Countdown

30 December, 2008

Good Riddance!


We all have things that we are glad to see gone. Some things we hold on to that we need to let go.

Some of the things that one person will hold on to, another says good riddance.

Recently, a group in New York City organized 'Good Riddance Day'. Organizers encouraged people to bring things to put into a giant shredder and say 'good riddance' to. One woman brought a printed email from her ex-boyfriend breaking up with her. Others brought things representing stocks, or papers that read 'cancer'. A creative Yankee fan brought a Boston Red Sox poster (despite the fact that the Rays won the division, the Sox were the wild card winners this year). Top prize went to a man who brought a sock to represent all the widowed socks that lost their mates in the wash.

A clever idea.

What sorts of things are you saying good riddance to? What is easy to dismiss? What are we holding on to, that we really should let go?

16 December, 2008

Where does it stop?


We've all heard the phrase 'slippery slope'. Basically, it means that once we get started down a path, it gets harder to change course.

It started with the Thruway. We were told that the tolls would only be there long enough to pay off the cost of building the expressway. Then, the toll road will be solely funded by the tolls collected. Now, despite toll hikes, it draws operating funds from the state budget.

The next brilliant move by the the smart people in Albany are proposing an 'obesity tax'. This proposed tax would be a 15% tax on non-diet sodas. 'Big Nutra Sweet' got it's way. They are taxing sugar sodas. It is proposed under the guise that sugar is bad for us. This is the same group that told us that saccharin is bad for us.. and then changed their mind.

What happened to letting people make their own decisions and live with the consequences of said decisions? You know the way that they do it in a free country like the United States? Not the way that the government knows whats best, the way that it is in the Peoples Republic of New York.

OK, now that they have opened the door for regular soda to be taxed, what's next? Tax Honey Nut Cheerios, but not regular Cheerios? Frosted Flakes, but not Corn Flakes? This doesn't take into account that when most people pour sugar on Cheerios and Corn Flakes before they pour the milk. What about taxing whole milk, but skim gets a pass..

My brother made this analogy when it comes to the state budget deficit. "It's like there is a big hole in the ground, and instead of filling the hole, they dig out around it, so we are all on the same level as the bottom of the hole." It is what the Democrats' plan usually involves. Let's not bring up the bottom, let's lower the top. That isn't the way to make a society successful.


** Editors note **

The proposed tax is 18% not 15% as noted.

10 December, 2008

Does it really work?


Remember a couple of years ago, in a move for solidarity, Hispanic community leaders called for a call in day. They asked for all Latinos, regardless of legal status or citizenship to call in from work on the same day.

The goal was to show how many Latinos there are, and how big of an impact they have on the economy.

The place that I was working at the time (a call center) employed a large group of people from Puerto Rico, Mexico and other Latin countries. As best as I could tell, they all disregarded the irresponsible call to skip work. Many of them were in a Spanish language queue, and primarily spoke with other Latinos. They took calls from upset callers because they went to work on the 'Lets not go to work today' day.

Well, it seems that today is another sort of "We'll show them how many of us there are" days. Today is 'Call in Gay' day. It seems that the leaders of Gay and lesbian community have called for a form of protest.

What do they expect will come of such an action (or inaction)? I think that it will cause more damage than good to their cause. There are far fewer gays than they would like us to think there are. According to a report, between 4 and 5% of Americans admit to being gay. In another report, the number is 1.3%.

Even if everyone who chooses that lifestyle called into work today, how many people would be missing from the workforce today? 5 out of 100? Is that going to cause a wave? Sure, in some cases it may cause an inconvenience to employers and customers, but in most places, it would be less than a ripple. Although, I imagine it would be tough to get your hair styled in San Francisco today.

I don't think that it will cause any broad changes in public perception, but I think the more likely change in attitude will be that there are less of them than the noise they make, and that less accommodations will be made for them. Even in California, when it was put to a public vote, more than 52% of voters supported the proposition to formally define marriage as a union of a man and a women. This is the 2nd time that it was put to a public vote in California, with the same end result.


03 December, 2008

How far is too far?

I know that a lot of people around the world and in the US are excited with the prospect of a black president.

There are baby Barack Obamas all over country and in Kenya.

But a news story that I came across today is going too far, at least this soon.

It seems that a county in Alabama has already declared the second Monday in November to be "The Barack Obama Day".

Perry County Al is this county. In the article that I read (it was an AP story that can be read here), it says the majority of the 12,000 county residents are black, but it doesn't say how big of a majority it is.

On this day, all county offices would be closed, and the employees would get the day off with pay.

Time will tell the impact that he will have on this country. There are those who say he is going to be remembered as one of the greatest president in the history of this nation. Honestly, I have no idea what they are basing it on, since he has no real experience beyond the 6 months he spent in the Senate before he started his campaign. I hope that he does a better job than what I think he will. My prediction is that he will be less remembered as the next George Washington and more as the next Jimmy Carter. As a matter of hope, just remember, it took a Carter to bring us a Regan.

But none of us can predict the future, he may end up being one of the best presidents this country has seen, but let's give him a chance to prove it before we coronate him. It took over 100 years for George Washington to be honored in such a way.

18 November, 2008

The law needs to change.


The law I am speaking about is 'insider trading'.

This week, it came out that the SEC has filed a civil suit against Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban for allegedly using inside information to sell stock that prevented a $750,000+ loss.

What was he supposed to do? Just sit on it and take the hit? I thought that was what capitalism was all about.. using what you know to make decisions to generate revenue. 

Now.. I'm no stock market genius.. but it seems to me that it would have been pretty irresponsible of him to not make a move to head off a loss of more than 3/4 of a million dollars. I understand to someone worth over 10 figures, you can probably find $750,000 between the cushions of his couch.. but that isn't the point.

Presumably, someone who is in a position to lose that much money has employees. What would have happened if he had not made the sale, and he did in fact lose the money, how many people would have lost their job?

I am not a fan of Martha Stewart, but the same thing happened to her, and she went to jail for it. Ironically, if she had not made that transaction, and just sat on the stock, she would have made more money in the long run.. but that's a story for a different time.

We are one of the only industrialized nation that has such restrictions on trading. With such restrictions in place, the stock market is little different from sports gambling.

12 November, 2008

Sometimes, they are just right.


While I was waiting for a flight at JFK, I picked up a copy of Newsday, a newspaper from NYC.

In it, there was an article about a talk given by former Democrat Presidential nominee, Michael Dukakis at Hofstra University. It can be read here.

In it, he calls for an overhaul of the election and primary process.

I have to agree. I think that the process used to select the nominee is flawed. Why is it, that when we vote for the office, we all vote on the same day, but when we vote for the person that we will vote for, the process is spread over several months?

Doesn't it make more sense that we all vote on the same day? Shouldn't the primary be all on the same day as well?

By spreading it out as long as the current process does, causes some states to not be able to vote for candidates. I was not able to vote for the candidate I would have liked to, because he didn't do well in states that held their primary before the People's Republic of NY held theirs, and the candidate had already dropped out of the race.

Dukakis suggests a consolidation of the process to 6 regional votes. The votes would be held 2 per month in February, March and April. He suggested that the votes would rotate each presidential election cycle. The article didn't go into more details than this, so I'm not sure of the finer details.

As far as the regular election process, I think that it might be time to consider an update to the Electoral College process. I know that the Founding Fathers put in the Electoral College for a reason, that the people then weren't as educated on the candidates as the delegates are, and that they would not be able to make accurate decisions. This may not be far off from the process today, but the reason for the lack of education is different now, than back then. Technology is a key in this. People can be educated, many choose not to.

We need not completely abandon the Electoral College, but I think it should evolve. As it stands now, each state gets as many electoral votes as members of federal representatives (2 Senators and as many Congress as the population calls for), so each state gets at least 3 votes. Every vote a state gets, goes to the party of the majority of the voters.

Here is my suggestion: break down the delegate votes should be divided by Congressional District rather than states. If a Congressional District votes different than the entire state, the votes of that district don't really count. Especially if there are districts that have much larger populations. For example, in NY, in a state of around 20 million population (enough to earn 31 electoral college votes), nearly 1/2 (around 8.2 million) of the population live in New York City. If you count the population center, the number goes up. The NYC market is nearly 19 million by itself (if you count those living in NY, NJ and PA), and over 12.3 million in just the state of New York. More than half of the population of the state is in one market. Nearly 2/3rds (18 of 29) of Congressional districts are 'Downstate'.

Instead of it being an 'all or nothing' process for the electoral college votes, how about giving each congressional district 1 vote, and let the remaining 2 votes for each state, go to the states overall winner.

This way would give us a more representative view of the views of population of the Country.


06 November, 2008



This is one of around 700 pictures I have taken on my trip to Peru. When I am back in the States, I´ll upload more. They will probably be at shutterfly.com, I´ll post a link here when they are up.

30 October, 2008

Well, I'm off..


I'm just finishing up packing for my trip to Peru. I'll be leaving for the airport in about an hour. I will have limited to no access to email or the internet while I am gone.

I will be taking tons of pictures, and will post a link to an online gallery when I return.

It will be interesting to see the election coverage (if any) in another country. (I've already mailed my absentee ballot)


29 October, 2008

Where do you draw the line?


The line I'm referring to is the line between news and advertising.

I understand that it's the responsibility of the news media to report on important events, but where do you draw the line between broadcasting news, and free advertisement?

I'm specifically referring to a paid advertisement that will be on national television tonight. I won't go into more detail, because I'm not in the business of giving free plugs to people who I disagree with.

It's been all over the news all day that there will be this paid infomercial on TV tonight, less than 1 week from election day.

There was even an article on ESPN.com last week about it, since it would be preempting the World Series (assuming a game 6 would be needed, or in case weather permitting, they finish the last 3 innings of game 5). The article talked about how Major League Baseball agreed to postpone the first pitch to accommodate the advertisement. They also said they would be willing to do the same thing, should John McCain decide to do the same thing.

I think that every time a news room reports on this show, they should bill the Obama campaign for ad time. It's not their responsibility to drive viewers, it is the Obama campaigns job to let people to know about it.. and radio commercials aren't free.

28 October, 2008

Early voting?

Despite what you have heard, Election Day is not 4 November, 2008.

In fact, Election Day is not a day at all. In at least 34 states, Election Day stretches for as much as 2 weeks.

Why is that? How is it fair?

I think that everyone voting in the same race should have the same procedure. If a village or city wants to have a local election period run for more than a day, then they have that right, but in a Federal election, where the entire country will be voting, the election should be the same for each registered voter.

That means the same day, the same schedule (adjusted for time zones), and the same voting format.

In 2000, if the entire country used the voting machines that are used in NY, there would have been no confusion about 'dimpled' or 'hanging' chads in Florida or in any of the other venues that used punch cards for voting.

As archaic as these machines are, they are reliable, and the results are not subject to interpretation.

Getting back to early voting..

I understand that there are circumstances that prevent someone from voting on the appointed day; I myself, will be out of the country on Election Day. There are contingencies made for such situations. It's called absentee balloting. In Monroe County, NY, it requires an application to be sent to the county board of elections in sufficient time. The ballot is mailed to the voter.

Having face to face open poles for as many as 2 weeks opens the way for untold voter fraud.

The more we stray from the foundation that the Founding Fathers laid out for us, the farther we slide towards socialism, and it is a slippery slope.

22 October, 2008

Article II, Sec i

"No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."


This is taken from the United States Constitution. It is the requirements established by our Founding Fathers for anyone aspiring to the role of President of the United States.

Recently, there has been a movement on the Internet trying to establish that one of the candidates meets only 2 of the 3 requirements.

One such website is http://www.obamacrimes.com/. Philip J. Berg esq, a lawyer (a Democrat) from Pennsylvania has brought a lawsuit against the Obama campaign to force him to disclose documents to verify his eligibility, especially verification of the location of his birth. A video was produced of him (the lawyer) explaining his action, which can be seen here, as well as several other Youtube videos.

Those of you who know me, know that there is nothing that can be said that would convince me to vote for Obama, but it has nothing to do with this alleged disqualification.

There are many reasons to vote against this Socialist. A long shot that he may not be a 'Natural born citizen' shouldn't be one of them.

Things may have been done in the name of The DNC that could be considered as less than ethical, but do you think that they would risk something as potentially devastating as this? In the information age where no secret is safe, how do you think they planned on keeping this quite?

The only logical explanation, is that it is a baseless claim.

21 October, 2008

Help me understand...

Why do we care what the rest of the world thinks about us?

Why are we so willing to abandon the morals and principles that this country was established with, just to be accepted by a bunch of 3rd world countries?

Remember back to when we were kids.. what did your mom tell you about the other kids? Don't give into peer pressure, just to be liked. Everyone has heard the "if all your friends were jumping off a bridge" line.

If they don't like you for who you are, than they aren't worth having as friends.

It was sage advice on the playground, it is sage advice for international policy.

That's not to say we should go around bullying others, but we need to hold fast to our heritage, our principles, the things that made this country the greatest nation in the world.

Some would say I'm being imperialistic by saying that, but let's look at the facts. How many other nations have as big of an illegal immigration problem as the United States?

How many other countries donate even a fraction of a percent of the humanitarian aid as the United States?

The world is familiar with the term "American Dream", but when's the last time someone mentioned the 'Russian Dream' or even the 'British Dream'?

It's time to stop kowtowing to the poles in Europe and the rest of the world, and let us pick our own leadership. Why would someone in a foreign nation favor one candidate over another? It's because they are thinking in their own best interest, not in the best interest of those of the nation electing him.

We need to remember why we fought the Revolutionary War over 200 years ago.

27 September, 2008

Here's a newsflash..

Attention Barack Obama, Eric Massa, Rick Dollinger and countless other Democrat candidates for various offices across the nation..

George W. Bush is not running for office in November.

You'd never know it by watching campaign commercials though.

I'm not here to tell these socialists how to run their campaign, but here's some free advice, you don't win by running against something, you win by running for something.

Didn't you learn that from Al Gore and John Kerry?

Maybe it's just me, but you aren't going to get my vote simply by telling me what the other guys said. That doesn't prove that you are better qualified for the position. Just because the other guy isn't right for the job, doesn't mean that you are.

Tell me why you are the better choice, not why the other guy is not the right choice.


17 September, 2008

Rochester, We're close to cool things!

If you are in the Rochester, NY area, you may have heard a series of ads that are designed to show that Rochester is a pretty cool place to live.

I heard one in particular the other day that piqued my interest. In a nutshell, a guy on a plane is trying to convince the guy next to him that Rochester isn't such a bad place to live.

Before I go any further, let me say, Rochester isn't such a bad place to live. Are there shortcomings? sure, you'd be hard pressed to find a city that didn't have shortcomings. The key is to find a place whose shortcomings are outweighed by the positives.

Any way.. back to the ad..

The guy lists 6 things that are cool about living in Rochester. The problem is, only one of the 6 things is in Rochester (Strong Museum, I'm assuming he is referring to the Strong Museum of Play). Another one could be considered the 'Rochester area' (Letchworth Park). The others are more than an hour away (Riche Stadium, The Carrier Dome, both 75 minutes, Toronto is a 3 hr drive, and NY is an hour flight).

Nothing against the other venues, but if you are trying to say what's good about Rochester, how about keeping it to Rochester, or at least Monroe County. If you want to stretch it, include the 6 county 'Rochester Area'.

Things like:
- Charlotte (walk the pier, ride the carousel, have a picnic, etc...)
- A burger at Bill Grays or Tom Whals
- Catch a game from one of the teams that have one a championship in the last couple of years (Knighthawks, Rattlers, Razorsharks, Raiders)? Granted, only 2 of the leagues are at the top of that sport, but a championship is a championship
- Walk a canal trail in any number of communities along the Canal
- In the winter, go ice skating at Manhattan Square Park
- Catch a play in one of several venues (and I'm not talking about Renaissance square..)
- Hungry? Pretty much any type of food can be found nearby
- Golf at one of the countless golf courses, including world class Oak Hill

And the list goes on.

Do you have anything that you like to do in the Rochester Area? What do you do when friends and family come in from out of town?

15 September, 2008

What's the Statute of Limitations on a Business Decision?

How long does a company have to be held responsible for associations?

It happens all of the time. A company makes an unpopular decision in the name of business. Someone gets bent out of shape over it, and calls for boycotts and protests.

Often, it is relatively insignificant, and blows over quickly. Many times, those who are offended have little to no impact on the bottom line for the company, so nothing really changes, except for a few chose to shop elsewhere. Which is our rights as consumers in a capitalist economy.

But every now and then, a decision is made that has lasting repercussions.

Recently, one such instance came to light. Allianz, a German-based insurance company that opperates globally, was bidding for the naming rights for the new football stadium being built in the Meadowlands, NJ. This stadium will be the new home for the NY Football Giants, and the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets starting in 2010. This deal was to be worth an estimated $30b annually.

The problem lies in Allianz's history. It seems that their client list included several Nazis as well as concentration camps, including Auschwitz. Reports also indicate that they refused to pay claims to Jewish customers.

The decision was made to end the negotiations when the company's history was made public by the New York Times, out of fear of offending the many Jews and Holocaust survivors in the NYC market.

I am in no way endorsing the practice of withholding claim payment based on anything other than legitimate business reasons, but when is enough enough?

Decisions made 50+ years ago don't necessarily reflect the company today. It's unlikely that there are many, if any, employees still employed by Allianz when the Auschwitz account was written.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, people need to be a little less easily offended, especially when no offense is intended.

03 September, 2008

It's like Deja Vu all over again.

It seems to be in the news every couple of weeks. A laptop turns up missing. The missing laptop just happens to contain personal information.

It happened again this week at the NTID, a branch of RIT. The laptop in question contained information from 12,700 people who have applied to enroll at NTID since 1968. (If you think you may be affected, you can call the hotline that was set up, 866-624-8330.)

I don't run a college, and wouldn't know the first way to start doing it, but how relevant is student information from 40 years ago? Why is this information on a laptop?

For that matter, why is any of this information on a laptop? It seems that it is taking a risk.

I understand that they need to be able to be mobile, but with the technology that exists today, it seems like an unnecessary gamble.

Here's an idea, keep all of the personal information on central servers back at the office, and connect via a secure connection if you need to be off-site to conduct business.

Here's another example of technology advancing faster than the law. When a laptop with personal information is stolen, it should be 2 crimes, one for the person that stole it, and one for the one person who was responsible for it when it went missing. Maybe then, organizations who are stewards of our personal information would take their charge more seriously, and take the appropriate steps to protect it.

02 September, 2008

Don't you Just Love the Smell of Hypocracy in the Morning?

Do you remember when the Crown Prince Barack was asked questions about his wife, (who was out campaigning for him) he said "Lay off my wife".

On the other hand, the story broke this weekend that Bristol Palin, the 17 year old daughter of the GOP VP candidate is 5 months pregnant.

Not only that, but there are several reports that the infant in the arms of the candidate is not in fact hers, but her daughters'.

Oh yea, remember back in the early 90's when there was another teenaged daughter being taken for a ride on the campaign with her parents? Anytime someone said anything off about her, they were lambasted for it? I guess that's another of the double-standards that the 'progressives' expect us to live by.

To his credit, His Highness was quoted as saying:
"Let me be as clear as possible, I think people's families are off-limits, and people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as governor or her potential performance as
a vice president."
Let's see if his minions will listen to him.

On the other hand, this is also the guy that said if his daughters got pregnant, he doesn't want them "punished with a baby".

10 June, 2008

Are you Ready for DTV?

In another example of the government knowing better than we do, if you use an antenna to watch TV, you won't be able to watch TV after 17 February 2009. (Even sooner, if you live in Wilmington, NC. That is the test market, and will go strictly digital in September this year.)

The FCC has mandated that on that date, all full power over the air TV broadcasts be exclusively broadcast in digital format.

It seems that the government has mandated that everyone abandon the analog frequencies and equipment.

Now, in their bottomless well of compassion, the government has graciously arranged for each household to receive as many as 2 coupons to offset the cost of a set-top digital converter box. Each coupon is valued at $40. Converter boxes cost around $50 or more, so we are still going to have to pay for them.

If you subscribe to cable or a satellite service, you won't be effected by this change. These types of services are already digital.

There have been several commercials on TV lately advising the public of the change. They tell people to go to www.dtv2009.com or www.dtv.com for more information and to get the vouchers.

They have been doing a good job of educating the TV watching public that the change is coming, but not such a good job of saying why the change is being required. There may be a perfectly logical reason that this is being implemented, but I really don't know what it is.

Now, don't get me wrong.. Digital is a better technology than analog.. whether it is TV, cell phones or whatever.. but let's be honest. It should be a decision made by the consumer market. If the networks want to go all digital, than they can. The industry will make the transition, just like we did from VHS to DVD, and from clunky analog cell phones to the sleek ones we now use.

I just think that the government should stay out of our living rooms.

04 June, 2008

It's Down to 2..

Or is it?

Barak Obama has announced that he has claimed enough delegates and super delegates (do they come with their own theme music and side kicks?) to secure the nomination of the Democrat party (not the Democratic party, that doesn't exist.. it's a process, not a party).

But it seems that her highness isn't ready to pack it in just yet.

Is she angeling for the VP? What about a Cabinet post, or even a spot on the Supreme Court?

It seems that she would be more benefited by being a part of the Obama administration, but will he, or, more importantly, the country suffer?

I think that if offered, she would take the understudy role on the Blue Ticket, but I don't think that he would be wise to keep her around.

On the other side of the aisle, the John McCain is starting the process of picking the other half of his ticket. I would like to see him pick Fred Thompson, or Mitt Romey. (I would have voted for Thompson in the primary if he was still running when NY voted. Instead, I voted for Romney.)

What are your thoughts? Who should be the VP nominations?

29 May, 2008

Do You Remember when New York was one of the United States?

I don't think that I do.

I seem remember being taught in US History and in the various government classes I've taken that when the US Constitution was written, that there were 3 distinct branches of the government. They set it up that way so one branch wouldn't get too powerful. It was set up as a 'checks and balances' system.

These 3 branches were given specific responsibilities. The legislature makes the laws, the executive enforces the laws and the judicial makes sure the laws are fair.

Here in NY, the lines between the branches have blurred beyond recognition. The judicial branch seems to think that they can make the laws.

Specifically I'm referring to the recent ruling that NY must recognize gay marriages entered into in other jurisdictions that allow them to be performed (i.e. Canada, MA or CA).

According to NYS law, such marriages are not legal to be performed, so why is it that something that is illegal to do in NY, would be approved of if it was done in another place, then transplanted here?

It would be like saying it is illegal to produce heroin in NY, but if it is legal to produce it somewhere else, you can bring it to NY to use it.

I think that the simplest way for the government to take care of the gay marriage thing is to have the government not recognize any marriage.

Think about it.. marriage was originally a religious institution. It was made a government institution by societies where the Church was the State.

22 May, 2008

Is Instant Replay the Answer?

Human error has been a part of sports since the beginning. In this age of technology, several sports leagues have embraced the advances and used them in an attempt to improve the game.

The NFL was one of the first to do so, the NBA and NHL have followed suit. Instant replay even has a place in Tennis.

The big hold out is MLB.

The main argument against it is the same thing that comes up any time a change to the game is suggested.. in a word, Tradition.

Other arguments include slowing an already slow game, the delay would be a detriment to the pitcher (potentially injury causing) and more.

In a recent game between the NY Mets and the NY Yankees in Yankee Stadium, Carlos Delgado was robbed of a 3 run homerun when the homeplate umpire overruled a call from the 3rd base umpire. He, upon seeing the replay after the game, admitted that he made the wrong call. Now, this didn't make a difference in the game (the Mets won 11-2), but it isn't the first time that a call has been missed.

Here's what I propose.. Only use it when it will decide whether a run will score (i.e. fair or foul for homeruns or close calls at the plate).

Don't use it to challenge the strike zone, don't use it to see if a player beat a throw at first, don't use it to see if a fielder caught the ball or not. These are part of the game, and often have little to no bearing on the outcome of a game.

Also, there should be a time limit to the time taken to review a play. A few minutes should be all that is requisite to decide. If not, the original call stands. Only the managers and the umpire crew chief can call for a review, and each manager can only call for 2 per game.

Should there be a penalty if the call is not overturned? Perhaps, but it's not like you can take away a time-out like in the NFL. Taking away an out is a bit harsh.

I think that there is a way to make instant replay work. It can be done without being a drag on the game.

05 May, 2008

Who is Right?

It happens every election season.

Candidates pandering for votes throw out empty promises in an attempt to show that they are the better choice than the other guy.

In the face of ever elevating prices, 2 of the 3 candidates for have suggested rolling back the Federal gas tax for the summer. One says that it is short sighted.. that it will leave the coffers to empty. Another says that we can make up for it by taxing the record profits from the oil companies.

If you ask me, that is the short sighted idea. Let's call a spade a spade. Corporations don't pay taxes.

Oh sure, they make payments to the government, but where do you think the money comes from? They look at taxes as operating expenses. These operating expenses are passed on to the cost to the consumers.

Here's an idea, waive the Federal gas tax and make up for lost revenue by not burning tax dollars with that misguided idea that corn ethanol will save the world. That will solve 2 problems with one solution..

Don't get me wrong, I am all for renewable energy sources, as long as they are commercially viable. If corn ethanol was going to work, someone would have figured out a way to make it without taking tax dollars to develop it.

03 February, 2008

14-6 is better than 18-1!

Go Blue!


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Distraction-gate

Why is it that anytime there is a controversy for anything, it is tagged with the suffix -gate? I know where it comes from, but I think it has been way over used.. We've had 'Whitewater-gate'.. Monica-gate.. and now Spy-gate.. (and the first one wants to be president..)

My thoughts about spy gate is it has been blown way out of proportion. For those who aren't aware, (where have you been?) the New England Patriots have been accused of video taping the NY Jets on the sidelines to try to steal the signals. (Which, by the way, happened at the Jet's stadium, on their sideline.. so how much blame do you place on them?)

Stealing signs have been a part of sports since the beginning of time, but the NFL has rules against electronic capture of such signals. Baseball players do it all the time, and it's not uncommon for a manager to change the signs during the game.

The thing that concerns me is that the US Senate is getting involved. Why is it that Arlen Spector (R-PA) is getting involved? Does the Chair of the Judiciary Comittee have nothing better do do than to utilize tax dollars to investigate the NFL? Does the Senate have nothing better do to than this?

The League investigated the allegations, meted out their sentence. That should be the end of it. There is no reason that it should go as far as it has. It's time to let sleeping dogs lie (I'm not talking to Mike Vick).

Oh yea, Go Giants! :)


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27 January, 2008

Let's look at it for What it is..

For those who still think that universal health care is the way to go, here are a couple of ways to put in perspective.

I'm not going to go into how it is failing in other countries that have it, because most Americans don't care what happens elsewhere.

Look at it this way. When was the last time you went to the DMV? Do you remember waiting in line for an extended length of time for a simple transaction? How difficult was it to do something a bit more complicated? Have you ever filled out the wrong form? or the right form, wrong?

Why would anyone think that government run health care is going to be any different than government run auto licensing agencies?

You are taken to the ER after a car accident, or a heart attack, or whatever, and the nurse says 'Take a number' (unless of course you are an illegal alien, then you get right to the front of the line).

And do you want to see how well the government runs health systems? I have 2 words for you: Walter Reed. Do we all remember how well that worked? The patients there are American Heroes. If that's how the government will take care of their own possessions (remember, they consider soldiers property of the government), how well do you think schlub citizens like you and I will be cared for?

I have only heard one argument that was even slightly logical in favor of universal health care. It wasn't enough for me to turn, but it is worth bringing up. A teacher I had at college brought it up.

The argument goes as so: As the world evolves into more of a global economy, companies who operate in countries that have universal health care (i.e. Japan) have an inherent advantage over companies that operate in countries that don't (i.e. US). For example, Toyota employees in Japan have health care coverage paid for by Japanese tax payers, not by their employer. As such, Toyota does not have the expense of paying health care premiums for employees, and can invest the capital in other areas of the business (i.e. R&D). GM on the other hand, spends more annually on health care for it's employees and retirees than it does for steel, will not be able to compete in the long run with Toyota. This is not a completely apples to apples comparison, because Toyota doesn't have to deal with the UWA, but that's a completely different conversation that I am not going to get into here. Those who know me, know where I stand on unions and what they are doing to our economy.


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Is it Big Brother?

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article that is very 1984ish.

It talks about AT&T and alleged plans they have to monitor and sensor the internet traffic that travels over their networks. According to the article, the network giant is planning on blocking material that is potentially copyrighted and other violations of intellectual property laws.

At first thought, one might think this is a violation of the 1st amendment, but I would have to disagree. The 1st Amendment protects us from government censorship. It isn't designed for a private entity (i.e. AT&T) to monitor and regulate what happens on its privately owned assets (i.e. their network). It would be the same as a mall regulating the objectionable activities in its halls.

I'm not sure where I come out on this. Should they be allowed to do so? The capitalist in me says yes, the concerned citizen in my says no.

I understand that Federal law protects network owners from liability in patent infringement cases. But lets be serious.. in today's increasingly litigious society, it makes sense to take as many safeguards as possible to protect yourself. Especially when it costs so much to defend yourself in a lawsuit, even one that has little to no merit.

It brings me back to 'If you aren't doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about'. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it's true.

You can read the posting here.

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