on managing risk. But The Gone Fishin' Portfolio, which also, incredibly, minimizes your risk and increases your total return, tells you specifically what to buy - something you just can't get out of the classics. (Green's investments will still work 40 years from now - a true "set and forget" portfolio.) I've ordered a copy for my God daughter AND my parents... and I'm recommending it to all of my friends who still think they can beat the market willy nilly. A must read, for sure.

The Secret of Shelter Island

Really good insight and thoughtfulness, truely inspirational. Alex Green explains why we all need to stop and "smell to roses," but not only that. He reminds us that smelling the roses isn't just a waste of time or something to do on our way to something else, it's a way to make our life a little better, more fulfilling. It's the little things. Really well done book, I loved it.

The Adobe Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers

This is neither the biggest book on Photoshop, nor the most comprehensive. The author makes no pretense of covering every feature contained in the massive program known as Photoshop CS3. What he does attempt to do is identify tasks useful to digital photographers (and this includes film shooters who scan) and give step-by-step explanations to get them done. Most of the information is presented in a very task-oriented approach. The emphasis is squarely placed on giving you the tools to get things done quickly and efficiently. As such, I find it a highly useful reference book often as I edit photos.

For those who own the prior version for CS2, this is much more than a rehash of the same material with a few odds and ends added to cover the new CS3 features. I was surprised to see that most or all of the example photos appear to be new for this edition and the author has reorganized the material within each chapter. I applaud Mr. Kelby for what looks like an earnest attempt to earn our money rather than just cash in on the sales a new version of Photoshop automatically generate.

On the negative side, I do wish that the author would tone down his attempts to be funny throughout the book. Humor has gone from being unknown in how-to books to being painfully overused and this book is a prime example. It goes from being mildly cute for the first couple of pages to just getting in the way and slowing down the flow of information as you continue reading.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. Mr. Kelby has done an excellent job organizing and presenting a useful guide to Photoshop CS3 and I commend him for that. If he prunes 90% of his attempts at humor, I'll give his next book 5 stars instead of 4.


No photographer can unleash the full power of Photoshop to make an image look like the photographer's vision without understanding the power of layers. (At the very least layers allow the Photoshop user to make selective adjustments to an image, without actually changing the underlying data.) Yet many Photoshop books treat layers in bits and pieces rather than as an integrated whole so that the photographer has a hard time grasping the overall concept. That's where a book aimed solely at layers comes in.

Matt Kloskowski's book deals with all the major applications of layers. The subjects include the nature of layers, blending layers, adjustment layers, layer masks, type and shape layers, enhancing and adjusting photos with layers, layer styles and smart layers. It's all here, but in a short simple quick form. (I'm sure there are more esoteric things to learn about layers; at least one pair of authors has a book on layers that is over 750 pages long!) Most photographers will find that this book has all they need to know about the subject.

The author's text takes the form of tutorials. One can either download files for these tutorials or work with one's own pictures. The tutorials are short, well illustrated and have plenty of white space. If you make a mistake at an early step you won't have to backtrack through twenty or thirty steps to find out where you went wrong. Even if you work out each tutorial, this book will not take more than ten or twenty hours to complete, and it will teach you almost everything you need to know about the subject. Along the way, Kloskowski teaches the reader about other Photoshop tools, as when he integrates a discussion of gradients into a lesson on blend modes, or deals with selections in a tutorial on layer masks.

The author has an easy-going, breezy, humorous style, but those put off by the style of his mentor, Scott Kelby, probably will not be offended here.

Normally, as I go through a book, I make notes in the margin when I discover an error. I'm happy to report that I made no notes in the margin of this book.

For experienced Photoshop users this book will contain nothing new. Perhaps they'll have to look at the 750 page tomes. However, for the photographer who doesn't have a firm grip on the use of layers in Photoshop, this book will help him or her to master the subject.

My favorites books © 2008 Por *Templates para Você*