Monday, February 25, 2008

State Farm To Florida: "Fuck Off!"

This weekend, State Farm Insurance of Bloomington, Illinois, announced that it will no longer write new homeowner, condo, or renters policies in the state of Florida. The company claims it will continue to "honor" existing homeowner policies and write new auto insurance policies. Well aren't they just the most generous things!

State Farm mouthpieces claim this is part of a grand plan to manage company growth in Florida, but anyone can see it's simply a matter of selective greed. Auto policies are far more lucrative than homeowner policies, especially in hurricane prone areas. State Farm has simply chosen to cut their losses in the real estate market and concentrate on ripping off motorists. This follows a similar move by Allstate forcing Floridians to scramble for new policies. Last year State Farm began a strategic withdrawal from Mississippi as well.

In 2006, State Farm announced an 80% rate hike which was supposedly lowered to 52% by deliberation with Florida state officials, however many homeowners reported increases higher than 52%. Earlier this year, Florida lawmakers put pressure on insurance companies to lower rates by 9%, a move which seems to have been the final straw for State Farm, prompting the pullout.

Now State Farm has a right to cover who they want, where they want. If Florida and Mississippi are deemed "too dangerous," Fine. But, here's what I say: Fuck State Farm. In fact, screw the entire insurance scam industry. From the scumbags who sell "Hurricane" policies then refuse to pay off on them with the old "wind versus water" argument to the shit-heels who sell "full coverage" policies only to come up with things that indeed aren't covered after the fact. Fuck 'em all. You're better off without them, especially in Louisiana.

I had $80,000 or so in coverage on my homeowners policy but received about a third of that. Not bad considering the minimal damage to my home: about a foot of water and a roof with a huge hole, but I took a bath, (literally,) on the contents. Had I been an irresponsible, uninsured lout, I could have qualified for about $100,000 in state and federal funding, not to mention an ass-load of low interest, long term loans. True, I would'nt have been able to move back into my home for about two years while I waited for my government cheese, but that's cool to because FEMA would have picked up my rental and moving costs for all that time. Hell, I could have had a ritzy "slum home" like Sharon Jasper with high ceilings, hardwood floors and a brand new kitchen, all paid for by the Taxpayers of America. But no, I had to be responsible.

Don't get me wrong, not all insurance companies are full of crap. When we first moved here, my dad, (Rest In Peace,) split our insurance coverage between two of his poker buddies and our flood coverage was with Farmers. I can't tell you what a delight they were to work with. Just a few weeks after Katrina, my Farmers rep made an appointment to inspect my home and kept it. He walked through, scribled his numbers, gave me advice on clean-up and offered to cut me a preliminary check on the spot if I needed any money. I didn't, but the gesture was certainly appreciated. He was there most of the time when I called or e-mailed, and if he wasn't, he was prompt in returning the call. This guy must have never slept considering all the other people he had to deal with, but he was always there for me.

My State Farm rep on the other hand... missed the first two appointments, (infuriating, as I had to drive in from Jackson, Mississippi both times for nothing,) showed up late at the third, and almost never answered her phone. We did receive a relatively prompt payment from State Farm, but the overall experience was disheartening, to say the least. (OK, she was an incredible ditz, and strangely enough, she was a blonde.)

Well, I seem to have gotten slightly off track here, but I must say the venting has made me feel a little better. Suffice it to say that any new policies I get will be with Farmers. Yes, even though I just suggested being a leech, I can't seem to make myself do it. There's a certain dignity that comes from knowing you're taking care of your obligations. I can hold my head up high when Katrina discussions start up, (and here in Louisiana, they almost always do,) and proudly proclaim that I was not a drain on the system, that I was a responsible human being. Something that certain State Farm corporate bigwigs will never be able to do.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Your Tax Dollars At Waste

At a cost of forty-million dollars the US Navy shot down a US spy satellite from its decaying orbit. The satellite was shot down in order to prevent 1000 pounds of toxic fuel from falling to earth. Pentagon spokesmen are "pretty sure" the operation was a success.


Pretty sure? For forty-million fucking dollars you had better be 100% sure. Not only was this an incredible waste of our tax dollars, it wasn't even a guarantee. If any of this crap falls on my house you can bet your five-star asses I'll be suing the Bush Administration in short order.

While the satellite was shot down from the Pacific Ocean in order to minimize debris landfall, the Navy reports that bits and pieces of debris may be falling for the next forty days. The Navy also reports that they have tracked no falling debris larger than a football. Hmmmm... somehow that doesn't make me feel any better.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

...Now We're Just Dickering About The Price

How much for you soul? What would it cost to buy your life's work? How much money would it take to make you a whore? For our beloved adopted Massachusettan, Emeril Lagasse, that number is 50-million dollars. Earlier today, details were finalized to sell Lagasse's non-brick & mortar empire to convicted criminal Martha Stewart. Stewart's Omnimedia conglomerate will acquire the rights to all television and print aspects of the Lagasse empire and Emeril will get 45-million in cash and 5-million in Omnimedia stock, though if certain benchmarks are reached the total could reach 70-million dollars. Lagasse retains his 11 restaurants and corporate office. The deal is expected to close in the coming months.

Our moles within Omnimedia tell us that Martha Stewart herself is currently ensconced in a huge kitchen surrounded by lab technicians and that they are currently working around the clock in an attempt to "de-spice" all of Emeril's recipes in order to make them as tasteless as possible to better fit Stewart's style. Omnimedia's marketing division has also retooled Lagasse's trademark "Bam!" to better fit within Stewart's world. Chefs will now be required to pantomime adding spices while screaming "Bland!"

Lagasse could not be reached for comment, but witnesses say they saw him "laughing" on the way to Hibernia.

Friday, February 8, 2008

And The Winner Is...

By now you've all heard the collective thud of Mitt Romney's wallet hitting the floor as he dropped his political trousers in defeat this week. (And you all thought it was New Orleans' collective ass relaxing after Mardi Gras!) This leaves only a handful of front-runners in the Presidential election and since I'm coming off a grand victory in predicting the New York Football Giants as winners in Super Bowl Forty-Two I thought I'd let you all know the outcome of this years election in advance.

History will be made as Barack Obama will become the first "African-American" to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office. (Not counting the plethora of butlers and maintenance men who planted their butts there in jest while working late nights while whitey was fast asleep!)

There, I said it. How can I be so sure? Well, for one thing, Hillary Clinton is dead in the water fund-wise. Like a collective husband married to a spendthrift, her core supporters are basically tapped out and unable to compete with the almost fanatical generosity of her chief rivals supporters. Obama simply has the Democratic nomination sewn up lock, stock and barrel but for the official word which will come soon enough.

Another sign is that the Clinton camp is the main source of rumours of a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton ticket. The Obama camp, while not ruling anything out, tends to play off the rumours with a chuckle. A chuckle no doubt couched in the knowledge that Clinton is running scared and will do anything to keep Hillary's name in the same headlines relating to the Presidency.

But what about the Republicans, you ask? Well, there's not much to speak of there. Mike Huckabee plays well among the Religious Radicals and other splinter cells of what's left of the Republican Party but the Party itself has other commitments. (More on this later.) Ron Paul, my own favorite of those left in the running, is nothing more than a latter day Ross Perot with less money and more brains. Barring any major scandals from the McCain or Huckabee camps, Paul will keep surfing along powered by internet support until someone smart offers him the Veep position and that will more than likely be McCain unless Huckabee beats him to it.

Now about that Republican Party. I alluded that they have made other commitments and though I have no firm evidence, there is plenty circumstantially. Roll back with me to the 2004 election. Remember how John McCain was pouring on the steam and winning primary after primary? It was all the Republican Party could do to keep McCain from derailing a repeat for Georgie. He was almost in direct opposition with everything George Bush stood for and America was behind him.

Until he quit.

Suddenly McCain, at the height of popularity, retired from the race. Suddenly McCain threw his support wholeheartedly behind George Bush. Suddenly McCain agreed with George on all but the most minor issues. Suddenly McCain looked like he was taking one for the team. Or to put it in boxing terms; John McCain took a dive in the ninth.

Now I may be way off the mark here, but at the beginning of the 2008 race, (back in 2006,) McCain was a has-been, an also-ran. He was discounted by every media outlet in every market as someone who had absolutely no chance of gaining the Republican nomination. He was essentially treated as a likeable fellow, but a non-entity in the race for the Presidency, but here we are in 2008 and he's now the Republican media darling. How? Romney had the money. Giuliani had the popularity. Ron Paul had the Internet. What happened?

McCain has the Republican Party. It looks like stuffing your ideals in a sock and waiting your turn is paying off in huge dividends for Little John as the Republican Party is doing everything it can to assure him the 2008 nomination despite the outcry from hardline conservatives like Limbaugh and Hannity. And that's where the Republicans lose the election. The hardcore conservatives simply can't stomach McCain now any more than they could four years ago and the division his nomination will cause will be enough to send Obama to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the next four years and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Don't get me wrong... you can still vote, but the race is already over.

Congratulations Barack, make us proud! That's something Americans haven't been able to be since the 2000 election.