Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Corporations are inefficient too

Many so-called conservatives claim that governments are inefficient and corporations are efficient.  There is overwhelming evidence that both forms can be efficient and both forms can be inefficient.

As a prime example of how corporations can be life-threatening see “When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers”, New York Times, 2016-06-25, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/26/business/dealbook/when-you-dial-911-and-wall-street-answers.html.

Some corporations are run for the long term; some are run for the short term.  And both can make big mistakes.

Many of us love and rely on our Apple products.  But Apple can screw up big time and take a long time to correct the problem.  My wife’s iPhone 5C stopped charging and we still have six payments left.  When I checked Apple Support for “iPhone not charging", there were 28,136 results!

Two solutions were offered.  One was to hold the home button and the sleep button at the same time.  This did not work for any of the posters.  The other was to take the phone to an Apple Store.  For us, that is a two-and-a-half hour drive away.

We could mail it back to Consumer Cellular.  We do have AppleCare+ on the phone, but I don’t know how long that is good for.  We don’t know if we will have a new phone in a couple of days or a couple of weeks.

Considering how much smart phones become of people’s live, it is not very efficient or customer-friendly that Apple has not found a permanent solution yet.

But a non-functioning phone is generally a nuisance, not life threatening.  Think of the fatal failures of automobiles.  Takata is constantly in the news because of faulty air bags.  On a less life-threatening level, Volkswagen has been called to task because its emissions are far higher than they claimed.

Also think of all the food recalls there have been over the last few months.  Some are caught by the company and consumers are warned.  Others have to be warned by governments.

Ironically, those who use Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” as a justification for “free enterprise” ignore his “This order of men is not to be trusted…”  This order of men is those who live by profit.

The “bottom line” is really what are the ethics and dedication of the people in government or corporations.  Angels and devils are in both.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Be careful of the "domino assumption" of conquest

The domino "theory" touted so much as justification for the invasion of Vietnam has a fatal flaw .

It assumes dominos stood on end.  However the game of dominos is played with the pieces laying flat.  And when a player places a double there are three possible moves for the other player at that place.

Think Sarajevo 1914.  An assassination of two people brought about so many deaths completely unrelated to that event.

Now we have State Dept. analysts calling for more U.S. involvement in Syria.  I assume that Russia and Iran will react negatively.  I am certain that there will be more lone wolf attacks in the U.S. against the "war on Islam”.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Elections are not won!

They are given away!

Today’s Star Tribune had a good example of this in an article about the 3rd Congressional District of Minnesota  It was a chart in the printed edition showing voting results for the last 4 biennial elections.  it is a tally of percentage votes for president, Congress, statehouse, and governor.  The percentage of Democratic votes is up in Presidential election years and down in off-years.

What would the elections been like if all those stay-away Democrats had shown up?  They certainly helped Republicans win.

The only way
To throw your vote away
Is to stay away.

If you don’t show up because you don’t like Hilary Clinton, you might help elect Donald Trump.  Just like the stay-aways in Florida helped elect George Bush in 2000.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Casting the first stone

Apropos "Quran and sex slaves", http://magree.blogspot.com/2016/06/quran-and-sex-slaves.html

Given that Muslims call Christians and Jews people of the Book. shouldn’t Muslims also heed the the words of Jesus?  Especially when it comes to punishing others: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” - John: 8:7

This would apply equally to ISIS punishing others for their beliefs and punishing ISIS for its adultery.

Too bad ISIS and its ilk won’t “go and sin no more”.

Quran and sex slaves

Isn’t it adultery when ISIS, Boko Haram, and others take sex slaves?  I think they must have cut passages dealing with adultery out of their Qurans.  But that is the way of "true believers" of any kind: their way is the only way, even if their texts say otherwise.

“The adulteress and the adulterer-whip each one of them a hundred lashes, and let no pity towards them overcome you regarding God's Law, if you believe in God and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their punishment.”  Quran: 24:2 (The Light: an-Nur)

Excerpt From: Talal Itani. “Quran In English. Modern English Translation. Clear and Easy to Understand.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/lvcp2.l

Also see "ISIS Committed Genocide Against Yazidis in Syria and Iraq, Panel Says"

Quote of the day: an assault on assault

“[T]here is still no reason for a citizen to own an assault rifle unless he is planning an assault.”

“Omar Mateen, American Monster”, Charles M. Blow, New York Times, 2016-06-16, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/opinion/omar-mateen-american-monster.html

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Shouting is not free speech

It seems more and more demonstrators for whatever cause claim they are exercising their free speech rights.  Are they exercising free speech or freedom to disrupt?

Is it “free speech” to shout down a speaker?  By doing so, isn’t a shouter impinging on the speakers right of free speech?  Is it free speech to demonstrate outside a building in such large numbers that others can’t exercise their freedom to come and go as they please.

Some supporters of Bernie Sanders threaten to disrupt the Democratic National Convention.  As far as I know, Sanders has not yet disavowed these supporters.

Similarly, Trump supporters have disrupted other meetings.  Or anti-Trump supporters have tried to disrupt his meetings.

Consider that vocal opposition can arouse to unknown actions those you oppose.

Here is a better protest.  Silence.  Get a seat or a place to stand at a meeting of a politician you disagree with.  Then do nothing.  Don’t applaud.  Don’t boo.  Don’t cheer.  However, do stand for the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner or the Pledge of Allegiance.  You don’t want to be called unpatriotic.  You don’t have to sing or recite.  Lots of supporters do likewise.

You may be alone, but you are not yourself supporting or disrupting the speaker.  If you can get a couple dozen friends to join you, you have multiplied the silence.  If your action catches on, it could happen that a politician encounters a very quiet audience.  Nothing can be more disconcerting to a politician than silence.

See also "Free opinion vs. free speech",

Shall we expel Roman Catholics?

Shall we expel Roman Catholics?  If we go by Donald Trump’s logic, if someone from a particular group commits a crime, terrorism or otherwise, then all members of that group are guilty of the same crime.

Timothy McVeigh was one of the bombers of the Oklahoma City Federal Building; an attack that killed over 160 people.  He grew up as a Catholic.  Does that mean all Catholics could commit similar crimes?

Maybe we should expel all Southern Baptists.  After all, most of the Ku Klux Klan were upstanding members of their community and church by day, but when night came, they donned white sheets and hoods and terrorized black people for crimes real and imagined.

But how many Southern Baptists didn’t like the Ku Klux Klan and thought they were unchristian and dangerous?  Why didn’t they speak out?  Because they were afraid of retribution by the Klan?

Critics of Islam say that all Muslims should speak out against terrorism committed in the name of Islam.  I think many of these critics aren’t really listening to those who speak out.

How many of us speak out against all the injustices we know that exist around us?  Very few of us.  We have jobs and any number of activities that we would rather do than speak out.

“Don’t complain about the speck in your brother’s eye when you can’t see the beam in your own."

Friday, June 03, 2016

What are they teaching you in school?

The above question was often posed to me by adults in the family when they were annoyed with me for some reason or another, often when I disagreed with them on something.

Now, over 70 years later, I have the answer.

To think for myself!

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Lift yourself by your bootstraps?

How do you lift yourself by your bootstraps when somebody else has cut your bootstraps off?

Inspired by Nicholas Kristoff, "Too Small to Fail", New York Times, 2016-06-02, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/02/opinion/building-childrens-brains.html.

He mentioned a study in which one-fifth of the children in West Virginia are born with alcohol or drugs in their system.

Or put another way, how can you win a race barefoot against those who have the latest high-tech shoes?  Sure, some Kenyans practice barefoot and win a lot of long distance races, but they have lots of opportunity to practice.  And they have lots of role models. How much practice in study can a child get in a house without books where the TV is on constantly?