Why do you close a plant that makes appliances and move the production to a country where the workers are paid pennies on our dollar? Yes, your cost of production will plummet, leaving an incredibly large profit margin, but you can't spend a margin, and profits only come with actual sales. Who will buy these foreign built appliances? Not the people building them. You aren't paying them enough to afford it. Not the people you laid off, they can't afford it either, plus they hate your guts. That leaves the rest of us Americans who don't pay attention to where things are built and just look at the price. Well we are now paying too much for goods built overseas, and putting extra dollars into the pockets of big business. No one cares about quality any longer, we just throw things away and buy new every couple of years. The Maytag Repair Man truly is the loneliest guy in America. We don't fix anything, don't derive any pleasure or pride from maintaining anything. I remember when German goods brought premium prices. The precise engineering made them perform like new long after the mass produced products were in the junkheap. I recently paid extra for a bicycle pump that said it was fully serviceable. That means when it wears out I can just replace the seals inside and use it some more. I was surprised I could find one like that. I digress. Here is an idea. The next time you shop for something and find out it was made outside the country, tell the merchant that the price is too high for overseas built merchandise, ask to see something built domestically. I wonder what they will say. If more Americans started demanding domestically built products we could grow our economy and command our own destiny. I for one will start by only drinking domestic beer and wine. It's a tough job, but someones gotta start somewhere. ,;-)
David Blaine [2:40 PM]
What would you give?
Over at Been There...Still There Laura has posted a troublesome piece about the difference between low income and middle income Americans. It prompted me to ask, "Who will be president for all of these Americans?" Who will work to see that all Americans get what they need instead of seeing that some Americans can have everything they want? Do you see the difference? Today I heard of twin teenage sisters in Alabama that each have a son and each are dying from HIV. I can only wonder what they needed that they never got. It would sure be easy to blame it all on them or their families, but I can't do that. I can't believe that they had all the chances that I had and somehow just made the wrong choice. So as the presidential race begins I hear things about certain interest groups and how they like this position by a certain candidate but they dislike another position. We are a very diverse country, and we need to start thinking about people beyond our own back yard. If we can have what we need should we take more, even if we are able to, if it means leaving others with less than they need to survive? I can honestly say I treat my pets better than I've seen some people live, and I've traveled enough to see more than I care to. What will you give up? It's not a rhetorical question, I challenge you to think about what you could get by without in your life so that someone else could have one simple necessity met in theirs. Share you ideas.
David Blaine [6:49 PM]
Update to the Firewall post.
Hey, you. The person who tried to hack into my system for ten minutes last night. Yeah, you didn't get in, but I know who you are, or at least where you are from. I just let your internet provider know what you were up to last night. Good luck getting a new service. While I'm at it, thanks to you folks who mailed me all those E mails with the subject of "Hi" or "Test" My software deleted all your virus files before I got them, then I deleted all your mail without reading it anyway. Here is a suggestion, get a life, read a book, ride a bike, jump in the lake, do something.
David Blaine [10:06 AM]
And now the gloves will come off.
This is the part of the electoral process that I hate. This is why I would never run for as much as dog catcher. Once we come up with a nominee to face the sitting president, the mudslinging will start. I already heard some things about Bush, how he was a C student in college. This is the type of thing that isn't going to help. Thomas Edison was a worse student than that, his teachers thought he was an idiot. Does that mean I defend Bush? No, it means it is irrelevant. One thing you are going to hear a lot about is voting records. Keep in mind that when someone votes for or against a bill, they may be voting for or against the riders that were put on that bill at the last minute, not the bill itself. Politicians are sneaky and they will try to trick you if you don't do your homework. You need to find out how a candidate has voted over their entire career, not on one or two votes.
I think we have given the president one hell of a fair shot these past few years. He not only got the white house, he got a republican majority in the house and senate. There is no reason for him to say that he couldn't get co operation from congress. This is important. I think we have seen the best Bush has to offer. The man is a fine human being, and has high ideals. I just don't believe they are in sync with the what the majority of Americans expect right now, or perhaps ever will. There will be several parties who have presidential candidates in November, but we all know that there will only be two or three that ever get any consideration, and only two that have a chance to get elected. You will prefer one over the other by the time you cast your vote. I am asking that you don't oppose the person you will vote against. Oppose his ideas and plans, but don't oppose the person. He will still be a fellow American after the election is over. You will hear a lot from me as the campaign for president continues. I hope you will always find it helpful, clear and straight.
David Blaine [10:02 AM]
Janet Jackson's naked breast.
There, that ought to get some traffic when it hits the news feed. Letterman said it was just coming out to see if it could see it's shadow. It is too bad that I probably will get a ton of hits off this shameless trick. That is the problem with some people, they are too predictable. That is why virus trouble abounds on the net. I think everyone should have the best antivirus and firewall software on their computers. Last week I changed antivirus software because I had a gut feeling I was infected, but my (up to date) software kept saying no virus found. I installed Avast antivirus, which is available free for personal use from Alwil Software and it immediately confirmed I had a virus and removed it. Avast also worked with my Outlook mail client to tell me each message that had a virus attached, and allowed me to delete the virus. I then installed a firewall. This keeps hackers from placing things, or removing information, from your computer. Without a firewall someone can actually use your computer by remote control and raise hell from your address. They can watch everything you type and get your user names, passwords, credit card numbers and what have you as you type them. Sygate Software makes a free personal firewall that is good, and for about $40 you can upgrade it to the pro version, which is what you really want if you have a full time internet connection. After installing Pro I passed a test showing every port on my computer was blocked. Since then I receive regular message showing attacks being thwarted. I had two messages while typing this entry.
This is important. If every web surfer did this, virus problems wouldn't exist. Since that will never happen, responsible users need to help keep the problem to a minimum. With Alwil and Sygate offering free and/or low cost solutions, there is no reason not to help yourself and everyone else.
David Blaine [8:37 AM]
Supply and Demand or just Demand?
I heard a politician wants all cars to get 36 miles per gallon by a certain point in the future. Sounds like a good idea. Of course everyone looks to the car companies to see what they think, and of course the car companies aren't happy at all. It isn't that the car companies don't think it is a good idea. The business of auto manufacturing is simply to produce (supply) products the public wants to buy. Right now the public wants (demand) large SUV's and trucks that get awful gas mileage while pulling the owner's campers, recreational vehicles, horse trailers and what have you all over the U.S. I took an informal poll, I asked some co workers if we could eliminate the need for any foreign oil, if we could tell OPEC "thanks, but no thanks", would these co workers be willing to drive vehicles one third smaller and one third less powerful than they own now. The answer was no. Everyone wants to be energy self sufficient as long as they don't have to do anything differently themselves. I understand their feelings. This country was fully developed only after the advent of reliable personal transportation. That means roads and motor vehicles. This isn't Europe. Geographically, not many places in the U.S. are serviced by commuter trains and buses. In most places Americans drive to work. And they drive a relatively long way. I live 18 miles from work. Many who live in this area drive 50 to 75 miles each way to work. We have the vehicles you see on the road because for a hundred years gas was cheap. When I first drove it was about 25 cents a gallon. Now at a buck fifty, with inflation, it's still dirt cheap. If gas was three or four dollars a gallon you would see people stop buying SUVs and trucks to commute to work. And the car companies would stop building them. You might point out that car companies build some efficient cars now, and they do, but it isn't because of consumer demand. The government forces CAFE standards on the manufacturers, Corporate Average Fuel Economy. The average fuel economy of all vehicles built has to hit a standard, so to sell large SUVs, the car company needs to sell small cars at the same time. To get people to buy the small cars they sell them cheaply, perhaps even at a loss, because there is a large profit margin in SUV's and trucks. It seems that we could get along without government mandates. No one likes it when the government tells a private enterprise what they have to manufacture. Instead of the government simply demanding that the manufactures build a miracle car that no one wants, why not raise gas taxes? Yup, boy thats not going to win any votes is it? But not until gas costs more will Americans use less, and buy more efficient cars. Problem is, the apparent easy answer of the government mandate won't solve the real problem, which is what Americans want. And the practical solution is political suicide, so since we don't have any real leaders, in either party, we will just go on with the status quo. We will still have cheap gas, paid for perhaps with the blood of innocents from around the world, and we will still drive gas hog behemoths if we can afford to, while others drive the offsetting "world" cars that keep the CAFE standards satisfied. Boy I would like to see all our fuel needs be filled from domestic supplies though, wouldn't you?
David Blaine [9:56 AM]