Wednesday, November 30, 2011

True Meaning of Christmas

by Kevin Surbaugh (message derived from

With Christmas approaching I thought it might be a great time to look at what the Bible has to say about the true meaning of Christmas.This also is the message that I will be preaching this afternoon, when I speak to a group of men at church.

God is a giver, not a taker. Throughout Scripture, we find evidence of His great generosity towards His creation. From the beginning of time as we know it, when He called forth Creation--when He gave existence to things that had never before existed--we can see the true heart of God. He literally gave of Himself to make each one of us.
"then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature."

- Genesis 2:7
The very nature of God is to give, to create, and to bless His creation.

Even the secular story of Santa Clause is symbolism of God's giving. How? It may not be the traditional meaning, but for many Christian families that don't want to tell false stories of Santa to their children have devised a way of using Santa Clause to illustrate God's love and the true meaning of Christmas. You see Santa has a big heart and gives freely to all the good boys and girls, or so the legend says. In the same way, as John 3:16 says, God loved the world so much that he gave his only son, Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate on Christmas Day. You see Santa and God both give cheerfully and freely and likewise God asks that we give in the same way.

Unfortunately, many of us are so self-absorbed and greedy for gain that we do not even have the eyes to see the countless gifts that God has already worked into our lives. Yet, God wants us to be givers too. He created us to be like Him--to pour of ourselves into other people, and to reciprocate His love for us. God created us with the power to be able to give back to Him! When I really stop and think about this, it truly amazes me--that God--the sum of ALL good things, who holds ALL power and authority, would humble Himself in this way. He didn't make himself entirely independent of His creation, or set Himself up as a mere casual observer of humankind, though He certainly had the power to do so. Instead, He allowed Himself to love us to the point where our returned love would be a blessing to Him. Each one of us, little and insignificant as we are, has been given the profound gift of the ability to bring joy to the heart of God. It is extremely humbling to me, when I stop and consider that God has thus set the laws of His creation into motion. That the One who is Love personified, would actually be blessed by the love that I could offer Him. This is the greatest gift of all, and it is given to every human being who has ever lived or will live--the ability to give of ourselves to God and to each other. Without this gift, life would be very empty indeed.

In the mad rush of the holiday season, the true meaning of giving is often forgotten. What is meant to be a time of blessing and joy becomes instead, a time of stress and depression. Recently, as I was praying for the church and the nations of the world, a great sorrow began to rise up inside of me. God has placed so many gifts within His church. Each member of the Body of Christ has been given strategic giftings and a unique place that none other can fulfill in quite the same way. Yet, so many are not moving into their rightful place. They are afraid to use their gifts, or they think their gifts are insignificant. Many are secretly hurt and angry at God because they feel they haven't been given anything remarkable. They mistake God's anointing and talent in certain individuals as a sign of God's approval of those people, and they assume their "lack" is a sign that God doesn't love them as much as He loves others...that God is somehow "prouder" of other people than He is of them. Because of this fear and resentment, they are crippled in taking their proper place in God's kingdom, falling short of the gift they were created to be.

Others are busily using their gifts, and by their own efforts are successful in the eyes of the world. Maybe they have a thriving ministry. Maybe they are making good money. Maybe they have the respect and admiration of those around them. This doesn't necessarily mean, however, that their actions are a blessing to the heart of God, or that they are even obeying what God has told them to do. Ecclesiastes 4:4 says "And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." Many are so busy creating their own kingdoms, that the kingdom of God suffers a great lack. Their pride and busy occupations have blocked the measure of their true worth in God's kingdom.

Who will fill these missing places in the body of Christ? Even now as we go about our daily lives, all creation groans in frustration, waiting for the sons of God to be revealed (Romans 8:19-22). There is so much work to be done, and so few who are willing to do it. John 4:35-36 says ".... I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together." God intends both the sower and the reaper to share the same joy of the harvest. There should be no competition among God's faithful servants, no jostling each other for the "prime" positions, no envy or personal ambition. If we truly love the Lord, our only goal should be to bless Him, to serve Him, and to advance His kingdom.

As I was praying, I saw a vision of the Lord, manifested in the person of someone I love very much. In the vision, I saw this person laying in bed, exhausted after a hard day's work. The Lord said to me "What do you think she would like right now? How could you bless her?" I could instantly see that a cup of hot tea and a home-cooked meal would be just as much, if not more of a blessing to her than whatever big, distant work I could conjure up to show her my love. Immediately, I could see what God was trying to show me. We are created like Him. If we appreciate a "small" gift given in love more than the fanfare of a "big" gift given in insincerity, how much more does God?

As the vision continued, I could see Jesus sitting alone by a road with people running up and down it. They were all very busy. Some were stopping and chatting with Him for a moment here and there, but as I overheard their conversations, they were mostly to inform Jesus of what they wanted from Him, or what they were going to do for Him. One man in particular ran up to him. "Oh, Jesus, I'm so excited," he cried. "I'm off to tell the world all about you!" Quickly he ran off before Jesus could say anything at all. My heart broke, as I saw Him there, sitting by Himself. Yes, He wanted to bless those people with things beyond their wildest imagination. Yes, He wanted them to find fulfillment in serving Him. But what He really wanted most of all was for those people to come and sit with Him and talk hold His hand and look deep into His share their dreams and sorrows, and to hear His joys and let Him simply give His love to them. In all their mad rush to give and get, they missed the greatest treasure of all, sitting right in front of them.

So much of what we do for God is with mixed motives for our own personal fulfillment. We all want to have a purpose and reason for living. We all hope that if we were to die tomorrow, we would leave a legacy of some kind behind us. Yet for most of us, this becomes the end to which we live. Sadly, when we make anything other than God our reason for living, that thing will become an idol in our lives. Even if it is a good thing, like a ministry or a mate, it can still never fulfill us because it wasn't designed to. It simply can't! It doesn't even have the ability to fulfill. In fact, those idols will begin to work against us, and cause us suffer spiritual barrenness. They will put us on a treadmill until we become broken-hearted and exhausted trying to keep it all alive. On the other hand, if we receive them simply as the gifts they are and continue to love God first in our lives, we will be given the ability to enjoy them, for this too is a gift. Ecclesiastes. 3:13 says "That everyone may...find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God." The key is simply to
"seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these other things will be given to you as well." - Matthew 6:33

When all is said and done, only those things which were done "as unto the Lord" will count for anything. In God's eyes, there are no "big" or "small" things done for His Kingdom. All He asks of us is to obey Him in what He tells us to do. Let us follow through and obey Him, whether His commands seem great or small. After all, it is Jesus we are talking about here! The One who left His home in glory to bleed and die a humiliating, painful for each one of us. The One who made himself vulnerable to us, by giving us the ability to bless him or hurt him. As we obey Him, we bring such joy to His heart! Then His joy, which is a strength to the spirit of man, becomes our joy as well. God is not impressed, nor is He blessed by the best of our works done in self. He is only impressed by the attitude of our hearts.

As we look around the world this holiday season, let us stop and consider Who's birthday we are celebrating. Let us not forget to offer sincere thanks to our precious, precious Lord for His many blessings in our lives. And let us show our thankfulness by our actions! Let us offer the same mercy that God has given us to those around us. Let us press deeper into the heart of God, that we may have something to offer this world besides the same old cycle of greed, pride and rebellion. Let us not be ashamed to become the servant of all, showing our love for God by laying down our rights, our plans, our time and money for the sake of others. Let us demonstrate our love to God by giving Him the very things we are afraid to lay down, trusting that He has the best plan for our lives and would never use or abuse us. Let us truly fulfill the greatest commandment, which is to
"And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." - Luke 10:27
. Each of us is destined to make a profound difference in the world. Let us not fall short of our destinies! Let us give the greatest Christmas gift that we have been afforded to give; one that we can give year-round--to bless the heart of God!

If you do not know God the way you want to, you can receive the gift of knowing Him right now. Simply pray to Him from your heart and ask him to forgive you for your sins and turning your back on Him. Romans 10:9, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the you shall be saved." Ask Him to come into your life and make you a new person, born of His spirit. You can give to Him a gift He considers more dear than anything else in the world--yourself. In return, you will receive eternal life with Him, which begins the moment you are born again. May God bless each of you richly as you seek to give unto Him your all.

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Debt free – The State of Being an Independent Human Being

Guest Post by Shawn Ambrose

Human beings unlike animals aren't born free. They are bound by various relations and to various other things in life. Nowadays, debt too has become one such thing to which human beings are getting tied too. It seems to be a hard and heavy stone that has gotten tied to your leg and is pulling you down deep into the sea; into the abyss of darkness. But, the thing is that you will have to try and become debt free; and free yourself of this abyss of darkness.

Being debt free

So, what are the ways in which you can become debt free soon enough? If you really want to become debt free with ease and fastness, you will have to:

Prepare a frugal budget – First of all try to prepare a frugal budget so that you are able to save more than you can usually do. Frugality does not mean that you will have to give up on all of your luxuries. But, it is that you will have to try and lower all of the unnecessary expenditures, you will have to learn to save from whatever you are using, and you will have to change your spending style.

Lower usage of the credit cards – You will have to try and lower the usage of credit cards as these have the highest interest rates. Thus, if you miss payments, you will end up incurring high debt. Moreover, credit cards are ideal for emergency purposes. This will help you lower expenditures and thus maintain low debt levels.

Follow your expenses – It is important for you to follow all of your expenses closely so that you do not miss payments and so that you always remain within your limit and your budget.

Check your credit reports – It is better to check your credit report from time to time so that you do not miss out on any wrong listings and the right payment listings. This can otherwise lead to huge debt levels. Sometimes, wrong debts get listed on your credit report and it heightens your debts. Again sometimes, even if you make payments, the payment may not get updated on your credit report. So, you need to check out these and in order to do that you will have to get copies of your credit reports.

Make on-time debt payments – You will have to try and make the on-time debt payments on any of the accounts that you have. This helps you maintain low debt level and thus you are able to become debt free soon enough.

Being debt free gives you a different high. It feels so ecstatic and secure and stress free to live a debt free life. So, you can follow the above tips in order to maintain a debt free life and pay off your financial obligations soon enough. Have a look at the infographics below which shows the 5 ways to unload your debt burden and become debt free.

5 Get out of debt options

This article was submitted by Shawn Ambrose, who is a regular financial writer associated with the Debt Consolidation Care Community. His expertise is mainly on the different aspects of the debt industry.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Comparing Stores "Price Match" Policies

by Kevin Surbaugh

WalMart recently announced that they would retroactively price match their competitors (with certain exclusions) during the holiday season. This got me thinking with several companies offering to price match how do the companies everyday price match policies compare with each other.
According to their website:
We’re committed to providing low prices every day. On everything. So if you find a lower advertised price on an identical product, tell us and we’ll match it. Right at the register.
The site also says that they will match "buy one, get one" (BOGO) offers as long as the price is mentioned in the ad. Please be aware that when they say identical they mean it. It must be the same brand, size, model, flavor, color, everything must match 100% to the competitors ad.
Exclusions include the following:
We DO NOT match the price in the following types of competitor ads:
  • Items that require a separate purchase to get the ad price
    • example: "Buy [item A] to get [item B] for $C"
  • Items with no actual price that require a purchase to get free product
    • example: "Buy both [items A & B] to get [item C] for free"
  • Items that require a purchase to get a competitors' gift card
    • example: "Buy [item A] to get a $B gift card
  • Buy one, get one free (BOGO) ads with no actual price given
  • Going out of business or closeout prices
  • Percentage off
    • example: "All mascara, 40% off"
  • Competitors' private label price promotions
We do not honor:
  • Ads when the actual price for items cannot be determined.
  • Internet pricing
  • Misprinted ad prices of other retailers
  • "Going out of business" sales or "close out" prices
- according to the WalMart website

With our Low Price Promise you know you're always getting a great deal when you shop Target stores.

Our promise to guests:

  • We compare prices on over 25,000 items, so you'll know you're saving. Learn about our Store Price Adjustment policy.

  • We'll match the price found in any competitor's printed ad* for an identical product.

  • To help you save even more, we accept manufacturer's coupons. We happily accept one manufacturer's and one Target coupon per item. View our Store Coupon policy.

  • We organize our stores to make great deals easy to find.

  • One-stop shopping saves you time, money and all that driving around.

  • We would never ask you to compromise quality for low prices.
- according to the Target website

Even though there is no Kmart in my area anymore, I tried to look for Kamrt's policy but could not find one. I am not sure if Kmart (which owns Sears) has the same policy as the company it bought a few years ago, but Sears policy says
If you find a lower price on an identical branded item with the same features (in Consumer Electronics identical brand and model number) currently available for sale at another local competitor retail store, Sears will match that price plus, give you 10% of the difference. Just bring in the original advertisement to a sales associate at the time of, or within 14 days after, your purchase.
There you have it. What do you think? Which policy do you think is better?

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Free Sample of MiraLax

You can get a free sample of MiraLax Laxative from Target. But you need to hurry, free samples don't last long on Target's website.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fancy Feast Christmas Ornament

 If you are a cat person, or know someone who is, you will have a chance of scoring a FREE Fancy Feast Christmas Ornament starting 11/28 through 12/02 at Noon EST.

Fancy Feast on facebook will be giving away 7,000 Christmas Ornaments daily for a total of 35,000...

From Fancy Feast Facebook Page:

"The Heart of the Holidays. Inspired by our Love Story campaign, we’re giving away 7,000 of our coveted 2011 Fancy Feast Holiday Ornaments free of charge daily from November 28 through December 2—a total of 35,000 just for our Facebook fans. Don’t miss this exclusive offer."

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Choosing The Right Medicare Supplement

This year, in fact March 1, 2012, my wife will become eligible for Medicare. The initial Medicare insurance and Part B is provided automatically. It is the senior Medigap policies and prescription drug (part D) plans that one needs to shop around and find the best plan. For example if you chose the wrong one, then you could have a doughnut hole in your Part D plan, which means some prescriptions would have to paid completely 100% out of your pocket. Part D and the supplemental are provided through private insurance companies and are not a part of the government insurance. Don't get me wrong they are not the same either. Part D as I said before is prescription drug coverage and senior Medigap policies covers what the so called Part A and B don't cover.

Think about it this way, parts A and B would be more compatible to your traditional insurance.  Covering 80% of your doctor visits and hospitalization. senior Medigap policies covers the other 20%. Basically it covers deductibles, co-pays,  and a lot of the little surprise expenses that you and I might not think about.
Over all it is a lot to consider, because once you chose a plan you are stuck with until the next open enrollment. I am lucky, that my wife worked in this field a few years back, so she knows the questions to ask.Much more so then me. If you are in the market for Medicare this year, do your homework and chose the right plans for you. I don't know that we will ever move to Florida, but I am confident my wife will chose the right one for her. Let's face it, no two seniors are the same, so why should the medicare coverage for seniors and handicapped adults be the same.

My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Fiber Choice Sample

posted by Kevin Surbaugh

Get a free sample of Fiber Choice as well as a coupon for their fiber supplement.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Free Dippin Dots on Black Friday

Get a free coupon for a free small cup of Dippin dots on 11/25/11 (blackFriday) at Dippin dots stores and mall locations.Coupon only good on 11/25/11 from 5am-10am.

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Free Lactaid Sample

Get your free sample of Lactaid today.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Thoughts

by Kevin Surbaugh

Tomorrow we gather will gather to have thanksgiving dinner together, as we should  spend time with our families. But a growing number of stores are attempting to put greed before family.  For several years grocery stores have been upon for limited hours on Thanksgiving, but department stores have been closed. Now a number of grocery stores have found customers still come in on Thanksgiving, so they have extended the hours they are open that day. Some not even closing early at all. However, it is the department stores that concern me more. There are a group of stores that are banking that you will leave your family and shop their stores on Thanksgiving. This is a disgrace.  Thanksgiving is sacred. It is a time for families to get together and be thankful for what they have.  Something we really should be doing everyday of our lives.  My suggestion, ignore the stores. Don't let them be profitable on Thanksgiving day. If they see that sales are poor, they will return to the family and traditional black Friday sales. Don't let these greedy department stores destroy the family anymore then they already are.

In addition, Thanksgiving is reportedly the number one (1) day for phone calls. However, i wonder what they are talking about? Are they calls of thanksgiving or just chit chat because it is Thanksgiving Day? Here is an idea. Why not call someone you haven't talked to forever and offer thanks for something they have done.

  1. Call your fourth grade teacher and thank her for teaching you science. Because of her you became Molecular Biologist. 
  2. Call your best friend in high school and thank them for being a friend during those years.
  3. What other ideas do you have? Why not make those calls (assuming they are still living)  and offer thanks to someone this thanksgiving.? 

 In conclusion I would like to say Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for reading my blog.
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FREE Sample of Stack Grape Weightlifting Supplement

Get a FREE Sample of  BCAA Stack Grape Weightlifting Supplement.

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Free Coca-Cola Glass

posted by Kevin Surbaugh

Get a free limited edition Coke Glass for free from McDonald's (and yes it is a real glass glass) when you purchase a large Extra Value Meal. Just go to your nearest McDonald's. (4 different colors)

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Coupons! Where to Find Coupons

It is no secret that I love coupons. However, finding coupons can be a challenge though. But recently, I found that some companies will mail you valuable coupons straight to your mailbox. Below is a list of some of those companies. Coupon availability and specific offers can vary based on each company's supplies. Simply send a nice email to the "Contact" section letting them know you like their products and that you would appreciate being mailed coupons. Be sure to include your mailing address. It doesn't hurt to ask, good luck!
  1. Bar-S
  2. Bird's Eye
  3. Budding
  4. Fresh Express
  5. Citrus World (Florida Natural)
  6. Colgate
  7. Dannon
  8. Dean Foods
  9. General MIlls
  10. George Weston Bakeries (Bomboli)
  11. Hain Celestial Group (Celestial Seasonings)
  12. Hain Celestial Group (Terra chips)
  13. Interstate Bakeries (Wonder Bread/Hostess)
  14. HJ Heinz (Lea&Perrins)
  15. HJ Heinz
  16. Smuckers
  17. SC Johnson (Pledge)
  18. Tetley Tea

So what are you waiting for? If you want free coupons, start writing those emails and see what companies will send you coupons for your favorite products.

Of course you can also print coupons out from your home computer via one of these two (2) sites:
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Welcome Pampers

I would like to give a warm welcome to our newest sponsor. As a lover discounts and freebies (basically anything that saves money) this sponsor is a perfect fit for any of my blogs. So please help me welcome
Pampers Coupons.

My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Opinion Outpost

Your opinion matters, join Opinion Outpost and start getting rewarded for sharing your opinion.

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FREE Spiced Pumpkin Pie Scented wax cube

posted by Kevin Surbaugh

You can score a FREE Spiced Pumpkin Pie Scented wax cube courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens, by liking them on Facebook! Hurry this will go fast!

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Free Sample of Seattle's Best Coffee

Do you like coffee? Do you have a facebook account? Then you can request a Free sample of Seattle's Best Coffee by liking them on Facebook!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Extreme Couponing Meets the Prince of Thrift -- Sorta

I continue to be intrigued by "Extreme Couponing". I have finally seen some re-runs of the shown and created a new shopping list that allows for the inclusion of coupons along with the list. The list is designed more to list the specific items that you want and the quantity that you wish to purchase as well as how many coupons you have. Like my earlier shopping list, you can fill this one out online and then print it out.
With all this in mind I wondered what the different coupon policies were. So below I have listed the five major retailers that does business in Texas, although only four of them does business outside the state of Texas. Those four are all Nationally known retailers (although in some parts of the country they may be known by other names).

  1. Kmart
    Kmart Makes Mother’s Day Gift Buying Easy and Affordable
    Hoffman Estates, Ill. (Feb. 16, 2009) – While springtime is yet to be in the air, it’s never too early
    to plan ahead for a baby’s spring arrival and Mother’s Day. From outfitting the nursery to outfitting
    the new baby, Kmart layaway is a smart option. Kmart layaway enables soon-to-be parents to
    reserve the must-have baby products, pay in installments and pick up the items in time for the
    arrival of the baby and to celebrate Mother’s Day.
    “Expectant parents have a lot on their minds preparing for their new additions. Kmart’s layaway
    helps soon-to-be parents keep their budget in check as they plan to purchase the new baby’s bigticket
    items,” said Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer, Kmart. “Our hope is that Kmart’s layaway
    helps families to focus on their loved ones this Mother’s Day, not the debt.”
    Kmart makes budget-conscious shopping for parents-to-be easy with a great value on everything
    for baby from cribs and strollers to diapering and nursery needs. Sale prices extend Sunday, Feb.
    15 to Saturday, Feb. 28. Deals include:
    • Delta Childrens Jasmine 5-in-1 Convertible Crib; reg. price $279.99
    • Evenflo Journey Premier Travel System; reg. price $149.99, sale $134.99
    • Kolcraft Jeep Liberty Stroller; reg. price $109.99, sale $98.99
    • Summer Infant Sweet Dreams Smart Solutions “Newborn-to-Toddler” High Chair;
    reg. price $109.99, sale $98.99
    • Small Wonders Newborn Girl’s and Boy’s 6-piece sets; reg. price $10.19
    • Trend Lab Baby Tulip Velour Blanket; reg. price $22.99
    • 10% off all strollers, high chairs, car seats and swings
    Mother’s Day layaway options are not all that Kmart is providing to keep cash in expectant
    parents’ pockets. Kmart’s Double Coupon Event ensures double the savings from Sunday, Feb.
    15 to Saturday, Feb. 28. Smart shoppers can bring in manufacturers’ coupons and Kmart will
    double the face value – up to $2. Some restrictions apply. See store for details.
    “We want to provide every resource possible for our customers to save money but still enable
    them to give the best Mother’s Day gifts. Double coupon deals along with layaway, allow our
    customers to embrace the excitement of the new baby,” said Snyder.
    Beginning on Sunday, Feb. 22, Kmart adds even more value to the Kmart shopping experience,
    both online and in-store. Kmart will start accepting Internet print-at-home coupons, allowing Webfriendly
    consumers the ability to locate coupons on and through easyto-
    use Web pages. These sites will let consumers find coupons based on their geographic areas
    as well as offer tools to track total savings, coupon categories and brands. Coupons will be
    available on a wide selection of products storewide. Some restrictions apply. See store for details.
    Shoppers can also find the latest Kmart shopping news by visiting
    About Kmart
    Kmart, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD), is a massmerchandising
    company that offers customers quality products through a portfolio of exclusive
    brands that include Jaclyn Smith, Joe Boxer, Martha Stewart Everyday and Route 66. For more
    information visit the company's Web site at or the Sears Holdings Corporation
    Web site at Holdings' Web site at

  2. Randall's (Safeway, Vons, Carrs, Dominick's, Pavilions)
    Manufacturer and Store Coupons:
    1. We will redeem coupons only for the specific items included in our customer's purchase transaction. The redemption value will be as stated on the coupon, unless that value yields a final price for such item less than zero; if application of the redemption value yields a price less than zero, the coupon will be redeemed only for the amount that yields a zero price (our customer cannot net a cash credit or payout from a coupon purchase).

    2. Paper coupons must be presented at the time of the purchase transaction. We will accept only coupons issued by Safeway or the manufacturer of the relevant product. We will not accept photocopies of coupons.

    3. Coupons are subject to advertised offer limitations and all other limitations and restrictions on the applicable coupon or product.

    4. Coupons may not be applied against any free item received in any offer.

    5. Coupons have no cash value.

    6. Safeway will not accept manufacturer coupons (including, but not limited to, coupons issued through a Catalina or other in-store coupon dispenser) that display another retailer's logo or name unless such coupon is for a specific item with the same product identifiers as the product included in our customer's purchase transaction.

    7. We will not accept coupons unless they have an expiration date. Expired coupons will not be accepted.

    8. We will not accept coupons that, in the determination of Safeway personnel, appear distorted or blurry or are altered in any way.

    9. Sales taxes will be applied in accordance with the law of the applicable state, regardless of any coupon or other discount that may apply to the purchase transaction.

    10. All applicable bottle and packaging deposits on the purchased and free items must be paid by the customer.

    11. Safeway reserves the right to refuse any coupons at its discretion.

    12. Purchase reward thresholds (if any) will be calculated based upon customer's final price (after deducting Club Card savings and all other discounts and savings) before deductions for any manufacturer coupons. As an example (and not as an offer), if a $10 minimum purchase is required for a customer reward, a customer's order at full retail would be $12, a Club Card discount of $1.75 applies, and a manufacturer's coupon of $1 applies, the customer would be given credit for a $10.25 purchase, and would be eligible for the reward (assuming compliance with all other requirements) even though the customer's cash payment would be only $9.25. The manufacturer's coupon would not be deducted from the total for purposes of determining reward eligibility. Purchase reward thresholds (if any) will be calculated based upon customer’s final price (after deducting Club Card savings, and all other discounts)

    13. References to a threshold purchase requirement will exclude purchases of: Beer, Wine, Spirits, Tobacco Products, Fuel, All Fluid Items in the Refrigerated Dairy Section (including Fluid Dairy and Dairy Substitutes), Prescription Items and Co-payments, Bus/Commuter Passes, Fishing/Hunting Licenses and Tags, Postage Stamps, Money Orders, Money Transfers, Ski Tickets, Amusement Park Tickets, Event Tickets, Lottery Tickets, Phone Cards, Gift Cards, and Gift Certificates; also excluded are: Bottle Deposits, Redemption Values, and Sales Taxes.
    Internet Printed Coupons:
    14. We gladly accept internet printed coupons. The same manufacturer and store coupon rules above apply to all internet printed coupons.

    15. Internet printed coupons must be capable of scanning at checkout.

    16. Internet printed coupons must have serial numbers and must follow an industry-standard format.

    17. Manufacturer internet printed coupons must clearly indicate that they are a manufacturer coupon and must have a valid manufacture address on the printed coupon.

    18. We will not accept "free product" internet printed manufacturer coupons.
    Load to Card Club Coupons:
    19. Internet and digital coupons that have been electronically loaded to a Safeway Club Card are automatically redeemed at the time of purchase after the club card number has been entered. All other coupon policies above apply to electronic coupons that are loaded to a club card.
    Doubling of Coupons:
    20. Check with your local store regarding 'double coupon' advertised promotions where customers will receive double the coupon face value off the regular or club card price up to the advertised limit. Not all locations offer double coupon promotions. Limitations and restrictions for double coupon promotions may change at any time. Changes will be posted in store only.
    Coupon Stacking:
    21. Safeway does not allow a customer to redeem two or more manufacturer coupons against the same item in a single transaction.

    22. Coupon stacking policies for manufacturer coupons apply to paper and electronic coupons that have been loaded to a club card.

    23. If a customer presents two coupons for the same item in a single transaction, Safeway will give the highest discount for that item, subject to the terms of the applicable offer and/or coupon.
    24. Rainchecks expire ninety (90) days from the date issued and will not be accepted at any Safeway store after that time.

    25. We reserve the right to limit Raincheck quantities based on product availability and advertised limits.

    26. Rainchecks can be issued for up to six (6) items unless otherwise stated in the applicable advertisement.

    27. Rainchecks can be issued for all items, excluding Beer, Wine, Spirits, Tobacco Products, Fuel, All Fluid Items in the Refrigerated Dairy Section (including Fluid Dairy and Dairy Substitutes), which exclusions may vary from state to state.

    28. Rainchecks can be offered for store super coupon items unless otherwise specified on the coupon. Rainchecks will not be provided for items advertised as "clearance", "while supplies last," "limited quantities," or other designation indicating a limited supply.
    We may change these rules at any time. All coupon redemption terms are subject to the terms of the rules in effect at time of redemption. Rule changes may become effective without advance notice or advertisement. The current rules will be posted at the customer service area in each store. You are also advised to periodically check our website for any changes to these rules.

    Revision Date: 02/16/2011

  3. WalMart
    Walmart Coupon Policy

    We gladly accept the following types of coupons*

    Print-at-home internet coupons
    Must be legible
    Must have "Manufacturer Coupon" printed on them
    Must have a valid remit address for the manufacturer
    Must have a valid expiration date
    Must have a scannable bar code
    Buy one, get one free (BOGO) coupons with a specified price
    Are acceptable in black and white or color
    May not be duplicated
    Manufacturers' coupons
    For dollar/cents off
    For free items (except those printed off the Internet)
    Buy one, get one free (BOGO) coupons
    Must have "Manufacturer Coupon" printed on them
    Must have a valid remit address for the manufacturer
    Must have a valid expiration date
    Must have a scannable bar code
    May not be duplicated
    Competitors' coupons
    A specific item for a specified price, for example, $2.99
    Buy one, get one free (BOGO) coupons for items with a specified price
    Have a valid expiration date
    Are acceptable in black and white
    Soft drink container caps
    Checkout coupons ("Catalinas")
    Printed at our competitors' registers for dollar/cents off on a specific item
    Must have "Manufacturer Coupon" with specific item requirements printed on them
    Must have a valid remit address for the manufacturer
    Must have a valid expiration date
    Must have a scannable bar code
    Are acceptable in black and white
    May not be duplicated

    We DO NOT accept the following coupons:

    Checkout coupons
    Dollars/cents off the entire basket purchase
    Percentage off the entire basket purchase
    Print-at-home Internet coupons that require no purchase
    Competitors' coupons
    Dollars/cents off at a specific retailer
    Percentage off
    Buy one, get one free (BOGO) coupons without a specified price
    Double- or triple-value coupons

    *The following are guidelines and limitations:

    We only accepts coupons for merchandise that we sell.
    Coupons must be presented at the time of purchase.
    Only one coupon per item.
    Item purchased must be identical to the coupon (size, quantity, brand, flavor, color, etc).
    There is no limit on the number of coupons per transaction.
    Coupons must have an expiration date and be redeemed prior to expiration.
    If coupon value exceeds the price of the item, the excess may be given to the customer as cash or applied toward the basket purchase.
    SNAP items purchased in a SNAP transaction are ineligible for cash back.
    WIC items purchased in a WIC transaction are applied to the basket purchase and may not be eligible for cash back. Refer to state-specific WIC guidelines.
    Great Value, Marketside, Equate, Parents Choice, and World Table coupons have no cash value and are ineligible for cash back or application to the basket purchase.
    The system will prompt for supervisor verification for:
    40 coupons per transaction.
    A coupon of $20 or greater on one item.
    $50 or more in coupons in one transaction.

  4. Target
    coupon policy

    Coupons are a great way to save even more when shopping with us, and it's easy to use them at our stores. When accepting coupons, we follow the guidelines below.
    Target stores coupon policy

    manufacturer & Target coupons:
    • Target accepts one Manufacturer Coupon and one Target Coupon for the same item (unless prohibited by either coupon).
    • Item purchased must match the coupon description (brand, size, quantity, color, flavor, etc.).
    • Coupon amount may be reduced if it exceeds the value of the item after other discounts or coupons are applied.
    • We can't give cash back if the face value of a coupon is greater than the purchase value of the item.
    • All valid coupons should be presented to the cashier during checkout.
    • All applicable sales taxes are paid by the guest at the full value of the item.
    • These guidelines apply to all coupons accepted at Target (Color Checkout Coupons, Internet Coupons, Mobile Coupons, Mailed Coupons, Coupons from Newspapers and Magazines, etc.).

    internet (print-at-home) coupons:
    • We gladly accept valid Internet coupons that contain a clear and scannable bar code.
    • We do not accept Internet coupons for free items with no purchase requirements.

    mobile coupons:
    • Guests can receive Target Mobile Coupons by signing up for Text Alerts at or by texting COUPONS to 827438 (TARGET).
    • Message and data rates may apply. See site for full details.
    • To redeem, simply show your coupon barcode to the cashier. With one simple scan, all applicable coupons are applied.

    buy one get one free coupons (BOGO):
    • BOGO coupons cannot be combined (i.e. you cannot use two BOGO coupons on two items and get both for free). Unless stated otherwise on the coupon, the use of one Buy One Get One Free coupon requires that two of the valid items are presented at checkout of which one item will be charged to the guest and the 2nd item will be discounted by its full retail price.
    • A second cents-off coupon of the same type cannot be redeemed towards the purchase price of the first item.
    If a Target BOGO coupon is used, one additional manufacturer coupon maybe used on the first item.
    If a Manufacturer BOGO coupon is used, one additional Target coupon may be used on the first item.

    • Coupons are void if copied, scanned, transferred, purchased, sold, prohibited by law or appear altered in any way.
    • We can't accept coupons from other retailers or coupons for products not carried in our stores.
    • Some items may not be available at all stores.
    • We do not accept expired coupons.

  5. H.E.B.
    At H-E-B, we know how important it is for you to maximize every dollar you spend with us. Coupons are a big part of that, so below we have outlined our guidelines for your convenience.

    H-E-B accepts the following types of coupons:

    Manufacturer issued coupons obtained from printed publications (newspaper, FSI, magazines, etc)
    H-E-B Issued coupons
    H-E-B issued coupons are typically
    Available at store level and typically yellow in color
    Generated by a coupon printer at the register and provided with customer receipt
    Distributed via direct mail to customer households or other printed publications

    Printable coupons with a bar code (i.e. Online or Internet coupons)

    Coupon guidelines and limitations:

    Coupons can only be redeemed for items, brands, and sizes as specified by the requirements of the coupon.
    Only one coupon per item is permitted.
    Combining a manufacturer issued coupon with an H-E-B coupon on the same item is not permitted

    H-E-B does not double or triple coupons.
    H-E-B cannot give cash back if the face value of a coupon is greater than the purchase value of the item.
    Coupons must be presented to the cashier at time of purchase.
    Coupons cannot be redeemed for cash.
    The following coupons cannot be accepted:
    Expired coupons
    Competitor coupons
    Coupons without a barcode
    Coupons listed as counterfeit at

    H-E-B accepts valid Online and other Printable coupons as follows:
    Online and other Printable coupons should be legible and have a scannable bar code.
    Buy-one-get-one-free coupons (BOGOs) are accepted. (i.e. Buy X, Get X Free)
    "Free product" printable coupons are not accepted (i.e. Get X Free)
    Printable Coupons will not be accepted if they appear copied or are altered in any way. They should be printed directly from the website or email in which they were offered.
    Printable Coupons have unique serial numbers and follow an industry standard format; they are non-transferable, and should not be copied, scanned, sold, traded, or otherwise distributed.

    H-E-B reserves the right to refuse any coupon or limit quantities.

    Updated: November 11, 2011

Some of the policies I am actually astonished at. Which ones are the best, I guess depends on your point of view. I like having coupons doubled or tripled but I like being able to get cash back. Yet few stores double anymore and the one store that allows overages makes it hard to get there since they don't double. So I guess its all a matter of perspective.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Learning not to Spend on Your Car

Guest post written by Emma Barnes

Cars are prized possessions for most people. They provide the freedom to travel directly to necessary destinations whenever required and public transport just doesn't compare. However, they also eat cash and in tough economic times, it is beneficial to make a few small changes in order to save money. It is easy to do by following these few simple suggestions.

Firstly, you need to find the cheapest car insurance available for your make and model. When people are flush with cash they often simply renew insurance with their existing provider but new insurers generally offer a discounted price and additional benefits. These potential insurers want to secure your business in a competitive marketplace and often reduce the price and offer other rewards such as breakdown cover or vacation insurance.
Image courtesy of Images of Money

Research the options available to you and call the insurers to check if any online price could be discounted even further. Insurers will want to convince you there and then to take their insurance and, particularly if they have had a slow day or month, may give even more incentives. You will save money as a result and in some cases, this is a significant amount.

Secondly, consider different ways to reduce your fuel costs, which can include simple actions such as closing your windows and sunroof because this makes the car more aerodynamic and thus uses less fuel. If you have a roof rack, remove it at once as the extra weight guzzles your gas by a massive 30% quicker than if you did not have one. This goes for anything heavy, so if you're a builder, plumber or any type of handyperson, remove your tools from your car when you are not working.

Thirdly, plan your route well so that you do not take unnecessary detours and use more fuel. A sat-nav system can be a good investment as it will help you find the quickest and therefore most fuel efficient way of getting to your destination. Avoid areas that have lots of speed bumps or crossings because slowing down continuously uses more fuel.

If your route is simply to the local store for a carton of milk, consider if you can either wait to purchase the item or walk there instead. Short journeys are not cost-efficient but sometimes people simply hop in the car as a matter of routine. Walking will save you money, help the environment, burn off calories and get your heart pumping nicely, so there are lots of benefits!

Additionally, consider car sharing. Not only is this more eco-friendly, in some cities it will allow you to access special lanes that tend to move through rush-hour traffic more easily. If you car share, your passenger should help pay towards fuel costs which will help you save more money.

So, there are numerous ways to save, rather than spend on your car, from accessing the cheapest car insurance to finding the best route. These should help you save money and time so give it a go and see what a difference it will make. Good luck!

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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Carmex Contest

posted by Kevin Surbaugh

Carmex is celebrating 75 Years with 750,000 Carmex Fans? The first sweepstakes starts when they hit 250,000 fans!

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Financial News Briefly

Compiled by Kevin Surbaugh

A look around the financial markets today.
Rite Aid (RAD)
Workers in the Cleavland area ended their eight-month strike against Rite Aid (RAD), according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. According to officials with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880 there in Cleavland they reached a three-year contract that will last until 2014.
Neither the union nor the company would reveal terms of the contract. Workers went on strike in March because they said the company, based in Harrisburg, Pa., wanted to dramatically increase the amount workers paid for health care benefits.

Union president Thomas Robertson said the union didn't want to reveal the terms of the settlement because workers in Canton, Akron and Youngstown still must vote on a similar contract.
- Cleveland Plain Dealer
Photo courtesy of

Union officials did say the issues surrounding health care was resolved, but didn't give any further details. A spokesperson for Rite Aid called the deal "fair, and in the best interest of all parties."

Rite Aid stock rose dramatically in trading on Thursday (to close at $1.33) after a falling out between Walgreen (WAG) and Express Scripts which can't agree on a pharmacy benefits management contract. Rite Aid closed yesterday at $1.28.
Walgreen (WAG)
Barrons reports, that Walgreen (WAG) and Express Scripts (ESRX) are in a dispute over a pharmacy benefit management deal.
Walgreen (WAG) is in a dispute with Express Scripts (ESRX) over a pharmacy benefit management deal, and failure to resolve that deal could hurt Walgreen, writes Credit Suisse analyst Edward Kelly. In a note today downgrading the company to Neutral from Outperform, Kelly urges investors to consider Rite Aid (RAD) instead.
- Barrons
According to this report if this deal falls though it will force customers to have to go to other drugstores to get their prescriptions filled, which could benefit Rite Aid (RAD) and CVS Caremark (CVS)if a deal isn't reached by Dec. 31, 2011. Right now according to the media reports it is just a waiting game to see what shakes out between now and the end of the year, but the first of the year could be very jolly for Walgreen's competitors.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B, BRK-A)

The news over the last few days was that the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett and his investment company Berkshire Hatahway had invested more then $10 billion in IBM. This is real buzz among some in the investment community, because Buffett has long had an aversion to buying technology stocks. So this purchase comes as a surprise to many. However, as The Economist points out maybe it shouldn't be such a surprise.
The Sage of Omaha earned his reputation as a tech skeptic when he judiciously avoided hot internet stocks during the dotcom bubble. It is too hard to sort out the few potential winners from the large number of start-ups that are likely to prove ephemeral, his reasoning went.
- The Economist
The article continues to explain that by splashing more than $10 billion in IBM, he is actually investing in the opposite of an transient company, seeing as IBM has been around for 100 years and is looking very healthy.

The compiler of this piece owns small stakes (less then 5 shares in RAD and BRK-B) while currently owning no stakes in WAG or CVS.
Photo courtesy of

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I" think.="" to="" what="" you="">

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 2

by Kevin Surbaugh

I have never been a fan of Glee, but I love Christmas music. In fact I absolutely love Christmas, so when the review copy of Glee's newest Christmas album arrived, I got excited at the chance to review another Christmas album. Almost a year to the day after Volume One was released, Glee will release Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 2 on Tuesday, November 15, 2011. This year's Glee holiday album contains the cast’s festive renditions of such Christmas staples as “Little Drummer Boy," “Let It Snow,” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You."  New cast members Lindsay Pearce, Alex Newell, and Damian McGinty--from the popular show The Glee Project--are featured on “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and “Blue Christmas," along with fellow discovery Samuel Larson accompanying the Glee cast on “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."   Among the 12 tracks on Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 2 are two original songs: “Extraordinary Merry Christmas” and “Christmas Eve With You," both written by Adam Anders, Peer Astrom and Shelly Peiken.

The full track listing is as follows (along with my thoughts on each):
  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You
  2. This song features Amber Riley (Mercedes) singing this popular Christmas love song written by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff. The original Carey version was released in Nov. 194 and has since became the best-selling holiday ringtone in the U.S. Call me an old fogy if you want, but I prefer the old classics. Still with no money for Christmas this year, this may be the song I give my wife this Christmas day.
  3. Extraordinary Merry Christmas
  4. This was one of two original songs on this album. The song featuring Darrin Criss (Blaine) and Lea Michele (Rachel) was written by Adam Anders, Peer Astrom and Shelly Peiken. While the song was easy to listen to, I don't see it as becoming a favorite around my home, still when it comes to music I tend to be out of the loop, so who knows.
  5. Santa Baby
  6. Here is a song we have all heard of, this 1953 Christmas song written by Joan Javits, Philip Springer and Tony Springer. The song is a tongue-in-cheek look at a Christmas list sung by some woman who wants extravagant gifts such as sables, yachts, and decorations from Tiffany's. Originally recorded by Eartha Kitt with Henri René and his orchestra in New York City on October 6, 1953, this rendition features Naya Rivera (Santana).
  7. Christmas Eve With You
  8. The only other original title on this album is another Christmas love song, again written by Adam Anders, Peer Åström, and Shelly Peiken. The song features Jayma Mays (Emma). Love songs, aren't my particular forte, but like all the other tracts on this CD it was an easy listen.
  9. Little Drummer Boy
  10. A popular Christmas favorite of mine and many others throughout the world, this song was originally written in 1941 by Katherine K. Davis and has been recorded by a number of different artists over the years starting with the Trapp Family Singers in 1955. This rendition features Kevin McHale (Artie).
  11. River
  12. Okay, so this was a song I had never heard of before. The song written by Joni Mitchell (1971), where she ruminates on a recent romantic relationship breakup. This rendition features Lea Michele (Rachel).
  13. Do You Hear What I Hear?
  14. This is a Christmas song written in 1962 with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker. On this album the song features Lindsey Pearce and Alex Newell.
  15. Let It Snow
  16. I hate snow, but have often loved hearing this song over the years. It is one of the best-selling songs of all time, and has been recorded countless times by a wide array of artists. Due to its seasonal lyrics, it is commonly regarded as a Christmas song. However, despite the song's cheery, holiday feel, it is a really a love song that never mentions Christmas. This rendition features Darren Criss (Blaine) and Chris Colfer (Kurt).
  17. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  18. One of my favorite childhood songs from when I was a kid, is redone on this album. This rendition features Mark Sailing (Puck), Cory Monteith (Finn), and Samuel Larsen. It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie. When it was first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in November 1934, it became an instant hit, with 100,000 copies of the sheet music being sold the next day and over 400,000 by Christmas of the same year.
  19. Christmas Wrapping
  20. Written by Chris Butler in 1981 this rendition features Heather Morris (Brittany). While this rendition is one of the more upbeat songs on the album, I would not call it a song that my wife or I would listen to regularly.
  21. Blue Christmas
  22. We have all heard this song sung by Elvis countless times. The song written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson was very interesting and enjoyable. When my wife and I heard this rendition featuring Damian McGinty (Rory) we had a little dispute. While I thought Elvis' version was better, she actually thought this rendition was better.
  23. Do They Know It's Christmas
  24. The final tract on the album features Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Lea Michele (Rachel), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Heather Morris )Brittany), Mark Sallings (Puck), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina) and Naya Rivera (Santana) redoing the song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 for Band Aid on 29 November 1984. Band Aid was a single-song album to raise money for relief of the 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia.
Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album Volume 2 is available now for pre-order at a number online music sellers.

My wife and I listened to this CD together. My wife thought on a scale of one to ten this CD would be a seven. I asked her what she didn't like about it. Her response was that she thought it could be more upbeat. Perhaps she has a point, after all this is the most joyous time of the year the music should reflect that. Besides Christmas music has been done so much it is hard to do it in a new way. Either you are going to like it or you aren't. My thought in this regard is that I have heard many different styles of Christmas music except for perhaps in one of my favorite music styles, Black Gospel (Choir). I'm sure it has been done, I just haven't heard it. Still over-all I personally liked the album. Not because it was so spectacularly different but because I enjoy Christmas music.  If you like Christmas music like I do then I encourage you to checkout this album at your favorite music retailer.

My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Austin's Proposed Bag Ban

I have been meaning to write this for sometime, but something always seems to get in the way. So today without further ado I am writing this short letter to the editor about my thoughts on the proposed plastic bag ban. My wife and I use cloth bags, but we do like to get a few plastic bags. Once at home we can use these bags in the trash cans in the bathroom and bedrooms. Banning them will not eliminate plastic bags. Sure maybe it would eliminate plastic grocery bags, but not plastic bags. Such a ban (or a charge for use of such bags) would only force my wife to buy plastic trash sacks that we can't afford. Something we don't have to do now because we can get them free (aka plastic grocery sacks) when we shop. Thus because we would now be forced to buy trash bags, all the city has done is traded one plastic bag for another. Which means they have defeated their whole purpose in the first place.

My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011


The Author of this post is Solomon Dejesus

I made sure to shop electricity rates texas when I was getting everything together for my move. I am finally living the American dream and have bought my first home. I have to say that it has been a long time coming. I have been a renter for fifteen years and have only moved twice. My parents kept trying to talk me in to getting my own place, but I just loved where I lived and enjoyed having someone come over and fix thing ( for free). My financial advisor and I decided that purchasing a home would be in my best interest because real estate prices are low and in the long run I would be saving money by owning a home. I found a great town house. It has a lot of space and a great master bedroom. My favorite part about the house is the bathroom. It has a dressing vanity, separate shower, and a huge Jacuzzi tub. I am really excited to move in and am adjusting to the new title of “homeowner”.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Occupy News

by Kevin Surbaugh

As the Occupy Movement continues, I thought today we would take a look back at the news from around the movement.
New York
The New York Post reports, that a campsite of Occupy Wall Street protestors has become so overrun by sexual predators attacking women in the night that organizers have set up a female-only sleeping tent to keep them away. The tent can sleep as many as 18 at a time. The article led to Donald Trump Jr to link to it on his Twitter account asking what does this say about the movement?
“This is all about safety in numbers,” said Becky Wartell, 24, a protester from Portland, Maine.

“When you’re in a large group of people sleeping, you will, of course, feel a lot safer than if you were by yourself,” she added.
- New York Post


Similarly in Dallas, Texas A 24-year-old convicted sex offender was arrested after he was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old at the Occupy Dallas campground near City Hall. Dallas police said Richard Wayne Armstrong (who had been convicted of raping another 14-year old girl previously) was arrested Sunday on suspicion of having sex with a 14-year-old runaway.

Police located and questioned Armstrong and discovered he had failed to register as a sex offender after he recently got out of prison in Big Sandy.

Armstrong was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Coppell in 2009.

This is not good. Two cities, both having problems with sexual assaults and predictors in their midst. What else is happening in the movement?


According to media reports, there were approximately 100 Occupy Austin protesters who gathered at City Hall on Saturday morning (Nov. 5, 2011) and marched to the Wells Fargo branch at Congress Avenue and East Riverside Drive to participate in National Bank Transfer Day. A few weeks ago they did the same to Bank of America. According to organizers the action Saturday, 11 customers reportedly closed their Wells Fargo accounts.

According to the Washington Independent there were more than 47,000 Texans who left banks to join credit unions for Bank Transfer Day.
Over the weekend, members of the Occupy Texas movement in cities like Houston and Austin marched to their banks, closed their accounts and put their money in credit unions, joining demonstrators across the nation on Bank Transfer Day.

In protest of rising bank fees, hidden charges and profit-driven business motives, occupiers are making a collective effort to transfer their money into what they see are more ethical and trustworthy institutions.

About 47,000 Texans have joined credit unions in the past month, moving some $326 million by November 2 – four times the usual growth rate, reports the Texas Credit Union League. And as our sister site the Colorado Independent reported, 650,000 people across the nation have opened accounts in the same period. Post-Bank Transfer Day, that number is edging closer to a million customers.
- Washington Independent

There you have it. A brief summary of the Occupy Movement over the weekend. I will be looking at this movement more as it continues.
My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Several Earthquakes Shake Central Okalahoma

by Kevin Surbaugh

This morning I woke to the news on my smartphone that an earthquake had hit Oklahoma. According to the MSNBC breaking news alert a 5.6 quake centered near the small town of Sparks, OK in Lincoln County, or about 45 miles east of Oklahoma City. According to the same story that makes it the largest earthquake ever to strike that area. The biggest one before last nights quake was 5.5 which stroke near El Reno on April 9, 1952.
This one reportedly could be felt as far away as Kansas City, MO (though my parents who live 60 miles south of Kansas City on the Kansas side said they felt nothing). However, people watching OSU beat Kansas State seen the shaking as the quake hit just minutes after the game ended. The quake also reportedly occurred after several smaller ones early on Saturday.
Photo from KMBC-TV in Kansas City, MO

Fox News reported,
Saturday's earlier temblor, which hit at 2:12 a.m., woke people and pets as it shook an area that stretched from Texas to Missouri. Its epicenter was 6 miles north of Prague in Lincoln County, in the rolling hills about 50 miles east of Oklahoma City.

A 3.4 magnitude aftershock was reported at 2:27 a.m. from the same location, as well as a 2.7 magnitude aftershock at 2:44 a.m.

Another 4.0 magnitude earthquake reportedly hit the state at 3:39 a.m. Sunday, and was centered about 36 miles east of Oklahoma City. As daylight emerges Oklahoma authorities will be able to better asses the damages from the earthquakes. So far it is known that U.S. Highway 62 buckled and crumbled but authorities are saying no major damage has been found thus far.

Article first published as Rare Earthquakes Rattle Central Oklahoma on Blogcritics.
My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Checking the Facts of Austin's Copper City Hall

by Kevin Surbaugh

When I went to visit with the protesters at the Occupy Austin, I met a Amber; age 24, who complained
Why are there so many people that don't have Medicare? They are just on the street dying because they can't afford the right medications.
When asked about how to pay for increased coverage (which I would love to see happen) She replied,
This beautiful building (Austin City Hall) right here is made out of copper. Seventeen ($17) million dollars of copper just setting there on that roof. I mean, why can't they just put regular brick or glass on top of the building like all the rest of them? Why is the $17 million just setting there? You know $17 million dollars can feed so many people and help so many people out.
I was astounded. Was this true? So I began to research it. Yes there is copper on the roof and ceiling of the building., according to multiple sources. One such source explains
Entering the building, visitors find themselves standing in a canyon-like space that reaches four stories to a reflective bronze ceiling. Catwalk-like bridges span the openness at each level. The city council chamber has theater-style seating for 156, with monitor screens inside the chamber and in the lobby to allow public viewing of council proceedings.
Inside City Hall, the bronze ceiling reflects light downward

Photo courtesy Antoine Predock via

This is all part of the City of Austin's green initiative. The site continues
Some 66,000 square feet, or more than a football field’s worth, of copper is used primarily to wrap the top half of the building, including the “stinger.” The 12-inch-wide copper-clad panels and standing seam copper roof have been treated with a light oil coating to slow their patination. Due to the low amount of sulfur in Austin’s air, it is expected that the copper will turn first to various shades of brown and then to a soft grey with hints of blue and green in about 30 years. Alongside the importance of the coloring is the fact that copper can be fitted to almost any shape. This was critical because the building has few 90-degree angles.

The copper cladding on the outside of the building will last two to three times longer than other exterior materials, resulting in the consumption of from a third to a half less material over the building’s lifetime.

In the lobby, a bronze ceiling reflects the sun coming in from the skylight into the space below.4 In the council chamber, 16 corrugated “copper clouds” dominate the ceiling, acting as both design features and acoustical panels. Finally, the fact that the copper has 82% recycled content helped contribute to its award of the LEED point for using recycled materials.

Further, the only energy needed to make cladding from recycled copper is for the heat to melt it — just 15% of the total energy that would have been consumed if it had been mined, milled, smelted and refined from ore. This translates into big energy savings, as more than 80% of the copper used to make architectural sheet products is derived from recycled copper.

Finally, copper cladding will last two or three times longer than other exterior materials, resulting in the consumption of from a third to a half less material over a building’s lifetime.


But is it really $17 million in copper alone? I mean the cities own website said the building cost $56 million to build, so would the copper really take that much of the building costs? According to a document from
If pennies were still made of copper (they are copper-coated zinc now), more than 12 million Lincoln coins would have been needed to construct the new City Hall in Austin, Texas.
Photo courtesy of Antoine Predock  via
Austin City Hall from above    Photo courtesy of Antoine Predock  via

With its multiple angles and sharp curves, the unique four-story structure is clad almost entirely in brown-gold copper. Approximately 66,000 square feet of copper was used for the interior and exterior facades of the 115,000-square-foot building, which opened in late 2004 and cost $56 million to construct.
For the record 12 million pennies is only $120,000, but the copper value is more then that, so the question remains is it really $17 million in that building. It is a question that I asked the cities media relations department. Is this fact or just an exaggeration by some overzealous critics? At the time of publication my phones calls and emails have been unanswered. I however, will keep vigilant to find out the answer.We at KevinsView think you should know the facts. Whether it is the city hiding the truth from us or overzealous protestors misrepresenting the numbers, we want you to know.

----Update Tue Nov 8, 2011 ------------

Mona Sanchez with the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office of the City of Austin said that,
The “copper skin” on City Hall is valued at $2,545,000 which includes materials and labor to install the copper cladding system (fiberglass decking, waterproofing and copper) inside and outside of the building. This figure does not include the copper clouds located in the Council Chamber, which were $250,000 for materials and labor. Eighty-two (82%) percent of all copper used on the building was recycled copper.

Related article published as Fact Checking an Occupy Austin Protestor on Blogcritics.

My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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