In today’s column, I had some fun with a press release touting a start-up company’s plans to begin mining operations on asteroids, and I received some reader responses arguing that I shouldn’t make fun of visionaries.
I’s not the vision I’m laughing at. It’s the hyperbole.
How many times have we been to the moon since 1969? And these guys from Planetary Resources Inc. say mining an asteroid will be as easy as going to the moon? Click here to read their press release.
Maybe some day. Meantime, it may be more likely that an asteroid will mine the Earth. Or perhaps we’lll kill ourselves with our own technology before it can ever happen. In any case, a tiny dose of reality is in order here, people.
Anybody can put out a press release these day. I just put one out touting my plans to turn myself invisible.
Posted by Al Lewison April 27, 2012 Get A Job /
Big U.S. companies are creating plenty of jobs – it’s just that most of them are overseas.
Click here to read this great analysis by Wall Street Journal reporter Scott Thurm. It quotes experts saying this trend isn’t necessarily at the expense of jobs in the U.S. These companies are doing the hiring abroad because they’re expanding into global markets and need people there instead of here.
Maybe some of those other countries can start giving these big businesses some more corporate welfare.
The idea that the people should support large corporations because large corporations create jobs is slowly being turned on its head as the globalization game plays itself out.
Posted by Al Lewison April 25, 2012 Wall Street /
When E.F. Hutton admitted to kiting hundreds of millions of dollars worth of check in the 1980s, not one person went to jail.
When a New Jersey car dealer named Denis Kelliher did it on a smaller scale, he went to prison.
It pays when you are too big to jail. And now some former E.F. Hutton executives even want to revive the E.F. Hutton name, made famous by its TV commercials where entire rooms fell silent at the drop of the company’s name: “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen.”
“While touting their supposed breakthrough investment technology on two websites, the [twins] were racking up fees as stock promoters through a third,” said Thomas A. Sporkin, Chief of the SEC’s Office of Market Intelligence.
It’s hard to believe investors this stupid would have any money left to invest in a stock-picking robot.
What if I told you I had a stock-picking fairy? Would you buy that, too?
When you get right down to it, church is a business, and what business can succeed by constantly telling people “blessed are the poor”?
The churches attracting the biggest crowds are the ones that are telling people what they want to hear. Instead of take up your cross, they’re saying take out your checkbook. They’re saying those who are faithful to God – which includes dropping big bucks in their offering plate – will be amply rewarded.
Many ministries promise a hundred-fold blessing.
This is “The Prosperity Gospel,” and it’s been preached for decades. It hardly jibes with what the Bible says, i.e. love of money is the root of all evil. It has led to one pulpit scandal after the next. And it has made church a fertile field for Ponzi schemers.
Click here to read my column in The Sunday Wall Street Journal. And click here to read about Ephren W. Taylor II, the son of a preacherman who allegedly targeted church congregations with a Ponzi scheme.
Posted by Al Lewison April 20, 2012 Celebrities /
What is Scott Lazerson, a guy from Orem, Utah, doing hanging out with the Duchess of York?
And how does he have so many celebrities’ phone numbers and email addresses in his Rolodex?
I started getting to know Lazerson after he called me out of the blue last year, asking if I’d introduce him to a CEO I’d written about. I explore some of the secrets of this celebrity “connector” in today’s column.
Lazerson started meeting famous people while running Larry King’s Cardiac Foundation, and has turned his extensive contact list of famous and important people into a business.
He really does know these people. Celebrities who called me to put in a good word for Lazerson said they love him for his unbounded optimism.
“He really is like a ray of light,” said Dina Lohan. “I’ve never seen him depressed.”
Connect with Lazerson on Twitter: @scottlazerson
Click here to read my column on Lazerson on MarketWatch.
Posted by Al Lewison April 18, 2012 Mr. Ponzi /
Before the Securities and Exchange Commission accused him of running a Ponzi scheme, Ephren W. Taylor II was some preacher.
This YouTube video offers a lively sample of his “Prosperity Gospel” preaching. He promised investors big returns investing in socially responsible investments. An attorney who represents his many victims, estimates he allegedly swindled more than 500 people out of $30 million to $50 million.
Do you often find yourself ordering the largest order of fries? Do you drive an SUV? Do you live in a McMansion?
Maybe it’s because you are feeling powerless.
A study in the Journal of Consumer Research concludes people tend to purchase plus-sized everything when they are feeling powerless. Click here to read more from Yahoo Finance.
There is so much in modern culture to feel powerless about: the nation’s runaway debt, a fragile and volatile economy, gridlock in Washington, and so much of the power in the hands of giant corporations.
If the growing influence of global, international companies has you feeling powerless, chances are you’ll go out and buy some more stuff. And chances are you’ll say, supersize it. They’ve got consumers coming and going.