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       Good morning Kossacks and welcome to Morning Open Thread.

We're here every morning at 6:30 a.m Eastern time. Feel free to volunteer to take a day - permanent or just once in awhile. With the autopublish feature you can set it and forget it. Quite often the diarist de jour shows up much later (like me), that's the beauty of Open Thread...it carries on without you! Just let us know in the comments.

Recent health issues and the presidential campaign have caused me to examine many issues in my life, especially in the realm of money.  The fact that I am questioning how I earn my keep has forced me to look at preconceived notions of how I was raised and what I was taught about money.  It seems I've either had enough time or enough money, but never both at the same time, and I'm sick of that rat race.

My dad was a machinist, and my mom was an elementary school teacher.  The message I got growing up was get perfect grades, do well in school, and grow up to be a married teacher.  If I did that, there would enough money.  Never more than enough, but enough.  Both my parents lived through the Depression, which skewed their ideas about money in big ways.  My mom was second to youngest in a family of 15, while my dad was oldest of 3 children.  Both lived on farms, so some food was always available, even if money wasn't.  For some reason, when I was a kid I always felt that there wasn't enough money, and I always felt guilty about any money my parents spent on me.  I still feel that way today, but I'm trying to get over it.

Anyway, fast forward to my desire to change careers post-cancer.  The biggest difference between what I do now and what I have chosen to do is that in sales it's just as important, if not more so, to focus on personal development.  I started out by reading the classic, "How to Win Friends and Influence People."  I've been reading myself silly.  It's too bad I didn't find this business last summer when I was going through chemo, because I had a whole lot of time to read then!

The book that has had a huge effect on me lately is "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki, and his follow-up book, "Cash Flow Quadrant."  These two books, more than any others I've read so far, have caused me to question my innermost beliefs about money, namely, can I be a liberal and still feel good about making lots of money?  After all, what's the point of trying to be in sales if I don't want to make lots of money?

In these books, he writes about how the tax structure as it is now vastly favors businesses and investors, and how it's almost impossible to become rich by being any type of employee or sole proprietor.  His "poor" dad, his real father who was highly educated and a university professor, looked down on money, while his "rich" dad was street smart and eventually made millions. Somehow, there was very little talk of any type of political slant attached to either the 'rich' or the 'poor' position.  Maybe I just didn't pick up on it.

On the one hand, if a business has a product or service that people want to buy, and they make lots of money at that, is there anything wrong with that?  On the other hand, why should the government look the other way when huge corporations pay zero taxes, but I have to report my $1.53 of interest on my personal savings account?  Do I want to make more money by exploiting the tax laws currently on the books, or do I believe in helping to change them to make them more fair?  Do I want to be the type of person like Mitt Romney, who said he legally pays 15% taxes?  Is there any middle ground? I feel guilty just contemplating the question when so many people in this country are still out of work or desperately struggling.

This all came to a head this week when I came into a small windfall, and I had to decide what to do with it.  According to Kiyosaki, a house is actually a liability in terms of positive cash flow.  Of course any kind of debt is bad.  One of the last chapters in the first book was about giving back.  Rich dad felt very strongly that he had a responsibility to share his good fortune with others. THAT is something I don't hear Mitt Romney, or any of the Republicans, talking about.

So, here's what I did.  I paid off my credit card, which got a bit out of hand with doctors' bills and car repairs, then I paid down some principal on my house because I want to try to get it paid for within the next 5 years.  

Lastly, and this was the really fun part, I went "shopping."  Not that kind of shopping.  I went donation shopping.  Part of the reason I want to make more money is so that I can GIVE more money.  I've donated to several causes here at DK alone, like the Shelter Box drive after the Haitian earthquake, various Red Cross drives, as well as political causes.  I just don't have enough money to give the way I would like.  So, here are the causes I shopped at with my windfall:

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle TN Not only is it a good cause, but it's local as well. I've given to them in the past, and I'm sure I will again.

Heifer International I LOVE Heifer International!  I love the concept and I love what they do. Where else can you donate honey bees, trees, goats, or geese?

Hadassah  Hadassah is one of the world's largest women's organizations.  I'm a lifetime member and plan to donate the proceeds from my violin when I retire.  This is from their website:

Committed to the centrality of Israel based on the renaissance of the Jewish people in its historic homeland, Hadassah promotes the unity of the Jewish people. In Israel, Hadassah initiates and supports pace-setting health care, education and youth institutions, and land development to meet the country's changing needs.

In the United States, Hadassah enhances the quality of American and Jewish life through its education and Zionist youth programs, promotes health awareness, and provides personal enrichment and growth for its members.

Planned Parenthood Need I say more about this one?

Our Kids This is a local organization which helps children who have been sexually abused.  I'm sorry that there is even a need for this, but as long as there is, I'll be donating.

Of course I had to leave some out this go-round.  Like local Humane Societies, Remote Area Medical, We Care Solar, and a cancer organization yet to be determined but which is no longer affiliated with the color pink.

I'd love to hear how y'all feel about these issues. In the meantime, jibber jabber away in your best Tuesday outfits.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Gotta love Heifer International, and BTW (6+ / 0-)

    if anyone else is inspired by the donation bug, one of my favorites is Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Project
    Good on ya Fiddlegirl!

    "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

    by gravlax on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 03:35:19 AM PST

  •  What an incredibly positive diary, Fiddlegirl!! (9+ / 0-)

    I have read Rich Dad, Poor Dad which I thought was very good, but I haven't read the follow-up book.

    You are a brave woman, Fiddlegirl as a career change is scary stuff, but I can't say I'm surprised considering how well you stood up to and faced your cancer.  I am so proud of you and inspired by you.

    Heifer International is a favorite of mine as well.  I've donated to them and I have given them as Christmas gifts before too.  I love the idea of giving goats and honey bees and such as well.  Wonderful organization.

    Brava for your charity and your giving nature.  Loved this positive post this morning.  Great way to start the day ;D

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 04:05:03 AM PST

  •  Many of these have made my donation list (7+ / 0-)

    as has Shelterbox.

    “Are you calling the Koch brothers during the recess?” - Henry Waxman

    by thenekkidtruth on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 04:16:15 AM PST

  •  The NASCAR fans must be sleeping in (8+ / 0-)

    from a late night fiery finish:

    Matt Kenseth wins bizarre Daytona 500

    Teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle were so strong in the late stages, in the wee hours of Tuesday, that it was increasingly apparent one was going to win.

    It was Kenseth who held off both Biffle and their most serious challenger, Dale Earnhardt Jr., throughout the green-white-checkered finish.

    At just before 10 o'clock Monday night, with 40 laps left and "go time" nearing for the field, the race was suddenly shut down for more than two hours due to a cloud of jet-fuel fire, ignited when Juan Pablo Montoya's car slid sideways and rear-ended a jet dryer blowing debris off the track -- under caution, no less.
    Sounds like it was one to remember!

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 04:19:38 AM PST

  •  Good Morning MOTleyville (7+ / 0-)

    Wonderful post this morning Fiddlegirl.
    You are a very caring person!

    I hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday

    •  Good Morning eeff (8+ / 0-)

      Hope this will not be taken as a sexist question, but would you care to speculate on Danica's arm and upper body strength?  It seems like when her car goes out of control, it takes on a life of its own and I wonder if she has enough strength to control the wheel?  

      Shelter Box:  I have donated enough to Shelter Box that I have received notice from the orgainzation to qualify with another 10-13 people to 'own' one, neither of which so far has been placed but still sitting at the factory.  What's up with that?

      American Indian Schools in North/South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska have their fund raising down to an art.  First the obligatory Dream Catcher arrives, then gloves, then N.A. Greeting Cards, then hand written notes from the students with pictures, and finally a plea from Fr. (???) telling how important our donations are.  Color me a sucker every time...

      •  I don't see it that way. (8+ / 0-)

        The sexiest part.
        Last night was the first night I've watched nascar on a TV in a long time. I've been doing a little screen on the computer for many years now.
        Anyway the cars go crazy because the drivers have started taking their hands off the steering wheels to protect their hands during the wreck.
        I don't know if that's good for them & racing at this time.
        by removing their hands for the wheel the car becomes a pinball thought.

        Hope your day goes well.
        good on you to give a helping hand

        •  "the car becomes a pinball..." Makes sense. (7+ / 0-)

          Nebraska Children's Home is a non-profit, donations only, free pre-natal and hospital care for mothers and no payment is required from adoptive parents. A couple of days ago was our granddaughter's birthday.  The birth mother rejected couples her social worker showed her the day of baby's birth and looked through more pictures and 'chose' our daughter, her husband and three children for her baby.  Aound noon the second day, the social worker called our daughter and wanted them to visit the hospital that evening, they did and about 8:00 p.m., the social worker called them back and said to be at the hospital at noon the next day to pick up the baby.  Instant Baby!  Daughter and I hit the stores when they opened, shopped till we dropped, picked up baby with other family there, and spent the rest of the day washing baby stuff.  What a lovely day that was.  N.C.H. has our full support.

        •  Open wheel drivers (7+ / 0-)

          are taught to take their hands off the wheel and so Danica does this naturally because she came from open wheel.  

          As a general answer, the Cup cars have power steering so the size of the driver should not make that much difference in terms of handling the car.  Generally open wheel drivers are all small, but stock car drivers come in just about any size.  In fact, AJ Almindinger is not much bigger than Danica.

          "Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help facilitate and structure the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction.”-Justice Stevens

          by gulfgal98 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 05:16:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Are there 9-12 other people here who would be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hoghead99

        willing to chip in? It could be the "MOT Shelterbox."

    •  Good Morning eeff! (5+ / 0-)

      That race was weird.  Are you tired this morning?  I am.

      I hope you have a great day, my friend.

      "Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help facilitate and structure the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction.”-Justice Stevens

      by gulfgal98 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 05:10:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Morning eeff! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Otteray Scribe

      It's going to be a GREAT Tuesday!  Anybody going to watch MI election returns tonight?

  •  Guess what, Mullah Rick? (7+ / 0-)
    64 percent of those currently enrolled in a traditional four-year institution have curbed their attendance habits. Yet, 76 percent of those who never enrolled in college report a decline in religious service attendance.
    It's pretty clear that the problem doesn't lie with higher education - it lies with religion.

    “Are you calling the Koch brothers during the recess?” - Henry Waxman

    by thenekkidtruth on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 04:27:33 AM PST

  •  I love your style of shopping! (7+ / 0-)

    Maybe you and I can go shopping together one day!

    Great topic, fiddlegirl.

    We teach our boys that it isn't about getting rich; it's about having enough.

  •  Just got this funny in an email from my (8+ / 0-)

    Australian friend and thought I'd share the LOL with you.

    Banned from Woolworth's,

    Didn't like shopping there anyway. Yesterday I was at my local Woolworth's store buying a large bag of Winalot dog food for my Bengie and was in the checkout queue when a woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

    What did she think I had an elephant? So, since I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Winalot Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn’t, because I ended up in hospital last time, but I'd lost 2 stone before I woke up in intensive care with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

    I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pockets with Winalot nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in queue was now enthralled with my story.)

    Horrified, she asked me if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me I told her no, I stepped off the kerb to sniff an Irish Setter's arse and a car hit me.

    I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.  I'm now banned from Woolworth's!

    Better watch what you ask retired people.

    They have all the time in the world to think of daft things to say.

    Forward this (especially) to all your retired friends...... it will be their laugh for the day.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 04:52:01 AM PST

  •  This is such a beautiful diary! (5+ / 0-)

    Good Morning Fiddlegirl and MOTley threadies!

    I simply do not know where to begin with my comment because I am so deeply touched by your diary today.  It bears re-reading many times so not only am I tipping and recommending it, but I am also hotlisting it which is a first for me on a MOT diary.

    "Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help facilitate and structure the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction.”-Justice Stevens

    by gulfgal98 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 04:53:06 AM PST

  •  Visualize exlrrp sitting on a mountain of gold (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiddlegirl, Hoghead99

    Rolling in it, running my hands through it, bathing in it, throwing it up in the air!!
    Wheeeeee!! Its billpaying time again!!

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 05:35:51 AM PST

    •  Hey exirrp! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      exlrrp

      Just think, as you pay your bills, more gold is coming to you.  What you give always comes back too.

      •  You don't know my wife! ;-) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fiddlegirl

        But seriously, its the gold running through my fingers, cackling over it, drooling over it, gloating over it,rubbing it all over my naked body, that always got me going in the mornings during my working days.

        I was selfemployed for most of my carreer and I did  better, I think, than if I'd worked for other people. Better in terms of being internally satisfied. I enjoy being the captain of the ship, even if its a very small ship. You get to go where you want to.
        Being an employee means youre always chained to somneone else, the victim of whatever vagaries of the employer or economy there be. Once you learn to sell yourself tho, you'll only be unemployed when you want to.
        I don't think there's anything wrong with sales at all if you believe in what youre selling and its totally OK to make a lot of money doing it.  Sales is a skill llike any other, hone it up and get good at it and the world is your oyster

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 06:09:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Darkest 4 Months of the Year Done (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, Fiddlegirl

    And it's already getting light to danged early in the morning.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 05:36:54 AM PST

  •  Morn'n everyone! I don't make much money, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiddlegirl, JFinNe, maryabein

    at least once a month Joe and I go out to dinner at a cheapy restaurant (not many left). I always and I mean ALWAYS, give a minimum 30% tip and sometimes 50%. Now Joe thinks I'm nuts, but I keep telling him that one, people who work in the food industry are way under paid and two, certainly over worked. I love to see the look in a waitress or waiter's eye when they find that $20 bill being handed to them.

    Good way to spread a little cheer in life. That extra money might just buy a cheap pair of shoes for the server's child or maybe enough for them to bring home some ice cream for a family treat while watching TV together.

    Every Thanksgiving a friend of ours treats us to dinner at a restaurant that is open for the holiday. Joe and I always pay the tip. Last year, an older woman, who should have enjoyed retirement, was struggling to handle hundreds of customers. When I handed her her tip, she literally began to cry.

    Give it a try yourself. Tears of thanks are wonderful for the heart, methinks.

    Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

    by Wendys Wink on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 05:48:00 AM PST

    •  Morning Wendys Wink! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wendys Wink

      I love that!  Too often people think they don't have enough money to do good, but this proves that anybody can do something good for someone else who is struggling.  A good friend of mine is a server, and there are days that he makes literally only $15, for the entire DAY.  And he works in a very upscale restaurant.  I told him he might do better at Cracker Barrell.

      •  Morn'n Fiddlegirl! Sorry I haven't been around (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fiddlegirl

        much, but even though I think it is wonderful to donate to good causes, I like to see the eyes of those I tip. Keeps me grounded in reality. :-) BTW, great morn'n diary!

        Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

        by Wendys Wink on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 05:59:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's How Liberalism Works w Money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiddlegirl

    The desire to earn money is a normal human appetite like anything else. What liberalism does to promote the general welfare is to apply progressive brakes to the economy and to the individual such that that appetite is prevented from causing harm to others at extremes.

    It prevents the individual from accumulating so much that they become immune to the consequences of their economic behavior toward the rest of us. We need to keep fortunes of those who run the biggest enterprises and make the biggest decisions tied to the fortunes of society.

    Liberalism isn't about voluntary charity or voluntary restraint. That's a subject for culture, which is fine for simple economies and modest sized communities, but is totally overwhelmed by the forces, speeds and distances of reach of advanced industrial/information economies.

    So we created liberal governance to manage societies that are beyond the management of our individual and cultural powers.

    For you the individual, we need to take about half of what you might gain from an enterprise beyond an income of several times the national median, and we need to almost all of gains beyond around 10-20 times the median that you might be able to arrange.

    The reason for this is to discourage you from seeking, and to discourage your enterprise from offering, such huge compensation that can only be generated by a few types of activity like extreme financial offerings, 3rd world imports, merging and destroying sound businesses, etc.

    We want to compress the rewards from extreme sectors that can be dangerous to the economy long term so that they will naturally act in the long-term interest of themselves and our society. This also makes other enterprises like family farming, journalism, small machine shops or public service more attractive because there's no place you can go to make your family rich for life after a few months' work. Nor is there anything you can invest in for a quick jackpot, so if you have money to invest, you'll invest it broadly across a richly diverse economy.

    There's no American support for such preposterous government and outlandish imposition on the rich. But the Democratic Party instituted this program once for half a century, when we coincidentally rose to become sole superpower, and created the only large comfortable middle class here and across the developed world.

    We'll never make THAT mistake again. Fortunately almost nobody is young enough to remember it, and not many more believe it ever happened.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 05:55:17 AM PST

  •  I just heard this story, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiddlegirl

    and thought it was cool

    A.J. Burnett is giving Daniel McCutchen’s daughter a college fund in exchange for his jersey number.

    Pro athletes have been known to go to great lengths to get "their number" when traded to a new team. Props to both men in this trade for having some perspective on the kind of money they make. Note: Burnett has made a hell of a lot more in his career than McCutcheon.

    "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

    by gravlax on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 05:57:49 AM PST

  •  Thank you Fiddlegirl........ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiddlegirl, eeff

       The humanity found here keeps me coming back, and gives great hope for the future. I admire your attitude and gumption.

       I see the Buddha shining through you.....

    Best, HH99

    Compost for a greener planet.............got piles?

    by Hoghead99 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 06:03:15 AM PST

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