Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Beer-Can Economics

I came upon the following on the internet. I am unable to attribute it to anyone but thought is was worth passin on so here goes.....

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20."Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man.
He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.


Global Warming Hits Pennsylvania?

According to an article in my local newspaper entitled "State Details Changes To Storm Response":

"The state's Road Weather Information System...continues to be a problem. Most of the sites are currently operable, but one along I-81 in Susquehanna County on Monday registered winds of 242 mph and temperatures in the 120s."

Wow! Guess that's what we have to look forward to in the future!

So Sayeth The Shack


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Prepare For The Crash

There is a crash coming. The economic and political course we are on cannot be sustained forever. Economically, there is increasing debt at all levels from personal to the federal government, as well as the trade deficit. The increasing cost of energy (which leads to the higher cost of most everything else), medical care and higher education are forcing people into ever more debt. More and more people are living tenuously from paycheck to paycheck, just one disaster away from ending up living in a cardboard box in the middle of a field. Politically we are making more and more enemies around the world by sticking our nose into other people's business and telling them what to do. Eventually it will come to an end and things will come crashing down around us. I do not know when it will happen; it may be sooner or it may be later, but it is best to begin to prepare for it now.

It will be an economic crash, to be sure. As bad as or worse than the one in 1929, for anyone old enough to remember. Most of us will end up unemployed and poor or even broke. But it will also be a crash of society, civility and government. Our society is simply not the same as it was eight decades ago. The acute shortages of basic necessities will pit people against each other and against the government. Imagine the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, but on a national or even global scale. The crash may come quietly, but odds are it will be triggered by either a large-scale natural disaster or another attack on our homeland. It will begin here in the U.S. but may spread worldwide.

So how does one prepare?

The first thing is to be prepared as you would for a natural disaster. have a supply of non-perishable food on hand that can last for weeks or months, along with a way to prepare it. Arm yourself with some good guns and ammunition. Keep some cash on hand as well. Beyond that, here are some other things you can do:

1) Get of debt and stay out. If you are in debt, do not add to it and work to get out. If you are not in debt, stay out of it. Do not buy anything beyond the necessities...food, basic clothing, basic shelter and basic transportation. The new car, computer or big-screen tv...forget it! Those items will be of no value once the crash happens. Even a college education may be of little or no value then. I feel that coming out of college and starting your life already in debt is a really bad idea.

2) Support local businesses. Buy your basic goods and services as close to home as possible. Not on the internet and not in another city. This saves energy and money, but more importantly, these local businesses....if they survive, may be all you have to rely on after the crash for things you need.

3) Forsake technology. Computers and the internet, cell phones, TV are all great, for now. But none of them may work after the crash. I already regret buying this computer a year ago. It just put me in more debt and could have probably done without. Should have just put up with the old piece of crap that crashed every time I used it. So don't bother spending money on upgrades or new items; they may end up being worthless.

4) Don't expect the government or insurance to help. These institutions may not even exist after the crash. And if they do...as we have already seen, they have their own agenda and don't give a hoot about the little guy.

5) MOST IMPORTANT: If you are one of the fortunate who have plenty after the crash, be willing to help those of your neighbors who do not. If you have nothing, do not rob or kill for food. That is what animals do...not humans. It is better to die hungry than to murder another man for his food.

Good luck

So Sayeth The Shack


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Are People Or Mussles More Important?

Apparently, part of the severe water shortage in the Atlanta area has to do with the weather; less than 50 percent of normal rainfall.

Another part has to with a species of mussel downstream that is being protected under the endangered species act. In order to protect the lives and habitat of these mussels (I'm not sure what a mussel is really...I know they're not talking about those big bulging things on my arms), the Army Corp of Engineers needs to let a certain amount of water out of the reservoir that supplies Atlanta's drinking water so that there is enough water downstream for the mussels, among other things. So residents of Atlanta may run out of drinking water because it would be a violation of the law for the engineers to keep the water in the reservoir and let the mussels die! So are the mussels really more important than people? Maybe we should become an endangered species too...after all we're dying left and right from natural disasters, wars, genocides, disease, etc. The obvious answer is that both are important, but in a case like this I would think that people must take precedence.

I've heard it said that water will be the next oil. Right now we are fighting wars over the dwindling oil supply. As the population of the world continues to increase and resources vanish, we will be fighting wars over water, among other things.

So Sayeth The Shack

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Our Government At Work....Or Not

This sounds like taxation without representation to me...What are we paying these guys for anyway???

From this week's Parade Magazine...


Do Senators Vote Anymore?

In one recent week, the Senate passed 153 bills—without voting on a single one. Instead, the measures were “hotlined,” or approved by what’s called “unanimous consent.” How it works: Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, and Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, agree to pass a bill. Then each Senator is called on a special hotline and asked if he or she objects. They may have as little as 15 minutes to respond—and if their staff misses the call, the bill sails on. While some of the hotlined bills just named post offices, others authorized hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending—$294 million over five years in one piece of legislation alone.

So Sayeth The Shack


Friday, October 19, 2007

I Think They Deserved This One

Woman, 75, fined for smashing Comcast office with hammer

- The Associated Press

She was fined and got a suspended jail sentence, but Mona Shaw says she has no regrets about using a hammer to vent her frustration at a cable company.

"I stand by my actions even more so after getting all these telephone calls and hearing other people's complaints," she told The Associated Press in an interview Friday.

Shaw, 75, and her husband, Don, say they had an appointment in August for a Comcast technician to come to their Bristow home to install the company's heavily advertised Triple Play phone, Internet and cable service.

The Shaws say no one came all day, and the technician who showed up two days later left without finishing the setup. Two days after that, Comcast cut off all their service.

At the Comcast office in Manassas later that day, they waited for a manager for two hours before being told the manager had left for the day, the Shaws say.

Shaw, a churchgoing secretary of the local AARP branch, returned the next Monday - with a hammer.

Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable company, disputes Shaw's version of its customer service record and calls Shaw's hammer fit on Aug. 20 an "inappropriate situation."

"Nothing justifies this sort of dangerous behavior," Comcast spokeswoman Beth Bacha said.

Police arrested Shaw for disorderly conduct. She received a three-month suspended sentence, was fined $345 and and is barred from going near the Comcast offices for a year.

The Shaws did eventually get phone and television service - with Verizon and DirecTV.

She said many people have called her a hero. "But no, I'm just an old lady who got mad. I had a hissy fit," she said.

Yeah; I've been tempted to do this also!

So Sayeth The Shack


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Freedom Of Speech?

Jeez you can't even swear in your own house anymore! What is this world coming to??


So Sayeth The Shack


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Spoiled Brat Kids

Two news stories, one on CNN and the other in my local newspaper, aroused some thoughts over the past few days.

The story on CNN concerned parents bemoaning the high price of tickets to Hanna Montana. Now I don't really know what that is but there was a woman on there saying she had to pay much higher than the face value to get tickets for her kids because there were none available at face value. First of all, I see nothing wrong with scalping tickets to concerts, sporting events etc. I mean, if Exxon/Mobil or any other oil company can make billions of dollars a year selling us gasoline at jacked-up prices, why can't some other company or individual make a profit selling tickets at a high price if people are willing to pay for it? but that isn't what this post is about. Excuse me lady, but no one is forcing you to buy those tickets for your kids. There is such a thing as saying "no...I'm sorry; we can't afford it" or whatever. I have been fortunate enough to be able to get my kids...and occasionally myself... to a few concerts and sporting events. But there is a limit as to how much I will pay. Hundreds of dollars for tickets to a college football game? Hah! Forget about it!

The other item was about services employed by college students to clean their dorm rooms, frat rooms or apartments because they are too busy (lazy?) to do it themselves. These services, according to the article, are paid for not by the students, but by their parents! (Who are probably paying for at least part of their tuition, computers, even cars!) Wow! Talk about spoiled!

Buying your kids everything and fulfilling their every desire is not going to make them better people. They will just expect everything to be given to them and done for them as they go through life, and that isn't the way things work. I don't consider myself the world's best parent but here is how things work in the Shack household: The kids are expected to keep their rooms "reasonably" neat and clean, and to help with keeping the rest of the house neat and clean as well. There is no cleaning service here. Every 2 weeks there is "cleaning day" when everyone has a certain job to do. They are also expected to do their own laundry. No laundry service here. Each day at dinnertime each of us (myself included) has a job that involves getting dinner on the able and/or cleaning up afterward. When groceries are brought in, the guys unload them from the car into the house and the gals put the stuff away. I don't know how my kids will turn out once they are out on their own, but hopefully this is teaching them to do some things for themselves rather than throwing away their hard-earned money paying someone else to do it.

So Sayeth The Shack

Sunday, October 14, 2007

More On Advertising

A while ago I wrote a post concerning advertising. One thing I did not include at that time was how some of us actually pay companies to do their advertising for them. One of the most common ways this happens is by wearing clothing with the company name or logo on it. Nike shoes are a good example. I also notice a lot of, mostly young people, wearing shirts that say "Hollister" or "Abercrombie & Fitch" on them. I guess it makes them look cool or something...so they think. Here's what they don't think about. First of all, they pay more for the shirt with the name on it than they would a plain shirt; now much more I do not know. Then, by wearing the shirt, they are providing free advertising for the company! So the company gets double the benefits and the purchaser and wearer of the shirt is paying a heck of a lot more than they would to wear a plain shirt.

So Sayeth The Shack



In the past few years there has been a great increase in the number of products that supposedly kill germs. Of course Lysol has been around pretty much forever. Then came antibacterial soap. Then antibacterial hand creme (for when there is no water). Now there are antibacterial cleaning products....for your kitchen, bathroom, etc. Has anyone come out with antibacterial laundry soap yet? But this next one really got me....antibacterial glass cleaner! Do I really care if there are germs on my windows??

All of these products claim that they kill 99.X percent of germs. Sounds nice and clean and sanitary and what a good housekeeper should be using to protect themselves and their children from those awful scary germs. But is this really a good idea? If we wipe out nearly all the germs, our immune systems won't have anything to fight against, so they will weaken and lose their purpose. Then the leftover (100-99.X) percent of the germs that weren't killed will gang up on us and wipe us all out!! So let's go easy on those germs. Yeah they might make us sick now and then, but overall they are sort of our friends.

So Sayeth The Shack


Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Legacy Of Columbus

This week we celebrate Columbus Day. We celebrate the bravery of a man and his crew who, centuries ago, sailed across the Atlantic to "discover" a new land and the people thereon. In recent years this day has become less of a celebration than it used to be. In fact, it has even become grounds for protest by those who feel that the arrival of Europeans on American soil resulted in the ultimate downfall of the people who already lived here. There is no doubt that the Native Americans, Indians, or whatever you choose to call them suffered greatly at the hands of the Europeans. They were subjugated, in some cases killed, and in most cases eventually driven from the land they had inhabited for who knows how long before 1492 and forced to live on "reservations" as second- or third-class citizens of the land they originally inhabited. All because they looked, behaved, lived and worshipped differently than the newly-arrived Europeans. They were "savages" and "pagans" in the eyes of the newcomers. They had to be "civilized" and "christianized". Even though many of them were peaceful, many died at the hands of the "invaders" or from new diseases brought by the "invaders" that they had no immunity from. So there is reason to look negatively upon Columbus and the other early European settlers of this country.
But that does not make them any less great. It took a great deal of bravery to leave one's home and sail for weeks across a sea to face a difficult and uncertain future in a new land. As far as their handling of the native people of America is concerned, they didn't know any better. They believed (as some people still do now) that they had to bring Christianty whereever they went. They believed that, because of how the natives lived, that they were inferior and possibly dangerous, so they had to be "controlled" or "civilized" The knew nothing of the diseases they carried to those who had no immunity to them.
So, looking back, yes, you can say that the entire situation was handed wrongly. But as Jesus said" forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do" One cannot go back in time and change things. So let us honor the bravery and greatness of Columbus and others like him, but at the same time, we should perhaps mourn the downfall of the societies and civilizations of the original inhabitants of this continent.

So Sayeth The Shack

Monday, October 01, 2007

Comcast And The Big Ten Network

First of all, I would like to thank my cable provider, D & E Communications, for quietly adding the Big Ten Network, along with several other stations, to their lineup without (at least so far) raising the rates.
But mostly, I would like to berate Comcast for running an ad that says "There are some fans that want to watch the extra games....the Big Ten Network offers. And there are countless others who don't want to pay the added costs....to watch programming they don't want". Come on, Comcast, you more than anyone should know that it doesn't work that way. No cable or satellite provider offers a la carte programming. We are all, no matter who our provider is, forced to subscribe to channels we don't want in order to get channels that we do want. If I want Channel B, I have to get Channel A and C along with it, even if I never watch them. I actually know people who refuse to subscribe to cable TV at all because they would have to pay for things they won't be watching. I don't even know how many channels I have available now, but I probably only ever watch half of them. Comcast, I'll bet you have a bunch of channels on your system that less than 50 percent of your subscribers watch with any regularity.
Why should the Big Ten Network be different? Not every subscriber will watch it any more than every subscriber watches the Soap Network or the Home Shopping Network. Yet they are on your system. So stop the arguing; stop depriving fans of their precious PSU sports, and put the channel in your lineup.

So Sayeth The Shack