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Blumenthal still up 20 … McMahon closes but negatives power the numbers

Egads … if she can’t close faster then this … the Republicans are in trouble, which they may be anyway. I have not gone through all of the internals, but there are two ways to look at this. First as we get closer to November, people are beginning to look a little closer at the “suit”. But you can’t beat someone with no one and while McMahon’s Positives are way up and negatives are way down, Blumenthal’s positives are way, way up. Read more

You too can keep your private health insurance …

What good is a new health care program if it guarantees you can keep your doctor, but you’re doctor has no interest in seeing you any more? President Obama knows full-well health care providers will not be able to compete as the government is able to under-cut premiums and subsidize the loss using tax dollars. It really is that simple. Read more

TEA Party efforts – conservative disorganization

There has been quite a bit of discussion about who attended the TEA Parties, and questions like ‘what do you want?’ have been pretty popular. When you have a true grass roots effort – like this one – there are bound to be different, sometimes disorganized messages. Hey, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it certainly should prove this is not a well funded and organized effort by Fox News or the GOP.

Since April 15, we had the CNN interview, but we’ve also got the St. Louis Fox station reporting the Constitution Party – a group referred to as radical and extremist – ran the TEA Party protest (lie) and David Axelrod stating the TEA Parties are unhealthy, and so far they are just expressions. Plenty of stories implied protesters have no clue about what’s going on.

This is a movement with – quite honestly – no leadership. There are plenty of very good state and local leaders that are giving up their time to organize these events, but there is no common message. The media and the left is taking advantage of it.

I’m describing these events – to those who will listen – as the tipping point. Remember $4 gasoline last summer? That event was called a tipping point that changed the behavior of Americans.

The culmination of the bailouts and stimulus packages created this tipping point. If the government wondered how far they could push, they may have found they went too far.

I did not attend one of the TEA parties, but if I did go, I’d have this Top 5 talking point list ready for the media.

  1. The federal government has too much power. They are spending money they are not authorized to spend per the U.S. Constitution. This puts elected leaders at the federal level – especially those involved with appropriations – in very powerful positions. If your state wants federal dollars for a special project, you’re asked by your leaders to contribute to the political action committees and election funds for representatives and senators from other states. Example – Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). Congressional approval ratings are at 21 percent and 43 percent of voters think most members of Congress are corrupt.
  2. As the federal government provides funding for schools, brick crosswalks, entertainment centers and local police departments, the cities and towns get “hooked” on that funding and expect it – and more – in following years. Without the funding in the future, they suffer. A perfect example is Congress pulling funding for DC vouchers. Today, those families are learning the hard way; what the government gives, they can take away.
  3. If I told you just two year ago the federal government would be officially backing car warranties for GM – and GM would promote that fact in advertising – you’d think I was nuts.
  4. The federal government – and liberals – want to create a dependency on government. By providing funding for everything from education to health care to retirement, they enforce the nanny state; you need government to take care of you. Seat belt, helmet and trans-fat laws are good examples. By the way, you don’t need guns since the trained police have them and they will take care of you – that is their job.
  5. The government may not be able to take your guns away, but what they (liberals, schools, media…) do seem effective in doing is shaming Americans into thinking that our “gun culture” is a bad thing. As an example, I was at a retailer to buy ammunition for a training class. I had 20 boxes in my hand-held carrier in the check-out lane, and a boy – maybe 8 years of age – asked his dad what was in all the boxes. Dad did not answer, I did not answer. The store clerk lied to the kid. What does that tell you?

The TEA Parties must focus on bringing control and spending authority back to the states and communities. I’d even be fine with the government as a whole collecting the same amount of money (2008 levels) from taxpayers, but cut federal expenses to include only U.S. Constitution authorized spending. Then, drop federal taxes and let the states, cities and local towns jack up taxes to cover what they loose in federal dollars.

This would immediately put states, cities and towns in competition for business (residents) as they try to provide service, on time all the time; at the lowest justifiable cost; at the highest justifiable quality. Sure, they try to do that now, but since local leaders can blame everything on a lack of or reduction in federal support, there is no accountability.

Exit questions. Do you know the names of the members of your town council (or equivalent)? Do you know the members of the school board? How about the town manager? Your state representative? State senator?

I’m willing to bet 80 percent of the voters you ask do not know who those people are, and that’s the biggest problem we face. Because states, cities and towns are so dependent on federal dollars, we tend to – and at this point must – bitch, moan and complain about our inside-the-beltway leaders. Severing our dependency on the federal government, and on government in general, may allow us to reverse that trend.

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News Flash: Domestic Airline Service No Longer Exists

But you probably already knew that… Anyway…

Since I’m planning a trip to Australia next year, I’ve been buried in the language of the airlines. I’m getting pretty comfortable with the airport codes between BDL and CNS, flying through some combination of PHL, LAX, SFO, YVR, AUK and SYD. I’ve got all the bases covered since I’m trying to book two first class award seats using Star Alliance – aka *A (get it?) – partners.

My choices seem to be some combination of US Airways, United, Air New Zealand and/or Air Canada. You would think that since you can book *A award seats about 330 days in advance, I’d be in good shape to get a couple of seats since we’re not traveling for, oh gee; another 330 days. Read more

Business Survival Depends on Three Critical Success Factors

About two years ago I took a graduate-level class – jammed into four days – on business operations. Drilled into our minds were the critical success factors for any business – service, quality and cost.

Since a co-worker is taking the same class this week, and a post I recently read on SigForum by author JALLEN deals with the same subject, I thought it timely to post here.

Provide service, on time all the time; at the lowest justifiable cost; at the highest justifiable quality. It’s a balanced triangle you see, and JALLEN sums it up quite well.

Every day the gazelle wakes up knowing that it must eat enough, and drink enough, and exercise enough so it can be faster than the fastest lion, or at least not be the slowest gazelle. If the gazelle doesn’t spend the time grazing, or going to the watering hole when it is supposed to, and spends too much time grab-assing in the meadow with its buddies, it risks spraining a leg, running out of hydration, not get enough to eat, and ends up a lion’s dinner.

By the same token, a lion wakes up every morning knowing that it has to be faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It has to do its wind sprints, stay in top shape, get plenty of water, etc. If the lions spent too much time grab-assing in the meadow with the other lions, they might get hurt, bitten, etc, and be unable to run fast enough to catch dinner.

In other words, survival depends on doing things efficiently, wasting neither time nor resources, nor opportunities unduly. To the extent that businesses do this, they prosper and grow. A business that has too high a payroll for what it produces, exorbitant occupancy costs, too few or too many employees, too little capital, too many over-paid, fat cigar smoking Mercedes-leasing unproductive salesmen, etc., runs the increased risk of failure. If the managers fail to take note of changes in the marketplace, new developments, and therefore make stupid decisions, like investing in a new photo processing plant when the world is going digital, or a new buggy whip plant just as Henry Ford rolls out the automobile, etc. failure looms large, disaster, losses to the shareholder(s). To the extent the management anticipates change, plans for it accurately, gauges the demands of it’s customers and meets those needs efficiently, it prospers and grows.

Every one of the factors of production has to be present in proper proportion for the industry. Some industries are capital intensive, some are labor intensive. Too much capital and not enough labor is inefficient in a labor intensive industry. Insufficient capital for the needs of the business, too much labor, too costly labor, are just as deadly. Entrepreneurial ability, allocating the various ingredients in proper proportion, is critical to efficiency.

Wailing about some companies thriving while others do not is silly. Where is it written that one company has to operate less efficiently so that its competitors have an easier time of it? Where does it say that the Cowboys have to use a slower, smaller left tackle so the Packers can have a better chance of sacks, or that the Red Sox pitchers can’t use left-handed curveballs, because the Royals can’t hit them well?

Part of entrepreneurial ability is assessing the market, to figure out how many widgets can be sold, and at what price, and figuring out what widgets can be produced at what cost. Decisions have to be made about three main issues…. price, service and quality.

Is the business a Nordstroms? Very high cost high quality lots of service in sales, returns, customer satisfaction? Or a Costco, low cost, minimal quality and service, no salesmen, no credit cards, all cash, no carry out, etc. Some combination? If you try high cost and no service, that might not be optimum. The opposite might be just as disastrous for the return on investment.

This subject also fits well with current events, specifically the discussions about NAFTA, tariffs and “job security” between the Democrat candidates. I think they can learn quite a bit from the gazelle and lion, so can we.