we’re driving down the cost of exploitation

Yesterday marked a concerted effort across the nation to raise awareness of, among many things, the exploitation of illegal immigrants and immigrant rights. Peaceful marches across our nation could be seen on all news (and fake news) broadcasts. While watching I decided I would contribute my thoughts to the debate while it’s still fresh.
Let’s start with the most rediculous thing I’ve ever heard, “Round ’em all up and send ’em all back to where they came from”. While the stupidity of this comment is undeniable on so many levels (try googling “white supremist favorite argument”), I attempted to dive into the “what if’s”.

What if we somehow managed to round up and ship the afore mentioned illegal immigrants back to where they came from, that would create some major job openings for lots of unemployed Americans. BUT Americans don’t work cheaply. If you manage to find some Americans willing to work for minimum wage, they can only work 30 to 35 hours a week or you have to offer them benefits. So now you have to hire 1.5 times the workforce (well honestly probably more like 2 times because Americans are lazy) to do the same amount of work your illegal immigrants were doing. So your labor costs have now doubled and that effects EVERYONE’s bottom line. Now instead of having my lawn mowed for $35/wk, it’s gonna cost me $70/wk… or if I want a sprinkler system put in instead of $2k it’ll run me $4k. That OJ you like to get at the grocery store will now increase in price because guess who picks those oranges… all the veggies and fruits you enjoy would increase in price as well. What about those construction costs? Houses don’t build themselves you know. And what about Wal-Mart and Target? They don’t clean themselves. Not to mention the food at Chipotle doesn’t prep or cook itself. Plus, imagine all the money it would take to physically “round up” and “ship” the illegals back to their respective countries, the costs would be astronomical. Absolutely the most recockulous thing I’ve ever heard.

So if we don’t send them all back, what’s the alternative? Simple, have them file for social security numbers, fill out the documentation and learn english ;0) and treat them like everyone else. Pay them, tax them, hold them responsible, take half of their children’s inheritence away when they die, etc. But the bright side to it all is that when the “undocumented” workers become documented and get social security cards they also get to pay taxes and insurance. Public schools and public programs should see immediate benefits. More tax payers means more money and that should allow for federal, state and local governments to recieve more money to funnel back into schools (which have been underfunded because the illegal immigrants were sending their children to public school) and possibly even get teachers those pay raises they want (or more realistically congress and the senate will get pay raises). Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the IRS charged them for back taxes too.

The conclusion I have come to is that the cost of everything will now go up no matter what the outcome. If we ship them all home or if we pay them competitively and give them benefits, it’ll raise prices. Why? Companies in the US have been able to keep costs down by actively recruiting and exploiting illegal immigrants. Why would they employ such practices? Companies have gone to great lengths to shave some pennies off their cost to pass that onto the consumer. Just examine the Wal-Mart mentality for a second. Wal-Mart has learned to cut costs all the way across the board because they have found that most Americans will drive a little further, buy a little more, care a little less about quality if they can save a couple cents per item. (For example, if two gas stations are side by side and one station is a penny cheaper than the other, there will be more traffic at the cheaper station… even if it’s just 1 penny. If you have a 15 gallon tank, you save $0.15 per tank. At a tank a week that’s a whopping $7.80/year or $10.40/yr for 20 gallons). Our economy has always been driven by cheap labor (try googling “civil war” or “slavery”). Americans don’t like to haggle for price, they just want it cheap as possible. Companies will come up with creative “other” ways to cut costs to meet our demands. They’ll survive until they find a new species or race to exploit or until WE AS AMERICANS change.

I feel like I just gave a lecture.  Any questions, comments or criticism?

And you’ll live happily, and contextually, ever after.

I don’t know what happened to Slashdot the past few hours but all the posts headers look like they’ve been written by 14 y/o girls.  Nevermind they started with “OMG!” or even better, “OMG! OMG!! OMG!!!”, when I actually read what they were giddy about, I myself gave a little chuckle and remembered what day it was.  The after reading about the monkey flinging poo with his robotic arm, I came across a post leading me to Google Romance and the Google Romance Tour.  Take time to read the USER B captions for the pictures.  This is much more funny than the other Aprils Fools Pranks they’ve done in the past.  I’ve never been more excited about finding love than the prospect of letting Google get involved.  Here is an excerpt:

“We’re constantly working to improve the quality of your Contextual Dating results.  If you encounter inaccurate, disappointing or otherwise cosmically unfair romantic results that you’d like to bring to our attention, please submit a report here.”

Click on that link and you’ll get a special 404.

Easily amused I guess…  Happy April Fool’s Fools.

Randomize Your Life

Just like my thoughts…

when adopting a cat and taking it home, it could be scared and have a tendency to crap all over you and your car. if that does happen the best thing to do is roll down the windows and throw out all the clothes you were wearing that had crap on them. but make sure you get your wallet out of them BEFORE tossing them out the window.

Man, The Cheesecake factory is my new favorite food joint.

My reading list is made by Jon Stewart. I started reading every book I saw on The Daily Show in January… that happened to be a lot and I’ve only managed to get through a weeks worth of book recommendations. So far the best one is also the most eye opening. “No Place to Hide” by Robert O’Harrow, Jr. is a chilling look at how the very low regulated gathering of information by private companies is now being merged with biometrics and purchased by our government.
Costa Vida is a sub-par burrito joint. It’s just my opinion.
Oklahoma and Utah have pretty much the same alcohol laws… but Utah is worse because you have to by a membership at a bar if you want to drink.

5 things that make my head explode: conservative politics, pop music, fox reality shows, the awesomeness of shaun white, the delay again of Windows Vista
Coolest thing I saw this week: a bar sign near the LSU campus advertising a new drink… “Ridick’s Tears” (courtesy of r.randall fransen photography)

signs

driving home from dallas yesterday, i saw a ginormous billboard just before or after pauls valley (i don’t remember).  it said, “ABORTION: one dead, one wounded”. i wrote down the website associated with it, but i guess i wrote it down wrong which and couldn’t find the site.  this prompted me to google it the “catch phrase”.  unbeknownst to me, this is a very popular phrase and is even a bumper sticker.  so now i’m starting a new company called True but Tasteless Political Slogans. Here are some of the upcoming releases:

  • ASSISTED SUCIDE: one dead, one rich
  • OIL COMPANIES: High Prices=High Profits
  • DEFICIT SPENDING: one dollar borrowed today, one thousand to repay tomorrow
  • WIRE TAPPING: what they’re really doing is listening to phone sex calls
  • MUHAMMAD: drawing him is like saying “Jesus Fucking Christ!”
  • ISLAM: they’ve started wars over less
  • FEMA: actively incompetent since March 1, 2003
  • LEGISLATIVE BRANCH: finding new ways to shuffle responsibility everyday

feel free to add your own.  please bash everyone, it makes it more fun.

Post Oak Houston

Houston gets a bad rap. People think it’s nasty and dirty and hot. They could be right… but not last week, not with the NBA All-Star game in town. Houston was on top of its game (pun intended), weather included.
When I stepped out of the airport on Monday afternoon instead of the 32 degree weather I was told I was going to have I had blue skies and 70 degrees of bliss. No smog, no scorching sun and high humidity, just the most perfect weather you can imagine. The grass was green and evidence of spring was everywhere.

Post Oak is just west of downtown Houston, south of I-10 north of 59 and right off of I-610. There are 3 golf courses (Houston Country Club, Memorial Park Municipal and River Oaks Country Club) within 5 miles but since I’m the worst golfer ever I can’t comment on them. The streets were clean and at the intersections of major streets, suspended in the air, were large faux metal rings with names of the streets illuminated from within. The shopping centers were full of all the usual retail and food suspects but here are some of the standouts of the trip (other than Chipotle).

Hilton Houston Post Oak – the service was just outstanding. The rooms had granite and cherry wood accents throughout. The styling of the hotel was modern and simple but not over the edge of plain. Even waiting for a elevator was nice on the eyes with the leather panel walls and the cherry wood accents on the brushed nickel doors. The staff was very attentive, especially the bartender in the bar downstairs (damn them for not having fat tire beer). With the exception of the tough and chewy Pecan crusted Halibut I had for dinner one night, all of the food was super.

Fogo de Chão – vegetarians beware! If you don’t like the sight of meat then definitely avoid this Brazilian Steakhouse (they do have an all you can eat salad bar but I’ve never been anywhere where lettuce tasted better than any other place, so who cares). They have locations in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Washington DC, Beverly Hills, Chicago and 4 in Brazil.

I first experience the one in Dallas several years ago. I was immediately a smitten kitten. The warm cheese bread has just enough cheese in it to taste but not enough to make it too solid. I don’t know how they do it but they manage to keep the consistency of high quality bread with a crispy outside. Sort of like a cheesy bread cream puff. Seriously.

Their website explains their menu better than I so here’s a taste:

“Operating under the unique service concept of espeto corrido, which translates from Portuguese as “continuous service,” Fogo de Chão satisfies palates and the desire for something original. Instead of ordering from a traditional menu, Fogo de Chão offers a prix-fixe system where guests can sample the entire menu, or just focus on their favorite items.

The lunch and dinner menu features unlimited servings of 15 different delectable cuts of fire-roasted meats, a sumptuous buffet of gourmet salads and fresh-cut vegetables, and a variety of Brazilian side dishes.”

Everyone pays the same price which for now is around $45 per plate. Several years ago I remember it was $35 but either way it’s worth every penny to a food lover. And to the owners, I’m sorry I came in in a t-shirt, jeans, and my new balances.

Willie G’s Oyster Bar – this Landry’s joint has been around for over 20 years but only 3 locations. The ambiance was definately not screamin oyster bar (or any oyster bar I’ve ever been to)… unless it’s supposed to be an Oyster bar that the owner hit the PowerBall.

The menu wasn’t vast but it all looked and sounded great. It contained the usual seafood and steak items with Cajun twists.  After having my fat tire spilled in my friend’s lap and a thousand apologies from the waiter, I settled on the fried stuffed shrimp and fries (I have seafood hangups… anytime I have shrimp it has to have fries). The 4 fried stuffed shrimp on my plate were huge. Each were about the size of my palm and they looked like giant hush puppies with tails. I could comment on the how great it was but I was way drunk by the time it actually got there so for all I know it was crap. That’s what happens when you get together with some old drinking buddies.

Sam’s Boat – I didn’t eat but I did drink… a lot. It felt wierd being in a college bar many years out of school. My partner in crime agreed. The ambiance was very dock party. Live band, easy women and cheap beer was my idea of heaven 7 years ago but I’d like to think I’ve refined past that.  But I can’t lie, the cheap beer was a nice change ;0)

Wuv…. twue wuv

“It’s a motivation; the person [we’re in love with] is a goal. Emotions come and go. We feel euphoria, but we feel anxiety, too. This core system that is driving the person who is in love toward their sweetheart, that is much more important in a sense than an emotion.”

Do you remember the first time you met someone you dated? They were all you could think about. You were excited and anxious at the same time. You wanted to spend every single second talking to them or doing something with them. Turns out that’s normal and it’s your brain making you feel that way. A recent study found that people who recently “fell in love” thought about the other person 80% of the time and that your brain treats them “like a reward” so you want to spend time with them.

“It’s a motivation; the person [we’re in love with] is a goal. Emotions come and go. We feel euphoria, but we feel anxiety, too. This core system that is driving the person who is in love toward their sweetheart, that is much more important in a sense than an emotion.”

It also goes on to say that people can be as passionate about their love at all ages… from 8 to 80. (So eat that Kansas AG Phill Kline… that 15 year old having sex with another 15 year old could be “making love”.) Love is a powerful motivator. Just today on Oprah (yes Oprah… I’m writing… not channel surfing) there was a story of a guy that was in an accident and was told he’d never walk again and he was determined to walk down the isle to marry his girlfriend. And it’s the card/flower/crappy stuffed bear/chocolate companies that are counting on this to steal your money on this made up holiday, Valentines Day. Next year remember that.

This post contains info on Travel, Food and People

In an effort to appease some who are Travel, Food and People starved, I’ll write about my latest experience in Columbia/Lexington, SC.
I was excited about this trip cause it would give me a chance to get back to an area of the country that I grew up in. Yes, I grew up in the Carolinas and I still have family and friends that live there so any chance to get back to see some actual mountians, hills and trees makes me happy.
Of course on the trip out we were delayed and missed our connection in ATL. When we finally got rebooked, that flight was delayed getting us in way to late to actually work. On top of that they lost our bags. No big deal, I’ll just brush my teeth with soap in the morning. We find the nearest food joint with WIFI and settle in for a long night of phone calls.
The next morning our bags had arrived. Actually they arrived at 2 a.m. and I know this because I got a phone call telling me so at 2 a.m. 🙁 We dine on some Chic-fil-a for breakfast every morning (fyi- chicken biscuits are the breakfast of the gods). The weather is perfect all week. Blue skies, no clouds, 70 degrees, elevation wasn’t too high so I could breath just fine. Mountian air is really good for your lungs…
We had to try some legendary Carolina BBQ (it’s usually shredded pork sandwhich with a Vinegar and brown sugar based BBQ sauce and cole slaw on it) so we asked some locals about good places. One night we went to Maurice’s BBQ. There, in addition to the food, you can also purchase books on how Wal-Mart is taking over the world. Good reading while on the plane :). The second night we had BBQ we went to Hudson’s BBQ. They were in the process of expanding and had only 3 walls and a sheet of plastic but there was a huge line so we figured it would be good enough. Underneath the outdoor propane heater, I had one of the best Carolina BBQ sandwhiches ever. The pork was so juicy it would just explode when you bit into it. The sauce, a near perfect combo of sweet and sour, did a 1, 2 punch on my tongue and the aftertaste was something woody, fruity and smokey. It would cause me to pause longer than normal between bites just to enjoy it a little longer. Also the shoe-string fries left nothing to be desired.
Also, being a quasi-local, I was on a mission to find 2 other things. Both beverages and both hard to come by outside of the Carolinas. One was a black cherry soda called Cheerwine and the other was a ginger-ale made with real minced ginger called Blenheim. Cheerwine was easy enough to find cause it was EVERYWHERE. Blenheim on the other hand was very elusive. It was like tracking down a UFO crash site 50 years after the fact. It could be just over Hobknob hill past Johnson’s farm or was it at the Publix on Starcross RD? Finally we found it at Bill’s Pack n’ Sack by the airport. If you like ginger and aren’t afraid of a little bite in your refreshment, this is what you need. It’s so tasty… and then it burns. It starts with the lips then moves to the tongue, cheeks, and throat. And it burns in only the way Ginger can.
The flights coming back were on time but that’s not saying there wasn’t some shooting rampage moments. The CRJ we took from Columbia to Atlanta decided to pair it’s 2 widest passengers in the same row. Needless to say I was shoulder to shoulder with this gentleman and I was cause for all traffic up and down the isle to pause, turn and suck in. There were many awkward “butt or crotch” moments. And the flight from ATL to OKC is everyone’s greatest nightmare… sitting next to the screaming child. Dameon is the name I came up with. He was sitting on her lap and she did everything but beat him to try and control him. I don’t know what was worse, sitting beside him or sitting in front of him. I think getting my chair kicked and pushed on every minute would be more annoying the just getting kicked in the leg. My ipod was cranked to no avail. I have hearing loss now because of it and I’ve decided to sue Apple. At some point I was going to suggest some corporal punishment be used on the child but then I realized he was just as frustrated with women (his mom) as I was. But with age I’ve learned not to kick, cry, scream and flail around when I get upset over a woman… well maybe not kick anyway.

Beating A Dead Horse

How do investors feel about Google’s comprimise to get into the Chinese market? Ooops!

I know you guys are probably tired of hearing about Google right now. But I found this intresting. How do investors feel about Google’s comprimises to get into the Chinese market?
Ooops!

Oh Snap!

I guess evil doesn’t pay. But is Google really evil now that it’s compromised it’s ethics to appease Jiang Zemin? I guess Google is only 43% evil… today.

The Intel Integration continues

The new Mac mini project, code-named Kaleidoscope, will feature an Intel processor and include both Front Row 2.0 and TiVo-like DVR functionality.

If I went to sleep 3 years ago and woke up today I would probably be in shock (because of many things but let’s keep to technology, specifically Intel and Apple for this discussion). Dual core processors that are 64 bits? Intel chips in Apple products? No more Pentium brand for Intel? Video on an iPod? What’s next?
The Apple Media Center (although not officially named that I thought I’d give it another go. I’m 0 fer 1 on names) is set to debut sometime in February, or so I’m told. Although I haven’t seen the exact specs you can expect the tiny Apple Media Center to tie TV, music, games, internet surfing and video editing/music recording to your couch. If you work at home you’ll never have to leave your couch except to eat and visit the toilet (that inconvenience can be eliminated with a product I’ll be selling… the iCath and the iIV).
Sporting a tv tuner, wireless keyboard/mouse, TiVo-like DVR functionality, the Intel Duo Core chip and a Mac Mini shell, the Media Center should appeal to the masses. Apple has already found ways to put it’s name in the hands of millions and now it’s going for the living rooms of everyone. It’s the next logical step. Could it be that you can download that episode of Lost (if you didn’t TiVo it) you missed and watch it on your 61” plasma TV without having to move your bum or burn it to a DVD. Or if you did TiVo it, you can watch it or put it on your iPod and take it with you to watch in the bathroom (cause you don’t have the iCath).
Microsoft has been doing this for 2 years now but let’s be honest, this’ll be better and more expensive. I expect it’ll cost more than the Mac Mini because of the Intel Chip, much needed bigger hard drive and it’s wireless capabilities. I guess between 750 and 999 frosties ;0)

READ THIS!!!

It’s time to invest… in burritos and tacos.

It’s time to invest… in burritos and tacos. Gourmet burritos and tacos are going to be the first big IPO of 2006. I have reliable information from my insider that Chipotle is very, very near it’s IPO (as proof by yahoo! finance). I’ve been hearing this for about a year now but it’s finally about to happen. It’s my opinion (so not to get anyone in trouble) that the shares will start around the $22 to $25 dollar range and will be available in the next few weeks. Employees bought stock this week for a discount which mean the IPO isn’t far behind.
If you don’t know what Chipotle is… you must live in Oklahoma. I’m addicted. I make the 5 hour round trip drive from OKC to the nearest Chipotle in DFW at least 2 times a month. So I pay about $56 dollars for a burrito. But my mouth and my tummy love me for it.

note: 01-26-06 – in the few days since i wrote this, CNBC reports the estimated value has jumped from the $20 – $25 mark to the $35 to $40 mark. The IPO is happening in about an hour… 10:15. I’m so excited.