Friday, March 30, 2007

How my eyes were opened to the barbarity of Islam

A "must read" article from the TIMES ONLINE: How my eyes were opened to the barbarity of Islam

Once I was held captive in Kabul. I was the bride of a charming, seductive and Westernised Afghan Muslim whom I met at an American college. The purdah I experienced was relatively posh but the sequestered all-female life was not my cup of chai — nor was the male hostility to veiled, partly veiled and unveiled women in public.

When we landed in Kabul, an airport official smoothly confiscated my US passport. “Don’t worry, it’s just a formality,” my husband assured me. I never saw that passport again. I later learnt that this was routinely done to foreign wives — perhaps to make it impossible for them to leave. Overnight, my husband became a stranger. The man with whom I had discussed Camus, Dostoevsky, Tennessee Williams and the Italian cinema became a stranger. He treated me the same way his father and elder brother treated their wives: distantly, with a hint of disdain and embarrassment.
Read the whole article here.

Hat tip: Breath of the Beast

<>< TM

Thursday, March 29, 2007

This is one way to get rid of evangelicals...

Here's one way to deal with those pesky, evangelical Christians: Ethiopian Evangelist Beaten to Death by Militant Muslims: Militant Wahabbi Islamists Drag Christian Evangelist into Mosque and Beat Him to Death - Christian Newswire

"WASHINGTON, Mar. 29 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned that an Ethiopian evangelist named Tedase was beaten to death by militant Muslims on Monday, March 26th, as he and two young women were on a street evangelism assignment in Jimma, Ethiopia. This marks the second time in six months that Christians residing in Southeast Ethiopia have been attacked and killed by extremist (Wahabbi) Muslims.

On Monday afternoon Tedase and two female coworkers were conducting street evangelism on Merkato Street in Jimma, Southern Ethiopia. Merkato Street runs by a Wahabbi Mosque. As the team was walking by the Mosque, a group of Muslims exited the Mosque and began to run after them to confront them. Tedase's female coworkers ran away from the mob but Tedase continued on. The Muslims caught up with Tedase, pulled him into the mosque, and savagely beat him to death. Sources from Jimma reported that Tedase was beaten with a calculated intention to kill him. This was no accident or case of mob frenzy getting out of control. His body was later taken to the hospital for an autopsy and he was buried Tuesday, March 27.

Our sources also reveal that Jimma Christians were conducting an evangelism campaign, and news of the outreach was spreading among Jimma residents as well as militant Muslim groups in the area. The Muslims that belonged to the Wahabbi sect purposefully beat Tedase to death as a message to Christians that they are ready to combat evangelism.
If Islam is not intolerance personified, then there is no such thing as intolerance.

(hat tip: Little Green Footballs)
<>< TM

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nintendo's Wii Becoming Big Hit in Nursing Homes Nationwide

A very interesting news story seen on the Fox News web site: "Nintendo's Wii Becoming Big Hit in Nursing Homes Nationwide"

Here's an excerpt:
LOS ANGELES — Until two weeks ago, Ruth Ebert never had the slightest interest in the video games favored by her one and only granddaughter.

"I'm 82 years old, so I missed that part of our culture. Soap operas, yes. Video games, no," chirped Ebert, who recently started playing a tennis game on Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s new Wii video game console at the Virginia retirement community she calls home.

"It was funny, because normally I would not be someone who would do that," said Ebert, who picked up the console's motion-sensing Wiimote and challenged the machine to a match.

"I played tennis, if you can call it that, as a high school student. I had such fun doing it," she said.

Ebert swung the Wiimote just like a tennis racquet and said playing the game reminded her of the feeling she had all those years ago.

While she took the early on-court lead, the Wii beat her in the end.

While Microsoft and Playstation have been chasing the small but intense "extreme gamer" market, Nintendo has quietly been pursuing a strategy to make video games accessible to everyone else, and it seems they have exceeded beyend their wildest expectations with the introduction of the Wii. I've already informed my household--which already owns two Nintendo DS's and a Gamecube--that the next, and ONLY game console that will be allowed in the house is the Wii. The fact that it's backward compatible with the Gamecube, (and even Nintendo64!!!) makes the choice a no-brainer. Plus the fact that most everyone is reporting that it's a lot of FUN to play, even more so than the X-Box and the PS3, makes it even more of a no-brainer. And the asking price of a mere $250 is the icing on the cake.

To be honest, the reason I want a Wii is simple: to be able to play those old Nintendo64 games that I miss since we sold our 64 to buy more games for the Cube. Bad decision, as some of those old games have no equivalent on the newer systems.

<>< TM

Monday, March 19, 2007

"We want this baby polar bear dead"

You just can't make this stuff up...

An animal "rights" group in Germany is calling for the DEATH of a baby polar bear that was rejected by his mother. What horrible sin did said baby bear commit to warent the death sentence? He was raised by HUMANS!!!! (I kid you not...)

Here is an excerpt from the Daily Mail:

Tiny, fluffy and adorable, Knut the baby polar bear became an animal superstar after he was abandoned by his mother.

He rapidly became the symbol of Berlin Zoo, whose staff bottle-fed him and handed out cuddles in between

At three months old, however, the playful 19lb bundle of fur is at the centre of an impassioned debate over whether he should live or die.

Animal rights activists argue that he should be given a lethal injection rather than brought up suffering the humiliation of being treated as a domestic pet.

Read the whole sorry article here: 'We want this baby polar bear dead' say animal rights lobby

Video of Knut the polar bear cub (commentary in German):

<>< TM

Saturday, March 10, 2007

school in hell

The following is a Christian parable illustrating a profound truth: if you wish to overcome evil you must behold Him who is good.

"School In Hell"
by Hollie Moody
April 27, 2000

As I was praying (on April 25th, 2000; Tuesday), I began to see in my mind a picture of the LORD. He was sitting on a rock and groups of people of all ages were gathered around Him. They all seemed to be laughing and talking together. I felt joy and peace and happiness as I viewed this scene. At times, the Lord would reach down and bring a child onto His lap. Or, He would reach out and a baby would be placed into His arms. He would then gaze down into the face of the baby and speak softly and tenderly. At other times, someone would draw close to His side, and He would place His arm around them, and draw them closer.

An angel approached the Lord. From the way this angel was dressed, I sensed immediately that this was a warrior angel. The crowd before the Lord parted to allow the angel to draw near. A silence fell over the laughing, joyous crowd as the angel stopped before the Lord and began to speak. I heard the angel's voice, and heard frustration and perplexity in his voice.

"There is work to be done," the angel said to the Lord. "Why do You and the people only sit here idly? These are dangerous times. The people should be doing battle in prayer and in the spirit. Instead, they sit here at Your feet, laughing. They are completely unaware of what is even now transpiring in the courts of hell. Why are You allowing this?"

The Lord gazed with love at the angel before Him.

"Before I answer your questions," the Lord replied, "take this child of Mine and show her what is being planned by the enemy."

Both the angel and the Lord then turned their heads and stared at me.

"This will be too much for her," the angel protested.

"Take her, and show her," the Lord repeated.

I began to back nervously away as the angel approached me.

"Where are you taking me?" I asked the angel.

"To the enemy's camp," the angel replied.

"Go with him," the Lord instructed me.

I felt very nervous and afraid, but allowed the angel to touch me. As soon as the angel touched me, we were in darkness. I felt fear engulf me.

"Fear not," the angel said to me, and instantly, the fear vanished.

The darkness seemed to dissipate, and I discovered that the angel and I were in what appeared to be a great court. A man was sitting on a large throne, and before him were gathered all types of creatures and men.

"Who is that man on the throne?" I asked the angel. "And who are the creatures and men gathered before him?"

"That is the accuser of the brethren and his armies," the angel replied.

I then realized that I was in the presence of Satan.

Satan was speaking, and I heard him say, "This will be our strategy."

He then got up from his throne and went to stand in front of a large map on the wall behind him. As I stared at the map, I became aware that it was a map of the entire world. Satan began to divide the world up into sections. Then, he called out some names. I saw the creatures and the men gathered before Satan part, and very large and strong looking angelic beings approached Satan. I could sense the power of these beings, and sensed the evil and wickedness of that power. A hush had fallen over the crowd.

"Who are these beings?" I whispered to the angel who I was with.

The angel I was with seemed concerned. "They are Satan's princes."

Satan began speaking again, and he was assigning sections of the world to each of these "princes."

"You will need your armies," Satan said to them. "Choose whoever you will. All is at your disposal."

The large beings then began to pick and choose who would be in their particular army. When they were finished, they all turned back to Satan and stared at him.

"Each prince will teach you our strategy to deceive and to destroy and to slay mankind," Satan said. "Go with them."

The prince's and their armies began to exit from the presence of Satan. The angel and I began to follow one of the groups. They went into what appeared to be a school room. The prince went to the front of the room and began to instruct his army on how to deceive, destroy and slay the people in their particular section of the world that had been allocated to them. The angel and I then went to each "classroom." The same plans and strategies were being "taught" in each "classroom."

Suddenly, the "classes" began to leave the rooms. The angel and I followed them. They congregated back in front of Satan.

"Report," Satan said. "How will we deceive, destroy and slay mankind?"

One of the princes came forward and began to outline the plans and strategies.

"The people want signs, wonders and miracles from their religious leaders," the prince said. "We know that our enemy will be--and has begun already--to grant this unto his children. We will slip in with a counterfeit movement, and deceive many. We have taught our armies how to mimic worship, praise, and looking and acting like a true believer. We will give unto our armies the ability to work signs, wonders and even miracles. But while all become focused upon these outward manifestations, others of us will begin behind the scenes to dilute the message of the gospel. We will accomplish this partly through speaking to the people about God's 'true' nature. We will allow the people to create God into what and who they want Him to be."

"Good," Satan said. "Very good."

The prince began to speak once again. "When the people have created their own version of God, then, we will give them OUR god."

The crowd before Satan began to cheer wildly.

"We must depart!" the angel urged me.

Suddenly, we were back before the Lord. He was still in the midst of His children; laughing with them, talking to them, touching them. A silence fell over the group once again as the angel I was with once more approached the Lord. The angel reported to the Lord all we had heard and seen in hell.

"So why are You just sitting here with the people?" the angel asked the Lord. "Send them away to begin to do battle. How will they be able to discern this coming great deception if they aren't even aware that one is coming?"

The Lord became grave. His face as He looked at His children was alight with His great love for them. I noticed tears in His eyes. Then, He turned His head and looked at the angel speaking with Him.

"My children will know the false, by knowing the true," the Lord said. "The longer they spend in My presence, the more they will know My voice when they hear it. A voice of a stranger, they will not follow."

"But the enemy has those who have been taught to speak just as You do," the angel protested. "They sound almost just like You."

"Almost," the Lord replied gently. "Almost they sound like Me. Only My sheep who have lingered long in My presence will know the voice of their true Shepherd. And this is why I spend so much time with My children. I spend as much time with them as they allow Me to. I know very well what the enemy is planning. My plans are plans of love and fellowship."

The angel and the Lord both fell silent as they gazed at the crowd before the Lord.

"Love them well," the angel replied.

"Yes, a battle is coming," the Lord sighed, and I saw tears in His eyes.

"Great wickedness and persecution upon My children; My true children who know My voice. A time of wickedness and persecution such as has never been seen or experienced. Yet in the midst of it all, I will move, I will bless, I will speak, I will love. I will win. There are those of My children who sense much of this. They are the ones who will never stop praying and interceding; not even in times of seeming peace."

"What about me, Lord?" I asked.

The angel and the Lord looked at me. "Pray," the Lord replied. "Tell the prayer warriors to strengthen themselves and their brothers and sisters in the times of peace. I will be pouring out of My Spirit upon all nations and peoples. It will spread to even the most unlikely of places: television, magazines, newspapers, radios, even the Internet. And it will be here that the battle will truly begin, and the deception begin."

The Lord stood up.

"It is time?" the angel asked Him.

"It is time," the Lord replied.

Then, I was no longer with the Lord or the angel, but praying once again.

John 10 is in my mind; especially verse 14: "I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep, and am known of mine."

Hollie l. Moody


<>< TM

Monday, March 05, 2007

the problem of evil: part 3: what God has done about it

Part 1: The problem of evil
Part 2: The problem of evil: how do we know what is good or evil?
I'm sorry it's taken so long to publish the third and final installment of the problem of evil series. February had been a very, very busy month for yours truly, and it looks like March will be even worse. However, here it is: the last installment of the series. Next, I hope to post an article about the advantages of being a Christian. <>< TM
If you've been around for a while, and if you have an interest in God and theology, one of the arguments you hear time and time again cited as evidence against the existence of God is that the world is full of evil, and God doesn't lift a finger to do anything about it. No God who wants to be known as "good" would ever do such a thing, therefore, God cannot exist because evil does.

Yet no where in the Bible or the writings of Christians or Jews does it state that because God exists, there will be no evil. As a matter of fact, Christian and Jewish texts state quite clearly and emphatically that because God exists, and because he created human beings to have free will, then there is going to be a whole lot of evil. In a bizarre, but very real way, evil proves--not disproves--the existence of a good, loving and holy God.

God loves us so much that he allows us the choice to be either good or evil, and we choose accordingly. You cannot call a person good who forces you, against your will, to be a good, moral person. That is coercion and tyranny, not love and goodness. So while we cannot blame God for being evil, we can blame him for allowing the possibility of evil, a possibility that too often manifests itself in this life. And God very willingly, and very appropriately, takes full responsibility for this. If there is no evil, there cannot be any good. You simply can't have one without the other.

But for those who desire to choose goodness, God is very willing to lend you a helping hand.


At the core of the Christian religion is a person named Jesus. While Jesus was a man just like the rest of us, he was also, quite literally, God himself. While theologians might cringe at me for saying this, God came to earth as a man to show us a way to conquer evil. Of course, God is no fool, and the means he provides to conquer evil fully take into consideration the root source of all evil on earth: the human heart. Unless you conquer the evil and hate in your own heart, there is no way you can overcome it in its various manifestations as war, murder, rape, theft, vandalism, and so on. The cure for evil begins in the heart of every single human being.

For those of you who take things a little too literally, I'm not talking about the physical heart that is located in your chest and pumps blood throughout your body, rather I'm referring to a metaphysical heart that represents the very core of our being. Depending on your own ideas and background, synonyms for the type of heart I'm talking about would be mind, spirit, soul or consciousness.

Unless we conquer the evil that's within our own being, we cannot do or say anything about the evil so prevalent in the world. It's very easy to denounce this person and that person for their evil acts, it's another thing to provide a solution for evil.

God is very respectful of the gift of free will that he has given us, to the point where we can use it and abuse it to our detriment. And so the solution for evil is presented as gift, rather than forced upon us unwillingly. Those who are desperate for such a remedy accept the gift quickly with little protest, while those of us who think we're OK have little need of it, so we don't value it, if we even bother to acknowledge it's existence at all.


The gift I'm referring to is eternal life. More specifically, it is the knowledge that when we die, there will be an opportunity to be resurrected from the dead, a resurrection that is permanent and that promises a new life, better than the one we knew previously, much better in fact.

Proof of life after death was provided in the God/man Jesus, who suffered just like we do, and suffered evil in the same way we do: from other men. Due to his popularity and his denouncements and criticisms of the current religious system then dominant in first century Israel: Phariseeism, he was crucified by the Romans due to the insistent urgings of the religious-political Pharisee party. There was no such thing as the separation of church in state in those days.

After Jesus was crucified and died on a Roman cross, he was buried in a tomb of a rich man, then left for dead..because he was dead. But, unbeknown to even his own disciples, Jesus had a little surprise in store: he came back from death, to life, and will never, ever die again.

He showed himself to his disciples and to various others, and then his disciples, armed with the amazing revelation that death is not final, spread the word of Jesus and his good news throughout the rest of the world, a message which is still going strong nearly 2,000 years later.

Of course eternal life is not something that is the right and privilege of everyone, but it is a gift given only to those only who believe. By believe I mean that a person must believe in the idea of eternal life, believe in the person of Jesus and his message, and be willing to live the kind of live that Jesus advocated. In other words, this gift is conditional; it's not given out to just anyone, but only to those who show themselves worthy of it by accepting the "strings" attached.

It is this gift, and the attached strings, that is God's solution for the problem of evil. So how does this gift nullify evil? Simple: the conditions for obtaining and keeping the gift of eternal life is living the teachings and writings of the apostles and prophets as recorded in the Bible. But you don't need to memorize the entire Old and New Testaments in an attempt to live by all the rules and regulations, and in fact you wouldn't be able to keep them even if you wanted to, because they apply to a time and place that is no longer relevant to our modern life style.


But there is one, very simple rule, that if applied, can help reduce the amount of the evil in the world rather significantly. It is commonly known as the Golden Rule: don't do things to other people that you wouldn't want them to do to you.

Don't want people to lie to you? Then don't lie to other people.

Don't want other people to criticize you and put you down? Then don't criticize other people and put them down.

Don't want other people to beat you up? Then don't go around beating up others.

Now one quickly realizes that this does not guarantee that you are going to be treated well by others, for the obvious reason that not everyone is going to want to accept the conditions of the agreement for eternal life. There will be those who really don't care or think much about how others should be treated, and there lack of concern will ultimately end up in their own eternal destruction.

However, those who do follow this one simple rule, and do so consistently, will at least be reducing the amount of evil so prevalent in our society, if not securing their place in the kingdom of Heaven.

But there is a positive corollary to this rule as well, and that is that you need to treat other people just like you would want yourself to be treated. It can be summed up in the old bromide "what goes around comes around."

Do you want other people to treat you with respect? Then you need to treat other people with respect.

Do you want people to speak well of you? Then you need to speak well of others.

Do you want other to help you in a time of need? Then you need to help others in a time of need.

See how simple this is? Nothing to it. Apply this one rule to your life, and you will do more to eradicate evil from this world than all the political promises of all the political parties of the world combined. It is not social programs that eliminate evil, it is the right actions of individuals that do it.


And since it can sometimes be rather difficult for us to be motivated to do good, God provides us a very special resource to help us in this quest: his Holy Spirit. Jesus is the incarnation of God who you can walk up to and have a conversation with, or you can beat the crap out of him then have him executed. But the Holy Spirit is an incarnation of God that goes one step further, it is God living inside of you.

Now when we think of other beings living inside of us, our minds may quickly flash to visions of the Exorcist, or those many different sci-fi flicks where aliens overtake people's bodies and minds, like the famous film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But inviting the Holy Spirit of God to take up residence in you is nothing like those nightmares of sci-fi and horror movies. Instead of taking over, he simply acts in an advisory role, only offering his assistance when asked--kind of like a consultant. If you want to ignore him, you can, there will be no evil consequences for doing so, other than what your own foolish actions deserve.

So God not only provides a wonderful incentive for living a good, upright life: eternal life; but also the means of doing so: the Holy Spirit.

And that, in a nutshell, is God's plan for dealing with evil. There's just one problem of course: getting people to "buy in" to this plan, which is becoming increasingly more difficult to do. Hence, the world is on a long, slow downward spiral, as immediate gratification of selfish desires becomes more important than living for a future goal that is difficult to comprehend, let alone believe.


Of course there is a corresponding stick to the carrot of eternal life: and that would be eternal punishment, better known as eternal damnation. This is reserved for those who knowing good and evil, prefer to choose the evil. Now this does not mean that you are a psychotic killer or abuse small children and animals; rather all it takes to be evil is to ignore the needs and suffering of others. Yes, God is a good, loving father, but he's not going to allow those who have chosen a life of selfishness and rebelliousness to be rewarded with eternal life. If a person has no regard for those living all around him, why should God then reward that person for their selfish behavior? Since a selfish person is rapt up in their own little world, they will be sent to a place where they won't ever have to bother with another soul again--an eternal solitary confinement.

But don't blame God for damning those people who have chosen a self-centered life; more often than not they are conscious of the choice they are making, and in their own perverted way, are willing to pay with their lives for the little bit of power, wealth and comfort that they get in the here & now by their abrasive behavior.

So the resurrection of Jesus not only demonstrates the reward of eternal life, the way he lived his life here on earth is also very much a demonstration of how he expects us to act. And for those who think that following Jesus' example is a waste of time, Jesus lets us know in no uncertain terms that their eternal punishment is well deserved:
"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,' and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 24:45-51
Whether or not you think God deals properly with evil here in this life, know for sure that it will be dealt with most severely in the next. Jesus had a bit of "bad news" to go along with his good news: those who persist in doing evil will be rewarded with eternal pain and suffering.

While one may think an eternity of pain and suffering is a harsh penalty for temporal evil, do keep in mind that those who choose to do good are rewarded with an eternity of joy and pleasure. Both reward and punishment are extreme in comparison to a temporal life on earth. This only goes to show that our lives are far, far more valuable than many of us realize: our actions and beliefs truly have an eternal significance.


Christians have done a poor job of communicating the essential truths of Jesus' message, let alone living according to his teachings. For that, I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed. And yet, I still very much believe that the simple message of Jesus is a worth living for, and I will continue in my own quest to live a life worthy of eternal life, even if no one else sees the value in it.

But I would encourage the dear reader of this blog to follow after me, if only for the reason that such a path will do a lot to bring about a great deal of good on this earth, and will help to minimize evil. Whether or not you think God exists or that eternal life is a possibility, you must admit that the simple logic of the rule "don't do things to other people that you don't want done to you" is a very effective way to live one's life.

<>< TM

wal-mart gets a strategy

As if by magic, soon after I posted my "in praise of wal-mart" article (the next day in fact), an article appeared on the business page of the New York Times about Wal-Mart's new merchandising strategy.

Wal-Mart has identified three target "customers" who shop at their stores. To no one's surprise, there are many upper-middle class people coming into to shop for deals, and so Wal-Mart, seeing an opportunity to serve a slightly larger base than those at the very bottom of the economic spectrum, is in the process of trying to find ways to make their store appeal to a broader base of consumers.

Here's an excerpt:
In their first interviews since a management shuffle last month, John Fleming, the new chief merchandising officer, and Stephen Quinn, the new chief marketing officer, said that after a year of intense research, the discount giant is seeing its 200 million customers as belonging to three groups.

There are “brand aspirationals” (people with low incomes who are obsessed with names like KitchenAid), “price-sensitive affluents” (wealthier shoppers who love deals), and “value-price shoppers” (who like low prices and cannot afford much more).

The new categories are significant because for the first time, Wal-Mart thinks it finally understands not just how people shop at its stores, but why they shop the way they do.
This strategy of identifying three target groups of customers is nothing new in retail, as a matter of fact Wal-Mart is a late adapter, as Best Buy, Sears and others have been employing this type of strategy for years.

But having a strategy, and executing a strategy are two different things. It will be interesting to see if Wal-Mart can drive up comparable same store sales with their target groups now clearly in focus. But at least they've remembered their original target shopper: those with little money to spend.

<>< TM

Thursday, March 01, 2007

in praise of wal-mart

I've been reading a very interesting book called The One Thing You Need to Know by Marcus Buckingham. It is a business management book, but has great insights into what it takes to run a successful business, or even to succeed at life in general.

While reading a chapter about great leading, I found this interesting blurb about Wal-Mart:
Last year at the Consumer Healthcare Products Association convention, speaking before a group of executives, I followed Doug Degn onto the podium. Doug heads up all food merchandising for Wal-Mart, and, by any measure, he has had a tremendously successful last fifteen years. Fifteen years ago he sold no food. Now he sells more food than anyone else in the world. In his speech he revealed himself to be a straight-talking, hard-working executive who was suspicious of anyone who over analyzes an issue. Here's a typical comment from Doug: "We had one store that was selling far more fishing equipment than our projections suggested it should. Our analysts back in Bentonville were perplexed. But in the end the answer turned out to be common sense." He paused to set up the punch line. "This particular store was located very close to a large lake." Much laughter from the audience.

Despite his no-nonsense persona, he did have one little device that he sued to engage the audience. toward the end of his speech, he asked us to raise our hands if we lived paycheck to paycheck. Very few of us raised our hands. At which, he stopped his pacing, stood square on, leveled his gaze, and said: "look, you are all welcome in our stores. Please, come into our stores. You will be treated well. But know that our stores are not designed for you. Our stores, every one of them, are designed for people who live paycheck to paycheck. Yes you can come into our stores and find a nice gourmet pizza for six dollars and fifty cents, but I guarantee you that you will also find the best, the highest quality seventy-seven-cent pizza in the neighborhood. Everything we do, everything we buy is designed to served those of us who live paycheck to paycheck."

Why did Wal-Mart land on this notion that they serve customers who live from one paycheck to the next? Yes, their data suggests that the lower-income customers represents the majority of their shoppers--fully 20 percent of Wal-Mart shoppers do not even have a checking account. However, Wal-Mart's history tells us that they seek to serve this customer less because their data indicate the wisdom of doing so than because Sam Walton, their founder, simply decided that this is who he wanted his company to serve."

<>< TM