Friday’s Opening

Slow day all around it seems.  After putting in a twelve-hour day yesterday (and then going back in at 10:30 to work for another three hours helping my boss attempt to clean up a disaster of a data dump that we’d been given before we finally gave up) I still haven’t been able to really get to sleep–plus I’ve got today off,  so what better things would I have to do than throw a random post together to spark some discussion?  Off to the races!

First up: Minnesota’s LGBT community apologized to state Senator Amy Koch for ruining her marriage.

“On behalf of all gays and lesbians living in Minnesota, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for our community’s successful efforts to threaten your traditional marriage,” reads the letter from John Medeiros. “We apologize that our selfish requests to marry those we love has cheapened and degraded traditional marriage so much that we caused you to stray from your own holy union for something more cheap and tawdry.”

As a person who enjoys snark at the highest level, I love this, especially in light of the fact that Ms Koch really tried hard to get an amendment to the state’s constitution outlawing gay marriage on next year’s ballot.  I’m sure there’s a lovely metaphor in here about stones and sin and/or glass houses.

Second: while I dislike the use of the word “government” when the author/producer really means “Congress” (strawman alert), this is what many of you have been saying off and on for months–the “government” isn’t helping small business much.

The polarization and blame-shifting in Washington has fed that indecision by postponing some of the most pressing problems confronting consumers and businesses. And with the presidential election campaign well under way, small business owners see little prospect of anything changing in the nation’s capitol.
“We need fundamental structural reform of the tax code, less regulation, and a more bipartisan approach to big solutions for spending and the deficit,” said Bob Benham, the owner of Balliets, a high-end women’s clothing store in Oklahoma City. “That’s not going to happen in an election year.”

On the flip side, there are spots of brightness out there–jobs creation!

Tuttle is also coping with the perennial wild card faced by heavy energy consumers. Volatile energy prices have fueled a boom in sales of energy-saving equipment. Tuttle figures that by raising fuel efficiency just a small amount he saves $1,000 per year per truck.
“So we’re retrofitting a lot of our trailers with aerodynamics and upgrading our truck fleet to take advantage of some of the fuel economy savings that are built into new trucks,” he said.
Such business investment should help boost sales for car dealers in 2012. Hometown Auto’s Shaker is about break ground on a new $5.3 million Ford-Lincoln franchise in Watertown, Conn., that will bring dozens of construction jobs to the area over the next year. The new facility will double the dealer’s number of service bays, allowing Shaker to hire eight more skilled technicians.

And, finally, since it’s that time of year I thought we should know how much New Year’s resolutions will cost.  Although, really, who needs to pay $75 for three fricking t-shirts!!!  And volunteer for a non-profit board?  How about just volunteer?  Nonetheless, an interesting article to flip through (and mock in places).

What’s up in your parts of the world today?

39 Responses

  1. "Second: while I dislike the use of the word "government" when the author/producer really means "Congress" (strawman alert), this is what many of you have been saying off and on for months–the "government" isn't helping small business much. "I can't imagine any small business still trying to do their own payroll rather than outsource it given the withholding situation.

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  2. jnc: as a former small business co-owner, I couldn't agree more (and we had only one part-time employee)! After the first year of my ex and I owning a small physical therapy practice with another couple we decided that our trying to keep the books straight–when all four of us had full-time jobs in addition to the practice–it was foolhardy to not hire an accountant.

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  3. My favorite news story this week has been the lesbian sailor who got the ceremonial First Kiss when her ship came back in port.I found the story heartwarming and just a little exciting.

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  4. Can I take a moment to ask a technical question? I'm trying to schedule a post for the morning tomorrow and have managed to get the video in I wanted (Thanks Scott), but now can't seem to put any text in above or below the video. Does anyone know a trick to help me out, or maybe it's not a trick, just me missing the easiest thing in the world to do. Like Michi, I'm running on empty right now.

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  5. I didn't see your post in the queue, lms. I'm more than happy to hack around at it and find the hard way to do it and then let you know what I did. You know me, I'm a firm proponent of "no piece of software is smarter than I am." Several of them are more sophisticated, though! 🙂

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  6. Speaking of apologies…A Republican Congressman from Wisconsin apologizes to the First Lady after making a tasteless joke while discussing her evidently deplorable effort to get Americans to eat healthy food. I get that Michelle Obama's healthy eating drive is seen by many conservatives as yet another example of big government overreaching. But aren't there better examples to criticize? Particularly when the critics almost inevitably comment on Michelle Obama's body shape. They simply can't help themselves.

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  7. Oh, and yello, I loved that story, too!

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  8. Does posting video work like posting pictures? i just cut and paste the string of html coding to where it needs to be.

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  9. NoVA: I found out this morning that, depending on which version of Blogger you're using, you can't cut and paste html (unless you're working in the html window, which I wasn't). If you're in the "compose" window you need to use the buttons along the top (at least to make live links), and I've always had problems with videos and pictures and then getting the text around them, so I suspect that it's something intuitive to a computer techie and not intuitive to the rest of us.As the daughter of a computer techie that makes perfect sense!

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  10. "jnc: as a former small business co-owner, I couldn't agree more (and we had only one part-time employee)! After the first year of my ex and I owning a small physical therapy practice with another couple we decided that our trying to keep the books straight–when all four of us had full-time jobs in addition to the practice–it was foolhardy to not hire an accountant. "Apparently it was worse than I thought. In addition to the revised percentage of withholding for only 60 days, there was also a revised temporary SS wage cap to prevent high wage earners from benefiting from the cut.Boehner attempts to save face

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  11. NoVa- Real shocker that the medicare doc is on hold.

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  12. The cynic in me, jnc, says that the Dem negotiators threw that SS wage cap in there so that Boehner could take it out an claim victory.The even bigger cynic in me says that nobody in DC thinks about the nuts and bolts of things when they write bills.Of course, the progressive/liberal and optimist in me believes that they really only wanted to give all of us ponies for Christmas!

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  13. ash – that and and a host of other "Medicare extenders"what a joke.

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  14. lms:I just took a look at your draft post and it seems fine….text up top and vid below. E-mail me if any probs, but looks good to go.

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  15. The real interesting part is the unemployment provisions. Status quo was maintained on the extended provisions, but due to the look back of three years, states will start to drop off of the qualified list as eligibility is determined by the change in unemployment rate. Democrats and Republicans agree to cut long-term unemployment benefits 32,000 Americans Welcome to the new normal.

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  16. "The cynic in me, jnc, says that the Dem negotiators threw that SS wage cap in there so that Boehner could take it out an claim victory.The even bigger cynic in me says that nobody in DC thinks about the nuts and bolts of things when they write bills.Of course, the progressive/liberal and optimist in me believes that they really only wanted to give all of us ponies for Christmas! "It's Option #2. You never go wrong with the "bigger cynic" analysis.

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  17. Also, a full year extension of the payroll tax cut and the upcoming expiration of the Bush tax cuts should make for an interesting 2012 lame duck Congressional session.

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  18. Thanks all, I finally figured it out. I just had to start typing and the video moved down appropriately. Like I said it was easy, I just didn't know it.

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  19. Oh and I went ahead and posted it today while everyone's still around.

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  20. Like I said it was easy, I just didn't know it.Intuitive to a computer techie, not to the rest of us!

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  21. Also, a full year extension of the payroll tax cut and the upcoming expiration of the Bush tax cuts should make for an interesting 2012 lame duck Congressional session.Ponies AND unicorns!!

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  22. I have good news…I have been hired!I have bad news…if I can't obtain a security clearance, I will no longer be hired. And it might be an issue as I do have an outstanding debt of 2k from two years ago.Anyone have experience with this?

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  23. "I have bad news…if I can't obtain a security clearance, I will no longer be hired. And it might be an issue as I do have an outstanding debt of 2k from two years ago.Anyone have experience with this? "Talk to a good bankruptcy attorney who knows the law on Federal hiring and debt. You live in Northern VA?

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  24. I do, and the debt was the result of a bankruptcy, miscommunication, and idiots such as myself that didn't put it in writing…What happened is that I declared bankruptcy, but continued making the association dues. The bankruptcy was discharged, then the condo went into foreclosure. At that point, I ceased making association payments, but did walk down to the office and told them the situation. They said, oh, no problem, don't worry about it, (I was also moving at the same time), we just tack it on to the closing costs. Then, 3-4 months later, I get a letter from the management company that the association used. Again, idiot that I am, I called them up, told them blah blah, and they said, oh, so sorry, we will correct that.The next thing I know, I have a court date. I go, I talk to the attorney, who said: well, they did tell me about the foreclosure, if they had told me earlier, we wouldn't be here, and you wouldn't have to pay my fee. However, they didn't, and so you do. So sorry.So, I sent two payments of $50 each. It took him about 2.5 months to deposit, each.Therefore, I determined that when I had accumulated 2k, I would get a certified check and pay it all at once. When I get 2k. Being a contractor, every time I got it, the assignment ended, and the money went to pay rent instead.So, now, here we are….I have obtained a security clearance before with a discharged bankruptcy, but there were no outstanding claims of any amount, so I don't think it will pose a problem.But…..

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  25. Taroya,Is the lawyer contacting you regularly for the 2K…is it acrimonious? In lieu of trying to pay it back all at once, I might try to work out an official deal/payment plan with the laywer (documented in a contract) to pay it in regular installments (something that is workable for you). That way it becomes, in effect, a regular loan repayment…which should in theory make an investigator happier.

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  26. He isn't contacting me at all. Communication with him via email were slow; snail mail would have been faster.The item shows up on my credit report, but there have been zero attempts to collect. As lackadaisical as he was about it all, I am actually surprised that he didn't just write it off; for all I know, he did, and the credit companies haven't picked it up yet.All of this is why I am not sure that it will impact my chances of obtaining a security clearance. I am positive that once I get to talk to an officer (or whatever they call the people that interview for the clearances), it will not be a problem, but I was wondering if anyone here had obtained a clearance while having an outstanding debt on their credit history.

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  27. taroya: Yea!Urrrr. I certainly don't know what to say, other than Dave's advice seems sound. I once tried to prevent a guy from getting a TS because I thought he was a genuine security risk based on his habit of lying (when he didn't have to) about small things in order to keep his wife from finding out about affairs and gambling. I told the investigators every little piece of dirt about him that I knew and that I knew he lied at the drop of a hat (with some documentation) in order to keep his wife from finding out that he lied. Didn't make a lick of difference–he got the TS.I know that these things are arbitrary as hell, but it seems to me that as long as you're upfront about taking care of your debt, and how it happened in the first place, it shouldn't be a problem.Good luck, girlie, and go shoot an awesome game of pool!

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  28. Taroya, that is wonderful news. As Dave! suggested, the lawyer will surely work with you. If you call his assistant and tell him/her you think you will be employed again and want to do a payment plan, but let the assistant know your credit record should be cleared to recognize the plan if you formalize it, they will work with you, unless they are vindictive and unusually petty. Lawyers never sue clients over $2000 and that is true everywhere. Your agreement to pay will be treated like found money.But don't let on that you need the record cleared. No reason to give away leverage, after all.Happy Holidays to you!

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  29. Mark: AHA! That is what I wanted to know.I really wanted to do the whole sum via certified check simply because it took months (!) for him to deposit my small payments. I can't afford to make a bookkeeping mistake, and it would be easy to forget about that $20-$50 outstanding.But now I have a plan of action!Michi: Pool…where you take a long stick and hit the white ball into another ball and hope that is the one that goes down the hole? I remember doing something like that….Actually, I very well might do exactly that. I have an extra $100 that had certainly ought to cover the table time and two beers. Refuse to drink any more than that, still have to drive home.

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  30. taroya, you crack me up! Go have those two beers and have the second one on me. Next time I'm in DC you're going to teach me how to handle that damned long stick. I understand vectors; I understand spin. . . but put the two together and I definitely need a tutor!

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  31. Would be happy to teach!It irks me no end to watch the boyfriend chortle at the girlfriend, but offer no actual assistance. I have 'em playing decently in one session, they even hold that big long stick like they have playing for years.One thing off the bat: don't bother with spin other than high and low, for now. If you can't get the vector, you will certainly not get the spin. Wait until you can make it straight without spin.As for high and low: if you want to follow the ball, use high. If you want to stop it, use low. Do not jack the stick. BTW, it won't work for bank shots. Once the cue hits the rail, it turns over, and goes the opposite. Try it with a striped ball to see.Good luck not jacking the stick. That is far easier to show than to say. All I can tell you for that is that your arm from your elbow should be a pendulum. The shoulder should not move, at all. Don't hold the stick tightly; anyone should be able to come behind and grab it from your hand.When I was learning that, the stick frequently followed the cue ball out of my hand aaallll the way down the table….

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  32. You may also wish to contact your bankruptcy attorney as well. I assume that the attorney you are referring to about owing the $2000 is the attorney for the condo association management company?

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  33. Correct, jnc. My bankruptcy attorney was terrible. He didn't explain things very well, ergo, the mess with the association dues.He wouldn't be able to help with this, however, as this occurred after the discharge. To be fair, though, I also had an equity line of credit tied to the property. I could have made the mortgage payments, or the equity payments, but I couldn't do both. It was my understanding after the discharge that if I kept the condo, I would also have to still pay the equity line,even though it was listed in the bankruptcy, as it was tied with the property, which would have defeated the purpose of the bankruptcy.

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  34. @taroya,I had a TS / SCI clearance and I had a few debt issues in college. You should be fine.

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  35. I realize he can't help you with a post-discharge debt, but I thought he might be able to give you some advice on the security clearance aspect and the relevant Federal Employment laws. However, if he was a terrible attorney this may not be such a good suggestion.

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  36. Interesting. The Air Force Academy web site has a section on bankruptcy and security clearance implications:BankruptcyAnother link with the relevant OPM guidance:The Impact of Delinquent Debt on Security Clearances

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  37. jnc, do you need a paralegal job?Merry Xmas!

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  38. Funny, taroya, the one time anybody ever taught me about spin was when I was eight years old. My uncle used a striped ball and had me do exactly what you described–put spin on it and watch what happened when it hit the rail. . . it was actually what got me interested in vectors and applied physics.You and I are most definitely getting together next time I get out your way (or you'd better let me know if you're coming to SLC)!!

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  39. "However, if he was a terrible attorney this may not be such a good suggestion"The guy explained next to nothing to me. The majority of my information came from Internet research. So, yeah, he won't be getting any references from me….Brent: Good to know. I am 95% positive that as long as you are honest about it, they don't care. They are after something that could be used as leverage against you. I feel sorry for anyone that thinks they could leverage anything out of me. Ask nicely, though….Michi: Shoot me an email if you come this way, and we will meet up. Currently, I rent a 3-bdrm townhouse, but it will still be the couch. One is mine, one is an office, and the other the cats took over. I want to move closer to the city, but won't happen until July at the earliest, but I am determined that I will not spend another year in this place! I hate the layout, promotes nothing but laziness on my part.I love to play pool, and until about 3 years ago, played daily. Was on the APA league; handicapped play, ranks were from 2-7, 7 being the best. I got up to a 5. It is the only sport that I can really compete in, so I made up for it!Merry merry Xmas to everybody!

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