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2009 September — Why Now?
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Posts from — September 2009

Justification For The Salary?

The ABC reports on a study of the executive pay in Australian companies: Derailing the ‘gravy train’

A leading academic says he has found no correlation between what executives are paid and how their companies perform.

Associate Professor John Shields, from Sydney University’s discipline of work and organisational studies, studied Australia’s 500 largest listed companies and found that pay was generally not closely connected with share price and profit performance.

“Our research is saying, in terms of those traditional measures of CEO impact on company performance – return on equity, total shareholder return – you need an electron microscope to find any association [with executive remuneration].”

Of course, most people have already figured it out – there is no rational reason for the huge compensation packages that most CEOs receive.

In the airlines, the management team that led the company into bankruptcy is given bonuses when it convinces all of the workers to take pay cuts.

In banking the guys who drove over the cliff, are given bonuses to stay on because they are the only ones who know what happened.

They get incentive bonuses when the company does well, and when the company tanks. The executive salaries just keep climbing, when everyone who actually does meaningful work to produce the company’s products are given pay cuts, or are being laid off.

This is insane.

September 30, 2009   2 Comments

Another Spine On Display

This is how it’s done.

Rep. Alan Grayson [D-FL08] is a first term Congresscritter from the Orlando – Disneyworld district which is supposed to be Republican. He’s not just a Democrat, he’s a blatantly progressive Democrat and doesn’t intend to put up with any more crap from the GOP.

September 30, 2009   2 Comments

A Good Point

The Pensacola News Journal has an op-ed piece by a local attorney who occasionally appears on television as a liberal talking head: Papantonio: ABC, NBC, CBS much worse than Fox News.

His basic point is that Fox doesn’t attempt to hide what it represents, but the broadcast networks refuse to admit their underlying biases.

This goes back to a point I’ve made several times: during the majority of the history of the United States the media were openly partisan. There are a large number of newspapers in this country that include Democrat or Republican in their name, clearly identifying their partisan roots. It has only been since World War II and the conglomeration of the media that an attempt was made to appear “fair and balanced”. Much of this was driven by the “Fairness Doctrine” imposed on broadcast television.

The public would be better served if the media openly announced their bias, so people could make up their own minds as to how to judge the reporting.

September 30, 2009   5 Comments


Late last night saw the introduction of Samuel Thomas Pritsky, who already has a blog.

A few years earlier on this day Susie Madrak was introduced, but she had to wait for her blog.

A happy birthday to both.

September 30, 2009   Comments Off on Birthdays

Tsunami Update & Sumatran Earthquake

The ABC has an update on the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in the Samoan islands. More than 100 people have died and there are an unknown number of missing.

They also report on a Deadly quake off Indonesia’s Sumatra Island

A strong earthquake of magnitude 7.6 struck off the city of Padang on the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, killing at least 75 people, the country’s vice-president said.

Jusuf Kalla said homes, hotels, schools, shops and other buildings had collapsed.

A hospital in Padang in the area near the epicentre of the quake also collapsed, trapping thousands under rubble, Indonesia health ministry’s disaster centre head Rustam Pakaya said.

The US Geological Survey, which monitors global seismic activity, had earlier estimated the earthquake magnitude at 7.9 but later lowered it to 7.6.

A regional tsunami warning issued after the earthquake struck was lifted, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

If you look at the USGS Earthquake Map you can see the entire Pacific “Ring of Fire” traced in recent earthquake activity. The vibrations from a large earthquake can cause other weak points to snap.

September 30, 2009   Comments Off on Tsunami Update & Sumatran Earthquake


I noticed a lot of media outlets headlining “Girl dies after HPV vaccination”. This is the follow-up from the BBC: Cancer jab ‘unlikely’ death cause

Dr Caron Grainger, joint director of public health for NHS Coventry and Coventry City Council, said the results of a preliminary post-mortem examination had “revealed a serious underlying medical condition which was likely to have caused death”.

“We are awaiting further test results which will take some time,” she said. “However indications are that it was most unlikely that the HPV vaccination was the cause of death.”

There have been approximately 1.4 million HPV vaccinations in Britain that have resulted in less that 5,000 adverse reactions. The reactions have been: headache, nausea, dizziness, sore arm, and a rash.

Note: A side benefit of the National Health Service in Britain is that they can actually get reliable information on health problems and the effects of procedures and drugs because everyone can go to the doctor and afford their medications.

September 29, 2009   1 Comment

Regional Differences

A week or so ago John McKay was expressing annoyance that people in Seattle don’t use their turn signals.

Well, of course they don’t. Being the Pacific Northwest they are saving energy and reducing pollution by not turning on those lights. It takes extra fuel to power those lights and they do generate heat. Every little bit helps, even if it is infinitesimal.

Down here there are two major reasons for large groups of people not using their directional signals.

In the first group, the retired, they used them when they drove the car off the dealer’s lot, never turned them off, and eventually they burned out.

The second, larger group, believes that using directional signals makes them easier for the black helicopters and government satellites to track, and why do you want to know where they are going? They aren’t going to help the jack-booted stormtroopers kick down their door and take their weapons by advertising they are going to make a left turn from the right-hand lane on a six-lane highway. They have to lose the people who are following them.

September 29, 2009   9 Comments

Pacific Tsunami

Update: The ABC is now carrying reports of deaths and injuries in Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga, as a result of the earthquake, and tsunami. The USGS has logged 13 additional aftershocks in the area in the 5 to 6 range.

The CBC reports South Pacific tsunami alert issued after earthquake

The quake struck 35 kilometres below the ocean floor and was 190 kilometres from American Samoa and 200 kilometres from Samoa, the survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a general alert for the South Pacific region, from American Samoa to New Zealand.

The ABC has a later report

Sea level readings indicated a tsunami was generated in the Pacific, said the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, a branch of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the quake had been 8.3-magnitude and said it “may have been destructive along coasts” near the epicentre.

The USGS earthquake site lists the initial shock as 8.0 on 2009/09/29 at 17:48:11 UTC [12:48PM CDT] with a 5.6 aftershock.

There are too many variables for anyone to predict the height of a tsunami or the direction of travel, but a beach visit in the South Pacific would not be a good idea. This was a major shock and will probably trigger multiple shocks in other places.

September 29, 2009   4 Comments


This makes me very angry: McClatchy reports that Obama says ‘no’ to pensions for WW II Alaska guards

WASHINGTON — In a strongly worded message to Congress outlining its priorities for a military spending bill, the Obama administration today said it disapproved of including money for pensions for 26 elderly members of the World War II-era Alaska Territorial Guard.

The Guardsmen are among those assigned to protect Alaska from the Japanese during World War II.

The Army decided this year to no longer count service in the Guard in calculating the military’s 20-year minimum for retirement pay, although it still counts for military benefits. As a result, their pensions were decreased in January.

An estimated 300 members are still living from the original 6,600-member unit formed in 1942 to protect Alaska, then a territory, from attack. The 26 men have enough other military service to reach the 20-year minimum for retirement pay but would lose it if the Territorial Guard service doesn’t count.

Alaska did not become a state until 1959. During World War II Alaska was a Federal territory with the governor appointed by the Federal government. The Japanese occupied the three western most islands in the Aleutian chain. The Territorial Guard were protecting Federal lands, and defending national borders under the command of a Federal officer, the governor.

Alaska served as a major link in the supply effort for the Soviet Union which is why the AlCan Highway was built. The state is still the site of major military facilities, even following the draw down following the collapse of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War.

This blatant act of disrespect by Obama is the sort of thing that was a regular feature of the Rumfield Reign at the Department of Defense. This is nothing a real Democrat would do. This is just miserly and mean-spirited. [There is an excellent and precise term available in English for this type of action, but it causes the vapors among stupid people, so I won’t use it.]

September 28, 2009   5 Comments


funny pictures of cats with captions

How about the annoying people who write the installation software for HP printers.

Note to self: when replacing an HP printer with another HP printer, always remove any and all HP printer software first, as the installation of new software does not update or overwrite existing programs, it duplicates them and they want different versions of .dlls with the same freaking name located in the same directories.

September 27, 2009   7 Comments

Banned Book Week

Actually, it started yesterday, but I was busy trying to clean-up after the mess made by installing a new printer.

Banned Books Week is a project of the American Library Association, among others, to highlight the ongoing attempts by individuals and governments to control what people can read.

Looking at their list that includes the reasons books were banned can be a trip down the rabbit hole.

For instance, The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, was burned by the Nazis for being socialist, but the East German government banned it because they didn’t think it was socialist enough. This was the novel that was a major reason we have a Food and Drug Administration.

It’s about the meat packing industry, and was written to protest the working conditions of the employees. Of course, nothing was done about the abysmal working conditions, still performed mostly by immigrant labor in appalling conditions, but the food is a bit safer.

A real surprise was learning that The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, was burned by the Nazis. It’s a book about a dog. What’s not to like about a dog, even Hitler liked his dog?

Even the Local Puppy Trainer had an article on Banned Book Week [polishing their libertarian credentials]. They featured a story about a parent complaining about a book her child had gotten from the local library being inappropriate.

It turns out that it was inappropriate for children, which is why it is kept in a special section, and her child didn’t check it out. It was stolen and the library wanted it back and banned the child.

September 27, 2009   7 Comments

First Salvo In The War On X-Mas

The Pensacola News Journal reports that Christmas decorating off for ’09. The group in charge of the decorating, which is financed by business taxes, has canceled the decorations for this Christmas season for a totally secular reason – they are broke.

This happens when you cut taxes continuously and don’t establish “rainy day” funds for the bad times, activities financed by the activities run out of money and have to shut down.

A major problem with business development in the South is that the first thing that is offered is tax avoidance. This leads to a situation where there are only a few paying the taxes that are used to promote business. When growth falters or the small businesses paying the taxes fail, the house of cards collapses.

September 26, 2009   3 Comments

The Village Doesn’t Get It

Susie Madrak noticed the same Washington Post piece that I was intending to write about earlier and covers it well.

The Post writer and the Democrats think the reason that the DCCC and DSCC [House and Senate campaign committees, for non-political junkies] can’t raise money is because the “big money” guys are upset over the “tough stance” the Dems are taking towards business.

First off, what in hell would lead anyone to believe that the Dems are taking a “tough stance” on anything? Has anything substantial been done to any of those people who are responsible for nearly pushing the global economy over the cliff? Has any real reform been enacted, or even being pushed? What planet are these people on?

Then the writer says that the “activists” are being complacent because the Dems control everything.

Hello, the “activists” are waiting for the majorities in the House and Senate, as well as taking the White House, to produce some results. So far, the Democrats have done nothing that advances the progressive agenda, so the “activists” are looking at individual candidates, rather than trusting the party with their money.

If the Democratic Party can’t make some real changes with the mandate they have been given, they will never be able to change anything, so there’s no reason to support them. The “activists” should save their money for a real progressive, liberal party.

September 26, 2009   6 Comments

Tropical Depression 8 9-26

Tropical Depression Grace?Position: 18.0 N 34.8 W [10 AM CDT 1500 UTC].
Movement: Northwest [295°] near 14 mph [22 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 35 mph [55 kph].
Wind Gusts: 45 mph [70 kph].
Minimum central pressure: 1008 mb.

It is 725 miles [1170 km] West-Northwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

The Depression is encountering stronger wind shear, has a mass of dry air to the West, and is over cooler water. Its chances of development are marginal, and it poses no threat to any land. I’m going to stop updating on it unless it decides to do something interesting.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

[For the latest information click on the storm symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Hurricanes” for all of the posts related to storms on this site.]

September 26, 2009   Comments Off on Tropical Depression 8 9-26