Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mark my Hurds

There has got to be more to the Mark Hurd story. I simply don't believe that he was fired over a several thousand dollar discrepancy on his expense reports. Let's go to the calculator!

If I remember correctly, Mark made about $20,000,000 per year. Let's assume 40 hours per week and 50 weeks per year to keep it simple:

$20,000,000/year / 50 weeks/year / 40 hours/week = $10,000/hour!!!

So, the HP board knowingly paid Mark $10,000 per hour, yet they're willing to make a big stink, and allow their stock to tank, over what amounts to a couple hours worth of Mark's time? After he had offered to pay it back? Hmmm...something doesn't add up here, and it's not my math.

I suppose I could be magnanimous and assume that the board is just so ethically principled that the amount of money involved was irrelevant in light of the violations of HP's Standards of Business Conduct. I know, I know. That is so absurd that I am embarrassed to have even written the words.

Whatever is going on here, I just hope the curtain doesn't get pulled back too soon. I want the California voters to be reminded of what great people ex-HP CEO's are, but not just yet.

360 with an Afghanikiwi tow truck driver

While we were holed up in a hotel waiting to deal with our troubled van, I happened to catch CNN's 360 with Anderson Cooper. He was interviewing Republican Rick Lazio, famous for losing to Hillary Clinton in the NY senate race, and currently running for governor of NY. The topic was the Cordoba Mosque that is planned to be built a couple blocks from the World Trade Center site.

Rick Lazio, like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Joe Lieberman, and many other idiots, is pretending to outraged for political gain. Lazio says the group's imam, Feisel Abdul Rauf, should be investigated to determine who is funding the project. Of course, investigating private citizens who aren't breaking any laws isn't something we normally do without probable cause. However, Lazio thinks we should make an exception because Rauf once said that America was an accessory to the crime of 9-11, a victim of foreign policy blowback.

Cooper weakly pushed back on Lazio, but I was yelling at him through the TV on the other side of the planet to bring up that Osama bin Laden was funded by the CIA to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was on the CIA payroll and later attacked the USA. That is a textbook example of blowback. Is Anderson Cooper ignorant about this? Is Rick Lazio, or does he just think that speaking a verifiable inconvenient truth is grounds for investigation?

The next day, we had our van towed to the mechanic. Guess where our tow truck driver was from...Kabul! His entire family fled to New Zealand 20 years ago in the aftermath of the war with the Soviet Union. As we were discussing the current state of affairs in Afghanistan, without prompting, he lamented all the trouble bin Laden brought to Afghanistan and mentioned that bin Laden was on the CIA payroll. Hey CNN, maybe you should get in touch with this guy. He's at Discount Towing in Auckland. Be warned though--he only takes cash.

The not so quaint politics of Australia

Not so long ago, I wrote about the quaint politics of Australia. It seems that I didn't know what I was talking about (yes, it's hard to believe). Kevin Rudd is no longer the Prime Minister. However, he was not ousted over the famed insulation scheme. That was just the warm up. The real issue was that he wanted to increase taxes on Australia's booming mining industry.

A mining billionaire launched a big anti-tax campaign claiming that the tax would cost Australians jobs, precious jobs. Isn't it great that these benevolent rich guys are never concerned with their own pocketbooks, just the employment prospects of those at the other end of the economic spectrum? I'm certainly glad that they can fund huge PR campaigns without having to go to the trouble of actually running for elected office too. I digress.

The new Prime Minister is Julia Gillard. She was Rudd's Deputy Prime Minister, so she shares most of his policy views. Therefore, I suspect I will soon be posting an update on the brief reign of Australia's first female Prime Minister. It's pretty clear who really runs the country.