Columns/Opinions

Thu
01
Nov

"Reel Reviews: ‘Hunter Killer: Submarines battling in Russian waters’" by: Jesica Shepard

   With just over $6.6 million during its opening weekend, “Hunter Killer” is barely treading water.
   The film is based on the book “Firing Point” by Don Keith and George Wallace.
   It stars Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Michael Nyqvist, Common, Linda Cardellini, Michael Gor, Alexander Diachenko, and Toby Stephens. 
   The movie follows a group of Navy SEALs and submarine crew who rescue the captured Russian President from a coup.
   After an American submarine vanishes while shadowing a Russian sub in the Arctic, Rear Admiral John Fisk (Common) sends another U.S. submarine, the USS Arkansas, under the command of newly-promoted and unconventional Captain Joe Glass (Butler) to investigate what happened.
   At the same time, a four-man Navy SEAL team under the command of Lieutenant Bill Beaman (Stephens) is sent in to discreetly observe a highly-active Russian naval base.

Thu
25
Oct

"Getting older doesn't mean getting less weird" by: Jessica Shepard

   Ever since we started the paper about four years ago, I’ve had a hard time deciding what to write for my birthday column. 
   I can’t make a claim to fame like Mike and his eyebrow or my mom’s tenure in Matagorda County. 
   But, I can say that the 30-plus years here have been an adventure. 
   Even now, when my siblings come home for the holidays we just drive around and remember the old and new and the constant. 
   It just depends on how long it’s been since their last visit. 
   I guess the one thing I notice most of all besides the traffic increase, is that overall I haven’t changed much since high school. 
   A few friends have even mentioned as much to me and I don’t know whether to be amused or a little insulted. 
   After all, I spend more time writing than I do reading now and I don’t have screaming matches with other friends. 
   But, I also understand how they can say something like that. 

Thu
25
Oct

"Wall of worry winning out after Caterpillar’s tariff warning" by: John Sample

   We finally were able to post a positive, though modest gain in the Dow last week.  
   This week, however, the wall of worry is winning out. Earnings reports have generally been positive, leading analysts to project a 22 percent gain in earnings for the last quarter.  
   But much like the phrase, “what have you done for me lately,” a couple of poor reports and less than stellar projections for future quarters have put the indexes in reverse.  
   One of the top misses was 3M, which of late has had nothing go right.  
   Caterpillar actually reported good earnings for the quarter, but warned of future headwinds due to the tariffs. That was all the Dow needed to head south.  
   Of more importance, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-index moved closer to breaking back below 2,700.  
   If earnings weren’t enough, you have the President campaigning to his base with the Nov. 6 midterm elections on the horizon.  

Thu
25
Oct

Is your ‘Digital Estate’ in order?

   Like most people, you probably do a lot online.  
   Of course, you’ve got your e-mail and social networking – but you may also maintain some financial and business accounts.  
   Together, these eventually will form your “digital estate” – and if you don’t plan for it, it can lead to conflict among your survivors, potential lost assets and even an opportunity for hackers. 
   How can you help preserve and protect your digital estate? 
   For starters, create a detailed inventory of your digital assets.  
   Also, document your wishes for how you want your digital assets managed. 
   And you may find it helpful to name a digital executor in your will. A digital executor can transfer online assets to your survivors, close accounts you don’t want transferred and inform online communities of your passing.  
   Keep in mind, though, that online platforms enforce their own rules on who can access a deceased person’s accounts. 

Thu
25
Oct

"Instead of standing alone, learn to lean on God, let him help" by: Betsy Monico

   Writing today is somewhat challenging.  
   Determined to be in the sun after two weeks of extreme cloudiness, I brought my laptop to the back porch in search of sunshine and vitamin D. Quickly, the “tickle bees” found me.  
   They are swarming around me like I am a piece of unwrapped Halloween candy leftover in a plastic, orange Jack-o-lantern.  
   My husband is talented though. He utilizes his cap and swats them every time I scream for help.  
   However, he will soon head off to fill up a deer feeder, and I will be left alone without any protection.  
   I call him B; therefore, when I scream “bee” no one else listens. I refuse to offer up my setting though. I love fall, and it is finally here!  
   Today has been one of those perfect days.  
   Nothing about life is really flawless or perfect at all, but today was really nice. My teenage sons went to church with me. 

Thu
25
Oct

"In times of need take out your double-edged sword" by: Caleb Gibson

   The Bible tells us a story of Ehud who lived at a time when Israel had been overtaken by the Moabites. The King Eglon was an evil ruler whom they served for eighteen years.  
   God used Ehud because he was a left-handed man and was able to hide a double-edged sword under his cloak.  
   Since this was hidden on his right thigh, he was able apparently able to pass when they checked for weapons. 
   When Ehud was left alone with King Eglon, he was able to take his sword and killed the King. The dominion of this King’s reign was over.  
   After Ehud escaped, He, “…blew the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was in front of them.
   He said to them, “Pursue them, for the Lord has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands…” (Judges 3:27-28).  
   After this event, Israel, “was undisturbed for eighty years.” (Judges 3:30).  

Thu
25
Oct

"Reel Reviews: ‘Halloween’ reboot much scarier (better) film than original" by: Jessica Shepard

   With over $90.5 million in box office earnings its first weakened “Halloween” is blowing expectations out of the water.  
   Halloween is the 11th installment in the Halloween film series, and a direct sequel to the 1978 film of the same name, while retconning the continuity of the previous sequels. 
   Retconning is a literary device in which established facts in a fictional work are adjusted, ignored, or contradicted by a subsequently published work which breaks continuity with the former. 
   The film is set 40 years after the original film, the plot follows Laurie Strode as she prepares to face Michael Myers in a final confrontation when he returns to Haddonfield, Illinois, after his killing spree on Halloween night in 1978.  
   Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle reprise their roles as Strode and Myers, respectively, with stuntman James Jude Courtney also portraying Myers.  

Thu
18
Oct

"Grateful for the things I have, yet weary on the cost to Earth" by: Jessica Shepard

   Whenever I tell someone that I like a “period piece” movie, they automatically assume it’s something medieval or renaissance, but, it’s not.
   Well, not all the time.
   Period pieces for me can range anywhere from the last decade to centuries ago.
   Granted, it’s almost easier to do something more modern than older.
   Especially if you want it to turn out right.
   Regardless, I really enjoy the backdrops, stage and set designs of period piece films.
   If it’s something I can recall from my childhood or at a house I’ve been in, it makes everything so much more realistic.
   Though, that might also be because my mom likes to go antique hunting and has dragged me along since I was in junior high or so.
   To be fair, I asked her to take me with her the older I got, instead of whining as a youngster.

Thu
18
Oct

"Was last week’s Dow Industrial Average losing 1,000 points an anomaly?" by: John Sample

   I suppose if you warn of a setback in the market long enough it eventually has to happen. It’s like the old saying about a blind hog finding an acorn sooner or later. 
   I will say that losing over 1,000 points on the Dow Industrial Average in two days of trading is something to catch your attention. The more than 800-point drop Wednesday was the largest one-day loss ever. 
   Keep in mind that at record levels a daily drop of over 100 points is almost becoming a regular event that causes no concern. A four-digit drop must be the new norm. At least we had a recovery of over 200 points Friday. 
   No matter the extent of the ups and downs, October has again raised its ugly head and scared investors. 
   The fact that the setback happened in such a short time frame to call it a correction would be stretching the definition. Moreover, we haven’t moved back in the 10 to 30 percent range, which is territory defined as a correction. 

Thu
18
Oct

Retirement Security Week: Take steps to boost your retirement security

   National Retirement Security Week is set for Oct. 21-27. 
   How can you help improve your own retirement security?
   For starters, try to define what retirement security means to you – that is, what sort of lifestyle will make you most comfortable? 
   Then, create an appropriate financial strategy to help you meet those goals. 
   Try to determine how much you plan to withdraw from your various sources of retirement income, including your 401(k) and IRA.
   Of course, you can rely more heavily on these accounts if you’ve contributed continuously to them over the years. 
   Every time you get a raise, consider increasing the amount you put in to your 401(k) – and try to “max out” on your IRA contributions each year.
   Finally, when you do retire, you’ll want to establish an appropriate withdrawal rate from your various retirement accounts. 
   If you take out too much each year, you risk outliving your resources.

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