A Plan to Restore the “Xanga Style” Community on “Free” WordPress

(Note: This is a “Pinned Blog” – newer blogs below this one)

Soullfire is Bringing Sexy Community Back ** Former Xangans – Like and Reblog if you support this idea ** It’s been close to a month OVER SIX MONTHS A YEAR TWO YEARS since Xanga has launched it’s “updated” “Xanga 2.0”, driven with the WordPress engine, and it’s still operating well below the “free” WordPress state. The “community” that was, disappeared with the end of Xanga 1.0 with the loss of free blogging, along with all of “1.0’s” community centric features like having a front page, ring groups, and general areas where users could find each other and congregate. Xanga has given no updates – so no one over there knows how long the “non community” condition will last. Many former Xangans like myself have moved their general blogging over to “free” WordPress but are also feeling a general loss of overall community that “Xanga 1.0” had. After using my WordPress site more often, I realized that it has certain features that will allow the former Xanga community to reconnect.  The answer lies in the “Reader” section, which is accessed by the top menu bar: Top_WP_menu In the Reader section, on the right hand side, there’s a “Topics” exploration search column underneath “Find Friends”: Side_WP_menu The topics search works by searching all the “Tag” keywords put in a blog and displays the blogs that have a match. Below shows an example of the Tag area in a new blog: blog_WP_menu Tag words go on the bottom line separated by commas. So once you’ve published a blog with certain tag words, it can be searched by others using the “Topics” search function. Now here’s where the Xanga community restoration comes into the picture. All that’s needed are some common “key words” used as tags that will allow users to find posts by former Xangans. Searching on a particular keyword will be similar to using the Xanga “Blog Rings” to find a group of posts related to a similar interest. Okay, to set this up, Xangans need to do the following: Post a blog stating what your Xanga name was and what your current name is now. In this blog use the tag word “ID_Xanga“. This will let people search for other former Xanga users using “ID_Xanga” as well as identify the Xangans who have changed their usernames. The beauty of this is it will only pull up the blogs that use this tag, so you will have an exclusive Xanga search feature. Next, when blogging, include the tag word “FreeXanga“. This will allow folks to find the latest blogs of former Xangans. Following this format, we can now use keywords to group blogs by interest or subject, just like the former “Xanga 1.0” Blog Ring or “Ish” sites. I’ve created a few tag words to get us started: QOTD_Xan  – Use this tag word to post with a question of the day Dollarish_Xan – Use this tag word to post with a money/savings/economic blog Politicish_Xan – Use this tag to post with a political related blog Rant_Xan – Use this tag to post with a rant type of blog Drama_Xan – Use this tag for drama blogs – for the drama lovers, haha. =) Townhall_Xan – Use this tag for general community info. This would be the tag to use when introducing new tag words to create a new search group. FreeXanga – Use this tag in all your blogs to make them “Xangan” searchable. I added “Xan” to the tag word topics to make it unique to Xangans, and it provides the general format for creating new search terms/groups. “ID_Xanga” need only to be used once for identification and to create a search list. I think this should work to help restore the “Xanga 1.0” style of community on WP, with the super bonus of now having a new world of people available to meet as well! Note: The max number of searchable tag words is 9, so don’t add too many tags words to your blog. ** Like and Reblog this and pass the word around if you support this idea – the “FREE” solution to bringing back community “Xanga 1.0” style! =)  **

Xanga 2.0 2016 Review = 2015 Review = 2014 Year Review = It’s Groundhog Day!

Review_3_groundhogXanga

 

Who could forget the great comedy classic “Groundhog Day” where Bill Murray had to endure living the same day over and over again for years.

Well, Xanga has taken a page from that movies notebook and decided to freeze time on its site indefinitely as well.

Quick Review Timeline:

Xanga 2.0 1st Year Review 2014

This review points out all the issues with Xanga 2.0 its first year out of the gate with its “new and improved” version.

 

Xanga 2.0 2nd Year Review 2015

There was nothing new to report with all the issues of the 1st review still present. It was noted that the last site status update at the time was Feb 11, 2015.

 

Now we are in the 3rd year of Xanga’s 2.0 existence and the last official status update from the site is still Feb 11, 2015. That’s right, it’s absolutely identical to that from last years review. There must be a ton to learn about “themes” to keep them on that topic for so long.

So at this point, it’s crystal clear that they aren’t even trying to be professional with keeping former and current paying subscribers informed with their upgrade schedule and status. Hmm, didn’t they promise more communication when they were calling for donations from all their faithful users? Oh well, that promise must have gotten misplaced during the update to the WordPress platform.

But wait, there is an official Xanga appointed Liaison to help facilitate better communication between TeamXanga and users.

For reference, here’s the definition of Liaison:

“a person who helps organizations or groups to work together and provide information to each other”

I’ve seen many requests for updates from users, but for some reason the appointed liaison only updates with the following month after month: “Nothing new to report”

There is no follow up as to WHY there is nothing to report after all these months of silence. How this “helps” with communication is anyone’s guess. How can you be a liaison and not pass on information? A liaison is NOT a passive role!

But whatever you do, don’t demand Xanga take some accountability for their lack of transparency, or else this “liaison” will take offense and make it sound like the problem is with you instead. You can read my 2015 Xanga review for more details on that.

It’s like I stated in my past complaint- if you remain silent it’s perceived as acceptance and no effort is made to improve communications. If you complain, you either get a “I understand”, or “what are you doing to help?” and still communication from Xanga goes nowhere.

There’s a real alternate version of reality going over over there.

 

Anyway, all the above is nothing new and has been going on since the move to WordPress. However there is something new to report! I may not be the liaison but shall do so anyway. =)

Apparently Verizon, who recently bought the site “Yahoo”, is rumored to be buying Xanga as well.  Was the writer serious or just making a joke at Xanga’s expense? Probably a joke, looking at its current state devoid of updates, progress as well as the bulk of former members.

 

 

 

 

Critical Analysis of the Presidential Candidates: Clinton, Trump

Politics are a “fun” part of American tradition where each side tires to paint their opponent in a negative light and the back and forth attacks can cloud out the main issues worth considering in making a choice.

It also reveals that no matter what is said, some people will stick with a person/party regardless of the attacks brought against them, which is also a bad thing. It’s important to make a decision based on critical thought rather than emotion if you want both the most effective leadership in power while having them know they will be judged on their actions and past history rather than just charisma or slick advertising. Emotional voting is one main reason why we never seem to nominate the most qualified deserving candidates.

This election cycle is one that will go down in history books as having two of the most polarizing people in recent history. It has been joked that each candidate has enough flaws that they should be thankful they have each other to run against. There is a huge segment of the population that will be voting against one of the candidates more so than voting for one.

While both Clinton and Trump elicit high emotion from people, it’s still rather straight forward to break down the true pros/cons of each to make a true logical and non emotional choice.

 

Clinton:

Pros:

  1. 1st female candidate to be nominated for Prez in a major party.
  2. Extensive political background experience covering domestic and foreign relations.
  3. In favor of overturning “Citizens United” and getting big money out of politics

It’s a historical moment for a woman to be nominated in a major party, but of course one’s gender shouldn’t be ranked over one’s abilities. The capacity to handle the job should be the top concern.

One big plus is she is in favor of getting big money out of politics that is destroying our political system. Most of our politicians are bought out by corporate interests, which is why things seem to be getting worse over time no matter which party wins.

Cons:

  1. Political choices made in conflict with Progressive movement.
  2. Unforced error in email controversy- heavily criticized by FBI in handling classified emails.
  3. Seen as the typical “quid pro quo”,  pro corporate politician.

Years in the political arena has given Clinton that feel of squirmy politician who adjusts according to current public sentiment. Of course, this is no different than over 90% of out current elected candidates, and is the reason why the American public is growing so exasperated.

While she has extensive experience, her choices have not always aligned with Progressives. For example, she voted in favor of the disastrous/needless Iraq War  as well as US involvement in Libya and Syria, all of which has caused compounded problems and more instability in the Middle East. The irony is her choices here have been more in line with Conservative strategy, so these are issues that Conservatives have no moral high ground to attack her on, but Progressives do.

The email server controversy was a ridiculous unforced error on her part because she decided on a private server rather than use the government server. The FBI clearly called her out as being very careless. To make matters worse, she attempted to try to explain that the scathing FBI report was a good thing and showed she was honest when in fact it contradicted several statements she made in the past about sending/receiving marked and unmarked classified documents. Doing things like this only justifies the “Crooked Hillary”  nickname given by Trump.

She was paid for speeches to Goldman Sachs that she is unwilling to release, indicating they must be pro corporation and embarrassing.

I left out the Benghazi controversy because I don’t hold this to be a true issue. Embassies have been attacked and/or lives lost on the watch of both Reps and Dems (Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Obama), only now we live in such a polarized environment that every tragedy is held under a microscope to find fault.  Past administrations would fare no better if held under the same level of scrutiny.

 

Trump:

Pros:

  1. Lots of business experience
  2. Not afraid to speak his mind
  3. Against Citizens United

Trump steps up to the plate with extensive experience in real estate and name brand recognition. As a businessman, he has direct practical experience on the state of the economy. He also ran a near flawless campaign against his Republican opponents during the primaries.

The fact that he was able to beat seasoned politicians should also be a warning to our elected officials that the American public is growing weary of the same old tired politics where much is promised and little is delivered.

One of the things that stood out about Trump is the fact that he didn’t sound “scripted” like the other seasoned politicians he faced. His answers sounded off the cuff and wasn’t afraid to call out the faults of his fellow Republicans. Now compare that to the standard political talk we hear, and it sounded refreshing.

He has stated real problems that other Republicans seem to ignore like the loss of manufacturing jobs to outsourcing- a populist stance more associated with Progressives.

He has also taken a stand against big money in politics, but not to the same level as Progressives. Big money corruption is mutually hated by base Dems and Reps.

 

Cons:

  1. Has seriously insulted or threatened numerous demographics of ethnicities/religions.
  2. Won’t release his Tax returns – breaking ranks with all other Pres nominees in modern history.
  3. Trump has his own set of legal problems with lying/fraud with Trump University.
  4. There is no “Trump 2.0” for the general election.
  5. Wants to repeal “Obamacare” without showing/offering a superior replacement.

 

I could clearly see Trump winning the primary race because he was willing to be more extreme than all his rivals. He moved to the far right- more so than his opponents were willing to go because they had enough experience to know that to win a general election, you have to appeal to more than just your base. His opponents failed to call out his extremist viewpoints in the beginning and it then became silent approval from which they couldn’t recover from.

The key moment in the primary was when Trump labeled the majority of illegal Mexican immigrants as drug users/pushers,  criminals, and rapists. That should have been immediately called out and condemned by all candidates, but they stayed silent for the most part.

The anti illegal Mexican statement was bad enough, but he proceeded to make even more extremist statements such as:

  1. Banning all Muslims from entering the US
  2. Did not disavow FDR’s use of Japanese-American internment camps.
  3. Bringing back globally defined torture such as water boarding.
  4. Killing the families of known terrorists.
  5. Claiming a Mexican-American judge can’t do his job because of his ethnic background.

Making statements like these may be well received as red meat to a Conservative base, but it makes it very hard to pivot towards the center in a general election to win over moderates and Independents. This is where we get to another critical problem of his campaign- he has continued making extremist statements since being nominated and hasn’t pivoted at all. There doesn’t appear to be a polished, more refined and “presidential” Trump able to appeal to a wider audience than his initial primary base. This is bad news for Republicans in general because without building a consensus vote, the odds of winning an election drop like a rock.

Some current examples of Trumps continued offensive/outrageous statements:

  1. Attacking Muslim gold star family whose son died defending our country.
  2. Calling Obama/Clinton the founders of ISIS.
  3. Making statements that can be construed as threatening the life of his opponent Clinton.

You simply can’t act in this manner if the main goal is be the adult in the room and build a working consensus among all groups. Worse yet, he’s now making statements of the “system being rigged” so that if he loses, the election must be illegitimate. This is a direct danger to our Republic since he is priming his group of followers to consider the election to be a fraud if he doesn’t win. This will only further fracture our political system and make the polarization that much worse. Trump is attacking the very legitimacy of our democratic process on baseless claims.

As a result of his continued bombastic statements, more and more prominent Republicans have started coming out denouncing him. These are interesting times people when members of a party are now publicly campaigning against their Prez nominee. Interesting times indeed! What they fear is the outrage against Trump will result in down ballot losses for all Republicans in general.

Lastly, he can’t claim to be “transparent” or more honest than Clinton if he refuses to disclose his tax returns. Trump claims he can’t because he is currently being audited. However Warren Buffet has given him a challenge that he is also being audited but wants Trump to join him in showing their returns.

 

Common Sense takes a Powder as Britain Votes to Leave the EU

brexit

“Brexit”, the media created cutesy lingo for the British referendum on whether to stay with or leave the European Union. I’ve heard it discussed backwards and forwards and sideways throughout the days, weeks, and months leading up to the vote that just took place.

Despite all the fear mongering and artificially induced drama by the media, I never actually considered the possibility of Britain actually leaving the EU. It seemed so absurd that there would be enough people that would want to turn the clock back with actions that will surely spawn negative unintended consequences.

Well, I was proven wrong tonight as polling states that the vote for Britain to leave is expected to be the winning consensus.

I’m not the only one caught by surprise, as the futures markets are roiling with a nice big fat after hours crash that will translate into crashed markets on the open Friday. The value of the Pound has plummeted. The majority of businesses were counting on a “stay” vote winning, and this just adds a boatload of uncertainty for both Britain and the EU going forward.

I truly believed Britons had more common sense than this. Color me wrong.

There will be lots of analysis on how this wound up happening, but it’s likely due to the same old things that breed surprise outcomes:

  1. Voter apathy – which favors those who have more motivation, typically the conservative vote. People love to complain about government and politics and then find other things to do when it comes down to taking the time to cast a vote.
  2. Low information votes- people voting on something without doing their due diligence to figure out the true pros/cons of their choices. What are the odds that the majority of people who voted YES on leaving did so out of xenophobia and border control without thinking through the economic consequences of their actions.
  3. Media stupidity of focusing mostly on ratings rather than trying to educate people on the actual facts rather than false arguments and hyperbole.

The irony is the first unintended consequence of this action besides crashing global markets will likely be layoffs as British companies retrench over fears that current trade agreements are now in flux.

 

brit_hype

Voting Day in Cali – Sample Ballot Blues

Kodos

 

I dreaded looking over the sample ballot book for California- there are so many pages! It’s like a mini book! The numerous pages led to me continuing to put off completing by ballot until time was about to run out.

I wonder how many folks got scared off from voting seeing that huge sample ballot book… =:-0

It boiled down to just facing the music and going over it this past weekend. Fortunately a big chunk of the propositions were just city charter updates with no changes to ponder.

Normally I mail my ballot off ahead of time, but this time around, I just took it to my polling center and dropped it off there.

Better late than never!

While driving there I heard an ad on the radio asking people how would they like to make easy money working just a couple hours a day. They were talking about trading!

I’m not going to call the company out who was advertising, but to portray trading as something easy to excel in and with just a couple of hours per day of effort is grossly misleading at best, fraud at worst.

They may as well advertise making a living being a pro sports star with just a couple hours a day of effort. It’s been my constant observation that outside of inheritance and lotteries, lots of effort is required to achieve most worthwhile things.

 

Trump All but Completes His Hostile Takeover of the GOP Pres Nomination: RIP Conventional Wisdom

Danger Shock Hazard

Trump’s win in Indiana coupled with Ted Cruz dropping out of the race all but ensures Trump’s eventual clinching of the GOP’s Republican Presidential nomination, leaving all the pundits who never fathomed such a scenario in their wildest dreams stunned, and scratching their heads.

This election cycle has been a perfect case study of why you shouldn’t trust the “experts” when it comes to making assessments/predictions. We’ve seen in the 2008/2009 market crash that the vast majority of political and economic “insiders” had no idea of that approaching crisis and certainly gave no warning to investors.

This time just about all the so called political guru’s completely missed the rise of Trump and his ability to stay afloat regardless of what he says no matter how inflammatory. They are flummoxed about his ability to withstand increased scrutiny and a biased assault of press related articles against him, attempting to write him off in hopes that the polling numbers would follow, which they didn’t.

Even worse, having missed the boat on predicting the ascendancy of Trump’s campaign, they have the audacity of now writing articles on explaining how this came to pass- like anyone should pay attention to the same folks that were completely oblivious  to his sustainability in the first place.

Simply psychology can explain the Trump phenomenon.  People are angry at Washington and the constant failure of their elected officials to live up to their promises. In their frustration they seek someone not yet “tainted” by the system that constantly overpromises and underdelivers. They are now ready to pick an outsider over the political insiders.

Trump remains on top due to his public persona of brashness/arrogance towards the establishment. The more he is attacked, the more he fits the role as the “rebel” of politics to all his supporters, which increases his appeal. It’s very similar to the daughter who is dating a “bad boy” and the more the parents admonish and scold her to let him go, the more attractive he becomes to her.

The “experts” ask, how can Trump supporters be so oblivious to all the negative things he has said as well as his past flip flops on opinions? Why doesn’t this exposure change their mind? The answer is they have made an emotional choice based on their resentment of their elected politicians as well as his positive message on better times ahead with bringing back outsourced jobs and good times in general, and are ignoring/rejecting anything else said, period. Back to the daughter/bad boy example- how many times will she be “persuaded” with a list of rational cogent reasons why the guy she is dating is a bad match? How many times have your parents persuaded you to change your mind after you became passionate/excited about something or someone?

The “experts” asked, why did Marco Rubio fail to beat Trump at his own game of childish attacks/insults? The answer is you can’t imitate someone’s “brand” and expect to beat them with it. It’s the equivalent to the school valedictorian/nerd taking off his suit/tie, and putting on a leather jacket to try to woo the daughter away from the bad boy. All that does is make you look like a “wannabe” as well as corrupts the “brand” you stood for.  Notice how Cruz and Kasich didn’t take the bait to go into the mud, and how they continued to poll higher than Rubio before he dropped out.

Now these “experts” are saying in 20-20 hindsight Rubio made a mistake in fighting Trump in the mud when they were the ones who suggested he should do it! The lesson here is to be true to yourself, or at least “appear” that way. =)

Tonight we know that not even the behind the scenes 3D Chess Level strategy of Ted Cruz or his team up with Kasich was enough to stop Trump’s growing momentum.

This election season is one for the history books – that a non political outsider could take out a field of seasoned elected professionals that were way more funded and entrenched in the system than he ever was, and ride a populist wave to the Republican nomination turns all conventional wisdom and expert analysis on its ear. We live in interesting times!

 

 

Trading 101: The Key Ingredient to Sustained Success is Failure

My trading style uses fairly tight stop loss settings, which demands that my entries be pretty accurate with a small margin of error. In some trading circles, this would be seen as being “amateurish” for not allowing your trade to have breathing room to deal with the range of market volatility. Of course, most of those same trading circles view the market as mostly random in the short term that must be met with a ball park entry with a wide stop loss.

I used to trade with wide stop loss settings, or threw caution to the wind with “mental stops” rather than actual programmed stops. The market can gyrate so much that it’s an easy habit to get into. The market rarely moves in a straight line and can drift back and forth before making a definitive move in a particular direction. When stops are tight, it’s easy for price to move just enough against you to trip the stop loss before moving in the anticipated direction. This often happens enough to be a common frustrating experience among traders.

Using wide stops gives you more leeway when in a trade, but that also means your losses will be greater when they are tripped. Of course some traders don’t use stops at all- as that guarantees you will never be whipsawed out of a trade, but that also leaves you without protection if the market makes a big move against your position.

Not using stops is high risk, yet most traders including myself have engaged in such behavior due to the frustrations of getting whipsawed out of trades that would have eventually worked. But eventually the Grim “Stopless” Reaper cometh and will make you pay for not using stops. Eventually one learns to incorporate hard exits via stops, or the market will do it for you with severe losses that can blow out your account.

Over time I’ve learned that while using stops can be frustrating, and using tight stops VERY frustrating, it forces you to really focus on your trading system to find ways of improvement. Typically when a trade is entered that doesn’t work out, it’s one of three things:

  1. System is correct, but market had a random spike/dip due to some late breaking news.
  2. System is correct but the application of system was wrong.
  3. System has flaws that need to be worked out.

Out of most events encountered, #1, is VERY rare, while #2 is more common and #3 is typically the most common. One could say that #2 is a subset of #3 since proper execution is also part of the system.

I’ve been working on precision trading, where one can trade the daily battle between resistance and support with a fair amount of accuracy so as to not need to use wide area stops. Using tight stops and the ensuing failed trades and frustrations that resulted were actually great motivation in improving my trading system.

I find that my post trade analysis of failed trades have been responsible for the bulk of my trading system evolution. Preparation and planning can only go so far but I seem to be able to pick up so many more fine details of what went right and wrong when the analysis is done right after the trade is finished- likely because my plan is fresh in memory so it’s easier to pinpoint the aberrations. It’s a great feeling to spot a problem that was previous missed that when fixed, improves the accuracy of my system.

It’s a lesson I like to forget – that failure is a part of progress, since it opens the window for improvement. To get the best out of failing, it helps tremendously to have a clear and concise system trading plan that you can back track step by step to see what went wrong as well as what went right. A big mistake I’ve seen other traders make is “winging” trade entries in real time without a clear plan of specific entry and exit strategy. The point of system trading is the eliminating of seat of your pants “ad lib” style trading.

 

 

 

NY Times Caught Red Handed Editing Released Article on Bernie Sanders to Convert it from Laudatory to “Hit Piece”

This election cycle has never been clearer in showing just how much the mainstream media works in projecting their own bias against threats to the status quo. Trump from the beginning was continually put in a negative light and written off as non serious no matter what the polls showed about his sustained popularity, and they finally had to change course once he started winning elections.

For, Bernie Sanders, the treatment has been one of largely being ignored compared to the attention given to the other major candidates running such as Clinton, Bush, Cruz, Trump, Rubio, etc..

Like Trump, many of the articles that did feature Sanders were cast in a negative light favoring Clinton over him. The Washington Post was caught running a marathon string of negative articles against Sanders – 16 of them in 16 hours.

The most recent egregious example of another so-called established and principled source, the NY Times, got caught making changes to an article they had already released that was so significant to change the tone of the article from a positive to negative/dismissive. What’s worse, they left no “editorial updates” or revisions to let people know a change had been made- just significantly changing an article that had already been released on the fly, as if they were “motivated” to make these “corrections” after the fact.

Did they not think they wouldn’t be called out on this, which certainly appears to be driven by partisan politics? The NY Times is claiming no wrongdoing, but even their public editor, Margaret Sullivan, disagrees.

 

And yet another stake is driven through the heart of the belief of an unbiased “Fourth Estate” that is supposed to serve the public interest.

 

Links to all the info:

http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/17/new-york-times-bernie-sanders-coverage-public-editor/?ref=topics&_r=1

http://www.mediaite.com/print/ny-times-public-editor-chastises-paper-for-stealth-editing-bernie-sanders-piece/

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-new-york-times-sandbagged-bernie-sanders-20160315