Posted on August 19, 2014
My dislike of America’s lax gun laws and second amendment rights complete with gun show loopholes has been well publicized since relocating to the United States six years ago. But this story is truly shocking; excuse the language, but why the FUCK would someone pay a reported $200 to allow their nine year old daughter to fire an Uzi, a 9mm sub-machine gun? The end result being a dead instructor and more than likely a deeply traumatized child and the police has decided that criminal charges were not appropriate, gun culture in the US is out of control in my opinion!
The bigger question should be why on Earth does local and federal law allow minors access firearms at all? In 30 US states including the state I live in, Kansas has no lower age limit on shotgun and rifle ownership, yes, you heard that right, a 2 year old could own and fire a shotgun or rifle, what the fuck is wrong with this country’s elected officials? In my opinion, it’s time for a massive overhaul of guns laws, first of which should be federalization of gun laws, then close the gun show loophole and require government mandated psychological evaluations before a firearm is sold.
I truly don’t understand why the second amendment can not be amended further to limit gun access with gun crime becoming more common plus the NRA nutcases stating on national TV that they need semi/auto weapons to defend themselves from the government. Somehow I think the government has something better than a SMG to fight with should the government want to attack it’s own people. In the United States, there are over 11,000 murders (homicide) each year and almost 800 deaths from accidental discharge of firearms, just using those two stats, that’s 32 deaths per day.
It also seems that law enforcement can’t be trusted with guns either with the two needless fatal shootings in the St Louis, MO area recently, Micheal Brown was shot six times in Ferguson, MO, twice in the head and then 10 days later, Kajieme Powell, who was known to have mental issues was shot dead by two officers in St Louis. It’s obvious that guns present a clear danger in today’s society.
As a father of two; every day I seriously consider not sending my children to school for the fear of some gun crazed lunatic shooting up their schools. After the Sandy Hook shooting, the president and vice president promised swift change, but nothing changed. After each school shooting, there is outrage, then the outrage fades and it all gets forgotten, that is; until the next school shooting.
I am still fucking angry about Sandy Hook and all the school shootings that came before and after. Government in this country are pussies; they are afraid of the backlash from the NRA and other idiotic pro gun organizations. C’mon grow a set of balls and regulate gun sales properly federally.
I call on President Obama and Vice President Biden to use some of their executive powers to enforce tighter rules on guns in the United States. The original meaning of the right to bare arms has been twisted by modern society, time for an update to the second amendment to bring it in line with the realities of modern society, 220 years have passed since the second amendment, wake up America!
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo benefited from the in-fighting between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes camp to claim his third victory of the year at Spa Francorchamps ahead of Rosberg and Williams’ Valteri Bottas in what has to be considered a controversial race in Belgium.
The controversy came courtesy of Mercedes when Rosberg tried to drive around the outside of Hamilton at Les Combes on lap 2, but instead of yielding to the race leader, Rosberg left his nose in a position where it was going to be hit when Hamilton took the racing line. Some will say racing incident; but from my understanding of the rules; the chasing driver has to yield unless he is more than half way alongside the leading driver, in which case, the leading driver needs to give space. Rosberg was not halfway alongside Hamilton; his front wheel was in line with Hamilton’s rear wheel.
The net result is that a certain 1-2 finish went begging as Hamilton suffered a left rear puncture, which ultimately saw him retire from the race with a few laps remaining and Rosberg needed to pit for a new front wing which cost him and Mercedes victory, finishing 3.3 seconds behind Ricciardo.
Williams’ Bottas impressed again with his forth podium in five races, putting his much more experienced team mate Felipe Massa in the shade once more; the Brazilian could only manage 13th place, 10 places behind the young Finnish driver, given a race winning car, Bottas is a future WDC.
In the Ferrari camp; Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth ahead of his more illustrious team mate Fernando Alonso, who could only manage seventh place in Spa. It just wasn’t Alonso’s day, he picked up a penalty immediately as mechanics struggled to get his car started on the grid, meaning his team were still on the grid when the 15 second warning sounded, which earned him a five second stop/go penalty which the Spaniard took during his first pit stop. Alonso did get some luck, getting promoted from eighth to seventh place because of Kevin Magnussen’s 20 second time penalty.
Jenson Button finished solidly in the points in Spa claiming sixth place, which should have been seventh but for McLaren team mate Magnussen’s time penalty which demoted the Dane to 12th. I am a Button fan and have been for a long time; but he really hasn’t impressed that much, he is beating his team mate in the points, but not by a large margin as you would expect from a 15 year veteran.
Sebastian Vettel, team mate of race winner, Ricciardo finished the race in fifth place after a late charge saw him pass, Alonos, Button and Magnussen. The four time world champion has been disappointing this season in general in comparison to relative rookie team mate Ricciardo who has claimed three victories and leads the German by 58 points, which indicates one of two things, either Sebastian was flattered by Red Bull’s previous cars or Daniel really is that great a driver!
I hate to say it Hamilton fans; but I really don’t think this will be his year. The Briton has had an incredible run of bad luck and now seemingly being deliberately taken out by his team mate this weekend. Hamilton claiming Rosberg admitted as much in the team debrief, which seemed to be backed up somewhat by Toto Wolff’s comments, although Rosberg has publicly denied the allegation. Whatever you choose to believe; the fact is that Rosberg has extended his lead over his Mercedes stablemate Hamilton to 29 points with his second place finish and Hamilton’s DNF.
2014 Belgian Grand Prix Results
Today, I got a text from my wife which read “I lost my position, I feel like a complete and total failure, I’m sorry”. My wife was made manager of the troubled property where she has served for two years as assistant manager four weeks ago and now she has been stripped of her position before being given a chance to prove her worth; I am fucking pissed because she was set-up to fail from the outset by the regional manager. My wife already has an inferiority complex due to her upbringing and this bullshit has just pushed her further under; and nothing I say will change the way she feels.
The bottom line here is that my wife did not fail, she was not given the tools to succeed; the property has zero money because of the regional manager / owners decisions over the past two years which put the property in this dire state. My wife was not allowed to make decisions at all; the regional manager, who is starting to go senile I might add, overrode her every decision, how can she be blamed for what has happened over the past month when she hasn’t been allowed to manage?
The same regional manager was acting as a general contractor overseeing tradesmen getting down units back up, doing a piss poor job I might add, sending tradesmen to units that had already been completed and worse, sending them to units that people had already moved into. There’s more; he also was refusing to do make readies on units that people were scheduled to move into; basically saying that unit was not scheduled so the new resident would have to wait, are you kidding me?
Oh, there’s more, he also decided to change the whole way the office is run despite the existing system working for more than two years. Also the regional manager decided to start wiping vital move-in/move-out information from the board, meaning people showed up to move in and the office staff were unaware that they were scheduled to move in, often with no unit for them to move into.
Now we get to the thing that really made my blood boil; days after my wife started her new position; he indicated that she would have to work late + weekends; or he would find someone else who would. I was ready to go down there and beat the crap out of this asshole. But my wife put in the hours, often working 12+ hours a day just trying to catch up because the regional manager, oh yes, he’s a regional for one property, wouldn’t leave her alone to get her work done during office hours. Clearly he didn’t think my wife was upto the job, so why the fuck did he even offer her the position?
The regional manager is now going to retire at the end of next week; probably being pushed as he has had complaint after complaint against him, and not just from members of staff; residents were calling the corporate office to complain. We will never know whether my wife can really manage the property as she won’t get the opportunity to do so with the current regional manager gone.
The upside is my wife has only been demoted back to assistant manager at her previous pay-rate, which ironically will be more. The pay upgrade to property manager was only the equivalent of 0.25 per hour which was salaried, now she’ll get the 0.25 less per hour but overtime pay starts immediately after going over 40 hours. And the biggest bonus is that she can go in at 9am and come home at 6pm; which is better for our personal life, which has been strained to say the least since taking the promotion. I was getting increasingly pissed that our kids hardly got to see their mother and I never got any personal time with my wife, I firmly believe you work to live, not live to work.
I think this demotion is for the best, someone else can deal with the managerial bullshit that comes with the property, and there is a hell of a lot of it! I just hope that she isn’t overlooked for future managerial opportunities at less troubled properties as she did not fail, she was set-up to fail by the owner and regional manager, it’s impossible to succeed if you are not given the tools to do so!
Update [Aug, 25 2014, 17:08]: My wife arrived in work this morning, only to hear from a vendor that she is being fired; and the vendor claims his got this information from the outgoing regional manager. I call the regional and he confirmed that my wife is being let go. I go visit my wife at the property and take her to lunch and tell her what was said and she calls the new regional manager for the property; and that regional says; we have no further plans to make changes to the staff at the property. Later in the day, I call the VP of the company and he confirms that no changes were planned. So it looks like the former regional started this rumour to cause my wife further stress and worry. I have to trust that we are not being lied to now, I sincerely hope that’s not the case!
Today we got a official looking mailer with my name, car make, model and year on the front, which on initial inspection gives the impression that it’s from your car manufacturer. The letter states “THIS LETTER IS TO INFORM YOU THAT IF YOUR FACTORY WARRANTY HAS EXPIRED, YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING FOR ANY REPAIRS…” Note the IF in the statement, this is how they can get away with it, but in reality many people, myself included fail to register the “IF” in the text.
The text goes onto say “PLEASE RESPOND BY 08/19/2014 AND MENTION THIS LETTER FOR A $100 DISCOUNT”, and in larger text below “IMPORTANT VEHICLE PROTECTION INFORMATION, PLEASE CALL IMMEDIATELY” with their phone number 1-800-420-8055. I give this number in the hope that people searching this number online will be linked to this blog article so they don’t get fooled by this misleading marketing and super aggressive customer representatives when you do call!
This company, Vehicle Protection Center operates out of Saint Peters, MO 63376, see the complaints about this company on their profile on the Better Business Bureau website [Link]. Clearly this mailer is designed to mislead car owners and this sort of misleading advertizing needs to clamped down on; but unfortunately the US government allows for this sort of marketing practice.
I’m a massive skeptic; so I rarely take anything at face value, which is how I came to write this article after I Googled the number and found lots of negativity surrounding this company’s tactics. Obviously I didn’t call the number listed on the mailer after [or before] reading complaints online!
In addition; the question has to be asked, how did they get this information? The only organizations that should have this information is; Davis Moore of Wichita, KS, Kansas DMV, Progressive Insurance and Capital One Auto Loans, did one of these organizations sell our information or did Vehicle Protection Services acquire the information illegally? Either way, I am not happy that it’s out there!
Yet again we see another example of how money can pervert the course of justice with a German court taking $100m to drop the court proceedings against F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone.
You have to appreciate the irony of the situation, Ecclestone was up on bribery charges which could have seen him spend 10 years in a German jail, but he paid [bribed] the court to buy his freedom.
The $100m fine was offered in lieu of facing a guilty verdict on the grounds of Ecclestone’s advanced age and other [undisclosed] circumstances. I call bullshit on that, a $100m fine for someone with an estimated wealth of $4.2bn is pocket change, making a mockery of the legal justice system.
While Ecclestone walks away scot-free, a $100m fine really is a joke, Gerhard Gribkowsky, the man who the F1 supremo paid $44m to ensure that CVC Capital Partners got the nod over other companies to buy FOM (Formula One Management) was jailed for 8 1/2 years back in 2012.
What I find amazing is that Judge Peter Noll asked Ecclestone if you could raise $100m and deliver it within a week? Of course he can; his overall fortune is over 400 times that amount, it’s legal corruption at it’s finest. Former Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger agrees saying “it allows rich people to go free, whereas the less well-heeled could face prison.” It’s scandalous!!!
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo pushed his four time and current World champion team mate Vettel even further into the shade as he took his second victory of the year at Hungaroring running a three stop strategy. The Aussie had fresher tyres in the closing laps allowing him to overtake Hamilton and Alonso in the final four laps, including driving clean around the outside Hamilton at turn two.
Lewis Hamilton started from the pitlane after his Mercedes spontaneously combusted in Q1 forcing a power unit and gearbox change, then went off immediately at turn 2, brushing the barrier to live for another day. On the grid, Nico Rosberg got off to a good start into turn one first while Valteri Bottas got the jump on Vettel to move into second, Fernando Alonso jumped Ricciardo into fourth hustling Vettel on the first lap and Jenson Button made a good start to jump from seventh to fifth.
Then everything got turned on it’s head on lap 8 when Marcus Ericsson binned his Caterham which brought out the safety car, prompting most drivers to pit for slick tyres; but McLaren made a bad call to keep Button on intermediate tyres, it could have been a top five finish for Button without this huge tactical screw-up. Maybe JB should be hitting back at Ron Dennis with a same “try harder” jibe. Many cited McLaren’s slide on Martin Whitmarsh, he is gone, McLaren are still terrible!
On the lap the safety was due to come in; Romain Grosjean crashed out meaning the safety car remained out for another few laps. The race resumed on lap 14 with Button running in second on intermediate tyres, easily driving around Ricciardo for the lead, but that lead was short lived as the Briton had to pit again for slicks on lap 16 because of McLaren’s disastrous tyre strategy call!
There was another safety car on lap 23 as Sergio Perez lost control of his Force India through the final turn ending his day in the pit wall. Exactly 10 laps later, World champion Vettel spun in the same place, narrowly avoided the wall, flat-spotting his tyres and lost two places, but continued.
Of course there was some controversy in the Mercedes camp as Lewis Hamilton was ‘ordered’ to move aside for Rosberg as the German was on a different strategy; an order which went ignored. It makes me wonder about Hamilton’s future with Mercedes; everything is going against him with multiple mechanical issues and now team orders, allied to rumours that Vettel is Mercedes bound in 2016.
Hamilton eventually finished the race in third place ahead of Rosberg cutting his points deficit to just 11 points going into the mid season break. While Ferrari had a good day finishing in second and sixth places, Alonso saying that finishing second feels like a win. Button finished the race with a single point after a frustrating race, it could have been so much more, 5th or 6th was possible!
Williams have to be disappointed with fifth and eighth places after Bottas, running in second before the first safety car period found himself out of the points by the time the race resumed on lap 14. I guess they have to take the rough with the smooth; last season 5th and 8th would’ve been like a win; not so much this season, Bottas saying “After three podiums in a row P8 is not that satisying”.
I’m truly ecstatic that Ricciardo won his second race of the season; this guy has shown that he is the real deal, given a good car, a future World champion for sure. Although his insistence that winning the title in 2014 is not out of the question, I believe it’s optimistic; unless Mercedes start having double DNF’s while Daniel wins races, the Red Bull is not fast enough to win races consistently.
2014 Hungarian Grand Prix Results
Cox Communications have recently upgraded Premier and Preferred Internet customers to double their current speeds, 100Mbit for Premier customers and 50Mbit for Preferred customers. While free speed increases are great, the data cap remains the same at 300GB per billing cycle, which for Premier customers is actually down 50GB from six months ago. Additionally, take “free” speed increases with a pinch of salt as more often than not a price hike of $4 – $7 will happen 3 to 6 months from now, hoping that customers don’t notice the “free” speed is not actually free.
Why the title you ask? well, if Cox are going to double speeds, surely doubling the data cap would make sense as you can now reach your data cap in half the time. If a customer pays $60+ per month for Internet alone, they should have unlimited bandwidth given the evolution of how we use the Internet. Cox will have you believe they are operating on minimal profit margins allowing you 300GB, don’t believe it, they pay much less for the data bandwidth than we, the customer do!
Another consideration is that to take advantage of the new faster speeds, you will more than likely need to upgrade your modem to a DOCSIS III compatible model, which Cox will no doubt rent or sell to you. I personally bought my own modem before I upgraded to Ultimate from Preferred.
I would also suggest that Cox are dishonest in their marketing; on the cox website there is a landing page where you run a speed test to highlight the Cox difference. I ran a speed test using this page and the results came back as 37.75Mbps down, 3.09Mbps up, then I ran another speed test using speedtest.net less than a minute later and it came back with 119.90Mbps down, 7.65Mbps. Results were obtained using Chrome v36.0.1985.125, using Windows 8.1 Pro with a 1Gbps wired connection.
Cox.com Speedtest Result
Of course, we don’t know what server is being used for the Cox.com speedtest, but it looks very dodgy to me; showing a lower speed to give incentive to buy Cox high speed internet, given that both tests were done within a couple of minutes using the same browser, computer and connection.
If that is the case, Cox are stupid showing a much lower than listed speed on their own connection. You would think they’d have excluded their IP range from the [alleged] artificially slow speedtest.
Back to the speed increase, I have run several speed tests on speedtest.net and it has returned between 111Mbps and 131Mbps download and between 7Mbps and 12Mbps upload, which is as near as makes no difference the speeds I had when I previously had the $100 p/m Ultimate connection.
Now everyone can save some money by downgrading, Premier customers can downgrade to Preferred and Ultimate customers can downgrade to Premier without any perceived loss in connection speed.
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg cruised to an easy victory ahead of Williams’ Valteri Bottas and Mercedes’ team mate Lewis Hamilton at the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring this afternoon.
The race got off to bad start for Felipe Massa who turned in on McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen in turn one and was flipped over while Magnussen dropped to the back; it was 100% Massa’s fault; he should have given the McLaren driver more room. This incident brought out the safety car; which thankfully was only out for two laps with the race resuming on lap 3. The big winners of the start was Jenson Button who jumped from 11th to sixth place while Hamilton jumped from 20th to 14th place. The big loser was Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo who had to go way off track to avoid the first corner incident and found himself drop into the lower midfield when he rejoined the track.
One highlight of the race for me was Ricciardo’s battle with Fernando Alonso for fifth place; a battle that Alonso eventually won with a much faster car at that stage of the race; but it was a real back and forth tussle. Alonso would make the pass but Ricciardo immediately came back at the Spaniard and retook the place. Second highlight was Hamilton closing upto the back of Bottas’ Williams only to held behind by the Williams straight line speed and Hamilton’s soft tyres starting to go off!
Hamilton had a crashi-bashi afternoon clipping Raikkonen as he passed the Finn and also misread Button’s intentions when the Briton went wide and collided with his former team mate. I remember thinking at the time of the incident that the Hamiltonians will be all over the incident blaming Jenson despite Lewis himself acknowledged he misread the situation and accepted the blame.
The second talking point was why the hell did the FIA stewards elect to not dispatch the safety car on lap 50 when Adrian Sutil spun at the final turn leaving his stranded Sauber in the middle of the track. Instead it was covered by waved yellows while the marshals ran across an active track to recover the car. I believe it’s not right to put the marshals lives at risk unnecessarily like that.
Both Mercedes drivers were surprised to not see a safety car with contrasting emotions, Rosberg was happy as it allowed him to cruise home; while Hamilton claimed “I think we know why”; seemingly suggesting that stewards didn’t want to ruin the all-German party as a safety car would have wiped out Rosberg’s lead possibly making him vulnerable to an attack from behind.
You can see Hamilton’s frustration as two weeks prior, the British Grand Prix was red flagged and stopped for an hour to repair a barrier that there was very minimal chance of anyone hitting again. It was definitely a red flag, it was a nasty accident, but the hour long delay was unnecessary. Which makes the decision to cover Sutil’s stranded car with waved yellows even more crazy!
Moving away from the politics of F1, now back to the race itself. It was a solid result for Williams; despite Massa’s unnecessary crash at turn 1, Bottas drove a clinical race to finish where he started in second. This result moves Williams above Ferrari as Kimi Raikkonen’s poor season continues to dog Ferrari’s championship aspirations. I wonder if Sir Frank & Claire are wondering if they made the right decision hiring Massa? the veteran is now 61 points behind relative rookie team mate Bottas.
Rosberg has started to extend his lead over Hamilton in the drivers championship again after he had it cut to just four points at the British Grand Prix when the German retired with gearbox issues as Hamilton took maximum points. The gap after Germany is 14 points, I think Hamilton needs a victory in Hungary next weekend for his own sanity, his frustration was really showing at Hockenheim.
2014 German Grand Prix Results
I recently unfriended a person on Facebook because they took offense to my objection to their post which proclaimed “we should return to one nation under God”; which I disagree with wholeheartedly, simply said; religion has no place in government, school or business, it’s solely a personal choice.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-religion; I believe everyone has a right to freedom of religion and if my kids want to follow a certain faith be it Christian, Pagan or other, I will respect that choice. We don’t believe in pressuring our kids to follow our beliefs, which goes back to personal choice.
If you don’t want people to comment; don’t post your views on a public forum like Facebook. I was not disrespectful to this person in my comments, I just expressed my view; then “friends” of theirs decided to show great maturity by calling me insulting names, which this person endorsed.
I don’t need people like this in my life; I respect others opinions, even if I disagree, but this particular group of Christians have a hard time extending me the same courtesy. The scary thing is that this group of people think we should have a predominantly Christian leadership in the United States; citing how this country was built on Christian values. As I pointed out on Facebook; a lot has changed since 1787, today’s government should be a representative mix of the people it represents.
Bottom line here is that I don’t want people on my “friends” list who can’t have a debate without resulting to insults and/or endorsing people that act in this way. This is why I have a healthy dislike for religion, the followers are often blinded by the “message”; many religions in my view are a form of control. My dislike for religion came from my RC primary (elementary) school in the UK, when the priest ranted on about being cast unto hell if we (9 year olds) didn’t follow God’s rules.
Luis Suarez will now sit out his four month football ban in Spain after the Uruguayan striker signed a £75m deal with Barcelona during the week. I think it’s some great business for the Reds, Liverpool signed Suarez for £22.7m back in 2011; which sees the Reds net a 230% return on their investment.
I think that this ban was the final straw for Liverpool, having Suarez sit out another start of season after another biting incident. And despite signing another contract 12 months ago, it was no secret that Suarez wanted out of Liverpool. At this point there really wasn’t any point trying to hold onto the Uruguayan, it made little sense to keep fighting for him! It’s time to move on, sign some new talent and continue to develop Liverpool’s young stars like Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Stirling.
There has been lots of comment about how Suarez is irreplaceable and I wholeheartedly disagree; Suarez is an incredible talent but no one player is irreplaceable, Liverpool did just fine without him during the opening games of the 2013/14 season. I think Liverpool’s young talents are good enough to replace Suarez, with Sturridge scoring 25 goals last season, that’s just six less than Suarez!
Liverpool have four confirmed signings so far this summer; Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen, Adam Lallana and Richie Lambert from Southhampton and Kevin Steward from Tottenham Hotspur, none of which are replacements for Suarez in my view. I think that Liverpool need another World class striker to partner Sturridge. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong, and I really hope they do in the coming season!