Tuesday Night Open Thread

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's legal team will have some restrictions eased for meeting with him and sharing information. Seems like crumbs to me, considering the exhaustive list of SAMS imposed by the Bureau of Prisons. The SAMS are here, and the Government's concessions are here. The defense motion seeking modifications is here.

Last week the judge denied most of the defense discovery requests (motion to compel disclosure is here, the court's order granting one request and denying the remainder is here.)

Denver is preparing for a big storm tonight, and the coldest temperatures in years. There could be 5 to 9 inches of snow by morning. Here's the latest advisory.

Thanks to readers who emailed me this morning to let me know the site was down.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Re:Tsarnaev (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by unitron on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 01:02:59 AM EST
    Under the circumstances, shouldn't they be confident enough of a conviction or 97 not to need to play any games or jerk the defense team around just to be doing it?

    And speaking of prosecutors playing games... (none / 0) (#66)
    by unitron on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:44:43 AM EST
    ...Gov't Puts Witness On No Fly List, Then Denies Having Done So

    "cathyreisenwitz sends word of a San Francisco trial in which the U.S. government appears to be manipulating the no-fly list to its advantage. The court case involves a Stanford Ph.D. student who was barred from returning to the U.S. after visiting her native Malaysia. She's one of roughly 700,000 people on the no-fly list. Here's the sketchy part: the woman's eldest daughter, who was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen, was called as a witness for the trial. Unfortunately, she mysteriously found herself on the no-fly list as well, and wasn't able to board a plane to come to the trial. Lawyers for the Department of Justice told the court that she simply missed her plane, but she was able to provide documents from the airline explaining that the Department of Homeland Security was not allowing her to fly. "

    Apparently the case behind all of this came about because "...US law enforcement officials confused two very different Malaysian organizations with similar names: Jamaah Islamiyah Malaysia, which is a terrorist organization, and Jamaah Islah Malaysia, "a non-profit professional networking group for Muslims who have returned to Malaysia after post-secondary schooling in the U.S. and Europe." "


    A drone could be great (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:37:21 AM EST
    to send out from my boat to spot fish.  A fish camp cam.

    Would love a link (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:18:29 AM EST
    to watch for dolphin along a weedline from that fishcamp cam on days of calm waters. (For those non south floridians that would be dorado not flipper)

    I have a Phantom DJI (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by ragebot on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:06:19 AM EST
    don't use a Gopro but another vid camera with what I think is a better form factor.  Also have a  Y6 configured platform I think is better than the quadcopter or octocopter platforms in terms of redundant engines.  Here is an example of the Phantom and Gopro in


    And an example of what a Y3 configured platform can do, gotta love how the gators, rattlesnake, and tiger react to the Y3 in the


    The cost of these toys varies a lot but you can get a low end setup on the cheap for a couple of hundred dollars if you are a DIY guy.

    I would recommend a simulator if you want to start off.  It is a lot cheaper to crash in a simulator (even if the simulator costs close to $US200) than to crash and burn the real thing.  The best, and really only option, for a sim is



    Great footage ragebot, thanx. (none / 0) (#20)
    by fishcamp on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 01:59:05 PM EST
    Very Cool (none / 0) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:40:08 PM EST
    For someone that's never been in the everglades that was pretty cool.  Was that you actual footage, and if so, what did you do when it crashed ?

    I am thinking about buying one, around 2 bills, easy to navigate and assembled, not fixed wing.  I like the multiple rotors. Basically idiot proof, what would you suggest.  


    Start off small (none / 0) (#48)
    by ragebot on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:30:51 PM EST
    With something like this.  


    You should be able to fly it inside you living room even if it is snowing outside

    I am also a big fan of this sim you can run on your PC


    In any case you should be able to set you blade on the ground and take off and fly around a little and land ten times in a row and then take off fly it right in front you and pick it out of the air with your hand.

    While you are doing all of this you can go to this site and lurk for a while and try and get a feel for just what level of toy you want.


    You can get an RTF (Ready To Fly),  ARTF (Almost Ready To Fly), kits that will require varying levels of skill to complete, or just make up a part list and build one from scratch.  In general this list goes from most expensive to least expensive.  

    But the best deals I have found have been in the classified section of the site


    I am not sure where you live but would bet there is a local RC club close by.  The easiest way to find one is to go to the AMA web site.  Probably joining the AMA is a good idea as well if only for the $US2,000,000 insurance that comes with membership.



    I Am Going to Check out a Blade... (none / 0) (#83)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:59:04 AM EST
    ...last year a go a little RC car, it ran laps around my neighbors gas powered RC 4x4, but only lasted for about 5 mins before it needed to be recharged.

    I did drive my dog nuts for a month, but then I got bored with it.  That is probably as long as my drone career will last.  The length of time before my dog gets sick of me messing with her.

    There is an airstrip about 2 miles from my place, next to the shooting range, and across the street from the Millie Bush Bark Park.  Anyways, I see the fellas over there and fly planes that are like 4 feet wide and seriously cool, but I don't remember many choppers.  But that is too much devotion and dollars, but I am sure there must be a huge club associated with it.


    Highly recommend (none / 0) (#84)
    by ragebot on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:13:50 PM EST
    you at least go to the RC field.  Almost without exception there are experienced folks there who will be happy to talk to you.  They will probably be able to suggest a local hobby shop where you can go and look at what is available.

    I have been flying RCs for probably 15 years and just as computers have improved over the last 15 years so have the chips in RCs.  Even if you don't get one now you may want to make an effort to stay abreast of new developments.  


    ragebot (none / 0) (#40)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 04:36:56 PM EST
    The decision on whether to prosecute Jameis Winston comes down tomorrow.

    Yea, normal procedure is (none / 0) (#44)
    by ragebot on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:03:17 PM EST
    to announce you are holding a press conference before you arrest a perp.

    I found that rather odd (none / 0) (#62)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:16:42 PM EST
    No reason to have a press conference if you aren't pressing charges but why wait until the following day. I did hear that Winston's attorney scheduled a press conference before the states's press conference so reading between the lines that tells me they are likely filing charges...Just a guess though.

    I got the opposite impression (none / 0) (#69)
    by ragebot on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:36:13 AM EST
    If LEOs are going to arrest someone why announce the day before there will be a press conference about the arrest.  Not sure how much you know about Meggs, but he is a publicity slut.  Loves to get his face in the media.  He would have a press conference no matter what he was going to do.

    I have followed the case closely and from a legal perspective it is a very bad case.  The girl's lawyer bills herself as a PI lawyer and has made some serious mistakes.  Her most famous statement was that the victim's family was sure it was rape, pointedly omitting the victim from that claim.  Meggs has also had some missteps, he claimed Winston's lawyers were engaged in biasing witnesses.  There is an affirmative obligation to contact the Florida Bar if you have such knowledge, and a prohibition for bashing lawyers if you have no proof of such an act.  Once he was called on it Meggs kinda shut up.

    On the other hand Winston's lawyer is a top tier criminal lawyer and has basically kept his mouth shut except to say Winston is not guilty and bashing some leaks.

    Problem there is only an accusation and very little evidence.  While Winston's DNA was on the girl's panties there is no law against that.  The rape kit results did not seem to turn up DNA in or on the girl.  Maybe I am too plain vanilla in my sex but I always thought the idea was to take off the girl's panties before you put the DNA someplace else.

    But the biggest problem for a jury to find a guilty verdict (not counting an FSU football fan hanging the jury) is the timeline.


    SA says (none / 0) (#86)
    by ragebot on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:22:05 PM EST
    no charges

    Wow (none / 0) (#41)
    by sj on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 06:02:40 PM EST
    That everglades footage was very cool. The Y3 sowed some serious dissension in the gators. They were not happy. And that is a close as I ever want to get to a bask of gators.

    You sent me right down the... (none / 0) (#82)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:56:11 AM EST
    rabbit hole to watch videos.  I had to subscribe because they are that good.

    Thank you!


    It's too bad I can't send a drone to Maui ... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:08:44 AM EST
    ... in my place today. I'm off to the airport for a full day of fun and games over on the Valley Isle, starting with the Mayor's office and devolving to a public hearing before the County Council this afternoon. I'll be back tonight.

    Enjoy the day, everyone.


    Or to get that hot pizza... (none / 0) (#23)
    by unitron on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:38:48 PM EST
    ...(or stripper : - ) delivered to your boat.

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 207 (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:47:17 AM EST
    Something to get you in the holiday mood (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:46:53 PM EST
    That was delightful (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by sj on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 01:37:27 PM EST
    Years ago the main Denver Post Office had a huge mailbox just for letters to Santa. They would allow citizens to go through them to pick some to answer. My boss would traditionally pick one for his department to respond to. I got the wonderful task of picking the letter. He let me take as much time as I wanted to go through them. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

    The letters ran the gamut from laugh-out-loud funny to pathos, to serious generosity to serious greediness. They were amazing.


    That sounds like fun! (none / 0) (#18)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 01:44:47 PM EST
    I would love to find out if they do something like that here!

    AHA! (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 01:48:02 PM EST
    Using the Google, I found this:

    Operation Santa Claus


    That's terrific! (none / 0) (#22)
    by sj on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:01:53 PM EST
    Colorado isn't participating right now, but DC is. Are you going to do it?

    I might (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 03:07:43 PM EST
    They are doing things through Arlington County in Virginia (where I live) too, so I might do that because the DC one is on the other side of the city.

    I love Christmas!


    The WHAT painting capital? (none / 0) (#53)
    by unitron on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:48:45 PM EST
    Why do they need painting?

    Alright, this is really funny and cute (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:50:17 PM EST
    And I am going to fictionalize it later, but I'll tell the real story here. We have friends, a couple, who are experienced world travelers, as this story about them in National Geographic will attest (LINK). Currently, they are back in San Diego, most likely saving money for their next trip -- they, literally, can live on less than ten grand a year (they manage the apartments they live in, getting huge deductions in rent, plus they are THE most frugal people on planet earth to begin with). A few days ago, we got the following message from Amanda (take into account the fact that she is a very petite woman, five feet tall, maybe, after a good stretch):

    Attached are pictures of me "Trick or Treating". Yes, I really went out to Trick or Treat! Since I grew up in Mexico I would come back to school in Coronado the next day and all the American kids would bring in their pillow cases full of candy. I always missed having the experience of going out and getting candy.  The whole experience seemed so foreign and so fascinating.  But we never came across the border to do it.

    Finally, after all these years I decided to create my own costume and go to Coronado to Trick or Treat.  Rich posed as my "dad".  It was unbelievably fun!   All the houses were so sweet. I'm not sure what they thought but by the end of stroll my little plastic pumpkin basket was heavy with candy!

    And here are a few of the pix of her and her husband in costume:

    Pic 1 -- "Dad" and little daughter
    Pic 2 -- Little Amanda
    Pic 3 -- Meeting another robot on the street


    never mind a couple. ;-)

    Cool story of their trip. That is very similar to how my wife and I lived before kids.


    I get the wink, but still... (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 03:21:51 PM EST
    ...they actually do it somehow, dude, and aren't living in a car and eating ten cent bags of ramen. Like I said, they pay no rent, they only use the computers at the library, they ride their bikes everywhere, they NEVER fail to eat all the leftovers in the fridge, and they literally don't spend an extra dime on anything that isn't necessary. And they have part-time gigs to bring in money. Rich, interestingly, has quite the niche career on Ebay. He makes a couple of runs a week to the auctions they have down at the border in San Ysidro, and he buys only a certain type of biking or hiking gear (with the occasional venture out of those), and he claims to only buy stuff that he can get ten times as much for. They're nuts, and they know it.

    Nuts in a good way, of course ;-) n/t (none / 0) (#33)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 03:23:19 PM EST
    The future that can be! (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:40:20 PM EST

    So much economic growth could occur if politicians in Washington DC and state capitals played a constructive role to upgrade our ageing transportation infrastructure to a futuristic one.In the process, America could once again become the coolest country in the world.

    Imagine someone from economically beaten down Appalachia being able to commute to work  in Washington DC or NYC within an hour in the hyperloop or octogenarians zipping around town in driverless vehicles! The possibilities are endless!.

    The hyperloop... (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:28:11 AM EST
    looks pretty cool...I could get down with that futurism.  Suffolk Cty. to Manhattan in 2 minutes, sign me up!

    Automated cars I don't like...as bad as human drivers are with human error and human negligence, I can't get down with surrendering that much control to machines.  


    And Google takes big leap (none / 0) (#64)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:25:53 PM EST
    into developing robots. link

    High technology companies (none / 0) (#65)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:52:09 PM EST
    fight a relentless battle every day to drive down costs for customers. The high tech sector is the only sector of the economy where products and services improve and costs get lower with each advancing year.

    I will hope that many innovations and practices in the high tech industry will spread to the health care sector in the near future. Cost reduction is very important for the success of ACA.


    One of the Episodes... (none / 0) (#75)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:25:14 AM EST
    ...of 'Through the Wormhole' a guy has designed very primitive robots capable of though, meaning they learn from the data they collect and progressively get 'smarter'.

    I can't find the episode which had a robot on the beach exploring, but THIS is just as cool.


    Not the only sector... (none / 0) (#85)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:20:21 PM EST
    The marijuana market is another sector where quality improves all the time, and prices are dropping.

    That's an intersting story, (none / 0) (#87)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:46:20 PM EST
    especially the idea that perhaps businessmen can create and build these transpo improvements.

    AMX called me a few years ago (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by fishcamp on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:45:12 PM EST
    to ask if I had been in Los Angeles the day before.  I hadn't and she said then I probably didn't charge $3,000 at Frederick's of Hollywood and I said no and they said they would take care of it.  They did but for the next three years I received Frederick's of Hollywood catalogues and let me tell you they are very racy compared to Victoria's Secret.  The post office ladies loved them.

    Come on out, I'll take to you to mecca. (none / 0) (#89)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 12:00:58 AM EST
    I guess this cold front is huge (none / 0) (#1)
    by sj on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 12:52:40 AM EST
    The temperature dropped 17 degrees during lunch. A little less than an hour.

    cold here in the bay area (none / 0) (#31)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 03:15:36 PM EST
    supposed to be around freezing at night the next week or so. Not good in our bedroom: furnace is ancient, costs a fortune, and the only room in the house it doesn't get warm is ours; plus 70+ year old windows that might as well be a 100+ they're so thin and fragile (on my side of the bed, two big windows meet in the corner, and it feels like there isn't a wall there at all at night).

    Needless to say, I'll be sleeping in sweats and a beanie. It'll be nostalgic, just like my welfare and food stamp days with my mom, when my bedroom was essentially a chilly storage closet with a window. (mom was ingenious, hanging a curtain in the corner, making a little closet within my closet).


    I can commiserate. It was 18 degrees in Seattle (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by shoephone on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 03:37:28 PM EST
    overnight. A down comforter and flannel sheets are a must. And I just housesat for someone who has fleece sheets and pillow cases on the bed. Amazing warmth and comfort! I don't know how much they cost, but as it is already colder than he[[ here this week, and promises to be so for the upcoming northwest winter, I'm going to be in search of that fleece bedding for my place.

    Costco has them :) (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by sj on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 04:23:08 PM EST
    I have a set but I think they're too warm for most weather; usually flannel is plenty warm and has a broader comfort range. I'll put the fleece on for tonight, though. Thanks for the reminder!

    Thanks! Another reason to support Costco! (none / 0) (#45)
    by shoephone on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:11:16 PM EST
    I'm sure that's where she got them..she's an avid Costco shopper, and the same person who turned me on to that great deal they have on CK down jackets.

    Enjoyed the back and forth (none / 0) (#3)
    by CoralGables on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 06:15:47 AM EST
    over the Amazon drones that went by the innocuous name of remote control planes and helicopters when I was a kid.

    Since that Sunday night broadcast that put some people in an uproar, it appears Amazon isn't as far out on the ledge as suspected. UPS, FedEx, and Google all have the same plan in the works that will be implemented at varying levels.

    I don't realistically see how it ever (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 10:26:57 AM EST
    happens; there just doesn't seem to be any good way to manage the proliferation of low-flying objects or the inevitable attempts to intercept and steal the packages.

    I wondered why the man (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by KeysDan on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:00:19 AM EST
    of the future, Jeff Bezos, would buy an old-fashioned media resource, the Washington Post.  Of course, he bought it at a fire-sale price, but, maybe, in addition, he sees it as a Washington drone-friendly legislative lobbying tool.  Certainly, drones will "revolutionize" the way many think and act.

    He's going to use the drones... (none / 0) (#54)
    by unitron on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:53:29 PM EST
    ...to deliver the print version of The Post and put all the paperboys (or whoever) out of business and cut costs by not having to pay them.

    Does anyone read the print version (none / 0) (#55)
    by Politalkix on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:55:44 PM EST
    of the Post anymore? I thought everybody read it online.

    On Sundays, my husband always goes out (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:41:53 PM EST
    and gets me the print version of the WaPo - during the week, I read the print version of The Baltimore Sun.

    I don't know, I just like reading an actual paper.


    My guess is... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:36:04 AM EST
    the delivery drones will have facial recognition security camera technology to combat theft, and sh*t I wouldn't put it past the bastards to arm the f8ckin' things with rubber bullet guns.

    Tasers (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 04:01:09 PM EST
    If your face doesn't match the facial recognition software and you touch the drone, you get zapped.

    That's what I was thinking. I can't imagine (none / 0) (#63)
    by ruffian on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 09:32:07 PM EST
    trusting such a system.

    Theft will be rampant (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:43:43 AM EST
    You just follow it and take the stuff when it lands. I would just be more inclined to smash them on sight, or knock them out of the air. There is nothing good, IMO, about further cementing drones in lives, or in the sacrifice of even more human workers on alter of technology and profit.

    Perhaps there will be a renewed (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by oculus on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:47:55 AM EST
    interest in reading hard cover books. Even purloined ones.

    And what about POD's? (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:49:24 AM EST
    Proof of Delivery...no signature, ya never got it, ya don't have to pay for it...at least in my business.  But maybe the cameras will cover that...visual POD's.

    I Hate POD... (none / 0) (#21)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:00:53 PM EST
    ...for the crap I order I will take my chances, anything of real value I send to work.

    What I want to know is what are they going to do why my dog decides the drone wants to play fetch with itself and my dog destroys the thing.

    Plus, how is a drone faster that a car when it's weight limit is 5 lbs.  Sure their average package is less than 5 lbs, but a car can hold 100's of packages and my pizza makes it to my door on football Sunday in under an hour.  How is this any different than a pizza delivery, never really thought, "Damn I wish the GD pizza would arrive by a miniature helicopter..."

    Where is the benefit ?

    THIS might be avoided, hooker naked in the back of a UPS truck, but I don't mind if my UPS driver wants to use the services of a happiness consultant.

    It would be great fun to buy a drone with some friends and pick on the one drone that's actually doing something productive.  You know, see if we can get it drop it's package or crash it into Jim's house, I mean the grump old man's house down the street to watch him go berserk.


    And the hackers! (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by kdog on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:44:57 PM EST
    The hackers will have fun with these puppies too...misrouting packages all over the place, crashing delivery drones into each other, all that jazz.

    If you think the healthcare.gov roll-out was bad, wait till these blasted things hit the skies!  


    Facial recognition (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 11:53:40 AM EST
    Of you or your assigned signer.

    And someone can take packages left on your porch now - packages left by FedEx, UPS, DHL, or the Post Office trucks.


    True, but this makes it more fun (none / 0) (#27)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 02:57:08 PM EST
    Why drive around looking for packages, when you can just follow the drone? And you can steal the drones, too. Fun, fun, fun!!!



    How about (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 03:08:23 PM EST
    Capturing one and using it to drop water balloons on unsuspecting annoying people?

    I've been thinking about that (none / 0) (#35)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 03:38:08 PM EST
    For personal prank revenge, of the generally harmless sort, I completely support the use of drones. ;-)

    (Seriously tho, you just know there are creeps out there already peeping on ladies by their pools, on their decks, anywhere they can. Ugh.)


    Count on it. It's already happening (none / 0) (#36)
    by shoephone on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 03:42:41 PM EST
    For anyone (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 04:09:53 PM EST
    Who watched the SyFy show "Eureka" (and I highly recommend it - it's on Netflix now and is not a typical sci-fi show.  It's acutally kind of quirky), you will remember Martha - the drone, who started out as evil, but then got a job as a sentry at "Global Dynamics" - the big corporation in town.  

    Part of her job involved making sure no one lights up any cigarettes in the building.


    Oh for crying in a bucket (none / 0) (#42)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 06:06:09 PM EST
    Mr. Zorba went to see a dermatologist today, recommended by our primary care physician.
    The dermatologist's office refused to take cash for the co-pay, insisting on a credit card.
    When I looked at a $20 bill in my wallet, it still says "This note is legal tender for all debts public and private."
    So, do any of you law solons know if we have any legal recourse to get them in trouble?  Because this seems to me to be total bullsh!t.  And I am p!ssed as he!!.
    And neither of us will be using that doctor again, BTW.

    "You can take the cash... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by unitron on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:57:28 PM EST
    ...or mail us a bill and we'll get around to sending you a check eventually".

    Problem sorted.


    Well, that's what I would have done. (none / 0) (#57)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:07:30 PM EST
    But Mr. Zorba was trying to get out of there and get back to work, and he was unwilling to fight with them.  He has enough fights at work that he didn't want to deal with this.

    Why does this tick you off so much? (none / 0) (#43)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 06:23:15 PM EST
    Why should they be forced to charge it (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by shoephone on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:23:42 PM EST
    on their credit card? Every place you go tries to get you to swipe your card, and then tracks your purchases and inundates you with ads. The doctor isn't retail, but it seems truly absurd to not accept cash. What if the patient doesn't have a credit card (believe it or not, not everyone does--our own kdog is an example). Or what if they have a really low credit limit? Are they really going to deny the patient care because they don't want to take a little cash? And, even though it's only $20, what if it was $100, and someone didn't want to keep loading up their card and have to pay that at the end of the month? Maybe the person has already charged up a bunch on their card that month...I don't know about you, but I make darn sure that I don't charge more than 25% of my credit limit in any given month, because that behavior ends up reflected in your FICO score. And I happen to have a pretty high limit.

    The cashless, just-swipe-your-card culture is insidious IMO. But, I'll be interested to see what Zorba's take on it is.


    I absolutely agree, shoephone (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:11:15 PM EST
    According to Mr. Zorba, who questioned them, they said that if you are not willing to use a credit card to pay them, they will not accept you as a patient.
    He did not want to argue and gave his credit card.  I'm afraid that I would have made way more of a fuss about it.
    And I will definitely never go to this dermatologist myself, and will let our family doctor know that the office of the dermatologist that he recommended is completely unacceptable.  I will also be telling all of my friends about this.
    As far as I am concerned, there are other dermatologists in the area, so f*ck this guy.
    And I do wonder about those people who have no credit card, or who have maxed out their limit.  I guess they get to get elsewhere.
    Whatever happened to the idea of "first, do no harm"?

    I wonder if this is a variation on the (none / 0) (#59)
    by Anne on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:36:36 PM EST
    practice of hotels and car rental places, which make you give them a credit card to hold a reservation and to make sure they can bill you for any additional charges for damage, etc.

    In any event, I think it's stupid, and I'd take my skin elsewhere.


    I'm sure it is (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 08:48:54 PM EST
    But yes, I will definitely take my skin elsewhere.
    I would like to think that physicians are a bit different from hotels and rental car places.  You won't get sicker if you don't use a hotel or a rental car.  You may if you do not use a physician.
    Maybe I'm still living in the old days, but wouldn't it be nice if there were still doctors who think that they are there to help and heal you, as opposed to operating like Hertz or Ramada Inn?

    Funny (none / 0) (#72)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:15:22 AM EST
    I wonder if they take debit cards ?

    I have an appointment next week and I am taking cash, just to see what happens.  I don't really care in that I hate cash.

    What is funny is it actually costs them more to take the cards, but I suspect they do it so the cash doesn't disappear.  Co pays are nominal, but the people w/o insurance could leave large sums of cash.  I understand it, but don't agree with it.

    I highly doubt they could charge more on the card in that you sign, unlike a hotel, for the charge on the spot.  Hotels leave the card open until you leave and I believe when you sign the check-in paperwork it mentions additional charges going to the card.

    At my favorite liquor store in Houston, Spec's, gives you a 5% discount for cash/debit.  Weird policy, but saving 5% on booze is awesome.

    I, unlike you, use my CC everywhere because I get 2% cash back, so adding in the bills I can pay with CC, it works out to chuck of change each year.  And because I pay off the balance, that 20 some percent interest rate isn't an issue.

    But, I ran into a huge problem in that I didn't want to take that card on vacation with me last time, so I left it at home.  It's linked to everything I buy and I was concerned I would lose it and/or have it hacked in Turkey.  Turns out the airline wanted to see that CC before they would issue the tickets at the counter, which of course was sitting at home.  Luckily I was able to bring up the charge on my phone and they gave me and my friend our tickets.  That could have been a disaster.


    Cool Liquor Store... (none / 0) (#74)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:21:46 AM EST
    now that's a smart business owner!

    I love paying a cheaper price for gasoline using cash.  And on the shady-side, paying cash for large ticket items can help you dodge sales taxes, if the seller is cool like that.


    Except... (none / 0) (#81)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:48:36 AM EST
    ...places like Texas, with no income taxes, we get a credit for sales tax on the Fed return.  Granted, it's a fraction of the tax, but it's beautiful for things like a car.

    Because I do not (none / 0) (#46)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:18:26 PM EST
    necessarily want to use our credit cards when I do not have to.  I still use written checks and, preferably, actual cash a lot.
    Call me a Neanderthal if you want, but as far as I know, cash is still supposed to be legal tender.
    I am not nearly as far "off the grid" as kdog tries to be, but I still like to pay cash when I can.
    The question remains, is our money "legal tender," or not?

    Have I told you lately... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:29:10 AM EST
    that I love the Zorba family?  ;)

    I too am interested in what the law says...is it legal tender for all debts public and private anymore or did the bankster lobby change that rule on the sly?


    Add.. (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:25:45 AM EST
    if your husband really wants to get vindictive Z, dispute the charge and go back in a month and say "ya want cash now turkey?"  

    A customer at my job got royally screwed once taking Amex from his customer, apparently when an Amex customer disputes a charge it's hell getting paid, reagrdless of the validity of the dispute.

    But like you said, who needs petty hassles, ya can't swim up stream all the time, gotta pick your battles.


    Well, the bills (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:31:14 AM EST
    Still say "this note is legal tender for all debts public and private."  At least, the larger bills do.  The ones do not.  The fives, tens, and twenties in my wallet do.
    So presumably somebody could refuse to accept a bunch of one dollar bills.  I would even be okay with them saying "exact change only."  (Although I would expect that they would tell a prospective patient this when he calls to make an appointment.)  And, in fact, Mr. Zorba tried to hand them exact change, a twenty and a ten ($30 co-pay for a specialist).  They wouldn't take it.
    The Zorba kids make fun of us for writing checks.  "Mom, use your debit or credit card!"  Nope.  The grocery store generally gets a check or cash.  Unless I don't have enough cash on me and have left my checkbook at home.
    All my bills I pay with a check, even though they all beg you to sign up for electronic payments.  The heck with that.
    PS  We love you, too, Dog.  :-)

    OK. (none / 0) (#49)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:33:55 PM EST
    Plus, we have had (none / 0) (#52)
    by Zorba on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:42:52 PM EST
    our credit card information stolen in the past, and it is a right royal pain in the @ss to get that straightened out.

    A doctors office (none / 0) (#50)
    by ragebot on Wed Dec 04, 2013 at 07:35:09 PM EST
    may not want to deal with keeping cash on hand.  What if the doctor charged a person $US20 and the person only had a $US100 bill.  A several patients like that in a day would mean keeping a significant amount of cash around.

    Not saying I like being forced to use a credit card, just that I can see this from the other side.


    At the very least... (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:26:57 AM EST
    they should allow cash payment in exact change.  

    For a doctor he sure is dumb imo...he should prefer cash payment, so he gets to keep the full amount instead of allowing the credit card outfits to leech off the transaction.  A nickel here, a nickel there...over the life of his practice he's giving the grifters thousands upon thousands of dollars.  I can see having to accept credit cards, but refusing cash just makes no sense to me.

    And if he went cash or check only, he could save on buying/leasing the credit card swiper.


    Not trying to defend the doctor (none / 0) (#70)
    by ragebot on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:42:29 AM EST
    but have you ever paid a doctor anything, or for that matter a lawyer.

    You probably have paid some clerk in the front of the office.  Many professionals contract with a professional service to handle the accounting function and are not in the decision making loop.  The software in the computer in the front office is fairly generic and probably not chosen by the doctor.

    This is especially true of specialists like dermatologists who may well be in different offices on different days and be even more removed from the billing process.  Again I am not in agreement with these policies, just saying I understand them.


    There's also the risk of (none / 0) (#71)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:59:06 AM EST
    theft or other kind of loss (the building catches on fire, for example).

    If the building catches on fire... (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:03:57 AM EST
    ya got bigger problems than losing a couple hundred dollars cash.

    As for theft, if you're so afraid of your receptionist palming twentys, you're not paying them enough.  And no stick-up man is gonna hit a doctor's office unless they're looking for pills, if it's cash they're after there are much juicier targets.


    I've had to pay both... (none / 0) (#73)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:17:33 AM EST
    my primary care doc took cash for the co-pay. When I had to see a dermotologist, he took cash for the co-pay. It's been awhile but I'm pretty sure my defense lawyer took cash too.

    I am somewhat sympathetic to the argument that an individual has a right to run their business as they see fit...personally I'd just find another doctor who valued my cash co-pay business.  In a case like Mr. Z's I'd be forced to walk out the door since I only have a pre-paid cc that I only put money on when I'm gonna use it to travel.

    That being said, if more and more business owners are gonna do this sh*t they need to take the "good for all debts..." text off the currency, like they took "Not To Be Used For Identification Purposes" off of our social security cards.


    Every other specialist (none / 0) (#79)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:34:26 AM EST
    I have gone to is happy to accept cash for the co-pay.  And many of them do have several offices, so they seem to have figured out a way to work this out.