Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Companies and Products I Like

With all the complaining I do about evil corporations and products that don't work, I thought I should take at least a little time to list a few things I actually do like. It's a shorter list.

Totino's Pizza Rolls - Seldom is a product actually improved. But somehow they took this delightful snack that used to require a toaster oven and made it just as good in the microwave! Improved indeed!

Target Stores - I just like to shop there and I'm not even sure why. They always have what I'm looking for, in the style I like and at a reasonable price. Well - maybe that is why! - This online store has been a favorite of mine for years - especially with free shipping. But be warned - they are starting to get on my nerves by changing prices quickly (up of course) when they see in my cookie files that I'm shopping for an item. Careful Amazon - my list is already short!

Sprint - They are also on my bad list because of the MANY problems I have had, but their excellent customer service (when they communicate amongst themselves) have always kept me satisfied.

Klondike Bars - what I wouldn't do for one! I guess that marketing actually does make it to my head once in a while.

Super 8 Motels - yes, I used to work for them so I may be biased, but I still find most of their locations clean, with free Internet and at a reasonable price.

Volkswagon - even though I had a lot of issues with my 01 GTI - I still loved it. And my 06 GTI is much better. You get a lot of bang for the buck with a VW.

There must be few more - I'll edit if I think of any.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Republican Machine

I've said it before - the Republicans are MUCH better at politics than Democrats. That's because politics can be a very nasty business and most Democrats don't play that well. On what basis do I make that claim? I could go back to the President Clinton years for a very clear example (remember how they slammed him right from the beginning with controversy after controversy), but that is the past.

I'm also not going to use the health care debacle - even though it is another clear example of slandering the opponent for political gain (remember the out of control town hall meetings?). The example I'm going to use involves online newspaper forums. I read USA Today online daily and I chose it because its target audience (travelers) tends to require it be non partial to either political party. They typically report fair and balanced in my opinion. But, if you were to read the comments on the articles you will notice they are WAY off balance. You would expect to get pro and con comments for most articles but they are overwhelmingly Republican biased, name calling, derogatory slams against President Obama and his administration. And any subject from climate change to kittens is steered to Obama within 2 or 3 posts.

I began to think that perhaps USA today was more biased than I realized, so I started to read some other popular local and national papers and found the very same thing. Post after post of nasty, unfounded political BS on every topic imaginable. It can't be a coincidence. The Republican political machine is a well oiled smooth running movement and I believe this is one of the many ways they are constantly campaigning for their cause. I would bet dollars to donuts that many of the posts come from paid PAC members. And it seems to be working as it usually does. Hammer people with baseless lies, name calling and just plain ole meanness and soon the public will start to believe it.

Let me just add that I do not agree with some of the decisions that the Obama Administration has made so far, but they are not as terrible as you might think if you read those posts (which I do not recommend). The President has been in office only 1 year - dealing with issues that are huge by anyone's definition. Anyone with a brain should know that it is too early to judge the progress, especially based on the constant backlash from the conservatives. I'm hoping, like the President Clinton years, the American people will use their own heads and make their own judgments and not listen to the disturbing noise from the Republican political machine.

One last thing. During the Bush years, the forums were also busy with Bush bashers. But there were plenty of posts from Bush supporters as well. You can't find too many pro Obama posts these days because they are drowned out by the negative ones. It's not that pro Obama readers don't post comments, its just that they are overwhelmingly out numbered at every turn. I honestly do not believe that represents the way the whole country feels.

Seeing Yellow

Enough with the phone books! I don't even need one, let alone 4 different versions. The Internet is all most of us need. Please! Deliver phone books and Yellow Pages only to those who request them.

And don't forget to recycle the ones you do get and no longer need.

Monday, January 11, 2010

God is God

No God would require people to fight each other, drop bombs or blow yourself up in his name. No God would make you a healthy sexual being and then ask you not do act on your sexuality in the name of religion. No God would require you to give 10% of your income to the church. No God would even ask you to fear him.

If you believe in God (and I do), you must realize that God is an all powerful, Omnipotent being or force that has the power to create life and end it just as quickly. God doesn't need you - or want you - to do anything! These are human requests.

God is God - that should be all that is necessary.

Fantasy Land

They believe that God wrote the Bible himself - personally.
They believe the universe was created in 7 of our calendar days.
They believe we all came from Adam and Eve.
They believe all living creatures fit on one boat.
They believe in a place called Heaven and one called Hell.
They believe in miracles (and so do I).

But - They don't believe in global warming - because it's chilly today.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Reform the Reformers

When I envision health care reform - I see a different vision than the politicians. Their focus is on getting everyone insured - which is important - but it is only a symptom of the real problem if you pardon the pun.

What I imagine is a system where even a person who isn't insured might be able to afford a Doctor visit, basic prescriptions and perhaps even minor surgery without losing their life savings. My system addresses the costs of health care - including education, equipment, salaries, patents and insurance. All of these costs are out of control. Forcing insurance companies to cover these expenses doesn't lower these costs - it just masks them. Once costs are under control, then perhaps insurance companies might be able to cover more people at a reasonable rate.

We might start at the education level. If healthcare workers don't have to immerse themselves in unbelievable debt to obtain their license to practice, then perhaps they wouldn't have to charge so much for an office visit. Another way to lower the cost of doing business for health care professionals is to put limits on malpractice payouts, which should lower malpractice insurance premiums. Don't get me wrong - if a professional makes a mistake causing damage or death - they should have to pay. But do all cases warrant a million dollar payout? Hardly.

Why does a hospital bed cost thousands of dollars - just because it has a little motor to lift it? Why does a box of tissue in the hospital cost $20 when it is less than a $1 at the store? Why do the drug companies get to charge hundreds of dollars for a new pill (that isn't even fully tested) just because they have an exclusive patent? If I were an insurance company - I wouldn't want to cover those extra costs either.

Doctors and educators also need to take an ethical look at their income statements. Is it justified to have a multi-million dollar income for doing your job? I do believe that if you have a specialized gift you should be duly compensated - but multi-million dollar compensated? I think not. Same goes for Lawyers and CEO's. If you are making that much money, you are stealing it from people who barely make enough to feed their families.

Now, if any of this makes sense to you, then you are probably realizing why health care reform is so hard to implement. Controlling costs means that someone has to make less money. Guess who that might be. If you guess those that are vehemently opposed to health care reform then you get a gold star! Yes folks, the Republicans are against any reform because they will surly lose money in the process. Money they are currently stealing from the good people of the USA in the form of over pricing for goods and services.

Sadly, this is the reason that I fear we will never have true reform.