Monthly Archives: November 2008

How Toyota Handles Layoffs

Toyota’s hasn’t laid off anyone. “Production has been halted but do you know what the employees are busy doing?”

It means that while these employees were not manufacturing automobiles, they were in training. They were doing safety drills, participating in productivity improvement exercises, attending presentations on material handling and workplace hazards, taking diversity and ethics classes, attending maintenance education and taking a stream of online tests to measure and record their skill improvements. Toyota is shifted the Texas and Indiana workers temporarily to Toyota plants whose assembly lines were moving at full speed, such as the Camry assembly plant in Georgetown, Ky. In addition to all of this, the workers also spent some time painting the plants and even helped build Habitat for Humanity homes. And they were gettingĀ paid.


November 17, 2008

Goldman Chiefs Give Up Bonuses –

Goldman Chiefs Give Up Bonuses –

Top Goldman executives have decided to forgo their 2008 bonuses- giving up potentially tens of millions of dollars in payouts in a year that has seen the reshaping of the securities industry.

Toots, Agnes, Flo and Musa Belle

I’d put this at the bottom of my newsletter yesterday and realized I hadn’t blogged it: (before the election results came out)

Condolences to the Obama family with the passing of Barack’s grandmother. Some of are blessed with bonus moms in our lives. Grandmothers are magical, tenacious, steel-reinforced, iron-clad angels. Toots was a wonder – as was Agnes (my mom’s side) and Flora and Musa Belle O’Bryan (my dad’s side(s)).

New Puppy!

I think I can sum up my reaction to the election in three words:

Thank. Fucking. God.

I was worried about voting machines and long lines and the underlying theorem of American politics: Never underestimate stupid scared white people.

But the electoral votes gradually built up for Barack and I feel like I can exhale. I think Obama has an opportunity to be a leader on the magnitude of FDR and help to re-fortify the nation on a financial, moral and social level. I’ll be curious to see if he takes the bull by the balls and brings in the change you can believe in and the change you can’t believe until it happens.

Rachel Maddow had brought up a very important point in her interview with Obama where she noted that he did not build his campaign to run against conservatism. He didn’t run against an ideology but against specific individuals. And that maybe he is less of a ‘movement’ as people would like to see. Regardless it worked and I feel like the world will be a better place.

I am very pleased to see a family of color as the first family. I think it sends such a bright message to kids of all shades that there is a place for education and hope. Evidently the national adrenal glands have been burnt out and fear-mongering isn’t going to be effective for a few decades.

I think in a year we’ll look back and see that Obama as really been a Clinton-style centrist approach with a few nods to social safety nets and re-establishing economic stability in the country. I don’t think he’ll be starting any new wars – sweet Lord I hope not.

I feel like another piece of the ‘reconciling the past’ puzzle has been put into place.

And how refreshing is it to hear people not chanting U! S! A! but ‘Yes we can.’

I was planning on packing all last night for the move and then cleaning all tonight and then Ron and his mom coming in on Thursday and then we move on Friday. It was going to be nice and smooth and coordinated because I was doing all of it myself with no labor/management-style conflicts.

Then I get a text message yesterday afternoon from Ron that they’ve just landed. Part of me hopes that just means they landed in Hong Kong and they get back on Thursday. But a phone call confirmed that they were in transit and on their way to the house which was a complete mess of laundry and unwashed dishes.

Luckily Ron slept all day and his mom spent a lot of time emailing relatives and calling state-side siblings.

They have some absolutely wonderful photos from the trip that Ron will probably be posting to his Facebook account. He said last night in the shower ‘We are so lucky. Life over there is so hard.’ They had a prayer service for Ron’s grandmother in the house. Her four servants were still on the grounds – they had bathed her and prepared her for the funeral when she passed away many years ago. The entire village was ecstatic to see Ron and his mother. He caught up with friends from pre-school and his mom got to play mah jong with her extended family. There’s a certain amount of continuity there that I think hits you over the head. Nobody will go down to the bathroom at night because there’s so many ghosts on the first floor. The estate had been an outpost for the Japanese in World War II and supposedly prisoners had died on the grounds. Then Ron said he saw his grandmother’s ghost a few times.

Picture after picture of guava, mango, papaya, cacao, coffee beans… you’ll see. Oh and the market where they have buckets with live frogs or mudfish that they smack against a pole to knock them out before cleaning them.

He even came back with a t-shirt that says: 100% Pinoy.

As if there was ever any doubt.

Overcast and Cloudy

(yesterday morning)

It is Saturday and I can hear the delivery trucks humming through the streets. Or it could be the mail trucks. We live right next to a central post office distribution center with dozens of mail trucks. Nope it is the dumpster trucks that look like they’d be fun to joust with.

Astro on patrol. Downy has been sleeping on my suitcase for about five days now and I can hear him snoring lightly from the next room.

I had some sort of Half-Life 2 dream where an unmanned drone mini-plane was flying through the streets and shot somebody. I woke up at the sound of the gunshot.

My neck seems to be in a permanent crick. I think it is from doing shoulder exercises or shrugs and sticking my neck out like you aren’t supposed to do.

Ron called from the Philippines last night at about 3am my time and it sounded like he was having a great time. He said they’ve been eating constantly and one of his great uncles is a Freemason and that they start the trip from the province to Manila tomorrow, then they stay a night there and then to Hong Kong and then San Francisco. Then his mom stays with us a few days (and I think she’ll be here when we move to the new unit) and then she goes back to Milwaukee. Ron said he’s never seen her have so much energy. For me, this is the culmination of the journey that started with her kidney transplant last year. She couldn’t do long trips because of weekly dialysis and the low energy that caused – and she wanted to visit her father back home (he’s 86). But ever since she woke up from surgery and the kidney started working she’s been a whole new woman. I’m glad Ron was able to get home. I’m sometimes jealous of his culture and background. Yes, I have a heritage from growing up in a German-Irish Catholic midwestern household headed by two public school teachers in Southern Indiana. But he has a much more coherent national identity – granted it is steeped in much tulmult. His mom had talked about going to college back when anti-Marcos groups would bomb public buildings.

Considering getting a new hard drive for this Sony laptop. I think I can change in a new hard drive – or maybe even a solid state flash drive – and get another 3 years out of the thing. It is already five years old. I will at least re-install WinXP since it is starting to get a bit crufty.

I don’t feel like I can really blog much about work. People in Silicon Valley read eachother’s stuff too much and I don’t want to be communicating things that need to stay inside the castle walls.

I think that I might need to blackout some domain names in my router. Namely Metafilter, Reddit, RealJock, Flickr, Salon, TechMeme, Memeorandum, HuffingtonPost and TechCrunch (summary: politics, technology and pics of hot guys). I check those sites way too often every day.

I’m sure Obama is going to get the most votes for the Presidency. I’m just scared that they aren’t going to be counted. I just don’t think you can relax until January 21st. I do think that as bad as things are right now that if they had Osama Bin Laden in captivity they’d roll him out on the third. People that I mention this too don’t think it would make any difference. But I think there will be one final surprise to all of this crazyness.

The one thing I would like Obama to do is to empty Abu Gharib prison and then bring together the Iraqi citizens that were tortured there under Saddam, the American soldiers imprisoned there during the first Iraq war and the Iraqi citizens that were imprisoned there without cause. Bring the entire international press. Read out a decree that the Red Cross will be touring all publicly known and black ops prisons and have full reign to release their reports publicly. Then together everyone presses a big red button and the whole nightmare goes up in flames.

Then do the same with Gitmo except don’t blow it up. Have a handover ceremony to give that land back to Cuba and immediately put all prisoners in a public justice system. Publicly apologize for all the lives and families we’ve destroyed.

I think these kind of large acts can be both symbolic and actually meaningful at the same time.

I wish the Iraqi government would just tell the Americans to fuck off, bring in contractors, pay for it all with oil, and tell us to get the hell out.

I wish someone would ask the Department of Defense what we’re doing differently in Afghanistan that will cause success even though every invading force to ever come into that part of the world has failed. As Michael Moore said, ‘I’ve got Gorbachev’s phone number – he might have some tips.’

But part of me thinks Obama is going to play it safe. He’s going to act like this 8-year nightmare never happened. That we didn’t just have a proto-fascist government in place that stomped on human rights, the rule of law and wiped its ass with the Bill of Rights.

It is hard to type with a cat sitting on my hands and jamming it’s nose against my wrist.

It will be interesting to see how quickly or slowly people forgive John McCain for becoming what he became in the past two years. Sarah Palin will be seen as one of the biggest factors to his campaign’s collapse. I think they should have gone with Romney or Huckabee. Huckabee is like Satan with a lot of charm – he has such a pleasant demeanor and then the black bile spills off his lips.


Cats have been stomping on my face since 4am. I finally relented and got up and fed them.

The weather the past three days has been overcast and rainy and really the first not-pleasant weather we’ve had since I moved here.

The alarms in the postal distribution center next door are going off and strobes on top of the roof are flashing. I don’t smell smoke yet.

I need to do some cleaning before Ron and his mom get in. Do some laundry so she has some fresh bedding. I predict he’ll be bouncing off the walls when he gets back. Visiting home always helps me ‘reset.’ I feel like I want to ‘do good by the people I come from.’

John McCain did a good job on Saturday Night Live and the MCCain Fine Gold reference was fantastic – especially having everybody’s favorite wife-droid Cindy playing Vanna.

Okay it is now about 7:11. I’ve been up a long time. I thought it was at least 9am by now.

As Dr. Laura says ‘Now go take on the day.’