Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What? Me Bias?

Watching MSNBC's "audience reaction" monitor for the president's speech today was like staring at a long mountain range where all of the mountains are square, sit directly next to each other with no space in between, and have very minimal ridges up top.

Seriously. This was their effort to try to copy CNN's tracker during the presidential debates. They had Obama voters and McCain voters putting their reaction to the President's speech, and this was the result for the entire hour:

(red line is McCain supporters, blue line is Obama supporters [they overlap] and yellow line represents the neither approve nor disapprove line)

Those lines almost never moved. And yes, it is "those" lines. You can't tell, but apparently McCain supporters (according to the monitor) are just as high on Obama as the Obama supporters, if not more so, to the point where their approval lines overlapped through the majority of the speech. There was even a point where both Obama and McCain supporters approved of his speech so much, the lines actually cross above the page and disappeared.

I love MSNBC. But wow, they need to at least pretend to get a representative sample. Maybe throw in an actual McCain supporter here and there so that the Republican line is at least occasionally lower than the Democrat line.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


The car companies have three choices - fail, succeed with government funds, or be bought by the government. Failing is not really an option. Succeeding is not a possibility. Being bought by the government isn't a recipe for success. There is pretty much guaranteed failure all around.

I have no thoughts. I don't think the car companies can go under, but everyone with 1/3rd of a brain has known for years that the "we will buy big cars and not give a shit about gas mileage" philosophy was going to bite them in the ass. They blame the economy, but their cars are pieces of shit, and the fact that they can haul a truck doesn't matter when no one needs to haul anything.

In fact... what a bunch of complete idiots. Who the hell was in charge of those companies?

Whatever. It's over. The car companies as they were have no chance. But if I were to make any suggestions:

- If you stick around, stop trying to remake these shitty brands. Oh WOW, you shut down Pontiac!!!! Big deal. Why not just make a new car brand? Call it "Xcite." Get people Xcited. Make the cars better. No one actually gives a crap what brand it is under as long as it is a good car.

- Show at least SOME devotion to making better cars. Instead of asking just for bailout money, ask for money to research Hybrids and make cars with significantly higher gas mileage. DO SOMETHING.


- Firing people does not solve the problem. That's just less people to buy your cars.

- If you have more cars than you have people to buy them, why not lower the prices on all your cars dramatically to flood some capital into your business. What's the point of keeping them there? They aren't going anywhere, and by the time they are (4, 5 years?) they'll be useless and outdated, from a car company that has gone out of business. You want to impress me? Sell the Cadillac Escalade hybrid for 15,000 dollars or less. I'll buy it.

- Make cars like the iPod. Make them ridiculously gadget-filled and equally affordable. Make. Better. Cars. If a single car has a gas mileage under 35 mpg, it's a shitty car that no one will buy.

- Stop trying to just get money from the government. Partner with the government. Give them an investment so that you can achieve mutual success.

That's all I can think of. It's the end of days of these car companies. At the very least, they can try to actually do something of value.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama's Thoughts on Bipartisanship

Here's this quote - Obama's response to Republicans not voting for his stimulus bill:

"Now, I have to say that given that they were running the show for a pretty long time prior to me getting there, and that their theory was tested pretty thoroughly and it’s landed us in the situation where we’ve got over a trillion-dollars’ worth of debt and the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, I think I have a better argument in terms of economic thinking.”

But how he doesn't care, and he will still look towards bipartisanship. I think he should, but when the ideas are stupid, they should largely be ignored.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Solving the Global Financial Crisis, One Joint at a Time

When the economy is trouble, you need to find a way to make jobs. The best way to make jobs is with government spending - The government has money, that money goes to others and they create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

But while the Republican approach to the economy is misguided at best (and at worst, mildly retarded) they do have one points: It is a scary and dangerous thing to spend a lot of money that you do not have. The Republican alternative, cutting taxes, is a considerably worse idea. But at least they are right that when the government starts spending money they do not have, dangerous things can occur.

So what can they do? The government needs to spend money, but they need to spend money that they have, and they don't have any money. So what are their options?

1) Spend money anyway, take the risk.
2) Don't spend money, take an even bigger risk.
3) Give tax cuts, economy fails, Armageddon comes.
4) Find ways for the government to raise money without raising taxes, and then spending that money.

Clearly number 4 would be best. The Republicans are not fond of the government trying to raise money, but let's face it - if they could find an industry with no competitors that would not push American companies out of business, that would be a great way to make money.

The thing is, that industry already exists, and if it were run by the government it would solve numerous problems at once while earning the government billions of dollars. That industry is the production and sale of marijuana.


Let's be clear: Despite my extreme dislike of most drug laws, I have never once tried, tasted or held Marijuana. This is not the rantings of an individual that wants to make it easier to smoke his next bowl.

But with all of the studies that have been out and all of the sociological research that has gone into marijuana use, if you still think it is a "gateway drug" or even a dangerous drug at all, you are clearly out of your mind. There is pretty much 0 research that claims marijuana use in moderation is dangerous, with the exception of smoking it because of the fumes you receive from the paper and burnt leaves. It has over a dozen benefits and no real side effects, not including an irrational affection for Phish.

In addition, there are numerous problems that arise from it being an illegal substance. It can help support gangs. It can pay for illegal activities. It can be grown and kept in dangerous ways. In reality, the production and sale of marijuana are where most of the dangers arise, as are the perceptions of it being illicit.

The American government should take control of marijuana sales and distribution. It should open research and production plants to grow safe and powerful Marijuana. It should open stores to sell it across the nation. And all of the profits - all of them - should go into the government solely to support government programs. In other words, what they make they spend on infrastructure and other job creating programs.

What can this do?

1) It is estimated that 25,000,000 people in the United States use Marijuana each year. A single gram of marijuana costs an average of 10.00. That means that if only 1 gram of Marijuana was purchased per year, it would generate 250,000,000 in income. It would not be unheard of for the average person to spend ~$1000 on marijuana each year, garnering 25 billion dollars for the government. And that assumes that more people do not start using it when it is legal.

25 billion dollars may not seem like a lot, especially when compared to a 750 billion dollar stimulus bill, but 25 billion in pure profit that can go straight to investments and job creation every year is a lot of money.

2) Thousands of jobs will be created by the government when they have to pay people to grow, distribute and sell the Marijuana.

3) It will stop the illegal selling of marijuana on the street.

4) Etc., etc., etc.

It creates jobs, it makes the streets safer, it gives the government money to spend on projects that will promote greater job creation - there really is no excuse not to legalize marijuana, and regulating it by the government can help stimulate the economy. Am I wrong?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Now That I'm Better

At what point in journalism school do they teach their students that by repeating a stupid phrase over and over again they become better journalists?

"The Honeymoon is Over"

Wow. Great. That was an important phrase the 100th time I heard it. At 200, it was getting old. At 4,000, it murdered its children before taking its own life. Get over it and start using other words to describe what phenomenon that you yourselves admit may not actually be occurring.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm Sick.