We’ve been making noise for a while now about how slowly stimulus-funded weatherization has gotten underway in parts of the country where confusion and caution have delayed its implementation.The sluggish starts may be frustrating, but they also are predictable given the increased scale of the Weatherization Assistance Program and the thousands of moving parts in its bureaucratic machinery. What’s more, the measure of WAP’s success or failure probably won’t be pegged to the efficiency of its rollout. Final results – the number of jobs the expanded program creates and the quality of the weatherization – will matter much more.This week, a New York Times update on the Department of Energy’s response to weatherization-work audits in Illinois – detailed in a December 3 Department of Energy report – brought the work-quality issue, and the procedures meant to ensure high-quality work, into focus.Spread too thinWith the DOE’s approval and $242 million in stimulus funds, the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program aims to weatherize about 29,300 homes of people with low incomes. WAP rules require that each state, through local agencies that administer the program for their communities, inspect 5% of weatherized homes. As the Times story notes, state officials in Illinois said they had inspected 5% of the homes where work was done, but not 5% of the homes weatherized by each of the 35 local agencies handling weatherization work. Work by seven agencies hadn’t been inspected at all, while work by three others hadn’t been inspected in enough volume to meet the 5% minimum.A state hiring freeze delayed a plan to hire more people to help administer the inspection program. In addition, federal inspectors had not made required site visits, prompting the DOE’s inspector general to step in and send a team out to examine work in five homes.From the DOE report: “We identified significant internal control deficiencies in the management of the Weatherization Program in Illinois which require immediate attention. Specifically, our audit testing revealed significant problems with onsite monitoring and inspection of the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (Illinois). We noted that the Department had not fulfilled its requirement to perform monitoring visits at the State level. In addition, Illinois officials had not complied with the Department’s requirements for inspecting weatherization work conducted by local agencies.“Finally, we found that a weatherization inspection for one of the local agencies failed to detect substandard installation of energy saving materials. This case involved a furnace gas leak that could have resulted in serious injury to the occupants and material damage to the structure. This is an interim report and our audit work remains in progress.”Getting a grip sooner rather than laterThe report also points out that Illinois is just now developing an automated system for aggregating inspection data and tracking the performance of contractors.The inspection lapses are troubling not only because safety problems went undetected but because the DOE inspection – which quickly resulted in a DOE “management alert,” underscoring the seriousness of the situation to the agencies involved – hints at systemic problems in the state’s program that touch on everything from worker training to contractor competence to staffing levels.A potential positive in all of this is that the problems became apparent in the early going rather than in, say, late 2010, when Illinois will have moved much farther down the path to completing work in 29,300 homes, which will require about 1,465 inspections. Most important of all, though, is that the alarms set off by the DOE are heard loud and clear not only by officials in Illinois but by every agency in the nation doing WAP work.
By Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®The May 26, 2015 MFLN Personal Finance webinar is about target date funds (TDFs), including the L fund investment option available in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for federal government employees and service members. Also known as lifecycle funds (that’s what the “L” stands for), target date funds are “all in one” portfolios that typically include three types of investment categories known as asset classes: stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents (e.g., money market funds). Their asset allocation weightings (e.g., 50% stock, 30% bonds, 20% cash) automatically adjust and become more conservative (i.e., lower stock percentage) over time.By viZZZual.comTarget date funds typically have a date in their name such as the “2050 fund” and investors chose a fund with a date that is close to their expected year of retirement. Dates are spaced out at 5- or 10-year intervals (e.g., 2030, 2035, etc.). Most TDFs are “funds of funds” with underlying funds from the same fund family. Examples include Fidelity Freedom Funds, Vanguard Target Retirement Funds, and T.Rowe Price Retirement Funds.TDFs were created in 1994 and have gained popularity in the last decade as a qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) for tax-deferred retirement savings plans such as 401(k)s and, starting in October 2015, TSP accounts for new federal employees. Some employees who are enrolled in employer investment plans fail to provide instructions for investing their deposits. In these cases, employers invest their plan contributions in the default investment. Investors also like TDF’s “low maintenance” style for savings outside of workplace plans.Below are key facts about target date (lifecycle) funds that investors and those who counsel them need to know:TDFs generally only make sense if they include the bulk of someone’s retirement savings. Otherwise, their asset allocation is altered by “outside” investments, which contradicts the whole premise of using them.A defining characteristic of TDFs is their glide path, which determines the asset allocation mix over time. Pictured as a descending staircase, the glide path indicates how the stock percentage decreases over time.Glide paths are a critical factor in TDF performance and investment companies use several types of glide path methods. Glide paths are used in both TDFs and age-adjusted portfolios in 529 college savings plans.“To” glide path TDFs assume that retirement age is the target date and, at that point, the portfolio’s stock % weighting and investment mix remains static. “Through” glide path TDFs continue to decrease the stock percentage for a designated number of years after the target date before leveling off.The “landing point” is the point in the glide path where a TDF reaches its lowest stock % allocation. Not surprisingly, TDFs with different glide paths and landing points have very different risk profiles.TDFs are not without controversy. Performance issues during the financial crisis brought to light the fact that many TDFs were not as conservatively positioned as their names implied. This led to new disclosure rules by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010, including better disclosure of TDF glide paths.To this webinar on May 26 at 11 a.m. ET or to view the recording, visit the event page.This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on May 12, 2015.
The reason you want the lowest price is because you believe it makes selling easy. If you can take price out of the equation, then you eliminate one of your buyer’s primary considerations. This doesn’t help your buyer get the outcome they need. It’s all about you. It’s all about making your job easier.The reason you want the very best product is because you want the product to do the work for you. You want an overwhelming list of features and benefits that eliminate any competition so that you don’t have to do the work of building value yourself. This isn’t about what your buyer wants or needs. It’s about what you want or what you need.The reason you want to work for a big, well-recognized brand is because you believe that the brand will do most of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to selling. It isn’t about the value that you can create; you could create value working for a scrappy start-up. It isn’t about the value your company can create. It’s about making selling easier.You love lead generation, demand generation, and marketing qualified leads because, in your mind, it eliminates the need for you to build relationships and open new opportunities. You believe that you are better in front of clients once they’ve agreed to discussing their challenges with you. But the most difficult part of selling is helping your clients understand why they need to change.The reason you want prospective clients to give you an RFP is because it eliminates the process where you build new relationships and create new opportunities. It takes you right to the point where you get to talk about your product or service and where you get to share your price. You believe this makes selling easier because you skip the hard parts of the sales process.You are better off studying, practicing, and learning to sell than you are trying to make selling easy. Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now
FILE – In this Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 file photo, Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his side’s third goal of the game during their English Premier League soccer match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park stadium in London. Alexis Sanchez is close to joining Manchester United in what is set to be a rare swap deal among two of England’s top teams that will see Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to Arsenal. Both players were pictured by British newspapers Monday, Jan. 22, 2018 entering an office in Liverpool to update their work permits. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, file)MANCHESTER, England — Alexis Sanchez joined Manchester United on Monday in a rare swap deal among two of England’s top teams that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to Arsenal.“I am thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world,” said Sanchez, a former Barcelona player who had an opportunity to join United’s neighbor and fierce Premier League rival, Manchester City.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Mkhitaryan has been a marginal figure at United in recent months, with Jesse Lingard starting ahead of him behind Lukaku. He has five goals in 39 league appearances for United, rarely completing 90 minutes.The 29-year-old Mkhitaryan has previously said his favorite team was Arsenal and his impressive technique, allied with Wenger’s naturally attacking philosophy, should make him a good fit at the London club.“He creates chances, he defends well, he can absorb distances and he’s very committed as well,” Wenger said. “I must say he’s a player who has all the attributes.”Sanchez’s debut for United could come on Friday, in the FA Cup fourth-round match at fourth-tier Yeovil.Mkhitaryan is cup-tied in that competition, so could make his debut against Swansea next week. NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Real Madrid: Ronaldo face cut could have been worse Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Signing Sanchez is being viewed as a real statement by United, like Eric Cantona joined in 1992 and Robin van Persie — who also arrived from Arsenal — in 2012. Beating City to the Chile forward will make his arrival all the more sweet for United fans and Mourinho.“Alexis is one of the best attacking players in the world,” Mourinho said. “He will bring his ambition, drive and personality, qualities that make a Manchester United player, and a player that makes the team stronger and the supporters proud of their club dimension and prestige.”City came close to signing Sanchez in August and looked to be the favorite to get him this month, only to end its interest in the forward following a rival bid from United. The Premier League leader said Sanchez and his agent increased their financial demands and that it didn’t want to destabilize the team by bringing in a player who would be its highest earner.City, the league leader by 12 points, didn’t particularly need Sanchez, who had entered the final six months of his contract at Arsenal. That wasn’t necessarily the case for United.Sanchez will add some dynamism and unpredictability to a front line that already includes Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Mourinho tried unsuccessfully to sign a winger in the last offseason.ADVERTISEMENT Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City “The chance to play in this historic stadium (Old Trafford) and to work with (United manager) Jose Mourinho was something I could not turn down.”The transfers of the 29-year-old players were announced simultaneously, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saying Mkhitaryan was a “very complete player.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“It’s a dream come true,” Mkhitaryan said, “because I’ve always dreamed of playing for Arsenal.”No financial details were disclosed, but United said Mkhitaryan was joining as “part of the deal” to bring Sanchez to Old Trafford. 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting LATEST STORIES MOST READ John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Sanchez joined Arsenal from Barcelona in July 2014 for about 30 million pounds, choosing a move to London amid interest from Liverpool.He was the top scorer in two of his three completed seasons at Emirates Stadium and helped Arsenal win the FA Cup in 2015 and ’17, quickly becoming a favorite with the fans. However, with Sanchez happy to run down his contract, Wenger accepted the need to sell his star player.Wenger rejected the theory that Sanchez was disrupting the harmony in the Arsenal team in his final months there.“He’s a very professional player who has been committed until the last minute,” Wenger said. “In training, he was practicing with full power, so I never questioned that. I never had any doubts about that.”Before Arsenal, Sanchez scored 39 goals in his three seasons at Barcelona after joining from Italian club Udinese.Mkhitaryan was substituted at halftime of his first league start for United, setting the tone for what has turned out to be a disappointing spell after arriving in English soccer for $33.5 million and with a big reputation in 2016.Mkhitaryan moved to United from Borussia Dortmund, where he was the German league player of the year, but struggled to secure a regular place in the team under Mourinho except in the first few months of this season.The Armenia international scored 23 goals and set up 32 more in his last season at Dortmund but failed to reproduce anything close to those numbers at United.With injuries affecting Mkhitaryan in his early months at United, Mourinho said the player needed time to adjust to the physicality and intensity of the Premier League.He finished last season by scoring an acrobatic goal in United’s 2-0 win over Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm and began this season well, too, setting up five goals in his first three games. 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Miguel Romero Polo: Bamboo technology like no other Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving Wade couldn’t wait to open the gift the Spurs gave him, which included signed jerseys from Duncan, Parker and Ginobili.“Legends,” Wade said. “Hall of Famer jerseys in those boxes with the Big Three here in San Antonio. Guys I have so much respect for with Duncan, Ginobili and Parker. I appreciate those jerseys.”Wade also exchanged jerseys with DeRozan at halfcourt following the game. The crowd serenaded him with “D-Wade” chants as he did a postgame interview and as he walked into the locker room.“It’s an honor,” DeRozan said of Wade’s gift. “It was an honor being able to play against him for 10 years of my career, especially me being in the East all those years.”TIP-INSHeat: Miami’s previous win at San Antonio was March 31, 2013, when Chris Bosh scored 23 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer, to stun the Spurs 88-86 as Wade and LeBron James sat out for rest. … Miami is 17-16 on the road after finishing 18-23 last season. … Justise Winslow missed the game with a bruised right thigh.Spurs: Mills played in his 521st game with the Spurs to move past Danny Green into the top 10 in franchise history for games played. Bruce Bowen is ninth with 630 games played for San Antonio. … Marco Belinelli became the 11th player in NBA history with 400 3-pointers off the bench.UP NEXTHeat: At the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.Spurs: At the Houston Rockets on Friday night. Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants Wade, who is retiring after 16 seasons, has been honored in his final game at visiting arenas. This one was special, though, given his history against the Spurs, coach Gregg Popovich and their vaunted Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.Wade was key to the battles between Miami and San Antonio in the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals. The Heat rallied from a six-point deficit in the final 20.3 seconds to force overtime and win Game 6 on their way to capturing the 2013 championship. San Antonio won the title the following season against Miami to avenge that defeat.The Spurs honored Wade before the game with a 1½-minute video, including their tussles in the NBA Finals. After the video played, Popovich presented Wade with a gift box that included signed jerseys from Duncan, Parker and Ginobili.“That’s dope,” Wade said. “I didn’t know it was going to be before the game. I like the music swag they had on it and the videos they put up. It was really cool. I’m so thankful and I’m so appreciative. I don’t expect those things to happen to me at all. I just came out and did my job every night and I’m thankful for the relationships that I have. I have a great one with Coach (Popovich) and I just appreciate what they did.”San Antonio also gifted Miami the first half, falling behind by as many as 17 points.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ LATEST STORIES James Harden’s 57 points not enough as Grizzlies overcome Rockets Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, right, and San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan pose for photographers after exchanging jerseys following an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in San Antonio. Miami won 110-105. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)SAN ANTONIO — Dwyane Wade was upset, ecstatic, tenacious and gracious in his final battle with the San Antonio Spurs.It was the perfect ending to Wade’s fiery showdowns with San Antonio, albeit an unusual one with the fans serenading him with cheers as he walked off the AT&T Center court after one final win over the Spurs.ADVERTISEMENT The Spurs rallied from a 12-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to pull to 108-105 on Rudy Gay’s floater with 1:07 remaining, but a turnover by DeMar DeRozan and a pair of free throws by Kelly Olynk sealed the victory.“We had a shot in the fourth quarter, but for three quarters they whipped us physically and discipline-wise,” Popovich said. “They deserve the win for that reason.”The Spurs had six players in double figures, but only two starters. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 17 points and DeRozan added 16. Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli added 17 apiece.San Antonio held opponents to 101.3 points per game during its winning streak but Miami reached 100 with 9 minutes remaining.DeRozan was given a technical foul after screaming at an official for not calling a foul when he was stripped by James Johnson on the baseline with the Spurs trailing 103-98 with 4:12 to play.Wade picked up a technical 2 minutes later after berating an official for a non-call on his missed fadeaway over Mills. Aldridge’s free throw pared Miami’s lead to 106-103.Wade responded by banking in an off-balance, fadeaway, left-handed runner.“A shot I’ve never seen him practice or ever attempt,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said, still in disbelief, “I guess sometimes that’s what great players can do, just manufacture something out of absolutely nothing. He was bottled up, Aldridge just had him jammed and that just gave us the breathing room at the end.”Wade finished with 11 points, including a running 3-pointer from halfcourt that brought the crowd to its feet in celebration of one of the Spurs’ fiercest competitors.HALL OF FAME SWAG Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:04Trump attends World Series baseball game in Washington DC02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss View comments Google Philippines names new country director Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event Goran Dragic had 22 points and the Miami Heat snapped the Spurs’ nine-game winning streak with a 110-105 victory Wednesday night, sending Wade home a winner in what was likely his final game in San Antonio.“We’re playing as good as a group together as we’ve played since I got back here,” Wade said. “It’s fun playing basketball with these guys this way.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsDion Waiters added 18 points and Josh Richardson had 15 for Miami, which won its third straight game to remain eighth in the Eastern Conference.San Antonio saw its 11-game home winning streak come to an end but remained fifth in the West. It was the Spurs’ first loss since Feb. 25 in Brooklyn as part of their 1-7 Rodeo Road Trip.