Friday, May 12, 2017

on trump

please. my liberal friends. get past it. the electoral college works the way it should. we didn't elect a public servant this time. stop pretending he will act as such.

if you wanna play the daily news cycle "gotcha" game, president trump will give you more than you can handle, and you'll drown in it, and the right doesn't care.

here's what happened... to punish the professionally lobby-bought politician motivated by whoever lines their pockets the most, we elected a CEO. that's right--we wanted to see what happens when gov't by the people and for the people is run like a business. these first 5 months are just a taste. objectively defined ethical right and wrong are out, teamwork and loyalty are in.

of course director james comey had to go. if you pull the wagon against the president, you have to go. does that make trump a kim jong-un dictator? no. (close, but no)

look, i've been in the corporate world for almost 30 years. if you pull against the boss, you're gone, and you *should* be gone. the pro-business right wingers know this, because a lot of them are business owners who tightrope through life on nothing more than their ideas and grit and have others' livelihoods on their shoulders. they stick their necks out more than liberals do. try to understand them for a second.

but, ok, look, what we're going to learn from this presidency is that, while government can learn a lot--and i mean A LOT--from business when it comes to cost-effectiveness, what business will never understand (nor should it) is that government needs to protect the level playing field and infrastructure of our. entire. society. and act in the best interest of the PEOPLE. and this basic thought is something business is simply *not* designed to do, let alone understand.

business will NEVER act in the best interest of everyone. it ONLY acts in the best interest of the market and in trumps case, the winners. for example, if you read stories of chemical companies in west virginia dumping poison in rivers then using incorporation to shield themselves personally, going out of business to escape liability, then reforming as a NEW company with new poison to dump, you're smart enough to know that business will never act in the best interest of the environment as long as competitors are saving money by not doing so.

i don't blame trump for lying. all. the. time. i don't blame trump for saying whatever he wants to in order to gain the most in any given situation. he is a CEO, this is in his DNA. this is what creates the highest gain for a businessman who is driven to gain the most in the shortest amount of time, for himself and investors and stockholders, then let bankruptcy laws (and the taxpayers) clean up the mess left after private profits have been captured. this is smart business, folks. this is what happens when we elect a CEO to run gov't like a business.

in 4 (or 8) years we will learn, and then of course, thankfully, the american political pendulum will swing toward a younger bernie clone. and we will remember the lessons we learn from the trump presidency for a long time. 20 years at least, until thanks to our education system we will forget history and let the pendulum have at it again.

bottom line, whether you're on the right or on the left, i'm going to do my american duty to ask you to THANK the other side for their strength. because i've spent a good amount of time in countries where ONE political party gains too much power for too many decades, and it never ends up well. (i'm lookin at you mexico).

the extreme of the left is european socialism (bad), the extreme of the right is fascist dictatorship (not good), the extreme of libertarianism is anarchism (which while attractive while pulling on a bong in a dorm, fails a few steps into the game). in the end, keep voting, keep acting, keep caring, and america will be fine.

i am a wildly social liberal, wildly fiscal conservative, and if you're like me there is no party for us. maybe time to step up(?)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

on banking industry executives

a long time ago i was a registered republican, because while i was always a social liberal, i continue to be a fiscal conservative. this article is the most hilarious example i can find to illustrate one of the reasons why i cannot in good conscience go back to this party that protects and rewards the most criminal of our society's leeches. 

that's how the gop rolls... the financial sector pays politicians to write laws and rules that make this kind of behavior "legal", and then republicans wave the flag, sign patriotic songs, while blaming the poor, and allowing these industries to steal billions from everyone else. 

check out this article and see how many times you bust out laughing if only to keep yourself from crying. 

let's dissect: 

Bankers are fearful of the political climate. 

political? ha! ok "title" we'll get back to you in a bit 

Wells Fargo & Co’s unprecedented move to strip Chief Executive John Stumpf of $41 million in stock awards has sent a chill through Wall Street with bankers fearful that a hardening political climate against corporate wrongdoing will encourage boards to be more aggressive about making them forfeit pay. 

a chill... because bankers are now fearful that they can't just do anything they want, good, bad, malicious, negligent, and have it not impact their own personal compensation? wow. 

A sales practices scandal at Wells Fargo, where some of its employees opened as many as 2 million accounts without customers’ knowledge to hit sales targets, could not have come at a worse time for the wider industry with politicians in Washington reviewing new rules on bank executive remuneration. 

new rules? shouldn't these have always been the rules? why is the financial sector seem to be living in a reality quite different than the rest of us? 

Bankers fear not only that the new rules on pay will be tightened as a result of the furor at Wells Fargo but also that boards will go beyond them to avoid a political backlash. 

oh, they think that these new rules are coming out of some irrational political correctness run wild? rather than what they actually are, namely, a simply logical linking of compensation with the value you bring the organization minus purposeful wrongdoing? 

The Wells Fargo board made a mistake by not recouping some of the CEO’s pay until after the firestorm developed,” said Harvard Law School professor Jesse Fried. “Other boards will learn from this mistake.” 


U.S. regulators are looking at requiring banks to defer compensation for senior officials and to allow clawbacks for misdeeds over the previous seven years. The law is meant to come into effect in 2019 and regulators are trying to get it finalized before a new president takes office in January. 

good. still amazed this wasn't always the case, but let's continue... 

Yellen also told the committee that the Fed was reviewing whether the largest U.S. lenders are complying with banking rules in the wake of what happened at Wells Fargo. 

oh silly me. i was under the impression that part of the fed's job, in addition to making rules, was to watch to ensure the rules are followed. no? ok. 

Clawback provisions were put in place or strengthened at all the top U.S. banks after the financial crisis of 2008, primarily to hold executives responsible for risk taking. 

good. but again, the fact that this is seen as something that comes out of irrational political correctness rather than coming out of what is actually the right thing to do, shows how mentally warped this industry is. 

Britain introduced laws last year that allow banks to seek recovery of bonuses from bankers deemed to have acted irresponsibly up to 10 years after they are paid out. 

sounds reasonable. 

Standard Chartered Plc has said it will try to claw back bonuses from up to 150 senior staff if they are found culpable of breaching internal rules around risk-taking during the tenure of former chief executive Peter Sands. 

it will "try"? ok so when execs are negligent or are outright malicous, they still expect bonuses? let's set aside that they don't expect to go to jail and lose their base compensation, but they actually believe they're still entitled to performance bonuses?? 

But clawing back money from people who have already left a bank can be fraught with practical and legal difficulties. 

make it part of the law that execs of banks (gov't regulated, all of them) are to be held accountable for their actions. we all kinda learned this in kindergarten, right? 

Stumpf is the first CEO of a major U.S. bank to actually have to give back significant pay or benefits as the result of a scandal. Wells Fargo’s rule is written broadly enough that Stumpf was subject to a clawback even though the bank’s $185 million fine did not force it to make a material restatement of its results. 

good. but whoa, wait a second. this fine, itself in 9 figures, let alone the sales figures that came out of millions of fraudulent accounts being created by thousands of employees didn't change one little bit the numbers that the company was required to report about its performance to stockholders? 

The rules vary from bank to bank, but they generally allow the banks to take back stock awards or pay for misconduct, taking improper risks or poor performance. Executives can also be penalized if the bank has to significantly restate results. 

they vary from bank to bank huh? interesting. 

Compensation consultants said that increased clawbacks could make it more difficult for banks to recruit and keep top talent with bonuses at investment and commercial banks down about 40 percent since the financial crisis. 

and this my friends is comedy gold. top talent huh? if you're recruiting to fill an executive position in your bank, you actually consider a "talented candidate" to be one who might not take the job if they know that they might lose their bonuses if they are found to have underperformed, been negligent in their duties, or malicious in their following of the rules, let alone being found to have broken the law? really? that's the type of "talent" that we're afraid of discouraging? 

 “Compensation is going to be a much more political process going forward. You’re going to based not only on your merits but what is politically attractive at the moment,” said Alan Johnson, managing director of compensation consulting firm Johnson Associates. 

yeah, hi, fuck you alan johnson, you're part of the problem. doing what's right, serving shareholders and customers, obeying the rules, directing a solid organization, and obeying the law are NOT simply politically attractive. this fucker is actually saying what we've all thought. that financial sector execs feel entitled to millions in compensation and bonuses regardless of how badly they fuck up, by accident or on purpose, and the only thing changing that warped reality is some "political correctness". wow. 

“Whatever progress had been made in lobbying some features now has been set back to zero,” he said. “Who is going to listen to the banking industry now?” 

do your job and serve the free market that drives our country and its progress. yes, it's not just about leeching money for yourself. the financial sector is given the keys to the kingdom to work for the rest of us. words like fiduciary responsibility and professional ethics are so far in the rear view mirror for these pricks, they don't even try to hide the fact that they're completely ignorant of them. 

Still, David Knutson, head of credit research in the Americas for Schroder Investment Management, believes CEOs at other banks will be more careful with their own businesses now that they have seen what happened to Stumpf. “When you see a colleague you’ve known for years all of a sudden lose $40 million, it makes you more cautious,” he said. 

it NOW makes you more cautious? the possibility of losing $40m in bonuses due to misbehavior is something that is making you START to think about being more cautious NOW? 

and finally, let's go back to the title of the article 

Bankers are fearful of the political climate. 

how about "Bankers are fearful that their misdeeds have been so criminal for so long that they finally woke up the american people and their scam is about to get end."

Friday, May 24, 2013

on metric

i'm going to guess that the irony of patrick gallagher's response was not on purpose.

some background:

a petition, signed by almost 50k citizens was submitted to the site asking that the administration support national adoption of metric.

the reason standards are important is simply to make it easier for us to all work together.  i'm finding it a bit funny that an institute whose mission is to find good standards and promote them, and its director (who also serves as an undersecretary of commerce) makes an argument that resistance to unifying measurement standards is an issue of individual choice and basic freedoms.

shit... really?

well, this certainly isn't the first time a govermment agency has sold their bad idea by attaching a faux attack on freedom to it.  (ie, look dude, if you want to force feed metric on us, that means you hate fraydom. besides, i read somewhere that the french use metric. the french!) :-/

and because i find it difficult to believe this response was given with a straight face, i'll take a guess that this story is a plausible rationalization painted to mask the real reason.  it could have a lot more to do with the $10s ($100s?) of billions it will cost our economy in the short run to convert. i think to many of us, this *is* a good reason to delay.  if not that, then certainly anyone can give dozens of other more pressing national needs, no doubt, i get it.  a project like this makes more sense when the country is in a period of economic prosperity and our governments are a bit more fiscally ship shape.  if so, then just say so.  no need to fire up the bullshit machine.

also funny that mr gallagher's own response seems to be at odds a bit with the stated mission of the NIST.  its national policy is to establish [metric] as the "preferred system of weights and measures" in the US, and to provide "leadership and assistance on [metric] use and conversion".  no... his response basically says that the system you use is your individual choice, none are preferred over another, which then means that the NIST's hands-off approach (other than helping if you want help) in turn provides no "leadership" in comprehensive national adoption of a unifying standard.

i don't expect a metric US in my lifetime.  but as long as my beers are measured in pints and the nfl sticks with yards, i'll deal.

- peace... jimbarry

Saturday, November 24, 2012

on hashtags: who needs 'em

ever use twitter?  no?  then please move along... nothing to see here.

but if yes...  do you know what a hashtag is?  hmm... are you sure?

c’mon, everyone knows this right?  you tweet about something, just find the keywords in there and drop a # in front of those, like this:

right?  not really.  the fact is, sometimes hashing helps, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it makes no difference, and sometimes it actually works against you.

it’s simple...

step 1:  use a hashtag when it helps someone find your tweet.
step 2:  don’t use a hashtag when it doesn’t help, or even makes it harder to find your tweet.

sounds kinda "duh", but it’s not. the key is in figuring out the difference.  in the end, it's more important to know when to not use a hashtag as it is to use one.

why?:  because the only reason why you spend time tweeting is so that most people who might have an interest in what you’re saying, get to hear you say it, and so that you can all then participate in the conversation.

first, what are other twitter advice blogs saying?:

they say "keep it short":  well, sure.  also true about your twitter name, and everything else about your tweet.  some might say 140 char isn’t a lot, but you’ve seen those tweets that are 100-140 char long.  who reads them?  our time is short, move along.

they say "keep them unique":  well, sure.  also true for anything else you search for using any social media tool or even any google search.  but in the end, it isn't like hashtags are registered or regulated.  anyone can use them.

some simple tips for quitting hashtags

tip #1:  omg...  first... do a twitter search on your tag to see if anyone else is using it.  and... for the same purpose you want to use it.  if no one is, then don’t hash it because no need using it to make your tweet findable if no one's looking.  for example, i was going to tweet about the new york giants, so i started with #giants just to find that there are conversations about football and baseball in there.  so then i searched #nyg and #bigblue to find not so much traffic.  finally i found most of the conversation is tagged with #nygiants, so i used that one because that's where the chatter is.

tip #2:  if you want to be a part of a conversation, and the words you think will get you in are unique enough, don’t hash it.  words like shakespeare, nascar, nfl, facebook, knicks, thanksgiving, and astronaut

tip #3:  stay away from underscores, hyphens or other special characters that cause smartphone users to have to toggle their keyboards or shift to upper-case.  just squish it together, we won’t get confused, we promise.  everyone is using #stanleycup not #Stanley_Cup (or they would, if the nhl wasn't on lockout).

tip #4:  tweets made available for searches don’t last more than a few days, so really no need to be more specific than that.  example:  for our developer summit conference in california in march, we used #devsummit.  for the summits in november in europe we used... yep... #devsummit.  not #devsummiteurope or #devsummit2012.  tweets are too fleeting for that.

some examples of when hashtags are not needed:

if a word is unique enough, putting a # in front of it is simply not necessary.  The name obama is fairly unique as the topic in a tweet.  we get it, you’re talking about the president.  why use #obama?  those who are searching for tweets about the prez will be better off searching for obama, because it’ll find tweets containing obama and #obama.  Search #obama and you miss obama.

the company i work for sells a software product called “arcgis”.  reasonably unique.  too often i see people dropping a hash in front of it.  why?  it burns a character.  but even more important... if i search on #arcgis, i only get #arcgis.  but if i search on arcgis, i get both arcgis and #arcgis.  better.

in the example at the top of this article, the terms Socialist, Marxist, and POTUS are also unique. why hash them?

but there are still times when a hashtag helps:

conversations about last month's hurricane that struck the east coast did benefit from being an actual hashtag:  #sandy, since otherwise your search for info would also catch tweets about other people (sandy koufax, sandy alomar) or places named sandy (sandy hook, new jersey [also hit by hurricane sandy]) or things that are sandy.

during washington capitals hockey games the hashtag people tend to use is #caps.  good thing, because that word could mean a lot of things and when it does appear in a tweet, it's usually not the keyword unless it's about the hockey team.

in short:  just tweet about what you want to say.  if the keywords are ambiguous, hash them.  if the keywords are unique then don't, else you could make it harder for other tweeters to find what you're saying.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

hey hey, ho ho, infield fly rule's gotta go

yet another disclaimer: i'm kind of a mets fan, atlanta losing is normally a good thing, but...

sports get better when judgement calls go away.  until yesterday the MLB's own twitter site  contained this snarky quote in the bio section:

"yeah, we don't understand the infield fly rule either"

oops, probably best to get rid of that.  so they did.

why does the infield fly rule exist?  well, i found this on the internet so i know it's true:

"is a fair fly ball which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, blah, blah, other stuff about existing runners and outs"

oh geez, i love this part of MLB's own rules:

"[this is a judgement call] not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines"

well sure, because lines are arbitrary [eye roll]. we wouldn't want baseball muddled with other lines like foul lines, the batter's box, the pitcher's mound, the outfield fence.  let's just make it all judgement.

baseball is so adorable in the way it's steeped in clumsy traditions, nutso superstitions, and unwritten codes.

i can hear it now... but jimbarry, it's so that the fielder isn't able to choose whether he wants to catch it (and double up runners who stray too far) or drop it (and double up runners who didn't stray far enough).

i know.  i get that.  my answer is, "so?"  why can't that be part of a fielder's strategy?  the ball is in play, let it be in play and let the players on the field all decide what they want to do.  just like any other ball in play.

in fact, while we're at it...

let's make balls and strikes a judgement call

i mean, we all know that the edges of the plate are lines, also knees, armpits.  even 30 year old technology can locate a 100mph fastball well within one millimeter well within one millisecond.

let's toss that out and ask the home plate ump to just call it...

so that he can toss in personal bias, his own body position, game situation, and how cool he's going to look to the home crowd and espn rambo-punching out that third strike a foot outside to end that playoff game.

oh wait, we already do that.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

the case for golden tate

woot!  the old refs go back to the field, the new refs go back to foot locker, and next week we can complain about the higher paid refs making higher paid mistakes.

you can say it's been fun watching goodell and the owners stew, you can say it's not been right that we've been talking about the contract drama more than the game, but you can't say it's been boring.

common sense test?  sure...

md jennings:
two hands on the ball in the air, two hands on the ground, ball to his chest the whole way

golden tate:
one hand on the ball in the air, then two, then one then two, never on his chest til the pile ended.

if your wallet contains one of these things here, you probably think tate caught a touchdown pass.

...the rest of us with eyes know different.

but y'know what?

i actually think the running shoe salesmen were right: tate scored a touchdown

let's do this...

one rule says
"if a pass is caught simultaneously by two opponents and both retain it...[tie goes to the passing team]"

which brings us to what "caught" means, which is when the
"...ball is secured by one or both hands and both feet or any other part body other than hands touch the ground".

the video shows that by the time tate's feet were on the ground, he had two hands on and control of the ball.  better put, because it was called a touchdown on the field, there's nothing in the video that shows that he didn't.  in fact, when this happens in the end zone, that's an immediate touchdown and the play ends.

and it's more important to add that at this moment, both of jenning's feet were still in the air.

another rule says that "it's not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent then gains joint control".  and you can gain control before your feet come down.

but here's the problem with that.  first, the video shows that at the same time jennings gained control with two hands, tate gained control with his left hand.  how can we be reasonably sure both had control?  because the ref could've reasoned that if one didn't have control he would've lost the ball to the other.

the fact that jennings controlled the ball more does pass the smell test, but two-versus-one is not part of the rules.  it is possible, according to the rules, to catch a ball one-handed.  plaxico did that one-handed shit all the time.  c'mon... he even shot himself one-handed.
(and if he'd done that in new jersey instead of new york city, he probably would've never went to jail either)

the fact that tate took a while to get his second hand on the ball doesn't mean he gained control after jennings did.  at least according to the rules.

when it comes to judging what control is, that's a call on the field and reviewable under the hood.  and remember that the hood isn't for making calls, it's for seeing if there is any opposite evidence than what was called on the field.  there's nothing in the video that suggests that tate didn't have control of the ball also (no evidence that he lost it, or that the ball slid or wobbled around)

you can say that tate pushed off (foul) before the ball got there, and he did, but that wasn't the call on the field.  and besides, have you ever seen interference called on a hail mary?  never.

but... i'm glad that happened on monday night football, because it seems that's what it took to get the deal done.


Friday, August 10, 2012

on same sex marriage

(i expect this to be the first, only, and last "political" post on my blog, but we're 3 months from the 2012 election and this is a topic that defies logic and i have to vent and say something.)

disclaimer: i'm a conservative. 

sounds like i'm supposed to ignore some key things i've learned and lived about core conservatism and join the fight to defend society against same-sex marriage.

i'm also straight.  no dog in this hunt.  but why aren't more conservatives on the "pro" side of this?  or at least "hey man, that's your business not mine".  we're all about individual rights, especially when those rights don't inflict on anyone else's?  aren't we all about freedom to follow our chosen life path and not imposing our views on others?  

anywho...  here are 10 things the "new right" say about it.  i went and knocked some logic against all 10 and ended up with a perfect losing record of 0-10.  can you do any better? (or worse?)

1.  because The Bible says so

well...  all this tells me is that some parts of Leviticus are important and some not so much.  but no one ever says how they know which is which.  or what this means to americans who don't follow The Bible.  

2.  marriage is for breeding, so... opposite-sex couples only

true.  the biology isn't there.  then what about these?:

a.  ...a post-menopausal woman can't get married
b.  ...a man without testicles can't get married
c.  ...if a couple chooses not to breed, we take away their marriage license

these 3 points above follow the same logic and aren't opposed.

3.  gay marriage destroys the sanctity of marriage

divorce does.  infidelity does.  even if same-sex marriage did, why isn't divorce illegal?  yet again the logic is very selective.

4. if gays can marry, then the gov't will force my church to marry gays

no it won't, can't, shouldn't, never has.  nothing shows it ever would.

besides... your church already has the right to choose who it marries, doesn't marry.  no level of gov't is stopping you.  that's religious freedom.  to bring it up as resistance to same-sex marriage is a red herring.

5. if gays can marry, then our schools will have to teach homosexuality

public schools teach human sexuality as part of their health curriculum.  they're not teaching sexual preference as right or wrong.  if they were, then fight that.  until then, schools teach biology and hygiene. you as parents teach them the rest.

6.  legitimizing homosexuality will only encourage it to grow

us "straights" are born this way, and you can't convert me to be gay. same goes for gays. all i can tell you for sure is that if i were a woman, i'd be a lesbian.  it's the way i'm wired.

in fairness, if some are confused, not sure, figuring themselves out, seeking out counseling.  ok sure.  then in those cases let each individual deal with their own issues as they see fit.  but you don't solve that problem by enjoying a right and denying it to someone else. 

i mean, it almost sounds like you're trying to fix one problem by breaking something else.  careful... that's what liberals do.

7. marriage is a religious term.  same-sex couples should have a civil union with the same rights, obligations, protections, just don't call it "marriage".

you mean "separate but equal"?  we know how that turns out, right?

but ok, if you believe our secular legal system should lose the word "marriage", and replace it with "civil union" for all, then say that.  that's logical and provides equal freedom.

let's play this out.  let's separate the sacrament of marriage in the eyes of our church away from the legal contract of civil union in the eyes of our society.  if you're an opposite-sex couple of faith, get a civil union at the courthouse, and a marriage from your clergy.  atheists, you only get the civil union because you don't want the second one.

problem is, i don't hear those opposed to same-sex marriage fighting for that. instead i see folks using a personal bias to deny a legitimate right to others.  

8.  if it's legal for gays to marry, it'll teach my kids that being gay is ok

it won't teach your kids anything.  that's your job.  if you believe that homosexuality is wrong for you and your family, then let it be wrong for you and your family.  teach your kids what you think is right and wrong.  maybe at the same time teach them to not impose their beliefs on others.  especially when others exercise rights that don't impose on your rights.  

i mean... telling others what to do with their lives is un-american and un-conservative.

but ok, let's go in the other direction.  there are a lot of things that are legal that aren't ok for kids, or even ok for anyone, so even then there's no connection.  still falls flat.

9.  if gays marry, what's next?  marrying a child?  an animal?  a sandwich?

nope.  opposite-sex marriage is two consenting adults.  same-sex marriage is two consenting adults.  no slippery slope either way.  

10.  it's just not right and damages our society and our way of life

right.  how?  [crickets chirping]

so there you go.  10 of the most common objections and once you follow them two or three steps in, there's no traction.  all you're left with is inconsistency or selective logic.

how about this?  if you're against gay marriage, then don't get gay married.

and... notice that nothing in any of the 10 points above says that those of faith shouldn't believe what they want.  because they should.  and they should support their families and raise their children in the spirit of their faith.  

and if they raise their kids to believe that same-sex marriage is wrong, or homosexuality in general for that matter, that's their right too.  parental responsibility is really important to us conservatives.  personal responsibility too.  but at the same time we need to remember that deciding right-and-wrong for ourselves and pushing it onto others are two different things.

what am i missing?  i'm a conservative and because logic is stronger than creed i'm "pro" same-sex marriage!  where did i go wrong?

- jimbarry