Let’s Hit the Links: Week #7

Mmm...cookies

Many years ago, I led my daughter’s Girl Scout troop during cookie sale season. These girls were ruthless. They met their sales goal and earned a camping trip to the now-defunct Peppermill Hotel and Casino in Mesquite, NV.  What? You thought they were going to sleep on the ground, pee in a hole in the ground and subsist on campfire rations?

Selling cookies taught the girls how to: 1) set and achieve a goal; 2) convince someone to buy something unnecessary; and 3) manipulate their parents into helping them succeed.  It prepared each girl for the life of an entrepreneur. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a box of Thin Mints and help a girl succeed.

This crazy article about finding your cat-loving soul mate is from PetPlace.com

If there is a lack of cat talk, that is not a good sign. Somebody who doesn’t make cats part of your initial chat may not want to be part of you (sic) or your cat’s real life later on.

Is this site funny? I can’t decide.

The advice in this Huffington Post piece entitled 15 Gay Reasons to Watch the Super Bowl (Not Counting Madonna) is timeless:

Tom Brady is very, very handsome. Remember all those pics from VMan a few years back? And Eli Manning, though not as Bruce-Weber-ly handsome as Brady, possesses his own dorky cuteness. (They tried to dress him up for Men’s Vogue a few years back. An adorable effort.)

Here are dueling trash Trent Hamm posts from Control Your Cash:

Trent Hamm is a 30-something American who claims to function in the modern world. People actually read this dunderhead. By the way, his stratagem about taking showers (and using underarm deodorant) comes from the same invaluable post in which he tells us to brush our teeth.

and Financial Uproar:

Trent goes on to explain that you could save $10 per year by just adjusting the temperature. He doesn’t actually bother to do the math or anything (this isn’t such a bad thing) he just pulls the number out of his ass.

Because I’m not done with football yet, here’s a fascinating article from NFL.com’s new Football Freakanomics blog:

Our latest Football Freakonomics episode — the last one this season — argues that the draft is much more of a crapshoot than most of its practitioners would have us think. The evidence is everywhere. Consider the research of research of Cade Massey and Richard Thaler, who find top draft picks to be seriously overvalued.

 

What did you do last weekend?

Yep, that's a moat

 

From Wikipedia:

The Dry Tortugas, [Commodore John Rodgers] reported, consisted of 11 small keys and surrounding reefs and banks, over which the sea broke. There was an outer and an inner harbor. The former afforded a safe anchorage at all seasons, and was large enough to let a large number of ships ride at anchor. Of more importance, the inner harbor combined a sufficient depth of water for ships-of-the-line, with a narrow entrance of not more than 120 yards. Rogers said that if a hostile power should occupy the Dry Tortugas, United States shipping in the Gulf would be in deadly peril, and “nothing but absolute naval superiority” could prevail. However, if occupied and fortified by the U.S., the Dry Tortugas would constitute the “advance post” for a defense of the Gulf Coast.

The fort, which takes up almost all of Garden Key, was never finished. It’s now a ghost town 67 miles west of Key West, FL, and comprises most of Dry Tortugas National Park. Access to Garden Key is via seaplane or daily scheduled ferry. There’s a cadre of National Park staff and a small vistor center/bookstore, but no other public facilities.  There’s great snorkeling, tours of the fort* (ranger- or self-guided) and a moat. The tour’s highlight is the cell where Dr. Samuel Mudd was incarcerated after he was convicted for conspiracy in the assasination of Abraham Lincoln. In 2010 just 53,890 people visited Dry Tortugas.

Carnivals and Links:

No carnivals this week but Dr. Dean of the Millionaire Nurse threw me some link love.

Product Placement:

The Business of Your Business: Formula, Financials, Function and Freedom

I wrote this class for the Women’s Council of REALTORS® but the information and tactics work for anyone who wants to start or improve their business.

By the end of the online video course, you’ll be able to:

  • Evaluate your net income and ensure increased profits by planning growth.
  • Position your personal production by leveraging your assets.
  • Manage your activities to create more money and personal freedom.
  • Organize your business, freeing up your time to concentrate on your personal investments.
Get more information here.

What’s on my Kindle:

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy By Caroline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss

Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell

Notes from the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win By Anne E. Kornblut

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West By Stephen Ambrose

Let’s Hit the Links: Week #6

 

Oh yeah!

 

Forget the Super Bowl. Read these articles instead. Okay, read them during the commercials.

This Deadspin article about the replay process is either groundbreaking or a waste of time. You decide.

44% of challenges on 1080i-broadcast games resulted in a reversal, compared to only 38% on 720p broadcasts. Taking the different number of challenges on each network into account, a replay challenge of a game broadcast on NBC, CBS, or the NFL Network was 5% more likely to reverse the call on the field than one on other networks.

Greg was welcomed back at ProBlogger with this article about blog carnivals.

I’m not talking about running guest posts, nor contributions from freelance or staff writers. I mean leveraging the work of dozens of other bloggers in your genre, for your mutual benefit.

Kathryn at Kathryn’s Conversations explains why ugly people have such a hard time in life:

Even when no sex is involved, good-looking people charm interviewers, get hired faster, are more likely to make more sales and get more raises. You look good and you’re compensated in return. People like to do business with people that they like, and people they like to look at. Being good at your job is a bonus.

Kathyrn’s bio tells us she’s “an expert in cutting through the onslaught of excess information; I read over fifty daily news briefs and pop culture trends (more on my research experience below), then curate and communicate any information that will help you to grow both financially and personally.”  Which means she can curate and communicate to us that attractive means to attract attention, prosperity and admirers.

I like when people agree with me. Eric Nisall at DollarVersity.com wrote:

Rather than choosing something that is realistic and achievable, people tend to set their sights on things that are unrealistic, then look to point the finger elsewhere rather than take responsibility and be accountable for the decisions they make. 

Keeping with the responsibility theme, Teacher Man from MyUniversityMoney.com tells recent college grads to (wo)man up and get on with their lives:

I can see the attraction to piking your head out of the proverbial gopher hole that is your university/college, being terrified of the chaos around you, and diving right back into safer surroundings in the form of a graduate degree.  This will definitely extend your period of youthful bliss and allow you to feel intellectually superior to man around you; HOWEVER, it is probably not what is best for you in the long-term, at least not from a personal finance perspective.

No wonder those college students don’t want to leave academia. Atlanta’s CBS TV affiliate looked into the startling trend of college students receiving food stamps.

A sum of $200 is awarded to program participants each month, which is to be used toward grocery bills.

According to this story, a basic meal plan at Georgia State University runs $1,700. Why doesn’t the state just buy these students said meal plan and save $700?

Finally, 2 entries from the category of “Who put this guy in charge of the economy?”

Steve Sailor wrote about the Obama family finances:

The Obama thinking appears to have been:

1. Borrow against home equity and consume.
2.
3. Get rich!

But, hey, it worked.

Over at the Washington TimesRichard Rahn takes a closer looks at the President’s proposed Buffett Rule:

 The actual tax rate Mitt Romney, Warren Buffett and most other wealthy people pay on dividends, when correctly calculated, is about 52%, as reported by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which includes the federal and state corporate-level profits tax burden, plus federal and state taxes on dividends.

There’s a lot more good stuff about double taxation, the difference between dividend, capital gains and ordinary income and how the US stacks up against other industrialized nations vis-a-vis the taxation of these different kinds of income.  Read it all before you start talking about inequity in the current tax system.

 

What did you do last weekend?

Exhausted after climbing Florida's highest (mole)hill

Britton Hill in Lakewood Park, Florida is the home to the lowest state high point. The park, along with commemorative marker (shown above), is so far north it’s almost in Alabama. According to Wikipedia: “ …as of 2010, the roof of the Four Seasons Hotel Miami is the highest non-natural point in Florida. Topping out at 789 feet, the tower is more than twice as high as Britton Hill

Carnivals and Links:

Don’t Mess with Taxes included my article Don’t Play Fair in the Tax Carnival #96-Dealing with Tax Dragons

Product Placement:

Receive paycheck – deposit – pay bills – hope you have enough to cover them – repeat. That’s no way to live. Nor does it have to be.

You’re just one person, with the same daily 24-hour allotment everyone else has. In other words, how much you can earn is far more limited than how much your money can earn. If you work 40 hours a week and want to double your income, there are two direct ways to do it:

1. Put your money to work for you.
2. Work 80 hours a week.

The people who build wealth via passive income vastly outnumber those who do it just by the sweat of their brows.

Read The Unglamorous Secret to Riches and find out how the people who earn more than you (while somehow having more time on their hands than you) manage to do so.

It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. You don’t have to sell anything, or even talk to anyone. AND NO, IT’S NOT MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING, EITHER. COME ON, GIVE US A LITTLE BIT OF CREDIT.
But it works. And it’s relatively simple. And no, it’s not particularly exciting.

Pick-up my latest eBook through Amazon Kindle:

What’s on my Kindle:

3 great business reads:

Winning by Jack Welch and Suzy Welch
Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Good to Great by Jim Collins

Let’s Hit the Links: Week #5

The Constitution, with its system of checks and balances, not only allows for gridlock, it practically guarantees some degree of it. The Founders knew that gridlock can be a very good thing. If nothing can be agreed upon in Washington, harm to the country is limited. Considering the Obama administration’s ideas of what caused our problems, and how to solve them, the wisdom of the founders certainly shines through today.

Ron Paul

Remember this quote the next time you read about how gridlock and obstruction in Washington are bad things. Ron Paul wants to reduce the impact of the federal government on its citizens’ lives, cut $1 trillion in spending during his first year in office, and restore individual liberty by returning to Constitutional basics.  You may not agree with (or like) everything he says, but you know he’ll stand by his beliefs.  That’s called integrity, a trait the other candidates would do well to emulate.

Still wondering which candidate is right for you? Take this quiz at Reason.com.

Here’s what I’m reading during the commercials in the Republican debates and State of the Union address:

Garth Turner  at the Greater Fool Blog (via Financial Uproar) sounds like he’s auditioning for a job at Control Your Cash:

Most people – the vast majority – will continue down their path to financial ruin. Utterly lacking in self-control, they’ll spend unearned money chasing stuff they want, but do not need. There’s no clear plan to repay any of this borrowing. Just a vague notion things will turn out, and an ingrained sense of entitlement.

Nelson from Financial Uproar, guest posting at Sustainable Personal Finance, explains the problem with electric cars:

The average Canadian spends about $2200 per year on gasoline. Even if driving a Volt cuts that down to $1100 per year, (which I think is a generous allowance) you’re still waiting 13 years before the investment becomes worth it. And that’s not factoring in a dime for the extra electricity needed to charge the thing.

Despite the cogent financial argument against electric (or hybrid) cars, the commenters still think electric cars are feasible.  The industry just needs more government subsidies and higher gas prices.  Of course the best way to get higher gas prices is to increase taxes.  It’s a win/win for big government and the electric car makers, and a great big loss for the taxpaying consumer.

My other half teamed up with the brilliant Paula Pant to pen this post championing content over clicks at ProBlogger:

But until the day the robots achieve sentience, there will always be an audience for innovative content spawned from inquisitive human minds. And unlike link analysis or pageview counts, worthwhile content is impossible to engineer artificially.

Megan McArdle at The Atlantic tries to do the math on the “Warren Buffett’s secretary pays more taxes” meme:

There is no way at all to pay effective federal income tax–or even effective federal income tax + payroll tax–that sums to 35.8%.  You can–just barely–get a marginal tax rate of 35.8% if she is making almost exactly the taxable social security limit of $110,000.

McArdle herself is best in small doses but her commenters are some of the smartest on the web.

We waded into the Suze Orman prepaid debit card controversy over at Control Your Cash with this account of Greg’s appearance on the self-proclaimed personal finance expert’s show.

Sister, your card is for people who will never be rich, largely because they’re swallowing advice undigested from an imbecile. Your card is only for people whose credit is already so horrible, no bank or credit union will let them open an account.

 

What did you do last weekend?

Crazy Horse's completed head is 87½' high.

Started in 1948, the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota is both huge and unfinished. The latter, because the foundation that owns it relies solely on private donations. The family-run foundation owns the land, supervises the building of the monument, and operates a bustling visitor center.  No taxpayer funds have been or will be used to build this magnificent tribute to the Oglala Lakota warrior.

Here’s the family’s mission statement:

  • Continuing the progress on the world’s largest mountain sculpture, carving a memorial to the spirit of legendary Lakota leader Crazy Horse and his culture;
  • Providing educational and cultural programming to encourage harmony and reconciliation among all people and nations;
  • Acting as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts and crafts through the Indian Museum of North America and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center;
  • And by establishing and operating the Indian University of North America, and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians

Here's what the finished monument will look like. It'll be 641' long and 563' high.

With Mount Rushmore just 17 scenic miles west, you can easily view both monuments in one trip.  In 2007 the LA Times wrote:

If you take a right turn on the way out of Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and head west on South Dakota 244, the two-lane route will take you winding through a gorgeous Black Hills medley of pines, slopes and jutting boulders.

Eventually, you reach U.S. 16, and turn south toward the town of Custer. But before you get there, you’ll see Custer’s nemesis on your left.

Carnivals and Links:

No joy.

Product Placement:

Still haven’t bought my book?

Create weelth, get rich,debt free

Here’s a free sample.

What’s on my Kindle:

End the Fed, Ron Paul

The Revolution, Ron Paul

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman