Blackballed Again: Are You Prepared?

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Be honest. If the title had been “Are you prepared to be cancelled?” would you be reading this first sentence? Or how about “Are you prepared to be de-platformed?”? Would that have lured you in? Or does it sound too geeky?

The fact is, those modern-day synonyms merely reflect an awful tradition that dates back centuries, if not to the beginning of man’s time on Earth.

Indeed, there’s a really bad 1986 movie called The Clan of the Cave Bear. It stars Daryl Hannah, whose main character is ostracized from her Neanderthal family. As far as I can tell, they blackballed her because, unlike all the brunettes in the clan, she had blonde hair. (Of course, being caveman times and the lack of adequate shower facilities, perhaps it would be more accurate to describe her as a “dirty blonde.”)

In terms of good cinema, there’s always Looney Tunes’ 1953 cartoon “Bell Hoppy,” featuring Sylvester the Cat voicing the phrase “Blackballed again” when the Loyal Order of Alley Catz Mouse and Chowder Club declines his membership.

Most of us have had the unfortunate experience of being left out. It usually happens when Continue Reading “Blackballed Again: Are You Prepared?”

Are Better Educated People Easier to Fool with Persuasion Tricks?

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Dropped maskThe following is mere observation. You’ll understand why I’ve had to put the (rare) qualified at the beginning of the piece when you get to the end.

As I am wont to do given the demands of my primary profession – that would be picking (hopefully) winning stocks – I tend to read a lot. There are two types of articles I read. The first you might consider obvious. I read about anything that smacks of “the coming thing.” I want to know about the leading edge before the “L” in “Leading” appears. To do this, you’ve got to read a ton of articles detailing wild and crazy ideas and hope you’re alert enough to connect the dots before the rest of the (investing) world does. Then you find a publicly traded company (hopefully no one has paid attention to for a long time) and begin buying. This way, when the euphoria of that crazy idea reaches its climax and the rest of the (investing) world is doing everything it can to buy that stock, you can ride into that rising wave, confident you can sell (for a tidy profit) to those over-eager buyers.

OK, like I said, that was obvious.

The less obvious type of article I read doesn’t talk about wild and crazy ideas that become products. Instead, these articles provide potent examples of just how wild and crazy Continue Reading “Are Better Educated People Easier to Fool with Persuasion Tricks?”

The Night the Grand Old Party Died

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resting-elephant-1-1340299-1280x1156I was sitting in Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge at Union Station when it started. By the time I had already boarded the train, it was done.

On the evening of March 11, 2016, thousands of violent agitators marched their way towards downtown Chicago, intent on disrupting a scheduled campaign stop by Donald Trump, the leading candidate of a major American political party. Rumors swirled in advance of this event. It was believed various foreign funded Democrat operatives, along with the same Republican operatives that used this technique successfully in a 2014 Senatorial primary campaign, were working together to stop the Trump campaign appearance.

While it was never confirmed who organized the intimidating show of force, it worked. Large numbers of the Anti-Trump gang had maneuvered themselves into the University of Illinois’s Pavilion. Long before the speech was scheduled to begin, the troublemakers had Continue Reading “The Night the Grand Old Party Died”