Sunday, October 22, 2006

On Deadlines

Do you remember your first high school term paper? Did you scramble at the end to get it done? Or in college? Pull an all-nighter?

Work on any big programming projects? Do those milestone dates and go-live dates keep the pressure on you to complete your work?

While the broadcast media has reporters standing in malls on the day after Thanksgiving to check the crowds, in fact for most retailers the weekend before Christmas is typically produces the biggest revenue.

The Post Office accomodates all those last minute tax filers by staying open until midnight April 15th. The public is sufficiently frightened of the IRS, fines, penalties, big brother, etc. that most all the returns are filed by that deadline. (Wesley Snipes notwithstanding).

What is the point of this you ask? It is time to change the debate from "Stay the Course" or "Cut and Run". It is time to set a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq. And one that will get attention. Sixty days or less. Enforce it by having the big military cargo plans start to line up on the runways.

If the Iraqis want to blow each other up in the market places, bomb each other in church, behead one another, well then, have at it. On the other hand, they've got sixty days to figure it out. No sissy two year plans, or one year plans. A year sounds like a long time off. Two months, or even six weeks would work for me, will focus your attention. In the U.S., W-2's, the key document most people need for their personal income tax, are issued by January 31st. Returns are due 75 days later.

Let's set a bold deadline and see if anyone rises to the occasion.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Memo to Republicans

You've been in control of the Presidency, the House and the Senate for six years now. You are no longer entitled to blame former President Clinton for a weakened military, stripped-down intelligence capability, culture of immorality, strengthened terrorist organization, the failure to get Bin Laudin, or anything else.

Six years and, oh, I don't know, two trillion dollars of spending or so, is enough to change all the variables.

It is all your responsibility now.

Memo to Democrats

The Korean nuclear issue was not caused by President Bush's failure to engage the Chinese, or the administration's failure to create an international coalition.

It is because the poor North Koreans are subjugated to a whack job who is prepared to counterfeit money, sell drugs, starve his own people and arguably to sell nuclear material to advance his weird personal agenda, whatever that may be.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Audi is winning Formula Car races with diesel engine vehicles. Tesla's pavement-ripping, 150 MPH, 0-60 in 4 seconds electric car is sold out for its first year of production. Investors in Tennessee are building soybean crushers to turn soybeans into biodiesel. Mercedes newest diesel car will be available here soon, with snappy 0-60 times and a whopping 700 miles to the tank. The new Lexus GS 450 has sub 6 second 0-60 with a powerful hybrid engine, while getting 20+MPG.

Sixty dollar per barrel oil is igniting a wave of innovation that will ultimately rival the Internet.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Highway signs

Making my weekly drive from VA to PA, I kept thinking about the PA turnpike signs that say:

Stay Right
Pass Left
It's the Law

Brevity is a rare and valuable attribute of written communication, and those signs certainly have that.

However, we now understand that in the YouTube/MySpace world, it is important to make a visceral, emotional connection with your audience.

I respectively submit to the PA Department of Transportation some alternative phrasing:

Get your pokey butt over in the right lane
So that people with someplace to go
Can drive in the left.

On Forgiveness

The Amish have received substantial contributions since the senseless slaughter of those girls.

They've decided to share some of it with the family of the evil slimeball who killed the girls.

That is a quality of forgiveness beyond my comprehension.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


George Roberts killed five little girls.

And once again, we see the face of evil.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families.

On Health

So several innocent people perished recently by trying to be healthy. Not from smoking, or trans-fats, or riding their motorcycles without helmets, or running with scissors: they ate spinach.

I'm nursing a blown knee - torn meniscus - apparently from jogging - and worse, jogging slowly - on a treadmill. Excuse me a minute while I light a cigar and pour a vodka - this healthy thing isn't getting it any longer.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Dennis & Tip

For years, I thought the late Congressman Tip O'Neill was the quintessential big government tax and spend liberal. I must qualify that by saying that I also felt that he believed in what he was doing - what I would call an honest liberal.

And, I thought Congressman Dennis Hastert was a conservative who stood for limited government and budgetary restraint.

Is is just me, or is Hastert beginning to look like O'Neill? Sadly, I don't believe my more liberal friends could call him an honest conservative.

The Interstate Highway System

Driving from Philadelphia to Leesburg VA and back again over the weekend stimulated questions:
1. The most expensive highway construction bill in history was passed last year. Where the hell is that money going?
2. Can it make any sense that I-81, or I-40, or The Pennsylvania Turnpike are two lanes? Those highways opened as two lanes 40 years ago, when there were many less people, and phenomenally fewer vehicles on the road. Shouldn't every interstate highway be six or eight lanes?
3. What must be the economic cost of thousands or even millions of cars and trucks sitting on the road going nowhere? Gasoline alone must be billions.
4. Finally, can't we all drive 100??? My laptop is, I don't know, 10,000 times faster than twenty years ago; I can email someone in Japan in about four seconds on my cell phone, and I'm driving slower than I did in 1970....