New Congressperson vs. CEO Compensation

So there was this:

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First off, much as I like Dean Cain, he seems to be missing the fact that a lot of people who work for McDonald’s work part time, including kids in after school jobs.

That said:

McDonald’s employs 375,000 people. If that CEO worked for nothing, and “redistributed” that money among them that would amount to (21,800000/375,000) less than $60 each, for the entire year.

On the other hand, McDonald’s Gross sales was $22.82 billion in 2017. A CEO whose decision making affects McDonald’s performance by 0.1% (one part in a thousand) is worth it to the company, and, therefore, that’s what his work is worth. And that’s not comparing best against second best, it’s comparing the performance of that CEO vs. some random guy off the street. The truth is, considering how much “make or break” a CEO’s decisions can be, they’re getting a bargain at $21.8 million.

Remember, it’s not “how hard you work” that matters for determining a “fair pay” but the value your work brings to the business.  This seems to be one of the hardest things for people to understand.

That CEO’s decisions are worth a lot To McDonald’s and there aren’t many people who can do that as well, under the pressures where a wrong decision can cost tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars (also known as “You bet your company”).  Many people think they can.  The term for that is “delusional.”

The guy (or gal) working the counter?  The value of his specific work is far, far less and he can be replaced by anybody willing to do the work after only modest training.  The value he (or she), individually brings to the company?  Not so much.

These comparisons of CEO pay to average worker pay are ridiculous. They are laughable on the face. The fact that so many people are so economically illiterate as to think they matter is really what makes economics “the dismal science.”

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Cover Reveal: Shiva’s Whisper

Coming soon.

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The Third Eres War is over.

Lieutenant Commander Nobuta Tanaka hopes to avoid a fourth. Working as the Military Liason at the embassy on the Eres homeworld, he aids in the delicate negotiations between the Eres and the Terran Confederation. Yet something strange is happening in Eres space. The Eres are almost too willing, even eager, to reduce forces along their mutual border, a willingness that sets some in the Terran High Command to look for the trap hidden in the Eres agreement. When Tanaka’s counterpart in the Eres government calls him in to deal with the case of a Terran freighter that had a run in with…something, something which made the freighter a very political problem for the Eres, Tanaka learns that the threat is greater than he knew.

As matters escalate, Tanaka’s superiors face the threat of war on a scale that neither humanity nor its allies have ever faced before. And while some seek to avoid a fourth Eres War, others are more than willing to fight a Final Eres War.

None of them imagine the true nature of the threat they face and by the time they learn, it may already be too late.

A Brief History of Slavery

Well, okay, more of a montage than a history but then even a brief history (actual history) would fill volumes and this is a blog post.

Amélie Wen Zhao had a YA book accepted for publication by Delacourt Press, a major children’s publishing house.  As one might imagine, she was thrilled.  Unfortunately after receiving harsh…criticism is probably the kindest word…she withdrew the book.

For what was she criticized, you might ask?  Apparently because the novel depicts slavery and Amélie Wen Zhao, not being African American, apparently has no business writing about slavery.  It would seem that only African Americans are permitted to have anything to say about slavery.

That is an utterly ridiculous proposition.

Slavery is as old as history, probably older since slavery it was already present when recorded history began.  I mean, I suppose it’s possible that slavery and writing occurred simultaneously, but what are the odds?  Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

Slavery in history was found throughout the world.  Sure, it’s probably mythical that the Pyramids were built by slaves, let alone Hebrew slaves, but the contemporary civilizations in Mesopotamia certainly had slaves.

Enslaving people was one of the more common things done with prisoners taken in raids.  Debtors being sold to help defray their debts was another common use.

In Mayan society, for instance, slaves were used for the heavy labor of constructing stone temples.  That, however, might be a kinder fate than many others faced:  being fed into the maw of human sacrifice.

The term “Slave” itself comes from the Slavic people, being simply a corruption of “Slav” a Slavic person.  Imagine being a member of a group so often enslaved that the name for your people comes to mean someone enslaved.

The Romans were big on slavery.  Some people have pointed out that Roman Law gave slaves a variety of rights and privileges.  Nevertheless, they were also subject to horrific punishments up to and including crucifixion.  One might note that Roman slavery wasn’t “racially” based, at least not as we use the term.  But you have to understand that to Romans, there were Romans and there were barbarians.  Well, they might give grudging acceptance of Greeks as being civilized, and they might consider Egyptians (who were more than half Greek–having been ruled by Greeks since the time of Ptolemy–by the time Rome came around.  Roman “racism” was simply drawn more closely than in the modern West.   If you weren’t Roman, you weren’t fully human.

I could go on and on.  But I’m being brief so…

Of course, when most people think of “Slavery” in the modern world, they think of the transatlantic slave trade of black Africans.  As noted in yesterday’s post, only a very small part of that trade was to North America.  Most of it went to places like the sugar plantations of the Caribbean and South America.  And despite what Alex Haley might have you think, the European traders didn’t go chasing after Africans to catch them.  No, they simply bought their slaves from markets on the coast set up by Muslims and other Africans.

Well, what about Amélie Wen Zhao?  She was born in Paris but raised in Beijing.  Leaving aside accusations of slave (prisoner) labor in modern China.  From Wikipedia:

The Tang dynasty purchased Western slaves from the Radanite Jews. Tang Chinese soldiers and pirates enslaved Koreans, Turks, Persians, Indonesians, and people from Inner Mongolia, central Asia, and northern India.The greatest source of slaves came from southern tribes, including Thais and aboriginals from the southern provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Guizhou. Malays, Khmers, Indians, and black Africans were also purchased as slaves in the Tang dynasty. Slavery was prevalent until the late 19th century and early 20th century China.

It wasn’t until 1910 that slavery was outlawed in China.

So not only does Ms. Zhao have a “cultural connection” to slavery, it’s closer, more recent, than that of African Americans.

It’s ironic that a group that claims to support “multiculturalism”, to want to give a forum to “other voices”, should attempt to silence someone doing just that.  To restrict the addressing of a subject that has touched so many cultures worldwide, with victims and perpetrators of all races to a single, tiny representative is the exact opposite of that.

People have accused Ms. Zhao of racism.  Yet the people trying to silence her are saying, in effect, that certain groups cannot stand the idea of different voices, telling their own stories from a different perspective than their own narrow one.  In so doing, they are infantilizing those groups.

And that is racism.

If They’re Tearing Down Confederate Monuments, why is Marx Allowed?

(Extremely busy yesterday so no post.  Sorry.)

Today’s post was prompted by a recent news item about a statue to Karl Marx being vandalized.  A monument to a vile philosophy of the past being damaged if not outright destroyed?  Well, I wouldn’t be surprised given what’s been done with other monuments except this one, sad to say, is not “of the past.” If you don’t go looking, you may not realize how much Marx saturates the “intelligentsia” in the US.  He’s been ascendant in the Education-Entertainment Complex for generations (plural).  Arguments that are, at best, thinly veiled Marxism are treated as serious and, indeed, conventional.  Opposition is considered extremism.

How can this be allowed to continue?

Consider:  The number of Africans shipped to the US as slaves was never very great, totaling under 400,000.  Most of the more than 10 million Africans sent overseas to be slaves in the “new world” went to the Caribean and South America.  Frankly, I do not think that the US can be held accountable for the slave trade elsewhere.  Of course there were many more slaves in the US than that over time, thanks to the “natural increase” (i.e. slave women having children born in slavery and growing up to be slaves) but even so, the 1790 census reported just under 700,000 slaves in the United States.  By 1860, the eve of the Civil War, the number had risen to just under 4 million.

Given average lifespan even under the harsh conditions of slavery the total number of slaves in the US over the entire history of legal slavery cannot be more than about 15-20 million.

By contrast, Marx’s “ideas” have been responsible for over 100 million deaths and many more subject to oppression every bit as crushing as that of slavery.  It’s just the oppressor was the “government” (acting entirely for “the people” It Says Here).

If the institution of Slavery is so vile that we must erase people like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry from history (slave owners, although of mixed feelings on the subject–Patrick Henry being a particularly interesting case) let alone folk like Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson, remove their names from schools and street signs, and pull down statues to them, then how much more should we not destroy the monuments to Marx? (And, seriously, how can anybody wear those revolting “Che” shirts given what a monster Che was–a monster molded by Marx.)

If slavery was, and is, a blight upon the Earth (and I assure you, it was), how much more, than the greater blight of Marx?

Some might argue that it’s unfair to compare slavery in the US with the horrors of Marxism worldwide but that speaks to the influence the individuals and cultures memorialized in the US have had–which was strictly American at the time with the US only becoming a world leader well after the abolition of slavery–with that of Marx which has been global.  He and his ideas have led to far more misery and death than Thomas Jefferson, Robert E. Lee, Patrick Henry, and every other slave owner in the US combined.

My position is relatively straightforward.  While neither should be removed from history, both should be left in the past where they belong:

Cautionary tales, bad ideas unworthy of emulation.

Planning a Night Out

As I have mentioned previously, there appear to be two “goth” type events locally.  One is a “Goth Night” at the Black Circle Brewing Company that usually seems to be near the middle of the month.

Well, I noted that I haven’t had a “night out” just for my own entertainment in an embarrassingly long time.  Part of the issue is the responsibilities of being a single parent.  But I was reminded that it’s not good for either me or my daughter for me to lock myself up as a hermit.  So, the plan is to attend the upcoming event on the 9th.

The Black Circle Brewing Company is, as the name suggests, a microbrew place.  Unfortunately for me, I can’t drink beer–it spikes my blood sugar.  They also serve wine, cider, and mead (no distilled liquor) so I’ll be able to manage. (Drink responsibly, folks.)

Since this is a “Goth” event, it provides an opportunity I don’t get often to “dress up.” My boss in my day job is relatively understanding but even so I wouldn’t want to wear anything fancy here at the lab/office.  As it happens I had just recently ordered three different Victorian tail coats, one in black, one in purple, and one in red (black shown here):

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As it happens each of the coats is coming from a different location (go figure) and it will be the purple one that is scheduled to arrive by this weekend.  So, that’s what I’ll be wearing.  Black dress shirt and slacks, with the coat adding some color should make for a distinctive look.

And, so, the plan is to head out, have a late supper and possibly a couple drinks, listen to the music and people watch.

Ice Follies

No, this is not about the old touring company of ice skaters.  It’s about…well, you’ll see shortly.

My daughter a couple months ago expressed an interest in ice skating.  Part of her thinking was that the ice skating might help her ballet and ballet would help ice skating.  Reasonable.

So I signed her up for ice skating lessons and she got started.  As luck would have it, rehearsals for the upcoming competition and performance for ballet came in to overlap the lessons and that was that for the ice skating lessons for the time being.   We spoke to the instructor and she said they’d already introduced all the elements they were going to go over in that block of classes the rest was just going to be practice of those elements so Athena can practice that on her own and we can start her on the next block of classes after the ballet competitions are over for this year.

Now, we haven’t gotten to the “follies” part yet.  This is just background.

Back in the late summer of ’79 I was, for various reasons, staying in Arizona.  While there a friend of mine took me to an ice rink and there I learned to ice skate.  Strictly self taught.  I have reasonably good “kinesthetic sense” so I could, with some effort, transfer “book learning” of how things were supposed to work I could figure out at least the basics on my own.  Come labor day, I gathered up some pledges and participated in a 24 hour marathon for Muscular Dystrophy.  This long, concentrated effort smoothed out my technique quite a bit.

Then I returned home from Arizona back to Ohio and that pretty much put an end to my ice skating.  Briefly, I had a chance to go back to ice skating while I was in the Air Force and stationed in England–“Queens Ice Club” in London.  Even bought a pair of skates.  Rotate back to the United States and…no more ice skating until…

Fast forward to when Athena wanted to start skating.  I thought “Oh, I can get back into it too.  Okay, it’s been thirty-five years but surely it’s just like riding a bicycle.”

It’s not.

First time out, an “introduction” where Athena and I went out on our own in public skate time before we even signed her up for the class just to try it out.  Talk about embarassing.  I ended up hugging the wall all the way around and ended up on my rear end a good half dozen times.  You know, Judo is supposed to have taught me to take a fall without getting hurt but it looks like that’s not like riding a bicycle either.  Didn’t help that I guessed wrong on boot size.  I could get my feet into the boots but they squeezed so badly that…it was just misery.

One lap and I was done.  So was Athena that time.

Still, she was interested enough to sign up for classes.  And after classes, we’d do the public skate.  I’d do one lap.  Athena would skate until she was done.  I still had trouble with fit.  My feet have changed so much since I was younger and with the plantar fasciitis, I think the only way it’s going to work is to have my own boots with arch supports and and custom inserts.  Still, I’m game to make the effort, you know.

So that brings us to yesterday.  Athena has her ballet rehearsal and afterward asks if we can go ice skating.  Sure.  We go.  She has her skates and I rent a pair, as usual.  This time I find that I can lace them so they’re not too horribly uncomfortable on my feet and away we go.  I get one lap done and am still feeling pretty good so I go for a second.

Now, there was apparently some damage to the rink so they had a cut off shortly before one end marked with cones.  We had to divert across there rather than going all the way around along the wall.  So I’m nearing the end of that section, feeling pretty good because I haven’t fallen too many times.

Boom.

Before I even realize what’s happened I land flat on my back with a resounding thud.  My head snaps back “whack” against the ice and I lay stunned for a moment.  This was apparently an impressive enough wipeout that people, including at least one employee of the rink came over to see if I was okay.  I was.  As it happened the gather where I have my hair tied back in a ponytail actually provided substantial cushioning to the impact.  I was just a little sore where I might otherwise have had a knot.

It actually takes several attempts for me to get back to my feet but I manage and get back to the wall.  I then totter my way the rest of the way to the exit and, yeah, I’m done for the day.

In retrospect, I suspect part of the problem was that “more comfortable lacing” meant that my foot had too much play in the boot, so that I wasn’t as stable as I should have been.  Added evidence in that I had difficulty walking in the skates on the matted area outside the ring (a yielding material to prevent damage to the blades–never walk on a hard surface in ice skates without wearing blade guards).  The boots kept trying to roll my ankle.

In all honesty, I’m finding it harder to re-learn skating than it was to learn it the first time around.  And, this being the next day, I’m a mass of soreness.  I don’t…bounce…as well as I used to.  This means that I can only weather so much, and much less than when I was younger, before “I’m done.”

Still, I made it around that rink twice on my own.  Painfully, but on my own.

Go me!