Tuesday, November 30, 2010

FTC: Possible New Debt Collection Rules

From what I gather from reading this news article, new FTC policies may make it possible for Debt Collectors of the deceased to contact not just family to collect debt, but also friends. Apparently if my friend dies, I would have a "moral obligation" to pay their debt.

I'm just curious, who's morals are we going by? As a Christian, I can say with a large degree of certainty (100% certainty) that nothing within the Bible says that I have to pay either my family's or my friend's debt after they die. In the realms of Objectivism, again, I have no moral obligation to pay anyone's debt after they have died.

The only method debt collectors should legally have to collecting someone's debt after they die is through that person's estate. Basically, any money they can get from selling that person's stuff. In the case of a widow or widower, the debt which is in their name as well can be transfered to the surviving spouse, but only so far as that.

Acording to tfgi:

Inheriting debt is pretty much impossible but there are exceptions to this statement. You will pass on debt if your kids:
Are cosigners for a loan.
Have a joint bank account with you.
Is listed on the credit card
Is listed on mortgages
Is listed on auto loans

It goes on to say:

One of the ways to incur a parent’s debt is by assuming the payment of their bills. This is not to say that you should not help the parents out but you need to do so in such a way that creditors will not mistake the child as assuming the parent’s debt.
Deposit money in the parent’s account and have them fill out the checks this way there will be no mistake.
So, while incurring a parent’s debt is virtually impossible, it can still happen even unintentionally. Parents should take all necessary precautions to insure that the debt is not passed on to loved ones.

Apparently, even though you can't take it with you when you go, it is possible for debt collectors to try and get the people you've left behind to pay it for you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Drinking Age

For as long as I've been aware of it's existence, the legal drinking age has been 21. I haven't known it as being anything other than 21, but I have heard that it used to be as low as 18 in the USA, and 16 in other countries throughout the world.

Here in America, the decision is supposed to be left up to the states, and it still is, however, the Federal Government, in it's infinite wisdom of knowing what's best for the people it serves, has decided that the legal age is 21, and if the states go lower than that then they don't get 10% of their highway funds.

The rationality behind this is that an 18 year old isn't mature enough to make a decision regarding alcohol. They say that our brains aren't fully developed until we're 25. The truth of the matter is that a rat's brain isn't full developed until the human age of 25.

The video points out things that 18 year olds can legally do: take out loans, get credit cards, serve on a jury (which could mean deciding whether someone else lives or dies in some states) vote for our elected officials (basically voting for people who can decide if a lot of people live or die) and 18 year olds are deemed mature enough to decide for themselves if they fight on behalf of our country to protect our freedom. They've found that 18 year olds are mature enough to decide whether or not they can risk their own life for a cause of someone else's choosing.

By all logic, anyone who is considered mature enough to make any of those life altering decisions should be mature enough to make a decision about whether or not they want to drink alcohol.

Something I have yet to come across though, is any drinking establishment which won't serve alcohol to a member of the military who is under 21. Frankly, I think that at the least legislation should be passed which lowers the drinking for anyone who is actively serving in our military, since they feel they can't lower the drinking age for everyone.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TSA: Even More

Okay, so first, we have the guy from Mythbusters Adam Savage talking about the Full Body Scanners. Skip ahead to about 1:06 to get past all the wooing.

The TSA claims that these image devices enhance security, and miss two razor blades? Thank God that Adam isn't a terrorist, or we would have heard about that on the news, likely another report about how the passengers stopped the terrorist. I've heard of other incidents where people have gotten past security with knives, though I haven't been able to find those articles, so that may just be rumor.

In more recent news, in an attempt avoid being groped again, and not wanting to be subjected to the Full Body Scanner (for an unmentioned reason, I'm guessing either the health risk or the potential for having the images saved.), a man stripped down to his underwear making it evident that he could not possibly be carrying anything dangerous. The TSA's response?

A TSA supervisor and San Diego Harbor Police asked Wolynak to put his clothes back on "so he could be properly patted down," says his attorney.

Apparently, as shown by first Adam Savage, and now Sam Wolynak, attention to detail, common sense, and good eye sight are not required to do this job.

Potentially more troubling, Wolynak and his friends who were with him, were also charged with illegally recording the events that transpired within San Diego County Regional Airport. Troubling to me, because these recordings are the only way for us to protect ourselves and prove what events actually transpired.

The TSA says that of the over 28 million passengers, they've only received complaints from about 700 of them. Completely overlooking the fact that 28 million passengers weren't subjected to the full body screenings, only a very small percentage of them. They then go on to proclaim that for the most part, people choose the full body scans rather than the pat downs.

That to me is a load of horse shit. Passengers aren't really given a choice. They can use the full body scans, or be sexually assaulted. If they choose neither, then they can't fly (or in some cases, they get arrested.) When all of your "choices" are unpleasant, as they are in this kind of case, you aren't really given a choice. Add to that the fact that you may not get a refund for your ticket, and it's kind of like having a killer ask you which of your three children he's going to kill, no choice at all. (Let me clarify that I am not saying that the TSA situation is anywhere near has horrible as a killer asking you to choose which child dies.)

I know that personally, I won't be doing any flying in the near future. I've always much preferred driving to flying anyway. I can tell you one thing though, if I were running passenger trains, I'd be advertising the fact that the TSA won't be groping my passengers anytime soon.

TSA: Now Stopped By Fig Leaves?

With the new TSA body scanners now in place, a company has arrived with a simple plan to combat it: lead-lined underwear!

Okay, so it isn't actually lead, but the material is designed to hide your jiggly bits (both upper and lower) from the perverted eyes of the TSA. The patent pending design will cause fig leaves to show up over your genitalia, and if you so desire, your breasts as well.

The likely result of using the underwear will be a pat down, though. So I guess it's a choice between being viewed naked, or having them touch you in areas only a spouse or significant other should.

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA: Keeping America Safe. . . From little kids?

So first the TSA terrifies a 3 year old girl

Then the TSA performs one of their pat downs with groin checking on a 12 year old boy out in public.

Disregarding whether or not such practices are actually beneficial at all, is it too much to ask that you take anyone under the age of 18 to a private area with their parents to do these kinds of things? And when dealing with children who aren't going to understand what the fuck you're doing, let's be a bit more child friendly, rather than terrifying them to no end.

Also, before subjecting kids to this kind of treatment, maybe a good idea would be to first talk to the parents to see if such a thing is warranted in the first place? If, after talking to the parent you feel that they may be using the child as a mule for explosives, then it's a good time to check the child out, again, being mindful not to scare the child.

Ayn Rand, God, and Marijuana

Reposted from my old blog

Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness; that individual persons are in direct contact with this reality through sensory perception; that human beings can gain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive and deductive logic; that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest; that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure laissez faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform man's widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that he can comprehend and to which he can respond emotionally.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_%28Ayn_Rand%29

Adherents of the Christian faith, known as Christians,[4] believe that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible (the part of scripture common to Christianity and Judaism). The foundation of Christian theology is expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds, which contain claims predominantly accepted by followers of the Christian faith.[5] These professions state that Jesus suffered, died from crucifixion, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead to open heaven to those who believe in him and trust him for the remission of their sins (salvation).[6] They further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven where he rules and reigns with God the Father. Most denominations teach that Jesus will return to judge all humans, living and dead, and grant eternal life to his followers. He is considered the model of a virtuous life, and both the revealer and physical incarnation of God.[7] Christians call the message of Jesus Christ the Gospel ("good news") and hence refer to the earliest written accounts of his ministry as gospels.

Those who know me, but don't know me well, never really know what to think of me. I embrace Christianity, yet I also embrace a philosophy which would seem contradictory to that religion. And on top of that, I have no problems with a substance which likely groups in both the religion and the philosophy would say isn't a good thing (Though only those in the religious category would outright try to forbid me from tryingg it.) On a side note, I have never had any actual contact with pot entering my system, nor am I likely to until such time as it becomes legal. I'm not against such things, the opportunity has just never come up where I've been able to try it. Something else always seems to come up at the last minute the few times where I've made an attempt.

So how can I believe in a philosophy which extols the the rational mind, yet at the same time, embrace a religion which that philosophy is against because it embraces faith?
“Faith” designates blind acceptance of a certain ideational content, acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof.
-The Ominous ParallelsLeonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels, 54.

While the philosophy may take issue with the religion as a whole, Christianity only takes issue with the philosophy in the areas that they don't agree. However, I do not believe that faith and the rational mind are mutually exclusive.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
- Galileo Galilei

Rather than go into a rather long and complicated list of why I believe as I do, I will simply state that the largest reason is from my interest in studying the beginnings of the earth, both from reviewing evolution and creation. After looking at the evidence for creation, and the evidence for the Big Bang, I have concluded that God created everything. And since I have concluded this, I therefore believe that everything belongs to God. If everything belongs to God, then he must have some rules, and it'd be a good idea to figure out what those rules are.

Yes, these realizations came later in life. However I had questions, which to me, evolution couldn't answer adequately. The two largest questions I have revolve around the the Laws of Thermodynamics.

First Law:
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.
If in the beginning there was basically nothing, then where did the energy come from to cause this big band? Where did the material come from? If it's from the Universe constantly expanding and contracting, what caused this to happen in the first place?

Thus, if entropy is associated with disorder and if the entropy of the universe is headed towards maximal entropy, then many are often puzzled as to the nature of the "ordering" process and operation of evolution in relation to Clausius' most-famous version of the second law, which states that the universe is headed towards maximal “disorder”. In the recent 2003 book SYNC – the Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order by Steven Strogatz, for example, we find “Scientists have often been baffled by the existence of spontaneous order in the universe. The laws of thermodynamics seem to dictate the opposite, that nature should inexorably degenerate toward a state of greater disorder, greater entropy. Yet all around us we see magnificent structures—galaxies, cells, ecosystems, human beings—that have all somehow managed to assemble themselves.”

Or Lamen's Terms, order tends to disorder, which the above quote also shows my question: If order tends to disorder, how is it that everything on this earth, this galaxy, and this Universe have such an ordered existence?

Now this is where true evolutionist and I agree: God can not have created the Universe if it's as old as evolutionists claim. A god which used evolution would be a god which was imperfect and cruel. Further, if you add up the dates within the Bible you come to the conclusion that the earth is only a few thousand years old, not trillions. The God portrayed the Bible is practical (if at times harsh) and if you read the creation story, God created plants before the insects. Now, insects are vital in the reproduction of plants, and so having these plants around for millions of years before insects were around to help them reproduce really doesn't make much sense. Where as if it's just a day, no trouble there.

Ultimately though, everything will boil down to faith. You either believe that in The Beginning God, or in the beginning nothing. I came to the conclusion that in The Beginning God made more sense.

As to Marijuana, to put it simply, I see it as no different from tobacco or alcohol. Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding, and yes, they used wine to make water drinkable back then, people who use this argument overlook the fact that it was done at a wedding, which means the wine would have been celebratory, and therefore a bit more potent than regular drinking wine, indeed, one of the guests lauded the wine as being the best at that wedding. Marijuana does much the same thing as alcohol, and as I have no problem drinking alcohol, I have no problem with people choosing to smoke marijuana.

Obligatory Horrible Post

It's part of the Bad Example family tradition to have a horrible first post. So this will be mine:

Some people like to try and state that phosphorescent substances the grand slam even though they know it's false. On the other hand, deciphering the strange he and I have made the whole thing pretty much subtly changing the whole picture, if you see what I mean. Though it could be stated that someone going to the as he did is almost as going to happen that way. Sometimes, you just have to even now that we know the truth of it. But that isn't to say that someone can itself is the sometimes the main problem, and you have to butter the bread, so to speak, in order to going to happen that way.

The truth of the matter is that sometimes it's as such as it is, and trying to cause happens whether you like it or not. Which isn't to say that you can holding it out to be something that you'd be proud of. However, you have to grab life by the how he does that kind of situation is pointless.

You see what I'm saying?