Thursday, October 29, 2009

First time home buyers tax credit

There's so much information and mis-information going around about the first time buyer's house tax credit, that I thought I would list the facts, as they stand right now.

Currently, the tax credit is for first time home buyers.

The purchased home must be closed on between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.

(A new bill is being proposed that would extend the deadline until April of 2010).

Now, to take advantage of the FULL $8,000 house credit:

  1. The home buyer must have an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 or $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
  2. (These limits would be raised slightly if the new extension bill passes.) However, those who had more income than the specified amount allowed, could still qualify for a partial tax credit.
  3. The home must have been purchased for less than $800,000.
  4. The home must be your principal or primary residence.
  5. The home cannot be purchased from an ancestor, descendant or spouse.
  6. The tax credit is only for purchased homes, not homes you intend to purchase at a later date.
  7. However, HUD will allow buyers using FHA-insured mortgages to apply their anticipated tax credit toward their home purchase immediately. There may be some other ways to bypass this restriction, speak with an accountant or realtor to get the details.
  8. You claim the tax credit on your federal income tax return. Specifically, home buyers should complete IRS Form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, and then claim this amount on line 67 of the 1040 income tax form for 2009 returns (line 69 of the 1040 income tax form for 2008 returns).

Read more frequently asked questions about the housing tax credit for first time buyers at Federal Housing Tax Credit .com.

Read about the latest developments on extending the housing tax credit for first-time buyers at CNN.com.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Rights in America

Every time they start to take away one of our rights here in America... they start with what seems to be a "small" thing. This "small" thing promises to make life better for everyone.

Example 1 : Car insurance - We are forced to buy car insurance to take care of our car and anyone else's car that we might damage (I have never been in wreck and I'm 55 yrs old). This forced automobile insurance has cost me a small fortune - and I have never used it - thank God.

The forced auto insurance was about protecting money and property.

Why weren't we outraged over that?

Example 2 : Tobacco Use - Everyone has been happy that most places are now tobacco free. This at least had to do with protecting our health. But now, at least in some areas, they are talking about making it illegal to smoke outside on your own property.

This is taking things too far.

What's next?

Forced health insurance. Pay it (if you can afford it, and "they" will decide who can afford it), or pay fines for not having health insurance.

Bit by bit, our rights are being taken away.

I'm all for controlling health care costs, because I believe as an American citizen we should ALL have access to health care. Why not create more not-for-profit health clinics for those who have no insurance?

Why not regulate the health care system and stop them from price gouging?

Why should those in the health care industry be able to charge whatever price they want for equipment and services?

Health care is a basic need and should be a basic right. It should not be a way to make millions off the backs of those who are sick.

I believe there should be a public government regulated health care option for health care, just as there is for education. If you can afford your own private health insurance and specialist, then by all means take advantage of it just as you do when you send your children to private schools.

Personally, I'm tired of anyone in America being forced to pay for things they can't afford, and may not need.

And that's my rant for this Monday!








Saturday, October 24, 2009

Free Software to Download

Rick Broida over at Cnet.com recently alerted us to a few totally free sofware downloads that will be expiring soon.

IOBit Security 360 Pro - ranked 4 out of 5 stars by users, free until November 11th.

WinX DVD Author - free until October 31st. Turn your video files into DVDs.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard (for students only) "Microsoft's DreamSpark program is offering this new Windows Server release to eligible high school and college students."

Read more about it here - news.cnet.com


Jane Doe in NY

Jane Doe is alive, but has no memory. She was found on October 9th, and still no one has shown up to claim her as a relative.

Very strange.

I can't help but wonder if she might have run away with someone a couple of years ago who later deserted her, and then maybe some awful things happened to her. The kinds of things that caused her mind to "freeze" and protect her from the memories.

Here's the link...
maybe someone will recognize her soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Women pay more for private health insurance

This is an ongoing problem in the US... women consistently have to pay more for private health insurance. Guess it's still a man's world after all.

We're not asking for special treatment, just equal treatment.

Women pay 30-40% more on the private insurance market as men. Common pregnancy and c-sections are considered "pre-existing conditions." And in some states, insurers can even deny coverage to victims of domestic violence.The bills before Congress will guarantee, once and for all, that women are treated fairly and equitably by insurers.

Let's call for an end to discrimination against women by health insurance companies.

Take your ticket now ladies (and gentlemen!).

SEIU.org/ticket


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Church Hypocrisy

We visited another new church this morning. All the churches that we've visited are quite large, offering at least 2 Sunday morning services each week. This one offered 3 and we went to the last one, which started at 11 am. We heard that this one had an active college group, which is what we are looking for. My daughter has not lost her interest in church activities just because she graduated high school and is now attending college. I am amazed at the lack of support this age group receives from most churches - which is nada.

We had to drive by two locations to find the church, because the internet had two addresses. I guess they have changed locations recently. So we were late, but we could hear the music and we walked in and sat near the back.

I was quite impressed by the number of ministries they are involved in. Apparently, this was a Sunday of "recruitment" for volunteers for their many programs and we heard about each one of them. They participate in many local ministries and also provide international ministry opportunities. This is very important to me, I believe we MUST follow the teachings of Jesus and help the homeless and the poor, if we are to truly consider ourselves Christians.

The pastor was young and charismatic, and full of life... and even though I knew the text and had studied it myself, I was glad to see that he actually "studied" the scriptures and was able to offer his listeners a more complete understanding of the customs of the time, which explains why certain words and phrases are used. Without this knowledge, it is impossible to fully comprehend the messages of the scriptures.

I was pleased again, when I heard the pastor say NOT to give a tithe or offering if you could not give it gladly.

So far, so good.

Then it happened.

The hypocrisy.

There were tables set up outside for people to find out more information and sign up to help with the many wonderful ministries provided to the community by this church. The side doors were opened and the left side of the auditorium was urged to go out while the rest of the church was to gather in small groups of six or seven to pray for the community.

Well, it was our first Sunday and so we didn't really feel comfortable "gathering" with a small group, nor were we ready to commit to a project. Plus, we don't actually live in that community, we traveled 15 miles to attend this church.

We just wanted to fill out the visitor card (for my daughter) and turn it in. The bulletin, or program, said to turn it in at the front office on your way out. So, we headed for the front door, which was also the way we entered.

We were stopped and told we had to exit by the side doors today, where the tables were set up. WHAT??? You've got to be kidding me, I thought. This pastor, who just said he didn't want the tithes of anyone who couldn't give gladly, now wants to "force" the congregation to exit, one third at a time, where they will have to walk by the ministry tables. Hmmm.

Hypocrisy means that you profess a certain set of beliefs, while not actually living by those beliefs.

I guess they want you to sign up to volunteer, whether you mean it or not. If they're lucky enough that the "coaxed" souls who sign up actually show up, then I guess it doesn't matter whether or not they do THAT joyfully or gladly.

Hypocrisy is alive and well all over the place.

Meanwhile, we got turned around because we had never been there before, and were forced to exit into an area that was surrounded by buildings and parking lots. Finally, I went back to the front of the building so I could figure out where we parked.

Not a good experience.

They actually did one more thing that I thought was very good. When the gentleman touched my shoulder to instruct me to exit on the side of the building, a lady overheard me explaining to him that I needed to turn in the visitor card. She came up and welcomed us and even gave us a gift bag with more information about the church and their mission. It even included a little jar of preserves!

Now THAT shows that you welcome visitors and new members!

Can't wait to see how my daughter likes the college class.

Final decision on this church? Pending further deliberation.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Health Reform Facts

The health reform plan that the senate panel has approved for presentation to the full house and senate is not as bad as many people would have us believe.

In fact, I think it's the best plan so far.

I am tired of so many people telling me what it's going to do, which is basically a worst possible nightmare scenario, so here are a few of the facts as listed on CNN.

This healthcare reform bill would:
  1. subsidize insurance for poorer Americans

  2. establish nonprofit health care cooperatives (I assume this would be reduced fee clinics)

  3. cap annual out-of-pocket expenses

  4. prevent insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions

  5. create health insurance exchanges to make it easier for small groups and individuals to purchase coverage

  6. impose a new tax on high-end health care policies known as "Cadillac" plans

  7. impose fees on drug and insurance companies, medical device manufacturers and other industries tied to the health care sector

  8. require those who can afford it to purchase their health insurance or face fines

  9. NOT include a government-run public health insurance option
The biggest problem with this plan, so far, is that it would decrease the funding for Medicare, which is why so many are upset. However, this plan will be discussed and modified before a final vote is taken.

Snowe indicated she has concerns with several aspects of the bill, but didn't want to see the reform process derailed.

"Is this bill all that I would want? Far from it," she said. "Is it all that it can be? No. But when history calls, history calls. And I happen to think that the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of Congress [taking] every opportunity to demonstrate its capacity to solve the monumental issues of our time."
Read more about it at CNN.com.




Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Swine Flu

This first part is an update on swine flu from the post I did yesterday. According to "some" experts, NO flu vaccines work anyway, so if you don't usually take the flu vaccine, you probably have nothing to worry about.

Here's part of the story:

If vaccines really worked to save lives, then the more people you vaccinate, the lower death rates you should see, right? But that's not the case. Back in 1989, only 15 percent of over-65 people got vaccinated against the flu. But today, thanks to the big vaccine push, over 65 percent are vaccinated. And yet, amazingly, death rates among the elderly have not gone down during the flu season. In fact, they've gone up!

Read the full story here. (Examiner.com)

Yesterday's post on Swine Flu:

My daughter and I received word that her great aunt passed away last Friday, from Swine Flu.

This is the first person I actually know to have died from it. My grandson has already had it, and a great-niece has had it, and thank God both of them recovered.

According to many professionals, there is no reason to fear the vaccination.

"The H1N1 vaccine is made in exactly the same way, using the same material, the same companies, the same process as the seasonal flu vaccine we make every single year and give to tens and tens of millions of people," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The problems with the vaccine of 1976 should not be a concern today. Technology and technique has improved. The only problems so far are mild and rare.

But, about 40% of Americans are still NOT planning to get the vaccine.

I'm one of them, but I never have taken a flu shot.

How do you feel about it?

Reference:
health.yahoo.com/ 


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hike in Arizona



My daughter finally got to go on a hike...
her first since we arrived in Arizona!

She's loving it!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Blessings

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes, don't they?

A couple of days ago a tenant moved out of our complex and left his microwave. The manager, who has been such a BIG help - God Bless Her! - offered it to us - free.

The views are awesome in Arizona... here's a photo when we were driving south from Flagstaff...


Sunday, October 04, 2009

A New Life

It's been a week of rest, work and blessings as we got settled into our new apartment. My daughter and I took off from SC and moved to Arizona with only what would fit inside our SUV... call us crazy... lots of people did.

I actually agreed that it was a pretty unusual thing to do, but I was also very excited to be on a new adventure at this time in my life. I feel blessed that my daughter wanted me to join her on this quest.

We lived in a motel for a little over 3 weeks, which depleted our money terribly. Finding a place to live was much more of a chore than I had anticipated. But, finally, we found a place and moved our clothes, dishes, tv and computer into it.

That's when we discovered that it is not at all unusual for people to just leave all of their belongings behind and start anew somewhere else. The manager here said it happens all the time. Maybe it's unique to Arizona, I don't know. It's a little disappointing in one way, and a relief in another way, to find out that what we did is not at all unusual.

I have learned that people are nice, everywhere. There are always nice people to balance out the bad ones. The manager at our complex loaned us a bed on the first night, and the next day a guy living in the complex gave us another bed because he had just purchased a new one. Then last night, a new friend offered us a desk for the computer, so I can finally get up off the floor.

Finding a job hasn't been easy though. I've applied and sent out resumes and - well - nothing. It's not easy for a 55 year old woman to find work apparently, no matter what her resume looks like. BUT, my daughter who is attending college here, finally got a call last week and has a job!! YAY!!

The move has been good for me. I find myself excited to blog again, after a 3 month dry spell. But say a prayer for me to find some income.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Miracle or Tragedy

Today I read a news line from WIS TV in Columbia, SC, (on facebook) reporting that a Mother who was ill with H1N1 (swine flu) had given birth to a healthy baby, and then died.

While it was a sad and tragic story, my mind immediately went to the strength of the story. This young Mother, with God's help I'm sure, was somehow able to live long enough to bring her child into this world, before she allowed this terrible virus to consume her life.

What a victory!

I hope that the child is told of the strength of his/her Mother... the strength that kept her alive long enough to give the world the best gift she could... her child - and what a special child this must be.

Sometimes the greatest miracles are born out of tragedy.

God bless the child!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Things Change

There was once a fellow who was running around town gasping for breath, his eyes bulging out. This went on for a while until he finally decided that he needed to see a doctor. He went to a doctor, who examined him thoroughly. When the doctor finished his examination, he looked at his patient sadly and said, "I really don't know what's wrong with you, but I can tell you that if things continue the way they've been going, you have only two or three months to live."

The man leaves his doctor's office and heads home to do some serious thinking. He decides that if his life is going to be this shortened, he has a whole lot of living to do in the time left. He started spending money like a madman, traveling all over the place trying to squeeze everything he could out of his last weeks on earth.

One day, he entered a clothing shop and told the clerk, "I need fourteen shirts and I need them all with a 14 1/2 inch neck and a 32 inch sleeve." The clerk looked the man over and said, "I think it would be a good idea if we took some measurements." The clerk pulls out a measuring tape and measures the man's sleeve length saying, "Yep, 32 inches looks just right." The clerk then measures the fellow's neck, steps back shaking his head and says, "Mister, if you try to put your 16 1/2 inch neck into a 14 1/2 inch collar, you're going to be running around town, gasping for breath with your eyes bulging out."


This joke was told Sunday morning by Rev. Jimmie Smith... the focus was on health.

Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;... and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man. ~James H. West

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