Sunday, August 30, 2009

Survey Fail

Not 100% sure on which government run/sponsored entity is ultimately at fault for the following; the Post Office or RTD.

On Thursday of this week I got a survey card from RTD asking me how often I used RTD buses or light rail. The survey offered some from free ride coupons which I may be able to use which was nice of them. I completed the survey and put the card in the mail.

On Saturday, two days later, guess what I found in the mailbox? The same survey card! It had my name and address on one side and RTD's on the other with the "No postage necessary..." postage.

Side 1...

Side 2...

I'm no Post Office expert, but I'm assuming the card was re-delivered to me because my name and address was scanned instead of RTDs. A human obviously wouldn't make this mistake since the postage and the delivery address are on the same side--pretty simple.

I'm also assuming that either side of this card has a 50/50 chance of being read by the Post Office scanner for delivery.

We know the population of Denver, Aurora, and Boulder alone was 2,998,878 in 2007. The RTD service area is actually much larger, but I'm having a hard time finding the stats. We can assume a 10% survey sample rate (conservative as I've done nothing to my knowledge to end up on RTD's list and I was selected).

The postage on a postcard is $0.28, assuming RTD didn't get any kind of discount.

As most folks in the Denver Metro know, RTD is heavily subsidized by taxpayer money and has never been self-sustainable. So how much taxpayer money did RTD just waste?

(2,998,878 * .10) * .28 * .50 = $41,984.29

And if the sample size was 25%?

(2,998,878 * .25) * .28 * .50 = $104,960.73

Not a lot by today's standards, but I find it interesting that even the simple exercise of collecting data from local residents on what is essentially a government service creates waste.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Why is Dining Out Legal?

Last night at Pappadeaux, as I sat eating blackened catfish with a side a fries, I wondered, why is eating out legal?

The fish was swimming in butter and the fries, well, are fries. Now this is a rare treat for me and I am overall very healthy. A meal like this comes along once every other month or so. But the freedom to decide what I was going to eat for dinner resulted in a very bad choice. The government could have made a much better decision for me and I would be healthier for it, not to mention the collective consequences of my decision (medical costs).

Why are Democrats letting people eat out for dinner when they could be at home enjoying tofu and brussel sprouts?

Then there's the environmental impact, "...your diet has a direct impact on the environment." All that fossil fuel used to catch and ship fresh seafood. The environmental impact of building and running that restaurant; criminal!

Thankfully, the catfish I ate last night doesn't yet have the ability to sue me. But it's just a matter of time.

After I was done increasing health care costs, destroying the environment, and participating in murder, I got the bill. I realized, not many people could afford a meal like this even for rare occasions. Not really fair is it? Social and economic justice demands a distribution of fine dinning experiences but sadly there's no government agency to facilitate such a redistribution. Yet. Maybe Obama can appoint a restaurant Czar?

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Forgot One!

About a week ago, I gave Democrats some tips on completing their takeover of America in reference to the "Death Panels" and the American response.

I forgot one, well sort of. I said...

"4. The public/private partnership between the mainstream media and leftists must be formalized. Times are turbulent and your movement cannot afford to have a journalist report the reality of what you are doing. Media must be controlled and the information given to the American people must be consistent with Washington is saying. "

I neglected to mention, specifically, that the internet should be either heavily censored or completely shut down. My bad, sorry Democrats. But it looks like you've covered this one pretty well without my help.

The power of the internet cannot be questioned. Would we even known about the Iranian elections or opposition without it?

Obama owns big media (sans Fox). Now he wants to own the little media (internet). And one has to ask, "why?" The answer frightens me and I'll end on that note.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Construction of a Hate Crime

(<-- Does this look like a conservative to you?)

I was watching the evening news on KMGH 7 last night and one of the featured stories was about the Colorado Democratic Headquarters being vandalized. Channel 7 showed the mug shot of Maurice Schwenkler (the suspect) and then interviewed the state Democratic Chairwoman, Pat Waak, who blamed the vandalism on health care "reform" opponents.

Turns out Schwenkler has a history of working for Democrat affiliated organizations. Oops.

Thank God the Denver Police Department caught this Democrat operative in the act! If not, the Dems would have a bona fide "hate crime" that would be used to silence debate on health care.

Democrats have been trying hard to label socialized health care opponents as Nazis, Brownshirts, hateful, and anything else that will stick. They have even gone so far to say this isn't about health care at all and is merely "white backlash" to a black man in power (i.e. if you oppose socialized health care you are a racist). This requires one to divorce all reason and sanity from the debate but connects well with the entitlement groups demanding free health care. Not to mention that the opposition consists of taxpaying, law-abiding citizens and retirees--not a bunch of hooligans.

The Dems are falling apart and you can't fault them for this strategy, it has worked well for them in the past. Get on the right side of PC group-think and there's nothing you can't sell to the American people. The challenge with health care is that they are trying to sell a known failed policy and ideology, and therefore, have to make it about anything other than the issue. You don't have to affirmatively prove socialized health care will work if you can eliminate the opposition.

The other option is to respond to the opposition with honesty and integrity. Create a dialogue and respect the fact that socialized medicine is at odds with American values and our Constitution. Of course, that would be out of character for modern Democrats.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lake Naming Fail


Probably not a good thing for Bing that I use Google to get to the site. What can I say, I've gotten lazy over the years and always type URLs into my Google toolbar to validate.

I haven't noticed much difference in web search results between Microsoft's new search engine and Google. I do like some of the features Bing has over Google. Image search with a filmstrip like control on the left is cool.

But my favorite is the travel search with Fare Advisor. This kind of comprehensive/multi-site travel search was available previously, first with SideStep, but having the fare history data is priceless. I'm assuming Microsoft can do this because they have either a different agreement with travel sites or no agreement at all.

I've never been a stingy traveler but it's nice to know what kind of deal you're getting. If you can shave a little off of airfare on an international trip, you can splurge more on meals or stay in nicer hotel. If you're looking for quick weekender and are flexible, you can often save a lot by booking during low demand.

I'm not sure what kind of future Bing will have. I'm not uninstalling my Google toolbar anytime soon but I do find myself on the new MS site a lot more than I did with the old Live Search.

Netflix Working Saturdays?

I've had Netflix for about five years now and aside from a short period of obvious throttling (circa 2004-2005) I've been very happy. For $17/month I get all the movies I have time to see, which makes Netflix a great value. Now that they have Blu-ray even more so, although the subscription is a little more (very worth it).

Occasionally I send a movie back on the weekdays and I've noticed that lately they are being processed on Saturday and sometimes I even get a movie in the mail on a Saturday (Monday delivery). Prior to July this wasn't the case, I would wait until Monday to get a movie checked in if I mailed it on a Friday.

Why Netflix hasn't publicised the increase in service this is beyond me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Death Panels"

No such thing in the health care plan, right?

Denial of care will essentially be the same thing. Think about that for a minute. A government bureaucracy doesn't need to affirmatively kill anyone, they merely need to withhold life saving care/treatment.

Take this opinion piece written by an Atlanta area ophthalmologist for example. This doctor reaches into his own pocket to pay for antibiotic drugs that save children's sight while Medicaid denies the authorized and necessary treatment. In many cases, these children would go blind if it weren't for this doctor.

So why would government do this? Simple--they have no choice otherwise. A national heath care plan/system won't just incentivize cost reductions, it will demand reductions in order to continue operating.

When this happens under Obamacare, Americans will die.

Congress and the President are no longer affecting change, they are playing God. In the past "change" meant higher taxes, greater deficits, and reduced freedom--Americans "sucked it up" and we continued on with our lives. The death of loved ones will elevate the struggle for freedom in America to an entirely different level.

Add to this the current environment that has Washington elites enjoying their own health plans, the steak and lobster jetset lifestyle (see Obama's vacation rental), and spending like drunken sailors and you have a major problem. In short, the people will suffer, while the Oligarchy in Washington parties on without pause. No American will be able to defend this government in good conscious; Democrat, Republican, Independent, the labels won't matter anymore.

When I think about this it makes perfect sense that Americans are starting to openly carry guns to protests. Make no mistake about it, this is an overt and unquestionable threat.

With that in mind, I have some advice for those in Washington looking to support health care "reform"...

1. Create a new super loyal police force capable of defending you and your families. The Capital Police will not be enough. Take care not to call this new police force by any new unfamiliar name--that will arouse suspicion. Hitler had his SS, Stalin had his "Secret Police." Don't make these same mistakes. Simply call it the Secret Service and create a special division.

To win the loyalty of your new security force, in spite of what you are doing to the country, you will need to buy them off. Salaries won't be enough. You will need to promise to completely take care of them and their loved ones no matter what happens. Having people of like ideological convictions will help, they will be believe in what they are doing and will be more loyal.

Good luck recruiting these folks from former US military as these folks are not on your side. Maybe the UN can help?

2. Find a safe place to be in the event you need to leave the country. Could be a weekend, could be the rest of your life. Find out what the political amnesty requirements are in other countries that share your view of "social and economic" justice.

Have some money deposited in a bank in one of those countries, just in case.

3. Repeal the 2nd Amendment or restrict gun rights to the point of completely disarming the American public. Doesn't matter what it takes and it will be difficult since the Supreme Court has stricken down unreasonable restraints on 2nd Amendment rights.

Opposing the Voter ID Act was brilliant! With ACORN, La Raza, and other "community" groups you have a good chance at controlling (subverting) the democratic process. You stand no chance of controlling an angry militia.

4. The public/private partnership between the mainstream media and leftists must be formalized. Times are turbulent and your movement cannot afford to have a journalist report the reality of what you are doing. Media must be controlled and the information given to the American people must be consistent with Washington is saying.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Waking up Homeless

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered...I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies... The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."

There is some debate as to if this entire quote can be attributed to Jefferson or not but it got me thinking...

If being "homeless" means not owning real property, how many Americans are homeless?

There are lots of folks who consider themselves "homeowners" but until they have the title in hand they are nothing more than renters. They have rented the bank's money (or the taxpayer's money in most cases) and pay interest--we call this a mortgage. If they fail to pay that rent to their landlord they are evicted.

Add to that most folks have little or no equity in their homes (combination of market conditions and financing) and all you have is a series of rent checks with no prospect of real ownership.

I fall into this bucket as well. And after living fairly conservatively over the years and saving for a sizable down payment, I estimate I have a 25-30% interest in my home. The bank owns the rest and if I slip up the bank owns 100%!

The illusion of "ownership" is maintained to keep Americans in their homes paying rent to banks and paying taxes on the market value of their homes--the value most will never realize unless our values change.

The manipulation of the dollar, combined with mass consumerism has put Americans in a corner. Families are stretching just to get by while banks continue to reap rewards backed by the Federal Reserve which can spend the people's money as it chooses.

The current institutional Fed rate is between 0% and 0.25%. According to, the current average mortgage rate is 5.49%, the current average CD rate is 1.35%, and the current average credit card rate is 11.20%.

So thinking back to Thomas Jefferson's quote, I wonder when this financial crises finally hits bottom, how many Americans will "wake up" homeless?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Health Care Rage

If you're on the fence about socialized health care (i.e. health care "reform") you may want to ask a few questions...

Why can't we have an open discussion on how the current private payer health "system" became "broken" in the first place? Might those same issues break the new socialist system?

Why does health care "reform" have to happen in September 2009? Why can't the public see a final version of a bill?

Why are the unions organizing against everyday folks in town halls and in some cases pushing out citizens who are there to ask questions?

Why is the AARP unable to stay in the same room with it's members to discuss its support of health care "reform?"

Why is the White House asking good citizens to forward e-mail communications critical of health care "reform?"

Why do health care "reform" supporters show up with professionally printed signs while those opposing "reform" and accused of "astroturfing" have hand-made signs? Who paid for those printed signs?

If you're not on the fence you either know the answers, or have a list of carefully crafted talking points that attempt to address the above questions (without actually answering them, of course).

The fact that these questions along with a lot of conflict at town halls demonstrates the Democrats do not have the absolute moral authority they believe they possess. But the far more frightening is the prospect that our government, which refuses to listen to the people, is failing.