Wednesday, December 24, 2014
With his signature, the president has paved the way for people with disabilities to open tax-free savings accounts where they can amass more than $2,000 without losing government benefits. President Barack Obama signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act Friday before leaving Washington for the holidays. The new law will allow people with disabilities to open special accounts where they can save up to $100,000 without risking eligibility for Social Security and other government programs. What's more, individuals can keep their Medicaid coverage no matter how much money is accrued in an ABLE account. Modeled after 529 college savings plans, interest earned on savings will be tax-free. Funds accrued in the accounts can be used to pay for education, health care, transportation, housing and other expenses. To be eligible, individuals must have a condition that occurred before age 26 and each person may only open one ABLE account. Under current gift-tax limitations, as much as $14,000 could be deposited annually. People with disabilities may be able to start opening ABLE accounts as soon as 2015. However, some hurdles remain. While the new law alters federal rules to allow for ABLE accounts, each state must now put regulations in place - much as they have done for other types of 529 plans - so that financial institutions can make the new offering available. "We can't mandate that a state will create a 529, but given the lobby that we've seen, I think by the end of next year, I think we'll see this in every state," Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., one of the measure's chief sponsors, said on a recent call with reporters. The law's name was amended in recent weeks to honor Stephen Beck, Jr., a longtime proponent of the bill who died unexpectedly in early December.
Posted by lurod at 7:50 AM
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Late one Christmas Eve, I sank back, tired but content, into my easy chair. The kids were in bed, the gifts were wrapped, the milk and cookies waited by the fireplace for Santa. As I sat back admiring the tree with its decorations, I couldn't help feeling that something important was missing. It wasn't long before the tiny twinkling tree lights lulled me to sleep. I don't know how long I slept, but all of a sudden I knew that I wasn't alone. I opened my eyes, and you can imagine my surprise when I saw Santa Claus himself standing next to my Christmas tree. He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot just as the poem described him, but he was not the "jolly old elf" of Christmas legend. The man who stood before me looked sad and disappointed, and there were tears in his eyes. "Santa, what's wrong?" I asked, "Why are you crying?" "It's the children," Santa replied sadly. "But Santa, the children love you," I said. "Oh, I know they love me, and they love the gifts I bring them," Santa said, "but the children of today seem to have somehow missed out on the true spirit of Christmas. It's not their fault. It's just that the adults, many of them not having been taught themselves, have forgotten to teach the children." "Teach them what?" I asked. Santa's kind old face became soft, more gentle. His eyes began to shine with something more than tears. He spoke softly. "Teach the children the true meaning of Christmas. Teach them that the part of Christmas we can see, hear, and touch is much more than meets the eye. Teach them the symbolism behind the customs and traditions of Christmas which we now observe. Teach them what it is they truly represent." Santa reached into his bag and pulled out a tiny Christmas tree and set it on my mantle. "Teach them about the Christmas tree. Green is the second color of Christmas. The stately evergreen, with its unchanging color, represents the hope of eternal life in Jesus. Its needles point heavenward as a reminder that mankind's thoughts should turn heavenward as well." Santa reached into his bag again and pulled out a shiny star and placed it at the top of the small tree. "The star was the heavenly sign of promise. God promised a Savior for the world and the star was the sign of the fulfillment of that promise on the night that Jesus Christ was born. Teach the children that God always fulfills His promises, and that wise men still seek Him." "Red," said Santa, "is the first color of Christmas." He pulled forth a red ornament for the tiny tree. "Red is deep, intense, vivid. It is the color of the life-giving blood that flows through our veins. It is the symbol of God's greatest gift. Teach the children that Christ gave His life and shed His blood for them that they might have eternal life. When they see the color red, it should remind them of that most wonderful Gift." Santa found a silver bell in his pack and placed it on the tree. "Just as lost sheep are guided to safety by the sound of the bell, it continues to ring today for all to be guided to the fold. Teach the children to follow the true Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep." Santa placed a candle on the mantle and lit it. The soft glow from its one tiny flame brightened the room. "The glow of the candle represents how people can show their thanks for the gift of God's Son that Christmas Eve long ago. Teach the children to follow in Christ's foot steps... to go about doing good. Teach them to let their light so shine before people that all may see it and glorify God. This is what is symbolized when the twinkling lights shine on the tree like hundreds of bright, shining candles, each of them representing one of God's precious children, their light shining for all to see." Again Santa reached into his bag and this time he brought forth a tiny red and white striped cane. As he hung it on the tree he spoke softly. "The candy cane is a stick of hard white candy: white to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock the foundation of the church, and the firmness of God's promises. The candy cane is in the form of a 'J' to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth. It also represents the Good Shepherd's crook, which He uses to reach down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray. The original candy cane had three small red stripes, which are the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed, and a large red stripe that represents the shed blood of Jesus, so that we can have the promise of eternal life." "Teach these things to the children." Santa brought out a beautiful wreath made of fresh, fragrant greenery tied with a bright red bow. "The bow reminds us of the bond of perfection, which is love. The wreath embodies all the good things about Christmas for those with eyes to see and hearts to understand. It contains the colors of red and green and the heaven-turned needles of the evergreen. The bow tells the story of good will towards all and its color reminds us of Christ's sacrifice. Even its very shape is symbolic, representing eternity and the eternal nature of Christ's love. It is a circle, without beginning and without end. These are the things you must teach the children." I asked, "But where does that leave you, Santa?" The tears gone now from his eyes, a smile broke over Santa's face. "Why bless you, my dear," he laughed, "I'm only a symbol myself. I represent the spirit of family fun and the joy of giving and receiving. If the children are taught these other things, there is no danger that I'll ever be forgotten." "I think I'm beginning to understand." "That's why I came," said Santa. "You're an adult. If you don't teach the children these things, then who will?" (Author Unknown)
Posted by lurod at 11:51 PM
Saturday, December 13, 2014
De los 10 a los 15 es mono: vive pelando la "banana". De los 16 a los 20 es jirafa: se come las "florecillas". De los 21 a los 30 es buitre: se come todo lo que se le atraviese. De los 31 a los 40 es aguila: escoge todo lo que se va a comer. De los 41 a los 50 es papagayo: habla más de lo que come. De los 51 a los 60 es lobo: persigue a caperucita pero se come a la abuela. De los 61 a los 70 es cigarra: canta, canta y no come nada. De los 71 a los 80 es cóndor: con-dolor aquí, con-dolor allá... De los 81 en adelante es paloma: sólo caga.
Posted by lurod at 10:37 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Resulta que un borrachito regresaba a su casa después de estar hasta altas horas de la mañana, y se topa con un policía en el camino, y le pregunta: - Disculpe que lo moleste, pero me puede decir, ¿cuántos golpes tengo en la frente? El policía responde: - Ya tienes tres golpes. Y le borrachito dice: - Entonces, me faltan dos postes para llegar a mi casa.
Posted by lurod at 1:01 PM
Monday, October 21, 2013
A violin which was played in the final minutes of the Titanic sinking has been sold for US$1.5 million. The violin, discovered in an attic in Yorkshire, has been the subject of arguments over its authenticity. However, the Titanic specialist auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son have said research, tests and provenance have proved it to be the genuine article. The violin, in a leather case initialled W.H.H. was sold at public auction in Devizes in Wiltshire. It initially had a reserve price of only US$350,000. The initials W.H.H. were those of Wallace Hartley, who has become a legendary figure in Titanic lore as the man who led his fellow musicians in a rendition of "Nearer My God To Thee" as the ship was slowly sinking. Hartley and his seven fellow band members were amongst the 1500 people who died after the Titanic was hit by an iceberg in 1912. His violin, in its case, was apparently strapped to his body when it was recovered from the icy Atlantic waters.
Posted by lurod at 2:36 AM
Friday, June 28, 2013
The lifetime achievements of late baseball legend Roberto Clemente has been honoured by a Hispanic-owned US food brand by unveiling a life-size bronze statue of him at his namesake park in New York on Thursday. According to an official of Roberto Clemente State Park, the 3,000 pound bronze likeness, commissioned and donated by Goya Foods, is the city's first statue erected in tribute to a person of Puerto Rican heritage, the New York Daily News reports. The statue, cast by sculptor Maritza Hernandez, captures Clemente thanking fans after his 3,000th hit, the report further said. At the unveiling of the statue, president of Goya Foods Bob Unanue said that Clemente will always be remembered and they hope that his spirit of giving will encourage and inspire others to do the same. Expressing their honour to receive the statue, park director Frances Rodriguez further said that the significance is great because Clemente was a true humanitarian, who truly cared about other people. The dedication of the statue takes place 40 years after Clemente became a member of the Hall of Fame, the same year the riverside park, originally called Harlem River Park, that now bears his name, was built. Stating that the statue is a great way for the children playing in the park to find out about Clemente, the legend's son Roberto Clemente Jr said that after seeing the statue, people will learn not only about Clemente the player, but also the human being behind that facade. The report further said that Clemente, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, became the first Latin-American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and the first to play in a World Series game, and finished his career with his 3,000th hit in his final regular season at-bat in 1972. The star, who was known as much for his humanitarian efforts in the off-season as for his work in right field, tragically died at the age of 38 in a airplane crash in 1972, while he was on his way to Nicaragua to ensure that aid was being properly delivered to earthquake victims. Clemente was posthumously awarded a Congressional medal of honor for his work, the report added.
Posted by lurod at 9:31 AM
Friday, June 7, 2013
As male superb lyrebirds sing, they often move their bodies to the music in a choreographed way, adding evidence from human cultures around the world that music and dance are deeply intertwined activities. "Like humans, male superb lyrebirds have different dance movements to go with different songs," Anastasia Dalziell of Australian National University, said. "Just as we 'waltz' to waltz music but 'salsa' to salsa music, so lyrebirds step sideways with their tail spread out like a veil to one song-which sounds like a 1980s video-arcade game-while they jump and flap their wings with their tail in a mohawk position while singing a quiet 'plinkety-plinkety-plinkety'," she said. The lyrebirds' dance movements are a voluntary embellishment to their singing; in other words, they can and do sing without dancing. As much as people love to dance, the activity is even more crucial for the birds. Before they can mate, males must impress females with their dancing skills. They put a lot of work into their dances, with years of practice before they reach maturity. In the breeding season, female lyrebirds will visit several different males to watch their song-and-dance routines. Exactly what those females are looking for is still anyone's guess. The findings are published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.
Posted by lurod at 4:24 PM