Is Alabama the Viral Video Capital?

It’s the week leading up to the Third Saturday of October—the day in which the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers duke it out on the football field for yearly bragging rights.  While this tradition has been enjoyable, it has been made even more enjoyable in recent years because of a viral video featuring a University of Alabama student called “I Hate Tennessee.”

The success of this video makes one wonder if there are more viral videos that feature Alabama residents.  It turns out there are quite a few—some even becoming internet royalty. Here a handful of those videos:

Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife

Huntsville resident, Antoine Dodson, became an internet sensation after he warned fellow residents to beware of would-be rapists.


I Hate Tennessee

What makes this video great is the cyclical nature of the popularity.  The video has its fans throughout the year, but it gets its biggest number of spins during the month of October.  It’s been ten years now, and the video brings joy to so many hearts.

The Mobile Leprechaun

Talk about another seasonal joy.  This one has huge national acclaim, but it also has huge statewide support during the month of the March.  St. Patrick’s Day isn’t the same with this legendary gem.

Honorable Mentions

What are some others that didn’t make this article? Dancing teachers of Tuscaloosa? A particularly witty sound bite of Coach Nick Saban? Violent city councilmen in Dothan? If you know of some more Alabama viral videos, list them below in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Top 5 Cars Under $3000 | Baxter

Recently, I wrote a blog entry (Click Here) that said the biggest money mistake in my early adult years was wasting a perfectly good $3000 savings on a down payment and loan for a $13,000 nearly new NISSAN Versa Hatchback.  If you re-read a bit further, you will see that I ended up paying $20,000 for that car, which I plan to drive until it dies a slow death.  But writing that blog made me wonder: what if I was smart enough to just buy a car with straight cash for $3000?  What could I have gotten?

For this exercise, I assume that all cars are being bought from a private party via Craigslist, newspaper classifieds, or some other method that is not a dealership.  As of February 2015, in no particular order, my top 5 list of used cars under $3000 is as follows:

1) Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2001 Model)

According to Kelley Blue Book, I can get this entry level luxury sedan in good condition for $2748.  That’s quite a steal if you ask me.  Plus, it still looks pretty slick for a car that’s almost 15 years old.

01 MB C-Class

2) BMW X5 (2000 Model)

This shnazy sports activity vehicle was the very first vehicle every produced in the United States by BMW.  If it were not for the success of this vehicle and others like it, the economy of the South would not be as strong and diversified as it is today.  This SUV is available currently for between $2700 and $3200.  But if you play your cards right, I’m sure you can get someone to sell you one for $2500 or lower.

02 BMW X5

3) Ford Mustang (2003 Model)

If you can find this car in excellent condition (which likely), you can buy it for under $3000.  In fact, KBB says that we should be able to buy one for $2964. That’s a real deal.  Pump up the engine package and the price will rise, but it is still very affordable.  The price is main reason why this is usually everyone’s first sports car.

03 Ford Mustang

4) Honda Civic (2002 Model)

This right here is ol’ reliable.  If you need a car and do not have a lot of money, then the Honda Civic is your car.  Not to mention, several independent body shops specialize in Honda vehicles so this makes maintenance very affordable as well.  Did I mentioned that it has whopping 28 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway?

04 Honda Civic

5) Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab (2002 Model)

I honestly do not have a preference for the F-150, Silverado, or Ram—all of them are good sturdy trucks for every day normal use.  Not only that, they tend to be cheaper than other vehicles but are still very easy to sell once you decide to upgrade in car.

05 Chevy Silverado

What’s your Top 5? 

Vaccines, Lightning, Lottery: What Are the Odds?

The odds of being killed in a tornado in a given year are 1 in 5,693,092.

The odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are 1 in 1,107,143.

The odds of winning the grand prize in the lottery are 1 in 175,223,510.

Thank you Mr. Lottery!

Why am I mentioning this? Why is it even relevant? Surely almost all of you have been through a tornado and survived, right? Surely every single one of you reading this has seen lightning and are still alive, right? And I am going out on a limb here, but almost certainly none of you reading this has ever won the grand prize of the lottery, correct?

I am bringing these statistics up for one simple reason: vaccines.

Yes, the scary and extremely controversial subject that somehow science doesn’t understand yet we are still pumping our kids full of them. Well, why don’t we look at some data?

Per: National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) Adjudication Categories by Vaccine for Claims Filed Calendar Year 2006 to Present.

Vaccine Alleged by Petitioner

No. of Doses Distributed US CY 2006 – CY 2013 (Source: CDC)

Compensable

Compensable Total

Dismissed/ Non-Compensable Total

Grand Total

Concession

Court Decision

Settlement

DT

652,327

1

3

4

4

8

DTaP

75,888,233

10

17

71

98

72

170

DTaP-Hep B-IPV

43,929,797

4

6

18

28

38

66

DTaP-HIB

1,135,474

0

1

1

DTaP-IPV-HIB

39,590,896

5

5

11

16

DTP

04

1

2

3

2

5

DTP-HIB

04

0

1

1

Hep A-Hep B

11,662,755

8

8

1

9

Hep B-HIB

4,796,583

1

1

1

3

1

4

Hepatitis A (Hep A)

124,212,280

2

4

20

26

18

44

Hepatitis B (Hep B)

129,820,136

2

10

35

47

34

81

HIB

83,517,849

1

4

5

4

9

HPV

67,250,524

10

62

71

80

151

Influenza5

944,000,000

36

67

728

831

165

996

IPV

58,019,052

4

4

2

6

Measles

135,660

1

1

1

Meningococcal

58,412,363

1

1

22

24

3

27

MMR

73,441,556

15

13

52

80

69

149

MMR-Varicella

11,028,270

8

7

15

8

23

Nonqualified6

N/A

0

21

21

OPV

0

1

1

3

4

Vaccine Alleged by Petitioner

No. of Doses Distributed US CY 2006 – CY 2013 (Source: CDC)

Compensable

Compensable Total

Dismissed/ Non-Compensable Total

Grand Total

Concession

Court Decision

Settlement

Pneumococcal Conjugate

132,932,107

1

5

6

13

19

Rotavirus

70,719,103

1

3

15

19

6

25

Rubella

422,548

1

1

1

Td

55,742,830

4

5

49

58

15

73

Tdap

155,106,848

11

6

74

91

11

102

TETANUS

3,836,052

3

17

20

10

30

Unspecified7

N/A

1

2

3

541

544

Varicella

90,425,492

3

5

20

28

10

38

Grand Total

2,236,678,735

114

142

1,225

1,480

1,144

2,624

Guys, this is it. This is all of the actual cases taken to court that has found vaccines accountable for an injury. All of them.

I honestly don’t want to hear,”What about the shots that the parents never took the kids to trial over!” That is a terrible argument. If your kid were “vaccine injured” and “regressed to autism,” would you not seek out legal help? There are ambulance chasers plastered over every city that work for free if no money is won, are you telling me they won’t do the same in HUGE money cases like this?

Rant over. What we see here is this: There is a 0.0000013% chance of your kid suffering an injury from a vaccine. You have a 1 in 1,300,000 chance of being injured from vaccines. Sure, you have better chance of being injured by vaccines than winning the lottery and being killed by tornadoes. Lets throw lottery out. Lets look at tornadoes. You are a little less than 5 times more likely to be injured by vaccines than you are to be killed by a tornado. That is not much. Are you fleeing tornado zones in mass exodus? No.

You are MORE likely to be injured in a lightning strike than you are by a vaccine. Do you cry foul and petition to the government to end lightning? No!

The numbers do not lie. They simply do not. If you are against vaccines, you have a 99.9999987% reason to not be. And after that, well, you are simply pleading ignorance.

Why AT&T Next is a Win/Win for Both Consumers and AT&T

Edit: I made an arithmetic mistake in the original article that inflated the savings of the new AT&T Next plans.

AT&T rolled out its new no contract payment plan called AT&T Next. In this model AT&T no longer subsidizes the cost of the phone in exchange for a 2 year contract. Now, consumers will have to pay the full price of the phone. I am going to tell you why that is a good thing.

AT&T will let you pay for your new phone in monthly installments added directly to you bill. There is no down payment, activation fee, upgrade fee, or financing fee (interest). The total cost of the phone divided by the number on months financed is added to you bill.

There are two AT&T Next options—Next 12 and Next 18. With Next 12 the cost of the phone is spit over 20 months with the option to upgrade again at 12 months. After 12 months you have two options for upgrading. Firstly, you can trade in your current working phone for the next phone you want to upgrade to. Or you can pay off the balance on your current phone and upgrade to the next phone. Then the process starts again and you’re paying on a new phone. There is also the Next 18 which has allows for an upgrade at 18 months and the cost of the phone is split over 24 months.

Of course, you don’t have to upgrade. After your phone is paid in full, you are capable of going month to month on your payments while maintaining full ownership of your phone.

I talked to an AT&T representative about this, and his response indicated that it is up to the particular AT&T representative if your phone is in good enough condition to be traded in. However, he did mention that if it powers on and is not cracked then it should be accepted. Dents, scuffs, and general wear and tear are acceptable.

At this point you must be thinking “Why would I want to pay full price for my phone that I was getting at a subsidized price?” AT&T thought the same thing and now offers a $15 monthly discount for data plans less than 10GB and a $25 monthly discount for data plans above 10GB. This monthly discount, subsidy, is why the new AT&T Next is good for you and your wallet. Let me explain. (Assumption: you like having a relatively new phone as often as you can afford it. If you still have a Motorola Razr or Nokia brick, then you’re probably not reading this article anyways.)

With the old 2 year contract plan you could buy a phone at a subsidized price, pay an activation fee and be on your way. After 20 months you are eligible for a phone upgrade if you sign another 2 year contract. You get a subsidized phone price, but you can only get that price once every 20 months. In the table below, you can see the associated cost comparisons for old 2 year contract model and the new Next 12 and 18 models.

Firstly, let us look at the first month’s costs for each of the plans. With the old 2 year contract model you would be required to pay for the cost of the phone and activation fee. For the new flagship phones (i.e. Samsung Galaxy or iPhone) the cost was typically $200. The activation fee is approximately $45. The first month’s costs for 2 year contract are approximately $245 plus any other fees and taxes. The first month’s (net) costs for AT&T Next are $17.50 and $12.08 for Next 12 and Next 18 respectively plus taxes. For the first month of your new Next plan you are going to pay approximately $230 less than your old 2 year contract.

Now let us look at the monthly costs (after the first month) of each of the plans. For the Next 12 you pay $17.50 more each month and for the Next 18 you pay $12.08 more each month than the 2 year contract plan. If you keep your phone until it is paid off you will pay $105 more for Next 12 and $45 more for Next 18. However, if you take advantage of the 12 and 18 month trade-in, you will come out $35 and $27.56 in the black for Next 12 and 18 respectively.

This isn’t a lot of savings. In fact, if you wait too long to trade in your phone you will end up paying more than you would have on the old 2 year contract model.

There are some perks that will have ranging subjective values for different people. For starters, there is not large down payment. You can get your new phone today without a down payment and without any financings fees or interest. When money is tight people tend to avoid spending a lot or money at once. It is pleasant to not be charged more because you can’t pay in full up front. Finally, there is the value of being able to upgrade every 12 months. If you are a savvy at selling things online, you could sell last year’s model and turn a profit.

The new AT&T Next plans will save you a couple bucks. But how does AT&T benefit from this model. Simple, AT&T is no longer subsidizing the other $450 of your new iPhone or Samsung which is more than the $15 a month they give. And if you trade in the phone on your next upgrade, they can sell that as a refurbished phone.

In summary, the new AT&T Next plans can save you up to $35 a year if you upgrade to a new phone every 12 months. It can also cost you as much as $105 over 20 months if you choose not to upgrade. It isn’t a lot, but every dollar counts. With T-Mobile’s Jump and AT&T’s Next installment plans, we might be seeing the start of a shift in how we buy phones.