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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Barry Zito's Award

Coming to AT&T Park today, I was so amazed by the fact that Barry Zito won the Patriot Award on behalf of his charity Strikeouts For Veterans. What I find so amazing is the fact that he's been working with MLB and BofA in helping returning vets and their families.

I think he should be remembered for this and be given a chance to put forth his vision before Congress. Additionally, I'm thinking about starting a drive on FB to get President Barack Obama to appoint him to a commission to help vets and soldiers, along with their families, during the off-season. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Such An Aggrivating Day

Good God, I've never been this pissed off in my life. It's just one of those days where you want to go off somewhere and scream. Let me explain in the two following stories.

In the first story, it has to do with AT&T (infamous from my last posting), only this time not in conjunction with Starbucks. What happened was that at work, we (meaning our small insurance company) had no internet, and as a result, could not do any work all day. Imagine if you can't email clients or check the status of other business when all of it is online, and then having to wait until close to the end of the workday for a repair person to come and fix the issue. For us, the repairer was attending a house call first down in Daly City before shooting up 280 to get to us asap. This I know, at AT&T has little to no ability to coordinate its workers to house calls, when only having a call center located at the headquarters in Dallas. These guys don't know the San Francisco Bay Area's geography or metropolitan make-up in any form, which leads to more confusion than ever for their workers. I just hope that they can get their act together before people begin to leave in large droves.

In the second story, I learned from a woman with whom I was on the bus with that she's been dealing with SamTrans about filing a complaint about a driver who shut the bus' front doors on her ankle on March 5, 2013. The driver in question wears the badge #1115 and drives bus #333, if someone sees his name, please send it to her, or post it here on my blog. She should not have had this happen to her, and for SamTrans to be pushing this much red tape on her is beyond inexcusable. She just wants this issue dealt with by the proper channels so that it's fully resolved.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Apple and Taxes

I have got to say this as candidly as I can: under no circumstances is Apple the only company engaged in tax-dodging. While I'm not happy to know that they have been using tax shelters (especially in places like Ireland), I think that Apple's actions are only a small role in a much larger problem with the American Tax System. The problem America faces in terms of lost tax revenue is the allowing of corprorations to create subsidiaries and other shadow companies as a means of moving profits away from the taxation system through several legal loopholes. Essentially what should be noted and used sparingly as a tool of legal tax avoidance has instead turned into a legalized version of tax evasion by several of America's largest companies.

Moreover, the recent report released by the Senate about Apple's activities should be placed in the context of doing something about reforming the tax system as a whole. This means that both the President and Congress need to do everything they can to close as many of these loopholes as possible and identify companies that do this as a way of increasing profitability. I'm for business success, but not at the expense of everyone else.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Starbucks and AT&T Internet.

The Starbucks in San Francisco on Fillmore Street, has some of the greatest workers, and the greatest ability to provide customer service on a scale not seen. However, I noticed that they were having some connectivity issues with their router in providing their customers with continuous wi-fi. Speaking to the manager, I think, I learned that he's been complaining to both Starbucks corporate and to AT&T, to the point that AT&T won't take his calls, or the company's for that matter. He's a great guy, but what AT&T's doing is beyond any kind of comprehension. In my eyes, it's up to AT&T to address this, if they wish to keep Starbucks as a customer.

Speaking of my own experience, from working in a small insurance office (we have AT&T U-Verse internet) we've had so many connectivity issues, that it's getting rediculous. This is not to say that Comcast is any better, because let's face it, they're not. My point is that their service is terrible and their customer service is beyond unacceptable, as the level of red tape they throw at customers trying to solve a problem is unbelievable. I wish the manager at the Starbucks here on Fillmore Street luck, and hope that this new set of publicity will finally make AT&T act.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Recent step by China against North Korea

Well, ain't this a piece of good news. Then again, it confirms what I've said in my last posting about the situation with North Korea. In this new development, by the New York Times, it turns out the Bank of China, one of its state-owned commercial banks, has cut ties to some North Korean banks (essentially refusing to lend them any more money). The reason for saying that this is a positive step and is a real step in showing China's growing frustration is that North Korea has largely been ignoring all kinds of warnings telling it not to continue on with its illegal nuclear weapons program, nor more provocative actions. Only now can we see what steps North Korea will take in response. Maybe in the next week, or several, I think the North Koreans will start launching massive threatening volleys at the Chinese, and perhaps, at the Russians as well, since both seem committed to implementing the newer and heavier sanctions just passed in March.

I selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at Blog Nation.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Recent news in America and around the World

Where should I start? Well, I guess the best place to begin is with the news in America. Apparently, for once, the Republicans have come up with something as a useful alternative to constant overtime payments by businesses (especially for small business). I'll wait to cast some judgment until I know the details, but it doesn't seem like a far-fetched idea to give paid time off, instead of overtime, but still it should be known that overtime is still a necessity in the private sector until it becomes more unionized. Anyway, there's that and Republicans looking for other ways to show that they're in fact reasonable problem-solvers. This is only a ruse in my eyes, but I'll go along with it for the time being.

My main concern, is not the Republicans at the moment. It's actually events abroad and here in the Bay Area. Let's start locally first. Over the weekend, there was apparently a bad fire that killed 5 people going to a bachellorette party in a limo. Well, as tragic as it is, I think there needs to be more details as to what happened.

As for events abroad, well let's take what's going on with the situations in both the Mideast and North Korea. The Mideast is no surprise in my eyes, as Iran's doing everything to distract world attention away from its ilicit nuclear program (I say this in the sense that Iran's senior governing officials still refuse to make the mandatory disclosures to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is the international watchdog for all national atomic programs as per the Non-Proliferation Treaty). Additionally, it feels that its chief ally in Syria (Bashar al-Assad) needs a distraction from the rebellion back home; and what better way than to build up tensions with Assad's neighbor, Israel? Well, that's fairly self-explanatory.

As for North Korea, apparently there was a father-son duo charged with conspiring to illegally sell the Kim regime components to further help them construct their illegal nuclear weapons program, even doing so through the nose of America's sanctions. Well, let's see how else this plays out, because this is very serious. My major concern with North Korea, is that it won't be long until Kim Jong Un decides to unleash the 1,000,000 man Korean People's Army against South Korea, as well launch a nuclear strike against it. This is because Kim feels he has less to lose by picking a fight with the numerically weaker Military forces in the South, than by picking a fight with America, who could easily bring to bear both Russia and China in this sense. I know off-hand that both the Russians and the Chinese will join the Americans in defending the South Koreans and Japanese in this scenario, because of the fact that both the Russian and Chinese leaderships' patience with the North has worn exceedingly thin, and both, I'm quite sure, have warned the Kim regime that more provocative behavior will result in more dire consequences as well as making it harder for them to justify their continued resistance to additional action in the United Nations.

In addition, both America and Russia have a long standing partnership in counter-proliferation, and both see the North Korean nuclear program as a massive destabilizing factor in East Asia. Additionally, China's come to see that the Kim regime does not provide a good enough buffer to deter any American military presence. I think America's Foreign Secretary, John Kerry, made this quite clear to the Chinese leadership, in saying that unless they do more to reign in their ally's provocative actions and threats of pre-emptive nuclear war, they can expect to see a much larger American military presence in the region, and a much more aggressive stance to defend itself.

Friday, May 3, 2013

We're coming close to war




Gees, can this situation get any crazier? Since when do Israel and Iran find it to be acceptable to threaten each other? I just hope that both sides will show restraint and let a dialog resume. No need for any military action, and let the pressure from the sanctions bring back a new round o negotiations.

New developments in the Middle East

Well not surprisingly, Israel's making noise about bombing Iran, and Iran is saying the same for Israel. I know why, it's because both seem desparate to distract their publics from economic troubles at home. Now, I won't argue about who's right to be doing this since neither are in my eyes. Israel is correct in saying that a nuclear armed Iran has every intention of creating another Holocaust, and take out any Jewish livelihood in the area. However, Iran has a point in saying that by becoming a hypothetical nuclear power, it will achieve parity and bring about a balance of power. In addition, it has been further correct in calling out Israel's campaign of assassinations of many of its nuclear scientists.

Regardless, neither Israel nor Iran need nuclear weapons. Israel, as an undeclared nuclear power, should immediately declare that it is, and immediately take steps in accordance with those who have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970, and begin to disarm itself. Iran, as a signatory, should adhere to its obligations as per the treaty and show more transparency in its nuclear program. If such a program is for creating nuclear power and isotopes for medicinal purposes, then Iran is within its rights to hold such a program. However, if such underlying secrecy is hiding a weapons program, then there is no reason for Iran to have a program at all.

This is why I believe that Presidents Obama and Medvedev got it right to begin with in trying to get Iran to talk, but I still think that additional sanctions won't conduce any kind of dialogue. I do have to admit one thing though, the sanctions seem to be making Iran desparate, which can account for its tantrumous behavior, i.e., threatening to close down the Hormuz Strait. This is a credible, though fairly short term, threat.

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