Month: May 2010

Financial Regulation: Credit card amendment

Disclaimer: I worked for Sheldon Whitehouse when he was Attorney General here in Rhode Island.

He is now one of the U.S. Senators to Rhode Island. He’s turned out to be pretty good as a Senator. I’m loving this latest amendment to the Financial Regulation bill.

What most people don’t know is that many states still have usury laws on the books. So I can see where Senator Whitehouse is going with this. There should be an 18% cap on rates. When they rise as high as 30% that’s just outright robbery let alone usury.

Very encouraging to see them fixing bad law. If you’re not up on the whole Marquette thing it can be summed up as follows.

Banks argued that they had customers in every state and to have to follow the rules of each individual state would be too cumbersome. Now you have to remember that in the 1970’s computing technology wasn’t so widespread. In fact many banks still did a lot of entries on paper, I remember it clearly.

So they petitioned the courts to say that the terms of the contracts could be based in their home states as opposed to the state where the card holder resided.

But it is now the 21st century. Computers are infinitely more advanced than they were even in the early 1980’s when it was still text based interfaces and no point-click or advanced and freely available database products.

Now it is literally a piece of cake so the banks have no excuse other than the obvious greed.

And if I might ask Senator Whitehouse to take up another hot button issue, I’d ask him to take up the student loan debacle. First of all, properly fund the Pell grant program. It’s bizarre. When I made less money I never qualified but when I started making decent money I qualified for Pell grants. Strange.

But on to student loans. If you get in a jam like no being able to find a job etc. you can put your loans into deferment or forbearance. When you do that they capitalize the interest. In other words the interest calculate becomes part of the principal balance of your student loan.

E.g. Suppose you have $50,000 in student loan debt. Right now it runs about 5% per year in interest so to simplify, $2,500 in interest. You file the deferment or forbearance and that interest gets lumped into the loan. Now that loan principle becomes $52,500 and interest on that is now $2,625. Lets say you go one more year. It becomes $55,125 and interest on that becomes $2,756.25.

Now you know how some people can end up half a million in debt from student loans. It is ridiculous.

So the next thing we should tackle is student loans.

Use A Rentboy, get exposed as a hypocrite.

Seems Dr. George Rekers is still in the shit. The latest is when Lucien (Aka Jo-Vanni Roman) talks to him on the phone.

Rekers is trying to deflect this as much as he can. He must be very tired because he could just step out and tell the truth, that he has homosexual inclinations. But this is where cognitive dissonance come to the forefront. Rekers can’t reconcile his homosexual urges with his religious beliefs.

As a result he’ll try to spin this is as well as he can but we all know that the emperor has no clothes.

For all the decades of anti-gay invective from Rekers I say it’s good that the son of a bitch got outed for his activities. It amazes me how many of those truly against GLBT are GLBT themselves. Step the hell out of the closet and throw that religion to the wind.

Tea Party/Tea Baggers are really Republican Fringe

So we all know about the Tea Baggers taking over and modifying the Maine Republican Platform.

But it gets better. Apparently while they were in town some public school classrooms were made available to them.

What 8th grade English teach Paul Clifford found when he returned to his classroom on Monday tells it all when it comes to the Tea Baggers.


– For seven years, Clifford has had “a collage-type poster depicting the history of the U.S. labor movement” on his classroom door. He uses it “to teach his students how to incorporate collages into their annual project on Norman Rockwell’s historic ‘Four Freedoms’ illustrations.” When Clifford returned to his classroom on Monday, after the GOP caucuses, the poster was gone; in its place was a sticker reading, “Working People Vote Republican.”

– Republicans opened a “closed cardboard box they found near Clifford’s desk” and later objected to the fact that it contained copies of the U.S. Constitution donated to the school by the American Civil Liberties Union.

– After the caucuses, “rank-and-file Republicans who were upset by what they said they had seen in Clifford’s classroom” began calling the school, objecting to student art they had seen and a sticker on a filing cabinet reading “People for the American Way — Fight the Right.”

So apparently Tea Baggers don’t like labor movements. I suppose the 1,000 plus nurses that marched on Washington recently wouldn’t fit in with their twisted and demented world view.

Better yet, I’m curious what they find more objectionable, that there were copies of the Constitution in the room, or that they were compliments of the American Civil Liberties Union. I’d bet it’s the latter since the ACLU is a target of Tea Baggers and their ilk.

The only semi-legitimate claim to offense that they have is the PFAW Fight the Right sticker and even that is stretching it quite a bit.

It’s funny, I saw the Tea Party/Bagger official head in a clip from The View the other day. As I’ve gotten older I’ve developed the ability to discern when people are lying. That bitch was lying from the start, claiming there wasn’t a racist element to the Tea Baggers. Yeah right, and I’ve got bridge I want to sell you.

You can read more about the immature behavior of the Tea Baggers at the links.

Maine GOP Forced To Apologize After Convention-Goers Vandalize An Eighth-Grade Classroom

A forced apology isn’t sincere at all. You’re bigoted assholes, the lunatic fringe. I guess that’s what happens when you embrace a movement rooted in racism.

Nemitz: Call it class struggle: How politics went too far

What’s up with Marriage Equality in Rhode Island

It’s mid May and I haven’t gotten any notifications of any hearings for marriage equality bills here in RI. The divorce equality bill was heard and held yet AGAIN last month. But nothing on marriage equality.

I recall a conversation I had with my state senator, Paul Jabour almost two months ago. He told me that the bills for equality were being delayed by their sponsor. I wonder what’s going on.

RI is at the crux of marriage equality. We have an openly gay house speaker, and I’d think a nice big “FUCK YOU” to outgoing Governor Carcieri would be to pass a marriage equality bill with a big veto proof majority. I know that we’re very close to that in the house at the moment.

But whither the bill and hearings???

Another grab bag post

Mid spring seems to be the dead time for me. Not a lot of business (Though I did do a 40 minute job today explaining the failings of POP3 to client.) and the weather is getting better but not fast enough for my tastes.

I see that Pope Benny the Rat is at it again with regard to gay marriage. Explain to me how a guy who has NEVER been in a relationship at all has the divine authority to tell me mine is disordered or invalid?

I was talking to my father last night and we got on the topic of the Catholic church. He was telling me the story of the pastor at his church. Seems the priest is a typical egotistical ass and he wanted an elementary school built for the parish, then a middle school.

My father is active with the church and had repeatedly brought up the question of who would pay for the schools.

My father told me he gets letter after letter from the pastor asking for money to sponsor students at the school etc. This is funny to me because over the last few years I’ve seen a number of Catholic elementary schools closing in RI. My old school, Msgr. Bove aka St. Ann’s closed last year. And now Holy Ghost down the street from me is closing.

Tuition for those schools is astronomical. If you’re a parish member it’s close to $5K per year, if not $6,500. I’ll take the higher number because if you’re a church member you’ll be expected to tithe a certain amount and that would probable come out to the same.

So for eight years it’d be $52,000 and that assumes the costs won’t rise over time. My Catholic high school, La Salle Academy is $11,900 a year now. So four years of that and your total 12 year primary and secondary is $99,600. Just for reference my entire 12 years cost roughly $14,000 and my B.Sc $24,000 so $38,000 total.

The church says it is because of health care costs. And I agree, that is a hellish expense. But you’d think maybe the church would be the best mouthpiece for true reform in health care.

Immigration – How my parents generation just doesn’t get it

Yesterday I noticed that both my father and aunt joined the facebook group called “1 MILLION In Favor of the Arizona Immigration Law SB1070”
My father posted this little blurb:

you need to growq (sic) up and smarten up.screw these immgartion (sic) people who are not americans and also costing us millions of dollars.anyone who agress (sic) just say so.

Well dad, I am fully grown and smart enough to know what the real issues happen to be, regardless of the mainstream media’s constant pandering for ratings.

One of my cousins posted this:

And lets also remember the sign in front of places hiring saying the Irish and Italians need not apply.

So I did some digging and found this paper about Anti-Italian Discrimination in the early 20th Century. That was the time period when my paternal great grandparents emigrated to the United States. I give them great credit, they managed to thrive and I know my great grandmother naturalized in 1937.

What my father and aunt just don’t understand is that less than a century ago, Italian immigrants faced the same discrimination that current immigrants are facing today. So have a little compassion.

I also had to bring up the fact that many of those brown skinned people are in fact U.S. citizens. Put it this way I have a few Dominican and Venezuelan friends. In the case of the former they were born here, and in the later they naturalized.

Let us also look at agribusiness. They wanted cheap labor and so they hired Mexicans to do the work for a pittance.

But my aunt brought up the following:

Agree above Tony. Legal is the word. , not food stamps , not free medical . Come down here and u will see what I mean. I am sic and tired of standing in line waiting for all the immigrants on food stamps while I have to pay cash. Oviously u don’t get it that these people were not like our grandparents who came over got legal and yes WORKED for a … See Moreliving and one more thing spoke English no one translated everything for them.Why should it be different now. GET LEGAL PAY TAXES like they did in the ealy 1900’s when evryone came here by the way of Ellis Island.Then they can say they want rights.

They try to work. But the deck against them and US citizens is stacked. Why? Notice the U.S. hardly manufactures anything at all these days, it’s all been shipped over to China, India and other 3rd world countries. Countries where environmental and labor law are lacking put dollar signs in the field of view of the leaders of big business. Cheaper labor equals greater profit.

But it isn’t just manufacturing that has been shipped out. A lot of IT work, databases, data entry, programming etc. has flown too. So too accounting, medical interpretation and billing, etc.

So tell me, where are the immigrants supposed to find jobs?

Unfuckingbelievable! National Grid buying wind power

You can read it here. I’ll summarize since this is a ProJo blog post so it won’t stay up long.

Apparently National Grid has agreed to buy wind power from Cape Wind and charge the consumer 20.7 cents per kWh with a 3.5% per year increase in cost.

National Grid trots out their ideal customer that uses 500kWh a month and says:

The higher cost of wind power, compared to power from conventional sources, would add $1.59 to the monthly bill of a typical Massachusetts residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt hours of electricity per month.

And I have to ask, why the 3.5% per anum increase? Does wind get more expensive over time?

Not for anything, 20.7 cents per kWh is astronomical too. It’s already been demonstrated that the approximate cost with debt service and maintenance is about 7 cents per kWh. So even if they agreed to 10 cents it’d be profitable because over time as debt gets paid off. So while you’d only profit 3 cents per kWh initially over time you’ll profit roughly 4 or 5 cents because of the reduction in debt.

Does National Grid and Cape Wind think we’re all stupid?

And here’s a little comparison to their idealized 500kWh customer.

Right now when you lump in the distribution and other fees we’re paying 14 cents per kWh so that 500kWh would cost $70. I happen to know the per kWh energy cost, it’s around 9 cents per.

At 20.7 cents per kWh add in the 5 cents for distribution and you get $128.50.

So National Grid is lying as usual. And I have to wonder, why that sticking point in the 20 cent range? Could it be that the COST to National Grid is only say 10 cents per kWh?

So they double it? Which means that the 9 cents we currently pay is really costing them 4.5 cents or at least one would be lead to believe that. I have to get my hands on National Grid’s annual report.