Monday, September 26, 2011

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

This summer has been rough with financial markets, economic conditions and governments around the world in turmoil. Poor leadership, management by avoidance, lack of respect for your neighbor are now the given. This constant bad news can get you down. We live and work in a technology driven age, global information available 24/7, but our individual worlds seem to be getting smaller as we seek to hide from all the bad news out there.

The demands placed on society by greed, diminishing natural resources, and the drive to make a profit have created an “anti” attitude that seems to be taking over our political, social and economic principles. Look out for yourself and the heck with your neighbor, co-worker, or fellow citizen: anti-female, anti-gay, anti-human rights, anti-economic rights, anti-environment are preached or quietly encouraged by politicians and social groups. Diversity today is taking a back seat to wealth, power and corruption. The Yellow Brick Road to a better quality of life seems to be crumbling.

How does one battle against all this negativity? You make your own small world a better place and hopefully this creates a wave throughout other peoples lives. Well, I am fortunate to have two close friends that keep this Yellow Brick Road alive and well in my and others’ lives. Their priorities in life are to their families, their friends, and their principles. They think of others first and themselves last. Their lives and careers deal with the realities of modern society, but they are not driven by profits, by who they can impress, they show respect for their fellow co-workers, for the environment and whoever they come in contact with daily. Their careers are about community service and they do not degrade and disrespect people. Yes they disagree with many but their principles are based on fair play and respect for all.

I come in contact with these two individuals daily, my hope and optimism are restored by the way they conduct their lives. I hope and pray for more Carrie and Joes, the Yellow Brick Road would be better off indeed.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Astrid Evans …famous child actress, Jimmy Carter (87), Angie Dickinson (80), Bryant Gumbel (63), Meat Loaf (64), Serena Williams (30).

FINANCE 101 - U.S. Postal Service Business Model flaw “Forever Stamp”.

FIRST LOOK: AMERICA OUT OF WORK - Bloomberg BusinessWeek cover, "America Isn't Working," looks at the skills gap among American workers. From the piece by Drake Bennett: "Even with 14 million Americans looking for work-and at least 2.6 million wanting work but not actively searching-jobs are going unfilled. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the total number of openings at 3.2 million, and despite the flood of applicants, companies sometimes struggle to find candidates that fit. This is the 'skills gap,' and as the jobless rate remains stubbornly high, it's one of the few things policymakers from both parties think they can actually fix."

FACEBOOK IPO PUSHED BACK TO LATE 2012 - "Facebook is preparing to launch its blockbuster initial public offering in the US towards the end of next year, a later public debut by the social networking site than had been widely anticipated ... The IPO, expected to be one of the world's biggest with recent private share sales valuing Facebook at more than $66.5bn, has been expected by April 2012, with persistent speculation that it could even come this year. ... Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, wants to wait until next September or later in order to keep employees focused on product developments rather than a pay-out."

THE WAY TO WIN -- HOW TO RUN A MEETING , by Donald Rumsfeld, in Bloomberg Businessweek's forthcoming "THE HOW TO ISSUE": "Try to start the meeting as scheduled. ... The same thing's true with ending it ... Establishing a reasonably disciplined meeting culture leads to better preparation by the participants. ... Some people prefer very small meetings, but it seems to me that when you're inclusive you're much more likely to hear different perspectives. For example, your general counsel isn't the person who's going to be dealing with you on a specific policy, but he's a person whose perspective can be useful. ... Even before a meeting starts, when I've taken people to brief a President, I've talked to them about the importance of [clarity in] their speech [no jargon or acronyms]. The reason for talking is to be understood. ...”

"If people have a pattern of presenting the obvious, one would talk to them, and if it went on, you probably wouldn't include them. ... When someone comes in and has a proposal, they often begin there. What I've tried to do in both business and government is to encourage people to come in and say, 'Here's the subject matter, and here are my assumptions.' It gives the listeners, the deciders, a chance to see how far the presenters have thought it through. Finally, on standing meetings: I have a stand-up desk, and ... when people come in with a purpose, if it's a subject matter that lends itself to being decided that way, we would have stand-up meetings ... rather than serving coffee and getting comfortable and spending longer than needed."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/1, the first big game from the new Big Ten: #8 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-0) @ #7 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0), 8:00 PM ET, ABC. Surprisingly The Badgers are giving 7 points in this game, we say take the points and go with The Huskers to pull a mild upset in Madison.
Season to date (3-1).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/1, it doesn’t get any better in the Ohio Athletic Conference: #2 Mount Union Purple Raiders (3-0) visit #9 Ohio Northern Polar Bears (2-1), 1:30 PM ET, HGTV. Only in Ohio would a college have a nick name the Polar Bears. The visiting Purple Raiders will win in Ada, Ohio.
Season to date (3-1).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/2, it has been awhile since I said this: the undefeated Detroit Lions (3-0) visit the Dallas Cowboys (1-1), 1:00 PM ET, Fox. As of this writing no line has been set but we don’t care, The Lions will continue their march to football respectability, Lions win in Dallas.
Season to date (3-0).

JACKASS OF THE MONTH – A distinguished nominee this month, Rick Perry. The Governor of Texas, Republican Presidential candidate and next to Darth Vader the most narrow minded person we know. His anti-rhetoric is now boring and dangerous. Texas, one of the worst public education systems in the country and the poorest record for worker’s rights in the nation – all on his watch.

Three debates into the Perry for president campaign, the governor vanished for much of the night during the Florida debate last Thursday, except when Mitt Romney was delivering a critical reading of Perry's book. With his hard-charging campaign stuck in neutral and Romney gaining ground in South Carolina, Perry had trouble getting attention in a stiff debate with more candidates than a Big 12 expansion rumor.

We celebrate this month’s Jackass of the month, Rick Perry, may this award send you to the sidelines.

Next week, NHL preseason picks and new place to wet your whistle.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 26, 2011

#II-22, 75

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