Thursday, June 25, 2009

Insurance Scam

I know we need insurance for a variety of things (home, auto, health) to help level the rough financial spots in life. But I’ve always had a bad attitude toward insurance companies because, well, they seem to always have a bad attitude toward me.

The idea behind insurance involves a large group pooling its resources to mitigate risk. Insurance companies more or less pull this off but muddle things a bit when the need (and desire) for profits is introduced into the mix. The disconnect comes from thinking that insurance companies exist to provide insurance. They don’t. They exist to make money.

All of which is a lead into my latest BA adventure with Big Insurance. Yesterday we received a letter in the mail from Country Financial (aka Country Companies) indicating that they were dropping our homeowners insurance. They were nice enough to provide reasons: We filed claims for the 2006 tornado that took off part of our roof and some of our siding. We also filed a claim when our sump pump broke during a heavy rain a year and a half ago and soaked the carpet in our basement.

The roof and siding repair was several thousand dollars, granted. But it was a TORNADO! The sump pump incident only required a cleaning company to come out and clean the carpet. But that’s it. We collected way less money in claims than we have paid in premiums over the years. But apparently we weren't profitable enough for Country Financial.

Did I mention this lunacy comes via COUNTRY FINANCIAL?
Anyway, I now have 60 days to find another company to cover my house so I can pay them money and not dare file a claim in return. Thanks Country Financial!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crazy Trail

This has quickly become my favorite story in the news. Living in Illinois has made me appreciate crazy governors. It’s nice that other states have them too.

Friday, June 19, 2009

People’s Court

Two WTFs from the court system:

First, check out this Supreme Court decision

In 1993, William Osburne was convicted of kidnapping, assaulting and raping a woman in Anchorage, Alaska. He spent the next 14 years of his life behind bars. Osburne insists that he is innocent, the State of Alaska has in its possession DNA evidence which will once and for all prove his guilt or innocence, and Osburne has offered to pay for DNA testing out of his own pocket. Allowing Osburne to prove—or disprove–his claim of innocence will cost Alaska literally nothing.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court held today in a 5-4 decision by Chief Justice Roberts that Osburne is out of luck. Although Roberts conceded that “[i]t is now often possible to determine whether a biological tissue matches a suspect with near certainty,” he determined that Osburne has no right to pay for a test that could exonerate him for a crime he did not commit. Allowing Osburne to prove his potential innocence, Roberts said, risks “unnecessarily overthrowing the established system of criminal justice.”
The problem with Supreme Court decision is they often are arrived at using very narrow legal parameters rather than doing what’s right. But there needs to be a safety valve somewhere for things like this. I know the conventional wisdom goes the other way, but too often prosecutors are more interested in prosecution than justice.

Then there’s the RIAA

(CNN) -- A federal jury Thursday found a 32-year-old Minnesota woman guilty of illegally downloading music from the Internet and fined her $80,000 each -- a total of $1.9 million -- for 24 songs.

Jammie Thomas-Rasset's case was the first such copyright infringement case to go to trial in the United States, her attorney said.

Attorney Joe Sibley said that his client was shocked at the fine, noting that the price tag on the songs she downloaded was 99 cents.

She plans to appeal, he said.

Cara Duckworth, a spokeswoman for the
Recording Industry Association of America, said the association was "pleased that the jury agreed with the evidence and found the defendant liable."
Money-hungry assholes. Charge her triple the 99 cents fee or something, not $1.9 million. If she had that kind of money she wouldn’t have been downloading songs for free. The RIAA business model is broken anyway. They aren’t long for this (business) world.

Shorter Fritz Pfister

On WMAY this morning:

There is no need for unemployment insurance because you can get your buddy who owns a paint store to give you credit for materials to do home painting and then go door to door painting houses to feed your family. Also most people who file worker’s comp claims are gaming the system.

What a pompous bore that man is. Of course, that makes him perfect for talk radio.


It’s not like he hasn’t had a long, wonderful and prosperous life, but it’s still sad to see this
Legendary CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite, 92, long known as the "Most Trusted Man in America," is gravely ill, according to multiple CBS News sources and published reports.
Let’s hope the reports are exaggerated. Even 92 is too young.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Race to War

Wasn't it also Charles Manson's objective to start a race war?
Earlier this afternoon, Zack Roth reported on the murder charges against two leaders of 'Minuteman American Defense' stemming from an incident over the weekend in which they staged a home invasion in Arizona, killing reputed drug dealer Raul Flores, his nine year old daughter and wounding his wife. Beyond the brutality of the act, it's difficult to get a handle on just what Shana Forde, Jason Bush and Albert Gaxiola were trying to do. They broke into Flores's home in Arivaca, Arizona posing as police officers with what police say was the intension of killing him and his family, taking a large sum of money and stealing his drugs which they would then sell on the street for more money. The proceeds, it seems, would go toward funding their on-going anti-immigrant 'activism' and, more ambitiously, instigating a race war to overthrow the US government.
Why does anyone think it's even possible to start a "race war". What is a race war exactly? Do we have any examples? I would suggest sticking to run-of-the mill terrorism. And we are seeing a lot of it already from the right wing lately.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


While looking at a Father’s Day gift site, I ran across this:

I guess if your dad is a delusional rightwing asshole, it’s perfect.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I agree with this:

…most Americans have tremendous class bias against public transit, especially buses, and that's large reason that people won't use it. I actually don't think this is as true as people think, but in any case in places which have decent high frequency service the stereotype just isn't true.

Here in Springfield, the middle and upper classes would be entirely embarrassed to ever take a bus. Go to Chicago and there is no such bias, at least when it comes to getting around the city itself.

And it didn’t used to be that way here either. I remember in my lower middle class neighborhood on Springfield’s south side, my father taking the bus to work downtown. That ended when I was about 12 when he purchased and second (used) vehicle. But before that, I used to go to the bus stop with him to see him off during the summer where he, and other workers, would catch the bus. No shame, just a way to get to work.

Tip of the Day

Jim Leach is on his radio show railing against the practice of tipping. I’m somewhat agnostic on this issue but I will admit to having been somewhat stunned to see a tip jar on the counter of the ice cream truck the other day.

Monday, June 08, 2009

On the Schmidt-List

Eric Zorn is not happy that Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Schmidt is taking so long to decide whether to indict Sen. Roland Burris.

It was Feb. 17 when Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan sent impeachment committee documents and transcripts to Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Schmidt so that Schmidt could determine whether the evidence justified perjury charges against Sen. Roland Burris.

It's been 108 days now and Schmidt, a Republican, is still pondering.

I don't believe in rushing to judgment (and I don't happen to believe that Burris committed perjury), but come on!

From what I’ve heard, Schmidt really hasn’t been all that interested in this thing. And it does kind of suck that the local state’s attorney has to get involved with this. Of course, conspiracy theories abound that this is some Republican plot to keep the weak and wounded Burris around to help Republican chances to capture Burris’ seat in 2010. Maybe so, but I really don’t see Schmidt as being that committed to partisan causes. Besides, Zorn lives in the Chicago area so that means he hates us here in Springfield.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Burris on My Desk

Not sure WHY you would want this, but you can now have a Papercraft Roland Burris of your own.

The Need for a Blood Enemy

This is exactly right and has been so for many years.

Mark Kleiman: “Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, John Bolton, Hugh Hewitt, and the Republican Jewish Coalition, and John Boehner all disliked the President’s speech.”

And, look, it’s no coincidence. Extreme elements on both sides of a conflict are in a symbiotic relationship. Islamist violence against the west strengthens the hand of the nationalistic right in the United States. But nationalist militarism from the United States strengthens the hands of violent radicals in Muslim countries

And symbiotic relationship does not equal some nutty conspiracy. Just that they really do draw strength from each others positions and rhetoric. And both are threatened by Obama and his politics.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Guilt By Blago Association

Is Patti Blagojevich really this radioactive?

CHICAGO -- The charity for which former Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich ate a tarantula on an NBC reality competition show has rejected the money.

Blagojevich ate the dead spider for Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation on “I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here.” But the foundation said it wouldn’t take the donation.

Bear Necessities spokeswoman Courtney Krupa says the charity wanted to be cautious, “with so much press going on about the governor.” Krupa said the charity’s board rejected the offer May 28.

That just sounds stupid to me. I don’t think anyone is going to think bad of a PEDATRIC CANCER foundation because it took money from Patti B. It does underscore how the Blagojevichs are totally unemployable, save for some entertainment industry gigs. I mean, if you can’t even GIVE money away….

Monday, June 01, 2009


Hurricane season starts today so I need to refer everybody back to this post from a few years ago on how I think we can easily prevent killer hurricanes.

And here are the Atlantic hurricane storm names for 2009. This year, I’m going with Claudette and Henri as the storms that will most brutalize the U.S. They sound French.

Elect a Democrat and the Terrorists Win

Well, the wingnuts were right: Terrorism has indeed returned to our shores now that Obama is president. Funny how all the domestic right-wing terrorism of the 1990s subsided while they were in power, but it seems to be on the uptick again under a Democratic administration. They kill because they’re pro-life and anti-terrorist.