Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tracking Events Along The Customer Journey

One of the first things we learn in Marketing 101 is many-a-customer-journey is littered with events. Like breadcrumbs left behind by people lost in the woods, events are the only way for advertisers and marketers alike to attribute a desired outcome back to its source.

So, what are events?  Events are actions that a customer takes along the conversion process.  Events are unique to each advertiser depending on what is important to them.  Events can be things like a customer clicking on a display ad, partially filling out a lead, using a voucher code at checkout, watching a video, or even clicking “Like” on an advertiser’s page. It is through tracking events like these that marketers learn which sources of customer engagement are profitable and which are just not worth their time.

And how are events tracked?  While there are a number of event-tracking tools out there, you’re best served by a comprehensive platform that has a unique and flexible method of tracking any pre-determined action along the customer journey.  A good event-tracking platform should track payable events such as an app purchase and non-payable events like a profile completion or newsletter sign up.

A versatile event-tracking platform should be equipped to handle the following with regards to partner attribution:

  • Allow only one per user, or multiple
  • Ability to pay per event or not pay at all
  • Pay on a revenue percentage or flat rate
  • Specify payouts at the affiliate and campaign level

Which events should be tracked? Once you have a solid platform, you need to decide what to track.  Each enterprise is going to have events unique to their channels, customers, advertisers and affiliates that will provide a good picture of the effectiveness of their marketing spend.  Come up with an initial list of important events and then modify that list over time as tracking data is analyzed.

As an example, take a look at what some of the marketers in these industries track:

Forex and Binary Options Brokers
-       New trader signups
-       Trader deposits
-       Trader withdrawls
-       Volume of trader transactions

Dating Sites
-       New member signups
-       Profile completions (add a photo, send an email)
-       Member interactions
-       Paid member subscriptions

Gaming Sites
-       Downloads
-       Installs
-       Upgrades
-       In-game buys
-       Level achievements
-       Shares with fellow gamers

Retail Sites
-       Lifetime customer sales (recurring sales)
-       All subsequent sales by period of time
-       Sales provided by a particular affiliate
-       Sales obtained though a particular channel
-       Facebook Likes
-       Tweets
-       Instagram Shares

While these are just some examples, you can easily see how to track virtually any digital event along the customer journey.  No matter what industry, with the right tracking platform, marketers can use event tracking to take control of their campaigns.

Monday, July 28, 2014

7 Benefits of Voucher Codes

How popular are online coupon, promo and voucher codes these days? 

Well, it’s easy to find they’re flourishing. For example, if you search to see if Forrester Research has looked into the subject, not only do you find reports that confirm voucher code popularity, you also find some voucher codes to save you $405 on an upcoming Forrester event.

According to, the UK’s number one discount voucher website, over four million visitors per month hit their pages looking for money-saving voucher codes.

With voucher codes being so popular, it would seem that every advertiser out there should be taking advantage of them. Here’s why:

It’s Easy to Get Started
You’re already advertising and no matter what channel you’re advertising through, all you have to do is come up with a voucher code, slap it on, and you’re ready to go!

They’re Sharable
What do you love more than a good, solid customer referral? Every time one of your customers shares your voucher code, there’s an increased chance for some great customer referrals. Do a search for voucher codes and you will see there are a lot of people sharing a lot of voucher codes out there.

Conversion Rates Will Improve
Voucher codes drive shoppers to try new products and brands, help convince them to finalize a purchase, and have been shown to lead online shoppers to return to an abandoned shopping cart.

Brand Loyalty and Reputation Will Spread
What better way to show that you care about your customers and want their business than to provide a special code that they can use to save money?  It’s like they’re part of the insiders’ club, or in the VIP suite. Customers will tell their friends about your voucher code and that will not only increase brand loyalty, but also spread the word that you are a quality retailer.

Tracking Will Get a Boost
If you use an Ecommerce system, you can easily track your voucher codes to see which ones have been redeemed, which ones have been shared, and which ones have been ignored. Use different codes for different channels or campaigns and you can see which ones are performing and which are wasting of your advertising dollars.

Use Them for A/B Testing
Put a different voucher code on the same offer that you send out through different channels, or on different places on the same page, and you’ll be able to easily see which ads and channels are outperforming the others. Put different voucher codes on different email formats, emails with different messaging, or even try different voucher codes on a 10%, 15%, and 20% offer and see which one is performing best. 
A/B testing should be part of every campaign and voucher codes can help provide the insight you need.

Order Values Will Increase
Research has shown that when customers save money through an offer, many will typically increase their order, often times far beyond the value of their original order. Throw in a voucher code and your customers will most likely increase the size of their purchase even more. You can also restrict the use of the code until they spend a certain dollar amount and customers will spend more to get access to that voucher code.

For all of these reasons, it just makes sense for every advertiser to get on board with voucher codes!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Celebrate Orange County’s 125th Birthday (A History Of Orange County's Birth) By County Supervisor Pat Bates

The Orange County Fair will [feature] a special celebration in honor of the County’s Quasiquicentennial, a fitting tribute to be held 125 years to the day that Orange County officially split from Los Angeles County.

Additionally, an exhibit titled “OC Circa 1889” opens Friday, July 18 and runs until Friday, Oct. 10 at the Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana. The opening reception Thursday, July 17 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM features a lecture by historian Phil Brigandi, who assembled the photos and information for the exhibit. The reception is FREE and open to the public.

The Orange County Historical Commission will also debut a special OC 125 map later this month, available both on paper and as an app! For more information, please visit the Commission’s website.

Here’s the story of how Orange County was born:

In 1870, Max Strobel, the first mayor of Anaheim, helped push a bill through the State Assembly to form Anaheim County. The new county would have included the area south of the San Gabriel River. The bill failed in the Senate.

In 1872, a second bill was introduced – proposing this time to create an Orange County – but it never made it to a vote. Four years later, Anaheim leaders tried again, this time under the name Santa Ana County, hoping to gain support from that city. But since Anaheim would have been the County seat, the city politely declined support.

In 1881, the undaunted Anaheim supporters were back again, this time creating an Orange County but designating Anaheim as the County seat for only the first two years. A subsequent election would then determine the official County seat. Once again, the bill never came to a vote. Yet another attempt in 1885 also failed, even though that bill creating an Orange County passed through the Assembly.

By 1889, County supporters had regrouped and brought in some political heavy-hitters. Area Assemblyman Col. E.E. Edwards of Santa Ana introduced a new bill to create Orange County, bringing in Santa Ana’s founder, William H. Spurgeon—a prominent Democrat—and local Republican leader James McFadden to lobby the Legislature. Santa Ana business leaders kicked in $30,000 while San Francisco County legislators pledged support as a way to reduce Los Angeles County’s influence.

The bill passed both houses of the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Robert Waterman on March 11, 1889. It allowed for local residents – by a 2/3 vote – to decide whether to create the county. The vote was held June 4, 1889 and passed easily – 2,505 to 499.
Once the vote was in, a second balloting was held July 17, 1889, to determine the County seat – a wise decoupling of the issue given the territorial pressures between Anaheim, Santa Ana and even Orange, the third incorporated city. Santa Ana emerged victorious.

With everything in place, Orange County officially came into being Aug. 1, 1889. The Board of Supervisors met for the first time Aug. 5, 1889, triggering yet another celebration when our Board meets this coming Aug. 5

Saturday, July 5, 2014

We Often Forget About The Content We Have By Joe Pulizzi

A few months ago, the CMI team was meeting with the content marketing director of a fairly large brand. She told us a horror story about duplicate content — here's the gist:

One internal group was working on a huge eBook designed for lead generation. It cost the company about $20k to conduct and compile the necessary research and hire multiple experts for the content side.

After the eBook was completed, the organization started to become better integrated around the asset of content, and had hired someone to fill the content marketing director role. Once this new hire completed an internal audit, she realized pretty quickly that the majority of eBook research they had just paid for had already existed in-house — and had the same findings.
The moral of the story is this: We need to start treating content as an asset in the organization. That means starting to properly tag and categorize content, so that it can be easily found and used for multiple purposes. Put simply: Just make sure you talk to the right people internally before you go off and create all the content for your amazing idea.

It happens all the time: We have a content idea, and we immediately go and source the content before finding out if we actually have some of the assets already at our disposal. A simple step like properly classifying your content will save you a lot of money and time.

Yours in content,
Joe Pulizzi
Content Marketing Institute

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Before Kicking In The Doors And Bursting Into A Meeting...

It’s funny…when I was in my mid-20’s, I was working for a boss that was promoted from being just an engineering manager to actually sitting on the executive board of the company.  My colleagues and I were all gangbusters at the idea because we thought that with him sitting on the board, we could work with him to get all of our initiatives pushed through much more quickly to approval.

Needless to say, my young ambitious ass marched right into his office as soon as I heard the news and quickly laid out all of the fantastic initiatives that my team and I were working on that he could now help ram straight through to approval!

He sat there quietly and kind of smiled and after pausing a second proceeded to tell me that his plan was actually to spend about the first three months or so that he was sitting on the board just observing the meetings and the other executive team members to get a feel for how the meetings went, how topics were brought up for discussion and how things moved through the process from discussion to actual serious discussion and then on to talks about approval.  He said that he was definitely going to take things slow and not make any waves, taking a very strategic approach as not to jeopardize his or the department’s standing in the eyes of the board.

Sitting here today, writing this, now the age that he was at the time, his approach sounds so reasonable.  His approach was very thoughtful, very strategic, and above all, probably very smart.  What I marvel at today is how absolutely insanely ridiculous this approach seemed to me at the time!
Why not bust into that first board meeting, take charge of the room and throw down on the table all of the great initiatives that your team is working on and take advantage of the situation immediately and furiously to get what you want?

Like I said, it’s funny…it’s funny to see now how much of a hurry I was in back then and how little I understood about tact, corporate culture and above all, being reasonable.  Today, I must say, that I have slowed down and calmed down a bit, and while I have maintained my passion for work and for loving what I do, I have recognized the importance of pausing a minute or two to observe, take mental notes, and develop and implement a strategy before busting into a meeting.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that each of us needs to be bold and take risks to advance our businesses and our careers, but we have to remember that when it comes to risk-taking, we also have to be thoughtful and patient.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Back When You Had To Lick Stamps To Mail Checks

I’m laughing at myself because I just had what I would call a senior moment (can we still say that?) and wanted to share it with all of you.  So, you know how you get solicitations for donations to charities in the mail and they’ll include a nickel or a dime or some other object to try to keep you from just throwing it away?  Well, I got one of those a couple months back – honestly can’t remember which charity it was from – but that particular charity’s object for that particular campaign was a postage stamp.  They say, hey look, we included a postage stamp so that you don’t have to pay the postage to send us money, all the while I am sure thinking that you’re not going to just toss the envelope because you’ll want the stamp, and maybe, just maybe, once you’ve opened the envelope, you’ll actually take a look at their stuff and feel more compelled to make a donation.

Now, needless to say for any of you who know me, I opened that envelope, took out the stamp, shredded the rest of the contents and went about my day because while I do make contributions to charitable causes, it has to be to a place I know inside and out and definitely would never be to one that I have only heard of through a letter they sent to my house.

I know some of you may be thinking hey, wait a minute, is it OK for us to use the stamp, the coins, or the return address labels these charities send to us if we don’t send them any money?  Well, you can all make your own decisions about that, but I have it on good authority from the folks at Money magazine that it is perfectly reasonable financial etiquette to use the items that have been sent to you without providing a donation because the items were sent to you unsolicited without any form of obligation from you to said charity.  So I say, use those coins, use those stamps and use those return address labels to your heart’s content!

So, anyway, now eventually on to my senior moment:

You youngsters out there may not know about two things.  One is that we used to have these things called checks that we used to pay for stuff.  It was a piece of paper not much different in size from a dollar bill that was issued by our bank that had our checking account number – see, that is where the name checking account comes from – printed on it and when we wanted to pay for something, say a bill that came in the mail, or for groceries at the grocery store, or to pay a friend you owed some money, we took out a pen and we wrote a date, the name of the person or company we were paying, the dollar amount in both numbers and in words (yes, we had to actually write out One Hundred Forty-Six Dollars and Seventy-Two Cents), a memo about the check if we wished and our signature all on this piece of paper. We then handed it to the person we were paying and they took it to their bank and then their bank sent it to our bank and our bank sent the money to that person’s bank and then that person’s bank gave them the money.  This all usually took a couple days, sometimes even longer if there was a weekend in there, especially back in the days when banks weren’t open on Saturday mornings like they are today

The other thing you all might not know, or remember, is that postage stamps used to not have that convenient sticky backing that they do today.  Stamps didn’t used to be stickers, they, in fact, used to be stamps.  They had this adhesive film on the back and what we used to do was actually have to lick the back of the stamp in order to activate the adhesive so that our stamp would stick to the envelopes that we were mailing.  We did this stamp licking quite often back in the day, especially when all of our bills would come in the mail and we would write out checks to pay for them and have to lick upwards of 20 stamps a month in some cases.

So, don’t worry, I’m getting to that senior moment, I just felt that I needed to explain all of this to you so it would all make sense, especially if checks and licking stamps pre-dates you.

Fast forward to today and I have one bill – only one bill – that still comes in the mail and that I still, for some Godforsaken reason cannot pay online like every other single bill I have.  It is the association dues to the city of Aliso Viejo and to top it off, it only comes once a quarter, so I am writing literally only 4 checks a year at this point.  I had no idea when I got that book of 50 checks from my online bank for these crazy unforeseen eventualities of having to still write checks that it was going to last me over 10 years.

So, this morning, I tear off the perforated slip at the bottom of the bill, reliving that nostalgia of the days before your ATM card was also a Debit Card, before you received your bills in an email and long before you could just go online and pay for everything and anything under the sun straight from your checking account.  I find a pen, write the amount that I am paying on the slip, find that check book, write out the check to the association, stuff it all into the envelope and put the return address label that I sure as heck didn’t send any money to the charity for on the envelope and then grab that free stamp I got two months ago.

It’s a single stamp, one of the Purple Heart ones that says “Forever”, unlike the days of yore when your stamp only had the value that you paid for it at the time, forcing you to drive to the post office when they raised the rates and buy a slew of 1-cent or 2-cent or 3-cent (depending on how bad the post office was doing at the time) stamps to compliment the stamp you had already paid for before they raised the rates.  Remind me to tell you kids sometime about how I used to mail my tax returns to the state and the fed with a check using a bunch of 1-cent stamps on the envelope.

This stand-alone Purple Heart Forever stamp is cut perfectly with the serrated edges, just like the stamps I grew up with – the ones that you had to lick – so, guess what I did?  That’s right, I licked the back and pressed it against the top right corner of my envelope and guess what didn’t happen?  It didn’t stick!  So, I licked it again and I pressed it again.  And guess what?  I didn’t stick!

Had the adhesive somehow become ineffective during the stamp’s travels from the charity to my home in their envelope?  Had it somehow dissipated or become inactive while it was sitting in my drawer for two months?  This didn’t make a lick of sense!  So, naturally, I flip the stamp over to investigate.  It is then that I see the little curved swirl that is cut into – you guessed it – the thin paper backing that covers the sticky sticker backing of the sticker stamp.  So there’s Old Man Savastano, licking the back of a self-adhesive sticker, trying to mail out his check because the damned city is the only entity left on the planet that will not let me pay their bill online.

In my defense, it looked just like a real stamp.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Don't Grow Up! by Robert Safian, Editor, Fast Company Magazine

The following is an excerpt from Robert Safian's letter from the editor in Fast Company's July/August issue:

My nephew, who is in his early twenties, recently spent a year living with me and my family.  He worked at a bar, busing tables and serving drinks.  His experience reminded me how hard it is to choose a direction for your life, and how exciting an open field of possibilities can be.  It also felt deeply familiar.  Today, we all need to keep evolving in new ways and with new situations.  There is no clear destination.

What do you want to be when you grow up? That's a question we were all asked as kids.  Yet in many ways, it is the wrong question.  Because becoming a "grown-up" is no longer a onetime achievement.  It's like the storybook ending -"living happily ever after."  That has always been a myth.  And who would want a static life anyway?  Particularly in our age of flux, standing still leads to obsolescence.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Little Insight Into How Government Spends: Widening Of The 405 Freeway

Here in Southern California, we have this wonderful monument to the achievement of the humans called the Interstate 405, or “the God-damned 405” to the locals.  It runs from mid-Orange County right up through Los Angeles County into the San Fernando Valley.  It was originally designed to be a bypass to the heavily congested Los Angeles-area portion of Interstate 5 that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington.  But, if you know anything about Southern California, you know there are two cars for every person and a God-given right to never carpool so we have congested the crap out of the bypass artery too.  As a result, we are continually widening the 405.  In fact, since the Orange County section of the 405 opened in 1969 as an actual Interstate, the 405 has been widened time and time again.  It literally seems like as soon as we finish adding a lane, we start adding the next lane.  Adding a lane in each direction one at a time, each new lane basically becoming obsolete by the time it is finished.

Each time a widening is needed, there is wrangling among Orange County officials, transportation budgets, city councils and citizens.  The most recent widening project proposals even included the possibility of adding toll lanes to the 405.  Pulled from a recent newsletter from one of the County Supervisors, here are the options that were being considered:
Option 1: Add one general purpose lane in each direction between Costa Mesa and the County line in Seal Beach (14 miles from SR-73 to I-605) at a cost of $1.3 billion that is already fully funded.
Option 2: Added two general purpose lanes in each direction with an approximate $100 million funding gap that raises concerned that trying to find $100 million could potentially jeopardize other scheduled freeway projects, such as upcoming I-5 improvements.
Option 3: Add one general purpose lane in each direction and one high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane in each direction. In addition, the current high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane would have been converted into an HOT lane to create a two-lane toll facility (“managed lanes”), similar to the 91 Express Lanes. Toll revenue bonds would have helped fund this $1.7 million project.
Government has decided that Option 1 is the way to go.  Our existing toll roads and toll lanes are not turning out to be as profitably as everyone thought they were going to be, so I can understand their reservation about Option 3, though I must admit that when stuck on the 405, I sure as hell would be willing to pay $5 to get into a lane that is actually moving.

So, even with Option 3 tossed out, when you look at Option 1 and Option 2, I find myself a little surprised (yet at the same time completely not surprised) that government is going with Option 1.
Government is going to add one lane in each direction to the 405 from the 73 to the 605 at a cost of $1.3 billion with the entire cost completely covered.  For just $100 million more – that’s $1.4 billion dollars instead of $1.3 billion – government could add a second lane in each direction at the same exact time.

I think all of us, as well as our County Officials, are familiar with the concept of a volume discount – where by buying more at the same time you save money over buying the same amount at two separate times.  One lane for $1.3 billion or two lanes for $1.4 billion is a hell of a volume discount!
I understand that the $100 million is not funded right now so government would we’d have to come up with the money somewhere, but government seems to be able to find billions and billions of dollars to waste nationwide each and every year.  I am sure one of the most lucrative counties in the country could come up with a mere $100 million, right?

The worst thing about this lack of desire on the part of County Officials to try to find this $100 million is that if history is an indication of the future, as soon as this lane is done, we’re going to need another lane and within a matter of a few short years, we’ll be building that additional lane under a new construction project that is definitely going to cost a hell of a lot more than the $100 million that we could spend now. 
So, a government that seems to have no problem spending and spending and spending (and spending frivolously at that) won’t spend $100 million today to save $1.3 billion (or probably even more than that) ten years from now.  In what world does this make sense?  Definitely not the world that we idiot taxpayers have to live in!  We, unlike government, have to make sound and common sense financial decisions because our future income is not guaranteed by law or and ability to jail someone for refusing to provide us with our income.
The single largest threat to government is a lack of government growth and the single largest threat to government growth is efficiency and common sense.  I believe, whether intentional or not, this is why government opts to spend 13 times more money down the road on a future project than make a sound financial decision today.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Respect The Military Peace-Mongers - They Make Your Existence Possible

Despite the fact that in the 60 years that NORAD has been tracking Santa Claus on Christmas Eve each year Santa has received a fighter jet escort through Canada and the US, the animations this year actually show the fighter jets, and the peace-mongers are all up in arms about how seeing the fighter jets are going to traumatize America’s children.  Oh, the children….Won’t somebody please think of the children!

First off, when you wake up tomorrow morning in the safety of your secured home on land that is privately owned by you or the person you are renting from and you use your running water and on-demand electricity then put on your nice or comfy clothes and your warm jacket either before or after you get into your automobile that you own or the bank has leant you the money to own and either drop the kids off at school or go straight to your job, just remember one thing….None of that would exist without the United States Military.  So if NORAD wants to give Santa Claus a fighter jet escort in its animations, then NORAD should get to give Santa Claus a fighter jet escort in its animations.  NORAD is not crazy for using its military might to protect Santa Claus, these peace-mongers are crazy for not recognizing that their right to whine about Santa Claus having a fighter jet escort has been secured for them by well over two hundred years of the United States Military.

Peace-mongers, be thankful that you have a military that lives in the shadows of your life; one that stays on its bases and airfields and is not roaming through the streets picking people up and bringing them in for questioning.  Be thankful that you have a military that fights overseas and never here at home among us, or with us.  Be thankful that we have the damned fighter jets to protect Santa Claus (and you) in the first place!

Trust me, America, your kids know that there are guns and they know that we have a military and they know that there are fighter jets and they know what they are for and they also know that there are threats out there in the world to their safety.  It is not a foreign concept to them.  They do what you tell them because they are afraid of you – either what you will do to them, or what you will take away from them.  There are challenges in their young lives that they are afraid of and there are bullies at their school that strike fear into their little hearts.  They might not tell you about it, but trust me, there are things they are afraid of so a fighter jet escort for Santa as a security measure is very practical and non-life-altering concept for your little ones to understand and process, despite what you might think or choose to believe, peace-mongers.

Also, if you have not yet leveled with your children about Santa Claus and they think he’s real, visits every house in the world with a good child who lives in it, etc. etc. etc., then do you not think that it is a very practical measure with all the threats to our safety out there in the world (which again, despite your best efforts, your kids know about), the United States Air Force would not be called on to protect Santa Claus as he flew over the United States?  Anybody even sneezes wrong on a commercial plane these days and boom! – fighter jet escort!  If Santa Claus were real, would he not be a fantastic target for a terrorist organization? Think of the damage to the economy and the mental strife shooting Santa out of the sky would have on all of us if he were real.

So, if your kids think Santa is real and they are going to hear about Santa being tracked by NORAD this year, take comfort in knowing that your kids are going to know Santa is completely safe with the high-level bomb-detecting, gift-scanning x-ray machine that all the presents go through before they get put on the sleigh, the top-notch security screening and background checks that all of the elves and supporting personnel must go through before they are allowed to pass through the metal detectors and body scan machines at the entrance to the North Pole Compound, and two of the most deadly and accurate aerial weapons ever created by man escorting him through the sky.

I, for one, am just glad that we have the ability to track Santa Claus and his fighter jet escort throughout his journey right on a website.  Maybe once they are done tracking Santa for the year, the people who are running could go to Washington to help President What’s-His-Name with that Don't-Name-It-After-Me-Anymore-Care website.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Guess What? Less Than 1/3 Of You Are Going To Get To Keep Your Plan You Liked.....Whoops!

Here is the bottom line -- Obamacare said over and over again that if you liked your current plan, you got to keep it, right?  I know I am not the only one that heard him say that – We all know that we all heard him say that.  Here is the thing though…The only way that you can ACTUALLY keep your plan is if you have a plan today that has not changed in any "significant" way -- deductible, co-pay, benefits -- otherwise, your plan becomes subject to the new Obamacare minimum coverage requirement, and if it does not meet those new minimum requirements, guess what?  You don’t get to keep that plan after all.  Original estimates that were out while Obamacare was still saying that you could keep your plan stated that up to 67% of you were not going to get to keep your plan.  Today's estimates are now stating that it could be as many as 80% of you who will get a policy cancellation notice within the first year of Obamacare.  It is what it is, and we are where we are now, but you have to admit that whole “you can keep your plan” line was a complete and total bullshit for over 2/3 of the people who were supposedly going to be able to keep their plan, and maybe even more people than that.  Oh, and to make it worse, not only are you going to lose your plan, the plan that you have to buy instead is going to cost you up to twice as much.  Welcome to Obamacare's America.

Oh, and for anyone who wants to brush this off as being the reporting of crazy right-wingers, here's a link to the NBC investigation:

From the NBC Article:

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”  

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them. 

Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”

“This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had and then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either,” said  Robert Laszewski, of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Taxation Without Representation Across Time

We continually hear from politicians and political commentators that they are worried about the debt and other problems that we are currently creating for future generations.  I was thinking today that while that is a valid concern, we ourselves are already part of a “future” generation that is saddled with the legislation of the past.  I didn’t vote to elect the people that passed the laws that enacted things like the income tax, social security and medicare, yet I am impacted by those laws every other week when I send a nice chunk of the money I have worked for to the federal government to blow a good chunk of on stupid, wasteful shit.  The biggest problem with this is that I have no way to go back in time to see how things were before income tax, social security and medicare were enacted.  Is the country a better place with these things in place?  I’ll never know firsthand and for sure, will I?  Well, at least not until one of us builds a time machine and starts selling tickets.  Just as I am sure that a baby born tomorrow will feel taxed without representation when they are forced to have healthcare coverage whether they like it or not when they roll off mommy and daddy's plan at the young age of 26, I sit here today, feeling that I was taxed without representation when the income tax, social security and medicare were passed long before I was born.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

From The Internet: The English Lesson

"We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England .

We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing,
Grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them,
What do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?

We ship by truck but send cargo by ship...
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down,
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,
And in which an alarm goes off by going on.

Oh well, we can all shake our heads as we nod in agreement."