Gas Prices Aren’t Too High

That got your attention, huh?

As evidence I submit my venture to Sundown in the City on Thursday.  Sundown in the City is a series of outdoor concerts put on each summer in Market Square.  There’s no charge for admission, and they draw insane crowds.  I haven’t been to Sundown in the City in a couple of years, but I went on Thursday to see Robert Earl Keen.  Huge crowd, and an unbelievable amount of smokers.

Before I go any further…I don’t care if you smoke.  You have every right to do so, and I think the ban on smoking inside is a bunch of crap.  It’s your body-trash it if you want to.  If I don’t want to be around it, I can (and do) choose not to be around it.  That problem is easily solved.

But I didn’t realize that so many people still smoke.  What is this, 1978?  Maybe they were smoking so much because they aren’t allowed to do it inside anymore?  Maybe they are all nervous about the fact that gas and food prices are so high?  Maybe they spent the money they would have spent on fuel for this years family vacation on cigarettes since they wouldn’t be able to go anywhere this year?

I don’t know.  But I started thinking that, while gases prices are high, they aren’t so high that people can’t afford the luxury of cooking themselves from the inside.  I mean, this is literally just burning money, and a lot of it.  To be fair, I didn’t hear anyone complaining about gas prices in between puffs, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that some of them had complained in the last 24 hours, probably the last time they filled up and bought a pack of smokes.

So as high as prices are, I think we’ll survive–at least long enough to demand in our old age that someone give us free health care to take care of all those problems caused by smoking.

Is There Any Choice Other Than The Free Market?

I’ll take any motherfucker’s money if they’re giving it away.”
–Clay Davis

One of the biggest arguments I read against allowing the market to solve problems like health care and fuel costs is that the market simply can’t do it. Why not?

The argument goes that these businesses, along with the pharmaceutical companies, are basically government supported monopolies. They’ve been allowed to run roughshod over the consumer, charging outrageous prices and raking in cash left and right while the average person suffers from their oppression. How did this happen?

Reelect Clay DavisThe argument goes that politicians are bought and paid for by these companies. They have highly paid lobbyists who influence legislation that allows their industries to thrive, and they have friends in high places that are former board members and/or holders of large portions of their stocks.

According to the argument, the government, politicians, regulatory commissions, and entire bureaucracies are basically extensions of these powerful corporations and are nothing more than puppets held by Wall Street strings. It’s actually a pretty convincing argument, and from what I’ve seen recently seems pretty reasonable.

Now let me get this straight–the solutions to these problems lie in government? According to the argument, isn’t that the cause of the problem to begin with?

Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Hip Hop

The sad thing is, this isn’t really hip hop, and that’s at least one side of the point of this clip. As the “rapper” states at the beginning of the song, there’s no way to go platinum doing songs with hooks and concepts.

I was listening to the Old School Rap channel on cable the other night. I can’t believe how bland and boring rap has become in comparison to the old stuff. I thought new country was bad until I compared old and new rap.

Anyway, enjoy the video and its social commentary. There’s actually a point if you understand that this is satire.

Not safe for work, at least at most jobs.

[youtube rN2VqFPNS8w]

H/T Instapundit.

Maria Bartiromo All Oiled Up

Maria BartiromoMaria Bartiromo was my big crush at the turn of the century.  My daily schedule was to get up really early to work out, take a nap, and then get up to watch her for the opening bell at the NYSE on Squawk Box.  She’s super smart, and not too tough to look at either, so I didn’t have much trouble staying awake to hear what she had to say.  A couple of naps later and I could check her out again in the afternoons on Street Signs.

Then the .com bubble burst and I had to get a real job.  Oh well.

Last night Maria Bartiromo hosted a special on CNBC on America’s Oil Crisis.  There were a few really interesting points and ideas on why we are in the situation we’re in right now and what’s going to happen in the future with oil and other energy sources.  For instance,  I was surprised to learn that George Bush doesn’t get up early every morning to set the prices at the pump of each and every gas station in the United States.

So who is to blame?

Speculators, for one, are getting a big part of the blame for creating something of an oil bubble.  I didn’t realize that you only have to come up with 5% of the purchase price on oil, and a lot of folks are saying that margin should be raised.  I’m good with letting some speculators get stuck when the bubble (if there really is one) bursts myself, just so long as they aren’t going to get bailed out for borrowing money to purchase over priced oil.

Where does the government’s share of the blame come in?  No real energy policy, disallowing drilling in the US, continuing to devalue the currency and weaken the dollar.  I guess those could have some effect, huh?   Now there are pending threats of taxes on windfall profits on oil companies to boot.  Talk about some incentive to increase production–just tell the producer that you’ll charge them more to allow them to do the work.  Makes total sense.

It was interesting that 15% of the viewers polled put the blame on the consumer for not changing consumption habits.  It makes me wonder–what is the price per gallon of gasoline that would make you carpool?  Downsize in car?  For me that was the $2 mark in 2002.

Bartiromo, the naughty capitalist that she is, slants a lot of her questions in favor of letting markets work these things out, but there were plenty of people interviewed on the show who are in favor of heavy government intervention, hinting at times that gas should be subsidized.  I guess we have a right to state provided gas now too?

Introducing BeeFeR

BeeFeR isn’t really a robot. Robots can’t plot and scheme the way BeeFeR can. Also, robots, by nature, are workers–BeeFeR is not. However, the robot pack was the only one on Toonlet that provided a body type that could do BeeFeR justice.

BeeFeR Episode #


BeeFeR Episode #1

Microsoft To Pay People To Search

Microsoft in 1978Here are the basics of how the program is structured:

Use Microsoft Live Search to find whatever it is you are looking for, buy it, and a percentage of the price is put into your account.  When your account hits $5 they put the money into your PayPal account.

Here’s why it won’t work:

You have to sign up for both Microsoft Live and Paypal.  That’s enough hassle on its own, but that’s not the kicker.  The real reason it won’t work is that they are trying to get people to use a search engine they don’t really want to use.

Microsoft continues to not get it.  People aren’t using Google because it is cheaper or more financially rewarding.  They aren’t even using Google because they provide better results.  They use Google because they are Google people.  They use Google because they’ve come to trust it.  They use Google because that’s just what they do.  They Google things, they don’t Microsoft Live Search them.

Microsoft seems to have the mentality of a gas station owner who can (and does) attract customers away from the station across the street by offering gas $.02 cheaper.  It may work for gas stations, but it won’t work for search.  Search engines users are loyal.  Most people don’t search for something on 3 or 4 different search engines to find what they want unless it is something really bizarre that can’t be found.  They use the SE that they use and get on with their business.

What Microsoft is asking people to do is change their loyalty–permanently.  Changing someone’s loyalty from Google to Microsoft is akin to getting them to switch from Coke to Pepsi.  People just aren’t willing to do that for a few pennies.  Maybe once, maybe even a few times, but not permanently.

East Tennessee High Schools Among Best In Country!

From the KNS:

Three East Tennessee schools are among the top 1,300 U.S. public high schools, according to a 2008 ranking released this week by Newsweek.

Oak Ridge High School in Anderson County is ranked 892, Farragut and West high schools in Knox County are ranked 1,031 and 1,042 respectively, according to the listing.

3 out of 1300?

0 out of 891?


Is this article supposed to be a pat on the back for area schools or a hit piece?  Lots of people are asking about Maryville High School in the comments.  Why wasn’t it included on this list?  Supposedly it is the pinnacle of high school football education in this state.

Remember that girl in high school that everyone thought was hot, mostly because everyone else thought she was hot?  Did you ever go back and look at your yearbook and realize that she wasn’t all that pretty?

Just wondering…