Friday, 18 October 2013

07:36 – I just ordered 12 cases of dehydrated water to add to our emergency stocks. Restaurant suppliers like Bernard Foods are often overlooked as a good source of emergency storable food. The quality of the products is generally excellent–restaurants can’t afford to alienate customers by using poor-quality foods–and the prices are generally quite reasonable.

We’re now in good shape on science kit inventory, so I’m turning my attention to getting the earth and space science kit designed and prototyped. Mostly, that means designing and testing lab sessions and writing the manual. The goal is to have the prototype completed by the end of the year and the first batch of 30 kits ready to ship by February.


56 thoughts on “Friday, 18 October 2013”

  1. Are you sure that dehydrated water does not contain any DHMO? DHMO is a very dangerous substance and causes many deaths each year here in the USA and around the world.
    http://www.dhmo.org/

  2. O brave new world that has such people in it! And new verbs like “upskirting.”

    Spent the day yesterday at the VA med center in the lovely retro town of White River Junction, VT. As usual, treated like a prince while they tested me for cancer, heart disease and asthma. Two-hour drive each way starting at 06:00 in the dark; but gorgeous orange, red and yellow leaves all the way.

    The staff there reported their computers were running slow; I pointed out that 2,300 IT workers just came back to their jobs and were probably logging in and checking email and surfing the net all at once.

    I’ve apparently lost some weight, about twenty pounds, thanks to not breathing much for two weeks here and thus not eating much; also an inch of height; a mere shadow of my former self now. Blood pressure way down thanks to meds and I gotta take it at home now myself and get more exercise, preferably smaht exercise, like doubles tennis. Which is not likely. Assuming some snow this year and from now on, I’ll get out more with the x-c skis, learn to snowshoe, and maybe look into the primitive firearms biathlon they do up here. Warm weather will be for hiking, canoeing and more target shooting, if we can get the ammo supplies back up to snuff.

    60 here today and overcast, with blowing wind off the lake again. Mrs. OFD sez gorgeous weather out in Portlandia; off to Memphis on Sunday.

  3. I’ll play doubles with you, Dave.

    I’ve been meaning to get back out on the court. I’ve been meaning to for about 35 years now. That’s the problem with taking a break from something for a while. If I pick up a racket after all that time, my muscle memory is going to tell me I’m still 25 years old. So, I’ll hit a cannonball serve and charge the net. And my arm will fall off and I’ll drop dead halfway to net.

  4. I am giving serious thought to retirement at 63 in about 4 months. I would get a smaller social security check than if I waited until I was 66 but I am not sure that matters. I have no debts as house is paid, cars are paid, CCards are zeroed each month. Minimum income would get me a very low subsidized rate on one of the health exchanges. I have almost a 3/4 million in retirement funds that I can draw down at $2K a month until I am dead. If worse comes to worse I can become impoverished and just get everything from the government for free.

    I always have alternative plan of robbing a bank and discharging a weapon. I would kill a politician but that may not get me life if I get a sympathetic jury.

  5. My first wife was/is an excellent tennis player and I once tried to get out there and hit a ball; it went over the net, the fence and the nearby apartment building. Total joke for stuff like that. Too old now; I need to plough through snow drifts and canoe down minor rapids.

    Sounds like the start of a plan, Ray; I’d give some consideration to moving those funds out of the country, though. They’re open to confiscation or whatever in the near future here. And if you become genuinely sick or hurt, I have bad feelings about how the new health plan infrastructure is going to work; I suspect huge increases eventually in some form of euthanasia in preference to whatever levels of treatment.

  6. I think it’s a mistake for nearly anyone to retire. Sooner than you might think, that $2,000/month might be enough to buy you a cup of coffee, and your social security check might be enough to add a couple donuts.

    I don’t think there are many people who realize just how badly they’ve been raped since Lehman. Retirement security is pretty much gone for everyone, and particularly for anyone under 50 unless they have assets invested in real things rather than just money funds or whatever.

  7. I am giving serious thought to retirement at 63 in about 4 months.

    What would you do with your free time?

    Where would you get your health insurance from for two years until you hit 65? Does your spouse ride on your health insurance? Can you ride on your spouse’s health insurance?

    How subject would your income and expenses be to inflation at 20% per year? I am wondering how long the Fed can hold the interest rates down while they are showering the USA economy in dollars.

    Got any kids thinking of moving home?

    Good luck. I think that we are going to have 100% inflation in the next ten years, I just cannot tell you when.

  8. get more exercise, preferably smaht exercise,

    I walk two miles on five nights per week with the wife and dog. Does wonders for me but the knees are slowly dying. If I could just drop my caloric intake below 3,000 per day I would lose weight. Probably just ate 1,500 calories at The Mongolian Bowl with beef, shrimp, little corn husks and onions covered in teriaki sauce and curry.

  9. Sounds like the start of a plan, Ray; I’d give some consideration to moving those funds out of the country, though. They’re open to confiscation or whatever in the near future here.

    Those funds are probably IRA accounts and not movable outside the country. I would split those funds between several banks, credit unions and financial services such as Fidelity and Vanguard. Probably a quarter million absolute max per entity.

  10. Retirement security is pretty much gone for everyone, and particularly for anyone under 50 unless they have assets invested in real things rather than just money funds or whatever.

    I’ve got the majority of my IRA invested in five acres of rural land here in Fort Bend County. I drive past it five days per week going to the office. I plan to sell it after they build the new toll bridge over the Brazos river in 10 to 20 years. Meanwhile, it is costing my IRA $4,000 per year to mow it and pay property taxes.

  11. Sooner than you might think, that $2,000/month might be enough to buy you a cup of coffee, and your social security check might be enough to add a couple donuts.

    With that mindset I would never be able to quit working. Your doomsday predictions have not been very accurate thus far. I can only plan on what I know now and cannot rely on future predictions that are entirely unknown. I could get hit by a truck tomorrow and it would be a moot point. Should I stop driving because of such a scenario? I don’t think so.

    What would you do with your free time?

    Masturbate. Seriously I would pursue photography more and probably teach a non-credit class at the local high school.

    Where would you get your health insurance from for two years until you hit 65?

    One of the insurance exchanges in the state. Since my income would be so low my premiums would be low and most subsidized by the government.

    Does your spouse ride on your health insurance?

    Yes, see above.

    Can you ride on your spouse’s health insurance?

    No, see above.

    How subject would your income and expenses be to inflation at 20% per year?

    Income would from social security. Earnings would obviously suffer some but most of the funds would be moved into interest bearing funds that would be very low risk. Inflation would certainly smack that.

    Got any kids thinking of moving home?

    Nope. He is on his own, has a good job, wife has a job, has his own house. He will never move back home even if he became penniless.

    I’d give some consideration to moving those funds out of the country, though. They’re open to confiscation or whatever in the near future here.

    I am well diversified. As for confiscation I don’t see that happening. It would be political suicide for any (idiot) congress critter to vote for such a plan. Even if such a plan were to be created I would hope that people close to my age would not be affected.

    Those funds are probably IRA accounts and not movable outside the country.

    Only about 25%. The rest are in funds that I can do with as I please. All taxed money except for the earnings.

    I would split those funds between several banks, credit unions and financial services such as Fidelity and Vanguard.

    I am well diversified. I have funds in about 20 different venues in 4 different investment firms. Some of the money is in secured funds that are not subject to stock market whims.

    So far in the market I have done very well averaging about 6% growth each year even counting the downturn in 2008.

    Yes, there are unknowns and risks. I have to make a decision based on what I know now, not what I think the future will hold. I cannot predict the future and to continue living based on fear of worst case scenario is not got going to happen with my life. I figure to die about 85 as that is the family norm. That is the only prediction I can make and that may or may not be true.

    If I become penniless I can just leach off the government like all the others. Which may not be too bad as I would have spent the money on myself rather than give it to the government or some place reeking of disinfectant, barf and shit while they keep me camped in a wheelchair all day.

  12. With that mindset I would never be able to quit working. Your doomsday predictions have not been very accurate thus far. I can only plan on what I know now and cannot rely on future predictions that are entirely unknown.

    On the contrary, they’ve been extremely accurate. Note that I haven’t predicted a sudden catastrophe, but a slide into dystopia. Not that that requires a crystal ball. Anyone who cares to look can watch it happening now. Even the federal government admits that the national debt is now about $150,000 per taxpayer. And that’s just explicit debt, in t-bonds and so on. What they’re not counting is unfunded liabilities, i.e., promises they’ve made that they don’t have the ability to meet. If those are taken into account, not to mention similar unfunded liabilities at the local and state levels, your $750K disappears into thin air, alone with those social security, medicare, and other payments you’re counting on. Do you not see that?

  13. I believe we’re entering entirely new historical territory here very soon, next few years. This winter could be interesting, for example. Precedents are being established. And there is really nasty stuff in the air coming from the regime’s supporters and enablers; this from a best-selling fiction author today:

    “This isn’t about legislative battles any longer. We’re coming up very quickly to the matter of exile to remote places, mass relocation, imprisonment, and liquidation. Just as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn yearned for in the 1960s. They were not talking out of their asses, but 1968 did not go as well as expected. Though it was ruinous.”

    Two things are being called for: a ramping up of using county and city governments to siphon revenue in a big way from now on from the towns and suburbs; watch Albany and Boston on this. And: the establishment of martial law, to take control and also to punish Republicans, who have been pushovers anyway, and Tea Party types. Wreckers and oppositionists will be shut down one way or another; if not through confiscation of property and funds, then through imprisonment. Hard cases, like people who publicly advocate tax resistance, will probably just be shot, in some “botched” law enforcement operation or they hit the “wrong address” serving a warrant on an alleged drug dealer or something. This has already been done here.

    These people believe in their hearts that moderate Republicans, like many on this board, are fascist enemies to be punished and destroyed. Imagine what they think of Bob or SteveF or MrAtoz or me. Among others, including you lurkers out there.

  14. On the contrary, they’ve been extremely accurate.

    Such as the European union collapsing by the end of the year, Germany leaving the Euro, Greece totally collapsing, Italy and Spain not far behind.

    Do you not see that?

    Nope. I get my advice from people that are much wiser than you in such matters.

  15. Bob and I may be a little off on the timing, but the EU is gonna be toast soon enough; the independence and separatist movements there are gaining ground with each new outrage in Brussels. The Germans leaving the Euro is small potatoes compared to the U.S. dollar no longer being the de facto world currency, soon enough. And the PIIGS are also dead meat at some point; governments, as here, keep kicking the cans down the road and hoping to forestall disaster. They are only prolonging the suffering and the resulting pain will be even worse as a result.

    I really hope I’m all wet; nobody wants another civil war and the Mad Max scenario developing here. But I do not for the life of me see how this system can be sustained much longer and retirement funds, property, etc., including what’s left of our personal liberty, is all up for grabs.

  16. Boy, when I hear the stuff from the 20- and 30-year guys I sure am glad I bailed after four years active. In any case I would have been KIA within weeks after I re-upped in Thailand, so a really smaht move on my paht, eh?

    And what difference did all that shit make, anyway? We is budz now with Vietnam, Red Chiner, etc. Same deal with Germany and Japan right after The Good War.

  17. Mr. Ray,

    If that Alzheimer’s pill comes through I read about, maybe you won’t be slobbering as soon as you thought. Better cash out your money and bury it in the back yard.

    Just to be sure.

  18. Such as the European union collapsing by the end of the year, Germany leaving the Euro, Greece totally collapsing, Italy and Spain not far behind.

    All of those things remain in close prospect, other than Greece collapsing, which has already occurred. Just read a Greek newspaper if you don’t believe that. As you will recall, I’ve mentioned repeatedly that the eurocrats can delay the collapse for a while longer, but only at the expense of making the collapse worse when it does come. And Italy and Spain are not in much better shape than Greece. Look at unemployment rates or any other economic indicator.

  19. One of the insurance exchanges in the state. Since my income would be so low my premiums would be low and most subsidized by the government.

    First, you are assuming that the obamacare website is fixable. The CEO of Aetna says no. My insurance agent has been licensed as a Navigator. He is pulling his hair out trying to figure out what is going on.

    I doubt that you will be subsidized. Please read about the Obamacare loophole:
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/01/31/1520221/obamacare-loophole-families/
    http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/10/news/economy/obamacare-families/

    Obamacare is the old bait and switch game. We are heading to single payer in the USA as fast as we can. Maybe 2014 as a gimme for the electorate to vote the rats back in the House.

    have funds in about 20 different venues in 4 different investment firms. Some of the money is in secured funds that are not subject to stock market whims.

    Excellent! I am hoping that your spouse has a list of these funds and account numbers (and passwords) should you get run over by a truck tomorrow.

    As for confiscation I don’t see that happening. It would be political suicide for any (idiot) congress critter to vote for such a plan. Even if such a plan were to be created I would hope that people close to my age would not be affected.

    Desperate countries do desperate things. Do you remember 1980 when the prime interest rate zoomed to 20%? I do. My Dad and his partner were holding a seven figure commercial loan that was prime + 5 that reset every month. They struggled to pay that bad boy off as much as possible by selling everything they could. The USA government will be looking for cash everywhere they can find it if the interest rates triple, much less quintuple. Not today but sometime in the next decade.

    We are all Greece.

  20. Note that I haven’t predicted a sudden catastrophe, but a slide into dystopia.

    Obama maintains that we are moving to a utopia where it rains candy everyday and heart stents are free. Are you doubting this?

  21. If that Alzheimer’s pill comes through I read about, maybe you won’t be slobbering as soon as you thought. Better cash out your money and bury it in the back yard.

    Possible. There are a lot of unknowns.

    If I wait until the money is worthless like some are specifying, then I have not had use of the money. If I retire and spend the money now at least I got some use out of the money. Seems like spending it when it is worth something is the better option regardless of what happens in the future.

  22. Excellent! I am hoping that your spouse has a list of these funds and account numbers (and passwords) should you get run over by a truck tomorrow.

    Yep, all stored on a computer. My kid also has all the information and knows where to find the information.

    I doubt that you will be subsidized

    I should be according the site I went to looking for plans for TN. Of course that may all change.

    My target date would sometime in the first quarter of next year. Hopefully most of the healthcare stuff has shaken out. If the options are not good I will not retire. If the options are in my favor then I will retire. The entire option of retiring is predicated on healthcare.

  23. [snip] My insurance agent has been licensed as a Navigator. He is pulling his hair out trying to figure out what is going on. [snip]

    I didn’t even bother to try the Obamacare web site for the first couple of weeks, especially given the well – documented failure of same. This week I tried to sign up, but the system says it can’t confirm my identity. And when I went back in to see if it finally decided I am who I am, I couldn’t just jump to the last step in the process. Oh no, I had to start from square one, or at least square one and a half. It lets me log on, using the username / password I created, and it has my name and address. But from that point I had to re-click on every answer, all the way to the bottom, only to find out that it still doesn’t like me. I’m supposed to be able to upload a scan of my passport, but I’m dammed if I can find the link to do so. Neither the toll free help line nor the on line chat actually produce any sort of what I would call ‘help’. Per the error message I got when my identity couldn’t be confirmed, I finally just made a color copy of my passport and sent it to London, Kentucky. Whee! If I were teaching Intro To Web Design at my local community college, that site would get an F.

  24. Mrs. OFD asked me on the phone tonight if I’ve made any progress with signing up for the Vermont site; I haven’t tried since the first week and from what I’ve read, I’m not gonna bother until the next “enrollment” period. By then the whole thing may have shit the bed completely anyway and it will be moot. I can get care at the VA for the duration but it’s a two-hour drive each way and we gotta get something for her soon. This whole concern may well be moot sooner than we think; heavy shit is about to rain down and it could well be this fall and winter.

    There is nothing stopping them now from unleashing the hounds; the media has shut up, except to nod and nervously smile. It appears that they’re all scared shitless. Even the top levels are acting scared, and rumors are afoot of a civil war within government, wherein our side, such as it is, is losing, and also word continues to leak out about a racial war underway, examples of which I hear about from multiple sources but never the MSM.

    Be careful, guys, and keep your eyes and ears open.

  25. Texas independence – in one’s dreams, it would be a good thing. Unfortunately:

    – Too damn many non-Texans have moved in: Yankees to Dallas, Californians to Austin, etc..

    – To many of the native Texans are of the bible-thumping variety that thinks big government is great, as long as it is busy enforcing their particular morality.

    – Lastly, but most importantly: the Civil War firmly established the precedent that secession is illegal. In order for secession to work, enough states would have to secede simultaneously to overwhelm federal enforcement powers.

    Texas has only one legal option not available to other states, and that is the option to split into four states. Doesn’t seem like a useful option at this point.

  26. It may or may not happen in our lifetimes but I think secession and a breakup are inevitable here on the continent. The Fed leviathan is not sustainable. But as you say, the odds of multiple states seceding at once are not good, and that is probably the only way it would have a chance right now.

    50 today here in Retroville and sunny so fah. Off to dump run and to look at woodstoves.

  27. Well, I’d say it depends on how much more obnoxious the feds get. As with the Confederacy, all it takes is one domino to start the whole row.

    I thought I remembered that Texas had the right to split into five states rather than four. Either way, that’d give Texas a lot more senators.

  28. It was five states, but “wise minds” think that clause of the treaty by which Texas joined the union was obviated when Texas seceded and was forcibly brought back in.

  29. I have almost a 3/4 million in retirement funds that I can draw down at $2K a month until I am dead

    BTW, congrats on planning to take care of yourself and your spouse. Responsibility is given the short thrift in these days of government handouts whereas it used to be held in high virtue. Again, congrats.

    Yup, Texas got a new state constitution after the war of northern aggression. Straight from the carpet baggers. We lost the ability to split into five states and many other rights that Sam Houston bargained for us that were special seeing as we were the only independent country joining the Union.

  30. Responsibility is given the short thrift in these days of government handouts whereas it used to be held in high virtue.

    I am beginning to think that was not a correct strategy. I see people living off the government dole with multiple vehicles, brand new cell phones with $400 a month bills, buying high end steaks and other items at the grocery store, free prescriptions and the ability to go to the emergency room 6 times a month (my one recent visit was $1800 out of my pocket).

    These people do less, make less, yet receive more than I do. As such it would indicate my strategy was not the correct choice. That is part of my decision to perhaps retire early, spend my savings on what I want, such as travel. Enough to last 10 years then just go on the government dole for the rest of my life.

    Fending for one’s self apparently just gets you taxed on everything until you are impoverished. Make everyone equal.

  31. I’d like to see a sampling of several of these families that get away with this, and look at exactly how they do it and where that money comes from. We’re fast approaching the stage where half the country lives off the other half and despises us for it. While our rulers go hell-bent now on immigration “reform,” which apparently means just opening up to all comers forever. If the object of this overall strategy is to exterminate and replace us, how then will the rest of them live? They will have killed off the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    Our goal here in Retroville is to become increasingly self-sufficient, with less or no reliance on the Grid; and be able to protect ourselves and our property. We’re also learning other means of supporting ourselves financially besides what we’ve done in our lives thus fah, in light of Default, the end of the dollar and fiat currency, and the possibility that the Grid will shut down at some point. In other words, what was life like here in, say, 1900? More labor-intensive, more related to agriculture and the days and seasons, and much more localized.

    I’m guessing this is likely to be the best scenario we can end up with.

  32. Ray’s idea to retire early has inspired me to retire and live off my savings. What I will do tomorrow is anybody’s guess!

  33. I retired early (55) because I could afford to and I hated my job. I’d go back full or part time to a job I liked.

    How do people get away with stuff? By being thick skinned and not caring what others think. Beggars stake out my favourite supermarket and ask for dough, sometimes telling why they need the loot. I assume they’re lying but some are either taken in or just don’t want to seem mean.

    Government welfare is a big part of the problem but even private welfare agencies get conned.

  34. “I retired early (55) because I could afford to and I hated my job. I’d go back full or part time to a job I liked.”

    That’s the key, of course. I don’t want to retire and sit in front of the TV until I die. If I could retire now and just “work” my hobbies, I would. If I found a job that I loved, like Mr. Bob, I would never “retire.”

    Another key is working for yourself. Usually a lot harder than corporate Amerika, but very rewarding. When my wife and I retired, she opened her speaking and human development company. I’ve “worked” for her ever since. A lot of work, but I get to work from home on my time schedule. I’ve been able to raise our twin daughters and now care for my Mom who I moved in a year and a half ago. I couldn’t do that out in corporate.

  35. Twin girls? Ouch.

    I’ve got just the one and, while at age 6 she’s a good kid, her existence does put an upper bound on my life expectancy. My wife is mostly ok but is a screaming bitch when she doesn’t get her way (which is often, as I’m about the most stubborn thing on two legs and don’t give in to nagging and bitchy screaming). I can just imagine the tantrums in about seven years when the daughter and her mother are screaming at each other. No, thanks. I’ll throw myself into a robotic machine shop as the quieter alternative.

  36. I’d like to see a sampling of several of these families that get away with this, and look at exactly how they do it and where that money comes from.

    How do people get away with stuff?

    They have been taught by their parents and are teaching their kids. The work for cash at odd jobs such as lawn mowing, trimming trees, anything where the recipient of their efforts will pay by check and no 1099 is issued so it is never reported to the government. No record of their income. So they claim poverty.

    They go to the emergency room and never pay. They have no credit so getting reported to a credit agency is no big deal.

    Two people never get married but have a family. The mother claims poverty, two or three kids (multiple fathers in many cases). The kids get free medical so mom runs to the emergency room when the kids get the sniffles.

    Mom claims a work related injury. Had to lift that desk to get a piece of paper and subsequently injured their back. They apply for, and get social security disability. Helps pay for the gas for their ski boat which mom skis behind every weekend with her unmarried partner at the helm.

    Come time for income verification each year mom moves in with her parents. Address on all mail always comes to the parents home so that the mom’s real address is not known. Papa stays in the real house. Or papa moves out for 30 days before income verification so that mom can say that the father does not live at home.

    Kids get free breakfast and lunch at school, mom buys the expensive steaks at the store with her food stamps. With a real youngen she can get WIC.

    They know how to scam the system. The golden ticket is to feign disability such as a back injury. Don’t ever tap the bumper of their vehicle leaving no trace of the impact. They will still require an ambulance ride for them and every person in the care. All will have significant back and neck injuries. Kids will be so severely injured that they require home schooling. Only in the afternoon so they can all sleep in late.

    Mom is probably stoned on her pain pills for her back or is selling them on the side. Half a dozen pills a days, expensive ones, for the, ahem, injury. She can no longer fuck her husband domestic partner so she gets a significant award from the insurance company just so she will go away. Meanwhile she is humping him in the parking lot of the insurance company after receiving the check. After all, there is lots of room in that big SUV.

    I personally know of three women that are using the above scenario, if not all of the parts, most of the parts.

    Oh, and at Christmas time they get free food and gifts from the various churches and charities because mom is so poor and the kids have nothing. Except when they are standing in line they are all talking on their new iPhones. Got them early because they have no job and can stand in line at the Apple store.

  37. Well that sure is depressing. Those of us trying to do the right thing are, of course, stupid. And are punished for it. And ridiculed for it. What a country!

    This will all be moot at some point; the cornucopia ain’t gonna last forever. And those folks don’t and won’t know how to do anything. If they’re able-bodied they’ll have to work at something real to eat and have a roof over their heads. Gaming various systems might work for a while but that will also come to an end.

  38. I personally know of three women that are using the above scenario, if not all of the parts, most of the parts.

    I feel my leg getting pulled. I know nobody like this. I find it hard to believe that you know three people like this. If this is true then please excuse my doubts. Even my deadbeat brother lives off his wife and refuses to take money from the system. To get cigarette money, he raids the B&N dumpsters at night and sell the magazines they throw away at the flea market.

    If so, what state?

    Then again, everyone I know is related to me, goes to church with me for 10+ years (mostly 20 years), works for or with me, used to work with me or is a customer of my business. I do not like deadbeats and gravitate away from anyone who seems to be one (like my brother). My ancestors are from Germany, Ireland or Belgium and firmly believed in “he who does not work does not eat”.

    The lady who cleans our house and the man who mows our yard (both once per week) are probably illegal XXXXXXX undocumented and I do not care. They are independent contractors who are paid monthly with checks and I know that they both work extremely hard to support their families.

  39. We sow the wind when our country has wide-open borders for one and all, so that one faction gets votes and the other one gets cheap labor, and then we reap the whirlwind. Yes, many are hard workers and good people. So what? How many tens of millions are we gonna take in? Forever? No other country does this. Well, the Euros, of course; and now they’re certainly reaping a whirlwind. ‘

    National sovereignty has long been a joke here, along with the borders, and the corporate overlords and globalists just love this sort of thing. A good chunk of the hundreds laid off with me a few months ago have been replaced since with cheaper labor in Mexico and India. Bully for the free market!

  40. SteveF wrote:

    “I can just imagine the tantrums in about seven years when the daughter and her mother are screaming at each other. ”

    I get that here. Well, next door.

    The mother and daughter in the house behind me have the most unbelievable catfights. I’ve hear the mum screaming (not yelling, screaming) that she’ll go from door to door in our street telling everyone what a crazy, stubborn bitch of a daughter she has. I’d ruin my voice screaming at the pitch and intensity they do. The father gets in on it too but he is quite restrained compared to the ladies.

  41. Lynn, I’d be inclined to believe what Ray says. There are people around who have parasitism down to an art form. I knew a couple of guys in the Seventies who were excellent sportsmen. Not cream of the cream, but really good. Both were on unemployment benefits, both would play A level Australian Rules football (in one case) or Soccer (in the other case). But they had to be paid $1000 a week to do that, otherwise no go. That would have been tax free, 35 years ago when that was a good chunk of money

    I hear many other anecdotes from reliable sources that are similar to the above and what Ray talks about. I think it’s time to get the government out of charity. Private charities will get conned too but I figure not nearly as badly.

  42. I hear many other anecdotes from reliable sources that are similar to the above and what Ray talks about. I think it’s time to get the government out of charity. Private charities will get conned too but I figure not nearly as badly.

    I agree completely. Private charities will get conned, but since they have limited resources and they value those limited resources, they have an incentive to reduce fraud. If they reduce fraud, their limited resources will do more to help those who need it. If they don’t even try to reduce fraud, their donors will figure it out and donate to someone who does more good with the money.

  43. Indeed. The problem with government “charity” is that the bureaucrats have a vested interest in handing out money. There is not only no incentive to avoid fraudulent claims, there is actually a positive incentive to look the other way. More cases equals bigger budgets equals bureaucratic empire building.

  44. Man what is it today. Is the NSA mucking around or something? Access to anything outside of Europe is slow as molasses, with huge packet loss. But I don’t find any problems listed on network status, etc… Anyone know what’s going on?

  45. WoW is slow today, And I couldn’t log in to one of my servers, it was said to be down. I just tried to post to Facebook, no dice. I must have said something wrong.

    Back in the Seventies we got a socialist government, and the welfare bureaucrats were advertising on radio/tele something like “Come in to the office and see what you’re entitled to.”

  46. I find it hard to believe that you know three people like this.

    Yes, it is true. My older brother’s daughter, Paula Fow……, Lorie Dav…. to name three individuals. All are living with someone who is making the money, generally under the table. The mothers claim poverty, have multiple children, get almost everything given to them. Come validation time the male partner moves out for 30 days so the mother can keep the benefits.

    There are others in the area. My wife is heavily involved with the school as am I with sports pictures. So I know several of the people even though I don’t know their names. It shocked me when I learned of the ones that are getting free meals, mother is unmarried but living with a guy, and getting all kinds of benefits.

    Lynn I think it is more the circle you associate with. None of my personal friends are in such a situation and the people that are abusing the system would never be in my circle of friends.

  47. Yeah, I suppose a great deal depends on your circle of friends and acquaintances. The other day I was talking to Kim and mentioned a news article about people in several states not getting food stamps because of some computer glitch. I mentioned in passing that I understood that they were no longer actual stamps but more like a debit card. And then I mentioned that you couldn’t prove it by me because I’d never seen a food stamp. Kim said she’d never seen one either, which she said was pretty strange given that she’d been born and raised in Harlem and lived there until she was 40 years old.

  48. Yeah, I suppose a great deal depends on your circle of friends and acquaintances. The other day I was talking to Kim and mentioned a news article about people in several states not getting food stamps because of some computer glitch. I mentioned in passing that I understood that they were no longer actual stamps but more like a debit card. And then I mentioned that you couldn’t prove it by me because I’d never seen a food stamp. Kim said she’d never seen one either, which she said was pretty strange given that she’d been born and raised in Harlem and lived there until she was 40 years old.

    I have actually seen someone ahead of me in line at the grocery store pay with food stamps at least once, but it was over 20 years ago at least.

  49. I have actually seen someone ahead of me in line at the grocery store pay with food stamps at least once, but it was over 20 years ago at least.

    I think all programs are now debit cards. For two reasons. Smallest food stamp I think was $20.00 (or was it $10.00?). People would buy something for less than a dollar, get the change in money. They would do that several times, at different stores if necessary, then use the change to buy beer and cigarettes. They would also sell the food stamps at $0.10 on the dollar and use the cash for drugs.

    Second reason was to avoid embarrassment. They did not want people to know they were using food stamps. But you can tell by the number of key presses on the debit machine as the food stamps take a couple more presses. You can also tell because they have two different sales rang up. The first sale is the good stuff, expensive meat, premium bags of chips, cookies and crackers, top quality cold cuts and other items. The second sale is beer, cigarettes and cleaning supplies.

    They leave the store, climb into their new Suburban or Mustang, probably parked illegally, and leave the parking lot.

  50. I remember seeing food stamps when I was a kid. However, now it’s all plastic – looks just like a debit card. As Ray says, I’m sure that the point of this is at least partially to remove the social stigma, and that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. I have nothing against help being available for someone who needs it, but there should be a certain stigma associated with it. That’s part of the motivation to get out of the situation.

    The Internet seems to be back to normal now – I can now reach North America normally. Man, it was awful earlier. And you get to see just how interdependent things are: Lots of sites I thought were purely European were nailed, either because their servers physically sit in the US, or because they load some content from there.

  51. I have nothing against help being available for someone who needs it, but there should be a certain stigma associated with it.

    I was laid off back in 1993-1994, got the notice December 1, 1993 with a final paycheck on December 15. Miserable month. Depressing going to friends houses and seeing the the gifts and I was able to do nothing. Felt really bad for my son who got very little that year from his parents. But he was quite understanding. Kids are resilient and understand when the situation is explained. Broke my heart when he offered his meager savings and allowance to help.

    I was out of work for six months, unemployment was running out, funds were drying up. I was within a couple of weeks of applying for food stamps and whatever else I could get. Fortunately I found a job that I absolutely loathed but it provided funds until I could move on. Had I been on food stamps I would have made damn sure to get off as soon as I possibly could.

  52. Fortunately I found a job that I absolutely loathed but it provided funds until I could move on. Had I been on food stamps I would have made damn sure to get off as soon as I possibly could.

    Are we losing this attitude in the USA?

    And I do see the Texas Lone Star card being used all the time in Wal*Mart and HEB. Usually on staples, not expensive foods like steaks.

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