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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Pronounciation of "Oregon"

Every so often, I hear someone pronounce "Oregon" "o-re-GON", with the stress on the last syllable, like "Polygon". This is always rather jarring, since I've never heard someone from the state pronounce it that way. My grandmother lives in Grants Pass and pronounces it "OR-eg-en", as does pretty much everyone else I've met in the state.

So, if any Oregonians are reading the site, what is the official pronounciation of "Oregon"?

Two important articles about the economics of marriage

This City Journal article is quite profound; basically, it says that while educated, upper-class women may talk the talk about not needing men to raise children, etc, they don't walk the walk - and live married lives that would be quite recognizable to their grandparents in the 1950s. And well they do: their sisters at the other economic end of the universe walk the walk, having children out of wedlock and getting divorced frequently, and live broke and can do little to improve economic prospects for their children because of it.

This article is less profound, but points out that divorce is a good way to fry your net worth and enrich lawyers.

h/t: AllThingsFinancial, Real Clear Politcs

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Credit Union Plug

Since my mom was virtually a founding employee of the Star One Credit Union, I have to give them a plug every so often. So, if you live in the South Bay, you should check them out.

Anyway, their info:

o The savings account rate is 3.815% - not quite the highest in the universe, but darn good for a place with live, human tellers.
o You can access your money free at any credit union ATM, or any ATM at 7-11 stores.
o They have free checking if you keep a balance of $300 or have $5K in a combination of savings accounts and outstanding loan balances.
o They have two branches in the South Bay: one on the Lockheed campus by Moffett Field, and another in Cupertino. They also have one in Austin, TX.
o They do wire transfers and other fancy banking stuff without any problems; we've had no problems moving moving overseas and getting wires.

They were the old Lockheed Sunnyvale employees' credit union when I worked there, and I still keep them as our "bank". Other credit unions are good as well; I always wonder why people insist on using a Big Bank that charges a zillion fees just so they can have a few more "free" ATMs.

In any case, if you have a credit union nearby, you may want to check it out; here's a locator.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Freedom of speech

Enemies of freedom of speech have been using the notion of "corruption" under the guise of campaign-finance reform to silence primarily conservative voices. The First Amendment is clear:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Clearly McCain-Feingold contradicts this. One doesn't need a law degree to see this, although unfortunately the Supremes haven't struck it down as yet. Hopefully Alito will help to get rid of this awful law.

As an American, I interpret freedom of speech to mean I can say anything I want to anyone I want, at any time I want, using any medium I can get at, within a few limits imposed by libel, slander, decency, and treason. Any other restrictions - particularly where political speech are concerned - are contrary to the intent of the Framers and must be fought against by any true American.

The Martian Rovers

Still trucking after all this time...

I wonder how many people realize that we have not one but two little SUVs four-wheeling (actually six-wheeling) their way across the Martian landscape, and have had them up there for close to two (Earth) years now? They've done lots of wonderful science, discovering evidence for water in Martian rocks among other things, and taking lots of great pictures.

401K: To Roth or not to Roth?

My wife is self-employed, and we already have a Self-employed 401K. This year, Self-employed Roth 401Ks will be available, and I'm wondering if we should invest in one, particularly since our combined income this year will likely be above the ceiling for Roth IRAs. Roth 401Ks are cool, particularly for the self-employed:

o You can put up to $15K in the Roth 401K. (We aren't old enough to worry about catch-up contributions; they'd be another $5K if we were). Like a Roth IRA, the money appreciates tax-free, and also like Roth IRAs and unlike traditional 401Ks, the contribution itself is after-tax.
o The "employer match" part - which is up to another $30K or so if you're self-employed - is still available, although it's still a "traditional" 401K for tax purposes.

Anyway, the question: should we do a Roth 401K and pay the extra 40% or so marginal taxes (effectively costing us about $6K in extra taxes this year on the $15K contribution), or should we stick with a traditional 401K? I don't have the answer yet, but I'm looking hard and will post later.

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