Quotes that Say Something

"Please, dad, get down and look. I think there's some kind of monster under my bed."

Life when seen in close-up often seems tragic, but in wide-angle it often seems comic. -- Charlie Chaplin

"And when the cloudbursts thunder in your ear, you shout, but no one's there to hear. And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon." -- Roger Waters, "Brain Damage"

Mar 25, 2015

The Hypocrisy -- Ted Cruz Signs Up for Obamacare

Senator Ted Cruz on Monday announced his bid for the White House to a live audience in Virginia. 

Full of ugly hubris, Cruz (the all-Canadian, Cubano legislator) said, "Imagine in 2017, a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare."

If successful, that "new president" will be Ted Cruz, and the moment he signs that bill into law, he and his family will have zero health care insurance. The Tea Party Republican – just 24 hours after once again calling for the repeal of the President's health care plan that has delivered affordable health care to literally millions of Americans, and extended the age students, like those at Liberty, can be under their parents' plan – confessed to CNN's Dana Bash this afternoon he just signed up for Obamacare.

"We'll be getting new health insurance and we'll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we'll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange," Cruz said. He called it "transitioning." Hypocritically, he did not call it Obamacare but "the federal exchange."


Cruz's wife, Heidi Cruz, a managing director at Goldman Sachs' Houston office, is taking an unpaid leave of absence from her job, presumably to avoid any appearance of impropriety. The Cruz family has been getting its health care insurance from Mrs. Cruz's employer, but now they are no longer eligible while she is on leave.

So Senator Cruz signed up for Obamacare, and sees absolutely no hypocrisy, or even irony, with taking that action.

Cruz, it should be noted, has every right to buy health care insurance privately, like many Americans do, but chose to sign up for Obamacare and to accept the federal government subsidy that he is entitled to as a sitting U.S. Senator.

"I believe we should follow the text of every law, even (a) law I disagree with," Cruz told CNN. "It's one of the real differences -- if you look at President Obama and the lawlessness, if he disagrees with a law he simply refuses to follow it or claims the authority to unilaterally change."

CNN's Dana Bash was shocked and looked incredulous as she asked, "That means you are going to take a government subsidy?"  She noted, "The irony is kind of unbelievable."

Source Blog:  David Badash  (3-24-15)



Mar 24, 2015

Cyberloafing, Skiving, and Other Workday Amusements

A Guide to Skiving

or Thrive at Work with a Minimum of Effort

Blogger Says: The source here is The Economist (Issue 24 Oct 2014). This humorous article makes key points about cyber-loafing dodging responsibilities while on the job, among other salient topics. ------ Yours as always, Butch Ekstrom

The best way to understand a system is to look at it from the point of view of people who want to subvert it. 

Sensible bosses try to view their companies through the eyes of corporate raiders. Serious-minded politicians make a point of putting themselves in opponents’ shoes. The same is true of the world of work in general: the best way to understand a company’s “human resources” is . . . to study the basic principles of skiving.
(A) The first principle of skiving (or shirking, as Americans call it) is always to appear hard at work. 
This is the ancient jacket-on-the-back-of-the-chair trick: leave a coat permanently on display so that a casual observer — a CEO practising “managing by walking around”, for example — will assume that you are the first to arrive and the last to leave. 
The skill of skiving is subtle: ensure you are somewhere else when the work is being allocated. 
Successful skivers never visibly shy away from work: confronted with the inevitable they make a point of looking extremely eager. This “theater of enthusiasm” has fooled almost everyone. Policymakers bemoan the epidemic of overwork. But . . . studies suggest that the average worker devotes between one-and-a-half and three hours a day to loafing.
(B) The second principle is that information technology is both the slacker’s best friend and deadliest enemy. 
The PC is custom-made for the indolent: you can give every impression of being hard at work when in fact you are shopping, booking a holiday or otherwise frolicking in the cyber-waves. And thanks to mobile technology you can now continue to frolic while putting in face time in meetings. There is also a high-tech version of the jacket trick: program your e-mails to send themselves at half past midnight or 5:30 a.m. to give managers the impression that you are a Stakhanovite.
But, wait, there is a dark side to IT: one estimate suggests that 27 million employees around the world have their internet use monitored. Dealing with this threat requires vigilance: do everything you can to hide your browsing history. It may also require something that does not come naturally to skivers: political activism. Make a huge fuss about how even the smallest concessions on the principle of absolute data privacy will create a slippery slope to a totalitarian society. Skiving is like liberty: it can flourish only if Big Brother is kept at bay.
(C) The third principle is that you should always try to get a job where there is no clear relation between input and output. The public sector is obviously a skiver’s paradise. In 2004 it took two days for anyone to notice that a Finnish tax inspector had died at his desk. In 2009 the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration discovered that some of its employees had spent three-quarters of their working hours watching internet pornography. In 2012 a German civil servant wrote a farewell message to his colleagues, on his retirement, confessing that he had not done a stroke of work for the past 14 years. And it is almost impossible to sack (people like this).
Big private-sector organisations can be almost as fertile skiving grounds as government ones. 
In “The Living Dead” (2005), his memoir of life as an office worker, David Bolchover says that the amount of work he had to do was inversely related to the size of the company that he worked for. He started his career in a small firm where he had to work hard for no title and low pay. He ended working for a big company where he had a grand title and a fat pay packet but did almost nothing. But millions are perfectly happy to devote their lives to firm-financed leisure.
Hitherto skivers have focused on old-line companies where aging managers can be bamboozled with the claim that it is quite impossible to build an Excel spreadsheet in anything less than two weeks. But . . . the likes of Google and Facebook make the adult equivalent of children’s playgrounds . . . to provide their employees with an opportunity for relaxation between intense bursts of toil. But now that these companies are becoming bloated monopolists there is a perfect opportunity for canny skivers to take advantage of the nap pods without bothering with the frantic work. 
Cyber-loaf your way to the top ?     
(D) The final principle of skiving is that you should not allow your preference for leisure to limit your ambition. Too many skivers are still bewitched by the old myth that there is a connection between effort and reward. 
There are . . . studies of skiving -- it is most prevalent at the very top and bottom of the pay scale. 
The trick is to be brimming over with clever ideas for other people to execute! 

And when you become a manager your problems are solved: you can simply delegate all your work to other people while you spend all of your 'busy' days attending international conferences or “cultivating relationships with investors."


Mar 18, 2015

St. Patty's Day -- Hardly Do We Know Ye

Lift your glasses high and let's share a toast to 
'getting real' about the yearly Day of the Green.

Source: National Catholic Reporter


Author: Ken Briggs
Date: March 18, 2015

It's time for St. Patrick's Day to go privateAs a public hoo-haa it's lost whatever relevance it once had. 

If churches and community groups carry it on, fine. But let's not continue singling it out as the only ethnic veneration day on our broad civic calendar.

First, a disclaimer. I bow to no one in my gratitude for every bit of worthy character, courage and artistry that has flowed from the riches of Irish culture. Those have been inestimable gifts to me and my society.

However, the practice of celebrating that culture with the customary gusto and chauvinism, at least where those things are manifest, has gone far beyond the need to hail a once downtrodden people who suffered centuries of injustice at the hands of the British. Many other ethnic groups that have suffered similarly and worse have climbed out of their misery to occupy solid places in American life. While there is nothing wrong with extolling the virtues of any group, something untoward has crept into the special attention conferred on St. Patrick's Day.
We are too torn by race, class and ethnicity to risk inciting tensions further by seeming to play favorites. "Difference" doesn't have to imply "better" but human nature inclines it toward that. Though "better" can have an objective basis, it usually doesn't. So let's let it go to help foster that elusive "sense of community" we talk about. It had its place as a remembrance of liberation and an enactment of genuine Irish camaraderie, but the neighborhood watering holes where much of that emerged are disappearing fast and the parades no longer go through Irish precincts of large cities. For the most part, they're in the suburbs.
It also seems to me that our Irish friends aren't any longer attached to the dynamics and emotions that once gave the day relevance. The tale of St. Patrick has been sufficiently demystified to render the gallant Christian evangelist something less than a champion of a people mired in paganism. There is indisputably less of the kind of spiritual reverence around these days to shower on any outstanding figure, let alone one blurred by layers of legend. 

  St. Patrick: Pass that Jameson Please

Neither are the joys of drinking so widely promoted in an age of tragic autobiography and 12 Step programs. And the bank of political grievance, while not empty, is depleted to the point where co-existence has become possible and the flag need not be vigorously waved in defiance.
My unscientific sampling of Irish people found almost no excitement or meaning attached to the day. Not to say they wouldn't wear green or feel a streak of justifiable pride that it brings along with it. It's more that the socio-economic success of European Catholics, and the Irish in particular, have weakened the kind of bonding that immigrant strivers longed for and the freedom to be Catholic even though anti-Catholicism was still lurking. Meanwhile, waves of Latino Catholics arrive with no such ties.
What would St. Patrick say? A festive day to all of you to whom it is festive.
St. Patrick's Day, therefore, serves no significant purpose in its present form, except for profits, whether or not gays and lesbians march in the big New York and other parades. 

Keep it where there is real passion for things Irish, where it may still have meaning as something other than superiority, but let it become an ordinary occasion for leveling the playing field.