Saturday, October 29, 2011

Occupy Wrong Street

I have been watching with interest the entire concept that has become Occupy Wall street and I struggle with what this movement actually means. I get it I mean a lot of people are pissed off. If I was out of work and had to picked up the news paper to read about bail outs, excessive compensation packages , I would be angry.

But the issue has to boil down to an outcome right. What do you want to change because of these protests? No more rich people? It seems that the protest has targeted the wrong lever. It should be going at how the system becomes corrupted in the first place. If you want to make real change – Protest for campaign reform. The rich and powerful people of this great land will continue to maintain undue influence as long as the people making the rules are dependent on them for money to get reelected. In my opinion that is the lever that is fundamentally broken and instead of occupy wall street it should be occupy lobbyist capital.

I don’t have a problem with people making lots of money with living in towering mansions while people starve. That may sound awful. But I am awful sometimes. The problem that I do have is when this money allows for the subversion of the democratic process.

I don’t blame rich people for wanting to protect the wealth I blame the people we elected to safe guard our political system with letting them do it.

I struggle to find the difference between political contributions and bribes.

PS I think the ways this is slipping into everyday talk are already way past their welcome. i.e Occupy Couch, Occupy Nap, Occupy %#^#%^ etc

Friday, October 28, 2011

People Been Foxed - Obama Scorecard

This graphic has been displayed on and reshared on several social networking sites and it needs to be addressed because it is misleading.

1.)In order to do this I need to address the ironic nature of the exercise itself. Those people who keep resharing this are defending it as the truth. Notice there are no sources listed on this diagram by the nature of the content it has obviously been put together by someone with a republican agenda. Even though there are no sources listed on this diagram people will attack mine as if my sources are the problem not the “mysterious sources” used here. I encourage attacking my sources and sending your own it will only make my argument stronger.

2.)Inauguration date is specific however ,today is not and open to interpretation. I could assume that today means the end of 2010 since you could only do an apples to apples calculation for say debt per person using the last known figures for population which were the 2010 census results but since that calculation doesn’t equal the answer on this graph I can only assume that the creator of the graph picked an arbitrary date after looking at the data that would provide them with the best results. Some of the answers are just false using any available statistics I can not recreate where this number is coming from or how the person is calculating.

a.However to make the data meaning and answer the question is the change really negative I will use the yearly national average comparing 2007 last year of predecessor to the most current year end which is 2010(this avoids being able to cherry pick monthly data. )

3.)I am also going to challenge another embedded assumption. The creator of this graph wants you to believe two things

a.That this value on inauguration is the value it was in the past. For example gas was $1.85 until Obama took office and then it sky rocketed. This is a complete fallacy as gas was nationally above $4.00 while Bush was in office and the market movement occurred right before his inauguration. (Which happens to be in January, when demand for gas is at the lowest)

b.This graph also make the assumption that the only thing that matters in these figures is the US Government. It fails to acknowledge the role of global markets, China and India’s increased demand and US Government activities that happened prior to his term that have an impact on these numbers such as the Bush Tax Cuts, War on Terror, Financial Bailout Package, Medicare Part C and D ect.
While some of these metrics could be debated in a 50 page thesis my intent here is only to debate a few of these that would have the least amount of controversy and the most reliable amount of public data.

Global Competitive Index
Let me start with one I don’t dispute. One that is probably not familiar to most people. The movement in global competitiveness from 1-5 as stated by the World Economic Form. ( First what is the World Form? It is a group of the largest companies in the world. How do these companies decide the rankings? If you find out let me know. Here is the current ranking :

As an illustration: Am I surprised that Visa was upset over the caps on transactions fees and dropped its score of the US? Not really. Does this score mean that you are worse off or better off? Depends on how you feel about transaction fees as a small business. (What sounds worse four place drop or .05 reduction in score from large companies?) Are US companies set to leave for Sweden and Finland?

Gas Prices
Information varies widely this is the source that I used
For the year of 2007 the nominal value of a gallon of unleaded gas was 3.007 for 2010 last full year of data it was 2.519 (3.007-2.519)/3.007 = 16% decrease in gas prices since he took office. I think largely this is a benchmark that is more of a market function then a political one but still.

Health Care Premiums Can’t think of a better rebuttal than this video. Yes your premiums have gone up but it is looking at a larger issue. :50-1:30 This static is looking a specific individuals premium amount not the larger picture that the plan is trying to solve for the future. The “change” that is being directed is a much more global level and when the global view is focused on the individual increase makes sense.

Misery Index
There are several of these next ones that are interrelated and subject to the same fallacy. What is the misery index for example? It is the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. What does that mean? Not a whole lot other then Arthur Okun thought it was cool. According to him Americans has the most miserable time of their lives in 1980…you know what I remember about 1980 The Empire Strikes back - Great website something I would bank my future on.

Unemployed Americans – Unemployment Rate – Federal Debt – Debt Per Person – Food Stamp Recipients – Americans in Poverty – Health Care Insurance Premiums
All of these topics are worthy of lengthy debate as to their accuracy what isn’t reflected in this graph is the changes that are leading to these figures.

1.)Markets conditions have caused mass amounts of lay-offs period. I will not debate the causes of those contractions here but what I will address is that the government can only employee people through stimulus or more spending. When that is voted a down there is not much the government can do to change these numbers.

2.)Massive amounts of debt can be attributed to Bush Tax Cuts, Iraq War, Financial Bailout Package, Medicare Part C and Medicare Part D.

3.)If you want to really do a challenge of the cost and impact of “Obama care” on premiums and debt and exclude the impacts of these prior initiatives on present results you are not looking at a correct picture.

4.)Changing demographics as the baby boomer generation retires there is more demand on social programs.

5.)As we recall troops from war which make up one of the largest unemployed populations in the country we are increasing some of these figures.

6.)Global completion and pricing are having an impact across the board too. - For some further analysis on Employment numbers.


When I say someone has been “FOXed” what I mean is that they believe without question or looking holistically at an issue what a talking head has presented as fact. I highly doubt any of the people who posted this graphic knew what misery index or global competitive position actually mean, who or how they are calculated. To be fair there are a lot of liberals who do the same thing.

This debate has been going on over several different feeds and social network sites over the last week. I have been called a socialist, communist, a liberal nut, a child that receives a bad report car and is looking to blame others for the marks.
If researching and questioning something equates to any these items it is a title that I gladly accept. I realize that more of these barbs are in good fun and I hope parts of this can be considered in the same way.

The truth is Obama campaigned on and change is hard. The truth is the president no matter who that person is will have little impact on the current employment figures we see. I think it is also true that we are all the children pointing fingers at the people we feel responsible for the current situation instead of looking at ourselves and wondering what can as an individual do to change them.

My personal bias is that we are moving in the right direction, that it is darkest before the dawn. That significant change comes from small course directions over a long period of time. I shudder at the mere thought Perry, Bachman, Cain, Paul coming into office.

That said I appreciate all of the people who participated in these discussions. Even if I don’t agree with you I appreciate your wiliness to defend a position for you make me more diligent and aware and it is evitable that a few my own assumptions over turn.

New Business Idea #25461

Industry: Home Care
Name: Vinocare or Vinosolutions
Premise if you are feeling bad and lonely someone comes over and drinks some wine with you. Kind of like meals on wheels except you get smashed together.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Come and Go

What makes people move out of the city?
Fear >( Concern /motivation) ^pride in where you live – other options?
What makes people move back? Gas > Afford

A little tongue and cheek but think about that, I bet we will clean up our city and modernize our schools at $5.00 a gallon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Murder Rates

I wonder if murder rates are really the best way to judge if a city is getting safer or more dangerous. I mean we have to be getting better at treating gunshot victim’s right? Medical treatment and response times going up would mean less people die from their injuries but less people dying than before does not mean the same thing as we are safer than ever before. I think medically admitted for gunshot (stab wound) wound treatment would be a better metric to track.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to be a better dick

Some lessons I have been learning from one of the best lately that I thought I would share.
1.)Leave trash on the counter when you are paying for stuff so the cashier has to throw away your stuff.

2.)When go to a party don’t bring anything, if you usually don’t bring anything take something from the party to go.

3.)On your treat day for work bring only enough treats for half the people.

4.)When it is other peoples treat day take two of what they brought and complain about whatever it is.

5.)Take up two parking spots because you’re special.

6.)Don’t stop for pedestrians they are not important, if they were they would be in a car.

7.)Brag about how much money you make and then leave a 5% tip.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Toast to Love

(Scribbling of a wedding toast to my wife)


Here is to love.
Here is to clinking glasses
Hugs from Friends
Warm Summer Days
And Nights that never end.

Here is to fires in the fall
As leaves trickle down
And warm and comfy blankets
Against winters fridget wall

For those who travel far
So they could be near
For those who couldn’t make it
Wish you were here
No matter what lies ahead
On this road of life
I am truly grateful
That you are my wife.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

80% or 90%? Same Difference Right?

4 out of 5 people X
9 out of 10 people X
Just for the record these are two different things. Two different totals. It doesn’t mean the same thing as one person out of an entire group is going to disagree. It means 80% and 90% of some sample that is probably easy poke hole in X’ed

Friday, October 21, 2011

Smoking as a Habit

Driving past my old high school recently I couldn’t help but get a little sense of de ja vu seeing the little kids outside smoking. I mean that was me many years back. While it has been six months since my last cigarette and I have grown to hate the smell a part of me understands.

When your world as a kid has no consistency or is so topsy-turvy there is something extremely comforting in a habit. There is something comforting in sharing it with others. It is a consistent break, a consistent motion, a consistent feeling.
I notice that even as I removed cigarettes the need for a certain amount of ritual remains in my life. My lists, my routines. I think these remain as by-product of growing up with so much uncertainty of what the immediate and long term future might hold.

In a sense I tried to even out the wild swings in daily expectations with some sort of normalcy. With the small things I could control, often to my own determent.
I wonder what I tell a younger version of me. How I would help them make better decisions.
Then I remember a younger version of me wouldn’t have listened anyway.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Saved by the Grace of God

The truth is you saved yourself you just don’t feel like you deserve to say that. Like it would be selfish if you decided to save yourself. It is ok. You earned it and deserve it don’t cheapen it by giving the credit away.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Computer Programming and Autism

I have no proof of this in any level but just something that I have observed. I would be willing to bet that autism runs at a higher frequency in families that are of a highly technical nature. For example if you look at the incidence of autism you would find more incidences within an IT Team than within a sales team.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All Things Equal

“He has really done well for himself at such a young age, masters from XXX and now a job at XXX, making XXX”

“That is great a master in mathematics of finance from XXX that is pretty impressive, have you done the calculation on the cost of your student loan “ (I had just done mine so it was a legit question but it involved the subject)

“My parents were able to pay for it”

“Oh?..that’s great. Still it is a hard school to get into you should be proud”

“Well I am a legacy both my parents went there”

So are you a success or is this your parent success story? I guess success is being able to take opportunities as they come and capitalize on them but part of me loathes the arrogance of people who fail to realize that if all things were equal they would not be as successful as they think they are.

It is also a demonstration that the biggest advantage you can give your kids in life is a quality college education.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The God Delusion and its Negative Impact on Medical Research.

This is not another post about the benefits of stem cell research. It is about something even more fundamentally flawed in the belief systems of religious people that keeps me up at night. It is the myth of the afterlife and its unintentional consequences.

The myth of the afterlife is how people can fly planes into buildings.

The myth of the afterlife is how people can strap bombs to their bodies and kill other human beings.

The myth of the afterlife is also the reason we fail to acknowledge our own mortality and take a lackadaisical approach as a society to medical research.

If we truly accepted our reality for what it is. That this life is all that we have. If we cherished it for what it is there should be no end to the amount of research and development we would devote to the curing of diseases and extending the quality of life.

I don’t want to die.

I don’t want people I love to die.

I believe that we have the capacity for the intellectual and technical skill required for curing cancer or Alzheimer’s.

I just think most people lack the focus or the willingness to accept the reality. This has devastating impacts not only to ourselves but to the people who we love.

Don’t pray for sick, don’t go to the church to light a candle, don’t make a donation to the diocese. These are sure fire ways to do nothing.

Do something real.

Put money in the right coffers.

Get off your knees and do.

Can you imagine the power we could have to change our future if everyone awoke from the myth of god and realized how precious, beautiful and fleeting this life is and how much of a difference a small amount of action by a large number of people can make?

Until we challenge the myth of the afterlife people will continue to blow each other up and millions of us will die while you pray for a miracle and fantasize about puffy clouds and harps.

Remember we are our own miracle.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In Columbus’s Defense

Not to ruffle too many feathers but all of the negative attributes attributed to Columbus were all alive and well in America before he even set sail. The Aztecs and Inca's for but a small example both lead conquest wars decimating other "native tribes" taking slaves and conquering lands for their own material needs. The Aztecs for example were reaching a pinnacle of their regional domination during the period that the conquistadors arrived. If their empire extended they could well have decimated other so called indigenous tribes across Mexico and central America….yes unfortunately greed, lust , brutality, slavery, theft, rape and murder are not just a European construct.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Handy Man

He is so handy. There are times when I take this personally. I am not particularly handy. I mean I can do some things don’t get me wrong, change a light fixture, snake a sink, install facets but not the real the big stuff. There is a skip and void there that every once in a while gets me.

99% of handy man didn’t pick those skills up on their own…they were not born handy…they don’t have some ingrained genetic ability or superiority. They usually learned that skill from their dad. When someone who happens to be handy makes fun of someone who isn’t I can’t help but be a little sad cause what I really hear is how come you can’t do this? Your dad must have not been there…and most of the time that is true.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Food Porn

It is everywhere. I blame Top Chef. When a rack of lamb has its own website and tufu nuggets have a three page centerfold we have gone too far. I wonder if the proliferation of health food pictures will ever come under the same scrutiny as corn syrup, I mean both can cause obesity if not consumed in moderation right? One makes you hungry by tempting you with delicious images and causes over eating just the same as the empty calories in the other can….

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

There is an expression that goes something like this, if I can see father it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants. It is meant to encapsulate building off of something that someone else has already done. Taking it a step further.

I have been thinking about this in context to school a lot lately as I close in on the end of my MBA. Sitting in class and at home doing massive computations long hand seems like an incredible waste of time. I understand the need to see the fundamentals but shouldn’t I leverage the shoulders of others who have created things like calculators and Excel? Maybe we waste too much time learning the basics when the basics and how to do them have changed. I realize that you have to learn the basics before you can take the next logical step and learn how to apply the techniques in new ways that might lead to a new break through. But I wonder if there is a better way to do this.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I realize that how others view my life depends on how I exit this one.

For example if I am gunned downed a gas station robbery as I was innocently pumping gas the news might state that local troubled kid who made good was cut down in the prime of his life before he could maximize the full potential.

But if I was the cause of an accident one night in which I was killed along side another car full of people I would be the deadbeat who never grow up and had problems with the law on and off his whole life.

For some reason I find this situation extremely liberating. It gives me pause during pivotal decisions that I am making to decide which side of the coin I want to be on if indeed this is the last flip.

It is kind of an absolution in a way all of the mistakes of your life can be forgiven if create an environment and history of being on the right side of the toss. Future actions in this sense can make past mistakes right. As long as you die doing the right things.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brilliant\Horrific Circular Logic

People will ridicule your believes and persecute you. In every major religion there is some variation of this theme. The propagator of the religion instructs the followers that some outside evil force will judge them and mock their belief and there is usually some reward for holding fast against these evil forces.

This horrifying circular logic is brilliant in most regards. For example the propagator states that you need to wear a sheet on your head if you don’t there will be some repercussion or withholding of reward.

Now if someone criticizes the sheet on their head instead of causing that person to examine that belief it reinforces the superstition. It becomes a self fulfilled prophesy. It actually gives the participant a greater sense of purpose. (They told me this would happen….no shit you are wearing a sheet on your head) Unfortunately for people caught in the circular reference questioning the reference is not something they are either unequipped to check or too afraid to check. It becomes some perverse sense of honor that sends chills down my back.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Loose Skin

I have a terrible habit of picking the skin around my nails. You know the little flaps of skin that pop-up. I just grab them and rip them off like little skin ribbons.
I wonder why I don’t get them on other parts of my body?
Shouldn’t I get them on all my extremities? Toes? Other? Maybe the socks keep in natural oils? Maybe hand washing is destructive? Should I quit washing my hands? Wear gloves? I wonder what my ancestors who didn’t wash their hands or wear sock get them did they get them all over? Shouldn’t I get them on my face? I wash my face a lot too? It isn’t under a covering?
Guess that is all I got on skin ribbons…

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Three Wishes

I wish I had enough money to be happy – came true.

I wish I had a sexy girl to cuddle with through thick and thin – came true.

I wish I had secret ninja skills – stay tuned

I woke up today and realized that the beauty of life is that I am my own genie and have the infinite powers to grant my own wishes…that is as soon as quit waiting for someone else to go it for me.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy". They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life."

-John Lennon

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Roughly 45 Days

Monday October 3 –November 23. My own personal detox. Wonder if I can survive and if I will have any friends on the other side. See you in a bit. Hopefully looking a lot leaner.

Monday, October 03, 2011

The First Awkward Conversation?

Genesis 21
Set the scene: God has just created heaven and earth. The entire universe from scratch with the snap of his finger. Animals, plants, trees the whole nine yards. But to create woman he has to roofie Adam and steal a rib while he is passed out.
I often wonder to myself what Adams first words to God would have been after waking up.
“Whoa… did what?” WTF?

What would you say if someone put you to sleep and then performed major surgery you without your consultation?