Is The Middle Class Being Erased?

Will the only two classes left be either poor or rich? The report is stammering leaving me to think what my purse has already thought, the middle class is being silently erased. Before it’s all said in done there will be only two classes left poor or rich no middle. With the middle class being reduced down to poor class why aren’t more Americans speaking out about this? We should demand more of our government by asking them to balance the countries budget problems and restore stability back to our economy.
The first decade of the 21st century will go down in the history books as a step back for the American middle class.

Last week, the government made gloomy headlines when it released the latest census report showing the poverty rate rose to a 17-year high. A whopping 46.2 million people (or 15.1% of the U.S. population) live in poverty and 49.9 million live without health insurance.

But the data also gave the first glimpse of what happened to middle-class incomes in the first decade of the millennium. While the earnings of middle-income Americans have barely budged since the mid 1970s, the new data showed that from 2000 to 2010, they actually regressed.

For American households in the middle of the pay scale, income fell to $49,445 last year, when adjusted for inflation, a level not seen since 1996.

And over the 10-year period, their income is down 7%.

“Economists talk about the lost decade in Japan. Well, with these 2010 data, we can confirm the lost decade for the American middle class,” said Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Sure, it’s fair to say Americans at all levels of income, from rich to poor, were hit hard in the decade that started with the dot-com boom and bust, and ended with the Great Recession.

But according to the census data, those losses disproportionately hit the lowest 60% of Americans, while the richest 40% actually gained wealth, relative to the entire U.S. economy.

Much of that trend can be explained by massive losses in the housing sector, the period of high unemployment that ensued, and rising prices that flew in the face of the American family’s heightened financial struggles.

0:00 / 1:39 Why it sucks to be middle class

Unlike the richest Americans, middle class families have most of their wealth tied up in the equity of their homes, which took a beating in the recession. And high unemployment has left many people with little or no other income at all.

At the same time that Americans had less cash to spend, they were also being hit with rising prices for some crucial items. Even accounting for inflation, it still costs more to buy a home, fill your gas tank, go to the doctor and put food on the table than it did only 10 years ago.

And not only is it more expensive to live a middle-class life, it costs more to get there too. The price of a college education — still considered the ticket to higher wages and a better lifestyle — has surged over the last decade, even in spite of the recession.

Facing these burdens, the American Dream is undergoing stark changes, with fewer people choosing to buy homes and more young people postponing their own independent lives. The census data showed about 14.2% of all young people ages 25 to 34 are still living in their parents’ homes this year, compared to about 11.8% before the recession began in 2007.

And that poses a challenge for the economy going forward. After all, what will the middle class and the American Dream look like another decade from now, if the younger generations still can’t get their feet off the ground? To top of page

Julia Anderson is the author of “The Election” her next children’s book “Jacob’s Lesson” will be released in December 2011. To learn more about this author go to www.redroom.com/member/julia-anderson or www.scribblescrabblebooks.com

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Government Blocks AT&T From Buying T-Mobile

AT&T and T-Mobile are two of only four mobile wireless providers with nationwide networks and a variety of competitive attributes associated with that national scale and presence. The other two nationwide networks are operated by Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel. Although smaller providers exist, they are significantly different from these four. For instance, none of the smaller carriers’ voice networks cover even one-third of the U.S. population, and the largest of these smaller carriers has less than one-third the number of wireless connections as T-Mobile. Similarly, regional competitors often lack a nationwide data network, nationally recognized brands, significant nationwide spectrum holdings, and timely access to the most popular handsets. Collectively, the “Big Four” -AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint -provide more than 90 percent of service connections to U.S. mobile wireless devices.

T-Mobile in particular — a company with a self-described “challenger brand,” that historically has been a value provider, and that even within the past few months had been developing and deploying “disruptive pricing” plans — places important competitive pressure on its three larger rivals, particularly in terms of pricing, a critically important aspect of competition. AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low-priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market.

Merger Guidelines Say Deal Would Be Anti-Competitive

The DOJ evaluates “horizontal” mergers (i.e., mergers that combine companies selling similar goods or services to the same group of customers) based on merger guidelines that rely heavily on a measure of market concentration called the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI). Market concentration is bad because it means there are fewer competitors and fewer competitors means higher prices. The Obama Administration revised the DOJ merger guidelines in April 2010 to make horizontal mergers more difficult to complete. Chalk up another anti-business regulation to President Obama! The law firm of Davis Polk characterized the merger guideline changes this way:

Overall, the revised Guidelines reflect a pro-enforcement perspective and an effort to blunt various tools that merging parties have used successfully in the past to defeat horizontal merger challenges. They are consistent with a more activist enforcement policy.

Based on the new merger guidelines, any merger that increases the HHI index by more than 200 points and/or results in an HHI index of 2,500 or more will be presumed to be anti-competitive. In the case of the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger, the HHI index would exceed 2,500 in 96% of the nation’s largest cellular market areas and would increase by more than 200 points in 94% of these markets. Overall, the merger would create a national HHI index score of more than 3,100 and increase market concentration by almost 700 points – both of which are well above the anti-competitive threshold.

AT&T’s Smoking Gun Memo

On pp. 13-14 of its anti-trust complaint, the DOJ also cites a smoking-gun AT&T internal document from January 2010 in which AT&T admits that T-Mobile is one of its most important competitors:

The more immediate threat to AT&T is T-Mobile. The one-two punch of [T-Mobile’s] advanced network and the backhaul required to support the additional data demands should be taken seriously.

Ouch! The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also piled on AT&T, chiming in that “the record before this agency also raises serious concerns about the impact of the proposed transaction on competition.”

AT&T’s Pathetic Defense

How can AT&T possibly defend itself against this damning evidence of anti-competitive effect? We found out last Friday (September 9th), when AT & T and T-Mobile filed a joint answer with the D.C. District Court where it made the following unsubstantiated assertion on page 3:

Wireless competition is fierce: prices have declined steadily, output is expanding, technological innovation is occurring at an extraordinary pace, and new providers with innovative business models have successfully entered and expanded. All of this will continue, and likely increase, after the transaction.

The Complaint largely ignores the significant competition from established providers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint, innovative upstarts such as MetroPCS and Leap/Cricket, and strong regional providers like US Cellular and Cellular South, among others. The Department does not and cannot explain how, in the face of all of these aggressive rivals, the combined AT&T/T-Mobile will have any ability or incentive to restrict output, raise prices, or slow innovation. Nor can it explain how T-Mobile, the only major carrier to have actually lost subscribers in a robustly growing market, provides a unique competitive constraint on AT&T.

With regards to the DOJ calculation of an HHI market concentration above 2,500, AT&T merely “denied” the allegation and didn’t provide any opposing HHI calculation of its own. It further stated on page 15 that:

HHI analysis is only one factor in merger analysis, and that a complete analysis must take full account of competitive dynamics and efficiencies not captured by such simplistic calculations.

Note to AT&T: Merely denying the DOJ’s HHI calculation without offering your own is pathetic and lazy. AT&T, you should be ashamed!

With regard to the smoking-gun memo in which AT&T called T-Mobile one of its most important competitors, AT&T merely replied on page 17 that it was “unidentified written material, offered without context” and it was “misleading and inappropriate” for the DOJ to reference it in its complaint. C’mon AT&T, are you seriously claiming that you have no idea what internal memo the DOJ is referencing? AT&T should lose the case on this stupid and disingenuous denial alone.

District Court Judge’s Bias May Be AT&T’s Best Hope

The federal district court judge in this case is Ellen Segal Huvelle, who has a reputation for ruling in favor of corporations against the government. She may be sympathetic to public policy concerns raised by Roger Conrad, utility expert and lead advisor of the market-beating Utility Forecaster investment service, who recently argued that nixing the deal:

is likely to chill any foreign capital interest in taking a stake in the US wireless, as the implicit message is Uncle Sam may not let you sell in a timely manner.

However, AT&T’s legal response was so devoid of facts and so full of self-serving conclusory statements, that even Judge Huvelle will have a difficult time ruling against the DOJ.

AT&T is on the Hook for a Huge Termination Fee

That said, AT&T didn’t really have a choice but to contest the DOJ complaint given the huge merger termination fee it agreed to pay T-Mobile’s parent Deutsche Telekom (Other OTC: DTEGY.PK) if the deal falls apart. Specifically, AT&T must pay $3 billion in cash and hand over $3 billion to $4 billion worth of wireless spectrum and discounted roaming charges for T-Mobile customers if the deal falls through. The details of the termination fee are referenced in AT & T’s regulartory filing with the SEC as “Annex E”, but I can’t find the actual Annex E to analyze. Suffice it to say that there is significant doubt that AT&T could weasel its way out of paying big bucks to Deutsche Telekom.

This begs the question why AT&T would have agreed to pay such a huge termination fee given the regulatory uncertainty. If AT&T’s regulatory affairs department assured AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson that U.S. regulators would not block the deal, then heads will roll.

 

Julia Anderson is the author of “The Election” her next children’s book “Jacob’s Lesson” will be released in December, 2011. To learn more about this author go to www.redroom.com/member/julia-anderson or www.scribblescrabblebooks.com

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Bankrupt Solar Panel Maufacturer Leaves Taxpayers On The Hook For $528 Million

How much more can the American people afford? The National Debt in the trillions and now this what’s next? I would love to hear your comments.

House Republicans questioned Wednesday whether the White House rushed approval of a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee for a now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer once cited as the kind of renewable energy company worthy of federal stimulus money.

Solyndra Inc. was a major presence in Washington and spent millions of dollars on lobbying there, particularly about the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program. And its executives raised thousands of dollars for Obama and Democrats in Congress.

The collapse of the Fremont, Calif.-based company once touted by President Barack Obama ultimately left taxpayers on the hook for $528 million, raising questions if the loan was rushed to accommodate a company event in September 2009 that featured Vice President Joe Biden.

The congressional panel examining the loan disclosed emails that appeared to show senior staff at the Office of Management and Budget chafing about having to conduct “rushed approvals” of federal loan guarantees designed to help jumpstart the nation’s renewable energy industry.

“We would prefer to have sufficient time to do our due diligence reviews and have the approval set the date for the announcement rather than the other way around,” said one of the emails from an unnamed OMB aide to Biden’s office.

Obama cited Solyndra as an example of how the economic stimulus bill would create jobs. But the company has since filed for bankruptcy and shed 1,100 workers, saying it couldn’t compete with foreign manufacturers of solar panels.

Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show Solyndra spent nearly $2 million lobbying the federal government during the last four years, including on provisions of the Energy Department’s loan program just months before White House officials urged that the funds be approved.

In the first quarter of 2009, Solyndra paid McBee Strategic Consulting $20,000 to lobby on issues related to the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program, records show, and it paid $30,000 in early 2008 to Dutko Worldwide to handle Solyndra’s loan application.

Republican lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigations panel are questioning why there was a rush to approve the loan and whether the entire loan guarantee program is warranted. “Our investigation raises several questions about whether the administration did everything it could to protect taxpayer dollars,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the emails don’t suggest that the White House was pushing for the loan to be made.

“What the emails make clear is there was urgency to make a decision on a scheduling matter. It is a big proposition to move the president or to put on an event and that sort of thing so people were simply looking for answers about whether or not people could move forward,” Carney told reporters at the White House.

“It had nothing to — and there is no evidence to the contrary — nothing to do with anything besides the need to get an answer to make a scheduling decision,” he said.

The Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers have aggressively sought to invest in renewable energy projects as a way to create jobs and to reduce the nation’s reliance on oil. They note that other countries are also investing heavily in solar and that the race for solar manufacturing jobs is worth winning because the global market is going to be worth trillions of dollars.

The Solyndra fallout comes at an embarrassing time for the White House, while Obama is traveling the country promoting his jobs plan, which includes more investments in renewable energy.

The subcommittee has been investigating Solyndra for nearly six months as it began to have financial troubles. Shortly after the filing, FBI officials raided the company’s headquarters; the company said the FBI was seeking records on the loans.

An AP review of Federal Election Commission records shows Solyndra executives have given to both Obama and Democratic-aligned groups. Ben Bierman, Solyndra’s executive vice president, and Karen Alter, the firm’s marketing vice president, contributed more than $3,500 to Obama’s campaign. And one of the company’s investors, George Kaiser, was a “bundler” for Obama’s 2008 campaign, raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for the president, records show.

Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee had questioned the basis of the Solyndra investigation and in July had voted against issuing subpoenas for documents from OMB. But after the bankruptcy and FBI raid, Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., described the loan Wednesday as a “debacle.”

But Democrats also argued that it’s not clear whether the company’s financial woes were just a result of unforeseen market conditions or sloppy vetting or corporate malfeasance.

Democrats also said that failure to invest in the U.S. solar industry would amount to an economic death sentence that would allow other nations to dominate a growing business.

“If you live in reality, you know the world cannot continue its dependence on fossil fuels and that we are in danger of losing this industry to our competitors, especially China,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

Federal officials told lawmakers that Solyndra went through three years of review, beginning with the Bush administration, before any taxpayer money was put at risk. Jonathan Silver, executive director of the Energy Department’s loan program office, said that the company was well positioned to succeed in 2009.

But Chinese companies have flooded the market with inexpensive panels, and Europe’s economy weakened demand from customers. The result has been an unprecedented drop in solar cell prices this year.

Silver said the loan guarantee program is about giving U.S. companies the tools they need to succeed in the world marketplace, and one of those tools, as other countries have learned, is low-cost financing.

“This isn’t picking winners and losers. It is helping ensure that we have winners here at all,” Silver said.

But GOP officials disputed that the Bush administration was willing to go along with a loan guarantee for Solyndra, noting that an Energy Department committee voted against offering a conditional commitment to Solyndra in January 2009. The committee said the deal was premature and questioned its underlying financial support, said Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., chairman of the House energy panel.

Two Solyndra executives were asked to testify Wednesday but are now expected to appear next week.

Under a loan guarantee, the government will cover a loan in the event of a default. Normally, private banks provide the loans, but in this case, Solyndra borrowed the money from the Federal Financing Bank. The government guaranteed up to $535 million in loans, and Solyndra’s bankruptcy filings showed that it has received almost $528 million in federal loans.

Julia Anderson is the author of “The Election” her next book “Jacob’s Lesson” will be released December 2011. To learn more about this author go to www.redroom.com/member/julia-anderson or www.scribblescrabblebooks.com & www.goodreads.com/julia_anderson

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Nobama Check List

Wish I knew who to give credit to for this….

WHEN he refused to disclose who donated money to his election campaign, as
other candidates had done, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he received endorsements from people like Louis Farrakhan and Moammar
Kadaffi and Hugo Chavez, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN it was pointed out that he was a total newcomer and had absolutely no
experience at anything except community organizing, people said it didn’t
matter.

WHEN he chose friends and acquaintances such as Bill Ayers and Bernadine
Dohrn who were revolutionary radicals, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN his voting record in the Illinois senate and in the U.S. Senate came
into question, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he refused to wear a flag lapel pin, and did so only after a public
outcry, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN people started treating him as a Messiah and children in schools were
taught to sing his praises, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he stood with his hands over his groin area for the playing of the
National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he surrounded himself in the White house with advisors who were pro-gun
control, pro- abortion, pro-homosexual marriage and wanting to curtail
freedom of speech to silence the opposition people said it didn’t matter..

WHEN he aired his views on abortion, homosexuality and a host of other
issues, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he said he favors sex education in Kindergarten, including homosexual
indoctrination, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN his personal background was either scrubbed or hidden and nothing could
be found about him, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN the place of his birth was called into question, and he refused to
produce a birth certificate, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he had an association in Chicago with Tony Rezcoâa man of questionable
character and who is now in prison and had helped Obama to a sweet deal on
the purchase of his homeâ people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN it became known that George Soros, a multi-billionaire Marxist, spent a
ton of money to get him elected, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he started appointing White House Czars that were radicals,
revolutionaries, and even avowed Marxist/Communist, people said it didn’t
matter.

WHEN he stood before the Nation and told us that his intentions were to
a fundamentally transform this Nationâ into something else, people said it
didn’t matter.

WHEN it became known that he had trained ACORN workers in Chicago and served
as an attorney for ACORN, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he appointed cabinet members and several advisers who were tax cheats
and socialists, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he appointed a Science Czar, John Holdren, who believes in forced
abortions, mass sterilizations and seizing babies from teen mothers, people
said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he appointed Cass Sunstein as Regulatory Czar who believes in
a Explicit Consent, a harvesting human organs without family consent, and
allowing animals to be represented in court, while banning all hunting,
people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he appointed Kevin Jennings, a homosexual, and organizer of a group
called gay, lesbian, straight, education network as Safe School Czar and it
became known that he had a history of bad advice to teenagers, people said it
didn’t matter

WHEN he appointed Mark Lloyd, as Diversity Czar, who believes in curtailing
free speech; taking from one and giving to another to spread the wealth; who
supports Hugo Chavez, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN Valerie Jarrett was selected as Obamaas Senior White House Advisor and
she is an avowed Socialist, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director said Mao Tse Tung was
her favorite philosophera and the person she turned to most for
inspiration, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he appointed Carol Browner as Global Warming Czar, and her being a well
known socialist working on Cap and Trade as the nations largest tax, people
said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he appointed Van Jones, an ex-con and avowed Communist as Green Energy
Czar, who since had to resign when this was made known, people said it
didn’t matter.

WHEN Tom Daschle, Obamaas pick for health and human services secretary
could not be confirmed, because he was a tax cheat, people said it didn’t
matter.

WHEN as President of the United States , he bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia
, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he traveled around the world criticizing America and only very recently
speaks of her greatness, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN his actions concerning the Middle-East seemed to support the
Palestinians over Israel , our long time ally, people said it didn’t
matter.

WHEN he took American tax dollars to resettle thousands of Palestinians from
Gaza to the United States , people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he upset the Europeans by removing plans for a missile defense system
against the Russians, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he played politics in Afghanistan by not sending troops early-on when
the Field Commanders said they were necessary to win, people said it didn’t
matter.

WHEN he started spending us into a debt that was so big we could not pay it
off, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he took a huge spending bill under the guise of stimulus and used it to
pay off organizations, unions, and individuals that got him elected, people
said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he took over insurance companies, car companies, banks, etc., people
said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he took away student loans from the banks and put it through the
government, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he designed plans to take over the health care system and put it under
government control, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he claimed he was a Christian during the election and tapes were later
made public that showed Obama speaking to a Muslim group and astatinga
that he was raised a Muslim; was educated as a Muslim; and that he is still a
Muslim people said he just misspoke and it didn’t matter.

WHEN he set into motion a plan to take over the control of all energy in the
United States through Cap and Trade, people said it didn’t matter.

WHEN he finally completed his transformation of America into a Socialist
State , people finally woke up but it was too late.

Add these up one by one and you get a phenomenal score that points to the
fact that Barrack Hussein Obama is determined to turn America into a
Marxist-Socialist society.

Julia Anderson is the author of “The Election” her next book “Jacob’s Lesson” will be released December 2011. To learn more about this author please go to www.redroom.com/member/julia-anderson or www.scribblescrabblebooks.com

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Charities How Are Your Dollars Spent?

Before you open your pockets to donate for natural disaster relief, please keep these facts in mind:

The American Red Cross President and CEO Marsha J. Evans salary for
the year was $651,957 plus expenses
(RED CROSS DOUBLE CROSS) – Will BLOW your mind

The United Way President Brian Gallagher receives a $375,000 base
salary along with numerous expense benefits.

UNICEF CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1,200,000 per year (100k per
month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE. Less than 5 cents
of your donated dollar goes to the cause.

The Salvation Army’s Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary of
only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion
dollar organization 96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.

The American Legion National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

Julia Anderson is the author of “The Election”, her next children’s book “Jacob’s Lesson” will be released December 2011. To learn more about this author please go to www.redroom.com/member/julia-anderson & www.scribblescrabblebooks.com

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What Country Is Obama Trying to Create Jobs In?

General Electric is planning to move its 115-year-old X-ray division from
Waukesha, Wis., to Beijing. In addition to moving the headquarters, the
company will invest $2 billion in China and train more than 65 engineers and
create six research centers. This is the same GE that made $5.1 billion in
the United States last year, but paid no taxes-the same company that employs
more people overseas than it does in the United States.

So let me get this straight. President Obama appointed GE Chairman Jeff
Immelt to head his commission on job creation (job czar). Immelt is supposed
to help create jobs.
I guess the President forgot to tell him in which country he was supposed to
be creating those jobs.

Julia Anderson is the author of “The Election” her next children’s book will be released December 2011. To learn more about this author go to www.redroom.com/member/julia-anderson or to www.scribblescrabblebooks.com

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President Barack Obama Has Signed Into Law Twenty-One New/Higher Taxes

Take a look at the below tax hikes and ask yourself will this help companies put American’s back to work? With payroll tax hikes, health insurance tax hikes, adding more tax onto Blue Cross/Blue Shields already mounting taxes no wonder jobs are going overseas, and health care premiums are at an all time high!

1) 156% increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco
2) Obamacare individual mandate excise tax
3) Obamacare surtax on investment income
4) Obamacare excise tax on comprehensive health insurance plans
5) Obamacaire hike in Medicare payroll tax
6) Obamacare medicine cabinet tax
7) Obamacare HSA withdrawal tax hike
8) Obamacare flexible spending account cap – aka “special needs kids tax”
9) Obamacare “haircut” for medical itemized deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI
10) Obamacare tax on medical device manufacturers
11) Obamacare tax on indoor tanning services
12) Obamacare elimination of tax deduction for employer provided retirement RX drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D
13) Obamacare Blue Cross/Blue Shield tax hike
14) Obamacare tax on innovator drug companies
15) Obamacare tax on health insurers
16) Obamacare $500,000 annual executive compensation limit for health insurance executives
17) Obamacare employee reporting of insurance on W-2
18) Obamacare “Black Liquor” tax hike
19) Obamacare codification of the economic substance doctrine
20) Obamacare excise tax on charitable hospitals
21) Obamacare employer mandate excise tax

Julia Anderson is the author of “The Election” her next children’s book will be released in December 2011. To learn more on this author go to www.redroom.com/member/julia-anderson and at www.scribblescrabblebooks.com

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