Saturday, April 18, 2009

Links to various stuff sent to me, a few odd thoughts

These past few months have been in some ways great- for example, I continue to have a job with a stable company, no one is trying to kill me like they were a year ago, and spring has arrived.

But I have been having various challenges and thus the lack of blogging. During that time, I've accumulated various oddities that I thought I should post, but never got around to it.

Here's to a little housecleaning.

A. A million points of light, or rather, lights as representative of world air traffic over a 24 hour period. Cool.

B. Business versions of April Fools jokes:

Flying penguins rock.

C. A different kind of minimalism.

D. Things blowing up in space.

E. Back during the nominations for Obama's cabinet and other positions:

In different economic times, Geithner's confirmation might have been derailed by the news that he only recently paid more than $48,000 in delinquent taxes and interest for his earnings while working at the IMF. Geithner paid some of the taxes in 2006 after an IRS audit discovered the discrepancy for the years 2003 and 2004.

Secretary of the Treasury.
"The Secretary of the Treasury is the principal economic advisor to the President and plays a critical role in policy-making by bringing an economic and government financial policy perspective to issues facing the government. The Secretary is responsible for formulating and recommending domestic and international financial, economic, and tax policy, participating in the formulation of broad fiscal policies that have general significance for the economy, and managing the public debt. The Secretary oversees the activities of the Department in carrying out its major law enforcement responsibilities; in serving as the financial agent for the United States Government; and in manufacturing coins and currency.

Anybody see anything wrong with a Treasury Secretary that either unknowingly or dishonestly doesn't pay his taxes? And then later he actually puts out information that he's going to aggressively go after tax evaders? Ummm....? Do his authorities extend to prosecuting himself?

AP/MSNBC on Tom Daschle
Former Sen. Tom Daschle, picked by President Barack Obama to lead his health reform efforts, recently filed amended tax returns to report $128,203 in unpaid taxes and $11,964 in interest, according to a Senate document obtained by The Associated Press. OK, health and human services- just poor integrity, but not particularly relevant to the post in terms of job skills...and he did drop out after that. Good call.

F. Biggest news event that really didn't even register during the Super Bowl weekend? Iraqi elections. This country is getting it together and we're paying next to no attention. I'm still hoping for my "Welcome Home Warrior Citizen" award- a Reserves recognition program that in my case has not quite panned out. I reach one year back in country later this month. No worry that I will be overindulging in being worshipped as a conquering hero- still trying to get my standard "everyone gets it" award. Even now, with our economy tanking and everything, I feel more worry and concern about the people in Iraq than I feel for most of my fellow citizens- a poor American is much better off than the vast majority of Iraqis. We just don't appreciate (even including myself often) just how great we've got it.

G. Had to switch to the North Carolina National Guard to get a unit that didn't require me to travel extended distances to reach. First drill weekend earlier this month gave me some almost PTSD like symptoms, even though I don't think I had any PTSD-inducing events during my deployment. First, the armory where we met was by the airport- and the frequent air traffic reminded me a lot of Baghdad- when there, my sleeping quarters were right under the flight path to the main U.S. military hospital there in the capital- MEDEVAC flights constantly overhead, punctuated occasionally by the sounds of indirect fire alarms and indirect fire impacts. And we got to go through the Army-wide safety stand-down training for suicide prevention. Not the most upbeat topic on my first drill back. Training quality, well..... perhaps a psychologist and university professor is too critical. Of course, given the topic, not sure one can be too critical when looking at ways to improve the training.

H. An article that I just came across today.

Not quite sure why they'd headline that as pirates foiled and/or captured. Catch and release is not going to stop any attacks. Let's walk through that- the pirates are captured, weapons taken, and then they are released. Given the high payoff to successful attacks, why would they stop?