Archive for October, 2009

Do Muslims Celebrate Halloween?

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Today is Halloween, and there are a lot of Muslim-American kids who are not trick-or-treating tonight – because they are Muslim.

Poor kids.

My daughter’s first-grade class has two Muslim, Arabic-named kids; both very nice children that are well-behaved and friendly.  Yesterday her school had a Halloween Parade where the kids could wear their costumes, and 18 of the 20 students participated.

I came to see the kids have all the fun every six year-old should have on day made for fun, and when I asked my daughter’s friend why she wasn’t all dressed up, she said, “cuz my parents don’t believe in Halloween.”

Poor kid.

Muslims Believe Celebrating Halloween is Sinful

Apparently, many Muslims believe celebrating Halloween would be sinful and haram, or prohibited.

I’ve never understood immigrants that move here and don’t embrace American customs and culture.  I am not saying abandon your culture, but embrace the culture your children are growing up in. Sure, I can understand if you are an ex-pat and here for a few years, you can stay in your cocoon, but if you don’t want to handicap your kids, let them join the fun and blend in.

When a parent excludes their children from the fun the other kids experience it makes them stand out and get attention that you will likely complain about as they get older – such as, he was teased because of his name, or she was called names because of her clothes.

Poor kids.

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San Francisco Illegal Aliens OK To Drive Without A License

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Illegal immigrants in San Francisco can now drive cars without a driver’s license, thanks to new Police Chief George Gascon, who states the city is just “trying to be sensitive to all the communities we serve,” according to a Matier and Ross column on SfGate.com.

Joe Illegal, (I cannot refer to him as Jose Illegal, because I’d be stereotyping) gets pulled over for running a stop sign.  Pete Traffic Cop finds he doesn’t have a driver’s license, so he lends him a cell phone to call his neighbor who has a license and insurance to come and get the car.  Everywhere else, even places like Berkeley and Davis, havens for wacko radicals, the car winds up in a towing company’s lot.

How many laws are potentially being broken here?  Driving without a valid license; driving without insurance; possibly driving an un-registered car; and, oh…being an ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT!

Illegal Aliens Run Free in San Francisco

Remember, San Francisco is a so-called Sanctuary City that refuses to cooperate with the Feds when it comes to rounding up undocumented residents.  The city also lets illegal immigrants who are criminals back into the community to commit more crimes.

District Attorney Kamala Harris should have blood on her hands after an “alleged” MS-13 gang member, Edwin Ramos, gunned down San Franciscan Tony Bologna and two of his sons, Matthew and Michael, and wounded his youngest son.

Illegal Immigrant and MS-13 Member killed Bologna family

Illegal Immigrant and MS-13 Member killed Bologna family

You see, Edwin came here illegally and joined MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha), a murderous street gang.  He was previously arrested by SFPD and convicted of two felonies, one when he tried to rob a pregnant woman on the bus, but San Francisco’s Probation Department chooses to ignore the immigration status of their criminals.

Soft On Crime Kamala Harris Running for Attorney General

Kamala Harris, who is also running to be California’s next Attorney General, has decided not to pursue the death penalty against Mr. Ramos.  Remember this on election day, folks.

I am not saying Joe Illegal, mentioned above, is a bad person or will gun down an innocent family.  I am saying he has no driver’s license and he has no insurance, and if he hits you, you are screwed.  He hasn’t had the pleasure of taking a driving test and without insurance, he is a literal ghost that will likely run and hide if he hits something or someone.

Scary stuff if you are driver or pedestrian in San Francisco.

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Yahoo Kills Off GeoCities an Internet Legend

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Yahoo has closed the once-popular GeoCities website, several months after notifying users of its imminent demise.

Yahoo Kills GeoCities

Yahoo Kills GeoCities

GeoCities was a pioneer and a goldmine for its founders and investors, fetching $3.6 Billion in 1999 dollars.  Hopefully the beneficiaries cashed out quick, as that was once-upon-a-time when Yahoo’s stock was well above the $300 per-share mark.

The point here is, Yahoo once again blows it…shoots themselves in the foot…makes a dumb move…drops the ball…is the butt of a joke.  Yes, the site was antiquated in Internet terms, but GeoCities had users which means it had value.

Analogy – I own a fixer-upper in The Bronx.  It needs some paint and the pipes aren’t copper, and ok, there is a slight bug problem.  So what do I do?  Tell the tenants they have 120 days to vacate since I am going to demolish the building – or – sell to a speculator who knows a good contractor who can renovate?

To give you an idea of how much value GeoCities may have held, it was the 199th most visited website in the world at the time of its shuttering, according to Alexa, the de-facto authority on web traffic measurement.

This was a pre-Carol Bartz decision, I am sure, but the deal was sealed on her watch.

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Southwest Airlines: An Eco-Criminal?

Monday, October 26th, 2009

I love Southwest Airlines.  They are rarely late for any reason other than bad weather and the morale of the rank-and-file is great, at least when facing the public.  I’ve flown Southwest enough in the last year to earn 3 “free” roundtrip tickets.

Vintage Southwest Airlines

Vintage Southwest Airlines

Their CEO, Gary Kelly, has kept the company out of the tabloid headlines, and by all accounts done a great job balancing the P&L, the volatile cost of fuel, and keeping a reserve account of $2.4 billion, for a rainy day according to an interview in the October issue of Smart MoneyAnalysts say that figure is under $1 billion, but still, it’s cash in the bank.

With all my affection for the airline and its ability to get me to Columbus, Indianapolis and Spokane, something dawned on me while flying back to San Jose from Tampa recently – Southwest Airlines is NOT eco-friendly.

My trip from Tampa included a stop in Houston and a plane-change in San Diego, so in all there were three legs of the trip.  Each leg, or flight, was nearly full meaning there were in the neighborhood of 180 passengers on every departure.  As the beverage cart made its way down the aisle toward me, I realized Southwest, and for that matter, most, if not all, airlines are wreaking havoc on the environment.

Since most of the passengers requested a soft drink or water, the flight attendants cracked open dozens of Coke and Sprite cans and bottles of water to quench our collective thirsts.  Three passengers per can…50 cans per flight…maybe 150 cans of soda for the time I was on the plane?  And how many flights does Southwest have each day of the year, several hundred?

That is a lot of aluminum.  Yes, they recycle so they get three-cents back per can, but that is not the point.  It’s plain wasteful, and if my calculations are in the ballpark, Southwest pops open about 30,000 cans of soda each and every day of the year, which comes out to about 1.1 million aluminum cans each year!

One MILLION cans of soda, Mr. Kelly!  Unless you are a shareholder in ALCOA, that is obscene.  Actually it is obscene even if you are/were.

According to your published financials, the company lost roughly $16 million in Q3.

Mr. Kelly, here is how you can make up a big chunk of that: Lose the cans and bottled water and install a soda dispenser and serve filtered water.  People only order a few kinds of soda anyhow, so offer up Coke, Sprite, Mr. Pibb and Ginger Ale, along with carbonated water.  Partner with Brita, the water filter folks, and voila, there’s a half-million dollars saved annually.

It would make a great TV commercial on how you crushed the can.  Coke still gets paid, but you can make them look like a champ, too.

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Kinko’s is Gone, FedEx Office is Here – DUMB MOVE!

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

My plan for today was to do some non-scientific market research which I conducted at the grocery store, the local Starbucks, at the golf course during my daughter’s lesson, the playground where the kids play, and a new Indian joint where we just had some chicken tikka masala.

In all, 38 people were asked the same question: “Do you know where the closest FedEx Office is?”

Most thought I meant the closest place where I can drop off a package for delivery, and 20 pointed me to their facility near San Jose International Airport.

Then I asked each a follow up question, “Do you know where the nearest Kinko’s is?”

FedEx dumps the Kinko's name

FedEx dumps the Kinko's name

It wasn’t always close by, but all 38 people knew where a Kinko’s was located.  This points out that the FedEx move to strip the brand name Kinko’s from their copy shops is a really dumb move.

Let me also mention that 21 of the people asked where a FedEx Office might be were in THE SAME SHOPPING CENTER as a place formerly called KINKO’s!  They had no clue of the name change.

Kinko’s is nearly a verb in the English language.  It is synonymous with copies.  Kinko’s = copies, for heaven’s sake!

FedEx = Next Day Delivery.  You know…when it absolutely, positively has to be there?

Office = a Microsoft product.

Now here is the kicker – The brain trust at FedEx spent $696 MILLION to re-name and re-brand in an effort to get more business customers to The Office, opposed to, heaven forbid, a place called…ewwww….Kinko’s.  I live in an area where the average home costs north of a half-million clams, and the people I asked were business people, golfers, baristas, and grocery baggers and NOBODY knew that FedEx Office = Kinko’s!  These weren’t in-bred trailer park dwellers or panhandlers on the median.

Bill Cosby and New Coke

Bill Cosby and New Coke

New Coke in the mid-1980’s was really dumb, but at least it was still in a red can and called Coke.

To remove Kinko’s from the nameplate altogether is a really, really, really dumb move.

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Why Unions Are Ruining America – Part 1

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Unions had a place in America, once upon a time.  Workers were used and abused and tossed aside by unscrupulous employers who had more people to choose from than there were jobs, so the ball was in his court.

Labor laws were enacted so overtime wages must be paid if more than 40-hours in a given week were exceeded, and children were no longer eligible to contract black lung disease next to their fathers in a coal mine.

Then the United Auto Workers took hold of the car industry and killed the golden goose, and other unions drove manual labor overseas by demanding ridiculous wages, benefits and threatening companies with the S-WORD – Strike. Essentially saying, “If we don’t get our way, we will go on strike and do our best to strangle you, the company that feeds our family.”

This is why Nike makes their shoes in Vietnam and my Polo shirt was stitched in Guatemala – they don’t have to deal with your union crap.

Bay Area Nurses Will Go On Strike October 30, 2009

But some things cannot be outsourced.  I can’t call Bulgaria for a plumber.  Nurses are another perfect example.  Hospitals cannot operate without a stable of nurses, and people will die if a hospital has no nurses.  But that doesn’t matter to the California Nurse’s Association who has called for a one-day strike on October 30th at two-dozen Bay Area hospitals, including O’Connor in San Jose and Seton Medical Center in Daly City, just outside San Francisco.  It appears they are upset their contract negotiations are not going as planned.

According to Catholic Healthcare West, the hospital group that is being held for ransom, the average nurse earns $100-large, plus has health benefits for the nurse AND their family fully paid for.  They are striking over a change in their health care package from a PPO to an HMO.

Welcome to the real world, Miss or Mister RN.  I have to pay for my family’s coverage.  Yes, it’s pre-tax, but it’s still $800 per month, and most people who are not in a hostage-taking union have to deal with this reality.  Companies grow and fold; times are good and we have recessions; we have hiring booms and layoffs.  Markets change and maybe if nurses didn’t make idle threats, just maybe the hospitals wouldn’t need to find less expensive health care for their nurses.  Just a thought.

Oh, and don’t get sick or hurt or have a life-threatening ailment on October 30th if you are in the Bay Area…you might die because a nurse is pissed she has to settle for an HMO.

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Why are Liberals Angry and Unhappy?

Monday, October 19th, 2009

This is purely an observation, but liberals seem to be rather unhappy.  I was almost run over in the grocery store parking lot last evening by an overweight woman driving a Korean car with an Obama/Biden bumper sticker.  When I raised my arms as if to say, “hey, I have the right-of-way,” she flipped me off.  Support the unions but drive foreign, I say.  I don’t support the unions and I drive a Saturn.  Hybrid, even.

Last summer I was in Chicago walking from the Navy Pier back to my hotel on Michigan Avenue when I was approached by college kid who asked if I would donate to help support the Obama campaign.  I asked him why he supports Obama and he said that Obama would help students like him afford college.

I told him that I worked and took out loans to help me get through my undergrad and post-grad studies, plus I got some grants that helped pay for ramen and macaroni and cheese.  Grants wouldn’t do much he went on to say, because he is attending a school back east and it was rather expensive.

When I suggested he attend a State school instead of a private, liberal arts college, he told me to expletive off.

A friend on Facebook just posted: To all the youth who can not seem to find their way to remove their hat or stop talking during the national anthem, remember, it’s my husband who is out there fighting so you can be disrespectful!!!

Our freedom is not free, people.  College hipsters in Berkeley can sport a Che Guevara t-shirt around campus, but I doubt a Cuban student can wear a JFK tank top around town.  He’d likely get a stiff reprimand.

Sean Penn and Danny Glover can pimp for Hugo Chavez because that is their right as Americans, but Jose Venezuelan with a Reagan Rocks headband may come into some difficulty with local law enforcement.

Bosom buddies - Glover and Chavez

Bosom buddies - Glover and Chavez

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Google Profits At Yahoo’s Expense

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

The headline on yesterday’s New York Daily News blared, “Google Profits Soar,” and it’s no secret why.

Yes, part of the reason is Google rules the search game, with over sixty percent market share, but also because the management at Yahoo are blithering idiots, with those at Microsoft (Bing, MSN, Live) not far behind.

When you or I search for something at Google, Bing, Ask or most search engines, it’s free, and the search engines make nothing, provided you don’t click on a “Sponsored Link.”  Sponsored links are the ads listed on the far right side of the page in that vertical box, or on top of the page in the slightly off-color area.

A company will pay a handsome fee to be listed in these sponsored areas so you, the consumer, will see them first – and hopefully click to reach their website.  All search engines do this – but coming up next is where Google wins and Yahoo is plain pathetic.

Google has a program called AdSense, in which website owners can apply to the program and run Google ads on their own website.  If approved, Google provides some unique code that the website owner installs and then almost like magic, advertising appears on their website.  Google and the website owner then share this revenue.

Google AdSense Partner TheParty.Net

Google AdSense Partner TheParty.Net

There are hundreds-of-thousands of these websites within the Google network, so Google doesn’t need direct traffic to generate revenue, they can rely on others – and it is pure profit.

Yahoo’s Publisher Network program is somewhere in hyperspace, between never-never land and who-knows-where.  It has been in Beta since 2007, possibly earlier.

I applied for the Yahoo Publisher Network program August 9, 2007 for another website I operate, and this was the response: Thank you for applying for the Yahoo! Publisher Network beta program. It is currently in beta and we are accepting a very limited number of new publishers, but we will let you know when we launch to the general public or if we are able to invite you to join the beta before then.

Out of curiosity, I applied with Yahoo once again this afternoon, and the automated response read: Thank you for your interest in the Yahoo! Publisher Network beta program. This is to confirm that your information will be stored in our database and be considered for the beta program.

For all you Yahoo shareholders out there, that is at least 798 days in Beta.

The issues with Yahoo search are for another day.  The fact that Google is earning ridiculous profits is great, the reasons why Yahoo is not is also clear and I wonder if new CEO Carol Bartz has her finger to the pulse of the Internet community enough to right the ship.  Jerry Yang was brilliant in launching the company, but he didn’t see this glaring issue when he was CEO, prior to Bartz.

Carol, are the lights on?

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UPS Whiteboard Commercial Guy

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Sometimes things or people just bug me for no real reason other than they just do.

The first time I saw the UPS commercial with the guy drawing on the whiteboard, it just irked me.

This guy really bugs me

This guy really bugs me

Not the commercial, but him.  I think it’s the hair.  Long and straight.  Not girly, but certainly not masculine.  There’s no pony tail, though there could/should be.

Apparently the commercials work since he is still there, but if I were in the focus group that reviews these, I’d have nixed him out of the chute.

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Santa Clara County Election – Waste of Taxpayer Money

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

I received my Sample Ballot for the upcoming November 3, 2009 election.  I knew there was no presidential, gubernatorial or mayoral election this year, and I couldn’t think of anything else of importance I’d read about coming up on the ballot.

Salivating, I open up the booklet and there is was, the Official Ballot.  Not bond measures, propositions, or County Supervisors up for election.  Nope.  It’s the Orchard School District Board Member election.

Santa Clara County Wasting Taxpayer Money Again

Santa Clara County Wasting Taxpayer Money Again

There are four names on the ballot that I can choose three from.  That’s it.

The county paid just how much so I can vote for 3 board members for a school board that has a grand total of ONE school?

I need to buy reams of paper for my daughter’s classroom and send glue-sticks in her backpack, but they can spend thousands of dollars on an election that is borderline meaningless.  Can they not have these office terms expire in years that “real” elections are held?

The City of Los Altos and Cupertino are also having similar elections, but Cupertino did it right, they also are letting their registered voters select the new Director for their Sanitary District.

I suppose I am the only one who thinks these elections are a waste of time and money, and since the voter turnout will likely be under 25%, we will have School Board members elected with 27 votes.

Maybe we can have a special election to eliminate needless elections. I’d vote for that.

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