Sioux Falls times---"The Light @ end of YOUR Tunnel"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"When Pigs Fly"....the 'ole pig farmer awakens!

For the past couple of years, I have been very busy trying to stay astride my scoop shovel; while careening down the "slippery slope" our society is clearly headed down at an ever increasing rate---aka "Accelerating". (You young'ns, ask Grandpa or Grandma how much fun it can be to ride down a steep, snowy slope on a scoop shovel--with only a bare minimum of control over your impending "destiny"!) I had to share that; so that you would get the proper understanding of my up close and personal perspective of screaming down a snowy hill with you butt (and the rest of your physique) quite literally "on the fine line" between a short thrilling ride and losing a hunk on your backside on that rock that just happened to pop up through the snow on the 2nd or 3rd pass....or as I discovered near Breckenridge, a tangle of evergreen bushes that quite literally took the whole backside out of my ski suit; when I straggled them in a half-sit position perfecting my cross-country skiing form! Now, honestly is it much of leap to migrate from that picture to what we've feeling in our society today, folks---flying pigs up to 300#, wow! I used to have all I could do to get them up the loading chute and on their way to pork chops; without becoming their meal in the process....the only thing alligators have on hogs when they get you in their grip is that they can spin & roll faster! So, all you attorneys out there wishing to advance your reputations & fatten your piggybanks, get in line to file the lawsuits on behalf of the folks that become part of lunch for those 300# hogs the FAA is allowing on planes now. Many of us get upset with crying babies that become uncomfortable with cabin pressure changes; but hogs really get agitated from similar stimuli--tending to take a bite out on anything or anyone nearby!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Water, Water everywhere!

It is pretty amazing what about 5-7 inches of rainfall can do in a few hours time!
Needless to say, clearing out water-logged basement carpet & pad is best fitness test I've found in long time.
If you survive it, you're fit!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

President, "No Decision is a Decision"---Make A BEST 1st Decision, then make it the RIGHT decision!

1st, the baseline that my comments come from being military "brained & trained"; and having switched MOS's (Military Occupational Specialties) 3X in an effort to get into the scrap in 'Nam---my parents were WWII vets & I was raised on "Duty, Honor, Country" & the adage that "No Decision is a Decision" for which you will be held accountable, you see:
* Leaders (properly trained & qualified to direct combat or deal with critical business & societal issues) have to act quickly based upon the best information they have at hand----MAKE THE BEST DECISION; and MAKE IT QUICKLY!
* Once Leaders have made the Best 1st decision with the best information at hand, they also truly set themselves apart by the assembling the best resources ("talents" & Subject Matter Experts) to help them MAKE THAT BEST DECISION into THE RIGHT DECISION---
---this cannot effectively be done without the 1st BEST choice; as once you've made a decision and you head down a particular path of the "Decision Tree", new evidence that will help you quickly "adjust" your actions comes into view that cannot be adequately identified or even recognized while stuck in the "no-man's land of indecision"
---you also have the advantage of drawing out a bunch of "Monday morning quarterbacks" (us Engineers/analysts either lost in analysis-paralysis or lacking the guts to step into positions of responsibility/accountability requiring we stick our necks out to make a decision in the 1st place)...who are very adept @ finding vulnerabilities in your initial BEST decision!

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

An amazing time after an amazing winter!

I just noticed that the little bit of snow left across the front of the house is not over 3', I do not have to use both rearview mirrors to back my car through the slot between the drifts to get out of the driveway and the trees are actually budding---I guess it truly is Spring!
Today I had the opportunity to partake in two different sessions that would be difficult & risky in most of the world----freely able to listen to the candidates' forum for Mayor of Sioux Falls sponsored by the League of "Women Voters"; and to hear some well-versed friends discuss "Religion & Politics" @ Barnes & Noble. (a little gathering that I kicked off nearly 3-years ago)
We are truly living in an interesting time: 1.) Voters in Sioux Falls are telling would-be Mayors that they will get their votes; when they get the pot holes in the streets fixed---not only because of the damages to their vehicles; but to improve the "greeness" of the city through increased car & bus efficiencies! 2.) Survey reported on FOX news last night showed that "68% of voters are in favor of totally replacing everyone in the U.S. Congress"---largely because they seem to think they know more about what's best for us than we do; particularly as it relates to healthcare!
I find it amazing that our leaders on Wall Street & in Washington alike have no hesitation to continue to heap financial burdens on our kids, grandkids to line their pockets today. They are clearly looking out of the backs of their eyeballs....forgetting the meaning of the phrase "For the Greater Good". (such a malady has not undermined folks willing to help others here in SD)
I do not envy the future discussion they have to look forward to with God and/or St. Peter at the Pearly Gates!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Carly hoping to reboot CA....interesting battle to learn from!

  • The Wall Street Journal

She Wants to Reboot California

After chemotherapy, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina says taking on Sen. Barbara Boxer isn't so intimidating.



When Carly Fiorina sat down to speak with me recently, I was briefly taken aback. The former CEO of Hewlett Packard and current candidate for U.S. Senate from California was sporting a close-cropped, salt-and-pepper hairdo. Having completed six months of treatment for breast cancer, the 55-year-old Ms. Fiorina has dispensed with the auburn wig she'd been wearing as her hair grows back.

She says her health is now fine, and that "after chemotherapy Barbara Boxer isn't that scary anymore," referring to the three-term Democratic incumbent she wants to unseat in 2010. She laughs when I suggest her new 'do may get her a hearing in precincts like Berkeley and San Francisco. On a more serious note, she says that "in these hard times, a lot of people across the spectrum will listen to my message—that California can only recover if we encourage economic growth and restrain spending and job-killing regulation."

With a 12.5% unemployment rate, the Golden State is certainly in trouble. In 2007 alone, 260,000 Californians moved to states with more opportunity. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation says only New York and New Jersey have worse business tax climates. And a new Los Angeles Times poll found that more than half of California residents think the state's major problems won't fade as the economy recovers.

Ms. Fiorina is not shy in pointing out what's to blame. "The high tax, big government, regulatory regime we see in California is the current course and speed for where the nation is headed," she warns. "California is a great test case, a factual demonstration that those programs don't work." She notes that while state spending has significantly outstripped inflation in recent years, every year government services perform more poorly and it becomes harder to open a business. "I very much doubt Hewlett Packard could be founded today as a manufacturing company in California," she adds soberly.

There are signs California voters have had enough. After the legislature passed a huge $12.5 billion tax increase last February to plug the state's budget gap, it put a measure on the ballot to extend the tax hikes for two years. The tax failed by an almost 2-to-1 margin.

Voters may also be in the mood for new leadership. "I'm not a professional politician, I'm a problem solver," she emphasizes, contrasting her record with that of the 69-year-old Ms. Boxer. That record is fairly stark: By most measures, Ms. Boxer has been an unbending ideologue during her three terms, as illustrated by her 95% rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action in 2008.

Given the deep national recession and a state economy deep in the red, Ms. Fiorina is especially critical of Ms. Boxer's opposition to "virtually every trade agreement." Ms. Fiorina also chides Ms. Boxer for the latter's lockstep support for the public employee unions that she claims enjoy "outsized political influence" in California.

On the environment, Ms. Fiorina faults the senator for ignoring pleas from farmers to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore water flows to California's Central Valley, which have been restricted by two controversial biological assessments by the government that asserted the local delta smelt was endangered: "I've seen the devastation and massive unemployment that [the water restrictions have] caused."

California's other Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein, has called for an immediate third-party review of the federal conclusions. Ms. Fiorina notes that Ms. Boxer came into the Senate in 1993 at the same time as her more moderate colleague. "Since then, Dianne Feinstein has been far more productive while Barbara Boxer has been singularly ineffective for the people of California."

On the legislative front, Ms. Boxer chairs the Senate Environment Committee. Her clumsy bobbling of the cap-and-trade bill designed to address global warming has even been criticized by some of her fellow Democrats. Ms. Fiorina has a different take: "Thank goodness she's failed to pass that job-killer, but it shows how little she gets across the finish line."

Ms. Fiorina makes clear she takes the issue of climate change seriously. But she argues that global warming is best addressed through more innovation, new technology and energy efficiency, areas in which California has excelled. The scientific debate on the extent of global warming should continue, she says. Meanwhile, cleaner technologies such as nuclear power should be encouraged.

"We must take advantage of every source of energy," she emphasizes, and forthrightly tackles a taboo subject in a state that has restricted off-shore drilling since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. "Technology has fundamentally changed the extraction of oil and natural gas," she says. That means California can protect the environment at the same time it opens up new areas of exploration.

Ms. Fiorina also is fascinated by the political potential of technology. "We need more transparency and accountability in government so that people know how their money is being spent," she says. "That means putting budgets online, putting legislation online." She's convinced that if citizens can play a greater watchdog role it will be easier to keep a check on higher spending and taxes.

In the midst of her enthusiastic comments about high-tech solutions to economic and political problems, Ms. Fiorina pauses to acknowledge that she's fully aware her six-year tenure as the head of HP will be used against her.

"Liberals will say I was let go by my board in 2005 and outsourced some jobs overseas," she says bluntly. "But I took the company through the worst technology recession in a generation and created jobs on a net basis. As for the outsourcing, the tax and regulatory climate made it almost impossible not to do that—which is why we have to change it." Ms. Fiorina claims subsequent revelations—that her successor and the board members who fired her were embroiled in an internal spying scandal—help vindicate her tenure as the first woman to head a Fortune 20 company.

But it's not just Democrats and liberals who will attack Ms. Fiorina. In a recent poll (with most voters undecided), she had only a narrow lead over Republican Chuck DeVore, a state assemblyman who criticizes her as the candidate of the party's establishment. He told reporters earlier this month that the fundamental issue is whether primary voters want "someone who epitomizes Reagan Republicanism or Rockefeller Republicanism."

To some that slam might seem a bit of a reach. Ms. Fiorina insists on her conservative bona fides. Her father was Joseph Sneed, a conservative law professor who served on the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1973 until his death last year. His daughter says she inherited both his ability to work with those he disagreed with and his "common sense" views on issues.

Ms. Fiorina adds that she learned the values of hard work and entrepreneurship after she left Stanford University with a degree in medieval history and philosophy and was "unemployable." She worked as a secretary at a real-estate firm until she joined a management training program at AT&T in 1980. She rose to oversee marketing and sales for the largest division of Lucent Technologies before taking over HP in 1999.

"I will not run away from [conservative] values," Ms. Fiorina says, noting that she has signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge against higher taxes and voted for Proposition 8 last year, which banned same-sex marriage in the state. On abortion, Ms. Fiorina says she is "proudly pro-life" and a strong opponent of taxpayer funding of abortions.

But her views also carry some nuance. She notes she created a strong program of domestic partner benefits while at HP. As for changing existing laws on abortion, she acknowledges, "I know, as a realist, that not everyone agrees with me. So the common ground we can find is how to reduce abortions."

An issue that will give Mr. DeVore some traction in a primary is that Ms. Fiorina says she "probably" would have voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor, because most presidential Supreme Court nominees who are qualified deserve a presumption of support. One can argue with that position on substantive grounds, but it's probably smart politics in a general election given that California is 37% Hispanic.

Mr. DeVore has won backing from Rep. Tom McClintock, a conservative California hero, along with South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint. But Ms. Fiorina is supported by stalwart Republican conservative Sens. Tom Coburn and James Inhofe from Oklahoma. She also has support from Maine's Republican moderate Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

Can a conservative win in California given the shellacking John McCain, for whom Ms. Fiorina was a top economic adviser, got in the state last year? Her crisp answer is yes, noting that "the timing is now against Boxer" because "Californians are worried about whether they will have a job along with ballooning federal spending and deficits." All recent polls show Ms. Boxer below the 50% support an incumbent should have. Last week's Rasmussen poll gave Ms. Boxer a 46% to 37% lead over Ms. Fiorina, with one in three voters holding a "very unfavorable" view of the Democratic incumbent.

Ms. Fiorina notes that ObamaCare is now supported by only half of the state's voters. This is a sign, she says, that voters increasingly recognize it will raise the cost of health-care premiums and fail to solve real problems in our health-care system.

She has also targeted the proposed federal guidelines restricting the frequency of mammograms on the basis of personal experience. Ms. Fiorina says she found her own breast cancer lump only two weeks after a clear mammogram, and if she had waited two years for another one her cancer might not have been detected. She said on CNN that the federal panel that approved the now-withdrawn recommendations had "no cancer specialists on it, and the panel was explicitly asked to consider cost, not simply science."

Ms. Fiorina recognizes she has a way to go to convince voters to elect a political newcomer, and she makes no excuses for her spotty voting record in recent years. But California has a long tradition of electing outsiders to statewide office—from Ronald Reagan to educator S.I. Hayakawa (to the U.S. Senate) to Arnold Schwarzenegger. In tough economic times, California may well be tempted to elect a former CEO who thinks the Congress needs common-sense people like herself.

Mr. Fund is a columnist for

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

My life-long interests in "Sustainability" & "Localization" have crossed with the potential of enabling 1+1=3, maybe even 5 over time for future generations!

"Off-the-Grid" Alternative Electrical Energy from Wind & Solar power sources---Load-Matched to the needs of businesses or homes---has come of age.

I have partnered with a core group of focused, capable "talents" aligned around the Mission of leveraging "off-the-grid" technologies & SME's (Subject Matter Experts) to make the Sioux Falls area a hub for providing the products & services necessary.

More to come.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

California is going to save the USA....with a little help from Palin

Our special friends & family in the great state of California have had just the right ingredients for creating an effective "model of independence" that would make the founding Fathers of this great country very, very proud.
Gov. Arnold may have to enlist a bit of help from Gov. Palin from Alaska to get it moving; but CA could quite easily overcome its deficit and become both energy & economically independent by "harvesting" the ample natural resources it controls----starting with the crude oil actually causing ocean pollution off Santa Barbara.
It appears that the "financial pains" of the state budget deficits are going to motivate the Gov. and the Legislature to finally stand up to the "tree huggers"---whose predictions & motivations have been proven to be largely fabrications for some time.
With the economy of CA ranking from 10th to 5th in the world, the scalability of energy independence proven there will most certainly be evolved into a nationwide freedom-saver for all of us--especially our kids, grandkids!