The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

toyota is not the enemy as seen in the Mirror

March13

According to the Washington Post (and many other media rags) Prosecutors in Orange County, California have filed a lawsuit against Toyota because of continuing problems with its vehicles.

The district attorney’s office accuses the automaker of knowingly selling hundreds of thousands of vehicles with acceleration defects. The office says it has the right to bring consumer protective action on behalf of Orange County residents.

Toyota spokesman Mike Michels says he has no comment because the company hasn’t been served with the lawsuit.

So… Why does Toyota have to ever see such a complaint?

It’s not like Toyota is denying there is an problem and trying to resolve it. Hell, it’s obviously in their best interests to jump on the issue and make a good show of living up to their vaunted reputation as one of the finest automakers in the world.

I think I have the answer though… This is California in-motion, and soon, to be sure, our own government trying to deflect attention form it’s own foibles.

Why isn’t the Orange County District Attorney suing the State of California for mismanagement of state funds, water rights, land utilization, crop and agricultural management and losing sight of corporate pensions?

I understand glass houses shatter easily. But, casting this stone looks more like kicking the company while it’s down. Seriously… What’s the point? Toyota employs people and pays taxes. On the other hand, and as a counter-point, California can’t manage it’s own borders and squanders tax dollars.

California represents the worst of our culture when it comes to materialism and the easy buck. Here you have a County suing a corporate giant with the obvious hope of a settlement that will fill badly depleted coffers. It has such a “red neck” feel to it… Sue them for easy dollars instead of holding ourselves accountable for overseeing quality control standards.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

obama's grandma isn't driving Healthcare

January21

Yesterday, Marc Kutter came by for a visit. He’s always such a breath of fresh air. We shared some good things. For me, the best was the reminder that I have good men like that as friends.

Marc is in the Healthcare-oriented business, and legislation is going to be pivotal to his company’s success. And, we talked about how life and work should be fun. Meaningful.

This got me to thinking of a fairly recent press conference President Obama lobbed in our general direction. Ironically, he’s fighting with the House over a viable healthcare plan for American citizens. But, they’ve already exempted themselves from having to suffer it themselves. So, I think Obama is fighting a losing battle here (and, we’re going to pay dearly for it). I’ve made this point in an earlier post. You can read it here: healthcare is not for You.

Nonetheless, Marc has inspired me. You should meet him. I suspect he’ll have the same affect on you. So, I’ve crafted and sent a letter to President Obama. I was, in part, also inspired by a not-quite-similar effort, that, in fact, had significant results in it’s own right. You can read here: Berkeley’s Contribution To Terrorism.

In any event, here is my letter. You should feel free to do the same. Cut and paste if you must.

Dear Mr. President,

I watched your recent press conference with great interest – but also dismay. So, perhaps that makes it morbid fascination. But, a direct result of my own agonizing efforts must now include me making a few observations on the healthcare debacle debate that is currently raging in Washington. There’s obviously a lot of limp-writed hanky waving concern over to make healthcare affordable. And, for very good reason. This nation of ours is arguably the wealthiest on the planet, but almost a third of it’s citizens can’t afford decent healthcare that could, at least, be on-par with second-world countries (like Canada or Sweden).

One metaphor you leveraged over the course of your speech, in comparing what we have now, to what some of our allies (Sweden, Great Britain, for example) have, was to talk about how, if my neighbor bought a car and I bought a similar car, and then found out my neighbor’s car cost $6,000.00 less, I’d want to know how I could get that deal.

…wait… Before I get too far down this road, I have to wonder why you don’t compare the average citizens healthcare options as they relate to your own, and those of the House and Senate?

In any event, that analogy got me thinking about the cars that I’ve owned, and why and how I came to own them. From there, I started thinking about my Dad, and the cars we had when I was growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. My Dad always used to say that his mother, my Grandma (not to be confused with my Nana 0n Mom’s side), apparently always knew the precise moment to get rid of her car and buy a new one;  just before every major system in the car needed to be repaired or replaced. He knew this from personal experience, because as a young man in a large family he was the “beneficiary” of the old car, and those expensive repairs ended up being his headache.

Dad had some interesting stories about some of Grandma’s older cars. There was the car with the hole in the floor of the back seat, through which he and siblings liked to drop pebbles through as they drove. There was another that didn’t make left turns, so they had to plan all of their shopping trips very carefully so they could get home. And, there was another car that had no reverse gear, so that he had to leave a note on the car windshield politely asking to be given an exemption from tickets due to this extenuating circumstance.

That type of experience had a profound experience on my Dad. When he first entered the Air Force he bought a brand new sports car. But, it broke down a lot. So, he sorted out it made more sense to buy used cars, of certain makes and models, after someone proved they were reliable.

In listening to those stories – and, I really listened carefully, I worked hard to not have my own “Grandma’s Old Car” experience. I always had a job. In fact, I’ve an entrepreneur most of my life, starting when I was twelve, with my own lawn care company. That makes for great experience. You should have tried that yourself – having a real job (before you were handed the Presidency), I mean. It probably would have come in useful in terms of being able to make solid decision, based upon example. So, I’ve always save my money and learned to appreciate it’s best uses. I bought all of my own cars, including an 1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. And, I took care of them.

My Dad was one of the highest decorated Air Force Officers of his era. Military officers in the 1970’s did not make a lot of money, by any measure. Dad decided to retire from the Air Force in 1980, mostly because Mom was on her last legs (so, we thought), and dying of cancer. She managed to hang-on for awhile (no thanks to our insurance company). However, Grandma did decide to pass away around that time… and, left us a car. I did not care (about the car, Grandma was cool enough). But, Dad would no longer have access to his Command Staff vehicle, so he needed a new (or different) car. My brother Greg, did not like to work, and college for him would be looming soon. So, Dad had to save money. He asked me for my beloved Karmann Ghia. In return, I became the “lucky” recipient of Grandma’s old car. I was just  in college at Radford University the time (on a Cross Country scholarship), and the only thing lucky about that car was that my dorm was across across the street from a kind and extremely honest auto mechanic, who very quickly became one of my newer best friend. By the way… Freshmen at Radford were not supposed to have cars. But, never mind that. That was only a rule. In any event, the the car was a 1966 Cadillac that got about 5 miles to a gallon of gasoline, and required a major repair approximately every 100 miles. After about ten months (and countless adventures I’ll never dare recount in writing), I came to the same realization that my Dad had come to years earlier: a free car is not necessarily a bargain.

Even my auto mechanic was thrilled when I bought a Fiat X-19 (but, for different reasons).

Mr. President, you’re a busy man. Keeping Oprah entertained and Michelle and her own Mom out of the Oval Office is distracting, I’m sure. So I’ll just cut to the chase here… When you became President of the United States (or, “POTUS”), you became the proud owner of responsible for the “Grandma’s Old Car” of healthcare systems. No matter how you try to fix it, it’ll be a broken-down, worn out, more dangerous than useful, and more costly to fix than a useful replace system. It will cost us buckets full of money. It will cost you boat-loads of political capital. It won’t get you – or more importantly, United States citizens – where we need to go in terms of improving the health. And, you’ll end up having to replace it anyway.  Or – it could very well kill your Presidency, and you’ll be the guy who didn’t get healthcare for the American people because you and the Congress were just too attached to the old system. Or, worse, you could not lead by example, and were followed by the House and Senate.

In a way, I actually understand. I see things in ways others don’t want to look. Oddly, I loved Grandma’s Old Car (I loathe what our healthcare system is killing people around me I’ve protected all of my life), but it was killing me financially, and quite frankly, it could have gotten me killed literally if it had broken down in the wrong place at the wrong time (well… It did do that a number of times. But, each time was another road to a great adventure. But, most citizens don’t need that sort of drama in their lives). So I did what was necessary. I gritted my teeth; did my homework; junked the old car (and, the Fiat); and, allowed me to stop living my life as an indentured servant to my car.

Mr. President, the American people can learn to work with a new system. You and Congress need to drive the same car we do. And, we need to stop living our lives as indentured servants to our insurance companies. We need you and the Congress to grit your teeth, do your homework, and get rid of our old, broken-down, worn out, more dangerous than useful, and more costly to fix than replace healthcare system, and introduce something entirely new. The old system with a few cosmetic changes just isn’t going to get us where we need to go as a country. Yet, as I prepare this letter, the headlines are screaming: Democrates begin discussing smaller health Bill.

COME ON!

The picture of you that I’m including says a lot. You’re not having any fun. This isn’t pick-up basketball or social work, is it.

You are not leading us. Certainly not by example. By the way… The next letter you get from me is around the way you are letting veterans (and, their families) be treated by the Veterans Administration.

You know it, Congress knows it, and the American people surely know it. We elected you because we wanted that “Change We Can Believe In” you thumped your chest over. Look… If the Republicans and the Blue Dogs want to moan and cry about the cost of a public option Mr. President, then call their bluff and give us a single payer system like my Canadian friends, for example, and cousins have. It works (certainly better than what you have on the table for us), they love it – actually no, they don’t love it, they take it for granted. It’s something they feel they are entitled to as Canadians. And everyone is covered for what you already know is a very reasonable and affordable cost. It might help if we we weren’t financially bailing our criminal bankers and a scandal-wracked financial system. How about re-directing a lot of those funds into quality of life systems.

Once people experience health CARE as opposed to health INSURANCE, the debate will be over and the people who made healthcare for all a reality for the American people will be national heroes.

Lead us. First by example. Then by executive decision. It’s what Thomas Jefferson designed the Constitution around.

You can do it Mr. President. “Yes You Can”.

Patriotically – and, on behalf of my Brothers and Sisters. Because this is what Prudent but Optimistic Gentlemen do.

Brian Patrick Cork

fair and reasonable – just like Tigger

October15

On another Blog, far from here, there is to be read a quote backed by this rambling missive.

I’ve read that dissertation a few times now.

It’s circular thinking, I’ll submit.

But, it also strikes me that this Jiddu Krishnamurti fellow is saying, without meaning to, that God is so BIG that we can’t comprehend Him or what He does. If that is the case, it’s fair and reasonable. Or, I’m reading into Krishnamurti’s words my own beliefs. Readers of this Blog know that I see God (even though I still have a mote in my eye) in most everything. But, I’m trying to be fair, reasonable and open-minded.

I’m interpreting that what Krisnamurti says reads like we should be open-minded and seeking. I’ll agree that questions are always good and healthy. That’s what the Heterodox does best (rather like Tigger).

Krishnamurti also seems to be saying there would be no evil or warfare, for example, if God actually existed. The existence of evil supposes, then, there is no God – according to Krishnamurti.

However, I’ll offer that this is where God’s gift of discernment could come into play. Man represents the potential for good and evil. God might represent an ideal. The definition of that ideal is obviously different for many people. Look at John Hagee’s position, whether you think he’s a lunatic or not, relative to Hitler and the Jews (and Hagee received a humanitarian award from Israeli leaders). Irony abounds.

In any event, I’m okay with, and happy to assume God is big, and we’re something of an experiment in the form of a petri-dish. Belief in a higher power may have been formed as we realized our deepest fears around only fading to black at the very end of our existence. That light at the tunnel, as it were (or, will be).

But, that’s okay – right? This gives us something to reach for. An ideal with which to hold ourselves accountable against.

That seems fair and reasonable. Maybe comforting, like Tigger. Certainly something I’m willing to work for.

By the way, as I fade to black myself, I’m not sure what I should expect. But, I do hope that someone is whispering in my ear: “Oh well done, fair and goodly man. You’ve finished well”.

Today, I’m listening to I Will Not Bow by Breaking Benjamin. But, also, Daughtry’s Learn My Lesson.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

the beast be AMEX: new rules

January31

Apparently American Express profiles shoppers and now evaluates where (not just how) we use their cards – and, will penalize cardholders if they visit certain stores or restaurants.

Good Morning America ran a story about this yesterday.

ABC offers a good summary of the story here

See a list of potential “trouble spotshere.

I use American Express. But, now I need to be careful not to use it at places where other people (and, not necessarily AMEX users) shop.

Pondering if this is evil or smart.

Recently AMEX’s stock went up, even though profits are down (read a story here). American Express has the right to protect itself.  And, as a shareholder I appreciate this. 

I don’t mind being held accountable by people.

However, I don’t want to be responsible for other people’s actions.

Rules enable (in part) informed decision-making. Rules make the community work by uniformly fair application (kids and dogs instinctively appreciate and respond well to rules).

The key here is American Express (and, probably other credit related companies) is changing the rules – and, we don’t know what the rules are.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

 


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What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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