Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Guess I'm A Racist

SecretNeverTold recently wrote a post about hidden racial bias. I took the test she referenced and I fell into the group that has a "strong preference for white people." In one way, I was a little surprised. One of my best friends is Hispanic and I have a sister-in-law that is Filipino. I get along great with both of them and have never had any ill or biased opionions about them.

I imagine that my upbringing in an all white community plays pretty heavily in the results. I had never had any personal interaction with a black individual until I took a part-time job in a neighboring city during high school. That was a positive exerience.

I've never really thought of myself as a racist, but I have to admit that, lately, I've become more and more aware of the different opinions I have --and ones that have obviously been supressed. We had a Hispanic/Black (mixed) family move next door several years ago. They were terrible neighbors, always playing their music loud--the walls in OUR house would vibrate from their stereo...and we don't live in apartments. These are single family homes on seperate lots! They threw trash in our yard, they were rude and vulgar, and they had no respect the property or privacy of anyone in the area. Their kids have since moved out and it's pretty quiet over there now, but as you can imagine, the confrontations didn't do much to help with "race relations."

Since the election, it's seems like EVERYTHING is a race thing, from the Post cartoon to using the term "black hole" when discussing astronomy. I work in an office that until last month, had never had a black person working in the office. I/we find ourselves being very much aware of our conversations, etc. We make it a point to never discuss politics around the "new guy." I guess it's biased/racist, but we all assume he voted for BO.

Maybe this is racist, but I think that BO's election has done more to fuel racism/racist talk than to heal it. It seems like the NAACP and other ethnic groups are waiting around every corner to complain about a word or image or something that they determine is racist.

I've pretty much quit watching the news or reading the newspaper since before the election. Here we are over half-way through the month, and I didn't even know it was Black History Month. I guess that's another thing that makes me a racist.

I'm guessing now would not be the time to push for a "Miss White America" contest.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

They Hate Guns

gangstaThe jackass lawmakers in Illinois are at it again. Illinois HB0687 was introduced by Dumbocrat Representative Kenneth Dunkin and would essentially require gun owners to carry $1 MILLION of liability insurance "specifically covering any damages resulting from negligent or willful acts involving the use of such firearm while it is owned by such person."

I hear that many of the state's criminals are anxiously looking forward to complying with the new law...should it actually become a reality. When interviewed by a local television station, career thug, Darnell Marquis Jackson* (shown in photo) stated: "I think it's a great idea. I'm very concerned every time I go to pop a cap in somebody's head. One stray bullet and BAM! You got youself a dead, innocent bystander. I also make it a point to purchase all of my guns and ammo from reputable gun dealers."

It warms your heart to know that people like Kenneth Dunkin are looking out for the folks in Illinois. Let's see: Illinois is one of only two states that DO NOT issue concealed carry permits. With continued efforts like this one (HB0687) and others aimed at hamstringing gun owners rights, we can sleep easier knowing that the "Darnell Jacksons" of the world can continue to mug, rob, steal, maim and kill law abiding citizens without fear of a victim drawing a weapon and BLOWING HIS SORRY, LOW-LIFE BRAINS ALL OVER THE PAVEMENT!!!

FYI: The Illinois State Police (ISP) reported the Illinois crime rate fell 3.6 percent in 2007 from 456,085 compared to 470,730 in 2006. Crimes included in the stat were murder, criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated battery and aggravated assault. 68,582 of those crimes were classified as "violent;" reported murders were 752. Compared to other states:

  • Oklahoma - violent crimes= 18,072; murders= 222
  • Arkansas - violent crimes= 15,507; murders= 191
  • Mississippi - violent crimes= 8,502; murders= 208
I guess the real problem is they just have too many people living in Illinois, but it looks like they're working on reducing the population by significant numbers, so that's encouraging.

* Not his real name

Monday, February 16, 2009

Form 1040

I just finished filing my income taxes for 2008. This is the best year ever!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Quicken Customer Support

no_quickenI've been using Quicken® financial software since 1983--version 1. During this time, I've upgraded to the latest version when they've made the decision to quit supporting what they refer to as "legacy products," i.e. "we ain't makin' it anymore and we're not supporting it either."

The latest version I have is Quicken Basic 2006. A couple of weeks ago I received a letter informing me of yet another available upgrade and that they would no longer be supporting my current version of the program after April of this year.

I've got quite a few years invested in Quicken and I enjoyed the simplicity of the program in its early stages, but lately it seems they (Intuit) are bent on adding all kinds of features that I really don't need, then forcing me to upgrade in order to keep having the privilege of Customer Support.

But see, here's the thing: over the years, their Customer Support has really gone downhill. It stinks, actually! The last two encounters I've had with Intuit/Quicken Customer Support have been horrible. On hold, waiting on "supervisors," and attempting to understand the broken English of the support person--it'll drive you NUTS!

So a while back, I noticed a bug in program. The following email and Quicken's response speaks for itself. Does anyone else see the irony?

My original email to Quicken

At some point, the date for one of my transaction groups changed (exactly one month ahead) and now I can't edit it. I can override the date right before I write the transactions to the ledger, but the date continues to be a month off.

Apparently this is a problem many Quicken users are facing since I have seen this "bug" discussed on several user groups/blogs.

While I'm at it, I also resent the recent decision to abandon Quicken Basic and force me to upgrade to a version that I really have no use for. I have used Quicken since Version 1. In fact, after installing that version from a 5 1/4" floppy, I had a question and called customer support. Scott Cook himself answered the phone. He was articulate, spoke fluent English and was able to solve my problem in a very timely matter. Now when I call Quicken, my call is transferred to some boiler room in Damoh India (or similar location) where I am forced to interact with an individual that barely speaks English as a second language!

My most recent frustration was in ordering wallet style checks. I was shocked to discover the price was over $75 for only 250 checks! And you didn't get the order right. I'm done. I will continue to use Quicken as I always have--an electronic checkbook ledger. My bank offers online bill pay, so I don't need your checks. When the day arrives my current copy of Quicken will no longer install or run, I'll find something else.

Thanks Mr. Cook for what was once a useful product. Your customer service department however, has suffered because of your success.

One who formerly sang the praises of Quicken,
Keith Whitfield

Quicken's Response

Thank you for contacting Quicken Customer Care.

Keith, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and frustration that you have recently experienced. We strive to provide the best possible customer service.

Thank you very much for your feedback. We will pass this along to the correct department, so that, it may help in improving our services in the future.

If you wish to provide feedback in the future, please refer to our feedback page on our support site, located in:

Mohit Sharma
Quicken Customer Care

Friday, February 13, 2009

Really?! there ANYBODY out there that voted for BO that REALLY thinks this "spendulus package" is a good idea?! If so--WHY?!

On a related note, the Drudge Report just posted this:

Rep. John Culberson, TX claims the "stimulus" bill must be urgently voted on today -- because Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leaving at 6:00 PM for an 8 day trip to Europe!


In the words of Captain Sulley: "Prepare for impact."

Thursday, February 05, 2009

SCHIP and My Responsibility **UPDATED**

marlboro_manYesterday, Prez BO signed into law, legislation that would expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as SCHIP, to cover an additional 4 million children. SCHIP is a program that was created by the federal government to cover individuals that have incomes too high to qualify for state medical assistance but cannot obtain private insurance.

The additional cost of this legislation will be approx $34 billion over the next five years. To pay for this program, the law will impose an ADDITIONAL 62 cent federal tax on cigarette sales, bringing the total tax to just over $1.

As Americans, we must do our part to help fund this new legislation. It would be unfair for current smokers to bear the entire cost of this program. Therefore, I proprose that non-smokers such as myself, pick up the habit immediately. If I can manage to acquire a pack-a-day habit, this will mean a contribution--toward the new legislation--of $226.30 per year. In five years, that's $1131.50. At that rate, we only need 30 million new smokers to make this thing work.

That's not a lot to pay or ask for the health of our children, is it? Come on, America! Let's get PUFFIN'!!!

(NOTE: Be sure to file this one under "sarcasm.")

PS : Does anyone else find it ronic that they want to fund SCHIP with a cigarette tax...and the "spendulus" package contains $$$$$ for smoking cessation programs?