Friday, April 24, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Not Even a Dollar-a-Year Man

This week has been busy as Hell.  It's taken me a full week to start feeling like myself after a long weekend spent screwing off with my buddy and our families, but I'm finally back--in mind and body both--and now it's Friday.  Yeehaw!

Hope you guys have good weekends planned.

Good design is clean and simple.
The Tesla (TSLA) chief executive's total compensation package in 2014 was $35,360, according to a regulatory filing. That's equivalent to the minimum wage in California, where Tesla is based…


Musk was awarded just over $78 million in options and cash in 2012. The billionaire entrepreneur, who also heads up rocket maker SpaceX, currently holds 35.3 million Tesla shares.

That translates to a paper fortune of roughly $7.8 billion. Tesla is currently worth $27.6 billion, and Musk's wealth grew $2.6 billion last year as the stock soared nearly 50%.

There are two ways to read this.  First (and most likely), Musk isn’t strapped for cash and doesn’t want to take it from Tesla, the value of which is obviously tied closely to his personal net worth.  So his decision not to accept a paycheck is something on the order of deciding to reinvest dividend payments in the stock paying the dividends.  He doesn’t need the money now and is loath to pull it from a place where it is needed.  

It’s also possible that Musk is a fanatic about avoiding taxes and has therefore gone to extreme lengths to avoid earned income, which is taxed at a much higher rate than capital gains.  This is less likely, though, because the stock option grants and cash payments would still be considered income.  Still, it probably beats getting a straight-up W-2.

On Monday, in an interview with Glenn Beck, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker staked a new position in the Republican Party argument over immigration. “In terms of legal immigration, how we need to approach that going forward is saying—the next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages,” he said, “It is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today—is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs, what is this doing to wages, and we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward.”

Ugh.  I am covering this solely because we’ve been covering the 2016 presidential race across the board, and Walker is a presumed major player in the Republican field.  But this view is so at odds with reality and with the fundamental principles on which this country was founded that I actually groaned when I read it.  

I get that Nativism is a traditionally powerful force in conservative American politics, but as a matter of reality, we have an aging nation that needs immigration to avoid economic stagnation.  This is not a problem.  In fact, it has helped America harvest the best and brightest from the rest of the world for some two hundred years.  There is nothing wrong with that—or even moderately negative.  The alternative to competition in the American workforce is innovative stagnation and a national loss of competitiveness.  Those things are seriously bad.  

If you want to know how bad, just ask Greece.

3. Friday Hair Metal: Damn Yankees

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida.

I doubt that either Cruz or Paul are actual players.  They are guys for whom the race represents a chance to elevate political positions and/or personal prestige, but neither has much chance to win most rank-and-file voters.  This is doubly true for Cruz because everyone in government seems to hate him.  We therefore have three actual candidates, all former governors, two of whom are from Florida, and one of whom is the protégé of another.

Bush is going to win easily.  He may well put Rubio, his protégé, on the ticket as Vice to set up a new Republican dynasty.  Rubio is a young guy and will be ideally positioned in 2024, just as Bush the Elder was in 2008.  

If I’m the Kochs, this is definitely my strategy.

5. Question of the Week
Sneax starts here.
I’m almost done with the draft for “Drakar and the Order of the Blackened Glaive”.  That’s cool’ I’ve been ready to move on to the next thing for a while now, but I didn’t want to leave Drakar half-finished for fear of never coming back to him.  Now the question is… what next?

I’ve been thinking lately about “Elaina Emboo and the Daughters of Hecate,” which is the working title for the next Sneakatara book, a book that is planned to focus more on Elaina and less on Sneax while simultaneously introducing a couple of new viewpoint characters, Wolfgang and Salamatu.  My question is this: would you rather see a single story, written as a novel, which weaves together at least a half-dozen plotlines spanning God knows how many viewpoint characters, or should I stick with the sequential story format that I used for the first two Sneax books?  

I ask because I’ve got to sit down and map out at least some of the next book soon, and while it’s a little easier to write the sequential short stories given my--often chaotic--writing schedule, I’m not at all sure that this is what readers prefer.  So, dear Reader, do you have a preference?

That’s all I’ve got this week.  I hope you guys have a good weekend.

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