Random Crap

A place for me to say whatever I want. And why not? These are my opinions and/or ramblings, and I don't necessarily care whether anyone reads them.

"Plan?! There ain't no plan!"

Bullshit in Burma 16 May 2008

This is no time for polite language and negotiations. What's happening right now in Burma is atrocious and should be as horrifying as what occurred in Germany and Cambodia. Killing your citizens by denying them food, shelter, and medical attention is just as bad as torturing them and shooting them in the back of the head.

The UN should justify its continued existence as a benevolent and useful entity. March your forces in there and tell this "government" to help, get the hell out of the way, or cease to exist. What are we waiting for, to have a trial for crimes against humanity in fifty years when these criminals are happily dying of old age? Did the world learn nothing from the events of Hitler and Pol Pot?

Quote of the Day 15 May 2008

"I think he made the point beautifully, by being wrong."
--Armstrong and Getty

What are they thinking? 16 Nov 2007

Meatless Ground Turkey. That's what it said. I can almost let that stand on its own. You see, there's no turkey in it....

Health Care 10 Nov 2007

[My conjecture is that] employer health plans began as a benefit that not everyone had. It was perk for the employee, who could save on medical expenses, and a way for employers to provide increased [perceived] compensation at a lower net cost than increasing wages.

The problem now is not that everyone suddenly needs health insurance, but rather of economic effects. Because of widespread insurance, health care costs have increased to the point that it is difficult to manage without coverage. The price that an individual is willing to pay for health-related services remains relatively constant (adjusting for inflation). But prices are determined by the laws of supply and demand, so you have to add to that what the insurance company is willing/able to pay (and they have rather deep pockets). Now you find the folks without coverage can't afford the price. And, the original benefit has been eroded since those with coverage pay the same price they would have if employer plans didn't exist in the first place. The health care industry is the real beneficiary. Make sure you carry enough in your wallet to make your copayment in case you end up at the emergency room (yes, really).

I find it ironic that while Democrats are so fond of accusing Republicans of catering to big business, now they're advocating throwing more money at the health care industry and big insurance companies in the name of children. Insurance is not the issue. If children are not receiving proper health care for financial reasons, then a solution needs to be found to provide such service at an appropriate cost--not increase our taxes to pay yet more outrageously inflated medical bills.

To summarize: Health care costs are (essentially) artificially inflated at the top of the chain as a result of a high supply of insurance money. What do you suppose will happen when this supply is increased further courtesy of our taxes? If the system isn't working because some people are being left out, then an appropriate reaction is to examine the system--not steal more of our money to throw into it blindly. Don't fall for the hype. It's okay to agree that children need proper health care while disagreeing that it should be provided by funding more insurance. Demand that your representatives do some real work for a change.

It was a private conversation... 8 Nov 2007

...freakin' let it go.
Recording a phone conversation solely for purposes of personal gain or defamation is a far more significant and deplorable act.

Key universal translator... 7 Nov 2007

"I wasn't at my best."

When I lie at my best, I don't get caught!

Tips for Driving in the Bay Area 3 Nov 2007

Expressing your individuality is of primary importance, so try to drive a different speed from everyone else. If traffic is moving at 80mph, go 40; if it's at 40, go 80. If you need to turn or change lanes, hit the brakes for three seconds before (optionally) using your signal.

If there's the slightest possibility that someone else needs to change lanes, drive right beside them, trailing just a bit. Try to get in their blind spot if possible.

An open lane is an available lane. If traffic is moving too slow, don't be afraid to hop in to the carpool lane or a merging lane to speed up your trip.

Your subwoofer can be used to alert others to the approach of your vehicle. This is especially useful in the middle of the night in case there are any sleepy pedestrians nearby who might unknowingly wander into the street on their way home.

Taxes On Our Taxes 19 Oct 2007

So this evening I decided to stop and pick up a six-pack of my favorite beer to enjoy. For no particular reason I was looking over the receipt later and noticed the sales tax didn't look right. Let's see:

BEER                            5.99 (on sale, cool!)
CRV BEER  6 PK TAX               .30                 
   **** TAX       .52  BAL      6.81                 
Hang on. The sales tax rate here is 8.25%, and on $5.99 that should be 49 cents. But on $6.29 it's 52 cents! I've paid sales tax on the "California Redemption Value", which itself is clearly (humor me) shown on my receipt as a tax.

A quick search turned up the California Division of Recycling page of FAQs. According to the information there, about 20 years ago the state Board of Equalization (who collects the money) decided the CRV is subject to the same sales tax as the product itself. In addition, the state legislature (who spends the money) decided to call it a fee rather than a tax. Now why do you suppose they would do this? To sidestep this very argument of course!

A dictionary provides the primary definition of tax as "a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services." How does the CRV not fit this definition? Back on the FAQ page, it says what the legislators decided to call the CRV was a "regulatory fee collected for the purpose of assuring the return for recycling of a greater percentage of the beverage containers sold." That sure sounds like money demanded for a specific service.

So the crooks in our state government have stooped to yet another low, hoping that we'll be too busy to notice yet a few more cents on our receipts. And for what? Not to give back to you as an incentive to recycle your bottles (which you'll probably do for nothing anyway via the special garbage bins), but "fees" to line to pockets of some useless bureaucracy giving lip service to the benefits of recycling. Paying sales tax on a tax--what a crock.

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