Archive for the ‘price’ Category

Occupy Cottage Cheese

November 1, 2011

Occupy Cottage Cheese

Hundreds of thousands of middle class Israelis began protesting a huge jump in dairy prices this summer, resulting in the largest demonstrations the country has ever seen. These soon became protests about widening economic inequalities in the small nation.

The protests are getting results. The Israeli cabinet has just approved a new tax plan reducing taxes on low-income wage earners and raising them for the rich and for corporations. Other new policies include cuts to the defense budget.


Wrong End of the Telescope

April 14, 2009

Wrong End of the Telescope

Everyone loves to root for the home team, but while the sentiment is charming, it also makes bookies rich. Why should government make the same kind of dumb bet, but at higher stakes? That’s exactly what happens when the dynamics of real estate speculation are magnified by taxpayer-funded sports stadium projects.

Objective assessment of athletes is difficult; inflating the merits of a sports team with hometown loyalty and wishful thinking is a sucker’s game. Likewise, a publicly-funded sports facility is a sucker bet for citizens and a speculator’s dream.

Yesterday’s local news featured pathetic interviews with DC baseball fans. Folks in Nationals ballcaps, standing near lots laid waste by stadium-fueled development delusions, said it had taken a decade for the downtown arena neighborhood to develop, so they were willing to endure ten years of unproductive desolation caused by Nats Park construction. With all this “Wait Until Next Decade” talk it was hard to remember that Monday was Opening Day, not the end of a losing season. 


Meltdown Limits Medical Resources

April 6, 2009

Meltdown Limits Medical Resources

For the first time in years, hospital employment has declined. Medical facilities are laying off employees in New York City, Philadelphia, and Ohio; Milwaukee-area hospitals lost $45 million in the last five months; over 45 million Americans lack health insurance; public hospitals deny cancer patients chemotherapy; U.S. hospitals are going bankrupt and closing.

Troubled times call for great sacrifices. The School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco has imposed drastic new financial limits. From this date forward, UCSF doctors and administrators will have to limit expense account wine purchases to $75 per bottle or less.


Bush Housing Crisis Policy 4 — Inventive Interventions

September 20, 2008

Bush Housing Crisis Policy 4 -- Early Interventions

Continued from Fashioning Solutions

In March 2008 George W. Bush, champion of privatizing the Social Security program, decides to socialize the U.S. financial system instead. Investment firm Bear Stearns (founded in 1923, weathered the 1930s Great Depression without laying off employees) receives a toxic shock from the subprime mortgage meltdown — it holds umpteen-gazillion-dollars-worth of securitized mortgage toilet tissue.

For some reason, investors are reluctant to give Bear Stearns the billions it needs to avoid bankrupcy just because some of its hedge funds collapsed and, okay, it “wrote down” (lost) a couple of billion dollars in mortgage-backed bonds in 2007. A Bear Stearns death-watch ensues; everyone — even naked people! — buys “short positions” on the firm, betting it will fail. Vultures sightings are reported on Wall Street.


Space Tourism Drives Leap in Technology

July 29, 2008

Space Tourism Drives Leap in Technology
Virgin Galactic WhiteKnightTwo launch vehicle and SpaceShipTwo herald a new era . . . .

From a Virgin Galactic Press Release, delivered in state-of-the-art Microsoft Word:

Mojave Air and Spaceport, California, July 28th 2008

Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceShipOne designer, Burt Rutan, today pulled back the hangar doors on the new WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft that will ferry SpaceShipTwo and thousands of private astronauts, science packages and payload [sic] on the first stage of the Virgin Galactic sub-orbital space experience. [Hyperlink added].


Faux Relic Fenders

July 3, 2008

Faux Relic Fenders

A musical instrument dealer just sent me an email for the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed Relic amplifier. A retro- throw-back model, it is new but looks like it was manufactured five decades ago and used every day since then. It has old-technology tubes and a Jensen speaker, but the capacitors and such are probably modern and longer-lasting. I haven’t tried it but I’m sure it lacks the authentic 60-cycle hum and scratchy potentiometers of a real old amp.

Old amplifiers were covered in tweed fabric, not vinyl, so coats of lacquer were added in a futile attempt to prevent wear. This brand-new “relic” is appropriately yellowed, tattered, and torn, as if it had suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous rockin.’


iPhone 3G Lacks Features

June 11, 2008

iPhone 3G Lacks Features

Apple’s Steve Jobs unveiled the long-awaited iPhone 3G this weekend at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco and, like others. NotionsCapital is disappointed. Certainly the device is cheaper and faster, and the complimentary white cotton gloves keep the touchscreen from smearing, but the new model still lacks features Real Guys want. Okay, it does have a GPS and a better camera, and the new cigar clipper is an elegant touch, but that’s about it.


Metered Billing for Internet Service

June 4, 2008

Metered Billing for Internet Service

What a great honor for Beaumont, Texas, pride of the Golden Triangle. This powerhouse of industry has been chosen by Time Warner Cable as the test area for “Metered Billing” Internet service.

In order to serve you better, this technological breakthrough promises to make high-speed Internet service costs as predictable and understandable as your cell phone bill. The mind boggles. This is true 21st century progress for the consumer.