Monday, February 26, 2007

Go ahead and price yourselves out of existence

The U.S. Postal Service is debating the idea of creating a 'forever stamp' that would be purchased at today's postage rates but would be honored forever in spite of any future rate increases.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The next hike in postage rates could be ameliorated by the introduction of a "forever" stamp that would cover first-class postage despite future increases.

The independent Postal Regulatory Commission scheduled a Monday morning briefing to announce its ruling on the Postal Service's requests to raise first-class rates 3 cents to 42 cents and to establish the permanent stamp.

I don't know about you, but I rarely use snail-mail for anything these days. I pay my bills almost entirely online. In fact, the only things I've mailed recently are my gas bill (a small, local gas company that hasn't caught wind of the web yet) and my mortgage (a large international bank that has no nose either). Truth be told, I bought a full sheet of stamps over two months ago and more than a third of them are left.

Someday soon, that little box at the end of my driveway will become another outdoor flower garden for my wife to fill with geraniums.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

How to muddy up a candidate without getting your hands dirty

Mitt Romney is making a run for the White House in '08. I don't know a lot about the guy, other than the fact that he's a Mormon. Makes no nevermind to me, however, the MSM is doing their best to remind the American public about his religious affiliation at every turn. They've even gone so far as to point out that some of his ancestors were polygamists.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate's great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12.

Polygamy was not just a historical footnote, but a prominent element in the family tree of the former Massachusetts governor now seeking to become the first Mormon president.

Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, married his fifth wife in 1897. That was more than six years after Mormon leaders banned polygamy and more than three decades after a federal law barred the practice.

I have only one question: WHO CARES? Since when does it matter if a politician descends from polygamists or even rapists or murderers? It's the content of their individual character that should matter. Mr. Romney has been married only once, and for 37 years so far. He finds the practice of polygamy strange and has noted that his church excommunicates people for the practice.

It's exactly this sort of crap that makes me loathe and despise the American political process, and after this episode, the world is going to have to work even harder to convince me not to vote for the guy (even though Giuliani will probably get my vote ... he's no Reagan conservative but I like how he handled himself and his former constituents in NYC during his tenure as mayor).

Monday, February 19, 2007

Maybe being a 'late adopter' will finally pay off

I've got friends who have been trying to get me to buy into the whole satellite radio scene. "The content is excellent," they said. "No commericals," they said.

Now, I've listened to both, and their offerings are attractive, but I was always afraid of buying into the one that would eventually go tits-up. Looks like I won't have to worry about that any longer.

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., the second-largest U.S. pay radio service, agreed to buy its larger rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. for $4.57 billion in stock, combining the only two companies in the industry.

Of course, I'm still going to wait a while, as the article mentions that neither company has yet to turn a profit. Hey, I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Putting your money where your mouth is

I've always said that my one beef with political commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Al Franken is that they talk a great game but don't have the guts to really give politics a shot. They have the bravery of being out of range, as Roger Waters would say.

However, that changed today as Al Franken announced he will run for the U.S. Senate against fellow Minnesotan Norm Coleman in the '08 election.

Franken's announcement came on the final day of his radio show on Air America. The former "Saturday Night Live" performer's celebrity instantly makes him a heavyweight contender and brings national attention to the Minnesota race.

"Minnesotans have a right to be skeptical about whether I'm ready for this challenge, and to wonder how seriously I would take the responsibility that I'm asking you to give me," Franken said in a video clip posted on his Web site.

Don't get me wrong. I don't agree with the guy's political stance or his opinions on nearly everything, however, it takes a lot of guts to throw your hat in the ring these days. He will be publicly eviscerated by the media and his political enemies before the votes are finally counted. He'll have to endure a sizable pay cut too, as he's quitting his radio show on the liberal Air America network.

And, of course, he'll have to make good on whatever promises he's about to make. Oh wait, never mind - politicians rarely ever do that.