Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another reason for a third party

I leave notes to myself by one means or another all over the place. Some never resurface, some pop up but are no longer relevant, and some pop up that are still relevant months or even years later.

One such was a link to a Huffington Post article from mid-May about President Obama's supposed reset on Middle East policy: "Obama's Reset: Arab Spring or Same Old Thing?", Nick Turse, Huffington Post, 2011-05-17.

For all of Obama's talk about supporting the people in the efforts to free themselves of dictatorships and his condemnation against governments that use military force to thwart these efforts, his administration still supplies the tools of suppression - U.S.-made weaponry.

This is another instance of both parties being beholden to the corporatocracy of the U.S. instead of the people of the U.S. You can find a good definition of corporatocracy at Wikipedia.

Personally, I don't think we'll have any hope of world peace until the U.S. stops supporting dictatorships, cuts way back on its own military, and stops exporting so much military equipment. Are jobs here worth somebody dying in another country?

And I think the only way these will happen if a third party arises that really seeks to govern in the long-term interests of the American people instead of the short-term interests of a powerful few. Maybe such a party would take the advice of George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower in their farewell addresses, not as dogma, but as advice.

I'm sort of "ignorant of history" in that I have not read completely either of these. I did put versions of these addresses in my reading backlog file. My copy of Washington's address is from http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/farewell/text.html and Eisenhower's is from http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwightdeisenhowerfarewell.html. This latter site also includes the audio; you can find plenty of copies of the TV broadcast by a search for "eisenhower's farewell address".

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More examples of corporate inefficiency

A local writer wrote that we don't make anything in America anymore, look around. Actually he didn't look around very well; there are several manufacturers in Duluth, Minnesota, and the United States, many of them doing quite well.

Another thing that many people don't look around for is counter-examples to the idea that businesses are efficient and government is not. If you look around, you'll find plenty of examples of efficiency and inefficiency for both businesses and government. Being a contrary sort, I look around for government efficiencies and corporate inefficiencies. Today I found two examples of corporate inefficiency.

We have our house, cabin, and auto insurance with Western National. I paid the auto insurance last month and even have a confirmation number. When I checked today on the statements for the house and cabin insurance, I found that the statement for the auto insurance had a pay button next to it!!!

I sent email to Western National's contact address and received a reply within a few hours. Give one point to WN in the efficiency column and another for courtesy. However, the company is unable to remove the pay button as the online system is not interactive with its other system. Duh! I paid via the online system!! Give WN five points in the inefficiency column. Oh, the respondent did say that the pay button will eventually drop off.

That was a minor annoyance. Microsoft has given me, and probably hundreds of other users of Office 2011 for the Mac, a major time consuming headache.

Once again I find that I am getting duplicate events on my Outlook calendar. Before this was apparently caused by synchronization with Apple's iCal. I turned off synchronization before I spent days and days removing the duplicates. Today Outlook gave me the spinning and spinning beach ball, Force Quit said Outlook wasn't responding, and before I could click "Force Quit", the beach ball stopped. That long pause left me with duplicate items once again. At least at the moment, there are two to ten or so duplicates for each item, not hundreds like before.

I have some sympathy for Microsoft programmers and support personnel having spent a few decades debugging software, my own and that of others. But I find it annoying that such a wide variety of problems exist for years, especially when the producers tout how much productivity they give the users of their software. Efficiency is not passing problems off on customers, or is it?

A strange orange light in the woods

Shortly before seven Monday evening I was looking out the west window of our cabin and I saw a bright orange light through the trees. That can't be the sunset; the trees are too thick for the setting sun to penetrate.

I went out to our parking area for a better view. Was the light still or flickering? My imagination wanted to see the latter, but there really wasn't any flickering. I took a couple of pictures, and then the light started to dwindle as the sun set. (The best picture was too blurry to post.)

With the Pagami fire still going and the high fire danger, it is better to check phenomena like this out rather than ignore them.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Another corporation can't live within its means

This morning my wife went to the corner to buy the Duluth News Tribune and the Star Tribune. She put three quarters in the News Tribune machine and it wouldn't unlock. She was able to get the coins back. She put three quarters in the Star Tribune machine and was able to take out a paper.

I later bought a News Tribune at a gas station and was asked for one dollar. What? It's 75 cents. Nope, it went up this morning.

Can't Forum Communications, the publisher of the News Tribune live within its means? Can you imagine the editorials in some of its more conservative papers if any government raised taxes 33-1/3 percent?

I know many people in Duluth will not buy the News Tribune because they don't think it has much content, not even 75 cents worth. Will there be even more people who think the content is not worth one dollar?

Forum Communications may find itself in the situation many bus companies did. Costs went up and so service frequency went down. Service frequency went down, and so did ridership went down. Costs per rider went down and so service frequency went down…

By the way, the publisher of the Star Tribune is a paragon of efficiency:) Its machine at this particular corner still charges 75 cents even though the cost every where else is one dollar.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quote of the day - a new four letter word

I was chatting with Bill Bastian, a well-known Duluth tenor, at a fund raiser for the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra. When we touched on politics, he said that "corporation" has become a four-letter word to him.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Vote rigging - much ado about nothing?

See "How Republicans are rigging the next election", Harold Meyerson, Washington Post, published in the Star Tribune 2011-09-22.

Republicans are all aflutter about voter fraud. Democrats are all aflutter about "disenfranchising" poor and minority voters.

Republicans – your efforts will be meaningless if…

Democrats – you can make the Republican efforts meaningless by making a really serious effort to get out the vote.

Minnesota had the highest turnout in the nation in 2008 with 77 percent. Does that mean that 23 percent of the eligible voters were disenfranchised poor and minorities?

Wisconsin had 50.9 percent turnout in 2010, and the Republicans claimed a mandate as they took the governorship and control of both houses of the state legislature. Does that mean that 49.1 percent of the eligible voters were disenfranchised poor and minorities?

Come on, folks! Get real!

A too large percentage of eligible voters don't give a damn about either party. A too large percentage of "Democrats" get mad at the Democratic Party and don't show up at election time. Look what happened in New York's Ninth Congressional District. The no-shows gave the seat to the Republican candidate. Were all these no-shows disenfranchised poor and minorities?

Republicans – you're wasting time and money with your voter fraud campaign. In these "hard economic times", you're probably making local governments spend thousands of dollars for each suspected fraudulent voter. Is that efficient use of taxpayer dollars?

Democrats – you're wasting time and money fighting the wrong enemy. Your biggest enemy is voter apathy. Wouldn't a get-out-the-vote campaign be a more efficient use of party funds?

More than you ever wanted to know about this blog

According to Alexa over 17 million blogs ranked higher than this blog. Alexa gives this blog's reputation as 7, that is seven sites link to my blog, probably my comments on other sites. I guess I never was any good at advertising.

Subscribers, after a dip of a few days, have gone up over twenty per day. I think a subscriber is a user who has a blog in his or her feed list, and, I think, has clicked on this blog in the list. However, reach runs between zero and six, meaning that someone looked at one of the items listed in the feed.

If you like this blog, I hope you'll tell others. If you like an entry and you're on Facebook, I hope you'll click on the like button that I started using.

In any case, thanks for reading this blog. I hope I can write things of interest to you for years to come.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quote of the day - "single vote that matters"

"Eventually, the corruption in elections will get so bad that change will occur again and election reform will happen. The question is how long? Will it be this decade, the next decade or generations? I can only hope and believe that the government of the people, by the people, for the people will remember and believe it is their single vote that matters and not the money that makes a true democracy."

- John Cashon, "Government of the People, for the People, by the People", Coffee Party USA, 2011-09-05.

Cashon wrote quite a few more quotable paragraphs, for example, Theodore Roosevelt taking on J.P. Morgan.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stanley Lindholm (Dec. 9, 1926 - Sept. 14, 2011)

Ingen flicka,
Ingen snus,
Inga pengar,
What's the use?

This Swedish/English doggerel was a favorite of Stan. It means

No girl,
No snuff,
No money,
What's the use?

The use, Stan, was all the friends you made at Bixby's Coffee Shop in Duluth. Despite the setbacks you had in your life, you shared laughter with others. We missed you when you moved to Florida, and we miss you now that you've left this life.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Here we go again with "fair share" undefined

President Obama has been speaking of "fair share" with regard to taxes, but as many other proponents of "fair share" he does no more than talk about percentage of income paid in taxes.

But this is the wrong argument.

Suppose we have a small town with most people earning a decent income and one person earning over a million dollars a year. The town is small enough that it uses the county sheriff for law enforcement, the regional fire department for fires and first responders, the regional school system, and the county library. Its only major expenses are its streets and a city park. All of its revenues are paid by property taxes. The property taxes are based on market value.

So what is a fair share for everybody?

The millionaire lives in a house whose valuation is such that he pays five percent of the city budget. The town is large enough that most people pay one percent of their income in city property taxes. However, the millionaire only pays a half percent of his income.

Now let's assume that the millionaire earns all of his income investing online in national corporations. He doesn't use any of the city services more than anyone else and maybe even less. In this case, isn't his paying a larger portion of the city taxes a fair share irrelevant?

On the other hand, let's assume that the millionaire earns most of his income being the CEO of a large company in the state. What is his fair share of tax at the state and federal level? He is now using a long list of government services, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly. If he depends on moving goods from place to place, isn't his income dependent on a good road system? If he has many educated employees, isn't his income dependent on a good school system that will educate future employees? On and on it goes that this millionaire is dependent on a long list of government services to be successful, even some he doesn't like. For example, if he processes food the state or federal inspections may seem bothersome, but he also wins because his customers have more assurance of the safety of the food his company produces. Few have any idea what his "fair share" of state and federal taxes is.

It could be far less than some fixed percentage. It could be a far greater percentage than most people pay. Nobody knows for sure and very few are even considering the real meaning of "fair share".

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quote of the day – Moderation in politics

So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society. This circumstance, if duly attended to, would furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper No. 1

Did you celebrate Constitution Day?

"Are you celebrating Constitution Day?" is the title of a Local View that I wrote and was published in the Duluth News Tribune on what else but Constitution Day, September 17. I can't post it here because of the exclusivity agreement the News Tribune requires for submissions, but you can click on the link above.

Because of the mixture of serious thought and flippancy, I thought it might go viral. Well, it has spread a tiny bit, Press Enterprise and Road Runner have linked back to it.

I did have over a dozen people comment on it at church this morning. One friend "complained" to my wife that my writings made her think. I was surprised that there was only one comment on the online version.

That writer stopped reading because he didn't like my introduction and claimed, "The author is completely ignorant of history." His comment received three likes and two dislikes, one of the latter mine.

I tried responding but I couldn't register with Area Voices, the comment service.  I never received the email to complete registration.  I did send a comment to the DNT web staff.

What I tried to respond was:
I read years ago in a biography of Benjamin Franklin that he wrote a letter from Paris to the Continental Congress asking for more money.  Either his letter or the author of the biographry mentioned he needed it to keep his wine cellar well-stocked.  Franklin did do a lot of entertaining (and womanizing).

I took "career politicians" from many sources.  Many members of the Constitutional Convention had been active in the Continental Congress and/or state government.  Also, many continued in politics, including the future presidents George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison.  The authors of the Federalist Papers besides Madison who were members of the Convention were Alexander Hamilton, future Secretary of the Treasury, and John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and then Governor of New York.

I took reasons for the convening of the Constitutional Convention from Gordon S. Wood's "The American Revolution".  I also recommend reading his "The Radicalism of the American Revolution".  I look forward to reading many more of his books on the American Revolution and the early history of the United States.
Is that enough sampling to not be ignorant of history?:)

French toast – an anachronism in a classic of French literature

I've been reading "Les Trois Mousquetaires" by Alexandre Dumas. I've learned that I should read material in foreign languages by not worrying about the grammatical structure of sentences or the meaning of every word. I get most of the meaning by context. If I think that a word that I don't know is necessary for understanding, then I'll look it up.

This week I looked up an English word in "Les Trois Mousquetaires". Is "toast", as in a drink to the health of another, a French word? It is, but in the time of Louis XIII? I thought "toast" was a word from the Eighteenth Century. One source said "toast" was first used in 1700, but another said it was from the time of Charles II. Let's see, Louis XIII of France lived from 1601 to 1643; this is the time of "Les Trois Mousquetaires". Charles II of England lived from 1630 to 1685; he reigned from 1660 to 1685. I don't think the Three Musketeers would have even heard of it, but Dumas uses it at least three times in "Les Trois Mousquetaires".

This is a problem of writing novels about times before one's own. Think of Mark Twain's "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." How would a king speaking Celtic, Latin, or Anglo-Saxon understand someone speaking Nineteenth-Century American English? Of course, Twain gets around this by implying the whole adventure was a dream.

My own adventure was trying to find exactly where I had read "toast" in "Les Trois Mousquetaires". I read and reread the part where I thought it was, parts before, and parts after. I couldn't find it. Finally I downloaded a PDF file of "Les Trois Mousquetaires" and searched the file for "toast". That's how I know "toast" appeared three times. The other two occurrences I haven't gotten to yet.

So, now I knew that "toast" was first used in "Les Trois Mousquetaires" in the section where d'Artagnan went to find Porthos. How many times did I reread that section without seeing "toast"? D'Artagnan is softening up the inn-keeper by sharing a bottle and drinking to the prosperity of the inn. I can't translate very well d'Artagnan's reply to the innkeeper's thanks, but it is something like "there is more than you think "dans mon toast".

Knowing what the text surrounding "toast" was, I was able to quickly find it in my paperback copy. It was on the left of the page. I think my scan was down the center and to the right! The tricks our minds play.

If you believe in unfettered free markets…

I have some tulip bulbs for you.

If you believe in unfettered free markets, I have some mortgages to sell you. Trust me, they are all low risk.

If you believe in unfettered free markets, I plan to buy the lot next to your house and start a junk yard.

If you believe in unfettered free markets, I plan to buy the lot on the other side of your house and start raising pigs.

You say I can't do these. I can if I pay your neighbors enough for their houses and don't tell them my intent.

You say there are laws against my doing these things in residential neighborhoods. I thought you were for unfettered free markets. These laws are fetters on the free markets. Besides, if I make enough contributions to candidates that see things my way, then they'll change the laws in my favor.

Preposterous, you say. Not at all. It's happening with big corporations selling risky investments without giving you complete information (complete information being a requirement for a free market), putting up unsightly commercial buildings in residential neighborhoods, polluting our air and water, and making exorbitant contributions to candidates, parties, and "right"-minded think tanks.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Are our two "major" parties misnamed?

From what I see, the Republicans no longer believe in governing a republic, not in the sense that the writers of the Constitution envisioned. The Democrats don't get overwhelming support from people who call themselves Democrats; these people don't show up at elections. You can't have a democracy without the demos (Greek for people).

Maybe we should call them the Gung Ho Corporate Party and the Lukewarm Corporate Party. And maybe we should call the Tea Party the Kool-Aid Party because of the poison they are drinking given to them by the Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and other non-elected organizations sponsored by corporate interests.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

So-called "Democrats" handed another U.S. House seat to the Republicans

Republican Bob Turner had "an upset win" over Democrat David I. Weprin in the Ninth Congressional District of New York. Many who call themselves Democrats just didn't show up! According to the Associated Press it was a "light-turnout election". I haven't seen any exact figures yet, but I would guess that it was way less than fifty percent. Yet here are three times as many registered Democrats as registered Republicans. Supposedly, many Democrats were dissatisfied with President Obama and didn't vote. Don't these people realize that a no-show is really a vote for the opposition?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"That used to be us, how America fell behind in the world"

This is a title of a new book by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum.  I think I'll buy it when my book budget shows a surplus.

You can read an excerpt at http://www.npr.org/books/titles/140211680/that-used-to-be-us-how-america-fell-behind-in-the-world-it-invented-and-how-we-c?tab=excerpt#excerpt.  Our infra-structure is falling apart while China's is building up at great efficiency.

You can listen to an interview with Thomas Friedman at http://www.npr.org/2011/09/06/140214150/thomas-friedman-on-how-america-fell-behind.

All three copies in the Duluth MN Public Library are out.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Women's role in Libyan War bigger than you thought

See Libya's "War-Tested Women Hope to Keep New Power", Ann Barnard, New York Times, 2011-09-12.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Is this why large corporations don't like Federal healthcare?

How many employees of large companies would like to move to smaller companies or start their own businesses?  How many don't because they don't want to lose their "benefits", that is, health care insurance?

What happens if more employees feel free to start their own companies.  Would they be competitors of their former employers, either directly or indirectly?  If indirectly, would that be doing something that outdates what their former employers did?

Maybe large corporations don't like Federal healthcare because of perceived tax costs or because of increased power of the Federal government, power which would compete with or restrict their ability to do damn well what they please.

In other words, anything that reduces corporate power reduces the power of the oligarchy, the oligarchy that Publius warned about in Federalist No. 57 (see "When did we go wrong").


When did we go wrong?

"THE THIRD charge against the House of Representatives is, that it will be taken from that class of citizens which will have least sympathy with the mass of the people, and be most likely to aim at an ambitious sacrifice of the many to the aggrandizement of the few. Of all the objections which have been framed against the federal Constitution, this is perhaps the most extraordinary.  Whilst the objection itself is levelled against a pretended oligarchy, the principle of it strikes at the very root of republican government. The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust."

- Alexander Hamilton or James Madison, Federalist No. 57, "The Alleged Tendency of the New Plan to Elevate the Few at the Expense of the Many Considered in Connection with Representation", New York Packet, 1788-02-19

"Public good" or "common good" appear 26 times in the Federalist Papers.  "Business" appears 26 times but almost always in the context of the business of government.  "Corporation" appears seven times, but only twice in the sense of business.  One is that the King of England has authority to establish corporations but the President of the United States does not.  The other is how laws have not become perfect, including the law of corporations.

Now we have for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and the most virtue to pursue, the private good of corporations.

So much for following the intent of the "Founding Fathers".

Paraphrase of the day – error

Chuck Frederick, the opinion page editor of the Duluth News Tribune, and I have been exchanging email with the ever-changing text of a Local View I submitted.  I hope my latest email is the final version.  I finished that message with:

"Who knows what [error] lurks in the [arts] of men.  The Shadow knows."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What 9/11 should have taught ALL of us

First, before the ├╝ber patriots criticize me, let me question Al Qaeda.

What do you hope to gain?  You are like flies or mosquitos in a house.  You annoy many people, but many of you will get swatted without gaining anything meaningful.  Sure you may bite a few people, but the people go on about their business.  You think you speak for all Islam, but you speak for all Islam as much as the Ku Klux Klan or the Crusaders speak for all Christianity.

If you are so sure that you have Allah on your side, why do you say "Inshallah" ("God willing")?  If you have doubt that Allah wants you to succeed, how can you be sure you are doing Allah's will in the first place?  And if hundreds and thousands of imams and ayatollahs write volumes of commentary, often disputing each other, how can you be so certain?

If you're so interested in protecting Islam and Muslims, why do you kill those who disagree with you and why do you instigate others to blindly strike back at Muslim countries?  You gain nothing but chaos, but doesn't your Allah want order and harmony?

Second, many of those who are justifiably disturbed by the attacks of 9/11 have reacted like somebody who is paranoid about flies in the house; they are willing to knock over furniture and break windows to kill a single fly.  These people have reacted so wildly that they are ready to invade countries that have no connection with Al Qaeda or think that invading the base of "The Base" will eliminate it.  Ten years later they have not succeeded in eliminating the threat; quite the contrary, they have increased the number of terrorist wannabes to levels where the costs are budget-breaking.

In invading other countries, these fly-swatters didn't learn from history.  They sent into foreign countries armies that were not wanted, who didn't speak the language, and who didn't understand the culture.  Have they forgotten their own history?  Our predecessors disliked being governed by a country thousands of miles away, and that country shared our language and culture.  Of course, that country made matters worse by sending mercenaries who didn't speak our language.  Have they forgotten the French Resistance?  At least many of the Germans spoke French.  But as soon as the Germans killed or captured a leader of the Resistance, somebody took his or her place.

The intolerant among us are playing right into Al Qaeda's hands.  By treating all Muslims as Al Qaeda they are indirectly recruiting more Al Qaeda sympathizers.  Fortunately, like most Christians are not interested in going on a Crusade, most Muslims are not interested in going on an Al Qaeda-style jihad.

Many opportunities have been lost in neutralizing or marginalizing the likes of Al Qaeda.  What if the State Department had one-tenth the military budget to train people in languages, cultures, and negotiation?  Wouldn't this undercut support for Al Qaeda more than military action that "proves" Al Qaeda "right" in its criticism and rhetoric?

Mourn the Christians, Jews, Muslims, and non-believers who were in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2011, but also give serious thought to how we can bring about a world where nobody resorts to violence to bring about their wishes.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Quote of the day - labor and capital

‎"Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

- Abraham Lincoln, annual message to Congress, Dec. 3, 1861

Is disaster relief tax and spend?

I've been wondering when one of the Republican governors who berates the size of the Federal government and decries the "tax and spend" policies of the Democrats, was going to call for Federal disaster relief.  Gov. Rick Perry of Texas may not be the first, but he is the first that I read about.  See "Texas Gov. Rick Perry Cut Fire Department Funding by 75%".

No wonder he can claim low taxes, but he gets high fire danger for it.  He may have decried "taxes and spend" but now he's calling on the Federal government to "spend for Texas".

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Update: Animals: You bought it, you keep it

I called Animal Allies about my blog entry "Animals: You bought it, you keep it" and was referred to Wildwoods Rehabilitation.  I sent an email to the organization with a reference to my blog entry.

Peggy Farr read it and thought that the rabbit was a snowshoe rabbit with its summer coat.  She said it probably didn't run away because it was sick.  She also wrote: "What you say about people releasing pets onto the wild is unfortunately too true and too common--we've seen rabbits, box turtles, snakes, ferrets, parakeets, cockatiels, and larger parrots, as well as many domestic ducks (rouens), a type that look like mallards but aren't, come to us in desperate condition.  Their stories are heart-breaking."

Socialized or corporatized medicine, which would you prefer?

Serendipity strikes again!  I was seeking information about Neuberger Berman High Yield Securities (NHS) and stumbled across a reference to Britain's National Health Service (NHS).  Following that reference I found "An Eye Opening Adventure in Socialized Medicine" by Steve Silberman, an investigative reporter for Wired Magazine and others.

He awoke one night in London with eyes full of gunk.  He recounts his interactions with his insurer (via a transatlantic one dollar per minute phone call) and with NHS, Britain's National Health Service.  I recommend reading the full article.

I will add that there is an interesting comment on when and for whom health care is better - in Britain or the U.S.  Hint: one size does not fit all.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Ron Paul for President? Listen carefully

We heard an interview yesterday on NPR with Ron Paul, a libertarian candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination.  He sounded very sincere and reasonable and made some important points contrary to current political "wisdom".  But then I realized his underlying assumption, which makes him a bad choice for governing a complex nation.

He assumes that this country was founded to promote individual liberty.  I think those who wrote the Constitution would disagree.  Their idea was to have the liberty to govern ourselves rather than be governed by a foreign power.  Personal liberties were an afterthought.  Even then, many of these signers went on to curtail "personal liberties".  Like George Washington leading the troops against a tax rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion.  Like the "Alien and Sedition Act" signed by John Adams.

Quote of the day – regulators and risk

"Isn't there something you can do to order us not to take all of these risks?"
- Chuck Prince, CEO of Citigroup, at a dinner of financial executives with Hank Paulson, Treasury Secretary, June 2007, quoted in "All the Devils Are Here", p. 344, Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera

If CEOs are asking for government intervention when corporations are getting over their head, why are so many Republicans complaining about excessive government regulation?

Hard-earned dollars or cushy union jobs, make up your mind

Many politicians, Democrat, Republican, and others, laud the hard-earned dollars of workers and executives without regard to what they actually do.  Many Republicans and conservative commentators imply that all union workers are over-paid.  Excuse me, if all workers have hard-earned dollars, how can any be overpaid?

The latest claim of inefficient union workers is "Unions promote lower performance" by Nathan Jamail published in the Duluth News Tribune, 2011-09-04.  Among his claims is that unions are responsible for the outsourcing of jobs.  He hasn't read the About window for Adobe Photoshop Elements.  All the programmers have Indian names.  I didn't know that Adobe had union programmers.  If they don't have union programmers, then why are they outsourcing programming in such a large scale to India?

He didn't mention all the overpaid financial wizards who got six figure bonuses for helping defraud widows on refinancing their homes.  Nor did he mention the "unproductive" union firefighter who rescued a widow from her burning home.

If you want a kinder view of unions, read Phil Nast's "Denying their [unions] benefit denies history".  I am a bit biased on this, Phil is a friend.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Animals: You bought it, you keep it

Last weekend I saw a brown rabbit at the side of a path.  It didn't move as I approached.  I bent down and took this picture.


As I stood up, it bounded away.

Was it "hiding" in plain sight?  Was it tame and unafraid?

Given that the rabbit was brown rather than grey, a friend suggested that it was a descendant of a pet rabbit released in the wild.  Considering its size, I would say it was born this spring.  But, because it didn't run away as I approached, like the wild ones in our Duluth yard, I would say it had been owned by people who had held it and petted it.

If you buy an "easter bunny", please keep it and care for it for its lifetime.  You aren't doing it any favors by releasing it in the countryside somewhere.  This week I saw its corpse lying by the side of the path a few hundred feet from where I had seen it before.  I didn't take a picture and I won't write a description of what I saw.

See an update at http://magree.blogspot.com/2011/09/update-animals-you-bought-it-you-keep.html.