Friday, January 20, 2012

Saving money


Everyone can use some help to save money in days like these. Here are a few that might keep a dollar in your pocket and out of someone else’s.
MAKE GIFTS THIS YEAR. Whether it be kid’s crafts, your own special hot cocoa mix, or cheaply framed family photos, this can be fun and cheap. Or, offer a card with an evening of babysitting as a gift to young parents. Maybe even swap out with them rather than exchanging gifts.
ONE MONTH WISH LIST. Put a wish list on the fridge for items you may like (new watch, camera, etc.) but may not really need (you may need a transmission). Any item over whatever dollar amount you decide must be on the list one month before it can be bought. Just write the date and see if you still really want it next month. Odds are, something else will catch your eye in between. Also, if you put your credit cards away, you will have to come home to get them. That helps with impulse spending.
FUN FOR CHILDREN. Your children really want time and attention more than stuff. Next time they deserve a treat, let young ones go wild in a dollar store and you are only out 1.09 each. Or, take them on special Daddy-dates to do something free like feeding geese, skipping rocks at the river or exploring a hiking trail.
CLEAN OUT AND SELL. Closet cleaning can lead to a yard sale, a consignment shop, Ebay or a donation for the tax deduction.
LESS PACKAGED MEALS. If it comes in a package, it is usually less healthful, more fattening and more expensive than the alternative. For instance, think of the cost and nutrition of a bag of chips and dip versus two quartered apples with peanut butter. Cooking is usually cheaper and better than just heating. Crockpots are Godsends in this area.
IF YOU SMOKE OR DRINK, QUIT. There is little out there that takes as much from you as smoking and drinking. In the case of cigarettes, they cost you dental problems, health care, dry cleaning, gum, mints and lost wages. They cost you more on insurance and cause you to live an unhealthy and shorter life. Drinking is likely to cost you a lot as well. In addition to health, it also affects the liability of driving and so forth. Unfortunately, drunk drivers will take lives every year.
CUT BACK ON TV, AND GET MOVIES. Make sure you really want the channels you pay for. Some are paying for HBO, Showtime and Cinemax and never watch them. We love NETFLIX for movies and always have what we want on our schedule, with nothing we don’t want.
USE online bill payment. No stamps, trips to the post office, cost of ordering checks, etc. There is also less chance of an overdraft, because you can check it anytime. Let your bank pay the postage.
BULK BUY AND FREEZE. “You freeze milk?” We hear that question a lot. Just because I make a good living, by the grace of God, does not mean we cannot try and save money. We buy in bulk at Sam’s or Costco every couple months and freeze seven gallons of milk. They thaw overnight, and you cannot tell. You might want to buy a freezer. We also freeze bread. Buy items we use a lot of in bulk, like trash bags, laundry detergent, aluminum foil, and oil. The bigger benefit of this might be that we almost never have to stop at the store, where the temptation to pick up a few more things usually hits.
BROWN BAG. For lunch, trips and other things, take your own lunch. We are always cooking in bulk and keep the extra for lunch or dinner later. For instance, if you brown a ton of ground beef, you can make Chili, Sloppy Joes, Tacos and Hamburger Helper, and be ready for different days.
COUPONS. Take your Wednesday and Sunday coupons, match them up to the sale flyer and use them. Also, get free or low-cost coupons over the net. Often, we can use more than one coupon, get them doubled, and buy on sale. Sometimes, the store has actually paid us to carry home a box of cereal. Many save about 45% on groceries with couponing. That means you pay about $99.00 for what others pay $180.00 for.
In addition to being thrifty, Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached though wherein other articles may be accessed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pardons for Criminals??


As Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi stepped down, he issued a boatload of pardons. In his state, a full pardon is basically equivalent to saying that the underlying crime did not ever happen. Even for a convicted murderer, his rights to vote are restored. He will even be able to buy and own guns! No convicted felon is allowed to do those things normally. Even non-violent felonies like tax evasion or illegally trading stocks usually have those restrictions. But, with a Mississippi-style pardon, it is all washed away.

That got me to wondering what the rules are in Tennessee. Since I only do injury law, I had to research this a bit. According to noted Nashville attorney Nathan Moore, in Tennessee, the pardon process is lengthy and difficult. Pardon is also known as “clemency.” Reasons for seeking a pardon here can include wanting to go to school to further one's education or needing to get a professional certification. Unlike our southern neighbor, Tennessee’s pardon does not erase the conviction from a record, but it shows that forgiveness of sort granted by the state.

They are hard to obtain here as well. The Board of Probation and Parole, who is responsible for offering pardon recommendations to the governor, rejects two-thirds of pardon applications outright. The Board can have a hearing for the worthy candidates. It can make sense that a productive citizen for thirty years who had a youthful felony could be allowed to obtain a pardon and finally hunt or vote.

But, there seems to be another difference as well. While most of the pardons granted in Mississippi were for people who had long ago finished their sentence, a few were granted to murderers still actually serving in prison. Several were released! There appears to be little to no consultation with the victims’ family, many of who are frightened at the idea of their families’ murderer walking the streets when they had previously been sentenced to life in prison.

The instructions for the Tennessee pardon application lists a few bare minimum requirements: 1) five personal recommendations, 2) you must have fully completed your sentence, and 3) you must have stayed out of trouble since completing your sentence. These are, in fact, the bare minimums. Your chances are helped by the quality and quantity of your recommendations as well as your resume, so to speak, of self-betterment and community involvement. The more you can show the Board that you "deserve" the pardon, the more likely you will be successful.

Sounds like we have a very different system from Mississippi. Of that, I think we can all be pleased. I think I will stick with injury law.

Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached though wherein other articles may be accessed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

STARS: Another thought


If you have not taken a moment recently to go out a look at the stars on one of these cool dark nights, I encourage you to.

Scripture has a lot to say about stars:

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place . . . “(Psalm 8:3, NIV)

He made the stars with a purpose, both as signs and light: And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." (Gen 1:14-15).

. “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” (Psalm 147:4). “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26).

The Bible names some constellations: “Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens?” (Job 38:31-32. See also Amos 5:8)

The stars have an order or procession. “Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?” (Song of Solomon, 6:10).

In Genesis 9:12-13, God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

But, there is a perceived problem with the distant stars He made in Genesis on Day 4. Many point out that the light could not reach here in the 6,000-10,000 years of Biblical history.

To think through this issue, understand that light is currently believed to travel at 186,000 miles per second. A “light year” is traveling at this unimaginable speed for a whole year!

The closest star (other than our sun) is Proxima Centauri, which is 4.22 light years away. That is 24,800,000,000,000 miles (or about the length of the line at Walmart when I am in a hurry.

This distance is used by old earth proponents to argue for an ancient universe approaching 13 billons years old or more. Given their assumptions, that is not unreasonable.

However, notice the assumptions that are made: 1) The speed of light is constant; 2) the distance is fixed and unchanged for billions of years; 3) processes have always been exactly as they are right now. (this is called “uniformitarianism”).

If you suspend just one of these assumptions, everything changes. For instance, what if many of the visible stars were created quite close to the earth and accelerated away at great speed? Their light would remain visible now. It would be like having a flashlight and throwing it. The light is visible as it leaves.

There is some reason to suspect something like this might just be the case. In at least 11 places, the Scriptures speak of God ‘stretching out the heavens’ (e.g. Job 9:8, Isaiah 40:22 and 42:5, Jeremiah 10:12, Zechariah 12:1) and in Genesis 1:15 the words ‘And it was so.’ are recorded in connection with the events of Day 4 of Creation Week, implying the completion of the events described on that Day. It is a reasonable conclusion to draw that God stretched out the heavens to the vast extent of the observable universe in just one 24-hour day and then ceased the action of ‘stretching out’.

It is interesting to discuss, but the only one that was there was God. One must chose to trust in an ever-changing science book or the unchanging Bible. I choose Scripture.


Mr. Peel star gazes from his Arlington area home, and seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached though wherein other articles may be accessed.