Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Television and Politics

The reason things are such a mess these days is largely because too few people vote. When people refuse to exercise their civic duty, they allow the corrupt minority to seize the reins of power.

America suffered a massive turn to the dark side in 1980 when Reagan was elected. In a lot of ways, that was a turning point.

In the 1970's, we had massive cuts in spending on public education; I recall it being described as a "Retreat from excellence" in our schools. At the same time, the kids suffering the effects of these cuts were also the first generation to be raised on television and tended to read far less than earlier generations.

The 1980 election was the first election where large numbers of the TV generation were first eligible to vote, and growing up with TV predisposed them to feel more comfortable with sound bites than with critical thinking on the important issues.

If you can't find a candidate to vote for, you can always find one to vote against. It's the lazy way out, but it's still better than not voting at all.

A cynical assertion that "votes don't matter anyway" is not wisdom, it's just simple-minded laziness.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Older and Wiser?

I recently heard someone assert that 

Obama supporters look at the present from the paradigm of the past. It's sad really.I can admit that of what I believed at 20 is pure BS' many can't. Beliefs die hard.
When I was 20, I believed in things like science, truth, compassion, and hope for a better world. None of those were BS. I may have been more optimistic when I was 20 than I am now, but the only BS was in underestimating how difficult it would be to make a positive difference in the world.

People who reject science and abandon their principles as they get older and instead embrace ignorance have not grown "older and wiser". If they reject science, they've become more foolish, and if they abandon their principles, they've become more lazy and/or cynical.

Friday, October 05, 2012

‎80 Year Old Marries for the Fourth Time

The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she had just gotten married for the fourth time. The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80, and then about her new husband's occupation. 

"He's a funeral director," she answered. 

"Interesting," the newsman thought. 

He then asked her if she wouldn't mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living. She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years. 

After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her 20's, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40's, and a preacher when in her 60's, and now - in her 80's - a funeral director. 

The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.

She smiled and explained, "I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go."

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

I am a job creator: A manifesto for the entitled

(found on Facebook, original from

I am a private-equity fund manager.
I am the misunderstood superhero of American capitalism, single-handedly creating wealth and prosperity despite all the obstacles put in my way by employees, government and the media.
I am a job creator and I am entitled.
I am entitled to complain about the economy even when my stock price, my portfolio and my profits are at record levels.
I am entitled to a healthy and well-educated workforce, a modern and efficient transportation system and protection for my person and property, just as I am entitled to demonize the government workers who provide them.
I am entitled to complain bitterly about taxes that are always too high, even when they are at record lows.
I am entitled to a judicial system that efficiently enforces contracts and legal obligations on customers, suppliers and employees but does not afford them the same right in return.
I am entitled to complain about the poor quality of service provided by government agencies even as I leave my own customers on hold for 35 minutes while repeatedly telling them how important their call is.
I am entitled to a compensation package that is above average for my company’s size and industry, reflecting the company’s aspirations if not its performance.
I am entitled to have the company pay for breakfasts and lunches, a luxury car and private jet travel, my country club dues and home security systems, box seats to all major sporting events, a pension equal to my current salary and a full package of insurance — life, health, dental, disability and long-term care — through retirement.
I am entitled to have my earned income taxed as capital gains and my investment income taxed at the lowest rate anywhere in the world — or not at all.
I am entitled to inside information and favorable investment opportunities not available to ordinary investors. I am entitled to brag about my investment returns.
I am entitled to pass on my accumulated wealth tax-free to heirs, who in turn, are entitled to claim that they earned everything they have.
I am entitled to use unlimited amounts of my own or company funds to buy elections without disclosing such expenditures to shareholders or the public.
I am entitled to use company funds to burnish my own charitable reputation.
I am entitled to provide political support to radical, uncompromising politicians and then complain about how dysfunctional Washington has become.
Although I have no clue how government works, I am entitled to be consulted on public policy by politicians and bureaucrats who have no clue about how business works.
I am entitled to publicly criticize the president and members of Congress, who are not entitled to criticize me.
I am entitled to fire any worker who tries to organize a union. I am entitled to break any existing union by moving, or threatening to move, operations to a union-hostile environment.
I am entitled to a duty of care and loyalty from employees and investors who are owed no such duty in return.
I am entitled to operate my business free of all government regulations other than those written or approved by my industry.
I am entitled to load companies up with debt in order to pay myself and investors big dividends — and then blame any bankruptcy on over-compensated workers.
I am entitled to contracts, subsidies, tax breaks, loans and even bailouts from government, even as I complain about job-killing government budget deficits.
I am entitled to federal entitlement reform.
I am entitled to take credit for all the jobs I create while ignoring any jobs I destroy.
I am entitled to claim credit for all the profits made during a booming economy while blaming losses or setbacks on adverse market or economic conditions.
I am entitled to deny knowledge or responsibility for any controversial decisions made after my departure from the company, even while profiting from such decisions if they enhance shareholder value.
I am entitled to all the rights and privileges of running an American company, but owe no loyalty to American workers or taxpayers.
I am entitled to confidential information about my employees and customers while refusing even to list the company’s phone number on its Web site.
I am entitled to be treated with deference and respect by investors I mislead, customers I bamboozle, directors I manipulate and employees I view as expendable.
I am entitled to be lionized in the media without answering any questions from reporters.
I am entitled to the VIP entrance.
I am entitled to everything I have and more that I still deserve.