Monday, August 1, 2011

It's Not Over

Like me you are probably fed up with the media, inefficient leaders, and the endless numbers and just want to enjoy your last few weeks of summer before the pace picks up again in September. BUT, before we move on just know this – our economy is far from out of the woods. Growth is slow, manufacturing is weak at best, and unemployment high, consumer confidence is dropping: this adds up to trouble and a very entertaining election campaign next year.

Middle America will continue to pick up the tab (you and I), the rich will continue to own more and the poor has no idea what is going on because they are just trying to survive. My advice, enjoy your summer but take a look at your retirement portfolio, stay short in your investments and liquid. Avoid debt, build up savings as much as you can, go bowling but instead of ordering that second pizza send 10 bucks to UNICEF drought relief in Eastern Africa, $10 can feed a family of four for a week. Thanks!

WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET - On the proposed debt-ceiling deal:

WHAT TOP DEMS THINK: "We are exhausted, just like everyone else who's worked on or covered this debate. But we feel very good about the end result. At its heart, this is a Senate proposal. The compromise was based on elements proposed by Senator Reid and Senator McConnell. The long-term increase of the debt ceiling and the joint committee - which keeps the ball in Congress' hands for the second act of this deficit drama - were Reid proposals, and the resolution of disapproval process came from Senator McConnell. We reached back into Senate history to use the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings act as the basis for the trigger. In the end, all we took from the House was the vehicle. Looks like the Senate is driving the car now - hopefully no one will get hurt."

WHAT TOP REPUBLICANS THINK : "We would have written a different bill if we controlled the Senate and White House. This is not perfect, but it's a positive step forward and consistent with our principles. There are no tax hikes, even though the White House was still calling for a 'balanced approach' on the Sunday shows yesterday. Republicans successfully fought for trillions in spending cuts even though the President wanted a 'clean' debt limit increase. It meets the 'cuts more than the debt hike' standard that Speaker Boehner laid out in a speech to Economic Club of New York in May. It advances the cause of a Balanced Budget Amendment. And it makes it virtually impossible for the [new] Joint Committee [on deficit reduction] to raise taxes. Not bad when you only control one-half of one-third of the federal government."

THE BIG IDEA - THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN , "Make Way for the Radical Center: A third way is on the way": "Thanks to a quiet political start-up that is now ready to show its hand, a viable, centrist, third presidential ticket, elected by an Internet convention, is going to emerge in 2012. I know it sounds gimmicky ... but an impressive group of frustrated Democrats, Republicans and independents, called Americans Elect, is really serious ... In a few days, Americans Elect will formally submit the 1.6 million signatures it has gathered to get on the presidential ballot in California as part of its unfolding national effort to get on the ballots of all 50 states ... 'Our goal is to open up what has been an anticompetitive process to people in the middle who are unsatisfied with the choices of the two parties,' said Kahlil Byrd, the C.E.O. of Americans Elect, speaking from its swank offices, financed with some serious hedge-fund money, a stone's throw from the White House. ... What did to books, what the blogosphere did to newspapers, what the iPod did to music, what did to pharmacies, Americans Elect plans to do to the two-party duopoly that has dominated American political life - remove the barriers to real competition, flatten the incumbents and let the people in. Watch out."

CAN STEVE JOBS HOOK US UP? - "When Apple reported last week that it had $76 billion in cash, we speculated that it might be enough to buy Goldman Sachs or Facebook. Today, Steve Jobs' reserves match up with the world's largest sovereign entity. That's right. Apple is currently more liquid than the U.S. government ... Washington now has a total operating balance of only $73.768 billion ... Apple currently boasts a cash reserve of $75.876-billion."


--President Obama: $2.4 trillion (includes $1.1 trillion in stimulus and tax cuts)

--President George W. Bush: $6.1 trillion (includes $1.5 trillion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other defense spending, plus $1.8 trillion in tax cuts)

--President Clinton: $1.4 trillion

--President George H.W. Bush: $1.5 trillion

--President Ronald Reagan: $1.9 trillion

--Prior to President Reagan: $1.0 trillion

--Total: $14.3 trillion

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Tom Brady (34), Sidney Crosby (24), Marcel Dionne (60), Ken Dryden (64), Kathryn Harrold (61), Wayne Knight (56), President Barack Obama (50).

RIVETING READ -- The New Yorker, “A Reporter At Large – GETTING BIN LADEN: What happened that night in Abbottabad,” by Nicholas Schmidle, who speaks Persian and Urbu, and is the author of 2009’s “To Live or To Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years Inside Pakistan”: “On the morning of Sunday, May 1st, White House officials cancelled scheduled visits, ordered sandwich platters from Costco, and transformed the Situation Room into a war room. At eleven o’clock, Obama’s top advisers began gathering around a large conference table. … Brigadier General Marshall Webb, an assistant commander of [the Joint Special Operations Command], took a seat … in a small adjoining office … [with] the only video feed in the White House showing real-time footage of the target, which was being shot by an unarmed RQ 170 drone flying more than fifteen thousand feet above Abbottabad. … Obama returned to the White House at two o’clock, after playing nine holes of golf at Andrews Air Force Base. The Black Hawks departed from Jalalabad thirty minutes later. Just before four o’clock, Panetta announced to the group in the Situation Room that the helicopters were approaching Abbottabad. Obama stood up. ‘I need to watch this,’ he said, stepping across the hall into the small office and taking a seat alongside Webb. Vice-President Joseph Biden, Secretary Gates, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed him, as did anyone else who could fit into the office. …

“The Americans’ night-vision goggles cast the scene in pixilated shades of emerald green. … The SEALs were not wearing helmet cams … None of them had any previous knowledge of the house’s floor plan … Though the Americans had thought that the house might be booby-trapped, the presence of kids at the compound suggested otherwise. … A locked metal gate blocked the base of the staircase leading to the second floor, making the downstairs room feel like a cage. After blasting through the gate with C-4 charges, three SEALs marched up the stairs. … Three SEALs … blew open another metal cage, which obstructed the staircase leading to the third floor. Bounding up the unlit stairs, they scanned the railed landing. On the top stair, the lead SEAL swiveled right; with his night-vision goggles, he discerned that a tall, rangy man with a fist-length beard was peeking out from behind a bedroom door, ten feet away. The SEAL instantly sensed that it was Crankshaft. ([A senior] counterterrorism official asserts that the SEAL first saw bin Laden on the landing, and fired but missed.)

“The Americans hurried toward the bedroom door. The first SEAL pushed it open. Two of bin Laden’s wives had placed themselves in front of him. Amal al-Fatah, bin Laden’s fifth wife, was screaming in Arabic. She motioned as if she were going to charge; the SEAL lowered his sights and shot her once, in the calf. Fearing that one or both women were wearing suicide jackets, he stepped forward, wrapped them in a bear hug, and drove them aside. He would almost certainly have been killed had they blown themselves up, but by blanketing them he would have absorbed some of the blast and potentially saved the two SEALs behind him. …A second SEAL stepped into the room and trained the infrared laser of his M4 on bin Laden’s chest. The Al Qaeda chief, who was wearing a tan shalwar kameez and a prayer cap on his head, froze; he was unarmed. … The first round, a 5.56-mm. bullet, struck bin Laden in the chest. As he fell backward, the SEAL fired a second round into his head, just above his left eye. On his radio, he reported, ‘For God and country—Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo.’ After a pause, he added, ‘Geronimo E.K.I.A.—‘enemy killed in action.’ Hearing this at the White House, Obama pursed his lips, and said solemnly, to no one in particular, ‘We got him.’”

SUMMER MANAGEMENT COURSE 101 – Selfishness, self-centeredness, self-absorption: what ever became of the Golden Rule? It has turned into “do onto other’s what you want to do onto them and the heck with what they want.” Perhaps managers and leaders should take the Double Standard Assessment Test.

Scoring: 1 = rarely; 2 = sometimes; 3 = frequently

- How often do you say, “I’m sorry” vs. expect others to say, “I’m sorry”?
- How often so you say, “Thank you” vs. expect others to say, “Thank you”?
- How often do you say, “I was wrong” vs. expect others to say, “I was wrong”?
- How often do you patiently wait for people who are taking too long vs. expect people to patiently wait for you when you are taking too long?
- How often do you go out of your way to help someone without their having to ask vs. expect someone to go out of their way to help you without you having to ask?
- How often do you give people the benefit of the doubt vs. expect people to give you the benefit of the doubt?
- How often do you give others a compliment vs. expect others to give you a compliment?
- How often do you root for others vs. expect others to root for you?
- How often do you acknowledge the deeds of others vs. expect others to acknowledge your deeds?
- How often do you listen to others vs. expect others to listen to you?
- How often do you take responsibility for your actions vs. expect others to take responsibility for their actions?
- How often do you accept no for an answer from others vs. expect others to take no for an answer from you?

Know any bosses, managers, friends, family who should take this Management 101 Course?


12 – 19: You are (“high maintenance”) easy to upset and difficult to please and a drag. You tick off people and most people resent you. You probably are a VP in Marketing at a local University. Be careful, once people wise up and realize how little they get from a relationship with you and gather the courage to cut their losses, you are toast!

20 – 29: You are average. Not bad, not so great. You can move into the 30 – 36 category and become a valued friend and partner or you can spend too much time with the 12 -19 crowd and have them drag you down to their level (watch out for those team outings).

30 – 36: You really practice the golden rule and do onto others as you would have them do onto you. You are “low maintenance” (easy to please, difficult to upset). People may not realize and appreciate you for your great qualities at first, but over time they will. If they do not then they are in Group 12 – 19 and we consider them “Managers by Avoidance”. DO NOT get involved with people in the Group 12 – 19, over time they will only cause you to become frustrated or sullen.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK - Jay Leno: "We have fantastic news. The two sides have come to an agreement. The crisis is over. ... We are going to have football!"

Next week, meatless Monday, the Social Assassin and Dear Rink Rats.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
August 1, 2011


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