FREE Audio Book of the Day “Permanent Record”

In 2013, 29-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with the ability to pry into the private lives of every person on earth. Six years later, Snowden reveals for the very first time how he helped to build this system and why he was moved to expose it.

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Spanning the bucolic Beltway suburbs of his childhood and the clandestine CIA and NSA postings of his adulthood, Permanent Record is the extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online – a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the internet’s conscience. Written with wit, grace, passion, and an unflinching candor, Permanent Record is a crucial memoir of our digital age and destined to be a classic.

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FREE Audio Book of the Day “Confessions of a Former Fox News Christian”

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Seth Andrews used to idolize Dennis Prager and Rush Limbaugh. He listened to Glenn Beck. He read Ann Coulter. He watched Fox News.

He was an evangelical Christian once tethered to right-wing media, which constantly warned of an attack on American values by liberals and secular humanists… Today, Seth is a liberal and secular humanist.

This audio book explores the Fox News culture, which both reflects and informs American conservatism, shaping public opinion on important issues like religion, government, race, foreign policy, war, protest, LGBT rights, and the Constitution.

It’s an exposé of conservative media’s “closed systems” which constantly feed on (and feed into) public outrage, ignorance, bigotry, and fear. It’s also the story of one man’s personal journey into a larger and better world.

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FREE Audio Book of the Day “Permanent Record”

An NPR Best Book of the Year – 2019
Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government’s system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down.

You’re Smart! So Why Aren’t You Rich???

The distribution of wealth follows a well known pattern sometimes called an 80:20 rule. 80 percent of the wealth is owned by 20 percent of the people.
 A report last year concluded that just eight men had a total wealth equivalent to the wealth of the world’s poorest 3.8 billion people.

Harvard University Conducted 4 Year Study to Find Out Why So Many Black Men Are In Prison: You Won’t Believe What They Say the Cause Is…

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants asked Harvard researchers to “take a hard look at how we can better fulfill our promise to provide equal justice for every litigant.”

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Harvard researchers collected data from nearly every government agency in the state’s criminal justice system, examined them, and researched the slanted outcomes to reach the conclusion that we Black people already knew.

Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program found that Black and Latino defendants in the state received more severe charges, harsher sentences, and less favorable outcomes than their white compeers did for the same “crimes.”

Harvard examined more than a million cases. Taking note of events from the initial charges through to the convictions and sentencing. The disparities they discovered were mind blowing!


“White people make up roughly 74% of the Massachusetts population while accounting for 58.7% of cases in our data,” the study explained. “Meanwhile, Black people make up just 6.5% of the Massachusetts population and account for 17.1% of cases.”

The Harvard research team concluded that those numbers are the result of a justice system that treats Black and Latino people unfairly on every level.

The study also found the average White felon in the state has committed a more severe crime than the average Black inmate.

From the street to the court room, the so called justice system discriminates against Blacks and Latinos. The police are more likely to stop, search, and investigate Black and Latino drivers. Black and Latino suspects are given charges that carry harsher penalties and are less likely to be offered a plea deal or pre-trial intervention. In the court room, judges sentence Black and Latino defendants to longer sentences.

Researchers considered poverty rates, family structure of the convicted felons, and the neighborhoods they lived in. Eventually, they concluded that systemic racism was the only explanation.

Initially, the researchers assumed that Black suspects commit worse crimes than white suspects, resulting in the disparities in charges.

However, their data disproved that assumption. They also thought prosecutors may be overzealous when it came to convicting violent cases but the data debunked that hypothesis as well.

When they looked at convictions however, they found Black people were less likely to be convicted than white people. Why?

The researchers concluded that a white person has to have done something blatantly horrific in order to be charged, while a Black person just has to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

#WakeUp

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Umar Johnson Blames ‘Quaker Grits’ And Black’s For School Not Being Built

He asked his followers: “Can I have your grit money for one year?

Umar Johnson posted to Instagram on Labor Day to give an explanation of why the school for Black boys that he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years has never been built.

Umar placed some of the blame for the lack of construction on Frederick Douglas Marcus Garvey Academy (FDMG) on the way Black people spend their money.

For example, he said during the post that Black people spend $19 million annually on grits. Specifically, grits made and sold by the Quaker Oats company

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Johnson may have been citing NewsOne’s report on Black buying power that referenced how much money Black people in America spend on so-called “soul food,” including the $19 million on grits and “Louisiana Fish Fry ($11 million); Glory Greens (frozen and fresh, $9.5 million combined) and Jay’s Potato Chips (nearly $2.7 million).”

Perhaps that explains why Johnson asked his followers, “can I have your grit money for one year? Give me your grit money for one year and I will build 10 schools across this country. Give me your Quaker grits. No more grits for one year. Can we sacrifice our grits for one year?

I don’t want your Louis bag money, I don’t want your Mercedes money, I don’t want your weave, perm, haircut, Air Jordan, Timberland money — give me your grits! We spent $19 million on grits and I don’t have enough money to renovate the Garvey building.”

The web has much to say about Dr. Umar, especially as it relates to the fact that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for the construction of a school for Black boys that he allegedly never intended to build. For the record, he has insisted otherwise.

In 2014, Johnson launched an initiative to fund an all-Black boys school. At the time, Johnson said he was planning to raise $5 million to “buy St. Paul’s College, an HBCU in Lawrenceville, Virginia, and convert it into a boarding school for young African American boys.

Five years later, Johnson announced in a video that he had finally raised the funds to buy property in Wilmington, Delaware, to house the FCMG Academy. However, Johnson said in his Labor Day video that he still needed money for the “renovation” of FDMG Academy. He said he already has “the architectural plan” but still needs money to pay for “the electrician and HVAC and the fire alarm and the sprinkler company.

Johnson ended the rant with a pitch for his audience to donate to the school’s CashApp.

Johnson may have lost some trust in the black community but his pitch was worth a shot.

Yes, Black folks account for more than $1 trillion in spending annually, but it’s not all selfish consumerism.

A study from 2012 revealed that African Americans donate a larger share of their income to charities than any other group in the nation. However, judging from the social media backlash of Dr. Umar, I doubt that generosity will extend to him this time around.

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Book of the Day “Monetizing Gentrification”

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Monetizing Gentrification

 As a long time real estate investor and business owner, Thomas “TJ” Loftin spent lifetime observing business and real estate trends and watched some major disruptions in both areas.

 Therefore, TJ decided to travel the country to closely monitor them. He came to the realization that in less than a decade most people will not be able to afford real estate ownership or even be able to start a business and own the building that it’s in or possibly afford to rent the building.

  “We are raising the first generation of non-homeowners, and that’s dangerous.” So, TJ decided to write his first book, “Monetizing Gentrification” and created a tour traveling around the country giving presentations, training and coaching to better help those who would like to create a legacy.

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The Blackprint to Wealth – with Thomas TJ Loftin

Why Are Some People Filthy Rich While Billions of Others Are Dirt Poor? 

Thanks to black business leader TJ Loftin and some Italian researchers, we may now have the answer!
As it turns out, the most successful people are not the most talented ones. They are just the luckiest!

At least that’s what a new computer model of wealth creation suggests. Taking that into account could maximize returns on just about any kind of investment.

The distribution of wealth follows a well known pattern sometimes called an 80:20 rule. 80 percent of the wealth is owned by 20 percent of the people.

 A report last year concluded that just eight men had a total wealth equivalent to the wealth of the world’s poorest 3.8 billion people.

Check out this interview on KweliKush.com with Global Business Leader Thomas TJ Loftin as he explains how luck and talent played a role in his success…

Get the Book Monetizing Gentrification by Thomas TJ Lofton

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You’re Smart! So Why Aren’t You Rich???

If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich? Scientists Say It’s Your Bad Luck…

As it turns out, the most successful people are not the most talented ones. They are just the luckiest!
At least that’s what a new computer model of wealth creation suggests. Taking that into account could maximize returns on just about any kind of investment.

The distribution of wealth follows a well known pattern sometimes called an 80:20 rule. 80 percent of the wealth is owned by 20 percent of the people.
A report last year concluded that just eight men had a total wealth equivalent to the wealth of the world’s poorest 3.8 billion people.

This seems to occur in all societies at all scales. It is a well studied pattern called a power law that crops up in a wide range of social phenomena. But the distribution of wealth is among the most controversial because of the issues it raises about fairness and merit. Why do so few people have so much wealth?

Traditionally people have thought that wealth is a measure of one’s talent, intelligence, or work ethic. Over time, many people think, this translates into the wealth distribution that we observe, although luck does play some role.

But there is a problem with this idea; while wealth distribution follows a power law, the distribution of human skills generally follows a normal distribution that is symmetric about an average value.
For example, intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, follows this pattern. Average IQ is 100, but nobody has an IQ of 1,000 or 10,000.

The same is true of effort, as measured by hours worked. Some people work more hours than average and some work less, but nobody works a billion times more hours than anybody else.

And yet when it comes to the rewards for this work, some people do have billions of times more wealth than other people.
Plus, many studies have shown that the wealthiest people are generally not the most talented by any measure.

What factors, then, determine how individuals become wealthy? Perhaps chance plays a bigger role than we  once expected?
And can these factors be exploited to make the world a better, more fair place?

Today we get an answer thanks to the work of Alessandro Pluchino and his colleagues at the University of Catania in Italy. These guys have created a computer model of human talent and the way people use it to exploit opportunities in life. The model allows the team to study the role of chance in the process of wealth generation.

The results were surprising to say the least. Their simulations accurately reproduce the wealth distribution in the real world. But the wealthiest individuals are not the most talented, although a certain level of talent is prerequisite to wealth.
They are the luckiest. And this has massive implications for the way we can optimize the returns we get for investments in business and science.

Pluchino’s model is straightforward. It consists of X amount of people, each with a certain level of talent, i.e. skill, intelligence, ability, and so on. This talent is distributed normally around some average level, with some standard deviation. So some people are more talented than average and some are less talented, but nobody is several orders of magnitude more talented than anybody else.

This is the same kind of distribution trend we see for various human skills, or even characteristics like height or weight. Some people are taller or smaller than average, but nobody is the size of an ant or a skyscraper. Indeed, we are all quite similar.

The computer model charts each individual through a working life of 40 years. During this time, the individuals experience lucky events that they can exploit to increase their wealth if they are talented enough.

For example, lets say two people are presented with the same lucky opportunity. Person A is just as talented as the least talented millionaire in the given field. While Person B is only moderately talented in the same field.
Person A is more likely to get rich from the opportunity because they have enough talent, but exactly how rich Person A will get is not determined by talent; it depends on luck

The data suggests that in order to be a millionaire, one must be at least as talented as the least talented millionaires in a given field.
However, one does not need to be significantly more talented than the least talented millionaires in order to be a multi-billionaire. The same level of talent can produce a millionaire or a multi-billionaire!

However, people also experience unlucky events that reduce their wealth. These events occur at random.

At the end of the 40 years, Pluchino ranks the individuals by wealth and studies the characteristics of the most successful. They also calculate the wealth distribution. They then repeat the simulation numerous times to check the robustness of the data.

When the researchers ranked individuals by wealth, the distribution is exactly like that seen in real life. “The ‘80-20’ rule is respected, since 80% of the population owns only 20% of the total capital, while the remaining 20% owns 80% of the same capital,” reported Pluchino.

That may not be unfair if the wealthiest 20% turn out to be the most talented.
But that is not the case.
The wealthiest people are typically not the most talented… or anywhere near it.
The maximum success never coincides with the maximum talent, and vice-versa,” the researchers said.

So if not talent, what other factor causes this skewed wealth distribution? “Our simulation clearly shows that such a factor is just pure luck,” say Pluchino and company.

The team shows this by ranking individuals according to the number of lucky and unlucky events they experience throughout their 40-year careers. “It is evident that the most successful individuals are also the luckiest ones,” they say. “And the less successful individuals are also the unluckiest ones.”

This has significant implications for society. So what is the most effective strategy for exploiting the role luck plays in success?

Pluchino and company study this from the point of view of scienctific research funding. Funding agencies all over the world are interested in maximizing their return on investment in the scientific world.
The European Research Council recently invested $1.7 million in a program to study serendipity—the role of luck in scientific discovery—and how it can be exploited to improve funding outcomes.

Pluchino and his team use their model to explore different kinds of funding models to see which produces the best returns when luck is taken into account.

The team studied three models, in which research funding is distributed equally to all scientists; distributed randomly to a subset of scientists; or given to those who have been most successful in the past. Which of these was the best strategy?

The strategy that delivers the best returns, as it turned out, is to divide the funding equally among all researchers. And the second- and third-best strategies involve distributing it at random to 10 or 20 percent of scientists.

In these cases, the researchers are best able to take advantage of the serendipitous discoveries they make from time to time. In hindsight, it seems obvious that the fact a scientist has made a lucky chance discovery in the past does not mean he or she is more likely to do so in the future.

A similar approach could also be applied to investment in other kinds of enterprises, such as small and large businesses, tech startups, education that increases talent, or even the creation of random lucky events.

This changes the outlook we had on wealth generation forever. While more work is needed is this field of study, we can be satisfied that at least we know what direction to move in!

Reference: arxiv.org/abs/1802.07068 : Talent vs. Luck: The Role of Randomness in Success and Failure

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