Sunday, June 5, 2011

Waiting For Town Meeting Torture

“Say On Pay” votes are part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and allow stockholders to have a non binding vote of executive compensation. When you examine some of the bloated compensation packages it makes the hand outs to public service unions look down right miserly. I have seen some bonus attachments that exceed base pay twenty fold along with a mountain of perks that range from private jet transportation to retirement packages for spouses. Excessive is the best description.

Now those proxy statements I get actually have - on occasion - some meaning and I can vote for or against executive compensation packages which will usually mean a thumbs down. I have always been an advocate for profit sharing as long as it is consistent through the company but have never been one for performance bonuses. I have personally experienced highly paid executives with steep loaded bonuses who have virtually ruined companies and two come to mind - Howard Johnson Companies and Ground Round.

I may critique the performance of those in the public sector but the private is certainly not immune from the same type of Peter Principle types who have devastated companies by decisions that left the generally worker bee population scratching their heads and muttering “What are they thinking?” Sometimes it amazes me at how on target those in the very bottom rung of daily operations had more instinctive insight than the seven figure crowd.

Rank has privilege is a phrase often tossed around since in the military that is exactly so. There are provisional restraints placed on one star and higher regarding composition of staff and usually a general is allowed one officer as an aide de camp.

One of my son’s retired from the army a few years back after twenty-five years of service with an extensive list of “hot spots” from Panama to various excursions into Iraq. His last assignment was for a two star in Iraq for 2007-08. Was quite interesting just what can be available for a general as far as private transportation to even having your own chef. This general, however, was not one prone to excesses and would be willing to make the coffee if he arrived early or to even assist in the more mundane tasks that would happen on a command post. Wanted to know and understand every detail and task. My son said his entire focus was how to put the troops at minimal risk yet successfully complete the mission. In the business world your failures are jobs lost and stock prices plummeting but in the military your mistakes arrive in the middle of the night in Dover, Delaware.

Up before Town Meeting (The purest form of special interest) is a proposal to have troops deployed in a combat zone excused from paying real estate taxes. At least that is my understanding. Now in a combat zone you pay no taxes on federal or state income including all combat pay. Zero. In addition a housing allowance is also available and that can be substantial. The son mentioned above had his PIT paid on his home while serving in Iraq. Another son currently serving gets a $500 housing allowance. Others in his unit who live closer to or in Boston receive substantially more. Some banks will also freeze all payments with no accrued interest while stationed in a combat zone. Some credit card companies will do the same or substantially reduce interest. SSCRA (Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act) covers what can be done to financially protect someone assigned to a combat zone. IMO it is a well intentioned but needless gesture.

The Democrats have now wrestled the Party of No label from the Republicans. Representative Ryan has put forth proposed legislated to target spending and within that are the three major entitlement programs - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The proposal has holes and plenty of them but that is just what it is - a proposal. So far all that is coming forward from Democrats is the old classic arguments that Republicans are tossing the poor, elderly, and disadvantaged under the bus in favor of their fat cat sponsors. Nothing has come forward to offer some alternatives. It is clear that the total focus is to demonize any and all Republicans to secure another term for WOW and to get a majority in Congress.

Mitt Romney certainly looks like a president right out of central casting. But looks and promise of hope and change can be very fleeting as in the case of the Community Organizer In Chief. His tenure to this point has been a dismal disappointment to me and a failure. The economy continues in reverse and debt continues to pile on and so far the only thing that this president and both parties seem to try and accomplish is weaseling out of accountability, pointing the finger of blame and attempting to get elected.

Can I get a TIF?

Dice-K or as I called him Dice-W appears to have finally succumbed to injury and will need significant surgery. Of course many in Red Sox Nation now using the value of hindsight have condemned this signing. Just a glance in the history files of various sports boards shows a different attitude after his 2008 season where RSN was in full brag mode over this “steal” of talent especially with the failure of Kei Igawa in NY.

IMO Dice-K was not a bad FA signing since there were no substantial markers for injury. A bad signing is one where a track record of problems exists or the performance does not meet expectations - hello, J.D. Drew! This is just a career cut short by injuries from 2009 to the present. Of course his questionable training methods, WBC appearances and hiding injuries didn’t help.

My blog is handed out in law schools with the intend of training the budding Billy Flynn’s to say things even more idiotic than I do. A special honor should go to Martin Weinberg who claimed bribes paid to Sal DiMasi (D - Cedar Junction) were “gratuities.” This guy was serious!

James McGovern came close to having won a vote for the president to give a timetable for Afghanistan withdrawal.

James Daley is a ward six school committee member in Brockton who is packing it an after four terms. His reasoning? “I don’t think any elected position should be a lifetime appointment.”

Chris Christie (R - Air wolf) decided to take a helicopter to his son’s baseball game. Amazing! Do these folks ever think? I also understand the ‘copter laid down in the parking lot of a 7/11 on the way so he could grab a Snickers bar.

A few years ago my son Jonathan presented my wife - The Lovely Cynthia - with a present that was a five star gift in her view - a clothesline. Now this was build with treated lumber and the line was looped into pre cut holes and both sides were firmly planted into the ground. My contribution was not labor but two bags of clothespins.

A hearing was recently held at the State House regarding a local option that would prevent towns and cities from unreasonable restriction of “Solar clothes-drying devices” or said clothesline. Opponents have brought up the fact that these “devices” are unsightly and will diminish property values. Typical clueless elitist.

A recent study had three scents that humans find enticing. First on the list was the odor of fresh baked bread followed by bacon and last was sheets that had

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