9.30.2013

8 signs you're flirting with financial ruin



8 signs you're flirting with financial ruin

The List:
  1. Paying late fees and juggling bills
  2. Counting on a future windfall
  3. Multiple credit card hocus-pocus
  4. Fighting with your partner over finances
  5. Regularly paying overdraft fees
  6. You have a savings rate of zero
  7. Covering expenses with retirement savings
  8. Treating your home like a piggy bank
Comment: Planning a forthcoming article on this.

9.29.2013

On Tolerance



Chuck Bumgardner: Andrew Fuller and Tolerance

Excerpt:

Fuller argued that “toleration was a legal permission not only to enjoy your own principles unmolested, but to make use of all the fair means of persuasion to recommend them to others”
Comment: More from DA Carson's book The Intolerance of Tolerance (p 98)



I make no apologies for my Christian position:
  • Jesus: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6)
  • "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)
  • "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9)
  • "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12)

9.24.2013

Ordering Finances Wisely, Part 4: Good Debt, Bad Debt

Ordering Finances Wisely, Part 4: Good Debt, Bad Debt

Comments:

  • Published on Sharper Iron today
  • More to come

9.22.2013

On loving the Lord


  • "We love him, because he first loved us" (I John 4:19)
  • "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha" (1 Corinthians 16:22)
  • "Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible." (Ephesians 6:24)
  • "... hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints" (Philemon 5)

9.21.2013

Chinatown: The new Foreign Policy Paradigm



A New Kind of 'Credibility' Gap

Excerpt:


An accomplished American diplomat once said that there are two templates of American foreign-policy thinking. The first is Munich and the second is Vietnam.

When America does not move militarily as some people wish it to, they say, "This is another Munich"—appeasement that in the end will summon greater violence and broader war.

When America moves militarily as some people do not wish it to, they say, "This is Vietnam"—jumping in where we do not belong and cannot win.

This is serviceable as a rough expression of where our foreign policy debates tend to go. But I suspect the past 12 years' experience in the Mideast has left us with a new template: "It's Chinatown," from the classic movie.

This is where you try to make it better and somehow make it worse, in spite of your best efforts. This is a place where the biggest consequences are always unintended. Surely this is part of the reason for the clear and quick public opposition to a U.S. strike in Syria, and it echoed in the attention paid to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates's statement this week that such a move "would be throwing gasoline on a very complex fire in the Middle East."
Comment: We need to realize that not every world problem has a U.S. solution. Image: Chinatown - the film



Intervening in Arab countries: 

Not:




Not:

9.19.2013

Obama's "Kiss my Grits" economic gains for women


Women Waiting Tables Provide Most of Female Gains in U.S.

Excerpt:

It’s almost 6 p.m. on a Friday and the tables near the bar at The Hamilton in downtown Washington are getting crowded. That means waitress Victoria Honard is busy. Honard, 22, who graduated from Syracuse University in May, works about 25 hours a week at the restaurant while looking for a job related to public policy. She moved to Washington four days after graduation with the hope of finding a position at a think tank or policy-related organization, she said, and has applied to about 20 prospective employers.
...

Unemployment data appear to reflect big advances for women. The jobless rate in August for females 20 years and older was 6.3 percent, the lowest since December 2008, compared with 7.1 percent for men. As recently as January, the rate was 7.3 percent for both genders, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The downside is that the gains have been largely in lower-paying industries such as waitresses, in-home health care, food preparation and housekeeping. About 60 percent of the increase in employment for women from 2009 to 2012 was in jobs that pay less than $10.10 an hour, compared with 20 percent for men, according to a study by the National Women’s Law Center using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Comment: Image = Polly Holliday, "Flo", from Alice

9.18.2013

Ordering Finances Wisely, Know Your FICO Score

Ordering Finances Wisely, Part 3: Know Your FICO Score

Comments:

  • Published on Sharper Iron
  • Take-away ... get your free FICO score (details in article)

Ordering Finances Wisely, A Credit Check Shows How Creditors View You

Ordering Finances Wisely, Part 2: A Credit Check Shows How Creditors View You

  • Published on Sharper Iron
  • A takeaway ... get your free credit report (details in article)

Ordering Finances Wisely, Identity Theft and Credit Fraud are Rampant

Ordering Finances Wisely, Identity Theft and Credit Fraud are Rampant

Comments:

  • First of a proposed series of 10 articles.
  • Started with a presentation I made to Toastmasters entitled "Organizing One's Financial Life"
  • Published on Sharper Iron

Clever Rivals - "Are You Smarter Than A Wolverine?"

Michigan "OHNO" Photo: Michigan band forms ‘OHNO’ at halftime
Rebuttal: TBDBITL Gets Revenge

9.17.2013

Remembering the Big Thompson Canyon Flooding of 1976



A generation ago: Big Thompson Canyon Flooding of 1976
Wikipedia article

Excerpt:


On July 31, 1976, during the celebration of Colorado's centennial, the Big Thompson Canyon was the site of a devastating flash flood that swept down the steep and narrow canyon, claiming the lives of 143 people, 5 of whom were never found. This flood was triggered by a nearly stationary thunderstorm near the upper section of the canyon that dumped 300 millimeters (12 inches) of rain in less than 4 hours (more than 3/4 of the average annual rainfall for the area). Little rain fell over the lower section of the canyon, where many of the victims were. Around 9 p.m., a wall of water more than 6 meters (20 ft) high raced down the canyon at about 6 m/s (14 mph), destroying 400 cars, 418 houses and 52 businesses and washing out most of U.S. Route 34.[5] This flood was more than 4 times as strong as any in the 112-year record available in 1976, with a discharge of 1,000 cubic meters per second (35,000 ft³/s).
Comment: We've driven down that canyon

9.09.2013

AM radio is on life support ... "simply natural selection at work"



A Quest to Save AM Before It’s Lost in the Static

Excerpt:

Long surpassed by FM and more recently cast aside by satellite radio and Pandora, AM is now under siege from a new threat: rising interference from smartphones and consumer electronics that reduce many AM stations to little more than static. Its audience has sunk to historical lows.

... In 1978, ... half of all radio listening was on the AM dial. By 2011 AM listenership had fallen to 15 percent, or an average of 3.1 million people, according to a survey by Veronis Suhler Stevenson, a private investment firm. While the number of FM listeners has declined, too, they still averaged 18 million in 2011

... In 1970 AM accounted for 63 percent of broadcast radio stations, but now it accounts for 21 percent, or 4,900 outlets, according to Arbitron. FM accounts for 44 percent, or 10,200 stations. About 35 percent of stations stream content online.

...Critics say its decline is simply natural selection at work, and many now support converting the frequency for use by other wireless technologies
Comment: WSAI was the AM radio of my youth. I occasionally will try to tune into WCTS but most times driving out of downtown the reception is poor. Our radio listening: 10 min to a classical FM station to the clock radio to wake up. XM Sirius in the car ... mainly classical. My first car ('68 bug) came with no radio. I installed an AM radio. My brother, who was always uber-cool, only listened to FM

9.04.2013

On Mortgage Loan Qualifications for Retirees

Loan Qualifications for Retirees
Excerpt:


Retirees trying to obtain a mortgage may find that a pristine credit history and healthy retirement accounts are not enough. Lenders are also looking for a consistent monthly income in line with their usual debt-to-income standards.

Sanford Evans, 75, ran up against this requirement recently when he applied for a $174,000 loan to finance the purchase of an apartment in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. With brokerage accounts exceeding $1 million, a TransUnion credit score of 822, and the ability to make a 40 percent down payment, Mr. Evans didn’t anticipate any problem with qualifying. “I would have paid cash,” he said, “but the interest rates are so low it didn’t make financial sense to do it. I figured this was going to be as easy as it’s been in the past.”

But despite the loan officer’s initial assurances that the loan would close quickly, Mr. Evans, who was moving from a condo in Boston, endured delays that dragged on for months. The problem, he was told, was his income. He received Social Security and monthly dividend distributions, and supplemented these earnings with part-time medical writing for a Boston hospital. Yet he still came up short. The lender wouldn’t count the writing income because he was moving away from Boston.
Comment: We've heard this same story from 2 retirees we know.

9.03.2013

The Alawites - why Syria is so bloody and complex



9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask

Excerpt:

Most Syrians are Sunni Arabs, but the country is run by members of a minority sect known as Alawites (they’re ethnic Arab but follow a smaller branch of Islam). The Alawite government rules through a repressive dictatorship and gives Alawites special privileges, which makes some Sunnis and other groups hate Alawites in general, which in turn makes Alawites fear that they’ll be slaughtered en masse if Assad loses the war. (There are other minorities as well, such as ethnic Kurds and Christian Arabs; too much to cover in one explainer.) Also, lots of Syrian communities are already organized into ethnic or religious enclaves, which means that community militias are also sectarian militias. That would explain why so much of the killing in Syria has developed along sectarian lines. It would also suggest that there’s not much anyone can do to end the killing because, in Zakaria’s view, this is a painful but unstoppable process of re-balancing power.
Bashar Assad's grandfather's amazing 1936 letter to France

Excerpt:

The Alawite nation [sic] which has maintained its independence over the years by dint of much zeal and many casualties, is a nation which is different from the Muslim Sunni nation in its religious faith, in its customs and in its history. It has never happened that the Alawite nation [which lives in the mountains on the Western coast of Syria] was under the rule of the [Muslims]who rule the inland cities of the land. The Alawite nation refuses to be annexed to Muslim Syria, because the Islamic religion is thought of as the official religion of the country, and the Alawite nation is thought of as heretical by the Islamic religion. Therefore we ask you to consider the dreadful and terrible fate that awaits the Alawites if they are forced to be annexed to Syria, when it will be free from the oversight of the Mandate, and it will be in their power to implement the laws that stem from its religion.
Comment: Conclusion: We are unlikely to improve the situation

9.01.2013

The absolute incompatibility between Judeo-Christian and Islamic monotheism

The Shema


"Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one"
The Shahada


There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Comment: You can believe neither, but you cannot believe both! As for messengers:


For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:4-6
Comment: That would be the absolute incompatibility between the Christian and Islamic faith. More on. Per the Quran: "He said: "I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet". It is blasphemy to claim that Jesus serves Allah!

Common sense on Syria