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Updated: 2018-03-06T05:46:54.130-05:00




hi Competent




Hi Competent


Junior Achievement


I never personally participated in the organization, but I think Junior Achievement is a terrific learning activity!

Dan O'Shea added you to his circles and invited you to join Google+


Dan O'Shea added you to his circles and invited you to join Google+.Join Google+Google+ makes sharing on the web more like sharing in real life. CirclesAn easy way to share some things with college buddies, others with your parents, and almost nothing with your boss. Just like in real life. HangoutsConversations are better face-to-face. Join a video hangout from your computer or mobile phone to catch up, watch YouTube videos together, or swap stories with up to 9 of your friends at once. MobileLightning-fast group chat. Photos that upload themselves. A bird's-eye view of what's happening nearby. We built Google+ with mobile in mind.You received this message because Dan O'Shea invited to join Google+. Unsubscribe from these emails.Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View, CA 94043 USA[...]

Health Records - Watch Out!


I learned a hard lesson today and will pass on my unfortunate experience to you for your consideration.

I had a detailed vision examination years back and assumed that the medical provider kept a copy... especially in the case of an emergency (i.e., injury, accident or destruction of eye ware while traveling, etc.)

Health care providers do keep a copy... for a time.

I've been lucky over the years in that my vision has been good, and I haven't needed a change of prescription.

During my last physical examination, my general primary health care provider suggested that, even so, it might be a good idea to get a routine vision checkup.

In my case, absolutely unknown to me, at some time during the intervening years, my vision provider destroyed my records, including all details about the detailed examination provided to me. All that information (test results, etc.) lost forever!

Now, it is just like I was born yesterday! Absolutely no information available to the next vision specialist who will examine me.

What a waste!

I have learned my lesson.

The next time you have any sort of health care procedure performed, ask the provider to give you a physical copy of your record. Keep it in a safe place, and do not assume that the provider will maintain your records, certainly not for any substantial length of time.

I wish that I had done this.

Lesson learned!

Google Project Oxygen


.I'm often amazed when I find some large enterprise that spends tons of money and time to produce the glaringly obvious!Take Google, for example. Apparently, managers there felt that that they were so special and different from ordinary mortal men and women that they spent a considerable amount of time and money investigating why good Google managers were good, and why bad Google managers were bad. Being different (at least in their own minds), they produced a list.The project, called Google Project Oxygen, was written up in today's New York Times.Here is the list... you be the judge. The ideas aren't bad at all, but would you spend a ton of time and money to produce them?-----------------------------Here’s the full list (in order of decreasing importance):1. Be a good coach.2. Empower your team and don’t micromanage.3. Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being.4. Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented.5. Be a good communicator.6. Help your employees with career development.7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team.8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team.Here are the three pitfalls of managers:1. Have trouble making a transition to the team.2. Lack a consistent approach to performance management and career development.3. Spend too little time managing and communicating.[...]

College Not Worth Cost


Local TV station investigates...


Executive Pay Continues Skyward...


The "shareholders" mentioned here are really executives at financial firms, like mutual funds, etc.
It would appear that they are uninterested in restraining excessive pay for themselves and for others...
From the Wall Street Journal...
Shareholders this year approved executive-pay packages at every public company that received funds from the Treasury Department's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program and disclosed the results of the vote, according to a recent analysis.
The findings call into question the value of such "say-on-pay" resolutions, says David Wilson, a securities lawyer and author of the study. They come as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote this fall on a bill that would give shareholders of all public companies advisory votes on executive compensation, following the passage of a similar measure by the House of Representatives in July.

Cordless Electric


(CNN) -- Electronics such as phones and laptops may start shedding their power cords within a year. Wireless electricity may soon make tangled power cords a thing of the past. That's the prediction of Eric Giler, CEO of WiTricity, a company that's able to power light bulbs using wireless electricity that travels several feet from a power socket. WiTricity's version of wireless electricity -- which converts power into a magnetic field and sends it sailing through the air at a particular frequency -- still needs to be refined a bit, he said, but should be commercially available soon. Giler, whose company is a spinoff of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology research group, says wireless electricity has the potential to cut the need for power cords and throw-away batteries. "Five years for now, this will seem completely normal," he said. "The biggest effect of wireless power is attacking that huge energy wasting that goes on where people buy disposable batteries," he said. Watch Giler demonstrate the idea It also will make electric cars more attractive to consumers, he said, because they will be able to power up their vehicles simply by driving into a garage that's fitted with a wireless power mat. Electric cars are "absolutely gorgeous," he added, "but does anyone really want to plug them in?" Ideas about wireless electricity have been floating around the world of technology for more than a century. Nikola Tesla started toying with the ability to send electricity through the air in the 1890s. Since then, though, making wireless electricity technology safe and cheap enough to put on the market has been an arduous task for researchers. Engineers have developed several ways to convert electricity into something that's safe to send through the air without a wire. Some of their technologies are available on commercial scales, but they have some limits. Low-level power One set of researchers is able to send power over long distances but in very small amounts. For example, in 2003, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, company called Powercast used radio waves to light a low-power LED bulb that was 1.5 miles from its power source, said Harry Ostaffe, spokesman for the company. Now, Powercast's technology is used in office buildings to power temperature sensors that regulate air conditioning systems and in other low-power applications. The company also has sold wireless artificial Christmas trees strung with LED lights for about $400, Ostaffe said. But radio waves can't transfer the larger amounts of electricity needed to power laptops or mobile phones, he said. Power pads Another type of wireless electricity technology can send large amounts of power over very small distances, often not more than a few centimeters. Such technology is available today, but only in minimal ways. Think, for instance, about electric toothbrushes that sit on charging cradles but don't actually plug in. One problem with the high-power, small-distance idea is that each device requires its own charging pad, and consumers hate that, said Menno Treffers, chairman of the steering group at the Wireless Power Consortium. The group formed in late 2008 to promote standardization of the technology. Treffers said consumers soon should be able to buy one power pad that would charge all of their electronic devices. It might look like a placemat, and cell phones, remote controls and appliances would charge automatically when they're placed on the pad. "The key reason to do it is convenience, because if you want to get rid of all the different power supplies, there are other ways that are cheaper," he said. The pads, which would rely on electrical sockets as their initial sources of power, also would be more energy efficient than plugging all of the devices into power sockets directly, he said. The pads would shut off automatically when a device has fi[...]

Be VERY Careful With Words!


  13. When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." The company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant." 12. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing Sucks like an Electrolux." 11. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "Manure Stick." 10. Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer From Diarrhea." 9. Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese. 8. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, since many people can't read. 7. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine. 6. Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken," was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate." 5. When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its "Fly In Leather" campaign literally, which meant "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero) in Spanish. 4. An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read "I Saw the Potato" (la papa). 3. The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read "Are You Lactating?" 2. General Motors had a very famous fiasco in trying to market the Nova car in Central and South America. "No va" in Spanish means, "It Doesn't Go". 1. The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", meaning "Bite the Wax Tadpole" or "Female Horse Stuffed with Wax", depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent "kokoukole", translating into "Happiness in the Mouth." Bad Domain Names 2009-04-05 All of these are companies that didn't spend quite enough time considering how their online names might appear – and be misread… Who Represents is where you can find the name of the agent that represents any celebrity. Their Web site Experts Exchange is a knowledge base where programmers can exchange Advice and views Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder There's the Italian Power Generator company, And don't forget the Mole Station Native Nursery in New South Wales, If you're looking for IP computer software, there?s The First Cumming Methodist Church Web site And the designers at Speed of Art await you at their wacky Web site, PS. Some of these companies realized their mistake and had since changed their domain names.   R. D. Jones And His Sewing Machine 2009-03-22 The following is an ad from a real-life newspaper which appeared four days in a row – the last three hopelessly trying to correct the first day's mistake. MONDAY:For sale: R. D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Phone 948-0707 after 7 P.M.. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him cheap. TUESDAY:Notice: We regret having erred In R. D. Jones'[...]



WASHINGTON – The people who multitask the most are the ones who are worst at it. That's the surprising conclusion of researchers at Stanford University, who found multitaskers are more easily distracted and less able to ignore irrelevant information than people who do less multitasking."The huge finding is, the more media people use the worse they are at using any media. We were totally shocked," Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford's communications department, said in a telephone interview.The researchers studied 262 college undergraduates, dividing them into high and low multitasking groups and comparing such things as memory, ability to switch from one task to another and being able to focus on a task. Their findings are reported in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.When it came to such essential abilities, people who did a lot of multitasking didn't score as well as others, Nass said.Still to be answered is why the folks who are worst at multitasking are the ones doing it the most.It's sort of a chicken-or-egg question."Is multitasking causing them to be lousy at multitasking, or is their lousiness at multitasking causing them to be multitaskers?" Nass wondered. "Is it born or learned?"In a society that seems to encourage more and more multitasking, the findings have social implications, Nass observed. Multitasking is already blamed for car crashes as several states restrict the use of cell phones while driving. Lawyers or advertisers can try to use irrelevant information to distract and refocus people to influence their decisions.In the study, the researchers first had to figure out who are the heavy and light multitaskers. They gave the students a form listing a variety of media such as print, television, computer-based video, music, computer games, telephone voice or text, and so forth.The students were asked, for each form of media, which other forms they used at the same time always, often, sometimes or never.The result ranged from an average of about 1.5 media items at the low end to more than four among heavy multitaskers.Then they tested the abilities of students in the various groups.For example, ability to ignore irrelevant information was tested by showing them a group of red and blue rectangles, blanking them out, and then showing them again and asking if any of the red ones had moved.The test required ignoring the blue rectangles. The researchers thought people who do a lot of multitasking would be better at it."But they're not. They're worse. They're much worse," said Nass. The high media multitaskers couldn't ignore the blue rectangles. "They couldn't ignore stuff that doesn't matter. They love stuff that doesn't matter," he said.Perhaps the multitaskers can take in the information and organize it better? Nope."They are worse at that, too," Nass said."So then we thought, OK, maybe they have bigger memories. They don't. They were equal" with the low multitaskers, he added.Finally, they tested ability to switch from one task to another by classifying a letter as a vowel or consonant, or a number as even or odd. The high multitaskers took longer to make the switch from one task to the other.This particularly surprised the researchers, considering the need to switch from one thing to another in multitasking."They couldn't help thinking about the task they weren't doing," lead author Eyal Ophir said. "The high multitaskers are always drawing from all the information in front of them. They can't keep things separate in their minds."The next step is to look into what multitaskers are good at and see if the difference between high and low multitaskers [...]

Change CEO Pay!


Bigger Bang for the Buck?Investor G. Mason Morfit, chairman of the board compensation committee at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, offers these suggestions for shareholder-friendly pay packages: * Make top managers buy lots of stock with their own money. * Tie equity grants to total shareholder return. * Be generous on the upside, but tough on the downside. * Don't grant equity automatically every year. * Don't backslide -- no bonuses if executives miss targets. * Scrap 'entitlement' perks like car allowances and club duesJ. Michael Pearson paid plenty to become chief executive of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International in 2008. He'll be paid plenty more if he succeeds.Mr. Pearson's unusual pay package wins praise from compensation critics, who say it may offer a model for other public companies. Directors of the midsize drug maker required him to buy at least $3 million in stock, forgo routine annual equity grants and hold many shares for years before selling.No single element is unique, but the combination is rare -- for a public company. G. Mason Morfit, chairman of Valeant's board compensation committee and main architect of the package, says he wanted to mimic executive-pay deals at businesses controlled by private-equity firms. Mr. Morfit is a partner of ValueAct Capital, an activist hedge fund whose 22% stake makes it Valeant's biggest stockholder.Pay experts say the deal gives Mr. Pearson incentives to boost long-term value for investors. For example, the 49-year-old CEO only gets to keep certain restricted shares if Valeant's share price increases at least 15% a year through February 2011. Mr. Pearson can't sell most restricted shares or exercised stock options for two years after they vest."It goes a substantial distance toward addressing my concerns about executive-pay arrangements," says Lucian Bebchuk, a Harvard law professor and frequent pay critic."Many companies would benefit from imitating this or moving in this direction," adds Steven N. Kaplan, a University of Chicago business professor and pay researcher. "More pay for performance is a good thing." requirements provide executives with counter-productive incentives to leave the firm in order to cash out accumulated options and shares and diversify risks. Perversely, the incentive to leave will be strongest for executives who have served successfully for a long time and whose accumulated options and shares will thus have an especially large value. Rather than supplying retention incentives, equity compensation with hold-till-retirement requirements would have the opposite effect.A similar distortion arises under any arrangement tying the freedom to cash out to an event that is at least partly under an executive's control. Following the requirement adopted by Congress in February as part of the stimulus bill, Treasury's new regulations mandate that TARP recipients preclude executives from cashing out granted shares before TARP funds are repaid. To the extent that TARP recipients adopt the regulations' minimum restrictions on cashing out, executives would have incentives to return TARP funding even when they shouldn't be doing so.To avoid the above problems, the period during which vested equity incentives may not be cashed out should be fixed. For example, when an executive's options or shares vest, one-fifth of them could become unblocked, and the executive would subsequently be free to cash them out, in each of the subsequent five years. Because the blocking period would be fixed, the executive's actions wouldn't be distorted by a desire to accelerate the cashing o[...]

Good Investments Start with the Brain


AUGUST 23, 2009, 5:34 P.M. ET The Mistakes We Make—and Why We Make Them
How investors think often gets in the way of their results. Meir Statman looks into our heads and tells us what we're doing wrong.

Ex-soldiers don't need to be told they're a burden to society


The Death Book for Veterans Ex-soldiers don't need to be told they're a burden to society.By JIM TOWEY If President Obama wants to better understand why America's discomfort with end-of-life discussions threatens to derail his health-care reform, he might begin with his own Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He will quickly discover how government bureaucrats are greasing the slippery slope that can start with cost containment but quickly become a systematic denial of care.Last year, bureaucrats at the VA's National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, "Your Life, Your Choices." It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA's preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated "Your Life, Your Choices." is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing. "Your Life, Your Choices" presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political "push poll." For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be "not worth living." The circumstances listed include ones common among the elderly and disabled: living in a nursing home, being in a wheelchair and not being able to "shake the blues." There is a section which provocatively asks, "Have you ever heard anyone say, 'If I'm a vegetable, pull the plug'?" There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as "I can no longer contribute to my family's well being," "I am a severe financial burden on my family" and that the vet's situation "causes severe emotional burden for my family." When the government can steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living, who needs a death panel? One can only imagine a soldier surviving the war in Iraq and returning without all of his limbs only to encounter a veteran's health-care system that seems intent on his surrender. I was not surprised to learn that the VA panel of experts that sought to update "Your Life, Your Choices" between 2007-2008 did not include any representatives of faith groups or disability rights advocates. And as you might guess, only one organization was listed in the new version as a resource on advance directives: the Hemlock Society (now euphemistically known as "Compassion and Choices").This hurry-up-and-die message is clear and unconscionable. Worse, a July 2009 VA directive instructs its primary care physicians to raise advance care planning with all VA patients and to refer them to "Your Life, Your Choices." Not just those of advanced age and debilitated condition—all patients. America's 24 million veterans deserve better.Many years ago I created an advance care planning document called "Five Wishes" that is today the most widely used living will in America, with 13 million copies in national circulation. Unlike the VA's document, this one does not contain the standard bias to withdraw or withhold medical care. It meets the legal r[...]

VA Corruption


Fri Aug 21, 3:45 am ETWASHINGTON – Outside the Veterans Affairs Department, severely wounded veterans have faced financial hardship waiting for their first disability payment. Inside, money has been flowing in the form of $24 million in bonuses.In scathing reports this week, the VA's inspector general said thousands of technology office employees at the VA received the bonuses over a two-year period, some under questionable circumstances. It also detailed abuses ranging from nepotism to an inappropriate relationship between two VA employees.The inspector general accused one recently retired VA official of acting "as if she was given a blank checkbook" as awards and bonuses were distributed to employees of the Office of Information and Technology in 2007 and 2008. In some cases the justification for the bonuses was inadequate or questionable, the IG said.The official, Jennifer S. Duncan, also engaged in nepotism and got $60,000 in bonuses herself, the IG said. In addition, managers improperly authorized college tuition payments for VA employees, some of whom were Duncan's family members and friends. That cost taxpayers nearly $140,000.Separately, a technology office employee became involved in an "inappropriate personal relationship" with a high-level VA official. The technology office employee flew 22 times from Florida to Washington, where the VA official lived. That travel cost $37,000.The details on the alleged improprieties were in two IG reports issued this week. VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts said the agency was extremely concerned about the IG's findings and would pursue a thorough review."VA does not condone misconduct by its employees and will take the appropriate correction action for those who violate VA policy," Roberts said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.The number of claims the VA needs to process has escalated, and the Information and Technology Office has a critical role in improving the technological infrastructure to handle the increase. President Barack Obama has said creating a seamless transition for records between the Pentagon and the VA could help eliminate a backlog that has left some veterans waiting months for a disability check.Much of the IG's focus was on Duncan, the former executive assistant to the ex-assistant secretary for information and technology, Robert Howard.In one situation, a part-time intern with connections to Duncan was allowed to convert to a full-time paid position even though the individual was working a part-time schedule 500 miles away at college, the IG said."We have never known of any other new VA employee provided such favorable treatment," the IG said.The individual's name and relationship to Duncan was blacked out, as were many other names in the reports.Investigators recommended that the employees who received the college money pay it back. The largest amount awarded was $33,000.In addition to Duncan, three other high-level employees received $73,000, $58,000 and $59,000 in bonuses in 2007 and 2008, the IG said. In 2007 alone, 4,700 employees were awarded bonuses, on average $2,500 each.Some employees were given cash awards for services that were supposedly provided before the employees started working at VA, the IG said.A man who answered the phone at Duncan's residence in Rehoboth Beach, Del., said she was not available, and he said not to call back.The IG also found that Katherine Adair Martinez, deputy assistant secretary for information protection and risk management in the Office of Information and Technology, misused her position, abused her authority and engaged in prohibited personnel practices when she influence[...]

Wolfram Bing?


I really like Wolfram Alpha... I use it with my finance students, and have offereed to help them... but to no avail. They seemingly are determined to go down the road without my particular input.

This is an all-too-common situation at organizations of all types... "PLEASE do NOT confuse us with the facts! We'd rather do things by ourselves!"

Yup! Sure...

In the meantime, here's a little of what Michael Arrington had to say today about them...

"The original excitement around Wolfram's launch quickly died down, whereas Bing's continued to accelerate... It helps, of course, to have a $100 million marketing budget and be backed by Microsoft, but Bing actually seems to be striking a chord with regular search consumers.

Maybe that is because Wolfram Alpha is not as approachable as Bing. It is good at "computing answers" to arcane questions, and has some very impressive technology under the hood. But it has a long way to go before it can deliver results that really Wow you. As Paul Carr puts it, Wolfram Alpha is the "technological equivalent of a boring uncle; the method was more impressive than the effect, and so the hairs on the back of my neck remain unstood.""

Study warns of cyber warfare during military conflicts


August 17th, 2009

Study warns of cyber warfare during military conflicts

Posted: 04:23 PM ET

By Jeanne Meserve

CNN Homeland Security Correspondent

WASHINGTON (CNN) — An independent research group predicts cyber warfare will accompany future military conflicts, and is recommending international action to blunt it's impact.

The non-profit U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit studied the cyber tactics used against the country of Georgia during its military conflict with Russia last year. Cyber attacks in August 2008 shut down the Web sites of critical Georgian government agencies, the media and banks.

"The Russians have developed a model here that is very effective," said Scott Borg, director of US-CCU. Because of the sensitive nature of much of the information, the full 100-page report is being released only to U.S. government officials and selected cyber-security professionals. CNN was provided a nine-page summary.

The study concludes that the cyber attacks against Georgian targets were carried out by civilians, many of them recruited via social networking forums devoted to dating, hobbies and politics.

"There was a large-scale collaboration on these forums," said US-CCU's chief technical officer, John Bumgarner. "They were used to recruit potential actors to launch attacks, to collaborate on what types of attacks worked and what types of attacks didn't work. They were used to collaborate on how to bypass security controls and share attack codes."

Confessions of a Health Insurance PR Flack


Editor's note: Wendell Potter has served since May 2009 as senior fellow on health care at the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit organization that says it seeks to expose "corporate spin and government propaganda." After a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, Potter left his job last year as head of communications for one of the nation's largest health insurers, CIGNA Corporation.Ex-insurance company spokesman Wendell Potter says the industry seeks to drive the health care debate.(CNN) -- Having grown up in one of the most conservative and Republican places in the country -- East Tennessee -- I understand why many of the people who are showing up at town hall meetings this month are reacting, sometimes violently, when members of Congress try to explain the need for an expanded government role in our health care system.I also have a lot of conservative friends, including one former co-worker who was laid off by CIGNA several years ago but who nonetheless worries about a "government takeover" of health care.The most vocal folks at the town hall meetings seem to share the same ideology as my kinfolks in East Tennessee and my former CIGNA buddy: the less government involvement in our lives, the better.That point couldn't have been made clearer than by the man standing in line to get free care at Remote Area Medical's recent health care "expedition" at the Wise County, Virginia, fairgrounds, who told a reporter he was dead set against President Obama's reform proposal.Even though he didn't have health insurance, and could see the desperation in the faces of thousands of others all around him who were in similar straits, he was more worried about the possibility of having to pay more taxes than he was eager to make sure he and his neighbors wouldn't have to wait in line to get care provided by volunteer doctors in animal stalls.Friday morning my former CIGNA buddy sent me an e-mail challenging something he said his wife heard me say in a radio report about my press conference in the Capitol on Wednesday with Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York, chairwoman of the House Rules Committee."She heard you say that these protestors are funded by the insurance companies. Frankly, nothing would surprise me, but certainly not each and every person," he wrote. "If there was a meeting near me, I certainly would tell my local representative how I feel about this entire subject (and it wouldn't be pretty), and I certainly am not funded by anyone. So I am ultimately wondering what proof there is that seemingly ordinary Americans are finally protesting what is going in Washington and there are all of these suggestions of a greater conspiracy."If the radio report had carried more of my remarks, he might have a better understanding of how the health insurance and its army of PR people are influencing his opinions and actions without his even knowing it.Until I quit my job last year, I was one of the leaders of that army. I had a very successful career and was my company's voice to the media and the public for several years.It was my job to "promote and defend" the company's reputation and to try to persuade reporters to write positive stories about the industry's ideas on reform. During the last couple of years of my career, however, I became increasingly worried that the high-deductible plans insurers were beginning to push Americans into would force more and more of us into bankruptcy.The higher I rose in the company, the more I learned about the tactics in[...]

Unemployment 80% on Indian reservation


CHERRY CREEK, South Dakota (CNN) -- The tiny one-room house rests on a hill; no electricity and no running water. A creaky metal cot and a rusting wood-burning stove is all the comfort Herbert Hale says he needs."All it is is logs, glue -- dirt and water put together -- then cement and the chicken string," Hale says of his home. "Long as the windows don't break, it's nice and warm in here."The roof leaks a bit, and the floorboards are rotted in one corner, but Hale isn't one to complain."It's home," he says, almost under his breath, as he invites a visitor to have a look.Firewood is stacked in one corner inside, and more outside as Hale uses the summer months to stockpile for prairie winters, where 20 below zero is not all that uncommon.He also pulls bunches of long weeds in the prairie grass, to dry for use as a firestarter."I have to be careful," Hale says matter-of-factly as he pulls a few fistfuls. "Sometimes there are some snakes. Rattlesnakes. Nothing to mess around with."He is 54 years old, aveteran of two Army combat tours in Vietnam, a member of the Lakota tribe and part of two stunning statistics, even as communities across America deal with the pain and challenges of recession:The unemployment rate on his reservation runs higher than 80 percent;Ziebach County, where he lives, is the nation's poorest, with just shy of 56 percent of its residents below the poverty line. Poverty among children in the county eclipses a staggering 70 percent. After the Army, Hale worked 16 years as a firefighter. But he began having some back problems in the early 1980s and then, "cancer caught up with me. I have a brain tumor."He says he gets a check for just shy of $17 every week from a tribal welfare fund, and tries to find odd jobs to pay for his food and to help out a diabetic sister.But there's a catch: Tiny Cherry Creek has no such jobs. There are one or two one-room homes like Hale's, but it is mostly a collection of a couple dozen simple modular homes provided by a federal and tribal housing program. It doesn't even have a gas station or general store.So Hale heads out most days toward Eagle Butte -- 17 miles up one road and then 21 miles more up the next. A few more twists and, "It's about 42 to 43 miles, someplace around there."Herbert Hale can't afford a car."Well, I take off, go to my sister's, then get some water and take off. Somebody along the way will pick me up."Often, that somebody is Bryce In The Woods, a member of the tribal council whose district includes Cherry Creek."It is bad," he says of the area's economic plight, walking a visitor through the gravel streets where many residents, idle because of the lack of jobs, are sitting out front or shout out a greeting from inside their small homes.To spend a day crossing the reservation is to see a place stunningly beautiful and seemingly forgotten all at once, small, poor communities tucked into the hollows of western South Dakota's Cheyenne River Reservation. The poverty is all the more striking because of the richness of the setting: green and golden rolling hills, roaming horses and cattle, and tall corn and golden sunflowers sprouting from the fertile soil."Ziebach County is the No. 1 county statistically with child poverty," he said. "Now that alone is generational, with the trauma of poverty and the broken family."Breaking that cycle is Bryce In The Woods' obsession. He highlights a bright spot: A building in the[...]

MBA Ethics Oath


Some really great students and professors at Harvard Business School created a voluntary MBA Ethics Oath.

You can see it here:

So far, so good.

But then the MAJORITY of students at Harvard and MIT refused to sign it, providing all sorts of lame excuses and intellectual sophistry. They are intellectually smart people, after all.

The oath itself is plain vanella... which makes one wonder why anyone entrusted with any sort of management responsibility would refuse to sign it.

If you yourself wonder why our society is in the shape it is in, and wonder what it will take to turn things around, please consider why MBA students would absolutely refuse to sign, let alone implement in their daily lives, such a simple ethical document.

Should you count your fingers after shaking hands with one of them?

And what kind of senior management would even want these kind of ethically blind people around, no matter how intellectually gifted they might be?

I realize this is a small point in the overall scheme of things. But sometimes, small points can reveal a larger truth. From my point of view, this episode nicely illustrates the "ethical rot" that is underpinning our present and future business leadership.

If your organization chooses to hire one of these Harvard/MIT "ethically warped" geniuses, just remember... you've been warned.

Remember Harvard MBA Jeffrey Skilling of Enron fame?

If you need a refresher, here it is:

In 2006 he was convicted of multiple federal felony charges relating to Enron's financial collapse, and is currently serving a 24-year, 4-month prison sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, near Littleton, Colorado.

Was he really very, very smart... or really, really dumb? IQ, after all, isn't everything in my book.

Good luck, folks!

Congress Has Cushy Health Benefits for Themselves


Congress Has Cushy Health Benefits for Themselves

As reported recently by the Los Angeles Times, you see, senators and members of the House of Representatives enjoy a health insurance program that insulates them from the costs, problems and worries suffered by millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans. Like other government workers, they have their choice of ten different health plans, while 85% of companies offering a health plan to their employees offer a single option. They pay a modest $300 a month for family coverage, according to the Times. And — in stark contrast to the difficulties faced by cancer survivors or diabetes sufferers who try to get health insurance on the individual market — they don't have to worry that pre-existing medical conditions will prevent them from getting coverage or sorely limit their coverage if they do manage to get a policy.

Massive Change Coming!


Two thirds of companies world-wide believe that massive changes in the economy will force them to create fundamentally new businesses that can compete under radically new conditions.  Eighty percent of these firms believe that working collaboratively with other companies to do this will mean the difference between success and failure.


10,000 Hour Rule


Want some great advice on what it takes to become a true expert in anything?

From the Harvard Business Blog...

One of the stars of Outliers, the bestseller from Malcolm Gladwell, staff writer for The New Yorker, is a psychologist named K. Anders Ericsson, who did an investigation of three different groups of violin students: the unquestioned stars, those who were good but not great, and those who had no hope of becoming professional musicians. What separated the stars from everyone else? It wasn't raw talent, Ericsson concluded. (Every student had huge talent.) It was sheer persistence--those who practiced harder did better, and those who practiced insanely hard became wildly successful.
Gladwell dubs this phenomenon the "10,000-hour rule." Becoming great at anything--sports, science, business--requires ten years of practice and 1,000 hours of practice per year. "Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness," he argues.
Geoffrey Colvin, a high-profile editor at Fortune magazine, is equally smitten by Ericsson's research. In his new book, Talent is Overrated, Colvin doesn't just embrace the importance of ten years of practice. He explains just what sort of practice is required--a regimen that he calls "deliberate practice."
What are the elements of deliberate practice? It's designed explicitly to improve performance--the little adjustments that make a big difference. It's repetitive, which means that when it's time to perform for real (sinking a putt, pitching a product), you don't feel the pressure. It's informed by continuous feedback; practice only works if you can see how you're improving. And it isn't much fun, which isn't all bad. "It means that most people won't do it," Colvin says.
So what does this thinking about success tell us about how to succeed in perilous times? For individuals, one message is that practice does make perfect. So if you're a computer programmer who's spending fewer hours writing code, or a product designer whose portfolio of projects is shrinking, or a customer-service specialist with fewer customers to serve, don't let down time become wasted time. Turn it into practice time--find ways to work intensely and deliberately on your technical and business skills, confident that hard work will pay off in the long run."

What's a CEO Really Worth?


What's a CEO really worth?Not much, if you consider the global economic melt down we are all experiencing. All that CEO compensation paid out... for years... for what? We were told that these guys were the smartest people in the room... real corporate brainiacs. So... stockholders doled out millions for compensation. For what? For the "privilege" these days of asking for a government bailout?Let me see if I have this straight...These guys walked away with millions every year, supposedly because they knew more than anyone else. But they didn't. Not that THAT stopped them from keeping their princely pay packages. So we have a global economy wrecked, and household name firms in economic tatters.Today comes a great article in the New York Times by Andrew Ross Sorkin entitled "Putting a Value on a CEO". Must reading!Key comments...What, then, should Citigroup pay Vikram S. Pandit, its embattled chief executive? On his watch, Citigroup, hobbled by bad investments, grabbed not one but two financial lifelines from the government. Its share price plummeted about 80 percent. (In fairness, he took the reins of the firm less than a year ago.)By most standards, Mr. Pandit is rich already: he made $800 million by selling his hedge fund to Citigroup (he later shuttered it). [Dan's comment: Doesn't this mean that CitiGroup paid  $800 million for nothing? What idiot approved that deal? Haven't they ever heard of an "earn out"? And now this same CEO has managed to depress share value by 80%? But I digress... ]  [Dan's Comment: You can listen to Vikram Pandit explain to you why all this happened... in a Charlie Rose interview. ]“What has caused the most outrage is the difference between pay and actual performance,” said Lucian Bebchuk, the director of the program on corporate governance at Harvard Law School. Sarah Anderson, a director at the Institute for Policy Studies, is an advocate of aggressive pay curbs and isn’t likely to buy into an eight-figure income, no matter what the performance. “I want taxpayers to feel confident that an unreasonable amount of money isn’t ending up in their pockets,” Ms. Anderson said of the executives. “This may be the time to inject some sanity into the pay system.” That may be so. But Mr. Pandit and others — to the extent you believe they are the right leaders of Citigroup — or whoever takes their roles are unlikely to hang around if they’re not amply paid.[Dan's comment: Is that really such a bad thing? Can't we find SOMEONE who is competent, at a fair level of pay? After all, the President of the United States, the leader of the entire free world, commander-in-chief with hundreds of nuclear weapons, makes only $400,000 a year... and there is always a long line of talented people that want the job. ]“If I’m in Kansas and losing my house, I think it’s madness to pay them a big bonus,” Mr. Alan Johnson, managing director of Johnson Associates, a compensation consulting practice based in New York said. “Vikram has to take one for the team this year.” So here’s another idea that might prompt executives to keep a closer eye on the risks that their bankers and traders take: have executives invest in their own firms on the same terms as we taxpayers. And for good measure, have them invest in the financial products that their companies sell. If executives had put their own money into the tricky mortgage investments that their banks were se[...]

Thoughts to Ponder...