Archive for September, 2008

Ohio Issue 5 – Payday Loans

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

I don’t usually get into political crap, but this issue just really annoys me.  It’s a little confusing and misleading… I can’t see how it could possibly be voted down.

From http://ballotpedia.org

The Ohio Payday Loan Referendum is a veto referendum proposed in order to stop House Bill 545 that would cap the Ohio payday loan industry’s interest rate at 28%. The previous cap was 391% ($15 per $100 on a two-week loan).

HB 545 was approved by state lawmakers and the governor in late spring. Opponents of the new restrictions (mostly the payday lending industry) quickly sprang into action to try to overturn it using Ohio’s veto referendum process.

Opponents of HB 545 are asking for only a partial repeal of House Bill 545; the portion that eliminates the current payday interest rates.

Payday lenders have until September 1 to collect the needed 241,365 valid signatures to qualify for the November 4, 2008 ballot in Ohio.

The payday loan industry is dumping millions of dollars into a campaign against this issue.  Well of course they are, if isssue 5 passes, they’ll lose millions.  They’re using every angle:  Financial freedom, privacy, keep jobs in Ohio, big brother government.  Their tactics are about as sleazy as their industry.  Paying homeless people to get signatures, deceased people’s signatures showing up, misleading statements to people signing the petition.  If you’ve seen any of their commercials on TV, they’re disgusting.  So here’s the arguments they give on their website:

1 – To Protect Over 6,000 Jobs in Ohio.
Really?!  What jobs?!  The only jobs I can see threatened are employees of payday loan shops.  The only way those people lose their jobs is if the payday loan shops get rid of them.  This issue isn’t forcing them to close their stores, it’s forcing them to stop raping people who use their service.

2 – To Preserve Financial Options for All Ohioians.
Again, Issue 5 is not banning payday loans.

3 – To Keep Ohioans’ Private Information Out of Intrusive Government Database.
Ok, this sounds really scary and their ads play on this – “Big brother is watching you and keeping track of your information!”  The big scary government database is this:  part of the bill only allows people to use payday loans 4 times a year… the database is used to keep track of that.  Have you bought any medication containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine lately?  They scan your ID and make you sign a log because they’re limiting how much you can buy in a 30 day period.  No one against that measure brought up all these ‘privacy’ issues.  They’re keeping track of how many times you’ve used the service… that’s it.

4 – Because  Short-Term Payday Loans are Cheaper than Alternatives like Bank Overdraft Fees.
It may be cheaper than overdraft fees, but I don’t know about ‘other alternatives’.  For a two week loan, the payday places charge $15 for every $100 borrowed.  This translates into something like a 391% APR.  Yes, three-hundred and ninety-one percent.  As an aside, one of the other things the bill is doing is extended the payback period to 30 days instead of two weeks.  Here’s my main problem with these places – if I’m $100 behind on my bills this week and use a payday loan… aren’t I going to be $115 behind next time?!  $130 the time after that… $145 the time after that.  So cheaper than overdraft fees…well sure.  But bouncing a check should be an accident, not a short-term loan.  Do people intentionally write a bad check!?  I hope not, because it doesn’t actually pay your bill and it results in fees.  So I don’t think you can even compare the two.

5 – Issue 5 is Supported by Out-of-State Special Interest Groups
Ha!  It’s also opposed by ‘out-of-state special interest groups’  People in glass houses…

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio has become the epicenter of a national debate on payday lending restrictions.

The payday loan industry is trying to get issues on the November ballot in Ohio and Arizona that would overturn restrictions on the interest rates it can charge.

Uriah King, a policy associate at the industry-critic Center for Responsible Lending, says Ohio’s size and status as a battleground state make it the center of attention for those watching the payday industry.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws restricting the industry, while four other states are watching Ohio to see what happens.

The industry is spending millions of dollars to gather signatures and run television ads to keep restrictions from taking effect.

So yeah, people on both sides from all over the country are active in this one.  What cracks me up is that there’s really no opposing industry – no one fighting these payday loan predators has a financial reason for doing so. It’s mainly non-profit organizations like Center for Responsible Lending and the Vote Yes on Issue 5 Committee
Guess you know how I’m voting on this issue.  Anyone have a compelling argument for the other side?

Amazon Prime

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Amazon Prime is how I got that generator sent overnight and didn’t pay $216 to do 😀  Everything on their site is free 2 day shipping, no minimum, and you can upgrade anything to overnight shipping for $3.99 — pretty sweet deal.  Click the link at the start of this post to get a free 30 day trial (you can set it to NOT subscribe you to it at the end of the 30 days)

84 Hours

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

… and I have power again!  It came on sometime in the last couple hours.  Dad checked in on the house this evening sometime and it still wasn’t on.  I got home from the Reds game an hour or so ago and we’re good!  Dishwasher is running, laundry is going, and I’m about to start roasting coffee.  😀  Boy that was not fun.  I actually ended up ordering a generator today from Amazon.com.  The paper said it could be another week for a lot of places, figured I could be one of those places.  Brilliant move though – there’s none to be had for 100 miles around here, but I got a 4000 watt one shipped in for under $400… 1 day shipping!  Not sure if I should hang onto it or sell it though.  It could come in handy at some time I’m sure.  I doubt I’ll have another stint like this one any time soon… but you never know.

K… off to turn on more stuff 😀

Oh, and I will be disappointed if I ever go to a Reds game and sit in the ‘normal’ seats ever again.  The “Club” seats are frickin awesome.

S out.

24 Hours Without Power

Monday, September 15th, 2008

And counting.  Actually about 27 now.  Sucks.  Have a fridge full of food if anyone wants it.

You don’t realize how much you depend on electricity until you don’t have it for an extended amount of time.  I swear, when it comes back on I’m turning on every TV in the house, my computers, Playstation…. might even microwave some water for the helluvit.  Coffee mug with a light bulb in it.

I freaked my neighbor out today – my garage door opener has a battery backup in it.  I left for work and he said “You have power?!?”  Heh.   I don’t have it too bad – taking turns charging stuff with the inverter I have.  Thought about firing up the grill earlier but the chicken I had left in the fridge smelled suspect.  Made it to work about an hour late today – weaving past down trees was fun.  Here’s a flash people – if the stop lights are dark, treat it as a four way stop.  Seriously.  And you don’t get to try to sneak through with the car in front of you.  Work was good though – I was one of the few people who made it in (me?!  a model employee?!  whodathunkit) had a few fires to put out, but my building downtown never lost power over the weekend.  I know I’ve bragged a little about the company I work for, but how cool:  the president sent an email about 11 saying they were closing the office at noon and wouldn’t open until noon tomorrow.  Honestly concerned about people trying to clean up after the storm, take care of kids unexpectedly at home, and worried about the commute people were facing during rush hour with trees down and traffic lights.  Awesome.

Didn’t really take any pictures… just go to your favorite news site and see what the mere remnants of Ike did to the midwest.  You poor Texans.

Have to love a Treo 750, AT&T data plan, and a bluetooth capable laptop.  I’ll probably spend this evening about like the last – back porch, tiki torches, glock, laptop, beer, and treo.  You can take the power out of the house, but you can’t take the geek out of it.

Stay safe out there.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

I have no idea why I didn’t put this up here last month… one of those things I just assumed everyone had already watched.  It is almost 45 minutes long, so click when you have time to kill (or get from iTunes and watch on your fancy video iPod)

Watch Now