Saturday, June 19, 2010

Is Greece different than California?

The Greek debt crisis and now the Spanish debt problems have me thinking a lot about the debt problems that states have in the U.S.  I'm not sure how different the scenarios are.  To me, and average person, I just see that the states don't have the money to pay their bills.  The options, borrow against the future, or borrow from the federal government, which is borrowing against the future.   Either way, the amount of money we are spending continues to be more than the amount that we are generating.

At what point does the complete failure of world economies force us to re-evaluate our local governments role in society and how we can scale it back to a size that the taxes can afford?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Budget inaction leaves Illinois adrift - STLtoday.com

Budget inaction leaves Illinois adrift - STLtoday.com: "As a result, for the moment, about $6 billion in state bills are simply going unpaid."

Illinois is not paying it's bills. The state legislature cannot find a way to fund all of the programs that it wants to run, and refuses to be the bad guy and cut things, so they passed the buck to the governor. I understand why. Nobody wants to be the bad guy that had to cut funding for education, although with the hole that the state is in, it is going to happen. This way the fault lies with a single person. The governor. The state legislatures are hoping that it saves them their own jobs at the next election. I hope people wake up and see that it's those people who cannot manage the money that the state has and they all need to be replaced.

The sad fact is that governments at every level are paying for public projects that are beyond what the government should be about. The government needs to remove itself from as many of those extra areas as it can and stick to providing only the basics that we need. A smaller government needs less money, which balances the budget. Yes that means that there are programs, lots of them, even things that are good, that should go away. Unfortunately many of these are essentially charities being run by the government. Instead charities should run these. They will do a better job than government will anyway.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quinn plan would save trooper jobs, but not posts � Evansville Courier & Press

Quinn plan would save trooper jobs, but not posts � Evansville Courier & Press

The plan is to take up to $10 from the money that goes into the county funds currently and put it into a special account for the state police.

I did not know the break down of the fees for tickets, but it's a little shocking that tickets were not already partially being used to fund police activities directly.

The bigger problem I see with this is that every level of government is out of money and not able to pay their bills, this will pull an additional $10 from every ticket away from counties making it even harder on local governments.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Happy National Doughnut Day

Happy National Doughnut Day.

I hope you enjoy a few and think of the Salvation Army and the men and women of the US Military in World War I, who not only won the war to protect our freedom, but also gave us a holiday as tasty as this.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Volunteers to simulate 18 months on Mars.

Volunteers to begin Mars500 isolation.  I love the psychological sides that this can bring.  I expect that there is down time.  The only communication with the outside is email, and an email has a 20 minute delay.  I wonder if they are allowed anything for entertainment.  I expect that cards would be useless with a more weightless environment.  Can they use a Kindle?   The e-ink lasts a lot longer and uses very little battery, it could provide a very small item that has limitless content to be read.   Many books could be stored on it to start with, but new ones could also be emailed I would think.

I expect that there is also a power limit on what they can use.  Has e-ink made it into any actual computing devices yet?  I read an article the other day that showed a demo of it on a flexible screen showing color images.  If it's not there yet, I expect that in the next 5 years that e-ink will be in use on some high end laptops with extreme battery life because the screen will use a lot less and the hard drive will be a solid state drive.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

AT&T to end unlimited wireless-data plans - MarketWatch

AT&T to end unlimited wireless-data plans - MarketWatch:

"Starting June 7, AT & T plans to drop its unlimited $30 Internet plan, which includes email. Instead, customers would pay $25 a month for 2 gigabytes of data under AT & T's "DataPro plan. That's the equivalent of 4,000 Internet page views, 10,000 emails without attachments or 200 minutes of streaming video.
....
The cheaper option, DataPlus, offers 200 megabytes of data for $15 a month. That's the equivalent of 1,000 emails without attachments, 400 Internet-page views or 20 minutes of streaming video.

DataPlus customers who exceed their limit would be charged an additional $15 for another 200MB. AT & T said 65% of its customers use less than 200MB a month."

I don't understand the pricing scheme. For $25 a month I can get 2 GB or for $30 a month I can buy the smaller plan and cover overages that gives me 400MB. That's more money for less than one quarter the data usage. I think this plan sucks. I think the limit on data for the iPhone will cause some people to jump ship to Droids on Verizon. Verizon has a limit of 5GB, but that's still more than twice what AT & T is offering. At the very least, AT & T should be able to offer the cheaper plan for $15, but since they have one that covers 2GB for $25, going over the 200 MB limit should automatically charge an additional $10 to up the coverage to 2GB for that month. After all if you sign up for the 2GB plan it's only $10 for each additional GB, not $15 for an additional 200MB.  I don't like the differences in the overage prices. 

I do understand that AT & T is looking to make some more money and try to curb the use of some of it's heavier users.  Someone who uses 5 GB will now pay $55 a month.  There's probably not a lot of those people out there, but the iPad may increase that number with it being a better platform to stream videos to than the iPod is. I expect that heavy data users of the iPad will end up spending a lot more than just iPhone users.