Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's Time for MD To Pass Common Sense Gun Bills

You may or may not be aware, but recently in the General Assembly this session HB1060 was unanimously passed, the so-called castle doctrine bill. We had a UNANIMOUS vote on a self-defense bill that would have allowed you to have protection in the event that you injured or killed an intruder in your home.

Currently, you have no guarantee of protection from civil suit. Imagine that....a crack addict busts down your door one night and you shoot him in self-defense. You won't be criminally prosecuted, but you are wide open to a law suit from his family.

"He was a good boy, just mixed up"
"He was trying to kick drugs"
"He never beat on his kids like some people"
"This gun nut was looking for someone to kill"

You've seen the stories in the last few weeks.

So....the bill unanimously passes the house and crosses over to the Senate and never sees the light of day.

How is that?

Senator Brian Frosh, the judicial committee chair, took the bill and stuffed it "in the drawer" meaning that he unilaterally decided that the bill would never be heard in committee much less be sent to the full senate for consideration.

This gives Frosh more power to veto than even the governor, because a gubernatorial veto can be over ridden by 2/3 of the general assembly.

YOUR delegate voted in favor of this bill, and most likely your senator would have too. This means that we got a self-defense bill past the delegation from PG, MoCo, HoCo and Baltimore City.

Did I mention that he did the same thing in 2004 and 2006?

How can one man over ride the will of the entire general assembly?

And from the Maryland Shall Issue folks:

The End of Democracy? Asks Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.

ANNAPOLIS, Md., April 9, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Henry Heymering, President of Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.:

HB-1060 is a "Castle Doctrine" type bill. It would have provided immunity from civil suits brought by someone who was injured or killed after illegally entering your home and then committing or attempting to commit an additional crime.

Your Maryland Delegates, unanimously (136 - 0), voted for HB-1060.However, Senator Frosh single-handedly blocked the bill by not allowing a vote in committee -- a "desk drawer veto." Is this democracy? If your Delegates are representing your concerns, and it appears they are, then Senator Frosh is not. One has to wonder if this is because Senator Frosh's law firm specializes in personal injury claims, or simply that he chooses to push his personal views on self-defense in direct opposition to the vast majority of Marylanders.

Henry Heymering, President of Maryland Shall Issue, notes this is not the first time Senator Frosh has abused his power as Chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to impose his personal interests over the wishes of the representatives of the entire state. In fact this is the third time that Senator Frosh has blocked this very same bill which has now passed the House floor unanimously on three separate occasions -- 2004 (HB-1463), 2005 (HB-646) and now 2008.

What kind of a government is it that puts more veto power in the hands of a committee chair than in the hands of the governor? What kind of a legislator uses this power for his personal interests rather than the people he is supposed to represent?

SOURCE Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.The End of Democracy? Asks Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Refreshing Mint?

Found something out a few days ago - having several different banks to deal with is a pain. Ok, really, it didn't take me this long to figure that part out. But it did take me a long time to figure out a good way to monitor it all.

Try It doesn't cost you anything, and they don't have access to your money - all they do is display (in a read-only format) the assets and liabilities you have - just debit and credit.

This is from their website:

  1. You register anonymously.

    We do not need any personally identifiable information from you to set up your account. We only ask for a valid email address, password and zip code.

  2. We ask for your online banking user name and passwords, but we do not see or store that information.

    That means no one at Mint, and no potential hackers of, can access your banking credentials.

  3. We partner with the leading online banking service provider to connect securely to your bank.

    That company, Yodlee, has provided account aggregation services to the top US financial institutions and to one of the leading desktop personal finance software products for more than 10 years. Yodlee’s security is audited by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Federal Reserve. Your online banking credentials are stored only at Yodlee, enabling Mint to automatically and securely update your transactions and saving you from updating, syncing or uploading financial information manually.

  4. All communication between Mint and Yodlee is encrypted using 128-bit SSL, the financial industry standard for data protection.
  5. Mint provides bank-level data security for the transaction information we store.
    • Mint uses 128-bit SSL encryption to ensure that all communications between your browser and our Web site are secure.
    • We store transaction information in a secure facility, on our own servers, protected by 24/7 security guards and biometric scanners.
    • All Mint employees pass financial and criminal background checks as a condition of employment.
    • has received the VeriSign security seal and is tested daily by Hackersafe.
    • Mint’s privacy protection standards are certified by TRUSTe.
    • Mint’s anti-phishing protection is provided by RSA Security, Inc.
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    We never ask you for this information and Mint does not capture or store this information from any other source.

  7. You cannot move money with Mint.

    Mint offers valuable insights and analytic tools to help you better understand your money…but Mint is a "read only" service. Meaning: you can view and organize your money with Mint, but you cannot move money between—or out of—your bank, credit union or credit card accounts.

  8. Mint alerts can increase your financial security.

    Once you’ve set up Mint’s text message or email alerts, you’ll be automatically notified whenever what you define as unusual spending occurs in any of the bank and credit card accounts that you’ve added to Mint. That means you’ll know about suspicious transactions and can act quickly to protect your identity, money and privacy.

    And a quick response is critical to limiting your potential harm from identity theft. Given that most of us have multiple accounts at multiple financial institutions, it’s perhaps unrealistic to expect that you will log on and check transactions in every account, every day to protect yourself against identity theft. Mint can do this for you, and only Mint offers this proactive, alerts service across the 5,000 US banks, credit unions, credit card and investment companies that we support.

Anyway, I hope other people find it as useful as I have so far. Let me know!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


My pirate name is:
Iron Davy Flint

A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!
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