Saturday, April 30, 2005

Foster strikes again! carries an AP story about another sports partnership deal signed by then Governor Mike Foster. Like the deal with the Saints, the private enterprise came out way ahead of the state.

Was Mike, whose administration was thought to be squeaky-clean by Louisiana standards, that easy to take advantage of? Was he that bad a negotiator? Was he so busy going to law school or commuting from Franklin, that he didn’t have time to study everything he signed? To AP:

BATON ROUGE, La. State officials want to work out a deal with the owners of a private golf course near New Orleans to avoid payouts of tax dollars to the club in the future.

Legislators were told last week that because of a deal to develop the Tournament Players Club of Louisiana at Avondale, the state owes the club a million dollars. The club is a joint development of the state and private firms that opened a year ago. It's currently hosting the P-G-A's Zurich Classic.

The course exceeded its overall expectations by recording 28,328 rounds of golf in the past 12 months. But only 1,748 of those rounds were booked through hotels, falling short of a state guarantee that hotels would book at least ten-thousand rounds in the course's first year of operation.

Officials have said that many players who visit New Orleans book their own rounds instead of going through the hotels.

The guarantee escalates through the fifth year of operation where the maximum state obligation is nearly two million dollars. But, if the club breaks even or makes a profit during a year, the state owes nothing.

Part of the problem this year was that the New Orleans hotel industry was never informed of the state guarantee or approached to help find a way to meet the goal. Bill Langkopp of the Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association says they'll do whatever they can to help correct the problem.

An attorney for the division of administration, Maris LeBlanc, says the state would like to open a discussion with the club owners about the terms of the contract. She would not say specifically what the state will ask to renegotiate.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Friday, April 29, 2005

Benson's humanitarian side?

Give me some feedback on these negotiations between Governor Blanco and Tom Benson of the Saints. I am having a hard time making sense of it.

Ordinarily I would side with the person who is simply asking that an agreement be honored, as Benson is in this case. But Benson is a decidedly unsympathetic figure, and loses the moral high ground when he refuses to open his books to show that he needs public money to survive here.

Benson is in an enviable position, with his commitment to New Orleans expiring just as investors in the Los Angeles area are ready to make some franchise owner a very rich person. I wonder, if Benson sells, if he will share his half-billion dollar windfall with the state.

Michelle Millhollon reports on the story for, by way of the New Orleans Sun:

Gov. Kathleen Blanco said this morning that she'll make one last attempt to talk to Saints owner Tom Benson about scaling back his incentives from the state.

Benson last night rejected Blanco's offer to spruce up the Superdome in exchange for the Saints helping with the cost and getting by with less state dollars.

The rejection means the state will have to honor the current deal which guarantees the NFL franchise $186.5 million in subsidies through 2010.

Blanco said she set her hopes on Benson realizing the state can't afford the arrangement approved by lawmakers three years ago.

"I knew that there was probably little room to ask a wealthy person to give up a lot of money," Blanco said. "They don't do that easily. I thought I could encourage him from his humanitarian side, perhaps."

Blanco also made it clear today that she thought Benson should have personally informed her that he was rejecting her offer.

A Saints official told the state 15 minutes ahead of the media yesterday that the negotiations had failed.

Blanco said she does recognize the business wisdom in Benson rejecting a deal that would have given him less money.

"Obviously, he’s in the best place," she said. "Always was. This is the easiest way for him. He doesn’t have to perform. He doesn’t have to do anything but be in Louisiana."


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Google Creates Video "Vending" Machine Online

by Jim Edwards,

It's really no secret that search giant,, wants to own the gateway to all media online. They operate the Web's most popular search engine, largest free blogging service, and one of the largest news services online.

Recently, Google started offering video from their website. Google's video offerings so far, comprised mostly of documentaries, news, and daytime talk TV programs, represented a testing device to get the kinks out of their video delivery and search system.

Now, thanks to widespread availability of high-speed Internet access, inexpensive desktop video editing, and the emergence of portable video players, Google is steadily ramping up what will surely become the Web's first video "vending" machine.

Log on to and search a limited number of available TV shows. Curiously, most do not allow you to play video, only to see still screen shots of the show and read a transcript taken from closed captioning for the hearing impaired. However, based on the fact that Google recently started accepting video submissions through their website, this format is about to change drastically.

Originally, speculation about Google's new video service centered squarely on video "blogging, " where online pundits would share their thoughts in video rather than written form. However, after releasing more details, it appears that Google maintains much grander plans for online video than just allowing people with a camcorder to rant and rave.

Currently Google is in the "gathering" stage. This means they are accepting video submissions from content providers with very few restrictions. Basically, Google says they want original content, no porn or offensive content, and they want it in a very specific video format (mpeg2 or mpeg4 with MP3 codec).

For specifics, log on to and click the "Find out more" link.

Right now it appears that Google decided to gather as much content as possible before offering any of it to the public, so you currently can't view any videos. Google also states that they will allow content providers to either charge for their videos or allow viewers to watch them for free.
Google states they will collect the money, take a small fee, and pay the content provider. This alone should excite anyone who sells content online because the barrier to entry (high-speed servers, video delivery, credit card processing, customer service) just got a lot lower.

Plus, it's a safe bet that Google will find a way to integrate revenue producing videos into their pay-per-click program.

Combine all this with the recent emergence of truly portable digital video players (Sony PSP, Creative Lab's Zen Media Center), and beginning of video-on-demand through the Internet just arrived. Now this doesn't mean growing pains won't occur.

The biggest drawback to searching for and finding online video is that each video file must have a text transcript associated with it in order to get properly indexed by a search engine. In the beginning, this will slow the production of new material.

Despite these and other growing pains, plan on Google opening up the first and largest video "vending" machine online within 12 months.

Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist and the creator of an amazing course that will teach you step-by-step and click-by-click how to finally create your own money-making mini-sites...


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Where I’ve been, where I’m going (Part 2)

This is the conclusion of the interview with Chester Alonzo that we started yesterday:

Then I met the woman who is now my wife. It is amazing what having a significant other person in your life can do for your career. After we got married my attitude toward the Navy changed again. I was advanced in rank to 1st class petty officer. After my children were born I made Chief Petty Officer. Then next thing you know 20 years had gone by and I am now retired.

I am still not sure what I want, however I have lots of skills, and plenty of knowledge and the right attitude to start a new career. I will graduate from the University of New Orleans soon with a degree in Management concentration in Information Technology. I have 20 years of experience in Human Resource/Personnel with several years of experience in technology management through the service and now two years working for the Navy as a contractor.

I have since gained experience working on a help desk, writing requirements and testing web applications in a PeopleSoft environment. I plan on pursuing a Master’ degree and want to start either a consulting business or start my own contracting business for the government. I discovered that going to college has helped me figure out a lot of business aspects that I would not have learn through the service. Experience is a great teacher, however it should be accompanied by schooling. The combination of both makes me a valued commodity that everyone wants.

With the right attitude and a little motivation I will accomplish my goals. I do know that I have to “be prepared” to branch off in other directions because you never know what life is going to throw at you and what opportunities will come your way. I am working hard to make the opportunities come my way and if I combine this with a little luck and lots of faith they will.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Where I have been, where I am going (Part 1)

We recently had a column titled An Impromptu Interview. A school project teammate of mine asked me about my background, partly in person, partly by email, and I made a column of our conversation. Like me, Chester is an NTA (non-traditional age) student and I asked him for his story. We will run the beginning today, and finish it tomorrow:

I joined the Navy in 1982. To this day I still do not know why I decided to join the service. I just did it. I guess maybe because I did not know what direction I was headed in and was just plain bored at home. There were other things going on at home that I did not like too much. There were many people who were doing nothing with their lives and on the fast track to becoming bums, drug addicts and alcoholics.

Many of my friends were getting married without jobs. I just could not see myself doing these kinds of things. So, I shipped out, joined the US Navy and have not had time to look back since.

I had a rocky start, not enough self-discipline and there were no real mentors to guide me in the beginning. I started in the nuclear power field. I was going strong and made it past basic electronics and electricity courses, all 35 modules over almost 6 months of school. I then made it past the basic phase of electronic technician school.

Unfortunately, I blew it while going though the radar phase of school. Had I taken the time to study more rather than play I could have passed. So, to the fleet I went as an undesignated Seaman.

After around 2 years of sailing seeing Europe, the Scandinavian countries in the North Atlantic and all of the Caribbean, I finally got my act together and struck for the PN (Personnelman) rating. After, getting serious and keeping the play for times when it was time to play I really began my career in the Navy. I still had no idea how far I was going to go.

I ran into some really good people on my first ship and they helped guide me. I made second-class and was on my way. My career stalled for a while after that because of changes in my attitude.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Monday, April 25, 2005

Six more tips for Bloggers ...

This is part of an article by Sharon Housley entitled 10 Tips for Bloggers. The first four appeared here yesterday:

5.) Clarity and simplicity.

Keep your posts and blog entries clear and easy to understand. Remember, the web is global and expressions, idioms and acronyms don’t always translate. Sometimes a little explanation goes a long way.

6.) Keyword-rich.

If the goal of your blog is to increase your visibility, include related keywords in the title of the blog. Use the title as a headline to attract interest. Each item post should have a title that will attract attention but still be relevant to the post. The title should be no longer than 10-12 words.

7.) Quantity matters.

In order to attract the attention of search engines, you will need to develop content and substance. A headline or simple sentence is not going to generate the interest of readers or help with search engine ranking. Be sure to archive old blog posts to develop a large portal of similarly-themed content.

8.) Frequency.

If your blog content is updated frequently, search engines will tend to spider the pages at regular intervals.

9.) Spell checking and proof-reading.

It only takes a few extra moments and can save you from having to make embarrassing explanations. Remember that whatever you publish on the Internet can be found and archived. Think carefully about what you post before doing so.

10.) RSS.

RSS will increase your blog’s reach. It is important that you include your blog’s content in an RSS feed to increase readership and distribution.

Most weblog audiences are small, but with time and regular updates audiences grow. Bloggers may never have more than a few hundred readers, but the people who return to regularly are generally interested in what you have to say.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing and publishing RSS feeds and NotePage a wireless text messaging software.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Four tips for Bloggers ...

This is part of an article by Sharon Housley entitled 10 Tips for Bloggers. The other six come tomorrow:

There are no hard and fast rules on how to blog. Having said that, bloggers will likely increase their exposure by following some simple blog guidelines.

1.) Stay on topic.

Opinions are generally accepted but the content of the items in the blog should all relate to a general theme. Unless you have an uncanny knack for wit, humor or cynicism, the majority of your readers will be interested in the content that relates to a specific defined theme or loosely defined area of interest. Most readers won’t care that you eat Cheerios for breakfast. They may, however, be interested in the fact that vinegar takes out stains and that toilet paper rolls make great wreaths. Define a topic and stick to it. This will ensure that you create a loyal following of interested readers.

2.) Stay informative.

If you are attempting to create the impression that you are knowledgeable about a specific industry or sector, be sure that you stay current on news. If you are endorsing a product or voicing an opinion, be sure to check your facts; your reputation is at stake. If you are offering an opinion, be sure to qualify your post, making it clear that the content is intended as an editorial.

3.) Old news is not news.

While blogging every day can be a drain, it is important that the information presented is current and accurate, writing an article or blurb about something that happened 6 months ago, will not be of interest to many. Telling your audience that Martha Stewart was convicted and will be going to prison, after her sentence is completed will make people question the value of your columns.

4.) Adhere to a schedule.

Create a schedule and stick to it. Realizing that blogging requires time and effort, don’t create unrealistic expectations and be unable to deliver. An occasional lapse or holiday is generally understood but readers returning to find stale, out-dated content are going to find another blog with similar content. New blogs and RSS feeds are popping up on a daily basis. If you have worked hard to develop an audience and a community you don’t want to lose them due to lack of communication.

Thanks Sharon. We'll cover the other six tomorrow.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Saturday, April 23, 2005

"Attractor Factor"...

Internet Marketing Author Uses Internet to Beat Harry Potter

Joe Vitale's "Attractor Factor" outsells Harry Potter as #1 bestseller twice in two weeks.

Austin, TX (PRWEB via PR Web Direct) April 21, 2005 -- Internet marketing author Joe Vitale is flying around the room on his own broom. His latest book, "The Attractor Factor: 5 Easy Steps for Creating Wealth (or anything else) from the Inside Out" (Wiley, $29.95), just became a #1 bestseller at Barnes and Noble online for the second time in two weeks.

"I'm as stunned as anyone," said Vitale, 51, an Internet marketing guru who has used his computer to go head to head against the media empire behind Harry Potter.

"I guess you could say I simply used the ideas in my own book to become a bestseller," Vitale explains, referring to the five steps in his book, designed to help people "attract" anything they can imagine.

But that's not all the innovative marketer did. Vitale's book hit #1 on April 6th at Barnes and Noble online and then again this morning, April 21st. His marketing method has been grassroots and inexpensive:

* First: He made an offer few could refuse. Go to to view a list of 23 bonuses -- "ethical bribes," Vitale calls them -- for anyone who buys his book today. This encourages sales in one day. Many people are buying hundreds of copies to support the author.

* Second: He has used allies to win the war. Vitale contacted owners of large lists and asked them to do a mailing for him. Most agreed, knowing it would be good publicity for them to be involved in Vitale's one-man underground campaign to sell books.

* Third: Friends of his posted a creative auction on EBay to sell two million books in one week. Whether he does it or not will have to be seen. See the listing at

"I'm one guy and a computer going up against a fictional character with a media empire behind him," said Vitale. "Everyone said I didn't stand a chance. But look – I beat Harry Potter twice now. Anyone can do the impossible – with a strategy and real magic."

For more information about internet marketing author Joe Vitale and "Attractor Factor," visit


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Friday, April 22, 2005

Stelly plan doing as intended...

A CityBusiness staff report, from their daily newsletter:

BATON ROUGE — Jim Brandt, president of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana Inc., said the Stelly Plan is under siege. But the tax reform passed in 2002 is doing the job it was intended to do, Brandt said. He said there is no reason to repeal or even modify the Stelly Plan, which is named after Vic Stelly, who wrote the bill.

"While there has been no groundswell of public opinion against the plan, some legislators are attempting to create one," Brandt said. "Others apparently feel compelled to respond to the complaints of a vocal few among the small minority of taxpayers who experienced a net tax increase under the plan. Those attacking the plan, however, are condemning it for doing exactly what it promised to do."

Brandt said an in-depth study shows 79.3 percent of all tax filers in Louisiana received a net tax reduction. This supports the earlier predictions that the vast majority of taxpayers would benefit from the plan.

In 2002, voters approved the constitutional amendment enacting the tax swap plan, which permanently exempted purchases of food and utilities for home use and prescription drugs from state sales taxes.

The plan increased the state personal income tax collections and tax brackets were increased on higher incomes with small breaks at the lower end.

More than half of the increase in 2003 came from eliminating the 65 percent deduction for taxpayers who itemize. This deduction affects only the 20 percent of taxpayers, primarily in higher income levels.

Bills to restore the deduction have been filed with numerous co-authors, Brandt said. Removing the deduction would undo the tax swap, reduce revenues by roughly $240 million and deny the state a relatively small annual revenue growth. A proposed 10-year phase-in of the deduction would ease the transition but still effectively unravel the plan.

The Stelly Plan objectives were to slash the use of temporary taxes; reduce reliance on regressive sales tax and give low-income families some tax relief; shift the tax burden to income tax; and make the overall state tax structure slightly more growth-oriented. According to a recent Legislative Fiscal Office analysis of the first full year impact, the plan appears to be meeting all of these objectives, Brandt said.

The LFO analyzed the Stelly impacts on three basic types of filers in 30 income classes.

"The Stelly Plan was no one’s idea of the perfect tax reform, however, it was an important first step toward a more rational tax structure by providing greater equity and stability," Brandt said. "Undercutting the plan now to placate a small minority of primarily higher income taxpayers who experienced tax increases would be a significant step backwards."


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Thursday, April 21, 2005

As Seattle sees us (conclusion) ...

This concludes the article begun yesterday, as referenced by New Orleans News, from the Seattle Times web page, and written by Adam Nossiter of the Associated Press:

At the glass-and-steel school administration complex across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans, FBI agents and other federal and state investigators have opened an office to pick through the evidence of graft.

Just last week, a payroll clerk was sent to jail for stealing $250,000 — she had kept her job with the New Orleans schools, even after being indicted on charges of stealing from a bank. A year ago the district's insurance manager pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks. One of the bribe-givers was former Mayor Marc Morial's aunt.

In February, the U.S. Education Department said nearly $70 million in federal money for low-income children was either not properly accounted for or misspent.

State officials said one reason is that for years, teachers and principals wanting promotions to more lucrative central-office positions have been put into accounting jobs for which they are not qualified.

"There is not one accountant working in the accounting department," Theriot said. "There's not one in the trenches."

State and federal officials are demanding that every aspect of the district's finances be turned over to an outside accounting firm. The locals are balking, but they probably cannot resist much longer: Washington and Baton Rouge, which give New Orleans more than half of its $577 million budget, have the upper hand.

Meanwhile, morale in the beleaguered teaching corps is sagging.

"We're constantly hit by these disasters," said Leo Laventhal, a French and Spanish teacher at one of the city's magnet schools. Often, colleagues at his school never receive their paychecks. And it is no use complaining: "We call the central office, and nobody answers the phone," Laventhal said.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

As Seattle sees us...

This article was referenced by New Orleans News, from the Seattle Times web page, and written by Adam Nossiter of the Associated Press:

Crises multiply at schools in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — Dozens of employees indicted or convicted on corruption charges. Tens of millions of dollars unaccounted for. Eight superintendents in seven years. Rock-bottom test scores. Shootings, sirens and police uniforms, often. The threat of bankruptcy and bounced checks, constantly.

In the dismal gallery of failing urban school systems, New Orleans' may be the biggest horror of them all.

"Urban districts, in general, will often have problems with instruction, with finances, with operations," said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools in Washington. "But they don't always occur at the same time. And New Orleans is really facing a three-front challenge."

New Orleans "is almost a national scandal," said James Harvey of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington. "The consistent gossip about favoritism and corruption is extremely troubling." And the city has become "murderers row for superintendents."

Long ago abandoned by this city's middle class, New Orleans public schools are in sad shape academically. New Orleans accounts for 55 of Louisiana's 78 worst schools. More than two-thirds of the school system's fourth-graders do not have basic competence in math.

The latest crisis in the 64,000-student system broke two weeks ago. First, teachers nearly missed a paycheck, the system was so broke. Then, the state threatened a takeover. Finally, the superintendent — a reformer from New York who, like many before him, entered with grand plans — was forced out by a school board disenchanted with his reform ideas.

Superintendent Anthony Amato's fate was sealed last week at a board meeting crackling with racial hostility. Much of the hooting was directed at him and his white supporters in the school system, which is almost 94 percent black.

Financially, the school system is a "train wreck," Louisiana's top government watchdog, legislative auditor Steve Theriot, told lawmakers in Baton Rouge. No one knows for certain how much money it has, or how much money it owes.

More tomorrow...


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

An impromptu interview...

John, or should I say Dr. John? I just realized from your eMail signature. Where do you teach? You must really like school to have a Ph.D. and continue to take more classes. One day I hope to get my Ph.D.

I teach a business plan course to first-year MBAs at Tulane on Monday nights. I got my Ph.D. in engineering at Tulane in 1968, but have been mostly in the business world, and teaching business part-time.

I started the UNO MBA program two years ago (at 60 years old) so I could teach topics other than entrepreneurship-related.

I wouldn’t say I really like school, but I have spent a lot of my life there. I am not good at working for other people or keeping regular hours, so it beats real work.

I know the feeling of not wanting to work for someone else. I retired from the Navy. 20 years of taking orders. I would really love to get a job where I determine my own hours and the money made would be determined by how hard I worked. Also, the money made would be mine and not working to make money for someone else. What has brought you back to taking courses at UNO?

When I sold my business in 1998 (at 55) I had no idea what I would do with myself. I was President of (then) NOBID for a year (I didn’t like it, the Board were micromanagers), then faculty at Dillard. That was good, but they laid me off in 2003. I had no idea what to do next. I was let go in May and started classes at UNO a month later.

My objective was to add business credentials to enhance my usefulness as a college professor. It may not have helped because there just don’t seem to be any jobs at any of the local colleges.

I chose UNO because of a history with them (I directed the computer center there in the early 1970s), my wife is a professor there, and my son a student. It also has the widest choices of classes, and they waived several for me based on things I took 40 years ago, or have taught recently.

I sort of surprised myself in my total disinterest in starting another business – I also don’t want employees, and don’t want to put much money on the line again. I have enough saved that if I am careful, and don’t live too long, and the stock market does well, and… I never have to work again.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Monday, April 18, 2005

Tax break talk...

We are about to buy a house, and sell the one we have. These actions will trigger reappraisals that will mean a higher property tax bill for us and the buyers of our current house. So you would think we would celebrate news about catching a break on property taxes and, if so, less to have to contribute to the Orleans Parish School Board.

We’ll talk about that some more on another day. For now let’s see what AP has to say on the issue, by way of the KATV3 website:

Tax breaks for homeowners are a hot item in the Capitol this year.

Several bills filed for the upcoming legislative session would take the property tax break enjoyed by elderly people who earn less than 56-thousand dollars a year and extend it to all elderly people, even rich ones. Others aim to extend the break to disabled people. One measure aims to limit increases in homes' assessment values. Others would simply limit the amount property taxes can be increased.

They sound good to many taxpayers, but parish and city government bodies are expected to try to block bills that would hack away at the amount of tax money they receive.

Members of the Legislature appear split on whether a cap should be imposed on increases in homeowners' property taxes.

In an Associated Press survey, 32 percent of the House members who responded to the survey said they would support a cap. An equal percentage said they were opposed to the idea and 35 percent were undecided.

Twenty-seven percent of the Senate members who responded said they were opposed, 48 percent were in support and 24 percent undecided.

Nearly all the bills were filed by lawmakers from New Orleans and its suburbs, where many homeowners have faced big property tax hikes over the past year. News media investigations and a report by the state legislative auditor have also shown that assessors in some parishes have valued similar properties at widely different amounts, often because home valuations have not been updated.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Sunday, April 17, 2005

So Real, it Should be Illegal...

From a press release by way of PRWeb: is an internet online game based on the Real Mafia Life so called "La Cosa Nostra". This game is for those who want to be real Mafia Dons like Al Capone, John Gotti and have all the little Mafiosos "Kiss Their Ring...or Die".

(PRWEB) April 16, 2005 --, the free Online Massively Multiplayer Game, has just been launched, early this April, and is getting really popular! The game shows several aspects of what the real Mafia life would entail in a fiction role-playing scenario. It offers viewers a chance to participate and interact with other people who want to experience what it is like to have power, luxury, and be above the law.

In The Mafia Boss World, the goal is to become a notorious Boss of a Crime Family composed of Consiglieres, Underbosses, Capos and Soldiers. Mafiosos have the choice to collect money from their casinos, whorehouses, loan sharks and gambling dens. Like in the daily Mafia Life, they will produce drugs, liquor and fake money. When necessary, Mafiosos will use bribes, and minor crimes during daily routine. Mafia players will get on family wars against other families for control. They have the choice to join a Crime Family with a well structured hierarchy or even create their own Crime Family. The options are endless under the use of logic with extra scope for illegal businesses and use your legal businesses to clear out the money. has been described by the media as a New Generation of Online Games. In fact, most web-based games are mostly text, tables and numbers. "When I started playing online, I tried different types of games but, often, got annoyed with this mass of text and digits" says L. Belrhiti creator of Easy to play for all, TheMafiaBoss offers a high quality of entertainment providing a large variety of graphics and illustrations (almost a video game with the advantage of playing with thousands of gamers). "We found it very surprising that the game tends to follow similar patterns in Real Mafia World. From the same country, players form families fighting against others for control (Italian, Russian, Japanese, Mexican cartels...)" says L. Belrhiti.

The game is all free and played in short rounds of 10 days that keep the players thrilled and warned of any family attacks. Players start with 2,500 turns and a lot of weapons and units. Turns are given all along the game to keep everybody playing and building up their crew. is more and more popular and has exceeded the 20,000 members; the game has over 500 new members a day, and has boosted their prize giveaways to $1,000 every month!


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Louisiana legislative legend dies ...

Paul Murphy of ABC26 News reports on the death of former House Speaker and Senate President John Hainkel:

Louisiana is mourning the loss of a legislative legend. Former Speaker of the House and Senate President John Hainkel of New Orleans died in his sleep Friday morning.

Hainkel was at his best with a gavel in his hand or hunched over a podium, giving a speech. The 67-year old was the longest serving Louisiana lawmaker still in office.

He's the only one to serve both as speaker of the house and president of the state senate.

"Besides his children, I know the state was probably his first love," said Hainkel's son John III. "Politics is what he really enjoyed doing."

Hainkel's family gathered at his son's house in uptown New Orleans. John the third says his father was at a camp in Mississippi where he went to bed last night and didn't wake up.

"He was at Senator Walter Boasso's camp in Poplarville, Mississippi, where he was doing what he loved to do with some fellow senators and that is cook, maybe a little bit of drinking and a lot of eating," said John Hainkel III.

Hainkel started his 37-year legislative career as a house member in 1968. He went to Baton Rouge as one of a group of reformers known as the "young turks." It's a group which also included former State Senator Tom Casey.

"He absolutely loved politics," said Casey. "I always said that John needed politics just to live. I thought as long as he was in politics and he had connections with politics, he'd be around forever."

State Representative Peppi Bruneau of New Orleans says John Hainkel was the big brother he never had.

"I'll tell you my greatest memory of John is when I lost some folks in my family, John Hainkel was standing by me, propping me up when I was about to fall," said Bruneau. "That was a true act of friendship."

Longtime friend and law partner William Porteous says Hainkel was as good an attorney as he was a politician.

"The judges, jurors, witnesses other lawyers liked him and cared about him and recognized he was truly a wonderful trial lawyer," said Porteous.

Hainkel's children say he was also a wonderful dad.

"I think we'll remember him as one of the most loving, dedicated fathers you could have," said John Hainkel III.

John Hainkel turned 67 on March 24th and his family says he didn't have any major health problems.

Hainkel's body will lie in state at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge on Sunday from 3pm to 6pm. His funeral takes place Monday at 1 p.m. at St Francis of Assisi Church in Uptown New Orleans.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Friday, April 15, 2005

Study Finds Racism in New Orleans' Bars...

Mary Foster of AP National News, by way of Newsday, reports:

NEW ORLEANS -- If you're black and belly up to a bar on Bourbon Street, be forewarned: You run a 50-50 chance of either being charged more or being forced to order a minimum number of drinks.

Those are the findings of a study done for the city in the wake of the death of a black college student who died in a scuffle with white bouncers outside a bar on the famous French Quarter thoroughfare.

The study, conducted by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, paired black and white men of similar body type, dress and manner, and sent them into bars within minutes of each other.

Of the 28 bars visited, 40 percent charged the black customers more for drinks. A white man, for example, bought a Long Island iced tea for $7.50, while the black man was charged $9, according to James Perry, executive director of the private, nonprofit housing center.

Ten percent of the bars informed the blacks -- but not the whites -- that there was a drink minimum, and 7 percent told their black customers that they would have to meet a dress code.

The report recommended the city take several steps, including investigating discrimination at bars and enforcing civil rights laws through litigation.

"This is 2005, not 1964, and this will not be tolerated," said Larry Bagneris, executive director of the New Orleans Human Relations Commission.

The city attorney is also working on an ordinance regulating mandatory sensitivity training for all bar employees, use-of-force standards and the need for bouncers to immediately turn any situation over to police, said the office of Mayor Ray Nagin.

Levon Jones, a student at Georgia Southern University, together with a friend were in New Orleans on New Year's Eve and went to Razzo Bar and Patio, a popular French Quarter club. The friend was allegedly denied admission because he did not meet the club's dress code.

A scuffle ensued and Jones, 25, died after one bouncer held him in a headlock for 12 minutes, while another pushed down on his back and a third held his legs. The bouncers were later charged with negligent homicide. The coroner said Jones suffocated.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Nagin sounds the alarm...

From by way of Yahoo! news:

There's no doubt about it: Mayor Ray Nagin is sounding the alarm over the state of the Orleans Parish Public Schools system.

"What I am saying to you is that this system is bankrupt, and it needs to be handled like a bankruptcy," Nagin said Wednesday when reporters caught up with him outside the tourism bureau on St. Charles Avenue. "We need to declare a state of emergency."

Nagin said he was not happy about how the Tuesday ouster of schools Superintendent Anthony Amato was handled. Amato resigned amid pressure from School Board members over the district's financial crisis and growing criticism from lawmakers that the system lacked leadership.

"I don't understand why we put this man through a public lynching or a public execution," Nagin said. "We could have taken him aside and said it's not working out."

Nagin said Amato had called him recently asking for help.

"He said, 'Mr. Mayor, I need money,'" Nagin said. "He said, 'I understand that you've got some sales taxes or other taxes that you owe us, and we have not been paid.' So we checked into it and found $5 million in property taxes and cut him a check for $3.5 million in sales taxes. He said at the time that he needed $15 million to $18 million to make payroll. He got $8.5 million from us.

"But if you can't even make your payroll, if you're struggling to make payroll, what do you think is happening to the other bills? Do you think the electricity bill is being paid? Do you think students are getting the supplies they need?"

Nagin said he feels Amato did the best he could with a very bad situation, but that fundamental issues -- including spending patterns -- must be addressed before any real progress can be made.

"You need a turnaround specialist," Nagin said. "I'm talking to everybody who will listen. I think it can be fixed, but I think we need to get real. You can vote in new board members and hire another superintendent. We've done that 11 times in 20 years. But fundamental issues need to be challenged, or we're going to be right back here six months from now."

Nagin also said officials and administrators have been focused on the wrong things.

"I am literally grieving for the children," he said. "In all the discussions we've been having, I have not heard anyone talk about the kids. It's always about the adults."


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Learning to Tolerate Spam...

Jo Best of reports on a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showing, among other things, that fewer people find spam as annoying or unpleasant as they did a year ago. Published on ZDNet News:

Currently, 67 percent of e-mail users say that spam interferes with their online experience, compared with 77 percent a year ago.

People are also recovering their trust in e-mail, to a degree, with 53 percent of respondents saying spam has sapped their confidence in e-mail, down from 62 percent a year ago.

The Pew Internet and American Life project has monitored e-mail users' attitudes towards spam during the last two years. Researchers with the project believe that negative reactions hit a peak about a year ago and will decline or level off over time.

"These findings suggest that at least for now, the worst-case scenario--that spam will seriously degrade or even destroy e-mail--is not happening and that users are settling into a level of discomfort with spam that is tolerable to them," the report says.

Young people between the ages of 18 and 24 years old were the least likely to be bothered by spam and also the least likely to stop using e-mail because of it, according to the report.

Despite people's increasingly blase reactions to spam, the impact of unsolicited bulk e-mail on online behavior shouldn't be discounted.

"Despite declines, spam remains a relatively major issue for Internet users," the study says. "More than half of Internet users, 52 percent, consider spam a big problem. Internet users are more negative about spam than they are about other Internet problems," such as malware.

About one-fifth of users say that spam has affected their use of e-mail in general, with 22 percent of users now using e-mail less as a direct result of unwanted bulk mail, although that is down from the 2004 figure of 29 percent.

However, users aren't doing as much to prevent the annoying e-mail ads from reaching them, it seems.

"E-mail users have changed their spam avoidance behavior very little in the last year and a half. If anything, they have been a little less likely to practice good habits," the study said, noting that a stable 6 percent of e-mail users still buy products advertised through spam.

The report was based on responses from 1,421 people and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Bloggers or reporters?

Jack Shafer writes in on the burning question: "What Can Bloggers Do That Reporters Can't? And vice versa."

When it comes to opinion pieces, bloggers have an edge over the pros. I'm not saying that bloggers are necessarily better writers than full-time members of the commentariat, but Daily Kos, Joshua Marshall, Daniel Drezner, Daily Howler, Volokh Conspiracy, Brad DeLong, et al., produce more immediate and succinct copy than their mainstream colleagues...

What the Web has done is remove the barriers to entry from opinion journalism, much to the benefit of readers. If told that I had to forgo the editorial and op-ed pages of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times or lose my blog bookmarks, I'd say hands off my browser!

Professional journalists have it all over bloggers when it comes to reporting. The first generation of bloggers tends to resist taking off their PJs and donning hip-waders to report the news from the swamp. Reporting is a learned skill, and experience counts for something. Also, professional news organizations pay for airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, car rentals, libel insurance, editing, and other resources to make reporting happen. How many unpaid bloggers will cover a war from the shrapneled front? A handful. Maybe.

As many critics have remarked, blogs will never replace the mainstream media because without the mainstream media to feed on they can't exist. Blogs are parasites, they say. Oddly, when the mainstreamers sup from the trough set out for them by the National Security Archive, the Center for Public Integrity, the GAO, and other institutions, nobody calls them parasites.

Writer for writer, mainstream journalists possess more talent than bloggers, and talent matters when you're competing for an audience. It's no accident the several of the best bloggers, Mickey Kaus, Andrew Sullivan, James Wolcott, and Joshua Marshall, honed their interpretive, narrative, and reportorial skills in mainstream media.

What can bloggers do that professional journalists can't? Because bloggers answer to no one, they need not worry if their dispatches cause the chairman of the board of General Motors to stop talking to the publisher—or placing ads. Their independence gives them a subversive strength, one that undermines the cozy relationship the press has with its corporate cousins and government. The unmediated nature of blogs, which frightens so many professional journalists, is really a plus. With so many bloggers writing outside the bounds of authority, they've become impossible to silence or censor, and their provocations help keep the national debate going at full tilt. Too bad constructive recklessness can't be taught.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Monday, April 11, 2005

Around the Capitol (BR, that is)...

From TP - Survey says: Things are looking up in La.

Louisiana residents are growing a little more positive about the state's economic and political outlook, according to a newly released survey by the Public Policy Research Lab at Louisiana State University. Showing "a small but symbolically important increase," 52 percent of respondents said the state is headed in the right direction. About 35 percent said it is going in the wrong direction, and 14 percent said they did not know.

In last year's survey, 48 percent said the state was moving in the right direction. Men, white people, younger respondents and respondents with higher incomes and more education generally expressed greater optimism. The results are based on a telephone survey between Dec. 6 and Feb. 21 of 964 randomly selected Louisiana residents 18 years or older, with a margin of error of 3.2 percent to 4.6 percent, depending on the set of questions. It is the third in a series of annual surveys designed to establish benchmarks of public opinion and chart residents' assessments of state government. The survey covers questions on education, health care, taxes, economic development and corruption. For information on the survey, visit or call (225) 578-7588.

One in three not pleased with tax plan

The LSU survey also found that few people believe they are paying less tax under the state's new tax structure, known as the Stelly plan. One of three respondents said they were paying more state taxes because of the Stelly plan. Four percent said they were paying less; 54 percent said they had not noticed much difference; and 10 percent said they didn't know. The tax plan eliminated the state tax on household groceries and utilities while raising state income taxes for many middle- and higher-income taxpayers, especially those who itemize deductions on their federal tax forms.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Import from China...

PRWeb ran a communist press release with the rather lengthy title:

Import from China: Smaller Companies, Wholesalers, Flea Marketers, Discount Stores, and e-Bay Sellers Now Can Import Smaller Quantities of High Quality Goods from China.

Wholesalers, individual discount shop owners, e-Bay sellers and companies needing a competitive edge can now send items to for a production cost estimate. Inventors, patent creators and discount stores may request custom labeled merchandise made to specifications.

(PRWEB) April 9, 2005 -- To increase profits for discount stores, professional flea market sellers, e-Bay sellers, and others needing competitive prices on any durable product Sinotrading now will connect you to Chinese manufacturers who will work will small or mid-sized concerns in virtually any industry. works with proven manufacturers in China to produce prototypes, private labeled goods, promotional items, or any product an individual, company or discounter may need to increase profits.

Sinotrading will now work with your design or put private labels on existing material for you if we have plans or a sample from which to work. Sinotrading has a number of success stories: Most recently Sinotrading saved an International Resorts, vacation ownership, and Timeshare company over $75,000 by beating their previous year's best bid for 15,000 promotional binders used in their marketing division, can also sponsor factory trips to China for prospective buyers that want to view working conditions or quality assurance. Sinotrading is an American company and has American QA personnel stationed in China. Usual turnaround is very fast from design to prototype and then on to manufacturing.

Textiles, CD duplication, DVDs, Toys, Promotional items, Air conditioning, Books, industrial parts and equipment and much more are within the manufacturing scope of Sinotrading and its partners. Quality assurance, lower allowable volumes, and insured shipments are what set Sinotrading apart from normal China Sourcing companies: Sinotrading makes Sourcing from Chinese manufacturers quite easy. For full information visit and fill out the contact form or call our toll-free number.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Nagin Pitches to Governor... reports:

Tax breaks to lure video game developers, biotechnology companies, robotics businesses, rubber manufacturers and music publishers are on top of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's legislative agenda this year. He was in Baton Rouge Friday pitching his package of ideas to Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

Nagin also wants the state to waive for five years the sales taxes on new manufacturing businesses that open in Louisiana and the tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment that already is being phased out.

The governor didn't commit to backing any of the bills in the legislative session that begins April 25, but Nagin said she was receptive particularly to ideas that would bring more jobs to Louisiana.

Blanco already has said she doesn't want any tax measures to cost the state any income, so if a lawmaker proposes lowering taxes in one area, she expects a proposal to generate that lost money somewhere else. And Nagin said the governor indicated she didn't want any tax incentives packages to "burden the state any further."

Nagin said most of his tax break proposals are designed to lure new businesses and industries to Louisiana so they wouldn't cause the state to lose any current money it receives. Nagin said he told the governor he would modify or pull any proposals that she felt would be bad for Louisiana.

Robert Lynch, in his 2004 book Rethinking Growth Strategies, offers a contrarian view:

It is commonly thought that firms will migrate to a particular state for the purpose of reducing costs, since lower costs may result in higher profits for business owners. But state and local taxes are not typically a significant cost of doing business. All state and local taxes combined make up but a small share of business costs and reduce profits only to a limited extent.

Indeed, the costs of taxes pale in comparison to many other location-specific costs, and numerous location factors, including qualified workers, proximity to customers, and quality public services, can be more critical than taxes. The availability of these vital location factors depends in large part on each state and locality's commitment to public investment and their ability to pay for it. Research, in fact, substantiates that public investment plays a positive role in helping lower costs for firms.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Friday, April 08, 2005

School Takeover Talk...

WDSU, reports:

The city, the state or both could take over Orleans' public schools, and one school board member said he believes it should happen soon.

"I think, at the very least, the state needs to come in and take over the financial side of the house," Fahrenholz said.

It was recently disclosed that the school system is broke, with a little more than $100,000 in the bank.

Mayor Ray Nagin suggested that the city could be involved.

"We're looking at that as an option," he said. "We want to help with the finance side in taking over a cluster of schools and working to give these kids a better option."

School Board President Torin Sanders met with Nagin at City Hall to try to dissuade him.

"The people elected us and not anybody else," he said. "We must be able to have a say in the financial matters of the district and the academic matters of the district. So we welcome support from all entities, but we want to make sure we're driving that plan."

State education Superintendent Cecil Picard said he wants to assume control of the schools' finances to make sure everyone gets paid.

Orleans schools Superintendent Anthony Amato tried to reassure teachers Wednesday.

"I want our teachers to be calm," Amato said. "I want our kids to be calm. I want our parents to be calm. Everyone's going to be paid, paid on time and paid right through the end of the year. Period."

Sanders has called an emergency board meeting Monday night to work on the money crisis, including authorizing a short-term loan, if needed.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Thursday, April 07, 2005

A City Divided?

From Yahoo! by way of

Mayor Ray Nagin said tension between the races in New Orleans is holding the city back, and until residents adopt a more modern attitude, the city will languish. "We have to figure out a way to have some serious dialogue about race relations," Nagin said.

Political analyst Silas Lee is a pollster who leads focus groups and takes the political pulse of the city. Lee said the old racism of New Orleans has been replaced by a new type of racism. "Race relations in this community resemble a simmering volcano in the sense that it's always on the verge of erupting," Lee said. "The new racism is practiced by groups or institutions who deny access to opportunities, access to capital and access to resources based on race.

In the past four months, two racially charged events have polarized the city: A black college student was killed outside Razoo bar by white bouncers, and the city's first black district attorney was found liable in a racial discrimination case for firing white workers and replacing them with black workers. "We, as a city, still have a long way to go as it relates to coming together in a meaningful way," Nagin said. "The way (these incidents) were handled was done poorly, and the result -- the perception supports discrimination. There's another segment of the population of the city that is basically saying, 'You're changing the rules when a black man becomes district attorney.'"

The mayor said there are times when black and white New Orleanians come together. "We, as a city across racial lines, come together at Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest and what have you, but for the most part, we live in separate worlds. And economically, we're a very divided city."
Nagin believes the racial divide is harming both groups. "In order for us to be a world-class city, we have to figure out a way to have some serious dialogue on race problems to move this city forward," he said.

Nagin is in the final year of his first term. He hopes to win re-election and make racial equality one of his key goals.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Fully accredited college ...

Does this sound like a scam to you?

(PRWEB via PressReleaseHelp) April 5, 2005 –-, a leading online resource for distance learning degrees, is now offering for free its $200 program teaching people how to get college credit for what they already know.

“This is the best kept secret in higher education today,” said Sheila Ring, spokesperson for “Our site now has everything there is to know to help people obtain a college degree from a fully accredited college in one year or less.” formerly sold a $200 CD with instructions on how anyone in the world can complete a college degree in less than a year, based on what they already know or starting from scratch. Now has everything there is to know on its Web site for free.

The free information now available on covers how to take exams to get college credit and how to complete a fully accredited, four-year bachelor’s degree in one year or less, without ever having to enter a classroom.

“You can easily test-out of all of the courses,” Ring said. “And the cost of the education is among the lowest in the country. Nothing short of a scholarship will get you college credit and a degree cheaper than this.”

The program also helps people get college credit for courses and workshops they have already completed, for military experience and prior learning assessment portfolios.

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, people with a bachelor's degree earn over 60 percent more on average than those with only a high school diploma. Over a lifetime, the gap in earning potential between a high school diploma and a B.A. (or higher) is more than $1 million.

Despite this huge gap in earnings, only 21 percent of all adults over the age of 25 have college degrees. In a national newspaper survey asking what the readers’ biggest regrets were, most Americans said that they regretted not continuing with their education.

There is no longer an excuse for this, Ring says. “If there is a little voice inside of you that tells you that you deserve college credit for what you already know; if you believe you know more than the new employee with a college degree; and if you are willing to commit two hours a day, then you are one year away from your college degree. And your degree does not say that is a distance learning degree or a degree achieved through test taking or prior learning.”

It is designed for the adult learner who has college level skills and wants a college degree quickly and affordably. It is not about finding different programs that are available via distance learning or a list of online college degree programs.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Pay millions to firefighters now!

Why do I feel that my taxes are going up? My commitment to live within the city, as we are about to start a new house, is being severely tested. This story is from AP via KATC’s web site and pointed to by

A state district judge's order that the city of New Orleans pay firefighters more than 100 (m) million dollars in back pay and an additional nine (m) million to 12 (m) million dollars in future wages and benefits could end up costing city workers their jobs.

If paid all at once, Chief Administrative Office Charles Rice says the total would amount to about a third of the city's annual budget. Such a hit could force layoffs of up to 20 percent of the city's work force -- or up to one-thousand employees, including 200 of the city's 700 firefighters.

But Rice said the money won't be paid right away. He says there's some question in state law over whether a judge can tell a governmental body how to craft its annual spending budget. He says the city would take up to 30 days to file legal motions on that matter.

Rice says a special committee is looking into an array of possible solutions. Whatever plan it comes up with likely will involve a proposal to the state Legislature granting the city new means to raise money to pay the judgment.

Nicholas Felton Junior, a union leader for the firefighters, chastised city officials for exploiting lengthy legal processes to delay paying. He added that young firefighters are prepared to be laid off for the sake of more senior and retired firefighters, some of whom have been waiting more than two decades for money owed them.

The money is part of a multimillion-dollar award set by the state Supreme Court in a dispute that first went to court in 1981.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Monday, April 04, 2005

Why I Wouldn't Mind Paying to Send Email...

Actually I would mind, but here's the perspective of an email marketer:

There's been a lot of talk recently about Microsoft's plan to launch a pay-per-send email program. Such a program, if initiated, would force users to pay a sort of "postage" every time they send an email.

Frankly, I don't see how something like that could be regulated, but if did happen I'm gonna go on record as saying...

It wouldn't bother me all that much...

That's right...I wouldn't mind paying to send email! (Assuming, of course, that the "postage" was kept at a reasonable rate, which I'm sure it would be.)

Here's the deal...

Because of spam (and spam filters) the effectiveness of email marketing has declined drastically over the past few years. (The fact that this even gets delivered to someone's inbox is a small miracle.)

The fact is, legitimate email messages gets lost in all the clutter of spam. And if pay-per-send email actually stopped spam, I believe the added expense of sending the email would pay for itself many times over in increased response rates.

A Lesson from Direct Mail

Think about it. Direct mail marketers have been paying postage plus printing costs for over a century to market their products, and yet many still make money. Lots of money.

If anything, pay-per-send email will separate the good marketers from the "wannabees," and make all our lives simpler, and potentially more profitable.
While I won't be the one championing this pay-per-send initiative (should it go into effect), you also won't see me lobbying Congress to have it stopped.

APPLICATION (aka What I learned and will do differently from now on...)

The Internet is still a very new medium that will continue to be altered by user trends and legal regulations. The secret to success in the "New Internet" will be to adjust to these changes, rather than simply whine about them.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Affiliate Marketing Training ...

Affiliate Marketing Training – Learn to Crawl Before You Enter the Race!

The growth of the affiliate marketing industry has been astounding as of late, and that means that many new people are making the plunge every day. This has also lead to an increase in the amount of affiliate marketing training materials permeating the market.

So what gives?

Affiliate marketing is simply redirecting traffic, isn’t it? Isn’t that what makes it so easy to do and easy to be successful at?

In a word: No!

There is a lot more to affiliate marketing then just setting up an affiliate account, dropping your website into cyberspace, and sitting back as the cash rolls in. Yes, it can be easy, and it is definitely creative and fun, but it is a business, like any other, and you need to be qualified for the position and have a good handle on what you’re doing in order to survive.

There are many affiliate marketers out there who simply aren’t making the grade, and the reason is that they don’t have the proper training to be successful at their jobs. Anyone who is absolutely serious about being a success has three options: training, training, and more training!

But where to begin? Well, there are several ways to receive this kind of training. First of all, trial and error may be one way to go, as many affiliate marketers are self taught.

That is a time consuming affair though, with no guarantee of success. A better way to go would be through the use of affiliate marketing manuals, online tutorials, affiliate marketing training courses, and of course, the great affiliate conferences held every year in different parts of the world.

Read a Book!

One of the best and easiest ways to retain the basic fundamental principles of affiliate marketing is to go down to your bookstore and grab up a couple books on the subject. Many affiliate marketers have found a way to subsidize their income as instructors and novelists, since they are spending a lot of time writing articles for their websites anyway.

There is little in the way of professional training in affiliate marketing, for example, you can’t go to university to become an expert on it, but many of these authors have run the self-taught method explained above and achieved a certain level of success.

Learn from their successes and mistakes! Read their books and take notes. See how they have found success in some areas and how they relate to the other books you have. Cross referencing is a great way to get a feel for the fundamentals of affiliate marketing, as you will start to see specific patterns emerge in the training methods of each book.

Also, you will be able to trim away the extra fat that may be part of each authors affiliate style, and come up with your own goals and direction based on the knowledge they have imparted to you.

If reading a book isn’t getting you anywhere or you’d like to see more, there is always the online tutorial route for affiliate marketing training.

Getting Extra Help through Cyberspace

Another great way to get he affiliate marketing training you need is to go through an online tutorial. In much the same way as a book will help you learn the basics and get the information you really need, online tutorials can show you how real affiliate marketing can be successful in a dynamic web presence complete with working models and examples.

In addition, many of these tutorials will offer links to great savings and deals on important affiliate products such as web site hosting, template design, and domain name registration to get the eager affiliate marketing student up and running.

Many of these affiliate marketing online tutorials are designed and kept up by successful affiliate marketers (some of whom may have written books that you should already be reading!) and you can learn from their mistakes and successes. Also, since web copy is generally simpler than book formats, expect the information you gather from an online tutorial to be brisk, to the point, and perfect for taking notes.

Back to School, Affiliate Marketing Style!

If you feel that you haven’t learned enough from reading books and checking out online tutorials, then you are in exactly the right frame of mind for being an affiliate marketing success. It is time to move on to where real success begins: the classroom.

Now, this classroom can be in a real class, as some successful affiliate marketers hold actual marketing lessons for their students, and, depending where you live, this may or may not be an option for you.

On the other hand, there are plenty of marketers out there who offer their affiliate marketing training courses as downloadable e-courses, something you can do at home in your spare time just like distance learning for many universities!

One fine example of this type of downloadable course is available through one of Affiliate Marketing’s shining stars James Martell, a man who has made his fortune several times over by becoming first successful as an affiliate marketer, and then as both a teacher and student of the art of affiliate marketing and the astounding growth of the industry.

This course has been a huge success and is wildly popular not only because it is a fully comprehensive strategy that includes all of the great secrets to success James Martell has learned over the years, but also because James Martell will be there with you every step of the way to make sure you get everything out of his course that you put into it.

Martell also provides updates and online help for his students, and anyone serious about becoming a successful affiliate marketer really needs to take a look at what James Martell has to offer.

In fact, not only has James Martell written a book on the subject, he has also provided online tutorials with his training course, covering just about every area of learning in the world of affiliate marketing training.

Finally, after all of the hard work and effort you have put into your education, and you feel you can’t possibly learn any more without going into the world of affiliate marketing yourself, it’s time to relax, have some fun, and really get down to business: it’s time to attend and affiliate marketing event.

The Summit of the Affiliate Marketers

Once you are ready to become an affiliate marketer, you may be tempted to just plunge in and start getting to work. But you’ll be a lot better off – and so will your marketing strategy – if you make a point to attend an affiliate marketing event, such as Affiliate Summit 2005 being held Las Vegas, Nevada and Commission Junction University being held in Santa Barbara, California in September.

Affiliate summits and conferences are places for industry professionals to get together, share a few laughs, eat, drink, and introduce themselves to other parts of the affiliate marketing industry.

This means that web designers, hosting companies, and businesses looking to expand their affiliate marketing presence are all mingling with affiliate marketers themselves, shaking hands and making friendships that will be beneficial to all involved.

Affiliate marketers can also learn about changes to laws and policies, new technologies, and better strategies for tackling affiliate marketing problems. They will be exposed to the same people who they will be in contact with when they start their affiliate marketing strategies, and this in turn can improve their relationships and business prospects across the board.

Plus, it is a chance to become a member of an exciting and dynamic close-knit group of people who have come together and formed an environment of support in an industry that leaves many untrained victims by the wayside. These are people that you want to get to know, not because it will help your business but because their friendships will enrich your life in ways you can’t begin to imagine.

Affiliate marketing training. If you are really serious about getting into the race, take some time and learn to crawl first.

For more information, see Work-at-home-net-guides.

About The Author

Bill Schnarr is a single parent and freelance writer who works from his home in Calgary, Alberta. As well as having dozens of online and print publishing credits, you can also look for him in the upcoming "Chicken Soup for the Single Parents Soul" due out in February 2005.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The toast of New Orleans...

CNN reports, in its TRAVEL column:

Liquor exhibits and bartender history capture spirit of city

This city's liquid assets, from absinthe to iced tea, are getting a lot of attention these days.

The Louisiana State Museum has an exhibit of New Orleans beverages from bourbon to Barq's. A cocktail museum opened recently. A Southern Comfort Museum is in the works. And a group dedicated to the many cultures of Southern food is looking to collect oral histories from the city's bartenders.

What does it all mean?

"We make everything an art form," says Beverly Gianna, spokeswoman for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. "I think the fact that we can take our food and beverage and have museums centered around that just emphasizes and underscores the joie de vivre of New Orleans. Our great spirit. Or spirits."

But then, you might expect liquor exhibits and bartender history in a city where a top attraction is Bourbon Street. OK, it's named after some old French rulers. But they're not around any more. Bars are. The 13 blocks of Bourbon Street include at least 20 bars and cocktail lounges.

"There's a lot of interesting scholarship about cocktails and New Orleans," says Amy Evans, who is working on the bartenders' oral history project.

"Bartenders are the keepers of history and tradition and gossip and lore that is really a mother lode," Evans says.

This is the latest of several oral history projects she's done for the Southern Foodways Alliance, an affiliate of the University of Mississippi's Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

She's also done oral histories on barbecue in Memphis and in rural Tennessee; on Greek-owned restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama; and on defunct restaurants in Oxford and Greenwood, Mississippi.

The bartenders' oral history is sponsored by Southern Comfort, which hasn't been made here for more than a century. But its label shows a mansion only an hour or so from the French Quarter, where the recipe was created 130 years ago -- by a New Orleans bartender.


jbv's Competitive Edge 

Friday, April 01, 2005

The next Schiavo story…

Manuel Roig-Franzia and Mike Allen report, in the Washington Post:

The war over Terri Schiavo, once tightly focused on whether she would live or die, shifted at times Monday to arguments over how her body will be examined.

Her husband, Michael Schiavo, wants an autopsy in hopes of proving the severity of her brain damage. Her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, want a medical examination to answer questions about their suspicions that Michael Schiavo may have broken her bones in what they say may have been an attack that caused her brain injury, an allegation that was previously made.

Michael Schiavo and his attorneys have vehemently denied the accusation, saying doctors believe Schiavo's brain injury was caused by a lack of oxygen after a heart attack.

The dueling plans for examining Terri Schiavo's body were announced Monday as protesters carried crucifixes into Lafayette Square across from the White House, then visited three congressional offices to pressure lawmakers to intervene again in the case.

But their pleas are unlikely to yield action: The House Government Reform Committee, which had issued a subpoena for Schiavo to appear at a hearing at her hospice, has withdrawn the subpoena, and House officials said another will not be issued. Nonetheless, House officials met with protesters and assured them that lawmakers will inquire into the broader issues raised by the case.

The political realm is the last hope for the Schindlers, who have ended their legal fight to have their daughter's feeding tube reinserted after state and federal courts repeatedly rejected their case. Robert Schindler and his supporters urged Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) to step into the case Monday, as they have for days, even though courts have ruled that the governor does not have authority to take custody of Schiavo.


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