More anti-business practices

Now here‘s an interesting bit of legislation.

The Problem: The cost of providing Medicaid is growing
The Solution: Impose a fee on drug stores for every non-Medicaid perscription they fill, to help subsidize the cost of Medicate perscriptions.
The Catch: Drug stores can’t pass this cost along to the consumers.

Most pharmacies immediately added the charge onto customers’ bills, sparking citizen outrage that quickly made its way to the ears of legislators. Lawmakers lashed out at the pharmacies, arguing that they had never intended to tax citizens.

What the hell is that all about? Where the hell did the lawmakers expect the money to come from? Where do the drug stores get their money from? Do lawmakers have even a fundamental understanding of economics before dishing out policy?

Of course it’s clear what they intended. They decide the state needs money, and are simply going to take it away from businesses. The difference between a law like this and outright stealing isn’t clear to me. The profit margins of a business are no longer up to them – they’re up to the state. Hey, imagine if a drug store (in competing with other stores) offered a product with only a $1 markup. This rule would mean that such a store would be required to lose money on every sale. Of course, it’s not like we actually have a free market in medicine anyhow, so the odds of us getting drugs at reasonable prices are fairly slim to begin with (which is what caused this problem in the first place – thanks Uncle Sam).

Online tracking my ass

Anxiously waiting for the new computer to arrive, I go to and type in my tracking number (273314610000034). Today is April 27th (almost April 28th).

“We are unable to connect you with our server. Please retry later.”

That was actually unexpected. When I checked the status earlier today, the best they could do was tell me where it was on the morning of April 23rd (4+ days earlier). Thanks FedEx. This online tracking “service” you provide is fantastic and informative. Even when it works, it gives me old news.

Interesting passage

During the trip to Florida I was able to get some reading in and finally finished Capitalism and Freedom. All in all, it was quite good and very interesting. Nearer to the end, he actually had a section where he talked about the dividend tax. I thought this was pretty interesting considering the book was written in 1962, and this particular topic is pretty popular today. The excerpt is from page 130, and is included below.
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Looking to get a new computer

I’m shopping around for a new desktop PC. Ideally it has to be really fast, and really cheap. I can pillage hard disks and possibly (if the motherboard supports it) older memory. Any suggestions? I was looking at the AMD barebones PCs here and they looked pretty cheap (especially considering the free shipping).

Building a bigger search

This article is pretty interesting, it’s about a project called Grub.

“It will be the first comprehensive index (of the Net),” said Kord Campbell, the programmer behind the Grub software. “We can conceivably crawl every Web page, every day.”

By contrast, today’s fastest search engines, such as Google or Inktomi, crawl about 150 million pages a day. Google indexes about a third of the Web, and refreshes its index every 30 days, according to LookSmart.

Google does make some good points, however:

Peter Norvig, director of search quality at Google, said while the Grub project is topical and interesting; improving Web searches isn’t a problem of widening an index, but narrowing it.

“It isn’t a problem of computing resources but deciding what parts of the Web should be updated more frequently than others,” he said.

Madonna sucks

Earlier this month Madonna canceled the release of the anti-war imagery-laden “American Life” clip to video outlets. She said in a statement that she did not want to risk offending anyone and did not want the video to be misinterpreted.

This is total bullshit. Madonna? Worried about offending people? Are you kidding me?

This is a woman who made her career by smashing stereotypes and shocking audiences. If it wasn’t for offending people, she wouldn’t be the cultural icon that she is today.

Maybe, just maybe, Madonna is really just concerned about herself. Maybe someone clued her in to the fact that Americans generally support the war. Is it possible that perhaps Madonna isn’t worried about being “misinterpreted” but really she’s worried about being interpreted accurately and being thought of less favorably? If she really has strong feelings – express them! Let them all out! Release that video and take what comes.

Now on the other hand if she really doesn’t have strong anti-war feelings and just created a video so she could appear controversial, or if she had weak anti-war feelings based on a summary of the circumstances rather than a full comprehension of the facts, maybe it’s for the best if she slinks back and puts that video back on her shelf.

Damn Banks

This guy almost got $1.5 million from the IRS.

When he sought to withdraw money from an automatic teller machine, his bank notified him of a hold on an account that normally had an average balance of $2,000.

The funniest part was that the IRS really did give this unemployed guy a million dollar refund. You wonder how many of these types of schemes really do go through sucessfully, as this one almost did.

Gas be gone

I know a few people who could use this product. It’s a seat cushion that absorbs both the odor and sound of flatulence. Not surprisingly, on the FAQ indicates that you should replace the filter on average every six months for women, but twice as often for men.