Wednesday, March 27, 2013

HEART The Rock (one depressing breakfast with mtvu)

Ate breakfast on a college campus this morning.  MTV-U was being pumped out of flat screen TVs all over the dining area.  I was a bit disturbed by the one minute that I watched.  I still enjoyed my breakfast though in case the reader was concerned with my eating pleasure.

First up:  Advertisement for the movie G. I. Joe.

<beginsarcasm> Yay!  They've remade the old cartoon starring The Rock.  Support the troops! </endsarcasm>

OK.  Do you love our military?  Have you ever wondered why?  Would you love your military as much if you didn't watch TV and sporting events?

Some articles about Iraq to show some further cynicism:

Second up:  Advertisement for St George University.

<beginsarcasm> Yay!  Student debt!  Universities are using increased tuition to compete with other universities to increase enrollment and tuition which increases need for student loans! </endsarcasm>

If you don't know that student debt is a huge problem, then under what rock are you hiding?  Even THE Rock knows that student debt is a problem.  But did you know that student debt has reached ONE TRILLION DOLLARS and as surpassed credit card debt?  Did you know that you cannot bankrupt out of student debt?  Did you know student debt can even garnish Social Security if it isn't paid off before collecting benefits?  Did you know that the promise of getting a well-paid job with a college degree is less true than ever?  Does anyone think this isn't a mess?

Some articles to make us feel bad about universities and student debt:

Finally:  Advertisement for Snickers.

<beginsarcasm> Hungry?  (Yes!)  Is Robin Williams coaching a football team?  (Yes!)  Will scarfing down very sweet candy satisfy his hunger and make him healthy?  (Yes!)  What would The Rock do?  (Yes!) </endsarcasm>

Is Snickers a gas station PBJ?  No, it's candy not food.  It's making people sick not healthy.  It's making people fat not healthy.  Much of our food is making us sick.  I saw someone say recently that if it's advertised on TV, then definitely don't eat it.  I've heard others say not to eat anything out of a box.  Are convenience, shelf life, and sweetness the properties we're most concerned with in our food?  Not if we care about our health.

In conclusion: <beginsarcasm> Support attacking other countries, go into debt, and make yourself sick.</endsarcasm>

Or maybe just stop and think about what you do and why.  What would The Rock do?  Put down that Snickers.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Walmart in NYC? NO THANKS

I wrote this in reply to comments in the Reason article:

New York City Council Wages War on Walmart

The latest dumb idea from politicians in the Big Apple.

(Click link above to read the article, read below to see a comment I posted (in 3 parts due to the limit on comment size))


First of all (apologies if any heads explode), Walmart isn't *all* bad.  They are simultaneously a marvel of capitalism and an example of most of the major problems of capitalism.  I would argue (and a real debate would actually be nice) that Walmart is more bad than good, for America, for Americans, for the world, for the ecology, for other businesses big and small, and for good taste (the most subjective part so it’s pointless to address this as taste is personal).  

While Walmart isn't a monopoly, it is anti-competitive.  For example, it operate any individual store at a loss until it claims a sufficient portion of market share.  How does the average business compete against that?  Books have been written about how Walmart is anti-competitive, so I won't belabor this, but I'd *love* to hear any arguments about how Walmart is good for competition.

For those who can take off the idealist hat for a moment and look objectively at government regulation and protection, wouldn't it make sense to protect your voters from an organization that would make your voters' lives worse?  (One must rant...)  It sucks to work for Walmart.  It sucks to supply Walmart.  It sucks to own a business or live in a community near a Walmart.  It sucks to be a supplier to Walmart.  Walmart sucks wealth from everyone/everything it touches. Walmart isn't anyone's friend, and it's a bad neighbor.  If we had a mutually beneficial relationship with Walmart, it would be one thing.  Walmart acts much more like a parasite.  (To name a few reasons to oppose them.)

Many American small towns that have lost agriculture, manufacturing, and mining jobs are kind of on life support through welfare and social security.  Some would argue that these towns might crumble (economically speaking) on their own.  Many do manage a sort of equilibrium or (at least over time) can evolve and possible develop new industries or populations, ...unless Walmart shows up.  They turn on the wealth vacuum and suck up a large chunk of the money people have to spend in the area.  If it tips the balance and the area's economy goes down the toilet, Walmart has been known to leave the market just as quickly as it entered.  Also conveniently, above and beyond the locals on welfare and ss, 44% of Walmart employees are on government benefits.  How do you feel about Walmart profiting immensely from your tax money given to its customers?  How do you feel about Walmart externalizing its employees hardships on the rest of us instead of paying them a little better?

Are Walmart's extra low prices good for America if they destroy other business and competition?  I'll check back for answers more profound than simple free market idealism.