Wednesday, February 28, 2007

NY Wants to Outlaw Domain Sold to Terrorists

New York state lawmakers want to outlaw the sale of domain names to terrorist groups.

Politicians--Democrats or Republicans--never fail to baffle. This is one of the more stupid ideas I have ever heard.

Question: are you a terrorist organization? No, okay you can have one. Yes, sorry we don't sell domains to terrorist groups.

Criminals always go out of their way to engage in open and fair dialog and commerce.

I am sure we will all rest assured knowing NY politicians are closing these loopholes. They can only hope the rest of the states follow suite. Idiots.

Down Day on Wall Street

I was in grad school on “Black Monday” in October 1987 when the Dow fell by 22.6% in one day. That was a bad day.

On Tuesday, the Dow was down 416 points, or 3.3%, at 12,216.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 96.66, or 3.9%, to 2407.86, with 11 fallers for every gainer. A down day for sure but not a disaster nor a time to panic.

Most average investor is in the market for the long-term. There are up periods and down period. The good thing is that over time, the trends are up. Possessing and regularly investing in a well-diversified portfolio has proven to be the best medicine for the average user.

Some of the issues I have noticed in the market are:

-- China is a heavily leveraged economy with many investors putting everything they can into the Chinese stock market. If that market turns down, it could set that whole economy spiraling out of control.

-- U.S. housing market is waining and with banks giving low ARM loans with little or nothing down, if they cannot make those payments as they increase, walking away will become a viable opion for many.

-- Related, bank reserves for default loans are low, the lowest they have been in over 15 years.

-- Iraq and Afghanistan costs continue to assume a huge portion of our federal expenses; okay when revenues are are increasing but in a economy downturn, could be financially crippling.

Finally, one thing I have noticed in the business world is that CEOs and executive management often get embroiled in items that are not core to their business. It could be a law suit, an acquisition, etc. Many times these items suck up a disproportionate amount of the executives' time -- time they are not spending on their core business. Iraq and Afghanistan are doing this to America. It comprises too much of our elected and appointed leaders' mindset and focus.

We have backed ourself into a corner where we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Regardless of who wins in 2008, this issue is going to continue for the foreseeable future. I'd much rather see the attention focused on promoting economic growth and homeland security issues than fighting foreign wars.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Cheney Attack Repurcusions

The breaking news is:
A suicide bomber attacked the entrance to the main U.S. military base in
Afghanistan Tuesday during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, killing at least 14 people and wounding a dozen more. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said Cheney was the target.
My first thoughts were at the Cheney haters. Would the left be so despicable and lash out in unison wishing that the terrorists would have succeeded? Look no further than the comments posted on the Huffington Post.

UPDATE -- the most offensive posts have been removed.

Is this mainstream liberalism? Or are there just a few wackos and this is the exception and not the rule?

This is indeed mainstream. Lucky for us, these people are in the small minority. They cannot separate politics from personality. They know and dislike his politics so they apparently dislike him personally, even though they do not know him.

I think deep down, most extreme liberals wish his demise anyway possible -- through a car crash, plane crash, heart attack, cancer, or suicide bomber.

Does this prove liberalism is indeed a mental disorder?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Charity Giving

We all know that Americans are the biggest givers in the world. We give almost 3x more than any other nation -- Britain, Canada and Australia are in that second place ranking. One might say: "well that's just because you have more to give." Yes and no.

When compared to third world nations, the major economic nations do have more disposal income. They are the one that do give. However, of those that can give, few actually do. The French and Germans give very little to charity.

In Britain, as disposable income has increased, their given had decreased. Statistics show that in 1996, 70% of Brits gave some money to charity. Over the next 5-8 years, that percentage was in the 65-68% range. In 2005 and 2006, the given droped to to the 57-58% range. Throughout this ten year period, Brits real disposable income has increased 600 billion pounds to nearly 800 billion.

I would guess that this trend is consistent across most of the charitable giving nations. Is this a trend toward us all being more greedy, distrusting the management of the various charities, or is there some other factor working?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Deficit In Perspective

The war in Iraq, global warming, trade imbalance, federal deficit...all are hot topics at various times. Most are filled with drive-by-media hype -- some facts coupled by lots of hype, hearsay and political posturing. Take the federal deficit...

A percentage of GDP, the budget deficit is not as bad a many would have you believe. The estimated deficits in 2006-8 are lower than they have been since 2002. The reason for this is due to increasing tax revenues.

When the economy is favorable and the individual tax burdens are lowered (Bush's tax cuts), tax revenues increase. Tax receipts were $1.85 trillion in 2002 and estimated to be $2.66 trillion in 2008.

That's the Republican spin. The conservative spin is that the war is the biggest drain on the economy and taxes are still too high.

With higher tax revenues, that gives the government more money to spend on program we don't need.

There are lots of critiques about the war in Iraq, the one that the politicians failed to consider was the long-term costs. This is the money pit of all money pits.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Scots and Their Alcohol

Scot are twice as likely to suffer an alcohol-related death as people in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Fifteen of the 20 local authority areas with the highest alcohol-related male death rates were in Scotland, with Glasgow top of the league with 83.7 deaths per 100,000.

This is a serious cultural problem -- they start drinking at such an early age and it puts them in the grave that much earlier also.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Info Leak Punishment Appropriate?

In the Thursday, 22 February Wall Street Journal, there was an interesting article on a MA bill that proposes some significant punishment for those organizations that leak or allow for the leak of personal data. The law requires the business which gets hacked to pay for the financial losses.

Thirty-five (and growing) states have data-breach and consumer protection laws. Most of these laws require the hacked company to notify the customers that their personal data was compromised and may be used by thieves. This MA law take it one step further and assigns financial liability to these breached companies.

Whereas I appreciate the government's willingness to tackle this issue, there are some obvious issues with this proposed law.

1) It is almost impossible for a retailer (or anyone for that matter) that requires Internet connectivity to build a network secure enough to keep out all hackers. Sophisticated criminals are always able to breach the most common and accepted defenses. Calculated risks given the business , the industry, and the managers/owners dictate the appropriate countermeasures -- ones that are reasonable. Accounting for every contingency that might be associated with a data breach is not only technically impossible but is financial unrealistic.

In order for this bill to be even remotely effective, the bill must clearly define reasonable security policies, procedures and technologies appropriate for the business communities. What might be reasonable for a single-location dry cleaner might be a bit weak for a multi-million dollar clothing company.

2) Businesses should follow a due diligence approach to securing their data and customer records. Most small businesses do a terrible job at computer security. They do need to take action. However, passing a harsh law may be impetuous. Certainly laws can be motivating factors, but more times than not, laws are incomplete or over burdensome. Laws become a necessary evil if the industry cannot self-regulate and the out-of-pockets costs associated with the problem become significant to the average person. I do not know if we are there yet.

I do think that the existing PCI Data Security Standard might be the best approach. It is based on reasonableness. The MA law looks unreasonable. If Visa, AmEx and MasterCard are willing to self-regulate, the PCI DSS should be allowed to operate.

3) In order for a punitive law like this to be workable, there probably needs to be some liability limitation for "allowing" breached data. Without this, the "offending" company could easily be forced out of business. I doubt that is the goal of the legislation. A business should not be required to spend thousands of dollars on defenses and deploy proven processes and procedures, and then be forced to pay thousands in reparations if those countermeasures are breached.

Governments, especially liberal governments like MA, NY and CA, always seem to do the wrong things. Their goals are to legislate behavior. They have no belief in humankind solving its own problems. That they know best. They'll tell you how to behave. Sometime laws are warranted; but in this case, the time is not right and the bill misses the mark.

Commodity Prices Falling But New Investment Still Required

I found a recent WSJ article on the forecasted prices for key commodities very interesting. According to Access Economics, they believe that over the next three years, the prices for nickel, zinc, uranium, coal, copper, aluminum, iron ore, and oil will decrease. These decreases range from -46% for nickel to -4% for oil.

Yet, despite this forecast, mining companies are investing billions into expansion, new technologies, and huge new projects.

It goes to show that one cannot sit back and count the money during the boom times. Long-term sustainable grow are required for the shareholders and for the miners.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Africa Tops Mideast as US Oil Source

U.S. crude oil imports from Africa topped supplies from the Middle East in 2006 for the first time in 21 years.

I find this to be very significant. Most Americans probably believe that most of our oil comes from the mideast. Most comes from North America -- Canada supplying almost as much as all Persian Gulf nations combined and Mexico not far behind. Non-OPEC nations
provide almost twice as much as OPEC nations
(major contributors -- Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Iraq, Algeria; minor contributors -- Kuwait, Libya, Indonesia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates).

Certainly a major factor to our interest in the Persian Gulf is related to oil, but the the numbers say that other countries are more or equally important.

It now appears that the mideast is in third place in US oil importance, behind North American and Africa. That is worth noting.

Positive Border Discouragement

Here's one that the MSP downplays -- flow of illegal immigrants to U.S. starts to slow. Reporting on something like this does not fit their agenda of hate-Bush, Bush sucks, all Bush policies must be scrapped, etc.

Making it harder for our southern neighbors to enter the country illegally is a good thing. It is one of a number of things we ought to be doing (and are) to control this scourge.

It is good that they are discouraged. It is good to hear them say getting into the U.S. through their normal desert passage is getting harder, more expensive and more time-consuming. That the agents are using "barbaric" techniques. That people are dying in the Mexican dessert because there are barriers where there once were open portals.

Controlling the border is plausible. It is not an impossible task. Imprisoning captured illegals for weeks and months before returning them to their country of origin is a huge deterrent. Jail time is time not earning money. It is doubling, tripling, quadrupling... the time and expense of getting to the border. It is positive discouragement.

For so long we did nothing. Border security was a joke. Now there is some meat to the programs. We are increasing the price immigrant must pay to enter illegally. Supply is bound to go down as demand wains.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mitt Romney -- a PHONY

Mitt Romney is running for President. He can really earn money. He was in Salt Lake City last night earning money. I know many people that are falling for his baloney, giving him money, working on his campaign. They either are ignorant about his background and assume he's changed, or perhaps think they will get a seat somewhere in his government if he wins, or are also fellow liberals wearing a Republican lapel pin.

I think he is a phony. Sure he was successful in business and public service, but that does not make him a candidate I agree with. He says, does, and will do whatever he can to get the nomination. He has flipped on all the major issues. For 50 years, we was a liberal and he has now flipped to conservative principles. When do we change principles after 50+ years? He is bamboozling thousands.

He fails on abortion, homosexuality, taxes, gun control, judicial appointments and growth of government. His records is from the liberal play book. It is tough to find a conservative principle in his past. How can a Republican win in MA? Only by running and governing on a liberal platform.

Mitt Romney is a Massachusetts Republican, which would make him a good Democrat anywhere else in the country. And yet he is positioning himself as the conservative in the field.

We have three leading Republican candidates for President right now: Romney, Giuliani and McCain. All of them are liberal. A truly conservative candidate that had a chance of winning has not occurred since Reagan. Conservatives seem to end up voting for the lessor of two evils. For me, the race for President will be conducted in the Primary.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Imminent Domain

From the Moscow Times: If Mayor Yury Luzhkov gets his way, Muscovites will soon have little legal recourse when the city decides to kick them out of their homes to make way for new buildings, roads or anything else deemed to be in the public interest.

In the Washington Post in June 2005: The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that local governments may force property owners to sell out and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public, even if the property is not blighted and the new project's success is not guaranteed.

Imminent domain, a purely communist idea. The Supreme Court ruling was one of the most significant violation of Constitutional rights I have ever witnessed.

Amillia Sonja Taylor

For the past 12+ hours, Drudge has shown a 22 week old premie that is getting ready to leave the hospital and go home with its family.

It is amazing what modern medicine and post-natal care can do. That's a 5.5 month gestation period, right in the middle of that second trimester. Neonatologists say she is the first baby known to survive after a gestation period of fewer than 23 weeks.

For those of you who read this blog regularly know my stance on abortion, so no additional comments are required.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Horseshoe Canyon

Some people have aspirations to take their kids to Disneywhatever, Sea Borld, Six Flags Over Something. I apologize in advance if that's you. That is the worst use of money and time I can think. But that's just me.

We prefer historical and natural setting. They do also.

This weekend, we went to the least visited part of Canyonlands National Park -- Horseshoe Canyon.

We did the 7.5 mile hike down and back up (800 feet elevation change) along the canyon floor to the Great Gallery. It took us 3.5 hours and we had a blast, plus got some great exercise. Visiting southeastern Utah in February is so refreshing when compared to the warmer months.

The day before, we hiked up into Moonshine Canyon -- a canyon which sees very few visitors.

The slot canyons of the Colorado Plateau are by far my favorite destinations within a short drive from our home. Those "vacations" are meaningful, educational and unforgettable. Hard things couple with learning -- an amazing theatre of learning.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Palestinian Authority Texbooks

Eight new textbooks from the Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks for Grade 12 encourage students to see Israel, the US and the West as enemies, and portray the PA's territorial disputes with Israel as an existential religious conflict for Islam.

Details are found in a report entitled "From Nationalist Battle to Religious Conflict: New 12th Grade Palestinian Textbooks Present a World Without Israel," written by PMW director Itamar Marcus and associate director Barbara Crook.

The books reject Israel's right to exist, while describing its founding as a "catastrophe that is unprecedented in history." They encourage students to see themselves as victims of Israel's existence, and actively prevent these young people from seeing Israel as a neighbor to live beside in peace. The history books barely acknowledge the peace process. This is compounded by the presentation of the conflict as a religious conflict to defend Islamic land, and leaves no latitude or religious option for students to have positive—or even neutral—attitudes towards Israel.

With propaganda like this, any short-term attempts are establishing peace between Israel and the Muslim Arabs living in Israel has no glimmer of hope. They have no interest in peace. The leaders have created an environment in which their power is based on their people's misery.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Iraqi Refugees

The Bush administration is allowing 7000 new Iraqi refugees into the US. Senator Edward Kennedy made the following statement regarding the growing refugee problem:
I am pleased that the Administration has decided to provide $18 million to the UNHCR to deal with the crisis of Iraqi refugees and will process 7000 of their refugee referrals. Two million Iraqi’s have fled the country, 1.7 million more have been displaced and thousands more are on the move every day - many of whom have targets on their backs because they have cooperated with the United States and assisted us in the war. The Administration has allowed less than 500 Iraqi refugees in the country since the start of the conflict, and this news is a welcome development.
I have no idea what the US' policies are on refugees associated with any foreign war in which we are engaged, be they Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, etc. From Kennedy's statement, it appears we do not have such a policy.

If our military leverages the locals for guidance, translation, intelligence, there should be a clear policy on bringing those resources to the US sometime in the future.

What is not prudent policy is to assume America is where any Iraqi can come because America was the one who "caused" the problem.

Pitchers and Catchers Report

Hard to believe it but it is that time of year again -- the slap of leather and the crack of the bat. I have a couple of road trips planned this year to MLB cities. Despite the crappy financial structure that is MLB, I still love it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

SLC Media ... Same Old MSM

I knew that when the SLC Trolley Square shooting incident occurred, the media would first talk about the tragedy and the victims. But shortly thereafter the focus would be on the terrorist.

The act was pure terrorism -- meant to terrorize those in the mall, which is a smaller, struggling mall anchored mainly by the Hard Rock Cafe. Sulejmen Talovic was a troubled minor, a Muslim and a terrorist. At one point, he attended Horizonte High School, an alternative high school. On Monday, he obviously was bent on suicide.

Listening to the local police and media, they shake their heads not knowing why he would want to do something like this. Terrorists kill people because they are terrorists. They are evil. Non-evil people don't kill people at random. So when you hear people say "he was such a nice boy," they show their ignorance. Those are the same people who say "the serial murderer was such a nice man." It is obviously they did not really know him.

Isn't it interesting that he targeted and shot white people? What if the victims were black or latino? Today's reporting would be very different. This is a Muslim terrorist act. One can be a terrorist and not belong to a terrorist group.

Let's not go out of our way to show sympathy to the terrorist and his refugee family and community. Let's not buy into the pity-party that Bosnians just don't feel welcome or integrated in SLC.

Finally, no sooner do idiots like SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson get done offering their condolences, they talk about gun control. "Where did he get the gun? We must find out." Criminals can get guns -- they are criminals. Luckily for us, there was an off-duty officer with a gun.

Bless the state of Utah who has one of the greatest concealed-carry permit law in the nation. Despite the message on the Trolley Square entrances that firearms are not allowed, the off-duty officer broke their rule (not the law) and carried his weapon inside.

Concealed-carry permit holders, thank you.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Vested in Failure

One can't help but hear Congressmen speaking their pars as the House debates the President's call for additional troops in Iraq. After listening to the liberal NPR this morning give its balanced report on the debate by interviewing John Murtha, there are clearly a few major points that the MSM fails to mention or even debate.

The Democrats constantly use as their talking point that the elections in November "sent a clear message that Americans want out of Iraq." Whereas some do, most want us to win in Iraq. This blanket statement is false on the whole. Americans are not quitters. The elections were less to do with getting out of Iraq and more to do with the failure of the Republican to operate in a responsible and effective manner.

The Democrats are vested in failure in Iraq. They cannot allow America to succeed. For the past 3-4 years, they have engaged in nothing more than negativism and defeatism politics. If America succeeds, won wins and who loses? they cannot allow the Republicans to win. They do not want to do what's best for America, they want to do what's best for the Democratic Party. And therein lies the problem -- they are vested in failure for their own narrow successes.

The Democrats talk about the loss of lives in Iraq -- the 3000+ soldiers who have died thus far. They talk about lengthy and frequent deployments. This is just a facade. Because there are many more areas where deaths occur on a much higher rate. They use the deaths to further their political agenda.

We debate whether or not Iraq is involved in a Civil War. Yes it is. No it isn't. Who gives a crap what it is called. It is a matter of scale. We know that ethnic cleansing is happening. We know there are suicide bombings. We know that a large numbers of people are tortured and executed on a regular basis. We know that there are large numbers of criminals operating amidst the chaos. Call it what you will, it cannot be an ideal place to live.

They say the war has nothing to do with terrorism. Five years ago, this was probably accurate. Today that is not the case. It has become core to international terrorism. And this will only become more so if the Dems get their retreating ways.

There is no way we would be in Iraq if we would have known how this would have turned out. Our intelligence was weak and an outright failure. Our execution of the war has been poor at best -- not because of our soldiers, rather because of their rules of engagement.

I believe the debate Congress should be having, sadly to say, is what we can do to win the war. We will not have this debate. Instead, we will go along with this defeatist attitude. The soldiers will not be given the marching orders to do everything in their power to eliminate the enemy and establish a much more secure country.

There is little control over the Iraqi borders. There is corruption within the Iraqi government.

My opinion is that the current administration's aspirations are true but their tactics and strategies will not be tough enough to win the fight. They are too nice and too politically correct to do this right.

It ticks me off that America has become a weak-kneed country that is unable to win a difficult foreign war.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Global Warming Hearing Cancelled Due to Winter Weather

The Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality hearing scheduled for Wednesday, 14 February 2007, at 10 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building was postponed due to inclement weather. The hearing entitled “Climate Change: Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Human Activities Contributing to a Warming of the Planet?” will be rescheduled.

Race, Gender and Religion

We have a long way to go as a society. We are actually talking about the first woman president, or the first black president or the first Mormon president. We have made it past the first VP presidential candidate, first woman speak of the house, first black quarterback, first black Super Bowl coach (now winning coach).

I thought we'd progressed much further than this over the past 50 years. In my mind, we have, but others must think different. And those others are in the MSM. Isn't it ironic that it is the liberal media that keep hammering home these "first" points?

Not really. The MSM and those leading the minority rights and women's right groups, among others, are less concerned about those right, than they are about their liberal agenda. Regarding religion, they are a-religious in the traditional sense. They mock those with traditional values unless it furthers their agenda; hence, the favoritism toward Islam. Their religion is tied to their own selfish world -- be it global warming, environmentalism, or the wealth they receive as being a leader of some particular cause.

For the average Joe and Jane who make political decisions based on race, gender and religion, they lack education and are ignorant. They are "buffaloed" by the MSM and their "liberal cause" spokespersons.

It is a different issue with the evangelical Christians. They say they can't vote for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon and Mormons have a different view of Jesus Christ. This is just plain stupidity.

The decision to support or not support a candidate should be based on political policies. I don't like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama because of their liberal, socialistic politics, not their gender or race. I don't particularly like Mitt Romney either. His his politics are not in line with my conservatives principles; and I am a Mormon.

(If we Mormons based our political choices on religion, we'd all love Harry Reid. In fact, very few Mormons like or support Scarry Reed.)

So the MSM will love Obama and Clinton not because they are "minorities" but because they sponsor a liberal agenda, like they did Gore in 2002, Kerry in 2004, and Clinton for eight years (1994-2002). Anything they can use against their major political opponents, they will leverage, regardless of the cost. Case in point, their Iraq position mandates American failure.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Demonstrating Bad Winning

This past weekend was the Utah State Wrestling Tournament held at UVSC. The 4A-5A ended its three-day event on Friday; the 1A-2A-3A ended there's on Saturday. I have gone every year for the past ten or so after returning to Utah, and a number of year before that when my brothers-in-law were wrestling. Now I have my own children and nephews wrestling.

What I witnessed Saturday night was poor display of sportsmanship. Not by a coach or wrestlers who thought they were robbed rather but by arguably the most recognized adult in Utah wrestling and the best wrestler in 1A-2A-3A. From the wrestler's perspective, it was premeditated. From the coaches, demonstration of the character he builds in his wrestlers.

Jake Salazar, junior, 145 pound returning champ was undefeated this year. For him, this tournament was less than challenging. His opponents in his weight class were less than top quality wrestler. (It happens that way, a kid who dominates a class will cause others to move up or down into other weight classes hoping to increase their chances of winning a state title.

What Jake did was take down and let up, take down and let up, take down an let up... running the score up; mocking his opponent. Finally he pinned hi opponent in the final period; something he could have easily done in the first.

His coach, Steve Sanderson allowed this to go on. He many not have know what Salazar was planning on doing but within twenty seconds he did. A kid that does something like this thinks he's being cute. He flaunts his skills and superiority. A good coach would make sure his wrestler/players respected their opponent and win or lose with class.

Wasatch High School, which won the state 3A championship has reinforced its position as a disliked program. Right now, they are on top. This will change over time.

(I was told his friend and my nephew was going to try and do the same thing. Luckily his mother got to him beforehand and warned him against it.)

This attitude is prevalent in all sports at all levels. There is an utter lack of respect for ones opponent. There is this me-me-me, look at me attitude. This happened in basketball first, then football. It is less common in the other sports but it is beginning to rear its ugly head.

There is nothing better than seeing someone demonstrate his/her skills without humiliating an opponent. This is very common in sumo wrestling but not the case in high school wrestling.

Rarely do I boo in a public setting, but this past Saturday night, the boo-birds were out in force, and rightly so.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


My old employer, Alcatel (now called Alcatel-Lucent) continues its slide after its $11.6 billion merger.

In the late 1990s, I worked for a company that was acquired by Alcatel. At the time, there were around 120,000 people in Alcatel. When I left, there were around 70,000. That number has continued to decline.

Today, the Alcatel-Lucent entity employs 80,000. That number is getting cut 12,500 more, according to CEO Patricia Russo.

Together, they are the world's largest telecommunications equipment maker. But like most large companies in dynamic markets, it is so difficult to streamline and to optimize productivity.

I remember one large research group south of Paris that was working on items totally unmarketable. These were high-paid engineers, thinking they were doing good, but working without any significant guidance.

I worked in a division that at one point was very profitable. However, over time, its market share dwindled to less than 2%. They still exist; one wonders why.

If a group cannot achieve market leadership positions first, second or third in any selected market they offer products in, they should sell the group or eliminate it.

Just like in business government, bureaucracies also exit in commercial industry. They think they need all of these groups -- each group leader defending his or her fiefdom. I don't blame them. That's why CEOs have such a tough job -- not only do they need to cut out the fat, but they are often required to cut muscle.

Most CEOs can do this. The really good CEOs manage growth properly and create products and services that have a market appeal. Being first to market is critical. Alcatel-Lucent are really poor at innvation.

Companies like these have decades of baggage. Too often they live on past successes. Finding the next cash cows proves to easier said than done.

I am sure that some of my French, Belgium, Canadian and American colleagues will be looking for other opportunities. Like I found out, the grass may not necessarily be greener on the other side but the challenges and opportunities usually are.

I enjoyed my time at Alcatel. I think I did some really good things for them. I learned a lot. I just took those experiences and applied them to other ventures. This is what my colleagues will do -- tough at first but for the better in the long-run.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

First We Worship, Then We Riot

I really like to keep an open mind to all points of view. In mosts cases -- work, social interchange, athletics -- I could care less about race, sexual orientation, political views, religious affiliation, etc.

We have gangs all over the world, causing all kinds of horrible crimes -- from LA and Mogadishu to the Colombian and Philippino jungles. We have mafia syndicates in every nation of the world inflicting pain on society. But only the Muslims will riot after leaving church/mosque. They'll riot, bomb, cry and moan over just about anything -- from cartoons to excavation.

For some, they look for any reason to have a party. Not the Muslims. They look for some social or political catalyst to burn cars, throw rocks, cut people's throats, blow themselves up taking as many others along with them.

On Friday in Jerusalem, the Arab Muslims in Israel (I'll try not to use the Palestinian word because it is a false representation and politically motivated) began rioting over the digging around the foundations of the al-Aqsa mosque, which is also part of Solomon's temple walls. (I like how they call it Islam's third holiest site. Mormons would never say that the Sacred Grove was our first holiest site, Nauvoo the second holiest site and the Salt Lake Temple the third, for example.)

I am sure there are many good and outstanding Muslims and those that contribute to society, I personally just don't know any well, and I have lived in Ohio, California, Texas, Missouri, Minnesota and Utah). But there are major flaws in this religion.

They cannot accept any individual or group that shares opposing view points. They cannot agree to disagree. There are too many of them that subscribe to the convert-or-die doctrine. The religion, at least in today's form, does not motivate service to others. It does not inspire people to make the world a better place for their children, their neighbors, their nations. Except for the oil overlords and the social elites, most live in poverty. They live lives that are as boring as a home-bound elderly person.

As a non-hierarchical religion, there is no central Muslim spokesperson. However those who operate in mainstream society and do represent a group of Muslims, will claim that these actions are not part of the religion; that these action are anomalies, not shared by the core. They are deranged.

They cannot see the writing on the wall. They are the same ones that say day is night and night is day. Sadly, I have no hope in ever witnessing the Muslims and non-Muslims getting along. The olive branch does not belong with the non-Muslims.

The Muslims need to focus on building their economic bases, their nations, their personal success stories. For those living in western societies, they need to integrate. They need to forget about revenge. Until they do this, they will continue living in a dark cloud, making life miserable for themselves and challenging for the rest of us.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Non-binding Resolution Waste

The non-binding resolution to give an up-or-down vote on President Bush’s buildup of 21,500 combat troops in Iraq is pure CYA.

Any non-binding resolution is a 100 percent waste of time. The politicians that vote for this are positioning themselves to later say, "see, I knew additional troops would not bring peace to Iraq."

I say you a coward, non-patriotic, and should resign from your seat.

If you are against the war in Iraq, and you are in Congress, you only have one option: pull funding.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Clinton the Marxist

Hillary Clinton's true communist colors show when she spoke out recently for energy independence and government taking the oil industry's profits into government-backed research into alternative fuels.
Ending our country's dependence on foreign oil will take real leadership. Hillary proposed a simple idea to help end the cycle of dependence: put some of the oil industry's windfall profits into a fund that would help develop practical new sources of renewable energy.
The government controlling the energy markets? This is what Russia is doing. This is what Hugo Chavez is doing in Venezuela. Pure Marxism.

And renewable energy? This means wind towers in someone else's backyard (not Senator Clinton's). This means subsidized corn for ethanol -- ignoring the fact that ethanol is contributing to greenhouse gases and global warming. With the demand for Ethanol increasing, the price of all corn-based products is going to go up -- from soda pop to tortillas. (There's one thing that every Mexican know and that is the price of corn tortillas; raise those prices and witness the riots in Mexico.). Liberals are such idiots.

Most American oil companies are publicly held. They pay taxes on those profits. They pay dividends to pensioners.

It is easy to play Robin Hood, especially given the recent financial success the energy industry. We have seen other industries realize huge profits -- the finance industry for one. Let's hit them also [sic].

If Hillary thinks the success should only go so far, what if we said she made too much money; she needs to give some of that to some program, say, a program to identify ethical politicians. Let's start with her $8 million autobiography. Bill and Hillary are worth nearly $100 million. That's too much. That money should be allocated to those in need [sic].

Hillary, you are a freakin' commie. You truly think the government can do better than private industry. You think healthcare should be nationalized. What, are the new drugs just going to magically appear? Besides national security, when has the government ever created anything of value?

If you think government is the solution to all our troubles, then vote Democratic. I don't. I have faith in the people, in the markets. Despite our issues, we are still the best place in the world to live. For these reasons, I'll never vote for a Democrat.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Attrocities & Cooked Evident in the Ramos and Compean Case

This Border Patrol situation with agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean is getting filthier and filthier by the day. There are some many mysteries and hearsay that one does not know where the truth is. I would guess that there is blood on the hands of everyone involved.

An illegal immigrant, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, a known drug dealer running from the border patrol. He gets shot and wounded, but continues his escape into Mexico. He is sought out by a friend and border guard along with an American hating, greedy lawyer, given immunity to testify against the two agents. The agents were found guilt and sentenced to eleven and ten years in prison.

A Department of Homeland Security official now admits the agency misled Congress when it contended it possessed investigative reports proving Border Patrol Ramos and Compean confessed guilt and declared they "wanted to shoot some Mexicans" prior to the incident that led to their imprisonment.

Agent Compean made a complete, in-person verbal report to his supervisor at the scene immediately following the shooting incident.

The "evidence" appears cooked.

Over the weekend Ramos was assaulted in the Yazoo Federal Prison in Mississippi. Tom Tancredo said the agents elected to be housed with the normal prisons because this gave them the ability to have more frequent family visits as opposed to visits once a month as a "protected prisoner."

The two agents were not allowed to serve their time near their families. Instead of serving their time in Texas, they are in Mississippi and Ohio.

I hold the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and President Bush responsible for this outrage.

They have gone out of their way to encourage an open border. They discourage, by their actions or in-actions, people from working for the Border Patrol. These agents have no authority. they cannot do their jobs. They have no ability to stop illegals. The policies are favoring illegals over our own agencies and agents. They do not care that these illegals operate with immunity; that they crowd our prisons, use our medical expertise and fill-up our schools.

I cannot remember being more upset with our national leadership than I am with this issue.

The same people who say they do not have enough resources to control the borders were able to find the resources to track down an illegal criminal in Mexico, give him immunity, get him back here, protect him, all for the sake of prosecuting a couple of agents, who's guilt are very suspect.

I will never be able to forgive these two leaders for this. My opinion of President Bush has fallen to a point I did not think possible. His border policies and his weakness in fighting to win in Iraq give me no faith in him and his administration.

He has proven once and for all, he is a typical creepy politician and cannot do the right thing. My defense of him is over.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Relaxing Sarbanes-Oxley

Last week, President Bush made an appearance on Wall Street. He first addressed the topic of executive pay. He did not suggest government interference, but come one guys…how about a little self-regulation.

His comments were something to the effect that CEO and executive salaries and bonuses should be based on their success at improving their companies and bringing value to the shareholders. He added that Boards share in this dilemma in that they are the ones approving these exorbitant compensations packages.

Bush also addressed the “problem” of the Sarbanes-Oxley law he signed in 2002. He stated that the law did not necessarily need to be charged but there needs to be some changes in how it is implemented.

SOX is expensive for companies — the time and effort for high-paid specialists to ensure the proper policies, procedures and audit steps are in place and done on a continual basis are burdensome. These extra expenses are causing some companies to reconsider listing their companies on a U.S. stock exchange.

The implementation changes suggested by SEC Chair Christopher Cox deal with practical improvements. The purpose of SOX was to hold executives accountable for their financial data. However, the implementation became more of a comprehensive security program. Whereas a comprehensive security program should exist within every organization, having it mandated by law may not necessarily be prudent.

Why should the government tell us what our policy should be with respect to physical access? Shouldn’t the purpose of a financial reporting law like SOX be focused on accuracy in financial reporting? Shouldn’t the focus be on accuracy and access to financial records?

All security measures must be designed and implemented to help meet and facilitate business goals. We don’t do security because it is the thing to do. There must be real purposes behind our security programs.

SOX is designed for public American companies. It is an “obstacle” other countries and exchanges do not mandate. Like most things politicians do, their motivations might be pure but their implementations often miss the mark. Their legacy is adding bureaucracy where it does not need to exist. Let’s hope we can get the law right — a compromise between the security purists (and socialists) and the practical requirements dictated by business.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bush's Proposed Budget

The Bush administration has submitted a $2.90 trillion spending plan to Congress. It proposes, surprise, a big increase in military spending, including billions more to fight the war in Iraq.

He hopes (I hope) to make his first-term tax cuts permanent -- $1.6 trillion less American must pay the government over 10 years so they can better spend our money. He also hopes to find $78 billion in savings in the government's big health care programs - Medicare and Medicaid - over the next five years.

In order to meet the goal of eliminating the deficit in five years, looks like everything gets hit except military. Besides the loss of life, this is the one major reason foreign wars are bad -- they are the pits of all money pits.

A summary of President Bush's proposed 2008 budget:

-- Receipts: $2.662 trillion
-- Outlays: $2.902 trillion
-- Deficit: $239 billion
-- Projected Gross Domestic Product: $14.515 trillion
-- Deficit as percentage of GDP: 1.6 percent
-- Discretionary spending: $1.114 trillion
-- Mandatory spending: $1.527 trillion
-- Interest: $261 billion

Because I have an interest in transportation, consider the following...

AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley said that President George W. Bush's 2008 executive-branch budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation "Fully funds highways and safety programs, but fails to fully fund transit programs to levels promised in the last surface-transportation reauthorization bill."
Highways would see spending of about $39.585 billion, which is the SAFETEA-LU guaranteed level, and about $300 million more than in the current fiscal year's budget. The administration seeks $9.4 billion for transit, which represents a cut of $309 million below the level authorized in SAFETEA-LU. Most of that cut would come from the New Starts program, which would drop from $1.7 billion to $1.4 billion.

Horsley expressed concern about the budget for Amtrak. Amtrak currently receives $1.5 billion for the fiscal year. The Bush Administration which has called repeatedly for a restructuring of Amtrak, which I agree with, has offered about $800 million for such rail service in the proposed budget, including $300 million in "efficiency incentives." The administration also has proposed a new grant program to states, to allow them to take over some of the service now provided by Amtrak.
Government employees' are motivated to protect their jobs. Their secondary motivation is for their area of "expertise." No agency or department head is going to like his or her smaller budget. They'll claim the less money will hurt society. In most case, not true. It will hurt their power and ability to employ people on the backs of the tax payers.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl XLI

Super Bowl XLI is upon us. The media talking heads have said about all they can -- probably too much. I turned them off a week ago.

We all know about the top QB Manning) vs the top linebacker (Urlacher). About how poor the Bears QB (Grossman) has played and how weak the Colts defense has been against the run. We've had about all we can take about the race angle -- the first coach / coaches to be in the SB and the first black coach to win it. I think the better story is that we have two coaches that are mild-mannered and do not use cursing to get across their point.

The odds-makers and the bulk of the talking heads favor the Colts. The numbers favor the Bears.

-- The bulk of the SB winning teams were the teams that came into the game after allowing the fewer regular season points -- Bears 255 points, Colts 360 points.
-- If the Colts win, their 360 points would be the greatest yielded by any champ.
-- Only three SB champs have given up more than 300 points.
-- The Bears have outscored their opponents by 172 (better than five of the last six champs); the Colts outscored their opponents by 67.
-- Only the Raiders in SB XI, XV, XVII have have had few quality wins with a more porous defense than their SB opponent and won.
-- The Bears and the Colts scored the same number of points (427) during the regular season.
-- Grossman's yards per attempt is 6.66; Manning's is 6.84.
-- Against common opponents -- Jets, Giants, Pats, Bills and Dolphins -- Bears were 3-2 but scored 114 points and gave up 75. The Colts were 5-0 and scored 128 but gave up 107.

Growing up, my favorite player was Dick Butkus. However, I am no Bears fan (a Vikings and Browns fan). I've never been a Colts fan; but I do like Manning and Harrison. I hope for a good game. My pick: Da Bears -- good defenses seem to always raise to the challenge.

UPDATE: I selected wrong. Colts over the Bears 29-17. Terrible game. Boring game. Eight turnovers. Bears' D was less than stellar -- 5 by the Bears. The QB position must be an extremely difficult position to play because if Grossman is the best the opponents could offer, that is not much. He'd better move into another line of work because that was just terrible.

Super Bowl once again proves to be one of the most anti-climatic TV events of the year, including the so-called super bowl of commercials and the most-boring of all half-time show. What a wasted afternoon/evening.

There's no way anyone new to the game of American football would have any reason to turn in to this game in the future. Makes a 0-0 World Cup match look mighty appealing.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


As an active member of the LDS Church, we are encouraged both with cannon scripture and the General Authorities to be obedient in all things. There are a great many of us, I hope to be included in this group, who try to follow this council.

We try to attend our Church meetings, magnify our callings and stewardships, focus on our families by holding daily family prayer, weekly Family Home evenings, reading our scriptures regularly, and engage in all types of family-building activities. We hold our personal scripture study and prayer. We pay our tithing and other offerings. We obey the Word of Wisdom and law of chastity. We do our home teaching and visiting teaching. We serve others. We attend the temple.

Being a faithful member of the LDS Church is not easy. However, for those of us who have been members for some time, this is second nature. To us it is not hard. Being obedient is part of our demeanor. The challenges tend to be with the sins of omission, not commission.

Often, our leaders -- local and general -- ask us to do things we don't necessarily understand. However, we do them any ways because we know that the brethren will not lead us astray.

I heard something the other day that alarmed me. This person said "we never pray, read our scriptures, attend the temple, do our home/visiting teaching. Our kids do not work -- we give them whatever they need. And they seem to do just fine. And look at our house, cars and bank accounts."

The children actually do seem to do okay. In fact they tend to sore in their chosen endeavors -- in their academic and social settings.

This is hard for those around them who try to be obedient but do not seem to "receive the blessings" as their disobedient neighbors. What should one think about this?

In general, there is no real correlation between those who succeed in life and their religious practices. There are many people who are outwardly religious practitioners, Mormons included, but are practitioners in name only. In the case of the LDS faith, they are social Mormons. It is more of a cultural thing than a deep-felt belief and active practice.

These people are focused on the here and now. They chose to lay up their treasures where rust and moth can corrupt. They fail to see the benefits to the greater cause by serving other -- by thinking of more than their little circle of associates and narrow interests.

This is becoming a big problem within LDS culture. Many of these people are return missionaries and were married in the temple. But over time, their testimonies have slipped and they are caught up in the world. The hard thing for them is to recognize they have a problem, because they seem to have everything. By outwards appearances, they do, but inward, they are not at peace and seem to have no real higher purpose.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Save Us From Ourselves

From Al Gore to the Kyoto Protocol, from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the sky is falling. We are doomed. Global warming is unequivocal.

The Panel composed of international scientists predicts that global warming will continue for centuries no matter how much people control pollution. Their Report says people were "very likely" the cause of global warming. They place the burden on governments to take action.

The Report goes on to state that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are to blame for fewer cold days, hotter nights, heat waves, floods and heavy rains, droughts and stronger storms, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean.

This morning, Susan Solomon, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist and co-chair of the meeting in Paris, spoke with NPR regarding the Report. To the dismay of the interviewer, Steve Inskeep, a liberal twit, she did not blame the Bush Administration. She said that it was her job to do the science, not to create or recommend policy.

The key is the science. There is lots of bad science out there -- politically motivated science where the goal is to match the results with the political motivations.

When we hear the politicians talk, they have no understanding of true scientific process. They are heard repeatedly saying that the "consensus" is that global warming is caused by man. Science and consensus are unrelated. If the consensus is that God does not exist, that does not mean they are correct; if the consensus is that there are Martians, it does not make it so.

I am not convinced that a warming climate is as bad as they think. People tend to live in warming areas. Land not now used for agriculture may someday be used for crops.

We live in a dynamic world. Floods happen. Hurricanes happen. Tornadoes happen. Droughts happen. Asteroids do hit the earth. These are the risks of life. When something goes awry, scapegoats are sought. And for purely idiotic reasons, liberals (who make up the bulk of the anti-global warming crowd) like to blame President Bush, oil companies, and any entity not mainstream left.

Just look at the propaganda they spew: global warming is now responsible for at least two polar bear deaths, as they float away on ice drifts. Polar bear swim! If these can't save themselves, then it is survival of the fittest -- and stupid counts. I actually doubt this ice float was far from the main ice body, they just want you to "save the polar bears."