GUNS: law enforcement had inappropriately removed firearms

http://www.lawrencian.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=448&Itemid=45

Guns and Anarchy in Greensburg
Written by Amber Fraley
Jun 01, 2007 at 02:40 PM

 

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NRA officials are about as tight-lipped about the gun incident in Greensburg as the Lawrence Police are about the anarchists, but they seem to be satisfied that the folks in Greensburg are at least having their firearms returned to them. When asked if they thought resident’s guns had been handled improperly, they declined to say.

But they did issue this press release, which is posted on their Web site:

Last week, NRA reported that we were investigating allegations of gun confiscation in the aftermath of the tornado that ravaged Greensburg, Kan. NRA received a number of phone calls from troubled NRA members in Greensburg who were concerned that law enforcement had inappropriately removed firearms from their homes after the deadly tornadoes. In response, NRA sent representatives to Greensburg to gather as much information as possible, spoke with area law enforcement and local elected officials to determine what had transpired.

After investigating these complaints, there was no evidence of any illegal gun confiscations or seizures. However, there were firearms recovered by law enforcement that are now in the process of being returned.

Gun owners whose firearms were recovered by area law enforcement may claim them at the ‘gun trailer,’ located east of Davis Park on the north side of US 54. Please bring proper identification. The trailer is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until all firearms are returned.

NRA will continue to monitor the situation in Greensburg, and we will remain vigilant in investigating any future complaints of illegal gun confiscation wherever it may happen. If your firearms were recovered by law enforcement following the tornado in Greensburg and you have any trouble retrieving your firearms, please call us at 1-800-392-8683.

An NRA official did say that if it became necessary to release the film they took while in the small Kansas town they would, but that right now they didn’t think that was the case.

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Well, I have no first hand knowledge, nor do I know the source of this report, nor do I entirely trust the NRA, all that being said, I’d say we MAY have another example for the gooferment at work.

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INTERESTING: ‘Mr. Wizard’ taught science to young baby boomers

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-herbert13jun13,0,7656221.story

Don Herbert, 89; TV’s ‘Mr. Wizard’ taught science to young baby boomers
By Dennis McLellan, Times Staff Writer
June 13, 2007

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Don Herbert, who explained the wonderful world of science to millions of young baby boomers on television in the 1950s and ’60s as “Mr. Wizard” and did the same for another generation of youngsters on the Nickelodeon cable TV channel in the 1980s, died Tuesday. He was 89.

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I will never forget seeing him collapse a gas can demonstrating air pressure. I just sat there and said “No way”. So I went and did it. From that I concluded there was a lot I didn’t know. (Earth shaking to supposedly bright kid; everyone said so. Just coasting along.) I became fascinate with physics. And, an injineer was born.

Thanks, Mr. Wizard.

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YAHOO ANSWER: 401k questions

QUESTION

melissa126978: 401k questions?

I am currently 22 years old. I put about $100 into my 401k every other week. I plan on contributing more in the future but for now I am just doing $100. My employer matches 50%. I have 2 questions.

1.) If I were to continue for the next 40 years at $100 every 2 weeks how much would I have in my account after 40 years.

2.) When is the earliest I can withdrawl funds from my 401k without being penalized.

ANSWER

Dear Ms. “melissa126978”:

(1) It depends. “How much” depend on measured how?

(100$ yours + 50$ employer) * 26 weeks * 40 years = 156k$

BUT, you really have to figure rate of return on investments and inflation. Which requires some guess work.

Rate of Return is because you are just not going to put them over in the corner or under your mattress. You’ll invest in stocks or bonds. You’re working hard; your savings should too.

Inflation is the evil government printing money dollars making yours worth less.

So lets make some assumptions.

You’ll use the old wall street rule of thumb that says 100 minus your age so you’ll put 78% in equity and 22% in fixed income. You’ll pick low cost mutual funds from Vanguard if offered.

When you start to amass your fortune say at 100k, you’ll begin using the other Wall Street rule of thumb “no more than 5% in any one thing” but that’s for another day.

So let’s say your 22% fixed income makes 5% and your 78% equity makes 8%. (0.22*0.05)= 0.0110 AND (0.78*0.08)=0.0624 OR your blended rate of return is 0.0734. Let’s assume the evil Federal Reserve has a 0.04 inflation rate. That reduces your real rate of return. SO your real rate of return in today’s dollars is 0.0224.

That gives you ~317k$ in 40 years.

So, my guess is you’d have about ~317k$ in today’s dollars or if you ignore inflation ~850k$ in future dollars.

Dial in a better or worse rate of return. You’re guess is as good as mine. (Mine is based on conservative Wall Street assumptions.) (If you listen to anyone’s sales pitch about investments, ask what the assumed rate of return is. I’ve had bozos tell me to assume 15%! I might as well assume I’m going to retire and win the lotto. Used car salesmen that can’t sell cars seem to sell investments.)

See the dollar isn’t a constant, your rates of returns will vary, and who knows what inflation or your tax rate will be in 40 years.

One things for sure, today’s common wisdom is that you’re better off saving than depending upon some employer, social security, or the tooth fairy to help you in retirement.

Pay close attention to YOUR 401k, what it is invested in, and the fees associated. The immediate 50% return of your employer’s matching contribution is nothing to be sneered at. BUT, if the investment choices are terrible, the fees high, or the provisions onerous, it may be a bad bargain.

On the face, grab it. BUT like the employees at Enron learned not all that glitters is gold.

(2) 59½ except for certain exception that you may or may not what to use.

Remember to take anyone’s investment advice, even mine, with a large grain of salt.

I’ll leave you with two more wall street rules of thumb.

“Anyone promises to double your money, do it yourself. Fold it in half and put it in your pocket. Firmly.”

“If you don’t understand EXACTLY how the earnings will be made, don’t invest.”

Good luck, and while I won’t be around in forty years, I’ll be rooting for you, from upstairs or down, give me a progress report on how my guesses are doing,
fjohn

Sources

http://www.uic.edu/classes/actg/actg500/pfvatutor.htm
http://www.studyfinance.com/lessons/timevalue/index.mv?page=19

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UPDATE Chosen as “best” by the Asker. Now that is worth being proud of!

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MONEY:The Tsunami of Credit

http://www.clairewolfe.com/wolfesblog/00002602.html

06/13/2007 Entry: “The Tsunami of Credit”

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Certainly my anecdotal evidence, gained from talking to friends and acquaintances, strangers I meet in my travels, and observing lots of closing businesses and neighbors losing jobs, suggests that times are hard, not good.

Surprise! The government figures regarding inflation and the economy are tissues of lies.

John Williams’ Shadow Government Statistics paint a far different picture. Mr. Williams generally reports economic figures the old fashioned way, avoiding the many gimmicks introduced since the Reagan robbery of social security.

His figures show GDP growth is -2%, and we have been in a recession since the burst of the Greenspan dot-com bubble at the end of 2000. Consumer price inflation is above 10% and rising. (Nixon imposed wage and price controls in 1971 when price inflation rose above 4%.) M3, the broadest measure of the money supply, is rising at over 13% year-over-year.

What’s that? The FED stopped reporting M3 in 2006, claiming it was too costly to produce. Mr. Williams, like all free market actors, is able to produce with very little effort what the bloated FED cannot, or does not want to do. Inflation of the supply of money is the root cause of price inflation, and the FED doesn’t want too many people to pay attention to the men behind the curtains.

I believe the huge increase in M3 explains a lot about why we don’t already have a full-blown, widely recognized depression. At the current rate of growth, an astonishing $1.4 trillion in new money is being created every year. The GDP is $13.6 trillion; adding 10% of that figure in brand new, created from thin air money to the economy increases GDP only 0.6%? Clearly we are losing ground.

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Well, if the fellow is right, and I suspect he is, perhaps we’re both wrong, but it certainly feels like “hard times”. I think my “turkey pen” is now full. (I counsel out of work execs as a hobby and constant reminder that I might be next.)

So how does one “action” this report.

(1) Closely monitor one’s personal “burn” rate. How much are you spending, committing to spend, agreeing to spend? Stolen from the venture capital world, the “burn rate” was probably stolen from the rocket launches where the amount of fuel being consumed was monitored. To a Venture Capitalist who’s invested with a start up, the burn rate is outgo minus income measured on an almost daily basis. To start a successful business one must invest in the future.

(2) Zero debt. Certainly at the very least zero short term debt. Even colateralized debt (i.e., your home mortgage) maybe “bad debt” if you don’t have a job. You must recognize the fact that you may not be able to sell for what you owe. If you can’t sell and can’t pay, then you’re foreclosed. For high net worth people, where a mortgage is more of a tax saving device (i.e., having a low-rate mortgage that is covered by assets for the purpose of being able to itemize deductions), one doesn’t have to go nuts. Everyone else should be “storing up” for long cold financial winter.

(3) Network in your white collar job. You only sure of your last paycheck that cashed.

(4) Develop a blue collar skill; never met a poor plumber.

(5) Explore entrepreneurial business on the inet. For under a grand, you can incorporate “Your Wild Ideas” as your personal incubator. Sell stuff for a profit. It’s the new wild west gold rush.

(6) Learn from the Amish and the Mormons about self-reliance.

Fasten your seat belts; there’s turbulence ahead.

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JOBSEARCH: STRATEGY have a war chest

METHODOLOGY ***
STRATEGY have a war chest
TACTICS ***
TECHNOLOGY ***
=======================

Dear fellow turkey,

This advice is for all turkeys, both those earning and those seeking. Probably more aimed at the earning ones, lest they fall into complacency.

Remember that one of the principle tenets of the Turkey faith is that you are only sure of the last paycheck you cashed.

With the bankruptcy of <insert your favorite company>, you secure do you think the highly paid pilots are? What about the and suppliers?
How about the casino workers in Mississippi and NOLA after Katrina?

Last paycheck you cashed is yours; everyone in the future is speculation.

Uncertainty abounds. Back when I took my first turn at unemployment, I got a little more than a year’s pay to leave and was “out” 11 days. Five of those days were waiting for the drug and finger print check, Four of them were weekends. Total elapsed job search time time from the “offer to get out” to “first day on the new job” was 23 days. I’ve never matched that since. Even in a voluntary change.

Somewhere between Lucht’s book, my own thinking, reading “Parachute”, and counseling turkeys, I have come up with my own copyrighted, trademarked, super-secret secret formula for estimating what you need as a war chest. Personally, I have a meeting with myself on the first Sunday of every month as the CFO of “Me, myself, and I Unincorporated” to review my financials and the first item on the agenda is “Expectations”. I review quickly the factors in the computation and then look at the bank statement for my war chest account. When first in the earning phase, I try to as quickly as possible rebuild the account to required guesstimate. When in the seeking phase, I monitor closely the draw down from that reserve. It has served me well thru four cycles. It certainly takes the stress out of the cycles. Any turkey that doesn’t think there will be cycles has not been paying attention during the “Church of the Big Turkey” sermons. As an aside, the only reasons for not having a reserve is maybe that you work for the government. But even that is not assured, a la Brown of FEMA.

Now to the formula.

First I have to swear you to secrecy. Secrecy because if you tell a non-believer, they will look at you like you have two heads. A non-believer doesn’t believe that they are a turkey.

COMPONENT #1: YOUR BURN RATE

My first component is based on how much you spend. You should be able to look at your checkbook and see your net pay go into it and your expenses come out of it. Hopefully, you are not spending more than you earn. That’s a different more serious problem. You need to listen to Suzzie Orman or Doctor Phil in that case. That’s your basic burn rate. How much money you burn each month. Yes, I know you can cut it but that future cutting is your error margin for now. You may want to cut to build up your war chest, increase your savings, or just want to stop wasting it.

As special note about medical insurance coverage, you need it. The worst disasters occur when you let your coverage lapse and someone gets sick. Assuming that you don’t have your own medical coverage, independent of your employment, you need to look at your pay stub for how much you pay for it now. You have to add that into your burn rate.

Also, you’ll have to find out what your COBRA amount is from your employer. Usually, that is much more that your regular rate. Assuming that you get a severance, your employer usually gives you some basic coverage for a short period of time (i.e., a month or two. Not out of generosity, but their insurer makes them pay by quarter.). They then offer you, because Federal law requires it, the opportunity to continue it at their cost (Or at least that is what they are supposed to do. I’m not so sure that there isn’t some markup in these rates.) You have to have it; so you have plan for it. I have seen COBRA offerings in excess of 1k$ per month. Be ready to swallow hard and take it.

And, you’ll have to find out how much a medical insurance policy would cost you without a group. In many cases, these are BARGAINS. I know one turkey who has three policies he has picked up thru his umbrella consulting society, his church, and aarp. Keep looking around and if you’re offered one, you may want to take it.

If you feel the urge to skimp, remember the last explanation of benefits you got when someone was real sick. If you don’t have one, I’ll send you one of mine from when Frau was sick and the bill was over 250k$. Also, remember the phrase preexisting condition! It means if some one gets something while uninsured, that’s exclude from coverage when you get insurance. Even a bare bones policy, keeps this ogre at bay.

So, add to your basic burn rate the cost of medical insurance and anything else on your pay stub that you would have to pay when unemployed. Think loans that get directly deducted from your paycheck. Convenient but easy to forget.

That is your run rate. It represents the rough amount of spending that will occur when you are fired, tossed out on your keister, unceremoniously run out on a rail … … ON MONDAY MORNING!

Worried. Good!

COMPONENT #2: HOW HOT IS YOUR SKILL?

My first component is a measure of how much you are earning. It’s the easiest to come up with and the easiest to understand. On the theory, that, for example, the burger flipper at MickyD’s doesn’t have to worry too much about finding another burger flipping job. However, a CxO has to recognize that there are not a lot of C anything jobs just waiting for the right candidate. So I like to develop a number that represents the overall market for your particular skill. If I was considering CICS programmer and a C Language programmer, I say that the CICS person would wait 3 times as long as the C person in the queue. So I would award the CICS programmer a score of 3 and the C programmer a 1. You’ll see why later. If you can’t judge it, use the net to develop a feel for it.

COMPONENT #2: HOW HOT IS YOUR INDUSTRY?

On the other hand, in the late 70’s, my cousin was a highly paid nuclear engineer. He was a leader in his industry. Gave talks, wrote articles, was in demand. He used to tell me about all the offers he was made. Chernobyl, TMI, and the anti-nuke wave just ended his industry. He turned out the lights on his division after a decade of ever downward spiral. He had to drop back and regroup. His skills in making buildings to house a controlled bomb where transferable to making building to hold unruly kids (i.e., skools for the government). But he never made as much money or was as “hot” as he was. He’s happy but it taught me that the industry can cycle as well. SO you have to assign a multiplier to your industry. Government workers get a 1; Wall Street workers get a 3; everyone else is in the middle somewhere.

COMPONENT #4: HOW LONG WILL YOU BE SEEKING

I have two ways that you can come up with this number: you can guess or you can calculate it. Guessers can pick a number. You might even be right. I prefer to calculate. Take your salary and divide by 10k$. Throw away the fractions. Multiply it by how hot or dead is the market. During the 911 doldrums, I was telling people 4. During the dot com bubble, I was giving people .25 or .5 (it was absurd.) Right now I’d say it’s a 2. Talk to any headhunter, recruiter, or anyone connected to the industry and they’ll tell you how hot or cold it is. Multiply the two numbers and that’s you basic replacement factor.

COMPONENT #5: HOW OLD ARE YOU?

Recognizing that there is age discrimination out there, I include a special factor to accommodate that. Less than 40 is 1; 41 to 49 is 2; 50 to 57 is 3; 57 and up is 4. Sad fact of life. Age is not respected. Wisdom is not valued. I can recite all the reasons why it isn’t true. But facts is facts. And us turkeys are factual. You get fired after 57 and you may never work again.

THE FORMULA:

Multiple the component numbers and that is your war chest. Stunning. Yup.

In my particular case: C2=2; C3=1; C4=17; C5=4

So my score of 136 tells me that it might take me 11 years to get back it. Yup. Retirement planning.

I just did this exercise with a younger turkey and they were ASTONISHED that they (1*1*12*1) might be out for a year!

I have used this formula with people. They didn’t believe the results. One turkey (2*2*14*4) told me that my projection of 224 months was absurd. And that he’d be in less than a year. He JUST got in last month after a 7 YEAR SEARCH! Yup, my formula was wrong but he lost his house and all his retirement savings. Talk about being pig headed.

Your mileage can and will vary. But, I’ll tell you that personally with a suitable war chest, I have never been stress when I’ve been out.

I hope no one is ever out. But if you are, this formula should make it less painful.

I’m always interested in feedback.

TECHNOLOGY: An Audience of Zero

http://changethis.com/35.03.AgainstYou
http://changethis.com/pdf/35.03.AgainstYou.pdf

Against You: A Manifesto in Favor of Audience
By Andrew Keen

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If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? Andrew Keen asserts that the same riddle can be applied to Web 2.0. While new Internet technology has revolutionized traditional media and allows everyone to be writer/creator, if everyone is writer/creator, then just who is left to listen to the cacophony?

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Doesn’t matter if there is an audience. It’s one song. (a universe) The noise is the song!