Monthly Archives: May 2011

How Much Does Health Insurance Cost?

I haven’t posted this in awhile.  How much does health insurance cost?

In my ZIP code, a 30 year old man with no wife or kids can get coverage for $66.05 a month.

Are the uninsured really uninsured because they CAN’T be insured or because they CHOSE not to be insured?

Housing Market: Foreclosures and Defaults

We have a long way to go folks.

If you need further proof, just check out this story:

Strategic default — opting to walk away from a mortgage you can afford — isn’t a new phenomenon in the housing crisis. But with home values continuing to decline, more owners are finding themselves in a position where they may see it as a savvy business decision to destroy their credit rather than wait years for prices to recover.

Likier put almost 20 percent down to purchase a $312,000 townhouse in Westmont in 2006 and lived there until two years ago, when he remarried and bought a home in Chicago Ridge.

He listed the townhouse for $249,000, figuring he would bring $20,000 to the closing table to facilitate a deal. The listing has since dropped to $179,000, which is lower than the unit sold for when it was built in 1999. He stopped paying the mortgage in January and recently was served with foreclosure papers.

And the real killer?

Despite the fact that he and his wife are employed and have an annual household income near $150,000, he’s comfortable with his decision.

Yowza.  A tough decision.  And one I agree with.

See, when working with contracts and finances, the deal is what the deal is.  The bank is no more willing to do the right thing” than you should be.

So this makes sense:

“I did a lot of soul-searching about whether it was morally the right thing to do,” he said. “I felt there was no moral obligation to make a payment. The contract says it’s a financial obligation, not a moral obligation.

“I was in a boat with a slow leak. It was manageable, but I know I was slowly sinking.”

Until we stop that sinking, we’re going to see more and more of this.

Peak Oil? We’ll Never Burn Our Last Drop Of Oil

Long before we get to the very last drop of oil, we;ll have identified another form of fuel for our society.  It may be another form of fossil fuel, it may be solar or it may be wave.  In any event, the idea that the work will run out of oil and the implication that our society will wither and fade away is ridiculous.

As people who make money on oil begin to realize that were close to running out of oil, they’ll raise the price of said oil.  And when THAT happens, that new fuel will be found.

Fortunately, we may already have taken a step in that direction:

Sanford, N.C. — Geologists have wrapped up research on natural gas deposits in central North Carolina and are awaiting an assessment from the U.S. Geological Survey in July.

North Carolina Geological Survey chief Kenneth Taylor says his assessment shows that Lee, Chatham and Moore counties could produce enough natural gas to power the whole state for 40 years.

40 years.

Of power.

No oil.

What could prevent this awesome resource from being utilized?


But state law would have to change to allow horizontal drilling and a process known as fracturing that uses chemicals and water to force natural gas from shale.


North Carolina Unemployment Benefits

It’s tough.  It really is.

There’s a ton of us out there without work; we all know someone who’s looking for a job, a shot.  And as long as they’re out there, shouldn’t we do what we can and give ’em the support they’ve worked for all these years?  Isn’t that the right thing to do?


And I’ll tell ya why.

Continue reading

Tornadoes Trends and Global Warming

It’s been a tough spring.  We’ve seen storms ravage the south from Alabama to North Carolina.  And just today, Missouri was hammered.

It’s an active storm season to be sure.  But is this just weather or is it Global Warming:

…the jet stream forces in April were among the strongest ever recorded, possibly because of La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean. A La Niña pattern, which leads to cooler water conditions around the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, is associated with wetter and stormier conditions through the middle of the country as cooler air from Canada surges into warm moisture heading north — made warmer, many climate scientists say, by climate change.

Ahh yes…Climate Change – Global Warming – AGW!  Of course!

It has to be Global Warming, right?

Well, maybe not.

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Obama and Bush: Compare and Contrast

I work in corporate America.  The company I work at is huge; massive.  I’m not a superstar.  I’m not an over achiever.  I’m a pretty low level manager in fact.  But – BUT I know what makes a team tick.

I know what a good manager should say and what a bad manager does say.

In my years as a corporate denizen I’ve come to learn to fear the characteristics of a bad leader.  And I’ve learned to identify those characteristics.

A good example of what I’m talking about is illustrated below.  Each man was President when a sought after criminal was captured or shot:

First take the words of Dubya:

The success of yesterday’s mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq . The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator’s footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force.  Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers in the hunt for members of the fallen regime, and in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people. Their work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate ’em.

And the compare them to the words of Obama:

And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network. Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan . And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad , Pakistan .

I’m not sure you can sum up the effectiveness of a Presidency in so few words, but you can get a hint at the style of the man.

Go ahead – read it again.

You’ll begin to see the difference between a man comfortable in his role as leader and a man who isn’t sure; is running scared.

Obama wasn’t qualified when he won.  And he isn’t qualified now.

And that’s my point.

The Middle Class – Part II

The middle class. The Great MC.

What is it, how is it defined? Is it growing? Shrinking? Is it, more importantly, being exploited by the rich and the powerful to enable their largess?

Is Obama right? Is it true, in fact, that the folks-the “Us”- are being used and manipulated in some grand game to keep the rich richer?

For me, the rhetoric needs substance; needs some form of validation. There has to be some means by which the idea has a backdrop to judge the truth. There has to be a definition of the middle class that we can use to see if, in fact, what is being said is true. Or not true. And for me, it comes down to two things:

  1. The earnings of the middle class.
  2. The life style, or things, that the middle class can buy.

So, let’s take a look:

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Philadelphia Cops vs. The Citizen

Woe to the citizens of Philadelphia if you are acting within the constraints of the law AND the cops don’t like know that law.  At least that’s the message from the cops when it comes to citizens excercising their right to carry a gun.  In full sight.  With a permit.

You see, it seems that cops in Philly are able to decide their own laws OR they don’t feel the need to know/abide by laws on the books.

Consider Mark Fiorino and his recent run in with the law:

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Hurricane Season 2011: May Predictions

Hurricane season is almost here.  June 1 marks the official beginning of the start of that season.  It’s from now until November that storm activity in the Atlantic starts to produce storms and hurricanes.

This year the US Government is predicting another busy year:

As many as 18 named tropical storms may develop during the six-month Atlantic hurricane season that begins June 1, according to forecasters at the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. Six to 10 of those storms could strengthen into hurricanes with top winds of at least 74 mph, the agency said. Three to six could become major hurricanes, with maximum winds of 111 mph and up.

As I mentioned, this is seen as a busy storm season, however, not as busy as last year:

So, how’d they do?

  • Named Storms – 19
  • Hurricanes – 12
  • Major Hurricanes – 5

It’ll be close, but so far, they don’t think we’ll get to where we were last year.  And of course, the really important measurement of hurricanes is how many of ’em hit land.  We were lucky last year and in fact, we haven’t had a major hit in 5 years.

Here’s to continued good luck!

Investing and Profits: Open Thread For Populists

I am going to offer you a choice between two investments.  You may pick one.  Here are your choices:

Investment Romulus:  You invest money with me and I will return $10.00 in profit.

Investment Remus:  You invest money with me and I will return $17.50 in profit.

Now, which of the two investments do you want; Romulus or Remus?