Mitt the painter

While all the cable news shows are struggling with how to balance the odd appearance of Clint Eastwood and covering Mitt Romney’s speech, I went back and looked at the transcript and watched the video more times than one dog should be allowed. I nearly went deaf with all the dog whistles, but I soldiered on, trying to get to the essence of what he was saying.

The speech kinda rambled, trying to cover too many things too quickly, but one phrase popped out that lays bare the Romney thinking. It’s at about minute 33:50. So far, I think all the “analysts” have missed it. They may have been too busy focusing on the applause in the house instead of the words being said on stage.

President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY promise…is to help you and your family.

For months, we have been told the GOP was the party of big ideas, of bold and brave decisions. I think this one statement — buried right after the five-part jobs creation plan that appeared to be ripped out of a freshman economics textbook — crystalizes what a Romney presidency would really be like. It is the one thing in the speech that is consistent with his life and his campaign.

While President Obama works to solve the structural problems that creates the symptoms, a President Romney would focus on solving the symptoms. What does it help your family if they are in a nice house that is being swallowed up by the rising tides?

In short, we will paint over the water stains, flip this country and sell it to the highest bidder. Romney’s America is not a country that needs the foundation shored up and invested in, it is a 1 1/2 story bungalow with a crumbling foundation that just needs a new coat of paint.

This is the essence of what Romney did at Bain Capital. He found a fixer-upper, leveraged it to suck wealth out of it for a few owners at the top and discarded it or sold it off to the suckers who thought they were getting a good deal. That’s not a bad thing, that is what private equity is supposed to be good at. But I’m pretty sure it is not the skill set a president needs.

America needs infrastructure investment like health care, modern railways, education, roads, bridges, communications, modernized banking, environment and power. She also needs help with the intangible infrastructure like happiness, relief from chronic anxiety and a boost of confidence. And yes, she needs more hope and change.

America does not need more paint on her walls.

A rebuttal to the debt ceiling speeches

Sean Francis expressed the mood of the country in a 138 character tweet

I was fidgeting around on what my response was to the speeches last night by the president and the speaker when this tweet by @SeanDFrancis popped into my stream. In 138 characters, Mr. Francis summed up the mood of the country and my response in one collective sigh.

Mr. John Boehner, President Barack Obama and the Tea Party; are you listening? This is your America. This IS the American People you continue to cite. We’re willing, we’re ready to do great things but we are all also so very, very tired. Like spinning our wheels in a pit of mud.

All we ask is that you quit pouring water in the dirt and build us a bridge so we can climb out. Did you understand that “balanced approach” metaphor?

Is this thing on?

P.S. And just in case you are thinking about emailing, calling or writing to Boehner’s office, don’t bother. He counts every contact as support for his cause.

.

Some things I know

I just got done speaking with an American Express rep to pay my bill. I had to call them because I missed the bill pay window between 3:00-7:00am where their web site will actually work to pay my bill.

It got to think about stuff I “know” to be true, even though other dogs swear they aren’t having the same problems.

I KNOW the Amex web site will not work during business hours.

I KNOW the Chase drive-through will make me wait for hours after 2:00pm on Fridays.

I KNOW the shake machine at the Burger King in Englewood will be broken.

I KNOW Time Warner will not really send someone out between the hours of 8:00-12:00am and I should just set aside an entire day.

I KNOW the only flights that ever leave on time from the Dayton International Airport are the first one and the last one of the day.

I KNOW any rental car company will not have a sub compact car available when I arrive.

I KNOW I will not be able to get out of Meijers without waiting in line at the register, even though I will have found everything I needed.

I KNOW my cell phone bill will never be what I was told when I signed up for the plan.

I KNOW the latest gadget I bought will not be compatible with anything else I own.

I KNOW that “no assembly required” really does require assembly.

I KNOW the directions someone just gave me that includes the phrase “you can’t miss it” will not actually get me where I’m going.

I KNOW portable electronic devices will have a 50lb power brick attached to the cord.

What else do YOU know that customer service reps tell you never happens to other people?

Contributed:
@Eva_Abreu via Twitter: I know that I’ll press 3, then 6, then 2, then hold for 13 min. only to get disconnected!

What would you do if you had $1 million dollars?

Dear President-elect Barack Obama;

I am a small business owner. I do quite well for myself as I am in a knowledge-based business servicing the youth sporting market and the retail services industries. I also dabble a bit in coffee and Web 2.0 consulting.

I was running some numbers this afternoon on the bail-out plans that have been proposed to date. As I look back on my college days some 20 plus years ago and my classes in English Literature — specifically with regard to American literature of the mid to late 1800s (Hawthorne, Dreiser, Meliville, etc) — I was struck with what is to me a strangely obvious fact. Modern capitalism has run its course and the current financial crisis is the front wave of a new economy.

At its basics, capitalism is providing money to build infrastructure for making goods and to a certain degree, providing services with the promise of a return on its sale or sale of the goods produced. Having been in a service industry all my life, I am not unaccustomed to “cramming” a product economic model (“making widgets”) into a service model. It really doesn’t work but we lied to ourselves just the same.

This country no longer makes things. We provide services; we assemble components. The old capitalist model where we invest in machinery, buildings, factories, etc for making goods is dead. It has been dying for a very long time. As such, funding the economy from the top down is not a viable option. There will be no trickle-down benefit as the economy will only swell and move if the bottom tiers start spending and buying goods and services. Yet, they can’t because they have no ready cash.

Capitalists talk in billions of dollars. Ordinary citizens talk about hundreds each week. Investment banks talk millions in transaction per day. Small business talks about hundred of thousands in revenue. When you pour $700 billion into Wall Street, it is like dumping a gallon of water into the Pacific Ocean. When you pour $1 million into a small business, it is like filling a bathtub with a fire hose.

Here is my proposal:
– Establish a fund of $400 Billion dollars.
– Give $1 Million dollar grants to 400,000 business that are ready, able and willing to provide services to a service-based economy.
– Each business can then afford to hire 6 people at a salary of $40,000. With health care, taxes, equipment, etc. that should equal about $60,000 investment for each employee.
– That leaves about $640,000 left for materials, computers, advertising, marketing, etc.
– Encourage a strong multi-generation team, such as Gen Y, Xers, Boomers and beyond. Working together, we make a difference we all want to experience.

That puts about 2.4 Million people to work, building knowledge centers for teachers, creating software to better manage health care systems, providing new event marketing systems for brands, creating better time balance management systems for new parents, perhaps even finding a cure for some diseases. The infrastructure of services you will jump-start will sustain itself well past the year the US Government will fund.

Your campaign proved the model. Small amounts of money spread across millions of people who are motivated to creating a better world than was left them works. We are ready, willing and able to make the change.

Lead us and help us say, “Yes, we can” one small voice at a time until it becomes a thunderous, mighty roar.

Warm regards,

G.

PS I look forward to seeing the new puppy Malia and Sasha pick out!

Happy Eating Day

Happy Eating Day, everyone! Oh, I know, our American friends are celebrating Thanksgiving but let’s call the holiday what it really is.

A few years ago, a friend of mine spent August through January in Europe and called me on Thanksgiving, very much depressed they didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Despite his best efforts, he could not convince these Europeans to take a day off from work (and the Friday after) cook turkey and stuffing, watch some sports and fall into a food-induced coma.

But even worse than not having an Eating Day, how does everyone in Europe know when to begin celebrating the Christmas Holiday? Having Eating Day lets everyone know it is ok to slough off work, kick back and not really feel guilty about not getting anything done between Eating Day and New Year’s. 

So why not call it Thanksgiving and work on making that a holiday around the world? Because Thanksgiving is the American holiday. Eating Day would be the WORLD’S holiday. After all, we tried exporting democracy and look how that turned out.

So, Happy Eating Day everyone!

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

Truemors was being goofy.

So here are my comments to 

Palin Calls Bloggers “Kids in Pajamas…in Their Parents’ Home”

Here is the quote from the Fox News site:

–QUOTE–

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything else that has been raised or said about you in the media, either during the convention — I mean, during the campaign or since the campaign ended, that you think you need to address that has been, you know, an allegation about you?

 

PALIN: Well, unfortunately, early on, there are a tremendous number of examples that we can give regarding my record and things that could have, should have been so easily corrected if — if the media would have taken one step further and — and investigated a little bit, not just gone on some blogger probably sitting there in their parents’ basement, wearing their pajamas, blogging some kind of gossip or — or a lie regarding, for instance, the — the discussion about who was Trig’s real mom? You know, Was it one of her daughters or was she faking her pregnancy?

–UNQUOTE–

Yes, it is true that she does not say ALL bloggers blog in pajamas in their parents home, but she is stereotyping bloggers much like, oh, I dunno.. like what a GOP group did for Obama on what African-Americans eat, for example… 

http://www.dogwalkblog.com/2008/10/18/the-price-of-stupid-and-ignorance/  even though it may be true of SOME African-Americans… Couple that with the tone in her voice (check out YouTube) and her reference really is unmistakable.

Sarah Palin is just not that bright. My God, the sentence structure and subject-predicate agreement alone is horrifying! Lawyers would be endlessly employed trying to figure out which “is” meant “is” or “was” or what “is” really is. 

She is GREAT for energizing the DNC base to vote against her and non-stop entertainment for humans and canine alike, but presidential? Hmmm… no.

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

No party for old men

It is sad what the Democrats are doing to Joe Lieberman. The only “sin” Sen. Lieberman committed was having opinions that did not quite align themselves with the new leadership. 

I looked up the Senator Oath of Office. It reads:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

There is no mention of party loyalty, no mention of suspending personal beliefs and opinions when taking the oath, no mention of “with us or against us.”  To paraphrase from several Obama speeches, there is no Democratic Senate or Republican Senate, there is the Senate of the United States of America.

I want my senators to think for themselves. I want my senators to take risks. I want my senators to have the freedom to have liberal opinions on social reform, but conservative views on national defense. I want a healthy, authentic discussion of ideas in the US Senate. That was the mandate we gave Barack Obama, not a mandate to further divide the country with the “victor” handing out spoils of war. 

Joe Lieberman knew the risks he was taking, but I think at some level — perhaps naively, perhaps with more hope than was pragmatic — that this election cycle held two candidates, each had the ability, political capital and personal stones to rise above partisan government and lead a country. That he chose to back John McCain who eventually did not prevail is incidental to the academic argument.

President-elect Obama needs to show strong leadership with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. He need to put a face of cooperation, but firm leadership, on the “New Democratic Party.” All three are at a crossroads at this very moment, with Joe Lieberman being the turtle in the road.

If you have not yet read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, read it now. Focus on the turtle. The question remains; will the Democratic Party be the truck driver that swerves to try to hit the turtle for sport or Tom Joad who shelters the turtle in his jacket. (Spoiler: the turtle prevails, despite setbacks…)

These are the tests that determine the character of a man. I hope Obama passes.

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

We didn’t start the fire either

A couple weeks ago, Ryan Healy wrote a blog post about how Baby Boomers screwed up the world and how GenY is going to “fix” it. After turning it over in my 40+ brain a bit (Boomers like to think things through before yapping off; part of our charm) here are some observations about the article and the point of view GenY has of us.

The world we inherited was screwed up too
The country was scared of the Godless communists who were going to ravage the countryside, stealing our resources, forcing Americans to bend to the will of Stalin and Khrushchev. If you grew up Catholic, the world was even worse because you had the US Government scaring you as well as the Vatican. We had fall-out shelter drills, we were shown films of nuclear holocaust and crazy Khrushchev beating his shoe on the desk at the UN. It was scary.

And, it was REAL because a greater percentage of our parents fought in WWII and Korea. They saw evil up close and were determined not to let us see that much evil that close up. But, many of the Boomers did see evil in Vietnam that was more savage than WWI and revolted in the only way they knew how; protest and civil disobedience.

Most GenYers don’t have parents who did active duty in any war. Most GenYers did not know rationing or very high unemployment or home mortgages that were 20% or higher. While you may know high debt, the debt as a ratio of income and assets is about the same as the Boomers cause we didn’t have as much “stuff” (iPods, laptops, DVD collections…..)

Technology did not exist
I find it ironic that GenYers are complaining about the mess that Boomers left for them to clean up using WiFi networks, laptop computers and open source software that was carved out of nothing by a Boomer generation. Interesting.

To find out how Boomers used to learn, rent The Paper Chase. It’s ok. You can Google it and then rent it on NetFlix.com. We Boomers won’t care that much that you don’t have it on VHS.

I don’t want this post to spiral into a “we used to walk three miles uphill in the snow” article, but for GenY to say they are inheriting a mess they need to clean up to to admit to not having a sense of history and perspective. Most things that GenY complains about are consequences of the human condition, not a product of what Boomers did to them.

Boomers were crapped on just as badly back in the day. Just different crap.

How Henry Ford destroyed humanity

Images: From the Collection of The Henry Ford. 1) P.833.380 and 2) P.833.896
Images: From the Collection of The Henry Ford. 1) P.833.380 and 2) P.833.896
Most people would argue that the assembly line has done more for the American economy than any other invention or idea. While it may have stoked the economy and got us working more efficiently, it is perhaps the single most mis-applied business idea to date that has destroyed any quality of experience. Let me explain.

Last year, we went to Denmark. Our flight was to leave Dayton, Oh. at 11:30 am, hop to Detroit, then to Amsterdam and then to Karup, DK. Anyone who has ever flown out of DAY knows the only flights that will ever be on time are the first one and the last one. All others, it is a crap shoot. Needless to say, our flight was 11 hours late getting off the ground.

But, when we were finally leaving, the ground crew shifted into high gear, efficiently corralling us onto the plane. “Were our connecting flights notified?” “Was our luggage handled?” “What if there is no flight to XXX?” The ground crew didn’t know and didn’t care. Their job was to get us on the plane from DAY to DWF and they were going to do it quickly, efficiently and with a minimum expenditure of capital and effort.

You can imagine how the rest of the trip went. Four different stops, each stop was manned by an efficient flight and ground crew, each making sure that we were efficiently “handled” at each stop. While the experience of the entire trip was horrific, each stop was handled by a crew that had no memory of the previous stop and no anticipation or anxiety of the next. For them, they were efficient at their jobs and that was all that mattered.

You can experience this type of “efficient handling” just making a simple call to a tech support department. While you are experiencing the on-hold music and the endless prompts to “press this, then that…” the person who is handling your call will not answer or talk to you within the context of your total experience. That is not their work station. Their job is to “handle” you efficiently.

Or worse, try calling a credit card company about an inconsistency in your statement. At some point, their “efficient handling” of you will become so annoying that you will erupt into unpleasant language.

“Sir, there is no need to use that kind of language.”

But, there is a need. Because while they have apologized for the inconvenience, they have not recognized the totality of your experience. They did not acknowledge the fact that you feel helpless in a sea of “efficient handling.” They did not respect your time you spent on hold, waiting for them to “efficiently handle” their mistake. Time you will never get back. They should respect your need to use language consistent with your level of frustration, not their level of efficiency.

So, Henry Ford, congratulations on making the assembly line the de facto model for handling products and human beings. You may not have ever intended for it to be applied to human being transactions, but it has been. And applied efficiently.

Now, please press 1 to comment on this blog. And hurry up, I’ve got more to write.

Email and peeing…

Reposted from a July 29, 2008 blog entry on Media Post. Not terribly exciting news when a dog does it, but when people start “multi-tasking” to this level, makes news….

About 59% of email users said that they check their messages while in the bathroom–up 6 percentage points from last year, according to AOL Mail’s fourth annual Email Addiction Survey. The survey, which AOL conducted in conjunction with Beta Research, polled 4,000 email users ages 13 and up, and found that use of email in increasingly strange places was on the rise.
For example, more than two-thirds of Americans said they checked email while in bed (in pajamas, no less), and 15% of respondents said that they even scanned messages while in church. Meanwhile, some 50% of the respondents said that they checked their email while driving, up by 13 percentage points from last year–not a favorable statistic in terms of driver and passenger safety.

“We really do live in a 24-7 society and it’s not uncommon to be online and checking email at all hours of the day,” said Regina Lewis, AOL Online Consumer Advisor. According to Lewis, the research also shows that a significant number of Americans have become addicted to email as they’re increasingly unable to detach from their inboxes, regardless of whether they contain business or personal messages. In fact, nearly half (46%) of all survey respondents admitted to being email addicts, up from just 15% last year. –Tameka Kee

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.san&s=87578&Nid=45541&p=462007

Memorial Day

As I was lifting my leg to bless the Englewood Independent lying on my doorstep this morning, the front page article caught my eye. So, I bent down to read it before soaking it. The main headline read “Memorial Day: Remembering those who preserve freedom.”

It was a good article about Air Force Capt. Bob Everdeen from Clayton who served in Afghanistan. However, the headline just kept sticking in my head. I am not anti-military, though you may view the following as such. But, if you leave a comment about me being anti-military, you just have not read this post nor have you thought about anything in it. Fair warning.

The military does NOT preserve freedoms. It protects the citizens from military threats, both foreign and domestic which are casually ASSUMED and “marketed” by our leaders (and reflected by journalists, shame on you) to be launched to take away our “freedoms.” In reality, our freedoms are being taken by our own government, who seek to control the citizenry through fear, intimidation, abuse of power and any other tool it can contrive to keep power. For example, Osama bin Laden did not want to take away our freedoms by striking the towers and the Pentagon; he just wanted to strike America where she hurts the most, in the wallet. He doesn’t care about our “freedoms,” but he does care about killing Americans, crippling our economy and forcing America out of the Middle East. Big difference. Yet, the actions were marketed by the current administration as an attack to “take away our freedoms.”

Read the Patriot Act, take a look at the laws that allow wire-tapping, racketeering, eminent domain, declaring a US citizen an unlawful combatant and see how they are being perverted and applied to US citizens. All of these things should scare the average citizen, not just us dogs. It is all of these things that the military is “preserving” for its citizens? Hmmm….

Freedom is preserved by Americans by NOT allowing our government to overstep any authority it derives from its CITIZENS. This starts at the local level in school boards, at city government council meetings, county tax offices, etc. Leash laws, for example. Why? To take away my freedom to sniff on a tree, to pee on a bush — purchased with tax dollars, planted by a city worker on city property, to dally over a smelly bird carcass, to be in the city park behind the Englewood government center palace stretched out in a full run with the wind in my ears?

Freedom is also preserved by skilled diplomats who talk with other government leaders. More good comes from mutual respect and patience than by any military action any government can impose on another. It is just a matter of time — 1 year, 100 years, 1,000 years — before the oppressed rises up and crushes the oppressor. But, mutual respect and patience builds a common goal that preserves freedoms for both parties for 1 year, 100 years, 1,000 years.

Get involved, find a voice, preserve your own freedoms. Make this country a strong America that only the really stupid would ever think of invading. When every citizen has the passion to defend his/her freedoms from any enemy, foreign and domestic, perhaps we will feel less like relying on a military force to “preserve our freedoms” and take on the role for ourselves. And, perhaps our government leaders will think twice before “defending” our freedoms through laws that serve to limit the activities of its citizens for their own protection.

Appeasing the under-educated white guy


Since Hillary’s win in North Carolina last Tuesday, the “news cycle” has been all about how Barack Obama is going to get the “under-educated, white man” vote. After watching news story after news story on this, a very large question suddenly dawned on me:

When did this country get to the point where the under-educated, white working class decides who gets to be the president of The United States of America in an information-based world-market economy, where the competitive advantage is determined by who has the smartest and most clever on board?

Wow! But the REAL question us dogs are barking about is:

How did we get to the point where the richest country in the world — with the greatest opportunity for individual achievement — produce such a large majority of under-educated people?

Could it be that the public education system is failing us? Could it be the we have become so arrogant and confident in our “place” in the world that we simply quit trying to become better? Could it be that our parents, in their quest to “give us a better life than they had” simply handed us what we needed for two generations instead of making us work for it? Could it be that we value economic contribution more than we value human contribution like art, creativity, knowledge, wisdom, music, love, etc as an end rather than a means? Could be a lot of things. Could be a lot of a lot of things.

I watched an episode of 30 Days by Morgan Spurlock last night where he and his wife tried to live on minimum wage for 30 days. In the richest country in the world, what did them in was a “medical emergency” that cost them $1,200.00 and change. They worked hard, they saved.. but they worked minimum wage jobs. Only their time and labor was valued; their health was something that they could have, if they could afford it. In the richest country in the world. That should anger people everywhere, educated or not. But, it doesn’t seem to. We’re all just living each day, hoping to not get sick or injured.

I suspect that for a lot of under-educated folk in this country, that is their fate. While there are probably many reasons that “white guys in North Carolina” may be under-educated, the argument I’ve been getting around the block is that there is nothing wrong with not having a college degree. There is nothing wrong with wanting to work a blue-collar job.

Except there is EVERYTHING wrong with having a MAJORITY of a population NOT being educated in the richest country in the world, in the middle of a world economy that is fueled by a knowledge workforce. If you want to become a plumber, that is fine, but don’t do it without an education. And don’t allow the media to define “under-educated” as “stupid and provincial”, but that is a whole other argument. Please forgive me if I don’t address that; I can only sniff one topic at a time. I’m a dog.

So, I think we are witnessing the first step in the decline of a great nation, whether we want to or not. There is still time to reverse this trend and make education a top priority; not just for those who can afford it, but by anyone who wants it. Because, if we don’t do that soon, we will soon have a majority of under-educated citizens falling prey to short-term solutions that eventually resolve nothing except our own demise.

We must resolve to become competitive and invest in our human infrastructure. Education for those who want it, regardless of the ability to pay and health care just because we are human beings. That is not socialism as uber-conservatives would like you to believe; that is just plain ol’ common-sense capitalism. Invest in what will make you more. And smart people are now the new machinery and factories.

Party? What party?

I was settling in and almost asleep when some idiot on CNN was railing on and on about how this Clinton/Obama race is tearing the party apart, that it is bad for the Democrats, that they need to heal together to win the election in November. And, then as I hit that level of rage between annoyance at being kept awake and the dread of some human idiot won’t ever shut up, I got an epiphany!

Here is what CNN, MSNBC, Fox and all the other media is missing that the American people know:

The job of President of the United States of America is held by one PERSON, not by a PARTY. Nobody cares about the Democratic Party any more. Americans want the best PERSON to win the election, even if the two people running against each other for the job are members of the same party!

If anything comes of this, I hope it is the death of the two-party system. Against any of the two Hillary or Barack, McCain looks like a really, really old guy who can’t remember his name. But, Barack vs Hillary, that is a clash of Titans! THAT is a race to watch and people just don’t really want this one to end.

I sure hope the loser of the Democratic primary runs as an independent. Either way, Hillary or Barack would win this thing, whether as an independent or a Democrat. Choke on that, Howard Dean!

Ok, Colbert is on now… that’s a much quieter (boring) show and I’m curling up and taking a snooze.

Now you can listen to the podcast in Rufus’ own voice.. really!!

The real death of the Dayton Daily News

For those of you who may not know, I was with the Dayton Daily News from 1998-2002. It was perhaps the most meaningful period of my life, in which I learned how to write objectively, think independently, treasure really, really talented people around me, learned how to change the world with little more than a thought and a pen, to learn patience, compassion and humility from greater human beings and learned how to find meaning in a job where I was paid almost nothing and expected to accomplish almost everything. I loved every heartache of the 4 1/2 years I spent there.

Yesterday, I visited the DDN building on Ludlow Ave in downtown Dayton. They were having a public sale where furniture, computer equipment, etc was being sold for whatever they could get. I went to walk the halls for one last time, to hear my friends, colleagues and mentors in my head one last time, to reclaim the same excitement I felt coming into the old newspaper building every morning. I was not disappointed.

….