Debunking Public Vs Private

Side Note: Since this post will kind of be a health care debate post… sort of… and since I couldn’t digg the article yesterday since Digg was being stupid and not letting me submit it, I’ll link to an interesting article about how the health insurance companies hurt policyholders.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of arguments from the right (and some blue dogs on the left) these days of why a public option in health care would be a bad thing… like a healthy competition is a bad thing. It started me thinking of how public competes against private. Brian and I spent an hour coming up with a pretty good list of ways public competes with private:

  • Public vs Private mail – For example USPS vs FedEx.
  • Public vs Private schools – For example colleges can be public or private. Most private colleges (and schools) are more expensive. Wouldn’t private schools not be around at all if everyone put their kids in public since it’s cheaper? There are REALLY good public schools (example UMD)… yet there are still private schools out there… wonder why.
  • Public vs Private airports – Here’s a list of public and private airports in Maryland. I don’t hear any private airports (or conservatives) wining how the public ones take all the business away. Private airports are still in business, oddly enough.
  • Public vs Private space agencies – For example NASA vs Scaled Composites (which is a child of Northrup Grumman).
  • Pubic vs Private hospitals – Thinking there probably shouldn’t be any private hospitals still around… oh wait, there are.
  • Public vs Private radio – Ever heard of NPR? Nothing about the right crying “unfair” they’re competing with private radio stations.
  • Pubic vs Private banks – This one really gets me. I don’t hear anything about people being mad at government run banks or credit unions. You’d think they’d offer higher interest rates on savings accounts (you know, since they don’t have to worry about profit). Which in turn, you guessed it, causes the private to go out of business. But none of that happens. Public and private are just as competitive. In fact, I bank with ING Direct and I get a much better interest rate than if I banked with NFCU.
  • Public vs Private television – PBS versus almost anything else. How come PBS isn’t kicking butt on the ratings? Oh yeah, they suck. So people go to private… Hmm… apply that theory to healthcare… Case in point, if this public option sucks, people will flock back to private. Private just needs to be… what’s the word… oh yeah, COMPETITIVE.

Pretty sure this list is incomplete. Can you think of more?

Now, I don’t hear anyone on the right (or anyone for a “free market”) arguing against any of these. If public was so good, we wouldn’t be having this debate, would we? These major things would all be run by the government and there would be no private. And I’m guessing Obama’s socialism would be a much larger number than 0.21%.

And regarding the argument: “oh well when one of the companies doesn’t have to worry about a profit…” Honestly? If your life depended on a decision from someone NOT in it for the profit or someone IN it for the profit, I can’t imagine why anyone would put their life in the hands of someone who’s only looking out for their profit.

2009 Resolutions Update II

Here’s the whole list from the previous post as well:

  • Be more soft spoken, tone it down a bit and watch what I say (done, slipping but still that most of the time)
  • Have more parties/go to more parties (I’m pretty social, need to host more parties though)
  • Don’t feel the need to say how I feel all the time
  • Get PHP certified (April 25 I received my PHP Certification)
  • Get at least 1,000 quotes next year (I might make it)
  • See Aunt Ruth and Aunt Janet more (once my dad’s stuff is worked out my weekends will be free again)
  • Get over some things that bother me
  • Keep off the 10 pounds I just lost (currently weigh 150), be healthier and eat healthier (I weigh 148, cutting back on meat and never eating until you’re full is the key)
  • Treat Brian and Candi better (always a resolution)
  • Do something good for the environment or humanity (starting to commute to work on an electric scooter but this is not enough)
  • Buy a house
  • Buy a new Prius
  • Get Candi off the cone (poor puppy) (really wish I could mark this one off)
  • Settle my Dad’s estate (not in my control) (done a little, need to order and sell Dad’s house then I’d mark this one off)
  • See a doctor and dentist (seeing a doctor in August, saw the dentist)
  • Plant grass
  • Buy a grill
  • Buy a lawn mower
  • Buy a plasma TV for downstairs (not really a goal anymore)
  • Buy a sound system for downstairs (not really a goal anymore)
  • Buy another TV for the bedroom (not really a goal anymore)
  • Build a garage (in progress, check out flickr for pictures)
  • Paint the basement (not really a goal anymore)
  • Paint the bathroom (not really a goal anymore)
  • Get insurance, tags, title for the Dodge Ram (problem is actually using the truck, it’s just sitting now taking up space)
  • Get the Camero painted AND fixed (it broke, needs some work)
  • Have a house warming party (a successful party)

So I’ll go rogue a little and get something off my mind. I don’t want this to be a depressing post but I sometimes get these waves of obsession where I can’t stop thinking of an old friend I used to hang out with. The last few times we hung out I don’t think it went so well or whatever. He doesn’t talk to me and I don’t talk to him. He’s got other friends and so do I. So many things I just want to say to him to kind of get it off my chest so to speak but I know if I do he’d probably not care. I just need to get over it. He doesn’t want to hang out or anything, he doesn’t invite me anywhere though I reach out to him sometimes. I guess I just want him to miss me like I miss him sometimes. I want him to know that I am enjoying my life as I’m sure he’s enjoying his. However I just miss him and wish things went differently so I could be a part of his life. Just part of me wants to say this.

Debunking A Cash For Clunkers Article

I’m fairly certain this article is right leaning:

Five Reasons “Cash For Clunkers” Is A Joke

By now I’m sure you’ve heard Obama has passed a bill, Cash For Clunkers. I visited Yahoo news today like I usually do since Yahoo is my home page and I read this interesting, BS article.

  1. Not sure if the author of this article has ever traded in a car but you can’t get much for it. Nine out of ten times you’re better off trying to sell it on your own. Dealerships usually rip people off. In the article it even states that you’ll get MORE for it with the CFC bill than you would normally… Not really seeing why the bill won’t work if people are getting MORE MONEY from their cars.
  2. Yeah average price of a new car might be $24,000 but honestly, if you’re hurting for money and need a car, I’d go with a Rabbit or a Yaris. Even now with Ford and GM not doing so well, I’d go for a Focus. Much cheaper than the $24K this guy is saying a new car is. A Yaris costs $12,200 MSRP, negotiate a little, could get it down to $11,500 easy… CFC makes the car a whopping $8,000. Say you had to borrow $9K, that’s only $174 a month at 6%.
  3. Some people might not need their big SUV anymore, or their truck, or their minivan. And some trucks DO get better fuel efficiency than before. And if your truck is old and on its last leg, now could be the perfect opportunity. Furthermore, the bill states different qualifications for trucks.
  4. This argument is weak at best… and pretty funny. Don’t scrap your car because it MIGHT be a future classic? Pretty pathetic. Yeah, I’m going to hang on to my 1994 Chrysler cause it might be worth much more one day. And how do classic cars get value anyway? Because there are only A FEW LEFT. I honestly don’t think people are going to keep their junkers in hopes that one day (could be 20 years or 50 years down the road) it could be worth something. You know how much it costs to store a car? The guy who wrote this article certainly doesn’t.
  5. That’s a problem with Ford and GM, not with the CFC program. If they were hoping this bill provided a boost to the automotive business here, they would have put in the bill that the car must be traded in at a Ford or GM dealership.

Re People’s Participation: I actually know a few people that can benefit from this program. One of them is going to participate and trade his 1993 Mercedes in for either a Toyota Prius or a Toyota Yaris.

Debunking The Right About Higher Taxes In Maryland

I usually have some pretty good debates with my fathers lawyer who is a Republican. He always likes to blame Democrats for the problems we face in our state and in our country (like all good Republicans, right).

Anyway, so he recently said how one third of the rich people in this state have since moved or changed their permanent residences due to O’Malley hiking up their taxes. So, what the Right likes to think is that it drove out rich people and increased taxes on the working. They’re correct, but let’s take a look at the numbers:

The increase on the rich of they “grinned and bared it” would be another $106,000,000 revenue to the state.

In reality it put us in the hole -$100,000,000. (Figures from the Wall Street Journal.)

So that’s a -$206,000,000 swing that we have to make up to (baring that the tax increase on the rich would balance the budget) keep the budget balanced for the year. In other words, Maryland needs to make up $206,000,000 MORE than last year.

According to Wikipedia, the population of Maryland is 5,633,600 people. Assuming that only half pay taxes, which is more than fair in my opionion, that leaves us with 2,816,800 tax payers.

Doing our math on this:

$206,000,000/2,816,800 = $73.13 per tax payer

So, the Right (and some Democrats no doubt) lead you to believe that increasing taxes on the rich will drive them away leaving only the middle and lower classes to make up the difference. Sorry but I’m a lot happier paying barely $100 more A YEAR than other alternatives… look what California is facing. Also keep in mind that inflation is a little more than 4% a year so an extra $100 per tax payer may not be so bad.

Of course this blog is assuming the rich were driven out because of higher taxes. One article from the Baltimore Sun actually suggests it’s due to the estate tax being so high in Maryland.

Vegetarian For A Week — Results

So I went a week without eating a single piece of meat… sorry Bri.

The results were fine. I lost two pounds. Some of it was really difficult, but I managed. And I did stay away from meat that I normally love to have.

Some meals included:

  • Spaghetti with sauce and bread (had once)
  • The pipe noodles with cheese, bread (had this twice)
  • Panara cheese and broccoli soup bread bowl (had this twice)
  • Grilled cheese and corn (had once)
  • Pancakes, eggs, and biscuits (had once)

The hard parts:

  • Eating spaghetti with no meat
  • Being very picky as to where to go out to eat (ate at Panara and Bob Evans)
  • Scrapping the toppings off the meat lovers pizza at work
  • Not eating chicken that Monique brought in for lunch
  • Not eating the same meal as Brian

The good parts:

  • Sauce and bread
  • Panera
  • Caramel frapuchinos

It was a pretty positive experience for me. I never really ran out of food ideas because I was always willing to just eat a vegetable and something else small. And I wasn’t craving meat during or after.

My first meal on Sunday consisted of BK’s breakfast burrito which I love. We also did steaks that night. I really did miss meat but I never like craved it. Shawns steak after a week without meat was the best, though!

This experience probably did change me a little. I noticed I don’t eat as much meat now, since we had ribs last night and I didn’t eat them all. Bri and I will probably eat more sea food now, like shrimp and fish. Being away from fast food probably did my body good, too.

See my entry in 43 Things!

Zend Certified Engineer

Zend Certified Engineer

Sorry it took me so long to post but after over two years of wanting to do it, I finally took and PASSED the Zend PHP 5 Certification Exam!

Although this has nothing to do with what I’m currently doing now, I feel it will help me in the future, plus it’s pretty cool since I can use the logo! Anyway, I started preparing for the exam around the beginning of March. I had previously bought the two books by PHP Architect  (Zend PHP 5 Certification Study Guide 2nd Edition and Zend PHP Certification Practice Test Book).

I first read through the Study Guide. Though full of mistakes, it really wasn’t too painful to get through. I took notes on stuff I thought I should know. All the while I was reading what others were saying about the test itself. I read any blog that I could in relation to the test. That’s where I got another recommended book (Zend PHP Certification Study Guide by Zend Technologies). I bought and read this book only to discover a few pages into it that it dealt with PHP4, not 5. I decided to skip the things that had totally been redone since 5, like OOP. I did steal a lot of the questions though.

Thinking I was pretty well prepared, I decided to take the tests in the Practice book. I burned pretty badly on a few topics (Dates, Security, Streams, and Regex). I also found a few free practice tests online. After wearing out all the test questions online, I pretty much decided to hit the Manual… hard. That was painful and grusom, if you have any idea how BIG the manual is. I spent most my days at work reading the PHP Manual and taking notes and preparing practice tests for myself.

After reading the manual, taking practice tests, and preparing my big ass function practice test, I decided to buy the practice exams offered by PHP Architect. On average I took two a week, starting March 29. I passed all of them, with the last three I took being EXCELLENT. It doesn’t give you the answers at the end, but it gives you the areas you need to improve. I was always bad at Design and PHP4/5 Differences. Google and Wiki helped me in these areas. All the questions I wasn’t sure about, I copied to a text file during the test. I really highly recommend these tests since it’s set up like the exam itself. 70 questions in 90 minutes.

I took the Friday before the exam off to study and took the test Saturday. It only took me about an hour and 15 minutes. They make it really nice for you since you can go back and review. My name was in the PHP Yellow Pages by Tuesday.

See my entry in 43 Things!

My Name In PHP Yellow Pages!

Paper They Gave Me At The End -- PASSED!

Vegetarian For A Week

Tomorrow, May 17, 2009, I will begin my week of being a vegetarian. This choice is purely experimental and it’s basically just to say I did it.

I will not be eating meat of any kind, including fish or shrimp. I will, however, eat eggs, cheese, and milk (prohibiting those items means I would be a vegan).

Honestly, I think this decision is going to be hard and I’ll probably do it a crappy way and eat french fries, pie, biscuits and sauce, and basically B S my way through it.

It’ll probably be hard tomorrow because tonight I’m staying in Ocean City and will probably have to grab fast food tomorrow morning, but we’ll see.

My beginning weight is 154.

Overeating & Weight Problems

I’ve always had a conspiracy theory about weight problems in our country.

I was watching Bill Maher last week, he had David Kessler on his show, talking about his new book The End Of Overeating… basically confirmed part of my theory.

My beliefs are that the food companies/restaurants are causing us to be obese.  They sell these huge portions figuring they can sell more food for more money. We don’t really have a choice in this matter. It’s not like I can go to one of the places at the mall and ask for half a serving, it’s all or nothing. We’ve become accustom to eating that much food. And when you buy a meal like that, not eating all of it is just a waste if you throw it away.

I’ve never had problems with my weight, however, but when I started to notice the scale going up to uncomfortable levels (155-160), I decided to cut back. I ditched the typical mall food ($6+ for more than a serving), and started to eat either a pretzel, a subway sandwich (6 inch), a steak sub, or an ice cream. (Also saved money too.) I also started doing a little exercising, but the big thing is cutting back. I think I’m a healthy weight now and tend to keep up with what I’m doing.

Stopping yourself from eating is always a hard thing to do but it needs to be done. I only eat until I’m completely full about once a week. Other than that, I really limit the amount of food I take. It takes a lot of discipline, but it is possible. Don’t eat until you’re full.

Quickie On SharePoint

I could go on and on about SharePoint, for hours and hours. I will just share a little conspiracy theory I thought of today…

Suffering with this problem for months now (literally), we finally got some advice. Supposedly EVERYONE faces this problem with SharePoint about the User not being found when going to create an SSP. Anyway, got two pieces of advice, one being to install the SharePoint patches (they have like 12 of them in the past year!) Howard and I are currently doing that.

Anyway, my conspiracy theory is that Microsoft deliberately ignores problems and creates buggy programs and releases them so people will waste their money and call tech support therefore making Microsoft money. Their errors, ambiguous, therefore costing you money in tech support.

Ugh. I hate Microsoft!

For more rant and a special comment, visit my other Syntax Notes blog.

2009 Resolutions Update I

Thought I’d update on my New Years resolutions for this year, and add some new ones.

  • Be more soft spoken, tone it down a bit and watch what I say (done, however I sometimes speak louder than I mean to)
  • Have more parties/go to more parties (still settling in, plan to do more, but right now just weekend fun)
  • Don’t feel the need to say how I feel all the time (besides with Bri)
  • Get PHP certified (not accomplished yet, studying, but I registered and will be taking the test in a month)
  • Get at least 1,000 quotes next year (on my way… have 165 currently this year, may or may not hit that mark)
  • See Aunt Ruth and Aunt Janet more (not really finding the time, however did see Aunt Janet)
  • Get over some things that bother me (as time passes, I get over things)
  • Keep off the 10 pounds I just lost (currently weigh 150), be healthier and eat healthier (lol, gained 5 pounds, but now I’m cutting back on snacks and exercising)
  • Treat Brian and Candi better (always a resolution) (doing well)
  • Do something good for the environment or humanity (ugh, what do I do?)
  • Buy a house
  • Buy a new Prius
  • Get Candi off the cone (poor puppy) (maybe a few more weeks… it’s still there)
  • Settle my Dad’s estate (not in my control) (should be settled by June)
  • See a doctor and dentist (haven’t had the leave)

New goals:

  • Plant grass
  • Buy a grill
  • Buy a lawn mower
  • Buy a plasma TV for downstairs
  • Buy a sound system for downstairs
  • Buy another TV for the bedroom
  • Build a garage
  • Paint the basement
  • Paint the bathroom
  • Get insurance, tags, title for the Dodge Ram
  • Get the Camero painted
  • Have a house warming party

Obama’s Iraq Decision

News broke yesterday, right before Obama’s Congressional Speech, that a decision has been made about Iraq. Obama campaigned on a 16 month withdraw date. Since taking office, apparently, he feels that 16 months is too soon and wants to extend it to 19 months.

Some may think, oh it’s just three months, that’s fine. I don’t. Obama is going back on one of his campaign promises to get the troops out of there. Furthermore, Iraqi leaders have already agreed to Obama’s timetable (which no doubt gave him a lot of kudos). Obama is basically giving the same time of withdraw that Bush gave (2011).

I know not many liberals will get on him about this decision, but I feel he went back on his word, and he deserves flack for it. I understand that until he got in there could he fully understand the severity of the situation. However, I feel that since he is going back on his word, it brings us back. It brings us back to the Bush days of “oh a few more months”, “give it another six months”, “we’ll know by X date”.

Also, I would like to point out that even after “withdraw”, we will still have residual (“non combat”) forces there. Estimates are as much as 50,000 troops. In my opinion, this is completely unacceptable.

To me, this decision is major, as I’ve been strongly against the war since its beginning. I don’t want to go back to the days were our leaders keep pushing withdraw back and back. I want to see our troops come home. I voted for Obama to bring them home.

Let’s even forget about how us antiwar folks feel for a second. The Republicans are going to have a field day. Yes, they love the result (more time in Iraq) but the bottom line is it gives them ammunition against Obama saying he went back on his word.

I hope K O does a special comment or something about this news. I’m pretty mad right now. I hope others get mad about this decision as well. We need to hold Obama accountable. I know he can’t fulfill every campaign promise, but this one is major.

Verizon FiOS Ordeal

So Bri and I recently moved to an area that is FiOS ready. To those who haven’t heard of FiOS, it’s supposed to be the bomb as far as internet, phone, and TV go.

Bri and I wanted to keep the same number we had at the apartment. That required us to wait two weeks before Verizon installing it, so they can port the number. Also, it required us to keep our Comcast account active (even though we couldn’t watch TV, Internet, etc). We made an appointment with Verizon and they were scheduled to come out on a Friday. Brian took the day off to get it installed, along with Brinks.

Verizon never showed up. Nor did they call to tell us they weren’t showing up. Supposedly, there was an error in their system saying we couldn’t get FiOS. Come to find out, they also could not port over our number, which they claimed they could do. Hours on the phone later, we set up a new appointment. And, no, they couldn’t pull some strings and get dispatch out there early for us, nor could they install it on the weekend or on Monday.

We now had an appointment for Wednesday between the hours of 8 and 5. I didn’t want to take the day off because leave is very important, and I have to save it for Dad stuff. I bribed one of my friends to come up and spend the day waiting for Verizon.

They showed up, I guess, around 1PM and proceeded to install FiOS. I get a text saying it would cost $55 per TV to run wire so we can have cable. The house CAME wired with Coax. According to the techs who were installing it, it wasn’t Coax, but a thicker wire. Whatever, Bri and I weren’t home so we couldn’t tell.

When I got home, I let them do their thing, thinking they are professionals and wouldn’t mess anything up. Was I wrong. When the guys left, Bri and I walked around the house to see what they had done. They had CUT our wire to our current Coax system. Not only that, they INSTALLED Coax! The very thing we had wired throughout the house!

Brian called Verizon (yet again). They are supposed to call him back sometime today. We are NOT paying for the Coax installation which we already had. It’s been ridiculous. If they say we still have to pay, we’re probably going to take them to small claims court or something. We can also, hopefully, get the dudes in trouble who installed the stuff. They did a horrible job anyway. They even left their twisty ties on the floor so my cats can choke on them. Nice, right?

Needless to say, I laugh every time I get off the phone with these assholes and they say “recommend us to family and friends”… Yeah, right.

My opinion so far, I watched around 3 hours of TV. Picture is fine. HD is fine. More HD channels than Comcast. Internet is very fast. Honestly, it’s the same as Comcast. I see no real difference. It is NOT the bomb like it’s made out to be.

Bottom line, don’t get Verizon. They’re jerks. I’ll update later about how it all turns out.

Thoughts On In Vetro & Abortion

With all the discussion about in vetro going on because of the octuplets debate, I had an interesting thought. This woman knew that all of the six embryos the clinic implanted were successful and developing, and she chose not to get any of them aborted… the whole pro life argument… “It’s God’s will”.

My thought is that if it’s God’s will to have a life be created, it’s also Gods will to have life NOT be created. Let’s face it, Nadya Suleman should have never been a mother because she’s infertile. Thanks to technology and in vetro, she is… It’s choice.

How can anyone claim it’s God’s will when they can control the situation? Was it God’s will to have Ms Suleman have in vetro? No. She chose it. If God makes someone infertile, it’s not meant to be, if you following the whole pro life argument that it’s God’s will to have a life be born. You can’t have it both ways.

It draws the conclusion that people who are pro life should NOT be pro in vetro, following God’s will.

Twenty Five Random Things

Yeah, thought I’d do it too since I need a break from work. Here’s 25 things you might not know about me.

  1. I don’t like talking on the phone (unless it’s to people I know) so I get Brian to do it usually.
  2. I will always wear a T shirt and shorts swimming, no matter what.
  3. I never ever want to have kids although I have their names picked out already.
  4. I don’t speak up enough when I should and I’m a chicken, most of the time.
  5. I’m still undecided on where I stand when it comes to gun control and legalizing marijuana.
  6. A cold Keystone Light is the only beer I can drink without cringing the first few sips.
  7. I memorized the lyrics to REM – The End Of The World, Eminem – Without Me, Linkin Park – Bleed It Out, Austin Powers Dr Evil – Just The Two Of Us, Nelly – Ride With Me, and Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start The Fire. I can sing all of them successfully. Barenaked Ladies – One Week I can’t quite sing because it’s too fast; same with Blues Travelers – Hook.
  8. It makes me feel special when people copy me. I started a few trends in High School. My friends copied my TV, my TV stand, my couch, and my phone.
  9. My two favorite things are politics and football.
  10. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted and however much I wanted, but now I have to cut back a little to maintain my current weight.
  11. If my work did bother to block Facebook, I probably wouldn’t get on ever. Very seldom do I get on Facebook at home. Although I always make sure whatever I post from FriendFeed services gets posted to Facebook.
  12. I will pretend to know what people are talking about just to fit in sometimes.
  13. I’ll probably never get up the nerve to leave MORI.
  14. I love getting crushes on unobtainable guys. Daydreaming is so much fun!
  15. I sometimes hang out and have a lot of fun with peeps even though I don’t collect any quotes.
  16. I do like the song MMBop by Hanson. It’s very meaningful if you listen to the lyrics.
  17. I miss a lot of things about college like sleeping later, snow days, and hanging out with Burg people; however I’d rather have the life I have now because it sucked being poor.
  18. I don’t like to go places with a lot of people. The cruise Bri and I took I was sometimes miserable because there were so many people that were taking up everything to do.
  19. I don’t use a bed frame. I probably never will again.
  20. I have to have a TV in my bedroom even though I’ll never watch it. Rooms without TV’s or computers depress me.
  21. I hate shut doors. It’s probably a childhood issue after my parents divorced. When people stay over, I’ll never have the bedroom door shut. If I had my way, there would be no doors to bedrooms.
  22. I have OCD about a lot of things.
  23. Things I would like to collect: glasses, Cuban cigars, trophies, watches, match books, and signs (like my Dad).
  24. My stripper name is Foxie Roxie.
  25. I want people to know that they should NOT mess with me. I know people who can kill them/seriously hurt them at my command. I’m 100% serious.

The Bush Presidency, The End Of An Error

Now that the Bush Presidency is FINALLY over, I thought I’d recap what’s probably the worst mistakes of the past eight years. Reflecting on these mistakes, I sincerely hope we can move past them with an Obama Administration and correct all the blunders that haave occured. It will take a long time but I am confident that our country will transend the past and become the nation we ought to be.

Undoing what Bush has done, some experts say, could take decades. Some of these errors alone may never be corrected. So much damage has been done.

Here are the twenty five things I feel were the worst things that went on during the Bush 43 Administration.

  • No Child Left Behind
  • Inaction On Illegal Immigration
  • Mission Accomplished
  • Inaction In Darfur
  • Budget Deficits – the souring national debt (now more than $10.6 trillion), taking a surplus and giving the top 10% tax cuts, billions needlessly spent in Iraq for contractors (Halliburton, Blackwater, etc)
  • End Of Tariffs – Free Trade which caused a lot of US companies to outsource and send jobs overseas
  • Handling Of North Korea – again a little foreign policy could have gone a long way
  • Handling Of Iran – the inability to exercise foreign policy, turning our backs, not willing to sit down and talk to other nations
  • Katrina
  • Valerie Plame Scandal
  • Alberto Gonzales Scandal
  • Treatment Of Our Veterans
  • The Patriot Act – warrantless wiretapping and civil liberties being taken away in the name of terror, spying on American citizens, the shredding of the Constitution (you know, that GD piece of paper)
  • Over 150 Signing Statements – more than any other president in history, did a lot of damage and pushed us back in such areas as the enviornment
  • Torture – Abu Ghraib, water boarding, violations of the Geneva Convention
  • Initiation And Mismanagement Of The Iraq War
  • Souring Energy Prices – really has hurt the middle class, a lot of people have not recovered, families suffered
  • Bush’s Supreme Court Justice Appointments – probably one of the worst things he has ever done, this country has regressed dramatically
  • America’s Image And The Exploitation Of September 11th – after 9/11 the world was behind us but this Administration resorted to scare tactics in order to push its own agenda, we have fallen as a leader in the world, the Bush Administration has used terror and the threat of another 9/11 to scare the American people
  • Inaction On The Healthcare Crisis – SCHIP vetoed (one of the most successful programs)
  • Lack Of Foresight On The Housing Crisis – a little Government regulation could have gone a long way towards stopping aggressive lending practices
  • Nievity On Economic Crisis – statements like “the fundamentals of our economy are strong”, the lack of government regulation and oversight
  • Millions Of Jobs Lost
  • Lack Of Government Accountability – from war crimes to warrentless wiretapping to the budget this administration has NOT been held accountable
  • Inaction Against Global Warming – Kyoto Accord not being signed, editing of scientific documents that prove Global Warming is happening, lying in speeches of how we need to move to alternative energy yet blocking legislation that calls for it

I Gotta Ask, What Do They Do?

Brian and I are in the process of buying our first house. My father once told me there are a lot of incentives for first time home buyers. After doing hours of research, I find there really aren’t any. There is actually only one we could find that we actually qualify for ($7,500 “loan” that we pay back through taxes). All the rest are for incomes less than what we’re making. Of course, we’re trying to find ones in Maryland and from Montgomery County. We make too much money! We make a little over the MEAN income in MoCo.

It blows my mind. One of the programs can give us a mortgage rate of some 5.5% (fixed). We just got approval from our bank at 4.75% (fixed). Yeah, who would go with that?

My question is, what the hell do these politicians do? They obviously just sit on their asses and not pass things that need to be passed. Or update laws and programs that need to catch up with the times. 5.5% would have been great a few years ago, but now it’s pretty high. All these programs we can’t qualify for because we make too much money, how come they haven’t been updated? Bri and I are a little below middle class. We don’t qualify for anything! Who does? We couldn’t afford a house if we made less. These programs need to be updated. I don’t know anyone who it applies to, they all make too much money! But we don’t make that much, honestly!

The lady who lives below me had her childrens school food benefit (where the state assists in school lunches) taken away from her because she got a little pay raise and now she doesn’t qualify anymore. She can’t afford not to have it.

I just want to know why these programs haven’t been updated for inflation. It took 10 years to increase minimum wage, it took 28 years to increase the FDIC insurance to $250,000. What the hell do these people do who should be passing laws to update these very important programs?

2009 Resolutions

Thought I’d be trendy and blog about what I want to accomplish next year:

  • Be more soft spoken, tone it down a bit and watch what I say
  • Have more parties/go to more parties
  • Don’t feel the need to say how I feel all the time
  • Get PHP certified
  • Get at least 1,000 quotes next year
  • See Aunt Ruth and Aunt Janet more
  • Get over some things that bother me
  • Keep off the 10 pounds I just lost (currently weigh 150), be healthier and eat healthier
  • Treat Brian and Candi better (always a resolution)
  • Do something good for the environment or humanity

Immediate future:

  • Buy a house
  • Buy a new Prius
  • Get Candi off the cone (poor puppy)
  • Settle my Dad’s estate (not in my control)
  • See a doctor and dentist

Happy Holidays!

Just wanted to take a second to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. Hope everyone enjoys time spent with family and friends. Take care, be safe, and have fun!

Not Just A Car

I’ve been meaning to blog more about my car. People don’t seem to understand that Codey was more than just a car to me. Since I was out of college I wasn’t reliant on my Dad anymore, I was financially independent.

When it came time to buy a car to replace Blue, hands down I wanted the Toyota Prius. I’ve been dreaming about this car since I first learned about hybrids. At this point I had been working for about 5 months and managed to save enough money to pay off the insurance violations my mother and I acquired when I was in high school and college. I also had enough for a down payment on the car. Brian and I called up his bank one night and got a loan.

I, of course, was doing all my homework on the Toyota Prius. I knew exactly what I wanted. The time came one Sunday (January 28, 2007, one of the happiest days of my life), Brian and I went to Toyota of Bowie. When our sales guy pulled up in that PRETTY BLUE PRIUS, I instantly fell in love, the first time I saw him. He was so perfect. He was everything I wanted.

The week prior to his death, I had cleaned his window whipers and inflated his tires. I also had bought a new CD of the Eagles Long Road Out Of Eden for the concert we went to that Thursday.

Then that horrible morning came about, November 22, 2008. Woken up, slightly by a car alarm but quickly went back to sleep. Car alarms are nothing new in my neighborhood. The fire marshal woke us up and, well, the car was no more.

He was officially claimed totaled and lost on December 1, 2008.

People are just questioning me why I loved that car so much saying “it was just a car” and “it can be replaced”. It will never just be replaced for me. It was my crowning achievement up to this point. It was my dream come true. It was my symbol of hardwork. My symbol of finally achieving financial independence since it was the first big purchase I made 100% on my own. It was a symbol of my beliefs and morals. A statement of self. It was my independence.

Anyway, to state some news, my insurance company will be contacting me to negotiate on a price for the car. Once that happens, they’ll give me a check which I will pay off the rest of the loan. Then, I guess I’ll buy a new Prius. However, I’ve made the decision to never park the Prius where I am living now. Brian and I are aggressively looking to get the hell out of Germantown forever. We’ll be buying a house hopefully soon. I don’t trust my neighborhood anymore. It used to be a nice, safe place to live.

Codey The Blue Toyota Prius

Codey the Blue Toyota Prius, 2 (+/- 18,500 miles), a resident of Germantown for two years, died suddenly from a fire outside the home of his owner, Janis.

Codey was bought, brand new, January 28, 2007 at the Toyota of Bowie. He achieved around 48 miles per gallon in his life.

He routinely drove Brian and Janis to work everyday and was loved by all. He had a 6 CD changer MP3 enabled, smart key technology, backup camera, rear view dimming mirror, AUX (MP3 player), controls on the steering wheel, digital reads, high intensity headlights, and ABS.

A devoted car, he enjoyed driving above the speed limits, and blasting music throughout the parking lot of Safeway.

Survivors include his owners, Janis and Brian; one dog, Candi; one cat, size_t; and one brother, Brian’s car.

No memorial service will be held at this time.


I can’t describe how much I loved this car. He was something I wanted since I first heard about hybrids in 1998. I had finally achieved the dream in January 2007. He was taken away from me so violently. I still can’t believe he’s gone.

The fire marshal said someone had put a candle under his left rear tire which started the fire. A neighbor saw the flames and tried to put it out. When it became too much for him to handle, he called 911. The fire marshal knocked on our door around 6:30 AM early Saturday morning.

The last time he was driven was Friday, November 21, 2008 from 4:35pm – 5:10pm from my work to pick up Brian to home.

I enjoyed driving that car everyday I had it. It was the best car I ever owned. He was very reliable.

I had had an accident last winter when Codey failed to stop on slippery ice and hit a car in front of him. Geico fixed him right away and everything was like the way it was before.

I loved him so much, he was my baby. He had a good life ahead of him but it was cut short by some vicious person with nothing better to do than to set an innocent Prius on fire.

Also lost in the flames was a stuffed animal that I had since I was a kid (Solvester), my late Dad’s hand made jumper cables, an air compresser my late Uncle gave me, my boogie board I had since childhood, my tackle box I had since childhood, some CD’s such as Alanis Moressette and the new Eagles album, a pair of sunglasses, my highschool and college tassles, and car mats.