Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Ask Pookah – December 2008

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Once a month at Life of Pookah, I’ll ask her for a more detailed answer. Questions can be about anything.

So, Pookah:

What do you think of executive compensation? Are the high pay rates deserved or abusive?

Pookah speaks

Pookah speaks

Pookahs only eat what we need. We only hunt what we need. A lot of humans think we go hunting for sport. Pookahs and other cats are born hunters – if we don’t practice, we won’t be able to feed ourselves or kittens.

Humans are different. My human brings a lot of things he calls “stuff” into the nest. He doesn’t eat it, sleep on it, or wear it. Some of it he plays with when he should be petting Pookah. The stuff that he doesn’t play with is really only good for Pookahs to sleep on, or check over because Pookahs have lots of curiosity.

Pookahs find it strange that after working so hard to get stuff into the nest, humans stomp around and make loud angry noises about the stuff. This makes it hard for Pookahs to sleep. Then the humans drag the stuff back out of the nest – to make room for dragging new stuff in.

Beyond food, a clean litterbox, warm sunbeams to sleep in, and Pookahs to pet, what more do humans need?

Well, Pookah, human society is a lot more complicated than cat society.

Does it need to be?

Really, how much more to life is there than comfort, companionship, food, and home? Even dogs understand this.

So what about executives who receive a hundred or a thousand times the pay of their average employee?

Angry disdain

Angry disdain

This is me staring at you in disdain for making it too complicated.

Er… Let me try that again.

What about humans who are given enough gooshy food to feed a hundred or a thousand cats, yet keep it all for themselves and keep demanding more?

Stop being ridiculous. I’m going to sleep now.

And there you have it.

U.S. Has Been In A Recession Since 12/2007

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Did anyone else read this article from CNN and think, “It took you guys a YEAR to figure that out”?

Please observe the state of my litterbox.

Look at unemployment — not the sanitized political numbers, but instead at the number of people who are *capable* of working, but aren’t, and are receiving public financial support of some kind.

Fair trade: I purr, you pet.

Look at the price of milk, corn, bread, and meats (beef, chicken, pork, fish). Have they gone up or down overall? Isn’t this a better measure?

The fresh cooked chicken content of my diet has gone down.

How long does it take for someone who is out of work to find a new job paying $28,000 or more?

Where is my litterbox on this timeline?

I’m no expert. And I certainly don’t have the domain knowledge necessary for any sort of certification or certainty above 80% on this.

Pookah is very certain that the litterbox needs almost as much attention as the chicken.

But why are my tax dollars paying for information that the average high-school graduate told me six months ago?

Yes. Your tax dollars would be better spent on Pookah.

Bailout of the Big Three – Part II

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Well, well, well. The CEO’s of Ford and GM have volunteered to cut their pay to $1. This offer comes after all the controversy surrounding their last attempt at stealing, begging, borrowing, asking for a free handout from us.

Pookah would very much like a small tasty bird right now.

No mention of their multi-million dollar compensation packages. I wonder if the reductions on the paychecks is equal to the increase in comps.

No mention of what unproductive product lines they’re dropping.

Pookah thinks that human getting small tasty bird right now would be very productive.

On the plus side, the CEO’s are actually going to use their own company’s products: They’re going to drive to our beloved capitol to steal, beg, borrow, ask for a free handout – except for Ford (see below).

The suspense is killing me. Pet me now or your lap gets it.

Yes. Ford has somehow, miraculously, finagled the ability to not need a bailout. Will wonders never cease. Instead, they want a $9 billion line of stand-by credit that they don’t expect to have to tap.

They made their own gooshy food?

To make it more interesting, Ford:

  • Expects to reach the financial break-even point in 2011
  • Re-invest $14 billion to improve its products fuel efficiency by 14%. (How much of that improvement will be on their worst-performing vehicles?)
  • Called for producing more parts domestically for its vehicles – specifically mentioning batteries.
  • Is selling some/all of its private jets/leased airplanes.

So let’s recap: In 2 weeks, Ford:

  • Figured out a way to break even within 3 years.
  • Offered to cut executive pay – but not compensations – if they take government money.
  • Figured out a way to improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicles, but with no timeline, milestones, or other basic requirements of a project or commitment.

What do you think they could do with a whole 30 days to work with… say, all of December?

Pookah does not think it is a good idea to wait that long to make own gooshy food… or to get small tasty bird.

No deal, Ford. Your plan is still Junior Highschool. You haven’t even passed Finances 101 midterm exams. We’ll talk again after Christmas.

I still vote No Bailout.

Bailout of the Big Three

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Notice a pattern?

Yes. You have not fed Pookah yet today. This is a great problem.

Large company that pays its executives millions of dollars is begging us for money, or “the economy will go under because we’re too big to fail.”

Whenever someone asks me for a loan, here’s what I do:
Me: Do you have cable TV?
A: Yes.
Me: Cancel your cable TV, gather up your last 3 months of bills, statements, and paychecks. Then we’ll work out a budget for you.
A: I can’t cancel my cable TV!!!
Me: You don’t want my help.

Pookah wants you to help pet her.

See, “A” basically told me the following:
1. Cable TV is more important than my paying my debts.
2. Cable TV is more important than the car I use to get to work.
3. Cable TV is more important than my clothes.
4. Cable TV is more important than my food.
5. Cable TV is more important than my husband/wife/partner.
6. Cable TV is more important than my kids.

Cable TV is very important to my human. It makes him sit still more often. Sitting still means his lap is available for Pookah to sit in and get petted.

So here we have multi-million dollar paycheck, not including bonuses and comps, executives – most of whom have a history of bad decisions, financial and business incompetence, and who rely on lobbyist-backed legal protections of their market share, and NOT ONE OF THEM IS OFFERING TO TAKE A PAY CUT.

Pookah thinks you should take away their food bowls.

Bailout? Let them die. Then sue the lying bastards who ran the company for criminal negligence. Let other, better-managed businesses either rise up to fill in the gap, or take over their assets in a fire sale.

But wait… what about the economic impact? It will extend beyond these execs.

Okay. Dictate the terms. No one in management can make more than $100,000, including bonuses and other compensation, +/- inflation until the ENTIRE bailout is paid back with 10% compounded interest. A 5-person panel, 3 chosen by the House, 1 by the Senate, and 1 by the President, has full review and veto power over any company action. No company-paid vacations. No retreats. No company jets, yachts, or loans to employees. And fire any executive who objects to the terms on the grounds that they’re insane. Golden parachutes? Gone.

Now, how many of the Big 3 want a bailout?

If you or your company is on the rocks, it is sheerest stupidity to throw your crew overboard just so you can keep drinking wine. If you, as an executive, declare cost-cutting measures, the first place to cut is the fatty pork in your own paycheck. If you won’t cut the fat in your diet, then no one can help you.

Pookah agrees. Chicken does not contain much fat. Give more chicken to Pookah.

I vote No Bailout.