OWN STOCKS? GOT KIDS? LIKE FLICKS?

Not only does the modest but indomitable Nell Minow battle with considerable impact on behalf of investors . . . see her important Corporate Library site . . . she is also, as it turns out, a film critic. Not just any film critic, indeed – she is The Movie Mom. Some people just have all the fun – and more than their share of the talent.

If you’re thinking about holiday gifts, check out Nell’s list of the all-time best video/DVDs to get your kids,* complete with her reviews and topics you might discuss at THE END. And if you think it’s nuts to buy the DVDs she recommends, consider getting your kid a membership in Netflix.com. For the heavy movie viewer, it sure beats Blockbuster.

*Or your kids’ kids, or that 9-year-old from across the street who helped you set up your 802.11 access point.

NICE GRANDPARENTS

Judy Day: ‘We bought our granddaughter a car. She sold her old one and with that wee bit of money and some we are putting with it, we can make an extra payment of around $2000. We have only made 2 payments on the vehicle. My question is, will it pay us to put this money on the car loan and tell them to apply it all to the principal or hold onto this money for making the monthly payments. The interest rate is 7% and the loan is for 48 months.’

☞ Car loans are often not like mortgages – you can’t assume they will allow pre-payments without some kind of hidden or explicit penalty. But if you’re certain they will simply apply the pre-payment to lowering your principal without penalty, then not have to pay 7% interest on $2,000 of principal gives you the equivalent of a 7% tax-free, risk-free return on your $2,000 – awesome these days. (Unless, that is, you think you or she will get into difficulty down the road and have to borrow against your credit cards at 22% to make the loan payments.) Try to find something very explicit and in writing about how pre-payments are treated on your loan before making the extra payment. (For others reading this: it obviously would have been easier just to put down an extra $2,000 in the first place and borrow that much less. But who of us thinks of these things at the time?)

WEEKEND READING FROM THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE

The hope, of course, is that we will talk so tough we never have to find out whether we really would have launched a preventive attack on Iraq. But here – not from The Nation or Mother Jones but from the current issue of The American Conservative – is Iraq: The Case Against Preemptive War, by Paul W. Schroeder.

I don’t suggest this is an easy one, or that – having listened to both sides – I’m certain what’s right. But I’m certain what’s wrong: the assumption that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are so smart, they must be providing the President with good advice. Yes, they are very smart; but so was Robert McNamara, and many of us are old enough to remember what a nightmare Vietnam was.

The pressure brought by thoughtful people on both sides of the aisle has already helped moderate the administration’s initial recklessness.

 

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