jokah.com

18Mar/082

Dole financials

Dole to sell portion of Oahu holdings [Honolulu Star-Bulletin]. I have found it somewhat difficult to obtain financial information on this privately-owned company. Apparently, I haven't been looking hard enough. Bond yields are currently running around 15%.

Dole Food Co. Inc. plans to sell about 2,000 acres of land on Oahu for approximately $39 million to raise cash for the company, which recorded a $58 million net loss last year.
[snip]
Dole's $58 million net loss on revenue of $6.9 billion for 2007, is down from a net loss of $90 million on revenue of $6.2 billion in the preceding year, according to its latest SEC filing.

10-K (annual report) filed 3/23/2007. 2006 revenue breakdown looks like this: 65% fresh fruit, 18% fresh vegetables, 15% packaged foods, 3% fresh cut flowers. Guess what I will be reading the rest of this afternoon?

10-K (annual report) filed 3/11/2008.

16Mar/080

ITMFA

With the five year anniversary of the war in Iraq approaching, anti-war protests took place in major cities around the country yesterday. The second anti-war event I have attended, the rally in southeast Houston (Mason Park) attracted close to 100 supporters and two counter-protestors. Aside from hearing the typical chants and speeches, I had the opportunity to chat with some interesting people: a Green Party supporter collecting petition signatures and a self-described Communist. A couple of officers in a police van monitored the scene from a distance, but the gathering was peaceful, lasting barely an hour and a half.

I was eager to sign the ballot access petition but was told that anyone who had voted in a major party primary would not be considered eligible to sign, which I found troubling, enough so that I will seriously consider not voting in a major party primary next year. I'm pretty sure I had read this a long time ago in the course of my Texas Green Party research so I was disappointed in myself for glossing over this. The discussions I had at the rally also left me thinking about whether or not I was compromising some of my more strongly-held (but extreme) positions by supporting Obama. I imagine some conservatives are dealing similarly with regard to support for McCain.

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13Mar/080

Cluster bombs revisited

Cluster Bombs Are Not Good for Children, Hillary. I wrote about this topic briefly some time ago without realizing that an amendment (S.4882) to a defense appropriations bill was proposed shortly after to protect civilians against the use of cluster weaponry. The amendment was defeated, but most interestingly, Senator Clinton (as well as McCain and others) voted against the amendment while Obama was among the losing minority that supported it.

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13Mar/08Off

Entouch long distance per-minute overage charges

Inexplicably, long distance overage charges are not listed anywhere on the Entouch web site.  I have the 250 LD minutes per month feature ($4/month) and used some extra minutes last month.  Once you hit the limit, expect to pay $0.18 per minute (taxes and surcharges not included).  Yikes!  My prepaid cell (T-Mobile) phone rate is only $0.10 per minute.

5Mar/080

Post-election Hangover

Worked my first election site yesterday. Election judge called the morning before as I had submitted my name as a volunteer. Heavy turnout was expected, and the judge was having trouble rounding up enough people. I was looking forward to attending my first precinct caucus so I made it clear early on that I had to leave by 6:30pm, which was deemed acceptable given the circumstances.

I really enjoyed being an election volunteer and look forward to doing it again, but the combination of a 13-hour workday and the subsequent caucus completely wiped me out. Since the polling site was half an hour away, I was up before 5:00 to show up to the church at 6:00 (polls open at 7:00am). I helped set up signs and the voting kiosks and spent most of the day assisting voters with the electronic voting, keeping tallies balanced, and distributing access codes for the machines. Bonus: I was the designated expert for questions about the caucus since the other officials knew almost nothing about it. A couple of days before primary day, I had done extensive research on the precinct caucus, which paid off big time as there was enormous confusion about what to expect. I had to admit to a number of voters that having never experienced a precinct meeting, I could not say with certainty what was going to happen or how long it would last.

Here's how the caucus went for me. I ended up staying late to help close the polls and did not leave the site until 7:15pm. Given the turnout at the church, I felt fairly confident that I was not going to miss anything in my own precinct. When I arrived after 7:45pm, there was a short Clinton line that extended out the door and a massive (but certainly festive) Obama line that extended a couple of blocks. After waiting in line, we signed in for our candidate (voting machine receipt is sufficient proof that you voted in the appropriate primary), and that was it. I figure some people had waited for hours before signing.

Some observations about working the polls and attending the caucus:

  • Bring food and drink. Getting up this early really messes with your body. I brought breakfast and snacks but had to drive out briefly for lunch and had my lunch leftovers for dinner.
  • If you have a chance to sit down, take it. I was standing most of the time as it kept me from having to get up to provide machine assistance. The 1+ hour I spent waiting in the caucus line later that evening, however, was painful as a result.
  • There isn't much time to read a book. I brought a collection of PKD short stories but didn't even crack it as I was busy almost the entire time.
  • Someone needs to bring markers and scrap paper for signs. A lot of confusion could have been avoided with better signage. Impatient Democratic voters wandered over to the Republican side only to be redirected back to the long line. In the worst cases, they signed the Republican book and received the wrong ballot. End result for us: cancel ballot (which has to be logged in an incident report), cross name out of the log book, add name to the correct book, and issue a new ballot. This ain't the grocery store, people.
  • You are paid for your time, although I believe it is close to minimum wage. I was told to expect to be paid after six weeks at least.
  • Our location processed voters fairly smoothly until after 5:00pm. No surprise there. I mostly resisted the urge to make cracks about early voting. Seriously, folks, it lasts for two weeks. My advice is to go during the second week.
  • You can leave after signing in at the caucus. Having everyone in the same building to allocate delegates is simply not feasible.
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