Saturday, September 18, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Steve Douchebag is the stupidest man on TV, and that's saying quite a lot. Does he not realize that while one side of this war may be Muslim, the other side is not Christian, it's American, and that's DIFFERENT.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
"I told Senator Reid that I'm strongly inclined -- I haven't totally decided, but I'm strongly inclined -- to vote to proceed to the health care debate, even though I don't support the bill that he's bringing together because it's important that we start the debate on health care reform because I want to vote for health care reform this year. But I also told him that if the bill remains what it is now, I will not be able to support a cloture motion before final passage. Therefore I will try to stop the passage of the bill."
- Senator Joe Lieberman
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
To the Editor, New York Times:
Christine Flowers writes (letters, October 2, 2009) that Federally subsidized health insurance which permits abortion would force her to pay for something she considers an immoral act.
Does Ms Flowers presume that anything the government undertakes which many believe to be immoral should be banned?
Ms. Flowers writes, “My wallet, my choice.”
I agree, to the extent that her choice is expressed at the voting booth.Sphere: Related Content
Monday, October 19, 2009
Once upon a time in America, manufacturers could set a minimum price for their products. Most states passed "fair trade" laws making that practice illegal. Many manufacturers responded with Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policies. While they couldn't control what their products were sold for, they could keep prices lower than MAP from being promoted. This became particularly important with the advent of the web. A Supreme Court ruling in 2007 restored to some degree the ability of manufacturers to set actual minimum sales prices.
Even in the days of fair trade, there was a gray market. I remember going with my father in the 1960s to a warehouse in the Bronx to buy a TV at less than fair trade price. It hadn't "fallen off a truck." Instead, a distributor had sold products to an under-the-radar dealer. There was no sign on the building. Word of mouth was their sole sales agent. The internet will make it even more difficult to police minimum pricing for some categories of products.
The problem with books:
It has been the practice of book chains, wholesale clubs and internet stores (most notably Amazon) for some years to heavily discount best-selling books. Books are one of the few products that actually have suggested retail prices printed right on the product, so it's easy to communicate the value proposition.
Although Amazon now realizes less than 50% of its revenue from books, it is still very much associated with books in the consumer's mind. WalMart is, with good reason, very concerned about Amazon and has decided to launch a price war using books. They are now selling a limited number of bestsellers for $8.99 -- more than a 60% discount -- and Amazon has responded by matching that price.
If you're a publisher, you might view this as a good thing. You'll sell a bunch more books. Here's the problem. This heavy discounting will eventually have the effect of resetting the perceived value of a hardcover book. Even if the publishers continue to make profits on these bestsellers, they can't survive on those alone. Anyhow, eventually John Grisham and Stephen King will stop producing new products. The publishers need to develop new voices to become the next bestsellers, as well as having a deep product line today.
This is not a concern to WalMart. They only carry bestsellers, and if books eventually fade away, there will be some other product category to exploit. Amazon does care about books, but has to date responded to competitive challenges by not being undersold no matter what.
Independent bookstores have had a hard time surviving (and hundreds have not) since Barnes & Noble and Borders expanded in the '90s. Amazon and other internet sellers just added to their pain. However, publishers count on independents to discover and hand-sell new authors, some of whom eventually make the big leagues. Already, many have given up making any money on bestsellers -- either they discount them to match the online stores, or they just don't sell many copies. Selling at a 40% discount, an independent store at least breaks even. They can't go much farther without losing money and unlike Amazon and WalMart they don't have other key product categories to make up for loss leaders.
It is in the publishers' interest to begin setting minimum prices, or at least minimum advertised prices, for books, at least for those by current bestselling authors. The unintended consequence of extreme discounting may bite them hard if they don't.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Here is Fox News' response to being dissed by the Obama administration:
Surprisingly, the White House continues to declare war on a news organization instead of focusing on the critical issues that Americans are concerned about like jobs, health care and two wars.This proves they are in the tank for the opposition -- actually are the opposition -- and know it. If that wasn't the case, they wouldn't respond with an attack, but would instead wonder why the White House was being mean to them. Sphere: Related Content
Blame Mister Mxyzptlk
Wordz: Fox News
Friday, October 16, 2009
I'm one of those millions who have been laid off and have continued health insurance via COBRA. It's kinda ironic that the unemployed have the opportunity to pay the full price of their insurance...with what? Fortunately for some of us, the stimulus bill included a temporary subsidy. I'm frankly not sure how this helps stimulate the economy, but I sure am grateful for it. When that subsidy runs out in April, I will have to pay $1,100 a month (with what?) to keep my "gold-plated" insurance if I'm not employed with benefits.
So what evidently happens is the day you get laid off, the employer tells the insurance company to cancel your policy. Then you sign up for COBRA and the policy is reinstated. In my case, I did this as soon as the opportunity was presented, and while some doctor bills have been paid by Blue Cross, they have at same time on several occasions now told a provider that our insurance was terminated.
How can they be paying bills (sorry, we've had a bunch recently) with one hand and with the other telling people our insurance was canceled? You'd think with this process happening to millions of people they might have a system. Yes, it's just an annoyance, but it's really one we don't need when we're sick and unemployed.
Blame Mister Mxyzptlk
Wordz: Blue Cross
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
London, Oct 13 (ANI): Troubled filmmaker Roman Polanski is ‘tired and depressed’ in jail as he battles extradition to the US, his lawyer has said.
“I found him to be tired and depressed… Roman Polanski, who is 76, seemed very dejected when I visited him. Polanski was in an unsettled state of mind,” the Daily Star quoted him as saying.
Awww. Maybe he'd feel better if someone drugged and raped him. You busy Woody Allen?