Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Business Geek

I'm going to put my business geek hat on for a few minutes.

Many of you know I have been reading "The Age of Turbulence" by Alan Greenspan. While I agree on a lot of things he talks about (he's less political and more economical than a lot of people realize, which is why he is considered to be "controversial" in Washington, D.C.), I have found, on occasion, some things were my opinions differ.

Yesterday I finished the chapter on Corporate Governance and found a serious flaw in his thinking. Corporate Governance isn't only about making sure their corporation doesn't become the next poster child for Enron. It's also about who determines which people will hold which jobs at the top level, and how much they will get paid.

Let me give you one example: many of us shop at Wal-Mart. Their workers make a little over minimum wage, about $7 - 10 per hour on an hourly basis. Consider this: the CEO of Wal-Mart makes between $11,000 - 12,000 per hour. The other executives at Wal-Mart are also making top dollar. So while the average employee has to work 2 jobs before they can break even on their expenses and afford food, the executives are eating steak while dining at their country clubs.

Alan Greenspan tells people in his book that the role of corporate governance lies with the shareholders, not with the government. While this is would be true in the pure form of capitalism, it is not true in the real world. There does need to be more accountability of who works and where and how much they make with corporate executive positions.

There are officers the shareholders do vote on in the basic structure of the corporation, however these are people the CEO has already hand picked. Their wages are currently not voted on by shareholders. I agree with Alan Greenspan that some of these practices need to be changed with more involvement of the shareholders.

However there is one thing Greenspan is not understanding, and that is who the shareholders casting these votes are. Those who are wealthy enough to own actual shares of stock do not care much about those making minimum wages at their jobs. Those who are in the shrinking "middle class" invest using mutual funds and/or pension trusts, with managers calling the shots and casting the votes. These are also made up of wealthy managers who do not see nor care much about the plight of people making minimum wages. They own nice homes and send their children to private schools, the best money can buy.

The one thing Greenspan and I agree on the most, however, is how this will all play out in the end. There are a lot of the wealthy who will be retiring within the next 10 years. These are the baby boomers. When they retire, there will not be the numbers of workers able to replace these people. According to numbers and charts I've seen, the actual numbers of people in the workforce contributing to Social Security and Medicare is actually going to decrease in the coming years. Add to this the problem of better paying jobs being outsourced to other countries, so those left contributing to the retirement of these baby boomers will be earning less money. These two items, coupled with the added draw on both of these programs and you have a recipe for trouble.

The wealthy people, who for years thumbed their noses at the working poor in America, will soon find themselves at their mercy. Their undercutting the wages and education of America's future workforce is going to come back to haunt them. It will be interesting to see how this works out and what these wealthy people will do when (not if) this happens.

Monday, July 28, 2008

PBS 1, CNN 0

I was watching CNN at my Mother's home (I can't afford that level of cable television right now), and one of the shows was advertising the "truth" in all of the talk about the presidential candidates and their ties to lobbyists.

I've spoken before about how bad the situation is in Washington, D.C. regarding the lobbyists, but CNN went to an all-time low this evening. They started off with a report about ties to lobbyists for the two major candidates. It was concluded that McCain still has ties with federal lobbyists and Obama only has ties to state lobbyists, not federal lobbyists. What they failed to mention is that Obama does have a few ties (AIPAC being one of them) and a lot of the "small donations" are being "bundled" by lobbyists, and many of his large donors are hedge fund managers. These are facts documented in printed news media.

CNN did this weak and brief description of what bundling is, obviously the reporter getting their facts doesn't watch PBS. I do. On June 1, 2007 there was a story on Congressional Ethics that does a much better job exposing what is really going on by PBS, specifically The Bill Moyers Journal.

Here's the link to the story if you would like to see it for yourself: Click on Watch Video to see the segment.

The low point(s) came when the "political analysts" on CNN began defending the lobbyists, claiming they are doing their work on behalf of the American people. For the truth to this, I'll refer back to the Bill Moyers segment.

Why would CNN defend lobbyists and not give the full story of their influence on Washington? Because even CNN (as well as other major networks) has lobbyists to make sure the airwaves (owned by the public) continue to be theirs, free of charge.

Don't believe me? Watch another Bill Moyers Journal on the media and how major networks make a killing during election seasons: This one is from January 25, 2008.


Friday, July 25, 2008

In Memory of Dr. Randy Pausch

For those of you who have never heard about The Last Lecture given by Dr. Randy Pausch of Carnegie-Mellon University, you've missed out on a real treat.

Here is the lecture on YouTube:

Some of you who watch Oprah, he was also on and gave an abbreviated version of the lecture on her show on 10/22/2007. He was later asked to publish it in book form, and is now out in bookstores.

Randy passed away earlier today, but he has left a legacy that his children will grow up with and appreciate for their lifetimes.

My condolences go to his wife Jai and their 3 children, this man was (and will always be) a treasure to everyone touched by his message.

Monday, July 21, 2008

For Laurie

I thought of my favorite Razzzberry, Laurie, when I saw this: has all of their superhero posters for 25% off.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Movie Trailers

Hi There,

This post is for the movie buff out there (like me). I know some of you like watching the movie trailers. In some cases, the trailer is about the only part of the movie that's fit to see. ;o)

Did you know you can download some of these trailers? For Free? If you have iTunes, Apple has some of these trailers available for you to download and keep to your heart's content. Click here to see a list of trailers available for download. If you use a Windows machine, you'll want to open iTunes. Then look at the titles on the link I've given you. When you find a title you like, click on the link for that title and click on the link for the iPod. This will push the trailer to your iTunes. From there, you can watch it on iTunes on your computer, or synch it to your iPod (if you have video on your iPod).

I've already downloaded a few for the new Batman movie, the new 007 movie, as well as for Twilight, for those fans of the novels. I even found the trailer for An Unreasonable Man in the Documentary section.

Here's the catch: since I know many of you have your own taste in movies, could you please spread the word to those who might be interested?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Knowledge Vs. Wisdom

This is a provocative speech given by Google with their guest Ralph Nader.

There is a question he is asking these people, whom are the amongst the best and brightest in the world.

With Google, you have at your fingertips more knowledge than you could fit in the Library of Congress. Yet, here we are, in a campaign season, and this country is facing some serious problems. With all of this information available, why are we not able to fix the problems we have in this country, alone? Why is it, in schools we teach students to learn facts, but what are they doing with those facts?

This is why we have this disconnect between knowledge vs. wisdom.

What can be done to help resolve this problem, not only in our schools, but in our homes?

Your thoughts?

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Hi there, folks.

As I am writing to you, my home is completely dark. My neighborhood is blacked out due to the monsoon storms we get in Arizona. I'm using the battery power on my laptop for this, I'll have to wait for the power to come back so I can publish this on the internet. Yes, folks, no electricity, no internet.

There are some do's and don'ts to surviving a blackout. After the power has gone off:
1. turn off and unplug your electronics.
2. turn off your air conditioner
3. turn off the light switches around the home.

The reason for this is a simple one: once the power comes back on, you don't want to have another blackout because of how many things you have on pulling amps out of the circuits. The other reason is that a lot of times with the return of electricity, can come power surges through the wires which can fry the internal wiring for anything plugged in. This is where surge protectors and battery back-ups for computers come in handy.

Also, please keep in mind that when the electricity is out, so are the cordless phones. Cell phones may or may not work, dependent upon whether the cause of the blackout didn't also take out the cell phone towers. Having a land line phone with at least 1 corded telephone hooked up is also a must in blackout situations. Any kind of an emergency could happen during the blackout, this should be a part of every person's preparation.

That said, there is a "reason for my success" in a blackout. With preparation and maintenance, you can get through a blackout with relative ease.

One secret: the flashlights. Not only having flashlights in your home is a must, making sure the batteries are charged and ready to go is another must. Also, there are different types of flashlights, but there is a type, made by Coleman (there may be other brands like this, but this is the brand I have) that have a dual function. Yes, it's a flashlight, however if you pull on the handle, a clear plastic tube appears that transforms your flashlight into a lantern. Coleman no longer carries the exact model I have, however they do have a newer model that can be found here.

Another secret: candles. Having a supply of candles and matches is also a must. Using candles that are scented might be great, but please consider the fact you will not have airflow in your home, so the smell might be a bit overpowering. It's better to stick with regular candles.

Another secret: if you have a long-term blackout, you may want move your mind set from temporary to more permanent. Yes, the blackout is inconvenient, however there are people who live just fine without electricity. Think Amish. The Amish communities shun the more modern conveniences, but yet live rather well. How do Amish people handle long periods of no sunlight? Oil lamps. One tip with oil lamps, as well as candles, make sure to keep the room you use them in is ventilated.

There are also a number of other appliances and items the Amish people use that are non-electric. Decker did some research on this when we were first married, and we found a store that has an online catalog as well. This store caters to the Amish, as well as non-Amish who are looking for alternatives when supplying their homes. This includes solar panels as well. The store is called Lehman's, and is a great place to find oil lamps as well as other items to supply your home for emergency situations. Lehman's can be found at

One more thought: If your entire community has lost power, that can also mean the water treatment plant supplying your water could have lost power as well. Keeping 10 - 15 gallons of water per person in your home will give you potable water to use in emergency situations.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What People Will Do To Win A Public Office

Grand Jury indictments came on Thursday in Pennsylvania from the state's Attorney General's office. Those being charged with crimes are from the Democratic House caucus. It didn't stay local for long, though, as the alleged crimes spread out into other counties and also led to the removal of the signatures and forms for Presidential candidate Ralph Nader in 2004. All of this using taxpayer funds to go after anyone these people didn't want in the race, or to help elect others into public office, all the while using tax payer funds, state employees while on the clock and bonuses for state employees who produced the most during an election season.

The first I heard about it was from Ralph Nader's web site, click here.

It references a web site page giving some details of the grand jury findings:

If you would like a verbal explanation of what happened and what led to these findings, be sure to watch the video. For a full list of what 2 grand juries have found, check out the links for the findings.

This was going on nationwide in 2004 as the Republican and Democratic parties were both afraid Ralph Nader would cost the Democrats the election as they have erroneous claimed 4 years before. This time they were using every trick in the book, and then some, to make sure Ralph Nader was not on the ballot. Many of the court battles ensuing during the election and judged after the election was over found that Ralph was within his rights to campaign and collect signatures for these states, however by the time the judgements came down, the election was over and Ralph had already been removed from the ballots.

For all of their efforts in 2004, not just in Pennsylvania, but also in other states conducting similar fights against Ralph Nader, their candidate, John Kerry, still lost. The candidate who should have landslided one of the least popular presidents in U.S. history, and the Democrats still lost.

This is just one of many reasons why our founding fathers (including George Washington) did not want a party system in getting candidates, because it creates a system where people vote for the party and not for the candidate. The U.S. citizens will lose the most in the election.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


No, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not created it's own YouTube, this is just an expression I came up with to mention the participation of members of my faith on You Tube. It's funny, my friend, Shellee, was the one who showed one of the videos from You Tube that has been submitted, and once I checked out that video, I couldn't stop!


That one is great, but I like this the most!


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ralph Nader - Minus The Suit

Would you believe that Ralph Nader does occasionally wear something other than a suit? This picture looks like it was taken in the fall (the trees with leaves changing in the photo are beautiful), but this is a rare occasion. And yes, he is into sports.

This photo is courtesy of

Those Old "Outdated" Laws

Because of a law passed in 1893, a college student has been charged with a felony. He has been charged with the same crime members of our U.S. Congress do everyday. The difference? He made his "crime" public on ebay. What was his crime? As a prank, he posted on ebay that his vote in the U.S. Presidential election was available to the highest bidder.

Here's the article in CNN:

What do you think?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day, America

Just a quick note to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day.

Two hundred thrity two (232) years ago, a document was signed and published throughout the colonies. This document was signed by men committing high treason, and began a war on our own shores. That document, The Declaration of Independence, stated our intent to become a nation of our own and depose King George III of England as our king.

Could you imagine signing something that would place a death sentence on you for doing so? Would you sign it, or would you conform to the "royalists" who didn't want change to occur?

Happy Independence Day!