Sunday, January 25, 2009
Anyone knows we're in a financial crisis in this country, and in most state governments too. Yet with all the hot air being blown around the legislatures, I have not heard word one about cutting down on welfare checks, and getting the recipients off their asses and into work programs that makes them earn their keep. Never heard it from Bush, and don't hear it from Obama, or the "Governator" or any of them. Why not?
You'll hear them talk about revamping Social Security, a program that people paid into as an insurance program to secure their future in their retirement years. That's no freebie for retirees, they paid into it as a savings program, the same with Medicare, and should rightly enjoy the benefits. Now if the government hadn't screwed around with the Social Security system and played with the money time and again, it's likely there would be plenty of money left far into the foreseeable future. But, then again, we're talking about politicians, who can never leave well enough alone and just have to screw things up.
It's time to quit paying people on welfare to sit home and get pregnant and have more kids, while Medi-CAL and other programs then pick up the cost of their medical care, delivery and childcare. Then they get on the WIC program and other taxpayer financed giveaways, and the more kids they have, the more money they get for doing nothing. They act as if it's an entitlement and the politicians pander to the recipients because they want votes. No, it's NOT an entitlement...it's screwing the American taxpayer who has to work and do without, so some lazy ass can sit on their behind all day, and then clog the system for free medical care for every little thing, because they have a go to the Emergency Room Free card, issued by the state who picks up the bills and hands them to the taxpayer. It's not the kids fault, it's the parents and they need to be told...after one child, you're going to be on your own. We don't want to hear the "my baby daddy" story time and again. If you have kids, you need to support them with the person you made them with. If you can't do that, don't have them. Because we're not going to be supporting you to do so.
Why do we give away organs to people who are not US Residents while Americans are on the waiting lists for kidney and other organ transplants? Why does our Medicare system allow people who are not citizens to be covered for medical procedures such as kidney transplants and followup care, while the American taxpayer has to pay for their own, or die if they can't afford it? Or lose their home and their meager savings while non-citizens get it all for free? Something is very wrong with how the system works, very, very wrong.
Why don't the politicians take action about all the free medical care and other freebies that the illegal immigrants receive? Once again, are they afraid to lose the vote of the sympathizers and willing to screw the taxpayers with all the bills simply to prostitute themselves for votes? It sure looks like it! Our borders are like Swiss cheese with all the holes and little is being done. All the hot air that emanates from both ends of the politicians about securing the borders is just that...rhetoric and hot air. If they think they are doing even a halfway decent job, then why do we seem to have felons who commit capital crimes here in the US that have been deported numerous times in the past, and yet they are here again! How many crimes does it take before these people are removed permanently?
Build a border fence and mine the damned thing. Make it a no-man's land for a half mile. Screw the environmentalists who complain that the desert tortoise or some other species might accidentally be unable to get over the fence. I guarantee that tortoise isn't bringing drugs or weapons, and anyone who tries is likely to end up in very small pieces. Sure, some will complain that it's racist and inhumane and whatever. Tough. If someone comes over the border with a biological or radiological or chemical weapon and sets it off in your town, what will you think then? Hundreds or thousands killed or injured but you still want the border unsecured? Of what about the felon who comes across and murders your family or children, after several prior deportations. Feel sorry for them?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The primary idea in HOA's is to provide some semblance of order and uniformity within a community and to maintain the community in a manner that provides a good living experience and quality of life for all the residents. Problem is, some HOA's do and some don't. Some spend more time bickering over the small things, and letting the major problems of the community slide, so that the community starts to look shabby. Some of the Boards of Directors sequester themselves so they can't be contacted except through the pseudo "management companies" they hire to oversee the landscape operations. They won't even publish their e-mail addresses so they can be contacted directly...makes you wonder what they have to hide? Don't think you'll go to a monthly meeting and air any complaints either; they usually require you submit your request to speak at some distant interval before the meeting, so they can be prepared to shoot down your concerns, or conveniently decide there is not enough time to hear your complaint at all.
Some communities turn from being occupied by homeowners, to a rental community, and, unfortunately, the owners then let the property downgrade, and the HOA's are lax at enforcing the rules and regulations regarding property upkeep. Thus the entire community suffers with property devaluation. You can keep your property painted and in pristine condition and the property next door or across the street can be a dump with no consequences to the owners it seems. After all, in Southern California, when you're getting two thousand dollars a month or more for rent, even a twenty-five dollar fine doesn't concern the owner, if they are fined at all. In some areas, the homes have needed painting for many years with no action on the part of the HOA at all.
So, if you're going to purchase a home in a HOA controlled community, before you sign on the dotted line, ask the neighbors and people in the neighborhood about the association and how they handle the rules and regulations, also known as the "CC&R's". Before you sink big dollars into a home that may deteriorate in value due to the laxity of the HOA, look at the streets and walkways, electrical and other common areas. How have they been maintained? Are you likely to get hit with a big assessment if work that is needed has been delayed? Is it an "aging" community, meaning one that is 15-20 years old or more? Usually they require more upkeep and maintenance costs will rise as the infrastructure deteriorates.
Look for signs of poor controls, such as wrong way parking, vehicles parked over sidewalks, heavy commercial vehicles, deteriorating property, cracked and damaged paving, electrical fixtures that need replacement, pools and spas that are old, poor landscape maintenance, (low cost bidding that results in shoddy work), deferred maintenance on fences, gates, walkways, and other common areas. Ask to speak to someone on the Board of Directors. If you can't speak to them before you buy, you'll likely not get to speak to them after either. You should ask for a copy of the CC&R's before your buy (you might be charged a fee) and a copy of the recent financial statements; question what you don't understand. After you buy and sign off is too late to realize you 'll be paying monthly fees for something you don't like, want or won't be getting value for.
Finally, realize the HOA fees only go UP! They can start low but they do go up. Some are relatively reasonable and some are ridiculously high. Having four or six tennis courts when you don't play tennis and two or three swimming pools when you don't swim is part of what you'll be paying for if that's in your community. And when those amenities need repair because kids toss chairs in the pool, or damage the spas, or run all over the tennis courts with street shoes, and the tennis players complain the courts need resurfacing, you'll be paying for that too. Even though you never use them. And the costs can be extremely high.
When the association decides to reseal or repave the streets, you can find they go with a company who does it all wrong. Then it needs to be done again in a few years and you'll be paying all over again. Remember, the Board has no expertise in most areas and takes bids from whom they consider reputable companies. They don't want input from the average homeowner and do things their own way, so when things go sour, the sitting Board takes no responsibility; the Board has usually turned over and it's someone elses' problem.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
That law is a huge joke! Every day I watch dozens of people with their cell phones glued to their ears and yapping away. There are a number of possibilities for their idiotic behavior:
- They don't give a rat's ass about the law
- They don't care if they get caught
- They would rather pay the fine than shut their mouth
- They think whatever they have to say is more important than safe driving
- They think they can talk and drive but they can't chew gum and walk
So, brilliance aside, what the hell did the lawmakers think these rocket scientists were going to do to dial their cell phones? Not all of them have voice dial, so here we now have motor mouth tethered to the cell phone by their new hands-free ear bud and microphone combo, holding it up in front of him or her, trying to see the keyboard and dial a number. Or, looking down, totally eyes off the road trying to do the same thing. Or, better yet, holding a piece of paper and a pen and the cell phone, while trying to write down a number that has appeared on the screen, and must be of utmost importance.
Then our brilliant lawmakers impose a very stiff (trying not to vomit) $20 fine for the first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses if you get caught on the phone while driving. No points on the license, just a minuscule fine. They should have made it hundreds of dollars! Leave it to our lawmakers to pass a law with no teeth in it! God forbid they actually create a law that would help improve safety on our highways and put some teeth into enforcement efforts by law enforcement agencies. No, not in California! Once again, it cements our title as the Granola State!
To make this even more tragic, nobody though to ban texting! Until now. So, effective January 1, people can no longer text on their cell phone, Blackberry, PDA or whatever, while driving. But you know they will anyway! Ever watch some idiot driving along trying to text and drive? It's scary as hell. Their car weaves and bobs as their thumbs flit from key to key, the car rhythmically moving in tune to the miniature keystrokes from one side of the lane to the other.
Like most abusers of any technology, cell phone users in vehicles may soon find they are totally prohibited from using the phones in vehicles. Period. On January 11, 2009, The National Safety Council advocated a total ban on cell phone use while driving, stating the practice is clearly dangerous and leads to fatalities.
The group's president likens talking on cell phones to drunken driving. She says cell phone use increases the risk of a crash fourfold, and that hands-free cell phones are just as risky as hand held phones.
The council examined more than 50 scientific studies before reaching its decision. One is a study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis. It estimates 6% of vehicle crashes causing about 2,600 deaths and 12,000 serious injuries a year are attributable to cell phone use.
Yes, I have a cell phone. No, I don't use it in the car. I turn it off most of the time unless I have a need for it. It has voice mail so if I get a call and I don't answer, someone will leave a message. If not, the call wasn't important enough for me to answer anyway. That's the nice thing when you become the master of technology, rather than let technology become your ruler!
I abhor people yapping on the phone incessantly behind me in the grocery line, or at the bank or anyplace else. They talk loudly because they must think they need to be loud to be heard, and it's damned obnoxious. Fully grown men and women sound like children when they get on the cell phones, and their incessant chatter must make them believe that they are so important that the world will stop unless they have communication every second of every day, no matter what else is going on around them. They don't seem to have a clue how impolite it is, nor what an imposition it is on others, to listen to the constant barrage of yapping from all angles. And, if you raise your voice so you can be heard over their motor-mouthing, they give you the evil-eye, like you're interfering with some God-given right to communication!
Finally, a word to the wise. Giving out all your credit card, Social Security and other information over your cell phone is not only unsafe, but pretty stupid. Period. No, nobody has to use high tech decoding equipment to stealthily get those numbers. Just stand near you while you're talking and placing an order, or using your talking bank teller and they have all they need. I've heard people carry on conversations where they obviously give out their credit card numbers, then after a pause, state other numbers which I believe either to be their PIN or the Security Code on their credit card, either of which can cost you money, or at least big time financial headaches in the wrong hands. If you're using the Takling Teller as many banks have, lowering your voice when you give your PIN might not be enough, if someone can hear and copy your account and PIN down, they can clean you out in a heartbeat.
Finally, not being aware of your surroundings and being on a cell phone can have disastrous consequences if someone were to accost you and you don't hear them coming. Paying attention to your surroundings is a cardinal rule of personal safety, and being distracted while on a cell phone caln give an attacker the edge they want or need. Another reason not to constantly have that gadget against your ear all the time. Speaking to a friend doesn't help in an emergency...being fully cognizant of all that is around you is situational awareness and leads to personal crime prevention.
Face it, the cell isn't the most important thing in the world. And if using it results in an accident, personal injury, or other harm, it's not technology put to good use. Even the best technology can have deadly consequences when used without considering its effect on other systems you must also control and interface with.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Now if you have fragile items, add that to your concerns. Ever wonder why UPS has certain carton requirements for strength? Because they are not going to handle your package with care! They don't care what condition it's in when it arrives, if it arrives on time or whatever. Hell, in my estimation, I don't think they care if it even arrives! Try and get information on the phone about your shipment and it's proprietary, between them and the shipper. You're out of the loop. You paid, you get no info.
Most shippers have some sort on "on-time guarantee" with UPS and other shipping companies. If the parcel doesn't get there on time, they can get a refund. Ask where your refund is when you don't get your package on time. I think UPS might use weather and other excuses for their "delivery exceptions" but many times they just F-up and put your package on the wrong truck and it goes to the wrong place, and they can't get it back until the driver returns. Seen that happen numerous times. Once, when I was actually able to get to talk to someone at a delivery hub, I was told it was buried too deep in the trailer and they couldn't get to it, so I'd have to wait until the truck was unloaded. Then they misrouted it anyway.
It is for all of the above reasons, and more, that we ship with the U.S. Postal Service using Priority Mail, or, if items need to go by ground service, by FedEx Ground. First, lighter items travel by air with the USPS, and only take two to three days to reach their destination. Secondly, in 8 years of shipping, we've not had a single damaged article incoming or outgoing with the USPS or FedEx, either Express or Ground. Can't say that with UPS. Third, FedEx Ground is much cheaper than UPS in most cases and delivers in 5 days rather than 7 cross country. That makes people happy. Plus, in the same 8 years, there has been one missed delivery date with FedEx, unlike the numerous ones with UPS.
I've received packages with the contents hanging out, the tops torn off, the tape ripped loose, boxes crushed, and these were all shipped by professional shippers. I had an outboard motor shipped to me that was saved from UPS only by the layers of bubble wrap surrounding it...the exterior cardboard was shredded.
My latest was a package shipped on 12/26 from NY which arrived yesterday, January 6, 11 days after. It would have arrived in ten but it had a "delivery exception". Then again, maybe 9 days because one day was a holiday. Great. Then the brilliant driver dumped it about 20 feet from the door and we didn't find it until late in the day, thinking it hadn't been delivered. He left it where anyone could have picked it up and walked off with it, yet the delivery online shows he left it at "front door". I should be lucky to have a front door that big!
A camera I ordered was sent out for delivery in Ontario, CA, the wrong city, although it obviously was addressed here. An overnight air shipment no less. Luckily, somehow they found that one and it arrived later the next day, but another UPS screw up nonetheless.
UPS will tell you how many packages they deliver successfully. Wonderful, but it still sucks if it's NOT your package they delivered successfully, right? Not much different than the automaker who tells you how many good cars travel down the line and you just got a bad one...or the surgeon who tells you how many surgeries were successful...after they botch yours?
Friday, January 2, 2009
Plus, when a single young woman on welfare or Medi-Cal with no other support has a child, it should be mandatory that she provides the actual name of the "Baby Daddy" for the records including his Social Security, Green Card or other identification number. Women who have "instant amnesia" or refuse to give the name of the baby daddy should receive no welfare or assistance, and instead left to the care of their family, until such time they give the loser up. Then he should be saddled with supporting the child, not the public. If he fails to do so, incarcerate him and send his jail pay home for the family, if he's not already in jail! The hospital bill should be provided to him, her and the family to pay, not the public. Hey, who the hell pays Joe Taxpayer's hospital bill when he can't pay it? Nobody, that's who. He gets no freebies like these losers.
Plus, all persons arrested for felonies or misdemeanors should be added to a DNA database so we could identify more of the deadbeat dads, and get more kids off public assistance and mothers off welfare. The ACLU doesn't like that either, but then again, I don't like the ACLU so that makes us even, I suppose!
It doesn't matter what race, color, creed or national origin you are; there are losers in all areas. But why should some dude be driving a big fancy car or SUV with his latest squeeze sitting next to him, while he has four, five or more kids that he doesn't support, by as many women perhaps, and maybe as many knocked-up women on the streets at the same time. He professes he can't pay anything. Take away that car or SUV, sell those gold chains and watches and put him to work in a fast food joint washing tables if need be to foot the bills. At least that should cover something!
Let me tell you my stance on abortion. First off, I think a woman has a right to make a choice. A choice to keep her knees closed and not get pregnant by every guy she meets just because it's fun. Secondly, I think not having a child you didn't want is fine. Better not having that child than having a child that's neglected, abused or dumped on the system and floats from foster home to foster home for 18 years or more. I think expectant mothers who are on crack, meth, cocaine, heroin or other dangerous drugs, or who drink to excess while pregnant should have abortions to save their unborn child a life of misery. An expectant mother who cares that little about the fetus growing inside of her body, doesn't deserve to give birth, and foist that poor child on society to care for the rest of its life!
These groups that try and talk lower socio-economic women out of abortions make me sick. The women know they can't afford nor care for the child, didn't want the child in the first place, yet the bleeding hearts try and convince them that abortion is all wrong and having the child is what is right. They provide hope and support...until the public gets the mother and child dumped right in their lap as another freeloader we have to support and care for ad nauseum. If these groups want to be so damned helpful, support these people and their child through life! Unfortunately, many of the children are likely later dumped into the system motherless, although this wouldn't have happeed without this anti-abortion "support". Funny how supportive some of the churches are in this manner, but I also note they don't support the people from cradle to college either. Push their agenda that abortion is wrong, have the baby and drop kick them into the welfare gravy train. If anyone wants to prove how supportive they are, let them support the mother and child through age 18! That just doesn't happen, because it's the taxpayers who end up supporting the kids and the mothers forever.
Being Pro-Life is one thing. Being Pro Quality of Life is quite another. When you see the unwanted, abused children dumped into society, doesn't anyone realize the well-meaning do-gooders are adding to the problem? Saving the unborn from what seems a horrible fate, so they can endure a lifetime of misery seems cruel and unusual punishment to me. Dumped as unwanted later on, pushed from place to place, abused, neglected is better than abortion?
Funny, I believe in the sanctity of life. But if I knew an animal would be treated as many of the unwanted children I've seen in my lifetime, I'd suggest they have not been born. We, as a nation, are kinder to our animals than to our humans. From birth to death.....
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Sooo, what do the politicians in Washingtom, DC and Sacramento, CA want to do? Raise the damned taxes! In California, Governor Schwarzenegger, who has never had to be without, wants to increase the sales tax, increase the tax on oil production ( a real incentive to produce our own oil there, right Arnie?), increase the automobile registration fee (tax), add sales tax to your pets veterinary visits and other presently non-taxable services (watch out...soon it will be your hospital and doctor visits too), and reduce the dependent care exemption on State income tax returns by two-thirds! Then the Democrats want to increase your income tax as well. All this in a year when many are struggling to survive.
Oh yeah, Schwarzenegger wants to add a 5 cent a drink tax on alcoholic beverages. Hmm...why not a buck a drink and we'd maybe be able to clean up the drunks off the streets of Oceanside and San Diego, fund the hospitals better and curb underage drinking and DWI? Oh wait, that's too logical for the Terminator and the lame brains in the legislature to figure out.
Then we have Washington DC who wants to add a 50% increase on the Federal Fuel Tax, which is already 18.4 cents per gallon. So this proposal would raise it to over 27 cents. And why? Because we did the right thing. We're conserving fuel and not driving as much. We did as they asked and suggested, and coupled with the high price of fuel, we cut our miles driven and consumption. And now we're going to get screwed, because the greedy bastards aren't getting enough tax money for roads and infrastructure, so their logic is to tax some more.
Want to read some sickening statistics and "think tank" crap, read this:
Those who hold positions in public transit are all for screwing the motorist to hold on to their highly paid jobs, and I'm not talking about bus drivers here. But the truth is they haven't figured out how to move the population from Point A to Point B effectively andd economically since they tore down the old trolley lines and interrurbans in the 1950's and 1960's. And you know who was responsible for that? The automakers, the rubber companies and Big Oil. They conspired to shut down the most effective, efficient rail services in the country and we'll never have that again, even though we now spend billions rebuilding many of the same routes.
Some info on that: http://www.trainweb.org/mts/ctc/ctc06.html
Why not simply cut off the free medical care for all the 14 and 15 year olds who have babies in our local hospitals time and again! Why not cut back on the Medi-CAL program and make the people pony up for some of the care. The poor elderly on Medi-CAL have to agree to sign over their home to get this coverage but what about the illegals and other immigrants who get it for free and contribute ZERO! We pay for all the losers time and again and I don't see our illustrious governor cutting these programs. Nor welfare and telling these losers to get off their butts and get a job. Jobs are scarce? Sure..but dump all the illegals working at the fast food places, car washes, construction and landscape companies and ship them back to wherever they came from, and there would be plenty of "entry level" jobs for the welfare recipients to do.
No work, no pay, no eat. Emergency medical care only. Getting pregnant doesn't entitle you to thousands of dollars of free medical care just because you laid your ass down. You need to work and pay for your bills like the rest of the DECENT Americans who are supporting the country. We're TIRED of going without because you won't work and are sucking the lifeblood out of America.
Worse yet, the politicians are pandering to you like a bunch of butt kissers. Even Arnold is looking more like a Girly-Man to his constituents with his proposals. Hey Arnie..get a budget passed so you don't have to give out IOU's. Or will you be able to give the welfare recipients IOU's for their food stamps and housing too? Right...I thought so. No, only the taxpayers and real workers who support the State.
Politicians..get it through your heads. Quit giving the money away and cut where it matters. Tax booze, cigarettes, and other non-essential items and spend that money on medical programs. Close the border and ship illegals back home. If a person has a baby and they're illegal...bill the foreign country and then cut all aid until they pay. That's not part of a free trade agreement!
If you keep going down this track, the derailment and consequences will be catastrophic, more than any of us ever thought. And we'll all be seated right in the "coffin car" as it runs head-on into disaster!