Debt – Basket Village USA Fri, 04 Jun 2021 19:02:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Debt – Basket Village USA 32 32 Strategies for saving money during the COVID-19 crisis Thu, 11 Mar 2021 05:41:26 +0000

VAN NUYS, Calif .– () – We are all looking for ways to save money to help us get through this crisis. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some effective tips that might alleviate some of the financial anxiety you might be feeling. You may already be practicing some of these ideas. For example, you probably don’t drive as much as you used to, so in return, you don’t refuel and save money as a result. Going out to eat isn’t really an option either. That being said, here are a few other ideas that you probably haven’t considered yet.

1. Lower your auto insurance

One of the factors used to calculate the cost of your auto insurance is the number of kilometers driven. Since many of us are now working from home, now is a great time to try and lower your insurance payments by reporting lower mileage. Depending on your insurance company, this could result in significant savings.

2. Plan your meals

Creating a weekly menu and planning your meals in advance can help you budget more efficiently. Along with having a better idea of ​​how much you’re going to spend, it can help you avoid buying food on impulse – or having to order because you have nothing to eat. Beyond that, try to limit your trips to the store by resisting the urge to “just go out and pick something up”. Plan your purchases over 1 to 2 weeks; buying wholesale will also save you a lot of money. Lastly – and perhaps most important – limiting your movement around the store keeps you out of harm’s way and helps enforce “social distancing.”

3. Plan your visits to the grocery store

Chances are, you’re home a lot more, and you’re using the internet a lot more, too. Instead of reading the dark news, why not search online for coupons to save money on the items you need? And while you’re shopping at the store, consider buying store brand items instead of the more expensive name brands. Many are made by the brands themselves, so you won’t compromise on quality while saving money. Also, be sure to check the top and bottom shelves, as they often contain lower-priced products. (Also, if you are lucky enough to find a refrigerator full of milk or juice, go for the back boxes. The front boxes are the ones that expire earlier, so the store will place them there. ‘before to sell them first.)

4. Keep fit for free

We hope your gym isn’t currently charging for your membership, but you still need to stay in shape. Get out and run instead, but make sure you’re safe doing this. You can also take advantage of digital resources like Gold’s Gym’s Gold’s Amp app. This fitness and workout app includes personalized workouts, coaching and music and is free until the end of May. Core Power Yoga is also free this month and Echelon is offering a 90% free trial of its Fitpass app.

5. Refinance your mortgage

Mortgage rates are at their lowest right now and saving a few hundred dollars a month could really help. Before signing, make sure that the drop in interest is enough to offset the closing costs.

6. Why buy when you can create?

Thanks to panic buying, some essential items like hand sanitizer are currently scarce. But did you know you can make your own at home? For example, Everclear and Aloe Vera can be mixed to make a hand sanitizer. Running out of cleaning solutions? White vinegar is a mild disinfectant and an excellent cleaning agent. (Hydrogen peroxide can also be used this way.) The old sponges that were used to clean dishes can now be used to clean the bathroom. Missing a laundry sock? Use it as a Swiffer stamp.

7. Take advantage of aid programs

The government has put in place numerous relief programs in response to the COVID-19 virus. If you owe money on a student loan, there are programs to help you defer payments. Do you have a small business? You may be able to take out a low interest loan or forgivable loan to keep your business afloat. Individuals can apply for unemployment benefits, with many states waiving the waiting period.

8. Talk to your landlord

If you think you are having trouble paying rent, don’t wait until the last minute to take action. Contact your landlord and tell them about the issues you are having due to the coronavirus and ask for help. Many states have already introduced preventative measures to ensure that landlords cannot evict tenants and allow an extension of the rent owed.

9. SNAP and pantry

There is probably food available if you are having financial difficulties during this crisis. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was created for those in need, offering “food cash” to help offset these expenses. Food pantries and / or banks also make food available free of charge.

10. Contact your credit card company

Many credit card companies have programs in place to help you defer payments, but like rent, don’t wait until you are late to act. Check with your credit card company to find out what options are available to you. You might be able to freeze interest and reduce payments to something you can afford.

11. Order food directly from the restaurant

Many of us use food delivery services when ordering meals, but instead try ordering directly from restaurants. You’ll save on delivery costs and more of the cost will go straight to the restaurant.

12. Do you really need these subscription services?

We understood. You’re stuck at home and your only source of entertainment is TV and Facebook chat videos. Going to a concert, the movies or the theater is no longer an option, and you might find yourself subscribing to additional channels to still have something to watch. But do you really need them all? Some shows and movies are on multiple streaming services, while you may be able to watch others for free, so consider hitting pause on some of those services. For example, Vudu has a large library of great movies and TV shows that you can watch for free. There is no subscription fee, but you will need to watch some commercials before and during the show. While you’re at it, look in Tubi or, if you have Roku, the Roku Channel. PBS Kids can also help keep children entertained.

13. Maintain your car

If you have a mechanical mind, you might already be doing this, but if not, you might consider teaching yourself basic car maintenance. For example, changing windshield wipers, air filters, turn signal bulbs, and even the oil itself are relatively straightforward tasks. YouTube has a plethora of videos to help you learn these money-saving tips – and they’ll continue to save you money after the crisis is over.

14. You may be owed money

It sounds too good to be true, but there might be some money waiting for you to claim it. We’re not necessarily talking about the long lost millions of Uncle Bob’s, but refunds and credits you weren’t aware of or forgot to claim. Visit the California State Comptroller website at to see if there is any money with your name on it.

15. Dive into your 401K

This may not seem like good advice at first, but there are a few ways to approach it. For starters, you may be able to borrow against your 401K without any penalty. Essentially, you are borrowing money from your future self, with the deductions coming directly from your payroll. The good news is that even though you are paying interest, it is at a lower rate than a regular personal loan and you are paying the money back into your fund, rather than into the pocket of an anonymous company. If that’s not an option, you can always withdraw money to pay off high interest loans. The 10% early withdrawal penalty is waived, but you’ll still be required to pay income tax on anything you withdraw, so make sure your other options have been exhausted first.

Hope these ideas will not only save you money but also help keep you safe and happy. We are here for you in these difficult times and are ready to help.

Be careful.

Presented by


LoanMart is a distributor and servicing agent for ChoiceCash securities lending by Capital Community Bank, a Utah chartered bank located in Provo, UT, member of the FDIC.

]]> 0 Shake Shack more than doubled its IPO price on its market debut Thu, 11 Mar 2021 05:41:26 +0000

Shake Shack employees carry delivery bags from an outpost in New York City. The company’s shares closed at $ 45.90 on Friday.Credit Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Updated, 8:49 pm | Customers are known to queue for almost an hour to order a burger and wavy fries at Shake Shack. Similar enthusiasm for the company’s shares was shown on Friday.

The company’s shares more than doubled in their first day of listing, valuing what was once a humble hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park for more than $ 1.6 billion.

At the close of trading, the company’s shares, which trade under the symbol SHAK, closed at $ 45.90 after being valued at $ 21 the day before.

This public debut – following an initial public offering that had already exceeded expectations – revealed a level of enthusiasm rare on Wall Street for the self-proclaimed “modern day roadside” burger joint.

“Nothing surprised us more than a hot dog cart that we launched 14 years ago and which has become Shake Shack,” said Randy Garutti, CEO of the company.

Shake Shack’s offering was the latest from a so-called fast-casual restaurant, chains like Chipotle that basically serve better quality fast food at higher prices. Investors have already flocked to previous public offerings from companies like Zoës Kitchen, El Pollo Loco and Habit Restaurants. All of their stocks have jumped since their IPO.

Traditional fast food behemoths, on the other hand, have seen sales plummet as they try to catch up with modern tastes.

Shake Shack prides itself on being something of an anti-McDonald’s, using premium beef for its flat-grilled burgers and delivering what it calls a high level of hospitality to its customers, which it calls “Guests”.

But Shake Shack brings something else: the pedigree of Danny meyer, the famous New York restaurateur who started the business on a sort of lark to draw crowds to Madison Square Park and provide additional jobs for staff members at one of his nearby restaurants.

Since the summer of 2001, Shake Shack has grown into a mini-empire of 63 restaurants with outposts in London, Dubai, Turkey and Las Vegas. Its ambitions go much further: the company intends to expand to at least 450 restaurants by opening 10 new ones each year.

“What we’re looking for is a long, very long growth opportunity,” Garutti said.

The explosion of investor enthusiasm has enriched both Mr. Meyer, whose fortunes have jumped by $ 340 million, and many Shake Shack employees who own shares in the company.

The offering attracted enormous attention from all corners. The New York Stock Exchange has adorned itself for the occasion with green line drawings of burgers, hot dogs and shakes. Company insiders received a personalized version of the buzzers that alert customers when their order is ready.

And hundreds of people lined up outside the Big Board – unofficially renamed the “New York Shack Exchange” in honor of the stock sale – for a chance to grab a free burger.

“It’s like a bread line in the Depression,” said Michael Lehtman, 37, who was walking with his colleagues at a brokerage firm they refused to identify.

“We are debating whether to stand in line,” said Sharad Kumar, 26, a colleague, who took a photo on his iPhone.

same People for the ethical treatment of animals revealed he bought shares in the company to gain the right to speak at annual meetings and demand vegan offerings.

Some analysts said the company faces many challenges, such as maintaining its quality of service, increasing profitability and tackling burger fatigue. But Garutti said the company would stay on track with plans to create what he said was “the best burger company for the next generation.”

“I don’t think the world is going to get bored of burgers anytime soon,” he said. “And the investors involved today and the investors to come know that we are just getting started.”

William Alden contributed reporting.

Related coverage:

]]> 0
Cash-strapped Brazilians opt for budget shielding Thu, 11 Mar 2021 05:41:26 +0000

Companies like this one in Sao Paulo work in the auto armor industry, a lucrative industry in a violence-ravaged Brazil.

Brazilians are more worried than ever about getting shot while driving, but have less money in a stagnant economy to spend on protection.

Enter the used armored car.

Whether to provide much needed protection or just to show off, the personal armored vehicle has generally been associated with the wealthy, but in Brazil armored cars are much more common than in most countries.

Industry experts consider Brazil’s bulletproof armor industry, worth $ 245 million (one billion reais), to be the largest in the world.

But with an economy barely emerging from recession – 1% growth in 2017 followed a sharp two-year recession – worried drivers are looking for budget options.

“I like cars, but I don’t feel comfortable spending a lot of money on just one,” said lawyer Mauricio Paulo, who drives a used bulletproof Volvo XZ 60.

This is the fourth armored vehicle for Paulo, 40.

He got his first armored car after being broken into while stopping at a traffic light. The birth of his daughter 18 months ago convinced him that he still needed to have one – and to stay thrifty.

“I need a bulletproof car because of the lack of security,” he said. “I went to get a used car because I will spend less money to get around safely.”

Modifying a car costs around $ 13,000 (53,600 reais), much like buying an additional vehicle.

Opting for a vehicle already in use and already armored drops the price by 10-40%, according to various estimates from dealers and owners.

Another large market, Mexico, armored 2,986 cars in 2017, one of the best years in the industry.

But even in a difficult climate last year, the Brazilian armor industry still produced more than 15,000.

Private armored vehicles are particularly prevalent among the middle class in Sao Paulo’s economic center, regardless of the fact that the mega-city is one of the safest parts of an often extremely violent country.

Almost three-quarters of bulletproof work is done in the state of Sao Paulo, and most of the country’s 150,000 armored vehicles are also in the state, according to the Abrablin bulletproof association.

Neither Abrablin nor the Used Car Dealers Corps Fenauto keeps track of used tank sales.

But industry experts say it’s a real trend here.

“This year the used car market is hot,” said Fabio Rovedo de Mello, director of a Sao Paulo-based bulletproof protection company. “Due to the situation in the country, the demand for used cars has increased.”

New car sales in general fell to their lowest level in 10 years in 2016 in Brazil. The niche market for new armored cars followed the trend, down 20% last year from 2016.

“When the new market does not sell, the demand for used cars increases because a person cannot afford to buy a new one,” said Abrablin chairman Marcelo Christiansen, who also heads a bulletproof protection company.

“Armored cars are much more expensive, so the option was to go for a used car that met my budget,” said Eliane Wakatsuki, 39, director of a hydroelectric company, which was testing a Mercedes Benz. Used GLA 200. in a luxury bulletproof outfit.

Even drivers who still buy new cars and get the added armor are looking for deals.

Last year, the best-selling new car for armor was the Toyota Corolla, the cheapest and smallest that can withstand armor, which can add up to 12% to the vehicle’s body weight.

Homeowners say high crime rates cause them to seek additional security. Some international companies based in Brazil require their expatriate employees to drive armored vehicles.

But whether cars are needed is another question.

Sao Paulo, Brazil’s richest state, had the lowest murder rate in the country in 2016, the latest year for which comparative figures are available. There were 10.9 murders per 100,000 population compared to a national average of 30.3, while the northeastern state of Sergipe had 64.7.

“Having an armored car in Brazil is a matter of status. People are more concerned about their status than their own safety,” Christiansen said.

“The wife gets angry because the neighbor has one and she doesn’t have one, so she says to her husband, ‘I need a bulletproof car’.”

For Paulo, the armored vehicle can bring security, but also disturbance of conscience.

“Those who have a little more resources can protect themselves better,” he said. “Those who don’t may even lose their lives for something small.”

“You feel bad, because people are separated by their economic power in third world countries and it is sad.”

Industry experts consider Brazil’s bulletproof armor industry, worth $ 245 million (one billion reais), to be the largest in the world.

Opting for a vehicle already in use and already armored drops the price by 10-40%, according to various estimates from dealers and owners.

Car owners say Brazil’s high crime rates cause them to seek additional security, while some international companies based in the country force their expatriate employees to drive armored vehicles.

A technician shoots a .357 Magnum from the window of an armored car.

A technician shows the shot of a .357 Magnum through the window of an armored car.

]]> 0
Self-appointed salary increase for federal judges to cost $ 1 billion Thu, 11 Mar 2021 05:41:26 +0000

Federal employees are used to Congress limiting their pay increases.

For three years in a row, lawmakers have decided that the federal government does not deserve any increase; Congress has since agreed to provide some of the smallest pay increases in recent history.

For some federal employees, however, federal judges ruled that Congress did not have the power to block pay increases. Which employees are they? Why, federal judges, of course!

In several recent court decisions, judges have ruled that the salary freezes imposed by Congress in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007 and 2010 were illegal. Specifically, Beer c. United States and Barker v. United States Determined lawmakers could not block salary increases for judge positions established under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, which includes district, appeals, and international trade courts, as well as the Supreme Court.

In response to a request from Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Congressional Budget Office mentionned 1,330 Article III judges are entitled to salary increases, 300 to pension adjustments and 1,600 to restitution following court decisions. Since the salaries of many non-Article III judges are linked to the salaries of those affected by the decisions, more than 3,000 additional salary increases, annuity adjustments and restitutions must be paid.

In total, the CBO said the judges will receive a collective additional salary of $ 1 billion over the next 10 years. About a quarter of this amount will go to restitution payments for salary increases that should have been granted previously.

The billion dollars comes from “mandatory funding,” which means Congress won’t have to incur additional expenses to pay judges. Some of the changes for non-Article III judges, however, will require an additional $ 190 million to come from discretionary funds.

Salaries for Article III judges range from approximately $ 200,000 for district judges to $ 255,500 for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The salary of district judges increased by 14% from 2013 to 2014 due to the promulgation of various salary increases that had previously been denied.

Predatory loans

The Obama administration has announced measures to expand protections for members of the military against bad loans.

The 2006 Military Loan Act established what the Pentagon now calls “tight” guards against institutions that defraud service members with high interest rates and intentionally damaging advances. The law targeted three products: certain closed payday loans, closed auto title loans and closed tax refund anticipation loans. This specificity of the law has allowed some lenders to modify their offers so that they fall outside the scope of the regulations, “diminishing the full impact of the legislation”, according to the Pentagon. Some lenders charge triple-digit interest rates, the Pentagon said, offered in showcases “clustered outside military installations.”

In a recent post proposed rule, the Department of Defense suggested extending the 2006 law to cover all loans, as set out in the 1968 Truth in Lending Act. This would include both open and closed products. It would also expand the types of loans subject to the 26% interest rate cap. Certain types of loans, such as those secured by home loans and money purchase loans, would be excluded.

The Pentagon said the extension would create more durable protections, simplify lenders’ disclosure obligations, and allow them to determine whether borrowers are covered by the MLA through an online database.

Congress ordered the Defense to establish additional protections against predatory lending in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013. Military families are considered particularly vulnerable to unfair lending practices because they move frequently, and as a result of not keeping good finances could be called dishonorable conduct.

(Image via zimmytws /

]]> 0
City changes business license fees – News – Tuscaloosa News Thu, 11 Mar 2021 05:41:26 +0000

Tuscaloosa City Council will move forward with a series of business license changes that are expected to generate almost $ 47,000 in additional annual revenue.

The changes will affect five categories of businesses across the city: telecommunications, carnivals, check cashing and securities lending, businesses based on waste storage and collection.

The updated license prices will take effect on January 1. They are :

• Increased telecommunications license fees for local and long distance providers to the maximums indicated. Estimated additional annual income: $ 2,400.

• Increased carnival license fees from $ 250 per week to $ 1,875 per week, as charged at fairs and other similar events. Estimated additional annual income: $ 6,500.

• Added $ 500 fee to licenses for check cashing and securities lending businesses. Estimated additional annual income: $ 9,500.

• Increased collection rates for storage-based businesses. Estimated additional annual income: $ 25,000.

• Modification of the pricing and collection structure of waste collection companies. Estimated additional annual income: $ 3,500.

First proposed in May, the changes come after consultations with the Western Alabama Chamber of Commerce and a city-hosted community engagement meeting in which, ultimately, a resident attended.

As of May 15, the city had issued 11,219 business licenses to companies generating an estimated turnover of 10 billion dollars.

From this, the city collects approximately $ 23 million in business license revenue.

The board approved the business license changes at its Tuesday meeting.

Contact Jason Morton at or 205-722-0200.

]]> 0
Pennsylvania and Delaware high schools get an F for financial literacy courses Thu, 11 Mar 2021 05:41:26 +0000

Pennsylvania and Delaware are among nine states that received an F grade for teaching personal finance to high school students, according to a new national study.

The 2017 “transcript” was published by the Champlain (Vt.) College Center for Financial Literacy, which also awarded state-by-state grades in 2015 and 2013.

Delaware has also received an F in the previous two reports.

Pennsylvania earned an F in 2015 but received a D in 2013.

New Jersey scored a B every three years.

John Pelletier, the director of the center, said the failure grades received have little or no requirements for personal finance education.

“This newsletter is about student access to personal finance education,” said Pelletier.

“If a state’s policies make it impossible for students to learn this important subject in high school, then it deserves an F. And although some of those states have created programs that promote financial literacy education, they don’t make sure all students are exposed to the subject.

The study, titled “Is Your State Measuring Up?” The 2017 report on state efforts to improve financial literacy in high schools, ”notes each state and the District of Columbia, which also received an F. The others that failed were Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, South Dakota. and Wisconsin.

Five states received an A – Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia.

The center is a partnership of several financial institutions, non-profit entities and government agencies that promotes and develops financial literacy skills among K-12 students, students, teachers and adults.

A state that scores an F, according to the study, “has virtually no personal finance requirements in high school. Students in these states can graduate without ever having the opportunity to take a course that includes financial literacy. “

While Delaware was at the bottom of the field in all three studies, it is listed as a state that has made “slow but steady progress.”

The report says Delaware and Pennsylvania have created programs that promote financial literacy education, but Pelletier said students are often still not exposed to the subject.

The report commended Delaware for forming a “Financial Literacy Task Force that Recommended Mandatory Financial Education Standards for K-12 Years.” The state’s education ministry will ask the state council to review and approve such a policy early next year, according to the report. If passed, “Delaware could see a grade change from an F grade to a C grade in the future,” the report said.

Delaware public education spokesperson Alison May said her office would bring the proposal to council on Thursday, earlier than expected in the central Vermont report.

If approved, “the new standards will meet the needs they identify,” May said.

Pennsylvania Department of Education officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Pelletier said studies show financial literacy is linked to positive outcomes such as wealth accumulation, stock market participation, retirement planning, and avoiding expensive alternative financial services like payday loans. and auto title lending.

]]> 0
The Galaxy S11 could get a crazy new feature we’ve never seen before in a smartphone Thu, 11 Mar 2021 05:41:25 +0000

The Galaxy S11 is still around 5-6 months from the announcement, but the first rumors are already there and it’s hardly surprising for a Samsung flagship. The phone is expected to feature a better camera system that will incorporate a 108 megapixel camera and may support 5x optical zoom. On top of that, we also have a new discovery that suggests that Samsung may be developing a new kind of technology for its next generation of flagship handsets. Unsurprisingly, Samsung is working on features that are not available from its main competitors, including Apple. The latest could be a crazy new camera system that can detect the amount of sugar in fruit whether you’re hydrated or not, and much more.

Found by the Dutch blog LetsGoDigital, a Samsung patent application for a Electronic device comprising several light sources describes a smartphone with an infrared spectrometer on the back. This would allow a phone to send electromagnetic waves to objects, including infrared and visible light, which would send a signal back to the spectrometer. A special chip would be able to analyze the data and determine several characteristics of the object in question, including humidity levels, sugar levels and even heart rate.

More futuristic uses could include measuring CO2 or blood sugar levels, or even detecting smoke. Samsung could also use the technology to introduce its own alternative to Face ID. This is only speculation based on the content of the patent. And there’s no guarantee that the IR spectrometer will even become the next-gen Galaxy S phone.

The patent was filed on March 20, 2019, with both the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the World Intellectual Property Office. LetsGoDigital imagined what a Samsung flagship phone might look like if it included a complex five-lens camera system with a periscope lens for better zoom as well as the new spectrometer – and yes, it’s crowded.

If the Galaxy S11 incorporates a spectrometer, and assuming no other smartphone maker beats Samsung to the max, it could become the first widely available flagship to use such an advanced component. The Galaxy S11 is expected to launch at some point next February, likely right before MWC 2020 kicks off at the end of the month.

]]> 0
Diversion programs work – when they don’t sabotage participants Thu, 11 Mar 2021 05:41:25 +0000

By Tom Gordon

In a state where overcrowded and violence-ravaged prisons have been a long-standing problem, there are alternatives to prison – diversion is the common generic term – that are supposed to take some offenders out of the system and provide them with the help they need. they need to stay out. These diversions take the form of entities such as drug courts, veterans courts and community corrections.

In many cases, these alternatives to prison are successful. But a new report says that in far too many cases, they hinder rather than help those they are meant to serve.

“The perverse reality is that diversion programs actually lead to many behaviors and circumstances that they were designed to mitigate,” says “In Trouble: How the Promise of Diversion Clashes With the Reality of Poverty, Addiction and Structural Racism in Alabama’s Justice System ”.

The report, prepared by the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice, was released on Monday, and it is based in part on surveys and interviews in 2018 and 2019 with more than 1,000 Alabamians who participated in various diversion programs. . It calls on state lawmakers not only to fully fund diversion programs, but to adopt other measures to make them more accessible to participants, streamline their rules and regulations and tailor their requirements, including fines, to financial needs and the family obligations of each participant.

“Diversion could be a useful tool in addressing the human rights crisis in our prisons and the public health crisis in our communities,” the report said. “But if they are to serve those who need them most, programs must be accountable, accessible and properly funded.”

The need for diversion reform was a topic that came up last year at meetings of the Governor’s Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy. Leah Nelson, research director for Alabama Appleseed, spoke at a session in December about the just released Appleseed report and the burdens faced by participants in the diversion program.

“What we have learned is that these programs are too expensive for the poor who lack wealth to participate without making outrageous sacrifices,” Nelson said in his statement to the study group. “They are not designed to adapt to the everyday realities of people with jobs, children or other obligations.”

According to “In Trouble,” most of those polled for the report were poor, with 55% earning less than $ 14,999 per year. “The median amount they said they paid for the hijacking was $ 1,600, or more than 10% of their total income” and “only one in ten had ever been offered a fee reduction or waiver of fees. charges due to his inability to pay, ”the report states. As a result, “to cover their embezzlement payments, more than eight in ten gave up a need like food, rent or prescription drugs,” and almost half resorted to payday loans or Property titles.

The report also states that one in five people in the survey “had been turned down for a diversion program because they could not afford it” and “about the same proportion had been kicked out of a diversion program. because she couldn’t keep pace. Payments. “

In addition, “more than one in five had to refuse an opportunity to participate in diversion because of work obligations, childcare or school obligations” and these same obligations forced one in five to leave a home. diversion program. In addition, “almost a quarter have dropped out of a diversion program because they lacked transportation.”

These hardships can send people back to prison, with sometimes fatal consequences.

“In 2019 alone, there were 29 preventable deaths in prison from homicide, suicide or drug overdose,” the Appleseed report says. “Some of those prisoners were people who were only in jail because they couldn’t afford to be a diversion.”

The Alabama court system has basically two types of diversion programs – pre-trial or pre-trial and post-trial or post-trial. The drug court is an example of a pre-adjudication program. Adult drug courts now operate in 55 of Alabama’s 67 counties; seven of the courts serve more than one county. As the Appleseed Report notes, a drug court allows people to avoid trial and go through a supervised program that includes drug treatment or screenings, education classes, and regular court appearances. Under a 2013 state law, local prosecutors can set up such pre-trial programs.

Community corrections, where a person convicted of a crime completes their sentence outside of prison, is an example of a post-trial program. The program often includes requirements such as those of a drug court.

In its “In Trouble” report, Alabama Appleseed cites the experiences of various people with diversion programs, including “Ryan”, a man described by Nelson as “illustrating the shortcomings of the system as it currently exists.”

Too expensive to continue

In remarks to the governor’s criminal justice panel, Nelson said Ryan, on probation for a previous drug possession conviction in Chilton County, had “reoffended” in Shelby County and was referred to his drug court, “widely recognized as one of the toughest in the state.” Ryan went to rehab, “got his life back on track,” Nelson said, “but he didn’t understand that he was still supposed to check in with his probation officer in Chilton. He thought his supervision had been consolidated. to Shelby.

After learning there was an arrest warrant for Chilton, Nelson said, Ryan surrendered and spent three months in jail. He is now absent and struggling “to provide for himself and his young son,” and his payments for court fees, fines, drug tests and supervision costs take up nearly half of his total. his monthly income.

A woman named “Amber” is also cited in the report. According to a summary of her story by Carla Crowder, executive director of Appleseed, Amber left Tutwiler Women’s Prison last September “to return home to Madison County and care for her teenage sons.”

“Amber was released to community correctionshad to pay $ 290 per month for electronic monitoring and more for drug tests, court fees, fines and fees. She found a $ 250 / week job, but spends about a third of her monthly income on electronic surveillance and drug-only court costs.. During our last conversation, she wasn’t sure she could track the payments. Failure meant a quick return to prison.

Another example from the report is that of “Bernard,” who wants to get a job to support his family, but be in both the Jefferson County Community Corrections Program and the city’s municipal drug court. of Birmingham – and being subject to their various demands – made her job search difficult.

The report is replete with recommendations for state legislators, courts and those who administer diversion programs. Recommendations to lawmakers include full funding of “diversion and alternatives to incarceration programs”, funding of mental health courts through the Ministry of Mental Health “to divert mentally disordered offenders from prisons and prisons while providing expanded community psychiatric services “and passing legislation” to combine and simplify the overlapping, inconsistent and overlapping acts under which most state diversion programs operate.

The report, which cites the example of an Etowah County resident having to travel more than 360 miles round trip to attend a monthly drug court session in Marengo County, states that lawmakers should allow those in diversion to participate in programs “where they have homes, family and / or social support, not where they have committed an offense. He also urges lawmakers to” order the creation of a system “whereby” judges can easily see the totality of an individual’s obligations, including court debts and participation in diversion, and require the participation of all jurisdictions, including municipal courts.

The state study group made similar recommendations

Meanwhile, the Governor’s Criminal Justice Task Force, whose members included Attorney General Steve Marshall, Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn and six state lawmakers, released its own report earlier this month. -this. Among other things, the report called for sentencing reforms, more funding for inmate education and mental health programs, hiring more correctional officers, more flexible hours. for parole officers to accommodate the schedules of those they supervise and more help for inmates. to get the government documents they need to drive or find a job.

The report also contained a section on diversion programs.

In a letter accompanying this report and in language reflecting some of Leah Nelson’s comments, group chairman Champ Lyons said the Legislature should establish a commission to “deepen” into the problems with diversion programs so that these issues “can be comprehensively addressed in the 2021 legislative session.

Diversion programs “have enormous potential for the state as they refer low-level offenders to programs that address the underlying factors that contribute to criminal activity – substance abuse, lack of education and lack of employment” , wrote Lyons. “There are several alternative courts and diversion programs across the state that work extremely well and help distract people from further illegal activity.

“But in many places,” Lyons added, “these programs are unavailable, underfunded, or just inaccessible. There are also serious concerns about the “pay to play” aspect of some of these programs. “

While acknowledging the need for diversion reforms, the former Alabama Supreme Court justice said the study group recommends legislation requiring programs to do “better data collection” on their activities. and their results. However, he said the group was unable “to identify a proposal that would comprehensively address the challenges of improving quality and access”.

In an email, Lyons said the system needed uniform standards to work, but “solutions in this area are complicated by the fact that pre-trial diversion and specialized courts are each separate programs operating under branches. independent of state government, executive and judiciary. And add to that the multitude of distinct local entities which is a by-product of having 41 judicial circuits. “

]]> 0
Don’t fight the Fed Thu, 11 Mar 2021 05:41:25 +0000

One of the most commonly accepted investment advice is “Don’t fight the Fed”, or any central bank for that matter. If the US Federal Reserve signals an interest rate hike, investors should look to lower risk assets. On the other hand, if the central bank sends a “cut” signal, it is time to increase your position in riskier assets.

And that is happening right now, reflected in the handsome positive returns from several asset classes this month. This is due to two important positive factors: the truce in the trade war between the United States and China, with new negotiations due to open on Tuesday, and signals from the Fed that it will cut interest rates. at its meeting next week, as the market desired. for.

The resulting positive sentiment led to greater liquidity in risky assets. As a result, many stock market indices, especially in the United States, are reaching record highs. In contrast, safe assets such as bonds also perform well. The bond yield is generally down (implying a higher price).

On the trade war front, we see a pause in tariff escalation between China and the United States as expected. The presidents of the two countries, who met briefly in Japan last month, realized that the two economies would suffer if Washington imposed tariffs on an additional $ 300 billion of Chinese goods this month, as threatened. earlier.


On the rate cut front, despite the easing of trade tensions, the Fed chairman said “cut insurance” would help support the US economy. We are witnessing a global economic slowdown, as inflation is relatively low and events such as war, trade and Brexit threaten to affect the economy.

That said, we think the Fed’s decidedly accommodative stance indicates that it is listening to the financial sector. Although the US economic data remains strong, the Fed appears to have chosen to cut interest rates. This is to bring the inverted yield curve, a leading indicator of recession, back to a normal curve.

Currently, the yield on short-term three-month bonds (at 2.11%) is higher than the 10-year yield (at 2.08%). This indicates that the market perceives that the short-term financial costs are greater than the long-term inflation and the growth potential of the economy. In short, the bond market is telling the Fed that the interest rate is currently too high.

To correct this, the Fed must lower its key rate to restore economic confidence. This should lower the yield in the short term and increase the outlook for economic growth and inflation going forward, causing the bond yield to rise in the long term.

If the Fed justifies a cut using this logic, we think it may need to cut interest rates twice this year (bringing the Fed funds rate to a range of 1.75% to 2.00% ) to push the 3-month yield below the 10-year yield level.


Nonetheless, even if interest rates start to fall, we believe investors should not expect too much from this stimulus. Indeed, the underlying fundamentals of the global economy are still facing the risks of the following factors:

End-of-cycle economic conditions (where growth tends to decline). Economic stimulus measures at such times will only moderately support the economy but cannot supercharge the economic engine;

Trade tensions and geopolitical issues are still looming on the horizon; and

The impact of lower rates is, in our view, already reflected in today’s asset prices. Therefore, the probability that prices will appreciate greatly may not be that high.

Nonetheless, we believe that investing in risky assets such as stocks is still worthwhile. An increase in liquidity due to falling interest rates will cause prices to rise relative to the multiple price / earnings (P / E) of stocks.

However, given today’s relatively high valuations, combined with an increasingly fragile global economy, we advise investors to carefully select assets with strong fundamentals. In the medium to long term, we always recommend investing in the US, Chinese and Thai stock markets.

As for bonds, we think they are still quite expensive. Therefore, we recommend investors to underweight bonds in their portfolios, but overweight corporate bonds with good credit.

In the commodities markets, we recommend increasing gold holdings to avoid the risk of increased economic uncertainty. The price of gold normally has a good chance of recovering in a situation where the real interest rate is falling, as we see today.

In short, given the fragility of the global economy but the abundance of global liquidity, what should investors do? The answer is in the title of this article.

]]> 0
Changing technology with the changing world Thu, 11 Mar 2021 05:41:25 +0000

We all live in the 21st century era that is completely technology dependent. And learning some basics of technology has become a necessity now. So this article is all about that basic information.

Why bother?

Yes, many would think why bother about learning for tech. The answer is why not. We all live in an age where knowledge of technology is at a critical point and neglecting it can be hectic and even to some extent can lead to self-destruction.

Types of technologies: There are six types of technologies. Those are:

  • Construction techniques
  • Medical technologies
  • Transportation technologies
  • Energy and energy technologies
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Agricultural or biotechnology
  • Manufacturing technologies

However, the following article will deal with tips for information technology.

Ten Quick Ways – So without any delay, here are the ten basics of the tech world:

  • Space bar and shift key set

We are all frustrated with the time it takes to scroll through some web browsers. To simplify the task, just press the space bar key accordingly, which will scroll the screen by a screen length. And conversely to go back, simply press the Shift button.

In most internet browsers, to save time, just type the required thing in the address bar and then hit enter, instead of returning to the Google webpage.

Instead of repeatedly opting for the bold option, you can double-click on the selected word to make it bold.

Similar to the trick above, triple clicking on the selected word will make the entire paragraph bold.

By simply pressing the backspace control button simultaneously, the entire word can be deleted instead of a single character delegation.

In case of sudden and unwanted deletion of any document or other files, you don’t have to worry. The deleted file is not formatted immediately, instead it goes to the recycle bin option from which one can either confirm the deletion or restore a file if necessary.

This one is rare! You can simply hover the mouse button over the links to see where they lead. For example, hypothetically, a link to Top 10 Tech Essentials might take you to a website, while the same identical-looking link might lead someone to clipart.

The link can come above the cursor or elsewhere, depending on the type of browser you are opening.

Many times one may encounter problems while reading any kind of documents. There is another way to maximize the font size without using a mouse. One can simply enlarge the text using the control and simultaneously pressing the button more or less subjectively.

Those who used to multitask on a desktop can just manage them by pressing Alt or the command button for Mac and holding the Tab button. While pressing the Tab button, the computer will display the previous program.

Releasing the / alt command will automatically open the selected program.

Often times we are faced with the difficulty of not remembering the name of a song when we can hum the melody of that song, with the new features of Google we can chase the name of a song just by saying which one. is the name of the song, then humming the song’s melody into the Google mic.

So here are some of the basic hacks that one should find useful when performing various technical tasks.

So, we can say that managing the technology is not a pilot task but the formula for knowing the smartest hacks to apply to the needs. By knowing tricks, one can facilitate tedious tasks without working with much effort.

]]> 0