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Name: Schmengie
Gender: Male
Hometown: Podunk, FL
Home country: USA
Current location: Various.
Member since: Mon Aug 4, 2003, 03:56 PM
Number of posts: 23,757

Journal Archives

You're wrong.

It doesn’t take a “sick, depraved society” to give such a man power by any means.

All it takes is a significant number of a society to have been convinced it has been victimized by people of lessor stature, and therefore to blame those people for their lot in life. The right wing media, starting with the abolishment of “The Fairness Doctrine” - from Rush Limbaugh to Fox News and on down, has been exceedingly effective in convincing millions of decent, hard working Americans, people of modest means, who care about their families and their communities, to vote against their better interests.

This is politics 101. And I have never studied it! It just seems irreducibly rational.

The leaders of conservative political ideology in this country have known since the days of FDR that their perspective is a losing one if the masses are allowed to have a free, unfettered say (Edit here: And be well educated! That is important. Can’t have a smart voting populace, capable of critical thinking, not by any means). FDR was elected FOUR FUCKING TIMES! And the conservatives stood up and took notice and realized they just couldn’t allow that to happen again, so they shoved through the 22nd Amendment to make sure those pesky workers could never do that again! BTW, shortly followed by the Taft Hartley Act ensuring the utter throttling of the labor movement in this country.

So they haven’t allowed it, certainly not to any large degree.

Until now. And even now, it is a serious struggle.

Want to see some serious change in this country?

Make Gerrymandering illegal.
Make voting easy, simple, accessible, a paid day off, occur over multiple days and most of all, MANDATORY. (Punishable by no more than a $10 parking ticket type offense, but the incentive needs to be there, like it is in Australia )
Repeal the Taft Hartley Act and make “Right to work” laws (a misnomer if there ever was one) illegal
Do away with the Electoral College.
Do away with elected Judgeships.
Raise the minimum wage to the $20 it needs to be.
Overturn the tax incentive given to companies that put “Shareholders first”. Put workers and communities first.
Stop giving half the fucking federal budget to companies whose sole purpose it to build mechanisms designed to slaughter other humans. Fuck that bullshit, make-my-dick-hard militarism we have grown so fucking wedded to. I would MUCH rather have my taxes pay to allow a 15 year old teenager from central Texas an abortion than I am to give $10 million a year to the CEO of Raytheon.

That’s enough.

No one will see this anyway.
Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Sun Nov 15, 2020, 12:02 AM (9 replies)

That and then some

People shouldn't underestimate the number of people who have been waiting all their lives for a Trump to come along. A candidate who just doesn't give a shit and hates all the people they hate. If Biden doesn't tick every single box the American electorate wants/needs him to check in the next 4 years, look out.

It is imperative that the GOTV campaigns do not let up, and the need to engage the young people, millions of whom will turn 18 every single year, into taking part in elections.

Our side of the political spectrum thought we took major strides forward when we elected Mr. Obama twice.

To be sure, we did, but the other side is not going to go down without a fight.

I have said this before, but conservative political ideology can not win on a national scale unless they cheat, and they are VERY good at cheating.

Underestimate his chances of launching an effective campaign in 2024 at your own peril.
Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Thu Nov 12, 2020, 08:50 PM (1 replies)

As an OTR driver with better than 30 years behind the wheel, here's my take;

1) As you state, this is from a Trade Publication, which means it's audience/readership is by definition, slim.

2) As someone who has been a trucker as long as I have, and have talked to and listened to many hundreds of drivers all across this country, I can say without reservation, that the vast majority of truck drivers are morons. OK..let me rephrase; Most truckers are not highly educated (it doesn't take a post graduate degree to pass a CDL exam), not very well informed in general, have a skewed perspective of history, and most of them tend to be "conservative" in their thinking, not to mention many of the white guys certainly, have serious racist leanings (Ever notice how many Confederate flag stickers there are on trucks? Or at least, used to be? Finally trucking companies are beginning to realize that the message their trucks send is as important as the service they offer). They are also, on average, overwhelmingly Christian, not very well read, do not come from upwardly mobile families, haven't traveled overseas, and tend to have a very narrow worldview.

2a) This industry attracts nitwits, plain and simple, AND I AM A TRUCK DRIVER!! Is every single truck driver a moron? No, of course not. But I guarantee you that if you got into any kind of lengthy, intellectual conversation with an average American truck driver, it wouldn't take you long to realize who you were talking to.

3) As stated in a response above, a HUGE number of them do listen to Limbaugh, Levin, O'Reilly and Hannity on the radio, nonstop. The advent of satellite radio has done away with the need for constantly having to change radio stations every hundred miles or so, and there are several right wing or right leaning stations to choose from on Sirius. As such, their worldview is constantly reinforced.

4) Drivers who work for firms based outside the Northeast have been bitching about having to drive in New England for as long as I have been OTR, and for me that started 1987. Many, MANY companies will advertise in their recruiting literature "No New York" or "Bonus for N.E. Trips" or similar. So while this article does not mention New York City specifically, keep in mind that a large percentage of the nations truckers have a bad perspective of that region anyway.

5) Truckers tend to hate Law Enforcement as much, if not more, than anyone else. No one likes having to cross weigh stations and think inspections are a waste of time and an infringement on their ability to make money. Hell, one of the primary reasons for putting a CB in your truck back in the day was so you could find out where the cops were so you wouldn't get caught speeding!

These quotes from the article prove how contradictory and hypocritical this perspective is;
( Italicized comments are mine)
“…if something was to happen and you have to take matters into your own hands, and then you risk being prosecuted for protecting yourself.”

Seriously? How often have you had to "take matters into your own hands"? Do you have huge lettering on the side of your trailer that says "Please come and rob me!"?

“This is not an area you need to act fearless and think you you’d look like a fool for saying no…Imagine what kind of fool you look like for driving into a hot spot and putting your life in danger.”

"Hot spot?!? I swear some of these guys must think that the entire country is on fire and going to stay that way.

“I will not deliver to an area with a disbanded police department. My life matter and I do this for my family. We are already at the mercy of these towns and cities with laws and hate against us for parking, getting a meal or even using a restroom.”

This one takes the fucking cake, without a doubt! "I get hassled by the cops so I won't go where the cops have been disbanded!" What a fucking dipshit.

“Simple. We may not like it all the time, but laws and order is necessary.”

Except when the speed limit is lower than I want to drive, or the 4 wheeler in front of me is driving too slow, or when I am overweight and need to go around a scalehouse" Dumbass.

“Most places we go already can be dicy an about only time you see a cop is when lights is on behind you.”

"MOST places"? Seriously? What the ever loving fuck are you talking about? He's full of shit, he just answered that question in a way that helps the narrative.

“For my own safety and security of my customers’ loads, I have already informed my dispatcher that I will refuse all loads to cities that have defunded their police departments.”

Then you're a fucking moron, plain and simple and if I was your dispatcher, I would tell you to clean out your fucking truck.

Sure, if I was given a load that delivered on 16th Street NW in DC last week, it would have been a serious concern, but other than the very specific areas where large protests have been occuring, I have nothing to fear from people who are protesting for reforms I am in favor of!

In conclusion, I wouldn't put too much stock into this at all. The overwhelming majority of freight will continue to be delivered, and the only drivers that won't deliver to a town like Minneapolis or LA are the ones that their dispatchers already know are a pain in the ass to work with, anyway.

Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Sat Jun 13, 2020, 03:26 PM (2 replies)

If you're not hearing those ideas, then perhaps you aren't listening in the right places.

We need massive police reform in this country, and there are already numerous examples of how that can be done, both in large municipalities and small.

The entire judicial system needs overhaul, and the movement to undertake that has begun.

It's late and I am not going to take the time to research articles and post them for you, but the information is out there.

People are finally waking up to the knowledge that the police are out of control in this country, something I have been saying for several years.

As far as the economics of this country is concerned, this needs to be the next wave of protests, frankly.

There are only a few ways to legitimately promote sustainable economic growth, and the easiest is to raise wages, full stop.

Raising the minimum wage to $15/hr is a start. Google and understand the economic term "The Velocity of Money"

Putting more money in the hands of people that live paycheck to paycheck will do untold wonders for the economy. Proper tax reform that induces the very wealthy to reinvest and raise salaries and wages for workers means those workers have more money to spend, increasing demand, and so on.

The fucking cops need to stop being assholes about the job they do, go back to being "Peace Officers" instead of "Law Enforcement" and quit whining about their lot in life. There is nothing more telling about how fucked up the mentality of the police is currently than this video of that asshole President of the Police Unions in New York, Mike O'Meara, whining about how badly they're being treated, as if he wasn't aware that the folks he represents, harass, illegally detain and arrest, beat the shit out of, and kill citizens on a regular basis;

For better context, here's a mashup of portions of that assholes speech with scenes of NYPD beating and pepper spraying protestors.;

In short, this country needs to follow the Camden, New Jersey model. Methodically and carefully tear it down and start over

Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Fri Jun 12, 2020, 12:27 AM (0 replies)

You know what I want? I want one of these MAGA assholes to describe their ideal future to me.

Actually, I don't want to hear from your typical "Everything is Obama's fault and why wasn't he in the Oval Office on 9/11 instead of playing golf?" nitwit, rather one of these fucking nimrods;

Or one of these women;

I really want to know and understand what it is they think this country would look and be like if they had all their dreams come true.

Just white folks? Get rid of everyone that isn't Christian and of Northern European heritage?

No government at all? No regulations for clean water or air, or anything? What?

Or do they want just enough government to punish the people THEY don't like? (edit) Like poor, pregnant women?

I am not being facetious in the least. I truly want to know.

Is their idea of a political utopia, one that means no one gets any help at all if they need it?
That if you get cancer and can't afford to see a doctor...well...just fucking die? Is that it? If you lose your job through no fault of your own, too fucking bad? That everyone, and particularly those pesky brown people, need to get on their knees and beg for mercy whenever a cop even LOOKS at them crossways?

I get that many so called "conservatives" LOATH the idea that their tax dollars might possibly be given to someone they think doesn't deserve it, but it strikes me as absurd that they don't bat a fucking eyelash when the CEO of a Military Contractor makes ten times what their own Representative makes, all on the taxpayers dime.

I really want to understand what it is they think America should and would be like if they had their way, 100%

Because they have been in control in large part for the last 3 years, and on and off for the last 200, and this fucking track record most certainly isn't a shining example of conservatism, whatever the fuck that's supposed to be.

Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Sat May 30, 2020, 08:45 PM (6 replies)


LOL! Seriously, where do you get that idea?

2020 is an outlier, an extraordinary circumstance, but any and all extra inventory will work it's way through the system.

The piece you quoted said "it had been estimated that international car sales were on track to reach 80 million in 2019"

The key word is REACH. That does not mean all those cars have already been produced! Come on! You must understand that!

Plants have been shut down for weeks all over North America and all over the world. The global industry will not build 70 or 80 million cars this year.

You are conflating what was projected as if it has already been done.

Look...I was involved in the Automobile business, in both marketing and promotions as well as transport for over 25 years and during that time I saw just about all aspects of the industry, from manufacturing, testing, retail and the secondary market. I'm not going to sit here and spend an hour typing out a tutorial on how the auto supply chain operates, but please, take my word for it; No manufacturer could possibly stay in business if they built automobiles that didn't sell, and just sat in a lot somewhere, by the millions, as you seem to suggest, only to crush them and recycle them. It just can not and does not happen that way.

I don't know where you got this idea, but I have a sneaking suspicion. There was a Facebook meme that went around a while back, featuring numerous photos showing large lots packed with cars, one was even an airport, and it was suggesting that car builders just build cars willy nilly and park them, as if the whole industry is a scam. It was nonsense and utterly untrue.

Pictures like this for instance, were used to suggest that car makers are pulling a scam, and that they build too many and just park them;

When in fact, that is a photo of flood and otherwise DAMAGED cars all from one event - Super Storm Sandy in 2012.

There are occasions where a particular model doesn't sell as well as hoped, and hundreds or even thousands of them sit at dealers or in shipping yards for sometimes in excess of a year. But even those get sold eventually, either through drastic markdowns or via the nationwide auction system, the latter BTW, during normal times in the US alone, handles MILLIONS of used cars a month, sold to dealers and then to consumers.

I'm sorry, but you are laboring under a misapprehension. The automobile makers of the world do not build millions of extra cars that go unsold each year.

Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Sat May 30, 2020, 02:24 AM (1 replies)

In the Securities Industry there exists what is known as a "U4"

which is the "Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer". That form and the database into which the information is entered follows a Stock Broker throughout his/her career, recording every single complaint against the broker or the firm that is filed by a client and must be updated with each complaint filed and every time a broker is hired by another firm. The database is also, and this is the really important part, accessible and searchable by the public. FOR ANY WRONGDOING OF ANY KIND! As long as that wrongdoing is reported by the offended party. So if a broker blatantly rips off your Aunt Polly, or even suggests or tries to steer her toward investing in something unsuitable for her, and Polly doesn't say a word about it to Dewey, Cheatham and Howe, Securities Brokers, it doesn't go on the U4. Infractions need to be reported for the system to work, and for the most part, they are.

This country needs something along those lines for cops. If each and every oath taking police officer in the country also had something like a U4 that was publicly searchable, that followed him from department to department, that was updated on a weekly, monthly or as needed basis, it might just lead to more accountability. Something like a cop sleeping on the job, captured on film, or reckless driving, or as in this case, physical abuse of a "suspect", particularly resulting in injury or death, or violation of, or utter ignorance of, as in many cases, civil or other rights, or ...you get the point - ALL of it can and should go on that cops "U4" or whatever it would be called. Provided any complaint is indeed legitimate.

We DESPERATELY need this sort of thing in this country. The Securities industry learned long ago that trust in it's institutions and dealings was important, if not critical to their ongoing operation, and while they haven't always been successful in keeping that trust, for the most part the Brokerage Industry is well regulated. Of course, regulations and oversight are only as effective as the enforcing entity, whoever that should be.

There is no way in hell a police department should be allowed to investigate itself for wrongdoing, and this is particularly evident the smaller the department. The biggest threat to the safety of individuals when encountering police in otherwise innocuous situations seems to be simply not giving them the information they want you to give them, even though you are under no legal obligation to do it.

The police in this country are simply out of control, and if you don't acquiesce to every demand for obedience, you are immediately suspect and ultimately subject to intimidation and threat of bodily harm in the very least, and arrest and incarceration or even death at the most. Often for nothing more than "Contempt of Cop".

ALL police should be required immediately and without hesitation to answer the question "What is your Name and Badge Number?" and failure to do so should result in disciplinary action, up to and including loss of job. Once a citizen improperly questioned or harassed by a cop has attained that information, an immediate call to their supervisor with a complaint should instantly result in an entry on the officers U4 or equivalent.

Fuck these assholes, and fuck them again.

Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Tue May 26, 2020, 01:40 PM (1 replies)

Interesting recent announcement from the Powerball people, that reflects on bond yields....

and the slowdown of ticket sales.

I understand that the Powerball Lottery isn't exactly an investment vehicle (!) but the fact that this story has direct ties to the Treasury Bond market is what I feel makes it relevant. If anyone has a valid argument why this is not subject matter relevant for this group, or takes issue with this being posted here, let me know and I'll delete it. - AHIA

It's been several years now, but they made a change a while back where the jackpot would start at $40 million, and each subsequent rollover would be minimum of $10 mil. This was done when the odds changed rather dramatically. They added one digit to the Powerballs themselves or expanded the field of 5 numbers to pick from - I can't recall which. When they did that it increased the odds of winning from something like 175 million to one to over 220 mil to 1, and as a result the jackpots reached levels never before seen. Remember the jackpot of over a billion a couple years ago?


Here's their latest press release;


April 2, 2020

Update: Game sales and interest rates to determine advertised Powerball jackpot

Guaranteed starting jackpot amounts & minimum jackpot increases to be eliminated

The Powerball Product Group today announced its decision to determine Powerball’s advertised jackpot based on game sales and interest rates. Following the April 8 drawing, guaranteed starting jackpot amounts and minimum jackpot increases will be eliminated, and future jackpot increases will be determined and announced by the Product Group prior to each drawing. Previously, Powerball® jackpots started at $40 million (annuity) and increased by a minimum of $10 million (annuity) between drawings.

“These changes are necessary to ensure that ticket sales can support the Powerball jackpot and other lower-tier cash prizes,” said Gregg Mineo, Powerball Product Group Chairman and Maine Lottery Director. “Our number one priority is making sure that the Powerball game can continue to assist lotteries in raising proceeds for their beneficiaries.”

The Powerball Product Group announced plans last week to reduce the starting jackpot to $20 million (annuity) and minimum jackpot increases to $2 million (annuity) between drawings. Those changes were scheduled to go into effect after the current jackpot was won. However, due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Powerball Product Group revisited the topic and decided Powerball’s advertised jackpot should be determined by game sales and interest rates effective following the drawing next Wednesday.

“Since last week, more states and cities have asked their residents to stay at home, which has affected normal consumer behaviors and Powerball game sales,” said Mineo. “In response to the public health crisis, interest rates have declined. As a result, additional game sales are necessary to fund comparable jackpot amounts.”

The advertised Powerball jackpot for Saturday’s drawing is a guaranteed $180 million. If the jackpot rolls, it will grow to a guaranteed $190 million for the April 8 drawing. If the jackpot is won on Saturday night, it will reset to a guaranteed $20 million for the April 8 drawing and continue to grow based off sales and interest rates.

Powerball tickets are $2 per play. Tickets are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are broadcast live every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET from the Florida Lottery draw studio in Tallahassee. More than half of all proceeds from the sale of a Powerball ticket remain in the jurisdiction where the ticket was sold.

So basically they are concerned about liquidity. If you read through their website, you can find what they require of the annuity they buy to pay out the total Jackpot. The jackpot is ALWAYS noted as "Estimated" because they can not go out and buy the annuity until all the ticket purchases for a winning draw have settled. At that point they put up the cash they have on hand for a bidding process, and the various interested parties - typically insurance companies who offer Annuity products - bid for the opportunity to underwrite the annuity. Once that is done they can say specifically what the actual payout is. If the person holding a winning ticket chooses to take the cash option (and most do) then they simply receive the amount of money that has resulted from the sale of tickets up to that point, minus the operating expenses, etc. and of course, minus taxes.

The annuity that is purchased on behalf of the winner has a specific type and name, that being a "Fixed, Period Certain Annuity with annual payments, a 4% annual step-up and a return of principle provision".


The principle balance is fixed, not variable, meaning they don't invest in securities that can rise in value like stocks. It is strictly made up of bonds and similar fixed income securities that have specific maturity dates.
It is a "Period Certain" type, and that period is 30 years (Or 29, depending on how you look at it)
Powerball has (or had) a requirement that the annuity company must structure the annuities to increase the payout by 4% every year, as a hedge against inflation.
The return of principle provision means that at the end of the last payment, the balance is zero. All the principle has been returned to the holder.

They specify that the underlying securities must be US Treasuries and other Government backed bonds.

Back in 2006 when the 30 year Treas had a 5% coupon, the "Cash Option" figure was ALWAYS less than 50% of the "Estimated Jackpot", often by a substantial amount, depending on the yields of the various Treasury bonds.

The reason is kind of simple, really. A 30 year bond that has a 3.33% coupon, will pay about $1000 in interest payments over the lifetime of the security. If the coupon rate and the yield is higher, they don't need to buy as many to satisfy a given income stream, so the cash option amount falls below 50% of the jackpot. When that same security is yielding below 3.33%, the cash option has been higher than 50% of the jackpot. If you go to their website right now, you'll see the jackpot is $22 mil, and the cash option is $17.7, obviously WAY more than 50%

Right now bond yields are so low, that because of the dramatic drop off in people simply going to the convenience store and buying a lottery ticket, they can not guarantee the large jackpots contingent solely on bond yields. They have to make sure ticket sales are there as well.

It boils down to a math equation that prior to this point, they have never had to worry about.

Just thought some of you might find this interesting.

Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Mon Apr 13, 2020, 04:48 PM (11 replies)

I'm having a COPD episode coming on, the first in 2 years

Great timing, huh?

I quit smoking 2 years ago on the 12th of next month, or rather, 4/12/18 was the last cigarette I smoked. I had seriously cut down, to only a drag now and then, bummed off someone. Last pack I bought was in February of 18.

Prior to that I had a serious episode about every 6 to 8 months, and once a year or so from about 2013 I had to go to an ER because I couldn't breath. The last cigarette started an episode that put me in the hospital for 7 days, and I thought I had seriously screwed the pooch. But I recovered, and haven't had even the inkling of another episode for almost 2 years.

Up until about 4 days ago, that is.

I don't think I ever posted about it on DU because....well....why would I want to tell all you folks about something like that? And perhaps more importantly, why bother now? One thing is for sure, I'm not going to put up an OP about it, so I'll just leave this here on the tail end of a thread that will be soon forgotten.

But the answer to your question, edhopper, is ...

Absolutely without a fucking doubt. I'm a 60 year old COPD patient with sleep apnea, who happens to be a truck driver and has been around numerous individuals over the course of the last 6 weeks who may or may not have been taking any precautions whatsoever. On the 17th of this month I flew back from California where I was running a relay for a mail route, my portion of which was from near Bakersfield up to the Bay Area and back, and I was out there for ten days.

And now, with each passing hour, I have a creeping COPD flare-up that is getting worse. I've talked to my Pulmonologist today and got a script for Prednisone, so hopefully it will stabilize and back off. In case anyone that reads this isn't aware of what a COPD flareup feels like, it is as if I have one of these around my lungs and it is being tightened a little each day.

I have no fever, and I don't have any other symptoms, and for all I know, this could be just one more in the long line of other episodes I've had over the course of the last 7 years that I survived just fine.

I just have no idea at all. But god dammit all to hell about the timing, huh?

I ain't afraid of dying, I just don't want it to be painful or traumatic.

Luckily, I just got a haircut, so there is that.

Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Sun Mar 29, 2020, 08:43 PM (2 replies)

Like quality cookware? Interested in how fine cookware is made? Check this guy out;

Hey folks! Been a while since I posted in here, but I recently found this YouTube channel, and one of the features is this Aerospace Engineer turned Copper Cookware maker.

Check out this 12 minute vid and be as fascinated as I was;

Posted by A HERETIC I AM | Thu Mar 19, 2020, 08:50 PM (4 replies)
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