Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday quick hits ... on Monday ...

Well, I didn't get to Sunday's quick hits until now. Life is just getting way too busy. Have at it:

The battle over the plug-in sports cars: WSJ Magazine, which is included monthly in the print edition of the WSJ, has a great story about the battle to see who brings the first plug-in sports car to market. The two main contenders are the Ferrari/Lotus-like Tesla, which I've written about before, and Fisker Automotive, which is unveiling its Maserati-like Karma next year:

Fisker Automotive's Karma. Picture borrowed from Wired Magazine's blog.
The Karma goes twice as long without a charge, has similar speeds, and will cost a little less than the Tesla, probably making it the winner at the end of the sprint. The Karma will also be out sooner, according to sources. Although, at $80K, it's still way out of price range for most folks, even enthusiasts.

Don't know if this is true or not: ["New solar cell material achieves almost 100% efficiency, could solve world-wide energy problems"]. But if it is, the plug-ins can't come fast enough!

Ralph Nader gives more of his take on the Big 3 bailout here: ["CEOs of Big Three Automakers Return to Capitol Hill to Plead for $34B Federal Bailout"].
Speaking of Nader, he recently polled subscribers to his Web site about what the five most important politic issues were. More than 10,000 people filled out the survey and the results are: Adopt single payer health care 18.7 percent; Full military and corporate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan 16.4 percent; Convert to a renewable energy economy 12.5 percent; Others 8.7 percent, End corporate welfare, subsidies, and bailouts 8.5 percent.
Of course, none of those things will get done even though the Democrats control both houses of the Legislative branch and will soon control the Executive branch. Isn't interesting that no matter who you vote for the corruption and the problems still remain?
I happened to catch "The McLaughlin Group" on WGBH's World last night and Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, noted that Obama's national security team looked like a third Bush term. And you know, he's absolutely right, as frightening as the thought is!
And, not unlike Nader and all his awesome ideas, single payer is DOA as a solution: [Naughty Max Baucus: "The only thing that’s not on the table is a single-payer system"]. I missed this when reading the WSJ last week but someone else caught it later.
In some ways, I don't know if I support single payer anymore in the same way I no longer support completely eliminating taxes for everyone. The simple ethos of conservatives - that if you don't have people buying into a system, they won't understand it - seems logical to me. More than 30 percent of the country pays $0 in income taxes so they don't care a thing about government spending or handouts or whatever. They have nothing invested in it. Similarly, if single payer is enacted, how long before there are sugar taxes - like the ones on ciggies - or regulation of what someone eats? It's all a bit scary if you think about it. Granted, the system that exists now is totally broken and health care, like so many other things, should not be a huge profit commodity. But until we find a better solution, I don't know what we do. Government doing everything is not the answer in my mind but government doing absolutely nothing isn't the answer either.

And what about this idea: ["Ocean currents can power the world, say scientists"]. Always remember, as the corporate whores line up at the government trough and we continue to piss away money in the rathole that is Iraq, that there is never any money for things like this. Projects that will create millions of jobs and get us off of fossil fuels once and for all. will never be funded no matter who controls Washington. Nope, no money for that, but billions and billions for greedsters, distractors, and crooks.

If most folks didn't know that Obama was a smoker they do now: ["Obama says he won't be smoking in White House"]. This brings up all kinds of visuals. Obama, skulking out the back door of the White House to sneak a butt with all the hired help that having given up the addiction yet. Will staffers be going out to local gas station late at night to grab a pack for the prez-elect when he runs out? Will he have SS protection while he is in the smoking area? Will he toss his butt into a can next to the door or will he grind it into the ground and leave it for the sweepers to come and pick up like most folks? Oh man.

My friend Donna Halper has a new book out on talk radio: ["Icons of Talk"]. This is the expensive college print edition. She says it will eventually be parceled out to another publisher which will offer a more affordable, mass market edition. I can hardly wait.

Not unlike a lot of folks, I'm totally pulling back on holiday spending. This year is going to be a bit weird, with some folks here and other folks there. So, beyond taking a day or two off and relaxing and watching "It's a Wonderful Life" a couple of times, the holiday isn't going to be the same. However, some folks are trying to redefine Christmas entirely, as noted here: ["Redefine Christmas"]. And maybe that's not such a bad idea after all.
Speaking of Christmas, you have to love Best Buy's new slogan: "You, Happier." Well, I guess in some ways. Upgrading, say, a 27-inch tube TV to a 42-inch flat screen can make someone happier ... especially if they have a bunch of kids and they can no longer afford to go to the theatre or anything. Plus, at 18 months no financing, you're talking $55 a month for better visuals. And that's a small price to pay when you consider it.
And how about WalMart and Target, totally pitching everything in their stores as affordable. I mean, they were way ahead of the curve, shifting their slogans the minute the stock market plummeted.
But then there are silly marketers who have no concept of reality, like Hyundai, running "buy a car for Christmas" ads in the middle of football games, ad nauseum. It's one thing to put a bow on a Lexus but a Hyundai? Nah.
And lastly, I'll say this again: Wives, lovers, girlfs, guys do not - I repeat, DO NOT - want razors for Christmas. Don't believe the hype. We don't want them for Christmas. Shaving is work, not fun, even if it gets every strand of hair under the chin!

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