Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Could they at least APOLOGIZE for f#@king up our country?

For years now, people on the left have declared the US economy a "house of cards" built on debt and by transferring wealth from the middle class and poor to the rich. I include myself in this group, as you can verify by reading back through my blog.

And for those same years, the media and our elected officials bowed down to the so-called leaders of our great nation: Alan Greenspan, Warren Buffet, T. Boone Pickens and the other exorbitantly-paid CEOs who steered the great ship of the greatest example of the wonders of capitalism. They could do no wrong, they could not earn enough money, and they bristled whenever anyone talked about maybe giving the middle class a tax cut. ("Class warfare!" went the cry)

And for those same years, we doubters of the wonders of the "free market" have been vilified and mocked. Naive! Communist! Ignorant!

Now, sadly, it must be said: We were right. We of the left, we of the Naive Class, we Americans who never believed that a CEO was worth 500 times the value of a software developer in his company, we bleeding hearts who could never accept that 40 million Americans must have no health care, that tens of millions must go unemployed, that children should go hungry in this country: we were right.

And our so-called leaders were wrong. And not just wrong. Complicit, greedy, corrupt and arrogant.

These days, it is the arrogance that gets me the most.

They are so used to running everything their way, that no one even feels the need, the sense of human decency, to apologize.

Alan Greenspan, who allowed the economy to drift into this horrible state, is no wise man. He is a smart man who knew how to get his bread well buttered. And he does not apologize for his part in this mess.

William Jefferson Clinton, who signed into law deregulation of the financial industry that made this collapse inevitable, is no friend of the people. He is a brilliant politician who always sided with Wall Street. And he does not apologize for his part in this mess.

All those CEOs (from both failed and failing companies), who filled their boards will yes-men and yes-women who agreed to the most obscene pay packages, are not wise men. They are greedy bastards who will not apologize for their parts in this mess.

Keep it up, Leaders of the Free World. Make no apologies, accept no blame and stuff your pockets with every dollar bill (or euro) in sight. Then build some really big walls.

Because if the collapse continues, and if the bailout mainly bails YOU out, then I predict that the American people will shed their sheeps' disguises. They will come boiling out of their homes, full of anger and desperation, and I wonder if any of the walls you build could be tall enough to stop them.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another aspect of the Bush Legacy

A world-wide race to arm rather than feed our citizens....

US in push for arms deals

The Times, citing Defense Department sales data through the end of August, reported that countries newly reliant on the United States as a primary major weapons source included Argentina, Brazil, India, Iraq, Morocco and Pakistan and former Soviet republics Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Together the countries signed $870 million worth of arms deals with the Bush administration from 2001 to 2004, but in the past four fiscal years the total had increased to $13.8 billion.

From $870M to $13.8B! Fortunately they are going to the most stable and democratic of nations, so we don't have to worry that someday some of these weapons might be used to kill our own citizens.

Seems like George W (or, to put a finer point on it, Dick "Watch Your Head" Cheney) is making sure that all of his friends in the military-industrial complex will be taking dumps in solid gold bathroom fixtures for the rest of their unnatural lives.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A week in life of Travelin' Steven

So the following is what I did this past week:

On Monday morning, I caught an 8:30 AM flite to Los Angeles (a four hour trip). After a two hour stopover, I boarded a 777 to Tokyo. That took 11 hours. After a two hour stopover, which I spent in the wonderful Japan Air Lines First Class Lounge (fantastic massage chairs and the most wonderful service), I got on a 747 bound for SIngapore. Seven hours later, we landed (just after midnight). At 1 Am, I was in my Carlton hotel room on the 7th floor, skyped over to Veva to say hello, yes I made it alive and sane, and then it was time for bed. Woke up at 7 AM (before the darned alarm went off).

By 8:30 I had walked the few blocks in humid, warm (but not yet hot) weather over to the Suntec convention center and up to room 208. There I spent the next 8.5 hours presenting on PL/'SQL technology to 102 Oracle technologists, some 15 of which had even flown in from Thailand. That all went very well, even though Clara of Quest (that rare very competent person who also maintains a vigorous sense of humor) introduced me using a photo of yours truly from the waist up, at age 18 months or so, completely naked. Very cute, eh? Very unusual. I can't really imagine what all the attendees thought of that!

Back to the hotel for a quick workout at the fitness center, then off to dinner with a handful of other Quest Software fellows at Jumbo Seafood in the East Coast Park, where we feasted on the signature Singapore dish: chili crab (and lots of other delights). Then Jason drove me to the Changi airport for a 10:40 PM flight back to Tokyo. Oh, joy.

I really wanted to sleep overnight, but I couldn't drift off. I couldn't get an upgrade for the Singapore-Tokyo flights on Japan Air Lines, and my legs don't like hanging down and stretching out from a regular coach seat. That was too bad. So seven hours later, we disembarked at 6:15 Am at the Narita airport in Tokyo, and I was very tired, in a daze. Back to the First Class Lounge, where I spent the next nine hours waiting for the 4 PM flight to Los Angelos. I spent over an hour total in the massage chair, and had a real (but short - 10 minute) massage by a masseuse, that was very nice.

Then I flew 11 hours back to LA, picked up a rental car, drove to Aliso Viejo where my employer is headquartered, and am now sitting through 1.5 days of meetings, then I fly back home to Chicago on Friday evening.

So let's total this up....between Monday and Friday I will have spent spent:

* Less than 23 hours in Singapore.
* Just two nights in a bed.
* About 45 hours up in the air.
* At least 60 hours in transit (in the plane, waiting for flights, going to and from airports).

That's just crazy. And that's my life, though usually it isn't quite this ridiculous. And I really am going to stop doing all this traveling pretty darn soon. Just not in 2008.

I hope you are all enjoying sleeping in your own beds!