Archive for July, 2006

A Tax on Walmart…

Friday, July 28th, 2006

This week in Chicago, the city council is passed a new ordinance that would require “Big-Box” retailers (90,000 sq ft, and 1 billion in gross sales) in Chicago to pay $10/hour with $3 in benefits by 2010, after that it increases with inflation. This law is targeting Wal-Mart, but will also apply to Target, Home Depot, and others. Before the ordinance passed Wal-Mart said it would not build stores in Chicago if it passed. Target claimed it would close store in the city.

Several people are calling this a living wage law. I don’t believe it is, it is just an anti-Wal-Mart law. If you wanted to pass a living wage law, then make the minimum wage $10/hour for everyone. Not just “Box-Box” retailers. All you will do by passing this ordinance is making headlines, possibly get reelected, and discourage the building of 90,000 sq ft stores. If reports of Wal-Mart’s penny pinching are to be believed, Wal-Mart would still build stores in Chicago, Wal-Mart would just hire fewer people to run the stores.

If this ordinance remains on the books, it will be interesting to see the economic impacts on the communities in and around Chicago.

Learn something new every day…

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

You learn something new everyday; this weekend I learned several new things. One, do not treat a kayak like a canoe. Two, the Chicago River does stink, and clothes will stink after being washed in the river. Three, cell phones and the Chicago River do not mix. Four, kayaking is fun!

Discovery: A very large rocket for the 4th!

Wednesday, July 5th, 2006

Yesterday on the 4th of July the Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral into orbit. Every time I watch a shuttle launch I am simply amazed. I watch the shuttle leave the launch pad and leave our atmosphere. I stair in awe at the representation of mankind’s technological achievement. I get lost in the scale of the operation. The size of the building/vehicals/launchpads the complexity of the everything is simply incredible, and it all works. Granted there are accidents, things fail; with something this complex it will happen. Our hope is that the failure can be mitigated. If you listen to the mission controllers during launch, every step of the way they are calling out where the shuttle will abort to, if anything goes wrong. Unfortunately Columbia and Challenger’s disasters occurred with no chance of saving the crew’s. But we learned from their sacrifices and find solutions.

Our Space exploration was born out of a contest with the old Soviet Union. Now China has set a plan in place to go to Mars and we have picked up their gauntlet. I hope China nor us give up on this ambitious plan. Going to the moon was an unbelievable accomplishment, if either of country gets a man to mars, and returns him to earth, it is the next Everest.