Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Price Of Getting Sick

In my late May hospital stay, I got bored as any recovering patient might, so I turned on the TV and geeked out on Storage Wars.

Can you believe I got a bill for this? $23.50 for watching TV?

I don't object to paying for what I use. I rather insist on it. But, I was in some state of delirium when I arrived and signed the documents. I don't remember any verbal or printed disclosure about any costs for watching TV.

I may have been bored, but I am cheap. Ame brought me a book and my laptop. Given clear notification, this cheapskate would have done without Storage Wars and used the diversions I had instead of the exceptionally overpriced one. The cable TV available to me at home via Comcast goes $100/month, or about 3 bucks a day. I watched on one day, so $23.50? That's BS.

Lucky me, this is the tip of the iceberg. The other bills are going to be rolling in. Can't wait.

Now I'm not going to start calling for socialized medicine just because I feel like I was taken advantage of on the TV viewing. For $23.50, the heaviest my objection will be is this blog post and an 'UP YOURS!' to Good Samaritan Hospital. Maybe a letter to the hospital. Caveat Emptor, as always. If there is a next time, you can bet the TV will not be switched on.

Friday, July 20, 2012

NBA Goes Bush League

The NBA will be the first of the four major North American sports to cave and put corporate advertising on their jerseys. From ESPN:

Come fall, it's highly likely you'll see a small 2-inch-by-2-inch sponsorship patch stitched on the shoulder of your favorite player's game jersey.

"I think it's likely that we'll do something, implement something, some sort of plan for the fall," NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said. "I think it's fair to say that our teams were excited about the opportunity and think there is potentially a big opportunity in the marketplace to put a two-by-two patch on the shoulder of our jerseys."

Well, sure. It should fetch a LOT of money.
"Our view is we think, on an aggregate basis, league-wide, our 30 teams could generate in total $100 million by selling that patch on jerseys, per season," Silver said.
And, I have to believe the other sports will quickly follow. It's probably amazing the NBA held off this long, when you consider how difficult it is to see the clothing at all on a NASCAR driver, or European soccer player.

I collect hockey jerseys. Part of it is that when I play recreational hockey, I enjoy wearing an NHL jersey & socks. It's as close as I'm ever going to look like an actual hockey player. I have a few minor league jerseys that do have logo patches on them. They are my least favorite. They appear cluttered and cheap to me.

Once you get past aesthetics, it's difficult to find a rationale against jersey sponsorships. Shorter contracts and increased player movement have given more weight than ever to the Seinfeldian notion that NBA jerseys are just laundry, vessels that carry the true product -- the collective talents of the guys playing the games, jamming the ball, blocking the shots, draining the 3s. If a corporate logo doesn't compromise those skills and actually strengthens the fortunes of the league, then it's an idea that should be carried to fruition.
I've worn my share of t-shirts in my life to get the concept of the walking billboard, but they aren't 'just laundry' if you've laid out $200 for a jersey. I like to promote my team. It doesn't mean I like to also promote that team's corporate sponsors. If you want me, as the wearer of licensed sports apparel to embrace a logo on the jersey, then reduce the price of the jersey, and I won't object so stridently.

The fans are always the last consideration.

I Loves Me Some Conventional Wisdom

The usual saw is that Libertarian candidates 'steal votes' from Republican candidates.

First of all, no candidate steals votes unless they are engaged in voter fraud. A candidate will better compete for votes than others. So, my Republican friends, if you think Ls draw from Rs, you may consider that Ls just do a better job of winning over people who really mean it about smaller government.

But this news from New Mexico Watchdog:
Here are the numbers in the question PPP asked when it included Johnson’s name with Obama and Romney:
Another interesting aspect?
A lot of Republicans have worried that a serious Johnson candidacy would hurt Romney more than Obama but in this particular poll, Johnson pulls down Obama’s numbers from 42 percent to 38 and, as Jensen points out, Johnson “gets 24 percent of the independent vote, and a lot of his support is coming from more Democratic leaning independents.”
Those results echo what Johnson has told reporters this summer — that his presence in the race doesn’t necessarily hurt Romney and appeals to voters who are so turned off by both Democrats and Republicans that a large number of these disaffected voters wouldn’t have voted anyway.
This cuts both ways. I find Democrats cheering on Libertarian candidates, because they perceive Libertarians as opposites of Greens or Democrats, and thinking back Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in 2000? Well, they like to think of Libertarians 'Nadering' Republicans.

Awesome! Keep thinking that way! Those usually Democratic voters who really, really want expanded civil liberties and reduced foreign intervention? They haven't gotten what they want, and they aren't going to in a 2nd Obama term. They know that. The only person running for president who will be on the ballot in their state will likely be Gary Johnson.

Terry Michael, former Press Secretary for the Democratic Party, is supporting Johnson.

I don’t intend to change my registration. I’m still a Democrat. But I’m a small “l” libertarian Democrat, who wants to teach fellow Democrats that 21st century libertarians are not a bunch of selfish, Ayn Rand-style, greedy capitalists. Among the three issue frames of politics—economy, social, and foreign—most rank-and-file Democrats share much in common with modern libertarians. Most libertarians want to keep government out of our bedrooms, away from our bodies, and out of the backyards of the rest of the world. On the economy, while we are for limited spending, taxes, and regulation, we favor free markets—not oligarchic capitalism that uses government to re-distribute tax revenue to the military-industrial-congressional-media complex, the behemoth pharmaceutical companies, or other lobbyists along Washington’s K Street who seek benefits from government and regulations that put competitors at disadvantage.

Why would I abandon the candidate for whom I had great hopes for change in 2008, a president from my own home state of Illinois, Barack Obama? In fact, I even made a libertarian case for Obama in 2008 at—which turned out to be hoping against nothing but hope.

For me, that hope turned to despair when President Obama ramped up another hideous elective war, putting tens of thousands of young men and women in harm’s way in Afghanistan; rammed through a taxpayer and deficit-funded corporate welfare program for drug and insurance companies, in the guise of health care reform; and reneged on promises to slow prosecutions in the assault on personal freedom, the violence-creating neo-Prohibition known as the war on drugs.

Obama has had 3+ years to make his case in action. Alas. I do not believe Terry Michael will act alone. I am hoping against hope that many left-of-center voters will look past team and squarely at policy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Campaign Season In Full Swing

Lately, I find that I've been blogging more at the Hamilton County Libertarian site than here. That's ok. The Season is definitely upon us, and much is happening.

If you are interested in what the Libertarian Party is up to in Hamilton County, the sources you need to follow now through the election are:

Hamilton County LP Blog
Hamilton County Libertarians Facebook Page
Indiana For Gary Johnson Facebook Page

If you have an interest in volunteering with any of the Libertarian campaigns in Indiana, email me and I'll set you up!

I'll now return me to my regularly unscheduled sporadic blogging.