As long as I am throwing out random conjecture, might as well toss out a random idea about The Doctor’s new companion.
What if Clara Oswald is Jenny, AKA The Doctor’s Daughter?
Perhaps, being oddly “born” and quickly left as dead, she has no idea of what it means to be a time lord – let alone how to deal with the regeneration and variety of new lives. Maybe, because of the connection, she has been orbiting the Doctor’s timeline, with no real idea why…or even that it is happening.
Today Britain paid their final respects to the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher. Since her passing, I have struggled to find the words to express the impact she had on me – and the world. I will allow this Heritage Foundation video to explain a bit of her enormous legacy.
Just thought I would take a minute and remind everyone who thinks higher taxes are a necessity, especially those hypocritical rich folks who claim they want their taxes raised while taking all possible action to reduce their actual income tax burden (I’m looking at you Hollywood)
You have always had the option of paying more. You can stop claiming all deductions available. And, if you still feel under-taxed, you can just send in more money. Heck, in the last few years they’ve made it idiot simple to do so with the “I Didn’t Pay Enough Fund”. Go ahead, let us know you really mean – double your contribution to the IRS. Then they have more to channel to the National Waste Our Money Department (otherwise known as Congress)
Yes, I have posted this before. Still fits
I am currently undergoing a ridiculous ordeal with Chase Bank. A situation that is so absurd, it should embarrass the entire banking industry. Bear with me as I take you through it, I’m going to give you as many of the steps as possible so you can appreciate the ride for yourselves.
(if you want the abridged version, skip to the end for the most recent bits)
Early this week, I received a call from someone claiming to be from Chase (this was supported by the caller ID) He informed me that “Chase Risk” has reviewed their policies and decided to sever relationships with certain types of businesses, specifically third-party providers, because they were considered “high risk”. They determined that, as a payroll company, my business is a third-party provider and they would no longer host my account.
He repeatedly told me it was nothing I had done and I shouldn’t take it personally. He admitted that my account is blemish free and so should be the type of account they would normally want to keep. He could not come up with an explanation as to why my business was suddenly a risk.
After a lot of back and forth that went nowhere, he said he would take my cell number and check with a supervisor for more info. I was very angry for a while, but on my drive home I started to think it was too absurd to be real.
- I called my local branch (Branch A), who said they had never heard anything like that and I should call the branch where I opened my account.
- I called that branch (Branch B), and they also said they had no idea what the call was about but directed me to customer service, just in case.
- I called Chase Customer Service who said they weren’t aware of any such thing, but that it sounded like their verbiage. They directed me to Chase loss prevention.
- I called Chase Loss Prevention who said there was no program like that to their knowledge and the phone number from my caller ID didn’t track back to any of their departments.
So, at this point I chalked it up to a hoax or phishing attempt. Perhaps they thought I would be so distraught I’d be willing to give up confidential data to “verify” my account? I figured they didn’t get the reaction they wanted and so that would be the end.
Two days later, I got a call from a business banker at Branch A telling me that “Chase Risk has evaluated our accounts and has determined that we must sever relationships with all third-party providers. As such, we will be closing your _____________ account in the next 30 days.” I could not get her to tell me how the decision was made, or give me anyone to talk to that had the information or power. She just kept telling me that businesses in my sector were considered a risk – though she could not expand on what exactly that risk might be. Had to hang up on her due to my growing level of frustration.
At this point, all I am left with: “Your business is risky”
You know what? All businesses are risky, particularly to the business owner. They are also most risky in the early years, not after more than 6 years of stable operation.
My business consists of me providing a service, billing a client, receiving a check, and depositing it in my account. There is no more risk to Chase Bank from my processing payroll than there would be if I sold Avon or mowed lawns.
At this point, I had resigned myself to the fact that I must relocate my accounts. Of course, that means moving ALL my accounts, not just the one in question, because I have no intention of doing business with a company that doesn’t want to do business with me.
Friday, I got a call from a business banker at Branch B. He was calling because it seems that first call I had received was from his underling who was concerned at how upset I had become and passed my number on. He wanted to see if there was anything he could do for me, but was reiterating the fact that my account would be closed. Again, he was unable to explain how my account suddenly presented a risk.
He did tell me, though, that the change was because of a new OCC regulation that required them to monitor the business practices of their third-party providers and, since they were unable to monitor the business practices of all their customers who provide those services, they were electing to cease servicing them. He tells me repeatedly that the decision was based on government regulation over which Chase had no control.
Now, far be it for me to doubt our government’s willingness to crush businesses, but this seemed too odd. I spent the day researching and found several things.
The “regulation” he mentioned is not a regulation, so much as a regulatory suggestion. It also is at least a decade old. It states that banks, in order to maximize profit and utilize broader expertise, have turned to third-party providers for such things as loan origination, credit card processing, and foreclosure services. This presents risk, in their estimation, because customers perceive they are doing business with the bank itself. If proper business procedures are not followed, the bank would be at risk. Therefore, banks are obligated to monitor the activities of any third-party providers. They state, very clearly, however, that they are referring to third-party providers operating on the banks behalf, or at their behest.
The “new” piece of the puzzle is the Risk Review issued by OCC (apparently the first one they’ve ever bothered to publish) In the report, they claim banks are under pressure to be profitable and so are being lax with their oversight, specifically with loan origination and third-party providers – who they again clarify as working on the bank’s behalf.
In other words, if I was processing the payroll for one of their branches, or they were recommending my services to their depositors, they would be opening themselves to risk and would be obligated to monitor my practices (or cut ties if they were unable). As it stands now, however, my business as a payroll processor presents no more risk to Chase Bank than it would if I sold cupcakes.
So, did a Chase executive read the Risk Review, misread the regulation and panic, flagging all business accounts they thought might provide third-party services for closure? Unlikely. Banking execs are not always known for making great decisions, but such horrible reading comprehension seems a bit much, even for them.
Did a Chase executive read the Risk Review, decide to sever ties with the third-party providers they had previously used? More likely. Said exec sends out a memo to the effect “We have decided to sever business relationships with all third-party providers”, but they don’t clarify what that means. Whether they simply don’t think to include a definition or consciously don’t believe it is necessary, they are clearly wrong.
When that memo reached the regional level, it was read to mean that any business account associated with any kind of third-party provider, rather than just those they are obligated to monitor, will be closed.
This incident is a serious indictment of the current lack of critical & independent thought. Several people at multiple branches received direction to, basically, flush a large group of good, long-term customers and they all followed through without the slightest hesitation. None of them thought to question the action, none of them asked for more information. Not one of them was willing to look at MY case, or MY accounts, and consider ME as an individual, a good customer. Not one of them even felt a blip of remorse about what they believed their employer was doing.
It may turn out that I am wrong about this.
It may turn out that I am right and Chase will still sever the business “relationship”.
But, I’ll be damned if I am going to just let something like that slide without putting up a fight – and doing a bit of research.
UPDATE (2/1/13): Just received a debit card for the business account Chase is threatening to close. Still, as yet, have not heard back from the business bankers for whom I left messages. Someone should be able to tell me “Yes, you are right” or “No, you are wrong”. Of course, that would involve someone understanding the situation.
UPDATE (2/7/13): It appears I finally called to the right person and my accounts won’t be closed. I am planning on writing a full recap, but as of 2/24 I am still not sure what all needs to be said.
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UPDATE (1/30/13): Adding excerpts below for those who prefer not to slog through the linked papers:
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“We’re the revolution now”
Odd how the Left believed so strongly that the most patriotic thing a citizen could do was question the government, talk back to our elected representatives, throw shoes at the president…until *their* guy became “The Man”, now it is treasonous racism to not faun in rapturous amazement at his every move.
Where did all their “question authority” and “truth to power” stuff go?
On our last day of 2012, WordPress sent me a year-end report. It appears some thanks are in order.
Thanks to the SandCastle Crew for the linky love, your sidebar gets a lot of action
Thanks to the Exurban League boys for giving me a glance now and then. Your blog (and your Tweets) is must reading – and getting a nod from you gets me a real traffic boost.
Happy New Year
to you and to all my friends online and in “real” life
I am not a firm believer in the “war on Christmas” meme, but I certainly know there are battles that crop up each year.
One such skirmish happened in Missoula, Montana, where a supposed group* of parents demanded that Chief Charlo Elementary School remove all non-secular songs from the Christmas concert. The program shows that the music covers Jewish, Christian, and secular celebrations.
For the concert on December 12, students from kindergarten to the third grade sang, ‘Joy to the World,’ ‘Up On a House Top,’ ‘Jolly Old St. Nicholas,’ ‘O Christmas Tree,’ ‘O Come Little Children,’ ‘Deck the Halls,’ a Polish lullaby, a Hanukkah song, a pinata song, a Nutcracker rhythm piece and ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ for the finale.
Students in the fourth and fifth grade had a separate concert where they sang, ‘Season of Bells,’ ‘Dreidel Spins,’ ‘Good Christian Men Rejoice,’ ‘Merry Merry,’ ‘Jolly Old St. Nicholas’ and ‘Go in Peace,’ for the concluding song.
The letter says they believe their children will be bullied for choosing not to participate in singing songs that are religious, though there is no proof or any details to support that claim. However, they claim to have no problem with songs like Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – because those songs offend no one.
If you don’t believe in the Nativity Story, if your tradition holds that Jesus was not the son of God, not the Savior, not even born – how is a song about his birth offensive to you? Why would you have more of a problem singing about a fictional baby in a manger than, say, a snowman that comes to life when he wears a magic hat? Or a flying reindeer who uses his flashing red nose to guide a sleigh full of presents around the world for good little boys and girls? Or a jolly fat man who sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake? A fairy-tale is a fairy-tale, right?
Why, in other words, do people go out of their way to be offended?
Sing the songs, don’t sing the songs, watch the pageant or don’t – but attempting to ruin it for everyone else makes you the bully.
* I say “supposed group” because the demand was sent in an anonymous letter. Could’ve been a mischievous student for all we know.
The Wright Flyer made four flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, the best covering 852 feet in 59 seconds.
It was the first heavier-than-air, powered aircraft to make a sustained, controlled flight with a pilot aboard.
It was also one in a long line of designs over several years. A great deal of time, money, and failure was necessary for that moment (less than a minute) of triumph.
Orville Wright once said of their inventions: “We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate what ever aroused curiosity.” A lesson to parents & teachers everywhere.
Of course, it pays to remember that even visionaries are sometimes wrong:
“No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris …[because] no known motor can run at the requisite speed for four days without stopping.”
- Orville Wright
From that brief glide to super-sonic passenger flight – to walking on the moon. What a wonderful world.
Covetousness: The desire to have something that belongs to another. “My neighbor has an awesome car. I want my neighbor’s awesome car.”
Jealousy: Anger about what belongs to another. “My neighbor has an awesome car. It isn’t fair that my neighbor has such an awesome car. I will never get to have a car that awesome.”
Envy: Admiration of what belongs to another. “My neighbor has an awesome car. I bet he worked very hard for that car, and he seems to really enjoy it. I would like to have a car like that. I bet if I worked hard I could get one, too.”
I don’t know if these fit the dictionary definitions, I will look those up at the end to include them. I list these definitions as my understanding (or interpretation) purely as an illustration for what I’m about to tell you.
I recently had occasion to reconnect with an old friend, and I found I envied her. I do not think this is a negative emotion as my envy was clearly rooted in admiration.
Bear with me while I tell a long story to get to the point…
I first met “Joan” * over 15 years ago when I was living in Florida. We worked together at a fabric store, and I was always impressed with her creativity, talent, and skill. At that time, she was in design school learning to make the most of her gift. Her dream was to be a designer, creating beautiful things. I was fortunate to see some of her designs on paper and, even better, I saw many of them when they were completed. Besides her beautiful work with standard textiles, she often amazed me with her command of the more challenging materials. (She once even made a ball gown out of newspaper and vinyl that would have been a hit on any red carpet.)
When I left Florida and moved back to Arizona, I lost touch with most everyone there. Fast forward to just a few years ago when I reconnected with Joan via Facebook.
I was pleased to discover that she is working as a designer. In her work with a major wrestling organization, she is responsible for creating and constructing much of the gear you see during those televised Thursday night matches. Believe me, creating gear that is both strong and skimpy is enough of a challenge. For wrestling gear it is also vitally important that everything stay in place with no wardrobe malfunctions. That means the pieces must be made precisely, as the wrestlers have to rely on fit, not tape or glue. She also makes good use of her experience with difficult fabrics; spandex, vinyl, Nomex, Lycra, sequins, foils, etc. Fabrics that cause considerable headaches for other seamstresses.
The wrestling organization filmed a pay-per-view event here in Phoenix, which gave me the opportunity to not only see her, but see her at work. It was hectic, high–energy, and I was thoroughly impressed watching her handle the pressure and time crunch. And this is when the “envy” really became clear. It is not that she is doing a job that I wish I were doing, but that she is in a career she always wanted.
I’m not suggesting that as a young girl she dreamed of one day making a booty shorts and kick pads, simply that she wanted to design and create. She is doing just that, and on a large scale. That is what I envy. I never decided what I wanted to be when I grew up; at least I never decided on anything I could truly set my mind and heart to.
There are people who have always known what business they would be in, because they were expected to follow in their parents’ footsteps. That always seemed like it could be a blessing and a curse. Less common, I believe, is finding that path you desire when you’re young and having the vision & fortitude to work towards that goal.
I always wished I had one of those burning bush moments that would point my feet in the right direction. So, when I run across people who have set, followed, and achieved those types of life plans, I admire – and envy – them.
In this spirit, I admit that I envy my old friend, Joan. And I don’t think it is a bad emotion.
What do you think, is it wrong to envy her? Or, have I named entirely the wrong emotion for what I feel?
The dictionary definitions
- Covetousness: inordinately or wrongly desirous of wealth or possessions; greedy.
- Jealousy: resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself.
- Envy: a feeling of grudging or somewhat admiring discontent aroused by the possessions, achievements, or qualities of another
* Not her real name, changed it ’cause that’s what people do
Several business are giving you a little extra incentive for your Holidays and Christmas shopping. Buy a gift card for a friend, get a bonus for yourself. I will keep looking for these deals and update through Christmas.
- Culver’s: For each $25 card you buy, get a free value meal
- Del Taco: For each $25 card, get a free combo meal
- Red Lobster: Buy a card of $25 or more, get a $5 coupon
- Sakana Sushi**: Buy a $50 card, get a $10 card
- Macayo’s*: For every $25 card, get $5 card for you
- Outback Steakhouse: For every $100 worth of gift cards, get $20 bonus card
- Fry’s Food Stores, Safeway: Gift card purchases always get you double points, during the Holidays you get quadruple points. Every 100 points gets you $.10 off per gallon of gas – so buy $250 gift cards (mix-n-match from huge selection), get $1.00 off per gallon (that is a $12 savings for me, $30 savings for D)
- Dillon’s BBQ**: For every $100 in gift certificates purchased, get an additional $20 gift certificate to share (or keep )
If you are opposed to giving gift cards, even as stocking stuffers, you can still take advantage of the deals – just keep them all for yourself, a bonus for the New Year.