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.)


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.


American Oligarchy.

How do you steal millions if not billions of dollars and not go to jail? Be rich beforehand. When confronted with the truth the Justice Department responded less maturely than I’d expect a federal agency to. I am going to let the article speak for itself. This isn’t about political parties or race, this is specifically about entrenched forces in American society that are not held responsible for their crimes by an administration that had promised to do so. Though with all the promises that have been broken, including reforming the Patriot Act, I am not surprised in the least.

 


In which Craig Brittain isn’t racist and went to Stanford.

Adam Steinbaugh uncovered this post below by Craig Brittain in which he claims he went to Stanford and graduated with “Latin Honors.” Luckily for Brittain lying in the comment section of YouTube isn’t illegal, but making up blatant bullshit is probably still a crap shoot. Chalk it up to another example of the Brittain/Trahan duo’s philosophy of “when confronted with resistance, lie, lie, lie.”

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Another great take away from today was Brittain claiming that he was no racist as his YouTube comments would show. However with a little research (google) and no need for luck I found a couple of examples of Brittain’s further disassociation from the truth:

Here we have the denial.

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Then we have the truth.

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Of course we also have Steam profiles linked to Brittain’s IP address.

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Brittain of course will find reasons to act racist but not actually be racist. Probably he will use the usual excuses of youth or misanthropy. Just as Brittain always blames his bad behavior on anything that he thinks will stick. An arrest for evading a police officer and driving away with the officer attached to his car? Panic attack. Blatant, repeated racism? He likes to make people upset. Creating a revenge porn website? He couldn’t find a job. Life must be quite convient for a person who lacks all personal responsibility. It can’t hurt when you have a blind follower who doesn’t even realize he’s being ruined by supporting you.

So as always we are left with Craig Brittain denying any wrong doing and lying through the teeth as he does so. For a man of such small stature he sure contains a lot of bile.


Chance Trahan Is Socially Incompetent

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So Chance Trahan, a cohort of Craig Brittain’s is accusing people online of causing him to lose his job. Unfortunately for him the person who decided not to retain his service dropped a sledgehammer on that argument. “He asked to help and after a few emails we realized he was incompetent. Socially as well.” That stings. The acting irrationally part doesn’t really jump out on the highlight reel as a bright spot either. What scum bags need to realize is that whenever they blindly make baseless accusations, good people have a way of uncovering the truth. Often the truth happens to be embarrassing to the villain, happily so in my mind.

Censors aren’t always the people in power, time and time again small people try to quiet others through any means possible. Brittain and Trahan are no different as they displayed recently in the comment section of an article about them. A moderator cleaned it up some, but if you look at the link filled posts of the two schmucks imagine about a hundred more attempting to drown out all conversation. It’s also quite ironic that people who claim to want free and open expression are very much against anyone’s opinion being voiced about them. Of course maybe chastising someone for publishing unwilling victim’s nude pictures is somehow worse than publishing unwilling victim’s nude pictures in Mr. Trahan’s world.

Wether Trahan was a full contributor or minor player in the formation of Craig Brittain’s endeavors, he now sits squarely in his master’s yard. Loyalty is an admirable quality in a dog, however a person must first ask is his loyalty being misused? I do not fault the dog who protects his master with his teeth, if that is what Mr. Trahan wishes to be then as a dog I would not fault him. Men stand up for what is right and against what is wrong, they do not follow blindly but with the full truth of their actions. As a man then, I must despise Mr. Trahan, because the full truth of his support is a disgusting affirmation of Mr. Brittain’s cowardly venture.

 


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.