Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

The Cash for Clunkers program is bringing out the stupid, the incompetent, and the crooked among the car dealers.

I have a '94 Chevy Van that I was going to trade in via the Cash for Clunkers program. I might still do it, but it won't be the deal I orginally thought it would be.

I had a deal in place with Schofield Hyundai in Wichita for a Hyundai Accent. It was a cash deal plus the Cash for Clunkers trade-in. It was a slight problem because I wanted cruise control which needed to be added by the dealer, the model doesn't come with factory cruise control. I wasn't in any big hurry to close anyway because I thought we should wait until the final Cash for Clunkers rules were published. So we made an appointment to close on Saturday.

On Thursday I asked the dealer if the car was ready yet. That's when he gave me the news that they weren't going to do the installation until after we'd closed, so they wouldn't be stuck with the modified car if the deal fell through. But, he said they'd give me a loaner car for the 2-3 days it would take to make the installation.

I wasn't real happy about handing over a few thousand dollars cash for a car that didn't exist yet, but I went along.

Saturday was really fun.

Then it started. I showed up on time and asked for the salesman. Then I waited around the lobby a while and finally the sales manager (not the salesman) came out and asked me to come with him. He walked across the lot to another building (a building for their GMC dealership) and asked me to sit down in the lobby and wait. Then he just walked off, no conversation, no explanation. So I waited some more.

Eventually some guy came out, not the salesman, not the sales manager, some guy I'd never meet. We went to an office and he started going through my documents to satisfy the requirements for elibiblilty for the Cash for Clunkers program.

This is were things started looking hinky to me. I had the title, proof of insurance for the last 12 months, and I also needed proof of registration for the last 12 months. My documentation on that part was a littlec convoluted.

I had current registration -- since an April renewal. But Oklahoma didn't provide me with a copy of last years registration, only the current. But they'd issued new plates in April and the old plate number was on the registration slip. And I'd made a photocopy of the old plates.

That was proof, but a little indirect. But the guy didn't even blink at it, he was in a hurry to move on to the next item -- the title. He grabbed the title and went and made a photocopy. Then he wanted me to sign the photocopy of the title over to them. Thqat's when we hit a brick wall.

I told him I thought we had some other things to clear up (I wanted to make sure the loaner car had A/C) before I signed the title and he started some mealymouth nonsense about he was only asking me to sign a copy of the title. Well duh. The title the state gives me is called a copy. He doesn't even ask what other thing(s) I wanted to clear up. He just wanted me to sign my tradein over to get me committed.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Hotheads sitting around drinking beer

It's been my experience that having a couple of proven hotheads sitting around drinking beer does not tend to result in things calming down.

From the Daily News
"I am pleased that [Obama] is eager to use my experience as a teaching moment," the esteemed Harvard professor wrote on the Web site late Friday.

"And if meeting Sgt. Crowley for a beer with the President will further that end, then I would be happy to oblige," he wrote.

Obama phoned both men on Friday to discuss the much debated events of July 16 and to invite them to the White House for a cold one. Crowley has not yet made a public RSVP, but is said to be on board.

Read more

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dumb and dumber

I don't know who's dumber, Chris Matthews or Congressman John Campbell (R-CA).

Matthews interviews Campbell about a bill he's sponsering to require future candidates for President to show a birth certificate. It's an appeasement to the nutcase birthers who are forming the base of the Republican party these days.

Of course, such a bill is just insanity, but Matthews is just as stupid. Throughout the interview he kept using the words "native born" and "natural born" as if they're synonyms.

They aren't.

The nutcase birthers are claiming that Obama isn't Natural born because they don't accept his birth certificate as legitimate. But the birth certificate just determines whether or not he's native born, they aren't claiming he's not born to a US citizen, just that he wasn't born in the US.

But if he was born to a US citizen, which he was, then he fulfills the constitutional requirement of being natural born -- of being a citizen by nature of his birth, not the location of his birth.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Saturday, July 18, 2009

An ultimate irony

All I can say to this bit of Orwellian irony is "Wow".
I'm a big fan of the Amazon Kindle, and think that electronic book readers are the future. But behavior such as that described on David Pogue's New York Times blog can do much to alienate prospective readers:

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for — thought they owned.

But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people’s Kindles and credited their accounts for the price....

You want to know the best part? The juicy, plump, dripping irony?

The author who was the victim of this Big Brotherish plot was none other than George Orwell. And the books were “1984” and “Animal Farm.” ...


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Texas cops on biker gang payroll

In small town West Texas, of all places,
Nearly 30 defendants, including two Texas sheriff's deputies, have been charged with operating a methamphetamine trafficking ring in Texas, Arizona and California, authorities announced Friday.

The 110-count indictment returned earlier this week in Lubbock charges members of the Aces and Eights Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, as well as two sheriff's deputies in Hockley County, Texas.

The indictment alleges motorcycle gang founder Bobby Duwayne Froman recruited fellow bikers to take cash to Modesto, Calif., where they bought large quantities of methamphetamine. The bikers then took the drug to Levelland, Texas, about 30 miles west of Lubbock. The group used Levelland as a base to distribute the drugs through West Texas and elsewhere.

The drug ring had been active since January 2003, officials said.

The deputies, Gordon Clark Bohannon and Jose Jesus Quintanilla, provided the gang members with information that hurt investigators efforts to shut down the ring, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

Bohannon was arrested and will be arraigned July 20, according to court documents. His attorney declined to comment.

Quintanilla and Froman did not have attorneys listed in their online court records.

“It is particularly disappointing to all who conducted this investigation that two law enforcement officers were indicted by the grand jury and arrested on federal charges,” said Robert E. Casey Jr., the FBI special agent in charge. “The FBI's principal concern in this case is not only the safety and security of the law-abiding citizens of Hockley County, but that their trust and confidence in law enforcement is preserved.”

Twenty-eight defendants each face one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. The indictment also charges some of the defendants with maintaining drug-involved premises, possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, simple possession of methamphetamine, unlawful use of a communications facility and various firearms counts.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Not guilty

A not guilty verdict in a criminal trail means the state was unable to convince even one juror (out of 12) of guilt. If they can convince just one they get a hung jury, not a not guilty verdict, and they get another shot at trying to get a conviction.

So, it's understandable that not guilty verdicts are rare.

Paterico's Pontification seems to miss the point by a wide margin when they comment on Micheal Jackson:
report on this bit of cloying hyperbole from the mouth of LAPD Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, who, while discussing plans for Michael Jackson’s pending memorial, addressed reporters at the Staples Center on Friday: “On behalf of the Chief of Police William Bratton, and the entire Los Angeles Police Department, I would like to express my sincere and deep condolences for the Jackson family for the loss of such a great man.” (Audio clip available at the link.)

Leonard goes on to point out that Paysinger’s characterization of Jackson “may not be shared by the LAPD detectives who were assigned to the Sexually Exploited Child Unit in the 1990s, when they built a multi-victim felony child rape case against Jackson, only to be thwarted by Jackson’s checkbook

Oh, come on.

The state and county also had a pretty big checkbook, plus had the power to cajole and intimidate witnessses but they couldn't convince even one juror of the truth of even one of those felony accusations.

It could be that they just went after an innocent guy for the crime of being weird.

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