Saturday, November 22, 2008

New TV

Here it is. I was skeptical about plasma, but I'm pretty pumped about this one. I ran to Blockbuster to grab Iron Man for a little Blu-ray oriented testing. The picture quality and movie were both impressive. I watched CSI Miami as well, to test standard HD. The picture quality was great there, too. The crappy programming was less so.

I can't stand Jerry Bruckheimer.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I know I say this all the time...

...but you really have to check out Fatwallet. Or SlickDeals.

I just bought some Panasonic 42" plasma TVs for under $700. And some 1080p ones for under $800.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

We bought a car

2004 Mercury Mountaineer. As you might
suspect, we got a deal. Thanks, John.

The Explorer is for sale. 2002, 4WD, V6, 115k miles. Great shape. $4,950.

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I just noticed all my posts suddenly lost their line breaks, so they all looked like one run-on paragraph. Fortunately, I found a way to fix the problem without editing the last 3.5 years of posts.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Check out this AP Article:

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers complained Friday that the Bush administration is ignoring the will of Congress and slighting homeowners on the verge of foreclosure in its latest approach to spending $700 billion in economic rescue money.

Apparently Congress is mad that the $700 billion they're giving the Treasury isn't being used the way they wanted. Well, what did they expect when they gave the Treasury $700 billion dollars, with no strings attached? It's not like it comes as a surprise.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Anyone need a financial advisor?

Peter Schiff seems to have it figured out. I know this is a long video, but it's amazing. It's like the guy was predicting the future. Pretty handy skill to have for a financial advisor.

Guess who he supported for president?

See this, as well.

As a side note, do you want to win Ben Stein's money? Apparently it's easier than it looked on the show. Just dangle some crappy financial stocks in front of him.

New blogging app for my iPhone.

It's called BlogPress. I'll let you know how it works.

-- Post From My iPhone

In case you missed it...

There's some back and forth dialogue in the comments section between a friend and I regarding my post on national health care. Grab a cup of coffee, and check it out, if you have time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Does not compute

Scenario: Evangelical pastor gets caught with meth and a male prostitute.

Offered explanation: He was abused as a child.

Oh. That explains everything. Nothing to see here.

I apologize for the technical difficulties

I tried switching the URL to, but I can't quite figure out how. Blogger claims it's easy, but I disagree.

I'll let you know when/if that occurs.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The hits keep on coming

Based on recent events, I strongly suspect we're headed for nationalized health care. If you think this is a good thing, I have a challenge for you. Name a problem that the federal government has solved with one of it's big programs.

Consider some of the Federal Government's past "achievements":

-Social Security: Bankrupt. I'll never get anything back from what I put in. And if the current retirees that "depend" on it would have put the money withheld from their checks into a simple index fund with modest returns, they'd have way more money on which to retire than Social Security provides.

-Medicare: A system that makes fraud easy and profitable.

-Medicaid: See above.

-The Community Reinvestment Act (In its various revisions): This one had a lot to do with the financial meltdown. It might ultimately have a lot to do with the next Great Depression.

-Federal Student Loans: Don't think this is a problem? I disagree.

-The Transportation Security Administration: Billions wasted on hassling travelers, in order to create the illusion of safety.

-The War on Terror: A mind-bogglingly expensive boondoggle that's cost the US more in both dollars and international goodwill than nearly anything we've done in decades. It's also cost innumerable lives. And when the enemy is "Terror", how long will it go on? Indefinitely, if it's anything like...

-The War on Drugs: We've probably spent trillions of dollars on this over the last few decades. What do we have to show for it? The highest incarceration rate in the world. And it's about as effective as...

-Prohibition. At least we eventually figured out this was a bad idea. Too bad it wasn't until after it allowed the Mafia to come to power.

-Economic sanctions on [INSERT COUNTRY HERE]: Seriously. These never work. You'd think we'd learn. Check out this clip:

What the hell can possibly be worth 1 million dead children? You wonder why the US is hated around the world. But while we're talking about children...

-No Child Left Behind: Test scores are increasing. But all this means is that kids are being taught how to take tests. And appparently we've created an epidemic of cheating teachers.

In each of the above situations, the Federal Government identified a problem that supposedly had to be addressed. Each time, proponents claimed that justice demanded the solutions they offered. Each time, we spent mind-boggling amounts of money. Accordingly, each time, we sank further into debt. Many times, the problem either became worse, or spawned tragic unintended consequences. Not once did the government solution fix the problem. Yet (with the exception of Prohibition) once these expansions of the Federal Government occurred, they were there for good.*

I'm not a pessimist. I'm a realist. If you hire a mechanic to fix your car, and after 10 tries, and thousands of dollars, the problem is actually worse, would you take the car back to him, with the hope that this time will be different? A careful look at the Federal Government's success rate should make it clear to anyone that it can't fix the health care situation. We shouldn't give it the chance.

*Prohibition was scaled back largely due to the fact that the Federal Government lost the enormous tax revenue from alcohol sales.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again...

...and expecting different results.

Back in February of 2003, faced with decreasing profits, Circuit City fired the highest-paid 10% of its workforce. Some of them made between $30,000 and $100,000. This may seem like a lot for an electronics salesperson, but to make that type of money, you had to be very, very good. That's because at the time, Circuit City paid its salespeople on strict commission. So, universally, these workers were its most profitable employees. Many of these were also the most knowledgeable salespeople, although this was not universal.

I was one of them. Fortunately, I was already planning for law school when I got the news.

Circuit City decided that it could replace highly trained, highly skilled salespeople with new, untrained people off the street. This, of course, is stupid. Replace "salespeople" with "ophthalmologists" or "mechanics" or "teachers" and you'll see why. Not everyone can do sales. It's a skill that requires both natural ability and training.

Needless to say, the plan didn't work. Upper Management tried explaining why the strategy didn't work. They didn't list "faulty premise" as one of the possibilities. In mind-numbing futility they tried it again. And again.

It didn't work any better than the first time, although it may not have hurt as much as the first bloodbath. Most of the truly talented salespeople didn't make it past February of 2003. The remnants that were cut off later were less effective in the first place, so they weren't missed as much.

Which leads us to today. Circuit City's stock price is so low it's now in danger of being delisted from the NYSE. In a related story, they're going bankrupt. For what it's worth, I'd like to take this opportunity to say, "I told you so."

Best Buy shouldn't gloat though. Big Box electronics retailers are marching toward extinction. To quote one of my favorite movies, "They're all dead. They just don't know it yet."