Last Build Date: Wed, 02 Dec 2009 05:17:35 GMTCopyright: Copyright 2009 Nancy B. King
Wed, 02 Dec 2009 05:17:33 GMTIs there the experience to work with the private sector to create jobs? The graphic below from the Enterprise Blog makes me wonder. (image)
Sun, 29 Nov 2009 06:58:30 GMTThanksgiving Weekend Moving Along L and I had fun attending the last two games of the Great Alaska Shootout. Neither game was particularly good. UAA played in the first game and lost. However, the UAA hockey team playing in Colorado Springs beat Colorado College in overtime. Wonders never cease! Tomorrow the weekend ends with my working again in the Nutcracker store---part of the Concert Association's presentation of the Nutcracker.
Fri, 27 Nov 2009 18:15:32 GMTThe Day After Thanksgiving Yesterday was one of the nicest Thanksgivings I've had in a long time. Many thanks to those people who know and to those who do not know they played an important part in making the day special. Today it is off to help at the Concert Association Nutcracker store, visit the Museum's Christmas crafts weekend, and maybe to another Shootout game. Beautiful snowflakes are falling and creating another winterland scene.
Fri, 27 Nov 2009 02:22:07 GMT(image) Happy Thanksgiving
"We gather to gather . . ."
"Over the river and through the snow . ."
"We choose the steps and the paths we take which lead to our individual destinations."
Mon, 23 Nov 2009 01:16:15 GMTA Fuzzy Market I've been stock shopping today. Not too much luck. It is difficult to find something that looks likely whether for the long- or the short-term.
Mon, 23 Nov 2009 01:10:20 GMTA Pleasant Day at Home A morning of reading---Word Press: 24-Hour Trainer. RadioLand, the software and host for this blog, is closing shop December 31st. So, it is time for a new host and new software. The software will be WordPress. Since reading parts of the book this morning, I'm really kind of excited by the possibilities. Daughter pointed me to a host (the one who hosts her blog). Next, I will decide on the template for my blog, contact the new host, and proceed.
Tue, 17 Nov 2009 22:20:04 GMTEleven Degrees Below Zero Today is a lovely, sunny day with lots of hoarfrost on the trees---a Christmas card scene. However, considering the above temperature, summer and fall must be over. With that reality in mind, I cleaned my closet and the coat closet today. I said good bye to a super summer and moved my summer clothes to the downstairs closet and rearranged my winter outfits.
Wed, 11 Nov 2009 18:13:33 GMTVeterans Day
Mon, 09 Nov 2009 06:31:04 GMTI'm Back How many times have I said that, only to disappear again. "I'm back!" tends to end up in the same heap as my New Year's resolutions. In the meantime, as the president of the Alaska Chapter of BetterInvesting, I led (with the help of all Chapter Directors) the fall Investor Education Fair (September 26th). The all-day event at the Millennium Hotel involved 4 beginning investor sessions, 4 advanced investor sessions, and a luncheon speaker. Allen Holdsworth, a regional Director for the national BetterInvesting organization presented the advanced sessions and gave the luncheon address. He was an excellent presenter with a vast array of knowledge. It was great to become acquainted with him and his wife, Anne. Between Thursday and Monday evening we had many stimulating conversations. My tenure as president of the Alaska Chapter of BetterInvesting ended October 3rd. I decided I did not have the time I needed to do a quality job for the usual 3rd year. A new president was duly elected and is adeptly leading the Chapter. During September and October, I gave 30 hours of lectures between three Tuesday and Thursday evenings and three all day Saturdays. My two classes were Economics, Stocks and the Stock Market plus Introduction to Stocks through UAA and the Alaska Council on Economic Education. I had top notch people in both classes---enthusiastic about the background content and 'turned on' by learning how to do basic stock analysis to determine quality companies for long-term investments. I have their projects checked and graded, grades turned in, course materials sorted and some rejuvenated, and everything filed, put away, and ready to use again this spring. The Stock Market Game Program is going well---9 schools, 11 teachers, 145 teams with nearly 700 students. I have spent time in two of the high school classes. Outstanding teaching is going on. Students are learning economic concepts and obtaining hands-on experience with the financial markets. They are learning the characteristics of a quality company for long-term investing. Trading and short-term investing is not part of their vocabulary. For some students this may be the only hands-on experience with investing they might otherwise have. Now, I am back volunteering for the Anchorage Concert Association, doing small, short-term projects for the BetterInvesting Alaska Chapter, tutoring my two dyslexic students, and managing my own portfolio. In other words, things are back to normal. Tonight (image) This first snowfall of the season here at our house!
Tue, 15 Sep 2009 22:42:37 GMTWhere Your Health Insurance Dollar Goes (image) And a GI doctor receives $68 per patient visit.
Sun, 06 Sep 2009 05:58:15 GMTThe Profit Margin of Health Care Insurance Companies Profit Margin is the percentage of each dollar the company takes in via sales that ends up as profit after all expenses including taxes have been paid. Here are the profit margins of the five major Health Care Insurance companies. These came from SmartMoney data Aetna 3.9% Coventry Health Care 1.8% Humana 2.8% United Health Group 4.1% WellPoint 4.1% Thus, Aetna makes only 3.9 cents profit on each dollar of premiums your employer or separate individuals pay in premiums. Coventry Health Care makes only 1.8 cents per dollar of premiums. In contrast, other industries have pretax profit margins of 15 and 20%. Some industries have profit margins as high as 40%. That means they make 40 cents on every dollar of sales---a good business to be in. So---how have the profits of Health Care Insurance companies grown in the past 5-years? The cost of health care has certainly gone up and health care insurance rates have definitely increased. Below I have listed the five companies' average earnings growth rates over the past 5 years. Aetna 2.4% Coventry Health Care 0.83% Humana 24.73% United Health Group 8.26% WellPoint 11.5% I don't even consider a company worth investing in unless it can grow it earnings on an average of 15 to 18%. It doesn't appear to me that Health Care Insurance companies are getting that rich on our premium dollars.
Wed, 12 Aug 2009 21:01:32 GMTCan You Believe It! What is the profit margin of health insurance companies? How much do they make from each dollar we or our place of employment pays them? What's your guess? Click on Comments and enter your guess. The winner will receive a gift certificate to Amazon.com. Contest closes Friday at 6:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time.
Wed, 05 Aug 2009 20:45:41 GMTThe lovely Alaskan summer day has changed to rain, rain, and more rain. I've been using the rainy days for spring/summer/fall house cleaning and purging. So far, Husband is still around.
Tue, 14 Jul 2009 04:28:12 GMTA lovely Alaskan Summer Day We have had a perfectly beautiful Alaskan summer day and evening---with a "Lisa & Julia" Christmas gift for dinner. It's cooled off a bit, a gentle breeze is blowing, and the bugs and haze are no where to be seen. It was a perfect evening to once again to do a couple Omaha steaks on the "barby Q". Last week it was hot, hot, hot---82 degrees and not a breath of air stirring. The windows and doors were wide open but not a bit of air. The only thing that drifted in was the smoky smell from the dense haze caused by the 66 fires burning in the Interior. What a change after last summer's temperatures in the high 50s and low 60s!
Sat, 04 Jul 2009 21:50:32 GMT4th of July Here is the complete text of the Declaration of Independence. (My emphasis added) Declaration of Independence Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776 The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations o[...]
Wed, 01 Jul 2009 06:57:29 GMTIraq Congrats to Iraq for a successful next step. I cheer you on as you continue to find your way toward increased peace, freedom, and security for all. Speaking of congrats and rebuilding, look at what the Iraq Stock Exchange has done since 2007. (image) The Iraq Stock Exchange holds trading sessions three days a week (just like the New York Stock Exchange did when it first started)--Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Ninety-one companies are listed; the last few days investors traded 195 million shares. Going forward it will be exciting to watch what it does---undoubtedly a barometer of life in Iraq. Thinking of you, Farah.
Sun, 28 Jun 2009 03:32:34 GMTLife is Good Sunny summer days, music, and progress with my two educational therapy out-of-third-into-fourth-grade clients. I worked in the yard this morning for a couple hours with my iPod Touch. Music and pod casts certainly enhance weed pulling, etc. I have never been impressed with gardening until I discovered this new approach. This afternoon I went shopping for and found 2 small iron garden straight chairs that will go with my new three panel iron garden screen. I want to put them in a little garden flower bed that won't grow much of anything except dogwood ground cover. I'm going to place them in a conversational arrangement and put pots of red geraniums on their seats. At least that will give me some color out our front windows. My friend, R, and I had a delightful time visiting the garden places around town, having lunch outdoors at the Spenard Roadhouse, and later having ice cream to keep up our strength. What a change from last summer and its three months of cold and rain! Now, I'm sitting at my desk listening and watching the Met opera on my 24" computer screen (thank you Daughter) while getting in the mood to do lesson plans for my two clients. It's time to go to the Met for another three performances this year.
Fri, 26 Jun 2009 06:54:52 GMT2 Friends Gallery---A Great New Gallery in Town Jacqui Ertischek and Georgia Blue have opened "a most unusual gallery" on Benson in the small mall with Cafe del Mundo and Classic Toys. I had more fun yesterday. I purchased a great one-of-a-kind Christmas gift for Daughter, a little gift for Daughter and Ski Boy in honor of Echo and Tyge and a "cutie" for Daughter from Mom with thoughts of a one-of-a-kind daughter in years past. For me, I bought this raven sitting on an 8 ball; he and I really hit it off. You will note that he is not in front of the 8 ball, nor behind it, but on top of it! I can identify with that. You can't see it, but he has a key in his beak which symbolizes the opening of doors and the welcoming of positive change into our lives (according to Mark Orr of Scavenger Art.) The raven is now presiding over the mantle. The items that had been sitting there were simply place holders waiting for him. (image)
Thu, 25 Jun 2009 08:05:38 GMT(image) Enjoy the warmth of the sun. Summer is coming to an end! Today is the first day of increasing darkness---shorter days. To top it off, the tips of the peaks received a dusting of new snow this afternoon. The temp on the deck was 41 degrees and this evening the heat came on in the house.
Tue, 23 Jun 2009 05:58:24 GMTLongest day of the Year (image) The longest day is officially June 21. The sun rises in Anchorage at 4:20 a.m. and sets at 11:42 p.m. However, to me the more interesting fact is that the sun rises at 4:20 a.m. from June 15th through June 23rd. And the sun sets at 11:42 p.m. from June 21st through June 26th. Therefore, we don't have just one longest day but three---June 21, 22, and 23---three days with the maximum number of daylight hours. My Solstice Weekend event was the Alaska Botanical Garden's 2009 Garden Fair & Art Show: Solstice in the Garden. It was a picture perfect morning---sunny and warm with a gentle breeze to blow away the bugs.
Sun, 21 Jun 2009 08:09:32 GMTTechnology and Instant Gratification It's been much easier to adjust to technology than to instant gratification. The later is decadence beyond belief. Back to yesterday's post about Aaron Copland---his Lincoln Portrait has always been a favorite of mine; it is so dramatic. However, I have never been able to find a recording (I own two) that have the drama of Betty McDonald's performance with the Anchorage Symphony. After listening to the Yale University interview (see the previous post), I had a longing for that full voice, perfect diction version that Betty McDonald provided. I briefly interrupted my cleaning activities yesterday and off to Amazon.com to check if a better recording existed than the ones I owned. YES---James Earl Jones. The first review described just the qualities I was looking for. A quick download to my iPod and back to my "cleaning lady" activities with James Earl Jones' marvelous, deep, dramatic voice with every syllable beautifully articulated and exquisite phrasing in my ears. I listened to it three or four times while finishing the dusting. Finally, I had to interrupt his performance and reperformance to vacuum---technology has yet to invent the silent vacuum cleaner. (image) To think, in the space of 45 minutes I heard a great interview with Aaron Copland, decided I really wanted to hear a first class recording of Lincoln Portrait, found it, downloaded it, and listened to it two or three times---all without leaving the house and scarcely interrupting my household duties. Ah, the wonders of modern technology. I love it. It so enriches my everyday life. Thank your Daughter!
Sat, 20 Jun 2009 08:04:08 GMTTechnology--Its Wonders and Its Enhancement of the Most Menial Tasks I love listening to my iPod Touch with my Bose head set, gratus Daughter, when I have work to do around the house. Yesterday I was doing the usual "dust and vacuum" routine and listening to Yale University's podcast series, Voices of American Music. Today's episode was a recorded compilation of oral interviews with Aaron Copland. Aaron Copland (image) How priceless to hear his voice and his talking about working with Martha Graham and his composing the music for her Appalachian Spring ballet. I loved his statement about her, "She is a wonderful gal." And to think I saw her with her dance troupe at West High School auditorium a number of years ago thanks to the Anchorage Concert Association. Thanks to YouTube here is a performance of Appalachian Spring with the original cast---Martha Graham, Eric Hawkins, and Merce Cunningham. You can find the Yale University Voices of American Music at iTunes Store---click on iTunes U, click on Fine Arts, (see all) choose Yale Music