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User Journal

Journal Journal: Q: Is Palin ready to be veep?

It's a simple question: Do you think Sarah Palin is ready to be the next Vice President of the United States of America? For the sake of neutrality, the question will stand unanswered for my own part. While you're at it, PBS.org is running a poll of that very question. The results have been causing tremors across Facebook and other social networks. So, if you have a few seconds to spare, why not stop by and make your opinion count?
The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: No. It's not a broken muffler

Just today, I found one of those headlines that I was just curious about. It's a bit more than curiosity that fuels my interest now. An earlier story broke on NewsNetFive.com back in December. Other reports have come from irregular times during the past year, but now it's an alarming increase.

Tuesday, MSNBC published a consumer-interest article about a new trend in car theft/vandalism.
Why take the whole car when the catalytic converter alone is worth a mint?

From the MSNBC article:

Catalytic converters have only small traces of the metals -- platinum, palladium and rhodium -- but there's enough in them for a thief to resell stolen units for up to $200 apiece. Rhodium is among the most expensive metals on Earth, commanding as much as $6,000 an ounce on the open market.

I did my own checking on the going rate of rhodium, it's now over $8,000 USD per troy ounce!

The soaring price for precious metals is the clear motivator for this phenomenon, and gives whole new meaning to “cut and run”.

What else do we own that we should be protecting? (or- well... selling for scrap?) For that matter, what's the reason behind the skyrocketing price? Does the mining slowdown in South Africa explain this, or could it also be something else?

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: What's (not) in your wallet?

This story from Businessweek shows that "protection" is a subjective term:

When Brad Kehn received his first credit card from Capital One Financial in 2004, it took him only three months to exceed its $300 credit limit and get socked with a $35 over-limit fee. But what surprised the Plankinton, S.D., resident more was that Cap One then offered him another card, even though he was over the limit -- and then another and another.

According to a Cap One spokesperson, it's rare, but it happens:

In a written response to questions, Cap One acknowledges that it offers multiple cards. "Our goal is to offer products that meet our customers' needs and appropriately reflect their ability to pay," it says. The company also stated: "Within our current U.S. portfolio, the vast majority of Capital One customers have only one Capital One credit card with a very small percentage choosing to have three or more cards."

The article goes on to reveal that, along with offering multiple cards, Cap One allows customers to "rob Peter to pay Paul," or use one card to pay another at the inflated cash-advance rate, driving up their debt even more.

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