Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Proof that Al-Qaeda is a Bunch of A-holes

In case you weren't sure, Al-Qaeda is now officially a bunch of A-holes.

CBS News reports
that the recent attempt on the life of Saudi counter-terrorism chief, Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, used a technique from drug smugglers, though novel to homicide bombers.

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"Taking a trick from the narcotics trade - which has long smuggled drugs in body cavities - Asieri had a pound of high explosives, plus a detonator inserted in his rectum. This was a meticulously planned operation with al Qaeda once again producing something new: this time, the Trojan bomber."

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Although this is a humorous take on a very serious subject, notice that the enemy is changing his tactics. While Al-Qaeda continues to be a bunch of cowards, they now reduce themselves to the level of drug smugglers to commit murder.

Should you be concerned? Damn straight! Unless and until the world community crushes this heinie-stuffing goon squad, more bloodshed will occur. Call on your political leaders to use not just force, but overwhelming force to crush this enemy now.

President Teleprompter, listen to your theater-area commanders and send the necessary troops to finish the job.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Government Knows Best You Dummies!

In case you didn't know it, "The American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act." Thank you for the insult and condescension Secretary Chu!

Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of the Department of Energy, made the statement above, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, at a Smart Grid conference. His remarks mirror the Democrat party line which is that government knows best, and citizens should just sit down and shut up.

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What has this to do with economics? Simply, everything! From the moment you wake until the moment you sleep, you make economic decisions. Whether it is turning the light on in the middle of the night when going to the bathroom, or having a midnight snack, those decisions have economic consequences.

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Would you be willing to let a bureaucrat mandate no lights may be turned on between 10:00pm and 6:00am? Would you be willing to pay a tax for opening your refrigerator after 1:00am? Of course not! As an adult, you reserve the right to make your own decisions. However, the current ruling party in the US believes you lack the intellect and knowledge to make the "right" decisions.

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While I generally support energy conservation through proper insulation, caulking, and other low-dollar, high-return solutions, I don't believe anybody has the right to force me to do it. Economic common sense and simple arithmetic demonstrated I should put in higher efficiency HVAC units when I remodeled my house, as well as Energy Star doors. I didn't put up solar panels, nor did I install a windmill, because they didn't make economic sense.

When government thinks it is smarter than its citizens, it is doomed to make poor decisions with horrific consequences. Consider Sen. Max Baucus's "health care" plan. Buy insurance or we will tax you $3800. Were I a 23 year old male, with excellent health, I may not want to buy health insurance and the government has no business telling me I must. In short, all citizens must have the freedom to make their own economic decisions.

I will leave you with a quotation to help distill in your mind what the current Congress and President are thinking:

"We are going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

Was that: (A) Joseph Stalin, (B) Ronald Reagan, (C) V.I Lenin, or (D) Hillary Clinton?

If you want to be secure in papers, property, and person, it is incumbent upon you to speak up! Contact your representatives in Congress and remind them of your right as an adult to make up your own mind, and that includes whom you vote for in the 2010 elections. If you like bureaucrats making decisions for you, stick with President Teleprompter and his gang. If you like making up your own mind, consider an alternative.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

A Different Point of View on Unemployment

Another 216,000 jobs lost, but the employment picture is brighter? Only Joe Biden thinks the recession is over with 15 million people out of work!

In the United States, current unemployment, as reported by the Department of Labor, stands at 9.7% (ending August, 2009), the highest unemployment rate in 26 years, and expected to rise to 10%.

Approximately 15,000,000 people are out of work, yet we hear from many politicians that the economy is picking up, or that the employment situation is settling down.

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I have a different point of view. What the unemployment numbers tell us is companies continue to shed jobs, maybe at a slower rate, but they not hiring folks in any great numbers. Factory inventories are about empty and order rates for goods and services are seriously down, thus no demand for increased production. Further, the likelihood of a major market correction becomes more likely as unemployment continues to rise.

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The American consumer is aware of the untenable amount of leverage they have taken on, and are adjusting to lifestyle of diminished spending. Further, great concerns about a dramatic increase in taxes, both from Cap and Trade, as well as the end of the "Bush Tax Cuts", and the potential destructive force of Obamacare are crushing consumer optimism and a willingness to invest in capital goods.

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What this means, is that until a period of reasonable certainty and stability returns, we are in for a very long ride. While credit markets may be easing, US home prices are still far below their highs, which is actually a good thing. Additionally, with decreased overall demand for goods and services, companies are in no hurry to hire. Without a marked increase in employment, don't count on the American consumer to go back to its spending habits.

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The only bright spot in this dismal period of unemployment is the potential for entrepreneurial growth. Usually, periods of high unemployment lead to smart, out of work people getting together to come up with goods and services adjusted for the new economic reality. While I hope this is the case, I think the fear around major tax increases are somewhat depressing interest in "going it alone." The lesson to take from all of this is the lesson of history. Left wing parties, regardless of country, always bring in high taxes and anti-business agendas. Productive capacity is taken from the private sector and put in the hands of inefficient governments. Forget power to the people, it becomes domination by the state.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Quantifying Phone Tag

How much does playing phone tag cost your business? More than you think! You can get your costs under control with some simple tools.

For my quant friends, how do you measure the cost of phone tag? It is really quite simple. Assume your estimated hourly rate is $50. Each day you spend one hour on the phone, and only 50% of the calls were conversations. The cost of non-productive calls is $25 a day. 260 days times $25 equals $6500 per year, per employee! Ouch!

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Fortunately, RingCentral and now Google (to a limited extent), have products that help keep you connected and receiving calls, whether you are on your cell phone, home phone, or vacation home phone.

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RingCentral utilizes your internet connection to handle the call hand offs. It allows you to keep a central number, including area code, and then forwards the call to one of a set of numbers you provide. Additionally, RingCentral also provides similar products for fax solutions.

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Not to be out done, Google is soon to offer a service called Google Voice. Although it is only available by invite only (?), it is said to offer call forwarding, screening, voice mail, etc. It appears this will be a "free" service, but I don't have anything definitive as of 01 September 2009.

From Google:

Google Voice is a service that gives you one number for all your phones, voicemail that is easy as email, and many enhanced calling features like call blocking and screening, voicemail transcripts, call conferencing, international calls, and more.

Clearly, missed phone calls are costing companies thousands of dollars a year, as well as lost productivity, lost business opportunities, and general frustration. Fortunately, with products from RingCentral and Google, businesses can better manage these costs.

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