Showing posts with label Financial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Financial. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New England Condo Expo

I am on the Board of Trustees for the condo association that governs the community in which I own my home.

Today, I attended the New England Condo Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, MA.  The convention was surprizingly crowded with a lot of vendors, including condo management, painting, gardening, insurance, pavers and high-end locksmiths to name just a few.  The swag was great, including some high-end items like cooler bags, water bottles, tons of pens and various tools; not to avoid mentioning the motherload of candy and baked goods.

I attended a very informative seminar about the "Good, Bad and the Ugly" of condo association challenges.  A panel of three lawyers discussed various issues, such as the recent legalization of medicinal marijuana and how that might affect communities, handling discord on a Board of Trustees, current legislation being proposed this year and how that might impact condo contracts, addressing rules for attending board meetings from a remote location via online, and recent changes in law that prevent local governments from banning specific breeds of dogs.  The information was valuable, but of course, if any of these situations arise, legal council would still be preferred in many cases.  Even still, this seminar made was worth the trip into the heart of Boston.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Who are we calling producers and who are those who refuse to produce?

One of the sad sign of our times is that we demonize those who produce, subsidize those who refuse to produce, and canonize those who complain. --Thomas Sowell
This is a particularly disgusting statement.  First, those who produce and those who do not is a matter of perspective.  What do you tell the father of 3 who has relied on a job for most of his life, who then lost his job because the company who he worked for was mismanaged by executives and had to shut down?  What do you tell that same father when the same guys that ran his company into the ground got huge bonuses "so they wouldn't leave" before operations were completely shut down?  If the father had stock in that company, he lost on two fronts because of those executives.

Given Sowell's statement above, I would ask, who is he calling the producer?  Who is he calling "those who refuse to produce"?  Would it be the executives that drove their company into the ground, not only losing value in the company, but also within the greater economy?  If anything, they are anti-producers.  This makes them worse than the supposed people who "refuse to produce", whoever they are.  The producer is the father who worked his entire life at his company, making the goods and services that found their way into homes all across America.

Fed has spent trillions to keep a dying financial industry on life support, who in turn gave huge bonuses to the very people the caused the last melt down of our economy.  What did those people do with the rest of the taxpayer's money?  Most of it is locked away, being kept out of the economy (likely for good).

Are we really all that worried about giving a few pennies (comparatively) to people who are likely already not putting enough food on the table because they believed in this very system that eventually let them down?  It's this kind of nonsense that makes communism start to look good to the starving masses.  We would not need to raise taxes had it not been for the massive problems that we, the voters, allowed in Wall Street by putting congresspersons in office that are more worried about the next big donor than they are about the solvency of our system.

How badly do we want to lower taxes?  Well, let's consider something.  Out of the last three crashes of our economy, two were caused by real estate financials games that started happening as a direct result of deregulation of particular financial institutions.  The games these institutions were playing eventually stopped working, but the corporations still needed to pretend they were making money (when, in fact, they were losing massive amounts of money).  So, they created paperwork fantasies to keep showing profits on Wall Street in order to convince everyone that nothing was going on until it was too late.  The third economic crash was caused by too much speculation on Wall Street. The common thread here is Wall Street and all the money that the taxpayer is continuously asked to pay to keep these guys rich when really they should be in jail.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Solyndra headquarters during weekday, just after bankruptcy announcement

This video is of the Solyndra headquarters in Fremont, California just days after they announced that they are going bankrupt. There's three large buildings around two massive properties.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Some tranny trouble with my G8 GT

Under warranty, I've now had one major issue and one minor issue handled. The minor issue was a scratch on the underside of the front bump cover that was likely put there during one of its test that doesn't really count.

The major issue is with the transmission. Over time, my G8 GT developed a clunking when I would shift from reverse directly into drive. It was inconsistent. It was more pronounced when the car was cold started. Every once in awhile, the car would actually jerk forward so much that I had to get into the habit of pressing very tightly onto my brakes before moving into drive.

When I first reported the issue to my dealership at 6000 miles, the service dept said that there was no bulletin on the issue even though I did get the service manager to reproduce the issue. I didn't make a stink at that time, though I prolly should've. The problem got worse from there. It got so bad, I couldn't let anyone else drive it.

So, at about 8000 miles I had enough. I took it in. The dealership was claiming that they could not reproduce the problem to the degree I stated. In addition, they claimed that a bulletin from GM (just issued a month before) said that clunking transmission was "normal operation". To me, this was not just operation, but safety (since the behavior of the car was actually dangerous). I insisted that the issue be addressed. I had to include the involvement of the general GM customer service department. After I insisted they keep the car and keep trying, the dealership was finally were able to reproduce the issue and finally realized that something needed to be done.

A lot of time was supposedly wasted because the GM technical service didn't have the staff assigned to handle any issues in the NorCal region (something to do with the restructuring that was going on at the time). Finally, an engineer was assigned to the case and determined the issue was mechanical. The dealership followed Detroit's instructions, replacing a bunch of parts deep inside the tranny.

All said, the dealership had my car for two weeks. The issue was much less obvious afterward. There is still some tendency for the tranny to engage a bit aggressively when going from reverse to drive, but at this point, that seems to fit the "normal operation" mentioned in the GM bulletin. At least I don't have to be concerned with it jerking forward.

Now that the car is over its 10K mark, everything seems to have broken in.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I actually have a Bestseller, of sorts

Well, as funny as this might sound, I have a #1 bestselling book on No, I'm not raking in millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of books sales. I think the book has reached something like five sales total, ever. However, in the set up in, this is enough for me to have the bestseller for one particular category, Le Fanu, Joseph Sheridan. It's a Kindle electronic book called Ghost Stories of Olde Vol 3. As of right now, it is actually listed as "#27,893 in Kindle Store" overall. Not bad for public domain content that is buried deep in's listings.

I actually have five listings currently on for the Kindle. I'm not making any substantial money. In fact, as of right now, I've not earned enough to even quality to receive any payment. Hopefully soon I'll earn my first $10. Joy. At this rate, I'm earning roughly 16¢ an hour (that's $0.16 for those who've never seen the cent ¢ symbol before) for the time it took me to make those books.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Trouble with stores charging Credit Card fees

UPDATE: A few years ago, Credit Card companies agreed to allow vendors charge fees for the use of their credit card.  It is now legit for a business to charge for the use of a credit card.

Have you ever run into a store with a sign posted that states they charge a fee for any purchases under a certain price if you pay with a credit card? Card Card companies have restrictions on when a fee can be charged. No fee is allowed for amounts greater than $1. If you come across a store that is charging a fee for any amount greater than $1, just leave and tell them why you are leaving. If you are a regular customer, perhaps gently remind them of this before you take off.
Then, report that place of business to your credit card companies. They will take it from there.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Credit Card charge requirements $5 $10

UPDATE: Due to an agreement that the credit card companies made, vendors are now allowed to charge for fees if you use a credit card.

CORRECTION: This post originally stated a falsehood which I thought was fact at the time. California law does not regulate credit card charges, nor can it. This is solely in the realm of the Federal Government. The truth is that the Card Card companies themselves have restrictions on when a fee can be charged. No fee is allowed for amounts greater than $1. If you come across a store that is charging a fee for any amount greater than $1, report that place of business to your credit card companies.

Original Post:

California has a law that makes it illegal for any place that accepts credit or charge cards to either have a minimum charge or to charge a fee for credit card use. Some stores or restaurants owners a dumb enough to actually post this policy (which is also separately illegal, in of itself). But more savvy owners will simply notify you of their fee when you try to use your credit/charge card for an amount below their supposed minimum. Either way, it's still illegal for them to do so.
If these places are encountered, simply refuse to pay the fee or refuse to accept their minimum. Remind then that they are breaking the law. Remind them that you are not in their place of business as a slave, but there as the customer. You don't need their produce, but they need your money. They don't need the trouble you can stir up by contacting the Better Business Bureau or class action lawsuits can come up from this sort of thing.
Ask them if all that is really worth the 25, 50 or 75 cent fee. Don't be afraid to make a big scene out of it.
Some of these store owners are under the strange impression that they deserve your money simply because you come into their store. They just need to be reminded that they have to earn the right to get your money.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Happy Camper

I’m a happy camper. After exactly 3 years, I completely paid off my car and am now in possession of the title. Yippie!!! My current car is the first one I’ve not owned outright. I’ve never had an auto loan before, and I hated it. But now, the car is mine!