Tax, Apple, Buffet, and doing the right thing

A number of people on my facebook stream have been posting and commenting on the ruckus over Apples tax avoidance, especially as it relates to iTunes, which even a Luxembourg Government official has jumped in to defend the iTunes tax evasion scheme. The other thread that has been running is commentry on the so called “Buffet Rule”, a proposed tax code change to force millionaires and up, to pay a tax rate that is  comparable to the average middle income family, or some such. I think this is all losing perspective though, although both cases are dissimilar in practice, at their core, the complaints are about the same thing. While Apple … Continue reading Tax, Apple, Buffet, and doing the right thing

Opportunity and the G Spot

I had a bunch of other cuttings from the newspapers on my Bangalore trip, they didn’t really define or represent the trip, they just showed the big discontinuity between the modern, progressive India, and the pace at which the people are evolving to meet those demands. On the way back I flew via London, one of the few remaining options now American Airlines has cancelled their Delhi flight. In the terminal I picked up a copy of the Independent newspaper from Friday. It had some great coverage and content on the Murdoch/News International phone tapping scandal, including this troubling commentary from Hayley Barlow … Continue reading Opportunity and the G Spot

Traffic, Health and Death in Bangalore

So, this article in the Times of India goes to some length to describe why Bangalores drivers are the worst. But the real problem is the way that life interacts with traffic in Bangalore. The narrow streets, the unfinished roads, the volume of traffic, especially motorcycles and mopeds is just stunning. There is almost no perceivable traffic order and priority everyone just heads in every direction at once and cuts in and out honking all the time. There are a number of things that make it worse, much worse. You need to understand that cows are sacred and deemed to … Continue reading Traffic, Health and Death in Bangalore

Energy wars

While here in the US there is a program to discourage energy use, or to economize, as we approach the summer in Texas the energy utility companies will be encouraging us to move the dial up on the a/c, if you’ve got a smart meter, they’ll be doing it remotely. None of that in Bangalore, the front page of the Times of India is screaming out to “keep the fans and ACs around the clock”. The temps are comparable to ours and I’m guessing that less than 20% of the population of Bangalore has access to AC. So next time … Continue reading Energy wars

Disconnected service

I’m out in Bangalore and its been crazy. My driver just took an hour to drive 8km to take me to dinner, that pretty much explains why I eat in, but more on the traffic and driving later. By today’s 5* standard the Leela Palace where I’m staying is a 7* hotel, every detail is taken care of. Room service tidies everything, including dirty laundry, which gets folded and if I leave it in a bag, cleaned, laundered and folded better than I’d ever get it done in the US OR UK. But like many things here, the have processes … Continue reading Disconnected service

Zen and the art of the wet shave

Like most things in life that are “essential” they quickly become way over commercialized as they are a great way to get you to spend money, shaving in the western world is probably one of the best examples of this. Gillette Fusion cartridges for example sell for upwards of $16 for 4x blades, outrageous. They can’t cost $2 to make, and no amount of complaining or whining by Gillette will convince me its the research cost, to put 2/3/4/5 blades on a single razor. They go to more trouble and effort to package than the blades, as anyone that buys … Continue reading Zen and the art of the wet shave

Edit to the credit

Some of you know I’ve been on a crusade to get the best credit score I could after arriving here in the US and getting refused a cellphone because I had a -3 rating, ie not-known, does not exist. Over 4-years I managed to get my credit rating to 730, and over the last 2-years I managed to get it up to 781. One thing they tell you in all the credit score get rich quick schemes is that your credit score isn’t a measure of how much money you have, it’s the ration of debt to credit and your … Continue reading Edit to the credit

Jedi no more

I’m just in the process of joining Triathlon England, for the first time, and the website asks about religion. I was disappointed to see that Jedi Knight was no longer an option. Back in 2001, the kids, Wendy and I were delighted to write-in Jedi Knight on our UK Census forms, we were five of some 390,000 who did that year and being a Jedi Knight by religion surpassed  Sikhism, Judaism, and Buddhism making it the 4th largest religion in the UK. Using Doc’s Delorean, I find myself in 2012, still wishing to point to what should be the irrelevance of my private beliefs … Continue reading Jedi no more

Money and Politics

Comedians Steven Colbert and Bill Maher have made much recently about the Super PACs which are dominating this years presidential elections, Maher going so far as to donate $1-million dollars to President Obama’s PAC for reelection. And ever since I’ve lived in the US, I’ve been astounded at the amount of time and effort that seems to go into raising money for elections. Especially since a large amount of it seems to be used to support activities which really don’t represent anything that most people would attribute as American values and strengths, optimism, the ability to achieve anything you put your mind to etc. Money … Continue reading Money and Politics