Gas Tax Holiday

Posted by Mike Merritt in Politics on | 3 Comments

Kudos to Obama for being against and a wag of my finger (sorry Colbert; couldn’t think of another phrase) to Clinton and McCain for being for this gas tax holiday idea.

Don’t be fooled; the idea may seem cool at first, but consider what it really means.  The federal gas tax is roughly 18 cents per gallon.  So, we remove 18 cents from the price (the lowest of which is $3.69 in my town), and what happens?  If the price goes to $4, as is predicted, that 18 cent break is now gone.  Then at the end of the holiday, the 18 cents comes back, raising the price very fast in a small time.

That McCain and Clinton would try and pander to their bases with this stupid idea isn’t beyond me.  I understand it.  They want to be elected, and Obama opposing this might make him look unconcerned about the common man.  But, I like to think the public is smarter than that, and will see through the ruse.

I also think this bill will get little traction in Congress.  I speak from experience; my state tried a gas tax holiday last year.  It didn’t happen.

Ed. note: As I was writing this, I tried looking up an article about it from last year, only to find out General Assembly Republicans are calling for it yet again.  Governor Jodi Rell says it won’t happen unless money is found to pay for it.


Stop the Presses!

Posted by Mike Merritt in Society on | No Comments

Why?  Because I’m agreeing with Glenn Beck, which means the world must be falling?

Why am I agreeing with Beck today?  Because he’s making a lot of sense on oil and alternative fuels.  I’m a supporter of a range of options for alternative fuels, because I believe one company or the government trying to decide on the next new fuel just isn’t going to happen.  Let the market decide on the next fuel, whether it is ethanol, hydrogen, hybrids, or something else.

Opening ANWR now would be like stopping at the bathroom on your way to the electric chair; you’re only delaying the inevitable.

I’m with Beck on that he says drilling in ANWR would only be a bandage.  The fact is, you can’t stop oil from going away, because it’s going to happen.  I’m not with him on drilling in ANWR no matter what, because I think the focus needs to be more heavily on developing the new fuels, and ANWR would just apply the bandage anyway.

For example, back in 1980, Congress passed the Energy Security Act, which led to the creation of something called the Synthetic Fuels Corp. (SFC). Lawmakers provided SFC with up to $88 billion in loans and incentives to get started (the equivalent of about $230 billion in today’s dollars) with the goal of creating two million barrels a day of synthetic oil within seven years.

That’s something new to me.  I didn’t know about the research done on synthetic oil in the 80s.  Although I don’t think it should be the end goal for us, I do tentatively support renewing funding for the development of synthetic oil.  I think that by doing this now, it would provide us the time we new to develop a more environmentally friendly fuel.

However, any bill authorizing the development of synthetic oil needs to have strings that also dictate that research needs to be done on ethanol, hydrogen/fuel cells, and the like.  Synthetic oil is like drilling in ANWR in some ways.  It’d be a bandage that might help us for a bit, but we need a better solution.

So, I call on Congress to renew funding for the development of synthetic oil, but not at the expense of research for more environmentally friendly fuels.


Busy Week

Posted by Mike Merritt in Personal Life on | No Comments

And indeed it was, and you might have noticed no posts since Wednesday.

That’s because on Thursday I had classes, then had to finish editing a package, do an editorial for News 22, and finally set up for our celebrity edition of Eastern Expedition.

You may be thinking, “Celebrity, you say? What celebrity goes to a college game show?” Anyone ever watch Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego as a kid? Remember the house band Rockapella? Well, three of its original members (including that era Rockapella’s lead man Sean Altman) have formed a new group since then called the Groovebarbers. They came to play the show, and give a bit of a performance.

It was a pretty awesome show, and destined to be long. It was the first time we nearly ran out of tape for both shows. That’s never happened as long as I can remember. Ought to be fun for those editing it, though! Haha…

My friend Adam came up on Thursday to see the news, and then to guest host one of the two shows we taped on Friday. After the shows, we went down to the local pub and had a couple drinks. It was a good time.

Then today was boring. Slept in late, and then watched some Stargate, but not much else.

I’m happy that this week is over, but how quickly it went is now only showcasing to me how quickly this semester, year, and my college career is coming to an end. I really don’t want it to end, but I do know the time is coming to move on.

And we move on and on…


The Deal

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on | 3 Comments

I don’t have much time to write tonight, but I’ll stop my work long enough to say this:

If I have to see the phrase, “close the deal” one more time, I may blow my top off!

Can’t the blogosphere and media come up with a new phrase?  I thought it was clever the first 10 times.  But now it’s just getting annoying to see.


Save the Earth and Capitalism

Posted by Mike Merritt in Society on | One Comment

If there’s anything that frightens the bejeebus out of a lot of people on the far right, it’s a fear that the tactics of environmentalists will destroy capitalism and have communism marching to our doorsteps.

That some people haven’t left the days of the red scare is not so surprising to me, yet it’s a little annoying.  There are about five countries in the world (China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, and North Korea) that are still fully communist, and the first is more authoritarian capitalist than anything else these days.

But ignoring that whole side of things, there are ways to get cleaner fuel and energy without destroying the economy.

First and foremost, the oil companies need to invest into research into alternate fuels.  I’ve said this before, and I still stand by it now.  That’s the first step: research and develop alternative fuels, and then offer them.  And not just new fuels, but also choices for electricity.

The next step is done by us, the consumers.  With all that new choice, the people will be able to choose which fuels they want to use.  And isn’t that what the conservatives want?  A free market system?  A democracy of the wallet?

Seems quite simple, doesn’t it?  It’s basically the same thing we’re doing now, isn’t it?  You’d think so, but it’s my opinion that as long as the oil companies are reaping huge profits on oil, that much serious development on alternative fuels and electricity sources won’t be done.

So, going back to the free market, I think the people need to start demanding it, specifically before gas reaches $6.00 a gallon everywhere.  It’s simple supply and demand, but rather than waiting for the supply of oil to dry up enough that it’s scarce for all, lets do something now.


1) Oil companies: Invest for research and development of alternative fuel technologies and infrastructures.  It’s good for your future.

2) People: Demand this to happen, before you start paying lot of money for gas.

And, voila.  Helping the planet, and keeping capitalism nice and strong.


The Battle Hymn and the Centrists

Posted by Mike Merritt in Videos on | No Comments

According to the commenters over at Michelle Malkin’s blog (but not necessarily Michelle herself), you have to be a conservative to appreciate the song played for the arrival of the Pope at the White House, the Civil War-era patriotic song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The highly religiously themed song seems appropriate to welcome a reigning pontiff, but that’s not why I appreciate the song.  Not being very religious, I don’t care much about its lyrics.  I care more about the music, and BHotR has some awesome music.

It’s a very powerful piece, and listening to it twice over just now really set up the rest of my day for me.  Take that as you will.


Vegas 2008: Nightlife

Posted by Mike Merritt in Vegas 2008 on | One Comment

Being delayed at an airport seems a perfect time to write a blog entry.

I want to talk briefly about my time at night in Vegas, but first, a follow-up to yesterday’s entry.

I was talking with one of my professors today, and he pretty much seconded the theory I gave yesterday about Avid. When I mentioned the HD-DVD comparison, he said, “There you go.” So, I would not be surprised if they’re bought out or closed within the next couple years.

Nightlife time.

Vegas is the place to go for nightlife, but you already knew that. I’ll talk about the two big things I did in Vegas.

The first was seeing Love, by Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage. Set to Beatles songs, the acrobats fly around the stage, dance, flip, and more. I highly recommend it, but even if you don’t see that, you have to see a show. However, expect to drop at least $100, even for the cheap seats.

The next thing was what I did last night. I went to Tryst at the Wynn hotel. It’s a nightclub, and one of the hoppingest (invented a word there) clubs in Vegas. I don’t necessarily recommend you do what I did and go VIP, but if you do, make sure you have at least $800 to drop on the two bottle minimum.

We were told that the bottles were included in the $80 cover, but that wasn’t the case. Luckily, we got the minimum down to one bottle at $495. Still, if you can do the VIP option at Tryst, do it, because it’s totally worth it.

I also went to the casinos, and and went to a club at the Hard Rock cafe. All in all, the nightlife for me in Vegas was fun, and totally worth the money.


Vegas 2008: Avid

Posted by Mike Merritt in Vegas 2008 on | No Comments

I’m a little disappointed right now. I was hoping to sign up for an Avid training session today, only to come to the convention center and find out that they’re not here.

They also didn’t come to NAB, but neither did Apple; yet, they decided to show up for BEA. I hate conspiracy theories, but when you fail to show up for two conventions in a row, that’s not good.

It’s probably best compared to when the HD-DVD guys didn’t show up for CES. About a month later, HD-DVD was officially discontinued. Now, I’m not saying this is Avid’s fate, but not coming to a convention like BEA is a poor choice, I think, especially when they were already set to come.

That’s how it’s also like the HD-DVD case. They were all set to appear at CES, then canceled at the last minute.

I wanted to learn more about Avid here, but now I guess it won’t happen.

Oh well. There’s still the Apple session in a bit.


Vegas 2008: NAB Days 2 & 3

Posted by Mike Merritt in Vegas 2008 on | No Comments

I’m beginning to understand how being in Vegas can prevent one from doing blogging.

Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse

I never talked about the Lost producers interview.  Very quickly, it was pretty cool.  Cynthia Littleton from Variety interviewed Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse about producing the show.  Basically, it was all about the challenges of producing a show such as Lost, about working on an actual island.

Afterward, I did a lot of walking around the exhibits.  They have some awesome stuff here; everything from editing software to storage units and more.  I attended a couple sessions that day.  The first was about the challenges of working with new media.  There were some big names attending that, including Scott Dinsdale, Exec. VP of the digital division of Sony BMG.  I also attended a session on making money from services like YouTube.  We’re doing a news package on the convention, and so we interviewed one of the presenters at that session.  We also interviewed a rep from Google about their radio services.  They have a software which automates the operations of a radio station.  It can bring up songs, commercials, and more.

Yesterday, I attended the job fair they had.  To be honest, it sort of sucked.  The reps there either wanted something sent online (which I could of done from my hotel room), or they weren’t even hiring editors.  One company was there hiring IT people.  I was like, "Come on, at a television convention???"  I understand they too need IT people but it seemed out of place.

After the job fair, I attended a session of professors and students talking about student run television stations, and then came back to the hotel.

Got to get back to the convention, but the next entry will be about the nightlife in Vegas.


Vegas 2008: Making Money with Video Podcasting

Posted by Mike Merritt in Uncategorized on | 2 Comments

In my next entry, I’ll talk about my experience at the session this morning with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.

But first, making money on YouTube and other services.  As readers know, I’ve done a few video blog entries for Dymersion.  Outside of that, the club I’m in is currently putting up its news packages on YouTube.

Today I’m at a session with two guys who pitched an idea for a television show a few years ago, only to have it shot down for being "too smart."

When vlogging became popular, they brought the show to the Internet.  And now they’re sharing some tips on how to make an idea profitable.

More on it later…


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