Our Maximum Leader has had a dandruff problem for a long time. I was scoping out some remedies on line when I came across this one.
In all seriousness, though, if I find a good solution, I'll blog about it later.
This is a follow-up on my previous post. Another example given by Peter Drucker in his dicussion of "What is value to the customer?" is that of women's shoes. To a teenage girl, value is all about fashion. Comfort and price are nearly irrelevant. For the housewife, durability, comfort and price are the primary components of value while fashion is a limiting factor. That is, the shoes must be comfortable and durable, but they cannot be totally out of fashion.
Posted by K T Cat at 4:41 PM
This post is an effort in thinking out loud. Or thinking in prose. Whatever. I hope you get something out of it.
I'm about to embark on a strategic planning effort for my department at work. In preparation for this effort, I'm going back and re-reading Peter Drucker's classic book, Management. Mr. Drucker leads you through a series of questions in the process of answering the big question: "What is our business?"
One of the lead-up questions is: "What is value to the customer?" That's the one I will be focusing on at work. Some people confuse value with low price. It's not the same. Here's an example discussing what "low price" means in terms of a component of home construction.
Electrical equipment such as fuse boxes or circuit breakers are paid for by the homeowner but selected and bought by the electrical contractor. What is price to the electrical contractor is not the manufacturer's price for the product. It is the price of the manufacturer plus the cost of installation - for that, of course, is price to his customer, the homeowner. Contractors are notoriously price-conscious. Yet, a high-priced maker of fuse boxes and circuit breakers is the market leader in the U.S. To the contractor this line is actually low-priced because it is engineered to be installed fast by relatively unskilled labor.Where I work, we have several groups who are deeply confused about this point. One group produces Lotus Domino team sites for free. The sites are loathed by all because they are practically unusable. Information stored on these sites is nearly impossible to find. While the site is free, the cost of using it is enormous.
Posted by K T Cat at 11:30 AM
This loldog reminded me of a time when I visited my brother at college many years ago. He was going to UCSB and I lived in LA. I had gone up to spend a weekend with him and at a neighbor's house, the dog had just wrecked the place. No one was home and you could see what had happened through a big sliding glass door. Everything that could be shredded had been shredded. The general consensus of everyone who saw it was that "the little doggy is gonna get his butt tanned!" It was hilarious.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:58 AM
Blogging has really taken over a large part of my life. At work, I'm known as The Blogfather where I'm trying to introduce Web 2.0 tools and culture to our organization. At home, I find that I look at things very differently. I'm always on the lookout for something interesting to write about or an intriguing photo opportunity. I write posts in my head as I drive and think about this or that topic I need to look up.
As I sat on the couch with our Maximum Leader just now it occurred to me that I spend a lot of time contemplating blogging things in life instead of just living them. It's kind of like what I used to feel like when I would go to my son's school functions and spend all my time photographing or videotaping it and none of my time enjoying it. It's nothing nearly as bad as that, but it's a apt analogy in many ways.
How about you? How has it changed your life and how pervasive has it become?
Posted by K T Cat at 4:48 PM
At any point in time, the amount of money available for borrowing is fixed. The greater the demand for borrowed money, the harder it is to get it. Wouldn't you think that the government waddling in and sucking $400B+ out of the pool of available loans each year would make it harder for the average Joe to get a loan?
Posted by K T Cat at 9:06 AM
Yesterday I noticed a significant number of posts in the blogosphere about the VP selection possibilities for John McCain so I wrote my booster piece for Meg Whitman. I took the link and embedded it in a couple of comment threads on other blogs.*
I got lots more hits, but no comments. I could tell as I was writing it that my normal commenters weren't going to be that interested in it, but I was wondering if it could catch a few additional links here and there and bring in many more hits. It might have garnered one or two links, but nothing substantial. The experiment wasn't a great success. The time spent praising Meg was time taken away from additional posts and she was the lead post for the whole day. Yawn.
I've tried this before and it's never worked. Eventually I'll learn.
* - Leaving links in the comments may or may not be proper blog commenting etiquette, but I felt that my post was sufficiently long and had enough original content to be worthy of a link in the comments.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:58 AM
Update: I've changed my endorsement. I still really like the idea of Meg Whitman as VP, but I'm going in a different direction now.
Update 2: Forget it. I'm back to supporting Meg for VP!
One of the few talk show hosts I still listen to, Michael Medved, has written a very nice summary of McCain's possible VP choices. Michael is a very strong supporter of Bobby Jindal, the new governor of Louisiana, for VP. I like that idea, but I'll go one step further.
I had originally thought that the ulitimate VP would be a self-made, hispanic businessman. Someone who had leadership and character and understood what it takes to create jobs. Someone who could reach out to the ever-growing hispanic population and be an example of opportunity siezed rather than complaining about vicitimization. Of course, such a selection would drive the pinheads on the right completely out of their minds. Rush and Sean and Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham would scream about how this was clear evidence that McCain was going to annex Mexico or Mexico was going to annex the US. Then I heard some people suggest Meg Whitman.
I had never heard of Meg, so I looked her up. Former CEO of eBay, Republican, pro-life (as far as I know), she is everything the Democrats fear. Unlike Barack and Hillary, she has real accomplishments, has created real jobs and real wealth for the nation. She would slaughter anyone in a debate about the economy and would represent the new generation as well. With a former POW leading the ticket and the former CEO of eBay at the #2 slot, there wouldn't be much left to criticize.
Ms. Whitman joined eBay when it was a small auction website with 30 employees and revenues of more than $4 million. With her expertise in brand building at top consumer companies, she helped this Internet pioneer evolve into an unmatched global ecommerce engine that continues to influence and reshape the way people trade, pay and communicate around the world. According to Forbes magazine, Whitman was worth an estimated $1.4 billion in 2007. She is one of only seven women to have been repeatedly ranked among the world's most influential people by Time magazine.What would the Democrats be left with? Attacking her because she's rich? Everyone who has ever used eBay and enjoyed its benefits would be inclined to look on this choice positively.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:19 AM
I was mucking about recently, looking for some good social networking tutorial videos on YouTube when I came across this one. It's not worth watching for content, only for style. You don't need to watch the whole thing.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:35 AM
This is a test of my ability to photoblog from my phone.
Update: Verizon adds all kinds of advertising junk to the post, but on the whole I like it. The image came out on its side, so I have to be careful when I take pictures to make sure the camera is oriented properly. Having said that, this is a really cool feature.
Posted by K T Cat at 8:41 PM
Update: This post continues to get lots of hits. I invite visitors, particularly those under the age of 30, to check this one out.
Posted by K T Cat at 3:29 PM
Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), writing in the Wall Street Journal, hits the nail right on the head about the Republicans' chances this year.
As congressional Republicans contemplate the prospect of an electoral disaster this November, much is being written about the supposed soul-searching in the Republican Party. A more accurate description of our state is paralysis and denial.This echoes exactly what I've heard on talk radio - there is some kind of "message" the Republicans can craft to win elections. It's not about message as Senator Coburn notes, it's about behavior.
Many Republicans are waiting for a consultant or party elder to come down from the mountain and, in Moses-like fashion, deliver an agenda and talking points on stone tablets.
Voters are tired of buying a GOP package and finding a big-government liberal agenda inside. What we need is not new advertising, but truth in advertising.He also brings up something I had never heard of - the K Street Project.
The K Street Project is a project by the Republican Party to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials. It was launched in 1995, by Republican strategist Grover Norquist and House majority leader Tom DeLay.Well that's pretty sickening. Funny how we never hear the loudmouths like Rush and Sean Hannity and Mark Levin talk about this. Meanwhile, where do you think all that pork is going if not to the sponsors of the K-Street lobbyists?
K Street in Washington DC is where the big lobbying firms have their headquarters and is sometimes refered to as the fourth branch of government. Lobbying firms have great influence in U.S. national politics due to monetary resources and the revolving door policy of hiring former government officials. It is common practice for politicians to request money from lobbying firms for an exchange in better access to officials and to buy favoritism in policies.
Regaining our brand is not about "messaging." It's about action. It's about courage. It's about priorities. Most of all, it's about being willing to give up our political careers so our grandkids don't have to grow up in a debtor's prison, or a world in which other nations can tell a weakened and bankrupt America where we can and can't defend liberty, pursue terrorists, or show compassion.Amen, brother.
John McCain, for all his faults, is the one Republican candidate who can lead us through our wilderness. Mr. McCain is not running on a messianic platform or as a great healer of dysfunctional Republicans who refuse to help themselves. His humility is one of his great strengths. In his heart, he's a soldier who sees one more hill to charge, one more mission to complete.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:27 AM
...comes from one of her standard stump speeches.
And then you’ve got the other half of young people who were like me and Barack, who too, out loans to pay for our college. So yeah, we have Ivy League degrees, but they cost us a whole lot of money to get. And see, what we did was what we thought we were supposed to do. We got those fancy degrees, and then we left corporate America, and went to work in the community. And with every job we took, we made less money...(W)here we found ourselves, in a position like most young couples, with our PhD’s and JD’s and MPh’s and WLMOP’s, all those wonderful degrees, all mired in debt. We had not paid off our loan debts until just a few years ago. Barack couldn’t even run for president.Synopsized: We borrowed money from the rest of you to get our degrees from Ivy League schools. We took our own sweet time paying it back because we felt like it. It sucks to be us.
Posted by K T Cat at 10:30 AM
Posted by K T Cat at 8:03 AM
...because I decided to change the definition of the word marathon. I think the previous definition was unfair. There is no way on Earth I could run 26.2 miles. However, I want to be a marathon runner. So I changed the definition. It now means "taking a walk around the block" because that's what I want.
Now that you've discovered the secret of Gay Marriage, what can you do?
Posted by K T Cat at 8:57 AM
I have to say I was really happy when I heard the California Supreme Court ruled that gays could get married. The law as it stood was not fair to gays. They wanted to be able to get married and be just like heteros and I'm all in favor of doing away with unfairness for it's own sake, fairness being defined as "Give me what I want because I want it."
Here are some other things I'm in favor of changing in the name of fairness:
Posted by K T Cat at 1:40 PM
All kinds of wild things have been going on here at the posh editorial offices of The Scratching Post. We managed to sell our house, and none too soon. Take a quick gander through the writings over at Professor Piggington. The real estate market hasn't hit bottom yet.
While the house was up for sale, someone with access to the house managed to get in and steal both my still camera and my video camera. They rummaged through the drawers in my bathroom where one might keep jewelry and they tried to get away with my PC as well, but it looks like they were in too much of a hurry. My cameras were hidden, so they must have cased the joint during one of our open house days.
Both cameras were slated for replacement once I sold the house and the total loss was pretty small. I think what saved me from even greater problems was the fact that I don't own anything worth stealing. Poverty has its rewards.
To celebrate the sale of the house, I ditched Sprint. Yay! I got on my fiancee's Verizon plan and bought myself an enV. It seems to work well, even in those places where Sprint dropped calls. Which would be just about everywhere. Downstairs in my house, for example.
My missing camera explains the lack of catblogging lately. I still need to learn how to use my phone and the 2 megapixel camera that comes with it. Between having no camera and the stress of trying to get to an agreement with the buyers before I lost the chance to lease an outstanding house nearby, I've been a bit preoccupied.
More blogging to come. I've got a video camera all picked out, but if you've got a still camera to recommend, I'd love to hear about it. I'm looking for one that can take external lenses. My old one was nice, but it was limited to it's own optical zoom capability.
Posted by K T Cat at 10:07 AM
Posted by K T Cat at 7:55 AM
...because McCain voted against it while Obama voted for it. David Brooks has more in today's NY Times.
Barack Obama talks about taking on the special interests. This farm bill would have been a perfect opportunity to do so. But Obama supported the bill, just as he supported the 2005 energy bill that was a Christmas tree for the oil and gas industries...You know, now that I read this again, I realize that David Brooks is ignoring the issues that are important to all Americans and is just practicing politics as usual. Well, maybe not David Brooks, but someone involved in this is.
The pharmaceutical industry, the defense industry and the financial sector all give more money to Democrats than Republicans. If Obama is actually going to bring about change, he’s going to have to ruffle these sorts of alliances. If he can’t do it in an easy case like the farm bill, will he ever?
John McCain opposed the farm bill. In an impassioned speech on Monday, he declared: “It would be hard to find any single bill that better sums up why so many Americans in both parties are so disappointed in the conduct of their government, and at times so disgusted by it.”
McCain has been in Congress for decades, but he has remained a national rather than a parochial politician. The main axis in his mind is not between Republican and Democrat. It’s between narrow interest and patriotic service. And so it is characteristic that he would oppose a bill that benefits the particular at the expense of the general.
Posted by K T Cat at 4:11 PM
This post is kind of an open reply to one of our dearest critics and harshest friends, aon, who a few days back left a comment suggesting that the recent devaluation in the dollar was going to be a problem for the US in paying back foreign-held debt. I don't think this is the case. National bonds are held in the currency of the nation issuing them. That is, T-bills are sold in dollar denominations with a given interest rate and a set payoff date. If the Chinese want to buy them, they have to convert their yuan into dollars to do so. If we want to pay them back, we pay them in dollars, not yuan. I don't think the devaluation has any effect on this.
A dollar is just a thing like a lamp or a computer or a desk. Its value fluctuates with supply and demand. If Germany has a higher interest rate on their government bonds than the US, then people will want to buy those and will sell their dollars to buy Euros. Demand for dollars will fall and demand for Euros will rise and therefore, the dollar will be worth fewer Euros. That's one cause when a currency drops in value.
That's kind of thumbnail sketch of the way I understand it. Corrections in the comments are welcome.
Posted by K T Cat at 1:13 PM
Yesterday when I went to school to pick up my daughter, I saw a touching scene. At our school, we have an ancient Italian lady who has worked as a teacher's aide for decades. She is easily in her 90s. As she was hobbling away from school and going home for the day, a bright-faced little poppet, a first grader no more than 6 years old ran after her, calling her name. The old Italian lady turned and smiled and the little girl rushed up and gave a her a big hug.
It was a tender and charming scene. A woman who had experienced so much in life sharing a moment of warmth and love with a tiny, innocent child. I pulled out my phone to share this with my fiancee. As I waited for her phone to ring, I got that special message that Sprint had prepared for me, nay, for all of us.
Signal faded. Call lost.
Posted by K T Cat at 9:50 AM
My son, being 16, is in to bands like the Violent Femmes. Apparently, the Violent Femmes were around back in the 1980s. I remember hearing the name, but very little if any of the music. My boy always wonders why I haven't heard of bands like this that got their start way back when. He plays me some of their music and it's alright, but nothing like what was popular then.
As an instructive exercise, I had him watch this.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:51 AM
...is even worse than the Republicans. In short, the farm bill will increase spending by 44% over the last one. Robert Novak goes ballistic at the craven Republicans who supported this.
Minority Whip Roy Blunt voted for the bill. So did Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam, who was seen whipping votes for passage. House Republicans voted 100 to 91 to approve the bill (with only 15 Democrats in opposition), assuring an overridden veto. Similarly, in the Senate, Republicans voted 35 to 13 for the bill, and the only Democrats opposing it were Rhode Island's two senators.Two things jump out at me about this. First, the Democrats have the majority and only two Democratic senators and 15 Democratic congresscreatures opposed it. The Democrats are far more in favor of this than the Republicans.
Posted by K T Cat at 4:31 PM
A friend at work turned me on to the outstanding series of YouTube videos called Google Tech Talks. They're about an hour long each and I've only seen one completely, this one called How Ant Colonies Get Things Done. It was absolutely fantastic. Things like this are one of the reasons I don't watch TV at all any more.
After watching that one, I surfed through some of the others. There are 773 of them. A couple of them dealt with using meditation to deal with the stress of being constantly connected to the web. Here's one of them. At first I thought it was pretty cool, but as I watched it I grew sad. The room, the people and the topic seemed so tragically empty. Agnostic meditation is a shallow thing. It's spiritual beings acknowledging only their biochemical side yet hungering for a deeper tranquility. It was an effort to control their brain chemistry and nothing more. When the meditation was over and the workday resumed, they had no new tools to deal with the stress as it arose.
I thought of all the Catholic teachings on prayer and meditation and giving up your troubles to Christ that were most likely closed off to these people as Google's genuflection to political correctness prevented them from inviting speakers who could talk on such things. I'll admit I did not go through all 773 videos, so it's entirely possible that they did invite such a speaker, but I seriously doubt it.
For 2000 years, some of the greatest minds of the world have explored Catholic theology and applied it to the human condition. It's tragic that the world of prayer and spiritual meditation developed by these people is not offered to the employees of Google.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:14 AM
...can be seen in the ease with which the press reports that the economy is tanking or in "meltdown". Here's the latest bit, a throwaway line in an article about Obama and the possibility of Romney as McCain's VP.
If (Obama) can convince a reasonable number of blue collar white Democrats that are racially doubtful about him that he can do more to soothe their economic woes, this could trump the racial doubts of many about him. That and the Bush albatross of the war and the economic meltdown around him is a tough one for McCain to get aroundEmphasis mine. 5% unemployment, the Dow at 12,800 and inflation around 4% is meltdown only if you're a spoiled child.
Posted by K T Cat at 12:16 PM
In his petulant response to Bush's remarks about appeasement, Barack Obama talked about negotiating with Iran and Syria while pulling troops out of Iraq. He felt that Iran and Syria had an interest in stability in the region, too, which would lead them to the negotiating table. I wish I had a link to the transcript, but I couldn't find one and I ran out of time to keep looking.
His commentary just blew me away. Of course Iran and Syria have an interest in stability in the region. It's the same interest in stability that Hitler and Stalin had about Poland in 1939 when they signed the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. How could any modern politician be that stupid? Mark Steyn had a great take on this.
I don’t know where to begin taking that apart...What happens though, when you send the president of the United States to sit down in a meeting with the president of Iran, a man who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map of the Middle East, a man who is a Holocaust denier, and presided over a Holocaust denying conference, what you’re essentially doing is making that man respectable. You’re saying well, here’s the American position, and here’s the pro-wiping Israel off the map and Holocaust denying position, and now we’ll put them both in the scales, and reach a balancing point between the two. That’s where Obama is deluded and naïve. And I think frankly, he’s just extraordinarily ignorant about foreign policyTalk about not ready for the job. He wouldn't be ready on day 1, day 100 or even day 1000.
Posted by K T Cat at 12:08 PM
Several pundits on the right have written prescriptions for the current string of Republican losses in recent special elections. Those prescriptions are all about repackaging the Republican brand, coming up with new ideas and some version of Newt Gingrich's Contract with America. The problem with that is the party has systematically destroyed its brand through its actions. You can't market fiscal responsiblity when you've been profligate.
I imagine that similar meetings occurred at Ford in the late 1970s and early 1980s when they discovered that people no longer associated the Mustang with a sleek sports car. They had produced cars that were junk and had wrecked the Mustang brand. All the TV and print ads in the world could not convince the public that the Mustang was a cool sports car. It just wasn't.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:16 AM
...is what my life seems like right now. Some day I'll post about the events in my life that led to me blogging, but right now it's all about finding the right paperwork to finalize the sale of the house and prepare for a marriage. Due to the destruction in my life from those previous events, it's turning out to be the equivalent of being a requisitions clerk on Guadalcanal.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:43 PM
...except that these wages are in Canada. Oh what the heck, let's blame President Bush anyway. If we didn't, then we'd have to admit that global labor competition is driving wages down naturally and that would get in the way of hating President Bush.
Robert Samuelson's argument is so self-evident no politician can ever state it. A couple of weeks back, Statistics Canada reported that, after adjustment for inflation, Canadian wage-earners are earning less than in 1980. For example, in British Columbia the median wage-earner earns 11.3% less than a quarter-century ago.Increased competition for jobs drives wages down. Increased competition for goods drives prices up. Reality is unpleasant sometimes.
Posted by K T Cat at 11:07 AM
...and in some of us, it fills every cell of our bodies until it crowds out the protoplasm. Dig this.
Good Lord, it's like the guy has descended from Heaven to preach the Truth to us. We're not worthy, Barack. Really. We're not. How about if you go up to Canada and preach instead?
Posted by K T Cat at 3:25 PM
Is it a recession? A depression? A total collapse of the global financial markets? Whatever it is, it's all W's fault. Take a look at the Misery Index on a year-by-year basis here.
Will this nightmare never end? We need more governmental intervention in the economy and sooner rather than later.
Posted by K T Cat at 12:37 PM
What follows goes a long way towards explaining how demagogues have managed to do so well in elections across the world.
I just checked out the class requirements for the Columbia School of Journalism, the nation's most prestigious journalism school. As far as I could tell, journalism students are not required to take any statistics classes. No wonder they get taken in by simple statistical frauds! They don't understand basic statistical analysis at all.
This seems tragic to me as most reporting consists of little more than giving some statistic or other and then infering causation from an individual human interest story used as an example of the statistic. If you want to know why the news media is as terrible as it is, look no further than the Columbia School of Journalism. In fact, I've got a new slogan for them.
Columbia J-School: The nation's leader in preparing reporters to be victimized by the simplest of ruses.
Going a bit further, there is no indication that J-school graduates know much of anything outside of writing. The outstanding blog, Carpe Diem, goes even farther in explaining what's going on when it shows relative salaries for J-school graduates vs. other disciplines. No one is getting into journalism for the money and I would further argue that no one gets into journalism because engineering and physics were too easy.
Without backgrounds in other disciplines and without any analytical tools, the newsmedia is ripe for exploitation by demagogues and charlatans. After seeing this, I'm not surprised that politicans can get elected by saying demonstrably stupid things.
Posted by K T Cat at 8:12 AM
...is Hitler and the Nazis from the mid-1930's. Here's the quiz.
His economics were something of a Ponzi scheme where he had to keep taking over other countries to fund his spending on guns & butter.aon guessed Hitler as well with some others thrown in. Here were some other answers with my responses.
Mind you, GWB did pretty much everything the exact opposite of what you've described. External inflation is allowed to the extend that the $US is worth about 1/2 what it was when he was elected. Roads, bridges and levees are allowed to decompose while the unemployment rate is around 5%...Hating don't make it so, amigo. President Bush has pretty much done exactly the same as the example, spending wildly on domestic programs. External inflation is pretty much meaningless. If it doesn't translate into a local effect, then it doesn't much matter. 5% unemployment is called full employment and is the thing most countries aim for. We've had it for about 8 years. As for infrastructure crumbling, that's a pretty complex matter and whatever blame needs to go around seems to be equally spread. Here in San Diego, our water system is falling apart while our public education industry waxes fat and prosperous. California is deep in debt, San Diego is deep in debt and the public school system budgets hit another record level in real dollars every year.
Funny, I'd never realised until you pointed it out that Bush is actually worse than Mao, Stalin AND Hitler.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:58 AM
OK, boys and girls, it's a pop quiz. With the Democrats running about blaming Big Oil (those villains!) for the rise in gas prices and the Republicans handing out 300 Yuan to every prole in the nation, here's an excerpt from a web page describing a nation where this kind of thing has been used before to buy votes. When and where was this? (No fair googling this stuff, either!)
(The leader) was "wholly ignorant" of economics...What (the leader) did know was politics and how to achieve public support-(he) was an immensely popular leader with approval ratings even Bill Clinton would envy-and early on, he made it clear that economics would be subordinate to politics.The result, of course, was catastrophe. Don't expect our press to know anything at all about this subject, of course.
In his highly influential (history book), British historian A.J.P. Taylor similarly gave the (political party) credit for creating widespread prosperity, concluding, "The (party's) secret was...freedom from the then orthodox principles of economics. Government spending provided all the happy effects of mild inflation; while political (control), with its destruction of (political enemies) and rigorous exchange control, prevented such unfortunate consequences as a rise in wages, or in prices."
(A disagreeing historian's) version of things more accurately reflects what was really happening in (the nation during this time). (The leader's) economic policies were systematically wrecking the (nation's) economy and were rapidly painting him into a corner were his only choices were (very bad).
(The leader), argues Kershaw, was deathly afraid of inflation and a repetition of (previous bad years). Nevertheless, he had to reduce unemployment or he wasn't going to last long enough to (rule the nation)...Tax cuts were also out of the question because he believed they led to less revenue not more growth.
(The leader's) solution for ... unemployment problems was ... massive deficit spending. In fact, by Kershaw's account, the (Party's) government guaranteed (huge amounts of money for) massive road building, subsidies to the auto industry, lots more bureaucrats to enforce all the new controls and regulations...
Posted by K T Cat at 2:52 PM
...for writing pieces like this.
THERE is a certain familiarity to the concomitant series of actions and reactions when disaster strikes in the world. The US stands ready, willing and able to offer assistance. It is often the first country to send in millions of dollars, navy strike groups loaded with food and medical supplies, and transport planes, helicopters and floating hospitals to help those devastated by natural disaster.Read the whole thing. It will make you proud to call the Aussies friends.
Then, just as swift and with equal predictability, those wedded to the Great Satan view of the US begin to carp, drawing on a potent mixture of cynicism and conspiracy theories to criticise the last remaining superpower. When the US keeps doing so much of the heavy lifting to alleviate suffering, you'd figure that the anti-Americans might eventually revise their view of the US. But they never do. And coming under constant attack even when helping others, you'd figure that Americans would eventually draw the curtains on world crises. But they haven't. At least not yet.
Posted by K T Cat at 11:40 AM
The Monks at our Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings have an outstanding World of Good idea that you can participate in from the comfort of your own home. Check it out!
For more WOGs, a description of why we WOG and an opportunity to join the WOG Squad, see this post.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:08 AM
Woken up early by the cat, did some research, fell back to sleep, woke up, blogged, made breakfast and lunches for the kids, corrected my daughter's homework, drove her to school, went to work, picked her up from school, helped her with homework, worked from home, took her to soccer, shopped for food, made dinner, picked her up from soccer, gave her and my son dinner, worked some more from home...
It's all in a day's work for Superdad!
Posted by K T Cat at 8:42 PM
We tend to judge our opponents by their actions and our allies by their intentions.
Because Republicans intended to cut the budget, conservatives see them as fiscally responsible. Because Democrats passed massive social spending increases, conservatives see them as fiscally irresponsible.
Because Democrats talk about helping the poor, liberals see them as compassionate. Because Republicans have tried to slow the growth of social spending, liberals see them as heartless.
In the meantime, we all owe something like $35,000 each on the debt and Oakland is a catastrophe. Pay up and keep to the safe part of town.
Posted by K T Cat at 12:48 PM
...can be found here. I just scanned it, but it looks great. I'll go into my reasons for searching for it later. Here's a key bit:
A few weeks ago, I collected some of the goals some bloggers had stated they had for 2008. I looked at those goals and extrapolated to certain qualities. These were the ones that showed up the most, in order of frequency of occurrence:Most intriguing.
They also appeared to be interested in learning, a bit obsessed, playful, conscious of time management, value-oriented, and to have a desire to be effective and focused.
- ambitious, achievement-oriented
- interested in community
Posted by K T Cat at 6:31 AM
Isn't there something surreal about Michelle Obama? She got her education thanks to money loaned to her by the rest of the country. She got degrees from some of the most prestigious schools in the nation with these loans. She and her husband then got high-paying jobs and he has gone on to become the presumptive Democratic nominee for the presidency. 50 years ago, she would not have had the opportunities she has today and yet her speeches talk about an endlessly shifting bar and life getting harder and harder. No one from the press seems to ask her or Barack about this.
Her entire existence is clear proof that things are getting better all the time. It's so weird that I can't think of an analogy for this one.
Posted by K T Cat at 8:07 AM
If you haven't seen this yet, you should. If you're a blogger, embedding it might be a good idea.
Posted by K T Cat at 3:56 PM
You get Barack Obama as a presidential candidate.
In defending his stated intent to meet with America's enemies without preconditions, Sen. Obama said: "I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did."Read the whole thing.
That he made this statement, and that it passed without comment by the journalists covering his speech indicates either breathtaking ignorance of history on the part of both, or deceit.
Posted by K T Cat at 12:37 PM
...and you probably are. Dig this.
Racial attitudes have changed dramatically in the United States over the past several decades, of course, and overtly racist beliefs are much less prevalent among white Americans of all classes today. But a more subtle form of prejudice, which social scientists sometimes call symbolic racism, is still out there -- especially among working-class whites.Emphasis mine. Condensed version: Unless you think that blacks are hopelessly victimized, you're a racist of one kind or another. We will continue to redefine the term until you fit it. So those of you who think that behavior creates outcomes, you're racist.
Symbolic racism means believing that African American poverty and other problems are largely the result of lack of ambition and effort, rather than white racism and discrimination.
In a side-by-side comparison of 2000 census data by sociologist John R. Logan at the Mumford Center, State University of New York at Albany, black immigrants from Africa average the highest educational attainment of any population group in the country, including whites and Asians.I would bet that a whole bunch of them are. If you think that family structure matters more than race, you're a symbolic racist, too.
For example, 43.8 percent of African immigrants had achieved a college degree, compared to 42.5 of Asian Americans, 28.9 percent for immigrants from Europe, Russia and Canada, and 23.1 percent of the U.S. population as a whole.
Posted by K T Cat at 7:13 AM
I know I've linked to this before, but it's worth doing again. If you haven't seen The Backyard Arthropod Project before or you haven't visited it lately, I highly recommend it. It encapsulates the sharing of passions and knowledge that I think is the greatest gift of the Blogosphere.
Posted by K T Cat at 10:01 AM
I was at the grocery store the other day and over their speaker system where they were playing popular music came a Crosby, Stills and Nash tune from the 1960s. It was still something they could play in the year 2008 and not induce rolled eyes and cringes from their shoppers. Now imagine if you did the same thing in, say, 1968. Could you imagine the reaction from the shoppers, particularly the younger ones, if this came on the speaker system?
Posted by K T Cat at 7:45 AM
So I dropped the hint that I got engaged on Wednesday. Here's a little bit more about it. I've been dating my fiancee, Terrie, now for about 7 months. I've never had a relationship like this one, where it is all effortless and natural. The two of us have very similar life stories. Our kids know and like each other and they like both of us. Even our Maximum Leader is in love with her. You should see the reception Terrie gets when she comes through our door for a visit. There are head bumps and leg rubs and purring and flopping. K T just radiates love when Terrie's around.
When I was on my business trip to Hawaii last week, there came a point where I realized that I never again want to go away and not come home to Terrie. I wished I had a reliable jeweler in Hawaii so I could come home with a ring and propose on Friday. That was not available, so I had to wait and shop for the ring on Tuesday. As an aside, if you're in the market for a diamond, check out the prices on Blue Nile. I didn't feel comfortable buying a diamond on line, but they gave me an excellent benchmark for pricing the ring. Our local jeweler, Renzulli's, was actually below Blue Nile's prices and did a great job on the ring.
On Wednesday night I made a nice dinner. I grilled lamb chops, made new red potatoes and steamed some green beans. I had crackers and exotic cheeses for appetizer. I asked Terrie to bring over a bottle of our favorite wine. She suspected nothing, poor thing. I had the Lovin' Spoonful playing on my little Rio Karma through my living room version of Dr. Frankenstein's Stereo.
I put out the cheese and crackers, hid the ring box under a cushion on the sofa and when she came in, we poured some wine and sat down on the sofa to chat. I told her what I felt in Hawaii, got down on one knee and proposed with the ring. She never saw the ring. She gasped and asked me a couple of times if I was serious. Then she said yes.
Note to guys: The girl may not see the ring when you propose, but she will see the ring for the rest of her life. Do not think you can scrimp on the ring just because in that one, emotional moment she might not see it! :-)
So what song was playing when I popped the question? Darling Be Home Soon, specifically these lyrics:
But darling be home soon
I couldn't bear to wait an extra minute if you dawdled
My darling be home soon
It's not just these few hours but I've been waiting since I toddled
For the great relief of having you to talk to
Posted by K T Cat at 12:14 PM
Years ago when I was in high school and college, I worked as the tropical fish expert at a variety of pet stores. At the time, I had severe allergies to all kinds of critters, so the only pets I could safely have were fish. When I was 12, a neighbor gave me a 10 gallon tank and some guppies and I was off and running with fish.
At one point, I took care of a man's home full of aquariums filled with very unusual fancy guppies. He had hot pink guppies which were rare at the time, but my favorites look like this.
Posted by K T Cat at 7:00 AM
Shellshocked House Republicans got warnings from leaders past and present Tuesday: Your party’s message isn’t good enough to prevent disaster in November, and neither is the NRCC’s money...For my money, Newt is one of the greatest leaders of the 20th Century. Unfortunately for the current crop of Republicans, they lack the one thing Newt had: trust.
In a piece published in Human Events, the Republicans’ onetime captain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, warned his old colleagues that they face “real disaster” on Election Day unless they move immediately to “chart a bold course of real reform” for the country.
Posted by K T Cat at 10:43 AM
For school officials in Haverford Township, the challenge was daunting: What do you do when a 9-year-old student, with the full support of his parents, decides that he is no longer a boy and instead is a girl?The article goes on to discuss the controversy surrounding this, but I have a deeper question. How can you tell if you're transgendered or even homosexual years before puberty? Maybe I just don't understand the whole homosexual thing. My first reaction to this is that it's the ultimate in spoiling a child. It appears as if the child has been given no boundaries at all and is going as far as he can to try and find just where mom and dad draw the line.
Parents of a third-grade student at Chatham Park Elementary School approached the administration on April 16 to ask for help in making a "social transition" for their child.
About one in 5,000 people is transgender, said Walter O. Bockting, a psychologist and coordinator for transgender health services at the University of Minnesota. Bockting said he sees about 10 children a year who are 9 or younger.OK, so he's the coordinator for transgender health services, so what? That's a single psychologist giving their opinion, not a scientific consensus. It still doesn't make any sense to me. I'd have to see the DNA evidence of serious genetic problems before I believed this one. The words of one goofy psychologist does not make it so.
"It's a little early, but occasionally that happens," he said.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:23 AM
...because the skunks are moving in instead. I've been rolling the dice and leaving the cat door open at night in the hopes of keeping our Maximum Leader's interruptions of my sleep down to two or less per night. I had thought that the raccoons, after a year or so of being locked out, might have moved on to other places to forage. It seems as though they have, but instead, last night we had an adolescent skunk come in the house to explore. It was a very well-mannered skunk and didn't spray or even stink up the place and calmly walked out when I turned on the lights.
I wish I'd been able to take a photo.
Posted by K T Cat at 9:27 AM
...about my series
extolling the virtues of prudery on marriage but I changed my mind. In the last few days I had begun to regret my decision to go that route and post so many times on the topic of marriage. I began to fear that series came across as a sign of some kind of ridiculous hang-up about sex, whether or not I actually have one. Posting pictures of Barbara Billingsley from her Leave it to Beaver days, even in jest, seemed silly or hopelessly nostalgic or embarrassingly naive.
Then I started thinking about what it really meant to arm cops with assault rifles. You see, I truly believe in John Edwards' concept of two Americas, just not the causes he describes. There's one with the money and the morality and the social cohesion and one without. The difference is the presence of dedicated fathers in the lives of their children. The portion of America without such fathers has devolved into such chaos and self destruction that the other portion of America is having to turn their police force into the US Marines in order to control the situation.
In that moment, I stopped worrying about how my blog crusade for 1950s-era morality came across. We're considering giving cops assault rifles because the violence of fatherless America is getting out of control. It's not the violence of some temporary series of riots, it's an everyday, ordinary, ambient, background level violence. We're not confronting the cause of the violence, we're just responding with greater firepower so we can win the confrontations. So long as the violence is contained within the neighborhoods where civilization has been wiped out and we can get to work or the mall or the kids' soccer game safely, we're fine with giving the cops armored personnel carriers if necessary.
So, yes, I'm sure I come across like some kind of spat-wearing, bow-tie clad, starched dork. I'll accept that consequence to my posts because, unfortunately, we're considering turning our police forces into this.
Posted by K T Cat at 5:44 AM
I am completely exhausted with the endless posts about how this politician or that is hypocritical, stupid, uninformed or just plain wrong. Of course they are. They're doing what they are built to do - promise goodies to the voters in exchange for votes, goodies that will cost the majority of voters less than it would have had the voters bought those goodies for themselves. Naturally, the difference in cost has to be paid for somehow, usually by borrowing money from the Chinese. Politicians try to give us all an extension of our childhood by promising benefits without responsiblity.
With that in mind, I am here to propose a new measurement of political pandering, the Peter Pan.
Posted by K T Cat at 12:35 PM
The erudite and well-intentioned Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee and Pajamas Media has an excellent post on a plan in Chicago to arm the police with assault rifles following an explosion of murders in that city. The post goes on at length about the cost of doing this, discussing the price of weapons, ammunition and training. The comments in that post talk about marksmanship, collateral damage and the possiblity of friendly fire casualties.
It's all very enlightening.
Allow me to digress a bit from the red meat conservative fascination with guns and suggest instead that turning the police force into a clone of the First Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) is not going to solve the problem, assuming the problem has been identified as crime. If the problem is that we're not killing people with sufficiently cool weaponry, then this is indeed the correct solution.
If we want to cut the crime rate, then we need to become prudes.
All but three of 23 recent studies found some family structure effect on crime or delinquency. Seven of the eight studies that used nationally representative data, for example, found that children in single-parent or other non-intact family structures were at greater risk of committing criminal or delinquent acts. For example: A study using Add-Health data found that even after controlling for race, parents' education, and income, adolescents in single-parent families were almost two times more likely to have pulled a knife or a gun on someone in the past year. (Todd Michael Franke 2000)Emphasis mine.
Six of seven studies that looked at whether overall rates of single parenthood affected average crime rates found that changes in family structure were related to increases in crime. For example:
· A study that looked at the relation between divorce rates and out-of-wedlock birthrates and violent crime between 1973 and 1995 found that nearly 90% of the change in violent crime rates can be accounted for by the change in percentages of out-of-wedlock births. (Mackey and Coney 2000, p. 352)
· A study that looked at crime in rural counties in four states concluded, "[A]n increase of 13% in female-headed households would produce a doubling of the offense rate." (Osgood and Chambers 2000, p. 103)
Posted by K T Cat at 8:01 AM
...by P J O'Rourke. Here's a tidbit.
Don't moan. I'm not going to "pass the wisdom of one generation down to the next." I'm a member of the 1960s generation. We didn't have any wisdom.Read the whole thing.
We were the moron generation. We were the generation that believed we could stop the Vietnam War by growing our hair long and dressing like circus clowns. We believed drugs would change everything -- which they did, for John Belushi. We believed in free love. Yes, the love was free, but we paid a high price for the sex.
My generation spoiled everything for you. It has always been the special prerogative of young people to look and act weird and shock grown-ups. But my generation exhausted the Earth's resources of the weird. Weird clothes -- we wore them. Weird beards -- we grew them. Weird words and phrases -- we said them. So, when it came your turn to be original and look and act weird, all you had left was to tattoo your faces and pierce your tongues. Ouch. That must have hurt. I apologize.
Posted by K T Cat at 7:13 AM
Aloha! I just flew back from a week-long business trip to Oahu and boy, are my arms tired! The rest of me is tired, too. It was a great trip and I stayed in an outstanding hotel - in fact, it was the best hotel room I have ever had, bar none. More on that later. For now, let me just leave you with a sunset picture I took from the balcony of my hotel room.
I uploaded a particularly large image this time, so please click on this for a much better version.
Posted by K T Cat at 8:28 AM
This is another in a continuing series on the breakdown of marriage in America, its causes and effects. The previous post in this series can be found here.
I am Catholic. Culturally, Catholicism has a great effect on me and therefore my cultural heritage can be traced back 2000 years. Slavery was abolished less than 150 years ago. If I am affected by things that happened 2000 years ago, can one really dismiss the effects of things that happened far more recently than that?
I used to think so, but James Wilson’s The Marriage Problem changed my mind. Here’s a quick sketch of his research and conclusions.
The muddled notions of modern feminism aside, a man’s primary role in a family is to protect and provide. Because slaves did not own the fruits of their labor and because male slaves could not protect their families from being dispersed, the man’s value in the slave family was minimal. Marriage among slaves was illegal. For these reasons and others, slave families were primarily matriarchal.
After the Civil War, Jim Crow laws as well as other societal norms similarly diluted the man’s value in the black family. Additionally, for a variety of reasons, black women outnumbered black men, which as we have seen before, depresses the number of marriages in a community.
How many generations would it take to drive out the effects of my Catholic heritage upon me and my descendants? Blacks in America have a long cultural history of female-headed households. While the number of these has exploded in recent years, the effects of slavery and racism on the black family cannot be dismissed.
Posted by K T Cat at 6:52 AM
I'm working to introduce blogging, wiki-ing and other web-based communications methods at work. Much of it is going well because the web offers much better access to information than intermittantly connected shared hard drives. Email works for small groups, but does not scale well at all for sharing information when a dialog is required or when the intended audience is not explicitly known.
The biggest problem I'm facing is the generation gap. My older colleagues are used to email and MS Office. Working on the web requires a different set of skills. It's hard to post a PowerPoint presentation on a website and have it show up as something other than a file to be downloaded. Yes, I know that you can save a PowerPoint file as html, but even that is something new and different and for most colleagues, new and different is too hard.
I'm thinking of recommending that each group hire a student as their blogger-in-residence. The student would take their information and translate it onto the web. It seems to be the only real solution to the bridging the gap between the employees and the blogs.
Posted by K T Cat at 8:32 AM