Archive for December, 2006

Meanwhile, In the Rest of the World…

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Richard Clarke looks at a laundry list of problems that aren’t getting the attention they need because of our involvement in Iraq.  It’s scary.

A Nice Piece on Betty Ford

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

I’ve always liked her; this profile from the New York Times reminds me why.

The Leader of the Free World Speaks

Friday, December 29th, 2006

I must have missed this in the pre-Christmas blur:

“I really do want the new Secretary of Defense to have time to get to know people and hear people and be a part of this deliberation. And he will not be sworn in until next Monday. I also — one of the interesting things about this experience is that there’s a lot of ideas and a lot of opinions. And I want to make sure I hear from as many of those ideas and opinions as possible. Today I heard from some opinions that matter a lot to me, and these are the opinions of those who wear the uniform.”
– People, ideas, opinions… all animate objects capable of conversation. Washington, D.C., Dec. 13, 2006
I have to give W credit; to my knowledge, he’s never demanded that English be designated the “official” language of the US, and it’s a good thing.  Our law enforcement officials could never keep up with his frequent and egregious violations.

Saddam’s Execution Is Imminent…

Friday, December 29th, 2006

…but I can’t celebrate.  Yes, he’s a terrible man who is responsible for atrocities I don’t want to imagine.  But where’s our moral high ground?  We’ll be complicit in the taking of one more life.  A quick and easy death won’t repay Saddam for what he’s done, and it won’t help to unite this fractured world we occupy.  Why is an execution better than life in prison?  I see no upside.

Merry Christmas To Me!

Friday, December 29th, 2006

I’m now the proud owner of a brand new baby laptop — baby only in the sense that its life has just begun.  Given my track record, that life could be relatively short.  Yes, after keeping my previous laptop for five weeks and two days (but who’s counting?), the Best Buy Service Center returned it to my house today, complete with a new hard drive and a new motherboard.  The wrong motherboard.  A motherboard without a wireless card.  In a laptop that came with built-in wireless.

So I dragged my flu-ridden carcass out to the local store where, as usual, the employees were polite, helpful, and absolutely horrified that the service center had screwed up — the phrase “once again” seemed to hang in the air.  I didn’t even have to ask twice to get a new computer.  The most fun part of the day came in trying to spend what I paid for the previous model, given the sharp decline in laptop prices over the last eighteen months.  I ended up with a souped-up Sony Viao that has two gigabytes of RAM and a built-in webcam.  Don’t be expecting any porn, but I might figure out how to do a webcast.  After I get over the flu, lose weight, and recover from the plastic surgery.  ;)

Despite my desire for vengeance on the Geek Squad, I did encourage every person who came near me today to bathe in Lysol in order to avoid contamination.  And it was only the combination of righteous indignation and Tamiflu that allowed me to achieve my objective.  Thanks, Dr. Renee!

Rest In Peace, President Ford (1913-2006)

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

You were a good and courageous man.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of our 38th President.

The Flea

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

I was supposed to go back to Georgia today, but I sent Dear Husband on without me because it appear I have the “flea”.  I blame Jennifer B for this; if she hadn’t discussed it on her blog, I would have remained immune.  Or not.  ;)  Maybe a flu shot would have been in order, and I’ll start getting them as soon as the doctors figure out a way to give a shot without a needle.

As part of thanking the Deity for small favors, I will mention that no barfing has been involved thus far.  Fever – check; body aches – you bet; chest on fire – yep.  But no yakking, hurling, or worship of the porcelain goddess.  Woohoo!

Kindly Dr. Renee has taken pity on me and called in a prescription for Tamiflu to the local CVS.  Of course, since DH is in Georgia and his parents have taken the girls to Tennessee for the week, I’ll be driving to said CVS — in my new flannel nightie that I got for Christmas.  Good thing there’s a pick-up window.

Christmas Card Funny…

Monday, December 25th, 2006

…courtesy of Shakespeare’s Sister.  Yeah, I know it’s tacky.  :)

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 24th, 2006

This time of year is special, whether we’re celebrating traditions of faith or simply recognizing that the earth has once again cycled through death and begun rebirth with the winter solstice.  Enjoy your time with family and friends, and thanks as always for coming here to read my musings and ramblings and to leave your wonderful comments.

This Is Obscene

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

The former CEO of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, forced into early retirement, will receive retirement benefits worth $180 million.  $180 million, while the company is slashing costs by at least $4 billion and laying off thousands of employees.

NEW YORK – Pfizer Inc.’s former chief executive, Henry A. McKinnell, who was forced into an early retirement in part because of investor anger about his rich retirement benefits, will get every penny of it and more, a new regulatory filing shows.

McKinnell’s package, which the company disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday, totals more than $180 million. It includes an estimated $82.3 million in pension benefits, $77.9 million in deferred compensation, and cash and stock totaling more than $20.7 million.

The total value could grow to almost $200 million if McKinnell gets a $18.3 million stock award, but that is contingent on the future performance of the stock of the world’s largest drugmaker.

The company says it is contractually obligated to pay the benefits, even though its stock price fell as much as 40% during McKinnell’s tenure as CEO.  And he gets all this on top of what he was paid while he was running the company — into the ground.

McKinnell earned $5.97 million in salary and bonus in 2005. When the company’s proxy was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March, his total compensation for the year was valued at $15.88 million, including salary, bonus, stock options, stock grants and benefits. The value of options and stock varies with the share price.

McKinnell’s perquisites in 2005 included $8,500 in financial counseling, $65,120 for use of a car and driver and $43,855 for personal use of company aircraft, according to the proxy.

Fortunately, someone in the management wised up, and the new CEO is working without a contract.  Unfortunately, lots of Pfizer employees and their families will have not-so-happy holidays so Mr. McKinnell can continue to pay for financial counseling and a car and driver.