Archive for the 'Dallas' Category

America’s Angriest Store: Whole Foods

My trips to Whole Foods do not involve all the customers being like those described in the article linked below, but there are certainly a significant percentage of them. The more pieces of metal hanging off various parts of their face, the more likely they are going to be an angry Whole Foods shopper. From the article:

The problem with Whole Foods is their regular customers. They are, across the board, across the country, useless, ignorant, and miserable. They’re worse than miserable, they’re angry. They are quite literally the opposite of every Whole Foods employee I’ve ever encountered. Walk through any store any time of day—but especially 530pm on a weekday or Saturday afternoon during football season—and invariably you will encounter a sneering, disdainful horde of hipster Zombies and entitled 1%ers.

They stand in the middle of the aisles, blocking passage of any other cart, staring intently at the selection asking themselves that critical question: which one of these olive oils makes me seem coolest and most socially conscious, while also making the raw vegetable salad I’m preparing for the monthly condo board meeting seem most rustic and artisanal?

Read the whole thing. I was amused.

Enjoy the game…

I’m off to get a growler of Velvet Hammer on my way to the party.

Merry Christmas!

This is around the corner from us:

Santa Boat

It is about 15 feet long and about 10 feet tall!

Kind of odd for Dallas, don’t you think? I believe this is something from either South Florida or Southern California. It is pretty funny looking. The thing is huge and just dominates the entire block.

I’m sure the neighbors love it.

Trapping Possums

We’ve got a possum problem, here’s the plan.

We’re trying to avoid another Raccoon Battle.

Holy Freakin’ Moly

It’s only 13 seconds long. Wait for the end. I’m guessing she went to Tech.

Restaurants and their menus

I called Haystack Burgers and Barley. I wanted to know if they have a full bar. Yelp says they have a  full bar, but their menu doesn’t even mention the beer that their name implies. Since I am planning on meeting a friend for dinner that does not care for beer, I called to ask, “Do you have a full bar?”

The reply, “We have Maker’s Mark.”

So I guess the answer is no. I’m now going to have to go somewhere else where I know my friend can have a margarita. This is a shame as I read on the interwebz that Haystack serves Peticolas Velvet Hammer. That is a very fine beer. It’s 9% alcohol by volume, it tastes great too. It is appropriately named.

Cowlishaw is right

It amazes me that we tolerate the corrupting forces of college football to be part of our major universities. From Cowlishaw’s column today:

I don’t have any excuse for our tolerance of all the people on the fringes of college football getting rich while the real people doing the dirty work merely hope it pays off somewhere down the line.

Go read ths whole thing.

H-1B Visa Scams

It is interesting that you have to go to what I generally/broadly consider the left to find any news of H-1B visa scam news. You won’t find articles like this in The Wall Street Journal or the Dallas Morning News. (I don’t consider the Dallas Morning News left or right, they are just in favor of whatever government program benefits the region, they have no principals.)

I just went around the web this morning to take a look at this, given this Slate post several sites have linked to.

From the Boston Globe: Rethinking H-1B Visas

From The Daily Kos: H-1B Guest Worker Fraud and the Lacking Skills Scam

From the Democratic Underground: 41 Disqualified H-1B Employers

From the Times of India: 41 Disqualified H-1B Employers (Warning: Slide Show)

From the Economic Times: Indian American company indicted for misuse of H-1B visa

Those last two links are their because it demonstrates that Indians know the score. They see the H-1B visa scam as an entry to the U.S.

The Slate writer makes fun of the tech workers that don’t want an expansion of the H-1B program. Slate links to this article from The Verge which is sympathetic to the plight of American IT workers:

The largest employers of H1-B workers aren’t firms like Facebook and Microsoft, they are actually outsourcing companies like Infosys, Tata, and Wipro.

But you know what? Those workers for the Indian companies Infosys, Tata and Wipro are contracted out to Microsoft, Facebook and others. Also, how does an Indian company get to set up shop in the U.S. and then issue H-1B visas to Indian? Why don’t they just work with Indians in India. I know of this thing called the Internet that allows software workers to be anyplace in the world. It’s pretty cool this Internet thing. It is most useful when working with virtual products such as software.

But the real abuses of the H-1B visa program are at the smaller companies like Dibon Solutions mentioned in the Boston Globe and Economic Times article above. While the company was indicted for the practice of “benching,” these lower level companies often do something that is worse. (You won’t find mention of Dibon Solutions in the Dallas Morning News. This goes to my opinion above about the DMN being in favor of whatever benefits this area. There are many companies in this area hiring H-1B workers. Some of them quite large and, of course, they could be possible advertisers in the DMN.)

The are many companies in the H-1B business, called body shops, that operate as temp agencies. They bring a worker to the U.S. and then they farm them out to other companies on an hourly rate. If they are idle, they don’t get paid. Hence the term benching. What is never mentioned is that the workers are often charged on the front end a substantial fee to get the H-1B visa in the first place. That’s right a body shop will charge the worker a fee to come to the U.S. and then only employ and pay them sporadically. Eventually, if everything goes right for the worker, he’ll (and it’s always a he) get a “permanent” assignment with a U.S. company. It might take one or two years, but that is considered a success. Also, if anybody cares, the corporate manager that hires this H-1B visa worker into the U.S. company is always of the same “ethnic” group and collects a fee in direct violation of his corporate policies.

I’m sure there are some people in India, that come out of ITT, that are really, really smart and U.S. tech companies pay them a lot of money to come here to work for them. These people are not the ones that concern me. The ones that concern me are the workers that come through these body shops. The only reason that the system they employ to come to the U.S. works at all is because they are willing to work for less money than the typical U.S. worker. There is no other reason.

Just as with the low skilled workers that come from the South depressing wages from everybody else as the effects ripple through the economy, so do these supposedly skilled workers depress the wages and opportunities for tech and other middle class workers.

We do not have a shortage of STEM workers in this country. We have companies trying to lower their costs through looser immigration policies. It is that simple.


On Immigration…

I’m going to quote from Arnold Kling:

This difference between shame and guilt affects the way people treat strangers. In many clan societies, a household is expected to be a generous host to strangers, offering the household’s best food and sleeping quarters. Not to do so would bring shame upon the household and on the entire clan. However, in a commercial transaction with such a stranger, there is no sense of guilt from failing to live up to one’s bargain or from cheating the stranger.

In the West, the value system is reversed. We feel no obligation to show ultra-generous hospitality to strangers who come to our neighborhood. However, we would feel guilty about cheating a stranger in a commercial transaction.

Our complex economic system requires that strangers deal honestly with one another when they exchange goods and services. Such a system functions more naturally in a Society of Contract than in a Society of Status. In the former, commercial obligations are inherently binding, regardless of the identity of the party with which one deals. In the latter, there is little sense of obligation in dealing with members of a different kinship group.

The emphasis is mine. Please do go read the whole thing.

In light of the whole Jason Richwine flap, and posts like this one this one from Bryan Caplan. I find it somewhat amusing that Arnold put his essay on the Library of Economics and Liberty web site. Is this an intentional tweak of those bloggers?

So while I am generally on the side of complete liberty, I do not want people from Clan or Status Societies moving into my neighborhood. I have but one life and it won’t last the generations it will take these newcomers to adjust to being a member of a Contract Society. I will also say that I don’t really expect my government of doing a fair job of deciding whether or not any particular immigrant belongs to one type of society or the other. Government is, though, the only tool at my disposal. I do not have enough money to create one of Caplan’s bubbles to wall myself off from undesirable Status Society lowlifes. If you don’t believe these people exist, just tour part of the world outside the U.S. (probably should go outside Northern Europe, too).

Also, I do not intend to disparage any particular individual, I just know which way I’ll bet when it come to having immigrant neighbors from one particular country or another.

Hockey at the American Airlines Center

That’s me, wearing #2:

Hockey at AAC

Impressed, aren’t cha…

The Dallas Stars do this thing on game day where they have a bunch of guys play a game in the afternoon. They then feed us and booze us for a while and then we watch the Stars play. It’s a really good time. The food, however, has taken a big decline from previous seasons. No body that played that afternoon was thrilled with the meal.