Saturday, June 11, 2005

It's been a looooonng time since I got all choked up over a news story.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I'm the first to admit that I have problems budgeting my money, and then following my budget. In a perfect world, beer would be free, for example.

For the last year, Bank One (now Chase) and I have been playing a game of "Which card is behind." A few years ago, I got a Wachovia MasterCard. Then I got a Bank One Visa card. A year or so later, I got a letter from Bank One telling me they had purchased my account from Wachovia and, that beginning June 1, I should start making my payments to them, not to Wachovia. So I did what they said. I got three more Wachovia bills, all with a balance of $0.00.

Six months later, I try to pay my first Bank One Visa online. I can't log in. WTF? So I call. The dronette at customer service informs me that since I hadn't paid the Mastercard for six months, they have closed this account. I try to map the logic out on that statement by saying, "So I don't pay a card with a balance of $0 for six months and you cancel a card with a balance, and the card that replaces the card I didn't pay is still good?" "Yes."

Right then, Bank One becomes my least favorite creditor. When I hit my serious financial problems a few months later, Bank One was the last one to get paid. Soo every other month I'd have to pay one card twice, and screw the other card by not paying.

Why is creditors call when you have less than $100 bucks in your checking account and demand a check by phone for $200? Anyway, tonight, I spoke with a nice guy who said really dumb things. To be fair, he's reading a script so Chase can't be sued by me when I say "He didn't say that!"

I refuse to do check by phone. I won't give my Social Security number over the phone, even when the drone at the credit card company can recite the last four digits. I refuse to my driver's license number over the phone. And I flatly refuse to give my checking account information over the phone.

So I tell him my plan, and pretends to pretend to beleive me. Then he tells me that, in order to avoid an over limit fee, a late fee, and reporting to the credit company (which he already said had happened), I needed to to pay $1223 by next Friday.

I laughed. Hard! Between ragged breaths I tell him I will get paid about $500 next week, and that he was going to just have to report me.

I think I offended him by not begging him for mercy. Or maybe I screwed myself by not begging for mercy.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Why now?

CNN ran an article reporting that Bush and Kerry had similar grades during their time at Yale.

Sen. John F. Kerry's grade average at Yale University was virtually identical to President Bush's record there, despite repeated portrayals of Kerry as the more intellectual candidate during the 2004 presidential campaign.

I read that sentence to one of my co-workers and she said, "My dog would be considered more intellectual that Bush."

"Maybe he should go to Yale," I said.

So Kerry's a moron, too, eh?

In light of my recent complaints about the media, I just wonder why, eight months after the election, the press is telling us that Bush is as smart as Kerry, or, if your prefer, Kerry is as stupid as Bush? Now that Kerry has been defeated he's being devalued by the Democratic Party? Or is someone trying to elevate Bush's stature? Or is someone trying to put a dent in Bush's perceived popularity?Or is Kerry hoping to come across more as a common man for his next attempt at the White House?

More importantly, who cares?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Brief History of Media Bias

Every government seeks to control the media. That we have Freedom of the Press implies the British government oppressed the press before. So why do Conservatives complain of media bias? Why do the Liberals scream about the bias on Fox?

I blame it on Woodward and Berstein.

The man!  The Legend! LOU GRANT!

After they won the Pulitzer for exposing Nixon's sins, all the cop shows on TV were cancelled, and there dozens of reporter shows. Even tiny little Fredericksburg High School had a journalism department. We published a bi-weekly 8-pager called the Campus Comet. I even had a column called "The Soapbox" for two years. On TV, Ed Asner moved from comedy to drama in "Lou Grant." I remember that enrollment in journalism schools jumped. Most of the new journalist wanted to do what Woodward and Bernstein did, change the world.

Every journalist since then has tried to win their own Pulitzer by investigating any whif of Presidential scandal and, by extension, all political wrong-doing. Want proof? 'Kay: Why was Whitewater such a heinous crime only until Clinton left office? If it was such a big deal, why aren't there still ongoing investigations? Could it be the media was trying to "Woodward and Bernstein" Clinton?

Today, journalists are inventing (or at the very least, buying into) stories about Bush's sins. Witness Dan Rather's fall from grace. It all began when he ambushed Bush Sr. on TV, and Bush Sr. came out the winner. Newsweek reported that the Koran was flushed down a toilet based on the word of one person. In the resulting furor, 18 people were said to have died. Only, it didn't happen. The media said, "Oops! We did it again!"

Our next President will be a Democrat. (Bookmark this site NOW!) The Conservative whipping dog, the Liberal media, will do everything in its power to expose him as a crook.

Hello! He'll be a politician. By definition, he'll be a crook. Can we agree now not to act surprised?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The media isn't biased at all

Did you know there were 3000 kidnappings in Mexico in 2001? Neither did I. The media hasn't been reporting about these kidnappings. Could it be that's because the victims aren't blonde?

Remember the Runaway Bride? Rather than 'fess up and admit she got cold feet, she created a kidnapping story. CNN and FNN and HNN had hourly updates on the story. It should have been headlined, "Attractive white woman kidnapped!"

Seven days ago Karen Janssen disappeared in Aruba while on a trip celebrating her graduation from High School. (WTF? I celebrated by going to work the next day, for crying out loud! But I digress.) Aruba is generally considered a safe place. To quote a CNN article from June 3:

The island of 72,000 off the coast of Venezuela has a reputation of being all but free of crime for tourists.

There was one murder and six rapes last year and two murders and three rapes this year. But all the rapes were committed by local men against local women. The two murders involved drug addicts who died in knife fights.

Now despite the fact that they added a murder in a paragraph, the article basically says, "But now that a white, blonde girl has been kidnapped, all that is over."

They have apparently caught the persons responsible for her disappearance. Good. If they killed her, I hope they fry.

Do you think we'll every see a story about the kidnapping of an ugly, non-white person? Hell, even the OJ trials were more about the murder of an attractive white woman, and her black ex-husband was the prime suspect.

Tell me again that the media is unbiased. Someone, please tell me that CNN is less biased than Fox News. I could use a laugh.

Tomorrow, my thoughts on why the media is biased.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I really shouldn't read as much as I do. Here's something else that's just a tad silly.

In an effort to cut down on traffic congeston, The United Kingdom is considering a "Pay-as-you-go" road tax. This £1.34/mile (less on rural roads) tax would allegedly replace the road use tax and the gas tax. GPS units installed in every car would report the milage to the government.

So let's see if I have the logic of the proposal right. Road taxes would disappear. I have no clue how much that is, but I can assume that it's a nice little saving for the citizenry. Then the gas tax would be cut. That would be significant.

In the US, the Feds charge $.18 per gallon. Then each State taxes gas. In Texas, we pay an extra $.20. That's $.38 per gallon. With current gas prices at $2.05/gallon, that means gas retails at $1.67/gallon, and the gas companies had recorded record profits this year. If we assume that our local gas retailer makes a $.05/gallon (which is probably high), then the gas companies sell the gas for $1.62. And they've made record profits this year. But I digress.

Anyway, the goal of this plan is to reduce driving, right? That's the only way I can see to reduce congestion. But instead, some policy wonk has decided that taxing milage is the way to reduce congestion. Because if people have to pay a lot to drive a lot, they won't drive.

Why don't they just pass a law requiring people to live within a mile from their place of work?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Chasing the Sun Revamp

I have spent the last few days immersed in a sea of HTML as I work on updating one of my other sites. I created a template that would allow both of my visitors to more easily navigate the site. ;)

Originally, I had toyed around with a CSS based design, but, let's face it, as pretty as CSS looks, it's awfully easy to screw things up, and damn near impossible to fix once published. At least it is for me. So I used a three column table as the basis for my design.

I still have to redo a couple of pages, and that entails changing 24+ links on each page, but when I'm finished, navigating the site should be a lot simpler.

If you can spare a few moments from your BlogExplosion clicking, stop by the site and let me know what you think about how it looks, or any ideas you have for enhancements.