Friday, October 24, 2014

One Good Thing About Millennials: They are Adding to 401Ks like crazy

They are finally getting jobs as the economy improves and are seeing that a 401K is a great way to save for retirement.

In the first half of 2014, the number of Millennials enrolling for the first time in a 401(k) plan jumped 55%, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 401(k) Wellness Scorecard. This twice-yearly report examines trends among 2.5 million plan participants with $129 billion of assets under the bank’s care.

The brisk initial enrollment pace is due partly to the sheer number of Millennials entering the workforce. They account for about 25% of workers today, a figure that will shoot to 50% by 2020. But it also reflects a broader trend toward 401(k) enrollment. Across all generations, the number enrolling for the first time jumped 37%, Bank of America found.

Those opt-out 401K forms (instead of the opt-ins of yesteryear) are doing wonders for 401K plan growth. Plus there are apps you can use to manage your account and keep tabs on the amounts going in and growing. I wonder what the numbers are for Millennials re-balancing their portfolios though. Do they set-it and forget it or do they look at it quarterly? Or do they change things around whenever they see something on TV?

Now what the government needs to do is allow people to put more money in 401Ks than ever before to encourage savings. The employee match is one of the few ways a person can accrue wealth tax free left in America and Millennials need to tap that source for all its worth.

Mom and Pop Investors Back in the Market? Is it Time to Sell?

Most of the time when Individual Investors buy stock in a big way the market will drop.

This means that approximately 35% of all household financial assets are “at risk.” In fact, we’re now getting back to investment market participation levels not seen since the third quarter of 2007, during which 34% of all household assets were invested. The two previous peaks before then were Q1 2000 (43%) and 1968 (31%). Bears will note that these moments coincided nicely with the onset of the last three major bear markets, 1966 to 1982, 2000 to 2002, and 2007 to 2009.
 The individual investor is usually holding the bag when the music stops and the pros flee the field. This article points out that these investors are going in using passive Index funds and other more conservative stuff. No or Nifty 50 or other mess as far as I can tell. At least the economy is improving so there really isn't a true reason for a massive drop or recession in our future. 

Darius Foster: The Face of a New GOP?

Well I like his political philosophy already.

With the bulky frame of a former linebacker and a warm, hearty laugh, Foster fashions himself as a Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt Republican.

"The fight-for-the-people Republican. That's what they were. I'm not sure where the Democratic Party was able to hijack that narrative from us. But they did. And they have it. I'm trying to bring it back," he says.

Foster is a 33-year-old business consultant. He's been active in the GOP since he founded a lonely chapter of College Republicans at the historically black Miles College in Birmingham. He's been tapped by the Republican National Committee as a future leader.

So he actually got in the trench and started a College Republican chapter at a historically black college. He also sounds like a happy warrior which the GOP sorely needs. Plus, the idea of the GOP fighting for the average American has been long overdue. Growing the economy so that people can find meaningful jobs and eventually become prosperous is the dream of many Americans. The so called "Compassionate Conservative" should be more than just a buzzword.

His wife has some of my political philosophy as well.

Over breakfast at their neighborhood IHOP, his wife, 28-year-old Setara Foster, a lawyer, talks about growing up black in Houston where her parents were union members and loyal Democrats.

She now identifies more closely with the GOP. But she says she tends to split her ticket.

"I think that when we as a group identify with one party, for one thing, all the time, that party never has to earn our vote. Ever. And so I think that by having a diversity of political ideology within ethnic, racial, gender, age groups, we force politicians to work," she says.

I agree with the GOP on some things (mostly economic growth and taxes) and disagree with them on other things (most social issues.) I think all Americans should have a little of Mrs. Foster's idea that no party should take your vote for granted and have to keep working for it. If minorities had more of this idea then the Dems couldn't just put them in their pocket and to keep doing nothing for them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The First Outrage of the 2014 Election Season: Wasabi Ginger Wins the New Lays Flavor! #OUTRAGE

You got to be kidding me! I enjoy wasabi (with shoyu and ginger afterward) with sushi but on chips? No way!

The entry to the brand’s annual “Do Us a Flavor” contest beat out Mango Salsa, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, and—likely much to the relief of coffee expert Oliver Strand and Yahoo Readers everywhere—Cappuccino. The unique flavors have been on sale nationwide since late July, and chip lovers have been voting on them. We got the winner of the people’s choice award on the horn to tout her flavor combo. 

I cannot believe it beat out the very tasty Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese. I actually enjoyed the bacon taste of the chips and hope someone makes a bacon flavored potato chip in the US soon. There seems to be one in England but that doesn't help me when I go to Safeway on a chip purchasing mission.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One Way to Fight ISIS is with Mockery and these Iraqi Kurds are SNLing them

I hope the real SNL plays their because it is pretty funny.

“We are bearded, dirty and filthy. … We are brainless with nothing in our heads.”

“We are ISIS. We are ISIS,” the singers declare. “We milk the goat even if it is male.”

“Our music is without rhythm. And our leader is called Qaqa,” they sing. “Our pockets are full of Qatari money. Our language is bullets and cutting.”

Their leader is really named Qaqa? So many jokes and so little time.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Obama Just Wrote a GOP Attack Ad

I wonder of he is sabotaging their campaigns for some nefarious reason?

President Obama delivered a blow to Democratic Senate candidates looking to distance themselves from his flagging approval ratings Monday, saying lawmakers avoiding him on the campaign trail were “strong allies and supporters” who have “supported my agenda in Congress.”

The president said that Democrats faced a “tough map” and noted that many Democrats in crucial races “are in states that I didn’t win” during a radio interview with Rev. Al Sharpton.

He knows that these candidates are running away from him as fast as they can. So he goes ahead and damages their campaign for his own narcissistic reasons. I guess he figures that the Senate will go GOP and he will have 2 years to cruise and start planning his memoirs.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Could ISIS use Ebola to Attack America and Europe? Very Plausable

I recently read a book on the Black Death a while back called The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time.The book talked about how the Black Plague came to Europe through a biological warfare attack by the Mongols toward a city in Asia Minor call Caffa held by the Genoa in 1347. 

What Jani Beg (the Khan of the Golden Horde) did when the city of Caffa was under siege was use his catapults to toss plague corpses into the city in order to break the siege. The plague corpses infected a number of Genoese sailors who attempted to flee the city (and devestated Caffa) and thus inadvertently inflicted the Black Death on much of Europe. The Black Death caused the death of 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia.

An interesting side note was that Jani Beg was a Muslim. So this got me thinking that what if ISIS decided to send a number of their operatives to West Africa to get their hands on Ebola infected blood. Or maybe even worse infect themselves and become living (not for too long) "Jani Beg plague corpses." All they really need is a blood soaked rag from an Ebola patient in Liberia and every operative can potentially become a living "plague missile."

What these "ISIS plague missiles" could potentially do is send packages of Ebola to various victims in the US and Europe. It would only take a few blood or vomit soaked rags in an Amazon box to be sent to various people in the US and it might be worse than a letter bomb. 

What would be terrifying is that this attack would be nearly impossible to detect. You can detect bomb materials in a box sent in the mail but these are just rags and gauze and things. You cannot use a metal detector or some sniffer to catch this kind of biological warfare attack. Hell, they could just send a bunch of bloody rags that that are not even Ebola infected and it will create the same kind of panic.

The job of terrorists is to inflict terror and this would strait up terrify people. I know it would be fairly difficult to catch Ebola from a bloody rag made in Syria all the way in the US because of the nature of the virus. However, the fear it would cause would be devastating. Each one of those boxes would have to be checked out by health care officials and tested to make sure it isn't virulent. Then disease detectives would have to check the person that opened the box and everyone that person came in contact with. I wonder if the CIA and the FBI are checking to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen. I really hope they are because this attack would be scary in the extreme.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Study Says Natural Gas is Not the Bridge Fuel to Stop Global Warming: I Disagree

Well its seems that 5 sets of scientists are saying that natural gas might even make global warming worse for some reason or another.

Five teams of experts from around the world, using five different sets of computer model simulations, looked at what would happen if natural gas — also known as methane — remains cheap and plentiful and nothing else changes, such as policy mandates. They all came to the same conclusion.

"It doesn't reduce climate change," said study lead author Haewon McJeon, an economist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Two computer models even found that when considering other factors like methane leaks, cheaper natural gas could lead to more trapping of heat by greenhouse gases, the mechanism that drives global warming. Methane traps even more heat than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide.

First of all why are these models so different than one another? I guess two have methane leaks in them while the others do not. This is assuming that better pipeline leak-finding technology will never be available for 100 years for some reason. 

You figure that profit motive alone will have companies actively screening their pipelines for leaks. I mean a leak might costs $1000s of dollars if it goes long enough. I guess those studies want us to keep burning coal because a train car full of the stuff will not leak and create "greenhouse gasses."  

What actually invalidates much of these studies conclusions is the term "and nothing else changes" which doesn't make sense to me. Solar and wind energy is taking off like never before because if economic incentives. If you put a solar panel on your roof you need less power from the natural gas fueled power plants and thus they burn less of the fuel.

I cannot fathom the idea that technology will stand still for a 100 years. I mean the changes in the last 50 or even the last 20 are mind boggling to say the least. Hell, Lockheed Martin is looking to build a fusion power plant and might get one done in 10 years. A few neighborhood fusion reactors or even a backyard one the size of a water heater will do more to change global warming than 100 studies by scientists ever could.

Why Does Alison Lundergan Grimes Keep Ducking the Did You Vote for Obama Question?

She should just admit she probably voted for him twice and put the issue behind her.

It might seem an odd question for a Democrat to keep ducking: Did you vote for President Barack Obama or not?

Can that be so hard?

In her Kentucky Senate debate Monday night with Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes said she won't answer that question "as a matter of principle" because doing so would compromise constitutional rights.

It just makes her look like she is hiding something for pretty much no reason. She is a Democrat and probably voted Democrat for much of her life. I would be shocked if she voted for Romney in the last election. It is sad that people cannot even admit to voting for Obama. I bet she was just besides herself happy to have voted for the first black President back in 2008. Then she doubled down on him in 2010 like many Americans. I voted for the other guy but was proud that our nation elected a black person for the first time in 2008. Too bad he turned out to be such a disaster.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Climate Models off By 17%: Turns out its Plants

It seems that the terrible Climate Change Apocalypse coming in 20 years will be great for plants.

In this new effort, the researchers took a new look at the photosynthesis process and how it might be altered in the presence of increasingly higher concentrations of CO2. They found that as CO2 levels rose, plants altered the way they processed the gas, saving more of it to use as a fertilizer, which allowed the plants to grow bigger or to become more robust, which in the end meant more CO2 was taken out of the atmosphere. Not coincidently, the researchers note, their research showed that when plants were exposed to the same higher levels of CO2 as actually occurred over the past century, they were able to absorb on average 16 percent more CO2, which very nearly coincides with the 17 percent error difference earth scientists have found with their climate models.

Sounds like the forests and fields of the Climate Change future will be quite verdant and thus take more of the CO2 out of the atmosphere then the models predict. In any case it seems that models that are wrong so much of the time need to be fixed in order for us to get the complete picture.