Archive for January, 2010

Well it looks like nincompoop was re-confirmed to the Federal Reserve and that means that I need to use the nuclear option: Closing down all my big bank accounts!   I wanted to do it this week but I’ve been too busy to shuffle money around so it will need to wait till next week.    If you want to see some change in the financial system, I would encourage you to move your money to a credit union or a community local bank!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Icqrx0OimSs&feature=player_embedded

I picked up TurboTax over at Costco.  The box clearly states that it will work on PC and MAC.   Unfortunately, my Mac won’t read the CD.  Here’s the crazy thing.  I can boot up a virtual machine running Windows XP on the mac and it reads the CD fine in Windows?   WTF?

I’m trying to load the damn thing in Windows XP and I have been waiting over 20 minutes for the damn “updates” to take place and nothing is happening.  What’s going to end up being my solution?  I’ll probably have to download a hacked version from the net despite the fact that I’ve already paid for this stupid product.

I’m wondering if this CD has some type of copy protection scheme or if there are no Mac files on it whatsoever.   When I read the CD in Windows I don’t see anything remotely looking like Mac files so perhaps I’m trying to squeeze blood out of a rock.

I walked into the credit union office and requested to open a new account.  The standard process was fairly mundane except when we came to the part where the rep asks me if I want a debit (visa/mastercard) branded card.   I said no, I want a plain ATM card.  “Sorry, we don’t offer those anymore.”

It must have been a fairly new policy because the form she gave me had a check box with “ATM Card” written right on it and I pointed that out to her and she said that they just don’t offer them anymore.

Well it’s no problem for me as I have basically stopped using ATM’s after Chase ruined them and I generally have other methods to obtain cash when I need it.  There is no way in hell I’m ever using a debit card as long as credit cards are around.   Why in hell would I want to risk losing funds from my bank account when I can lay that loss off on the credit card company?

Ultimately, I’m glad the credit union didn’t issue an ATM card since that means there’s only a couple of ways to get money out of there so perhaps it is a new layer of security to keep my money semi-safe.

Wow, just days after I wrote this post about Facebook, another article was sent to me about some privacy issues and this one pertains to personal finance:

Want a bank loan? Get yourself more Facebook friends — but make sure they pay their bills on time.

Banks are beginning to look at user accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites to determine if an applicant is loan-worthy, raising privacy concerns as well as questions over whether a person’s online friends, likes and dislikes can actually measure their financial stability.

Everything a person does publicly on their social-networking accounts can be found by market researchers if the user’s privacy settings allow it. Researchers are now looking at a person’s online conversations, the groups they join, products they look at and even who their friends are to determine loan-worthiness.

“The presumption is that if your friends are responsible credit cardholders and pay their bills on time, you could be a good credit customer,” reports WTOP News in Washington, DC.

This gives a whole new meaning to “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Change you can believe in?  Well it’s turned out to be chump change and if that nincompoop Bernanke is re-confirmed I will close ALL of my big bank accounts which currently include Chase, Bank of America and HSBC.   I’ve already opened a new credit union account and plan on moving my money there as soon as this foolishness continues.  I’ve also applied for credit card through the credit union so I can dump my big bank accounts as well.    The only way we’re going to get any real reform here is to suffocate the system and I’m doing my part.

I’m still totally disgusted that Geithner hasn’t been fired for his role in the whole AIG 100% payout and everyday new revelations show the ridiculous activity of these idiots.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Icqrx0OimSs&feature=player_embedded

I had originally entitled this post, “Facebook, The World’s Most Dangerous Application” but I decided throwing in Hitler would be better to make a point.  I admit, I was peer pressured into creating a Facebook account.    Many of my family and friends were on Facebook and kept sending me links or notes to it and I finally relented.   Initially I didn’t have a problem with Facebook until I started digging deeper into their privacy policy and there ever changing stance on what was considered private and what was not.  Worse yet, Facebook took it upon themselves to automatically change privacy settings much to my chagrin allowing more people access than before but here’s a list of things that broke the camel’s back.

First, Facebook seems to love to gather and horde information on you.   Almost daily, I get reminders to define my relatives in Facebook.  Why?   Why does Facebook care who my relatives are and why do they want this information?

Second, Facebook seems to know a bunch of people in my life that aren’t friends or family.  Actually vague acquaintances show up in Facebook under the Suggestions section on who to add to my Facebook.    I don’t know how Facebook is getting this information or why it is in there but it’s rather disturbing to think that data mining is in full force with Facebook.

Third, Facebook desperately wants me to add a picture to my profile.  Why?   A little window kept popping up from “tagged” photos wanting me desperately to link my photo to my profile.

From a security standpoint, I’ve read stories of Facebook members writing posts like, “I’m headed on vacation to the Caribbean”  only to return to find their home has been burglarized during their vacation.  Well that makes perfect sense, why not place a flashing neon sign on your home that reads, “This House Is Full of Stuff and Empty! – Owner on Vacation.”

Of course the most dangerous thing is what happens to this data in the wrong hands?   Imagine if Facebook gets bought by Annoying-Debt-Collectors-R-Us and now ADCRU has full access to all your friends and family!  Yippee!  Imagine the possibilities!

But if history is ANY indication of what will happen someday soon it is the history of evil fascist dictators throughout the past few decades slaughtering and abusing MILLIONS of people.   Imagine if Adolf Hitler’s Germany had access to Facebook, rounding up Jews would be matter of a few clicks.    Mao didn’t like capitalists so imagine him searching for bourgeoisie type people and their friends.    You can use your own imagination and determine who the next Adolf will be coming for via Facebook.   There is really too much complacency by Facebook and the public on these types of data collecting systems but anyone who doesn’t study history is bound to repeat it.

I have deactivated my account and I know wish to permanently delete it but I can’t seem to find a way to do it so perhaps it’s too late.  All I can hope for now is for this company to go bankrupt.   Let the fad end!

I’ve been too outraged these past few weeks to write anything of substance on this blog so I’ve stuck to the more mundane topics lately.  I just don’t understand why Geithner and Bernanke haven’t been fired already.   It’s totally disgusting that this guy as Fed Head for NY sent e-mails to AIG telling them NOT to disclose anything to the public on the 100% payout to Goldman Sachs on the default swaps.  WTF!

Geithner was president of the New York Fed when it managed the bailout. The AIG deals might have cost taxpayers billions more than necessary because Geithner did not demand concessions from the banks, an earlier watchdog report said.

The committee has been investigating e-mails from New York Fed lawyers telling AIG not to disclose details about the deal. The e-mails were released last week by California Rep. Darrell Issa., the committee’s top Republican.

Why Bernanke hasn’t resigned and gone back to his academic textbooks is beyond me as well.   Bernanke, you are a failed mI’anager PERIOD!

I’ve become so outraged that I may actually start giving money to Republican candidates this freaking election year.   I’ve been willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt here but that’s expired and I want to see results not excuses for God’s sake!

There is a new con game coming up to make the employment numbers look better called “hire millions of part time census workers” to make everything look better and I hope clueless sheep don’t fall for it (as usual) but things are so grim and bleak for so many of my colleagues that I doubt it will make any difference.

The proposed healthcare plan is nothing but pure garbage that will be ruled unconstitutional the moment it gets enacted.   Seriously, what gives Congress the power to force me (or anyone else) to sign a contract with private enterprises for “insurance?”   I brought this up with someone and they mentioned that I am required to have car insurance.  Well true, but I don’t HAVE to own a car and my car insurance is reasonable considering the high level of competition.   This shitcare plan doesn’t fix anything that’s wrong with health care!

Ugh…I’m so PO’d that I won’t be writing for a few days.

On 1/1/2010 I started the Atkins diet again as a New Year’s resolution to lose weight this year.   I weighed myself and have lost 11 lbs since starting the diet so I’ve been losing a pound per day.   It’s not just the diet though as I go to the gym four to five times per week.    The sinister plan to lose weight has some financial incentives for me.   I’m currently in the process of purchasing a new life insurance policy this year and it is often cheaper to be fit during the examination process as premiums will be lower than if I were just over weight.

It is absolutely amazing to me how the years have just flown by, we purchased a 20 year life insurance policy over 11 years ago when we first got married to protect our kids and there are now less years on that policy ahead than past so I figured it’s time to lock in another new 20 year policy which should carry us till the kids are out of college at which point we really won’t need the policy anymore.

I am hoping this economic mess has made life policies cheaper since no one has any cash to be buying them but that may ultimately end up hurting me since the pool may be smaller.  In any event, I want to maximize the value of the policy by being fit.   I hope to buy that new policy sometime in the summer so I have a few more months to lose some more pounds.

So I walk in to Costco this weekend and my jaw dropped at the huge volume of  customers but that’s not what surprised me.   The large crowd was a bit of a shocker and I considered that perhaps the economy was recovering but then I took a look at what most shoppers had in their carts.

What did they have?   Well, nearly every shopping cart had a nearly identical set of items and the thing the items all had in common were the items listed in the Costco coupon book for January.     Almost every couple, every single man or woman trolling the aisles at Costco had that little Costco coupon book people get in the mail.    It seems people were loading up on items that had $2 or $3 dollar off coupons.

The store employees were busy moving forklifts to bring new palettes of items that were on the coupon list.   Paper plates, laundry detergent, tissue paper and paper towels were in almost every cart.    What wasn’t in most shopping carts?  Expensive meats or large quantities of canned goods or other perishable items.   I can surmise that people are bulking up on non-perishable essentials that were on sale at Costco.

Not coincidentally, I had my own little coupon book and stocked up on similar items except I did buy some meats and poultry for my Atkins diet.   I did see one guy put three, yes THREE LCD TV’s into his cart but that was about the only excess I saw.    The other item I saw people were snapping up were rugs.  The rugs are $30 off and on sale for about $119 and it made sense since people are likely buying it as a cheap way to cheap their floors warm this brutal winter.

In the many years of shopping at Costco, I have NEVER seen so many people using the little coupon book nor stocking up on bulk items in the manner that I saw them today.   Unfortunately for Costco, this is going to erode margins at the retail level if customers are only buying items that are heavily discounted.

I’ve been telling my associates that if you are looking for a job then it needs to happen in January or February because that’s when companies tend to have budgets released and the window to hire any open positions.  As such, I’ve started to receive calls from executive recruiters for some executive positions.  I got a call the other day about a Vice President position for a small ($200 million) company and they asked if I was interested.    I really wasn’t interested in working for such a small company but I was curious so I asked for some details.

The recruiter said the job was in Detroit and that’s when I burst out laughing.  I didn’t mean to be rude but I just couldn’t help myself.   Why the hell would I want to move to Detroit – The crime/bankruptcy/foreclosure/rusting center of the world?   I meant to ask the recruiter if she knew that Chrysler and GM had filed for bankruptcy and kept up on the thousands of homes being demolished in Detroit but I didn’t have the heart.   I told her I wasn’t interested in the position and then she asked if I knew anyone interested in the position.   Honestly, I told her that I don’t know of anyone that would want to move to Detroit for ANY reason and left it at that!

Seriously, you can buy a house in Detroit for $500 or less in many areas.  Hell people are giving them away just so they don’t have to pay property taxes on the damn things.  Good grief, even if I were currently unemployed, I wouldn’t go up to Detroit for anything….life is worth too much for that hell.