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A Breath of Fresh Air: “The Reagan Rhetoric: History and Memory in 1980s America” by Dr Toby Bates

So much of the written word today is only used to titillate or sensationalize, to hide opinion within thinly veiled pseudo-objective commentary and to debase the beauty of language once used within a covenant to inform and illuminate the process of discovery and growth. Too much of the public record in a sharply divided nation has been used to wound, destroy and tear down the subjects of print and online articles, editorials and books. Even sadder than the bitter harvest of dry columnists and stealth agents for political masters masquerading as journalists, are many of the works of so-called learned residents of the halls of academia who issue lazy and pretentious books that promise much and deliver little.In the case of Ronald Reagan so much has been written under the promise of objectivity and a careful and strict historical examination of the man who was the President of the United States, but such promise often evaporated after only a few chapters. Those who love history were ready for a certain kind of book on Reagan that perhaps could only be written after the calming balm of time had softened rancor, putting distance between the inquiry and the partisan noise of Reagan’s time.It has taken an historian, a professor at Mississippi State University, to finally get it right, to free us from the shallow sycophancy of those wedded to the political right and left in the country–determined as many have been to color or shade the historical record with their views–to either canonize Reagan or to demonize him in broad strokes of poison brushes. Dr. Toby Bates’ exhaustive research has paid off for him and for all serious readers seeking to find meaning for the present and the future in lessons from the past, to know where we have been that we might know where to go–the chief value for man in his recorded history.It may sound like an indulgence in hyperbole to say that Dr. Bates’ book was hard to put down, particularly since it could be an extraordinary text of political and cultural history for use in the classroom, or an intellectual indulgence for those pipe-smoking intellectual types of old, framed in black and white photos in their studies on rainy days, captured forever young in cardigan sweaters, thoughtful in black-rimmed glasses, a steaming cup of coffee on their cluttered desks–transfixed by the book they were reading. Dr. Bates has transcended the limitations of both applications. The depth of the book and the palette on which he paints produces a richness that does not compromise the faithful neutrality of his position as guide and historical recorder, a duty that Dr. Bates remains faithful to. He provides a trip in a time machine worthy of H.G. Wells to another era for those that only want to go there and see what it was like for themselves.Love him or hate him, Ronald Reagan was a towering figure on the American scene. A champion of liberty and free markets, Reagan confronted the challenges of his hour–the Soviet Communist empire, a choking economy, a weakened executive branch, and a nation still reeling from Watergate, Vietnam, malaise, hostages in Iran and the frustration of an America viewed as suddenly impotent by its own people. Reagan walked across the treacherous terrain of his rendezvous with destiny with an infectious optimism and a gift for communication that he employed to bypass the corporate media and speak to the collective consciousness of the unique people called Americans.In this book, we can once again examine topics still relevant today–state’s rights vs. federalism, liberty vs. an ever expanding central government, Keynesianism vs. supply side economics, American exceptionalism vs. a new world order, civility in political discourse vs. shout down, invective-laden diatribes, and all the issues that require constant re-examination lest the biases of the historians and commentators of the moment highjack our most treasured possession–our shared history.The book’s lessons in the complexities of leadership, triumphs and failures, public figures who lead by example and not a heavy hand, and a timeless resilience, loom large for a nation again in crisis in 2011. Thanks to Dr. Bates, whose love for history and facts is written on every page, we can go to the 1980s and glean from his work’s scrupulous adherence to integrity, what Ronald Reagan meant to the nation, and why so many politicians of all stripes now try to stand in the shade of the long shadow he still casts across the fruited plains, hoping by osmosis to appear to become larger than life leaders at a moment when there appear to no longer be any answers.

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Small Business Finance Success Improves With Realistic Options

The goal of being realistic when seeking new commercial loans and working capital financing will help commercial borrowers avoid a number of commercial finance problems. With proper preparation business owners should be in a better position to obtain new financing despite the difficult challenges impacting most working capital loans and small business financing. Nevertheless it should be anticipated that terms of financing will be different from prior commercial financing. Because of recent commercial lending difficulties, business owners actively assessing the most effective options for their small business finance decisions are likely to find the smoothest path to business loan success.In view of volatile conditions which have recently impacted credit markets, this will not be a simple task. A very common example of the problem is illustrated by how much misinformation and confusion there has been about business financing and working capital availability. Getting more accurate information about what is realistically possible can be one of the most difficult challenges for commercial borrowers.When seeking to identify realistic choices in a confusing working capital management climate, a number of harsh realities must be confronted by all small business owners. For most current commercial financing decisions by business owners, there are several major factors to anticipate. In the first example, additional small business loan collateral is being requested by most commercial lenders. Second, many regional and local banks have discontinued lending for business financing and working capital. In a third example, businesses which are not currently profitable or not current in their debt payments will have extensive difficulties. Fourth, business construction funding currently is very limited in most areas. In a fifth example, lenders are eliminating unsecured business lines of credit for most small business owners.Despite the new business financing limitations just noted, there are practical working capital options for small business owners to consider. An increasingly effective commercial financing option in the midst of an uncertain economy is a merchant cash advance program based on credit card processing activity. Even though this commercial funding option has been available for a few years, it has not been used by most small businesses. For most businesses which accept credit cards, merchant cash advances should be evaluated as an important tool for improving business cash flow. Small business owners wanting to pursue this financing option should consult a business financing expert who is knowledgeable about this working capital management approach as well as other small business loans.Even though working capital loans are not as widely available as they were just a few months ago, this kind of small business financing is still in fact obtainable. Since some of the largest providers have stopped making these business loans, the main change for business borrowers is the likelihood that they will be dealing with a different commercial lender. Small business owners will benefit from finding an experienced and candid business financing expert to assist in evaluating realistic options because the most effective working capital financing providers are not aggressively marketing this capability.As stressed above, when making commercial financing decisions it is becoming increasingly important for business owners to first determine their effective business finance funding options. Because of recent volatility in financial markets, this task is likely to be much more difficult than most commercial borrowers realize. It is advisable to explore commercial finance options that might be necessary if economic conditions change even further even for business owners who are satisfied with their current working capital financing arrangements. The use of Plan B contingency financing is an important tool to assist commercial borrowers in this process.

Investing In The Entertainment Industry

There is no denying the sheer magnitude of the entertainment industry worldwide – and it shows no sign of slowing down. When deciding what industry to invest in, naturally, you want to choose the most promising and profitable area in which to put your hard-earned money. Growth is an indicator of a healthy business, which would make the entertainment industry an excellent choice. Yet, when business is booming everyone wants a piece of the winning revenue pie. For example, entertainment companies are home to some of the most high-tech and high-paying jobs. Numerous states in the U.S. have begun to compete for these jobs with statewide tax incentives geared to attract entertainment firms to their location. If governments are competing for the opportunity to reap the rewards of the industry, it is natural to expect a similar competition for the best investment opportunities.To be sure you have an edge over the competition you have to zero in on what type of entertainment in which you want to invest. Trendy. Modern. Technological. Traditional. There are forms of entertainment that fall under all of those categories. The old saying, “there’s no business like show business” still rings true, but, today, entertainment is such a broad commercial business, encompassing more than just Hollywood and the silver screen. Original film and television productions are increasing in both quantity and quality across the globe. Modern technology has led to the creation of the ever-growing video game and online entertainment venues. Huge enterprises like theme parks amuse the masses. Vacations help travelers get away from it all. Kids are occupied with a wide-range of toys. Yet the timeless, classical forms of fun such as a night at the theatre and reading a good book are still popular. The successes of Wicked and Harry Potter are a testament to that. Don’t forget the entire music industry – iTunes, CDs, concerts… it’s all entertainment.After realizing how vast this glamorous industry is, it makes investment decisions so much easier. Making investments in entertainment does not mean that basic investment principles should be thrown to the wind. Despite the growth and success of entertainment firms, nobody really knows what company is going to shine or what part of the industry is going to soar above expectations. Play it safe and be conservative – choose quality entertainment stocks over quantity, and remember keep your portfolio diversified. There’s no reason to change your portfolio to include only entertainment related stocks and bonds.When considering a diversified portfolio, it is important to realize that many entertainment companies are internally diversified. Take AOL Time Warner, for example. They are a company with multiple entertainment divisions: film, television, records, media/publishing, etc. If ticket sales for films are uncharacteristically low one year, there will hopefully be more people listening to music or reading magazines. There is also the whole other technology side to the company to consider, as well. This type of diversification is common among the entertainment powerhouses. Powerhouse companies like Sony and Disney have established their business in multiple areas of entertainment, and even industries outside entertainment, to balance their success.Investing in the entertainment sector can be more than just purchasing stock. For those searching for a more venture capitalist approach, there are numerous promising digital media and traditional media companies looking for financial backers. YouTube and MySpace were once such start ups, and their acquisition illustrates just how viable – and profitable – new media opportunities can be. Finding a winning investment opportunity takes research, but also some luck with being at the right place, at the right time. Whether you choose to invest by acquiring content, building a future hotspot, funding a production, or anything else – remember that your investment has to be something you professionally believe will take off.