I got the blahs. It's not winter and it's not spring. We get snow one day and 75 degrees the next. Leaves are starting to pop out on the trees now, so I hope we're done with snow. I haven't had the energy to run in two weeks. I feel bad. I'm sleeping OK and eating OK, so I don't get it. I know it's got to be mental. I want to do something, I just don't have the gas. Two days ago I ran to the end of the driveway and back to get the mail. Legs felt like cement. Yesterday I ran around the car lot once, less than a quarter mile. Same deal, lead legs. a month ago I could run ten miles. It sucks. Ok, enough about me. Have a good weekend. It'll either be beautiful or cold and rainy/snowy here. Flip a coin.
David Blaine [10:47 AM]
After being forbiden from taking Holy Communion at Mass, John Kerry threw his scapular, rosary beads and St. Christopher medal over the wall at the Vatican today. Bush spokesperson Karen Hughes reported that upon checking, the president hadn't received any of those medals either. "He does have some beads he caught at Mardi Gras" Hughes retorted.
David Blaine [2:59 PM]
Get out of Gitmo Free.
Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments from the Bush administration in the case of detainees at Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. These 600 men and boys have been held for two years without charges. There is no plan for any disposition; the Bush administration feels it should be allowed to hold the men without charges indefinately. Early Reports from the hearing yesterday depict the Supreme Court Justices as being unmoved by Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson's arguments that the U.S. court system has no jurisdiction over the detainees at the millitary base. If the Bush administration looses it's case the possibility would open for prisoners to file a rit of habeas corpus. Such a move would then require the government to file charges and present evidence against the prisoners if it wished to further detain them. Would everyone in favor of Bush holding anyone prisoner for life with no charges please raise their right hand?
David Blaine [8:51 AM]
I always wanted to tell all my visitors more about me than the space in the left column allowed. After seeing other blogs with a "100 things about me" link, I decided to try that. It was rough coming up with 100 things. If you are curious, the link is in the left column, of course.
David Blaine [1:43 PM]
The other day at another site I saw a racial slur about living in a segregated area. It went something like "it stays white out later here". Well, today is April 27th, 2004, and it snowed last night. There is snow on the lawn this morning. So I guess it doesn't have to be a racial slur. It stays white out later in the year here, that's for sure.
David Blaine [7:54 AM]
What is the true cost of living and doing business in the United States? Well before I start discussing it, I'd like to illustrate a common misunderstanding by way of an unequal comparison. How much does a cell phone cost? A lot of people I ask this question tell me that cell phones are free. I know that when I got the cell phone in my briefcase, I didn't write a check to pay for it. Maybe those folks are right. No, we all know that each month when I pay my wireless bill, I'm also paying for that phone, right?
There may be all kinds of accounting tricks, but in the end, you can't avoid paying the true cost if you use something. Be it the twelve CD's for a penny, six books for just a dollar each, or a credit card that only charges one percent interest for the first three months, nothing is as free as the advertisers would like you to believe.
In the U.S. there are costs of doing business. If you want your goods built you must hire workers for your factory. You must pay at least minimum wage, your share of social security taxes, overtime pay, and workers compensation and unemployment insurance premiums. If you hired people capable of doing decent work without supervision, you probably are paying wages sufficient to keep your employees off of welfare. Then come benefits. A major benefit is medical insurance. Some companies provide coverage for the employee, some for the whole family. Some are comprehensive plans with others being somewhat sketchy.
If you start with the premise that everyone needs medical care then we have to look at how that is going to come about. One concept favors employer mandates. Pass a law and make the employer provide the coverage. In that scenario, manufacturing costs increase and then the wholesale prices of those products increase as well. The cost is borne by consumers in the end, with no regard to ability to pay taken into consideration. If you earn a low income your food costs will increase the same as wealthier Americans. Since agricultural workers are the least likely to have coverage now and could be among the first to become newly covered, the food example is a valid one. Another shortcoming of the employer mandate plan is that if you happen to be unemployed you would also happen to be uninsured.
Another concept favors national health coverage paid for by tax payers. This plan covers the employed and unemployed alike. And it is paid for by taxes, which are levied on a graduated system. People who earn more pay more. This irks some, sounds downright awful, but the truth is that you are paying more for earning more, so you are better able to afford your larger portion than the low wage earner, who pays less, is able to afford his smaller portion.
Now if this sounds too simplistic I'll admit I'm not the greatest mind in macroeconomics. However going back to the cell phone/book club example, in the end, we have to pay the true cost of what we use. The alternative is simply not to insure everyone. That's what we have now.
David Blaine [4:33 PM]
Post Cards from Iraq
Not really, but with all the stink about what pictures are fit for viewing and not, it was a real find to come across "In the Shadow of a Gun" today.
The author had surfed a website with photos from the begining of the Iraqi war, and upon going back, found the archives removed. He retrieved the images from the cache of his laptop and re posted them on his own site. Some are graphic and tragic, others inspiring. Visit at your own discretion.
David Blaine [2:57 PM]