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Comment Re:Harry Shearer wanted more money (Score 1) 100

Harry's beef with the ACE - at least according to his movie, "The Big Uneasy" - is that they aren't engineers any more, just project managers, it's about how badly they fucked up the New Orleans pumping system, and how they're politically untouchable.

I think his show is listenable sometimes, but does get unlistenable and unfunny at times too.

Comment Re:Conform or be expelled (Score 1) 320

One is seldom given access to HOA bylaws and other deed restrictions until closing, at which point the buyer stands to lose their earnest money.

In some places earnest money is a token couple hundred dollars (we put 500 down in earnest on our current home), and the real estate agent produces a boilerplate contract to which you'll add your own clauses such as "acceptable inspection results". On my last home, I added "acceptable HOA rules and deed restrictions," and made the seller's agent produce them. She wasn't happy; it was an irregular request; but she understood that once agreed to, if they produced them at closing, I was going to spend my time reading them, and be withing my rights to walk away if they were disagreeable.
I wanted to be sure the HOA didn't have any super nutty rules. They didn't - we bought the house.

  But in other places where real estate is a bit more competitive (e.g. Westchester County, NY), your earnest deposit might be the 20% that will become your down payment. In those places one hires a real estate lawyer to handle the transaction details. I was pleased with the service mine provided for a mere $600.

Comment Re:I thought this had been settled long ago. (Score 5, Insightful) 491

You didn't say anything about this explicitly, so I'll add it.
The people who study balance sheets, and decide whether tr not to risk their money on your company (either in the form of equity or loans), have apparently all decided that cheap labor is a universal good, and profits that come at the expense of squeezing them out of your labor employees, rather than from increased sales, are also markers of good management.

The effects of hiring the cheap labor (and the overall lesser skill levels that come with it) are not felt for several quarters, and since everything is all about this quarter, hiring twice the labor for two thirds the cost looks good on the current balance sheet. Plus they get to inflate their work force numbers. Since the goal of every manager is to grow head count and budget, and since nobody can objectively judge how efficiently you ran your department, more head count is better. Especially when you can't grow your budget, and especially when you can shrink you budget at the same time.

The a couple of years later, when your company starts to implode, you get your golden parachute, and the company becomes somebody else's short term problem.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_

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