Month: November 2017

Birmingham financial coach says millennials are earning more and scared of credit card debt … but are still broke as ever

[caption id="attachment_51800" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (State Farm/Flickr)[/caption]     American millennials are coming of age and coming into something rapper Coolio called "dollar dollar bill, y'all," in a song released the year many millennials were born. According to the Bureau of Labor, last year: -- Millennial-headed households averaged $65,373 in income (vs $74,664 for total households). -- Millennial-headed households spent an average of $48,576 (vs. $57,311 for total households). Despite the increased cash and cache, a new eMarketer report analyzed the generation defined as those born between 1981 and 1997 and their 2016 spending habits and concluded that millennials are cautious spenders whose finances remain “fragile,” with debt constraining expenditures. Alabama millennials seem more in student debt than credit card debt, said Lamar Mayton, a Birmingham-based Ramsey Solutions master financial coach and owner of Lampshade Consulting in Cahaba Heights.   “I think millennials see what their parents had in credit card debt and they're kind of scared of it,” Mayton said of the many millennial students he’s taught in his Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University classes. “That’s a good thing,” said Mayton, 42. However, “they’re still spending all their money, still living paycheck to paycheck.”   More millennial-headed households are in poverty than households headed by any other generation, according to the Pew Research Center. This is partly because more millennial heads of households are unmarried, which is “associated with higher poverty,” wrote senior researcher, Richard Fry in a 2017 report. Dating deal-breakers Even for millennials interested in marrying, debt holds them back. Thirty-nine percent…

United Nations bureaucrat to visit Alabama next month, ‘investigate’ to determine if we’re living up to our ‘obligations’ under international law

    A bureaucrat from the controversial United Nation’s Human Rights Council (HRC) will visit Alabama next month to “investigate government efforts to eradicate poverty” and how it relates to our “obligations under international human rights law,” according to a statement from the organization. “The United States is among the richest countries in the world, yet deep forms of poverty and inequality continue to exist in the country,” said Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. Why we should care: Conservatives have rightly criticized the HRC as a rogues’ gallery of human rights abusers (Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc.) that often uses its position to take unjustified political shots at Israel and the United States. Alabama’s leaders should be cautious when dealing with any representative from this organization. What our leaders have to say about the HRC: --- President Donald Trump during his first address to the UN General Assembly in September: “It is a massive source of embarrassment for the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the UN Human Rights Council.” --- Vice President Mike Pence speaking the same day to the UN Security Council: “The United Nations is bound by its charter to foster 'international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all.' That was the purpose under which the (HRC) was formed. But the truth is, the Human Rights Council doesn’t deserve its name.” The details: --- Alston’s “fact finding…

J. Pepper Bryars: Have pro-life Democrat candidates become an endangered species in Alabama?

[caption id="attachment_20691" align="aligncenter" width="840"] (Christine Szeto/Flickr)[/caption] Pro-life candidates in the Alabama Democratic Party have long been on the political equivalent of the threatened species list. Abortion rights extremists have hunted them mercilessly, their numbers have dropped precipitously, and their once vast territory has shrunk to a few measly electoral acres on the outskirts of their party. But has the nomination of Doug Jones signaled that they’ve officially become an endangered species in Alabama? “The National Democratic Party has made it difficult for pro-life people to feel welcome in the party,” said state Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, the former minority leader of the Alabama House, in a recent interview. “Most of the elected officials who have switched parties in Alabama over the last six or seven years have cited abortion as a key reason for leaving. It's definitely a problem for Democrats in conservative states.” How bad of a problem? Their national office touched off a firestorm a few months ago when their chairman said the Democratic National Committee wouldn’t fund any candidates who were pro-life. When other parts of their fund-raising apparatus countered and said they’d indeed fund some pro-life candidates, the base of the party went nuts. Seems some folks in Alabama heard them. The Alabama Democratic Party didn’t nominate a moderate on abortion rights, someone who’ll say it should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy. Nope. They put up a full-on abortion rights extremist that would make Nancy Pelosi proud. Jones appeared on MSNBC recently and…

Oorah! Alabama Marine launches write-in candidacy against Roy Moore and Doug Jones

[caption id="attachment_51639" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Retired Colonel Lee Busby (Southern Living/YouTube)[/caption]   A retired Marine Corps colonel from Tuscaloosa has launched a long shot write-in campaign seeking to outflank Roy Moore and Doug Jones in next month’s special election, reported the Washington Post. “I just don’t believe that either one of them are qualified to be in the U.S. Senate,” said retired Colonel Lee Busby, 60, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why this matters: Busby could mean real trouble for Moore, whose lead has narrowed to single digits in recent days. Though Busby is unlikely to win, his credentials and beliefs may provide a justifiable option for some GOP voters who feel they cannot vote for Moore but who would never vote for a pro-abortion rights candidate like Jones. The details: -- Lee once served as an aide to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly when both were on active duty. -- He told the newspaper that he voted for moderate Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the last presidential primary and then Donald Trump in the general. -- Lee told the Post that he attended a fundraiser for Jones earlier this year but didn’t contribute. -- The colonel said he supports lowering taxes, repealing Obamacare and restricting abortion. -- He said that life begins at conception, adding that “at some point, (the fetus) becomes a human life ... and you have to protect those who can’t protect themselves."

Why I won’t put up with lengthy football funks in my house

I’m an Auburn fan. My husband and kids are Alabama fans. I’ve taken my share of defeats during our 13-year marriage and I’ve witnessed some glorious wins like Saturday’s. But I’d rather lose to Alabama than put up with a type of tomfoolery that runs rampant in our state and that I refuse to put up with in my own house. I’m talking about lengthy post-loss football funks. Let me first admit that when it comes to the sports we love, my husband and I can both act silly. I once coached my son’s third-grade soccer team through a 10-game losing season and became so stressed and competitive that my husband begged me not to volunteer again for the good of our family (and the poor kids I coached). For his part, he once got so mad at me for gloating about an Auburn victory in a Facebook post that he defriended me for more than a month. We generally treat each others’ more childish behavior with good humor. I’m grateful to not be a football widow whose husband spends his fall weekends watching every football game, so I give him grace and space when it comes to his beloved Crimson Tide. But that grace only goes so far. In my house, I refuse to suffer lengthy post-loss bad moods that extend beyond what I see as the only allowable mourning window: about an hour. I’m serious. When the Iron Bowl ended Saturday evening, Pepper said he needed to lie…

J. Pepper Bryars: The anti-abortion movement must recapture some of the Democratic Party (or accept the GOP as a single point of failure)

  Remember that adage about not putting all of your eggs in one basket? That has happened to the anti-abortion movement. All of our votes are in the Republican Party’s basket. So too are the lives of millions of unborn babies, all depending upon the unpredictable success of a single political party, and at times a single political candidate. Why this matters: The Republican Party and its nominees can lose for many reasons, mostly having nothing to do with the popularity of pro-life legislation. So when the GOP inevitably hits that bump in the road, those proverbial pro-life eggs go needlessly flying, smashing upon a rocky road of some other issue’s making. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the choice Alabama voters have between pro-life Roy Moore and radically pro-choice Doug Jones. Because the pro-abortion rights lobby has such a lock on the left, the Alabama Democratic Party couldn’t even nominate a moderately pro-life candidate (nearly 60 percent of our voters believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center). Instead, the Democrats put up someone who believes it should remain legal for a doctor to take an unborn child past the time it can feel pain (20 weeks), inject poison into her beating heart, rip her little arms and legs apart, and then toss her broken body into the garbage. I’m sorry. I know many Democrats in Alabama and while I disagree with them on education and taxes…

J. Pepper Bryars: Roy Moore would lose by 20-points if his Democratic opponent were pro-life (or at least not so pro-abortion)

[caption id="attachment_49761" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (MSNBC/YouTube)[/caption]     Doug Jones would likely swamp Roy Moore in next month’s special election if the Democrat didn’t hold such extreme pro-abortion views. Consider this: -- Nearly 60 percent of adults in Alabama believe that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. They found that only 37 percent felt the opposite. -- Alabama now has more than 3.3 million registered voters, according to our secretary of state’s office. Why this matters: Do the math. By adopting such an extreme view on abortion rights (the “legal in all or most cases” belief), Jones traded a potential block of 1.9-million pro-life votes for a measly 1.2-million pro-choice votes. Democrats are leaving 700,000 voters on the table – voters who are very pro-life. How pro-life? Here are just a couple of emails that I’ve received from Yellowhammer readers on the issue: -- “I will NEVER vote for anyone who supports abortion on demand,” wrote Garry Lovette of Muscle Shoals. -- “I can’t find myself voting for Doug Jones with his deplorable view on abortion,” added Dr. Andrew Hodges of Scottsboro. And here’s my two-cents just to make Yellowhammer’s editorial position crystal clear: I will never, even under pain of death, vote for someone who thinks abortion-on-demand should remain legal. Never. Sure, some extreme pro-choice voters would likely abandon any pro-life Democrat nominee, but the difference is wide enough – 700,000 voters – that such a candidate could easily gain much…

J. Pepper Bryars: Why do we care so much about football?

    Every fall I tell myself not to get too emotional about Alabama football. “It’s just a bunch of guys I don’t know, who are going to a school that I didn’t attend, who are playing a game with a ball, a game that I have no control over, and whose result doesn’t have any real impact on my life.” That’s what I always say ... but it’s never how I actually feel. Football, college football, and Alabama football specifically seems to have attached itself to my DNA, wormed its way into my soul, and burrowed itself into my brain. It’d probably be easier to separate myself from my right hand than separate myself from caring about Alabama football. But I’m not one of those obnoxious fans who won’t shut up at the water cooler, or that guy who keeps statistics on wide receivers like he’s following the stock market, and I’m certainly not one of those really crazy people. It can get ugly. Earlier this month an Alabama fan shot an Auburn fan in Mobile after arguing about which team is better (what a stupid thing to argue about, as if there’s any question, #RTR). I haven’t gone that far, but I have acted irrationally. Once I was so depressed after Alabama lost to Tennessee that I went out and bought a Jeep to brighten my mood (stupid). And I did de-friend my wife on Facebook for her celebratory comments after that 2013 “Kick Six’ Iron Bowl (she’s…

J. Pepper Bryars: The president’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation keeps the focus where it ought to be – God.

[caption id="attachment_51309" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (White House/Facebook)[/caption]   As Alabamians gather today to watch football and feast on fried turkey, we should also remember the words written by President George Washington in his proclamation establishing “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer” in 1789 that eventually became known as Thanksgiving Day. “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor,” Washington wrote. He added that the day should be “devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.” Washington thanked God for many specific blessings – the revolution, the peace of the union, its prosperity, and the religious freedom they established. He also asked God to forgive the nation’s “transgressions” and to “enable us all, whether in public or private stations…to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.” The tradition of presidential Thanksgiving Day proclamations continues under President Donald Trump, and with a noticeable change from those issued from his immediate predecessor. Where the first proclamation focused entirely on thanking God, those issued by President Barrack Obama, while making reference to God, seemed to focus more on expressing appreciation to other people and organizations. That’s all well and good, of course. People need to be thanked and recognized for their good…

J. Pepper Bryars: For the love of God, governor, stop this election

[caption id="attachment_51167" align="aligncenter" width="800"] (Governor Kay Ivey/Flickr)[/caption]     Alabama’s democratic process is under attack by rogue elements within the Republican political establishment who, I suspect, planted the story with the Washington Post to influence how our state’s voters decided this special election. Their shortsighted tactical objective: to disrupt the candidacy of Roy Moore, a politician whose substance and style they detest. On this front, they’re winning. Recent polls show a clear move away from the judge. Their foolhardy strategic result: electoral sabotage. Alabama is about to elect a liberal Democrat to the U.S. Senate, placing important reforms and control of the U.S. Supreme Court in peril. On this front, their success depends upon the actions of the only individual who could stop them: Governor Kay Ivey. Sadly, it doesn’t appear she’ll do anything ... at least for now. “I’m going to cast my ballot on December the 12th, and I do believe the nominee of the party is the one I’ll vote for,” Ivey said earlier this week. “So that’s what I plan to do, vote for Republican nominee Roy Moore.” Our governor added that she has “no reason to disbelieve” the accusers, who include one woman who says the judge sexually molested her when she was 14 years old. (A child. Dammit, people. She was a child. Quit making reprehensible excuses for this.) Our governor saying she has no reason to disbelieve the women is tantamount to saying she doesn’t believe Moore. It’s either one or the other.…