2015 Predictions

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Every year I create my predictions for the year ahead. It seems like I’m beating an old horse to explain this, but once again this is not astrology or psychic power (as you might realize by reading my analysis of 2014’s predictions). I’m just making my best guess as to what the news in the coming year might include. No one reads this anyway, so I really just do it as a game for myself.

I wrote these down on the first week of January because my website hosting has been a bit of a debacle lately. I have witnesses to this, if anyone wants to doubt me. So, without further adieu…

  1. Hilary Clinton will announce her candidacy for President, probably in late summer through the end of November. There will be a strong and active lead-up to this. They will also attempt to hide Bill as much as possible, at least until Summer.
  2. Republicans will announce throughout 2015. It will be a large group. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Rand Paul will all be really active in 2015. You’ll hear from them a lot. They will all likely run.
  3. Who won’t run? Elizabeth Warren, and in a break with tradition…Joe Biden won’t jump in either.
  4. Obama will veto lots and lots of legislation. The Democrat’s story will still be “the do-nothing Congress, that won’t work bipartisanly.” Interestingly, many Dems will vote on measures like the Keystone pipeline, but won’t vote to override the veto. Because of that, it will be surprising how few times there will even be post-veto votes. This is Democrat strategy so that the Dems can claim to have voted for issues that they never supported.
  5. A Supreme Court vacancy will come up. Ruth Ginsburgh is looking likely to me. This will likely be tied to health-related issues. When it happens, it will happen fast.
  6. The Conservatives will get a big court win on either Benghazi, IRS bad behavior, Obamacare, Executive actions, and/or Obama’s immigration action.
  7. More gay marriage court action legalizing gay marriage. The Supreme Court will rule favorably to gay marriage, maybe steering clear of a sweeping legalization. Gay marriage states will increase.
  8. Radio Shack bankrupt—and gone. ***I wrote this one down 5 days prior to the news on January 15th that Radio Shack would likely file for Chapter 11 in the first week of February. I’m not saying that it was a long shot then, but there had been no announcement.
  9. At some point this year the Fed will increase the interest rate
  10. The “Internet of things” will really visibly increase. This will also be due to the falling prices of Internet-connective things.
  11. There will be news of companies doing wacky viral-esque stunts. Some of these will be really cool (look for socially conscious stuff) and some will be massively embarrassing failures.
  12. There will be a big number of attempted terrorist attacks in Europe and America. Some of these might be successful. The attacks this year in Paris are only the beginning. Europe will be the new front for a lot of Muslim violence.
  13. Iran will not follow through with its nuclear deal with the US
  14. Russia will have more military actions, possibly in Ukraine and maybe including Belarus.
  15. A-la cart TV on the Internet will finally come to fruition, and not just with a couple of channels like HBO. Some channels will do this through their websites and some will partner with existing providers like Netfilx and Amazon.
  16. There will be much more talk from the Left on “income inequality,” minimum wage, the rich getting richer, especially in the first half of the year.
  17. You’ll start hearing the term “Fast-Laning,” This will be one of the words of the year. There will be a rise in no-wait services and products—many through company apps.
  18. There will be a consumer backlash against product false claims. Companies will be held more accountable to what they say they can do.
  19. Early in the year expect a North Korean nuclear test, followed by belligerence, followed by an announced deal. All of this will take place before mid-summer.
  20. Facebook will further monetize. Look for possible corporate deals. They will possibly develop in-Facebook shopping and/or “pay with Facebook” ewallet technology.

2014 Predictions – Reviewed

Every year as is tradition, I do my prediction for the upcoming year.  I think that 2014 was actually my worst track record so far.  Anyone wants to score himself well on this kind of test, but I promise to be fair.  So, before I show my 2015 list, let me do my best to score my picks from 2014.  My comments will be in purple.

  1. The Dow Jones Industrial Average high on January 1st was 16,500+.  On the last trading day of the year, The Dow will be a net loss (under 16,500) for the year.  I am guessing that there will be a large correction period this year, but it could also be from fallout from a major political event, or a world event.

OK, this wasn’t even close.  The Dow Jones ended the year over 18,000.  There was one dip in mid-October to under 16,500, but other than that moment, the stock market was on a rocket upwards the whole year.  By the way, that is the case for every year since 2010.  It seems nonsensical to me, which is why I made the prediction.  It still seems like a house of cards, but in January of last year, I was…

MrWrong

 

  1. There will be a major political change in North Korea.  I cannot see the Kim Jung Un regime lasting another 12 months.  I know that part of North Korea’s strategy is to appear weaker than it actually is (see Stratfor’s analysis), but I think the regime is more tenuous than many believe.  This regime change will likely come from an internal coup rather than an external invasion.  I must admit that this is more wish than anything, but I do believe this has a good likelihood.

There was the time that Little Kim disappeared for a few weeks, but all-in-all the story of the year was North Korea’s quiet.  We barely heard a peep out of them.  They’ve got to be getting antsy, but at least for 2014 I was…

MrWrong

  1. The NSA related security issue will be one of the biggest stories of 2014, just like it was this year.  However, part of 2014′s story will be about the private sector trying to both solve consumers’ desire for security.  There will be new products and maybe even new companies creating products and services to safeguard consumers’ private data.  Some of these will be mostly hoaxes, although there might be some new creative technology.  There will also be a rising popular push for keeping private information off of the internet

I think I did quite well on this one.  The NSA and data was a huge story in 2014.  There was the launch of the new iPhone with data encryption (much to the consternation of the government) and there were quite a number of new businesses founded (see several interviews with Mark Cuban about 3 separate businesses he’s invested in over the last yar).  I count this one…

Right

Bonus

  1. There is a high likelihood of Israel being a much more significant newsmaker than last year.  The possibility of a strike on Iran has increased significantly after the last American and Iranian presidential elections.  The ramifications of this would also be huge.  Even if there is no Israeli strike on Iran, I believe there will be significant West Bank/Palestinian related violence, perhaps even another intifada.

This is a perennial pick for me.  I am always bearish on the Israel situation.  It isn’t really schadenfreude.  But, as compared to usual, it was not a violent year in 2014, so I’m…

MrWrong

  1. Gas prices will end the year lower than the $3.12 they are at now.

Average US gas price on the last day of the year: about $2,20.  Enough said, but just for fun…


Right

  1. Hollywood movies will be remarkably more upbeat in tone than they were in 2013.  This will be especially true of the Summer Blockbusters, which will feature less apocalypse porn than in recent years.

Number 3 is harder to examine.  This is because a couple of the movies are mixed.  For instance, (not counting movies that started in late December, but earned their money mostly in 2015) the biggest movie of 2014 was Hunger Games: Mokingjay.  This was certainly an post-apocalyptic-type tale, but it is the turn of the story where things become hopeful.  So I think it doesn’t count for or against my prediction.  Of the other movies in the top 10, the only one that could be considered true apocalypse-porn is the Transformers movie (please stop watching Michael Bay movies, people).   It is hard for me to count that as even a true movie.  I think most would agree that movies seemed less angsty this last year.  So…


Right

  1. Hilary Clinton will formally announce her candidacy for President this Summer.  She will announce this Spring that she is going on a “listening tour” and will announce her presidency surrounded by a sense that people are crying out for her to run.

Give me some credit.  She did go to Iowa and around the country on a listening tour.  Everyone knows she will run.  There is a “Time for Hilary” Pac.  In 2014, everyone assumed that her presidency was a foregone conclusion, at least until everyone realized how much they hated Obama.  She didn’t declare, But at least give me 40% on this one. Let’s say…

halfemptyglass

I’m going to give myself a C on that one.  I get 3.5 our of 6  This is the worst I’ve done.  It seems to me that a D would be 50-50 in this case, and an F would be more wrong than right (I’m not going by true percentages).

Arms

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Dear Friend,

I recently have read several of your posts on Facebook questioning our Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.  In your last post, you mentioned that you were confused as to its meaning, and that “it seemed to refer to circumstances that no longer apply.”  I know that you have a different perspective on the situation than I do, being from the United Kingdom.  I hope that in this posted response I can clear some of that confusion up for you.

First of all, as we get into this topic, we need to address two separate, yet interconnected issues.  The first, is why this was written into our constitution in the first place by our founding fathers and what they might have intended in this guarantee.  After understanding that, then we can be safe to try answering the question of whether there is still a purpose to this guarantee, and what might happen if we decided to remove it.

It is important to note that one cannot really understand the continued purpose of the Second Amendment if one doesn’t grasp its original meaning.  Also, if the founders were wise in putting that right into our Constitution, that doesn’t mean it is wise to leave it there.  On the other hand, if those circumstances still exist for us, then maybe we are wise to continue this right.

Why did our founders include a constitutional right to bear arms?

The US Constitution is an old document.  It is no Magna Carta, but it certainly wasn’t written in MS Word.  The world of pre-1776 was a place of kings and dictators, where it was assumed that governments were meant to be led by single autocratic leaders.  Much of the western world also used out-of-context scripture to point toward God ordaining this situation.

It easily followed from this mindset that the God-ordained king could give life, and take it away, that in fact, the rights of a people were given them by the king himself.  Thus, when the king decided that all people were to be members of the Church of England that is what the people had to do.  Or if the ruler wanted to tax you, or put troops in your home there was simply no other recourse.  He was the king.

In 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was written, it gave voice to the writings of philosophers like John Locke and Thomas Hobbes.  When they wrote the words “…all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…” what the founders were saying was that rights came not from any earthly ruler or document, but were given to each of us by God, Himself upon our birth.”  We are given the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that no ruler or government could take them away.

That is where we usually stop in our reading of this famous document, but when we do, we miss something really important.

See, the first sentence of the Declaration gives its thesis.  Paraphrased, it says that when in history a people decide that they need to be separate from another and form their own government, there better be a good reason and it should be given.

After this, is the famous section about God-given rights and the government’s purpose of securing and protecting them.  But, when a government isn’t doing that job properly, it is the “right of the people to alter or abolish” that government.  This is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it is one of those unalienable rights of all mankind.

Our founders thought that the ability to protect yourself without relying on the government, to tell the government “no” when it was attempting to usurp your own rights, and to even destroy that government when necessary were all things that the government could never take away from our people.

One of the writers of the Second Amendment said, “What is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” (George Mason, co-author of the 2nd Amendment, 1788).  Other founders statements agree with that.  There is no scholarly doubt that the “militia” written in the text means the unorganized people themselves.

This makes sense when you read the wording of the amendment.  It has also been our greatest source of national security.  No one has ever invaded the US homeland.  Why?  It is because no army could disarm the people.  As the Japanese said, every blade of grass would hide a man with a rifle.  Or as Lincoln said, “All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasuries of the world, save ours, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or a step on Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.”

The Second Amendment had nothing to do with hunting, and it also has no problem with weapons that held increasing firepower, and a violent society (remember, one of our founders died in a gun fight with one of our past Vice Presidents).  Whether or not the Second Amendment should remain is the focus of my next blog.  It is a different topic altogether.

Now, not many people will talk about these aspects of the Second Amendment, mostly because it sounds like advocating violent revolution of the government.  But remember, all of this was set in place not necessarily so that people could overthrow the government, but that the founders thought the right of self-defense and self-determination were one of those rights no government ever had any mandate to ever take away.

My next post will cover the question of whether or not the Second Amendment should be continued.–Ryan

 

Gun

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Today I ended a two-week marketing contract for a major cellular phone provider that had me spending most days in my car, driving from one location to another.  This meant that as the events of today’s school massacre in Connecticut unfolded, I was listening on the radio.  I heard all happen right before my ears.

Events like this usually don’t inspire a strong reaction for me.  While I am passionate about current events as they pertain to politics and world events, things like the OJ Simpson murders, Casey Anthony, and Virginia Tech just don’t impact me as much for some reason.  That is just how I’m geared, but this case is different.

We have heard lately about mall shootings, football player murder/suicides, and the Movie Theater mass shooting in Colorado.  Some people, like Bob Costas, have used these opportunities to talk about increased gun control.  That may be a good conversation to have, although I personally do not believe that more gun regulations will be the solution.

As the radio told me of the teachers that hid their students in closets and bathrooms, police making the kids leave the school with their eyes closed, and a room full of kids gunned down by hundreds of rounds of ammunition, I became enraged.  I can’t think of any other emotion to feel when that kind of evil is present, and I don’t think any other emotion is appropriate.

The Bible says to “be angry, yet do not sin.”  It also talks about God’s fury at sin, and particularly those who intentionally hurt His little ones.  Yet we live in a world with increasing evil.  I don’t care to debate this with anyone: murder rates, violent crimes, and corruption cases are telling, but the simple fact is that evil is becoming far more evil than ever.

I mourn for our country and it’s people.  Christians must stand and say, “enough.”  We cannot be blamed for things like this.  It is not the church’s fault that things like this happen, but evil triumphs when good men do nothing.  And that is what we have done.  We have hibernated and cloistered while the gates of Hell have advanced, laughing at the impotence of God’s people.  We don’t fight our wars with guns or fists, but on our knees and making all else but the gospel secondary.  This has not characterized God’s people of late.  More church programs and laws won’t stop this advance of evil.  More steadfast men of faith will. -Ryan

Praying for Japan

A lot has been said about Japan in the media over the last few days.  I honestly have no idea what I can say, but I feel compelled.  I want to do or say anything I can to make it better.  I am struck by the horrible suffering in the midst of mounting tragedy.  But there is little I can say or do.  Please pray for comfort and healing for this noble nation.

This picture says more than anything I could.  I hope this AP photographer, Asahi Shimbun, wins the Pulitzer.

From News Shots

Absent

Absent HeaderI just read this article online.  Please take a minute to read this excerpt from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online.

Madison Law enforcement officers are searching for Democratic senators boycotting a Senate vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair plan Thursday in an attempt to bring the lawmakers to the floor to allow Republicans to act on the bill.

As Republicans denounced the move, one Democratic senator said that he believed most of the members of his caucus are in another state. However, an aide said that at least one, Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), was still in his Capitol office listening to constituents.

In a telephone interview, Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona) declined to give his location but acknowledged that at least one other Democrat was with him. He said that law enforcement would be able to compel him and his members to the Senate floor if they are located in Wisconsin.

“I can tell you this – we’re not all in one place,” Miller said. “This is a watershed moment unlike any that we have experienced in our political lifetimes. The people have shown that the government has gone too far . . .  We are prepared to do what is necessary to make sure that this bill gets the consideration it needs.”

Fighting Quorum

Basically, the Wisconsin legislature (under the governor’s direction) is trying to pass legislation that significantly reduces  the ability of unions in the state to hold the upper-hand in negotiating contracts with the government.  This would enable them to set salaries and benefits for state workers that are more reasonable in light of the seriousness of the government’s economic situation.

The reaction in Wisconsin has been teacher strikes, marches on the state capitol, and loud complaining by Democrats.  Though of course state workers would want to have the best bargaining positions possible, the state is facing a $3 billion shortfall in its budget over the next 2 years.  That means they are going to have to make serious cuts, or  face bankruptcy.

Democrats feel they have no choice but to resist this.  The unions are both a major source of funding and voters, although there is no chance that the union voters will abandon them even if this passes.  However, the Republicans have a majority in the Wisconsin congress, so the Democrats can’t do much to stop them.  The Dems were in a situation where they could not possibly win.

So the Democrats left.  They walked out and hid.  This would seem silly, except that it creates a problem in parliamentary procedure, the rules that govern how the legislature is run.  In order to take a valid vote, the legislature needs something called quorum.  Quorum is the number of members that must be present in order for any action to be valid, and is greater than the number it takes to pass a law.

The quorum rule was created to prevent a minority from holding a secret session, or meeting during some sort of emergency that prevented most members from attending, and passing some strange law.  But the rule of quorum was never intended to be used as a blunt instrument to prevent democracy from working when a minority didn’t like what was happening.  This kind of action is unfortunately not atypical of the kind of tactics that Democrats have played throughout the years, but it is a very bad sign for the gridlock that could be coming in many states and nationally.

What neither the state Democrats, nor anyone in the media seem to be asking is, “What is the best thing to do for the state’s $3 billion defecit?”

The Real World

America needs to wake up!  Nationally for the first time since World War 2, our country owes more money than we have in our entire budget.  The national debt is currently $14 trillion, with total obligations above $55 trillion.  But these numbers seem to be too big to really wrap one’s mind around.  So maybe an easier scale would help to make this all make more sense.

Let’s say a small family (father, mother, and small child) have a yearly income of $50,000.  But by the end of this year, the family will owe over $50,000 to the credit card companies, more than their entire income for the year.  All of that would be a difficult situation, but not impossible.  The problem is that every month, even though the family gets a salary of over $4,166, they are keep spending $4,582.  So, each month they are more than $400 in debt more than the month before.  This is obviously an impossible situation.  It won’t be long before the credit card companies cut the family’s credit line and sue them.  They will go bankrupt.

Any family would have to sit down and start cutting their budget.  That might mean moving to a smaller house or apartment, selling a car, not eating out.  They would have to make these changes, no matter how much they didn’t want to.  Anything that was not necessary to keep them alive would have to be cut so that they would be able to pay off the debt.

But many in America are loath to see this happen nationally.  There have been protests over the proposed de-funding of PBS.  Recently, some lawmakers even held a press conference with characters dressed as cartoons from popular PBS series, trying to drum up support to “save these shows.”  On the radio, callers have talked about the Republicans “killing Big Bird.”

Killing Big Bird

No one wants to “kill big bird.”  These TV shows are important in American culture and life.  Many children have learned important things from these programs.  But they are just that, TV shows.  PBS can go away if need be, and America will go on, children will learn about the alphabet, and people will be forced to go to the opera instead of just watching it on television.  People will miss PBS.  Maybe the arts will be less supported and there won’t be as many educational TV shows.  Everyone would miss PBS.  No one likes to reduce spending.

The point is that things must be cut.  Some of these things will be government programs that people love, and often count on.  There will probably be few if any budget items that no one will miss, in the same way that the fictional family in the previous illustration will probably miss going to the movies and living in their 4 bedroom house.  But the truth is that there are very few, if any, government programs that don’t affect anyone in some way.  And if any do exist, they aren’t taking up that much of the budget anyway.

When the Democrats walk out of legislatures and hold press conferences with cartoon characters they send a clear message that they are unwilling to do the difficult things that must be done to save the country.  They also send a clear message that their political power and fund raising efforts are more important than the good of America.  If the country is going to pull itself out of this horrible mess, this kind of budgetary brinkmanship must be avoided at all costs. -Ryan

Wikileaks, The Federal Reserve Bank, and a blind free press

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A Busy Week in the Newsroom

For connoisseurs of news and politics, the flurry of activity this week has been thrilling.  There have been assassinations in Iran, countries in the EU going bankrupt, and another little scandal brought on by a website called Wikileaks.org.  Over the last day and a half, the US has also willingly revealed some rather embarrassing information about the actions of the Federal Reserve Bank over the last few years.

On Wednesday the Federal Reserve revealed new information about the recipients of the money given in 2008 and 2009 in order to bail out businesses and banks under TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program).  The information also indicated dollar amounts the bank has given.  According to The Washington Post, the Fed essentially loaned GE $16 billion, Harley Davidson $2.3 billion, and Verizon $1.5 billion.  None of this was publicly known prior to Wednesday’s announcement.  This new information is serious and troubling, as partly indicated by its placement on the front page of many newspapers and top-red status on the Drudgereport.

This federal candor brings to the surface some serious questions.  Why would the government choose to release such scandalous information at this time, when they are already embarrassed by the current leak of information?  Further, what do they stand to gain through this level of disclosure?  Finally, how could government funds allocated to some of the largest companies in the US, totaling $3.3 trillion go unnoticed by any of the nation’s news outlets until now, and what does that mean about the state of American journalism?

Candor in the Fed

Time almost always clarifies questions such as these, but at this moment Wikileaks appears to be more the impetus behind this Fed announcement than merely tangential to it.  Wikileaks has been a constant thorn in the side of the US government over the past several years, as it has revealed increasingly damaging and embarrassing classified information about the government’s secret activities.  This week, they began publishing 251,287 classified US diplomatic cables on their website.  While this document dump is possibly less damaging than some previous leaks, it is very embarrassing for the US.

But what appears to be even more significant is the website’s claim to be on the verge of releasing information on “a major bank that is still in existence,” according to a Reuters report.  Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange has declined to announce the name of this bank.  So people are guessing.  Prognosticators are placing their money on Bank of America.  They might be wrong.

Of course there could be other reasons for The Fed’s recent disclosure, but it appears likely that they are assuming that the next Wikileaks disclosure (set for January) will target the Federal Reserve Bank itself.  This would make sense.  In order to stay relevant, Wikileaks is under pressure to have increasingly major leaks to share.  It is not clear what vendetta the site has against the United States (if it is not simply about freedom of information—which seems doubtful), but it is clear that the site is focused more on government actions than it is on business corruption.  Sharing secret bank documents would be somewhat out of the site’s typical MO.

If the Fed assumes that the next leak is to be about them (whether it actually is or not), it would make sense for them to dump this information while there is already so much political embarrassment on the table.  The chances that the banking information will get lost in the glut of news are much greater, and it takes away power from Wikileaks disclosures, lessening the impact.  If the Fed is wrong on this guess, they will be playing into Assange’s strategy quite nicely, however.  The Fed must assume that this information cannot be hidden forever, and now could be as good a time as any to release it while it must compete for front page status.

A Blind Press

One question that doesn’t appear to be answerable at the moment is, how in the world did the entire US free press miss $3.3 trillion in unreported aid sent to major American businesses?  That much money does not get hidden very easily, even in an economy the size of the United States.  One might understand how money sent to GE, which owns NBC and affiliated news outlets, might have suppressed this inside their newsrooms, but how the news could have escaped every competing outlet and the blogosphere is simply astounding.  Perhaps the American free press should be more embarrassed about this disclosure than the Federal Reserve Bank and the US government.

Many answers to these riddles will have to wait until after January.  But the American public should expect more self-disclosures by the US, and possibly American banks, and further world tension involving Wikileaks.  December and January should be quite exciting.   -Ryan

Adventures in Capitalism

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On Monday, Oncor electrical supplier installed my new Smart Meter electrical monitor.  Typing this makes me feel like I have an advanced engineering degree, but basically it means that they replaced the little thingy that spins outside my house to let them know how much to charge me each month for my electricity.  It might also appear that I just got some fun electronic gadget.  But really the only perk is that now they have all sorts of new and exciting ways of charging me more money.

Oncor has been preparing me over several years for this momentous event.  It all started a couple of years ago when I went to one of those fairs that towns in Texas love to have, like Grapefest, Peachfest, and any other word that ends in fest and allows the city to charge vendors for the right to charge exorbitant prices for turkey legs and lemonade.  I don’t remember which one I was at this time.  But right in the middle of the square, stood a mobile home-like trailer sponsored by Oncore Energy, the electrical provider.  I was pulled helplessly toward this shining beacon of applied technology.

Inside, the polo-shirted representatives told us all about new tech that would soon be available, and would transform life as we know it.  They showed a computer hooked up to the Internet which could turn appliances on and off.  I wondered why that was necessary when I could have just hit the on/off button, but it was through the Internet, so I smiled assuming that it must be awesome.

They showed our growing crowd of happy revelers a kitchen setup being monitored by a laptop, also hooked up to the Internet.  As the attendant turned on a lamp, we watched and oohed as the laptop showed the energy use increasing on a little display.  The nice promotion staffer explained that we would be able to monitor and control our energy usage from anywhere through the Web.

“That way,” she explained, “You can reduce your energy consumption at peak times when energy costs the most.”

“Umm, so you are saying that energy will now be billed to me at a variable rate according to when more people are using it?” I asked.

“Well, when these meters are installed, they will be able to change the price per kilowatt hour depending on when demand is highest.  That will help people conserve.”

“Charging more money for a product when I most want to use it sounds more like a good way for the power company to make money than a benevolent way to help me.”  I replied with a frown.

I walked away after assuring her that I knew it wasn’t her fault.  She was just a paid pitch-woman.  The thousands of dollars of Oncor’s money (which I have given them over the years) that they had tried to spend convincing me of the greatness of their new monitor had now created the opposite effect.  I was now paying close attention to how they were planning to take more of my money, while trying to convince me it was for my own good.  When they sent me a letter informing me that I wouldn’t receive mine until Fall 2010 made me both happy that I had over a year, and sad that doomsday was approaching.

Many lawsuits and TV news stories later, Oncore came and installed this new Orwellian reverse ATM at my house.  It came accompanied by a little door hanger explaining many of the details.  It told me that this new device would help me someday in the near future, to be able to monitor and control my energy usage through the Internet.   Oh and by the way, they would be charging me a monthly fee of over $2 for this new gadget through 2012.

So let me get this straight, Oncor will now not need to pay a meter reader to come to my house each month.  This gives them more money.  They will now be able to charge me more for my energy when I am using it most.  This gives them more money.  They can now slowly and quietly raise energy costs by bumping variable prices incrementally, giving me a constantly raising energy bill.  This gives them more money.  For the joy of taking more of my money, I get to pay Oncor each month for this new technology.  What a deal!

Knowing how much Oncor is looking out for me, I wish to kindly decline their benevolence.  They can pick up their new meter and reinstall my old one any day now.  Unfortunately though, I don’t get to opt out.  I have no choice in the matter.  Don’t you love capitalism? -Ryan

RACISM!!!!—oops

After finding out that your charge of great injustice is groundless, sometimes the easiest way of saving face is to keep accusing.  As evidenced here.  *update–link now working after I switched to YouTube.  It seems that it was removed from the original ABC channel 7 site.

Let’s follow the logic on this one, shall we?  So Hallmark, a card company that makes its money from selling cards that make people feel good, actually decided that it would totally break with tradition and just record a racist statement on one of their cards?  Further, they decided to put that message in a card themed around space.  Perhaps they should be mad at Walmart for also selling racist stockings for

A New Series

I am soooo happy to be back blogging after my weeks moving and making my house livable.  There is a new blog series I’m posting on my Post-Christian page.  You can start reading it here.