Jeff Reifman http://jeffreifman.com Lookahead Consulting, Seattle, Washington Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:33:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Seattle’s WTF? Parking Ticketshttp://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/24/seattles-wtf-parking-tickets/ http://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/24/seattles-wtf-parking-tickets/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:25:36 +0000 http://jeffreifman.com/?p=3671 I’m kind of straight edge and when it comes to parking I always try to park legally. One time a couple of years ago, I parked on a quiet side street in Ballard partially blocking a sidewalk. I thought it was okay, but I received a ticket and paid it with only a quiet hmmph. I’m sure you’ve had a ...

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fremontI’m kind of straight edge and when it comes to parking I always try to park legally. One time a couple of years ago, I parked on a quiet side street in Ballard partially blocking a sidewalk. I thought it was okay, but I received a ticket and paid it with only a quiet hmmph. I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience. When I mess up, I don’t mind paying the fine.

But I’ve received four tickets the past two years in Seattle where I come out and go WTF? Nothing’s more frustrating then when you have no clue why you got a ticket. Have you received some of those? I’m pretty sure if I’ve received four, you’ve probably received some too. At a minimum, you have to take photos, write up a statement and send in two letters to contest the tickets. Paying them outright is $47, not cheap. Generally though, even if you have a good point, they still make you pay half the fine.

1. In September 2012, I received a  ticket for supposedly overstaying a 2 hour parking zone, but was able to get it dismissed by providing retail receipts from a distant Whole Foods location that showed I could not have been in the spot that long. I had to go back to Whole Foods to get a receipt to prove my innocence.

2. In December 2013, I received a ticket late in the evening under a very dark area in Fremont for being parked in a permit zone whose sign had been vandalized (pictured above, close up with camera flash). I parked a bit away from the sign and simply didn’t see it or I would have parked on the opposite side of the street where there was plenty of parking. Would you have noticed the upper part? They forgave half the cost of the ticket.

3. In January 2013, I received a ticket for parking at the wrong angle on the North side of Cal Anderson park where most of the paint markings have faded to almost nothing. I don’t know how the other cars were aligned when I first parked – it’s possible the lines near me were blocked. Note the truck beside me is also parked on the “line”. I thought I was fine. Again, they forgave half the cost of the ticket.

calanderson

4. Today, I got a ticket for parking here at the edge of this three way intersection that made me completely go WTF? Can you guess what I was doing wrong? I’m the car behind the motorcycle.

parking-1

How about now?

parking-3

And now?

parking-2

I was “blocking unmarked crosswalk” and “blocking north-south sidewalk path” that goes across the street to the front door of the house beside my car. I thought that was just the walkway to the person’s house.

So, am I just stupid? Dimwitted? Should I have my license revoked? Or has the city’s parking enforcement become too overzealous?

Please share your experiences in the comments.

 

 

 

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The Five Ways Health Insurers Define Deductiblehttp://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/21/five-ways-health-insurers-define-deductible/ http://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/21/five-ways-health-insurers-define-deductible/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:38:18 +0000 http://jeffreifman.com/?p=3664 If Merriam-Webster had anything to do with it, the concept of a deductible would be simple — the “amount of money that you have to pay for something (such as having your car fixed after an accident) before an insurance company pays for the remainder of the cost”. With Washington state health insurers though, it turns out things are a ...

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If Merriam-Webster had anything to do with it, the concept of a deductible would be simple — the “amount of money that you have to pay for something (such as having your car fixed after an accident) before an insurance company pays for the remainder of the cost”.

With Washington state health insurers though, it turns out things are a lot more complicated. This past year, while making a difficult recovery from knee surgery, I’ve been encountering these complexities. There are actually five ways that Washington State health insurance companies define deductible down in order to minimize coverage: multiple deductible pools, visit limits, copays, coinsurance and allowable amounts and procedures.

When I said to Rep. Eileen Cody, Chair of the Healthcare and Wellness Committee in the Washington State Legislature that it seemed that the system was rigged to favor the insurance companies, she said, “I won’t argue with that.”

I describe how the system works over at Crosscut today

I am making this article available available for republication under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please contact me if you wish to run a portion of it on your site.

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Google Can’t Verify Email Sent From Googlehttp://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/17/google-cant-verify-email-sent-google/ http://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/17/google-cant-verify-email-sent-google/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 17:12:05 +0000 http://jeffreifman.com/?p=3656 The post Google Can’t Verify Email Sent From Google appeared first on Jeff Reifman. Follow @reifman on Twitter.

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Google Unable to Verify Email from Google

Google Unable to Verify Email from Google

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Case Converter Converts All Caps Headlines to Sentence Casehttp://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/17/case-converter-converts-all-caps-headlines-to-sentence-case/ http://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/17/case-converter-converts-all-caps-headlines-to-sentence-case/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 00:29:33 +0000 http://jeffreifman.com/?p=3653 If you’re trying to cite a source on your blog which annoyingly uses all caps, e.g. “MASTER DISTILLERS AT WILD TURKEY ON THE RECIPE FOR MIXING BUSINESS WITH FAMILY”, I’m looking at you Fast Company, Case Converter offers case conversion to proper case, sentence case or lower case. p.s. I know you can do this in Word, but I’m just ...

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If you’re trying to cite a source on your blog which annoyingly uses all caps, e.g. “MASTER DISTILLERS AT WILD TURKEY ON THE RECIPE FOR MIXING BUSINESS WITH FAMILY”, I’m looking at you Fast Company, Case Converter offers case conversion to proper case, sentence case or lower case.

p.s. I know you can do this in Word, but I’m just rarely in Word anymore.

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Rolling with Beyonce and Jay-Zhttp://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/16/rolling-beyonce-jay-z/ http://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/16/rolling-beyonce-jay-z/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 19:40:16 +0000 http://jeffreifman.com/?p=3648 Apparently, SeattleMet included me in their July Perfect Party for having written the popular article on Amazon’s impact on Seattle dating. I’m sure Beyonce and Jay-Z were just as psyched as I was. Postscript: A really wonderful outcome from this was finally meeting Princess Merida. We’re planning to marry as soon as she’s of age. (I told you dating in Seattle ...

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SeattleMet's Perfect Party with Jay-Z, Beyonce and Jeff Reifman

SeattleMet’s Perfect Party with Jay-Z, Beyonce and Jeff Reifman

Apparently, SeattleMet included me in their July Perfect Party for having written the popular article on Amazon’s impact on Seattle dating. I’m sure Beyonce and Jay-Z were just as psyched as I was.

Postscript: A really wonderful outcome from this was finally meeting Princess Merida. We’re planning to marry as soon as she’s of age. (I told you dating in Seattle was hard!)

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Hobby Lobby: Latest in Evolution of Corporate Consitutional Rightshttp://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/01/hobby-lobby-latest-evolution-corporate-constitutional-rights/ http://jeffreifman.com/2014/07/01/hobby-lobby-latest-evolution-corporate-constitutional-rights/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 19:07:24 +0000 http://jeffreifman.com/?p=3580 The History of Corporate Constitutional Rights In light of this week’s Hobby Lobby ruling that corporations are persons under the law which can hold religious beliefs, I thought it would be good to revisit the origin and evolution of corporate personhood and corporate constitutional rights. While the word corporation never appears in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has been slowly expanding rights for corporations ...

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The History of Corporate Constitutional Rights

In light of this week’s Hobby Lobby ruling that corporations are persons under the law which can hold religious beliefs, I thought it would be good to revisit the origin and evolution of corporate personhood and corporate constitutional rights.

While the word corporation never appears in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has been slowly expanding rights for corporations since the early 19th century. These are judge-made “Constitutional” rights granted to corporations through misguided interpretations of the law; some might call these activist judges. The modern Roberts Court has been the most radical.

The model brief (pdf) by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) describes how Supreme Court judges have gradually found rights for corporations in the Constitution:

1819: Beginning with Dartmouth College v. Woodard, the Supreme Courted granted Constitutional Contracts clause protections to Corporations for the first time. This right is historically used by corporations holding property rights to sue communities and states to overturn regulations on harmful environmental practices such as fracking.

1886: Then, with Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, the Court granted Constitutional rights for the first time to Corporations and created the concept of corporate personhood.

The Courts found personhood for corporations by abominably leveraging the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, building power on the successful work of abolitionists who fought against slavery:

“For much of the nation’s first century, corporations were seen as a means to an end, not unlike associations. They were ‘chartered,’ or called into existence, by the states, and their charters could be revoked at any time; they were not considered ‘persons’ until after the Civil War, when business magnates began to avail themselves of the 14th Amendment’s antidiscrimination protections.” – When is a Corporation Like a Freed Slave (Mother Jones)

1889: Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad Company v. Beckwith - the Court granted Due Process protections to corporations.

1893: Noble v. Union River Logging the court grants Corporations Fifth Amendment protections of double jeopardy.

1906: Hale v. Henkel - the court grants Corporations Fourth Amendment protections for unreasonable search and seizure.

1978: First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti - the Court Grants First Amendment protections to corporations.

2010: Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission - the Court significantly expands the First Amendment rights of Corporations ruling that they can spend unlimited amounts on elections.

2014: This week, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby - the Court holds that for profit corporations are persons under the law which can hold religious beliefs.

You may also be interested in Seattle’s Stand Against Treating Corporations as People, which highlights how these laws confer Constitutional rights upon the foreign investors holding interest in many corporations as they sue American communities.

My personal view is that the long term impact of money on the makeup of government at all levels in the United States has now fundamentally corrupted our democracy, a view recently backed up by a Princeton research study. You can read more about this and my theory of change here: It’s Time for a Populist Culture War on Corruption.

The Constitution Initially Expanded Rights for People

This trend of increasing corporate power reverses the early evolution of the Constitution which historically expanded rights for people, beginning with its first ten amendments (The Bill of Rights). But these rights did not apply to slaves or women at the time. More amendments were needed over time to include these groups:

1865: The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery.

1868: The Fourteenth Amendment extended Due Process and Equal Protection for all persons.

1870: The Fifteenth Amendment provides the right to vote to former slaves and minorities (but not women).

1920: The Nineteenth Amendment provided the right to vote for women.

1971: The Twenty-Sixth Amendment provided the right to vote for 18 year olds, reversing Oregon v. Mitchell (1970)

The question of whether corporations are persons is not one of perception. It is not clouded by whether corporations come to life at some moment of conception. In fact, the rule of corporate personhood is best ridiculed by dissenting Montana State Supreme Court Justice James C. Nelson:

“Corporations are artificial creatures of law. As such, they should enjoy only those powers—not constitutional rights, but legislatively-conferred powers—that are concomitant with their legitimate function, that being limited-liability investment vehicles for business. Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people—human beings—to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creations of government. Worse still, while corporations and human beings share many of the same rights under the law, they clearly are not bound equally to the same codes of good conduct, decency, and morality, and they are not held equally accountable for their sins. Indeed, it is truly ironic that the death penalty and hell are reserved only to natural persons.”

It is past time that the application of human rights to corporate legal entities be eliminated.

The Supreme Court Trails Culture

Supreme Court decisions tend to trail cultural sentiment by many years. But I believe that cultural change is occurring with regards to corporate “constitutional rights” and corporate speech. Supreme Court approval ratings remain near 25 year lows and 65 percent of citizens of both parties disapprove of Citizens United. Congress’ approval rating recently dropped to its lowest ever, 16%.

The makeup of the Supreme Court and the impact of cultural changes does deliver change over time. Whether changed by the adoption of new amendments or the Supreme Court’s own decisions and reversals, there is ample evidence of Constitutional law as a living, breathing, ever-changing entity.

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Selling Domain Names Heating Uphttp://jeffreifman.com/2014/06/18/selling-domain-names-heating/ http://jeffreifman.com/2014/06/18/selling-domain-names-heating/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 19:27:48 +0000 http://wp.jeffreifman.com/?p=3542 Update: In the past month, UnitedKids.com sold for $299, and I sold my first two io domains, Therapy.io for $500 and Snowboard.io for $1000. While some people worried that the emergence of new gTld extensions (e.g. .ninja) would flood the domain name aftermarket, I’ve actually seen new attention and interest in my own domain portfolio. In the past few months, ...

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Update: In the past month, UnitedKids.com sold for $299, and I sold my first two io domains, Therapy.io for $500 and Snowboard.io for $1000.

While some people worried that the emergence of new gTld extensions (e.g. .ninja) would flood the domain name aftermarket, I’ve actually seen new attention and interest in my own domain portfolio. In the past few months, I’ve netted six sales: Lead1.com $275, ZenEye.com $339, RadioDna.com $69, SonicPlanet.com $499, ActiveChristian.com $250 and Newscloud.net $239. digitalocean-bannerHow do I sell my domain names? I host my domains on a parking page theme meant for domain sales with clear pricing and contact links. Each page also links to my complete portfolio listing. I use an Excel spreadsheet to auto-generate code: html for listings, javascript for pricing and Apache configurations for site hosting. I also have lowered prices on my domains this past year to increase sales – a tactic that seems to be working. I’m happy to sell handfuls of domains at low prices to fund registration costs for my more valuable domain names which I plan to hold for higher offers. My preferred domain registrars are NameCheap and Gandi.net (for .io). Gandi’s re-usable zone files are super handy for parking domains for sale. I’ll probably also be moving my parking pages to Digital Ocean soon. I use the Domena parking theme from ThemeForest.

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