Archive for May 23, 2008

Click It or Ticket Time Again

Once more, it is click it or ticket time when our law enforcement professionals write expensive tickets to “encourage” us to use safety belts. I’m sure the extra revenue for the state is just an added benefit.

So why would I get a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt while seated inside a truck weighing a ton and some yahoo on a crotch rocket without a helmet OR a seatbelt is ticket free? Where is the sense in THAT? If this is all about public safety, shouldn’t there be mandatory helmets and safety equipment worn by motorcyclists? It almost seems as if this is not about public safety at all.

Since motorcycle riders have the right to be dumbasses and not wear helmets, I believe I should have the same right to refrain from buckling up if I don’t happen to feel like it. I hate the nanny state.

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Jacksonville Police: Armed Robbers in “Church” Van

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Armed men driving an innocent-seeming vehicle have robbed several people in the Riverside area. Police said a trio of crooks has been catching its victims off guard by traveling in a vehicle labeled “Church Van.”

Two armed robberies recently took place at different locations just minutes apart, but police said what both crimes have in common is that the victims said the thieves were in the church van.

According to police, the first armed robbery happened outside Robert E. Lee High School on Wednesday shortly before midnight.

The victim told investigators he was walking when a large white van drove up that had church van printed on it in faded letters.

Police said two men with a gun jumped out of the van and started yelling at the victim to get on the ground before taking his wallet.

Another incident took place in similar fashion in the Riverside area, but this time it was two women who said the church van drove up and two men came running out, pointed a gun and forced them to the ground.

Neighbors in the area said the church-van description is alarming.

“There’s several community churches around here, and you’ll see lots of white vans that say church van be it faded or not,” said Jennifer Bradley. “It’s just one of the things you see all the time. You assume if you see church van on the side of a vehicle like that that it’s a church van and that it’s a safe vehicle.”

Jennifer and Erica Bradley said they never think twice when church vans drive by because to them the vehicles stand for safety and trust.

“You’re going to church, for heaven’s sakes. This should be a safe thing to do, and it should be respected. Obviously it’s not,” said Erica Bradley.

Police said none of the victims robbed were hurt. They also said there were three men involved in the robberies, including one driver and two men who jumped out with guns.

The church van involved is described as being white with dark tinted windows and faded red lettering, possibly with the letter V being the most prominent.

Anyone with information that could help police is asked to call Crimestoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

Source: First Coast News

If you see a white church van cruising the streets, take cover! No doubt next week, a school bus will be stopping and robbing the kids at the bus stop.

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Mom Gets Prison for Caged Teen

JACKSONVILLE, FL — A mother has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for keeping her 17-year-old adopted son caged in her home.

Brenda Sullivan pleaded guilty in January to three counts of aggravated child abuse. Prosecutors agreed to drop lesser child-neglect charges.

The teen weighed 49 pounds when child welfare workers found him in 2005 in what appeared to be a cage.

Two other children, 13-year-old twins the Sullivans adopted as infants, both testified they were kept in similar cages.

Sullivan’s husband was also arrested, but died in January 2007 while awaiting trial.

Sullivan’s lawyer, Charles Fletcher, said he didn’t think prison was the right option because she does not pose a threat to society. He said they would appeal.

Source: First Coast News

Perhaps those stringent background investigations of prospective adoptive parents should be modified to include a question as to whether or not you keep your adopted children in cages.

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Well, Robert D at Bob’s Bites has a Patriotic Video, so…..

In memory of the fallen warriors who knew that preemptive surrender is never an option.

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SwampMan’s Dog Died This Week

He had been slowing down, but I honestly thought that my ol’ 17-year-old Odie would be the first to go. SwampMan is a bit lost without his lil’ bud.

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Old Song for a Friday Night

I’ve spent many happy, solitary hours hiking the desert. If there is such a thing as a previous life, I must have spent mine on a desert for as soon as I set foot in Arizona, the sense of “this is where I belong” was overwhelming. We had hoped to settle there permanently but reality intruded within a couple of years with aging parents with health problems, and so we moved back home to Florida/Georgia.

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New Research Forces U-Turn on Population Migration Theory

Research led by the University of Leeds has discovered genetic evidence that overturns existing theories about human migration into Island Southeast Asia (covering the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysian Borneo) – taking the timeline back by nearly 10,000 years.

Prevailing theory suggests that the present-day populations of Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) originate largely from a Neolithic expansion from Taiwan driven by rice agriculture about 4,000 years ago – the so-called “Out of Taiwan” model.

However an international research team, led by the UK’s first Professor of Archaeogenetics, Martin Richards, has shown that a substantial fraction of their mitochondrial DNA lineages (inherited down the female line of descent), have been evolving within ISEA for a much longer period, possibly since modern humans arrived some 50,000 years ago.

Moreover, the lineage can be shown to have actually expanded in the opposite direction – into Taiwan – within the last 10,000 years.

Says Professor Richards: “I think the study results are going to be a big surprise for many archaeologists and linguists on whose studies conventional migration theories are based. These population expansions had nothing to do with agriculture, but were most likely to have been driven by climate change – in particular, global warming and the resulting sea-level rises at the end of the Ice Age between 15,000-7,000 years ago.”

At this time the ancient continent known as Sundaland – an extension of the Asian landmass as far as Borneo and Java – was flooded to create the present-day archipelago.

Although sea-level rise no doubt devastated many communities, it also opened up a huge amount of new coastal territory for those who survived(1). The present-day coastline is about twice as great as it was 15,000 years ago.

“Our genetic evidence suggests that probably from about 12,000 years ago these people began to recover from the natural catastophes and expanded greatly in numbers, spreading out in all directions, including north to Taiwan, west to the Southeast Asian mainland, and east towards New Guinea. These migrations have not previously been recognised archaeologically, but we have been able to show that there is supporting evidence in the archaeological record too.”

Source:  Eurekalert

The consensus theory was wrong? How in the world could that be?

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Granddaughter and Her New Baby Brother

Former daughter-in-law has remarried, but he’s a fine looking boy just the same.

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Florida International University May Have to End Degree in Dance

Students at FIU (and other Florida public universities) are having a giant case of the red ass chapped butt because taxpayers are refusing to fund (as many) stupid degree programs anymore. How in the hell world have the taxpayers been suckered/forced into funding degrees that are worthless? Really, if somebody wants to do “women’s studies”, go to the freakin’ library or bookstore and do your own research; don’t expect the taxpayers to be thrilled to pay most of the costs for you. If you’re not smart enough to find your local library or bookstore, what good will a degree do anyway?

I expect the universities to cut actual degree programs like mathematics, engineering, and science since the cuts will be left to their discretion. Then they can point out that they were forced to cut, say, engineering programs because the taxpayers didn’t provide money for it and the property taxes must be raised! Most of the population would be better served by getting a 2-year degree without the bullshit class padding added in to keep professors in full employment.

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Insurers Challenged on Use of Credit Ratings

WASHINGTON — What does your credit score have to do with what you pay for automobile or homeowner insurance? How about your education or your job?

At a lengthy congressional hearing in Washington on Wednesday, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty brought the state’s long-running battle with the insurance industry over these issues to the forefront. He argued that credit scores are not “fair and valid” criteria for setting insurance rates.

Under an exemption from Florida’s public records laws, insurers have been able to set policy premiums without revealing their pricing models. That exemption will expire in October, and a spokesman for McCarty’s office said the state will ask companies to reveal more about their processes.

The Federal Trade Commission is looking into the issue and Congress is considering two bills that would ban the use of credit scores in insurance rate decisions, a nationwide practice that generally results in higher rates for those who have poor credit.

McCarty told a House panel that this practice results in discrimination against the poor, minorities and members of certain religious groups who don’t believe in using credit, don’t have extensive experience with it or who have low incomes.

“Studies do show that credit scores can be predictors of future claim activity,” he noted in his prepared testimony. “But the same studies also show that the use of these scores disparately impacts certain classes of people.”

At issue is what the insurance industry calls risk-based pricing. Policy premiums and availability hinge on the customer’s credit score, a measure derived from the person’s history of paying bills and handling credit.

People with lower credit scores, according to a study done by the state of Texas, file as many as three times more claims on auto and homeowner policies than those with the highest scores.

By matching the risk to the price of the policy, the insurance industry argues it can expand the availability of insurance and lower prices for those with good credit ratings.

“It provides lower rates by actually having the rate go with the risk for most folks,” said Sam Miller of the Florida Insurance Council, which represents insurers. Credit scores, too, allow “most folks who would have difficulty even getting auto insurance from a standard carrier to get it.”

Consumer advocates decry the practice.

“People say those with bad credit are irresponsible. Try telling that to people who are laid off from a job or after a major medical problem or who are in financial difficulty after a divorce,” Bob Hunter of the Consumer Federation of America said at the hearing.

McCarty told a panel of the House Financial Services Committee that insurers also are using education and occupation to set some policy rates. In a study his office did last year, McCarty said, Florida insurance regulators found the rates quoted for a person in a blue-collar position could be two to three times higher than for a white-collar employee.

Two bills before the U.S. House would ban credit scores’ use nationwide, in all cases or when discrimination is suspected. Rep. Maxine Watters, D-Calif., has proposed a broad ban. She said at the hearing Wednesday that the connection of credit scores to insurers’ risk “just doesn’t make good sense to me.”

Florida legislators have not banned the use of credit scores, education or occupation in insurance decisions. But a state law adopted in 2003 limits the use of credit scores by insurers. The state has been trying to implement the law with a regulation, but the insurance industry sued to halt that effort. The two sides are still battling.

For now, insurance companies in Florida use credit scores in setting rates.

Boynton Beach retiree Jerry Mandel has been trying to find out why his auto insurance premium jumped by $99 shortly after the policy began. The insurer told him it was because of a change in his “insurance score,” an industry term for a risk measure based on a credit score.

“I’ve been asking what correlation this has and how do I fix it,” he said. “They never respond.”

Source:

It looks like any old excuse to gouge the insured to me.

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