Sunday, December 23, 2007

Business ethics 1.

If you need to cut costs to keep the company profitable and cutting labor is the only option, it should be done by cutting the same percentage from every employee's pay all the way to the top.

The very last and worst option is firing or laying off anyone.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What Dan Fogelberg means to me.

At the University of Illinois, sometime in the 60’s Tom and I walk into to The Red Herring coffee house in the basement of the campus Unitarian church. Tom and I are both aging graduate students in English. Secretly, we both know neither of us will complete our dissertations. Dan Fogelberg and another young man with a guitar are performing. A 60’s student lefty style crowd fills the place. Hair, cigarette smoke, patchouli smell. For a short time Tom and I stand behind a railing which I remember as being slightly, but not a full floor, above the performers and most of the crowd. Tom and I may have taken LSD earlier in the evening. I look down on the performers. Fogelberg and the other player are in a pool of light, dark haired, seated and bent over their guitars. The audience is mostly in the dark and until my eyes adjust I can not see what women might be there. I am also looking for authenticity and the performers strike me as very smooth, somehow fraudulent, probably from wealthy homes in Chicago.

I may have dreamed all or some of this recollection because I see it as still photos maybe from the same set, maybe not. I am aware of some confusions in general.

I may have the same kind of advanced prostate cancer that killed Fogelberg yesterday. News of his death came yesterday evening, personal only in the shared cancer. The news followed my misadventures with my big blue truck with a snowplow. I tried to plow three driveways--I do not know anything about snowplowing—slid off the side of my own driveway, frantically dug my way into deeper snow, packed the snow tightly under the chassis, left the four wheels suspended and the front left fender dented but still resting against a smallish dogwood. I cut down the dogwood with a handsaw. My one working chainsaw is next door in the garage, lined up neatly with my brother-in-law Jeff’s saws. I get on my knees and dig out snow from under the truck furiously. Joanne, my wife watches. My number one dog is patiently in the truck. No. I tell my Joanne, I do not need Jeff’s help. Eventually I free the truck. The driveway is a mess, deep ruts, sprays of dirt and gravel are evidence of my urgency. My hands are freezing and I am worried about my hips; both are artificial.

Later, while watching football, after returning from a pool party for children at Shawnee Inn (it is one of my AA friend’s son’s ninth birthday party. My friend is a union laborer in NYC. Other guests include friendly people my friend met on the commuter bus during daily hour and a half to two hour each way, four hundred dollar a month bus rides) I learn of Fogelberg’s death. I scurry off to the computer trying to find out if Fogelberg died from “locally” advanced cancer (mine) or simply a more generally advanced cancer. I google and google and find out that Fogelberg was 56 when he died. He was diagnosed in May 2004. March 2005 for me. He was treated with hormone therapy. Me too. He believed he was in remission. I too think I’m doing pretty well. I wonder: did he have a long course, 43 sessions for me, of radiation? I discover a questionable old news story, later discredited, that centered around Fogelberg’s mother saying the cancer was in his bones and he was getting “experimental” treatment at Harvard. Fogelberg’s mother is very old, one story says, resetting the record to somewhat straight. Mine has not been discovered as being in my bones. (a brief subsidence of restrained terror).

I go outside to prepare my wife’s car for work. I scrape off the snow and ice, fill the reservoir with windshield washer fluid, decide to take the car into the street and turn it around so she will be front out in the morning better able to avoid the new trenches in the snow. While backing into the driveway I become slightly disoriented (caught in a Fogelberg cancer fog bank?) and back directly into my big blue truck ditches. I work the car hard. It is a company car, a new dodge with fine, brand new tires. Forward, reverse, forward reverse I force it ever deeper into the ditch. Thank god the tree is gone but I will miss it and be sad in the spring, (I hope). My brother-in-law Jeff comes over. Jeff is a pressman on his way to the night shift in a printing plant more than an hour away in Hazelton. Jeff is a handy dude, like Joanne and all her siblings and for the moment he is fresh, warm and rested and most importantly,distant from the realms of his own chaoses. He takes over and soon the car is free.

A long night of little sleep follows with thoughts of cancer. Am I being too optimistic? Am I out of touch with reality? Are my doctors hiding or sugar coating the truth? I do not know the answers. I must think of other things. Like the lottery, like the marital problems of a friend, like my son-in-law’s job loss, like my own loss of a client and the disappearance of another, is my incompetence with engine driven vehicles a sign? Was last fall the last season with the Harley? Whistling past the graveyard I try hard not to think of Dan Fogelberg sailing through the summer, as the news stories say, and whistling his own way through the treacherous rocks in the Maine waters..

Friday, December 07, 2007

Global Warming Reality Check

If you are concerned about global warming and catastrophic climate change you should get to know MIT grad Steve Kisch. Visit his web site where you can find this article How it will end which if you have any sense will scare the shit out of you.

Here's a quote from the article:

...The bottom line is this: unless we change our ways, there is more than a 5% chance of a mass human extinction in less than 100 years. I'm just telling you what the overwhelming scientific consensus is. Whether or not you choose to believe it is, of course, up to you. If you do disagree, what is the scientific basis for your disagreement? Do you know something the scientists don't?

So what really killed us? Greed, fear, short sightedness, and an inability to create a government that serves the public interest.

Much as we may hate to admit it, our own government, which we empower to make decisions for us, is essentially no smarter than the frog in Gore's movie. Special interests, driven by short-term greed, control government decisions in America. Politicians, fearing they will be not be re-elected, pay attention to the people who are willing to spend big money to get their way. And despite all the awareness about global warming that has been generated to date, the public is still short sighted and doesn't demand change. That lack of public outrage is why top staffers in the House complain that they can't pass even the simplest of measures to combat climate change, such a bill to increase mileage standards for cars.

It's likely that we not outraged because we will not feel the full impact of the ecological catastrophe we are creating today for another 30 to 50 years due to the thermal inertia of the ocean. The climate changes we are seeing today are just the tip of the iceberg; they are from our emissions from more than 30 years ago. Our emissions today are much higher than 30 years ago. But most people don't know that. They look out the window and things look fine. It seems just too impossible to believe that we could all be dead in less than 100 years. So we choose to ignore what the scientists tell us. The most unequivocal and important scientific consensus in our lifetime and we choose to ignore it. How smart is that?...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Is waterboarding torture?

If Mukasey does not know if waterboarding is torture, there is an easy way for him to find out. He can experience it himself. There are certainly plenty of experts in the CIA or Blackwater who could strap him down and give him the treatment. Then he’d know.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Addiction and secondhand smoke

Here’s something to consider. For many dually addicted it is easier to get off and stay off booze than cigarettes. Could this be because total abstinence from alcohol is possible while it is impossible to avoid second hand smoke? How would ex drunks in recovery fare if they had to swallow a few spoonfuls of booze every day?

Just sayin’, after passing through a few clouds downtown and finding myself wanting a smoke.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kill your neighbor

Don't be so sure it won't happen here, even soon. Any illusion of our "specialness" as a nation should be long gone and we should know we are not so different from what Bosnia was.

Before the war, you worked in an office. You took care of your parents, who were getting older but still managed to tend their vegetable garden and read the newspaper every day. For your daughter’s ninth birthday, you bought her a bicycle. Your teenage son played soccer for a local team, and when you could, you went to cheer him on.

When the war started, you could not believe that such a thing was possible in this day and age. “It’s the twentieth century,” you told your husband in disbelief. You did not understand how people could kill their neighbors. You blamed their politicians for this sudden contagion of nationalism. People will come to their senses, you reasoned, even as things got worse.

Via 3Quarks

Monday, September 17, 2007

How to get universal coverage

"Edwards' proposal would cut off health care for the president, Congress and all political appointees in mid 2009, if a universal health care plan for all Americans has not been passed by then." Link

Link to Edwards'plan

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fred Thompson

"...Fred Thompson, who seems to be running for president of Petticoat Junction, emerged from the pickel barrel..."Link, Wolcott

Monday, September 10, 2007

Suggested Topics

Hillary another Bush
Post democracy imperial America
Over populated
Ignorant, malleable underclass voters
The wad
Under employed
Minimum wages
Mandatory overtime
Improved efficiency
Frederick Winslow Taylor had very precise ideas about how to introduce his system:
"It is only through enforced standardization of methods, enforced adaption of the best implements and working conditions, and enforced cooperation that this faster work can be assured. And the duty of enforcing the adaption of standards and enforcing this cooperation rests with management alone." Link

More Topics

Wage slaves
War criminals
Lead poisoning
Homeland security
Keep your eye on
Sub prime
Euro up
Israel’s special status
Ivy League
Social Security
Housing crisis

No due date