WTF iPhone?

My iPhone suddenly decided it had to sync all of my purchased music back to the iTunes library because it wasn’t there. Because I freed up the disk space because I’m getting critically low! When I clicked ‘Don’t Transfer’ it deleted all my music from the iPhone, most of which I ripped from my own CDs.

If Steve Jobs were here, I’d rip out his transplanted pancreas… Grrr. #FAIL

WTF? Over.

Thom Hartmann on “Sociopathic Paychecks”

This is from Thom Hartmann‘s daily email newsletter

Sociopathic Paychecks
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that “Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the US…  Highly paid employees received nearly $2.1 trillion of the $6.4 trillion in total US pay in 2007, the latest figures available.”
 
This article is largely excerpted from Thom Hartmann’s new book “Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.”

One of the questions often asked when the subject of CEO pay comes up is, “What could a person such as William McGuire or Lee Raymond (the former CEOs of UnitedHealth and ExxonMobil, respectively) possibly do to justify a $1.7 billion paycheck or a $400 million retirement bonus?”

It’s an interesting question. If there is a “free market” of labor for CEOs, then you’d think there would be a lot of competition for the jobs. And a lot of people competing for the positions would drive down the pay. All UnitedHealth’s stockholders would have to do to avoid paying more than $1 billion to McGuire is find somebody to do the same CEO job for half a billion. And all they’d have to do to save even more is find somebody to do the job for a mere $100 million. Or maybe even somebody who’d work the necessary sixty-hour weeks for only $1 million.

So why is executive pay so high?

I’ve examined this with both my psychotherapist hat on and my amateur economist hat on, and only one rational answer presents itself: CEOs in America make as much money as they do because there really is a shortage of people with their skill set. And it’s such a serious shortage that some companies have to pay as much as $1 million a day to have somebody successfully do the job.

But what part of being a CEO could be so difficult-so impossible for mere mortals-that it would mean that there are only a few hundred individuals in the United States capable of performing it?

In my humble opinion, it’s the sociopath part.

CEOs of community-based businesses are typically responsive to their communities and decent people. But the CEOs of most of the world’s largest corporations daily make decisions that destroy the lives of many other human beings.

Only about 1 to 3 percent of us are sociopaths-people who don’t have normal human feelings and can easily go to sleep at night after having done horrific things. And of that 1 percent of sociopaths, there’s probably only a fraction of a percent with a college education. And of that tiny fraction, there’s an even tinier fraction that understands how business works, particularly within any specific industry.

Thus there is such a shortage of people who can run modern monopolistic, destructive corporations that stockholders have to pay millions to get them to work. And being sociopaths, they gladly take the money without any thought to its social consequences.

Today’s modern transnational corporate CEOs-who live in a private-jet-and-limousine world entirely apart from the rest of us-are remnants from the times of kings, queens, and lords. They reflect the dysfunctional cultural (and Calvinist/Darwinian) belief that wealth is proof of goodness, and that that goodness then justifies taking more of the wealth.

Democracy in the workplace is known as a union. The most democratic workplaces are the least exploitative, because labor has a power to balance capital and management. And looking around the world, we can clearly see that those cultures that most embrace the largest number of their people in an egalitarian and democratic way (in and out of the workplace) are the ones that have the highest quality of life. Those that are the most despotic, from the workplace to the government, are those with the poorest quality of life.

Over time, balance and democratic oversight will always produce the best results.  An “unregulated” marketplace is like an “unregulated” football game – chaos.  And chaos is a state perfectly exploited by sociopaths, be they serial killers, warlords, or CEOs.

By changing the rules of the game of business so that sociopathic business behavior is no longer rewarded (and, indeed, is punished – as Teddy Roosevelt famously did as the “trustbuster” and FDR did when he threatened to send “war profiteers” to jail), we can create a less dysfunctional and more egalitarian society.  And that’s an important first step back from the thresholds to environmental and economic disaster we’re now facing.

I would link to it directly if I could find the newsletter on the web.

‘Kiss my fat ass,’ says Meghan McCain

No Laura Ingrahm, you’re trying to wiggle out of your offensive remark by saying. “”Oh com’on I was just being satirical and “teasing.”

That’s the consistent refrain of the passive-aggressive bully. Shame on you. You’re not only a loud-mouthed bully, you’re a chicken. What’s up with that?

‘Kiss my fat ass,’ says Meghan McCain

Last week, Ingraham mocked McCain on her radio show after the daughter of former GOP presidential nominee John McCain urged Republicans to seek compromise with Democrats. Ingraham called McCain “a Valley Girl gone awry” and a “plus-sized model.”

<…>

McCain said she felt like Tyra Banks when the model “went on her show in her bathing suit and said, ‘Kiss my fat ass.’”

“That’s what I feel right now,” McCain said. “I’m like, ‘Kiss my fat ass!’”

Ingraham quickly responded to McCain once again on her show, telling McCain that she needs to learn to deal with satire and “teasing.”

“Can I say ‘lighten up,’ or is that offensive too?” Ingraham asked.

I’m not especially a fan of Meghan McCain, but all I can say is, “Go Meghan!” Too bad you can’t say, “Shut the fuck up, bitch.”

links for 2008-02-18

Halliburton Says It’s Done in Iran [NYTimes]

That’s right, Halliburton was working in Iran for the state-run National Iranian Oil Company.

Halliburton Says It’s Done in Iran

The Halliburton Company said yesterday that its subsidiary that does business in Iran had completed all its commitments and was no longer working in the country.

(…) Halliburton has said that its operations in Iran, handled through a Dubai office, were legal because they were isolated from American operations and management.

“Halliburton’s prior business in Iran was clearly permissible under applicable laws and regulations,” the company reiterated in the statement yesterday.

But it’s OK and not what you might think ’cause it was through Halliburton’s office in Dubai. (The company reiterated.) Unbelievable.

[later:] Or are they just alerting the Administration that the monies are all in and it’s SHOW TIME!

Edward Abbey, b. 1927

One of my favorite authors, Edward Abbey, was born 80 years ago today.

Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies. His best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire. Writer Larry McMurtry referred to Abbey as the “Thoreau of the American West”.

I We miss you, Cactus Ed.

Spam Blocking

We have three weblogs rattling around here at Cornerhost and all have been inundated with automated comment spam over the past couple of weeks. About 700 an hour have ended up in moderation on blivet alone. Well, I ass-u-me they were all spam. When there are several thousand in the queue I don’t check for false positives, I just hit ‘delete.’

I am happy to report that Bad Behavior (currently at version 2.0.6) seems to have stopped the bots in their little automated tracks. I activated it last night and the log says that 2,800 automated attempts have been blocked in around 10 hours. Yes!

For the record, I am running WordPress 2.0.5 with Akismet, Bad Behavior, SpamForceField, Spam Karma 2 and WordPress Hashcash plugins, as well as blocking a range of known spammer’s domains in .htaccess.

A Dark, Dark Day

It is now official. Everything I was taught to believe about the government of the United States of America as a child, as an Eagle Scout, as a delegate to the American Legion’s Boy’s State in High School and in Government class is,… a quaint historical fiction. The terrorists have won.

How did your Senator vote? [Nevada: Reid = no, Ensign = yes]

How did your Representative vote? [Nevada: Berkley = no, Gibbons = yes, Porter = yes]

It’s a 40 day slog through the desert to the polls for you and I. I certainly know who I will be voting for. How about you?

Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) floor statement on the detainee bill:

The Framers of our Constitution understood the need for checks and balances, but this bill discards them.

Many of the worst provisions were not in the Committee-reported bill, and were not in the compromise announced last Friday. They were added over the weekend after backroom meetings with White House lawyers.

We have tried to improve this legislation. Senator Levin proposed to substitute the bipartisan bill that was reported by the Armed Services Committee. That amendment was rejected.

Senators Specter and Leahy offered an amendment to restore the right to judicial review – that amendment was rejected.

Senator Rockefeller offered an amendment to improve congressional oversight of CIA programs – that amendment was rejected.

Senator Kennedy offered an amendment to clarify that inhumane interrogation tactics prohibited by the Army Field manual could not be used on Americans or on others – that amendment was rejected.

And Senator Byrd offered an amendment to sunset military commissions so that Congress would simply be required to reconsider this far-reaching authority after five years of experience. Even that amendment was rejected.

I strongly believe this legislation is unconstitutional. It will almost certainly be struck down by the Supreme Court. And when that happens, we’ll be back here several years from now debating how to bring terrorists to justice.

The families of the 9/11 victims and the nation have been waiting five years for the perpetrators of these attacks to be brought to justice. They should not have to wait longer. We should get this right now – and we are not doing so by passing this bill. The National security policies of this administration and Republican Congress may have been tough, but they haven’t been smart. The American people are paying a price for their mistakes.

History will judge our actions here today. I am convinced that future generations will view passage of this bill as a grave error. I wish to be recorded as one who voted against taking this step.

From Majikthise:

Majikthise : Final passage: Bush/McCain Torture Bill
Watch your back.

Another from kos:

Open Thread and Diary Rescue

That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.

-Shakespeare, Richard II, Act 2 scene 1

On this dark day, we are by turns enraged, despondent, half out of our minds, determined. But not silent. Maybe you can find in these diaries something you need: solace, distraction, some borrowed strength to keep on.

mcjoan at dailykos:

On the question do you favor (1) allowing the President to define torture, (2) strip the court of judicial review via habeas corpus (even though the constitution does not allow you to except in cases of invasion or Rebellion), and (3) allowing the President to jail American citizens arbitrarily and without court review?

Gutless Democrats saying Aye:
Tom Carper (Del.)
Tim Johnson (S.D.)
Mary Landrieu (La.)
Frank Lautenberg (N.J.)
Bob Menendez (N.J)
Bill Nelson (Fla.)
Ben Nelson (Neb.)
Pryor (Ark.)
Jay Rockefeller (W. Va.)
Ken Salazar (Co.)
Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)

Gutless Connecticut for Liebermans saying Aye:
Joe Lieberman (Conn.)

History will not absolve you.

Matt Stoller over at MyDD:

Final Tally on the McCain Torture Act, 65-34

Democrats in favor (12) – Carper (Del.), Johnson (S.D.), Landrieu (La.), Lautenberg (N.J.), Lieberman (Conn.), Menendez (N.J), Pryor (Ark.), Rockefeller (W. Va.), Salazar (Co.), Stabenow (Mich.), Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.)

Republicans against (1) – Chafee (R.I.)

Independents against (1) – Jeffords

Later: I see Garret calls it ‘a dark day‘ as well.