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March 2009

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Mar 27,2009
Dear Mr. Berko: I have had to spend a lot of money to refurbish my office. I tried to borrow about $42,000 from my bank of 16 years (I have a 675 credit score) but they hemmed and hawed and sort of let me know they did not want to make me a loan, especially when they said my loan could cost me 14 percent. I considered a home equity loan, but our home is ... [full story]
1911 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
Dear Mr. Berko: I have $61,000 to invest and would like to buy a portfolio of six preferred stocks with yields of 8 percent to 10 percent — but no banks, please. I know there's lots of high-yielding junk, but I want the best quality you can come up with. And if they all fall to the Devil I won't blame you for the possible losses. But I think the economy will begin to recover ... [full story]
2218 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
Dear Mr. Berko: Please tell me about TIPS, or Treasury Inflation Protected Securities. Please tell me how they work and if you think they will be a good hedge against inflation due to the huge pile of money that the government is spending on the stimulus package and the TARP. I have an independent retirement account that has lost nearly 60 percent in the past 12 months. At age 57, I'm considering liquidating the remaining ... [full story]
1574 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
What is a "green-collar" job? "A green-collar job is, in essence, a blue-collar job that has been upgraded to address the environmental challenges of our country," according to Lucy Blake of the Apollo Alliance, which is helping to transition the economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy.   An energy auditor performs a blower door test to measure a home's energy efficiency. Many people looking for jobs are training for green jobs like this one. Find ... [full story]
2241 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
Rachael Flatt was 3. She and her father went to the mall to buy a birthday present for her grandfather when they wandered past the mall's ice-skating rink. Rachael was transfixed, and they came home with a package of introductory skating lessons instead. Grandpa didn't get a gift. Skating did. Flatt is one of two U.S. women's singles skaters at the World Figure Skating Championships this week at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and she ... [full story]
1609 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
Tots may wonder what "being green" means. These new environmentally-friendly books and DVDs introduce the youngest children to basic "green" topics including recycling, conserving and protecting Mother Earth. "We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers" by Lauren Child; Dial/Penguin; 32 pages; $16.99.   "We are Extremely Very Good Recyclers" by Lauren Child; Dial/Penguin; 32 pages; $16.99.  "Easy to Be Green" by Ellie O'Ryan; illustrated by Ivanke & Lola; Little Green Books/Simon & Schuster; 32 pages; $4.99.    "True Green Kids: ... [full story]
1714 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
"Crossing Over" crashes to the screen like "Crash," the 2006 Oscar winner that intertwined stories set in post-9/11 Los Angeles touching on themes of racism, suspicion and alienation.   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 STAR - Poor. 0 - Forget It (a dog.)  With its rich, complex characters, "Crash" did a better job capturing the ethnicity and turbulent life of an unwieldy and dangerous city than the ... [full story]
5784 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
Writer and director Tony Gilroy painted a chilling picture of corporate espionage with "Michael Clayton." Now he's flipped the canvas to paint something lighter — a romantic comedy set in the same cutthroat world. The movie is sleek fun, full of verve and charm, but never lets the audience forget that big businesses fight just as dirty as governments do.   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 ... [full story]
5651 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
Most of the tax talk so far this year has focused on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka the Stimulus Bill). So it's easy to have overlooked some of the changes that affect your 2008 return due on April 15. This column gives you a quick review of some potential money savers. And while I'm at it, I'll also remind you of a few commonly overlooked deductions and give you a heads-up ... [full story]
1182 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
Dear John: I'm 39-year-old man. I've been divorced for almost four years, and I am the father of two children, ages 7 and 10. I know a lot about a woman who would like to enter a relationship with me, but I keep holding back because this time I want every thing to work out. I find myself putting up walls so this woman and the others who came before her weren't able to get ... [full story]
1648 times read - No comment posted

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