Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Minute Christmas Gifts can be the Best Ones

Money's tight,time is running out and Christmas is fast becoming your least favorite holiday. We often forget the big picture at Christmas time that the real meaning of Christmas is the birth of the savior of the world the baby Jesus. FRG is here to give you your last minute gift ideas.

My favorite gift buying stores is often the ones you may least think of at holiday season.

Drugstores. Drugstore chains are going after the last minute shopper more and more and prices are far more reasonable than you may think. Chains like Walgreens and CVS contain a vast array of gifts for any age or need. The Candy selections are phenom. For family members in hospital or nursing facility how about a table top mini christmas tree complete with decorations and lights for under 15 or 10 dollars in their room? A small basket filled with lotions, decorative pin,cologne sugar free or regular snicky snacks candies? Maybe a nice watch,travel nail care set and some magazines or a paperback? Make up your own gift basket. For kids you be suprized to find an array of name brand and character driven toys and videos anywhere from a dollar to 50 dollars on average with many toys in the 20 dollar range. You'll even find great seasonal items like bathrobe and slipper sets,as seen on tv items ,small appliances, gift boxes etc. And mom and dads you'll find sometimes the simplest gifts are the most pleasurable. An inexpensive basketball or football. A pack of new crayons. New cans of playdough. A soft cuddly stuffed animal. A yoyo. A retro pull toy for walking toddlers, large puzzles. Mini games like etch a sketch and battleship. And remember to use the age guidelines listed on the toys as your guide. It usually is on target. And for the under 5 age group you can't go wrong with anything to do with Elmo.

Thrift stores and pawn shops and garage sales. Think vintage. Everything old is new again. Sets of china. Unusual bone china teacups, vintage postcards, brass decorative pieces, artwork,old classic cookbooks, good working manual or electric typewriters. Buy some new inked ribbons and clean the keys with alchohol and a qtip. Kids and adults like these low cost,retro tech quick typing stations. Hard to find old style kitchen tools like flour sifters and rotery eggbeaters, costume jewery. Old magazines from the 1970 and back. Old records. Vintage and designer cloths. etc.

Grocery Stores. Grocery stores are a great place to find interesting gifts and put together great gift bags . How about a new baby gift bag with bibs, food, baby supplies and small toys etc. Or a gourmet food gift bag with cheeses, cured meats,wine,coffee, cookies etc. Or maybe a themed meal gift bag like Italy. Load a recycle bag with some boxes of pasta,pasta sauce,bread sticks,camponata,wine,cheese,Nonni biscotti,instant italian style coffee you get the idea.

Music stores or chains carrying low cost instruments. Think modest or used. Or think small like a harmonica, recorder(small wooden flute), bongo drums or ukelele.

Tourist stores. If you live in a tourist area for your state check out the local tourist section with their assorted gift shops. Great place to fine the unusal and Christmas time is a great time to find bargins. And don't turn your nose up at local tourist mugs,shot glasses, ashtrays,snowglobes, kitchen towels,etc. All this stuff is kichey now and in folks.

Hardware stores,Fish and Game Stores,Army Navy Stores. These are great places for the unusal gifts. Restractable key chains, brass spring clips are also great for key chains and clip on a pant loop. Flashlights, small gardening tools and seeds for the gardener in your family. Small all in one tool kits. patches and hats. Fatigue jackets etc. Swiss Army knifes etc. Great place for both the useful and the unusual. Our local Ace Hardware has a great little gift section.

Kraft and Art stores. Budding Artist in your family? You'll find inexpensive student art kits, doll house items, picture frames, decorator items, scrapbook items,small plastic animals, and all manner of neat stuff that can make great gifts at a bargin, blank t shirts, leather kits.

Auto parts stores. Kids toys and trucks with company logos, keychains, steering wheel and seat covers. decals. Fancy pocket tire pressure testers. etc.

Christian Book stores. Often have great gift areas as well as books and dvds.

The Local Animal Shelter. What better way to save a pet and give a companion and pet to you child or friend or relative. Make sure you are giving a pet to someone who wants one and pick the right breed and type for location and person. Throw in some food and supplies .

Local zoos or museum gift stores.

Large hospital gift shops. Hospitals with maternity centers often have great baby gifts.

Gift tips

Fruit or nut trees in your yard, have a garden consider putting together some a vege fruit or nut bag for your family and friends.

Golden Tickets for babysitting,transportation to a christmas church service or production, hated jobs like car washing and waxing,house cleaning,window washing,laundry and ironing, home cooked meal, a homemade cake or cookies or fudge.

And how about a low cost movie night on Redbox or any other kiosk style movie box? Pop some popcorn and make some snacks and watch a dollar movie. Don't have a player? Check out your local hazardous waste disposal site for decks that may have been dumped from people upgrading to blueray. Many sites have recycle centers for just that purpose. Also check out your local pawn shops.

Gift certificates. What I call the great after Christmas gift. Consider treating someone to dinner or breakfast, a tank of gas, phone minutes to call far off friends or relatives, a book of their choice through a bookseller like amazon or barnes and noble etc,a movie at the local franchise,or clothing they won't have to exchange from one of their favorite stores, a pizza, downloadable music. Or give cash or a money order. Money orders are free at Amscot.

If you have a special skill consider gifting that skill. Are you a Hairdresser, own a laundry,a carpenter,artist, crafter, organizer,good at hanging curtains etc.

Remember the word barter. Even in discount stores bartering is possible with the store managers. Overstock is not something stores want for inventory and inventory taxes. Learn the art of the barter ask for discounts on the discounts.

Don't forget to sent flowers. Always a nice way to say Happy Holidays to those you love.

Hope this offers you some ideas and places you haven't thought of . Have a Happy Holiday and don't forget it's not about the gifts or a tree or even a lavish meal it's about the fellowship you share either in person or by phone or even alone with the christ child praising his name and thanking him for coming here so that we may have the opportunity to go up there to be with him forever. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How Bad Would It Be if the Government Goes Bankrupt?

The Obama admin has been using lies and fear tactics to manipulate the American public into actions that only in the end will cut their freedoms, create more governmental control of every cent we earn and manage every aspect of our lives resulting in a bloated government consuming our labor.

Would it be so bad if the government went bankrupt and closed down? Think of the government jobs that would become private industry again, think of all men and women training themselves to use a gun and defend their own property like minute men of the past, think of being able to keep every penny you make to be able to help your old folks, home school your kids, built a home and really own it after you payed for it instead of worrying about property taxes or death taxes for your loved ones. Think about the number of people who have stayed on unemployment rather than creating their own employment motivated to get off the dole and get buzy. Think of the renewed healthcare free from government restrictions and paperwork. Think of the farmers allowed to plant heirloom seed instead of genetically altered seed. Would it really be so bad? Or, would it be a return to that era of freedom that was first created by a few good men willing to give everything they had to get out from under the shackles of Britain's slavery?

I don't know about you, but I am willing to give up my illusion of status quo for what's behind that door of uncertainty. What is certain to come if we continue down the Obama path is destruction of what made America the only country the world's downtrodden wanted to come to no matter the sacrifice. If the Government shuts down I don't think America will shrivel up and die. I think after the fire the forest will bloom again and be reborn from the ashes. We need to stop listening to them tell us we aren't smart enough to handle our money in our own best interests and we don't need a bunch of elitist ivy league academians who have never held a real job or managed a business manage our money for us. The government can shut down and I will be there to lock the doors and sell off the property. Disney could buy it and turn it into a historic theme park. Bring all of our soldiers home, close all the foreign bases and sell those properties and hire our men and woman to defend and protect our borders and process illegals. Our best and brightest should be here my friend not defending countries that in the end wish to destroy us. And how about calling in the debt for rebuilding the old world after WWII? I think that would more than cover our debt to China and Japan.

I always remember the old saying less is more. If the government closed down tomorrow, I think we would be able to more than survive.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jim the Watchman

Since all you have heard in the last week has been about the expiring tax rates January 1, I though you may like to see EXACTLY what is going on. Jim DeMint is the purest Conservative we have in the Senate, and perhaps in all of Congress. It's difficult to believe that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner would support this mess... tom

Dear Fellow Conservatives:

Many of you have contacted me about the bipartisan tax deal reached between President Obama and Republican leaders. I've carefully reviewed the legislation and I wanted to explain to you why I cannot support it.

First, I do not want to see anyone's taxes go up and I have been fighting for years to permanently extend all the tax rates. I disagree with the President that we cannot afford to extend these rates for everyone. It's the people's money and we should not raise taxes on hardworking American families.

But this bill does much more than simply extend tax rates.

For starters, it includes approximately $200 billion in new deficit spending and stimulus gimmicks. That's a lot of money that will have to be borrowed from China and repaid by our children and grandchildren. If we're going to increase spending on new programs, we must reduce other spending to pay for it.

The bill also only extends rates for two years. We don't have a temporary economy so we shouldn't have temporary tax rates. Individuals and businesses make decisions looking at the long-term and we're not going to create jobs without giving people certainty as to what their taxes will be in future.

The bill also fails to extend all of the tax rates. It actually increases the death tax from its current rate of zero percent all the way up to 35 percent. One economic study shows that this tax increase alone will kill over 800,000 jobs over the next ten years.

Finally, the bill now includes dozens of earmarks for special interests, including ethanol subsidies, tax breaks for film and television producers, give away's for Puerto Rican rum manufacturers, favors for auto racing track owners, and a hand out for businesses in American Samoa.

The President called Republicans "hostage takers" this week but he should be pointing his figure squarely at himself. We've known for years that these tax rates were going to expire but he did nothing about it until the last minute. Now Americans are being told they have to accept hundreds of billions in new spending and stimulus gimmicks, an increase the death tax, and a bunch of unnecessary earmarks or their taxes will go up.

I'm not going to be bullied into voting for things that will hurt our country because politicians in Washington ignored the problem until it was a crisis.

Many of you fought hard to elect new leaders to the Senate this year with the expectation that they would fight deficit spending, tax hikes, and backroom deals. I take that commitment very seriously and I'm prepared to vote against this bill even if I'm the only one in the Senate to do so.

I appreciate the efforts made by my party's leaders to negotiate this deal but I believe Americans deserve much better. This deal should be rejected and then fixed. We can easily extend these tax rates without increasing spending once the new crop of Republican senators, including Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson, are sworn in. The President has already conceded that taxes cannot go up and we'll have more Republicans in Congress in a few weeks to fight for a better deal.

Thank you for supporting the principles of freedom and for your continued encouragement. I will continue to do my very best to be your voice in the United States Senate.


Jim DeMint
United States Senator
Chairman, Senate Conservatives Fund

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Is Spreading Democracy Costing our Freedom?

I am known for being a great supporter of our military men and women in uniform. I still am. Military service is a part of my family and I still have members of my family currently serving.

What I have begun asking these days is while our family members are out risking life and limb for others it seems our very freedom here in our country is being quickly eroded away and I fear when our family members return home they will not find any freedom.

For the last 100 years or so we have not as a country become imperialists as liberals like to paint us, but we have become the world police. I began doing a little research into exactly how many bases we have outside the US and I was completely shocked at the numbers. Don't get me wrong, I understand it is better to fight the enemy abroad rather than on our shores and keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, but it seems to me we have gotten ourselves into a bloated situation of commitment of money and troops abroad while leaving the hen house vulnerable to the foxes.

I have said before we need to circle our wagons and bring our troops home to guard our borders against foreign invaders, illegal immigration, drug trafficing and airport security. By bringing all these troops home we will recreate the economies of dead cities and truely create jobs. It would also result in lowering military and state costs. The border states and port states have been begging for help for quite some time now.

I'd like you to read this very comprehensive article written a few years ago about the number of bases we have around the world. And I would like you do your own research on this topic and then consider informing your legislators on the subject.,_and_we_simply_never_talk_about_it/?page=1

Is spreading democracy costing our freedom? You decide.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Buy American: "Marxism or Survival?"

In 1933 FDR signed the Buy American Act which required the United States government to prefer American made products in its purchases. Other pieces of Federal legislation extend similar requirements to third-party purchases that utilize Federal funds, such as highway and transit programs. The President can wave this act if equal trade is involved with a foreign supplier. Under the 1979 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Government Procurement Code, the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement, the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) 1996 Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), the United States provides access to the government procurement of certain U.S. agencies for goods from the other parties to the agreements.

Buy American is a program that had it's roots in Union protectionism. By making Made in America a patriotic act union jobs were protected. For some campaigns it even bordered on racism. Growing up I heard more than one WWII generation senior say they would never buy a "Jap rice burner" or a "Kraut VW car". To them buying a foreign car was buying from the enemy and thus disrespecting the memories of those American's that fought and died for freedom and the memories of those Jews who provided slave labor to German Companies and then were killed.

Today conservatives and even progressives are still for freetrade and see the global market place as a good thing for Americans and an incentive for less efficient and competative American companies to work better and thus create stronger businesses. Selling plateforms like the internet through sources like EBay and Craig's List have become boom sources for small companies restricted to their geographic area to be able to cheaply reach a global marketplace and has been a good thing for American small retail businesses. Dollar store chains carrying mostly cheap import goods have made more than one American a millionaire and at the same time provide goods at lower prices for cash strapped Americans. These dollar stores have been so successful that many standard retail outlets have dollar item aisles and sales islands within their stores.

Over the years I have seen the consumers change with this access to cheap import goods. Product loyalty and business loyalty has gone out the window completely. I remember when discount retail outlets got into the car repair and tire and battery business and I witnessed loyal customers leave our small hometown service station to go get discount work at cut rate prices. Then I saw these same people complain that when they were out traveling and they broke down they could not find a service station anywhere and they had to wait hours and hours for a tow. I watched consumers stop going to the small appliance stores to go to the big hardware stores to buy frigs and washers and dryers and than complain when they could not get anyone to fix the thing after they got it home. Americans in their effort to afford more things have Pogoed themselves into a third world existance to save a dollar and in turned killed their own opportunity for employment at a living wage. American Small Business was the source for quality goods, quality service, fair prices and fair hiring practices. Unions were also a part of this demise. Ford Motor company prior to the unions offered it's people 5 day work weeks, insurance, paid holidays and weekends and many of the good business practices the unions claim they don't offer. Union thugs used organized crime tactics to force unions on workers who were just not interested.

My feelings for the effects of freetrade and unions has changed dramatically over the years. I now see that freetrade is a form of protectionism and unions are more of that same protectionism that has degraded our way of life rather than enhanced it for the most part. Don't get me wrong I am still for freetrade if and only if it is a two way street. For decades our international trade has been one sided. I don't believe in union protectionism, however I do think imports should be taxed 10 precent unless those countries agree to import equal amounts of goods and services from the US. I do believe we as Americans should commit to spending a little more and doing with a little less to buy American Made products. The best way to cripple an economic thug is to deny our trade dollars. We are through our imports financing Marxist countries that practice human rights violations against their and our citizens through military and terrorists acts. And quite frankly the more we learn about the lead paint, mold and food born illness problems we are having with imported goods I would think it would be a great deal healthier to buy American Made. On my twitter page I often try to bring to light great American Companies that offer superior products that I have personally tried and enjoyed. I think it's important.

The other day I had to go and purchase a new American Flag because someone ran off with the flag pole and all. I went to the Walmart up the street from my house and looked at the flags they had for sale. It said Made with American materials by Americans in America. I picked it up. About 15 dollars. I went to a discount hardware store to pick up some stuff and looked at similar flags and they were made in China and were about 10 dollars. I was glad I had paid about 5 dollars more for the made in America flag.

I feel much like the WWII seniors now. Defeat the enemy by not being an enemy of American Business. Support America buy American. I also support as many small businesses in my community as I can going a little out of my way to buy from them what I might get at a large discount store. I think Consumers can send a message and it can change our country. It's those dollars we spend every day that are like tiny little votes for American Businessman. Make an effort to support American businesses, tell the large chains you would prefer they buy American made supplies and materials. Trade with the small independent shops in your area. Cast your greenback votes for Americans.

Resources for American Made: