Thursday, January 31, 2008

Contacts Via Monster

I recently was contacted by an insurance company, who had viewed my resume. They wanted to offer me a chance to apply with them. Saying my "first year earnings, advances and bonuses can range from $45,000 to $75,000 for new representatives."

At first thought, I was like, wow, I could pay off all my debts (including the IRS and car) in 7 months with that kind of pay. Then, I did some research on the company and found that they have a lot of negative comments made against them and their job offerings.

Most of the complaints deal with unpaid training period of 2-4 weeks. Not to mention most of the new representatives quiting within 6 months, having only made $2,000.

I am not sure that all the complaints are completely valid, but I do know working completely on commission is hard work. I have done it. I was a telemarketer for a now defunct company known as Capital Carpet Systems. This company, paid their telemarketers (at the time) no base wage. The commission was $10 per appointment set, when the job was actually completed. At the time minimum wage was $3.45. As a bright-eyed go getter in my early 20's at the time, I was promised I could easily earn $50/day. Well as time went buy over the 3-4 months I was there, I became the one who got all the call backs, as others quit. I became the top seller in the room and I was working both shifts from 9 am-9 pm. Yet, I was only earning $50/week.

I stuck it out, until March, when I made all the "spring callbacks," for the spring cleaning. Once I had made all the callbacks, I I quite without notice. The only job, that I ever quit without notice. The only nice thing, is that because I didn't get paid until the job was actually completed, I was able to get paychecks for several weeks after I quit.

In April of that same year, I was hired for the first time by the company that I currently work for. I worked for them 5-years, before moving to Chicago for 2-years. Upon returning to Kansas, I worked for another grocery company for 2-years, then returned to my company company after they sold to Associated Wholesale Grocers. They then merged us with another grocery company they also owned 2-years ago. All-in-all, I have been with the company since 1999. Now piece by piece they are selling off the Kansas stores. Even though, we are told it's business as usual in the remaining stores, I am nervous and worried I won't have the opportunities to move on up.

That is why, I posted the resume on Monster.com. Perhaps, I should also look at careerbuilder.com to. In addition, I placed an application with a bank that wasn't listed on monster.com. I am just hopeful, that future hits on my Monster resume will be hourly or salaried jobs. Even though, I would love to try insurance sales, I am not in a position financially to live on nothing while I am building my sales commissions to a point that I could live on.



***Update, I was just contacted by a 2nd insurance company via Monster.com

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go ahead share your thoughts with me now.



Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The scoop behind the rumors

Some of the rumors that had been circulating around my company has proven to be true. Of course, like most of these type of rumors the truth is not as bad as the rumors.

Here is what has been shaking around my company:
  • Dillon's (aka Kroger's)is acquiring 2 of the four Price Chopper's in Topeka. The 2 Falley's (of which I work) has not been affected.

  • In addition Dillon's is also acquiring the 3 Homeland Stores in Wichita. Homeland is the parent company in the retail division of Associated Wholesale Grocery (AWG). Homeland in turn is a wholly owned subsidery of AWG.

  • Homeland is buying United Foods in Oklahoma. The United Stores will retain, the United banner as they become part of the Homeland organization.


  • Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. has agreed to buy four Dillons grocery stores in Shawnee and Olathe and Pleasant Hill, Mo., for an undisclosed price.

    The stores will be passed to independent retailers and supplied by Associated Wholesale in a deal expected to be completed by mid-February, according to a news release.

    Kansas City-based Cosentinos Food Stores said it would take over the locations at 22210 W. 66th St., Shawnee, and 2101 N. Missouri 7, Pleasant Hill, and convert them to Price Choppers.

    So there is the turmoil. My concern and that of many of my co-workers and employees is that with fewer stores in Topeka and Kansas for that matter, our opportunities for advancement are out the window. Because of those facts and the uncertainty of our future under our current ownership, a number of us have posted our resumes online at sites like Monster.com. This is no secret either. With me being one of the longest serving members and others having giving our life to the company, we feel betrayed by the company that has fed us these past few years.

    If I could find the investors to back me, I would happily lead a team to buy some of the remaining stores and ensure the jobs will still be available. Not to mention continue to serve neighborhoods with large elderly and pedestrian traffic.

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    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.



  • Billary

    No Billary!

    Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    Paying Debts, Productivity and Organization

    How you pay your debts can be viewed in your productivity and organizational skills. Part of that is panning ahead for the unexpected. That is the focus of the Money Monk, who wrote about saving and paying your debts recently.

    That has been the topic in someway of a number of bloggers recently. Saving Advice, recently posted 44 ways to improve your productivity. Below is part of Jeff's list and my comments on them.

  • TV - Jeff suggests watch very little TV. His advice is perfect. If you turn the TV off and get up off that couch (or easy chair) you can focus your attention to actually being productive.

  • Carry a pocket notebook - This something Jeff suggests, so he can write down ideas, when the thought hits you. Again a great idea, especially if you are a blogger. It doesn't mean, that you have to be a reporter and write everything down. However, when you get an idea, just write it down so you remember to research and write about it when you get home.

  • Lists - Like Jeff, I love lists. They help me to remember what I have to do, and I can check it off as I finish each task. It is invaluable to me at work as well. Remember, making a shopping list is the best way to shop, when on a budget.

    Another blogger, known online as Money Monk, wrote Paying off all debts before saving is foolery.

    The monks opinion is that saving is boring, but necessary. He suggests that it is foolery (Dave Ramsey would agree) to pay off your debts first. For me, I am so eager to get rid of my debts, I have focused more on the debt repayment, then I have my emergency fund.

    What would happen, if my car were to break down? Or my water heater were to blow up right now? Answer, I would be in a world of hurt, because I haven't been proactive of building my savings. That is the danger of not saving. We can make all the excuses in the world that we want to, but that's what they are, excuses.


    I have to be better about saving. I have to be prepared for the unexpected. Which really isn't unexpected, because we know that eventually they will happen. I do like to see my debts getting smaller, but I also need to get excited about seeing my savings grow as well.

    Finally, I and a number of my readers need to be better organized. A person who is organized (everything has its place) and has a clean abode and car, will also have an organized financial life. Not only that, but the savings and productivity will also fall into place because they are all part of being organized.

    Larry Winget says that he can bet these people he sees on those "clean my home," type programs that their finances are also a wreck. Especially, those people whose homes can't be gotten through, except for the small path in the room.


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    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.



  • Sunday, January 27, 2008

    Is a New Job in the Future?

    I know this may come as a shock to some of my readers, but I am considering a job change. Quite frankly, I love my job, but I am tired of not even earning $20,000. I must get to a position where, I am breaking that $20,000/year mark. It would be better, if I was making $25,000 or more, but I can not continue getting by on less then $20,000.

    There is my desire to have a political job, but facts are that I know retail and possibly banking best. For that reason, my focus will be on those areas. In addition, I am tired of the rumor mill that is consistently circulating around work (this has nothing to do with the typical, "who's sleeping with who", "who's doing what", etc kind of stuff) .

    So I posted my resume on Monster.com, to see what might happen. (Hey do you think Monster would pay me for this post?)

    Perhaps, if I could get a significant raise, they would be able to keep me, but as it stands now, I need to find another job.

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    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.



    Saturday, January 26, 2008

    Dave Ramsey, the Presidential Campaign and Taxes

    I have been hearing a number of people (even had visitors searching the search engines on this topic) asking who Dave Ramsey was endorsing for President. So, I decided to make a call to Brentwood, TN and ask the source directly.

    Beth Tallent, Director of Public Relations, said that Ramsey, typically stays out of politics unless it deals directly with finance.

    When asked, what his opinion of Mike Huckabee's Fair Tax was, she said that he hasn't addressed Huckabee's Fair Tax, although he has addressed the "Fair Tax" long before Mike Huckabee ever was a candidate. She then promised to get me a quote from Ramsey on the issue.

    Below is Dave Ramsey's thoughts on the Fair Tax:

    “I love the idea of the Fair Tax. The beauty of it is that by in large it’s a voluntary tax. If you don’t want to pay the tax, don’t buy something. I bought a car not long ago, and there’s a tax on that car when we record the title in the state of Tennessee where I live. And if I didn’t want to pay the tax, I didn’t buy the car. But when I bought the car, I knew the tax went with it. And that’s part of the thing. But it’s a voluntary tax and I like that part of it.”


    So there you have it. No endorsement from Ramsey, but he does seem to like the idea of the Fair Tax.



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    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.



    Friday, January 25, 2008

    How will you spend your tax rebate?


    I have been leery about writing this post, because, I am not sure i know enough to talk about it. However, after hearing a couple of local talk shows tackle the topic, I believe I am better informed at least enough to write this post in a certain style and format, that won't get me in trouble.

    First, individuals who pay income taxes would get up to $600, working couples $1,200 and those with children an additional $300 per child under the agreement. Workers who earn at least $3,000 but don't pay taxes would get $300 rebates. Personally, I am not sure how that is a rebate. If you didn't pay taxes, then it's not a rebate, instead it's redistribution of wealth.


    Pelosi, D-Calif., agreed to drop increases in food stamp and unemployment benefits during a Wednesday meeting in exchange for gaining the rebates of at least $300 for almost everyone earning a paycheck, including those who make too little to pay income taxes.

    "I can't say that I'm totally pleased with the package, but I do know that it will help stimulate the economy. But if it does not, then there will be more to come," Pelosi said.
    - The Associated Press


    OK, now, that we know some of the important details, I would like to ask the same thing that one of those local talk shows did. How will you spend your "tax rebate"?

    For me, if I even get a rebate, because of my IRS debt, I will use it to pay down my debt. If I don't, I assume that it will be a credit to my IRS debt (anyone know?). I would love to say that I was going to put it in savings, but fact is I must get these debts paid down.

    Now, I know that it's not what President Bush wants, since I am not spending the money on a new TV or some other item, but I don't care. You can say I don't care about the economy, but as a personal finance blogger and a follower of Dave Ramsey, if we really want to help the economy, we will stop spending more then we make (more on that later).

    So I ask again, what are you going to spend your tax rebate on?

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    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.



    Motto of the future: In Wal-Mart We Trust

    Think it's a joke, when you hear someone refer to Wal-Mart as the Antichrist? Well, not so fast. The "joke" or "tongue-in-cheek," comment is based on the facts of Wal-Mart killing small business' in the communities it moves to. Basically, it is believed that Wal-Mart wants to be the one world marketplace that the Bible talks about in the book of Revelations. Now the Kansas City Star reports that Wal-Mart CEO, Lee Scott, seems to confirm that is their desire.


    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. vows to be a “company of the future” through cost-saving initiatives ranging from electronic prescriptions to perhaps a place in the hybrid car market one day.

    “We live in a time when people are losing confidence in the ability of government to solve problems,” said Lee Scott, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart. “But at Wal-Mart, we don’t see the sidelines that politicians see. And we do not wait for someone else to solve problems that might hurt our business or affect our customers in a negative way.”


    When U. S. regulators denied Wal-Mart's request to open a bank, Wal-Mart went to Mexico and opened one there instead.

    I don't think this leaves much question as to how they want to be the World's one business. They are a company that has proven if they don't get their way, they will either sue to try to force a local municipality to do what they want. Or in the case of the bank issue (from a couple years ago) move go out of the country to do what they want.


    Scott said he also has talked to the heads of major auto manufacturers to see if there is a place for Wal-Mart in the hybrid electric or plug-in electric car market. He also plans to work more closely with suppliers to make sure they meet specific environmental, social and quality standards, and to address concerns on product sources.
    - KC Star


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    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.



    Thursday, January 24, 2008

    Remaining Debts - January 2008

    As the month of January progressed, I wondered if I would reach any of my goals for these debts. I made a $23.50 payment to the crummy people at Providian on the 11th. Another $220.33 on the 17th. I am still waiting on my $147 from the Google AdSense allowing me to increase my payment to those ripoff artists, and get my debt to them down to $15. I am hopeful to then get that last $15 paid before Feb. 6, so I don't have to pay any more interest.
    If I do have to go into a new month, it won't be the end of the world though. My paycheck comes on the 7th, but I think I will be able to swing that last accelerated payment. What a great day it will be, when that debt is paid off.
    Perhaps, I have enough aluminum cans to get that final $15.

    AccountBeginning BalanceMonthly Minimum PaymentPayments This MonthOutstanding Balance
    Providian Credit Card$405$17$243.83$162
    Amerifirst Mortgage
    $990$75$30$970?
    FingerHut$1,000$50$10$1,000
    Car Loan
    $10,581$400$400$10,262.73
    IRS$3,796$0$0$3,796

    I did get a phone call from FingerHut this month. The first, even though they claim otherwise. Perhaps, they are the ones making all the hang up all calls. Or, perhaps they are the ones that say they have an important announcement. My take there, is if it is so dang important, then actually call me. A recording telling me to hold, is not important.

    Anyway, I am getting sidetracked, they said $10 wasn't enough, but they would accept that for the Jan. and Feb. payments. Then they would call back to get an increased payment. Oh they also said it was now in their (in house) collection department, so it would no longer be accruing interest and fees.

    I would still like to somehow pay off this debt and the AmeriFirst (home improvement) loan paid off by March 31. Seeing as that would be more then my income, that would take a miracle, but still, I am hoping that between AdSense, PayPerPost and Blogvertise, I will get more additional income then ever before.


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    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    America One Unsecured

    Do you need a loan to consolidate debt? Perhaps to start a new business? America One Unsecured provides unsecured lines of credit to individuals and businesses. America One provides a website that you can easily apply for an unsecured line of credit. No matter what it is for. Imagine an unsecured line of credit for personal or business reasons. So that you can fund that new business or buy that new piece of equipment to keep your business going. Or maybe, you want to consolidate your personal or business debts. Well they can do that to. Payment terms for their unsecured lines of credit are for 6-84 with interest rates as low as 7.99% (variable APR).

    Even better, they can do mortgages as well. Whether you are buying a new home or a business location, they can write the mortgage for you. Terms on their mortgage products as long as 30-years and fix and adjustable rates. Then again, maybe you want to refinance your auto loan, to get a better interest rate. They can do that as well. With financing as low as 3.9%, refinancing your car may be the thing for you.





    unsecured lines of credit

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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    Cleaning Thoughts

    I have been systematically going through my house and cleaning. Trying to become more organized. As I do that, I finally was able to get my Christmas decorations down this week. Now I just need to finish packing them away and carry those totes out to the storage shed, until next Christmas.

    I have come to learn that an organized person in one area tends to also be organized in their finances as well. That is my hope, that I will learn to be more organized in every aspect of my life.

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    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.



    Bank of America and Countrywide Marriage

    Image courtesy of ABC News
    Recently Bank of America announced they were going to buy the troubled home-loan company, Countrywide. Even with Countrywide on the verge of bankruptcy, B.o.A. thought the purchase would be a perfect fit for the mammoth banking institution, according to the Los Angles Times.

    As Countrywide Financial Corp.'s stock price cratered and bankruptcy rumors swirled, Bank of America Corp. remained convinced that the largest U.S. home-loan company had a valuable franchise despite years of aggressive lending that left it buried in losses.

    Kenneth D. Lewis, chairman of the nation's largest consumer bank, had been well-disposed toward Countrywide since the summer, when teams of his employees first examined the operations and books of the Calabasas-based mortgage colossus.


    According Lewis, his staff kept coming back and reporting that Countrywide, was a "well-run mortgage company," at the grass-roots level. . "Its systems are good and its people are good."


    Countrywide agreed last week to a $4-billion takeover by Bank of America. Countrywide would become a Bank of America unit and could retain its name depending on a review of how the public perceives the brand, bank officials said.

    Talking optimistically about his troubled takeover target, Lewis said Countrywide was successfully reshaping itself as a more prudent lender, one poised to benefit from refinancings as interest rates fall.

    The deal, expected to close in the third quarter, marks a reversal for Lewis, who had often expressed distaste for the mortgage industry's potential for questionable lending and unwieldy accounting. He had vowed repeatedly not to buy a home lender.

    When Lewis became Bank of America's boss in 2001, the company quit making sub-prime mortgages to shaky borrowers (although its investment banking arm recently lost billions of dollars on sub-prime-related securities).

    The bank also recently stopped making mortgages, even prime ones, through brokers, and instead became No. 1 in retail, or direct-to-consumer, mortgages by pushing no-fee loans through its vast branch system.
    - Los Angles Times


    According to bank officials B.o.A could retain the home-loan company's name depending on a review of how the public perceives the Countrywide brand.


    Image courtesy of ABC News
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    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.



    Monday, January 21, 2008

    Presidential Endorsement

    I try to avoid politics as much as possible, when it comes to my personal finance blogs. However, there are some times when the two collide head on. Today's post is one of those times. Today, I am making my political endorsement for the next President.

    You may be wondering, how that has anything to with personal finance. My answer is everything. The person we elect President, or any public office, will have a voice in our economy. We will give them power to raise or lower our taxes. The decisions they make could have a dramatic effect, one way or the other, on our personal finances.


    Ever since Sam Brownback's early withdrawal from the Presidential campaign, I have been in a quandry as to who to vote for. If you have read my political/opinion blog (KevinsView.com) you know it has been between Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. As a personal finance blogger (DebtFree4ever.NET), I have received emails from other personal finance bloggers, who was endorsing Ron Paul.

    I have to admit, I toyed with the idea. I liked some of his libertarian stances, especially those on the war and the abolishment of the IRS. At the same time, those were the views that scared me the most about him. Not to mention that he has had no administrative experience. Yes, he has more the 30 years combined in Congress, but that is far from administrative experience. He has virtually no foreign policy experience. Not to mention that financial expert, Bob Brinker, told a caller on his radio program, the other day that Paul knew the least (of all the candidates) about the economy.

    So, who do I like? Who am I going to endorse?


    I like the candidate who balanced his states budget 5 times, eliminated the capital gains tax for the sale of a home and indexed his states tax to inflation to keep people from being forced into higher tax brackets. Not to mention when he left the Governor's office, his state had a surplus of more then $800 million. That candidate is Mike Huckabee.

    Huckabee has the best chance of winning, plus he is one of the most all around fiscal (as can be seen in the previous paragraph) conservatives running this year. He was Governor of Arkansas for 10 ½ years. One of the biggest changes he brought about in Arkansas was the quality of education. During his time as Governor, he took Arkansas that was ranked 45th in the nation to number 8 in the nation.

    Under Huckabee’s direction, Arkansas has been recognized as having created one of the nation’s best school accountability programs. Huckabee pushed through reforms in Arkansas that have significantly increased the number of charter schools and established new approaches to workforce education.


    Huckabee is recognized as a national leader, having been honored by several renowned publications and organizations for his numerous accomplishments. Governing Magazine named him as one of its ‘Public Officials of the Year’ for 2005, Time Magazine honored him as one of the five best governors in America, and later in the same year, Huckabee received the American Association of Retired Person’s Impact Award. In 2007, he was presented with the Music for Life Award by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) for his commitment to music education.

    Of course I wouldn't be a personal finance blogger, if I didn't take a closer look at the economic issues.

    Huckabee is a proponent of the The Fair Tax. The Fair Tax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based taxes with an integrated approach including:

    1. A progressive national retail sales tax,
    2. A prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level.
    3. Dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality.
    4. Repeal of the 16th Amendment through companion legislation.




    It is the belief of Huckabee (and mine) that our massive deficit is not due to Americans' being under-taxed, but to the government's over-spending. In fact, he favors the line-item veto, so that he can veto many of the pork and spending projects buried within many of our nations legitimate bills.

    I'd like you to join me at the best "Going Out of Business" sale I can imagine - one held by the Internal Revenue Service. Am I running for president to shut down the federal government? Not exactly. But I am running to completely eliminate all federal income and payroll taxes. And I do mean all - personal federal, corporate federal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment. All our hours filling out forms, all our payments for help with those forms, all our shopping bags filled with disorganized receipts, all our headaches and heartburn from tax stress will vanish. Instead we will have the FairTax, a simple tax based on wealth. When the FairTax becomes law, it will be like waving a magic wand releasing us from pain and unfairness.


    As Governor of Arkansas, he cut taxes and fees almost 100 times, saving the taxpayers, of his state, almost $380 million. He left a surplus of nearly $850 million, which he urged should go back to the people.


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    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.



    My Endorsement

    Ever since Sam Brownback's early withdrawal from the Presidential campaign, I have been in a quandry as to who to vote for. If you have read my political/opinion blog (KevinsView.com) you know it has been between Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. As a personal finance blogger (DebtFree4ever.NET), I have received emails from other personal finance bloggers, who was endorsing Ron Paul.

    I have to admit, I toyed with the idea. I liked some of his libertarian stances, especially those on the war and the abolishment of the IRS. At the same time, those were the views that scared me the most about him. Not to mention that he has had no administrative experience. Yes, he has more the 30 years combined in Congress, but that is far from administrative experience. He has virtually no foreign policy experience. Not to mention that financial expert, Bob Brinker, told a caller on his radio program, the other day that Paul knew the least (of all the candidates) about the economy.

    So, who do I like? Who am I going to endorse?


    I like the candidate who balanced his states budget 5 times, eliminated the capital gains tax for the sale of a home and indexed his states tax to inflation to keep people from being forced into higher tax brackets. Not to mention when he left the Governor's office, his state had a surplus of more then $800 million. That candidate is Mike Huckabee.

    Huckabee has the best chance of winning, plus he is one of the most all around fiscal (as can be seen in the previous paragraph) conservatives running this year. He was Governor of Arkansas for 10 ½ years. One of the biggest changes he brought about in Arkansas was the quality of education. During his time as Governor, he took Arkansas that was ranked 45th in the nation to number 8 in the nation.

    Under Huckabee’s direction, Arkansas has been recognized as having created one of the nation’s best school accountability programs. Huckabee pushed through reforms in Arkansas that have significantly increased the number of charter schools and established new approaches to workforce education.


    Huckabee is recognized as a national leader, having been honored by several renowned publications and organizations for his numerous accomplishments. Governing Magazine named him as one of its ‘Public Officials of the Year’ for 2005, Time Magazine honored him as one of the five best governors in America, and later in the same year, Huckabee received the American Association of Retired Person’s Impact Award. In 2007, he was presented with the Music for Life Award by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) for his commitment to music education.

    Of course I wouldn't be a personal finance blogger, if I didn't take a closer look at the economic issues.

    Huckabee is a proponent of the The Fair Tax.. The The Fair Tax. plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based taxes with an integrated approach including:

    1. A progressive national retail sales tax,
    2. A prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level.
    3. Dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality.
    4. Repeal of the 16th Amendment through companion legislation.




    It is the belief of Huckabee (and mine) that our massive deficit is not due to Americans' being under-taxed, but to the government's over-spending. In fact, he favors the line-item veto, so that he can veto many of the pork and spending projects buried within many of our nations legitimate bills.

    I'd like you to join me at the best "Going Out of Business" sale I can imagine - one held by the Internal Revenue Service. Am I running for president to shut down the federal government? Not exactly. But I am running to completely eliminate all federal income and payroll taxes. And I do mean all - personal federal, corporate federal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment. All our hours filling out forms, all our payments for help with those forms, all our shopping bags filled with disorganized receipts, all our headaches and heartburn from tax stress will vanish. Instead we will have the FairTax, a simple tax based on wealth. When the FairTax becomes law, it will be like waving a magic wand releasing us from pain and unfairness.


    As Governor of Arkansas, he cut taxes and fees almost 100 times, saving the taxpayers, of his state, almost $380 million. He left a surplus of nearly $850 million, which he urged should go back to the people.

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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    Sunday, January 20, 2008

    SPONSOR: Finding Translating Services For Your Business

    Do you have a business? Does your business do business in a foreign country? Or perhaps, you are thinking about doing business overseas. Well, if that is the case then you should take a look at a translation services provider. One such provider, can help you.
    They provide interpreters to help you to communicate effectively with your customers, suppliers, business partners or employees. A valuable service, if you are going to do business overseas.

    This company, also provides translation services. They can provide you with services translating your documents, advertising and other materials into practically every language including Arabic and Farsi.

    There is so much more they can do for you. Why not take a look at their webpage and see how they might be able to help you in your business.



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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    Saturday, January 19, 2008

    The AP and FOX Declare McCain Winner in South Carolina

    In a tight race McCain was was declared the winner with 91% of the precincts reporting. Mike Huckabee was trailing McCain 33% to 30%. Even though McCain lead all the way, both FOX News and the AP refused to declare McCain a winner early own because of how close the votes were. Once they felt the results were at a point the was unsurmountable, they finally declared a winner.

    Now the candidates will be heading to Florida, where they will be trying to get the winner takes all delegates state on January 29.




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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    Paul Takes 2nd in Nevada

    Ron Paul places second in Nevada. Now that's news! I mean can you believe that Paul actually came in second in a caucus or primary. Seriously, as much as I like some of his Libertarian views, does anyone seriously give him much of a chance? Yet, he takes second in Nevada? As I said, now, that's news!

    Mitt Romney won this caucus with ease. Romney received 52% of the vote, beating John McCain and Ron Paul, who were tied for second with 13%.


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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    Rising FICO Score & What To Do About This Debt


    It is weird how now that I no longer worship at the alter of the FICO, I am seeing my score move in an upward trend.

    Last January, according to the chart on the Providian website, I had a 598. In May it was up to 612, then down to an all time low of 540 in June. It went up and down between June and Sept. (547), before steadily increasing to a 602 as of January 2008.

    With this bit of information, I wonder if I shouldn't see about getting a loan to pay off Fingerhut, AmeriFirst and the KGB IRS. Question though is it really wise? Would I be able to afford it.

    Perhaps, if I visited the Credit Union, where I am trying to build my emergency fund. The same one, that rejected the plan when my FICO was in the 540's, because it was about 10-15 points to low for their lowest standards. My plan would be to continue to automatically deposit $50 from each paycheck into the savings there, but allow them to debit $25 of that each week to pay on the loan. In that way I can still work on building the savings, while I also pay off these debts. But, would the payments on $5,000 really only be $100/month? Of course that would take care of the IRS, who isn't getting anything right now. The problem I see is that it would leave me short for my insurance premiums and property taxes, which come out of this same savings account.

    It might be better to let my IRS debt to lie for a little longer, since I have deferment, and work on paying off the other two debts (FingerHut and AmeriFirst).

    My FICO scores from the past year

    • Jan. 2007 - 592
    • Feb. 2007 - 600
    • March 2007 - 598
    • April 2007 - 612
    • May 2007 - 540
    • June 2007 - 588
    • July 2007 - 565
    • Aug. 2007 - 547
    • Oct. 2007 - 579
    • Nov. 2007 - 579
    • Dec. 2007 - 600
    • Jan. 2008 - 602
    • Provided by: TransUnion





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    Friday, January 18, 2008

    It's Official Six is new Attorney General

    As expected Judge Steven Six was named by Governor Kathleen Sebelius as the new Attorney General of Kansas. As I type this Judge Six, is answering questions from the press. One reporter asked him about abortion and his response was that it was law in this country and this state with appropriate restrictions. He offered no indication, if he would continue to pursue the abortion clinics that have allegedly violated the laws of Kansas in regards to those "appropriate regulations."

    Six will replace Paul Morrison, who will step down Jan. 31 in the wake of a sex and ethics scandal.

    Morrison, the current attorney general, has acknowledged having an extramarital affair with Linda Carter, the former director of administration for the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office. Before winning election in 2006, Morrison was the Johnson County district attorney and Carter’s supervisor.

    Carter also has accused Morrison of sexual harassment and professional misconduct, allegations Morrison has denied.

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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    And the next Attorney General is...


    In a few minutes (at 11 am CT), Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will name, Douglas County District Judge Stephen N. Six the state’s next attorney general, sources tell me. A name that I had never heard mentioned as a possible contender.

    The son of a former state Supreme Court justice, Six would succeed disgraced Attorney General Paul Morrison, who announced his resignation Dec. 14 after publicity surrounding an affair with a one-time subordinate.

    So who is Judge Six?
    He is the son of retired Kansas Supreme Court justice Fred Six, who served on the high court from September 1988 until January 2003.

    Six was appointed to the bench by Sebelius in 2005. He is the son of retired Kansas Supreme Court Justice Fred Six, grew up in Lawrence and clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Deanell Tacha. Before being named a judge, Six was a plaintiff’s attorney in the firm of Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman in Kansas City, Mo.

    Stay tuned, I will relay further information, as I become aware of it.




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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    Demanding The Candidates Come To Kansas


    One of the things about being undecided voter, I am more eager to actually see Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney. It is my hope that they will not ignore Kansas, but that they will make at least one appearance in Topeka (the capital city) to "rally the troops." At this point the candidate that actually decides to NOT ignore Kansas, would probably get my vote.

    As such, I have found a website in which you can use to "demand" your candidate to come to your area. It is my hope that each of you will help encourage each of the candidates to come to Kansas. Just click on the name above, and then click "demand it," to help encourage them.


    Of course, you don't have to just demand the two candidates I did. You could demand one of the other candidates, but why would you want to?

    On a side note, the Kansas Republican Convention known as Kansas Day's is coming up Jan 25th and 26th. So far, it appears that none of the candidates except Fred Thompson is going to have a reception there. All though, my sources indicate that a move is afoot, to get Mike Huckabee to speak at an event that weekend.

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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    Who Really Cares

    A book I want to read is Who Really Cares. I recently heard about this book on the radio and found it to be interesting. The book talks about who really is the most caring, liberals or conservative.

    The books author findings was truly surprising, considering what what we have been lead to believe about giving and volunteering. With that said, I really must read Who Really Cares









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    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    I was tagged



    I hate these tagging thing some people do, but I got tagged by Jagular. So, I will play along this time. The rules are as follows:

    1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
    2. Post these rules on your blog.
    3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
    4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
    5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting on comment on their blog.

    Now for those random and weird facts about me...


    1. I like my Coca-Cola...I am not usually without a can or bottle of the bubbly soft drink being very far away.

    2. On a cold winter night, I often enjoy a nice hot cup of hot chocolate with a small amount of peppermint schnapps in it. (Perhaps it is the German in me.)

    3. Some people like Football, for me my sport tends to be politics. I can tell you based on historical statistics who the next President will be (Huckabee). Likewise I can tell you based on historical statistics, who the Republican nominee will be (whoever wins the South Carolina primary). However, I can't tell you, nor can anyone else, if those statistics will hold true again this year.

    4. It's no secret that I love to talk about finances. Yes, I have considered a job in finances.

    5. My cat acts like she can't be more then a few feet away from me at any time.

    6. I am still single.

    7. I don't have an MP3 player.




    Now Who to tag...

    1. Leigh Ann at Saving Leigh Ann

    2. Tricia at Blogging Away Debt

    3. Nickel at FiveCentNickel.com

    4. Trent at The Simple Dollar

    5. JW at Need To Be Debt Free

    6. JD at A Penny Saved

    7. Jonathon at My Money Blog




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    Intrest Caps Don't Mean a Dang Thing

    I received a return call from the Kansas Banking Commissioners office yesterday. Danni, left a message on my voice mail, while I was at work, confirming there is an 18% cap on credit cards (in Kansas), but no cap on open end credit.

    But I also found out this bit of info, courtesy of PBS:

    This map shows the top ten credit card issuers, their state of charter (except for AmEx and Capital One that are not nationally chartered), and the maximum interest percentage cap for credit cards.

    These clusters were largely formed by a 1978 Supreme Court decision (Marquette National Bank v. First of Omaha Service Corp.) that determined national banks only have to obey the interest-rate caps of the state they are chartered in, not that of the state where a bank's customer lives. This means that when a bank from a state without limits on interest, like Delaware, issues credit cards to people living in states like Minnesota, which caps credit card interest at 18 percent, the customer can be charged any rate of interest.
    - PBS - Frontline


    So there you have it, seems like the Supreme Court says if the bank has a national charter they can go pretty much unregulated. I think, I may still talk to the Banking Commissioner more in the next few days, just to be sure.



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    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    Paul Beats Thompson and Giuliani

    Romney who need a boost in Michigan, got that boost. He won the his boyhood state 's primary with 39% of the vote. Making his 2nd win (or as he terms it gold medal). Of course no one has won the GOP nomination, without winning the South Carolina primary, so we will have to see how he does there, on Saturday.

    In other news from the primary, the candidate that Fox dubbed as not being a serious candidate (Ron Paul) beat 2 candidates that Fox thinks are serious candidates. Those being Thompson and Giuliani.

    Below is the results of the Republican primary.

    • Romney 294,628 39%

    • McCain 224,066 30%

    • Huckabee 121,146 16%

    • Paul 47,515 6%

    • Thompson 27,961 4%

    • Giuliani 21,511 3%

    • Uncommitted 15,175 2%

    • Hunter 2,466 0%


    I will be posting the delegate count as soon as I can get that information. Stay tuned.
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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    Sponsored Post: Bad Credit Home Loans

    A large number of people in this country find themselves in the growing number of bad credit consumers everyday. Many of those people read this blog. Today a company opposed to my message wanted to share with you their bad credit loans.

    If you need help getting that home loan go ahead and take a look. They may be able to help you. However, I really must urge you, if you are going to buy a home, to be sure you can afford it, before taking out any home loan. In addition, please, be sure you have at least a 20% down payment for that home. Finally, don't try to start out with your dream home. Start with a starter home and then move up, when your family grows and as you can afford it.




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    Kansas To Look At Payday Loans

    On this blog, I have on several times railed against the PayDay loan businesses. Last year a Democratic member of the Kansas Legislature introduced two bills that went no where. I even attended a rally in support of such legislation. Well, this year, it is the Republicans leading the charge.


    TOPEKA - The rapid growth in the number of payday lending businesses in Kansas has caught the attention of Rep. Clark Shultz, R-Lindsborg. Shultz is the chairman of the House Financial Institutions Committee. His new bill to be introduced next week, will be aimed at limiting such business transactions to better protect area consumers.


    Shultz said he's concerned about consecutive loans people are obtaining at several lending businesses.
    - Hutchinson News


    Currently Kansas law allows no more then two (2) payday loans of $500 or less during a 30-day period. The Payday loan stores charge customers $15 for each $100 borrowed. Making that two-week loan of $500 cost the borrower $75. Put another way, that figures out to be an annual percentage rate of 391%.

    Shultz said he wants to prevent people from getting into a debt cycle of principal and interest fees that they can never pay off. This idea is based upon the fact that many customers of these places end up borrowing again and again to pay off the previous loan. In the process digging their selves deeper and deeper into debt as the fees ("interest") charges continue to mount and with in a few weeks are as much as the loan itself.

    "I'm not saying it's all bad and I'm not in support of useless regulation. If there's an emergency and someone's car breaks down, I can see the need," he said. "I just don't want people taken advantage of. It's easy in today's society to find yourself in trouble."
    - Hutchinson News


    Last year Rep. Melody McCray-Miller, D-Wichita, tried unsuccessfully to get legislation passed to help better regulate this industry. Perhaps this year will be different with Republicans in the heavily controlled Republican legislature leading the charge on this. I will certainly be following this as the legislative session (Jan-April) moves forward.

    Rep. Shultz, said that this new version would be a committee bill and would not have any sponsors or co-sponsors. When asked what he thought the chances of the bills passage, considering the failure last year, he gave the bill a 50/50 chance.

    Attempts to contact Rep. McCray-Miller for comments on this article were unsuccessful.


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    Monday, January 14, 2008

    The Printer That Printed My Holiday Cards



    One of the things I love doing every year is sending out Christmas Cards. My biggest problem is being able to afford them. That is why every year that I turn to one specific printer. A printer that has excellent printing rates and even offers in many cases free printing. Yes, free. You can get 100 custom postcards for free. Is that incredible or what? If you were one of the 200 readers, family, friends or neighbors to receive one of my Christmas postcards this past Christmas, the card was printed by this terrific printer. So if you were among the few that can be counted with people, such as President George W. Bush or Warren Buffett, then you were able to see the quality of the postcards that I had custom made.

    Designing them was easy with the sites online tools. The great thing, it doesn't have to be just holiday cards. You can get postcards for any occasion or any reason that you desire. Not only that, you can also get business cards. Yes, they can be printed free also. Believe you me, this is one printing company I heartedly endorse and will continue to use, and I encourage you to look at Vista Print as well.


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    Am I Being Illegally Gouged On Interest

    I recently learned that the interest rate Providian (now Washington Mutual) has been charging me (and refusing to lower) may be illegal. I recently found this table on Bankrate.com of the 21 states (and District of Columbia) that have caps on credit card interest (as of 3/2002). The 29 not list have no laws. My state (Kansas) is one of the 21. Take a look.

    With this new information, I made one last call to Providian to get my interest rate lowered. It was my hope that part of the interest rate would even be waived. I made sure I was pleasant and non-argumentative. When they told me they couldn't do any maintenance on the account because it closed, I politely brought up the information above. At this point they started reading the card holder agreement. Refusing to address what the law says (according to the American Banker Association). Oh well, I will continue with the plan, and when I get the current bill in the mail, I will take it to the Kansas Bankers Commissioner and talk with them about the issue. Providian (Washington Mutual) may regret not having worked with me, depending on what I find out at the commissioners office.

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    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    Finding Health Insurance Just Got Easier

    It is important that we are all protected by insurance to save our assets, from being taken because of huge losses due to fire, accident, hospitalization or other disasters in our lives. One of those insurance needs is health insurance. Many of us, myself included are insured through our employer. However, there is also a number of people that have to find their own health insurance, like the self-employed and many part time employees. There is a website to help you find affordable health insurance in Connecticut and the other 49 states of the USA.

    USA-HealthInsurance.com offers free quotes on individual & small business health (and dental insurance) plans with Blue Cross Blue Shield, United, Kaiser and Aetna agents for all 50 states. They even offer COBRA replacements. So go ahead, if you need health insurance, or are going to, take a look at this site today.


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    I must stay focused! Can't let my gaurd down.

    I am eager to get rid of my smallest debt. With it's 31.74% interest, it is easily the debt that is most abusing to my finances. That interest rate is easily in excess 3 times more then any other interest rate, I pay.

    Being eager, as soon as I got my paycheck last week, I sent them through my online bill pay a payment of $23.50. After I sent payment, they printed my new bill. Raising my bill from $395 to $405.83. They are expected to receive that payment tomorrow and have it posted at midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning.

    But, I don't intend to stop there. My goal is to have the bill paid off by the end of January. I am expecting a payment from Google Adsense, for $147, late this week or sometime next. In addition, I received a little bit of cash from another source, allowing me to send another payment on Tuesday for $240.33. Right, now I have that cash sitting in my savings account so that I can earn a few days (the weekend) interest on it. Late Monday evening, I will move that to my checking, so that early Tuesday the money will be there to pay the payment, that I have already set up in my Credit Union's online bill pay.

    I am pumped now. Watch as my 2-year struggle with this particular debt comes to an end. Then I will move on to fight Fingerhut ($1,000+ w/ 1% inteest), the home improvement loan ($990 w/10% interest) and the IRS debts ($3,000+ w/8% interest). Clearly, the smallest interest rate is that ripoff company known as Fingerhut, but which should I turn my focus onto next? I know Dave Ramsey would say the smallest (the Home Improvement loan), but Fingerhut is also the most annoying.


    *** I misquoted the interest rate on this account. It is NOT 36% instead it IS 31.74%. Really, not much difference in the realm of things, but I did want to correct that.****
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    Saturday, January 12, 2008

    sponsored post: Taking a look at Boarding schools

    Do you have a teenager that is a challenge? A teenager that is underachieving? Maybe you even feel that you have reached the end of your rope. Well don't give up hope. There is help. Take a look at boarding schools for teens. Not just any boarding school, this school in Arizona is geared towards the underachievers. Those teenagers that, regrettably lack motivation, and tend to have a rebellious attitude.

    The name of the boarding school that I would recommend, if I had kids, for parents to look into is The Fenster Boarding School near Tucson, Arizona.

    With more then 60-years of experience, Fenster's structured academic and behavioral system has an established track record that is proven, which includes small class sizes, mandatory tutors, improving self-esteem, extra credit and make-up tests, weekly grade reports, college prep courses, and the teaching of being responsible for their own actions.

    I highly recommend that you give them a look see, if you feel like you are at the end of your rope.

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    Review of My Insurance part 2


    My review of my insurance coverage continued yesterday. I sought out an Independent Insurance Agent. Interestingly, it was the same company, one of my readers suggested I should try to contact.

    Unlike the small one agent offices of the large companies around Topeka, Brier, Payne, Meade (BPM) Insurance is a multi-agent office and it took a few minutes for an agent to be able come to the front and meet with me.

    Like everyone else I had talked to, the Independent Agents weren't able to find me a better deal. The coverages BPM were able to find for me would cost me $807 annual (home) and $890 semi-annual (auto). So it appears that I am better staying with Farm Bureau. Even with their additional $35 annual membership to belong to the organization, they are cheaper then anyone else. At least for me.

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    Friday, January 11, 2008

    sponsored post: Shampooing On The Go

    Today, I would like to speak to my female readers. There is a product that I have been asked to speak to you about, that is made specifically for you.

    Have you had one of those days in which, you wake up late and just don't have time to wash your hair? Those days, when you don't have time to shampoo? Whether it be waking up late, an important dinner meeting with no time to freshen up or whatever the circumstance may be?
    There is now a product for you. A shampoo that you can literally use on the go. One that is perfect that has a number of different options like color match, so that you get the right one for your hair.

    The product? A dry shampoo . Yep that's right, a dry shampoo. One, that you just spray on and comb out. No powder or oily residue left behind, just clean and shiny hair. Perhaps you should keep a bottle at home and another at the office for those fashion emergencies, when you need to clean your hair in a hurry. The product can be bought at the website or at your local Rite Aid and Duane Reade.



    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    Insurance Review

    Over the last few weeks I have been reviewing my insurance coverage. I would like to find a cheaper insurance rate, without sacrificing my insurance coverage. Currently I pay $843.55 annually for auto insurance and $488.82 annually for home owners insurance. All with $500 deductible.


    So in this latest round of reviews, I wanted to find out if I could find a company that that would provide the same coverage that I currently have for lower premiums. Well I started with Geico. Since they advertise that they are so much cheaper then anyone else, it made since (to me) to start with them.

    Well they weren't the cheapest in my case. In fact their auto policy would cost me $972.80 annually. Since they don't actually write homeowners themselves, they don't offer a bundled discount. They do sell homeowners trough two companies. Travelers is the one that they did price comparisons on me. The quoted premium was $1,163 annually. Suffice to say, I told Geico thanks but no thanks.

    That brings us to today, when I visited with Brooke at an American Family here in Topeka. I went to the office, taking my declaration pages with me. After working up a quote that was similar to mine they gave me a quote of $739 semi-annually ($1478 annually) for the auto and likewise their homeowners quote was more expensive as well. As a result I will not go with them either. For now, I will remain with Farm Bureau. I will be checking one more place, an independent agent and see if they can find me a cheaper premium while providing me the same protection.


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    sponsored post: $8 Complete Prescription Eyeglasses



    Being the frugal person I am, I'm always looking for way to cut expenses. Glasses is one of those areas that is hard to find a good discount on. Locally I have found $30 frames, but that is as cheap as I can find. That is until today.

    Today, I found a Great Discovery: www.ZenniOptical.com, of a manufacturer that is willing to sell directly to the customer, cutting out the middle man. As a result, you can buy frames and lenses for just $8. Yep, you read the right, $8. Is that incredible or what? If you want tinted lenses for it's just an additional $4.95. Go ahead take a look at the site, and next time you have an eyeglass prescription to fill, have it filed at Zenni Optical.

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    An Eye For An Eye

    "An Eye For An Eye, Makes Us All Blind."

    Wednesday, January 9, 2008

    What Would You do with...

    If someone came up to you and gave you $1,000 right now, what would you do with it?


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    Still Undecided, But Paul Isn't My Guy

    I have been agonizing over the last few days and weeks, since Brownback withdrew from the race for President, just who to vote for. A few days I posted that my decision was between Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. Well I can tell you now that I still don't know who to vote for, but it won't be Paul. Don't get me wrong, I like the guy's Libertarian streak. Like Paul, I oppose the war and want to see our troops home. They would be far better off protecting our own borders. The time has come for us to stop being the worlds policeman and keep our nose where it belongs, at home. We have a huge illegal immigration problem. These troops could be used to protect our borders and help the border patrol stop these people from entering this country illegally. In addition, Paul has an excellent voting record on the pro-life issues. The problem is his supports are uncouth. When they throw snowballs at the media, just because they disagree with them, shows an attitude of "I want it my way, and my way only." That is an attitude that turns me off, and as such I will look at my other two choices.

    I did call into the Alan Combs radio show a few weeks ago and predict Huckabee would be our next President. That prediction as I prefaced on the program was based on historical data. That being that, no President since JFK has been elected President straight out of the Senate. Likewise, no President since JFK has been from the Northeast. The final historical data that figures into that projection is that JFK was also the last President to be from a major city. All others have been from rural areas. Many of them had ranches and farms that when they vacationed away from the White House, they stayed at. Think about LBJ, Reagan, and the current Bush. Even the former Bush had a small place in Maine that he went to and was among these other candidates that we seen regularly chopping wood, riding horses or clearing brush.

    Though, I don't want to base my decision simply of historical data. Instead, I want to make a decision on who best represents my views and likewise who I trust the most. Stay tuned, I will decide soon and you the readers will be the first to know when I decide.
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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    Tuesday, January 8, 2008

    New Hampshire Primary Makes more of a Horse Race

    With 83 per cent of the precincts reporting, McCain won with 37 per cent compared to 32 per cent for Romney.

    After 3 states the race for the nomination has 3 of the leading candidates each garnering one win apiece. This campaign is really beginning to look like we might not have a clear winner when it comes time for the Republican Convention in St. Paul this September.

    McCain 37%
    Romney 32%
    Huckabee
    Giulani 9%
    Paul 8%
    Thompson 1%
    others 2%



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    And that's my view, what's yours?

    sponsored post: Home Makeover With Blinds

    I don't know about you, but I love window blinds. I would rather window blinds instead of curtains any day. That is something some of my ex-girlfriends didn't agree with me on. So over the last nine years I have had my home and windows in particular feminized more. To be honest, I like it and thankful to Pam for introducing the curtains to my blinds.
    However, while they effective the blinds are cheap blah things from a discount store. I wonder if my windows wouldn't look better if I had Roman Shades, rather then the cheap plastic things I have now. Roman shades, seem to me, to be more appealing. It is truly something that I want to consider, that I visited the site and looked at their Textured Roman Shades and ordered the free sample. A free sample that truly is free, because they pay for the shipping. I chose the cherry color as the sample I wanted and am eagerly awaiting the sample.
    I am certainly adding new window treatments to my list of dream improvements to save up money for.

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