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In remembrance of 9/11…
Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week
Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Here’s what caught my attention over the past week…
The Oblivious Investor – Inspired by President Obama’s recent weekly address, Mike asked us to weigh in on whether retirement should be another government entitlement. Of course, I had to get in on the resulting post-article commentary too! I’m sure my regular readers know what my views would be on this. In any case, stop by Mike’s site and and give him your two cents (after taxes, of course).
MoneyEnergy – ME had an article this week highlighting the United Nation’s recent report calling for a new reserve world currency. Probably the biggest benefit of the US Dollar having that unique distinction is that it allows the US government to borrow more heavily than it could do so otherwise. As I told ME, I suspect that the UN has little direct influence on this topic. That’s not to say that I don’t think the US Dollar will eventually lose its status as the world’s reserve currency – just that when it does happen, it won’t be because of anything the UN says.
MoneyWatch – From the Department of Overkill: Rob featured this instructional video on YouTube from a news organization explaining how we can safely cut up our credit cards in order to prevent identity theft. The solution: 16 separate cuts followed by dispersing the itty-bitty little pieces into multiple trash bags. They obviously forgot to recommend dispersing the multiple trash bags into separate land fills as well. You can never be too safe you know.
Money Musings – MM discussed a new survey that found that 17 percent of Cash for Clunkers participants already have doubts about their new-vehicle purchase. How could that be, you ask? Well, it turns out these folks figured out after the fact that their new car payments might negatively impact the total family budget more than expected prior to buying the new vehicle. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
The Smarter Wallet – Stacey caught my attention this week with an article pondering whether or not the increased use of e-mail and social networks by people to save money on postage will close the post office – at least for an extra day each week. As I told Stacey, I think cutting mail delivery from six to five days a week is a terrific idea and long over due. With so many alternatives available to us for weekend deliveries, I don’t think many of us would miss it if the post office was closed over the entire weekend.
Credits and Debits
Credit: Apparently, the recession has hit panhandlers hard too - nobody is buying the old “Will Work for Food” ploy anymore. These recent photographs show how street bums have adapted by making their woe-is-me signs more creative in order to compete for dwindling handouts. If these new signs don’t work, the street beggars may have to resort to something really drastic, like actually applying for a job. ;-)
Credit: Speaking of jobs…first-time claims for jobless benefits fell more than expected last week. The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to a seasonally adjusted 550,000 from an upwardly revised 576,000 in the previous week. Despite this good news, unemployment claims remain significantly above levels associated with a healthy economy and indicate that jobs remain scarce.
Debit: Have you noticed that consumers’ pull-back in spending has forced retailers to adjust by stocking shelves with less-expensive but slimmed-down products like smaller milk jugs, half-sized pies, and stripped-down products such as blouses with less-frilly designs and detergents with less powerful cleaning action? You may think prices are staying stable or even dropping but, then again, maybe those bargains aren’t really bargains at after all.
Debit: Your stimulus money at work: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent $51,500 of stimulus money on nine mascot costumes and robots, including Bobber the Water Safety Dog and Seamoor the Sea Serpent Robot to teach children all about water safety. Hey! When they’re finished, do you think maybe Bobber and Seamoor can run up to Washington and teach President Obama and the congressmen who voted for the bogus trillion-dollar “stimulus” bill how to prevent our country from drowning in red ink?
Credit: Cartoonist Michael Ramirez reminds us all why letting the government handle our health care is a great idea. Not!
Debit: According to research by the London School of Economics, contraception is almost five times cheaper as a means of preventing global warming than conventional green technologies. Ya think? If only we could get humans to stop reproducing entirely – that would be even better! This study only adds more credence to those who continue to argue that the “climate change” movement is more about anti-consumption, anti-growth and anti-capitalism than it is about the environment.
Other Useless News – My Biggest Traffic Day Ever on Wednesday!
Powered by my article on The 10 Most Overpaid Jobs, which got a big boost (for me anyway) by Tip’d and the Houston Chronicle, Wednesday was my biggest traffic day ever at Len Penzo dot Com! I had 986 page views and over 510 unique visitors for the day. Hooray! Even better, prior to that spike I was still averaging over 240 page views and 130 unique visitors for the previous five days – continuing a rapid and exciting rate of growth that started a little over a month ago. :-)
I want to say “thank you” to all of you who choose to spend a minute or two of your valuable time here at my little ‘ol site. It is truly gratifying to know that somebody other than relatives are stopping by for a visit! By the way, this site is supposed to be interactive, so I want to encourage you to please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts – whether you agree or disagree with me!
Hey! I Got A Letter…
Somebody that goes by the monicker ”gilman” sent me a note tactifully suggesting I find a better picture of myself on the “About” page. Okay. Done. By the way, I managed to pick a photo with the Honeybee in it too – since she is involved in my weekly Thursday afternoon movie reviews. Gilman, I hope this new picture meets your standards. Unfortunately for guys like me, you can’t fix ugly!
The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts You May Have Missed
From February 2009:
What Girl Scout Cookies Can Teach Us About Mortgages – Although this article applies to anybody who expects to eventually buy a home, I think first-time home buyers will find this article especially helpful. I promise it will save you a lot of potential heartache.
Update: My Shameless RSS Experiment — Week 13
This is week 13 of My Shameless RSS Experiment. I continue to move closer to my goal of getting 100 subscribers. Ironically, despite my record week, I only got two more new subscribers this week – go figure. Still, I remain comfortably over the hump and within shouting distance of the goal line.
As always, if you like what you’re reading please take a moment to subscribe. I’d really appreciate it! And, as always, thanks to all of you who have already chosen to follow me here at Len Penzo dot Com!
Last week I had articles featured in the following carnivals:
- Carnival of Twenty Something Finances hosted at Money Save Tip
- Chili Con Carne hosted at Hormel
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