Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Cell Phone Plans: U.S. Cellular

I’m a Sprint customer.  And, for the most part, I’m a happy Sprint customer.  However; Sprint – like every other cell phone company – is no longer giving away or selling for a really discounted price cell phones.  So, on top of the $170 (plus taxes and fees) I pay for an unlimited plan data, talk, and message plan; I’ll have to pay for the phone – either through their lease program or from somewhere else out of pocket.

Since I’m close to the end of my two year contract, I thought I’d give the other companies a try.  I started with U.S. Cellular. Here’s their latest commercial:

Sounds good, right? Except, not only do you have to pay for that phone (probably through installation payments), but you still have to pay for a connection fee. So, your $60.00 16GB plan comes to $100, plus the installation payment for two phones.

Here’s their plans:

uscellplans

I checked and the most data we have ever used in a month was almost 13GB, this means we would need at least a 16GB plan to replace our unlimited plan. What can U.S. Cellular do for us? Not much, according to Michael:

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Maybe it’s just me, but it didn’t seem like much of a deal.

Let’s do the math:

Plan 16GB Shared Connect $80.00
Line 1 Samsung Galaxy S7 $22.40 30 months
Smartphone Connection Charge $20.00
Line 2 Samsung Galaxy S7 $22.40 30 months
Smartphone Connection Charge $20.00
$164.80

But, that’s only 16GB of data. I have an unlimited plan now.

Traffic Stop Survey…

Please take the below survey. I’m collecting data. It’s not entirely scientific, as I’m relying on your honestly. Please only take the survey once. Feel free to pass it around.

Create your own user feedback survey

NYTimes: Wells Fargo Fined for Years of Harm to Customers

Wells Fargo Fined for Years of Harm to Customers 

$185 million might be a lot of money to you or me, but when they scammed 1.5 million customers, it’s a drop in the bucket.  What’s the big deal?  What’s going to stop them from doing this again?  Or, encourage this bad behavior again?

How is it that you can literally steal from people and just pay a small fine?  It’s a good thing Wells Fargo didn’t steal anyone’s car, they might’ve actually gone to jail.
http://nyti.ms/2co9hQK

Justice Nominations and Senator Ron Johnson

United States Constitution Article II Section 2 Paragraph 2

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016. Just over a month later, as is his right and duty granted by the United States Constitution, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. And, our United State Senate voted on the nomination and confirmed Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Oh, wait, the United States Senate has NOT confirmed Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court. It is now the end of August and still, no vote.

Haven’t the American people waited long enough for a replacement for Justice Scalia?

We should be outraged that our duly elected officials are NOT doing their jobs. Unfortunately, our Founding Fathers didn’t anticipate this and put something in the Constitution to say what to do when the Senate refuses to do its job and vote on the President’s nominee. There is a clause about what happens if the Senate is in recess, the President can make the appointment.  But, not one word about the Senate not cooperating.  Not. One. Word.

“It’s just too highly politicized of an atmosphere. It’s not fair to the nominee, it’s not fair to the court. Don’t nominate anybody. That was our advice. President Obama didn’t follow it.” – Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)

I’ll bet our Founding Fathers never thought, never even considered that we might have elected officials so obstinate that they wouldn’t vote on the President’s Supreme Court nominee.  I don’t have a problem with them not confirming – it happens.  I don’t have a problem with them holding hearings, we’ve been doing that my whole life and probably longer.  I do take serious issue with our Senate not doing their jobs.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) says he approves of this.  He tells his constituents that we don’t nominate and appoint Supreme Court Justices in election years.  Johnson said “It’s just too highly politicized of an atmosphere. It’s not fair to the nominee, it’s not fair to the court. Don’t nominate anybody. That was our advice. President Obama didn’t follow it.”1  (I should mention that in 1992, Joe Biden had the same idea. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now.)

This isn’t Senator Johnson’s only refusal to nominate a judge to a Federal Court. The US 7th District Court is still down a couple of judges and we have Ron Johnson to thank for it. He blocked the nomination of Victoria Nourse, who was nominated in 2010, before Johnson was even Senator. He said it wasn’t fair because he hadn’t been consulted. HE. WASN’T. THE. SENATOR.

Ron Johnson is up for reelection. We cannot in good conscience send this man back to Washington for another six years. These are not the only reasons not to reelect Johnson, they’re just my reasons today. I’ll have more as the election draws near.

1.Wisconsin Watchdog article...2/6/2016

The Moron’s Case for Hillary Clinton by The Contrarian Blog

This is NOT mine and I highly recommend that you follow this blog. Do yourself a favor. This is well written and factual. It cuts the crap you see in most blogs.

This blog about why you should vote for Hillary and how Donald Trump isn’t even in her same class is amazing.  Well written, concise, and full of ammunition for your consideration when you have a chance to debate Trump supporters.

Here is just a sample…

An old colleague and I were having breakfast this morning when he looked up at the news (I can’t remember which network …MSNBC, I think) and noticed a split screen of Donald Trump and Hillary Clint…

Source: The Moron’s Case For Hillary Clinton…because some of you really are that stupid.

Commuting with Julie – The Pokemon Menance Continues

Thoughts On President Johnson…

I love history, but quite honestly, I don’t know a lot about President Lyndon Johnson’s Presidency.  I consider this slightly odd, since I was born during the last year of his Presidency.  I should know something.  Suffice it to say, that I know more about Nixon’s Presidency (plus, I can remember his Presidency) than Johnson’s.  What I do know about President Johnson, I learned from The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro.

Anyway, I came across an article from 1973 in The Atlantic called “The Last Days of the President“.  It’s a fascinating look at a man.  I highly recommend it.

Here’s a part I found most fascinating.  Lyndon Johnson “never doubted that he could have won the 1968 election against Richard Nixon…”  In 1971, he told Leo Janos (the author of the article),  “My daddy was only sixty-two when he died, and I figured that with my history of heart trouble I’d never live through another four years. The American people had enough of Presidents dying in office.”

According to the article,  President Johnson had an actuarial study completed on his life, which predicted that he would die at age 64, which he did on January 22, 1973.  Making an assumption that he might have gone earlier, Hubert Humphrey would have been the next President.  It is, also, quite possible, that Humphrey would have beaten Nixon, if he ran again in 1972.  It is quite possible that Nixon would never have run again and there wouldn’t have been a Nixon Presidency.

Think about that – No Nixon Presidency means no Watergate, no open door to China, no Presidential visit to China, no resignation, and no Ford Presidency.  I wonder if that would have ushered in a Ronald Reagan Presidency before the 1980s?

I think the main thing would be no Watergate.  Watergate opened the flood gates of government distrust that has exploded into this massive hatred and distrust of our own leaders.  I wonder why it would be like to trust your government?  Would that mean we wouldn’t have Bundy in Oregon pointing rifles at Federal Agents?  Would there have been a Waco?  A 9/11?

What would have changed if President Johnson had decided to run again and won?

I don’t have the answer to that question, but it is fascinating to think about.

The next item on the list was how Johnson knew what was the score.  In the article, he is quoted as saying, “The first thing Democrats do when they take power is find where the control levers are. But the first thing Republicans do is investigate Democrats. I don’t know why they do it but you can count on it.”  It appears that some things haven’t changed at all.

It just goes to show how the past can be seen in the future and present.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Blessings…

Defending Hillary

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Hillary Clinton at the beginning of this election.  I was a Bernie supporter.  Hillary was too far to the right, too moderate for my liking.  Plus, she came with the baggage of more than twenty years in the spotlight.  I saw how the right wing and the press treated her when she was first lady.  They certainly weren’t much better when she was Secretary of State.  Thinking that this would improve when she became President is just foolish.

But, then, I started thinking about why Hillary Clinton was so detested.  She has been portrayed in the media as being scheming, conniving, too ambitious, out for herself, and, in extreme cases, evil.  Why has this woman who has worked in some form of public office most of her life been treated this way?

Because it sells papers.  Here is my Facebook response to someone who repeatedly writes on my posts how evil and abhorrent Hillary is:

Based on what? She’s never been arrested. She’s never been charged with a crime. She isn’t out killing kittens in the middle of the night. She has been branded as an evil woman by a media who wants to sell papers and make ratings since she was first lady. They did the same thing to Nancy Reagan. The difference is that Mrs. Reagan didn’t have any political ambitions beyond being Ronnie’s wife. Secretary Clinton has always had political ambitions and she pays the price for it with constant investigations into everything she does. Quite frankly, I’m tired of the biased and unfounded allegations against her. I agree with her politically 92% of the time. I am going to vote for her. I am not going to tell my grandsons that the country sucks because your Nana cast a vote that allowed in a spoiled, rich,racist,warmongering boy to ascend to the Presidency. I am not going to write in Bernie Sanders, because he has thrown himself behind Secretary Clinton for President. If she is really that evil that she has gotten away with horrible things all these years, frankly, that’s the President I want – someone who can get things done.

Obviously, this didn’t change this person’s mind. Sadly, the perception of Clinton is abhorrent.  In this day and age, you can’t change people’s minds.  Sometimes the opposite is true.  The more you insist that something isn’t true, the more the person making the statement will cling to their belief.

Is this a new phenomenon?  No, we have been making judgement calls on people throughout history.  Mary Todd Lincoln was despised for spending what Americans considered a wasteful amount on refurnishing the White House.  Jackie Kennedy was looked down upon for the same, until she charmed the public and the press.  There have been 9 different First Ladies in my lifetime.  All but Barbara Bush were trounced in the press.  Nancy Reagan was considered out of touch.  Pat Nixon was too quiet, etc.  The nation went nuts when Mrs. Obama put in a garden and bared her arms.  We are a nation of people who do not want our First Ladies to be strong women, which is interesting because the only way a woman could survive being the wife of a President is to be a strong willed woman.  Just like it isn’t easy for a man to walk a step behind his woman, the same can be said for the woman walking a step behind her man.

It’s time for us to come around and judge Hillary on her own basis.  She isn’t an ignorant woman.  She went to law school.  She grew up, as I did, in a Middle Class Household.  That doesn’t make her out of touch with the rest of us.  Are there things in pop culture she might not know?  Absolutely, it’s the same for me.  She was a successful Senator and, then, the Secretary of State.  If you want to agree with her politically, that’s one thing, but this perception that she’s somehow evil is ridiculous.  I wouldn’t even say that about Donald Trump.  Evil is Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, and their irk.

Judge her on the statements she actually makes and the actions she has or does take – don’t rely on an inaccurate media telling you how to feel.   As I mentioned yesterday, the media has it’s own bias.

Blessings

Media Bias…

I discovered this morning that someone signed me up for emails from RedState.com – the Conservative Blog founded in 2004. The way I discovered this is I found their Morning Briefing in my inbox. It happens. I am also on the mailing list for the GOP. I don’t know who the person is that keeps putting my name on Republican and right-wing mailing lists, but the joke’s on them, since I don’t care.

Anyway, in the email was the following header:

Feds Force Ex-Navy SEAL To Pay $6.6 Million Over Bin Laden Book

Below it, in smaller type was this:

The Justice Department isn’t disputing the story. They’re just punishing him for telling it.

This makes it sound like the Justice Department is doing something wrong, doesn’t it?
This headline intrigued me, so I clicked on the article. The very first paragraph states this:

A former Navy SEAL who was involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is now being forced to pay the government $6.6 million for failing to get the book approved by the Department of Defense.

That paragraph is enough to piss anyone off, isn’t it? It makes it sound like the government is out to get Matt Bissonnette (the man behind the pseudonym of Mark Owen and the book “No Easy Day”).  I’m a little miffed at the thought of the government making a Navy Seal pay out his royalties for the book. Matt Bissonnette is, after all, a man who risks his life to ensure our freedom around the world and deserves our respect and thanks.  Why would the government do this?

A little further down comes the answer:

As a Navy SEAL, Bissonnette signed a non-disclosure agreement that would prohibit him from releasing sensitive information from his time in the military. His book, the Justice Department claimed, contained sensitive and classified material. Under the agreement made, Bissonnette will acknowledge his mistake of not submitting the book for review. Between that and the payments, the U.S. Government will not pursue more liability claims.

It turns out that Bissonnette not only released “sensitive and classified material”, but he had signed a non-disclosure agreement. Oh, so he broke the law and released classified information and, basically, this is what will keep him out of jail. I learned this last part when I did a search to see what was really happening here and found a Christian Scientist Monitor article released the same day. It’s first paragraph is as follows:

The former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about his role in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden will pay the government more than $6.6 million for violating non-disclosure agreements and publishing without getting the document cleared by the Defense Department, according to federal court documents.

See the difference? This one doesn’t play on your emotions. It merely states the facts of the case and let’s you know what’s up. Bissonnette violated the non-disclosure agreements and did not receive the proper clearance from the Defense Department. (Personally, I would think that his publisher would have looked into that before publishing, but that’s just me.) The article goes on to say that it is illegal for a violation of a non-disclosure agreement, it goes against the ethics of the Seals, based on this tenet: “I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions.”

My point in all of this is to watch what you read (and watch).  Don’t just rely on one source.  Maybe after reading the Christian Scientist Monitor article you’re still outraged, but at least you have all of the information, laid out for you.  In the Red State blog, you don’t.  I don’t even believe you should just read these two articles or even my blog.  You should try to read everything you get your hands on.

I should say that I’ve completed some research on Red State and I have to admire their tenacity in their refusal to back Donald Trump.  Based on that (and their defense of Megyn Kelly against Donald Trump), they appear to be leaning toward the Conservative of old: reasonable and fair.  I miss those guys.  On the other hand, their banning of Ron Paul supporters as bloggers leans a little bad, but since I’ve only read that in one source, I’m not going to make a judgement on it.

Blessings!

Commuting with Julie — Media and Tragedy

By now most of you have probably seen the newscasts about the Police Shooting in Milwaukee over the weekend.  It’s disheartening.  A young man lost his life, while another young man has to live with the knowledge that, while he did what he must, he took another life.  Add in a volatile community, already reeling from multiple shootings across the country, an irresponsible media, and an oppressing class who bark things like “Why don’t we do something about black on black crime” and you have a recipe for disaster.

Let me get one thing straight, right up front, depsite Fox News and their “expert”, this is not President Obama’s fault.  How could it be?  He has not committed one act that denounced the police.  He has not created an environment of distrust between the Police Departments and the Black Community.  This has been going on for generations, not 8 years.  We had a lull where we didn’t hear of these types of things very often, but with Facebook, the Internet, Twitter, and 24 hour news; we hear of these tragedies nearly everyday.

Sadly, racism is alive and well in this country and we only have ourselves to blame.  Distrust on both sides – black and white – needs to be mended.  Not all blacks are lazy thugs and not all whites are oppressive, ignorgant masters

I don’t have the answers.  But, I know looking to the media for the answer isn’t a solution.  They’re not in it to make it better, they’re in it to sell it.  Discord, distrust, and riots in the streets sell news and make money.

Blessings

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