Wednesday, October 21, 2009

To protect and serve

Residents of Sanford you can rest easy because the men in blue (technically the men in brown) are on the job. The Florida Highway Patrol is doing their utmost to keep the streets of Sanford safe, especially the corner of Markham Rd. and Longwood Markham Rd.

This is an extremely dangerous corner.

As indicated on the map. It used to be a simple west to north turn. A subdivision to the south of the turn was recently added and the entrance was recently completed. This prompted the DOT to add three stop signs to this very dangerous intersection (I guess it is technically an intersection now) even though the majority (in fact currently all) traffic still goes around the curve. I do not believe that this subdivision has any residents.

I know this MUST be an extremely dangerous place because the Florida Highway Patrol is often parked on the west side of Longwood Markham Rd. (facing south) protecting all of us from the reckless and dangerous drivers that slow roll through the Markham Rd stop sign. The stop sign that currently serves ZERO purpose. This section is so dangerous that at times (like on October 21, 2009 @ about 5:30 PM) it took 3 squad cars to protect this section of road. During the 20 minutes I observed their crime fighting skills, they handed out no less than 3 tickets to drivers that rolling through the stop sign. Over the last 2 months I have witnessed these outstanding protectors of the public hand out no less than 10 tickets. At $151 per (or more) this little corner is quite the money maker.

The fact that it took three officers to man this one corner brings me to one of two possible conclusions. Either the streets of Sanford are so bereft of crime and mayhem and the department is so over staffed that it can afford to have three squad car stake out this one location or the other possibility is that the officers are so poorly trained that it takes three of them to issue a simple ticket.

The only reason drivers get ticketed at this corner (besides the fact that they are rolling through a useless stop sign) is that they are looking to their left as the roll through it to ensure that there are no cars in the subdivision entrance way.

I wonder if there is a more detailed story here.

Maybe a member of the local news could investigate and determine a) the number of tickets that have been issued at this corner since the stop signs have been put in place, b) the amount of time that officers spend at this location, c) the amount of revenue generated by issuing tickets for what is essentially a useless stop sign, and d) the number of accidents that have occurred at this corner that warranted the installation of these signs.

10/22/2009 update:

The valiant men in brown were on the job again today! At 5:10 PM when I passed by, three squad cars were there again (looked like the same three from yesterday but I could not be sure). It looked like they had two desperadoes pulled over.

This is actually quite the racket. No only does the department get to collect all of this extra revenue but they are saving gas for three cars! No budget shortfalls for them.

10/13/2009 update:

They are still on the job at 5:30 PM as I went through that area. Either my timing was off or their training has improved as there were only two there today. It looked like they had apprehended another 2 nar-do-wells and were busy writing tickets. Additionally, I learned today that there are actually NO homes currently constructed in the subdivision that prompted the installation of these stop signs. The stop signs that still serve NO purpose it seems other than to make up for PS&J budget shortfalls.

11/4/2009 update:

I was out of town last week so was not able to keep up with what the protectors of the public were doing then but at 4:45PM today two of them were on the job! They had napped at least one more law breaker and were processing him as I drove past.

11/10/2009 update:

I drove by at 5:10 PM and there were two "bears" earning their pay. They had one driver pulled over.

1/19/2010 update:

I drove by at 5:40 PM today and there was a state trooper and he only had one driver pulled over. Don't know how long he was there or how much he took in but I would be very interested in how profitable that corner has been for the state troopers.

1/26/2010 update:

The protectors of the public were back in force. Two cars were on the job. They had a 20-something lawn service worker pulled over as well as a real desperado, the gentleman has to be 65 if he was a day. He looked rather dapper in his jacket and tie, a fine disguise to hide his criminal intentions.

2/3/2010 update:

I drove by at 5:05 PM and there were two of Florida's finest on the job.

Local police stupidity

Eric Williamson faces an indecent exposure charge after a passerby saw him in the buff in his own home making coffee.

Mr Williamson was in his own kitchen at 5:30 AM making coffee in the nude. A woman accompanied by her 7 year old son cuts through his yard, sees him, call the police and he gets arrested. He faces a possible $2000 fine and 1 year in jail. How STUPID! It was HIS kitchen and she was cutting through HIS yard.

Lets play a game. Take this same story and reverse the sexes of those involved. How many of you think that if it was a man cutting through a woman's yard and the cops were called that instead of the home owner getting arrested, the man would get arrested and likely for a) trespassing and b) peeping tom and maybe for good measure c) endangering the welfare of a minor. Honestly think this all through and tell me if you think that 1) this is a stupid case and 2) the reverse situation would not still have resulted in the man getting arrested.

Health care

Fifty million Americans are unable to buy health insurance and premiums have doubled over the past decade.

Really? Fifty million Americans are UNABLE to buy health insurance? What does that mean? That absolutely NO health insurance company will sell them insurance or that they can not purchase health insurance at a price they are willing to pay? Of those 50 million Americans that are UNABLE to buy health insurance, how many have cell phones, cable, direct TV, more than 1 car, their own home (or more)? That question never seems to get asked. It is always presented as a hard stop in the debate. Unable to buy health insurance, period. I am sure that there are some people that truly can not afford health insurance at any price based on a set of pre-existing conditions and/or other catastrophic financial situations but I do not think that this core set is anything close to 50 million.

On Saturday, President Barack Obama denounced two new studies, sponsored by the health insurance industry, which found that current health care reform bills in Congress will increase premium prices for consumers. One study, done for the lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans by the consultancy PriceWaterhouseCoopers, found that the provisions in the Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) would add $1,700 a year to the cost of family coverage in 2013 and $600 for a single person. By 2019, family premiums could be $4,000 higher and individual premiums could be $1,500 higher. A weak individual coverage mandate, coupled with a guarantee issue requirement, no preexisting condition limits, and no rating based on health status would significantly boost insurance premiums.

No kidding! Tell any reasonably intelligent person that you want to purpose new insurance rules that include a) individual coverage mandate, b) a guarantee issue requirement, c) no preexisting condition limits, and d) no rating based on health status but premiums will stay exactly the same and they should question your sanity. Give me a whole lot more but don't charge me any more for it. Fat chance that will work out. Does Pres. Obama still think that anyone takes him seriously on health care when he denounced a "common sense" study result like this? Even Blue Cross / Blue Shield is on the other side of this issue.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association commissioned a new study by the Oliver Wyman consultancy which also found that guaranteed issue and community rating mandates coupled with a weak individual mandate would drive up premiums by 50 percent for individual policies and 19 percent for small group plans.

And what is the presidents substantive rebuttal to these studies?

“Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, ‘Take one of these, and call us in a decade,’" declared the president. “Well, not this time.”

Well if wishes were kisses, I would be the happiest man in the world too but that don't make it so.

What about those insurance company profits? Back in July, President Obama asserted that health insurance companies are making “record profits.” Not really. The Annenberg Public Policy Center’s reported, “In general, the health insurance industry did poorly toward the end of 2008 and in the first quarter of 2009, so record profits weren’t likely in the second quarter.” Averaging profits of 3.3 percent, health insurers are the 86th most profitable industry in the U.S., well behind chain restaurants (7.7 percent), electric utilities (6.2 percent), and brewers (18 percent), but ahead of major auto manufacturers (-3.3 percent), resorts and casinos (-8.9 percent), and major airlines (-11 percent).

Anyway. so what with what profits an insurance company makes? If this were a true free enterprise system and was not so strangled by existing government red-tape, insurance companies would be free to work country wide. Would be free to setup risk pools and be free to do other things that would increase competition and reduce costs to consumers. Problem is that is not what the government wants. Instead of taking a working plan from (I don't know, lets say) Whole Foods, they instead take a proven disaster of a plan from England. What? You did not know that England's health care plan was a disaster? If it is so good, why has the NHS recently been paying for private health insurance for 3000 or so employees so that these employees did not have to make use of the existing health system? If this new direction in health care is so good, why has congress done all that it can to exempt its self from Obamacare?

In typical Democrat/liberal fashion, the government has been standing on the throat of an industry and then decry when that industry does not run smoothly and instead of getting off, impose additional constraints. This is just another power grab by the government and nothing more.

ACORN in the news again

This particular item has New York roots:

Thirty-eight forged or fraudulent ballots have been thrown out — enough votes, an election official admits, to likely have tipped the city council and county elections in November to the Democrats.

That is why ACORN exists and that is why the Democrats support them so strongly. They use the same play book, "what ever it takes".

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Video paper magazines

Bumped from August:

Interesting development. I would have liked to see a picture or two of how the final production magazine will look. Am also interested in how thick the total product package is, how long the batteries will last as well as what the total play/replay time is for the batteries. Are they using LiPo batteries? Will the inclusion of this sort of "ad" result in more difficult disposal issues due to the metals and other chemicals that would now be in the magazine?

Updated to include link showing video of the ad (for those that did not see it in person)...

Looks like the Hopium is wearing off...

That is funny!

The story is about an Obama mural that was vandalized "in broad daylight" and the comment I used as the tag line is quite funny.

How stupid can judges be?

The New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit, the federal court of appeals where I once clerked, has allowed a class action lawsuit by Hurricane Katrina victims to proceed against a motley crew of energy, oil, and chemical companies. Their claim: that the defendants’ greenhouse gas emissions raised air and water temperatures on the Gulf Coast, contributing to Katrina’s strength and causing property damage. Mass tort litigation specialist Russell Jackson calls the plaintiffs’ claims “the litigator’s equivalent to the game ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.’”

So a judge has allows a class action lawsuit to move forward against a group of energy producers for a supposed condition (global warming) that has not been yet proven to be an effect at all, let alone an effect caused by humans. In addition, they are charging that these companies actually contributed to the severity of this storm. Un-friggen real!

Obamacare is for the little people

If all of the various Obamacare health plans that are being kicked around congress are so good, why is congress exempting themselves from it?

Congress will keep their gold-plated insurance plans as they force the rest of the country into a rationed health care government plan.

Personal doctors on call 24/7. Coverage that knows no caps. No exemptions for pre-existing conditions.

Their premiums are the same as those of insurance plans with half the benefits, and the plans last a lifetime; not until Medicare kicks in do ex-Members or loose their Congressional health benefits. Congress has repeatedly voted down any provision that would switch their insurance plans to the lower-grade public option if Obamacare goes through.

Don't worry though. This is either a lie being spread by the "vast right wing conspiracy" or it is just the price we all should be more than willing to pay for the outstanding service we get from our government...

Monday, October 19, 2009

iRobot's Soft Morphing Blob 'Bot Takes Its First Steps

Now this is REALLY COOL! Very innovative and at this point, the sky' the limit. The technology will just continue to get smaller and stronger. The shell he demonstrated has a limited number of sides but imagine something like that with 1024 or 9600 sides that can be individually controlled by a computer for shape shifting. Have it "self contained" with computer, pumps and power source and you have a truly self mobile device that can go almost anywhere on land or sea.

Out fitted with sensors (visual and otherwise) and you have quite a device...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Michael Moore admits his movie is a lie...

During this collage Q&A. Michael admits that his movie is actually about the evils of Corporatism and not Capitalism.

He is also still wrong about why "Democracy" is not working. He thinks that the "system" is not fair and that the government should be helping people on the bottom by restricting people on the top. Instead of having government get out of the way and allow the people on the bottom to lift themselves out and up to the top.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Saving a sacred cow

While his ideas and religion continue to be discredited, those in positions to help spread the truth, instead continue to stand in the way and protect not only their own gravy train but him as well.

While at a global warming conference, a reported dared to ask a question too awkward for the anointed one to answer. The solution? Cut his mike and drive him out. So much for the free exchange of ideas.

Watch the video and ponder this, if the case for global warming were so strong, why are all critics driven away, marginalized and black balled? Why has the last 10 years been temperature neutral while the volume of atmospheric CO2 continues to rise? Based on all global warming models the Earth should be heating up, not staying the same.

Also this from (of all places) the BBC in an online article titled: What happened to global warming?

This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.

But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.

And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.

So what on Earth is going on?

Even the BBC now says:

It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over.

Someone PLEASE tell Al Gore!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Class Act

The former president shied away from any political stance and said each U.S. leader must surround themselves with people they can trust.

Why can't former Democratic presidents have as much class? There used to be an understanding that former presidents don't criticize current presidents. That used to be universally honor. Carter was the first former president I can recall that spoke ill of a sitting president which he did a lot. Clinton has loose lips too. Reagan, Bush I and now Bush II seem to have the self restraint and respect for the office of president to not critique the current holder of that office.

Obama wins the Nobel peace prize?

You have got to be freaking kidding me! Are they just handing these things out to any liberal now?

What has he done besides tank the US economy? Wait, maybe that is the justification. I can picture how this might have gone: Obama tanks the US economy. This causes the US to retract its influence across the world. Since every liberals knows that the US is the world's Satan, then a crippled US is a benefit to world peace. There you go, that must be it.

Just like the UN, the Nobel committee has done everything it can over the last 50 years to prove its self irrelevant and useless. Havens for political correctness and hypocrisy.

Rather than recognizing concrete achievement, the 2009 prize appeared intended to support initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.

So Obama wins the prize for apologizing to the world for America, for bending to a bunch of dictators, despots and religious fanatics, for poking our allies in the eye and for supporting an unproven and suspect scientific theory that is more of a religion and wealth distribution scheme than fact. Nice...

Monday, October 5, 2009

SNL & Obama

"My record is clear on what I have done so far... and that is nothing, nada."

"I'm seeing two big accomplishments 'jack' and 'squat'."

I find it interesting that SNL feels it is safe to start making fun of Obama. Not that they are afraid to make fun of presidents or politicians but that this is the big "O", their golden boy. The fact that they feel comfortable poking fun at him and that their audience went along says a lot more about the state of the Obama presidency than a dozen editorials by Glen Beck or Rush.

And so another institution falls...

Consumer Reports was always a good source for influence free evaluations and reviews. Alas, that too is no more. Here is an ad that Consumer Reports has run in the D.C. market pushing for health care reform. They do not come right out and say support Obama but that is clearly the implication as health care reform is his baby.

If they really wanted to do some good, how about running an ad on how good Walmart is doing helping people keep costs down? Their drug programs are fantastic! That would not do though because that does not have the government doing anything and we just can't have that can we?

I used to get Consumer Reports but it looks like (along with AARP) no membership for me.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Its not like he has anything more important to do...

You know, like the economy, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Gitmo, ACORN or any of that sort of stuff.

President Obama Signs Executive Order Banning Federal Employees from Texting While Driving.