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My stupid life

In which your hosts exhibits his crankiness

Why can't i choose Landscape vs. Letter right there on the freaking Print page? Why do i have to go to an entirely separate function altogether? And why isn't it smart enough to know that if i've got something selected and i hit the print icon, i don't want the whole 90 flarbing page document? And why can't it stretch whatever i'm printing to be the size of the paper i'm printing it on? I hate you, Excel, and one day i will defeat you.

By fnord12 | April 21, 2006, 2:49 PM | My stupid life | Comments (4)| Link

He Who Whineth The Loudest

Lots of people in Jersey are all abuzz about Governor Corzine's proposed budget cuts. The one that people at work are most concerned with are the cuts to "higher education" - in other words, universities. I'm weekly inundated by our president's panic-ridden emails that basically amount to "the sky is falling, our doom quickly approaches, beware ye sinners" mixed with a little bit of "it's not fair" a la the Skywalker clan.

Ok. Let's be fair. These particular cuts to higher education are not good news. At the best, there could be hiring freezes and pay rate freezes. At worst, we're talking layoffs, tuition increases, and less money for student loans. Is this something to be upset about? Ofc it is. Is it reasonable to expect people to talk about it and complain? Sure. But should someone in the position of "president" be working to spread the panic? Should we be taking our cues from the Decider-in-Chief? Will there be a nice color-coded system put into place to tell us exactly what level of fear over our jobs we should feel?

Not only that, the other cue they've taken seems to be spinning the facts to give a misleading perception. I've read through most of the Budget and you can check it out yourself here. Comparing this document to the info I've been emailed, I have to say the facts don't seem to match. When discussing how much money the cuts will cost us, they seem to have thrown in every single expenditure they could have to make the picture seem grimmer. When you talk about how much less money you will have this year compared to last year because of budget cuts, you don't add in the cost of utilities. You were going to pay the utilities no matter what. The budget cut didn't bring on a new expenditure. They haven't taken any money away from you by suddenly tacking on utilities. C'mon. It may be more difficult to pay the utilities. You may have to pinch pennies to do it. But that's a different discussion entirely.

The reality is the federal government has failed the States and has withdrawn serious amounts of funding. This state is in sad shape financially on its own. No federal funding makes things even worse. So, there's a short fall no matter which way you look at it, unless you want to run the State by increasing the deficit. I don't think we can really do that. That means you're either going to have to cut spending and/or increase revenue via things like taxes. The proposed budget has both cuts in spending and increases in taxes (sales tax is going to be increased by 1%). All in all, considering the bad shape we are in, I didn't find anything in the proposed budget to be too incredibly heinous or unreasonable.

But, guess what. Nobody wants to be the guy who gets cut. Here's where the spam I've been getting about the dark days ahead and pleas to write the State Senate and General Assembly come into play. Rally the masses to tell our legislators how wrong and misguided they are to cut our programs. Emphasize how detrimental it will be to the community at large, not to mention our future.

That's all good. I might not like the tone used to send out the rallying cry, but so far I'm with them on the message. I see where it's coming from.

Here's my question. What do these people want to see cut instead of higher education? The money has to come from somewhere, right? It's simple math. You've got to balance the equation on both sides. If the money doesn't get cut from program A, then it's got to come all or in part from programs B-Z (meaning pensions, policemen's salaries, special education, after school programs, etc.). OR everyone has to pay more taxes to pay for these programs. There's no magic money that's going to fall from the sky. Where's it going to come from? It's great that you want to protect yourself. That's totally reasonable. So what's your proposed solution to the problem?

A group setup a convenient action alert online so that we could email the Senate and Assembly and express to them our concerns over how mean they're being to us. I emailed them my question. I figured they must have some solution in mind since they're running this campaign. Here's the reply I got:

In our budget advocacy we won't be recommending specific cuts to other programs, that being the job of the legislature at the moment, and ultimately the governor.

Taxes are already raised in this budget, currently proposed as a 1 cent increase in the sales tax.

We're hoping people will express the opinion that the university is the wrong place to cut if we want economic growth for the state - certainly NJ needs it - and that RU and NJ higher education are absorbing more than their share of the burden.

If I can be of any additional assistance, please let me know.

Oh. Nice fluffy non-reply there, chum. So basically, you have no solution to offer. You just wanted to whine about it. If you whine loud enough, mebbe the governor will even let you stay up an extra hour later and give you an ice cream sundae.

By min | April 20, 2006, 2:52 PM | My stupid life | Comments (0)| Link

What's wrong with you now, Prince Charming?

I got an earache.

So... i need to go to a doctor. In order to go to a doctor we have to register them as our Primary Care Physician with our insurance. We picked our previous doctor based on proximity to our home. But we learned that she actually only visits her Somerset office once a week, and sometimes if she doesn't have a lot of appointments, she just doesn't bother to show up (i learned this the hard way).

So we got a new primary doctor based on min going on our insurance company's website and finding a doctor that was accepting new patients. So i call the doctor's office to make a new appointment.

"Are you a new patient?"
"Um, yes."
"The doctor is not accepting new patients."
"Ummmmmm. Well, he's my primary..."
"I understand, but he's not taking new patients."
"Ummm, but he's listed on my insurance card as my..."
"I understand that but you'll have to find a new doctor."

So don't tell me that private corporations are more efficient than big government. I'm moving to Canada.

By fnord12 | April 12, 2006, 8:24 AM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life | Comments (1)| Link

Get off the couch

And go endure some social training. Or something. At least go give Joshua some traffic so he can hire me as his QA analyst. You run or cycle and then you record and compare your progress.

And i've got to start jogging again so quit screwing around with the weather. Snow in April... sheesh.

By fnord12 | April 6, 2006, 12:50 PM | My stupid life | Comments (3)| Link

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