Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ah the sweet smell of dirt..

The morning was overcast and 6oish but I re-cultivated part of the garden. The smell of fresh dirt brings back memories... I managed to set out my cabbage, onions and bell peppers.

The cabbage and onions should do nicely even if Global Warming retreats. But the bell peppers will be iffy should it turn cold. Oh well, gambling is nothing new to a poker player, eh?? I have two rows of sweet onions, set with 3 across and 4 inches apart. You pick the two outside rows for the young green onions and leave the center row, letting them grow for winter use. I would guess I will have about 50 pounds for the winter. In a few weeks I will set out some Spanish yellows for onions with some zest..

Okra, aka Candy, won't be planted for three weeks, and after last years tomato killing freeze the last week of March, first of April, tomatoes will be another 10 days, although I may gamble with some early ones.

Then the day turned clear and warm, a perfect afternoon for doing anything. I watched Grandson practice baseball. There is nothing better.

Not being able to resist, I just had to do some news sweeps... Hussein is going to save the economy through regulation and taxes while Hillary wants to retrain us. It looks liked the MSM will give her a pass over her fibs regarding combat although I am sure the Repubs are taking notes. Why either Hussein or Hillary would want to to start talking military service with McCain is beyond me.

In Iraq al-Sadir is causing problems, again. We have wasted several chances tokill this guy and will live to regret it. Heck, we have lived to regret it.

In the stupid is as stupid does category a woman was made to remove her nipple rings before boarding a flight from Lubbock to Dallas. In somewhat an understatement she noted that she never knew nipples were a weapon... Obviously she discounted the many problems caused by the American Male's over fascination with the female breast.

At least they weren't box cutters.

Enough. I go to suckle at a Stoly on ice...

Pope Algore is being given

the 60 Minutes pulpit to BS us some more about Global Warming.

Some of the ads will feature unlikely alliances to drive home the message that people of all stripes are concerned about global warming. These include the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Pat Robertson, Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks, and Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich.

Seeing as how most folks I know wouldn't swap nickels with any of these folks I have to assunme that Pope Algore is totally out of touch with reality. Heck. We all knew that. And, of course, this group has such a wonderful education in science...

As for 60 Minutes.....the last time this organization had a claim to make it was touting a fake memo....


I can get it for you wholesale

Once upon a time when Ma Bell went on strike the network was manned by "management." Mostly engineering, market and sales types. The joke was, "The voice with a smile will be gone for a while. The man with the balls will answer your calls...." Sorry for the vulgarity, but facts are facts.

And the facts also were that the telephone company was a regulated monopoly that had zero competition and made a nice safe return on investment as it boldly strode into the future at a stately three miles per hour. It was a great place to work with great benefits, good if not great pay and a retirement plan that was the envy of many other worker bee types. And since the network could not be let go down, it was staffed at about 1.5 times the number of people needed just to keep it functioning during strikes and other emergencies. Universal service was the goal and it was met. Heaven help the CO Supervisor that had his exchange crash.

Then came the Carterphone FCC decision, interconnect, lawsuits by ITT and the Feds for restraint of trade and Judge Green decided that Ma Bell must become seven Baby Bells. ATT was left to the long distance market and eventually Western Electric and Bell Labs became a step child's step children. Pacific North West Bell, Northwest Bell and Mountain Bell became US West and so on. There were early outs, get outs and don't come backs. Sixty five thousand employees became 50,000 and people were moved and I haven't even touched the Qwest buy out and the other six new companies... But the results were the same. Employment went south, and as technology brought in fiber and the Internet fewer people were required to do more. Productivity improved but the "voice with a smile" wasn't just gone for a while.....it left the country. The new voice had an accent that was almost impossible to understand.

Then a funny thing happened. People started becoming angry that they couldn't get help within a reasonable time and when they did, they couldn't understand it. Further angered by "Press One" for English every time they called a business, songs such as this became popular.

But the kicker was that outsourcing carried with it its very own problems and hidden costs. Language and cultural differences caused problems, not to mention that if you want a 9AM conference call to India, guess what time it is in Chicago? Change orders become guesses and if you need hard copies.... Well, you get the idea.

So now the companies that sent the jobs out, want to bring some of them back.

"We're having trouble finding the numbers that we need with the skills that are required to do these jobs," AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told a business group in San Antonio, where the company's headquarters is located.

So far, only around 1,400 jobs have been returned to the United States of 5,000, a target it set in 2006, the company said, adding that it maintains the target.

Okay. But maybe Stephenson needs to check the price he is willing to pay. He also needs to understand something else. If you spend 15 years firing people there will not be a pool of people just fighting to get into the business. People are rational. If they see an industry shrinking, they won't be interested.

If you have a culture that glorifies lawyers, doctors, nurses and journalists... Don't be surprised when the market produces lawyers, doctors, nurses and journalists.

He does make one good point.

Stephenson said he is especially distressed that in some U.S. communities and among certain groups, the high school dropout rate is as high as 50 percent.

"If I had a business that half the product we turned out was defective or you couldn't put into the marketplace, I would shut that business down," he said

That of course is the 800 pound gorilla in the corner. The school system has collapsed and won't recover until we get vouchers that let any student go to any school that will accept him or her. AT present we have a school system that is by the education establishment and for the education establishment. The students can each cake.

But he is wrong on the following.

"We're able to do new product engineering in Bangalore as easily as we're able to do it in Austin, Texas," he said, referring to the Indian city where many international companies have "outsourced" technical and customer support workers.

That assumes a stable international situation. Pakistan has nukes. One bomb in India and all of the advantages, read "cheap," that Bangalore brought are gone. And so are companies that can no longer bring new products and services to the market. And there remains the language/cultural problems I mentioned.

So instead of complaining and speaking of "grants," the head of ATT should pick the phone up and start pushing for vouchers for the education system. After all, he does believe in competition.

Doesn't he??



This one is for a bud in Atlanta.