Friday, October 16, 2009

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR APPLICATION




Hear Both Sides.
Then Decide for Yourself
Mark and Joel share their points of view on payment methods, cash flow, and their businesses.
video
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR APPLICATION

Annual Fee
Late Payment Fee
The annual fee of $185 for the Basic Plum Card is waived for the first year of your membership. Annual fees for additional Plum Cards are $0 for the first additional Plum Card and $45 for each additional Plum Card.
Varies from state to state, from zero to the greater of $39 or 1.5% of the delinquent balance and $39 or 2.99% of the seriously delinquent balance.
All charges made on this Charge Card are due and payable when you receive your billing statement.

The first year annual fee is waived for new Card applicants only. If you transfer an existing account to the Plum Card, you are not eligible for the first year fee waiver.

Patriot Act Notice: Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account, including your name, address, date of birth and other information that will allow us to verify your identity.

Our Agreement
By submitting this application, I as an individual and the Authorizing Officer of the Company (a) request that you open an account ("Account") in the name of the Company and in my name, (b) request that Card(s) be issued on that Account as indicated on this application, (c) understand that you will renew and replace the Card(s) until I cancel, (d) agree to be individually, jointly and severally liable for all charges to the Account made by all Cards issued on the Account now or in the future, (e) agree on behalf of the Company and myself to be bound by the agreement governing the Account ("Cardmember Agreement"), and (f) REPRESENT THAT THE CARD(S) WILL BE USED FOR COMMERCIAL OR BUSINESS PURPOSES. I understand that the Cardmember Agreement includes an arbitration provision, which impacts my opportunity to have claims related to the Account heard in court or resolved by a jury, and to participate in a class action or similar proceeding. I understand that the Cardmember Agreement also provides, among other things, that (i) the Account terms, such as fees, are subject to change and (ii) I am personally responsible for payment for all charges on the Account and the Company is also jointly liable for all such charges. I understand that I must provide all the information requested in this application and I certify that such information is accurate. I authorize you to verify the information on this application and to receive and exchange information about me including requesting reports from consumer reporting agencies. If I ask whether or not a consumer report was requested, you will tell me, and if you received a report, you will give me the name and address of the agency that furnished it. I authorize you and your affiliates and subsidiaries to contact these sources for information at any time and to use any information obtained about me for marketing and administrative purposes.

1. Early Pay Discount
Pay your balance in full within 10 days of the statement closing date and get a 1.5% discount on eligible purchases made that month. The discount will appear as a credit on the following billing statement.

2. Defer Pay Option
If you pay at least 10% of the balance from new activity on your billing statement plus the entire amount of any previously deferred payment or amounts past due by the "Please Pay By Date" on that statement, you may defer payment of the remainder of that balance until the closing date of your next billing cycle without penalty.

3. No Pre-Set Spending Limit
The Plum Card® has no pre-set spending limit, which gives you purchasing power that adjusts with your use of the Card and other factors. No pre-set spending limit does not mean unlimited spending. Purchasing power adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit card record and financial resources known to us, and other factors.

IBM Acquires Green Pasture Software, Extends Leadership in Enterprise Content Management.



available immediately from IBM.

The acquisition further extends IBM's leadership in enterprise content management, a fast-growing segment of its DB2 Information Management portfolio, enabling customers to electronically develop and manage the entire lifecycle of their business documents across the enterprise to increase efficiencies and make faster business decisions.

Today's news marks IBM's third acquisition in its Enterprise Content Management business since 2002. IBM purchased Tarian's records management software in November 2002 and Aptrix's Web content management software in July 2003.

Green Pasture Software is a leading provider of document management software that enables businesses to take advantage of real-time, high-performance document management capabilities to electronically collaborate, edit and manage multiple documents simultaneously. The software helps organizations more easily develop and manage documents that incorporate interrelated parts, such as spreadsheets, multimedia files and computer aided design (CAD) references.

For example, businesses today use Green Pasture software to automate and streamline document management across multiple business operations including product development, financial reporting, and compliance with governmental requirements. As a result, organizations can more easily create and manage documents such as product manuals, annual reports, and pharmaceutical submissions for clinical trials.

The addition of Green Pasture Software extends IBM's leadership in delivering the most comprehensive enterprise content management infrastructure in the industry, ranging from the development of simple spreadsheets to managing highly complex documents. IBM is the only vendor that supports customers' complete enterprise content management requirements, including support for all forms of information, document and records management, collaboration, digital rights management and storage.

The software is in especially high demand in organizations such as government, financial services, pharmaceutical and chemical and petroleum and other regulated industries that manage massive amounts of information which require long-term data retention.

"IBM is unmatched in the industry in providing customers with the tools they need to leverage their information assets to make better decisions and respond faster to market demands," said Janet Perna, general manager, IBM Data Management Software. "The addition of Green Pasture technology and its expertise in managing complex documents, combined with IBM's comprehensive enterprise content management offerings, brings more value to customers, helping them gain a faster return on their information assets."

"IBM is the recognized leader in helping companies deploy a complete enterprise content management solution" said Charlie Wittenberg, President, Green Pasture Software. "The combination of Green Pasture technology and IBM's Content Management offerings will enable businesses to more easily create and manage their critical information assets to increase productivity and enhance business insight."

About IBM's DB2 Information Management Portfolio

There are more than 60 million DB2 users from 425,000 companies worldwide relying on IBM Information Management Solutions. IBM is the only software vendor to provide customers with integrated solutions for database management, tools, content management, enterprise information integration and business intelligence. For more information please visit http://www.software.ibm.com/data.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Greener Pastures


Despite the rising unemployment rate and the increasing number of extremely qualified professionals looking for jobs, smart companies continue to place an emphasis on keeping their employees and creating a work environment that prevents “greener pasture” syndrome.

Greener pasture syndrome in the workplace results when employees are not kept engaged and productive or do not have a sense of ownership. It is a major concern for those businesses that accept the paradigm that engaged employees will keep customers happy and that when employees leave or start searching for greener pastures it can be a big problem.

Employees are the face of a business. They build the relationships with customers and know a company from top to bottom. They drive company culture and reinforce this culture with new employees and customers.

Successful companies have embraced the importance of making their pasture the greenest. This approach really proliferated during boom times when the jobs were plentiful and qualified workers were few and far between and faced with many different options. However, now that the pendulum has swung and qualified workers abound while jobs are scarce, companies need to be careful not to contract a case of the “greener pasture” syndrome in regards to their employees.

The attitude that any employee can simply be replaced with someone better, because there are so many good options out there today, reflects a dangerous ideology. Even if this belief is not widespread or disseminated throughout the company – which would be disastrous – its mere presence is enough to trigger cause for concern.

A key factor for keeping employees loyal and in place is engagement and ownership and not money. Money can certainly buy you loyalty and improve employee retention, but without the other factors it is a hollow victory. Financially stable employees may be happy to some extent, but if they are not engaged and do not feel connected to their work this will most certainly be reflected in poor customer relations.

So just in the same way that splashing the cash won’t fix the greener pastures problem, company executives should not let the money issue muddy the value they place on current employees. It is a fact that in today’s economic climate and employment marketplace most businesses could replace employees with outsiders who could do the same job for less money, and would be perfectly willing to do so. But companies are taking a dangerous gamble that the result would be an equal employee, especially on the grounds of engagement and ownership.

How long would it take for the loss of company experience and cultural participation to equal any salary gain made on an equally qualified, but new, employee? How long would it take for the savings on new employees to outweigh the overall cost on company morale and atmosphere the strategy of replacing current workers with new, cheaper workers would bring?

Once employees realize that company executives have fallen prey to the greener pasture syndrome, they will not be far behind in doing so likewise – and company failure will certainly be on the horizon.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

TIBETAN PERSONALITY TEST

TIBETAN PERSONALITY TEST

I got this in my email from my great friend, Steve, today, and I thought it was very interesting. The key is to answer the questions as they come along. I think you'll find the results very informative -- and get this -- Money was at the end of my priority list -- go figure! ha,ha,ha!

Take your time with this test and you will be amazed. Steve did this last
year
when this came around and a spiritual wish he made did happen - in fact
all
year long.

The Dalai Lama suggests you read it to see if it works for you. Very
Interesting.
Just 4 questions and the answers will surprise you.

Be honest and do not cheat by looking up the answers. The mind is like
a
parachute, it works! best when it is opened. This is fun to do, but
you
have to follow the instructions very closely. Do not cheat.

MAKE A WISH BEFORE BEGINNING THE TEST!
A warning! Answer the questions as you go along. There are only 4
questions
and if you see them all before finishing, you will not have honest
results.


Go down slowly, and complete each exercise as you scroll down.

Don't look ahead. Get pencil and paper to write your answers as you go
along.
You will need it at the end. This is an honest questionnaire which
will
tell you a lot about your true self. Give an answer for each item. The
first thing that comes to mind is usually your best answer. Remember -
no
one sees this but you.

1) Put the following 5 animals in the order of your preference:
Cow, Tiger, Sheep, Horse, Pig

2) Write one word that describes each one of the following: Dog, Cat,
Rat, Coffee, Sea.

3) Think of someone, who also knows you and is important to you, which
you
can relate them to the following colors. Do not repeat your answer
twice.
Name just one person for each color:
Yellow, Orange, Red, White, Green.

4) Finally, write down your favorite number, and your favorite day of the week.

FINISHED? Please be sure that your answers are what you REALLY WANT.

Look at the interpretations below: But first before continuing,
REPEAT your wish.

ANSWERS::

1) This will define your priorities in your life.
Cow Signifies CAREER
Tiger Signifies PRIDE
Sheep Signifies LOVE
Horse Signifies FAMILY
Pig Signifies MONEY

2) Your description of dog implies your own personality.
Your description of cat implies the personality of your partner.

Your description of rat implies the personality of your enemies.
Your description of coffee is how you interpret sex.

Your description of the sea implies your own life.

3) Yellow: Someone you will never forget
Orange: Someone you consider your true friend
Red: Someone that you really love
White: Your twin soul
Green: Someone that you will remember for the rest of your life

4) You have to send this message to as many persons as your favorite
number

and your wish will come true on the day that you recorded.

This is what the Dalai Lama has said about the Millennium - just take
a
few

seconds! to look it up, read it and think.

Do not put away this message, the mantra will come out from your hands
in
the next 96 hours. You will have a very pleasant surprise.

This is true, even if you are not superstitious.

Please do this. It is fascinating. SEND THIS E- MAIL MANTRA TO AT
LEAST

FIVE PERSONS AND YOUR LIFE WILL IMPROVE.
0-4 persons: Your life will improve slightly

5-9 persons: Your life will improve to your liking

9-14 persons: You will have at least 5 surprises in the next three
weeks

15 or more persons: Your life will improve drastically and all that
you
wish
will come true.

Resources

Resources

Tibet is a very large country: a common misunderstanding for tourists wishing to go to Tibet is the notion that Tibet is only the Tibet Autonomous Region. Tibetans regard Tibet as also including most of Qinghai province and parts of Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan provinces. Tibetans have lived and ruled in these areas for thousands of years. The map below shows all Tibetan inhabited areas.

Should You Travel to Tibet?

Most Tibetans support tourism because it constitutes a means by which the outside world can learn of conditions in Tibet and the aspirations of Tibetans. Tibetans regard the presence of foreigners in Tibet as a source of hope. The Dalai Lama encourages people to travel to Tibet and bear witness to the suffering of the Tibetans under repressive Chinese policies and to act on this information on their return.

However, we recommend that you do not travel to Tibet without appraising yourself of the sensitive political situation or making an effort to ensure, as far as possible, that your visit benefits Tibetans (see below). We also recommend that you continue to support the Tibetan people by joining acampaign organisation on your return.

These two alternative guides for prospective travelers to Tibet are a must read:

1. Alternative Travel Guide to Tibet (International Campaign for Tibet; page 49)
2. Tibet: the Alternative Travel Guide (Free Tibet; page 4)

For up to date information about how to travel to Tibet independently, we recommend purchasing a recently-published guidebook, such as Rough Guide to Tibet.


International Tibet Support Network recommends the following "dos" for travelers to Tibet:

1. Do Patronise Tibetan businesses.
To support Tibetans, Tibetan culture and the Tibetan economy, buy from Tibetan-owned shops and stalls and eat in Tibetan restaurants as far as possible. If you hire a guide and driver, ask to hire Tibetans. It is easier to folow this guidance if you are an independent traveler, but if you plan to visit Tibet with an organised group tour, ask travel companies their policy on supporting Tibetan businesses, and select your tour company according to the response. Tibetans are disadvantaged in Tibet's economy, lacking the education, training and language to be able to compete with the influx of Chinese immigrants. Tibetans are now a minority in Tibet's capital city, Lhasa.


2. Do Avoid Buying Antiques
Tibet's cultural artifacts have been destroyed and plundered since China occupied Tibet in 1949/50. You can help preserve what remains of Tibet's cultural artifact by not buying antiques and thereby discouraging further depletion of Tibetan artifacts.


3. Do Help Protect Tibet's Wildlife
Do not buy any products made from endangered species, particularly animal skins. Tibetans stopped wearing animal skins after the Dalai Lama appealed to all Tibetans to cease the practice in 2006. Many Tibetans in Tibet symbolically burned their furs in response to the Dalai Lama's appeal.


4. Do Avoid Putting Tibetans at Risk
Tibet is tightly monitored by both uniformed and plain clothed agents. Giving photos of the Dalai Lama or raising sensitive political issues with ordinary Tibetans could put Tibetans at risk after you have left. If Tibetans share information with you, make sure you do not discuss his/her identity with security personnel while in Tibet, and be wary of keeping written records that could incriminate Tibetans if your luggage was searched.

(Once out of Tibet, if you wish to share information, pass it on to Tibetan Government in Exile, or other legitimate information-gathering organisations such as TCHRD, ICT, SFT, FTC etc.)


5. Do Avoid Putting Yourself at Risk
Whilst in Tibet, you should assume that your communication is being monitored (mobile phone calls, emails and so on). A number of foreigners have been deported for political activity, or on suspicion of attempting to carry sensitive political information out of Tibet. If caught, you are likely to be rigorously interrogated and swiftly deported, but there have been instances of foreigners being detained for up to two weeks (for example, for burning a Chinese flag). Any Tibetans whom you have had contact with will face much harsher treatment and risk arrest, torture and imprisonment. Taking photographs of sensitive places could lead to questioning or seizure of your camera.

THE NATIONAL FLAG OF TIBET

The National Flag of Tibet

The National Flag of Tibet

The national flag of Tibet, a familiar site on protests outside of China, is illegal in Tibet. Tibetans have been imprisoned for possessing or even making a drawing of the Tibetan flag.

Historical Background

During the reign of the 7th century king, Songtsen Gampo, Tibet was one of the mightiest empires in Central Asia. Tibet, then, had an army of 2,860,000 men. Each regiment of the army had its own banner. The banner of Ya-ru To regiment had a pair of snow lions facing each other, that of Ya-ru Ma a snow lion standing upright, springing upwards towards the sky, and that of U-ru To a white flame against a red background.

This tradition continued until the 13th Dalai Lama designed a new banner and issued a proclamation for its adoption by all the military establishments. This banner became the present Tibetan national flag.

Explanation of the Symbolism of the Tibetan National Flag

In the centre stands a magnificient snow-clad mountain, which represents the great nation of Tibet, widely known as the "Land Surrounded by Snow Mountains".

The Six red that bands spread across the dark blue sky represent the original ancestors of the Tibetan people: the six tribes called Se, Mu, Dong, Tong, Dru, and Ra which in turn gave rise to the (twelve) descendants. The combination of six red bands (for the tribes) and six dark blue bands (for the sky) represents the unceasing enactment of the virtuous deeds of protection of the spiritual teachings and secular life by the black and red guardian protector deities with which Tibet has been connected since times immemorial.

At the top of the snowy mountain, the sun with its rays shining brilliantly in all directions represents the equal enjoyment of freedom, spiritual and material happiness and prosperity by all beings in the land of Tibet.

On the slopes of the mountain a pair of snow lions stand proudly, blazing with the manes of fearlessness, which represent the country's victorious accomplishment of a unified spiritual and secular life.

The beautiful and radiant three-coloured jewel held aloft represents the ever-present reverence respectfully held by the Tibetan people towards the three supreme gems, the objects of refuge: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

The two-coloured swirling jewel held between the two lions represents the people's guarding and cherishing of the self discipline of correct ethical behavior, principally represented by the practices of the ten exalted virtues and the 16 humane modes of conduct.

Lastly, the adornment with a yellow border symbolises that the teachings of the Buddha, which are like pure, refined gold and unbounded in space and time, are flourishing and spreading.

THE STORY OF LOSAR (New Year)

THE STORY OF LOSAR (New Year)
Venerable Salden, Namgyal Monastery (Personal Monastery of H.H. the Dalai Lama)


Happy Losar (Tibetan New Year). Tibetans all over the world celebrated Tibetan New Year on Sunday, February 6th. The word Losar is a Tibetan word for New Year. LOmeans year and SAR means new.

The celebration of Losar can be traced back to the pre-Buddhist period in Tibet. During the period when Tibetans practiced the Bon religion, every winter a spiritual ceremony was held, in which people offered large quantities of incense to appease the local spirits, deities and protectors. This religious festival later evolved into an annual Buddhist festival which is believed to have originated during the reign of Pude Gungyal, the ninth King of Tibet. The festival is said to have begun when an old woman named Belma introduced the measurement of time based on the phases of the moon. This festival took place during the flowering of the apricot trees of the Lhokha Yarla Shampo region in autumn, and it may have been the first celebration of what has become the traditional farmers' festival. It was during this period that the arts of cultivation, irrigation, refining iron from ore and building bridges were first introduced in Tibet. The ceremonies which were instituted to celebrate these new capabilities can be recognized as precursors of the Losar festival. Later when the rudiments of the science of astrology, based on the five elements, were introduced in Tibet, this farmer's festival became what we now call the Losar or New Year's festival.

The calendar is made up of twelve lunar months and Losar begins on the first day of the first month. In the monasteries, the celebrations for the Losar begin on the twenty-ninth day of the twelfth month. That is the day before the Tibetan New Year's Eve. On that day the monasteries do a protector deities' puja (a special kind of ritual) and begin preparations for the Losar celebrations. The custom that day is to make special noodle called guthuk. It is made of nine different ingredients including dried cheese and various grains. Also, dough balls are given out with various ingredients hidden in them such as chilies, salt, wool, rice and coal. The ingredients one finds hidden in one's dough ball are supposed to be a lighthearted comment on one's character. If a person finds chilies in their dough, it means they are talkative. If white-colored ingredients like salt, wool or rice are inside the dough it is considered a good sign. If a person finds coal in the dough it has much the same meaning as finding coal in one's Christmas stocking; it means you have a "black heart".

The last day of the year is a time to clean and prepare for the approaching New Year. In the monasteries it is a day of preparations. The finest decorations are put up and elaborate offerings are made of called "Lama Losar". In the early dawn of this day, the monks of Namgyal Monastery offer a sacrificial cake (Tse- tor) on top of the main temple (Potala in Tibet) to the supreme hierarchy of Dharma protectors, the glorious goddess Palden Lhamo. Led by the Dalai Lama, the abbots of three great monasteries, lamas, reincarnated monks, government officials and dignitaries join the ceremony and offer their contemplative prayers, while the monks of Namgyal Monastery recite the invocation of Palden Lhamo. After the completion of this ceremony, all assemble in the hall called Excellence of Samsara and Nirvana for a formal greeting ceremony. Seated on his or her respective cushions, everyone exchanges the traditional greeting, "Tashi delek".

In order to wish the His Holiness the Dalai Lama good luck for the coming year, consecrated long-life pills (tse-ril) made out of roasted barley dough are offered to him by the representatives of the three great monasteries, the two Tantric Colleges, etc. Then entertainers (garma) perform a dance of good wishes. And two senior monks stage a debate on Buddhist philosophy, and conclude their debate with an auspicious recitation composed especially for the event, in which the whole spectrum of Buddhist teaching is first briefly reviewed. A request is made to His Holiness and to all holders of the doctrine to remain for a long time amongst beings in samsara in order to serve them through their enlightened activities. The official ceremony of the day then concludes with a ceremonial farewell to the His Holiness, who then retires to his palace.

The second day of Losar is known as King's Losar (gyal-po lo-sar) because officially the day is reserved for a secular gathering in the hall of Excellence of Samsara and Nirvana. His Holiness and his government exchange greetings with both monastic and lay dignitaries, such as representatives of China, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia and other foreign visitors.

Then from the third day onwards, the people and monks begin to celebrate and enjoy the festive season. In Tibet before the Chinese came, Losar had been celebrated for fifteen days or more. In India today we celebrate for three days, and in America we have minimized it to one day. In this way the three days of the New Year celebration officially concludes.