Socialized Security

In the early 80s, three Texas counties opted out of the federal social security program. This does not mean that these counties stopped providing retirement benefits – in fact, the program apparently supplies not only retirement benefits at four times the rate of social security, but the program pays the premium on life and disability insurance as well.

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Debtors Lifestyle

It seems that the current fad is to buy, buy, buy. Everywhere there are houses that are bigger – though the yards are smaller, and often non-existent. Did you know that here in Charlotte we have townhomes that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars? Cars these days are either monstrous SUVs or pricey models from the upscale division of normal car manufacturers. Heck, even the normal cars see ever-increasing sticker prices.

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Syndication Formats

Now that you’ve designed your blog, should you syndicate it? Syndication, while it sounds somewhat intimidating, really means nothing more than making your site available in a slightly different format so that it can be processed and read more efficiently. In the most basic sense, a web page itself is, in fact, syndication – you are providing data, and that data is wrapped in a formatting language (HTML/XHTML) that tells a browser how to display the data.

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ATM Fraud

The other day I was coming back from Wilmington and heard the Clark Howard show on the radio. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard this guy, but it was an interesting show. Apparently the latest scam is to purchase one of those private-label ATM machines that you see in the bars and convenience stores. Then you actually have people feeding you their card numbers and PINs. All you have to do is use ’em. One person allegedly came away with $3 million. Not a bad deal if you can get away with it. And do away with the stealing part.

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Constitutional Prayer

Earlier this month, an article popped onto my radar about a Wiccan in Great Falls, SC who is suing the city for beginning their meetings with a prayer. Interestingly enough, she is apparently only after the change of “Jesus Christ” to “Our Heavenly Father” or something similar. Definitely a reasonable sort it would seem. Of course if she wins, someone else will come along and want to change “Our Heavenly Father” to “Oh Great Deity of the Strip Mall” or something equally inane.

I don’t mind Wiccans or Satanists or even Atheists. That’s not my job. But there comes a point when you have to say that enough is enough. It seems pretty simple to me. You don’t like it, leave. Cover your ears. Get a drink. Buy some Doritos. If I attend the international sheepherders convention and talk breaks out about the big dance and which sheep you’re taking as your date, I’m going to find something else to do for a few minutes.

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My Hotel Ethics

Generally speaking, I probably use most of the consumables found in the hotel room – the soap and the shampoo being the two most notable examples of this. There are certainly times where I’ll stay for more than just a day, so I’ll end up with an extra shampoo or even some bars of soap. As I travel a decent amount, I will typically take some of these with me, in case I run into a place that doesn’t supply such things.

If the lodging is more personal, such as a Bed & Breakfast, then often the toiletries will be supplied in a standard consumer-grade bottle, which is naturally much larger, and probably not supplied just so you can take it home and not have to buy your own. On the other hand are other facilities which don’t supply anything – in this case those extra “trial size” toiletries come in handy.

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Charleston Links

Have you seen the Outhouse Springs billboards? I’ve been seeing them in the Charlotte area for a while now. I also saw them in Charleston (SC) when we were there in July for the 4th. But I never could remember to look up the company. Surely these things weren’t real. Slogans like “We’re #1, not #2” and “People Love Us, but They Won’t Shake our Hands” – no way would someone even try to pull that off.

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