Every wondered why movies and TV show are so expensive to make? Or maybe you are considering pitching/producing a project and need a breakdown of what costs you might incur. For either of those scenarios, the following is a partial list of the many costs incurred on scripted television shows:
 

PRE-PRODUCTION

LOCATION SCOUTS:
TRANSPORTATION (PASSENGER VAN RENTAL, FUEL, DRIVER)
MEALS

SET EXPENSES:
CONSTRUCTION CREW AND SUPPLIES
CONSTRUCTION SUPPLY TRANSPORTATION (BOX TRUCK, FUEL)
FACILITY RENTAL
SET DRESSING (FURNITURE, FIXTURES, PROPS) AND CREW

BUSINESS PERMITS

OFFICE SUPPLIES (DESKS & CHAIRS, PRINTERS, PHONES, PENS, PAPERCLIPS, FRIDGE AND SNACKS, PAPER, FIRST AID KIT, NOTEPADS, ETC., ETC., ETC.)

 

PRODUCTION

WARDROBE:
COSTUMES
COSTUME LABOR
ALTERATIONS
CLEANING / DYEING
LOSS, DAMAGE, REPAIR
BOX RENTALS
RENTALS
PURCHASES

MAKEUP AND HAIRDRESSING:
KEY MAKEUP ARTIST
ADDITIONAL MAKEUP ARTISTS
SPECIAL EFFECTS MAKEUP (PROSTHETICS)
KEY HAIRSTYLIST
ADDITIONAL HAIRSTYLISTS
WIG AND HAIR PURCHASES
WIG AND HAIR RENTAL
BOX RENTALS
RENTALS
PURCHASES

CAMERA DEPARTMENT:
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
CAMERA OPERATOR(S)
CAMERA LOADER
CAMERAS, LENSES, MEDIA (FILM/MEMORY CARDS), CABLE RENTALS, TRIPODS, ETC., ETC., ETC.

PRODUCTION SOUND:
SOUND MIXER
BOOM OPERATOR
CABLEMEN / UTILITY SOUND
PLAYBACK RENTALS – AUDIO/VIDEO
RENTALS
PURCHASES (SUCH AS SOUND STOCK/MEDIA)

TRANSPORTATION:
COORDINATOR
CAPTAIN
CO-CAPTAIN
STANDBY DRIVERS
PARKING
FUEL
TRAILER/PUMPING/VEHICLE WASH
MILEAGE/CAR ALLOWANCE
DRIVERS MEAL MONEY

OTHER PRODUCTION CREW:
PRODUCTION MANAGER AND COORDINATOR
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
DIRECTOR
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
SCRIPT SUPERVISOR
MESSENGERS/COURIERS
SET SECURITY

LOCATION EXPENSES:
SITE RENTAL FEES
LOCATION MANAGER
LOCATION STAFF PERSONNEL
LOCATION SECURITY
LOCATION POLICE
LOCATION FIRE SAFETY OFFICER
LOCATION MEDICAL LABOR
LOCATION MEDICAL SUPPLIES

OTHER EXPENSES:
EQUIPMENT LOSS, RENTAL, REPAIR
BOX RENTALS (APPROVED REIMBURSEMENTS FOR PERSONAL EQUIPMENT USED BY EMPLOYEES, LIKE LAPTOPS)
STANDBY VEHICLE RENTALS
PICTURE VEHICLES AND CAR HAULING (IF APPLICABLE)
CAMERA CAR
CATERING EXPENSES

TALENT:
AIRFARES
HOTEL
PER DIEM

 

POST PRODUCTION
CREW:
VIDEO EDITORS
ASSISTANT EDITORS
MUSIC EDITOR/DIALOG EDITOR/SOUND EFFECTS EDITOR
SOUND MIXERS
POST SOUND RECORDIST
SOUND SUPERVISOR
ADR RECORDIST
FOLEY RECORDIST
SOUND LAYBACK OPERATOR
POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
POST PRODUCTION ASSISTANT

POST PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT:
OFFLINE EDITING (EDITING SYSTEMS, OFFICE SPACE AND EQUIPMENT)
TAPE STOCK
DVD STOCK
HARD DRIVES
INSERT STAGE RENTAL

POST PRODUCTION SERVICES:
ONLINE EDITING
TAPE DUPLICATION
DAILIES DISTRIBUTION
FILM DEVELOPING / VIDEO PROCESSING
SOUND AND PICTURE ARCHIVING
COLOR CORRECTION
VISUAL EFFECTS EDITING
CLOSED CAPTIONING

MISC PURCHASES/RENTALS

 

OTHER CHARGES:
LEGAL FEES
PARKING
VIDEO/AUDIO RENTAL CHARGES
COMPUTER RENTALS
INSURANCE PREMIUMS
OFFICE EQUIPMENT RENTAL
OTHER

ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES

 

PUBLICITY:
CLIPS
TAPE STOCK

Before you cast your vote this November, please try to see through the rhetoric just a little bit. There is a lot of talk about job creation, one way or another, coming from both sides of the aisle. It’s important to consider this: the government “creating jobs” is akin to an accounting trick.

The textbook example demonstrating the job creation fallacy is that of the baker. Suppose someone throws a brick through the front window of a small bakery. “Poor baker!” you might say, while someone trying to think outside the box says “The economy is really going to benefit from this!” After all, the baker has to pay someone to fix the window. As more windows are broken and more business comes in for the glass shop, more money changes hands. With this increased business, the glass shop buys new trucks and opens up new retail locations and warehouses. The shop also buys more supplies and hires more workers, who go out and spend their money on other goods and services. But this all comes at the expense of the shop owners with the broken windows. While someone is making money, someone is losing money.

When the government “creates jobs,” they are taking money away from people who would spend it somewhere anyway. Whether the bakery shop owner spends his money dining out, or at department store, or on investments, money continues to change hands. Sure, the broken glass might visibly give more people work, but that’s at the sake of other industries that would benefit from the bakery shop owner having the freedom to choose what he or she wants to spend money on.

It’s one thing to collect taxes and use that money to pay for services we all use, like building roads and bridges and providing police and fire department services. These industries still need to be sensibly regulated, however. We all were to pay for Alaska’s famous “Bridge to Nowhere” project, and I firmly believe that, here is Los Angeles, the police department does NOT (and will likely NEVER) need a fleet of 19 helicopters.

While government officials tout what an economic boon to the economy some programs are/were, things usually aren’t as they seem. The “Cash for Clunkers” auto trade-in program in 2008 was no government success story. According to a University of Delaware study, the program cost taxpayers an estimated $1.4 billion overall. But it was a noble effort to get all those polluting vehicles off the road, right? Well, if you consider that the Cash for Clunkers/Car Allowance Rebate System bill was originally crafted by a Representative from Ohio (home of GM factories and other major auto parts manufacturing), and a Senate version of the bill was co-sponsored by a Michigan Congresswoman, the real intention of the bill seems to be more of a local stimulus program.

For another example of central planning and “job creation” gone wrong, consider Solyndra. If you read some background on the company, the design of its solar technology was unlike any other in the industry. Right off the bat, this can’t be a safe bet, right? After all, investing in a unique product sounds a bit like what investors would call “speculation.”

Well, as you probably heard in the news, after the government loaned Solyndra $527 million, the company had a hard time competing in the market and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Even if you don’t see an issue with the government taking in taxes to give people work, consider that the government actually has very little to spend. If the government keeps spending/investing in such great ideas, how has the deficit swollen to a number larger than all the money in circulation? You see, many of our political leaders are experts at nothing more than being politicians. That’s why lobbyists come knocking on their doors and manage to convince them that the petroleum industry “really needs continued subsidies,” as do the defense industry and farmers.

Speaking of farming, while small, family operations may be more sensitive to market fluctuations, corporate farming ventures (with stable finances) are reaping the rewards of government handouts. Are you familiar with Cargill – the multinational, multi-billion dollar food and agricultural producer? That corporation accepted a total of $17 million in subsidies between the years 1995 and 2011. Last year, Cargill’s net income was over $4 billion, yet the government continues to collect taxes and, you know, provide help to those corporations that need it most.

Another massive industry that government funds is defense. Of course, we need to maintain some level of military, but considering the U.S. recently finished up an eight-year tour of duty in Iraq, with none of those elusive WMDs ever to be found, what purpose did it serve? Well, for one, it was a great opportunity to pump money into the military-industrial complex that’s so well integrated into Washington politics. Conspiracy? It absolutely became one! Don’t worry, I’m not going to say “9/11 was a government cover-up” and blah, blah, blah. I don’t believe that and, if I did, there is no evidence to prove such a thing. What is certain, though, is that lots and lots of tax dollars were spent on military vehicles, aircraft, and ships (plus regular maintenance and replacement parts), fuel, clothing, armor, food, weapons, tools, field medical supplies, generators, and, of course, medical treatment for our injured (mentally and physically) soldiers for the rest of their lives.

If you’ve ever seen the movie “The Aviator,” you might remember how Howard Hughes was grilled by Senator Owen Brewster over allegations of war profiteering. That’s a phrase you don’t really hear anymore. These days, you have former CEOs become Vice Presidents, who then award half-a-billion dollar, no-bid contracts to the companies they ran. The “revolving door” between high-profile public service and corporate leadership positions is a problem and is well-documented. It’s that kind of conflict of interest that results in a hammer costing $436 and $640 for a toilet seat procured by the government.

As you can see, a lot of baggage comes along with government “job creation.” Though we are often fooled into thinking this money reshuffling is an investment for our future, what actually results is greater deficit spending. It’s important to note here that we never really operate with any kind of budget surplus. And a lot of the money that’s moved around and redistributed ends up in the hands of special interest groups and friends of the higher-ups in the public sector.

Next time you hear some mumblings from the government about creating jobs, consider the hidden economics and who the beneficiaries truly are.

 

_____________________________

Further reading and cited sources:

John Stossel’s Broken Window Fallacy –

The Broken Window Fallacy- How hurricanes, war, taxes, welfare, green job subsidies, and stimulus don’t actually create jobs –

Wikipedia – “Parable of the broken window” –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

Burton Abrams and George Parsons – “Is CARS a Clunker?”
http://www.relooney.info/0_New_5687.pdf

Environmental Working Group – “Cargill Turkey Products – EWG Farm Subsidy Database”
farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=004497123

Cargill reports fourth-quarter and fiscal 2011 earnings
http://www.cargill.com/news/releases/2011/NA3047889.jsp

CNET – “Case study: A simple tool” –
http://news.cnet.com/2009-1009_3-5404307.html

Frédéric Bastiat

Henry Hazlitt

The disclaimer comes first. Don’t take this purely as advice for your situation. Even a lot of people who called themselves “experts” you should be skeptical of, and I’m not expert. With that said, here are my discoveries…

You’ve heard it before: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I’ve really taken that to heart, seeing the ups and downs of my first stock purchase back in 2008. Recently, I have diversified my portfolio and have also started looking for a place to stash some cash. I know, you’re probably thinking “You can put some cash in my pocket,” but I bet you won’t pay interest.

If you are having trouble saving money to put back for retirement, here is an idea that might help you. If your employer offers direct deposit, have them take out an amount every week that you won’t miss. In my case, that small amount goes straight into a bank that I only have a savings account with and rarely visit. It’s really out of the way, which is great because it’s not so tempting to use that money on a whim for something else. When I reach a goal of $500 or $1000, for example, that money gets invested.

CDs

CDs are a tricky thing these days. Rates are sooo LOW, LOwww, lowwwwwww, but the important thing to remember is that rates are even lower for that money sitting in your savings account. Although you will get a higher interest rate for that five year CD, a lot can happen in that time. Your best bet is probably going to be to lock away that money for two years and search for better rates when that term is almost up. Alternately, if you plan on socking away, say, $1,000 in a CD every year, you could continually set up 5 year terms and, eventually you’ll get to the point where you have a CD term ending every year.

Now, when it comes to IRA CDs, the guidelines are slightly more complex. With that direct deposit money I spoke about, I was going to set up an IRA CD at one of the banks that had a higher yield rate listed on bankrate.com or bankaholic.com (I forget which). With the particular bank in question, I browsed through some reviews and decided to navigate on over to their website to start setting up an account. I think that’s when the Lord Almighty blessed me with a sign… honestly. I filled out all my personal information, clicked “submit” and suddenly lost my internet connection. When it came back, I was like “Okay, I’m going to read a little more and make sure this is the right bank.” It turned out it wasn’t. I discovered some fine print on another page saying they charge an annual $30 IRA account maintenance fee. I was going to make about $10 a year on the two-year CD I was going to set up, so going with that bank would have actually made my retirement account lose $20 a year!


STOCKS

When I first bought stock, I didn’t have the freedom to decide what broker I was going to use. My employer decided that, as I was purchasing through an Employee Stock Purchase Program. The broker is a major one that you’ve heard of, and I like how the system works. I bought the stock when it was at an all-time low in 2008, at less than $1 a share. Knock on wood, but the stock has shot up since then, back to a more normal value for that company. A dividend is paid on the shares every-so-often, and the dividend reinvestment program is awesome. It’s great to periodically check in on your account and discover that you have more stock shares than the last time you logged in.

Automatic dividend reinvestment is great, but some DIY stock brokers like Scottrade don’t allow it. Instead, when a dividend is paid, the money goes into your account. It seems like a ploy to add money to your overall balance, to get you to buy more stock, which means having to pay the $7 transaction fee more often.


IRAs

This is where it starts to get into those murky, giving-specific-financial-advice waters that I am trying to steer clear of. But if you don’t already have an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA), they are a smart choice. There are some limitations, but the tax benefits can be great. This year, the maximum contribution limit for most people is $5,000. There are also some income limits to consider. If you’re earning a six-figure income every year, chances are you’re not eligible.

Roth and Traditional IRAs each have their own tax rules but, in my exploration, it seems that most people prefer the Roth. With the Traditional IRA, you can deduct your contributions on your tax return every year, and you pay on your earnings when it’s time to retire. With the Roth, you can’t deduct the yearly contributions from taxes, but the money isn’t taxed at retirement. In other words, for people who can do without that tax break, it’s probably wiser to go with the Roth. Again, though, consult an adviser for your personal situation.

Another thing I have learned is that contributions to your IRA have to be cash, unless you’re rolling another investment vessel like a 401k into the account. Otherwise and unfortunately, you can’t do things like take stock shares in a regular account and transfer them directly to an IRA. Rather, you would have to sell your shares and use the proceeds as a contribution to your IRA. From there, you could buy shares of the same stock again if desired, but that wouldn’t be so wise because of the taxes you would have to pay on the stock sale. I would love to make a hefty profit, then move it to a tax-advantaged account, but it’s just not to be.

That just about sums about my recent discoveries for now. If you have any questions or have your own helpful tips to add, feel free to comment below. Happy investing, and good luck!

Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m disillusioned. But it seems that the real trick (which seems like no trick at all) to “beat the stock market” is patience. Patience. There’s so little of that these days. People – advertisers, investors, marketers, boards of directors – brainstorm and work so hard to retain our interest, ranging from the duration of a movie to the duration of a commercial. When that patience fades and you start to mix in a little fear, you end up with something that can get very ugly.

The part of me that may be disillusioned and allows me to perpetually keep a positive outlook is that I can’t recognize the things I don’t know… blissfully unaware, I suppose you could say. The more I learn, the more I realize there is a science to everything. And the more science explains a story, some of the magic can start to disappear.

I currently own one stock and am weighing my options for buying more in different companies. The stock I do own is the result of an Employee Purchase Program. It was kind of a fluke… I signed up for the program without really thinking it though.

The employer would set aside 5% of my check every week, figure out the lowest price of the company’s stock for the quarter, then give me a 10% discount off the stock. Then that weekly money set aside would be used to buy the stock. At the lowest point, I bought stock for $00.88. That’s right – I bought stock when it was on its way to being worth nothing. Then it turned around. It climbed up to $12+ at its high, and it’s back down now to $7-something. That’s still not bad…. and, for me, it was all on a whim. Also, don’t think I’m a bajillionaire now because I’m way, way, way far from that.

Where this decision to buy worked out, I also could have bought a flop, which is what happened with the stock from my other job at the time. My boss there said “You don’t wanna buy that… media stock is never worth anything.” I thought about buying some anyway but didn’t. About a year later, that company’s stock was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. Not good.

At this very moment, I am at a crossroads. It feels like I am in a very adult place at this point, where I have to weigh my options and try to make the best decisions for myself and my family. I keep thinking about dumping the shares I have but can’t ever make that decision hit the “sell” button and jump. I set a target sell price when it was over $12, then missed it when it dipped below that mark. So now it’s like “I should have sold then……buy maybe it will climb back up.” That’s where patience comes into play. One of my family members lost a lot of money in stocks 20 years ago. I don’t know what the stocks were exactly, but I have to wonder how the price compares today to what it was when she decided to sell.

Anyway, it’s time to diversify. It’s a lot of decision-making to prioritize my list of potential buys, which consists of some cheaper, industrial companies (for now, HAH-HAH!!!) and some blue chips. Whatever happens, when my gut stops telling me conflicting things, I certainly won’t be putting all my eggs in the same basket.

Whoever thought diversification would be so hard? Yet the whole process is also very liberating at each step, when you’ve saved up enough, a little bit at a time, to put away for decades.

I guess no matter what happens, I just need to remind myself to breathe… and to have a little patience.

Paypal is sort of like Bank of America – it’s this big, dumb corporation that holds power through coercion, not because it’s sensible and everyone likes it. Trying to resolve anything through Customer Service is very telling of this fact.

the setup:
It’s not exactly unusual for me to be at the office in the neighborhood of 12-16 hours a day. So I thought it may be more wise to have Paypal purchases sent to the office, rather than having items potentially sit on my doorstep all day. I tried to go through the steps to “confirm an alternate address,” as one electronics retailer I planned on buying from only sends to Paypal-confirmed addresses. Quickly I ran into a roadblock, as I am “ineligible” for alternate address confirmation due to having a Buyer Reputation Number of zero. The Reputation Number is supposed to reflect the number of transactions a user has successfully completed with unique Paypal members. Based on that, I should have a Reputation Number of probably 50-75. It turns out, however, that the Reputation Number system was discontinued, ohhh, probably three years ago or so.

the attempt at resolution:
After discovering this catch-22 of having a “zero” Reputation Number and obviously not being able to do anything to increase the number, I wrote Customer Service. I waited a week, heard nothing, then wrote again. This time I waited a couple weeks. I still heard nothing, so today I called. Customer Service told me to navigate to the same “Alternate Address Confirmation” page I have previously visited numerous times. The result on the next page was the same: “You do not currently qualify for Alternative Address Confirmation.” The best solution Customer Service could offer? “I would recommend you buy from a seller who doesn’t ship to confirmed addresses only.” Thanks a bunch.

Considering the disclosure that the call may be monitored, I tried to get this Customer Service fellow in India, or wherever, to blatantly admit that the website contains information that’s completely wrong and outdated. Suddenly, a language barrier made it’s way into the conversation: “I don’t understand what you mean…. sorry, I don’t know what you mean.” And, like a broken record, “the only thing I can recommend is to buyer from a seller…” No resolution at all. And just having someone answer a call doesn’t qualify as “Customer Service.”

Paypal’s revenue in Q4 of 2011 was $1.2 billion. Something feels very, very odd about a company that makes over a billion dollars in three months but yet has a website that has been outdated for three years.

Warfare

02/16/2012

MSN/Innovation News Daily (whatever that is) posted a rather interesting article last week entitled “‘Smart bullet’ hits targets a mile away.” The gist is that Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico has developed a bullet that uses fins to constantly readjust its course towards a target pinpointed by a laser beam. Pretty cool, huh? But what are the implications brought on by new warfare technology, and do we really need it?

Articles related to the aforementioned one (linked at the bottom of this page) speak of topics like the U.S. Army placing an order for “suicide drones” and a new grenade/launcher combination that’s being assessed in Afghanistan. Suicide drones are capable of relaying reconnaissance information back to operators on the ground and can also be used as a missile, if needed. The new grenade launcher looks more like a small, automatic assault rifle than ever, and the projectile that goes along with it can be programmed to explode at precise distances.

Although this kind of technology seems pretty incredible/kinda awesome, we have to continue to ask “We need this equipment to fight whom?” The military-industrial complex really starts to seems like a complex when we assess how we Americans constantly and continually police the globe. What would really be awesome would be diplomacy and to look past the rhetoric that people hate Americans “because of our freedom.” Education and critical thinking help provide that much-needed chance to take a step back and think “Ya know, it can’t really be as simple as that.” And it’s not.

Consider another perspective: let’s say your neighbor commits some sort of heinous crime, then disappears without a trace. Before you know it, people are speculating that he has fled the town, the county, maybe even the state. Ten years pass and the police are still camped out in your backyard. I image you would be irate. After all, you didn’t invite these visitors to occupy your yard, and you can’t figure out how to get rid of them. After all, it is your property.

Many Middle Eastern people were sympathetic over 9/11… we know that. We’ve seen them. We’ve heard their voices. We know most of them aren’t terrorists. But it also has to be less-than-comforting to have convoys of soldiers, armed to the teeth, rolling around their towns in these destructive machines, playing a perpetual game of Whac-A-Mole.

Something about no longer having to actually confront, who you believe to be, the enemy is alarming. Simply enough, in the days of yore, if someone shot at you, you shot back. The enemy was pretty well defined. You knew who and where they were, hunkered down on the other side of the battlefield. Now, we fly aircraft outfitted with small, black-and-white cameras having resolution only great enough to show people carrying… things. And we shoot at these people from meters, and sometimes kilometers, away. But what exactly are they carrying? Guns? Cameras? Does anyone know or really care?

When these incidents – these mistakes – take place, the government has a tendency to go on the defensive. Dispensing half-truths and other fabrications seem to be the priority, rather than acknowledging that people are fallible. It happened with the Reuters photographers that were gunned down by Apache helicopters in Baghdad. It happened when Pat Tillman was killed by “friendly fire” in Afghanistan. It came to light when Jessica Lynch contradicted our government by clarifying that she was never able to fire a single shot from her jammed M16 rifle when her convoy came under attack in Iraq.

The same people who try to write history, whether or not what’s being written is factual, are the same people developing advanced weaponry. Through psychology and force they remain in power. And when fraud is revealed, more propaganda is thrown around by asserting with scary words like “terrorist,” “espionage,” “traitor,” and “insurgent.”

I would like to make a note here that our troops are not responsible for this culture. They are young, impressionable men and women who are trained to be tough and to dehumanize the enemy. Our soldiers on the front lines are under constant stress, knowing that a threat to their lives could be just around the corner. PTSD is rampant among troops returning home, and the constant warfare dictated by our government is screwing up the minds of these young adults for the rest of their lives. It is insanely irresponsible to go to war based on “bad intel” and to then keep fighting anyway. To date, 4,000+ U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq. That’s more than all the people killed in the 9/11 attacks. Interesting, considering 9/11 and the purported presence of “WMDs” were used as justification to invade Iraq. As we all know, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found, and no evidence has ever been uncovered linking Iraq to 9/11 in any capacity.

Another “defense” program recently in the works has been the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet program. The selling point for this aircraft was that it would save the military money, as it could be used by the Marines, Air Force, and Navy, rather than developing a new jet for each of those branches. However, what is a “money saver” is actually the Pentagon’s most expensive program ever, at $382 billion for 2,443 F-35 jets. 2,443 jets for what? Are these to patrol our borders? As we worry about what is happening on the other side of the globe, drug violence is spilling over into the United States. Farmers along the U.S./Mexico border have been killed, and it’s speculated that a number of abductions and killings in Arizona, Georgia, Texas, and Alabama are cartel-related. (CNN)

If we really want to do some good, we could take some of our drones out of the Middle East, and do some reconnaissance work over the Mexican villas that the drug cartels are operating out of. We could also stop spending money in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop spending so much money on seven-hundred-some overseas military bases in over half the world’s countries, and stop pumping money into Israel and Egypt so they can keep acquiring weapons. The term “national defense” means less than ever these days. It’s become a convoluted catchphrase used to justify a whole host of actions that have very little, sometimes arguably nothing at all, to do with actually defending a nation.

Imagine what better use we could make of reallocating money intended for “defense spending.” Our schools are in serious trouble. We have people living on the streets, eating out of trash cans. Emergency services are being cut in towns across the nation. Our infrastructure is eroding in many places. But focus on a greater good and “taking care of our own” gets replaced by meddling in affairs across the globe. We also “invest” billions of dollars annually in other countries to promote pro-Americanism. That’s not the official decree but, believe me, recipients of U.S. aid are not random countries asking for a handout.

U.S. Army Orders First Suicide Drones
http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/550-suicide-drone-army-switchblade.html

New Video Showcases Army’s Grenade Launcher
http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/185-xm25-grenade-launcher.html

‘Smart bullet’ hits targets a mile away
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46206458/ns/technology_and_science-innovation/#.Tyhfc4E_cXA

Pentagon’s F-35 Fighter Under Fire in Congress
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/jan-june10/defense_04-21.html

The Mexico drug war: Bodies for billions
http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/15/world/mexico-drug-war-essay/index.html