Columns/Opinions

Thu
28
Jan

"Investing in the stock market is not the same as gambling " by: John Sample

   We are moving into the new year and the FANG stocks announce earnings this week.  
   It is hard to believe the Apples of the world will disappoint.  
   As such, we will see a further move up in the short run.  
   It has been interesting to watch the short squeeze in the retailer, Game Stop, which climbed from almost single digits to near $100. Things like this can wipe out a trading company.  
   You have to understand the concept to appreciate the trap. When you short a stock, you sell something you don’t own.  
   To do so, you go to your broker and borrow the stock from inventory.  
   If your theory about the stock being overvalued is correct and it drops in price, you can then buy the stock back. It is the bow low sell high in reverse.  
   The problem, of course, is that you have borrowed the stock and are paying a few for doing such.  

Thu
28
Jan

With ultra-low rates, should you still invest in bonds?

   Interest rates are near historic lows. 
   That means the interest payments you get from bonds will also be smaller than they were just a few years ago. 
   Should you still invest in bonds? 
   Despite providing less income than when interest rates were higher, bonds can provide you with other benefits. 
   For one thing, bonds can help diversify your portfolio, especially if it’s heavily weighted toward stocks. 
   Also, stock and bond prices often move in opposite directions, so if the stock market goes through a down period, the value of your bonds may rise. 
   And bonds are usually less volatile than stocks, so they can have a “calming” effect on your portfolio. 
   Plus, if you hold your bonds until maturity, you’ll get your entire principal back, providing the bond issuer doesn’t default, which is generally unlikely if you own investment-grade bonds. 

Thu
28
Jan

"Choose the path this week that will lead you to Jesus" by: Betsy Monico

   I spend my days and nights at school or home; therefore, surroundings seldom surprise me. I woke up today though and felt like I was living in Seattle or London. The gray skies, clouds, and dampness reminded me of former travels. 
   I crave sunshine. I lacked motivation this morning, but found hope when I spotted a large bird by our lake. 
   I shouted to the only kiddo at home. She thankfully proved that I was not crazy. We both saw it. Life in the country may be pegged as boring, but the snakes, eagles, hawks, skunks, fish, deer, and wild hogs are often too much! 
   An old column reminds me of this truth…
   I am old fashioned. I believe cell phones are ruining the workplace. Unless your job description specifically states social media posting and online shopping, it is not appropriate to engage in those activities when you are being paid for something else. 

Thu
28
Jan

"God searches for those devoted to him; Give thanks for his foregiveness" by: Caleb Gibson

   When studying the Bible, we may come across a verse that is difficult to understand. 
   One of these verses is Habakkuk 1:13, which reads, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. 
   “So why do you tolerate those who are treacherous? Why are you silent while one who is wicked swallows up one who is more righteous than himself?” 
   Is it true that God cannot look upon sin? What does this mean, and how are we to interpret this?
   As believers in Christ God is with us, so He definitely sees when we sin. We can’t run away from God. He is aware that we are fallen. 
   The first murder that took place with Cain and Abel. After Cain killed his brother, God went to him and said, “Where is your brother Abel?” (Genesis 4:9). 
   When Cain was in sin, God went after Him. In the same way with our life, God is going after us when we fail. 

Thu
28
Jan

"Reel Reviews: ‘The Craft: Legacy’ aims to put audiences under similar spell as original film" by: Jessica Shepard

   While I don’t recall what age I was exactly when I saw the original “The Craft” movie, I decided to give it’s pseudo-sequel “The Craft: Legacy” a chance and rent it last week. 
   Now, the first film quickly became a girl’s night or sleepover staple that seemed to outlast friendships entering my teen years, 
   It covered to several problems that all teens face including bullying, socio-economic disparity, and harassment. 
   This new one seems more focused on “girl power” and bullying, while relying on the same tricks its predecessor used – except with a bit more glitter. 
   Legacy is a supernatural horror film written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones that was marketed/rumored to be a combination reboot/sequel to 1996’s original movie. 
   The film is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, crude and sexual content, language and brief drug material and runs at 97 minutes total. 

Thu
21
Jan

"Time passes seemingly without change in our new normal" by: Jessica Shepard

   It’s hard to believe that we’re already nearing the end of January and it feels like Christmas just ended yesterday.
   Though that might be me just whining since we finally got the Christmas decorations back up in the attic.
   I maintain that there’s probably something left behind, but have only found the few ornaments that I have to super glue back together and a few others that I’m enhancing.
   It’s a problem that we run into every year that just ends up with said mended ornaments taking up space in mom’s craft room upon completion.
   But, to be fair, I’m the only one with enough patience for gluing the ornaments and making sure that they don’t come apart easily.
   In fact, it’s a bit of a gift and takes a steady hand with a moderate amount of patience.
   Which, if you know me personally, is kind of hilarious.

Thu
21
Jan

"Is the newest trend your friend?" by: John Sample

   A shortened trading week after the first down week in over a month for the various indexes and average.
   It’s notable that things look positive to start this year. Interest rates are rising a bit, but still are far short of the 30-year being anywhere near 3%.
   There is some indication that prices are rising and not just food and energy.
   Speaking of energy, I would suggest the energy sector is far from dead. It will take time for this nation to convert to renewable energy.
   During that period, there are a select few companies that are well managed and can provide a reasonable dividend.
   Never forget that many assumed that tobacco companies were dead money, but Philip Morris continues to this day to pay a very good dividend.
   I point this out because it pays at times to go against the herd.
   I would say that outside of the dividend, it will be hard for these companies to show growth and therefore little rise in value.

Thu
21
Jan

Remote work may offer financial benefits

   Have you been working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic?
   If so, you might be getting used to it, and even when it’s over, you may have the option of remote work.
   This can affect your life in many ways – and it could bring some financial advantages, too.
   Just consider transportation costs: The average commuter spends $2,000 to $5,000 per year going to and from work, according to government data.
   If you’re working from home, you could save a lot by keeping your car in the driveway.
   And if you drastically reduce your driving, you might qualify for lower insurance rates, too.
   Plus, you could save even more by not eating out when you’re working from an office.
   What to do with these savings?
   You could invest some of it in your IRA and your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan.
   And you might also be able to build an emergency fund to help pay for things like a major car repair.

Thu
21
Jan

"Letter to the Editor: Were western outlaws actually smart trend setters?"

   Masks are a flagrant violation of our personal freedom; they are annoying apparel; and we all know, with 110% assurance, that they don’t protect you or anyone around you. Right!
   But, have you heard the shocking news that influenza cases in the USA are down 98% this season?
   So, can someone explain to me why the medical community attributes this dramatic reduction to the fact that most Covid-fearing Americans are wearing such facial coverings in public?
   Seems as if they were so ineffective, or blatantly unnecessary, the flu rate would be about same as the three- or four-year average for our country?
   But, having a mask as routine headgear, when out among other people, may only be part of the whole pandemic prevention equation?
   If this protection is examined more closely, the following flaws in our thinking and/or practices bubble up:

Thu
21
Jan

"A lesson from MLK: We must love our brothers, sisters" by: Betsy Monico

   I quietly announced to my 5th graders last Friday that they could all take Monday off.   
   Sarcastically, I also offered to share our stash of Kleenex tissues to dry up their possible weepy, sorrowful, and wet tears.   
   I spotted numerous smiles, several raised hands with questions, but no tears.   
   I elaborated and offered my personal condolences, just in case they showed up Monday, felt alone and sad without me there to meet them.  
   When they finally paused to think about it, many recalled our school calendar and the fact that their families planned and did mention “something” or “nothing” for the upcoming four-day weekend. They seemed to grasp the ‘what’ in unison, but really wanted to still know ‘why.’   
   This unique and often unplanned questioning phase in the classroom can be quite magical.  

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