Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Save the Children

     We recently had riots in the streets of Missouri because the police shot a black, male teenager.  I have no idea if the shooting was justified, but why all the media coverage?  I would not call a teenager that is large enough to be a strong-arm thief a child, but the media and race baiters do.  That same weekend in Chicago a half dozen people were killed and four times that many wounded in Chicago, but that does not seem to be news worthy. 
     We have a crisis at the border with illegal children, and many cry out to save the children.  When we don’t secure the boarder we encourage more people to risk their lives using criminal enterprises to get to our southern boarder.  Why do we want to endanger these children and keep them from their families?  They should be returned to their families and if they have illegal families here, the entire family should be sent back.  “Undocumented workers” often live in poverty.  Legal immigration is the right option.  Then they can learn the language, assimilate and thrive like our ancestors did.  But, the boarder must be secure first. 
     We have shootings in schools and people blame guns.  No gun bans can or will keep guns from the criminals any better than proper enforcement of our current laws. 
     No one wants to take the personal responsibility to identify and treat the mentally ill.  Major Hasan killed 12 and injured 31 in an obvious terrorist act at Fort Hood and our government calls it “workplace violence.”  Many knew he was a threat, but were afraid to say anything that might be considered politically incorrect. 
     We may not be able to change the world, but we better recognize that we are in a terrorist war with radical Islam.  They want Sharia law worldwide.  We have Hamas in Gaza using elementary schools to hide military operations with no concern for the children.  Radial Islamic terrorists kill woman and children around the world. Some Islam cultures allow mutilation of young girls, but we don’t want to say any thing that might be perceived as politically incorrect.
     We can’t protect all the children of the world and we can’t bring them all here.  We must focus on saving the children in this country.  Our children are the future.  We must protect and educate them.  We must get over the partisan politics, race baiting, and worrying about political correctness.  This is not productive. 
     The facts are that crime is ten times as prevalent with young black males than any other demographic.  This is not because they are black.  It is because of the environment in which they are raised.  They grow up in a welfare environment with a lack of any good family structure, as too many are born to single mothers.  They have no work ethic, a poor education, and no job skills.  They have no way out.  Young males turn to drugs and guns.  Young females have children for the welfare money, and the cycle continues.  Young Hollywood and the media contribute to the problem by romanticizing this life style. 
     We must change this cycle.  We now have three generations that don’t know any different life.  We also have more and more illegal immigrants that compound the problem.  We must save these children.  We must educate them with job skills, a work ethic, and pride in family.  We must get them off welfare and out of the slums. 
     I am not a big fan of Franklin D. Roosevelt as he was too liberal for me, but even he knew welfare was not the solution.  He established the Works Projects Administration.  It gave people work, hope, and a sense of pride in family and country.  We must do the same.  We must move families out of the bad neighborhoods, and give them a sense of purpose and pride in family.  Save the children.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Peter Principle

      I have made reference to the Peter Principle in previous blogs.  Most of us recognize the Peter Principle as the theory that individuals are promoted to a level of incompetence. 
     The Peter Principle: Why Things Go Wrong by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hill was first published in 1969.  The book shows that people are promoted to a level of incompetence, which explains most if not all management problems and poor productivity.  The book makes a very good case for this theory. 
     I was familiar with the concept, but had never read the entire book.  Marla found a first edition, which she gave me.  I just finished reading the book.  It is a great read with many examples from both the public and private sectors, including education.  The individual’s names used in the examples are quite humorous.  The book may make you laugh, but it is also so true that it may make you cry when you apply it to you own career. 
     The book gave a guide for determining if an individual has been promoted to a level of incompetence.

“Is the person accomplishing any useful work?  If the answer is:        
a)   Yes - he has not reached his level of incompetence...
b)   No - he has reached his level of incompetence …     
c)   DON’T KNOW - You have reached your level of incompetence.  Examine yourself for symptoms at once!”

     One of the examples he gives to show an individual has reached their level of incompetence is the use of the “General Purpose Speech.”  This is used extensively in both the private and public sector.  A “General Purpose Speech” sounds great and says nothing.  It can be modified slightly for specific audiences.  Campaign slogans do this.  “Hope and Change” is one of the greatest.  It sounds good, but says nothing.  Individuals can interpret it to mean whatever they want.
     The Peter Principle can be a major problem in any individual’s career.  What happens when your boss or your boss’s boss has reached their level of incompetence?  Your chances of promotion have now been blocked.  If you are not content with your present position, you must look at a horizontal job move, a new job, or going into business for yourself. 
     Going into business for yourself may or may not be right for you, but should be explored.  Helping people with exploring self-employment options is one of the reasons I wrote Business Fits: How to find the right business for you!
     The Peter Principle can also block your career in other ways.  I once had an employment headhunter tell me employers seldom hired a new employee that was more qualified in their particular area of expertise than themselves.  I also had a bank president say he would like to hire me as a marketing vice president, but he knew I would make changes that would upset too many present staff.  Most of the people I would have upset probably had reached their level of incompetence and it is easier to not rock the boat.  Self-employment may be the best or only option left for highly qualified individuals.
     I would recommend reading The Peter Principle.  The book may explain why your career has stalled, and that may be a good thing.  Look at you options including self-employment, but don’t quit your job until you are ready to make a move.  Business Fits is a must read to help you with this process.  http://Businessfits.com

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Truth or Fiction

      I wanted to be a cowboy as a kid.  I have been a student of our great western history.  I was always told and believed that the great American buffalo herds were almost exterminated by hunting.  I never stopped to think about what a fabricated story this was. 
     The undisputed facts are that the buffalo numbered around 60 million at one time.  These mighty herds roamed the great planes of the United States and Canada.  The annual crop of new calves numbered about 7.5 million. 
     William F. Cody earned the name of Buffalo Bill because he killed 4,280 buffalo in eighteen months to supply meat to the Kansas Pacific railroad.  This was an amazing accomplishment, but an insignificant portion of a 60 million herd.  Cody was not the only hunter killing buffalo for meat, but probably the most recognized. Buffalo were also hunted for their hides that were worth $3.00 to $3.50.  Sometimes they were killed just for their tongue, worth $1.  And sometimes they were just killed for sport. 
     In spite of all this the highest estimates of the number of buffalo killed annually was about 2.5 million.  If only 2.5 million were killed each year and the annual calf crop was 7.5 million, hunting obviously did not exterminate the American buffalo. 
     The American Buffalo almost became extinct, so what was the cause?  We will never know for sure, but an article by Dr. Sam Fadala called “Was the Buffalo Hunted to Near Extinction?” suggested that tick fever carried by longhorn cattle might be the cause.  A simple microbe was the culprit, just like the black plague was for humans.
     My point is that since it is so obvious that hunting did not bring the American buffalo close to extinction, why has this lie been perpetuated until it is now accepted and believed.  Why do history writers, the media, and our education system perpetuate these lies?  Is it just ignorance and laziness, or is there a political agenda? 
     This same phenomena may be seen in other disciplines and especially in politics.  When I lived in Cedar Rapids, I was invited to a small luncheon the Chamber of Commerce was having for a high level bureaucrat from the Department of Commerce.  The city has several grain processors including Quaker Oats and General mills.  Cedar Rapids’ claim to process and export more grain per resident than any city in the world was a topic of discussion.  The Chamber referenced the Department of Commerce as the source for this claim.  The individual from the Department of Commerce said they referenced Cedar Rapids as the source.  Was the claim true?  Who knows?  It reminds me of the so-called experts’ claim that man’s carbon emissions are causing global warming and quoting each other with no verifiable data.
     Tell a lie often enough and it becomes true in the public’s mind.  The public is more vulnerable to accepting lies as facts if they hear, read, and see the lie frequently in print or on TV.  I think the media has an obligation to make the public aware of lies that are being promoted as facts. 
     Politicians that have no experience, qualifications, or record of achievements to promote must resort to lies.  We are already seeing ads that are absolute blatant lies for this year’s election.   Please get the facts and vote accordingly.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Green Thing

      I have seen several versions of this and it is so true.  I don’t know who wrote it, but I had to share it.  

     An older lady was checking out at the grocery store when a much younger cashier suggested that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment. 
     The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”
     The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
     The older lady said that she was right.  “Our generation didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in our day.”
     The older lady went on to explain:  “Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store.  The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were recycled.  But, we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back in our day. 
     “Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things.  Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks.  This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings.  Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.  But too bad we didn’t do the ‘green thing’ back then. 
     “We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building.  We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.  But she was right.  We didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in our day. 
     “Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw away kind.  We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts.   Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers and sisters, not always brand-new clothing.  But you are right; we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back in our day.
     “Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room.  And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember those?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.  In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.  When we packaged a fragile item to send it in the mail, we used wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.  Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn.  We used a push mower that ran on human power.  We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.  But we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then. 
     “We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a plastic cup or bottle every time we had a drink of water.  We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade was dull.  But we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then. 
     “Back then people took the streetcar or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van which cost what a whole house did before the ‘green thing’.
     “We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.
     “But, isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the ‘green thing’ back then?”  She picked up her plastic bags and walked out.

     Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart-ass young person who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how to do it!