Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Get Over It!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that debt collectors treat you fairly, right? Well, sort of. The problem is creditors and their collection agents continue to devise clever ways to skirt the FDCPA to harass and intimidate their debtors. I believe the laws in place are marginal efforts by politicians to appease their constituents without alienating the powerful creditors. With the economy in shambles, we will continue to see a rise in debt collection abuses by creditors and their collection agents. I believe that more needs to be done to protect people from abuse.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Flying Across The Swamp

A friend recently offered me a ride on his airboat. The ride would take us across the beautiful, but quite alligator-infested wetlands of Lake Kissimmee at dusk. I must admit that at first I was a bit reluctant. I grew more apprehensive as my friend briefed me on what to do should the boat begin to take on water in the swamps. Though an avid boater and fisherman, I've never really had too much of an interest in airboats.

So he starts this huge aircraft engine up and we both don headphones to shield us from the noise. We creep along slowly as we make our way from the dock to the open water. All of a sudden my buddy hits the gas and off we go....

Absolutely exhilarating! We fly skimming over both land and water at what seems, at least to me, to be something akin to the speed of sound. All the while taking in the beauty of the landscape. White tail deer, albino deer, hogs, birds, and yes, even alligators. Oh, and did I forget to mention the absolutely breathtaking sunset.

As night falls I can't help but wonder just how my buddy will navigate home through the pitch black darkness without any GPS navigation equipment aboard. He smirks delighting in my childlike naiveity. He dons a hat with a light atop and asks me if I want to watch him catch a gator.

On our way back he gets within touching distance of mammoth gators. He even catches a small gator and encourages me to feel the soft body before he lets her go. I am amazed at the sight of all these glowing eyes surrounding us.

Quite the experience I must say for a guy from Long Island whose experience with the swamps is limited to National Geographic shows. I'm glad that I did it and I hope to do it again. Thanks for the ride brother!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Legends of Film

Is it just me or have Hollywood stars of the caliber of a Jimmy Cagney become an endangered species? Sure, we have great actors today. But can they really hold a candle to legends like Cagney or Brando?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Parking Injustice in NYC

Reported by Fox 5 New York:

A mysterious parking ticket is a ticket issued to a vehicle when the owner knows for sure their vehicle was parked nowhere close to the location written on the ticket.
The cause could be a mistake, a counterfeit license plate or fraud on the part of the ticket writers. The city does not seem very concerned about the problem.
For the past year and a half we have been reporting about innocent victims who receive tickets and threatening letters from the city to pay up. After seven stories on the subject all we get is either a “no comment” or a “we’ll look into it” from the NYPD, the agency responsible for issuing the tickets. The NYC Finance Department is responsible for the judges who rarely take an “it’s not my car” defense seriously.

There is a pattern to every mysterious ticket we’ve seen:

1) The car owner never gets the ticket on their car.
2) The car owner only finds out about the ticket after they receive late notices.
3) The owner must be willing to swear under oath that their car was not parked near the location marked on the ticket.
4) It would help the car owner’s defense if they had some type of proof of where their car was actually parked at the time the ticket was issued (security video, security pictures, time stamped parking garage receipts, ez pass records sworn affidavits from witnesses etc.)

Our latest mystery involves some people in New Jersey who’ve been getting tickets in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. At least 25 tickets were issued. It looks like this might be a situation where someone was using counterfeit or altered plates to trick the ticket writers and unfortunately have innocent people accused of parking where they never were parked..

Unfortunately for the NYPD, as we checked out each ticket we also come up with patterns of horrendously sloppy ticket writing. The incompetence we uncovered raises serious questions about the city’s true motivation in writing tickets. Is it about public safety and keeping the traffic moving or is it about making money? There’s no other industry in the country that would allow such sloppiness to continue without making serious changes. Of course, you only would want to make changes if you truly cared about the public being screwed by shady or sloppy ticket writers.

Sometimes mysterious tickets can be caused by fraud and are supported by the following facts:

1) Traffic agent Nivea Cloud was arrested last May for allegedly making up dozens of fake tickets while illegally parked on her NYPD car in a handicapped spot.

2) Traffic agent Deon Richardson was fired after Fox 5 exposed him as a ticket agent who was writing tickets for fire hydrants that don’t exist or absurd addresses.

3)A highly respected retired police detective named Louis Mattone, who was assigned to be the lead investigator to monitor ticket fraud many years ago felt that at least 20 percent of the tickets written back then (1990) were fake. The ticket agents were called “brownies” and were part of the Department of Transportation before they became part of the NYPD. He caught them doing things like writing ticket while sitting in a subway, sitting at a restaurant and he says in one case two ticket writers were caught not only writing fake tickets from a house but having an affair with each other in the same house.

4)Traffic agents admitted to Fox 5 that some of their colleagues “crack” under pressures of ticket quotas and make up fake tickets.

Final thought: The city takes in more than 500 million dollars a year in parking tickets. If just 5 percent are fake, that’s 25 million dollars a year that is being stolen from innocent people yet no one seems to be doing anything about it.

If any other industry including organized crime did this, the people responsible would wind up behind bars. So far we know of only two traffic agents who have been punished.

Don't let them get away with this! Complain about the illegal activities of the NYPD Traffic Agents & New York City Department of Finance

Saturday, April 26, 2008

District of Columbia v. Heller

I've been watching this legal case with great interest.

District of Columbia v. Heller, No. 07-290, is a case pending before the Supreme Court of the United States. It is an appeal from Parker v. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370 (D.C. Cir. 2007), a decision in which the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit became the first federal appeals court in the United States to rule that a firearm ban was an unconstitutional infringement of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the second to expressly interpret the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right to possess firearms for private use.

Robert Levy, co-counsel to the Parker plaintiffs, made a comment that I largely agree with,

"Even the NRA concedes that you can’t have mad men running around with weapons of mass destruction. So there are some restrictions that are permissible and it will be the task of the legislature and the courts to ferret all of that out and draw the lines. I am sure, though, that outright bans on handguns like they have in D.C. won’t be permitted. That is not a reasonable restriction under anybody’s characterization. It is not a restriction, it’s a prohibition."

Stay tuned...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Good food and company!

Today, I ate at a great Mexican restaurant with a good friend. Why is this news you ask? Well, it really isn't. But since I'm also using this blog as a sort of virtual time capsule, I think it would be neat to read this a year from now and recall a good day spent with a good friend. ¿Puede recomendarnos algún buen restaurante de aquí?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

blue crab

I went crabbing last week. Caught some nice blue crabs and hermits. This part of the world really is beautiful and the marine life is outstanding.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bernie had a message

I'll never forget as a young man paying a visit to see Bernie and having him sign a book for me. I nervously made my way towards him afraid that he might ask me why I was there, having been the youngest person in the crowd. Please cook the supreme meal he told me. I never forgot those words. I'm trying Bernie, I'm trying....

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

"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."

I support the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms. I believe that every State should allow its residents to carry concealed firearms in public (with some exceptions). The only form of "gun control" I support, is government measures to ensure that those citizens who are carrying concealed firearms are not convicted felons, mentally ill, chemically intoxicated/dependent, or untrained in the use of firearms and state laws pertaining to deadly force. I exercise my right to carry concealed firearms and I am properly trained in both the use of firearms and in the laws of deadly force. I realize that my opinion about firearms might differ greatly from some folks. I respect their opinions but I dissent. I enjoy target shooting and hunting and I feel that I have a duty to protect myself and my family if the situation called for it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The credit industry

Predatory lending is a pejorative term used to describe practices of some lenders. There are no legal definitions in the United States of predatory lending, though there are laws against many of the specific practices commonly identified as predatory, and various federal agencies use the term as a catch-all term for many specific illegal activities in the loan industry.

One less contentious definition of the term is "the practice of a lender deceptively convincing borrowers to agree to unfair and abusive loan terms, or systematically violating those terms in ways that make it difficult for the borrower to defend against."Other types of lending sometimes also referred to as predatory include payday loans, credit cards or other forms of consumer debt, and overdraft loans, when the interest rates are considered unreasonably high.

Although predatory lenders are most likely to target the less educated, racial minorities and the elderly, victims of predatory lending are represented across all demographics.

Predatory lending often occurs on loans backed by some kind of collateral, such as a car or house, so that if the borrower defaults on the loan, the lender can repossess or foreclose and profit by selling the repossessed or foreclosed property.

Empower yourself! Learn more about the illegal and unethical tactics of debt collectors at

Don't allow the credit reporting agencies to libel you. Report their abuse to and contact your elected reps to demand laws to protect consumers.

Fight back against illegal and unethical activities conducted by the credit industry. Your voice can help to put an end to this abuse.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Does Wikipedia re-write history as they see fit?

I came across this rather informative article about Wikipedia on the web:

Wikipedia is a clear case of the inmates talking over the asylum! It is run by organized volunteer super-nerds as though they were feudal lords! Just go on the site and see the nasty goings on for yourself. And they are at it twenty-four hours a day with a passion!

Whoever prevails in any disputes about what is indeed “fact” gets to create or rewrite history as though it were true regardless of whether it is or not. Whoever can gather the most consensus wins. This is effectively accomplished by using a number of fictitious “user names” called “sockpuppets,” or by belonging to or organizing complicated alliances!

If they do not like what you say, it’s deleted.

If you restore it, they remove it again.

Restore it again and they remove it again and so forth until a volunteer “administrator blocks you from further edits. Usually the administrator is elected and beholding to those you are opposing so if you do not belong to any click or manufacture your own “fiefdom” you are lost!

That would be okay if they were calling themselves a Blog site, but they are calling themselves an “encyclopedia” even though one does not need any particular education, experience, expertise in any field, or writing skills to be an “editor”. Of course that is a train wreck just waiting to happen, especially when someone has an axe to grind against another person or organization and they libel them.

Making matters worse, there are many mirror sites like “” that cite these “articles” because anyone is free to copy and paste and use any content found on the site as long as they reference (and simultaneously promote Wikipedia while doing it). Therefore anyone with a PC can create or completely change the truth to suit themselves -even libel someone — on Wikipedia, and then anyone with a PC can mirror the articles in other sites calling themselves dictionaries, encyclopedias and further this perversion of the true and facts.

That is ridiculous, like Wikipedia itself. All the other sites that carry any Wikipedia libelous content should be included in future class action suits, as well!

- author unknown

Apparently, I'm not the only one deeply disturbed by Wikipedia...