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When it rains, it pours

April 28, 2009 Leave a comment

When it rains, it pours. And news media is the weatherman who embellishes every rain drop. As if the current financial crisis wasn’t bad enough now there’s the swine flu outbreak.

But what’s worse – so worse – is that the news media has been so incredibly negative and reporting the absolute worse through all this. What contributed to the cause of the current financial crisis was bad, yes, but when the news media began reporting on it they painted a much more grim picture. As a result, many more people dumped their stock which sent us further down the spiral. And the news grew worse. Further and further we go.

And now we have the swine flu. It’s serious, but very few people who have contracted the virus have actually died from it. Now tonight they are reporting a global outbreak. But what’s real is that 2 people returning home from Mexico to the UK have the virus and are recovering in isolation rooms in hospitals.

Already the virus is having a disastrous effect on airline travel and their stock, so further down the spiral we go.

News media needs to drop the charade of reporting what they think people want to hear, and start actually reporting good news that people actually do want to hear.

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Categories: Rants

An Overreaction: the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008

February 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Lead is dangerous. Phthalates probably not so much. But in 2008 both lead in children’s toys from China and phthalates found in most plastics we’ve been using since the 1920s caused a scare like the saccharin scare that peaked in 1977.

At the height of this new scare and while the U.S. economy was already slipping into turmoil, President Bush passed into law the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (summary). The result: thousands if not millions of children’s toys, clothing, and furniture were pulled from resellers like Goodwill and the YMCA. These items can’t even be sold at garage sales.

So with people carefully watching their own budgets when demand for used toys and clothing is higher, there will be no supply. At least, not until mandatory and expensive testing must be done. Manufacturers for a variety of reasons cannot meet the dates and its far too expensive for resellers to test. According to WDBJ7, their local YMCA generates only $800 to $1,000 a month from their used toy selection and testing would cost about $100,000. so logically, they pulled all toys. While they hopefully derive a sustainable amount of revenue from other sales, the consumer is who is affected.

Manufacturers are complaining that the Act fails to take U.S. manufacturing practices already carefully controlled into account – practices that are hardly regulated in China obviously. So it seems rational to cut off the supply of toys from China. Haven’t we bolstered other countries’ economies enough already? This should also contribute higher internal revenue since that money is not leaving the country.

And phthalates? One would have to be exposed to incredible amounts to possibly be affected. The greatest potential for harm, a study shows, comes from exposure during pregnancy. So add that to the list of things to avoid when women are pregnant.

Personal responsibility is key here. So many people – especially in the U.S. it seems – want to blame someone else. If a baby chokes on a toy, is the toy manufacturer at fault or the parents for letting that baby play with the toy? Some level of responsibility from marketing is required to avoid labeling such toys for smaller children, but the buck stops at the parents.

And until people learn personal reasonability, organizations such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission will continue tell us what we can and cannot use regardless of the expense to consumers, retailers, and U.S. manufacturers.

Categories: Rants

Accidents Day and Night

June 22, 2007 Leave a comment

Thursday nights for the past few months I have spent at work, working on the Windows Installer XML, or WiX, project. I left late last night – about 1:40 AM. I didn’t get home till 2:40 AM. It’s usually a 15 minute drive.

Traffic on I-405 was backed up for miles because some possibly drunk idiot crossed into a construction zone, hit a track, and killed one construction worker and injuring another. The guy had to be speeding, too, because there was nothing left of the front end of his SUV. Frankly, I’m surprised he even survived.

That wasn’t the first accident I had to sit through on "Thursday". That morning a typical 5-minute drive down 100th Ave NE took 30 minutes because of another accident. In this case everyone was fine, and the police really should’ve took their statements off to the side of the road instead of blocking morning rush hour traffic.

People need to slow down, wake up, pay attention to traffic, and stop driving drunk. Just the other day a lady here tied the record for the highest blood alcohol level: .50! It doesn’t help there are already too many people here and the landscape doesn’t exactly yield the best road plans.

The other day I was reading something and someone actually said that rural people should just move into the city. Please no. For one, we need our farmers – the real backbone of society – and there’s already too many people in cities.

Categories: Rants

Liberal Expenditures on Education

December 20, 2006 Leave a comment
I’m conservative, but close to the middle. I only mention that because when I say I was happy – and still am – about our democratic governor, Christine Gregoire, hopefully that means a little more to readers. She recently outlined a plan to spend almost $30 billion on education, and the liberal media is asking if this liberal governor is spending too liberally. That’s just the funny part.
 
But this is on education – something this state seriously needs help on, if not the whole country. Yeah, we have the richest man in the world here and a lot of other extremely bright and rich people, but meanwhile our education level is one of the worst in the country. And that’s in a country that is toward the bottom of all countries in the world. If we don’t educate our youth better, we will not survive as a country.
 
Is $30 billion too much? I won’t say because I don’t know all the details of the plan, but I applaud Gregoire for putting focus on areas that will hopefully ensure we don’t have much greater problems than a few polluted beaches; not that I’m for that, but there’s typically a correlation between education, discipline, and respect, the latter of which will help eventually clean-up our environment by keeping it clean.
Categories: Rants

Affirmation of Stupidity and Craziness

December 16, 2006 Leave a comment

During the big blackout, I saw further proof of just how stupid the seeming majority of people can be. Practically every traffic light became a four-way stop. Yet, either because people didn’t understand the concept of "taking turns" – or they just didn’t care – it was a mess. Honking horns at each other was a rarity around here until yesterday.

There was also many instances of fire engine sirens, because of things like this. I’m betting more than a few people didn’t know how to use their fireplace, too. When you invite fire into your home, great care must be taken.

On a lighter side, how crazy for coffee people here in the greater Seattle area are because abundantly apparent. That little area of Bellevue that had electricity also had one thing that attracted people from literally miles around: Starbucks. Because Tracy had to go into work – even though they had only emergency power and no customers – she and another girl took some food and drink orders and went to that Starbucks to see long lines of people – some waiting up to an hour. One lady that helped Tracy and the other girl get all the stuff in the care said she drove from Mercer Island that sits between Bellevue and Seattle in Lake Washington, and further south still from this now-popular Starbucks.

We also went to the grocery store to pick up some variety in canned foods. We had plenty for days at home, but that was only tuna, Bushes baked beans (like there’s any other), and various soups. Since we have a big gas grill, we picked up some cans of chili – which was about all that was left. We ran into my general manager at Microsoft, so I hope she didn’t think we were unprepared, though we could’ve used more firewood.

Categories: Rants

Student Drivers

July 21, 2006 Leave a comment
Twice in the last week while driving over the 51st St. bridge on the way to home, I’ve seen student drivers in commercial driving education vehicles – for those times when apparently the kids’ parents are too busy to teach their kids themselves.
 
Both times I’ve seen these student driver cars slow down – almost stop – in the middle of the lane to merge into the other, though they had plenty of time to do so later. One of these cars even started to stop at a freshly green light.
 
Now, I realize everyone has to learn, but what were these kids doing the last 14 or 15 years (or maybe even more) while their parents were driving? Playing with their GameBoys? Watching a DVD in the back seat?
 
Children are suppose to learn from their parents, both by example and through instruction. I watched my dad drive manual transmission in his ’69 Charger for years. One weekend when my parents were away, our Plymouth Reliant (yeah, really reliant!) broke down and I need to get to work. Reluctantly – yet, excitedly – I jumped in dad’s Charger and mimicked what he did. Within a couple of blocks I got the hang of basic shifting, and by work I figured it out (not to say it was perfectly smooth shifting). I drove a ’76 Chevy Vega with manual transmission after that through high school, and now drive an ’05 Audi A4 with manual transmission (and 200 HP at a mere 1,500 RPM!).
 
Tracy and I have talked about this, too. There’s so much to see outside when traveling, especially in such a beautiful state as Washington (just look at the photos on this site). Driving around the Midwest from Colorado to Missouri, and from Minnesota to Kansas there was also still things to see. Now, I can understand along some stretches where a DVD player might be handy to keep the kids quiet, but they could also read. If we do replace Tracy’s ’02 Saturn L200 eventually with a minivan or SUV (of the non-behemoth variety) and it has a DVD player, there certainly will be restrictions.
 
Parents: teach your kids. Kids: watch your parents. There’s a lot to learn in life and much to see and experience.
Categories: Rants

Lost Mail

February 20, 2006 Leave a comment

There were times, I’m sure, where Pony Express riders were ambushed and mail was lost, but in this day and age what’s the excuse for the United States Postal Service? Tracy and I sent my brother a birthday card and something else we’ll have to replace that was in it and he said a few days ago it hadn’t arrived yet. I’ll try to find an electronic means first before trying to resend it so I can be sure it gets there this time. And the Post Office wonders why people prefer email (besides the fact it’s virtually free).

Sorry, Kyle, we’ll get it to you somehow. I very much doubt it’s worth tracking down what happened if even possible.

Categories: Rants