February 24, 2007

Bill Richardson's petition for diplomacy with Iran

Diplomacy, Not Attacks

Spread it around, round and round the blogosphere. We can't let Hot Shots, Part Deux, happen. Ahmadinejad isn't going to make this easy for our diplomats, either, so we need to be ready to grind this one out over the long haul AND we cannot let this turn into the typical blackmail that we've come to expect from the DPRK. I have faith in an America that has seen enough of the blood running through the streets of Baghdad. I hope they have enough faith in themselves to do the same and support a successful and peaceful resolution to the issue of Iranian nuclear missiles and related technologies.

That said, there is a wide open market for nuclear arms and tech amongst rogue actors and to say that we don't have people in play over in Iran seeking to disrupt stability may be a little naïve... This is a matter worth watching very closely to see if Iran tries to go tit-for-tat.

Speaking of hot shots, Tom Vilsack has dropped out of the 2008 presidential race, apparently making Iowa's caucuses a bit less of a sure bet for Vilsack. Heh.

Scratch the If I Ran Things Around Here installment. :( I need to conduct a little more research before I decide to shoot off the higher education funding post. Eh.


February 21, 2007

Life with Albert

On Monday, Holly and I welcomed Albert into our family.

We adopted Albert from the Athens Animal Rescue. He's a Cocker Spaniel/Golden Retriever mix, weighing in at 32 pounds (per today's visit to the vet's office) and is around two years old. He's in amazingly good health for being a dog that was on the verge of being put down after being found on the side of the road but two weeks ago. Albert is also one of the best-behaved animals I've ever come across. He's very good natured, rarely barks, does not growl, loves to play, always gets excited when we come home, and just is very good-natured.

I've been busy with work (Applebee's) since I got here and until very recently had been feeling under the weather. Tomorrow I have an interview with a bank and I am very excited at the prospect of having a 9-5er. I know I don't have many readers beyond my friends in the NEO blogopolis, but I still apologize for the lack of update recently. I'd fallen behind on the news, so you could color me surprised when I found out from Pho that DJK was the first to get a New Hampshire office open. Apparently he thinks he can win.

Let me check that latest poll. (HT to Redhorse) Quinnipiac has him losing to two non-declared individuals, Al Gore and Wes Clark. Maybe a little too quick on the draw, Dennis?

If I Ran Things Around Here #3 is going to be the next post if it kills me to do it, and given the nature of the subject that I want to tackle, it just may. But until then...


February 7, 2007

Georgia debating raising the minimum wage

As I left a state whose voters had just decided to raise the minimum wage, I came to a state whose legislature was considering such a proposal. Georgia legislators will be considering a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $7.25/hr and $3.60/hr for tipped employees.

From 26 January's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Minimum wage workers in Georgia could see their first pay raise in a decade, under a bill introduced today.

Senate Bill 13 would increase minimum wage in the state from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. The 41-percent jump would occur in two steps, putting $7.25 an hour in workers' paychecks by Jan. 1.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Robert Brown, D-Macon, was assigned to the Insurance and Labor Committee. It's likely to face opposition in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Backers say SB 13 goes further than a federal bill on minimum wage being considered by Congress. Farm workers and home health care aides, for instance, would be covered in the Georgia bill. Tip workers could see their base pay rise from $2.13 an hour to $3.60 an hour.

The bill also includes an inflationary trigger.

The (R)s control the Legislature, so it's going to be tough moving on this one.

A new "If I ran things around here" is forthcoming and keep your eyes peeled to the blogroll, I'll be linking to the websites OR blogs of all declared Democratic candidates for the 2008 elections. If I'm feeling so inclined, I may also add the Republicans.


February 1, 2007

If I ran things around here: #2

Frequently we hear scuttlebutting on the raising of the minimum wage and its adversarial impact on smaller businesses. This criticism of raising the minimum wage seems to be just and valid, as smaller businesses frequently run on smaller profit margins and costs of labor play a tremendous role in determining the cost of the product and services provided by that company. The more expensive that the product or service becomes, the less likely it is consumers will purchase the product if there is a cheaper alternative available, logic seems to dictate. Again, that seems to be a fair argument. This issue becomes a sticky big company vs. small business matter when it is put into a real-world context. Why?

Through economies of scale, as long as sources are maximizing their outputs as efficiently as possible, larger firms will be able to compete better as they are able to defray costs more effectively. Of course, this holds true when ideals are only tested in theory and not in practice. In practice, the result can be similar, but doesn't necessarily hold true. Which brings me back to the main point: costs increase by statute for everyone. Is there a way to defray costs out so that competitive wages for all are possible?

I would propose so, although this idea has its own shortcomings. I would rather see the institution of a maximum income law. For all points and purposes, no person who does not have a serious medical condition which must be treated with the greatest medical care should need to have more than X dollars. What that X sum is, I don't know right now, but for all intents and purposes, it's a substantial sum.

There have been upsets and stirrings in the American public regarding the gross overcompensation of individuals, frequently members sitting on executive boards, CEOs, and other persons of high executive office in large corporations, who receive grotesquely large compensation packages whilst bankrupting a company. (See Enron run. Run Enron, run!) Frequently this money is more than any average American could ever imagine personally having, amounts being in the tens of millions of dollars. Now let us consider the following proposition: Is it just for executives who mismanage a company and get fired to receive amounts of money that most people could ever dream of? It seems to run counter to the idea that the best job done gets the most compensation.

So don't pay it. Or get taxed out of it. There are myriad better ways to expend that money than through hypergratuitous compensation. Because really, what is running a company into the ground worth? If I can come up with an equation and figure out what that maximum income would be, I'll post it. I'm thinking that it's likely around 1.5 million yearly. Possibly less.

But yes: If I ran things around here, no person could make more than $X (where X equals the result of an as-yet undefined equation which I think will yield an X of 1.5 million).

Dick Morris on the future

From Exminer.com:

Morris: Hillary will be ‘worst president we’ve ever seen’

Dick Morris is no fan of Sen. Hillary Clinton, having spent much of the past decade writing and speaking out against her. And he took his always-quotable opinions to the offices of Americans for Tax Reform Wednesday at a breakfast sponsored by The American Spectator.

Dick’s greatest hits:

» Although Barack Obama is an “exciting phenomenon,” he is the equivalent of “political stem cells: You can make him into any tissue you want.”

» “It is in the national interest that, if there is a Democratic president, that it not be Hillary.”

» “The Republican field is like the New York Yankees: They’ve got a pitching rotation of really great names who are 45 years old and who probably won Cy Young Awards when they were younger. But they’ll have a sore arm by the World Series and will end up on the [disabled list]. Republicans need to look to the minor leagues.”

» He laid out the political future: “Hillary will be the next president, and she’ll be the worst president we’ve ever seen.” No matter what happens, the situation in Iraq will “assure that the GOP gets massacred in 2008 congressional elections.” In 2010, the Republicans will take back the Congress — “Hillary will give Republicans the same gift she gave them in 1994” — and they’ll win the presidency in 2012, but thanks to demographic shifts favoring Republicans (namely the rising Hispanic and African-American populations), “that will be the last Republican president we’ll ever see.”

With any luck, Morris will be wrong on one (or two counts.)
A) Hillary will not be President come 2009.
B) IF she is, she will not exceed the SUCK that will have been eight years of George W. Bush.