Columns/Opinions

Thu
14
Jun

"Can capitalism get better with a conscience?" by: John Sample

   What a week for reading the newspaper or watching the news on your TV or phone. 
   We had a G7 meeting in Canada and a summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. All of this and the markets just yawned  
   If that wasn’t enough, it appears that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this week. Many are focused on speculation on how many more increases will come this year. 
   Never forget the impact of each increase on the cost of financing out debt. This is the real cloud hanging over this rather remarkable jump in the economy and the stock market. 
   One thing you can’t hide from is the constant crushing impact of interest compiling every day. While I see nothing but positives for the rest of 2018, there will be a reckoning with paying back what we owe.
   On that note, I would harken back to James Carvel’s comment as he ran Bill Clinton’s campaign. He made the comment, “It’s the economy stupid.”

Thu
14
Jun

Father’s Day: Money lessons can be priceless to your children

   Father’s Day is almost upon us. 
   If you’re a dad, you certainly may enjoy getting cards and gifts. 
   But, over time, you will gain even greater satisfaction from what you can give your children – such as some valuable financial lessons.
   Here are a few to consider:
   First, you could discuss the importance of setting goals and investing for them, even though these goals, such as retirement, may be decades away. 
   You can even make it more meaningful to your children by saying another goal is saving enough to help send them to college.
   Also, talk about the importance of putting time on your side. 
   Let your children know that it’s of great value to start investing as early as possible.
   You might also discuss some financial management issues, such as the necessity of living within your means and the need to pay your debts on time.

Thu
14
Jun

"Reel Reviews: ‘Hereditary’ fails to deliver as summer’s scariest movie" by: Jessica Shepard

   With rave reviews from critics and promises that it might be the scariest movie of the summer, I saw “Hereditary” over the weekend.
   The trailers were off-putting and certainly creeped me out, so I had high hopes for the film, even on an atmospheric scale of horror.
   Even the movie poster tagline: “Every family tree hides a secret,” set the tone for something that would induce fear.
   Hereditary is a supernatural horror film written and directed by Ari Aster, in his feature directorial debut. 
   It stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, and Gabriel Byrne, and follows a family that begins to be haunted following the death of their reclusive grandmother.
   And the film starts right after the grandmother’s death with her funeral.
   Miniaturist artist Annie Graham (Collette), lives with her husband Steve (Byrne), their teenage son Peter (Wolff), and their teenage daughter Charlie (Shapiro). 

Thu
14
Jun

"Take heart in the Word: Nothing can separate you from God’s love" by: Betsy Monico

   My summer thus far has revolved around kids, dogs, and my kitchen. The dogs are hot and usually hide underneath a vehicle in the carport. 
   The kids are back and forth and thankfully – behaving nicely. We all slept under the same roof last night. 
   That was rare! My husband, during the school year, assumes the role of chef. I humbly attempt to take back over when summer comes. 
   I am a decent cook. I even enjoy it…when I have time. 
   I spent this afternoon at the lake. I soaked up some sun and listened to my kid’s random conversations. 
   The greatest way to gauge how your kids are doing is to hang out in close proximity, remain silent, and just listen. 
   My son walked up to join the girls and warned me to not to let “Salty” near me. She evidently rolled in a dead armadillo. 
   Right about the time I made a mental note to avoid her, I spotted our other dogs with something in her mouth. 

Thu
14
Jun

"We can become best friends of God through the cross" by: Caleb Gibson

   I love the Living Bible’s translation of 1 Timothy 6:21 it says, “Some of these people have missed the most important thing in life—they don’t know God...” 
   In all our conversations with God we should always have reverence. Our relationship with God has multiple layers. 
   He is our Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and Father. He is whatever you need Him to be. 
   Some days I need advice and He is my wisdom. Other days I need forgiveness and He is my savior. 
   And for some days I need someone to lean on and He is my friend. 
   Jesus is the perfect illustration of the Father. The Pharisees called Jesus a friend of, “tax collectors and sinners.” (Mathew 11:19). 
   The Romans had taken over this area and used an army to control the land. How do you have such a large army? 

Thu
14
Jun

"‘Cotton candy in the trees’" By Aaron Sumrall, PhD County Extension Agent Agriculture & Natural Resources

   Current conditions across Matagorda County are similar to conditions of August and September - so many questions I receive are typical of late summer. 
   The headline of this article is much like how the conversation begins in many of the calls with homeowners concerned about the “cotton candy-looking webs in the trees” or leaves being stripped. 
   The two primary culprits initiating the calls and concerns are Fall Webworm or Walnut Caterpillar. Let’s discuss the two and point out a few factors and considerations to identification, biology, and control.
   Identification of the two can begin as early as the egg stage. Fall Webworms can have up to four generations annually in our part of Texas, with each female moth laying only one egg mass in her life. These egg masses contain up to 600 hair-covered eggs up to two layers thick laid on the underside of leaves of the food host plant. 

Thu
07
Jun

A Letter from Tim Powell: Toshiba withdraws from STP Units 3 and 4

   Toshiba Corporation announced May 31 that Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation is withdrawing from the effort to build South Texas Project Units 3 and 4. 
   This decision was based on their belief that under expected economic conditions, further development of STP Units 3 and 4 has ceased to be financially viable.
   In the coming weeks, we expect a meeting of NINA’s Board of Directors to determine the future of STP Units 3 and 4. 
   At STP, we want to thank the Community for their support of the effort to bring Units 3 and 4 to fruition.  
  Countless hours of hard work have been dedicated toward the development of Units 3 and 4.  While we are disappointed to find ourselves in the position we are in today, I am proud of the work we’ve done, working together, to reach this goal. 

Thu
07
Jun

"It’s too hot to enjoy the start of summer fun" by: Jessica Shepard

   Technically, the first day of summer is June 21 and is known as the Summer Solstice.
   However, judging by the painfully rising temperatures, its summer already.
   Don’t forget the way moisture weighs everything down and turns the great outdoors into a sauna.
   That, and the sudden appearance of mosquitos is another indicator of the worst season we endure.
   School is out for most students, unless they have to make up classes or are taking college courses.
   But, adults rarely get time off during the next few months.
   I look forward to each holiday that we get to celebrate.
   Especially if it means I can spend the day indoors in air-conditioning comfort and not get up and do much of anything.
   Granted, I’d like a destination vacation, too.
   But, I’m terrified of being on a plane and my little car wouldn’t make it much further than Sugar Land.

Thu
07
Jun

"Are we really willing to sacrifice for the greater good?" by: John Sample

   Last week’s holiday shorted trading week was quite the roller coaster ride. 
   At the end, your stomach was in your throat and back where you started. 
   Of interest was the angst over the European economy because of political and financial instability. 
   That was followed by announcements of tariffs to be imposed on steel and aluminum imports and the possibility of a trade war. 
   That was juxtaposed against some of the best unemployment numbers that have not been seen in this country in over 20 years.
   It just seems that when you think it can’t get any worse and we are on the brink, someone points out the rainbow on the horizon.
   This is what captivates me as I try to understand what makes the economy and stock market work. 
   You only have to look at the start of this week with the FANG stocks pushing the NASDAQ to record high levels. 

Thu
07
Jun

Saying ‘I Do’ might mean ‘I Can’t’ for Roth IRA

   June is a popular month for weddings. 
   If you’re tying the knot, it’s an exciting time, but be aware that your status as a married person might affect you in unexpected ways – including the way you invest.
   For example, if you and your new spouse both earn fairly high incomes, you may find that, together, you make too much to contribute to a Roth IRA.
   One way around this problem is to open a “backdoor” Roth IRA by converting a traditional IRA into a Roth. 
   By doing so, you can get past the income limits, and you can generally move as much money as you want.
   However, you’ll probably have to pay taxes on the conversion, and the money going into the Roth might bump you into a higher tax bracket, at least temporarily. 
   So consult with your tax advisor before opening this backdoor.

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