by Scott Cox
posted Nov 18 2013 8:42PM
I had a guy on the show last week named Tim McNeely. Tim is a tech junkie of the highest order, and he's one of the earliest testers of the long-awaited Google Glass. I'd heard about this gadget some time ago, and vowed to punch the first person I saw wearing one. But, as it turns out, Tim is a very cool cat, and also has the kind of keen intellect that one needs to explain stuff like this to guys like me. He even loaned me this little miracle for the weekend. With Google Glass, you can do everything you do with a cellphone or table computer, but without the clumsy interface. The glasses have a tiny screen above your right eye that shows you data. And since it's transparent, you can read that data while going about your business. The possibilities offered by this technology are virtually limitless. I assume that the military already has a version of Google Glass, allowing soldiers to transmit real-time information back to HQ in real time. And it's way more than just a camera. It connects to the internet, so you can surf away the hours without so much as moving your head. Bluetooth too. The intertainment applications alone are staggering. Having spent some quality time with this crazy thing, I realize that it's an early example of a very new idea, and it has some kinks to work out. But like anything from the automobile to the first computer, it will continue to get smaller, lighter, and better. One thing is for sure though- in the not-too-distant future, this thing will replace your cellphone, your Ipad, Ipod, and all of your computer monitors. Desktops in offices are about to change radically. Classrooms too. I have seen the future, and it is Google. At $1500, the Google Glass is not for me. But it will be someday, whether i like it or not.
by Scott Cox
posted Feb 12 2012 10:32PM
So, Mitt Romney has regained the latest round of simulated momentum. As soon as the GOP race narrowed to 4 candidates, the assumption was that Mitt was the obvious nominee. Then he had that really bad day in Florida, where he not only lost to Newt Gingrich, but also found out that Rick Santorum had beaten him in Iowa. Then, all of the sudden it was a 2 horse race again. Newt was right in the thick of things. Santorum and Ron Paul were novelty candidates. Or so everyone thought. Next thing you know, Newt starts talking about colonizing the moon, and drops off the national radar. So, it's all about Mitt again. Everything is going according to plan. or so it seemed.
Then, things got weird again. Santorum swept the 3 caucuses in the midwest, and somehow we were back to a 2 man race, but with the wrong 2 men. Now it looked like Santorum was the only other republican capable of giving Mitt a run for his money. Newt's billionaire superpac donor announced he was thinking about heaping all that cash on Santorum if it looked like he had the best shot at defeating President Obama in November. So now Santorum is raising cash like crazy, and in a lot of states, polling ahead of Romney. So everything is coming up Rick Santorum, right? Well, actually not so much. The ridiculously low voter turnout in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota means that voters there aren't too fired up about any of the candidates, and whomever the candidate is will need much bigger turnout to turn those states red this year. And the big-time fundraising people know this, and will spend accordingly. Speaking of spending, Santorum's other problem is simply that Romney's superpacs will focus their negative ads on Santorum instead of Newt. So, how is all this starchy unfolding? Very well, if you're Mitt Romney. He won Nevada and Maine easily, and most recently he won the straw poll at CPAC, the largest conservative get-together of the political season. Sure, those straw polls are unreliable, and generally all those votes are bought and paid for, but it is an indicator that conservatives are perhaps more comfortable with the idea of Romney as their nominee than previously thought. So, what happens now?
All the strategies in play now revolve around Super Tuesday, and they should. 10 states will pick their guy, and if any candidate should gain a big advantage at the end of the day, then we will have a clear idea of who's going to take on Obama. The fireworks in the meantime will be provided by Romney and Santorum, as they throw everything they have at each other going into Super Tuesday. And for Santorum, it's all about how much cash he can raise in the meantime to keep taking the fight to Romney. That's why I say Romney is the current holder of fake momentum. There are still tons of delegates yet to be decided, and until Super Tuesday, we can only speculate on how they'll go. Until then, people around the country will be able to enjoy as many negative ads as they can stand. And then some. Then we can all sit back and watch Santorum struggle to keep up with Romney in a huge spending contest. And we all know how that will turn out. Maybe he can run with Romney for a while, but I doubt he can do it for long. So unless Newt comes back (highly unlikely), or a new candidate gets into the race (even more unlikely), it looks like we can all look forward to Romney vs Obama in November. Oh boy.
by Scott Cox
posted Feb 6 2012 11:10AM
America's big day has come and gone. Super Bowl Sunday went off without a hitch. We got a pretty good football game, some (but only some) above-average commercials, and an astonishingly bad halftime show. But none of those things are why the Super Bowl is so important to America. Here are some fun facts about the greatest spectacle in sport.
More people travel to another place on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. That's a lot of gas getting burned. More pizza get bought and delivered than any other day of the year. More beer, soda (all kinds), potato chips, nacho cheese, hot dogs, wine, cheese, carrots (yes, carrots), bottled water, limes, cilantro, folding chairs, celery, avocados, glass cleaner, beans, (baked and refried), chili, plastic cutlery, orange juice, and crackers are bought in preparation for this game than any other event.
Then there are the big-ticket items. More people cite the Super Bowl as their primary reason for buying a new TV than any other, and it's not even close. People buy new furniture and other household upgrades for the big game too. See, the Super Bowl is far more than a sporting event -- it's a big part of our country's economic engine.
The Super Bowl rakes in less cash than Christmas, but way more than Valentine's Day, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Cinco De Mayo, and all the other spring holidays too. It's kind of a big deal. And while we all love Christmas, almost none of us bet on it, which is where the real cash get flowing on super Sunday.
About 70,000 fans went to Indianapolis for the big game. They all spent big bucks on tickets, lodging, and, presumably, Johnny Walker Red. But, while Indy certainly raked it in over the weekend, as usual, they couldn't hold a candle to Las Vegas. An estimated 350,000 folks made their way to Vegas for the Super Bowl, and while they saw the game on plasma screens instead of in person, they spent a lot more to do so.
Not only did they spring for lodging and food and beverage and tips, they wagered pretty close to $95 million. And that's just the legal sports book kind of gambling. The actual amount that was bet in Vegas alone is estimated at around $200 million. That's some serious re-distribution of wealth. And that's not counting the gambling houses all over the world, from Atlantic City to Monaco. Or my house, or yours, for that matter. Those dopey Super Bowl party games where you buy a square and a winner gets picked each quarter? Over half a billion dollars gets spent on those.
Add in all the friendly wagers that get made on the game, and the illegal-but-ubiquitous kind of gambling is around $2 billion. It's a good thing. For the winners, anyway. But also for the economy. People tend to spend cash that they won right away, whereas they will hang onto money they earned, so the economy gets a delayed boost after the Super Bowl. I know that the cash I won is going towards a couple of Johnny Cash records that I want on vinyl. So World Records will get a bump too. And don't forget all the band-wagoners out there who will spring for new Giants jerseys, hats and t-shirts. That adds up too.
Also, the fine folks on Madison Avenue will spend nearly $400 million to show you all those new commercials. Yes, they'll all be running all year, but make no mistake -- they were crafted especially for the big game. Think about this -- if Acura sells every NSX that is has available for sale in the U.S., they still won't make back the money they spent on that Seinfeld commercial. It was an excellent commercial, but also an excellent example of how much companies value the Superbowl as an advertising opportunity. Again, really good for the economy.
So even if you don't like the Patriots or the Giants, or care about football at all, just remember -- the Super Bowl is a hugely important day for our country. It brings us together, gives us something to root for, and most importantly, makes real people some real money. It's a great day all around, and not even Madonna can ruin that.
by Scott Cox
posted Jan 17 2012 9:42AM
Remember that scene at the end of "The Wizard Of Oz," where Dorothy wakes up and realizes that her adventures down the yellow brick road were all just a dream? Well, that monent happened Saturday for legions of freshly-minted Tim Tebow fans.
Reality showed up, and it was wearing a Patriots' uniform. The ensuing beatdown wasn't a surprise to football fans anywhere, but came as a shock to Tebow fans everywhere. See, these people don't know, or care, about football -- they just like the guy, or the image of the guy. And that's ok, but it leads to massive disappointment.
The great thing about craziness like Tebowmania is that it presents an opportunity for smart people, through perfectly legal means, to take advantage of folks who are all worked up. Enter Las Vegas, who raked it in by taking bets to the tune of $14.5 million, a record for an NFL playoff game. And nobody put a gun to anybody's head either -- all that cash was brought to Vegas' doorstep by people who were convinced that Tebow's magical powers would defeat Tom Brady and actual skill. Sports books made it tempting by offering gamblers a 13.5 point spread. So when the Pats won by 5 touchdowns, they made out like proverbial bandits.
I for one was happy to see so many people lose so much cash. See, people who had the audacity to suggest that maybe Tebow was way overrated were called haters. Haters of Tebow, haters of common decency, and yes, haters of Jesus himself. Wow. It would have been tolerable if not for the fact that this nonsense came from people who clearly knew nothing about football.
It's hard to imagine anyone who saw the Broncos lose a game to the Chiefs 7-3 make the case that their QB, who completed 4 passes in that game, was Superbowl bound. But then the Raiders choked big-time at home, and the Steelers failed to show up at all. So, Tebow and company fell backwards into the Patriots matchup. And more people watched that game than any NFL playoff game in decades. There was a miracle afoot, and apparently lots of people were afraid to miss it. But they did. That game got ugly in a hurry. Tom Brady, perhaps inspired by all the Tebowing, had a decidedly all-business approach to this game. It showed. And thus, most of the air was squeezed out of the Tebowmania balloon. Real football fans just saw it as order being restored to the NFL universe.
So, what's next for Tebow and the Broncos? Only time will tell. Maybe he'll get better in the offseason and lead his team to the Superbowl, crushing everything in his path. Tebowmania will return with a flourish, bigger and better than ever. Or, he could play the way he did against the Patriots, lose a few games early, and real football fans in Denver will start calling for his replacement. Tebow fans will call those people haters. Which they will be. Haters of hype over results.
I wish the Broncos and Tebow all the best. They're an average team playing in a very weak division, so it won't take much to win a few games. But it appears that playing a real team in a real pressure situation has put a stop to a lot of the craziness. Look -- Dorothy had a blast in Oz, but in the end she woke up to realize that she still lived on a crappy farm in Kansas.
by Scott Cox
posted Sep 25 2011 8:33PM
WIth Texas Governor Rick Perry's latest epic debate fail, it was looking like Mitt Romney might be the last man standing. But that presented a huge problem for the GOP, as a whole lot of Republicans don't much care for Romney.
Well, it looks like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may be riding in to save the day. He said that he wouldn't run no matter what about six minths ago, but looking over the current field of candidates, he must have known he had a shot. And apparently a bunch of deep-pocketed GOP fundraising types agree, and once again there'e a full-court press on to drag Christie into the race. And we all know that money talks.
Personally, I hope the guy goes for it. He's clearly better than anyone of the current crop. He's smart, he's principled, and he doesn't back down from a fight. Hey, we might get someone in a debate who'll actually answer a question. That would be cool. The style consultants say he can't win because he's fat, but i'm not buying that. This country is facing some monumental challenges, so I think it's high time we went with substance over style. I just hope the rest of the country feels the same.
As for Perry, he can always go back and run Texas. It's still a pretty great job, and the parts of the state that aren't currently on fire are still pretty great. Of course the really great parts of the state are the ones where Perry has the least support, but he seems to have figured out the whole re-election thing. And Mitt can go back to adding on to his LaJolla mansion. That's a pretty big project, and should keep him occupied for some time. As for the rest of the field, they can all write books, then promote them on each other's shows on Fox. I'm also willing to bet that more than a couple of them will drop out as soon as Christie announces. I don't think any of them want any part of him in a debate.
Christie is supposed to be making his decision in the next couple of days, and i'm keeping my fingers crossed. And who knows? Maybe Marco Rubio will be inspired to throw his hat in as well. He'd make a solid VP. Let's all give this thing a week or two and see what shakes out. I'm guessing it will be good news for the party, and for the country too.
by Scott Cox
posted Aug 31 2011 9:56AM
Weather motwithstanding, Fall is nearly here. That means it's time for America's newest obsession: fantasy football.
And I mean obsession. Bloomberg Business esttimates the cost of lost productivity in American companies at around $1.5 billion. But is there un economic upside to a few million workers checking stats instead of working? Apparently, yes.
First off, fantasy football players congregate in restaurants and bars to organize and plan the leagues. And they spend money when they do. Several chain restaraunts are actually trying to be more fantasy football friendly to get in on the action. Keep in mind we're talking about $3-4 billion here, and that's based on above-the-table organized fantasy leagues. The actual numbers are much higher. So there's a lot at stake here.
There are plenty of websites devoted to helping you manage your team, and they make money too.Perhaps best for the economy, winners spend their winnings almost immediately. And they should. In fact, if you ask any fantasy football player what they plan to do with the loot, most of them already have a plan (good for them). And good for America. Because, while lost productivity is hard to track, people spending cash is not.
Think of fantasy sports as an economic stimulus package. I can't help but wonder if President Obama, surrounded by his economic advisors, is quietly rooting for bigger and better fantasy leagues. After all, he famously filled out his March Madness brackets on company time. And that thing is over in a month. Fantasy football takes place over a third of the year, beginning with the NFL draft, and running through the end of the season. So I suppose the prez probably won't be partaking in the White House fantasy league this year (not publically anyway), though maybe he should be. It's not any dumber than the stimulus program was. And it gets results.
So should you take part in your office league? Do the economic benefits outweigh the lost productivity? Heck yes! Virtually all the cash that flows into the dark, nerdy world of fantasy football gets put directly back into the economy. That's good. And as for the lost man-hours (and woman-hours) on the job? I'm not buying that at all. The most that businesses have to lose on this stuff is a little bit of toner and wear and tear on copiers when players print out their stat sheets. And Bloomberg doesn't factor in worker morale, and it should. Fantasy leagues get people fired up, and keep them fired up, win or lose. It bonds employees together and that's always good.
A long, dreary winter is tough enough to get through as it is, and a little bit of friendly competition is probably one of the best ways to get through it all while retaining one's sanity.
I don't play fantasy football myself. I prefer the old fashioned method of betting on my team and losing my lunch money when they inevitably choke. But that's how we did it back in the day. So when a co-worker tries to lure you into his fantasy league, jump right in. Sure, he'll laugh at you every Monday, and will probably end up taking your entry fee and spending it on a new tv, but you'll get to be a part of something big, and getting bigger all the time. Plus, you'll find yourself interacting with co-workers in a positive way.
And when you get busted for using the copier for non-business purposes? Tell the boss you're doing your part to end this miserable recession. You're doing it for America.
by Scott Cox
posted Aug 14 2011 9:16PM
The latest news from the giant reality show that is Iowa politics, is that Tim Pawlenty has dropped out of the race. After a predictably poor start in the Iowa straw poll (itself a terrible indicator of who's going to win the GOP nomination), T-Paw has decided that he had no chance, which is pretty funny considering he already knew that, and so did everyone else.
The truth is, he never intended to win. He was running for vice president.
Of course there's no way to effectively run for that job, so he had to run for prez to get his resume out to the American people. People couldn't figure out why he wouldn't go after Romney in that first debate. Well, this is why: he didn't want to burn a bridge.
The only person he's bad-mouthed at all is Michele Bachmann, because the chances of her picking him as her running mate are zero. Who would go for an all-Minnesota ticket? Nobody. So now he just has to sit back and say great things about whomever he percieves as the front runner. It won't work, of course, because he's so crushingly boring that in today's soundbite campaign environment, he'd pull any ticket down like an anchor.
At least the debates will be livelier without him. Plus, the only exciting thing about preseason politics is watching the also-rans run out of cash and drop out. Looking at you, Rick Santorum.
Pawlenty's early exit was great news for Bachmann, as whatever deep-pocketed donors there are in Minnesota are hers to enjoy. And now that Texas Gonernor Rick Perry is in the race, she'll need all the cash she can get, as the two of them try to out-religious each other for the next few months.
And cash will be the determining factor in this race, as it is in all of them. So whichever one of them raises the most dough will have the best shot at cash-flush Mitt Romney. I don't see any way for Bachmann to keep up with Perry, donor-wise, but I don't think she had any chance in the first place. By the time they all clear South Carolina, we'll have a much clearer picture of where the big money will go. And by then we'll have fewer candidates, and hopefully some better debates. And with the president's approval ratings at an all-time low, all these candidates know the stakes are extremely high.
by Scott Cox
posted Jul 24 2011 11:36AM
This phony debt ceiling debate has pretty much reached it's boiling point, with both the Democrats and Republicans trying to trick their constituents into believing they're looking out for them. The fact of the matter is, they could have hammered out a deal months ago, but that wouldn't have been politically advantagious.
We have an election coming up, and both sides are doing their best to convince regular folks that the other party will end America as we know it. The unpleasant truth is we are in so much debt there is virtually no chance of our children seeing it get paid off, let alone us. So it's virtually impossible for this country NOT to be fundamentally different no matter which side wins in 2012.
And neither side wants to talk about the real problem: the outsourcing of America's manufacturing base to China. It's hard to pay your creditors off when they make all the products you buy. America has built it's way out of every recession we've been in. But now any efforts we make just profit China that much more.
We sold out all that manufacturing power in exchange for higher profits and shareholder returns. So the investor class and the companies who make American products in China get richer every day, while regular folks in the middle class pay the price. And guess which group writes bigger checks? So, these bought-off politicians on both sides know what needs to be done, and will put off doing anything as long as there are political points to be scored.
Only, a big chunk of Americans have had it with the inaction.
Perhaps the most painful part of this dog and pony show is the long-term memory loss of the electorate. I think these politicians treat us like three year olds because we nearly always act like them. Democrats should remember then-senator Obama voting against raising the debt ceiling at least as vividly as Republicans should remember the seven times George W raised it in his eight years as president.
And nobody in the GOP, Boehner and McConnell included, said boo about it. In fact, those two anti-debt crusaders voted to increase the debt limit every time. But now, with mounting tea-party pressure, and a legitamate need to cut spending, both sides have switched sides again, and maybe this time we'll get a legitimate package of spending cuts, military included, and who knows--maybe even ask GE if they wouldn't mind paying just a few dollars in taxes for a while.
I'm not betting on it.
I think it's way more likely we'll get a watered-down, pre-fabricated "comprimise" made up of phony cuts that will never really come io fruition, coupled with some kind of equally phoney corporate accountability standards that will also never be enacted. They will, however, buy themselves just enough time to placate voters until they have to go through this again. And depending on the outcome of the 2012 elections, everyone will have changed sides again. Fantastic.
by Scott Cox
posted Jul 14 2011 9:08PM
Hey, if you're a regular patron of the Padre Hotel, I have great news! They're getting valet parking. For people who never go there, like me, the news is not so great. They're getting valet parking, and we're all paying for it.
The Bakersfield City Council just voted to spend $107,000 to build a staging area for the Padre Hotel at the corner of 19th and H Street. But, they say it will be used for "community events." So I guess we'll totally get our money's worth. Next up is a $431,000 project that will provide sidewalk and alley improvements for the property. Nice. Look, I wish the owners of the Padre all the success in the world, I just don't think the city needs to be investing in private businesses.
For starters, it is stunningly unfair to the other hard working, tax-paying businesses in town, especially downtown. They're all stuggling to make ends meet while the city pumps money into the competition. I was against our investing in the Maya Cinemas for the same reason. That had to sting a bit for the owners of the other movie houses in town.
If the Padre Hotel was such a great investment opportunity, they would've been able to get investors to invest (that's why they're called investors). Now, I don't know if all the buzz around town about the Padre Hotel's financial issues are true or not, but it seems to me, the more cash the city pours in, the worse it's going to be if it should fail. I hope they don't end up in a desperate state, throwing more and more money into the hotel to stave off the embarrassment of admitting they shouldn't have gotten into the hotel biz in the first place.
If the Padre Hotel is going to make money, let it. If it isn't? Pull the plug before any more of our cash gets "invested" in a place that I don't want to go to in the first place. It's careless, it's irresponsible, and even in a booming economy, it's grossly unfair to other local businesses.
And here's a little bonus for all you struggling downtown businesses: the staging area we are all contributing to will host public events sanctioned by the city, and direct even more business to the Padre Hotel and away from you.
Props to Councilmember Russell Johnson, who was the lone dissenter on this terrible idea. We owe him our thanks for his no vote. And one last thing. These city planners, who at the onset of this boondoggle said it would benefit all downtown businesses by drawing people downtown, were completely full of it. I go downtown quite a bit and I haven't noticed anybody leaving the Padre Hotel to cruise around downtown.
But then, maybe valet parking will help...
by Scott Cox
posted Jul 10 2011 9:44PM
A lot of people were clearly outraged at the Casey Anthony verdict, probably because she was clearly guilty. A bunch of people have texted me the now infamous picture of Ms. Anthony next to a shot of OJ Simpson, who, by the way, was also clearly guilty.
Lloyd Grove of "The Daily Beast" wondered if we have dumbed down our country to the point where we can actually empanel a jury of citizens too dumb to sort this stuff out, or, worse yet, be misled by defense attorneys to the point of being brainwashed into rendering these cosmically ridiculous verdicts.
Ive heard from attorney friends this verdict is a sign the system works, and that in this country we don't let our citizens get railroaded by the all-powerful court system, let alone by public opinion. I can sort of see their point I guess, but it's a lot easier for me to draw a straight line from "Jersey Shore" to "The Kardashians" to "So You Think You Can Dance?," and figure out where our national mentality is going.
Factor in the power defense attorneys have in jury selection, and I'm pretty sure I could gather up a jury that would've aquitted Bin Laden. I hope I'm wrong, but I think we're building juries from pretty weak materials these days. Either that or the prosecuters are getting less and less competent, which is scarier still. Either way, this is the third one of these cases in recent memory (let's not forget our old pal Robert Blake) where the person who clearly did it just walked away.
We have a great justice system in this country, but it relies on the faith of the people to work, and that faith is being eroded. And now we add insult to injury by making/keeping these murderers famous. Casey Anthony is gonna walk out of jail Wednesday, and my guess is she'll be doing the interview circuit pretty shortly thereafter. Or reality TV. Or porn. And it's all legal, because she's "not guilty." Nice.
And don't think for a second that the media won't stoop so low as to make her a huge celebrity. Remember OJ's book "If I Did It"? Did you know that Newscorp paid him 800 grand to write that book? That's right, Rupert Murdoch and his crew found a way to make a murderer rich. The project got scrapped after some chapters got leaked to Newsweek and a horrified nation cried foul. Well, those same people, or others just like them are looking at a profit motive in Casey Anthony. And the craziest, saddest thing is, they'll find it. Look for her soon on a bookshelf or TV near you. Soon.
by Scott Cox
posted Jun 20 2011 7:49AM
I can't help but question the timing of John Huntsman's entry into the 2012 presidential race. I certainly have nothing against the guy, in fact I think he's a solid candidate, certainly way ahead of the rest of the field in the foreign policy department, which seems to be the Achille's heel of the field this year. But I do get the feeling that Mr. Huntsman was waiting for the New Hampshire Primary to end, maybe sizing up the competition.
And, if you saw the "debate," you probably came to the same conclusion as most everyone else--that this race is Mitt Romney's to win or lose. He pretty much walked out of there as the only credible contender against President Obama, but he's also the only candidate running ahaed of "other" in GOP polling.
So, with Texas Governor Rick Perry threatening, and a handful of others at least considering, I guess that became the best possible time for Huntsman to throw his hat into the ring. The most intersesting thing about the race is that while Huntsman doesn't represent the biggest threat against Bachmann, Gingrich, and the Tea Party candidates, he sure could make things tough for Mitt. In a race with painfully little drama, or anything else of interest, this aspect of the race will certainly cause some fireworks. But, as it always does, it will come down to money.
The GOP will be watching closely to see who's the best at raising cash, and that will go a long way to determining who gets their support. And Huntsman won't be afraid to go after Romney like Tim Pawlenty is (apparently T-Paw has already decided to keep himself in the running for VP), so we may have a candidate who is intelectually superior to the rest of the field, with big-time foreign policy street cred, and a willingness to stir things up. Stay tuned. It should be fun.
by Scott Cox
posted Apr 19 2011 7:12PM
How anyone takes Donald Trump's alleged candidacy is well beyond my grasp. I can't even imagine how this clown runs a company, let alone a country.
Bear in mind that it's not that great a trick to take a giant pile of money and turn it into a slightly larger pile of money. And I'm sure that he doesn't want us to think about the bankruptcies he filed along the way to keep from losing any of that initial pile. He says that he's better qualified to be president than Mitt Romney, because he has a greater net worth. Wow.
Of course Mitt has never filed bankruptcy, and didn't start off with daddy's money. Then he said that he had dispatched a team of experts to Hawaii to solve the mystery of President Obama's birth certificate, a claim that was disproven almost before he made it. Today, he said that he would lower the price of gas by sitting down with the Saudis and telling them that their fun was over and that they had better play ball if they knew what was good for them. Putting aside the ludicrous nature of that statement, (which is pretty hard considering that any 7 year old could tell you why it wouldn't work), do we really need a president who doesn't know that we get way more oil from Canada than we do from the Saudis?
He's switched his positions on everything from abortion to NATO in the last year. (from pro to anti in both cases). His plan to deal with Libya? Take their oil. No kidding. Dealing with the Middle East has failed thus far, says "The Donald", because we haven't had the right messenger. With this torrent of idiocy going on pretty much nonstop, you might think that the GOP might actually worry about him being taken seriously.
They're not concerned in the slightest.
They know that all this news coverage is just a ploy to promote the Trump brand and boost the ratings of his vapid TV show. And the sad thing is, it's working. I guess during slow news cycles, clowns running for office are better than nothing. The bonus reason that they know he's not running is this: he would have to disclose his actual income and net worth.
Keep in mind that this guy has kept all this a secret for decades, and if the truth turns out to be that the Donald's worth is far less than he lets on, he's gonna find that those deals he's always bragging about are going to be very hard to come by. Personally, I'd be willing to bet that his balance sheet is just like his hair: it just looks like a lot.
So if you're a fan of smart Republicans running the show, relax. This is all one big realiity show, complete with an endorsement from Gary Busey. Wow indeed.
by Scott Cox
posted Mar 15 2011 12:00AM
Like any rational person, my heart goes out to the suffering people of Japan. The horrors that we've all seen unfold there are unprecedented in many of our lifetimes. The losses of life and property are unimaginable. Coupled with the earthquake/tsunami damage is the very real danger of radiation leaking into Japan's atmosphere. The Japanese people have been warned to stay a minimum of 19 miles from the damaged plants, and that perimeter will likely grow. It took a disaster of epic proportions to wreck those power plants. It took the biggest earthquake in the nation's history, a 9.0, to knock them offline, and the ensuing tsunami to flood out the backup generators that pumped the water to cool the core. So everything that had to go wrong did. So, will this tragedy have the same effect on nuclear power that the BP spill had on offshore drilling? Oh yes, only much more so. There are currently 104 reactors online in the USA right now, in 31 states. And don't think they're not being scrutinized like never before. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is being besieged with requests from lawmakers from most of those states. Everyone is hard at work calculating worst-case scenarios, trying to reassure Americans that our plants are safe. More importantly, what will be the fate of the 5 nuclear plants that are scheduled to be built in the next 10 years? Will the tragedy in Japan put those projects on hold? In the short term, absolutely, but will this current panic get them scrubbed altogether? As usual, the answer will be found in politics. Great. That should pump us all full of confidence in our country's energy future. In every state where nuclear plants are already, or are planned, there are Democrats, funded and supported by the no-nukes crowd. They are the ones currently demanding that nuclear power be brought to an abrupt halt. They have willing accomplices in the media to help spread the fear and loathing. And you can't blame folks for not wanting to be radioactive. On the other side, we have the Republicans, funded and supported by the go-nukes crowd. In nearly every state with a nuke plant, you'll find a GOP'er who took campaign cash from the companies that built the plant. So they are doing their level best to chill everybody out, lest the masses descend on their neighborhood power plant demanding action. And these guys also have plenty of media representation to sling their propoganda. So what do regular people do while all this plays out? I'm on the "chill" team. We have 3 reactors here in California that are considered "at risk" in the event of an earthquake of over 7.5. And if you look at the geography involved, a seismic event of that size wouldn't leave many people in the affected area alive anyway. I would imagine that in the event this happened, a leaking core would be amongst the least of our troubles. This is a scary way to look at the problem, but i'm not losing any sleep over nuclear safety either way. At any rate, the smartest people in the world will be examing and re-examing all these plants, current and future, for the next several years. If there are additional safety measures to be taken, I believe that we'll take tham. Safety is good. Panic is not. Let's do all we can to assist the Japanese in their time of need, and let the pocket-protector crowd handle our safety concerns moving forward. Which we will. Eventually.
by Scott Cox
posted Mar 11 2011 3:40PM
We all watched as the events of the last few weeks in Wisconsin played out, and it was surely a watershed moment in the history of organized labor in this country. I was shocked when the whole thing came to a rather abrupt halt when the Senate republicans voted 18-1 to strip the union members of the state of their collective bargaining rights. Who knew that was even legal? And if it was, why did they wait so long to do it? Most obviously, how did the democrats in Madison not see it coming? The protests over the maneuver were instant and boistrous. There were thousands of folks there, from rank-and-file union workers to professional protesters bussed or flown in from around the country. They did not take the news well. Union leaders promised the crowd that the move was in fact illegal, and would be challenged in court the next morning. But with a republican Attorney General, they must've known that was wishful thinking at best. I just can't figure out why everyone was so shocked that it all happened this way. If the gop lawyers knew that they could do it, how did the dem's legal advisors get caught so flat-footed? I'm guessing that the most surprised people of all were the 14 democrat legislators who were hiding out in Illinois to avoid the vote. And while the whole country has chosen sides on this thing and decided who the villians are, for me it's gotta be the "Wisconsin 14". See, these guys ran away to deny the state legislature the quorum require to pass the bill. Democracy doesn't work like that. You don't vapor-lock the whole process because you don't like the inevitable outcome. You vote how you vote, and you take your medicine. At least you can go back to your constituents and tell them you did the right thing. The amazing thing is, the union guys, after hearing the news of the vote, blamed the senate for voting without them! They had 3 weeks to vote on this bill, and chose to run and hide instead. So here's what they got- they lost the vote after a surprise political move, and had to return to Madison beaten, and looking like cowards. They lost the war while hiding from the battle. And while i'm sure that this story is far from over, and no matter how it turns out, I hope that these 14 democrats are remembered not for their legislative loss, but for the pitiful tactics they resorted to in the first place. Wisconsin, and the rest of the country deserves better.
by Scott Cox
posted Mar 7 2011 12:00AM
There have been a couple of major electric car launches lately- I know, because I attended both of them. Major car companies are throwing tons of cash into research and development, and I assume that they want to turn that seed money into profits in a few years, but from what i've seen, they may be fighting a losing battle. I'm all in favor of new technologies, but today's batteries may well not make the jump to tomorrow's cars. Before you lay down your hard-earned green on the latest green tech, keep in mind that these cars are designed to be urban transport- getting you from A-B as long as A and B are not too far apart. Fine for most American's commutes, but not quite up to a trip to the coast. I guess the idea is to have an electric vehicle for getting to work, and maybe even a few errands, then have a gas-powered car for weekend trips. Sounds pretty good if you have the means (and storage space) for the extra car, but if you want to be a single-car owner, the practicality factor is just too low for most of us. Also, when you are checking out the electric vehicle of your choice, make sure you know the rate of return of battery power over time. One manufacturer I spoke with told me that their car should deliver about 85% of it's charge after 4 years. One thing i've learned from dealing with car company execs, it's that you should be wary when they use the word "about". Assuming this estimate IS true, after a few years your electric car with an estimated range of 60-130 miles, is now potentially good for 48-104. And these estimates are based on one occupant on flat ground on a test track with no wind and no climate control. Your mileage WILL vary. Mix in a couple of hills or the heater or A/C, and all bets are off. Driving style will also be a huge variable. Keep these things going fast enough to keep the guy in the lifted 4x4 behind you from going all Bigfoot on you, and you'll deplete your precious voltage even faster.
So what is the current (pun intended) hot setup for people who want to go green/save money on gas? After all, fuel prices are rocketing up, and I think to stay this time. Hybrid tech has been hit-and-miss. Toyota stepped up to the plate first, and hit the first pitch out of the park. Remember the first time you saw a Prius? My brother-in-law got one when they first came out, and I can remember my brother and I calling him a hippie on my mom's front porch. That kind of thing seems pretty funny when gas is $3 a gallon. When it starts bumping up against $4, the joke is on us. And so it is. On the other side of the coin is the Chevy Volt. GM bet the farm on this thing, and the reviews have been distinctly unkind. Consumer Reports called it "not very efficient as an electric vehicle, and not very efficient as a gas vehicle in terms of fuel economy". Even Dale Earnhardt Jr.- a guy on the Chevy payroll, said that the Volt is “good product” but the “technology isn’t there yet really to provide the consumer with something that can go a little further [in mileage] than that and do a little bit better job with that.”. I assume that there was some type of meeting with someone from GM after he said that. This car pairs electric technology with a small, 40 hp gas engine, thus increasing it's range. So when you run out of juice, you're driving a very under-powered car. And this thing costs $41K, and uses premium fuel. And last time I checked, they have sold a grand total of 280 volts nationwide. Wow. It just seems to me that the best of the hybrids available today are so good that they will continue to make the most sense for anyone who wants to save gas. Even if the Prius doesn't work for you, There's some great units out there from Ford, Honda, Lexus, Hyundai, and others. I've been driving a Toyota Highlander Hybrid lately, and getting all the utility of a fully capable SUV, while getting 28mpg around town. That might not sound like a game-changer, but consider that most rigs of equal size and heft turn in mileage numbers in the teens. The LOW teens. The message here is that car companies are sorting it out- giving us practical, real-world cars that will do the job with a lot less fuel. Need a family sedan? The Hybrid Camry gets 34 mpg, and the Ford Fusion Hybrid does too. I've driven both, and they're darn good cars. Load them up with people and gear, and drive as far and as fast if you want. And one car is all you need.
I don't mean to knock all these new attempts at building the future of transportation. If you want one, get it while you still get the $7500 incentive check from the feds. And good for car companies willing to invest in ANYTHING that will save us money. As for me, I want to save gas as much as anybody. (The planet too, I guess, but mostly gas). The single best thing you can do to make our country more energy-independent is to burn less gas. Wanna flip a bil 'ol bird to the middle east? Tired of having the price of gas shoot up over "unrest in the Arab world"? Get a hybrid. And at some point in the future, we'll find out what the new tecnology will be. Who knows? maybe the guys and gals who bought electric cars, or Volts, may end up like my brother-in law- having the last laugh. I hope they do. I just think it'll be a few years coming.