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Topics - Tom!

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1
Marioville! Sports, Politics, Humor and more... / Mac owners, convince me
« on: January 15, 2009, 01:42:22 PM »
Im looking for a new laptop since the company yanked theirs the other day when I resigned.  Im very well versed with the ins and outs of Windows, doing my diagnostics and fixing registry and other big problems that arise.  I hate Vista which is why Im considering this

To those who made the switch from PC to Mac what was your computer experience level? What is the MAc lacking and what does it do so much better than a windows machine?
Is it worth the high price tag?
What kind of life span are you getting out of a Mac vs a PC?  Same, more, less?  Does memory need refurbing/replacing over time?
Anything I am missing feel free to add.

thanks
Tom

2
Whats the secret for quitting your job without burning a bridge?  Im sure they wont be happy due to the timing with busy season.
Situation:  Was recalled by the Army like a year ago, supposed to return to work mid feb.  Other opportunity in totally unrelated field (Federal government) opens up last month that really caught my attention.  My firm has me scheduled to go to clients as soon as i get back pretty much through May.  They shitcanned 5-8 people in my absence so from looking at the schedule there are no real filler associates floating around to cover.  The timing leaves them in a bad spot with coverage as the majority of our clients have calendar year ends.
When I go in next week Im sure they will ask a lot of questions especially considering that they put me on leave of absence as required by law and held the job.  Also I had glowing reviews so they promoted and gave me a raise in my absence.  How do you avoid being blunt and not saying "this new job is cooler?" and "I dont want to be chained to a desk?"  Do you even let them know what job you are taking or is that none of their business? 

3
Any guesses on Sec Treas, Sec DEF, Sec State, Sec Health, Sec Education and the other stuff...
Where will Colin Powell fit in?

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Marioville! Sports, Politics, Humor and more... / Bush Calls for Panic
« on: October 16, 2008, 03:04:37 PM »
WASHINGTON—In a nationally televised address to the American people Wednesday night, President Bush called upon every man, woman, and child to spiral uncontrollably downward into complete and utter panic.

Speaking from the Oval Office, Bush assured citizens that in these times of great uncertainty, the best and only course of action is to come under the throes of a sudden, overwhelming fear marked by hysterical or irrational behavior.

"My fellow Americans, the time for running aimlessly through streets while shrieking and waving our arms above our heads is now," Bush said. "I understand that many of you are worried about your economic future and our situation overseas, and you have every right to be. Yet there is only one thing we as a nation can do in times like these: give up all hope and devolve into a lawless, post-apocalyptic, every-man-for-himself society."

"For those of you who have remained resolute in your belief that things will turn around eventually, I urge you to close your eyes, take shallow rapid breaths, and begin freaking out immediately," Bush added. "At this point, anyone who isn't scared to death needs to wake the Fuck up—because we're screwed here."

The president then picked up the telephone from his desk and hurled it through the Oval Office window.

During the address, Bush laid out a historic five-point plan for panic that he hopes will help the American people fall apart as quickly as possible. The plan—which many are calling Bush's most well-thought-out proposal to date—calls for citizens to abandon their daily routines entirely, and engage in a weeklong period of bloodcurdling screaming, arm flailing, dry heaving, and gnawing on one's fingers while rocking back and forth in alternating bouts of maniacal laughter and gentle sobbing.

Under the new bill, Americans are also advised to withdraw all their money from U.S. banks and the stock market, place it in a Maxwell House coffee tin, and bury it in a safe place in their backyard. In addition, Bush has urged the legalization of Americans trampling one another in a mad rush to compete for the nation's dwindling resources, and proposed allocating $3 billion toward a program that would give every citizen a gun and a bottle of 140-proof whiskey.

The final part of the plan calls for the immediate release of all convicted felons and death-row inmates from the nation's prisons.

Immediately after Congress approves his plan, the president said he will order multiple B-2 stealth bombers to fly over America's cities at low altitude. The resulting sonic boom, Bush said, will set off all car alarms and cause all babies to cry uncontrollably, which he believes will promote a real sense of chaos throughout the nation. In addition, Bush intends to release 50 live cobras into the Senate chamber.

"I realize this is a difficult vote for members of Congress, but at this critical time in our nation's history, it is imperative that we not sit back and pretend like everything is fine, because everything's not fine, it's just not," Bush said. "Even if Congress fails to act, I still intend to do what is right and lead this country into mass hysteria by acting outside the framework of the U.S. Constitution, overriding the entire democratic process, and setting the Lincoln Memorial on fire."

Early reactions on Capitol Hill to Bush's call for panic have thus far been positive. Leading House Republicans and Democrats said they appreciate the president's candor, and will encourage their constituents to comply with Bush's request to "find something and smash it with all of their strength."

"For most of the day tomorrow, I intend to do my part by remaining in my boarded-up home and getting worked up about our standing in the world," Pacoima, CA resident Harold Miller said. "And then at night, I plan to lie awake in my bed and be scared to death about the loss of my job, pension, and retirement fund. Then I plan to run out into the streets in my bathrobe and shout that the End of Days is coming."

Bush told Americans that if at any point they catch themselves feeling even slightly at ease, they should remind themselves that, in the end, everything is going to be completely fucked.

6
Barack Obama approves the following message:


Lead the way is an org formed in honor of my old buddy and High School team mate James Regan (Chaminade '98) who was KIA in Iraq last Feb 9 to raise money to support familles of Army Rangers lost, injured or who are currently serving. Jim showed the epitome of service when after graduating from Duke University, turned down countless other opportunities to enlist and serve his country as an Army Ranger. If you can make the event, please try and do so. Ill be doing my best to make it up there with a few other guys from Fort Bragg.


http://www.leadthewayfund.org/events.html
Save The Date — Sunday, November 16, 2008:

2nd Annual "A RUN DOWN HERO HIGHWAY"
Organized by the Lead The Way Fund
When: Sunday, November 16, 2008
What: 4.5 mile run/walk down the Hudson River Park, aka "Hero Highway"
Where: Start at Pier 46 (Charles St.) and run/walk to the entrance of Battery Park and back
Who: You, your family, your friends, your colleagues and any other local patriots. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!
Attire: Run day shirts will be distributed but patriotic attire is encouraged. There will be a prize for best patriotic costume
Why: Raise money for the Lead the Way Fund Recognize past and present warriors and protectors of the Flag Pay homage as we jog past Ground Zero and salute the Statue of Liberty
Post Race: Following the race we will head to Chelsea Brewing Company (10 min walk from Pier 46) for a celebratory brunch, plenty of drink and live music. Chelsea Brewing Company is located at Chelsea Piers, Pier 59 (http://www.chelseabrewingco.com)

Download PDF for full details.

Mail the registration form with payment to P.O. Box 281, Manhasset, NY 11030 or

Register on-line with PayPal using the form below. Complete for each participant.

Runner/Walker - $50 ($20 kids under 12)
*Includes run entrance fee, tee-shirt and post race brunch

Corporate Sponsor - $1000


7
Marioville! Sports, Politics, Humor and more... / bubba
« on: March 07, 2008, 04:43:39 PM »
Whats your opinion on a magistrate of the court using personal beliefs to make a ruling? 

Report: Anti-War Judge Rejects Foster Teen's Bid to Join Marines
A California judge rejected a foster teen's request for early enlistment with the Marine Corps — and a $10,000 signing bonus — reportedly on the grounds that the judge didn't approve of the Iraq war.

Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Marilyn Mackel denied 17-year-old Shawn Sage's request to join the military last October, according to a report in the Los Angeles Daily News.

"The judge said she didn't support the Iraq war for any reason we're over there," Marine recruiter Sgt. Guillermo Medrano of the Simi Valley U.S. Marine Corps recruiting office told the paper.

"She just said all recruiters were the same — that they 'all tap dance and tell me what I want to hear.' She said she didn't want him to fight in it."

Sage, a Simi Valley, Calif., resident, begged the anti-war judge for permission to join, according to the Daily News.

"Foster children shouldn't be denied [an] ability to enlist in the service just because they're foster kids," Sage told the paper. "Foster kids shouldn't have to go to court to gain approval to serve one's country."

Sage plans to join the Marines when he turns 18 in June and his case has prompted a Republican lawmaker to introduce a bill that would allow foster teens to enlist in the military without the express permission of a judge.

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Bomb damages Times Square armed forces recruiting station
By By Derek Rose
Associated Press

Originally published 05:12 a.m., March 6, 2008
Updated 07:12 a.m., March 6, 2008

NEW YORK -- An explosive device caused minor damage to an empty military recruiting station in Times Square early today, shaking guests in hotel rooms high above "the crossroads of the world."

Police blocked off the area to investigate the explosion, which occurred at about 3:45 a.m.. No one was injured. The blast left a gaping hole in the front window and shattered a glass door, twisting and blackening its metal frame.

"If it is something that's directed toward American troops than it's something that's taken very seriously and is pretty unfortunate," said Army Capt. Charlie Jaquillard, who is the commander of Army recruiting in Manhattan.

He said no one was inside the station, where the Marines, Air Force and Navy also recruit.

Witnesses staying at a Marriott hotel four blocks away said they could feel the building shake with the blast.

"I was up on the 44th floor and I could feel it. It was a big bang," said Darla Peck, 25, of Portland, Oregon.

"It shook the building. I thought it could have been thunder, but I looked down and there was a massive plume of smoke so I knew it was an explosion," said Terry Leighton, 48, of London, who was staying on the 21st floor of the Marriott.

Members of the police department's bomb squad and fire officials gathered outside the station in the early morning darkness, and police cars and yellow tape blocked drivers — most of them behind the wheels of taxicabs — from entering one of the world's busiest crossroads. Police began allowing some traffic through around the start of rush hour.

Though subway cars passed through the Times Square station without stopping in the early hours of the investigation, normal service was soon restored, with some delays.

The recruiting station, located on a traffic island surrounded by Broadway theaters and chain restaurants, has occasionally been the site of anti-war demonstrations, ranging from silent vigils to loud rallies.

In October 2005, a group of activists who call themselves the Granny Peace Brigade rallied there against the Iraq war. Eighteen activists, most of them grandmothers with several in their 80s and 90s, were later acquitted of disorderly conduct.

The recruiting station was renovated in 1999 to better fit into the flashy ambiance of Times Square, using neon tubing to give the glass and steel office a patriotic American flag motif. For a half century, the station was the armed forces' busiest recruiting center. It has set national records for enlistment, averaging about 10,000 volunteers a year.

Police said it was too early to say if the blast may have been related to two other minor explosions in the city.

In October, two small explosive devices were tossed over a fence at the Mexican consulate, shattering three windows but causing no injuries. No threats had been made against the consulate, and no one took responsibility for the explosion, police said.

At the time, police said they were investigating whether it was connected to a similar incident at the British consulate on May 5, 2005.

In that incident, the explosions took place in the early morning hours, when Britons were going to the polls in an election that returned Prime Minister Tony Blair to power.

In both cases, the instruments were fake grenades sometimes sold as novelty items. They were packed with black power and detonated with fuses, but incapable of causing serious harm, police said.


9
Do shops even make any real money or % off of it?

10
Marioville! Sports, Politics, Humor and more... / more good news
« on: October 17, 2007, 05:50:16 PM »
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071017/ts_nm/iran_bush_dc

 Bush: Threat of World War III if Iran goes nuclear

By Matt SpetalnickWed Oct 17, 2:33 PM ET

U.S. President George W. Bush warned on Wednesday a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War III as he tried to shore up international opposition to Tehran amid Russian skepticism over its nuclear ambitions.

Bush was speaking a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has resisted Western pressure to toughen his stance over Iran's nuclear program, made clear on a visit to Tehran that Russia would not accept any military action against Iran.

At a White House news conference, Bush expressed hope Putin would brief him on his talks in Tehran and said he would ask him to clarify recent remarks on Iran's nuclear activities.

Putin said last week that Russia, which is building Iran's first atomic power plant, would "proceed from the position" that Tehran had no plans to develop nuclear weapons but he shared international concerns that its nuclear programs "should be as transparent as possible."

"The thing I'm interested in is whether or not he continues to harbor the same concerns that I do," Bush said. "When we were in Australia (in September), he reconfirmed to me that he recognizes it's not in the world's interest for Iran to have the capacity to make a nuclear weapon."

Bush, who has insisted he wants a diplomatic solution to the Iranian issue, is pushing for a third round of U.N. sanctions against Iran.

Russia, a veto-holding member of the Security Council, backed two sets of limited U.N. sanctions against Iran but has resisted any tough new measures.

Stepping up his rhetoric, Bush said a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a "dangerous threat to world peace."

"We've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel," he said. "So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

PUTIN'S "SPECIAL MESSAGE"

Iran rejects accusations it is seeking to develop a nuclear bomb, saying it wants nuclear technology for peaceful civilian purposes such as power generation, and has refused to heed U.N. Security Council demands to halt sensitive uranium enrichment.

Chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani was quoted by Iran's official IRNA news agency on Wednesday as saying that Putin had delivered a "special message" on its atomic program and other issues. No other details were given.

Putin's visit on Tuesday was watched closely because of Moscow's possible leverage in the Islamic Republic's nuclear standoff with the West. It was the first time a Kremlin chief went to Iran since Josef Stalin in 1943.

Asked about Putin's "special message," U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said he was not aware of any deal or offer put forward by Moscow to Tehran over the nuclear program.

On Russian opposition to Caspian Sea states being used to launch attacks against Iran, Casey reiterated that Bush kept all his options on the table but that the United States was committed to the diplomatic path with Tehran.

(Additional reporting by Frederick Dahl in Tehran and Sue Pleming in Washington)

13
what are you thinking will appear?  im thinking they are going to focus heavy on Anbar province as the shining star of Iraqi progress and overhype it saying if we keep at it, like out there, that it will spread to the rest of the country.  I read an article saying the visit yesterday can be seen as the "gettysburg," or turning point of this conflict. ::)
I think its a bit premature especially considering the violence down south in the vicinity of Najaf, Karbala, Babil areas by Sadrs JAM force.  Also I think they are jumping the gun a bit because of the uncertainty of Basrah's security situation with the turnover from the Brits to Iraqi  security forces exclusively.  So basically im predicting more delay tactics and chicanery about setting deadlines for progress.  Also im still kind of in shock that the Iraqi government went on vacation when they have a ton of work to do.  Its like our military and foreign service is the only one giving a brown trout over there.

14
Marioville! Sports, Politics, Humor and more... / To Old Times
« on: August 27, 2007, 11:58:55 PM »
Wall Street Journal
August 25, 2007
Pg. P14

'To Old Times'

By Peggy Noonan

Once I went hot-air ballooning in Normandy. It was the summer of 1991. It was exciting to float over the beautiful French hills and the farms with crisp crops in the fields. It was dusk, and we amused ourselves calling out "Bonsoir!" to cows and people in little cars. We had been up for an hour or so when we had a problem and had to land. We looked for an open field, aimed toward it, and came down a little hard. The gondola dragged, tipped and spilled us out. A half dozen of us emerged scrambling and laughing with relief.

Suddenly before us stood an old man with a cracked and weathered face. He was about 80, in rough work clothes. He was like a Life magazine photo from 1938: "French farmer hoes his field." He'd seen us coming from his farmhouse and stood before us with a look of astonishment as the huge bright balloon deflated and tumbled about.

One of us spoke French and explained our situation. The farmer said, or asked, "You are American." We nodded, and he made a gesture -- I'll be back! -- and ran to the house. He came back with an ancient bottle of Calvados, the local brandy. It was literally covered in dust and dry dirt, as if someone had saved it a long time.

He told us -- this will seem unlikely, and it amazed us -- that he had not seen an American in many, many years, and we asked when. "The invasion," he said. The Normandy invasion.

Then he poured the Calvados and made a toast. I wish I had notes on what he said. Our French speaker translated it into something like, "To old times." And we raised our glasses knowing we were having a moment of unearned tenderness. Lucky Yanks, that a wind had blown us to it.

That was 16 years ago, and I haven't seen some of the people with me since that day, but I know every one of us remembers it and keeps it in his good-memory hoard.

He didn't welcome us because he knew us. He didn't treat us like royalty because we had done anything for him. He honored us because we were related to, were the sons and daughters of, the men of the Normandy Invasion. The men who had fought their way through France hedgerow by hedgerow, who'd jumped from planes in the dark and climbed the cliffs and given France back to the French. He thought we were of their sort. And he knew they were good. He'd seen them, when he was young.

I've been thinking of the old man because of Iraq and the coming debate on our future there. Whatever we do or should do, there is one fact that is going to be left on the ground there when we're gone. That is the impression made by, and the future memories left by, American troops in their dealings with the Iraqi people.

I don't mean the impression left by the power and strength of our military. I mean the impression left by the character of our troops -- by their nature and generosity, by their kindness. By their tradition of these things.

The American troops in Iraq, our men and women, are inspiring, and we all know it. But whenever you say it, you sound like a greasy pol: "I support our valiant troops, though I oppose the war," or "If you oppose the war, you are ignoring the safety and imperiling the sacrifice of our gallant troops."

I suspect that in their sophistication -- and they are sophisticated -- our troops are grimly amused by this. Soldiers are used to being used. They just do their job.

We know of the broad humanitarian aspects of the occupation -- the hospitals being built, the schools restored, the services administered, the kids treated by armed forces doctors. But then there are all the stories that don't quite make it to the top of the heap, and that in a way tell you more. The lieutenant in the First Cavalry who was concerned about Iraqi kids in the countryside who didn't have shoes, so he wrote home, started a drive, and got 3,000 pairs sent over. The lieutenant colonel from California who spent his off-hours emailing hospitals back home to get a wheelchair for a girl with cerebral palsy.

The Internet is littered with these stories. So is Iraq. I always notice the pictures from the wire services, pictures that have nothing to do with government propaganda. The Marine on patrol laughing with the local street kids; the nurse treating the sick mother.

A funny thing. We're so used to thinking of American troops as good guys that we forget: They're good guys! They have American class.

And it is not possible that the good people of Iraq are not noticing, and that in some way down the road the sum of these acts will not come to have some special meaning, some special weight of its own. The actor Gary Sinise helps run Operation Iraqi Children, which delivers school supplies with the help of U.S. forces. When he visits Baghdad grade schools, the kids yell, "Lieutenant Dan!" -- his role in "Forrest Gump," the story of another good man.

Some say we're the Roman Empire, but I don't think the soldiers of Rome were known for their kindness, nor the people of Rome for their decency. Some speak of Abu Ghraib, but the humiliation of prisoners there was news because it was American troops acting in a way that was out of the order of things, and apart from tradition. It was weird. And they were busted by other American troops.

You could say soldiers of every country do some good in war beyond fighting, and that is true enough. But this makes me think of the statue I saw once in Vienna, a heroic casting of a Red Army soldier. Quite stirring. The man who showed it to me pleasantly said it had a local nickname, "The Unknown Rapist." There are similar memorials in Estonia and Berlin; they all have the same nickname. My point is not to insult Russian soldiers, who had been born into a world of communism, atheism, and Stalin's institutionalization of brutish ways of being. I only mean to note the stellar reputation of American troops in the same war at the same time. They were good guys.

They're still good.

We should ponder, some day when this is over, what it is we do to grow such men, and women, what exactly goes into the making of them.

Whatever is decided in Washington I hope our soldiers know what we really think of them, and what millions in Iraq must, also. I hope some day they get some earned tenderness, and wind up over the hills of Iraq, and land, and an old guy comes out and says, "Are you an American?" And they say yes
and he says, "A toast, to old times."

15
I wasnt paying attention back when Arthur Anderson went out of business but everyone says it had a definite impact on the industry.  Whats your take on another major accounting firm possibly going away?


Tuesday, August 14, 2007
BDO Seidman Ordered to Pay $521 Million Fine

We have a story about one of the Big Six, and it appears that the risks of doing business as Big Four auditors are not confined to them alone.

BDO Seidman has been ordered to pay $170 million in compensation and $351 million punitive damages. The charges: being negligent to show fraud in Bankest, a financial services company owned by a Portuguese bank, Banco Espirito Santo. A six member jury decided that BDO was guilty in one hour, having found it grossly negligent in June.

Banco Espirito Santo claimed it partnered with Bankest Capital to form E.S. Bankest in late 1990s relying on (BDO Seidman's) faulty audits that Bankest Capital's income had nearly tripled from 1995 to 1996. The bank also relied on later audits from BDO Seidman, which certified audits for E.S. Bankest accounts totaling some $225 million, of which only $5 million represented legitimate income.

The bank is understandably happy with this verdict, but BDO Seidman will appeal it vigorously, by posting a $50 million bail. As expected, the firm will argue that senior management at Banco Espirito Santo was aware of this fraud and was also complicit.

And if it happens, the $521 million fine could have serious consequences on the firm, it could lead to large layoffs and it could lose its position as the number 5 accounting firm in the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, this "casts a shadow over its future financial viability". Also the WSJ says, "Testimony and evidence presented showed that BDO had profit distributable to partners of more than $170 million for its 2006 fiscal year, which ends in June, and a net worth of about $40.5 million. BDO Chief Executive Jack Weisbaum testified that the firm wouldn't be able to pay punitive damages."

Let' s do some math here, $170 distributable earnings among 250 partners works out to about $700,000 payout per partner. The $521 million damage is equal to three years of current year earnings; and even exceeds the $445 million that KPMG agreed to pay the US government to avoid criminal indictment in its massive tax fraud case.

In a large accounting firm, such a number could be spread over a large number of partners so that the individual impact on each partner is reasonable and can be handled if necessary with lower annual earnings spread over many years.

BDO Seidman USA is allied with BDO International, which coordinates companies with about 30,000 partners and staff and reported total fee income of $3.91 billion in 2006. In the US, BDO Seidman had revenues of $589 million in 2006, 3,800 employees,. 250 partners and 34 offices.

But can BDO Seidman effectively handle such a large amount of payouts, without losing its current structure. This is serious money for a medium sized firm. If the award does go through, we could see the firm essentially unable to handle this financial distress. We have blogged earlier that the finance and investing world could not effectively handle the disappearance of a Big Four firm, but what about such a possibility for a Big Six firm. The debate on caps on auditor liability will again take the forefront on such an eventuality.

We will have to wait on the resolution of BDO's appeal to see how this lands.

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