Smile at Me Smile at Me-World Peace via International Friendship

Smile at Me-World Peace via International Friendship

[ Friday, March 19, 2004 ]


Iraqi Phrasebook

From the New Yorker comes this helpful phrasebook for millitary and non millitary travlers alike. Thanks to Magpie for the point.

David Blaine [9:15 AM]

[ Thursday, March 18, 2004 ]


Spring Cleaning

I've deleted some links from the blog roll, pages that don't seem to have any new posts for a few months. If your link was removed, but you are now blogging at a new address, please write me and tell me where to point, and I'll add you back.

David Blaine [1:48 PM]

[ Monday, March 15, 2004 ]


That'll be two fifty, that'll be two fifty.

According to a report on Sixty Minutes yesterday, American's pay double the price of the rest of the world for our prescription drugs. Medicare and Medicaid aren't allowed to negotiate prices with the drug companies. Is it any wonder more and more people are ordering their medicine from outside the U.S.? The FDA is trying to scare us into believing that the drugs from outside the U.S. are not safe, even though they are made in the same plants as the U.S. drug supply. The report interviewed a doctor who was the former president of the American Medical association. She said the FDA claims were simply terror tactics. The drug companies are huge contributors to political campaigns, including Bush's campaign. As for Bush's new prescription drug bennefit, not slated to take effect until after the elections, informed sources say that seniors will be in for a big surprise, because prices from Canada will still be lower. How can a president claim to be working to curb health care costs when he is taking PAC money from the companies responsible for billions in excess charges per year? How can we turn a blind eye to the fact that such contributions come quid pro quo with hands off tactics by the administration?

David Blaine [2:16 PM]

[ Sunday, March 14, 2004 ]


Always low prices.

In my part of the state there is a big stink right now because Wal Mart wants to build stores in some very small towns.
A lot of people who own small retail stores are against Wal Mart. They aren't the only people who don't want to see a big box retailer come to town though. Do big box stores really sell that much lower than everyone else? Sure they do. How do they do it? Well I'll outline some ways here.

A. They import inferior products from overseas. (if you don't believe me, buy your teenagers school clothes at Wal Mart and watch what happens. You will never see them again, your teenager wouldn't be caught dead wearing that stuff to school. I know, to you they look just like the stuff at Pac Sun and American Eagle but the kids know.)

B. They sell the every day brands you buy elsewhere, in smaller containers, for less. That's right, check it out. It was a 9 0z pkg at the grocery store, only a 7 0z pkg here.

C. They cut wage costs by paying people next to nothing to work there, and no bennefits because even full time isn't really full time, hardly any one gets 40 hours. When meat cutters voted in a union, Wal Marts closed the fresh meat dept in every store.

D. Extortion. Yup, if vendors want to sell stuff to Wal Mart they will meet price concession demands or loose the order. You can expect crap to roll downhill. People working at those vendors will be getting wage and bennefit cuts too.

But you get lower prices. I remember when the first K Mart came to the area. Of course the small sporting goods store closed the next year, but you had K Mart. I couldn't buy a baseball bat (they only stocked softball bats) at K Mart. Or a catchers mit. See, those things don't turn over often enough for the big box store to carry them. That's the trick in a big box store, make a very small markup a lot of times per year. The only things you can buy there are fast movers like duct tape and WD-40, motor oil, etc. If you want Stainless steel widgets with a left hand thread, you will need to go down to the local hardware, if it's still open, and get those there.

Most people who want the big retailers to come to town are lower income families who need to save a dime any place they can, and I don't blame them. They usually say something like "competition is good", but Wal Marts Vs the local grocery, sporting good store, auto parts store, hardware store, etc, etc, etc. is like sending your high school foot ball team off to play the Green Bay Packers. One of these days, like me, you are going to find yourself saying, "I could always find what I wanted down at the local retailer, right up til the day they closed up shop." Then if you have to drive to the next city to find what you want, how many of those dimes did you really save?

David Blaine [1:13 PM]