how to make bad pizza even worse.

I don’t like Papa John’s Pizza, I’m a picky eater and never thought it was very tasty.  If I’m gonna get stuck eating national-chain pizza @ 3AM,  I guess I’d rather eat Pizza Hut?

I’m honestly wondering why it seems the default position is to assume that Forbes (or any other outside entity for that matter) knows the business better than the man who started and runs the company.  Other than their product being lackluster, did anyone who has a problem with what he’s doing give two shits about Papa John’s before he made this announcement?  I know I didn’t, and I can’t remember the last time I actually bought one of his pizzas, if ever, and I doubt I ever will because I don’t care for it.

Is it really necessary to label someone who has been financially successful as an “asshat” because they don’t like the government telling them how to conduct their business?  Have not literally TENS OF THOUSANDS of people been able to supplement their income, get through a temporary layoff, find seasonal employment, or work through college by getting a PT job baking or delivering pizzas at a Papa John’s franchise?  How many other businesses and individuals have benefited, like folks I know who’ve worked on Papa John’s commercial spots in the past, not to mention all the other seemingly unconnected industries and people that supply and interact almost invisibly with that business on a daily basis?  Despite all this, he’s an “asshat” for maintaining his business by doing something he doesn’t want to do – but is being forced to by law – passing on the legal compliance costs to his customers and trying to avoid doing so further by reducing his overhead further through labor manipulations?  If he’s such a greedy asshole, why didn’t he just arbitrarily raise his prices by the same amount or more 6 months ago, and cut everyone’s hours company policy as well?  It’s amazing to me that people are actually lambasting his charity, in favor of bureaucratic regulation and taxation. (aka theft)

I follow politics much closer than the average American, and as a Midwesterner I’m probably more aware of his company than your average John Q as well, and I’m really struggling to recall ANY event EVER involving Papa John’s changing their business practices arbitrarily to basically make a political statement.

I’m convinced there’s no such thing as “bad attitudes,” rather “bad reactions.”  I understand the emotional response to his announcement, and the reaction to those on both sides to it, but in the spirit of “E Pluribus Unum,” I for one am personally going to tone down my libertarian belly-fire by the time it exits my mouth.  (or at least make a valiant effort)  I find most people reject it anyway, but I don’t have to be such a vitriolic dick when I disagree with altruistic statists.

The above is a reply I posted to a facebook post by a colleague of mine lamenting Papa John’s Pizza’s founder stating he would raise the price of each pizza as a response to the Obamacare tax.  My colleague also expressed comical eminence at what he perceives as the popular right-wing reaction to the event, and his bad attitude about the whole topic, and name-calling.  It also references comments to his post from others, regarding more name-calling and third-party data debunking.  The response started getting so long it became this blog entry.

Replacing the Electoral College

Oddly enough, my father randomly brought up changing the way the president is elected with me today after returning from the polling location.  He said he had a brief conversation with a young man who thought the electoral college should be changed to award single votes to congressional districts based on their popular vote.  Why is this odd?  Because I was just the other day thinking about what would be the best way to change this, and by congressional district, crossed my mind.  But then I decided against it.

Surely the way we do it now alienates MILLIONS of voters, lessens particiapation, and is horrifically outdated and needs to be changed.

Here are my thoughts on changing the way we cast our votes president:

  1. ALL UNITED STATES CITIZENS should get to vote for president.  This means that US territories, where the residents are considered citizens of the US, should get to vote.  There are currently between 4-5 million people that this affects.
  2. I’m opposed to a purely popular presidential vote, philosophically because it’s just straight-up mob rule, and we’ve already reached the tipping point where people have realized they can vote themselves more handouts with other people’s money at the barrel of a gun.  I also see far too much potential for voter fraud to absolutely EXPLODE.
  3. Eliminating the winner-take-all aspect of the election at a state-level is PARAMOUNT!    Illinois, New York, and California are perfect examples of how HUGE urban centers negate any contrasting votes in the entire rest of a given State.  The electoral college has been an abysmal failure and we are left with the candidates only really campaigning in a handful of ‘swing’ or ‘battleground’ States.

Considering all of this, I think that the best thing would be to elect the president BY COUNTY. (or Parish – whatever the equivalent may be called in a given State)   In other words, there are currently 3086 counties in the USA (not counting territories) and each county would be legally bound to the result of the popular vote in that county. Elections are already handled at the county/township level in most places.  They aren’t subject to the Gerrymandering that exists in congressional redistricting, which is ALWAYS changing based on divisive demographics, furthering partisan human nature, and instead take MUCH LONGER to change/add/omit counties per the vote of the people of that state, if they even choose to do so.  This means that a small, densely-populated urban county effects the election the same as an rural county in the sticks.  Every county counts as a single electoral vote.  Thus making each county’s value to the election FAIR and EQUAL.

County voting greatly reduces the alienation of so many voters who are residents of red/blue stranglehold states and find themselves currently wondering why they should vote at all, and would FORCE campaigning in more than a handful of locations, promoting much more public participation.  It takes the balance of power away from urban centers densely populated with state dependents and gives them the same level of influence as suburban and rural counties.  Instead of 4-6 whole states up for grabs and the rest of the country largely ignored, I could see dozens if not hundreds of hotly-contested counties garnering this attention.

Obviously smaller states have fewer counties, and larger states have more.  Texas has 254 counties, and Delaware has 3.  Some counties are very small, like Arlington County, VA at 26 square miles, and some are very large, like North Slope Borough, AK at 95,000 square miles.  But guess what, IT DOESN’T MATTER, they are all worth the same amount.

I feel this change would force the candidates to get closer to far more people across the country.  More people would feel like their votes matter, because they WOULD, and more people would be involved in the political process.  And with that, a return to Liberty comes ever more rapidly.

Meet the Stupids

In order to build some consistency with my insults of those I deem worthy, I’m classifying the “Stupids” as I see them.  As far as the thought I’ve put into this, there are 5 basic categories as listed below:

  • IDIOT ~ This is a truly mentally deficient, just plain unintelligent person with little logical, rational or reasonable thought, or even common sense, if any; infantile.  Someone who just needs to shut up and stay away from me forever.  Synonymous substitutes: Meathead, Stupid-ass, Fuck-tard
  • IMBECILE ~ Only slightly more tolerable than an idiot.  Someone with a cognitive equivalent of an average 7-year-old or a high-functioning retard, who can’t get past their own dogmatic, simplistic view of a simple situation.  Confused and frustrated easily.  Synonymous substitutes: Simpleton, Nitwit, Dumb-ass
  • MORON ~ A very high-functioning Imbecile.  Think Forrest Gump.  Sometimes very likable, until attempting to persuade with their point of view; doesn’t realize when they’re bested and just gets louder in defense; most teenagers, NASCAR fans, and young liberals.  Possesses some common sense and principle.  Synonymous substitutes: Bonehead, Fool,  Shithead/Shit-for-brains, Jackass.
  • IGNORAMUS ~ A person of average or even slightly above-average intelligence who constantly casts doubt on that with exposition of their opinion, which displays their ignorance of a given topic.  Often acidic and judgmental, unreliable and inconsistent.  Hypocritical to a fault and selectively myopic: most Politicians, Cops and talk radio hosts.  Synonymous substitutes: Jerk, Ass-hat, Dickhead.
  • RETARD ~ An otherwise intelligent person who is  just flat wrong.  Most likely to be highly offended by the descriptor “Retard,” presumably unable to see why it’s so befitting.  Idealistic and unrealistic by definition.  Infuriating to debate.  Unable to interpret common sense realities or comprehend opposing opinions; most far left or right-wingers, religious/atheist zealots, celebrities and the illusory superior.  Synonymous substitutes: Clown, Dolt, Asshole


I had been waiting since the first iPods for basically a phone/computer-in-your-pocket, and the latest crop of smartphones is pretty much there as far as I can tell technologically. The problem with this progress is sold to us as a luxury instead of a new standard, and as a result, we pay way too much for it, especially in our lack of choice.

I use an iPhone I purchased back in 2008, and have been with AT&T as my wireless carrier since…I don’t exactly know, at least since 2005.  I’m not exactly thrilled with that.  Over time the service and reliability of the network has noticeably gotten worse, but my bill has continued to rise.  And now, the latest “gotcha” pulled by AT&T is to do away with their Unlimited data plans and limit you to 2GB of data, and $10 bucks extra for each GB after that.  I used to champion in my mind the value of “rollover” minutes, but they only exist for me because of my conservative calling~ I never forget that I have limited minutes, and have occasionally gone WAY over to dip into them, meanwhile my bill reveals total minutes used is routinely over 3000.  This is on a 2-line bill, and I pay about $130 per month for an iPhone and another cell with 700 minutes shared and 200 texts each.  The other phone doesn’t have data service.

Like most things, this has been WAY overcomplicated.  There are so many restrictions and regulations, it drives everybody crazy.  I recently discovered a graphic contrasting the 2-year costs of the latest crop of smartphones, and it sounded a horn to me that I have been completely stupid with regard to how much I’m paying for all this modern convenience.  Unfortunately, the only choice I have is to have or have not.

I would much rather pay a FAIR price for the device instead of being locked-in to exclusive contracts per carrier.  I would much rather have a more tiered selection of calling services, none of which based on volume, in a similar way to the way cable TV or ISPs currently operate, (though I have my individual beef with each of those to discuss later) where you choose the type of service you want, with ANY device, on ANY network, and are not locked into a contract for number of years at the threat of cancellation fees.  And obiously, It should be MUCH more affordable.

The advancement and saturation of technology should bring access to it and the costs of it down over time, not raise them.  I realize that inflation is behind some of this as well, but it’s more about manufactured demand and extremely rationalized supply.  What we really need is the “Model T” of smartphones, instead of treating them like Duesenbergs.  Eliminiate the exclusivity and luxury attached to these devices, which I think Google half-heartedly tried to do with the Nexus 1, but Google has a pretty shaky reputation regarding privacy, and a recent report stated that 20% of all Android apps act basically as Spyware. That’s not really comforting either.

Here’s what I want.  I’ll agree to pay $400 or so for the new iPhone, completely unlocked, and $50 per year for full-coverage replacement insurance.  I want to use it on ANY network, and I want a completely unlimited plan for all features,  for no more than $50 per month.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.  The oligarchy of mobile providers in America is nothing short of the Trusts of old, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that nobody’s doing anything about it.

I’m about to just say fuck it and pull an Alexander Supertramp.

Stoned idiots arrested for bartering pot for iPad

Drugs ‘r bad, m’kay. I can’t help but laugh and simultaneously feel really sorry for these two idiots near Phoenix. I hope they were just stoned and didn’t post an ad on CraigsList offering a quarter oz. of “blue dream straight outta cali,” along with an iPod as barter for an iPad, because they were that stupid. The ad even featured a photo of the pot on a scale, so you know it’s legit.

Of course, the Gilbert, AZ cops set up an undercover meeting to make the deal and bust the dank duo 20-year-olds Jacob Walker and Joseph Velarde.  Walker is the one reported to have posted the ad on CraigsList, and the two now face charges for possession of an illegal substance and conspiracy to sell Marijuana after presenting the pot to and undercover officer.  And they didn’t even get the iPad.  Bummer bro.

I don’t know the AZ statutes, but I would imagine those charges carry some substantial jail time.  So even though these kids did something stupid, they don’t deserve to go to jail, let alone have their future potential drastically cut short by the legal discrimination surrounding drug convictions.  I would argue that the loss of productivity, time, and brain cells of constant bake-itude is punishment and self-limiting enough.  This is yet another example of the stupidity of our country’s War on Drugs.

What exactly did these guys do that was so wrong?  “It’s illegal.”  So is speeding.  But if you speed on an empty road and don’t cause any harm to someone else or their property, what is the harm?  What’s the harm in being stupid if it doesn’t harm anyone?  What’s the harm in offering to trade some bud and an iPod for an iPad?  Who did these guys hurt?  This is such an incredible waste of time, resources, and taxpayer-funded law enforcement operations, especially when there are so many more serious offenders out there who ARE getting away with personal and property damage.

I have no problem with enhanced punishments or sentences for crimes committed while impaired, but why should it be illegal just to possess or even consume intoxicating substances?  If you drive drunk and make it home safely without incident, should you call the cops and turn yourself in upon your safe arrival home?  For some reason, our lawmakers are stuck on preemptive action and legislating personal behavior, and DUI checkpoints are the perfect example of how we’ve really let this go to far.

Prosecuting these guys isn’t going to do anything to lessen the use of illegal drugs.  Even in jail these guys are gonna be able to get high.  And they won’t be hurting anyone else when they’re locked up either.  And how can they be charged with “conspiracy to sell” when they were clearly looking for a straight up trade?  Good luck boys.  I hate that you were either too stupid, or more than likely too high to screw yourselves with such hilarity.

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The Vet is in.

I’m exploring the possibility of producing a short documentary comparing health care with veterinary care here in the US.

The recent upheaval of healthcare reform here is ridiculous to me, especially when it more than anything else, makes it punishable by law if you DON’T participate in the broken system of managed care.  Though the insurance companies are guilty of some seriously nefarious doings, I mostly blame the federal government, cause it’s responsible for the mandated monopolies of HMOs and PPOs that we’ve had for nearly 40 years now.

The problem is simple.  Cost.  That’s it.  You can get the access to the care you “NEED,”  but you’re financially screwed if you are uninsured, and if you are, you still may be screwed.  There’s less a chance of that screw job surprising you with some of the new laws, but you’re gonna end up paying more in the long run anyway.

The fact that I’ve never really heard anything about people complaining about the costs of their pet’s care intrigued me.  Vets often perform the same types of procedures, using the same tools, equipment, systems, medicines, etc, as medical doctors.  And there isn’t as much specialization; they’re general practitioners, dentists, surgeons, and every applicable position in between.  AND they do house calls.The thing that triggered this for me and made me start thinking about exploring a film was when I discovered that a hip replacement for a dog is about 1/10th the cost of a human.

This isn’t a simple comparison, and I’m not saying that I should pay the same for a hip replacement as I do for one on a dog, but I shouldn’t pay 10 times more.  2-3x more is much better, and I for one am wondering what the hell could possibly inflate the costs so much.  That’s what I want to explore with this film.  Hopefully I’ll get some cooperation with parties in the know, and updates will be forthcoming when they are.

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