People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Welcome To My World, Dude

Having grown up in and spent most of my life in the corporate world, I find this Michael Paul Williams revelation mildly amusing:
Is politics all local, or global?
Michael Paul Williams, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Do you want someone in New York City or Charlotte, N.C., deciding who can run for office in Richmond?

Benjamin J. Lambert IV had already begun stumping for the 3rd District seat on the Richmond School Board when his employer, a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Bank of America, put a stop order on his campaign.

Lambert is a vice president and financial adviser for Banc of America Investment Services Inc. He was attempting to unseat Carol A.O. Wolf.

A Manhattan-based spokesman for Bank of America said in an e-mail that Banc of America Investment Services "takes a conservative view on actual or perceived conflicts of interest."

From here, it looks like an authoritarian view. (

Banc of America Investment Services Inc. is ... authoritarian. The bastards.

Well, welcome to my world, man.

This is going to come as a shock to some - especially those whose lives are spent inside cloistered news buildings - but corporations are by their very nature authoritarian (Ben & Jerry's and a few other "new age" entrepreneurs tried some whacked out alternatives but even they fell in line after a time). And they always have been. I've even worked for a few corporations that could be described as being Stalinist, with the promotion of the cult-figure hero CEO and the whole nine yards.

Corporations are not only authoritarian (Webster's: "Characteristic of an absolute ruler or absolute rule; having absolute sovereignty"), they are sometimes cruel and uncaring. And the leadership thereof often act selfishly (in the best interests of the owners of the company they represent - the shareholders) and make decisions that outsiders (particularly newspaper columnists) don't appreciate. That's why they work so well.

I am today - in a small way - one authoritarian figure in a huge authoritarian conglomerate. Within my assigned realm, I rule. I set the parameters. I assign job tasks. I expect and monitor results. I hire; I fire. Because I owe it to the owners of the company to maximize sales and profitability.

It's not a democracy. There is no committee vote. We don't call the U.N. for a resolution. We don't tune in to Oprah to see what our next move should be. We perceive problems and opportunities and act upon them - in whatever way and with whatever means are necessary (within the law) to maximize shareholder equity.

It is authoritarian. It can be harsh and unforgiving. It's survival of the fittest in its purest form. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

It Ain't The 'Lunch Bucket Party' No More

Michael Barone on the meaning of the Democratic party fratricide that took place in Connecticut last week ("Primary Colors," The Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2006):
The working class Democrats of the mid-20th century voted their interests, and knew that one of their interests was protecting the nation in which they were proud to live. The professional class Democrats of today vote their ideology and, living a life in which they are insulated from adversity, feel free to imagine that America cannot be threatened by implacable enemies. They can vote to validate their lifestyle choices and their transnational attitudes.

In the mid-20th century the core constituencies of both the Democratic and the Republican Parties stood foursquare for America's prosecution of World War II and the Cold War. Today, as the Connecticut results suggest, it's different. The core constituency of the Republican Party stands foursquare for America's prosecution of the global struggle against Islamofascist terrorism--and solidly on the side of Israel in its struggle against the same forces. The core constituency of the Democratic Party wants to stand aside from the global struggle--and, as the presence of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton at Mr. Lamont's side on election night suggests, is not necessarily on the side of Israel. It's not your father's Democratic Party.
From blue collar nationalists to elitist isiolationists in a generation. Who'd have predicted?

Beware The Bad Analogy

Jabari Asim, op-ed columnist for the Washington Post needs to think before he writes. In a retread ("Still Battling Voter Suppression") this morning of a familiar storyline relating to those evil Republicans in Missouri who are trying to disfranchise poor black people by forcing them to go down to the Department of Motor Vehicles and obtain a free photo ID before they show up at the polls to vote, he relates this story:
"It was not a difficult walk. It was for a good reason."

Those were the words of Besisa Mbaguna, a Congolese man who last month walked barefoot for two and a half hours to reach his polling place and cast his vote in his country's elections.
Mr. Mbaguna is presumably black. And he walked "barefoot for two and a half hours" in order to cast his vote.

Having written that, Asim proceeds to make the argument that Republicans are singling out black people in their voter suppression drive by making it difficult for African-Americans to hop a bus or catch a taxi (phone a friend?) to the nearby DMV - one time - and pick up an identification card:
... the efforts of Republican lawmakers in Georgia, Indiana and, most recently, Missouri seemed aimed at making it as difficult to vote beneath our spacious skies as it is in war-torn Third World nations.
"As difficult as it is ..." for a guy in the Congo who had to walk barefoot for two and a half hours so as to be able to cast his vote.

Uh, Jabari? Talk about the bigotry of low expectations ...

Look For It On eBay

This is not good news:
Original moon landing film lost
By Robert Colvile, London Daily Telegraph

The original film footage of astronaut Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon, one of the most important artifacts of the 20th century, has been lost.

The television broadcast seen by about 600 million people in July 1969 is preserved for posterity, but the original tapes from which the footage was taken have been mislaid, most likely in NASA's vast archives at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. (link)
NASA has so many problems these days. Add to the list an inability to maintain priceless film footage.

Good grief.

You Call This Peace?

Rather than take my advice and kill every mother's son that fights under the Hezballah* banner, the Israelis have agreed to a cease-fire. Bad move.

I'm sure international pressure applied was immense but national security has to remain paramount over a temporary "peace." Especially this "peace." The devil is in the details:
Cease-Fire Begins After a Day of Fierce Attacks
By Steven Erlanger, The New York Times

JERUSALEM, Monday, Aug. 14 — A cease-fire negotiated by the United Nations went into effect at 8 a.m. local time (1 a.m. Eastern time) on Monday, the 34th day of this latest Middle East conflict, with Israeli troops ordered to halt their offensive against Hezbollah and Lebanon agreeing to halt Hezbollah attacks on Israel. (link)
Break out the champagne. Lebanon and Israel have agreed to a cease-fire.

But what about the terrorist group that started the war? Here's Hezballah's official position:
The leader of Hezbollah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, has said that Hezbollah will continue to fight Israeli troops as long as they are on Lebanese soil.
So this peace agreement is as legitimate as every other ever negotiated. Israel lays down its arms; the terrorists rearm.

Stay tuned. Same time next week. Same channel.

* The Times uses the familiar "Hezbollah." Because the Arabic translates into "The Party of God," I prefer the more accurate "Hezballah." A more precise translation would be "Hizb-ul-Allah."