Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Google and the iphone

I am a huge fan of the iPhone. Although I have heard legitimate criticism it is prone to breakdown, I have only had one minor software problem that was fixed by my local Apple store at The Grove here in L.A.

Google reader is a fantastic tool to keep up-to-date with the blogs I enjoy following (currently at 180 and counting). The most recent update for this iPhone feature is fantastic -- I highly, highly suggest anybody who has an iPhone to add this feature to your home page: www.google.com/reader/i.

I'll have some thoughts on Iran, communication between generations and how McCain has lost control of his brand in the next few days.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Inflation in Zimbabwe

If you ever wanted a sign that Robert Mugabe is truly an evil human being and is completely destroying the former bread-basket of Africa here you go:

"During the meal, one of my mates was drinking beer — 750ml bottles of Castle Lager (fondly called bombers). He ordered a fifth one, was advised that the price, which when he ordered his first, second, third and fourth ones was 160 million per bottle, had gone up to 340 million per bottle."

This is completely ridiculous. It is almost unfathomable South African President Thabo Mbeki continues to support Mugabe. What a travesty.

Update: Mugabe just introduced a Z$500,000,000 bill.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Highway Toll Lanes for L.A.

Good op-ed in the Los Angeles times yesterday on the trial plan approved by the Metro board here in L.A. to convert carpool lanes into toll lanes. I totally support this plan.

We currently finance transportation infrastructure primarily through gasoline taxes, as cars become more fuel efficient we will be losing needed revenue for infrastructure development. So we need to raise more revenue for transportation infrastructure. I am completely against increasing the sales tax to finance transportation infrastructure (there will probably be a 1/2 cent sales tax increase proposal on the November County of L.A. ballot -- VOTE NO!). Not only are sales taxes incredibly regressive, we should be getting money for transportation projects from the users themselves.

Some of the arguments against highway toll lanes and my response:

1. Freeways should be free.
  • Freeways are not free, we pay for the lack of infrastructure with the opportunity cost of our time as we sit in traffic.
2. The lanes will be only for the rich, "Lexus Lanes"
  • This one is real bizarre. The people who will be most inclined to use the toll lanes are one's who value their time the most. Think about a plumber. Paying say $20 (at most) to save up to an hour of their day in traffic they could probably fit two more service calls into their daily routine. A service call is at least $100 each.
  • So the plumber makes $180 more each day. That is $900 a week in additional revenue that is possible with these toll lanes. That is real money to the plumber.
This proposal is a true win-win. We gain the revenue needed to develop a better transportation infrastructure and we allow entrepreneurs to improve our economy.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mohamad Mahathir Has a Blog

Wow, this is awesome. The former prime minister of Malaysia now has a blog. For those of you who don't know, this guy was (and continues to be) one of the more colorful former leaders of the world. Some of his outlandish and utterly ridiculous statements have been:
  • “Currency trading is unnecessary, unproductive and totally immoral. It should be stopped.”
  • “As if these are the good old days when people can shoot Aborigines without caring for human rights.”
  • "The Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”
  • "The Muslims have never ill-treated the Jews."
Mahathir claims he has friends that are Jewish... in the same manner as a cracker from Alabama in the 19th century would say he had black or gay friends.

His blog may be real interesting, once you hit post it is captured in a RSS feed -- even if you delete it right away. This could get real interesting. Citizens of a country deserve the public officials they elect.