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Currently Browsing: Just Sayin’

When Is A Picture Not A Window?

(image courtesy of Mark Young of the Brandenton Herald.)

Millie Francis is an 85 year old woman who is devoutly Roman Catholic. Francis lives in the Bradenton Tropical Palms trailer park in Bradenton, Florida.

Francis had a problem. According to her, Francis was dealing with a nosy neighbor who was continually peeking into her front window as well as flashlights from security guards shining in the window at night.

Francis sought and gained the permission of the trailer park management to change out the window in order for her to not be bothered by the neighbor and guards.

One those facts both Francis and the management of the trailer park agree.

After receiving what she calls “enlightenment” prior to mass, Francis commissioned artist Ingrid Brandt to paint the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe – one of Mary’s many Catholic titles and the patroness of Mexico – on a piece of plywood. Francis put the plywood up in place of the aforementioned window.

The management of the trailer park balked and balked big time.

[Property manager for Vanguard Property Management out of Tampa, Janet] Nowakowski first said Francis didn’t get permission through the park’s architectural review committee, but she did get permission to remove the window. Nowakowski then said Francis was approved but was given until Oct. 31 to complete the window replacement. Nowakowski said the project wasn’t completed on time and therefore, according to park rules, Francis must resubmit her project to the committee for approval or remove the painting.

Francis said the window replacement was done on time, but the painting was only recently completed. So for her, it’s not about the window removal, it’s about her decision to paint the Virgin Mary and believes she’s being discriminated against.

[….]
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Florida And Assignment Of Benefits (AOB) Reform.

We’re not sure we could write much of this better than others have, so we will be quoting other articles more than we normally do.

First, the issue of “assignment of benefits” or “AOB.”

In Florida, it is far from uncommon for residents to need repairs to their homes. Whether it be a tropical storm, a hurricane or any other common cause of damage to Florida homes, our residents rely on their insurance to come through for them. Unfortunately, the ways in which repairs are carried out are proving to be one of the leading causes of rising insurance costs in the state.

Insurance prices and homeowner costs have reached new heights since 2010, largely due to unreasonable and unfair Assignment of Benefits (AOB) claims. AOB claims allow the insured to permit outside parties, such as contractors, to request payment from their insurance companies on their behalf, essentially taking multiple steps out of an already complicated process. AOB’s original goal was to streamline the claims process for homeowners and create a better overall customer experience. However, scam contractors are now working alongside rapacious trial attorneys to exploit this once customer-focused system to defraud insurance companies in pursuit of their own gain.

A study from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) shows the average AOB claim is $17,000, which is 50 percent more than non-AOB claims. Additionally, the total number of AOB lawsuits increased from 408 in 2000 to over 28,000 in 2016.
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About That Government Shutdown. (Part Two.)

An interesting take on the government shutdown.

There are lessons to be learned from the shutdown.

Government stopped collecting trash and cleaning up public parks in DC, so volunteers stepped in to pick up trash. Without so much government, Stossel says, private citizens will often step in to do things government workers used to do.

Stossel says the shutdown highlights where some government waste can be trimmed.

Farmers don’t get their “support” checks during the shutdown. But Stossel asks–why should they get checks at all? While the big subsidies go to grain and corn farmers, most fruit and vegetable farmers get no subsidies. They survive without them. Other farmers could, too.

FDA inspection of food has stopped during the shutdown. Paul Krugman asks smugly, “does contaminated food smell like freedom?”

But Stossel notes that the main reason food is safe isn’t government. It’s competition. Companies worry about their reputation. Just ask Chipotle, Stossel says. Their stock fell by more than half after food poisoning incidents at their stores; since then they have instituted far more food inspection than government requires.

Most food producers already do that. Beef carcasses undergo hot steam rinses, and microbiological testing goes well beyond what government requires. Market competition protects us better than rule-bound government bureaucrats.

Stossel says most of government could be done away with or privatized.
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Man Sues Burger King For Whoppers. (Or Equivalent.)

There are all sorts of abuse in lawsuits these days. There are people who are looking for huge paydays over what are essentially minor issues. The legal system is clogged with such claims which makes getting justice a timely proposition.

Yet there are some lawsuits that we think are humorous as well as pretty creative. This is one of those cases.

Curtis Brooner, is a 50 year old man who likes to eat in a Portland, Oregon Burger King.

…. Brooner said, he frequented Burger King nearly every day because he enjoys the food and it’s just one freeway stop from his work in Troutdale.

Last month after finishing his mean, Brooner used the men’s restroom. However, when he tried to exit the restroom, he found that he could not exit due to a faulty lock or door handle.

Employees slipped a fly swatter under the door and suggested he use it to pry open the lock, the lawsuit says. Brooner allegedly cut his hand attempting that. The lawsuit says he could hear employees on the other side of the door laughing at him.

“The cleanliness of the place was less than desirable,” Brooner tells WW. “Highway bums use it as a changing room. It’s not a pleasant smelling place. Being locked in there for over an hour, you smell like that when you get out.”

Brooner says being trapped triggered his post-traumatic stress disorder, and he sat in the Burger King for another hour, too shaken to drive.

You might be thinking that Brooner is suing over emotional distress, confinement or a myriad of other things.

That’s not the issue.
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When States Don’t Abide By Court Decisions.

Carl Malamud is the president and founder of Public.Resource.Org which is a group dedicated to “making government information more accessible.”

The site has lots of resources on where to find state laws, government agency rules, contacts for members of government, etc. It is a great resource and is run as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

As part of the group’s efforts to make information accessible to the public, Malamud posted the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA), which are the laws of the State of Georgia. Malamud would do what the average citizen could not (due to costs): he purchased a copy of the OCGA, scanned it and posted it on Public Resource’s site.

In 2013 the State of Georgia notified Public Resource to take down the OCGA files claiming that the OCGA was copyrighted. Public Resource refused, claiming there was no copyright and even if it did, the issue of “fair use” applied. When Malmud refused to remove the files, Georgia sued.

There were several issues. First, copyrights are there to protect the authors of works. In general, as the laws of a state are the works of the people and elected legislators, the law itself cannot be copyrighted. (Just as a seal or logo of a town cannot be copyrighted.)
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And A Little Child Will Lead Them……

Dane Best
(Image courtesy The Greeley Tribune.)

Meet Dane Best.

Dane Best is a 9 year old who, on field trip to the Severance, Colorado, City Hall, learned that an ordinance had been passed that prohibited snowball fights.

In the 1020’s, when Severance was founded, the City passed an law that made it illegal to throw “missiles” at people, places or animals. . Part of what got caught up in that law was a snowball. No snowballs, no snowball fights.

I thought it was crazy,” Dane Best said. “Little kids should be allowed to throw snowballs at each other.”

So young Mr. Best decided to make a presentation to the City Trustees asking them to amend the ordinance to allow snowball fights.

It’s a no-brainer, right?

Let kids be kids and throw snowballs at each other. Heck, every Hallmark Channel Christmas love story that takes place when there is snow on the ground has the protagonists engaging in a snowball fight. If it is good enough for the love seen on the Hallmark Channel, it has to be good enough for the rest of the world, right?

(We are joking. Sort of.)

Yet even in a town of approximately 4,200 people,there will be some elected morons officials who are overly officious and ridiculous.
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Dutch Court Rules That You Are, In Fact, Not As Young As You Feel.

Emile Ratelband, a 69-year-old motivational speaker from the Netherlands, has lost his initial battle to legally have his age changed from 69 years of age to 49 years of age.

The reason behind the request was simple: Ratelband wanted to meet more women to have sex with in order to father more children.

Ratelband gave an interview to AD explaining his logic for changing his age.

“When I’m 69, I am limited. If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car,” he said, according to a translation by The Guardian. “I can take up more work. When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.”

Ratelband’s website says he has seven children and “a steady relationship with the woman of his dreams.” However, he told media outlets that he is dating and is seeking to have more children with surrogate mothers.

Ratelband’s position is akin to those who argue that gender is not scientific, but fluid.

The 69-year-old also spoke to The Washington Post and said he is not concerned that his comparison of an age change to a sex change may be offensive to transgender people. He called it a question of free will.

“Because nowadays, in Europe and in the United States, we are free people,” he told the Post. “We can make our own decisions if we want to change our name, or if we want to change our gender. So I want to change my age. My feeling about my body and about my mind is that I’m about 40 or 45.”

The court rejected that line of thought:
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About That Wall (Revisited.)

Last week we wrote a post on Democrats attending a meeting at the White House and telling the President that they didn’t want to hear a briefing from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on the proposed wall and the issue of illegal immigration.

The post generated several interesting, thoughtful comments and we will address them in a moment.

However, the Republicans have published a video on the human cost of illegal immigration.

The video links to a website called “BorderFacts.com” which lists the following information:

Fact #1: In four Customs and Border Protection sectors where physical barriers have been expanded — El Paso, Yuma, Tucson, and San Diego — illegal traffic has dropped by at least 90%.

Fact #2: In fiscal year 2018, U.S. Border Patrol seized or helped seize 282,000 pounds of cocaine, 248,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 6,500 pounds of heroin, and 2,400 pounds of fentanyl.

Fact #3: In 2018, over 17,000 adults arrested at the border had prior criminal records. This included over 6,000 gang members, a major number of those members were from MS-13.

Fact #4: The Democrats would rather risk the safety of hard-working Americans than work with President Trump to secure our nation’s borders. But in 2013, all 54 Senate Democrats, including Chuck Schumer, voted to pass legislation that provided $46 billion to build a physical barrier on the border.

Fact #5: Nancy Pelosi and her hyper-liberal Congressional colleagues just passed a bill to give $54 BILLION to foreign governments, but Democrats won’t allow just $5 billion to secure our borders and protect American citizens.

The site also highlights comments from Democrats on a barrier / wall and immigration prior to the Trump presidency:
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