The last time I posted
Ok, it's been 10 months since my last post. That's far too long. I hope to start posting again soon. It's much easier just to facebook now. Here is my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=721573371
Ok, it's been 10 months since my last post. That's far too long. I hope to start posting again soon. It's much easier just to facebook now. Here is my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=721573371
why I will never vote for anything with a tax increase. We need to re-allocate the funds we already give...not give more.
Tracking Your Taxes: The Earmark Kings
With Washington bleeding green, Congress' princes of pork are treating taxpayers like a giant ATM and racking up billions in earmarks for pet projects like a supercomputer that studies fruit flies, a trolley museum in Pennsylvania and a biotech association that doesn't even exist.
In the next 16 days, Congress will spend more than $3 trillion in taxpayer money. To cover these programs, some Americans will be working up to three hours of each day.
Vast amounts of that money will be spent in the form of earmarks, specially designated pet projects that members of Congress use to bring federal funds back to their home states. Since 44 congressmen make no earmarks at all, that means the rest are doing more than their share. For example, in the House, just 4 percent of members took home 32 percent of all the bacon -- and all were members of the Defense Appropriations Committee.
With Washington bleeding green, some congressmen -- the princes of pork -- are treating you like a giant ATM and can't spend your money fast enough.
In the last two years, the self-described earmark king, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, has sponsored earmarks totaling $2 billion dollars. This year he's at it again:
$12 million to monitor sea turtles and monk seals.
$5 million for a supercomputer to help study planets and fruit flies.
$8 million for a cultural exchange between villages that once made a living killing whales.
$24 million for the East West Center, a private think tank even President Obama wants to cut.
$500,000 for music enrichment programs for Native Hawaiian children -- part of $59 million for health and education programs targeted to Native Alaskans or Hawaiians.
Inouye is one of the last of a generation of unapologetic earmarkers who feel it's their job to bring federal dollars home. And when they reach Inouye's level of seniority -- he is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee -- they can bring home a lot. He once even appropriated $20 million for a museum where he was chairman.
The top Republican spender, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, made waves in 2009 with the largest earmark ever -- $439 million to restore barrier islands off the Mississippi coast, a giant project that comes on top of $80 billion that taxpayers have already forked over to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
This year (in fiscal year 2009), Cochran helped sponsor 259 earmarks worth $1.2 billion, but he's now aiming for a dubious distinction: he wants $2.6 billion for 2010 -- a record for a single politician:
$201 million to his alma mater, the University of Mississippi, including $10 million for programs at the Thad Cochran Research Center.
$750,000 Mississippi Biotechnology Association building -- an organization that has no members and doesn't exist, and that got $450,000 last year.
$4.4 million to build fire stations, $14 million to improve drinking water in local communities (responsibilities typically left to the states).
$1.6 million for a mobile music lab.
$650,000 to a private Christian school (Piney Woods) on 2,000 wooded acres where student tuition is $31,400.
$400,000 to pay overtime for the Jackson Police Department to combat drug use.
$950,000 for the local Audubon Society, despite national Audubon assets topping $18 million.
Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., earmarked $120 million this year, and wants another $148 million for 2010:
$500,000 to improve the profitability of dairy farms.
$1 million to toward the $250 million Sky Shuttle, an urban Mag-Lev train for a university in southwest Pennsylvania.
$1 million for a trolley museum.
OR....why I will never vote for anything with a tax increase. We need to re-allocate the funds we already give...not give more.
Tracking Your Taxes: Tax Dollars Being Washed Out to Sea
Since 1997 Congress has averaged around $100 million a year on beach replenishment projects, but the tons of sand that are dumped in front of luxury hotels and multi-million dollar real estate literally get washed away.
Talk about money running through your fingers.
It's no surprise that many Americans -- who see tax dollars spent for waste and ineffective programs -- feel as though their dollars are literally being tossed out to sea.
But FOX News found one program that does just that.
Sand replenishment projects are allotted millions of tax dollars annually to "rejuvenate" beaches, often just steps from multimillion-dollar beach homes and luxury hotels.
From New England to Florida, North Carolina to California, coastal communities lobby Congress for money to buff up their beaches, even though many of these coastal states have set aside state funds for these projects.
Congress dumps up to $100 million in federally subsidized sand onto American beaches every year -- only to have it washed away by waves.
Taxpayers "replenished" one beach in Cape May, N.J., 10 times between 1962 and 1995 at a cost of $25 million. In nearby Ocean City, N.J., the beach was "replenished" 22 times between 1952 and 1995 for $83 million.
Another beach project in Encinitas, Calif., cost taxpayers $14 million.
Encinitas mayor Maggie Houlihan says it's worth it for locals and tourism, which brings in $43 million a year. "This is another part of maintaining an absolutely critical asset and the reason most of us move to the coast in the first place," she says.
"When you really think about how important the beach is to people's quality of life, it is money well spent."
For years, in an effort to save hundreds of millions of tax dollars, the Congressional Budget Office has recommended eliminating the "Beach Nourishment" program. The CBO projects a $285 million savings over five years if Congress eliminates federal funding for beach replenishment projects.
Critics say the projects are not only economically wasteful, but they pose a negative environmental impact. In one 2004 project in Port St. Lucie, Fla., newly placed sand turned as hard as concrete when it dried, trapping sea turtle hatchlings beneath the surface. The sand had to be entirely removed just two years later.
In May 2007 Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) tried to insert an amendment that would have ended the projects by diverting the money to levee and infrastructure needs. The Senate defeated his amendment by a 77-12 vote.
Thousands of Americans are receiving federal stimulus checks in the mail, this week. Only problem: many of them are deceased.
I just love big government....
Now here is an invention that could save lives. If we are really serious about banning cell phone calls and texts while driving, this will become standard software in cell phones of the future.
You can see the left turn signal on...driver is just nervous and puts it in reverse. Thinking it's in drive hits the gas to pull out into traffic and....whoops.
In sports a lot is made of "team chemistry." While I agree in many sports, like Hockey, basketball and football it is important to know exactly what a team mate is doing...their tendencies, speed, agility, etc... In baseball I don't think that's true. Example after example in history has proven guys who hated each other played for winning teams. The Dodgers may not hate each other, but how about this story from today's paper....
Marsha and I started our new Summer bowling league last Tuesday (May 13). Like most Summer leagues you don't use your past average as a starting point, you have to establish a new average.
Well, here we go. There is still a lot of legal mumbo jumbo to go through, so it may sill take years, but eventually we will have money like the Euro, which comes in all shapes and sizes. Maybe this is the ideal time to get rid of the Penny and the paper $1 bill ?
Good ol' American Enterprise at it's finest. Buying and fixing up Geo Metro's, which get the same gas mileage as teh Hybrid Prius, and reselling them for 5 x their Blue Book value.
My cell phone has been having problems ever since I got it. I’ve had Verizon Wireless replace it twice already. This week, it shut off for no apparent reason and wouldn’t turn on. I replaced the battery and it still wouldn’t turn on. I called their tech support who offered to replace it again. In the middle of the night, it just came back on and started working again. I called their CS back and said, you know what I just want a new model phone. I’ll even pay for it, all I ask is that you upgrade my account to show I am eligible for the $100 discount to get the “new every two” phone. The first e-mail I got was typical…”we’re sorry but this is not our policy, we will replace your current phone with the same model, etc…”
I should preface this story by saying that on my outbound flight to Buffalo, form Seattle, I voluntarily gave up my seat to help Continental in an “over sold” situation. This is how the return flights went….
I should preface this story by saying that on my outbound flight to
My Continental flight from Buffalo to Cleveland was delayed because the incoming flight, from Newark, was stuck due to "Weather" even though Northwest had no delays from Newark...hmm. The gate agents said the connection in
After vehemently complaining and having two very grumpy
We arrived early for our
Our plane inches forward three times, so everyone is thinking we are now third, when the captain comes back on and says they’ve now discovered the route they planned for us doesn’t give us enough fuel to get to
About 15 minutes later, he comes on again and says we are going to move over to a different runway. On the way there, hw again comes on the line and says we are going back to the gate to refuel. He doesn’t know if it will take 5 minutes or a ½ hour, but if we get off the plane, it may not be there when we come back. But we can leave at our own risk.
Meanwhile, the other passenger traveling to
Some people get off the plane to go find food (because it is now 12:25 and we’ve been offered NOTHING except a cup of water. As we come back to the plane at 12:40 the ticket agent yells at us down the hallway saying they are shutting the doors and the plane is going to leave without us. We scurry over to the gate only to have the stewardesses tell us we have at least 20 minutes still because they haven’t even begun fueling the plane yet.
As we start to go back up the jet way, the other Seattle bound passenger says, man – the customer service has sucked so far on this trip. The ticket agent says, “what did you say?” in a very confrontational way. I turn to him and say – he said the customer service has sucked so far this trip. The guy turns to me and says, “if you’d like you can follow me and we can have that discussion downtown.” I said – what are you talking about? He says, “or I can just have the police officer come down here and get you.” I say, “for what – for saying the customer service has sucked?” He says “come on, follow me” – At this time there are about 12 other passengers and the stewardesses standing there and the other 12 customers all start yelling at him to get out of there & the stewardesses finally tell him to go away.
We go stand around in the airport for another 20 minutes and finally load back onto the plane at 1 pm because, as the captain tells us, we’ll lose our place in line if we don’t push back by 1:10pm…but before I can get on that same agent stops me from getting on the plane and says, “you know, this whole thing could happen again, so you could be right back here in 2 hours”. I say I don’t want to say anything to him and I get on the plane. The lady behind me yells at him to “get out of our way and let us onboard the plane”
We all get back on the plane and the captain comes on to tell us that, due to lightning, we will be sitting there for another 20 minutes because the ground crew can’t take the risk of getting hit by lightning. No one is allowed to leave because we need to push back as soon as the ground crew is cleared.
At 1:50 PP (5 ½ hours after our original departure time), we taxi out to the runway and are told we are 6th in line (again). Captain says we should be taking off in about 30 minutes (6 x 3 = 18).
At 2:19 pm, we finally take off from
So, instead of being home at 10:30 pm on Wed. Aug 15, we arrive home at 5 pm on August 16…after having slept on a cot, been offered no food or drink from the airline and, of course, no sleep.
I had my sister write this up….and I may edit this at some point, but I have a co-worker as a witness to the fact all this actually happened. It is why I will never shop at Fry’s again and instead use Tigerdirect.com for all my networking purposes. The premise is pretty simple….I have a sister who is not very computer literate and asked me to help her out with an external hard drive purchase so she can store her photos (she loves to “scrapbook” and needs tons of pictures to do so effectively). She asked me to help her get an external hard drive because she was getting a memory full error.
Today’s experience in customer service.
I leave for lunch at 12:15 and pick up my brother and his coworker who are in town from Seattle on business. Every time Nick is in town he knows to expect to be my tech support. This visit was no different….well …. Except for the experience at Fry’s.
We arrive at Fry’s about 12:30 and have a sandwich in their deli, do my shopping to pick up an external hard drive and some ink for my printer, and proceed to the check out counter….total time 45 – 50 minutes.
When I get to the check out counter (1:10 – 1:15) my external hard drive and ink cartridge were being rang up together when the clerk (Lani) said she can’t ring up the hard drive because it is a special order item. I let her know that I didn’t think it was a special order item because it is on sale in 3 different places in the store … one of those places being about 3 feet from us in the isle leading up to the registers. She replies that because it is special order she has to go get a tag for it from the hardware department. So off she goes. About 5 minutes later she comes back tag in hand and rings me up again and reads me my total for the two items…she them says … she can’t ring the items together because it was a special order and then proceeds to credit back my credit card for the hard drive and ring up only the ink cartridge which was then signed for, bagged, and my receipt handed to me. At this point Nick who was originally waiting by the door for me comes to see what the hold up is. Lani says she apologizes and is almost finished. Nick and I shrug our shoulders as there is nothing we can really do about it. It is now about 1:25 when Lani rings up the hard drive for the 3rd time and now can’t print my receipt because Fry’s is having a printer problem. At this point I am already getting a bit fidgety as I have been at her counter for 20 minutes to purchase 2 items. The supervisor (Sushma) comes over and ties to print the receipt, not luck so they move to another register and tell me they are going to try to ring it or print it from there….more minutes go by. I am now at the breaking point and ask for them to get a manager and at this point I want them to credit my credit card back because I just need to leave the store. They couldn’t do this either because why…. They didn’t have the original receipt! I now (politely of course) ask for the manager again because I need someone who can just get me out of the store. We are now walking to customer service where the manager should be able to issue a credit to my card and let us leave the store. But no … we (manager, supervisor, clerk, nick, and me) go back to the register where the manager (Christopher) tries to explain that even though they can’t print to the receipt printer they should be able to get all receipts from the register. The supervisor is just not getting it and the manager is also now getting upset. He literally had to tell her if Lani was going home for the day…what would you do.? She says close the register, the clerk say F8, and whallla it clicks. They close the register, all receipts print, and they now have my receipt number to credit my card. The register manager (Phuong) now walks up and Christopher explains to her that her people have no idea what they are doing….she took over and credited AGAIN and I finally saw a receipt with the credit on it. Phuong now wants to ring up the hard drive again, and I again explained I don’t want it now I have been her for 50 minutes, I’d rather just leave and she says but I need to ring you for the hard drive…Nick then say what didn’t you hear…she wants her receipt so we can go and I reiterated that I will not be buying anything from them since it took them 50 minutes to not sell me the product I came for and YES I left without the hard drive.
In comparison … After work I pulled into Best Buy, picked up an external hard drive, checked out with a price discrepancy, and was still out in no exaggeration 7 minutes!
One thing I will note....In the time it took her to write this out, she had all her pictures transferred the esternal hard drive she bought from Best buy. In the past year, both of us (mid to late 30's) have purchase dnew washers and dryers, computers, external hard drives, games, etc... We ARE the TARGET audience.
Up until now I only considered myself a marginal tech geek. But I just realized I am at the airport…. I'm sitting in the bar, waiting for my flight, using my phone as a modem and watching my location free TV...am I a tech gook or what?
Today is a BIG day.
I had a great Father’s Day. MY Kids both made me cards that look great. I’m going to take them to my office tomorrow. Ryan made me a keychain that says “Dad” on it. I’ve already got it on my Key Ring. Marsha got me an Ipod Nano for my upcoming trip to
We all know some players lie about their birthdays, but Jose Mesa’s birth date is listed on the Philadelphia Phillies web page (http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=118986) as 05/22/1966
Which is fine except his Daughter's birth date is listed on the SAME PAGE as 1/15/74
The Colorado Rockies are charging more for tickets to see their upcoming home series against the Yankees than they do any other team.
A box-seat ticket along the first-base line that would have cost you $42 for an interleague game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays will go for $75 during the Yankees series, with similar increases spread over most of the ballpark.
Ian Snell (of the Pittsburgh Pirates) will not start tomorrow night against
The right-hander blistered his finger while cooking in his kitchen.
"I was cooking a chicken breast for a salad and burned my finger," Snell said. "I'm all right, but the salad wasn't too good."
The Oakland Raiders, a Team that has sucked intensely in recent years, canceled the final week of their off-season training program Friday after complaints from the NFL players' union about the intensity of the practices.
In a brief statement, coach Lane Kiffin said the players' union believes the Raiders' off-season program violated league rules on practice standards.
In an extremely curious move (or at least curious timing), the LA Dodgers fire Hall of Famer Eddie Murray as hitting coach after team gets 31 hits and scores 18 runs in a three game series while sweeping the NL East-leading NY Mets
What a weekend. We’ve had a heck of a time with our Fence project. The first company that was supposed to do our fence showed up with everything to do the work but said “tear down” was not included on their bid. They wanted to add on $1300 to tear down my existing fence. I told them to pack sand. Every other bid was between $250-$500 for tear down and disposal.
I called a company called A-Z Construction in South Seattle These people were supposed to show up during the week for a job. I paid for the Lumber at the lumber company (name withheld because they have done NOTHING wrong).
A-Z TOLD ME they picked it up (I've since been told they never even picked up the lumber) and were supposed to come do my fence. Supposedly their truck broke down. A-Z said they would be here the next day, again a problem with the 2nd truck. Said they would be here on Saturday. Guess, what? A call in the morning to say they'd be here in the afternoon. No Show/No call.
I finally got a hold of them on Saturday evening after waiting around all day. Said they finally got truck working and would be here between 8 & 9 am on Sunday. I write this at 1:45 pm on Sunday and no show. They've shut off their cell phone and won't answer their home phone.
All I was looking for was a call back telling me what was going on. Nothing. Up until today, I didn't think I was being scammed. I believed these people...and understood sometimes things happen. But no show and no call and I am out over $2000 for lumber (update: The lumber place has refunded my money and been nothing but 100% professional. I have no gripes with them. They even offered me referrals for a decent fence builder)!
I've left 5 -6 messages now all throughout the day. Nothing.
Daniel FINALLY called me this morning and said he would have the lumber company refund my money and cancelled the fence job on me.
My family and I were supposed to go camping this weekend and we stayed home waiting around for this guy. The lumber he can refund, the time lost and wasted weekend waiting around for him, he can't. I just can't believe he didn't call. When I spoke to him Saturday night he said to me, "I can't believe you are being so cool about this, most people would be so upset." To which I told him, I understand things happen sometimes, just make sure you keep me informed so I know what is going on. Then he no shows/no calls all day Sunday.
Just to make it clear...the lumber company has done nothing wrong here. They have been 100% professional and refunded my money. I have no issue with them and they even offered to give me some referrals.
BTW, someone tipped me off that A-Z has been SUSPENDED by Labor & Industries. I looked it up and their license was suspended the DAY AFTER I contracted them to do work for me. I guess I should feel lucky I didn't get burned even worse. I did look them up prior to hiring them. But, like I said, their license was suspended after that.
Here's the link to the L&I WebSite...
Ryan had two of his back teeth pulled on Monday. His “adult” teeth were coming in and couldn’t break through the old ones so they had to yank them out. If you’ve never seen a 7 year old on Valium, I highly recommend it (come on…it is a joke!). Ryan at one time dropped a card he hand in his hand and picked it up and said….”whoa, it turned purple”. He was really quite funny and could barely walk he was so wobbly. Anyway, all is fine now.
We had a great weekend soaking up the 80 degree weather in the 86 degree pool.
In an ongoing series I’m going to label “What’s Wrong With America?” I’m going to point out things I think are wrong with our system. One of those is this ridiculous lawsuit filed by the parents of deceased Sl Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock. According to this story on ESPN.com, Hancock’s family is suing the restaurant that continued to serve John Hancock drinks. Here I’ve copied some of the article….
Shannon's Restaurant, owned by the longtime Cardinals broadcaster who starred on three World Series teams in the 1960s, is a defendant in the case along with
Other defendants include Eddie's Towing, the company whose flatbed tow truck was struck by Hancock's sport utility vehicle in the early hours of April 29; tow truck driver Jacob Edward Hargrove; and Justin Tolar, the driver whose stalled car on Interstate 64 was being assisted by Hargrove.
Authorities said the 29-year pitcher had a blood alcohol content of nearly twice the legal limit when he crashed into the back of the tow truck. He was also speeding and using a cell phone and wasn't wearing a seat belt, police chief Joe Mokwa said after the accident. Marijuana was also found in the SUV.
The lawsuit claimed Tolar was negligent in allowing the vehicle to reach the point where it stalled on the highway and for failing to move it out of the way of oncoming traffic.
Hargrove parked the tow truck behind the stalled car, and police said he arrived there moments before the truck was struck by Hancock's SUV. Kantack said the tow truck may have been there up to 15 minutes, yet failed to get the stalled vehicle out of the way.
"Were the police contacted?" Kantack asked. "Why weren't flares put out? Why was the tow truck there for an exorbitant amount of time?"
OK…..So Hancock kept drinking (no one forced him to put those drinks to his lips), he had Marijuana in his car, he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and he was speeding while using a cell phone. But, it’s the restaurant, tow truck drive and the guy who’s car broke down fault? Are you freaking kidding me? Not only should this suit be thrown (not tossed) out of court, Hancock’s father should be fine 10,000 bucks for wasting everyone’s time. The sad thing is, there probably will be settlement by insurance companies and the family will actually profit from their son’s stupid actions. I feel for them, the lost a son. But face facts, he was an idiot for doing all those things. He easily could have killed the tow truck driver and the owner of the stalled vehicle. In fact, that’s what this lawsuit could be all about. They could have fired a pre-emptive strike to protect against those people suing the estate for their damages caused by Hancock.
This is a disgraceful lawsuit filed by a family of a son who died doing some disgraceful things. I certainly hope they get nothing out of this. I love the part about the tow truck taking too long to move the vehicle. Two things on this…first, with traffic whizzing by me on the freeway I’m not rushing and making a mistake if I am the tow truck driver. Second, none of the other SOBER drivers seemed to have a problem with it. If the tow truck driver really was there for 15 minutes, that means 15 minutes worth of traffic went by with no complications. It’s only when a drunk, cell phone talking, no seat belt wearing, speeding, marijuana smoking idiot drives by that there is an issue.
Spent the last 48 hours in Vegas for Interop (a trade show). Never even had time to place a bet….all business…if you can call being taken around in a Limo by a partner company to an expensive Dinner, watching a live band while being bought drinks and then going out to a club….business….lol. IT was actually a pretty fun night. The trade show was pretty good, all though it seemed exactly the same as last year. Not a lot of new, innovative things at this years show. It also seemed a little less crowded. I think attendance must have been down.
Bowling tonight! The kids will be excited. They love to bowl their game after mommy and daddy get done with their league. Every time we do it, I think back to my childhood and doing the exact same thing after my parents used to get done bowling.
Aah the good ol’ days.
Friday night started off with some fun times. We went to my son’s (Ryan) sock hop. If you’ve never been to a sock hop at an elementary school, boy you are missing out…lol. There was dancing, fishing, train rides, bounce houses, and a lot of food! Ryan and Logan had a great time. It was a great event put on by the PTSA. I vowed afterward to be more involved in the PTSA next year. We’ll call it my late New Year’s resolution.
It rained most the weekend, especially Sunday, and caused us to stay indoors.
I took a ½ day and went golfing yesterday. I grew up on Golf. My dad was a single digit handicap golfer (for those of you who don’t know what that means, it means he was pretty good). I golfed in High School and College. I golfed after College….then I moved to
Anyway, 6 pars, one birdie and an eagle later, I shot an 81. Par was 70. I was extremely happy with those results. I eagled the 15th hole. It was a short (325 yd) par 4. I hit a laser driver about 290 right down the middle. That left me with a 35 yard chip shot, which I sank from the fairway. Eagle Two.
My plan is to get in one round a week and re-establish a handicap. I really enjoy the game and it’s a nice, relaxing way to spend 4-5 hours.
Had a great weekend. Went to see Clifford the Big Red Dog at the
Logan and I cleaned up the garage after Church on Sunday. We gave Marsha her flowers and mom’s day cards/gifts then headed to the mess to clean it up. Before we started you couldn’t even get from one side to the other or see my workbench. At least now you can. It is spic and span.
The messages t Church was a good one. It was all about how every mom holds a little of God’s messages inside her. How she does her best to raise her children in God’s image but, eventually, must release them to the Lord to allow him to serve the purpose. Very inspiring.
I finally got Marsha to join another bowling league. Tonight we begin our Summer league season. Should be interesting to say the least.
Ok, it's time to start doing some semi-daily (ok sporadic) updates again. The family is doing great. I can't believe my oldest son turned SEVEN on April 24th. Man, am I getting old or what?
It has to be one of them!