Happy 4th of July: Ain't That America and Open Thread

Ain't that America.

Here's what I wrote in 2011:

Today is a day we should be reveling in the greatness of our nation, but instead I fear for the health of our democracy.

Six years later, I feel like we're all living on a prayer we get through the next four years intact.

Some thoughts on patriotism and the 4th of July. More here:

At times of crisis the most patriotic act of all is the unyielding defense of civil liberties, the right to dissent and equality before the law for all Americans.


What we need:

Once more, with images of what patriotism looks like.

Happy Fourth of July everyone. Let's hope our years of freedom and liberty are not all behind us.

This is another open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Happy Independence Day (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Zorba on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 02:53:30 PM EST
    to all.
    We are grilling lamb chops, briefly marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and garlic.
    Broccoli from our garden, steamed, and served with a bit of fresh lemon juice and browned butter.
    New potatoes from our garden, gently simmered and then sautéed very briefly in butter, with salt and pepper.  That's all they need.
    Yay, garden!
    And we will open a nice bottle of red wine to accompany everything.

    happy firecrackerss (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 05:39:04 PM EST
    my dogs are going to be really happy when its over.

    i have given them doggie downers two days in a row and they still keep trying to sit in my lap.  and they are not lap dags.  unless you have a really big lap.

    My neighbors that used to do the big (none / 0) (#49)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 08:42:48 AM EST
    display right across the pod form my house must have moved, so this year was relatively peaceful. Distant boomers and closer snappers, but it did not feel like the house was under bombardment. My dog still hid behind the chair, but I was more relaxed!

    crackers (none / 0) (#54)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 10:45:34 AM EST
    love their fireworks

    "cracker"? Really? (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 06:27:14 PM EST
    yes (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 06:35:14 PM EST

    Cracker, sometimes white cracker or "cracka", is a usually derogatory and/or offensive term for white people,[1] especially poor rural whites in the Southern United States. In reference to a native of Florida or Georgia, however, it is sometimes used in a neutral or positive context or self-descriptively with pride (see Florida cracker and Georgia cracker).[2]

    no need to swoon.

    i know plenty of proud crackers.  and proud rednecks.  


    in fact (none / 0) (#69)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 06:36:43 PM EST
    there is an annual fireworks stand about a mile from here called 'CRACKERS FIRE CRACKERS"

    Fair enough. (none / 0) (#70)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 07:05:24 PM EST
    Yes, people here consider it a term of endearment (none / 0) (#72)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 07:58:27 PM EST
    merriam-webster (none / 0) (#73)
    by linea on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 08:06:47 PM EST
    states it is offensive.

    offensive --used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a poor, white, usually Southern person.

    try to at least be honest (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 10:46:45 PM EST
    in your trolling

    here is the full MW entry

    a offensive --used as an insulting and contemptuous term for a poor, white, usually Southern person
    b sometimes offensive :  a native or resident of Florida or Georgia --used as a nickname

    Well, they are taking it back (none / 0) (#77)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 10:08:30 PM EST
    They don't seem to care, or maybe know.

    but what would we know about it? (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 10:14:30 PM EST
    living as we do in the south and being as we are white.

    does Norway (none / 0) (#79)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 10:16:27 PM EST
    have crackers?

    okay pimpis (none / 0) (#87)
    by linea on Sat Jul 08, 2017 at 12:36:01 AM EST
    i realize you are actively DOXXING me and found my resume online but you have no idea.

    Really? (5.00 / 5) (#92)
    by Zorba on Sat Jul 08, 2017 at 08:09:53 PM EST
    This is the best you can do?
    Well, I call you a μαλάκας, you σκύλα.
    Your routine here is getting beyond old and tired.  It's not cute, it's not precious, and most of us are not impressed with it.
    And I personally do not give a flying fig where you were born.
    I have not commented before now on your song and dance routine, but it's beginning to grate upon my one remaining nerve.

    Now it's Latvian insults/profanity? (none / 0) (#88)
    by Yman on Sat Jul 08, 2017 at 07:05:04 AM EST
    Swedish, Norwegian and Latvian - You're a regular UN of personal insults/profanity.

    I must've missed the "doxxing".


    doxxing you? (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Jul 08, 2017 at 08:13:34 AM EST
    holy hell.  that flat out takes the cake for inflated impressions of self worth and importance based on absolutely nothing.  

    free clue
    i dont give a rats ass if you are from norway or (more likely IMO) from under a bridge.  i really really dont.  the idea that i would go to the slightest trouble to know anything at all about you much less go out of my way to share that will keep me chuckling all day.

    that tid bit came from an offline conversation with other commenters about you, oh yeah, where it was said you had stated in these threads you came from norway.  which im sure is true because i know for a fact that person doesnt care any more about your origins than i do and certainly would not go out of his way to "dox" (pffft) you.

    trust me me please when tell you i could  not possibly care less.

    but what you can do is take your silly paranoid accusatiosn accusations and shove ....

    well, just take them back to norway.  or wherethefvckever.


    you are a liar (1.00 / 1) (#90)
    by linea on Sat Jul 08, 2017 at 07:31:01 PM EST
    YOU are the one who made multiple posts on this site announcing to everyone that i was from Norway. YOU are the one trolling me. i go out of my way to ignore your post after post after post with snarky comments directed toward me.

    Tel you what (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Jul 08, 2017 at 07:46:11 PM EST
    Find one comment I ever made saying you were from Norway or anywhere else and I will beg your forgiveness and rate every comment you make from this day forward with 5. Or don't and shut the fvck up about it.

    If you want to talk about lies we could talk about you comment about crackers.  

    That was a lie.  And a stupid one. In addition to imagining you know everything else do you imagine you are the only one who know how to use a dictionary?

    I could care less personally.   But when you lie about my comments I will call you a$$ out for it.


    you troll me (none / 0) (#93)
    by linea on Sat Jul 08, 2017 at 08:11:10 PM EST
    • you go out of your way to start a fight with me - all the time.
    • i try to ignore your posts. i would appreciate if you did the same.

    also: you do not know how to use a dictionary. m-w states it is offensive.

    Ok (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Jul 08, 2017 at 08:26:55 PM EST
    I invite reading of the comments above.

    I made a comment that you lied thru your teeth about.  You lied.  Just freaking admit it.  Saying  MW says one thing and selectively quoting it when the point I was making is in the next line is a lie.  You are a liar.  

    I pointed that out, ok with a question.  In context IMO a legitimate one.  

    And I am trolling you.  The pathetic thing is I think you might actually believe this.


    I do ignore you comments.  And I will continue to unless you lie about a comment I make.  Then instill not.

    But I am definitely done with this dumbazz conversation.


    "Doggie downers"? (none / 0) (#59)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 10:55:27 AM EST
    Hadn't heard of them, but might need to look into it.  I live in a beach town and we have fireworks every week.  Plus, or AC just sent out, so our windows areopen all the time until it's replaced.  Nothing like a 60 lb. ball of fur jumping into your bed and laying on your face at 3 AM when a thunderstorm rolls through.  Still love her, of course, but ...

    there are many (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 11:14:09 AM EST
    i have used a few different ones.  but the one i have found works best is Tramadol.  one of the few drugs used for both dogs and humans.  its cheap and if you get a booboo you can take one.  or two.  they are cheaper from the vet than the drugstore unless you have really good insurance like me but both druggist and vet say they are exactly the same.  50 mg.  i first got them for my husky who has the old hip injury.

    knocks them right out.  naptime.  i have also been using it a lot during storms.  see my rain comment below.


    I had a dog that (none / 0) (#66)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 06:13:55 PM EST
    would attempt to try to catch the fireworks. Then I had another dog that was deathly afraid of them and we told oldest son not to bring the dog outside but he did not listen and the dog ran off. He started wandering the neighborhood and crying. Thankfully eventually the dog came back.

    The Declaration of Independence (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 08:47:16 AM EST
    an anti-Trump document--- according to some Trumpsters.

    The testament
    to the Nation's founding has been read by NPR for over 29 years; this year, its presentation online drew fire from some Trump supporters, calling it out as propaganda, revolutionist,  and taunting NPR by threatening the radio station's funding.   Rather than having "economic anxiety," these voters seem more history/patriot-challenged.

    How about this? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 10:29:20 AM EST
    They are just plain stupid. The level of ignorance and stupidity of the so-called president's so-called "base" is overwhelming, disheartening, sad and scary. We are doomed.

    Well, the base's leader (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 10:47:49 AM EST
    gets a little confused, too.  Such as finding his car at the bottom of the stairs.

    Saw this and my mouth fell open; (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 12:55:06 PM EST
    seriously, why did he think that vehicle was right at the bottom of the stairway?

    Maybe he's used to someone standing with a sign that says "TRUMP."

    I'm kinda on the edge of my seat with this trip to Poland and then to the G20.  I have a terrible feeling Putin's going to punk him, and the tweets may escalate an already-escalating situation (and you can take your pick about which situation that will be...)


    IMO (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 07:47:02 PM EST
    this, this nightmare we are living, is the result of an actual plan.  rather brilliantly executed by the right to destroy the educational system over many decades.  the point being stupid superstitious people are much easier to manipulate, frighten and control.

    kudos to them.  it definitely worked.  i only wonder in any of them are starting to wonder if the monster they created, so beautifully personified by Trump and his supporters, was such a good idea.

    i really doubt it.  the rich are getting richer.  tne poor are getting poorer and their place under the boot heel seems more secure by the day.  and at least 40% of the country seems completely happy with that.  mission pretty much accomplished.


    Channel One (none / 0) (#44)
    by jmacWA on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 06:10:12 AM EST
    IMO, this is the culprit.  They started by brainwashing the youth through this obvious propaganda, and began dumbing down education.  IIRC this started in late 80's early 90's i.e. Regan/Poppy Bush

    When I was a kid, Fourth of July (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by Repack Rider on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 07:35:02 PM EST
    ...always included a reading aloud by my mother of the Declaration of Independence before dinner that night.

    the Amelia Earhart story (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 11:46:32 AM EST
    is really pretty fascinating

    A newly discovered photograph suggests legendary aviator Amelia Earhart, who vanished 80 years ago on a round-the-world flight, survived a crash-landing in the Marshall Islands.

    The photo, found in a long-forgotten file in the National Archives, shows a woman who resembles Earhart and a man who appears to be her navigator, Fred Noonan, on a dock. The discovery is featured in a new History channel special, "Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence," that airs Sunday.

    Such free-form speculation about ... (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 09:11:53 PM EST
    ... Amelia Earhart's disappearance has been floating around for 80 years. I certainly wouldn't put much stock in solving this mystery on the basis of a recently discovered, undated and grainy black-and-white photograph. Proponents of this photo argue that it's somehow proof that Ms. Earhart had crash-landed in the Marshall Islands, which were then occupied per League of Nations mandate by Imperial Japan.

    As for myself, I'd argue that it actually constitutes no such thing. Earhart's last reported position, as relayed by U.S. Navy vessels pre-positioned in the vicinity to anticipate her arrival and receive her radio transmissions, was just off Howland Island, a U.S. administered territory (with Baker Island) which is located nearly 1,000 miles to the east of the Marshall Islands.

    During Earhart's approach to Howland Island in the early morning hours of July 3, 1937 -- which was July 2 on our side of the International Date Line -- the USS Itasca received strong and very clear voice transmissions from her identifying as KHAQQ, which were her aircraft's call letters. So, Navy personnel knew that she was nearby because of the radio strength of those transmissions; they just couldn't see her, nor could she see or hear them because for some reason, she could only transmit and not receive at this point.

    They also knew that she was running low on fuel, because she had informed them of such repeatedly. Her last known transmission was received by the Itasca at 8:43 a.m. local time:

    "We are on the line 157 337. We will repeat this message. We will repeat this on 6210 kilocycles. Wait. We are running on line north and south."

    The notion that such a renowned and experienced pilot as Amelia Earhart could have been nearly 1,000 miles off course on a 2,500-mile flight leg and somehow ended up over the Marshall Islands is, at best, far-fetched. There are also stories that her equally experienced navigator Fred Noonan was a hard drinker. But I don't care how soused he could get, someone as experienced as he was is not going to make that sort of obscenely gross miscalculation in navigation.

    The U.S. Navy's and U.S. Coast Guard's frantic air-sea search for Earhart and Noonan began that morning and continued for 16 straight days, which at the time constituted the largest (and most expensive) such single endeavor of that kind in U.S. history. But despite those efforts, no trace of the aircraft or its crew was ever found.

    More importantly for the purposes of the upcoming History Channel special, there are no Imperial Japanese naval records which either document or otherwise support the claims being made on the basis of this particular lone photograph.

    And further, given that the United States and Imperial Japan still enjoyed relatively decent relations in July 1937, there would have been no reason for the Japanese to have held Earhart and Noonan as prisoners without informing the American government. Contrary to the assertions of some, our own U.S. military knew full well at the time that the Japanese were militarizing their Micronesian holdings, in violation of the League of Nations mandate.

    Speaking for myself only as someone who's fairly well versed in Ms. Earhart's aviation exploits due in part to her historical ties to Honolulu, I hazard to guess that the most likely explanation of what happened to Earhart and Noonan is also the most rational and plausible one.

    That is, they overshot Howland Island on a cloudy and overcast morning and, having run out of fuel in the ensuing desperate effort to locate their small target, they were compelled to ditch their aircraft at sea where it unfortunately and very quickly sank, probably taking them down with it. No pieces of aircraft wreckage were ever found in the vicinity of Howland Island or its surrounding ocean waters.

    It should also be noted that those surrounding waters around Howland Island are over 17,000 feet deep, so it's hardly surprising that no trace of the aircraft has yet to be found. And the nearly 1,000-mile (1,600 km) distance from Earhart's last known position near Howland Island to the Marshall Islands would have been impossible for Earhart's twin-engine Lockheed Electra aircraft to fly, since it would have required nearly 8 hours of flight when she had less than two hours of fuel remaining.

    We remember Amelia Earhart because she's arguably our country's favorite missing person. That said, not all mysteries are necessarily meant to be solved in our own lifetimes. It took researchers 73 years to definitively locate the wreck of the RMS Titanic in the North Atlantic, and another number of years to determined what exactly happened to the ship on that fateful night of April 15, 1912.

    No doubt, if Ms. Earhart's Electra were to be found eventually, its discovery would likely be the most profound since that of the Titanic.



    thank you donald !! (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by linea on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 10:24:48 PM EST
    that was really interesting and the most factual and well-researched article on amelia earhart i have ever read.

    From my scan of your essay (none / 0) (#36)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 09:21:13 PM EST
    You dont appear to know very much about this situation Donald.

    It is not based simply "on a grainy photo"

    There is a lot more to it than that.  I expect the 2 hour doc will be very interesting.  


    If you would like to know (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 09:37:28 PM EST
    What it's actually based on you could watch this short NBC report

    In addition (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 09:47:54 PM EST
    To the info in this report another thing History has they say is intercepted Japanese communication about this and other things I had never heard before

    I will be watching.


    Yes, it is based on exactly that. (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 10:33:55 PM EST
    As I noted, speculation about Earhart has been in the ether for eight decades, which over these many years have included unfounded rumors that she and Noonan had been taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese military.

    But there's no proof that ever happened. Now, I'm not questioning whether that photo came from that period (1935-40) or whether it was taken in the Marshall Islands. What I'm saying is that you can't conclude definitively that it's Earhart and Noonan in that photo, or that it's even a plane that's being towed behind that ship. The more one zooms in, the more blurry and ill-defined the figures get.

    Further, the woman in question is clearly seated with her back turned toward the camera, and the man in question is standing behind a pole, and the shadows are such that you can't even see his face.

    Kent Gibson, the so-called "facial recognition expert" in the History Channel special who insists that the man in the photo is Noonan because of the nose and hair, uses a file photo of Noonan -- as seen at 0:46 of the NBC News story -- that's clearly been reversed for purposes of this broadcast. Noonan parted his hair on the left and not on the right.

    You can't even necessarily determine that the two individuals in the photo are actually Caucasian. There's no accompanying narrative description to the photo other than that it has been labeled "Marshall Islands, Jaluit Atoll." But you can't pinpoint its actual source, the exact date when it was taken, or who took it. The guys in the cable TV special can speculate about this photo all they want, but they can't conclusively prove any of what they're saying.

    Now for its part, the U.S. Navy HAS conclusively documented Earhart's approach to Howland Island with her radio transmissions at 3105 kHz, which is a frequency that was restricted exclusively to aviation use. These transmissions were reported by the USS Itasca as the loudest possible signal, clearly indicating without question Earhart's aircraft was flying in the immediate area of Howland Island at the time of its disappearance.

    THAT is an established historical fact, Cap'n, and one which is not subject to revisionism or speculation. So I'll just be blunt here: Shawn Henry's contention that Amelia Earhart was somehow "blown off course" to the Marshall Islands, the nearest one of which is 990 miles to the west of Howland Island, is simply nonsensical.

    But more to the point, Cap'n, I'm a trained historian who graduated with honors, and I'm presently a doctoral candidate in the field. And with all due respect to the oh-so-certain Mr. Henry and Mr. Gibson, they're neither. (What are your credentials?)

    As far as the History Channel is concerned, more often than not its programming is hysterical rather than historical. So I'd like to think that I know what I'm talking about here, certainly more than these two clowns do. That's because I can back up what I say, and they can't.



    Tell you what Donald (none / 0) (#42)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 10:46:33 PM EST
    I will watch the two hour doc and then decide if I think you know what you are talking about.

    At the moment you are going to win simply based on word count because I don't care enough argue with you.  But what I have been reading all day says you are talking out your butt.

    But you have clearly won one person over.

    Which is awsum.


    I'll watch the doc too and see what (none / 0) (#52)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 09:21:33 AM EST
    they have to say. If there really is new information, I'd like to know about it. Fascinating story.

    there is a 2 hour (none / 0) (#27)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 05:43:35 PM EST
    doc on History sunday night

    yeah (none / 0) (#33)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 08:00:34 PM EST
    i should read my own comments.

    Polish first lady (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 12:32:58 PM EST
    ignores Trump's hand in the receiving line (scroll down).  Maybe, things will go better in Hamburg, should he finally find a hotel room, since his staff forgot to book rooms.  Too bad no one is in the hotel business in that crowd.

    Lock'em up (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 01:32:49 PM EST
    In a settlement, Hobby Lobby president's sincerely held belief that he could smuggle looted Iraqi artifacts, was held wanting.  The biblical artifacts headed for Mr. Green's History Bible Museum are forfeited and a fined of $3 million is levied.

    The scheme involved Hobby Lobby's Mr. Green wiring $1.6 million to seven different bank accounts associated with five different Middle East persons, with shipment to the US in multiple packages labeled "tiles," to different addresses.

    The use of multiple shipping addresses for a single recipient is consistent with methods used by cultural property smugglers to avoid scrutiny by Customs.  

    The Hobby Lobby folks may have felt that their taking artifacts were just prophylactic--for safety- taking family owned corporate license with the tenth commandment: thou shall not covet thy neighbor's goods, since being so far away, they did not consider Iraq to be a neighbor.

    Well, well, after all (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Zorba on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 04:15:30 PM EST
    They're just being "good Christians," trying to "save" these previous artifacts from unbelievers.
    They don't want to pay for employee birth control, but they're happy to pay millions for looting and stealing ancient artifacts that belong to another country.

    saw this (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 05:22:07 PM EST

    seemed a little like a smack on the wrist.  3 mill, when he was willing to spend more than half that on a whim,  and a promise to train "their employees" better.

    like anyone believes this was done by "employees"


    happy national Independance Day (none / 0) (#1)
    by linea on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 02:47:17 PM EST
    does anyone know about 401(k) accounts?

    i'm starting a real job in two weeks. they are having me complete all the forms online now including the 401(k).

    i was told by the recruiter:

    • they start matching immediately
    • i am fully vested in two years
    • 10,000usd anually gets 2,500usd company contribution. could i have heard thst wrong? it's not like i have a handbag that costs that much but it seems like a pittance.

    the only reason i would do it would be to save 50k to put down on a condo/townhouse. wouldn't it be better to pay the taxes now and put the 10k anually in a savings account? as i understand it, 401(k) accounts are designed tax-wise to be beneficial when you are removing small amounts after retirement. if i pull out 50k five years from now, wouldnt i be taxed in the income bracket of: 50k + Salary (??) and thus pay much more taxes? thank you.

    Do not use 401K (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Chuck0 on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 05:51:54 PM EST
    to save for condo. If you withdraw from 401K before age 59-1/2 you pay penalty and taxes. 401K is for retirement not saving for housing.

    thank you {{ }} (none / 0) (#6)
    by linea on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 06:29:08 PM EST
    i just realized that (duh) 2,500 in four yours is 10,000 dollars. would that off-set higher taxes and penalties so that i come out ahead? probably a dumb idea. it's not really a savings account, is it? it's an investment account thst charges fees and often people lose money. thank you.

    A 401(k) is not a savings account or (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Peter G on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 07:18:55 PM EST
    an investment account. It is a retirement plan -- a poor substitute for a traditional pension, but typical of what American business does these days. The only advantage of a 401(k) over a real plan to save and invest is that you pay no taxes on the funds you put in or on the gains until you take the money out. If you take it out before you turn 59-1/2, on the other hand, you not only pay the taxes but also a 15% surcharge (penalty). Only put money into a 401(k) that you want to save for retirement age, and to take advantage of your employer's partial matching contribution. To save for buying a house or condo you probably want to put whatever money you can manage to save into a well-managed, "no-load" (no fees) mutual fund that grows with the stock market. Obviously, if the stock market crashes, your balance goes down as well (but in my opinion you really haven't lost any money until and unless you withdraw your investment). But over an extended period (five or ten years) on average, a mixed fund in the U.S. stock market does better than almost any other form of investment. You can even pick a fund that avoids companies you don't want to invest in by your own ethical standards (environmental, labor relations, civil rights, armaments, tobacco, alcohol, whatever your issues might be), if that is important to you.

    I think it's hard for younger people (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 10:25:16 PM EST
    to think about being old enough to retire, but I think it's worth asking themselves what they think they will live on when the time comes - or when they want it to come! - especially considering that while we hope SS will still be an option, I'm not sure we can guarantee that it will exist in its current form - the dreaded "tweaking" may change it in ways that won't be good for their retirement plans.

    My firm allows me to decide what percentage of my income I want to put into my 401(k) - and I can raise or lower that percentage as I decide.  The firm contributes 6% regardless of how much - or how little - I put in, so there's an opportunity to build for retirement over time.

    With regard to saving for non-retirement wants/needs, I am a big proponent of just earmarking some regular dollar amount to be direct-deposited in a savings account - you don't miss it, really, when you never get it in your hands.  And as you can, increase it.  When it reaches a certain level, move it into CD's or maybe invest in some mutual funds.

    I just think if one has an employer who's willing to help you save for retirement, take advantage of it.


    my plan... (none / 0) (#29)
    by linea on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 07:33:31 PM EST
    hi anne with an E !!
    i expect when i'm 50 years old i'll be married or more likely in a LTR and we'll own a house together. that's pretty much my retirement plan.

    the company i'm going to be working for does an automatic 4% for 401(k) unless i opt-out. it seems odd to have money locked-up in an account for forever and that amount doesn't seem to leverage the partial matching contribution much.

    yes, i can set-up auto-transfer from my checkimg account to a savings account. then maybe, move every 5k to CDs? the nice thing about your plan is that money isn't locked-up in case i need it. i'd like to get a townhouse in four years. then, if i meet someone we can both sell our homes and buy a larger place together.


    Worst. Retirement Plan. Ever. (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 08:14:37 AM EST
    don'r plan on a marriage to save you. Put as much as you can afford into the 401k and forget about it.

    Worst case happens, (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 09:18:23 AM EST
    you'll be quite a catch at age 50 with a few hundred grand in a 401k!!!!

    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Yman on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 10:50:54 AM EST
    Hope that's not the husband's plan, too ... assuming the hypothetical marriage survives that long.

    Poor substitute? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 11:21:27 AM EST

    A traditional pension is a promise of future payments.  There are two problems.

    One is that most private pensions are fixed sum and not indexed for inflation. The fed's current policy is to have 2% annual inflation. That means your pension check buys less and less every year.

    The other problem is that promises can be broken. When the promise maker goes broke, there some safeguards but you may have to settle for pennies on the dollar.

    As a 70 year old with a fixed pension and an IRA rolled over from a 401k my advice is to put every dollar you can into the 401k in a half dozen mutual funds with different investment strategies. Many years from now a 70 year old will thank you.


    Even the (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 02:11:10 PM EST
    person who wrote or proposed the original 401K legislation does not support it anymore. The problem is disposable income. So many people do not have the disposable income to put in a 401K. Yes, pensions are fixed amounts but 401Ks are something too many people cannot afford in the first place and many companies do not even contribute anything to a 401K so it's entirely up to you.

    Due to the market collapse in 2008 many people dependent on 401Ks are unable to retire now and must work longer.


    thank you (none / 0) (#71)
    by linea on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 07:28:17 PM EST
    this is true for me. i can either save money and buy a touwnhouse in four or five years -or- lock the money away in a 401(k) and volatile maket for the next thirty years. i cant do both. i dont know how anyone can assert that buying a townhouse isnt a good investment. i'd like to take advantage of the matching company contribution but i dont see how to do that.

    The real estate market can be volatile. (5.00 / 7) (#74)
    by caseyOR on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 08:38:55 PM EST
    The crash of 2008 was not that long ago. People who were counting on the equity in the homes they had been paying on for years suddenly found themselves with a house that had just lost multiple thousands of dollars in value.

    I can tell you, from my vantage point of being 65 years old, that saving for retirement will turn out to be much more important to you than buying a home. If you feel spooked by mutual funds then put your money in a Roth IRA. Compound interest is a wonderful thing. And much less volatile then the real estate market.

    It might help you to do some reading and research into investing, real estate and retirement.

    When I was your age I could not really imagine myself as a retiree, as an old woman. And so the need to save for retirement seemed far down on the list of things on which to spend my money. I was wrong. I lost out on too many dollars that I would now have if I had only taken the power of compound interest seriously.


    The bottom fell out of the (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 09:12:43 PM EST
    Housing market long before that.  I was so lucky early in the century.  I bought a house in CA for 200,000.  My job at Disney ended so I took a year off got a 20,000 loan and renovated the house.  I sold it 2 years later, exactly - for tax purposes, for 300,000.  

    Ok, the exact amounts were 199,000 and 289,000 but whatever.

    The thing is right after I sold it the real estate market crashed.  I bet that guy is still under water on that mortgage.  

    That house was no way worth 300,000,  It was 800 square feet.  No central heat or air.  It was a fabulous lot but....
    Only in southern california


    I think the days of treating your home (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 09:53:40 PM EST
    like a savings account are over - markets are too unpredictable.  And who knows whether the neighborhood in 25 years will be as attractive as it is now?  Those things change, too.

    It's true that the value of a 401(k) will go up and down, but remember that when the market is down, your contribution will be buying more, which will be a good thing when the market goes up.

    Couple things: are you planning to save to put a down payment on a house, or to pay cash with no mortgage?  Just trying to figure out how you can save that much over just three or four years - and thinking that if you can, I bet you can also carve out some for retirement savings.


    Indeed (none / 0) (#81)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Jul 07, 2017 at 12:12:12 AM EST
    If you have been making contributions since the market bottom in 2008 you are doing GREAT since the market has more than recovered.  In addition those invested dollars are generating dividend and interest payments on top of increased stock valuations.

    I beg to differ (none / 0) (#95)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 10, 2017 at 08:31:12 AM EST
    The market in Orlando has not 'more than recovered'. It is still a buyers market, if you would like to get in on it.

    Graphic I saw yesterday shows people moving (none / 0) (#96)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 10, 2017 at 01:38:58 PM EST
    out of Orlando.  

    Maybe we (none / 0) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Jul 07, 2017 at 07:10:46 AM EST
    will return to the days of home ownership being the point of not having to pay rent when you are retired. Having a paid for house is a boon for a retired person because it definitely cuts living expenses.

    definitely (none / 0) (#83)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jul 07, 2017 at 07:21:17 AM EST
    if i had to pay rent or a mortgage my quality of life would take a really big hit.

    If your company makes matching (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 12:20:51 PM EST
    contributions, it is foolish to not at least contribute that percentage. For instance, my company matches my contributions up to 6% of my gross salary. That is essentially free money over and above my salary. That's nearly $500 a month in additional compensation. Even if your 401K investments don't perform particularly well, the matching funds are more than you'd ever make in basic interest. Additionally, contributions are tax free (for now). So your paycheck withholding (percentage-wise) is less. Same thing goes for Flexible Spending accounts. If one is offered, take advantage. The funds are deducted pre-tax, thus cutting down on out of pocket health care expenses.

    I agree with Peter's reply (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by McBain on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 08:30:09 PM EST
    I'll add even if your primary goal is to save for a  house you should be putting some away for retirement. You could put some of your money in the 401K (see below) or an IRA and some in a brokerage or personal investment account.

    I recommend Vanguard for the brokerage, personal investment accounts. Their fees and expense ratios are better than the other companies... basically they take less of your earnings than the others.  I like their index funds.  The Vanguard 500 index fund is an example.... well diversified, no fees when you buy and  has a very low expense ratio.  

    As for 401Ks....  they are somewhat controversial. Some even call them a scam because of all the hidden fees and lack of control. However, if I worked for a company that was doing a 25% matching contribution, I would probably take advantage of that.  

    IRAs give you more flexibility but you can only put in around $6000 per year (depending on your age) unless  you're self employed.  They also allow you take money out early (before you're 59.5) to buy your first house without penalty.    


    I should have known better (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Peter G on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 09:30:13 PM EST
    than to answer off the top of my head.  The penalty is not 15%; it is 10%. And as McBain says, there are lot of nuances and exceptions to the rules governing 401(k) plans.  This looks like a good overview.

    One thing (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by CST on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 10:47:57 AM EST
    You can do is borrow money from your 401k for your first house without a penalty.   But you have to pay it back within a certain time frame, and if you lose your job you have to pay it back immediately (I think).

    Usually with matching, they will put in the same amount as you - up to a point.   If that point is $2500, that means that they contribute $2500 whether you contribute $2500 or $10000.   But if you only put in $1000, they only put in $1000.  If that's the case, it's probably worth putting in at least enough to get the full match.  Anything beyond that you may be better off putting in a different type of account (such as a Roth IRA if you are eligible) so your money is more accessible.  I second the advice on Vanguard index funds if you go looking for another account.


    If you leave your current job - for whatever (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 12:58:38 PM EST
    reason - you aren't required to pay it back, it's just that if you don't, it is treated as a distribution to you in that tax year, and you would have to report it as income.  If you are younger than 59 1/2, you will also face a 10% penalty at tax time.

    i cashed out a 401k (none / 0) (#32)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 07:57:30 PM EST
    to buy a house in 2011.  there were penalties but over all, at least in my case, it was totally worth it.  for one thing it was a great deal.  and then by doing it i put myself in a position to pay no rent or mortgage.  

    it made my life way easier until i got the rest of my retirement this year and was able to sell that house and buy another.

    funny story
    the amount in the 401k turned out to be way more than i expected for this reason.  when i started i filled out the forms for deduction.  i thought the amount was monthly.  it turned out it was bi monthly (per payday).  i had intended to change it and sort of forgot.  i suck at finance.  that with the matching company contributions meant i had a neat pile after 4.5 years.


    Yeah, but you had expectations of the 2nd (none / 0) (#46)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 08:23:44 AM EST
    retirement fund coming through , so you could afford to take the good deal on the house. If that was your only retirement money you might not have done that.

    I've tied out a couple of loans of my 401ks over the years, but finance people say that is bead too - keep in mind that the amount you have out on a loan is not been reinvested, so is not earning. some periods that might make sense though if you are saving interest on a home loan or other debt.

    I am horrible with $$$. I am going to need some kind of communal retirement arrangement with family or friends. Assuming I survive the Trump admin.


    'tied out'...whaaat? dang spell check. (none / 0) (#48)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 08:32:38 AM EST
    Taken loans out

    thats true (none / 0) (#55)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 10:47:01 AM EST
    i was not intending advise.  i would never ever give anyone financial advise.

    Communal Retirement Arrangement... (none / 0) (#84)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 07, 2017 at 09:31:13 AM EST
    are you talking about our pirate ship? ;)

    We're not horrible with money, money is horrible with us!


    Don't know about ruffian, but (none / 0) (#85)
    by caseyOR on Fri Jul 07, 2017 at 01:13:08 PM EST
    the pirate ship plays a big role in my old age plans. The fact that you, kdog, are at least 20-25 years my junior, and so will be better able to do the heavy lifting, running on electricity generating treadmill, etc., is a big plus.

    We better get our pirate bootys in gear... (none / 0) (#86)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 07, 2017 at 01:44:32 PM EST
    cuz Junior is getting old too! lol

    Omar Khadr Gets Apology and $8M (none / 0) (#3)
    by RickyJim on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 04:16:34 PM EST
    from Canada!!  Not the US which kept him jailed at Guantanamo for a decade.
    He was repatriated in 2012 after agreeing to a plea deal to leave Guantanamo and serve the majority of his eight-year sentence in Canada.

    In 2010, Canada's Supreme Court concluded that Canada's conduct in connection with Khadr's case "did not conform to the principles of fundamental justice" and violated his constitutional rights.
    The court noted he was subjected to sleep deprivation to make him "less resistant to interrogation".

    In 2015, a judge released Khadr on bail despite a last minute appeal by the then federal Conservative government to keep him in jail. He said then that he would prove to Canadians that he was a "good person".

    Omar Khadr was only 15 years old ... (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 09:35:25 PM EST
    ... at the time of his capture in Afghanistan. Because his own father was a prominent al Qa'eda jihadist, he had obviously been coerced by the older man to serve al Qa'eda as well. And so, I tend to reject the notion that the boy had been acting both on his own and of his own free will.

    From what I understand, the Canadian government has apologized to Khadr exclusively for the conduct of its own officials, and that apology is not applicable to the conduct of their American counterparts at Guantanamo.

    That's because Khadr is a Canadian citizen by birth and as such, it was Canadian intelligence operatives and not the Americans who had actively interrogated the teenager, and who had signed off on the use of so-called "enhanced interrogation" techniques used on him.

    Most importantly, Khadr was a child combatant, the use of which by al Qa'eda constitutes a war crime in and of itself. Khadr's father was responsible for having placed his young son in harm's way.



    Hot... guacamole... chili dogs... (none / 0) (#8)
    by desertswine on Tue Jul 04, 2017 at 07:43:29 PM EST
    grandkids...  ice cream...  fireworks...  stomach aches.

    SNOWFALL (none / 0) (#12)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 07:40:43 AM EST
    starts tonight on FX

    If John Singleton's FX series had just a little more focus, it would be one of the best shows of the year. As it is, it's still an atmospheric, captivating look at how the cocaine trade came to South Central Los Angeles, set in the hot summer of 1983.

    What "Snowfall" has in spades -- besides fresh white powder, anyway -- is atmosphere. It's summer in South Central Los Angeles, and hazy golden light filters through the smog and palm trees. The camera makes the most of it, luxuriating in orange glow and sunlit lens flares, giving this neighborhood, as yet untouched by crack, the sheen of paradise. Executive producer John Singleton has often depicted the idiosyncratic camaraderie of black neighborhoods in his work, and as usual he renders it to the screen with singular intimacy. "Snowfall's" Los Angeles is oversaturated with aviator sunglasses and tidy little mustaches. Rich white people, in their mansions and industry enclaves, jump into swimming pools. Poor Mexican immigrants sleep in their cars after jobbing all day. Police make a show of stopping in black and Latino neighborhoods, and tough guys in muscle tees beat up intruders they don't like the look of. Class and race and geography cuts in all the ways we know it does, but as "Snowfall" works to show, it's also a relatively calm life in South Central. Unfair, but calm.


    weird (none / 0) (#13)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 07:47:48 AM EST

    But the show isn't just about Franklin, and though the show is very skillfully made and impeccably performed overall, it suffers a little from the bloated storytelling issues that are currently endemic to the industry. To be clear, it's almost good enough to make that breadth worth it -- the pilot, after all, is certainly worth it.

    ive read similar things in different reviews.  i guess i understand that reviewers have a lot of things to review and they want to get onto the next thing but its odd to me that after whining forever about shallow stories and undeveloped characters suddenly "bloated story telling" is "epidemic to the industry"

    i really dont know what is being referred to hear.  it would be helpful if some examples of "bloated storytelling" were given.


    I've heard some backlash against (none / 0) (#47)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 08:31:53 AM EST
    The Americans and Better Call Saul for being too detail oriented and not enough 'happening'. 7 minute scene of digging a hole in the first case, or various process montages in the 2nd. Terms like 'self-indulgent' are used. I happen to love that kind of thing, so I'll probably think Snowfall is fine! Got it set to record.

    thats just (none / 0) (#56)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 10:47:51 AM EST
    annoyingly stupid.  seriously.  from an ADHD sufferer

    This was excellent (none / 0) (#43)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 11:12:18 PM EST
    Really excellent

    North Korea tests an ICBM (none / 0) (#16)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 10:35:18 AM EST
    yet the United States has no ambassador to South Korea. We all set in the Bahamas, but no South Korea. Perhaps the boy wonder in charge of world peace is supposed to be on this?

    And, no Ambassadors (none / 0) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 10:52:00 AM EST
    for Afghanistan, France, Germany. But, he's on it, we presume.

    CNN celebrates alleged wrestling GIF creator's (none / 0) (#26)
    by McBain on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 02:22:12 PM EST
    CNN is not publishing "HanA**holeSolo's" name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same.
    CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.

    This created some backlash...

    Some criticized it as a form of blackmail. Others raised issues of journalism ethics over the network granting conditional anonymity to the user.

    I'm trying to figure out what exactly he felt he had to apologize for?  The silly wresting Gif was harmless but I haven't seen his alleged racist posts.  The part where CNN says they  "reserve the right to publish his identity should any of that change" is a little creepy.  

    Lots of interesting questions about privacy and ethics here.  

    Alec Baldwin roast on SPIKE (none / 0) (#28)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 07:10:58 PM EST
    a message from the president

    Alec Baldwin to be Roasted and Revered on Spike TV's `One Night Only' Special -- Watch
    42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton, Robert De Niro, and Julianne Moore are among those participating in the festivities.

    sunday july 9

    William Morva (none / 0) (#35)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 05, 2017 at 09:17:56 PM EST
    Virginia will execute a seriously mentally ill man tomorrow night unless Terry McAuliffe stops it.


    Podcast roundup (none / 0) (#50)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 09:14:30 AM EST
    I'm in a podcast-over-audiobook phase when I am driving or doing housework, exercising, etc. May not last, but for now where are some I find interesting, thought provoking, entertaining:

    Ear Hustle - this is produced by convicts in San Quentin prison, with minimal help from a non-convict facilitator. Very informative and entertaining, and upbeat. They discuss aspects of prison life like their roommate problems, which of course are more extreme than most of ours, but very relatable. Highly recommend.

    Undisclosed. All other seasons are great, but the latest series 'The Killing of Freddie Grey", just completed last week,  is must-listen if you want to be informed about that case.  Even if you just listen to the final episode and addendum that were released last week you will learn tons. They dissect the case and aftermath minute by minute, and also have discovered new things in recently released police records. The addendum episodes are a free wheeling discussion of the episode with D. Watkins, a Baltimore writer and educator. I have learned so much from the addendum alone.  

    Crime Writers On - these are a group of true crime and fiction writers in New England that talk about various true crime documentaries, podcasts, crime fiction in movies or tv, whatever is hot in the week. In addition to being just good story tellers and conversationalists, they know how to break down the structure of a documentary, podcast, film, or however a story is told, and analyze why it works or does not work as a work of art.

    On the lighter side 'My Dad Wrote a P**no' is a British young man who discovered his father wrote and self published a work of very horrible erotica, and he gets together with 2 friends to read and discuss a chapter each week. Hysterically funny - the English accents probably help.

    Calling (none / 0) (#53)
    by FlJoe on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 09:48:37 AM EST
    Captains Ahab and Queeg
    From Gen. David Petraeus, asked if he believes Donald Trump is mentally fit to serve as president:

    I think it's immaterial.

    just stopped at my favorite produce stand (none / 0) (#58)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 10:52:49 AM EST
    heard an amazing thing.  the lady said 'if it doesnt stop raining we are not going to have any more local produce'

    i never thought about that.  rain is good, right?
    nope.  she says so much is causing everything to rot and mold on the vine.

    it has literally rained every day for as long as i remember.  i really do not remember the last day it did not rain.  a lot.  not talking about showers here.  the grass in my yard is getting ridiculous.  i guess i will have to mow it in the rain.   the grass loves it.  the gardens not so much i guess.

    She's correct (none / 0) (#63)
    by Zorba on Thu Jul 06, 2017 at 04:09:06 PM EST
    Too little rain is bad, too much rain is also bad.
    It doesn't happen that often up here, but we have had times with so much rain, our produce did, in fact, rot and mold.