Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ode to Bobby Cox

If you don’t know who he is, you might want to move along. Then too, you’d learn some good things if you stick around.

Bobby Cox is the manager of the Atlanta Braves, a position he’s held since 1990 (after stints as manager and general manager with the Braves and another team). He’s won just a couple more than 2,500 games, fourteen Division Titles (in fifteen years, the missing year, baseball went on strike) and a World Series (making it to a few more). He’s retiring after this season, as early as Sunday if things fall apart in the wild card race. But those aren’t the important things.

Bobby is the ultimate manager. No one in baseball has a bad thing to say about him. He’s universally praised by executives, managers, coaches and players.

He’s been second-guessed by fans and reporters. He leaves players in too long. He goes with veterans too long. Great season record, playoffs not so much. All true to an extent.

He’s been thrown out of more than 150 games, a world record (he is said to have written a check for $10K at one point and sent it with a note to let him know when it ran out). You see, he’d rather pay the fine and spend a few innings in the clubhouse, keeping the arguing player, that he stepped in front of, in the game, to get a hit or make a catch.

He never says much of any significance to the press, and what he says is always positive about his players (even though he and everyone else knows he’s blowing smoke). They know he’s got their backs. (He mentioned to a reporter who was questioning a young player’s abysmal offense that the player had a swing like Stan Musial. The player started swinging like the legend.)

He doesn’t have many rules. Show up. Play hard. Don’t show off. Play for the team, not yourself. Break those rules enough and you’re gone, no matter how great your potential or your performance (See e.g., Kenny Lofton, Gary Sheffield, David Justice, most recently, Yunel Escobar). Follow those rules and you have a home for as long as your ability lasts (Chipper Jones, Greg Norton, Brian McCann, Javy Lopez, Eddie Perez – now a coach).

He treats players like adults and expects them to act that way. And they do. When was the last time you heard of a Braves player arrested or involved in a scandal? They’re very, very few and very, very far between. He gets the most out of his players, this year’s team, with injury after injury is a perfect example.

Any one out there that runs a company or teaches business? Bobby Cox would be the perfect case study for a course in how to manage people.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Obama and Biden to ungrateful supporters: quit whining and buck up - it could be worse

There’s an inspiring message. 

All you people who we fooled back in 2008:

We haven’t done much of what you thought we were going to do.  When we’ve followed through on campaign promises we’ve pretty much gutted what we’ve promised because we’re wimps and decided early on that something is better than nothing.  We’ve done things you’d have sworn we wouldn’t do in opposing civil liberties and done nothing about other civil liberties and to rub your noses in it, followed through with Bush Administration positions on a host of other issues.

Wall Street, the auto companies and the banks are up and running, bonuses growing, and the rest of you will be happy to know that some economist has pronounced that the recession ended last year.  Why aren’t you happy?

We aren’t the GOP!  So delude yourselves, think up some reason to go to the polls and talk us up with your friends, send us some money.

Geez people, the President just went to church for the first time in six months to prove he’s not a Muslim.  He and the whole family took communion.  Work with us here!

If the GOP takes over Congress, yes, you’ll get pretty much the same thing.  But they won’t even talk about caring about you and we do that each and every day.  That’s got to count for something!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Public versus private when it counts

President Obama is in favor of massive government bailouts, government regulation, government mandated health insurance and government intervention overseas.  But he doesn’t think government schools can give his daughters the education they get from private schools.

(I know, out of character for me; but, when I read the headline about his comments, I just couldn’t resist.)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wouldn't have been fun if...

the President had said, the President of Iran happened to be in New York yesterday and said something really stupid, pretty much like the stupid minister down in Florida a week or so ago.  Stupid people get to say what they want in New York or Florida or anywhere else they want to say it in this country.  I'd suggest that the President of Iran support the same right in his country rather than attacking us, rhetorically, and the people of his own country physically, that filled the streets in opposition to the rigged elections in his country last year.

What government taketh, it giveth not back

A couple of decades ago Georgia built a toll road.  As toll roads go, it’s a little one, maybe five miles long.  It connects Georgia 400, an expressway, to I-85 which then goes to downtown Atlanta.  It has been a good addition to Metro Atlanta’s rush hour capacity.

The political deal at the time (though not part of the enabling legislation) was that the tollbooth would be removed in twenty years when the construction bonds were paid off.  Further, the tolls could only be used for projects “related” to the new road.

That second promise was broken some years back when the pot of money from tolls grew to be too big, even after paying down on the bonds, for the politicians to resist.  The word “related” was stretched and stretched to grab money for road projects that would otherwise have to be funded from other state money.  There’s over $40 million sitting in the road’s reserve fund.

This morning, the other promise was broken when it was announced that the toll was being extended until 2020 so as to provide money for “crucial” toll road related projects.

The pols’ explanation?  Times have changed; we need the revenue source.  We meant what we said way back then.  Who knew things would be this bad?

You know a politician is lying if you see the lips moving.  Oh, they promise this time around that the continued stream of money will really only be used for toll road related projects, “cross our hearts (and hope not to be caught).”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

GOP: Savior of Small Business? Obama: Enemy of the Rich?

I’m a small business, a very small business:  me.

I suppose I should be on the side of the GOP which says that letting the Bush tax cuts on what Obama calls the “rich” expire will hurt small business, the engine of economic development.

But here’s the problem I have.  Small businesses (SB), for the most part, don’t pay taxes.  Don’t yell now.  The people that own small businesses do pay taxes, but no more than their individual tax burden based on their income.  SB owners are usually sole proprietors, or more commonly, LLC’s – Limited Liability Companies, which usually elect “Subchapter S” tax status.  That means the LLC, while it files tax returns, doesn’t pay taxes – the money “flows through” to the owners who pay taxes based on their individual tax status.

It seems to me that both sides of the debate are playing word games. 

The cut-off to keep the Bush tax breaks in Obama’s proposal is $250K in yearly income.  To his mind, going over that amount makes you “rich” I guess as that’s what he’s calling such people.  I doubt that most people in that range and a bit higher consider themselves to be rich.  But, I am sure that someone pulling down $35K a year considers $250K a year to be pretty damn good money.  If you go over the magic number, Obama wants you to kick in another couple of percent of your income to the IRS.  Depending on how far over the threshold you are, that could be a few hundred, or multiple tens of thousands of, dollars.

Either way, I really don’t think the tax increase is a death knell for small business.  SB owners will have less money for discretionary spending and saving.  Will that bring down the economy?  No. 

The question then becomes should the better off in the country pay another chunk of their income while the less better off don’t – classic economic class struggle.  Progressive, regressive?  Trickle down gold or basic living standards for the poor?  Send your congressperson and senators your answers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear President Obama,

You got dealt some bad hands coming on board just over eighteen months ago.

The economy sucked (who laughed when they heard the recession ended sometime last year?), stuck in Iraq, lots of Bush neglect of business oversight.  And some more stuff.

Hope, yep, some of us had it.  Change?  We haven’t seen it.

You are a timid president.

Health care.  “What ya’ll want to do?  Let’s all get on board and work up a plan.”  The GOP said no.  Then it said no.  Then it said no.  You folded.  You folded.  And so on.  First rule of negotiations:  don’t negotiate against yourself.  You make a proposal, stick with until there’s movement.  No movement, no concession.  You conceded to the GOP, and your own party, sensing your weakness, piled on leaving the country with a mish-mash pleasing no one and likely to help few.

Financial reform.  “Guys, girls, we’ve sunk a bunch of money into bailing out Wall Street, the insurance industry, the auto industry, mostly before I moved into the White House; but, we can’t quit now.  I know you have no clue, hell, I don’t; but, we have to do something!  If we all could just get along.  I pretty much kept everyone that advised W and got us into this mess.  Work with me here damn it!”

Foreign policy.  “I just really don’t understand these Iraqi folks.  Billions, billions we pour in and they can’t even form a Parliament.  And those Afghanis, corrupt, absolutely corrupt after all we’ve done for them! All Bush’s doing, all I’m doing is trying to clean up his mess and all I get is blame.  I hate to say it; but, thank God the economy is in the tank or I’d be getting real flak for what’s happening overseas.”

Civil liberties.  Here, I’ll quit with pseudo whining by the President and talk a little bit about what he could have done with a few strokes of a pen – those executive orders so popular with his predecessors. 

DADT.  Started with a stroke of a pen by Clinton, should have been ended the same way.  Clean up the legislative mess after the fact.  But no, you want everyone on board so there’s no blame for you except among the people that supported you since you figured they’d always be on board.  Careful with that attitude.

Guantanamo.  Stroke of the pen and I’m really tired of all your excuses.

Gay rights.  One of your worst panders in the first place and worst refusals to act responsibly once you had to chance to.  I really have a hard time believing you don’t understand the difference between a “civil union” and a marriage.  I think you are a Chicago pol who thinks he can keep supporters and not alienate the other side (who are already alienated) by straddling.  Being half black and half white, you ought to know you can’t parse basic civil liberties.  That you think you can, greatly disappoints me and does you no go with the other side of the issue.

Finally, you’d make a great mediator.  “Dave, Rick makes a great proposal to end your political dispute.  I know he’s a right wing ,crazy guy and you’re a liberal, commie, pinko; but, I’m on board with both of you, if only you could just agree.”  By your failure to commit to anything, you fail both of us, and all of our counterparts.  You called out the Tea Party today and demanded specific proposals.  Where have yours been this last year and a half (other than trial balloons?) on specifics?

President Obama, you talk pretty good, your follow through is lacking.  You and the Dems deserve what it appears you are going to get in November.  My only hope is that it appears your opponents are as equally clueless and ineffectual and with you around for another two years, we’ll have stalemate.



One more time from the Land of Oz

Ding Dong! The Well is dead. Which old Well? The BP Well!
Ding Dong! The BP Well is dead.
Wake up - sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the BP Well is dead. The oil’s gone where the goblins go,
Below - below - below. Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong' the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know
The BP Well is dead!

BP Executive:

As Head of BP’s killer team, In the land of the white beach Coast, I welcome you most regally.

Plaintiffs’ Lawyer:

But we've got to verify it legally, to see


To see?


If she


If she?


Is morally, ethic'lly

Louisiana Governor:

Spiritually, physically

New Orleans Mayor:

Positively, absolutely

Gulf Coast Residents:

Undeniably and reliably Dead

Admiral Thad Allen:

As Admiral I must aver, I thoroughly examined her.
And she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead.

BP Executive:

Then this is a day of Independence for all the Gulf Coast Residents and their descendants

BP Exec.:

Yes, let the joyous news be spread the Wicked Old BP Well at last is dead!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


So, Bill and I met this afternoon and, if he remembers, I’ll let him tell you how we got to this question.

Bill says that 3 times .33 equals one because of infinity. I say it is less than one given that my mathematical skill peaked prior to my voice changing.

Bill drew math stuff on a piece of paper, I’ll let him chime in about it; but, they had to do with 1/3 equaling .33 given that infinity thing.

To my mind, 3 times 33 is 99 which is not a hundred. To my mind, fractions are spatial. You take a whole and divide it into whatever parts you want; but, if you divide it by three, each third isn’t .33 it is one of three even parts of a hundred, whatever that works out to be, to me, there being no mathematical equivalent - it’s the dots that get you, you never get to 100 if you use decimals.

Then we talked about 3.17 but that got us nowhere.

I know Bill’s right because I know that he understands numbers and I’m relegated to words. Intelligence, using words, not math, in the comments is welcome.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Timing is everything

A month short of 15 years ago, I’d gone to a birthday party for a friend on a Saturday afternoon.  It was a beautiful October day, made great because I had tickets to a Braves playoff game that night.  Earlier that year I’d bought a new car, a stick shift Camaro with T-tops.  They were down and the radio was up as I left my friend’s place headed to meet other friends to go to the game. 

A car in front of me stopped to wait to make a left hand turn.  When the car cleared, I shifted through the gears, rather quickly, as I came over a rise and saw a Forsyth County Sheriff’s car come towards me.  I looked down and saw that I was doing just about seventy.  The speed limit was fifty-five.  I saw him turn from his direction to follow me in my direction from my rear view mirror. 

He was a pretty nice guy.  When he came back after running my information he asked why I was moving so fast.  I told him about the beautiful day, the stop and rather quick start and the game I was on my way to.  He asked if I had anything to drink, a question I’d been anticipating as I had indeed had some beer.  Yes I’m a lawyer and yes you aren’t supposed to answer those questions.  But, I’d figured out that I’d had about three half full plastic cups of beer (from a keg that put out a lot of foam).  So I told him.  He asked if I’d get out of the car and do a few tests.  Yes I’m a lawyer and know you aren’t supposed to do that. 

I got out of the car and walked behind him to the space between our cars.  He asked what my highest level of school was.  Hell, I didn’t want to tell him I was a lawyer, so I said post-graduate.  He asked “college post-graduate?”  “Yes.”  When he asked “in what?”  I quietly said “law.”  “Good, you should have no trouble with being able to recite the alphabet.

But.  But, he wanted me recite the alphabet and stop at “U.”  Minor panic ensued but I toughed it out.

I got a ticket, but only for ten over (the radar read 71) and the deputy’s wish that the Braves win that night.

The Braves have a decent shot at the post-season as of this afternoon even though they lost two of three to the lowly Nationals and are two behind the Phillies.

You see, I got a ticket today while driving 5 mph under the speed limit while listening to the Braves losing on the radio (alas while driving my baby SUV on a beautiful day but sans t-tops).  How does that equal a ticket?  I didn’t see the flashing school zone sign, only operational between 1:45 and 2:45 p.m.  40 in a 25, though he said I was on the laser at 44 – maybe it pays to say you didn’t see the sign and you’re sorry.

So, if my timing is right, the Braves, fifteen years after my last ticket and their last World Championship, might, might just pull this out.  I guess I can afford a ticket in support of the cause every decade and a half.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Did you know that Google censors your search even if you don't live in China?

Yes, it does.

Facebook gets flack for rolling out new, less private defaults on a regular basis.  It seems Google is not much better.

Google recently has offered Google “Instant.”  I’m not sure just what it is other than as you type your search it offers not just queries but possible results to what you were thinking of typing, of course based on what you’ve been surfing to and searching for.

Though not a privacy issue, did you know that you are signed up for “Instant” unless you turn it off?  You are and it’s a pain to drill down to where you can turn it off.  Very Facebook-like.

While I was searching, I discovered that the default Google search mode is to give me “moderate” censorship of whatever Google thinks are “explicit” sites.

“Use strict filtering (Filter both explicit text and explicit images)
Use moderate filtering (Filter explicit images only - default behavior)
Do not filter my search results”

The middle line is checked by default.

Now, I understand that kids use Google search.  And if I were a parent, I’d don’t think I’d want images or words sent willy-nilly to my kids.  But, shouldn’t Google tell me what it is doing and let me decide what I want for me and my family?

People talk about the “nanny state.”  I don’t have a problem with it, as long as I know what it is trying to do and can choose if I want it to “protect” me, or not.  Same with companies. 

OPT IN.  OPT IN.  Defaults should be full whatever with full disclosure of what it is.  You want different?  Choose it.

Hide the Women and Children!

Newt Gingrich has latched on to the latest example of the Republican “I’m not saying I believe [fill in the blank] about President Obama, but it does deserve discussion don’t you think” scare tactic.

In addition to being influenced/controlled by his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, while simultaneously being a Muslim, a communist, and a socialist, the President is now the incarnation of his late father, fulfilling his “anticolonialist” dreams – grabbing back the unearned riches of the upper classes in Europe and the United States, all while masquerading as an American citizen!

Republicans have perfected the “big lie.”  Don’t bother with facts, logic, analysis.  Throw it out there, repeatedly and foment a little hate and fear of the alien “other.” 

Gingrich: “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anticolonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Barack Hussein Obama, the Manchurian President!  It’s not too late!  Help the Grand Old Party take back America making it safe for white, Christian patriots!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

It was the eleventh of september

I don't do much in the way of reposting; but, this time of year I do.  I was in Newark on September 11,  2001 and for the next several days as it turned out.  For the link to my last re-post linking to the original posts (I'm lazy) go here.

9/11 is kind of interesting this year what with mosques, Becks, Palins, an Imam and a bozo, con-man preacher all aided and abetted by most of our politicians.

I recall one of the pieces I read, early on after the attacks, by Leonard Pitts that moved me.  He talked for us to the bad guys.  I've thought several times since then that as eloquent as he was, he was so wrong, or was he?

If you're short on time, skip the link to my stuff and Google "Leonard Pitts 9/11" and think about what he said and where (especially given how Iraq and Afghanistan are turning out, coupled with recent craziness) we are.

Press Release UPDATED

UPDATE:  The Imam says he didn't make a deal, but he's willing to.

Today, following the news that the Reverend Jones has called off his stunt after a visit with the Imam from New York that wants to build the bad, bad mosque on the same planet that used to house the World Trade Center and now is willing to move it somewhere else on the planet (deep breath), I'm pleased to announce that I’m going to do something that the Constitution allows me to do, but that will offend someone, it is to be hoped, a lot of people, people that have some influence on what media covers, 24/7.

At the appropriate time, after everyone that counts has decried my plan, warned me about the consequences, called me and visited me, I may, only may, announce that I won’t go through with my plan.

That certainly won’t happen until there are a few demonstrations across the ocean, the President weighs in and Governor Palin uses a ghostwriter to post on Facebook.

What am I going to do?  Damned if I know, I’m not used to doing things that are stupid enough to draw worldwide attention.  It’s going to take some thinking.

For the media:  I’m available for exclusive interviews, once I devise my stupid plan.  Please contact Big Rick, my scheduler, he’s negotiable as to placement in the news cycle, expense payments and scheduling of six figure speaking engagements.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

International News at Six

 Everyone is condemning Rev. Terry Jones for his plan to burn Korans down in Florida on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of 9/11.  And so they should.

“He shouldn’t do it!”  They’re right for a myriad of reasons; but, they are wrong in one important way.  The good Reverend has given the world a teachable moment that every leader, pundit and person I’ve read has ignored.

People around the world hate us, for good and bad reasons.  Afghani’s are chanting “death to America” and General Petraeus is spooked, as are the President and assorted members of Congress.

Here in the good old U.S.A. whackos are tolerated.  Without going all legal on you, they have the “right” to wackiness.  Say or do what you will, just don’t hurt someone.  And I don’t mean injury to sensitivity.

Wouldn't it be cool if President Obama and and say, John Boehner issued a joint invitation to visit the National Mall on Saturday? “We've had MLK, Mr. Beck, Governor Palin here to say what they wanted to say.  We’re inviting everyone that can make it to come on down, listen to some speeches about what America is really about.  Sit down on the grass, take your shoes off, dip your feet in the water and stay awhile."

It would make the news all over the world and be contrasted with footage of the Reverend and a few of his followers (and a background of jeering protesters of the protest) trying to fire up some books and being stopped by police and firefighters.

Doesn’t that send a powerful image to the people that hate us?  Damn, all those Americans at the Mall and few nuts down in Florida.  Maybe we have to rethink this Great Satan thing.  Couldn’t hurt.

Monday, September 06, 2010

So what do you do when you can't boycott?

I announced a little while back that I was boycotting Target and Best Buy because they gave money to Neanderthals.  My efforts are moving along smoothly – I haven’t had the need of any of Best Buy’s wares and Target has competitors happy to sell me what I need.

Now, AirTran comes along and gives $75K to the Georgia Republican Governors Association and when it got “caught” disingenuously said the Dems hadn’t “asked for anything.”

If you live in Atlanta and want to fly, you have two choices, AirTran and Delta.  And I’m not in love with Delta.

So I’ll continue to give AirTran money and it will give the GOP money.  And I won’t be happy.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Horrors, The New York Times got it wrong

“Which brings up one of the true oddities about the fervor over net neutrality. Cable television distributors make decisions all the time about what people can see and how much they have to pay for it. If special sports-only tiers aren’t an example of placing some content over other content, I don’t know what is. Yet because it is merely television, and not the sacred Internet, nobody seems to view this practice as a crime against humanity. But I digress.”

Digression is in order.  All that is wrong about cable may soon happen to the internet. 

How many of you watch the myriad of channels you get from your cable, DSL or satellite provider?  No hands I see.  Who would love a la carte TV channels.  Ah, I see all the hands up.

Let the internet pipe providers control the content and you will have what you have with TV.  That pretty much says it all for me.

Oh, and remember, Comcast is in the process of eating, is it NBC?  That’s going to be just a wonderful mechanism for neutrality and competition. Biggest cable controls one the biggest content providers.  What would you think about Apple controlling online music.  Damn, sorry that already has happened.  Sorry.  Then there’s Google going after some music and TV and Apple going after TV and Ping, as I understand it, a social network.

Boys and girls, it is time for some regulation; and, unfortunately the feds haven’t got a clue as to what the problem is or what to do about it.  It almost makes you long for the days of Big Blue or Bill Gates’ blue screen of death, but not quite.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Geezers, Money and Influence

We have two ongoing local stories about geezers and the effect of money, more precisely the lack of money and a little influence, on said geezers.

First up is, Luis Baro, 71, a career criminal, late of Cuba, most recently a resident of the Douglas County, Georgia jail on drug trafficking charges.  Mr. Baro after his arrest had a massive stroke and “cost” the County some $400K in medical bills.  Actually, the County had a $500K insurance policy with a $100K deductible; thus, Mr. Baro is about to cost the County some serious money.

Solution?  The prosecutor dropped the charges against Mr. Baro.  He’s now a free and sick man.

Then there’s the “Phantom.”  Joe Patten is 83.  For the past thirty years he’s lived in a 3,640 s.f., ornately-furnished apartment, 70 stair steps up in the Fox Theater, an Atlanta landmark.  Mr. Patten has “saved” the Fox twice.  Once by discovering a fire and once by leading efforts to rehabilitate it.  For his service to the Theater he was given a lifetime, free lease on the apartment.  Kinda.

Mr. Patten has diabetes and a few other conditions.  Those stairs are a workout for him.  He had to spend some time this summer in the hospital and a nursing home.  On his return to the Fox, he was greeted by a letter from the Theater’s board.  It seems he was becoming a “burden” on the staff and that his apartment was “sorely” needed for other purposes.  And that lifetime lease?  It seems there was a catch.  It can be terminated by a two-thirds board vote.

Mr. Patten told the board to take a hike and hired a prominent senior partner in a prominent local law firm.  There was a meeting and the board excluded the lawyer (though it had two of its lawyers present).  The board voted to terminate the lease and offered a new lease with a lot of restrictions designed to send him packing fairly soon.

Public outcry ensued.  The board now says everything can be worked out and it would let the lawyers handle the details.  It seems Mr. Patten will spend a good number of his remaining days in his free “walk-up” apartment.

Mr. Baro?  He’s with family probably looking for a welfare source of medical care.

If you’re going to get old, it pays to have money and influence.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I think this is a record

My last post was a week ago yesterday.  Eight days.

Facebook is the culprit.  I started with it as a way to shoot out something quick about a linked news article or something not worthy of more than a sentence or two.

What I didn't realize is that that quick hit is easy.  Too easy.  I like easy.  Ha.  I just said typing a post on a blog isn't easy.  Though it's true.  It takes more time and thought.

Though I don't promise (in the event anyone cares) I'm going to give posting more a shot.  In the mean time, my Facebook name is Evad Knat.  Friend me if you want to see what I'm wasting time with rather than working here at Rather Than Working.