Economics Rant

The ONE Campaign

You’ve probably seen the commercial. Various celebrities including Cameron Diaz, Bono, and Brad Pitt flash on screen in a subdued black and white tint trying to mobilize us to some action. At the end Brad assures us that they “don’t want your money, we want your voice.”

Already skeptical of the campaign, I visited the given address. The cause is definitely noble — to fight the global AIDS epidemic and extreme poverty. The group wishes to get the U.S. government to allocate an additional one percent of the budget (thus the name) toward providing aid to the poorest of countries by mobilizing voters across the nation.

Again, this is a noble cause. However, the tagline “we don’t want your money, we want your voice” is misleading because any money allocated through the federal government budget IS our money. People seem to neglect this fact all the time. Do you pay additional taxes to support such initiatives, or do you keep your money and donate to charitable causes privately? Shouldn’t we have this choice? I would rather keep the money and donate to the causes I felt were most important. Yes, most likely fewer people would voluntarily donate as opposed to involuntary donation (i.e. taxes), but shouldn’t we decide where our money goes? Because, ultimately only we, and not the government, can use our money most efficiently.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of the private citizen as evidenced by the amazing donations to tsunami relief.


Why the Original Iron Chef is Better than Iron Chef America

The original Iron Chef is better because it has theme ingredients like sea cucumber, sea urchin, eel, and freakin’ swallow’s nest.

I’m sorry, but cheese and catfish cannot measure up to these.

Opinion Random

The Meme, continue I must

A meme has been thrown my way by Jeremy at The LCD, so I feel compelled to continue it.

Behold, the Caesar’s Bath meme! List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can’t really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), “Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice.”

  1. Podcasting – The blog world is always buzzing about it, but, in the interest of full disclosure, I honestly don’t even know what it entails. I’ll leave it to the iPod toters.
  2. Kanye West – It seems that he is the cool, neato rapper (R&B artist?) to listen to. I don’t understand why. His music sounds like all of the others’.
  3. – I’ve gathered that one can add links and incorporate links into one’s blog with it. What am I missing exactly?
  4. Jeans with decidedly different fading on the legs – It looks horrible. Seriously. Why can’t I just get a pair of jeans with a nice dark wash all over?
  5. Paris Hilton life chronicling – Why do we care what this person does? She has done absolutely nothing in her life (besides being rich) that should garner such attention. Plus, if I hear “that’s hot” one more time, I may snap.

And, now I punt the meme onto Tim and Web.

Education Opinion

Special Report: Reg Weaver, NEA President

Quite some time ago, Reg Weaver, National Education Association President, spoke at Carroll. As I have lots of opinions on education, I felt compelled to attend.

Being the geek I am, I came armed with a notebook and pen so as to be able to jot down any pieces of interest. Because of flight delays, Mr. Weaver was almost an hour late arriving. I passed the time drinking coffee and perusing old data structures notes — Big O analysis, C++ class templating, Dequeues, various sorting algorithms, and the like.

After a time, the Montana Education Association President stepped up to give a short precursor speech as we all continued to wait. Of course, as Montana education funding has been a huge topic in Montana and both sides have been in court duking it out, the MEA president talked mostly about that. (I should stop right now and let you know that I do not have great feelings towards unions — especially those in the education sector.) I kind of quit listening to MEA President Eric Feaver when he talked about Montana teachers’ salaries. His summary, regarding salaries, was “$30,000 is great, but they could go work in Nevada for $40,000.” First of all, in Montana, $30,000 is pretty good for a 9 month job. I’m sorry if I sound rude, but it’s true. Also, depending on which part of Nevada one is in, there is a much different (higher) cost of living than in Montana. Of course salaries will be disparate.

Finally, Reg Weaver arrived. He’s a small, but dynamic man. I could immediately feel his fervor. And I immediately liked the guy. That’s not to say that I agreed with his message, but I liked the messenger.

What proceeded can be called nothing but a union rally. I came expecting a speech regarding solutions to the so-called “education crisis” occurring across the nation. I received nothing of the sort. The ensuing speech involved various topics including the underfunding of schools, funding inequality, social justice in K-12, and jobs going overseas (because that takes away tax money that could go to education — don’t get me started). He also commented “how can we expect children to do better with [so much] bureaucracy, paperwork, and testing?” (Apparently the bureaucracy of the NEA is okay though. Check out this book for more on the NEA. It’s quite the eyeopener).

There were lots of criticisms thrown about, but distressingly missing were possible SOLUTIONS to the problems of our education system. I found this the most frustrating. Yes, there are problems in our education system, but how are we going to fix them? I have my ideas, however, I wanted to hear Mr. Weaver’s. And, no, more money is not the answer. Also, notably absent was any regard for economics’ place in education.

As much as I liked Mr. Weaver, I very much disliked the union rally atmosphere that took hold after his arrival. I was uncomfortable. Most everyone in attendance (save for a few students most likely attending for the promise of extra credit) was an educator and, thus, a member of the NEA. I felt silly not clapping and yelling. However, I couldn’t clap and yell for something I firmly disagree with. It’s time for the NEA to wake up and realize they need to stop complaining and start proposing legitimate solutions. It would also be nice if they recognized that they are part of the problem.


Some People’s Kids

From an IMDB user comment on the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy”:

I wasn’t expecting Meredith Grey to be the central character.

I repeat, the show is called “GREY’s Anatomy.”


Procrastination Has Its Rewards

While going through a basket I hadn’t unpacked since returning from my Christmas holiday, I found $10 cash. Yes, people, ten whole dollars.


The Internet and April Fools Day

The relationship between the Internet and April Fools Day is such that I couldn’t believe anything I read on the Internet Friday. It’s funny at first, but once I have to read every single thing with my bull$@!# radar on, it gets old (*ahem* Slashdot). I did document a few I found amusing.

Gmail April 1 fun

I found the Gmail storage expansion graph the most humorous. And, really how can you compete with a service that will offer infinity + 1 email storage?

PHP April 1 fun

It took me nearly a day of use to realize why I thought something seemed different. Conclusion above.

Woot April 1 fun

Everyday could be a prank day at Woot, however, for April Fools Day they brought out the moving buy button. Not only did one get to chase it around the screen, it resized the browser window. Of course, I only came across the gag after it was the “Sold Out” button. Apparently, enough people still figured out how to buy the item of the day.

Opinion Politics

Montana, Home of Vigilante Justice, Officially Dislikes the PATRIOT Act

I’m glad to report that on Friday Montana legislators passed a resolution criticizing the PATRIOT Act. The resolution is said to be the most strongly worded state criticism of the PATRIOT Act. Obviously it’s just a resolution, and that doesn’t mean much to the federal government. However, I still appreciate the Montana legislators passing such a resolution. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the PATRIOT Act is a horrible intrusion of our constitutional rights.


My Red Kitchen Part Two

KitchenAid coffee grinder
There’s a new member of the red kitchen family: the KitchenAid coffee grinder. It’s a small, but necessary step in my quest to secure all red kitchen small appliances.

This should also make Lindsey happy as I just noticed this was her suggestion.



Ha WordPress!

I think I managed to defeat WordPress before it defeated me again. Exhibit A: My new fangled WordPress theme. is now sporting an adapted version of Ian Main’s Green Marinée theme.

I still have a few main pages to convert to the paging system in WordPress before the template system is fully operational, but I’m about to lose an hour of sleep so I’m going to bed.

UPDATE: Too late. Lost it already. I’m still stepping away from the laptop now.