Thinking out loud: vending machine for charitable donations

I have this idea.  How about a vending machine that accepts debit cards, cash bills, coins, AND EVEN PENNIES!

Place the machine in locations where individuals have loose change after a purchase.  Those who feel giving can plunk money in the machine.

This is very similar to the Salvation Army bucket, but the machine will have multiple charities listed and you can choose which one to give to.

Working title: “Loose Charity”.  If you have loose change floating around your car, give to a favorite charity.

Will this work?

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Let’s be prudent with transportation…

I posted something on facebook that caused a little bit of a stir/discussion with people.  I basically said that US car companies are still making big trucks and SUV’s because Americans are buying them.  …And we the consumer are wanting them even though we don’t need the big trucks in our every day lives.

Ok.  I came to this.  The SuperBowl commercials were full of foreign fuel efficient car ads while again, we saw Chevy trucks and Clint Eastwood touting the American spirit.

I agree with Mr. Eastwood.  I agree that we Americans are “can do” and will rise to the occasion to get done what needs to get done.  It’s part of our “American” makeup.  My fear is that we have not felt enough pain long enough to learn the lessons of 2009 and 2010 when gas prices were high.  During those times, truck and SUV owners grounded those vehicles and tried to sell them.

Aside from commercial uses, big trucks and SUV’s are not prudent to the average person who commutes to work.  Those who are driving the huge Hummers are crazy.  That’s just an “F You” to “the man”.  “I’ll drive what I want”.

As a conservative, I understand the freedom of buying what you want and let the market decide.  I don’t for a second advocate some sort of regulation to stop building these large vehicles.  I am speaking as a concerned individual to talk some sense into the minds of purchasers.

It’s time we look closer to our lifestyle and implement our transportation needs accordingly.  Public transit can work, but its not cookie cutter.  Some cities are built more spread out and are better suited for the freedom of car traffic while other cities are more congested and rails/streetcars make more sense.

Will all electric vehicles work?  Maybe.  Do we still need gas powered engines?  Yes.  There is an application for all these modes of transport (commute, travel, cargo, etc).  They all will be needed.

But when it comes to driving to work everyday, get a car that costs you less to drive.

Roy Blunts SOPA response

Stop SOPA

I emailed my senator via congress.org to express my opposition to the SOPA legislation.  As it appears now, the SOPA is an overreach effort to stop piracy and could potentially effect the entire internet.  As understood in the legislation, a foreign website can be accused of piracy (copyright, counterfeiting, etc), the US then blocks the DNS (domain name service) to that site.

Problem:  1. that website could be falsely accused thus creating a huge mess with internet communication.  2. If the website is pirating goods, there are ways around DNS to get to those sites.

In the response below, I would like a deeper inspection to the claim of “$135 Billion lost revenue”.  How does one come up with that figure?

>>>

Dear Craig,

Thank you for contacting me regarding S. 968, the Protect IP Act.

Intellectual property industries employ more than 19 million people, making it an integral part of our economy.  Rogue websites dedicated to the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and pirated content are a direct threat to these jobs and to entrepreneurs growing and building legitimate businesses online.

Businesses have lost $135 billion in revenue annually as a result of these rogue sites.  Customers have also been harmed by these sites; for example, online pharmacies that don’t adhere to U.S. regulations have been reported to cause a rapid increase in prescription drug abuse.

I am a cosponsor of the Protect IP Act which would cut off foreign websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the economy, and harm customers.  It would allow the Justice Department to file a civil action against those who have registered or own a domain name linked to an infringing website.  The bill does not allow the Justice Department to target domain names registered by a U.S. entity.

Innovation is a cornerstone of our nation’s economic growth.  Proper intellectual property protections and incentives ensure that inventors develop products that benefit consumers.  Without such incentives for innovators, we risk falling behind places like China and India.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to continuing our conversation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SenatorBlunt) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/RoyBlunt) about the important issues facing Missouri and the country. I also encourage you to visit my website (blunt.senate.gov) to learn more about where I stand on the issues and sign-up for my e-newsletter.
Sincere regards,

Roy Blunt
United States Senator

<<<<<

Occupy Wall Street?

Much like the Tea Party, this “Occupy Wall Street” movement is a bunch of mad people.  As best I can tell.  I don’t exactly know their goal.  At least the Tea Party had an understanding of lower taxes and control of debt/deficit.

I get it.  I support the effort.  Peaceful protesting is acceptable.

What I don’t get is what do they want?

Here are some loosely mentioned desires (blogs/news/etc) I found that seemed to re-appear.  Keep in mind there is no leadership to this protest thus no spokesperson.

“End of corporate greed” – Good luck with that.  “Greed” is inherit to capitalism.  Why target Wall Street alone?  It does serve a purpose.  http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/10/why-you-shouldnt-hate-wall-street/246282/

“jobs” – ok, understood.

“Free education” – that’d be nice, but nothing is free in life.  Why protest Wall Street on this point?  Go to your state university and campout.

“debt forgiveness” – not sure this is going to fly.  There are numbers passing around the internet that show that the 99% hold the most debt opposed to the top 1%.  This is probably true.   But what is debt?  When you buy things on credit, you have debt.  Of this 99% hold debt, where did it come from?  Probably school loans, mortgages, credit cards, car purchase.  All voluntary expenditures.

The occupywallst.org site posted this list.   http://occupywallst.org/forum/proposed-list-of-demands-for-occupy-wall-st-moveme/

I have to say the list is rather radical and unrealistic.  As a reasonable person, I would hope this is not a representation of the movement as a whole.

Here is where my Andy Rooney like editorial begins…

I am getting old.  I admit.  I try not to sound like an old curmudgeon, but this will.

Most of the Occupiers are 20-something hipsters (probably 80% of that “99%).  They are over-educated and under-motivated.  They grew up in good economic times with TV, Sega Genesis’s, Xbox, Internet.  They represent an entitled generation that were told they could do (or be) anything they wanted by their helicopter parents.  Now they are faced with a downturn in the economy and out of the nest having to fend for themselves.  They’re spoiled and pissed and want to blame the “fat cats”.  After they roll up their sleeping bags and go back to their lives, not much will have changed.  They still need to find work and be a productive member of society.

I’m done.  I am pulling up my sans-a-belt pants and going home.

Dear Super Rich guys, donate.

If you’re interested in helping to alleviate Uncle Sam’s debt load one small donation at a time, you may do so online at Pay.gov. Or write a check payable to the Bureau of Public Debt, with “gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public” in the memo section, and mail it to:

Attn Dept G
Bureau of the Public Debt
P.O. Box 2188
Parkersburg, WV 26106-2188

Ironically, your donation would be tax-deductible, if you itemize.

Charity Navigator

Good Site to research your charitable donations.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/

Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator has become the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. In our quest to help donors, our team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents. As a result, we know as much about the true fiscal operations of charities as anyone. We’ve used this knowledge to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess the financial health of over 5,000 of America’s best-known charities.

Citizen Pledge to Society…

A Pledge to America

The republicans are campaigning on an old platform “A Pledge to America“.  It is nothing new.  I don’t disagree.  It is a simple  rehash of conservative values on which this country was founded.  Bor-Ring!!!!!

But… I am irritated by it.  I am irritated that we too often get fed the message the government takes care of us (the citizens).  Government is necessary to a certain extent (roads and basic services we all share), but the argument begins when our government begins to control too many facets of our lives.  I digress.   … the message is old.   Obviously, my narrative here is for limited government etc.

We The People…

I believe, we (the citizens) need to have our own pledge to this great country and to our fellow citizens.  After all, the cogs that make this machine go ’round are the people who work and contribute to this great free enterprise country.  The pledge goes something like this.

Citizens Pledge

I pledge to my country…

… to behave within the laws of my local, state, and federal governments (that’s pretty simple right?)

… to develop skills that benefit private industry either through education or experience.  (note: skills can be used in public services as well.  I concede this is needed as well)

… to make every effort to be employed in good times and bad either inside or outside my skills or industry of my choosing.  (Note: this does not necessarily mean earning money.  working for free at a school or church can be “employment”, but also feeds into the next item.)

… to live within my financial means and maintain reasonable debt.

… to limit my use of public programs and rely on my own resources.

… to file and pay my taxes on time and lawfully within the tax code.

… to be informed and exercise my right to vote at all local, state, and federal elections.

… to be counted (census) when called upon to be counted.

… to donate time or money to needy causes.

… to respect our neighbors by maintaining property.

… to laugh at myself and recognize my own stupidity.

… to maintain good health by eating right and exercising.  (Disclaimer: consult your doctor before engaging in exercise).

… to plant a tree.

… to be a good example for our kids.

And finally…  Drink plenty of water.