Saturday, November 19, 2011

68% of the sons of the 1% have worked for Dad !!!!

The Atlantic Monthly is shocked, shocked to learn that 68% of the sons of the top 1% have worked for their father's company. 
It's true.  68% of family-owned businesses actually employ family members. 
It seems that entrepreneurs often start a business so they can provide for their own children, not those of a total stranger in Hobbes, New Mexico.

(Ok, enough of the sarcasm.  Here's the point.....)

My first job was at a family-owned business.  I shoveled mud in my father's rice fields.  He could've, and should've hired a more qualified person, like an unemployed accountant in New Jersey, or a needy interior decorator living in Bangor, Maine.  Instead, he kept the mud-shoveling job in the family.  I still feel guilty about it.  My sisters sometimes drove tractors and flagged for the cropdusters.  We've never spoken about our individual strategies for handling the shame of taking these jobs from others, but the conversation needs to happen.  Perhaps this Christmas.   

(Sorry, the sarcasm isn't going away quietly.) 

During the winters, I worked at another family-owned business, a winery across the river from the farm. 
The owner, Sam Rushing, started his vineyard on some land previously owned by his grandfather, Big Tom Rushing.  (When time permits, Google "Tom Rushen Blues" by the legendary Charlie Patton.  Patton wrote it about Big Tom.)  Not only did Sam hire Big Tom, his grandfather, Sam also hired a woman that he was sleeping with !!!  And he allowed this...this....this harlot to make actual decisions about the operation of the winery !!  And run the little cafe attached to the winery !!!  Just because she was willing to go to bed with him !!!  Yes !!!  Sam Rushing, that selfish bastard, hired his wife !!!

The Rushing Winery should've been surrounded by protesters chanting "No Justice, No Peace".

(Sorry, the sarcasm isn't going away quietly.)

After I moved to Fort Worth from Mississippi, I got a job at Bassham Food Services, loading trucks on the night shift.  Calvin Bassham, the patriarch of the bunch, had started the company by purchasing an egg truck.  He made deliveries to every restaurant and hotel in Fort Worth.  Then, to provide even more for his family, he started selling chickens.  Then other meat.  Next thing you know, Calvin Bassham was providing paper plates, forks, vegetable oil, string beans, corn, stewed tomatoes and such all over the Fort Worth/Dallas area.  He put in 80 hour weeks for years, not to pay more taxes, not to support our local infrastructure, and not to give back to the community. 
He did it for his family. 
He let his wife, Helen, keep the books.  Ronnie (#1 son) did most of the selling with Randy (#2 son).  Wes (#3 son) was in charge of the delivery trucks. 
Were there more qualified accountants than Helen in Fort Worth?  Could I have done a better job than Wes as the dispatcher? 
Yes and yes. 
But Calvin Bassham put in all those 80 hour weeks so he could give those jobs, and the company, to his own family.  The bastard. 

After that, I got another job doing the shipping and freight for Taylors Books.  Martha Taylor was the entrepreneur who started the company.  When her first bookstore in Dallas took off, Henry, her husband, quit his hospital administration job and went to work helping grow the book company.  Mike, their son, eventually took over the whole thing. 
Under Mike's leadership, the company went out of business.  Couldn't someone have seen this coming?  Out of all the retail managers in the world, why did they risk giving their business to Mike? 

I eventually left Taylors Books because of illness and fatigue (they got sick and tired of me).  I went to work for Bookstop, which was eventually purchased by Barnes and Noble. 
Barnes and Noble is owned by Len Riggio.  Years ago, Mr. Riggio hocked everything he owned, took some massive risks, and worked like a dog to grow B&N from a regional chain into a national brand.  He could have lost everything he owned. 
He now employs his little brother Steve Riggio.  Sometimes Steve runs purchasing, sometimes he runs their smaller shopping mall company, B. Dalton.  I've heard that Steve is sometimes allowed to run the whole thing.   
Len Riggio practices shameful nepotism of the worst sort.   

(Sorry, the sarcasm isn't going away quietly.)

When I reference my current employer on this site, I call it Jukt Micronics.  (Google it.) 

Jukt was founded in 1984 by a guy nicknamed Big D. 
We make display fixtures for the grocery and produce industry. 
Big D passed away several years ago, but his wife still comes to work so she can order the office supplies. 
His oldest son is the company president. 
His youngest son runs one of the factories.
The youngest son's college roommate is now our CEO. 
Big D's daughter runs the office at one of the factories.   
Big D's brother, one of the co-founders, retired several years ago.  He didn't like being idle, and now drives one of the local transfer trucks. 
One of the cousins does the bookkeeping. 
A nephew does installations for specialty displays. 
Another cousin works for an unrelated company selling insurance.  Guess who insures our stuff? 
Another cousin is a lawyer.  Guess who we go to for legal advice? 
Ok, this next one gets complicated....   Big D's oldest son's wife's brother now runs the mega-shipping warehouse, the freight brokerage, the trucking company, the local transfer drivers and the wood, metal and plastic shop freight docks.  (That would be me.) 

It seems that the 1% don't start companies so they can provide funding for wars in Libya, Bridges To Nowhere, Cash For Clunkers, African Genital-Washing Programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, The War On Drugs, military contractors in John Boehner's district, or Nancy Pelosi's air travel. 
They start these companies to provide for their own.  It's part of the glue that holds the world together.   
Everything else is an afterthought. 
No legislation will ever change this. 
Thank you. 

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.” - Robert Heinlein

Friday, November 18, 2011


Someone can be against capital punishment, and still be in favor of law and order. 

Someone can be in favor of marijuana legalization, and still be against drug use. 

Someone can be opposed to the "No Child Left Behind Act", and be in favor of education. 

There are people who oppose the "American Jobs Act" who hope that Americans can get jobs. 

You really can care about the environment, and continue believing that it was a bad idea to give half a billion dollars to bankrupt solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra. 

There are people of good will who oppose the "Employee Free Choice Act" while also believing that employees should have a free choice in the matter of joining a union. 

Some of the people who think that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the biggest messes ever birthed by bureaucrats - some of those very same people don't believe that old sick people should be thrown out in the street. 

It is possible to be in favor of a strong national defense, and also believe that sending 2,500 Marines to Australia is a bad idea. 

Many people who oppose Affirmative Action aren't racists. 

1)  There are people who had a default setting of "No" when asked to contribute money to Jimmy Swaggart, Bernie Madoff, Enron,, and that lady in Nigeria who sent you the email about putting some money in your bank account for a short time just to get it out of the country. 

2)  There are also people who have a default setting of "No" when asked if they favor almost any government program.

If you understand the suspicions of the first group, you are closer to understanding the suspicions of the second.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sometimes you don't learn what you think you're going to learn.....

For the last couple of weeks I've had a great, great time with the Occupy Wall Street people. 

Radley Balko recently provided a helpful link to a piece in Forbes, where a typist named Kyle Smith hopes that the OWS movement never ends. 
Because, after all the rapes, thefts, tent gropings, assaults, Anti-Semitism, old woman toppling, public urination and the like, the cute little buggers might actually be learning something about human nature and how the world works. 

Here's Mr. Smith:

Years from now, a major political candidate will come to the fore and say, “I got my political education as a member of a protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street. And it’s the reason I stand before you as a private enterprise-loving capitalist today.”

Some editorial writers have called for evicting the OWS squatters from downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park (a better solution: Lock them in! Wouldn’t society be much better off without these malodorous whiners?), but the longer the occupation lasts, the more valuable the lessons being learned by these youngsters. Their college educations obviously didn’t include even rudimentary tutelage about how a marketplace — and by extension (since most things are connected to trade) society — works. But now they’re learning, for instance, that:

1) Rule of law comes first. It doesn’t matter whether your business is widget marketing or universal social justice: You can’t work until you have secured basic order, which requires a non-corrupt constabulary authorized in the judicious use of force. The Manhattan OWS site, which is largely covered with tents that lend shelter to peaceful protesters and privacy to opportunistic felons, is being linked to more and more reports of theft, sexual assault, random groping and even rape.

The occupiers, who operate on a foolhardy belief that they are a self-policing as well as self-governing organization, have reacted to crimes by forming “shame circles” in which, as if reenacting a scene from a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, they surround malefactors and cry, “Shame, shame, shame!” (What, without trial?) Desperadoes, unfazed by such non-punishment, have declined to flee. A society that fails adequately to punish lawbreakers will disintegrate into chaos.

2) Welfare breeds freeloading. The idealistic, studenty, ultra-left-wing quality of the Zuccotti proceedings has attracted nutritious, restaurant-caliber meals, large donations of clothing and other goods and large cash balances. All of this private charity is very much in the tradition of free enterprise, but the political types have been unnerved by the increasing presence of ordinary apolitical homeless people who don’t know much about satiric anti-capitalist puppetry, but would very much enjoy a sandwich.

OWS has been shocked to discover these folk aren’t “contributing” anything (nothing important, anyway, like slogans or resolutions), and derided them as “professional homeless people” (to distinguish them from the amateur kind). Food preparers instigated what one protester called “blacklisting” of such individuals to keep them from sharing the bounty the “productive” members of the movement have secured.

This is a crucial battle between inactivists and activists. Consider this comment on the official OWS forum:

“The money was sent for the protesters, not panhandlers. The protesters want jobs, but can’t find any. Panhandlers (In my experience, flame away) don’t want jobs. There is a difference for all the fogies spewing about hypocrisy. We should not allow people’s good intentions to be taken advantage of by miscreants and other parasites.
But exactly! Having granted the principle that you must be willing to work if you want to eat, OWS has done all the heavy lifting for those who would question whether the policies of social-democratic welfare states are even moral, much less practical. (OWS hasn’t yet run out of donated pizzas, but Europe proves you will eventually run out of other people’s money).

3) Private, profit-seeking businesses provide a social good.  Before OWS began, among the corporations you would have expected to be the least likely to receive its blessing would have been McDonald’s, which has been wolfsbane to the collegiate left since at least the 1980s. Previously known mainly as rainforest-despoiling animal-butchering obesity-inducing corporate goons, Mickey D is now A-OK with OWS. A downtown franchise half a block from Zuccotti Park allows protesters to use its bathrooms without purchase and fuels discussion of the revolution with its generous, barely profitable Dollar Menu.

There are no facilities in the plaza, suggesting the movement would have had to keep its collective legs crossed for the past few weeks were it not for the burger profits that keep the restrooms working. McDonald’s is an especially salient reminder of why dreamy idealists are able to function: Because someone, somewhere who gets up and goes to work making things people actually want to buy is subsidizing them. Just ask Karl Marx, who was sent money by his buddy Friedrich Engels to support him while he was writing “Das Kapital” — money that came directly from Engels’ father’s worker-exploiting apparatus, also known as a “factory.”

And speaking of Karl Marx, here's one of Samizdata's quotes of the day:

"I wish Karl would accumulate some capital, instead of just writing about it." - Karl Marx's Mama

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First they came for the Goat-Counters

First they came for the Goat-Counters,
But I did not speak out, for I was not a Goat-Counter....

Go here. 

Thanks to Radley Balko of The Agitator Blog for speaking out about the plight of government Goat-Counters. 
When the budget-cutters come for the government's Catfish-Counters, will YOU be the one who speaks out? 

Monday, November 14, 2011

9 boys molested at government institution. No steps taken to close the facility.

A government organization recently created a media firestorm when it allowed one of its ex-employees, a known pedophile, to continue using the government's facilities and bring young boys into its showers and dressing rooms.

One government employee attempted to report that he'd seen this ex-employee raping a 10-year-old in the workplace shower.  This witness went to his supervisor, who went to his supervisor to report the crime.  No actions were ever taken to intervene or protect the child. 

The only law enforcement involved were the government organization's in-house security.  No one in the organization spoke out.   

There were other incidents with young children involving the organization's in-house security officers.  Officers made recordings of the pedophile employee apologizing to the mother of one of the boys that he molested. 

No one pressed charges for years, and other government employees took great pains to cover up the incidents and protect the reputation of the government institution. 

It appears that 9 young boys were molested in some way.  Some of them were raped. 

If this had happened at a private institution, would our government allow it to remain open for business for another 15 minutes? 

Would politicians be rushing to sponsor something called the "Victims Of Paterno's Coverup Bill of 2011"?

Would Nancy Pelosi be standing in front of cameras, pontificating about the need for more regulation and oversight of the education industry? 

Just wondering. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Seen and Unseen and Obscene in Washington State

Radley Balko, of The Agitator Blog, has been linking to and commenting on some of the greatest stuff ever.  I've started going to his recommended links now and then, hitting a few, ranting about them, and saving them for a slow news day.  Here's a ferinstance:

If you've read any Libertarian-ish stuff at all in the last few years, you know that Washington State and Pennsylvania have state-controlled liquor monopolies. 
Here are a few quotes Balko selected from Reason magazine on Washington State's recent decision to allow its plantation worker citizens to purchase Jim Beam from someplace besides the plantation commisary:

Here's a little Seen And Unseen for you:


Beginning next June, liquor sales will shift from the state to grocery and warehouse stores, including Costco. It means more than 900 state employees will lose their jobs, most of them workers at state-run liquor stores.


The state budgeting office figures the number of outlets selling liquor will jump from 328 to 1,428. It also expects the change to generate an average of $80 million more in annual revenue for the state and local governments over the next six years....Some liquor prices are expected to drop.

Plus bonus hilarious overstatement from vested interests:

Tom Geiger, communication director for the union representing more than 700 workers in state-run liquor stores, said he thought the results raised questions about democracy itself.

Anybody who doesn't think that's funny needs to have a drink.  From a low-cost, private establishment that isn't subsidized by theft, of course. 

It's time to go knock back a few and watch the Buffalo Bills cover a 5 1/2 point spread against Jerry Jones's Dallas Cowboys.  Have a good Sunday.