Sunday, January 16, 2011

Last Call

We will always have the businesses that drain its employees dry.  We will always have the Scrooge wannabe who leaves people to endure deplorable conditions to maximize their already generous profit.  We will always have people who cling to failed methods and refuse to try new approaches.

But now we will also have something different.  I'm pointing this particular article because I have found something rare in the business world: principles.  And not the fluffy kind, the real ones that matter and make you feel good about what you do, and how you do it.  What's amazing is a little investment in employees can return magnificent results.  Coupled with responsible and straightforward practices, you can establish a sustainable business plan.  A good business knows how to treat its employees and customers with dignity.

CNN Money recently ran this article.  I am going to include a teaser here, but I recommend taking a moment to read it.  It's a solid, reasonable look at women's future in business and how we can empower women and reap the rewards of doing so.

Reykjavik, Iceland (CNN) -- You might wonder why two women decided to leave successful careers and start a financial services company emphasizing feminine values.
To put it briefly, we were somewhat overwhelmed by the testosterone levels in business and finance, and we lost faith in the sustainability of operating this way.
This was not about women vs. men, but rather about the lack of diversity in the field, which led to serious following-the-herd behavior and poor quality decision-making. We started to worry about what this behavior could produce and felt that a more balanced and sensible approach was needed.
You can't argue with success.  It is logical and noble to "start doing business that is good, in all senses of the word."  But above all, while we rebuild our businesses and restructure our business practices, that we keep our previous mistakes in mind.  Let's move forward instead of going in circles.

StupidiNews! Just Freaking Awesome Edition

The article is awesome, but it's all about the picture.  Here's a shot of a sword that belonged to the infamous Edward Teach.  That's Blackbeard to most folks.  Tag: General

A grey squirrel gets the best of a squirrel-proof setup.  Sometimes these things are good for the soul, and I love squirrels.  Tag: Epic Win

Bad news for smokers:
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Those first few puffs on a cigarette can within minutes cause genetic damage linked to cancer, US scientists said in a study released.
In fact, it's more like 15-30 minutes.  I'm actually going to delve into the subject of smoking over the next few weeks, so have your comments ready! From sin taxes to workplace nicotine drug testing, I have a few articles planned.  Tag: Legal Stupidity - not just for lawyers anymore.

The Worst Thing I've Heard All Year: Part III

I'm sad to say I really didn't expect this to progress so rapidly.  I may as well change it to the worst thing I've heard all week.  With much sighing and sadness, on to the worst thing I've heard all year... so far.

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – After witnessing a Facebook video of two 9-year-olds fighting, an out-of-state caller reported to police that the video looked like it was filmed in McMinnville.
The article goes on to explain that the kids weren't only encouraged to assault each other, they were starved and kept in pitiful conditions.  They were both removed from their homes.  The four adults were confirmed to be the ones on the video, and are being charged with criminal mistreatment, assault, reckless endangering, endangering the welfare of a minor, strangulation, coercion and menacing. 

Because, really, life doesn't suck enough without these fertile but otherwise useless people contributing.  

Update: Giffords Breathing Tube Removed

The breathing tube in U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' throat was removed and replaced with a tracheotomy tube in her windpipe, a procedure that potentially offers doctors a chance to evaluate whether she can speak.
At this time, there is no indication of whether she can speak, but she has aced every test so far.  She continues to track with her eyes and show understanding when communicated with.  The brain is still a mystery, but here's hoping the good news continues to roll.

This Just In... Corn "Big Deal" In Iowa

Cows eat grass. You wouldn’t think it’s a big deal to state this, but at Iowa State University a highly qualified job applicant who had the temerity to voice this simple biological fact was ejected from consideration for a post leading a sustainable agriculture program.

What, one has to wonder, could possible be wrong with that?  Well, in Iowa, corn is a pretty big deal.   The quote that got Ricardo Salvador in trouble was so offensive that he didn't get the job, even after the number one choice passed on the offer.  He had the worst moment ever in a job interview, where the resounding silence lets you know that you just blew it.  I won't hold you in suspense any longer:

Corn allows cows to get fatter faster and be ready for slaughter sooner. But there are downsides, including the fact that cows have trouble digesting corn and must be fed antibiotics to prevent them from becoming ill. What’s more, the beef from corn-fed cows tends to have more fat.  
The remark that may have sunk Mr. Salvador’s candidacy came 37 minutes into his on-campus presentation. While discussing a research project in New York State, he mentioned meat being “produced in the natural way that meat should be produced, which is on land suitable for grasses and perennial crops.”

Salvadore made reference to grassland as being natural for raising meat, the rat bastard.   There may be some of you who are more, ahem, civilized in your upbringing that aren't sure where the joke is.  Allow me to introduce to you the mighty cow, provider of milk, steak, methane gas, and also known in the hillbilly states as "God's Lawnmower."  A little double checking seems to confirm Mr. Salvador's comments as being 100% correct.

Weigh this against Zandar's earlier post and you have a genuine conundrum.

Corn Con Carnage

This post at Zero Hedge is making the rounds this weekend, and it's a bit of an eye opener.  Ethanol blended gas is big here in the Midwest, but I was unaware that some 40% of America's corn crop went into making ethanol.  With corn supplies being fed to ethanol plants instead of people, corn prices are rising, ethanol prices are rising, and gas prices are rising, and that's affecting everything we buy.

Corn is the most widely produced feed grain in the United States, accounting for more than 90% of total U.S. feed grain production. 81.4 million acres of land are utilized to grow corn, with the majority of the crop grown in the Midwest.  Although most of the crop is used to feed livestock, corn is also processed into food and industrial products including starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, yogurt, latex paint, cosmetics, and last but not least, fuel Ethanol. Of the 10,000 items in your average grocery store, at least 2,500 items use corn in some form during the production or processing. The United States is the major player in the world corn market providing more than 50% of the world’s corn supply. In excess of 20% of our corn crop had been exported to other countries, but the government ethanol mandates have reduced the amount that is available to export.

And with world corn and grain prices up because our exports are down, we're seeing food shortages and price spikes in countries that are net importers of foodstuffs...countries like Algeria and Tunisia.

It's all connected, folks.

The United States is the big daddy of the world food economy. It is far and away the world’s leading grain exporter, exporting more than Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Russia combined. In a globalized food economy, increased demand for corn, to fuel American vehicles, puts tremendous pressure on world food supplies. Continuing to divert more food to fuel, as is now mandated by the U.S. federal government in its Renewable Fuel Standard, will lead to higher food prices, rising hunger among the world’s poor and to social chaos across the globe. By subsidizing the production of ethanol, now to the tune of $6 billion each year, U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing skyrocketing food bills at home and around the world.

I'm all for renewable fuels, but I think it's high time we took a second look at our current ethanol policy.

No Excuse For This

In a bizarre and sad story, one of the victims of the Tuscon shooting has been committed for making a threat against the Arizona Tea Party official who blamed Rep. Giffords herself for the shooting for her lack of armed security.

James Eric Fuller, 63, was involuntarily committed after he made threats against a Tea Party member at the event sponsored by ABC News, Ogan said.

Fuller photographed Trent Humphries and said "You are dead" when Humphries began speaking at the event, according to Ogan.

He was taken into custody after 12 p.m. (2 p.m. ET).

Fuiller has not been charged and Ogan said it is unclear whether Humphries will press charges.

The town hall event was held at Tucson's St. Odilia Church and was taped for Christiane Amanpour's "This Week" program on ABC.

Fuller was the Tuscon shooting victim who blamed Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Sharron Angle for the shooting, but in this environment making the threat against Humphries like that in a public place is not only inexcusable, but pretty sad to boot.

It's clear this guy has some serious PTSD issues, and let's remember this guy was shot by Loughner.  I hope he gets the help he needs and I'm glad he didn't hurt anyone, especially himself.
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