December 2008

A recent Winkest Link mentioned the ridiculous concept of a “War on Christmas”. Some alleged Christian invented this phrase. The focus of a real Christian is love, not war, but…

As we discussed, there is no war on Christmas. This imaginary swipe at Christians was created out of thin air. The word ‘war’ was very carefully chosen, to escalate a perceived slight into an “us versus them” scenario.

Why create enemies where there are none? Because there is no higher religious honor than to be a ‘martyr’.

Somebody is picking on (or disrespecting) our religion! This makes us martyrs and, therefore, closer to God. If we are closer to God then we are superior!

We only want to be superior to everyone else. Is that too much to ask?

Certainly those who worship in other ways must be inferior, right?

This trait is not unique to Christians. Many religions do this. But not all.

We are well aware that there is much killing in the name of religion, both against Christians and BY Christians. Our guess is if you feel your religion is worth killing or dying for, you are probably misinterpreting (perhaps intentionally) the tenets.

Potential martyrs please note: You will never find peace by trying to find fault with others. Cleanse yourself of this sin.

Peace means taking care of each other, and taking care of the planet. To those whose sole aim is peace, we thank you. May others, someday, see the light.

A quick tip of the hat to Buddhism, whose main goals are ethical conduct and altruistic behavior. What a crazy concept…behave correctly and for the benefit of others. That type of attitude can only ruin an otherwise perfect world.

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There is less than one month left until he is the big dog. It wont be long until he has to take responsibility for his actions.  He is coming in with record high approval ratings (82%), but it is not going to be easy.  As he is quickly finding out more global problems arise than there is time to solve them.  The most recently being Israel’s war on Gaza.  Maybe the fighting will stop before he takes office, maybe not…  Even so he hasn’t had time to deal with the economic crisis, global warming, or [insert one of many troubles here].

The presidency is like a marathon, you must take things in stride and endure the long haul.  W. Bush, not a great marathoner.  It remains to be seen whether Obama can survive the marathon, but here’s the trick he must run the marathon at sprinting pace.  There are too many problems arriving too quickly to do anything but go all out from start to finish.

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Are you a soldier in the “War on Christmas?”

Gosh, we hope so. We need all the help we can get.

We are off to a flying start. We have most business-owners saying “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”

Next we need to eliminate Christmas trees and any mention of Jesus.

Then we can close the churches. We will only be closing the Christian churches though, because this is a war on Christmas, not on Hanukkah.

Sign up today and beat the “holiday” rush.

Self-admitted morons should stop reading right here. We know you don’t like to ‘over-think’ issues.

Some otherwise-intelligent people have actually started to accept the extremely silly “War on Christmas” argument. You know why? Because it has been repeated endlessly for about ten years.

Repeat even the most outrageous statement enough and people start to believe it. Down is up, black is white, Cheney is honest… repeat, repeat, repeat. Now it is truth!

The most common of several specious arguments is that some businesses use a “happy holiday” greeting rather than “Merry Christmas” when meeting you. This beef is stupid on two levels:

1)  The word “holiday” is a contraction of the words holy and day, and originally represented special religious days. Did you spot the words “holy” and “religious” in the previous sentence?  So “holiday” is the basis for your alleged war on Christmas???

2)  Maybe, just maybe, some of the customers are not Christian. Maybe they have different “holidays”. You can’t always tell just by looking at them. Should we just keep yelling “Merry Christmas” at them until they surrender and become Christians?

By the way, we at Winkest Link would like to wish you a Merry Christmas.

And a happy “whatever-else-you-might-celebrate” because we don’t understand the other religions all that well.

Peace.

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One shuttle for sale by NASA.  $42 million isn’t that bad, considering an Airbus A380 is about $325 million.  So quite a savings.  Second of all the space shuttle cost about $1.7 billion ($1,700,000,000) to make.  In fact, the average launch cost is $450 million. Sure it doesn’t have the amenities, or an engine for that matter, but what it does have, is history.  Sure they haven’t been too reliable,  but it has gone to space.  Think about the ladies you could pick up, physicists, pilots, crazy ladies who drive across the country in adult diapers.  The sky is the limit, sorry for the pun.  But they probably don’t want you taking it in to space.  Well NASA good luck, I’m sure there are museums that will take you up on the offer, I just wish I could get afford nice Christmas gift like that.

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Now this is what we’ve been waiting for.

As you may remember from about a month ago, we here at the Winkest Link have been a tad skeptical of President-elect Obama’s cabinet positions that are supposed rivals. After all, Hillary Clinton, Peter Orszag, and Bill Richardson are not the biggest opponents Obama could find. In fact, I think I can agree with Kasson when he says that all of these people fall under the “Not a very rival-y-ish pick” category.

However, according to CNN, Obama has chosen pastor Rick Warren as the person to give him the invocation at his inauguration. Warren interviewed the both the former senator and Senator McCain shortly after the primaries, and has made it known that he does not agree with Obama on several fundamental issues. In my opinion, even though Warren will certainly not be giving a thrashing to Obama at the inauguration, this is definitely a sign of respect that Obama has shown to somebody with a clearly opposing viewpoint.

Now, Obama has come under a lot of fire about this. Many people supporting same-sex marriages are angry that he would have somebody so against his policies at his inauguration, when it is meant to be a time of hope for those finding themselves discriminated.

I, on the other hand, think this was a fine choice. President-elect Obama does not have to worry about long-term dealings with the pastor (like he would by offering him, say, a cabinet position), and in the meantime gets to gain points on the conservative side for choosing him. To this, I have one thing to say.

Well played, sir. Well played.

If you would like the complete interview between Warren and Obama, you can visit this link. (49:25)

Again, we at the Winkest Wink would like to apologize for allowing finals to delay the posting time. This will likely be amended in the near future.

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–Sorry about getting this in so late; it’s finals week and I haven’t had time to watch my primary news source (The Daily Show)–

So we all know by now the story of Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the man that threw his shoes and shouted at President Bush at his news conference in Iraq. What some of us may not know is al-Zeidi’s treatment once he left the room. Bush said that the shoes being thrown at him were a sign that they are exercising free speech. True, but the Iraqi government did not like it. After al-Zeidi left the room, he was severely beaten. Multiple sources, including his brother, state that he suffered several broken bones, included a busted rib.

If we want Iraqis to feel safe, maybe we should start with that: making sure the police don’t abuse people.

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If you haven’t already please read part 1.

How does a CEO end up with a bonus in the ten to hundreds of millions of dollars range? Why does the Board of Directors approve such outrageous payouts? Well…

  1.       Any of them might be the next CEO & they all drool over that possibility.
  2.       Increased CEO salary opens the door to increased Board of Directors salary.

You can call this “you scratch my back” behavior, and the only people guaranteed to get the ‘scratch’ are the CEO and the Board of Directors. Left aside are the interests of the employees and stockholders, who ALWAYS end up holding the bag when the company tanks.

How many times have we seen a company be destroyed, with thousands losing their jobs, while the big wigs retire to one of several luxury homes?

How about THIS for an idea, if the company does well, the executive gets to keep his job, and gets a raise percentage equal to his employees. Of course his raise, in real dollars, will be bigger, because he starts with a higher salary. Is this a crazy idea?

What the heck. If he has been there more than 5 years, and the stock has gone steadily up, give him the aforementioned pay increase, and a new car!  Even a $100,000 car wouldn’t dent the corporate bottom line like a $50 million bonus.

CEO’s say they deserve the bonus’s because the risk of losing their job is higher. The simple solution is this: If a company does not meet expectations for a year or two, and it was NOT due to mismanagement on that part of the CEO, he gets to keep his job, again with the same percentage raise, no matter how small, as the average employee.

Of course, if the company tanks due to mismanagement, the CEO is fired, with only a standard severance pay. No golden parachutes.

Viva la Stockholders !!

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Merrill Lynch lost $11 billion this year and the CEO requested a $10 million bonus. The Board of Directors was actually considering it before the CEO withdrew the request amid a firestorm of criticism.  

Was there ever any possibility that lower level employees at Merrill Lynch would get a bonus? The bonus for 4000 Merrill Lynch employees was the loss of their jobs.  

The corporate bonus has been a boondoggle to corporate logic for years. Executive salaries have escalated faster than employee salaries, but that barely touches on the story here. The real issue is the executive bonus.

As it stands now, the typical CEO bonus is based on very short-term returns. How much did the stock go up last quarter? Last year?  There is almost no incentive for the CEO to care where a company will be in ten years. They never plan to be with the same company ten years from now. Never.

And what of you, the regular employee, who DOES want to stay more than 10 years, or maybe even retire from the company?  To the CEO, you are a sap. He feels if you were as smart as him you would be a CEO. You got laid off because you weren’t smart enough to be a CEO.

So the average CEO, while saying how much “we love our employees,” treats them all like pawns in his own fiefdom. Sell off assets, lay off workers, anything to make the short-term bottom line. Another great trick is to lay off full-time workers and replace them with part-timers (with lower salaries and no benefits).

The CEO will drain a fortune from the company assets for his bonus and, regardless of what happens to the company, drift off into “retirement land” with pools and servants and trophy-wives. All accompanied by a complete lack of conscience.

The bonus amounts are outrageous. Tens and hundreds of millions of dollars.

Those amounts would drain even the biggest corporation of assets if it were given for a lifetime of work. These can be given annually. 

Monday: CEO Bonus, Part Two: Solutions

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OK, you all know who Rod Blagojevich is, I won’t bore you with that, let’s just cut straight to the opinion stuff.

First of all, Blagojevich grossly overstepped his power as a politician. The standard joke here is that that’s just typical Illinois politics. Go ahead and use that one, I already have several times today. If you have spent the last day in a ditch (no offense to you who are stuck in an overturned car and are trapped as of right now), Blagojevich is the Illinois governor who tried to sell President-Elect Barack Obama’s senate seat. If you want to read about that itself, Google it, I’m not wasting time with a link. Blagojevich is the fourth of the last eight governors of Illinois to be arrested for corruption. I knew Chicago was not yet above corruption, but I figured the entire state of Illinois was better than that by now. Apparently not, my mistake. Oh well, let’s try him and charge him to the full extent of the law…

But wait, did you see how his corruption was uncovered? Drum roll please: illegal wire tapping! I’m no law expert (yet), but it seems to me that even Barry Zuckerkorn could get this case dismissed in a heartbeat. I am by no means condoning the actions of Blagojevich, but I do believe in the correct application of the law. It leaves a funny taste in my mouth to say this, but a conviction of Rod Blagojevich would be a disappointment to the American justice system.

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