Underwriting Mistakes Can Cause Your Auto Insurance Rates to Increase!

Last year before it was time to renew my auto insurance, I received a letter from my insurance company telling me my renewal rates would increase by over 30% because I had received two speeding tickets.

I’ve been driving for over 40 years, and have never had a speeding ticket. I was furious, and decided to look into this myself before complaining to my insurance agent.

There is a website that allows you to research Maryland court cases. You simply type in a first and last name, and can see all cases-traffic, civic or criminal-that a person was involved in since the internet has been in use.

I was able to find out there was another woman with the same first and last name as me, who coincidentally had the same birth month and year as I do. (How scary because of identity theft, but that’s a topic for another article.) However, her middle name is different, and she lives in another county in Maryland. She had two speeding tickets, and the dates matched what the insurance company referred to in their letter to me.

My insurance company apparently had found this name & these tickets, assumed it was me and didn’t bother to look further to verify that it was me.

I sent a letter to the state Insurance Commissioner, complaining about this mistake that caused me to be put into a higher rate bracket. I also faxed copies of the court information to my insurance agent. Once their error was admitted, my insurance company did reduce my premium, but I decided not to renew with them since they had made such a lazy mistake.

I believe rewarding poor customer service by continuing to do business with that company only invites further poor customer service. It’s okay to fire your insurance company, or any company that doesn’t treat you like their Number One customer.

The lesson here… if you maintain a good driving record, avoiding accidents and tickets, be sure to read all correspondence from your insurance company at renewal time. Question any mistakes and follow up to make sure you are getting the best rate for your driving record.

It’s also a good practice to shop for car insurance every year. I do, and I work with an insurance broker who has access to many different companies. Every year she finds a company that offers me a better deal.

You no longer need to remain loyal to same insurance company year after year. They spend a lot on marketing and advertising to get you to sign up with them, but don’t spend the money to retain you as a customer. Shopping online for insurance is great, but you may want to spend the time on a phone call to a broker to find out if you can save more on your auto insurance.

I have a theory that if every driver would shop their rates every year instead of blindly accepting the higher renewal rates, the insurance companies would realize it’s cheaper for them to keep their customers and they would reduce their rates for existing customer who maintain good driving records.

Don’t let underwriting mistakes cause you to pay more for your auto insurance!

The Kepler Space Telescope’s Supernova Surprise

Supernovae are stellar blasts that herald the deaths of stars, and they can be so brilliant that they may briefly out-dazzle their entire host galaxy. A particular class of supernovae, called Type Ia, proved to be a critical tool in the important discovery of the dark energy–a mysterious force that is causing the Universe to accelerate in its expansion, and constitutes the lion’s share of the mass-energy component of the Cosmos. Nevertheless, the process that triggers Type Ia supernovae conflagrations has remained a puzzle of Cosmic proportions. However, astronomers announced at the January 2014 winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), held outside of Washington D.C. in National Harbor, Maryland, that NASA’s ill-fated, but nevertheless highly successful, planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope had succeeded in the surprising discovery of two Type Ia supernovae explosions, that shed captivating light on their mysterious origins.

The Kepler mission was the first space telescope to be launched that was capable of detecting Earth-size exoplanets in our Galactic neighborhood situated in their stars’ habitable zones. Over 75% of the 3,500 exoplanet candidates spotted by Kepler sport sizes ranging from that of Earth to that of Neptune.

The habitable zone around a star is that “just right” Goldilocks region where water, in its life-loving liquid state, can exist on an orbiting world. Where liquid water exists, life as we know it can also evolve! This does not mean that life definitely exists on such a happy watery world–but it does mean that the possibility is there.

Kepler, launched on March 7, 2009, from Cape Canaveral, Florida had, as its primary mission, the task of staring at more than 100,000 stars, hunting for small dips in their brightnesses caused by transiting planets. Kepler, a special-purpose spacecraft, was designed to precisely measure these tiny alterations of the light of those distant stars, in search of alien planets causing subtle dips in their brilliant, fiery light.

For all four years of its mission, Kepler stared relentlessly at a single patch of sky, gathering brightness measurements every half hour. Sometimes the telescope fortuitously spotted tiny dips in a star’s brightness, indicating that planets had made a transit–that is, passed in front of–the glaring face of a parent-star. Unfortunately, the Kepler mission came to a premature end when a piece of its equipment failed in May 2013.

In late 2009, Dr. Robert Olling, an astronomer at the University of Maryland in College Park, began to think about what Kepler might be able to do if it also turned to stare at galaxies. Dr. Olling, who studies supernovae and black holes, realized that, like stars, galaxies sparkle with relatively consistent brightnesses. However, in the event of some unusual occurrence–such as the feeding frenzy of a voracious black hole, or the fatal explosion of a giant star–a galaxy’s brilliance could greatly intensify. After Dr. Olling and two of his colleagues, Dr. Richard Mushotsky and Dr. Edward Shaya, also of the University of Maryland, submitted a proposal to the Kepler team, the telescope began staring at 400 galaxies dancing around in its field of view.

What A Blast!

Most supernovae blast off when a solitary, lonely star explodes and “dies”. Frequently, the supernova progenitor is a heavy star, with a massive core weighing-in at about 1.4 solar-masses. This is what is called the Chandrasekhar limit. Smaller, less weighty stars–like our own Sun–usually do not perish in the brilliant violence of explosive supernovae blasts, like their more massive stellar kin. Small stars, like our Sun, go much more “gentle into that good night”, and perish in relative peace–and great beauty. Our Sun, at this point in time, is a very ordinary and rather petite (by stellar-standards), main-sequence (hydrogen-burning) star. It appears in our daytime sky as a large, enchanting, brilliantly sparkling golden sphere. There are eight major planets, a multitude of bewitching moons, and a rich assortment of other, smaller bodies in orbit around our Sun, which dwells happily in the far suburbs of a large, majestic, barred-spiral Galaxy, our Milky Way. Our Sun will not live forever. Like all stars, it is doomed to perish, at some point–but, in our Sun’s case, not for a very long time. A star, of our Sun’s relatively small mass, can “live” for about 10 billion years, blissfully fusing the hydrogen of its core into heavier atomic elements, in a process termed stellar nucleosynthesis.

However, our Sun is not currently a bouncing stellar baby. In fact, it is a middle-aged star. However, it is experiencing an active mid-life, and is still exuberant enough to go on merrily fusing hydrogen in its core for another 5 billion years, or so. Our Sun is currently about 4.56 billion years old–it is not young by star-standards, but it isn’t exactly old, either.

When stars like our Sun have at long last managed to fuse most of their supply of hydrogen, they begin to grow into glowering, swollen red giant stars. The now-elderly Sun-like star bears a heart of helium, surrounded by a shell in which hydrogen is still being fused into helium. The shell puffs itself up outward, and the star’s dying heart grows ever larger, as the star grows older. Then the helium heart itself begins to shrivel up under its own weight, and it becomes ever hotter and hotter until, at last, it has become so searing-hot at its center that the helium is now fused into the still-heavier atomic element, carbon. The Sun-like, small star ends up with a small, extremely hot heart that churns out more energy than it did, long ago, when it was a younger main-sequence star. The outer layers of the elderly, dying star have puffed up to hideous proportions. In our own Solar System, when our Sun has finally gone Red Giant, it will cannibalize some of its own planetary-children–first Mercury, then Venus–and then (perhaps), the Earth. The temperature at the flaming surface of this ghastly Red Giant will be considerably cooler than it was when our Sun was still an enchanting, young, vibrant main-sequence tiny, tiny Star!

The relatively gentle deaths of small stars, like our Sun, are characterized by the tender puffing off of their outer layers of luminous, multi-colored gases, and these objects are so stunningly beautiful that they are frequently called the “butterflies of the Cosmos,” by enchanted astronomers.

Our Sun will die this way–with comparative peace, and great beauty. That is because our Sun is a loner. The Sun’s corpse will be a small, dense stellar remnant called a white dwarf, and its shroud will be a shimmering Cosmic “butterfly”.

However, something very different happens when a small solar-type star dwells in a binary system with another sister star. The sister star rudely interferes with its sibling’s precious, peaceful solitude, and in this case the dying small star goes supernova–just like its more massive starry kin, when they reach the end of the stellar road.

Supernova Surprise!

Kepler data revealed at least five–and possibly eight–supernovae over a two year period. At least two of them were identified as Type Ia, and their light was captured in greater temporal detail than ever before. This new information adds credibility to the theory that Type Ia supernovae result from the merger of two white dwarfs–the Earth-sized, extremely dense relics of Sun-like stars. This new discovery casts doubt on the older, longstanding model that Type Ia supernovae are the result of a solitary white dwarf sipping up material from a companion sister star–and victim. The companion star could be either a main-sequence Sun-like star, or an elderly, bloated red giant.

This new information was the surprising discovery of Kepler–whose main purpose was to hunt for alien planets by staring at stars in our Galactic neighborhood. Remote galaxies also danced around in the space telescope’s field of view, and its success in gathering data every half hour, along with its sensitivity to very small alterations in brightness, made it ideal for recording the rise and fall of light sent forth during supernovae blasts.

Dr. Olling was fortunate enough to spot the duo of Type Ia supernovae after a two-year study of some 400 galaxies in Kepler’s field. He reported his discovery on January 8, 2014, at the winter meeting of the AAS. “As a technical tour de force, it’s really cool to use Kepler for more than it was intended,” Dr. Robert P. Kirshner told the press at the AAS meeting. Dr. Kirshner is an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In certain ways the data gathered are rudimentary. This is because they are composed only of the brightness measurements, so astronomers cannot calculate details like the two structures of the duo of Type Ia blasts, and the chemical composition of what they hurled violently into Space. Kepler also dispatched data back to Earth only once every three months. Because supernovae dim after several weeks of brilliance, astronomers were unable to point other telescopes at the supernovae that Kepler had spotted in order to gather more-perfect observations.

Type Ia explosions are the most commonly observed form of supernovae. Kepler’s data provided a precious clue as to what triggers these stellar blasts. The Kepler data helps astronomers to distinguish between the two competing supernovae scenarios. Both require that a white dwarf accumulates star-stuff from a companion, until the pressure sparks a runaway thermonuclear blast. However, in the companion model, the expanding shell of material from the white dwarf would crash into the sister star. This would churn out extra heat and light–that would show up as a bump in the first days of a supernova’s brightening. However, no such bump was seen in Dr. Olling’s data.

This essentially rules out red giant companions, Dr. Olling explained at the AAS meeting, because these large, bloated, elderly stars would cause a nice big bump. However, the data might still be compatible with the model of smaller, more Sun-like companions, noted Dr. Daniel Kassen to the press on January 14, 2014. Dr. Kassen is an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley, and a collaborator with Dr. Olling on the survey. Not only would these relatively small stars cause a tinier bump, but the bump could well be overlooked completely depending on the observer’s viewpoint, Dr. Kassen continued to explain.

For a long time, the model of Type Ia supernovae being caused by merging white dwarfs was not particularly popular among astronomers because the end stages of the mergers were believed to occur very slowly–over the span of thousands of years. Such a gradual accretion of material would more likely lead to the creation of a neutron star. However, in 2010, simulations suggested that such mergers could occur much more rapidly–within seconds or minutes, and this would allow for the dramatic, sudden pressure alteration that triggers such a blast.

There may be some problems, however, with the merger scenario. Dr. Craig Wheeler noted in the January 14, 2014 issue of Nature News that simulations of the mergers frequently show highly asymmetric explosions–yet observations so far appear to be more spherical. Dr. Wheeler is a supernova theorist at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Olling believes that it is important to make simultaneous observations using ground-based ‘scopes. This is because Kepler can only record brightness and cannot split light into spectra. However, in order to do this, Kepler needs to be pointed in the opposite direction. Dr. Olling hopes that the Kepler team will permit this when NASA reveals its future plans for the crippled spacecraft during the summer of 2014.

A Few Solid Plays for Saturday October 1st in College Football

Utah +3 1/2 (4 units)….Yep, I’m stubborn. I’ve been against UNC for three weeks now with this pick, as I’ve targeted them as fadable. It cost me last week as they went down the road to defeat NC State. UNC played decent, but NC State pretty much bungled that one away, imo. I see a big letdown in this spot against a team who can roll up yardage and points. Johnson is already showing flashes of greatness and Whittingham will be the next Utah coach that will become a hot coaching commodity. Utes have been weak on D, but I believe they will stifle this weak offense, especially with a few extra days to prepare. Utes outright by double digits

Michigan St -5 1/2 (3 units)….Wolverines think they got wore down by Minny, now they get to chase MSU all over the field. Spartans playing as well as anyone, and I think they avenge last yrs collapse vs rival in a big way. Against better teams, Michigan offense just doesn’t look very good. Maybe Henne and Co are simply overrated. Wolverines could get blown out if their D gets worn down in the 2nd half again. Henne and Co. won’t be able to match scores with Stanton and his weapons.

Maryland/Virginia UNDER 45 (2 units)…Maryland specializes in ugly football, Virginia has O-Line injuries they’re dealing with and this is by far the best D either team has faced thus far. Both teams will try to run the ball, don’t like either QB to make big plays in this game. I got this capped as a 17-16 type game. Don’t trust my money ATS on either side.

Florida/Alabama UNDER 48 (1 unit)…I see a lot of similarities in this one as Florida’s game against Tennessee a couple weeks ago. I like Alabama’s chances at home better than UT’s on the road. 2 great defense, it’ll come down to a big special teams play, or key drive. Think it’ll be low scoring, tthough. 21-17 one way or the other.

Baltimore Inner Harbor

One of the top destinations in the City of Baltimore is the Baltimore Inner Harbor. It has been one of the major seaports in the United States since the 1700s, and a noticeable example of urban renewal, having slowly transformed into a cultural center of the City in the 1970s. The city's Inner Harbor area covers 97 hectares (240 acres) at the northwest end of Baltimore Harbor. It was renovated in 1980 and is a focal point for visitors, with many sightseeing locations. It is close to Little Italy on one side and historic Federal Hill on the other. There is a wide array of things to do at the Baltimore Inner Harbor, including waterfront shopping, dining, and various forms of entertainment. The Inner Harbor features 12 restaurants, 45 eateries, and over 100 shops, including a Maryland institution: Thrasher's French fries.

Located near the Inner Harbor is the Peabody campus. Close to the Federal Hill, the recently expanded Maryland Science Center features an IMAX Theater and interactive exhibits. The Gallery is adjoining to the Harborplace, and is a mall featuring more shops and a food court. Another attraction, open year-round, is the USS Constellation, which is a Civil War battleship with a permanent home at Harborplace. The summer months are a colorful treat, when tall ships through the world camp at harborside with colorful flags and regalia, and invite the public in for tours.

Next to the water taxi stand and seasonal paddleboat rentals, one can visit Baltimore's World Trade Center for an expansive view of the city before heading into the highly acclaimed National Aquarium. Close by is Port Discovery, an interactive museum for kids. The aquarium has in its vicinity two restaurants, the Hard Rock Cafe and the ESPN Zone. These restaurants are always full of fun-loving people. Inner Harbor boasts a variety of hotels for different categories of tourists.

Joss Pool Cues – From Pool Hall to Movie Screen

Joss Pool Cues – A Short History of Joss Pool Cues

In the film The Color of Money, the famous scenes with acclaimed actor Tom Cruise flipping his cue around like a Samurai sword was not really a Balabushka but a Joss Pool Cue. The cue is immortalized today in the production cue called the N-7, which is aptly named the Color of Money cue. Sometime in 1968 in a two-car garage in Baltimore, Maryland, Dan Janes and his partner created the renowned Joss Pool Cues. The duo started working using one ancient manual lathe, a butcher-shop band saw, one drill press, and a single work bench. They took some of contemporary cue making’s first steps away from the traditional four-prong design, innovating the “floating points” concept and many others. During that time, Dan Janes had great personal relationships with the world’s best pool players of all times including: Eddie Taylor, Ed Kelly, Larry Lisciotti, Luther Lassiter, Jimmy Fusco, Richie Florence and Joe Balsis, just to name a few. Their unique ideas, together with Dan’s personal relationships to these stick masters helped make Joss cues practically an instant success. For more than three decades, Joss Pool Cues has remained at the forefront of cue making.

In 1972, Dan Janes bought his partner’s interest thus taking full control of the Joss Pool Cues business and continued solely to make original cues in Maryland. By then, the cue making business was starting to go up the scale which meant there was a need for more and faster production. Eventually, Janes moved to a larger location and his son Stephen joined him in cue making. The father-son tandem of Dan and Stephen still work side by side in the shop while Debbie and Amanda Janes oversee the office and sales. In the evening of July 11, 2003, Dan Janes, the maker of Joss Cues, was inducted into The American Cue Makers Association Hall of Fame. He always finds ways to improve the play and beautify his pool cues creations while maintaining the traditional look and values of old-time cue making. Since he started some decades back, Dan takes the profession of cue making very seriously. His innate love of the table game coupled with his penchant for detail gives him a feel for what is important in each pool cue he creates and makes him one of the top pool cue makers of all time. Since 1968, Dan Janes and his family have been devoted to making the highest quality pool cues.  Even as Joss Pool Cues continues to grow as a company, personal commitment remains. 

Joss Pool Cues – Limited Edition Cues

Many of the handcrafted Joss Pool Cues are “limited editions” and are destined to become a family heirloom cue and quite possibly a valuable antique for future generations. Whether you want inlays, points, mother of pearl, holly, birdseye, ebony or cocobolo, there is a Joss Pool Cue design for that.  A distinct feature of most these cues is that they are made with Irish linen wraps that are black with white specs.  All Joss cues have a 5/16 x 14 piloted stainless steel joint collar, black banding without a silver ring and a standard tip diameter of 13.25mm.

Joss Pool Cues – How to care for your Joss Pool Cue

When you have purchased one of the Joss Pool Cues, it is also important to maintain its good condition. Keeping your prized Joss cue in the same condition as when you first bought it will be very advantageous to your pool game. You will have to shell out unnecessarily if there would be any damage to your pool cue, it can result in you having to pay for repairs or, even worse, a brand new pool cue. Taking good care of your pool cue is actually quite simple as there are only a few things you should remember. Here are some tips on how you would care for your cue.

  1. Your Joss Pool Cue must be in the right environment. It should never be left in a place that is too hot or too cold. Never place it in a damp area or even inside the car overnight instead place it in its protective case.
  2. After every use or play, clean the shaft of your Joss Pool Cue. Using a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a dry dish towel, wipe off clean the shaft. Afterwards, take a dry towel and run over the shaft once more. As you play pool, sweat, oil and other substances can get on your shaft and if these things accumulate on the shaft of your Joss Pool Cue, they may actually damage it.
  3. After you clean the shaft of your pool cue, wipe off the ferrule and tip of your Joss Pool Cue. This will avoid the accumulation of chalk and dirt on the tip and ferrule of your pool cue. Get a dish towel wet and gently wipe both the ferrule and tip off with the towel to clean these two items. After wiping it with a wet towel, grab a dry towel and go over the ferrule and tip once more to make sure they’re both completely dry. Any moisture not dried properly might damage either the ferrule or tip and may corrode the whole stick. 
  4. Never make your Joss Pool Cue tip flat.  The cue tip should always be curved like a nickel or quarter. Otherwise, you will not strike the cue ball correctly or accurately. Although there are already some cue tip shaping items, it is still best to keep it curved. Never use a sand paper to fix your stick.
  5. Never rest your Joss Pool Cue against a wall or the side of a pool table. Doing so for even a little bit can cause your pool cue to bend therefore reducing its accuracy. If your stick was damaged, do not attempt to repair it unless you have experience doing so. Instead, let it be repaired by someone who knows how to, otherwise, you may get it further damaged or worst; you will be forced to buy a new one.

Following these tips will keep the great quality of your Joss Pool Cue and ensure you develop a life long relationship with your movie screen partner.

Why Hiring a Divorce Lawyer for Men Matters

Hiring an attorney is important part of the divorce process, and it will have a large impact on how your case extremely ends up playing out. Of course, there are many factors that may be involved in the decision, from pricing to office location, from personality to potential recommendations or referrals. One of the most important factors though is to hire an attorney who has experience handling the matters which are at stake for you.

For men going through a divorce, hiring an experienced divorce attorney for men is important. This is especially true when the father is trying to win child custody in his divorce, or is facing another circumstance in which he has essentially an uphill battle.

A divorce lawyer for men will defend the rights of the husband and father. In order to win that battle in the courtroom it's crucial to hire an attorney with the right experience and knowledge of the law, and who will aggressively fight on your behalf.

Further, divorce attorneys for men should also be experienced with mediation as well. With mediation, a more costly and lengthy courtroom battle can often be avoided. In this way, mutually beneficial agreements may be reached with respect to the rights of both parties, rather than leaving the decision solely in the hands of the judge.

While mediation can often be beneficial, sometimes taking the case to trial is the only potential avenue in order to defend your rights, whether you are seeking custody of a child, seeking or defending against an alimony claim, or seeking an equitable division of tangible property .

It's important to find an attorney who has experience with the best way to move ahead with your particular case, whether it's mediation or in court, as well as one who's willing to match what you prefer. You want to be on the same page with your attorney, and you should be comfortable with the process, the decisions that he or she makes, and the way the two of you approach the situation in an attempt to move ahead and reach a desirable outcome .

If you believe you may be heading towards divorce, or if you're already in this situation and are looking for an attorney, then choose one who has the specific knowhow and experience you need. Find a local divorce attorney for men in your area who will be there to defend your rights at every step.

Nanticoke River Hot Spots


The Nanticoke River is located in both Delaware and Maryland, and runs through several small towns all the way to the Chesapeake Bay. There are two ramps that you can access from Delaware. Phillips landing is the most popular. It has a big parking lot with room for about 30 boats and trailers. It has two ramps that can be reached by taking rt.13a to the town of Bethel, going over the Bethel bridges, and past the Bethel hole to Portsville. Take your second right after Portsville Pond, and follow the signs to Phillips landing. The other ramp can be reached by turning off rt.13, and taking rt. #20 west, down to Shipley Street in Seaford, and following the green signs to the launching ramp. There are restroom facilities, and room for about 40 trailers. There are two ramps there with deep water and good docks.


The best location to start searching depends on the time of the year. In the spring from April to the end of May, launch at Phillips landing, and head to the right towards Broad Creek. About 1/4 mile up, past the lily pads on the left hand side, is a series of laydowns, and underwater boulders. The sun hits this area all day, and warms the water up a few degrees more than the rest of the area. Start working all the visible structure, laydowns, etc.with a fast moving bait such as a 3/8 ounce Terminator Spinnerbait in chartruese/white, with tandem blades.

If you don’t get any takers in a short time, rework the same area with a crankbait parallel to the pads and in the wood. You should have a spider grub rigged on a spinning rod also, with 6-8 pound test line. Brown/orange or watermelon are a good choice. If you can’t locate any bass in this area, then continue up into Broad Creek, all the way towards the Bethel Hole. Work the bridge pilings and the wood on the turn before the Bethel Hole, with a black/blue tube bait, jig, and a buzzbait. If these locations fail to produce, turn on the outboard and head back towards Phillips Landing.

Proceed past the ramps, and make a turn at the main channel towards the Woodland Ferry. There will be a series of docks and pilings a short distance before the Woodland ferry that should be worked well with a buzzbait and spinnerbait, then move in closer and flip a black/blue jig or a Senko. After working these docks, cross over to the entrance of the creek, and work the mouth with a spinnerbait and a buzzbait, then work all the wood with a jig and a Senko. Next, move down to the Ferry crossing, and throw small worms and Senkos right up against the sea wall, being careful of the ferry and the cable. After leaving this area, head up river towards Maryland to the next major creek on your right. There is a lot of wood there that should be worked thoroughly with spinnerbaits and buzzbaits first, then rework the same area with the jig and Senko. Many times while searching for bass here you will run into some decent size Stripers.


The best time to work these areas is the first two hours of the incoming tide, and the last two hours of the outgoing tide. Three days prior to a new moon in April are best, but other times produce with a little patience. Many 2-3 pound bass are caught in this area.


When all else fails, run up into “Broad Creek,” on either tide, and work the Bethel hole with tube baits and Senkos cast directly up on the bank and then pull them slowly into the water. This is a bass spawning area, and only one of a few on the river, so be respectful, and practice catch and release.


A&K tackle has a variety of lures and bait, and are open year round You don’t need a freshwater license in Delaware to fish tidewater, but you need both a Freshwater and Bay Sport license in Maryland. The weekends will have a lot of boat traffic, jet skis and the like, but all in all, most people are pretty respectful. There is a variety of wildlife along the river to enjoy, so take the whole family sometimes. It will keep them occupied all day.

Will the Presidential Election Have an Impact on Family Law, and If So, How?

Whenever the American public casts their votes to decide the next President of the United States, there are always many very important issues to consider when choosing a candidate. Rather than making this discussion about Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton and the 2016 election, instead, we wish to call attention to the area of ​​family law, and how any President, and the outcome of any election, impacts such matters.

First, one area to consider that any President and any election affects is that of the economy. This is always a hot button political issue, no matter the year, the candidates, or the election, and the different approach on such matters if one of the chief differences between our political parties. Tax policies, strategies to grow the economy, matters of unemployment, foreign trade deals, investment levels, government intervention, and on down the line, vary greatly and impact each of us.

The above will not come as a surprise to anyone reading this guide, however, how then does this relate to family law? Well, financial trouble is one of the top 3 leading causes of divorce according to studies from sources such as the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. The strength of the economy and the strength of our personal finances and careers, and the way in that that interacts with our personal lives, are there an underappreciated aspect of such elections.

However, one element that is somewhat but not entirely unique to this election is that the new President will be responsible for appointing a new Supreme Court judge immediately, with the potential for others to follow in the years ahead. The way the Supreme Court is composed with a massive bearing on big picture legislation and the direction the country moves in.

On the subject of family law, look no further than the landmark ruling several years ago to support nationwide legal same sex marriage. This was a tight ruling which came down to a 5-4 vote in its decision.

When future decisions cross the desk of those judges, it's the people who sit in those chairs, as appointed by the President and whatever political party he or she represents, that make the critical calls that affect all of our lives to some degree. It's another key way in which the President and the election affects family law issues.

Of course, before changing your vote or making any other decisions, be sure to take the time to perform your own research and evaluation of the candidates. Hopefully you're doing this already, however, the overlooked aspect of family law and its potential implications here may not have been on your radar, and is worth remembering as well.

What It Means to Be a LEED Certified Building

Have you ever wondered what it means to be a “LEED Certified” building? LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design and is used to identify and recognize buildings which follow a strict set of environmentally sound regulations. A LEED Certification is determined by the USGBC, or U.S. Green Building Council. Most types of residential or commercial buildings nationwide can qualify.

The Federal government is leading by example by requiring new government buildings under the General Services Administration and several departments of the U.S. Military to be built in compliance with LEED standards. The adoption has brought some conflict since building costs rise on average between 4.5-11 percent, depending on the type of structure, when adhering to the stricter environmental standards. In some cases, the increased cost pays off in a few years by way of decreases in electricity and gas bills. States and local governments are starting to follow the lead. The state of Maryland is the first to take the leap to green building throughout the state by requiring that all new construction 7,500 square feet or larger meet LEED Certification standards. Some smaller local governments, such as Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Jose and others are enforcing the same law as Maryland.

Some new construction projects aren’t waiting to be forced by law to adhere to LEED standards. Buildings nationwide are “going green” so to speak to take advantage of potential future energy cost savings. those companies also have a distinct marketing advantage with the ability to advertise their environmentally friendly building through the use of the LEED logo.

To help offset the cost increase, some local governments provide incentives to build green. Portland, Oregon gives building owners a tax credit for LEED application fees and additional design and construction costs. The Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center in Portland attained LEED’s gold certification. The aggregate soft cost estimate was $322,000, about 3.2 percent of construction costs. The Courtyard Portland City Center hotel obtained LEED Gold Certification at a soft and hard cost estimate of only a 1.2 percent premium. The hotel is expected to save over $675,000 over the next 10 years.

Business owners stated that documentation made up the largest burden of obtaining and applying for LEED Certification. Depending on the project size, documentation costs alone were estimated at.7 percent of the overall project, or between $8000 and $70,000.

LEED Certified building is taking hold in a small portion of the private sector, but has been far more popular in the public sector. Over 19% of government and public new construction have submitted applications for the new environmental standard.

3 Ways Virginia Reckless Driving Attorneys Challenge Traffic Radar

3 Tech Flaws Inherent to Traffic Radar Design: Exposed by a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney

It is no secret that in most states, radar technology has long been used by police departments to issue tickets. Some states use cameras (such as Maryland), but regardless of how one is caught, the risks are greater in some states — such as the Commonwealth of Virginia — where 20 over the limit is a crime. Furthermore, there are relatively low speed limits in some portions of the most populated county in Virginia, Fairfax County.

Why care about radar technology flaws?

In the Northern Virginia, D.C., and Southern Maryland area, many people have government jobs, or are working for federal contractors. Security clearances are a big issue, including the maintenance of status as well as the ability to obtain one. A criminal record can cause issues in some cases.

The good news is that the primary way police officers in Virginia (state level, county, and city) determine a target vehicle’s speed is through the use of technology… and technology is not perfect.

Devices used to commonly measure speed in Virginia includes:

  • Stationary Radar
  • LIDAR (a radar laser device relying on pulses instead of Doppler)
  • Moving-Mode Radar (radar located in a police cruiser)

Radar devices suffer some of the same inherent flaws as their laser-based counterparts; in other ways, radar devices have flaws which are eliminated by the introduction of laser technology (and vice versa). The same is true for stationary radar vs. moving-mode radar. You can learn more from a local Fairfax reckless driving attorney who explains in great detail, the variations in ways to challenge accuracy depending on device. This article provides an overview of traffic radar, not laser radar.

Fairfax County is the largest (most populated) county in Virginia. Many, many reckless driving charges arise each week (for sake of comparison, it is often comparable to the number of possession of marijuana charges for that time period). It could be due to the Dulles Airport and surrounding roads, including the Fairfax County Parkway (route 267), and other trouble spots such as I-66, I-95, 295, 395, and 495.

3 Ways a Northern Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney Might Challenge a Radar Reading

Operator-error and tech flaws are often different and unrelated topics, but on occasion, an operator-error is induced by a technologically rooted flaw. And in that same light, a flaw may become exposed or made worse by operator-error. The following three are more related to the technological flaw issues: margin of error; harmonics; and, speed tolerance.

For purposes of the following 3 technological flaws of traffic radars: Margin of error means exactly what it sounds like, and needs no background introduction. “Harmonics” refers to stray echoes — or, return signal frequencies — when radar is used. “Speed tolerance” has to do with the rate at which a vehicle increases or decreases in speed.

Margin of Error

Some stationary radar devices (i.e., side of road speed trap) have a margin of error of about 1 mph.

Moving-mode radars are radar devices inside of a police-cruiser. These units may have a higher margin of error, because not only do they rely on signals from the target vehicle, but the cruiser speed, as well. (the cruiser speedometer is not perfect and has a margin of error of its own, thereby increasing the overall margin of error for a moving-mode device in relation to a stationary unit). The margin of error is about 2 mph, in many cases.

In a close case (for example, a 55 mph zone where it is alleged the defendant traveled at speeds of 75 or 76 mph) the margin of error may be an issue well worth defense counsel’s examination and attention.


Harmonics may be thought of as false signals as a result of amplified, stray echoes. Large objects — particularly those that are long, flat, and continuous — may lead to this effect. When this technological flaw is present, the speed reading on the radar device could be many times higher than the true speed of the vehicle.

Speed Tolerance and Change in Speed

Radar uses frequency measurements to determine reflections echoed from a wave bounced off of an object in motion. The time it takes is the:

Radar Integration Cycle

The ability of the radar to track and process speed accurately depends on its’ speed tolerance: if a vehicle changes speed at a rate greater than the traffic radar’s speed tolerance level, the result may not be accurate at all. For example, if a vehicle stops at a rate of 1 mph or more per radar integration cycle (often this is about a tenth of a second, but some older devices could be 2 seconds), then accuracy issues are likely present.