Archive for the ‘Social’ Category

Workers’ Compensation

Okay.  I’ve seen and heard enough.  Being in the insurance business, specifically Workers’ Compensation, not only am I disheartened by the bad people who “sue” their employers, but I’m shocked at the stupidity of these same people who think they are making a fortune.

For one thing, every state in this nation requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.  It is not only mandatory, but statutory, meaning that it has it’s own set of laws, rules/regulations, etc, that dictate how to pay benefits, how much, and when.  There are no made up numbers or dollars, every state has a schedule of how much your injury is worth.  It is nonnegotiable. 

Second of all, it is a NO FAULT system, meaning that regardless of whatever idiotic act an employee did to hurt himself (like running down a hallway to answer a phone and tripping over his own shoelace), it is STILL covered.  This was to protect employers from frivolous lawsuits and gave employees immediate medical and income benefits if they lost time from work.

Thirdly, the costs of your claim come out of employees pockets.  Yes, that’s right.  Every dime used to pay you disability benefits and medical bills come out of your pocket.  How?  It’s an operating cost for your employer, just like salary.  The higher insurance premiums your employer has, the lower the raises you get, lower bonuses (if any), higher health insurance premiums.  Ah, didn’t know that did you!

And what’s with the attitude that once you injure yourself you treat your employer like shit like it’s their fault?  YOU fell, no one pushed you (as is USUALLY the case), so what are you doing?

Do you really think your employer BELIEVES how injured you are because you whine and complain at work?  Go into show business if you want that attention.  We don’t cry about our injuries we sustain at home do we?  No.  But you injured workers feel you need to prove up your case.  It’s not necessary and, IN FACT, causes your employer to rethink your honesty!

Next up:  Settlements.  So you got an attorney who’s convinced you that not only did you hurt your back, but your sex life, sleeping, and psyche are all injured as well.  Really?   So now your employer can’t talk to you and KNOWS way too much about the crap you and your attorney are trying to pass off as work injuries.  You fell, no one pushed you or cut off your balls. 

Here’s what kind of settlement you’ll get for the scenario above:  First, you will lose your job. Bet your attorney didn’t tell you that right?  They found you a doctor to give you a really high permanent disability rating, say it’s worth $35k.  Well that same doctor also said you couldn’t do certain things in that job and your employer can’t alter that job any more and now you are out of a job.  Your attorney wants to get paid (he gets 15% of whatever YOU get). 

So let’s say your work comp claim has been open 4 years (that is the average for any of you who get attorneys by the way) and in the end, you settle for $50,000.  OOOHhhh.  You won the lottery!  $50k less 15% (atty fees) = $42,500 in your pocket.  You could buy a boat, a car, etc!  Well let’s look at it this way.  Say you missed the max 2 years of work and received $500/week (based on $39k annual salary).  That’s $52,000 tax free.  Oh, and by the way, Work Comp qualifies for FMLA so after 12 weeks, you now have to pay your own health insurance (and yes, it’s legal).  So $52,000 + $42,500 = $94,500 in total benefits.  Sounds like you did great being off work for 4 years right?  Divide that by the 4 years your claim has been open and that works out to be $23,625 per year in income.   Didn’t do so hot did ya?  No job.  No health insurance.  No other benefits.  You saw a pay off and didn’t do the math so you ended up losing over $15k per year!

So for those who take their legitimate injuries TOO FAR, consider what you will lose if you not only get an attorney, but exaggerate and add body parts.  After all, when we hurt ourselves at home, we usually go to work right?  Sure, you see people with casts and canes all the time.  But for those with a little back strain from work, you miss as much time as you can and try to “milk” your employer when all you end up doing is hurting yourself. 

Congratulations to the idiot workers of America.  You are just bad human beings and should be ashamed of trying to get ahead by cheating the system. 

— Good luck with your claim you Moron.

Shamerica

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Universal Healthcare

What IS Obama’s plan? What does it mean for employers, or private insurance? Is it feasible? Cost-effective? Fair?

What about treatment, will Americans suffer delayed treatment like our northern neighbors for simple treatments? Where will we run to if we need something more urgently (like our northern neighbors!) because I ain’t going to Mexico for a knee arthroscopy.

What about all the plans currently in place, like the federal program for women and children? Medical and Medicaid?

Sounds like I need to research all that we have out there. I work with many medical professionals and so far, it doesn’t look good folks. Many physicians do not want to be told how to treat their patients, so we will lose good quality care. Does anyone care about these things or are politics SO wrapped up in their false arguments and shit to pray on the emotions of Americans??? 

Of course, who would say NO when asked if Americans should beentitled to medical care?  That feeds into emotions, which is what they want in order to slide this REALLY BAD legislation past all of you!   This can’t happen overnight.  PEOPLE read it and figure it out, don’t listen to Obama or those interested in passing it.  If they ar really going to do this, you, as citizens, owe a duty to get familiar with it and start making demands for change until this thing is perfect, just, and easily implemented.  It’s hard to go back and change it one it passes so let’s really make a difference.  Just don’t say YES because you think you are getting a benefit.  Read it, know it, question it, see what it REALLY is they are selling us.  You’d never buy a house without inspecting it right?  Well we don’t want a fixer upper health care system, we want the upgrades and everything perfect before we vote yes.  Don’t accept what the government gives you at first glance!  Sure, we may be QUICK to accept a tax refund and not ask questions, right?  BUT when you get audited or owe taxes, you want MORE information right? 

Okay, so tell me what it’s all about and I’ll get back here with my research.

Let’s open this bitch up…pull it apart and go back to Obama and friends and get what we deserve.

Grinch Slapped!

One fish two fish – red fish sue fish.

LouWhoVille is no more.  The city of Louisville, Kentucky, was planning to use “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” as part of its annual Christmas display.  But that came to a stop when they received a cease-and-desist letter from Dr. Seuss.   I kid you not, SHAM I am.

This year grinchy lawyer Barbara J. Orr, representing Dr. Seuss Enterprises, sent the cease-and-desist letter demanding that the city of Louisville, KY, could not would not in a box, and could not would not with a fox – without permission. 

Copywrong or copyright, it doesn’t seem to harm the image in any way.  In my opinion, this could be seen as free advertising and might boost sells in this otherwise bust economy.   Spirits are low enough this year.  I don’t condone copyright infringement, but they aren’t selling anything. 

You’re a mean one, Dr. Seuss!

“If you never did, you should.  These things are fun and fun is good!”

-Dr. Seuss (1904 – 1991)

 

Happy Holidays!

SHAMerica

Prop 8: Response to a Comment

This was a comment to my previous post PROP 8 from “Anonymous” that I’d like to specifically address as a post:

there’s actually nothing in the constitution that says church and state are separate. it just says that the government can’t recognize one/any official religion.

also, churches are tax exempt because they benefit society. the government has an interest in making sure they can use their money to benefit the poor and the needy and organize programs to help people.

there are many non-religious arguments for prop 8.

anyways, no matter what you believe you don’t want the church’s to have to pay taxes. This means they’ll be able to endorse candidates and be more involved in politics. also, it means less money to help people.

——-

SHAMERICA says:

Actually, your argument regarding the words contained in our 1st Amendment is a common misstatement made by those who cite it without comprehension of it’s intent.  And it doesn’t just say the government can’t recognize one/any official religion.  It certainly wasn’t taught to be that simple in the very basic high school civics course.

The legal intent was to build a wall between church and State, as further supported by Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists where he made this specific reference.  Recall Jefferson was a major influence of the U.S. Constitution, though he did not contribute to writing it.

There is also Everson vs Board of Education that carefully expresses those important clauses we all remember and learned about in civics:  Establishment and Free Exercise and also references the intent of those clauses to keep church and State separate.

I agree that religious organizations should remain tax exempt for the very reasons you indicate.  They are held to specific requirements and can lose tax exemption for actions such as:  attempting to influence passage of legislation or promoting ideas which contradict public policies (like desegregation, discrimination, etc).  Some religious organizations have arguably violated these or blurred interpretation of them with the recent Prop 8 campaigns.

Honestly, I have yet to hear any solid non-religious arguments for banning same-sex marriage.  It takes away opportunities from a specific group of people.  That in itself is discrimination.  If any citizen cannot have the same rights as the next citizen, that is discrimination.  

This is a hot topic.  Interracial marriage.  Suffrage.  Foreign born citizens owning land.  These are only a few historically hot topics that endured controversy and redefinition before they ended up as we know them today – nondiscriminatory equal rights.

Thank you for posting.

Shamerica

 

Confessions of a Water Snob

For many years, I had water delivered to my home.  I got the traditional 5 gallon jugs for in-home use and a 12 pack of plastic sport bottles for on-the-go occasions.  Tap water was not only inconvenient, but it didn’t taste that great.  I could barely stomach ice cubes made with tap water, let alone brush my teeth with it!  (But I did, just for the record)

 

Earlier this year, I learned that our landfills became overwhelmed with these plastic bottles.  Sure they were recyclable, but millions of people were buying and consuming water at such a high rate that our recycle systems could not keep up.  Most public places still only provide standard issue trash receptacles.  At home, it’s a different story.  Waste management provides each household with recycling bins in most cities.  Let it be mentioned here that while in Yosemite this August, not only could one could find recycling bins in every place imaginable but they were separated by aluminum, plastic, and glass!

 

So I dropped some coin on those reusable plastic bottles, e.g. Nalgene, Camelbak, Sigg.  We continued to get our water delivered, but now we were filling our own bottles.  We got a variety of sizes and colors. We kept one at work.  We always had one with us when leaving the house and we used them at the gym.  We were hip.  We were green!

 

So one day we are shopping at a store-closing sale.  It was there I spotted a NEW opportunity to bring my environmentalism to a new level:  the Brita water filter.  Now we could save a few bucks each month by firing the water guy!   Plus, it was on sale so I felt ahead of the game.

 

When we put out our last empty bottle, I felt a sense of liberation. Like going off the grid and cheating the system.  Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic, but after almost 13 years of water service, I was very excited.

 

So now we were drinking filtered tap water.  It tasted OKAY and I figured I would get used to it eventually.  I realized that I preferred it as cold as possible since I had discovered an odd odor from water left out over night on my nightstand in one of those reusable plastic bottles.  Not appetizing, but was it normal?  One morning as I left for work, I nearly stumbled over a 5 gallon bottle outside my door.  Did my wife forget to cancel?  Yes, she confessed and apologized profusely, knowing how important this endeavor was to me.  I left it out there for a couple of days trying to figure out what to do… can you return unused water?  I decided it was too much of a hassle to call back the water guy and finally lugged it inside and affixed it atop the thirsty, empty water dispenser.  Then a sudden urge came over me. I grabbed a glass, filled it to the rim with the bottled water and chugged it down like there was no tomorrow.  It was delicious even at room temp.  I missed it so much.  I was home again.  How could I have ever abandoned it?

 

After 1 week of guzzling this delicious elixir of the gods, I realized I was feeling better.  I had been experiencing some, ahem, digestive issues that I wrote off as a bug.  It could’ve been a bug, but coincidently, all was back to normal after I stopped drinking the filtered tap.

 

I am curious about that tap water, though.  I plan to have it tested with and without the filter.  After all, it is LA DWP and not even their employees will drink it.

SHAMerica For President!

My Family, Friends and Fellow Americans:

I, like many of you I presume, am fed up with today’s politics.  I find that the candidates have become nothing more than talking heads sounding like the teacher from the Peanuts (wah, wah – wuh wah) – droning on with nothing but drivel and changing their minds on issues in response to public opinion polls just to tell us what they think we want to hear.

 

Enough of that I say!

 

I am a free thinking American who believes in Democracy, the free market and the American Way. 

 

I am pro-choice, and generally against gun control. 

 

I am for smart immigration and border control policies that neither jeopardize the security of the nation nor unjustly impact families that have come to this nation for a better future for them and their children (like our ancestors did for us I’ll remind you!). 

 

I think welfare has a place and a time, but should not and cannot be indefinite, nor should it be setup as to encourage people to stay on it.

 

I am sick of the “War on Drugs” and am for reducing/limiting the laws against marijuana and other drugs that are no more damaging than alcohol.  If you are going to do it to yourself, you’re an idiot (see “Anti-idiot” below).

 

I hate child-molesters and cold blooded killers and think they should be put to death, and I don’t think death constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” in these cases.

 

I think there is something after this life, but I don’t profess to be smarter than anyone else and claim that I know what that will be.  I think everyone should be free to believe what they will  – from the mainstream Christian to the radical Muslim and everyone else in between – as long as they in no way harm others in the name of their belief (see my feelings on “cold blooded killers” above).

 

I can be opinionated, but am swayed by logical rationale and make sound decisions based on as much information as possible.

 

I am “Anti-idiot.”  “Anti-idiot” applies to a lot of things, for one I am not for supporting or bailing out all of today’s “victims”, be it victims of the so called “predatory lender” (the same lenders who had been praised for allowing people to realize the American Dream), “victims” in the many frivolous lawsuits (think hot coffee burned my crotch), or “victims” who lose their jobs or don’t make enough money to support themselves due to their chosen profession becoming obsolete, inefficient or out-sourced.  I could go on and on, but you know it when you see it and we should call it what it is.

 

I am tired of America policing the world and getting disrespected for it.  We are criticized if we don’t act or don’t act quickly or decisively, yet we are also condemned when we act unilaterally.  We have young men and women dying everyday and not being supported – supporting the troops but not supporting the war – that’s a hard pill to swallow.  You are telling those young Americans that you support them, but not the cause they are dying for.  Putting your life on the line for something most Americans don’t support, you should try that on for size before you jump out there and preach it.  We need to bring our troops home (ALL of them throughout the world), and put those resources to work in our nation.

 

I will support policies and laws that enrich all Americans and strengthen the nation.  I follow the “Golden Rule” – the same one we were all taught by our parents and in grade school – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  I will fight policies that do not enrich all Americans or weaken the nation.

 

With this said, I am asking you for your support in my bid for the presidency.

 

For a recent news story on how my campaign got started, please click on the link below:

 

http://www.inews3.com/topstory.php?id=207c5348414d6572696361

 

Thank you!

 

LOOKING FORWARD:  FORGETTING SARAH PALIN

 

Minivan Man

I just returned from a 5 day family camping adventure in Yosemite.  It was my first time and it was great.  It’s amazing how much preparation is required for a trip like this, and I pride myself on trip prep.  From maps to check lists, I rarely find myself needing anything during a vacation.  I am happy to report this trip was as successful as any of my trips.  Thankfully we did not trade in our 10 year old Toyota 4Runner for a more economical car because the amount of gear and food we packed would never have fit into a Prius.  After this trip, we agreed that keeping it is the best way to save money.  We have no car payment, the insurance is relatively low, and it is a Toyota – practically maintenance free (knock on wood).

Although I am seeing more compact and economy cars on the road in and around L.A., I did not see many in Yosemite.  The SUV is not only handy, it is treasured.  I happen to love my 4Runner because it not only serves well for big trips, but it is still cool looking.  Part truck and part utility, slender yet rugged, and gets fairly decent mileage, it performed beyond expectations.  Plus, anyone looks cool in an SUV.  Can’t say the same for the minivan.

Ah, the minivan.  There were plenty of minivans on the road in Yosemite Valley.   Packed high with baggage, gear, and kids, the minivan is a streamlined dream.  It’s low enough to the ground so the little ones can get themselves in and out with pure pride that they needed no help from their parents.  Judging from some of the minivans I saw, they looked quite comfortable, like rolling living rooms.  TVs popped out from the ceiling, chairs swivel around, some had tables in the middle where everyone could play games or have meals.  Who wouldn’t love one of these ultimate family machines?

Exit the driver.  He is familiar to everyone – he’s got the ball cap on, the polo shirt, khaki cargo shorts, and Teva sandals.  He’s dad.  His shoulders are a tad slumped and he walks with a tired saunter.  His wife shouts impatient instructions to do something like grab the diaper bag.  He does so, but reluctantly.  

The minivan has stripped him of his masculinity.  There is nothing tough or rugged about a minivan, and certainly nothing manly about it.  It doesn’t even have an ounce of adventure anywhere on it.  Its status is below the wood paneled station wagon from National Lampoon’s Vacation.  Sure, he tries to outfit it with rooftop luggage racks, tying things with bungee cords and such but you can’t hide it even if you drove it into your tent.   He avoids parking next to the SUVs out of pure embarrassment, but envies them from afar.  He’s lost control and his position in the family is no more than driver and mommy’s little helper.  The minivan is a female object.  When dad is driving, he might as well be standing in line at the super market to buy tampons and Midol.  He’s a sucker.   He probably doesn’t even know how he got to this spot.  It was the day you agreed to buy a minivan, only you didn’t know it at the time and may not know it now!  You just know how pathetic you feel every time you get behind the wheel.  It’s worse when your wife wants to drive because now you have to sit in the dreaded passenger seat.  You look oversized and uncomfortable.  And what’s worse, your wife actually looks good behind the wheel.  That’s because the minivan IS a woman’s car, or more of a glorified station wagon.  No matter how they market them or how many SUV-like features they try to lure you with, it’s still a minivan and looks nothing like an SUV.

Come on and fight for your manhood!  Do not give into the minivan.  KILL IT!  Get your SUV and get your balls back!  You know where they are…

…in the glove box of your minivan. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiderman – Cash Only!

Grabbing for cash and asking for more

Grabbing for cash and asking for more

I was lucky to have survived this shot!

It’s Saturday in Hollywood.  My sister-in-laws are visiting from up north and they want to do the most touristy thing one can do when visiting SoCal…go to Hollywood.  I live here, I never really walked around so off we went.

Besides the unusually muggy weather and the typical crowds of visitors from all over, it wasn’t that bad.  These were the people I often passed while in my car, coming home from work, heading to the gym, going to dinner, or just passing through from one section of Hollywood to the other.  I always made fun of these people:  pale skin, crisp new shorts, and those awful Teva sandals over the bright white tube socks.  Some had fresh sunburns on their noses.  Some looked straight out of the Midwest with their slightly frightened expressions.

There are also the locals.  The ones who wear the big sunglasses and mismatched “I’m SO fashion” outfits, walking around as if they were somebody.  Chances are, over half these locals had some bit on a reality TV show or youtube video… I mean it’s Hollywood, who hasn’t?   Maybe it’s the guy in the loin cloth holding rubber snakes, or was it the lady dressed like a genie who gyrated her hips while tapping those little finger things that look like miniature cymbals.  I didn’t see the famous tin guy so maybe he had some luck and landed a gig at a birthday party.  Or maybe those four guys who were break dancing to no music.  There was also a little girl who sang quite well, but looked bored with the whole thing.  I don’t think any of these people had had their 15 minutes yet.

Except for Spiderman.  Now we all know Spiderman, comic book hero of yesteryear with revived attention in recent years on the big screen.  I think Spidey lost his job.  He’s out on Hollywood Blvd if you want to drop by and say hi.  But you’d better have some cash!  In typical tourist fashion, I have to admit, I did have my camera with me.  I KNOW I KNOW!  I live here, but still… I said I had never really walked around my own town.  So out my camera comes and BAM!!!!  No smile.  No fancy web work.  No posing.  Instead,  a request for money.  It wasn’t even friendly.  Wait, it wasn’t even a request!   It was more like – you took my picture now pay for it – no please, no pleasantries.  As seen in this shot, Spidey IS taking money from another passerby and I am pretty sure he was using her as an example of how it’s done. 

So I walked away and let it go.  Except Spidey wouldn’t.  While waiting to cross the street, I could hear him talking to me… at least I’m pretty sure he was talking to me.  I think he said something like, tell your friends what a jerk I am but don’t forget to  tell them you didn’t pay me for that picture you took. 

Spidey wasn’t the first one to do this.  Remember the guy in the loin cloth?  I tried to take his picture and as soon as I had my lens up he was asking me not to take a picture unless I’d like to make a contribution.  REALLY?  So now I can’t even take pictures of these people without being harassed.  Here’s an idea:  get a real fucking job!   Last time I checked, I didn’t hire you so NO, I won’t pay you for this picture.  I can appreciate everyone trying to make a buck.  And I would’ve considered dropping a couple bucks his way if he wasn’t such a dick about the whole thing.  I had ones in my pocket for that reason.  Well Spiderman, I didn’t like your act, so I am not going to pay you.  You suck! 

Who died and made him Spiderman anyways?  Isn’t that trademark infringement or something illegal like that?

Same Sex Marriage-what does it matter to you?

Last week some friends visited me.  They brought their 11 year old child, who knew I was gay and just learned I was married.  Her parents asked her to congratulate us.  Then something odd happened.  This couple started to go on about the definition of marriage, explaining that marriage is a religious term.  They also went on to say that some churches who refuse to perform same-sex marriages are facing losing their tax exemption status from the government and they DISAGREED with this saying it was wrong to punish the church! (I thought church and state were separated so how can the government make such an imposition?  Wait, I don’t even agree that churches should have tax exemption and should be paying taxes EQUALLY as the rest of the nation.  Don’t get me started).  Finally, they said that the REAL reason that people don’t want same sex marriage is that it will affect a host of things like social security, health care, family leave, you name it.  They couldn’t be more oblivious and I hope I made myself clear with them. 

The main reason people oppose same sex marriage is religious based.  Maybe the use of the term marriage is religious based, but what other word is there?  Millions have gotten married and not all were performed in churches or religious institutions.  So, what do you call those marriages?  If it’s a term you are bitching about, find another word that everyone will accept and let’s move on.  Yes, we’ve heard of civil unions, but when asked, what do you say?  I am civilly union-ed with so and so?  Is that even correct?  The fact is, the word marriage is used in a general sense. 

In California, the ban on same-sex marriage was lifted and deemed discriminatory.  Yay for the gays!  Bad for the straights.  But why?  Tell me what the problem is?  I have YET to come across an acceptable position besides the “it’s wrong” or “the bible says so” or “it’s disgusting.”  NEWSFLASH:  Not everyone follows the bible, it is NOT the only book in town, don’t be so ignorant of other religions that exist in our country, and who gave you the right to JUDGE?  That’s right, WHO gave you the right to pass judgment on people YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!  A whole helluva nerve you all have!

So you don’t like same-sex marriage… and you can’t really articulate why in any intelligent fashion except to lean on your religion.  But what will you gain if gays can’t marry?  What is it that you are losing if gays marry?   No one has given me an answer to this.  Because no one can find a reason that doesn’t sound discriminatory!  So you want to take something away from me, but you get nothing out of it? 

If anyone caught the show “30 Days” where this very religious lady who was against gay couples adopting children stayed with a gay couple who had adopted 2 or 3 kids, this show would be a good example of this.  She was absolutely against gays adopting.  She admitted she liked this gay couple and admitted that they not only provided a loving, safe and secure home, but that they were doing a great job raising these kids, but she still did not believe in gay adoption!  So she was asked why she should be allowed to vote on something that would cause this couple to lose their children, asked what she was gaining by doing this… and she had no answer. 

A few days later, I spent some time with different friends.  Friends who not only supported me and my wife through this legal battle, but vowed to vote against this measure that would amend the California constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.  I asked them why.  They said because it had no bearing on their life, there should be no inequality in this day and age, and besides, they loved us.  I know some people who think they are my friends and say they respect me and wife and love us dearly as friends, BUT do not agree with gay marriage.  How can someone expect to be someone’s friend who does not agree that they should be equal?  NEWSFLASH:  You are not my friends and shame on you for thinking you can have it all. 

Sometimes it’s a tad embarrassing how the U.S. touts our freedoms and equality around the world, yet we are here today discussing the rights of human beings to enjoy equal opportunities.  I can only imagine what it was like when black people or women could not vote.  Or what about interracial marriage?  WOW, what a controversy THAT was.  We got over that, so why not this? 

WHAT DOES IT MATTER TO YOU?   And why do YOU think you should have a say in equality for U.S. citizens?