Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Travelling and Exhaustion

I have recently been reminded again of the risks of travelling when one is tired, or tired because they are travelling...  In October I let myself be talked into getting a ride to the hotel in Shanghai with "some guy", in my exhaustion the official cab line looked real real long...  Thankfully I did arrive safely, however it cost my company an extra $40...

Well, the Saturday before Christmas I got back from S Korea / China just in time to drive out to SD and SW MN for the holidays.  Then the family and I came back on Friday, packed up on Satuday and caught a 6:50 AM flight to Cancun MX on Sunday for a 5 day vacation.

Unfortunately, the Cancun airport has something that I have never experienced before.  Between where you collect your baggage and where you exit the airport, they have an area where unsuspecting tourists can be directed to a bunch of official looking people who are there to "help you".  Or so it seemed at the time to my fuzzy brain.

So with my family listening, our new best friend Hugo starts discussing all the great things we can do on our vacation and how much he can save us.  Needless to say the deals were great, my daughters were excited and had forgotten their desire to just sit on the beach, and I wanted to get to the hotel.  Therefore I did what many stupid American first time to Mexico tourist Dads would do, I paid the man and signed.

As those of you who have taken many vacations in developing countries may know, the fine print read that I needed to attend a "time share" presentation in order to claim all of my great deals.  Then to make it worse, the place we are staying at also wanted to offer us great deals if we attended their presentation, so they tried to talk us into cancelling on the airport friend so they could be our new "bestest friends"...

Thankfully we put this all behind us on Monday morning by attending the "airport guy's" sales pitch and thereby claiming the goodies we "worked" so hard for...  Maybe I'll tell you more about what my family learned about this sales technique.  I am amazed that apparently 30% of people they get to attend sign up on the spot.  Needless to say, I said "NO"...

By the way, today was the Chichen Itza tour.  It was great except they let ~1,000 sales tables setup along the walking paths.  It felt like running a gauntlet of people asking you to buy things. (strangely most of the products were apparently made in even lower cost countries...)  And tomorrow the girls get 3 hours with dolphins.

So remember to follow the crowd and just say no while travelling, especially when your brain is mush.  And more importantly. 


Saturday, December 28, 2013

A&E Supports Duck Dynasty

I am always amazed that the "we want freedom" gay supporting folks are so quick to bash people who believe differently than them.  Thankfully the other ~50% of the population stood up for Phil's right to voice his beliefs.

I mean as he said, it isn't his job to judge.  God will make the final call if being Gay is a sin or not.  For the Gay folks sake, I hope God is Gay friendly...
USA Today A&E Calls Off "Duck Dynasty" Suspension
GQ What the Duck?


Friday, December 27, 2013

Education Reform Continued

Since MPP kicked me off, commenting over there has been pretty limited.  Which makes sense since the site reminds me of a bunch of parrots repeating each other's words.  However occasionally someone does have an original thought and some discussion occurs. (ie Lynnell)  Of course the response is often the usual bashing and name calling... 

MPP How I Got Over (Lynnell)
MPP People have seen enough Reform (Dan)

I really like Lynnell's thoughts on this topic... Thoughts?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Drug Test Welfare Recipients?

The Big E over at MPP is saying that a MN Legislator is wrong for wanting to drug test welfare recipients. (of course insulting him the whole while)  Now it doesn't look like a big money saver, however I think it is still a good idea.  At least when physical or behavioral indicators are present, and especially when kids are involved.

MPP Drug Test Welfare Recipients
Salon Inane Money Eating Sham
Deseret News Utah Saves $350K in First Year
NY Times Drug Tests Falter
Salt Lake Times Testing is a Mixed Bag

Since the "user" rate has been very low in other states where it has been tried.  I wonder how those numbers account for people who self-exited the state programs rather than be caught?  This could be by moving to another state...


Income Inequality Matters?

It seems the Liberals like MPP are seizing the opportunity to spin and exaggerate some statements made by David Hahn.  I don't know if they made sense or not, but it is interesting that they made national news...  HP GOP Lawmaker Not Convinced

And after just visiting China and observing their incredible wealth disparity, I found this article to be very interesting...  Since it seems to propose that the wealth differential does not matter as long as everyone's situation is improving.  The Diplomat Chinese Leaders Not Concerned by Inequality  Of course, this Slate article about China's Treatment of Journalists may indicate differently.  Though I think this has more to do with "Political Corruption" than "Wealth Differential".

Then of course there is this article that indicates the problem  does exist.  However it explains how the Liberals are trying to take advantage of some serious perception errors to make it appear worse.
Atlantic Cities: Terrible at Estimating Wealth Gap


By the way, I include these links to remind readers that I see American consumers as the key to resolving this "problem".  Not the American government.  (aka taxes and redistribution)
G2A Poor at Transferring Wealth
G2A Liberals and Foreign Cars
G2A Prius vs Volt

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tyrants / Clowns: North Korea

I kind of feel sorry for Kim Jong Un, can you imagine being the Dictator of a "small pond" who  truly believes that everyone in the world should respect and grovel at your feet.  While in your heart of hearts you know that the vast majority of humans see you as impotent, give little thought to you and often ridicule you when they do.  It has to be like a self absorbed bully's worst nightmare.
CNN North Korea Threatens By Fax

Of course, his Uncle would beg to differ.  (CNN Uncle Executed)  Even in a "small pond" it is bad to be a smaller fish when the biggest fish gets hungry or feels threatened...


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Catholic Priest Witch Hunt?

Now I agree that if your organization is determined to make their staff give up all the little normal things that make life worth living. (ie sex, spouses, sex, children, sex, etc)  You are likely to get some atypical people signing up for your organization.  What young man in their right mind would give up SEX !!!

Then on top of this you tell everyone that homosexual feelings are sinful, and that they should fight them and be celibate if you can do nothing else.  So of course self selection will bias the sample of candidates.

However, even with this foolish doctrine in place I have to wonder if there are a lot of sinful people chasing after money, instead of closure.  Especially with this latest accusation...
MinnPost Nienstedt Steps Aside

Sunday, December 15, 2013

MN Budget Surplus: What To Do?

It sure is a good thing Dayton and the DFLers raised taxes last year...  Now they get to think of who to reward with tax cuts...  And I am guessing it won't be the "Rich" who are paying the higher rates.  Briana posted an interesting article regarding this at MinnPost Dayton and Federal Tax Conformity.

I'll be posting/commenting at strange hours again this week.  I am at the Detroit airport awaiting my flight to South Korea, and Wednseday I fly into Beijing China for meetings in Tiajin on Thursday and Friday.

So how do you think we should use these excess revenues the DFL helped to generate through tax increases.  Spend them, give them to Paul, give them back to Peter, other?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

US Budget Deal Announced

Well it looks like a deal has been announced that is not very well supported by either side.  Let the fights and rhetoric begin again...  Thoughts?

CNN Budget Deal Aims to Avert Another Shutdown
CNN Crossfire Both Sides Skeptical
FOX News Rolling Back Sequester
FOX News Summary of Bi-Partisan Budget Act

GM No Longer Government Motors

According to this article the government sold the last of their shares in the recovering automaker.  Apparently we citizens invested $49.5 billion to help stabilize the company and protect the union employees, and we recovered ~39 billion. CNN Treasury Sells Last Shares

The article notes that it could have cost us much more if the company had failed.  Thoughts?

On a related note.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Minimum Wage Increase By Executive Order?

I was stunned when I read in MinnPost that the Office of the President may actually be able to arbitrarily change the minimum wage for many by signing an Executive Order.  What do you think?  Should he? Could he?

MinnPost Min Wage Increase by Executive Order?
The Hill White House Side Steps
National Journal Can The President Raise the Minimum Wage?

Not surprisingly Rep Ellison, our MN Rep who insisted on getting paid during the government shutdown, is helping to lead the charge.  Thoughts?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Carlson Gives Credit Where Credit is Due

Here is an article at MinnPost that I can for the most part agree with.
MinnPost Carlson Credits Diverse Economy

Arne Carlson gives credit where credit is due.  Not to the politicians, but to the great businesses we have in the state. 

And I agree, thank heavens for our strong Ag and Tourism industries.  Thank heavens for all the strong companies and great employees that make our success possible !!!  Even with all those politicians trying to make it more expensive and difficult... Thoughts?
Wiki List of MN Businesses

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

China's Air Defense Zone

I was discussing this topic with one of my peers who is visiting from China.  Not surprisingly he has been told that these islands have been on China's maps for centuries and that only in the 1900's did Imperial Japan claim them.  I can't wait to speak with one of my Japanese peers to see what their view is...

CNN China's Air Defense Zone
CNN Who Claims What?
CNN Questions and Answers

I am just hoping that they keep things calm through year end...  I have meetings in South Korea and China starting in about 12 days.

So what do you think of this situation?
Do you think anyone would care about these rock islands if oil was not involved?
What do you think America should do?

Another interesting comment my peer made.  He said that he was taught that China sided with North Korea during the Korean war because if the USA controlled Korea, they would try to take over China next...  There are always multiple views of every situation...

A Russian peer of mine told me a long time ago that it was the Soviet Union that saved the day by ending WW II.  Which of course is partially true since multiple fronts had to been incredibly hard to defend...