Posts belonging to Category Bloodsuckers

The Clench

Is it just me, or is his expression the look of a man whose laxative just kicked in?

The Stupid Bowl is Coming!

All you slovenly North Texans need to get your crap together and make sure you polish everything to a bright, shiny finish before the Stupid Bowl comes to town next month.  Also, you need to be on your best behavior.

Or at least that’s the message I’m getting from the various cities involved in this massive boondoggle.  While the level of rhetoric is steadily being ratcheted up to 11 (you can’t watch Fox 4 anymore without a “live” reporter breathlessly intoning on the latest 18-wheeler to arrive or the current status of tent construction), I was somewhat content to just ignore it all (even the creepy Slant 45 initiative), at least until Troy Aikman dropped the final straw on my back at the end of tonight’s 6:30pm news.

I mean it’s bad enough that the City of Arlington has a webpage dedicated to ratting out your messy neighbors (lest we offend any of the delicate sensibilities of the hoity-toity Stupid Bowl visitors as they visit Arlington’s Grand-Theft-Stadium), but now we’ve got Troy Aikman on TV telling us we all need to act appropriately when visitors come to town.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find a copy of this sanctimonious bullshit online, or I’d link it here, but it pissed me right the hell off to be lectured on hospitality and how to act by a guy whose claim to fame is that he could play a game that is more known for the misbehavior of its players than anything else.

Aikman, you can shove your commercial and your Stupid Bowl XLV nonsense up your ass (perhaps the commercial will make nice viewing for you until you get your head out of there).

Quickie: Implosion of the Republic

I have come to suspect that the death of our republic will not be accompanied by a thunderous KABOOM but instead by a plaintive whine of it’s for the children (or perhaps its hoary cousin if it saves just one life).

Sneaky and Underhanded

I received a replacement for my old, worn-out, Chase debit card in the mail today.  They issue them for three year periods and the old one had been swiped so many times that it was fraying on the edges and the numbers were nearly unreadable.

Anyhow, the first thing that annoyed me was when I called the number to activate the card.  Their system took a total of three minutes to “activate” the card, of which 2.5 minutes was devoted to trying to sell me their identity theft protection (and you were not allowed to ignore the offer, as you had to select ‘2’ on the phone to get past it). 

But I discovered the really sneaky and underhanded thing when I started looking into their “Free Debit Rewards Program.”  The new debit card included an insert for the rewards program that said I could get points for using the card and that enrolling was “EASY—AND FREE!”  This triggered my TANSTAAFL sensors, as there has to be some kind of catch (i.e. someone is paying for these “free rewards”).  The main trick appears to be that you have to use the debit card as a credit card (i.e. don’t use a PIN), which I think triggers fees for the merchant.  But the other trick is that there is a $25.00 annual fee.  Which is pretty underhanded, because all of their brochures and *all* of their FAQ answers stress that it is free to enroll.  It’s only in the Terms And Conditions that you learn about the “annual fee.”  After parsing that for a minute I realized that they were legally correct, but morally bankrupt.  grin  It’s free to enroll.  It just costs money to stay in the program.

What the FAQ promises…

… is taken away by the T’s and C’s:

That said, the program may still be worth it, especially since I use the card so often.  But the way they hid the fee bothers me enough that I am going to pass on the program.  In the interest of full disclosure they should have had at least one FAQ answer that covers the fact that there is an annual fee (and I skimmed *every* FAQ just to be sure; I could find no mention of it there, only in the T’s and C’s). 

Pinnacle Security: FAIL

I am finding of late that despite my “NO SOLICITORS” sign a number of people are still ringing my bell during the day.  One of these days I will get another one for the religious people (as they all seem to think they aren’t solicitors, but are doing “God’s work” or something).  Anyhow, most of the remaining non-religious solicitors are ones who want to argue with you as to whether they are a solicitor or not.

Today’s award for “reading comprehension FAIL” goes to the representative for Pinnacle Security who rang the bell even though he clearly saw the sign.  I opened the door and he immediately launched into his spiel about how he was visiting with people in the neighborhood who had security systems.  I immediately stopped him and asked if he’d seen the sign and knew about Keller’s soliciting ordinance.  His answer was that he was not a solicitor and he didn’t need a permit because he didn’t take money; instead he was just doing “marketing.”  I told him that I a) I considered him a solicitor, and b) I had an alarm and didn’t need or want any “upgrades.”  He tried once again to launch into his spiel, but I stopped him and told him to leave.  He gave me a strange look like he was considering something, but instead said, “I’ll leave whenever you want.”  Which had me thinking, Why are you still here, then?, but I didn’t say it, as he finally got the message from my expression that he was quickly moving from annoyance to potential threat and decided to leave.

It only occurred to me afterwards that perhaps he got a glimpse of the Springfield XD 40 that I was carrying.  It was not intentional, but earlier I had been fiddling with the radio in my truck and my garage was hot so I took off my outer shirt.  When he arrived I was just wearing an undershirt and I had to scramble to get my shirt to cover the gun.  I left it unbuttoned, though, which is why in hindsight it’s possible that he saw it.  Of course, this being Texas, if you freak out when you discern that the resident of the house has a gun you’re probably not cut out for door-to-door solicitation jobs.

That’s No Moon…

I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of taxpayers suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

H/T The Smallest Minority (original at  Via Instapundit.

Snark Of The Day

Tam brings the snark concerning Obama’s national health care plan:

Obama’s plan will guarantee that the nation’s elderly are shovel-ready.

Stock Up On Stogies Before SCHIP Arrives

What many people may not know about the SCHIP bill that was signed into law recently by President Obama is that it includes a brutally high increase in federal excise taxes on cigars, pipe tobacco, and roll-your-own cigarette tobacco.  This one seems to have never gained much publicity for some reason.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by that, given that smoking is so politically incorrect these days.

Here are the basics of the new taxes, to give you an idea of just how outrageous they are:

  • The tax rate on large cigars will now be 52.4% (with a cap of $0.40 for individual cigars)
  • The federal tax on cigarettes goes from $0.39 to $1.00 per pack
  • The tax on pipe tobacco goes from $1.0969 per pound to $2.8126 per pound
  • The tax on roll-your-own cigarette tobacco goes from $1.0969 per pound to $24.62 per pound!

The only way I found out about this was when I got a mailer from Finck Cigar Company about the new taxes.

After receiving the mailer I started doing a little research into it and came across a letter to the editor from Bill Finck (owner of the aforementioned Finck Cigar Company), who is now finding himself having his squishy bits squeezed by The Chosen One™:

Our little family-owned, 115-year-old cigar factory will not be able to sell enough at the increased price to remain open, and our 59 employees, half over 50 years of age, will become unemployed. The brutal tax burdens from SCHIP will crush the small cigar businesses and the roll-your-own cigarette businesses. Thousands of American jobs in the myriad of support businesses such as tobacco growing, tobacco processing, package manufacturing, transportation and sales operations will be lost.

I am proud of our new president and his repeatedly proclaimed intent to preserve and create jobs in the United States. Someone in his group has failed to recognize the loss of thousands of jobs resulting from the tax provision in SCHIP.

This is basic economics, but it never fails to amaze me that people don’t get it.  When you raise taxes on something, someone is going to have to pay for it, and if it’s something that is discretionary, people will buy less, which usually means that it’s the people at the bottom of the “social ladder” that get hit hardest.  Still, I can’t help but feel a bit of Obamanfreude at his predicament (as it sounds like he was an Obama supporter). 

Anyhow, back to the matter at hand…  I guess I am going to have to stock up before the tax tsunami hits.  I will either get a bigger humidor or get a couple more smaller ones as well as three or four boxes of cigars.  It’s more than I would usually spend, since I generally buy them by the stick or buy samplers so I can get 5 or 10 at a time (as compared to the usual 50 in a box).  At the rate I smoke them, four boxes would probably last ten years, but at least I’d be set against supply disruptions as the cigar industry adjusts and consolidates itself in the new environment. 

Word of the Day

I hereby propose a new word:

Obamanfreude – 1.  taking pleasure from the discomfort of Obama supporters as they come to realize that The Chosen One™ is just another Chicago politician.  2.  taking pleasure from the misfortunes of an Obama supporter as he or she is adversely affected by the policies of their Dear Leader.

Eminent Domain

There’s a good opinion piece in today’s Ft. Worth Star-Telegram on the subject of eminent domain.  I’ve written a little about this topic before.  First, when the Cowboys and the City of Arlington grabbed private land for the new stadium, and again when the City of Keller took land from a developer for flood control (after apparently creating the problem by directing the water onto the developer’s land!).

As some of you may know, Governor Perry has come out in favor of a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of Texas property owners in eminent domain cases.  But, given his past support for the Trans-Texas Corridor (supposedly dead now, but probably really just awaiting a name change), I wonder just how far he’s willing to go in protecting our rights.  The law he signed during the last session didn’t really protect much. 

Given that, I have to agree with Roy Shockey on what a constitutional amendment should address:

An amendment to the Texas Constitution should plug loopholes, answer questions and protect the rights of Texas property owners. But if we’re going to amend the constitution, let’s get it right.

Let’s clearly define what is meant by the term public use and spell it out in writing.

Let’s eliminate the “blight” exception that enables the wealthiest to prey on those who have the least.

Let’s establish guidelines for compensation whenever property is seized for legitimate public use under the new statute.

Let’s address the issue of diminished access so our retained property values and access will be protected.

Let’s put the burden of proof in “public use and necessity” disputes on the back of government instead of where it is now — on the shoulders of private citizens whose property is being targeted.

The only thing I would add is a provision for punishment of any local or state official who participates in any type of scheme to deprive any citizen of his or her land for a private interest.  I think hanging them from lamp posts by their own entrails should be sufficient, but then I’m not know for being subtle or sympathetic towards thieves.

Just for the record I should inform you that I know Roy Shockey from the Keller Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association (KCPAAA).