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There is a new generation of smaller laptops called "netbooks" with prices like $300-$600... fully functional computers... like these here in Costco
I, personally, intend to start using one of those netbooks - very portable, inexpensive, and practical. You can see more of these on Amazon.com... or by just making a Google search for "netbooks"...
From today's NYT:
"Most everyone agrees that something is very wrong with the six-page federal form for families seeking help with college costs.
Created in 1992 to simplify applying for financial aid, it has become so intimidating - with more than 100 questions - that critics say it scares off the very families most in need, preventing some teenagers from going to college.
Then, too, some families have begun paying for professional help with the form, known as the Fafsa,a situation that experts say indicates just how far awry the whole process has gone.
"We're getting thousands of calls a day," said Craig V. Carroll, chief executive of Student Financial Aid Services Inc., whose fafsa.com charges $80 to $100 to fill out the form. "Our calls for the month of January are up about 35 percent from last year. There's been a huge increase in the desperation of families."
Last year, Congress ordered the form streamlined, but in the very same bill it added seven new questions. Critics say that even when all those questions are answered, the form does a poor job of assessing financial worth, both because it excludes assets like cars, boats, the family home and some family businesses, and because it does not factor in the high cost of living in areas like New York.
On the campaign trail, President Obama promised to eliminate the form - officially, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. And his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, talked about the problem at his confirmation hearing, saying, "You basically have to have a Ph.D. to figure that thing out."
But whether it will be replaced soon, and with what, remains an open question."
A wonderful statement... from a great person.
The last sentence is somewhat "cold" though - at least to me. I try not to see other people as "them"...
However, in practical terms, I can understand that living with integrity - no matter how other people respond - might be easier to achieve if we have the assurance that a higher being would take notice and keep an account.
I'd love to post the full article. It's so "aidpage"...
Here are parts of the true story told by Ted Gup - grandson of the mysterious Mr. B. Virdot:
In the weeks just before Christmas of 1933 - 75 years ago - a mysterious offer appeared in The Repository, the daily newspaper here [Canton, Ohio]. It was addressed to all who were suffering in that other winter of discontent known as the Great Depression. The bleakest of holiday seasons was upon them, and the offer promised modest relief to those willing to write in and speak of their struggles. In return, the donor, a "Mr. B. Virdot," pledged to provide a check to the neediest to tide them over the holidays.
Not surprisingly, hundreds of letters for Mr. B. Virdot poured into general delivery in Canton - even though there was no person of that name in the city of 105,000.
[The letters] had come from all over Canton, from out-of-work upholsterers, painters, bricklayers, day laborers, insurance salesmen and, yes, former executives...
One, written Dec. 19, 1933, begins, "I hate to write this letter ... it seems too much like begging. Anyway, here goes. I will be honest, my husband doesn't know I'm writing this letter... . He is working but not making enough to hardly feed his family. We are going to do everything in our power to hold on to our house." Three years behind in taxes and out of credit at the grocery store, the writer closed with, "Even if you don't think we're worthy of help, I hope you receive a great blessing for your kindness."
Another letter came from a 38-year-old steel worker, out of a job and stricken with tuberculosis, who wrote of his inability to pay the hospital bills for his son, whose skull had been fractured after he was struck by a car.
One man wrote: "For one like me who for a lifetime has earned a fine living, charity by force of distressed circumstances is an abomination and a headache. However, your offer carries with it a spirit so far removed from those who offer help for their own glorification, you remove so much of the sting and pain of forced charity that I venture to tell you my story."
The writer, once a prominent businessman, was now 65 and destitute, his life insurance policy cashed in and gone, his furniture "mortgaged," his clothes threadbare, his hope of paying the electric and gas bills pinned to the intervention of his children.
A mother of four wrote, "My husband hasn't had steady work in four years ... . The people who are lucky enough to have no worry where the next meal is coming from don't realize how it is to be like we are and a lot of others... . I only wish I could do what you are doing."
Another letter was from the wife of an out-of-work bricklayer. "Mr. Virdot, we are in desperate circumstances," she wrote. They had taken in her husband's mother and father and a 10-year-old boy. Now the landlord had given them three days to pay up. "It is awful," she wrote. "No one knows, only those who go through it. It does seem so much like begging. "
Children, too, wrote in. The youngest was 12-year-old Mary Uebing. "There are six in our family," she wrote, "and my father is dead ... my baby sister is sick. Last Christmas our dinner was slim and this Christmas it will be slimmer... . Any way you could help us would be appreciated in this fatherless and worrisome home."
The wife of an out-of-work insurance salesman added a postscript to her letter, one not intended for her husband's eyes: She had just pawned her engagement ring for $5.
A week later, checks, most for as little as $5, started to arrive at homes around Canton. They were signed by "B. Virdot."
Of course, the checks could not reverse the fortunes of an entire family, much less a community. A few months after one man, Roy Teis, wrote to B. Virdot, his family splintered apart. His eight children, including a 4-year-old daughter, were scattered among nearly as many foster homes, and there they remained for years to come.
So why had my grandfather done this? Because he had known what it was to be down and out. In 1902, when he was 15, he and his family had fled Romania, where they had been persecuted and stripped of the right to work because they were Jews. They settled into an immigrant ghetto in Pittsburgh. His father forced him to roll cigars with his six other siblings in the attic, hiding his shoes so he could not go to school.
My grandfather later worked on a barge and in a coal mine, swabbed out dirty soda bottles until the acid ate at his fingers and was even duped into being a strike breaker, an episode that left him bloodied by nightsticks. He had been robbed at night and swindled in daylight. Midlife, he had been driven to the brink of bankruptcy, almost losing his clothing store and his home.
By the time the Depression hit, he had worked his way out of poverty, owning a small chain of clothing stores and living in comfort. But his good fortune carried with it a weight when so many around him had so little.
Like many in his generation, my grandfather believed in hard work, and disdained handouts. [...] But he could never ignore the brutal reality of times when work was simply not to be had and self-reliance reached its limits. He sought no credit for acts of conscience. He saw them as the debt we owe one another and ourselves.
This is from today's New York Times:
"Forty-four percent of employees live paycheck to paycheck, according to a survey conducted by MetLife in late 2007, and 48 percent of American households have less than $5,000 in liquid assets according to Edward Wolff, an economist specializing in the study of poverty and income distribution at New York University."
In other words... about half of Americans... every other American... at any given moment... have money enough to cover expenses for about one (1) single month ahead.
Formerly known as Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA)
"The Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act applies in bankruptcy cases. It provides protection to members of the military against the entry of default judgments and gives the court the ability to stay proceedings against military debtors.
The purpose of the SCRA is strengthen and expedite national defense by giving servicemembers certain protections in civil actions. By providing for the temporary suspension of judicial and administrative proceedings and transactions that may adversely affect servicemembers during their military service, the SCRA enables servicemembers to focus their energy on the defense of the United States. Among other things, the SCRA allows for forbearance and reduced interest on certain obligations incurred prior to military service, and it restricts default judgments against servicemembers and rental evictions of servicemembers and all their dependents."
"In some fundamental ways, the American economy has stopped working.
The fact that the economy grows - that it produces more goods and services one year than it did in the previous one - no longer ensures that most families will benefit from its growth. For the first time on record, an economic expansion seems to have ended without family income having risen substantially. Most families are still making less, after accounting for inflation, than they were in 2000. For these workers, roughly the bottom 60 percent of the income ladder, economic growth has become a theoretical concept rather than the wellspring of better medical care, a new car, a nicer house - a better life than their parents had."
Read the full NYT article...
(warning!... the article itself is long and rather difficult to read)
Adding to Elaine's comment:
"I think it's often true in business that we are reluctant to try new things. To leave our comfort zones and branch out to new area. And - perhaps most importantly - ask for help. In business (and in life), its extremely hard to leave truly leave your ego at the door. But think about how much more we'd get done if we did..."
Here is the correct web address (click on the link below):
And here is a bit more info:
Help with Paying for Dental Care
Finding dental care can be very difficult for many low income people. NC Medicaid and NC Health Choice for Children are programs that can help to cover dental expenses for people who qualify. To find out if you or your children qualify for one of these programs, contact your County Department of Social Services. You also may visit the NC Division of Medical Assistance web site or contact the DHHS Care-Line at 1-800-662-7030. Staff at this hotline also can help you find a dentist who accepts patients covered by Medicaid or Health Choice.