I can’t help not talking about it….

I’ve tried to not talk about politics at all in my blog for the most part but the thing about taxes and funding the health care system is just bugging the crap out of me. So here is my current understanding of what the “plan” is.

  1. Everyone is going to get health insurance, whether its by private companies or the government (I’m guessing there has to be criteria to be eligible like being a citizen or having a work permit etc. but if its everyone and their mother then we’re in deep doo doo).
  2. The sucker has to be paid for in some form or fashion so as not to raise the national debt
  3. Historically, the price of health care rises faster than tax income so you know the tax man is coming whether I want to see him or not.

So far I’ve heard about Congress kicking around some ideas like raising taxes for only the most wealthy people (so they make the lion’s share of the cash but why should they be forced to spread their wealth that they earned on services that they probably will never use because they can afford it out of pocket?), taxing employee provided health care to provide less expensive plans to employees (yeah and that makes them offer plans with shitty coverage with more out of pocket expenses for me), or finding other fun ways to tax me and the goods that I want to buy.

I personally hope this sucker stalls in Congress, no matter which way you slice it, health care reform is going to be expensive and there won’t be a way to pay for it unless you totally tax the hell out of people. I’ve also read that 47% of people don’t even pay taxes or something crazy like that. Can you imagine the amount of tax revenue that we’re missing? It’s almost staggering! There are a lot of tax breaks built into the system for people to reduce their tax liability and while reducing taxes is fine and dandy, it might be a better idea to lower the over all tax rate and just get rid of any exceptions. I personally benefit greatly from deducting my mortgage interest from my taxes but if they reduce my over all tax rate and eliminate that benefit I don’t think I’d mind as much.

So what can really help our good ole government with generating revenue? Well I only have the canned responses that people have been saying for a long time and it will be easier said than done to implement but hey, might as well say it again.

  1. Simplify the tax code! There are too many rules and what not to figure out to see if you can slip through something past the IRS, we’ve made it a multi billion dollar business to provide software and professionals to input data into complex tax returns that no one understands. Make it nice and easy for the average person to do on their own and file. What more do you really need than name, SS, wages, and taxes paid? If you didn’t have to do the complex calculations to find what your liability or refund will be you can better predict what you can spend as a government
  2. Budget Transparency! Not really all that difficult. There are parts of the budget that can’t be seen by the general public (R&D for the military, intelligence services, etc.) that need to be hidden from our foes near and far but other stuff like infrastructure projects, salaries, expected personnel, services sectors should all be able to be picked apart by the general public.
  3. Slimmer government! I like that the government provides services and what not but I sometimes it provides too much. Protecting us from our enemies, building our infrastructure, and providing oversight over the various sectors of the economy are all good areas that government should continue. I don’t need the “man” telling what I should and shouldn’t do. I just need reasonable protection from big business trying to screw me but this country is built on freedom so let me have my freedom to screw up.

OK I think thats enough for now, I could go on and on but I’m getting tired of typing this post. Time to make myself some lunch!


IE Only Websites annoy me

I’ve been on the internet for quite a while and I’ve used almost every browser at least once. I can do it more so now that I have virtual machines that I don’t really care if I mess up. It still amazes me how many web sites are still geared towards using an IE engine rather than something else. I primarily use Firefox for most of my web surfing activity because of all the plugin’s that I install to make it a better experience and all that (hear that MS? You gotta support plugin’s that people want!) but there are still some sites that I enjoy that still require IE.

An example is Last.fm. I found this gem while using my iPod Touch. I’ve blogged about the service before and for the most part I think its pretty decent except that you need to be running IE or an IE engine in Firefox in order to use it. BOOO!! I don’t really have anything against IE, my wife actually prefers it to Firefox so I always have it available just in case but it would be really helpful if all websites were compatible with at least Firefox without me switching to a different engine. Oh well, there’s nothing I can really do about it except complain. At least I can get to the content which is what really matters most.

The Godfather – Coppla Restoration

My sister in law got me the Godfather set for my birthday. I have a terrible version of all 3 Godfather movies on DVD so this is a welcome addition to my collection. Most people I know have seen the movies but some of my friends haven’t and I still can’t fathom why. It’s such a good story! Well maybe number 3 could have been better but thats ok, the first two movies are fantastic enough.

The cool thing is that movie 2 is only one DVD instead of 2 so it will be easier to watch the entire way through. There aren’t many more movies that I need to add to my present collection that are must have’s. This one might be one of the crown jewels next to the Lord of the Rings box sets that I have. I can’t wait to watch these movies in all their remastered glory 🙂

Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s July 22 which means that today is my birthday. I’m the big 31 so I have finally finished the first year of my 30’s and started the second one. I don’t feel any different and I think that it will be a good year personally. My wife is going to cook me an awesome meal for dinner tonight since I asked. Normally I would have asked to go out but I don’t have any place in particular that I want to go. I also got Punch Out for the Wii, the Wii Motion attachment (for Wii Sports Resort which I will be purchasing on Sunday) and I also got a batting jersey with 42 on the back that I can wear at Yankee games 🙂 For those of you that don’t know, Mariano Rivera actually got up to bat this year and I watched him get his first RBI ever. So thats the significance of getting the batting jersey with Mariano’s number on it.

I’ve tried out Punch Out today and I must say that its a lot of fun. It’s almost like I remember it but since I never had a Nintendo I didn’t play the game very much so I don’t know a lot of the patterns of the fighters. I’ll get better with practice and the game is also two player so I can play with Claire.

The rest of my day should be quiet. My two furry companions for the day are sleeping as I write this but thats ok, I’m used to them napping while I work. Only 364 more days until I’m the big 32, or as I like to say it, 29+3.

Flexmail is so slow

I received an email today telling me that there was a new version of Flexmail available. I had tried Flexmail before when I had my Treo 700WX almost two years ago. The program is very powerful an it has a lot of the options that I liked in Chattermail for my Treo 700P but as I was testing it today I noticed that it was really slow.

I also tried out he Today plugin an it took up a lot of screen space so it didn’t leave ne with a great feeling. I ended up uninstalling it and just used the default Pocket Outlook again. It does most of what I need and I can always search my mail using te web browser anyway.

Next up I’m going to try another program called Evernote that a friend of mine suggested and see how that works out. Playing with software is a lot of fun but I just wish I had test machines to do some of tis stuff.

The return of Winamp!

I’ve been messing around with my music collection lately on iTunes and I’ve been looking for ways to get the playlists on my Treo. My Treo is dumb in that it syncs with Windows Media Player, now who the heck uses that in this day and age to sync and manage a music library? There are some 3rd party applications like Pocket Tunes that can sync my Treo and my iTunes library but its $35 for the program. I knew there was a better way to do it, and most importantly a free way!

And here comes Winamp roaring back into my life. Winamp is one of those programs that I always install on my computer since way back in the late 1990’s. I used to use Winamp extensively when I was in college but ever since I got an iPod I’ve been forced to use iTunes more and more. Don’t get me wrong, iTunes is pretty good but Winamp’s plugin’s are awesome and now with the latest version you can import all your playlists and libraries into Winamp. The cool part about that? Winamp playlists can be imported into Windows Media player so I can sync it with my Treo! How awesome!

So Winamp for the time being is back in my life again as I use it for playing music, and importing my playlists. I still use it to test music files that I’ve downloaded to make sure they’re not corrupt or anything like that. I hope they keep development going on this product down at AOL. I think I liked it better when it was an independent company 🙂

Finally got the iPhone 3GS…. for my wife

Well here it is in all its glory! The iPhone 3GS in white. I didn’t get this phone, my wife did and she’s playing a game on it right now as I’m typing up this blog post. She’s had the phone for maybe a week now and she seems to like it OK for right now. For me the jury is still out on whether or not its worth switching over from my WinMo Treo Pro. I’ve been able to do some cool things with the iPhone for my wife already, I was able to hook her up with GMail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar so she doesn’t have to sync with the computer as much. She bought herself a case and was able to put on a screen protector so it won’t get scratched up.

When I go and visit my father I’m sure I’ll have to play around with the iPhone even more since he just got one as well. I think he got the 32GB one but I don’t know what color. I’ll end up setting that thing up as well so that it syncs with all his stuff online and with Outlook but that shouldn’t be too big of a problem. The limitations that the iPhone has are still a concern of mine since I still use my phone more for business than for pleasure. I’m still contemplating whether or not I should pay the $10.00 for the upgrade to my iPod Touch. I’m hoping that they come out with more features that will be useful for iPod Touch owners and maybe make the next update for free!

Now all I have to do is wait for someone to cook up Windows Mobile 6.5 for my phone and I’m hoping that Palm will make another Treo once Windows Mobile 7 finally arrives in 2010.