12/5/18

A Single Act of Kindness

Big Red Car here on a day when the sun is struggling with the gloom. Gloom is ahead on points, but the sun is trying to rally.

A befitting, somber mood for the state funeral of President George Herbert Walker Bush.

If you see no other part of that funeral, watch President George W Bush eulogize his father. Bring a handkerchief and be with people in front of whom you are unafraid to cry. But, know that this is the America we all aspire to live in.

In his passing, President George Bush provided a singular act of kindness — he ensured that our current President, Donald J Trump, and our First Lady would be welcome at his funeral and that we would not see a replay of the tawdry Trump bashing which was the John McCain state funeral.

George HW Bush did no “reconcile” with President Trump. He moved on. He called President Trump a “blowhard” in his recent book. But, he moved on from that.

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12/4/18

The French Yellow Vests — Gilets Jaunes

Big Red Car here on a lovely, sunny ATX day. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!

So, the French are in the midst of some political riots.

Because France is a fashion forward country, the identifying rallying call is the chic “yellow vest” — gilets jaunes. Very chic fashion statement.

Here is a picture of the riotously fashionable yellow vest crowd in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The Arc de Triomphe is the 162 foot high arch in the Place Charles de Gaulle from which a dozen avenues radiate.

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12/2/18

Geo HW Bush & Ross Perot 1992 Election

Big Red Car here like a lot of people feeling the loss of former President George HW Bush and reflecting on the accomplishments of this good and great man.

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“Fair winds and following seas, Mr. President. We have the watch.”

I use the word “good” before the word “great” because he was as revered for his goodness as he was for his greatness.

This was a man whose most significant professional limitation came in the form of a short guy with a crewcut named Ross Perot.

In the 1992 Presidential election, George Bush was just off the victory in the First Gulf War tempered by his failure to adhere to his own “read my lips, no new taxes” promise.

No Democrat wanted to take on such a popular President, so the Dems picked a nobody Arkansas Governor named William Jefferson Clinton.

The election was made more interesting by the injection of an independent candidate — Ross Perot.

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11/30/18

CEO Shoptalk – Screws v Nails

Screws v nails, Big Red Car? What’s going on down there in the ATX?

Well, dear reader, it’s going to be 80F and I may have to turn the A/C back on for a few hours. How goes the weather where you are?

So, I have been reading a bit of CS Forester (The African Queen, Horatio Hornblower). This is an author from a long time ago with whom an educated person should be familiar. If you have ever aspired to be a professional soldier — guilty — then you have to read The General (written in 1936, $1.99 Kindle or free if you have Prime).

The General, a novel, is a study in the poor quality of the generalship in the British Army during World War I. It is required reading for those who must balance the authoritarian comfort zone of military leadership with a more results oriented approach.

For the enlightened reader, it is a story of leadership preparation, the failures of “the system,” leadership style, authenticity of leadership voice, and results.

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If you have been in the Army and have read this book, you understand exactly what I am saying. If not, then you are in for a treat.

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11/28/18

Dusky Gopher Frog SCOTUS Decision

Scrambled eggs and fried dusky gopher frog? Do they serve that at Waffle House in Mississippi?

Big Red Car here on a gray morning, but maybe I’m not giving the sun a fair chance.

Today, we speak of the Supreme Court of the United States. We think of the current SCOTUS as being a 5-vote conservative majority facing off with a 4-vote liberal minority. This is, of course, as a result of the fairly recent Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh appointments.

Yesterday, they decided a case 8-0 which caught some folks by surprise. It was the famous Dusky Gopher Frog case in which the Fifth United States Circuit Court of Appeals (New Orleans) had upheld a designation by Federal regulators (talking to you, US Fish & Wildlife Service) that a 1,500 acre tract of land was “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog, an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.

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This is your dusky gopher frog exemplar. Good looking little bugger, no?

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11/27/18

Holidays – Make Them Special

Big Red Car back from a Thanksgiving trip to Savannah (to see My Perfect Daughter, Wonder Husband, Lola the Bad Dog, Bella the Saint Dog, and My Perfect Granddaughter) and to Charlotte to see #1 Son for Thanksgiving dinner.

For some reason, this Thanksgiving feels different than others. Not sure why. Really?

Baby Tempe (My Perfect Granddaughter, one of half a dozen Tempe’s including her grandmother and great grandmother). Southern thing – Faith, Hope, Charity, Temperance (thus Tempe).

Note the gang sign. This was Baby Tempe’s first Thanksgiving and it was a good one. She wants to make sure you know she is not an elf. It’s just a funny hood. Very sensitive about this. She’s eleven months old in two weeks.

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11/16/18

Jim Acosta — Exclusive Interview

So, the Big Red Car scored an exclusive interview with Jim Acosta of CNN. You will recall that he recently was put in timeout by the Trump administration for misbehaving at a Presidential press conference.

In case you don’t know who he is, here is a picture of Jim at the White House before a press conference.

“Dear Diary, look it’s me and President Trump. Wow, look at me. Great hair, huh? Had it styled for today. That son-of-a-bitch Sam Donaldson had a bald noggin and a fake toupee. I have real hair and I’m real news. Real hair. Real news. Jimmy the Reporter Acosta. Yeah!”

As we are headed to print, a Federal Judge has ruled that too many people are being mean to Jim and that he should get his press pass back because he’s nice enough.

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11/15/18

Corporate Welfare – Incentives

Corporate welfare, Big Red Car? Huh?

Big Red Car here on a sunny, cold Texas day. Ahhh, winter is here at 41F at dawn, but 65F now. Winter is hard in the ATX, y’all.

So, the Interwebs are all aghast at the gargantuan incentives provided to Amazon (richest guy in the world, Jeff Bezos, at your service) by New York and Virginia to get half of the new HQ2.

The gainsayers and the naysayers are in full throated-uproar, but nobody is really keeping score on these things, are they?

Let’s go back and explore a recent deal — the Tesla SolarCity Buffalo, New York incentivized transaction.

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Oh, my, what have I done now? Solar City? Rooftop solar panels? Was that me?

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11/12/18

Strength of the Economy

Big Red Car here, snowing in the Panhandle and going to be 30F in the ATX tonight? Yes. Snow tonight? Nah.

So, I like to take a look at information below the surface to prove or disprove what the surface currents seem to indicate. One of my favorites is to plumb the depth of the job market and its inverse, unemployment.

Anybody with a brain knows that U-3 — the measure of unemployment that the media uses — is not very accurate for a number of structural reasons. While, folks also know that BLS U-6/7 is a better snapshot.

One other area I like to look at is full time v part time employment.

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11/12/18

Mature Startups

Big Red Car here on another cold, rainy Monday in the ATX.

So, I’m chatting with a seasoned startup CEO, and he asks, “What is the first sign that a startup is bursting through the crawl, walk, run continuum, Big Red Car? What are the things you look for?”

Says I, “When they start their own training program, conduct offsites regularly, and have an industry leading conference as part of their marketing program.”

To which he says, “Do tell, Big Red Car. What does that mean? The industry leading conference part?”

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