Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Business is Smarter than Government

The 11 dumbest business decisions of all time

1. Turning down The Beatles
2. Turning down E.T.
3. Selling M*A*S*H* For Peanuts
4. The Telephone, the Electrical Toy
5. Schlitz's Mucus Beer Innovation
6. No Product Cycle for Model T
7. Perot has chance to buyout Gates
8. SF Chronicle turns down Woodward and Bernstein material citing no interest
9. W.T. Grant exchanges sales for junk credit
10. ABC turns down Bill Cosby
11. IBM misses out on capturing Bill Gate's DOS

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gone Too Far?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Keeping Your Options Open

Haliburton (ticker: HAL) hit a new all time high this week.

While the media obsess about the Clinton's recently released tax returns, it appears that the rejection of the requests that Dick Cheney divest his business interests before becoming an elected official ... paid off.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Structural Costs of Years of "War"

I've forgotten the (English?) poet who wrote so eloquently about being serenaded soldier during wartime, and a callously forgotten one during peace.

While Rumsfeld held the line on Pentagon costs as long as he could, the floodgates appear to be open now.

The shopping list:

Stroup’s testimony:

  • Pass S. 22 (amended), a bi-partisan bill, introduced by Sen. James Webb, D-Va., that would create a new GI Bill for the 21st century.
  • The bill would allow a veteran to enroll as a full-time student and to focus solely on education – as it funds tuition at an amount equal to the highest in-state tuition rate charged by a public college in a state, as well as providing stipends for housing and for books and other educational costs.
  • Further, the bill would allow reserve component troops to accrue credit for their multiple tours toward GI Bill entitlement, creating an incentive for further service.
  • * Raise education benefits for National Guard and reserve service members under Chapter 1606 of Title 10.
  • For years, these benefits have only been adjusted for inflation. Currently, Reserve GI Bill benefits have fallen to less than 29 percent of the active duty benchmark giving them much less value as a recruiting and retention incentive.
  • This also sends a signal to reserve component personnel that their service is undervalued.
  • Further, a transfer of the Reserve Montgomery GI Bill-Select Reserve authority from Title 10 to Title 38 will permit proportional benefit adjustments in the future.
  • * Revisit the need to dock volunteer force recruits $1,200 of their first year's pay for the privilege of serving their country on active duty.
  • Government college loan programs have no upfront payments; thus, it is difficult to accept any rationale for our nation's defenders to give up a substantial portion of their first year's pay for Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) eligibility.
  • * Allow all participants of MGIB's predecessor, the Veteran's Education Assistance Program (VEAP), as well as those service members who were on active duty but did not enroll in VEAP, to receive MGIB educational benefits.
  • There are about 25,000 noncommissioned officers and officers bravely serving their country in the war against terrorism at home and abroad in this situation.
  • However, when they exit the service, they will have no education benefits to help them achieve their post-service goals like all other veterans. These service members should be given the opportunity to take the MGIB or decline it.
  • * Support giving MGIB participants who serve a full military career the option of transferring their benefits to dependents as a career retention initiative.
  • * Support full concurrent receipt for those with disabilities of 49 percent and below.
  • AUSA urges that the thousands of disabled veterans left out of previous legislation be given equal treatment and that the disability offset be eliminated completely.
  • * Allow members who were forced to retire short of 20 years of service because of a combat disability be “vested” in the service-earned share of retired pay at the same 2.5 percent per year of service rate as members with 20-plus years of service.
  • This would avoid the “all or nothing” inequity of the current 20-year threshold, while recognizing that retired pay for those with few years of service is almost all for disability rather than for service and therefore still subject to the VA offset.
  • * Allow terminally ill veterans who hold National Service Life Insurance and U.S. Government Life Insurance to receive benefits before death, as can holders of Servicemembers Group Life Insurance and Veterans Group Life Insurance.
  • * Develop and deploy an interoperable, bi-directional and standards-based electronic medical record; a “one-stop” separation physical supported by an electronic separation document (DD-214); benefits determination before discharge; sharing of information on occupational exposures from military operations and related initiatives.