Columns/Opinions

Thu
19
Sep

"County Judge talk includes recovery, economic development" by: Mike Reddell

   Matagorda County’s costs arising from Brazoria County’s separation from the 23rd District Court are about $145,000, County Judge Nate McDonald said at his state of the county address last week.
   A bill was approved earlier this year allowing Brazoria County to form its own district and to split from the 23rd District’s longtime trio of counties, leaving only Matagorda and Wharton counties.
   The additional burden was foreseen, but McDonald said that instead of an additional $10,000 to $15,000, the total so far is $145,000.
   “We have to pay for his staff and for visiting judges. The costs are real and there,” McDonald said of Matagorda County’s new share of the 23rd District costs.  
      The discussion was part of McDonald’s explanation of the county’s recently approved fiscal 2019-2020 budget.

Thu
19
Sep

"A damp week leads to yearning for fall weather" by: Jessica Shepard

   So, we’ve got some rain in the forecast finally, along with loads of flood warnings.
   And while that is something to certainly celebrate this late in the summer, the rest of my internal monologue is only mildly annoyed.
   Can’t we invent some sort of weather machine to make it more of a deluge and spread the storm out over several weeks?
   Also, somewhat along the same vein, but can we have a wind machine of sorts to keep a good breeze going during the heat of the day?
   I mean, I’m not really complaining about anything but a minor inconvenience.
   But, isn’t that something we all fall prey to?
   I really only have to worry about my poor Ford Focus with flash flooding – especially in our low-lying areas.
   On the flip side, that means I get to take mom’s Jeep out if I need to run errands or go to interviews.
   And that’s definitely a bonus.
   The sunburned grass will no doubt be happier, too.

Thu
19
Sep

"Strike on Saudi refineries puts markets on edge against puts world on edge" by: John Sample

   Just when you thought we were going to set new record highs in the equity indexes and average, a drone strike in Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries put the markets on edge and crude prices soaring. 
   It is remarkable how times have changed. 
   A decade ago this action would have a significantly negative impact on the US economy. 
   This attack will have an impact on the Pacific Rim where most of these countries import a vast majority of the oil from Saudi Arabia. 
   China has acknowledged such. 
   Moreover, no one knows if there will be any counter measures against Iran who has been accused to be the source of the drone attacks.
   If that wasn’t enough, the UAW has decided to go on strike against GM. 
   The Federal Reserve is going to meet this week which could mean another interest rate decrease. 
   The 10 year yield is holding at 1.8% after being as low as 1.4% only a couple of weeks before.   

Thu
19
Sep

Can “AI” help you become a better investor?

   Artificial intelligence, or AI, is now part of all our lives.fIt’s used in social media, our navigation systems, and many other applications.
   But can it help you become a better investor?
   Many large financial services firms do use AI to select investments for specific funds.
   And as an individual, you could invest with an AI-powered “robo-advisor.”
   But investing is highly personal, so you may do better by working with a human financial professional.
   For example, a robo-advisor probably can’t help you talk through tradeoffs as you prioritize your goals or provide you guidance on the options for a 401(k) when you change jobs.
   And it takes another person to know you well enough to understand how you might react to events such as sudden market drops – and help you keep your portfolio objectives in mind.

Thu
19
Sep

"Expecting rainbows to continue - just like God’s promises to us" by: Betsy Monico

   Going back to last year. I sang a song all day long in my head from my childhood days at Lakeview Church Camp. 
   It talks about passing it on. I chose a particular dinner because someone passed on their delicious enchilada recipe to me. 
   “Pass it on” has been on my mind all day. I feel like I must pass the rainbow miracle on tonight. Here it goes:
Never in my life have I seen as many rainbows as last week. Our local community sure did need them. 
   Sometimes we need a miraculous sign in the sky that God is still with us, still on the throne, still can be trusted, and still is in control.  
   Sadly, I know it is not just my community either. 
   What is it about a rainbow that stops us in our tracks? They appear after a storm. 
   They splash a touch of indescribable color into a seemingly dark and gray sky. They superficially pop up out of nowhere. 
   Monet and Van Gogh took time to paint their masterpieces. 

Thu
19
Sep

"Thankful for the technology we have today and New Covenant" by: Caleb Gibson

   Technology has sure advanced. 
   When we think about the old west, we may think of Jesse James, Dodge City, ranchers, boots, and duals. 
   Yet one thing we may not consider is the fact that they didn’t have the comforts that we have today. Their houses had no indoor bathrooms, running water, or a/c units. 
   They longed for what we have today. 
   In a similar way, the people of the Old Testament desired what we have now in the new covenant. Pastor Andrew Farley said, “We have a better deal than any Old Testament believer.” 
   Psalm 51 is what David prayed to God after the prophet Nathan confronted him about his sin. 
   In a way, Psalm 51 is us listening into the room of David as he is sorrowful and prays to God. 
   David cried out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10). 

Thu
19
Sep

"Reel Reviews: ‘Hustlers’ an unexpected role for Jennifer Lopez" by: Jessica Shepard

   “Hustlers” is a crime drama film written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, based on New York magazine’s 2015 article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler.
   The film stars Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, and Cardi B.
   It’s rated R for pervasive sexual material, drug content, language, and nudity and is ranked number two in theaters worldwide, raking in just over $37.6 million last weekend.
   Former New York City-based stripper Dorothy (Wu) is invited for an interview with Elizabeth (Stiles), a journalist working on a story involving Dorothy’s former friend and mentor, Ramona Vega (Lopez).
   In 2007, Dorothy, known by her stripper name as Destiny, is working at a strip club to support her grandmother, but is continually frustrated by her inability to attract paying clients.

Thu
12
Sep

"Texas needs more plants like STP to generate base load" by: Mike Reddell

  The prolonged heat days this summer have strained the reserve capacity of ERCOT to the point of warnings to all Texans to cut usage whenever possible, such as raising the thermostat.
   JEC General Manager Jim Coleman told a group of business and government leaders Friday morning that ERCOT – Texas electricity grid – was expected to be at peak usage levels on that day.
   ERCOT has been at the point twice so far this summer where there’s nearly not enough capacity on the grid. Once we reach capacity, then ERCOT is forced to consider rolling outages throughout the state to force reduce usage.
   One contributing factor is wind and solar generation being intermittent, might be down at the point when their contributions are needed in high energy demand situations.
   “The wind might not be blowing,” Coleman said.
   Coleman brought up a troubling reality in energy generation in Texas – and for America.

Thu
12
Sep

"Many superstitions align with this Friday the 13th" by: Jessica Shepard

   Originally, I had some nicely thought out and cohesive subject for this week’s column, but, thanks to some tech issues and switching between desktop computers – I’ve cobbled something else together.
   It’s not as awesome as I feel my first iteration went, but, it’s something still.
   Did you know that this week we’ve got a Friday the 13th and a full moon on the same day?
   According to the Farmers Almanac, the last time the U.S. saw a full moon on Friday the 13th was Oct. 13, 2000, and it won’t happen again until Aug. 13, 2049.
   NASA says that the best time to view the full moon is at 11:33 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.
   A lot of my friends are talking about staying in for the weekend due to some irrational fear of Friday the 13th.
   Even with only a little bit of Google searching and clicking around the internet, it’s weakly being described as a “bad luck” day.

Thu
12
Sep

"AT&T activist turns people’s heads" by: John Sample

      Again, the results of this observation are based on my extreme lack of patience and my recurring conspiracy theory that signal lights are timed more to aggravate drivers than to aid efficient traffic flow.
   So much for chicken little and the sky is falling. 
   The Dow is now just 2% below the record high levels hit in July. 
   Of more importance, the S&P 500 stock-index is doing even better. 
   This is all happening in a historically poor time of the year for equities. Go figure.
Beyond the fact that it is incredibly difficult to forecast where the stock market is headed in the short term, we now have to deal with Presidential tweets. 
   Last week the tweets bolstered the market. 
   Instead of escalating the tension, scheduled trade talks engendered optimism. 
   Moreover, the economic news appears to be better than many expected.

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