Thursday, October 30, 2014

Gov. Christie Blew It This Time

There's a lot of times I go along with and support Chris Christies brashness. This ain't one of them.

Christie went off on a heckler. In other words he took the bait this heckler might have set him up for.

Christie was holding a news conference to toot his own horn on how well he handled hurricane Sandy. The problem is HE DIDN'T. He accused the protestor of flapping his gums and not "rolling up his sleeves". Well the gov, like all politicians, blow into town, make promises then leave w/o doing any actual physical work. No problem. I accept that. What I don't accept is two years later only 20% of the aide money promised was doled out.

There's no doubt this guy was a heckler. It's also true he was exploiting the occasion for his own cause. Question is how else could he make it known what a bunch of phony baloney the governor is spouting?

Apparently no one has been paying attention to this business owner-activist. Well they are now..


As you can see this guy isn't a nut. Thank goodness for people like him for standing up & speaking out. We need more like him to call these politicians out. If Christie has any hope ever of running for president it will be interesting to see how he responds. The only decent response would be to sit down, apologize to this man and publicly speak with him on camera. Short of that we don't need another windbag in the oval office.

My regret is that I at one time had a much higher regard for the governor. At this point I feel he is just one more slick politician who will serve no one well. Here's his chance to prove his mettle. Man up to his short comings or go away.

Ebola Crazy Talk

Coming from Fox News's expert on all things... O'Reilly Calls For The Arrest Of Nurse Fighting Ebola Quarantine

So far The CDC reports to date only 3 known cases in the United States resulting in only one death. The CDC "estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people".

If we're going to start locking up healthy people who don't have symptoms of Ebola shouldn't wacko Bill O' and the Fox newshounds have greater priorities?

When we start locking people up just because they've been around a sick person it's time to turn off the lights, lock the door and say goodbye to everything this nation is suppose to stand for.

Fox News obviously is on the forefront of advocating the taking away of constitutional freedoms they hypocritically claim to support.

To be sure, if someone becomes sick with Ebola we need to isolate them because we have no certain cure. However someone who is not sick poses no where near the threat as someone carrying the flu which can potentially kill 1,000's.

I do realize Fox News makes it's money by stirring people up causing fear, distrust and divisiveness, however on this they've crossed over the line. What they're doing is threatening the very freedoms of this nation. The minute we start sending sick people to isolation compounds we've begun a journey down a dark path that makes a mockery of all what our soldiers fought against in WWII and lost their lives.

If anyone is "sick" it's guys like Bill O'Reilly who want to lock up healthy people he perceives a threat. No I don't want to play the Hitler card, but it sure sounds a hellva' lot like it to me!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Computer Code Programmers Are Screwed Up!!

     Here's why..

There's something wrong with these geniuses. I've been using 'Internet Explorer 11' for almost a year just fine, now things are starting to get screwy on Google services.

A few weeks ago I received email notifications regarding approving comments left on my YouTube videos. After clicking on the links in the email they didn't show up so I could approve them like they always had before. Coincidentally they show up in Google's Chrome browser just fine.. IMAGINE THAT!

Now today on blogger I starting getting this message on the top of my "post it" page...

Then when I went to upload picture files, each and every time the browser locked up. So I checked things out and this is what Google says...

Isn't it amazing.. somehow if I use Goggle's 'Chrome' browser everything works just fine. Apparently they screwed up my Microsoft's browser 11 in favor of their own.. IMAGINE THAT TOO!

These Einsteins can never leave things well enough alone. They constantly have changed the GUI on YouTube nearly every week. Enough already!

No matter which site I log on to that Google owns they want my cell phone #.. IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!

Same goes to all these other so-called programmers elsewhere. The wife went to download Sony eBooks to her reader she's had for years. It took 6 hours, 2 emails and a phone call before she could log on. She tried the "forgot password" option several times. Every time it would send all the information to her email in Spanish. WTF ?

The Morning Call site loads up pages with other stories I could care less about when someone scrolls down too far. This is a pain.

This is bullshit.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Programmers are making things way more complicated then they have to be. Somebody needs to clamp down on these programmers. They've gotten out of hand. These days I spend more time trying to do work-arounds and fending off programs wanting updates then getting things done that I set out to do.

As far as updates go.. I highly suspect programmers seek approval to update so they can gather information far more then supposedly improving these applications. It's a way of getting around garnering information that otherwise would be protected by the installed operation systems and virus software.

It seems every site and it's programmers now have an agenda. Things are becoming overly complicated. Soon much of this will become broken and may very well become unusable to anyone other then those willing to put up with this shit. The internet was created so people could share thoughts and ideas. If this becomes too complicated fewer and fewer will find a need for it.

While I enjoy blogging, it's becoming increasingly harder and harder having to fight both haters while at the same time jumping through the hoops necessary to post by these programmers at Google and elsewhere. These guys need to stop screwing around changing things every week or so... it's just that simple.

YouTube Has $well Idea

Chris Morran | Consumerist-- YouTube Planning To Let You Pay To Avoid Ads

Well I got to hand it to them, they're always thinking. Several YouTube channels have already gone the subscription route. Problem is there is a difference between polished and monetized uploaders (which YouTube compensates) then some kid who shot a video of his dog chasing it's tail. Question is should YouTube get paid for videos they don't have to compensate someone for?

Sadly some of the videos are shorter then the ads pre-rolling on them. There is nothing stopping YouTube from making these ads even longer until they become so obnoxious users would then pay into so they could avoid them.

As you might have surmised I'm not in favor of cracking open the lid on this practice. There is no right or wrong here on the part of Google/YouTube. Nobody's forcing viewers. This is a matter of supply & demand and the choices consumers make. Unfortunately in today's world consumers seem all to willing to do these kind of things making it bad for the rest of us who are not onboard with the idea. The way I see it, YouTube is free to make whatever choices they want.. and so am I.

More and more internet sites are going the subscription route. I'm already paying almost $400 a year just to access the internet. Damned if I'm going to spend another $400 to line the pockets of these big corporations just so I can stream videos and read news stories on top of the $1,690+ cable bill I already spend each year already going to many of these same companies.

Hard To Get Good Help In Washington D. C.

According to Michael S. Schmidt @ New York Times the guy appointed to investigate the Secret Service involvements in 2012 with prostitutes stepped down. This after uncertainties he might have had one of his own involving prostitutes.

"I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."
~ Will Rogers ~

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Republicans Could Take The Senate In 2014 Elections

Steven Yaccino | Bloomberg: If Polls Hold True the GOP Will Take Over the Senate. They used the measurements in key states.

On Monday, October 27th Real Clear Politics polling data shows overall a 50/50 split between both parties in all the states where Senators are up for re-election.

Pardon Me While I Demonstrate My Partiality
I find it hard to believe things are this close considering how many groups Republicans are standing up against.* Most are against abortions even for victims of rape & incest. Why would women support them?
* Attempting to privatize/reduce SS & Medicare. Why would seniors support them?
* Against raising the minimum wage. Why would low income workers support them?
* Trying their level best to cut benefits and salaries of gov't workers. Why would they support them?
* Tax policies that lean towards favoring wealthy corporations.
* Reducing regulations on environment, mortgage lenders, labor laws/unions and a plethora of others.

These are name but a few. It seems to me there should be a lot of segments put off by this and yet that doesn't seem to be the case judging by these polls.

I'll give you one example. Abortion--- Today it is now possible to artificially inseminate a woman's eggs externally and determine hereditary characteristics from the DNA that could produce a child prone to breast cancer, autism, dementia and hundreds of more defective offspring. Not only in that offspring but all those who's generations would follow. Determining which embryo would not be forced to be born into such a nightmare, the good embryo(s) is then placed backed into the woman thereby giving birth to a healthy child. Thus eliminating needless suffering and the huge costs that go with it to both the family and society as a whole. The cost is about $16,000. Making abortion completely illegal this science wouldn't be allowed to happen. Millions would be born and needlessly suffer unnecessarily. Untold amounts of money would be spent on healthcare by both the parents and society (you & I) for them. Preventing this science from happening just doesn't make sense.

No I'm not for government running our lives or telling what's best for us as conservatives claim liberals want to do. But isn't this exactly what conservatives are doing when it comes to certain issues like abortion and birth control?

I realize there are plenty of Democrats out there that would give the farm away if given absolute free reign. However from my experience there are far fewer hard core left wing candidates then seems to be those on the right. About all I can say when it comes to voting, may neither side win control of congress. Sometimes gridlock is better then if either party gets a full head of steam on them because it would then require compromise. Maybe little may change, but in many instances that may be a good thing.

Which You Rather?
Government control where you can un-elect, petition or impeach to get things changed?
Surrender to private commercial interests by stripping government's control over them?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Baby Wipes Recalled

Due to Potential Bacteria in Baby Wipes

Why buy these when for a fraction of the price..

Restaurant Worker Finds Yet One More Way To Get Fired

Mary Beth Quirk |, "A woman nursing her 2-month-old son at a Texas restaurant says she saw an employee of the eatery snapping photos of her during the breastfeeding session."

Apparently she was alright with people seeing her, but not watching her and this boob fell for it.

ASD Votes To Outsource Substitute Teachers

Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times -- "The board voted Thursday night to join the Bethlehem Area School District in hiring Substitute Teacher Services to handles it substitute staffing. Delta-T was approved as a secondary supplier... This will allow the district to avoid having to pay for health benefits."

Let we me explain human nature if you have trouble understanding it.
* Someone who has no hope of ever teaching the same class or ever getting to know his/her students doesn't give a crap.
* Someone who knows they never will ever earn fulltime employment with the district won't give a crap.
* Someone teaching and receiving far less then those around them for it don't give a crap.
* Someone teaching for a day or two here and there aren't going to provide consistency to students who probably won't give a crap then either.
* Anyone who attended the Halloween parade or football games in Allentown may have noticed few give a crap about the games or how few members are in the marching band.

There's other things that can be done other then this. Less administrative personnel. Campus consolidation (fewer buildings). Teachers who would receive decent benefits for fulltime work (even if salaries are less then elsewhere) To name three.

It seems to me all we are looking at is the bottom line and completely ignoring what matters most. The human considerations as to what motivates both students and teachers.

LC Executive Tom Muller Vetoes Tax Cut

Precious Petty | The Express-Times : Lehigh County executive vetoes 'Happy Meal tax cut,' five other amendments to 2015 budget-- "Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller on Monday vetoed six of 16 amendments to the budget passed last week by Republican commissioners."

For God's sake why would I care if I got a $8 tax cut in 2015 if it means the county would receive $1.25m less revenue next year!

Some suggested using the $1.25 million to pay down debt. I feel the $1.25m would be put to much better use in establishing a rehab unit at Cedar Brook nursing home instead. You see Medicare pays less to government run nursing homes then those privately owned. Every hospital and privately owned facility in the area is going after the lucrative rehab business. My hope is his veto will not be overridden and the county can cash in on rehab services to help sustain Cedarbrook.

Once again for two years in a row these 'Tea Party Republicans" are being short sighted with their obstinacy regarding what's best over the long term. I don't need their damn 15 cents a week savings. This is just plain stupid!

Consultants Will Present West End Stormwater Flooding Study

On Thursday August 29, 2013 severe flooding occurred in Allentown's West End after storm drains became overwhelmed during a downpour. Neighbors have been in an uproar ever since about what Allentown intends to do to correct the problem with storm water runoff.

This Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 the consultants the city hired will present their study at the West End Youth Center at 848 N. 20th Street at 6pm.

More information and details can be found HERE

Allentown Waterfront Live Cams Now Online

The "615 Waterfront Drive will be the first building constructed at The Waterfront. Totaling eight stories, 615 Waterfront Drive will offer over 150,000 square feet of Class A Office space and 20,000 square feet of new, first floor retail and restaurant space."

View As It Appeared On October 27, 2014
To view the cams and for more info click either the link above or on the picture

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Few Quick Thoughts

Heaven help any black person who gets the flu this year, Especially if they have an accent and a temperature. They're likely to be ostracized and locked up for Ebola in the blink of an eye.

The skitzo anti-government types have been screaming for years accusing FEMA of creating detention camps. Let us hope they are as wacko as I hope they were if it should turn out we create medical compounds every time some sap sneezes. We're far too paranoid in this nation for us not consider, for the first time, this not to be out of the realm of possibility.

In some states in order to vote you need an ID. It's kind of getting kind of creepy when you need ID in order to vote, but not one to buy/carry a gun in some of these states.

When someone applies for a job they must fill out a resume. Before they can be considered for employment their credentials are validated and a candidate must pass a physical affirming they are not drug users. A person running for office on the other hand needs only to fill out the proper paperwork then get elected.

Once elected political leaders pass laws and regulations on all kinds of things they have not idea what they're talking about. The complex environmental issues, economic issues (both domestic and foreign markets), military operations, etc., the list is endless. They don't even have to know how to read the bills the staff reads for them after, in most cases, a lobbyist's legal council writes them. Or on a local level what some paid advisor has produced for them at their request.

Unlike the private sector politicians are the only ones who can give themselves a raise or increase their own benefits without due consideration on how it will affect those having to pay for them. This while admonishing the private sector, other government workers and the retired beneath them as being unsustainable.

What gets put into print or over the air reflects anything that could affect their bottom line. What they speak of can affect the very stock market wherein they are directly dependant upon both for revenue and their very own existence.

100's and 100's of millions of dollars of campaign dollars pour into the media each election. Hence main stream media will never ever be a big supporter of campaign finance reform. Is it any wonder why you hear so little call for them?

Quick & simple... they gotcha by the gonads. There isn't a person in this world who won't become sick or suffer pain. How much someone can afford or are willing to pay determines who gets what. End of story.

This era of mankind is no different then any other. If throughout the ages everyone did the right thing by one another we'd have no need for governments, wars nor religion. Since the human race as a whole doesn't, we as an individual should find the humor in man's follies. Remove ourselves as best we can and not become a contributor to those things mentioned no matter how difficult the task. Let each person be accountable unto themselves.

On This Day October 26th

* In Philadelphia the 1st Continental Congress was adjourned in 1774 despite Harry Reid and John Boehner both objecting to each and other's motion to end the session.. << Just kidding about the last part

* The 30 second gunfight at the OK corral occurred on this day in 1881. This despite Tombstone passing an ordinance requiring various weapons be deposited at a saloon or livery stable before entering the city's limits. The gunfight erupted just 10 years after the NRA was founded on Nov. 17, 1871. If this happened today I'm pretty sure what one side of the argument would be.. "See, this is what happens when 'liberals' try to outlaw guns.. then only the bad guys would have them." Which once again goes to prove the more things change, the more they stay the same. We're going nowhere fast.

* Again history repeats. At the present time some are advocating raising the federal minimum wage 38% from $7.25 to $10 an hour. Back in 1949 on this day U.S. President Harry Truman raised the minimum wage over 87% from 40 cents to 75 cents an hour. This despite opposition from Southern conservative members in Congress. The debt to GDP ratio back then was 92%. The ratio steadily declined and by the end of Truman's term in 1953 it was reduced to 68%. Despite the fact the minimum wage hasn't risen since 2007 the ratio now stands around 99%. Hence the argument continues to this day whether raising the minimum wage is a major detriment to the long term debt to GDP ratio. Some will argue debts from wars both then and now play a much larger role.

* On this day in 1993 the executive assistant to former Housing Secretary under Reagan was found guilty of fraud, lying to congress and receiving bribes funneling million$ to well connected Republican political consultants & developers between 1984-1987.. Speaking of which...earlier this month another former HUD worker pleaded guilty in a case of wire fraud totaling $843,000. Neither of these are as glaring as a March 2013 HUD auditor's report finding some $700 million in HUD money targeted for victims of Katrina still couldn't be accounted for. Maybe it's time we change the colors of our flag to red, GREEN and blue. This would not only reflect both sides of the aisle but so too what each have in common between the two of them.

Not to worry I'm sure all of this will finally get straightened out
after the 114th session of Congress convenes on January 3rd, 2015

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Online Price Steering

Margot Peppers for MailOnline: Price-steering: How e-commerce websites charge some customers more for the same item-- "According to a study by computer scientists at Northeastern University, many major e-commerce sites personalize prices per customer, depending on what software they use or their browser history."

Although I ran across this same thing, I wasn't aware this was a deliberate act. When I was looking to buy my security cameras online at a major online site the price for each camera was $100. I did a bit of searching on Google and was surprised there was another page on this very same site which offered them for $80. This was the exact same camera from the same retailer. So apparently they have two exact pages in two separate locations offering two different prices. A total savings of $80.

So it does appear they set up two different pages depending how a customer comes into the site. While I did not clear my browser's history nor try using a different browser that's something I'll have to try in the future.

Watch out for so-called 'free shipping' versus the total purchase price. Sometimes it ends up costing more. As do some of those offers that come in via email with discount codes. On a number of occasions I found items cheaper elsewhere w/o the discount codes.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kick Em' While They're Down

Rudy Miller | The Express-Times-- Easton fire chief pitches plan to bill insurance companies for calls

While it's true we already do this for ambulance and certain police calls to accident scenes, we've not seen taxes go down after they started doing this. Not only have taxes not gone down, but insurance rates have increased because of them.

While I do understand those who use these services it might be argued should pay more for them the question becomes where does this all end?

Even though government cannot now doesn't mean laws can't be changed. This opens a door to a whole endless bunch of other possibilities.* Per charge call to 911
* A whole menu of fees for various police responses billed to callers
* Per tree street side fee for leaf collection
* Out front street light fees
* Personal property water runoff fees to city storm drains
* So forth.. on and on..
There comes a point where the silly becomes reality as cities look for ever increasing ways to soak the taxpayer. At one point will we all accept additional fees on top of those cities already charge?

At what point should we resist paying per diem on top of those same city services that each of us may have need of at one time or another?

If so, should the city hold a sole exclusive monopoly through government rule on such services?

Prisoner Sues, Lawyers Win Big!

Reuters/Raw Story reports, Alabama convict gets $1,000 in police settlement — while his lawyers get $459,000

Yeah the convict is a scumbag, but it looks like Birmingham taxpayers have been victimized twice. Not only will taxpayers spend $100,000's to warehouse the guy for the next 20 years, but reward scumbag lawyers by lining their pockets as well. I see little 'justice' in all of this for the smucks paying taxes.

What A Country!

ASD- Too Many Chiefs Not Enough Indians?

Randy Kraft | -- “In 1998-99, they had eight administrators in this building,”.... “They now will have 28 administrators in this building.”
     [Debra Tretter, president of the Allentown Education Association]

My understanding is many of these positions were created by one time only federal grants. The problem is after those grants dried up the administrative positions didn't.

It's my further understanding some of these positions' main objectives is to research, seek out and apply for additional federal funding opportunities. However these administrators, like those in the private sector, should justify their salaries and why the ASD has further need of them if/when they are no longer able to achieve that goal.

At one time Bethlehem Steel hired 1 foreman for every 7 blue collar workers.. look how that turned out!

Homeland Security's Panty Raid

Jenee Osterheldt | The Kansas City Star-- “They came in and there were two guys” Honig said. “I asked one of them what size he needed and he showed me a badge and took me outside. They told me they were from Homeland Security and we were violating copyright laws.”

Honestly is this the best use of taxpayers' dollar$?
Isn't enforcement more a civil matter best brought to court by the baseball team?
Since when did panties become a threat to national security?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Poor Kids Ruining Halloween

Caitlin MacNeal | TPM- 1-Percenter: Poor Kids Keep Coming To My Neighborhood-- "Slate's "Dear Prudence" on Thursday ran a letter from an advice-seeker identified as a whiny suburban homeowner who is incredibly concerned that poor kids are going to ruin Halloween in the cul-de-sac."

Uh, pardon me but I can relate to that living here in Allentown's West End. We gave up handing out candy years ago. The reason is we bought over 7lbs of candy every year and it was all gone in far less then an hour!

Seven kids live in this block. Yet literally hundreds show up every Halloween. I personally witnessed two passenger vans showing up with about 10 kids in each pull up out front more then once over the years.

I can understand why there may be some reluctance for parents downtown in the inner city to have their kids go door to door, but Halloween isn't supposed to be about teaching your kids how to scam others by exploiting them. Hence we go to either my daughter's or son's up in Whitehall where they are more respectful of their neighbors.

Showing Up For Court High Is Bad Idea

Matthew Bultman | The Express-Times -- " A 29-year-old woman who has been found at least six times this year huffing computer cleaner was under the influence during a municipal court appearance and began yelling obscenities."

The only time I ran afoul of the law was back when I was a teenager. I earned a scholarship from the state forcing me to attend drivers training school at Dieruff H.S. after I was nabbed for speeding in my 1966 Volkswagen bug.

Yeah I know it's hard for me to believe too :-)

At any rate.. one of the other fine students in attendance that evening was a guy who was cited for DWI. Obviously a slow learner he showed up drunk. This clown was even stupid enough to drive himself there for the class. The instructor explained he could stay but wouldn't be credited because of it.

So this fine gentlemen thought he'd wait it out anyway and sat in the back of the room next to a chalkboard. Twenty minutes into the thing he passed out. There was a large crash from the back of the room where he was sitting after he slammed his head against the aluminum chalk tray where he lay on the floor bleeding.

At the time we were watching unedited gut filled films one after the other from the Ohio state police showing horrendous accidents. I can't remember one word the instructor ever said that night, but I sure do remember the impression both the film and this stooge made on me.

I'm not sure how things are handled these days, but I can clearly state this kind of early intervention in my teens sure as hell straightened me out. I never have sped nor drove after drinking ever again.

George Carlin- The Middle Class

It's election time once again. I suspect little will change no matter the outcomes.
It was true then and it's true now more than ever...
And so too it shall be in the future as well I suspect.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Some Really Crazy Dichotomies

* It's A-OK to open carry guns almost everywhere, but smoking (either tobacco or pot) in many of these same areas will get you fined or arrested.

* "To Protect and to Serve". Stockton, California: Bank Teller Killed After Three Robbers Took Her Hostage-- "33 officers fired 600 bullets with full knowledge of a hostage inside the vehicle.

* KOMO News: "A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by more than 100 Seattle police officers who said new guidelines on using force jeopardized their safety.. Seattle police routinely used excessive force, especially in low-level situations that might otherwise have been defused."There's a difference between how the military treats civilians in foreign nations and how law enforcement is supposed to operate in the United States. One is adversarial, the other is not. If these guys want to go gonzo on civilians perhaps the military would be a better option for them.
* After the Sayreville, N.J high schools football was canceled for victimizing freshmen players The New York Times reported, "If freshmen “thought we hated them before we sure as hell hate them now,” a 16-year-old female student wrote on Twitter, hours after the season was canceled."... "The hunt for the "snitches" is on. This social media quest to try to find out who killed football in Sayreville."

* 28% Of Americans Admit To Being Internet Trolls-- "The best way to fight trolls, at least according to the YouGov survey, is to ignore them -- the preferred tactic of 37 percent of respondents." Watch Out, Internet Trolls. In Britain, You Could Get Up to Two Years in Jail-- "These Internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life," UK Justice Secretary Chris Grayling."What I noticed most significant about my very own personal troll is he is relentless in telling how bad my blog sucks & how he's never coming back. Then rambles on telling me that everyday. I know I'm suppose to ignore him, but I can't help from wondering what a wasted life he must lead in-so-much as he finds a need to seek my attention. Obviously no one's paying attention to him otherwise in his life and seeks mine.

No doubt he will again after reading this post. Nothing he says or persists in doing affects me in any way. This blog plays only a minor role in my life. I only do it for giggles. What a horrible waste of one's time. To him I harbor no ill will, but highly recommend he reflect & ask himself why this obsession?

Legal Stealing

WSB-TV2: "However, since the property has already been legally sold to another buyer,
it's unclear what can be done."

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Favorite Music Videos UPDATED

I've updated hours and hours of my favorite YouTube music video playlists. Nearly everyone of them are amateur musical performers. It continues to astonish me how may amazing performers there are. It's my hope you'll share my same enthusiasm. Out of all the things I do on the internet this is my favorite thing to do.

Feel free to visit ALL MY PLAYLISTS at anytime for my latest additions.

Previously I provided links to each list. Trouble was every time I added a video or changed the order of play the link would break & I needed to recode it. Instead it is much easier for me to ask anyone who's interested simply click on the link above because I add videos to the lists every few days. Thanks.

(The playlists with the most views are 'Pop' followed by the 'Videos Of All My Favorites')

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Pitfalls Of Internet TV

Although I've long been a advocate for à la carte pricing for cable TV I'm no huge fan of "internet TV". This scheme leaves out nearly 10 million Americans unable to stream video because they still use dial-up for the internet. More then 38 million more in the U.S. aren't directly plugged to the internet.

The Costs
The prices range from $5.99 to $9.00 a month for the service. Equipment cost varies from free (if app built into TV) to $50. Some charge separately for additional programs/movies not included. Several still contain advertising (which you cannot skip by fast forwarding past them)..

I also highly doubt internet providers will not respond by charging someone more when they start eating up an endless amount of bandwidth each month. Many (if not most) providers have a cap on monthly usage. Many of us use a bundled cable TV package. By unbundling my TV service my internet & phone costs would rise at minimum $25.

Each service provides different content so most likely a subscriber would want more then one of these services. Let's take for example someone selecting 3 of these services. Assuming one of these apps were built into the TV, equipment for the others would cost about $50+. Monthly cable internet/phone would then cost about $25 more. And of course the $20+ for these subscriptions. Throw in a couple of pay-per-views not included and it wouldn't be inconceivable to easily spend $55 a month. That's about what I'm paying now for 118 TV channels + 51 music channels. So too, anyone planning to watch them on their mobile devices better have a damn good cell plan!

Beware of the algorithms. Anyone using these services should be aware they are being watched closely. Internet TV providers are already salivating to gear ads specifically targeted to an individual's viewing habits,

Unlike cable TV these systems can become vulnerable. We've already seen the handiwork of hackers and what they can do to smart phones and corporate servers. Smart TV's are no different.

Right now this is an emerging market. This means companies are introducing them at lower prices to seduce people into buying them. If/when major networks accumulate enough viewers this way it will become possible to start pulling major shows off regular TV while at the same time putting the squeeze on cable TV companies forcing them to raise rates even higher. Thusly making their services look more economically desirable.

Ultimately how things turn out will be left up to consumers. We've already seen the direction this is going with pay-per-view and layered premium channels already offered by cable TV. These were the first steps towards going whole hog with 'internet TV'. These plans are moving forward and eventually intend to cut out the middle man (cable TV companies).

Will consumers buy into it?
Given past history, of course they will. Some shows already offered only on premium pay channels get more viewers then many similar shows on regular network TV. Can't blame the entertainment industry for that. Why should they rely on advertisers alone when they can get people to choke up extra money for the same thing (many still having the ads) as they used to get for free.

"A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
~ Steve Jobs (1997) ~

Thursday, October 16, 2014

How Much Will Social Security Checks Increase In 2015?

We don't know yet, but it is expected to be announced sometime the last week of this month (October) Here's a bit of information how it's calculated along with the expected increase and how this may change in the future.

How SS Raises Are Calculated
The SSA only takes the average cost of living increases over a three month period (July, August, September). Then divides that by the same three months of the year prior. Currently the increase is expected to be around 1.7% for 2015. Last year in 2014 it was 1.5% and in 2013 it was 1.7%. When the SSA announces something officially I will update this post with the increase.


Just as I predicted last week the SSA announced today a 1.7% increase for next year (2015)

Social Security Is Not The Same As The Dept. Of Labor's COLA
The Department of labor is projecting the cost-of-living adjustment from 2014 to be around 2% by the end of the year. This is a bit higher because COLA is based on the entire year unlike the SSA. Because SS is calculated differently then regular inflation (COLA) retirees have lost an estimated 33% of their purchasing power over the last 14 years

Increases In The Future
There's little doubt the next Congress will take up the matter of how these increases are calculated. Many in Congress want to use a different method called the "chained” consumer price index. The short story is this will make these increases even smaller by about .3% a year. That may not sound like much but over 30 years this works out to be a loss of a entire month's check each year. Since SS already is less then the actual "cost of living" I've mentioned we're talking some serious buck$.

Chained CPI works on the assumption that if a squeeze is put on retirees they will buy cheaper stuff. Say like more chicken and less steak or cheap shoes instead of more expensive ones. How that is calculated I shall not go into because it would premature taking a guess since the bill has still to be worked out in Congress. Suffice it to say anyone on SS isn't going to like it.

Government Run Plans In Select Countries (from low to high)
Russia- Employers pay 22%. Men cannot retire before age 65, women at 60. About 35% of average net income.

U.K.- The employee pays 9.05% and the employer pays 1.9%. Retirement age for men 65, women 62 (Nov. 2018 they too will have to be 65). 37.9% of net income.

United States- Employee pays 6.2% and employer 6.2% (+ Medicare tax 1.45% each). Full retirement age 65-67 1/2). An average of 40% net pay.

Sweden- Employee 7.5% (more depending on which plan chosen) and employer 10.21%. Full retirement age 65. Net pay 55%-70% (three plan options).

Germany- Employee 9.45% and employer 9.45%. Retirement age 65. Around 67% of net pay.

A Question
The United States taxes 15.3% for Medicare + SS and pays out 40% of net pay. Germany taxes 18.9% and pays out 67% of net pay. In other words Germans pay 20% more in the taxes going towards retirement then we do but receive 67.5% more at retirement. Which would you rather?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Post-Foreclosure Hell

"In 2008, bank teller Danell Huthsing broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of the concrete bungalow they shared in Jacksonville, Florida. Her name was on the mortgage even after she moved out, and when her boyfriend defaulted on the loan, her name was on the foreclosure papers, too.

She moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she managed to amass $20,000 of savings and restore her previously stellar credit score in her job as a service worker at an Amtrak station. But on July 5, a process server showed up on her doorstep with a lawsuit demanding $91,000 for the portion of her mortgage that was still unpaid after the home was foreclosed and sold. If she loses, the debt collector that filed the suit can freeze her bank account, garnish up to 25 percent of her wages, and seize her paid-off 2005 Honda Accord."

I know what many of you will say, why shouldn't she have to pay for what she committed herself to?

That may be, but back on October 3, 2008 is when Congress authorized the spending of $700b to bail out the banks (TARP) by buying up their mortgage backed securities. Thus removing the debts from the too big to fail banks books under George Bush. In addition the treasury bought up another $155b of their preferred stocks.

Apparently loan institutions are "too big to fail" but not folks like Danell. Now that the banks are back on track look what they've turned around and started doing to show their appreciation.

Another Situational Story
A woman my wife worked with was trying to divorce her good for nothing nonworking husband. She worked in retail and made less then $25k a year. She had two kids still living at home. The husband would not consent to a no fault divorce. Even though he walked out both their names were still on the mortgage to the house. After she spent several thousands of dollars on a divorce lawyer fighting him she could no longer afford to pursue it. Being broke from this, raising the kids and health issues she was forced to remain in the home having no place to go and still stuck married to him.

Over the next several years he continuously racked up loans and credit cards to the max. He even filed and claimed the kids on his IRS taxes each January before she was able to get her W2's from her employer. This not only ruined her credit, but resulted in the collectors threatening her pay, the house and donning her over the unpaid bills.. Eventually she could no longer afford the mortgage and tried to work with the banks to refinance the mortgage through the "HOPE NOW" program under TARP. She received no sympathy or help from either government nor the bank. A few years ago she found herself in the same position as Danell is today and out of her home.

People Need A Incentive To Work
It's expensive to go to work. There are the out of pocket costs for training and education. Some need daycare. Most need a car and be able to afford the insurance, repairs and fuel for it. Work clothes and/or tools. Then there are those circumstances like above.

In today's world with the ever increasing medical costs and eroding wages there is this "never give a sucker an even break" attitude. When people keep getting smacked in the head, no matter how hard they try, there will come a day either workers will give up or revolt. When I see stuff like this happening, that day may not be too far away. Keep screwing around!

Oil Reached A 4 Year Low- Here's Why

For many years the 12 nation members of OPEC held a near monopoly on fuel prices. When the price of oil came down they simply reduced exports causing prices to go back up.

This is no longer the case since technology has made it possible for nations to frack oil & natural gas.

In addition it's been confirmed 100 billion barrels of oil exists within the bitumen sands (asphalt in it's natural state) in Canada which holds almost 71% of the world's bitumen.
(It's estimated there could be more then 2 trillion barrels worldwide)

Instead of withholding oil exports they starting ramping up production back in August causing prices to drop. Since costs are considerable for extracting oil via fracking and bitumen sands OPEC nations are attempting to shut down those operations. By doing so, even if they get less per barrel, they will sell more barrels then they would otherwise. Thus returning those nations dependency on OPEC nations' oil once again.

In a roundabout sort of way this is a good thing. Consumer oil prices came down. Less fracking and tar sands operations results in less threats to our environment. But overall it is still short sighted. This neither makes us energy independent nor help reduce the world's carbon footprint. Solar, wind and a vast array of other alternative energy sources in the long run will accomplish both.

Furthermore alternative energies don't require digging holes all over the place, pipelines, oil tankers nor refineries. Nor having to play political games with some pretty nasty foreign governments that can end up in wars with them.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Texas Race For Governor A Nationwide Issue

The current Attorney General of Texas Greg Abbott is in a heated race against Democratic Candidate Texas Senator Wendy Davis for Governor. Two of the biggest issues is over abortion and gay rights. This is not a issue in Texas alone. These are two big issues throughout the country both on the state and national levels this election.

On one hand we have Wendy Davis (D) who supports women's reproductive rights and gay marriage . On the other hand you have Greg Abbott (R) who's adamantly opposed to both of them. When it comes to abortion he opposes all forms even if it's a result of rape or incest.

On Friday (10/20/2014) Greg Abbott, acting as attorney general, filed an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to bar same sex marriage. In his appeal he argues by legalizing same sex marriage it encourages out of wedlock births.
(1) Assuming gays are only attracted to their own sex it's impossible for either one to become pregnant with an unwanted birth or with someone else other then their partner of the same sex. On the other hand when married heterosexuals stray and a unwanted pregnancy can result. Thus with his views against abortion you'd think he'd be supportive of gay marriage.

(2) We never will be able to prevent unwanted pregnancies 100% either within or outside of marriage. Many gay couples adopt these and other unwanted children.

(3) Gay or not, many couples opt for birth by surrogates because neither of them are able to have children of their own. In both circumstances these children are born out of wedlock. Keep in mind not all married women can safely bear children even if impregnated via insemination from the father even if he should prove to be fertile..

(4) For the last 6 years 41% of all births have come from unwed women for various reasons.. One of them is more and more young couples in today's culture are forgoing the vows of marriage

(5) Some women who can't conceive undergo treatment for infertility. It's not unusual to see multiple embryos sometimes as many as 6 within this first few weeks. Today's technology can tell the mother which ones are likely or not to survive or if the mother even can in such cases. Should she be forced to give birth irregardless of her or the babies individuals health? Imagine the financial consequences to both the couple and the government when unable to afford the medical care and raising of them. Further imagine how many would be given up for adoption as a consequence. Whether in "wedlock" or not the results pretty much defeats both his positions.

(6) On Greg Abbott's own campaign website he says, ".. a leader who understands that for government to be most effective, it must be smaller, less intrusive and less expensive.". I don't see how as attorney general him spending taxpayers' money on a court appeal is either "less intrusive" nor "less expensive".

This issue is not limited to the governor race in Texas. It is one that is playing out in dozens of states at both levels of government. It's sure to come up time and again for years to come wherever one resides.


Texas AG Says 'It Does Not Matter' If Gay Marriage Benefits Children

Sign Meant As Warning OR Descriptive?