Harper Stumbles

Profile of Steve Carlson

When the NDP government was elected in Alberta, I sold two of my six oil stocks. Yesterday morning before Stephen Harper’s agreement with the G7 was announced to phase out fossil fuels by 2100, I sold two more. This morning I won’t sell my last two. Reason? One of the companies is not active in Canada, the other is on an acquisition march and might become a take-over target itself.

That’s about all the uncertainty I can tolerate in the oil and gas industry. I don’t want to lose any more sleep over the Prime Minister’s commitment. I’ll leave the sleepless nights to Harper and he will be having them. Why? Because in the coming months his Conservative government will likely lose any hope of forming a majority government in the next election and his party may not even form a minority one. In fact, by the end of the year, they may not have much political clout at all. ‘Eastern treachery’ will cost him dearly in the West, although many Conservative voters in provinces to the east of Ottawa aren’t going to be very happy either. Continue reading Harper Stumbles

By-Laws — Democratically

Profile of Marketing Options®

Non-profit, unincorporated clubs writing new by-laws or revising old ones have to make a decision. How democratic should their by-laws be? Some by-laws leave most of the decision-making process affecting the club’s health and prosperity in the hands of a Board of Directors or an Executive Committee. Others provide a more democratic environment for members with inclusions in their by-laws that allow a Director to do their jobs but at the forbearance of the voting membership.

For example, by-laws can allow members to vote a Director out of office. This one appears in an article entitled ‘Board and Directors’ under a ‘Declaring Vacancies’ Section:

Voting Members may by a two-thirds vote at a General Meeting of Members declare a Director’s position vacant: a) if the Director fails to perform the substantial responsibilities of the position or, b) for other cause.” Continue reading By-Laws — Democratically

Are MACs Losing Their Shine?

Profile of Steve Carlson

Last week some 600,000 MAC users lost their virginity. The Flashback Trojan has made it glaringly apparent that Apple’s operating systems are not nearly as immune to nasties as many of their aficionados thought. In our innocence and years of hype, we have assumed that there is little need for antivirus software. After all that’s a Windows problem.

Apple was painfully slow issuing a patch and, when it did, it was only for its latest operating systems. The rest of us were left to fend for ourselves. All of which once again brings up that old question in my mind, “Should the next system I buy be MAC or Microsoft?” Many assume that MACs are the cadillac of computers and well they should. Go Apple and you spare no expense. When this writer bought his first MAC tower five years ago, I paid $4500. A good Windows counterpart could be had then for under two grand. A year later for about $1,600 I also paid twice as much, relatively speaking, for an Apple laptop. Continue reading Are MACs Losing Their Shine?

Doomsday Clock Fizzles Along

Profile of Steve Carlson

Last week the Doomsday Clock moved one minute closer to midnight. Time now, 11:55 PM. Five minutes to doomsday. This symbolic timepiece was conceived to reflect nuclear danger in 1947. Originally set at 11:53 PM, since then it has limped along through 20 changes. In the last few years, the original concept has fizzled into uselessness.

The most blatant limping began on the evening of October 22, 1962 when President Kennedy came on TV and announced that the Soviet Union had installed missile sites capable of delivering nuclear warheads on the United States. Construction of sites was also underway for delivery as far north as Hudson Bay and as far south as Peru. The U.S. proposed that 1) ‘All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation or port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back’ and 2) ‘It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the western hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.’ Continue reading Doomsday Clock Fizzles Along

Dave’s Question

Profile of Steve Carlson

Some years ago, I lost my closest friend to lung cancer. I think of Dave often because of a legacy, almost a special gift, he left me. It’s not a material one, rather it’s an attitude and approach that he honed and fine tuned until it became integral to how he thought and conducted himself in business and personal relationships.

Dave spent the first half of his working life as a sales trainer and executive in a tough business, the life insurance industry. In those last years in head office, Dave took up a hobby. Every weekend he loaded up his van and headed out to one of the biggest flea markets in southern Ontario. Over the years, his spot became permanent and indoors. He called it simply Dave’s Place. Evenings during the week he was out scouring Toronto for stock. I once asked him why he did it when he had such a good regular job. He answered, “Because I love the action.” Eventually, Dave’s income from this hobby was paying more than his job at head office so Dave took the big step. He resigned as a training exec and opened up his own business and an antique shop. Continue reading Dave’s Question