The Prisoner Returns?

AMC Sets The Prisoner Free

How much more more confident can AMC get? CableFAX editorial director Seth Arenstein poses that question in his blog, as he remarks on the guts the network must have to be presenting the late Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner for free on its website. AMC’s own version of The Prisoner, starring Ian McKellen as Two and Jim Caviezel as Six, premieres later this year. Seth, writing about the recent passing of McGoohan, says “assuming AMC’s re-make of The Prisoner is nearly as good as its previous scripted forays (Mad Men and Breaking Bad have each grabbed Emmys in their first seasons), McGoohan-mania, or at least a resurgence of interest in McGoohan and The Prisoner, should become part of the culture.”

Electric Cars

This Article on Tesla Motors reminded me of a potential solution to the range problem with electric vehicles.

Slot Cars!

Start with the Interstates and put an inductance coil down the middle of a lane and let the car pick up electrical power from the road. This way it can reserve its on-board batteries for when it is off the grid, or off-road.

The road power can be delivered by roadside solar panels, wind power, or by the national grid as needed. With feedback between the car and the road, cars can be zipping along at 50 mps or better, with some sort of auto-piloting. 

Then expand to convert other US Routes and the rest of the country can slowly follow suit.

Slot cars, that the ticket.

Money, Money Money…

I don’t like where some economic advisers are wanting to take us.

Why don’t we, the people, take this TARP bailout money and start our own bank(s) to provide the short-term credit for corporate entities – this appears to be where the credit logjam is occurring – and let the current financial institutions die? This will provide the capital needed for the economy to run for the near-term and if the new bank(s) is set up right it may be able to address the long-term funding growing corporations need.

We might even be able to get into some consumer credit business as well, but why not leave that to the banks and credit unions that didn’t run themselves into the ground. Once all the current banks that have dug this economic sinkhole  have buried themselves, we can sell our young vibrant bank(s) to investors and recoup our investment.

We don’t need to nationalize the existing banks and get stuck with their toxic wastes. We can start anew and try to do it right.I’m not sure that this approach will help any for the mortgage market, but realistically, people with no income and with a $500K mortgage should default and give the house back to the bank that financed them.

As the commenters in the linked article note, don’t give any money to the folks who created the crisis. Don’t reward bad behaviour.

Further ado

2007 Mean Household income is $67,609
total of 116,783,000 households
aggregate US income in 2007 – $7,895,581,847,000 –
Let’s call it $7.9T – Total 2007 US income.

The Median Household income is $50,233 which means that 58 million households are making less than $50K and 58 Million households are making more than $50K. And the Mean, or Average, household income is $67K. Something doesn’t seem quite right here… But I didn’t start this to talk about income inequality.

A few days ago I mentioned that the 2007 health care expenditures in the US were $2.2 Trillion and the per capita cost of that comes to ~$7K per person. And I thought that was a doable cost to support. How can it be done?*

If we go to some sort of National HMO plan that covers the full range of health care that $2.2T covered, then we can drop about 20% of the costs right off the top to get rid of the administrative overhead and all those redundant file clerks at every office, leaving us with about $1.8T to manage. I think about $0.5T of the expenses is for Medicare but I want to roll the Medicare expenses into my plan so I will leave them there.

I like the way SSA does it, and Medicare, with the Employee paying 50% and the Employer paying 50%, so the Employees need to cover $0.9T to cover their part of the HMO insurance.  $0.9T/$7.9T = 11.4%.

The Employers get out of the health care management business altogether, saving themselves a lot of aggravation and expense,  and will end up with a presumably healthier, more productive workforce.

So along with the 6.2% FICA, and an additional 11.4% payroll tax to cover the medical  everyone will be paying a 17.6% payroll tax. But unlike FICA/SSA, the medical/HMO can be used immediately. Should be used immediately. If people started getting routine medical maintenance when they are young, and using neighborhood clinics instead of emergency rooms for minor ailments, the long-term medical costs would drop a bit right there.

A 17.6% payroll tax is a bit steep if you have to worry about other taxes on top of that, but that medical coverage could pay for itself overnight if you don’t have the coverage today. I would further propose to get rid of all the deductions and other bits that make tax season so much fun and give a straight single deductible of $50,233. You only pay income taxes on your income greater than the median family income. 

*Must remember to start with First Principles:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish

justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote

the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our

posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States

of America.

I think this comes under the promote general welfare principle, so we can proceed

Planning ahead

Why don’t we set aside 5% per year of initial infrastructure project costs to use for maintenance. If you can’t fund the long-term maintenance then don’t do the project. I suspect a lot of municipal water systems could have used that philosophy a a long time ago.

Should we even consider flying anymore, given the state of the Air Traffic Controllers?

An Interesting Golf Stat

I was reading a golf article about Davis Love appreciating his 20th tour victory, which he picked up at the end of last year. Once you get the 20th victory and have 15 years on the tour, you get a lifetime exemption from qualifying and that really does take a lot of stress off a player. Only two players under fifty qualify for the lifetime exemption along with Love, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson, both with 34 career wins. A pretty elite group. Tiger Woods, with his 65 career victories, doesn’t qualify to join this group for another two years.

Time Warp

I decided to try cataloging my home library on the PC. I really like Readerware, I first looked at them about 8 years ago, but didn’t have the energy to do a serious inventory. One of the neat things with Readerware is that you can use a bar-code scanner to read in the ISBN from a book and the app will go out into the internet and get all the relevant details for you. I downloaded their latest version for Linux and tried it out. It has promise.

But, Elaine has convinced me to use Alexandria, an open-source Linux app available through Ubuntu, so I have been spending the weekend getting started entering books. Being able to enter an ISBN number and then get all the title, author info entered automatically is certainly helpful. Still slow going. Alexandria also can use a bar code scanner, I just wish I could find that CueCat I got eight years ago when I first contemplated a catalog.

I need to see how the system works under load. I have entered a couple of hundred books so far and Alexandria seems to bog down a bit at startup but runs OK once the database is all loaded.

Readerware seemed to work well under a load, I got about 160 books into Readerware before copying the ISBNs to Alexandria. I did notice that Readerware accessed better source databases than Alexandria. RW uses the Library of Congress and Powell’s, which Alexandria doesn’t. They both use Amazon and B&N

It is nice to get the cover art downloaded as well

I did download one ISBN for “Time Future” by Maxine McArthur. The publishing date was 1954, the author was born in 1962. I doublechecked the frontpiece and found it was published in 1999. I just thought it was interesting the the dates were so off for the time story.