Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sometimes the best defense is a strong offense.

6 more journalists arrested in Ferguson protests
Six journalists were taken into custody while covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday and early Tuesday, aggravating what one press freedom group has called a "concerted, top-down effort to restrict the fundamental First Amendment rights of the public and the press."

Shoot Arrest the Messengers! Let everyone become a messenger!

Conservatives are blaming the media for the escalation in Ferguson because cameras make tear gas magically appear.- LOLGOP

The World Is A Safer Place Without Saddam

Nothing says "You should trust the police to make effective decisions" like snipers pointed at unarmed people.- LOLGOP

Honduran Kids Deported By US Are Now Dead
Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

John McCain & Lindsey Graham - 2 guys opposed to gay weddings who always look like they're about to announce one.- John Fugelsang

If Michael Brown had urged armed revolt against the US, had pals aim guns at law enforcement & been white Sean Hannity'd make him breakfast.- John Fugelsang

Republican Shenanigans

It looks like Rick Perry's chances in 2016 might be in trouble. Or as Hillary put it, "One down, four more to go."- Jimmy Fallon

Georgia Police State Bitch Slaps Toddler
Officials in a Georgia county are refusing to pay medical expenses for a toddler badly injured during a police raid on the home where the boy was staying.

Bounkham Phonesavanh was hospitalized for weeks in a burn unit after a SWAT officer tossed a flash grenade into his crib during a no-knock raid May 28 in Habersham County.

What racism? - White people. - LOLGOP

For the Missouri GOP, the real danger of Ferguson is that it could encourage black people to vote. - LOLGOP

Rock The Voter News

Two things the U.S. should thank Black folks for:
1. Building this country.
2. Not justifiably burning this whole country to the ground.

Bundy engaged in armed resistance to avoid paying fees. Compare that to peaceful protests responding to a lost life.
Last Wednesday night, I had snarked on Twitter about the lack of so-called “Tea Party” “patriots” — like those brave boys and girls who, earlier this year, pointed their big assault-rifles at federal officials to protect the “right” of a scofflaw rancher in Nevada to illegally graze his cattle for free on land that he did not own — failing to show up to protect the actual rights and freedoms of so many being denied them by actual Big Government Tyranny in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

David Gregory is being replaced by a guy named Chuck Todd, which indicates to me that in order to host that program you have to have two first names.- David Letterman

 Click here for The Charmed Time

People In Costa Rica See Suspicious Helicopters, Too!
Residents of Aguas Zarcas, Venecia, San Miguel and La Virgen de Sarapiquí in San Carlos in Costa Rica’s Northern Zone reported to authorities the presence of a suspicious low-flying helicopter on Saturday, according to regional police chief, Francisco Morales.

Conservatives are saying the media is causing the unrest in Ferguson and thermometers are to blame for climate change.- LOLGOP

Subject: Comment On 'Toon

Hi Lisa,

Last week, you published a ‘toon that said, “It will be a great day when corporations treat their employees with the same respect that they treat their shareholders.”

Actually, there were such days prior to the late-80s and, yes, they were great days.  When I joined corporate America nearly 40 years ago, top managements were focused on the interest of the stakeholders: customers, employees, their suppliers, their communities, and their shareholders.

Managements understood that employees who were well-trained, well-treated, and well-compensated were more productive and loyal; their work was high-quality, and they delivered superior customer service.  Happy customers spent more money at the firm and were a major source of repeat business and referrals.  Suppliers who were treated well and paid promptly often went out of their way to help the firm meet its supply-chain objectives.

Communities relied on corporate support for everything from parks to performing arts centers, school programs, internships, and job opportunities for residents.  Those amenities and benefits attracted people who wanted to work for the firm, raise their families in the community, and send their kids to local schools. And shareholders were interested seeing their firms grow steadily over time, deliver consistent earnings and share price increases, and pretty consistent dividend increases.

Allocating the profits of the firm among these competing (but not opposing) interests was a multi-dimensional optimization problem for managements.  There was no set formula for doing it right and the optimal solution looked different each year.  But everybody got a piece of the pie and everybody pulled together so the pie would get bigger and bigger over time.

That all began to change in the mid-1980s.  That’s when corporations began to focus more single-mindedly on shareholder interests.  I won’t recite the history of those times, but you probably recognize some of the key players: “Neutron Jack” Welch at GE, “Chainsaw Al” Dunlap at Sunbeam-Oster, Carl Icahn, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Forstmann Little, Bear Stearns, Drexel Burnham Lambert, and many others.

The focus on shareholder value began in the mid-70s with an article by Jensen & Meckling [“Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behaviour, Agency Costs, and Ownership Structure (1976)], and was extended with books by Bernard Reimann [“Managing for Value” (1987)] and Alfred Rappoport [“Creating Shareholder Value’ (1986)].

Reimann framed the issue succinctly on page 1 of his book: “To be successful in the 1990s, managers must also learn to compete in the market for corporate control.” Translation: Job #1 for every CEO is to keep the share price high enough that no corporate raider can afford to take over the firm and toss the CEO out on his pinstriped patoot.

Different companies and different industries reacted to this imperative in different ways.  Some chose to grow so big that no one could afford to buy them.  Others chose to diversify to the point where no one could understand them.  Still others cut costs to goose current earnings and share prices.  Some industries pressed Congress for deregulation so they had freer reins to grow their businesses.

Whatever approach they chose, the resource allocation issue for top managements became a one-dimensional maximization problem: maximize shareholder value.  Do it because you are surrounded by sharks who will kill your job and eat your firm if you don’t.

Since share prices are driven mainly by earnings, anything that eroded or diluted quarterly earnings had to be minimized, if not eliminated.  Thus began an era of downsizing, union busting, outsourcing, offshoring, benefits slashing, mergers and acquisitions, lax regulation, and much more that continues to this day.

Profits hit all-time highs, executive compensation went through the roof, while workers suffered benefits reductions, pay increases that failed to keep up with inflation, and loss of job security if not job itself.  Suppliers were squeezed to the point where some went out of business.  Communities stagnated as waning corporate support was accompanied by taxpayers’ demands for lower taxes.

And once-happy customers got used to a computer-generated voice: “Your call is very important to us.  Please remain on the line and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.  Have a nice day.  Our average wait time is now … 26 hours.”

Yet that was all well and good (okay, so it wasn’t for everybody) until the financial near-collapse of 2008.  That’s when we saw just how much corporations had done – and not done – for the sake of elevated quarterly earnings and share prices. And they had to turn to us – “we the people” – to bail them out.

By 2009, even “Neutron Jack” Welch himself was saying, “On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world.”

It reminded me of that old Pennsylvania Dutch saying: “Ve get too soon alt und too late schmart.”

Turning back the clock will not be easy, mainly because it will probably have to be driven by Congressional action. But I can foresee the day when top managements once again recognize the interdependencies among their various publics and decide that giving everybody a piece of the pie is a good way to ensure a bigger pie for everybody.

Then it will indeed be a great day when corporations treat their employees – and their customers, their suppliers, their communities, and their country – with the same respect they treat their shareholders.

Best wishes,
Richard E. Wise, PhD, PMC

Thank you so much, Rick. Many are still waiting to get trickled down upon. Funny how that never happened.

Business/Tech News

Singing Away The Pipeline

Neil Young and Willie Nelson will perform a benefit concert in September on land in the path of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The concert will take place at a farm near Neligh that's on the route of the proposed pipeline. It also crosses the historic Ponca Tribe "Trail of Tears."

Chinese Journalists Bemoan Decline Of Traditional State-Run Newspapers, Rise Of State-Run New Media. - The Onion Headline



Odd News

Time To Deflate Photo

Don't miss the guy on the right. Chartreuse Mountains, France.


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