Thursday, December 24, 2009

Latinos in Social Media and Being Latino Present the First Annual Three Kings Day Toy Drive & Fundraiser

Latinos in Social Media, the largest organization of Social Media professionals of Latino origin, is partnering with the Being Latino network, one of Facebook's fastest growing organizations, to bring joy to disadvantaged Latino children in the US and Latin America this holiday season. LATISM’s 1st Annual Three Kings Day Toy Drive & Fundraiser will benefit The Children’s Aid Society’s and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“Part of LATISM’s long-term vision is to give back. The fact that our first Toy Drive and Fundraiser is aimed to benefit both children in Latin America and at home is yet another innovative example of how LATISM is using new media to benefit our community at large,” said Louis Pagan, Co-founder of LATISM.

"Being Latino's goal has always been the betterment of our community. Through establishing relationships with organizations such as LATISM, we can reach a much wider audience and spread our word to new ears. As a big brother, I understand the importance of giving back to underserved communities and have seen the impact one can make in a life with very little effort," said Lance Rios, Founder of Being Latino.

The partnership between LATISM and Being Latino has two primary goals:
  • To collect at least 400 toys which can be distributed to children who may otherwise not have any presents this Christmas.
  • To raise at least $1000 in monetary funds to help programs working for the survival, basic education and health needs of disadvantaged children in Latin America.
To this end, the Toy Drive & Fundraiser will have two levels:

  1. TOY DRIVE: Thanks to generous donations from their sponsors, Time To Play, Ingenio and Discovery Toys, LATISM and Being Latino will be donating new unwrapped bilingual Educational toys to the Latino Outreach Center of the Children’s Aid Society, located in Washington Heights, New York City. The toys will be distributed to poor Latino children in the area.
  2. FUNDRAISER: LATISM and Being Latino will be collecting donations from their joint online networks. These monetary donations will benefit UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and be distributed through UNICEF to centers aiding disadvantaged children in Latin America.
“In these tough economic times, it’s more important than ever to make sure that disadvantaged children in the US and Latin America enjoy the holidays and have access to basic necessities. LATISM is proud and excited to partner with the Being Latino network to help world-renowned organizations such as the Children’s Aid Society and UNICEF in their continued efforts to provide these services,” said Elianne Ramos, CEO of Speak Hispanic, Inc.

WHAT: Live Twitter Party
WHEN: December 30th 2009, 8pm EST
WHERE: Twitter (use hashtag #latismtoydrive or enter latismtoydrive on – you must have a Twitter account).

Potential donors can help by:

  • Participating in LATISM’s live Twitter party to raise awareness about the Toy Drive.
  • Making a monetary donation ONLINE through our Chipin/PayPal account. Monetary donations will be accepted until January 3rd, 2010. Details on the page.
  • Making a toy donation by sending new, unwrapped toys to: The Children’s Aid Society -105 East 22nd St, New York, NY 10010. Please use codename: LATISMTOYDRIVE09. Toy donations will be accepted until January 3rd, 2010.
  • Following and Retweeting our Toy Drive message using #latismtoydrive on Twitter.
  • Writing about it on their blog. Please contact eramos[.] for press materials.
  • Posting up the LATISM/Being Latino Toy Drive/Fundraising widget on their blog. Details on the page.
  • Broadcasting our link through FaceBook & LinkedIn pages/groups.

Toy Drive and Donations totals, as well as ceremony pictures will be posted at our website on January 6, 2010. For further information, please call Elianne Ramos, LATISM DC Media Relations Manager, at 646-932-7752 or Louis Pagan, LATISM Co-Founder, at 347-688-5385.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nihil Timeo!

What's the worse that can happen in any given situation? Death. What's the worst thing that anyone do to you? Kill you. Let's be realistic. One day, sooner or later, we all must die. There is a date and an exact time appointed to every living creature on earth when we will die. Some live recklessly as if death will somehow pass over them and they will continue to live forever in their present state. They hang on to the illusion that they have plenty of time to do what they need to do. Sadly, when they come about to do the things that they know the should do, it's too late. No rewinds. No tag backs. No redo. Time is up.

This article is not intended to be a depressing call of doom and despair. My intention is to relay a message. Life is short. There's much work to be done and a set amount of time to do it in. That's reality. I recently wrote a 2009 year in review of the past twelve months of my life. It really cemented the fact that from January 1st, 2009 until the present time, I have accomplished x amount of work, learning and improving. I also learned how much I did not do over the past 12 months. 2009 is almost over and when it is, 2009 is gone forever.

Once we conquer the fear of death, we banish all other fear: the fear of being rejected, the fear of being talked about, the fear of being alone, the fear of being betrayed - all fears vanish. That's when you truly become free.

Since I am going to die anyway, I'm going to die on my terms. When I realized that I would be the only person going into my grave, whether I was loved or unloved, married or single, rich or poor, why would I live (and die) by someone's terms? When I realized that I will have dogs nipping at my ankles (critics) whether I do good or bad, I stood up and took my life back. Enough is enough. That day I rose up in power and I rebelled. I took my freedom back and I became fearfully fearless.

In 1990, I graduated from a Correctional Sciences Academy in my class. As soon as I hit the compound, I discovered sergeants that had been in the system for twenty years or more. They were just biding time, waiting to collect their pensions. They walked around the yard with no life left in their souls. I couldn't do that. I wanted more. I wanted to lead. I wanted MY Captain's bars. I threw myself into obtaining that goal. I took every class the DOC had to offer, worked every position on every shift and observed shift leaders like a ravenous hawk. I absorbed every piece of information I could get my hands on, including Chapter 33, the Florida Code that governs the Department of Corrections. On my spare time, I joined the JayCees, became a Emergency Medical Technician, taught AMA-CPR to ranking officers, became involved with the local domestic violence women's shelter, created a city counsel sponsored program for victims of rape and domestic violence, the first in Cape Coral, Florida, was a victim's advocate and became a volunteer EMT Firefighter. In 1993, I was handed the answers to the Sergeant's Exam. I turned it down. I wanted MY Captain's bars. Nothing else would do. I was told I would never have those bars because I was the wrong color. They said that to the wrong person. To make a long story short (I know, too late. Ha!) I legally had the a warden, a colonel, a captain, a lieutenant and two sergeants either suspended or fired. I LOATHE racism. Did they ever give me those bars. No. I was the wrong color.

Before I retired, I returned to university, killing the entrance exam (100%) of the number two liberal arts school in Florida – the first time ever for that university. I always want to hit the heights. Took a totally new and opposite direction. In 1997, became Computer Graphic Artist. I graduated with a 3.67 GPA – honors, baby. I retired from corrections for good. I stood at the gates the last day said my last goodbye on my terms. Let's say that the inmates and old cons applauded. To the Charlotte boys, this color is still kicking ass.

(NOTE to the KKK, you should have pulled the trigger. I will always be the bane of your collective existence.)

In 1998, I graduated from a Microsoft school as a Network Engineer. Since then what have I done? I've worked for mostly Fortune 500 companies, started and ran three of my own companies, been involved in hundreds of projects and created at least one thousand pieces of art work, websites, articles, blah, blah, blah. I've been on TV, on radio, and my work is known in places like India, England, Russia, South Korea, and Germany.

In 2004, I created “The Latino Edge". I didn't know where I was going with it, but I blazed a trail into the unknown – discovering my pioneering spirit. I also discovered that I am a darn good writer. Between just those two accomplishments, my work has reached thousands globally.

I've grown mentally and emotionally to become the person that only lived in my dreams. Now I call the shots. I flow and hustle. I am free to be flexible to the chaos around me. I am not part of it but I use it to my benefit. The old guard - the old way of doing things - has been a dying entity for a few years now. The new guard, the creative oddities that once flourished in America at the turn of the 20th century, is taking over with a silent and lethal vengeance. I am part of that new guard. You can join us if you choose.

No more do you have to accept the rigid and stoic ways of thinking. Make living and creating out of the box the comfort zone. Left field is your yard and you're the Alpha dog. Meet chaos with excited energy and view it as new opportunities to flourish. Don't stick yourself in a rut of being a specialist of just one thing. Have four and five projects going on at the same time. Be more than what traditional convention dictates.

Is this about bragging? Not at all. Some of my critics will say it is. Who cares? Not me. I only mention them in passing to let my beloved readers know that no matter what you do in life, you will have critics. Lincoln, Churchill, King, the Kennedy brothers, Mother Teresa and Gandhi had their critics. Even Jesus Christ, till this day, has His critics.

In fact, I want to take this time to wholeheartedly thank my critics. Thank you! Every time you knuckleheads come after me, it makes me work even harder. You've made me into a alchemist – turning pooty into sugar. I love you guys. Keep up the good work. The harder you push me, the harder I dish it out. Thanks to everyone of you! Special thanks to the Klu Klux Klan.

To my beautiful, powerful and talented readers, hustle and flow. If one thing does work, do another and keep flexible. There's nothing wrong with wanting to do it all. Obviously, we can't. But it's going to be fun trying, huh?

Now get up off your saddles and let's get to work!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Join LatISM DC for a Groundbreaking Conference on Latinos in Social Media

Washington, DC – Latinos in Social Media, the largest organization of Social Media professionals of Latino origin, announced today that the Latinos in Social Media (LatISM) DC Conference will be held on December 11 and 12, 2009 at the National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) Raul Yzaguirre Building at 1126 16th Street, NW.

“We are very excited to be able to bring LatISM to Washington, DC where so many organizations and government agencies are working everyday to reach the Latino community,” said Ana Castro Roca, CEO of Premier Social Media and LatISM Founder.

The two-day community-building event will bring together organizations interested and focused on reaching Latinos/Hispanics and the seasoned social media veterans that can help them strategize and implement successful online campaigns. Influential Latino thought leaders in the area who will share their tips, tricks and strategies on how to leverage social media for your organization, business, nonprofit or government agency’s benefit and will discuss what’s worked and what hasn’t among the Latino/Hispanic community. Conference tracks include: Brand Building, Social Good, the Mobile Opportunity, Gov. 2.0 and Social Media 101.

Attendees include Latino business owners, professionals, government officials and industry experts from California, New York, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Washington DC Metro Area. Among the Conference sponsors are: Comcast, Innovation Generation, Broadband for America, Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership, National Council of La Raza, O'Reilly, NextGenWeb and EchoDitto.

“With 23 million Latino internet users in 2009, Latinos are adopting social media as their primary source of communication, news and entertainment faster than any other group. Their buying power is projected to reach $1.3 Trillion by 2013,” said Kety Esquivel, New Media Manager for National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Director of LatISM DC.

The event was organized by a team of accomplished Latino professionals in the Washiginton DC area: Kety Esquivel, Elianne Ramos, Julie Diaz Asper, Jennifer Lubrani, Alma Suarez and Sylvia Aguilera. “This is a great opportunity to tap into the amazing power of social media and engage our community. We become stronger by promoting our fellow Latinos,” says Elianne Ramos, Baltimore Hispanic Business Columnist for and Media Relations Manager for Latism DC.

Additional information about LatISM DC can be found here.

* * *
Latinos in Social Media (LatISM) is the largest organization of Social Media professionals of Latin origin. LatISM members are bloggers, twitters, group leaders in social networks, social media consultants, government officials, non-profit program officers, developers and more. Together we reach: 1,970,000 Twitter accounts, 800,000 Blog Readers, 2,680,000 Social Network Friends. Visit LatISM - DC for more information.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

It's About the People!

Observing and taking notes, I've grown exceedingly concerned about the current drama within the Latino cyber community. We've lost our focus. Instead of maximizing the opportunity to do good for the community at large, many have trained their talents and abilities to seek fame and fortune and nothing else. I am not one to condemn someone trying to hustle - especially now in this season of global financial recession. Many people have lost jobs, homes, and the ability to remain healthy through no fault of their own. Once vibrant cities like Detroit and Flint, Michigan are slowly becoming ghost towns. People are hungry, sick and even becoming homeless. Winter is coming and some will spend many a chilling night under bridges and alley ways shivering; perhaps even dying.

Apparently community service is only welcomed when it serves the purpose of self-indulgence; getting one's name in the papers, being able to stand next to celebrities, meeting the right people - all under the guise of Latino activism.

What is a successful Latino? That is an interesting question. Equally intriguing is the lack of credible answers. Is true success about making gobs of money? Only if some of that money has been reinvested into the community.

One option is supporting ESL (English as a Second Language) programs for those who want to learn English. Many immigrants want to become Americans. Part of their American Dream is to learn how to speak and write in English. However, many have found it extremely difficult to learn because classes are not offered in abundance. I know of a certain movement in New Hampshire going through red tape setting up a simple ESL classroom. Why? Aren't we 51 million strong?

You would think by now there would be an organization en force similar to the NAACP.

It seems that successful Latino means stamping the Latino brand for self-centered profit rather than help the community they allegedly serve. Successful Latinos prop each other up, pat themselves on their backs and sponge off the 51 million LEGAL Latinos in the US in the name of Latino unity. They deliver their prepared speeches with grace and smoothness of a politician running for office. How charming - and what stinking bull-crap!

In my day, we called these people used car and insurance salesmen. Now we call them successful Latinos leaders. To me, they're merely Micheal Moore clones - performing monkeys tethered to organ grinders dancing for stray coins.

If this article offends some, good! I've done my job. I'm not writing to become a famous celebrity. I could care less about fame - and some of you have already learned that stinging truth about this writer. I do not "yessa massah" well.

Latino people, follow the money. In following the money, you learn the motives behind the people you support. Then you'll be able to make wise decisions. Support those leaders that sacrificially support the community.

We will never become a force to be reckoned unless we sincerely make this Latino movement about the people.

Let's choose en masse substance over style.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Queen of Social Media Interviews The Latino Edge!

Lori Gama, Founder of DaGama Web Studios, Founder of the globally acclaimed social media blog, Learn Social Media and Queen of Social Media interviews Johnny Rivera, founder and writer for The Latino Edge (that's me, folks!).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Character Traits of a Winner - Act Like a Winner

When you learn to think and speak like winners, the process inevitably changes you from within. Your perspective will change. You will start to gravitate to other like-minded people; other winners who have consistently succeeded in their endeavors. You will also find that you can no longer tolerate negative people around you. Needless to say, those negative people will criticize you. Yet this will not shake you. You see yourself, your goals and your future clearly and you will not allow anything or anyone stand in your way. You will remove your obstacles even if it means the loss of family and friends. Allow me to interject this thought: it is at this point that you will recognize who are your friends. Real friends inspire and encourage you on your way to success. They will hang in there with you, help you and even defend your reputation. Joan Jett hit the nail on the head when she sung, "You got nothing to lose - you don't lose when you lose fake friends."

Acting like a winner is not a script - it's a life style. It's success in motion. It is thought in action. It cannot be faked. It is the by-product of the positive change occurring inside your soul. People begin to notice the pep in your step, the big cheesy smile on your pucker and the shine in your eyes. You're starting doing things differently. Your reaction to the storms of life is... calm. You refuse to engage in gossip and malicious slander.

Winners never quit. The main difference between winners and losers is the glaring fact that winners never quit when things get crazy. So what if the conference didn't as well as planned. The sponsors pulled out and you had to foot some of the bills out of your own pocket. Did you expect it to be smooth sailing? Other winners are watching you. Your reaction when your world is blowing up in front of your face will make or break you.

  1. Abraham Lincoln lost several elections and suffered a nervous breakdown before he became the president of the United States.
  2. Thomas Edison failed two thousand times before he invented the light bulb.
  3. Elizabeth Blackwell received twenty-nine rejections from medical colleges before she became America's first female physician. She went on to pioneer education for women in medicine and was a leader in the women's rights movement.
When I was a child, I remember watching a tape of a very angry black man pointing his meaty finger and looking straight into the camera saying, "I told you, all of my critics, I told you all that I was the greatest of all times, I beat Sonny Liston, I told you today I'm still the greatest of all times, never again defeat me, never again say that I'm going to be defeated, never again make me the underdog." That man was Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxing champion of all time.

Never again.


Of course, this article merely scrapes the surface of the behaviors of winners. The rest is up to you to do due diligence and apply the results to your life.

Let's go to work!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Character Traits of a Winner - Surround Yourself With Winners

You have a dream. I know you do. It is somewhere deep within the recesses of your heart and soul. It is something that you can do for long periods of time and never tire of doing it. For me, it is like eating roast pork egg foo young and pork fried rice from a good local Chinese take out joint. That's my favorite dish. I've been eating it for decades. I just can't get enough. Oh! Let me not forget: plain homemade cheesecake -- no strawberries, please. Yum!

Pause right here and think of it. It brings a smile to your face, doesn't it? The mere thought of your dream just gives you an unexplainable good feeling, yes? Of course it does. Your dream is like your soul mate -- that special someone that by the mere mention of their name sets your tail feathers wagging. Oh, the joy!

Lately, you've turned away from your dreams. Like a hungry dog, you've settled for crumbs off the master's table. Your days are filled with drudgery. Food doesn't taste quite right and life has lost it's spark. You wake up in the morning and in no time you're off to work to punch in for another eight hour day.

The problem may be that you are surrounding yourself with people who tear you down. People who tear you down are like fig trees that don't produce fruit. What do you do with a fruit tree that doesn't feed you? Common sense dictates that you should get rid of it and plant another tree that will produce quality fruit consistently. Thus you will eat consistently from the harvest of produce. However, if you choose not to replace a dead tree with one that is productive, you will hunger and eventually die. Of course, that's a bit ridiculous. Who would do that to themselves?

Nevertheless, when some apply that principal to their lives, sadly they find themselves starved for healthy and productive relationships. Many people live surrounded by unproductive, negative and soul killing parasites. If you are going to make your dreams a reality, you need to cultivate solid and sincere relationships with others that are living the dream.

You alone have control over who joins your circle of friends. If you beset yourself with people who constantly whine about their hard life and do nothing about it, you will suffer the consequences of your choices. Negative influences are not conducive to fertilizing your goals. In other words, if you wish to open the best bakery in your community, don't hang out with drug dealers.

You are your most prominent asset. You must have the goods to bring to the table. Exhaustively practice your craft until your skill set is razor sharp. Be the cutting edge. Nothing less will do.

The people who surround you are your next most valuable asset. They are your support crew and can help you stay motivated. They will support and encourage you even on your off days - when you're not feeling it. We will call these people your positive influences.

Negative influences are the soul draining parasites who rip you apart. They want you to be like them and don't want you to achieve anything because they've done next to nothing with their lives. Remember the wise axiom, Misery loves company.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to eliminate all negative influences from your life. Use these pointers to help surround yourself with positive influences:

  1. Identify your support crew. List them. This helps with your determination.
  2. Consciously make an effort to continually surround yourself with your positive influences.
  3. Positive influences LOVE to help others. It's a natural side effect of being a positive person. Ask for their help and advice.
  4. Help and support your crew in return; be their support in their times of trials. Giving of your time and talents is always better than receiving. Offer them your sincere friendship, emphasis on sincere. If you sponge off your crew and give nothing in return, you are a negative influence. Don't whine when you find yourself tossed to the curb and without a crew. If you want best friends, be a best friend.
  5. Identify and note the negative influences are in your life. Keep your interactions with them down to the lowest common denominator.

You must be astute and tenacious in pursuit of your dream. Give no time to flotsam.

Victory is waiting for you with open arms.

Live the dream.

Monday, September 21, 2009

For Profit Health Insurance, Conservatism, Healthcare Reform, and The Bible

Free market works best, right? Capitalism, right ? I mean this is THE USA after all, right ?

Supply and demand set the correct prices for goods and services. The consumer chooses the best options and thereby makes the best supplier successful.

This actually works for a lot of things - even for health care providers. For example: consumers will continue to use providers who offer a good ratio of quality care vs price. If the price goes too high, consumers will choose a cheaper provider. If the quality of care goes too low, consumers will choose a better provider. Likewise, providers have an incentive to keep consumers (patients). It doesn't matter whether the patient sees the physician annually for a checkup, or weekly for chemotherapy: it is profitable to retain the patients you have and when possible, add new ones.

This doesn't work with insurance! First, let us dispense with the comparisons (used by both sides) with mandatory auto liability and collision insurance. Auto liability insurance pays the person you hit when you damage their vehicle. Collision/comprehensive insurance pays for things that happen to you or your vehicle when it is hit by another.

True, health insurance can cover when you fall off a ladder and break your arm, or crash while skiing and break a leg, but most of the health care claims are not for accidents. Health insurance is more like an extended warranty or maintenance agreement for your body. It covers defects in design (genetic diseases), manufacturing (congenital abnormalities) and other things that break down after you're born. And that's where we begin to see the problem.

For-profit corporations have a mandate to operate in the best interest of their shareholders. It is not in the best interest of the shareholders to have customers who continually cost nearly as much - or even more - than those customers pay in. So the customer who uses the insurance the most is the least desirable customer. There is little incentive to retain people who actually use the services of the insurer. Ideally, an insurer would have customers who never make a claim. So there is no reason to make the claims process easy or to try to keep those customers who make claims. In essence, the controls which tend to drive most businesses to a balance of cost and quality to maximize those who use the service actually work backwards here to lower the quality and drive up cost for those who use (need) the service most, while driving up the quality and lowering cost for those who use (need) the service least. What we end up with is excellent, affordable insurance for the healthy and expensive and poor quality insurance for the sick. It doesn't take a lot of thought to see why this is a lousy model from the standpoint of the sick.

I understand that many conservatives who oppose universal health care are of the religious persuasion. To them, I respectfully offer these two very insightful passages from the Bible: Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. - Ezekiel 16:49, The Bible, KJV

Jesus also forewarned His followers: When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. - Matthew 25:31-46, The Bible, KJV

Are we, the American public at large, supposed to assume the religious conservatives are only holy and righteous until it affects their pocketbooks? I digress.

Yet this is also a lousy proposition for the healthy. When your healthy children go to school with the sick uninsured child, your healthy children are exposed to Influenza H1N1 or TB. When you eat at that restaurant, you are exposed to the illnesses of the kitchen help who could neither afford health care nor a day off from work. While you say, they can always go to the emergency room, remember that the cost of a visit to the emergency department is much higher than a visit to a clinic or general practitioner, especially if the illness has worsened over the time the patient delayed treatment he or she couldn't afford.

And that cost is paid somewhere: higher costs for paying patients at the hospital, lower quality care for paying patients at the hospital or higher taxes. Whether you care about others or only yourself, it is a good idea to make sure that everyone has access to health care. The preceding should make it clear why for-profit health insurance makes the problem worse instead of better.

Maria DeBard is a successful freelance writer, business owner and co-host of the equally successful FM radio talk show "Off the Kuf" out of Flint, Michigan. You can also follow Maria via her highly informative and entertaining Facebook page.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Latinos Unite!

The supposedly newfangled rave to emerge on the web scene in the recent months is called social media. I am unashamedly a tech head – I have vast knowledge about computer and web technologies. It's my “thing” as we Latinos say in the barrio. As a tech guru, I've scratched my head in curiosity because social media is not new. Social media has been around since the inception of the world wide web. The Internet is about communication between people across vast distances. We have been communicating through forum boards, chat rooms, instant messaging, e-mail, and a host of other types of electronic media for decades. What is so new about social media?

If we are to define and clarify what social media is (and what it is not), we also need to define social media marketing also known as internet marketing - another of my specialties.

According to Wikipedia, social media marketing is the act of using social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other collaborative Internet form of media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. Common social media marketing tools include Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.

Latinos, what exactly are we doing? Are we hocking our wares for the purpose of creating personal wealth under the guise of unifying the Latino communities under one banner? Let me make one thing clear. I don't have a problem with making a living. I do have a problem nevertheless with using the Latino plight for personal gain.

If we're going to see any consolidating movement within the Latino community, Latinos must address the dire and cruel issues that are affecting our people as a whole. It's not a Mexican problem or a South American problem. It's not a US citizen versus an undocumented immigrant problem. It's not an educated versus uneducated issue. It's a Latino problem. If affects us equally. It's OUR problem.

Why is it our problem? I'm a native New Yorker who has lived in the South and the Mid-West for a combined total of 20 years. That's a little under half of my life. I have personal experience with extremist hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation. These people don't care whether we're Mexicans, Puerto Ricans or other Latino culture. They don't care if you're a third gen college educated Hispanic American doesn't know a lick of Spanish. In their eyes, we are all the same. In their eyes, we're less than dirt. Their goal is the preservation of their race and the eradication of minorities by any means possible (think Hitler). Within the last decade, these extremists have risen to prominent positions within the news media, political, and business arenas. With subtle methods and fear tactics, they promote their agenda. You don't believe me? Right wing political radio show host Rush Limbaugh recently called for racially segregated buses.

What are we, as Latinos, doing about it? It is my contention that we cannot depend on current politicians to fix the Latino plight. We must do it ourselves by creating and supporting Latino-centric programs the empowerment and education of our people. That means taking some of the wealth we create and infusing it to the betterment of ALL Latinos in the United States. In other words, we need to give back to the community. Not to give hand-outs but to inspire. Not to create co-dependency but to help educate.

We must morally AND financially support Latino politicians and leaders across the US that will fight in Washington DC for Latino issues. We must encourage by words and deeds our young people to aggressively strive for their educational future. Do you realize that as of 2007, there are 35 million Latinos in America? (UPDATE: In early 2009, the US Census Bureau reports that the Latino/Hispanic population in America is at 50 million.) The Latino population is larger than the entire population of Canada! I don't know about you, but I see that we possess a titanic sized voting block in America.

Otherwise, the Latino social media movement is merely simple hype, smoke and mirrors and snake charming.

Think about it.

Take action.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Hispanic Heritage Month is upon us (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15) and we have much to celibrate! I believe that as Latinos, we should never forget our ancestry and it's passionate language, music, delicious food, superstitions, strange customs and sayings.

My ancestors were jibaros - a strong and simple folk who lived in the mountainous heart of Puerto Rico They also spoke with a rich (and often funny) jibaro language. Jibaros are - and will always be - the backbone of Borinqueño culture.

Para ustedes, mi gente. Cariñosamente y con mucho gusto les presento:

The Jibaro Medical Dictionary:
  1. Quebranto: Mysterious and slightly elevated body temperature, but not high enough to be considered a full blown fever. Nevertheless, it is serious enough to miss school or work. This illness is unknown by the American Medical Association (AMA) and only understood by doctors of Puertorican origin.
  2. Patatú: Fainting or spasmodic attack of obscure origin that can manifest itself at any time. It could be serious enough to require hospitalization, yet mysteriously undetectable by modern medical technology. Victims tend to be both males and females over the age of 50 years. See PRS.
  3. Sereno: Occurs when someone steps outdoors suddenly at night and is sprinkled by a mysterious substance. There are no physical symptoms and can only be detected by the Puertorican elderly. The cause of this disease is unknown. NOTE: Children must not be taken out at night without proper head gear or risk of contamination is certain.
  4. Empache: Digestive disorder which occurs after the consumption of a large Puertorican meal, but especially during the holidays, i.e. Noche Buena. The only known cure for this disease is "una buena criolla" or "tirarse un buen opps!". Alka-Seltzer is completely ineffective.
  5. Chichón: Elevated cranial protrusion usually caused by the fall after a patatú (Refer to #2).
  6. Chochera: Syndrome affecting all Puertorican senior citizens to different degrees. It is characterized by all around senility and irritating behavior.
  7. Tratamiento: Permanent stay at nearest nursing home - the most common cure for chochera.
  8. PRS: Also known as Puerto Rican Syndrome: A severe form of patatú. This usually occurs when a family member is arrested or killed and shown on CNN or TeleMundo. PRS is characterized by a complete failure of all your muscles of your lower extremities followed by a fall; usually broken by a person standing behind you. A variant of this condition can also be observed when Yiye Avila or another well known televangelist prays for a person and touches their forehead. The person then falls and proceeds to flop around on the floor like fish out of water - known in some religious circles as being slain in the spirit.
  9. Cuerpo Cortao: Frequent and mild condition of unknown origin. Symptoms include (and not limited to) fatigue, lack of energy and chronic whining. The equivalent to the onset of the flu or the horrible feeling the day after a bout of alcoholic debauchery (hang-over).
  10. Moño Parao: Possible biochemical imbalance of short duration that causes strange mood swings, violent irritating behavior as well as general unpleasantness. Extremely common. It can strike any Puertorican regardless of age or sex.
  11. ¡De Repente!: Also known as Sudden Death Syndrome. Lead cause of all Puerto Rican drug dealers shot over 97 times.
Be encouraged to comment and share your memories of our Latino heritage. Or El Cuco will visit you tonight!

Happy Latino Heritage Month!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finish Strong!

The Latino Edge is about inspiring others to reach their full potential no matter what obstacle comes their way. We will always have "bumps" along our journey. Maybe you've been dealt some horrible cards and you feel like there's no point in continuing on with life.

What will we do? The answer, priceless one, is in this short video. Dios me los bendiga.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Character Traits of a Winner - Speak Like a Winner!

Have you ever noticed that most people who speak negatively are not very successful? They may have jobs, house, spouse, 3.2 kids and pet HOWEVER they are miserable. They may make a good paycheck, but they loath going to the office. They have a spectacular house in a gated community but hate to go home every night. They stop at a bar on the way home to slam down a few shots of whiskey just to be able to make it through the door. They have spouses but wish they were single. They have children but those very children are the bane of their existence. Even the dog looks like it's begging to be mercifully put down.

What has caused all this? More than likely, it was started as negative thoughts manifested in speech. The constant barrage of negative internal chatter finds an outlet through speech. After a short time, negative speech drives away any hope of success. The results are a diminished vision and life. To add to the sludge, misery breeds misery. It is a never ending cycle of unnecessary woe, pain and depression.

The good news is that as long as there is breath in your body, there is hope. In order to have incredible success, criticism, sarcasm, gossip and prejudice must have no place in your life.

I am not advocating a "pie in the sky" outlook in life. Yes, we are surrounded with negativity in media. Things will still go wrong. People still get sick and die. Stocks will rise and fall. Millions of dollars will be lost. Some relationships will sour. The wasps still sting and tires will go flat. However, the difference is in the way you react to these situations.

Words are powerful. They reveal the innermost chambers of your heart. Words reveal your secret thoughts.

Many people don't believe in the power of positive speech. However, my favorite Author, God, made it unmistakably and abundantly clear: A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. - Proverbs 18:20-21, The Bible (emphasis mine).

The words you speak will graph the blueprint of your very life -- they will chart the very course of your destiny!

Sigmund Freud said, Words call forth emotions and are universally the means by which we influence. Words can give the greatest happiness or bring utter despair!

If you want to change your life, begin by changing your words. Start speaking the words of your dreams, of who you want to become, not the words of fear and failure. - Robert Kiyosaki

Whether we choose to do good or bad, we are going to encounter detractors every day of our lives. We will always find someone who will try to quench the fires of our dreams. Many times, they will be people of close relationship to us.

Nevetheless, it is our choice to give credence to their negativity. We can choose to reject their abysmal prophecies about us. The choice is ours alone!

I call on heaven and earth as witnesses today that I have offered you life or death, blessings or curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants will live. - Deuteronomy 30:19, The Bible

Start speaking words of encouragement to yourself. Every morning, I look in the mirror and speak over myself. I tell myself, "I love you. You are loved beyond measure. You are priceless. You are blessed." That little bit sets the course of my entire day.

Try it. You'll find, little by little, that it makes the difference between a cursed life and a life filled with abundant blessings.

Dare to live the dream!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Character Traits of a Winner - Think Like a Winner!

I have something to tell you that will radically rock your world for the better, if you let it. Are you ready?

To be successful in anything you do, you are going to have to change the way you think. If you think negatively about yourself and your abilities, you'll never, ever be successful in anything you do. If you think you can't, you won't. However, if you think that you are going to do successfully, baby, I am here to tell you, you will be successful in anything you do.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

The way you think will determine the outcome of your life. Your thoughts determine if you are a failure or a success.

If you think good thoughts about yourself, your abilities, talents and gifts, your actions will surely follow. The same reasoning is true if you think bad thoughts about yourself, your abilities, talents and gifts, then your actions will follow its natural course. The reason why successful people succeed is because they precede their success with successful thoughts about themselves. They are the "can-do" people. Despite the obstacles, despite the circumstances, despite what other people tell them to the contrary, they come up and out smelling like sweet roses every time. The only thing special about these successful people is the way they think about themselves, which is always good. They may be janitors but they are the best janitors their company has and it shows in their actions. These people won't stay janitors for long because they are always thinking upward mobility. They are thinking about climbing the ladder up and not going down. Nothing stands in their way towards success. Why? They believe in themselves. They have confidence in themselves. They envision their success and they go out and take what is rightfully theirs. I am here to tell you, it's true and it works!

Do not conform to negative thinking. Do not believe what they say about you. You are not trash. You are not the bottom of the barrel. Your worth is beyond measure. I am writing to you today to tell you that you have potential!

Here are more facts you have to know. You can't put the cart before the horse. There are some things that only work one way and one way only.

  1. A right action does not change wrong thinking. You can work-out but unless you believe you can and will lose weight, you will never lose weight. Eventually, your wrong thinking will crop up like crab grass and cause your right actions to cease. Then the vicious cycle will start up again. You get upset and discouraged and you start overeating again. It is like this with every other issue in your life as well. How many executives do you know that are miserable, crabby people? They have the job. They have the money and they are still unhappy. That's an example of the product of wrong thinking.
  2. Positive thoughts will change wrong actions. When you start washing your brain with good thoughts about yourself, it is inevitable that your actions will follow. There is no way that you can be positive about yourself and let's say, commit suicide. You cannot wake up one morning, feeling and thinking good things about yourself and decide that you're going to kill yourself. When you're positive about yourself, no matter what situation you are in, no matter what station in life you find yourself right now, there is hope. And you cannot help but follow down that bright path.
  3. Don't take to heart the negative comments that people have spoken about you. Right or wrong, you will have detractors. Your bright light reminds them of how terribly sour their lives are. Instead of taking your brilliant example to heart, they'll try to bring you down to their pit of mud and despair. Refuse to listen. Better yet, avoid these people as much as possible. You cannot afford to be around these soul sucking parasites.
  4. Find and cultivate a network of people that will be a benefit to you. Hang out with people that edify and not destroy you, that add and not take away from you. You have no time for gossip or any of that other negative life hindering junk. Remember, successful people breed successful people (We will discuss this in my fourth installment: "Surround Yourself with Winners").
  5. Be balanced with your positive thoughts. Do not think you are superior to anyone else. You will certainly sabotage your climb to success. No one likes an arrogant person. These kinds of people are annoying. Arrogant people never have the goods to back up their perceived superiority. That's why they need to boost their ego on the account of everyone else. They have nothing to offer.
  6. Be aware of what you read, watch and listen. Whatever we allow in the sanctuary of our minds, believe it or not, has a major influence on how we think and act. Not everything we read, watch and listen is healthy for us. Like junk food, junk media has a negative impact on our inner being. Devouring positive healthy media builds a strong inner core. It is a solid foundation on which to build our new healthy positive attitude. My personal preferred healthy media is the Bible. Along with the Bible, I also read other books that inspire me and teach me. I have done away with media that does nothing but waste my time. When I read, if I find myself beginning to feel negative, I lay it down. The same is true for any media; shows, music, videos or games. Nothing good has ever come from negativity.There you have it - a basic outline in which to build a healthy thought process. In the next installment of this five part series, we will learn the importance of words.

Speaking like a winner has a great positive impact on your surroundings and your inner being.

It's OK to love yourself, speak good words over yourself and others! You'll see!

Don't miss it!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Success is a Process

In America, we're accustomed to instant gratification. We ruthlessly indulge in instant credit, instant meals, microwave ovens, value menus, fast food restaurants, boxed mash potatoes – you get the point. Sometimes in the pursuit of instant wealth, millions of dollars are spend on scratch-off lottery tickets. Despite the bazillion-to-one odds against us, most times we pay for the opportunity to win nothing.

That is how some people treat their lives. If reaching their goals requires an enormous sacrifice on their part, they quit. They choose to accept table scraps like starving dogs under the master's table. Although they have the unique talent to become great leaders in a chosen field, they choose to settle for less than their utmost potential. They trade mouth watering filet mignon for spam and sparkling champagne for kool-aid.

I make no apologies if the statements above are a bit offensive to some. This is about reality checks of immense proportions. This is about choices. Sometimes, the truth is offensive. It was offensive to me in the early years of my adult life. My life was a train wreck waiting to happen. That was the truth for me until the day I faced reality – I had to change my way of thinking and the choices I made – or die.

Don't think for one minute that success came instantly for me. Ha! It was a process of discovery, of being truthful with myself, of unlearning bad habits and toxic thinking. I learned to overcome obstacles within my mind thus changing the negative attitudes that sunk me into the mire every time. I had to study and practice to a sickening degree.

I decided to become a web developer during my tenure as a corrections officer in a maximum security prison. I had enough of that dead end job and returned to university. I worked under life and death situations for eight hours a shift and attended classes full time. Mind you, I had to study. So, out the door went precious sleep. Nevertheless, I was able to graduate with honors – 3.67 GPA. That was fourteen years ago. To become a computer wiz, I had to pour over technical manuals the size of the family's Bible, wreck computers and build them from scratch and lose lots of sleep. Eleven years ago, I was accepted into a Microsoft school. After mind bending testing, I became a Network Engineer. I went on to consult for Fortune 500 companies and now, I own a consulting firm.

You may say that I'm a genius. Hardly, my friends. I was a kid from the streets of Brooklyn, New York at a time when drugs, gangs and all sorts of perversion reigned. I was poor and my life was less than... adequate. (Hey, this is about truth, right? Let's keep it real.) I had no support or motivation – zero, zilch, nil, nada, kaput. I should have been a drug dealer, a user, be dead or at least, insane.

After moving out on my own, I have lived in the South for eleven years and in the Mid-West for eight years – right smack in the middle of racist America. It's not as bad as it was in the 60's and 70's but racism still exists nonetheless. I've been called everything but a child of God. There were people who actively made it a point to try to destroy me. Maybe I should have known better than to legally take on the local leader of the Klan – yeah, that Klan, the KKK. That's another story for another time.

What's the secret? Really, there's no secret. I do have to give credit to God. Without Him, I am nothing. The rest is a matter of tenacity, vision, sacrifice, study and practice – due diligence. Nothing new or earth shattering – just simple choice and process. There were no short cuts and no Mega Millions instant gratification mentality.

If a broke down kid from Brooklyn facing a seemingly hopeless future could do it, you can too.

In fact, I know of many single mothers doing the same. Full-time mothers, providers... and students. They became lawyers, dentists, authors, business owner and leaders. Our most famous Latina, Judge Sonia Maria Sotomayor, was officially sworn in as America's first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

My personal inspirations are Jesus Christ, Who saved my life and spirit, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who lead the peaceful march on Washington DC and delivered his famous speech, “I Have a Dream”, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who motivated the English nation through his second speech, "We Shall Never Surrender" during the Battle of France in WW II, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner and first elected governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Muñoz Marín, and Bishop TD Jakes, a solid man of God, leader and motivator.

On the horizon, I see leaders and rising stars of the Latino community stepping up to the plate. Leaders like award winning Latino author, Raul Ramos Y Sanchez, Louis Pagán, co- founder of LATISM, Lancio "Lance" Ríos, motivational speaker and founder of Being Latino and Lori Gama, Latina inspirational author and owner of highly acclaimed and successful DaGama Web Studio. I seriously suggest you get acquainted with them.

How about you? Do you have a vision? A dream? You have what it takes.

We need you.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Character Traits of a Winner - Introduction

Not too long ago, I was playing chess with a dear friend of mine. She said she had not played in a long time. I thought this would be a quick game. I had no doubt I would easily win. She on the other hand, smiled and studied the board intently. I arrogantly tried to talk her into giving up the game and handing me the win. She refused despite the fact that she was slowly but surely losing her pieces. I even explained a few rules and moves along the way - just to help her out, you see. After all, I wanted to appear like a gentleman.

"Do you want to start a new game?" I asked her. "No. Let's finish this one. I'm going to win.", she replied in soft confidence. I couldn't see how she could ever think that she could ever beat me. Yet her smile remained and she never spoke a single word of defeat.

"Checkmate, John."


"Yes, John. I won."

I studied the board, trying to find a way out. There was none to be found. She had won. My king was dead.

Did she hustle me? No. She had taught me my own lesson. Despite the obstacles, despite the seemingly hopeless odds, she remained confident, never speaking negative word - she won.


Friends, despite your past, your family's and friends' attitude, the only opinion that counts is yours. The moment you speak negative words in your life, you speak defeat into your life. Yes, the circumstances dictate that your boat is sinking. However, it doesn't mean you need to sink with it. Maybe you need to take a new direction in your life. Maybe you need to consider other options like learning a new vocation or opening a new business. Whatever it may be, unless you're laying flat on a cold slab, there's always a way out of your dilemma and a way into a brighter future.

All winners in life have four character traits and employ them successfully. They:

  1. Think Like a Winner.
  2. Speak Like a Winner.
  3. Surround Themselves with Winners.
  4. Act Like a Winner.

In the next four articles in this series, we will explore these character traits individually.

Charles Kinsley said, "The people whom I have seen succeed best in life have always been cheerful and hopeful people who went about their business with a smile on their faces."

Resolve today to think, speak, act and surround yourself with winners. When you win, encourage others that they too can win.

Your life will change for the better.

Johnny Rivera (c) 2009

For Email Subscribers

During TLE's upgrade, we will be changing email subscription providers. Please make note of this and resubscribe with the new subscriber located on TLE's home page. Sorry for the inconvenience. However, this change is necessary to continue to provide you with quality service. Thank you for your patience and understanding during the upgrades.

Warm regards,

Johnny Rivera

Friday, July 31, 2009

Legal Aliens #11

Legal Aliens #10

15 Secrets Credit Companies Don't Want You to Know

Many years ago, I was informed I could not buy a new vehicle because my credit was shot. I was turned down despite possessing a solid position with a state government agency and a substantial cash down payment. I discovered that errors were being reported by creditors. I was also being dinged by my ex-wife's creditors although she was the primary card holder - and the primary spender.

However, this painful experience did not come without its hidden rewards. I was abruptly introduced to the Fair Credit Billing Act of 1974 [HINT: Read this law].

Creditors love to play dirty, fast and loose. Their bottom line is to make money, even if they take a long walk outside the parameters of federal and state law. They figure what you don't know won't hurt them. That is about to change. My intention is to arm my beloved readers with information on how to fight back - and win!

Remember: knowledge is power and information is king.

First, forget about all those ads that ask you to give up your credit card information for free credit reports or credit monitoring. Most of them are scams - just another way to rip off the unsuspecting and uninformed consumer. By law, you are entitled to receive one free credit report every 12 months from the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. You can request your copy by phone or by regular (snail) mail. If you plan do make any mail inquiries to the above mentioned credit reporting companies, I strongly suggest doing it by certified mail with a return receipt requested. Inquiries have a tendency to get lost in the shuffle. Using certified mail with a return receipt request requires the receiver to sign for the letter. You will receive that sign request back. If your inquiry suddenly disappears, you have proof. Make it a habit of doing this, especially with issues that are time sensitive. Cover all your bases.

Second, if picking a fight with Equifax, Experian and Trans Union seems daunting to you, please hire a credit repair lawyer. There are reputable lawyers in your area that are experienced in disputing negative items on your credit report. This is my personal weapon of choice. Yes, it will cost you some money. Nevertheless, the rewards of obtaining a sterling (and true) credit report outweighs the cost.

Before you go hunting for a credit repair attorney, be forewarned. There are unsavory individual and companies who make fantastic claims of "magically" erasing all your debt. When the rubber meets the road, no results are forthcoming. Some of these companies may try to tempt you to change your Social Security number or get an Employer Identification number (EIN) to create a new credit report. Do not fall for this scam! This is ILLEGAL! You could be prosecuted for mail or wire fraud if you use mail or telephone to provide false information to apply for a credit or a loan. It is serious federal crime to make false statements on a loan or credit application, to give false Social Security Number, and to deceitfully obtain an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service.

You may find that many of the debts within your credit report are not yours or were not dropped off after the time limit set forth by federal law. We will deal with the latter of the two.

Time Limits

You or your attorney will concentrate on these ten negative items on your credit report. If any of these are past the time allotted by Federal law, it can be disputed. The creditor has 30 days to provide proof that the negative is valid. If the creditor fails to do so, the disputed negative item must come off.

  • Bankruptcy: Ten years from the date of discharge for chapters seven, eleven and twelve. Seven years for chapter thirteen. Any accounts covered by the bankruptcy stay on individual's report for seven years.

  • Delinquencies: Seven years from the first missed payment or original delinquency date.

  • Collections: Seven years from the original delinquency date.

  • Charge offs: Seven years from the original delinquency date, no matter if late payments were made.
    NOTE: The original creditor can sell your debt to a collection agency if they feel they won't get a cent from you in the near future. Some collectors claim that by making a payment or contacting them, an individual has reset the time limit to zero. This is not true! This practice is called "reaging". The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has declared reaging invalid.

  • Lost Credit Card: Two years with no delinquencies. Seven years with delinquency.

  • Child Support: Seven years from date the judgment is filed.

  • Closed Accounts: Seven years from date of closing with delinquencies.

  • Liens: Fifteen years for unpaid tax liens. Seven years for paid liens.

  • Credit Inquiries: Two years.

  • Small Claims and Civil Judgments: Seven years from date judgment is rendered.

  • Paid Positive Accounts: Ten years.

  • Positive Credit Data: No time limit.

Depending on the extent of damage on your report, a thorough credit repair should take between three to six months from start to finish. Do not expect the credit reporting agencies to make this process easy for you or your lawyer. Above all, DO NOT apply for credit in any way or form during this time.

Be patient, stick to your guns and the prize will be yours.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama Nominates First Hispanic Supreme Court Judge

Sonia Sotomayor nominated as first Hispanic Supreme Court Judge
By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama chose federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice on Tuesday, praising her as "an inspiring woman" with both the intellect and compassion to interpret the Constitution wisely.

Obama said Sotomayor has more experience as a judge than any current member of the high court had when nominated, adding she has earned the "respect of colleagues on the bench, the admiration of many lawyers who argue cases in her court and the adoration of her clerks, who look to her as a mentor."

Standing next to Obama at the White House, Sotomayor recalled a childhood spent in a housing project in the Bronx as well as her upper-echelon legal career: "I strive never to forget the real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses and government."

Read more and watch the video.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Sit-down with Tom Sumner of WKUF - March 31, 2009

I was a bit shocked when Tom Sumner called me to set up an interview. You see, Tom is a legend in the Flint, Michigan area. He is an accomplished drummer, a published author and producer/radio host for political talk show “Off the Kuf” out of Kettering, Michigan. Tom’s guests have been a who’s who list of famous celebrities and politicians. In fact, Tom is so esteemed that when he calls, no one refuses to come on the show.

His colleagues, J. Dallas Winegarden, Jr. and Dr. Bob Winford are known internationally for their work. JD is a trial lawyer and an adjunct professor teaching legal counseling and law practice courses at Michigan State University’s College of Law.

Among his numerous achievements, Dr. Winford is a political strategist with more than 650 campaigns to his credit, is listed in the 2007-2008 Cambridge Who’s Who and is an initiate member of the Oxford Society of Scholars.

Scratching my head, I asked myself, “What in the world does a man of Tom Sumner’s caliber want with me?” The word goes that The Latino Edge has caught the attention of a few of Michigan’s famous sons and daughters.

Incidentally, I am not bragging or dropping names. I had nothing to do with this. I give my Lord, Jesus all the credit. My purpose, dear reader, is this: I believe actions speak louder than words. For years, I’ve been preaching about having tenacity and never giving up on your dreams. The best Book ever written says, “They shall be known by their fruits.” An apple tree is an apple tree because it produces apples. My apple tree is blooming…

There you go, my friends. It can be done and this is not all. A beloved friend of mine taught me, “The best is yet to come.” I believe it and it's my personal mantra.

The same can be true for you.

Let’s get to work!

Enjoy the show!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Latino Edge Hits the Airwaves!

The Latino Edge continues to break new ground in its efforts to bring to it's audience what it wants. With this goal in mind, we have hit the airwaves! TLE has partnered with to bring to you WTLE, The Latino Edge's new and innovative radio station. It doesn't matter where you are on the planet, you can hear old skool salsa, merengue, cumbia and more!

And that's not all! TLE is in negotiations with a major cable company to bring you The Latino Edge Show!

Keep checking in for updates!

A Day in the Life of Legal Aliens #3

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Little Housekeeping

The Latino Edge was founded with end of telling the raw truth. The first articles were written with a skeptical undertone, relaying some of the dark side of human nature. As my thinking matured throughout the years, so did my writing. I came to the revelation that human nature will always have a dark side to it. We receive huge daily doses of negativity through our newspapers, blogs and TV. Why add to it?

What people really need is content that helps them along the way - to encourage and give hope - in pursuit of their God-given dreams. Although most of the subject matter is business-like in nature, TLE delivers its content in an up-beat, edifying and often humorous fashion.

There was one more thing that needed to change, our Internet address. We're dropping the "cyniclook" moniker and renaming the URL "" .

Please, reset your bookmarks and your feeds to reflect these changes. In the short term, we're going to lose a few of you during the adjustment period. But in a long-term scenario, I am sure you will agree that the change was long over due.

See you soon, friends!

Lots of love and care,


The Latino Edge is On the Move

Anyone who knows me knows that I am always up to something (big cheesy smile), whether it's writing for The Latino Edge or in collaboration with other projects. In these hard economic times, I believe in order to be successful, a person has to know how to roll with the changes. We live in an era where global markets change at an alarming rate. Once solid industry giants like GM and Chrysler have taken fantastic falls from great heights. Thousands have lost their jobs, pensions and homes. Peripheral companies have been forced to close their doors indefinitely.

What does that mean for folks like you and me? In plain language, we have to seriously assess our resources and create new personal strategies if we want to stay ahead of the herd. That's exactly what I did.

The Latino Edge made a bold and exciting step forward. TLE has partnered with the extremely brilliant graphic artist and published author E. Frencci Rivera to bring you the hot and spicy slice of Latino humor called Legal Aliens.

My articles are being featured in the very influential online Christian writers' guild, I have received numerous email and phone calls from around the world, as far as India and Romania. In fact, one pastor wrote that he used one of my articles as a basis for a few of his sermons. He has extended an open invitation to speak at his church whenever I am in town (thank You, Jesus!).

In addition, requests for interviews, several invaluable conversations and even a whisper of a book deal have followed.

Here's the icing on the cake... as early as next Tuesday, I am meeting with the host of the political/variety show, "Off the Kuf" to discuss Latino issues in depth and to develop a website with live streaming audio and video - the next step in reaching the global community. We have the blessing of underwriters and the fans are already "chompin' at the bit". This very well may be the next "big thing" of radio talk show!

Certainly, the Latino market remains untapped and underestimated. Nevertheless, that will change in the years to come.

If this appeals to you - and it should- I strongly suggest you check out my good friend, master Internet marketing guru, Ed Dale. He has tons of professional and relevant information on how you too can survive this ghastly economic meltdown... and it's free.

You may be asking, "Yeah this is all good but are you making money?" You bet. I refuse to waste my time on losing propositions. Neither should you.

Be encouraged, my friends. The best is yet to come.

Let's get to work!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Day in the Life of Legal Aliens #2

Copyright © E. Frencci Rivera 2009. Rights to reproduce or use the image may be obtained from
E. Frencci Rivera

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Day in the Life of Legal Aliens...

Copyright © E. Frencci Rivera 2009. Rights to reproduce or use the image may be obtained from E. Frencci Rivera

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

E. Frencci Rivera - Globally Acclaimed Latino Author and Artist Joins The Latino Edge!

Many extraordinary things can be said about E. Frencci Rivera. When I met Frencci, I was awed by his soft voice and humility. His desire to bring his craft and his love for our Latino people is only surpassed by his deep love for Jesus Christ and his lovely family - and it shows.

Frencci (pronounced Frenchy) is no stranger to pain and suffering. Just a few months ago, he was diagnosed with a sight stealing disease called Macular Edema. His doctors gave him less than one year before he would completely lose his sight. Frencci, in turn, turned to his only Source, his Divine Healer to restore him to wholeness.

Since then, Frencci has produced remarkable works of art such as his world renowned online cartoon strip, Legal Aliens. It is the continuing space saga of an intrepid band of Latino space travelers led by the indomitable Professor Hector Genio, genius extraordinaire! As you follow their far flung adventures, I guarantee that you will laugh your "chanclas" off!

Pushing the borders of his God given talents, Frencci is also an accomplished author and graphic arts illustrator. Among Men and Serpents - The Darkyn Child is the first book in a trilogy of an incredible sci-fi fantasy akin to Star Wars and C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. Turn the volume up, click play and allow yourself to be transported away to worlds beyond your wildest dreams - Among Men and Serpents!

Incredible, yes? Starting tomorrow, E. Frencci will be join us here at The Latino Edge, delivering his own brand of tongue in cheek cartoon editorials reflecting a realistic but awfully funny slice of Latino life.

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Don't dare miss it!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Over 10,000 Views WORLD WIDE!!

The Latino Edge has been read by 10,270 powerful and attractive people globally! Wow! From Japan to Canada to Luxemburg – and even China!

It just goes to show – with a dream and bullheaded tenacity – you can reach the world.

You have what it takes. Never doubt it. Ever.

Deliciously Season Your Words With a Pinch of Salt!

Many books have been written on business etiquette, strategies and so forth. From Machiavelli’s “The Prince” to the copious translations of Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”, we are told that business is a “dog-eat-dog” world. I do not subscribe to that notion totally. Yes, we must all work hard, pay our dues and be careful of the occasional idiot trying to use us as his stepping stone. I also believe that we have the responsibility to season our words with the right amount of “salt” and to be sincere in our communication with others.

Seasoning our speech with salt meaning just add a pinch of it - adding too salt would make our communication an insult. I’ve never seen anything worth while come out of arrogance and bringing people down. In fact, if your tone and body language matches your well seasoned words, people would bend over backwards to accommodate you. We are to build people not to break them (too salty) or mislead them (no salt).

Salt has other properties; it acts like a preservative and it is a catalyst in cooling processes. The right amount of salt in our words can preserve a business relationship and cool down any misunderstandings.

I was in charge of third party vendor contracts at my last place of employment; a well established and respected auto dealership in Poughkeepsie, New York. Unfortunately I inherited some very disturbing problems from the last Director of E-commerce. We were having huge problems with our vendors and no one would return my calls. I sent out an e-mail to each one introducing myself and asked them politely if they could please let me know why they wouldn’t return my calls.

Well, I spent the next two days fielding calls. Let me tell you, I got an earful but I listened very carefully. The bottom-line was that they resented the mistreatment they got from my predecessor. After our conversations, I began to rebuild the broken relationships. A major part of the healing process came from conversations we had afterwards. While the relationships were strictly business in nature, they were also pleasant. In fact when it came time to renegotiate contracts, many of my vendors were giving my company huge discounts. My company saved $70,000 in 2008!

Use words that build-up and not tear down and be sincere in your relationships. People just want to be treated with respect. Give respect and it’ll come back to you in spades, my friends.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

On the Radio With Tom Sumner and "Off the Kuf"!

Hey there, dear readers!! It's been a long time since last. How are you? Good! I am glad that you're doing fantastic! You look maaaarvelous! Me? Wow. Where do I start? It's been a wild 2007-2008 season and 2009 is shaping up very nicely. Why? I'm glad you asked.

The powerful and talented Tom Sumner, host of the much acclaimed morning radio talk show "Off the Kuf", in Kettering, Michigan, invited me to sit a spell and do an interview. The interview is scheduled for March 31, 2009 at 8:00 am. We're going to be talking about anything and everything, from latino issues, business advice and whatever comes to mind.

It's going to be fun! Don't miss it!