Someone in Israel noticed and the idea is obviously being taken seriously. I love Israel for its openness, honesty, intelligence and humanity.
"The normally bad school maintains a reasonably orderly learning environment and offers a standard range of courses taught with standard textbooks. Most of the teachers aren’t terrible; they’re just mediocre. Those raw materials give students most of the education they are going to absorb regardless of where they go to school. Excellent schools with excellent teachers will augment their learning, and are a better experience for children in many other ways as well. But an excellent school’s effects on mean test scores for the student body as a whole will not be dramatic. Readers who attended normally bad K-12 schools and then went to selective colleges are likely to understand why: Your classmates who had gone to Phillips Exeter had taken much better courses than your school offered, and you may have envied their good luck, but you had read a lot on your own, you weren’t that far behind, and you caught up quickly."
Simple, it is always a straight line into the future.
* Eugenics: we will inevitably get smarter and healthier in the future as we reduce reproduction by defectives.
* Communism and socialism are the inevitable scientific waves of the future, they will replace capitalism.
* The world population is exploding at an inevitable geometric rate. We will all starve as we use up the finite resources.
* Global warming is the inevitable consequence of human generated CO2. The CO2 curve is like a hockey stick.
* National health insurance is inevitable.
* Poverty inevitably causes terrorism.
* Science inevitably finds the truth.
* The next big ideology is inevitable.
Blame Karl Marx for this straight line nature of Lefty ideology. Marx was responding to Hegel's model of history. Hegel gave us an historic model based on thesis-antithesis resulting in synthesis. Marx rejected this slow steady improvement model so he gave us the straight line of improvement with communism as the end point, communism was to lead on a straight line to the end of history.
Marx's model is the core of Lefty ideology.
The executive compensation packages have been growing at a steady pace for the past fifteen years, with a fairly reliable average for this data because of the large number of firms that are reporting; despite the unreported pension and bonus numbers. The total has roughly tripled.
Donations to political parties have grown rapidly during this same period. The data is hard to find and hard to compare because different elections bring out different levels of contribution. But the political total has risen at about the same rate as executive compensation.
I suspect a connection.
Back, many decades, when I was a Bank of California vice president, we executives were given bonuses which we were expected to use to make political donations to designated candidates. The designation was done by our in-house politico.
I often get complaints that Arabs make endless false accusations against Israel and Israel doesn't respond.
There is a simple reason, the Lefty ideologs are not now and never have been influenced by evidence that contradicts their ideology. No matter how overwhelming the evidence.
I have, however, a solution that I am forwarding to one of my policy making friends in Israel.
I am recommending that Israel regularly issue a press release in the following form:
|3210||Hamas anti-Israel charges||2122||PA-PLO anti-Israel charges||1338||Hizbullah... charges|
|3112||Hamas charges investigated
|2010||PA-PLO charges investigated
|3109||Hamas charges found
to be false
|2004||PA-PLO charges found
to be false
||Hamas charges where
Israelis were heroic or saved lives.
|1127||PA-PLO charges where
Israelis were heroic or saved lives.
||Hizbullah.. Israel heroic|
While I don't have the actual numbers, these approximations make the clear point. It is a waste of time to refute false Arab press releases. But since the false charges usually reflect some heroic action by Israelis it is worth investigating the charges.
I would personally add to the chart the number of times the BBC, NYTimes, PBS, French TV and others have taken the entire false press release as true. But Israel won't do that.
I went to a Japanese Party in my honor. The first party I have been where the majority of people speak Japanese and only a few didn't. That meant the party was in Japanese and everyone conducted themselves the way they do a Japanese parties.
Only four things were clearly different and of interest to my readers.
* First, the conversation was carried on by everyone (10 guests) there. This occasionally happens at American parties but generally only six or fewer guests talk as a group.
* Second, the important part about the group conversation was that, even though most people didn't know each other, each had a connection to another (spouses had worked together once, or were neighbors) the conversation was one long laugh fest. The jokes were an endless series of simple stories (I lived on the same train line as you do) that were turned into puns. Japanese has an unlimited potential for puns because of spelling, phonetic sounds and the same words used in multiple contexts.
* Third, the party started on time and ended on time. When the scheduled time to end arrived, the honored guest (me) stood up and so did everyone else, getting prepared to leave. Everyone left together and the host walked everyone to the corner.
* Fourth, when everyone stood up to leave, they applauded. Applause is expected at a party that guests enjoy.
In rugby a scrum is a structure used to restart the game after the ball has gone out of bounds or out of play for some other reason. In the scrum, the forward players from both sides have their heads together; the ball is thrown into the open space between the teams and the players kick the ball till it goes out of the scrum.
I don't usual get into a blogging scrum down. This time I just can't resist the wicked-witch saying she faced misogyny in her primary race in the Democratic Party. History will not be kind to the Clintons and this will be a statement long remembered as evidence of the Clinton political sewage production.
I must be a Clinton misogynist. I have vote against women with great pleasure. I have voted against Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi and Carole Migden. I've probably voted against many more women that I can't remember. I happily voted against them without a second thought. I voted against them for many reasons but I don't remember gender playing a role. I've been joined in my enthusiastic vote against female candidates by many women, few of whom were misogynists.
When Al (Sharpton) Franken got caught not paying taxes in states where he had done business or had a residence, I realized the same applied to me.
I had no way of knowing that the many speeches and consulting gigs I had done all over the U.S. made me liable for taxes in the states that have or had state income taxes.
Turns out that state tax authorities only go after prominent people or get incensed when some blogger calls their attention to the unpaid taxes, as is the case with Franken.
I'm not suggesting that there be any consistency in state taxing, I'm suggesting that the states with income taxes form some central collecting agency that makes sure each state tax form inform us non-CPA's what the rules are for paying other state's taxes.
two-thirds of San Franciscan renters live in rent controlled units,
that is roughly 200,000 people.
* 60,000 people live on trust funds.
* Finally, 30,000 San Franciscans are government employees.
All these numbers represent the highest proportion of people for any large city in the U.S. (excluding government employees in D.C)
I have no way of knowing how many occupants of rent controlled units are trust funders or government employees. Assuming that not all trust funders and not all government employees (several thousand earn over $200,000 a year) are living in rent controlled units, we still have more than 200,000 people who either have no reason to care what the tax bill for San Francisco is, or have reasons to want it increased because they work for the government.
Again, I have no idea what percent of the 200,000+ San Franciscans in these three groups vote, but there is good reason to believe they are at least the majority (90,000) of the 180,000 people who regularly vote.
Thus, San Francisco appears to have a majority of voters who are not impacted by rising local taxes or else they benefit from higher taxes. No wonder we have tax and spend socialists running the City.
That is my explanation.
Of course my demographic explanation ignores the radical history of San Francisco that had a citywide general strike by concerted union effort in 1934 and an openly Communist labor union leader (Harry Bridges, whom I knew) for thirty years.
* a Saudi national who organizes a flight of two passenger planes into the New York World Trade Center orIs it Osama or Obama who is the most serious threat to global commerce?
* a U.S. Senator running for President who says that we must renegotiate or walk away from a trade agreement we signed more than 15 years ago, which covers $1 trillion in annual trade volume and provides us most favored nation status for oil?
I went down in a very deep Tokyo subway the other day. It was a warm day and the subway was even warmer. The warmth led me to ask the question: 'Why did medieval Christians imagine that Hell was down and hot?'
The earth would not seem to be hot inside on the basis of everyday experience. Caves that go down a few hundred feet were most likely cooler than the outside air. The only evidence of warmth inside the earth would have been geysers, volcanoes and hot springs.
Were these enough examples for men to conclude that under the surface of the earth there was warmth?
One of the main failures of the hippy revolution was the widespread acceptance and application of the core idea of global-personal metonomy: hippies believed that what you do on a personal level can effect the world. If you are nice to each other, eventually the world will be peaceful.
This core idea had the immediate effect of hippies trying to run communes and coops without management. They said 'what do we need management for, we can operate as a democratic consensus group.' As a consequence the hippies never learned organizational skills and never built any enduring organizations (with the exception of one hippie who created Apple Corporation).
In order to keep this core idea from being blatant nonsense the hippies found a hero in Lyall Watson, a biologist who created the hundredth monkey idea. The 100th monkey idea was that any new wisdom would spread person to person until 100 people knew it then magically it would spread to everyone in an instant.
Lyall (I knew him) got his idea from a Japanese report that monkeys who were given dirty potatoes on a river near Kyoto learned to wash the potatoes in the river. It was reported that after a few tribes of monkeys figured out this innovation, all the monkeys in Japan learned how to do it.
Trouble was, the reality was better. Only young monkeys learned to wash potatoes and it spread only to young monkeys, mostly by imitation. Old monkeys never did learn to wash the potatoes.
But the hundredth monkey theory needed a theoretical model. That was soon provided by Rupert Sheldrake who criss-crossed the hippie world giving lectures on morphic resonance. Morphic resonance is much like the 19th Century ether, it was a medium that physically carried ideas from brain to brain, like sound traveling through the air in waves.
Now you know and now you have the references. If we are kind to each other it will spread to the world after the 99th person is kind to the 100th person. It will spread from brain to brain instantly via the invisible morphic resonance that pervades the universe.
Now I am tempering my position because (1) I've seen some compromise in the discussion of Durban II. South Africa is no longer being considered as a site, because the Islamic hate nations realized no decent nations would attend to give the Islamic hatred credibility if the conference were a perfect repeat of Durban I. In other words, the monsters need the credibility the UN offers and can, in some occasional cases, withhold.
(2) The emergence of the coalition of market-tolerant-tyrannies (China and Russia) and their desire to promulgate their new found ideology of pro-tyranny warrants a forum where free market nations can confront the tyrannies.
I was told by a friend that the French reproductive rate was climbing (approaching 2.0) because of large government payments ($1,000 per month) for a 3rd child and that Japan was studying what the French had done. If what the French were doing was successful, every other industrial nation would copy them.
I looked on the Internet and found the data. The French success story is not true.
The raw data is easy to interpret. There is a growing reproductive rate among French married to non-French but not among French married to other French.
Every other society on earth has seen the same phenomenon without wasting $1,000 per month. Immigrants from poor countries have high reproduction rates, like the people in the countries they left behind, and they continue those high rates for several generations in the new country. The same thing is happening in Israel among Arabs settlers and in the U.S. among recent Mexican immigrants.
No miracles in this story.
The only solution to raising reproduction rates in an industrial country is to do what Israel does: draft everyone, male and female, put them under wartime stress conditions (real in Israel and real in some UN Peacekeeping missions), and you get a high marriage and reproduction rate for your society.
In the last blog I pointed out the problem with comparing CEOs compensation to celebrity stars.
Highly paid CEOs also argue that they are in a competitive market, like senior electricians. The problem with this argument is there are only a few thousand CEOs and it is almost impossible to argue that there is a standard level of competence as there is with senior electricians.
How can the hiring committee of the Board of Directors of a corporation know that a CEO has previously been successful? The industry may have been rising (or falling and the CEO helped abate the fall) or the other executives surrounding the CEO really did the successful work and the CEO got the credit.
Disentangling the CEO, other executives, and corporate success is a basic challenge of executive compensation. There is rarely a genuine, reliable or pervasive measure as discussed in this WSJ article, explaining the problem of shareholders voting on CEO pay.
I work in a field (utilities) where the CEO's and their subordinates are pure bureaucrats with no risk other than political ineptitude. They get outrageous compensation with no risk and meaningless measures of accomplishment. The way they set their measures of accomplishment are illustrative of the basic problem: they use shareholder dividends, shareholder capital gains, production output, stock price, customer satisfaction (measured in surveys), comparisons to other companies, capital accumulation and half a dozen other measurements often combined.
Of course most companies never take compensation away from losers, when metrics go down, which destroys the credibility of their reward system; at most the bonus drops to zero, and virtually no companies ever make public the way the bonus reward systems are calculated. Real evidence that these measures are meaningless.
I'll know executive compensation is reasonable when (a) the surrounding subordinates are paid in proportion to the top and (b)the subordinates pay is comparable with others in similar fields like CFOs and CIOs (Finance and Information). (c) Most importantly I know the compensation system is reasonable when the bonus reward system is fully public.
There has been perennial outrage at the high levels of compensation that CEO's have gotten since the early 1990s when the Democratic Congress decided to penalize corporations for any wages over $1 million unless tied to performance. That is when corporations found dozens of ways to outrage Congress and many others, by raising CEO compensation far above anything ever seen before.
Inside the executive world the prevailing current argument is that CEOs do much more good for the world (with hundreds and thousands of employees) than movie stars, Oprah, and highly paid athletes; and CEOs carry far greater burdens every day of the week. It is also argued that CEOs are in a competitive field just like senior electricians but at much higher rates.
Both of these arguments are valid but they don't slake legitimate complaints about CEO salaries. There are two problems that are different from the celebrity star argument and the competitive wage market argument.
(1) The wage scales of executives under the CEO are effected by the CEO's compensation. Thus a rise in CEO compensation raises everyone elses or else, with too great a disparity, discourages and drives out subordinates. For a good understanding of this I quote Jeff Imelt the CEO of giant General Electric: "The key relationship is the one between the CEO and top 25 managers of the company, because that's the key team," ...Immelt has said in recent interviews. "Should the CEO make five times, three times or twice what this group makes? That's debatable, but 20 times is lunacy," he added.
Last year, Mr. Immelt received $3.3 million in base salary, $5.8 million in bonus and $396,267 in other compensation, as well as other plan-based awards valued at $4.7 million at their grant date. His compensation, he has said, was in "the two to three times the range" of GE's other 25 top executives.
The top executive wages also trickle down very fast to the entire company and raise everyones wages, making the company less competitive in open markets or more costly for the consumer in monopoly markets.
(2) The argument that the market for CEOs is a competitive market is hard to defend because there are only a few thousand CEOs and it is almost impossible to argue that there is a standard level of competence as there is with senior electricians. (continued in the next blog).
When you start to question the Lefty version of the world it is inevitable that you are forced to question the whole conglomerate of Lefty institutions. Which is worse, labor unions, environmentalists or innocent people who support their positions?
In this Wall Street Journal article, today, Environmentalists Oppose Air-cleanup Plan, by Jim Carlton, we learn that the leading enviro group NRDC has joined with the Teamsters and other unions to stop Long Beach and LA harbors from expanding. Both harbors are near capacity, as well they should be; exports are booming.
These two adjacent harbors handle 50% of all the shipping, by volume, in the U.S., in and out. They handle 60% of the U.S. cargo by value. That is a lot. The rest of our shipping is scattered around 10 other ports.
As the WSJ reports, the NRDC and the Teamsters are trying to use environmental review legalities to keep the harbors from expanding to handle increased trade. They make no bones about their fake environmental position. The NRDC is opposed to GNP growth and unions are opposed to any jobs that aren't union.
This is serious competition to severely damage the U.S. economy to put many people out of work and to make sure that fewer new jobs are created in our society. The Allied forces in WWII tried to bomb ball-bearing plants in Germany; ball-bearings were seen as critical to the survival of an industrial nation.
Like the Allies trying to destroy Germany, the NRDC and the Teamsters are in a serious competition to see who can do the most damage to America.
Every such healing, stretching, massaging or vibrating device introduced in the U.S., with the exception of the simplest sex vibrator, has been pulled off the market when the company selling it gets hit with a lawsuit.
We have a general American view, discovered thirty years ago by George Leonard that any product that comes on the market should have been designed by fully prescient engineers who made sure no possible misuse could ever be made of the product.
George pointed out that nearly every jury would buy the argument when presented with the facts of a disaster, say a car rolling over while taking a turn too fast, that the engineers of the car could have foreseen the use of the car at too high a speed and should have built in a design to thwart misuse.
Our legal system makes sure that lawsuits can be brought against almost any product or service, with little or no merit. The consequence is that the cost of defending against lawsuits forces small companies to go out of business or sell out to larger companies that can survive lawsuits.
That is why we only have giant companies in the auto industry, pharmaceuticals, HMOs, electrical equipment, engine manufacturing and virtually all consumer electronics.
Change our laws about lawsuits and we'll have more interesting products in our markets and more innovative small businesses.
Zoka is a small roaster of coffee in Seattle, that has gained an international following for the quality and taste of its fresh roasted coffee.
The photo on this page is a Zoka coffee shop in Mejiro Tokyo, the second one they've opened in Tokyo.
I would guess that Seattle and Tokyo are the two coffee capitals of the world, though every one would argue that Turkey, Israel, Vienna and a few other places are rightfully on that list. I frankly won't argue the point. Seattle created the first worldwide coffee business after swallowing the idea of daily espresso whole-heartily and Tokyo has been the Blue Mountain-brew-one-cup at a time capital for half a century.
I actually like the Zoka espresso drinks very much and recommend it. The same is not true of the Clover machine brew of regular coffee they sell for $10. I do love the fact that infuriates all the coffee world, Starbucks bought the Clover company.
The Japanese have had a great influence on American food and taste. Sushi is obvious but the Japanese version of 'presentation' has been an even greater influence. Eat in any of the top restaurants in America in the past twenty years and even the second ranking restaurants and you'll find that the presentation is 75% of what you are paying for and 100% borrowed from Japan.
The Japanese have even taken foreign food ideas and applied the same presentation value to the foreign food.
The Japanese 'presentation' model is best seen in their elaborate ten-twelve course meals called 'kaiseki.' Kaiseki is probably derived from the Japanese Tea Ceremony which emphasizes simple elegance and avoids ostentation. Each dish in a kaiseki meal is intended as an aesthetic masterpiece in all dimensions including seasonality.
The Japanese have now borrowed the Scandinavian smorgasbord idea and translated it into a kaiseki meal. The two photos on this page show part of the appetizer selection and a very small part of the dessert selection at the Imperial Hotel 'Viking' luncheon. The price is appropriate, $55, no tip. The kaiseki-smorgasbord idea is now in use in many large Japanese hotels.
As recently as five years ago, most telephone calls were made from land lines owned by a few giant telecom companies that were under state regulators. If you didn't like something you had a state regulatory body to complain to.
Today, nearly all phone calls are made over wireless systems and computer transmitted digital signals that are completely unregulated.
This has been a major transition in the telecom business with very little comment.
We all complain about the high cost of cell phone service, the unwarranted two year contracts and the periodically poor quality of the transmission but there are so few complaints that nothing rises to the level of a call for new regulation.
Most complaints are minor and directed at issues of fraud or deceit that are handled by consumer affairs government offices.
The reality is that an unregulated field is working fine, despite the consolidation of the wireless companies into a few giants. Even fewer in the near future.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that America is now so rich, prosperous and diverse that we have reached a commercial threshold, the point where any American who will join the mainstream can fully participate in the prosperity of our society.
That means for many of us who have skills and talents that are above average, we are now able to lead a new kind of life. This life has no name. It is a life where we can pursue the kind of life in which everything we do is fun and much of it generates income.
Many observers have noticed that skilled workers often pursue multiple careers; that job changing and career changing are common modes.
I am going further, I'm saying that many people don't pursue jobs or careers, they pursue their interests and live the life they find enjoyable. These new people are able to support themselves doing what they enjoy most, whatever they enjoy most. There is nothing in this related to trust funds or inheritance.
When I am asked for career advice I am increasingly willing to say to ordinary people: do what you love and you will not find it difficult to support yourself.
I call this choice in life the: can-do-life. I assume you know what I mean and I assume you know people who are living like this.
The connection is weak. Ed Rothstein, a first rate American intellectual mind, has reviewed Philip Bobbitt's Terror and Consent about the current wars of non-state terror groups against nations. I will read Bobbitt's book after I finish the two current books on my Sony Reader that relate to the same subject and which you will soon see reviewed.
Then there is the article that is widely discussed by nearly everyone in Israel (be prepared, it is very long) and has been translated into English. It is A.B. Yehoshua's, seminal work on anti-Semitism. Yehoshua is probably the world's greatest living thinker.
Yehoshua finds the 2000 year hatred of the Jews among people with no consistent characteristics, against Jews with no consistent characteristics to lie in the fear of the mysterious force that holds the diverse population of Jews together: nationhood.
Nationhood arises in a people without a land, without a common spoken language or ethnicity. Nationhood arises from a lifetime focus by Jews on a common set of laws (the Torah).
Very interesting connection because today, Israel (the people in love with the world of laws) is locked in a firm embrace with America (the country that defines itself by its love of a Constitution), and both are hated, in the new terror war, by tribal people who abhor the idea of a nation based on laws.