This is where I vent and/or occasionally may even present a few,
hopefully thought provoking, personal editorials or comments.
Failing that, I hope to at least piss off a few people.
New Jersey, "The Insurance State"
For years, every time I look at any New Jersey license
plate, I think, "they should change the saying on the plates
to read. "New Jersey - The Insurance State," because
it seems every insurance scheme that does not work well in another
state, the New Jersey legislature adopts. I've been looking for
a state by state insurance study, but I haven't found any... yet.
I know this is a radical idea, but how about some neutral (if
there is such a thing) think tank putting together a study to
analyze insurance in each state, comparing cost, coverage, fairness
(another radical idea), etc., for auto insurance, health insurance,
life insurance, workman's compensation insurance, etc. Perhaps
then we can have some objective information about what works,
what does not, and what the relative advantages and dis-advantages
of each insurance scheme.
In New Jersey, medical and auto insurance is the
highest in the nation. I'm not sure what to do about auto insurance
today (but I will think of something, tune back), but I think
New Jersey should open up the Medicare program to residents of
New Jersey who are not, or can not get in another insurance program.
I can not think of anything for which the state government is
known for efficient management and The management cost for Medicare
is only a couple percent, while the for profit companies is ten
to twenty times what it is for the Medicare program. I would expect
that lower cost health insurance will result in a lot more people
enrolled in Medicare... The insurance companies do not be happy,
because to keep or bring people back, they will have to reduce
charges. If that won't put pressure on insurance companies in
New Jersey to reduce what they charge people for health care,
I'm not sure what will.
All I know is New Jersey has to do something, because
it is driving business out of the state because workers and the
middle class are much less able to afford to live here. As business
goes, property taxes will go up even more, exacerbating an already
In the pat few years, New Jersey has lost over 8,000
non-government jobs, but added 48,000 government jobs!!! We are
going the wrong way folks. I hope Corzine has the back-bone to
make the hard decisions, and reduce government employment, encourage
legislation that will change insurance in New Jersey, perhaps
reversing the exodus of people out of New Jersey.
Climbing Gas Prices
It never fails to irritate me. The price of oil
goes up, and the next day, so does the price of gas. This makes
sense right? NO!
The oil that the gas we are buying was made from
was in the ground 6-12 months ago, not yesterday. That means that
gas we are purchasing today was refined from the older less expensive
crude, and the huge increases in gas prices result in obscene
increases in profits for the oil companies. I have worked in refineries,
and there are often tankers sitting off the coast for months,
because there is a glut of oil, and no empty tanks to store it
in. It is unusual for the crude being refined to be less than
several months old, though it is possible.
Perhaps today, things are somewhat different than
when I worked on refineries 9-10 years ago, but I don't believe
they are that much different, so I believe my comments here are
The oil companies are quick to raise gas prices,
and slow to drop them. Do you blame them? This is business, and
they are in this to make money. However, this is why the government
periodically threatens to investigate the oil industry, or to
regulate prices, because they gouge the public until we scream!
Eventually, the price of crude will fall again,
it always does. You can be sure that the oil companies will not
lower prices when the gas they are selling is made from the lower
priced crude. Eventually, pressure will push prices down again,
but not before the oil companies gouge us good... AGAIN.
The oil companies talk about their heavy investment
to produce or develop new energy sources... BS. They are paying
themselves and stockholders HUGE profits. Their profits are up
200% - 300% or more, but I guarantee you that their investment
in developing the tar sands in Canada, windmill farms, trash to
fuel, finding new oil sources, making existing fields more productive,
etc., etc., has NOT gone up 200% - 300%.
It's nothing personal. The oil companies are in
business to make money, which is fine, but, we are not dealing
with cars, I-Pods, or a rap CD, we are dealing with a necessary
commodity. People can cut back on how much they drive and the
temperature in their home, but they can not choose to not use
energy, and not pay for it, and how low can you turn down the
thermostat? When dealing with commodities, you can and should
usually let the market set the price, but not all the time. When
dealing with necessaries, water, food, shelter and energy, sometimes
the government must do something to prevent business from "bleeding
us almost to death", just because they are not prevented
from to charging whatever the market can bear. When you allow
business to charge what the market can bear, some people will
"bleed to death".
What’s the answer? I’m not sure, though
I may be a smart ass, this answer will take more knowledge and
information than I have at this time. I don’t generally
like government intervention, as they very often do a poor job,
however I don’t see any other way to minimize the gouging
to the public. At the very least, the oil companies and related
industries have to know that when their abuse gets egregious,
that their outrageous profits will be taxed heavily.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
I’m Irish. The conflict in Ireland has been
a topic of frustration, confusion and embarrassment for me as
an Irish-American, with many family members still living in Ireland.
I cannot understand the hatred. There is a lot of history there,
several peoples invading Ireland, and in particular, the invasion
by the English, and the brutal subjugation of the Irish by the
Earl of Orange. However, the people living there today, are not
the people that inflicted that pain on the Irish-Catholics so
many years ago, so how can the Irish-Catholics and Irish-Protestants
today justify destroying property, or worse, people, today? The
Irish-Catholics that hate will say that the English and Irish-Protestants
have never returned the churches, property or political control
they took by force so many years ago. The Irish-Protestants will
say that they didn’t take anything, and that the Irish-Catholics
over time have obtained more wealth and political power over the
years, and have more wealth, political power and control than
they have in over 600 years, so what are they complaining about?
You can’t tell an Irish-Catholic from an Irish-Protestant.
If they sat down and made a list of what they believed in, and
the tenants of their faith, they would be unable to find any significant
differences, therefore, their hate is artificial, learned or passed
down from those with small minds and their personal and spiritual
deficiencies. Hate like this is a way to blame others for their
deficiencies and their situation.
The Israelis were given the territory now known
as Israel following WWII, by the United Nations. The Jews who
then populated the territory did not take the land. If you had
no home, and the powers that be gave you a home to live in, and
you had no other home, you would not give it up if one of the
former owners came knocking on our door demanding you move out,
especially if you did not have another home of your own to move
Bosnians and Serbs lived together for over 30 years
in peace, often intermarrying, during the Soviet period of control,
only to literally end up killing their neighbors and/or family,
just because they of a different ethnicity. This is so ignorant
it baffles me. Part of me feels that if they are this ignorant,
perhaps we should let them kill each other off. Perhaps their
hate will die with them. No. It won’t. Only education to
make people understand others, and those more enlightened individuals
making the effort to become politically active and permeate their
societies will things change.
It bothers me that the Arab world “cries”
for their Palestinian brothers, when much of the Arab world has
enormous wealth and land. I knew an Arab who told me on other
Arab country wants Palestinians in their country, because they
are the “niggers” of the Arab world. So it appears
that the current situation is an excuse for the Arab world to
speak out and act on their hatred of Jews, and often their distain
if not hatred of Americans.
It bothers me that the Israelis built Israeli enclaves
in the territories that they knew they will need to give up if
there is to be a peaceful settlement. It bothered me when I saw
Ariel Sharon go into a Palestinian controlled area with a large
military contingent, seemingly to purposely inflame the Palestinians.
The US would not sit by knowing there were Canadians
sending suicide bombers onto US soil, killing Americans and destroying
property. We would give the Canadians time to address the problem
themselves, but if they failed to take the steps needed, we would
probably offer to help them do what needed to be done, and that
failing or being refused, go into their territory and try to disrupt
the ability of those carrying out the terrorism ourselves, then
we would leave. If the problem occurred again, and the Canadians
did not or could no stop these causing the havoc death and destruction
again, we would go in again.
What’s the answer? As with most individuals,
the answer is self-responsibility, and treating others as you
want to be treated. Terrorism cannot be tolerated, and failure
to address terrorism by the source country will be justification
for the target country to exercise self-help and take action.