If the insurance companies don't like the Democrat's new health care plans, it should tell you something. Insurance companies are a for profit organization, even if they call themselves non-profit. Even non-profit companies pay their executives exorbitant wages and perks.
David Blaine [6:02 PM]
Jet Blue Hoo
The big fiasco at Jet Blue this past week has got me ticked off. Not at the airline, at the whiney passengers. This whole country is spoiled; I’ve known that for a long time. We’ve been raised on entitlements, and I’m not just speaking about help for the disadvantaged. We have heard the word “rights” used so many times that we’ve lost all sense of personal responsibility. Just one example would be the way we respond when the weatherman gets the forecast wrong: Nature dumps on us and we want to shoot the messenger.
Air travel is a wonderful technology, one that has its roots here in the U.S., and one that has gone through tremendous advances in the past century. But we shouldn’t take it for granted. Although air travel is one of the safest modes of transportation, human decision-making is largely responsible for that. Someone has to say how much weight can safely be loaded. Someone has to decide when wings need to be deiced, when fuel tanks need to be re-topped, or if weather will affect the range a plane can fly on a given day.
Wind speeds, wind directions, thunderstorms, temperatures and precipitation all factor in to what a plane and its crew can or can’t do. Schedules are estimates. Once someone asked me why I bothered to schedule my appointments at all and I said it was so I could tell if my clients came early or late. I could have gotten angry, but it wouldn’t have helped.
Getting angry because of a weather-induced snafu on an airplane isn’t going to help either. Yes, it was a gross example of what sometimes happens when we don’t forecast the weather correctly, or when we don’t plan and respond to the weather conditions as they unfold. Something bad happened and Jet Blue couldn’t control it. Yes, people spent eleven hours on the runway. But many passengers had flights that were longer than eleven hours that day. And no one died because of this, nor were the likely to. Perhaps the airline didn’t respond well, but I think that the reason so many people are clamoring for an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights is that they understand it wasn’t entirely Jet Blue’s fault. This could have happened to any other airline just as easily. This is a case where customers can’t just vote with their feet.
When you plan to fly from New Jersey to Nevada, you should be prepared for contingencies. If you can’t afford to buy an extra meal or put yourself up an extra night at a hotel, maybe you really couldn’t afford that trip in the first place. And if the delay ruins your business schedule, perhaps you didn’t really have time to leave your office at all.
I know what Ma Wright said, back at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on that one fateful day: “Those boys are late for supper again!”
David Blaine [7:58 AM]
Deja Vu, George W Bush and Spring Jackts
Despite all the president’s claims to the contrary, the American experience of war in Iraq is turning into the same experience as the war in Viet Nam. The U.S. has gone into a region of the world with a markedly un-Western culture and tried to prop up a Western style democracy. The majority of the people in Iraq and the entire Middle-East region do not want that style of government and are prepared to fight to the death for our ejection.
The present Iraqi government was installed via an election that was the equivalent of a shotgun wedding. This puppet government has demonstrated un-willingness to co-operate with the wishes of the U.S. and appears uninterested and probably unable to restore peace in the country until the Americans and their allies leave.
The president keeps crying that if “we” lose in the Middle-East, we will be subject to myriad dangers inside our own borders. He insists that evil countries will influence Iraqi politics. We heard the same claims about China and Viet Nam.
And what became of Viet Nam? My spring jacket by Claiborne, which I bought at Macy’s, was made in Viet Nam. They have become a trading partner. So has China.
The truth is that the president has already lost his war in Iraq. The newly elected congress knows it, the president knows it and the Pentagon knows it. But it isn’t “our” war. It was started under false pretenses. We were lied to so we would allow it. We are being tricked into supporting it with cries for false patriotism. The volunteer military who are fighting there are being tricked into serving in an immoral oppression of people who have a right to their own determination.
This isn’t about security, and it isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about money. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool or a liar. Bush and Company wants the oil. They always did.
It’s time to shut him down.
David Blaine [7:48 AM]
Is it those large American SUV's, monster size trucks, or the high performance sports cars that are wasting fuel and driving up gas prices in the U.S.?
The president says that we need to break our addiction to oil. It is often pointed out that gasoline overseas costs much more than it does in the U.S., and many countries have much more fuel efficient vehicles to cope with it.
Well, there is one country where gasoline is still a bargain. Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein, gas there was costing five cents a gallon. It is about fifty cents a gallon right now. You might think that is because Iraq has it's own oil supply, but that is not the case. Currently Iraq imports 200,000 barrels of refined petroleum products each day. That's right, 200,000 times 42 gallons per barrel means they import 8,400,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel per day! That two hundred fifty two million gallons of fuel per month is purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars and sold, at a loss, to Iraqis. The cost to us is aproximately two hundred to two hundred fifty million dollars per month, or three billion dollars per year. That doesn't count the extra money we pay at the pump as demand drives our prices up at home.
Now does anyone want to doubt that the war effort in Iraq is responsible for increased gas prices here?
Source: Gas prices, discontent rising in Iraq, The Washington Times, April 10, 2006
David Blaine [7:59 AM]
The number one concern of most Americans today is the price of gasoline. With the oil companies making multi-billion dollar profits this past year, petroleum executives are scrambling to defend their earnings and deflect the heat. Chief among their tools are misinformation and outright lies. The “fact” that keeps getting bandied about is that the global economy sets oil prices, not the oil companies. That may be true, but a price does not turn into a profit until costs of doing business are deducted from revenues. In the case of companies like Exxon, their costs of doing business are considerably lower than other global corporations because of a U.S. government subsidy. That’s right, the U.S. government subsidizes companies like Exxon by using the American military to provide security for their overseas operations, including trans-oceanic shipping. If American corporations that wished to operate overseas had to pay private companies to provide their security, then profits would be lower. That same action could also translate into reduced fuel prices for consumers through reduced taxes. The elimination of taxes could be justified by the reduced military budget then necessary once the U.S. stopped policing foreign countries for the benefit of U.S. and multi-national corporations. Of course the expense of the oil companies would increase dramatically, but if their own “facts” are true, gas prices shouldn’t increase, because it is the global economy that dictates the cost of a barrel of oil, not oil companies.
The corporate executives and politicians depend on the ignorance of voters and taxpayers so they can continue shifting wealth from Americans in the lower economic strata to the upper ten percent. Be responsible, listen to what those in power say, do your research, and call them on their mis-statements.
David Blaine [7:40 AM]
It's a Global Economy, Stupid.
Ah, the Republicans want to make illegal immigration a felony. Well, immigrants wouldn't come here if there weren't jobs waiting for them, jobs Vincente Fox says, well, never mind, we all remember that racist remark. But it is true that the immigrants are coming for jobs that go unfilled by Americans. No surprise, I've been to California and no one is going to make a middle class living picking lettuce.
So we have to realize that undocumented workers are just a reality in today's global economy. For the past several years most of the manufacturing jobs in my town have left to go overseas. That's called outsourcing. Well, I guess the hotel, restaurant, and agricultural industries of the South West United States are just insourcing. Might as well admit it, but if you are going to make it a felony to come here and fill a waiting job, you better make it a crime to collect any public assistance as long as those jobs remain unfilled. Who would you rather have living in this country anyway? People who want to work or people who want a hand out?
One last thing, about those borders we're going to wall off, will we go by the original borders, where Mexico owned San Francisco, or the new ones, after we took it all away from them?
David Blaine [4:55 PM]
More Bennish Backlash
So now there is scrambling to try to defend the attempts to silence Jay Bennish, the teacher accused of comparing Bush to Hitler. The mother of Sean Allen, the boy who taped the Bennish lecture, asks "what about Sean's free speech?"
Well, what about it? The teacher accepted anyone's questions and allowed all statements of belief. He even said he'd award extra credit for those who wrote a paper about their beliefs, whether they agreed with his or not.
This is so typical of modern America, let's think with our gut and not our head.
In my opinion, Bennish did not compare Bush to Hitler in his lecture, he compared some of the activities of Bush to some of the activities of Hitler and said there were some worrisome similarities. I certainly agree with that.
Sean said he was willing "to put up with" Bennish, "until it got too radical".
Typical, again. Support the right to free speech until someone says something you don't have an answer to. Then, instead of going off and doing your research, just get mad. That solves nothing, sorry.
The thought that these are my fellow Americans, the people who vote for our nations leaders, scares the shit out of me.
David Blaine [7:22 AM]