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It is also available as a book with added comments and thoughts. It is a fundraiser for Multiple System Atrophy research - the disease that killed my wife and the catalyst for the blog. Please consider buying either a Kindle version from the Kindle store or a paperback version from Amazon. The title is "Living With A Snowman" by Scott Poole. It is available for purchase HERE.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Politics Explained

This is borrowed from many websites - (with minor adjustments by me) Politics Explained FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes most of the milk. PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all of the cows. The government gives you exactly as much milk as you need. BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and put them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you need. FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk at "market" prices. PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk. RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk. The five year plan calls for you to have six cows. CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and shoots you. DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you. PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You and your neighbors decide who gets the milk. REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. You and your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk. BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows. LIBERTARIANISM: You have two cows. The government doesn't care. PURE ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you. LIBERTARIAN/ANARCHO-CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. SURREALISM: You have two groundhogs. The government requires you to make pizzas . CURRENT STATE OF U.S. POLITICS: You have two cows. With the taxes on the farm, taxes on the income from the milk, the myriad regulations requiring you to document every breath you and your cows make; you barbeque the cows.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Now for the News - more weirdly worded headlines

Maybe none of you like this stuff, but I think it is HILARIOUS!! Here we go: (all supposed to be real headlines) Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead Those reporters don't miss a thing do they? Joint Committee Investigates Marijuana Use And then they head to the convenience store . Prostitutes Appeal to Pope Hey, he IS just a man! Enraged Cow Injures Farmer With Ax I have explained before - NEVER give tools and/or implements to an animal! Tiger Woods plays with own balls, Nike says Too many options here, talk among yourselves. Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge They call him "Bunny" now. (think about it) Blind woman gets new kidney from dad she hasn't seen in years These are too easy!! Two Sisters Reunited After 18 Years at Checkout Counter Had to be a K-Mart, I have done half that at a K-mart myself. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half Then they pulled rabbits out of their hats. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms Would Saddam have allowed this? I think not. Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft You know what they say - "the smeller's the feller". And finally, a headline that made some journalism professor and parents soooooo proud: If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While no comment Stay tuned for more (and I'm feeling a rant on the state of affairs in our great nation as well)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I now pronounce you..HOT! Part 2

If you have not done so, the correct way to do this is to read part 1 first. See below.. I was discussing the heat and the fact I was in a suit. 95 degrees may not seem like that big a problem to those not trying to live in it. Take my word, it is HOT, especially when dressed for much cooler weather and spending time in a building with no A/C. My son and I arrived with the portable A/Cs about 3:00 as planned. I had asked said son to stop and pick up two plug adapters due to the fact that I did not remember seeing ground plug holes on the outlets when we inspected the building earlier in the week. Of course, he did not. So we arrived at the chapel and unloaded the A/Cs and saw - the plugs would not work. He headed for the store and I started to place and prepare the A/Cs. It is now 3:45, my son is not back, the A/Cs are placed but have not been checked, airflow aimed, or even verified to work as I have no way to plug them in. A quick call determines he is almost back. A few moments later, after application of the plug adapters we have one A/C functioning - backwards. Without a way of testing the air flow, what I had assumed to be the exhaust was actually the cold air outlet which was blowing the cooled air out the window. We quickly changed plans, relocated the units, ran the tubing in the proper directions and fired them up. Now, remember my other job - transporting my daughter (the bride) to the chapel. As we were to walk down the aisle together, that made perfect sense. The service would not start without either of us (or the Groom, or the preacher - more in a moment). So, I sent a quick text telling her I should make it, but it would be tight. The A/Cs were blowing, the flowers were in the chapel, cousins were there doing preparation - it was AFTER 4:00!! I had to go. Remember I said the chapel was located in a park about 15 to 20 minutes away from my home. I was, appearance wise, as you would expect a man to be after working with two large appliances in an un-airconditioned building. A shower was definitely in order. So, we headed home to clean flowing water, shampoo, and soap; as well as fresh clothing. It was now 4:15 - remember, we were scheduled to walk at 5:00. No problem - for Superman or the Flash. Now, I will admit - I was out of contact with the female masses. I am sure they had their own gremlins to battle. I do not know what exactly was occurring in their part of the preparations, I only know that later it was all done and they were all at the chapel on time. I cannot write that side of the story. Here is the continuation of mine. We made it home about 4:30. The mother of the bride (my wife), her mom, one of my daughters and her husband, and another daughter were loading up and heading to the chapel. They told me that my daughter - bride to be, had headed out with another sister to the chapel; unwilling to wait for me. I, looking like a refugee from a shipwreck passed them at a gallop for the shower. Avoiding the details, I was back out the door, in my suit, at 4:45 or so. No gremlins had attacked in my preparation. Weird! Nice, but weird. I was now headed back to the chapel. Remember, it is a 15 to 20 minute trip and I had to start the walk in less than 15 minutes. No problem. Being a responsible driver and a stickler for safety, I obeyed all traffic laws. No, really! OK, most traffic laws. OK, some traffic laws. But, I digress. Did I mention that the park has a parking/use fee. Now as part of the use of the chapel we were to avoid the parking fee. There is a little gate with a retired Nazi SS officer in it just outside the area I needed to be. I just knew I was going to have a problem as I did not have my wallet, nor invitation, nor parking pass. I figured when I got to the gate, Fritz would have a gremlin on his shoulder and a machine gun in his hand. Amazingly, he let me through without so much as a "Heil Hitler". Little did I know the gremlins had all massed at the chapel. They were doing nothing but leading me into their trap. I got a call from a daughter that was attending to my nearly hysterical daughter/bride to be asking where I was - as it was now 5:01. I told her I was on the road to the chapel and would arrive in two minutes or less. She said good, but the preacher was not there. Now my time-addled brain did not register the seriousness of that statement. As I said above - the ceremony would not start without the bride, the groom, me, and THE PREACHER; three out of four would not work. In fact, legally - I was the only one of the four that could miss it. So, I continued on towards the chapel with a faint gremlin laugh echoing in my ears. One of my requirements in dress for this wedding was to wear an orange tie. Now being a responsible adult, I did not own an orange tie. My bride to be daughter was to get me one. I had asked on the previously mentioned phone call if she had it. She did, and I grabbed it as I rode by and headed to park and apply said orange tie. I noticed as I went by that the doors to the chapel were open, and numerous people were milling about. Huh! After application of the orange neckwear, I walked up towards the chapel. I then noticed with my keen powers of observation that the people that were milling looked a bit wilted. Some looked downright wet! I now heard a full fledged gremlin cackle. As I approached I was told that the preacher was not here yet, and the A/C had quit. People were sitting in this chapel with the windows closed, no A/C and it was 95+ degrees. It seemed that shortly after we left the chapel, the fuse/circuit breaker that was designed for an historic building with no A/C had tripped. This took out the lights, ceiling fans, and the portable A/Cs. It was about 500 degrees in the chapel give or take 100 degrees. I suggested they open the windows. As I glanced in some windows it was like looking through the portholes of a sinking ship. I have never seen such widespread despair. All hairdos were wilted. All the attendees were coated with a sheen of sweat like a race horse after a good run. Some appeared to have showered, with their clothes on. My bride to be daughter was being attended to by another daughter. She was nearly hysterical. About that time the preacher called again and said he needed another hour. Now, it was about 5:10 and the preacher needed another hour. NOT GOOD! The gremlins were cheering and laughing so loud I could not hear myself think. If the drowned rats in the chapel and milling about in the yard had heard the call, they would have mutinied. As it turned out, one of the attendees husbands was a minister fully licensed in NC. After being asked he graciously agreed to do the ceremony. Other than being as hot as an oven, it was a lovely service. As I stated at the beginning, my daughter is legally married and all is well. After some fluid replacement for most of the attendees - they were all well too.
I will end now with a tip of the hat to the gremlins - well played.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I now pronounce you...Hot! - Part 1

This was another weekend with an event - another of my daughters got married on Saturday. It ended up being nice, and she is legally married (we are told); so all is well. It did not look like that would happen at a few points however. (squiggly lines and blurring occur now as we flashback in time)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ First to set the stage, lets fill out the scorecard. There was a gaggle of females - sisters of the bride, cousins' of the bride wives and significant others, aunts, grandmas, assorted other females that don't fit any of these categories, and a mother of the bride. That amount of estrogen in one place can only lead to heartache and misery. There were males, but except for me they all seemed to have hidden, like the desert wildlife from the noon sun. There was also no organization. (of course in my testosterone-fueled brain it appears to me that organizing a gaggle of females is a bit like herding cats or maybe mealy bugs... but I digress) Now, most of the "stuff" had been done, arranged, and/or accounted for. However, there is no preparation for - the event gremlins. These little mischief makers are forever waiting in the wings with failed plans and broken dreams. They swoop down upon the unsuspecting (or even those anticipating them, such as myself) and tear the life's breath from the best laid plans. If you happen to not have a well orchestrated and documented plan - that is like fuel on their fire! Let the games begin. Begin they did. My daughter that was getting married has always had a "flair for the dramatic" (polite way of saying she loses it when under pressure, or imagined pressure - sorry babe) She was in tears by early morning on the phone to my wife because she did not see it all coming together. There were fans to assemble (paper fans given as favors and to help with the heat - more to come), flower petals to put into bags (it just ain't a wedding without bagged flower petals!), there was an upcoming makeup and hair session that was quickly approaching, the music was still up in the air as a last minute reassignment of that responsibility had been "gremlinized", and a host of other things that just promised to wreck the whole thing if a task force was not assigned to them. This is where the army of females rushed into action. We had a sister go to the bride to be and work with her (and helping her off the floor where she was lying weeping in despair), we had an aunt go to the drug store for calming herbs and to offer support and manpower (or woman-power) to take care of the tasks that needed doing, we had CD buying, and many other tasks being vanquished by the sheer application of estrogen (or just the threat thereof). Any unassigned females just took up a gnashing of teeth and participated in a general twittering (not the internet kind) that smote the gremlins where they lived.... or so we thought. My tasks were assigned, accepted, and a plan was in place for their completion. Little did I know a gremlin had been specifically assigned to my tasks as well. One of my sons and I were to take two portable air conditioners to the chapel and get them working to cool down the building where the wedding was to occur. We were told we could not get into the building until 3:00pm (with the wedding scheduled at 5:00pm), but we saw no problem with that if all went well. "If all went well..", words that gremlins feed on (more to come). I also had to pick up the bride (after getting suitably suited up of course) and deliver her and myself to the chapel to "walk the walk". Now, some explanation of logistics are in order. The chapel my daughter selected is an old Methodist church that was built in 1809 - 200 years ago, for those of you with weak math skills. It is a great old building, but it is an OLD building that has been historically restored to it's 1809 conditions except for the addition of electricity. It is located about 15 - 20 minutes away from where most of the attendees live, if all is well (this comes into play shortly). It sits on a ridge overlooking the Yadkin river valley in Tanglewood park. It is a picturesque setting and view, a lovely place for a wedding. Did I mention it was built in 1809? PRE-Air conditioning? (pre-almost anything we take for granted as far as everyday comforts - but I digress) Did you know that Saturday was the HOTTEST day of the year so far!! We here in Forsyth county North Carolina, do not have a whole lot of days over 90. There are even fewer over 95. Can you say RECORD HEAT!! We hit 95 or more Saturday; and I got to wear a suit! (it was a casual wedding, due to the rustic conditions of the chapel and the no A/C thing, but not for the bride, the groom, and ME) Stay tuned for more.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm not crazy. The voices in my head said so!

Yesterday I attended a high school graduation. This event was special not just because one of my children was graduating, but because she is the LAST of my SIX children to graduate. Now, I have gone to all my children's graduations even though I think they are a particularly stupid social ceremony. Although I appreciate that a person has made it through high school; by the same token - it is just high school. A subject for another post maybe is adults that don't seem to be able to let go of high school - but I digress. I am proud of my daughter for her accomplishment. I am more proud of the fact that she has become a pretty decent person on her way to what I hope will be an even better adult, able to make a positive contribution to this world. Now for the point of all this... In evaluating my feelings about the graduation, I was thinking about the fact that I have been to six - for MY kids. Our first graduated before our last started school. So I started doing some math. (I actually did a spreadsheet, so maybe I am a bit weirder than I even let on) Here are some facts: My wife and I have had at least one teenager in our household for the last 19 years! AND, we have most of two years to go until we are done with them. 21 years of teenagers - I hear people complain about their one or two and just laugh. Even more astonishing is the fact that we have had at least two teenagers in our households for 16 of those years! AND, to top it all off, for 11 years we had three teenagers in our household. Reread those numbers and show some RESPECT! As for high school students - (remember that is only a three or four year proposition as opposed to teenager-dom which is part of eight) we have had at least one for the past 16 years! We had at least two for six years. Do you know how many practices, concerts, performances, games, open houses, etc that represents? 16 years of high school is over 100 dog years! Woof, woof. If you have read, or care to go back and read earlier posts you will come upon some that are a bit strange. If you factor in the above numbers, it is a wonder any of them are not! Seriously!! But I gotta go, my invisible friend has to feed his pet anaconda. NOTE: if you only read occassionaly - this is one of several posts over the past few days - keep reading

Saturday, June 13, 2009

어이!, haloo!, алло!, здравейте!, Hello

I just wanted to send a shout out to my readers all over the world! According to my visitor tracker, in addition to many places in the USA, I have had at least one hit from Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, and Finland. The title of this blog is "Hello" (or Hi) in Korean, Finnish, Russian, and Bulgarian respectively. Welcome aboard. Comments are welcomed. Thanks! 고맙습니다! kiitos! спасибо! благодаря! KEEP READING - ALTHOUGH THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POST - IT IS THE SECOND OF THE DAY. READ ON 1

Here Kitty, Kitty...

I love learning and knowledge. I love weird facts. I just came across one that qualifies as one of the weirdest and coolest I have ever read. Read on... The microscopic parasite Toxoplasma gondii has an interesting effect when it infects rats and mice - it makes them become unafraid of cats. This is pretty helpful to the Toxoplasma, which can only sexually reproduce if its host is eaten by a cat. Is that awesome or what?!? This parasite can only reproduce in the intestinal tract of felines (cats). It can be carried by any warm blooded creature. If it is present in a rat or mouse, one of the side effects of the parasite is to form vacuoles which become cysts in the brains of the host. In rats and mice those cysts cause some sort of chemical reaction that cause the rats/mice to lose their fear of cats. Here is one citation of the phenomenon - T. gondii infections have the ability to change the behavior of rats and mice, making them drawn to rather than fearful of the scent of cats. This effect is advantageous to the parasite, which will be able to sexually reproduce if its host is eaten by a cat.[8] The infection is almost surgical in its precision, as it does not affect a rat's other fears such as the fear of open spaces or of unfamiliar smelling food. I think it is especially cool that it does not change any other behavioral aspect of the host. It just makes them not fear cats (another source I read said it actually appears to make rats/mice attracted to cats!) so the parasite can reproduce. This concludes your lesson for today. Continue independent studies.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Freedom & Liberty for all (?)

If you have read most of these posts you have seen quite a few rants about my concern over the societal changes in perspective and definitions of what to me seems to be common ideas. "Global Warming" and environmentalism are two (or two sides of the same coin) that come to mind. Like I have said - if you repeat a lie enough times, people start to believe it. I won't go off on that subject today, however - read some old posts if you don't know where I stand. I have some comments on freedom and liberty, especially as it concerns the free market economy. We, as Americans, are granted liberty and certain freedoms by our constitution. Our country was founded by people that were fed up with religious and political persecution. The original colonists in no small numbers were Christians from protestant sects that were not allowed to practice their beliefs due to state sponsored religion in the countries and/or regions they came from. Our country also was founded by people that were trying to escape oppressive and non-responsive government. "No taxation without representation" was the cry that fueled our forefathers in revolution. To be fair, our country was also populated early by people looking to make their fortune in the "New World". But I digress.
We live in a "free society". We have a representative republic form of government. (one of my pet peeves is when people erroneously remark on our "democracy" - democracy is another word for "mob rule", but I digress) As stated above, we have rights and freedoms granted to us by law from the very documents that were used to found this country. It amazes me how those rights and freedoms have been bastardized to reflect ideas that I am sure our founding fathers never even considered. For example, the constitution guarantees freedom of religion. There is to be no establishment of a state supported religion. However, there is also a line about no one being able to inhibit or prohibit the practice of individual's religion. The no state supported religion has been the side of this equation that has been thrown around and built up by those that would have religion done away with in our country. The individual's freedom to practice their religion has been given a much lower importance. This is especially true if the religion being practiced is any normal, basic sect of Christianity. Smoking is another activity that, although not protected by the constitution specifically as is religion, has been vilified and condemned by society as to make a pariah out of anyone lighting up almost anywhere. Now, for those of you that do not know me, I am NOT a smoker. I find it a disgusting habit. I do not, nor have I ever smoked (except of a short period where I played with pipes and lots of different tobacco). However, tobacco is a legal product for adults to purchase and consume. The use of cigarettes and cigars, no matter how repulsive are no different than eating a purchased sandwich or applying a cologne. I may despise tuna and get nauseous smelling Charlie, but it is your "right" to eat and wear either. It amazes me that we have gotten to a point that a smoker cannot light up in a restaurant, bar, or other public place. (again, I will not eat next to a smoker - I have left restaurants when there was smoking I could smell) If the owner of the business wants to cater to people that smoke, and smokers want to frequent the establishment, more power to them. It should be incumbent upon the non-smoker or offended to LEAVE. Don't patronize the business if you disagree with their policies! This same concept is what I was reading and thinking about when I started this blog. GM is selling the Hummer brand. Hummer is a vehicle that has been demonized and vilified as to represent what is wrong with consumerism and society in the U.S. I saw where some yahoo representing some wonderful "consumer" organization (a separate blog if ever there was one - stay tuned) made comments about Hummer. He said that (and I paraphrase) "it is time that Hummer and their new owner builds smaller and more efficient products that people want. A more "green" Hummer is in order." I don't think this idiot has a clue. GM, like all companies is in business to make a profit. A company makes a profit by performing a service or selling a product THAT PEOPLE WANT TO PAY FOR!! The market should decide if it wants a smaller Hummer! Maybe the market wants a BIGGER Hummer?! To take the Hummer nameplate and past it on a Yugo would not be a good idea. The MARKET should decide what the owners of Hummer build and sell. I started this days ago, and cannot reclaim my enthusuasm and commitment to my original ideas. I guess I will close with my thoughts on reading what I have written above - The auto industry in the US has failed for a myriad of reasons. Paramount above them is government regulations. The auto companies have not been able to build cars that people want for years. They have had fleet gas mileage standards and safety regulations to meet that changed a lot of that. The 'evil" SUV would not have become the sales sucess it has unless people wanted to buy them. The media and "greenies" would have you believe that the car companies took all car buyers to a backroom and waterboarded them to force a SUV upon them! Small cars DON'T sell! People, for the most part, DON'T WANT ROLLERSKATES WITH RUBBER TIRES AND A SEAT!! Now, I know - the Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc models are perenial best sellers. But look at a Civic of today vs a Civic of ten or fifteen years ago. It is about half again bigger. It is the same with most small cars. We do not have the same roads or driving patterns as most of Europe or Asia. We are on multi-hundred mile interstate/freeway trips, NOT weaving through the cobblestone lanes of a village. We want to feel pampered and safe in our vehicles. We want the kids to have entertainment and picture windows to keep them occupied when we are barreling down the highway. (before I get blasted by someone that wants to talk about the success of the Prius or the Mini Cooper, etc. - I know there are always exceptions. I am talking about generalities. My point is made by sales figures every year.) The market should decide if a car the size of a house that gets three feet to the gallon of gas makes it. The market should decide if a restaurant that doubles as a cigarette testing lab is a success. The market should decide if the owner of a business can make a go of it by serving trans-fat laden fries. If people, when fully informed of what they are buying or consuming, decide to patronize the businesses - more power to them. When people that do not want to eat in a place that has smokers - they DON'T GO THERE! If people want a tiny car - THEY BUY ONE! To foist your ideas and ideals on another IS NOT FREEDOM OR LIBERTY!! Even when done with the best of intentions.

Look Mom, I'm a lawyer!

Why I could not be an attorney... Following is a portion of a news story. The last line is an example of why I could not be an attorney. AUSTIN, Texas — A woman in Texas has been accused of repeatedly smearing human waste on her 3-year-old daughter's intravenous feeding line, potentially causing life-threatening infections. Emily Beth McDonald, 23, of Austin, was charged with felony injury to a child. She faces up to life in prison if convicted. According to an arrest affidavit, a surveillance video at Dell Children's Medical Center captured McDonald on Sunday placing feces from a soiled diaper on the cap of a tube with a direct link to her child's bloodstream. According to the affidavit, police interviewed McDonald, who allegedly confessed and said she knew that her actions could make the child severely ill and possibly even kill her. No motive was disclosed. McDonald was released on a $100,000 bond Wednesday. The Austin American-Statesman reported she must wear an electronic monitoring device and comply with a police protective order that prevents her from seeing her three children. Here it comes.... Bob Phillips, an attorney representing McDonald, told the newspaper she is a "fine young woman from a fine family who loves her children very much."

I could not make that statement even in defense of my client. I know that is an attorney's job, but...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Want an SUV with that?

How does it feel to own a car company (or two)? GM is ours (at least nominally) as is Chrysler, at least for a little while. The good news is we only paid 50 - 60 billion for them. And what gets better from there is, we are now "selling" the only valuable parts of Chrysler to Fiat. Then the plan is to give (for a nominal investment in operating capital) most of the value of GM to Magna (a large parts supplier from Canada) and a Russian banking/investment firm. The auto workers union gets another large chunk; and the US and Canadian government get most of the rest. If, and that is a BIG IF, GM (and the new owners) gets what is left turned around and makes money, we (the US government part) gets a return. Whoopee! After the money we paid in "bailouts' prior to the bankruptcy, and the unseen fallout that will occur after the bankruptcy (layoffs and closures from suppliers, dealers, etc) it would have been cheaper to buy the three million cars that sales were off and give them to those that need them (although I would not want to be in charge of deciding who was to get one!) Your government at work! Speaking of which, I commented in an earlier blog about the digital transition. This is where all existing full-power TV stations are required to go to a digital transmission system. This was to originally occur in mid-February of this year and was moved to June 12th to allow for more consumers to get the proper equipment to allow their old analog TVs to receive the new digital signals. One of the big components of this program was a $40 government coupon that would be issued to any household that requested one (or two). This coupon could be used to buy a digital tuner converter box that would allow an analog TV on an antenna to pickup the digital signals. After two years of promotions and ads about the program and the issuance of the maximum number of coupons much earlier (due to there being no limit or requirements on getting the coupons other than the ability to apply), someone noticed that most of the consumers that the program was intended to help had NOT gotten a coupon, a digital converter box, nor the information they needed to do so. That was when the decision was made to delay the conversion until June 12th. A massive advertising and awareness plan was launched - read massive SPENDING plan - to inform these folks that come June 13th they would have no TV. Now, any politician worth anything knows there are a few things that are sacred to most voters. Access to TV is one of them. That is why the MASSIVE spending was authorized. I read the other day that with the money spent on the coupons, and all the advertising and promotional events that have been run; when this is over, we will have spent about $1,000 a household to tell people with TVs on antennas (it affects NO ONE else - not cable households, not satellite TV households) that they need a box that costs $49 - $59 to watch TV. Your government at work. Why do I mention this? I have deviated from my original intent, but I wanted to make the point with the above two (or three if you count GM and Chrysler separately) examples of how inefficient our government is. Think of the DMV, military and government purchasing, medicare & medicaid, the government bureaucracy, welfare programs, etc. All a model of efficiency, right? Why the heck would anyone want the government to take over healthcare? Or any other part of our lives? Cradle to grave - the cradle will be in the grave!