Banking #ProTips for those without a lot of money.

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I thought I’d share a few tips to those who might not realized how your banking account stacks up for and against you. I really wish when I was 18 someone would have given me some advice, so my pain (and that of people I’ve know) is your gain.

  • Call your bank right now and cancel overdraft coverage. This in effect will stop the bank from covering your overdrafts and then charging you between $20-$60 in overdraft fees. It might embarrass you, but your next paycheck will be intact. I’ve had friends actually go to check deposit places because they needed their paycheck but were too far into their own bank on overdrafts and fees. Also many banks after so many days charge a continued overdraft fee as high as $15 per day. 
  • Don’t be loyal to your bank, if you see a good banking deal with a reputable organization, take it. Sometimes banks will offer free checking, no minimum balance, no direct deposit, that’s the best deal right there. Even if a bank offers you $100 to join, you could easily lose that in fees later on if you don’t keep a minimum balance or you lose your job and therefor your direct deposit.
  • Use your credit cards. Crazy advice right? Not really, you need to be paying a bill every month to establish on time credit reports. This will help build your credit and if you pay off your balance in the same billing cycle, you’ll avoid interest charges. Also if you want to ever buy a house, think about opening as many revolving credit accounts as you can, you don’t have to use them all, but it’ll lower your debt to credit ratio and make you a better candidate for further credit. (Don’t try to open them all at once, space it out every 3-6 months)
  • Manage all your financial accounts online through a separate email address from your personal email address. Don’t get attached to it, if a company sends you notice that they’ve been hacked, migrate all accounts to a new email address.
  • Never make your banking passwords the same as your email passwords.
  • Try to use separate passwords for all accounts. Get a password manager, I use dashlane which works for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. LastPass works with pretty much any OS you can throw at it if you need Linux support.

If for some reason I’ve given really bad advice, I’m not a financial consultant and use common sense. (That means I won’t accept liability if you lose all your money.)


Disorder in American Courts

I hadn’t heard about the book Disorder in American Courts until today, which leads me to believe people have been in on some sort of grand conspiracy to keep this gem out of my life. Luckily, through the power of social media, their attempts have failed. If you like the below excerpt, I suggest you go to popehat.com and search for the book through their amazon search bar and help my favorite blog pay it’s server rent.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?’
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
_______________________________
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.
_____________________________________
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.
_________________________________
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
___________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
____________________________________

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He’s 20, much like your IQ.
___________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?
_________________________________________
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid
____________________________________________

ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS: None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
___________________________________________

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.
_____________________________________
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
______________________________________
ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
_________________________________________
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral…
_________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?

______________________________________
And last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No..
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Enjoy your weekend.


Ellis The Elephant Turns Out To Be Dumbo

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Surely the above Elephant is a kind loving creature who only has happy thoughts right? Wrong. Adam Savader, former Gingrich staffer, pictured above as Ellis The Elephant has been indicted of unpleasantries that boil down to sextortion. I will let the venerable Adam Steinbaugh explain it better than I could:

It alleges, essentially, that a New York man — Adam Paul Savader — used a variety of Google Voice numbers to text women under the monicker “John Smith.”  ”Smith” told the women that he had nude photos of them (or, in one victim’s case, her mother) and that he would post more online if they did not send more nude photos.  He allegedly threatened to send the photos to their family members, sorority sisters, and the Republican National Committee, telling one that everyone in “D.C” would see the nude photos.

Never trust an elephant with stripes on it’s trunk. No word yet on wether he sent pictures back of himself trunkless. This blogger thinks Savader won’t be staffing again, unless Anthony Weiner is looking.

 


FBI Ricin Interrogation Transcript

I want to begin this by saying, I totally get it. Paul Kevin Curtis. The guy has 3 first names, that’s damn suspicious and he’s an Elvis impersonator which is totally a criminal indicator, as anyone who has seen 3000 Miles to Graceland can attest. So when you get letters full of Ricin, Paul Kevin Curtis stands out. The letters were even signed “KC” though I don’t know many people who sign with their middle initial rather than their first, but the FBI has it’s methods. So to shed some light on the situation I am releasing part of the interrogation of Mr. Curtis(KC) by Special Agent Todd Douglas(SAD).

SAD:  Tell us about the Ricin Mr. Curtis, if you cooperate, we can help you.

KC:  Man, I don’t even like rice.

SAD:  Oh, a funny man huh? You know what they do to funny men in a Federal Super Max Prison? Where did you get the Ricin?

KC:  I mean… I… I’ve only gotten rice once, from Uncle Ben.

SAD:  Who is this Uncle Ben? Is that a code name? Tell me his real name!

KC:  I don’t know his real name, it just said Uncle Ben on the package.

SAD:  What did the package look like?

KC:  I mean, it was an orange box with the picture of some old guy on it.

SAD:  Was this old guy someone “Uncle Ben” wanted you to target?

KC:  No, no, no. I think the old guy is Uncle Ben.

SAD:  And where is this box now?

KC:  In my cabinet, next to the sink.

SAD:  We are going to check this story out, if you lied, so help me, I’ll feed your balls to a chihuahua.

There you have it. Justice in the works.

Update | 27.04.13

Apparently Ricin Elvis was framed by a martial arts instructor. It doesn’t get any weirder than this folks. Kobra Kai almost got away with it too.

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Ethos Water, charity for the lazy.

I bought an Ethos water in a rush to get to my geography course, I like to sip water while learning. Now I don’t spend $1.95 on a 23oz water bottle very often, but I rationalized it to myself because Starbucks donates money to get clean water to children in places where sewage and drinking water freely mingle. So at some point during class I read the side of the bottle and was surprised that out of the $1.95 I spent, only 1 nickel makes it way to the children. That’s a measly 2.6% for those of you who don’t want to do the math.

Ethos is bottled by Safeway under their Lucerne brand and distributed by Pepsi. Starbucks basically owns the brand name, which they bought in 2005. While this all boring news, I still thought to myself, couldn’t 3 profitable corporations who peddle their quite expensive charity water donate more than 2.6% of the purchase price?

Maybe they use really good water I said to myself. It turns our however, that they use the same spring water that I can get out of a Safeway brand water bottle for less than half the price and almost twice the volume. Then I thought, well since they are helping kids, maybe they care about the environment too. Maybe their recycled plastic cost more than regular plastic. Again I was disappointed. It turns out, unlike other Pepsi distributed plastic bottled waters, Ethos bottles are virgin plastic.

So let me summarize this all:

  • Ethos water is the same water as store brand.
  • Unlike other water that Pepsi distributes, it’s bottled in virgin plastic.
  • Only 2.6% of your $1.95 goes to the children.
  • You can buy twice as much of the same water for half the price.
  • I am a sucker and was ripped off by Starbucks.

So if you really want to help the children buy a Safeway water or really any store brand water and donate 50 cents each time to a charity of your choice. You’ll save money, get more money to the charities, drink the same water, and maybe even get a recycled plastic bottle in the process.


Tommy Tucker Recognition Day

It’s about time that we have a sensible man finally stand up to the vileness that is public participation, saying quite simply, “I AM THE SENATOR. YOU ARE THE CITIZEN. YOU NEED TO BE QUIET.” As a blog writer and reader I can personally attest to the sheer barbaric revelry some of our so called citizens participate in when commenting on the internet. People like Jay, a poster at popehat.com who mock Tommy Tucker with his own heroic words by creating these pictures:

I for one stand with the great State Senator Tucker, saying forcefully and loudly that you citizens need to quiet down. Stop commenting on blogs, articles, reddit, etc. Stop making a mockery of the legislative process. We are a nation of laws, laws that you should fear because as they say, “anything can and will be used against you in a court of law.” So to honor the great philosopher of North Carolina, I declare today Tommy Tucker Recognition Day. Commenting will be closed on this post in his honor.


Legal Thuggery

Reading Popehat tonight I came across this article. Apparently eBay seller Med Express Sales thinks that just because Ohio doesn’t have an Anti-Slapp law, that it can blatantly flaunt the legal system, threaten, extort, and generally become a vexatious twat-waffle over an admittedly truthful review.

Luckily Amy Nicholls has the free-speech-guru-attorney Paul Levy of Public Citizen on her side. The fact that good decent people like Mr. Levy exist is a comfort to those who he can help when such legal nonsense happens, however Paul Levy is but one man, and the world is filled with numerous censorious douchebags. Mr. Levy even helped me recently claim a valant victory over the forces of censorship, legal thuggery, and bad behavior. This is why we need a national Anti-Slapp law, to prevent such blatant abuses of the legal system and shoot down expensive lawsuits before people who might not know all their available avenues fold or are forced to incur massive legal fees.

This is especially true when the vexatious twat-waffle, knows for a fact that they have no legal precedent backing up their claims. These sort of thugs dare you to risk financial ruin just to protect your constitutional rights. Mr. Levy writes:

I contacted James Amodio, Med Express’s lawyer, to explain to him the many ways in which his lawsuit is untenable. He readily admitted that, as the complaint admits, everything that the customer had posted in her feedback was true; he did not deny that a statement has to be false to be actionable as defamation; but he just plain didn’t care. To the contrary, he told me that I could come up to Medina, Ohio, and argue whatever I might like, but that the case was going to continue unless the feedback was taken down or changed to positive. And he explained why his client was insisting on this change — he said that it sells exclusively over eBay, where a sufficient level of negative feedback can increase the cost of such sales as well as possibly driving away customers.

Obviously Mr. Amodio is using the new legal tort:  Whatever, whatever, I do what I want. Which is a most popular tort these days. However it is just as imaginary as my alter-egos obsession with dinosaurs. Our legal system is many ways is a shambles, patent law is a mess, and companies use lawsuits as business strategies, and those in positions of financial power think they can even use the judiciary or the threat of it’s power to silence us, remove our rights, and terrify us into silence. This cannot be allowed to happen. Luckily good people stand up to these forces every day like Kenneth P. White, Paul Alan Levy, Catherine Gellis, Adam Steinbaugh, and so many others.


Christopher Dietz, because you can’t spell Dietz without ditz.

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln. If people would just listen to President Lincoln, they could avoid a lot of embarrassing situations.

Take Christopher Dietz of Dietz Development for instance, he must have been very upset about a review on Yelp so he sued the reviewer and made sure hundreds of thousands of people saw it. It’s one thing to take a licking in private, but it’s entirely another thing for your disgrace to go national news. Already picked up by CNBC, Forbes, Ars Technica, Politico, etc. Dietz has inadvertently triggered what we on the internet call “The Streisand Effect.” The Streisand Effect is named after Barbra Streisand who in the process of trying to get photos of her house off the internet (which had a total of 4 or 5 views beforehand) alerted the general public that those photos were available and suddenly they were viewed millions of times.

Now we have Dietz, who was so unhappy with a review in which Jane Perez said he put her doors on crooked and might have accessed her home inappropriately, that he had to sue her for $750,000. It’s the classic case of a censor trying to make a defendant fold with a sum so large you’d have to be crazy to litigate. What censors don’t realize is that there is another condition other than mental insanity that would make a person fight back, it’s called passion. Passion for what is right, passion for justice, passion for our Constitutional rights. When you pit a person who has served our country in the military (Jane Perez) against a bully and a censor, I know whose side I am going to choose 10 out of 10 times. w

Anyone who uses Yelp knows that you have to take individual bad reviews lightly. Business owners should know that encouraging happy clients to leave positive feedback is the best way to combat negative reviews. Once I left a scathing review of a local business and the manager contacted me personally to assure me the experience was not typical and that if I gave them a second chance I’d see that, which I did, and I promptly updated my review to express my new opinion. What Dietz has effectively done is spread the word about his bad review, not worked to deliver positive impressions to combat the negative, and told all future clients that if they aren’t happy with his work, he’ll just sue them. That is not how you repair your reputation.

Jane Perez now faces an uncertain legal and financial future because she wanted to share her opinion of a contractor on Yelp. Unyielding to the staggering sum she is being sued for, Perez has found legal assistance in the ACLU and Public Citizen with star attorney Paul Levy helping her cause. Even if and when she prevails she can be assured substantial legal costs, for that reason she has setup an Indiegogo fundraiser to help offset these burdens. I have already kicked in, I hope you will to, lets send a message to bullies that our opinions aren’t fodder for their legal escapades. Let’s remind Dietz that sometimes as Lincoln said, it’s best to just roll with the punches.

 


Undefeated, a lesson in verbiage.

Lying by telling the truth is an art that seems to be experiencing a renaissance in modern American politics. I could truthfully say that I am undefeated in MMA fighting. What that sentence would leave out is that I fought only amateur fights on private residences against either smaller or out of shape opponents. The one fight I had against someone more athletic and larger than I, I won by submission but at the cost of a broken toe.

The best, most recent example of political use of this strategy is the exchange over the Benghazi attacks between Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney during their debate. President Obama argued that he had called the Benghazi attacks an act of terror saying, “I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror.” When reviewing his quote from the Rose Garden it even sounds accurate, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” However when reviewing the context of this one sentence it becomes more clear that President Obama is referencing general terror and the 9/11 attacks. (Full Text)

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.  We mourned with the families who were lost on that day.  I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.  Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.

So while many people still tout that as a gotcha example of Romney getting his facts mixed up, both sides can easily argue convincingly their point of view. The President’s point of view is easily argued with narrow quotes of his speech and Romney’s can be argued with the context of this quote. These sort of political tactics are akin to arguments I have with my son which go like this.

Me:  What are you doing playing video games, I grounded you.

Son:  You grounded me from T.V. not video games.

Me:  You’re still using the T.V. to play your games.

Son:  But I’m not watching T.V.

My son is evidently a future contract lawyer which I am sure is a tough and rewarding profession. Our leaders on the other hand should not be speaking to the American public as if they are contract lawyer or petulant 8 year old. This is why when reading any source of media including sources I personally trust I always fact check entire answers, quotes, or speeches. I am not saying that media sources are all unreliable, reporters should build their articles on good research, however ultimately your learning is your own duty.

Here is an example of twisting words to frame an argument from a recent blog post at geek/law blog popehat. Ken writes innocuously,  “sometimes, in court as in life, the bad guys win.” Which I can distort and argue as this:

In a rare moment of defeatism, Ken argues that the bad guys win sometimes. Under this logic Ken is giving all criminals, evil doers, and pedophiles the green light to commit their crimes because as he says “sometimes, in court as in life, the bad guys win.”

In conclusion, check your sources. Also, I invite you to turn Ken’s quote into something more sinister in my comment section.


Country Time Lemonade on Obama

Glenn Beck created an uproar on the internet recently by auctioning on e-Bay a Barack Obama figurine dunked in “piss” in a mason jar. Unfortunately e-Bay’s lack of humor and inability to read lead to the auction being pulled prematurely. e-Bay claimed that since the listing contained bodily fluids it could not be auctioned. Humorously the auction never contained real urine and though not required by law to respect Beck’s First Amendment rights, e-Bay should have had the spine to resist faux moral outrage generated by the left. e-Bay’s job is not to critique art, it’s job is to sell it. Beck had originally wanted to auction the piece for charity and now is left looking for another way to raise funds with his artwork.

By overreacting to this bait liberals have exposed themselves as censors as much as conservatives did during the Piss Christ episode of the 80’s. This of course was Beck’s intention and by acting in outrage, the left has show itself as easily betrayed by it’s zealotry as they claim conservatives can be. This is America where having the freedom of expression has the side affect of having to deal with other’s freedom of expression. Whoever reported Beck, and I assume it must have been a lot of people, betrayed their un-American values without Beck even breaking a sweat. “Give me liberty of give me death,” applies to freedom of expression, not just of religious conviction or political opinion.

This is a further escalation of the left and their supporters trying to censor the right for disagreeing with them. I myself found my twitter account @dese1ect in twitter gulag as many conservatives recently have. This happens by people filing complaints and mass blocking certain people for disagreeing with them. In fact it’s well documented that left wing activist encourage this activity. My only discernable reason for my account’s suspension was at the time I was communicating my support of Israel. I have no problems with people disagreeing with me, and wether your opinion makes my skin crawl or I agree with you completely, I would never try to silence your opinion. Censors are the first guard of fascism.

Another troubling issue is that certain people have apparently raised human beings such as Barrack Obama to heights held exclusively for religious idols like Jesus or Muhammad. While westerners greatly admonished Islamist reactions to the Muhammad Cartoons they seem just as willing to gnash teeth and restrict other person’s freedom over imagery of their idols if they find such expressions offensive. No man is equal to or above God, truth, liberty or justice.

On a side note, disrespecting an African American is no more racist than disrespecting a white American. Racism is the belief that one race is above another race, not disagreeing with anyone who doesn’t look like you. I have found liberals very willing to partake in accusing conservatives like Beck of racism due to their political beliefs. This further divides our country and downplays the impact of real racism.