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Proving Stupidity is Contagious!

Browsing Posts published in March, 2010

Every so often I come across a product or service that’s so ingenious I wish that I would have come up with the idea. preCharge Risk Management Solutions is one such service.

A popular credit card policy for many ecommerce businesses is to only ship merchandise if a customer’s shipping address matches the customers billing address. In the alternative many ecommerce businesses will contact the customer and request the customer to contact their credit card company to place the alternate shipping address on file with the credit card company. Makes sense to the ecommerce business as a fraud prevention method but makes no sense in that most online consumers prefer to have their merchandise shipped to their work address or are making purchases as gifts and would prefer to have the merchandise shipped directly to the gift recipient without having to waste 15-20 minutes speaking to a call center in India. If I’m contacted by a website that I’ve made a purchase through and they make the request or simply refuse to make an exception I simply cancel the purchase. Many ecommerce businesses face the same situation daily. How do they cater to the needs of their customers while also protecting themselves from fraudulent transactions? Luckily preCharge provides the solution.

The preCharge Certified Payments Program provides ecommerce business with guaranteed chargeback protection. If they approve an order that results in a fraudulent chargeback (merchandise purchased with a stolen credit card) they reimburse the full ticket price and the merchant chargeback fee. preCharge Risk Management provides ecommerce businesses with the ability to increase revenue by shipping to non billing addresses through their Certified Payments Program. preCharge has been in business since 2003, is PCI compliant and Level 1 Visa Certified. They have an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and is recommend by Merchant911.org, as a trusted service provider.

Merchants have the option of integrating with preCharge’s software or manually inputting orders through the preCharge.com secure web site. Average turnaround time for an order to be reviewed is approximately 1 hour although orders can take up to 24 hours to be reviewed. In the event a merchant receives a fraudulent chargeback the merchant simply submits a preCharge claim form, proof of shipping and the chargeback notification to the claims department. Claims are normally paid within 14-30 days, can take up to 45 businesses days and in extreme circumstances can take up to 180 business days. However, and most importantly, the company pays the claims.

preChage is compensated through a transaction fee and a warranty fee. They charge a transaction fee for every order that is submitted for review and if they approve the transaction they also charge a percentage of the ticket price. The pricing is merchant specific and depends on the average ticket size, the amount of orders the merchant will be submitting and whether the order is domestic or international.

That’s right, preCharge also offers verification services on international transactions as well. Many ecommerce businesses require payment by wire transfer and will not accept credit cards from international customers. Many ecommerce businesses will also only allow international customers to pay through third party payment providers. By accepting credit cards from international customers preCharge clients are not only more profitable but are able to capture business the competition isn’t. They offer verification services in over 200 countries worldwide.

So if you if you think the service is too good to be true you wouldn’t be alone as I wondered the same thing myself. That was until I told a friend about the service and he reported back to me after a year of using the service. They allowed him to use the service at no cost or obligation before he signed on as a client. It’s been a year since my friend signed on as a client. He has never filed a claim and is doing three times the amount in revenue he was doing previously.

If you’re an ecommerce business owner that sells tangible goods and does not ship to non billing addresses you owe it to yourself and your business to at at least try the service. It will cost you nothing to investigate a relationship and could make you more revenue if you sign on with them. Visit them at www.precharge.com or call 877-751-6213. If you choose not to contact them to at least inquire as to whether the service is right for your ecommerce business well stupidity is contagious.


A Charter Schools is simply a school of choice. Parents choose the Charter School that has a curriculum that they feel would be good for the child and the teachers and administration have more say than provided in traditional public school. I feel that educational options are always a good thing but in the City of New York, charter schools are being utilized as an attempt to take over the entire NYC public school system.

NYC has been closing “failing schools” at an alarming rate. “Failing schools” are considered failing schools based upon nothing more than test scores and in the case of high school’s graduation rates. However, funding or lack thereof, individualized student performance; attendance and parental involvement are ignored.

Charter Schools provides New York City with the ability to treat Charter School teachers as a regular private company employee. Why is this important? New York is an at will employment state. An employer can fire an employee at any time with or without cause as the employee also has the ability to quit at anytime with or without notice. A teacher in a Charter School is not a member of the United Federation of Teachers and as a result can be terminated by administration at anytime whereas a public school teacher as a member of the United Federation of Teachers cannot.

It’s no secret that Charter Schools in most cases share space with public schools and in the event a public school is closed as a failing school a new public school will not be created. Rather the building will be given to a Charter School or divided amongst different Charter Schools. But as union members, New York City teachers cannot be fired right? Wrong, in the event a fiscal emergency is declared the City of New York can fire teachers. As of the writing of this blog post, the city is preparing to eliminate 8,500 teachers. Where will these teachers go as the City of New York will not be hiring public school teachers? Oh yeah, Charter Schools will be hiring.

Now let’s take it a step further. Failing schools are failing schools more often than not due to special needs students, students that do not attend and students whose parents are not actively involved in the education of their children. Where are these students going to go? They’ll simply be enrolled at performing schools where these students will potentially turn the performing schools into a non- performing aka “failing schools.” The school is failing and now needs to be closed but that’s okay, the city will just open a charter school in it’s place.

This will of course not happen overnight but the ball is in motion, The city attempted to close 5 failing schools in favor of Charter Schools but the parents and teachers of those communities fought the decision and won. The schools will remain open but for how long?

I like like Charter Schools and feel that they are a valuable alternative to both public and private schools. However, Charter Schools need to occupy their own space, construct their own buildings and stay separate and apart from public schools. Charter Schools should remain an alternative and not a replacement . The city of New York of course prefers Charter Schools as it gives them what they want. Complete and total control over the educational system of the City of New York with the added benefit of doing what they’ve always wanted to do; Eliminate the United Federation of Teachers and break the union.

For those of you not familiar with the term merit pay, it’s simply a way for teachers to receive financial incentive for students excelling in their educational studies. So what exactly is the issue? Don’t private and public companies alike provide financial incentives to their employees for a job well done? Providing financial incentives for a job well done works just fine in most cases, but would be a disaster and not fair for teachers in the New York City School system.

So why is it that merit pay does not work and should not be implemented in the New York City school system? First, the City of New York would like to base merit pay solely on the ability of the students to pass the year end city and state exams. Makes sense in that the year end exams are supposed to gauge whether the teacher did his or her job. However, the year end exams are meant to show whether the student is now currently on grade level. So what’s the problem? The city does now want to take into account if the child started on grade level to begin with. For example, if a child beginning 3rd grade is currently reading on a 1st grade level and fails the 3rd grade exam it does not mean the teacher did not do his or her job. Technically the teacher would have needed to reinforce all material of the 1st grade level, get the child to read on a 2nd grade level, reinforce that material and then begin teaching the child 3rd grade material. Yes the student may have failed the year end reading examinations but can also mean that the teacher simply ran out of time.

Second, if a child enters third grade on a 1st grade reading level it does not mean the 1st and 2nd grade teachers failed to do his or her job. Teachers can only teach those who are willing to be taught. If a child doesn’t comes to class, doodles in his or her books and does not complete homework assignments, is that truly the fault of the teacher? Not in my opinion. It’s the fault of the child’s parent(s). If a teacher writes a letter home, makes phone calls to the students home and receives no response from the parent what is the teacher to do? Should the teacher also raise the child and make home visits? A teacher’s job is to teach and a parent’s job is to raise their children. If a parent is not taking an active role in their children’s education and chooses to ignore the teacher then why should the teacher be held accountable for the educational performance of that child?

Third, teachers in higher income areas whose students have actively involved parents will have more students that pass the year end city and state examinations. The teachers in those schools will receive merit pay while the teachers in lower income areas that have little to no parental involvement will not. This will lead to teachers trying to transfer from their schools to “higher performing” schools. Of course, most teachers would not be able to transfer and will continue their careers working twice as hard while continuing to receive less pay. Technically if you are working twice as hard as someone shouldn’t you be compensated more for your work?

I’m in favor for people receiving additional compensation for a job well done but there is currently no effective way for merit pay to be given to teachers of New York City. There are too many variables that need to be taken into consideration and accounted for that is separate and independent of test scores and raw data. Until the City of New York can effectively gauge and grade each student’s parent on their involvement or non involvement in the education of their child merit pay will never work.

Obamacare is here and I can’t believe the gloom and doom being reported in the papers, news and on blogs all over the internet. Democrats have been threatened, have bricks thrown through their office windows and gas lines cut.

The truth of the matter is Obamacare is not the end of the world. It’s a step in the right direction. The fact of the matter is the United States is the only industrialized nation not to provide health care to it’s citizens. As citizens of the United States of America our tax dollars are used for such things as public housing, education, food stamps, and welfare. Tax dollars are used to assist those who are less fortunate who are in need of the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing. So what is the fuss over providing Americans with the necessity of health care?

There are countless people who have gone from being in good financial shape to financial ruin simply because they became ill. Those who were in good financial shape ho had health insurance that became ill and lost everything. I 100% agree with President Obama that no person in the United States of America should go broke because they became sick.

Insurance companies drop coverage on those who were paying their premiums only to drop the person from coverage because of illness. If you became sick and dropped from coverage you would not be able to obtain coverage from another carrier as you would have a pre-existing condition. Health insurance companies profited to the tune of $22 billion dollars last year.

Is it morally right to profit from the health and sickness of people? I don’t think so. Requiring insurance companies to spend 80% of the money they receive in premiums be used for the actual payment of medical expenses is something that I’m also in 100% agreement with.
Social Security and Medicare was supposed to bankrupt the country and mark the beginning of socialism.

Obamacare is something that should have been done long ago. However, even with Obamacare the United States will still remain as the only industrialized country that does not provide health care to it’s citizens.

Do you hate the New York Yankees? I hate the New York Yankees as well! Yeah they’re able to win because they have the highest payroll in baseball. They buy championships and it’s easy to win when you can spend as much as you want. I hate the New York Yankees.

In reality I love the New York Yankees. I was a New York Yankees fan when they weren’t good and you could buy a box seat on game day. If you actually hate the New York Yankees because of the reasons in my opening paragraph, well stupidity is contagious. Hate them because they kick the crap out of your team every time they play. Don’t hate the Yankees because they choose to operate the team within the rules of Major League baseball.

Do the Yankees spend a ton of money every year? Of course, but the New York Yankees also generate the most revenue. In business this is called being smart. Baseball is a business and it’s only fair that the team that makes the most revenue spends the most on their team. They also spend the most in revenue sharing. Don’t hate the New York Yankees because the owner of your teams puts the money into his pocket instead of investing in his team. Can you imagine McDonalds giving money to Burger King because McDonalds makes the most money?

The New York Yankees don’t buy championships! No Yankees hater had a problem with the Yankees spending the most money when they weren’t winning the World Series. So they win in 2009 and now it’s back to the stupid reason of buying championships? I guess it was OK when they had the highest payroll and missed out on winning it all in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008!

Yes I know you hate the New York Yankees but I just love watching a good old fashion Derek Jeter fist pump as the Yankees hoist another World Series trophy. With this being the case, keep hating the New York Yankees.

Once again New York State is proposing a New York soda tax, courtesy of the genius Governor Paterson and backed by Mayor Bloomberg. Of course the tax is meant to fight obesity.  A New York soda tax to fight obesity? Yes a New York soda tax! So how does New York State try to plug a looming $9 billion dollar deficit? “We can make a New York state soda tax and disguise it as a fight against obesity.”

So what is the proposed New York soda tax? The proposed New York soda tax is a tax of $.01 per each ounce of soda. The estimated tax revenue to the state would be approximately $1 billion dollars. This is a bullshit tax and there is no way that it should pass! To the anti soda people of the world, if you don’t like it don’t drink it. Why in the hell should I have to pay an extra $.12 cents for a can of soda? I’m not obese and I’m sure that soda consumption is not the main cause for obesity to begin with.

I guess New Yorkers should pass on the soda and drink bottled water. Oh yeah, New York recently began charging a $.05 cent deposit for recycling to combat littering. Of course the real reason for the $.05 deposit was to yet again increase revenue. Okay screw the bottled water just drink from the tap. Sure, but that will cost you as well.

So the answer for the incompetent handling of New York’s money is to pass a New York soda tax? If it passes the state just has to figure out how to increase revenue by another $8 billion dollars. So here are a few new ideas for the geniuses in Albany that can be disguised as a fight against obesity;

1. New York tax on hamburgers! – That’s right! Do you love a thick, fat juicy hamburger with everything? Not a problem, you only have to pay an extra $.02 per hamburger purchased at a fast food joint. Think of the possibilities, you could tax french fries as well.

2. New York tax on chips! Love a bag of chips from time to time? Keep eating them as it will only cost you an extra $.02 per ounce of chips.

3. New York tax on hot dogs! Do you like a nice dirty water dog from time to time? Just pay a tax of $.02 on hot dogs.

The New York soda tax has nothing to do with fighting obesity. It’s nothing more than a poorly disguised tax to increase revenue! I hope this does not actually become law. It will just create an opening to begin taxing everything and anything that can be “traced” to obesity.  Here’s an idea for Albany, you can start by cutting your salaries! MORONS!

Betting on horse races is legal. State run lotteries are legal. Betting on sports in the U.S. of A. is of course illegal unless you live in Sin City. So if I want to legally place a wager on a sporting event it has to be done in Las Vegas and in person as wagering over the internet is not allowed either. Of course you are allowed to wager on a horse race on line. WTF!

The great state of Deleware legalized sports gambling and planned on becoming the Vegas of the North East. Of course the U.S. Supreme Court shot it down. The NFL, NHL, MLB and NCAA fought hard to make sure that it did not become reality. The simple fact of the matter is that sports gambling is here in the U.S.A. and is not going to go anywhere. Instead of taxing it and creating jobs the U.S.A. simply lets millions of dollars in potential tax revenue escape to local book makers and offshore gambling sites.

Gambling on sports is alive and well in the U.K. Want to place a wager on a soccer game and throw a pint down your throat, it’s not a problem. So why does the U.S.A refuse to allow the legalization of sports gambling? STUPIDITY!

Gambling ruins lives! – So do cigarettes and alcohol but both are legal.
There is now way to prevent minors from gambling! Follow the U.K. dumb asses.
The Pro Leagues will fight it! – Cut them into the action. The Super Bowl, March Madness and World Series are all huge wagering days. I’m sure the leagues don’t want to make more money.

History has shown that prohibition simply does not work. People are going to do it regardless of whether it’s legal or illegal. The U.S.A. needs to stop fighting it and make it a reality. Tax it, create jobs and give the people what they want. Legalize sports gambling so I can “legally” lay $50 bucks on the Yankees while drinking a pint of Sam at my local sports book.