The 60% Solution
For a lot of people, part of the difficulty in reducing committed expenses comes from the need to make big monthly credit card payments. If you're carrying a substantial amount of non-mortgage debt, I'd suggest using the 20% that would otherwise go to retirement and long-term saving to aggressively pay down your debt -- but only after you cut up those cards.
Every dollar in interest that you don't pay is just like getting a guaranteed, risk- and tax-free return on your money equal to the interest rate on the debt. When your debts are paid off -- and it won't take long using 20% of your gross income -- immediately redirect that money into savings.
CNN.com - Mysterious red cells might be aliens - Jun 2, 2006
: "In April, Louis, a solid-state physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University, published a paper in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Astrophysics and Space Science in which he hypothesizes that the samples -- water taken from the mysterious blood-colored showers that fell sporadically across Louis's home state of Kerala in the summer of 2001 -- contain microbes from outer space."
Rise in heroin use among area teens
: "An investigation by the multijurisdictional drug unit since January has identified about 10 to 15 heroin users between the ages of 15 to 21 in Kalamazoo County, mainly in Portage and the southern half of the county, Coleman said. ``I think it's about time that this community takes a serious look at this problem before it gets out of hand,'' Coleman said."
Reason: What Detroit Can Learn From Bangalore: A booming city’s lessons for a town in decline
: "To be sure, Detroit has many of the trappings of wealth that come from sitting in the lap of the richest country in the world: an excellent freeway system, a sparkling riverfront, good sanitation. Bangalore, in turn, has many of the afflictions of a poor country: pollution, open sewers, slums. But there is a palpable buzz in Bangalore’s air that comes when industrious people are engaged in creating wealth. That’s missing in Detroit, where a big chunk of the population lives off welfare.
While Bangalore grows, Detroit continues to lead the United States in population decline. Every week, on average, 370 residents leave its crime-ridden, economically depressed neighborhoods for a better life in the suburbs or elsewhere in the country. The city’s population, close to 2 million in the late 1950s, has shrunk to less than 900,000. Formerly the fifth largest city in the country—bigger even than Chicago—Detroit is now smaller than San Jose."