October 21, 2012
July 16, 2012
A few weeks ago my children dragged me into the local mall's Apple store, kicking and screaming where I bought them each a Macbook, a cheap Linux knock-off in a shiny skin.
I am a devout Apple-hater and have been so since 1988 when I had to write a LISP program on a Macintosh desktop. Nothing this company does or produces has ever looked remotely exciting or interesting to me and let's not even get started with the ridiculous prices. I personally own nothing from this company and am proud of that fact.
I could have bought my children very nice Windows laptops at a third of the price, but that wasn't an option. Apple seems to have plenty of people under its spell. They can sell them street garbage stamped with the bitten-apple image like it's some magical product from Venus.
Since Apple has the policy of not selling to Iranian-Americans, I just wonder where the Apple police was on the day I wasted my hard-earned money on their junk.
Apple sucks. Always has, and probably always will.
February 21, 2012
"All I know is I’m a sinner, and that God has forgiven me of my sins." says Rev. Franklin Graham.
It's true. God whispers that in his ears every night. He also tells him that Obama is a Moslem and is hell-bound.
Thank you reverend for sharing such spiritual revelations with us. Now where do I send the check?
Rev. Graham: Obama seen as 'son of Islam'.
July 7, 2011
This is old news by now, but fresh on the heels of firing its Connecticut affiliates, Amazon just terminated its California affiliates program in protest over the new state law requiring it to collect sales taxes on purchases.
The law may be fair or unfair, but Amazon could have easily complied, as it does reluctantly for New York. Perhaps Amazon already wanted to get a bunch of affiliates off its books anyways and this provides a good excuse. But the company is just being childish by lashing out in this manner.
At any rate, the business impact of firing the California affiliates is most likely minimal for Amazon, or else it would have hung on to them, as it has been doing with the New York affiliates.
Amazon cuts off California affiliates - San Jose Mercury News.
May 30, 2011
This is a perfect example (link at bottom) of how the illegal immigration problem should be handled. Charge the businesses that hire them. These businesses not only hurt the nation but also abuse the illegal workers themselves.
What's there to be gained by arresting and detaining a bunch of illegals? These people don't have much money and they return anyways. By going after the businesses that hire them, you dry up the incentive to cross the borders illegally, and the government can possibly recoup the litigation costs.
This is not unlike the war on drugs, where the government fights the losing battle of arresting and incarcerating people with a joint. The real solution is to legalize some milder drugs, like marijuana, then tax them heavily and use the proceeds for public outreach and education.
Of course, all this requires a government with efficiency and integrity, and when is that last we had such governance?
NYT: A crackdown on employing illegal workers - Business - US business - The New York Times - msnbc.com.
December 8, 2010
I haven't looked at the details of the latest tax agreement reached between Obama and the Republicans, but judging by its face value, it's yet another jab at the middle-class who's always the punching bag of everyone else.
So let's get this straight. The super-rich get to keep their unfair tax advantages squirreling away their monies in their foreign accounts and gold and enhancing their hedonistic lifestyles. In other words they'll just keep richer and filthier. The unemployed continue to receive their unemployment checks well beyond the reasonable term the unemployment insurance was meant for. In other words they'll just get lazier and keep coasting along on other people's dime.
The twisted logic is that by making the super-rich even wealthier, they'll be motivated to hire more people thereby spurring job growth. An the other end of the twisted logic the longer the unemployed receive checks, the more they're encouraged to spend thereby spurring economic growth. The flaw in both arguments is that neither case has been able to definitively prove its intended results.
What's proven is that these reckless policies have helped balloon the country's deficit to unsustainable levels. Soon enough the US will not even be able service its debt and guess who'll have to dig the country out of the mess, the shrinking middle-class.
What the US needs real bad right now is a good dose of austerity. That means some new taxes (yes, for the rich people too), and spending cuts (yes, for the unemployed too). But the gutless politicians are too craven or too connected to the special interest to even try it. Keeping the pressure on the middle-class is hardly a formula for economic success, it's fast-track to economic ruins.
February 10, 2010
Does it seem a bit odd that a person is found dead in the wheel well of a plane that flew from New York to Tokyo and other than a passing mention there isn't much media coverage? Meanwhile the case of the man who foolishly went the wrong way in the security area of Newark airport has been covered ad-nauseum.
Which one is more of a security threat? It’s possible that the wheel well stowaway might have belonged to the ground crew, but it's also possible that someone slipped onto the airport tarmac and got close enough to a plane to climb up the wheel assembly and hide inside the compartment. Doesn't take much imagination to envision what this person could have done while inside.
Getting past the security and terrorism aspects of this breach, I wonder what kind of person would attempt such craziness. Most people know the chances of survival in the wheel well is almost none. There are more painless ways to end one's life.
November 5, 2008
I am an independent in just about all facets of my life, including in my political choices. It's a simple belief that not one party is right or wrong all the time and either side can produce good or bad candidates.
While many have supported or opposed Obama because of his economic policies, my vote went to the person that would be less likely to start a war. Having subsidized (through tax payments) one unjust war, my conscience could not bear the responsibility of financing another. Under Obama I may pay higher taxes, I may subsidize the poor, or I may pay more to heat my house, but for me the stakes were much higher. The risk of contributing to the demise of more innocent lives was much greater under a McCain administration.
The Iraq war was based on fabricated evidence. We went to Afghanistan to capture a terrorist mastermind, but somewhere along the way we were railroaded into another war that was anything but rightfully justified. The terrorists who committed the 9/11 atrocities were Saudi Arabians, financed by a Saudi. They were trained in Afghanistan. Most transited through Europe and they got their flight lessons in the US. There was no connection to Iraq and no weapons of mass destruction were ever found there.
In the ensuing years American forces and Iraqi citizens have sustained heavy losses. For what? Bin Laden and most of his cronies are still at large, while the architects of the Iraq war (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz) gloated over the capture and hanging of Saddam Hussein. Yes, he was a brutal dictator but also a one time pal, armed to the teeth by the same powers that eliminated him.
Reminds me of the song "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival:
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, lord,
And when you ask them, how much should we give?
Ooh, they only answer more! more! more!
Well, today I decided not to give them any more!
July 7, 2008
Lately I've seen a number of Web sites and emails exhorting Americans to press their government to explore for oil in a parcel of land in ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the northeast corner of Alaska.
The ANWR debate is nothing new and it was a hot topic back in the 1970's oil crisis. Proponents argue that this location may hold vast deposits of oil which could bring relief to the current shortages of oil and thus tame the high prices in the US and the rest of the world. Opponents include the natives and environmentalists who fear that such exploration and subsequent drilling could endanger this natural setting robbing it and its inhabitants (humans and animals) of its ecological diversity and wealth.
I am not sure which side of the debate holds the better argument. Personally I don't like to see natural settings overrun by industrial concerns, i.e. the oil companies. What I do know is that Exxon-Mobil's earnings topped $40 billion in 2007 and surely they will easily exceed that figure this year. As people learn of these outlandish profits by the big oil while their savings are being squeezed, there is bound to be some backlash. That has manifested itself in the form of calls for special taxes on oil companies.
Couple that with the inevitable emergence of fuel economics and alternative energy and it's not hard to guess that oil companies are worried about their prospects. To me, these pro- oil exploration campaigns are not about alleviating oil shortages, but more about distracting the public from the abuses of the oil companies. Many go even further to shift the spotlight away from the big oil and cast it on the liberals, democrats, or Arabs in a shameless effort to create public sympathy and support for the oil companies. One wonders who the real authors are.
Oil companies already have millions of acres of land they can start exploring, but that's not enough. ANWR may hold large reserves of oil, but this campaign smells more like a land-grab and less like a sincere effort to help calm the oil crunch. Blaring their propaganda machine in times of panic and despair is always a good way to assure power and profits.
Review history and see how dictators and tyrants have come to power. Their reigns have almost always preceded by periods of unrest and panic when people are at their most vulnerable and can be easily deceived by empty promises and blustering rants. Once they tap into the herd mentality, they are assured of their golden positions. I want a way out of this oil mess too, but not enough to sell out this country to oil thugs. They're beyond rich enough already.
May 23, 2008
Older Posts »
For a brief period in my career I was encouraged to try my hand at sales. I was ok at it and made decent commissions but in the end I knew that sales wasn't my calling and I returned to my passion, technology, mainly programming. That brief stint taught me one lesson in salesmanship. When on a sales call, steer away from passionate topics, specially when you don't know which way the prospect is leaning. References to religion and politics should be avoided in favor of more neutral topics, unless the product is geared towards a certain persuasion.
Today I was shown an online demo of a Web product. The salesman had worked hard to secure a slice of my time to showcase his product. The part I found curious was the demo Web pages I was being shown. They included news articles about the Pope's Visit with Bush, Christianity, and the Church. Now I have no problem with these topics when used in the context of product demonstration, but I wondered if the salesperson knew about my liberal, religion-free mindset, would he have still picked these topics for his product demo.
The salesman never lead the conversation towards politics or religion, and we kept the conversation on-topic, centered around the features of the product and the cost of implementation. But I could imagine that another liberal person might have reacted negatively to all this and written the whole thing off.
The point is that avoiding emotionally charged topics such as religion and politics, however indirect, is a prudent policy when making a sales pitch to someone you don't know. This salesman may experience much higher success if he picks safer, more neutral examples for his demonstrations. For example, I'm not interested in team sports, but I doubt anyone would have a negative reaction to samples depicting baseball bats . Why take a chance on distracting or alienating your prospects when your goal is to secure their business?
Liked this page? Donate and support the effort.
Read Financial Markets |
Web Tools |
© 2001-2013 Robert Hashemian