Monday, November 26, 2007

Gun of the month: November 07

As a part of my presidential firearms purchasing campaign, the firearm I selected for purchase this month is an AR-15 variant from Spike's Tactical. This particular weapon has an EOTech 511 sight, as well as a flip up rear sight as a backup.

The weapon came as a package- the rifle with a mag and a bag for $850. Add the EOTech sight for another $325, and there you have it. What I like most about this one is the etching on the lower:

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Credit Report Conspiracy

Seventy percent of all credit reports contain at least one error.

Nine million people a year are victims of identity theft. It is the fastest growing crime in America.

Credit inaccuracies, and the failure of the Credit Reporting Agencies to correct them, are the number one complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that Credit Reporting Agencies conduct a "reasonable investigation" when a consumer disputes an entry in their credit file. What is tricky is how those investigations are conducted.

When you dispute an item on your credit report, the Credit Reporting Agency sends an electronic message to the entity that reported the item, and the entity responds back that the item is verified or not. Frequently, the "investigation" is automated at both ends, and no person actually checks anything. That is it- investigation complete. Once completed, any future requests for investigation of that disputed item can be declared "frivolous" and ignored by the Credit Reporting Agency. At least one, Experian, does so as a matter of policy.

The reason it is done this way is simple: money. Your credit record directly affects your credit score. Your credit score determines how much you will pay for almost everything. Your car insurance, the amount of the deposit on your utilities, credit card rates and fees, and whether or not you get that job you were hoping for is all dependent on your score.

With all of that money available, creditors are going to use reports from the credit reporting agency that lets them charge the highest rates, that is the one that has the most "dirt" on you. So, the creditors, being the customer, are shopping for the best product- your bad credit- and will patronize the agency that delivers the goods. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the Credit Reporting Agency to NOT investigate, thus keeping your score negative.

Spurring most of this is the rapidly expanding sub prime market, and the lucrative debt purchasing market. Every major bank in the United States has a "sub prime" credit division. It is extremely profitable.

I can tell you from my own experience, and others I have spoken to, that there is another component to this- if you raise a fuss and dispute negative items, positive credit items mysteriously disappear from your credit in what appears to be retaliation.

Complaining to the FTC does little- they rarely go after lenders and collection agencies, and almost never go after Credit Reporting Agencies. Despite losing lawsuits in the million dollar range, the policies of these companies do not change- there is just too much money to be made.

It is time that congress does something. Perhaps they could take a look at this.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Second Amendment

If you read the websites of the gun control crowd, you read claims about how the Second Amendment applies only to militias, and that since we have the National Guard, that is all the militia we need, so there is no need for citizens to have guns. They often claim that there has only been one court case that has ruled on the second amendment.

That is why so many got so excited about the Supreme court getting ready to hear the Parker case. Of course, the Supremes have so far deftly dodged hearing this case. There are other cases which we can use to see how our founders intended the right to bear arms to be read. For example, we can read the Dred Scott decision for some guidance:

[If black people were] entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which [Southern states] considered to be necessary for their own safety. It would give the persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union ... the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went. And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State. (emphasis added)
Reading the passage from that case shows that the Supreme court felt that one of the rights that citizens possessed was the right to be armed wherever they went. The truth is, gun control laws were used then like gun control laws are used now: As a way to control people, not guns. The fact is, when you remove ANY of the basic rights and freedoms that humans possess, you remove their freedom, and you enslave your population. Gun control in America began as a means of controlling the negroes.

If your right to weapons is removed, how will you guard the right to speak? how will you guard your right to vote? How can you ensure your freedom? While it may be inconceivable now, the day may come when we are no longer citizens, but slaves to the very government we created.

If we allow the government of the people, for the people, and by the people to begin removing the rights of the people whenever it seems expedient to do so, it will not be long before the government is our master instead of our employee. Don't let them enslave you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

That pesky constitution again

The Constitution of the United States. If we the people only understood that the Government has a job to do, and would stop complaining about that 200 year old piece of paper written by a bunch of dead guys, our leaders could get something done.

Congress is debating a bill that would shield businesses from lawsuits that were filed because they allowed government officials to snoop into our emails and telephone calls without a warrant. One official said:

"It is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information."
Notice that I said without a warrant. That is right, the government is fighting for the power to snoop into your personal information and conduct warrantless searches into your personal effects. All in the name of fighting terrorism.

He goes on to say:

Millions of people in this country — particularly young people — already have surrendered anonymity to social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, and to Internet commerce. These sites reveal to the public, government and corporations what was once closely guarded information, like personal statistics and credit card numbers.
So, in other words, since I choose to blog, I have given up my right to be free from searches and seizures. Government assholes like this guy are free to peer into my private life whenever they choose?

Warrantless searches of your home are not far away, under this guy's thinking. After all, I once had a party at my house, where I invited people into my home. Why not let the FBI in as well?

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Positions of the ACLU:

NAMBLA (The North American Man-Boy Love Association) has a constitutional right to publish pamphlets that instruct members on how to break the law and molest young boys.

That 18 year old men have a constitutional right to have sex with 14 year old boys.

While at the same time, law abiding citizens do not have a constitutional right to own a gun

What I do not understand is how the ACLU can read the first amendment to mean that NAMBLA has an unlimited constitutional right to instruct men on how to rape and kill young boys, while at the same time, taking the following position with regards to the Second Amendment:

The national ACLU is neutral on the issue of gun control. We believe that the Constitution contains no barriers to reasonable regulations of gun ownership. If we can license and register cars, we can license and register guns.

1 Where in the constitution does it say you have a right to own a car? The two are not equivalent.

2 What part of "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" do you not understand?

3 I know all about the disingenuous statements regarding the militia clause. Do we really have to discuss this again?

Since the Supreme court is poised to take a case that will decide whether or not the Second Amendment is an individual right or a collective one, I ask the ACLU this question:

If the Supreme Court rules that the right to bear arms is an individual one, will you then defend the NRA as voraciously as you do NAMBLA, or you rather support those who want to fuck young boys, instead of simply take them hunting?

I am a (ahem) Genius

cash advance

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Get healthy, or else

In Arkansas, the Benton county government disciplines workers with "unhealthy" traits. High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, all reasons to discipline employees.

In Los Angeles, the city government is refusing to allow any new fast food restaurants to open. they claim that they will only allow "health food" eateries and grocery stores.

In Florida, one company is FIRING employees who smoke, are overweight, or who drink. This applies even to employees who smoke or drink outside of working hours.

That's right- if you are overweight, drink, smoke, or have any number of other unhealthy problems or lifestyle, you can be disciplined or fired.

Now don't get me wrong- if the employer wants to prohibit activities like drinking, eating, and smoking while employees are on the clock, that is certainly his prerogative. However, telling employees that they must be healthy, abstain from certain activities, and work out places tehm employee back on the clock, in my opinion. Are these employers going to pay their employees to work out? Or is this a scheme to get rid of older employees, thus legitimizing age discrimination?

After all, younger, less experienced workers are paid less, but are healthier. It is illegal to age discriminate, but "health" discrimination is totally legal.

Or is this a side effect of the planned "Hillarycare" mandatory employer insurance that is soon to be forced upon us?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a user of tobacco products, I do not drink, I am perhaps 30 pounds overweight, and I have high blood pressure (a hereditary condition that is being controlled by medication).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Those "cushy" jobs again

I checked the old site meter and found that a person had found my blog by way of a Google search for "cushy firefighter jobs." Looking at the results of the search, I was lead to this page, over at free republic.

Even though I have done this before, there are a few misconceptions over there that I will address right now.

1 "Firefighters make $150,000 to $175,000 a year." This is not true (I wish it were). In my area, firefighters make anywhere from $21,000 a year, up to $90,000. This varies by where you work. Obviously, a firefighter in Bug Holler will make less than a firefighter in Miami Beach. Then again, the same is true for waiters and hairdressers.

2 "Firefighting isn't hazardous anymore, because the combination of flame resistant materials and breathing apparatus has reduced the risks." This is not true either. The rate of firefighter deaths per fire has remained constant, and has even begun rising in recent years. Although the equipment is better, manpower cuts and other factors (such as building construction) have conspired to make firefighting a hazardous occupation. We are still killing 100 firefighters a year, even though there are fewer fires. Nearly every firefighter I know that has more than five years on the job has been injured.

3 "Several times during a wildfire I have seen a row of half a dozen engine crews standing around collecting overtime at a staging area." Of course. Crews get rotated in and out of fire areas while they are working at a fire. These staging areas are valuable manpower pools, ensuring that the incident commander has available personnel to handle any emergencies that come up, and also serve to give tired crews a break.

4 "Firefighter/paramedics aren't real firefighters" This is also untrue. A firefighter/paramedic is a firefighter who is also certified as a paramedic. This means that he has completed college to become a paramedic, and has also graduated from the fire academy. This allows the fire department to offer fire AND EMS service, thus making the fire department more cost efficient.

5 "The pay is too high because firefighters don't have much training for what they get paid." A starting firefighter has graduated from the fire academy AND is at least an EMT. This takes about a year. As you progress, you attend more and more school, and as your education advances, so does your pay. That is pretty much how ALL jobs work. Most firefighters (at least in my area) have at least one college degree. I have degrees in Emergency medicine and Fire Science, and technical certificates in rescue diving, Incident Safety, and Company officer. I am also an instructor in numerous EMS related disciplines. There are guys in the fire service who specialize in trench rescue, machinery and vehicle extrication, chemistry, psychology, and hazardous materials rescue. The more you learn, the more you earn. Just like any other job.

6 Another person complains about overtime. Most workers get overtime at 40 hours.
Under the LAW (FSLA), firefighters get overtime when we work more than 53 hours a week. Since we work a 56 hour week, there is a small amount of overtime built in to our schedule.

The problem here is that people like to complain about our pay and benefits, without really knowing what we do, or even what it takes to be a firefighter. Sure, there are guys in my area that make good money, and I think I am one of them, because I make about $19 an hour. Then again, I have 18 years of experience, I am well educated and qualified. I supervise others. Like most jobs, you earn what you are worth, and your pay is set by the market. I have earned degrees and attended school in order to become more valuable.

When you are having that heart attack, or you are trapped in your car, a collapsed building, or a burning warehouse, who do you want to come rescue you? The lowest paid, least trained person? Or will you want the educated, experienced, motivated professional with 15 to 20 years of experience?

You will get what you pay for. If you think our job pays so well, and is so easy, why aren't you doing it? Look at other jobs with similar experience, education, and working hours, and you will see that firefighting is right in line with them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sucks to get old/ be clumsy

I was unloading some heavy supplies from my pickup yesterday, and I fell from it and hit the ground. Hard. From four feet up. I landed on my right foot, and I hard a loud crack, at the same time feeling my knee let go. Let me tell you, that is a special kind of pain.

I had one of the guys that was over drive me to the local emergency room. Four hours later, I left the ER in the knowledge that my leg was not broken, and a referral for an ortho. Having just gotten home from my ortho appointment, I can now tell you that I strained my patellar ligament.

I will be out of work for 4 to 6 weeks. Good thing I never take sick time, so I have plenty to spare.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Roberta, the SCHIP, and Kelo

Seeing RobertaX's Blog and her comments about "the village" paying for "free" healthcare are in keeping with my earlier comments on the subject. The feeling that Uncle Sugar should be paying for whatever it is you want this week, be it healthcare, welfare, your retirement, food stamps, whatever, has been going on for years.

Hearing people complain that the Kelo decision and how wrong it is that the court allowed the government to take private property and give it to others makes me laugh. Whether it is New London using eminent domain to take my house and give it to a business, or it is the IRS taking my money to hand out healthcare, welfare, or whatever the cause is this week, my property has been getting taken for the profit of others for my entire adult life.