Monday, July 30, 2007

Idol Auditions = Loser Lineup

Might as well be the line for who can be the biggest loser. Just sayin'.

Bye, Bye Vick

Vick dogfighting co-defendant pleads guilty:
"A co-defendant in the federal dogfighting case against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pleaded guilty Monday morning."
I think Vick should have to fight three or four of those dogs to the death. That would be justice.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Ending for Champ

Likely 'bait dog' finds new home with Houston couple:
"Champ has a new home.

Amy and Steven Devadanam adopted the mixed breed so named by animal rescuers because he survived life as a likely 'bait dog' at a pit bull dogfighting operation."
We can now move on to prosecuting and convicting those involved in the dog fighting ring.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dumping TV

Interesting story on a guy who dumped his TV and got a life.

I find that when I watch a lot of TV, I am just not as optimistic about life and progress. I don't sleep as well or get any books read. I even fell less intelligent and intellectually sluggish.

Now that the TV seasons are over, I don't watch as much TV. Sure, at the end of the week, sometimes I sit down and watch a movie from the high definition channels. But I am more selective and won't watch something just to be watching it. If it sucks, I don't watch it. I play with the dogs or read a book instead.

The guy makes a good point about valuing your time. If you lament that you can't do X or can't do Y, figure out how much time you watch TV. Then figure out what is worth your valuable time and energy. Think about it!

Besides, I rarely remember the plot of a TV show whereas books are memorable. Dogs are memorable. Projects are memorable. You won't miss watching TV. You will miss your life in retrospect.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dogfighting a booming business

Dogfighting a booming business, experts say:
"An estimated 40,000 people in the United States are involved in professional dogfighting, an illegal blood sport with fight purses as high as $100,000.

The latest accusations against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and three other people highlight the problem. They are accused in an indictment that describes dogs being routinely executed if they didn't fight fiercely."
Like I said, these people are sickos. Perhaps we should use them as "bait" and have them fight the dogs to the death.

Prime borrowers catching subprime ills

Prime borrowers catching subprime ills - Jul. 25, 2007:
"The subprime mortgage meltdown has begun to spread to prime loans as even credit-worthy borrowers have started to fall behind on payments.

On Tuesday, Countrywide Financial (Charts, Fortune 500), the nation's largest mortgage lender, attributed a big drop in profits to a spike in delinquencies among prime borrowers of 'second-lien loans,' including home equity loans and home equity lines of credit"
I'll admit being wrong about the spread of sub-prime woes into other markets. However, I guess I could argue that these piggyback loans are another ill-advised load to people who cannot afford the home in the first place.

People really need degrees in finance these days to avoid being overextended. I guess the banks and investors took the risk and are paying the price.

Dog Fighting Victim

Champ gets second chance:
"Champ is in training.

He's training for a life in a home far different from the Liberty County compound where animal welfare officials rescued him in August. There, his life was likely as the 'bait' dog used in a massive pit bull breeding operation.

More than 300 dogs were discovered on the secluded property near Cleveland last summer when law enforcement officials responded to a fatal home invasion call. Some of the animals were puppies. Some were sick. Since then, all except Champ have either died or been euthanized."
Please, do not ever get me in contact with one of these dog fighting operations. I could not be held responsible for what I might do.

The people that fight dogs are some of the most reprehensible members of this society. They are not even human, they are subhuman. And yes, I am watching the case in Georgia very closely.

People, give this organization your business:

Champ is finishing a six-week obedience training program at Lone Star Pet Lodges of Missouri City. He's learning basic commands to make him more likely to fit into a family, such as sit, stay and come. He's also socializing with other dogs in case his new home has pets.

"He's a good dog. He's not aggressive," said Linda Fisher, assistant manager at Lone Star. "He's come a long way from his previous environment."

Clark thinks he would fit in well with a family who can offer him lots of exercise and work on his new obedience skills.

ConocoPhillips takes $4.5 billion hit in Venezuela

ConocoPhillips takes $4.5 billion hit in Venezuela:
"ConocoPhillips' second-quarter income plummeted because of its previously-announced writeoff of the $4.5 billion value of three oil projects taken over last month by Venezuela's government-run oil company, the Houston-based oil major said today."
I say seize a Citgo refinery and give it to ConocoPhillips.

Cat accurately predicts deaths

Cat accurately predicts deaths of nursing home residents:
"Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours.

His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live."
So get rid of the cat. Duh!

Where are all the Heros?

It is really disappointing to me personally to see this occur:
"Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen of Denmark has been removed from the race, a devastating blow to cycling's premier event which has been rocked by a series of doping scandals.

'Michael Rasmussen has been sent home for violating (the team's) internal rules,' Rabobank team spokesman Jacob Bergsma"
To me, I would rather see a loser who did not cheat than a winner who did.

When these guys cheat, get caught or even get away with it, it cheapens what legitimate riders accomplish. Shame on them.

"Trade, Not Aid"

TCS Daily - We Can't Live With or Without Aid, So What Now?:
"'Trade not aid' can only work if Africans are able to effectively produce and market things to trade."
Once again, that sounds about right. Good slogan that summarizes the issue quite nicely.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Tiny Brain No Problem for French Tax Official

This story just writes itself:
"Dr. Lionel Fuillet, who headed the team that treated the man, told the Agence France Presse agency that a huge cavity had built up filled with fluid, while a thin sheet of functioning brain tissue, the proverbial grey matter, 'was completely pushed back to the inner walls of the cranium.'

Tests showed that the man's IQ is 75 -- the average is 100 -- but he was not considered physically or mentally disabled. Fuillet said that his condition had not impared his development or his socialization. He is married with two children and works in the tax office -- which is perhaps not the most 'taxing' of jobs."

Your Starbucks fix is going to cost you more

Your Starbucks fix is going to cost you more:
"Starbucks Corp. said today it was raising prices for its coffee and other freshly made drinks in most of its U.S. stores by 9 cents this month, citing rising costs, including dairy products, energy and fuel."
I hardly ever drink Starbucks anyway. I did this weekend at the dog show and it tasted like crap. Four dollars worth of crap at that. Never again.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Record Failures at Oil Refineries

Record Failures at Oil Refineries Raise Gas Prices - New York Times:
"These mechanical breakdowns, which one analyst likened to an “invisible hurricane,” have created a bottleneck in domestic energy supplies, helping to push up gasoline prices 50 cents this year to well above $3 a gallon. A third of the country’s 150 refineries have reported disruptions to their operations since the beginning of the year, a record according to analysts.

There have been blazes at refineries in Louisiana, Texas, Indiana and California, some of them caused by lightning strikes. Plants have suffered power losses that disrupted operations; a midsize refinery in Kansas was flooded by torrential rains last month.

American refiners are running roughly 5 percent below their normal levels at this time of the year.

“You have a system that is taxed to the limit,” said Adam Robinson, an energy research analyst at Lehman Brothers. “This is what happens when spare capacity is eroded.”"
This is only half of the problem. The other half is that refining was such a low margin and unprofitable business during the late 80's until about 2001 that the money just was not there to provide the preventative and predictive maintenance necessary to protect aging assets. Believe it or not, cutting preventative maintenance may temporarily cut costs, but raises the long-term costs of operation and eventually causes reliability issues. It is like killing the golden goose or reaping what one sows. The NYTimes did not care about refinery margins or low industry profit margins then and demonizes the industry now for reliability issues. The two go hand in hand!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Venezuela's Command Economy

Venezuela's PDVSA Increases Command Economy:
"Petroleos de Venezuela, the state oil company that controls the biggest reserves in South America, may begin making shoes, building ships and farming soybeans as President Hugo Chavez widens the government's role in the economy."
The move towards full-blooded Communism continues in Venezuela. History knows the endpoint and it is not pretty.

Lawyers Eatting Each Other

Lawyers eating their own:
"A decision this week requiring Houston trial lawyer John O'Quinn to pay at least $35.7 million to former clients may be a harbinger of a legal trend — lawyer cannibalism.

'When I started suing other lawyers in 1981, no one else wanted to do it. But today, oh my God, everybody is competing for this business. They think it's a gold mine to sue other lawyers. The cannibalism metaphor really works here,' said Randy Johnston, a Dallas legal malpractice lawyer."
Gotta like that.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Get. Out. Of. The. F*cking. Way. (Rachel Lucas)

Get. Out. Of. The. F*cking. Way. (Rachel Lucas):
"Anyway. So I was at Target, minding my own business, which involved pushing my cart through designated cart-pushing/people-walking areas called 'aisles', and was repeatedly thwarted by what I like to call CCOA's: Clusterfuck-Causing Oblivious Assholes. You know who I'm talking about: those uncivilized animals who don't seem to grasp the fact that aisles are for MOVING. Not STANDING AND TALKING."
I don't have this problem at my neighborhood Target. This is a Wal*Mart thing and the reason why I no longer shop there. Target is the best place to grocery shop around me. Nice wide isles, plenty of open checkout lanes, friendly people, no customer loyalty cards and all the hot ladies shop there. I gladly pay whatever extra they charge.

Chinese reporter faked story

Chinese reporter faked story about cardboard-filled buns:
"A freelance reporter for a Beijing television station has been detained for faking a hidden camera report about street vendors who used chemical-soaked cardboard to fill meat buns, local media said."
Quick. Call Mary Mapes and Dan Rather. I understand they are looking for another freelance reporter.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bad News: Unemployment claims drop

More bad news on the economic front: Unemployment claims drop to lowest level in 2 months:
"The unemployment rate held steady at 4.5 percent in June as businesses added 132,000 workers. Economists have been surprised that the labor market has held up as well as it has in the face of a yearlong economic slowdown that pushed overall growth down to a lackluster 0.7 percent in the first three months of the year, the poorest showing in more than four years."
I guess that is good news, not bad. There just has to be bad news buried in there somewhere. Oh here it is:
Analysts said the slowing pace of layoffs provided further evidence that the labor market has so far been able to withstand the serious slump in housing.

The [slowing economy] could send unemployment edging up. The Federal Reserve, in an economic forecast presented to Congress this week by Chairman Ben Bernanke, forecast that the jobless rate could rise as high as 4.75 percent by the end of this year, still relatively low by historical standards.
Noticing a trend? Me too. All the booming economic news is tempered with a "yeah, but". Unemployment is low, but the housing market is in a serious slump and the economy is projected to slow causing a rise in unemployment.

Nope, no bias here. Move along!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Steffy: Pre-eminent Stock Market Psychologist

The Houston Chronicle's Loren Steffy is such a brilliant business columnist. Much stock market insight can be gained by reading his column. Please share in the brilliance:
Financial milestones don't, from the standpoint of market dynamics, mean a lot. They are, after all, just a number like any other.

But the markets have a psychology to them, too, a deeper human meaning. The Dow passing 14,000 means something because we want it to.

"The relevance of Dow 14,000 is psychological only," said George Ball, chairman of Houston-based Sanders Morris Harris. "To the bulls, it shows there's staying power in the marketplace. To the bears, it's simply a sign of the market becoming more overvalued."
Wow! Could we get any better analysis than that. on:
Technically, because the Dow didn't close above 14,000, the milestone hasn't yet been achieved, but that distinction is almost as irrelevant as the milestone itself.

A retreat just before Tuesday's close was spurred by renewed concern about higher gasoline prices, but the Dow still could set the record in the next few days.

What's behind this? We are.
Wow! And here I thought aliens from outer space were responsible for the stock market rise. But there is more....
"What's driving the market is the economy, and what's driving the economy is people have jobs and they're spending money," said Joseph Birkofer, a principal with Houston-based Legacy Asset Management.

In this, too, my son serves as a useful anecdote. He joined the work force last month and is suddenly awash in discretionary income.
Oh please, not another Loren Steffy "It is all about me and how I feel moment." But of course, Steffy just cannot help himself with the sappy analogy:
"Yet amid our caution, the Dow hits 14,000. It's just another numerical measure, a nice round integer, and yet a strangely comforting one. The child of Dow 3,000 is now a young man, and during his short lifetime, the market has surged 11,000 points.

It's been an uneven advance, plagued by setbacks, but it reminds us why we invest.

Because over time, our markets rise.

Dust off the Pulitzer Prize for Steffy. This is one for the scrap book (more like scrap heap). Steffy does not even know the history of the stock market which has long periods of declines and long periods of sideways actions. If my dad looked at the same analysis from my birth to age 16, he would have seen 13 years of a sideways performing Dow followed, finally, by 3 years of a bull market. So the market does not always rise. Hell, we spent four years just getting the Dow back to pre-crash highs. The Nasdaq is a little more than 1/2 of its pre-crash highs. The S&P 500 is barely over the same benchmark.

The truth of the matter is that Steffy does not have a clue. If you want to know what is going on, tune in over at Business Radio AM1320 from 4 pm to 6 pm. Daniel Frishberg has the most insightful guests on his radio show every single day. If you don't believe me, go to the podcast archives and check out shows going back several months, if not years.

They explain what is really going on in the global economy which is driving the stock market higher. I have been listening now for more than five years and they have been right the vast majority of the time including major market turning points. And when they have been wrong, they have no qualms about admitting it and changing strategy. That is the mark of financial professionals: more right than wrong and when wrong, change course quickly.

As to Steffy, well, he is so anti-business and anti-capitalist that I cannot understand why he continues to be the premier Houston Chronicle columnist.

Global Boom

The Corner on National Review Online:
"What we are witnessing here, in virtually every corner of the globe, is the success and the spread of unbridled free market capitalism. It is a dynamic worldwide march toward lower tax rates, deregulation, and, as market strategist Don Luskin put it on last night’s show, the “interconnectedness” of global economies through free trade, the free flow of capital, and the robust free exchange of information. "
This is just about right. I've been saying that a lot lately.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Brent's Blog: Toyota

Brent's Blog: June 2007:
"If you think this is far fetched—look at Toyota Motor Company, which is heavily subsidized by the Japanese government. Could that automaker have surpassed GM without such unfair advantages as cheap labor and cheap financing by Tokyo?"
Um...yes. They are the best manufacturing company in the world. Bar none. They have built plants all over the world, including the US, that have productivity 25 to 50% higher than US manufacturers. Hell, they even joint ventured with GM in California and taught GM the "Toyota Way". Of course, GM knew better and continued its way. See where that is going?
"Toyota’s exponential growth has come at the expense of declining quality in its products" Get a clue. Toyota's cars are far better than any US manufacturer. That is why they are number one and GM and Ford are headed to bankruptcy.

Brent Clanton - Spouting off about Atheists Again

Brent's Blog: Darwinian Logic Exposed:
"Atheists, by definition, deny the existence of God, or any other “higher power” in the universe. Personally, I think Atheists must be the most pathetic of all God’s creatures, because they have no hope."
Ah...yes. The Brent Clanton atheist bashing. Old hat for Brent, even back to the old Biz Radio 650 days.

I suggest before you bash atheist and talk about evolution, you had best understand what it is you talk about. Since your position on the subject is obviously voiced from misinformation and ignorance, my suggestion would be to read up on the subject and then come back to us. Should you wish for references beyond The Origin of Species, I would be glad to recommend lighter and more approachable reading on the subject.

I am an avid listener who won't stop listening just because you voice a frankly ignorant opinion of atheists and those that accept evolution as the most rational explanation of human origins. Not only is it the most rational and supported by the most evidence, it is the most wondrous concepts in all of science. It is far more ennobling to recognize the 2.3 billion years of biological evolution than the multitudes of creationist mythologies.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fair Taxes? Depends What You Mean by ‘Fair’

Fair Taxes? Depends What You Mean by ‘Fair’ - New York Times:
"Professor Nozick wrote: “We are not in the position of children who have been given portions of pie by someone who now makes last-minute adjustments to rectify careless cutting. There is no central distribution, no person or group entitled to control all the resources, jointly deciding how they are to be doled out. What each person gets, he gets from others who give to him in exchange for something, or as a gift. In a free society, diverse persons control different resources, and new holdings arise out of the voluntary exchanges and actions of persons.”"
Sounds about right.

Stossel on Gates

Bill Gates Needs an Econ Course:
"The problem is that Third World countries have overbearing, corrupt governments that are obstacles to private property and freedom. That's why the children's parents have no voice or power.

Poor people in the West and in East Asia lifted themselves out of poverty by relying largely on the unplanned market process. That process -- countless individuals pursuing their own interests by trading with one another -- is, as Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek put it, a 'discovery procedure.' Through the price system and free competition, it clarifies tradeoffs of scarce resources, generates the lowest-cost solutions, and provides feedback about success and failure through profit and loss.

This spontaneous order is far better at 'saving the lives of these children.'"
Fundamentals explained eloquently. We need more of this.

Plans for downtown Houston soccer stadium

Plans for downtown Houston soccer stadium still in the works:
"Luck said the Dynamo and the city are considering several potential sites, including several in downtown Houston to the east of Minute Maid Park and other sites elsewhere in the city. AEG would contribute an undisclosed amount toward construction of the proposed $70 million stadium."
You know what? Pay for your own stadium and leave the taxpayers out of it. We have paid for three new sports stadiums and don't need to pay for a fourth.

Ego-driven CEOs

Ego-driven CEOs more likely to take risks:
"Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, said he wasn't surprised by the study's findings, which emphasize 'the need for strong independent boards to monitor these individuals.'"
Strong checks and balances are the only way to keep these monster egos, well, in check.

State's storm plan relies on capitalism

State's storm plan does not rely on the government:
"Disaster plan teams state and retailers
Stores, instead of FEMA, counted on to get supplies to the scene early

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

When the next hurricane hits Texas, the Gulf region's recovery time may depend less on the Federal Emergency Management Agency and much more on Wal-Mart, H-E-B, Home Depot and other large retailers.

'If FEMA shows up, good,' said Jack Colley, chief of the Governor's Division of Emergency Management. ''But we're not waiting.'

Call it one more example of the lingering Hurricane Katrina effect, but Colley and his team are looking past the traditional go-through-FEMA-to-get-ice kind of emergency management model."
Just another thing that everyone has recognized the government is not that great at.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Easiest Way to Make Money in the Stock Market

Some analysts see panic buying in markets' rally:
"Some analysts say the advance had nothing to do with investors' expectations for earnings, calling it a case of panic buying, where investors buy simply so they won't be left on the sidelines. That led them to overlook the bad news of the week, and not worry about what the next few weeks might bring."
When the herd is running, that is the easiest time to make money in the stock market.

Note: Don't buy on the words of some blog or a newspaper story. Think for yourself.

An Epidemic of Meddling

Reason Magazine - An Epidemic of Meddling:
"What do these four “public health” problems—smoking, playing violent video games, overeating, and gambling—have in common? They’re all things that some people enjoy and other people condemn, attributing to them various bad effects. Sometimes these effects are medical, but they may also be psychological, behavioral, social, or financial. Calling the habits that supposedly lead to these consequences “public health” problems, “epidemics” that need to be controlled, equates choices with diseases, disguises moralizing as science, and casts meddling as medicine. It elevates a collectivist calculus of social welfare above the interests of individuals, who become subject to increasingly intrusive interventions aimed at making them as healthy as they can be, without regard to their own preferences."
Seems about right.

Friday, July 13, 2007

NOAA: Predicting the Unpredictable

NOAA: No clue, but still predict active storm season ahead:
"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted that La Ni�a — a cooling of Pacific Ocean waters that generally brings a more active Atlantic hurricane season — will be absent for the next two months.

But don't get rid of those disaster kits just yet.

The absence of La Ni�a doesn't necessarily herald a tame summer for tropical storms and hurricanes, said Dennis Feltgen, meteorologist and spokesman for NOAA in Miami.

'There are so many other ingredients that contribute to the development of tropical cyclones, it's not just the fact that we don't have a La Ni�a that comes into play here,' Feltgen said."
In other words, you don't have a clue.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Joel Makower: Green Hypocracy

H/T Instapundit & National Post

Why are these green promoters such carbon hypocrites?

Joel Makower: I'm A Hypocrite:
"My travels this week take me to Detroit and Chicago for meetings and speeches. By the time I return home to California on Wednesday night, I'll have taken -- if my accounting is correct -- 51 plane flights during the first half of 2007.

I'm not bragging, mind you. Indeed, it's rather embarrassing (and more than a little exhausting). But like many of my environmental professional brethren, air travel is far and away my biggest personal and professional footprint. And it's not likely to change any time soon.

This reality notwithstanding, the airline industry seems poised to finally confront its environmental impacts -- and mine."
In other words, "I'm a big polluter, but I am not going to change, but you must." Do-a-I-say-not-as-I-do-ism of the week.

I have a suggestion for Joel. Why don't you go into your bathroom and look into the mirror and confront your own environmental impact.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Graffiti gets ridiculous

I am sorry, but school administrators are just getting ridiculous.
Shelby Sendelbach, a sixth-grader in the Katy Independent School District, was read her rights, ticketed and punished with a mandatory four-month assignment to an alternative school because she wrote "I love Alex" on a gymnasium wall with a baby blue Sharpie.
I mean, how stupid can you get. When I was that age, I did so much stuff 1000 times worse than that. And to receive the equivalent as those that would threaten violence. Well, that is not ridiculous. That is just plain stupid.

Venezuela battling inflation

I find the economic lesson provided by this article on Venezuela's battle against inflation interesting:
"Venezuela has begun to slow public spending and plans to issue some $2.8 billion in bonds and treasury notes by year-end as it seeks to counter inflation, the country's finance minister said Friday.

Finance Minister Rodrigo Cabezas told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview that the idea is to gradually moderate spending while monitoring the economy's response."
I thought this was a Socialist nation so why are they attempting to apply Keynesian economics?

Of course, the selling of bonds and treasury notes is a classic way to soak up cash from the money supply. That is what the US's Federal Reserve does from time to time. What would be more interesting to me is to look at how much money was printed (created) by their version of the central bank in the past 10 years. That would provide insight into the root cause and might give their government better ideas how to fight inflation.

Microsoft's Canada center trumps international borders

Microsoft, in a bold move, looks to trump governmental efforts to counter immigration:
"The facility, at a yet-to-be-announced location in the Vancouver area, will have space for 200 employees initially, with room to grow, the company said. Microsoft said it chose Vancouver based on factors including the city's diverse population, its status as 'a global gateway' and its proximity to Redmond.

However, in announcing the facility, Microsoft also said the Vancouver office will help the company 'recruit and retain highly skilled people affected by immigration issues in the U.S.'"
Economics and globalization are making political borders irrelevant. That is the new reality. Are you ready?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ah..Colorado Microbreweries

Homebrew Division:
"Needless to say, the award shined a spotlight on little known Dry Dock Brewing, among Colorado's 90 craft beer makers and Aurora's only brewery."
I need to get back to Colorado, but every time I try, it snows.

What Bono doesn't say about Africa - Los Angeles Times

What Bono doesn't say about Africa - Los Angeles Times:
"In truth, Africans are and will be escaping poverty the same way everybody else did: through the efforts of resourceful entrepreneurs, democratic reformers and ordinary citizens at home, not through PR extravaganzas of ill-informed outsiders.

The real Africa needs increased trade from the West more than it needs more aid handouts. A respected Ugandan journalist, Andrew Mwenda, made this point at a recent African conference despite the fact that the world's most famous celebrity activist — Bono — was attempting to shout him down. Mwenda was suffering from too much reality for Bono's taste: 'What man or nation has ever become rich by holding out a begging bowl?' asked Mwenda."
Precisely stated. No person ever got truly rich by stealing from another. Wealth must be earned.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Gore's son arrested on drug charges in California | - Houston Chronicle

Gore's son arrested on drug charges in California:
"Al Gore's son was arrested early today on suspicion of possessing marijuana and prescription drugs after deputies pulled him over for speeding, authorities said."
An argument for ending the drug war?

U-S-A, U-S-A, American wins hot-dog eating contest

American wins hot-dog eating contest My heart swells (and clogs) with American pride.

Happy Independence Day!

As with every 4th of July, I spend it first reading The Declaration of Independence and Common Sense. I also found this wonderful piece by Benjamin Franklin entitled Rules by Which A Great Empire May be Reduced to a Small One. Enjoy the day, but remember what it is all about.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Employee Theft

Theft from the Houston Independent School District (HISD):
"Houston school employees failed to ask enough questions and follow proper procedures while a secretary systematically stole almost $150,000 over a year before anyone noticed, an internal investigation found.

'Obviously, we would like to have caught it a little sooner,' district spokesman Terry Abbott said. 'But the fact is, we did catch it; we did stop it.'
What is going on out there? Do people really think they can get away with it? Why even try? It is more trouble to steal than actually *work* for it. Really.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

iPhone non-Insta-gratification

I guess we are just a bunch of children anymore when it comes to instant gratification. To think that not being able to activate a phone instantly after purchase can lead adults to be upset, well, it worries me.
While blogs continue to simmer with complaints from people who waited months to buy an iPhone and now are experiencing problems activating it, AT&T Inc. said Sunday that the situation has improved.

"We are working on any issues on an individual basis with customers who were impacted," said Michael Coe, a spokesman for AT&T, the Apple Inc. device's exclusive carrier. Nearly all customers have been able to activate their phones within five to eight minutes, he said.
We have made the transformation into a society bent upon instant gratification. Call it iGratification if you want.

Sheesh people, take a pill. Of course you will have to wait 30 minutes for the full effect to be realized. Can you wait that long?