A Shining Age of Human Liberty

During the speech last night by Dubya, he gave us some inspirational words – namely that his motivation shall “lead the 21st century into a shining age of human liberty”. While of course he wouldn’t say anything else, since he’s in a position whereby it is his job to make sure that you are inspired, I have to wonder if anyone else was as amused by this position as I was.

If anything, we as a country have done nothing but lost liberty since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and while I don’t necessarily agree with him in many cases, I would generally say that he at least tries in most cases. Or at least he tries to make us think that he is trying. What becomes difficult for him is trying to convince a populace that security is a difficult concept in such a world. But in this case, it’s less of a best-case scenario and more of a flat-out lie.

While people will naturally define liberty differently, as they should, I think most would agree that there are some things that you perhaps would sacrifice in exchange for security. For instance, having to take off your shoes as you go through security at the airport. It doesn’t make anything any safer, but if it makes someone a little happier, what the heck. It’s a minor inconvenience in the scheme of things. But when does it stop?

Continue reading “A Shining Age of Human Liberty”

Compact Fluorescent vs. Incandescent

After reading about Wal-Mart‘s intention to push swirls to their customers, I broke out my own 4-pack of swirls that had been hiding in the closet for some time to start an experiment of sorts. Yes, those of you with a sense of humor can say that I came out of the closet. Are you ready for me to continue?

You see, apparently someone at Wal-Mart realized that they typically have 10 models of ceiling fans on display, each with four bulbs, at something over three thousand stores. Then someone else did the math and figured they could save around $6 million per year by switching to swirls in those fixtures. That’s a lot of cabbage. Annually. Even for Wal-Mart, those pennies add up.

Now I don’t have a hundred and twenty thousand light bulbs (though it sure feels like it sometimes), and even so, I can’t really track these four bulbs against all the others in the house, but I decided it was at least worth checking out, so on Saturday I started my experiment just after writing my post.

Continue reading “Compact Fluorescent vs. Incandescent”

The Pure Power of Wal-Mart

In a world caught up in trying to pinch pennies whenever and wherever they can, retail behemoth Wal-Mart is getting caught up in a new and what seems – at first – an unlikely promotion. According to an article at Fast Company, Wal-Mart aims to change the country’s perception of “swirls” – more appropriately known as the compact fluorescent lightbulb. What seems unlikely is that swirls cost more than your standard bulb.

Their goal is that they want to sell every one of their regular customers over the next 12 months – 100 million in all – one swirl bulb. It’s probably a reasonable goal, but in some respects, they have their work cut out for them. Most people have seen these bulbs. We all have. Usually they sell for something like $3 each, next to regular old light bulbs that sell for something more like $0.50 each. Which do you reach for when you buy? If you’re anything like me, you probably reach for the standard bulb.

Continue reading “The Pure Power of Wal-Mart”

Fox Sports Covers Their Fumble

Way back on August 24th, as the Carolina Panthers were playing the Miami Dolphins in an NFL preseason game, the announcers came on to tell us that one lucky fan would be going home that night with a car. How else did they plan on keeping an audience, with the starters long gone and no one in their right mind wanting to tune into the rest of a boring game?

As it turns out, I heard that announcement, and it did pique my interest, but I fell asleep anyway. That’s the risk you run when you start a game at 7:30 on a school night. But there were those who didn’t fall asleep, and they lasted until there were a little less than two minutes left in the game, when they saw Tony Siragusa present Greg “Catman” Good with a car. Not just any car, mind you – a Porsche. Unfortunately, it was a toy car. The whole thing was just a joke gone horribly wrong in an attempt to keep viewers until the end of the game and make sure advertisers were happy.

Continue reading “Fox Sports Covers Their Fumble”

Resolving to Elect Better Leaders

It is no secret that one of the things that elected officials do is pat each other on the back. But they also pat other people on the back. If you have spent any time looking around, you’ve undoubtedly seen a resolution of some sort of another that in the end does nothing more than waste a bunch of time.

The state legislatures are especially fond of these. When I lived in California, you could find these resolutions about anywhere. I was pretty young, and I’ll admit to not looking into it much, but I think you can get a resolution passed by the state for just about anything if you know the right person to ask. It seems that this even extends to the county level, if you live in Mecklenburg.

Continue reading “Resolving to Elect Better Leaders”

Voluntarily Providing Multi-Lingual Services

Though I still think the idea has some merit, perhaps proposing an official language is not the best idea. I’m open to others. Let them fly. In the meantime, people want to know why I haven’t mentioned anything about companies that offer services to those who speak other languages. Maybe I do pick on the government too much.

First and foremost, those companies choose to offer these services. Sure, the government does as well, so we’re about even on this point alone. But while it is certainly not without cost, that cost is then borne by the other consumers of the services, and ultimately, those companies have made the choice to offer the services at a cost that their other customers will then permit them to bear. While this seems to still be even, those “other customers” of the government don’t usually have such a choice.

Continue reading “Voluntarily Providing Multi-Lingual Services”