Friday, June 26, 2009

Liberal, Conservative, Progressive, Capitalist, Socialist, Libertarian, Marxist, Constitutionalism, and everything else

One of the people at my work gave me three hours of Glenn Beck to listen to (actually less than 3 hours, because there were no commercials.) I believe the 3 hours were from the show Glenn Beck did on June 9, 2009. Glenn's show pitted Progressives vs the Founding Fathers of the country. He indicated that there is a move toward a rejection of the Founding Fathers and a movement towards a Great Society. This Society is to be a soft dictatorship, much like the early days of the Mussolini. Glenn indicated that the Progressive philosophy has infiltrated both the Republican and Democrat parties, and that we are in the last stages of the Progressives' take-over of the United States government that first started in the 1920's. He also stated that those that don't support the Progressives' viewpoint are outnumbered as the the Progressives have controlled the writing of history and have led the United States down a slippery slope of tolerance and changeable values, and that the "rule of law" is being overturned in favor of the "rule of men". Glenn said that "law should be predictable" and that by Obama appointing "Czars" over various industries, the "rule of men" was usurping the "rule of law". Further, Glenn is of the opinion that Progressivism is a cancer that causes cultures that embrace it to become dead.

That sounded quite conspiratorial to me, so I decided to do some Wiki-ing to see if I could make heads or tails of all of this.

According to Wikipedia, the Progressive ideology favors or advocates changes or reforms usually in a statist or egalitarian (i.e. participants of society are equal standing and equal access to the economic resources of power, wealth, and contribution) direction for economic policies (government management) and liberal direction for social policies (personal choice). Progressivism made great strides under Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Progressivists tend to support interventionist economics (income redistribution) and oppose the growing influence of corporations. Progressives support organized labor and trade unions, introduce a living wage, and often support the creation of a universal health care system. They are concerned with environmentalism and are often skeptical of the government, positioning themselves as whistleblowers and advocates of governmental reform. Progressivism aims to achieve gradual social change, and most progressives are opposed to violent revolution. Some Progressives advocate a planned economy (similar to what Socialism advocates), some advocate both public and private ownership of companies, and others lean toward social democracy (reformation of capitalism through state regulation and the creation of programs that work to counteract or remove social injustice and inefficiencies they see as inherent in capitalism).

After reading all of this, I am of the opinion that "Yes", Obama is a Progressive. In listening to him speak, it is very apparent that he wants to remove social injustice and inefficiencies he sees in capitalism. He supports unions and a universal healthcare system. He has requested reform in government and he wants to redistribute wealth.

Is Obama the next Mussolini? I don't see think so; no more than Teddy, FDR, Taft, Wilson, or Johnson were. Is what Obama and the government doing right now the best thing for the United States? I'm not sure. Certainly the thinking is utilitarian as they are trying to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

Many of the decisions that have been made over the course of the last year have been utilitarian as there would have been significant pain for a great number of people had the Federal Reserve and the United States government not interceded in the financial system. Is there a possibility that we could still see significant pain for a great number of people? Yes, unemployment is hovering close to 10% and if the steps that have been taken don't work, this number will be much higher. Would we have been better-off by not doing anything? Did we just delay the inevitable collapse with a bandaid? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Save the Bloggers & The Clock Tower!

In my quest to find the ultimate in web-site monetization solutions, I came across Contenture.com today. If you visit the site, it boldly says, "Welcome to the Micropayment Revolution". Normally, web content providers utilize ads and links that people click on to produce revenue. According to Contenture, "The internet as we know it is unsustainable. Sites and services are closing left and right because ads often don't even cover the cost of the servers that are delivering the content."

What is Contenture's solution? Charge web-surfers $5.99 a month, take 20% off the top to cover its costs (versus the normal 50% Pay Per Click providers take), and then allocate the remaining monthly amount of $4.79 to the network of Contenture web-sites visited by the web-surfer during the month (thereby rewarding the web-sites most frequented by Contenture users). So Contenture users seem to pay out of the goodness of their hearts to keep their regularly frequented content providers in business. Scoonie and I thought about this for a minute and then said, "No"; so do we need to be more giving? Does it make sense to pay for something that is normally free?

Looking closer at the arrangement, I note that Contenture does have some features that may provide incentives for people to become a Contenture user. These features include giving paying members: (1) priority access to new articles, (2) exclusive access to their archives, (3) special commenting abilities, (4) an ad free experience on their network of web-sites, etc. Contenture calls these "premium level" features and/or "microservices".

Well, now that I think of it, the ad free experience may be worth the $5.99 a month to Scoonie if web-sites go to audio ads!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Tribe has Spoken

The result of the poll for whether my blog should have theme music is 6 for and 4 against. However, in reading the comments, most of those that voted for theme music also said that they would pause the theme music, thus I took that as a "it might bother me, but I don't want to tell you how to run your blog." So I'm discontinuing it for now, but might bring back the music at a later date and time if I go through blog music withdrawals.

I did find the next new thing in web-site advertising - pay per play online audio ads. Everyone should stop and say Ooooh! That's right, if the Adsense, Infolinks, Kontera, and Widgetbucks ads don't drive you up a wall, the pay per play audio ads will finish you off. Take a look at these. Audio ads play for 5 seconds automatically when someone visits a web-site and then every 3 minutes thereafter. Ooooh! So not only can I inundate you with ads all over my blog, I can make you listen to them too! And for each audio ad you hear, I get paid a few pennies! No clicking involved!

I've run into a problem though; Scoonie says she will never look at or read my blog again if I add the audio ads; something about her volume on her computer being set to blaring and didn't want to make all the hair on her head stand on end. Oh well, since I don't want to alienate my loyal readership, I guess I will keep looking for the next big thing.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Those are big CD's...Right!

Well it's Father's Day and what would Father's Day be without a nice story. So here goes. Yesterday Scoonie took me out on a pre-Father's Day date. We went to Cafe Rio, Radio Shack, Best Buy, 7-11, and Deseret Industries. You might wonder why we did that, but here's more information. Scoonie generously gave me her old I-pod to see if I can get my 1970 stereo at work play I-tunes. Turns out that if you use the Auxilary connections in the back and turn the dial on the radio to Auxilary, you can listen to I-tunes...the only problem, the voice track either doesn't work on some songs or sounds like it is in a tin can. Thus, the stops at Radio Shack and Best Buy - it turns out that, according to the guy at Best Buy, music technology has become more sophisticated over the years and the radio we are plugging the I-pod into is probably not compatible, go figure. The 7-11 stop was to fill up my Miata with gas and to pick up a slurpee for me and a drink for Scoonie (it gets warm when you drive around with the top of your convertible down in Las Vegas in the summer-time.)

So why the stop at Deseret Industries? They've got records and the records are dirt cheap. Twenty five cents a record cheap. So we're going through the stack of records and they have a nice selection of Guy Lombardo and Christmas music, not to mention the polynesian selection, but I ended up with the following:

1) The King James version of Old Testament books of Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Job all narrated by Alexander Scourby (I must say this was quite the find)
2) My Fair Lady
3) Simon & Garfunkel "Sounds of Silence"
4) Show Stoppers in Dance Time (includes medleys from South Pacific, Oklahoma, Carousel, Show Boat, and the King and I)
5) The Best of Ferrante & Teicher (includes Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet, Mozart Piano Concerto No 21, The Sound of Silence, Midnight Cowboy, Lay Lady Lay, Something, Honey, Sunny, Little Green Apples, El Condor Pasa, MacArthur Park, Close to You, Born Free, For Once in My Life, Going Out of My Head, Can't Stop Loving You, and A Familiar Concerto - I don't recognize half the songs, but the few I recognize are good ones.)
6) Ferrante & Teicher The People's Choice (includes Hello Dolly, Everybody Loves Somebody, The Girl from Ipanema, And I love Her, Call Me Irresponsible, People, Wives and Lovers, Charade, Love Me with all Your Heart, Georgia on My Mind, The Seventh Dawn, and The James Bond Theme - The James Bond Theme just pushed this record over the top on this one)
7) Happy Days are Here Again (includes Happy Days are Here Again, Hello Hello Hello!, Golden Slippers, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Sing a Little Melody, Alabama Jubilee, Four Leaf Clover, You are My Sunshine, There's Something Nice, Ma - She's Makin' Eyes at Me - You Are My Sunshine made this record a no brainer)

I did purchase one more additional record, a record that makes it the find of all Deseret Industry finds and made the whole trip that much more special; here are the pics:


That's right, Bill Cosby's first record! It was recorded live at The Bitter End and includes the following bits:

1) A Nut in Every Car
2) Toss of the Coin
3) Little Tiny Hairs
4) Noah: Right!
5) Noah: And the Neighbor
6) Noah: Me and You, Lord
7) Superman
8) Hoof and Mouth
9) Greasy Kid Stuff
10) The Difference Between Men and Women
11) The Pep Talk
12) Karate

On the back of the record cover Allan Sherman writes, "Bill Cosby's 'Noah'...is a masterpiece, even though nobody has heard it yet...It's going to be a classic, and that means two things: first, a lot of comics will steal it, even though no one will ever do it as well as Bill; and second, if Bill wanted to, he could make a living for the rest of his life just from the excitement and joy this one great bit will create. But Bill, if I am any judge of talent, will keep coming up with fresh, new material and will grow everyday in stature and importance on the American comedy scene." Yeah, good call Allan.

So, to top off this wonderful day, we came home and unloaded all the goodies we got at Deseret Industries for $15 (Scoonie picked up a couple of other things too that's why the total is so much) and one of the little Guests visting us this weekend saw the bag of records, picked up one of the records, looked at it and then remarked, "Those are big CD's". To which Scoonie replied, "Right!"

None dare call it conspiracy

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Monster Miata

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Flying in a squirrel suit

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