Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I never imagined I would actually ENJOY a Presidential speech.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My TV Sukz Monkey Butt

Feb 17th approaches tomorrow and some over-the-air TV broadcast stations will start to disappear eith rest to follow shortly for folks with older TV sets. I have a tiny Casio TV that I have used at work for probably 10 years - just to watch the evening news and for Hurricane updates when needed. Soon it will be useless, so I went out and got a very cool USB device that brings digital TV right to my PC. Reception inside this building is not great at best but the digital picture is fantastic - when it works.

The problem is that with digital TV - the picture is "all or nothing". Most of the time it is perfect, beautiful and sometimes even in High Definition! But, quite often it just - stops. When I was watching the tiny TV and the picture wasn't perfect - at least I could still follow the program with the fuzzy sound and picture. Now I get nothing. I can't tell you how much more irritating it is to have the picture and sound just stop until the signal is restored. It really gives me a headache.

Poor me - right? I get a headache while trying to watch TV at work. Well yes, I am irritated, but I'm not worried about myself - in fact, we have a TV in our data center that I could watch too - I just can't see it from my desk. The real problem is with all the people who are watching over-the-air broadcasts because they don't have enough money to afford cable or satellite TV. Now, not only are they being forced to buy new equipment to get what they had before, they will also have to deal with the blank screen and headache that goes with it.

While I don't think they should extend the deadline again (it only causes confusion) I strongly believe that it is way too early for this transition to be forced on people - and I'm thinking by at least a decade. When color TV came out - folks still had the option to use their black and white sets if they couldn't afford a color one - and some are still using them. This transition is for one reason only - to open the airwaves for other (more profitable) uses. The poor are the only ones really affected by this change. Tell me how that is fair - or even ethical.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

That which goes up - somehow stays up.

It occurs to me that if every business who raised their prices to match the increased fuel prices last year were to now drop them to match the now lower prices, then everyone would have hundreds of extra dollars a month. Wouldn't that be stimulating.


I still think the best way to deal with the economy right now is to not mess with it too much. I'm just not convinced that throwing a bag of sand down the Grand Canyon will stop the water from flowing. Hopefully the economists who are advising the President have more information than I do. And speaking of information, I really wish that all the details of this bailout package were made publicly available so that if we object we could contact our Senators and have our voices heard. But, I suppose that would only open the door for more lobbying and further delay the process. Lets just pray the "stimulus" works!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Where is the FDA?

No prescription drug should be advertised if one of the possible side effects is death. And, in my opinion, no prescription drug should be advertised at all - especially if the possible side effects are worse than the condition, or takes more than one page in the magazine to list. Furthermore, the phrase "ask your doctor if blaz-x is right for you" is absurd.

We need to get back to a place where Doctors decide what we need and then inform the patient, about any possible side effects. Instead, what the pharmaceutical companies have created is a society of hypochondriacs. It is a very profitable situation for them but very unethical if you ask me.

Advertise the over the counter drugs all you want - supposedly they are safe enough to be sold without a doctors advice. But prescription drugs by their very nature should only be advertised and distributed to the physicians. And, the drug should be properly tested, safe, and approved by the FDA before it can ever be an option.

Housing Crisis Solution

Politicians are thinking of ways to fix the housing crisis and most are focusing on the interest rates the home owners are paying. I don't think that lowering the interest rate is going to solve much. These people are in trouble because they are "upside down" on their homes - meaning they over paid for them and now their homes are worth a lot less than what they paid. I have a drastic solution that would be the perfect way to spend the "stimulus" money.

Home owners in a serious "upside down" situation should be able to pay for a reputable appraisal of their property. The lenders should then be able to determine what the real value of the property is. They would then offer a new loan for the true value, plus an added margin -maybe 10% (because people who make bad decisions shouldn't get off scott-free) and perhaps offer a fixed rate if they previously had a variable interest rate. The stimulus money would help the banks finance these transactions that would ultimately help the tax paying home owners.

This way, the home owner will no longer be so far upside down so as to be hopeless enough to abandon the property, and the lenders will not be stuck with a foreclosed property. This should also help stabilize the housing prices more quickly than waiting for the foreclosed properties to sell at drastically reduced rates and then slowly raise up to what should be a normal level.

Done correctly it would be a "win" situation for everyone involved.