Thursday, August 14, 2014

ComCast/Time-Warner Merger Petition @ the FCC

Here were my comments:
I left Time-Warner because of bad customer service, once a competitor (U-Verse) became available. Since the advent of that competition, Time-Warner has upgraded both internet speeds AND decreased costs for both TV and Internet services. Time-Warner and Comcast are notorious for bad customer service. What will a merged entity offer in this regard? How will LESS competition be in my (i.e. the public's) interest? Will this result in faster speeds, lower prices and better customer service? All evidence points to the contrary. Competition WORKS!

Add your voice here:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sometimes a Quote from the Past can seem Peternaturally Prescient...

If I Were the Devil 

If I were the Prince of Darkness I would want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. 

I'd have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree. 

So I should set about however necessary, to take over the United States. 

I would begin with a campaign of whispers. 

With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whispers to you as I whispered to Eve, "Do as you please." 

To the young I would whisper "The Bible is a myth." I would convince them that "man created God," instead of the other way around. I would confide that "what is bad is good and what is good is square." 

In the ears of the young married I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be "extreme" in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. 

And the old I would teach to pray — to say after me — "Our father which are in Washington." 

Then I'd get organized. 

I'd educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull, uninteresting. 

I'd threaten TV with dirtier movies, and vice-versa. 

I'd infiltrate unions and urge more loafing, less work. Idle hands usually work for me. 

I'd peddle narcotics to whom I could, I'd sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction, I'd tranquilize the rest with pills. 

If I were the Devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions; let those run wild. 

I'd designate an atheist to front for me before the highest courts and I'd get preachers to say, "She's right." 

With flattery and promises of power I would get the courts to vote against God and in favor of pornography. 

Thus I would evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, then from the Houses of Congress. 

Then in his own churches I'd substitute psychology for religion and deify science. 

If I were Satan I'd make the symbol of Easter an egg 

And the symbol of Christmas a bottle. 

If I were the Devil I'd take from those who have and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. Then my police state would force everybody back to work. 

Then I would separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines and objectors in slave-labor camps. 

If I were Satan I'd just keep doing what I'm doing and the whole world go to hell as sure as the Devil.

Paul Harvey - 1964

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Float

It all started with the float.  I don't think that's what they really called it.  It's just something that I call it now.  Over $300 billion every year in tax refunds.  What people didn't realize, was it was a world's stupidest savings plan.  You didn't get any interest on that money.  You pay that money in, month after month, paycheck by paycheck and they (the Feds) didn't give you anything except that equal amount of money back at the end of the year. Well, technically, April 15th of the following year. People were giving the Feds their money for, worst case over 15 MONTHS with absolutely no return on that investment. Not a penny of interest.  Now, it wasn't like, at that particular time, any 'regular person' could get much of any interest on on a savings account or anything, but at least it would be something. But the interest rates were low. Unnaturally low. They were running the money supply up to keep the interest rates low, because, it they let a real market happen, an the rates went up, they would not be able to keep up with the debt they were accruing every year. They were spending more every year than they took in and borrowing the difference. ANYWAY, the tax refunds money was an extra cushion. A slush fund, if you will that they didn't have to worry about doling back out until after Tax day every year.  And they used it to keep things running when 'glitches' would come along. It tided them over the 'rough patches'. I can't tell you how many times the word would come down from the Ivory Towers of DC that the refund checks would be delayed, for this or that reason. Complete with lots of posturing and finger-pointing to their political 'rivals'. When it came down to it, there really was not much difference between the two big party establishment. One REALLY believed in the bigger the Government the better, while the other believed in a smaller sized Big Government. They would weep and wail and gnash their teeth and rip their ash-stained clothing to rags over the 'cuts' they were making. In reality, they never really CUT anything. What they called a cut was really just a reduction in the planned INCREASE in yearly budgets than just seemed to go up and up. Year after year... Where was I? Oh Yeah! The Float. So, along comes the 'Affordable Care Act' and they start asking, no, telling, younger folks that they needed to pay more for a health care policy in order to have money in the pool to cover older people, who had more health problems, and thus used the system more. Some of these kids had never had coverage. You know what it is like at that age. You feel invincible.  The problem was the Feds hadn't thought things through. Like most things where government is concerned, especially the Feds, there was an un-intended consequence. Unlike every other time the IRS came after you for not paying your 'fair share', in this case, the Revenuers were not coming after you to throw you in the jail. If you decided you didn't want to pay for some policy you didn't want, you could pay the fine/tax for not having one. It started at less than a $100. That was WAY less than what one month's premium, let alone the whole year. But the REAL problem, like I said, was in this case, the IRS would not come after you. They couldn't garnish your wages. (Assuming you could find a job.) All they could do, legally, is take the fine out of your TAX 'Return'. A couple of really smart people, who had nothing but time on their hands, given they had a college degree, but no employment, started a web-site. People in the know, who realized the getting money back from the Feds with no interest, had been adjusting their contribution to minimize or eliminate any overpayment. So these guys put up this site that takes some simple info. i.e. what is your gross pay on each paycheck, how often do you get paid and a couple of other questions and tell you how to adjust how much you send to the Feds, so when April 15th turns up, you don't have any money coming back, so, UhOh! no money to hold back to pay the fine! Word spread like wild-fire. People who understood right away started telling their friends who 'didn't get math' that they could not only have more money in every paycheck, but also could avoid paying an insurance premium with no fine. Overnight, hundreds, then thousands of W-4s were submitted and less and less cash was coming into the Treasury. The web-site didn't save any info. people entered, it didn't need to. It just needed to know a few numbers to figure what adjustment you needed to make on your W-4. Almost immediately the monthly inflow of income went down. And as word spread, it kept getting lower and lower. Now, you could argue that, compared to the amount they were (over)spending every year, the Float was not that much. But it was about one tenth of the total. And there were times that it was the only thing keeping things going. I remember one point, in the middle of a real tax dust-up, when Apple, you know the computer company? Yeah, Apple had more ready cash than the Federal Government. Plus, having actual computer skills and tech-savvy, these guys designed a site that actually worked and didn't crash. So, on one hand, you had a government-'designed' site that was so buggy you literally COULDN'T get in to sign up, and wanted you to have LESS take-home pay.  On the other hand, you had a site that asked you a few simple questions and told you how to get MORE take-home pay AND NOT have a fine at the end of the year. Guess which one people chose to visit?  The web-site added some Google Ads and the developers were flush with cash overnight. Nothing more successful than identifying a market need and solving that problem. People will beat a path to your virtual door. But what was worse for the Feds, what caused the real changes, was how the developers formatted the final results page of their web-site.  They not only told you how to adjust what you were paying each paycheck, they put up on the screen what you were getting as take-home before and after the adjustment. AND they put right below that how it all added up over the course of a year. How much you took home before. How much you took home after. And how much you were paying in taxes to the feds. Paycheck after paycheck. And how much that added up to in taxes for the year. And people started to pay attention. Somehow, it was different than plugging it into TurboTax or whatever system they used to figure their taxes before. Maybe it was the change in mind-set of having more take-home pay. Maybe they were feeling pushed around by having to buy insurance by the Federal Government and it made them mad. One way or another, they started waking up. They looked at that screen and the amount of money they were sending to DC every year was more clear to them than it had ever been before. And that was money they didn't have as take-home pay. And they started questioning just how that money was being spent. And was that the best use of that money. And where was it going. And where did it end up.

They started waking up.

And that was what changed everything.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

73 Wayne Green

I first came upon Wayne Green's publications at the very beginning of the revolution.

As the article states, "Before there was a PC revolution, before the days of PC Magazine and MacWorld, before COMDEX, there was Wayne Green."

Byte magazine was the first computer mag, and the first one I picked up to teach myself about these new computers that we're going to revolutionize Music Production with Digital Audio. 80 Micro, Kilobaud were both favorites. I found his editorials to be especially compelling. Kind of like that favorite professor in college, Wayne's editorials were wide-ranging, informative AND entertaining. Sometimes, they were even about computers... ;-) I do remember I would often disagree with some of his opinions back when I was in my twenties. Even so, when the next issue came out, I turned to the editorial first.

Fast forward 20 years and a favorite technology author, who I first found in a Wayne Green mag, mentioned in his column that the FCC WAS DROPPING THE code requirement for Technician Class Amateur Radio licenses. Back in the '70s, I had attended some local Hamfests, but only to shop for computer parts. Hams, ever the early adopters/experimenters with tach, were using micros in all kinds of creative ways. I even picked up a ham radio mag back then, but for the computer articles. The code had been my bane since my first interest in a radio ticket back in Junior High. Now, I was in, and like many computer aficionados/professionals, took to the VHF airwaves, helping to develop digital modes of communication that are the basis for many of the technologies we all use today. After all, the geeky hams developing repeater towers and using handie-talkies in the '70s paved the way for the cell phones we all started carrying in the '90s. Yes, the geeks have taken over the world, and for a while, some of you even had phones with push-to-talk buttons!

And as I started into the ham culture, there was 73 magazine and good 'ol Wayne, still writing those same editorials!

I was amazed at how much wiser he had gotten over the years. I agreed with almost all he wrote I. My '40s... ;-)

Wayne was always out-spoken and unique. I learned not only technology, but philosophy and even religion from him. In many ways, Wayne Green influenced the man I have become.

My only regret in our 'relationship' is that I never had the pleasure of meeting him, at least in this life.

The other day I was going through some older CARP (it's an anagram) and I ran across a collection of Wayne's editorials I had purchased from his website. That's right, they are so good, he could sell them as a product independent of their original publication. Once again, ever the innovator, Wayne invented content creation, before the Web, or even the Internet, and found every possible way to monetize that content.  

RIP Wane Green, although, given your time here, and given the freedom from pain and fatigue there, I doubt there is much resting going on. I look forward to all the heavenly publications you are starting up...


Now, I have to go find those editorials and read some again...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DogDaze1301 - Knot the Tech

Thursday, December 06, 2012

CEI Sues To Force Release of Carbon Tax Emails | Competitive Enterprise Institute

CEI Sues To Force Release of Carbon Tax Emails | Competitive Enterprise Institute

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Follow the Money

I want someone, no, I want EVERYONE in Congress AND on TV to start asking this question: 

Taxing the 'Rich', i.e. repealing the tax cuts on people EARNING income over $250,000/yr.  is estimated to result in $85 billion/yr. of revenue. At current levels of expenditures that would fund the U.S. Government for approximately 8.5 DAYS. What else do you propose?

(When addressing the appropriate person, insert either: Mr. Majority Leader, Mr./Ms. Secretary, Mr. Vice-President or Mr. President before the question mark.)

They should press for specific answers, the amounts of increase in revenue or cut in expenditures, not just platitudes. AND, they should start asking this question and pressing for the specific answers at EVERY Opportunity.