Monday, April 24, 2006

The Terror

A great piece in the City Journal about Robespierre and the Terror during the French Revolution. The key passage:
Castigating Robespierre more than 200 years after his death would have little point if he were not the prototype of the ideological frame of mind that is very much with us today. If we understand him, we understand that it is utterly useless to appeal to reason and morality in dealing with ideologues. For they are convinced that reason and morality are on their side and that their enemies are irrational and immoral simply because they are enemies. Negotiation with such people can succeed only if we have overwhelming force on our side and have shown ourselves unsqueamish about using it. Justifying its use to the electorate of a democratic country—used to thinking of politics as a process of reasonable negotiation and compromise—must involve showing in sickening detail the monstrosities committed in the name of the ideology. And that is the point of reminding ourselves of the crimes of the long-dead Robespierre.
History repeats itself. Human nature does not change. It is important to remember that not everyone can be reasoned with or can be trusted.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

History Repeats Itself....

Great column by Thomas Bray of the Detroit News:
Lincoln repeatedly asserted that his aim was to prevent the spread of slavery, not eliminate it in the South. "I believe I have no lawful right to do so," Goodwin quotes him as saying. Thus when he finally issued his Emancipation Proclamation two years into the war, freeing the slaves in the Confederate states, his Northern critics claimed that he had misled the country. A bloody and unnecessary war was being fought in a Utopian effort to bring the blessings of democracy to a people who had little experience with it.
Read the whole thing

An observation on why the Maritimes are an economic mess

I've been watching the hockey playoffs of Bell Expressvu. I've ended up watching it today on Channel 200 - which is CBC in Newfoundland. So far in the two games I've watched on the station today, I swear that over half the commercials are from government agencies. It is pretty bad that the government is wasting money on this rather than cutting taxes and giving private enterprise the economic environment where they could prosper. So what did we learn from all these ads:

  1. The lottery is good because it funds "social programs"
  2. Banning smoking in bars, bingo halls, and restaurants in Newfoundand and Labrador will make you happy (I guess they way to fight a job killing unpopular piece of social engineering, on top of taxing smokes to over $10/pack is a good propaganda offensive telling them white is black. Goebbels would be proud).
  3. Newfoundland artists are special and want your love.
Pathetic. I think that a good platform for any 'real' conservative party would be to bar the government from advertising anything outside of what is legally necessary. A slush fund to TV stations, ad agencies, and do nothing bureaucrats.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The view from my office

This is one of the reasons I moved..... the U.S.S. Wisconsin......

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

George W. Bush is Lyndon Johnson...

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a former co-worker who is a long time Democrat and not one of W's fans. After bitching about the profligate spending of the current congress and executive, it dawned upon both of us the historical parallel:

George W. Bush is the reincarnation of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Think about it:

  1. Both are Texans.
  2. Both governed a congress where their party had majorities in both bodies.
  3. Both oversaw a masssive expansion of the welfare state.
  4. Both ran large increases in military spending.
  5. Both were involved in miliatry deployments oversees, where it appeared both were more afraid of political opinion than total victory.
  6. Both ran large deficits
Other footnote - we are still paying the price for Johnson's "great society" on an economic and social scale. I'm just afraid of what the federalizing of eduction and the expansion of medicare will do to ruin the country 30 years down the road.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Immigration Bill

It has been a while since I have really got to write on anything, with the move, tax season, and all the other fun things going on in my life. So, I might be a little late on events, but it is still stuff that sticks in my craw that I have to write some more.

It ticks me off that I have to go through all the hoops, pay the fees, deal with border guards with their interpretations of the law every time I cross, etc... and we get shuffled back to the end of the line. Steyn had the best obersevations on the absurdity of it all, and it comes pretty close to my own view on it.

Immigration is proving to be one of those issues where there is a strong public consensus on what needs to be done, but the politicians of both parties are tone deaf to it. This is the problem in the U.S., Canada, and Britain. The public wants some dialogue on who we should be letting in and how many, but it is caught up the rhetoric of too many groups who want to make it taboo and racially tinged.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Virginia versus Michigan

Observations from living down here three months.

  1. Beer. Beer is cheaper here than Michigan. The best part is no deposits unlike Michigan, thus saving me ten cents/can. You can get the real Danish Carlsburg beer here. In Michigan, you get the stuff brewed in Toronto.
  2. Liquor. I thought vestiges of the Soviet system did not exist in the U.S. Then I found out that Virginia has state liquor stores (the VABC). Ugh... I thought I escaped the tyranny of the state's monopoly over booze with putting the LCBO behind me. So that is a big minus for VA versus Michigan.
  3. Smokes (notice the priorities here??). $5/pack versus $3/pack - 'nuff said!
  4. Speed limits - Michigan has it right... 70 mph on the interstate versus 55/65 around here, but the roads are definitely better to drive on here.
  5. Gas - cheaper by about a dime a gallon... but if Governor Tim Kane (D) has his way...
Those are the pertinent facts so far... I'm starting to notice the cultural differences between the two and there is a marked contrast.. but that is for another post...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

How the hell did I end up in Virginia

Things move quick when you're motivated.

The lesson I have learned rather early in my public accounting agree is that you don't get anything unless you bitch about it or are willing to quit on it. The first week of January was my annual review. First thing one needs to know is what the market is for your services. If they are going to put a number in front of you, you need to know if it is fair.

Needless to say... things did not turn out satisfactory. Had a good review of my work, good positive feedback, but no promotion, and a raise, but not even close to the range that I expected. I brought these matters up, making my argument that a man of more designations than anyone in the firm, who does unique work that nobody at my level does, with high praise by those I performed the work for, would merit something better in light of the market. This needed to be further discussed with the managing partner.
However, since I had my resume posted online, by the next day I had 50+ emails from recruiters and firms all across the country asking me to talk to them. I had calls from firms big and small from LA, Phoenix, Tampa, Dallas, Detroit, Charlotte all talking to me, interviewing me, some wanting to make offers. Then this firm from the Hampton Roads Virginia area calls up - great rapport, wants me immediately, and most importantly was willing to make a very attractive offer. They fly me to their office, spend a weekend with interviews and what not, and have an offer the following Monday.
I posted my resignation in Detroit the following Wednesday - which took them by shock. I explained my reasons and they were cool with that. They countered, but the point I made was that it was too late. It is like coming home to find your wife packed and half way out the door. Saying "I love you" to her at that point won't fix the underlying problem. You had ample opportunities to do right and you did not. Too late.
So a quick move, and here I am. I am really enjoying it down here - great firm, great people, great area to live.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I'm baaaaack!

After almost two months without internet! I'm finally back. Lot of major changes. In a matter of two weeks in January - took a Job in the Hampton Roads Virginia area and quit the job in Detroit.
More to follow..