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Comment: Re:The law is for the little people (Score 1) 322

by Sentrion (#46750653) Attached to: Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

At least half of the "middle class" should make more than the median income. But we have a lot of laws that provide special protections and subsidies for those with below median incomes, or for those living near or below the poverty line. I just don't think that consumer protections for all should be given such a low priority over helping families in dire need. Even after Obamacare coming into affect, middle class families can end up losing most of their life savings after just one major medical event. The outlook is worse for any family with a member who is chronically or terminally ill. People with moderate incomes are still forced to file divorce against a spouse that they love because otherwise their spouse would not qualify for nursing care assistance. A family that is already receiving food stamps and subsidized housing isn't hardly affected by a $600, $6,000, or $60,0000 hospital or nursing home bill. Just about anyone with below-median income can file chapter 7 bankruptcy and wipe out debt with a fresh clean start. But if a middle class family just barely exceeds median income for their area then the whole family has to pay 100% of their "disposable" income for either five years or until the debt is paid in full. If they have other expenses, like a car or home repair, and if this causes them to fall behind on their five year payment plan, the case can be dismissed, and they will owe the full debt plus interest. This middle class family would be allowed about $700/month to feed a family of four. If both parents work 60 or 70 uncompensated (ie salary) hours each week, then there isn't much time to prepare cheap meals from scratch.

The attitude in government is to either promote industry or to help the destitute. But there are increasingly more risks today to hard working families that can lose everything they've been working for. We should have more policies that protect the present status of middle class families rather than waiting for them to lose everything first before getting any help. Ending the sense of entitlement that hospital administrators have for the net worth of their patient's families would go a long way.

As our society is very litigious compared to most other countries, families are incurring legal expenses over matters that should be dealt with in ways that would be much less expensive. If my ex-wife is dating a registered sex-offender, it should only take a conversation with local law enforcement to halt visitations until the sex-offender is out of the picture. It should not take $30k in legal fees and a couple trips to court.

I could go on about restrictions that prevent families from starting a business, or saving money by doing certain repairs without paying fee after fee for permits, permissions, licenses, etc. for some of the most mundane activities. The middle class has it good - when they can actually keep most of the wealth they generate. But no one is going to bat for the middle class, so we are slowly losing protections we once had, losing freedoms we once had, and are facing greater risks of losing middle class status.

Comment: Re:Don't forget your yellow ribbon sticker (Score 5, Interesting) 322

by Sentrion (#46730551) Attached to: Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

Since there's no cash contribution backing it up it don't expect it to get you very far. Remember, always ask "what's in this individual's best interests"? Then make your decision from there.

It pays to invest money and time volunteering for the re-election campaigns of officials who will have a direct impact on your business and private affairs.

Expecting a divorce with a major custody fight? Prepare now by volunteering for CASA. Network with judges and lawyers while creating the impression of what kind of outstanding and caring individual you are.

Expecting major surgery in the coming year? Start ratcheting up on donations to your local non-profit hospital where the surgery will take place. Not just so physicians will work harder to provide quality care, but you'll be less likely to have any BS from the billing department. Out of network services suddenly billed at in-network rates with the swish of a pen.

When regulators come around your business, always mention that you're hiring and ask if they know anyone with such-and-such skills or experience. If they refer you a close friend or relative, hire that person on the spot.

And the number one rule of business: always take decision-makers out to lunch and pay for their meal.

Comment: Re:So you CAN buy a license to speed (Score 2) 322

by Sentrion (#46730315) Attached to: Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

Yes. As long as you don't offer cash or gifts directly to the officer he has the discretion to let you go with a warning. You can still offer bribes; they're just illegal and could get you into more trouble if the officer follows a code of ethics or too many run-ins with internal affairs. Supporting these charities seems to have almost just as good of an effect without the liability.

Comment: Re:I don't think he means that literally/absolutel (Score 1) 572

by Sentrion (#46726931) Attached to: Michael Bloomberg: You Can't Teach a Coal Miner To Code

Agreed. Jobs are driven by demand, not by desire. There is huge demand for coal mining in West Virginia. There are very few other jobs. So it is mine coal or starve. Or move to another state, which is easy for some and hard for others. Family bonds and a claim to one's "home" can be very strong for many people. Some parts of WV still don't have indoor plumbing; I imagine those same locales don't have high-speed broadband either. If they retrain to be programmers, are they going to find a work-from-home job without any prior experience and a whole lot of coal mining activity on their resume? A resume showing years in an unrelated field is already a road block for many career changers. Trying to do work where there is no demand for it doesn't seem possible without a "big government" jobs program. Maybe they can relocate the Obamacare IT offices to WV and see how that works out.

Comment: Re:You really can't be serious (Score 3, Informative) 507

by Sentrion (#46710821) Attached to: How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

One day we may have cures for just about all disease, maybe even "old age" itself. And think about how horrible that will be! Knowing that you are still going to die, but it won't be peacefully in your home with your family at your bedside. You could end up like Draco, smothered to death by gifts of cloaks and hats showered upon him by appreciative citizens at a theatre [620 BC]. Or you might end up like martyr Saint Lawrence, patron saint of cooks, who was roasted alive on a giant grill during the persecution of Valerian [258AD]. Prudentius tells that he joked with his tormentors, "Turn me over — I'm done on this side".

As we grow older we could end up dying in ways we could not have ever imagined, like Hans Steininger, the burgomaster of Braunau, Austria, who died when he broke his neck by tripping over his own beard [1567 AD].

If age alone is one day no longer terminal, then we will probably have to keep working indefinitely. This only increases the odds of dying while pursuing our occasionally dangerous professions, such as Clement Vallandigham, a lawyer and Ohio politician defending a man on a charge of murder, who accidentally shot himself demonstrating how the victim might have shot himself while in the process of drawing a weapon when standing from a kneeling position.

So maybe you plan on spending eternity very carefully, not even to venture outside to avoid such horrendous impending deaths waiting to happen. Well, that didn't work for Joao Maria de Souza, who was killed while asleep, by a cow that fell through the roof of his house onto his bed in 2013.

Just thinking about all of the horrible ways to die can drive a person to madness, but in the end maybe there is one next-best-thing to knowing how you are going to die in six months while counting down the last days on your death bed, with enough time to tell your loved ones goodbye or changing your will to cut out your less-than-loved ones. And maybe that's taking matters into your own hands, like David Phyall, the last resident in a block of flats due to be demolished near Southampton, England, who decapitated himself with a chainsaw to highlight the injustice of being forced to move out. Ya. That'll show 'em!

Comment: Re:Let it die (Score 1) 507

by Sentrion (#46710685) Attached to: How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

They're not any worse than the "proud" unemployed parents who are desperately trying to find a job, but until then refuse to accept unemployment benefits, food stamps, medicaid, food pantries, charity, or handouts from friends or family. They send their kids to bed hungry but think they're so awesome because they never took any help from anyone.

Comment: Re:Let it die (Score -1, Troll) 507

by Sentrion (#46710641) Attached to: How Cochlear Implants Are Being Blamed For Killing Deaf Culture

Are you suggesting that if Steve Jobs paid his fortune to doctors and hospitals and spent hours engaged in painful "treatments" he would have lived one day longer than the path he chose? He had pancreatic cancer. It's not like a melanoma. It is inoperable and incurable. My body is not a pin-cushion for an entire team of doctors and administrators to fund their lifestyle at the expense of my family's lifetime of frugally saving up enough cash to cover a modest education for kids and possibly a retirement if one of us lives to be 80.

Comment: Re:Read your lease... (Score 1) 319

by Sentrion (#46701681) Attached to: SF Evictions Surging From Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals

I feel for your predicament. I have two autistic kids, a wife with Lupus, and an ex-wife that has cost me thousands in legal fees just to keep my kids safe from her sex-offender boyfriend. My salary is high, but my savings have been wiped out twice. I earn what should be considered "good money", but I have a high deductible insurance plan, and I am out of pocket almost $10k every year. Throw in that I'm the sole breadwinner for my household, the government doesn't think my wife (who is bed or couch ridden for weeks at a time) is disabled enough for disability benefits, and my kids will likely never be capable of supporting themselves, my outlook isn't too bright.

But you have to make best with the resources you've got. I bit the bullet living frugally in college while studying twice as hard as most of my non-engineering peers in college (I only know this because my friends who dropped engineering for business or liberal arts told me how much easier it was). It's a little harder knowing that I've worked hard to be where I am, my employer expects me to take work home at night and finish projects over the weekend, and yet I need to live just as frugally, and I have to watch my family miss out on the lifestyle that I wanted for them.

Yet during times when I've had money I was able to invest it and made decent returns, which came in handy from one crisis to another. This year I have bought some acreage with a mobile home. I'm taking a gamble that the land will appreciate as the area seems to be in the path of development. I have part of the land fenced in, I have started a small mixed flock of goats and sheep, the land is ag-exempt, which keeps property taxes ridiculously low, and I have slowly been buying tools and goods that allow me to produce more of what I need rather than paying way too much on pre-prepared food and merchandise. I actually have half my acreage leased out to another farmer, but at $10 an acre per month I don't think I'm ripping anyone off. I'm looking for business opportunities that will put what little money or resources to use while I am out at work earning my salary. I've given some thought to building a small self-storage business on my land to earn a little more and help me to be less dependent on my day job, but that will have to wait until I can save up enough to get rolling on such a plan.

I don't blame landlords for the predicament of the poor who are stuck in a cycle of renting. Owning a home can work out to be even more of a financial tragedy for many. I do blame government policies, usually set on the city level, that restrict what types of properties can be built. Many areas would benefit from affordable housing but cities want to promote developments that will bring in the kind of taxpayers they want. Unfortunately in the US we neither have the benefit of a just socialist government nor the freedom of a libertarian free market. I don't understand a city that on the one hand makes vagrancy illegal, forbids camping or sleeping on streets, alleys, parks, under bridges, in their own car, etc. but at the same time does not make any shelter available to those falling on hard times.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.