I neither watched nor listened to George Bush give the State of the Union Address to Congress earlier this week (and apparently I wasn’t the only one), but it sounds like he floated a proposal that I think I could support.
The idea, as I understand it is to make the cost of health insurance tax deductible for people who have to pay their own premiums. This would be paid for by making employer plans over a certain amount taxable. I paid for my own insurance for 3-4 years, and it always pissed me off that my premiums weren’t tax deductible, while employer provided health plans were, effectively, an untaxed benefit. A step in the right direction.
On the other hand, his proposal to use more corn-derived ethanol as a gasoline substitute sucks. Corn derived ethanol is a shitty fuel. Corn is hard on farmland and takes a lot of other energy (much of it from greenhouse-gassy coal) to produce.
Corn is also food (an important constituent of everything from cola to cows), so the more corn that goes to fuel, the less will be available for food, which will push prices up. Actually, that may not be such a bad thing, considering how lardassed America is becoming (present company included).
On the other hand, sugar cane-derived ethanol looks like a decent fuel that would be carbon neutral since most of its energy inputs are renewable. Right now Brazil is the biggest producer of cane-derived ethanol, but even with the tariffs we levy, it’s competitive with corn-derived ethanol.
I hate to do another Microsoft related post, but the truth must get out. Microsoft Vista scared my poor dog. It started about half an hour ago, and she’s still anxiously running about the house, panting and whimpering.
I couldn’t figure out what the ruckus was. At first I thought federal troops were lobbing artillery and precision bombs into Seattle’s liberal enclaves, trying to eliminate opposition to the president and his policies. Then I thought maybe Mt Rainier had erupted. Nothing on the news about either one though, so I started doing some searching on the web and found out that Microsoft was throwing a fireworks show to promote Vista. Must have been a big one too. Sounded louder than the 4th of July show that they do in the same area of town.
Yesterday I mentioned that someone from Edelman, a big PR agency with a growing practice in internet media, had checked out my post on the way Microsoft cripped “the Social” which is the Zune’s main distinguishing feature.
That second mention brought visits from 5 more Edelman operatives, who did a much more thorough job checking out my site. The interesting thing is, they didn’t pay me a visit because I mentioned the Zune again. They visited because I mentioned Edelman.
This suggests that Edelman is roughly 5x more interested in their own image than that of Microsoft, who is presumably one of their clients. Not a surprise, really, especially after Edelman’s recent missteps.
I’ll be interested in seeing if this post generates the same scale of response, or if I’ve already made it into their kill file for being a crank without a large audience.
As I noted yesterday, a site called Zunecomplaints.com, which is made up pretty much entirely of text taken from other blogs, has cribbed the bulk of a couple of my Zune posts. They’ve since pulled my posts I left them comments on both pointing out that they were essentially building site with “borrowed” content, without adding anything of their own. Of course, they haven’t done anything with all the posts they’ve cribbed from other blogs. I may spend a little time tonight bringing things to the attention of their other victims.