Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ups and Downs

Congratulations by my Son

He passed his black belt training last night (Friday 6/26) and is now a first Dan. He did well in the testing.

Governor Scandals

Scandal hit all sides of the aisle in North and South Carolina:

In NC, our past Governor's associated may have pulled some strings to create a high paying state education job for the Governor's wife. There were other things going on as well with respect to foreign travel. Messy.

In SC, I hope the Governor carried on an affair and eventually ran off leaving the state without leadership for some days. This strikes me as worse than Clinton, who lied about an affair, but didn't abandon his governmental responibilities and the GOP impeached. They guy should resign (like Clinton should have) and spare his state. Both guys seem to have equal sense of honor.

Celebrity Deaths

Michael Jackson died under expectedly sad circumstances. I wasn't much of a fan of anything post-Motown. His life seemed somewhat tragic, but his life was his responsibility, so it is tough to offer up much on it.

Farrah Fawcett died of cancer after a good fight.

Ed McMahon died at 86 after having had the opportunity to do lots of fun stuff. Lucky guy.

Iran's Leaders Now Seek Execution for Dissenters

Iran's leaders suck. If "kill'em all and led God sort'em out" doesn't come to mind with the latest round of crap from Iran's clerics, it should. These guys make Dick Cheney appear as a sympathetic leader. Of course, let's face it, your society issued in a theocracy that gives it leaders ultimate power to decide who is a lawbreaker and then condones upon those leaders the ability to determine who should be executed for breaking their laws. You're living in something worse than a dictatorship - which may have many of the same attributes, but doesn't claim that your execution is the will of God.

It is going to take a lot of deaths and dying in Iran before government gets better.

Don't Write Long Posts

I worked and worked on a long post about Obama's health plan mess --- but never could get it done, hence, no posts.

Back to atomized thoughts.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Return to the Good Old USA

Home Scene

We finally returned at last from 10 days of power touring.

Things went pretty well, but Treasure of the Sierra Madre came to mind as everyone got more and more tense.

The Good:

  • The UK really is more expensive that Disney World, so I can feel better about Disney if we ever return.
  • Atlas Shrugged is still going great guns half way through the book.
  • Things at work were in pretty good shape when I returned.I think the trip will be a good memory and exposure for the kids.
  • Next year, we can go to the beach again.
The Bad:
  • The UK really is more expensive that Disney World, so I regret the cost of the trip.
  • I have some bad sinus infection or cold that is still going on right now.
I let my 9 year old control the digital camera and she took >500 photos. I'm guessing 40 to 50 are worth printing out. Thankfully it uses a rechargeable battery, so there has been no real additional cost to me yet.

World Scene

Iran is still having fits with internal dissent. Evidence of vote rigging continues to accumulate. Deaths, water cannons, home invasions: nothing like a hard crack down to demonstrate that a theocracy serves the will of the people.

China wants Google to only return Chinese sites if the request is made from within China: nothing like the fear of knowledge to show your state is about controlling the people, not serving the people.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bloggless trip

Been traveling in the UK with the family. We're not getting along that well and it violates the 5-day trip rule we should follow. Various bad things have happened, though we have seen some interesting stuff and had decent weather most of the time.

Meanwhile, Iran is having some quality times: possibly relecting one of the world's biggest assholes. Fortunately, we're given hope for a saner Iran with enough people making a scene that may be the next set of elections will see some real change. Of course, that is "real change" given the only people that can run have to be approved by the real holders of power, the Muslim clerics. E.g. separation of church of state have no meaning in Iran. Complain as I might about the Right, we live in a democracy.

Hope all is well.

I'll return next week.

Super G

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Right Killed Again - Getting Ready for More

Are you ready for the Civil War?

Last week the Right wing paranoid talking machine sent a gunman into the Holocaust museum.

We'll see a decent chance someone will manage to take out Obama at some point.

Read this (what should be chilling) column by Frank Rich. The Right didn't express outrage at the murder of an MD because they welcome the violence turned against those that "brought it upon themselves" for going against their wishes. Now, of course, Obama isn't really a citizen and is the first "Muslim" President.

Iran possibly re-elected Ahmadinejad, but the extreme nature of the voting results makes it seem likely significant voter fraud was involved. If not, then we know that Iran is after the bomb and we can expect it to pursue a more destructive policy line in the future. Sad.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Travel reviews

Completed a very expensive day in London - but most days here are probably like that.

We saw Wicked at the Apollo - Victoria theater. The show was great. Fortunately I didn't know any of the plot, so it was all of a surprise.

Kids behaved pretty well. I had to carry my 9 year old on my shoulders a bit tonigh --- she's way too big on that. No rain yet and a moderate amount of sun.

Hope to offer more, but wishing the best to all right now.

Super G

Friday, June 12, 2009

London Callling

Won't post a rant right now - though one is due of course.

I am in London with the whole family. It took many hours of travel and about 8 hours in weather delays on Thursday before we got on a 10:10 PM flight from Newark to Heathrow. We arrived without issue after that and spent about 4 hours walking around the sights close to our hotel.

It took about 5 hours to get onto a plane on the runway about 15 miles from my house. Only the end up tramped in the heat for an hour.

Anyway. We survived and we're here - and no swine flu.

I read about 150 pages of Atlas Shrugged - a pretty start for me. At least it is no Moby Dick and reads really quickly.

- Super G

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Big old pile of Sh*t

For a long time GM and Chrysler were advertisers on Rush Limbaugh's radio program. Now he is advocating you not buy GM cars in order to keep Obama's plans from succeeding. How many people have to be put out of work because the leaders Rush supported allowed the financial system to spin out of control? How many billions did we pour into the banking system to keep banks from failing - not because they deserved it but because they were "too big to fail."

Now apparently Rush and some other rightie talk show hosts are echoing a call to boycott GM products.

Where were they when Bush ran up the debt in order to give out tax breaks and fund an optional war in Iraq? Forget the fact that Bush's policies were already throwing us into deficits before the war. It was just bad policy.

They are right there: the Right. The giant ditto head machine. Openly saying they hope Obama fails and willing to take down as many American industries as it takes - and leave as many Americans unemployed as it takes.

While I never knew anyone like this, I think there were lefties that wanted things to go less than perfectly in Iraq because it was Bush's war. I find that kind of attitude disgusting. The human cost to our soldiers and the people in Iraq is not the kind of thing any decent person should trifle with just to wish ill upon a President they don't like.

However, when people become unemployed, some of them committ suicide, some of them turn to crime, some get ill and can't afford health care they need, some of them end up homeless, and some lose everything. What kind of sick group of people would wish that human cost upon the American people just because they don't like the President.

Argue the merits of policy all you want. Prove you're more of a defict hawk than I am. But if you listen to the piles of excrement that are encouraging you to boycott GM so Obama fails, you need to spend some time taking a hard look at yourself. You might find yourself staring at another sick pile of crap.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Slippery Bank Crap You Should Think About

Banks, it turns out, are dying to pay back that government money if keeping interferes with executive compensation (read that massive payouts to the top insiders). But this little post isn't about that insidious greed, it is about another quick trick the credit card companies are pulling.

I recently went on a business trip and had my business card turned down. Turns out the credit card company had cancelled all of their business cards and I had been notified by mail (only I did actually get notified for another 5 days). The story was that they did not have enough capital to cover that particular credit card line and they had cancelled all cards in that line.

OK .... suppose you buy the line that my card cap of like $25k is enough to put a major bank at risk ... so you agree that their dire straights means they can't offer credit ... would you expect to see them offer me a new credit line and card within days of cancelling the old one?

What they are really doing is trying to re-establish more profitable terms with existing customers by (without warning) cancelling one deal in order to offer another.

Needless to say, we won't be getting another credit card set from that bank.

If you haven't already been hit - and I know multiple individuals who had credit cards cut their limits signficantly - keep an eye out for this new sleezy business operation. Shop for different credit card companies and read the fine print.

After all, they need to pay back that government pronto, because Daddy CEO needs another $25M bonus.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Socialism, Single-Payers, and Big Business

(I'm about to start reading Atlas Shrugged, so I have not yet had that influence yet)

One thing I have come to understand better in the last few years is that not everyone can run a business. I've also learned that few people are good managers and the education system does poorly at preparing and differentiating the less capable.

Just as the Right warns, we are headed towards a deeper level of socialism and it will move the bar over towards few supporting more. A one-payer insurance system will penalize me and my employees. A true one payer system would possibly put me out of business or at least drastically curtail my future likelihood – but the previous statement is only about the impact of a single payer system. Preventative medicine sometimes saves a lot of money and suffering (like vaccines), but other preventative medicine doesn't necessarily save money (for instance smokers die off earlier and they aren't necessarily more expensive than non-smokers). One thing that must be true is that a single-payer, government controlled medical care system will ration access to medical treatments. You'll benefit if you aren't getting care under the current system and you'll lose some of your medical choices if you currently can afford better coverage.

I have spoken to a few MDs recently who are unexcited about a single payer system. One of them had developed cancer and will have to be treated for the rest of this life with a moderately expensive chemotherapy. While eligible for Medicare, he told the government to forget it, because he couldn't use it to get care from the people he wanted. In short, Medicare isn't some grand solution, it causes offices to operate on tight margins or augment through standard insurance to offset the costs.

If the Left wants to create a single-payer system and force everyone to participate, I suggest that they do it while leaving open private hospital systems and insurance. This must operate on a for profit - private insurance - system.

The Left has, however, got it right on executive compensation. No leader is worth $100 million dollars in a year. If he has helped them make $1G, then someone else could have too. The top levels of business is an inside game. One guys on the boards are often CEOs and it works in a circle. As a single employee or single investor, you are not getting the same deals as the Venture Capitalists who are in and out well before a company is public. This isn't about transparency, it is about who has the money and opportunity to make real money. You are a rube if you think $20
million dollar plus bonuses are good for business, good for America, and good for you.

Back to Altas Shrugged and John Galt. It seems an appropriate read right now with Obama's rescue. If only Ayn Rand had perhaps seen a corrupt system run into the ground chasing paper profits – but producing nothing – John Galt may have had a somewhat different speech.

What would be good is to make the path easier for small business (company with less than 500 or 1000 employees).

I can tell you that executive compensation from a small business doesn't have very much to do with the executive compensation at AIG … which is good really. But turning a small business into a huge business given the advantages that big business has – is like becoming governor on a 3rd party ticket: it can be done, but the system is against you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tough Times for Other People

This morning on the television there was a woman who was in the midst of bad times. Her husband had just died the previous year, she was working two jobs, she had just moved to the area, and was called from work by her son. When she arrived home a fire in the townhouses had spread to her roof and the firemen had poured fire into the place. In it was the bed she had just gotten the previous day, but never slept in.

Surely she must feel like the world is not her friend.

A plane broke apart over the Atlantic in a massive thunderstom leaving no survivors.

Unemployment jumped to over 10% in NC earlier, but seems to be stabilizing.

I recently talked to the parent of a girl that had failed to make the soccer team she really wanted to be on last year, but was trying again this year. I don't know if she made it.

Here is a post on the Another Monkey blog with links to several articles about the rape of children.

Take a little bit of time today or tomorrow to be thankful for the things you have and remember those who have been damaged by things beyond their control.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Late Night Revelry

Well - not exactly a party. I've been getting some extra work in trying to complete some stuff before my family's trip to England and Scotland.

I'm getting excited, but I've still got 2 or 3 big things to complete by COB (close of business) on Friday. The pressure never really seems to let up, but employed remains better than unemployed.

Big news of the day was the wait for Obama's big speech in Egypt. We'll see. So far, Obama's out reach to the Muslim world has been useful and good. There is a bit more to give before domestic outcry will bring him back. Though, a theocracy can never be a democracy, by definition, so some countries can only go so far.

I will get - though it may take some time - to taking the Obama administration to task on the budget and spending. Not tonight though.

Here's hoping for an easier tomorrow (and weekend) - I've worked all but 1 of the last 19 days at least 6 hours. Ugggg.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hitting the Road

I'm drove from NC to DC and back to NC (4 hours + 4.5 hours) and went to a meeting in the span of 24 hours. E.g. I left at 5PM on day and got back at 4:20 PM the next day.

The meeting went well. A meeting with government officials.

I am happy to be back.

If anyone wanders back to this blog - I welcome you - and thank you for taking the time.

I'll probably be mostly political / opinion based these days. My son was just saying there wasn't much going on, but, of course, there are tons of things going on. Just not things he is interested in.

I'm looking forward to ranting a bit about the deficit, torture, shameless behavior, defects of the right and left, etc. Mostly you got the point is you saw "rant".

As I approach 50, I see myself as crankier.

It has been a year+ since I had the blog active AND I let go as well. Lots of things have happened: crazy work, firings, hirings, children's successes, difficult family situations, etc.

I'll try to relate a few of those things as well.

I'm off to bed now, it is 10:00 PM and I have to get up at 5:30. All of that driving has my eyes weary.

Best, Super G

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Right Kills Again

Read enough Right-Wing blogs and you'll see that they every so often bring up the idea that there will be a civil war. That the Right is so persecuted they'll take up arms or Texas will secede from the union. And ever so often, someone on the Right listens to the talking heads and murders someone or blows up a building with children in it. So, whether you believe it or not, the Right is already prosecuting a violent war against the Left - and those that disagree with them.

Sadly, the Right then idolizes these murderers and rationalizes their behavior.

On Sunday, George Tiller was murdered in an act of domestic terrorism. This is one of the many shots in the civil war the Right has taken. It won't be the last.

I highly suggest that you read The Orcinus blog, an excellent dialogue on hate speak and the violence that it spawns.

Do not be fooled by the bloviating of the religious Right on this topic. They advocate murder and, with the likes of Bill O'Reilly, they are partners in crime. They are not righteous, but bullies going from threatening words to physical intimidation and they violence.

Rather than respect they law, the Right reserves for itself the ability to abandon the law to include torture, bombings, and the gunning down of someone never found guilty under the law.

Shall we gun down Dick Cheney for torture and starting a war that resulted in the deaths of 10,000s or perhaps 100,000s? Better we find a truth committee or we put him behind bars. Better we choose the law and civilization above the chaos the Right seeks to impose on us with a civil war --- if we don't bow to their demands (usually accompanied by a long whine).

Laughably, the Right claims the Left wants to bring down society .... when it is the Right that threatens civil war and carries out terrorist acts against Americans.