Thursday, March 22, 2007

Curing AIDS one Justin Timberlake Ringtone Download at a Time.

Marketers are ever increasingly tapping in to the social conscience of the consumer. Watching Top Model the other night I saw an advertisement for a special red Motorola cell phone that helps supports defeating AIDS Africa. Not only that American Express has a credit card where a portion of your purchase goes to fighting AIDS. The more you spend the more you donate. So by the time that you file for bankruptcy, why feel guilty, you probably save the lives of thousands, right? While fighting AIDS is a great cause, how much money is actually finding it way over to remote villages without power let alone a 7-11 on the corner to buy condoms at at 3 am.
Throwing donated money at AIDS research is not the best way to find a cure of a disease that can be prevented. Breast cancer on the other hand can't be prevented, so when I am grocery shopping during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a pink patina of labeling falls over all the store shelves, I don't have a second thought about shopping for a good cause.
AIDS research has been going on for almost a quarter century and where are we. The drugs to treat AIDS are developed and marketed by the same BIG pharmaceutical companies that coat the airwaves with drug advertising that tell us what to do in case of a four hour erection. (ironic, huh) There is already a profit motive to treat AIDS and big pharma is getting there without your cell phone that you charged to your AMEX.
Lets say that you want to do some AIDS research. Well, hire a PhD. for six figures to lead a team of researchers who aren't cheap either. Put together a laboratory, which are built on prime real estate and not in a trailer park. Spend 10's of thousands of dollars on lab equipment, computers and proprietary software. Spend months and months gathering info, doing interviews and when you are all done put your research in a nice binder and pass it around to other researchers and maybe even get it published.
BIG FUCKING WASTE OF MONEY! How many condoms can that buy? Oh I don't know, enough to fill up a couple of C130's, and carpet bomb most of Sub-Saharan Africa with latex! Condoms stop AIDS, education stops AIDS, not air conditioned offices in well manicured business parks. Leave the research to big Pharma. You can throw $10 million dollars at some physics grad students to study time travel or the Bermuda triangle and when they are all done they will give you the same answer as AIDS researchers. "The research we did gave us valuable insights and help build a foundation for further research"
If Motorola really wants to come up with a phone that can help stop AIDS in Africa they should come up with one that holds a few condoms or will vibrate for 5 minutes straight.
So next time you find that your social conscience is being bombarded by Madison Avenue take a second look and think about who is actually being helped.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cheap fuel: Getting Corn-Holed by Special Interest.

After Bush's visit to Brazil last week "promoting" ethanol and other bio-fuel production, as well as free trade, I am left wondering why a self described free trader still refuses to remove the $.54 tariff on Brazilian ethanol while in the same breath is preaching lessening our dependence on foreign oil. Lets get serious here, the tariff keeps ethanol prices inflated so domestic producers will get a higher price, all the meanwhile we are spending nearly 1/2 a trillion dollars on a war that is causing instability in the middle east increasing gas prices even further. The free market solution is simple: mandate that gasoline contains 1-3% and increase over time as market prices allow. We dump the tariff bringing in a flood of ethanol to help with the increased demand all the meanwhile corn prices will go up due to more corn being funneled to ethanol production. Now we can end subsidising corn and sugar farmers since prevailing market conditions will not justify it.
This will be a huge boost to the economy. John Deere and ADM would go through the roof and Americas farmers will be expanding and creating more jobs and wealth.
Another caveat is that the farm subsidies that keeps corn prices artificially low is driving Mexican farmers away from corn exporting, they can't compete with big agri-business up north even though they have cheap labor costs. Higher employment in Mexico means fewer immigration issues that are all over the news lately.
cheaper than petroleum, why not build our By some twisted logic the oil whores in this administration would rather be getting their fuel from unstable, unfriendly and terrorist regimes, instead of Americas farmers and our neighbors to the south. Oil prices will continue to rise over time and eventually Bio-fuels will consistently be less expensive than petroleum. Common sense would say that we need the infrastructure now to augment our fuel supply instead of just increasing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve again and again, which by the way takes more oil off the market there by driving up prices further.
When the folks that run the country start thinking of supporting farmers and clean fuel instead of defence contractors and subsidising unstable regimes we may have a return of a free market that can benefit all.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Occhams Razor Says that I'm Right

Abstract: The fuzzy math of global climatic change and the religious fervor of nuclear proliferation will allow me to top off my SUV cheap and enjoy beautiful sunsets.

So I'm listening to the radio the other day and apparently the same chicken little climate scientists that say that mankind is causing global warming (just like cro-magnon man did during the last ice age burning mammoth blubber) also says that using the same computer models a 100 or so warhead nuclear winter would cause a global 2-3 degree cooling. This would counter act global warming and put us behind the "tipping point". So the Cold War idea of mutually assured destruction is B.S. and is actually the opposite.

So here is how it goes down: Both Israel and Iran are religious states and with your Higher Power on your side you have nothing to worry about. Besides Armageddon is all part of the end game anyway hence peace and harmony on earth and virgins (i.e. inexperienced women, Yeah great motivator for death, huh) for every red blooded man. This being in the back of parties at hands mind would make them most likely to nuke each other instead of using diplomacy.

We give both Iran and Israel neutron bomb technology (low radiation nukes), tell each of the leaders that the other is insulting their man hood and wait for the sparks to fly, err uh mushroom clouds. 90 days later fallout is to the levels where Halliburton can go into the Iranian oil fields as per their no bid contract to repair the oil pipe lines. Now that Israel and Iran is gone, there is no more trouble with the rest of the middle east, like what are they going to bitch about other than no suitable replacement for American entertainment like Baywatch. Oil prices plummet, fallout will make beautiful deep crimson sunsets for a couple years while temperatures cool down.

So this is a win, win, win. Peace in the middle east where people haven't been able to live together for eons. Cheap oil prices to keep those Hummers rollin', and lets not forget the hysteria of global warming will go the same way as the apocalyptic hype of Y2K. Besides Global Warming will kill off more people in poor countries. It is time that the wealthier nations step up and take one for the team.

The simplicity of this is an "inconvenient truth" and Occham says that I'm