Monthly Archive: January 2012


All 2011 unemployment benefits taxable

by Carole Feldman Associated Press Writer (AP)—The jobless rate is dipping, but millions of people are still out of work. And that could have implications when they file their income tax returns. Collecting unemployment insurance benefits? All that you received in 2011 is taxed as income. Unless you requested that federal taxes be withheld, you could be in for a big surprise when you calculate taxes owed.


Tough immigration laws: Tough on children

(NNPA)—Alabama has passed the toughest immigration enforcement law in the country. Now children born in the U.S.A., American citizens, are living in fear. Some children are afraid to go to school. According to Bill Lawrence, principal of Foley Elementary in Foley, Ala, “Most of these kids are American citizens. American citizens attending American schools, afraid.” he continued, “A child in fear can’t learn.” Children in his school were terrified Mom and Dad would not be home when they got home from school.


Newt Gingrich bullies media

(NNPA)—Whether it was John King of CNN or Fox News’ Juan Williams, moderators of recent Republican presidential debates have allowed Newt Gingrich to bully them and avoid answering their questions. I don’t necessarily blame Gingrich, I blame the journalists who fail to hold him accountable. King timidly asked Gingrich in the last South Carolina debate if he wanted to comment on an interview with one of his ex-wives in which she charged that Gingrich had proposed having an open marriage that would have allowed him to simultaneously continue his marriage and his relationship with his then-mistress, who is now his third wife.


Who gets food stamps?

Newt Gingrich is playing racial politics and he is playing to win. First he says that Black children should get jobs as janitors (why not suggest they get the same consulting contract he did at Freddie Mac—I’m with Mitt Romney here, what did Gingrich tell Freddie Mac that was worth more than a million dollars). Then he says that he wants to tell the NAACP that we should demand jobs, not food stamps. He so bristles at Fox commentator Juan Williams that he gets a standing O in South Carolina. And he has repeatedly described President Barack Obama as a “food stamp” President. It’s race baiting, pure and simple, and few have called him on it.


James’ passion, great range remembered

NEW YORK (AP)—On her last album “The Dreamer,” released just three months before her death, Etta James sings a mix of covers, from the R&B classic “Misty Blue” to the Ray Charles song “In the Evening.” But perhaps the most curious tune included on the disc may be the Guns N’ Roses staple “Welcome to the Jungle.” That a 73-year-old icon of R&B would tackle the frenetic rock song—albeit in a pace more fitting her blues roots—might seem odd. But the song may be the best representation of James as both a singer and a person —rambunctious in spirit, with the ability to sing whatever was thrown at her, whether it was jazz, blues, pining R&B or a song from one of the rowdiest bands in rock. ETTA JAMES (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)


Raising children alone is too hard!

(NNPA)—Dear Gwendolyn: I am 28 years old and I have two children, both boys. I desperately would like to move into a better neighborhood. At present we live in the ghetto and my boys are beginning to get into trouble. Last school year they were suspended three times. Where they go to school boys are bullying them. My boyfriend does not seem to be concerned. He has no job and has not had a job in five years. For three months I had given him the rent money, but apparently he spent it. The school counselor heard about my eviction and is trying to get us another apartment. Although, I would rather move into a house in an affluent neighborhood.



The mortgage tax deception

I recently received mortgage solicitations in the mail from two different companies on the same day. As a player in the mortgage industry I like to see what my competition is doing. As a result I analyze all mortgage related marketing material that comes across my desk. For some reason both mail pieces were super hyper in selling their potential customer on the idea of the mortgage tax deductions. Both mail pieces expounded on the idea that by utilizing your home to finance various goals you will in effect reduce your tax bill. Ironically, as I was reading various financial publications I subscribe to, I came across an article written by a financial advisor who was illustrating the benefit of making minimum payments on mortgages while investing all you can in various investment vehicles. This financial consultant reasoned that since interest rates on mortgages were averaging 6-percent and that long-term investment vehicles were averaging 12 percent you are in effect netting a 6 percent return.


New Research: Requiring large mortgage down payments would hurt economy

As the nation continues to grapple with a weak housing market, policymakers are seeking safeguards to ensure that American families will never again face such massive foreclosures and billion-dollar losses of wealth. Some have suggested that the best guarantee against future housing crises would be to require down payment for many home purchases to be 10 or even 20 percent.


Ways to save for college: Scholarship, grants

by C. WashingtonFor New Pittsburgh Courier Scholarships aren’t just for athletes and academic students. Scholarships and grants are two of the ways you can get money for college and save. Every student can apply, be offered, and get a scholarship. There are many scholarships and the student can apply for all.