Monday, October 31, 2011

CHASE this...

I carry three credit cards.  I have one for Internet purchases, one for regular purchases, and one for backup.  I haven't carried a balance from one month to the next since ONE TIME in the 90's when they offered an interest holiday around Christmas.  I pay off the balance every month, and have for the 20+ years I have been using credit cards.

Mr. Helpful
In the eyes of the bank, if anybody were actually looking at individual accounts, I'm only a good customer because I use my cards ALOT.  They don't get any interest from me, they only get the fees they charge the merchants I shop with. 

Congress reduced that fee, the one that banks can charge merchants for each transaction.  Congress said they were fighting the greedy banks, and trying to help the consumer, and the business owner.  The same consumer and business owner who entered into the agreement freely with the banks.

A month ago, I received the "Your Credit Card Statement is Available On-Line" email.  I opened it, and saw that I had a late fee.  I checked my old emails, and could not find an email with my bill for the previous month.  I looked, and it had been just over 30 days since my last payment. 

I'm no conspiracy theorist, but this has happened to me before.  Once in 20+ years.  I wanted to call and complain.  In the old days, I would get somebody in Kansas, or some place where they used to hire customer service representatives with no accent...but those days are long gone, and we all know I would have gotten Guptar who would read policy from a manual.  So, I paid the late fee, and rotated my credit cards - not going to use that one again, just in case.

And then today...

I received another "Your Credit Card Statement is Available On-Line" email.  I opened it, and saw that I had a $1.50 "Minimum Interest Charge."  The charge was leveled on 10/20, the end of the billing cycle.  The card had a zero balance at that time, and was paid in full at the end of the previous billing cycle.

I can not figure it out.  I don't want to call and discuss it with Guptar.

I sent an email through their system.

Topic:  Disputed Fee/Charge
Comment:  Why am I charged a $1.50  Minimum Interest Charge on a balance of $0.00?  Please remove the charge, or I will leave you after 20+ years.  Your choice. 

That is where it stands.  I say they cut and paste an automatic response, with something about the time they sent the bill, and the time I paid it, etc. 

What do you think they will do?

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm Just Sayin'...

I'm not really feeling Rick Perry.  His new plan is detailed (kinda) on his website.  So are some attacks on Romney (you simply don't win by spending valuable time and money focused on your opponent).  The plan includes an option for taxpayers to choose a 20% flat tax. 

I believe the average taxpayer ends up paying 9% of their income in federal income taxes.  As a group, the top earners (I'm talking top 3%-ish) pay 14-19%.

Don't confuse that with "tax rates."  The richies might have a 35% tax rate - but that is on the adjusted income.  Perry's plan leaves in some deductions, so there would be some math involved...

The average American will not choose 20%.  Steve Forbes says 17%.  Race Bannon wants it lower.

The plan does do a few good things, that ALL REPUBLICANS, and FISCAL CONSERVATIVES should focus on:
  • Get rid of the Estate Tax
  • Minimize the Capital Gains Tax
  • Reduce the Corporate Income Tax, while getting rid of loopholes
  • No taxes on Social Security

The Bottom Line:  At current spending levels - the only flat tax that would balance the budget...28%.  We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Focus people! Focus!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


...has been very busy lately.  That can be good, or bad, depending on how you look at it.  One thing is for sure, business is booming. 

Also, family is in town.  Which gets me thinking - work wouldn't be so busy, if more families were in town...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

As Good As it Got'ed...

Born and raised in Ohio in 1942

Went to the United States Naval Academy, won the Heisman Trophy in 1963 (#12 Jersey is retired)

Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1964

Began playing for the Cowboys in 1969, after going to Vietnam

1971-1972 began starting in week 8, won 10 games in a row, including Super Bowl VI, named MVP

3 more Super Bowls (X, XII, XIII)

College Football Hall of Fame in 1981

Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985

Started "The Staubach Company" after retirement, sold in 2008 for $613,000,000

Roger Staubach and Bacon - doesn't get any better than that...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Its All Down Hill From Here... far as the US economy goes, I think we hit bottom.  Wait.

With unemployment at 9.1%, and some projections of 10% or more by election time, Obama and the democrats proposed a $447,000,000,000-ish spending bill.  If passed, its possible that it would create temporary jobs so 8% unemployment at election time won't look so bad.

The obstructionist Republicans in the House wouldn't let that happen.  

...oh wait, this just in, the Senate failed to pass the bill, not the House.  Two Democrat Senators who are up for re-election in 2012, didn't vote for it.  Another Democrat said he voted for it because he didn't believe in the Republicans voting against it, but he would not vote for its final passing.  Yes, he was elected as a Senator.

So, the President said he wanted to at least save teachers', firefighters' and cops' jobs by having the Federal Government give money to the cities.  A mere $30,000,000,000. 

The Republicans blocked it again (with the two Democrats...again) the Senate.

(Didn't those two Dem's know it had no chance at all of passing the House?  Politics - they're betting on voters in their states won't knowing much).

Republicans want to protect millionaires - and they don't want to pay teachers (they probably hate puppies too!)

Biden's Fourth-Grade Economics by Mark Steyn

"Here in this school, your school, you’ve had a lot of teachers who used to work here, but because there’s no money for them in the city, they’re not working. And so what happens is, when that occurs, each of the teachers that stays have more kids to teach. And they don’t get to spend as much time with you as they did when your classes were smaller. We think the federal government in Washington, D.C., should say to the cities and states, look, we’re going to give you some money so that you can hire back all those people. And the way we’re going to do it, we’re going to ask people who have a lot of money to pay just a little bit more in taxes."  - Slow Joe


"...Washington, D.C., is also broke — way broker than York City School District. In fact, the government of the United States is broker than any entity has ever been in the history of the planet. Officially, Washington has to return 15,000,000,000,000 dollars just to get back to having nothing at all. And that 15,000,000,000,000 dollars is a very lowball figure that conveniently ignores another $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities that the government, unlike private businesses, is able to keep off the books...

...Kevin Williamson pointed out that, in order to balance the budget of the United States, you would have to increase the taxes of people earning more than $250,000 a year by $500,000 a year...

...As Kevin Williamson also pointed out, to balance the budget of the United States on the backs of millionaires you would have to increase the taxes of those earning more than 1 million a year by 6 million a year...

...Since 1970, public-school employment has increased ten times faster than public-school enrollment. In 2008, the United States spent more per student on K–12 education than any other developed nation except Switzerland...

...In 2008, York City School District spent $12,691 per pupil...the district had 440 teachers but 295 administrative and support staff....

...America placed 17th in reading, 23rd in science, and 31st in math..."

...I think we are still headed downhill, and their may be a cliff at the bottom.

...and a big pile of money won't cushion our fall.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


...there is a city on the East Coast where dozens of unsolved murders, gang warfare, and (IMHO) a complete breakdown of society exists literally in the shadows of businesses designed to attract people from around the country to spend their vacation and entertainment dollars.

The Governor of the state (and possible VP candidate) "took over" parts of the city, mostly due to financial mismanagement, but partly due to the safety and security of tourists. The state police where brought in, task forces were formed, and...the in-fighting between law enforcement agencies began.

Most of the murders are "gang on gang" and don't garner much press. They don't even seem to garner much emotion from those close to the victim. This is where I believe the evidence of the breakdown in society shows itself the most. The murderers, witnesses, victims, live in an around housing projects. But I digress...

Where does a solution begin? Well, I'd have to digress a little more, but first of all...

1) Arrest bad guys when they do bad things

2) Convict bad guys when they do bad things

3) Sentence bad guys to appropriate jail terms

That would be a start. As a former boss of mine use to say, "Focus on the focusables."

FBI arrests 6 in Atlantic City murder, kidnapping case of Nadirah Ruffin

"“This investigation is of utmost importance to the FBI Safe Street Task Force due to aspects of home invasion, robbery, kidnapping, and the senseless murder of a young woman and mother,” Michael B. Ward, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI's Newark Division, said. “Such acts of violence will not be tolerated and will be met forcefully by the united efforts of law enforcement....

“I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI for their supercession of this investigation at the federal level,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said..."

This article was found online, I have no idea where "" is based, or what it reports on, but I can tell you this, the people of Atlantic City do not read it.

Here is the article from the local paper:

Atlantic City teen was kidnapped, killed because she recognized armed robber, complaint states

The article details the case, as read from the Complaint. It does not mention who wrote the complaint, or who arrested the bad guys, or even why murder suspects would be brought to Federal court?

But read the comments section of the article, the area residents know...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Econ 76...

I would call it Econ 101...but its remedial stuff.

Boneheaded Economics
Magical thinking about jobs from liberal ­Democrats.  by Fred Barnes

"It’s not just the Occupy Wall Street rabble who are promoting unorthodox ideas (to put it kindly) about our economic plight and how to create jobs. They have friends in Washington. A few examples:

Barbara Lee, a House member from California, is upset about computerized checkout lines at grocery stores..., “I know that’s a job or two or three that’s gone.”

Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois is up in arms about the iPad, which he declared on the House floor recently is “now probably responsible for eliminating thousands of jobs.”

...House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has her own remedy for the jobs dearth: Extend unemployment benefits. “It injects demand into the economy,” she insists. “It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.”
...Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota is the champion of job creation by adding to the regulatory burden of businesses. Sounds counter-productive, right? Not so, Ellison told MSNBC. Companies will have to hire more people to comply with new regs. “If the government says, look, we have got to reduce our carbon footprint, you will kick into gear a whole number of people that know how to do that or have ideas about that, and that will be a job engine,” Ellison said...

...Democratic senator Barbara Boxer of California issued a report recently to the effect that rules promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency generate jobs. “Industries that provide environmental protection” have begot more than one million jobs, the report said. What about industries that lost jobs because of EPA regulations?..."

Quiz time:

Members of Congress, where do companies get the money to pay salaries?

a)  Laws
b)  Tax Payers
c)  Bank Loans
d)  Sales from Customers

'Just the Way Business Works'
by Matthew Continetti

“There are no guarantees in the business world about success and failure,” lectured White House press secretary Jay Carney in September. Carney, whose knowledge of the business world comes from 20 years as a journalist and a few as a press flack, added, “That is just the way business works, and everyone recognizes that.”

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, who has spent a whole two and half years in the private sector, told a Chicago radio station last week, “Like venture capital, sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re wrong, and that’s unfortunate. Nobody takes losing money easily.”

And President Obama, who disliked his post-college year at a consulting firm so much he wrote in his autobiography that it made him feel “like a spy behind enemy lines,” said in his October 6 press conference, “There were going to be some companies that did not work out. Solyndra was one of them.”

...The fact that the president and his senior staff poorly grasp the distinction between private capital and taxpayer guarantees is nothing less than depressing. For the umpteenth time: When an investor risks his own money on a company, he is the only one that loses if the company goes belly-up."

Quiz Time:

Mr. President, which of the following are "businesses"?

a)  Banks
b)  Mortgage Brokers
c)  Automobile Manufacturers
d)  Community Activism

Friday, October 14, 2011

Go Do Something This Weekend...

I started to tally the ones I've used...but my blister really did hurt...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Other Side...

con·sen·sus  [ kən sénsəss ]: 1.broad unanimity: general or widespread agreement among all the members of a group. 2.view of society in equilibrium: a concept of society in which the absence of conflict is seen as the equilibrium state of society

so·cial·ism [ sṓshə lìzəm ]: 1.political system of communal ownership: a political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles

These people are going to solve alot of problems...

UPDATE: Explanation of idiots process here

Courageous and Epic...

California Man Explains Why He Threw a Hot Dog at Tiger Woods

First of all, does a California Man have to explain why he would throw a hot dog at Tiger Woods.  I think its takes alot of courage...and its epic.  Anyway, he explained:

"...Brandon Kelly of Petaluma told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat on Tuesday that he's a fan of Woods and got the idea after watching "Drive"

"I threw the hot dog toward Tiger Woods because I was inspired by the movie `Drive,"' Kelly said. "As soon as the movie ended, I thought to myself, `I have to do something courageous and epic. I have to throw a hot dog on the green in front of Tiger."'..."

"...When I looked up, the hot dog was already in the air," Woods said. "The bun was kind of disintegrating..."

"...Next thing I know, he laid on the ground, and looked like he wanted to be arrested because he ... put his hands behind his back and turned his head..."

I was researching for a post about the United States funding the UN, and I couldn't get it out of my head - why hasn't somebody thrown a hot dog at Tiger Woods? That would be courageous and epic!

I will say this - I'm going to watch that derned movie Drive...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


The left is sure we evolved from small single celled swamp sludge - they understand evolutionary forces.  But do they understand revolutionary forces? Like crippling tax policy (see Tea Party)...

Driving the Rich Into the Sea
Megaship ahoy! To escape higher taxes, the wealthy could open waters.
By Scott Adams

"According to biologists, billions of years ago the first sea creature wiggled onto the beach. This was a pivotal moment in life's long march from amorphous sea snot into the highest form of mammalian beings—hedge-fund managers. Many people see that as an improvement, but I'm not judgmental. What we don't know is why the first sea creatures were so anxious to leave their ocean habitats. My guess is that it had something to do with taxes.

Reliable people on television have informed me that taxes are the root cause of all behavior. And that means we can predict the future by looking at tax policy. In fact, I hear tax-related predictions every time I accidentally stop thinking about myself long enough to notice that others are talking. What I haven't yet seen is anyone correctly predicting the future based on tax policy. Apparently that burden has fallen to me.
Somewhere in Washington our leaders are furiously planning an economic death spiral. It will start innocently with a modest tax increase on the rich, the same way you might pluck a chicken to give it fair warning before you barbecue it. The final phase will involve a tax rate on the top 1% of earners that is so high it can't be described without the Viking word for pillage. I base my prediction on the fact that the country is out of money, poor people don't have any, rich people do, and the middle class has almost figured out how voting works..."
READ THE FULL ARTICLE (which isn't much longer) HERE

There's Nothing Worse...

...than a dirty cop.

FBI: Dozens Arrested in Ark. Corruption Probe

"Five police officers who allegedly guarded drug shipments were among 70 people indicted Tuesday in a sweeping federal investigation into corruption and drug trafficking in eastern Arkansas.

The investigation involved officers who are accused of accepting bribes to watch over shipments of cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine that moved across state lines, said Valerie Parlave, special agent in charge of the FBI's Little Rock office.

...Thyer said 51 people were arrested during a sweep that involved 800 state and federal law enforcement officers. Five suspects already were in jail and 14 remained at large at the time of his Tuesday afternoon news conference."

800 state and federal law enforcement officers?  Exactly 800?  They probably had more, but after some flights got cancelled, they went with an even 800.  I'm just sayin'...

Monday, October 10, 2011

La Pinta...

October 12, 1492, at approximately 2:00 a.m., Juan Rodriguez Bermeo discovered America from the deck of the Pinta.

They celebrate him in Spain...just kidding, the street this photo was taken on is named after him, or maybe somebody with the same name as him?

...well, it was probably the Bahamas, and Columbus claims he saw it at 10:00 p.m. on the 11th, and he called it San Salvador - which is now in Central America, but he thought he was near the East Indies.

Columbus had obtained the title "Admiral of the Seas" from the King and Queen of Spain, while Juan Rodriguez Bermeo had obtained the title  Rodrigo de Triana (which is like saying Bob from Triana)...

...oh yah, the King and Queen offered a lifetime pension to the person who first saw land, so, seeing land 4 hours earlier, technically Columbus did discover America, or the Bahamas, and well... we celebrate Columbus Day!

Columbus's Map

BTW - since Columbus was arguing that he discovered a quick route to the East Indies and not a new continent, Amerigo Vespucci got to name the place. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Other Side...

It is always good to listen to what the other side says...other than Matt Damon, these are normal people.  I mean, they are not corrupt millionaires who forgot where they got their millions, where people shout out Matt Damon for no reason...they are normal in that sense, but they seem to ignore facts and reality?  That's my take anyway...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Are you a Mac or a PC?

I start my day by reading the morning paper.  Which is actually a computer.  But, I'm old school - it sits on a desk, is large, lots of wires, and hums loudly.  I start on FoxNews (homepage) and if nothing is shocking the world, I go to local news (which is usually lame, but may have news about my work), then some polito-blogs - but mostly looking for 'news.'  Then I hit the Family Blogs, then what I call "Homemade Blogs" to see what real people are saying, then a couple "Industry Blogs" to see if my job is changing, and then...

I need a break, let the mind rest, so...

...I hit the crossfit blogs to form in my head a workout for the day.  I start with the mainpage, then go to Crossfit Football (in case the Cowboys call, I need to stay in shape), then Sealfit (in case the SEALs call, I need to stay in shape).  If I see something I like, I plan my workout.

Today, like some others, I went to Crossfit, which had a link to the article Why Knowledge Is More Important Than Jobs: The Solyndra Story (Part 9).  I was reading the article, blood was boiling, I was pondering what I would do if I was back in the private sector, what I would do if I was a politician...and that article had an embedded link to Why Amazon Can't Make A Kindle In the USA I started reading that.

"...two economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, did a study showing that only 2.7% of U.S. consumer purchases have the “Made in China” label. Moreover, only 1.2% actually reflects the cost of the imported goods. Thus, on average, of every dollar spent on an item labeled “Made in China,” 55 cents go for services produced in the United States. So the study trumpets the finding that China has only a tiny sliver of the U.S. economy...

...So no problem, right?

Well, not exactly. The tiny sliver happens to be the sliver that matters...

...In the same way that cost accounting and short-term corporate profits don’t reflect the true health of corporations, the economists’ reckoning of the impact of outsourcing production overseas misses the point. Americans are left with shipping the goods, selling the goods, marketing the goods. But the country is no longer to compete in the key task of actually making the goods...

...So the decline of manufacturing in a region sets off a chain reaction. Once manufacturing is outsourced, process-engineering expertise can’t be maintained, since it depends on daily interactions with manufacturing. Without process-engineering capabilities, companies find it increasingly difficult to conduct advanced research on next-generation process technologies. Without the ability to develop such new processes, they find they can no longer develop new products. In the long term, then, an economy that lacks an infrastructure for advanced process engineering and manufacturing will lose its ability to innovate..."

by Steve Denning

Now . . . angry...ready for my workout.

The Luckiest Man Still Alive...

CIA operative charged in parking spot fight

"A CIA contractor freed by Pakistani authorities after the families of two men he killed in a shootout agreed to accept a $2.34 million "blood money" payment was charged Saturday after authorities said he got into a fight over a shopping center parking spot.

Deputies responding to an altercation between two men outside an Einstein Bagel in Highlands Ranch, south of Denver, took Raymond Davis into custody Saturday morning, said Sheriff's Lt. Glenn Peitzmeier. He was charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.

Further details on his arrest, which was first reported by KMGH-TV Channel 7 in Denver, were not immediately available.

Peitzmeier said the victim, who was not identified (and is the luckiest man still alive), refused medical treatment at the scene. Davis was freed from the jail after posting bond, Peitzmeier said.

In January, Davis said he shot two Pakistani men who tried to rob him in Lahore. The case enraged many in the country, where anti-American sentiment runs high.

The U.S. insisted Davis had immunity from prosecution, but he was not released until March 16 under a deal that compensated the victims' families, who agreed to accept "blood money" under Islamic tradition. Pakistan's security agencies came under intense domestic criticism for freeing him."
Sources who refused to comment on the record because they too might be killed by Davis reported Davis yelled, "I'm a CIA assassin! I'm a CIA assassin!", throughout the ordeal. 

In Other News:

Chris Christie Says He Wont Run - Insiders say he won't even consider a slow jog, but maybe a brisk walk (I'm not part of the 'girther' movement, I would have voted for Taft).

Harry Reid to Consider Surtax on Millionaires to Pay for Jobs Bill  - So, instead of millionaires hiring people directly, paying with their own money for services and products made by companies filled with employees...Reid and Co. just don't get how this freedom thing works.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Home Skulers Unite!

from Reuters:

After decades on the margins of political life, homeschoolers have become some of the most valued Republican foot soldiers in Iowa, where a few thousand activists can wield an outsize influence in the first nominating contest in the 2012 presidential election.

Four years ago, homeschoolers helped push Mike Huckabee to a surprise victory in the Iowa caucuses over Mitt Romney's better-funded, better organized campaign.

This time around, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum proudly point out that they homeschooled their own children, while Ron Paul touts himself as a "homeschooling champion" on his campaign Web site. Rick Perry proclaimed an official "homeschool week" as governor of Texas, and Herman Cain joined other candidates at a homeschool conference earlier this year.

I am torn about homeschooling.  Torn between:  'Is homeschooling better because public schools offer a slanted, low value, dumbed down, leftest education,'  or because  'Homeschooling can provide a much better education.'

...and then there's this:

...and this:

Now, I don't have evidence he was homeschooled, I'm just sayin'...(and I know a certain homeschooler who will love watching this get back to work!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Unintended Consequences...

In my previous career (now I'm saving the world, then I was selling the world good products at a reasonable price), there was an executive I worked with who always warned of 'unintended consequences.'  Over and over again, a manager would make a decision, and the exec would evaluate it based on what would be the result next week, next month, and within the culture of our company.  1) It slowed managers from making game changing decisions, but 2) it taught me to look beyond Stage One (see Thomas Sowell).

Oh by the way, this exec was a HUGE lefty.

Citigroup announced a while back it was going to start charging fees on checking and savings accounts that don't maintain a minimum balance.

Wells Fargo and Chase announced they were going to start charging for direct debit card swipe purchases.

Bank of America just joined the fray.


You Can't Call It An Unintended Consequence If You Knew It Was Going To Happen  - Peter Suderman

"...Traditionally, financial institutions have charged retailers interchange fees for every debit card transaction. Retailers weren't pleased with this and successfully lobbied to have those fees capped at substantially reduced rates. Starting this week, a Dodd-Frank amendment sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin will cut the average per-transaction fee from about 44 cents to roughly 24 cents for large banks..."

"...The Washington Post reports that Durbin issued a statement yesterday arguing that the regulations would help retailers and small businesses, and blasting the new debit card fees as "unfair." But Durbin and other legislators who supported the fee caps were clearly warned about these fees well in advance; they went ahead with the rules anyway. If there's something unfair about the situation, it's that Congress decided to take sides in a big business battle between retailers and banks. Legislators picked the winner—retailers—and consumers ended up as the losers."

What happens when you allow the federal government to force banks to make loans to people who would not qualify if the bank alone made the decision?

What happens when you increase taxes on oil companies?

What happens when we elect guys like this:

(Watch the video all the way through to see that the questioner was a converted lefty)