Tornado drops house on local woman

I am watching the ratsocrat food fight on TV. Congressman Wexler just totally spanked the extremely evil and very appropriately named Harold Ickes. He challenged Ickes to explain the principle of fair reflection, accurately and devastatingly implying that Ickes has no concept of fair reflection, or indeed anything fair.

Even if Obama doesn’t win in the general, at least it looks as though the ratsocrats will be disenthralled by the appallingly evil Fellatio Boy coterie. Perhaps Congressman Wexler will host a wizard of oz party, if so, I hope he invites me!

Winning Through Intimidation

I have to give a shout-out for Winning Through Intimidation, a 70s gem.  I have started re-reading it, after a recent business transaction made me think of the lessons I absorbed from it when I read it at the tender age of 16.

I am adding it to my list of mandatory reading for my sons. Maybe for my daughters, too? Hmm, not sure the world-view of the book is fathomable for the misleadingly named gentle sex. A lot of women I know would have gutted the turtle and served him for dinner in his own shell while he was still perfecting his business card.

My rate is $200 per hour

When a pollster or a surveyor phones, I interupt their robotic spiel to inform them that my rate for participating in the process is $200 per hour, with a one hour minimum, and all partial hours rounded up to the next whole hour. 

When I first started doing this, several years ago, I often had to repeat two or three times before the caller grasped the concept that I wasn’t going to answer the questions.  Just recently, though, in the last few weeks, I’ve had several callers counter-offer with a $20 FourBux gift card.  Shocking.

I don’t buy FourBux coffee, so even a $200 giftcard from Fourbux wouldn’t tempt me, but it is rather mindblowing that these guys are now actually offering a kind of payment.

My refusal to participate is one reason I don’t put much faith in political polls.  What kinds of deviants are actually answering the pollsters’ questions?   I think I’m quaintly old-fashioned for even speaking to them.

I am tempted to claim to a political pollster that I am all for Lyndon LaRouche, and to offer them a pound or so of raw liver.   I don’t know what the raw liver is all about, but I remember many years ago seeing video of a LaRouchie trying to give a pound of raw liver to some politico.  Maybe it is some kind of twisted homage to “Portnoy’s Complaint.”

Thin skin never won high office

During the 2004 campaign, I was struck by a situation in which John Kerry flew off the handle at some perceived impugning of his patriotism.  He grew red in the face, and basically issued a ban (a hilariously unenforceable ban) on anyone questioning his patriotism.  He said (what was he thinking?) that he would not permit it!  This was before the fatal, rifle-shot, totally warranted, swift boat campaign.

I am reminded of this by Barack Obama’s frantically futile edicts against criticisms of his wife’s highly criticizable remark that she has only recently ever been proud of the United States.

I suspect that these kinds of ridiculous overreactions are like a tell in poker, they’re basically saying, “poke me here again, and watch me melt down.”  They’re announcing to the world “this is my achilles heel.”

I hope Obama wins because the GOP needs to be reduced to lying the gutter, homeless, stinking of maddog 2020, peeing on itself, with all of its currently elected officials ultimately taken out and shot, so that there can be hope for the future that the party rejects corruption and fiscal irresponsibility, and is some day again worthy of the support of conservatives.  Where is Trotsky when you need him most?

I’ll sue!

A friend of Enrico’s (henceforth “litigious friend” or simply LF) is suing a major integrated financial services conglomerate (henceforth MIFSC) in small claims court. LF had a credit card issued by a unit of mifsc. LF was a victim of credit card fraud, with bogus charges showing up on his card from red china. LF reported the fraud immediately to the mifsc, ordered the card closed, shredded all cards in his possession and took effective measures to ensure that no further legitimate charges occurred.

Months later, the mifsc reported LF as delinquent to the credit bureaus, and commenced a campaign of robocalls and human collections calls. Totally bogus.

LF repeatedly notified mifsc by land, sea and air that the charges were fraudulent, and instructed the collections callers (the human ones, anyway) not to call anymore. They pretty much blew this off, and said they would darn well call if they wanted to. LF took the precaution of making audio recordings of these hilariously blatant violations of the FDCPA.

Finally, he told the mifsc to provide proof by a certain deadline that it had notified the bureaus that the mifsc was a big fat liar, or else he would sue. LF is a patient man.

The deadline passed, and LF filed suit in small claims court, seeking $5,000 in damages.

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act is an interesting piece of legislation. It prohibits a large number of totally common practices by debt collectors. It is the contention of LF that virtually all debt collectors violate this federal law many times per day. The FDCPA provides for statutory damages of $1,000 per violation, and provides for recovery of actual and punitive damages.

LF says that mifsc violated the FDCPA in his case approximately 22 times. Many legal operatives contend that it follows that he ought to be entitled to at least $22,000 in statutory damages. This is an important part of LF’s theory of the case.

LF says that small claims lawsuits against companies of the ilk of mifsc follow a predictable pattern: first, the company’s legal department calls you up and attempts to settle for a derisory amount, somewhere in the range of $500 to $1,000. They apologize, and they exude the emollients of human kindness. LF claims that this first call is almost invariably from a female. If you reject this offer, sometimes the next step is a call from a somewhat more senior inhouse quasi attorney, who is essentially kind and friendly, but also a little threatening. LF claims that this call, if it occurs, is invariably from a male. This bohunk makes out how your claim is really totally baseless, but in the interest of getting on with life, they will deign to possibly raise the offer a little bit. LF says it is rare at this stage to get an offer higher than $1,000.

If you reject this offer, the next step is that the mifsc farms the lawsuit out to a real law firm. The lawyer phones you up essentially the minute the case lands on his desk, and asks you to explain the case to him. LF tells this lawyer “call me back when you’re familiarized yourself with the case,” and he hangs up immediately.

Typically, this lawyer calls back the very same day or the next day, and has actually now reviewed the case. He still wants you to explain it to him. LF declines, tells this lawyer what it will take to settle, and hangs up.

So far, LF says he has never actually had one of these cases go to trial, and has always received a settlement for the full amount he sought.

Trying a case like this is very unattractive for the mifsc. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act is such that the minimum even a marginally retarded plaintiff will get is $1,000.

LF says he told this lawyer that, after discovery, he intends to amend the lawsuit to specify 6 or 7 specific violations of the FDCPA, and then file a new lawsuit specifying another 6 or 7 violations, also for $5,000. Some courts will entertain this, and others won’t. But, the funny thing is, you can never tell what a judge is going to do.

LF also petitioned the court to allow him to bring a cameraman to the hearing. He hopes he will be able to post the hilarious proceedings on youtube. He intends to outline his case not only for the statutory damages, but also for intense pain and suffering. And humiliation! And lost wages! And loss of uxorial consortium! Judge Yeoman has a pretty good sense of humor.

McCain wins

I want Obama to win the election. But I reluctantly conclude that he is extremely unlikely to win. Here’s my detailed break-down on how I expect the electoral college to play out.

The states I label as “contest” in the “close” column are the ones I think could be in play. I think McCain wins 276 electoral college votes.

If I were running the Obama campaign, I would focus my energies on Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

I don’t honestly know much about Virginia. Possibly that’s a swing state. Ohio would normally be a swing state, but I think anyone who knows anything about Ohio will agree with me that there is no way Obama is going to carry Ohio.

A lot of former Republicans like me detest McCain, but looking at the electoral college, I cannot see any of the usual red states going Obama. I guess Texas is the best bet, but I see no way in hell Obama carries Texas.

I base a lot of this analysis, at the margins, on Fellatio Girl’s margin of victory in the ratsocrat primary in the respective state. There are going to be a lot of blue states that go for McCain, and I don’t see a compensatory red state move to Obama.

Sad. Even if Obama wins all the states I have labeled “tie,” McCain still wins. Obama is going to have to win a lot of votes in racist states to pull this off.

state

electoral

candidate

close

Alabama – 9

9

mccain

contest

Colorado – 9

9

mccain

contest

Iowa – 7

7

mccain

contest

Louisiana – 9

9

mccain

contest

Michigan – 17

17

mccain

contest

Minnesota – 10

10

mccain

contest

Mississippi – 6

6

mccain

contest

New Hampshire – 4

4

mccain

contest

New Mexico – 5

5

mccain

contest

Florida – 27

27

tie

contest

Pennsylvania – 21

21

tie

contest

Wisconsin – 10

10

tie

contest

Alaska – 3

3

mccain

 

Arizona – 10

10

mccain

 

Arkansas – 6

6

obama

 

California – 55

55

obama

 

Connecticut – 7

7

obama

 

Delaware – 3

3

obama

 

District Of Columbia – 3

3

obama

 

Georgia – 15

15

mccain

 

Hawaii – 4

4

obama

 

Idaho – 4

4

mccain

 

Illinois – 21

21

obama

 

Indiana – 11

11

mccain

 

Kansas – 6

6

mccain

 

Kentucky – 8

8

mccain

 

Maine – 4

4

obama

 

Maryland – 10

10

obama

 

Massachusetts – 12

12

obama

 

Missouri – 11

11

mccain

 

montana

3

mccain

 

Nebraska – 5

5

mccain

 

Nevada – 5

5

mccain

 

New Jersey – 15

15

obama

 

New York – 31

31

obama

 

North Carolina – 15

15

mccain

 

North Dakota – 3

3

mccain

 

Ohio – 20

20

mccain

 

Oklahoma – 7

7

mccain

 

Oregon – 7

7

obama

 

Rhode Island – 4

4

obama

 

South Carolina – 8

8

obama

 

South Dakota – 3

3

mccain

 

Tennessee – 11

11

mccain

 

Texas – 34

34

mccain

 

Utah – 5

5

mccain

 

Vermont – 3

3

obama

 

Virginia – 13

13

mccain

 

Washington – 11

11

obama

 

West Virginia – 5

5

mccain

 

Wyoming – 3

3

mccain

 

The decade of the electric car

Enrico believes that 2010 – 2020 will be the decade of the electric car.  The economics of powering mass market transportation with electrics are totally a no brainer.  At current retail prices for power, 200 miles or so of driving costs about $3, versus around 10x for gasoline for the same range, and that’s if you have a rather abstemious vehicle.

I guess everyone knows by now that, if you have looked at the US car market in 1910, you would have concluded that electrics were going to dominate the market.  Even then, with the primitive batteries available at the time, electrics had a big edge in reliability, and cost.

I understand there’s a kind of conspiracy theory which maintains that an assortment of malefactors in the American corporate pantheon got together to kill the electric car.  Enrico has not yet evaluated these claims, but he does not dismiss them as mere fantasy. 

Enrico went to a conference in San Diego last year where he got to touch, but not drive, the Tesla, the all electric sports car powered by thousands of lithium ion batteries, not very dissimilar to what you’d find in your laptop, with blinding speed and acceleration (allegedly).  He actually got to drive a Phoenix Sports Utility Truck, an all electric powered by Altairnano’s lithium titanate battery.  The Phoenix was a no-compromises traditional mass market vehicle, with great acceleration, great power, all the typical accoutrements.  These cars are no jumped up golf carts. Enrico has put his name on the reservation list to buy a Phoenix. He’d like to buy a Tesla, too, but Elon is apparently only selling them to football players and movie stars right now.

The price of oil and advances in battery technology conspire to make electric cars on the mass market well-nigh inevitable, in Enrico’s view.  Here’s a link to a listing of about 40 enterprises and ventures which are working on electric vehicles.

There is, unfortunately, a rather nasty worm lurking in this apple:  our power grid is by no means capable of coping with any significant use of electric vehicles in the mass market.   A car that can go 200-300 miles on a charge needs about 35 kWh.  That’s a lot of power, and believe it or not, there are several competing battery technologies which are the basis of some of these ventures which will permit the car to suck down this much power in 10 to 15 minutes.  Well, there’s just no way in hell our current grid can cope with millions of cars demanding that much power in a ten minute span.

Some of the ventures are bundling in approaches to recharging to side-step this problem.  They typically involve some form of distributed power generation or power storage at recharging stations.  This is workable, but this problem is inevitably going to slow down what would otherwise be a juggernaut.

Enrico plans to view this film soon. He is looking for ways to profit from this development. It is tricky, though, with so many entrants, to think how to bet.  Gold rush strategy?  Portfolio approach?  Fast Followers?  Capital Hill?  Looky-loo with a bundle of joy?  The biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever?  Enrico is mixing his metaphors.

55 Fiction

Scott McEnroe turned me on to 55 Fiction a few years ago.   Here are two of my efforts.

Empty

Her side of the bed was empty. He walked into the kitchen. It was empty. The sunlight flooded through the window she loved.  The coffee pot was empty.  He walked upstairs. Jessica’s crib was empty.  The boy’s bunk beds were empty.  He thought, the things that are full are those four coffins, one so tiny.

Apology to Superman

Sam wore a cape. He was still searching for the keys, crying, when Mom came home. Dad was tough on him, teach him a lesson. Mom said, I found my keys, they were in my purse. Dad turned white. He said, Sam, I’m so sorry, you didn’t lose the keys. Superman said, that’s okay, Dad.