“Big Rig” Insurance: What To Look For In A Commercial Truck Insurance Policy

July 18, 2009

“Big Rig” insurance is essential for the independent owner/operator. In today’s highly competitive commercial trucking industry, an owner/operator has to be a shrewd businessman, and get the best insurance for the lowest premium.

Are you a person that loves sun-drenched afternoons cruising on mountain roads or along the coastline? Can you close your eyes and see the highway stretch out before you all the way to the horizon?

Your big rig may be your family business. Do you hit the road with your wife as a driving team?

Are you a person who enjoys the freedom of being your own boss as an independent owner/operator? Or are you a leased operator?

Do you own more than just one truck?

No matter what your motivation is for owning and operating a commercial semi truck, you will need commercial truck insurance. But all commercial truck insurance policies are not the same.

Here are some features and coverages you should look for when shopping for commercial truck insurance:

• Only accept an A-rated insurance company so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your insurance company has the financial strength to take care of you when covered losses occur.
• Comprehensive Coverage – protection for non-collision losses, such as fire, smoke, windstorm, theft, lightning, hail, animals, vandalism, even low branches and overhangs.
• Replacement Cost coverage – on your personal property that is stolen, damaged or destroyed.
• Physical Damage/Collision coverage – when your vehicle runs into something.
• Replacement Cost Coverage on the vehicle, which pays to replace your vehicle with a brand new one of like kind and quality. Most policies only pay the Actual Cash Value for a total loss.
• Liability limits – buy high liability limits, it’s inexpensive coverage. Skimp on other coverages but don’t skimp here. Personal injury attorneys love truck accidents and get big jury awards.
• Attached Accessories Coverage – includes running lights, antennas, chrome, custom wheels, custom paint, satellite dishes, and such. Many insurance policies don’t cover customizing equipment. Make sure yours does.
• Non-Trucking Liability, or“Bob-Tail” coverage – takes care of you when you’re using your rig at times you’re not under dispatch.
• Motor Truck Cargo Legal Liability – covers your load against damage from certain causes.
• Trailer Interchange coverage – if you have a trailer interchange agreement, you need this coverage to protect you while you’re in possession of a container or trailer that you don’t own.
• A trailer interchange agreement is a contract that arranges to transfer a trailer from one trucker to another in order to complete a shipment.
• Refrigeration Breakdown Endorsement – provides coverage up to a separate limit shown on the schedule for spoilage of perishable stock while the stock is in transit on a vehicle.
• Non-owned trailer – this is third party coverage for a trailer that you are hauling owned by another entity.
• Emergency Expenses Coverage – pays for lodging or travel back home if your unit is damaged or destroyed by a covered loss more than 50 miles from home.
• Towing and Roadside Assistance – first dollar coverage, no out-of-pocket costs for towing, flat tire changes, fuel delivery and locksmith services.
• Occupational Accident Coverage – pays your medical bills for certain covered accidents while you’re working. Crucial coverage if you do not carry health insurance for yourself.

We may need more information from you such as driver and equipment lists, MVR’s and loss runs.

Commercial trucking insurers also offer a variety of discounts, such as:

• Multi-Unit
• Multi-Policy
• Safety Course
• Prior Insurance
• Renewal discount for maintaining continuous coverage

You will also find a wide choice of deductibles and payment plans available. Choosing higher deductibles will lower your premiums. Flexible payment plans will help you manage your budget.

By using these strategies, you’ll have the best chance at having fun cruising the roads in your “Big Rig!”

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Movie Review of “The International”

July 16, 2009

I’ve never done a movie review before this, but I just watched “The International” on DVD last night. The story line was plausible, and I’ve never seen a movie so filled with memorable, quotable lines.

Clive Owen plays Lew Salinger, an Interpol investigator and former cop at Scotland Yard. Naomi Watts plays a not-believable Manhattan deputy district attorney Eleanor Whitman. There’s no chemistry between the characters, no relationship between them, and no real reason in the story for her existence. Either the director left out chunks of screenplay that explained why she’s in the movie, or the producers just thought the movie needed a blonde girl. Wally Cox would have been just as believable in this role.

The villain international bank is trying to corner the market on small arms brokering to the Third World. It has spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying and selling missile systems between nations to grease the wheels of the deals. An Italian family who owns a defense contracting company ends up as the hero of the movie as they scuttle the plans of the bank with a vendetta (an Italian invention) for a bank assassination of the father.

In an early scene, Salinger and Whitman meet with Umberto Calvini, the patriarch of the Italian family business. He explains the motives of all international bankers as follows (paraphrased):

“The true value of a war or armed conflict to a bank is in the debt it creates. If you control the debt, you the country that took on the debt. All big banks, nations of the world and all multinational corporations are involved. Every government and large corporation needs the bankers so they can operate in the gray and black latitudes.”

So, who owns the US Government? The same banks that Bush and Obama just bailed out with a Trillion dollars of YOUR money.

Next quote:

“There’s what people want to hear.
Then there’s what people want to believe.
Then there’s most everything else.
Then, there’s the truth.”

Watch the evening news and you’ll see the first three things, but not the fourth.

Next quote:

“There’s a difference between the truth and fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”

The quote has it exactly upside down. Think about this quote as you remember the official story of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Unfortunately, the official story makes no sense, and it is certainly not the truth.

Next quote:

“(Good) Character is easier kept than recovered.”

Compare Senator Ted Kennedy and Congressman Ron Paul for a lesson in character.

Next quote:

“We cannot control the things life does to us. They are done before you know it, and when they are done, they make us do other things…until, at last, everything comes between you and the man you wanted to be.”

This is a fatalistic outlook that absolves the adherent from the consequences of his choices. It’s like the Nuremberg defense…”I was just following orders.”

Next quote:

“Sometimes a man can meet his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.”

What does this really mean? The dictionary defines “destiny” as “the predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible course of events.” I’ve never believed in destiny or fate. I’ve always believed in individual choice. Destiny is fate, a leaf floating down a stream. Let me be the salmon swimming upstream against the current. At least I can say that I made my own way in spite of the obstacles. No guts, no glory.

Final quote:

“Justice is not possible because your idea and ideals about justice are illusions.”

It’s hard to argue against this statement when I see our court system in shambles, our prisons overcrowded with drug offenders, civil courts jammed, and jury awards unattached to reality. Perhaps true justice is only an illusion.

All in all, I enjoyed this action adventure film. One does not have to suspend belief and reality to enjoy this movie. I recommend it.

Let Me Be King For Just One Year

July 16, 2009

Let’s face it, my friends. The Federal Government in its present form is irretrievably broken. No tinkering, no new President, no new laws will fix the Federal Government of the United States of America. If the USA wants to avoid mass state secessions, a radical change must be embraced.

We need to go in a new direction. Actually, to be more accurate, in an old direction.

Absolute Monarchy.

Think about it. A king is one guy. He only has about 18 hours each day to do kingly stuff. So, he can’t meddle in very much simply because he doesn’t have the time. Everyone in America would be a lot freer with a King on the throne.

So, I nominate myself, Russell D. Longcore, as the new King of the United States of America.

I don’t want to be King forever. I’ll take the job on a one year basis. I want complete, unchallengeable, absolute power for one year. Then, at the end of that year, the states can have an election to see if I get my job for another year. And on it will go until I don’t want to be King any more, or get voted out of office, or get assassinated by an unemployed lobbyist.

You don’t even have to call me “your Majesty” or anything like that. “Mr. Longcore” or “King Russell” will do nicely.

As the first Candidate for US King, here is what I pledge to do in my year. I have written this list in no particular order of importance, only as the ideas came into my mind:

• Set the salary of the King at $100 million per year. That’s still less than some corporate executives make.

• End the personal income tax: On my first day as King, income taxes are gone.

• Dissolve Congress: Who needs Congress when I’m King? Rex Lex and all that.

• Tell all the States that they are on their own for operations, including the coining of money and taking care of the roads.

• Dissolve All Cabinet-Level Departments except State, Treasury, Defense & Interior: Then, I’ll shrink those remaining Departments to about one-tenth their size, maybe less. I promise they won’t have much to do.

• Dissolve the Army: I’ll close the Pentagon and sell the building or raze it. We’ll go back to using state militias just in case Canada invades us. I’ll close West Point, too.

• Shrink the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to about 50,000 members each: If we’re only protecting our own borders, we don’t need all that hardware and manpower.

• Mothball 50% of all military ships and aircraft just for a start.

• Order the dismantling of 90% of our nuclear missile inventory.

• Close 75% of domestic military bases and give the properties back to each state.

• Close all foreign military bases, apologize to each nation, give back the property to the various nations, bring all troops home.

• NASA is gone. If you want to go into space, pay for it yourself.

• Lift all bans on domestic oil exploration.

• Lift all bans on nuclear power plant construction.

• Shrink Supreme Court to three Justices who serve at my pleasure. Who needs nine old duffers arguing amongst themselves? Besides, they have no power to enforce any judicial decision. The power is all mine.

• Give back all Federal property to the states. Let them decide what to do with it.

• Cancel all treaties with other nations. Negotiate new treaties if I think we need them…and if I have time. A King’s gotta sleep, you know.

• Dissolve the Federal Reserve.

• Cancel all Federal gun laws and regulations. Once again, it’s up to the states.

• Get rid of all intelligence agencies except CIA. Rename it the King’s Intelligence Agency. Then figure out what kinds of “intel” we really need if we’re minding our own business. The KIA may become just me and about six other guys, plus a couple secretaries in case we need to write something down or need coffee and a bagel.

• Place Federal money on the gold and silver standard. Only issue gold and silver coins and paper money equal to our national precious metal holdings. Allow the price of gold and silver to be determined by the free market. No Federal price control.

• No subsidies for anything. No price supports for anything.

• Cancel all Federal debt. The Federal Government is bankrupt. If debtors want to get paid, tell them to take it up with the guys I just fired. We pay our bills out of income, not borrowing from the world.

• We will trade with everybody around the world who wants to trade with us, and stop meddling in their affairs.

• By the way, Federal income will come from tariffs and a 10% national sales tax. If God can get by on 10% so can the King.

• Dissolve the FDIC. If you put your money in a bank, you assume all the risk for what happens to it. Don’t pick bad banks. End of discussion.

• Dissolve the DEA. End the “War on Drugs.” Make all recreational drugs legal.

• Give Hawaii back to Hawaiians if they want it.

• Enforce our border with Mexico with shoot-to-kill-on-sight orders.

• Completely stop immigration for one year while we figure out how to do it.

• End all Federal holidays. If you want a holiday, take one on your own.

• Anything else that comes up, I’ll figure it out later.


OK, Americans. Here I am, ready to be your benevolent Monarch. Just tell me what day you want me to move in at the White House.

I’m going to need a throne, though. Are there any really big chairs in the White House? If not, I have leather chair with an ottoman here at home that I can bring with me. A throne could be really expensive.

Is Paula Deen available to be the White House chef? I’m just sayin’…

Honduras Coup d’etat: Was It Right Or Wrong?

July 5, 2009

On Sunday, June 28, 2009, Honduran President Manual Zelaya was awakened from his bed by the sound of gunshots and the yelling of his guards. About 20 minutes later, Army soldiers took Zelaya from the palace to a waiting plane. He was flown against his will to San Jose, Costa Rica, where he now lives in exile.

Honduran officials made the decision to remove this President from office after Zelaya’s efforts to change the Honduran constitution. Zelaya was planning for a nationwide referendum, asking voters to vote to rewrite the constitution to allow him to serve more than one term as president.

The Supreme Court of Honduras recently ruled that the referendum was unconstitutional. Specifically, the Honduran constitution forbids referendums to make constitutional changes within six months of elections. But the court ruling did not deter Zelaya. The Army refused to distribute ballots, which is their customary responsibility before elections.

After the forced exile, the Parliament formally removed Zelaya from the presidency and named congressional leader Roberto Micheletti as acting President until the end of Zelaya’s term in January 2010. Micheletti is a member of the Liberal Party, the same party as Zelaya. Micheletti was an opponent of Zelaya’s plan for the referendum.

Zelaya was a devotee of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and maintained a close relationship with the Marxist ruler. The reasons given by the Honduran Supreme Court, the military and the Parliament for the ouster was that Zelaya had violated the constitution, and that the remaining government took the necessary legal steps to remove Zelaya from office. The government officials also feared that Chavez would have too much influence in the Honduran government through his relationship with Zelaya.

The overthrow did not come as a surprise to American officials. The Obama administration had been working behind the scenes for weeks to try to prevent the removal of the president. Predictably, Obama and Chavez condemned the removal and exile of the president, and are calling for his return to the presidency.

Now, was the coup d’etat right or wrong?

From my vantage point, the removal of this president was not a coup d’etat. According to Wikipedia, a coup d’etat is “is the sudden, unconstitutional deposition of a legitimate government, by a small group of the State Establishment — usually the military — to replace the deposed government with another, either civil or military. A coup d’état succeeds when the usurpers establish their legitimacy if the attacked government fail to thwart them, by allowing their (strategic, tactical, political) consolidation and then receiving the deposed government’s surrender; or the acquiescence of the populace and the non-participant military forces.”

In Honduras, the president violated the constitution. The Supreme Court ruled that his actions violated the constitution. The Parliament agreed, and authorized the military to forcibly remove the president and relocate him to another country. These actions were all done out in the open. American diplomats and officials from the Organization of American States worked with government leaders to prevent the removal.

The legitimate government was not overthrown. It was the legitimate government that removed a lawbreaker from office.

In my opinion, the Honduran branches of government acted within their constitutional authority to bring the Executive branch back into constitutional compliance.

No coup d’etat. Simply the orderly function of a government under its own laws. Honduran leaders showed the world that the rule of law can exist, even in a part of the world where bloody overthrows are commonplace.

What an amazing example to the citizens of the United States!

The United States has had presidents now for over 50 years that have violated the US Constitution hundreds of times. The last two presidents have made it into a parlor game. Hardly a day goes by that a new act of constitutional defiance is not perpetrated by our current president.

If the Legislative and Judicial branches of the US government had one-tenth of the courage and moral conviction of the Honduran government, they would do what the Hondurans did.

It is an embarrassment that a small, poor nation like Honduras proves the rule of law, while the American president…supposedly a Constitutional authority and former constitutional law teacher…ignores our own constitution in a naked power grab. Then, in the face of our constitution and his understanding of the Honduran constitution, he calls for the return of the deposed Zelaya to office.

The Obama position is breath-taking, isn’t it? I’d like to call it hypocrisy, but it really is not. Obama is simply rejecting the rule of law in his own country, and expressing the desire that another country reject their rule of law. Seeing this example of political discipline is likely uncomfortable for him to watch.

Has Barack Obama no shame?

Selling Gold: Don’t Get Ripped Off

July 4, 2009

Selling gold, like your old rings and necklaces, looks enticing these days. When you see the advertisements on TV and the Internet for gold buyers, all telling you that you’ll get top dollar for your junk gold, remember that you are trading a precious metal for inflation-ravaged US dollars. All things being equal, you’d be better to hold onto your old junk gold. The prices for gold are going to skyrocket in the coming months and years. Don’t be surprised to see spot prices for gold above $5,000 within the next three years.

Gold is a pretty cool substance. One ounce of pure gold can be stretched into a wire five miles long, or hammered into a sheet so thin that it would cover an area 100 square feet in size and light would pass through it. The word “carat” (of which the notation for gold, “karat,” is a variation) comes from the Arabic word “qirat,” which means “bean pod.” In Oriental bazaars, a tiny carob seed was a unit of weight measurement.

This list below shows the karat number of gold, followed by the percentage of pure gold in the alloy.

10K 41.7%
14K 58.3%
18K 75.0%
24K 100%

What kind of alloys go into gold products?


These are the alloys added to pure 24K gold to make its distinctive color.

• Yellow Gold: Copper and silver. Yellow gold comprises 85% of the gold sold throughout the world.
• White Gold: Nickel, Zinc, Silver, Platinum, and Palladium. White gold symbolizes friendship and is the most important of the colored golds.
• Pink (Rose) Gold: Copper. Pink gold has become increasingly popular and looks lovely when combined with yellow or green gold.
• Green Gold: Silver, Copper, and Zinc Green gold is being used more and more with pink gold and yellow gold and is an important part of Black Hills Gold’s signature grape leaf design.

I decided to test the market yesterday, and sell a piece of jewelry at the highest price I could find that day. So I called five gold buyers and visited the one that gave me the highest quote on the phone.

Today, July 4, 2009, gold’s spot price is $931.50 per ounce of 99.99% pure gold. So, every tenth of an ounce is worth $93.15 today.

The old 14K ring I sold to the gold buyer fetched $90.00. The ring weighed 0.3 ounce. So, I was paid $30 per tenth ounce. Big difference from $93.15, huh?

Here is how the buyer explained the pricing process. They start with the daily spot price of 24K gold. Then, they determine the karat of the gold, and multiply the spot price by the percentage of pure gold in it. Then they deduct the refining costs to smelt and recover the 24K gold. Finally, they deduct 10% as their profit.

So, my transaction’s numbers looked like this:

Spot price $931.50
Times 58.3% $543.00 of 24K gold in 14K gold
Times weight 0.30 ounce
Gold value $162.90
Less refining ($ 18.60)
Less 10% profit ($ 54.30) actually 33% of $162.90
Net cash value $90.00

This was the best price I could find. So, as you see, the dealers can and do play games with the percentages, prices, and deductions. It’s almost as honest and easy to understand as buying a used car. Almost.

I don’t really know if the refining cost is high or not. I don’t know if the profit deduction is high or low. And neither will you. So, after the gold buyer lays out his bid for your gold, negotiate to get your best price.

My recommendation is that if you are desperate for cash, call around and get phone quotes from dealers before you get in your car and start making visits to dealers. They won’t want to tell you anything by phone because they want to you to be in the store so they can close the deal. Then approach your gold selling transactions with knowledge, which will keep you from getting ripped off.

So, I got killed on this transaction, and the gold buyer will make a big profit at today’s gold price. He’ll likely wait until gold prices go up before he smelts the gold, and then he’ll make more. If you try to sell your gold without knowing their games, you’ll also get the lowest price, not the highest price.

Expatriation: Top Ten Destinations for the Wealthy To Reside

July 3, 2009

Expatriation is a hot topic here in America. People with assets watch aghast as their assets lose value while the Federal Government steamrolls American banks, investment companies and insurers.

And it’s not just “the wealthy” that are scared of the future. Middle class people who were planning to retire soon have realized dramatic losses in their pensions and 401K funds. Retirees are experiencing the same things. And what will happen to the retirees of America’ auto companies, now bankrupt and under Federal control?

May thousands of Americans are seriously considering moving to another nation. They seek financial and political stability, less repressive government and a lower cost of living.

CNBC recently did a study to find out where the safest havens for wealth are on earth. They studied and compared things like education for children, economic and political stability, legal considerations, employment and business opportunities, tax and immigration, conveniences, and cultural sophistication.

Switzerland came up Number One in all categories.

The list of the Top Ten, in inverse listing, is:

10. Dubai
9. Monaco
8. Isle of Man
7. Cayman Islands
6. Isle of Jersey
5. Hong Kong
4. New York City, NY
3. Singapore
2. London, UK
1. Switzerland

Switzerland is a democratic confederacy that was founded in 1291. Seven hundred years later, it is still the best government on earth. It has not been invaded by enemies since before 1291. It minds its own business and protects the business of those who do business in Switzerland.

Its legendary banking laws offer the best security and secrecy in the world today. Most of the bank secrecy and tax haven nations of the world have copied Switzerland’s methods. Other nations despise Swiss banking laws, and constantly attack them. Politicians and governments looking to plunder the wealth of its citizens view Swiss traditions of private banking, fierce independence and anonymity as obstacles to their plunder. And, the age-old tradition of armed neutrality stands as the exception and example to the imperialism and aggression of other nations. Simply stated, it puts other nations to shame.

But many investors and owners of wealth prefer Switzerland and the Swiss franc. And, despite what you may read in the news and hear on TV, Swiss banking security is still one of the best on earth.

What’s good for the wealthy is also good for the smaller investor. Don’t wait until the collapse of the American Federal Government. Don’t wait for massive hyperinflation of the Dollar to steal the rest of your wealth. Prepare yourself NOW for the coming storms.

Seriously consider moving your money to more secure investment climates.

See the slide show for the Top Ten Safe Havens at: Top Ten Safe Havens