2.27.2015

Protect Yourself From Tax Identity Theft with an IRS provided PIN



Protect Yourself From Tax Identity Theft - Here’s how to limit your risk of tax refund fraud

Excerpt:

The IRS issues victims of tax identity theft a six-digit Identity Protection PIN for use in filing returns once cases have been resolved. Returns can’t be filed without the number, and the taxpayer receives a new one every year. But you don’t have to be a victim to obtain such a PIN. ... people who are potential victims of identity theft—be it from a stolen purse or a data breach—can notify the IRS by filing Form 14039, “Identity Theft Affidavit,” and checking Box 2. The IRS may or may not grant a PIN, but filing the form could qualify taxpayers for other heightened security measures, according to an IRS spokeswoman.
Comment: Link to IRS article. Link to IRS form.

2.26.2015

Walmart's Four Season Mall location for sale



Walmart's Four Season Mall location

PDF: Data sheet

Comment: The city of Plymouth never permitted Walmart to develop this site. Walmart purchased the site for $ 10,600,000 in November 2014. Follow this tag for previous posts

2.25.2015

Hewlett-Packard's history of failed acquisitions

HP in Talks to Buy Aruba Networks for Wi-Fi Infrastructure
Excerpt:

Hewlett-Packard Co. is in talks to acquire Aruba Networks Inc., a maker of wireless-network infrastructure used by hotels, universities and shopping malls, people with knowledge of the matter said. The purchase may be announced as soon as next week, said one of the people, asking not to be identified discussing private information. The deal hasn’t been completed and the talks could still fall through.
Comment: See HP - "value destruction through acquisition" AND The financial firms behind the Autonomy deal AND Blue Chip or Cow Chip. Comments Boeing is mentioned in the Cow Chip article. BA has been a great stock for us. I actually bought HPQ , held it to LONG TERM and sold it at a profit. I regard HP as "Cow Chip". Also consider the WebOS debacle.


Is there Ultimate Meaning in Career? Employers want You to Think So!



I Don’t Have a Job. I Have a Higher Calling

Excerpt:

Faced with a cadre of young workers who say they want to make a difference in addition to a paycheck, employers are trying to inject meaning into the daily grind, connecting profit-driven endeavors to grand consequences for mankind. In part, professionals are demanding more meaning from their careers because work simply takes up more of life than before, thanks to longer hours, competitive pressures and technological tethers of the modern job. Meanwhile, traditional sources of meaning and purpose, such as religion, have receded in many corners of the country.
Comment: None-needed!

2.23.2015

Reasons to Boost Your Foreign-Stock Exposure w Two ETFs




4 reasons to boost your foreign-stock exposure
Excerpt:


.... many foreign markets are cheaper than U.S. stocks based on market yardsticks such as price/earnings ratios, dividend yields and price-to-book value.
Comment: Quotes: IXUS, VXUS

2.20.2015

Announcing the Carson Chargers - Raiders

Raiders, Chargers Propose Shared Football Stadium Near L.A.
Excerpt:


For two decades, this football-deprived city has been trying to win back the love of the National Football League. Now, L.A. has an abundance of suitors—though how serious they are is unclear. The San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders Friday announced a proposal to build a shared football stadium near Los Angeles, making it the fourth plan to bring the NFL back to the area. The $1.7 billion stadium would be privately funded, according to its backers. The latest proposal, first reported in the Los Angeles Times, calls for a stadium in Carson, a small city less than 20 miles south of L.A.
Comment: Got to like the ring of "privately funded,"

Obama's Peepal Tree: A Fitting Image of this Presidency



Tree Obama Planted Isn’t Dead, Just Looks Dead

Excerpt:

Officials in India want to make one thing clear: The tree that President Barack Obama planted in New Delhi three weeks ago is not dead. It just looks dead. The peepal tree was awash in leaves when Obama planted it at the New Delhi memorial to Indian independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi. By Thursday, though, it was just a single lonely stem. Its lack of leaves has been giving Indian officials sleepless nights, with the media here blasting them for allowing the tree to die less than a month after the presidential visit.
Comment: The Peepal tree.

All we are is Stardust in the Wind?


We had a new speaker at our Toastmaster's meeting this week. The first speech for a new member is the Ice-Breaker. These are always interesting because the speaker is introducing himself, he is generally a little nervous, and each one's story is completely unique. The other interesting thing about our Toastmaster's club is the number of international professionals. This factor spices things up as they speak about their upbringing, their food, and their culture. The speaker this week had a simple speech - "Who am I?". He had a three point outline: 
  • His upbringing
  • His career
  • His spiritual life
As he started his speech, I thought 'this will really be interesting!'. We have several Christians in our club and I was thinking, 'this may be another one'. His upbringing in a foreign last was certainly interesting. His career was less so because, I suppose, it is not so unlike mine. He was involved in Y2K (me too!), et cetera. Then onto is spiritual life. As an aside I have used the Biblical terminology of "image of God" in several of my speeches. Once, after a speech, a club officer rebuked me for using religious language in my speeches. I held my own on this and responded that Toastmasters is a "free speech" zone and I was simply using language that even Presidents ave used. But onto the speech of the day - the highly anticipated point he was to discuss, 'His spiritual life'. Would he say he was a Christian? A Hindu? A Buddhist? His native land is predominantly Hindu and Buddhist. Or would he say he was Muslim? I was hoping he would say he was a Christian! But he said he was stardust. We are all stardust! Isn't that interesting! I hadn't expected that. Afterwards I connected briefly with him and introduced myself. Later at my office, I thought 'how bleak that is! ... but stardust!'
Comment: Of course if you read my blog and / or know me, you know that I am indeed a Christian! Above is the Kansas' Dust in the Wind. Lyrics below:
I close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment's gone All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea All we do crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind Now, don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky It slips away, and all your money won't another minute buy Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind (all we are is dust in the wind) Dust in the wind (everything is dust in the wind), everything is dust in the wind (the wind)

2.19.2015

Sloth Man: The tardy enjoy being late



On the Joys of Being Late

Excerpt:

The chronically late like being so. They go out of their way to be late. Being late is one of the greatest pleasures they experience in life. And frankly, I think they might be on to something. ... The chronically late are chronically late because being late is a more efficient use of their time.
Comment: Image source. I've been noticing that our Sunday School class seems to start later and later. I guess it doesn't bother me. But interesting how that happens. I have a personal rule ... I will not travel with late people.

The M.T.A.: "Will it ever return? Will it ever return?"

Boston’s Commuter Nightmare Drags On

Excerpt:

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s train problems began after a late-January blizzard that contributed to the 8 feet of snow that have fallen so far this winter—second only to the 1995-1996 total. Four days after the last major storm over the weekend, aboveground rail lines were still beset by widespread delays and service cuts. The system’s general manager warned this week it could take a full month to restore normal service. “At first people were laughing about it, now they’re getting angry,” said Lindsey Bouley, a 34-year-old district merchandiser for retailer Urban Outfitter, who waited two hours Wednesday for a train between downtown and the suburbs. Critics say the snow has exposed longer-running problems such as misplaced spending priorities and a $5.5 billion debt burden that has sucked away money that could otherwise be used for basic upkeep. “There’s been chronic underinvestment and neglect for decades,” said Kristina Egan, director at Transportation for Massachusetts, a group of local organizations focused on affordable and environmentally friendly transportation. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican who took office in January, has criticized the transit system but has said reform efforts need to start with the premise taxpayers have been taxed enough.
Comment: My daughter and son-in-law are enjoying Boston this year!

Greece channels Wimpy



Greece’s Loan-Agreement Bluff
Excerpt:

On Tuesday night, when Greek officials began briefing that they would seek an extension to the country’s rescue deal from the rest or the eurozone, they insisted journalists understand a clear distinction: “The request is going to ask [for] the extension of the loan agreement and not the bailout,” one of them said. The difference, the officials explained, was that extending the loan agreement would give Greece access to its last installment from the eurozone’s bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility. But it wouldn’t mean, the officials stressed, that the government actually had to accept all the “toxic” austerity measures listed in the Memorandum of Understanding (the legal name of the document that has ruled Greek policymaking for almost five years). This insistence on making that distinction gave some journalists pause. Was the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asking for money without any conditions, even though it had been told over and over again that that was a no-go? Or was this yet another euphemism, the proverbial old wine in a new bottle, similar to referring to the “troika” of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund simply as “the institutions”?
Comment: Image source. More on the Wimpy character.

Doofus at the Helm



Obama refuses to acknowledge ‘Muslim terrorists’ at summit

Excerpt:

They’re burning and beheading victims in the name of Islam, but President Obama delivered a major speech Wednesday on combating violent extremism — while refusing to use the words “Muslim terrorists.” “No religion is responsible for terrorism — people are responsible for violence and terrorism,” Obama told a crowd that included Muslim community leaders at the White House. Following months of unrelenting atrocities by ISIS killers who released videos of themselves beheading US journalists and, most recently, 21 Coptic Christians, and burning a man alive, the president kowtowed to the audience by proclaiming that “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.” “Generations of Muslim immigrants came here and went to work as farmers and merchants and factory workers, helped to lay railroads and build up America,” he said. “The first Islamic center in New York City was founded in the 1890s. America’s first mosque — this was an interesting fact — was in North Dakota.” And just days after Pope Francis condemned ISIS’s barbaric murders of 21 Egyptians “simply for the fact that they were Christians,” Obama insisted al Qaeda and their ilk “are not religious leaders. They’re terrorists.” “And we are not at war with ­Islam,” the president said. “We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”
The Ideological Islamist Threat - The radicals are waging a war of ideas the West refuses to fight.

Excerpt:

President Obama opened this week’s White House Conference on Violent Extremism with a speech about community-based counter-radicalization efforts, and his Administration is being roundly mocked for its refusal to use terms like “Muslim terrorism” or “Islamism.” The mockery is deserved. Foreign policy is not a Harry Potter tale of good versus He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. And war cannot be won against an enemy we refuse to describe except in meaningless generalities. But there is a deeper problem with the Administration’s semantic dodges. Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram and other jihadist groups are waging more than a military conflict. They are also waging an increasingly successful ideological war for the soul of Islam and its 1.6 billion followers.
U.S. Rep., Terror Expert Shocked At State Dept. Claim That Jobs Program Can Stop ISIS

Excerpt:

After recent displays of almost unspeakable violence by Islamic State militants, a suggestion from the U.S. State Department about how to stop terrorists is raising eyebrows. As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday, the statement was jaw-dropping to some. The State Department said the long-term solution to stopping ISIS in its tracks is to create jobs for members of the bloodthirsty terror group. The State Department said jobs can help stop jihad. But at least one congressman called the idea absurd. “This is absolute insanity. We are at war with ISIS. You don’t win a war by a jobs program or by giving out more welfare,” said Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island) “This shows to me the basic misunderstanding, and really, ignorance, of the Obama administration.” King was reacting to an assertion by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf — speaking with Chris Matthews on MSNBC. “We cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war,” Harf said. “We need, in the longer term — medium and longer term — to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups — whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs.” As Kramer reported, Harf made the remarks in spite of the videos of gruesome beheadings on a regular basis, and daily reports of other atrocities. “We can work with other countries around the world to help improve their governance,” Harf said. “We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.” King characterized Harf’s attitude as na├»ve. “The only way we’re going to defeat ISIS to kill them — kill them over before they get here to kill us — and stop this nonsense about somehow this is because they’re deprived or they had a sad childhood,” King said. “You don’t cut people’s heads off on the shores of Tripoli because you didn’t have a job. These people are animals, they’re savages, and they’re murderers — and the sooner the Obama administration realizes it, the better.”

Comment: He really has lost it! God help us!