2.28.2015

What do "The Corner", "Caleb's Kola", and "U.S. Taco Co." have in common?





As tastes change, food companies try donning hipster guises

Excerpt:

At a taco shop in Southern California, milkshakes are served in mason jars and a chalkboard menu lists "The 1%er" made with lobster meat. The logo is a pink skull and instead of buzzers, customers are given license plates so servers can identify them when bringing out orders. Nowhere is it evident that the U.S. Taco Co. is an outpost of a chain better known for cheesy gut bombs: Taco Bell.
Comment: Image sources: Link, link, link.

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!

2.18.2015

Because there is no easy way to put the toothpaste back in the tube.



White House Struggles on Immigration Ruling

Excerpt:

It could ask the federal appeals court in New Orleans, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, for a stay of Judge Hanen’s preliminary injunction. But that could be an uphill fight in a court dominated by Republican appointees. A stay is ordinarily granted to preserve the status quo. Were the program to move forward, its benefits and protections might be hard to take back. Without his preliminary injunction, Judge Hanen wrote, “There will be no effective way of putting the toothpaste back in the tube.” Any decision by the appeals court on a stay application would almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court.
Comment: They only have to drag this out 23 more months! See also Texas judge's immigration rebuke may be hard to challenge. Text of State of Texas vs United State of America. See President Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration

Samsung buys LoopPay ... ApplePay competitor



Samsung Makes Move Into Mobile Payments

Excerpt:

Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday that it had acquired a U.S. startup whose technology is likely to underpin the South Korean technology giant’s new mobile-payment service. The deal to buy LoopPay Inc. of Burlington, Mass., represents the clearest signal that Samsung intends to compete aggressively with Apple Inc. in trying to change consumer behavior at the checkout counter. For Samsung, the LoopPay acquisition marks a further foray into building up an ecosystem of software and services that can set its smartphones apart from an increasingly crowded field of handset makers running Google ’s Android platform.
Comment: LoopPay site

Would Italy's 5,000 man army be a match against ISIS?



Italy Fears ISIS Invasion From Libya
Excerpt:


Last weekend in Italy, as the threat of ISIS in Libya hit home with a new video addressed to “the nation signed with the blood of the cross” and the warning, “we are south of Rome,” Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi shuttered up the Italian embassy in Tripoli and raised his fist with the threat of impending military action. Never mind that Italy has only 5,000 troops available that are even close to deployable, according to the defense ministry. Or that the military budget was cut by 40 percent two years ago, which has kept the acquisition of 90 F-35 fighter jets hanging in the balance and left the country combat-challenged to lead any mission—especially one against an enemy like the Islamic State.
Comment: Image source. By way of comparison, NYPD's current uniformed strength is approximately 34,500.

2.16.2015

Coming - GREXIT (Greek existing the Eurozone)



Greece rejects extension of bailout under terms offered by eurozone finance ministers

Excerpt:

Negotiations over how to keep Greece afloat broke down abruptly Monday, demonstrating a wide gulf between Athens and its European creditors and triggering a new, heightened state of uncertainty about the country’s future inside the currency bloc. The collapse in talks among eurozone finance ministers leaves Greece and its lenders racing to reach a new financing deal for the indebted country before its existing bailout plan expires. The ministers called off the negotiating session just a few hours after it began, saying Greece left them little hope of securing an agreement. The ministers, in turn, presented the new left-wing government in Athens with an ultimatum: Agree to an extension of the current €240 billion ($272 billion) bailout by the end of the week or lose the lifeline of rescue loans that have sustained Greece for nearly five years. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, oppose the terms of the rescue deal from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund, saying they are hurting its economy and society. “It’s not a bluff, because it’s the only option we have,” Mr. Varoufakis said of his government’s position after the meeting. “It’s plan A, there is no plan B.” If the bailout ends as scheduled on February 28, the Greek government will lose access to the last €7.2 billion slice of its current bailout, potentially leaving it unable to make debt repayments looming in March. That could, in the worst case, trigger a series of events that would force Greece out of the eurozone.
Comment: The Eurozone would be better off without Greece. But the West is concerned Greece will align with Putin. But Greece's finances would be a drag on the Russian economy. Image source.
This article is 5 years old but probably about accurate: Greece's economy is same size as Dallas-Fort Worth's

2.10.2015

The "school of Thumper" and the danger of silence in the face of evil



A decade of studying Islam

Excerpt:

Since 9/11, we've all been in school, studying up on Islam. But we've been to two different schools. In a nutshell, one says that Islam is a great religion with awesome accomplishments, now wounded by misfortune and embarrassed by extremists who've perverted its basically wholesome message. The other says that Islam is a false and dangerous ideology, bad to the bone, flawed from its founding. The first is led by the likes of Joseph Esposito and Karen Armstrong; the other by Robert Spencer and Mark Durie (and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bat Ye'or, Nonie Darwish and others). Having "attended" both schools, I'm not convinced the first should be accredited and I'm urging folks to matriculate in the other. Of course, both schools grant the other a point here and there ("Yes, that's an unfortunate verse in the Quran"; "Yes, the Moorish Alhambra palace in Spain is impressive.") But the differences are substantial and critical. (And yes, the majority of Muslims aren't aggressive and oppressive, but the majority of Baptists aren't evangelistic or sacrificial in giving. You don't define a faith by the behavior of its slackers or its observants who lack the numbers and power to fully advance their agenda, as is currently the case with Muslims in the West.) I'm afraid our recent presidents haven't been too helpful in clearing things up. I understand the need for diplomacy, but I wish President Bush hadn't proclaimed amiably but naively that Islam was a "religion of peace" and that President Obama hadn't declared in Cairo that Islam "carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment." Neither statement will stand up to scrutiny. .... I've spoken of two schools of thought, but actually there's a third, the school of Thumper, who was pressed to recall his father's instructions in Bambi, "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all." I fear that many of us have studied too long there. Remember those who were upset with Franklin Graham when he called Islam a "wicked and evil" religion? They murmured that such talk was "provocative" and "counter-productive." But I would urge them to revisit Mount Carmel, where Elijah felt no need to palliate the prophets of Baal with assurances that their religion was great and that it had made some impressive contributions. And you don't find the apostles and church fathers "building bridges of understanding and cooperation" or "cultivating mutuality" with emperor worship or Gnosticism. You can be civil without being feeble. So let's save room for plain speaking on these matters, even as that room is locked in Muslim-majority countries. And let's not be cowed by charges of "Islamophobia" when we rehearse the unmatched, bloody record of Muslim terrorist attacks, running from A to Z -- literally -- even in the last two months: Abuja (Nigeria); Beersheba (Israel); Cherchell (Algeria) and Cotabato (Philippines); Dattykh (Ingushetia); Eilat (Israel); Fallujah (Iraq); Gombi (Nigeria); Hyhama (India); Iskandaryah (Iraq); Jamrud (Pakistan); Khasavyurt (Dagestan); Loder (Yemen); Mandera (Kenya); Nazran (Ingushetia); Oruzgan (Afghanistan); Pariang (Sudan) and Pattani (Thailand); Quetta (Pakistan); Ramadi (Iraq); Sar-Kuusta (Somalia) and Samalout (Egypt); Toronto (Canada) and Tunis (Tunisia); Uruzgan (Afghanistan); Vedono (Chechnya); West Nusa Tenggara (Indonesia); Xingjian (China); Yamata (Ghana); Zarqa (Jordan). (And you might check out thereligionofpeace.com for another 300 examples from that same brief time period.) Such talk may not be your calling or your cup of tea, but it has its place if I read my Bible right.

YEAH, WELL, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CRUSADES?

Excerpt:

The Crusades refer to a series of military expeditions over several centuries, beginning with the First Crusade in 1096 through the end of the Fifth Crusade in 1221, and continuing on in more sporadic fashion up until the Reformation. The term “Crusade” is not a medieval word. It is a modern word. It comes from crucesignati (“those signed by the cross”), a term used occasionally after the twelfth century to refer to what we now call “crusaders.” Contrary to popular opinion, the Crusades did not begin as a holy war whose mission was to convert the heathen by the sword. In fact, very few of the crusaders saw their mission as an evangelistic one. The initial purpose of the Crusades, and the main military goal throughout the Middle Ages, was quite simply to reclaim Christian lands captured by Muslim armies. The popular conception of barbaric, ignorant, cruel, and superstitious crusaders attacking peaceful, sophisticated Muslims comes largely from Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Talisman (1825) and Sir Steven Runciman’s three-volume History of the Crusades (1951-54), the latter of which concludes with the famous summation now shared by most everyone: “the Holy War itself was nothing more than a long act of intolerance in the name of God, which is the sin against the Holy Ghost.” Scott and Runciman did much to shape the entirely negative view of the Crusades, but it isn’t as if they had no material to work with. The Crusades were often barbaric and often produced spectacular failures. Children died needlessly. Coalitions splintered endlessly. Jews were sometimes persecuted mercilessly. Ancient cities were ransacked foolishly. And on occasion (e.g., the Wendish Crusade) infidels were forced to convert or die, while the crusaders holding the swords were guaranteed immortality. In short, many of the Christians who went to war under the sign of the cross conducted themselves as if they knew nothing of the Christ of the cross. But that’s not the whole story. The Crusades is also the story of thousands of godly men, women, and children who sacrificed time, money, and health to reclaim holy lands in distant countries overrun by Muslims. The Christians of the East had suffered mightily at the hands of the Turks and Arabs. It was only right, it seemed to medieval Christians, to go and help their fellow Christians and reclaim their land and property.

The President at the Prayer Breakfast

Excerpt:

The fact remains that Western civilization — and much of the world beyond — is directly threatened by a militant form of Islam that has the allegiance of millions of Muslims. While the vast majority of Muslims in the world are not fighters in a jihad against the West, and for that we must be thankful, the fact remains that the President’s own national security authorities directly disagree with the President when he recently said that “99.9 percent” of Muslims do not back Islamic terrorism. On Islam, President Obama is not the first to sow confusion on the issue. In the aftermath of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush argued over and over again that America is not at war with Islam. We can understand why a president would say this, and we also need to admit that there is an important element of truth in the statement. The West is not at war with Islam if that means a war against all Muslims and against all forms of Islam. But, true as that statement may be, we must also be clear that we are facing a great and grave civilizational challenge from millions of Muslims who believe, quite plausibly, that their version of Islam is more faithful to the essence of Islam and the Quran. This understanding of Islam is growing, not receding. It is now drawing thousands of young Muslims from both Europe and North America to join the jihad. We have seen the hopes of a moderating Arab Spring dashed and we have seen the rise of even more brutal and deadly forms of jihad in groups such as the Islamic State. Clearly, there are millions of Muslims who do believe that God condones terror. They celebrate the fact that Muhammad was a warrior, and they understand that it is their responsibility as faithful Muslims to bring the entire world under the rule of Sharia law. Their actions are driven by a theological logic that has roots in the Quran, in the founding of Islam, and in the history of Islamic conquest.
Comment: One may conclude that Christianity is false. One may conclude that Islam is false. But both cannot be true! Image  = Thumper from Bambi

Ronald Read's Investment Plan



Janitor bequeaths millions to library, hospital

Excerpt:

Perhaps the only clue that Ronald Read, a Vermont gas station attendant and janitor who died last year at age 92, had been quietly amassing an $8 million fortune was his habit of reading the Wall Street Journal, his friends and family say. It was not until last week that the residents of Brattleboro would discover Read's little secret. That's when the local library and hospital received the bulk of his estate, built up over the years with savvy stock picks."Investing and cutting wood, he was good at both of them," his lawyer Laurie Rowell said on Wednesday, noting that he read the Journal every day. Most of those who knew Read, described as a frugal and extremely private person, were aware that he could handle an axe. But next to no one knew how well he was handling his financial portfolio.
Here's how a janitor amassed an $8M fortune

Excerpt:

Ronald Read, a Vermont gas station attendant and janitor, invested in recognizable names when he amassed an $8 million fortune, according to his attorney. A large part of that fortune was later bequeathed to an area library and hospital after his death, stunning a community that had no idea about his wealth. Most of Read's investments were found in a safe deposit box, Read's attorney, Laurie Rowell, told CNBC. Those investments included AT&T (NYSE:T), Bank of America (BAC), CVS (CVS), Deere (DE), GE (GE)and General Motors (GM). "He only invested in what he knew and what paid dividends. That was important to him," she said in an interview with " Closing Bell ." Read, who died at 92, has been described as quiet and frugal. No one appeared to have any idea that he was so wealthy, including his stepchildren, Rowell said. Read More Janitor bequeaths millions to library, hospital Financial expert Chris Hogan, a strategist with Ramsey Solutions, applauded Read's diligence and believes others can follow his example. "It's a matter of living a certain way, keeping your lifestyle under control and being committed," he said. For example, to reach Read's $8 million fortune, Hogan calculated that investors would have to invest about $300 a month at an 8 percent interest rate over 65 years.
Comments (summing it up):

  • Living simply
  • Investing consistently
  • Investing cautiously (low risk dividend stocks)
  • Also helping ... living a long life!


2.09.2015

Triple Espresso



Triple Espresso Returns to Minneapolis

Kathee and I went to see Triple Espresso at the Music Box Theater this week. Very much fun! Family entertainment. Highly recommended!

69 is the new 49?




A Retirement Age of 100? It’s Coming


Excerpt:

On the left is the famous artist Albrecht Durer’s portrait of his 63-year-old mother in 1514. On the right is the lovely actress Helen Mirren at the same age, more recently. .. In other words, the good news is that we’re living longer and, for the most part, healthier, than in the past. Both our mental and physical functioning in later life exceed that of our forefathers and foremothers. My own parents, born in 1916 and 1922, faced a life expectancy of around 45 at birth. Surviving to age 60 was rare in the old days, while today, age 80 is touted as “the new 60” and centenarians (age 100+) are our fastest growing age group. At the same time, we must be alert to the reality that it’s now much more expensive to retire than it used to be. A baby born today could live to age 150 or beyond, a reality that will drastically alter your perspective about your own, as well as your children’s and grandchildren’s retirements. My mom and dad retired three decades ago with a secure defined-benefit pension and retiree medical insurance, reliable Social Security and Medicare benefits, and a house that had appreciated over time. They didn’t need to save a lot, nor did their savings need to stretch very far, given their secure income streams.
Comment: Top image is indeed Albrecht Durer’s 63-year-old mother in 1514. Bottom image is Helen Mirren at 69.

2.07.2015

Governor Mark Dayton,: "one of the most idiotic things I've ever seen"

Gov. Dayton calls new Wisconsin tourism TV ads 'idiotic' Excerpt:

Gov. Mark Dayton, who rarely misses a chance to bash Minnesota's neighbors to the east, has branded a TV ad campaign for Wisconsin tourism as "one of the most idiotic things I've ever seen." The ads play off the 1980 disaster movie spoof "Airplane." Actor Robert Hays and former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who appeared in the film, are reunited in the cockpit of an airplane that's flying low over scenes of Wisconsin tourism. "I know! But Wisconsin is so beautiful in the summer!" Hays says in one ad, after a control tower warning that he's flying too low. He and Abdul-Jabbar proceed to trade memorable quips from the movie.
Comment: They are kind of lame!

2.06.2015

Brian Williams's Fantasyland



NBC sets up Brian Williams ‘Truth Squad’
Excerpt:


NBC News has quietly set up a “Brian Williams truth squad” to investigate his tall tales. The unit consists of a handful of producers and reporters who are initially focusing on his now-much-questioned Hurricane Katrina stories. After there was no mention of the scandal Thursday on NBC’s morning news calls, including the 9:30 a.m. “Nightly News” call, Williams turned up in person Friday morning to apologize to the news division.
Comments:

2.04.2015

Jordan's King Abdullah channels Will Munny




After ISIS execution, angry King Abdullah quotes Clint Eastwood to U.S. lawmakers


Excerpt:

Members of the House Armed Services Committee met with Jordan's King Abdullah Tuesday not long after news broke that ISIS had burned to death a Jordanian pilot captured in the fight against the terrorist group. In a private session with lawmakers, the king showed an extraordinary measure of anger — anger which he expressed by citing American movie icon Clint Eastwood. "He said there is going to be retribution like ISIS hasn't seen," said Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr., a Marine Corps veteran of two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, who was in the meeting with the king. "He mentioned 'Unforgiven' and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, and he actually quoted a part of the movie." Hunter would not say which part of "Unforgiven" the king quoted, but noted it was where Eastwood's character describes how he is going to deliver his retribution. There is a scene in the picture in which Eastwood's character, William Munny, says, "Any man I see out there, I'm gonna kill him. Any son of a bitch takes a shot at me, I'm not only going to kill him, I'm going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down."
Comment: The quote from The Unforgiven:
All right, I'm coming out. Any man I see out there, I'm gonna shoot him. Any sumbitch takes a shot at me, I'm not only gonna kill him, but I'm gonna kill his wife, all his friends, and burn his damn house down.

2.02.2015

Al Sharpton's "history of noncompliance with tax obligations"

Every for-profit enterprise started by Al Sharpton has been shut down in at least one jurisdiction for failure to pay taxes

Excerpt:

So far, every for-profit enterprise started by Al Sharpton and known to National Review Online has been shut down in at least one jurisdiction for failure to pay taxes, a review of public records in New York and Delaware reveals. Records show that Sharpton’s beleaguered for-profit entities often overlap and intertwine, some sharing ties with the reverend’s nonprofit organization, National Action Network. Their financial records are copious, confusing, and sometimes outright bizarre, and together, they depict persistent financial woes for Sharpton, who also personally owes New York State nearly $596,000, according to active tax warrants. “He clearly appears — based on the information that’s available to us — to have a history of noncompliance with tax obligations,” says Bernadette Schopfer, the director of taxation at New York’s Maier Markey & Justic, a certified public-accounting firm that has had no dealings with Sharpton or National Action Network. “It appears that [Sharpton] does not file [taxes for his businesses], and then opens up something else. At all the entities we see he has opened up, he has not been compliant with the obligations of the owner of a business. . . . He’s either willful in his behavior, or he’s just sloppy.”
Comment: Buds with the Pres ... see earlier post.