Olemike's Blog

Archive for January, 2011

2011 Garden Plan

Posted by olemike on 01/31/2011

I am adding three new raised beds this year.  I want to try growing many more veggies this year that I have the past two seasons.  Thus, I am doing lots of planning as to what I will plant where.  I admit to being a shade anal retentive.  Check it out.

Garden Layout-PDF

How about that Microsoft clip art?

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Posted in Gardening | 3 Comments »

Personal Finance Education

Posted by olemike on 01/27/2011

One of the main causes of the housing crises is the fact that many home owners or former home owners bought houses they could not afford.  Sadly, many of them did not realize  that and  there are differences of opinion about why.  Many believe that it was the fault of shady loan sharks or banks that took advantage of innocent buyers.  Maybe that happened to some extent.  However, the major reason, in my humble opinion, is that most of the buyers did not have the requisite understanding of the financial information required to purchase real estate.   Hence, my proposal to have all high schools in the country implement one semester of ‘Personal Finance” to be taken by every senior.

The curriculum would include an understanding of the SEC, Federal Reserve, common stocks, preferred stocks, bonds, interest rates, and various home loan types such as fixed, variable, adjustable, etc.   There would need to be a great deal of information on the benefits of and types  of savings vehicles – for example, standard and Roth IRAs, college savings plans such as the Educational IRA and 529 plans, mutual funds and their various types, etc.  I am convinced that if people understood the basics of personal finance, they would make better decisions in managing their money. 

In order for the country and each individual to get on track financially, they need information and knowledge about the subject matter.  This would be a step in  that direction.  What say you?

Posted in Education | 1 Comment »

The Devil is in the Details

Posted by olemike on 01/26/2011

You have to admit – President Obama gives a pretty speech.  That was my impression of the State of the Union last night.  However, as noted by many political pundits, it was short on details.  Details are exactly what we need if we are to make any lasting progress against the problems our country faces.  I agreed with many of the Presidents’s comments – especially about the importance of good parenting in childhood education.  I also agree we need to improve our efforts on infrastructure although I am not a proponent of high-speed rail.  I don’t think it will ever be financially self-sustaining.  That’s why Amtrak is still government subsidized.  It would be better to focus on improving  commuter train access in our big cities.  I have previously espoused expanding the reach of BART in the San Francisco bay area. 

The $400 billion of savings (over 10 years)  to be gained by freezing government spending for 5 years will not do the job.  That is just the tip of the ice berg of spending decreases that we need.  I support the approximate $2.5 trillion that the Republicans are proposing.  Yes, that might be painful but it must be done.  The danger of inaction is greater than the pain that might be incurred by making substantial cuts to spending.  Our children will thank us.

In total, government spending needs to be cut drastically in some areas but increased in others.  Our government does need to be “smaller” but also more “effective”.  This will take thoughtful, bi-partisan action by Congress and the President.   Can they overcome their differences to fix long-standing problems.  Only time will tell.  What do you think?

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

The “Worst” Person in the World

Posted by olemike on 01/22/2011

I apologize to my liberal readers out there (if there are any).  I am absolutely filled with glee that Keith Olbermann will no longer be spewing his  hate filled speech over the airways.  In my opinion, he was far worse than most of the conservative pundits we hear on radio or television.  A couple of exceptions might be Rush or Michael Savage.  I don’t listen to them either.  I have listened to Keith  enough to realize that he never had any guests on his show who did not agree with his far left views.  Say what you will about Fox News, they at least allow people of other persuasions  to express their opinions.  I especially hated the “Worst Person in the World” segment of the Keith Olbermann show.  Now you know where I got the title for this post. 

Sayonara, Keith

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

A Breath of Fresh Air

Posted by olemike on 01/16/2011

For those of you to watch Fox News Sunday, I wonder if you were as impressed as I about Chris Christie and his approach when answering questions.  He actually provides a direct answer, does not just quote the party line BS and makes no apologies regarding his positions on dealing with the New Jersey financial crises.  I wish some of that honesty and directness would rub off on our national politicians.   Even if you disagree with his politics, you have to admire one who will actually answer questions.  It’s easy to tell that he believes what he is saying. We need some of this from Congress – please!

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Kudos to the President

Posted by olemike on 01/13/2011

President Obama gave what I thought was a brilliant speech at the Memorial service in Arizona yesterday.  Although I don’t often agree with him, I have to admit that he hit almost the perfect tone with his remarks, not only in honoring the victims of the shooting, but also in  stating that the shooting was not political and should not be used for political haymaking.

I realize it may be tough for the left-wing media to stop blaming the tragedy on O’Reilly, Beck, Palin, etc.  We’ll soon see if his remarks changed any behavior on their part.  Let’s not hold our breath.  I do agree with the President that political discourse could be much improved in the country and would enable us to perhaps fix some serious problems in a bi-partisan manner.  We can only hope.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments »

Can’t we all just get along?

Posted by olemike on 01/10/2011

Yes, it would be better that the vitriol spewed by political partisans were reduced in volume and quantity.  However, I am appalled how the left-wing has immediately blamed Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, et al. for the Arizona shooting.  I am especially irritated at Paul Krugman who should know better.  I doubt that he even listens to Bill O’Reilly.  I listen to O’Reilly and I have never heard him say things which Krugman implied.  The hate spewed by Keith Olberman is worse than anything you will hear on O’Reilly. 

There is no doubt that our political discourse could use a doze of reason.  Too often, even family members cannot discuss politics without creating tension.  That’s really too bad.

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Winter Gardening Tasks

Posted by olemike on 01/09/2011

Leona and I accomplished two gardening tasks today.  She trimmed our miniature peach tree in the back yard and sprayed it with Lily Miller Copper Fungicide to prevent peach leaf curl, etc.  I cut back all of the Society Garlic plants in the front yard.   They look a little frazzled right now but should do well when warm weather comes.  Here are pictures of both jobs. 

Society Garlic trimmed 01/09/11

Posted in Gardening | 4 Comments »

Stop the Spending Binge

Posted by olemike on 01/07/2011

“Never let a crises go to waste”.  So said Rahm Emanuel said early on in Barack Obama’s administration.  The current Republican congress should take heed to that statement.   They need to secure specific spending cuts, a balanced budget bill, etc. before agreeing to raise the debt limit.  We (the country) cannot continue to spend like drunked sailors without one day having to pay the piper.  It’s time we canceled our credit cards and started living within our means  That is as true for the country as it is for each of us as individuals.  Much of the housing crises we have is because too many people bought houses they could not afford or took out equity loans to purchase high priced toys.  They were counting on the “greater fool” theory.  They planned to sell to a “greater fool” than themselves.  We all thought that real estate values could only go up.  Oops!  If over the next couple of years, we do not figure out how to cut our excess spending, this country is in real trouble.  Do we really want to get where Greece and Ireland already are?  I think not.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

Happy New Year

Posted by olemike on 01/01/2011

This should be a great year with lots of topics for political bloggers.  I anxiously await to see how the next congress will perform.  I hope I am not disappointed.  I hope to see some bipartisan work with President Obama but also I expect to see the Republican led house take a firm stand against deficit spending.  I realize that trying to do both may be like sticking your fingers into a Chinese finger trap but, I am an eternal optimist.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »