Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Entire Career in a nutshell

Obamacare's Big Thinkers Forgot to Bring in the Doers - Bloomberg: "The yawning gap between what the IT people knew and what everyone else seems to have realized is staggering. Now, I’ve worked on some projects in which the business units seemed to have some sort of selective deafness that only materialized when we tried to tell them that they couldn’t have their magic fairy computer system that did everything they could imagine, only better, in the three months they wanted it to take, or for the paltry sum that they were willing to spend. And I learned the hard way not to assume that the business units, or even the chief information officer, had heard and understood what you said. That is how I became gifted in the art of writing CYA memos when I was directed to do the unwise or the impossible. "

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Filling the vacuum

“I may live one year or 15, but I will live free.” This woman sounds like an American. Or at least the spirit we used to have.

Bear with me here as I go out on a bit of a limb.

As a libertarian, I am required (but not by law, zing!) to point out that this is a prime example of spontaneous order. The government is unwilling or unable to stop these guys. The locals have been mistreated and murdered to the point that they've had enough and have decided to take matters into their own hands. The cartels have created a problem for themselves. If the locals no longer fear death since they think they're going to die anyway, what then? The cartels are going to have a hard time of it. The locals are not constrained by the law now. They are now playing by local rules. Cartel rules. The government agents may kill them but mostly they won't. They'll try to arrest them which is nothing. The locals know they're playing for keeps and are acting accordingly.

Whenever libertarians advance arguments that successful societies (or cultures) fill vacuums with spontaneous order they are laughed at but here it is. It is certainly not perfect but it is less bad than the status quo.

"Who will build the roads?" is the refrain. Who indeed? A man with a plan and a desire to make some money.

What about hospitals? For good or ill, most of them are private now. Hell we have private trash pickup in Delaware and most states don't have that. I have news for you; its better here than any place else I've ever lived. They are prompt and reasonable. Not so much the Sanitation Department in NYC. There was a reason that contract negotiations were in August of every year. If they didn't like the contract they would strike and the hot, stinking garbage would pile up in the streets until angry voters would browbeat City Hall to just give them whatever the hell they wanted.

My great and rather unlikely hope is that Obama gives us a greater political correction than Carter. He is, in fact, worse than Carter.

Former communist countries are frequently the most zealous defenders of liberty. Why? They know the opposite. They've lived under it and know that it is soul crushing. Perhaps the hopey changey voters are getting enough of a dose of leftism they'll see the folly of their ways. I am less than hopeful because the low information voter is the most common kind.

Sean Thomas Lugano

Today's the day. Nine years gone and the rest of our lives to go.

This blog honors Sean Thomas Lugano

I knew Sean casually. We went to college together and were on the rugby team together. He was much better than I was. He was very fast and much stronger than he looked. Sean was one of those guys who was reserved but very funny. He wasn't one of those guys who garnered attention by being outrageous or demonstrative. He was just there, always with a smile and quick with a laugh or a joke. He took a lot of flack in college because of his modeling career. He used to model to make money for college and the idea of a rugby player being a model seemed absurd. The only commercial I ever saw him in was for The Gap and ironically, he was playing rugby in the commercial. That seemed to redeem him somewhat in the eyes of his teammates and we didn't rib him much after that.

I didn't know Sean well enough to keep in touch with him after college. Occasionally, I'd see him in the bars in Manhattan or Hoboken after that and we'd chat. His family owned a bar on the Upper East side and my friend was the bartender in the bar next door. I was surprised to see him working the door one night as a bouncer. (Sean was strong but short.) I looked inside and saw his sister and she smiled and waved. That was the last time I saw him. He was only bouncing to help out at nights and on weekends. During the day he was working downtown somewhere in one of the bigger firms, I don't remember which one (BBH?).

I didn't hear about Sean's death until sometime after that day. I think I was looking through the official victim's list and saw his name. I remember I was struck numb. Of all the people who died that day, he was the last one I thought I'd see listed. I don't know why that is, but it seemed impossible that a guy as nice as Sean was killed like that. I am doing Sean a disservice with such a poor tribute but it's not easy to do.

He was known in his apartment building as the guy who would help everyone. He would fix things for the older ladies who lived alone and need help from time to time. He knew everyone's name and always said hello with a smile. He was the guy you'd introduce to your sister hoping she'd marry a guy like him.

Goodbye Sean, you are not forgotten. I wish I had known you better.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Actual science and climate

Elevated carbon dioxide making arid regions greener: "Scientists have long suspected that a flourishing of green foliage around the globe, observed since the early 1980s in satellite data, springs at least in part from the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. Now, a study of arid regions around the globe finds that a carbon dioxide “fertilization effect” has, indeed, caused a gradual greening from 1982 to 2010."

I have often argued that since CO2 is plant food it cannot be pollution. It merely causes an increase in plant life wherever the CO2 happens to be. IIRC there was a huge spike in ocean algae in the past due to high CO2 levels. The Earth wants to survive. It adapts to do so. It is not static as some would have you believe. It changes. Even when man comes in and screws everything up (c.f. Salton Sea) the ecology adjusts and rolls on. Even Chernobyl is teeming with life. It may be different than it was but life goes on. What is the likely cause of all this global warming? CFCs. What happens when we match the climate predictions to the actual results? This.

Where were you ten years ago Tony?

Tony Blair says murder of Lee Rigby PROVES 'there is a problem within Islam'

Where was this when he was in office. Sorry but this rings a little hollow now. It's awfully convenient to figure this out now years after you've left office and the problem grew under your watch.

Oceania 'tis for thee

Administration defends collecting phone records: "The order requires Verizon, one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies, on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries."

If you think Verizon is the only company that was forced to comply you're dreaming. They're probably pissed they're going to take the stock and PR hit while everyone else just keeps mum. This is absolutely Orwellian. "Oh they're not recording the contents of the calls, just the metadata." Really? That's what you're going with? So would it also be OK if I just made random checkpoints miles from the border and had it staffed by border agents who stopped EVERY driver for questioning or if I could seize your private property and give it to someone else because I felt like it? What if the ATF decided it should shore up the reason for its own existence by letting drug cartels buy weapons? Or if the government started targeting political enemies by punishing them with regulation, paperwork and endless, over reaching requests? It would be like living in a totalitarian society. Thanks to our Dear Leader for keeping us safe and uh..free.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

it's all about control

What's the one question that can derail any Democrat running for office:

The answer is ALWAYS bigger government and MORE taxes. Nothing but nothing is ever left to the people or the market. It's all about control folks.

Adana El Nusra operation: 2 pounds sarin gas found - Radical Turkey

Adana El Nusra operation: 2 pounds sarin gas found: "Adana Security Directorate, which began after the massacre of Reyhanlı connected with the organization Al-Qaeda and the accused is detained in an operation against Al Nusra Front and addresses of two kilograms were seized in the sarin gas."

OK so Al-Qaeda linked groups are now taking WMDs out of Syria. They keep crossing that red line and nothing changes.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Charm of New Jersey

Non-Americans of reddit, what aspect of American culture strikes you as the strangest? : AskReddit: "As a Texan currently abroad, it makes me so sad to not have this. When I'm walking somewhere, if we make eye contact there needs to be a friendly gesture! A nod, a smile, whatever. Its so weird when they just glare at you."

Which prompted the following response:

"You should never come to New Jersey."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ooopsie! I just plain forgot about that other $80

Pritzker Understated Income, Files Amended Disclosure - Bloomberg:
Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker inadvertently understated a portion of her income by at least $80 million in a disclosure form required for her nomination to be U.S. Commerce secretary and has amended the document. Forms released online last night by the Office of Government Ethics show that Pritzker earned additional income for consulting work on hundreds of trusts, including family trusts, beyond what she disclosed last week. The omission, discovered by Pritzker’s financial advisers, was due to a clerical error, said Susan Anderson, the nominee’s spokeswoman.

If confirmed to run the Commerce Department, Pritzker Realty Group LLC Chairman Penny Pritzker would be among the wealthiest cabinet secretaries in U.S. history.

“It is a substantial amount and we moved to correct the mistake as soon as it was discovered,” Anderson said in an e-mailed statement. Documents released last week show Pritzker received $32.2 million for a decade’s worth of consulting on the restructuring of domestic trusts. The filings released yesterday show she earned at least $80 million for that work, according to Bloomberg’s compilation of the data. The revised total is in addition to the amount reported last week, according to Anderson.

Yeah, I remember the time that I forgot all about that $80 Million dollars I made.

Seriously, either she lied or she makes so much money that she just forgot about $80 million of it. What happened to the idea that we don't need millionaires and billionaires controlling our country. Guess that only applies to Mitt.