Dear President Obama …

Dear Mr. President, here’s the deal as I see it:  Most of the country – and I know I –  voted for you to *change* the course from an America that was too fueled by anger and intolerance and too little support for the disadvantaged.

We knew you’d bring a great deal of intelligence and leadership within the context of the country we all think is a great and powerful experiment in economics, freedom, and well-being for those of us fortunate enough to live here.

However most of us really did NOT want to bring in even more big government and “overly sensitive” left wing sensibilities.   We hoped you’d stem the tide of polarization and bureaucratic nonsense that has plagued the congress for some time.   For the most part we did not support the agendas of the new congress which was too reckless with our tax dollars and too quick to bring changes that would have unintended consequences.

That’s why folks are now voting in the Republicans – not so much because they think they have better answers, but to say “stop” to the current set of reckless congressional pork barrel politics.

The moral of the story?  One of the parties needs to get smarter, which means to adopt the basic founding principles (SMALL Military, SMALL Government, BIG Freedoms)  that fueled the economic and intellectual and cultural powerhouse we call the USA.

Founding  principles does NOT mean the agenda of the Tea Party, plagued by silly cultural conservatism, too many irrational thinkers, and an aversion to “true” conservative values like cutting military spending and common sense control of guns.   True conservatism (which we’ll all need very soon or we’ll break the bank)  will mean major cuts in both entitlements and defense.    And by “major cuts” I don’t mean the pussy footing drops in the bucket both Democrats and Republicans are proposing – I mean 20-30% across the board.    Ironically if the government cut spending people would NOT expect their taxes to be cut immediately.   Most of us understand the economic mess will take years to unwind, but we want government to be a lot smarter and a lot leaner … now.

A high percentage of  social service spending isn’t needed at all, and smarter defense policies that substitute infrastructure aid, cultural sophistication, and clever international marketing could save hundreds of billions annually.

Do that, and you’ll see support flow back to you faster than any of us can say   “CHANGE”.

Top TV Salaries – WoW!

Here, from TV Guide, are salaries for many TV stars:

The top earners, by category:

Drama (per episode)

Hugh Laurie (House) $400,000+
Christopher Meloni & Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) $395,000 (each)
David Caruso (CSI: Miami) $375,000
Marg Helgenberger (CSI) $375,000
Mark Harmon (NCIS$375,000
Laurence Fishburne (CSI) $350,000
Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) $350,000
Denis Leary (Rescue Me) $350,000
Gary Sinise (CSI: NY$275,000
Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) $250,000
David Boreanaz (Bones) $200,000
Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) $200,000
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife$175,000
Dana Delany (Body of Proof$150,000
Lauren Graham (Parenthood) $150,000
Jada Pinkett Smith (HawthoRNe) $150,000
Jimmy Smits (Outlaw) $150,000
LL Cool J (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Chris O’Donnell (NCIS: Los Angeles) $125,000
Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains) $125,000
Jason Lee (Memphis Beat) $125,000
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) $125,000
Tom Selleck (Blue Bloods) $125,000
Michael Weatherly (NCIS) $125,000
Matt Bomer (White Collar) $100,000
Nathan Fillion (Castle) $100,000
Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds) $100,000
Jon Hamm (Mad Men) $100,000
Cole Hauser (Chase) $100,000
Alex O’Loughlin (Hawaii Five-0) $100,000
Timothy Olyphant (Justified$100,000
Scott Caan (Hawaii Five-0) $80,000
Angie Harmon (Rizzoli & Isles) $75,000
Anna Paquin (True Blood) $75,000
Blair Underwood (The Event) $75,000
Zachary Levi (Chuck) $60,000
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries$40,000
Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) $40,000
Ashley Tisdale (Hellcats$30,000

Late Night/Talk Syndication (per year)

Oprah Winfrey $315 million
Judge Judy Sheindlin $45 million
David Letterman (The Late Show$28 million
Jay Leno (The Tonight Show$25 million
Conan O’Brien (The Conan O’Brien Show$10 million
Ellen DeGeneres (The Ellen DeGeneres Show$8 million
Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live$6 million
Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately$3.5 million
George Lopez (Lopez Tonight$3.5 million

Reality (per year)

Ryan Seacrest
(American Idol$15 million
Joel McHale (The Soup$2 million
Piers Morgan (America’s Got Talent$2 million
Kate Gosselin (Kate Plus 8$250,000 per episode
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (Jersey Shore$30,000 per episode

Comedy (per episode)

Charlie Sheen (Two and a Half Men$1.25 million
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men$550,000
Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Eva Longoria Parker (Desperate Housewives$400,000
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons$400,000
Julie Kavner (The Simpsons$400,000
Tina Fey (30 Rock$350,000
Jeremy Piven (Entourage$350,000
Steve Carell (The Office$297,000
Angus T. Jones (Two and a Half Men$250,000
David Duchovny (Californication$200,000
Kevin Dillon (Entourage$200,000
Adrian Grenier (Entourage$200,000
Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly) $180,000
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie$175,000
William Shatner ($#*! My Dad Says$150,000
David Spade (Rules of Engagement$150,000
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family$100,000
Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement$85,000
Betty White (Hot in Cleveland$75,000
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory$60,000
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory$60,000
Ty Burrell (Modern Family$50,000
Jane Lynch (Glee$50,000
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory$40,000
Matthew Morrison (Glee$30,000
Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place$30,000
Dylan and Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody$20,000 (each)
Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family$15,000

News (per year)

Matt Lauer (Today $16 million +
Katie Couric (CBS) $15 million
Brian Williams (NBC) $12.5 million
Diane Sawyer (ABC) $12 million
Meredith Vieira (Today$11 million
Bill O’Reilly (Fox News) $10 million
George Stephanopoulos (ABC) $8 million
Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) $7 million
Shepard Smith (Fox News) $7 million
Wolf Blitzer (CNN) $3 million
Christiane Amanpour (ABC) $2 million
Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC) $2 million
Eliot Spitzer (CNN) $500,000

Wikipedia has some old info from 2007 here but note that salaries change with every season and depend on a lot of factors such as producer status, syndication, etc.

Day 180 of the Davies’ Happy Meal Project

Day 180, 2010 Sally Davies Happy Meal Project

Originally uploaded by sally davies photo

Sally Davies took pictures of a MacDonald’s burger and fries for 6 months. Most viewing these, and I’m guessing Sally, would suggest this shows something about the unhealthiness of MacDonald’s food.

The problem with that “logic” is that the same approach using, say, a Big Mac and a Coke – a far less healthy meal than this reasonable meat and potato meal – would be a nasty mess.

Michael Pollan, crusader against fast food for both reasonable and silly reasons, has suggested that rotting food is a good sign of healthy food, and I think this test may have been inspired by that somewhat twisted logic.

A natural foods challenge that is not discussed nearly enough is that while unprocessed, unpreserved foods often offer the nutritional benefits of complexity, protein balancing, and more, they also
generally carry a greater risk of spoilage and in that case can harbor some very nasty bacteria.

Moderation, in all things …

Medical Tourism

Medical Tourism – where folks travel to other countries to obtain medical care  – has always intrigued me both as an economic and travel subject.    I’ve generally heard glowing reports about folks who have travelled to Thailand for procedures like lasik and colonoscopies which  are done there for a fraction of US costs in hospitals that are like resort hotels.    As US health costs continue to skyrocket and continue to be far more than the cost of comparable care in other countries, the idea of combining fun and health becomes more and more appealing.     I’m even considering this idea for my trip to Vietnam in January.

Surprising to me was this report about the Medical Travel Industry which suggested how common it is for folks to travel to the USA for care.    The report also suggested that currently there may be some exaggeration of the number of people travelling overseas for care since some statistics include emergency and expatriat care in foreign hospitals.

Thanks to a blogging contest sponsored by the good folks at the Tourism Authority of Thailand I’m going to put some time into this topic, hoping to get better informed and maybe even be chosen to participate in the “fam tour” where bloggers will travel to Thailand to see several cities and facilities that represent this new and rapidly growing approach to medical care.

I’m starting a new page called “Medical Tourism” and will be adding to that content over the next few months.

Update:   Who needs a page when you can start a NEW Medical Tourism blog?     I’ve done that here.

History of the Oregon Coast

* Note below why part of this post is NOT about “History of the Oregon Coast”.

We’ve got a brief treatment of “History of the Oregon Coast” over at the site Oregon Coast Travel.

Here is that History of the Oregon Coast from the Oregon Coast Travel website, along with some relevant wikipedia entries and other Oregon Coast link references:

Homo Sapiens first arrived on the Oregon coast approximately 400 generations ago, to subsist in the coast’s generous waters and forests. They fashioned canoes to paddle along the coastline, estuaries, and rivers, where they pursued salmon, seals, and ducks. They also gathered such seafood as clams. Inland, they hunted for game and gathered such foods as roots. On the whole, it was successful subsistence living. That was their lifeway for thousands of years, and as generations came and went, bands coalesced into tribes. The Oregon coast’s principal tribes were the Siletz and Tillamook on the north coast, Alsea and Siuslaw, central coast, and Coquille and Coos on the south coast, among others. The cultures of those tribes were similar.

European exploration of the Oregon coast emerged in the 18th century when Spanish mariners sailed north from Mexico to explore and eventually stake claims to the region. The British soon followed, and the years 1774-1795 in particular became a period of sharp contention between the Spanish and the British for claims to the northwest coast. However, neither side was able to successfully gain hegemony over the region.

In the meantime, Captain Robert Gray, an American, visited the Oregon coast by sea in 1788 and 1792, and returned with fur pelts. Following the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark reached the Oregon Coast in 1804 and laid claim to the territory for the U.S. They also returned with furs, and that prompted one John Jacob Astor to establish the first permanent white trading post in Oregon. The post, Astoria, lay at the mouth of the Columbia River. However, the venture did not prove as successful as Astor had hoped, and the British North West Company bought out Astoria. Both Britain and the United States continued to claim the territory.

On a voyage commissioned by the U.S. Congress, Charles Wilkes landed on the coast in 1838 and planted the American flag. Later, a flood of Americans arriving on the Oregon Trail established de facto the United States’ claim to the land.

From: History of the Oregon Coast

* We interrupted this blog for yet another in our ongoing series of search optimization experiments, trying to figure out what the heck the Google algorithm likes to see, so we can do Google’s bidding.

Of course the great folks at Google always say  “The search algorithm likes to see user-centric, quality content” and that’s true to some extent, but not true enough to make online publishing an easy living.   If that WERE true the search landscape would change dramatically, and you’d see good stuff where you now see fair to poor stuff, which we admit with some shame is some of … our stuff … even though we do have really good stuff sometimes.