Friday, October 08, 2010

Some pre-election generalizations

Republicans =

The Rich keep all of the money.
The government gets to keep some (which they give to their buds).
They get to tell you what to do.
The get to tell you how to act.

Democrats =
The Rich keep most all of the money.
The government gets to keep some (which they give to their buds).
They get to tell you what to do.
They profess to not care how you act.

Libertarians =

They profess to not care who keeps the money (but the rich keep it all in practice).
The government keeps none (So if they wanna give money to their buds, it comes out of their pocket).
They don't care what you do.
They don't care how you act (but retain the right to blow your ass away if you act out on "their" property.

Pick your poison...

Friday, August 20, 2010

This trumps all as an American

I just heard that 80% of New Yorkers are opposed to the Islamic center being built in New York, near "Ground Zero". I understand and share some of their misgivings; it does feel somewhat like this religious group is giving us the collective finger by desiring to build so close to a site of national grieving...


It is not our property. They own it. As Americans, they have the right to do with it as they wish.

Others also have the right to not work on building it; and in New York labor is still organized. Zoning laws may preclude the construction (although zoning against a religious use would be on some pretty shaky constitutional grounds.) There are a number of ways to stop this from being built, many of which go against the ideals the nation was founded upon. The best way (and, coincidentally, the most ethical) is thus:

Offer the owners of the property an amount sufficient to induce them to sell it without coercion.

If you cannot do that, sit down, be insulted, butt-hurt or whatever; but STFU. It ain't your property. This ain't a chicken processing plant or toxic waste dump. You have no say in this.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Greasy Business

Let's just say the concept of limited liability did not apply to shareholders in a corporation. If you owned shares in BP right now, what would you be telling management? Yah, I thought so...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Surprise! You're soaking in it!

I was recently watching a special on the "Healthcare Nightmare" on the Faux Network, and was very entertained by the usual fear mongering by Hannity and the bunch. During their rants, they suggested that the cost of universal health care would be astronomically more than it is now.

I differ, as we already have universal health care, and we are already paying for it, and in the most expensive way possible.

When I was in the hospital earlier this year for surgery--a stay paid for by my work-sponsored insurance program--I had a number of roomies in my semi-private digs. One was on Medicare, and was having gall bladder surgery. Two others were in for emergency kidney stone surgery. Of those two, one was a citizen uninsured in his job, the other was an illegal immigrant, also uninsured in their job. All of us received the same treatment--top notch, with room service feeding (which I could only avail myself of sparingly), nurses and aides to wait on our needs.

The uninsured patients were not treated shabbily, the nurses and room service came just as speedily for them as they did for me. They did not want for attention, nor were pain meds refused to them. Doctors saw them expeditiously.

In the case of the two uninsured gentlemen, I would bet that the care and the bills were totally uncompensated, indigent care. This indigent care is paid for by billing paying customers, such as myself, astronomically higher bills to make up for the lost money. Other customers, especially those that self-insure, or pay their own bills, are billed even more outrageously for their care to cover those indigent costs.

So, since money to cover the indigent is taken from those that have--the insured and the self-paying--and used to cover those that have not, do we not have a de-facto socialized health care system?

I would argue that is most assuredly the case. And since the burden of caring for the indigent falls mainly on emergency rooms (the only medical facilities that are unable to turn them away--at least until their condition is stabilized), they are being cared for in the most expensive and inefficient way possible.

I will grant that there are free clinics about (and God Bless those that run and staff them) and other programs to help the indigent, but way too many people simply wait until they are sick to the point of death to get care. When they do, it's the ER that gets them.

I would like to see us get past the point of squabbling about whether or not we are going to have a universal, socialized health care system, and move on to how we are going to pay for it and administer it efficiently and fairly. There is no point in arguing about whether or not it exists, it's there, and as long as emergency facilities have to stabilize patients without asking about means to pay, it will continue to soak the rest of us.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What is the deal with external drives?

I've had the worst luck with external Maxtor Central Axis is going south (literally, that's where the return depot is) and a number of other externals have taken a dump out of warranty.

Most of the problem drives I've had have been Western Digital 3.5" models of varying capacity--they tend to give the "click-o-death" far before their MTBF stat would indicate they should. Internal Western Digital drives seem to do just fine.

I wonder if the interfaces on the portable drives are the issue, or if they do not dissipate heat properly. In any case, I'll not be buying another MyBook.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wish I had the kind of cred to say this....

oUR vIEW: discombobulation, government, spending, conservatives - Opinion - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO

Indeed, where were they last fall when a Republican president TARPed us....but nonetheless, I can't blame eight years of Dubya for the whole mess either. I certainly won't blame a president who has been in office for less than 100 days for it. Indeed, it's interesting to see The Gazette, a paper not known for it's left-leaning editorial stance, bashing it.

These tea parties DO send notice to Washington that angry mobs with pitchforks and torches are not's all part of the American Right to Be Revolting. There could quite possibly be an Auto-da-Fe in the future, and that prospect should be feared by us all.

Indeed, not all of me is appalled by the prospect of a few investment bankers roasting over an open fire, and I like to consider myself a rational human being (if occasionally chemically-enhanced). This tendency in myself makes me worry about those that are not quite so introspective...we have a large reservoir of Righteous Anger in this country, and we have to really be careful in how we decide to direct it. Angry mobs are rarely constructive.

I am in no way saying the tea party folks are in any way related to the aforementioned angry mobs--my point is that they are a manifestation of an anger that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with--hopefully before some demagogue finds a way to harness it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An immodest thought on campaign finance

"An honest politician is one that stays bought"--H. L. Mencken

Campaign finance laws do not work. Money continues to influence elections no matter how hard Mr. McCain and Mr. Feingold work to stop it. Libertarians rightly bring up first amendment concerns about telling people how to spend their money, and folks on the left decry the fact that influence is being bought and sold on Capitol Hill.

Campaigns have become expensive circuses, with attack ads, swift-boating and interest campaign groups becoming common as an unintended result of people trying to keep the interest groups out of political finance. It obviously is not working.

Here's a suggestion...

Repeal McCain-Feingold, for a start. Replace it with a simple scheme that has worked well for NASCAR--Corporate Sponsorship. Anyone tired of watching power suits on C-SPAN would get an immediate benefit, as elected representatives would be required to "proudly" display their sponsor's logo on colorful corporate livery. It would also be much easier to explain why a certain politician was speaking on behalf of a certain bill...for instance, if Senator Foo Bar from the great state of whatever was speaking for or against an appointment to the FCC, it would make a lot of sense for us to be able to see the fine "Comcast" logo displayed on his colorful outfit.

Replace that dignified library where elected officials make their pronouncements with a backdrop showing their fine sponsors, with the largest donors having their logo more prominent, and the lesser ones smaller.

Lining up campaign funds would be much easier as well--$5 million gets your logo on the congressman's door, as well as on the hood of his limo, $1 million gets the logo on the limo door, $500,000 buys the chairs in his office, etc.

Government could also save money on the franking privilege if mailing costs were defrayed by placing the rep's corporate sponsors prominently on his mass mailings--"And now, a word from your congressional representative Mud Face, proudly brought to you by the friendly folks at National Right to Life--remember, don't kill that baby!"

Wearing the logo of the contractor that benefited the most from government contracts at the ribbon cutting for a new bridge could give everyone that saw the photo op a new respect for the role of the building interests in politics, as well as a documented photo record of responsibility when the bridge collapses from shoddy construction. Wearing the Halliburton logo when at a signing ceremony for a bill awarding a no-bid contract would show dedication to their masters, as well as provide clarity to the public.

Money buys political influence, there is nothing new about that, and there is nothing that will ever change that.

Let's just make them display who their bitch ass belongs to.