Friday, April 29, 2005

Six Reasons to Reform Social Security

  • The rate of return on Social Security is 2 percent or less and since 1926 the average rate of return on the stock market has been 7.56 percent.

  • In 2017, the government will begin to pay out more in Social Security benefits than its collects in payroll taxes - and shortfalls grow larger with each passing year.

  • Every year we sit and wait to act on Social Security it costs an additional $600 billion dollars.

  • $10,000 invested in the Social Security Trust Fund in 1998 would be worth only $11,700 today. However, $10,000 invested in the Federal Employees' Thrift Savings Plan, evenly distributed between bonds, and stock and blended funds, would be worth $42,173.

  • According to recent poll by Harvard University's Institute of Politics, 52 percent of undergraduates support changing Social Security to allow for private investment. What's more, 43 percent of the undergraduates surveyed were "traditional liberals" while only 14 percent were "traditional conservatives."

    And here is why young people, both self-identified conservatives and liberals are supporting the President on Social Security.

  • Voluntary personal retirement accounts give younger workers the chance to receive a higher rate of return from sound, long-term investing of a portion of their payroll taxes than they receive under the current Social Security system.

    Ken Mehlman
    Chairman, RNC

    Copyright © 2005 Republican National Committee
  • Farewell My License

    I am mourning the passing of my special car license plates. Iowa has vehicle registration due in the month of ones birth. My birthday is in January so that is when my registration is due. This year I didn't have the money to pay $184.50 for my car. I went to the county today to get that paid and they told me it would be $236!! Turns out that, because I was late, I would have to pay $45 to reinstate the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) special plates. The statement I received didn't show that the charge to renew these plates went up either. They were $20 this year instead of $10 as in previous years. I decided to replace the pretty, special DNR plates with the boring, ugly regular plates. My old plates were ET 454 and my new plates are 684 PPE. I wish I could get my old number on my new plates but vanity plates are about the same price as the DNR plates, so I would be in the same place I was before today. My car will be 3 years old in July so I am waiting for the cost of the license to go down, maybe next year.

    New Job Details

    I went to Spherion and filled out the required paperwork for this new assignment. Turns out it is a temp-to-hire position that, after 90 days, I will be employed by DataVision in Carlisle. Which is really cool because it's about 20 minutes from my house on the bypass and my sister and nieces live there. The hours are 8 to 4:30 Monday through Friday, with a half hour lunch break. I don't know what the dress code is yet because I wasn't told and didn't think to ask before I left the office. Oh well, I'll find out on Monday! I'll wear a skirt and either be dressed appropriately or over dressed. Then I'll adjust my clothing to appropriate levels on Tuesday. This job only pays $9 an hour but there are regular increases so I hope I'll get a raise after being hired on permanently.

    YAY, I have an income again!!!!

    Update: The dress code is casual. Blue jeans and t-shirts or sweat shirts.

    Thursday, April 28, 2005

    A Lesson In Need

    The Scripture for today from the International Bible Society is about asking for and receiving what we need from God. The scripture reads:

    "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Matthew 7:7-11 KJV

    There is another, similar, verse that reads:
    "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." Luke 6:38 KJV

    I have always liked this verse because it tells me that you can't give more than God will give to you. All we have to do is remember to ask when we have a need. Some times we think something is too trivial to pray about but God wants to hear all of our needs and concerns not just the "big" issues. God is a loving but just God.

    Finally . . . A Job!

    Tuesday I got a phone call from Spherion. They are a staffing agency (read temp agency) I applied with probably a month ago for a data entry position. I made an appointment for 10:30 Wednesday morning. I figured it would take two hours to complete all the tests and things. I left their office at some where between 2:30 and 2:45. After going to Target I got home at 3:30. I had planned on making chocolate chip cookies yesterday after I got home but alas I returned too late. Wee, after I left Spherion and before I got home they called to say I had been sent home before I had taken the skill tests, so I had to go back today to do that. Yesterday I forgot to take a copy of my resume for them so I took a copy today also. I took several types of tests today but the one that I really needed to do well on I had to take three times to increase my speed to an acceptable rate. This evening at almost 6 pm Melody, at Spherion, called and asked if I was still interested in a job in Carlisle that we had discussed yesterday. I said that I was and she said I would have to go back in tomorrow to sign some paperwork so I could start working on Monday. YAY!!! I haven't had a paycheck since January, so this is very good. I don't know the name of the place I will be working at yet but I'm sure I will find out tomorrow. I talked to my sister and she thinks she knows where I'll be going. Turns out my older niece had applied there and was turned down because her data entry speed was not high enough for them. I don't even know how long this assignment is, for all I know it could be temp-to-hire. Hopefully all will be revealed tomorrow.

    On a separate note, I finally made those cookies this afternoon, they turned out well.

    Monday, April 25, 2005

    Weird Spring Weather

    Saturday and Sunday's weather was cold. The high temperature for both days was in the high 40s and low 50s. Normal temps for this time of year are mid to high 60s. Saturday night the low over night was 33 degrees. The potatoes we had planted were all black. I guess we will be replanting them. Oh well, they are easy enough to plant. Cutting up the seed potatoes are harder than planting them. For those of you who don't know, you have to cut the seed potatoes so that there is an eye on each piece and that the pieces are big enough for the plant to grow. It's cool when you dig up the plants in the fall (to harvest the crop) you can see the piece of potato the plant grew from at the top of the plant's roots.

    Saturday, April 23, 2005

    More domesticity

    Mom and Dad went to my older sisters house today to mow her three acre yard with their mower because hers doesn't work very well and she can't afford to buy a new one yet. When they got home they were both really tired so I was "volunteered" to make supper tonight. I made macaroni and cheese with peas and tuna. I was easy and pretty quick. We finished off the rhubarb pies tonight too. Mom and I decided that next time we definitely need probably twice as much rhubarb as we had for these two pies. They tasted really good though. I think I did well for my first making custard. If only I could learn to roll out the crust! I have tried and tried but I just can't get it right and Mom is not very good at teaching technique. I guess I will just have to practice. One of my favorite cooking shows is "Good Eats" on the Food Network and Alton Brown, the host, uses spacers (or stacked up rubber bands) on the rolling pin to get the right thickness. My problem is that I can't get the same thickness overall. The spacers would probably help with that.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    Happy Birthday Mom

    Today is my mom's 71st birthday. She is the youngest of eight children. She only has four siblings still alive, two sisters and two brothers. She didn't do much today for her birthday. I was going to bake a cake or cookies for her but we had the first harvest of rhubarb yesterday and Dad wants a rhubarb custard pie. The recipe Mom uses is not quite right so I volunteered to find one on the Internet last night. I found a bunch and printed off three of the easiest ones and showed her and we both picked the same one. I told her I could do everything but roll out the crust. Turned out that what Dad cut yesterday was not enough for two pies so he cut another ten or twelve stalks. I thought that would be plenty but once it was all chopped up it wasn't. I asked Mom about it and she said to just go with it. After the pies were baked we both decided it that it really wasn't enough rhubarb. Next time we will use more. The pies tasted really good.

    I am getting very domestic these days, I made supper last night and baked two pies this afternoon and helped with supper again tonight. I have two bags of chocolate chips so I still want to make cookies. Oh well, I will eventually. Maybe Saturday.

    Friday, April 15, 2005 Inside Cover Story

    "Scalia: 'Constitution Not Living Organism'
    The Constitution is not a 'living' document that changes with the times U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says, but is to be interpreted on what the Founding Fathers meant at the time they drafted the Constitution.

    That's how he determines the meaning of the document he told an audience Monday at Nashville's Vanderbilt University according to, the school's student paper. "

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    The Trekkie Test

    Trekkie Nerd
    Survey Says...
    Congratulations - your designation as a Trekkie Nerd means that you are statistically more likely to be a virgin, socially inept, live at home in your mother's basement and have no chance of scoring a chick like Seven. Still, if knowledge of temporal paradoxes, the repercussions of the Janeway effect and an intimate knowledge of Klingon history made big bucks, you'd be a millionaire. Ah, tis the sweet irony of life.

    My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

    free online datingfree online dating
    You scored higher than 99% on Trekkies
    Link: The Trekkie Test written by MadameBoffin on Ok Cupid

    Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    Good news for Dad

    Dad went to his oncologist this morning to hear what the CT scan they did last Friday showed. It must have been pretty good because Dr Lair is going to wait a month before he does any more chemo. That is wonderful news because the chemo is causing sore to break out on Dad's lips, tongue, and gums. Hopefully a month's wait will allow enough time for them to go away. I just pray the cancer will go away.

    Saturday, April 09, 2005

    FWD: Daily Jokes

    A Christian Puppy

    A Baptist couple decide that they want to get a dog. As they are walking down the street in town, they notice that a sign in the pet shop is advertising "Christian Puppies." Their interest piqued, they go inside.

    "How do you know they're Christian puppies?"

    "Watch," says the owner, as he takes one of the dogs and says, "Fetch the Bible." The dog runs over to the desk, and grabs the Bible in its mouth and returns. Putting the Bible on the floor, the owner says, "Find Psalm 23." The dog flips pages with its paw until he reaches the right page, and then stops. Amazed and delighted, the couple purchase the dog and head home.

    That evening, they invite some friends over and show them the dog, having him run through his Psalm 23 routine. Impressed, one of the visitors asks "Does he also know 'regular' commands?"

    "Gee, we don't know. We didn't ask," replies the husband.

    Turning to the dog, he says, "Sit." The dog sits. He says, "Lie down." The dog lies down. He says "Roll over." The dog rolls over.

    He says "Heel." The dog runs over to him, jumps up on the sofa, puts both paws on the owner's forehead and bows his head.

    "Oh look!" the wife exclaims. "He's PENTECOSTAL!"

    Copyright (c) 2003 Beliefnet, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    Monday, April 04, 2005

    What Conservative Protestants Believe

    • Belief in Deity
    I believe that God is incorporeal, omnipresent spirit--a Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty.

    • Incarnations
    Jesus Christ is God's only incarnation. He is the Son of God and God, both fully divine and fully human, part of the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which comprises one God Almighty.

    • Origin of Universe and Life
    The biblical book of Genesis is inerrant. God created the universe and all life forms from nothing in less than 7 days, less than 10,000 years ago--not as revealed by modern science. I resolve the conflict between scientific evidence and the book of Genesis with the contention that God created the appearance of evolution (perhaps as a test of faith), or that scientific evidence is faulty.

    • After Death
    Saved souls experience the bliss of heaven and unsaved souls the torture of hell. On Judgment Day, Jesus Christ will resurrect the dead, reunite body and soul, and judge each for eternity in heaven, or on a restored, paradisiacal earth, or in hell.

    • Why Evil?
    The original sin of Adam and Eve caused all to inherit sinfulness. I believe that only relatively few people will be saved. The work and influence of Satan prevail among the unsaved and/or those who lack complete faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

    • Salvation
    Salvation is granted by the grace of God alone, through faith in Jesus Christ alone as Lord and Savior--not through "works" such as moral behavior, good deeds, and generally not through sacraments. I believe that once saved, or born again, always saved. I regard baptism, when performed, as a practice for adult believers, rather than infants/children, as it is not considered a sacrament for salvation but an act of commitment to the fellowship. Among most, confession/repentance is considered personal, between the individual and God, unless a public sin is involved, and confession to a pastor, when offered, is optional. Some use exorcism to remove indwelling evil spirits. Preaching the gospel, the Word of God, is often regarded as a means for building faith in Christ.

    • Undeserved Suffering
    Some suffering is caused by the inheritance of mortality originating from Adam and Eve's disobedience to God, which includes vulnerability to illness and disease. Also, Satan rules the earth, causing pain and suffering. I believe that suffering is God's design to test, teach, or strengthen belief in Him; the greater the suffering of innocent believers, the greater will be their reward after life.

    • Contemporary Issues
    I believe abortion is murder. Divorce and remarriage, in certain situations, is acceptable.

    To take this quiz for yourself go here:

    Saturday, April 02, 2005

    Iowa visit brought pope close to the soil and people who tilled it

    Since Pope John Paul II has died, I remeber the one time he came to Iowa. I was in my first year of college. I'm not Catholic but I remember how excited everyone was when the visit was announced.

    "For those who gathered in a dusty field or a tiny country church to hear and see Pope John Paul II, nothing else comes close.

    More than 25 years later, the memories remain fresh of John Paul's visit to Iowa on Oct. 4, 1979. The pilgrims who rose before dawn to walk to Living History Farms remember the chilly weather. They remember the long wait for the pope to arrive. They remember his strong voice and his clear, accented English. They remember the colorful tapestry behind him, representing the four seasons of agriculture. They remember sharing communion with a multitude"