Friday, January 27, 2012


Well, kiddies, this week to separate investigative reports suggested that Apple was having its devices built in – gasp – China! Not only that but their devices are actually being built by – this just in! – Chinese folks. Who knew? There is even the suggestion that some of these Chinese folks don't have a 401(k) and a dental plan.

A lot of supposedly smart people are looking for Apple stock to decline with these revelations of supposedly substandard foreign labor conditions. Maybe it's just me but I think that sweatshop stuff might have traction against your odd Kathie Lee Gifford but not against freaking Apple. In the first place, Apple is already Humungo monolithic multinational corporation. It can be admired, studied and copied but it is still going to be a gigantic corporation from whom people expect nothing except good products. This is not Ben & Jerry's or even Starbucks. Moreover, it produces technology. Indeed, it produces pretty effective technology. As long as people get their iPods and iPhones within a few days of release, they are definitely going to overlook a sweatshop or two.

I would not be looking for a near-term buying opportunity.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


So the Arizona governor and POTUS had a little dust-up.

Well, good for them. I really don't care who started it or which one of them was the most petty. In the end it is probably good for the Republic for POTUS to hear a contrary view of anything. We have attached a quasi-royalty to our elected chief executive. The guy almost never hears in conversation that he's wrong about anything. That "Royalty" thing is probably a bad idea but nobody knows how to undo it. It's been getting worse at least since tricky Dick attempted to dress the Secret Service police in Belgian palace guard costumes.

Aside from the issue of it being healthy for somebody to sass the president a little bit, there is the post-mortem of how both Brewer and the White House staff handled it. Brewer takes the position that the president started it. OK, a perfect place for the White House to take the "high ground". The White House staff is dribbling information out about the encounter at approximately 5 words per half-day. They are quite proud of themselves for exercising sufficient restraint not to follow each five words with "nyah-nyah nyah-nyah."

As a contrast this kind of stuff happened almost every week to President Clinton in the last half of his first term. The White House would simply say that the president had a frank exchange of views with whomever and that the subject of the conversation or private between the president and whomever. Almost all the presidents antagonists responded in kind. In other words, neither side in the Clinton years went on to try to win the argument or appear to be the good guy in the public discussion afterward. That is how veteran, seasoned politicians deal with the occasional public eruption.

Brewer may very well have handled her part of the argument honorably. Her postevent interviews quickly became a good deal less skillful. Fortunately for her, she did not look bad for long. Obama's White House staff has, predictably, dribbled out the White House position by millimeters and then served up the obvious for dessert: POTUS would be happy to meet with Gov. Brewer in the future. As if he'd like to kiss off Arizona's electoral votes otherwise.

Both sides engaged in a healthy thing (a little tiff between leaders). Unfortunately, by their conduct afterwards they turned the healthy thing into Ashton and Demi.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I realize that here is everybody and nobody in charge of Iran. Still, somebody in the daisy chain who call the military shots in Iran should read a little Covey. Covey exhorts management to "Begin with the end in mind..."

Iran has once again suggested they are going to block the Strait of Hormuz to cut off oil flow, in response to slights, threats, disses, halitosis and male pattern baldness, all the fault of the US. If their end game is to put a lot of scrap metal and a few bodies at the bottom of the Strait, they are doing an excellent job.

Warfare against a more advanced Navy on a well defined body of water is a dicey proposition. Warfare on a well defined body of water it is an absolute certainty the other side will have air superiority is a suicide mission.

Unless this is an effort to gain the sympathy vote, this is either a stupid gambit or a suicide mission for a bunch of Iranian sailors.

What it isn't, however, is an effective strategy to accomplish any desired Iranian outcome.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Every talking head in the United States is screaming about how bad our economy is. Most of them are describing in excruciating detail all the many ways it's going to get worse. That may be but it cannot completely douse the American enterprise spirit. We are still starting, and to some extent, succeeding at small businesses.

On the other hand our allies in United Kingdom are basically not. Surely there are some people who would like to but they face two almost insurmountable problems. There is currently no economic growth to give a new business a bump or with which to identify new demand. Worse, because all of bank reserves must be held back to bail out first Greece, then almost certainly Portugal (likely followed by Ireland which is no picnic). So an ambitious Brit could have all the energy in the world and a great business concept. He cannot get a loan because there is no money to loan.

This fun of course leads to the likelihood that, because of the absence of enterprise, there will be no economic growth. Where is no economic growth there might not be enough money to bail out three major countries and your odd Iceland.

I write all this not to call in to question the whole idea of the European Union but to remind us that being in United States of America is, at least comparatively, not such a bad thing.

Monday, January 02, 2012


I notice the ol' blogosphere is thinning out. I understand why.

When one is tasked with other things and the social sites siphon off readers, it is a bit difficult to produce copy day after day. The approach for me has been to wait for something of reasonably large political or policy significance and then to write about it. To some extent that is become an excuse for procrastination.

Since I never started blogging with the expectation that all of my comments would be political or governmental in nature, I expect 2012 will be a little different. I'll write about a bit more baseball. I'll occasionally share some personal experiences and I will write about my great friend, Julio, who has lived a life of remarkable adventure, humor and danger. Since Julio is actually an esteemed professional in his own hometown, a bit of taste and misdirection will often be required.

In any event, I hope to be both entertaining and informative in the upcoming year.

Sunday, January 01, 2012


My first legal vote for president was cast in 1964. It was an absentee vote mailed in from a faraway land. That was not a particularly interesting election but, because I was in another country, I did not get to watch the election play out.

In 1968 I got out of the military a number of weeks before the presidential election. I could not get enough of that wild election process. I had time to watch it all and That's exactly what I did.

As much as I truly love to simply watch presidential elections play out, I managed to commit myself to one campaign or another every presidential election year from 1972 through 2008. During that time I never got to kick back and watch the political battle. I was, instead, a part – however small – of it. Please believe me when I tell you it can either be a participant or a consuming spectator but you cannot be both.

Now one hotly contested primary season will play out and a fierce general election contest. For the first time in 44 years, I can sit back and watch the war.

Don't call me on debate nights.