The amazing flying experience that the cookie symbolized has been gone for many years, but now the last trace of the once-grand Midwest Express is gone as well. When Midwest Express was around, flying was the coolest thing imaginable. Now I do anything I can to avoid flying, including driving halfway across the country, what with the airlines gleefully competing in a mad race to the bottom and the mind-numbing insanity of the TSA.
I’m a little wistful hearing this news. Not really for the cookie itself, but for what it represented: not just The Best Care in the Air, but a time when flying wasn’t a degrading experience, when airlines sought to value its customers rather than treat them as walking, brainless ATMs.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of these bills, to me anyway, is the vertically-oriented format:
Why the vertical format?
When we researched how notes are used we realized people tend to handle and deal with money vertically rather than horizontally. You tend to hold a wallet or purse vertically when searching for notes. The majority of people hand over notes vertically when making purchases. All machines accept notes vertically. Therefore a vertical note makes more sense.
The artwork on each bill relates in some way to the number of the bill.
$1 – The first African American president
$5 – The five biggest native American tribes
$10 – The bill of rights, the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution
$20 – 20th Century America
$50 – The 50 States of America
$100 – The first 100 days of President Franklin Roosevelt.
“A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi compared the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.” [link]
Economically, those are two awful things to be comparing this bill to. Medicare is actually one of the things that created our completely non-sensical system of insurance and billing for health care (see also, episode #113 of Planet Money from NPR).
Look, I want everyone to have the health care they deserve, but the American system of paying for healthcare is what Salvador Dali or David Lynch might have come up with. Our federal government is never going to be able to change it because everyone in Washington takes a lot of money from the powers in our healthcare system who want to see it maintained for their benefit, and our representatives are all too afraid to say no to that money. The only way to fix it is to stop doing what we are doing entirely — blow the whole thing up and start over.
I know I’m a little late to this party, but it kind of hits home for me. Two Cape Cod Baseball League teams changed their names this offseason because Major League Baseball, in their ever-increasing pigheadedness, decided that their trademarks were being infringed upon by Cape League teams sharing team names with MLB teams. Nevermind that the Orleans Cardinals were named after the former Orleans High School Cardinals (and while OHS may now be Nauset Regional Middle School, the baseball team still plays there) and shared no logos or trademarks with the St. Louis Cardinals, that the New York Mets used to supply the Hyannis Mets with their old uniforms to use, or that the Harwich Mariners existed decades before the first Seattle Mariners players were even born.
The main absurdity about MLB’s demands stemmed from the fact that MLB wanted the Cape League teams to purchase their merchandise only from MLB-licensed manufacturers (New Era, Majestic, Rawlings, etc… huge companies). This obviously bothered the Cape Leaguers since they all use local Massachusetts-based vendors for their uniforms and fan merch, and also because their costs on those items would undoubtedly go up. MLB eventually conceded that Cape League items could be purchased from local vendors on the condition that the merch have the town or the team name but not both. For example, Bourne could sell t-shirts or wear uniforms that say “Bourne” or “Braves” but not “Bourne Braves”. Which is fucking stupid. You might as well not have them at all.
So, goodbye to my beloved Orleans Cardinals. They will now be called the Orleans Firebirds. The Chatham A’s also decided to forgo MLB’s onerous merchandise approval process and will now be called the Chatham Anglers. Bourne, Hyannis, Harwich and Yarmouth-Dennis have decided to keep their “MLB” names for the time being, but will have to make arrangements with MLB on an annual basis to decide to keep using the names or choose something else.
I’m sure I’ll still see plenty of games in my life at Eldredge Park, but I’ll never again see the Orleans Cardinals play, and that’s a very sad commentary on the state of modern America.
The Zimbabwean, a newspaper run by exiles and distributed in Zimbabwe, several neighboring countries and the U.K., is making billboards and posters out of Zimbabwean dollars, because it’s far cheaper to print on the worthless currency than on plain paper. Quite a statement. The billboards are primarily strewn about South Africa.
Everyone who has half a brain cell is aware that the health care / health insurance system in Massachusetts is completely corrupt. Well, now, we got our confirmation: A handshake that made healthcare history. [Boston Globe]
[Partners CEO] Thier’s lawyers cautioned that a written agreement between the state’s biggest hospital company and its biggest health insurer that would make insurance more expensive statewide might raise legal questions about anticompetitive behavior, according to officials directly involved in the talks.
And so, in May 2000, the two simply shook hands on this: [BCBS CEO] Van Faasen would give Partners doctors and hospitals the biggest insurance payment increase since Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals agreed to join forces in 1993.
In return, Thier would protect Blue Cross from Van Faasen’s biggest fear: that Partners would allow other insurers to pay less. Those who helped broker the deal say Thier promised he would push for the same or bigger payment increases for everything from X-rays to brain surgery from Van Faasen’s competition, ensuring that all major insurers would face tens of millions in cost increases.
And the state FORCES us to buy into this shit or they hit us with a tax penalty!
Ron taped a video that’s on youtube regarding the passage of the new “improved” bailout bill. Seeing as I think I agree with him entirely on every economic issue I’ve ever heard him talk about, I enjoyed hearing these thoughts from an actual Congressman very much.
Frankly, no one should be bailed out from anything. Companies who willingly committed fraud in screwing up our economy should not only not receive any taxpayer bailout money, but should be prosecuted and imprisoned. Debtors who willingly entered into mortgages and loans they could not afford to pay off should be allowed to realize that they made a mistake and that mistakes have consequences. Those who deceived people into accepting those mortgages and loans should be forced to give those people every dime of their money back, including the interest.
Bailing out anyone in this mess will only promote the continuation of our failing credit-based economy, when we should be demonizing the massive use of credit. We are not going to fall into a depression if people or companies don’t get bailed out, but we almost assuredly will if those most guilty of damaging our economy are allowed to continue with the full encouragement and financial support of the government.
I don’t know why anyone thinks that giving a metric fuckton of money (my money and your money, not just some money that’s sitting around) to the people who fucked up and got us into this mess in the first place is going to get anyone out of this mess.
Sometimes, I don’t know what I would do without the internet.
Case in point: CNN.com has a “story” that’s mostly just summarizing the opinions of some site commenters regarding the insipid and criminal proposed federal investment bank bailout plan, answering the question “what would you do with $700B?”
I needed only to read this response to the question to have my whole day validated:
Psystar Fights Back
I don’t envision any way Psystar can not lose this case Apple has brought against them. Also, is there someone backing Psystar financially in this matter who has some other motive? Hmm.
I fully appreciate that you, and some of your friends, strongly disagree with its viewpoint. But if the library is doing its job, there are lots of books in our collection that people won’t agree with; there are certainly many that I object to. Library collections don’t imply endorsement; they imply access to the many different ideas of our culture, which is precisely our purpose in public life.
Zimbabwe will revalue its currency tomorrow, exchanging Z$10 billion (with a B) for one. Their inflation rate is currently estimated at somewhere between ten and fifteen million (with an M) percent annually (10,000,000% for those who like to look at that in number form). They just introduced a Z$100 billion (with a B) note last week (currently worth $5.35) will not even allow you to buy a loaf of bread. Get them while they’re hot!
Let it be known that the government bailing out Fannie Mae is utter bullshit. The employees and executives at Fannie Mae doctor their books and even then can’t run a business properly (someone gave out a lot more money in mortgages than they should have been). Other companies in their situation are left to crash and burn, but Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are deemed “too important” so the government gives them money pulled out of the Federal Reserve’s thin air, which will in turn increase inflation and reduce the value of the dollar even more, decimating our economy even more than it already has been. All this to benefit a bunch of rich assholes.
Philip Greenspun has a very nice post about this topic. Read it here.
In Roman times the employees of Fannie Mae would be decimated, i.e., they would draw lots and 90 percent of them would beat the unlucky 10 percent to death with clubs. What would be a modern equivalent? At the very least taxpayers should have the satisfaction of seeing the highest paid 100 Fannie Mae employees fired with two weeks of severance pay (it can’t be that hard to find replacements given that the current staff’s primary achievements have been accounting fraud and then insolvency).