Monday, December 26, 2011

Connecting the dots...

On Yahoo today, read a reuters article, where the Obama administration has loosened their interpretation of online gambling laws (Wire Act of 1961).

Essentially, it says that the path has been cleared for states to legalize internet poker and gambling, and clarifies the regulations to mean that only sporting events cannot be bet on.
Until now, the department held that online gambling in all forms was illegal under the Wire Act of 1961, which bars wagers via telecommunications that cross state lines or international borders.
The new interpretation, by the department's Office of Legal Counsel, said the Wire Act applies only to bets on a "sporting event or contest," not to a state's use of the Internet to sell lottery tickets to adults within its borders or abroad.

Follow the money trail of course, because the article points out that this has the potential for states to reap BILLIONS in tax revenue.

The Obama administration cleared the way for U.S. states to legalize Internet poker and certain other online betting in a switch that may help them reap billions in tax revenue and spur web-based gambling.
The next dot I want to connect, relates to the article where it says that this ruling essentially legalizes gambling that was previously considered illegal, as long as it is legal in the state where the gambling occurs. It also goes on to say if states legalized intra-state gambling and poker, such as DC and Nevada have done, then there is no federal law which could apply.
But the department's conclusion would eliminate "almost every federal anti-gambling law that could apply to gaming that is legal under state laws," Rose wrote on his blog at

The dot? If the fed admits it cannot supercede state law, regarding gambling, then what happens now, when states make their own gun laws? Montana passing their law saying guns built, sold, and used in Montana are BATFE exempt, might not even need to take it to the SCOTUS now, if this precedent is set.
All the other dots... health care, welfare, gay marriage laws, medical (or even legal) marijuana laws? Those state laws could all supercede federal law if the President did indeed clear the way for this type of legislation, all because of wanting more of your dollars!

I understand that this is more the administration picking and choosing what laws it wants to enforce and how it interprets them, in the name of the almighty dollar, but give an inch, take a mile sounds like a solid plan for the States in this situation. The federal government has nickle and dimed the States out of rights and powers, and with this, the States could start getting some of their "change" back.

Talk about one of your all-time backfires!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Food Storage Calculator at

One of the things I believe in, is being prepared.

This wasn't always the case. I grew up in the 80's and 90's and my generation has become the WalMart Generation. If you want something, go buy it. It's so easy to believe in the safety and security of society. We send money to charities, that give food, water, and clothes to those starving kids we see over in war torn, impoverished countries. Those countries that graduates of our stellar public education system cannot pronounce, spell, or find on a map. Yup, THOSE countries...

I served in the military, and believe you me, they are prepared. Unfortunately, for most members of the military, we received the traditional "three hots and a cot" and spend an insane amount of money on beer, a new car, cool toys and the like, with little thought given to personal preparedness (Uncle Sam did it for us, and our only contribution was being "prepared" to go when and where he sent us).

Flash forward to America of today. The great country that has been the cornerstone of the world economy for the better part of a century. The military giant, defender of the world (whether the world wants it or not). We have electricity, running water, sanitation/sewer, a WalMart on every corner, and a couple of gas stations across the street from those. Coffee to get us going, fast food to facilitate perpetual going ("going" in more ways than one if you eat that junk) and pills to stop us fast so we can get up the next day and start over. Don't forget the police, the fire department, social services, our health care, and you have the great country that can overcome any adversity thrown our way, unlike those unpronounceable countries on maps right?

Rodney King riots, Hurrican Katrina, Debt ceiling debates with threat of default, $5/gallon gas, massive unemployment, gold prices skyrocketing, jobs exported, and whatever else you can read five times a night on the evening news... ring a bell?

So I support a four-pronged approach to preparedness:
1. Food and water
2. Guns and ammunition
3. Precious metals
4. Physical fitness.

I'll talk about the last three briefly, as they are for other topics.

First, guns and ammunition - self defense, plain and simple (well that, and the founding fathers felt it was the citizens "check and balance" of the other three branches of government). You need firearms, to protect you food, water, precious metals, and property.

Second, Precious metals - our fiat currency (money that is essentially only worth what the powers that be tell us it is) that can be printed when our government needs to spend more than it has, is a ponzi scheme. It is only a matter of time before the dollar goes the way of the British Sterling as the world reserve currency. When that happens, having some silver and gold coins, in a wide variety of forms (bullion, older coins that were still made of silver, jewelry, etc) will go a long way in preserving your wealth. And heck, if everything fixes itself and goes all hunky-dory, then you have a cool collection of coins and stuff to pass onto your kids when you are done with it as hobby value.

Thrid, Physical Fitness - I used to be the epitome of fitness... baseball, volleyball, weight lifting, swimming, running; I did it all for fun. Military service? Check. Now I spend all day working a 12 hour day or night shift, sitting at a panel watching gages, charts, instruments, etc. I've gradually become a sedentary middle-age adult on medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. My wife and I decided to get into better shape. At the time of this blog, she has lost 55 lbs and I am down 10 lbs, and we walk 3-4 miles a day! We aren't talking military combat fitness, just get out and do something for an hour or so every day, to be active and reap the rewards!

Ok, those are done... NOW onto the food and water storage.

You can see on my blog, on the top-right of page, a link to (and yes, its a mutually beneficial arrangement... I get a $10 gift card to their website for putting it there). I figured it was easier than putting a link to every grocery store, blog, forum and whatever other site it would take to get people to start reading up on food storage.

And now, again, mutually beneficial, I will get another $10 gift card for posting this review of their food storage calculator!

Basically, their calculator (reachable by clicking the button below) is a webpage where you can enter how much food you have, in what form, and then after you enter the age, gender, and number of people you plan to feed, it calculates how many days of food it will provide, based on USDA recommended caloric intake for those people you listed.

It definitely had some benefits, like showing you a breakdown of nutritional information of your daily diet based on what you claim to have stored. Mine showed me that my wife and I were taking in 230% of our recommended daily sodium based on our preps, so something for us to adjust there.

Another convenience, and I think this is the main point of this program, is you can prepare an order as you are entering your preps. You enter in the food you have (say a #10 can of dehydrated strawberries) and if you want two more cans, you simply add a "2" in the column next to what you have, in the "your next order" category.

Also, I really liked the fact that if you didn't see what you had, or what form it was in, you have a tab you can go to, to add items yourself. It requires a bit of effort on your part, to copy the nutritional information off the label, into the program, but what someone sees as effort, another sees as becoming familiar and aware with what you are eating.

Once you are done putting all your information in, the "My Pantry" tab summarizes everything you entered, with a "-" or "+" to add or remove it. You can print your list from there if you like.

The major weakness of this program, is the fact that I think most of us, who shop at WalMart, Sam's Club, Costco, or our local farmers market, will wind up filling in ALOT of information manually. The intent of the program is of course, aimed at generating sales through their website, so you cannot really fault them for this, but it could be made a bit more user friendly, if say, since we already know the general nutritional value of white rice, if we could simply put in the number of pounds we have of it, without having to go into their "add your own items" tab.

I personally would rather just type in "white rice" on a search feature, and have it prompt me for how many pounds I have. Then, after that step, display a list of all the items they sell, that could substitute for my entry (white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, minute rice, etc) for me to choose from, to add to my order.

Lastly, it would be nice if you could access the calculator as a guest, and not have to sign in (something about OpSec - Operational Security... not wanting to advertise what you have, and having it stored on a file in a computer where it could be hacked, accessed, stolen, etc). Basically, it's not THAT big of a deal, but since we make a list, then give our credit card information, then a mailing address for food to be delivered to (not just a billing address) it could make a few people uncomfortable about putting their information out there (such is the world we live in today).

Overall, it seems like I spent more time on the negatives than the positives, but really, the things this program does right, are already right and were nice to skim across. The things I thought needed improving, well, I figure if I talk them up some, maybe others will agree when they go use this program, and the feedback we generate might be implemented.

Very well executed idea by the people at Emergency Essentials/!

Gift Card Giveaway

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Demonizing those of dissenting opinion.

In the movie "A Knight's Tale", Jeffrey Chaucer said:
I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.
One of my hobbies, is playing chess. I play fairly regularly on the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS) at the following website:

One of the services provided (all free of course, hence the "free" part of the name) is various chat channels that one can enter, while playing chess, waiting for a game, or just to say hi to friends or engage in conversation. One such channel, is the political chat channel (Ch. 39). There of course exists a broad spectrum of political leanings and ideologies in that channel and sadly, a few individuals that are unable to accept differing opinions, discussion of facts, and who resort to the traditional tactics when confronted with a view not similar to their own.

These of course being name calling, throwing around labels (such as "Fascist", "Neo-Con", or a new one to me "Tea, Klux, Klan") and of course my personal favorite "I'm adding you to my censor list" (a feature which lets you no longer see the chat from the offending candidate, but in this case, it amounts to nothing more than plugging your ears and yelling "LA LA LA LA" over and over).

One can imagine the types that come out of the woodwork, in an environment filled with type-A personality, over-educated chess players (or those that think a little too highly of themselves than they ought to) in a chat room where most feel that using large words in rapid succession amounts to knowledge and a proven point.

I decided to blog this today, after being the recipient of a few choice insults and slurs, not so much because it irritates me when people resort to this tactic, but also because it appears that people have resorted to using the word of the day, applicable or not, and apply this label to all those who disagree with their enlightened opinions. Many use Fascist, Nazi, Socialist, and racist, because everyone else around them does too, so it just seems natural to follow along and hey, safety in numbers...

First, we were in a discussion on the economy and one leftist (his handle is "Jones") was of the opinion that our government should return to the 1950'ish tax rates of 90% on the richest Americans (who Obama refers to as "those making over $250,000/year). He argued that it worked when FDR did it, and redistributed the wealth to the rest of the population, and therefore, if it worked then, it will work now. It was civil at first; I pointed out that regardless of the intent behind it, taking another persons wealth and giving it to someone else, amounts to Robin Hood economics, and that any government that sets that precedent of taking from the haves and giving to the have nots, could later apply it to those of us who don't have quite as much, and giving to those who have almost enough... not a power I want my government to have.

He is of the misguided opinion that our national debt is ONLY $14 Trillion (all blamed on Bush of course) and that the true number of more than $70 Trillion, in total unfunded liabilities is, how did he put it? Ah, right... "BS". I didn't have a chance at this point, to point out that the Debt was already $5 Trillion when Bush took office, and that in eight years, he raised it to $10 Trillion, an average gain of $625 Billion/year during his presidency. I didn't have a chance to say Obama raised it almost $4 Trillion in TWO YEARS, an increase of $2 Trillion/year, or to point out that a huge chunk of Bush's increased debt (almost half) was during the last two years of his presidency under a Democratic super-majority in the House and Senate.

"BS"... That was his response, his retort, and the beginning of his descent into intellectual oblivion. At this point, most would expect, in a civil conversation, to cite references and sources, you know, "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" so to speak. If only one could be so fortunate...

As I sat there typing in my references to America's true debt/liability, in an attempt to explain that the true number is greater than the planet's GDP, and that his proposed taxrate on the wealthy of 90% would only yield around $880 Billion per year, still leaving roughly $1.2 Trillion deficit just this year alone, I was called a "retard" and an "idiot". He then called me a "racist" who wants to return to the 1920's depression economy in order to destroy civil rights... Can you imagine that? He doesn't know me, does not know my background, my ethnicity, absolutely nothing about me, but somehow feels justified in playing the "racist" card.

A little background... My step-father is black. I have 4 brothers and sisters who are half-black, a brother who is half-latino, I took my step-father's last name, as he is the only father I ever knew. But back on topic...

Anyways, this little punk, after inappropriately throwing out some fairly serious accusations, including the new one of "Tea, Klux, Klan'er" announces to the channel that he is done talking to me (again... "LA LA LA LA I can't hear you LA LA LA LA) and that he has added me to his censor list.

Slander, counter-point responded to with name calling, and dissenting opinion with censorship. These are time-proven methods which make the weak minded among us, feel better in their blanket of ideological superiority, wrapped head to foot in the warm blanket of bliss that is ignorance.

I felt compelled to add "Jones" to my censor list as well, as he was spamming my screen with irrelevant socialist garbage, the likes of which would bring a happy tear to Karl Marx' eye. If I couldn't respond to him, there was no point in watching his ongoing banter, so after adding him to my censor list, the channel was quiet for several minutes.

The next genius, someone who I have never seen in the channel, in the years I have been in it, suddenly feels the need to chime in on the previous discussion between me and Jones. This person (we'll call him "Ritzel") sends a full paragraph directed at me personally, using some big words that were not at all appropriate in the context they were used (I think it made him feel smarter) but which culminated with him calling me a NAZI and a FASCIST!!!

So while I have been in channel, talking about massive cuts to spending and our government being to large, and needing to be signficantly downsized, he resorts to another label that means almost the exact opposite of what I have been promoting.

That link, defines fascism as:
"a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism."
Seriously? This is the insult, the label, that this individual could come up with? Whatever happened to the good old days of someone calling you a name, and you having to stop and say "Wow, good one, got me there"?
"a unique variety of fascism that incorporated biological racism and antisemitism. Nazism presented itself as politically syncretic, incorporating policies, tactics and philosophies from right- and left-wing ideologies..."
Further down in the article:
"The self-identification term, used by exponents of the ideology past and present is National Socialism and adherents describe themselves as National Socialists."
So Nazi, or "National Socialism" is a form of "Fascism" which we saw above, promotes a strong central government with the power to do whatever it wants essentially (the essence of dictatorship) with incorporated racism (a slur applied to me, somehow justified by its user as applicable in a debate on national debt and taxation) formed of philosophies from BOTH the left and right...

So what is socialism?

"a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
(in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles."
So basically, what my two opponents above were arguing in favor of... take from the rich and redistribute to everyone else, with the full power and force of a government strong enough to do it.
I would go so far as to say that these two individuals are everything they accused me of and more. The trend in debates among the rapidly polarized population today, is to resort to this sort of tactic. Whenever someone disagrees with you, villify them, demonize them, call them a racist, a nazi, a fascist, even if the terms you are using more accurately describe your own viewpoints, use them on your opponent first, because they sound really evil, and no one likes evil! Of course, if your opponent uses them on you, which sadly, some conservatives do, even though they may actually be accurate in this case, they start accusing the conservative of name-calling, etc... even though they just did it to. What a world we live in.

I was naked for a day, you will be naked for eternity...

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July parades turn kids into *GASP* Republicans!

Well, chalk one up for another useless story with no purpose but to try to scare good, left-leaning liberals into keeping their kids from becoming a future conservative (read, Republican) of America...

All that fireworks-watching, flag-waving and potato salad-eating this weekend could in fact lead to a vote for the Republican party for your child.

And the stats from Harvard back up the claim. When children were exposed at a young age to the Americana fanfare associated with the Fourth of July, they were more likely to vote Republican and make campaign contributions to the party.

Harvard researchers David Yanagizawa-Drott and Andreas Madestam found that kids who attended one rain-free July 4th celebration before the age of 18 were four percent more likely to vote Republican before the age of 40. And whether or not they went to the polls, young Independence Day revelers were more likely to identify with the right wing by 2 percent.

The liberal media makes it sound like going to a 4th of July celebration could give your kid lice, or E. Coli, or some other disease. Sounds great doesn't it? Demonize the one holiday in America where we celebrate EVERYTHING great about our nation, in spite of it's shorfalls, to provide incentive for some far-leftwing wackos to not celebrate this great day with their children...

They try to trivialize the study somewhat, by saying "kids who attended one rain-free July 4th celebration before the age of 18 were four percent more likely to vote Republican before the age of 40". Hey, what's four percent, right?

Well, in the "landslide" win of Obama, over McCain in the 2008 presidential election, Obama won by SEVEN PERCENT.

That means, if 4 percent of the voters, who voted for Obama, swapped, and voted for McCain instead, McCain would have won by ONE PERCENT.

Left wing liberal media scare tactics? You be the judge.

The study DID admit however, that Republican parents tend to celebrate the 4th of July more intensely than their Democratic counter-parts:
The study notes, "Republican adults celebrate Fourth of July more intensively in the first place."
Anyways, have a happy 4th of July, enjoy the parades, hotdogs, burgers, watermelon, lemonade, and fireworks. Remember, you may be doing your part for the future of America, by taking your kids along! Heck, volunteer to take your liberal neighbors kid(s) with you too... then show their parents the article afterwards, to freak them out a little bit!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Guns and Immigrants, a tale of hypocrisy.

Once upon a time (actually April 23rd 2010) a princess (ok, a governor) of a far away place (Arizona is sort of out of the way) decreed (signed into law) a bill designed to fight the CRIME of crossing the border and living in the great country of America illegally. The liberal government had dropped the ball and left many states to fend for themselves without support and turned a deaf ear to the plight of the border states, being over-run with a mix of good people and drug-running criminals swarming their sacred lands...

Of course, we all remember how this story played out. The government sued Arizona, and some activist citizens appealed to the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (federal court out of that cesspool called San Francisco, CA) who overturned the portions of the law that actually would have worked.

Remember, this law did not require all latinos to "present their papers" as the critics would have you believe, nor did it result in automatic deportation of anyone caught in town without proper identification on them. Instead, this law simply took away the discretion of local law enforcement to choose to follow up on suspects whom they felt may be in the country illegally. If you were stopped, had no ID, couldn't speak English (this is AMERICA after all, it's what we speak) and essentially gave the officer reason to think you were here illegally, they had to follow up on it. Actually, the law required "suspected" illegal immigrants be detained while they tried to clear up the issue of legal status, and if they were PROVEN to be here illegally, then turned over to the appropriate Federal authorities, to be handled in accordance with Federal law.

 No ID? That can get any white, caucasian male, a trip to the police station. That's how criminals get around a traffic stop, hoping the officer won't want to waste the time doing the paperwork and investigating who they really have in the vehicle. But do it to a latino, and it's somehow racial profiling.

The government's puppet appeals courts have now also struck down the effective parts of Georgia's attempt at similar legislation. You know, those courts where judges sit, anxiously hoping someday to have a President appoint them to a higher court, maybe even the Supreme Court! Of course, given recent events, they have to wait in line behind teachers who have never been a judge in their life (but she probably DID stay at a Holiday Inn last night).

Remember the good old days, when the States were sovereign? Probably not, because they have been subject to the whims of the ever-growing Federal Government for the better part of a century now...

BUT now we come to the next part of this story... we've already seen how the government has forsaken the borders, and slapped the hands of the States trying to protect their sovereign borders. NOW the same federal government that chooses to look the other way while states suffer an onslaught of ILLEGAL immigrants crossing their borders, has its liberal agents of doom talking about how the poor government in Mexico and our ATF agents are so overworked because of our slack gunlaws.

According to the report...

It called for increased criminal penalties for illegal straw purchases, enactment by Congress of a "dedicated firearms trafficking statute," and for ATF to get reports from gun dealers on purchases of multiple long guns "that are now the weapons of choice for Mexican drug cartels."

We have laws on the books, but they just don't deter the criminals, so we want to make it not only illegal, but this time, REALLY REALLY illegal, to traffic in guns illegally, and the felony and jail time needs to be a BIGGER felony with MORE jail time.

Also, though we cannot infringe on your right to bear arms, we want that to mean just as long as you buy one at a time, or one every few years or so, we'll decide where to draw that line later, but trust us, we'll be fair about it.

And finally, we know we already pretend hand guns are worse than other guns, but now, since we have gotten law after law on the book about waiting periods, magazine capacity, different ages for different guns, etc... NOW we think we've got everyone dumbed down enough that they'll just take our word and accept that "long guns" (sounds really scary) are now the weapon of choice of these EVIL DRUG CARTELS (oooh, scary voice).
Actually, "long gun" is what we call our rifles and shotguns. They aren't just going after our assault rifles (those evil black guns that go bang as fast as you can pull the trigger) but now they want your sporting and hunting guns to be tracked as well.

How do you think they propose to track multiple gun purchases? Not on the good word and intentions of the purchaser (that would be us, the law abiding, voting citizens who hold our Second Amendment rights near and dear). No, they would have to keep a record... of course, this would be too cumbersome to have dealers keep the records, so of course, they have to require all dealers to forward all records of purchases to some new three-letter government agency .The ATF, afterall, is so overworked (the reason for this proposed legislation) and due to the SHEER AND UTTER STUPIDITY of it's leadership, has lost a few good agents recently.

Remember, the biggest threat to the citizenry of America, is not a foreign nation hell-bent on wiping us out. It's not due to some obscure and insignificant terrorist threat, who maybe every few years might get away with a successful attack. Nope, it's from our own government, from those we carelessly elect because of empty promises, or those who some other dimwit population of some failing socialist state elect to try to enforce their far left viewpoints on the rest of us red-staters because they just know so much better whats best for us than we do... God bless their little bleeding liberal hearts.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


This is a little bit off from my normal political format, but heck, if I can save someone some grief, money, and frustration, maybe they can focus on other bigger picture issues. The first couple of issues are based on KIA service (or lack thereof) and dishonesty within their sales and service departments. Further down, I will get into the technical/mechanical issues.

My wife and I bought a used 2003 KIA Sedona Mini-van in 2007, and it had just over 40K miles when we bought it. The dealer ranted and raved about this fully loaded vehicle, answered some of our questions, we test-drove it, and sold us on it.

We asked if the dealership provided loaner vehicles if we had to have repairs done, and of course, the answer was a resounding "Yes". When we had to have our first repair done, less than a month after buying it, the service department informed us they could drop us off and pick us up, but they didn't have (nor ever had) a loaner program. We asked our salesman about the discrepancy, and of course he was fully aware that they had no loaner program, and said we must have misunderstood him...

We were also told about their great "KIA Loyalty" program, which was basically up to $4K dollars in discounts/rebates if we were to buy another KIA later on down the road. Salesman specifically stated, in response to my question, that this loyalty program was IN ADDITION to any other factory/dealer rebates already on a vehicle we might consider. We looked into trading our KIA in, about two years after our initial purchase, and looked at another Sedona (before all the repair issues arose). We had the same salesman come help us on the lot, and we inquired about the loyalty bonus on a KIA that had about $4K in rebates from the factory already advertised on the windshield. He told us that there was no loyalty bonus on vehicles that already have factory rebates... I showed him the page I had kept, where he had done some easy math for me back when we first bought our vehicle, where he took a new Sedona at $30K, then subtracted $4K for factory rebates, and another $4K for loyalty rebate, and indicated we could get a $30K vehicle for as low as $22K... he played dumb, and had nothing to say about it, and walked off and left us standing there.

They told us that all used vehicles go through a 200+ point inspection, "the most comprehensive in the industry"...

Of course, a month after we bought the car, we were in under warranty, to have a squealing from the front tires investigated, that only started after we had been driving in town, stop-and-go, for about half an hour. Turns out, there was an active recall on the vehicle, that came up IMMEDIATELY when they ran the VIN number, that was somehow missed... they had to mill down the break calipers or something, because they were too large, and when the brakes got hot from driving around town, the metal expanded and rubbed the wheels...

Next, they informed us, while the vehicle was still in the shop for the above repair, that there was a suspension component that was bent/flexed, too far out of spec... they said it was a known issue with KIA's and that it was not covered under our warranty, but that for just over $50, they could remove it, reverse it, and let it work its way back into spec (sort of like bending a paper clip back and forth, but without the eventual breaking of the part, after too many cyclic flexings, allegedly). Again, this was a month after this vehicle supposedly passed their 200'ish point inspection...

At around 60K miles, the alternator went out... and AGAIN 10K miles later with the replacement.

The headlights were burning out every 2 or 3 months. Turns out, they have an issue, a KNOWN issue, where if you leave your headlights on AUTO instead of manually turning them off and on all the time, and start your car at night, the relay is already closed to the headlights as you turn the car over and draws excessive starting current through the lamps,which results in a much shortened life. We now have to pretend we do not have an AUTO feature for headlights... or pay several hundred dollars for a new relay and to have the computer reflashed, because, of course, this KNOWN issue is still going to make them some money, at the cost of the consumer.

We had to have a new condenser for the air conditioner installed (the old one was leaking, around 60K miles as well). We have had to recharge the freon every year since, and it usually doesn't make it through the 3 months of summer here in Missouri... but they cannot find leaks anywhere, without charging us around $500 for a thorough inspection, and recharge... plus additional costs if they have to replace any other components...

At 67,000 miles, the thermostat went bad, but we didn't have any signs of overheating, steam, water spray, etc... we pulled into the driveway, from some simple around-town driving, and I noticed a small puff of steam under the hood... Popped the hood, and could hear hissing, and see a wet spot. Had the vehicle inspected, and that little failure, somehow resulted in steam cutting of the coolant manifolds on both sides of the vehicle, so had to pay almost $500 for the thermostat, gaskets, and labor.

Our airbag light has been on since about 55K miles and they say it could be anything, but that it would cost several hundred dollars to run a diagnostic, and fix (saying that is based on typical issues, but could be more, could be less).

The drivers door inside handle is broken. The cheap plastic it is made out of, just cracked, and the spring curves out of the hole where the plastic broke off. This was quoted as a $400 fix... for a CHEAP door handle. We live with this now too.

There is massive under-carriage rust, on suspension, body, frame, drive shaft, wheels and exhaust system components. Of course, we were told the famous line of "we'll throw in the under-carriage coating for free!" Has been rusting since the first winter we had it (about 9 months).

The paint on the driver side mirror is peeling. We haven't hit anything, no scratches or rough spots, just about a 3"x 3" area of peeling paint, and getting larger.

For the last 10K miles, our check engine light comes on about every two to three tanks of gas, due to pressure/sealing issues with the gas cap. Pull the cap, clean the gasket, clean the fuel tank fill line that seals against the gas cap, then fill the tank, drive for half a tank and it clears up. About a tank and half later, same issue, rinse, repeat. There is rust forming on the metal sealing surface of the gas tank, that we have to keep removing with a scotch pad (the green scrubby side of sponges).

The KIA wheel caps (the 5'ish inch caps that install on the center of the wheels, to cover the lug nuts) have fallen off two tires while driving (never to be seen again) in the last 10K miles. The first time we checked, this was over $100 to replace each one... we deal with them missing.

The alloy wheels themselves, are chipping/flaking/peeling. The metallic, semi-luster finish is all but gone on them, and leaves them looking very rough and two-toned, with small cracks permeating through the remaining finish on the wheels. This has been happening since the first year we had this vehicle.

The black finish on the front and rear wiper blades is rusting through.

We had an issue with a bell sounding every time we turned right, then when we turned right or left, then eventually, just when we drove straight. There was no warning light or check engine light to indicate what the problem was (it sounded like the door open alarm). Dealer couldn't find the cause. Internet sluthing determined it was an issue with the brake fluid level. The level was fine, halfway between min/max lines, but according to those on the internet, the issue is with a sensor in the brake fluid reservoir, not adjusted properly, so you have to keep it at (or even just above) the max line. Bought some fluid, problem solved. Of course, now we have a possibly over-filled brake fluid reservoir, which is advised against as well... The dealership wanted to charge us again, $200 to troubleshoot the problem.

As of this winter, the rear heater doesn't get hot anymore (just blows cold air in the winter time).

This week, our newest issue... intermittently (meaning sometimes more, sometimes less) our steering got very stiff and difficult to operate, and the steering wheel does not return to center on its own, after turning. Research again, shows this is another KNOWN issue, with KIA's in the "salt belt" states (they list like 10 states on their website, of which MO is one of them). They say this issue arises in over 5% of KIA's in these states, and only 0.5% in non-salt states. The problem appears to be, an exposed universal joint on the steering column, in the engine compartment. It gets caked with salt, ash, and mud, and gradually corrodes, or has that muck fill in the joint and harden. The solution is to replace the steering column intermediate shaft. Of course, this known issue, is again, not worthy of a recall, because its in limited states and only one wreck has been "allegedly" attributed to this issue.

And to sum this up, all the above, contributes to the KIA Sedona mini-van being rated as THE WORST vehicle for retaining resale value, period.

These vans start at $28k, and go over $30k depending on options. We bought ours 4 years old, used, at $14k, figuring the bulk of the depreciation was done... oh no, not at all. We're pushing, at the time of this blog, $3,275 trade in value for "fair" condition (runs decently, some repairable rust, minor cosmetic issues).

That means in the 4 years we've had the car, with LESS than 30,000 miles put on the car in those same 4 years (thats insanely low) we have a car that was worth over 4x what it is now, when we bought it...

So hopefully, I can save a few of you from going through the same issues, both mechanically, aesthetically, electrically, and emotionally, that my wife and I have gone through with this brand of car. I will never buy another KIA, or even a different brand of car from a KIA dealership, EVER again.

Monday, May 23, 2011

How one idiot plans to reduce the deficit...

So the powers-that-be are back in Washington arguing money along party lines as usual...

In the news today:

What really stood out to me in this article, is where one Representative (I'll let you guess which party he represents) feels that, while we are talking about needing $4 TRILLION in spending cuts, the government COULD save money by paying less for prescription drugs...

Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen, a participant in the Biden talks, said Washington could find savings by lowering the price the government pays for prescription drugs, rather than scaling back benefits for patients.
 So, rather than eliminating our "Nanny-State" government, where the Fed has their fingers in every aspect of life, lets NOT cut healthcare benefits, paid for compliments of the 53% of us who DO pay taxes in this country, and instead, tell drug retailers you aren't paying the going price for their medications???

THAT IS BRILLIANT!!! So much so, that I should emulate their philosophy in my everyday life as well!

"Yeah, hello, Walmart? Um yeah, I'm not going to pay $1/loaf of bread (those new smaller loaves) anymore... WTF do you mean I have to? Hello? Hello?" - They hung up...

Ok, let me try another.

"Yes, Mr. Tax Collector? My taxes are too high this year, I'm not going to pay the full amount anymore, I'll just pay half, in the interest of reducing my household costs". "Oh honey, look! The police are here!"

The point is, you don't just "pay less" for something because you are the government and think you can regulate private industry to give you special deals. Why do you think not all doctor's accept medicare/medicaid? Because the government doesn't pay them but pennies on the dollar, for their services rendered... It's not worth it.

But sure, lets FORCE pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies to take less than asking price, when Uncle Sam is paying... THEN they can just pass along the cost to the private citizen like you or I, for our medications, to absorb the loss, local governments get higher sales tax revenue, business is good, and the only ones REALLY out in the cold on this one, are, you guessed it, we the people...

It's called a tax increase, not so cleverly hidden in the now higher everyday cost for you and I, while some bureaucrat pats himself and his colleagues on the back, pointing to their "savings" that never actually materialize in the real world, but look great on paper.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Supreme Court helps government overstep again...

Well, people pissed at the government, and trying to do things their own way, learned a lesson today...

I guess they proved he tried to counterfeit US coins... oh wait, no, that's not what he was charged with... he was charged with "conspiracy to possess and sell coins in resemblance and similitude of genuine coins of the United States." ( I hope they don't ever go to Chuck E. Cheeses and see their coins, or amusement parks, or any place that makes round tokens of approximate thickness to coins... oh, btw, here is a picture of what he was making...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wisconsin getting it right.

Remember back when Harry Reid needed 60 votes in the Senate to allow the vote on health care reform to continue, and he brokered the "Louisiana Purchase" and "Cornhusker Kickback" to get the last 2 votes (one for LA, one from NE) to go ahead? THEN remember once the bill was ready to be voted on and he changed the rules from 60 to pass, to just simple majority as "a budgetary measure"? Looks like the tables have turned on the Democrats... Wisconsin's Republican majority just gave the finger to the Democrats who left the state because they know they were on the losing end of an upcoming vote.

Even better though, is that now, the working, tax-paying, Republicans of that state, will no longer be funding the Democratic party by having state/public employee unions diverting funds to the Democrats, taken from all taxpayers, Republicans included.

The stakes are high for labor because more than a third of U.S. public employees such as teachers, police and civil service workers belong to unions while only 6.9 percent of private sector workers are unionized. Unions are the biggest single source of funding for the Democratic party.
All I have to say is it's about damn time.

Monday, February 28, 2011

America's final WWI Veteran passes away

As the title says, our last surviving WWI veteran, Frank Buckles, has passed away at 110 years old.

These Americans, alongside our allies, risked (and many gave) their lives, to defend not only America and our freedoms, but the freedoms of  Europe and other parts of the world. As Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) said:

 "It is a worthy thing to fight for one's freedom; it is another sight finer to fight for another man's."
Thank you Mr. Buckles, for your service to our country, and may your life and the life of your fellow soldiers and sailors who served alongside you, be an example for new and future generations of Americans.

Buckles' family asks that donations be made to the National World War I Legacy Project to honor Frank Buckles and the 4,734,991 Americans that he served with during World War I. Details can be found at:

<moment of silence>

Friday, February 25, 2011

A great Reagan Quote

Just thought I'd post one of my favorite Reagan quotes, regarding government and the economy:

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

More snow in the midwest last night... I blame global warming.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chicago on it's last leg.

Yup, those half-wits in that city have finally outdone themselves... they elected Rahm Emanuel as Mayor, by a large margin.

That would be like California voting for a foreign actor married to a Kennedy, but running as Republican, as Governor then wondering why their state is double digit billions of dollars in the hole. It just won't happen, the people are too smart. Oh, wait... nevermind.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Another argument for nickels!

Been busy, so haven't posted lately.

On one of the forums I frequent, the discussion about investing in nickels has come up again (as it does from time to time).

The argument in favor of buying up nickels, is that while only being worth 5 cents face value, based on todays melt value at they put nickels at a worth of 7.2 cents per nickel.

If history is any indicator of things to come, the US Mint may soon do to nickels what they did to old silver dimes and quarters - changed to some worthless or "worth less" base metal, to save money and cost. In the case of silver dimes and quarters, you rarely find one in circulation today (this change happened in 1964). Pennies went from being 95% copper (1982 and older) to the zinc clad slugs we don't bother picking up or even putting in a change jar today.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Funda"mental" errors of anti-gun wackjobs.

Time to pick on Caroly McCarthy again, god bless her misinformed little soul...

Lets dissect some key points, and for the slower, not-so-bright out there, who think that guns are the problem, and not the people, I'll try and keep it simple, maybe use some smaller words, etc... well, maybe not. Please try to keep up though.

I know what it’s like to have tragedy brought to your life in a split second by a madman with high-capacity ammunition magazines,”
Emphasis on the madman... so far so good, but then she goes and ruins it by giving life and personality to an inanimate object, the "high-capacity ammunition magazine" (at least she didn't call it a "clip"). It's a piece of metal. These madmen could just as easily have been  hatchet wielding felons, hacking and slicing their way through crowds of unarmed and thus, helpless victims. The problem is not the weapon, it's the wielder.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How gun bans and healthcare bills happen.

First, remember the health care bill, where they needed 60 votes to continue "discussing" the bill (and to block a promised Republican philibuster attempt)? Harry Reid cut a deal with Nebraska Senator, Ben Nelson, giving him the Cornhusker Kickback (aka the Nebraska Compromise), to "allow discussion to continue". Mr. Nelson probably thought if he didn't like the final version, he could vote against it, and they wouldn't have their 60 to pass it, but at least he got a sweet deal for his constituents regardless.

What actually happened? The bill was discussed, other lawmakers removed the cornhusker kickback from the final version, changed the rules so they only needed a simple majority to pass the healthcare bill, the Nebraska Senator voted against it, but rather than it dying from a philibuster before ever proceeding with discussion, it passed with simple majority.

Nelson voted against the reconciliation bill, but as the bill was not subject to a filibuster, it was able to pass without his vote.

Now, consider HR 3355 (103rd Congress, 1993-1994) commonly known as the "Assault Weapon Ban" (passed with the feel good name of "Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994").

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Someone who gets it!

The following article was an opinion piece by Jeffrey Miron, who, as stated in the article

"is senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies in the economics department at Harvard University and senior fellow at the Cato Institute."

It is simpler to highlight the major points of his article, than to elaborate on each in detail, because his opinions are succinct and to the point. So here goes...

The argument for free speech holds simply that the harms from government restrictions on speech are worse than the harms from free speech itself. If government can determine what constitutes acceptable speech, it will use that power to restrict speech in inappropriate ways.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

And so it begins...

So as predicted, those who would take away the rights of the majority to punish the few, those who believe they are elected to protect us from ourselves, and those who don't give two hoots in hell about the Constitution or our rights, are using the tragedy in Arizona to further their political agenda.

One of the fiercest gun control advocates in Congress, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), pounced on the shooting massacre in Tucson, Ariz., Sunday, promising to introduce legislation as soon as Monday targeting the high-capacity ammunition clip the gunman used.

Promoting legislation against guns, bullets, and MAGAZINES (not "clip") in the wake of this tragedy, is like trying to pass legislation against cars, tires, and gasoline, following a DUI accident. You might as well blame forks, plates and cooking pans for making obese people fat...

There has also been talk about legislation banning "stockpiling" of ammo. Just what exactly is a "stockpile" anyways?

...and no one should be able to buy stockpiles of the ammunition allegedly used by the 22-year-old assailant.

Further in the article Illinois Representative Mike Quigley states:

“The ability to buy a weapon that fires hundreds of bullets in less than a minute” is a problem, said Quigley. “He had an additional magazine capability. That’s not what a hunter needs. That’s not what someone needs to defend their home. That’s what you use to hunt people.”

I guess three rounds of rifle ammunition for hunting, three shotgun shells for hunting/home defense, and maybe five rounds of .22 ammo for a revolver for home defense. We don't want someone using a larger and more deadly round do we? I imagine it will look something like no caliber over XX size, no more than 10 rounds of any caliber and no more than 30 rounds total, enforced by requiring you to turn in your spent casings to purchase more replacement ammo. Oh, and don't forget the note from the police or game warden declaring how many shots were fired to defend yourself or kill your deer...

These people are shameless. Seize on a tragedy, to take the opportunity to shove more legislation down the throats of the people. It was a tragedy, no one is taking that away from the victims. However, you cross the line yourselves, when you try to punish everyone else for the criminal's wrongdoing. Good intentions, bad government...

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one." - Thomas Jefferson quoting Cesare Beccaria, Criminologist in 1764. That was 230 years ago.

The 2nd Amendment states:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Trying to ban certain calibers of ammunition, or the amount, falls under the "shall not be infringed" part. No matter what your good intentions are, you are violating the Constitution. If you can toss aside the parts you don't like, and others can toss aside the parts they don't like, then we soon find ourselves with no Constitution, no Bill of Rights, and "We the People" are now "We the Subjects".

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Good intentions, bad government...

Well, the fall-out from yesterday's shooting has already begun.

I definately want to clarify, that the events that transpired were horrific and our condolences go out to all the victims and their families. The monster(s) that did this should get the needle.

That said, some well intentioned individuals in government, are going to jump to some premature conclusions, pass some knee-jerk reaction legislation, and further erode our Constitutional rights, all under the guise of safety, liberty, and all that jazz... Remember, before all these laws start flying around Washington, that Benjamin Franklin said:
Those who would give up essential liberties, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.

Washington (CNN) - Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, said he will introduce legislation making it a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.
I wonder who will be charged with the "approved words and symbols list" that we, the loyal subjects to the crown, will be subject to using to express our displeasure with our elected representative government, when they tell us to "go to hell" with their vote. Actions speak louder than words...

So this politician will use this tragedy to his own twisted ends, to further his agenda, so we citizens have no recourse but to beg like the orphan in Charles Dickens classic "Oliver Twist" when he said "Please sir, I want some more".

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords, 3 term US Representative - Arizona, shot.

Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat Representative from Arizona to the House of Representatives, was shot in the temple, through and through today, during a town-hall style event in Arizona. Initial reports are that she was revived at the hospital, and was responding to doctors.

Additionally, 11 other citizens were shot, and at least 4 are confirmed dead, including a 9 year old.
Our best wishes and prayers go out to victims, family, and community members.